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Unmasking MPs: How they tricked Kenyans on new tax vote

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MPs may have tricked Kenyans into believing that they were on their side when they met for a special sitting on Tuesday and Thursday to consider President Uhuru Kenyatta’s memorandum on the Finance Bill, 2018.

A section of the MPs had planned to veto President Kenyatta’s reservations on the bill because it was going to increase the cost of living.

They cited the President’s proposal of eight per cent VAT on petroleum products, the 1.5 per cent levy on housing fund as well as the extra Sh18 for every litre of Kerosene among others.

In so doing, they lobbied a good number to shoot down the President’s views ahead of the big day. Just like amending the Constitution, it requires two-thirds or at least 233 of the 349 MPs in the House to veto the memorandum.

Although the MPs had been lobbied by their respective party leaders to pass the proposals, they were in a Catch-22 situation.

They were to please their party leaders, Mr Kenyatta, who held a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Mr Raila Odinga.

Mr Odinga had chaired the Nasa parliamentary group at Orange House on the same day Mr Kenyatta did at State House. However, the tricky part was that they were to please their party bosses without betraying the public.

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But how possible could this have happened? Unbeknown to the public, the MPs may have just killed two birds with a stone.

On Thursday afternoon, after approving the supplementary budget the MPs retreated to the committee of the Whole House to consider the memorandum.

Narok Woman Representative Soipan Tuya, also a member of the Committee of Chairpersons, was the chair of the committee for the afternoon.

When Ms Tuya put the clause on the eight percent VAT on fuel products to vote, she declared the “ayes” had won.

Those in opposition protested and stood up as the House almost degenerated into chaos.

According to Article 115 of the Constitution, those voting “nays” have the obligation to confirm that they have the requisite two-thirds majority before the presiding chair calls for a division.

Though leader of majority Aden Duale led some members out of the chamber, a claim he confirmed saying it was meant to deny the others the numbers, it is a trick that even the opposition previously employed to have their way.

However, under the same provision and Article 122, those voting “ayes” just need to be 26, being the simple majority.

In a voice vote, the only legally known and procedurally simple process is to rule that the “ayes” have it like Ms Tuya did so that the “nays” can vote electronically or by way of being counted, which is called roll call vote so that their number of 233 is confirmed.

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The roll call vote is quite popular in the US congress.

When Ms Tuya called for a roll call, the MPs would not listen with Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Dida Jaldesa captured on the table microphone saying that they did not want the roll call because it would be known which side they were leaning on.

She would also be heard advising Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi against the roll call vote.

One of the MPs, who was against the memorandum blatantly told a parliamentary orderly that all they wanted was to be allowed to shout, as they did not have time for a roll call.

Daily Nation

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FBI agents arrest three Kenyans in US over links to Isis

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Three Kenyans were on Tuesday arrested in the United States for their links to terror group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The three were nabbed by Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents. They were identified as Mohamed Salat Haji, Mohamud Abdikadir Muse and Muse Abdikadir Muse.

The three were arrested in Lansing, Michigan. They are said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic state.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse was nabbed while on transit to Somalia.

“He was checking in for a flight on his way to Mogadishu, Somalia when he was arrested,” a statement by the FBI released on Tuesday stated.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse had earlier this month purchased air tickets to travel from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Michigan.

CO-CONSPIRATORS

The US Department of Justice said his other two friends, described as co-conspirators, had assisted him in getting the ticket.

“They aided in the purchase of the ticket and drove Muse Abdikadir Muse to the Grand Rapids airport, each knowing the true purpose of the travel was for Muse Muse to join and fight for ISIS,” read the statement.

According to the FBI, the three recorded videos pledging allegiance to the group where they narrated their desire “to kill non-believers, and even to potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down non-believers in the USA.”

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Despite their arrest, the American Government is yet to find them guilty of the charges.

Their arrest comes exactly a week after terrorists led by a Kenyan identified as Salim Gichunge attacked dusitD2 hotel and killed 21 people.\

NairobiNews

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‘Please help me return home,’ Kenyan legend runner living in the US pleads

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Kenyan distance running legend Henry Rono a broken man. He has been living in the United States of America for the last 32 years, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rono who is now 66, on Tuesday reached out to Nation Sport and sent a passionate appeal:

“I wants a ticket back home, please.”

“Yes, I would like the government to help me get back home by getting me a ticket… I can’t afford living in the USA. I’m getting old… Also, being away from home for over 32 years is too long,” added the legend.

The legend is currently a security guard at the Albuquerque airport.

“Yes, I did retire, but these other jobs are stressful and I’m too old,” he said. “Like now, I’m sick from working hard. Many of my fellow Kenyans are dying from stressful hard working jobs,” said Rono, who was given a lifetime achievement award by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2008.

“I have been given another award in Belgrade but I’m able to attend because of stressful work. Like now, I’m in the bed and I’m unwell.”

