A section of farmers in the North Rift part of Kenya have raised concern over a suspected sneaking of genetically modified seeds into their farms. Maize seeds taken for testing by civil society and farmer groups were allegedly confirmed to contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). “Maize is our national staple, yet we are now growing and consuming a variety that is potentially harmful to our health,” protested the farmers.
The Biosafety bill, which was to be passed in parliament last year to give guidelines about crops protection, has not been passed yet. The Kenya Small Scale Farmers’ Forum, representing small-scale farmers from ten districts across Kenya, declared their objections to the current draft of the Biosafety Bill on Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops. The debate has elicited various concerns from a number of stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
Uganda Stock Exchange to be Computerised
Uganda’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has expressed optimism that the its Central Depositary System which is a computerised system of conducting trading on the stock exchange will be operational before the end of this year. “Everybody in the industry and those in the legislation are happy with the system and we expect trading using Central Depositary system to commence at the stock exchange before the end of 2008,” said Mr. Japheth Katto, The Chief Executive Officer of CMA. The cabinet had approved the Bill that paves way for its debate in parliament. The system will make trading at the stock exchange more efficient as pricing and settlements are done online. Uganda Securities Exchange will be the third to use electronic trading system in East Africa after Nairobi and Dar es Salaam stock exchanges.
Zimbabwe Elections Here
On the 29th of March, Zimbabweans will take to the polling stations to exercise their democratic right to elect a leader of their choice. The election expected to be the toughest ever in the country will have four presidential candidates with three strong opponents. Mugabe will have a face off with Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai and former ally Simba Makoni. Campaigns in the country have gone hi-tech with short message service (SMS) campaigns. They carry messages like “Vote for Simba”, while Tsvangirai’s faithfuls ask, “Have you not suffered enough? Morgan is the solution.”
Media Training Goes Underway
The 6th Eastern Africa Media training is on in Bagamoyo Tanzania. The event hosting journalists, media experts, policy makers and academia from various African nations including South Africa and USA, is organized by Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) in conjunction with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Under the theme: ‘The Role of The Media in Positioning Africa in 21st Century’, the training is expected to help midwife the continent’s stability, sound institutions, wealth creation, and bargaining power. This will be achieved by providing vital information; availing a platform for dialogue, being an impartial watchdog, and celebrating productivity - all principle components of development and mature democracies.
Ethiopian Firm to Start Coal Mining
Derba East Coal Mining has finally acquired legal status and registered at the Public Notary Office in December 2008. The newfound company intends to produce over one million tonnes of coal a year by engaging in surface and underground mining. A Derba MIDROC, subsidiary company of MIDROC Ethiopia, is constructing a cement factory with an investment capital of 2.4 billion Br. Cement production companies will use the mined coal as fuel in high temperature kilns, to heat the raw materials to melt partially at 1,450 degrees centigrade transforming them chemically and physically into a substance known as clinker. So far the cement factories in Ethiopia have been using light fuel oil in order to generate the heat that they need to produce clinker. Some factories that need coal in their production processes use electricity whose cost is unbearable.
Uganda Erects Gadaffi Monument
The Government of Uganda has erected a giant monument at Buganga, Nkozi to honour Libya’s support to the liberation war. However, the unveiling ceremony that was to be performed on Thursday by Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadaffi was deferred under unclear circumstances. The monument bearing the portraits of Gadaffi and President Yoweri Museveni was put up by the National Housing and Construction Corporation, one of the companies in which Libya has majority shares. Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers guard the monument, now dressed in canvass.
President Sirleaf Consults Public
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf withdrew the Amendment of the Investment Incentives Act of 1973 in order to hold more public consultations with a series of stakeholders from the business community, private sector, academic institutions, members of the press, and civil society representatives. Consultations are scheduled during the month of March in order to present the merits of the Amended Act, which aims at ensuring an equitable business environment while empowering Liberian businesses. The Ministry of State, in collaboration with various Government agencies such as the National Investment Commission (NIC), is spearheading newer rounds of consultations, which began with representatives from the business community.