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Diposting oleh On 04.10

GUIDE: How to use your right to government information in Kenya

Suppose you want to know the design and cost of that long-awaited road in your area. Or you want to see the government’s progress in keeping its election promises.

Kenyan law allows you to ask for â€" and get- this kind of information from officials. And if they don’t give you the information, they must offer you reasonable reasons why.

This is thanks to the Access to Information Act which has been law since September 2016. It upholds the right to information set down in Kenya’s 2010 constitution.

Article 35 of the constitution gives citizens the right to:

  • information held by the state
  • information held by another person and required to exercise or protect of any right or fundamental freedom

Every person also has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects them.

The state must als o make public any important information that may affect the nation.

This includes “all relevant facts while formulating important policies”, a programme officer at the Katiba Institute, Ben Nyabira, told Africa Check. The Katiba Institute is a non-profit organisation that promotes knowledge of the constitution and its use in society.

Who can you ask for information?

Citizens may ask for information from a public or private entity, or another person. A “person”, according to the constitution, includes a company, association or other group of people, whether incorporated or unincorporated.

A private body may mean any non-state organisation that receives or uses public resources, provides public services or has exclusive contracts to exploit natural resources.

This body may also hold information of public interest â€" information needed, for example, to protect human rights or public health, or expose illegal actions.

What is the p rocess?

The application must be made in writing, either in English or Kiswahili. If you can’t write because of disability or illiteracy, the receiving officer must write down your oral request and give you a copy.

The application is addressed to the information access officer of the organisation you want the information from.

Information officers can include chief executive officers, principal secretaries in ministries and managing directors of companies. They are also allowed to delegate the role.

The application can be hand-delivered, posted or emailed, Henry Maina, the regional director for Article 19 Eastern Africa, an organisation that works to safeguard freedom of expression and information, told Africa Check.

The organisation may ask you to fill in a form, but this should not slow down the process, he said.

What should be in the application?

You need to provide enough detail for the official to understand what you seek. But you don’t have to explain why you want the information, said Dr Jill Cottrell Ghai, a Katiba Institute director. Ghai was speaking at the launch of the Handbook on the Access to Information Act 2016 in February 2018.

The law adds that your right to access information can’t be affected by what the organisation believes are your reasons for requesting it.

You do have to tell private entities why you need the information, and your reason must relate to the protection of a key right or freedom, Ghai said.

No fees are charged for submitting a request, but an amount may be charged for making copies of the information, and supplying it to you.

What should happen after you submit a request?

After a request, the decision to provide the information must not take longer than 21 days. If the information relates to the life or freedom of a person, the information must be given no later than 48 hours after the request was received.

If the req uest involves a large amount of information or needs wide consultations, the officer can extend the decision by 14 days, but this can only be done once.

If the officer decides that the information is held by another public entity, they must transfer it to the second organisation within five days. They must also inform you of this step within seven days. But the information must still be provided within 21 days.

Can the state refuse to provide information?

If your request is approved, the state must write to you to tell you how it will provide the information.

But if the request is not approved, the information officer must tell you why, unless the reason itself can’t be revealed.

The constitution outlines some of these reasons. Information may be withheld if it could:

  • undermine national security
  • endanger the safety, health or life of someone
  • lead to the unnecessary invasion of someone’s privacy or break professio nal confidentiality
  • hurt the government’s ability to manage the economy
  • impede the due process of law

Can you challenge this refusal?

The Commission for the Administration of Justice, also known as the Office of the Ombudsman, has oversight of the law. You may write to the commission to ask for a review of a decision by a public entity or private body, according to section 14 of the act.

You can also go to court, the Katiba Institute’s Ghai said.

“But of course, if it ever came to court, and they say ‘We don’t have to give that information’, and you say ‘You do have to give that information’, the court would then have to look into your reasons for wanting that information [and] if there was a valid objection on the part of the state,” she said.

A 2017 report released at the end of the first commissioners’ first term showed the commission handled 42 applications to review decisions after the informatio n law came into force in 2016. Forty were against public bodies and two against private bodies.

Is the information law effective?

Experts said organisations weren’t implementing the law effectively.

At launch of the handbook, Article 19’s Henry Maina said he had asked different groups to request information from public officials. Many who applied at parliament were turned away.

Maina said his public profile as an activist meant he had a good response when he filed a request.

“You might arrive at a conclusion and assume that is what they do for all Kenyans, but it’s not true,” he said.

