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BBC, 29 journalists banned from entering Russia

Russia has banned dozens of British journalists and media representatives from entering the country, the foreign ministry has said.

In a move that Moscow said was a response to Western sanctions and pressure on its state-run media outlets abroad, 29 journalists and members of British media organizations such as the BBC, the broadcaster Sky News, the Guardian and Times newspapers were among others banned.

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According to the statement released by Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, more than a dozen British figures believed to be linked to the defence industry were also banned from entering Russia.

Story by Tinyefuza Naboth

No doubt Rwanda is backing M23 – President Felix Tshisekedi

By Racheal Nuwahereza

H.E Felix Tshisekedi, the President of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said  that there’s no doubt Rwanda supported M23 rebels in clashes in the east of his country that have displaced tens of thousands.

Speaking on Sunday after visiting neighboring Congo-Brazzaville where he met his counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso, Tshisekedi’s claims on Rwanda’s meddling come as his first in recent times as tensions between the two eastern Africa neighbors continue to rise.

“Rwanda should not mistake our desire for peace with weakness. I hope that Rwanda has learned this lesson because today, it’s clear. There is no doubt Rwanda has supported the M23 to come and attack the DRC,” he said.

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The Government of Rwanda has consistently denied the accusations of backing the rebels adding that it is an internal crisis.

Last Monday, M23 rebels retreated from areas it had captured in the Congolese province of North Kivu. But on Friday it warned that the army was planning renewed attacks against its positions.

This Monday, renewed fighting was registered between the Congolese army and the rebels in Rutshuru area.

Major Willy Ngoma, the M23 spokesperson said the army started bombarding their positions in Jomba area early in the morning.

It is reported that in May, nearly 100,000 people fled their homes as the army clashed with the rebels near Goma town, the provincial capital.

Meanwhile, Angola’s President João Lourenço is organizing a summit between President Tshisekedi and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame to ease the tensions, his office said last week.

Story by Tinyefuza Naboth

Thousands gather for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Thousands of royal supporters embraced the brilliant sunshine as they lined on the streets of London on Thursday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.

Millions of people across Britain and the world are expected to join the festivities in honour of the 96-year-old, for four days of pomp, parties and parades to mark her record-breaking 70 years on the British throne.

According to the government, Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for longer than any of her predecessors.

In a statement released by the Queen, she expressed gratitude to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth. 

“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” read the statement in part.

The Royals; Sophie and Edward appear on Parade along The Mall under horse power during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in London.
The Royals; Camilla and Catherine appear on Parade along The Mall under horse power during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in London.
The Royals; George, Louis & Charlotte appear on Parade along The Mall under horse power during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in London.

Families and friends gathered on the main grand roads running up to Buckingham Palace, cheering the regimental marching bands, waving Union flags and wearing paper crowns.

Although Prince Andrew, 62, will not be attending events celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend after he tested positive for COVID-19,  Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have flown to the UK from their home in California to attend the festivities.

South African protesters march, demanding France to leave Africa

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Economic Freedom Fighters protesters in South Africa marched to the French embassy in the capital Pretoria on Wednesday, demanding that France stop interfering in African affairs.  

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said at the protest that France continues to maintain strong and intimidating military bases in almost all African countries they had colonial control.

This prompted hundreds of EFF supporters, the third largest party in South African parliament to join the protest dressed in red T-shirts and red berets as part of Africa Day commemorations.

Africa Day is commemorated every year on May 25 to mark the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Ethiopia, which is now known as the African Union.  

Several protesters were chanting that France must leave Africa while others carried placards condemning alleged French interference on the continent. 

In their list of demands handed over to Aurelien Lechevallier, the French ambassador to South Africa, the EFF said France must end some of its colonial pacts it entered with its former African colonies such as using the franc as its currency, whose monetary policy is reportedly dictated by the French central bank.  

“Africa will not be free until African countries reclaim their reserve banks and have their own currency as independent countries. It is for this reason that the unity of the African continent remains urgent, for Africans to stand together against imperialism,’’ said Malema.  

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighter during the protests on Wednesday.

The EFF also claimed that France has been playing a role in the many coup d’états and illegal and unlawful overthrow of many governments in the African continent. 

The party also claimed that France is also responsible for keeping dictatorial leaders in the continent in power at the displeasure of many African citizens. 

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Responding to the allegations in an interview aired on state broadcaster, Ambassador Lechevallier said it is wrong for France to be blamed for all of the continent’s problems. 

“France today is a partner and friend of Africa. We stand for an independent Africa and we want to strengthen our bond with Africa,” he said.

Credit: Tinyefuza Naboth

US Senate agrees to $40 billion Ukraine spending bill

By Racheal Nuwahereza

The US Senate has voted to approve a new $40bn (£32bn) bill to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The bill which was passed by the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support on 10th May – was expected to be passed earlier this week, but was blocked by Kentucky Republican, Rand Paul over a dispute about spending oversight.

