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Thursday, February 6th, 2020

 

Safety during prayers vital

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The death of at least 20 worshippers in Tanzania on Saturday was baffling.

It is most heartbreaking that so many people who had gathered to commune with the Almighty could die in a most tragic manner.

The worshippers, packed into a stadium in Moshi, crushed one another as they rushed to be anointed with blessed oil offered by Pastor Boniface Mwamposa, head of the Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania.

The self-acclaimed “Apostle” poured what he said was holy oil on the ground and the crowd surged to touch it in the hope of getting cured of sickness.

The prosperity gospel preachers’ amazing capacity to draw crowds cannot be understated.

However, safety and security measures are hardly adhered to on such occasions, exposing the worshippers to danger.

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In 2016, a church roof collapsed on worshippers in Uyo, southern Nigeria, killing at least 160 people.

CROWD MANAGEMENT

Earlier, in 2014, at least 116 people died when a multistorey guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, collapsed.

Most victims were visiting South African followers of the church’s influential founder, TB Joshua.

There is a need for strict adherence to crowd management rules during the prayer sessions. Worship activities, in whichever country, are regulated by the State.

It thus behoves the authorities to ensure that nobody is at risk. It would not be asking for too much to demand that the preaching be realistic and not offer false hope to desperate hordes, probably seeking spiritual compensation for material deprivation, while boosting the preachers’ kitty. Congregants must also resist to be swayed by false preachings.

In the case of the Tanzanian incident, the prayer session is said to have extended into the night, well beyond the authorised hours. That definitely complicated the rescue operations.


Probe and punish the rogues in health sector

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The recent exposé by this newspaper of the rot among some health providers has sparked a chain of reactions.

Several insurance firms have withdrawn services and threatened not to pay for fake bills charged by the said hospitals. Also, doctors have asked for a review of medical insurance contracts.

But these are spasmodic reactions. The whole question of medical billing, insurance cover and payment terms ought to be examined holistically and appropriate sanctions enforced.

A money-minting industry has evolved where doctors, medical facilities and insurance firms collude to steal clients’ money.

For starters, we agree that insurers should not pay for fake or inflated bills. That is outright theft and should be treated as such and the perpetrators penalised for their actions.

Secondly, the authorities ought to probe the malaise in the private hospitals adversely mentioned in the scam and take appropriate action.

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FRAUDSTERS

Heath is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The government itself has declared its intention to provide universal health coverage to ensure all citizens get access to quality and affordable medical care.

The health sector is heavily funded and attracts huge business, making profiteers and scammers to invade it with catastrophic consequences.

Yet, given its sensitivity, this should never be a sector where people make money through crafty deals.

At the centre of the row is Nairobi Women’s Hospital, which, as we reported, has been engaging in unscrupulous tactics to make money.

Patients are admitted even for simple ailments like flu. Conversely, the discharge is delayed, so that the hospital can suck in more cash.

Wide-ranging medical tests are forced on unsuspecting patients only to squeeze cash out of them. We note though, that the hospital has denied the claims.

THOROUGH PROBE

As we have argued before, several other hospitals and clinics do exactly that, only that they have not been spotlighted.

The scam is executed through a network that extend beyond the hospitals to include Health ministry, county officials and industry regulators.

Which is the reason we demand extensive and rigorous investigations to establish the gravity of the decay, identify the hospitals involved and their accomplices and punish them accordingly.

The ministry, the industry regulator, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ought to take up the matter because what a hospital does poses a serious threat to the citizens and funding institutions.

While at it, investigations should also check on the registration of private health facilities, those managing them and even their tax records.

Urgent measures are required to rid the health sector of mercantilists seeking to exploit the sick.


Speakers convene Monday sitting for MPs

IBRAHIM ORUKOBy IBRAHIM ORUKO
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National Assembly and Senate Speakers have summoned special sittings of their Houses on Monday to give the lawmakers a chance to mourn and condole with the family of the former President Daniel arap Moi, who died on Tuesday.

The two Speakers issued the summonses as military police took over the security of Parliament minutes after the government announced that Moi’s body will lie in-state at Parliament Buildings for three days from Saturday through Monday.

