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SADC leaders urged to ramp up efforts to protect the security of persons with albinism
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been urged to ramp up efforts to protect the security of persons with albinism, including by tackling widespread impunity, Amnesty International has said today ahead of the 39th SADC Heads of State Summit in Tanzania.

It is reported that approximately 150 persons with albinism have been killed in countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2014 for their body parts. Tanzania has reported the highest number of killings, 76, for the same period.

“Across the SADC region, persons with albinism continue to live in fear of being killed or abducted for their body parts. These waves of violent attacks are fueled by the false and dangerous myth that body parts of persons with albinism can make someone rich,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“SADC leaders must tackle the root causes of these targeted attacks to end the plight of persons with albinism who continue to be terrorized by criminal gangs across the region. As they meet in Tanzania this week, they must turn the tide against these horrendous crimes.”

Hundreds of persons with albinism have experienced attacks, including mutilations, kidnappings and attempted kidnappings in recent years.

The crimes against persons with albinism have taken a transnational form across the SADC region in recent years, with victims lured from countries like Malawi having been found in countries like Mozambique.

Criminal justice failures, such as poor handling of cases and evidence, to resolve cases of crimes against persons with albinism have driven the impunity and persistent crimes against this vulnerable group.

While there have been legal reforms, including changes to the Penal Code and the Anatomy Act to tackle attacks, in countries like Malawi and Tanzania, they are yet to yield positive results as persons with albinism continue to be targeted by criminal gangs.

“It is intolerable that persons with albinism continue to live at the mercy of these criminal gangs. SADC leaders must use this summit to send a clear message that those who perpetrate these attacks will be brought to justice,” said Deprose Muchena.

Amnesty International is calling on SADC leaders to adopt a Regional Action Plan, to ensure a coordinated security response for persons with albinism across southern Africa.

 

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Malawi: Court makes second death sentence ruling on albino killers
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi - one of the world's poorest countries - because they have white skin due to a hereditary lack of pigmentation (AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi – one of the world’s poorest countries – because they have white skin due to a hereditary lack of pigmentation (AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

A high court in the Central region district of Mchinji in Malawi has sentenced three people that killed a person with albinism four years ago to death.

The ruling comes as a similar one was laid out in the southern region district of Thyolo in May this year.

The rulings come when the legal fraternity has been making miscellaneous arguments on whether having a stern death sentence would deter would be offenders of such attrocities.

Others feel there is need to reinforce legal structures and security for albinos with some however of the view that death sentences have all it takes to stop the acts.

On Tuesday, the High Court sitting in Mchinji has gave death penalties to three convicts who were found guilty for murdering a person with albinism and apparently chopping off both his hands and legs in August 2015.

The three are Douglas Mwale, Sophie Jere, and Fontino Folosani.

Court heard that they murdered Priscott Pepuzani in a bush using a metal bar and a hoe handle and buried his body in the garden. They were all found guilty.

And in making her ruling, Judge Esmey Chombo stated that the death sentences were laid out in a bid to serve as a stern caution to other would-be offenders but also to put to stop such malpractices.

In May this year, the High Court sitting in Thyolo was first to make a death sentence on cases involving killing of albinos.

It sentenced to death  28-year-old, Willard Mikaele, for murdering Mphatso Pensulo, a 19-year-old boy with albinism in January 2017.

Since 2014, there have been cases of attacks, abduction and killings of albinos in Malawi in the wake of rise of superstitions that albino body parts are used to make people successful and rich as assisted by witch doctors.

The belief has stated that most doctors demanding this come from Mozambique although the government there has declined of that connection.

Earlier this year, there were protests meant to force President Peter Mutharika to do what the Association of People with Albinism (Apam) described as ‘more soul searching’ to tame down attacks on people with albinism.

Media reports suggest that there are over twenty cases in courts involving people with albinism as victims of assault, verbal attack, abduction and killings.

