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MOSHI, Tanzania

A conservation charity in northern Tanzania is working to plant 50 million trees in a pioneering reforestation campaign to preserve diverse ecosystems of Mount Kilimanjaro which are increasingly threatened by illegal activities and wildfires.

Africa’s highest peak has experienced rapid deforestation which triggered higher temperatures that have caused its iconic snow cap to melt at an alarming rate.

Deforestation around Kilimanjaro is fueled by human activities including illegal logging, farming, and charcoal making as residents try to meet growing energy needs.

Restoring old glory

Dubbed “Trees 4 Kili,” the initiative placed a long-term goal to plant 50 million trees to restore shrinking vegetation and lower temperatures which is responsible for melting glaciers.

Jeremy Lowney, the founding director of the charity said the campaign is intended to educate and empower the local community to stop deforestation and overgrazing activities, which have caused a decline in rainfall, increased temperatures and subsequent glacial decline.

The Trees 4 Kili project was launched in 2018 to counter environmental degradation in Kilimanjaro by mobilizing residents to plant trees and restore fading glory.

Under the initiative, the charity is also working to raise community awareness on the value of trees and sustainable forest protection.

Climate impact

Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level is vulnerable to climate change partly caused by environmental destruction.

Thomas Munuo, the project coordinator said the tree-planting drive is to reverse rising rates of desertification and provide invaluable benefits to communities and the environment.

“We are happy to work with the community and local authorities to find a creative solution to this problem,” he said.

Munuo said more than 6 million trees have already been planted under the initiative seeking to restore the fading glory.

Random tree felling in Kilimanjaro has disturbed rainfall patterns and disheartened farmers who experience long spells of droughts, according to Munuo.

Campaigners say tree planting potentially reduces flood risks, slows the flow of water and acts as a buffer to agricultural pollution, and purifies water.

As one of Africa’s best tourist destinations, the Kilimanjaro area is known for its breath-taking attractions, including stunning landscapes dotted with wildlife, waterfalls, and rich cultural heritage.

Tanzania has 33 million hectares of forests and woodland but the country has been losing more than 400,000 hectares of forest annually for two decades, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2020 Global Forests Resources Assessment.

The charity said the initiative is a step in the right direction in coping with climate change and wildfire losses caused by higher temperatures.

Rekindling hope

The worsening effects of climate change are already visible in Kilimanjaro due to deforestation and unsustainable farming, said the residents.

“When I was growing up in the 1970s this area was greener and rivers were flowing throughout the year, but the situation is different today,” said Salome Chuwa, a resident of Marangu.

Chuwa recalls a raging fire that gutted the mountain in October, destroying natural growth while causing huge plumes of smoke.

“I support tree planting campaign, it is the only way to guarantee our future survival,” she said.

Jerome Tusiime, an environmentalist based in Arusha, said natural forests and shrubs are being destroyed by illegal loggers and beekeepers, thus affecting rainfall patterns on the mountain’s lower slopes.

Tusiime urged communities living on Mount Kilimanjaro to protect water sources by replanting lost trees, investing in early warning systems, and make climate adaptation a top priority.

Logging scams have hit the tourist-drawing Kilimanjaro region, destroying its natural forests depleting rainfall, and lead to unusually higher temperatures.

Forests play important role in maintaining the natural water cycle around Mount Kilimanjaro, but natural forests are depleting due to the growing demand for timber and charcoal making.

Residents, who for decades had been used to a cold, misty climate, are surprised by the extreme weather currently experienced in the region.

“I have stopped growing coffee because the weather is not good for the crop,” said Anastazia Tarimo.

Deforestation is driven by illegal timber and charcoal dealers seeking better profits.

Higher temperatures as a result of climate change have increased the number of wildfires on the mountain thus accelerating the destruction of forests.

“Tree planting is a solution to climate change. It is cheap and everyone can get involved,” said Munuo.​​​​​​​ Anadolu Agency

In this Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 file photo, Guinean President Alpha Conde delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the WWII Allied landings in Provence, in Saint-Raphael, southern France. (Eric Gaillard/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya says not enough economic progress has been made since Guinea's independence from France in 1958. A Guinean army colonel seized control of state television Sunday and declared that President Alpha Conde’s government had been dissolved and the West African nation’s borders closed, an announcement that came after hours of heavy gunfire erupted near the presidential palace.

The dramatic developments Sunday bore all the hallmarks of a West African coup d’etat. After seizing the airwaves, the mutinous soldiers vowed to restore democracy and gave themselves a name: The National Committee of Gathering and Development. 

Col. Mamadi Doumbouya sat draped in a Guinean flag with a half dozen other soldiers in uniform alongside him as he read the statement, vowing: “The duty of a soldier is to save the country.”

He made no mention of Conde’s whereabouts and it was not immediately known where the 83-year-old leader was after Sunday’s attack. Conde’s popularity has plummeted since he sought a third term last year, saying that term limits did not apply to him. 

 

“The personalization of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people,” Doumbouya said, adding that the constitution would also be dissolved and borders closed for one week.

