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Kenya Decides: Incoming Women Governors after August 2022 Election (See List)

Seven women have been declared winners in the August 2022 gubernatorial race across the country, a record number compared to the previous election.

Homa Bay governor In Homa Bay county, outgoing woman rep Gladys Wanga was declared the winner, beating former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero

Former Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Transport Wavinya Ndeti beat former State House Chief of staff Nzioka Waita in Machakos gubernatorial race. Below are the seven women who emerged victorious in the August 9 gubernatorial race in their respective counties.

1. Gladys Wanga Wanga clinched the victory by garnering 244,559 votes against her closest competitor, former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero who managed to get 154,182 votes. She becomes the first woman governor of Nyanza region. Wanga pledged to improve the economic well-being of Homa Bay residents.

2. Anne Waiguru Waiguru was declared the winner after defending her seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket, garnering 113,088 votes. She beat the outgoing woman representative Wangui Ngirici who managed to get 105,677 votes.

3. Wavinya Ndeti Wavinya Ndeti was declared the winner in the Machakos gubernatorial race during the August 2022 General Election Ndeti trounced her competitor Nzioka Waita of the Chama Cha Uzalendo (UCC) party and other men in the race.

4. Kawira Mwangaza Kawira Mwangaza contested for the Meru governor race and won on an independent ticket. Mwangaza floured incumbent Kiraitu Murungi and UDA party’s Mithika Linturi. Kawira served Meru residents as a woman representative from 2017 to 2022.

5. Susan Kihika Nakuru senator Susan Kihika was declared the winner in the August 2022 gubernatorial race. Kihika garnered 440,797 votes against incumbent governor Lee Kinyanjui who polled 225,351 votes.

Kihika thanked Nakuru residents for believing in her and promised to serve them diligently. 6. Fatuma Achani Fatuma Achani was elected Kwale governor in the August 9 polls, after serving as governor Salim Mvuria’s deputy. She becomes the first woman governor of the coast region.

7. Cecily Mbarire In Emby county, nominated Member of Parliament (MP) Cecily Mbarire was declared governor-elect, becoming the first woman governor in Embu.

Mbarire, who contested on UDA ticket, garnered 108,610 votes in a tight race against Lenny Kivuti who got 105,246 votes.



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Gambia: Eleven dead as flood affects, displaced many in 50 years – report

The Gambia suffered its worst flooding in “nearly half a century” late last month, killing 11 people and internally displacing more than 5,000, its disaster agency said in a report on Thursday.

Flooding following heavy rains on July 30 and 31 in the small West African country “directly affected” at least 40,000 people, including more than 8,000 children under the age of five.

According to the Department of Water Resources, 276 millimeters of rain fell in two days in the capital Banjul.

“Hundreds of houses have been completely or partially damaged and cannot be lived in without risk,” it added.

“The last historical floods date back to 1948,” the agency said. Significant flooding occurred in 1988, 1999, 2002, 2010, 2020, and 2022.

“This shows that the frequency of flash floods and climate-related shocks are becoming more persistent,” it said.

In the Greater Banjul area, hundreds of water points and thousands of sanitation facilities have been affected by the floods and throughout the city, the water appears “between yellowish and greenish and has a bad smell.”

“Many” cases of diarrhea and skin rashes have been reported in the Tobacco Road area and there is a “very high” risk of waterborne diseases, according to the agency.

Stagnant water has also attracted reptiles to some neighborhoods, “putting people at risk.

During a visit to the affected neighborhoods last week, President Adama Barrow pledged $46 million for a new water project, which he hopes will be completed by the end of the year, local media reported.

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After70 years, Pioneering art collection returns to Zimbabwe

For the first time in 70 years, a collection of paintings is back in its home country: Zimbabwe.

The display at the National Gallery in Harare features paintings done in the 1940s and 1950s by young Black students.

They were studying at Cyrene Mission School, the first to teach art to Black students in what was then white minority-ruled Rhodesia.

For the first time in his life, Gift Livingstone Sango is seeing a painting by his father depicting Jesus as a Black man.

“This art is brought back home is what we want, so that when we are long gone, he is already gone, he’s already gone. What about my son, he doesn’t even have a son or a child, what about his children? What about the other artists who are coming from Mzilikazi Art Centre or all the art centers we know, from Mbare to Mabvuku. We are saying they must learn what happens when education was very very little. Look at the paintings and how bright they are, they are as bright as they were done 80 years ago,” says Sango.

Sango’s father went on to become an accomplished taxidermist working for the National Museum in Bulawayo, the second largest city in the country.

“The story must be brought back home, the heritage must be brought back home. That is really our story. We are hearing these sentiments that the government is saying they must be brought back. This will dry our tears,” says Sango.

A photograph of Sango’s father, Livingstone, as a young boy hangs next to the painting.

