Ebola outbreak may soon be over in Nigeria

"The last three patient contacts will exit their 21-day follow-up on October 2 – strongly suggesting the outbreak in Nigeria has been contained," the CDC said in a statement.

While...

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Kenya: Who Owns Kenya?

By Bill Odidi

The 2010 constitution prevents foreigners from owning land in Kenya, but as Kenyans have come to find out, implementing these provisions is complicated by the ambiguous nature...

Continue Reading →

West Africa: Ebola Leaves Thousands of Orphans

Amid a climbing death toll and widespread panic, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa leaving thousands of orphaned children in its wake, an official for the United...

Continue Reading →

Egypt: Nine Protesters Sentenced to Prison for Violating Protest Law

Cairo — An Egyptian misdemeanour court sentenced on Tuesday nine protesters to two years in prison for violating without notice.

The defendants were not in custody when the verdict was...

Continue Reading →

Egypt: Presidential Decree Amends Law of Weapons and Ammunition

Cairo — Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Tuesday a decree necessitating the defence minister's prior consent to any arms import deals.

The presidential decree amends Articles 12 and...

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Tunisia: Tunisian-Cameroonian Follow-Up Committee Focuses On Economic Co-Operation

Tunis — The first meeting of the Follow-up Committee to the 9th session of the Tunisian-Cameroonian High Co-operation Commission was held on Monday in Tunis.

It focused on co-operation between...

Continue Reading →

Tunisia: Isie President Calls for Review of Election Law

Tunis — President of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Chafik Sarsar called for the need to review the election law after having noted some gaps and...

Continue Reading →

Tunisia: Presidential Election – 27 Candidates Retained – ISIE

Tunis — The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) announced that 27 application files for the 2014 presidential election were approved and 41 others were rejected out of...

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Ebola outbreak threatens ‘decades’ of British help to Sierra Leone, officials warn

The Ebola outbreak, which has claimed 3,091 lives across west Africa, 605 of them in Sierra Leone, now threatens to destroy that work unless it is brought into check,...

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Latest News

Ebola outbreak may soon be over in Nigeria

“The last three patient contacts will exit their 21-day follow-up on October 2 – strongly suggesting the outbreak in Nigeria has been contained,” the CDC said in a statement.

While Nigeria may be able to soon declare victory over Ebola, its outbreak was far smaller than in nearby Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, all also in West Africa.

The death toll from the world’s worst Ebola epidemic has claimed 3,091 lives in five West African countries out of 6,574 infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Eight people died of Ebola in Nigeria out of 20 confirmed cases, according to the WHO. The Nigerian government has said seven people died and 19 were infected.

The outbreak in Nigeria began on July 20 when Patrick Sawyer, a dual US-Liberian citizen, boarded a plane to Lagos, a densely populated city of 21 million people.

Ebola is spread through close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. The illness causes diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and fatal bleeding in some cases.

“By the time it was recognised that the patient carried the Ebola virus, he had exposed 72 people on commercial aircraft, at the airport, and at the hospital,” the CDC said.

The US agency credited Nigerian authorities with taking quick actions to isolate patients and set up an incident management centre for a coordinated response.

“Although Nigeria isn’t completely out of the woods, their extensive response to a single case of Ebola shows that control is possible with rapid, focused interventions,” said CDC Director Dr Tom Frieden.

Official forecasts of the end of Nigeria’s outbreak vary.

The Nigerian government has previously said the last confirmed case was discovered September 8, suggesting the end would come later in October than foreseen by the CDC.

Typically, the WHO is the formal authority for declaring an end to any outbreak.

Speaking last week at the UN General Assembly in New York, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said – prematurely, according to medical experts – that his nation was free of Ebola.

“We can confidently say that today Nigeria is Ebola free,” Jonathan told the largest diplomatic gathering in the world on September 24.

Edited by Steve Wilson

Kenyas economy 9th largest in Africa

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Kenya’s success in mobile money transactions has contributed to the economy’s growth rate.

Kenya’s success in mobile money transactions has contributed to the economy’s growth rate.(REUTERS)

Kenya’s economy is 25% bigger than previously estimated, according to new figures released on Tuesday. After the revision of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Kenyan economy is the 9th largest in Africa from a previous position of 13.   

