Tag Archives: Kenya

‘Probe police excesses against students in Kenya’

Global human rights watchdog, the Amnesty International on Tuesday asked Kenya to probe police excesses and violence against university students. 

“Amnesty Kenya is deeply concerned about the violence against students resorted by police officers at Jamo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja, Kiambu on Nov. 11,” the civil rights group said in a statement. 

“The incidents were precipitated, when students gathered to protest against growing insecurity in the campus and around,” the statement read. 

“We call upon the Internal Affairs Unit of the NPS [National Police Service], the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights to commence investigations into the cause of the violence,” Amnesty International said.

The interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and the Inspector General of the NPS had committed to probe and arrest officers involved in the incident. While appreciating this commitment, human rights body noted that Kenyan police officers have been using excessive force against students in recent years. 

It also recommended reforms in the methods of policing, to break the cycle of violent incidents in the Kenyan seats of higher learning.

“Violent policing during demonstrations must stop. Officers who break their code of office must be held individually guilty of misconduct, sanctioned and made to compensate victims,” said Irungu Houghton, executive director of Amnesty office in Kenya.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/-probe-police-excesses-against-students-in-kenya-/1642971

Chinese Academy of Sciences hands over lab equipment to Kenyan university

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Wednesday handed over state of the art laboratory equipment to Kenya’s Maasai Mara University that is located about 145 kilometers southeast of the capital Nairobi.

Bai Chunli, president of CAS was joined by senior government officials and the university’s administrative and teaching staff during the handing over ceremony that took place on the sidelines of an international conference on biodiversity.

The modern laboratory equipment will boost the capacity of Maasai Mara University faculty members and students to carry out cutting edge research that benefits communities.

Wang Qingfeng, director of CAS affiliated Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) said the laboratory equipment will aid research and development of natural products to address the health and nutritional needs of local communities.

“The lab will provide scientific support to the breeding of medicinal plants and screening of natural pharmaceutical chemistry,” said Wang.

He said that SAJOREC has supported the establishment of a medicinal plant garden in Maasai Mara University as part of a joint venture to promote biodiversity protection.

Mohamed Elmi, chief administrative secretary in Kenya’s ministry of environment and forestry, hailed the modern lab equipment saying it will boost scientific research aimed at tackling challenges like habitat loss, hunger and disease.

He said that Kenya is keen to harness knowledge and innovations from China to promote conservation of vital ecosystems like forests and wetlands.

Bulitia Godrick, deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic and student affairs at Maasai Mara University, said the modern lab equipment will enable students to become part of the solution to major environmental challenges in the country.

“The students are being given a chance through this lab to sort some of the biggest threats to our natural resources, for example the hyacinth weed in Lake Victoria,” said Godrick.

He said the fully equipped laboratory will provide space for young learners to innovate and aid government efforts to provide citizens with clean drinking water and green energy.

http://www.china.org.cn/world/2019-09/06/content_75178899.htm

Africa: Reversing the Growing Unemployment among African Universities Trained Graduates

Recently, I watched the heartbreaking story of a 24-year-old Kevin Ochieng, a first class honors degree graduate, whose excellent academic performance did not secure him a decent job. He articulated well how he worked hard, excelled in exams, and was looking forward to put his training and expertise into practice. Instead, he is still unemployed and living on the streets of Nairobi.

I asked myself: How many young African graduates like Kevin are out there?

A recent feature by the Nation titled “The reality of Kenyan youth: Young, educated, ambitious and jobless” clearly articulates the situation. In South Africa, according to the recently released quarterly Labour Force survey, 2nd Quarter 2019, 35.6 % of those aged 25-34 are unemployed. Just recently, South Africa reported how many graduates are struggling to find meaningful work. This trend is common in other countries including NigeriaKenyaGhana and Mali. What happens over and over is that youth are trained and then many of them have no place to practice that what they have learned and some end up being jobless. Seeing no hope for employment in the near future, those who can may decide to migrate.

There are several reasons that explain this troubling trend. These include a weak African economy, lack of a vibrant private sector, manufacturing jobs and financial support for African youth to become entrepreneurial, and a mismatch between available jobs and the training African youth. There is also a lack of sound employment and job policies. At the core of all these issues is poor governance.

The situation is even more upsetting when one considers how Africa’s educated youth are well equipped with the expertise needed to transform and develop the African continent, yet, their skills and expertise remains untapped. Instead, African countries continue to tap into foreign expertise or unknowledgeable experts, many of who are political appointees.

Clearly, African countries must commit to reversing this trend. We must shift these statistics. We must create jobs and put into use the skills its youth have. It is time to welcome them to the governments, to departments of agriculture, and any other place of influence.

