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Kenyans to start using Huduma Namba instead of IDs by December

Catherine Wanjiku displays her Huduma Namba card after receiving it from the Kiambu County Commissioner’s office on November 18, 2020.

Instead, Kenyans will be required by law to use their new Huduma Namba cards in accessing or applying for jobs among other services. Huduma Namba is a system that seeks to register all Kenyans under a new database. Also referred to as the National Integrated Identity Management System, the Huduma Namba was introduced in 2019 and was billed as the single source of personal identification for Kenyans. Speaking in Mombasa County on Saturday, Mr Oguna said at least 37 million Kenyans had been registered by the time the Sh9.6 billion exercise closed in May last year and are now waiting to receive their cards.

Smart phones

He noted that between now and December 31, Kenyans will start receiving short messages informing them of where they would like to have their cards delivered. “By the end of this year we hope that all the 37 million Kenyans will have received their Huduma Namba cards as we phase out the national identification cards,” Mr Oguna stated. The spokesman urged Kenyans to respond to the messages once they receive or else they will be forced to go and pick the cards where they first registered for the Huduma Namba. So far, 4.5 million messages have been sent to Kenyans, with only 2, 000 people having responded accordingly, according to the government spokesperson. For citizens who do not have smart phones, the government has set up a toll free number (08800221111), where they can call to get direction on how to get their cards. Mr Oguna said those who missed out in the registration exercise should take advantage of the second phase, which will be rolled out soon. The second round of the registration is set to take off in April. –

Millions have just hours to complete Census or risk £1,000 fine

The Census takes place every year and aims to provide a ‘snapshot’ of UK life


There are just hours to go to fill out the 2021 Census and you risk a fine of £1,000 if you don’t make the deadline. People in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are today being asked to complete an online questionnaire to provide a snapshot of life across the UK. The once-in-a-decade survey asks the public to answer questions about every person living in their household, including their age, race, education and employment and health statuses. For the first time, over-16s will be asked to answer voluntary questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. Here’s our breakdown on the 2021 Census and what you need to do.


What is the Census and when does it take place?


The Census is an official count of every person and household in the UK on a given day – this year is Sunday March 21. It has taken place every 10 years since 1801, excluding 1941, and is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in England and Wales and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Scotland’s Census has been delayed until March 2022 due to the pandemic. It provides the most accurate data on who lives in the UK and what they do. This year is set to provide a long-lasting impression of how Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted the country. The ONS says it aims to create a ‘detailed snapshot of our society’ to help the Government and local authorities plan and fund services such as roads, education and GP surgeries by using statistics pulled from the huge survey. Charities, hospitals, schools, universities, job centres and others also use the data to help improve their services.

How long does it take and what information do I need to provide?


This year’s Census will mostly be completed online due to the pandemic. Officials say it takes around 10 minutes to complete the household questions and a further 10 minutes per person for individual questions. You will be asked for details on every household member’s sex, age, ethnicity, occupation, education and relationship status. There are also questions on your main language, national identity, living circumstances and even your commute to work if you are not working from home currently. You do not have to answer any questions marked as voluntary. Some, such as those on religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, are not mandatory.


How do I fill in the form and when is the deadline?


All households should have already received letters with an access code to log into the form online via a computer, tablet or smartphone. Access the form by visiting, click ‘start census’ and you will be asked to enter your household’s 16-character access code. When you’re finished completing the questions, remember to click ‘submit’ otherwise your details won’t save and you could be fined. The Census should be completed on Census day itself – today. –

Violence erupts protest in Bristol leaving officers badly injured

Violence has erupted during protests in Bristol on Sunday

Violence has erupted during a Bristol demonstration over plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests. Hundreds of people gathered at College Green today for the ‘Kill the Bill’ protest, before marching together to a police station on nearby Nelson Street. Shocking photos from the scene showed people climbing on top of police vans, throwing fireworks and starting fires on the street. A number of officers are said to be ‘badly injured’, with some cases reporting suspected broken arms and ribs. Protesters could also be seen attempting to smash the windows of the police station. Andy Roebuck, chairman of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: ‘Disgusting scenes in Bristol by a mob of animals who are injuring police officers, members of the public and damaging property. ‘Avon and Somerset Police Federation are attending stations to support officers. We have officers with suspected broken arms and ribs. This is so wrong.’ John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, also added: ‘Horrendous scenes in Bristol. Number of officers badly injured, police vehicles damaged and a police station under attack.

