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ELISHA IKIDI: Targeting corruption as cause of terrorism is irrational

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It is with great intrigue that I read an opinion by one Paras Shah from the legal sphere published in the Daily Nation on January 19, 2019 titled, “To Defeat Terrorism, Eliminate Corruption First”.

Paras writes a great article which makes us think about the state of affairs within Kenya.

The events of last week shook this nation to its core. Several innocent lives were lost, injured and many witnessed sights heinous enough to possibly haunt them till the end of their days.

It is understandable and apparent that people are frustrated and left feeling helpless, but when a supposedly leading legal mind, one which I imagine has had years of analytical training, goes on a public rant pointing fingers at the government, its officials and certain “tenderpreneurs”, it is simply irresponsible.

I couldn’t agree more on the issue of corruption that is highlighted – it is a cancer not just in our society but in all nations in some way, shape or form.

However, it is a gross injustice to the country to blame its leadership, its people and its government.

Blaming corruption scandals from the post – Independence era is an easy scapegoat for anything and everything that goes wrong in our country.

When we have nothing to discuss, we discuss the corruption scandals which the media has been too generous in its exposure of.

Targeting corruption as the reason for why heinous and despicable acts of terrorism occur is, in my view, irrational.

Paras is under the impression that these attacks would not have occurred had we had a more advanced passport and forensic identification system.

Are we to believe that first world countries like France, Spain and the United Kingdom are not equipped with state of the art passport systems and CID forensic equipment systems? Did their so-called “tenderpreneurs” also allegedly fail to do what they were paid to do? Despite having systems far more advanced than that of our country, if you do your research, you will find that Europe faced more than 200 terror attacks in 2017 alone.

Let’s not be naive enough to even consider such ridiculous statements.

Blaming the country for these acts of terrorism only empowers terrorists who want to see us turn against one another.

Blaming the country for these cowardly acts only allows the West to once again point fingers at us on matters related to corruption.

Paras’ piece on terrorism only gives power to those who have committed the crimes. Our society should not be blamed for the way in which a criminal’s mind works. In times of adversity, Kenyans have been known to come together as a united force.

Paras Shah, your opinion piece lacks a spirit of patriotism at a time when we all need to be displaying a united front. If you want to learn about patriotism, I would suggest that you watch the recent Sky News interview of Siddharth Chatterjee, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya.

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We are all too busy blaming corruption scandals but why don’t we address the “white elephant” in the room? What about the serious security lapses at 14 Riverside and Dusit D2 Hotel? Some colossal security and protocol breaches occurred during that fateful Tuesday afternoon last week.

How was it made possible? Dusit’s security team were grossly negligent if it is in fact true that terrorists had stored their weapons in the hotel days before the attack.

We should not be talking about post – Independence scandals but post – Westgate occurrences. If anything, public establishments and real estate developments should have increased their security spend and not be cutting corners to save money.

Venues such as 14 Riverside should have been especially vigilant knowing that they house foreign companies and guests – therefore being prime targets for terrorism.

The owners of such developments need to be questioned on their investment into security and their grounds for gross negligence need to be determined. Skimping on security in this age of terrorism borders on criminality.

Whilst it is easy to absolve ourselves by blaming corrupt politicians for everything, all Kenyans must introspect on how we all contribute to the menace of corruption.

High profile lawyers who enable corrupt politicians to park their ill-gotten gains through complex property transactions cannot absolve themselves through activism, juvenile name calling and finger pointing.

The businessmen who evade tax by accepting cash or by transferring funds overseas are ensuring that the government has to decide which security items to cut because the tax revenue is insufficient are as much to blame.

The thousands of Kenyans who regularly pay small bribes to policemen absolve themselves as being a part of the corruption problem by saying they had no choice, but fail to realize that they contribute to the culture of corruption.

A country gets the government it deserves and we must realize that our politicians are corrupt because we are corrupt. They are no different to us. They come from us. They are us.

Not unlike yours, Mr Shah, this is merely my humble opinion.

Elisha Ikidi, political commentator

[email protected]

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MCAs reallocate Ksh 300m meant for salaries for health workers

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Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru has hit out at the MCAs for reallocating Ksh 300 million meant for salaries for health workers to construction of ward offices.

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Waiguru now wants the Senate, the Controller of Budget and the Jubilee Party leadership to intervene and save the County from grinding into a halt.

This after an impasse on the approval of the County budget heightened after the County Assembly made wholesome changes to the budget.

“This is completely unacceptable given that the health workers have put their lives on the line in fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and that it would further put the lives of Kirinyaga residents in danger for not being able to access health services,” She said.

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The Assembly further removed Ksh 20 million meant for payment of casual workers’ wages as well as Ksh 14.6 million for fuel for ambulances, water bills and oxygen for our hospitals, which the Governor says is likely to paralyzing operations in the critical health sector.

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The Assembly instead of approving the budget, submitted a completely new budget with a variation of over 30% per vote, and which the Governor says, “goes against the requirement of Regulation 37(1) of the Public Finance (County Government) Regulations 2015 which limits the assembly variations to 1% of the ceilings.”

In a statement, the Governor further states that the Assembly removed Ksh 50M allocated for conditional matching funds which effectively means that about 68,000 coffee farmers from Kirinyaga will not benefit from the program which includes access to Cherry Advance Revolving Fund.

