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By FLEVIAN MUTIE

In the African context today, almost everyone hopes to be rewarded for doing good. This is something we learn since childhood where we are encouraged to do good for that can always be rewarded. In other cases especially in religion, people are encouraged to do good expecting nothing in return for it. 

Whichever way they learned this great lesson of life, Kenyan Police Officers, Amina Mutio and Ibrahim Wamitilla were happy for their good deeds being recognized. During the curfews brought by Covid-19, these two officers based in Baringo were praised by Kenyans for promoting humanity. 

Amina, in a viral video that has circulated online and reached millions of viewers, is seen at nightfall, helping a lady cross the road and helping her children scamper to safety, despite the prevailing curfew where any other officer would have either beaten them or detained them. However, this officer chose to help them and not beat them.

While the night curfews were characterized by police brutality, Baringo AP, Commandant Ibrahim Wamitilla chose a different way to handle curfew offenders. He was seen persuading Kenyans to observe the curfew and stay safe, rather than using force or beating them up, which made him stand out as extra-ordinary officer.

In Kenya, the disciplined forces also ensure order by helping put everything and everyone in their place as required. A few of them have however made their day’s duty harder for the uniformed officers as they have always been associated with all sorts of misconduct and malpractices in their line of duty.

The police especially in Kenya have always had their image painted with drab colours, owing to vices and felonies committed by their colleagues including brutality, bribery, innocent executions, murder, rape, shooting or clobbering of innocent Kenyans even to death with no known apparent reason and justification.

This has happened in the Kenyan marketplaces especially on residents returning home from a busy day, even before the onset of the curfew, put in place by the Kenya government and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to contain the COVID-19.

This matter had gotten totally out of control early last year, when President Kenyatta apologized to the wananchi on March 30, following complaints raised by different groups and bodies promoting human rights, over police brutality and abuse before, during and after curfew hours. However, there are the ‘remnant’ who have vowed to stand doing the right thing, with no fear or favour, and with no expectation of either a single reward, as it is their calling and duty. 

Whoever said that a little courtesy goes a long way did not mince words as two police officers broke this norm in Nairobi after they got the attention of Kenyans, especially in social media and consequently bagged magnanimous awards after their display of exemplary actions that attracted a sense of good faith from the Kenyan community. The Kenyans on social media commented them during the award ceremony, recently held in Nairobi, at the Embakasi Police Station grounds.

Amina has been highly congratulated by masses especially Kenyans in social media, following her kindheartedness, especially in a time when police brutality was the order of the day during the curfew hours. The officer flagged down drivers, not to ask for a bribe but to sanitize them and ensure their safety. As she worked the night long, she could also sanitize drivers who stopped at nearby filling stations to refuel, especially in Nairobi’s Utawala area where she is assigned to control traffic. 

Speaking to IEA News, Amina says small gestures go a very long way, beginning from just giving a lift to a needy or trekking wananchi without necessarily incriminating them. “Doing well to someone else, even when they do not deserve it, feels like a magical tonic that makes a wound disappear. When torn in between two situations, especially when both duty and humanity call both at ago, you have to do the right thing, otherwise you never know how you may end up impacting someone else, whether they revert to appreciate you or not, you never know the result thereof, and for decisions, we do not make them because they are either easy or simple, we make them simply because it is the right thing to do.”  she adds.

Amina thanks two entities, Naivas Supermarket, and a media personality and a media houses based in Nairobi, and thanking her followers as well, says  that all played a vital role towards her recognition. She adds that the latter have helped her attain the award, says and promised that she can only become better, as the highest reward comes from the most toil, and it is not all about what they get from it, but who they become after doing a simple action that lifts someone else or helps them in a way. It does not matter who one is in the society, whether senior or junior, I encourage people to work not for recognition but to do actions that are worthy recognizing. 

Alex Kimina, a resident of Nairobi says that the police are humans too, and ought to be treated as humans. He congratulates the good deeds done by Amina and Wamitilla, adding that he runs an annual campaign dubbed Pikia Karao (cook for the police) geared towards providing food and soft drinks for the police from one station to the other.

