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Zero! Zero! MPs shout in opposition to amended Bill staging 8% fuel tax

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Zero! Zero! Zero!

This was the chant in Parliament as lawmakers on Thursday shouted to shoot down proposals to reduce VAT on fuel to eight percent.

The proposal was presented to the House by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the wake of protests against the 16 per cent tax charge on fuel.

The MPs began shouting after Minority leader John Mbadi said he supported the proposal by the president in his reservations to the Finance Bill, 2018.

When you go down, you will find that excise tax has been removed…you now see why these MPs come here and they don’t know what they pass,” he said.

But as he continued talking, the House erupted in screams of Zero! Zero!, temporarily disrupting the day’s business. 

Assembly orderlies closed the door to prevent members from causing a quorum hitch.

The sitting was presided over by Narok woman representative Soipan Tuya.

Mbadi said “..they are shouting zero instead of debating.” His voice was drowned in the shouts of MPs opposed to the changes.

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Ruaraka MP Tj Kajwang intercepted and temporarily managed to call the crowd to order by saying he is opposing the Bill as well.

“I rise to oppose this just before we vote… I want all members to know what they are voting for… the value added tax on section five it says that if we give 8 per cent in the next one week, the CS will increase it by 25 per cent,” he said.

The plenary chair ruled that the members take part in a vote by secret ballot.

When a commodity is zero-rated, manufacturers are allowed to claim credits for the value-added tax (VAT) paid on inputs.

Also read: MPs set stage for Sh37 billion budget cut

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Virus fears: Mozambique frees 5,000 inmates

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ARNALDO VIEIRA

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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MAPUTO. Authorities in Mozambique have freed more than 5,000 inmates as coronavirus fears grow in the Southern Africa country.

Parliament on Monday passed an amnesty law on sentences affecting 5,032 local and foreign nationals to reduce congestion and curb the spread of Covid-19.

The law will benefit inmates who had sentences of up to one year.

So far, Mozambique has confirmed 10 coronavirus cases. None of those were reported in its congested prisons though, but officials said they were taking precautions.

“Mozambique jails, which have five times more than its real 4,498 capacity, are overcrowded and this would be risky for the pandemic spread,” Minister for Justice, Religious and Constitutional Matters Helena Kida said.

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Last week, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi declared a countrywide state of emergency effective April 1 to 30 in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Nyusi justified the measures citing the need to protect all people’s lives.

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The southern African country also suspended the issuance of visas with effect from March 23 and shut all education institutions as preventive measure.

In March 22, Mozambique confirmed its first positive case of Covid-19.

Gatherings of more than 50 people are also prohibited according to the presidential decree.

Following an attack at Mocimboa da Praia Quissanga villages, Cabo Delgado, tens of displaced families are fleeing to the provincial capital Pemba seeking security.

Cabo Delgado, which is about 1,663 kilometres north of Maputo, boasts minerals such as gold, grenadines, aquamarines, tourmalines, blue topaz and green tourmalines and attracts many foreigners.

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Nyeri traders pave way for railway station : The Standard

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Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Infrastructure CEC Muthui Kariuki at the Chaka Market where traders have relocated their stalls to pave way for the construction of a railway station along the Nyeri-Nanyuki railway line. [Lydiah Nyawira, Standard]

At least 600 traders at the Chaka open air market in Nyeri County have been temporarily relocated.

