Main Menu

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

 

Décès à Abidjan de Charles Koffi Diby, président du Conseil économique

Publié le 08.12.2019 à 01h18 par APA

Le président du Conseil économique, social, culturel et environnemental (CESEC) de Côte d’Ivoire, Charles Koffi Diby, est décédé samedi à Abidjan, à l’âge de 62 ans, des suites d’une longue maladie, selon des sources proches de sa famille.Le décès de M. Charles Koffi Diby est survenu à 13 heures GMT (heure locale) « à son domicile » à Abidjan, ont indiqué des sources proches de la famille de l’ancien ministre de l’Économie et des finances.

Des rumeurs qui avaient récemment circulé sur son décès notamment sur les réseaux sociaux, ont été démenties par son entourage. Ces derniers mois, M. Charles Diby, était apparu très affaibli physiquement.

M. Charles Diby, également ex-ministre des affaires étrangères et un cadre du Parti démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (Pdci, opposition), ex-allié au pouvoir, a rejoint le Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la démocratie et la paix (Rhdp), la coalition au pouvoir, présidée par Alassane Ouattara.

Avant d’être nommé ministre de l’Économie et des finances, sous l’ère de l’ancien président Laurent Gbagbo, il avait occupé le poste de directeur général du Trésor public ivoirien, une fonction qu’ il a assumé à la suite d’un appel à candidature.


Fusillade en Floride: les enquêteurs cherchent à savoir si le tireur saoudien a agi seul

Publié le 07.12.2019 à 23h50 par AFP

Les investigations se poursuivaient samedi au lendemain de la fusillade qui a fait trois morts sur une base aéronavale de Floride, notamment pour déterminer si le tireur saoudien, en formation militaire aux Etats-Unis, avait agi seul.

« Nous allons faire toute la lumière là-dessus », a affirmé le président américain Donald Trump depuis les jardins de la Maison Blanche. « Nous cherchons à savoir ce qui s’est passé, s’il s’agit d’une personne ou de plusieurs ».

Selon le New York Times, qui cite une source anonyme, six ressortissants saoudiens ont été interrogés sur les lieux de l’attaque, dont deux l’ayant filmée dans son intégralité.

« Les motivations du tireur sont toujours indéterminées », a indiqué sur Twitter le bureau de Jacksonville de la police fédérale américaine (FBI), qui enquête aux côtés d’une unité spécialisée dans l’antiterrorisme.

Un membre de l’armée de l’air saoudienne a ouvert le feu vendredi avec une arme de poing dans une salle de cours de la base de Pensacola, faisant trois morts et sept blessés avant d’être abattu par la police.

Il avait publié sur Twitter avant son attaque des messages hostiles envers les Etats-Unis, a rapporté le groupe de surveillance des mouvements jihadistes SITE.

« Je suis contre le mal, et l’Amérique dans son ensemble s’est transformée en nation du mal », a écrit l’assaillant, identifié par SITE comme s’appelant Mohammed al-Shamrani.

Selon les médias américains, les enquêteurs cherchaient à vérifier si l’auteur de l’attaque avait bien publié ces écrits, dans lesquels il citait l’ancien dirigeant du réseau jihadiste Al-Qaïda, le Saoudien Oussama ben Laden.

Quinze des 19 pilotes qui avaient détourné des avions et provoqué la mort de quelque 3.000 personnes lors des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 étaient originaires d’Arabie saoudite.

– Aide saoudienne aux familles –

Après avoir condamné cette fusillade « abominable », Ryad a tenté samedi de prendre ses distances avec son ressortissant.

« Comme de nombreux membres de l’armée saoudienne, j’ai été formé sur une base militaire américaine et nous avons mis à profit cet entraînement (…) pour combattre le terrorisme et d’autres menaces, main dans la main avec nos alliés américains », a souligné sur Twitter le prince Khaled ben Salmane, vice-ministre saoudien de la Défense.

Donald Trump, qui s’est directement entretenu par téléphone avec le roi Salmane, a affirmé samedi que les dirigeants saoudiens étaient « très affectés » par les événements de la veille.

« Le roi veillera à ce que l’on prenne soin des familles et des proches » des victimes, a ajouté le président américain. « Je pense qu’ils (les Saoudiens) aideront très largement les familles ».

Le gouvernement saoudien « se retrouve redevable d’une dette ici, étant donné qu’il s’agit d’un de ses ressortissants », avait déclaré vendredi le gouverneur de la Floride Ron DeSantis.

Le frère aîné de l’une des trois victimes, Joshua Watson, a confié vendredi soir dans un poignant message sur Facebook avoir vécu « la pire journée de (sa) vie ».