But Rono’s daughter Maureen confirmed she had spoken to the legend, and that he has been unwell since last week. “He has been coughing for the last week, and I’ve been in touch with him. If he asked you to send out an appeal for help, you can go ahead and publish,” she said.

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Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, meanwhile, said his association would be ready to help the legend.

“He did a lot for this country and we can’t fail to get help for him,” said Tuwei. “We need information such as costs of tickets, who he could be travelling with and other details, and then see how we can support.”

The Washington State University star alumnus had taken up coaching after his running career, this after alcoholism dented the highlight years of his spell that saw him shatter world records in the 3,000 metres (seven minutes, 32.1 seconds), 5,000 metres (13:08.4), 3,000 metres steeplechase (8:05.04) and 10,000 metres (27:22.47), all within 81 days across USA (California and Seattle) and Europe (Vienna and Oslo).

Source: nation.co.ke

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Uganda deports Rwandan, French nationals

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Ugandan authorities have deported a Rwandan and a French national accusing them of undermining state security.

The two, identified as Annie Bilenge Tabura and Olivier Prentout, are employees of leading telecom provider MTN Uganda.

Ms Tabura is the general manager sales and distribution, while Mr Prentout is the chief marketing officer.

In a statement Tuesday, deputy police spokeswoman Polly Namaye said that security agencies in collaboration with immigration officers had been investigating the two foreigners “over their engagements in acts which compromise national security.”

“We strongly believe that the deportation of the two foreigners, who were using their employment as tools to achieve their ill motives, has enabled us to disrupt their intended plans of compromising our national security,” she added.

Rwanda has termed the deportation of Ms Tabura a “witch-hunt and harassment” of Rwandans in Uganda as tensions between the two countries continue to escalate.

“You should ask them [Ugandan authorities] why they keep doing this, not us,” Mr Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s State Minister in charge of East African Community Affairs said, responding to the The EastAfrican.

“It is not the first time they have done this. This is a case of harassment of our nationals in Uganda.”

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Rwanda accuses Kampala of  “arbitrary arrest and torture of Rwandans in Uganda” and for hosting rebels seeking to destabilise it. Uganda claims that Kigali is deploying spies in the country.

Mr Nduhungirehe said Kigali will “seek explanations” from Kampala, adding that there are also some Rwandans who were arrested in Uganda and “we don’t know where they were taken.”

“The Rwandan High Commission in Uganda always writes to seek clarification whenever such arrests are made but we never get responses. They never share evidence or give reasons why individuals are arrested. They kidnap, torture and then throw them out without a word,” Mr Nduhungirehe said.

MTN said in a statement Tuesday that Ms Tabura was arrested by unidentified security officers at their office in Kampala on Monday morning, while Mr Prentout had been arrested by police at Entebbe airport on Sunday, soon after he returned from a business trip.

The telco said the two “have been deported from Uganda to their home countries.”

“MTN Uganda, together with all its employees, remains fully committed to operating within and respecting the laws of the country,” the firm added.

The unit of MTN South Africa has had a run in with the authorities previously. In July last year, its data centre was raided by agents said to be from Uganda’s domestic intelligence unit.

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The firm said attempts to log into their servers were unsuccessful and that it reported to the police a case of illegal intrusion into the data centre and disconnection of four servers, but denied reports that it was being investigated over breach of national security and tax evasion.

MTN’s 20-year licence expired on October 20, 2018 but it was granted an interim licences, the second one which expired on January 20. The Cabinet had demanded a review of the telco’s operations after it was accused of underdeclaring its call volume and therefore not paying its fair share to the taxman, a charge it denied.

Uganda maintains that arrests target individuals suspected of espionage.

While diplomatic ties between the two countries have remained strained, there are fears that the frostiness could affect cross-border trade.

Rwanda has since warned its citizens to “exercise caution while travelling to Uganda”.

“This is a delicate situation that we need to deal with. We are in a Common Market and for now we are trying to talk to Uganda about these incidents,” Mr Nduhungirehe said.

Mayors of Rwandan border districts — Burera, Nyagatare and Gicumbi — told The EastAfrican that while the residents are aware of the tension, they are undeterred in their cross-border trade.

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“Trade is normal, if not even better. We have not received reports of any harassment of Rwandan traders across the border,” Felix Ndayambaje, the Mayor of Gicumbi District told The EastAfrican.

“We, however, advise them to always avoid using porous borders, because if they use them and are arrested on the other side, we face limitations on helping them. We know of the tensions and that is why we warn the cross-border traders to be vigilant.”

The Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) warns that if the two governments fail to deescalate the tension, it would change the business environment.

“I would want to see a better conducive environment between the two countries,” Robert Bapfakurera, the chairman of PSF said.

“Trade is still strong but anything which does not create a good environment affects business,” he said, adding that business can only thrive if “the environment is without fear or any insecurity.”

The EastAfrican

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