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Sunday, February 11th, 2018

 

Festival international de film de Miami: Le vodoun à l'affiche

‘’In Search of Voodoo : Roots of Heaven’’, documentaire produit par Djimon Hounsou est à l’affiche du Festival international de film de Miami, le 10 mars prochain. Réalisé au Bénin par l’acteur d’origine béninoise, le film à travers lequel ce dernier part à la découverte de ce culte né sur sa terre natale mais diabolisé par certains, est présenté comme l’une des superproductions de l’industrie du film documentaire en Afrique. ‘’In Search of Voodoo : Roots of Heaven’’ sera la grande attraction de ce festival organisé par la Miami Film Society et se déroulant chaque année depuis 1983 à Miami. Un rendez-vous qui met en avant des films amateurs par opposition aux cérémonies des Oscars qui promeuvent des films à plus gros budgets.

Le festival qui se tient du 9 au 18 mars prochain mettra au-devant de la scène le riche patrimoine vodoun en révélant certains de ses cultes au public étranger toujours en quête de notions sur cette mythique et mystérieuse religion endogène à laquelle est dédiée une fête officiellement reconnue par l’Etat béninois.


BEAM, ISAM and Lilongwe students plant 2000 trees

Lilongwe, February 10, 2018: Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust in conjunction with Independent Schools Association of Malawi (ISAM) and Lilongwe City Council on Friday engaged students in Lilongwe in planting 2000 trees along Lingadzi River with an aim of instilling in the students a sense of responsibility in conserving and beautifying the environment.

The students were drawn from five private schools namely Golden Gate, Crazmatic, Haven Modern, Favoured Privates Schools and St Jones Catholic Secondary School.

This is part of the campaign by Beautify Malawi to plant 1 million trees before the end of this year’s tree planting season. So far, 200,000 trees have been planted in conjunction with various educational institutions.

“In collaboration with ISAMA, BEAM has been involved with students in private schools to make sure we teach the young students in taking care of the environment to make sure we are living in a clean and green environment.

“I am sure you can see the excitement they have and some of them have made a commitment that they will be coming to water and take care of the trees. This is what her Excellency wants to bring down to the lives of the children of Malawi,” said Dingiswayo Jere, BEAM trustee.

Last week, BEAM was in the northern part of Malawi also involving various schools in the exercise.
In his remarks, Joseph Patel from ISAM said children being the future of the country need to be aware of the important issues affecting the country. One of the issues, he said was the issue of climate change.

“As you are aware Malawi and the rest of the global community has been impacted by climate change which almost changed the seasons as we used to know them. Sometimes we have rains or droughts when we least expect them as was the case in some periods of January and February.

“Because of that we want our learners to be aware of these critical issues and that is why we teach them about planting trees which include soil conservation, provision of good rains and fresh vapor,” said Patel.

Also present on the day was Chairperson for health and environment committee, Marion Chadewa who represented the Lilongwe City Major.

He said the council would make sure the trees are taken care of as they already have a team tasked with monitoring trees planted.

One of the ways the team does to achieve this he said is to engage locals by encouraging them not to damage the trees.

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Carnet noir: Décès du marabout Mohammed Cissé

Le célèbre marabout d’origine malienne Mohammed Amadou Cissé n’est plus. Celui qui a été pendant les années de la Révolution, ministre occulte du président Mathieu Kérékou et impliqué dans plusieurs dossiers de malversations et de détournement de deniers publics a tiré sa révérence. Condamné à une peine d’emprisonnement de dix ans et d’interdiction de séjour pendant 20 ans au Bénin pour répondre de ses crimes, l’homme responsable de la faillite de nombreuses banques du pays, libéré le 8 juin 2001 sur ordonnance de la Cour suprême, s’est définitivement retiré de la scène.


Forced displacement to cities requires an integrated humanitarian and development approach

World Bank Report: Forced Displacement to Cities Demands an Urban Development Approach to the Crisis

KUALA LUMPUR, February 10, 2018 – Forced displacement is increasingly an urban crisis that needs an integrated humanitarian and development approach in towns and cities hosting displaced populations to better serve all residents and ensure sustainable urban growth, says a new World Bank report released today at the World Urban Forum.

Forced displacement is among the most pressing challenges in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide continues to increase, particularly in MENA, where waves of unrest and conflict have driven a huge increase in displacement.

In 2016, there were an estimated 65.6 million people forcibly displaced around the world, of which about one-quarter were living in countries across the MENA region. For each refugee displaced in MENA, there are almost five internally displaced people (IDPs).

