Press Review: The day’s top stories

Welcome to the press review, where we bring you the day’s top news from a variety of sources.

We have something for everyone, whether you are interested in news, politics, commerce, or sports. Continue reading to find out what’s going on.

Catch up with more on https://epaper.nation.africa/ke

Raila announces weekly antigovernment protests, every Monday and Thursday

The leader of the One Kenya Coalition, Raila Odinga, has announced that antigovernment protests will take place every Monday and Thursday starting next week.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Raila called upon the police to immediately release all Azimio la Umoja supporters who were arrested on Monday, stating that they were exercising their constitutional rights during the demos.

The protests are part of the coalition’s efforts to push for reforms in the country, including the resignation of President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagu, lower taxes, and halting the recruitment of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners.

However, the demonstrations have been met with resistance from the police, who have been accused of using excessive force to disperse the crowds.

Contaminated raw pork and chicken meat found in supermarkets, study

A recent study conducted by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has revealed that raw pork and poultry meat sold in supermarkets are contaminated with bacterial pathogens, putting consumers at risk of foodborne illnesses.

The study found that both local and international supermarkets in the country sell contaminated chicken and pork, raising serious food safety concerns for white meat consumers.

The research, conducted by scientists from the World Animal Protection, Center for Microbiology Research, and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), also found that antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens are on the rise in Kenya.

The contamination could be due to the extensive use of antibiotics for prevention and growth promotion in chickens and pigs, leading to the development of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria with zoonotic potential.

The study recommends responsible antibiotic use in the poultry and chicken farming sectors to reduce antimicrobial resistance and the need for retailing outlets to adhere to hygienic principles when handling and processing pork and chicken meat products.

Kenya Power blackouts hit ten hours on ageing lines

Kenya Power’s unreliable supply lines have led to increased power outages, with an average duration of more than eight hours to connect back to the grid after a blackout, according to a report by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).

The worst month was November 2022, with an average duration of 10.63 hours.

This has prompted large power consumers to shift towards their own generation and solar, putting the utility at risk of compensation claims by businesses for financial losses.

Kenya Power, which suffered its fifth nationwide blackout earlier this month, is struggling with thinning cash flows and has submitted a proposal to increase tariffs from April 1, raising at least KES 31.4 billion to expand the grid and enhance power supply reliability.

Ruto backs push to sell parastatals without parliamentary approval

President William Ruto has supported the Privatisation Bill, 2023, which was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

The bill will grant the Treasury unchecked powers to privatise public-owned enterprises without the approval of Parliament.

The Cabinet has described the process of seeking the legislators’ nod as bureaucratic, saying that the sale of non-strategic, non-performing public entities will help improve infrastructure upgrades and service delivery to Kenyans.

The Privatisation Commission, which will be renamed the Privatisation Authority if the proposed changes are adopted, has raised concerns about the Treasury Cabinet Secretary appointing members of the Privatisation Authority without parliamentary oversight, arguing that it would be a threat to the authority’s independence.

Kenya has had a controversial privatisation history, with critics accusing well-connected individuals of taking advantage of the process in the past.

Nairobi County most preferred region for teachers seeking transfers

According to official data from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Nairobi City County is the most preferred region by teachers seeking transfers.

The move follows the implementation of the government’s delocalisation policy.

Nationally, 36,277 teachers applied for transfers between November 1 last year and January 31 this year. Of these requests, 14,733 were matched and approved while 21,544 are still pending.

During the same period, 1,885 teachers applied to be transferred to Nairobi against 76 who requested to be transferred out.

However, only 41 of the requests out of 1,162 to primary schools and four to secondary schools out of 723 had been approved by the end of January.

The transfer of teachers who were considered to have “over-stayed” at the same workstation started in 2018 and drew condemnation from teachers’ unions.

Media groups caution over boycott remarks

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK), Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), and Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) have expressed their concerns over comments made by Raila Odinga, the leader of the One Kenya Coalition.

Raila had called for the boycott of several products and services, including a local media house, claiming that they were “enablers and facilitators of this brutal regime” and “enemies of the people.”

In response, the media groups criticized Raila’s remarks, stating that they were an attack on media freedom and could endanger the lives of journalists working for the media house.

They called on Raila and the Azimio coalition to channel any grievances to the Media Complaints Commission and refrain from making comments that could undermine the freedom of the press.

The MCK Chairperson, David Omwoyo, warned that such comments could make journalists working for the media house a target, while KUJ Secretary General Eric Odour stated that the boycott call and derogatory remarks not only punctured the independence of the media but also put the lives of journalists at risk.

KEG President Churchill Otieno also criticized Raila’s comments, describing them as an attack on media freedom and a direct affront to democracy.

Ugandan Parliament passes anti-LGBTQ Bill with stricter penalties

The Ugandan Parliament has passed a new anti-LGBTQ bill with harsher penalties for those involved in same-sex activities. The legislation includes a 10-year jail term for individuals who identify as LGBTQ or engage in same-sex relationships.

The bill had previously been nullified by a court in 2014, but it was reintroduced to the nearly full 11th Parliament on March 21. Activists have condemned the bill as a human rights violation, while some lawmakers raised concerns about unconstitutional provisions.

President Yoweri Museveni, who previously signed the bill into law in 2014, has called LGBTQ individuals “deviants” but also noted that the amendments would be subjected to scientific findings.

The bill now awaits the president’s consent.


Azam FC cancels Kenya trip for friendly match due to political unrest

Tanzanian club Azam FC has canceled its trip to Kenya to play Gor Mahia in a friendly match due to political unrest in the country. The cancellation was announced in a statement, citing security reasons for the decision.

Instead, Azam FC will play Zanzibar’s JKU at the Azam Sports Complex on March 22, 2023.

The cancellation will be a blow to Gor Mahia, who were looking to use the match to fine-tune the team ahead of the league season’s second leg.

The cancellation came after Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga announced anti-government protests twice a week, citing public demand for electoral reforms and lower living costs.

A day-long countrywide protest left two people dead and several injured.

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