Following notices in two separate special editions of the Kenya Gazette published Thursday, the two Speakers acceded to requests from their respective majority leaders and ordered their members to attend the sittings slated for Monday afternoon.

Among the issues Garissa Township MP Aden Duale and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen want the two Houses to consider when they convene are procedural motions that if adopted will adjust the annual calendar of the two Houses and offer members of the National Assembly and Senate the opportunity to debate and offer special condolences to the former President’s long service in Parliament.

The lawmakers were to return from the long Christmas recess on Tuesday next week for the third session of the 12th Parliament, according to the calendars approved by both Houses last year.

ALTER CALENDAR

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However, in the wake of Moi’s death and the decision by the government to gazette Tuesday as a national holiday, both the National Assembly and Senate must alter their calendar, a process that can only be done through a procedural motion, according to Mr Duale.

Mr Duale wants the calendar altered from February 11 and for the record of the House to indicate the third session will start on Thursday, February 13.

Until his retirement in 2002, Mr Moi had served in Parliament for 47 continuous years, starting in 1955, when he became one of the first eight Africans to be elected to the White-dominated Legislative Council, popularly known as Legco.

“Following the Presidential proclamations of February 4, regarding the passing on of Kenya’s second President, Daniel arap Moi, the condolences of this House be recorded in honour of Moi’s long service to this House, his selfless and exemplary service to the republic, and for promoting good neighbourliness and stability in the region,” Mr Duale says in his motion.

The Senate motion is similar. However, Mr Murkomen wants senators to record their condolences “in honour of the late President’s service as a Statesman, Pan Africanist, MP, his contribution to national building and promotion of peace in Africa and the World”.

SECURITY MEETING

On Thursday, security agencies held a meeting at Parliament soon after the government announced that the body will lie in-state for three days.

Senior officials from the National Intelligence Service, National Police Service and the Kenya Defence Forces and parliamentary security held a meeting and developed a mechanism of securing the place ahead of the arrival of the body Saturday morning.

It was decided that the body will be placed in the National Assembly’s reception area in the foyer leading to the chamber from where the public will get a chance to view it.

However, there was panic after the military police asked Parliament staff, who had their cars parked in the open parking area, to remove them by late Thursday or risk the ignominy of the vehicles being towed away.


Côte d’Ivoire: Wattao honoré par ses frères d’armes avant son inhumation vendredi

Le Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara dit Wattao a reçu, jeudi, à la place d’armes « Général Ouattara Thomas d’Aquin » de l’état-major général des armées un « ultime et vibrant hommage » de ses frères d’armes au cours d’une cérémonie militaire avant son inhumation prévue vendredi à Doropo (plus de 600 km au Nord-Est d’Abidjan).Au cours de cette cérémonie présidée par le ministre d’Etat, ministre de la défense Hamed Bakayoko entourés de ses collègues, le Général Vagondo Diomandé (Sécurité et protection civile) et Alain Richard Donwahi (Eaux et forêts)  le défunt a été élevé à titre posthume à la distinction d’Officier de l’Ordre national pour l’ensemble de son œuvre.

Le robuste gaillard, le baobab Wattao s’est affaissé le 05 janvier dernier à News York loin de son pays, à 52 ans. Avant de tirer sa révérence « sans tambours, ni trompette, ni grelot », Issiaka Ouattara, alors Colonel a été promu en décembre 2019, Colonel-major.  Les insignes de ce nouveau grade qu’il n’a pas pu arborer ont été également remis à sa famille pour en assurer la garde.

L’oraison funèbre du Colonel-major dont « la dimension dépasse largement le cadre militaire » a été dit par le Chef d’Etat-major général des armées, le Général de Corps d’armée, Lassina Doumbia.

« Aujourd’hui, jeudi 06 février 2020 sur la place d’arme Général de Corps d’armée Ouattara Thomas d’Aquin de l’état-major général des armées, place la plus illustre des forces armées de Côte d’Ivoire, la Nation et les armées te rendent un ultime et vibrant hommage », a-t-il dit à l’endroit du défunt.

