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Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

 

Forum MEDays à Tanger : Le Président sénégalais Macky Sall confirme sa participation

Publié le 03.11.2019 à 01h18 par APA

Le président sénégalais, Macky Sall, a confirmé sa participation à la 12ème édition du Forum MEDays, prévue du 13 au 16 novembre 2019 à Tanger, en tant qu’invité d’honneur de cet évènement, a affirmé le président de l’Institut Amadeus, Brahim Fassi Fihri.Dans une interview au site électronique marocain +Le360+ diffusée ce samedi, le patron de l’Institut Amadeus, qui organise ce Forum, s’est réjoui de la participation du chef de l’Etat sénégalais à cette manifestation, qui a retenu comme thème la « crise Globale de confiance: Faire face aux incertitudes et à la subversion ».

Et de faire savoir que ce rendez-vous annuel sera également rehaussé par la participation du président de la Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, ajoutant cette année sera marquée par la présence de 5.000 participants venant de 80 pays.

Selon, Medays, qui s’est installé dans l’agenda international mais également panafricain des grandes conférences, engagera lors de cette 12ème édition un débat sur la construction d’un modèle de développement rénové mais aussi

sur l’Union africaine et les moyens de concrétiser une vision d’intégration continentale dans le contexte de la mise en place récemment de la Zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (ZLECAF).

Moment fort de l’événement: Le Grand prix qui sera attribué à une personnalité africaine jouant un rôle majeur dans le développement de son pays, a tenu à préciser M. Brahim Fassi Fihri.


Trois films mettant les femmes à l’honneur primés à Carthage

Publié le 03.11.2019 à 00h50 par AFP

Un film tunisien consacré aux difficultés d’une mère à conquérir son bonheur malgré un mariage miné par la violence, « Noura rêve », et deux autres films réalisés par des femmes ont été primés à l’issue des Journées cinématographiques de Carthage (JCC) samedi soir à Tunis.

« Noura Rêve », attendu en salle ce mois-ci, est porté par deux vedettes tunisiennes, l’actrice basée en Egypte Hend Sabry, déchirée entre mari et amant, et le comédien Lotfi Adbelli, en mari looser dominateur.

Ce film de la réalisatrice Hinde Boujemaa a remporté le Tanit d’Or de la trentième édition des JCC, récompense suprême de ce festival consacré au cinéma arabe et africain. Hend Sabri remporte également le prix de la meilleure actrice.

Viol conjugal, infidélité, corruption et inaction des policiers: « on soulève des sujets tabous afin de lancer un dialogue social, car en Tunisie et dans le monde arabe on en parle rarement », a expliqué à la presse Hend Sabri.

Pour la député Bochra Belhadj Hmida, le film a évoque « la violence à l’encontre des femmes sous toutes ses formes », montrant une « prise de conscience » même si « le chemin est encore long ».

Deux autres films porté par des personnages féminins forts ont également été primés.

« Atlantique », un conte sénégalais sur la migration de clandestine vu par les femmes restées sur la berge, que les noyés viennent hanter, a reçu le Tanit d’Argent. Ce film de la réalisatrice franco-sénégalaise Mati Diop s’était vu décerner le Grand Prix du Festival de Cannes en mai.

Le Tanit de bronze a été décerné à un premier film saoudien, « Scales », sur le sort d’une jeune fille que son père refuse de sacrifier à la mer selon une tradition ancestrale, et qui devient une paria en résistant aux superstitions patriarcales.

Cette fable en noir et blanc a été réalisée par Shahed Ameen, la première cinéaste saoudienne à présenter un film au festival depuis son lancement en 1966.

« Je veux insister sur le fait que la vie est sacrée, qu’elle est plus importante que les lois et les traditions imposées », a déclaré l’AFP la réalisatrice.

« C’est un film en noir et blanc pour montrer que ce village est aride, sans vie, un village qui refuse le progrès et s’attache aux coutumes rétrogrades », explique-t-elle.

« La société arabe persécute les femmes », mais il « est temps qu’elles se réconcilient avec elles-mêmes et affrontent les obstacles ».

