Category Archives: East Africa

Kenya – Ruto wins ICC battler over recanted statements

Kenya’s Ruto wins ICC witness ruling

William RutoGetty Images

International judges in the case of Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto have barred the use of recanted testimony.

The decision means prior recorded witness statements cannot be used by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in this case.

Key witnesses in the case changed their statements, which prosecutors said was due to intimidation and bribery.

Mr Ruto, who is being tried over unrest that erupted after elections in 2007, charges of crimes against humanity.

About 1,200 people were killed in the violence.

The latest ruling overturns a previous decision by judges to allow five of the witnesses’ original statements to be included because they were convinced the witnesses had been interfered with.

This use of prior testimony falls under Rule 68 of the Rome Statute, that set up the ICC.

But William Ruto’s defence team argued this was unfair because changes to the rule were brought in after the case against Mr Ruto had started.

“The prior recorded testimony was delivered without an opportunity for the accused to cross-examine the witnesses,” said presiding judge Piotr Hofmanski.

Mr Ruto is one of the most senior government officials to be tried by The Hague-based court since its formation more than a decade ago.

UN Economic Commission for Africa praises Kenya devolution and decentralisation

Daily Nation

UN official lauds Kenya’s devolution as ‘pacesetter’ for the region

UN Director of Economic Commission for Africa Antonio Pedro says countries could borrow a leaf from what Kenya has achieved.

In Summary

  • The meeting was arranged to identify the connection between structural transformation, institutions and decentralisation in realising economic growth.
  • The four-day meeting addressed various issues deemed important to fast economic growth in in the region.
  • These included infrastructural development, as well as creation of stable institutions and the decentralisation process.

A regional forum bringing together 14 African countries in Nairobi has lauded Kenya’s devolution process.

The United Nations director of Economic Commission for Africa’s eastern Africa sub-regional office, Dr Antonio M. A. Pedro, on Thursday said Kenya is a pacesetter in the decentralisation process and as such, other countries could borrow a leaf from what the country has achieved.

He spoke during the final day of the 20th Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) meeting held in Nairobi.

“Kenya can play a very important leading role because overall it is in an advanced stage of devolution,” he said, moments after the four-day meeting was officially closed.

The meeting was arranged to identify the connection between structural transformation, institutions and decentralisation in realising economic growth.

It brought together delegates from 14 eastern Africa countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Djibouti and Eritrea.

The forum noted that although most countries in Eastern Africa have experienced strong economic growth, unequal growth had created pockets of underdevelopment in some regions.

“We need to promote broad-based development for which decentralization is fundamental process particularly when trying to ensure that there is no geographical or spatial inequities,” said Dr Pedro.

FAST GROWTH

The four-day meeting addressed various issues deemed important to fast economic growth in in the region.

These included infrastructural development, as well as creation of stable institutions and the decentralisation process.

“Participants have recognised that structural transformation is key to Africa in claiming its rightful place in global trade dynamics.

We have recognised that the current pattern of growth, which is not inclusive enough, is not sustainable,” said the director.

He highlighted the reasons of its unsustainability as Africa’s overdependence on agriculture and exploitation of raw materials for export.

“The current growth is essentially based on the exploitation of raw materials and export of the same, but we are living in a period where commodity prices are down and are fluctuating.”

Dr Pedro called on the leaders to address leadership and development gaps in both national and county governments and the society in general for Africa to achieve progress.

Delegates agreed that, as a way forward, member countries would establish a dynamic community where experiences from successful countries would be shared to help other countries still in the early stages of the devolution process.

“Some of the things that have been agreed is that there are pockets of leadership existing everywhere, both at national and sub-national levels as realised in private sector, government, civil society, in local communities.”

“We will be documenting best practices on decentralisation and we will facilitate exchanges between communities in the sub-region,” said the director.

Rwanda to relocate Burundi refugees are interference acusations

BBC

burundian refugees in rwandaAFP Hundreds of thousands have fled the recent unrest in Burundi

Rwanda says it plans to relocate Burundian refugees to other host countries, days after being accused of attempts to destabilise its neighbour.

Plans for the relocation of an estimated 70,000 refugees will start immediately, the government says.

Rwanda has been accused of arming and training refugees to fight Burundi’s government, charges it denies.

Burundi has been hit by unrest since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stand for a third term last April.

It is not clear to which countries the refugees will be relocated.

