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Deputy minister among 11 killed in Somalia attack

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By AFP
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An attack involving gunmen and bomb blasts on a complex housing government ministries in Somalia’s capital killed at least 11 people on Saturday, including the deputy labour minister, officials said.

Claimed by the Al-Shabaab Islamist group, the assault was a sign of the insurgency’s continued ability to strike at the heart of Somalia’s government, despite years of foreign military support for Mogadishu.

The fighting began with two blasts at the gates of the complex housing the labour and works ministries.

Police say at least four gunmen then stormed the buildings, leading to a shootout as officers rushed to confront the attackers.

“The death toll reached eleven, three of them women, and the number of wounded is 15,” said Abdukadir Abdirahman Adan, director of Mogadishu’s Aamin ambulance service.

Senator Ilyas Ali Hassan confirmed that Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla, the deputy minister for labour and social affairs, was also killed.

“I cannot elaborate on how he died but I can confirm that he was killed inside the ministry building,” Hassan said.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said all the gunmen were killed.

“There were some other casualties including members of the police,” he said, without elaborating.

Attacks that combine bombings with gunmen have become a speciality of the Al-Qaeda linked group, which is running an armed insurrection against what it sees as heretic and foreign influence in Somalia.

The group emerged from Islamic Courts that once controlled central and southern Somalia and are variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

In 2010 the Shabaab declared their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. The following year, the group were chased out of Mogadishu by the 22,000-strong African Union peace-enforcement mission, AMISOM.

They have since lost many of their strongholds but retain control of large rural swathes of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war, frequently hitting Mogadishu.

In October 2017 a truck bombing in a busy neighbourhood of the capital killed over 500 people, the deadliest attack in Somalia to date.

Among Al-Shabaab’s adversaries is the US military, which has killed over 800 people in airstrikes targeting the insurgents over the last two years.

This week Amnesty International released a report challenging the US’s claim that the air strikes only killed “terrorists.”

Amnesty researchers say at least 14 civilians were killed in US bombings. The US military denied the report.

The have also carried out a string of attacks in Kenya since 2011.The deadliest of these took place on April 2, 2015 when 148 people were killed at Garissa University in northeastern Kenya.

In 2013, a raid on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall left 67 dead in a siege that unfolded over four days. And in January this year, 14 people were killed in a -claimed attack on a luxury hotel complex in Nairobi.​





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Firm sues county for Sh3.5b project delay : The Standard

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[Photo: Courtesy]

An international data company has sued the county government seeking Sh800 million damages for delaying to approve construction of its data centre.

Kooba Kenya Limited Chief Officer Richard Bell told High Court Judge Eric Ogola their effort to start construction of Sh3.5 billion data centre was frustrated by the county government after it refused to approve it.
Mr Bell said the company lost Sh847 million due to the delay between November 2016 and August 2017.
“We had procured financing, including shareholder equity of approximately Sh224 million, as well as a construction debt guarantee facility of Sh850 million committed by Messrs Guarant Co, but the respondent frustrated the entire process,” said Bell.

SEE ALSO :Four Kenyan cyclist to pedal to Hajj through four nations

Bell said investors had so far invested Sh284 million in the project and if no award of damages was made, the project investors stood to lose their sunk costs on the investment.

Bureaucratic hurdles

The company CEO said the delay due to bureaucratic hurdles placed by the county government had severe consequences on their proposed project that was to start operations in August 2017.
He said on April 13, 2017, the court held that the county government had violated the company’s rights and directed the devolved unit to stamp and return the company’s building plans and to issue a certificate of approval.
Bella said despite the orders, the county delayed the entire process, occasioning the petitioner’s loss.
He said the firm had lined up various investors and identified several customers and also negotiated a contract for the project works, but frustration made the investors to withdraw from the project.

SEE ALSO :Port city of Mombasa eager for Smart Sustainable City status

Kooba’s advocate Walter Amoko said the county government only provided them with building plans and certificate of approval on July 18, 2017, a month to the period in which the data centre should have been operational.
Mr Amoko said the company had sought to establish a colocation centre in the county, with a view to constructing multiple facilities in the East Africa Region.
However, the county government, through its lawyer Tajbhai Murtaza, termed the request for damages vexatious, frivolous, misconceived and outright abuse of court process and ought to be struck out with costs.
The case will be heard on May 13, after both sides file submissions.