Sur les 12 longs métrages de fiction en compétition lors de cette édition des JCC, cinq oeuvres ont été réalisées par des femmes.


Lancement de la 7è édition du Festival des danses traditionnelles du Bounkani

Publié le 03.11.2019 à 00h18 par APA

La 7è édition du Festival des danses traditionnelles du Bounkani (FESTIBO) qui se déroulera du 4 au 7 décembre prochain à Bouna dans le Nord-Est ivoirien a été lancée, samedi à Abidjan, la capitale économique ivoirienne, a constaté APA sur place.Le FESTIBO qui a pour objectif, la valorisation du riche patrimoine culturel et touristique de la région du Bounkani, est initié par l’ONG Etoile du Bounkani et le Conseil régional avec comme promoteur DKG Consulting.

Au cours de ce lancement, le Commissaire général de l’événement, Germain Dah a annoncé les principales articulations de cette 7è édition prévue autour du thème, « jeunesse et femmes, fer de lance du développement local ».

« Cette année, c’est le Maroc qui est à l’honneur », a-t-il indiqué, ajoutant que des troupes Senoufo (Korhogo, extrême nord ivoirien) et Dagara (Burkina Faso) sont également attendues à ce festival, le plus grand événement culturel de la région du Bounkani avec plus de 10 000 visiteurs.  En plus des danses, des ateliers sur l’immigration, l’emploi des jeunes et l’Etat civil meubleront cette édition.

Dans son allocution, le président du Conseil régional du Bounkani, Philippe Hien a insisté sur les enjeux du thème de cette édition 2019 du FESTIBO. A ce propos, il a souligné le rôle éminemment important des femmes et des jeunes dans le développement local.  

Un panel autour des thèmes, «jeune et emploi », «leadership féminin au service du développement local», et «leadership et développement personnel» a constitué l’autre temps fort de ce lancement après les discours.


Le Pdci commet des huissiers pour constater l’usage de son logo à un meeting du Rhdp France

Publié le 03.11.2019 à 00h18 par APA

Le Parti démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (Pdci), ex-allié au pouvoir, a commis samedi des huissiers pour constater l’usage de son logo à un meeting de rentrée politique du Rhdp (Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la démocratie et la paix (Rhdp, pouvoir) de France, tenu au Palais des congrès de Montreuil.Quand les leaders du « Pdci ont vu que la mobilisation était extraordinaire, ils ont envoyé des huissiers » qui ont eu du fil à retordre face à plus de 5 000 personnes réunies au palais des congrès de Montreuil, a déclaré Kobenan Adjoumani, porte-parole principal du Rhdp dans un discours. 

Joint par APA, un responsable du Pdci à Abidjan, a attesté de ce fait, transmettant une note dans laquelle il est écrit : « cela fait suite à une décision d’un juge daté du 31 octobre 2019, et qui a été signifiée pour exécution ce samedi pendant le meeting ». 

M. Adjoumani, représentant le Premier ministre ivoirien, ministre du Budget et du portefeuille de l’Etat, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, président du directoire du Rhdp, a appelé les partisans de la coalition au pouvoir en Europe, à regagner la foi militante pour la présidentielle ivoirienne d’octobre 2020.

« Certains veulent amuser la galerie, mais le Rhdp travaille méthodiquement pour asseoir sa victoire et je puis vous rassurer, nous allons remporter démocratiquement, clairement et tranquillement ces élections », a dit M. Kobenan Adjoumani, sous des salves d’applaudissements. 

Évoquant la candidature annoncée de Guillaume Soro pour la présidentielle de 2020, il a dit que ce dernier qui se dressait contre la « dictature de M. Bédié», président du Pdci et contre « M. Gbagbo qu’il assimilait au plus cruel des dictateurs », tente de se rapprocher de ceux-ci.

Aujourd’hui, il a un « parfait amour avec M. Bédié et il fait le pied de grue pour obtenir une audience avec M. Gbagbo et le président Alassane Ouattara est devenu la cible de toutes  (leurs) attaques », a-t-il lancé, avant de s’interroger « la Côte d’Ivoire mérite-t-elle de politiciens pareils ? ». 

Et à l’auditoire de répondre « non ». Pour M. Kobenan Adjoumani, il s’agit d’ « une alliance d’escroquerie », la plate-forme de l’opposition ivoirienne regroupant les partis et mouvements proches de ces trois personnalités, à savoir M. Gbagbo, M. Bédié et Guillaume Soro. 

« Nous allons gagner au premier tour, c’est en réalité ce qui explique ces peurs et tout le vacarme dont les nuisances sonores nous parviennent jusque dans l’hexagone (…) nous sommes convaincus que nous allons les gagner parce qu’au moment venu, ça sera bilan contre bilan», a-t-il martelé. 

Le porte-parole principal du Rhdp, a soutenu que « la nouvelle Constitution qui proclame la IIIè République, permet au président Alassane Ouattara d’être candidat (pour un troisième mandat) s’il le veut ». Pour l’opposition M. Ouattara ne peut briguer un troisième mandat. 

« M. Ouattara dit qu’ au moment venu il va faire son choix, alors s’il dit qu’ il est le capitaine du match, est-ce qu’ il y a match ? Et s’il dit je veux laisser mes enfants jouer et qu’ il devient entraîneur, est-ce qu’ il y a match », a-t-il lancé aux militants qui ont dit « non, il n’y a pas match ». 

Selon M. Adjoumani, si le chef de l’Etat ivoirien Alassane Ouattara décide d’être « le capitaine de l’équipe, c’est un coup KO, s’il est l’entraîneur de l’équipe, c’est un coup KO ». Toutefois, les militants devraient maintenir cette flamme allumée jusqu’aux élections de 2020. 

Le leader du Pdci, l’ex-président ivoirien Henri Konan Bédié,  a maintes fois décrié la présence du logo du Pdci dans celui du Rhdp, le parti au pouvoir. Des actions judiciaires ont été menées, mais sans gain de cause. Cette bataille se déporte ainsi hors des frontières ivoiriennes. 


Private hospital at KNH: Setting the record straight

On October 20, Sunday Nation columnist Lukoye Atwoli criticised the Kenyatta National Hospital’s proposed private hospital (“KNH deal is a scam; thought you should know”).

While making comparisons with the Managed Equipment Services, he delved into imaginary “exorbitant costs” vis-à-vis value and the lack of trained “experts and specialists”, wondering why we can’t use our taxes to expand and improve services at KNH.

It is true public hospitals ought to be funded by our taxes. But that would only apply if matters are taken entirely at face value.

As things stand now, more than 55 per cent of our tax revenues are spent on servicing public debt.

The other non-discretionary public expenditure such as salaries, wages, annual pension payments, among others, take upwards of 35 per cent of tax revenues.

PUBLIC DEBT

A majority of these payments are obligatory, meaning they constitute a first-charge on the Consolidated Fund.

What this therefore means is that, in the best of times, hardly 10 per cent of our taxes end up financing development projects.

That is why a majority of capital projects are undertaken through grants and/or debts.

This situation is not unique to Kenya. For example, the debt to GDP ratio of the US is currently around 105 per cent while that of Japan stands at a whopping 250 per cent.

To suggest this is an “excuse to fleece the public with a project that appears all set to result in the loss of public resources” would perhaps underline the fact that most Kenyans are still not quite familiar with the Public Private Partnership model of project financing.

How would the public be “fleeced” when no single cent of public money is spent?

PARTNERSHIP

The proposed project will be fully funded by a private investor in compliance with the PPP Act (2013) and National PPP Regulations (2014).

KNH’s only contribution will be to give a small portion of its land. No public funds will be used to construct or run the facility.

The private investor will design, fund, construct, equip and thereafter operate the hospital for a pre-defined concession period.

During the concession period, the investor will share the revenue generated with KNH on a pre-determined ratio. The facility will revert to KNH at the end of the concession period.

The need for this facility has been confirmed through a comprehensive feasibility study, which has found the project to be viable.

