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South Sudan Appoints Awut Deng Acuil as First Woman to Chair University Governing Council

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South Sudan has appointed Awut Deng Acuil to chair the governing council of the University of Bahr El-Ghazal.

Acuil, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from August 2019 until March 2020 and the current Minister of General Education and Instructions, became the first woman to be appointed to chair the governing body of a university.

Her appointment was announced in a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

The university was established in 1991, when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. The country gained its independence in 2011

Acuil was also the first woman to serve as South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

She relinquished the post following the appointment of a unity government in February to end the conflict between rival groups in South Sudan.

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Trade Union Heads to Court over Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that the South African government will be the sole buyer of the vaccines for the country

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Trade union Solidarity and civil society group AfriForum are instituting legal action against the government of South Africa over its proposed process for procurement and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines across the country.

AfriForum said the government must not be a monopoly in deciding who receives the vaccine and who does not. AfriForum and Trade Union Solidarity say they want to ensure a transparent process free from corruption or mismanagement.  They want a procedure that will not hamper those who seek to get the vaccines.

South Africa is set to take its first supply of one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in few days. It also expects half a milllion doses in February from the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Head of the Solidarity Research Institute Connie Mulder says, “We’re talking about the same government that cannot deliver tests to schools, that cannot supply power for our central provider and now they’re promising they will provide vaccines successfully”

Mulder explains further, that looking at the state’s history of failure, South Africa cannot allow the nationalisation of vaccines during a health crisis.  

Ernst van Zyl, campaign officer for Strategy and Content at AfriForum said

“AfriForum therefore seeks to prevent the potential abuse of government power as it relates to the buying and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, by fighting to allow the private sector to assist in this endeavour,”

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that the South African government will be the sole buyer of the vaccines for the country and that the Department of Health will liaise with suppliers to purchase stock in order to distribute to provincial health departments and the private health sector.

Mkhize explained that in order to effectively deal with the pandemic, “…the only protection is through vaccination…in terms of the department’s calculation, we need 67-70% of the population to be immunised to break the cycle of transmission – what is called the herd immunity.”

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Likoni Floating Bridge Officially Opens to the Public

The footbridge connecting Mainland south to Mombasa Island is the first pedestrian footbridge built at the Likoni crossing channel by the State Department of Infrastructure.

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The Likoni floating bridge constructed at a cost of Sh1.9 billion officially opened to the public on January 1. This is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on commissioning the project in December.

The footbridge connecting Mainland south to Mombasa Island is the first pedestrian footbridge built at the Likoni crossing channel by the State Department of Infrastructure.  

The project is expected to ease pressure at the Likoni ferries and end human congestion at the crossing channels.  Likoni county residents for the first time had the relief of cutting down the time between Likoni to Mombasa. Unlike using the ferries, the bridge is an easier way to connect to Mombasa town centre.

Regional Commissioner John Elungata and the police chief Gabriel Musau led other security officials to oversee movement as commuters plied the bridge which is only seven minutes to cross by foot.

Elungata urged members of the public to make use of the footbridge in order to decongest the overwhelmed Likoni ferries.  

Residents expressed excitement at the completion of the project and lauded the timely initiative by Government.

There are however concerns that the fate of the highly publicised Likoni cable car project initially meant to start in 2017 after receiving Cabinet approval may now be stalled. It was to be undertaken by Trapos Limited but encountered a lot of false starts.

With the commissioning of the Likoni bridge, the fate of the cable cars now hangs in the balance.

Transport Principal Secretary Solomon Kitungu explained that “The cable car is not necessarily to be substituted by the floating bridge. However, project sponsors will have to respond accordingly. If they find out that there is no market then they might not go on with it,”  

Last year, a Senate committee questioned the capacity of Trapos Limited to undertake the project and directed the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to cite similar projects the company had successfully completed.  

The cable system was designed for a total of 28 cabins and a maximum of 5,500 passengers per hour across the channel in three minutes and 40 seconds.

Elungata who was equally in the company of Kenya Ports Authority officials and Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) Engineers said that a standard operating procedure will be released on Monday next week because the bridge lies on a sea route used by marine vessels leaving and docking at the port of Mombasa.

The administrator said the engineers and other staffers are on training and will soon be deployed to take over the appropriate running of the bridge.

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East Africa News

Bobi Wine Blocked from Reaching Gomba

Police deployed heavy trucks to barricade the road thereby obstructing him and his campaign team at Kabasuma swamp from proceeding.

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The Ugandan Security operatives may have ruined a homecoming for National Unity Platform Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine as he headed to his ancestral home Wasindwa village, in Gomba.

For no known reasons, Police deployed heavy trucks to barricade the road thereby obstructing him and his campaign team at Kabasuma swamp from proceeding.

NUP supporters resorted to chanting and dancing while Bobi Wine rendered acapella of his ‘X- Mass Yo Mwaka’ song. 

“No explanation has been given why this is being done, for over an hour, we have been stuck on a roadblock, blocked from accessing Gomba where we are supposed to campaign today by the police and military under the command of Musoni Alphonse the Gomba DPC,” he explained.

Other travellers enroute Gomba suffered untold hardship as the gridlock swelled for hours. He complained that security operatives have deployed this method lately to delay them from reaching their campaign destination in good time. 

Earlier, Bobi Wine explained that on such a day, he would be going home to see “Maama and Taata back in Gomba to be received with hugs”.

“If you still have parents, this is the time to love them most,” he said in Luganda.

The 38-year-old Bobi Wine is seeking to dislodge Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s 35 years hold on power in next month’s election. He faces police suppression and an escalating campaign of repression.

The singer-turned-lawmaker, who currently serves as Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East constituency condemned the arrest of human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo during his campaigns yesterday in Mityana District.  

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