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Kenyan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), sit on a flat-bed truck as a convoy makes its way between the port of Kismayu and the city’s airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The European Union and its partners reimbursed Kenya nearly Sh2.54 billion for troops fighting Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia in the nine months to March 2022, missing the target for the period by seven percent.

The Treasury data shows grants from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) — whose mandate ended in March — missed its target of Sh2.73 billion by Sh191 million.

The quarterly disbursements were, however, Sh811 million, or 24.23 percent, lower than Sh3.35 billion which were reimbursed in a similar period in the prior financial year.

The United Nations Security Council at the end of March voted for a transitional African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia after it reconfigured the operations of Amisom which has been in the war-torn country for about 15 years.

Somalia finally conducted a presidential poll on May 15— after being delayed for more than a year— electing former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to serve for four years. Mr Mohamud, who defeated the incumbent Mohamed Abudallahi Farmajo, had previously led Somalia between 2012 and 2017.

Under the Amisom, the EU funds largely catered for allowances for the about 20,000 Amisom troops and police, international and local civilian staff salaries and operational costs of their offices. 

The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), on the other hand, provided logistical field support to the Amisom troops and Somali National Security Forces during joint operations.

Kenya formally sent about 4,660 soldiers to Somalia in October 2011 after incessant attacks and kidnapping of civilians by Al-Shabaab militants within its territory, numbers which have since been gradually trimmed.

A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join Amisom, a decision that meant the Treasury would not bear the full costs of the incursion.

Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia told lawmakers last July that the exchequer funds Kenya Defence Forces operations in Somalia, cash which the Defence ministry refunds once they are wired by the African Union.

The refunds are paid through the African Union Peace Facility to the Defence ministry.

Conservative estimates earlier showed the international community pays $1,028 (Sh119,248 under prevailing forex rates) for each soldier per month.

Their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh23,200) for administrative costs, meaning the soldiers take home about $800 (Sh92,800).

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), in the book titled "War for Peace: Kenya’s Military in the African Mission in Somalia, 2011-2020"— published May 8, 2020 — suggests that reforming the Somali National Army to take charge of sustainable peace should be the first pillar of the exit plan. By CONSTANT MUNDA, Business Daily

Photo Courtesy Daily Monitor 

What you need to know:

  • This blind man has a huge home library packed with serious books and is widely read.   

If you just confine yourself to the vibe on social media, you’d be perfectly excused to think that there are only two presidential candidates in the run up to Kenya’s general election: the tried and trusted weather-beaten old goat Raila Odinga, who has stood the test of time in the rough and tumble of Kenya’s Byzantine politics; and the smooth-talking, suave, cunning and crafty fox that ‘Chief Hustler’ William Ruto is. 

And you might be wondering whether it is the might of the system and a sympathy vote that will see the elderly Raila through; or the bare fact that in politics, just like in the jungle, the guile and sheer cunning of a fox always ensures that it will find a way out of anything.

Strange as it might seem, there are actually other candidates in the race. One of them is one of a kind: a blind man. Such is the power of social media that it builds bridges to people and places in a way that was previously thought impossible. 

You get the feeling that you have actually ‘met’ someone without ever physically meeting them and you feel you have been to certain places, without physically setting foot there.

That is how I met gospel singer Reuben Kigame – on YouTube – where he is featured prominently on numerous channels, including his own “Reuben Kigame TV”. I had never felt inferior to anyone in my life; but I did feel overwhelmingly inferior when I encountered Reuben Kigame. 

A man who lost his sight at the age of three and has spent the last 53 years without the ability to see has soared to heights that many of us who have two good eyes and just about every other ability, have not even dared dream about.

Without any eyes, Kigame attained a degree in Education, a Master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies and last I checked, had embarked on a PhD. This blind man has a huge home library packed with serious books and is widely read. When you listen to him, you realise he is an unfathomable intellectual. And as men with two eyes were fearing to get married, Kigame got married to his high school sweetheart Mercy, built a wonderful family, and even when she perished in an accident in 2006, he recovered from the loss, remarried and willed himself on. 