Doumbouya, who has headed a special forces unit in the military, said he was acting in the best interests of the nation of over 12.7 million people. Not enough economic progress has been made since independence from France in 1958, the colonel said.

“If you see the state of our roads, if you see the state of our hospitals, you realize that after 72 years, it’s time to wake up,” he said. “We have to wake up.” 

Heavy gunfire had erupted early Sunday near the presidential palace in the capital of Conakry and went on for hours, sparking fears of a coup attempt. The Defense Ministry claimed that the attack had been repelled but uncertainty grew when there was no sign of Conde on state television or radio.

His reelection in October had prompted violent street demonstrations in which the opposition said dozens were killed. Sunday’s developments underscored how he had also become vulnerable to dissenting elements within his military.

 

Conde came to power in 2010 in the country’s first democratic election since independence from France. Many saw his presidency as a fresh start for the country, which has been mired by decades of corrupt, authoritarian rule.

Opponents, though, say he has failed to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast mineral riches including bauxite and gold.

In 2011, he narrowly survived an assassination attempt after gunmen surrounded his home overnight and pounded his bedroom with rockets. Rocket-propelled grenades also landed inside the compound and one of his bodyguards was killed. AP

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses congregants at PAG church, Hardy, Karen. [David Njaaga, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday shared his agenda for the country in the quest to win the presidency.

Raila highlighted affordable healthcare, education and housing as some of his priority areas. 

Speaking during church service at PAG Hardy in Karen, Nairobi,  Raila said many Kenyans were struggling to afford quality healthcare.

 

 

He regretted that many families have been impoverished by medical bills, citing instances where bodies have been detained by hospitals over outstanding bills.

“We want a country where when a baby is born, it is guaranteed education whether the parents are poor or rich; a country where when someone, whether poor or rich, is unwell, they get medical attention,” said Raila.

“Our people are struggling; you see people collecting money to foot bills before they can take the body for burial. Someone is already dead but you have to pay for you to bury. Our people are impoverished by medical bills running into billions. We want to change this so that our people do not struggle." 

The ODM leader is rooting for compulsory health insurance scheme that will take care of both the employed and the unemployed.

He noted that many families, especially those living in informal settlements, were still struggling to afford housing with some getting evicted for not paying rent.

“I believe in the school of thought that the Kenyan dream is real and achievable and for it to be achieved, there must be certain fundamentals like peace and unity. Unity of our people irrespective of your tribe, gender or religion,” he said.

He said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was meant to address some of the challenges by ensuring allocation of more resources to the counties.

ODM leader Raila Odinga at PAG Hardy in Karen, Nairobi. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Raila regretted said that leaders opposed to the push to change the Constitution made the process appear like it was designed to benefit President Uhuru Kenyatta and him.

“We were not seeking it for selfish interests. BBI was seeking equity in resource sharing. When you talk of one man one shilling, what's wrong with that? When we say that we need more resources, is that a problem?” Posed Raila.

He said despite the hurdles placed by court rulings, the proposals in the document can be achieved in the future.

“We have now put the BBI aside. It has not stopped but is on half time,” he said.

The ODM leader spoke even as his allies sustained attacks against Deputy President William Ruto over the “hustler" narrative.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East), George Aladwa (Makadara), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Samuel Atandi (Alega Usonga) and Antony Oluoch (Mathare) accused the DP of political conmanship.

While citing his multi-billion-shilling estate exposed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'í, the politicians said the DP should stop “lying” to the electorate that he is a hustler.

Sifuna said that only Raila was capable of steering the country to economic prosperity. By Moses Nyamori, The Standard

Kenya’s 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala says it can only get better after making a successful debut at the Diamond League on Friday.

 The fastest man in the country and joint second-fastest African alongside Namibian legend Frankie Fredericks but behind Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine of South Africa is now eyeing more appearances at the Diamond League. 

Having finished fourth at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, Omanyala’s next stop will be at the Zagreb’s World Athletics Continental Gold Tour on September 14 in Croatia before the Kip Keino Classic on September 18 in Nairobi.

“I am living my dream right now,” remarked Omanyala.

“The Diamond League is what every athlete dreams about. Yes you can go to the World Championships or even the Olympics but the Diamond League is not for all.

So getting here is what I have been dreaming about. Yes, the Olympics has contributed to this dream,” added Omanyala 

In Brussels, Omanyala was ranked as the best African, beating the likes of Simbine and Ivorian Arthur Cisse.

“I think the race was slower than we all expected though I feel like I should have done better and finished in the top three in under 10 seconds,” he said.

Omanyala clocked 10.02 seconds, losing the race to Americans, who swept the first three places in sub-10 seconds with Tokyo Olympics 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley calling the shots in 9.94.

Trayvon Bromell, world leader with 9.77, and Michael Norman timed 9.97 and 9.98 to settle second and third respectively as Omanyala beat among others Simbine, who finished fourth in 100m at Tokyo Olympics. 

At the Kip Keino Classic meeting, Omanyala will be up against  Kerley among other big stars.

