"I look forward to building on the good work of my predecessors, enhancing our bilateral relations with the UK and enriching the social and cultural ties between our two peoples...
I hope our relations will flourish in the coming months and years."
On 25th May, His Excellency Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta was invited to Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty The Queen where he formally presented his credentials confirming his appointment as Ethiopian Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s.
Credentials, also known as “Letters of Credence”, refer to the formal documentation accrediting an Ambassador as head of a diplomatic mission.
On the day of the ceremony, steeped in tradition and royal pageantry which has remained almost unchanged since the Victorian era, Ambassador Teferi was escorted to Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty’s Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, Victoria Busby, in a State Landau - a ceremonial horse-drawn carriage.
On arrival at Buckingham Palace, the Ambassador was escorted to the Equerries Room for the presentation of his credentials and an Audience – a one-to-one meeting – with Her Majesty The Queen. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Her Majesty The Queen joined by video link from the Oak Room at Windsor Castle, where she has been conducting diplomatic audiences virtually since December 2020.
During his audience with The Queen, Ambassador Teferi reiterated his commitment to strengthening the century-old bilateral ties between Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. In particular, the Ambassador vowed to ensure the continuation of the impactful development partnership between the two governments that has resulted, over the years, in a significant improvement to the lives of many Ethiopians. The Ambassador also touched upon working closely with the UK government to ensure the upcoming COP26 Climate Change conference is a success.
Her Majesty The Queen on her part spoke of the enduring relationship between Ethiopia and the United Kingdom and assured the Ambassador of her government’s support going forward. She also fondly recalled her visit to Ethiopia in the 1960s with her late husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, where she was warmly welcomed by Emperor Haileselassie. She especially noted the spectacular landscape views of the Rift Valley.
Following the credentials ceremony, the Ambassador was escorted back to the Embassy by the Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps, Alistair Harrison CMS CVO, where he was welcomed by diplomats and staff for a vin d’honneur.
On the occasion, the Ambassador said:
It is a great moment for me to officially start my duty here in the United Kingdom. I look forward to building on the good work of my predecessors enhancing our bilateral relations with the UK and enriching the social and cultural ties between our two peoples. And with your cooperation, with your help, and with the help of the UK government I hope our relations will flourish in the coming months and years.
Echoing the Ambassador’s sentiments, H.E. Alistair Harrison CMS CVO said:
The Queen greatly values the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ethiopia. Our relations are very longstanding. [Ethiopia] was the first country in Africa to open an Embassy here in London and we have been friends not just for decades but for many years before that. And our friendship will endure because of the very strong links between our peoples. We know your time in London will be a great success as you will be building on a very long tradition of friendship. Thank you to everybody who has contributed to such an excellent lunch to mark this very auspicious occasion in the history of the United Kingdom and Ethiopia.
…first African diplomatic mission in London
The ceremony coincided with Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25th May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 African states, with the main aim of bringing African nations together and resolve issues within the continent. Headquartered in Addis Ababa – the diplomatic capital of Africa – the African Union now has 55 member states.
As the first African country to establish an embassy in London, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom have enjoyed rich diplomatic relations covering a range of areas, including, but not limited to, trade and investment, culture, education, and development cooperation. Great Britain was also among the first few countries to open an embassy in Addis Ababa well over a century ago.
Ethiopia’s relationship with the UK today continues to be among the most dependable, mature, and mutually beneficial of any that it has with other countries.
Eighteen Nigerians have been defrauded in London, United Kingdom by passport racketeers while trying to renew or acquire Nigerian passports. Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this in a statement issued by the Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun. Dabiri-Erewa hailed the Nigerian High Commission in the UK for its concerted effort to put a stop to passport racketeering in London.
She also applauded the efforts of the new Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK Amb. Sarafa Tunji Isola for his efforts so far. Amb. Sarafa Tunji Isola upon resumption of duties held several strategic meetings with relevant staff of the mission to brainstorm on the best ways to address the incessant allegations of corruption and other negative reports on the issuance of the Nigerian passport in London as well as restoring the credibility of the mission in the process.
“These new efforts led to the discovery that 18 innocent Nigerians have paid between £200 and £350 to racketeers in their bid to urgently renew and acquire the Nigerian passport,’ she disclosed.