The rebase means Kenya has achieved a lower medium income level short of its vision of being a medium income level country by 2030.

The country’s economic output last year was estimated to be $53 billion after rebase up from $43 billion dollars. Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy has now overtaken Ghana and Tunisia.

Ghana’s GDP is $48 billion, while Tunisia’s is $47 billion according to last year’s World Bank estimates.

“The growth rate for 2013 has been adjusted from 4.7% to 5.7%,” says Kenya’s Planning Minister Anne Waiguru.

The revision factors in fast growing sectors of the economy include Kenya’s success story of mobile money transactions which now equal 31% of the country’s GDP. It also changes the base year to 2009 from 2001.

While Kenya is betting on the re-base to enhance investor confidence in effect attract foreign direct investment, it is not lost on the leadership that little if anything will change for the common man and its goal of being a middle level economy by 2030 will need more work.

“An increase in GDP per capita does not necessarily mean that Kenyans will be better off nor does it imply that the existing social economic challenges have ceased to exist,” explains Waiguru.

Kenya’s National Economic and Social Council Secretary Dr. Nicholas Muia says more needs to be done to increase the country’s GDP.

“For us to be comfortable at middle income level which is the middle income we were looking for in vision 2030 we need to increase our GDP threefold from 1200 per capita to about 4 000 dollars per capita.”

Kenya follows Nigeria which after rebasing its GDP became Africa’s largest economy, upstaging South Africa.

Kenya: Who Owns Kenya?

By Bill Odidi

The 2010 constitution prevents foreigners from owning land in Kenya, but as Kenyans have come to find out, implementing these provisions is complicated by the ambiguous nature of the law and deliberate moves by the landed class to frustrate the process.

When Kenya’s attorney general told the International Criminal Court in July this year that there were no records to indicate that President Uhuru Kenyatta owned any land in the country, his comments offered a reflection of the mysterious nature of landownership in Kenya.

It is well known that the family of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, father to the current president, owns large tracts of the most productive land, particularly in central Kenya and at the coast. Forbes Magazine placed the total land owned by Kenyatta and his family at 500,000 acres of prime land spread across the country.

A survey 2014 found that 50 percent of Kenya’s wealth is in the hands of political families, with the ownership of land providing the core of this wealth.

Secret ownership

The skewed ownership of land is dire in a country where only 17 percent of the land is arable, with the rest mostly arid and semi-arid. The Kenya Land Alliance says that more than 65 percent of this productive land in Kenya is in the hands of only 20 percent of the population.

The chaotic nature of land records in Kenya obviously suits the political and business elite who would like to maintain secrecy over their ownership of the country’s land. In a recent audit, the Lands Ministry discovered that 1.3 million files were lost, misplaced or misfiled.

Any hope that the enactment of new laws would solve what Kenyans have come to call the ‘land question’ has been replaced by disappointment, even frustration by the lack of progress and constant finger pointing amongst those entrusted with the job of cleaning up the mess that goes back to the country’s colonial period.

White Highlands

Land is an emotive issue in Kenya. The fight for independence was based on the struggle to revert ownership of land from the colonialists back to the Africans. Vast arable land in the Rift Valley was designated as the White Highlands, reserved for European settlers, while the indigenous communities were moved out.

The authority to allocate Crown Land was vested in the colonial governor and he issued grants of leases for 999 years to the European settler community. It is the same allocation by direct grant that facilitated the irregular allocation of public land after Independence.

In 1963 a total of 7.5 million acres or half of the agricultural land in Kenya was in settler hands, with individual farmers like Lord Delamere reported to possess as much as 1 million acres.

The Africanization of the White Highlands, areas previously reserved for European settlement, was carried out through the Million-Acre Scheme funded by the British government and the World Bank, to facilitate the orderly transfer of ownership of farms owned by settlers who wanted to leave after independence.

Land grabbing

The new African political class and home guards, who had made fortunes by collaborating with the colonial government, bought thousands of acres from the departing Europeans, denying the majority of Kenyans the right to own land.

The president widely abused his powers as trustee of public land to become a large landowner himself. The illegal allocation of land by the first Kenyatta and Moi governments is well documented in a report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Illegal/Irregular Allocation of Public Land popularly known as the Ndungu Report.