Issu d’une famille de trois enfants, le Colonel-Major Ouattara Issiaka est né le 10 mars 1967 à Doropo, dans la sous-préfecture de Bouna, au Nord-Est de la Côte d’Ivoire.

Séduit par l’attrait de la tenue militaire et le sens de l’honneur qui prône le prestige du métier des armes, il réalise son rêve d’enfant lorsqu’à l’âge de 22 ans, il est incorporé dans les forces armées nationales de Côte d’Ivoire le 1er juillet 1989. Wattao suit ensuite au premier bataillon d’infanterie commando, la formation commune de base qui lui donnera les connaissances fondamentales du soldat.

Dès lors, son parcours professionnel remarquable  à l’instar de son engagement au service des forces armées reflétera la flamme qui l’a animé et les valeurs qui l’ont guidé tout au long de son existence. Deux vertus l’ont caractérisé, son attachement aux valeurs militaires et sa passion pour le sport.

« Si la première vertu a fait de lui un leader, un combattant intrépide et un meneur d’homme, la seconde a mis en exergue sa valeur physique au point d’être sacré vice-champion d’Afrique de judo », a relevé le Général de corps d’armée, Lassina Doumbia, ajoutant qu’en « 2000 sous la transition militaire, il se retrouve en prison. Torturé, il manquera de peu d’être amputer de la jambe ».

Wattao en ressort miraculeusement. Remis de ses blessures, il demeure fidèle à ses convictions. Dès lors, son destin sera intimement lié à la crise militaro-politique qu’a connue la Côte d’Ivoire  de 2000 à 2011. Chef d’état-major adjoint des Forces armées des forces nouvelles (ex-rébellion), « il aura démontré ses capacités de meneur d’homme dans un contexte particulièrement complexe », a rapporté le Chef d’Etat-major général des armées.

A la fin de la crise postélectorale et à la faveur de la réunification des deux armées, Forces armées nationales de Côte d’Ivoire (FANCI) et  Forces armées des Forces nouvelles (FAFN), le Colonel-major issiaka Ouattara cumule les fonctions de Commandant en second de la Garde républicaine et celle des opérations du Centre de coordination des décisions opérationnelles (CCDO), participant ainsi à pacifier la ville d’Abidjan et à normaliser la situation entre  les frères d’armes autrefois opposés.

Le 26 janvier 2017, il est nommé au poste de Commandant de la Garde républicaine. Poursuivant son ascension professionnelle, Wattao est promu Colonel le 1er janvier 2018 et dans le cadre de la réorganisation des structures des commandements de l’état-major général des armées, il est nommé en janvier 2019 Commandant des unités rattachées à l’état-major général des armées avec rang de sous-chef d’état-major.

« Lors des dernières nominations de 2020 au sein du haut commandement des armées, il sera promu au grade de Colonel-major. Hélas, il n’aura pas eu le temps d’arborer les attributs de son nouveau grade (…) pour assumer avec compétence ses responsabilités professionnelles, car il aura fait de l’instruction et de la formation son leitmotiv », a ajouté le Général de corps d’armée, Lassina Doumbia.

Sa volonté d’être plus performant dans son métier le conduira au collège royal de l’enseignement militaire supérieur à Kénitra au Maroc où il obtiendra de manière honorable, son diplôme d’état-major. Sa quête perpétuelle du perfectionnement l’amènera une fois de plus dans le royaume chérifien pour suivre le cours de l’enseignement militaire supérieur du deuxième degré.  Ce second séjour marocain sera couronné en 2018 par son admission au Brevet d’études militaires supérieures (BEMS 2)  ou brevet de l’école de guerre.

« Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara, je peux témoigner de ta volonté d’apprendre, de ta quête perpétuelle du savoir, de ta volonté de te hisser au niveau de tes responsabilités car quand tu avais besoin de réponse ou d’orientation, cela pouvait finir à ressembler à du harcèlement. Aussi renforcer la cohésion au sein des forces de défense et de sécurité a toujours fait partie de tes priorités d’où les nombreuses activités organisées à cet effet », a poursuivi le Général Doumbia.

