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This handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows a view of of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River on July 11, 2020 AFP

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River and set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric project when completed

Ethiopia said on Tuesday it rejected "unwelcome meddling" by the Arab League in a long-running dispute with Egypt and Sudan over a mega-dam on a tributary of the Nile River.

The statement from the foreign ministry came as Egypt  slammed renewed filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and as the UN Security Council prepared to revisit the row tomorrow.

The Arab League announced last month it was backing Security Council intervention, despite Ethiopia's insistence that talks proceed under an ongoing process led by the African Union.

"Ethiopia rejects the unwelcome meddling by the League of Arab States on the matter of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following the League's submission of a letter to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly to intervene in the matter," Tuesday's Ethiopia foreign ministry statement said.

"The League of Arab States has a reputation for its unfettered and unconditional support to any claim Egypt has presented on the issue of the Nile."

Foreign Ninister Demeke Mekonnen conveyed this position in a letter of his own to the Security Council on Monday, the statement said.

File Photo: Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019 | Reuters

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River and set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric project when completed, has sparked an almost decade-long diplomatic stand-off between Addis Ababa and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia says the project is essential to its development, but Cairo and Khartoum fear it could crimp their water flow.

Both governments have been pushing Addis Ababa to ink a binding deal over the filling and operation of the dam.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government, however, has insisted it will move ahead with reservoir-filling in the absence of a deal.

On Monday Egypt said Ethiopia had begun the second phase of filling the reservoir, a process expected to capture 13.5 billion cubic metres of water.

Egypt expressed its "firm rejection of this unilateral measure."

Abiy's office and Ethiopia's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for confirmation that second-phase filling had begun.

But a senior water ministry official told AFP it would be in line with the calendar Ethiopia has long said it would follow.

Ethiopia argues that adding water to the reservoir, especially during the heavy rainfalls of July and August, is a natural part of construction. DT

"Filling goes in tandem with the construction," said a senior official at the water ministry. "If the rainfall is as you see it now in July, it must have begun."


ON July 4, Rwanda will commemorate its 27th Liberation Day (Kwibohora 27) to mark the day the Rwanda Patriotic Front liberated the country and stopped the genocide against the minority Tutsi community.

Rwanda descended into mayhem from April 7, 1994 when the genocidal government and its militias began slaughtering the Tutsi.

One million people were killed in 100 days of bloodletting, in massacres which were meticulously planned and executed by the hardline genocidal regime.

The killings were halted after the Rwanda Patriotic Front led by the now president, Paul Kagame, defeated the regime and drove them out of power.

From the devastation and hopelessness that followed the horrors of the genocide, Rwanda has defied all odds to become a model country touted as the Singapore of Africa.

So grand was the socio-economic transformation that Rwandan refugees, who fled the country to Zimbabwe during its dark days and returned under a United Nations High Commission for Refugees “go-and-see” visit, could not recognise their own country.

Outlining the Liberation Day, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni, said after driving out the extremist government, the Rwanda Patriotic Front set up a new governance system that promoted unity and reconciliation among the people of Rwanda.

It removed all forms of discriminatory norms and rules that were established by the previous regime. But the new government faced a myriad of serious challenges after the liberation of Rwanda.

Over one million of innocent Tutsis were killed and their bodies were scattered everywhere.

Up to 3,7 million people went into exile. Government coffers were emptied by the regime that executed the genocide. Rwanda was teeming with orphans, internally displaced people, injured and handicapped people with fresh wounds. All Government offices were dysfunctional including key social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals after teachers and doctors fled the country.

However, despite these overwhelming challenges, the victorious and dedicated RPF led by president Kagame transformed Rwanda into a model country revered across the African continent.

The RPF government successfully repatriated more than 3,4 million refugees that were camping close to Rwanda’s borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

“The refugees were all left to re-occupy their properties”, said Ambassador Musoni.

To ensure that victims of the genocide got justice, the RPF-led government, through home grown solutions, settled about two million cases related to the genocide in a short space of time.

In addition, the government introduced memorial sites around Rwanda to honour the remains of the innocent Tutsis that were scattered everywhere.

A fund to support genocide victims and survivors was established to cater for their basic needs such as health, education and housing.

In the year 2000, Kagame took over as president and immediately hit the ground running, introducing governance approaches that set the stage for Rwanda’s transformation.

