Former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi died aged 95, leaving behind a country still riddled by corruption that became rampant during his rule over the East African nation from 1978 to 2002.
Usually pictured carrying an ivory baton, Moi was Kenya’s longest serving leader. Critics described him as a virtual dictator, but despite its poverty Kenya was more stable than many other countries in the region emerging from colonial rule.
Moi succeeded statesman and independence leader Jomo Kenyatta, having served as his vice president. Diplomats said he was transformed from a cautious, insecure leader into a tough autocrat following an attempted coup after four years after he came to power.
He set up torture chambers in the basement of Nyayo House, a government building in Nairobi’s city center that now houses the immigration department.
Thousands of activists, students and academics were held without charge in the underground cells, some of them filled with water. Prisoners were sometimes denied food and water, rights groups say.
He won elections in 1992 and 1997 amid divided opposition. But he was booed and heckled into retirement when term limits forced him to step down in 2002 and lived quietly for years on his sprawling estate in the Rift Valley.
SCANDALS AND POLITICS
Born a cattle herder’s son in a village 200 km (125 miles) northwest of Nairobi in 1924, Moi was a headmaster before entering politics in the 1950s.
He succeeded in keeping Kenya relatively stable compared to many of its troubled neighbors, worked for regional peace and eventually introduced political pluralism.
But he floundered badly on the economy, failing to tackle deepening poverty and rampant graft.
One major scandal on his watch, “Anglo Leasing”, began in the 1990s and involved state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars being awarded to non-existent firms. Another scam, “Goldenberg,” led to the loss of at least $1 billion from the central bank money via compensation payments for bogus gold and diamond exports.
The economy nosedived in the late 1990s as tea and coffee prices slid. Donors froze lending, citing graft concerns. Crumbling infrastructure scared off investors.
Moi pulled the strings of Kenya’s tribal politics throughout his rule, despite having an uncharismatic presence, and was often underestimated by less canny opponents.
He belonged to the small Kalenjin tribe but kept control through links to other small tribes, exploiting their fear of domination by large communities such as Kikuyus and Luos.
He resented the Kikuyus’ attempts to block his appointment as president when Kenyatta died and made scores of prominent business and political appointments from his ethnic group.
SING LIKE A PARROT
Kenya’s only coup attempt did immense damage to the country’s reputation for stability and Moi soon changed the constitution to legalize de-facto one-party KANU rule.
Moi retained symbols of democracy such as regular parliamentary elections but critics said government interference was so pervasive that Kenya was a virtual dictatorship.
He chipped away at parliament’s authority and exercised almost unlimited power. “Everyone should sing like a parrot after me,” was one of his frequent sayings.
Moi barely survived demands for his resignation over the 1990 murder of Foreign Minister Robert Ouko, a key Luo leader. In 2010, a government inquiry into the death, presented to parliament five years after it was written, said the murder was carried out in one of Moi’s official residences.
Under international attack for rights abuses and corruption, Moi announced in 1991 that multi-party polls would be held for the first time in 25 years. But the opposition remained divided.
In 2002, Moi surprised all observers by allowing free elections that dealt his youthful protege Uhuru Kenyatta a crushing defeat.
“That is the way democracy goes,” Moi said after results were announced.
Kenyatta, son of the country’s first president, was finally elected president in 2013 and is serving his second and final term.
Even though Kenyan prosecutors are still pursuing graft cases dating back to Moi’s time, he was often seen as a respected elder statesman. His style softened markedly in his last days in office.
“I forgive those who have hurled insults at me,” Moi said in his last national day speech in 2002. “If I have said anything that has hurt your heart, forgive me.”
Nigeria set to apply for another $3bn Chinese loan, Amaechi reveals
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that the Nigerian government is about to borrow another $3billion from China.
This is coming at a time when there are controversies trailing the Federal Government’s planned securement of $500million loan from China.
The House of Representatives had raised an alarm over clauses in Article 8 (1) of the Commercial Loan Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.
In the said agreement, Nigeria stands to concede her sovereignty to China should there be a default in the repayment of the $400million for the Nigerian National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone phase 2 project signed in 2018.
Part of the agreement said that:
“The borrower hereby irrevocably provides waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration pursuit to Article 85 thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award pursuit thereto except for the military asset and diplomatic asset.”
However, Amaechi, while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, explained that he told the National Assembly members not to probe the loan issue too much in order not to scare the lender.
He noted that the country might lose a chance of getting another $3billion loan which the Nigerian government planned to use in executing the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“The reason why I said that is because we have already applied for $5.3billion to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano. We are about applying for about $3billion to execute the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
Amaechi, however, stated that the lawmakers approved the loans that have generated many controversies.
He wondered why the same lawmakers who approved the loan were now questioning the same loan and the terms of the loan having looked at it before.
“Don’t forget the National Assembly approved that loan. It is unconstitutional and impeachable if you take a loan without the approval of the National Assembly. So the same National Assembly that approved the loan is now questioning the same loan and the terms of the loan having looked at it before.
“If I am the lender, I will be worried. If they get worried, they will say ‘No, we will not approve the remaining loans you have applied for,” he said.
Chinese loans: $400m project abandoned after completion
The National Public Security Communication System project for which Nigeria took a $399.5million from China and has paid $76.83million as part of the principal as well as $84.92million interest has been abandoned.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari had, during the 2020 Democracy Day broadcast on June 12, said that the project had been revived, Nigerian Tribune findings show that the project has since been abandoned.
The President, in the 59th paragraph of the Democracy Day speech, had said, “Amongst others, Government has expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy.”
