Saturday, 30 January 2016

Happy hour and drinks are still flowing in the Gambia, the newest Islamic state

It may be the world’s newest Islamic state, but on the Gambia’s beaches it was business as usual. Dreadlocked, muscular young men offered their company to middle-aged female tourists, the sweet scent of marijuana hung on the ocean breeze, bars advertised happy hour cocktails, and bared breasts turned pink in near-equatorial sunshine.
Few of those escaping the cold and damp of a northern European winter appeared to be aware of President Yahya Jammeh’s surprise proclamation last month that the tiny African country he has ruled with an iron grip for more than 20 years would henceforth be known as the Islamic Republic of the Gambia.
“Really?” said Linda, 49, with a hoot of disbelieving laughter. Turning to her holiday companion outside Solomon’s beach cafe, she added: “It doesn’t seem at all Islamic, does it, Chrissie? Quick, we’d better get another beer in before they close all the bars.”
Such a step seems unlikely in a country that depends heavily on tourism. Since Jammeh’s announcement of the new name – in line with the Gambia’s “religious identity and values”, he said, and to symbolise a break with its “colonial legacy” – there have been few discernible changes in mainland Africa’s smallest country.
An order that all female government employees must cover their heads was rescinded 10 days later because it had made women “unhappy”, according to a government statement. Jammeh has assured the Gambia’s small Christian population, about 4% of the 1.8 million total, that there will be no restrictions on religions other than Islam. And although the president reportedly wanted to implement sharia law more than a decade ago, as yet there have been no concrete moves to do so.
But foreign diplomats have been instructed to refer to the Islamic Republic of the Gambia in all official communications, and the country’s only television channel – run by the state – routinely uses the new name in its broadcasts. The scholarly Supreme Islamic Council has been dispatched to tour the Gambia’s towns and villages to shore up support for the Islamic state.
Analysts, diplomats and exiled dissidents believe the name change signifies a realignment of the former British colony with the Arab world, in particular the wealthy Gulf states. Some say the move could jeopardise the resumption of European funding, halted in December 2014 amid criticism of human rights abuses. It could also damage the tourist industry and possibly encourage the radicalisation of youth in a country characterised by one observer as “soft Islam”.
Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup, almost 30 years after the country secured independence from Britain. Since then, he has won five-yearly presidential elections with increasing majorities that have been matched by sliding credibility. Any serious opposition is quickly stamped on; diplomats speak of polling irregularities and bought votes. With no limit on the number of terms he may serve, he is expected to win another resounding victory in the election scheduled for December. Some say the 50-year-old intends to stay on as president for another two decades.
President Yayah Jammeh during the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term, in 2012. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Jammeh is described as intelligent and charming, even charismatic, but unpredictable. Many pronouncements appear to be made on a whim. In 2007, he announced he had found a herbal cure for Aids; this month he pledged to “conquer cancer” by the end of the year. He also said he would ban FGM after the Guardian launched a global campaign. Analysts say that even those who follow him closely have real challenges in interpreting his actions.
His regime is essentially a one-man operation. “The people around him are either scared or just yes men – and yes women, there are a lot of women. But no one is giving him frank advice,” said a diplomat based in the region. “He burns bridges faster than he builds them,” said another long-time observer.
Jammeh’s closest ally and role model was Muammar Gaddafi, the former despotic leader of Libya who was overthrown and died in 2011, and with whom – it is rumoured – he shared a taste for young women. Over the past two decades, Jammeh has tightened his hold on power with the help of the feared National Intelligence Agency and an unofficial paramilitary force, known as the Jungulers, which routinely detains, tortures and disappears those perceived as a threat to the regime.
A Human Rights Watch report, State of Fear, published in September, detailed “rampant human rights abuses” and a “pervasive climate of fear” in the Gambia. Jammeh, it said, had created “one of the most repressive and authoritarian administrations on the continent”. It said the Jungulers “typically wear all-black clothing, cover their faces and are armed with machetes and firearms, including Kalashnikov assault rifles. They have been implicated in numerous incidents of torture and extrajudicial executions.”
Alongside the weakening of opposition political parties, there is little freedom of expression. In a population with a high proportion of illiteracy, many depend for information on the state-run television channel. Independent journalists are regularly detained, disappeared or forced to flee, and no international media organisations are based in the country.
Protesters outside the Gambian embassy in London