Alex also comments a team of three women, who came together to feed police who were manning roadblocks. “It is not what we always see or think, as there are a few like Amina and Wamitilla, who make a difference and eventually stand out. Such always toil hard to show that the police have a sense of humanity in them too” says Alex.    “If more Kenyans could volunteer and follow our lead, of interacting freely with the police, and if more officers could follow the example laid by the two, then definitely, we would have a smooth relationship between with the police. I believe that this would clean the image of the police and Kenyans would look at them from a different angle.” He adds.  

 

 

Photo by APA

By PHOEBE RUGURU

At the age of four, Reni asked her mother when she would become white; it is a moment too saddening, but all too common to startle. As young black girls, we are taught to endeavour for many things, among those, the aspiration of whiteness. In our lifetime, we are constantly reminded of this expectation, and when we fail to achieve it, we are punished with misrepresentation.

When Reni is reliving her childhood, observing the media’s portrayal of whiteness as good and that of blacks as not, when dismissing the possibility of a black Hermione because only whiteness can be associated with intelligence, it is in these chapters that we can surely nod to the depictions which we feel have at some point in our lives, exhausted us and our relationship to race.

As an in-depth follow-up to her viral blog of the same name, 'I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' is an informative reflection of the trajectory in which racism in Britain has transpired. Despite the ironic title, Reni Eddo-Lodge pertinently sifts through key historical moments that impacted race relations in Britain, trailing the racial discrimination of black people from the inhumane trade in black bodies (in which over 11 million Africans were enslaved) to the criminalisation of blackness in the media and politics.

In addressing historical crimes and current ones, Reni does so in a way that doesn't separate the history from the present, but rather challenges racism as a systemic vice that curls and embeds itself deeply in the personal and nationalistic character of Britain.

To black readers, the personal experiences in much of the book may not be as surprising, but they situate the book comfortably as a testament of our lived experiences in Britain, to which we can appreciate.

The historical accounts and some stories, such as the tormenting murder of Charles Wootton in Liverpool who was drowned and lynched, reveal some of the dark and gruelling parts of British history not taught in schools.

To White readers, it is compulsory to understand why a black person might not want to talk to you about race. Though the book provides a balance of personal and historical facts, it is a necessary read even though it does not satisfy the entirety of information necessary to dismantle the posture of a racist society.

Chapters such as 'The Feminism Question' are paramount. In this chapter, Reni acknowledges the strength of feminism in fuelling her fight against racism, whilst still addressing its weaknesses: the passive and dismissive attitude towards racism and the experiences of black women.

These are observations that also echo of the strong impact and influence of some of the most remarkable feminists, such as Audre Lorde, who also stressed the importance and necessity of a feminism that intentionally and actively engages women of all classes and races in the book `The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’.

In the enduring fight against racism and all its cognitive and structural manifestations, Reni Eddo-Lodge's 'Why I'm No longer Talking to White People About Race' is a must-have for all part of this fight.

The book is among those illuminating the lack of progress in British society; a progress stifled not only by ignorance and contempt, but also by the deliberate whitewashing and forging of history. Which is why, through this fight, we have to note that, "faced with our collective forgetting, we must fight to remember."

 

KIGALI, Rwanda, February 12, 2021/APO Group/ -- Today, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced it would reduce food assistance to refugees in Rwanda by a dramatic 60 percent, as of March 2021. Some 135,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees in camps in Rwanda rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs each month.

“This is a desperate situation and, without an immediate response from donors, we simply have no choice but to reduce our assistance to the refugees,” said WFP Country Director Edith Heines. “While WFP appreciates the support received so far, we are urgently appealing to donors to quickly come to the aid of the refugees and provide additional funding so that we can return to full rations and avoid any prolonged negative impacts.”

WFP provides refugees with a monthly cash transfer to buy food in local markets.  Each person receives RWF 7,600 (US$ 7.72) under a full ration allocation, which provides the basic foods to meet minimum nutrition requirements for that person.      

