Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
In northern Nigeria, years of conflict between the military and armed opposition groups known as Boko Haram have taken a heavy toll on the population. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs more than 1.7 million people have been internally displaced by fighting in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe. Of these, 78 percent are in Borno. Here, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission Luís Eguiluz describes the situation in the town of Pulka.
Pulka is a small town in Borno, northeastern Nigeria. It is an isolated enclave, controlled by the military, in the middle of territory made very inaccessible by the conflict between the army and armed groups known collectively as Boko Haram. The town is about 100 kilometers [62 miles] from the state capital, Maiduguri. Our teams must cover this distance by helicopter, on flights operated by the United Nations, because of the continuing insecurity.
Before the conflict, 30,000 people lived in the town. Now the population has doubled with the arrival of large groups of people displaced by fighting in the surrounding areas.
Trapped Without Basic Needs
I recently visited Pulka, where MSF provides primary and secondary medical care, including emergency services and maternal and mental health care.
On one of the days when I was in a camp for displaced people, a woman told me that, in addition to her four children, she takes care of four others because their mother is missing. She explained about the hardships of this situation, as she had to share four children’s worth of food with all [eight] of them; she did not have the distribution cards for the [children who] were not hers.
I met other displaced families, mainly women and children. There are few men in the camps. Some had stayed in their villages to watch over their houses and their fields. Others were afraid to flee.
They told me about their most basic needs: water and food. The population of Pulka, both locals and displaced people, cannot access the fields on the outskirts of the town—their only livelihood —due to the high risk of attacks. The Nigerian army allows them to venture only a certain distance from the town, so those living there must cultivate crops in this limited space. People also collect wood for cooking, but it is not enough to cover all their needs.
Other women complained about the waiting time to access the few water points that have been created. Children walk around the camps and the town with nothing to do because the schools are closed—the teachers have gone to Maiduguri. There are no activities, aside from some games organized by MSF. Many women also regret how few clothes they were able to bring with them and the difficulty in accessing medicines. Most of the displaced people had fled their villages very suddenly.
The people now in the camps have suffered numerous traumas. Many of them have seen people, including friends and family members, die violently. Many women and girls have experienced sexual violence. As a result, the mental health support MSF provides is crucial. Some fled when the armed groups arrived and started killing people and burning houses. Others had to stay and survive through the conflict before fleeing towards Pulka.
A Failure of Aid
There are also returnees, people who had fled from Pulka to Cameroon or to other areas of Nigeria, such as Maiduguri, and who are now beginning to return, encouraged by the Nigerian government. However, they are returning to a camp without decent conditions, where the population is entirely dependent on scarce humanitarian aid. There aren’t any public services, neither administration nor schools. The inability to farm and the lack of paid work make it impossible to live without food support.
To date, the state capital of Maiduguri has been the primary focus for humanitarian work in Borno. The few organizations that operate in Pulka do not have adequate trained or experienced staff and are unable to meet the needs of the population. The MSF hospital there employs 200 staff to cover the needs of the population.
When displaced people reach Pulka, they often do so after having walked for days without food or water. Upon arrival, they undergo a security check by the army, and only after that can they access humanitarian services like medical attention, emergency food distribution, and vaccination.
These services are not provided in good enough conditions and happen under the scrutiny of the security forces. Once registered, displaced people go to shared tents and spaces to wait for a tent for their family in a process that can take months. There are currently more than 7,000 people waiting for shelter. Of these, 6,000 are living outside, exposed to the cold nights of Pulka.
MSF monitors the conditions because the risk of epidemic outbreaks, such as measles and meningitis, is exacerbated by the lack of adequate shelter. In addition, the exposure to low temperatures increases the risk of respiratory diseases, particularly in children. The delays in the construction of family tents meant our team had to carry out an emergency distribution of blankets to help people cope with the low temperatures.
One question we are often asked is whether the conflict in northeastern Nigeria is a cause or a consequence of the humanitarian crisis in this region. The humanitarian needs of the population are the result of both Borno’s structural problems and the ongoing conflict there. Health standards were already low before the conflict. But they have been exacerbated by the massive displacement of the population, the lack of access to basic services, and the insufficient level of humanitarian assistance.