Protesters outside the Gambian embassy in London after Yahya Jammeh called homosexuality one of the three biggest threats to human existence. Photograph: Guy Corbishley/Flickr Vision
Civil society organisations and NGOs are tolerated only in areas such as education and health; human rights organisations are barred. “If you are affiliated with any human rights group, rest assured that your security and personal safety would not be guaranteed by my government. We are ready to kill saboteurs,” Jammeh said in 2009.
LGBT people have long been particular targets of Jammeh’s regime. Last May, the president said he would “slit the throats” of any gay men in the Gambia, adding: “No one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.” Previously he had described gays and lesbians as “vermin”, an “evil and strange social cancer”, and “anti-God, anti-human and anti-civilisation”. In October 2014, the government introduced a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” with a penalty of life imprisonment.
Last May, Jammeh rejected a series of recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council, including decriminalising homosexuality, removing restrictions on freedom of expression and abolishing the death penalty.
Not surprisingly, many Gambians have fled the country. According to Eurostat, the number seeking asylum in EU member states tripled between 2013 and 2014, to 11,500. Others leave to improve their economic opportunities and send money home to impoverished families.
Thirteen months ago, Jammeh cut ties with the EU after it had raised concerns over human rights abuses. In turn, the EU blocked $16m of development funding – a critical sum for the impoverished country, whose fragile economy relies on tourism, remittances and peanut exports. Income from tourism, which accounts for at least 20% of GDP, plummeted as a result of the recent Ebola crisis in west Africa, even though there was not a single case in the Gambia, and it has yet to recover.
The row with the EU, along with an earlier sudden decision to pull out of the Commonwealth on the grounds it was a “neocolonial institution”, is seen as a significant factor in the president’s declaration of an Islamic state.
“He’s done this now because he’s starved of funds,” said Sidi Sanneh, a former Gambian diplomat now living in exile in the US. As well as EU grants, generous funding from Libya has dried up since the revolution and Jammeh also cut ties with Taiwan in 2013 after it refused to provide additional cash bailouts. “Jammeh is looking to the Gulf states – Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait – for the funds he’s being denied by traditional donors, especially the EU,” said Sanneh.
According to Marloes Janson, of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, “Jammeh has lost western support, so he’s now turning to the Muslim world”.
But, she adds, the prevalence of sex tourism in the Gambia may also have fuelled the president’s Islamism. In a bid to counter “national decay”, government clean-up campaigns have targeted “bumsters” – the young men who sell sexual services to female tourists – rounding them up, shaving their heads and sending them for periods of forced labour. “[Jammeh] has not only used religion to shore up his legitimacy as a Muslim leader, but also to redefine the Gambian nation through his policing of morality,” said Janson.
The then Turkish president, Abdullah Gül, and President Jammeh shake hands in Ankara in 2014. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Some say the Gambian president is playing with fire. The country is peaceful in a region where Islamic extremism has taken hold in some places. There are mosques in every neighbourhood, but Gambians are observant rather than devout Muslims, and fundamentalism is rare. Although Jammeh banned gambling last year, alcohol is freely available.
But grinding poverty and lack of opportunity could combine with increasing repression and religiosity into a potent cocktail. “Jammeh is making a mistake. He’s making things worse by stirring up religious sentiment,” said Sanneh. “It’s an inopportune moment to insert the word ‘Islamic’ into the name of the country when you have Isis [Islamic State] running all over the region.”
Another Gambian dissident, Imam Baba Leigh, who fled to the US in 2013 after being imprisoned for five months, warned of radicalisation. “Isis, al-Qaida, Boko Haram – they are like wildfire. If they can penetrate the UK, the US, Nigeria, Libya, I see no reason why they can’t penetrate the Gambia too, especially when its leader calls a secular country an Islamic state.”
Jammeh, who has survived four coup attempts – the last a little more than a year ago – appears determined to entrench his power. “He’s very unpopular, but he rules by fear,” said Sanneh. A diplomat in the region said Jammeh “has his jackboot at the public’s throat”. Another observer described him as a “beast”, adding: “He wants to be king of Africa, but he’s just a normal dictator.”
On the beach, those working the sands were focused on scraping a meagre income from selling fruit juice, horse rides, hair braiding and themselves. “Hey nice lady, what’s your name, where are you from, you like to go dancing?” is the endless soundtrack to a stroll along the Atlantic shore. The tourist season, diminished though it is, has a few more months to run before the rains come and what are known as the “hungry months” begin. It doesn’t seem likely that Jammeh’s declaration of an Islamic state is going to solve many of the Gambia’s problems.


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Why do Kenyans want US help to solve a billion dollar mystery?