 
 

He plays the keyboards, guitars and drums without any problem. He is a highly gifted singer – sings while plucking away at the guitar or the keyboard – and has produced many songs. He is able to compose, sing and produce his musical works. It took me a while to actually see that he was blind, because watching him in a live performance, he was freely singing and playing the keyboards and moving all over the keyboard with versatility.

His mother only noticed something was wrong when, at the age of three, at dinner, he reached out for his plate of posho and missed! 

She wondered how one could miss a plate right under his nose. But by then it was too late for doctors to do anything for his eyesight, maybe a lesson to all parents that we have a duty to watch our children carefully as they develop and take timely interventions, lest anything goes badly wrong.

Yet the tragedy, instead of downing him, inspired him to excel, thanks to his family which supported him and spurred him on – again a lesson to parents that when we stand by our children, they will never fail. 

A very highly political animal, Kigame has been highly involved in the Kenyan political space. He has consistently opposed and even taken part in demonstrations against bad governance, ran for Vihiga County governorship in 2013 and recently won the backing of the Federal Party of Kenya as their candidate for the State House race. 

While in Uganda able-bodied people, with Masters and PhD degrees are convinced that the best way to guarantee their future is to lick the boots of the First Family, a blind man in Kenya is defying the odds, not only to excel in his family and career lives, but is also assuring 56 million Kenyans that he is the best candidate for the presidency. By Gawaya Tegulle, Daily Monitor 

 

 

A woman crossing the road under the footbridge at Waiyaki Way in Westlands on 9th August, 2018./Victor Imboto
 
In Summary

• The section of the road from ABC place was expanded into 8 lanes as one joins the Expressway.

• This is despite a foot bridge being just a few meters away outside Safaricom House and Agakhan High School.

The Highways Authority has called on pedestrians along Waiyaki Way to use the footbridge at Aga Khan Secondary School.

KeNHA regretted an online video showing pupils from Muguga Green Primary school dangerously crossing the 8 lane highway.

This is despite a foot bridge being just a few meters away outside Safaricom House and Aga khan High School.

A senior manager at KeNHA said its wrong for pedestrians to endanger their lives yet there is a footbridge.

"There is a footbridge 500 meters from the crossing but it appears the students are reverting to the older format where there were marshals controlling the traffic," the manager who requested anonymity said. 

The section of the road from ABC place was expanded into 8 lanes as one joins the Expressway.

However, very few pedestrians use the foot bridge to cross the wide road and most have been seen jumping over guard rails. 

“A joint visit is arranged with NTSA for sensitization to the school and pedestrians. A safety audit is also under way to improve user experience," the official said.

"We will have marshals to guide to a safe crossing,” the manager said. By Emmanuel Wanjala, The Star

PG 28-President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off Mcrae Kimathi with his Navigator Mwangi Kioni at KICC on 24th June 2021. PHOTO-PHILIP KAMAKYA

Kenya has been handed the right to host the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally every year until 2026. This was announced yesterday by President Uhuru Kenyatta after the country’s successfully lobbied for the hosting rights following a smooth event last year. 

The organisation of last year’s event which was returning to the WRC calendar after a two-decade absence was awarded an ‘A’ rating, a factor for the assurance of four more years.

Last year’s event was won by Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier is believed to have contributed Sh6 billion shillings to the Kenyan economy. This year’s race is also set to be held in Naivasha and will be between June 23 and 26.

Meanwhile, WRC legend Sebastien Loeb is bracing for a grand comeback to next month’s Safari Rally in Naivasha for the first time in two decades.  

The Frenchman has a sentimental attachment to the picturesque Great Rift Valley terrain where he finished fifth in the 2002 WRC Inmarsat Safari Rally navigated by Daniel Elena in a Citroën Xsara WRC. 

 

The nine-time WRC champion made a comeback to top tier rallying during January’s WRC Monte Carlo Rally where he beat rival and compatriot Ogier to score an 80th career win.

Loeb is tackling his first gravel rally of the 2022 season in an M-Sport Ford Puma in Portugal this weekend where he joined a strong field of 12 Rally1 hybrid entries.

In Kenya, the legendary driver will renew his rivalry with Safari’s defending champion and eight-time world champion Ogier who is in the Toyota Gazoo Racing lineup for Safari.  Loeb is part of a six-car M-Sport World Rally Team lineup for Safari alongside Briton Gus Greensmith, Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux, Craig Breen of Ireland, Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) and Belgian Jourdan Serderdis.