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Some Malawian political analysts have described the decision of Francis Muluzi, the son of former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi to join the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as his father’s plan.
Muluzi disclosed his plan at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre on Tuesday, where MCP’s big fish Muhammad Sidik Mia welcomed some new members in the party.
According to Dedza district based political analyst Azika Azizi, the decision is part of Bakili Muluzi’s political trap toward the next government after 2019 tripartite elections.
Azizi said that the former President knows that his corruption case will automatically resume if MCP took government after the 2019 tripartite elections hence the decision.
He further said that Bakili Muluzi knows that knows that MCP and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has high chances to lead Malawians after the coming general elections.
The Dedza political analyst said Bakili Muluzi already spoiled the ruling DPP with support from his son, Atupele Muluzi who is currently the minister of health.
“Bakili Muluzi knows that he will automatically be safe if DPP take government next year. He is also aware that he will not be safe especially if MCP win the elections hence the decision,” said Azizi.
However in an interview, Francis Muluzi said his decision has nothing to do with his family.
Muluzi said will contest for a Parliamentary seat in Blantyre Kabula constituency under MCP ticket said the Malawi’s oldest party is the only future and hope for Malawians.
According to him, his decision will not harm his father as he is also a product of MCP.
“My father was a Secretary General of MCP before forming his party, United Democratic Front. Despite the decision is my own as a matured person, I don’t think it will annoyed him,” he said.
Effort to talk to Bakili Muluzi proved futile.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has asked Japanese Government to consider increasing financial assistance to Malawi on Economic and Social Development Programme.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of 200 million Japanese Yen (KI.3 billion) Grant Aid on Wednesday in Lilongwe, he observed that Japan’s financial assistance to Malawi has since been reduced.
“Japan used to give us more money in the past, but now it has been reduced,” Gondwe noted.
The request comes amid Japan’s dwindling financial assistance to Malawi through the said window over the years since 1988 when the country started benefiting from the grants.
The resources have been utilised to assist a wide range of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to acquire, through loans, various operating or capital goods, plant or equipment purchased from abroad.
The Minister attributed reduction of the financial assistance to low and non repayment of the loans acquired from the package by some small and medium entrepreneurs in the country.
He explained that the development led to the disappointment of the donor.
Gondwe noted that once the assistance is increased it would enable the country to implement various projects without difficulties and pledged to properly account for the funds and use the resources in a transparent manner.
“I would like to assure Your Excellency that on our part, we will use the assistance solely on the intended purpose,” he assured.
The Finance Minister appealed to beneficiary companies that still owe the programme money to speed up payments.
“Please note that the new grants to the country will depend very much on how quickly beneficiary companies pay back their loans,” he added.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa said the Grant Aid is intended to compliment the country’s efforts to promote economic and social development and eliminate poverty.
The Ambassador said the grant would be used by Malawi Government to procure goods and equipment to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in enhancing their business operations.
The grant, previously known as Non-Project Grant Aid, has been provided to the country since 1988 and has now totaling US$ 45 million (MK33 billion), including the just signed agreement of K1.3 billion.
17 January 2018 – The United Nations Mission in the troubled Central African Republic, known by its French acronym, MINUSCA, has given armed groups in the north of the country 48 hours to clear out.
The Mission wants to clear a 50 kilometre perimeter around the town allowing displaced persons to return.
Over the last three weeks, some 60,000 people – mostly women – left everything behind to escape clashes between the armed groups Justice Riot (RJ) and the National Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic (MNLC).
They ended up in Paoua, where some 40,000 residents took them in.
Now the food and water is running out.
We get the latest from CAR Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi:
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism this week revoked the sugar import licence that was awarded to an investor who had expressed interest in investing in the sugar industry.
Details regarding the g rounds for the revocation are not yet readily available as Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Ken Ndala, only indicated that the ministry is working on a press statement that would be released to the public by end of business on Tuesday.