More than 400 people have died since the violence started in April and at least 240,000 have fled the country.

“The long-term presence of refugees so close to their country of origin carries considerable risks for all involved,” the Rwandan government said in a statementexplaining the move.

map

In a hearing in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week, two top diplomats cited reports from colleagues in the field that they said pointed to Rwandan involvement in the Burundi crisis.

Thomas Perriello, US envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa, said the reports suggested that Burundian refugees, including children, were being recruited from camps in Rwanda to participate in armed attacks against the Burundian government.

Last week, a UN panel reported that Burundian refugees had been recruited at a refugee camp in eastern Rwanda in May and June 2015, and given two months of military training.

Ms Mushikiwabo described the allegations in the UN report as “unfounded”.


Burundi’s deepening crisis:

President Pierre NkurunzizaImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected for a third term last year
  • April 2015: Protests erupt after President Pierre Nkurunziza announces he will seek a third term in office.
  • May 2015: Constitutional court rules in favour of Mr Nkurunziza, amid reports of judges being intimidated. Tens of thousands flee violence amid protests.
  • May 2015: Army officers launch a coup attempt, which fails.
  • July 2015: Elections are held, with Mr Nkurunziza re-elected. The polls are disputed, with opposition leader Agathon Rwasa describing them as “a joke”
  • November 2015: Burundi government gives those opposing President Nkurunziza’s third term five days to surrender their weapons ahead of a promised crackdown.
  • November 2015: UN warns it is less equipped to deal with violence in Burundi than it was for the Rwandan genocide.
  • December 2015: 87 people killed on one day as soldiers respond to an attack on military sites in Bujumbura.
  • January 2016: Amnesty International publishes satellite images it says are believed to be mass graves close to where December’s killings took place

Kenya -Kenyatta meets governors at forum to discuss devolution and development

Star (Kenya)

President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto and Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at the venue for the Fifth National and County Government Coordinating Summit at State Lodge, Sagana. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto and Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at the venue for the Fifth National and County Government Coordinating Summit at State Lodge, Sagana. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has opened a two-day conference bringing together the National Government and County Governors at State Lodge, Sagana.

The Summit will review achievements made as well as challenges in the devolved system of government.

Special focus will be given to various reports by the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee and reports on Public finance management.

“The truth is that we now live in a new era. In the past, development came from the national government alone,” the President said at the opening.

“Now, we have devolution, so that each of us, however far from the capital Nairobi we may live, has a say in development. The system has had its challenges, but which healthy young child does not have some bruises to show?”

The Summit will discuss several reports on public finance management include laws on double taxation, the IFMIS and funds flow and oversight for conditional grants.

Governors have previously complained that IFMIS challenges delayed procurement and consequently, project implementation.

The matter is being addressed by enhanced capacity and skills building, as well as laying fibre optic to every County headquarters.

The Summit will also receive and discuss reports on conditional grants from the national government to the counties in health sector, free maternity health care, health equipment and several other reports on health services.

Reports on capacity assessment and rationalisation of the public service will be presented and discussed at the summit.

The Transitional Authority will also present a report on the transfer of all devolved functions before the end of the transition period.

The TA will also present another report on the verification of assets and liabilities of the defunct local authorities.

Thursday will be dedicated to celebrating the successes of devolution, and will include presentations by the Presidential Delivery Unit and the Council of Governors

Africa oil – Tullow in deficit for second year running

Reuters

Tullow in the red for second year as weak oil prices bite

Africa-focused oil producer Tullow Oil (TLW.L) reported an operating loss for the second consecutive year and further suspended its dividend payments on Wednesday as the sharp decline in oil prices has drastically reduced its income.

Tullow Oil said it made a full-year operating loss of $1.09 billion in 2015, a smaller loss than the $2 billion seen the previous year, but signalling one of the worst spells in the company’s history.

The oil producer said there was a risk, if oil prices remain low, that it may become non-compliant with its financial covenants by the end of the year.

It said it was able to cut annual capital expenditure to as low as $300 million in 2017, down from up to $1.1 billion planned for 2016, if market conditions do not improve.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps, editing by Louise Heavens)

US provides counter-terrorism training for African armies

Reuters

African forces began a U.S.-led counter-terrorism training programme in Senegal on Monday amid what a U.S. commander said were rising signs of collaboration between Islamist militant groups across north Africa and the Sahel.