According to the new, “Cities of Refuge in the Middle East: Bringing an Urban Lens to the Forced Displacement Challenge” report, contrary to common belief, most of the forcibly displaced live outside of camps. Today, most of the displaced are in towns and cities. This pattern is particularly evident in the already highly urbanized MENA region, where an estimated 80-90 percent of displaced live in towns and cities – significantly above the global average of 60 percent, and underscoring the need to bring in longer-term urban development approaches to address protracted forced displacement situations.

Such a sudden and rapid influx of large populations compounds difficulties that cities already face in the highly urbanized Middle East region, leading to overcrowding of informal settlements and increasing demand for urban services, land, jobs, and housing.

“The reality in the Middle East is that the forcibly displaced are actually urban residents in cities that are struggling to meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable,” stressed Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. “With the forcibly displaced no longer residing in segregated areas in camps, but, in fact, blending into existing urban populations, traditional programs targeting individuals based on their IDP or refugee status are no longer sufficient.”

Ijjasz-Vasquez emphasized that “In a constantly evolving urban and social fabric, where the location and needs of host and displaced communities are increasingly hard to distinguish, targeted assistance to the displaced should be complemented with place-based development approaches that build on existing governance structures and service delivery mechanisms to promote the welfare of all residents, regardless of origin.”

With the majority of displaced people no longer living in camps and blending into existing urban populations, the international community needs to think differently and apply an urban lens. Assistance targeting individuals based on their refugee or IDP status can be complemented with development approaches that aim to improve the urban environment for all, building on existing national and local governance structures and service delivery mechanisms.

For greater impact, humanitarian and development partners need to work in complementary ways, depending on conditions in host cities, including size, magnitude of displacement, existing infrastructure, as well as services and financial and administrative capacity.

“Although addressing forced displacement in cities is a relatively new challenge, there is much that we can learn from proven urban development approaches, adapted to each situation. Investing in urban services, promoting social cohesion, and building resilient communities and institutions are critical to respond to protracted crises effectively,” said Sameh Wahba, Director for Urban Development, Territorial Development, and Disaster Risk Management, World Bank.

As the refugee crisis in the Middle East wears on, the report calls for a concerted effort from communities, local authorities, national government, and the international community to apply an urban development framework in thinking about forced displacement from an urban angle.

The scale and nature of the challenge also requires governments and the international community to mobilize additional resources. The World Bank has been addressing the unprecedented burden of forced displacement on middle-income countries by supporting countries such as Lebanon and Jordan to access financing on concessional terms through the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) for development projects that benefit refugees and the communities that host them. The GCFF has unlocked $1.4 billion since its launch in April 2016 with the United Nations and Islamic Development Bank.

“A development approach to urban forced displacement expands the focus from reducing the vulnerabilities of the displaced to mitigating impacts on host communities. Supporting the community as a whole in this way can help to shape the overall policy dialogue,” said Axel Baeumler, Senior Infrastructure Economist, World Bank, co-author of the report.

Financial support for this policy note was provided by the Global Program on Forced Displacement, German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, The Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Contacts

Kuala Lumpur
Joshua Chee Yan Foong
Malaysian media
jfoong@worldbank.org

Kuala Lumpur
Kristyn Schrader-King
International media
kschrader@worldbank.org

Washington
William Stebbins
202-458-7883
wstebbins@worldbank.org


Agency raises alarm on sale of fake condoms

By ELIZABETH MERAB
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There could either be counterfeit or fake condoms in the market.

This suspicion has been raised by a three-day advertisement in the local dailies run by Population Services Kenya (PSK), which distributes Trust brand of condoms.

In the half-page adverts hidden in the middle of newspaper pages, PSK has been cautioning shoppers to look out for the “true marks of Trust Studded” condoms.

The organisation singled out one of its products, Trust Studded, warning people to look out for certain marks on the packets, to ensure they are buying authentic condoms.

“With Trust Studded condoms, you get high quality, value condoms that you can rely on,” the PS Kenya advert reads, adding: “Look out for the marks of quality on our packs to ensure that you are purchasing authentic Trust packs. Don’t compromise.”

STDs
According to the advert, consumers should check the front face of a pack of Trust Studded to ensure that it has a triple tested icon on the bottom left side and a white stripe with pack content.

The name “Studded” should also appear in bold at the centre of the pack.

The pack’s spine, the PS Kenya advert went on to say, should bear content details and “only bear PS-Kenya contact details. Nothing more.”

Efforts to reach the PS Kenya team were futile with the firm expected to release a formal statement today.

Condoms are celebrated for the dual role of being both a contraceptive method and a barrier against sexually transmitted infections, but their success is tied to correct and consistent use.

FAKE BRANDS

However, faulty condoms can increase the chances of transmission of HIV and other STIs, as well as the likelihood of pregnancy.

This is because they are perceived to be made of substandard material and could break or tear more easily.

Unwary shoppers could easily fall for the fakes, if there are any in the market.

Previously, counterfeiters have managed to copy well-known brands of condoms like Durex.