Although most of them stall for reasons like lacking enough evidence and counsels, death sentences are now being made to those found guilty of killing albinos.

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Burkina Faso: Christians issue SOS over attacks from foreign backed Islamist Groups
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

The World was concerned during the month of May 2019 when it seemed that a Church was attacked on a weekly basis in the West African Nation of Burkina Faso. Since January of this year 20 people have been killed and several  Churches have been  destroyed by Islamist Forces that are operating in the region.

Events in the region remain fluid at best. It does appear that some of these attacks were inspired by a video recording made by the head of IS Al-Baghdadi urging attacks against French interests in the Sahel region of Africa. The incidents in Burkina Faso can be acknowledged as part of an effort to locate a new base of operations for the group.

After a month of relative quiet in Burkina Faso the alarm bells for the country have started ringing yet again. On the first of August 2019 Bishop Laurent Dabire who currently is the President of the Bishops Conference for Niger and Burkina Faso issued a call for the World to step in and stop what he called the massacres against Christians in Burkina Faso by Foreign Backed Islamist Groups. These attacks have been gradually increasing in scope since the ouster of former President Blaise Comparie in 2014. It should be noted that in his remarks that the Bishop claimed that the Islamist Militants are better armed than the Security Forces are.

The Government of Burkina Faso is doing what they can to protect Christians. On July 12th the Vatican signed an accord with the Burkinbe Government which guarantees the legal status of the Church in the country  and to collaborate on the moral, spiritual and material well being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. Currently it is estimated that one out of every five persons of the population of 16.5 million describe themselves as being a member of the Catholic Church.

Also during a Press Conference that was held on July 31st remarks were made by the President of Burkina Faso Marc Christian Kabore that  praised the actions of his immediate neighbors in assisting in the efforts to combat terrorism that appears to be running rampant in the region. . However in a more somber statement he did say that Burkina Faso was “paying a heavy tribute” for the attacks which he stated were impeding “efforts at National Construction.” Just like in several other nations in the area Burkina Faso does suffer from High Youth Unemployment lack of Opportunity and other factors that lead to radicalization.

The situation in Burkina Faso has not been ignored by Washington either. Earlier this year the African Country was linked to the National Guard of the District of Columbia under the State Partnership Program to assist in fighting terrorism. The Country already receives assistance from the United States under the auspices of the TSCTI (Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) program.This move is just another  of several steps that are currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration to address the acute security crisis in the region.

During the week of August 6th the White House issued a Press Release stating that the President sent the name of Sandra E Clark to the United States Senate to be nominated for the position of Ambassador to Burkina Faso. Filling this position is a positive signal from the White House showing that it is aware of the situation in the Sahel and will take the necessary steps to show those on the ground that they are not ignoring the situation in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sierra Leone:Legal Link Calls on IPCB to investigate allege Police brutality on Njala Students
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Njala University

Njala University

Christian Lawyers Centre, popularly known as Legal Link, a non -profit legal advocacy group has in a letter to the Chairman, Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) has on Wednesday 7th August ,  called on the board to mount up an independent, robust, credible and speedy investigations into allegations of Police brutality and to determine the veracity or the lack thereof of the incident which happened at the Njala University.

According to Legal Link, as an organization that defends the rights of vulnerable groups in society including students, they take the greatest exception to the unprofessional conduct of the Sierra Leone Police with respect to their handling of the entire incident at the Njala University in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.

‘’Surprisingly also, despite the increased condemnation and outcry from the public over the video clips showcasing brutal and excessive force by the SLP, LEGAL LINK notes with utter dismay, the apparent reticence or the lack thereof by the top Management of the SLP to officially condemn this barbaric and unprofessional behaviour of subordinates over their execution of brutal and excessive force to harmless students that were merely trying to pursue a career path for a better life and future,’’ Legal Link said, adding that this outright complicity at the top is not only worrying but reveals without doubt, the degree of impunity and non-accountability that prevails within the law enforcement architecture in Sierra Leone.

