Amos Fofung: Freedom of press starts with the government
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
Cameroonian journalist Amos Fofung was nominated for our Newcomer of the Year award during Free Press Live 2018. News which only reached him months after because he was in the midst of fleeing Cameroon for his own safety. Now, almost a year later he lives in the United States and shares with us his story and ideas on press freedom in Cameroon and the rest of the world.
Passion for journalism
Amos started his career as a journalist during his second year University in 2014. “I have always been fascinated with journalism because journalists don’t just tell stories, they actually make a difference and have a positive impact by telling these stories.” However practicing a passion for journalism and investigative reporting is far from easy in a country like Cameroon where there are many restrictions and threats to journalists. Amos confirms: “In my country it is common for journalists to deal with threats, intimidation and aggression on a daily basis, I actually consider that as normal here. So I definitely knew what I was getting myself in to but it didn’t scare me away at the time. If you know that what you are fighting for, it is worth it.”
Detained without charges
On February 9, 2017 the situation took a more serious turn when Amos was called down by the police to make a statement together with two other journalists. They were told they could go home after the statements but once they arrived to the station the story changed, “the police just arrested us without any official complaint or explanation” Amos explains. The next day he and the other two journalists were moved to the political capital of Cameroon Yaoundé where they would stay in a high security prison for 6 months. Amos is convinced that his extensive reporting on the Anglophone crisis, which has seen an escalation of violence in the past year, was the reason behind his arrest. “I was kept in prison for 6 months and one day they just let me go like that. No charges, nothing, only a warning to stop my reporting on the Anglophone crisis.”
Press freedom in Cameroon
Unfortunately, Amos’ story is one of many that reflect the decrease of press freedom in Cameroon. According to a report released by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the Cameroonian government uses an ‘anti-terror’ law installed in 2014 to constantly harass, intimidate and silence the media. If as a journalist you are charged under the 2014 ‘anti-terror’ law you can face up to 10 years or more in prison. “A colleague journalist Thomas Awah was sentenced to 11 years in prison under this law. And unfortunately there are many more who have been arrested, released, threatened and intimidated since” Amos confirms.
Government leads the way
In Cameroon threats to journalists often come but are not limited to the government. Amos believes the problem is that journalists are viewed as anti-government and spreader of fake news instead of a source of unbiased information. But an overall change in attitude towards journalists will only happen if the government leads the way. “In order for journalism to thrive the government needs to openly protect and respect it’s independent media.” Amos explains. “A good example of this we can even see in a developed country like the United States of America, where an executive openly attacked the media creating an environment where people will go as far as creating a bomb scare to media offices.” Journalists are not enemies of the government they are agents of development and “my hope is that one day journalists everywhere will be given the respect and place they deserve in society” Amos concludes.
*Source Free Press Unlimited
INNOVATIVE INSURANCE COVER TO HELP DROUGHT-HIT COMMUNITIES IN AFRICA
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
ROME-LONDON – Humanitarian agencies are setting up innovative climate risk insurance policies to protect up to 1.3 million people in West Africa from catastrophic drought. The countries benefitting include Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and the Gambia.
These policies will unleash funds to assist vulnerable communities threatened by drought before it reaches catastrophic levels. Collectively, the purchased policies could release a total of US$ 49.5 million across the five countries. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Start Network have purchased these “replica” climate risk insurance policies from the African Union’s Africa Risk Capacity (ARC), complementing those purchased by national governments.
This initiative, which is known under the name ‘ARC Replica’ allows governments and humanitarian agencies to quickly access and channel financing to vulnerable people in the event of an extreme drought.
“ARC Replica is strengthening the insurance coverage offered by ARC by increasing the sum insured for Mali,” explains WFP Country Director, Silvia Caruso. “This increases the number of people that will benefit from a payout in the case of a major drought.”
This financing helps to protect livestock and other assets, and to supplement feeding programs for undernourished children. To ensure assistance reaches people in need quickly, Start Network and WFP have worked with each insured country to identify how resources and assistance can most efficiently be delivered.
