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VIDEO: I’m surprised by how much money I have, says Obama

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Former U.S. president Barack Obama has urged governments, especially in Africa, to embrace inclusive capitalism, which ensures there is equitable distribution of wealth, resources and knowledge across social and economic divides.

While delivering a lecture in Johannesburg in South Africa on Tuesday, July 17, Mr Obama urged leaders to shun illegal or unjust acquisition of wealth, saying “there’s always enough money and food for everybody”, hence there is no need to raid the public coffers to amass wealth.

Mr Obama spoke for 1 hour and 24 minutes at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture – an event that honors the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Mr Obama said since he left office in January, 2017, he is surprised by the money he is making. The Head of State was insinuating he did not have to raid public coffers during his time in office to be wealthy.

“Right now I am actually surprised by how much money I got. Let me tell you something; I don’t have half of how much these folks have; or a tenth of 100…,” said Mr Obama to a cheering crowd.

“There is always so much that you can eat. There’s only a so bigger house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean it is enough! You don’t have to take a vow at poverty just to say let me help out a few of the other folks; let me look at that child out there who does not have food to eat; who needs some school fees. Let me help them out by paying a lot more in taxes; it is okay. I can afford it!” said the former President.

Taking a swipe at corrupt and selfish leaders, Mr Obama said: “It shows the ambition of just wanting to take more and more and more, instead of saying: ‘Wow, I got so much. Who can I help?’ How can I give more and more and more? That’s ambition; that is impact; that is influence. What an amazing gift to be able to help people, not just yourself.”

Mr Obama urged world leaders to adopt a social inclusivity system, which would help in narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.

“We have a responsibility to ensure social justice is observed. We have to figure out how to close the widening gap of wealth and opportunity – both within countries and between them. How we achieve this, is going to vary from country to country.

“We can learn from the last 70 years that it won’t involve unregulated, unbridled and unethical capitalism. It also won’t involve old-style command and control socialism from the top. That was tried; it did not work.

“For almost all countries, progress is going to depend on an inclusive market-based system; one that offers education for every child; one that secures the rights of every worker; that breaks up monopolies to encourage competition and uplift the small and medium-sized businesses; one that has laws that root out corruption and ensures there is fair dealing in business; one that maintains some form of progressive taxation so that rich people are still rich, but they give a little bit back to make sure that everybody else has something – to pay for universal healthcare and retirement security; and invest in infrastructure and scientific research that builds platforms for innovations.”

Mr Obama’s statement comes amid media reports that he is making thousands of dollars from speeches and lecturers that he gives in different parts of the world.

In April, 2017, UK’s Independent newspaper reported that the former President made at least $800,000 (Ksh80 million) from just two speeches since he left office in January, 2017.

“Mr Obama met up with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at the A&E Networks advertising upfront at the Pierre Hotel and was rewarded $400,000 (Ksh40 million) for a 90-minute interview with her in front of advertisers for the cable network,” the Independent reported in April, 2017.

Other sources of income for Mr Obama, according to Time magazine, include pension, with the magazine reporting that: “All ex-presidents get pensions, to the tune of $205,700 (Ksh21 million) annually, and the amount increases regularly to keep up with inflation”. This is topped with other perks, US media say.

Book deal (Mr Obama memoir) could be another source of the ex-President’s income. Time says: “Obama’s book contract would be worth somewhere between $12million (Ksh1.2 billion) and $30 million (Ksh3 billion).”

In 2009 alone, Obama reported $5.1 million (Ksh510 million) in income just from the sales of his two books.

-NET WORTH-

American media estimate Mr Obama’s net worth at $40 million (Ksh4 billion).

Barack Obama earned $400,000 (Ksh40 million) a year throughout his entire eight-year term as President of the United States.

On April 15, 2016, Mr. Obama released his 2015 tax returns, which showed that he and his wife filed jointly and reported an adjusted gross income of $436,065 (Ksh44 million). They paid $81,472 (Ksh8.1 million) in taxes according to their 18.7 percent tax rate. They also donated a total of $64,066 (Ksh6.4 million) to more than 30 charities.

-Edaily

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Africa

US warns Kenyans over fake marriages, says they won’t be allowed to fly out

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The US embassy in Nairobi on Monday issued a warning to Kenyans getting duped into fake marriages to acquire a visa.

Through their official social media pages, the embassy advised caution in the event somebody offers to get you a green card using dubious means.

“Has anyone ever told you they can get a green card for you? Don’t believe them! They are lying and just trying to steal your money. Don’t believe them when they say you can have a fake marriage and still get your green card.

“If you apply with a fake marriage, you will get caught and you will not get your green card. You will become permanently ineligible to ever go to the United States, and you will never be able to get a U.S. visa or a green card,” the embassy warned.