Among them are: the changing disease profile which drive the need for specialised healthcare facilities, especially the exponential rise in non-communicable and lifestyle diseases, has increased the healthcare burden, piling pressure on the already strained budgetary allocations to facilities like KNH.

PALTRY RESOURCES

Inadequate annual tax revenues makes it impossible for Kenya to have adequate medical facilities.

Kenya currently has 3,494 beds at level six hospitals and a further 6,704 beds at level five facilities, making up 15 per cent of the required bed capacity.

From an analysis of the catchment area of the project, there is a significant deficit of 6,910 beds

Only heavy investment in healthcare can help bridge this gap. Already, KNH, the largest referral hospital in the region with a capacity of over 2,000 beds, has a private wing within the main hospital that serves market-fee paying patients.

This provides a source of additional revenue to support the other critical needs of the general hospital.

Owing to the ever increasing demand for specialised quality healthcare in Kenya and the region, upgrading and expanding KNH’s private healthcare service is a good move which will allow the space currently occupied by the private wing to be freed up to help decongest the wards and support KNH’s mandate.

The limited number of affordable specialised healthcare facilities has seen between 7,000 and 10,000 Kenyans seek specialised treatment abroad every year.

KNH’s position as the region’s apex medical institution will spur the growth of medical-tourism from neighbouring countries with the development of this new facility, hence additional revenues.

Where Atwoli gets the idea that “a public hospital wants to build a private hospital in order to make sufficient profits to run the public hospital” may stem from inability to distinguish between “revenue” and “profits”.

No public entity is ever run for profit, because that is not the business of Government.

EFFICIENT SYSTEM

But increased revenues alone is not the only benefit to be derived from this project.

With the same quality of care and services, if not better, KNH Prime Care Centre currently offers more competitive rates than those from similar facilities in the country, between 50 – 60 per cent lower.

As KNH, we believe ventures like these will set our country on the path to ensuring fewer of the citizenry have any need to travel abroad for specialised medical care.

Engineer Nicolas Gumbo, Board Chair, KNH


Uhuru should alight from his jet, reshape legacy

TOM MSHINDIBy TOM MSHINDI
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A popular tongue-in-cheek online jibe last week was a sardonic play on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s frequent absences from the country, an obvious dig at a President who appears to be living in bliss as the economic foundations of the country unravel.

The picture of our President traversing the world from China, to Singapore, to New York, to Japan, to Russia, to Saudi Arabia etc. all in a few weeks in the comfort of a luxury jet that only the very top dollar can buy is not one of a person presiding over a politically divided country on the edge of economic collapse.

The Finance Cabinet Secretary is explicit that unless Senate backs the National Assembly and endorses the request that Government can borrow up to Sh9 trillion, then it will not meet its budgetary commitments in the current financial year.

The Government is taking this unusual step because it has already burst the allowable borrowing threshold of 50 per cent of its GDP. Senate will rule this week.

Treasury last month defaulted on a Sh500 million loan that was due. That Kenya can default on payment of such a relatively small loan demonstrates just how deep in a hole the country is in.

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Treasury is scaling back its commitments for this year by a hefty Sh400 billion by slashing proposed expenditure across a number of items and it has already warned that its anticipated budget deficit will be much larger than anticipated, meaning it will have to borrow more.

The effects of this ominous situation are already evident. Millions of Kenyan families are living a true pauper’s life – hand to mouth with many instances when there is nothing in the hand to feed the mouth.

Job losses as companies attack their costs has prompted an unusual aggression from the Kenya Revenue Authority to force Kenyans to pay taxes.

Problem is that even those that were not paying for whatever reasons are grappling with cash flow challenges and truly may be unable to pay even if the spirit was willing. The Judiciary is shutting down as magistrates and judges cite inability to preside over cases because of lack of basics like writing material in courts. A case in court to stop the CS from reducing the Judiciary allocation may be won but they will only get their money at the expense of someone else.

The public so far has met this economic pummelling stoically but the question is being asked: For how long? In Mombasa, periodic low key protests are being staged by wananchi unhappy with the move to transfer imported goods clearance from the coast city to Nairobi and the not-so-subtle move by the government to force importers to use the controversial SGR to transport their containers from Mombasa.