Photo of US General Attorney 

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has yet to respond to the Twitter campaign calling for her to get personally involved

Almost one billion dollars of public money has allegedly disappeared in a Kenyan corruption scandal. So why are thousands of Kenyans using social media to ask the US government's most senior lawyer to locate the supposedly missing money?
The story began with a landmark sale of government bonds, but has led to accusations of corruption over what happened to the proceeds which were supposed to have benefited ordinary Kenyans.
Now some exasperated Kenyans have reached out to the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch for help. A White House petition entitled "Have US AG Loretta Lynch help Kenyans recover their looted Eurobond proceeds" has picked up thousands of signatures. And a Twitter hashtag #KenyansToLorettaLynch has been used thousands of times.
Some seem to think President Obama's Kenyan ancestry is good enough reason to get Lynch - a direct appointee of the US president - involved in their campaign.

Pan America Health Organization(PAHO) on Zika Virus

PAHO Statement on Zika Virus Transmission and Prevention
24 January 2016
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the Americas. Since Brazil reported the first cases of local transmission of the virus in May 2015, it has spread to 21 countries and territories* of the Americas (as of 23 January 2016).
There are two main reasons for the virus's rapid spread: (1) the population of the Americas had not previously been exposed to Zika and therefore lacks immunity, and (2) Aedes mosquitoes—the main vector for Zika transmission—are present in all the region's countries except Canada and continental Chile.
PAHO anticipates that Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
The most effective forms of prevention are (1) reducing mosquito populations by eliminating their potential breeding sites, especially containers and other items (such as discarded tires) that can collect water in and around households; and (2) using personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites (see also recommendations below).
The role of Aedes mosquitoes in transmitting Zika is documented and well understood, while evidence about other transmission routes is limited. Zika has been isolated in human semen, and one case of possible person-to-person sexual transmission has been described. However, more evidence is needed to confirm whether sexual contact is a means of Zika transmission.
Zika can be transmitted through blood, but this is an infrequent mechanism. Standard precautions that are already in place for ensuring safe blood donations and transfusions should be followed.
Evidence on mother-to-child transmission of Zika during pregnancy or childbirth is also limited. Research is currently under way to generate more evidence regarding perinatal transmission and to better understand how the virus affects babies.
There is currently no evidence that Zika can be transmitted to babies through breast milk. Mothers in areas with Zika circulation should follow PAHO/WHO recommendations on breastfeeding (exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding with complementary foods up to 2 years or beyond).

Other PAHO recommendations:

To prevent or slow the spread of Zika virus and reduce its impact, PAHO recommends the following:
  • Mosquito populations should be reduced and controlled by eliminating breeding sites. Containers that can hold even small amounts of water where mosquitoes can breed, such as buckets, flower pots or tires, should be emptied, cleaned or covered to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them. This will also help to control dengue and chikungunya, which are also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Other measures include using larvicide to treat standing waters.
  • All people living in or visiting areas with Aedes mosquitoes should protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-colored) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets, especially during the day when Aedes mosquitoes are most active.
  • Pregnant women should be especially careful to avoid mosquito bites. Although Zika typically causes only mild symptoms, outbreaks in Brazil have coincided with a marked increase in microcephaly—or unusually small head size—in newborns. Women planning to travel to areas where Zika is circulating should consult a healthcare provider before traveling and upon return. Women who believe they have been exposed to Zika virus should consult with their healthcare provider for close monitoring of their pregnancy. Any decision to defer pregnancy is an individual one between a woman, her partner and her healthcare provider.
PAHO is working with its member countries to strengthen vector-control, communicate the risks of Zika and promote prevention, and establish or improve surveillance of both Zika virus infections and suspected complications, such as microcephaly, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and other autoimmune and neurological disorders.
* Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016 Legislators want Kenya Meat Commission urgently privatised

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Kenya Meat Commission plant in Athi River. National Assembly's Public Investments Committee has recommended the privatisation of Kenya Meat Commission. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Kenya Meat Commission plant in Athi River. National Assembly's Public Investments Committee has recommended the privatisation of Kenya Meat Commission. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP   

