Press Review: The day’s top stories

Today is Friday, February 24, 2023.

You can read the Daily Nation e-paper here: https://epaper.nation.africa/

Here is a quick look at what is making headlines.

DCI summons Matiang’i over alleged raid

Former Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, has been summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters over allegations of false information under the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act 2018.

Failure to comply will result in prosecution. The summons also relates to the alleged invasion and raid of Matiang’i’s residence on February 8 to 9, for which he is connected to the offense or has information. Matiang’i’s lawyer, Danstan Omari, has said he is still in touch with his client and awaiting his instructions on whether to move to court to block the summons.

The former Cabinet Secretary has been given until today, February 24, to respond to the summons. The High Court in Milimani Nairobi has extended orders barring police from arresting Matiang’i until April 19.

KRA boss resigns

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Chief Executive Officer Githii Mburu has resigned from his post, less than eight months into his new term amid a fresh shake-up of the tax collection agency’s top executive team. The changes come as a result of a board headed by an assertive chairman and an unfriendly new government.

The KRA board has replaced three of seven managers on the agency’s top executive team, including Customs and Border Control Commissioner Lilian Nyawanda, Intelligence and Strategic Operations Commissioner Terra Saidimu, and Corporate Support Services Commissioner David Kinuu.

Mburu was uncomfortable with the new chairman Anthony Nganga Mwaura’s mode of operation, who has taken up operational roles at the KRA, earning him the tag ‘Executive Chairman.’

Mwaura is a businessman whose past is controversial and doesn’t boast the public service credentials of his predecessors. President William Ruto has never concealed his displeasure with KRA’s previous aggressive clampdown on the rich in an effort to recover unpaid taxes and raise national revenues.

Controversy surrounds Raila’s exit at AU

Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, has left his post as the African Union Commission’s high representative for infrastructure development in Africa after nearly five years. Although the former Prime Minister claimed he requested to be freed “to pursue other urgent matters,” some diplomatic and Kenyan government sources claim that he was pushed out. A cloud of controversy surrounding his departure was intensified by the fact that the letter announcing the end of his tenure was dated February 19, the day President William Ruto left Addis Ababa following a two-day visit to attend the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit. Some officials have claimed that his persistent attacks on the government led to his exit, while others have suggested that he lost his job due to his hard-line position that he does not recognise President William Ruto.

Education CS denies plans to privatize public universities

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has denied reports claiming that the government plans to privatize public universities. There were allegations that Kenya Kwanza MPs were sponsoring bills to privatize all public universities and some national schools.

Speaking in Mombasa, Machogu said that the government will continue funding all sectors of education, from primary to tertiary. He also announced that President William Ruto’s administration plans to open another public university, the University of Kenya, in May.

The CS emphasized that the government is committed to making education affordable, issuing capitation for students at different levels of education. Machogu also defended the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), stating that the government is carrying out a curriculum review to make amendments.

Ruto dismisses opposition call for election server scrutiny

President William Ruto has rejected opposition calls to open the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) servers to scrutiny.

Speaking at a ceremony in Kitui County, Ruto said the opposition’s demand was an insult to the country’s democracy and collective intelligence. Ruto added that the IEBC servers had always been open and that there was no need to open them again. Opposition leader Raila Odinga had recently called for the servers to be opened after claims by a whistleblower that he won the presidential election.

Ruto said the server had been open during the voting process and when the matter went to court.

Airtel open to selling 30 percent stake to Kenyans

Airtel Kenya is inviting Kenyan investors to purchase a 30 percent stake in the firm, as it prepares to comply with revised ownership rules designed to encourage local participation in ICT companies by March 2024.

The company is in discussions with the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Ministry of ICT about the sale. It has yet to decide whether to find a strategic investor or list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Airtel Kenya is the third largest company by market capitalisation at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, behind Dangote Cement and MTN Nigeria.

Mama Rachel Ruto to host US counterpart Jill Biden in visit focused on women empowerment

First Lady, Mama Rachel Ruto, is set to receive Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, on Friday. Biden is currently on a five-day tour of Africa aimed at strengthening partnerships and advancing shared priorities in the region.

Her visit to Kenya will focus on women’s economic empowerment, addressing food insecurity, and promoting democratic values. Mama Rachel Ruto said that Dr. Jill Biden’s visit would be significant in building cooperation and empowering women in Kenya.

During the visit, Biden will learn about the Joyful Women Program’s table banking model, which aims to expand economic empowerment to all 47 counties in Kenya. This will be Biden’s sixth visit to Africa, and her third to Kenya.

Maternal mortality rates fall, but one woman dies every two minutes, UN Report

Despite a 34.3 percent drop in maternal mortality rates over the past 20 years, a woman still dies every two minutes due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, according to a report by the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

While the rates of maternal mortality dropped significantly between 2000 and 2015, the figures have stagnated since 2016 and even reversed in some regions, particularly in Europe and Northern America.

The report found that around 70 percent of maternal deaths in 2020 were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa, while severe bleeding, infections, complications from unsafe abortions, and underlying conditions were the leading causes of maternal deaths. The WHO called for more investment in family planning and midwifery services to address the problem.


KRU forms independent electoral board for upcoming elections

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has created an Independent Electoral Board to oversee the upcoming elections during the Annual General Meeting on March 24th in Nairobi.

The board, chaired by former KRU secretary general Aggrey Chabeda, includes representatives from Kenya Cup clubs, KRU Championship clubs, women’s rugby, and sports law.

KRU chairman Oduor Gangla stated that the union is committed to conducting the elections within the parameters set by the Sports Dispute Tribunal, as well as the KRU constitution and the Sports Act.

The previous elections were nullified by the SDT due to significant irregularities, and the process will now involve all positions, including chairman and four directors. The tribunal ordered fresh elections within 60 days, to be conducted by an independent panel appointed by the KRU board.



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