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Malawi anti-bribery protest draws thousands » Capital News

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Demonstrations have been held since the May vote in Malawi returned President Peter Mutharika to power/AFP

, LILONGWE, Malawi, Jan 16 – Tens of thousands of Malawians took part in protests on Thursday at alleged attempts to bribe judges overseeing a legal challenge to the re-election last year of President Peter Mutharika.

People took to the streets after the country’s chief justice charged that the five judges presiding over the case had been offered kickbacks.

The complaint, which was filed to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Monday, prompted a call for demonstrations in Malawi’s three main cities.

Around 50,000 people gathered in the capital Lilongwe, with smaller rallies in Blantyre and Mzuzu.

They braved the rain and stood vigil outside parliament. Many wore white T-shirts printed with “ACB name and arrest the bribers now”.

Opposition leaders say the May 21 poll, which saw Mutharika narrowly beat runner-up candidate Lazarus Chakwera, was marred by fraud.

In August, they petitioned Malawi’s top court to annul the results – the first time presidential election results have been legally challenged since the country gained independence from Britain in 1964.

Gift Trapence, head of a watchdog group called the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), said his organisation was pressuring ACB head Reyneck Matemba to seek “justice”.

“We met Mr Matemba yesterday and we told him that the taxpayers want the culprits exposed and arrested,” Trapence told the rally in Lilongwe.

“We told him that if they sue the ACB, we, the taxpayers, will pay.”

The HRDC, who organised the protests, has called on the ACB to release the names of the suspects and arrest them.

“The ACB will act in a few days,” Matemba told reporters on Thursday, promising Malawians would not be “let down”.

He said the body was investigating individuals named by the chief justice rather than political parties.

“This is our chance as the ACB to demonstrate to the people of Malawi that we can do better,” Matemba added.

A court ruling on the election challenge is expected by the end of January.

The ACB, who has so far refused to release any of the suspects’ names, is meant to complete its probe before then.

Sporadic demonstrations have broken out across Malawi since the election, with protesters demanding the ouster of the electoral commission’s head over her handling of the vote.

Many rallies have been met with violence by security forces.

But Thursday’s demonstrations unfolded peacefully and no incidents were reported at any of the venues, according to police spokesman James Kadadzera.

President Mutharika has brushed off all doubts on the official results, which show he won just 159,000 votes more than Chakwera, a margin of around three percentage points.


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Rwanda sets aside $10m for CHOGM sprucing of Kigali

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MOSES K. GAHIGI

By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Rwanda is pulling all stops in its preparations to host the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) slated for June 22 to 27. The biennial summit was last held in East Africa in 2007 in Kampala.

The government has set aside up to Rwf10billion ($10.5 million) to improve and build infrastructure needed for the event.

“We have various committees working on the different aspects of CHOGM preparations, from infrastructure, hotels, to protocol, we are moving well and we have put up various mechanisms to ensure that we are ready by that time,” said Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign affairs Vincent Biruta.

Kigali will be the biggest beneficiary as authorities construct inter-city and connecting road network roads that will see the free flow of traffic.

There is new Mulindi Road, Kabeza-Alpha Palace Road, Rwandex Network Road, Nyabisindu-Nyarutarama Road and Migina Network Road connecting Gasabo district headquarters to Sports View Hotel.

All the roads under construction are situated in areas surrounding the airport, and are aimed at decongesting the main Kigali International Airport Road, which will be mostly used during the event.

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“We have different on-going construction projects around the city, many of which are infrastructure, we are also working on recreational sites and green parks such that guests have a great experience. Preparations are at 55 per cent,’’ said Ernest Nsabimana, City of Kigali vice mayor.

Up to 10,000 delegates from all the 53 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend the event. It is expected that the event will stretch the limit of city’s roads, conference venues as well as accommodation.

The Rwanda Convention Bureau did not respond to our questions on the progress on ensuring that the country has adequate accommodation for the CHOGM delegates at the time of going to press.

But it is expected that the existing high-end conference facilities like the Kigali Convention, the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, Intare Arena will all be put to good use.

The airport is key in the CHOGM preparation process, and currently the construction and modifications are ongoing to increase the number of parking space for aircraft and passengers lounge at the terminal.

“The event is expected to raise Rwanda’s profile as a tourism and MICE destination, and the country already has up to 25 events lined up for 2020.

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IPOA launches investigations into Majengo, Mwiki killings by police

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The running battles between police and irate demonstrators in Kasarani and Mwiki areas this week resulted in the death of one person who is alleged to have been shot dead by anti-riot police officers.

Following public outcry, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority has launched investigations into the incident.

In a statement, the authority says it has deployed a Rapid Response team to institute investigation into the incident and another separate one where police are said to have shot dead a young man on 16th January in Nairobi’s Majengo estate. 

IPOA says it seeks to establish circumstances that led to the shootings and if the security officers were justified to use excessive force.

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It is after the intense investigations that the authority will forward its recommendations to relevant institutions for further action. 

The policing oversight body assured the public of its commitment to ensure independent, impartial and fair investigations.  

 

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Give report to all Kenyans, team urged : The Standard

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DPPS 18th Jan 2020 11:00:00 GMT +0300
DP WIlliam Ruto with Taita Taveta Woman Rep Lydia Haika (centre), Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and former governor John Mruttu. [DPPS]
Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce to move swiftly and share its countrywide programme with Kenyans.

He said this would enable Kenyans prepare to share their input with the taskforce thereby making the final report inclusive.
“The programme would guide and prepare us because we would want to see the opinion of all Kenyans to count in this process,” he said.
Ruto spoke yesterday in Taita Taveta County, during a leaders’ consultative meeting attended by among others Taveta MP Naomi Shabaan, Taita Taveta Woman Representative Lydiah Haika, former area governor and Woman Rep John Mruttu and Joyce Lay, and several MCAs.
SEE ALSO :DP Ruto: My road to presidency is clearInformed decisions
The Deputy President further called on the taskforce to avail sufficient copies of the BBI report to Kenyans.
“By reading the report, Kenyans would be able to make informed decisions,” he added.
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He said Kenyans should turn up in large numbers and support the process that may define the country’s future. “Let us cooperate and make it a success so that by June, we have the second draft,” he said.

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William RutoBuilding Bridges InitiativeBBI

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