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Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

 

Tragedy; A lorry kills four people in Lilongwe…..driver detained

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-A moving lorry on Tuesday claimed four lives in Lilongwe after it lost breaks while carrying sand.

According to the police report, the vehicle registration number CK 3680 was coming from Maula in the M1 Road towards old town that it lost breaks near National Bank of Malawi (NBM) premises thereafter hit four people; three women and a child, killing them on spot.

Lilongwe Police station Spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula told The Maravi Post that following the incident some pedestrian sustained injuries in the process that were taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital.

Dandaula added that the vehicle driver has been detained for questioning following the death of four people.

The police are yet to identify the particulars of the deceased.

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North Korea: “Very clear evidence of humanitarian need” – UN Humanitarian Chief

UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock is in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to see first-hand the extent of the humanitarian needs, the support the United Nations is providing, and to gauge need for further support.

With 10.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and chronic malnutrition affecting 20 per cent of children, ERC Lowcock called on donors to step up funding as the 2018 Needs and Priorities Plan that humanitarian partners launched last 12 April remains close to 90 percent underfunded. This is particularly critical as access to people in need has drastically improved over the years, and the UN stands ready to provide much needed relief.

Read more on OCHA


Gladys Boss Shollei seeks to scrap post of Woman Rep

By WYCLIFF KIPSANG
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The woman representative seat could soon be abolished if a proposed constitutional amendment sails through.

Uasin Gishu County Member of Parliament Gladys Boss Shollei has tabled a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to scrap the Woman Representative seat and increase the number of women to Parliament through election — not party nomination.

The bill, which was tabled in Parliament last week, proposes the pairing of constituencies to form one constituency that will be reserved solely for women. The existing constituencies will be vied for by both genders.

On Tuesday, Ms Shollei said her bill seeks to address the elusive two-thirds gender rule through electing more women.

 “The essence of the bill is to add more women in Parliament through an election and not through nomination,” Ms Shollei said.

PARTY NOMINATIONS

“Party nominations have always been abused by party leaders who nominate their mistresses and cronies,” said the legislator, who is the chair of the National Assembly’s Committee on Delegated Legislation.

Should the new bill be passed, it will be a big blow to party leaders who usually dish out nomination certificates to cronies.

The government, through the Leader of Majority Aden Duale, has published another bill that seeks to address the two-thirds gender rule.

THREE WARDS

Ms Shollei said the difference between the Duale Bill and hers is that her bill proposes increasing the number of women to Parliament who have been tested and vetted by the public through an election.

“My bill also includes the law relating to nominations of Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) where three wards will be paired and reserved for the election of women MCAs,” explained Ms Shollei.

She said this will ensure there are enough women in the local assemblies to meet the one-third gender threshold unlike currently where, in most counties, ward seats were won by men.

“My bill will have a watershed effect. I believe that having women contest twice competitively will lay a softer ground for them to run effectively for political seats. For them, the affirmative action stops,” said the Woman Rep elected on a Jubilee ticket.


Petitioners want Mombasa County to take over the port

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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A case being heard at the Mombasa High Court has the potential to shake up the relationship between county and national governments over the control of key economic institutions and the very foundations of Kenya’s Constitution.

The case, filed by three petitioners, takes the fight for the control of the port of Mombasa from the political arena to the corridors of the law, and its outcome could have ramifications for devolution.

Under the Constitution, key institutions like ports, railways, airports and waterways, as well as natural resources, are regarded as national assets, leaving counties to manage some classes of roads and markets. The case in Mombasa seeks to review this arrangement and will be keenly followed by other counties hosting major State-owned companies like East African Portland Company (Kajiado), Kenya Meat Commission (Machakos), hydropower plants in various counties, and sugar companies in Western and Nyanza.

The High Court is expected to rule on whether the petition, which seeks to have the Mombasa County government allowed to manage and operate the port, will be referred to the Chief Justice to constitute a five-judge bench to hear it. Justice Eric Ogola said on Tuesday he will deliver the ruling on July 24.

EMPLOYS 7,000 PEOPLE

Were the petition to succeed, the county government of Mombasa would take over management and operations of the port, which employs 7,000 people and generated Sh38 billion in revenue last year from handling goods traded between East Africa, the Great Lakes region and the rest of the world.