News of the sugar import licence was leaked to the media towards the end of 2017 by Illovo Sugar Malawi minority shareholders but the details of the licence largely remained shrouded in mystery as the government could not confirm the move.
In reaction when the news broke out, Illovo Sugar Malawi had indicated that it would be forced to lay off some of its workers if the government went ahead with the decision.
According to Illovo, allowing sugar imports would mean exporting Malawian jobs to the countries where the sugar would be imported from.
The Sugarcane Growers Association of Malawi (Sugam) has since described the revocation as a clear indication that the government is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the industry while also ensuring that Malawian rural sugarcane farmers continue to benefit.
At least 3,000 smallholder farmers grow sugarcane accounting for 20 percent of the sugarcane used by Illovo annually.
Sugam Board Chairperson, Frighton Njolomole, told the Daily times that a secure domestic market would ensure consistent supply of the product.
For a long time, Illovo has enjoyed a monopoly status in the sugar industry, a situation competition bodies argue leads to consumer exploitation as there are no competing products on the market to offer an alternative to consumers in case they are dissatisfied with services from the dominant firm.
A medical doctor has filed a case at the Machakos High Court seeking to have female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), legalised.
Dr Tatu Kamau, in the case before Justice David Kemei on Wednesday, also wants the Anti-FGM Board, which has been spearheading the campaign against the practice, abolished.
Speaking to the Press after filing the case, Dr Kamau said the outlawing of female circumcision is against the culture of many African communities and should be reviewed.
She said all females, especially adults, should be allowed to make choices regarding their bodies without being restricted by legislation.
Dr Kamau, who is not represented by a lawyer, added that the term FGM is a “misnomer” as Westerners, who coined it, are now practising it, only that they now refer to it as Female Genital Surgery.
“It is a label given to us by those who do not understand it,” she said of the practice and its legal name, addding that female circumcision was part of African cultural practices before the advent of colonialism and should not be criminalised.
Her major argument is that many women have been harassed by the state and even jailed because of the practice, which should not be the case as adults should be allowed to exercise their choices.
“Much as we want to protect the girl, there are many women who have been harassed and jailed in the last three years.
Once you reach adulthood there is no reason why you should not make that decision,” she said.
Legalising female circumcision will make it easy for those who want to undergo it to seek the best medical services, thus making the procedure safe, she added.
“Female circumcision is practised differently from one community to another, but it can be made safe. It is a minor surgical procedure that does not require anaesthesia or being put into a theatre.”
Dr Kamau said that, just as people are discouraged from smoking or drinking alcohol, the gospel against mandatory circumcision as a cultural right of passage should continue, but those who choose to go under the knife should not be arrested.
She took issue with Parliament’s decision to legislate on a cultural issue, saying lawmakers overstretched their mandate.
“If Parliament can try to abolish a culture, tomorrow it will abolish religion or something else. The Anti-FGM Act is a bad precedence of trying to micro-manage our culture,” she observed.
Anti-FGM Board chief executive officer Benadette Loloji, however, said they were against the practice because of the negative effects it has had on women with regards to reproduction issues.
She said the campaign has been successful as prevalence had dropped from 37 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent in 2014, according to the most recent demographic health survey. However, most cuts are now performed in secrecy for fear of legal reprisals on both the victims and the traditional surgeons. Children are also being circumcised at a tender age, and often at night.
Twenty prosecutors have been assigned to specifically deal with FGM cases, but Ms Loloji observed it is not easy to try FGM cases because of the evidence Act.
Among the measures that the Anti-FGM Board is taking to keep the campaign momentum is to come up with guidelines on community dialogue on why the practice is bad, Ms Loloji said.
It is also bringing younger men on board in the campaign against FGM, and is already engaging Maasai morans in Kajiado and elsewhere.
“We are bringing the younger men on board because they are the ones who will bring the practice to an end. They are the ones who will decide whether to marry a woman who is uncut or not,” said Ms Loloji.
The case by Dr Kamau will be heard on February 26.
US President Donald Trump’s reported recent reference to Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as a bunch of “sh**hole” countries is not worth dignifying with much debate.
