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Kenyans Flee Uganda Before Election Day

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  • A sizeable number of Kenyans are fleeing Uganda ahead of the general elections over fears of post-election violence, with Ugandans going to the polls, Thursday 14.   

    A report by The Standard stated that Kenyans who operate businesses in the capital city of Kampala, were making arrangements to have family members return to Kenya.

    Kenyans in Uganda have cited the increasing cases of election-related violence and the heightened tensions in the capital as some of the reasons they have decided to take shelter back in Kenya from Tuesday, January 12.

    Ugandan riot police officers detain a supporter of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine
    Ugandan riot police officers detain a supporter of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine
    File

    “Security agents have been brutal and lives have been lost since November in confrontations involving police and opposition supporters.

    “I have made up my mind to leave because we fear the situation could worsen,” stated one Kenyan planning to leave the country.

    A landlord in Kampala, whose flat had mostly been rented to Kenyans also confirmed that most of his tenants had exited the apartment without any guarantees of returning after the elections.

    “All six bedsitter houses are now empty. The tenants took away everything they own, meaning they might not be coming back anytime soon,” he observed.

    It is estimated that over 28 people have lost their lives to the violence since November 2020 Ugandan security forces and supporters of presidential opposition candidate Bobi Wine.

    Sporadic riots over the last few weeks have been sparked by the several arrests of Bobi Wine and his team. with the latest incidence having taken place at his home on Tuesday during a live interview with Kenyan radio station, Hot 96.

    Authorities, who are expecting post-election violence to erupt after the voting exercise slated for Thursday, January 14, have deployed security forces majorly in Kampala.

    Uganda nationals in Kampala have also reportedly been leaving for the village in fear of violence.

    “It is possible to prevent violence, but I don’t see a willingness from the different parties to prevent it. The discussions that would have defused the situation are not taking place,” Fred Muhumuza, a lecturer at the School of Economics at Uganda’s Makerere University told DW.

    On Wednesday, January 13, four Kenyans were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi while preparing to issue a statement regarding the tensions in Uganda ahead of elections. 

    Those arrested included Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, Beatrice Waithera, Ojiro Odhiambo and Yassah Musa.

    Activists arrested outside Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi on January 13, 2021
    Activists arrested outside Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi on January 13, 2021
    File
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    Kenya

    Lupita Has Been Unreachable for the Past 5 Years – CS Balala

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  • Tourism CS Najib Balala has explained why he appointed British Model, Naomi Campbell, as Magical Kenya International Tourism ambassador rather than the Kenyan award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. 

    The CS explained his decision while addressing researches at the Kenyatta University on Thursday, January 21. 

    A section of Kenyans had opposed the idea while others reserved their opinions. 

    Balala alleged that Lupita’s managers blocked Tourism officials from accessing her and that the saga dragged on for five years. 

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    Tourism CS Najib Balala addresses researchers at a conference at Kenyatta University on Thursday, January 21, 2021
    Twitter

    “I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for her,” Balala explained. 

    He added that Naomi Campbell was free and loved the idea of marketing Kenya. 

    The Ministry came up with a concept of how to work around Campbell and will unveil details on how she would be used to promote the industry. 

    Balala further defended his decision by saying that he had appointed other Kenyan celebrities such as Eliud Kipchoge as brand ambassadors. 

    Campbell, 50, praised the country’s improvement of infrastructure at the Coast including the upgrading of Malindi Airport to International standards adding that this would boost tourism in the region.

    Kenya Tourism Federation Chair, Mohammed Hersi, disclosed that the model will not charge the Kenya Tourism Board for her services as Kenyans had assumed. 

    “If we were to pay Naomi, she would wipe a good chunk of our destination marketing budget. Those who think we paid millions to get her…I can bet we paid nothing

    “When you reach Lupita’s level, agents run the show, they monetize every single move. Even the father who is Governor of Kisumu cannot use her image to promote the county,” he explained.

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    Tourism CS Najib Balala with British Model Naomi Campbell in Kenya on January 12, 2021
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    Kenya

    Google Shuts Down Service in Uhuru's Project

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  • President Uhuru Kenyatta’s project to provide internet connectivity in Kenya is in limbo after the shut down of Google’s Loon project.

    The announcement was made on Friday, January 22 by tech expert Astro Teller who is in charge of the project that was under Google’s mother company, Alphabet. It was carried out in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Telkom Kenya. 

    The high-altitude stratospheric balloons provide internet access by creating an aerial wireless network, registering speeds of up to 1 Mbps.

    A high altitude WiFi internet hub, a Google Project Loon balloon, on display.
    A high altitude WiFi internet hub, a Google Project Loon balloon, on display.
    YouTube
    Flickr | btwashburn

    The company cited that the Loon project was no longer commercially viable, adding that the exit was already in progress. 

    “A small group of the Google Loon team will stay to ensure Loon’s operations are wrapped up smoothly and safely – this includes winding down Loon’s pilot service in Kenya,” Teller announced.  

    Loon launched its first commercial internet service in Kenya in July 2020, consisting of a fleet of about 35 balloons that covered an area of around 50,000 square kilometres.

    President Kenyatta had taken a special interest in the project and was hopeful that the new development would enable Kenya to retain her competitive advantages in ICT and innovation.

    “In that regard, and to foster communication and enable Kenyans to retain and enhance remote access to the offices and enterprises, my administration has granted approvals that will ensure universal 4G data coverage throughout Kenya,” said the President at State House.

    The Google representative thanked Kenya for providing the opportunity to offer its innovation and internet connectivity through the Loon project.

    “Although Loon is going away, our commitment to connectivity isn’t. Today we’re pledging a fund of Ksh1 billion to support nonprofits and businesses focussed on connectivity, internet, entrepreneurship and education in Kenya,” he added. 

    In August 2020, one of the balloons deployed to Kenya crashed in Congo, sparking a flurry of chatter and speculation, including claims that it was a UFO.

    A spokesperson for the Google subsidiary, however, stated that the balloon was deployed in the initial testing phase and was not among those providing commercial internet access.

    Google Headquartes in San Jose, Carlifonia
    Google Headquarters in San Jose, California
    File
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    Kenya

    Kalonzo at DCI Headquarters

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  • Wiper Democratic Leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Friday, January 22 presented himself at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu road.

    The Wiper leader is expected to record a statement over claims peddled against him that he grabbed a 200-acre piece of land belonging to the National Youth Service (NYS).

    The remarks were made by Deputy President William Ruto in Bomet last Friday.

    Kalonzo has since termed the allegations as propaganda describing himself as a person of high moral and ethical standards.

    He added that the move by the DP was aimed at assassinating his character.

    More to follow…

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