Selon lui, le mérite de Wattao est d’autant plus grand que de la catégorie des militaires du rang dont il est issu, il a accédé à celle des officiers pour y assumer avec satisfaction de hautes fonctions.

Comme tout homme sujet à l’actualité, le Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara reste un personnage controversé qui  n’a laissé personne indifférente.

Quoiqu’il en soit, l’unanimité est faite de ses qualités intrinsèques de chef, notamment sa capacité à rassembler, à braver l’adversité, à aller au-devant du danger, à rechercher sans cesse le compromis. Si le sens de la responsabilité, le goût de l’action, de la faculté d’adaptation ont fait de lui un leader incontesté, son humanisme a forgé la popularité d’homme adulé.

« Homme au grand cœur, homme généreux, homme humain si j’ai pu me permettre l’expression, il a été un philanthrope qui n’a pas vécu inutilement. Cet altruisme naturel reflet de l’amour du prochain  se caractérisait par les visiteurs de toutes les couches sociales dont ne désemplissaient jamais son bureau et son domicile », a fait observer le chef d’Etat-major.

Pour lui, le départ précipité du Colonel-major Ouattara Issiaka, dans l’au-delà a plongé des milliers de personnes dans l’abîme et le désarroi.

« Tes épouses et  tes enfants sont sans voix, médusés par ce destin implacable et étreint moi-même par la douleur,  je ne trouve pas les mots pour les soulager sauf à leur demander de s’en remettre à la volonté divine », a-t-il ajouté.

« Que dire à tes compagnons de lutte attristés et consternés ? Eux avec qui tu as vécu les affres de la guerre et les incertitudes qui leur sont inhérentes. J’appréhende l’affliction qui est la leur aujourd’hui surtout que ta mort  intervient au moment  où vous goûtez aux délices de la liberté », a encore poursuivi le Général Lassina Doumbia.

Nous échangions « sur tes rêves, sur tes craintes, sur tes doutes, sur tes objectifs, sur des sujets d’ordre personnel. J’ai pu découvrir un homme vrai, sincère, entier, loyal, fidèle à ses convictions mais qui avait l’humilité de reconnaître ses erreurs de jugement ».

«Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara, à tes frères d’armes, tu laisses indéniablement un grand vide. Plusieurs ex- FANCI te portaient dans leur cœur pour ta générosité. Au plus fort de la crise, malgré l’adversité, tu as toujours su te montrer hospitalier, coopératif. Colonel-Major Issiaka Ouattara, tous ceux qui t’ont aimé  sont là ce matin pour te pleurer, t’honorer et se souvenir de ton amour pour les hommes et la vie », a encore dit le Général Doumbia, rendant hommage à un « homme respectueux, attachant, serviable ».

« Tu vois toute cette mobilisation, ce n’est pas de la faiblesse. Si nos larmes coulent, si nos cœurs saignent, c’est simplement l’ampleur du grand vide que tu laisseras. De savoir que nous ne te reverrons  plus. Ne t’inquiètes pas, le Seigneur soulagera nos douleurs. A tous, séchons nos larmes car le Colonel-major Ouattara Issiaka  a accompli son œuvre d’ici-bas. De toutes façon, la longueur ou la beauté de la vie ne se résume point au nombre des années passées  mais plutôt  à ce qu’on a fait des années sur terre.

« Gardons de lui son sens d’engagement, sa jovialité, son humanisme, la somme de sa vie. Rendons à ses épouses et à ses enfants  la générosité qui a été la sienne afin que son existence ne soit enseveli dans le linceul de l’oubli et qu’il vive à jamais dans nos mémoires  et qu’il puisse se dire il fut une fois un certain Wattao », a poursuivi le Général Doumbia, concluant « adieu Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara. Adieu Wattao, Adieu Saha bélé bélé, Adieu mon frère, Adieu mon ami. Que la terre de Doropo qui t’a vu naître, te soit légère ».

