Universities Urged To Initiate Income-Generating Projects To Enhance Financial Stability

Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha has challenged public universities to come up with innovative ways of alternative funding to shore up their revenue streams.
Prof. Magoha also asked Universities to initiate income-generating projects to enhance financial stability, affirming that the government will not increase capitation to the institutions due to economic meltdown occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.
The CS spoke at Egerton University during the institution’s 43rd graduation ceremony where 2185 students were awarded diplomas, degrees and doctorates in various fields during the event that was held virtually.
Key people who physically graced the occasion included Prof. Magoha, Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi, Chancellor Dr.Narendra Rameshchandra Raval, the Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. Isaac Kibwage, Chair of Council Ambassador Dr.Luka Hukka Wario and members of Senate.
He directed universities to cut the number of non-essential and support staff to accommodate more teaching staff, adding that in most public institutions academic members of staff were fewer, yet the core business of universities was teaching, research and related services.
“Many public universities are struggling with funding inadequacies, a situation that is hindering research and other learning processes. Unless deliberate changes are instituted to check the trend, their future is bleak. If public universities are to prosper, they must be relevant to the societies in which they exist. That relevance is not only in churning out graduates every year but also creating jobs for them in different sectors of the economy,” observed Professor Magoha.
Dr. Raval urged public universities to consider collaborating with the private sector in research, product development and innovation, providing and selling content to the media industry, working with ICT departments to train staff and testing new manufacturing formulae.
The Chancellor expressed concern that Kenyan universities have lagged in research yet they have experts in many fields who have the capacity to come up with innovative products that can greatly contribute to the Big 4 agenda on food security, manufacturing affordable housing and universal health care.
“It is a shame that we still import a significant proportion of food, machinery and pharmaceuticals among other products yet we have potential innovators in our universities. Universities have been known to be innovators and pioneers. Take the example of an Egerton University lecturer who made a safe Covid-19 sample collection booth at a time when Africa was being ravaged by the disease,” Dr. Naval pointed out.
Public universities are facing serious financial troubles after the Treasury cut their budget allocation by Sh4 billion. Managers have maintained that the Sh109 billion they have been allocated is inadequate to run the institutions of higher learning in light of the rising student enrolments.
Until recently, they would make up for the shortfall by raising revenue from enrolling a considerable number of self-sponsored students to the parallel degree programmes. But there has been a sharp decline in the number of self-sponsored students over the past three years.
Ambassador Nabukwesi called on budget and policy making processes to help seal perennial gaps in funding of research, innovation and education in universities.
He singled out the Veterinary Research Fund, which had established an ultra-modern Sh39 million safe food laboratory at Egerton University.
“The laboratory will enhance the horticultural sector in Kenya to meet standards for export market as farmers will have their produce tested for presence of pesticides and herbicides in vegetables, fruits, flowers and other products,” noted the Principal Secretary.
He added that the facility will contribute to the quality of animal feed and food for human consumption, which will improve the country’s food nutrition and safety.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Proposal for an International Carbon Price Floor Among Large Emitters

Countries are increasingly committing to midcentury ‘net-zero’ emissions targets under the Paris Agreement, but limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2°C requires cutting emissions by a quarter to a half in this decade. Making sufficient progress to stabilizing the climate therefore requires ratcheting up near-term mitigation action but doing so among 195 parties simultaneously is proving challenging. Reinforcing the Paris Agreement with an international carbon price floor (ICPF) could jump-start emissions reductions through substantive policy action, while circumventing emerging pressure for border carbon adjustments. The ICPF has two elements: (1) a small number of key large-emitting countries, and (2) the minimum carbon price each commits to implement. The arrangement can be pragmatically designed to accommodate equity considerations and emissions-equivalent alternatives to carbon pricing. The paper discusses the rationale for an ICPF, considers design issues, compares it with alternative global regimes, and quantifies its impacts.

Source: IMF

Effects of COVID-19 on Regional and Gender Equality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Nigeria and Ethiopia

The labor structure in sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by a high share of informal employment in the rural agricultural sector. The impact of COVID-19 on female employment may not appear to be large as the share of such employment is particularly high among women. Nevertheless, widespread income reduction was observed both in rural and urban households. This could worsen the opportunities for women as husbands’ control over the household resource is the norm. The paper also finds that rural children struggled to continue learning during school closures. Gender-sensitive policies are needed to narrow the gap during and post-pandemic.

Source: IMF

Governor Nyong’o visits Egypt, says Kisumu ready for Africities

Kisumu Governor, Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o is in the Egyptian capital City to attend the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa ( UCLGA)’s 25th Executive Committee Meeting. Prof Nyong’o is attending the meeting together with the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, Eugene Wamalwa who is leading the Kenyan delegation.
The meeting has been convened to take stock of UCLGA’s situation including the upcoming 9th edition of the Africities Summit to be held in Kisumu in April 2022.
In his address to delegates on Thursday, Prof Nyong’o said Kisumu was ready to host the Summit, which is expected to unlock economic and investment opportunities in the Lake region economic block.
He noted that despite the planning disruptions by the coronavirus pandemic, the Kenya government has mobilized considerable resources to ensure the country delivers a memorable summit.
He told the meeting about the infrastructural improvements especially the construction of the Africities Convention Centre which is expected to commence within the coming month at Mamboleo. This will be first Convention centre in the Lake Region Economic Bloc and by extension the whole of the western hemisphere.
“We are ready for the summit, despite the threats by Covid-19”, Prof Nyong’o said.
The Governor who also represented the Chairman of the Council of Governors H.E Governor Martin Wambora -the Kenyan representative at the UCLG Africa Executive, exuded confidence of the country delivering a successful in-person conference considering the measures put in place by government to stem the spread of the pandemic including upscaling testing and increased vaccinations of the citizens.
While addressing the meeting, the Chief guest – General Mahmoud Sharawi indicated the Egyptian government desire to host the 10th edition of the Summit in Cairo. He said that the government would soon be filing a strong proposal to UCLGA for this mission.
The UCLGA Secretary General, H.E Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi thanked the Egyptian government for accepting to host the organisation’s northern regional office in Cairo noting that they will forge closer working relationship.
The meeting was also attended by the Governor of Cairo, Major General Khaled Abdel Al Aal and Mohamed Boudra – the President of UCLG Global.
Others in the Kenyan entourage included the Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry Hon. Gideon Mungaro, the Principal Secretary Mr. Korir, Nakuru county’s CECM for Lands and Urban Planning Mr. Joseph Kiunaand the Africities’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joe Ager.

