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Sunday, September 15th, 2019

 

Cedeao: Un milliard de dollars pour lutter contre le terrorisme

A l’occasion du sommet extraordinaire des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la Communauté économique des Etats d’Afrique de l’Ouest (Cedeao), ce samedi 14 septembre, à Ouagadougou, sur les questions de sécurité dans la région, les dirigeants ouest-africains ont adopté des mesures fortes pour la lutte contre le terrorisme.

Encore un pas de plus dans la lutte contre le terrorisme en Afrique notamment au sein de la Communauté économique des Etats d’Afrique de l’Ouest (Cedeao). Ce samedi, à Ouagadougou, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de l’espace ont marqué leur accord pour la mise en place d’un plan d’actions commun et de mobilisation de ressources financières contre le terrorisme et d’y contribuer à hauteur d’un milliard de dollars. Pour le président nigérien, Mahamadou Issoufou, qui a annoncé la nouvelle lors de la conférence presse de clôture, coanimée avec son homologue burkinabé, Rock Marc Christian Kaboré, il s’agit de « l’un des points les plus importants » de ce sommet extraordinaire et qui mérite d’être souligné.

A côté de ce plan d’actions et la mobilisation de ressources, note-t-il, les débats ont permis à la conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de prendre d’autres décisions fortes toujours en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme. Il s’agit des mesures telles que le renforcement des capacités des armées nationales et forces conjointes, le renforcement et la nécessité de mutualiser les capacités opérationnelles et de renseignements, le renforcement de la gestion des contrôles au niveau des frontières et du contrôle des armes et autres produits sensibles. Le renforcement de la lutte contre le financement du terrorisme, de la promotion de la communication et du dialogue intercommunautaire a aussi marqué les débats, informe le président nigérien.

Devoir de la communauté internationale

Au-delà des armées nationales et forces conjointes, la Cedeao veut « un mandat robuste et plus offensif » au profit de la Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations unies pour la stabilisation du Mali (Minusma). « Nous insistons là-dessus », lâche Mahamadou Issoufou en sa qualité de président en exercice de la Cedeao. Pour le chef de l’Etat nigérien, il faut que ce mandat puisse permettre à la Minusma de lutter contre le terrorisme. « C’est quand même un effectif de 12 000 hommes», fait-il remarquer. Si la Cedeao arrivait à concrétiser ce vœu, « ça va créer un rapport de force important dans la lutte contre le terrorisme », rassure Mahamadou Issoufou. Et là-dessus, il estime que « la communauté internationale a un devoir vis-à-vis du Sahel et du Bassin du lac Tchad » car, c’est « elle qui est à la base » de la crise libyenne ; c’est elle qui a « somalisé la Libye (allusion faite à la situation en Somalie ». Et aujourd’hui, les armes du pays se sont retrouvées entre les mains de terroristes. Raison pour laquelle « la communauté internationale a le devoir de contribuer à la sauvegarde de la sécurité et la paix » dans la région en mettant, elle aussi, la main à la pâte.

Le président en exercice de la Cedeao rappelle que lui et ses pairs ouest-africains sont conscients du fait que seul le développement économique et social peut contribuer, à long terme, à lutter efficacement contre le terrorisme. Cependant, « la lutte, à court terme, est militaire », martèle-t-il. Une fois encore Mahamadou Issoufou va tacler la communauté internationale et l’invite dare-dare à « contribuer aux actions de résilience ».

Notons que ce sommet extraordinaire de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement a été élargi au Tchad puis à la Mauritanie en proie, eux aussi, au terrorisme ou aux conséquences du conflit libyen.


Learning Sign Language could reduce unfairness to the deaf

By TIMOTHY GACHANGA
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The hearing-impaired are among the most marginalised group in Kenya.

They are often ignored, misunderstood and forgotten. Some parents hide their deaf children at home without access to vital education, play and social interaction.

This is mainly due to stigma or a bid to bypass the government requirement for all children to attend school.

Many children in deaf schools have been rejected by their parents because the latter don’t know how to communicate with them. But even those who manage to get an education are discriminated against.

Cases of hearing impairment have increased over the past two decades.

The 2009 census put the number of people living with disabilities at 1,330,312, or 3.5 per cent of the population with 366,811 deaf and 236,491 having a speech disability.

INFORMATION

The government’s measures to ensure non-discrimination against persons living with disabilities includes enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003.

Among other tasks, the Act established the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to spearhead activities that enable inclusion of the disabled.