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Mombasa CountyData firm





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Uganda’s top court upholds ruling on extending president’s rule

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A 4-3 majority decision affirming the validity of 2017 constitutional amendments was widely expected in the East African country where critics say judicial independence has been eroded under President Museveni’s 33-year rule.

Parliament, which is controlled by the ruling party, voted overwhelmingly in December 2017 to scrap an age limit of 75 years for presidential candidates.

The original legislation would have effectively barred 74-year-old Museveni from standing in the next elections due in 2021. Opponents of Museveni, including lawmakers and individual opposition activists, mounted a legal challenge to the amendment first in the constitutional court which rejected their petition.

That rejection triggered their appeal to the supreme court.”The decision of the constitutional court is upheld. This appeal therefore fails,” ruled Bart Katurebe, the country’s chief justice and a member of the panel. The process to amend the constitution was marred by widespread violence including police dispersing rallies by MPs consulting their constituents on the amendments and beatings and detentions of opposition activists

Some opposition MPs were also at one time forcefully removed from the House’s debating chamber by members of military. The petitioners had cited these incidents and other irregularities as sufficient grounds for nullification of the amendment.

Eldad Mwangusya, of the three justices who ruled in favor of the petition said widespread violence and security personnel interference in MPs’ public consultations made the removal of the age limit unconstitutional.”Members of parliament… were assaulted, thrown onto public vehicles, detained and released without charge all of which amount to inhuman treatment which is in contravention of the constitution,” he said.

In power since 1986, Museveni has been accused by critics of using security forces to stifle opposition through intimidation. Political activists routinely allege arbitrary arrests and beatings.

In February the executive committee of the ruling National Resistance Movement endorsed Museveni as its candidate in the next presidential election due in 2021, potentially extending his rule to 40 years.

One of his opponents in the next polls will likely be singer and lawmaker Bobi Wine – real name is Robert Kyagulanyi – who has rattled officials with his fast-growing support base.Kyagulanyi’s following has ballooned since he joined parliament nearly two years ago, drawn by his criticism of Museveni’s long rule and government excesses through his lyrics.




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Video Of The Day: Ministry of Education may scrap 98 ‘useless’ degree courses




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Egg on the face for Wangusi as State House, Ministry disown SIM-card switch-off threat

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Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi has been forced to eat his words about an alleged plan by the government to switch off SIM-cards of mobile subscribers who will not have registered for the Huduma Namba before the set deadline of May 18.

In a rather common fashion and frantic attempt to calm down a countrywide storm sparked by his words, Wangusi now claims he was misquoted by the media when he stated: “We are waiting for the 45 days to end. We will say, unless you have a Huduma Namba, you don’t have a SIM-card.

So prepare yourself. And when we say it that way, it could be a polite order but it’s an order that is enforceable.”

Interestingly, according to Wangusi, those words did not suggest any plans to switch off SIM-cards but only “emphasized the importance of the Huduma Namba”

“We wish to clarify that the Director General has been quoted out of context. For the record Mr. Wangusi emphasized the importance of the Huduma Namba as a single source of the truth for the identity of citizens,” said Wangusi.

He issued the statement after State House and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology disowned the alleged plan to switch off SIM-cards.

Wangusi, however, added that “Huduma Namba may be considered for use in the registration of SIM-cards.”

“After adequate consultations with the relevant stakeholders and changes in the law, the Huduma Namba may be considered for use in the registration of SIM-cards,” said Wangusi.

“The Authority, therefore, wishes to assure Kenyans that there are no plans in place to switch off SIM cards for subscribers who will have not registered for Huduma Namba by the set deadline of May 18.”

The ICT Ministry, in its statement, reiterated that the Huduma Namba registration is a voluntary exercise in compliance with the recent High Court ruling.

“There is absolutely no directive from the Government to institute any punitive measures against those who don’t register,” reads part of the statement issued by ICT PS Jerome Ochieng.

Earlier, State House Chief Nzioka Waita also emphasized that registration for Huduma Namba is a purely voluntary process and that nobody will be forced to participate in it.

“There is no directive from the Government to institute any punitive measures against those who don’t register. More emphasis will be laid on civic education!” Waita wrote on Twitter.

The roll out of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), also known as Huduma Namba, had been challenged in court but the government was allowed to continue with the registration on condition that it should not be mandatory.

A three-judge bench – comprising Justices Weldon Korir, Pauline Nyamweya and Mumbi Ngugi – on April 1, 2019, also barred the government from collecting DNA data and GPS coordinates as well as sharing the NIIMS information with any foreign organization.

 




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