Lawyer Paul Ndungu, who released the report in December 2004, reveals the extent to which land was targeted as a tool for political patronage, particularly in 1990s. During this period, when the international scrutiny was focused on economic and political reform, land acquired particular significance as a bargaining tool for the political class desperate to hang on to power amid the turbulence of multiparty politics.

No land was spared during this spree of allocations of public land, which came to be known as ‘land grabbing’. Even protected lands as forests, wetlands, road reserves and even cemeteries were dished out as political reward.

On the coast, beach plots on the Indian Ocean coastline were issued in the 1970s and 80s to political and business elites from outside the region. The land grabbing by the elite has rendered millions of coastal people landless or squatters in their own land.

999-year leases

The 2010 constitution prevents foreigners from owning land and also reduces the period for which foreigners can lease land. But as Kenyans have come to find out, implementing these provisions are complicated by the ambiguous nature of the law and deliberate moves by the political and landed class to frustrate the process.

More than 50 years after independence, there is still a significant amount of prime land in foreign hands, especially in the coastal region, and new regulations may finally reveal just how much of this land owned by non-Kenyans.

The National Land Commission has found itself in a muddle in its attempts to regularize land ownership by demanding that all foreign landowners align their leases with the provisions of the constitution. One of the tasks of the commission is to ensure that all the 999-year leases instituted during the colonial period are converted into shorter leases of 99 years.

Mongrel

Establishing who a foreign landowner is remains a challenge, because many such people own property in the country jointly with Kenyans. The new law also allows dual citizenship further confusing an already murky situation.

While the new law has safeguards against the secret allocation of public land by public officials, it has created what land policy analyst Ibrahim Mwathane calls a “mongrel”. The National Land Commission has the mandate to manage public land on behalf of national and county governments, while the Minister still retains power over the registers of all public, private and community land in Kenya.

The audit of all stolen public land can only be done effectively by whoever runs the land registries, in this case, the minister.

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West Africa: Ebola Leaves Thousands of Orphans

Amid a climbing death toll and widespread panic, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa leaving thousands of orphaned children in its wake, an official for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today, as a fortified UN mission arrived in the region to confront and contain the growing crisis.

“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola. These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned,” Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said in a news release.

“Orphans are usually taken in by a member of the extended family, but in some communities, the fear surrounding Ebola is becoming stronger than family ties,” he added.

Since its outbreak earlier this year, Ebola has claimed more than 3,000 lives while infecting over 6,500 people in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, alongside the devastating physiological effects of the virus, the outbreak has also ignited panic and fear across the affected areas with some victims, and their children, being spurned by their local communities.

“Ebola is turning a basic human reaction like comforting a sick child into a potential death sentence. The vast majority of children affected by Ebola are still left without appropriate care,” Mr. Fontaine explained.

“We cannot respond to a crisis of this nature and this scale in the usual way. We need more courage, more creativity, and far, far more resources.”

According to preliminary reports obtained by UNICEF, the Ebola death toll in the three affected countries continues to rise, suggesting a spike in the numbers of orphaned children in the past few weeks and the likelihood that they will double by mid-October.

As the orphaned children of Ebola victims confront the devastation left by the disease, UNICEF has announced that it is accelerating its response and will roll out both traditional and new ways to help provide them with the necessary physical and emotional healing.

These include the training of 400 additional mental health and social workers in Liberia; the training of 2,500 Ebola survivors – now immune to the disease – to provide care to quarantined children in Sierra Leone; and providing an estimated 60,000 children in Guinea living among Ebola-affected communities with psychosocial support.

At the same time, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) continues to establish its headquarters in Accra, Ghana, to lead the world body’s efforts in containing the spread of the disease.

“Our strategy is built around five pillars so we can move fast to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent any further outbreaks,” said Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMEER, who arrived in Accra yesterday.

Mr. Banbury thanked the Government of Ghana for its willingness to support the Mission’s work and noted that while UNMEER would be headquartered in the Ghanaian capital, it would maintain strong operational presences in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“Our task now is to work with the international community and support the national authorities of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to stop this outbreak from spreading any further.”

