Foreigners Arrested With Ivory Bracelets At Kenyan Airport

 

A Spanish woman has become the second foreigner in a week to be arrested at Kenya’s international airport for wearing an ivory bangle, the wildlife service said Monday.

Spaniard Maria Pich-Aguilera, 50, was arrested on Sunday evening and pleaded guilty, paying a fine of one million shillings ($9,800) for illegal possession of ivory.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said in a statement she was “arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with an ivory bangle,” while travelling from Nairobi to Tanzania’s financial capital Dar es Salaam. She was allowed to leave for Tanzania after paying her fine.

Last week a Frenchwoman was arrested at the airport on her way from France to Mayotte for possession of an ivory bracelet. She pleaded guilty and also paid the one million shilling fine — the alternative is 12 months in prison.

“We noticed this new trend where ivory is smuggled through worked or processed bangles and we have increased surveillance,” said an investigator speaking on condition of anonymity.

A KWS official, also asking not to be named, said that trafficking included “ornamentals made out of ivory”.

“It may be legal in other countries but here it is not. That is why you always hear a call to stop ivory trade all over the world because any small or big demand anywhere pushes poachers to meet the demands.”

Global trade in elephant ivory has largely been outlawed since 1989 after the animal’s numbers plunged from millions in the mid-20th century.

The African Elephant Database estimates that by 2015, fewer than 415,000 of the giant mammals remained on the continent.

Thousands of conservationists and policymakers from more than 180 countries are currently meeting in Geneva to tighten rules on trade in elephant ivory and products from other endangered animal and plants.

The plight of African elephants is expected to dominate debate.

Some states are calling for the strongest possible level of protections for all African elephants, while countries in southern Africa, where populations have traditionally been better protected and healthier, are requesting the resumption of ivory stockpile sales.

Former Kenyan Olympic Chief Charles Mukora Dies

File photo of Charles Mukora

 

Former Kenyan Olympic chief and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Charles Mukora, who was forced to resign from the IOC after the Salt Lake Winter Olympic bribery scandal has died aged 83, the Kenyan Olympic Committee (NOCK) said on Friday.

Mukora, who also served as head coach of the Kenyan team at the 1968 Olympic summer games in Mexico, was one of the six members forced to resign or expelled from the IOC in 1999 following the bribes-for-votes affair.

Salt Lake records showed that Mukora received direct payments of $34,650 but he strongly denied the accusations levelled against him.

“It is my considered opinion that I am an innocent victim of circumstances,” he said at the time.

A former athlete and footballer Mukora also worked in national politics and was elected member of parliament representing Laikipia East in 1992 in the first Kenyan multi-party elections since independence.

As the head coach in Mexico in 1968, he oversaw Kenya’s first-ever gold medals when Naftali Temu and Kipchoge Keino won the 10,000 and 1,500 metres respectively.

Kenyan sports officials paid tribute to Mukora who died after a long illness on Thursday.

“Charles Mukora was one the founding pillars of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, and his tenure saw Kenya firmly established in the global Olympic movement,” said current NOCK chairperson Paul Tergat.

Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei highlighted the many different facets of Mukora’s contribution.

“This is one individual who served Kenya in different capacities internationally and in a very diligent manner. Kenya has lost a dedicated sports leader and servant,” he said.

AFP

Kenyan Priest Killed In Cameroon’s Anglophone Region

File Photo

A Kenyan priest was killed in francophone Cameroon’s volatile English-speaking Southwest region where violence has surged after separatists declared an independent state, church sources told AFP on Thursday. 

“A Kenyan priest was shot dead in Kembong yesterday,” one source said.

“There was no fighting, he was in the… church in Kembong when he was killed,” another official said in Buea, capital of the Southwest.

The church suggested the priest may have been killed by the military.

“There are no ‘Amba Boys’ in Kembong at this moment but the Cameroonian army is there,” one source said, referring to armed separatists fighting for an independent state called Ambazonia.