Besides other requirements, a law signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015 requires public broadcasters to incorporate sign language in their television programmes to enable the deaf to get the same information as the rest of the audience.

Besides, many public and private institutions mainstream disability-related issues as an integral part of their management policy, including employment and human resource development.

But many are not sufficiently prepared to handle deaf cases for they do not know how to use Sign Language to communicate with the deaf.

Officials also cannot help the deaf to communicate and have to get an interpreter for that.

TRANSFORMATION

The deaf, like their hearing counterparts, need access to the larger society. They have hopes and dreams.

They need to access public facilities and services.

Institutions must participate in the transformation of their community to understand the deaf so that they can improve their lives realistically.

One way of reducing social discrimination of the deaf is by equipping their hearing counterparts with linguistic know-how — particularly how to use Kenya Sign Language, which many Kenyans lack.

Training their hearing counterparts on the language could open up the world of the deaf and the former in many ways.

For the latter, it could transform their worldview. They could pay more attention and show more care to the deaf. They can also be involved in reflective sharing about the reality of their lives and become agents of change both in their spiritual and social life.

The deaf could access information which oftentimes eludes them due to the communication barrier and hence the larger society.

Besides the deaf being able to realise their dreams, the training could reduce social discrimination.


Clarify the grey areas around new syllabus

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The objective of the new curriculum being implemented in lower primary school is to impart skills and values besides conventional knowledge.

Its central tenet is to enable learners to practice what they learn and relate learning to local environments so that education has meaning in an individual’s life.

This is why it is called Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) — a marked departure from the 8-4-4, which, though in earlier years was meant to be skills-based, was inadvertently turned into competition- and knowledge-oriented learning.

Under the 8-4-4, premium is placed on performance at the end of the primary and secondary school cycle.

Ranking of candidates and schools has become the standard practice, creating a rat race to the top.

Spin-offs of this include examination cheating, which had been rampant until four years ago, when the government put its foot down and rooted it out. Not that the leaks have been completely sealed, however.

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COMMUNICATION

Contrastingly, CBC is methodical in implementation, requiring a thorough understanding of the inherent philosophy and expected outcomes.

It is a return to the basics, where learning is rooted in local experiences and knowledge translated to reflect realities around the learner.

Demonstrated acquisition of knowledge, skills and values is prioritised over exam performance.

Understanding this context is important because there is a lack of information on the new curriculum and wherever it has been given out in detail and in a manner the public easily comprehends.

Until a few days ago, the country was made to believe that Grade Three pupils, the CBC pioneers, were set to sit a national exam that was to begin today. Yet, in actual sense, there is no exam.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has now come out to explain that what is being done is an assessment to establish whether or not the learners have acquired the relevant knowledge, skills and values and, for that reason, have the capacity to progress to the next level or require some remedies.

Coming from the background of exams, anything to do with testing or assessment is seen as a competitive endeavour — where learners, teachers and parents have to prepare aggressively.

There is a sense of a cut-throat race that elicits anxiety and apprehension. That is what has been happening in the past few weeks.

The CBC is still mired in mystery; hence, it is incumbent on the Education ministry to intensify public communication in a bid to clarify matters and keep everyone abreast of the new curriculum — how it is being implemented, expected outcomes and parents’ role.

Importantly, that exams are not core to CBC but mastery of knowledge and application of skills and values.


Support Davis Cup team

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Kenya has won the Davis Cup Africa Group III to reach the Euro/Africa Group II Championship.

Led by non-playing captain Rosemary Owino, the team won all their pool matches and beat Mozambique 2-0 in the semi-final at the Nairobi Club.

But it will be tougher for them as they fight for a place in the main draw in the Group II playoff due Match 6-7 next year.

The team also won their Africa Group III semi-final last year to earn promotion to Group II, but the coming on board of a new Davis Cup sponsor saw changes, including halting of promotions.

Tennis Kenya must therefore craft a serious training programme for the next five months, eyeing a play-off win into Group II.

Kenya was once a force to reckon with in Davis Cup. At one time, they nearly qualified for the World Group, but fell in the semi-final of the Europe/Africa Zone Group I in 1992.

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ALLOWANCES

The team had the legendary Paul Wekesa in the line-up. But this dream can be achieved.

Sadly, however, as we speak, the team members are yet to be paid their allowances from this year’s Africa Beach Games in Cape Verde, East Africa Championships in Burundi and African Games in Morocco.

This largely contributes to lack of morale and poor performance in subsequent events since players see nothing to fight for in the competitions.