“Many developing countries face the risk of disasters without being sufficiently prepared for them. When a disaster strikes, humanitarian organisations often respond too late, leaving affected populations vulnerable to further risk,” says KfW Development Bank project manager, Veronika Bertram-Hümmer. “We are very pleased to finance ARC Replica and work with the Start Network and the WFP to improve national preparedness and risk management efforts which ultimately allow us to help people affected by drought in West Africa and the Sahel.”
Through ARC Replica, the Start Network and WFP accompany governments in improving risk management practices, working collaboratively to strengthen safety nets and climate protection to vulnerable populations.
Mr. Abdoulaye Noba, Director of Civil Protection, Supervisor of the ARC Programme in Senegal, says that “ARC Replica is an innovative project that enables ARC Member States and humanitarian partners to respond more effectively to disaster risks through funding mechanisms such as insurance.”
ARC and ARC Replica use pre-agreed triggers such as rainfall satellite data which allow for rapid response involving pre-agreed activities such as cash transfers and the distribution of food and nutrition supplements. The aim is to avoid situations where families take children out of school, migrate or sell livestock and seeds before the next agricultural season.
“We will keep working closely with the Government of Senegal, Start Network members in country and their partners to ensure that if a drought is detected, funds become available promptly to deliver support to vulnerable people,” says Anna Farina, Risk Financing Operations Lead at Start.
Pay-outs are made as early as two weeks after a failed harvest – months earlier than traditional humanitarian resources are made available. Typically, aid agencies are reliant on funding that gets provided by donors after a crisis has already taken place. By the time a crisis has been determined and humanitarian appeals have been formulated, many lives and livelihoods can be lost.
*WFP News feed
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ARC and ARC Replica
The African Risk Capacity (ARC) is an institution set up by the African Union to strengthen African countries’ management of climate risk. This is achieved by offering governments drought insurance policies in exchange for an annual premium. ARC Replica is an insurance product offered by ARC Ltd to humanitarian organizations as an innovative approach to expand climate risk insurance coverage to more people and improve the effectiveness of emergency humanitarian response in vulnerable African countries prone to climate risks.
ARC Replica in Mali, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Mauritania is led by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future. For WFP, ARC Replica fits into a wider risk financing portfolio with forecast-based financing and microinsurance programmes, such as the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative.
The Start Network is the Replica partner in Senegal and it will sign a policy later this year in Madagascar. The Start Network aims to generate evidence from the ARC Replica initiative to inform the development of a ‘family’ of global financing mechanisms for frontline humanitarian responders, set to include a financial tool-box of products such as contingency funds, forecast-based-financing, and loans in addition to macro- and micro- insurance.
Climate Change would cause losses to Agriculture, African Union Official warns
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
Sudan, South Sudan police sign cooperation ties
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng MacholJuba – South Sudan and its foe Sudan have agreed to boost bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries’ police forces, following the Sudan political turmoil.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement signed on Monday by the police chiefs of both sisterly countries seeks to enhancing cooperation in the police service, capacity building, intelligence sharing and visa on arrival at airports and all points of entries to both citizens of the two countries.
“This is the beginning and good gesture between South Sudan police and Sudan police force,” said South Sudan police chief Gen. Majak Akech. “For us, we are very delighted and privileged to have you and it will be long lasting relationships that will actually path way for other generations to come,” he added.
The agreement also covers exchange of security information on organized and transnational crimes and coordination and enhancing the provision of logistical support.
Sudan police delegations arrived in Juba a week ago for a three-day visit, in bid to restore the dwindle bilateral relations and cooperation.
On his part, Director-General of Sudan Police Force Adil Mohammed Ahmed said the pact shows sturdy commitment towards fighting crime in the two foe sisterly countries.
Sudan has offered to help the South Sudan National Police Service with the training of the joint integrated police as its contribution toward the Khartoum – backing up 11th months old revitalized peace agreement.
South Sudan is in the process of reorganizing the armed forces through reforms adopted in the revitalized peace agreement. A unified force including the army and the police will be trained to protect all demilitarized areas.
The MoU will also address the payment of pensions to South Sudanese police personnel who previously served in Sudan before the country separated in 2011, leaved many not received their pension benefits for the last 8th years. With this deal, former police officers, including those who have retired are expected to receive their benefits and pension.
The Sudan police chief also said deal is to focus on areas of security and cooperation at the border points as part of the 2012 agreement.