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Egypt: Nine Protesters Sentenced to Prison for Violating Protest Law

Cairo — An Egyptian misdemeanour court sentenced on Tuesday nine protesters to two years in prison for violating without notice.

The defendants were not in custody when the verdict was issued.

They were arrested in January for organising a protest in Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square without notifying the authorities, which counts as a breach of last year’s protest law.

Former interim President Adli Mansour issued the protest law on November 24 to regulate peaceful assembly. The law has long been the epicentre of wide criticism by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards for peaceful protests.

Article 8 of the legislation obliges demonstrators to inform the authorities of their intention to assemble at least three working days prior to their scheduled events. Article 10 meanwhile gives the interior ministry the right to cancel, postpone or move protests “should they receive serious intelligence suggesting the organisers would breach … the law.”

An Egyptian rights group filed on Sept 13 a lawsuit at Egypt’s top court, the Supreme Constitutional Court, challenging the constitutionality of the law.

prominent political activist Ahmed Douma, and April 6 Youth Movement co-founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel were sentenced to three years in prison in December for violating the protest law.

Copyright © 2014 Aswat Masriya. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

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Egypt: Presidential Decree Amends Law of Weapons and Ammunition

Cairo — Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Tuesday a decree necessitating the defence minister’s prior consent to any arms import deals.

The presidential decree amends Articles 12 and 16 of the law 394/1954 concerning weapons and ammunition. The amendment to Article 12 also stipulates that the defence ministry decides the amount of weaponry allowed for import.

The old version of the article stated that the interior minister’s permission is needed before the import, trade, production or repair of weapons listed in the first article of the same law. The interior minister could also delegate someone to grant such permit, as per the same article.

The amendment keeps the aforementioned clause, yet it adds a separate clause about the necessity of defence minister’s permission for arms import.

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Tunisia: Tunisian-Cameroonian Follow-Up Committee Focuses On Economic Co-Operation

Tunis — The first meeting of the Follow-up Committee to the 9th session of the Tunisian-Cameroonian High Co-operation Commission was held on Monday in Tunis.

It focused on co-operation between the two countries in the commercial, industrial, agricultural, tourism and transport fields as well as in public works, health and education.

It also discussed ways to open new opportunities for partnership in strategic areas.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released Tuesday, the bilateral meeting was an opportunity to evaluate the monitoring of the recommendations of the ninth session of the Tunisian-Cameroonian high joint co-operation commission held last May in Yaounde and boost some partnership projects still under study.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Fayçal Gouiaa and Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations in Cameroon Adoum Gargoum, who co-chaired this meeting, stressed the strength of the relations of friendship and co-operation between the two countries, noting the shared commitment to further promote and strengthen them.

It was agreed to hold the 10th session of the high joint committee during 2015 in Tunis. The date will be set later. It was also decided to hold the 3rd session of the joint sectoral committee on tourism in March 2015 in Yaounde.

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AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Tunisia: Isie President Calls for Review of Election Law

Tunis — President of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Chafik Sarsar called for the need to review the election law after having noted some gaps and failures in applications and sponsorships for the presidential election.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Tunis, Sarsar said the process of checking sponsorship which required a long period mobilising a large number of ISIE executives and staff revealed malfunctioning imposing a specific evaluation of this issue.

He placed emphasis on the responsibility of the election authority in ensuring the integrity of elections and in the fight against electoral fraud.

Responding to a question on the position of ISIE concerning the falsification of sponsorship for the presidential election, Sarsar noted that the election law does not empower the ISIE to go to court for this kind of breaches.

He urged citizens whose names were put in the lists of sponsorship without their knowledge to lodge a complaint.

ISIE member Riadh Bouhouch provided clarification on the method of checking applications for the presidential election and the technical steps related thereto, including the control of the elector eligibility, the authenticity of the data contained in the paper file and their compliance with the CD-ROM while checking identities, elector eligibility of citizens-sponsors and identical sponsorships for one candidate and for different candidates.

He added that the technical services of ISIE have checked twice the sponsorships of candidates to ensure data accuracy.

Copyright © 2014 Tunis Afrique Presse. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Tunisia: Presidential Election – 27 Candidates Retained – ISIE

Tunis — The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) announced that 27 application files for the 2014 presidential election were approved and 41 others were rejected out of a total of 70 applications submitted.

