President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for urgent reforms at the United Nations to ensure Africa is allocated two permanent seats at the Security Council complete with all attendant rights and prerogatives. Speaking when he delivered Kenya’s country statement at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, the Head of State said, besides the two permanent seats being demanded by the continent, Africa deserves more non-permanent seats. Currently, Africa has three non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council. “Kenya joins in the demand for two permanent seats for Africa, with all the rights and prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto, and additional non-permanent seats,” the President said. The additional seats, he said, would correct the historical injustices that Africa has suffered at the global body over the years. “As we all know, Africa is under represented in the non-permanent category of the Security Council and not represented at all in the permanent category,” Uhuru observed. In the speech that lasted slightly under twenty minutes, the President pointed out that real change at the global body cannot be realized without reforms to the membership of the UN Security Council. Uhuru said the global governance system needs to reform for it to be relevant and effective in addressing current and emerging global challenges. He pointed out that multilateralism has come under severe strain due to mistrust among global leaders and can only be addressed through genuine reforms. The Head of State pointed out that populism and extremism unleashed at the national level has brought forward powerful constituencies that want a dismantling of the global order. For this to change, said President Kenyatta, there is an urgent political need for the world to close the trust gap between people and governing institutions.
The US First Lady has confirmed that she will be visiting four African countries in the first week of October this year including Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, and Egypt. “In October I will embark on my first solo visit to four beautiful and very different countries in Africa,” Mrs. Trump told the gathering consisting of First Ladies drawn from a cross a section of UN member states. During the reception, Mrs. Trump personally acknowledged her counterparts from the countries that she will be visiting in Africa – the First Ladies from Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, all of who were present. Mrs. Trump said she looks forward to promoting the message of her “Be Best” child welfare initiative during the four country Africa trip. The US First Lady’s stops in the four African countries will focus on maternal and new born care in hospitals, education for children and the role the US plays in helping each country to become self-sufficient.
Kenyans must pay more taxes for the government to have money for development projects, Deputy President (DP) William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga have said. While justifying the forceful passage of the law by Members of Parliament (MPs), the deputy president noted that the country must have adequate resources to take care of its future. Mr. Odinga termed the move the only option since Kenya is at a crossroads due to a financial crisis. “Having discussed this with the President, we all agreed that there was no option but to raise the taxes for the government to fund the budget and run the country,” he said. He reiterated that he supports President Uhuru Kenyatta but on condition that he stops wastage and cuts expenditure. With the passage of the VAT on petroleum products and other revenue collection measures, the government expects to raise Sh48 billion. President Kenyatta signed the finance bill into law after lawmakers backed his recommendations last Thursday.
Kenya’s Central Bank held its benchmark rate at a three-year low as inflation is expected to remain in its target range. The Monetary Policy Committee, which was fully constituted with nine members for the first time in five years, kept the rate at 9%, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge said in a statement on Tuesday. This in line with all 11 projections in a Bloomberg survey. “Overall inflation is expected to rise in the near term, following the implementation of value-added tax on petroleum products in September 2018 and its impact on other prices, as well as increases in international oil prices,” Njoroge said. “However, it is expected to remain within the target range due to lower food prices reflecting favorable weather.” The central bank of East Africa’s biggest economy unexpectedly cut the rate in July, citing below-potential growth. While the MPC has said there is room for a more accommodative stance, price pressures due to the introduction of a tax on fuel and the decision by legislators to not repeal a law capping commercial borrowing costs at 400 basis points above the key rate is complicating the regulator’s policy-setting ability. The annual inflation rate fell to 4% in August after rising in each of the three preceding months.