In 2013, a huge international underground ring of counterfeit condom manufacturers was shutdown in China after almost five million condoms with fake brand names were found as they were about to be shipped out of China, reported ABC News.


Pensioners to wait longer for Sh4,000 stipend

By LYNET IGADWAH
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Senior citizens aged above 70 and on State pension will wait longer to know whether they qualify to benefit from the government-sponsored bi-monthly stipend of Sh4,000, senior government officials have indicated.

Disbursement details of the stipend, considered a non-contributory social pension for the elderly, are yet to be finalised, making it difficult to tell whether the pensioners will be on board.

“Whether the senior citizens already on State pension qualify for the bi-monthly cash transfer is a policy decision and is yet to be determined,” Evelyn Mwangi, senior ICT officer at the Social Protection Secretariat in the Ministry of Labour, said.

The ministry is using an e-registry with data on all categories of beneficiaries under the National Safety Net Programme (NSNP), popularly referred to as Inua Jamii.

BENEFICIARIES

Persons with severe disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children make the list of qualified beneficiaries.

The first round of the programme, targeting age-related poverty, is expected to start in March and will comprise monthly disbursements for January and February.

The single registry, which acts as a data warehouse, is linked to the integrated population registration system and is yet to capture the full spectrum of data for the on-pension 70-year-olds .

So far, 523,129 senior citizens over 70 years have been registered to receive the March stipend following a countrywide drive from June to August last year.

MONEY
The ministry is expected to communicate the final list of senior citizens who will benefit from the programme.

Once out, the list will be filtered and beneficiaries enrolled into the programme before the first payment.

The Treasury allocated Sh6.7 billion to kick-start the scheme in the first half of the year to June.

During the January-February payment cycle, the government planned to use approximately Sh2 billion on the programme, which is an enhancement of the previous cash transfer channel that was initiated in 2012 targeting those aged above 65 and living in extreme poverty.


LSK to march against State’s law disregard

By FAITH NYAMAI
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The Law Society of Kenya has moved countrywide demonstrations to protest against the disobedience of court directives by government officials to Thursday.

The LSK president, Isaac Okero, on Sunday said upon further consultation, they decided demonstrations by way of peaceful protest marches begin on Thursday.

“For avoidance of doubts it is reiterated that the Yellow Ribbon Campaign shall proceed from February 15, 2018,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Okero had announced that lawyers would hold a protest starting on Monday.

He said the government, which should demonstrate to citizens the importance of adhering to the law, had failed in its mandate.

According to Mr Okero, it is very difficult to expect citizens to respect the law when the government shows contempt.

The LSK president said lawyers will wear yellow ribbons until the respect for the rule of law is restored.

The demonstrations will also involve undertaking of strategic litigation with a view to seeking personal liability against the State and public officers who are acting or have acted with impunity.

Mr Okero said the position of the Law Society of Kenya is unequivocal.


MPs to review report on Cabinet nominees

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The Senate and the National Assembly resume sittings on Tuesday after a two-month break.

Top on the National Assembly’s agenda will be the tabling and debate of a report by the Committee on Appointments that vetted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nine nominees to the cabinet.

The committee, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, retreated to Naivasha on Saturday to write the report and make recommendations.

Those vetted were Mr John Munyes (Petroleum and Mining), Dr Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Ms Farida Karoney (Lands and Housing), Mr Peter Munya (East African Community and the Northern Corridor Development) and Prof Margaret Kobia (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs).

Others that faced the panel were Mr Keriako Tobiko (Environment and Forestry), Mr Simon Chelugui (Water and Sanitation), Mr Ukur Yatani (Labour and Social Services) and Mr Rashid Achesa (Sports and Heritage).  

NASA ABSENTEEISM
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale on Sunday said the committee will present its report on Tuesday while debate will be the following day.

He downplayed threats by National Super Alliance MPs to skip the debate.

“We vetted the nominees without them, we will present the report without them, debate the report without them and pass or reject the nominees without them. It is their choice to be away,” Mr Duale told the Nation.

“The Standing Order only requires 50 MPs to be present for the business of the House to proceed. We are busy with very important bills and we will get down to work on Tuesday,” he added.

HOUSE BUSINESS
He however remained tight lipped on the details of the report.

“I cannot discuss that with you. Let us wait for Tuesday when it will be tabled in Parliament,” Mr Duale said.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi had said Nasa would not participate in the debate “as we do not recognise Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory”.

“It will not make sense to participate in the discussion when we did not participate in the vetting,” Mr Mbadi said.

He said Nasa leaders would meet this week to give direction on how to approach parliamentary sessions.


Ex-county officials on the spot over funds misuse

By DENNIS LUBANGA
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By BARNABAS BII
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County officials in the last regimes clung onto public property running into millions of shillings after their terms of office ended, while their bosses sunk hundreds of millions of shillings into projects that never took off, a Nation investigation shows.

