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President Paul Kagame and his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan have exchanged messages intent on enhancing the two countries' bilateral cooperation.

On Thursday, June 3, Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Vincent Biruta was received by the President of Tanzania at State House Chamwino, in the capital, Dodoma, as he delivered President Kagame's message to his counterpart.

Shortly afterwards, Gerson Msigwa, the Director of Information Services and Chief Government Spokesperson of Tanzania, released a statement indicating that Kagame, among others, assured Suluhu who took oath on March 19, as the sixth President of her country that Rwanda is ready to further enhance the already good bilateral ties.

SGR, Rusumo power project

Kagame said Rwanda is especially ready to take earlier initiated joint projects including the Rusumo hydropower project and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project linking Kigali to Isaka in Tanzania.

The Rusumo Hydropower Project was supposed to have been completed last year but it remains a work in progress.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Rwanda and Tanzania ministers held regular meetings as they looked to fast-track the 521-kilometre Isaka-Kigali SGR project to facilitate transport and trade.

Suluhu thanked Kagame for sending a special envoy who came with condolence and congratulatory messages, following the death of former President John Magufuli on March 17 and the former's subsequent swearing-in as the next Tanzanian leader, respectively.

She promised Tanzania’s readiness to further strengthening its relations and cooperation with Rwanda.

With regards to the implementation of the joint projects, President Suluhu directed that a Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) meeting between Tanzania and Rwanda be convened to push the implementation of the projects and propose new areas of cooperation that are beneficial to both sides.

Other areas she wants the JPC to work on include improving the transport of fish fillets from Mwanza by Rwanda's national carrier, RwandAir, and speeding up the construction of a dry port in Isaka, in northern Tanzania. - James Karuhanga, The New Times

Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye (left) with his host Uhuru Kenyatta in Kisumu, Kenya on May 31, 2021. Photo PSCU

 

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has signed a deal with its Burundi counterparts that will increase trade and investments between the two countries.

The deal will see Kenyan traders take part in the annual Burundi trade fair and spur investments in sectors including energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and logistics.

KNCCI President Richard Ngatia said the agreement will ease access for traders, banking on the vast population that offer huge market opportunities.

Exports to the landlocked nation marginally grew to Ksh6.73 billion ($62.4 million) in 2019 from Ksh6.59 billion ($61.1 million) in 2015, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

“The private sector is the key to driving the growth that will deliver jobs, transform labour markets and open up opportunity. Kenya has the companies that can invest in and trade with Burundi to do just this,” Mr Ngatia said.

The deal will help the local private sector to increase and diversify their presence in Burundi— a nation that has not seen significant investments relative to Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

The deal comes at the back of bilateral agreements on trade and investment to strengthen economic ties between the two states signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Burundian counterpart, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Under the agreement, KNCCI will also send a trade delegation to Burundi with the aim of opening up more opportunities as part of the two chambers to increase job opportunities.

KNCCI and the Burundi Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BFCCI) signed the deal during President Ndayishimiye’s two-day visit of the country.

President Ndayishimiye and Mr Kenyatta signed deals on agriculture, livestock and fisheries as part of opening up trade between the two countries.

The two heads of State directed their respective ministries to address barriers that have hindered use of use of Lake Victoria as a means of transportation between the two countries. - John Mutua, The EastAfrican

On Tuesday, the African Union announced the suspension of Mali and threatened to slap sanctions on the West African country following a military coup last week.

The AU “decides … to immediately suspend the Republic of Mali from participation in all activities of the African Union, its organs and institutions, until normal constitutional order has been restored in the country”, the body’s Peace and Security Council said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Colonel Assimi Goita, the officer who deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August, turned against the head of the transitional government Bah Ndaw after accusing him and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane of naming a new cabinet without consulting him.

 

Until last Wednesday, Goita had served as the transitional administration’s vice president.

The second coup in nine months slammed the brakes on Mali’s fragile transition and threatened to cement army rule in a country beset by poverty and a deadly militant insurgency.

The suspension is and has been the AU’s standard operating procedure since 2033 until Chad happened.

A power grab in N’djamena

Following the April 20 death of Chadian President Idriss Deby on the battlefront, the military quickly took over and announced a de facto government – the Transitional Military Council (TMC) headed by the son of the slain leader, and an 18-month roadmap to restore civilian rule.

A meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC), acting on a report authored by its fact-finding mission to N’djamena, on May 14 effectively endorsed the junta’s plan, contradicting the bloc’s long-standing tradition on dealing with unconstitutional seizures of power.

Malian analyst Séga Diarrah says the AU put security considerations first in reaching its decision on Chad.

“We must not forget that Mali has a democratic parenthesis, a multiparty system, whereas Chad has been ruled for thirty years and much more by the military,” Diarrah told Africanews. 

Chad is a major security player in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, contributing thousands of troops to the fight against extremist groups.

It is also seen as a buffer, shielding central African countries from the security crisis arising out of the breakdown of order in Libya.

“It exposes the African Union’s double standards”, said Obambe Gakosso, a Congolese political analyst.

“But the AU also forced the Malian army to name a civilian government back in August. It was clear that the army was uncomfortable and that this was not going to work,” Gakosso said.

The role of France

In taking over, Chad’s military violated Article 81 of the country’s constitution, which provides for the head of the National Assembly to act as interim president in such circumstances and for the holding of within 45–90 days in the event of the President’s death, resignation or incapacitation.

The army also dissolved the National Assembly and the government, and suspended the constitution, despite protests from the civil society and political opposition – crimes big enough to warrant AU suspension and sanctions.