Nigeria had, in 2010, taken the $399.5million loan to finance the National Public Security Communication System project with the aim of improving the security architecture of the country.
The loan, for which the outstanding is $322.67million, is supposed to be fully repaid by 2030, failing which the China-Exim Bank would take over the facility. Experts are agreed that had the project been activated after completion, Nigeria could have stemmed the rising tide of crime and criminality in different parts of the country.
Nigeria has been at the mercy of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers who have repeatedly unleashed mayhem on many arts of the country. Just a few days back, the convoy of Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, was attacked by suspected militants. In June 2019, suspected kidnappers also attacked the convoy of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor.
However, it was hide and seek for the agencies directly linked with the National Public Security Communication System project on Tuesday as the Nigerian Tribune sought to get their views on the President’s comment that the project had been revived.
Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) spokesperson, Adamu Idris, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, said the agency did not know anything about the project.
“We were brought in after the project had been completed, we were not brought in at the design stage. We were supposed to run it on behalf of the government but it was not successfully executed. So, we are no longer involved.”
When asked to confirm the resuscitation of the project as said by the President, he said he did not know the current status of the project because his agency was no longer involved.
He then referred our correspondent to either the Ministry of Interior or the Police Affairs Ministry for further clarifications. The Ministry of Interior’s spokesperson, Mohammed Manga, declined comments because “I am not in the presidency, so I cannot make a comment about what the president said.”
He also declined to speak on the status of the project, saying “It is not domiciled in our ministry.” Seyi Odutayo, the Police Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, promised to get back to our correspondent after communicating with the relevant department but had yet to do so at the time of filing this report.
However, during a 2016 investigation by an Ad Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating the award of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, a former NigComSat MD, Mr Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, had said that the project was fully completed by the contractor, ZTE Nigeria Limited, but that the Federal Government failed to operate and maintain it.
According to Ahmed-Rufai,
“We had a team of 25 engineers that went to every location to verify different stages of the project. We issued Acceptance Certificates after which payments were made to the contractor. There were milestones that were all carefully and professionally observed by the project implementation team.
“As the Project Consultant, I stand by every payment that was made and every decision taken on the project. The project was completed, tested and every component was working.
“It is erroneous for anyone to call the project a CCTV project because the Video Surveillance System (VSS) is even less than 8 per cent of the project. There were five components and they were all completed.”
He added that while the project was fully completed, the Federal Government had failed to activate it, likening the situation to having a brand new car but failing to fuel it.
“They had to power down the backbone for the communication system because government was not forthcoming in maintaining and operating the system. It is a complete communication system, there were special phones for security agencies which some people decided to lock up somewhere.
“There were emergency communication vehicles, they were all delivered. People were trained, from the police and other agencies but somehow some people decided not to operate the system. Those cameras depend on a backbone that has over 670 base stations. Those BTS have to be powered for the cameras to work,” he said.
Similarly, ZTE MD, Mr. Hao Fuqiang, in his response to the House of Representatives’ 2016 investigation, said, “We have consistently maintained that the project was fully completed and final tests completed. The Acceptance Certificates are available for scrutiny.”
According to the ZTE MD, the project was not just about CCTV as it had five components. The Global Open Trunking Architecture (GoTa) Sub-system, which is the dominant component of the system, is a CDMA-based voice and data telecommunications system with national coverage. It operates through two Mobile Switch Centres (MSC) with one each in Lagos and Abuja; 12 Base Station Controllers (BSC), 675 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and 21 Microwave repeaters.
The Gota system supports the deployment of 1.5 million subscriber lines. The second component is the Video surveillance Subsystem. The system comprises of 2000 surveillance cameras with 1,000 each installed in Abuja and Lagos respectively.
The subsystem also makes use of solar solutions because of the electricity challenges in the country. The Video Conferencing subsystem provides a platform for real-time video conferencing for the Nigeria Police Force across all commands and the Force Headquarters.
The E-policing subsystem is meant to facilitate the deployment of E-policing databases, while the Coalition Emergency Response subsystem is a platform for national emergency communication using the shortcode of 911 for emergency and /distress calls and 912 for anonymous security information. It also empowers the security agencies to carry out a coordinated response.
The National Public Security Communication System project was initiated during the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua to curb insecurity in Abuja and Lagos as well as their environs.
FG rescues 30 Nigerian ladies stranded in Lebanon
Days after the video of 30 Nigerian ladies living in Lebanon pleading for assistance to return home went viral, the Federal Government has rescued them.
Recall that the ladies inside the viral video begged President Buhari and other well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid and rescue them.
This was contained in a statement released by the spokesperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM, Gabriel Odu on Tuesday, August 4.
Odu said the ladies are currently in a more conducive apartment and would be repatriated between August 12 and 16.
”They will be part of One Hundred and Fifty others trafficked and stranded in Lebanon to be evacuated back to Nigeria. The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM, led by the Secretary Engr. Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi visited the Embassy in Abuja.
Ambassador Diab stated that One Hundred and fifty girls will be returned home in batches.
The first batch of One Hundred and Ten(110) will leave Beirut, Lebanon on 12th, August, 2020 to Lagos while the Second Batch will be returned to Abuja on 16th, August, 2020.” the statement in part read
A break down showed that 41 of the girls hailed from Oyo State; Ogun, 21; Lagos, 12; Ondo, 18; Osun, 26; Imo, 3; Kwara, 9; Ekiti, 6; Delta 3 while Enugu, Kogi, Edo, Ebonyi, Benue, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Anambra had one each.
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