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Story behind how Kenyan MP blocked law advocating more women into politics.

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Low turnout scuppered a vote guaranteeing Kenyan women more seats in parliament on Wednesday, with campaigners saying it was “a dark day” for citizens in the east African nation.

The bill would have reserved one in three seats for women but not enough politicians showed up to vote on the controversial issue, with campaigners citing chauvinism.



“Once again, a majority of our members of parliament have failed to show up and stand up for women,” said Josephine Wambua-Mongare, who chairs the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya, which has petitioned the court over the issue.

It is unfortunate to see our current leaders defer a priority concern for girls and women in Kenya. It is a dark day for all Kenyans.”

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The speaker of Kenya’s National Assembly, Justin Muturi, agreed to a motion by the government to defer the vote since there were only 212 out of a total 349 members present.

For the bill to pass, 233 members must be present and all must vote in favour.

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Women hold 23 percent of seats in Kenya’s lower and upper houses of parliament combined, says the Inter-Parliamentary Union – on a par with the global average, but lower than east African neighbours Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burundi.

The bill – backed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and leader of the opposition Raila Odinga – provides for special seats to be created if parliamentary elections fail to achieve the required numbers, with candidates nominated to fill them.

Women MPs said they were disappointed with the low show despite intense lobbying. Greater public awareness about the bill was needed as it would dispel widespread misconceptions.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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