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How Kenya’s ‘Second Republic’ failed to materialise | Kenya



Today, Kenya marks the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of its current constitution and what some at the time termed “the birth of the Second Republic” – a phrase one almost never hears today. And understandably so. For in the last decade, the constitution has been more honoured in breach than observance. Just a few days ago, a demonstration by a handful of citizens against the theft of funds meant for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic was violently dispersed by the police despite the right to stage public protests being expressly protected in the constitution.

The second republic, it turns out, looks very much like what it was supposed to replace.

Part of the problem with the constitution is a feature of its design. It created a whole new, devolved level of government – the county – but still left most of the resources in the hands of the central government. Similarly, while it did bring decision-making closer to the people, the mechanisms and agencies for holding public officials to account are still based in the capital, Nairobi. As a result, the accountability that devolution was meant to ensure has turned out to be illusory.

Another, more egregious example of bad design is that the constitution gave Kenyans the right to recall their parliamentary representatives but then said those very representatives would get to decide when and how we would exercise that particular right. As you can imagine, that did not work out well for Kenyans.

However, by far, the main reason why the constitution has not wrought quite the transformation its authors anticipated is that it remains largely unimplemented. The political class which it was meant to contain have proven to be more than a match for it. From the very start, their support for genuine constitutional change had been lukewarm. While there was overwhelming support for change among the population, political elites saw the constitution primarily as an avenue for contesting power – those who had it resisted change and those who did not pushed for it. Thus the whole effort was constantly derailed by the changing political fortunes of the main actors whose views on the main issues were dependent on where they stood at any particular moment.

In December 2002, for example, Mwai Kibaki, a former regime loyalist and vice president who had spent a decade in opposition after falling out with his boss, the dictatorial Daniel arap Moi, was elected president. Kenyans genuinely believed that he would live up to his promise to deliver a new constitution within 100 days. Instead, once in power, and despite heading an administration that contained many of the leading lights of the push to enact a new constitution, he seemed to come to the conclusion that he liked things as they were. He rejected a constitutional draft which emerged from a constitutional conference in March 2004 after months of negotiation and struggle, his inner circle orchestrated an alternative draft which was rejected by Kenyans in a referendum a year later.

His successor, current President Uhuru Kenyatta, was at the time the leader of the opposition and declared after the referendum that Kenyans did not want an imperial presidency. Yet after he took power in 2013, and was tasked with the implementation of the 2010 constitution, he too preferred to keep things as they were.

In the past decade, his administration has demonstrated much contempt for the constitution. He has attempted to curtail the rights it guarantees under the guise of fighting terrorism and COVID-19; threatened judges when they ruled against him; commended the police for actions that led to the deaths of dozens of Kenyans; and undermined the devolution of powers to the counties. Just this week, the police attempted to sway the outcome of a vote in the Senate in favour of the government by arresting three senators.

Conspiring with Kenyatta to defeat the constitution has been a retinue of politicians, public officials, judges and bureaucrats. Among these is the Chief Justice, David Maraga, who has refused to ask the President to dissolve Parliament, a request the President would be constitutionally obliged to honour, over its failure to comply with a requirement not to have more than two-thirds of its membership drawn from the same gender.

In fact, all three branches of government, including the judiciary itself and the Supreme Court, are technically unconstitutional having failed to adhere to the requirement. And despite famously annulling the 2017 presidential poll, the judiciary has nonetheless failed to consistently uphold constitutional standards for elections, with Supreme Court justices infamously failing to deliver a crucial ruling less than two months after the annulment; has upheld discriminatory colonial laws; and allowed the reintroduction of laws against criminal libel that it had previously ruled unconstitutional. Similarly, though guaranteed operational independence by the Constitution, the police have acted as little more than partisan enforcers

And having made peace with his erstwhile rival, Raila Odinga, Kenyatta has abandoned all pretence of implementing the constitution and is instead now looking to change it. Many suspect that it may be a ploy to hang on to power when his constitutional two-term limit expires in two years’ time.

In his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the late US philosopher Robert Pirsig wrote: “If a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves”.

Clearly, this has been the case with the Kenyan state. While the constitution sought to restart the project of decolonisation aborted at independence, the job of implementing it has unfortunately been left to an elite with the same colonial patterns of thought that produced the first republic. It is a mistake Kenyans cannot afford to repeat.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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