So how do we facilitate the rapid absorption of the youth and the ideas they bring along?

First, African country governments should implement sound job and employment policies.  These can range from policies that provide an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs that enable the youth to build skills that are in demand. Governments can also see that they leverage already existing employers including NGO’s to support and employ youth or support young entrepreneurs through initiatives by which governments procure goods and services from youth-owned businesses.

In addition, countries can also implement affirmative policies to ensure all government ministries or departments including the Ministry of Agriculture have certain positions that are exclusively set aside for recently trained graduates.  Some countries like Uganda and Kenya are working to change policies as a way to tackle youth employment.

Even with policies, it is unlikely that all graduates, and the many unemployed youth will be absorbed in the formal sector.

For those that do not end up having office jobs, they can consider being entrepreneurial. According to recent data by the African Development Bank, 22% of Africa’s working age have established new businesses. What’s more is that coming along with a rising middle class in Africa is an increase in the number of consumers and consumer spending, creating more opportunities for youth-led businesses to thrive and grow. As they grow, they can in turn offer employment to other youths.

Evidently, it is clear that the entrepreneurial landscape in Africa is excellent. According to 2018/2019 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, Africa and Middle East region has by far the highest number of people involved in early state entrepreneurial activity. And because the entrepreneurship ground is fertile, African youth, especially recent graduates, should continue to innovate, think out of the box and create for themselves businesses and the opportunities to put their skills and brilliant minds to work.

Importantly, to continue building a prosperous Africa, where trained young people are absorbed in careers, Universities must restructure their training programs and train not just for the sake of it, but also to fill in the market demand. This also demands creation of vocation schools and institutes where youths can train for specific jobs including digital jobs. Just recently, Google Africa announced that it will give over 30,000 young African developers scholarships and grants to help them become certified on Google’s Android, web and cloud technologies. African youth should latch on such opportunities. It is a win for both.

Ultimately, cutting down on youth unemployment in Africa while ensuring that we tap onto the skills and passion African youthful graduates bring along, will require rolling out of sound employment policies. It will mean continuing to tap onto entrepreneurship while continuously adapting the education system to ensure that graduates have the skills to match the market demand. It is possible.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201908230756.html

Kenya wins African candidacy for UN Security Council

The African Union on Wednesday nominated Kenya to be Africa’s candidate for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-2022, local media reported.

In a secret vote at union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Nairobi won some 37 votes, defeating Djibouti, which got only 13, in a vote attended by 51 out of 55 AU member states, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported.

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry also announced the victory after a second round of voting by the union’s Permanent Representatives Committee, Kenya’s Capital FM said.

In the first round of voting on Aug. 5, Kenya was unable to get the two-thirds majority needed.

Kenya is the sole African nominee for the Security Council’s non-permanent seat for 2021-2022. It will need to also win two-thirds of UN member states’ votes next June to get the seat, according to the Daily Nation.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/kenya-wins-african-candidacy-for-un-security-council/1561499

Kenya: Court sentences 4 youth trying to sneak to US

A Kenyan court on Friday sentenced four young men to six months in jail over trying to sneak to the U.S., hiding in a ship amid difficult living circumstances, local media reported. 

Mohamed Bwika, Fredrick Gitari, Mnyika Maganga and Stephen Malenya admitted they sneaked aboard a cargo ship, MV Ken Sea, on Aug.19, in an attempt to reach the U.S to look for jobs, the Standard Media, a local media website, reported.

The four young men told Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni at the Mombasa-based court that life in Kenya “had become hard” due to lack of jobs, and they wanted to go to the U.S. seeking for job opportunities, according to another local media, Hivisasa news website.

Kagoni said: “The youth must be encouraged to love their country and they should not only dream of going to America,” reported the Standard Media.

“Although you seem to be innocent in your endeavors to look for greener pastures, which you think you can only find in America, it must be noted that you were risking your lives by hiding in the ship and that you also threatened the ship crew,” Kagoni added.

“I don’t encourage the conduct of such people around here who think they can hide in a ship and go wherever they want. So that others don’t do the same, they will go to jail for six months,” read Kagoni’s ruling.

The four were arrested on Aug.19 after they had climbed the ship through a mooring rope and tried to hide in the ship’s chain locker and engine room without getting permission of the captain, according to Hivisasa.In July, a male Kenyan stowaway was found dead in the U.K. after he fell from a Kenya Airways plane only moments before it landed at Heathrow Airport, the local Pulselive news website reported on Friday.