In aftermath of the secession, South Sudan and Sudan agreed to extend the Cooperation Agreements between the two countries signed in 2012. The cooperation deals are specifically on oil, border issues, citizenship rights, and the division of debts and assets, among others, which were supposed to last for three and a half years since 2012.
However, South Sudan is due to form the transitional government in November 12, to put an end the five-plus years’ bloody conflict in the East Africa country.
Sudan is also currently engaged in talks to reform its security sector which has been accused of committing atrocities and crimes against the civil population in Sudan over the years under the tyranny rule of President Omar al Bashir.
Months of protests that started in late 2018 led to the deposed of President Bashir in April this year and put the future of the country in the hands of the protestors and a ruling elite of military generals.
The protesters recently forced the change of notorious Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services.
The Transitional Military Council agreed to restructure it into a body that focuses on combating terrorism and espionage, preventing human trafficking and fighting corruption and money laundering.
This will be under the supervision of the sovereignty council and the Council of Ministers in Sudan throughout the 3 years transition of a civilian-military rule.
Kenya:Where are abducted Cuban doctors?
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Doctors Assel Herera Corea, a general practitioner, and Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon, on April 12 2019 were kidnapped at Northern Kenya by suspected Alshabaab militia and were driven to neighboring Somalia. They were abducted in a daring road ambush on their way to work in which the attackers shot and killed one of the two police officers who were providing security to them.
Immediately after the incident a multi-agency team was formed to hunt down the attackers in a bid to free the medics. The team consisted of the best-trained commandos from the Long Range Surveillance unit, the police and other Kenya Defence Forces soldiers. Police also inspected vehicles suspected to be fitted with fake registration numbers and military helicopter surveyed the area to search for the whereabouts of the duo.
Kenyan Somali elders also joined the rescue team. At least 10 of them crossed the border to negotiate the release of the two with their counterparts in Somalia. After days of negotiations in remote areas in Buale and El-Aide Somalia, the elders revealed that the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of USD$1.5 million confirming that the Dr. Corea and Dr. Rodriguez are alive and healthy.
“They seem to be under care and offering Medicare services to the locals,” said a source from the elders’ team.
However, the government ruled out the possibility of paying the ransom saying the operations to free the embattled doctors will be successful. Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said, “We believe that we will secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of policy, the government does not negotiate a ransom. We are hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home.”
Since then a little is known about the well-being of the two Cubans despite reports from the intelligence in July that disclosed that they were converted to Islam and were relocated to another area. Kenya’s Inspector of General Police Hillary Mutyambai’s confession is not far from the truth. Mr. Mutyambai said police are not involved in the search and rescue mission noting that they have no power to carry out operations beyond the border.
“Our work as police ends at the border…I am not in a good position to account for the fate of Cuban doctors but we have a team working on it,” said the Inspector General.
Nevertheless, he hinted at the government’s undying effort to rescue and bring back the doctors home. He said police had made a number of arrests and suspects arraigned in court concerning the matter.
Dr. Corea and Dr. Rodriguez are among 100 Cuban doctors who came to the country last year in a deal that saw 50 Kenyan doctors switched to Cuban for further training. They were deployed to 47 counties to boost health services mainly in the rural area and ease congestion on the few referral hospitals.
Kagame says dialogue among Africans cannot be imposed from outside
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame said that dialogue and inclusion cannot be imposed from outside because that way cannot bear good results.
He was speaking this Tuesday during a Peace and Reconciliation accord signing ceremony between government of Mozambique and a rebel group Renamo.
The agreement came to end decades of hostility and war between two parties that saw more than million victims.
President Kagame who was among other dignitaries attended the event in Maputo, said this successful agreement shows potentials that lie among Africans themselves.
“This achievement matters to all of us in Africa. It shows that we can find solutions to our problems, no matter how protracted and difficult. Dialogue and inclusion cannot be imposed from outside. And once consensus is reached, it can only be sustained from Within”, he said
It is not the first time that Mozambique had an agreement with Renamo. The agreement was signed in 1992 and led to multi party elections of 1994 in which Renamo participated.
Agreement failed in 2013 when Renamo was accusing government forces to attack its base in central region.
