October 22, 2016

KENYA: Electoral Body Selection Panel Appoints Bernadette Musundi as Chair


NAIROBI OCTOBER 21, 2016(CISA) – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel has appointed Bernadette Musundi as its chairperson.

The announcement which also confirmed Prof Abdul El-Busaidy as the deputy was made following the panel’s first meeting today after commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.

Musundi was selected by Kenya conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) last month to the nine-member team that will select a new electoral commission while Prof El-Busaidy is a representative of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.

The Catholic Church was among religious leaders who met at Ufungamano House in Nairobi on September 19 to select the representatives.

Other panelists include the National Council of Churches of Kenya General Secretary Rev Canon Peter Karanja and Citam presiding Bishop David Oginde who is representing the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya. Rajesh Rawal was named by the Hindu Council of Kenya but he withdrew last week.

The religious team picked the representatives following the signing into law of a Bill that will see the exit of the current IEBC officials.

The rest selected by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) are lawyer Evans Monari and Mary Kigen for Jubilee, Olga Karani for Cord and retired Justice Tom Mbaluto.

During her acceptance remarks Musundi said that the team which has seven days to receive applications will “very transparently hire new commissioners for the electoral body”.

Musundi formally served as a Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sports.

She twice served as the Executive Director of the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO) and is currently the chair of the Strathmore University Council and the Human Resources Committee of the Board.

The selection panel will present 11 names to the President – two for the position of chairperson and nine for the commissioners. The President will pick seven from the 11 — one chairperson and six full-time commissioners — with the approval of Parliament.

On receipt of the names, the President will have seven days to select his preferred chairperson and six commissioners. The two Houses will have seven days to vet the nominees and approve the names before they are sworn into office.


CONGO: Number of South Sudanese Refugees Doubles, says UNHCR


BRAZZAVILLE OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – The number of South Sudanese refugees registered in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo nearly doubled in September to reach about 54,000, UN refugee agency UNHCR said on October 20.

South Sudan has now surpassed Burundi to become the third-largest source of refugees in Congo, after Rwanda and Central African Republic, reported Reuters.

Congo hosts a total of nearly 430,000 refugees registered by UNHCR. The number of registered refugees from South Sudan increased from 27,250 at the end of August to 53,974 at the end of September, UNHCR said in a report.

According to the UN, hundreds have been killed in South Sudan in fighting that broke out in July between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar.

A UNHCR spokesman said it was unclear how much of the increase was accounted for by new arrivals as opposed to registration of existing refugees, but that the influx of South Sudanese fleeing the conflict was continuing.

The arrival of so many South Sudanese has stirred opposition from some local activists in eastern Congo, where the influx of rebel fighters from volatile neighbors is a sensitive topic.


ZAMBIA: Church, Civil Society Condemn Government Attacks on Citizens and Media


LUSAKA OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – Churches and civil society in Zambia have condemned attacks on citizens and media citing government’s attempt to diminish dissenting voices of citizens.

In an October 19 press statement, the organisations under the banner Oasis Forum, through its chair, Fr Cleophas Lungu came out strongly against intimidation.

“The Oasis Forum is becoming increasingly alarmed at the trend of political intimidation and physical attacks against citizens and members of the private media, most recently against Komboni Radio and Prime TV and generally the violation of human rights on Zambian citizens,” the statement read.

“The Republic of Zambia is still a constitutional democracy. For democracy to thrive, basic human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of movement and freedom of association must be allowed to exist without impediment,” the statement added.

It further stated that democracy also demands that everyone’s views should be heard whether they are in tandem with the status quo or not.

“All people are created equal and therefore their views, whether we agree with them or not, must be heard and accommodated in a democratic dispensation.”

The statement also recognised the apology of the Republican Vice-President over the remarks that the assault of journalist Lesa Nyirenda were warranted saying that violence of this nature has no place in a Christian democracy such Zambia’s.

The statement further urged the government and all citizens to help foster a spirit of genuine dialogue, reconciliation, peace and unity in the nation.

The Oasis Forum is a convention of Church and civil society organisations comprising of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ); Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ); Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB); Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).


SOUTH SUDAN: Catholic Church Inaugurates Peace Centre in Juba


JUBA OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – The Religious Superior’s Association of South Sudan (RSASS), has established a peace centre in Kit in the Archdiocese of Juba.

The centre was officially opened on October 15 by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, assisted by Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro, of Juba, three other Bishops, an apostolic administrator and a large number of diocesan and religious priests.

According to Fr Daniele Moschetti, RSASS’ chair-person, the centre is a positive force for the pursuit of peace in the country.

“It is a great step forward, giving assurance that we are determined to serve the people and the church of South Sudan for peace-building and the formation of a new generation of citizens and Christians,” he said.

The peace centre is an initiative of RSASS, an institution made up of 47 religious congregations who have been working in South Sudan in the fields of evangelization and human development.

The Peace project was approved at the RSASS General Assembly in 2014 and the construction of the entire Peace Centre took about 15 months.


KENYA: Daystar University Hosts First ICA Regional Conference


NAIROBI OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – Daystar University is hosting the first ever International Communication Association (ICA) Africa Regional Conference in Africa at its Valley Road campus in Nairobi.

The three-day conference October 19 – 21 whose theme is Growing communication scholarship-Looking to the past with gratitude, the present with passion, the future with hope, has brought together professional communication scholars from over thirty different nationalities.

While welcoming the delegates, Dr Timothy Wachira, the Daystar University Vice Chancellor recognised the appointment of Prof Sr Lucy Agnes Lando, Assistant Head of Department in School of Communication at Daystar University as a member of the next ICA Board of Directors.

The VC also acknowledged that the growth of the university has centred on communication, even with the introduction of other programs.

Prof Amy Jordan, the Immediate Past President of the Association in her opening remarks noted that such conferences offer an effective and efficient way to facilitate intellectual discussions, foster collaboration, socialise and train the next generation of researchers.

“ICA is the premier academic association for scholars engaged in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication,” she said.

The introduction of the keynote speaker was done by East African Communication Association President, Monica Chibita.

Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, from the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, while giving the keynote address speaker provoked scholars in African and on Africa to “provoke us to locate ourselves more boldly in Africa’s third wave of democracy.”

“As teachers as researchers in the field of communication and in doing this encourage us further the agenda of de-westernizing research by bringing our uniquely African perspectives into academic discourses on political communication,” she said.

The topics under discussion at the conference include: Research and Media Ethics headed by John Ayodele Alonge, from the University of Nairobi, Journalism by Sylvia Tulkong from Daystar University, Peace Journalism by Mel Bunce from the City University of London, and Environment, Climate change, and Risk Communication chaired by Michael Bowen from Daystar University.

The forum is expected to generate new ideas and recommendations that will influence the growth and impact of communications research field, drawing on the wealth of expertise of participants drawn from various universities and communication research institutions.