Kenyan regulators have failed to tame rogue firms and individuals due to lenient laws and fines compared to other jurisdictions across the continent. For example, driving a vehicle without a side mirror in 1984 would have seen one part with Sh100 as a fine instead of an arrest by a traffic police officer. Touting or hanging outside a moving vehicle would have cost you Sh200 while driving without a number plate cost one Sh400. However, when 31-year-old legal mind at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Mr. Robert Ngugi saw this in 2014, he rooted for stiffer fines. “I saw the loophole, the solution was a shortcut and a quickly did a paper in 2015,” Mr. Ngugi said. He observed that Kenyans who didn’t like paying bribes were forced to do so by an opaque process that saw several laws impose different fines in addition to the inconveniences of going to court. NTSA drafted harsh penalties including Sh10, 000 fine for driving without an identification plate and a similar amount for causing obstruction. An unlicensed PSV driver attracts a fine of Sh10, 000 and failure to fit the vehicle with an operational speed governor would attract a similar amount on the spot.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will accumulate nearly Sh2.13 trillion more in public debt by the time his final term ends in August 2022, Treasury projections show, and signaling increased pressure on taxpayers’ funds. Treasury chiefs project in draft Budget Review and Outlook Paper that total debt will jump to nearly Sh7.17 trillion in the year ending June 2022, from nearly Sh5.04 trillion this June. If that comes to pass, Mr. Kenyatta will have accumulated at least Sh5.27 trillion debt to implement his manifesto in 10 years in power after he inherited slightly more than Sh1.89 trillion in June 2013. The Jubilee administration has ramped up spending since 2013 to build much-needed new roads, a modern railway, bridges, and electricity plants, driving up borrowing to plug the budget deficit. The increased debt has seen Kenya commit more than half of taxes to paying loans, leaving little cash for building roads, affordable housing and revamping of the ailing health sector. Public debt stood at Sh5.04 trillion in June 2018, up from Sh4.41 trillion in June 2017, Sh3.62 trillion in June 2016, Sh2.83 trillion in June 2015, Sh2.37 trillion in June 2014 and Sh1.89 trillion in June 2013.
President Uhuru Kenyatta joined other world leaders on Monday at the launch of a global partnership through which the UN seeks to get every young person into quality education, training or employment by 2030. The new initiative, a partnership between the United Nations Youth Strategy 2030 and Generation Unlimited, aims at catalyzing pro-youth actions to address the dreams, ambitions and hopes of 1.8 billion young people globally. The new initiative, under the aegis of the United Nations children’s Fund (UNICEF), was launched at the Trusteeship Chambers, UN Headquarters, New York, on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. Uhuru, who was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at the launch, was unanimously endorsed as the global Champion of the Young People’s Agenda – a positions he graciously accepted. Speakers at the launch, who included UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, were optimistic the new partnership will tackle the global education and training crisis currently holding back millions of young people and threatening progress and stability. The leaders said without urgent investment in education and skills training, the rapidly growing global population of adolescents and young people, expected to reach 2 billion by 2030, will continue to be unprepared and unskilled for the future workforce.
Kenya’s military says it killed 10 al Shabab militants in an ambush in Lamu County where several soldiers have died from roadside bombs. Three soldiers were wounded in the attack in Taksile, north of Pandaguo, said military spokesperson Colonel Paul Njuguna in a statement. In the past three months, at least 24 soldiers have been killed by roadside bombs planted by al Shabab which the military is fighting near the Somali border. Al Shabab, which is allied to al Qaida, has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia in 2011. Kenya’s military attack comes days after the US put pressure on the militants in Somalia with airstrikes. The US Africa command said in a statement on Friday that the airstrike is estimated to have killed 18 militants.
The political class is split on NASA leader Raila Odinga’s call for a referendum next year. Some politicians across the divide have supported the call. Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali, who had accompanied President Uhuru to the 73rd UN General Assembly Summit, threw his weight behind the plebiscite, noting a winner-take-all system should be done away with. National Assembly minority leader John Mbadi also backed the call saying that the Constitution has put unnecessary weight on Kenyans. Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi supported a parliamentary system of government as was contained in the Bomas draft. “I support referendum, especially on the structure of government, devolution and separation of powers,” he said. Others have said that the referendum is uncalled-for. Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said the calls are baseless and only meant to benefit “some individuals”. “The push is just championed by a few power-hungry individuals. The individuals are lying to Kenyans that we are overrepresented, yet the main intention is to create plum positions in government for the big boys,” the National Assembly Budget and Appropriations committee chairman said.