SOCIAL MEDIA

While the disenchanted in Mombasa have been galvanised to action by a single common grievance, how long will it take before the hundreds of thousands across the country that have little or nothing to look forward to, who wake up to the reality that nothing matters and no one cares to address their hopelessness, find a voice that calls them to action?

The tool exists in form of the mobile phone and its social media platforms. It is just the trigger and the voice that is yet to reveal itself.

The opposition that should be making distress calls is effectively neutered by a handshake that has left Kenyans shouting in the dark.

I repeat what I have said before – the President has slightly more than 24 months to restore the country on the path on which President Mwai Kibaki had set it.

Tom Mshindi is the former editor-in-chief of the Nation Media Group and is now consulting. [email protected], @tmshindi)


Let us go for a federal system to allay fears raised by leaders

The Tangatanga-leaning Mt Kenya MPs who on October 24th publicly issued “irreducible” conditions to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) are neither smart nor strategic.

Their timing and calculation were way off the mark. For starters, they were faulting a report which had not yet officially come out. When the BBI team was visiting their counties, most of them never showed up to air their views – or concerns. Why now?

Secondly, if their aim was to derail the BBI train at this late hour, the tactic backfired. Indeed, in their hasty short-sightedness, they only provoked leaders from other regions to start marshalling their positions to counter them.

Notice how National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale felt emboldened to immediately go on the warpath with a counter-proposal for a parliamentary system, precisely the thing the group was speaking against. He sounded turbo-charged.

FUND ALLOCATIONS

To be sure, their core demand – equity in the distribution of parliamentary constituencies as well as in county fund allocations – is a sentiment shared by the entire mainstream leadership across the Mt Kenya region, not just by the homegrown Tangatanga faction.

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The question is whether demonising BBI is a shrewd way of achieving those goals, or whether taking advantage of this BBI process and shaping it for the larger political and economic benefit of the region isn’t the cleverer approach.

A more grown-up Mt Kenya response to the anticipated unveiling of the BBI report came on Tuesday from a group of governors who fall under the ten-county Central Region Economic Bloc.

Led by their chairman, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, they cautioned that it was premature to start throwing “emotive” barbs at a report that has not yet been made public.

DEVOLUTION

Don’t undermine the BBI initiative before we see the product, so warned the governors in a pointed dig at their parliamentary counterparts opposing the yet-to-be-released report. The governors stressed they will evaluate BBI by how it treats devolution, specifically on the matter of transferring more funds to county governments.

“We shouldn’t run politics by way of threats: ‘If you don’t do this, I won’t do this’. Let’s wait for the report,” advised Laikipia Governor Ndiiritu Muriithi in a separate interview. Earlier, Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki had dispensed with the niceties. He declared he was waiting for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s stance and would go with that. Aha?

The underlying jostling over BBI is symptomatic of the raw divisions that have quickly emerged and which have taken unusual turns.

Here was Duale, an abiding pillar of Deputy President William Ruto’s political wing, berating their Tangatanga chapter in Mt Kenya. Stranger still, Duale was staking his BBI position (ostensibly on behalf of pastoralist minorities) in clear contradiction to the known preference of Ruto’s Rift Valley base, which hopes (?) to inherit the existing structure of government and the undiluted powers of the Presidency intact.

HIGH OFFICE

That is if their man makes it to the high office. If Duale is genuine, then a lot of horse-trading looks like it is coming, and the regions should better get ready to put together their strongest teams to handle the deal-making. Is Lamu ready? Or West Pokot?

All along, the DP’s camp has been dead set against any proposed expansion of the Executive to accommodate the office of prime minister and deputies.

Though lately he has been taking a somewhat different tack, Ruto remains deeply hostile to the BBI, which he believes is a ploy to block him from his all-consuming ambition to become president.

It could very well be, because the powers-that-be don’t seem to trust him holding the levers of powers.

Why that is the case is not for me to say. All that I am sure of is that Uhuru knows Ruto very deeply more than the Tangatanga and Kieleweke formations in their shouting match will ever know. What Uhuru knows about his estranged partner is what we Kenyans need to know. The rest is detail.