Le cérémoniel militaire a été suivi du transfert par voie aérienne de la dépouille du Colonel-major Issiaka Ouattara dit Wattao à Doropo (Bouna) où il sera inhumé vendredi après la prière musulmane de vendredi à 13h00 dans l’intimité familiale. Plusieurs personnalités du pays avec à leur tête le Chef de l’Etat ivoirien Alassane Ouattara ont assisté, mercredi, à la levée du corps à Ivosep de Treichville, dans le Sud de la capitale économique ivoirienne.


Maroc : Le cinéma ivoirien à l’honneur au festival international du film d’Al Hoceima

Publié le 06.02.2020 à 23h18 par APA

Le cinéma ivoirien sera à l’honneur au 3ème festival international du film d’Al Hoceima, qui aura lieu du 7 au 12 avril, sous le thème « Rencontre des cinémas du monde ».Ce troisième festival promet d’ouvrir la saison printanière avec la programmation des grandes œuvres cinématographiques internationales, et ce au grand bonheur des habitants et des visiteurs de la ville d’Al Hoceima, perle de la Méditerranée.

Initiées par l’association Fondation Rif culture et cinéma (FRCC), les activités de cette troisième édition couvriront plusieurs espaces de la ville, notamment le Centre culturel Moulay El Hassan, le Centre culturel espagnol et des places publiques ainsi que des établissements socioculturels d’Al Hoceima.

Cette manifestation va mettre en compétition cette année des longs et courts métrages représentant les différents pays pour remporter les deux prestigieuses distinctions : le Grand prix du festival et le Prix spécial du jury.

Lors de cette édition, il est prévu la projection de sept films ivoiriens en présence d’une pléiade de professionnels de ce pays. C’est la meilleure occasion pour les cinéphiles rifains et les visiteurs de la perle de la Méditerranée de découvrir l’histoire et l’évolution du cinéma ivoirien ainsi que la culture de ce pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest.

Il est également prévu un panorama du cinéma marocain avec la programmation de six longs-métrages marocains ayant déjà été distingués lors des événements nationaux et internationaux.

D’un autre côté, cette édition programme encore cette année des hommages à des artistes, connus par la contribution dans le développement de l’expérience cinématographique de leurs pays respectifs.


CERF releases $30 million to urgently save lives and reduce civilian suffering in northwest Syria

(New York, 06 February 2020): UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock today announced, at a UN Security Council meeting, the release of US$30 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to immediately scale-up shelter and other critical assistance to thousands of civilians bearing the brunt of the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in northwest Syria.

Air strikes and shelling have forced an estimated 586,000 people, mostly women and children, to move in the attempt to find safety. Some 200,000 people moved in the 8 days between 26 January and 2 February. An additional 280,000 people from urban centres in the region, face an imminent risk of displacement if military operations continue.

“We have seen chaotic pictures in town after town as vehicles line up in every direction trying to flee. People who have just moved cannot find adequate shelter. Tens of thousands are crammed into schools, mosques and unfinished buildings. Many are in tents in the mud, exposed to wind, rain and freezing weather,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock.

The CERF funds will help to provide shelter and other essential relief items in the harsh winter.

UN and humanitarian partners are doing everything possible to address the significant needs of some 3 million people in north-west Syria. In January, 1,227 trucks filled with humanitarian aid were sent through Bab alHawa and Bab al-Salam border crossings. Some 900 trucks carried food assistance for 1.4 million people.

Others carried health supplies for about half a million people, and other relief items for over 230,000 people. “This is the most aid the UN has sent across the border in any month since the operation was authorized in 2014,” said Mr. Lowcock.

This week, the humanitarian community released a $336 million Humanitarian Readiness and Response Plan for northwest Syria to address the needs of up to 800,000 people over a six-month period. The CERF allocation will help kick start the plan.

Despite immense efforts by humanitarian organisations, needs are growing exponentially in northwest Syria.

How severe the crisis becomes will depend on whether a solution can be found to ease the situation for those still in harm’s way and those crammed into an ever-smaller area in the northwest of Idlib. “A ceasefire would be a first step, as would the implementation of obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure,” said Mr. Lowcock.