Loeb told www.autosport.com this week: “The first feeling in the Puma on gravel at our test was quite good, I was quite happy with the feeling I had as we worked on the suspension and the differential setups,” said Loeb, who is also set to participate in the WRC’s 50th season celebrations this weekend.  

Loeb is the most successful driver in the World Rally Championship (WRC). He won the world championship a record 9 times in a row and holds several other WRC records, including most event wins, most podium finishes and most stage wins.

Loeb retired from full-time WRC participation at the end of 2012. He currently drives part time in the WRC for M-Sport Ford World Rally Team,  full time in the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) for Bahrain Raid Xtreme and full time in the Extreme E Championship for Team X44.

Originally a gymnast, Loeb switched to rallying in 1995 and won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2001.

He was signed by the Citroën World Rally Team for the 2002 season, and together with co-driver, Elena racked up their maiden WRC win that same year at the Rallye Deutschland.

After finishing runner-up to Petter Solberg by one point in 2003, Loeb took his first driver's title in 2004.

Still, with Citroën, Loeb went on to take a record ninth consecutive world title in 2012. Loeb is a tarmac expert, having won all but three of the WRC rallies on that surface in which he has participated between 2005 and 2013.

In 2018, Loeb won the Spanish round of that year’s World Rally Championship, in a rare entry six years after his retirement as a full-time WRC driver.

WRC Safari Rally Kenya is being sponsored by KCB Bank Kenya and Toyota Kenya among others. The event will revolve around Nairobi and Naivasha covering a total distance of 1226.23km between June 23 and 27.

Shakedown returns to Ndulele Conservancy on June 22. The Super Special Stage also returns to Kasarani on June 23 where WRC crews will recce in their Rally 1 hybrids.

By Edwin Otieno, PD

Cyanika border post, a crossing point between Rwanda and Uganda. While free movement of people between Rwanda and Uganda has resumed, there is still restriction on imports from Uganda. PHOTO | FILE | NMG/Photo Courtesy 

Rwanda says it is reviewing its trade list with Uganda before its goods can be allowed on its market, almost four months after opening its main border.

While free movement of people between the countries has resumed, there is still restriction on imports from Uganda.

This week, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente told a press briefing that the process of reviewing the trade list is almost complete and the goods will soon be allowed in the market subject to quality checks. 

The review was necessary because Rwanda wants to enforce quality as well as protect local manufacturers who had started producing some goods that were previously imported from Uganda, he said.

Ugandan products, the PM said, must comply with the set standards on the Rwandan market.

“What I can possibly say is that trade between the two countries will resume very soon,” Dr Ngirente said on Wednesday after the launch of the second phase of the Economic Recovery Fund (ERF). 

Ugandan importers and exporters will be required to apply for a licence from the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for industrial- manufactured products and Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition, and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA) for agricultural products. 

“Rwanda is investing in developing its local manufacturing sector, including the promotion of Made in Rwanda products. That's why we are regulating importation of goods,” Theobald Habiyaremye, the FDA division manager for Foods and Drugs Import and Export, told The EastAfrican.

Cement was one of Uganda’s top exports to Rwanda before the common border was closed.

However, over the last two years, Rwanda turned to importing cement from Tanzania and Kenya in addition to setting up one more local factory.

Currently, there are two existing local cement makers, Cimerwa and Prime cement, which have an annual installed capacity of 600,000 metric tonnes each.

Hima Cement Uganda, one of the top cement exporters to Rwanda, recently told The EastAfrican that their exports to Rwanda have not resumed though there are ongoing discussions to resume exports.

“We are currently not yet exporting to Rwanda but we are resuming soon. We have, however, already sent a verification team to Rwanda, which will help inform our decision,” said Caroline Kezaabu, the company’s communication manager. Other commodities are aluminium, maize, soap, electricity, pharmaceutical products, and fuel.

Uganda’s Ministry of Trade estimated that Uganda lost over $200 million in export earnings to Rwanda because of the border closure, leaving a major dent since formal exports to Rwanda comprised 5.8 per cent of Uganda’s merchandise exports in 2018. By ELIE MUTANGANA, The East African

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