It was a good gesture for Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to come and cheer the Davis Cup to victory. However, the government ought to give the team incentives.

In addition, hosting events would be an added advantage; hence the urgency of the government speeding up the construction of the Tennis Centre at Kasarani.

The project seems to have stalled even after the ground-breaking done by International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty last year.


2nd tour aller des préliminaires de la Coupe Caf: Esae Fc contraint au nul à Cotonou

Esae Football club et Salitas du Burkina Faso se sont séparés dos-à-dos, ce dimanche 15 septembre, au stade René Pleven de Cotonou, dans le cadre de la phase aller du second tour des préliminaires de la Coupe de la Confédération africaine de football. Et pourtant, les joueurs de Esae ont débuté la partie avec plusieurs occasions. La frappe d’Alfred Linkpon sur la barre transversale des buts gardés par le gardien de Salitas, Boris Mandjui, à la 14e minute va donner confiance aux locaux. Les coéquipiers de Marcel Dandjinou vont enchaîner les offensives pour s’offrir des coups francs devant les buts adverses. A la 23e minute, descendu par Sanou Aliassou à la lisière de la surface de réparation de Salitas, Eric Sewa exécute la sentence mais par manque d’efficacité manque d’ouvrir le score.

Les joueurs de Salitas Football Club vont revenir dans la partie en s’offrant également un coup franc à la 25e minute. Mais, Aboubacar Traoré verra son tir dévié par le mur défensif d’Esae.  Dominateurs, les poulains de Bio Richard vont de nouveau assiéger le camp des visiteurs sans trouver la faille. Le quatuor d’attaquants d’Esae, Antonin Oussou, Eric Sewa, Alfred Linkpon et Farid Edou va se heurter à la muraille défensive des Oranges et Blancs de Salitas. Bien en place, la défense de Salitas réunie autour d’Ismael Zagré et de son capitaine Youssouf Barro vont faire échec aux initiatives des Béninois. Les 22 acteurs vont rejoindre les vestiaires dos-à-dos (0-0). A la reprise, les joueurs d’Esae vont tenter de prendre l’avance sur leurs adversaires mais c’est sans compter sur la capacité de réaction des visiteurs.  Les joueurs de Salitas vont se procurer des occasions de but à travers quelques phases offensives, contraignant Esae Fc à rester dans sa base arrière. En dépit des changements opérés des deux côtés et du carton rouge infligé au joueur Aliassou Sanou de Salitas à la 82e minute, le score va rester inchangé au terme du temps règlementaire. A 0-0, Esae devra attendre le match retour à Ouagadougou pour espérer se qualifier pour la phase de groupe.


TSC races to hear disciplinary cases facing teachers

OUMA WANZALABy OUMA WANZALA
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The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has dispatched its commissioners to six regions across the country for hearing of disciplinary cases against teachers as it races against time to conclude pending cases before the end of the year.

TSC received 1,000 cases of indiscipline among teachers this year with 600 being registered across the 47 counties while 400 cases were registered at the headquarters.

Majority of the cases relate to teachers having sex with their students both in primary and secondary schools.

The six commissioners and secretariat staff will hear 51 cases of teachers engaging in sex with learners and of corporal punishment.

The schedule sent to county TSC directors, which the Nation saw, indicates hearing will start today and end on Friday.

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TSC regulations require cases to be heard within three months. The commission has so far handled 750 cases with 250 still pending.
“The regions to be covered are Coast, Eastern, Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley and Central,” reads the communication.

SIX MONTHS

On average, most cases are being determined within two to three months after decentralisation in handling of the cases.

Previously cases would take six months to even one year but now the Commission has committed to determine cases within six months as per service charter.

Cases of teachers having sex with their students in the country with TSC indicating 1,228 teachers have been sacked in the last seven years because of having sex with learners present a worrying scenario.

Some 1,077 teachers in secondary and primary schools were kicked out between 2010 and 2017, while another 151 were dismissed between last year and this year, according to TSC.

According to TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia many more cases go unreported because some cultures engender early marriages, while ignorant parents accept hush money from teachers or other school workers.

A report on teenage pregnancies before parliament this year showed that Kakamega County had the highest number of culprits, at 88.

PREGNANCIES

It was followed by Kisii with 61, Homa Bay (60), Kitui (53), Bungoma (47) and Siaya (46). Others are Wajir (1), West Pokot (3), Tana River (4), Nairobi (3), Mandera (1) and Mombasa (4).