This $30 million for Syria is in addition to the $44 million allocated in December in response to the Syria crisis, which also covered the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

CERF funds kick-start or reinforce emergency lifesaving response across the world. Since its inception in 2006, CERF has assisted hundreds of millions of people by providing more than $6 billion to over 100 countries and territories thanks to generous and consistent donor support.

For further information, please contact:

In New York, Zoe Paxton, zoe.paxton@un.org, + 1 917 297 1542
In Geneva, Jens Laerke, laerke@un.org, +41 79 472 9750


René Yédiéti, lauréat du prix «Le Journal De l’Economie» du meilleur patron d’entreprise 2019 en Côte d’Ivoire

Publié le 06.02.2020 à 22h18 par APA

Le président directeur général (PDG) de la Librairie de France Groupe, René Yediéti a été sacré, jeudi à Abidjan, lauréat du grand prix «Le Journal De l’Economie» du meilleur patron d’entreprise 2019.Il a été désigné par un jury composé uniquement de journalistes économiques de la presse nationale et internationale.  Le bilan de l’entreprise, l’ouverture aux médias, les actions RSE (Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises) et le fait d’être épargné par les scandales ont été les critères d’évaluation.

M. Yediéti a également remporté deux prix spéciaux dans les catégories de l’ouverture aux médias et le fait d’être épargné par les scandales. Réceptionnant son trophée avec humilité et fierté, il a souligné que ce prix vient récompenser le travail accompli par son entreprise dans la promotion de l’éducation et l’innovation avec la mise à disposition des populations d’instruments du savoir. 

Pour lui, ce prix va stimuler ses équipes à travailler davantage, en améliorant sa proximité avec ses clients. Outre, M. Yediéti, deux autres lauréats ont été distingués. 

Il s’agit de M. Bodiel N’Diaye, directeur général de l’entreprise Barrick Côte d’Ivoire, lauréat du prix «Le Journal de l’Economie » du meilleur patron d’entreprise dans la catégorie RSE et de M. Amidou Traoré, directeur général de Côte d’Ivoire Energies, lauréat du prix «Le journal de l’Economie » du patron d’entreprise ayant le meilleur bilan.

Pour M. Eugène Kadet, directeur général du Journal de l’Economie et promoteur du prix  «Le Journal De l’Economie» du meilleur patron d’entreprise, cette distinction, qui est à sa première édition, vise à apporter le regard avisé qui est celui des journalistes économiques sur l’activité des entreprises.

Ce prix, pour ses prochaines éditions vise selon lui, à inscrire cette distinction comme une référence pour les opérateurs économiques ivoiriens.


Regulate sale of Sim cards to curb fraud in mobile money

By HUDSON NANDOKHA

Kenya has witnessed phenomenal and transformational growth in the mobile telephony sector, especially in the mobile money substratum.

Its success in the money transfer platform has been celebrated and replicated worldwide.

However, there is a dire need for the industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), to regulate the sale of mobile telephone Sim cards.

With the Mobile Money Loan Applications (MMLA), Kenyans can access short-term loans on their mobile handsets.

The upsurge of organisations offering mobile money solutions is an indicator of good prospects for this subsector (“fintech” in the industry lingo).

In the midst of this growth lies regulatory challenges in the sale of the all-important technological gadget in this sphere, MSISDN (sim card).

CA regulations require one to register for a mobile telephone line by producing the national identity card before one can buy and operate one.

FORGED DOCUMENT

The most important question is, does a copy of the ID card provide the crucial particulars of the prospective mobile subscriber and all the desired safeguards?

The sanctity of the national ID card has long been eroded. It is not uncommon for one to forget the document in the many mobile money outlets since it is demanded before carrying out any transaction.

It is common to see in banking halls and offices lost and found IDs displayed in the hope that the owners will see them.

How about somebody using a fake or falsely procured ID or one that has been misplaced by the owner?

How many mobile telephone lines is one allowed to own and operate? Is it possible for the mobile service provider to confirm with the person if a new line is being bought on behalf and the system indicates the person owns another line with the same provider? Are biometrics safer?

The other question to be considered by the industry regulator is, what happens to the genuine bearer of the identification documents used to inappropriately procure mobile loans or commit a felony without their knowledge?