The petitioners, William Ramogi, Asha Omar and Gerald Kiti, through their lawyer Nyambura Kihoro, say the case is important for the regulation, management and operations at the port of Mombasa. “The petition is complex in nature and raises matters that are of public interest and of national importance,” said Ms Kihoro.

The petitioners have sued the Attorney-General, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Transport and Infrastructure, Kenya Ports Authority, and Kenya Railways Corporation. All of them did not oppose the application to have the CJ constitute a five-judge bench.

MANAGE OPERATIONS

The petitioners want an order that the national government only regulates the port, leaving the county to manage its operations.

They contend that the county government, under the Constitution, is vested with powers to manage local transport, including harbours, but excluding the regulation of international and national shipping.

They argue that maritime navigation, which is reserved for the national government, ends once a ship docks at the port.

“It is a violation of the Constitution for the national government not to have devolved the function of managing and operation of harbours in relation to transport to the county government,” the three argue in their petition.

Major ports across the world, they say, are owned and controlled by port city municipalities or states in which they are located. According to the petitioners, KPA and KR have entered into an agreement which obligates them to ensure a set volume of cargo is transported via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to the Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD).

“As a result, the freight and the cargo handling activities … have been transferred from Mombasa to KPA’s Embakasi ICD,” they say.


Mt Kenya leaders feud over running mate post in 2022

By NATION TEAM
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 A row has erupted among Mt Kenya politicians over the 2022 succession with leaders from Meru and Embu asking their central Kenya counterparts to support them or else they go separate ways.

The rivalry pits Mt Kenya leaders from the eastern region including Meru, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi and Embu against their counterparts in central Kenya and the Rift Valley.

Leaders from Meru argue that under the Gema banner, Meru has supported three presidents from central — Jomo Kenyatta, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta — since independence.

 “We are very clear this time. We expect central Kenya to support a person from Mount Kenya East in 2022 without fail,” said Tharaka-Nithi Woman Representative Beatrice Nkatha.

PRESIDENTIAL RUNNINGMATE

 Mt Kenya East leaders want central Kenya to let them produce the presidential running mate candidate in 2022. “We believe central Kenya, which has produced three presidents with our support, will in 2022 support Prof Kindiki as Ruto’s running mate,” said Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Patrick Munene.

Prof Kindiki said although it was the discretion of DP William Ruto to decide who he wants as running mate in 2022, small communities within Gema should be given a chance to lead the country. “It is time central Kenya supported us. We have supported them for more than five decades,” he said.

DISMISSED ASSERTIONS

 But leaders from Murang’a and Kiambu dismissed the assertions. “I wish the Ameru people well but the seat is remaining in central and specifically in Murang’a,” said Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata.

 Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said: “The people in Mt Kenya do not give a hoot where you come from as long as you can articulate their issues.”

 Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua termed the debate as retrogressive. Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina and Kieni MP Kanini Kega said Mr Ruto should be left alone to choose his running mate if he runs for the presidency in 2022.

Reported by Ndung’u Gachane, Alex Njeru and Joseph Wangui


Ignore governors’ immunity demand

By EDITORIAL
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The county governors have gotten the wrong end of the stick. Their contention that they should not be arrested and prosecuted over cases of graft while in office is ridiculous and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

Such a proposition undermines the principles of good governance and opens the floodgates for indiscretions.

No public officer should contemplate to be given relief from a criminal offence that would amount to abuse of office.

First, the Constitution stipulates high moral standards for public officers, more so those in higher positions.

Article 10 of the Constitution, on national values and principles of governance, as well as Chapter Six, on leadership and integrity, enjoin governors and all other State officers to moral probity, ethical conduct and accountability.

These provisions commit them to account to the public for the national resources that they manage and the way they exercise their authority. None is excluded from scrutiny in the performance of public office.

Secondly, counties have been turned into dens of corruption. The level of corruption being witnessed across the counties is mind-boggling and requires decisive and firm actions.

Many governors and their top officers have been accused of financial mismanagement, resource pilferage and poor service delivery, among other ills. Such malpractices must be dealt with irrespective of one’s station in life.

