Kenyan Opposition: If No Dialogue, We’ll Inaugurate Odinga

NAIROBI Kenya’s opposition says it will proceed with its planned inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga as president if Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta does not convene a national dialogue. Kenyatta won October’s election after Odinga boycotted the vote, and experts warn that an opposition inauguration could create even more division in the country.

Deputy opposition leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who has been out of the country for three months caring for his sick wife, said the only thing that can stop the opposition inauguration is dialogue.

“I am telling my brother Uhuru Kenyatta if he is going to abdicate the responsibility of uniting this nation, he should not blame Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka when we will be sworn in,” Musyoka said.

The opposition boycotted the repeat October poll after the electoral commission failed to meet demands for reform. The Odinga and Musyoka team insists they won the earlier election in August, in which Kenyatta was declared the winner. That vote was nullified and the Supreme Court said the electoral commission did not follow the constitution and the law.

Kenyatta won the October election with 98 percent of the vote.

Political commentator Martin Andati says the opposition is trying to pressure the government to enter a dialogue.

“If they are sworn in, that’s bound to create a bigger crisis than they are in,” Andati said. “Basically, they are trying to up the pressure, and they are hoping Uhuru and his team will be able to sit down so that, ultimately, they go sit on the table and address some of the issues that they are trying to raise.”

Kenyatta has repeatedly said the elections are over and he is willing to discuss the development agenda of the country, but nothing else.

Andati says elections may be over, but the issues that divide the country have not gone away.

“The rest of Kenyans who feel excluded from governance, from the position of power, from the allocation of business opportunities and jobs � they are out there, and they are quite a number � those are some of the issues they need to look at,” Andati said. “Uhuru has been the president of [the ruling Jubilee party], not the president of Kenya. Now he must reach to the rest of the people.”

The Attorney General Githu Muigai warned opposition leaders against swearing themselves in, saying that will amount to treason.

A showdown looms between the Kenyatta administration and the opposition. Many fear the political confrontation will further divide the east African nation.

Source: Voice of America

"Kenyan Opposition: If No Dialogue, We’ll Inaugurate Odinga"

Drone strikes, diphtheria, and data: The Cheat Sheet

Every week, IRIN’s team of specialist editors scans the humanitarian horizon to curate important sources on unfolding trends and events around the globe:

A diphtheria dilemma?

A global shortage of the antitoxin used to treat highly contagious diphtheria could trigger an ethical dilemma for health providers in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps. There were more than 2,400 suspected cases of diphtheria in Bangladesh as of 25 December � but only 5,000 vials of antitoxin available anywhere in the world, according to Medecins Sans FrontiAres. There is not enough of the medication to treat all of the people in front of you who need it and we are forced to make extremely difficult decisions, Crystal van Leeuwen, MSF’s emergency medical coordinator in Bangladesh, said on the aid group’s website. It becomes an ethical and equity question. Early cases of diphtheria were spotted in November but there were no available antitoxinsin southern Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now clustered together in haphazard camps and settlements. World Health Organization officials had to hand-carry the first available doses from Delhi in December. There are now about 1,300 vials of the diphtheria antitoxin available in Cox’s Bazar, according to the WHO. Fuelled by low vaccination rates, extreme overcrowding and poor sanitation, the sudden re-emergence of diphtheria in Bangladesh followed years of decline: there were only two reported cases in 2016.

Diphtheria, long forgotten in many parts of the world, has also re-appeared in Yemen, which has seen more than 330 cases and 35 deaths in recent months.

US drone strikes in Somalia double under Trump

We reported on this topic in early November, but given Wednesday’s announcement that a fresh US drone strike has killed 13 al-Shabab militants, it’s worth revisiting. The latest hit, conducted northwest of Kismayo on 24 December, is, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the 34th this year, which compares to 15 for 2016 and 11 for 2015 and includes a strike on a militant training camp last month that killed 100 people. The increased rate of drone strikes is even more marked in Yemen, where US President Donald Trump has overseen a threefold increase from his predecessor, all in the name of the war on terror. Ironically, the latest strike in Somalia came as the Somali government officially took back control of its own airspace from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 27 years after the fall of the central government in 1991. The move marks a symbolic milestone for the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Nine months into his tenure, in mid-October, Farmajo faced the deadliest attack in the country’s history, blamed on al-Shabab, that killed more than 500 people at a busy Mogadishu intersection. The African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, meanwhile, has begun a gradual drawdown that will see the phasing out of the 22,000-strong multinational force by the end of 2020.

E-book on climate change and food security reporting

It’s not often we offer up an item of more than 100 pages compiled by IRIN itself. However, 2017 has seen Project Editor Anthony Morland edit an impressive body of work on one of the world’s most urgent issues, namely climate change adaptation � exploring what people are doing to reduce their vulnerability. The project provides a platform for policy discussion, and for the voices of those men and women on the front lines of climate change to be heard. The project covers four countries � Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe � with the goal of sharing lessons so that small-scale farmers everywhere can find support to alter methods of food production to suit climatic variation.

It’s goggle time again

No humanitarian data or innovation event is complete without photos of men in suits wearing virtual reality goggles, and sure enough the official opening of the Centre for Humanitarian Datain the Hague on 22 December did not disappoint. It was a relaunch of the existing UN OCHA initiative, enjoying financial support from The Netherlands. Snark aside, the service now claims over 900 sources. Its flagship site gathers and organises information from a range of sources, and continues to grow, offering everything from bilingual map data on Syria to one thousand rows of data on the displacement caused by the recent cyclone Tembin in the Philippines.

Source: IRIN

"Drone strikes, diphtheria, and data: The Cheat Sheet"

New e-book released: IRIN’s reporting on climate change and food security

Over the last two decades, 200 million people across the world have been lifted out of hunger. But as climate change brings more frequent and severe weather shocks such as droughts and floods, and makes rainfall patterns less predictable, these gains are under threat.

Throughout 2017, IRIN has been exploring the impact climate change has had on a large group of people who are extremely vulnerable to its effects and yet play a negligible role in causing it: smallholder farmers in Africa.

Agriculture is Africa’s biggest employer. But mean temperatures are expected to rise faster in the continent than the global average, decreasing crop yields and deepening poverty.

IRIN has now completed a reporting project � conducted with support from the Open Society Foundations � to outline the challenges that global warming is triggering, and to explore what local communities are doing to adapt and reduce their vulnerability.

The project covers four countries � Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe � with the goal of sharing lessons learned so that small-scale farmers everywhere can be better supported as their challenges multiply. It provides a platform for policy discussion, and for the voices of those men and women on the front lines of climate change to be heard.

We have compiled all the articles into an e-book, which you can download here.

It contains field reporting on: climate-related problems and threats such as desertification in Nigeria, soil salination in Senegal, and the lack of technical support available to smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe; the range of responses and solutions adopted by farmers and governments; and how livestock-raising communities in the Kenyan county of Turkana are facing up to one of the worst droughts in living memory.

The document also includes three fact files full of key information about how adaptation finance works; the relationship between climate change, food security, and adaptation; and the specific climate challenges faced by pastoralist communities.

Source: IRIN

"New e-book released: IRIN’s reporting on climate change and food security"