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UN Security Council seat battle reveals fracture within AU countries

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AGGREY MUTAMBO

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya’s bruising campaign to capture the United Nations Security Council seat has exposed fractures within the African Union, as Djibouti and its supporters fought to the very end in defiance of the continental body’s endorsement of Nairobi’s sole candidature.

Kenya on June 18 won the non-permanent UNSC seat after a tense campaign that saw neighbouring countries take strong positions against each other, handing Nairobi a tough task of healing rifts while representing the continent on the world’s most important body for fostering peace and international security.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said Nairobi would represent every country’s needs, and thanked Djibouti for being a “worthwhile opponent.” Djibouti congratulated Kenya on the victory, signalling the end of what had been a bruising campaign that saw Nairobi describe its opponent as “dishonourable” in conduct.

“Kenya will endeavour to consolidate and voice Africa’s position in the Security Council and will advance its 10-point agenda as outlined during the campaign period,” said State House Nairobi in a statement on June 18.

Kenya garnered 129 votes against Djibouti’s 62, in the second round of voting.

Djibouti had been defiant, rejecting an AU endorsement of Kenya and it consistently indicated that it had “successfully” managed to overturn that endorsement. The issue was never raised again on the AU agenda after the committee of permanent representatives at the AU submitted Kenya’s name to the Africa Group in New York last October.

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Sources in Djibouti told The EastAfrican that long before the AU vote, Djibouti had amassed some 100 MoUs with individual countries, taking advantage of bilateral ties to secure support for the vote. So when the AU endorsed Kenya, Djibouti knew it had 100 votes in the bag anyway. It would become Kenya’s headache throughout the campaign as some capitals openly told Kenya they would vote elsewhere.

Some of those countries, like Pakistan and Somalia, publicly admitted siding with Djibouti. But as is the nature of politics, Djibouti still lost some 40 votes from those who signed MoUs.

On June 18, Djiboutian President Ismail Guelleh promptly conceded defeat and congratulated Kenya. Somalia’s congratulatory message also followed.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba told The EastAfrican, “Maturity entails the ability to draw a distinction between rivalry and enmity. Djibouti has been a very worthy rival in this bid, never an enemy. The campaigns and the vote are behind us now.”

“We want to quickly rally the region, the continent and the globe around the issues that matter, which are encapsulated in Kenya’s 10-point agenda,” he added.

Djibouti took the seat so seriously that President Guelleh travelled more than his envoys to lobby for support.

While on assignment in Baku, Azerbaijan, to campaign for Kenya at the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, Mr Namwamba remembered pitching to the same audience with President Guelleh.

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“We would bump into each other and good-naturedly wish each other well,” added Mr Namwamba.

Some of the issues in Kenya’s 10-point agenda include fighting terrorism, empowering youth and women, environmental conservation, human rights and justice, and sustainable development goals.

On Friday June 19, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) — the eight-member regional bloc to which both Kenya and Djibouti belong — said any bitterness between the countries had ended after the vote.

Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, a political advisor at Igad, termed the race “a win-win result.”

“If you look at Kenya’s 10-point priorities for the UNSC seat… [they are] all priorities for not only Igad member states or the AU, but also for humanity at large,” he told The EastAfrican on Friday.

“The Igad bloc, the AU and other UN member states will work closely with Kenya and other member of the UNSC to advance the UN Charter and contribute to global peace and sustainable development.”

Igad thinks the concession by Djibouti and the recognition by Nairobi is evidence the bloc will move on from the cracks of rivalry.

However, some international relations scholars feel that Kenya should pick lessons from the bruising campaigns and work harder to defend the legitimacy of the African Union.

“Djibouti should not have disregarded African Union’s endorsement of Kenya. Kenya will now have to work harder and focus on its faithful friends, while at the same time wooing doubting ones on its side,” said Mustafa Ali, chairman of the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank in Nairobi.

There could be repercussions at Igad, even though bilateral relations between Kenya and Djibouti may not change, according to Wilfred Nasong’o Muliro, a lecturer of International relations and security at the Technical University of Kenya.

“The recent developments within the Horn of Africa region have shown that intra-Igad diplomatic alliances ostensibly aimed at creating a balance of power that isolates Kenya. This implies that if Ethiopia voted for Kenya, it will be ruffling its geo-strategic relationship with Djibouti.

“Yet, if it voted for Djibouti it would be going against the position of the AU whose headquarters is in Ethiopia. But the overt regional hegemonic rivalry between Kenya and Ethiopia may be directly manifest if the emerging troika of Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti vote against Kenya,” Mr Nasong’o said.

Kenya, he argued, now has two options as far as regional diplomacy in the Horn and East Africa is concerned. One, is to seek to expand the greater Horn of Africa to include other EAC members so as to stem institutionalisation of a purely Horn of Africa organisation. The second option is to expend “its energies on the development of EAC and seek to influence Igad from that perspective.”

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Court orders retrial of man who was jailed for 30 years for defiling his ‘wife’ – Nairobi News

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The High Court in Embu has ordered the retrial of a man who was sentenced to 30 years after he pleaded guilty to defiling a minor.

The court has ordered that Livo Mutugi Njeru be charged and tried afresh on the grounds of an ambiguous charge.

PLEADED GUILTY

In 2015 when Njeru was charged in Runyenjes court with defiling the minor, he pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Njeru told the court that the minor he was accused of defiling was his wife of two years and that no family member had an issue with their marriage.

But after the sentencing, Njeru moved to the High Court and sought to have his conviction quashed and the sentence set aside.

