Barely 24 hours to the Kibra constituency by-election slated for November 7th, the High Court of Kenya has ordered that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) immediately release the voters’ register to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Justice James Makau ruled that in failing to provide an updated register, the IEBC had violated the rights of the party and contravened electoral laws of the land. The vote is occasioned by the death of sitting Member of Parliament Kenneth Okoth, who lost his battle to cancer in July 2019.
Through its lawyer Jackson Awele, the party had moved to court on Monday, citing legal and procedural violations by the commission as regards the upcoming electoral process.
It petitioned the court to order the electoral commission to publish the Kibra Constituency voters’ register on the commission’s online portal and in all polling stations as required by law.
According to the party, the names of several eligible voters were missing from the register. Kibra residents have also raised concerns that the register was unavailable for public review in designated polling stations.
As per the dictates of the Elections Act, 2011 6(2), the IEBC is required to avail the register for inspection by the public ahead of any polling exercise.
The Kibra constituency, situated within Nairobi County, is home to 178,000-odd people and comprises the Kibera slums as well as adjacent estates: It was hived from the larger Lang’ata constituency prior to the 2013 general election.
While it is a historical opposition and ODM stronghold, the by-election is expected to be hotly contested. 24 candidates are set to vie for the vacant National Assembly seat but it is, for all intents and purposes, a two-horse race between the Jubilee candidate and ex-Tottenham player, Mcdonald Mariga and ODM flagbearer, Imran Okoth, the late MPs brother.
Masiyiwa to Bid for Ethiopian Telecoms License
Zimbabwean Billionaire and founder of Econet Global Ltd, Strive Masiyiwa has disclosed his position on acquiring a telecommunications license in Ethiopia, which is opening up the industry to foreign investment for the first time.
The Horn of African country has announced plans to sell as much as 49% of the state-owned monopoly, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp and to issue two new spectrum licenses.
Carriers including Orange SA, MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd. have already shown interest in the country of more than 100 million people, which has a relatively low level of data penetration and internet access.
Econet, through a number of its subsidiaries, is actively developing interests in Ethiopia.
Econet has operations in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi, with investments in Europe and South America.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had scheduled the liberalization of the industry for early this year.
However, it is yet to provide guidance on the exercise, including any limits on foreign ownership.
Common Customs bond in East Africa will to reduce costs
Importers in East Africa will from July, operate under a common Customs bond, to guarantee uniform import duties and taxes across all partner states.
Currently, the value of Customs bonds varies from country to country because of the application of different duty rates, valuation and sensitivity of goods.
Kenya requires importers of transit goods to secure a Customs bond issued by an insurance company, while delicate or sensitive cargo requires a bank or cash guarantee. In Uganda and Rwanda, the Customs bond is issued by an insurance company with rates based on the taxes charged by the destination country.
According to the East Africa Community Single Custom Territory Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, the common Customs bond will reduce the cost of doing business and goods turnaround time.
This common Customs bond is expected to be adopted during the Council of Ministers in July as part of the pillar to create a Customs Union. It is meant to create a level playing field for the region’s producers by imposing uniform competition laws, Customs procedures and external tariffs on goods imported from countries outside the EAC.
To secure cargo movement in the region, revenue commissioners from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda in attendance, say they are already implementing cargo tracking systems and before the end of this year, there will be one data control centre to monitor and track cargo.
The new data control centre involves computerisation of all Customs systems and it will help in enhancing online tools, which include a regional dashboard, transport observatory system and a geographic information system.
A regional cargo tracking system is already operational on the Northern Corridor and has reduced cargo loss to close to zero in 2019.
According to the committee, the EAC secretariat in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa and other partner states particularly the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) are looking into the possibility of interfacing the TRA Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTs) platform with existing ECTS systems along the central corridor.
Kenya Revenue Authority regional co-ordinator Southern Region Kenneth Ochola said they are setting up internal mechanisms in consultations with the Kenya Bureau of Standards to monitor compliance.
Carrefour faces Kenyan fines over unfair supplier deals
Kenya’s competition watchdog has fined Carrefour and ordered the French retail giant to review all its supply agreements within 60 days after the supermarket chain was found to be exploiting traders who supply it with goods.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) also ordered Carrefour through its franchise holder, Majid al Futtaim’s (MAF) to expunge six items from its supplier contracts that are said to give the store the power to offer ultra-competitive pricing to boost sales and increase market share.
The clauses include forcing suppliers to pay a non-refundable fee to do business with it and forcing merchants offering the retail chain goods to provide extra rebates or discounts.
Carrefour was found to be in breach of the law for forcing suppliers to post their own staff at its outlets at the expense of the suppliers. It was also accused of rejecting goods already delivered.
The retail giant has also been barred from delisting suppliers unilaterally without notice for failure to meet its stringent supply contract.
According to the CAK Director-General, Wang’ombe Kariuki, all current supply agreements of Majid Al Futtaim Limited relating to its Carrefour Hypermarkets in Kenya be amended forthwith and in any event within 60 days of service of this order to expunge all offending provisions.
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