The move is aimed at paving way for the revival of the railway station along the 174-kilometre Nairobi Nanyuki railway line.
Kenya Railways has been rehabilitating the railway line, which will cut across six counties, at a cost of Sh3 billion.
During a visit to the market, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the traders had been relocated as they await completion of the new spacious Chaka market.
SEE ALSO: Nyeri Deputy Speaker charged with assault, malicious damage“We are facilitating the temporary relocation of the traders not just for the construction of the railway station, but also to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 through social distancing,” he said.
He noted the new market, which is being constructed by the national government, is expected to be completed by June this year.
New market
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
“The traders will move permanently into the new market once the first phase is complete,” Mr Kahiga told the traders.
Kahiga welcomed the rehabilitation of the railway line, noting the move would create jobs for the local traders and ease transportation of goods across counties.
SEE ALSO: Police arrest five suspects, recover stolen items worth Sh1.5 millionLast month, President Uhuru Kenyatta conducted an impromptu inspection of the ongoing railway rehabilitation works accompanied by Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe and area MP Kanini Kega.
During his visit to Chaka, the president said the railway would make it possible for the traders to transport goods across the region.
“This railway will facilitate your travel and transport your goods to any place across the country,” President Kenyatta stated.
He noted the market would provide a conducive working environment for the traders and would be expanded during the second phase of construction.

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Nyeri countyRailway StationChaka open air market

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Mass testing for medics starts : The Standard

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Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and other Health ministry officials yesterday. He said 14 more people had tested positive for Covid-19. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]
All healthcare workers will be tested for Covid-19 as the government yesterday announced that 14 more people had tested positive.

The government has also ordered closure of all golf clubs and directed open sporting arenas to adhere to social distancing rule.
The closure announced by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe is the latest  move by the government to restrict person-to-person interaction, a day after movements into or out of Nairobi, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa counties were banned.
“We will not hesitate to take even bolder measures,” he told Kenyans yesterday. “Let us brace ourselves for bad news, because not all measures we have taken will stop this disease.”
SEE ALSO: Coronavirus watch: Government bans conferences with over 15 people Seven of the new cases are in Nairobi, Mombasa has two, Machakos one, Kisii one, Kiambu one, and Mandera two. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 172.
Recently travelled
He said one of the two Mandera cases was of someone who had recently travelled from Mombasa.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
Earlier, Mandera Governor Ali Roba had said the two had travelled by bus on March 31 from Nairobi, arriving in Mandera the next day.
He said a private health facility called the county’s hotline on April 5 to report that they had received two people with flu like symptoms and fever.
SEE ALSO: Punish those illegally exporting blood to SomaliaHe said the county’s Covid-19 response team picked up the two and isolated them at Mandera County Referral Hospital.
“The families and contacts of the two clinicians who attended to them were all put under mandatory quarantine,” Roba said.
Yesterday, Kagwe announced that the government plans to embark on mass testing, with priority given to health workers manning isolation and quarantine centres across the country.
The tests will also target emergency response teams and subordinate staff in all hospitals.
“We have to ensure that there is no medical worker who is infected and ends up passing the virus to patients,” said Kagwe.
SEE ALSO: Kenya confirms first case of coronavirusKagwe said the country had acquired new reagents that would give results faster during the mass testing.
Globally, health workers have been at the highest risk of getting infected with the virus. For example, Italy has lost 73 doctors and 24 nurses to the virus while China, at the peak of infection, reported about 3,300 infections among health workers.
Kenya has, so far, one documented case of a health worker testing positive for the virus after attending to a Covid-19 patient. The patient’s status was  only confirmed later, after the hospital visit.
Kagwe assured health workers that since the Personal Protective Equipment kits were now being manufactured locally, there would be no shortage. He said at least 200,000 kits would be ready by the end of next week.
It is almost a month since the first case was reported in the country, and so far the government has tested 4,973 samples.
SEE ALSO: Coronavirus in Kenya: Traders asked not to hike pricesFour of the 14 new cases have a history of travel, having been in the US, Tanzania, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Of the 14, 12 are Kenyans and two are foreigners.
Four of the 14 cases are individuals currently under mandatory quarantine after jetting back into the country days before suspension of international flights.
The other 10 were picked by surveillance team who traced them from contacts of previous positive cases.
Meanwhile, Health Acting Director General Patrick Amoth said all the patients are faring on well, except one patient who was on a ventilator due to difficulty in breathing, a severe symptom of the disease.
“We are in touch with the doctors and we hope in one or two days, the patient will be out of the ventilator,” said Dr Amoth.

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Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.

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Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwemandatory quarantineCoronavirus

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