Criminal laws in the country will treat such a person as a first suspect and this is the main problem associated with mobile banking.

Many innocent Kenyans are being blacklisted daily by credit reference bureaus for bad debts procured online and which they had no knowledge of.

Many have been made to repay loans they did not take, especially when seeking clearance to fulfil the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution.

These are mostly people seeking an elective position, promotion at the workplace, loans from the mainstream financial institutions.

The CA must revisit its regulations on the sale of Sim cards in the face of new challenges. The banking regulator, too, should be roped in, especially in taming the exorbitant Fintech interest rates.

Hudson Nandokha, Nairobi


China hopeful of defeating coronavirus

WU PENGBy WU PENG
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The coronavirus disease first diagnosed in Wuhan City, China, in December is an international concern that requires global efforts to combat.

China has put in place a nationwide emergency management system driven by the central government in collaboration with local authorities to battle the epidemic, to which the international community is paying close attention.

The Chinese government is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the issue. On the evening of January 30, the WHO declared the 2019-nCov epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)”.

China’s mainstream media reported the news instantly, indicating that the Chinese people are confident of conquering the epidemic.

This is manifested by a full quarantine on Wuhan City announced about two weeks ago, when public transport was grounded, schools suspended and public gatherings banned.

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On Sunday, Wuhan authorities delivered the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital — which was built from scratch within 10 days — with 1,000 beds, to the military medical teams as the first special coronavirus hospital. It started receiving patients on Monday.

Had the Chinese government not taken quick action, the deadly virus could have spread all over the world with a devastating impact on the global economic and public health systems.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out at a press conference on January 30: “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people.”

Rapid mobilisation at the top level by the central government catapulted the entire nation into instant reaction.

By January 29, more than 6,097 medical staff and professionals from other cities are working in Wuhan and other regions in Hubei.

Medical supplies — including face masks, protective suits, and medicines — are arriving in areas hit by the epidemic.

TOP PRIORITIES

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has urged medical suppliers across China to restore their full capacity to ensure sustained provision of all necessary items.

Food and other life necessities have been sent to Wuhan for the nine million residents.

All the 31 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have taken serious measures on first-level response to this major public health emergency.

Most of the confirmed cases reported in regions other than Hubei are imported infections — patients have either travelled to or lived in Wuhan or come into close contact with infected victims. There has been no epicentre of outbreak, except in Wuhan.

For now, top priorities for local governments include identifying and caring for symptomatic patients and advising and monitoring people with Wuhan travel records to self-quarantine.

PARTNERSHIPS

Restrictive measures such as migration control and mass quarantine may lead to social disorder, which requires appropriate responses from the local authorities.

China is doing everything within its means to prevent and control this epidemic.

The Chinese government is working closely with Kenya’s — including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, and Transport — in a bid to contain the spread of the epidemic.

I am deeply impressed by the measures taken by Kenya to lock out this epidemic, including through thorough screening of passengers arriving from the affected countries.

On Sunday, the Health ministry reassured Kenyans that there was no confirmed case of coronavirus pneumonia in the country then.

From the embassy, we are monitoring the entry of our nationals into the country and have instructed them to adhere to the prevention and control measures. There is no case of the disease among Chinese in Kenya.

STUDENTS’ SAFETY

I fully understand the concerns and fears of families of Kenyans living or studying in China.

I wish to assure all that the Nairobi embassy is in close contact with the Chinese central and local authorities monitoring the Kenyan nationals in China, particularly students in Wuhan. They are safe.

Some universities and other institutes have done a very good job. Wuhan Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Science does regular services, including sterilising student apartments, monitoring students’ health and enhancing maintenance to ensure water and electricity supply.

China Central Normal University (CCNU) ensures there is food and other daily necessities for foreign students.

In case of need, please contact us through our website, Twitter and Facebook accounts. As President Xi Jinping assured Dr Ghebreyesus in Beijing, the people’s safety and health always come first.


Moi was a brute, but the man had a good side to him

MUTUMA MATHIUBy MUTUMA MATHIU
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Serial killers are very bad people. An evil lot, even.