What is of greater interest is that, on social media, there have been many videos, Facebook posts and Twitter commentary by Africans not just agreeing with Trump but saying he wasn’t harsh enough.
These Africans who agree with Trump, though for different motives, argue that because so many of our countries are corrupt — ruled by cruel men who steal elections and jail opponents, have run economies down, are full of school teachers who sleep with school girls, preachers who rob and prey on their flock, cities and towns pockmarked by giant potholes and overflowing with garbage — they are “sh**holes”. They deserve to be called out. To be shamed.
There are many reasons why these brothers and sisters agree with Trump.
To begin with, a whole cottage industry, a lot of it driven by the African diaspora, has grown up around trashing Africa. For many, it helps them to come to terms with living and working away from the continent instead of being home, rolling in the mud struggling to fix its problems.
Also, in many African countries, as politics fails, ruling party/president opponents and critics like these “sh**hole” portrayals because they form a wider arsenal of regime delegitimisation.
These criticisms are not entirely without validity, and they probably sometimes shame African governments into doing some good, but, overall, they are problematic. The main problem is that they are based on an unnatural and ahistorical view of what a country is.
An example that this column cited before will illustrate the point.
Some time ago, a friend who studies African countries and their endless messes told me many people criticise cities on the continent for being dirty. Cities, he said, by definition, are dirty. The garbage and dirt is a product of activity and economic dynamism. Only dead cities, he said, are the ones that produce no dirt.
“People should criticise us for failing to clean our cities but not because they are dirty,” he said.
On the face it, he sounded nonsensical, but he was very profound. Great cities emerge from learning how to clean up, building infrastructure that works, keeping streets safe, creating jobs. Dirt is good.
Every great country, he would have argued, starts as a “sh**hole”. Trump reportedly said he wanted migrants from Norway. The Norwegians laughed, because, compared to their country, the US is a mess. Norway is richer on a per capita basis and has universal health insurance that the US doesn’t. Reports indicate that there are virtually zero Norwegians migrating to the US.
However, barely 70 years ago, Norway was an “African country”, as it were. It got governed better and smartly, cleaned up and is where it is today.
You cannot have just laws until people have been subjected to injustice and pushed back against it. Elections are stolen first before they eventually get fair and transparent, through campaigns and resistance against abuses.
Only the rich used to vote everywhere in the world — until the masses rose up and, first, only men, the not-so-rich and the poor ones, got the vote. Women were excluded. A long history of struggle by suffragist and democratic men gave women voting rights in the West barely 100 years ago. Until three years ago, there were parts of the world where women still hadn’t the right to vote.
Countries almost never learn to make peace until they have had war. No society ever mastered farming without hunger or the threat of it. You could argue, then, that being a “sh**hole” is not just a natural condition of societies but the most critical element for their progress.
But we live in very changed times. Three hundred years ago, most societies were more or less at the same level. The Industrial Revolution, and the technological innovation it unleashed, upended all that. Thus today it is possible to have a difference in quality of life between countries, of up to 100 years.
But a difference between countries is not the same as a difference between peoples. Admittedly, in these times, overcoming a 100-year gap can seem daunting and escaping into defensive negativism an attractive option. It isn’t. It’s easier than most of us fear. Just ask Norway.
Mr Onyango-Obbo is publisher of Africapedia.com and explainer site Roguechiefs.com. [email protected]
Last week, there was a ground-breaking ceremony for a bamboo processing factory in Tharaka-Nithi County — an event which, on the face of it, looks like a routine assignment for the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
But this was a momentous event in view of the long-drawn out efforts to get the commercialisation of Kenya’s bamboo sector up and running had finally reached a definitive pitch.
Bamboo growing and processing are important commercial activities with the potential to significantly change the social and economic fortunes of our communities while providing unrivalled safeguards against environmental degradation.
Bamboo forests, even when planted in small parcels of land by farming communities, help to control soil erosion, conserve biodiversity, beautify landscapes and essentially contribute to purification and regulation of the environment.
The KFS has taken the bold step to support — and even partner with — the private sector in order to achieve the policy provisions in key national blueprints in the forest sector.
This is in particular reference to the Kenya Vision 2030 and its medium-term plans (MTPs), whose aim is to reduce poverty and propel the country to middle-income status. The vision covers the forestry sector under the Social Pillar and sets the target of attaining 10 per cent forest cover by 2030.
The programmes for implementation to attain these targets include development of plantation forests in State forest areas, conservation and protection of natural forests and farm and dryland forestry.
Clearly, if we are to expand the forest cover, then we can only do it by encouraging landowners, large or small, to invest in forestry since there are limitations in creating public forests on a significantly large scale.
Besides pursuing our national policy objectives, Kenya is also part of global initiatives aimed at restoring landscapes that have been deforested and degraded through unsustainable utilisation, including over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest fires and other poor land management practices.
A notable undertaking that we are proud to actively participate in is the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, or AFR100 — a programme coordinated by the African Union that seeks to restore 100 million hectares of land across the continent.
In addition, in 2016, under the Paris Agreement, Kenya committed itself to restore 5.1 million hectares, or 9 per cent, of the country’s total landmass, following the completion of a national restoration opportunity assessment that also identified the options.
These options include rehabilitation of degraded natural forests, introducing agroforestry and woodlots on cropland and commercial tree and bamboo farming.
We expect the factory being built by GreenPot Enterprises Limited to provide a critical impetus for widespread adoption of bamboo farming. Farmers who have been hesitant to grow bamboo due to uncertainty about the market for their produce now have every reason to set aside land for this lucrative commercial farming activity.
CUT DOWN TREES
We also expect a significant reduction in the pressure to cut down trees for energy, construction and furniture-making since these products will now be made available cost-effectively and sustainably through development and utilisation of bamboo products.
One of the enduring advantages of bamboo is that it is a highly renewable resource. Even as you harvest what is mature, it continues to regenerate.
And as far as our public forests are concerned, we expect utilisation of the mature bamboo as the initial feedstock for industrial processing to help us to resolve the perpetual challenge of forest fire risks brought about by the accumulation of huge stocks of dead bamboo.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has laid out the four priority areas for the government that will form the focus of investment and development for transforming Kenya. These are food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and healthcare.
A fully developed bamboo value chain will directly support manufacturing, aiding economic growth and creating jobs for the youth.
KFS desires to be an effective catalyst for the development of sustainable industrial and commercial activities around the forestry sector, thereby contributing significantly to the socio-economic transformation of our country.
Mr Mugo is the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kenya Forest Service (KFS). www.kenyaforestservice.org.
Police in the coastal town of Kilifi are investigating a case in which Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his guards are alleged to have shot at people in the wee hours of Saturday.
Mr Joseph Lenguris, the man who reported the case, said the governor arrived at his compound at 2am escorted by his guards.
“He arrived in his fleet of cars and started chasing us away by firing more than 20 shots. We escaped unhurt. I know he is threatening me so that he can grab this land. He has been threatening me and if I die he should be held responsible,” he said.
Mr Lenguris was referring to a dispute over the ownership of a 3.2-acre land. According to documents he provided, Ms Caroline Mwandiku – the governor’s cousin – entered into an agreement with him in 2013 to buy the land for Sh23 million.
The land belonged to Ms Monika Herta, Mr Lenguris’ wife. He claimed Ms Mwandiku paid Sh2 million and has never cleared the balance.
MOVED TO COURT
“Instead, she moved to court and got an adverse possession through fraudulent means. We went to court and got a decree that we are the owners of the land and got it published in the Kenya Gazette,” he claimed.
The land ownership has since become contested.
Police confirmed that Mr Sonko, who was in Mombasa with other county officials, was involved in an incident in Kilifi town. “Mr Sonko had gone there to help his relative. We cannot, however, say that there was a shootout just because someone is claiming so. We are yet to find any spent cartridges at the scene but the investigation is still on,” said Mtwapa police boss Joseph Kariuki.
The governor’s reported actions are reminiscent of Mr Sonko’s days as MP. Part of his routine was making secret recordings and at the appropriate time posting them online to prove a point.