Legal Link further said that Such complicity they further maintain, invites a possibility for the applicability of the principle of Command Responsibility on the leadership of the SLP to be held vicariously liable for the atrocious acts of subordinate officers against vulnerable students on that fateful day citing that various specialized trainings on the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials have been organized in time pasts by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the Independent Police Complaints Board to help the SLP understand how to manage such riotous situations including their application of the use of force to restore law and order.

‘’As had always been emphasized, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials dictates that, even when provoked, the ‘repelling force to be used must be equal, reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the given circumstances. Against this backdrop, while we condemn the acts of the few disgruntled university students who reacted in uncivilized ways during the protests, we vehemently and unequivocally condemn the over-reaction of the Sierra Leone Police in unleashing brutal and excessive force over unarmed protesting students,’’ the right group noted.

The Right Group further noted that, even when the tensions had de-escalated, the callousness and unprofessionalism of the SLP became much more apparent stating that Video clips recorded by on lookers at the scene of crime show complicity and a conspicuous pattern of torture and brutal display of force even on female students.

‘’LEGAL LINK therefore wants it to be known by the government and leadership of the SLP that the right to freedom of torture as provided under the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Sierra Leone is a signatory is a non-derogable right (Edgaromnes) and a per-emptory norm of Customary International Law. This means that under no circumstances can it be justified to torture any human being in a democratic society needless to talk about women’’

The Right Group believed that all the police were mandated and required to do by law on that fateful day at Njala University was to effect arrest on all alleged rioters, investigate and charge perpetrators to court for public order offences as enshrined under the Public Order Act of 1965 for which the police decided to engage on a frolic of their own and acted outside the remits of the law by overtly torturing and executing brutal and excessive force on harmless university students, in such scale and magnitude, amounts to a violation of not only the UN Convention Against Torture, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, among other human rights instruments

‘’Even though Chapter 2 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone does not recognize education as a legal and justiciable right, all the above international, regional and domestic instruments nonetheless puts obligation on Sierra Leone in ensuring that the right to education is fully guaranteed within her jurisdiction. Any infraction or limitation towards the access of; and the enjoyment of this right will therefore amount to a violation of both international and domestic law’’

The group however urged  the leadership of the SLP and the government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) to take full responsibility for the excesses that have occurred, and to ensure the unconditional release of all student detainees and hold constructive dialogue with the student leadership and administration of Njala University so as to determine how victims can be medically treated and or compensated for violations of their fundamental human rights.

The Lobbying group lamented that going forward, LEGAL LINK commits itself to be publishing a quarterly Newsletter titled: ‘POLICE WATCH’ to help showcase not only the excesses within the SLP but also the good developments and success stories within the security architecture of Sierra Leone.

‘’In sum, whilst we heartily welcome the efforts of the BIO led government in prioritizing education under the New Direction agenda, we equally call on the government to show leadership by ensuring that the rights of the beneficiaries of its education agenda are protected and guaranteed within the state. This is the case because, education is an empowerment right; and no society can develop or progress beyond the level of the educational investment it accords to its citizens,’’

 

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Amos Fofung: Freedom of press starts with the government
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
Amos Fofung

Amos Fofung

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

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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.

 

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ADM REMIX OF IDYL’S, ‘SATISFY ME’ OUT NOW
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Off the success of the studio single, ‘Satisfy Me’ released March of this year, Nigerian RnB sensation, Idyl is back with a new project, ‘Satisfy Me the (A.D.M. Remix)’ Pack.

 A Collaboration between the ‘Better Lover’ crooner and music collective, Africa Dance Music (A.D.M), the three-track project is an energetic take on the already upbeat single. A.D.M. is Nigeria’s first dance music collective, focused on introducing the world to Africa’s many variants of dance music. The label was launched and founded by seasoned music producer and DJ, Timi “TMXO” Aladeloba in 2017.