My research shows that, many times, they are sick. They kill because they hear voices instructing them to end other people’s lives.

Or they are arrogant, self-important fellows who determine in their own heads that certain types of people don’t deserve to live.

Others just take pleasure in the act of killing someone, while some are driven by the desire to control other people, to take full, total sick charge of their victims’ lives.

I do not wish to draw inappropriate moral equivalences here, of course. I merely wish to dramatise the fact that even serial killers — rotten people incapable of feeling pity and other feelings common to humanity — have redeeming qualities.

Sometimes they are devoted sons to their mothers; at other times they serve the community or whatever it is.

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Their redeeming qualities are nothing compared to their horrible crimes, however.

But it does serve to illustrate that evil rarely exists in its virgin state. It’s always mixed with some speck of good.

MIXED REACTION

Again, I’m not comparing former President Daniel arap Moi to a serial killer; he was nothing of the sort.

Going by the vitriol on social media, one would be tempted to think that the former president was just a bad guy who did nothing but crack skulls, torture Koigi wa Wamwere and steal public property.

The former president is responsible for crimes committed during his government; he may even have ordered some or participated in them in some way. But there was much more to him than that.

We in the media have been hammered by the chattering masses on Twitter because of trying to present a balanced picture of Moi.

In the view of many of those who have given vent to their opinions, Moi was an unmitigated disaster and we shouldn’t say anything positive about him; everything he did was bad.

And this the problem with Kenyan groupthink. It is always negative, always intolerant, always wrapped in a tattered shroud of self-righteousness.

FIGHTING DISSENT

I consider myself a victim of Moism. I made my bones fighting President Moi. His kleptocracy destroyed our lives.

I saw the victims of State-sponsored violence with arrows in their bodies. I saw the charred remains of the Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko. I rioted in the streets, battled the General Service Unit and drank a sea of tear gas.

My first boss was a political detainee. I started my career by covering and mixing with people who had been broken by the brutal Kanu regime.

When Narc defeated Kanu in 2002, I was pleased as a Kenyan. I covered President Mwai Kibaki’s swearing-in.

But when the crowd pelted Moi with mud, I was very offended. I thought that rowdy mob was being disrespectful and totally missing the point.

Mr Moi did not come looking for us in our farms or classrooms and send us to Nyayo House for torture.

He smashed his boot in our faces when we challenged his authority and when we tried to remove him from power.

POLITICAL RIGHTS

Yes, it was our right to challenge him and it was within our rights to assert our freedom to be governed under a government of our choice.

But I think it would be rather naive to have expected Moi to invite us to Kabarnet Gardens for a cup of tea and hand over to us the keys to State House.

Moi’s brutality must also be placed in context. Between time immemorial and 1990, we had no political rights. The colonial state was not even fully persuaded that we were human.

During the government of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the very idea of human rights was patently laughable.

In newspapers, we edit pictures to fit by cropping — that is, sometimes cutting off parts of the photo, such as the legs.

An old journalist once told me that “cutting Mzee’s legs” was not the done thing unless you wanted to get into some very serious trouble.

PEACEFUL HAND OVER

This is not to excuse Moi’s behaviour; he could have done much better. But he was a limited man and not fully capable of rising to greatness.

But there are things he got right. First, he obeyed the law and retired peacefully.

Secondly, when Uhuru Kenyatta lost the election, Moi did not allow the people in his circle to talk him into trying some funny business.

He handed over to the Opposition peacefully and went to Kabarak, where he lived quietly in retirement until his death. He never tried to make a political comeback or meddle in stuff.

Let us not forget that, even though Moi, in the views of many people, overstayed his welcome, through all the brutality and looting of the Kanu system, he kept the country together until 1992, when the State supported killings and evictions of Kenyans in the Rift Valley.

Even as we lambaste him in death, let us not forget that part of Moi’s legacy is something that we have that many African countries can only imagine: we are at a place where the peaceful transfer of power is now almost routine.

Let the former President rest in peace. Forgiveness is a far greater virtue than the mean nursing of old grudges, which is not a virtue at all.