‘This is not protest, it’s just mindless violence. Thoughts are with my colleagues.’ The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance. Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or even go to jail. Those attending the demonstration carried signs saying ‘let us protest’, ‘this Bill is a public nuisance’, and ‘our silence is not your right’. A spokesperson for the police urged pedestrians and motorists to avoid the area of Bridgewell Street as the violence continued into the night.

They said: ‘We’re aware of a small number of incidences of criminal damage during the afternoon, including graffiti, and these will be investigated. ‘Officers are continuing to deal with a smaller number of protesters in Bridewell Street. They’ve had projectiles thrown at them, including a firework, and have been verbally abused. ‘This is unacceptable behaviour and those responsible for offences will be identified and brought to justice.’ It is not yet clear how many people have been arrested in connection with the protest. Mass gatherings are also currently banned under the coronavirus legislation, and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined. Home Secretary Priti Patel said this evening: ‘Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight. Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated. Our police officers put themselves in harms way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured.’ –

Death of a Zulu king: ‘He is planted, not buried’

Zulu men in traditional warrior outfits at night in Nongoma, South Africa – March 2021

Goodwill Zwelithini, the 72-year-old king of the Zulu nation in South Africa, was laid to rest at a private ceremony shrouded in secrecy and attended only by a select group of royal men in the early hours of Thursday morning. Yet the days leading up to his funeral have opened a rare window into the customs and values surrounding the final rites of passage of a Zulu monarch. For his subjects King Zwelithni has not been buried. They use the Zulu term “ukutshalwa”, a loose translation of which means “planting” – to imply this is not the end of his influence on the people he ruled for more than five decades. One of King Zwelithini’s palaces in the small KwaZulu-Natal town of Nongoma, about 300km (185 miles) from Durban, has been a hive of activity, with mourners streaming in to pay their respects.

For those who revered him, the word death is also felt to be inappropriate, instead the end of his mortal life is referred to as “”ukukhothama”, meaning “to kneel”. It is a symbolic way to show the timelessness of the Zulu kingdom. Metaphorically King Zwelithni is kneeling so the next in line can rise up to the throne. These days of mourning are a fitting tribute to a man who throughout his half-century reign was a staunch advocate of preserving Zulu cultural identity. His leaving is understood simply as a transition to becoming an ancestor, joining generations of other Zulu kings. He was a direct descendent of King Cetshwayo, who led the Zulu nation in the war with the British army in 1879. His subjects’ deeply entrenched spirituality means that even as they mourn, they celebrate too. On display are some of the things the Zulu nation holds dear – like the leopard skin regalia of the “Amabutho” warriors.

On Wednesday afternoon, sombre songs filled the air as the king’s regiment escorted the black car, with blacked-out windows, that carried the monarch’s body from a local mortuary to a palace. They slowly walked along the motorcade, singing his soul into the heavens. Alongside the warriors were the young women, referred to as maidens, wearing colourful beaded skirts and elaborate necklaces.

Their attire is a nod to a tradition reintroduced by the monarch in 1991, known as “Umhlanga” or the “Reed Dance”. It is an annual gathering of young women, which celebrates chastity and virginity – and aims to educate them about HIV and Aids. Zulu folklore has it that if a woman is not a virgin, the reed she carries during the ceremony before the king will break, embarrassing her in public. While some see it as patriarchal, some, including the young women here, take pride in its existence.

