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Archive for Kenya

Newsline: Kenyan court convicts Venezuelan diplomat for envoy’s murder

A Kenyan court on Wednesday found a Venezuelan diplomat guilty of murdering the Latin American nation’s acting ambassador a decade ago at her home in an upmarket Nairobi neighbourhood. Dwight Sagaray, who was the first secretary at the embassy, was found guilty of the May 2012 killing of Olga Fonseca, Judge Roselyn Korir said in her ruling. Sagaray could be tried for the murder because he did not enjoy diplomatic immunity after Venezuela waived it following the crime, the court ruled. Sagaray will be sentenced at a later date, the judge said. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/kenyan-court-convicts-venezuelan-diplomat-envoys-murder-2023-01-25/) Fonseca was found strangled in her bedroom less than two weeks into her posting to Nairobi, which followed the abrupt departure of the previous ambassador after he was accused by his domestic staff of sexual harassment. Sagaray, who had been heading the mission before the arrival of Fonseca, was angered by her presence since he wanted to continue overseeing the embassy, the court found.

Newsline: US embassies in Africa speak up on police killing

As Minneapolis burns over the police killing of George Floyd and shock and disappointment in Africa grow, some U.S. embassies on the continent have taken the unusual step of issuing critical statements, saying no one is above the law. The statements came as the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemned the “murder” of Floyd and said Friday the continental body rejects the “continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the USA.” Africa has not seen the kind of protests over Floyd’s killing that have erupted across the United States, but many Africans have expressed disgust and dismay, openly wondering when the U.S. will ever get it right. Mindful of America’s image on a continent where China’s influence has grown and where many have felt a distinct lack of interest from the Trump administration in Africa, some U.S. diplomats have tried to control the damage. The ambassador to Congo, Mike Hammer, highlighted a tweet from a local media entrepreneur who addressed him saying, “Dear ambassador, your country is shameful. Proud America, which went through everything from segregation to the election of Barack Obama, still hasn’t conquered the demons of racism. How many black people must be killed by white police officers before authorities react seriously?” The ambassador’s response, in French: “I am profoundly troubled by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Justice Department is conducting a full criminal investigation as a top priority. Security forces around the world should be held accountable. No one is above the law.” (https://www.startribune.com/in-unusual-move-us-embassies-in-africa-speak-up-on-floyd/570889852/) Similar statements were tweeted by the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Uganda, while the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya tweeted a joint statement from the Department of Justice office in Minnesota on the investigation.

Newsline: Kenya Embassy to Evacuate Its Citizens From China at Their Own Cost Amid Rising Racial Tension

The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive economic and cultural shift across the world. In China, which is where the novel coronavirus is believed to have infected the first human, some restrictions are starting to be relaxed. However, in fear of a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese establishments have been targeting African migrants and African American tourists. Africans have been refused entry to establishments and are being evicted from hotels and their homes by landlords. According to the notice issued by officials at the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing, the government told Kenyans in China to be ready to buy a ticket out of China and to send their information via its online platform to be helped out of the country through Guangzhou. “This situation has been extremely worrisome to all of us. The reality is that this has been a very unfortunate outcome. “Africans, Kenyans included, have been discriminated against in the process of [Guangdong provincial] government’s response to mop up the situation that they are facing there, post-crisis,” Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau told a media briefing on Tuesday. (https://www.blackenterprise.com/kenya-embassy-to-evacuate-its-citizens-from-china-at-their-own-cost-amid-rising-racial-tension/) The notice continued on to mention that Kenyans will be evacuated as long as they can pay their own ticket, adding that those Kenyans will have to prove they are free of the coronavirus disease and they will have to be certified by Chinese medical authorities. Once they arrive in the country, they will be forced into quarantine for 14 days upon landing in Nairobi.

Newsline: Kenya to open embassy in Jakarta in 2020

The government of Kenya plans to open an embassy in Jakarta in 2020, according to the Kenyan cabinet secretary of foreign affairs, Monica Juma. This was revealed by Juma during a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi on the sidelines of the 12th Bali Democracy Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali. “Preparations are being made and hopefully by mid-2020 the Kenyan Embassy in Jakarta will be opened,” Retno said. Kenya’s mission to Indonesia is currently led by a non-resident envoy based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/12/06/kenya-to-open-embassy-in-jakarta-in-2020.html) Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Kenya began in 1979 and a few years after that, in 1983, Indonesia opened its embassy in Nairobi.