Kagame said though the first agreement didn’t work, there is no loss into trying again.
“For the people of Mozambique, today brings the promise of an end to decades of conflict and uncertainty, and the renewal of national unity and cohesion. Even if previous efforts have not succeeded, it is never a waste to give a shot to peace one more time”, he added
More than five thousands Renamo rebels will be integrated into national Army, Police others will be reintegrated in society.
Talks between two parties come ahead of general elections in October in which Renamo will participate as a political party.
Some of Rwanda’s big institutions to be relocated from the capital
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Some Rwanda’s big institutions are going to be relocated from main capital Kigali, to the second cities around the country.
It is one of the decisions that were taken this Monday during a cabinet meeting chaired by President Kagame.
The reason behind the relocation, is to increase development in every corner of the country and to scale up decentralization program.
Among the institutions to be relocated are Rwanda Agricultural Board which moving from Kigali to Huye, a city in the southern West of the country. Huye is going to house other big institutions like University of Rwanda, High Education Council and The Institute of National Museum of Rwanda.
Rwanda Management Institute, and Rwanda Cooperative Agency were moved from Kigali to Muhanga in the central region while National Commission for Unity and Reconciliation together with Commission in charge of demobilization were relocated to Musanze, a city situated in Northern Rwanda.
Commenting on these changes, Minister of Infrastructure, Claver Gatete told a press conference on Tuesday that relocation will improve service delivery.
“People don’t have to travel from Huye (south) to Kigali to consult another company and even sharing research and other things, that’s why education institutions were put together. If they are together, it becomes much easier . It is going to become easier in terms of service delivery but it contribute significantly to development of these cities outside of Kigali.”
Gatete added that relocating government’s institutions is in line with the country’s vision, where development has to spread all over.
“If you concentrate everything here, it becomes a problem to services because everyone will be wanting to come to Kigali, and when you look at the future, we want to develop the whole country not necessarily Kigali” Gatete added
Some of institutions moved, have had branches and infrastructure in the cities in which they are relocated, others will be renting offices.
Gatete assured that even renting will not be as expensive as in Kigali, thus reducing government spending.
By December this year, some institutions will have begun to move to their new destinations.
Kigali: 14 African scholars teams win Mastercard Foundation support
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mugabo
Africa’s 14 scholars teams and one Lebanese team have emerged winners of the 2019 Mastercard Foundation Social Venture Challenge.
The 15 teams are from 10 countries as Uganda shines with three winning teams. Each of Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe won with two teams while Cameroon, Gambia, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda and Senegal got one winning team each.
The winners were announced at the closing of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Baobab Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday. The three-day annual summit brought together more than 250 undergraduate scholars pursuing their studies at different universities around the world under the Mastercard Foundation’s scholarships.
Each team will receive seed funding to scale their projects and a lifetime membership to the Resolution Fellowship that will help them continue getting guidance and membership to grow their projects.
The Mastercard Foundation and The Resolution Project received 125 applications for the 2019 competition but 31 teams bringing together 65 scholars reached the semi-final, according to Ashley Collier, Manager of Youth Engagement and Networks at Mastercard Foundation.
Winners speak out
Many Scholars are developing projects inspired by challenges they have observed first-hand in their communities. With modest resources, Scholars are activating their ideas for change to make a difference in their societies.
Some of the 2019 winners told media that the scooped Mastercard Foundation’s support will enable them to implement their projects and bring change in their communities.
Nadine Iradukunda, who owns “Healthy Us” project, said she aims to increase the wellbeing of orphans in Kigali through a nutritional awareness program.
“The program will create a kitchen garden in a local orphanage in Masaka, Kicukiro District, to grow fruit and vegetables, especially mushrooms, which are rich in protein and easy to cultivate. The income from the mushroom sales will provide orphaned children with food, toiletries, and school materials,” she said.
Iradukunda co-owns the project with Marie Aimée Nirere, both pursuing their bachelor studies at Ashesi University in Ghana.
Other Ashesi University’s scholars, Edith Naisubi and Amanuel Eshete, scooped an award thanks to their “AgriSan” project which aims to establish a community market garden for underprivileged rural women in the Pallisa District of Uganda.