A parliamentary committee wants the Kenya Meat Commission speedily privatised as it can no longer support itself, with plans to revive it having not been successful.
The Public Investments Committee has, in the meantime, recommended that the management abandon plans to set up a new factory and, instead, modernise the current facility.
In a report tabled in the National Assembly, the committee portrayed KMC as being among State corporations that are in a precarious financial position and which are not giving Kenyans value for their money.
KMC was cited as an example of State corporations whose poor financial performance can be attributed to ineptitude on the part of the management and a bloated workforce.
“KMC, which is in a precarious financial situation, continues to rely on old machinery and a large workforce of 1,165, against a recommended workforce of 300,” the team says in a report tabled by its chairman, Mr Adan Keynan (above).
It based its recommendation on a partly completed study of KMC by the Kenya School of Government.
The recommendations by the committee were made after scrutiny of reports by Auditor-General on KMC’s financial statements from the 2007/2008 financial year to 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.
KMC Managing Commissioner James Tendwa told the House team that the plant was operating below capacity, which has brought about operational inefficiency.
Running inefficient old machines contributed to the high cost of operations and led to frequent breakdowns, high consumption of power and more manpower.
This has seen KMC relying on the Government to stay afloat, when it should be making its own money and contributing to the revenue collected nationally.
KMC initially wanted to modernise its machinery but an audit recommended building a new one and replacing all the machines. An incomplete technical study also informed that decision.
When a tender for the modernisation was floated, bidders were of the opinion that it would be better to build a new factory. They added additional details to the tender to include the construction of a new facility  and got six bids. Four of these asked for Sh1.1 billion for a new facility and two of Sh3.3 billion for modernisation. That is yet to be implemented.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Travel agents hoping to reap from direct flights between Kenya and America

American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Vice President Ms Susan Cheats (left) ASTA Kenya Secretary Ms Caroline Njoroge, President Mr Zane Kerby and Kenya President Samson Some during the company's cocktail party at KICC on January 19, 2016. ASTA destination Expo will bring together over 2000 agents/ tour operators from US who will be in the country to learn and explore destination Kenya. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
US Ambassador to Kenya says measures are being put in place to bring the flights to a reality.American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Vice President Ms Susan Cheats (left) ASTA Kenya Secretary Ms Caroline Njoroge, President Mr Zane Kerby and Kenya President Samson Some during the company's cocktail party at KICC on January 19, 2016. ASTA destination Expo will bring together over 2000 agents/ tour operators from US who will be in the country to learn and explore destination Kenya. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has expressed optimism that the planned directs flights from Kenya to America will finally take off from the ground.
Speaking after a six-day inspection tour of tourist attraction sights in Nairobi and Maasai Mara - from five star hotels, bush camps to Makuti lodges - ASTA President, Mr Zane Kerby, said he had held fruitful discussions with US Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Robert Godec, who informed him that necessary
measures were being put in place to bring the flights to a reality this year.
Mr Kerby, his secretary Susan Sheats together with ASTA Kenya secretary, Ms Caroline Njoroge, visited Maasai Mara where they enjoyed a two-day stay at the world renowned Sarova Mara Game Camp during which they toured the reserve to see wildlife.
The ASTA officials expressed optimism that Nairobi’s bid to host the ASTA 2017 global convention was being considered after it was shortlisted among other key tourist destinations.
Mr Kerby, who was accompanied by ASTA Kenya president, Mr Samson Some, and his officials said they had also visited Dubai, Mexico and Morocco to inspect facilities but expressed optimism that Kenya’s chances were high.
“Kenyans speak English and we also found that the six facilities we visited in Maasai Mara Game Reserve and in Nairobi conduct cashless transactions with ease with many international money cards accepted,” said Ms Sheats during an end of tour press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel last week.
Mr Some said ongoing campaigns to market Kenya on social media had helped increase tourists’ inflows to Kenya.
He said ASTA would help counter the negative criticism about Kenya using American media channels saying recent visits by top US officials among them President Barack Obama had helped create a media buzz that rekindled positive interest on Kenya.
ASTA brings together 1,800 travel agents firms with other 200 chapters from around the world who mainly target the American moneyed travellers.

Monday, January 25, 2016 Families fight to control Sh500 billion wealth

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The late Njenga Karume. A trend of fighting over inherited wealth in Kenya shows that family ties are not that rosy when rich family's patriarchs die. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The late Njenga Karume. A trend of fighting over inherited wealth in Kenya shows that family ties are not that rosy when rich family's patriarchs die. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


  • Mr Kung’u, a successful Nakuru-based businessman left behind a business empire estimated to be worth Sh50 billion.
  • A few months after his death, Kung’u’s widow, his three daughters and a son turned against each other.
  • One of the longest family dispute has been that of the late Mr Koinange’s beneficiaries which was determined by the High Court after 34 years but is now in the Court of Appeal.
  • At the centre of the Koinange family dispute is Sh17 billion worth of wealth spread across investments in several companies and real estate.
  • Still in Kiambu County, the family of former Cabinet minister Njenga Karume has turned his rags-to-riches story into a court battle over his wealth estimated to be over Sh200 billion. 