WFP requires US$9 million to avert ration reductions from March through June 2021, and US$20.6 million to continue full assistance to refugees throughout 2021. If no new funding is received, deeper reductions will be necessary in the coming months.

Despite the reductions, WFP will maintain full rations of targeted nutrition support to refugees identified as particularly vulnerable, such as children under two years, schoolchildren, and pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as people living with HIV and tuberculosis patients under treatment. A total of 51,000 refugees including 37,000 schoolchildren are being assisted.

This comes at a time when many refugees have been particularly hard hit by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WFP data from June and November 2020 noted an increased reliance on external aid among refugees since the onset of the pandemic. 

Ration reductions are likely to cause widespread food insecurity and potentially lead to increased tensions within the refugee community.  In late 2017 through mid-2018, WFP was forced to reduce rations by twenty-five percent due to funding shortfalls. A WFP survey in 2018 found that as a result the percentage of refugee families with poor household eating habits doubled.

In 2021, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and WFP are jointly moving towards needs-based humanitarian assistance instead of the current blanket assistance for refugees.  This exercise will further allow scarce donor resources to be prioritized for the most vulnerable.  The strategy will also strive to create more access to livelihood opportunities for refugees.

“This new approach will allow us to prioritise funding and focus on those refugees who need our help the most,” said Heines.  “But in order for it to be successful, the refugee operation must be fully supported at this critical stage to ensure we have the support of the refugee community as we transition to this new way of programming.”

The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) outlines a commitment of the international community to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the refugees to ease the burden on Rwanda. Additional support is needed to support the host government and its goodwill and to not undermine developmental gains. - Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

The fuel tanker in flames at Kasunganyanja town along Fort Portal-Kasese Road.Three people have so far been confirmed dead. Photo Alex Ashaba

 

Four people have been confirmed dead by police after a fuel tanker hit a stationary lorry at Kasunganyaja trading centre, along Fort Portal-Kasese Road in Bunyangabu District.

According to Mr Edward Kyaligonza, a journalist who was at the scene, the fuel tanker was heading to Kasese from Fort Portal side and when it reached the slope along Kasunganyanja trading centre, the driver reportedly lost control before the tanker hit the lorry that was being loaded with matooke.

“The fuel tanker after hitting the lorry, rolled down into the ditch and caught fire, people in the nearby shops have closed and run away for their dear lives,” Kyaligonza said.

Mr Kuraisi Ndyabahika, a survivor and driver of the lorry that was knocked said, “We had just packed to load two bunches of matooke then I saw a truck descending the slope while meandering and hit my lorry, I fled for my dear life towards the nearby banana plantation where I fell down, the tanker fell into a ditch and caught fire, people rescued me but fire had caught my hair and skin.”

Ndyabahika who is now admitted at Kibiito health Centre IV said they were headed for Kampala. He said at the lorry he had three other people; Laban Mutooro, Yasin Ndyabahika and a one Sunday (a woman), the Matooke buyer from Kyegegwa.

“But now I don’t know where they are, is my lorry there, or it got burnt? Are the dead my people or not?” a puzzled Ndyabahika asked on his hospital bed.

When contacted, the Police spokesperson for Rwenzori West, Mr Vincent Twesige confirmed the incident and said the four who have died were loading matooke onto the lorry.

“We received the information about the incident at around midday and we rushed at the scene with fire brigade vehicle and team put out the fire” Twesige said, adding, “We are still finding out if there are more causalities”

Fire also destroyed some gardens around the scene.

Kasunganyanja is an old black spot alongside many others on Fort Portal-Kasese road, a road that is still under construction by Ms China Wu Yi.

Last week ago, 10 people died at Kihogo village near Rugendabara trading centre in Kasese District another black spot along the Fort Portal-Kasese road after two accidents happened.