Major powers largely ignored or tacitly endorsed the power grab, according to Diarrah.

“The French said that they were ready to accompany the Chadian regime, but for Mali, there are threats of withdrawal, threats of the end of cooperation [Operation Berkhane]”.

In Bamako, public sentiment against the presence of French troops has been hostile, something Paris has repeatedly expressed discomfort about.

French President Emmanuel Macron attended Deby’s funeral in N’djamena.

How has the AU responded to coups since 2010?

Niger: February 2010

When soldiers overthrew President Mamadou Tandja, the African Union reacted by immediately suspending Niger’s membership.

Mali: March 2012

Soldiers carried out a coup against President Amani Toumani Touré’s government prompting the bloc to immediately suspend the state membership.

Guinea-Bissau: April 2012

The African quickly suspended the small West African country after soldiers removed the interim government headed by President Raimundo Pereira.

Central African Republic: March 2013

Following months of fighting, the Seleka rebel coalition marched onto Bangui, deposing President Francois Bozize. The AU quickly suspended the CAR and announced sanctions. Pressure from the AU and major powers also saw Michel Djotodia quit as the Central African ruler months later.

Egypt: July 2013

Soldiers led by Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the country’s current ruler overthrow president Mohamed Morsi. The AU responds by suspending the Arab country.

Burkina Faso: September 2015

As the Sahel country attempted to navigate a fragile transition forced by the departure of veteran ruler Blaise Compaore, General Gilbert Diendéré and soldiers loyal to him briefly overthrew interim president Michel Kafando, prompting outrage and suspension by the AU.

Sudan: April 2019

After months of popular protests, the Sudanese overthrew President Omar al Bashir and placed him under army detention. The African Union quickly asked the generals to hand over power to civilians but its warnings were ignored.

After a massacre of protestors in Khartoum in June, the bloc suspended Sudan.

Mali: August 2020

Soldiers led by Colonel Assimi Goita took advantage of popular protests in Bamako to depose President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

The AU immediately suspended the west African country.

Only Zimbabwe was able to escape the AU’s wrath when the army removed veteran President Robert Mugabe in 2017 before he ‘resigned’ days later in a carefully orchestrated plan to ward off international outrage. By PH HowAfrica

  • High Court Judges Joel Ngungi (left) and George Odunga. TWITTER 
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta has failed to appoint High Court judges who were part of a bench that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill null and void to the Court of Appeal.

    In a Gazette Notice published on Thursday, June 3, Uhuru appointed 34 judges that had been recommended for appointment by the Judicial Service Commission.

    What caught the eye of many lawyers, however, was his decision to leave out six judges including some who sat on the bench that dismissed the BBI bill.

    The judges rejected for their promotions are Justices Weldon Korir, Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga and Prof. Joel Ngugi, Makori Evans Kiago and Judith Omange Cheruiyot.

    h
    The 5-judge bench which declared BBI as null and void, on Thursday, May 13, 2021
    FILE

    Justice (Prof) Joel Ngugi was the Presiding Judge sitting with Justice George Odunga, Justice Jairus Ngaah, Justice Chacha Mwita, and Lady Justice Teresia Matheka on a five-judge bench that delivered the ruling on the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 on Thursday, May 13.

    Ngugi is a graduate of the Nairobi University where he studied in 1996 before he proceeded to the Kenya School of Law in 1997 for a Postgraduate Diploma in Law. 

    Afterwards, he went to Harvard University where he obtained an LL.M. in 1999 and an S.J.D. in 2002.

    The court of appeal judges who have been appointed include; Mbogholi Msagha, Omondi Hellen, Ngugi Grace, Francis Tuiyott, Pauline Nyaboke, Jessie Lesiit and Kibaya Laibuta.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, respected Nairobi Lawyer Areba Omwoyo Samba welcomed the appointment noting that it would go a long way in speeding up the dispensation of justice.

    "I welcome the appointment of the 34which is good, it will help in reducing the backlog that we have," stated Samba.

    He, however, had an issue with Uhuru's decision to exclude the four judges.

     
     

    "I feel it is not right for the President to leave other names out more so the judges who presided over the BBI case. In leaving out other names, the president has demonstrated that he doesn't respect the rule of law.  

    "If we are to build our country, we all have to respect the law and the president should lead from the front," he added.

    Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, on the other hand, termed the exclusion as a blatant violation of the Constitution by the President.

    "Congratulations to all the Judges whose appointments have been confirmed after needless and inordinate delay. In a blatant violation of the Constitution the President is using the opportunity to punish Judges he doesn’t like and this is a very dangerous path. He is setting a bad precedent," he stated. 

    Professor Makau Mutua challenged the gazetted judges to decline the appointment noting that it was not the Head of State's best move to exclude some of their nominated colleagues.

    "BBI judges Joel Ngugi and George Odunga have been denied elevation to the Court of Appeal. Mr. Kenyatta can’t choose which provisions of the Constitution to obey, or disregard. Gazetted judges should decline their appointment until all JSC-recommended judges are included," he explained.

    h
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) with ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu during the Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2021 PSCU
 

The Tanzanian government has issued a dress code guideline for public servants after a female member of Parliament (MP) was thrown out for wearing trousers following complaints from her male colleague.  

MP Condester Michael Sichlwe was asked by the Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai to leave the chamber and only return after she had changed to a more decent outfit. 

He chased her out after a male MP complained that her black trousers was too tight and not decent.

 

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After the incident in parliament, a pamphlet with the acceptable dress code for Tanzanian government workers was released and it had people talking and asking questions. By PH HowAfrica

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