Truth is, the equity in constituency representation the Mt Kenya Tangatanga mob was fronting for can be bargained for in either parliamentary or presidential systems. Either system can work.

Or even a mongrel one. It’s not either/or. But why shouldn’t we think out of the box? Why not go federal? We are already halfway there with a half-baked version of majimbo which we are calling devolution. Let’s remember federalism is a much preferred choice by many countries.

Some are diverse, others not so. Ethiopia is federal, with an option for any region wishing to secede to do so. Nigeria is federal. Germany is federal.

The USA is federal. So is India. The beauty of federalism is that the naked tribalism we see in Kenya can be contained in a constitutional format.

From there we will see how the different regions will fare. Each to its own. Oh yes, and Mike Sonko can continue running Nairobi, to its peril.

Let’s go federal.


Sports ministry initiates measures to foster integrity

This week Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia responds to your questions.

1. All Kenyan sports federations and associations are in a management crisis due to corruption among officials who have made a habit of exploiting our sportsmen and women in both national and international competitions. What is your office doing to clean up the mess and reform the sector? Daniel Murugu, Nakuru

I refute the assertion that there is a management crisis in the federations.

However, the State Department has identified areas that need improvement to promote integrity in sports.

We have come up with a raft of measures to reform the sports sector in the country.

Among other things we have reviewed our procedures and guidelines on financing sports federations to improve accountability.

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We have made changes across the board and are beginning to see results in many areas, including athletics and non-traditional areas.

We are carrying out training for the federations every Thursday and invite all interested parties to join us.

It is a practical class where federations learn about the procedures for applying for support from the Fund.

We have made it clear that all federations must adhere to existing laws, which include the Sports Act 2013, the Anti-doping Act 2016, and other international laws.

The month of October was one of celebration after celebration as our athletes broke records, led by Eliud Kipchoge.

However, the concerns of many athletics enthusiasts are the many reported cases of doping involving even some of the big names in athletics.

2. Sir, is the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) sufficiently resourced even as National Treasury implements austerity measures across all government departments and agencies? Do you have confidence that ADAK is ring-fenced from corrupt individuals in its crucial duties? Komen Moris, Eldoret

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is one of the most important organs in our ministry.

The government appreciates the critical work that it does in promoting “clean” sports and it has continued to support the agency by providing the necessary resources to enable it perform its work effectively.

The agency continues to play a very special role and is one of the institutions that are globally respected.

A number of international partners are interested in collaborating with ADAK with a view to strengthening the fight against doping.

I have confidence and wish to confirm that the agency is in good hands in terms of leadership and management. ADAK is safe from any interference.

3. Successive sports ministries have grappled with and failed to address the thorny issue of sporting organisations, teams and individuals lacking finances to fund their programmes. What are you doing to turn the tide? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

We appreciate that financial constraints have been a major challenge to sports development over the years.

However, this challenge is surmountable. The government established the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to address some of these challenges.

At the same time, we are encouraging sports federations to reduce over-reliance on funding from the government.

The corporate sector has over the years supported the development of sports in Kenya.

We encourage sports federations to improve their relationships with the non-state actors to advance their programmes.

We also encourage players in the corporate sector to support sports programmes as a way of developing sports and transforming communities.

Money provided to sports has a tax rebate. Corporates should take advantage of this law. The ministry is working with some corporates to fund sports.

It is however the responsibility of federations to finance their sports programmes and we encourage them to come up with innovative ways of generating finances.

These include developing vibrant marketing strategies and increasing their fan base. Other ways include merchandising and membership.

4. Kenyans were hopeful that the sports policy and Sports Act of 2013 would bring order and ensure development of sports in the country, but it seems nothing much has changed. What are you doing to address the sorry state? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

The sector is undergoing major changes. The institutions created by the Sports Act 2013 are fully operational.

The ministry is currently reviewing the Sports Policy and the Sports Act, 2013 for possible amendments that will help to develop sports in this country.