Overall, the paintings vividly depict tales of African folklore as well as Bible stories in an arresting intersection of African tradition, history and Christianity introduced by Western settlers.

And the artworks quickly won admirers, including Britain’s King George VI, who visited the school in 1947.

A collection of the work created at Cyrene school between 1940 and 1947 was sent overseas to be shown in London, Paris, and New York.

Many paintings were sold and helped to fund the school.

Later the paintings were stored in the basement of St. Michael’s and All Angels Church in London and over time they were forgotten.

“This is a collection of lost Zimbabwean artworks from the 1940s from an Anglican Mission School in Cyrene, called the Cyrene Mission School,” says Lisa Masterson, curator and director of art exhibition.

“It was opened and started by a visionary art teacher called Canon Ned Patterson. It is basically the first school in Zimbabwe (then colonial Rhodesia) to offer art as a compulsory subject to young Black students in the 1940s and Ned Patterson was a true believer that art could unite people. And that no matter what people saw in an artwork, it didn’t matter what color you were, or where you came from or what tribe you were from, art was a unifying factor.”

The artworks were rediscovered by a Zimbabwean who recognized the name Cyrene on the boxes when the church was being deconsecrated, according to a press release by the organizers of the exhibition.

He brought the paintings to the attention of others who realized they’d stumbled across a treasure trove of art.

“The Stars are Bright” exhibition has returned the paintings to the country, where many Zimbabweans will see them for the first time.

Photographs of some of the artists as young boys are displayed alongside the paintings.

“It’s a completion of my history as a Damasane to know the stories that my grandfather would tell through painting, through his artworks,” says Nomashekawazi Damasane, granddaughter of one of the artists.

“It’s also very important for me as an artist, as a creative, to know that our artwork is coming back home because it allows for people to know that it did not just start now. People started doing art way back. So it’s really important and I’m very pleased and grateful that this artwork is coming back where it belongs, to the people that it belongs to, and we the third and fourth generation of these amazing artists can actually see what our forefathers did before we were born.”

Many students from Cyrene school went on to become artists, teachers and professionals, despite the restrictions of white-minority-ruled Rhodesia.

In 2020, “The Stars Are Bright” exhibition showcased the works at the Theatre Courtyard Gallery in London.

Now, the full exhibit has come back home to acclaim.

Coming amid growing calls for the repatriation of African art to the continent, some say the Cyrene paintings should return to Zimbabwe permanently.

The organisers say they are negotiating with the Curtain Foundation, owners of the collection, for the permanent repatriation of the works.

The exhibition will be on until late October.


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Arts & Culture: Horniman Museum to return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in southeast London said that it would transfer a collection of 72 items to the Nigerian government.

The decision comes after Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments formally asked for the artifacts to be returned earlier this year and following a consultation with community members, artists, and schoolchildren in Nigeria and the U.K., the museum said.

“The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria,” Eve Salomon, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “The Horniman is pleased to be able to take this step, and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer-term care for these precious artifacts.”

The Horniman’s collection is a small part of the 3,000 to 5,000 artifacts taken from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897 when British soldiers attacked and occupied Benin City as Britain expanded its political and commercial influence in West Africa.

The British Museum alone holds more than 900 objects from Benin, and National Museums Scotland has another 74. Others were distributed to museums around the world.

The artifacts include plaques, animal and human figures, and items of royal regalia made from brass and bronze by artists working for the royal court of Benin.

Countries including Nigeria, Egypt and Greece, as well indigenous peoples from North America to Australia, are increasingly demanding the return of artifacts and human remains.

Nigeria and Germany recently signed a deal for the return of hundreds of Benin Bronzes. That followed French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision last year to sign over 26 pieces known as the Abomey Treasures, priceless artworks of the 19th century Dahomey kingdom in present-day Benin, a small country that sits just west of Nigeria.

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Blinken visits Rwanda, DR Congo, meet leaders to end regional crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to begin talks to ease the tension over fighting in eastern Congo. Blinken, speaking in Rwanda Thursday, said he also raised human rights concerns and the detention of U.S. permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina.

Blinken said the presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Paul Kagame, and Felix Tshisekedi, respectively, have agreed to open direct communications aimed at ending tensions in eastern Congo.

The two leaders have accused each other of supporting rebel groups in the chronically volatile region.

Blinken in his address warned that supporting and cooperating with armed groups will endanger local communities and threaten central Africa’s stability. He urged the two countries to be respectful of each other’s territory.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the President's Office in Urugwiro Village in Kigali, Rwanda, Aug. 11, 2022.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left and meets with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the President’s Office in Urugwiro Village in Kigali, Rwanda, Aug. 11, 2022.
Blinken said both Kagame and Tshisekedi welcomed the United States’ support and committed to beginning processes toward achieving stability.