Two days after his deputy Polycarp Igathe announced his resignation, an audio recording of a conversation between him and Mr Sonko was passed on to journalists. Those who leaked it were evasive about its origin.
It was a conversation between the two on Friday morning meant to show that the governor and his deputy were on good terms. In the recording, Mr Sonko informed his deputy that payment for roads had been approved but he had stopped some because of inflation of amounts.
The resignation has resulted in Opposition MCAs in Nairobi seeking to have a special sitting to discuss the matter amid hopes of negotiating an agreement between the two.
Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok told the Nation that the Opposition leadership in the House will on Friday deliver the letter asking for the special sitting to Speaker Beatrice Elachi.
“It is a matter of concern for Nairobi people and for the county because Mr Igathe was not elected by the governor but together with him by the people of Nairobi,” he said.
The assembly is currently on recess and is supposed to resume its sittings next month.
At the same time, hopes of negotiating a truce between the governor and his deputy are pinned on whether Mr Igathe, who leaves office at the end of the month, can make public reasons for his departure.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who had offered to lead the discussions between the two leaders, told the Nation that was the condition for the intervention.
“The only reason we have not moved is because Igathe has not said publicly what is wrong. The people of Kenya deserve that first. We are unable to move without knowledge whether the issues are of the relationship or of a criminal nature. Only Igathe can say. We need to know whether it’s in personal interest or public interest. We can only engage if it is in the public interest,” said Mr Kuria.
The MP said it was unfortunate if Mr Igathe had failed to navigate the politics of the capital.
“If you resign, let people know why. You might say you don’t want to be involved in a criminal enterprise or maybe there is an illegality happening. We cannot reconcile an illegality or a criminality,” he added.
Mr Igathe has gone quiet since he announced his resignation last Friday via a letter to the Speaker of the county assembly.
Reported by Mombasa Bureau, Collins Omulo and John Ngirachu
The government has issued Sh100 million for the relocation and construction of Mama Ngina Girls’ High School on a 10-acre piece of land at Shimo La Tewa in Shanzu, Mombasa County.
The prestigious national school, which was established in 1988 as a public double streamed boarding school, is housed in less than an acre of land at Kizingo in Mombasa town. It also lacks a playground.
Acting Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that by January 2019, the school will be relocated to Shanzu and even accommodate day scholars. Currently the school is a boarding facility.
“We have found a site within Mombasa where we will relocate this school. It is bigger. We will immediately begin construction so that by January of 2019 we start moving some of the things,” the CS said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to lay the foundation stone at the new site.
“I was sent here by the President because several times he has been at the Coast, leaders from this region have been approaching him on the possibility of expanding this school. The leaders have also been urging the government to provide more resources for girls’ education in Coast region,” Dr Matiang’i explained.
He said the President has heeded the calls by the Coast leaders.
The CS said the government will build a huge facility to accommodate more girls. The government will also work closely with Coast leaders to uplift education standards.
“Be confident and focused in your studies. God has provided for you and we have enough resources for your success. We will provide you with an enabling environment. There are no two ways about succeeding, its only through honesty and hard work. Don’t lie, engage in crime or fraud,” Dr Matiang’i advised the students.
The CS will meet Coast leaders to discuss education standards particularly focusing on girls.
Dr Matiang’i also gave the institution 20 computers under the computer for schools programme.
According to the letter signed by the Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, the Ministry will provide the institution with an infrastructure grant of Sh100 million to assist in relocating from its current location to Shimo La Tewa.
“You are, however, instructed to ensure the government procurement procedures are strictly adhered to,” read the letter.
Dr Matiang’i issued the letter to the Principal Mwanamisi Omar amidst cheers from the teachers and students.
Last year, the school registered 172 candidates for KCSE exam and 90 joined university.
“Majority of the students got C grades. We thank you for streamlining education sector, there is no cheating, every student gets the deserving marks,” Ms Omar said.
Ms Omar said the school is integrated with students from all over the country including Wajir, Kisumu and Nakuru.
“By Friday our classes will be 100 per cent full. This year we received girls with very high marks, 40 have above 400 marks.