The 27 successful applications meet the requirements, added ISIE

The election authority also said in a press conference Tuesday that two candidates had pulled out from the presidential race. They are journalist Zied El Heni et Mohamed Kouba.

Sarsar said three presidential candidates were not retained for lack of elector eligibility.

It is possible for candidates who were not retained to lodge an appeal within a period not exceeding 48 hours, he added.

Sarsar also said the Administrative Court must rule on these appeals within 22 days at the latest.

Here is the list of retained presidential candidates:

1/Mohamed El Hechmi Ben Youssef Hamdi

2/Larbi Ben Habib Ben Ali Nasra

3/Mohamed Beji Ben Hamouda Caid Essebsi

4/Ahmed Nejib Ben Abdelaziz Chebbi

5/Mustapha Kamel Ben Hadj Ali Nabli

6/Hamma Ben Ali Ben Bousseha Hammami

7/Slim Ben Mohamed Ben Mokhtar Riahi

8/Mustapha Ben Mohamed Ben Rachid Ben Jaafar

9/Noureddine Ben Farhat Ben Mohamed Hached

10/Abderraouf Ben Sadok Ayadi

11/Ali El Mouldi Ben Mohamed Chourabi

12/Mohamed Ben Mabrouk Ben Mohamed El Hamdi

13/Abderrahim Ben Brahim Ben Ammar Zouari

14/Mohamed Moncef Ben Mohamed Ben Ahmed Marzouki

15/Abdelkader Ben Brahim Ben Mustapha Labbaoui

16/Kalthoum Bent Mabrouk Ben Ahmed Kannou

17/Kamel Ben Kantaoui Ben Maaraji Morjane

18/Mohamed Ben Hassan Ben Mohamed Frikha

19/Mohamed Mondher Ben Abdelaziz Zenaidi

20/Abderrazzak Ben Ali Kilani

21/Samir Ben Ezzeddine Ben Brahim Abdelli

22/Yassine Ben Mouldi Ben Khalifa Chenoufi

23/Hamouda Ben Mohamed Ben Hamouda Ben Slama

24/Mehrez Ben Taieb Ben Tlili Boussayène

25/Ahmed Essafi Ben Brahim Said

26/Mokhtar Ben Mohamed Salah Méjri

27/Salem Ben Ammar Chaibi

Copyright © 2014 Tunis Afrique Presse. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Ebola outbreak threatens ‘decades’ of British help to Sierra Leone, officials warn

The Ebola outbreak, which has claimed 3,091 lives across west Africa, 605 of them in Sierra Leone, now threatens to destroy that work unless it is brought into check, one diplomat said. The official was speaking ahead of a major international conference on Ebola due to be hosted by the Foreign Office in London.

“The outbreak has the potential to undo decades of progress on development in both Sierra Leone and the wider region,” he warned.

British aid workers and specialist army medical engineers are currently spearheading a £100m British aid package to Sierra Leone specifically to tackle Ebola. The aim is to build a series of Ebola treatment clinics with around 700 specialist treatment beds in total, on top of another 300 provided by the Sierra Leone government.

However, even that is not expected to be enough, and so the British program will also train up nurses and staff for more “basic” treatment centres for another 8,800 patients.

While the care in the more basic centres will be more rudimentary, officials said it is better that Ebola suffers get some care rather than none, and should be kept isolated in treatment centres rather than infecting other people in their communities.

The programme means that Britain is effectively the lead agency in dealing with the outbreak in Sierra Leone, a former colony. Around 400 NHS volunteers are also being trained to go to the country to help man the clinics.

British officials have also been analysing data which suggests that Ebola in Sierra Leone currently has an infection factor of 1.7 – meaning that every ten people infected will in turn pass it to another 17 people. Officials said they need to bring that ratio down to beneath the figure of 1.0, at which the point the number of new cases will start to diminish.

“Only by isolating 70 per cent of infected patients will we get ahead of the curve,” said one.

While officials said that so far there had been no serious public order problems in Sierra Leone as a result of the outbreak, they fear that could change if the outbreak is not brought under control. A key risk to the aid programme is if the country’s health system breaks down, meaning that routine immunisation programs for other diseases such as measles end up being compromised.