Press Review; The day’s top stories

Today is Tuesday, January 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.

We do not recognize Ruto as President, Raila Odinga says

Raila Odinga, leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition, rejected the legitimacy of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance regime on Monday, claiming that his victory in the 2022 General Election was stolen.

Odinga, who addressed a rally at the Kamukunji Grounds, claimed that the presidential results declared by former IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati were fabricated and had nothing to do with the votes cast by the electorate.

He further alleged possible collusion between the Judiciary, the IEBC, some foreign nations and the company contracted by the IEBC to conduct the elections, to rig the polls.

The coalition is also demanding that the infrastructure and records of the 2022 elections remain public for audit by an impartial body.

No handshake, says Ruto

President William Ruto and his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, have accused opposition leader Raila Odinga of attempting to force them into a political handshake.

Speaking on Monday, Ruto ruled out the possibility of a handshake with his political rival and defended his election, claiming it was carried out transparently and the results were published for all to see.

Gachagua also criticized the Azimio la Umoja Coalition Party leadership, stating that there is no room for a political truce between Ruto and Odinga.

Ruto maintained that his government will serve the interests of all Kenyans and not be blackmailed by a few individuals who are attempting to destabilize his administration.

SRC to increase civil servant’s house allowance

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has announced a pay rise for civil servants, adjusting their housing allowances.

Nairobi-based civil servants in job group K will now receive a KES 16,500 house allowance per month, up from KES 10,000.

However, public officers in job group A will only receive KES 3,750 a month, up from KES 3,000, which falls below the prevailing market rates.

The SRC stated in a circular, “The new rates for the house allowances shall apply to all public officers, other than state officers at the national and county government, including state corporations from the scheduled effective date of implementation. Respective employers in the civil service should initiate Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with the relevant trade unions in the implementation of the reviewed/harmonised herein.”

Inside intrigues of 2022 presidential polls

A former commissioner with the electoral agency has alleged that four dissenting colleagues, known as the Cherera Four, used to “secretly” meet at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi, even as he provided more details about events that preceded the declaration of William Ruto as President-elect.

Prof Abdi Guliye said Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati, two other commissioners and chief executive officer Marjan Hussein Marjan went into hiding immediately after announcing the presidential results.

Guliye claimed that the four dissenting commissioners met frequently at former vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera’s office. He alleged that, at some point, Cherera relocated to a new office.

He also said that it took only 20 minutes for the Cherera Four to be whisked away from the Bomas of Kenya to Serena Hotel and that they concurred with individuals who allegedly approached IEBC to pressurise the commissioners to vary the results spoke volumes.

Court lifts ban on mobile money transfer charges

A High Court judge in Nairobi has lifted the ban barring banks and mobile service providers from imposing money transfer charges.

Justice Mugure Thande stated that it would not be proper for her to intervene in the case, which is currently pending before another judge.

The case was filed by Moses Wafula, who argues that it is unfair and illegal for mobile service providers to charge customers while they act as collection agents for banks.

He argued that the charges should be between the banks and the service providers, and not between the latter and the banks’ customers.

KUCCPS dismisses calls to lower university entry points from C+

Days after the release of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, calls for the government to reconsider the cut-off mark to accommodate more candidates into universities have increased.

Out of the 841,416 candidates who sat for the 2022 KCSE exams, only 173,345 students scored C+ and above, according to Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

The figure denoted the number of students who automatically hit the minimum university entry mark, but it also showed that 668,071 candidates (79 percent) failed to attain the minimum entry slot.

Parents have pushed for the government to lower the minimum entry grade to accommodate more students, but Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) CEO Agnes Wahome has dismissed the push.

“No, we cannot lower the education standard to accommodate the majority,” she said. “If you look, the number has been lowering in the past years. What we are doing is encouraging candidates to transition from diploma to degree and universities have made it easier for this to happen.”

Ruto to borrow KES 3.6 trillion in five years

President William Ruto’s administration is planning to borrow KES 3.6 trillion in his first five-year term, an amount equivalent to 89% of the KES 4.1 trillion that his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, borrowed in the five years to June 2022.

Analysts had expected that the Ruto administration would cut fresh borrowing by a larger margin after committing to increase its tax collections over the next five years.

However, the rise in spending under the so-called Bottom-Up economic plan, which aims to channel resources to sectors that can have a mass impact in creating jobs and wealth, has prevented deeper cuts on the country’s borrowing.

“The urgency for fiscal consolidation in Kenya was renewed on December 14 when Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s credit rating to B from B+ because its high debt and increase in borrowing costs limit access to global markets,” warns financial analyst.

Sports

18 clubs sign up for African Hockey Clubs Championship in Nairobi

Eighteen foreign hockey clubs have confirmed their participation in the Africa Cup for Hockey Clubs Championship, set to take place next month at the Sikh Union grounds in Nairobi.

The event, which will run from February 13 to 19, will feature teams such as record champions El Sharkia of Egypt and defending women’s champions GRA and Army Ghana.

Kenya Hockey Union Secretary-General Wycliffe Ongori stated that the Local Organizing Committee will meet to select the Kenyan representatives for the tournament, saying, “This is the best turnout so far and we look forward to more teams gracing the event.

Hamilton opens up about racial abuse in school

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about the racial abuse he faced during his school years, including being called the N-word and having bananas thrown at him.

In a recent episode of the On Purpose podcast, Hamilton said, “For me, school was the most traumatising and most difficult part of my life.”

He went on to say that he was one of only a few children of color in his school and faced constant bullying, adding, “In my (secondary) school there were six or seven black kids out of 1,200 kids and three of us were put outside the headmasters’ office all the time.”

Hamilton, who is currently preparing for his 17th season in F1, said he felt the system was against him, adding that he suppressed “a lot of things”.

He remains the only Black driver in F1 and has established programs like Mission 44 and Ignite to improve diversity in the sport.

 

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