Some of the officials, who include ward representatives, county ministers and ousted governors, have not repaid their unsecured car loans and mortgages from the last five years.

But the biggest abuse of taxpayer money was reserved for two areas — unnecessary county infrastructural projects and purchase and hoarding communication gadgets, particularly the thousands of smartphones, iPads and laptops county officials procured on taxpayers’ money to make their work easier.

The scandals were buried in the aftermath of the electioneering period and only surfaced when new executives took office late last year only to discover they could barely function.

IPADS
In Kisumu County, outcry greeted plans to buy new iPads for the fresh batch of 48 MCAs.

Residents said the previous regime should be asked to return the 49 tablets it bought rather than spend money on new acquisitions.

A row had already started brewing between the former and current MCAs on whether the previous office holders should keep or return the gadgets.

Out of 35 elective ward seats, only two were retained by the incumbents in the last General Elections.

Across the border in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, a number of MCA and county ministers have not repaid loans worth Sh53 million, while in Uasin Gishu County, imprests totalling Sh11.5 million have not been recovered from the salaries of defaulting officers.

LOANS
Towards the end of their terms, some county officials here were issued with additional Sh9.6 million imprests, raising questions regarding the motivations of some transactions as the regimes approached their sale-by dates.

The county however says it has made plans to recover the monies, and that those with unsettled loans and mortgages have committed to repay them.

“No taxpayers’ money has been lost,” the county director of communication, Mr Silas Tarus, says.

“Most officers have settled their loans or made arrangements to do so.”

Despite the outstanding loans, the Uasin Gishu County Assembly public relations officer, Mr David Sum, says MCAs in the first assembly settled their loans before their terms ended.

Uasin Gishu MCAs received the highest amounts in sitting allowances nationally, with each representative on average earning Sh235,743 per month.

Other top earners were from Trans Nzoia (Sh172,445), Migori (Sh161,029), Busia (Sh143,810) and Wajir (Sh137,779).

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
In Nandi County, several projects initiated by the former administration have stalled despite the contractors being paid more than 70 per cent of the cost.

They include construction of the Sh124-million Governors’ office and the county stadium, at Sh118 million.

An auditor report shows that the initial cost of the Governor’s office was estimated at Sh103 million for the two-storey building, but an additional floor was later approved at a cost of Sh21 million.

Construction works started on February 10, 2014 and completion was projected for February 2015, but to date the work remains unfinished.

The contractor had already been paid Sh94 million, or 76 per cent of the cost, as at May 30, 2015.

STADIUM
The devolved unit allocated Sh52 million for construction of the county stadium in April 2014, which was later revised to Sh118 million, but the project is still incomplete.

The audit report indicates that the county government is unlikely to get value for money from the project due to delays in completion.

Nandi’s experience is replicated across the country as tens, probably hundreds, of projects initiated by former governors have been starved of funding by the new rulers in town.

These are monuments to political duels taken too far, made even more painful by the fact that taxpayers were squeezed to fund them.


Mombasa MCAs told to clear loans

By NATION TEAM
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A number of Coast ward representatives who failed to defend their seats are yet clear loans taken from the government.

In Mombasa, about 15 MCAs have not cleared imprests amounting to Sh5 million.

“We have sent letters to those who have not cleared to do so as they have blocked the clearance of gratuity of those who were not re-elected,” Assembly clerk Salim Juma said.

In Lamu, all the 20 MCAs who served in the previous assembly have returned the gadgets they received from the government.

In Kwale County, MCAs paid their car and mortgage loans two months before the election.

“We did not experience any challenges in recovering the money,” Kwale Speaker Sammy Ruwa said.

LOANS
Minority Leader Ndoro Mweruphe said he serviced his Sh3.5 million loan in time.

Kilifi Assembly clerk Jefwa Mkare said the Speaker Jimmy Kahindi and 51 MCAs took loans from Family Bank.

“Most applied for about Sh1.5 million. No money was lost,” he said.

Mr Mkare said out of the 104 laptops procured by the assembly, 54 were issued to the ward representatives.

In Tana River, Sh110 million still lies in the car and mortgage account as MCAs refused to take the loans, citing strict rules and religious constraints.

Majority Leader Salah Adamo said the loans fell out of favour with Muslim MCAs because they attracted interest.

Because of that, the Car and Mortgage Bill was passed in 2015.

To get mortgage, one is required to have a title deed, yet most of the land in the county is community.

Mr Adamo however said things may be different in the current House as some new members had shown interest in getting the loans.

Reports by Mohamed Ahmed, Kalume Kazungu, Fadhili Fredrick, Charles Lwanga, and Stephen Oduor.