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LSK Sues Kenyan Govt Over Internet Tax, Right violation

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The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has sued the government over the introduction of the internet tax, which it says violates the fundamental rights and freedoms.

In a petition filed last Friday, the LSK notes the freedoms of expression and association, and the right to information.

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The society claims that in Finance Act, 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced new aspects including the taxation of internet data, and that these were passed through the National Assembly without being subjected to public participation.

“The president acted outside his mandate under Article 115(1)(b) by introducing new issues through his memorandum. By making recommendations on issues not canvassed in the earlier bill, the president circumvented the normal legislative process,” the petition states.

The LSK has asked the court to suspend the new tax and stop the government from implementing it.



 The petitioner further argues that the introduction of a 15 percent tax on telephone and internet data services will lock a significant part of the population out of the internet, thereby aggravate marginalisation and discrimination.

“The internet is an enabler of all the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Universal access to it must be guaranteed and aggressively pursued,” states the petition.

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“More than 250 government services are now offered exclusively over the internet. Communication from the State is also done online. Despite it being a necessity, a large population of Kenyans do not have access to the internet as they cannot afford it. A government policy to increase the cost of such a basic necessity therefore discriminates against those without access to the internet on the basis of financial status and social origin.”

The attorney general, the National Assembly and the commissioner general at the Kenya Revenue Authority have been named as respondents.

The government has faced intense criticism over harsh taxes outlined in the new budget, with citizens complaining that the cost of living will become too high once the new taxes come into effect.

It has defended itself saying that the steep taxes will fund the country’s development budget.

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Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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