Source: The County Government of Kisumu

JKUAT School of Law Students Excel at Moot Court Competition

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)’s School of Law, Karen Campus, posted excellent performance to emerge second position, during the finals of the National Disability Rights Moot Court Competition held at the University of Nairobi.
The competition that run from 18th to 28th May, 2021 attracted teams from Strathmore University, Embu University, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, University of Nairobi, Egerton University and Mt. Kenya University.
The JKUAT team made up of Ian Lemayian, Tony Mutuma and Pius Mokua, who are all second year students participated in the preliminary and semi-final rounds which were held virtually, as well as the final round that was conducted physically.
In the preliminary and semi-final rounds, JKUAT emerged the best, while at the finals, the team took second position behind Strathmore University.
The sterling performance of the JKUAT team was illustrated by the fact that JKUAT won the highest number of trophies at the competition.
The JKUAT School of Law clinched the following trophies: The Best Team in the Preliminary Round, the Best Memorials, the Best Oralist, and Second Best Overall Team.
Commenting about the win, Moot Court Coordinator and Lecturer at the Karen School of Law, Dr. Dennis Ndambo, said, “the achievement will not only contribute to raising the profile of the University, but will also go towards satisfying the Council of Legal Education’s requirements for renewing the School of Law’s accreditation.”
He expressed the team’s gratitude towards the University Management for all the support accorded to the team, stating that “Moot court competitions are challenging but also exciting events that provide opportunities for law students to showcase their legal knowledge, research capability and advocacy skills.”
Mooting has gained substantial significance that it is now a requirement before law schools become accredited by the Council of Legal Education.
The benefits of participating in both local and international moot court competitions cannot be overemphasized.
He further noted that courtesy of the moot court competitions, the students are exposed to world class standards as well as forming important networks, thus contributing to the visibility of JKUAT School of Law both locally and internationally.
The JKUAT School of Law students have participated in local and international moot court competitions for several years and have demonstrated their prowess in understanding legal issues, culminating in several wins that have earned them recognition for their excellent performance.
The Dean School of Law, Dr. Jack Mwimali says, JKUAT School of Law offers unique training in law that prepares our graduates to be lawyers with an inclination to emergent legal issues that links law to science, agriculture, technology and innovation.
The current fourth industrial revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres which have collectively been referred to as cyber-physical systems.
“The School of Law at JKUAT seeks to train the lawyer for the current age by channeling legal knowledge to facilitate the cyber-physical systems,” adds the Dean.
The subjects taught at the School include; intellectual property law; law, science and ethics; health and medical law; environmental law, information and communication technology law; physical planning and construction law; biotechnology and biosafety law of the sea; and air and space law all of which are aimed at preparing students to have expertise that harnesses legal knowledge for scientific and technological development in the world.

Source: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Social media and internet forums function as an important space of contestation for issues relating to queer identities. This is evident in reactions to two fairly recent queer-themed African films, one from South Africa – Inxeba/The Wound – and the other from Kenya – Rafiki. The films were met with diverse responses, from government bannings and cultural backlash to enthusiastic viewers and international awards. On social media and internet forums, reactions differ from those of state institutions. These various responses should be understood against the background that in many African countries, with the exception of South Africa in this case, queer sexualities are criminalised and deemed ‘unAfrican’. Many argue that homophobia itself is unAfrican and a relic of colonial laws and mores. In my research, I have explored the fact that African queer lives are complex and don’t tell a single story. By viewing these films as popular social texts it became clear that government censorship has been unable to stop support for them or the kinds of discussions they generate, especially online. Films as popular social texts In Africa, films have become popular social texts. They are readily accessible and easily distributed, thanks to the internet and hand-held screen devices as well as the large-scale sale of pirated DVDs. The informality of circulation, coupled with the affordability of pirated films, has ensured that film has overtaken literary or text-based genres in influence in many parts of Africa. Films like Inxeba (2017) and Rafiki (2018) can function as popular social texts in that they can ask questions about social issues – in this case queer lived experiences on the continent. Popular social texts appeal to large audiences. It is against such sociocultural and political backgrounds that the reception of the films Inxeba and Rafiki should be understood. Social media and internet forums function as an important space of contestation for issues relating to queer identities. This is evident in reactions to two fairly recent queer-themed African films, one from South Africa – Inxeba/The Wound – and the other from Kenya – Rafiki. The films were met with diverse responses, from government bannings and cultural backlash to enthusiastic viewers and international awards. On social media and internet forums, reactions differ from those of state institutions. These various responses should be understood against the background that in many African countries, with the exception of South Africa in this case, queer sexualities are criminalised and deemed ‘unAfrican’. Many argue that homophobia itself is unAfrican and a relic of colonial laws and mores. In my research, I have explored the fact that African queer lives are complex and don’t tell a single story. By viewing these films as popular social texts it became clear that government censorship has been unable to stop support for them or the kinds of discussions they generate, especially online. Films as popular social texts In Africa, films have become popular social texts. They are readily accessible and easily distributed, thanks to the internet and hand-held screen devices as well as the large-scale sale of pirated DVDs. The informality of circulation, coupled with the affordability of pirated films, has ensured that film has overtaken literary or text-based genres in influence in many parts of Africa. Films like Inxeba (2017) and Rafiki (2018) can function as popular social texts in that they can ask questions about social issues – in this case queer lived experiences on the continent. Popular social texts appeal to large audiences. It is against such sociocultural and political backgrounds that the reception of the films Inxeba and Rafiki should be understood. The reactions of these state boards highlight a reproduction of nationalist ideas that queer sexuality threatens African values. In thinking of these homophobic institutional reactions, it is important not to dismiss Africa as homophobic and primitive especially in relation to the West. In his book Kenyan, Christian, Queer, theology scholar Adriaan van Klinken explains that by considering Africa as backward and conservative there is a failure to reflect on the complex sociopolitical realities on the continent. The upshot is that the legal measures of banning the films affected their circulation – both low budget films with seemingly limited distribution channels. Viewers and festivals Although Inxeba and Rafiki were banned in their home countries, they have received critical acclaim and numerous awards at film festivals the world over. In the case of Inxeba, there were vociferous threats and demonstrations, mainly by Xhosa-speaking men, who felt the film divulged the secrets of a sacrosanct ceremony. The comments posted on social media platforms also make it possible to examine the reactions of viewers to the films. I illustrated this by focusing on the reactions expressed on Inxeba’s Facebook page. here’s a sample: Reaction 1: “This is a disgrace to our culture…” Reaction 2: “I didn’t like the story shame, I didn’t see the relevance. Sorry for being a party pooper.” Reaction 3: “Thank you Lord … you have shown that you love us all regardless of what people are painting others to be, as if they do not belong or are just nothing.” Using its YouTube page, Tuko TV Kenya interviewed Kenyans about Rafiki. Here is a sample of the diversity of views canvassed: Reaction 1: “I think we are over exposing our children and our community … As a country, we are not ready for this.” Reaction 2: “It’s a movie trying to include everybody into the society and bringing inclusion and diversity.” Reaction 3: “I feel like the argument that it is influencing or promoting homosexuality to me feels ridiculous because that is not something that can be promoted.” These reactions show that audiences are more complex than governments admit. Moreover, the reactions – and many others like them – prove that the films are popular social texts which operate to shape queer life and responses to it. The screening of the two films (both were ‘unbanned’ on appeal – Rafiki for a brief period) has been important in initiating overdue conversations. Both films gesture towards the need for open discussion of queer sexualities and genders in Africa. They demand viewers to rethink not what it means to be queer in Africa, but what it means to be human. Asking questions Inxeba and Rafiki are invaluable additions to the growing corpus of African films courageously depicting queer lived experiences. Although initially banned, their reception by viewers in and outside Africa has shown that they can start conversations on diverse social issues relating to non-normative African gender and sexual identities. Through evoking emotions of discomfort, the films compel audiences to question their own views and biases on gender and sexual identities. The films thus have the capacity to subvert homophobic tendencies embodied in state responses. Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd

Social media and internet forums function as an important space of contestation for issues relating to queer identities. This is evident in reactions to two fairly recent queer-themed African films, one from South Africa – Inxeba/The Wound – and the other from Kenya – Rafiki.
The films were met with diverse responses, from government bannings and cultural backlash to enthusiastic viewers and international awards. On social media and internet forums, reactions differ from those of state institutions.
These various responses should be understood against the background that in many African countries, with the exception of South Africa in this case, queer sexualities are criminalised and deemed ‘unAfrican’. Many argue that homophobia itself is unAfrican and a relic of colonial laws and mores.
In my research, I have explored the fact that African queer lives are complex and don’t tell a single story. By viewing these films as popular social texts it became clear that government censorship has been unable to stop support for them or the kinds of discussions they generate, especially online.
Films as popular social texts
In Africa, films have become popular social texts. They are readily accessible and easily distributed, thanks to the internet and hand-held screen devices as well as the large-scale sale of pirated DVDs. The informality of circulation, coupled with the affordability of pirated films, has ensured that film has overtaken literary or text-based genres in influence in many parts of Africa.
Films like Inxeba (2017) and Rafiki (2018) can function as popular social texts in that they can ask questions about social issues – in this case queer lived experiences on the continent. Popular social texts appeal to large audiences. It is against such sociocultural and political backgrounds that the reception of the films Inxeba and Rafiki should be understood.
Social media and internet forums function as an important space of contestation for issues relating to queer identities. This is evident in reactions to two fairly recent queer-themed African films, one from South Africa – Inxeba/The Wound – and the other from Kenya – Rafiki.
The films were met with diverse responses, from government bannings and cultural backlash to enthusiastic viewers and international awards. On social media and internet forums, reactions differ from those of state institutions.
These various responses should be understood against the background that in many African countries, with the exception of South Africa in this case, queer sexualities are criminalised and deemed ‘unAfrican’. Many argue that homophobia itself is unAfrican and a relic of colonial laws and mores.
In my research, I have explored the fact that African queer lives are complex and don’t tell a single story. By viewing these films as popular social texts it became clear that government censorship has been unable to stop support for them or the kinds of discussions they generate, especially online.
Films as popular social texts
In Africa, films have become popular social texts. They are readily accessible and easily distributed, thanks to the internet and hand-held screen devices as well as the large-scale sale of pirated DVDs. The informality of circulation, coupled with the affordability of pirated films, has ensured that film has overtaken literary or text-based genres in influence in many parts of Africa.
Films like Inxeba (2017) and Rafiki (2018) can function as popular social texts in that they can ask questions about social issues – in this case queer lived experiences on the continent. Popular social texts appeal to large audiences. It is against such sociocultural and political backgrounds that the reception of the films Inxeba and Rafiki should be understood.
The reactions of these state boards highlight a reproduction of nationalist ideas that queer sexuality threatens African values. In thinking of these homophobic institutional reactions, it is important not to dismiss Africa as homophobic and primitive especially in relation to the West. In his book Kenyan, Christian, Queer, theology scholar Adriaan van Klinken explains that by considering Africa as backward and conservative there is a failure to reflect on the complex sociopolitical realities on the continent.
The upshot is that the legal measures of banning the films affected their circulation – both low budget films with seemingly limited distribution channels.
Viewers and festivals
Although Inxeba and Rafiki were banned in their home countries, they have received critical acclaim and numerous awards at film festivals the world over. In the case of Inxeba, there were vociferous threats and demonstrations, mainly by Xhosa-speaking men, who felt the film divulged the secrets of a sacrosanct ceremony.
The comments posted on social media platforms also make it possible to examine the reactions of viewers to the films. I illustrated this by focusing on the reactions expressed on Inxeba’s Facebook page. here’s a sample:
Reaction 1: “This is a disgrace to our culture…”
Reaction 2: “I didn’t like the story shame, I didn’t see the relevance. Sorry for being a party pooper.”
Reaction 3: “Thank you Lord … you have shown that you love us all regardless of what people are painting others to be, as if they do not belong or are just nothing.”
Using its YouTube page, Tuko TV Kenya interviewed Kenyans about Rafiki. Here is a sample of the diversity of views canvassed:
Reaction 1: “I think we are over exposing our children and our community … As a country, we are not ready for this.”
Reaction 2: “It’s a movie trying to include everybody into the society and bringing inclusion and diversity.”
Reaction 3: “I feel like the argument that it is influencing or promoting homosexuality to me feels ridiculous because that is not something that can be promoted.”
These reactions show that audiences are more complex than governments admit. Moreover, the reactions – and many others like them – prove that the films are popular social texts which operate to shape queer life and responses to it.
The screening of the two films (both were ‘unbanned’ on appeal – Rafiki for a brief period) has been important in initiating overdue conversations. Both films gesture towards the need for open discussion of queer sexualities and genders in Africa. They demand viewers to rethink not what it means to be queer in Africa, but what it means to be human.
Asking questions
Inxeba and Rafiki are invaluable additions to the growing corpus of African films courageously depicting queer lived experiences. Although initially banned, their reception by viewers in and outside Africa has shown that they can start conversations on diverse social issues relating to non-normative African gender and sexual identities.
Through evoking emotions of discomfort, the films compel audiences to question their own views and biases on gender and sexual identities. The films thus have the capacity to subvert homophobic tendencies embodied in state responses.

Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd

Fossil find introduces a new ancestor to the jackal family tree

The family Canidae is an instantly recognisable group of carnivores that includes dogs, wolves, jackals and foxes. It originated more than 35 million years ago in North America and migrated to the rest of the planet only about 7.5 million years ago.
Jackals are among the most remarkable and sneaky canids. They sit somewhere between the red fox and the Australian dingo in terms of shape and size – for instance, the average side-striped jackal of both sexes weighs 7-12kg and stands 40cm tall. They’re generally known for their scavenging activities in open savanna and grassland ecosystems. Jackals are omnivorous (eating both meat and plants); they scavenge and actively hunt and are considered nocturnal, most active in the early evening and at dawn. Their prey includes small vertebrates like rabbits, and they also eat birds, eggs, fruit and seeds and have been known to go through people’s trash.
Today there are five jackal species worldwide – four of them in Africa. These African species are the side-striped jackal, the black-backed jackal, the African golden wolf and the Ethiopian wolf.
They were all classified within the genus Canis (which also includes wolves and domestic dogs), but recent DNA analyses have re-classified them into different genera. In other words, they are close relatives: they have the same evolutive relationship as, for example, the one between lions and cougars. Scientists know very little about their evolutionary origin. Until now, it was thought that Eucyon davisi, a North American canid that lived between 10 million and 5 million years ago, was the common ancestor of all wolves, jackals, and coyotes.
Our research, conducted at a rich fossil site about 120km outside Cape Town in South Africa, changes that: we now know there’s another ancestor in the mix. We’ve described a new species of canid, named Eucyon khoikhoi, based on fossils found at the Langebaanweg site, which dates back to about 5.2 million years ago. This provides novel and vital information about the origin of jackals, showing that jackals appeared and established themselves in Africa in at least the last 5 million years. These animals have evolved and adapted to the changing environment, allowing them to survive.
The name of the new species honours the heritage of the Khoikhoi (KhoeKhoen) people, an indigenous people who were among the first to live in South Africa. The name allows us to recognise the importance of the Khoikhoi’s culture and heritage.
The site
Langebaanweg lies 120km north of Cape Town, on South Africa’s west coast. It is the site of one of the world’s richest and most diverse terrestrial and aquatic fossil vertebrate ecosystems from the late Miocene (about 6 million years ago) and early Pliocene (5.2 million years ago) epochs.
The site is home to fossil remains of more than 250 distinct species including otters, sabretooth felids, bears, hyaenids, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, wild pigs, and a wide variety of birds, including parrots, ostriches, and penguins, as well as fishes, sharks, rays, skates, seals, and cetaceans. Langebaanweg continues to shed light on the evolution of several mammal groups in Africa and improves our knowledge of them as they spread and diversified through the continent.
Eucyon khoikhoi fossils were unearthed at the site by palaeontologist Brett Q. Hendey and his team in the 1970s, though they weren’t identified as a new species until now. We studied both these fossils, which are part of the Iziko Museum of South Africa’s collection, and some that we newly unearthed at the Langebaanweg site.
Iziko’s sample comprises more than 50 fossils. These include a very well-preserved, nearly complete skull, several jaws, deciduous (milk) teeth, parts of the neck, forelegs and hind legs.
By studying the proportions of the mandibles and long bones of these fossils from the site we estimated that Eucyon khoikhoi weighed 9kg on average and that it was an omnivorous scavenger, similar to the living side-striped jackal.
Another novelty of the research is that it represents the first evolutive analysis of medium-size canids from the Late Miocene and Pliocene together with a wide sample of living jackals and wolves, with a special emphasis within the African fossils. Essentially, it’s the first time that the genus Eucyon is linked with both an African species, the side-striped jackal, and North American and European species through the black-backed jackal and wolves.
This is a particularly important result of our research: the morphological (physical) traits of E. khoikhoi indicate a direct relationship with the side-striped jackal and confirms the presence of this group in Africa more than 5 million years ago.
So, how does this new species fit in with other canids and their paths around the world?
Three events
Medium-sized canids have an intricate evolutive history. Three main migration events have occurred since canids first left North America about 7.5 million years ago.
The oldest canid outside North America is Canis cipio from the Spanish localities of Concud and Los Mansuetos, about 7.5 million years ago. That’s the first event.
Then came the second event, between 6.2 million and 5.5 million years ago, when three new canid species appeared simultaneously in different parts of the globe: Eucyon debonisi in western Spain, Eucyon monticinensis in Italy, and Eucyon intrepidus, in Kenya and Ethiopia.
These first fossil species outside North America are rare and not well known; their evolutive relationship with extinct and extant relatives is unknown.
The third event starts with the new species Eucyon khoikhoi. This marks a critical moment in the evolution of medium-size jackal-like canids 5 million years ago, when they began to diversify outside North America. Later, they become more diverse and common in Eurasia and Africa, until they culminated in the four living species of jackals in Africa.
This is an exciting find that adds to our understanding of jackals’ ancient origins and how they developed. Future research will help us learn more about these extinct carnivores from South Africa’s west coast – and, hopefully, shed even more light on the ancestors of today’s jackals.

Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd

Sport in Africa: book delivers insights into the games, people and politics

The efforts of a range of academics across Africa have produced a new anthology of articles about sport on the continent. It’s an important book because it’s a subject that’s been largely neglected.
Sports in Africa, Past and Present engages with the core themes that have emerged from a series of conferences. Chapters provide an array of sporting windows through which to view and understand key developments in Africans’ experiences with leisure and professional sporting activities.
The history of African sports is also a history of Africans’ reception and appropriation of an assortment of “modern sports” that European colonisers introduced. If Europeans colonised Africa, as the maxim goes, with a gun in one hand and the Bible in the other, they were also equipped with soccer, rugby and cricket balls.
Notwithstanding the intentions of the colonial powers, historians of African sports have established that the indigenous practitioners were hardly passive consumers. They contested various aspects and fashioned new meanings of these sports.
Various chapters address the roles that sport played during and after decolonisation. It helped shape local and national identities in newly independent African states. They also look at the ways in which individuals, communities and governments have used sports in contemporary Africa for social and political ends.
Covering a continent
One of the themes in the book is the impact of colonisation, and how African players responded to various restrictions on their participation.
Africans were typically banned from white settlers’ sports clubs and associations. They often responded by forming teams and leagues of their own. This helped foster the development of distinct identities. In certain cases, these autonomous efforts at sporting organisations even simulated institution building in an imagined post-colonial state.
Trishula Patel’s chapter on cricket in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), for example, examines how the game helped reinforce various identities of the resident Indian community. Members struggled to negotiate racial discrimination at the hands of the white settler regime. Mark Fredericks demonstrates how the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the attendant unification of rugby and other sports leagues, signalled the death knell for community sports. In practice this meant the end of mass-based sports in black communities.
David Drengk’s chapter on surfing along the then Transkei Wild Coast and Todd Leedy’s chapter on the history of bicycle racing complicate ideas of interracial interactions during the apartheid era. Meaningful interactions could and did occur between black and white South Africans, or at least basic tolerance and respect.
The Nigeria women’s national soccer team has faced gender discrimination in a deeply patriarchal society. Chuka Onwumechili and Jasmin M. Goodman set out how players have used a series of sports-related strategies to push back against a range of sexist structures and entities. These include the Nigerian Football Federation.
Solomon Waliaula’s chapter offers significant insight into the pay-to-watch football kiosks that are ubiquitous throughout the continent, though his focus is on Kenya. He refutes the notion that because participants pay to watch European soccer, western culture dictates the dynamics in these settings. Instead, he argues, these spaces function based on local realities, cultural norms and social relations.
Christian Ungruhe and Sine Agergaard consider the acute challenges that West African football migrants face in Europe when their playing careers end.
Going back in time, Francois Cleophas reconstructs the experiences of Milo Pillay, a South African-born ethnic Indian physical culturalist. His weightlifting story illustrates the racial challenges that athletes faced, and at times surmounted, during the apartheid era.
Michelle Sikes uses the example of elite sprinter Seraphino Antao to highlight the challenges and opportunities that sports generated in the final years of British colonial control in Kenya and early independence. In an attempt to cultivate a common identity and purpose, leaders opportunistically trumpeted Antao’s successes. Politicians throughout the continent similarly used sports to build national unity in the aftermath of imperial overrule.
Marizanne Grundlingh examines the museum associated with South Africa’s Comrades Marathon, the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon. In particular, she considers the ways that the race is remembered through gift-giving. Former participants donate various items for display, adding to the emerging subfield of sports as heritage.
Positive change through (studying) sports
Research on sports in Africa has gained considerable traction. But, like books such as Sports in Africa, the introduction of this topic into the classroom has lagged behind.
Three chapters address course design, approaches and learning outcomes. They also consider how African sports content can hone students’ critical analysis capabilities, digital research methods and intercultural learning skills.
Todd Cleveland draws on his experiences teaching the history of sports in Africa to offer lessons and insights. Matt Carotenuto’s chapter brings the reader into the world of a liberal arts institution. He offers advice based on his experiences teaching courses in African athletes and global sport.
Peter Alegi’s chapter looks at his experiences teaching an undergraduate seminar that examines the intertwined relationships between sports, race and power in South Africa.
We hope that the book can help precipitate positive change in the classroom and on the continent. And that it can enable practitioners, supporters and observers to better understand the lifeworlds in which sports are played and take on meaning.

Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd

IGAD Promotes Adoption Of Fisheries Management In Omo Turkana Basin

10 June, 2021: (NAIVASHA, Kenya): As part of the Ecofish Programme, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development yesterday concluded a workshop entitled “National Workshop for Adoption of the draft Lake Turkana Basin Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) and Consultative Meeting on Establishment of Bilateral Fisheries Management Forum” in Naivasha.
The workshop brought together stakeholders representing various ministries of Kenyan Government. Some of the key stakeholders participated were representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Turkana University, County Government of Marsabit, County Government of Turkana, Fish Cooperative Representatives from Turkana County and others.
This two-days workshop was meant to provide a framework for harnessing the fisheries potential and to foster sustainable utilization and exploitation of the fisheries for improving the livelihoods, food security and nutrition, and incomes of members of the communities in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) areas of the Omo Turkana Basin. More specifically, the objectives were to:
• Introduce the project to national stakeholders;
• Review the co-management plan and adopt;
• Discuss on the bilateral (Kenya and Ethiopia) forum establishment processes;
• Review the Project plan based on the prevailing COVID situation.
In her opening speech, Dr. Fatouma Adan, IGAD Head of Mission in Kenya representing his Excellency the Executive Secretary, said “the fisheries management plan aims to ensure that fisheries exploitation, equitable access to fisheries resources and efficient use of fisheries are achieved through collaboration and communication between key stakeholders in the IGAD region”.
Dr. Fatouma added that IGAD is one of the implementing agents of the regional economic communities of the ECOFISH Programme, which will enable the Omo-Turkana Basin to stimulate socio-economically equitable and ecologically sustainable fisheries development and management in the two basins.
The second opening remark was made by Dr. Rodrick Kundu, Ag Director of Fisheries Management and Development, State Department for Fisheries Aquaculture and Blue Economy (Kenya). He expressed clearly that the Government of Kenya is promoting to raise the fish consumption habit of the people. He also mentioned that Kenya is working to industrialize the fisheries sector. He focused the importance of building the spirit of man managing the fisheries in the lake and in the breeding rivers. Finally, he recommended the importance of sharing information and to have database for both Kenya and Ethiopia.
Baseline Study of the Omo Turkana Basin and draft Fisheries Integrated Management Plan (IFMP) prepared through the Support of African Development Bank were presented and discussed. As the workshop closed the project was introduced to the participants, Moreover, the project Support to Sustainable Utilization, Development and Management of the Fisheries of Baro-Akobo-Sobat River Basin (BASRB) between Ethiopia and South Sudan, and Lake Turkana Basin (LTB) shared between Ethiopia was presented and the key activity plans were reviewed in line with the existing COVID-19 situation.
A similar workshop is planned be held in South Sudan in July 2021.
Background
The overall objective of the programme is to “enhance equitable economic growth by promoting sustainable fisheries in the EA-SA-IO region”.
The specific objective is “to support sustainable fisheries management and development in order to contribute to poverty reduction alleviation, food and nutrition security while addressing climate change resilience and enhancing marine biodiversity”.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is one of the implementing Regional Economic Communities for the EU funded ECOFISH Programme.