This she says an initiative under the Presidential program on coffee revitalization where the County was required to raise Ksh 100 million.

Waiguru says the Assembly also removed Ksh 184 million allocated as conditional matching funds for donor funded programs under Health, Agriculture and Education.

“These funds were already signed for between National Government and Donors and as a county we are expected to provide the matching funds if we are to benefit. The action by the assembly means that these projects will not be carried out in Kirinyaga. This will affect over 3,000 farmers, over 7,000 youth in our polytechnics and residents who require health services,” She said.

She accuses the Assembly of interfering with the County statutory obligations by removing Ksh 58 million meant for payment of taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The Assembly also removed Ksh 59 Million meant for the County Attorney office which will hamper the County Governments efforts to pursue pending cases on land recovery as well as a further Ksh 30 million meant for payment of pending bills.

Waiguru says all these alterations on the budget are in contravention of a Presidential directive especially on pending bills.

She has therefore vowed not to approve the specific alterations to the budget and urged the MCAs to put the needs of the Kirinyaga people first.

 

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You can gerrit it, I can gerrit it and we won’t imprison you for it – Nairobi News

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Ministry of Health on Monday yet again reminded the public that no one in the world is immune from Covid-19.

Health Cabinet Secretary warned the nay sayers who have thrown caution in the wind that the pandemic is real.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY

However, he said that the government cannot imprison people who are in denial over the reality of the pandemic, telling them to wait for it.

“You cannot whip people or put them in prison to make them understand there is a disease. There is Covid-19, even little children are singing they can get it,” he said.

He further said all individuals have a responsibility in the fight against the pandemic.

“There is coronavirus. Who are those other people who say they do not know about it? And how long will it take for them to know that the disease exists? If somebody is in denial, there is nothing much you can do,” he said.

ECONOMY REOPENED

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week took the bold step of reopening the economy after three months of a partial lockdown, but shifted the burden of responsibility in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic to the public.

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“My intention is to reopen and to remain open. The ‘claw back’ option is not on my wish list at all. To reopen and remain open, you must become your brother’s keeper,” the president said.

The Head of State also lifted the order on cessation of movement in and out of three counties.

This, he said, was arrived at after wide consultations with critical stakeholders on attaining a certain level of preparedness, and on the advice of the National Security Council and the National Emergency Response Committee of coronavirus.

The decision has seen an exodus of Kenyans from urban centres to rural areas, with some transporting the disease to the villages, as they escape the pain of spiralling joblessness in towns.

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International appeal for calm in Mali after protest deaths » Capital News

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Bamako, Mali, Jul 13 – Mali’s worried allies and neighbours have appealed for restraint and dialogue as the country’s deepening political crisis spirals into bloodshed.

After three days of unrest in the capital Bamako, representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and West African bloc ECOWAS late Sunday voiced their concern.

Condemning “any form of violence as a means of crisis resolution,” they attacked the use of lethal force by the security forces and urged dialogue, but warned that the arrest of protest leaders was an obstacle to this.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is facing a mounting wave of protests sparked by the outcome of a long-delayed parliamentary poll, but whose underlying causes include discontent over his handling of Mali’s jihadist insurgency.

The 75-year-old has been in power since 2013.

Eleven people have died and 124 have been injured since Friday, according to a senior official at an emergency department of a major hospital in Bamako.

Witnesses said security forces fired live rounds during clashes with protesters, with the civil unrest the worst the country has seen in years.

Bamako remained tense on on Sunday, as hundreds of people converged on the district of Badalabougou for the funerals of four people killed in the violence.

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The well-off neighbourhood is a stronghold of influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, who has emerged as a leader of the protest movement.

He appealed for calm on Sunday after deadly clashes between his supporters and security forces.

Despite scattered incidents during the night, a measure of calm had returned to Bamako on Monday morning.

There was heavy police presence on two of the city’s main bridges — major choke points that protesters had targeted — and traffic was circulating.

All banks remained shut, however.

The demonstrations are being driven by a disparate group of religious leaders, political and civil society members that calls itself the June 5 Movement.

They have called for “civil disobedience”, including non-payment of fines and blocking entry to state buildings.

– ‘Consensus government’ –

Mali’s European allies and regional partners are anxious, given the country’s poverty, ethnic mix and strategic location at the heart of the Sahel.

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Sunday’s statement voiced support for proposals put forward by ECOWAS, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States of which Mali is a member.

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The proposals call for a “consensus government of national union” and for fresh elections in constituencies whose provisional results, in the March-April elections, had been annulled by the Constitutional Court, a move that enabled several members of Keita’s party to be elected.

Keita has already made several attempts to ease the anger, including a promise to dissolve the court.

Mali © AFP

The former French colony has struggled to contain an Islamist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012 before spreading to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

The UN has deployed 13,000 soldiers to Mali in one of its biggest peacekeeping operations, while France has 5,100 troops in its Barkhane anti-jihadist mission across the Sahel.

A joint EU special ops force called Takuba is to begin deployment on Wednesday, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said Sunday.

A first batch of around 100 French and Estonian troops will be joined later by contingents from the Czech Republic and Sweden, Parly told the French daily La Croix, adding that Italy may also take part.

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