 ‘Satisfy Me (A.D.M. remix pack)’ includes three remixes of the original track, featuring DJ’s Jamie Black, D3an, and Calix. This unusual genre is an African take on electronic dance music, and is quickly carving out a space for itself within the continent.

 The ‘Satisfy Me A.D.M. Remixes’ build on the existing feel-good sound and dancehall vibes heard on the original. This remix pack is bound to be the soundtrack to your summer and is sure to be on every DJ’s playlist.

 You can listen, stream and download Idyl’s ‘Satisfy Me ADM Remix’ Here https://umgafrica.lnk.to/SatisfyMeRemixes

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Gambia, Senegal& Guinea Bissau Sign Agreement to Curb Drug Trafficking
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Law enforcement officials from The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau have signed an agreement aimed at combating drug trafficking and other organised crimes along their borders.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Friday by officers from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG), The Office Central de Re’pression du Trafic Illicite de Stepfiants (OCRITS) of Senegal and The Judiciary Police of Guinea Bissau.

The Agreement, according to the officials, will enable the three countries to exchange information and intelligence, joint training and border patrols in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crimes.

Bakary Gassama, the DLEAG executive director, said the multilateral agreement will be a model international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and solving the worldwide illegal drug trafficking problem.

“We are once again reaffirming our collective resolve for greater international cooperation supported by competent and capable law enforcement community better organised to face the daily fight against drug trafficking in the sub-region and beyond,” Gassama said.

“For many years now, our main challenges undermine the investigation and interdiction of transnational organised crimes particularly drug trafficking.”

Filomena Maria Vaz Lopes Mendes, the director general of The Judiciary Police, Guinea Bissau, pointed out that the fight against organised crimes, especially drug trafficking is imperative for the affirmation and consolidation of the democratic rule of law in the sub-region.

“This is because of the growing dynamics of this criminal phenomenon as the geographical space shared by our countries has been a serious threat to peace, political and social stability of our nations.

“The latest seizures of large quantities of cocaine that have occurred simultaneously in our countries, particularly in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, prove that the illicit activities of the South American cartels in West Africa have been established within our countries,” she said.

Idrissa Cisse, director of OCRITS, Senegal expressed hope that the objectives set up by the three governments will be largely achieved in the implementation of the MOU.

“In this way, our units at the border posts will be able to act jointly and exchange information on a regular basis,” he said.

Cisse said that there is indeed an illicit drug trade in these three countries united by history and geography.

“The specialised law enforcement agencies have decided to embrace a coordinated and comprehensive response in partnership with specialised structures to combat illicit trafficking.”

Valentina Pancieri, UNODC Law Enforcement Expert said: “As you know, West Africa remains a vulnerable region affected by the threats of transitional organised crime. The increase in drug trafficking has particular negative consequences on population and states.”

The signing ceremony held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel was attended by director generals of the respective agencies, permanent secretary of the ministry of Interior and chairman of National Assembly Select Committee on Defence among other senior government officials.

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Kenya:LREB summit postponed following the demise of its vice-chair
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Dr Joyce Laboso.

Dr Joyce Laboso.

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.

 

 

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Cancer at it again in Kenya
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27

Hon. Ken Okoth

Hon. Ken Okoth

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.

 

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Cameroon: Internally Displaced Persons receive Humanitarian aids
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

IDPs receive fourth consignment of relief materials

Some 200 internally displaced persons residing in Buea, Fako Division have been handed humanitarian relief materials. The materials are part of the Head of State’s Humanitarian assistance plan for victims of the on-going crisis in the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon. The materials which consisted of toiletries, groundnut oil, bags of rice, washing soap, blankets, mattresses and others were handed to the IDPs, July 23, at the Buea council chamber.

Speaking to the press, Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge said he is more concerned with the community he has put in place to distribute the items. Discipline beings from within. We have cautioned that no council staff should be part of this distribution because their salaries are already ready.