“Women will grow vegetables as a source of income and use the leftover vegetables to make manure. In addition, the venture will teach the women savings strategies and other financial management skills to ensure their economic security,” said Ms Naisubi.
The Mastercard Foundation collaborates with The Resolution Project to host a Resolution Social Venture Challenge, a competition that provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters in their communities. In 2016, six teams won the challenge, followed by 10 and 15 winning teams in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The Canada-based Mastercard Foundation is one of the world’s largest foundations which strives to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty and operates almost exclusively in Africa. The Foundation was established in 2006 by Mastercard International.
Sudan seeks president Kiir’s succor in resolving its political crisis
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – Sudan warring leaders convened in Juba over the weekend in a bid to seeks South Sudanese president Salva Kiir’s assistance in resolving years of stalemates in its internal political crisis.
This comes after president Kiir’s move to initiate peace between Sudan rival groups a month ago in an effort to bring peace and stability to his foe Sudan.
Sudan deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, formerly known as Hemeti, led delegations to Juba on Saturday, discussed peace with the two Sudanese opposition leaders Gen. Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu of South Kordofan State and SPLM/A-N leader Malik Agar of Blue Nile State, in auspice of president Kiir in the presidential palace.
Gen. Hemeti, who also commands a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, is on his first trip to Juba since his appointment as deputy head of Sudan’s military council following the April ouster of president Bashir after months of protests.
The visit comes after members of Sudan’s opposition coalitions reached what they call a ‘political deal’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this month.
The peace talks were part of the implementation of the power sharing deal between the protest leaders and the transitional military council signed in Khartoum recently, aimed at establishing how to implement the deal reached by the rivalry parties in Sudan.
Gen. Hemeti is the one at the forefront of peace talks with opposition groups in Sudan, but the protest leaders and military council leaders are still yet to sign a ‘constitutional declaration.’
Sudanese opposition groups has been fighting to topple the regime in Khartoum for years in the Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions respectively during the deposed president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir
In the joint press, Sudan’s rival groups say they agreed to extend a ceasefire to stop war, as coming together as one people and bring peace and stability.
Gen. Hemeti appreciated president Kiir Mayardit for initiating peace talks process between Sudan’s rival groups.
“We are in our second home. We met with Malik Gar, our meeting went successful – we agreed on key things, [with] God willing, the war will come to end.” “We welcome our brothers who have taken arms against the government of Sudan – their presence and views are very important to us in Sudan, and we really need them to come back home. It’s their home, we really need them for stability,” said Hemeti on Saturday in Juba.
SPLM/A – N leader Malik Agar, said the preliminary discussion had led to concrete decisions in future, as the two parties agreed to extend a ceasefire agreement and open humanitarian corridors to the war affected areas.
“We have reached consensus on humanitarian assistance and interventions in the areas that are affected by war. We have to renew cessation of hostilities and opening the humanitarian corridors,” Agar said. “We have signed several agreements before but they have not been implemented but this time, I hope, everything will go on well.”
The members of SPLM/A – N and other opposition groups are in Juba after forcibly expelled from Khartoum following the wake of a deadly raid on protest sit-in in Khartoum in earlier June, killing over 100 protesters
However, Sudan military council has also pardoned rebels fighting Khartoum regime, including all rebel leaders tried and convicted for treason in absentia.
In spite the separation in 2011 after the decades of scorched – earth conflict, South Sudan and Sudan are still held by pre and post – independence unfinished deals.
As the axiom say, “the birds of same feather flown together,” Khartoum was recently seeing as instrumental mediator on the fragile revitalized peace deal, inked by Juba’s warring parties last year, to ended five-year of civil war that has uprooted four million people from their homes and killed 400,000 people.
Kenya:LREB summit postponed following the demise of its vice-chair
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27
Kenya’s Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) has called off its conference due to death of its vice-chairperson Joyce Laboso. She passed on Monday, July 29 at the Nairobi hospital after battling cancer for some years. The summit had been scheduled to kick off between 1st and 2nd August.
Lake Region Economic Bloc is a joint economic growth and development strategy that brings together 14 counties from western Kenya. The block was founded in 2015 by the governors of the respective counties in a bid to empower the region economically. It is driven by a number of pillars which include agriculture, tourism, education, health, financial services, environment, climate change, infrastructure and technology.