“The policies quickly revamped different sectors of the country (political, economic and social development),” added Ambassador Musoni.

Rwandan leaders have espoused values of selflessness, self-reliance and self-determination, national identity, equity (including gender and youth), participation in the global community and good governance.

There is also a reinforcement of dignity in the conduct of Rwanda’s foreign relations. It has engaged constructively with other nations around the world through regional and multilateral organisations for the promotion of mutual and collective interests.

Rwanda strengthened its peace and security in order to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and committed to the United Nations Charter principles.

The country is playing a prominent role in preventive diplomacy, peace keeping, peace-making, and peace building on the African continent and other parts of the world. Rwanda is one of the top contributors to UN peacekeeping forces.

The visionary leadership has also expended efforts towards the development of co-operation and partnerships, promotion of equitable world trade, and positioning Rwanda as a host country for regional, and international organisations and an airport hub for major international flights.

Rwanda was due to host the Commonwealth Summit but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is due to host the inaugural Rwanda – Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference end of July.

Upon taking over a shattered country, the RPF-led government took an active role in revamping the economy from depression to attaining the current phenomenal status.

Rwanda is ranked second in the ease doing business rankings on the continent, with potential investors requiring only six hours to register a business.

Tourism and hospitality improved enormously from having no five-star hotel in 1994 to having about seven currently.  Rwanda’s infrastructure development is transforming the country into a regional hub for the services industry.

The World Bank’s Global competitive report index ranks Rwanda 3rd in Africa with best and quality roads after South Africa and Namibia.

Access to electricity has increased from less than three percent in 1994 to over 62 percent in 2021.

Kigali currently is top of the electrified cities in Africa rankings, with all the key streets having public lights.

As President Kagame once said; “It is evident that such a struggle is not simple, the struggle to reclaim our dignity, the struggle for progress, for Rwandans to live in security, peace and tranquillity, to be in good health, to earn a good education to work and develop, such struggle is not and has never been easy.” - The Sunday Mail

 The Court of Appeal will issue a judgement on the much-publicized Building Bridges Initiative petition on August 20.

The seven-judge bench which concluded a four-day hearing on Friday, that witnessed lawyers from both sides mount spirited arguments, will take 49 day to ready the ruling after declining a request to give an early date.

Prof Githu Muigai,  representing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,  had pleaded with the court to give an early date citing strict election timelines amid concerns a referendum would no longer be tenable.

Court President, Justice Daniel Musinga heard the matter filed by among others; the State,President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, alongside colleagues Justices Hannah Okwengu, Patrick Kiage, Fatuma Sichale, Gatembu Kairu, Roselyne Nambuye and Francis Tuyyoit.

The appellants contested a Constitutional Court decision declaring the BBI constitutional review process sponsored by President Kenyatta and Odinga as null and void.

President Kenyatta who was among the appellant in the case in his final submission through lawyer Kimani Kiragu pleaded with the court to invalidate the High Court ruling that shot down the BBI process.

“At what point in time should the High Court have determined whether or not the President was acting within or outside the Constitution? In my humble submission, this should have been done at the onset and not the final judgement,” he stated.

Odinga through his lawyer James Orengo maintained that the BBI process is a popular initiative and asked the Court to allow the will of the people to reign.

“If the President can do these ordinary things including being a voter, I don’t see why he cannot be a promoter (of BBI). But we are not saying in this instance that he was the promoter,” Orengo said.

Paul Nyamodi, appearing for IEBC, noted that the Constitution can indeed be amended and asked the Court to dismiss the submissions that were made citing otherwise.

Prof. Githu Muigai termed the basic doctrinal as the challenge in installing Constitutionalism in the country .

He said the High Court was reduced to a philosophical arena in regards to the basic structure doctrine

“I have been in these corridors for over 3 decades. I have never seen a case like this. We don’t seem to agree on anything. Not what the facts were, not what the law is, not what the concepts are, not what the words mean, who the people are,” the former AG observed.

He faulted the argument by the Thirdway Alliance Party who stated that the BBI proposals were an attempt to enact the constitution afresh.

Githu said that 90 percent of the Constitution is going to remain intact and therefore it is an amendment and not a re-enactment

“If you ever want to know a weak lawyer, they start with, “The spirit of the constitution requires… why look at the spirit, while the Constitution speaks for itself?” he said.