The annual “Flintlock” exercises started only weeks after an attack in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou left 30 people dead. The assault on a hotel used by foreigners raised concerns that militants were expanding from a stronghold in north Mali towards stable, Western allies like Senegal.

Al Qaeda (AQIM) fighters claimed responsibility for the attack, one of increasingly bold regional strikes in the Sahel, a poor, arid zone between the Sahara Desert and Sudanian Savanna that is home to a number of roving militant groups.

U.S. Commander for Special Operations Command Africa Brigadier General Donald Bolduc told reporters on Monday that increased collaboration between militant groups meant they have been able to strengthen and strike harder in the region.

“We have watched that collaboration manifest itself with ISIS becoming more effective in north Africa, Boko Haram becoming more deadly in the Lake Chad Basin (and) AQIM adopting asymmetrical attacks … against urban infrastructure,” he said. ISIS, or ISIL, is used for the militant group Islamic State.

Bolduc said that cooperation had increased as Islamic State exploited a power vacuum inLibya to expand its self-declared caliphate, which takes up large areas in Syria and Iraq.

“We know in Libya that they (AQIM and ISIS) are working more closely together. It’s more than just influence, they (AQIM) are really taking direction from them,” he said.

Not all security experts agree that there are emerging alliances between Islamist militant groups. Some argue that competition between groups has led to more attacks.

This year’s programme, which opened on a dusty airstrip in Senegal’s central city of Thies, involves around 1,700 mostly African special operation forces. Western partners includingFrance and Germany are among more than 30 countries participating.

Nathan Broshear, spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, said the exercises were called Flintlock, after a type of firearm, to symbolize readiness for any threat.

Bolduc stressed the importance of regional cooperation and intelligence-sharing and said the United States would help Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon set up a joint intelligence centre by the middle of next year.

The United States already supports a regional task force against the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram.

The Ouagadougou attack and a hotel attack in Mali’s capital in November led to a greater emphasis on preparing for urban attacks this year through training to increase cooperation between military forces and police.

At the request of African partners, the exercises will also include anti-Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) training.

The programme, an annual event since 2005, will run from February 8 through 29. Some exercises will also be held in Mauritania.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

Kenya – Jubilee supporters disrupt Raila CORD rally

Star (Kenya)

 

KARIBU: Malindi ODM Canidate Willy Mtengo (centre) greets supporters on arrival at a rally in Kwa Chocha, Shella wward, on Friday .

JUBILEE supporters in Malindi yesterday jammed a venue where Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula were due to address a rally in support of Willy Mtengo.

More than 100 youths held demonstrations in the Msabaha area of Malindi, protesting against the Cord principals.

The incident happened ahead of today’s ceremonies where the IEBC is due to clear all those vying for the seat.

Political temperatures are high in the constituency as it is exactly one month before the by- election on Monday March 7 to replace Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu in the seat.

Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are expected to lead thousands of Cord supporters to escort Mtengo to present his nomination papers at the IEBC offices opposite the Malindi law courts.

Mtengo will be the first to present his nomination papers this morning, between 8.30am and 10am, followed by Jubilee candidate Phillip Charo.

Charo will be flanked by over 13 Coast MPs, led by Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Gideon Mung’aro.

Other candidates expected to present their nomination papers are Reuben Mwamure (Kadu Asili), Peter Ponda (Chama Cha Uzalendo), Ahmed Mohamed (Agenda Party) and Yusuf Abubakar (Federal Party).

Official campaigns are expected to start today and the battle is expected to be between Jubilee and ODM.

Since the Malindi seat was declared vacant the constituency has been a hive of activity and has hosted top leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta camped in Malindi for three days and now the Cord principals will be in town for several days to drum up support for their candidate.

The results of the March 7 by-election will be a big test for both Cord and Jubilee ahead of the 2017 General Election.

It will also be a double test for Mung’aro as he would want to prove his ability to be the Coast kingpin, a contest be between him and Governor Hassan Joho and at the same time prove that he could well beat Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi in the gubernatorial race.

The youths who jammed Raila’s venue sang songs praising JAP and the Jubilee administration for their development record and vowed not to welcome the Cord principals at a rally scheduled to take place at Msabaha.

Earlier, Jubilee leaders had vowed to prove to Raila that the town was not an ODM zone.

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