AFP could not independently verify the claim.

The priest was working with people displaced by the conflict.

An American Catholic missionary was killed at the beginning of November in the Northeast region. The government blamed separatists but Washington said he died in cross-fire.

The UN recently warned of worsening violence in Cameroon. The conflict has displaced more than 437,000 people, according to UN data released in October.

AFP

Zambia Refuses Entry To Kenyan Law Professor For ‘Security’ Reasons

A Kenyan law professor and former director of his country’s anti-corruption commission was on Saturday refused entry to Zambia due to “security considerations”, authorities said.

Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, director of the Kenya School of Laws, had been due to deliver a talk on Chinese influence in Africa on Sunday.

On arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International airport in Lusaka, however, he was refused entry before being deported back to Kenya.

“(The) government through (the) immigration department has denied entry into Zambia of Prof Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan national, due to security considerations,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya said in a tweet.

Lumumba’s planned talk entitled “Africa in the age of China influence and global geo dynamics” followed growing anger at Beijing’s grip on the economy of the southern African nation.

China is the main investor in Zambia as it is in several other African countries and with its offers of “unconditional” aid, most public tenders are awarded to Chinese bidders.

In Lusaka and across the country, China is busy constructing airports, roads, factories and police stations with the building boom largely funded by Chinese loans.

Zambian public debt is officially around $10.6 billion but suspicions have grown in recent months that the government is hiding its indebtedness — as happened in neighbouring Mozambique, which in 2016 was forced to admit it had kept secret $2 billion of borrowing.

Fearing that Zambia might be in a similar position, the International Monetary Fund at one point delayed talks over a $1.3 billion loan deal.

Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has insisted that in the first half of 2018 $342 million was paid in interest to creditors, of which 53 percent were commercial sector — and only 30 percent of which were Chinese.

But the country’s main opposition party has put China’s debt dominance at the forefront of its campaign to unseat the government.

AFP

Kerry Urges Kenyans To “Provide Atmosphere For Peaceful Election”

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, heading the U.S. election observation mission, urged Kenyans on Monday to ensure free and fair vote amid fears that it could descend into violence.

Kerry heads a 67-strong U.S. observer mission and, along with former Prime Minister of Senegal Aminata Toure co-leads the Carter Centre, a non-profit organisation working to advance democracy and human rights which has deployed 80 observers.

Opposition leader, Raila Odinga, 72, who lost elections in 2007 and 2013, has already said President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, can only win if his ruling Jubilee party rigs the vote, a stance that increases the chances of a disputed result and unrest.

Opinion polls before Tuesday’s presidential election put the pair neck-and-neck.

Kenyans will also be voting for members of parliament and local representatives.

In 2007, Odinga’s call for street protests after problems with the vote count triggered a widespread campaign of ethnic violence in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.

Kenyan Govt. Promises To Hunt Down Islamist Attackers

Kenya will use “deadly force” against suspected Islamist militants, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday as he campaigned for re-election in Lamu, one of the regions that has borne the brunt of militant violence.

In the latest attack, suspected members of Somalia’s al Shabaab took a senior government official and five other people hostage in Lamu last Thursday. Two people died in a rescue operation by Kenyan forces.

“We shall bury them. Fire must be met with fire,” Kenyatta said at a campaign rally, according to his press service.

“Our citizens are losing their lives. Our security forces are losing their lives. My principal secretary was wounded here a few days ago … I have no apologies to make in taking the tough measures we are taking,” he said.

Kenyatta is facing a stiff challenge from opposition leader Raila Odinga. High food prices worries most voters more than militant attacks, but security could be the issue for voters in the remote regions bordering Somalia.

Last week, the Kenya military said it had conducted air strikes on Lamu’s Boni forest after the string of attacks blamed on the militants in the area.

Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government and establish its own rule, based on the group’s strict interpretation of sharia law. Its members frequently launch attacks in Kenya, which they say are intended to force the country to withdraw its troops from Somalia.