The members had agreed to come up with a regional bank to unlock its potential through project funding and financial inclusion of communities in the region. The counties agreed to contribute USD$2 million towards the establishment of the commercial bank. Some of the agricultural sub-sectors set to be revived by the bloc are sugar, cotton, coffee, dairy and fish.
“Our region is strategically placed to serve as a gateway to East and Central Africa and we also share a large water body in Lake Victoria which serves around 44.9 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. The implementation of these projects will include jointly setting aside land for development of industrial cities, modernized workforce and landing bays, development of inter-county road circuits, refurbishing of ports, water hyacinth clearing and dredging Lake Victoria,” said the Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.
In a statement delivered to media on Tuesday, the organizers of the event led by the bloc’s chairperson said that the summit will take place in future after the burial of the late governor. The chair lauded the deceased’s exemplary leadership skills, commitment and compassion.
“Through this conference, she managed to help the bloc set its agenda and our national political leaders to focus on national development and cohesion. We regret any inconvenience caused to our various stakeholders by these untimely changes,” he said.
Governor Laboso had gone to United Kingdom and India for treatment for almost two months and jetted back to the country two weeks ago after which he was admitted to Nairobi Hospital for further treatment where she died. She has joined the list of prominent leaders who succumbed to cancer in the country for the last two years and is the third person to die of the deadly disease in July. Others are Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and lawmaker Ken Okoth.
Cancer at it again in Kenya
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27
The World deadly disease cancer has hit Kenya hard after it consumed the life a young legislator on Friday, July 26. Hon. Ken Okoth Breathed his last breath in Nairobi Hospital after battling colorectal cancer for quite number of months. Mr. Okoth was rushed to the hospital on Thursday after his condition worsened. In a span of four hours while in the facility his condition further deteriorated and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Following the failure of his organs the doctors were forced to put him on the life support machine against his wish. The lawmaker had put it clear to his family not to put him on the machine. On Friday he died few hours after the machine had been put off. His death was made public by his brother.
“We want to inform the nation, that people of Kibera (the constituency he served for seven years), that the leader they trust, a servant leader, Hon. Ken Okoth is no more. He passed on while ago,” announced his brother. The news about his death was shocked the whole country. A number of people including the President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed their sadness for the loss of the leader whom they described as vibrant, committed, selfless, eloquent and dedicated.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and the opposition leader Raila Odinga lead the whole country in mourning the fallen hero. Social media pages were flooded with condolence messages from grieving Kenyans. His personality and leadership skills were the most celebrated aspects of his life. Some Kenyans went to an extent of urging other leaders to acquire his style of leadership which they described as inspiring and positive.
President Kenyatta described the deceased as an intelligent who inspired lives of many Kenyans especially the needy in the society. He said, “It is with a heavy heart that I have this afternoon received the sad news of the death of Hon. Ken Okoth. Death has robbed us of an astute legislator. May God comfort his family, friends and indeed all Kenyans during this difficult period of mourning.”
Ruto said, “Okoth had a dogged personality, tenacity that elevated him among his pears and gave him an invincible aura. His battle with cancer exemplified his brevity, endurance and strength in Adversity.” And the African Union envoy for infrastructure Raila Odinga hailed the legislator for his bravery in battling the disease and his selfless leadership.
The National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi reiterated that Okoth has left a huge gap in the parliament saying he was a great leader. “It is unfortunate that his demise comes at a time when we all looked forward to his recovery and comeback to the National Assembly after his return to the country recently. The Parliament has lost a valuable comrade, Kenya and indeed his constituents,” said the speaker.
The 41-year-old lawmaker had been in Paris, France for seven months for treatment and he returned to the country in July. Early this year, he revealed to a local newspaper how he discovered he was suffering from cancer. He said that for a year he was on treatment for ulcers and bacterial infections noting the doctor prescribed for him pills to manage stress and anxiety. When the situation persisted he went for cancer screen and he was diagnosed by stage 4 colorectal cancer.
His death came at a time when government his being urged to declare cancer a national disaster. The disease has been killing thousands annually and various leaders call for government to take action before it gets out of hand. Research says that cancer is the third leading cause of deaths and second among non-communicable diseases in the country.