According to court documents, Njeru claims that the trial magistrate erred in law.

HARSH SENTENCE

“That the learned trial magistrate also erred in law and facts sentencing the appellant to 30 years (in jail) which was harsh and excessive,” the court heard.

Njeru further told the court that the complainant had been married to him for two years and there was no complaint lodged opposing their marriage.

According to Njeru he was arrested as a result of a dispute between him and the area chief.

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Njeru told the court there was a land dispute involving him and the area administrator and that was the reason why he was arrested and charged in court.

GRAVITY OF OFFENCE

The claimed that his sentence to harsh as he had unconsciously pleaded guilty, in addition to being young and a first-time offender.

In her ruling, Justice Florence Muchemu merited the appeal and noted that the trial court failed to explain to Njeru the nature and magnitude of the charge he was facing and the severity of the sentence.

“The offence facing the appellant was a serious one and the court ought to have made sure the appellant was aware of the gravity of the offence facing him,” Muchemi said.

The judge while delivering the ruling on July 2, 2020 ordered a retrial by a different magistrate within four months.

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Public Procurement Administrative Review upholds tender awarded by KEMSA: The Standard

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Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) CEO Jonah Manjari before Senate. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]
The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) has dismissed an appeal by Tunasco Insaat Anonim Sirketi (Tunasco) seeking to nullify a tender awarded by Kenya Medical Supply Authority (KEMSA) to China Railway No.10 Engineering Group.

“The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) has dismissed an appeal filed by Tunasco against an award by KEMSA for the tender for Supply Installation and Commissioning of Racking System and Associated works on grounds that the appeal lacked merit,” read a statement by KEMSA.
Tunasco cited breaching of sections of the procurement act in evaluating the company’s application and even argued that an additional item, Addendum No. 1 dated April 30, 2020, 15 days after advertisement of the tender, omitted the requirement for manuals and materials certificates from the tender document and the criteria for evaluation.
However, KEMSA confirmed that the Addendum No.1 only removed manuals and material certificates from the mandatory preliminary examination requirements.
SEE ALSO: Anti-graft agency probes illegal dealings at Kemsa
“All bidders were required to include comprehensive manuals and materials certificates in response to the specifications and bills of quantities contained in the tender document,” read the statement by KEMSA.
“The Applicant breached Clause 3.1 and Clause 2.17 of Section Il. Instructions to tenderers of the tender document since the manuals and materials certificates provided by the applicant were not in the English language and had no reference to the prescribed standards,” contended KEMSA faulting the applicant for not meeting all set requirements.
PPARB has emphasized the need for bidders must to comply with all technical specifications provided in the tender documents, failure to which bidders would end up facing consequences.
“It is the Board’s considered view that the product proposed by a bidder must meet the technical specifications of the tender document and this was a critical requirement to the effect that a bidder’s failure to meet the same would render such a bid non-responsive and the same would not be evaluated further,” read the ruling in part the ruling by PPARB.
KEMSA, Chief Executive Officer Dr Jonah Manjari has expressed his commitment in following the law and procurement rules while upholding the highest ethical standards of accountability and transparency in health services.
SEE ALSO: Boost for HIV patients in Covid fight
The ruling by PPARB is a sigh of relief and sanitizer for KEMSA which has faced sharp criticism for weeks over claims of unprofessionalism and bias in offering tenders.
“In fulfilling our mandate, it is important to uphold fair play and this means that we encourage healthy competition in our processes,” said Mr. Manjari.

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47 counties have over Ksh 110B in assets, Ksh 57B in liabilities

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The 47 counties have assets worth over Ksh 110 Billion according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC).

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It has emerged that the committee had used Ksh 400 million to identify the assets against a budget of Ksh 4 Billion that had been projected by the defunct Transition Authority (TA).

This came as the committee tenure ended with a new team taking over the running of the committee on a six-year tenure.

According to the CS for Devolution Eugene Wamalwa, the outgoing team had done a commendable job in identifying the assets which were at risk of being grabbed.
Wamalwa noted that the committee had managed to identify 62,342 parcels of land, over 70,000 buildings and 2,600 cars owned by defunct councils.

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“According to the new report, Counties have assets worth Ksh 110B and liabilities running to Ksh 57B and we are grateful to this committee for a job well done,” he said.

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He questioned the budget proposal by the defunct Transition Authority which stood at Ksh 4B noting that the outgoing committee had used Ksh 400m.

“The rehabilitation of the old Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line used Sh1B from the proposed Ksh 21B and it seems that there is a big problem in some departments,” he said.

Speaking in Panorama Hotel in Naivasha during the handing over ceremony, he expressed his concern over an increase in cases of inter-governmental disputes.

“We are grateful that the IGRTC has helped solve some disputes between government institutions as the government has paid millions to lawyers during court cases,” he noted.

On the current revenue allocation impasse, Wamalwa was optimistic that Senate would help resolve the issue soonest possible.

“We hope that there will be sobriety in the manner that the senate debates and resolves this issue which is very critical in the running of counties,” he said.
On her part, the outgoing vice-chairperson Allyce Kureiya said that during their tenure they had managed to resolve eleven out of the 23 disputes between counties.

“The biggest challenge we faced was interference from other bodies and we hope the new team will get full support from the State,” she said.

On his part, the new acting chairman John Burugu was optimistic that they would deliver after their term tenure was confirmed to six years.

“We are ready to tackle the pending disputes between counties and we shall seek the support of the State in reaching our objectives,” he said.

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