Source: IGAD

Crucial Elections Needed by End of 2021 to Break Political Impasse, Tackle Worsening Conditions in Haiti, Experts Tell Security Council

Some Speakers Question Efficacy of Longstanding United Nations Presence in Country
Amid deteriorating socioeconomic conditions and a lingering political impasse, political and civil society leaders in Haiti must ensure that parliamentary and presidential elections take place within the current calendar year to enable an orderly democratic transfer of power in February 2022, experts told the Security Council today.
“As Haiti prepares to enter a new electoral cycle, an inclusive and participatory process will be essential to consolidate the path toward good governance and political stability,” said Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), as she briefed the 15-member Council.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest 120-day report on the situation on the ground (document S/2021/559), she said a resurgence in COVID-19 cases recently prompted the authorities to declare a new state of health emergency, resulting in the Provisional Electoral Council’s decision to postpone the proposed constitutional referendum scheduled to take place at the end of June. While the authorities have sought to widen consultations on the new draft Constitution, the process continues to elicit criticism from various stakeholders due to its perceived lack of inclusivity and transparency. She warned that the debate over the constitutional referendum should not detract from the timely organization and holding of the overdue parliamentary, local and presidential elections, which must remain the primary focus.
Chantal Hudicort Ewald, a member of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association and a former member of the 1986-1987 Haitian Constitutional Assembly, pointed out that the steps required to convene local, legislative and executive elections have not been undertaken within the legally mandated timeframe, a failure which has polarized society and inhibited dialogue. On the security situation, she said criminal gangs who are “armed to the teeth” make the law in a country supposedly subject to an arms embargo, making public participation in any form of electoral process all but impossible. Meanwhile, high poverty rates force most people to focus on merely satisfying their basic needs.
Addressing those concerns, Claude Joseph, Acting Prime Minister of Haiti, reassured Council members that the Government remains committed to holding elections by the end of 2021 to renew the political landscape, restore the operation of democratic institutions and ensure a peaceful transition of power in February 2022. Indeed, the Government is “working overtime” to move the electoral process forward and there is “nothing to worry about”, save for certain logistical and safety issues which are being addressed. Recalling that Haiti had 15 different transitional Governments between 1986 and 2016 — which resulted in total institutional paralysis — he warned that any Government of that kind must now be avoided.
As Council members took the floor, delegations stood unified in calling for the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible legislative and presidential elections within the timeframe set by the current electoral calendar.
The representative of the United States said that, since the Council’s last briefing on Haiti four months ago, the Government has not sufficiently focused on addressing the country’s most urgent priorities, including organizing upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. The Haitian people deserve an opportunity to elect their leaders and restore democratic institutions, he said, adding that a newly elected President should succeed President Jovenel Moïse when his term ends on 7 February 2022.
The delegate of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, also speaking on behalf of Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, stressed that political inertia cannot continue if Haiti is to achieve its aspirations of peace, stability and prosperity, urging all stakeholders to soften their deeply entrenched positions. “History has shown us that no matter how difficult your challenges are, you rise,” she said, recalling that Haiti was the first Black nation to gain independence by overcoming colonialism and slavery.
Mexico’s representative underscored the importance of Haiti’s stability and prosperity to Latin America and the Caribbean, agreeing with other speakers that parliamentary, presidential and municipal elections must be held before the end of 2021. Only through dialogue and democratic renewal will Haiti be able to resume its path to sustainable development, he stressed.
Some Council members, expressing concern over Haiti’s challenging security, humanitarian and human rights situations, questioned the efficacy of international support for the country over the decades.
In that vein, the representative of China emphasized that the huge amount of resources invested in Haiti by the United Nations have not produced the expected results. It is time to explore new ideas and ways to help, he stressed, urging the Council should learn lessons from the past and carefully consider the United Nations presence when BINUH’s mandate expires in October.
Along the same line, the United Kingdom’s representative said that such a failure rightly begs questions about the tools and approaches deployed over the years. However, she expressed support for BINUH, noting that the new United Nations integrated presence in Haiti better positions the Organization to assist the country than past iterations of its presence.
Also speaking were the representatives of Norway, India, Viet Nam, France, Russian Federation, Ireland and Estonia.
The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 4:44 p.m.
Briefings
HELEN LA LIME, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), presenting an update first on the political developments in the country, noted that a resurgence in COVID-19 cases recently prompted the authorities to declare a new state of health emergency. The resulted in the Provisional Electoral Council’s decision to postpone the proposed constitutional referendum scheduled to take place at the end of June. Even though the authorities have sought to widen consultations on the new draft Constitution, the process continues to elicit criticism from various stakeholders due to its perceived lack of inclusivity and transparency. Meanwhile, technical preparations for the referendum have also been plagued by critical operational delays.
Expressing a deep concern over the ever-growing polarization of Haitian politics, as evidenced by some actors exhorting the population to resort to violence to disrupt the referendum process, she urged all stakeholders to refrain from such inflammatory discourse. As Haiti prepares to enter a new electoral cycle, an inclusive and participatory process will be essential to consolidate the path towards good governance and political stability. Warning that the debate over the constitutional referendum should not detract from the timely organization and holding of the overdue parliamentary, local and presidential elections, she urged all political and civil society leaders to ensure that elections take place within the current calendar year, resulting in an orderly democratic transfer of power in February 2022.
Turning to the security and human rights situations, she said criminal gangs were responsible for 78 homicides between 1 February and 31 May, and repeated episodes of gang violence have resulted in the displacement of more than 16,000 people from several areas of Port-au-Prince since January. The strength of the Haitian National Police is not commensurate with the size of the country’s population, and the chronic state of insecurity starkly underscores the limits of a law enforcement-centred approach to the gang issue. However, she welcomed the fact that a Government task force has completed its review of the national strategy on gang violence, which is now ready for approval.
Noting that the United Nations team continues to work hand in hand to help the authorities address immediate challenges — as well as the structural drivers of instability — she said several joint initiatives are under way. Those include efforts to implement the national social protection policy; reinforce food security and community resilience; catalyse the fight against impunity and corruption; and operationalize the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Appealing to Member States to contribute to the 2021-2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, she said that the Plan still requires some $198 million to meet the needs of 1.5 million people.
