Press Review; Today’s top stories at a glance

Today is Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

You can read the Daily Nation e-paper here:

Here is a quick look at what is making headlines.

It was not a sniper who shot NHIF staff in Nairobi CBD

NHIF Employee Lilian Waithera’s autopsy report confirmed that the bullet found in her chest was fired from a pistol.

The DCI boss, Mohammed Amin, stated that ballistic reports showed that the bullet was not shot from a rifle, putting to rest the speculations. The investigations into the fatal shooting are now inclined towards an accidental shooting rather than involving a sniper.

While the NHIF employee could have been targeted, the police have ruled out the rifle’s involvement, with more leads to follow. Detectives have ruled out the licensed firearm holder who was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the shooting.

The preliminary tests conducted on his rifle came out negative. The case continues, with police optimistic about finding the person who triggered the fatal bullet.

Tribunal halts Azimio la Umoja’s bid to change Senate leadership

The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) has temporarily halted the communication of proposed changes to the leadership of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition in the Senate.

The tribunal ordered the Senate Speaker to stop the removal of Minority Whip Fatuma Dullo, pending the hearing and determination of a petition filed by the Isiolo senator. This means the changes cannot be communicated until February 28, when further directions will be given. Deputy Speaker Kathure Murungi said he would respect the tribunal’s orders, leading to a walkout by Azimio senators.

The decision by the tribunal has sparked controversy, with some senators arguing that it goes against the independence and sovereignty of the Senate.

“We need guidance on when the communication of the position not covered with the order will be made. The rest we will go to court,” said Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, however, supported the decision by MrMurungi, saying court orders must be respected. The proposed changes in the Senate’s minority leadership were announced by Azimio leader Raila Odinga last week, replacing Fatuma Dullo with her deputy, Narok Senator Ledama Olekina.

State acquires Telkom Kenya for KES 125.6 amid national security concerns

The Kenyan government has acquired a 60% stake in Telkom Kenya for $1 (KES 125.6) from Helios Partners, a UK-based private equity fund, due to national security concerns.

The purchase was approved by the National Security Council on the grounds of risks to national security, as Telkom Kenya provides critical government communications services. The stake was bought through a three-year government bond for $51m, which Helios had previously lent to Telkom Kenya to keep it afloat.

The deal has prompted a backlash from a parliamentary committee, which has asked MPs to reject approval, arguing it lacked approval from MPs and had been rejected by the Controller of Budget.

Telkom Kenya’s data centres and base stations manage critical infrastructure for carrier services, undersea cables, and telecoms firms. The operator has been losing subscribers in recent years, with the number of mobile phone subscribers dropping from 4.23 million users in 2019 to 3.42 million in June.

The acquisition marks a rare return of a privatized company to state ownership, derailing initial plans for the company to be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

A former Treasury official noted that the state exercised its pre-emptive rights after Helios notified the government of its intention to exit Telkom. Telkom Kenya was previously majority-owned by France’s Orange, which then sold its stake to Helios in 2015. The deal has seen Helios lose billions of shillings in Telkom Kenya, a significant setback for the PE fund.

Raila warns of ethnic balkanization due to skewed public appointments

The leader of the One Kenya Coalition party, Raila Odinga, has warned that Kenya risks becoming ethnically divided due to the biased public appointments made by President William Ruto’s administration.

Raila accused President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua of being prejudiced against communities that did not support them, giving their own people most of the state positions and resources.

He said that many communities in the country were feeling alienated, with the skewed appointments dividing the nation along ethnic lines. Raila spoke out during the burial of his advisor’s elder brother, Gabriel Mutua, in Kitui.

Azimio Senator Enoch Wambua said their strongholds would boycott paying taxes unless Gachagua retracted his divisive comments.

MPs call for action following BBC exposé on sexual harassment in tea farms

Following the BBC Africa Eye’s exposé on sexual harassment of female tea pluckers in Kericho, British tea firm James Finlay has suspended two individuals and terminated its contract with a third party named in the documentary.

The firm has also launched independent investigations to examine the cases of exploitation raised within the programme and explore areas to improve the prevention and address of sexual violence, abuse, or harassment across its Kenya sites.

Parliamentarians have called for more action to be taken against the perpetrators of the crimes. Kericho Women Representative Beatrice Kemei has called for the government to protect the rights of female workers and hold perpetrators accountable.

Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi has condemned the mistreatment of women, calling it “slavery” and demanding action.

The BBC’s Africa Eye documentary captured shocking accounts of sexual exploitation from women working at tea firms in the region.

Finlays acknowledged the testimonies of the women as deeply shocking and upsetting and stated its commitment to ensuring its employees feel safe while working.

Kenya Ports Authority goes paperless, digitizes services

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has moved its cargo handling services to the government e-Citizen portal as the state aims to shift at least 5,000 services online. The KPA’s move has been welcomed by port users who see it as a means of enhancing efficiency in operations.

The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) and the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) both hailed the move.

“The move will increase efficiency as we can track our transactions and identify whenever there’s a delay. We are asking the government to move to other state agencies to make our ports efficient to reduce costs of handling cargo,” said SCEA chief executive Gilbert Lagat.

KPA has provided room for physical training to facilitate an easy transition for its clients.


WRC Safari Rally route gets minor changes for 2023

The World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally route for this year’s event has undergone minor adjustments.

The WRC Safari Rally Clerk of Course, Gurvir Bhabra, announced that the 12 km Narasha stage has been rerouted to Malewa due to disagreements with local residents. Another stage, the Kedong to Geothermal run, has also been rerouted to rougher terrain.

Bhabra stated that the changes were made to avoid problems from the previous year and ensure the safety of drivers and locals. The proposed itinerary has already been submitted to the WRC, with the rest of the route largely intact.

Kenya returned to the WRC two years ago after a 19-year hiatus.

“We are looking for good collaboration from everyone so as to make this event that is part of our national heritage a huge success,” said LOC Chairman Carl “Flash” Tundo.

Real Madrid thrash Liverpool in Champions League

Liverpool’s chances of going through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League look slim after a 5-2 loss to Real Madrid. After a promising start with two early goals, Liverpool’s defence and midfield were overpowered by Real Madrid, whose attackers Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric stole the show.

Liverpool will have to make a comeback at the Bernabeu, and though their history includes overturning a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in 2019, the current squad is not at the same level as that historic side.

The defeat to Real Madrid exposes the weaknesses in Liverpool’s midfield, which have been seen throughout the season. Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, and his team will need to analyze their performance before the second leg.


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