Kenyan man wins $2m football jackpot

A 28-year-old Kenyan man has won a two million dollar jackpot after correctly predicting the outcome of 17 football matches.

Samuel Abisai won the windfall after placing a bet of less than two dollars on two separate picks at SportPesa.

According to SportPesa, the payout is one of the biggest ever in Kenya’s betting history. Abisai, who works for a Chinese firm 45 kilometres from the capital Nairobi, said he wants to go on holiday before he decides how to spend his windfall.

The betting industry is rapidly growing in Africa. According to surveys, Kenyans are the biggest gamblers on the continent.

The Kenyan government recently placed a 50 percent tax on bookmakers, lottery companies and sports betting sites in the largely unregulated industry.

Reuters

Chidinma Scores Her First International Music Collaboration

chidimaNigerian R&B singer, Chidinma, has scored her first international music collaboration as she records a track with Kenyan based band, Sauti Sol.

The kedike singer teamed up with the Kenyan quartet on a yet to be released track as revealed on social media platform, Instagram, by the Kenyan artistes.

Chidinma is also a recording artist, stage performer, and brand ambassador for a telecom brand operating in Nigeria.

She became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart, after releasing the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single.

Attacks on Kenyan churches kill 17

Masked attackers killed at least 17 people on Sunday in gun and grenade attacks on churches in a Kenyan town used as a base for operations against al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Somalia.

Policeman walks from the scene of an explosion after a grenade attack at a church in Nairobi

At least 45 people were wounded in the simultaneous attacks on Garissa, in the north of the East African country which has suffered a series of blasts since sending troops into Somalia last October to crush Somalia’s al Shabaab militants.

“We have 17 bodies at the mortuary so far,” regional medical officer Abdikadir Sheikh told Reuters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police said they suspected the attacks could have been the work of al Shabaab sympathisers or bandits, but it was too early to say. Inside Somalia, al Shabaab declined comment.

“The goons were clad in balaclavas,” regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo told Reuters from Garissa.

He said a total of seven attackers hurled grenades inside the Catholic Church and the African Inland Church and then opened fire with guns. They struck the churches, which are 3 km (two miles) apart, at around 10.15 a.m. (0715 GMT)

Two policemen were among the dead.

They were the latest attacks on Christian worshippers in Kenya after two people were killed in grenade blasts in March and April.

But Sunday’s coordinated attacks on churches resembled the tactics of Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed hundreds of people on the other side of the continent.

Other blasts in Kenya have hit nightclubs and bus stations in the capital Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and areas near the Somalia border.

Although a majority of Kenyans are Christian, Garissa is more heavily Muslim.

The town of around 150,000, a market centre for the trade in camels, donkeys, goats and cattle, is largely populated by ethnic Somalis.

“You can imagine for such a small town how the police and medical services have been stretched trying to deal with this,” the police’s Ndolo said.

Garissa is about 100 km (60 miles) from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, where gunmen kidnapped four aid workers and killed a driver on Friday before fleeing towards the border with Somalia.

Last Sunday, three people were killed in a grenade attack at a night club in the port city of Mombasa, a day after the U.S. embassy in Kenya warned of an imminent attack on the city.

REUTERS

Big Brother: Goldie sings for boyfriend Prezzo

Still on the Big Brother Stargame, Goldie and Prezzo’s relationship seems to be growing stronger, following the romantic session that occurred between the two a few hours ago.  The incident occurred after the housemates’ workout sessions in the early hours of today.

Goldie was doing what she knew how to do best in the kitchen, when her Kenyan man Prezzo stepped in to help with the dishes. Within the twinkle of an eye, they both starred at each other and began singing Mariah Carey’s “Always be my baby”.

The songstress soon changed her rhythm to “I don’t wanna leave, I wanna spend a lifetime in your arms,” while her boo hummed along and sang back up.

For the rest of the morning the love birds sang different love songs and pop hits to each other as they continued sharing the kitchen duties.