“Both presidents have agreed to engage in direct talks with each other,” Blinken said. “They are both ready to resume the talks in the context of the Nairobi process with armed groups, and both welcomed the continued U.S. engagement in support of African-led mediation efforts.”

The Nairobi process was an initiative by the outgoing president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, that brought the heads of states of East African countries together to find lasting solutions to the disturbances in eastern Congo.

Blinken also addressed issues surrounding Rwanda’s detention of U.S. permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving hundreds of people during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda.”

Blinken said he had expressed his candid views to Kagame and will continue to engage on the matter.

“We have been clear about our concerns related to Paul Rusesabagina’s trial and conviction, particularly the lack of fair trial guarantees,” Blinken said. “We continue to urge the government to address concerns about the legal protections afforded to him in his case and establish safeguards to prevent similar outcomes in the future.”

Rusesabagina was taken to Rwanda under false pretenses in 2020 and sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges last year.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said Thursday the government has broken no laws.

Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta speaks during a news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Kigali, Rwanda, Aug. 11, 2022.
 Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta speaks during a news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Kigali, Rwanda, Aug. 11, 2022.
“This was done lawfully under both Rwandan and international laws,” Biruta said. “Therefore, Rwanda will continue to abide by our laws and the decisions made by our judiciary, and we will request our partners to respect Rwanda’s sovereignty, Rwanda’s laws, and its institutions.”

Blinken emphasized the U.S. commitments to be equal partners with Rwanda in advancing shared priorities, tackling global challenges, and bettering the condition of the country’s citizens.

Source: VOA

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Sierra Leone: Dozens killed as protesters scamper for safety

Dozens died in anti-government protests in Sierra Leone on Wednesday, police and other sources said today, as shocked citizens mainly stayed behind closed doors in the capital Freetown.

Six police officers and at least 21 civilians were killed, the sources said, as hundreds took to the streets in frustration at economic hardship and a perceived failure by the government to cushion the impact of rising prices.

The unrest is highly unusual for Sierra Leone, especially in the West African country’s capital Freetown. A few people have been killed in isolated protests in other cities in recent years

One video verified by Reuters from Freetown showed a police officer firing a gun into a crowd.

Sulaiman Turay, a 19-year-old living in east Freetown, marched briefly before police started firing teargas and said he later saw demonstrators getting shot at from his porch.

“I think people are shocked. It’s not the country we know. Sierra Leone is a peaceful place,” he told Reuters.

President Julius Maada Bio said the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s events would be “fully investigated”.

Other verified images from Freetown showed clouds of smoke and teargas as large crowds threw rocks and burned tyres and armed officers patrolled the streets.

The protests were concentrated in the opposition’s northern heartland and the capital.

Long held in check, rising prices for basic goods have exacerbated the citizens’ frustrations in a country where, according to the World Bank, more than half the population of around 8 million live below the poverty line.

Wednesday’s death toll included two police officers killed in Freetown, three in the northern town of Kamakwie and one in the northern city of Makeni, police inspector general William Fayia Sellu told Reuters.

At least 13 civilians were shot dead in Freetown, said staff at the city’s main mortuary. Hospital sources said that four civilians were killed in Kamakwie and another four in Makeni.

An eerie calm had returned to Freetown on Thursday, residents said, as stores were closed and people stayed in out of fear of unrest.

The internet was cut for two hours on Wednesday and again overnight, according to internet observatory NetBlocks.

Police said a curfew would remain in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time from Thursday after the government imposed a 3 p.m. curfew on Wednesday in a bid to stem the violence.

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NBA star Biyombo visits DRC, rallies youngsters in Goma

On a visit to Goma, capital of Congo’s North Kivu province Saturday, Congolese NBA star Bismack Biyombo tried to bring a smile to the young people back home despite tension there.

The 29-year-old Phoenix Suns Center called on the Congolese to unite for the good of their country which has been suffering from armed conflicts for more than 20 years.

“It is good to be with them under this beautiful sun and motivate them because the reality is that I too was once like one of these children…. I believe that they are going to do better than what we are doing to live. They have to do it with our support,” said Biyombo.

“We learned a lot of his advice. He showed us how the life of basketball works. Most importantly, he encouraged us to keep pursuing our goal,” said Gloria Asifiwe, a 15-year-old basketball player from Goma.

Biyombo’s foundation supports communities in Congo through athletics, education, and health. The organization runs academies launched in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Kivu.

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Uganda: Youth call for tax waivers, prioritize measures for economic transformation

Youths from across the country have urged the government to waive taxes on youth enterprises that have been earmarked to benefit from the Parish Development Model (PDM).

The youths made this call during a plenary meeting of the Fifth National Youth Parliament where they observed that the PDM  design as it currently appears may not benefit them if they are to compete with other established enterprises.