According to police, black spots along Fort Portal-Kasese road include; Rubona stock farm, Kasunganyanja, Rwimi Bridge, Karungibate in Hima town council and Kikorongo trading centre (along Kasese-Bwera road). - Felix Basiime, Daily Monitor

By now you might have seen or heard about the sensational piece of fake news that went viral a few days on WhatsApp, claiming that western Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s home region (with a third of Uganda’s population), had 270 MPs, more than the rest of the regions combined, which had 256 MPs. It was wrong, as western region has 129 MPs, fewer than eastern region, which has 141, almost as many as the north, and only 24 more than central.

The fake news, however, was/is widely believed and, curiously, it took at least a day for the political system and Ugandan truth keepers on social media to counter it. The misinformation was a piece of near-genius misinformation. Many believed it, because the Museveni government has been portrayed successfully as sectarian and many consider it to be “tribal”.

Secondly, it was well-timed when feelings are still running high over the January 14 elections, which rivals have rejected as stolen and runner-up Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) is challenging in court. In the prevailing ill-will, such “news” is likely to be well-received.

Except, this doesn’t end there. In Ugandan history, such fake news has always been an indicator of a wider political contest – and in the early 1980s, ironically, President Museveni was a beneficiary.  Generally, what have now gained prominence the world over as fake news and conspiracy theories, don’t happen randomly or in a vacuum.

It can be deadly propaganda, used to incite violence, but it can also be revolutionary, a weapon of the weak against the powerful. A Goliathan state, frustrated by the enduring popularity of an Opposition figure or his tenacity, will resort to fake news (and trumped-up charges of rape) against him - just ask FDC’s Kizza Besigye. 

But a David-like Opposition or group will also resort to fake news, alleging the President is sacrificing children, has ordered a massacre he didn’t, is plotting to steal a community’s land, has done a corrupt deal with a foreign company, or was behind a car accident in which a famous person died.

By so doing, they heighten hatred for the Big Man, and diminish him. A fellow who loses the affection of a beautiful woman to a rival, will spread false stories about the victor on social media; a woman whose boyfriend takes off with her friend, will unleash fiery lies about them on Facebook or Instagram.

Nativists groups fearing they are being out-numbered by immigrants will spread conspiracies and apocalyptic tales about them, and the liberal politicians who support them. Liberal groups will do the same to loony conservative politicians and forces. The actors understand information asymmetry, or have a savvy of social prejudices and psychological needs.

No one had paid attention to the distribution of MPs in Uganda by region. But the creators of the infographic, also understood there is a yearning to see Museveni’s regime as evil and unjust, and supplied the information that feeds the need.

In the 1960s, as this column reported before, one of the big stories in Uganda, especially in the south, was about alleged mysterious appearances of a giant red lizard called embalasasa (red‐franked skink lygosoma). Being red, the embalasasa is unsettling, even if it wasn’t big. Milton Obote, in the wake of his government’s attack on the Buganda royal place, Lubiri, was deeply unpopular in the region.

Embalasasa would cause panic, and had the State scrambling to deal with sightings. No sighting was ever reported, but it became a force the Obote government couldn’t control. It embodied the regime’s powerlessness.

During Idi Amin’s rule, a tormented country resorted to similar subterfuge. There were so many political rumours that caused panic, Amin’s government actually banned rumours. It was common all over the country for the charismatic former Obote army chief Oyite Ojok to allegedly appear in barracks, in streets, in State House, everywhere.

Amin soldiers would flee roadblocks on rumours of Oyite approaching, and military operations would be carried to arrest him. There was no Oyite. He was ghost that a helpless country threw up to gaslight Amin and make his terror machine feel small.

In the early 1980s, when Museveni was fighting the bush war in Luweero, he caused similar mayhem. There were wild stories about Museveni appearing as a rat or cat, sneaking into Bank of Uganda, and walking out with sacks of money to fight his war.

There were stampedes and mass deployment to catch a Museveni who had been “seen” buying stuff in Bwaise.
Mobile phones, the internet, and social media have highly technologised these old wild rumours. What hasn’t changed are the small people, the tormented and oppressed, playing David and using them as weapons, in this case, against Goliath Tibuhaburwa.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is a journalist,
writer and curator of the “Wall of Great Africans”. Twitter@cobbo3

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