Arbiter Isaac Aluochier told the Appellate Judges that his displeasure over what he termed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s contempt of court is the main reason for suing the President over his role in the Constitution amendment process.

He cited President Kenyatta’s speech during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, where Aluochier said the President used the event to find the best way of attacking the Judiciary after stopping the High Court declared BBI process illegal.

“I was enjoying my quiet life of farming in Rongo. But when you see the country’s foundational law being mutilated, I had to come up and defend the Constitution … we are not paid by anyone, we are just Kenyans who love this country,” said the Arbiter

President Kenyatta ignited a war between the Executive and the Judiciary when he said that the recent judgment overturned the people’s will, diminished their power, and stifled efforts to fix ills that have bedeviled the country.

Aluochier added: “We just wanted to drive on one point, appellant Uhuru, as the President of this country, please obey the law. Stop disregarding this Katiba of ours, especially when you are the number one citizen of this country.”

“You took the oath to obey, respect, uphold, and defend this Constitution of Kenya. And you are not doing it. Instead, you are the one leading the process of amending and tearing apart this Katiba of ours, and these are the things that annoy me as a Kenyan.” Capital News

The contractors were arrested over alleged fuel theft. Photo URN


Two Chinese nationals attached to China Henan International Cooperation Group Ltd (CHICO), which is constructing Rukungiri-Kanungu road have been arrested over alleged fuel theft. 

The suspects, who have only been identified as site the manager and supervisor are currently being held at Kihihi town police in Kanungu district. They were arrested after they were found seated near their trucks while a boda boda cyclist siphoned fuel. 

Gad Ahimbisibwe Rugaju, the Kanungu deputy resident district commissioner, says that he found the boda boda rider siphoning fuel in a jerrycan from one of the trucks as the Chinese contractors simply looked on.

"This clearly shows that they were in the deal with the boda boda guy,” he said. According to Rugaju, when the suspected thief saw him, he took off and left his motorcycle and pipe he was using to syphon oil.

The management of CHICO has not yet commented about the arrest of their employees. - URN/The Observer

  • Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng (Left) and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo pose for a photo on March 10, 2020. They exchanged views on China-Kenya relations and the Covid-19 outbreak. FILE 
  • China has frozen the distribution of infrastructure loans to Kenya. This comes as a result of China’s Exim Bank citing displeasure of Kenya seeking to extend debt relief from June to December 2021. Kenya’s intention for an extension for relief was revealed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    In January 2021, it was agreed that Kenya would adhere to a 6-month debt relief period allowed by China and other G20 nations. This was approved and signed under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

    The initiative means that bilateral official creditors are, during a limited period, suspending debt service payments from lower-middle-income countries that put in a request.

    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (Left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to a bilateral meeting in Beijing, China in 2018.
    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (Left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to a bilateral meeting in Beijing, China in 2018.

    Forged in December 2020, the plan is meant to cushion nations whose top priority would be to focus resources in combating the ongoing health pandemic. The framework's purpose is to safeguard livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable persons.

    Kenya qualified for this privilege after the government illustrated diminishing effects of the current pandemic on collection of revenue.

    Funds made available to local contractors were suddenly halted when Kenya sought to extend the above-stated debt period. As a consequence, Chinese-funded projects in Kenya face a possible lack of liquidity. 

    According to Business Daily, remissions made in the direct payment method to contractors working on Chinese projects have been stalled since last month. This method has forced Kenyan companies relying on Chinese loans to send notices for supplier payments to Chinese banks through the National Treasury.

    The wealthy countries owning this infrastructural debt are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, and the USA. The DSSI (Debt Service Suspension Initiative) amended the payment period of Ksh 32.9B in principal and interest to be due between January and June. This loan is supposed to be serviced in the next four years with a one-year grace period.

    Nonetheless, China is the biggest owner of this loan which was paid out by national banks: China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China. The communist republic has therefore taken to reviewing its terms with Kenya exclusively but following requirements of the Paris Club of international creditors.

    However, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and other Treasury officials have denied any slow-down in receiving and distributing loan monies from China. They asserted that the country had received affirmative responses from states where they sought an extension of the debt repayment relief.

    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani presented the 2021/2022 budget on Thursday, June 10, 2021  BY Ian Mulei,

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