It has also been reported that companies are struggling with the law, while journalists have documented the trouble they went through to receive budget documents from Kisumu county.

Many agencies also did not “fully and completely comply with access to information law requirements”, Maina said. This included not having a system to documen t and process requests, leading to backlogs.

The minister for information is yet to publish supporting regulations. But the delay should not be a reason for withholding information, experts said.

“This act is law. It is in force. The regulations are not required to make it effective,” said Ghai.

Our experience of Kenya’s access to information law

Africa Check lodged access to information requests with four Kenyan public offices to help with our research.

State department of interior. We requested information on all deaths listed in Kenya from 2012 to 2017, and their causes, from the principal secretary of the state department of interior.

Staff at the office signed for the request. Almost five weeks after the deadline set in law, we revisited the office. We were asked to file a second request, which we did on 14 June 2018.

But an email dated 25 June 2018 told us that the office “is not in a position to supply you with this information and you are advised to get in touch with the concerned ministry, department or agency to provide this information”. Yet the relevant agency is the department of civil registration services, which falls under the state department of interior.

Kenya Roads Board. Our request from the Kenya Roads Board for information on road construction in the country was officially received on 29 March 2018. Two weeks after the legal deadline, on 4 May 2018, the agency advised Africa Check to contact the state department of infrastructure for the information. They did not pass it on to the department, as required, nor meet any of the other requirements.

National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The NHIF officially received our request for information about its members â€" including how many contributing members and dependants were registered and how many registered members were active â€" on 29 March 2018.

On the 21-day deadline we checked back, but we re told it had not been attended to. We were then asked to resubmit the request, which we did on 14 June 2018. We have not heard from the agency since.

Department of children’s services. We had a better experience with the department of children’s services after we lodged a request on 29 March 2018. This was for data on missing children in 2017.

After two follow-up visits, the department provided its caseload for the year, although it was not strictly the information requested. This was on 22 May 2018, about five weeks after the deadline.

Edited by Lee Mwiti

Further reading:

FACTSHEET: Freedom of information in Africa

GUIDE: Getting to grips with South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)

© Copyright Africa Check 2017. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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Diposting oleh On 03.07

Kenya: Crazy Things Kenyans Did During Safaricom Network Outage

22 July 2018

Nairobi News (Nairobi)

Kenya: Crazy Things Kenyans Did During Safaricom Network Outage
(File photo)

For several hours on Sunday, Safaricom subscribers were unable to access internet connectivity, something that left many of them wondering what was happening to 'their phones'.

It emerged that the mobile phone service provider was apparently experiencing a massive outage.

Safaricom later released a statement linking the outage to fiber link cuts that "affected critical transmission equipment."

This came as scant consolation for many subscribers who had tried every trick in th e book to 'jump start' their phones and regain internet connectivity.

While some kept restarting their phones, other resorted to buying internet bundles in bulk, yet they could still not browse the internet.

Here are some of the crazy things that some subscribers did during Safaricom network outage:

1. Restart 100 times

A moment of silence to all those who after restarting their phones severally during #SafaricomShutDown went ahead to remove their batteries and Sim cards to check if they had an issue

Safaricom is so heartless! pic.twitter.com/qi0shiX6RR -- 021's Greatest (@Muranga_Patriot) July 22, 2018

Safaricom data outage, Rt if you restarted your phone over and over again thinking it was faulty #MashemejiDerby#KTNScoreline#KTNSundayEdition -- Jumia Alice (@Alicejumia) July 22, 2018

2. Buy 100GB data.

Retweet if you bought bundles 6 times bec ause of Safaricom internet blackout -- Deejay Afrikana (@djafrikana) July 22, 2018

3. Chokora settings

Me, reading tweets from Safaricom influencers while their employer was facing downtime 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/4bkZCn5kUt -- Asterix (@SuaveNilote) July 22, 2018

Internet Outage Hits Safaricom Users

Kenyans using service provider Safaricom were not able to access the internet on Sunday for a better part of the day. Read more »

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Copyright © 2018 Nairobi News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyr ight holder directly for corrections â€" or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

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Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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Diposting oleh On 00.10

Kenya loses UK market share to Rwanda, Dar

In Summary

  • Reduced competitiveness and lack of diversification cited for downturn
  • Kenya’s exports to the UK has been on decline, moving from Sh50.3 billion in 2009 to Sh37.6 billion in 2017.
  • Kenya’s top three exports to the UK are tea, cut roses and beans.
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By PATRICK ALUSHULA
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Kenya must raise production standards and up its marketing to counter similar efforts by its neighbours racing for a pie of the United Kingdom (UK) market, latest trade and investment report states.