« Mon petit frère a sacrifié sa vie pour son pays dans une fusillade absurde », écrit-il. « Il est mort en héros et nous en sommes plus que fiers, mais sa mort laisse dans nos coeurs un vide qui ne sera jamais comblé ».

Située dans le nord-ouest de la Floride, la base aéronavale de Pensacola est utilisée par l’US Navy pour des programmes d’entraînement destinés aux militaires de pays alliés.


Joshua defeats Ruiz to reclaim heavyweight crown

Britain’s Anthony Joshua reclaimed his world heavyweight crown from Andy Ruiz on Saturday, outclassing the Mexican-American to score a unanimous points victory.

Joshua, who suffered a stunning knockout defeat to Ruiz in in New York in June, produced a boxing masterclass to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in emphatic fashion.

Dominating from the outset, Joshua won by margins of 118-110 on two scorecards with the third judge making it 119-109.


We have values; question is, are we happy about them?

JOYCE NYAIROBy JOYCE NYAIRO
More by this Author

Last week, I argued that ethnic identity is a social construct.

No one is born with an ethnicity written into their genes. Everyone is socialised into an ethnic identity by being exposed to its rituals and value systems.

But ethnicity is more than the language of the home, otherwise many would be labelled Swahilis.

It is possible to carry the blood of two Kamba-speaking people who have never left Ndithini and end up with Nandi ethnicity because the mores of that community are the dominant ones you have been exposed to.

Consider the case of Nadia, the girl who was rescued from a forest in Masinga four years ago, adopted by Deputy President William Ruto and given the name of his mother, Cherono.

In his memoir Dreams in a Time of War (2010), Ngugi wa Thiong’o reveals that his paternal grandfather was Maasai.

Advertisement

If the Maasai are patrilineal, how did Ngugi become Gikuyu? His grandfather strayed into Murang’a — “a war ransom … or an abandoned child escaping famine”.

He was given the name Nducu, a guesstimate of the Maa word he kept uttering.

CULTURAL IDENTITY

Anecdotal evidence reveals that William Wamalwa, father of the late Vice-President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, was born and raised as a Sabaot.

How he became Bukusu and acquired the name Wamalwa, meaning one who brews alcohol, is the story of mobility and integration common to all communities, traditional and modern.

This is contrary to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report’s assertions that identity is untidy and culture is hybrid, often “operating between two or more sometimes contradictory worlds”.

That is why a people who first encountered the Bible barely 80 years ago in oppressive conditions now recite it as part of their ancient lore as they complain about foreign influences.

The examples of numerous Kenyans — including former Vice-President Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi and my current MP, Dr Swarup Mishra Kiprop arap Chelule, who had lived in Kenya for just 20 years before he was elected to represent the people of Kesses — demonstrate that cultural identity, just like national identity, is mutable.

It can change over time through socialisation and be legalised.

The BBI is therefore right to posit that we can map what Kenyan identity should look like by establishing the values through which we will learn how to be Kenyans.

But BBI gets it wrong in its implicit assumption that at present, Kenyans do not have national values, that the only things that hold us together are blood and soil.

VANITY PRESS

They may be unwritten and distasteful, but here are the values that shape our consciousness and determine our everyday actions — the ones we must unlearn.

We glorify being first — look at the annual headline splash over Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) “winners”, or the “overlappers” on our highways.

We glorify being right — for the sake of winning, not in pursuit of justice.

We worship being seen in church — not in contrite search of wisdom, but in a wanton show of might.

We place a high premium on amassing certificates rather than on gaining knowledge.

We value conspicuous consumption over humility, so we shy away from asking where one got the money to live as large as they do.

Acres of vanity press refer to a “businessman”, without ever seeing the need to name what they produce and how many people they employ.

Kenya was founded on the ethos of harambee, pulling together. How quickly we corrupted that spirit!

The BBI report says “the behaviour of the State and its leadership was too often at odds with what it was preaching”. Indeed.

HUMANE VALUES

Harambee cards to raise funds became part of the tyranny of the State in chiefs’ offices.

They also became the excuse for the State’s underperformance in guaranteeing food security, health and education.

We are still trying to “Paybill” our way to health, and fundraising for imaginary burials and weddings is now part of our social fabric.

Clearly, our problem is that we do not have humane values, the kind that condition one to forever want good things for other people.

The word “other” is important here because it raises our eyes beyond those who we think are like us, to those who paint as different.

Humane values, like empathy, decentre the self. They privilege the vulnerable majority. They diminish the private and elevate the public — public spaces, health and education.

Some will argue that being first and amassing certificates are not values but the wayward behaviour of a few.

But when the wayward behaviour of a few is rewarded by the State to the point where it is coveted by a critical mass in order to bag the society’s markers of success, we have moved from wayward to value.

We won’t redefine our values until we redefine success.

The highest incentive for upholding a value is the reward earned for doing so. That reward should be your peace of mind.

When our idea of success is revised, BBI’s plan to use cultural initiation programmes to teach national values will be great.

But the clash between some ethnic values and some constitutional rights prevails.

Many initiation rites would have to be remarkably reworked to erase toxic attitudes that condition boys to disregard girls, contributing to an already out-of-hand culture of rape and femicide.

Expanding cosmopolitan initiation programmes where boys and girls are initiated together and taught the values of (self) respect, among others, may be worthwhile.

Last week, I indicated that Prof Palamagamba John Kabudi was less than comprehensive in his history of identity politics in Tanzania.

Forget his erasure of DO Misiani, whose story would have forced the professor to acknowledge that Misiani was fleeing the intolerance of the Moi State, Prof Kabudi was also silent on a more urgent question.

Is Tanzania today a tolerant society, free of othering on the perceived basis of origins and ethnic language?

Can it honestly describe itself as a capitalist nation that has disavowed ethnic identity as a tool of accumulation and a vehicle to access and retain power? I have it on good record that it can’t, not anymore.

The control of a society’s memory — regulating what is remembered and what is ignored or erased — is a valuable tool for maintaining and legitimating political power.

When the State oversees the writing of history, it obliterates whatever threatens it.

Chinua Achebe declared, “until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”.

When BBI talks of “an official and inclusive” history, are they promising that this government is now ready to disclose all the official records it holds with regard to the acquisition of certain lands and the murders of Pinto, Mboya, Karumba, JM, Ouko, Msando, and all those others for whom every stone that would have led to their murderers remains resolutely unturned?

What would a comprehensive history of the Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station or the Kisumu Molasses Plant look like?

What would an inclusive history of the 1969 oathing in Gatundu include?

The only business the State has in documenting histories is to make robust funding available to journalists, scholars, curators, and artists to do their work.

That funding can be managed by the National Academy of Sciences or better still, by the long-awaited National Arts Council.

Armed with the requisite political will, the revamped Ministry of Culture that BBI dreams of, and a progressive Ministry of Education, can consort to conceive policies that will flatline ethnic suspicion and recalibrate national values. Ask me how another day.


Student dies after bar balcony collapsed in Chuka

ALEX NJERUBy ALEX NJERU
More by this Author

One person died and 13 other were injured after a bar balcony collapsed in Chuka, Tharaka-Nithi.

The victim was a student at Kenyatta University and the survivors are all students at Chuka University.

Meru South Deputy County Commissioner Albanas Ndiso said the students were drinking beer when the balcony collapsed at 1am.

The victim died on the spot.

“One died and 13 are receiving treatment at the Chuka County Referral Hospital,” said Mr Ndiso.

Advertisement

He added that four are in critical condition.

Mr Ndiso said the owner of the Coco Lounge bar was immediately arrested and is being held at Chuka Police Station. He will arraigned on Monday, Mr Ndiso said.

Following the incident, Tharaka-Nithi County Physical Planning and Housing executive Jasper Nkanya ordered his officers to investigate and establish what caused the collapse of the balcony at the recently constructed building.

He asked contractors working in the region to strictly adhere to the Construction Authority requirements to avoid such horrible incidences.

The owner of the bar was arrested following the The owner of the bar was arrested following the incident. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“As a county government we will not compromise standards in construction of houses,” said Mr Nkanya.

Students who witnessed the incident said the balcony collapsed when the bar was full of revellers, mostly Chuka University students.

“I heard a big bang followed by screams and I rushed outside,” said Elijah Magana, student at the university. “We found several of our colleagues on the writhing in pain on the ground as they called for help.”

James Kamau, another student, said most of the injured were hit by debris.

The incidence comes barely a week after a nominated member of Tharaka-Nithi County Assembly, Ms Anita Mbae, tabled a motion at the county assembly seeking scrutiny of all commercial and residential houses in the county towns and markets to ensure that they are safe.

In the motion that was endorsed unanimously, Ms Mbae said some houses in Chuka town that are in a deplorable state.


Police to charge Mike Sonko with assault


Ibrahim Akasha's sentencing postponed because he is 'confused'

KEVIN J. KELLEYBy KEVIN J. KELLEY
More by this Author

In New York

The scheduled sentencing on Friday of confessed drug trafficker Ibrahim Akasha has been postponed until January 10.