No change comes without resistance. We have changed the old ways and today athletes are at the centre of policy and operations.

We have also established clear checks and balances for greater accountability, transparency and efficiency.

Demand for accountability should not only come from the ministry, but also the sporting fraternity and the public.

We must demand accountability and clarity in expenditure of public resources.

5. In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Deputy President William Ruto promised that six stadiums of international standards would be built. This was to happen in six months. To date, we haven’t seen anything. Where are these stadiums that were promised? Could you mention any stadiums that the national government has built in, say, the last five years? Joseph Wafula, Mumias

The government is committed to delivering on its promise of building stadia.

The stadia are in various stages of completion. Delays in completion of the facilities have been due to financial constraints.

We have discussed with the contractors the payment modalities and they have accepted to go back to work.

6. Sir, how has your ministry supported body-building in Kenya? Why is it that we have never had a national event in body-building held with support from the ministry to the Kenya Body Building Federation (KBBF)? Gerald Mwangi

The government is committed to developing all disciplines, including body-building.

This will help us diversify areas in which our country performs well and also develop the talents of our youth.

I would like to encourage the Kenya Body Building Federation to strengthen its relationship with sports stakeholders, including the government.

We are going to work together for the growth of body-building in Kenya.

7. Football fans in the country have become more and more attracted to European leagues compared to the local one. If we rule out the major issues affecting football clubs in Kenya such as sponsorship challenges and mismanagement, what can the ministry do to make Kenyans follow local football? Oluchina Antony, Eldoret

The ministry has been working with FKF and other sports federations to increase spectators’ enthusiasm and interest in local sports.

We have in the past waived gate charges to encourage fans to attend matches.

We are working with other agencies to improve safety and security during sports events; this has increased fans’ confidence when attending matches.

We are working with the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya and the media fraternity to publicise local competitions and to raise public awareness.

We appreciate that the media gives sports adequate space and will continue working together to increase the local content.

The government has provided tax incentives for corporates to sponsor sports, including football.

We are negotiating with local and international academies and clubs to establish units in various parts of the country.

8. Why is it proving to be very difficult for sports federations to get funding for national teams from the Sports Fund or the national government? Who is not doing his job in planning ahead? Jeff Kinyanjui, Nairobi

No matter how much money there is, no amount can satisfy the sports need unless it is properly used and accounted for.

The Fund has developed procedures and processes that must be adhered to for any federation or programme to access funding.

Funding is based on priority list of the sports events. Federations have been enlightened on the processes and procedures through various forums, including training and meetings.

We encourage sports federations to continue familiarising themselves with the requirements and operations of the Fund.

The federations must be ready to be audited for all finances that they manage and to fully disclose any other sources of funding for the programmes for which they seek support from the Fund.

I wish to reiterate the need for structure, procedure and accountability. Integrity must be the guiding principle for the fund to meet its mandate.

9. We hear of last-minute rush to purchase air tickets every time our national teams are due to represent the country in international tournaments. Why does the Sports ministry wait for the last minute to perform such administrative tasks? Who gains in this last-minute confusion? Jeff Kinyanjui, Nairobi

The ministry has always insisted on timely planning and sharing of information. However, this does not always happen.

To address the problem, we have issued guidelines that require federations and organisers to provide details of all persons travelling for international sports events at least two months before the event.

The system is now in place to address these challenges. The last two major events had the allowances and tickets provided in good time because information was given in good time.

10. Our county governments seem uninterested in matters relating to sports. They give many promises, such as putting up modern sports facilities, without effective implementation and follow-up. What is your take on this and how can your ministry step in to bridge this gap? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

Sports is a concurrent function between the two levels of government. Through the inter-governmental relations mechanisms, we are encouraging county governments to enhance support to the sports sector.

The ministry provides technical support on sports to county governments and is also working with them through the Kenya Academy of Sports to identify, nurture and develop sports talents at the grassroots.

11. Your public spat with FKF president Nick Mwendwa is not good for development of sports, and the adversarial relationship the two of you gives us, sports lovers, goosebumps about the future of football in the country. What is the genesis of this bad blood between the two of you? For the sake of the beautiful game, can you put your personal differences aside and work together for the good of football in the country? Bramwell Osotsi, Nairobi

There is nothing personal between me and Nick Mwenda.