Thirdly, crime is committed by individuals and is never collective or communal. When a governor is implicated in a corruption case, he or she is adjudged as an individual.

PROTECTION

Any action taken is on the individual, not a group. Therefore, it is insincere for the Council of Governors to come out to purport to protect one of their own who has been arraigned in court over corruption because he did not act on behalf of the group.

The argument that governors occupy equal space as the President, hence ought to be accorded immunity while in office, is disingenuous.

The President is the Head of State and Government and symbol of national unity. It is an elevated office with executive authority.

Governors should not imagine that they have untrammelled powers.

MISGUIDED THINKING

It is such misguided thinking that makes them arrogate unto themselves flattery titles and undeserved entitlements such as a big retinue of security personnel and aides.

The argument we are putting across is that the war on corruption and, for that matter, all forms of crime, is indiscriminate and cares less about status, ethnic extraction, religion or party affiliation.

The day we make the crusade selective is the day we lose the plot. We are all equal before the law and its application must just be that.


Shield children from danger

By EDITORIAL
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Evil lurks out there most of the time and the most vulnerable potential victims are children.

This is why there are elaborate laws to protect children so that they can grow up in peace and develop their potential into useful adult citizens.

There are reports of children being lured into criminal gangs or introduced to substance abuse, however, literally stealing their youth as they are denied an opportunity to play and grow like others.

Reports of girls as young as 12 being lured into prostitution at the coast are disturbing, but hardly surprising.

The exploitation of girls and boys aged between 12 and 17, who work as curio sellers on the beaches or as tour guides, is not new.

CHILD LABOUR
There have been numerous reports about the dangers to which these children are exposed daily. After dropping out of school and getting involved in child labour, their future is uncertain. However, prostitution particularly exposes them to grave danger — including sexually transmitted diseases and the possibility of contracting HIV.

Poverty has been cited as a major force driving children into this mess. This is where parents come in.

They have a responsibility to provide for the children they bring forth and yet some of them contribute to this.

SELL ITEMS

It’s common knowledge that some parents send their children to the beaches and the streets to sell items and earn a living. What many do not realise is that they are exposing the young ones to deadly environments that they hardly have the skills and experience to manoeuvre.

While the measures the hotel industry has taken to fight child prostitution are commendable, a lot more needs to be done.

These children should be in school and not out there on the beach chasing after tourists. Surveillance and patrols by security personnel should be stepped up to rescue children from this exploitation.


Is the SGR a veritable success or an unsustainable extravaganza?

By ROBERT SHAW
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The SGR is a part and parcel of the Kenyan fabric. Its passenger and cargo trains run like clockwork and the whole operation cruises along with impressive ease. Indeed, on the surface it looks like an example that much of Kenya could learn from.

Everything from its booking system to punctuality. It has proved increasingly popular and convenient for passengers and even attracted sceptics such as myself.

In theory, it all makes sense. We are the gateway for and the hub of East Africa and beyond. Several countries rely on us for imports and exports.

Our roads are clogged and continually worn down by heavy truckloads of cargo. Our old creaking railway from the days of East African Railways and Harbours is a struggling dinosaur for years of neglect and misuse.

It has been proved again and again over the centuries that a well-run railway can be the most economical and effective way to transport bulk cargo and, indeed, large volumes of passengers.

SEAMLESS TRANSPORT ROUTE

In comes SGR, which, in time, aims to become a seamless transport route to Uganda and beyond. But that is where the good news ends.

The SGR has been bedraggled in controversy. First, SGR1 from Miritini to Syokimau was notoriously expensive to build.

The project was not subjected to competitive tendering but cobbled together by a cabal of officials from Kenya and China.

The design, construction and operation were not segmented but fused — against standard professional norms. I suspect it contributed to the high cost.

I have no issue with the concept and vision, just the cost — one of the major causes of our surging debt.

A simple cost benefit analysis blurts out the question as to whether the gargantuan investment was worth it and could we not have built it for less?

CONTROVERSIES

Behind the semblance of a smoothly run operation lie several questions and controversies. Its day-to-day operation runs at a considerable loss.

It is important to be clear here: It’s running operation minus the debt repayment per se. Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanus Maina talks about operational viability in three to five years but that could be wishful thinking.

