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Kenyan MP admits taking $1,000 parliamentary bribe

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Kenya MP Moses Kuria has told the BBC he received a $1,000 (£700) bribe in parliament last year to back the appointment of the majority leader.

“It is not unusual for members to get this kind of an inducement,” he said, adding he would return the payment.

Mr Kuria made the remarks as he and two other colleagues are to be censured for alleging pay-outs were made to back a recent constitutional amendment bill.

Majority leader Amos Kimunya has denied that bribes are paid in parliament.

The BBC has asked Mr Kimunya to respond to Mr Kuria’s specific allegation but has not yet had a response.

Kenyan MPs are some of the best-paid lawmakers in the world – and officials estimate the East African nation loses billions of dollars every year to corruption.

What did Mr Kuria say?

Mr Kuria said he had witnessed corruption many times in parliament.

“And it has happened countless times for the eight years that I’ve been in parliament,” he told BBC’s Newsday programme.

“Obviously these things don’t happen on camera.”

He gave the appointment of Mr Kimunya as an example. He replaced Aden Duale as majority leader in the national assembly last June.

The MP for the Gatundu South constituency admitted that the corrupt practices were wrong.

“It is wrong. And I think yes… given an opportunity I would refund at least the one I can most vividly recall,” he said.

“I’ll probably do [it] today… refund the $1,000 that I did receive to vote in Amos Kimunya as the leader of the majority.”

What’s the current row about?

Mr Kuria gave the BBC an interview as he has been summoned to appear before the House speaker for alleging some politicians received about $1,000 to vote for the constitutional amendment bill known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The aim of the bill – backed by the president and leader of the opposition Raila Odinga – is to address the main challenges the country has faced since independence such as ethnic antagonism, corruption and devolution.

But critics say it will only increase waste as it will increase the number of parliamentary seats and bring back the post of prime minister and several deputies.

Mr Kuria is a supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, who does not back the BBI bill, and is a bitter rival of Mr Odinga, with the two men manoeuvring to succeed Mr Kenyatta as president in elections due next year.

Despite some initial opposition, the BBI bill has been passed by county assemblies and recently by parliament.

Mr Kuria told the BBC other inducements had been used to persuade politicians – like the demand by county assembly members that they would only back the BBI bill for car grants, roughly worth $20,000 each.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) approved the grants in February.

However, Kenya’s High Court on Thursday ruled that the bill was unconstitutional, scuppering plans for it to be put to a referendum later this year.

Source: BBC

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WATCH: Frail Gbagbo attends church in first public appearance since his return

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Laurent Gbagbo attended church on Sunday June 20

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo attended mass in Abidjan on Sunday, one of his first public appearances since returning home after nearly a decade in exile.

To the surprise of churchgoers, Gbagbo showed up at St. Paul Cathedral, where he was greeted by Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa.

The former leader appeared weak as he made his way to the altar before exchanging greetings with the presiding priest and subsequently taking a front row seat.

He wore an African print and was wearing his face mask throughout the service.

“The ceremony has been wonderful, his (Gbagbo) visit to the cathedral was a surprise for us, we did not know about his visit. So, we are happy. It’s happiness for Africa and for Ivory Coast.

“(I hope) that peace comes back in Ivory Coast and that God puts his hands on Ivory Coast, that he blesses the families of Ivory Coast” said priest Henri Akredizon.

“We have finished our conference, and we have come this morning for the closure of the conference, and it was a coincidence that we have found former president Laurent Gbagbo in church. I think it’s a matter of peace, we work for peace so everybody must go on the same line of peace.

“So, what we demand of the head of the state is peace in Ivory Coast and in the entire world,” stressed Jeanette Toure, president of National Association of Women of the Catholic Church in Ivory Coast.

The ex-president finally returned to Ivory Coast on Thursday after the ICC upheld his acquittal on charges related to the post-electoral violence that engulfed Ivory Coast after its 2010 president election.

While thousands celebrated his return, his opponents maintain he should be jailed in Ivory Coast, not given a statesman’s welcome.

Source: africanews.com

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Are you honourable members or horrible members? – Lumumba to Nigerian lawmakers

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Anti-corruption advocate, Patrick Lumumba

An anti-corruption advocate told federal lawmakers on Wednesday, June 16 that Nigeria’s development has been slow for far too long, owing to a lack of visionary leadership.

Patrick Lumumba, a former director of Kenya’s anti-corruption commission, also asked the Nigerian legislators whether they are “honourable members” or “horrible members.”

He asked of the legacies of late nationalists Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikwe and how much of their legacies had been preserved as he referred the lawmakers to them.

He said the clarity of vision and the instinct to marshal people is the antidote to tackle Nigeria’s many challenges, as this was what worked for the nation’s founding fathers.

The don who is also the Director, Kenya School of Laws, spoke at the launch of the House of Representatives Green Chamber magazine Wednesday, June 16 in Abuja.

“Nigeria has been becoming great for too long,” Mr Lumumba said in his speech.
“The time is now that Nigeria must be great. In fact, Nigeria should be in the same space economically as Germany is; Nigeria should be in the same space politically as the United States is.”

“You are the successors of Nigeria’s great leaders. The question that you must ask yourself now that you have been given the honour and privilege of serving Nigeria, you should ask yourself, are you honourable members or horrible members?” he asked amidst laughter from his audience.

According to him, whether members are “honourable” or “horrible” is determined by the kind of service they provide to Nigerians. He urged lawmakers to be servants of the people rather than masters, with the primary purpose of delivering the common good to Nigerians.

“Now that Nigerians have given you the opportunity to think for them, the question is: are you midwives of the good things of Nigeria, or are you midwives that kill the children of the creator.”

Source: www.mynigeria.com

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Africa’s 10 most peacful countries, Mauritius leads the pack – 2021 Peace Index Report

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Island nation of Mauritius is known for its pristine beaches

Mauritius has been ranked Africa’s most peaceful country according to the 2021 Global Peace Index, GPI, report released last week.

The island nation ranked first on the continent and 28th most peaceful country in the world according to a ranking of 163 nations.

Mauritius garnered 1.592 overall score which was 10 steps away from that of Africa’s second most peaceful country, Ghana, which ranked 378th on global ladder with 1.712 overall score.

Completing the top five most peaceful nations in sub-Saharan Africa are Botswana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

The sixth to tenth slots are occupied by Senegal, Tanzania, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea and Namibia respectively.

It means West Africa has dominated the top 10 countries with four countries in the top ranks – Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal.

The GPI is an annual report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

It measures the state of peace in countries whiles assessing the countries in three domains: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.

Some key development indicators about Mauritius
Mauritius is the only African country to be in the “very high” category on the Human Development Index.

According to the World Bank, the country is classified as a high-income economy.

Mauritius is also ranked as the most competitive, and one of the most developed economies in the African region.

The country is a welfare state where government provides free universal health care, free education up through the tertiary level and free public transportation for students, senior citizens, and the disabled.

In 2019 and 2020, Mauritius was ranked the most peaceful African country by the Global Peace Index.

About the 2021 GPI

The 15th edition of the GPI also measured the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace.

This looked especially at the impact of the pandemic, and in particular, how its economic consequences will increase the risk of severe deteriorations in peace over the next few years.

Civil unrest rose 10 per cent globally, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the GPI report added.

There were 14,871 violent demonstrations, protests and riots recorded globally in 2020.

The report said COVID-19 was a “multiplying force” in future political instability and civil unrest.

It added the level of this unrest going forward is likely to hinge on the speed and effectiveness of economic recovery. Countries with less debt and higher levels of positive peace were more likely to recover faster.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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