An estimated Sh500 billion is at the centre of succession disputes between relatives of prominent multi-millionaires who left a legacy of successful business empires.
From late politicians Njenga Karume and Mbiyu Koinange to businessman Stephen Kagiri Kung’u, former spymaster James Kanyotu, and former Attorney-General Matthew Guy Muli, the trend of fighting over a patriarch’s wealth in court shows that family ties are not that rosy when the head of the family dies and bequeaths vast estates to members of his immediate family.
What is mind boggling is the amount of money and value of properties involved in the disputes that at times drag on in court for years, allowing lawyers to benefit by representing relatives who fail to agree on how to share their wealth.
Mr Kung’u, a successful Nakuru-based businessman who established his empire in the 1980s and 90s died in April last year, leaving behind an estate estimated to be worth Sh50 billion, including the well-known Hotel Kungste not far away from the Nakuru State House and Pivot Hotel in Shabab area of Nakuru.
A few months after his death, Kung’u’s widow, his three daughters and a son turned against each other, with all claiming to have been given the right to administer the late businessman’s vast wealth, including his bank accounts and large tracts of prime land.
In Nairobi, Kung’u owned Luthuli House, Ambassador Courts, Grace House, three-storey blocks in Hurlingham, Ojijo Plaza, shares in Kuka Investment Limited, block of buildings in Ngara, Shalom Prayer Centre, Parklands Villa and the Monte Carlo hotel.
The battle for his wealth started even before he was buried when his daughters, Ms Naomi Wambui, Ms Rahab Wamucii and Ms Bilha Wanjiku from his second wife sued Ms Grace Nyambura Kung’u and her son, Mr Kansas Kagiri Kung’u for excluding them in the burial plans.
The widow and her son went to court soon after the burial and obtained the rights to administer the estate.
On realising what had happened, the daughters filed another suit in Nairobi seeking an order to bar the two from taking over as administrators. The dispute is still in court.
One of the longest family dispute has been that of the late Mr Koinange’s beneficiaries which was determined by the High Court after 34 years but is now in the Court of Appeal.
At the centre of the appeal is Sh17 billion worth of wealth spread across investments in several companies and real estate. Two women who were stripped of their claim of being Mr Koinange’s widows want distribution of the estate put on hold until their appeal against the High Court judgment is heard and determined.
Ms Margaret Njeri and Ms Eddah Wanjiru claimed that it will be unfair if the other beneficiaries go ahead to divide the wealth when the issue of Mr Koinange’s widows is yet to be conclusively determined.
Mr Justice William Musyoka had in September last year declared that the two were not legally recognised as Mr Koinange’s wives and, therefore, could not inherit his wealth.
The judge listed 32 properties, which included farms in different parts of the country, and shares in companies and directed the two brothers to take urgent steps to recover assets which changed hands in unclear circumstances. Mr Koinange had vast land in Kiambu.
Still in Kiambu County, the family of former Cabinet minister Njenga Karume has turned his rags-to-riches story into a court battle over his wealth estimated to be over Sh200 billion.
Mr Karume died in 2013, leaving behind mega investments in tourism, real estate, agriculture, transport, hospitality and several bank accounts with large sums of money.
The battle for Mr Karume’s wealth started as a normal, procedural inheritance case when the executors of his will filed an application for letters of grant to enable distribution of the properties.
However, three of Mr Karume’s children, Ms Lucy Wanjiru, Mr Albert Kigera and Mr Samuel Wanjema challenged their father’s last will, claiming it was drawn when he was not of sound mind.
The three also contested the manner in which the Njenga Karume Trust was being managed and sought removal of the trustees.
They accused the trustees of mismanaging the businesses, leading to massive losses.
Their applications triggered a barrage of counter-accusations from their siblings and stepmother, leading to a stalemate in distributing his estates. Again, the case is yet to be concluded.
The fact that the children of former Attorney-General Matthew Guy Muli are well-to do in society did not stop them from fighting over his multi-billion shillings estate.
Former transport Permanent Secretary Joseph Nduva Muli was at war with his mother, Mrs Evangeline Celeste Muli, and sisters Jane Nthane Muli and Lady Justice Agnes Murgor over allegations that he fraudulently obtained the shareholding of a company they inherited from their late father.
The sisters and their mother sought to stop Mr Muli from interfering with their late father’s company, Mukengesya Holdings Limited, or subdividing and disposing of pieces of land registered in the company’s name.
They also wanted to stop him from including his wife Elizabeth Wanjama, then vice-chairperson of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, from being included as a director in the company.
Former spy master James Kanyotu’s estates worth over Sh20 billion has also been a subject of protracted court battles pitying several women and their children claiming to be his beneficiaries.
Trouble over distribution of the late Kanyotu’s wealth started soon after his death in 2008, with some women claiming he had had children with them while others said they were his children born out of wedlock. All of them wanted to be considered as beneficiaries.
Mr Kanyotu had investments in land across the country, three companies, shares in Barclays Bank, the Sameer Group, Kenindia Assurance, Kentmere (1986) Ltd, Middle East Bank, Kenya Tea Development Agency KTDA), Kenya Melamine Manufacturers, Collindale Security and Collindale Limited.
The battle for his properties is pitying his three wives, Mary Wanjiku, Jane Gathoni and Margaret Nyakinya and their children. A fourth woman, Mercy Mumbi Mathenge, also claimed to have had a child with the spy master and is claiming a piece of the pie.

