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What Raila’s new Africa job means

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NASA leader Raila Odinga’s appointment as African Union Special Envoy elevated him to a continental statesman whose time will now be divided across Africa.

Raila joins the league of former presidents and senior leaders in the continent and this places him near a climax of his pursuit as a Pan Africanist.

With a lot of travel around the continent rallying political support to his new cause, Raila might find himself divorced from local politics.

But just where does this appointment place the opposition leader?

As a special envoy of the AU chairperson, Raila will have an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but with frequent travel across the continent.

He will mediate in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. Raila will also have a fully-furnished office in Nairobi, with staff and advisers to boost his local presence and unity programmes with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Addressing the country during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County Saturday, President Kenyatta celebrated Raila’s appointment.

“When we come together, it allows us to be better. See now our brother has got a continental job, the biggest beneficiaries is us as Kenyans,” Uhuru said.

He said the new appointment will help his government achieve the Big Four agenda in terms of infrastructure and development of the country. “Raila will work closely with my government to ensure he allocates more resources to Kenya to fast track infrastructural development so as to make Vision 2030 a reality. We have made history as a country and with the handshake deal in place, Kenya stands to achieve more,” he added.

Mr Odinga meets with an AU dignitary in Addis Ababa. FILE PHOTO

Bury hatchet

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“Our agreement to bury the hatchet and work together with the Opposition leader has been recognised globally. The AU Commission has appointed Raila as the High Representative for Infrastructure and Development in Africa,” Uhuru said.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said Raila’s appointment was well deserved at the continental level. “It was a great recognition of the roles he has played in our country,” Muturi said.

Senate speaker Ken Lusaka wished the Opposition leader well, saying Raila has what it takes to transform the continent in infrastructure.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale congratulated the Nasa leader for the new posting and urged him not to forget the Building Bridges Initiative that he initiated with President Kenyatta.

Political risk analyst Dismas Mokua says in theory, with such an appointment Raila should now exit the local political space and stay focused on the infrastructure at the continental level.

However, in practice, Raila is not likely to leave the Kenyan political scene and will therefore be forced to balance between the two.

Saturday, he said he had accepted the position and promised to use his political experience spanning over 30 years to fast track infrastructural development in the continent.

Raila is expected to pay much attention to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernisation.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila did not withdraw from Oct 26th Presidential election - Supreme Court

He will focus on the continental high-speed train that is one of the flagship projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

In making the appointment, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki acknowledged Raila’s “rich political experience and strong commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration, as well as a deep knowledge of infrastructure development.

“In this respect, his mandate includes mobilising further political support from Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent,” Faki said.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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Africa

How Nairobi dust and old car tested Michele Obama’s love for her husband

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This year, First lady Michelle Obama was enjoying Beyonce and Jay Z’ performance in France while her husband Barack Obama visited his home and family in Kenya, Bondo.

The former American First lady Michelle Obama has now opened up on a possible reason why she did not accompany her husband Barrack Obama during his two recent visits to Kenya saying that her first visit in the country was just more than frustrating.

In her memoir titled “Becoming”, Michelle shared that on her first trip to Kenya in 1992 was full of misfortunes and even wore the wrong shoes. Obama’s sister, Auma, also had an old car that left her frustrated.

“Auma’s sky-blue VW was so old that it often needed to be pushed in order to get the engine into gear. I’d ill-advisedly bought new white sneakers to wear on the trip, and within a day, after all the pushing we did, they’d turned reddish brown, stained with the cinnamon-hued dust of Nairobi,” she shared. 

The 54-year-old who was born the US in 1964 added that the trip was also tiring and although she witnessed some beautiful scenaries, she was really frustrated.

“For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage. “I’m so angry at Barack,” I wrote in my journal. “I don’t think we have anything in common.” My thoughts trailed off there. As a measure of my frustration, I drew a long emphatic gash across the rest of the page,” the memoir went on.” she said. 

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READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Is NASA calling for increase of Cabinet slots to 40 to be accommodated?
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Kenyans in US get discounts on fare, three luggage on KQ direct flight

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Kenya Airways has turned to the more than 100,000 Kenyans living in the US with generous discounts in a bid to shore up passenger numbers three weeks since it launched direct flights to New York.

National carrier, which has been grappling with low passenger numbers, says Kenyans who book tickets directly will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on fares and three of their luggage.

“The special rate for the Kenyan diaspora is only available for bookings made directly on our website,” Stephen Ngamau, KQ’s area manager for the Americas, says in a notice on display at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC.

“We encourage guests to enrol onto our database for more updates and offers… We look forward to having the Kenyan diaspora aboard Kenya Airways soon.” The fares on the New York route range between Sh79,000 and Sh105,000 depending on the booking period.

Kenya estimates the number of its citizens studying or working in the US at 130,000 even though other sources claim the figure could be as high as 300,000. The group has been very active in the country’s economic affairs with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data showing that North America accounted for 50.8 per cent of the Sh197.1 billion that citizens living abroad sent home last year.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: AU summit ends in Addis amid claims of bugging by the Chinese

The trend has continued this year with CBK data showing that Kenyans living in North America sent home Sh72.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing a 69.3 per cent growth over the Sh42.5 billion received in a similar period last year.

Kenya launched its daily non-stop flights to the US on October 28 in what government officials said would stimulate tourism, trade and investments from the world’s largest economy.

The national carrier is cutting back on flights citing low demand. It has rescheduled flights covering November to March and cancelled 10 flights between last Monday and December 5.

Business Daily

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Uganda deploys military, police to guard Chinese investors

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The Ugandan government has deployed military and police officers to guard Chinese investors after the latter threatened to leave the country following a wave of attacks.

Mr You Jing Shu, the chairperson of Guangdong Chamber of Commerce, a lobby of about 50 Chinese companies in Uganda, said last week that many investors were considering leaving unless the government beefed up security.

“I may personally be resilient to this kind of insecurity because I lived in South Sudan, which is more hostile than here. But other investors who are faint-hearted can leave,” Mr Shu said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

ATTACKS

On October 23, a group of unknown assailants raided the residential quarters of CCLE Rubber Company in Mbalala in central Mukono District injuring five people — three Chinese nationals and two Ugandans. The attackers are said to have made away with $11,000 in cash, mobile phones, and electronic appliances whose worth was unspecified.

Mr Chen Fan, the director of the company, told Daily Monitor that machete-wielding gang beat up the security guard, injuring him, and took away his gun which they later abandoned.

“This is scaring us. I feel I should leave the country because this is not the first company to be attacked. It is very bad,” Mr Fan said.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Here is what Raila and Uhuru had to say about their tribal blocs

Uganda police spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima, said investigations on the attack and other similar ones are underway.

“We are taking this matter seriously. As I speak, I am in the field in Luweero (district that neighbours Mukono to the southeast) investigating a similar matter and very soon we shall come up with a solution,” Mr Kayima said.

MEETING

Last week, a delegation of Chinese investors met with top government officials over the rising wave of armed and violent robberies that have resulted in loss of life and property.

The closed-door crisis meeting was attended by the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo, Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the director-general of Internal Security Organisation (domestic spy agency) Col Kaka Bagyenda, and Mr Ronald Kibuule, the Mukono North MP.

The government assured the Chinese that they would be provided with armed guards.

Mr Kibuule told Daily Monitor that the meeting had been ordered by President Yoweri Museveni after the MP informed him of the attacks in his constituency.

Daily Monitor

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