According to the latest study by Overseas Development Institute (ODI) exports to the UK from the rest of the world have risen by 15 per cent in eight years to 2017.

Kenya lost out on all its top three exports t o the same destination during that period.

Standards

“Kenya has lost its competitiveness to other countries and that has to be rectified by upping its standards, improve marketing and branding of its products as well as diversifying,” said Dirk Wellem Te Velde, principal research fellow and head of Economic Development Group.

Data from International Trade Centre showed that the value of Kenya’s exports to the UK has been on decline, moving from Sh50.3 billion in 2009 to Sh37.6 billion in 2017.

This is tipped to fall further should the country fail to address challenges of infrastructure, diversity and standards to ward off increasing competition.

The study showed that Kenya’s share in UK imports fell from 16 per cent in 2011 to seven per cent by 2014 as vegetables and flowers lost competitiveness to neighbouring countries due to improved wages, marketing systems, diversity and standard compliance.

Diversification

“Lack of diversification has reduced Kenya’s competitiveness and given rise to significant competition from other African countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ivory Coast, all gradually eating into Kenya’s market share in the UK,” said Mr Velde in the report.

He added that in some cases, where the country has been unable to comply with EU maximum residue limit requirements in exports such as beans, neighbouring countries have capitalised on it to gain share.

Kenya’s top three exports to the UK are tea, cut roses and beans. But between 2012 and 2016, its total value of UK’s imported tea has shrunk by 0.9 per cent while that Rwanda surged by 20.6 per cent.

During the same period, Kenya’s value of UK fresh cut roses and buds shrunk by 2.3 per cent as that of Ethiopia climbed by 88.7 per cent.

And while Kenya’s value of fresh or chilled beans exported to UK fell by 12.2 per cent, Tanzania saw a 12.2 per cent rise.

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Diposting oleh On 06.37

Kenya's Chepkoech eyes Africa title after breaking steeplechase world record

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NAIROBI, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech has warned her rivals she plans to run even faster at the Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, just weeks after breaking the World record in the 3,000m steeplechase.

The 27-year-old will lead Kenya's entourage in the water and hurdle race at the continental championships, which will also feature world junior champion Celliphine Chespol and former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng.

"It is good to speculate on my next target. Maybe my next target could be to run under 8:40," said Chepkoech on Sunday.

Chepkoech's world record run in Monaco comes 10 months after a miscalculation at the London World Championships in 2017 saw her make a wrong turn, forcing her to re-jump one of the hurdles and settle for a fourth place finish.

However, she has b een in top form this year. Her mission became clear soon after she had won the Paris Diamond League event by an extraordinary margin.

But nobody was prepared for her world record assault in Monaco a week later, and she showed her prowess by taking eight seconds off the world record of 8:52.78, finishing in 8:44.32.

"I wanted to break the world record; that was the plan from beginning of the season," Chepkoech told Xinhua. "And I was aware that the best chance would be in Monaco, thanks to the weather, the crowds and the whole environment. And this plan worked well."

"I was thinking maybe I could break 8:50 but I was not at all dreaming about 8:44. And this time could still be improved, I'm sure."

Chepkoech has her pacemaker Caroline Tuigong to thank, after the 2006 world junior champion led according to plan through the 1,000m mark.

"On my last lap I looked at the time and I knew that I was goi ng to break the world record and that was what I wished for," Chepkoeck told the IAAF.

"It is great feeling that I have brought the women's steeplechase record back to Kenya. I'm very proud of it. And after six years of running and three years with the steeplechase."

The previous record was held by Kenyan-turned-Bahraini Ruth Jebet in Brussels in 2016.

The next stop for Chepkoech will be in Asaba, Nigeria, when she leads the Kenyan team to the Africa Championships held between August 1st and 5th.

The best two athletes in each discipline will qualify to compete at the IAAF Continental Cup, which will be held in Ostrava, the Czech Republic in September.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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Diposting oleh On 06.37

Doubts linger on reforms as Kenya gets new sugar import safeguards

In Summary

  • Despite the numerous extensions, Kenya is far from meeting some of the conditions that have been set before opening the sub-sector to imports.
  • The country has been granted a two-year extension after it made a request last week during the Comesa meeting held in Zambia.
  • The new safeguards start in February next year once the current scheme ends.
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By GERALD ANDAE
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A joint committee comprising officials from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) will oversee implementation of the recent extension on sugar imports safeguards and determine at the end of two years whether to renew it.

