Press Review; Today’s top stories

Thursday, November 24, World Cup 2022 resumes in Qatar as favourites Brazil begin their campaign for a sixth World Cup against Serbia on Thursday, while Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to put his contentious exit from Manchester United behind him as Portugal face Ghana.

Here’s what’s making the news.

Cherera four to face MPs today

Four IEBC commissioners are set to face the House Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs today challenge petitions seeking their removal from office.

IEBC deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyang’aya are expected to defend themselves against allegations of constitutional violations, severe misconduct, and incompetence.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula informed the House last week of the receipt of petitions seeking the removal of the four from the electoral body.

The petitions are by Reverend Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, the Republican Party, Geoffrey Langat, and Owuor Steve Gerry.

The committee has 14 days to conduct proceedings and submit a report to the House to decide whether the petitions satisfy the grounds for removal.

If the House rules that the petitions have merit, it will be up to President Ruto to form a tribunal to probe the four commissioners’ actions and violations.

The petitions examine the four commissioners’ behaviour before and after the results of the August 9, General Elections were revealed. They cast doubt on the commissioner’s loyalty, accusing them of being operatives of Azimio la Umoja.

Trouble at KPLC as Treasury wants the board out

The National Treasury has indicated plans to remove the Kenya Power Kenya Power board directors in a fresh shakeup at the company.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u has written to the corporation requesting that a resolution to remove the company’s directors be included in its annual general meeting (AGM) on December 16.

The Treasury owns the bulk of the electricity distributor, and Ndung’u is legally responsible for appointing directors to the company’s board.

According to KPLC insiders, Treasury has already decided not to support KPLC chairperson Vivienne Yeda’s re-election. She intends to leave the company on the day of the shareholders meeting.

Yeda, who was tapped in November 2020 to shepherd the turnaround of Kenya Power, informed investors she will be quitting on the day of the shareholder meeting.

Sources at the power utility reckon that the new government was uncomfortable with her stay at Kenya Power and links with top officials at State House under the Uhuru administration.

Parliament approves bill to cap land ownership

Parliament has authorised a new attempt to have the government limit the amount of land that a person can own.

MPs have endorsed a plan to oblige the Ministry of Lands to create laws and regulations for private land usage and management in Kenya, including minimum and maximum land holdings.

The MPs supported a motion introduced by Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi requesting that the government execute Article 60 (1) of the Constitution, which states that land in Kenya must be held, used, and maintained in an equitable and sustainable manner.

The National Assembly is empowered under the Constitution to define minimum and maximum private land-holding acreages.

In their third attempt to have the State execute Article 68 of the Constitution, MPs want to tax land that is not in use, alleging that there are those who own up to 500,000 acres of land, about the size of a county.

Speakers in the National Assembly questioned why some individuals should own large tracts of land that are lying idle while the country relies heavily on agriculture for food security in an emotional land debate that received the support of the majority of members.

Court set hearing date for GMO case

The case filed by Azimio lawyer Paul Mwangi contesting the legitimacy of the government’s decision to import Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will begin on December 15.

Mwangi, a long-time lawyer for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader Raila Odinga, has objected the decision-making process to lift the ban on GMO foods.

Mwangi contended in his appeal that the judgement was unlawful and requested an injunction to prevent the importation.

He also argued that the lifting of the ban that had been in existence since 2012 would expose both farmers and consumers to health hazards.

“A declaration that the decision of the cabinet made on October 3, 2022 purpotedly lifting a ban on the cultivation within and importation into the republic of Kenya of foods and animal feeds that are produced from genetically modified seeds and other organisms is unconstitutional for derogating and threatening to derogate the following rights of the petitioner and the people of the Republic of Kenya,” his petition read in part.

“The hasty removal of all regulatory protocols in the cultivation and trade in genetically modified foods in Kenya is neither rational nor reasonable.”

Sports

Gavi to the world!

Gavi made his global debut with a beautiful volley as Spain produced a superb passing effort to outclass Costa Rica and start their World Cup in spectacular fashion.

Ferran Torres scored twice as the 2010 champs cruised from start to finish with a 7-0 victory.

Gavi’s spectacular volleyed finish was the pick of their seven goals, with the Barcelona teenager utilising the outside of his foot to direct a dropping ball home via the post and become the youngest World Cup goalscorer since Pele.

This has been a tournament full of shocks, with Spain’s Group E rivals Germany the most recent victims after a late defeat by Japan earlier on Wednesday, but there was never any indication that another shock would occur here.

La Roja dominated from the start, with Costa Rica unable to match their pace, mobility, and precision when they advanced.

Whether the heavy win makes Spain contenders remains a big question whose answer could come sooner than later as they face Germany on Sunday November, 27.

Japanese fans hold celebrations to clean the stadium 

The significance of their victory over Germany may have led to them celebrating late into the night, but Japan’s fans demonstrated that the best manners and practises are engrained, regardless of the situation.

When the game is over, the stands at sporting arenas are generally cluttered with used food trays, wrappers, and empty beverages cups that have been left behind for someone else to pick up.

But not when the Samurai Blue visit.

Their players had hardly left the ground following a 2-1 victory over the four-time champions in their World Cup opener when the Japanese in the crowd paused the party to clean up at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.

They did the same thing at the World Cup in Russia four years ago, most memorably after a 3-2 loss to Belgium in the last 16, and they did it again on Sunday in the 2022 tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador – a match in which their squad was not engaged.

Cleanliness is ingrained in Japanese society and is taught to children from an early age.

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