Press Review: Today’s top stories at a glance

Today is Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

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

Here is a quick look at what is making headlines.

Ruto appoints selection panel for new IEBC commissioners

President William Ruto has appointed a seven-member selection panel to recruit new commissioners for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The move comes two weeks after the president declared vacancies at the electoral body, following the signing of the IEBC (Amendment) Bill 2022 into law last month. The panel comprises representatives of the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Political Parties Liaison Committee, the Law Society of Kenya, and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

The seven selection panel members appointed by President Ruto are Bethuel Sugut, Novince Euralia Atieno, Charity S. Kisotu, Evans Misati James, Benson Ngugi Njeri, Nelson Makanda, and Fatuma Saman.

The announcement followed a report by a tribunal established to consider a petition for the removal of four commissioners, which concluded that Commissioner Irene Masit had been guilty of serious violations of the Constitution.

Brace for another week of sunny and dry weather

The Kenya Meteorological Department has released its latest forecast indicating that most parts of Kenya will remain sunny and dry for another week. The forecast for February 28 to March 6, 2023, predicts rainfall over only some parts of the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria Basin during the first half of the week.

Average daytime temperatures are expected to be high (more than 30°C) over most parts of the country while average night-time temperatures are expected to be low (less than 10°C) over some parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley and the North Rift Valley.

This will further aggravate the already dire situation of drought and famine affecting millions of people in the country. According to humanitarian agencies, over 5 million people in Kenya urgently need food assistance.

Changes at Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA)

Former Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has been appointed as the new Secretary General of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party following the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on February 27.

Malala will take over from nominated Senator Veronica Maina and will be responsible for the party’s finances, policies, programs, communication, and other duties delegated to him by the party constitution or the NEC.

In other changes, Cecily Mbarire has been appointed the new party chairperson, Omar Hassan is now the Vice Chairman, Japheth Nyakundi replaces Omingo Magara as Treasurer, and Vincent Musyoka is the new Party Organising Secretary. The new officials will serve in an interim capacity until national elections later this year.

Tribunal recommends removal of IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit

A tribunal formed to consider the petition for the removal of four members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has recommended the removal of Irene Masit.

The hearing of the petitions ended on February 20, and the tribunal led by Justice Aggrey Mucheule has said that allegations of gross misconduct were proven to the required standard against Commissioner Masit. The other three commissioners – Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyang’aya – had resigned before the hearings began.

The accusations against the group related to their opposition to the presidential election results declared by IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati on 15 August 2022, citing “opaqueness” in the manner they were arrived at.

Kenyans file class action suit over SIM swap fraud

Four Kenyans, including a widow whose late husband was allegedly defrauded via a SIM card swap, have joined a class action suit against mobile operator Safaricom and the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The plaintiffs claim Safaricom was negligent in preventing SIM swap fraud, which occurs when fraudsters convince mobile operators to issue replacement SIM cards. The plaintiffs include a businessman who lost KES 2 million ($18,000) from his bank accounts, while the widow, Agnetta Makhoha, alleges that fraudsters borrowed KES 50,000 using her late husband’s mobile number.

The suit was filed by Abdi Zeila, who claims to have lost almost KES 500,000 via the scam. The case will be mentioned on March 29.

AG Muturi to defend Matiang’i in Court

Former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who was sued over remarks made during a political campaign in 2017, will be defended by the Attorney General and not at his expense, court has ruled. The petitioner, John Kaburi, had sought to have Matiang’i disqualified from being represented by the AG in the case.

However, High Court Judge Anthony Mrima affirmed that state officers are protected and defended by the AG in court for any infractions that do not amount to criminality. The court found that Matiang’i was discharging his duty as a state officer when he made the remarks in question and therefore deserved the AG’s defense. The case is yet to be substantively determined.

Kenya Power tests regulator with bills set in dollars, euros

Kenya Power, the country’s sole electricity distributor, will accept payments in dollars and euros to protect against foreign exchange losses, resulting from the weakening of the shilling. Consumers whose incomes are in foreign currencies will be required to pay in those currencies, raising regulatory questions due to the utility being compensated for foreign exchange losses.

Kenya Power currently compensates monthly for these losses through the foreign exchange surcharge. Receiving payments in foreign currencies will help Kenya Power avoid exchange losses for wholesale electricity from generators based on hard currencies and cover the additional costs of loans denominated in dollars and euros.

In the last six months, Kenya Power’s finance costs increased to KES 7.39bn compared to KES 6.8bn in the same period a year earlier, which it blamed on the weakening shilling.

Sports

Lionel Messi wins the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2022

Lionel Messi has been crowned The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2022 after leading Argentina to their first World Cup title in 36 years.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward received the award at a glittering ceremony in Paris on Monday night, beating his club teammate Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in the final voting.

The 35-year-old had a remarkable year, scoring 27 goals in 49 games for club and country, including four goals and five assists during Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar.

Messi becomes the third player to win the award twice, joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. Other winners of the night include Alexia Putellas as The Best FIFA Women’s Player and Sarina Wiegman as The Best FIFA Women’s Coach.

 

 

 

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