This is a departure from the normal practice where Kenya, th rough the Ministry of Trade, had to negotiate for the safety nets that limit the quantity of sugar that member states are allowed to export to Kenya.

But despite the numerous extensions, Kenya is far from meeting some of the conditions that have been set before opening the sub-sector to imports.

The team tasked with disposing of State-owned millers is grappling with increasing hostility from sugar-producing zones, with some governors saying they want to be given the leashes to run the poorly performing entities.

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo told the Sunday Nation that the committee will work with officials from the Sugar Directorate in implementing the conditions set by the regional bloc.

“There is a joint committee in place that will work towards implementing the conditions for safeguards, the team will oversee the process in the next two years,” said Mr Kiptoo.

Kenya has been granted a two-year extension after it made a request last week during the Comesa meeting held in Zambia. The new safeguards start in February next year once the current scheme ends.

Mr Kiptoo, however, said it is unlikely that the sugar sector will meet the conditions by the time the safeguards end, citing structural challenges and political influence that have hampered progress on reforms, especially in the State-owned millers.
“It is very unlikely that the sector will have implemented the conditions set by Comesa at the end of the two years, because of the structural problems facing sugar millers, which have hampered activities such as privatisation,” he said.

Some of the conditions that Kenya was supposed to meet before the sugar sector is liberalised include privatisation of State-owned millers, introducing an early maturing sugarcane variety, changing the payment formula from weight-based to sucrose-based and addressing the high cost of production that stands at about Sh9,000 per tonne against Sh4,000 for countries suc h as Mauritius.

Though Kenya has shielded its sugar sub-sector from foreign competition for 10 years, the country still failed to address underlying issues that make it uncompetitive.

In 2015, Nairobi invoked the infantry clause of Comesa laws to seek protection against blanket exports of sugar to Kenya from member states, arguing that it wanted to protect new factories that had just been set up.

And now the Council of Governors has rejected the proposed sale of these sugar factories, saying that will not solve the problems facing farmers and instead want the assets to be handed over to the counties.

The government plans to dispose of a 51 per cent stake in these companies to strategic investors and reserve another 24 per cent for farmers and employees.

The State will then sell the remaining 25 per cent in the millers through an initial public offer once the factories are profitable.

The Privatisation Commission was targeting August as the time by which the State will have sold all these firms to investors, but much has not been done, with just a few weeks to their self-imposed deadline.

Another condition issued by Comesa is the establishment of fast-maturing sugarcane. As much as this has been achieved, farmers and millers have been reluctant to embrace it, citing low productivity compared with the conventional one that takes about 20 months to mature.

READ: Relief for Kenya as Comesa team endorses sugar import safeguard

Sony Sugar Company Managing Director Bernard Otieno said farmers mainly get their profit from the second harvest, popularly referred to as a ratoon crop.

However, the ratoon crop from the new varieties is way below the conventional one.

“The crop from ratoon coming out of a new sugarcane variety is very low, meaning that farmers do not get enough out of it to keep them in business,” Mr Otieno said.

Economist Ansetze Were says there is no justification for the countr y to seek more safeguards at the expense of addressing underlying issues that have affected the sector for many years.

“The government is not dealing with the real issues here but it is busy protecting the industry that is not competitive at all,” she said.

Kenya produces about 600,000 tonnes of sugar a year against an annual consumption of 870,000 tonnes. The sugar deficit is usually covered by stringently controlled imports from the Comesa trade bloc, where Kenya has a quota of 300,000 tonnes annually.


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Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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Diposting oleh On 03.59

Amnesty condemns death sentence handed to Kenyan beauty queen

Kenya

The Kenyan branch of Amnesty International on Friday denounced the death sentence handed down on a young woman for the murder in 2015 of her boyfriend in a country where no executions have been carried out for 30 years.

A Kenyan court on July 19, 2018 has sentenced the 24-year-old Ruth Kamandefor murdering her boyfriend by stabbing him 25 times, drawing criticism from rights groups who called the punishment “inhumane”.

“We are concerned that Kenya continues to use this cruel, inhuman and ou tdated form of punishment,” said Irungu Houghton, Executive Director of Amnesty International in Kenya, in a statement.

