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Safeguarding the rights of the girl child

The Sexual Offences Act stipulates that persons under the age of 18 years are considered children and therefore cannot give consent

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Photo credit: Inkl

In Kenya, three Court of Appeal judges, Daniel Musinga, Roselyn Nambuye and Patrick Kiage, are angling for an amendment of the Sexual Offences Act. The proposal is aimed at reducing the age of consent from 18 to 16 years. The discussion highlights the issue of predatory exposure and the role of society in protecting the rights of children.

The Judges argue that the supposed ‘victims’ are well aware of what they were doing. Citing the fact that the Kenyan prisons well full with unsuspecting young men who erroneously slept with 18 year old girls who may or may not have given off the impression that they were of age. The Judges are of the opinion that the young girls may not have attained the age of maturity, but they may well have reached the age of discretion to make intelligent and informed decisions.

To further buttress their stance, they cited the case of Eliud Waweru, a man imprisoned after he impregnated a girl who had just completed high school. Waweru was detained and charged after he failed to pay the dowry agreed upon with the girls’ parents. The Judges argued that he’d have been off the hook if he committed to marriage, but failure to commit saw him on the wrong side of the law.

The Sexual Offences Act, enacted in 2006, is a landmark law aimed at reducing the advent of sexual abuse, harassment and violence, as well as early and forced child marriages. It stipulates that persons under the age of 18 years are considered children and therefore cannot give consent. It is therefore a crime for anyone to engage in sex with a child.

Priscilla Nyokabi, the Nyeri Women Representative in 2017, after the initial amendment to reduce the age of consent was rejected, argued that biological and social maturity are mutually exclusive. Continuing, she expressed that the overall intent of the law was to protect women, children, boys and girls.

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Feature News

Triple Zimbabwean National Heroes Burial for SB Moyo, JB Matiza, Zimondi

The passing of the senior government officials after testing Covid-19 positive sparked national outrage following accusations by information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana that ‘some medical assassins’ were responsible for the deaths.

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Zimbabwe will have a historic triple national hero burial for the first time ever to bury three senior government officials who died from Covid-19 last week.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to preside over the burials of Foreign Affairs Minister retired Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Busi  Moyo, former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) boss, retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi and the late Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza set for interment at the National Heroes Acre in Harare Wednesday.

The burial of the three men, who succumbed to Covid-19 last week, will be the first of burying more than two national heroes at the same time.

Last week, Mnangagwa also presided over the double burial of Manicaland provincial minister and Ellen Gwaradzimba and former deputy minister Morton Malianga.

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe announced the triple burial of Moyo, the Foreign Minister who died last Wednesday, Transport Minister Matiza and former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General, Zimondi who both died last Friday.

“They will all be buried on Wednesday at the National Heroes Acre. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and all the containment measures will be adhered to. These include limited numbers at the Heroes Acre to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” Kazembe said.

The passing of the senior government officials after testing Covid-19 positive sparked national outrage following accusations by information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana that ‘some medical assassins’ were responsible for the deaths.

The triple national hero burial comes just six days after the double national hero burial of the late Minister of State For Manicaland Province Ellen Gwaradzimba and late nationalist and former deputy finance minister Morton Dizzy Paul Malianga.  

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Nigeria Commences Assessment on First Made-in-Nigeria Helicopter

NASENI through reverse engineering, is leading Nigeria’s first manufacturing of non-commercial helicopter.

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The Nigerian government through its Ministry of Environment and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) have started Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the first ever Made-in-Nigeria helicopter.

NASENI through reverse engineering is leading Nigeria’s first manufacturing of non-commercial helicopter.  

Minister of Environment, Muhammad Abubakar said the EIA projects will be conducted to identify possible mitigation in the insulation of equipment on the project be it noise, solid and liquid pollutions.

Abubakar said this yesterday in Abuja when he received the management team from NASENI, led by the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, Mohammed Haruna.

He said, “Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is part of every endeavour on the planet but especially when you talk of aviation, there is a lot of impact on the environment from accidents in aviation, birds strike, noise, vibration, wastes that will be created etc.

“The EIA projects entail a number of things like project registration, site verification for project categorisation and screening environmental data collection and a lot more. It will identify possible mitigation in the insulation of abetment equipment whether noise, pollution both solid and liquid pollutants are all the EIA project will look at. Let me implore you to ensure that EIA is conducted on all your projects to enhance their sustainability.”

The EVC NASENI, Haruna explained that NASENI is trying the launch the first made-in-Nigeria aircraft and there are environmental regulations that the agency must adhere to.

He said, “… we must be accessed and permitted to test any engine in the environment. We have designed, developed and fabricated jet engines that EIA is being conducted by the Ministry of Environment and we want it to be fast tracked, we also want the Ministry to collaborate with us but supporting larger and mass production of our solar products which contributes to the reduction of emission. He further expressed optimism that Nigeria should have its first made-in-Nigeria aircraft by the end of 2021.

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East Africa News

Somali Government Intercept Smuggled Weapons, Ammunitions

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

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The Somali government has commenced investigations into the source and origin of certain sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country.

The country’s minister of information said there had been an attempt by Somali and foreign entities, to illegally import high caliber weapons and ammunition into the country without government knowledge and permission.

In a statement issued in the capita Mogadishu, the minister said “the federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from the point of procurement to post distribution, and it is these existing frameworks that have enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries.”

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the Somali government takes very seriously, violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilizing effects.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,” the report said.

Shortly after Somali plunged into civil war 25 years ago, The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on the nation.

The statement followed hours of fighting in the southern town of Beled Hawo between the security forces of Jubaland and and government forces as the two sides battled to take control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

The Somali government did however say its forces managed to repel the militia group, and managed to recover illegally imported arms and ammunition, also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

Bothe sides have reportedly suffered casualties, even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

This is not the first time that The Somali government and Jubaland forces will battle over that land. In March 2020, both forces were engaged in a similar battle to take control of the town.

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