“It has taught me to look after myself – not having to worry about the pressure of sex or risk having a child while young has given me time for my education,” 30-year-old Happy Buthelezi told me outside one of the palaces. “Being a part of Umhlanga over the years has protected me.” A white tent was erected outside the kwaKhethamthondayo Royal Palace on a field overlooking Nongoma, where dignitaries on Thursday attended a memorial service, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the royal family.

Three grieving queens were amongst those at the memorial to hear tributes to their late husband. He leaves six widows and 28 children. “It was during the course of his reign that his people, alongside all the people of our country, realised their dream of freedom from the injustices of colonialism and apartheid,” the president said in his eulogy. “And it was during his reign that the decades of dispossession and the wilful destruction of our knowledge and economic systems, our culture and governance institution came to an end.”

It is not clear yet who will succeed King Zwelithini to lead the 11 million-strong Zulu nation – who make up about 18% of South Africa’s population. This may be in part for the future monarch’s safety but also in reverence for the man who has been respectfully known as “Isilo Samabandla Onke”, meaning “King of all Zulu kings”. But people here tell me they are clear about the kind of king they want – a visionary, a straight-talker – like their former monarch – someone who will honour their culture and be a guiding light for future generations.

Five things about King Goodwill Zwelithini:

Named successor to the throne at just 20 years old in 1968
Not crowned until 1971 because he went into hiding after receiving death threats
Role was ceremonial but still hugely influential
Reigned as king of the Zulu nation for five decades
Leaves behind six wives and 28 children.

Covid-19: Record day for UK with 711,156 vaccinations given

Friday was a record day for Covid vaccinations in the UK, with a combined 711,156 first and second doses given to members of the public. It means that half of all UK adults – some 26,853,407 people – have now received a first dose of a vaccine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the latest milestone in the rollout marked a “phenomenal achievement”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson – one of those to receive a first dose on Friday – also hailed the landmark. A total of 2,132,551 people have also received their second dose of a vaccine, government figures show. Another 96 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test have also been recorded in the UK, as have a further 5,587 cases. “Vaccinating over half of all adults is a phenomenal achievement and is testament to the mammoth efforts of the NHS, GPs, volunteers, local authorities and civil servants in every corner of the UK,” said Mr Hancock.

The news comes after the government confirmed a shipment of about five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab would be delayed, resulting in an expected reduction in the number of first doses – including for the under-50s – given during April. Meanwhile, European countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have begun offering the Oxford jab again after a pause over safety fears. Mr Hancock said he was “absolutely delighted” to reveal the UK had reached the vaccination milestone.

Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai dies of Covid-19

Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai.

President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Kikwai as a devoted public servant who was deeply committed to everybody’s progress and wellbeing. Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai is dead. Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony said that his deputy succumbed to Covid-19 at 10am on Saturday. Speaking at a press briefing at the Council of Governors offices in Nairobi on Saturday afternoon, Prof Chepkwony said funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date after full consultation with the family. “Our deputy governor tested positive of Covid-19 and succumbed to the virus this morning.

“I urge Kenyans not to lower their guard, the disease is real. Let us take the containment measures set by the government seriously,” said Prof Chepkwony.

“Major blow”
The county boss, who was accompanied at the press briefing by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Ainamoi MP Sylvanus Maritim, expressed his condolences to the family, residents of Kericho and the country for the loss.

“We are proud of her achievement both as deputy governor and while serving in national government before plunging into politics. We celebrate her life as she was admired by many,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

Mr Maritim said: “She was a hardworking deputy governor and we shall miss her. I am urging Kenyans to observe the regulations set by the government.”

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok in a separate statement said, “The loss of Kikwai is a major blow to the leadership of South Rift region, the people of Kericho and the country.”

“It is unfortunate that we have lost her at a time her valued administrative and leadership skills were needed in the region. I pray to God to give the family the strength to bear with the loss,” said Dr Barchok.