We are concerned that Kenya continues to use this cruel, inhuman and outdated form of punishment.

Ruth Kamande, who won a prison beauty pageant while awaiting trial, slashed her partner Farid Mohammed, 24, to death in 2015 and was convicted in May 2018.

Death penalty in Kenya

The death penalty continues to be imposed in Kenya but has not been applied since 1987. In October 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta had commuted the death sentences of some 2,700 prisoners to life imprisonment.

“This sentence is a reversal of judicial practice in Kenya, where death sentences are commuted to prison terms,” the NGO added, hoping the young woman would benefit from this commutation.

At sentencing, Justice Jessie Lesiit found that Ruth Kamande had show n no remorse during the trial.

The young woman’s lawyer, who had sought clemency from the court by pointing out that the accused had just been received at the university, announced that she would appeal the judgment.

AFP

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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Diposting oleh On 03.22

Will Kenya heed Igad call to disarm its pastoralists?

In Summary

  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development is awaiting approval from members for a protocol on transhumance.
  • Igad officials say they have sought and got approvals from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
  • Communities have not been invited to be part of the negotiations on the protocol Igad is addressing the issue of cattle rustling.
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By THE EAST AFRICAN
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Politicians in Uganda and South Sudan have warned that the free movement of pastoralists and their livestock may not be possible if Kenya does not disarm the Turkana.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development is awaiting approval from members for a protocol on transhumance (the seasonal movement of herders and th eir livestock in search of water and pasture).

Dr Adan Bika, Head of Dryland Development and Climate Change Adaptation at Igad, said the plan is to have a protocol signed by early 2019.

Igad officials say they have sought and got approvals from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.

CATTLE RUSTLING

Dr Bika said that by allowing pastoralists to move in search of pasture, East African countries will enable these communities, which are among the poorest in the region, to avoid loss of livestock during periods of prolonged drought.

He said that such free movement would make pastoralists climate change-resilient, reducing the possibility of hunger and livestock losses.

The communities will also better contribute to the prosperity of their countries.

But Samson Lokeris, Dodoth East Member of Parliament in Uganda, said that the only way that the protocol will gain acceptance is if Kenya disarms its pastoralists.

“Igad ha ve told us they will deal with the issue of cattle rustlers. But for this protocol to go through, they have to deal with the outstanding matter of disarming the people in Kenya,” he said.

POLICE RESERVISTS

Mr Lokeris, who made these remarks on behalf of Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister at the national policy and legal experts meeting on the Igad Protocol on Transhumance, said that the Kenya government’s approach of disarming pastoralist communities has been to turn former warriors into members of the Kenya Police Reserve (KPR) so that they can carry guns legally.

“Kenya’s approach is to tell warriors that if they give up their guns, they are registered as members of the KPR. The KPR is not trained by the Kenya Police, so they have been using the licensed guns to carry out raids in Uganda,” he said.

While Uganda has local defence units that are trained by the police to defend pastoralists and their livestock, Mr Lokeris says the K PR does not work in the same way.

Similar sentiments have previously been raised by Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, who said that one of the things his country needs resolved are raids carried out by Turkana pastoralists.

He added that before South Sudan can agree to the transhumance protocol, the Turkana culture of cattle rustling has to be dealt with.

South Sudan’s pastoralists steal livestock too, and still have guns, but, according to Mr Lokeris, they are not as harmful as the Turkana.

The South Sudanese have also been accused of similar crimes, but they do not target the Karimojong, whom Mr Lokeris represents in parliament.

MEASURES

Communities have not been invited to be part of the negotiations on the protocol, but Dr Bika says that Igad is addressing the issue of cattle rustling.

One of the clauses proposes measures to register pastoralists moving their livestock from one country to another.

“The protocol enhances the security of pastoralists and their host communities. A livestock owner will be required to register and get a certificate that lists his number of herders and animals,” Dr Bika said.

When pasture is depleted and herders resolve to drive their livestock into a neighbouring country, some effort will be needed to make sure there is no change in the numbers. And if there is a change, an explanation will be sought from the livestock owners.

Japheth Kasimbu, a transhumance expert at Igad, said that the protocol is not introducing anything new in the region.

He said that the only Igad states that do not allow free movement people and property are Kenya and Somalia, whose common border is sometimes closed. Another is the Eritrea-Ethiopia border.

Mr Kasimbu said that Igad will help member countries to formalise transhumance.


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Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya