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Archive for the tag “non-governmental organisation”

Third term extravanganza in East Africa – Country for country

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In this day and age we have peoples in power who wish to stay there. They stay in power on overtime. They change the constitution and amendments to make sure that they can get re-elected. The irony is that many of this leaders accepted when they came into power the new constitutions and laws. After a while and their terms running out they have to switch the laws for their own purpose. The laws are supposed to be for the best of their countries and not one person or party. Therefore you see reactions in these nations as they see that their leaders continue at any cost. This makes people to react like they did in DRC in January while Joseph Kabila opted for a third term. The coup in Burundi was another type of reaction to their president Pierre Nkurunziza changed the law so he could run for a third term. Also the public reacted to it. It’s also happening in Rwanda where the RPF and their president Paul Kagame will change laws so he can run for a third term. They are following the suit of President Museveni in Uganda. Who came to power with the rifles in 1986 and made a constitution in 1995. And abolished the term limits in 2005. And is soon running again in 2016, in this piece I will describe the position of the countries land by land in the East Africa. This is from Burundi to Uganda.

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Burundi:

In the end of April in 2015 the Constitutional Court made an amendment that gave CNDD-FDD party flagbearer Pierre Nkurunziza an possibility to stand as a president for the third term. His first term was he selected by the parliament and not the people in 2005, the second term he was elected through elections in 2010. So this spring the President made moves to secure power again and break with the Arusha Agreement to secure himself more years as president of Burundi. There was supposed to be an election after the new amendment was passed this year. Parts of the military went on a coup d’etat when the President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania on an EAC conference. The Coup was squashed quickly. But the protest has continued. The election has been postponed. There has been refugees going to DRC, Tanzania and Rwanda following the protest against a third term for Pierre Nkurunziza. But the opposition and the protest against the third term has not stopped in the country since the last election. The violence between government army and the protesters are continuing. And the official election for his third term is still to come.

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Democratic Republic of Congo:

In Democratic Republic of Congo the son of the late assassinated Laurent-Desire Kabila, Joseph Kabila has been in charge since 2001. His first election was won in 2006. Already in 2011 he got won the election the second time. Now since the spring Joseph Kabila has worked on making sure he could get a third term. There been responses from opposition and NGOs. #Telema protest happened in January when the draft for third term was made. Still been silence from the government since then. But there has been movement again during late summer and July.

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Kenya:

In Kenya they got a new constitution in 2010. The constitution specifies that the President have a certain limit of two terms. The last President of Kenya was Mwai Kibaki he led the country from 2002-2007. He won the second election in 2007 that lasted to 2013. In 2013, some issues from the opposition to the winning election of Uhuru Kenyatta the son of the first president of the newly independent Kenya Jomo Kenyatta. So the Supreme Court handled the case and gave Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee Alliance their stamp on the first term for him. There are no current plans of changing the 2010 constitution to abolish or change the levels of terms for presidents in Kenya.

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Rwanda:

In Rwanda the RPA came to power after the genocide in 1994. After this the RPA became RPF is Rwandan Patriotic Front from the former Rwandan Patriotic Army. Paul Kagame was the Vice-President until 2000 when the National Assembly and government ministers elected him as president. In 2003 a new constitution came to force. Paul Kagame was relected in that year. Second election was in 2010 where he won in a landslide. Now he is working on tweaking the constitution to fix it so that Paul Kagame and the RPF can in power yet another term after next election.

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Tanzania:

Tanzania has a special place after Julius Nyerere was in charge of the country since independence from 1964 to 1985. The Constitution of Tanzania is from 1977. That says that the president can only be in charge for two terms of 5 years each. After Julius Nyerere reign this has been followed. The party that he started is still running the country. First was president after Nyerere was Ali Hassan Mwinyi from 1985 to 1995. After him came Benjamin Mpeka from 1995 to 2005. The recent President is stepping down Jakaya Kikwete after taking his two terms from 2005 to 2015. In the next election the Party of the Revolution (CCM) has choice been on the new president candidate John Magufuli. President Kikwete will not be like his neighbors who try to stay in power and make amendments to the constitution.

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Uganda:

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni came to power after a coup d’etat in 1986 to overthrow of Obote II and the interim government of Tito Okello who came with an army of rebels from Tanzania with support of Julius Nyerere. This was the NRA (National Resistance Army) who later became the NRM (National Resistance Movement). After being in power a long time the new constitution came into being 1995. The first presidential election in a one-part state was in 1996. The same was in 2001. Both of these elections President Museveni won landslides in the county. To change so that President Museveni could be voted in again, the Parliament abolished term limits that year and also opened for multiparty elections. In 2006 the first multiparty elections under the new regime happen and Museveni won a landslide in the election. The next election in 2011 was reported to be rigged by the regime and President Museveni won with 68%.. Right now he is preparing for yet another term as president of Uganda. After running the country since 1986 and he has “won” 4 elections and is making ready for his fifth. This election is going to be held in February 2016 and the nation is already gearing up for the primaries as we speak. In both the NRM party and also the opposition, though the Public Order Management Bill is putting restraint on dissidents from the NRM.

(This post was updated on 21.07.2015 – because of some wrong information. Its now corrected). Peace.

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Press Release: Right Of Reply: Joint Statement Of The Civil Society Organizations Reference Group (CSORG), Inter Religious Council Of Kenya (IRCK), And The National Council Of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs Council) On The Proposed Amendments To The Public Benefits Organizations ACT, 2013

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THE Civil Society Organizations Reference Group (CSORG), Inter Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK), and the National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs Council) are perturbed by a statement released by the NGOs Co-ordination Board to the media to the effect that jointly with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning; the Board has submitted proposed amendments to the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act, 2013 to the National Assembly.

EQUALLY disturbing is the claim in the statement that the Task Force on the Proposed Amendments to the PBO Act recommended that the law be amended before its operationalization.

WE wish to state that the overarching recommendation of the Task Force as indeed the overwhelming views collected from stakeholders and the general public is that the  2013 Act be implemented without any further delay considering that it was debated, approved and enacted into law by retired President H.E. Mwai Kibaki on January 14, 2013.

Indeed, in all the public hearings that the Task Force conducted throughout the country, all presentations and memoranda submitted by the various stakeholders were unanimous that only immediate implementation of the Act will help consolidate the gains that Kenyans have made in the exercise of their constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of expression, association and participation in the management of public affairs.

In addition to having representation in the Task Force, The CSORG attended and documented on video and audio ALL its regional and stakeholder meetings apart from a meeting with Members of National Assembly. The CSORG has developed a shadow report based on this documentary evidence. The report demonstrates an overwhelming majority of Kenyans asking for the commencement of the Act without any amendments.

IT is quite telling that while the NGOs Coordination Board went out of its way to enumerate some of the organizations that were represented in the Hon. Sophia Abdi Task Force on the Proposed Amendments to the PBO Act, the Executive Director of the NGOs Coordination Board, Fazul Mohammed found it convenient not to point out that he was the representative of the Board in the Task Force as an interested party and, as such, lost the moral ground to spearhead the implementation of the Act that has been unnecessarily delayed for more than two years.

One of the cardinal values and principles of governance articulated in Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that binds all State organs, including State and Public Officers of who the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, Hon. Anne Waiguru and the NGOs Coordination Board Executive Director Fazul Mohammed are an integral part is accountability.

YET despite the clarity of such constitutional ethos of governance, the Cabinet Secretary has once again chosen not to be guided by the obviously compelling right of the public whose resources were spent on the Task Force to make the report public, in complete and arrogant defiance of Article 35 on the right of the public and stakeholders to information.

The CSORG, IRCK, and the NGO Council wish to point out that right from the time of their appointments, the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning and the Executive Director of the NGOs Coordination Board have acted with such impunity against the civil society as though they are above the law, including the supreme law of the land.

A case in point is the obtaining situation at the NGOs Coordination Board where the term of all Directors save for that of the Executive Director expired in March 2015 yet Fazul Mohammed has the audacity to claim that the “Board reviewed the Task Force Report and recommendations and has since forwarded the proposed amendments to the Attorney General and the Clerk of the National Assembly for inclusion in the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2015”.

Mr. Fazul Mohammed owes the public an explanation as to who else, other than himself, sat in the Board that “reviewed the Task Force report and its recommendations and forwarded the proposed amendments to the AG and the Clerk of the National Assembly for inclusion in the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2015”. His eloquence when deregistering NGOs for not abiding by “due process” is not matched by due diligence when he purports to be executing decisions of a board that does not exist!

It is the position of the CSORG, IRCK, and the NGOs Council that any decisions that the NGOs Coordination Board has made after the expiry of the term of the Board, including the alleged deregistration of some NGOs, are null and void as it is only the Board that is mandated by the law to make public policy decisions.

The letter and spirit of the NGO Coordination Act of 1990 that established the NGO Coordination Board did not envisage the situation now obtaining at the Board, where one man – Fazul Mohammed sits with the Secretariat and claims that whatever decision is made at such staff meeting is a decision of the Board. There cannot be a Board without directors and Fazul Mohammed should be aware that whatever decisions he claims to have been made by the Board are challengeable in Court.

WE, THE CSORG, IRCK, and the NGOs Council wish to reiterate our demand that the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning comes out of her self-constructed cocoon of impunity and make the report of the Task Force on the Proposed Amendments to the PBO Act public.

It is only through the immediate commencement of the Public Benefits Organizations Act without unwarranted State-instigated amendments that the civil society can consolidate the gains and deepen its collaboration and respectful partnership with the government in serving the public. Immediate implementation of the law will also go a long way in unshackling the NGOs Coordination Board from the current shenanigans and the one-man show that it has become after the expiry of the term of its previous Board of Directors.

Press Release: The East African Community and IUCN establish framework for Obeservatory for Protected Areas (05.06.2015)

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Press release: The African Union Strongly Condemns the Acts of Violence in Burundi (25.05.2015)

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Press Release: High Level Mission calls for more Humanitarian engagement in Chad

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