“I am a farmer but you find the taxes on inputs are the same for us as the other established farmers. We would request that taxes are reduced for the youth,” said Jackline Namutebi from the central region.

Demos Pariyo Agamba from West Nile said many youth enterprises had collapsed because of high taxes which he said were discouraging. ”Do you know how many youth projects have died? We need a fair tax policy to protect youth enterprises,” said Agamba.

This country has youth leaders at all levels but when you go to the committees of PDM in different parishes there is deliberate efforts to sideline youth leaders

He appealed for tax holidays on youth projects to participate in PDM.

The Fifth National Youth Parliament was held on Friday, 05 August 2022.

The youth adopted passed a motion urging the government to prioritize measures for the economic transformation of young people through PDM.

The young people were concerned that they were not consulted on PDM, while some claimed that in some parishes there were no youth representatives on PDM committees.
“This country has youth leaders at all levels but when you go to the committees of PDM in different parishes there is deliberate efforts to sideline youth leaders from decision making,” said Prisca Akello, youth representative, Kitgum district.

The youth were also concerned that the money allocated to them in PDM was insufficient when other government youth livelihood programs have been phased out in favor of PDM.
“Even the 30 percent for the youth is not 30 percent of PDM money but a fraction of money meant for PDM groups,” said Vicky Namugabe from Sironko.

The Youth Parliament resolved that government either provides 30 percent of the total PDM budget to the youth or provides Shs100 billion as annual capitalization of the Youth Livelihood Fund.

The setting also passed a motion where youth urged the government to prioritize measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.



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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Arrives in South Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday, the first leg of his three-nation African tour.

In addition to South Africa, Blinken is also set to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Blinken is slated to deliver a major speech in South Africa on Monday on U.S. strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change, trade, health, and food insecurity will all be topics of discussion.

While in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, State Department officials say Blinken will work to reduce tensions between Congo and Rwanda. Congo has accused its neighbor of backing the M23 armed group, a charge Kigali denies.

In Rwanda, Blinken will raise the “wrongful detention” of U.S. permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina, according to the State Department. Rusesabagina’s actions helped save hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide and inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda.

His trip comes just days after the top Russian diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, completed his tour of the continent, where he defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blamed Western sanctions for Africa’s rising fuel and food costs. The United States has blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for driving up prices.

Political analysts say Africa has again become a battleground for influence and ideology decades after the end of the Cold War.

This is Blinken’s second trip to Africa as secretary of state, after visiting Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya in November.

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UN Women Representative Paulina Chiwangu officially assumes duty in Uganda

New UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu formally assumed duty Wednesday after presenting her credentials to Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon General Jeje Odongo.

The presentation took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and was witnessed by dignitaries from MOFA and the UN Women Uganda Country Office.

During the ceremony, the minister acknowledged the tremendous work by UN Women in supporting women’s empowerment and gender equality. The new country representative was commended on her impressive experience as well as having worked extensively in Uganda.

“Women in Uganda are still faced with many challenges, including the effects of COVID-19, challenges in externalized labour in the countries in which they work, and patriarchy which still make them lag behind. We want to work with UN Women to address the prevailing challenges in refugee settings and the externalization of labour. UN Women should work closely with the government to identify priority areas that can be worked on together,” Hon. Jeje Odongo said.

We want to work with UN Women to address the prevailing challenges in refugee settings and the externalization of labour

Ms. Chiwangu remarked on her warm welcome to Uganda, highlighting UN Women’s mandate to support all countries to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“Firstly, I congratulate Uganda and Brenda Akia for being voted onto the CEDAW committee, the first time a Ugandan has been elected to the committee. On behalf of UN Women, I pledge our close collaboration with her on CEDAW work. Further congratulations to the country on the launch of the Parish Development Model, and I commit support to ensure that it is successfully implemented,” she said.

Ms. Paulina Chiwangu holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and has over 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian work.

She has previously served as Deputy Country Representative with UN Women in South Sudan and as Deputy Country Representative for the UN Women Iraq Country Office, as well as Head of KRG Sub-Office.

Prior to her work with UN Women Iraq, she worked with UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina as Head of Gender Coordination for the UNDAF. She worked with UN Women in Serbia as interim Head of Office. Prior to that, she was heading the UN Inter-Agency Joint Programme on Gender Equality and she was the Acting Country Representative for UN Women office in Uganda for one year.

Before joining UN Women, she was the Head of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as the Public Relations Unit for UNDP’s Police Reform Programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has held positions in various Southern African countries as well as in the United States and Ireland.

The UN Women Country Representative is an accredited representative of the UN Women Executive Director and the Regional Director and is responsible for negotiations with the host country. The Country Representative also oversees relationships and activities with the government and other partners, provides security for UN Women personnel and facilitates functional common services arrangements with other UN agencies.

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