Visa denied FILE/PHOTO

Kenyans were further urged to apply for a visa or the green card lottery by themselves.

The statement conveyed: “You don’t need to use a fixer to apply for the diversity visa or green card lottery. You can do it yourself and pay the required fee.”

The embassy stated that one should only apply through the Embassy’s official website.

“If you know about anyone promising they can get a green card for you if you enter into a fake marriage, go to the police and report them. You should also report them to the U.S. Embassy,” the statement concluded.

Earlier last week, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec announced that the United States government was gearing up to fight fake news in Kenya adding that it had eroded confidence in Kenya’s real news media.

Speaking during an interview, Godec stated: “Fake news is being weaponized. It’s undermining democracy in Kenya.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta with US Secretary of Transport Anthony Foxx (C) and Ambassador Robert Godec when he led a US business delegation to State House, Nairobi on June 25, 2015. PHOTO | PSCU

He further remarked: “We’re not asking them to believe any particular thing. We’re just urging people not to take everything they see on their phone via WhatsApp as the truth because it may not be.”

Source -Kenyans.co.ke

 

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Africa

VIDEO: Former Kenya’s head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia speaks to VOA

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Former Kenya’s head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet who is the current governor of Nyandarua County, Francis Kimemia, has told the Voice of America (VOA) that contrary to a position taken by some naysayers, the devolved system of government is fast transforming Kenya in a myriad ways.

During an interview at VOA’s headquarters in Washington DC Thursday, Kimemia hailed the “good relations between Kenya and the US,” as well as the assistance extended by the latter over the years to the East African nation in support of good governance.

“I am very proud of the role I played in ensuring that the constitution was changed to pave way for the county system of governance,” he said. Kimemia also spoke on several topical issues, including Corruption, national reconciliation and eviction of Kenyans from Mau Forest, Kibera and other areas.

Earlier in the day, he was a guest at an online live-streaming event organised by Voice of America’s Student Union, an online community and news site for international students who study or wish to study in the United States.

Kimemia was among Kenyan Governors, their deputies and Senators who attended this year’s annual United States National Governors Association (NGA) Summer session in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Watch the Full interview here:

23  Kenyan governors, several senators and other government officials joined the general secretary of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party, the Chinese and Japanese ambassadors to the United States, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s national security adviser, who also attended the event.

International leaders talked about the relationship between sub-national governments and the federal government. Speakers included the governor of Kenya’s Turkana County, Josphat Nanok – who is also the Chairman og Council of Governors in Kenya, as well  the general secretary of Germany’s Christian Democratic Party.

NGA is an organization consisting of the Governors of the states, territories and commonwealths of the United States which acts as a collective voice for Governors on matters of national policy, as well as allowing governors to share best practices and coordinate inter-state initiatives.

 

Former head of Kenyan Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, who is the current Governor, Nyandarua County, Francis Kimemia during the interview at VOA Studios in Washington DC. PHOTO/VOA

This year’s attendees held discussions on international development and diplomacy.

Later, the Council of Governors Peace Committee held  a meeting with the National Democratic Institute in Washington DC, where they discussed possible areas of partnerships and support for peace and reconciliation efforts.

The Kenyan delegation also visited several US Cities, including Dallas, Texas, where a number of governors attended a Diaspora Conference organized by Kenya Diaspora Advisory Council.

 Voice of America is the U.S.’s largest international broadcaster, reaching 236.8 million people weekly in more than 40 languages. For more information, you can visit our website.

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Africa

Kenyan scientist George Njoroge receives another prestigious award in US

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A US-based Kenyan research scientist has been honoured at a banquet in New York for his discoveries of drugs used to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Dr George Njoroge was presented with a “pioneer award” from Face2Face Africa, a pan-Africa media company, for his sustained impact on science and medicine.

The 64-year-old Kiambu native holds more than 100 patents for his work on cancer and immunology.

Currently a senior research fellow at the global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Mr Njoroge plans to move next year to Naivasha, where he is establishing a biotechnology institute.

He said he hopes to attract 100 doctoral degree-holders from around the world to take part in the institute’s work on malaria, Aids, diabetes and cancer.

“Africa has to step up the plate and get involved by participating in the global scientific platform,” Mr Njoroge said in accepting the Face2Face Africa award on Saturday.

“We cannot afford to be left behind. In Africa, we have great brains and abundance of resources — we just need to embrace the power of biotechnology.”

He added in an interview that the latest of his numerous awards is particularly meaningful because it specifically honours persons of African origin.

Dr Njoroge credits his now-deceased mother, Alice Nyaucha, for having inspired his interest in science through her work as a practitioner of herbal medicine.

Dr Njoroge received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

He is married to Esther Nyambura, who works at Eli Lilly as an accountant. The couple have two adult children, both of whom are studying for medical degrees.

-Nation.co.ke

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