According to the CGTN Africa TV channel, he was found dead in a London yard.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/kenya-court-sentences-4-youth-trying-to-sneak-to-us/1563307

Humanitarian Aid: Additional €50 million to tackle #Drought in #HornOfAfrica

The European Commission is mobilizing a further €50 million in emergency humanitarian funding to help the people hit by drought in the Horn of Africa. With many in the region relying on livestock herding and subsistence farming, the prolonged drought is having devastating consequences on food availability and livelihoods. Today’s additional funding brings total EU humanitarian aid to the region to €366.5 million since 2018.

“The EU is stepping up its support for the people affected by a prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa. During my several visits to countries in the region, I have seen first hand how much climate extremes are affecting this part of Africa. Our funding will help extend humanitarian assistance in the affected areas, helping communities ward off the risk of famine,” said Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides.

Funding from this aid package will support drought-affected communities in Somalia (€25 million), Ethiopia(€20 million), Kenya (€3 million) and Uganda (€2 million). It will go towards:

In addition, EU aid will contribute to assisting humanitarian agencies in the region to pre-emptively scale up their actions in the hardest hit areas.

A spell of drought, following two poor rain seasons in a row, has put almost 13 million people in need of emergency food assistance across the region. Over 4 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished, in addition to around 3 million malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Background

The 2019 spring rain season in the Horn of Africa was among the top three driest on record. The ongoing drought comes just one year after the end of a major drought in 2016-2017. Within such a short time span, neither households have had time to recover, nor pastures and livestock herds to regenerate. Most of the affected communities live in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas. Scarce rainfall means that families cannot sustain themselves with their agricultural and livestock activities. Food prices have already risen across the entire region, thus further reducing poor households’ access to basic food supplies.

https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2019/08/08/humanitarian-aid-additional-e50-million-to-tackle-drought-in-hornofafrica/

Kenya: Police Arrest Three Suspects After Bamburi Gang Attack

Three suspected members of a machete-wielding gang which attacked people in Kisauni and Nyali constituencies in Mombasa have been arrested.

The three suspects were identified as Jackson Okelo, 26, Paul Ayub, 18, and 17-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Hamdan.

Police arrested the three during an operation after the Monday night attack where 13 people were injured.

Four among them were in a critical condition and are being attended to at the Coast General Hospital.

Kisauni Sub-County Police Commander Julius Kiragu said the suspected criminals were found with items they stole from victims of the attack.

OPERATION ONGOING

“The suspects are being held at Kadzandani police post and they will later in the day be taken to Shanzu Law Courts. We are still continuing with our operation. We must deal with these people,” Mr Kiragu told Nation by phone.

Police launched a crackdown after the marauding youths went on the rampage attacking people.

The attack brought business in Bamburi Mwisho to a standstill.

Some clubs and stalls which operate until late in the night were forced to shut down their business.

The usual Bamburi night life was not witnessed on Monday as roads were deserted.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201908060147.html

Kenya: Police Arrest Three Suspects After Bamburi Gang Attack

Three suspected members of a machete-wielding gang which attacked people in Kisauni and Nyali constituencies in Mombasa have been arrested.

The three suspects were identified as Jackson Okelo, 26, Paul Ayub, 18, and 17-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Hamdan.

Police arrested the three during an operation after the Monday night attack where 13 people were injured.

Four among them were in a critical condition and are being attended to at the Coast General Hospital.

Kisauni Sub-County Police Commander Julius Kiragu said the suspected criminals were found with items they stole from victims of the attack.

OPERATION ONGOING

“The suspects are being held at Kadzandani police post and they will later in the day be taken to Shanzu Law Courts. We are still continuing with our operation. We must deal with these people,” Mr Kiragu told Nation by phone.

Police launched a crackdown after the marauding youths went on the rampage attacking people.

The attack brought business in Bamburi Mwisho to a standstill.

Some clubs and stalls which operate until late in the night were forced to shut down their business.

The usual Bamburi night life was not witnessed on Monday as roads were deserted.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201908060147.html

Tension high in Bamburi after attack by criminal gang

Tension is still high in Bamburi, Mombasa following the night terror that was unleashed by a criminal gang on Monday in an attack that left 13 people injured.

A spot check by the Nation Tuesday morning revealed that some businesses remained closed following the attack.

Traders who opened their stalls, which were raided by the attackers, were assessing damage to their property.

Some counted huge losses following the attack.

CASH STOLEN

Ms Sumaya Karianto, a butcher, said he lost Sh150,000 following the attack

“I had Sh80,000 in cash which the attackers stole it. They also made away with my business equipment. I took a loan just recently which I had not even started paying,” said Ms Karianto amid tears.