Fight against virus
Kikwai was serving her second term as the deputy to Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony after the two were elected in 2013 and re-elected in the 2017 general election on a Jubilee party ticket.

She took the final blow at a time when she was at the front-line in ensuring Kericho residents adhered to all the Covid-19 containment measures set by the Ministry of Health.

“The fight against Covid-19 cannot be left to the government alone. It is a team effort that requires partnership with the private sector,” Ms Kikwai posted on Twitter in 2020.

Before plunging into politics, Ms Kikwai served as the managing director of Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) between 2005 and 2012.

Following her death, former Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto said, “I have learnt with shock and disbelief the passing on of Kikwai whom I have known for many years.

“She was a dedicated servant of the people who served in government as a technocrat and later a politician. May God give the family the fortitude to bear with the loss.”

“Ms Kikwai was a hard-working, focused and down to earth leader whose administrative skills will be missed by Kericho county and the country at large. May she rest in peace,” said Belgut MP Nelson Koech.

Kericho Woman Representative Florence Bore said “the demise of Ms Kikwai is a big blow to the people of Kericho and negates the progress made in entrenching women leadership in the country,”

Mrs Mary Rotich, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Kericho branch said “The death of the Kericho deputy governor came as a shock and a major setback to women leadership as she was a trailblazer in the political front and as a technocrat of high standing.”

Uhuru’s message
In his condolence message, President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Kikwai as a devoted public servant who was deeply committed to the progress and wellbeing of the Kericho community and all Kenyans in general.

The Head of State recalled the period when Kikwai served as the managing director of KenInvest.

She highly promoted Kenya as an attractive destination for foreign and local investment, Mr Kenyatta said.

“Susan was a great public servant. While working for the national government, she was instrumental in attracting various domestic, regional and international investments,” he added. –

Exodus from Paris as Parisians say new lockdown is ‘a bit too much’

Parisians arrive to catch trains leaving from the Gare Montparnasse serving the west and southwest of France

Parisians were racing to leave the city ahead of a new coronavirus lockdown coming into effect at midnight tonight as the country grapples with soaring case numbers.

From midnight, the capital will be plunged into a month-long lockdown, while another 15 regions in France will be placed under the same measures.

Desperate commuters were seen flooding into train stations across the city, as people looked to beat the deadline to reach other, less restricted parts of the country.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the measures will not be as strict as the previous lockdown, with people allowed to exercise outdoors.

However, only essential shops will remain open, while anyone travelling more than 10km from home or in the evenings will need to fill out a form.

At the Montparnasse train station, Anna Henry, a 21-year-old student, said she had decided to go to her parents’ place in Brittany, western France, describing the latest Paris lockdown as “a bit too much”.

Anthony Massat, 23, also a student, was catching a train to Toulouse in south-western France: “There’s no lockdown in the south, so it will be a bit more free.”

France reported 35,000 new cases on Thursday and there were more Covid patients in intensive care in Paris than at the peak of the second wave,

The chaotic scenes came at the same time Mr Castex received the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine today – but the country has moved to limit its use to only people aged 55 and over.

The vaccination was broadcast live on national television in an effort to restore confidence in the jab after its use was paused in France and several other European countries this week.

Despite the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirming the jab is “safe and effective”, and not associated with a higher blood clot risk, France’s medical regulator said it should not be given to under-55s.

Its recommendation was based on the fact that the reports of blood clots that had prompted the suspension had only been seen in those aged under 55.

Dominique Le Guludec, head of the regulator, told a press conference that blood clot cases in those who had received the vaccine were “very rare” but “serious”.

Three other vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – have been approved for all French adults and will continue to be administered.

Germany has also resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine, with Italy set to follow suit. Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania have also started administering it again, while Spain and Canada are also set to resume jabs.

However, Finland has moved to suspend its use while it investigates two possible cases of blood clots, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said earlier today.

The institute estimated its investigation would take at least one week.