It was the third time  Omanyala was facing Kerley in the last one month, he promised the fourth one would be even special.

“I want to show him who the man is on home turf. He is a top guy but I want to work hard to emerge victorious on home soil on September 18,” noted Omanyala who faced Kerley in Tokyo in the first round and the semi-finals.

After the Kip Keino he has set his  eyes on the Africa Championships, the Commonwealth Games and  World Championships next year. By Amos Abuga, PD Online

President Uhuru Kenyatta has a word with his deputy Dr William Ruto during the 57th Madaraka Day Celebrations on June 01, 2020 at State House Gardens, Nairobi.

File | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Mr Ruto has escalated the rhetoric with his boss by hinting – without any subtlety – that the security forces could even be treacherously divided.
  • Although estranged from his boss, Mr Ruto is still the second most powerful official in the state.

Kenya has never witnessed the security – existential – threat posed by the total collapse of the relationship between Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto. We’ve entered very dangerous uncharted territory. Not even the rapture between Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and VP Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at the dawn of the republic threatened the cataclysm we see today. Mr Odinga did the honourable thing, and quit of his own volition. 

As the saying goes, two hostile snakes can’t live in the same hole. Mr Ruto has escalated the rhetoric with his boss by hinting – without any subtlety – that the security forces could even be treacherously divided. The situation must be arrested pronto before it becomes volcanic. Let me peel your eyes.

We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we aren’t staring down the barrel of a gun as a country. Who really is in charge of the Kenyan state? Is it Mr Kenyatta, or Mr Ruto?

Although estranged from his boss, Mr Ruto is still the second most powerful official in the state. He retains both formal and informal links with the centres of power and key officials. Within the three arms of the state, Mr Ruto commands a huge following. He has a tonne of MPs who either privately or unabashedly support him. Many governors are discreetly in his corner. He’s buoyed by several Cabinet members and a chunk of the civil service in the Executive. 

Two centres of power

That’s not all. There’s no doubt Mr Ruto enjoys both overt and covert simpatico relationships with members of the disciplined forces and spy agencies. He knows virtually everything that Mr Kenyatta is cooking. That’s why he’s checkmated almost every move by his boss. Nor do I have any doubt that Mr Ruto enjoys support from the shadows in the Judiciary. The short of it is that Mr Ruto either controls, or commands, damn near one half of the state, if not more.

Mr Kenyatta may control the formal instruments of power that most Kenyans see. But who’s to say Mr Ruto doesn’t command more of the deep state? This is fact – we have a state perilously divided against itself. 

We must ask these questions. Who controls the bigger chunk of the state? Does Mr Ruto, or Mr Kenyatta? Even more importantly, who controls the more lethal chunk of the state? The state is a creature of violence with which it’s maintained. That’s why the person who wields its lethality is the most important matter. A stable state can’t be a multithreaded hydra. There simply can’t be two centres of power. One must give.

History is clear. Go back to the tragedy of the Congo and the debacle that caused PM Patrice Lumumba’s demise. The country has never recovered. Look at the sad South Sudanese saga between President Salva Kiir and nemesis Riek Machar. Is Kenya headed there?

Shape up, or ship out

We overcorrected in the 2010 Constitution by making it virtually impossible for the President, or MPs, to remove the DP. We got the institutional design wrong. The DP is the “principal assistant” to the President, but she, or he, can decide to stink up the Executive and get away with it. It’s exactly what Mr Ruto has done.

American VP Hubert Humphrey once said, “Anyone who thinks that the Vice-President can take a position independent of the President of his administration simply has no knowledge of the politics of government. You are his choice in a political marriage, and he expects absolute loyalty.” It’s not rocket science. You shape up, or ship out. Don’t hold Kenya hostage.

This problem must be corrected sooner than later, or it will continue to paralyse or destroy future governments. The Kenyan taxpayers are the casualties. It doesn’t hold water to argue that it’s Mr Kenyatta who must give way to Mr Ruto. The subordinate must leave if he disagrees with his boss, not the other way round. 

Nor does it make sense to argue that Mr Ruto must continue to fruitlessly squat in office – squandering resources – simply because he was elected on the same ticket with Mr Kenyatta. The two aren’t Siamese twins. That’s why the Constitution provided for the removal of the DP alone through impeachment. But this game of chicken is a high wire act for Kenya. 

In 2013, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto played on ethnic emotions to gain power and escape the hangman’s noose at the ICC. Mr Ruto is replaying that script by posing as the victim of Mr Kenyatta’s rapprochement with ODM’s Raila Odinga. His outbursts are tear-jerkers meant to earn him sympathy as the champion of “little people” against an evil dynastic cartel.

That dog won’t hunt again. But what do you do with a deadbeat employee who draws a huge salary, enjoys massive state resources from taxpayer coffers, publicly ridicules you, doesn’t do any work related to his official duties, shamelessly promotes himself 24/7 – and refuses to resign in public shame? By Makau Mutua, Sunday Nation

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School. He’s chair of KHRC. @makaumutua

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