But the Republican’s Senate leader Mitch McConnell dismissed these concerns and told reporters that Congress had a “moral responsibility” to support “a sovereign democracy’s self-defence”.

The package which brings the total US aid delivered to Ukraine to more than $50bn, including $6bn for security assistance such as training, equipment, weapons and support is the biggest emergency aid package so far for Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the aid package as “a significant US contribution to the restoration of peace and security in Ukraine, Europe and the world”.

Credit: Tinyefuza Naboth

Israel forces ‘assassinate’ Palestinian-American Journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.

The Israel forces manning the occupied West bank, have shot and killed a veteran Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.

Shireen, 51 met her death as she covered an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp, when the soldiers shot her in the face, depite having a press vest to identify her job.

Ali al-Samoudi, a Palestinian journalist was left injured in the incident, although his condition is reportedly not worrying.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel in a statement called Shireen’s killing an ‘assassination in cold blood’ and is appealing for international investigations to hold the Israeli forces culpable of the killing.

Meanwhile, the US envoy to Israel, Tom Nides is calling for a probe into Shireen’s killing, whom he says had a US citizenship, although she comes from Palestine.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron wins second term in Office.

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Emmanuel Macron has won five more years as the president of France after a convincing victory of 58.55% over rival Marine Le Pen’s 41.45%.

The centrist leader (Macron) who won by a greater margin than expected told jubilant supporters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower that now that the election was over, he would be a “president for all”.

Le Pen conceded defeat saying her vote share still marked a victory as she secured the far right’s highest share of the vote yet.

She told her supporters that the ideas her National Rally represented, had reached new heights.

In his victory speech on Sunday night Macron said it would be his responsibility and that of those around him.

“An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right,” said Macron.

Macron’s victory was welcomed by several European leaders with relief, as they feared a far-right candidate was offering a series of anti-EU policies.

“Together we will move France and Europe forward,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Credit: Tinyefuza Naboth

Mwai Kibaki: Kenya’s first opposition president dies aged 90

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Mwai Kibaki, who served as Kenya’s third president has died aged 90

Kibaki’s death was announced on Friday by his predecessor and current president; Uhuru Kenyatta.

“It is my sorrowful duty to announce to the nation the passing on of H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of the Republic of Kenya. Mwai Kibaki lived a dedicated life of public service. We salute a leader and notable father figure in the chronicles of our Nation who strove so hard and accomplished so much for his country. A nation he so deeply cherished and served with commitment and an unbending will to improve the lives of our people,” said Kenyatta.

“Mwai Kibaki will forever be remembered as a gentleman in Kenyan politics, a brilliant debater and one who steered development in the country. As we mourn this immeasurable loss, we recall with eternal gratitude President Kibaki’s patriotic journey in service to his Country, which can be traced way back to Kenya’s fight for liberation,” said Kenyatta.

Kenyatta ordered a mourning period to honour Kibaki, during which flags will be flown at half-mast.

Biography

Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki was born on 15th November, 1931 to Kibaki Gĩthĩnji and Teresia Wanjikũ, in Thunguri village, Othaya division of Kenya’s then Nyeri district, present day Nyeri County. 

The youngest son of Kikuyu peasants was baptised as Emilio Stanley by Italian missionaries in his youth, he however came to be better known as Mwai Kibaki throughout his public life.

Education

Kibaki attended Gatuyainĩ School for the first two years, where he completed the then Sub “A” and “B” (the equivalent of Kenya’s standard one and two).

He later joined Karima mission school for the three more classes of primary school

From 1944 and 1946, he moved to Mathari School (present day Nyeri High School) for Standard four to six.

From 1947 and 1950, he attended to Mang’u High School where he studied and passed his six subjects’ “O” level examination with Grade 1 Distinction.

Kibaki moved to Kampala, Uganda to study economics, History and Political Science, at Makerere Univeristy where he graduated best in his class in 1955 with a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Economics.

After his graduation, Kibaki took up an appointment as Assistant Sales Manager Shell Company of East Africa, Uganda Division. During the same year, he earned a scholarship entitling him to postgraduate studies in any British University where he enrolled at the prestigious London School of Economics for a BSc in public finance, and graduated with a distinction.

In 1958, he went back to Makerere University where he taught as an Assistant Lecturer in the economics department until 1961.

Political Career

In early 1960, Mwai Kibaki left academia for active politics by giving up his job at Makerere and returning to Kenya to become an executive officer of Kenya African National Union (KANU), at the request of Thomas Joseph Mboya the then secretary general of KANU).

Kibaki then helped to draft Kenya’s Independence Constitutution.

In 1963, when Kenya got its independence, Kibaki was elected Member of Parliament and he was consequently appointed the Permanent Secretary for the Treasury.

