The battle for political supremacy in Kenya is now being played out on the diplomatic turf as Raila Odinga and the ruling Jubilee party respond to a joint statement by 11 ambassadors including of the United States and the United Kingdom, on the prevailing tensions in the country.
Over the weekend, the ambassadors of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Australia, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement urging the Uhuru Kenyatta led government and the opposition led by Odinga to uphold democratic values.
They urged the government to ‘comply fully with court orders and protect all democratic institutions’, while the opposition ‘must accept the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the election of October 26’ and accept ‘Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as the legitimate President and Deputy President of Kenya’.
We want to tell them in clear terms that Kenya is an independent country and the problems of Kenya will be solved by Kenyans themselves. They can only be, but observers.
Odinga responded to the statement on Sunday while addressing residents in the capital Nairobi whose houses were razed by a fire last month.
Odinga accused the international community of serving self interests when they endorsed the August 8 and October 26 elections last year.
He advised the ambassadors to allow Kenyans solve their problems and stick to their role as ‘observers’.
“We want to tell them in clear terms that Kenya is an independent country and the problems of Kenya will be solved by Kenyans themselves. They can only be, but observers,” said Odinga.
Jubilee party applauds statement
Leaders from the ruling Jubilee party however welcomed the concerns of the foreign envoys that emphasised ‘recognition of Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimately elected president of Kenya’.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale and Justice and other top party leaders said the envoys’ demands confirmed there was no place for the ‘people’s president’.
Raila Odinga ‘oath’ aftermath
The government of Kenya and the opposition have been at loggerheads since the January 30 symbolic inauguration of Odinga as the ‘people’s president’.
Opposition lawmakers have been arrested, had their passports and security detail withdrawn, the climax of which was the deportation of vocal lawyer Miguna Miguna to Canada.
Leading television stations were switched off the on the day of Odinga’s inauguration and government initially ignored court orders to reinstate their signals.
Odinga has also since called for fresh elections that he says should be held before August 2018.
Mozambique: Government set to impose license fees for local journalists.
Mozambican government has announced plans to introduce license fees for local and foreign journalists.
Local correspondents will pay $2,500 per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged $8,300 per year.
Mozambican journalists reporting for foreign news outlets will be required to pay $3,500 for an annual accreditation.
FOLLOW US ON:
This is 50 times more than the country’s statutory minimum wage, estimated at around $70 per month.
The plan fees have attracted serious criticism as the move has been viewed as an apparent attempt to discourage reporting from the country.
Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.
In a statement, the CNDH, added its voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed fees.
It conceded that the government has the right to update licensing and accreditation fees, but said such a measure should not undermine the right to information.
The CNDH points out that the current legal framework on access to information “takes as its guidelines the greatest divulging of information and free access to information… In other words, access to information is a matter of public interest and this access should be promoted and facilitated”.
It added: “The legal framework meant that the relevant state bodies must take measures to promote the broadest possible access to information”.
CNDS also warns that the enormous fees imposed by the July decree are not in line with the guidelines contained in the legal instruments on the right to information that are in force in the country.
The justification given for the fees is that they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the sector – but none of the money raised by the fees will go to the media.
The decree states that 60 percent of the money from the fees will go to the state budget, and the remaining 40 per cent will go to the government’s press office (Gabinfo).
Meanwhile, the government is showing signs of backing down.
On Tuesday, its spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the decree will be discussed with interested parties before its implementation.
TO DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE NEWS APP CLICK HERE
BREAKING: Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan dies
Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan died in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family.
The Nobel Peace Laureate was the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from January 1997 to December 2006, and became the first black African man to take on the top job as the world’s top diplomat.
He had been a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights, since it was founded in 2007. In 2013, he became its chairman.
He was founder and Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which issued a statement on social media, saying: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness…”