The NIDCOM boss applauded the new Ambassador and his team in their quest to restore the mission’s credibility while urging Nigerian communities to always visit the mission on any matter concerning their stay in the UK and avoid patronizing touts. Dabiri-Erewa noted that the mission has confirmed the availability of sufficient passport booklets for deserving applicants.
She joined the UK mission in appreciating the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service for ensuring that adequate passport booklets were available at the High Commission.
“The mission has resumed the Fast-Track services in line with the global practices for Nigerians with urgent reasons for passport renewal,” she added.
The High Commission had suspended services to Nigerians in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed in April 2021 following the lifting of the lockdown restrictions by the British government.
As of 31st March 2021, there was a backlog of 18,000 applications awaiting processing, which were accumulated between December 2019 to March 2021. A total of 8,852 out of 9,964 passports were captured from the backlog. By Kazeem Ugbodaga, PM News
The assumption of office of Chief Justice Martha Koome has completed the triumvirate leadership of the three arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary raising concerns about regional balance and the face of Kenya in running the country.
Often viewed as a taboo topic, ethnic balkanisation for political gain remains Kenya’s biggest bane. Political exclusion and subsequent marginalisation have been attributed to past election disputes and are the substratum of fragile stability.
One key requirement of the 2010 Constitution is for the President to table a report before Parliament yearly, on three issues during his State of the Nation Address is regional balance. According to Article 132 on the functions of the President, he is obligated to address a special sitting of Parliament annually.
He is required to table: “report on all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realisation of the national values, referred to in Article 10, publish in the Gazette the details of the measures and progress made and submit a report for debate to the National Assembly on the progress made in fulfilling the international obligations of the Republic.”
The furore of having President Kenyatta, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the latest Justice Koome coming from one region as opposed to having the seats spread over the seven other regions captures according to some elected leaders, the source of Kenya's ethnic problem.
By law, Muturi, who was last week crowned as the Mt Kenya spokesperson, is third in the pecking order and would act as President in the absence of the President and the Deputy President.
Alongside Uhuru, Muturi, National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, Koome, Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki are also from Mt Kenya.
From the interviews to the debate in the Senate and the National Assembly, the question of ethnic balance across the arms of government came out strongly.
Supreme Court Justice William Ouko, during his interview for the position of Supreme Court Judge by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), pronounced himself on the matter frankly.
“I really have no prescription, what I can say is that we are very deeply tribal even in this commission. I want to leave it at that,” said Ouko, who has been sworn in. The commission has four of its eleven members coming from Mt Kenya. They are AG Kihara, Patrick Gichohi, Macharia Njeru and Olive Mugenda.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala caused a spectacle in the Senate when he listed top leaders holding various posts in the three arms of government, rattling Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.
“I hope the BBI document will sort [out] the mess in the Public service. Facts are facts. Kindly Senator Wamatangi, today evening when you're free, ask yourself who is the head of the Executive, Judiciary, Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) Speaker (National Assembly), CDF boss, Governor of CBK, Attorney General, Solicitor General, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, Chair KRA, Director-General KRA, DCI, head of civil servants, state House Comptroller. Where is equity here,” posed Malala.
He argued, “We cannot lie to ourselves. Ask yourself that question and you will come to the reality that there is marginalisation in this country. Security recruitment across the country, there has never been a Wanyonyi, Wafula or Walubengo as Inspector General of Police (IG).”
Said Malala: “Is it that there are certain people from certain regions that are more qualified than others. It is a shame. Let us not use BBI to hoodwink some of us to pass it and go back to the normal practice. I want to see a day when a maize farmer in Kakamega is treated the same way as a coffee or potato farmer in Kirinyaga.”
Senators Wamatangi and Ephraim Maina (Nyeri) could not let the matter fly, arguing that even Mt Kenya has suffered, including the colonial times. “Let’s not mislead this country by creating preferred or preferential treatment to some areas,” said Wamatangi.
When debating Clause 11 (A) in the BBI in the economy and shared prosperity, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo led colleagues Senators Malala, Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi) in calling for a more exclusivity public service.