The residents also blamed police for slow response after the attack.

“I personally called a police officer after the attack and the officer first asked me where I got his number. How can police operate that way? If they had responded on time we would have saved many from being attacked,” said Alex, a boda boda rider.

POLICE ON THE SPOT

Another resident, Abdallah Abdulrahman, accused the police of failing to prevent the attack before it happened.

He said the youths had gone round attacking people in different areas without police catching up with them on time.

“Those youths are known. How would young people converge and go round attacking people without police knowing. This is very sad,” said Mr Abdulrahman.

MORE SECURITY

Mombasa Police Commander Johnston Ipara said they have intensified security operations in the area.

Speaking to journalists at Kisauni Dog Section after a two-hour meeting with senior police officers, Mr Ipara said three people arrested Tuesday are helping them with investigations.

He said those arrested were found with two phones and a power bank believed to have been stolen from the victims of the attack.

Asked whether there was a security lapse, Mr Ipara said, “I don’t want to lay blame on anybody. Let us conclude our probe and know where we had the problem. If there were any lapses, then we will know how we will address them.”

https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/mombasa/Traders-count-losses-after-Bamburi-attack/1954178-5225244-kgk1x/index.html

Kenya: Time Is Ripe to Fight for Return of African Artefacts

A few years ago, retired American actor and novelist Eugene Hackman and a Hollywood film producer, Art Linson, donated some 30 totems to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado.

The problem was that these hardwood grave markers had been stolen from Kenya and sold by art dealers in the US for up to $10,000 (Sh1 million).

In essence, they were the preserve of the rich and famous; the celebrities in Hollywood.

Luckily, some of these ended up with two collectors – who then donated them to a museum in Colorado. These sacred items, known as vigango among the Miji Kenda, were returned to Kenya this week in a ceremony that marked the beginning of a tortuous negotiation to have the artefacts returned to the country.

The return of the vigango is part of a larger effort to stop the trafficking and the illicit trade of cultural items into Western museums and celebrity homes – and also the return of items looted during the colonial and post-independent Africa.

One of the scientist opined that because they suffered from dental problems, the lions discovered that human beings were easier to catch and chew.

Those who have visited Western museums have come across thousands of artistic and cultural paraphernalia put on display.

I am not sure how Britain would react if Kenya was holding the crown of their King in Nairobi. But western museums get away with such theft.

For years, Britain had held onto Nandi king Koitalel arap Samoei’s three wooden staffs that had been kept by the family of the late Richard Meinertzhagen – the man who murdered the king.

His son returned them in 2006, but Samoei’s skull, lion-skin cape and headgear are still missing.

ETHIOPIA WINS

At times, cultural artefact activists have to stage global campaigns to convince nations to hand over such items as a sign of good gesture.

I still remember the spirited fight by Ethiopia to get back the 180-tonne obelisk that had for ages stood outside the Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters in Rome.

This was one of the six obelisks dating over 3,000 years and which had been erected at Axum when Ethiopia adopted Christianity under emperor Ezana in the fourth century.

Before the Axum stelae, as it is known, was returned to Ethiopia, Italy used to argue that they had naturalised the pillar – after possessing it for more than 60 years – and that it was fragile.

What we know from history is that when fascist Mussolini stole the obelisk, he wanted to take away Ethiopia’s main symbol of heritage.

The Italians fought back with excuses and pseudo-determination: that the obelisk was fragile; that it had been restored with metal rods in embedded concrete and that it was impossible to disassemble.

We were also told that it could not be transported overland and that only two aircraft in the world – The American built Lockhead C5-A Galaxy and the Russian Antonov An-124 – could transport it.

Those who do not want to give back these artefacts argue there is no international law governing such sales.

But we have many instruments that protect nations from both cultural and archaeological plunder.

TERRORISM

The problem is that smuggled cultural objects are now being used by terrorists to raise money and finance war.

We now know from Iraq and Syria wars that priceless historical items have been sold to collectors and the money used to finance arms deals and the activities of extremist groups.

Actually, Interpol has raised concern that the illicit trade in artefacts and cultural objects is one of the main avenues for money laundering.

While large-scale looting is not legally possible following the 1970 “Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”, it has not deterred crooks and collectors from engaging in such trade.

The return of the vigango is another major triumph for Africa. In 2003, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe managed to get the “Zimbabwe Bird” from a museum in Germany.

While such milestones are hardly recorded in Western media, they are small steps towards the recovery of thousands of totems stolen from Africa.

The Zimbabwe Bird is the country’s emblem and was one of the seven known bird carvings that had for years stood at the Great Zimbabwe archaeological site.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201908040034.html