Press Review: Stories making headlines at a glance

Today is  Thursday, March 2, 2023. Today is World Teen Mental Wellness Day, celebrated annually.

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Here’s a quick rundown of what’s making headlines.

Ruto fires IEBC Commissioner Masit over misconduct

President William Ruto has terminated the appointment of Irene Masit as a commissioner of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) following a tribunal’s recommendation for her removal over gross misconduct.

Masit, who was on suspension, was one of four commissioners who rejected the results of last year’s presidential election, which saw Ruto emerge victorious. The tribunal led by Justice Aggrey Muchelule found Masit guilty of violating the IEBC code of conduct and undermining public trust in the electoral body.

Masit’s departure leaves the IEBC with no commissioners, as Chebukati and two other commissioners, Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye, retired on February 14 after their terms expired.

Inflation hits 9.2% as food and fuel prices rise

Kenyans will have to pay more for basic commodities as inflation rose to 9.2% in February, up from 9.0% the previous month.

High food and fuel prices were the main drivers behind the increase, with costs for non-alcoholic beverages rising 13.3%, housing and utilities up 7.6%, and transport up 12.9%. The rise in inflation, coupled with a drought in many parts of the country, is putting a strain on households and increasing social tensions.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted below-average rainfall during the long rainy season, further exacerbating the drought.

In addition, the High Court’s dismissal of an application to block an increase in excise duty stamps will result in higher prices for water, soda, and other goods.

Retired headteacher arrested in connection with wife’s murder

A retired primary school headteacher has been arrested in Nandi County, for the Valentine’s Day murder of his wife.

Investigations revealed that Rose Jerono Ng’asura was stabbed while sleeping, with her husband, Zachariah Ng’asura, and one of her daughters in the house. Police stated that the couple had experienced domestic conflicts.

The father of six had reportedly put his wife in the car, stating he was taking her to a health centre for emergency medical attention.

However, he allegedly drove past the nearest hospital and made a stop at a market. Jerono died upon arrival at a private facility in Kapsabet town. The suspect is under investigation by the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) officers in Kapsabet.

14 of 21 closed schools in troubled Rift reopened – Kindiki

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has confirmed that all schools in bandit areas of Rift Valley will reopen next term, assuring the Senate National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee.

The government has already reopened 14 out of 21 schools in disturbed regions, while the remaining schools have suffered from infrastructure damage by bandits. Kindiki stated that he has secured KES 100 million to rebuild all destroyed schools and will visit the areas to oversee the rebuilding project.

He also explained the dire situation in these areas to the committee, citing an incident where bandits had taken over a school and converted it into their home. More than 20 primary and secondary schools in the volatile Baringo North and Baringo South have been affected.

MPs express displeasure over Supreme Court’s ruling on LGBTQ

Lawmakers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the registration of an LGBTQ NGO, calling for a review of the ruling. The motion was raised by MP Mwalyo Joshua, who called for the issue to be discussed as a matter of national concern.

During a heated debate, several MPs spoke out against the decision, claiming that it violated Kenyan law and culture. The ruling has sparked controversy in the country, with many Kenyans still considering homosexuality a taboo that goes against the country’s cultural and religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court’s decision was made on February 24, 2023, and came after a lower court barred the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) from registering in Kenya.

Brace for delayed and depressed rainfall as experts warn

The long rainy season faces delayed onset and depressed rainfall, warns the Kenya Meteorological Department. With the country already grappling with drought conditions that have left over four million Kenyans facing starvation after five consecutive failed rainfall seasons, experts are urging farmers to consider planting fast-maturing crops to mitigate the effects of the severe drought.

However, the expected depressed rainfall could pave the way for the return of El Nino after a sustained period of La Nina, which has contributed to the persistent drought in the Greater Horn of Africa. The warning raises concerns over food security and water supply in the country, and farmers and pastoralists may have to prepare for yet another tough season.

KRA clarifies suspension of tax relief payments

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) clarifies that tax relief payments have not been scrapped, despite the recent suspension. In a statement issued on March 1, KRA said that the suspension only affects refunds, waivers, exemptions and abandonments of tax relief, which can only be done through an amendment of the law.

KRA assured that past or current relief applications that have been submitted to them will still be processed. The suspension of tax relief payments had sparked outrage among taxpayers who accused KRA of reneging on its promises and increasing its tax burden.

According to KRA’s own data, over the past five years, KRA has granted tax reliefs and incentives totalling KES 610 billion, with an average of KES 122 billion per annum.

Chinese Embassy in Kenya requests protection of Chinese enterprises and citizens

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya has requested the government to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens and to create an inclusive and friendly business environment.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the embassy expressed support for deeper trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, while also emphasizing the need for Chinese enterprises and citizens to operate in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations.

The embassy’s statement follows the recent closure of China Square, a retail store that has been accused of selling counterfeit goods and undercutting local merchants by offering lower-priced goods. The government has stated that it is looking into counterfeits at China Square, and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has requested three weeks to resolve the issue with local traders.

Bola Tinubu calls for unity after being declared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election

Bola Tinubu has called on his rivals and their supporters to unite with him after winning Nigeria’s presidential election. The former Lagos governor secured his lifelong ambition of heading Africa’s most populous nation after securing 8.8 million votes in Saturday’s vote.

Despite allegations of fraud and vote-rigging, Tinubu was confirmed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after he won two-thirds of Nigeria’s states. However, the election was marked by long delays and slow arrival of online results, leading to anger from voters and opposition parties.

Tinubu asked his opponents to join him in rebuilding the nation together, but some voters expressed concerns over the transparency of the election results.



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