Saturday, January 23, 2016 Varsity faults council’s power on accreditation


Moi University School of Law Alumni national chairman Lawrence Karanja (centre) with other members address journalists in Nakuru on October 1, 2015 reacting to orders by Council of Legal Education to close the school. The university's alumni want the council reconstituted. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP
 Moi University School of Law Alumni national chairman Lawrence Karanja (centre) with other members address journalists in Nakuru on October 1, 2015 reacting to orders by Council of Legal Education to close the school. The university's alumni want the council reconstituted. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The Council of Legal Education (CLE) has no powers to conduct inspections in Universities, Moi University has claimed.
In a dispute between the Council and the Eldoret based institution of higher learning over accreditation, Moi University said that it is the Commission of University Education (CUE) to accredit universities.
“CLE has no authority to inspect or accredit universities and that it’s only mandate is to set and enforce standards relating to the accreditation of legal education providers for purposes of licensing as set out in a section of the Act,” the university said.
Moi University last year moved to court following a decision by the council to deny its School of Law further provisional accreditation as a provider of legal education.
But High Court judge George Odunga allowed its School of Law to remain operational pending further directions of the Court as well as the determination of the case filed by Moi which is set for February 24.
Supporting Moi Universty’s argument, CUE has faulted the composition of CLE as being improper and not according to the University Act.
The Commission claims that any decision taken by the Council is therefore incompetent and cannot stand.
The Legal Education Act was enacted in September, 2012 while the Universities Act in December, 2012.
The Universities Act regulates all issues extending to university education while CUE is limited to regulate all varsities education and administration.
According to Moi University’s legal officer Wilkister Simiyu, the directive had been issued after an August 28, 2015 onsite inspection by CLE’s Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee for the law degree programme after which a report was attached to the September 23 letter that communicated the decision.
Moi University claimed that accreditation parameters purportedly used to evaluate their curriculum was unconstitutional.
An inspection was done on in November 2, 2012, and Moi was given a two year provisional accreditation and was to address infrastructure and resources as per the student ratio.
A re-verification visit was made on September 20, 2013 and another two years were granted.
Moi University insists that it is still in the process of implementing recommendations of the last inspection and has faulted the council of failing to consider the ongoing construction of the library complex which was initially set for completion in May.
Even though the court granted them partial reprieve last year, the directive to suspend the law programme was not stopped and awaits the determination of the case.
The Alumni of the University claims that suspending the course would negatively impact those lawyers who are already practicing.
The Alumni have also written to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, to demand the reconstitution of the council’S board.
They want Dr Matiang’i to advise the President to appoint a chairman of the council, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to be ordered to nominate two members instead of the current three.
They also want public and private universities to nominate one member each and the council directed to put on hold its operations until it is properly constituted.
Previously, the chairman was appointed by the Attorney-General.
According to the amended law, the board is supposed to have 10 members chaired by an individual with at least 15 years-experience in legal education and training, appointed by the President.
Other members include the principal secretary responsible for legal education, the PS for Finance, the AG, the Chief Justice, two advocates nominated by the LSK, an individual who teaches law nominated by public universities, an individual who teaches law nominated by private universities, and the secretary to the council.
Lawyer Macharia Karanja of Mirugi Kariuki and Company Advocates for the alumni said the Council of Legal Education as currently constituted offends the law.
“Upon proper constitution of the council, direct the council to competitively recruit its chief executive officer,” he said.