“Of the last two months’ appointments made, I don’t know if we are going in the right direction. Every institution should reflect the face of Kenya whether Judiciary, public service or the security system. Our objective is to ensure the enabling provision call for the face of Kenya, which is fair than we have had,” said Orengo.
“The report by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) tabled in the House show a large portion of Kenya is red and a small portion is green. There is a verse in the Bible, those who have will get more, those who have little, it shall be taken. This is the true story of Kenya,” Kilonzo Jnr said.
He said there was unfair distribution, with Mt Kenya getting a lion’s share. “It's a fact that there is 2,500km of tarmac roads in Kiambu while Kakamega only has 750km of tarmac,” he said.
Wetangula said they should not let facts be swept under the carpet and urged Maina and Wamatangi not to contradict the president and purport to support him at the same time.
“Uhuru and Raila sat and acknowledge the challenge of marginalisation, unequal development, unequal opportunity in Kenya and many other historical wrongs. When we live a lie, when we live in denial, we will not solve our problems,” he said.
Wetangula said it’s a fact there are those with comparative advantage. “Cowards will always whistle in the dark hoping to scare away people. The inequality we keeping crying about is real,” he added. By Roselyne Obala and Jacob Ng'etich, The Standard
The charities whose workers shred the photos with the world on Twitter stated that the children had been with their parents on one of the many dinghies that had set off from Libyan shores in recent days.
They had been attempting to reach the shores of Europe as part of the wave of humanity that has tried to enter Europe to forge a better life. Oscar Camps, the founder of the group Proactiva Open Arms, wrote on Twitter “I’m still in shock for the horror of these images. These small children and women had dreams and life ambitions.”
Nancy Porsia, an Italian journalist and an expert on Libya, told reporters that the bodies had been discovered on a beach in the town of Zuwara on Saturday; they were then taken care of by members of the Libyan military. The victims were all buried in the cemetery located in nearby Abu Qamash.
The images were tragically reminiscent of the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old toddler whose body was found face down on a Turkish beach in 2015. More than any other event, this photograph drew great attention to the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis the began in earnest in 2015.
Photographs of children’s bodies “unacceptable”
In response to the tragic scene, Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, declared “Images of bodies of babies and toddlers washed up on a beach in Libya are unacceptable.”
Draghi’s response was noted by the press as the Italian PM met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels to discuss the migrant issue and the prospects for a political stabilization in Libya and central Africa as the hoped-for result of renewed cooperation between France and Italy.
Flavio Di Giacomo, the spokesperson for the UN migration agency in Italy explained to the press that it was not clear when the victims had set off from Libya and what had happened to their small, inflatable dinghy.
“These are dramatic images,” he acknowledged.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this with our colleagues in Libya. There are many shipwrecks that are never recorded. We can’t exclude that it may be one of those.”
It is well-known that thousands of migrants have taken off from Libyan shores for the coast of Europe recently as human traffickers take advantage of the calm seas of springtime to launch dozens of small, often rickety and unseaworthy, boats.
Many of these unfortunates never reach their European destination.
Last week, Tunisian authorities admitted that dozens of people had perished in a shipwreck off the coast of that country.
More than 130 people were known to have died in April when their rubber boat likewise capsized in cold and stormy seas off the coast of Libya.
Martha Koome during her swearing in on Friday, May 21, at State House. PSCU
The Deputy Chief Justice and other judges have pledged to support you. The counsel has pledged to support you. There is really no worry whatsoever, you will be able to deliver. all you need to do is to cooperate with them," stated Maraga.
He further challenged her to stick to her guns and remind other officials that they need to stay in their lanes.
"One important thing CJ, just keep reminding everybody that constitutional power is constrained power so that everybody keeps to his/her lane, we will have a wonderful country," he added.
While accepting the instruments of power from Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Koome vowed to ensure that no cases stay in the courts for more than three years.
“My predecessors made efforts to improve the judiciary that wants us to embrace the case management system,” she explained.
She also promised to expand High Courts across the country to aid in the dispensation of justice in a swift manner and prevent backlog of cases.
“I understand that some court users sell valuable things to file a case, pay an advocate or even raise bus fare to the courts,” she added.
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