President Uhuru Kenyatta will today, Monday, 27th June, co-chair the second United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon with his Portugal counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and UN Secretary General António Guterres.
The conference, which is being co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya was initially scheduled for the year 2020 but was postponed to this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is aimed at accelerating the adoption of science-based innovative solutions to challenges facing oceans and the global marine ecosystem.
Speaking ahead of the Kenyan Head of State’s arrival in Lisbon, Kenya’s ambassador to Portugal, Prof Judi Wakhungu revealed that besides the UN meeting, President Uhuru Kenyatta will pay a two-day state visit to the Portuguese Republic on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Our two Heads of State will be presiding over the high-level opening of the ocean conference together with the UN Secretary General.”
“This is very special. It is historic because this is the first time in history that a Kenyan Head of State has been recognized by our hosts, the Republic of Portugal,” Prof Wakhungu said in reference to the two-day state visit.
Ambassador Wakhungu said that despite the global meeting having been postponed twice in the past due to Covid-19, Kenya and Portugal were ready to co-host a successful 2022 UN Ocean Conference. The two countries were declared hosts for the conference after the 2017 inaugural UN Ocean Conference co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden in New York.
“I must applaud Portugal and Kenya for staying the course, for their tenacity and finally hosting this important meeting,” Prof Wakhungu, who also serves as Kenya’s envoy to France, Serbia, Vatican City and Monaco, said.
Oceans cover up to 70 percent of the earth’s surface and are home to over 80 percent of all life in the world. They generate 50 percent of oxygen needed by humans, absorb 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and capture 90 percent of heat generated from anthropogenic activities.
As such, Prof Wakhungu said oceans are a key aspect of human life, emphasizing the importance of the conference not only to Kenya but to the world especially now that humanity is increasingly facing the negative impacts of climate change.
“The conference is focusing mostly on the Sustainable Development Goal 14. All the Sustainable Development Goals are connected, but 14 deals specifically with the oceans…Over 70 percent of the earth is the ocean. We sometimes take this for granted but it is indeed very important,” Prof Wakhungu said, adding that 30 out of the 54 African countries are maritime nations. Globally, there are 83 maritime nations.
Ambassador Wakhungu said Kenya had priotised blue economy as a key driver of her socioeconomic transformation agenda, adding that the conference builds on the successes of the inaugural UN Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi in 2018.
“Kenya registered its intention that blue economy must be part and parcel of our livelihoods. We must protect our marine life, marine security is important to Kenya,” Prof Wakhungu said.
She added: “Our maritime training must be enhanced. Most importantly, we need to protect our oceans from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing which has continued to be a dearth in our marine ecosystems. But also very importantly, from an environmental point of view, we must expand our marine protected areas”.
Prof Wakhungu said Kenya was globally renowned for its green strategy which she said the country was expanding to include blue economy so as to broaden its sustainable development agenda.
“We are now combining the green and the blue. We signified our intent to elevate the blue economy strategy to global standards when our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta hosted the 2018 UN Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi,” she said.
On the two-day state visit, Prof Wakhungu said President Kenyatta will lead a Kenyan delegation for bilateral talks with their Portuguese hosts during which several agreements will be reached and signed in areas such as tourism, education and training, commerce, culture, transport and communication.
“At the same time we shall also promote trade and investment between Kenya and Portugal. Our two countries have continued to enhance and enrich their bilateral relations,” Prof Wakhungu said.
Autopsy of Slain IEBC Official Daniel Musyoka Inconclusive
Pathologists have failed to nail down what caused the death of Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka.
Five pathologists comprising three government pathologists, one representing the family and another from the Independent Medical Legal Unit conducted the autopsy at the Loitokitok sub-county hospital mortuary on Wednesday.
By 5 pm, all five pathologists could not establish the cause of Musyoka’s death. They resolved to take 12 samples from Musyoka’s body for further toxicology and DNA tests in Nairobi.
Also present at the Loitokitok sub-county hospital mortuary were CSI-DCI forensics from Nairobi, DCI officers from Loitokitok, representatives from Haki Africa, IMLU, MedUp, IPOA, and family.
Preliminary investigations show Musyoka may have been killed on Monday evening or early Tuesday morning.
