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The State of the Kenyan Nation

lifestyle audit

A lifestyle audit, prosecutions and severing ties with erstwhile allies are the morning announcement that came from State House ahead of the much awaited State of the Nation address. In a brave show, what Kenyans are now used to, President Kenyatta on Thursday said rich Kenyans who have not been paying their taxes will be required to disclose sources of their wealth. “I want everyone in Kenya to know that no matter your standing in society, we are all equal before the law. Cases against corrupt acts are being built against persons who may have thought themselves untouchable,” he tweeted. And while targeting the giver and receiver of bribes may not sound new, the Head of State reminded Kenyans: “The ongoing prosecutions will not be limited to senior public servants who betrayed their Oaths of Office but also their accomplices in the private sector, including those professionals who aid in the laundering of stolen public funds.”

SOURCES: DAILY NATION

US Citizen Kidnapped at Picturesque Holiday Spot in Uganda

US Citizen Kidnapped Uganda

Security forces are hunting gunmen who abducted an American tourist and her driver inside a national park close to the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Four kidnappers stopped a group of tourists at gunpoint around dusk on Tuesday as they drove through the Queen Elizabeth national park to see wild animals. Police identified the American as a 35-year-old woman, and said the kidnappers had later used her mobile telephone to demand a ransom of $500,000 for the release of the pair. The driver is a 48-year-old safari guide with years of experience. Two other tourists, whom police described as an “elderly couple”, were present when the gunmen attacked, but were not abducted or physically harmed. They managed to raise the alarm from the lodge where they were staying.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN | VOA

The Atrocities of Belgian Colonial Rule in Africa

Belgian Colonial Rule in Africa

Belgium has apologized for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda. The apology is the first time that Belgium has recognized any responsibility for what historians say was the immense harm the country inflicted on the Central African nations, which it colonized for eight decades. Prime Minister Charles Michel offered the apology on Thursday afternoon in front of a plenary session of Parliament, which was attended by dozens of people of mixed race in the visitors’ gallery. “Throughout Belgian colonial Africa, a system of targeted segregation of métis and their families was maintained by the Belgian state and acts were committed that violated the fundamental rights of peoples,” he said, using the term for mixed-race people. The prime minister said that the Belgian government would make resources available to finance additional research on the issue, open up its colonial archives to métis people and offer administrative help to those seeking to gain access to their official records and seeking Belgian nationality.

SOURCES: NEW YORK TIMES

Ethiopian Airlines’ Pilots Did All they Could

Ethiopian Airlines plane

The crew of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last month repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, but were unable to regain control of the jet. Transport minister Dagmawit Moges made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday as she unveiled the results of the preliminary probe into the crash, which killed all 157 people on board. “The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” Dagmawit said, citing data from the Boeing 737 MAX 8’s recorders. She said the report recommends “the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer.” David Learmount, consulting editor for Flight Global, told Al Jazeera it was not clear what triggered the nose-down, but said that “the crew reacted quite correctly by carrying out a drill that has been prescribed if this occurs and isolated this system that was trying to push the nose down.”

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Today’s Doodle Celebrates the World-renowned South African Trumpeter

Hugh Masekela

Google has created a doodle in honor of jazz legend and anti-apartheid hero Hugh Masekela on what would have been his 80th birthday. Known as the father of South African jazz, the trumpet master channelled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans. Masekela died one year ago in January, a few months shy of his 79th birthday. His image was featured prominently Thursday on Google homepages in the UK, US, South Africa and a few other countries worldwide. His career spanned five decades, during which time he released over 40 albums and worked with a range of artists including Nigeria’s Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and his former wife, the late Miriam Makeba. In 1990 Masekela returned home to South Africa, following the release of Mandela from prison.

SOURCES: CNN

Volkswagen’s Bet on Rwanda is Part of its Expansion Strategy in Africa

Volkswagen’s Rwanda

The carmaker’s renewed interest in Africa is driven by the demand for brand new cars propelled by an emerging middle class as well as competition from companies like Toyota, Nissan, and Peugeot who are ramping up production in the continent. In Rwanda, Volkswagen set up a $20 million operation expected to produce up to 5,000 vehicles a year and create about 1,000 jobs. In Kigali, VW also placed a wager on another first for its global operations: ride-hailing services. The project is part of an initiative to use Rwanda to test the future potential of a fully-fledged ride-hailing service, says VW Rwanda chief executive Michaella Rugwizangoga. Dubbed “Move,” the digital mobility concept entailed the company owning and managing the entire value chain: from supplying their own cars and drivers to providing insurance, refueling, and maintenance services. The venture was a first for Rwanda too, whose small, but fragmented, transportation system is yet to be disrupted—unlike those in larger East African cities—by app-based car-hailing and bus-sharing services.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Ivanka Trump Plans Africa Tour

Ivanka Trump Plans Africa Tour

White House adviser Ivanka Trump is planning a trip to Africa to promote a global women’s initiative she’s leading. President Donald Trump’s daughter will visit Ethiopia and Ivory Coast over four days this month. The White House said her schedule includes a women’s economic empowerment summit in Ivory Coast as well as site visits and meetings with political leaders, executives and female entrepreneurs in both countries. It will be Ivanka Trump’s first visit to Africa since the White House undertook the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative in February. Ivanka Trump has made women’s economic empowerment a centerpiece of her White House portfolio. She has made a number of international trips, with a focus on these issues, including to Japan and India. Her travel to Africa follows a five-day tour that first lady Melania Trump made there last year, with a focus on child welfare.

SOURCES: VOA

African Economies Forge Ahead Despite a Lagging Big Two

African Economies

Growth in Africa’s two largest economies may be sputtering along but that won’t stop the continent’s GDP from expanding at the fastest pace since at least 2012. GDP growth for the continent is forecast accelerate to 4% in 2019, up from an estimated 3.5% in 2018, making it the fastest-growing region in the world after Asia, according to the African Development Bank. And that’s despite Nigeria and SA, which make up almost half of the continent’s GDP, “pulling down Africa’s average growth,” as the Abidjan-based lender said in its latest economic outlook report. Nigeria’s GDP will expand by 2.3% in 2019, which is below the rate of population growth, as the government struggles to reduce the nation’s oil dependence and attract foreign investment. SA’s expansion will be even slower, at 1.7%, as the continent’s most industrialised economy battles to recover from 2018’s recession. Both countries are in the AfDB’s list of the 10 slowest-growing economies.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Africa’s Scorecard on Landmines

Ban on Landmines

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) states that anti-personnel mines were first used in World War II.  Since then, the devices have been used in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the first Persian Gulf War.  Eventually, landmines were used as weapons of war in many countries around the world, including Africa, where they continue to destroy lives. Landmines deprive some of the poorest people around the world access to arable land, markets, schools, work and water.  The International Committee of the Red Cross states that there are an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines in the ground and another 250 million stockpiled across the world today.  Once mined, landmines do not go away until they are removed. It is for this reason that a number of humanitarian organizations, like United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), have taken it upon themselves to put an end to the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines by offering mine risk education, land clearance, weapons and ammunition management.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Proof that there’s more to Kenya than Safaris

Lamu Island

Lamu Island offers amazing hidden location gems to explore, the Swahili and Arab cultures on the island are similar to the vibes you’ll feel when visiting the more famous island of Zanzibar  – minus the super touristy crowds. The Lamu Archipelago is a small group of islands situated on Kenya’s northern coastline, with Lamu Town being the oldest living Swahili town in Kenya and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From getting lost down the picturesque stone alleyways to snorkeling, island hopping and of course, eating, you will never be bored.

SOURCES: ESSENCE

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