Chinese President Xi Jinping stands by national flags at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency in Berlin on March 28, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a landmark visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany Friday, the third leg of his European tour, expected to cement flourishing trade ties and focus on the Crimea crisis. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Republicans on the House Intelligence committee released their report on the Russian meddling in the 2016 election concluding that while provocateurs had interfered there had been no collusion with the Trump campaign. Robert Mueller, the special counsel is still investigating

China’s rubber stamp parliament the National People’s Congress removed the 2 term presidential limit allowing Xi Jingping to remain in office for life. It also announced the reorganization of more than 2 dozen ministries and departments.

44African countries have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) framework agreement which commits countries to removing tariffs on 90% of goods and lifting all barriers to trade within the continent. Eventually the free movement of people and even a common currency could become part of the agreement. In the meantime, to deal with the currency problem, banks have proposed an inter-African trade payment platform which would make it possible for people to trade inter regionally in their local currencies.

While Africa’s most developed countries are at an advantage due to their manufacturing capabilities, some of them such as Nigeria and South Africa remain opposed to the agreement. Trade unions are raising a red flag arguing unfettered access into their labor markets could cause problems as people move to stronger economies in search of jobs.

Unlike Europe where 70% of trade happens within the continent, at 16%, African countries do not trade that much with each other. For instance, while Kenya is a major producer of flowers, an African country buying them will likely have sourced them from Holland. Similarly, though Nigeria is a huge producer of palm oil, Kenya buys her palm oil from Malaysia.  The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is geared towards correcting this. ACFTA would open up a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of about 3 trillion US Dollars.

Its proponents want people and goods to move freely, similar to how the European Union works. Unfortunately, with fewer barriers, the European Union concept took close to 50 years to develop and effect. Security problems and poor infrastructure make trade harder. More so, the continent’s main exports are raw materials like oil and minerals which are mostly sold to countries outside Africa which have the processing capacity.  The sheer size of Africa and the number of countries involved also makes reaching an agreement even harder.

From bans being lifted and women being allowed more rights so many good things have been happening in Saudi Arabia lately. But this is not enough according to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Like Donald Trump, Prince Salman has decided to make Saudi Arabia great again by making the Kingdom more Saudi. Among others plans are underway to increase the presence of Saudi nationals in the private sector by replacing foreign workers with Saudi men and women. There are currently over 11 million expats employed in the Saudi private sector which relies heavily on foreign labor because many Saudis are reluctant to work in the service industry. Many expats face job loss as 12 sectors are soon to become Saudi only.

Vladimir Putin won his widely expected fourth and final term with over 70 percent of the vote, extending his rule over the world’s largest country for six more years. The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Addressing a rally in Moscow, Mr Putin said voters had “recognised the achievements of the last few years”.

Speaking to reporters after the results were announced, he laughed off a question about running again in another six years.

“What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!” he said.

The scale of victory – which had been widely predicted – appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%.

Mr Putin’s nearest competitor, millionaire communist Pavel Grudinin, received about 12%.

The race also included Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality TV host, and veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky – they got less than 2% and about 6% respectively.

The race was punctuated with obvious cases of fraud which the electoral commission viewed as insignificant.

Britain said it would expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury. Prime Minister, Theresa May said that Moscow had reacted to the attack with sarcasm, contempt and defiance. Russia said it would retaliate. Even then there are concerns that Russia isn’t to blame for the attempted killings. The victim is said to have been voluntarily discharged by Russia and allowed to stay in Britain- an action that presented him as less valuable to Russia.

Having served a forgettable stint as the Director of Public Prosecutions, the nomination of Keriako Tobiko for the position of Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was perhaps the least inspiring of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet picks. Surprisingly the Cambridge educated Tobiko has so far proved a great choice. In the few weeks he has been at the helm, the ministry has shot to national relevance with his push for reformation- which leaves one to wonder, what was his predecessor Prof. Judi Wakhungu doing?

Cape Town, South Africa, a city roughly the size of Los Angeles, is about to run out of water — completely.

Authorities are warning that as soon as July 9th — which they’ve ominously dubbed “Day Zero” — the drought-stricken city will have to cut off taps to all homes and most businesses, leaving nearly all of the city’s 4 million residents without access to running water.

Residents will then have to go to roughly 200 collection points scattered across the city to collect strictly rationed water. People will be allowed just 25 liters — about 6.5 gallons — of water a day. That’s all the water they’ll have for drinking, bathing, flushing toilets, and washing their hands.

Some services like hospitals, clinics, and schools will be exempt from the cutoff and will continue to have access to running water. But the overwhelming majority of the megacity’s residents will have to work with their tiny daily allotment.

Experts say the possibility of civil unrest is high. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world in terms of income, and Cape Town has the highest murder and robbery rates in the country.

So what’s going on? How does a major, modern city in 2018 completely run out of water? And what will happen if and when it does?

As some celebrate the new found love between The People’s President Raila Amollo Odinga and the Executive President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, a tiny few ask themselves what this means for the country going forward. If the expansion of the Executive to accommodate President Raila Odinga is the logical outcome as rumored, will this permanently address issues of electoral injustice and inequality and bring an end to the endless cycle of election violence the country has witnessed so far?

More tellingly, is there a chance that the two were never enemies to start with and that the emotions of Kenyans are simply a means towards a selfish end? How else does one explain the sudden shift from “illegitimacy” to “working with the legitimate government” and what does this communicate to the droves who risked it all, in protests and otherwise in the quest for electoral justice? If this is a means towards and end, how much ground is the People’s President ceding to the “actual” President and vice versa? Who is the victor?

Is there also a chance that Baba could be wrong? If he is, how come the discontent among his supporters is restricted to personal conversations and whatsApp groups? But if he isn’t and that President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is the validly elected president, what does this say about his army of supporters, those who have suddenly taken this view as well? Why can’t Raila be accused of betrayal as have been (or would be) Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula if caught dining with the Uhuru? Why can’t the remaining principles forge ahead with the reform struggle instead of pandering to the betrayer?

Most importantly though, beyond political drama, are Kenyans really interested in the well-being of their nation?


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