Oloitokitok police boss Kipruto Ruto said Musyoka’s body had fresh wounds indicating the incident took place hours before he was discovered.
“When the police arrived at the scene, we discovered that it was a male body and it was still fresh,” he said.
Ruto also mentioned that Musyoka had wounds in the arm indicating a struggle with the killers.
Police also suspect the killers were familiar with the area given the thicket where the body was found.
According to Ruto, it would have been difficult for new people to manoeuvre the forest, especially in the morning.
Chebukati Accuses Cherera, Rebel IEBC Commissioners of Trying to Force Re-run
Electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati has finally told his side of the story regarding his fallout with fellow IEBC commissioners who disowned the presidential election results.
In a statement Wednesday, Chebukati explained that the four rebel commissioners led by Vice Chair Juliana Cherera tried to have the results moderated to force a repeat election.
“During a briefing meeting held on 15th August 2022 at around 3.00 pm before the final declaration of the Presidential Election results, the four Commissioners demanded that the Chairperson moderates the results for purpose of forcing an election Re-run contrary to their oath of office,” Chebukati said.
Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit allegedly wanted Chebukati to declare that neither William Ruto nor Raila Odinga hit the 50 percent plus one vote required to secure a first-round win.
“This is tantamount to subverting the Constitution and the sovereign will of the people of Kenya. The Chairperson refused to yield to this unconstitutional and illegal demand and proceeded to declare the results of the Presidential Election as received from the polling stations, and contained in Form 34A, in accordance with the law,” Chebukati added.
The IEBC chair also mentioned that he involved all the commissioners, contrary to their claims that the vote tallying process was opaque.
“As the gazetted National Returning Officer and in the spirit of teamwork, the Chairperson involved all Commissioners including Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit in all activities of verification and tallying,” he said.
“Their duties were well defined in writing and allocated at the National Tally Center (NTC). They had access to all results beforehand and interchangeably announced them for six (6) days in the full glare of live television.”
Chebukati also clarified that the declaration of presidential results is the sole responsibility of the Chairman of the Commission.
“This constitutional mandate falls squarely on the chairman of the commission, who is the National Returning Officer as gazetted in Notice No. 4956 of 28th April 2022. The role of national returning officer for presidential election is not a shared responsibility and not subject to plenary decisions of the commission. All returning officers including the national returning officer for presidential election took an individual oath of secrecy before embarking on their duties,” wrote Chebukati.
“In addition, the chairperson and commissioners took oath of office at the time of appointment. It is an oath of office that the chairperson faithfully executed, when he declared the results for the presidential election on Monday, 15th August 2022.”
Daniel Musyoka Murder: IEBC Official Received Phone Call Before He Went Missing
As investigations into the shocking death of Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka continue, it has emerged that the IEBC official received a phone call before he went missing on Thursday, August 11.
A detective privy to the probe intimated that officers were pursuing a mysterious caller who phoned Mr Musyoka while he was on official duty at the East Africa School of Aviation tallying centre in Embakasi East constituency.
“Currently, the phone records are part of the focus as this investigation goes on,” said the detective as quoted by the Nation.
“It will be important to know who is the person who made the call that saw the returning officer leave his work station never to be seen again until his body was found this week.”
Detectives have also reportedly established that a signal from Musyoka’s phone was last detected in Mihang’o, Utawala, Nairobi County, some 12.4 km from the tallying centre.
Meanwhile, UDA party politician Francis Mureithi, who lost to Babu Owino in the Embakasi East MP race, alleged that Musyoka was killed for refusing to engage in electoral malpractice.
The politician also claimed there are witnesses willing to testify but are scared for their lives.
“I demand that thorough investigations be carried out so that Mr. Daniel Musyoka’s family can get justice. I demand that the Witness Protection Program be applied in this case given that there are numerous potential witnesses willing to come forward but are scared,” Mureithi said.
Embakasi East MP-elect Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino on his part condemned the killing and called for a speedy probe.
“I am saddened by the death of former Embakasi East constituency IEBC Returning Officer Mr. Musyoka. I send my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Mr Musyoka. I urge the relevant authorities to conduct thorough investigations and bring the culprits to book,” Owino said on social media.
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