Newsline: Property spat strains already frayed Kenya-Somalia relations

A Kenyan contractor has accused the Somali Embassy in Nairobi of detaining and torturing a process server who attempted to deliver court filings from an ongoing suit, further straining frayed diplomatic relations between the two countries. Amos Mutambu claims to have been stopped from leaving the Somali Embassy in Nairobi moments after he had served the consulate with court papers at their offices off Dennis Pritt road in Nairobi, on September 2. He has made the detention claims in court filings as well as in a protest letter sent on September 4 to the Kenyan Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary, Monica Juma. (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Property-spat-strains-already-frayed-kenya-somalia-relations/4552908-5272896-g4e6b5/index.html) Mr Mutambu had been sent by HMS Advocates to deliver pleadings in a court dispute between a Kenyan contractor and the Embassy, arising from alleged renovation works carried out on an old Somali government-owned property in Nairobi.

Newsline: Iran recalls ambassador to Kenya over court case

Iran recalled its ambassador to Kenya because of a court decision upholding sentences for two Iranians in jail, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Sunday, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-kenya-court-case/iran-recalls-ambassador-to-kenya-over-court-case-idUSKCN1QY0T2) Iran also lodged a formal complaint with the Kenyan ambassador in Tehran on Saturday because of the Kenyan court decision in the case of Ahmad Abolfathi and Seyed Mansour Mousavi. In 2016, a Kenyan judge reduced the life sentences given to the two Iranians convicted of planning bomb attacks to 15 years. The case raised concerns about possible Iranian plans to strike targets in the east African nation.

Newsline: Iranian ambassador to Kenya caught up in criminal investigation

Iran’s ambassador to Kenya is under criminal investigation over a plot to free two terror suspects from police custody, local Kenyan media reported. Ambassador Hadi Farajvand is suspected of looking for high-level contacts in government to help him release Iranian nationals Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi. The men are thought to be members of the Quds Force. https://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/iranian-ambassador-to-kenya-caught-up-in-criminal-investigation-1.830306) The two Iranians were arrested in 2012, when they travelled to Kenya as tourists. They were sentenced to life in prison in 2013, after being accused of plotting a terror attack in the African country. Their sentences were later reduced to 15 years in the court of appeal. They were then released after three judges appealed that sentence, but the appeal was challenged in the Supreme Court. The Kenyan authorities decided to hold the suspects util a final verdict. Police believe it’s the long-winded process in the Kenyan courts that led the Iranian diplomat to seek other ways to ensure the two citizens release. Authorities think the ambassador may have turned to two Kenyans who claimed to be interior ministry officials to help him secure the release of his countrymen.

Newsline: Somalia Moves to Calm Diplomatic Tensions With Kenya

The Somali government has moved to calm diplomatic tensions following Kenya’s decision to recall its ambassador to Mogadishu and instruct Somalia’s ambassador to leave Nairobi (https://www.voanews.com/a/somalia-moves-to-calm-diplomatic-tensions-with-kenya/4790876.html). The two counties are embroiled in a dispute over their maritime territorial boundary. The area in question covers an estimated 100,000 square kilometers of the Indian Ocean; the land beneath it purportedly holds large deposits of oil and gas. In a statement, the Somali government denied that it had auctioned off exploration rights at a Feb. 7 Somalia oil and gas conference in London, saying it had merely presented maps and seismic surveys. The government also said it would not undertake any other unilateral action in the disputed territory until the case is decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. A court date has not yet been set.

Newsline: Kenya recalls ambassador to Somalia over water rights clash

A top Kenyan official says the country has recalled its ambassador to Somalia and told the Somali ambassador to leave over an alleged land grab by Somalia. Foreign Affairs Principle Secretary Macharia Kamau said Saturday the recall is a consequence “of a most regretful and egregious decision by the government of Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders Somalia.” (https://apnews.com/0186d0253d6c4b4f9a37a5a02371e426). Kenya and Somalia are embroiled in a legal tussle at the International Court of Justice over their territorial waters in the Indian Ocean. Kenyan troops are part of the African Union force bolstering Somalia’s weak government against an extremist insurgency.

Newsline: US Embassy guards demand overtime pay in Kenya

Kenya Kazi Security guards attached to the United States Embassy in Nairobi have protested against the company’s move to “unfairly dismiss” them for demanding overtime arrears. The 358 guards are demanding more than Sh1 billion in arrears. In a press statement, the guards claim that on January 23, the federal government of the United States released $1.1 million to be paid to them. The management has not made the payments but instead summarily dismissed them, they said. They said that on March 26, 2013, Justice James Rika delivered a ruling awarding them overtime and commuter allowances among other benefits. The KK company on December 5 last year partly honoured the verdict by paying them commuter arrears totaling to Sh132,500 per guard. With the overtime arrears now pending, the guards engaged the management to give them a formula on how they were going to settle the pending overtime allowance arrears.