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Forced evictions render 5,000 Kenyan slum dwellers homeless amidst Covid-191 minute read

Rights groups secured a court injunction stopping the demolition the following day, but authorities proceeded with the forced evictions regardless, Ruth Mumbi, a human rights activist said.

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Human rights activist, Ruth Mumbi on Wednesday said authorities ordered bulldozers into the Kariobangi informal settlement in northeast Nairobi on Monday, demolishing some 600 homes and forcefully evicting at least 5,000 people./Twitter: Amnesty International, Kenya

Thousands of Kenyans have been highly exposed to COVID 19 after authorities demolished their houses in the midst of the pandemic.

According to human rights activists, Ruth Mumbi on Wednesday, authorities ordered bulldozers into the Kariobangi informal settlement in northeast Nairobi on Monday, demolishing some 600 homes and forcefully evicting at least 5,000 people – including many single mothers and children.

“We are in a serious crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic so evicting people from their homes and their only place of safety at this moment is wrong,” Mumbi told Reuters.

She further explained that the state-run Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NSWSC) claims ownership of the land which it says has been illegally occupied since 2008. Evicted residents say they bought the land from the city council and have documents to prove it.

“The government is talking about ‘flattening the curve’ and ‘slowing the spread’ of the virus, but at the same time it is compromising the lives of 5,000 people. God forbid, if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in this locality, no one will be safe.”

Residents were given verbal notice of the demolition on Saturday, said Mumbi.

Rights groups secured a court injunction stopping the demolition the following day, but authorities proceeded with the forced evictions regardless, she added.

Also, John Githongo, a renowned Kenyan Journalist took to social media to lament, saying “that the demolition of the homes of over 5,000 residents of Kariobangi North Ward in Embakasi North can take place in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic lockdown demonstrates an official callousness and disregard for the lives and basic dignity of Kenyans that is staggering.”

Kenya’s interior ministry, water ministry and NSWSC did not immediately respond to calls or emails requesting comment.

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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