This latest delay means that Ibrahim, a 30-year-old Kenyan citizen, will have been held in detention facilities in New York for nearly three years by the time he learns the length of his prison term.

It could range from 10 years to life.

Ibrahim’s older brother, Baktash, was handed a 25-year sentence in August.

LEGAL PROCESS

Advertisement

Dawn Cardi, Ibrahim’s defence attorney, said in an interview on Friday that the planned session in federal court in Manhattan did not take place because her client has “unanswered questions” about his status.

Under US court rules, sentencing cannot proceed if convicted or confessed criminals persuade judges that concerns about legal proceedings have not been adequately addressed.

In a recent note to presiding Judge Victor Marrero, Ibrahim Akasha said he is “confused” and “lost” because he has not gotten clarification of his legal situation from Ms Cardi.

Ibrahim’s expression of bewilderment may also reflect his long isolation. He has not received a single social visit since US drug agents transported him from Nairobi to New York on January 29, 2017, Ms Cardi said last month.

Ibrahim told Judge Marrero that he has not had a substantive discussion with his attorney since his most recent court appearance on November 8.

He added that Ms Cardi did visit him in a Manhattan detention centre on November 26, but “her stay was short and brief due to her having to see other clients.”

“I never had time to share with my concerns with her and ask questions I’ve wanted to ask,” Ibrahim wrote.

“To be honest with you, your honour, I don’t have the slightest idea or clue of what’s going on and I’m confused.”

“I’m lost,” Ibrahim told the judge in closing.

His note is dated November 30, but a court document indicates it was not received by Judge Marrero until December 5. It was on that date that the judge ordered postponement of Ibrahim’s sentencing.

Ibrahim’s confusion arises from Judge Marrero’s statement at the November 8 court session that errors by another judge could invalidate the guilty pleas made last year by the two Akasha brothers.

US Magistrate Judge Katharine Parker had “misidentified or failed to state relevant portions of the United States Code” at the Akashas’ plea session on October 25, 2018, senior US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman recounted in a recent letter to Judge Marrero.

Prosecutors and defence attorneys have agreed that these errors should not invalidate the Akasha brothers’ guilty pleas, Mr Berman told the judge.

Lawyers on both sides of the case further agreed that Ibrahim’s December 6 sentencing should take place as scheduled, Mr Berman continued in his November 26 letter to Judge Marrero. But, the prosecutor suggested, Ibrahim should be given the opportunity at the December 6 session to indicate whether he “wishes to maintain his plea.”

That opportunity did not arise because Judge Marrero determined that Ibrahim’s note to him necessitated a postponement of sentencing.

Ms Cardi said on Friday that she has recently spoken to Ibrahim and believes his concerns have been allayed.

She added that she now expects Ibrahim’s sentencing to take place on January 10 — “unless something else arises.”


Motorists spend night in cold on Nairobi-Nakuru highway

BAYA SAMUELBy BAYA SAMUEL
More by this Author

Travellers were forced to spend the night on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway following a huge traffic snarl-up at Gilgil.

The gridlock affected all lanes and caused anguish to travellers headed to various destinations.

The jam started Friday evening and by Saturday 7am there were no signs of relief.

Some travellers blamed police for not taking action in a timely manner.


Wealthy Kenyans sitting on Sh1.4 trillion cash pile

OTIATO GUGUYUBy OTIATO GUGUYU
More by this Author

Corporates and wealthy individuals are sitting on a cash pile worth Sh1.41 trillion in a soft economy where investment options are becoming limited.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that long-term and fixed deposits associated with the wealthy, money market funds and cash-rich corporates rose from Sh1.11 trillion in October 2017, reflecting a growth of 27 percent.

Foreign currency deposits also rose from Sh553.2 billion to Sh625.3 billion in the period under review, an indication that the wealthy are protecting their value and hedging against the local currency over investing their fortunes.

The revelation comes in the backdrop of data showing that the cash in Kenyans’ pockets dropped to a six-year low in September. CBK data shows that cash in circulation outside banks stood at Sh227 billion in October, down from Sh269 billion in the same month last year.

Analysts say high-net worth investors and companies with billions of shillings in fixed accounts have opted not to invest in expanding their businesses or starting new ventures, citing lower sales and returns.

This ultimately had the effect of reducing the amount of money in people’s pockets and cutting circulation of cash outside banks and short-term deposits.

Advertisement

Low returns from a bearish stock market and a slump in real estate has seen the rich opt to keep cash in banks and tap from interest returns that stood at 6.98 percent in September. While companies see the money in banks as a buffer against hard times, it has long riled investors, who say executives should invest it for growth or return it to shareholders. However, with reduced demand, most have preferred to keep cash in banks with money in fixed deposits now equivalent to what the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) collects annually from taxes.