Okoth’s death comes barely one month after another prominent person in the country died of cancer. The dominant mobile service provider Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia on July 1. Collymore was diagnosed with the disease in October 2017 and he was forced to take a nine month leave to seek medication in the United Kingdom. The two joined the list of nine people who have lost their lives due to cancer in the past two years.
South Sudan president Kiir vows to unite, achieve struggle visions
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has ever promised to lead and unite the country to realize the vision of the founding members of the liberation struggle as the world youngest nation is due to convalesce from the five and half years’ conflict.
President Kiir was speaking during the commemoration to mark this year Martyrs Day at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba on Tuesday, July 31st, 2019.
Southerners, uprising against Khartoum government was the greatest demonstration of love for Southerner individually and the personification of patriotism; the love for their country, though, the country which gained her independence from Sudan in 2011 after the decades of scorched-earth civil war, shown unenthusiastic honor to the sacrifice its fallen heroes and heroines.
He said those of them, who have been fortunate to have survived the heat of their struggle bear the greatest responsibility to honor the commitments and sacrifices of our fallen heroes and heroines of the five decades’ civil war.
“In doing so, my message this year is to expound on what it means to remain committed to the vision and the cause for which millions have given lives to bestow freedom and prosperity to the generations of South Sudan to come,” said president Kiir.
Millions of South Sudanese have died for the cause of freedom since the rebellion erupted in the then Sudan.
“We should deeply reflect on their sacrifices and pay tribute to their heroic actions. Their blood has laid an unshakable foundation for our country and their names and their contribution to our struggle is indelibly written in our hearts and our history. Let no man or woman in this country ever forget that we rode on the backs on these men and women to achieve our independence,” said president Kiir. “Freedom is not cheap, in fact, nothing causes more than freedom and it is the basis of this that our fallen comrades ultimately gave their lives to buy our freedom.”
As the president and one of the lucky surviving founding members of the armed liberation struggle, saying his work is to achieve unity of all South Sudanese, adding that this is one of the visions of the liberation struggle.
However, when the armed struggle was waged against Khartoum regime, the first vision was to seek total liberation of South Sudanese people, which was achieved through.
“My job as the people and as a surviving founding member of our liberation movement, is to pursue unrelentingly the path that we promised to our people,” said Kiir.
He said he owed it to his fallen comrades [martyrs] and to the people of South Sudan to redirect the country toward the achievement of unity.
“The second stage of our struggle is to consolidate the unity of our people; liberate then from abject poverty, illiteracy and ignorance and ultimately restore their dignity and worth. Unfortunately, we got distracted from pursuing this path and got bemused into pretty politics, power struggle and the pursuit of rents from the state,” said head of state.
After achieving unity, Kiir said the next task will be rapid political, economic and social development of the country that places it the center stage of the African and world affairs.
“This is, we should contribute to the achievement of world peace, culture, scientific advancement and all other wild dreams that have come to define human race,” he added.
President admitted that these focuses may sound so wild and farfetched given the current state of affairs, but they are all within reach.
“This is precisely the reason my government has been at the forefront in pursuing peace by all means and at all cost. For without peace, we cannot dream – leave alone achieving any dreams,” said Kiir. I invite all our citizens within and outside the country to answer our call for peace and to join us in our efforts to rediscover our liberation path and to seek and pursue the core objectives of our liberation struggle. We cannot rest on our laurels just because we have achieved liberation stage one. Our liberation struggle cannot be declared complete until we have achieved the second and the third stages.”
“My surviving comrades and I have the duty to show you the way, but the work of the next generation has started and that is to pursue without waver, stages two and three of our liberation struggles. Let no man question the will, the resilience, and the determination of the people of South Sudan to achieve these objectives. We have proven to the world that when we set our sight on something, we have always gone to achieve it,” president Kiir concluded.
South Sudan is at a new dawn after president Kiir and the key opposition groups, including the main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the peace deal on September, 2018 to end the conflict, which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes. The plans to form a power-sharing in May, this year were delayed after there was no funding to disarm, establish cantonments, rehabilitate and integrate militias and rebels across the country to November 12, this year.