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ASALs counties declare formation of UPYA Movement ahead of 2022 polls

The UPYA movement will also be used as a tool to unite residents from ASAL areas to articulate a common political position and objectives for the 2022 elections, negotiate for greater socio-economic investment and development in the region.

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Leaders from ASALs counties addressing journalists in Naivasha.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

Leaders from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir have declared to rally behind new political formation UPYA Movement.

The leaders led by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani met in Naivasha on Saturday to reflect together on the future of their region to give it a voice and political direction at the national level.

They raised concerns on the effects of the ongoing drought in ASALs
gravely affecting lives and livelihoods in the region.

“We appreciate the quick response directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta declaring the drought a national emergency, thereby mobilizing local and foreign response to respond to the dire situation” they stated.

While noting with concern that despite ASAL areas constituting a vast land mass with a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and culturally diverse population, the leaders argued that has suffered from political and socio-economic marginalisation over the years without a unified voice, and only being regarded as a ‘swing vote’ region.

It is for these reasons that the leaders vowed to use UPYA Movement to ensure unity in the area and that their voice is heard.

“Having learnt from our past mistakes, the time has come to chart a brave and brighter future for the ASAL regions which remain Kenya’s most promising.We pledge our loyalty to the current government as led by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and with whom we are working closely to resolve the immediate challenges affecting our regions.We declare that the UPYA movement will be the political platform at the national level speaking on behalf of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya. As an umbrella political platform, UPYA supports the revitalisation of 2-3 political parties in the region to guarantee the right of our people to participate in the 2022 general election” the said.

Under the new political formation,the leaders vowed to institutionalise and operationalise as as a viable coalition by establishing a functional governance structure from the national to the grassroots across the region.

The UPYA movement will also be used as a tool to unite residents from ASAL areas to articulate a common political position and objectives for the 2022 elections, negotiate for greater socio-economic investment and development in the region.

On the mass voter registration that the IEBC is planning to roll out in October 2021, the leaders called on IEBC to  assure the people of Northern Kenya that it has mechanisms to ensure every eligible citizen in the region is able to register despite the on-going drought.

The leaders also revealed that they wl work with like-minded leaders to unite towards a common agenda for the continued development of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and the Republic of Kenya at large.

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Atheists fault petition seeking to deregister society

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

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President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, Harrison Mumia

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

Former Juja MP, Dr Stephen Ndichu has moved to court seeking to have the Atheists in Kenya Society suspended on grounds that its continued existence is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the society’s president, Harrison Mumia says the petition is an assault on religious freedom and an insult to the diversity of the Kenyan people.

“We find the petition repugnant to a good conscience,” he stated adding that Dr Ndichu is a Christian fundamentalist who seems to harbour paranoid fantasies about the dangers of atheists existing in Kenya.

He further accused Dr Ndichu of seeing enemies where there is none and that the society was surprised, but not shocked as religion has historically inhibited progress.

He vowed that the society would do everything within its power to defend its right to remain a registered society and urged Kenyans to support fighting the petition.

On Sunday, the society said it will be writing to President William Ruto seeking an invitation to State House, just like the evangelical denominations.

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Uhuru Gardens ready for Madaraka Day fete, says PS Kibicho

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Madaraka Day

This year’s national Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County will be open to 30,000 people, up from 10,000 in 2021.

Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Interior, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said this follows the relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures.

“Children will also be allowed in on the celebrations this year, and we expect county celebrations to happen too,” the PS said while on an inspection tour of the venue.

The PS said the government decided to move the celebrations from the County rotational back to Nairobi because it will be the last event for the current administration before it exits office.

“Because of the significance of this particular Madaraka day, being the last for this regime, we decided to celebrate it at Uhuru Gardens to break the tradition of celebrating it in counties,”

He revealed that preparations were currently at 90 percent complete and expressed confidence that all will be set for the event as the country marks 59 years of self rule.

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Queen Elizabeth mourns Kibaki as a great Statesman with commendable legacy

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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Queen Elizabeth II has mourned former President the late Mwai Kibaki eulogizing him as “a great statesman”.

“I was sorry to receive the news of the death of Mwai Kibaki. He had a lifelong record of service to the Kenyan people. It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership. I send you and the people of Kenya my condolences at this loss,” the message read.

The British High Commission further affirmed its close ties to Kenya and renewed its assurances to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The British High Commission avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of its highest consideration,” the High Commission said.

The late Kibaki passed away on 21 April 2022, aged 90.

President Uhuru, who issued a proclamation that he would be granted a state funeral with full civilian and military honours, announced his death.

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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