A monthly survey that tracks business output in manufacturing and services sectors revealed that new orders that Kenyan companies received during the month expanded at the slowest rate in six months.

“The future output sub-index still indicates that firms are cautious on activity over the coming year,” said Jibran Qureishi, regional economist for East Africa at Stanbic — which tracks business through its monthly Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). This signals reduced investments and hiring plans and a continuation of job cuts as fairs protect profits.

Companies have been struggling with reduced sales and profits in a soft economy that has persisted since 2017 when Kenya went through a bruising General Election and a repeat presidential election.

Business owners have also accused national and county governments of delaying payments to suppliers worth more than Sh150 billion.

This has hurt businesses that trade with the government, leading some of them to be auctioned on failure to clear bank debts as others cut back on operations.

The government has started to clear pending arrears owed to the private sector in order to alleviate these cash flow constraints.

Last month, Kenya also removed a cap on commercial interest rates that had been in place since 2016. It had been blamed for stifling private sector lending growth and reducing the effectiveness of monetary policy.

Mr Qureishi said the change would boost business activity.

“As commercial banks begin to extend credit…, the private sector will be in a much better position than it …has been for the past two and a half years,” he said.

The rise in deposits has also strengthened bankers’ hand in influencing deposit rates, which have fallen from 8.26 percent in January last year to 6.98 percent in September.


Sh10.1bn SGR revenues revealed

EDWIN OKOTHBy EDWIN OKOTH
More by this Author

The standard gauge railway (SGR) line raked in sales of Sh10.1billion in its second full year of operations, signalling that the mega project will take longer to break even.

Freight services, which started in January 2018, generated Sh8.4 billion in the year to June, internal performance data from Kenya Railways shows.

The data shows that China Communications Construction Company, the operator, increased sales from the passenger service to Sh1.76 billion, up from Sh1.23 billion a year earlier—reflecting a growth of 43 percent.

The revenues were not enough to meet the operation costs, which are estimated at Sh1.5 billion a month or Sh18 billion a year. Kenya Railways had budgeted to earn some Sh24 billion from the cargo service in the year to June, falling 65.56 percent below target.

The below target performance was attributed to reduced limited storage capacity at the Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICDN), minimum use of the Nairobi Freight Terminal that handles cargo not stored in containers and cost tariff.

“There were several instances when the ICDN facility was congested, which impacted heavily on turnaround of resources and thus contributing to movement of low volumes. Closure of some lines also impacted on loading capacity of trains,” Kenya Railways wrote on the report.

Advertisement

The freight services formed the main economic justification for the $3.2 billion (Sh323.20 billion) that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration pumped into the project through loans largely procured from Exim Bank of China from May 2014.

Kenya Railways data shows the freight service moved 4,009,386 tonnes of cargo in the year to June against a target of 8,022,514 tonnes.

In the first full year operation to June last year, SGR made revenues of Sh2.4 billion, but this was based on a freight operations of six months.

Cargo charges on the SGR line from Mombasa to Nairobi were increased by up to 79 percent from January this year in a bid to raise more revenue to pay the Chinese operator.

But some importers said their transport costs shot up by nearly 50 percent when they used the rail due to extra fees, more time spent clearing goods at the Nairobi train depot and the need to send a truck to collect the goods from there.

The below target performance comes at a time when businesses based in Nairobi and upcountry are compelled to use the new railway line because the Mombasa port is contracted to supply it with a minimum amount of cargo.

Moving a 40-foot container to Nairobi by rail costs nearly Sh80,000 – roughly the same as a truck, says the Kenya Transporters Association.

But importers must also pay at least Sh25, 000 for a truck to collect the goods from the Nairobi depot, breaching the Sh100, 000 mark.

The cost of transporting a 20-foot container from Mombasa to Nairobi increased to Sh51,275 in January from Sh35,000, a 46.5 percent rise

Kenya Railways—which acts as the regulator of railway transport—has sought Cabinet approval to cut the freight charges to boost traffic.

Kenya requires additional cash from the railway business to ease the taxpayers’ burden of paying the Chinese SGR operator.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) runs the SGR cargo and passenger business for an undisclosed management fee.

The Treasury also expects the SGR business to generate more revenue to help offset loans taken to build the multi-billion shilling railway line.

The Treasury will pay Sh61.2 billion in the year that started July, up from Sh30.9 billion it paid in the year ended June.

Kenya borrowed Sh324 billion for the project from the bank in May 2014, to be repaid in 15 years, with a grace period of five years.