In 1963, Kibaki was appointed Assistant Minister of Finance and chairman of the Economic Planning Commission and in 1966; he was promoted to Minister of Commerce and Industry. 

In 1969, he became Minister of Finance and Economic Planning where he served until 1982.

From 1969–1981, Kibaki served as Minister of Finance under Kenyatta government where Kenya enjoyed a period of relative prosperity, fueled by a commodities boom, especially coffee, with remarkable fiscal discipline and sound monetary policies.

In 1979, Kibaki was elected as Member of Parliament via his rural home, Othaya. He has been re-elected Member of Parliament for Othaya in the subsequent elections of 1979, 1983, 1988, 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007.

In 1978, when Daniel Arap Moi succeeded Jomo Kenyatta as President of Kenya, Kibaki was elevated to Vice Presidency and kept the Finance portfolio until Moi changed his ministerial portfolio from Finance to Home Affairs in 1982.

From 1969–1981, Kibaki served as Minister of Finance under Kenyatta and Moi governments and from 1982–1988, he served as Minister for Home Affairs under the Moi government.

From 1978 to 1988, he served as the fourth Vice President of Kenya for ten years under President Daniel Arap Moi.

Kibaki fell out of favor with President Moi and in March 1988, he was dropped as vice president and moved to the Ministry of Health where he served from 1988–1991.

In the months before multi-party politics were introduced in 1992, he infamously declared that agitating for multi-party democracy and trying to dislodge KANU from power was like “trying to cut down a fig tree with a razor blade”

From 1992 to 2002, Kibaki served as an opposition Member of Parliament where from 1998 to 2002, he served as the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

In December 1991, Kibaki left KANU and founded the Democratic Party (DP). In the 1992 General Election he vied for the presidency and finished third. And in 1997, he competed again for the country’s top seat, finishing second.

In preparation for the 2002 elections, the DP joined several other parties to form the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK). NAK allied itself to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

On December 27, 2002, Narc won with 62% of the votes and Kibaki was successfully elected President of Kenya, where he served two terms ruling from 2002 to 2013.

His 2002 election ended 40 years of one-party rule since independence.

Russia tests nuclear-capable missile that Putin calls world’s best

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia has successfully tested the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, saying the weapon capable of carrying nuclear charges will make Kremlin’s enemies “think twice.”

The Sarmat dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts is among Russia’s next-generation missiles that Putin has called “invincible”, and which also include the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.

The Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal nuclear-capable hypersonic aero-ballistic air-to-surface missile.
The Russian Avangard hypersonic missile.

Last month, Russia revealed that it used Kinzhal for the first time in warfare to strike a target in Ukraine, where Russian troops have been engaged in a special military operation since February 24.

In televised remarks on Wednesday, Putin congratulated the army upon the successful launch of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile.

“This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats and make those who, in the heat of aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country, think twice,” said Putin.

Russia’s defence ministry also said in a statement that the test which took place at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia was successful.

According to the ministry, the missile delivered training warheads to the Kura test range of the Kamchatka peninsula, in Russia’s Far East.

From Tinyefuza Naboth

Diplomats decline Ukraine request to address Kenyan Parliament

By Racheal Nuwahereza

Officials in Nairobi, Kenya have declined a request from Ukraine to address Parliament for fear being dragged into a conflict with the potential to hurt its bilateral ties with both Kyiv and Moscow.

In February, Ukraine, which has been defending its territory against Russia’s invasion, made the request to address the Kenyan bicameral House when Moscow launched what it called a military operation in that country.

A well-placed source indicated the request was not honoured, with Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs remaining quiet despite repeated follow-ups and reminders.

Nairobi denies refusing an audience to the Ukrainian diplomat, saying all his requests had been addressed, except the speech to Parliament.

Earlier this week, Kenyan diplomats in Nairobi argued that they have been doing enough already through the UN Security Council.

On Tuesday, a senior ministry official told journalists that there was no need to allow the speech, adding that Kyiv should make use of the available diplomatic channels.

“Why would they want to address the Kenyan Parliament, for instance? Is there a precedent?” the official asked.

Kenya holds one of the 10 non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council and both Ukraine and Russia see it as critical in deciding issues related to the conflict at the horse-shoe-shaped table in New York.

On Friday, Nairobi abstained from a UN General Assembly vote that proposed suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

The vote eventually passed, but Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria were some of the African countries that abstained.

Kenya has been cautiously avoiding departing from the African Union’s position, which condemns the invasion but opposes the massive economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

While Nairobi has used its non-permanent seat on the Security Council to either condemn the invasion or abstain from decisions of both the General Assembly and the Council, it is yet to grant two wishes critical to Kyiv: a top-level meeting involving foreign ministers, and the speech to Parliament.

From Tinyefuza Naboth

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