The ministry has supported football over the years, including the just-concluded Afcon.

However, we insist on accountability and procedures when it comes to management of public finances.

We would also want federations to follow the necessary procedures on accessing financing from the government.

Secondly, for those that have received public funds, they must bear the responsibility to account truthfully and fully for the funds.

This is the law. If you are asked to answer 1+4 you cannot choose 4+7 and claim to have answered. Nick is my very good friend.


Allay fears over city road

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The quick assurance by the government that not an inch of Nairobi’s Uhuru Park will be carved out for construction of an expressway from JKIA to the Westlands suburb should lay to rest public anxiety over the project.

However, without full disclosure on how the design is going to be rejigged, the assurance will still leave some doubts lingering in the minds of Doubting Thomases.

There has been a public outcry following reports that 1.3 acres of the park would be hived off for construction of the road. If that was the initial plan, it was the second attempt to invade and drastically interfere with this prime spot in the city.

ENVIRONMENT

The first, in the 1990s, was fought off successfully by the late environmental conservation icon, Prof Wangari Maathai.

It is, therefore, quite encouraging to note that the official response to the outrage has come from none other than Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. This is a welcome gesture and an assurance that the government listens to the concerns of its citizens.

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Also, this is a big infrastructure project financed, like many others, by foreign loans. Such projects will eventually become a burden on the taxpayer as the country begins to repay them.

The cost of the new highway is estimated to be a whopping Sh59.9 billion through a public-private partnership. Some 25,000 motorists will pay for its use at a cost of Sh11.24 per kilometre, with the entire distance costing Sh300 per car.

IMMEDIATE RETURNS

This is a massive undertaking with no major immediate returns. It is, therefore, essential that the people are not forced to shoulder the heavy double-burden of loan repayments and meeting the high cost of operations.

Granted, the expressway is meant to be a pay-for-use project to ease endemic traffic congestion in the city, but it is these same Kenyans who will have to fork out the high charges to enable the cost of construction to be recouped.

This is precisely why it is important for these projects to be rationalised.


This borrowing spree has run out of control

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Kenya’s debt burden has grown astronomically in the past seven years and is now precipitating a crisis. Unless urgent restructuring is done, the country faces a scenario where it cannot pay back its debts.

For instance, about 43 per cent of debt from the local market matures next year but it seems the National Treasury may not pay back the cash. That is a recipe for disaster.

Inability to retire debts sends negative signals to the market and puts a country in bad books internationally. High debt crowds out cash for capital development and puts the government on the cesspit of cyclic borrowings.

The challenge for Kenya is the incapacity to live within its means. It borrows heavily to meet its budgetary requirements, and worse even for recurrent expenditure, as demonstrated with the Eurobond cash. Consumption is high but productivity minimal.

Matters are exacerbated by the fact that some of the borrowed cash is embezzled and therefore never serves the intended purpose.

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In 2012, the debt portfolio was Sh1.9 trillion, which then represented 49.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Since then, the figure has risen to Sh5.8 trillion in the 2018/19 financial year, nearly twice the national budget and representing 62.3 per cent of the GDP, closer to the tipping point of 70 per cent. International best practice demands that the debt ratio to the GDP should not pass 50 per cent.

The Jubilee administration has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for debt. It has defined itself with profligate spending to push large-scale infrastructure projects which are largely populist as they have minimal returns on investment.

On this score, the classic example remains the Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi, built at a cost of Sh327 billion borrowed from China, but which makes huge losses, meaning it is unable to pay back the loan.

Several other mega projects, such as the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme at the Coast which consumed Sh7 billion, have come a cropper.

Dreams of huge dams, wide roads and massive extension of electricity connectivity, though noble, have become nightmares.

Despite the high debt regime, the government is still looking at raising the borrowing cap to Sh9 trillion. It must cut costs, expand productivity, tighten financial management, fix corruption and tame this appetite for borrowing.