However, Mrs Macharia said teachers were responsible for only two percent of pregnancies among learners, adding that local communities were more notorious for preying on schoolgirls.

The sexual harassment report is supported by another study by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), which raised a red flag about sexual harassment of learners aged 13 to 17 by teachers in 2016.

Last year, at least 10 girls gave birth while sitting their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations and several others while sitting the Form Four test.


Jobs top issue in ARM sale, says competition agency

BRIAN NGUGIBy BRIAN NGUGI
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The competition watchdog could order the eventual buyer of troubled ARM Cement Kenya operations to retain its employees as a pre-condition for the takeover approval, Business Daily has learned.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) said on Friday it was examining an application by National Cement owned by billionaire Narendra Raval to take over the Kenyan operations of ARM Cement.

The sale of the Kenyan operations of ARM Cement to rival firm National Cement is embroiled in a court dispute.

The former chief executive of troubled ARM Cement Pradeep Paunrana is seeking to stop the sale.

The court is expected to give further directions on the matter.

The competition watchdog said on Friday it will decide whether National Cement can buy its troubled rival.

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“The authority is currently analysing the merger application based on the criteria of impact of the proposed transaction on competition and public interest concerns,” the CAK, headed by Wang’ombe Kariuki, said in response to our queries.

“Regarding impact on competition, the authority is taking into consideration the input market and production capacity in the cement sector.”

The watchdog said it would prioritise the interests of the workers. “The authority shall also consider preservation of jobs post-merger as one of the public interest considerations,” it said.

“It shall provide a determination on the matter within the timelines stipulated in the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010.”

Lawyers say following the suspension of the sale, the fate of ARM Cement workers whom they say would be absorbed by National Cement in the event of a successfully sale process now hangs in the balance.


Three hardcore criminals escape from Siaya Prison

DICKENS WASONGABy DICKENS WASONGA
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Three hardcore criminals on Sunday escaped from Siaya Prison. 

Kenya Prisons Service spokesperson Dixon Mwakazi told Nation that the three escaped during a church service at the facility.

He however, revealed that two of the escapees were later re-arrested and locked up.

“Our officers made frantic efforts to arrest the two who will be arraigned on Monday to face charges of escaping from lawful custody,” he said.

The official told Nation that the search for the third escapee has been launched.

“We are pursuing the third prisoner and we hope to arrest him soon,” he added.

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Mr Mwakazi however said the three were capital offenders.

“I have just received information about the prisons break that happened on Sunday morning during prayers. I don’t have details about their offences yet,” he added.

Those who live around the correctional facility reported that they heard gunshots.  


Kamanda: Mt Kenya region won’t be forced to back Ruto


2022 polls issue ropes in PS Karanja Kibicho

COLLINS OMULOBy COLLINS OMULO
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A section of opposition leaders has defended Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho against accusations that he is plotting for the downfall of Deputy President William Ruto.

Led by Makadara MP George Aladwa, the leaders asked their Jubilee counterparts to stop undermining the PS.

Mr Aladwa claimed the allegations against the PS can only distract the public from political mischief that the leaders allied to Tanga Tanga wing of Jubilee party are engaged in.

The lawmaker said that some leaders claimed that Dr Kibicho had threatened them with dire consequences should they continue backing Dr Ruto.  

“We ask leaders to stop undermining Dr Kibicho for implementing government policies,” said Mr Aladwa on Sunday.

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He said that leaders were opposed to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“The leaders are used to the politics of name calling, ethnicity, division and hatred which the Handshake and BBI are addressing,” he said.

Mr Aladwa said that as Interior PS Mr Kibicho is supposed to oversee the implementation of government policies.

“It is unfortunate that MPs such as Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) can go to a church and disrupt the service and when called upon to account for their actions, they point fingers at the PS and Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

“In the spirit of the Handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, we will not sit and watch as public officers are undermined while discharging their duties.

The ODM Nairobi branch chairman said that Mr Kibicho has the full support of the party’s leadership in Nairobi and urged him to serve all Kenyans without any fear or favour.  

“We reiterate our support for the BBI and President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga in their bid to unite the country,” said Mr Aladwa.

Meanwhile, Mr Aladwa said he had been picked by ODM leadership to steer by election campaigns in Kibra to ensure the party retains the seat.

ODM candidate Bernard Okoth is seeking to reclaim the seat during the November 7 mini poll. The seat was left vacant following the death of his brother Ken Okoth on July 26, 2019.