The fourth consignment sent by the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji was destined to 100 displaced persons but according to Mayor Ekema Patrick, they decided to raise the number to 200. “We have a sharing culture and we think it is important to share and that’s why the number has been increased with the little input put in place by the council, Mayor Ekema indicated”

To the recipients, Mayor Ekema Patrick said “the main advice is that these materials should serve the purpose for which they have been intended. Nobody should exchange the items for money or any form of exchange. We appeal to the population to remain calm, vigilant and be very corporative with the council and the state as a whole.”

To 37 years-old Simon Otta, for the past three years, things have not been easy. “I had to leave Bamuka, Ndop, North West Region, to Buea and with the academic level I had, no job. I have been working in the construction site to keep myself engaged.

“I have a family under me and the situation we are in is not easy. I had to be sleeping on the floor, while my wife, kids and sister sleep on the bed. It has really not been easy. With these materials, it will go a long way in alleviating our situation but more needs to be done, while not the additional part of finance”.

On going back to school, he pleaded with the government to provide not only money but mattresses which will help some of them who have kids to go back to school. There is hope while we live so I can’t say there is no hope”.

33 year-old Njembe Theresia Limunga, mother of 3 children said she has been surviving through other people or the church. “I had to leave my area, Muyuka as where I was leaving had continuous gunshots. I could not stay there with my kids as when the shooting starts, everyone will be on the floor which was disturbing the children. There were numerous houses burnt around my area and when you see such things you become scared”.

“Presently life is not easy here in Buea couple with the cold. In my area in Muyuka is not that cold as Buea which makes my children to get sick. The means is not there to survive but when we were in Muyuka, it was better. “These materials will be helpful as before they were sleeping on the floor but now they can sleep on the mattress.”

My situation has been very dire since I left my parents in Tombel to come to Buea in 2016, said Esange Donald. “There is basically no hope for me to go back to my village at the moment as no one is safe. If I go back to the village I would be force to join the fight. We were presented with bag of rice, sardines and mattresses and I had to chose the mattress since I have a room and my younger one, it will be very good than the rice and other materials.”

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Amidst Mass Protest in Gambia, Police Chief Calls Calm
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) received disturbing information about a mob of angry youth marching towards the Anti Crime Unit to protest the demise of Ousman Darboe. The Office of the IGP is calling on the youth to observe calm and restraint.

On Wednesday, dozens of young people  gathered at the Serekunda Police Station to protest against the death of a Sierra Leonean national Ousman Darboe who they claimed was severely beaten by the police anti-crime unit.

Darboe, a shop owner at Serekunda Black Market was reportedly arrested by police anti-crime unit about 13 days ago and released on Friday. He passed away on Tuesday at 9: 30 according to Muhammed. His friends from the Black Market gathered at the police station near the Serekunda market demanding justice for Darboe.

In a press signed by Assistant superintendent, of Police Lamin Njie, Public Relations Officer of Gambia Police Force explained that Ousman Darboe’s name came up during investigations into a Breaking and Stealing incident that occurred at Kerr Serign on 11th July 2019. Suspects in the said case confessed selling items stolen from the Kerr Serign incident to Ousman Darboe.

“Investigators visited his shop at Serekunda market where a Flat Screen television, part of the stolen items was recovered in his possession,” Njie indicated.

Police spokesperson added that on 12th July 2019, he was arrested and charged with receiving of stolen properties contrary to the laws of the Gambia. On Monday the 15th of July 2019, he was granted bail within 72hours as specified by law and was subsequently reporting on bail.

“Ousman Darboe during his detention was said to be an Asthma patient as shown by medical papers tendered by his family which prompted his bail,”

The Inspector General’s Office assures the public that it will continue a probe into the death of Ousman Darboe and the outcome will be duly communicated to ascertain the cause of death.

 

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