The bottom line is, its operational costs are abnormally high. There are 50 Chinese drivers alone and several hundreds of other Chinese manning the operation at every level and station, all paid by the revenue and subsidies.

If it wasn’t for the station names and the mix of passengers, one could be forgiven for thinking one were in mainland China!

The big and burning question is where to go from here because this project is heading into more controversy and massive debt that will become unsustainable. One controversy is its routing through parts of our precious but embattled Nairobi National Park.

INDEPENDENT BODY

The way forward does not lie with Kenya Railways or China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) nor with any affiliate.

It lies with the government being bold enough to professionally recruit and appoint an independent body to review the operation, including ongoing and proposed construction, from top to bottom and from Mombasa to Uganda.

The composition of the review team must have no representatives from any interested parties — such as the government, Kenya Railways or CRBC. Of course, it can seek views from interested parties but the buck stops with it.

That body should be mandated to come up with recommendations on how to both overhaul and streamline the SGR in toto so that it becomes a successful, integral and sustainable cog in our infrastructure network.

There are several red flags that can be pointed out in its terms of reference. One is how to wean the operation of its gross overdependence on CRBC and how it can be viable sooner rather than later.

EVALUATION

Another is an immediate evaluation of its Naivasha leg. A third is how to proceed more professionally, especially in transaction, construction and operations.

A fourth is a much more social and environmental approach to construction. The SGR is not going through an empty desert but people’s land and homes and some jewels such as the Tsavo National Park.

Last but not least, the government must implement the recommendations. That will move us to a more professional, economical and transparent way of going about key infrastructural projects and getting better value.

Quite often, such projects are viewed as cash cows to be fleeced mercilessly. They are not. They are there to develop Kenya for its people. Period.


Creative economy can diversify tourism

By NANA CAGECA
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Kenya was again at the centre of the global map recently when our very own Makena Onjerika won the prestigious 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing — irrefutable testimony that our creative talent has come of age.

Tapping into this impressive reservoir of talent constitutes one of the best avenues to reinforce Kenya’s credentials as a global tourism brand.

Art knows no boundaries. Creative artistic talent stands out, no matter the origin or domicile. Such talent can be a potent tool for building a vibrant creative economy with special focus on creating linkages to dominant sectors of the economy such as tourism.

The creative economy can play a central role in creating a unique country identity and visibility.

It can serve as a distinct tourism marketing vehicle geared to promoting our unique cultural identity.

Since culture and the creative industry are intertwined, there is a great scope to position the latter as a pillar of our tourism sector.

Kenya relies heavily on tourism as a source of wealth and revenue. We, therefore, need to do more to build strong synergies between the tourism sector and the creative economy. The creative industry encompasses a diverse repertoire cutting across music, drama, literature, audiovisual and visual arts, architecture and other artistic and cultural expressions.

Globally, the creative economy is estimated at $2.25 trillion (Sh225 trillion) and employs 30 million people directly. It is a global economic force cannot be ignored. Kenya should seek ways of leveraging its own to grow the economy.

Historically, the fortunes of Kenya’s tourism sector have been tied to the safari-and-beach niche.

That is, however, changing with the growing shift to emerging markets such as cultural, medical and sports tourism. Given its nexus to culture, Kenya’s creative economy can catalyse successful diversification of our tourism sector through sustainable growth of cultural tourism.

PROMOTE DIVERSIFICATION

As the state agency tasked with marketing the country as an attractive meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (Mice) destination, the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, is keen on working with partners to promote diversification of the tourism market.

Last month, we launched an initiative in partnership with Kenyan artists.

The KICC Mini Art Gallery entails showcasing work by local artists for free within the KICC building.

We realised that local artists often lack a platform to showcase their talent to the world.

Given that KICC hosts thousands of visitors on any given day, this partnership allows even the little-known artists to show the rest of the world their talent. We also view this initiative as an opportunity to spur job creation among youth, who constitute a majority in the industry.

Using our creative industry to expand the scope of the tourism market will transform the country into a competitive and resilient tourist destination while creating a global market for our creative economy. It’s a win-win scenario.