CHANTAL HUDICORT EWALD, member of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association and former member of the 1986-1987 Haitian Constitutional Assembly, said the steps required to convene local, legislative and executive elections in Haiti have not been undertaken within the legally mandated timeframe, a failure which has polarized society and inhibited dialogue. Executive dismissals of individuals within the judiciary have exacerbated already tense relations between those two branches of Government, and a weakened, dysfunctional judiciary has prevented access to justice and accelerated prison crowding. Adding that the executive branch exerts legislative power via presidential decrees, she said a decision was made to undertake a constitutional reform and hold elections. On that reform, she said, civil society believes that the Government should have drawn on the procedure used in 1986, which allowed for broad public participation.
Turning to the security situation, she stressed that the current sociopolitical context makes public participation in any form of electoral process all but impossible, as high poverty rates force most people to focus on satisfying basic needs and “gangs make the law”. The urban and surrounding agricultural areas of Port-au-Prince are controlled by armed gangs, difficult intercity travel makes going to work a daily risk for employees and Port-au-Prince’s courthouse is bordered by gang-controlled territory. Furthermore, gangs in the capital have joined forces and are “armed to the teeth” in a country supposedly subject to an arms embargo. Against that backdrop, she said the situation is further complicated by a recent resurgence of a particularly virulent form of COVID-19, while access to hospitals remains limited and no vaccines are officially available.
She also pointed out that women — comprising some 52 per cent of the national population — sacrifice everything to guarantee their children’s education and safety, and remain the “pillars of the economy.” However, they continue to be marginalized in Haitian society, despite the key role they play in economic and social life. Citing a broad lack of trust in State institutions and the political class, she said people do not believe that those in power want to or can tackle the country’s insecurity. “The country is in disarray,” she emphasized.
Statements
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said that since the Council’s last briefing on Haiti four months ago, the Government has not sufficiently focused on addressing the country’s most urgent priorities, including organizing upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. Noting that the United States was part of the Organization of American States (OAS) delegation that recently visited Haiti to discuss the political stalemate, he said he looks forward to receiving the regional bloc’s report on that mission. The Haitian people deserve an opportunity to elect their leaders and restore democratic institutions, he said, adding that a newly elected President should succeed President Jovenel Moïse when his terms ends on 7 February 2022. He Welcomed the decision to indefinitely postpone the constitutional amendment referendum, given that discussion on that issue has not been sufficiently inclusive or transparent. Stressing that the focus now must remain on holding free and fair elections, he announced that the United States will provide more than $3 million to the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening to that end, along with funds to support the Haitian National Police and COVID-19 vaccine doses donated through the global COVAX facility. Also noting that the United States provides funding for capacity-building, he said none of Haiti’s complex challenges can be fully addressed without the political stability that free and fair elections will bring.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico), underscoring the importance of Haiti’s stability and prosperity to Latin America and the Caribbean, said neither the political nor human rights situations have improved in the country since the Council last took up the issue in February. He stressed that parliamentary, presidential and municipal elections must be held before the end of 2021. Only through dialogue and democratic renewal will Haiti be able to resume its path to sustainable development. Noting that over 1.5 million Haitians require humanitarian assistance, he called on the international community and on national authorities to address those needs jointly, while welcoming the promise of additional funds from the United States. He also expressed concern over the minimal COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Haiti, despite the new state of emergency, and reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as a public common good.
INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), also speaking on behalf of Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, stressed that political inertia cannot continue if Haiti is to achieve its aspirations of peace, stability and prosperity. Commending the efforts of the OAS Permanent Council in sending a delegation to Haiti last week, she expressed hope that the mission was able to establish a framework for dialogue among the various Haitian stakeholders towards reaching a palatable solution. To peacefully overcome the current crises through a Haitian-led and Haitian-owned inclusive national political dialogue, all stakeholders must soften their deeply entrenched positions. Resolving the political stalemate appears to be priority for the scheduling of inclusive, free, fair, transparent and credible elections, she said, while noting that Haiti’s many interconnected challenges demand durable parallel solutions. Stressing the need for good governance to obtain loans, technical assistance and debt relief, she urged Haitian political leaders to resolve the current impasse so the nation can accrue those benefits. “History has shown us that no matter how difficult your challenges are, you rise,” she said, recalling that Haiti was the first Black nation to gain independence by overcoming colonialism and slavery, and advocating for reparations to be paid by former colonial Powers.
MEENA ASIYA SYED (Norway) expressed concern about gang-related violence and reports of 295 alleged human rights abuses by gang members and unidentified armed men between 1 February and 31 May, urging the Haitian authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable. Noting that the country is vulnerable to natural disasters which are exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation, she emphasized the need to consider the systematic impact of climate change. With the arrival of a new hurricane season, extreme weather events are predicted to reach above-normal levels. Meanwhile, lack of resilience leads to internal displacement, which in turn fuels crime and unrest, all contributing to a deteriorating humanitarian situation. In that context, she welcomed the United Nations ongoing work on climate change mitigation through community-based efforts, encouraging BINUH to include more information about the impact of climate change and gaps in resilience for consideration during the Council’s next briefing.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) pointed out that the political situation in Haiti has seen no major changes since the Council last considered the issue in February, raising questions about the holding of elections, and called on the Government and the opposition to ensure the election process is completed in 2021 as scheduled. Turning to the deteriorating security situation — where a failed police operation in the Village-de-Dieu area of Port-au-Prince, a prison breakout and recent gang warfare reflect serious challenges — he underlined the need to expedite efforts to address those issues. Those include police recruitment; a review of domestic firearms legislation and the national strategy for reducing community violence; and reform of the judicial and prison systems. There is also a need to enhance humanitarian assistance for the 4.4 million people who require it, he said, expressing his hope that the funding shortages faced by humanitarian actors, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will improve in the coming months.
