Eric Kiraithe Named Kenya Government Spokesman

Former police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has been named the National Government spokesman, reviving the office thta had previously been scrapped by President Uhuru Kenyatta..

Mr Kiraithe, who was the general manager in charge of security at the Kenya Airports Authority, will now work under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

A statement from State House Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita said the appointment of the police senior officer was “to ensure timely, consistent, coherent, and coordinated communication to the public on all matters relating to the national government’s agenda”.

“Mr Kiraithe, who has a long and distinguished history of public service mainly in the security sector, will take up his new post immediately, moving from his current role as general manager for security services at the Kenya Airports Authority,” said Mr Waita.

Mr Waita said while Mr Kiraithe will operate from the Ministry of Interior offices, the office of the State House spokesperson, headed by Mr Manoah Esipisu, will remain within the Executive Office of the President.


In August 2013, the government shut the government spokesman’s office and its holder, Mr Muthui Kariuki, was redeployed.

A statement from the Presidency at that time said the move was informed by the need to ensure “coherence, clarity and consistency” in the way the government communicates.

“The Office of Public Communication Secretary and Government Spokesman does not fit within the new structure of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration and has consequently been shut,” the statement said.

Mr Esipisu then took over communication within government.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua once held the post during the reign of President Mwai Kibaki.

Somalia’s Al-Shabab Claims Baidoa Attack Killing 30

Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out Sunday’s attack in Somalia’s southern city of Baidoa that killed at least 30 people.

A car bomb exploded outside a restaurant as people were watching the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

In a second explosion, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy junction.

This is the fourth major al-Shabab attack in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

It came on the same day as countries which contribute to the African Union force in Somalia, Amisom, pledged “to reinforce military operations in Somalia, to effectively counter threats from al-Shabab”.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday evening in response to the Baidoa attack, and Security Minister Abdirizak Mohamed Omar called for extra laws to help the government fight the militant group.

AU representative in Somalia Francisco Madeira condemned the attack saying he was “saddened by the loss of innocent lives through acts of terror committed by ruthless individuals who have no value for life”.

In addition to the 30 deaths, the attacks injured 60 people who are being treated in hospital, a local journalist told the BBC.

15 January – on a Kenyan base in el-Ade that Somalia’s president said killed at least 180 soldiers

21 January – on a restaurant at Mogadishu’s Lido beach killing 20 people

26 February – on Mogadishu’s SYL hotel killing nine people

28 February – on a restaurant and busy junction in Baidoa killing at least 30 people

Baidoa is being protected by Ethiopian soldiers, who make up part of the 22,000-strong Amisom force.

Troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti are also part of the force that supports the Somali government in its attempt to gain control over the country.

Heads of state from the troop supplying countries said after a meeting in Djibouti on Sunday that they were concerned about the “decision by the European Union to reduce financial support to Amisom… by 20% especially during this critical phase of operations”.

The EU, which pays for troop allowances, decided to cut its funding earlier this month.

The leaders of the countries contributing troops to Amisom have called for an urgent review of their military response to al-Shabab, following weeks of sustained violence.

In addition to the weekend’s attacks, jihadi fighters have clashed with Amisom troops in different parts of the country, forcing the peacekeepers to withdraw from some areas.

Somalia’s allies now say more needs to be done to stem these attacks.

The Amisom nations agreed at Sunday’s meeting in Djibouti that they need more funding and logistical support for their own operations, not to mention helping the Somali National Army stand on its own feet.

The leaders complained that the absence of their troops in some key regions provided a safe haven for al-Shabab.

US election 2016: Super Tuesday to Test candidates

Candidates bidding for their party’s ticket in the November US presidential election face their biggest test yet in the so-called Super Tuesday primaries.

Twelve states cast votes for candidates from both the Republican and Democratic party nominations in a contest seen as make-or-break for the hopefuls.

Contests stretch from Massachusetts in the east to Alaska in the north-west.

After earlier votes in four states, Donald Trump leads the Republican field and Hillary Clinton the Democrats.

Senator Ted Cruz cannot afford to lose to Mr Trump in Texas, his home state, while a reverse for Mr Trump in Massachusetts, with its moderate voters, could break the property tycoon’s nationwide momentum.

Mrs Clinton is hoping to build on her weekend victory in South Carolina, where she polled heavily among African-Americans, to restore her political fortunes after a bruising defeat in New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders, her self-styled democratic socialist rival.

On 8 November, America is due to elect a successor to Barack Obama, a Democratic president standing down after two terms in office which have seen the Republicans take control of both houses of Congress.

Opinion polls give Mr Trump a lead in almost all of the 11 states holding Republican contests on Tuesday: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Alaska and Minnesota.

The colorful campaign of the billionaire, who won three of the four early voting states, has divided Republicans.

On the eve of the polls, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse became the highest-ranked elected party member to come out and say he would not back him for president.

He said he was “frustrated and saddened” and would look for a third option if Mr Trump won the Republican nomination.

Protesters, including some from the Black Lives Matter movement, repeatedly disrupted a Trump rally in Radford, Virginia, on Monday after he was criticized for failing to condemn a Ku Klux Klan white supremacist leader in an interview.

Marco Rubio, the third-placed Republican contender after Mr Trump and Mr Cruz, is hoping to stay competitive, gambling on a win in his home state of Florida on 15 March.

Democrats are voting in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Colorado and Minnesota, as well as in the US territory of American Samoa. Democrats abroad will also submit their votes.

Mrs Clinton is eyeing black voters in places like Alabama, Georgia and Virginia after taking eight out of 10 black votes in South Carolina.

Jane Sanders said her husband faced a “rough map” on Super Tuesday but would take his campaign through to July’s Democratic convention.

“We expect to win some states and lose some states tomorrow and we think it will only get better as it goes along,” she said on Monday.