Ms Gecaga is the managing director, Kenyatta International Convention Centre. [email protected]


Anticipatory bail is alien to our laws

By PETER MWANGI
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On May 25, amid reports of huge losses of public funds through corrupt deals at the National Youth Service (NYS) and the ensuing investigations led by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Justice Grace Macharia delivered a significant ruling.

She ruled that an application did not meet the threshold for grant of anticipatory bail and urged the applicant to await until he was required to record a statement or summoned to assist with investigations.

The significance of the ruling is that there was absolutely no reason to grant anticipatory bail before the applicant recorded a statement as a suspect.

Again, the police had every right to undertake investigations freely without what would have appeared to be an intrusive intervention by the court.

Anticipatory bail is unknown both to our Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

In the Constitution (Rights of arrested persons) and the CPC, bail is for arrested and accused persons, not those anticipating to be arrested or accused of a crime.

Also, police have power, under the National Police Service Act, among others, to release suspects and accused persons on bail or bond to attend court if and when required to do so.

Obviously, the framers of the Constitution and the criminal law did not find it prudent to provide for a ‘speculative’ right in the name and style of anticipatory bail.

In 2015, the Judiciary formulated the comprehensive ‘Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines’ specifically ‘to guide police and judicial officers in the application of laws that provide for bail and bond.

It provides that ‘The High Court may grant anticipatory bail, that is, bail pending arrest, provided the applicant demonstrates that his or her right to liberty is likely to be compromised or breached unlawfully by an organ of the State that is supposed to protect this right.

Further, the applicant must demonstrate that the apprehension of arrest is real and not imagined or speculative’.

NO FORCE OF LAW

Suffice it to say that this guideline has no force of law and cannot of itself be deemed to be the substantive law on the matter — save merely as a rule of practice.

It is wanting in three ways: First, it makes the assumption that any person of possible interest to, and summoned to assist in, an investigation is wont to be treated as a suspect or an accused and automatically be denied their right to bail.

The assumption casts aspersions on the investigators’ competence to objectively and impartially investigate cases without infringing on the bail or bond rights of persons involved in such investigations.

Secondly, it emasculates the powers of the police to freely undertake investigations without apparent interference from the Judiciary, particularly when applications for anticipatory bail are heard and granted ex parte. Thirdly, it is tantamount to deciding against the police unheard.

Criminal investigation, especially of major and complex cases, is a painstaking and engaging process meant to systematically reconstruct a criminal occurrence by gathering evidence for identifying, arresting, charging and eventually prosecuting suspected offenders as well as absolving the blameless.

LAWFUL PROCESS

Investigators need to interact with potential witnesses and would-be suspects to inform the process.

The process is lawful and necessary; hence, the innocent have nothing to fear. And as long as investigators operate within the confines of the law, they should be allowed the space to do their job undisrupted.

Unfortunately, anticipatory bail is a recourse sought by potential suspects and would-be accused to frustrate major criminal investigations for their own selfish interests as opposed to the public interest investigations seek to satisfy.

Besides, beneficiaries of anticipatory bail orders avoid to cooperate with investigators despite having been expressly ordered by court to do so.

The consequences are missed investigative interviews, (in) direct interference with or intimidation of potential witnesses, destruction or falsifying of material evidence and stalled investigation.

PROHIBITORY ORDERS

Worse, the beneficiaries return to court seeking outright prohibitory orders not to be investigated at all and some get their prayers granted.

Finally, even in jurisdictions where anticipatory bail is anchored in law, say, Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code in India, the court should hear representation from the Public Prosecutor before an order to grant bail or not is made.

Justice Momanyi Bwonwong’a, in Procedures in Criminal Law in Kenya (1994), observes that “the fact that a person is charged with a bailable offence does not mean that one is automatically entitled to be released on bail.

The constitutional right to be released on bail is subject to the rights and freedoms of the public.

LEGAL ARGUMENTS

Indeed, despite legal arguments, engaging in grand corruption involving public funds is offensive to public good — thus within the rights of ‘Wanjiku’ to expect uncontested curtailment of the freedom of alleged perpetrator(s) for thorough interrogation.

Further, it is sheer speculation to seek anticipatory bail before facing investigators to know why one has been summoned, ostensibly fearing arrest or being denied release on bail. Speculation should never, as a rule of thumb, inform any judicial process.