GENG SHUANG (China) expressed concern that 40 per cent of the Haitian population cannot meet their basic food needs, while also deploring how gang violence has displaced women over the past two weeks. These developments are unacceptable, he said, stressing that the Government of Haiti bears the primary responsibility for that desperate situation. Unfortunately, the constitutional referendum has been postponed, and uncertainty lingers over the holding of scheduled parliamentary and presidential elections this fall. Urging Haiti’s political leaders to put an end to meaningless wrangling, build national stability and develop the economy, he said there can be no external solution and the country must solve its own problems. Recalling that the United Nations has invested a huge amount of resources in Haiti over the past 30 years — which did not produce the expected results — he said it is time to explore new ideas and ways to help. The Council should learn from the past and carefully consider the United Nations presence when BINUH’s mandate expires in October, he stressed.
ALICE JACOBS (United Kingdom) joined other speakers in calling for free, fair credible and transparent elections to enable a transfer of power in February 2022. Her delegation remains deeply concerned by the lack of accountability for human rights violations. “It is frustrating, to say the least, that, after years of international support, this impunity endures,” she said, stressing that only political will from Haiti’s leaders can break this cycle. Decades of international support to Haitian institutions has failing to generate durable peace dividends rightly begs questions about the tools and approaches deployed over the years. Her delegation remains convinced that the integrated United Nations presence in Haiti positions the Organization better to support Haiti’s needs through a more holistic approach.
DINH QUY DANG (Viet Nam) underscored the urgent need for Haiti to hold free, fair, transparent and credible legislative elections that have been overdue since October 2019. Urging all relevant parties to make further efforts to reach a political agreement on those elections’ modalities and timing, he said such an agreement must be acceptable to all Haitian stakeholders and include the political representation of women and youth. Citing a range of longstanding, interconnected threats and challenges — including in the sociopolitical, governance and economic arenas — he said they have fuelled instability and undermined Haiti’s development. Viet Nam looks forward to bold and necessary measures by the Haitian authorities to address poverty and socioeconomic instability.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France), expressing concern that elections have yet to be organized, parliament has not met since January 2020 and the President is governing by decree, stressed that the executive branch bears the primary responsibility to end the current political deadlock. National authorities must ensure that credible elections are held in autumn by taking measures to keep voters safe, establishing credible voter lists and accelerating the distribution of identification cards. Turning to the security situation, she pointed out that a “climate of terror reigns in the country” — with increasing gang violence, kidnappings and attacks on law enforcement — and stressed that the national police must be given more resources. Adding that corruption gnaws away at national institutions and undermines public trust, she underlined the urgent need for judicial reform.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) expressed concern over Haiti’s weak State institutions and deteriorating security, socioeconomic and humanitarian situations, all of which are exacerbated by a health-care system unprepared for the spread of COVID-19. Further, he noted attempts to pressure the judiciary, growing restriction of civil freedoms, broad public disapproval of the Government and increasing control exerted by armed gangs, stressing that Haiti’s downturn results from the paralysis of its political system. Governing by decree is not easing tensions, he stressed, adding that the proposed constitutional changes do not enjoy the necessary broad public support. He underscored that the Council must not disregard the need to resolve political differences while focusing on the security situation, urging members to send a unified signal in support of national dialogue.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Ireland) joined calls for credible, inclusive and transparent elections to be held in Haiti in a safe, timely manner. Noting that much remains to be discussed in the area of constitutional reform, he said such dialogue should take place in a representative citizens’ assembly that provides for the full participation of women. He also expressed concern over continuing violence, insecurity and economic depression in the country, along with gang-related violence, prison overcrowding, impunity for human rights violations and an alarming rise in kidnappings and homicides. The Government, he stressed, must address serious issues within the judiciary and the shrinking space for civil society — particularly women and youth — as “what affects Haitian women affects the future trajectory of Haiti”. He called on the global community to mount a strong, collective response to child malnutrition in the country, while also calling on the Government to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.
SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, expressing concern over the ongoing political impasse, lack of accountability and worsening security and socioeconomic situations threatening Haiti’s stability. Progress must be made in setting a reform agenda to ensure that free, fair, transparent and credible legislative, local and presidential elections are held in autumn. To that end, he welcomed the decision by OAS to assist the Haitian authorities in facilitating dialogue among national stakeholders. On the security situation, he called on the authorities to take further steps to advance the national strategy for the reduction of community violence, in light of continuous gang violence and the increased number of kidnappings and killings. He also urged the Government to reform the judicial system in order to enhance accountability and expressed his support for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) establishing a country office in Haiti.
CLAUDE JOSEPH, Acting Prime Minister of Haiti, pointed out that his country has endured a difficult sociopolitical situation for over two years, characterized by recurring attempts to destabilize public order by a “certain fringe element of the opposition that thrives on instability”. Noting that the Secretary-General’s latest report fails to account for progress made by the Government in promoting respect for human rights, combating corruption and strengthening the rule of law, he reaffirmed the President’s commitment to achieving a peaceful national atmosphere through engagement with all relevant stakeholders. “While we wait for the opposition to finally embrace dialogue,” he said, the executive has committed to holding elections by the end of 2021 to renew the political landscape, restore the operation of democratic institutions and ensure a peaceful transition of power in February 2022.
He called on the international community to support national law enforcement — which has fully mobilized to restore security despite limited resources — particularly in the areas of technical assistance and operational capacity. For its part, the Government will offer the people a new Constitution to end the vicious cycle of political instability. Detailing efforts to that end, which included consultations with over 800 civil society organizations, he said a public referendum on the second draft of the Constitution, circulated on 18 May, was postponed due to a resurgence of COVID-19. In the meantime, the Government is “working overtime” to move the electoral process forward. He assured the Council that there is “nothing to worry about” save for certain logistical and safety issues, which are being addressed.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that any type of transitional Government should be avoided, recalling that Haiti had 15 such Governments between 1986 and 2016, which resulted in total institutional paralysis. Honest, democratic, free, inclusive and credible elections are the only way to guarantee the necessary political and socioeconomic stability for Haiti to progress, he stressed.
Taking the floor again to respond to questions raised, Ms. LA LIME said she heard all the concerns voiced. BINUH and the United Nations country team will continue to address the humanitarian situation, improve the security situation and mount the “electoral apparatus” that will ensure the holding of free and fair elections.
Ms. EWALD, also responding, said that while most of the pressing issues facing Haiti were covered in today’s discussion, the scarcity of oxygen available to treat COVID-19 patients was not mentioned. Oxygen tanks remain scarce, she said, recalling that criminal gangs recently invaded the only industrial tank-filling station. That situation demands more attention, she stressed.

Source: United Nations