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Archive for March 5th, 2007

Uganda and Chad agree to tighten ties

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

N’Djaména (Tchad) Chad and Uganda have decided to strengthen their bilateral ties in several sectors than can lead them to new areas of cooperation, according to a press statement released Sunday in Ndjamena, at the end of the visit of the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni.

The statement said the Ugandan president and his Chadian counterpart, Idriss Deby Itno, agreed to open diplomatic missions in their respective capitals.

In the same move, they also reiterated their ongoing support at restoring security and stability in the Great Lakes region, in the Central African Republic and in the Horn of Africa, reported the statement which was jointly signed by both heads of state, who also urged the international community to pledge its support to help African countries find African solutions to African problems.

The Ugandan president, who was on one day official visit to Chad for the first time, in his turn, invited his Chadian counterpart to Kampala, the statement added.

The Chadian head of state accepted the invitation whose date would be unveiled through diplomatic channels, the statement said.

The Ugandan head of state came from Sebha, in Libya, where he participated in the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of the Libyan Jamahiriya, following the invitation of the guide of the Libyan revolution, Colonel Moammar Ghaddafi.

It was amid the talks between the two heads of states last Friday in Libya that the visit of the Ugandan president to Ndjamena was decided, a member of the Ugandan delegation disclosed.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Tanzania: Prime Minister Edward Lowassa consoled crash victims

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) A passenger train derailed at Cheyo A, 6 km from the Tabora town railway station in western Tanzania, and injured at least 71 people, APA learnt on Friday.

The injured, 15 of whom were said to be critical, were admitted to the Tabora regional hospital in Kitete, according to the Tanzania Railway Corporation, the operators of the line.

The TRC said the train was heading to Dodoma (central Tanzania) from Tabora, Mwanza and Kigoma (in the north of the country) when four of its coaches left the track and overturned Thursday night.

Reports said unidentified people had removed a section of the railway line and replaced it with a piece of rope.

“Most of us were fast asleep. I was awoken by screams at which point I saw the train swaying. It swayed for quite some time before our coach ran off the rails,” said Tobias Aaron, a police officer who was going to Morogoro (in the south of the country) from Kigoma.

He said he heard a loud bang and soon went into a coma, adding : “I don’t remember what went on after that. When I regained consciousness I found myself in a hospital bed.”

TRC marketing officer Sylvan Chenga, who was one of the passengers, told journalists that 30 metres of the track had been removed for unknown reasons.

He suffered minor injuries and worked hand in hand with other TRC officials in helping the injured passengers, taking some to the hospital, he said.

The train would resume services later Friday after transferring passengers to the Dodoma-Mwanza-Kigoma train because the railway would have to undergo repairs.

Regional Police Commander Muhud Mshihiri said police investigations into the crash have started.

Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who has been on a tour of Morogoro Region, rushed to the scene to console the crash victims.

In 2002 a TRC passenger train derailed at Mpwapwa in Dodoma, killing more than 200 people.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.apa

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ODM-K travellers to UK for party unity talks

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

By Micahel Mugwang’a

*”ODM-Kenya yesterday officially released the names of its members who will be travelling to London for a reconciliation bid. Some 12 members are expected to go to the English city in an effort to mend differences among presidential hopefuls and their followers.

ODM presidential aspirant Kalonzo Musyoka addresses a rally at Malava Kakamega where he criticised the recent appointments made by President Kibaki. The ODM-K presidential aspirant leave for London this week on a reconciliation mission. Photo SHANGALA JOSEPH

In a statement signed by the party’s secretary-general, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, ODM says that the trip was meant to accord the presidential aspirants a chance to meet their supporters in the UK. Prof Nyong’o said the aspirants were travelling on the invitation of the party’s committee in London.

Little opportunity

He denied the impression that it was the threat of a fallout between the aspirants that made the trip necessary.The secretary-general said that though that would have been important, this may not be time for it. “While this is an exercise that the aspirants yearn for, there will be little opportunity for it on this trip,” Prof Nyong’o said.

Seven of the eight members of the party, who have declared interest for its nomination as presidential candidates in this year’s General Election, are expected to leave for London on Thursday.

Among those expected on the trip are Gatundu South MP Uhuru Kenyatta, his Eldoret North counterpart William Ruto, Mwingi North’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Mvita’s Najib Balala.

Other aspirants, Julia Ojiambo- a nominated MP- and Joseph Nyaga, will also be travelling on Thursday.

Lang’ata MP Raila Odinga will be joining the team in London from the US.

Former vice-president and Musalia Mudavadi was, however, not expected to travel for the bonding trip. Also on the trip is Prof Nyong’o, party chairman Henry Kosgey, deputy party leader Mutula Kilonzo and South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara. On the list as well is Ms Janet Ong’era, the executive officer at the secretariat.”*

*”/”*Lifted by Korir and published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.nation.ke

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“A wise person once said that we should treat rumours and slander going on around us in the same way we deal with a bee”, writes Mukami

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

This issue of rumours and gossip folks is quite interesting and I can relate to that at some level. I have been a victim of malicious individuals for a while.

Through all that I learnt that in such situations and generally in life, its how we handle our problems and troubles that define who we are and not the problems themselves.

A wise person once said that we should treat rumours and slander going on around us in the same way we deal with a bee.

There are two options. When approached by a bee one option is to totally ignore it. It will approach you, buzzing trying to provoke you or get a reaction. But if you ignore it, it will simply buzz away no matter how long that takes.

The second option is to kill it. If you choose to kill a bee you have to make sure that you kill it and finish it with the first blow. Failure to that will result in it coming back to you more vicious and aggressive. On and on till it gets more exhausting and annoying and the result may not be pleasant.

Thats the same way to treat all the rumours going around about us. Ignore it totally eventually it will die down and disappear. Its a tough option but the results are the best.

Choosing to kill the rumour we have to make sure the first statement we make in defense or clarification, is enough and will not create more stories.

I guess ultimately one has to choose what suits him/herself the best….

Still the best revenge in life is always success. To focus on the job one is doing and to be successful in it such that while others are busy running their mouths, you are busy cashing in on your top dollar cheques…..

By Mukami

Mukami is reacting to our earlier story:

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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ODM-Kenya to run to colonial masters in search for unity

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

The Standard has reported that ODM-Kenya presidential hopefuls will march to London, the former colonial master’s den the coming weekend to get advice on how to be united.

They will travel to the UK for consultations with former colonialists because they fear ODM-K is about to crumble. The reports confirm that ten British MPs, “are expected at ODM-Kenya’s milestone meeting in London next week, where unity among the party’s top leadership will be top on the agenda. The meeting, to be held at a school ground in Wembley, near the historic sports complex of the same name, will be attended by ODM-Kenya’s presidential aspirants.

Surely, this must be seen as running to the same colonial masters Kenyans chased years ago when the country attained independence. Running to Britain for unity talks? What does that tell the world about Kenyan leadership? Are they not able to do their thing without running to former white masters?

This only confirms that ODM-K is a British set-up that wants to push out President Kibaki for the benefit of the British investors.

Reports indicate that, “also expected are British civic leaders and party officials, especially from the main opposition Conservative Party. ODM-Kenya (UK Chapter) Publicity Secretary, Mr George Muruli, said yesterday that 10 British MPs had confirmed attendance.”

The fact that the, “ODM-Kenya presidential hopefuls Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Prof Julia Ojiambo are expected to make a joint three-day visit to London from March 9 to March 13”, is absurd when the mission is to go and talk on how they should be united.

Kenyans should now be aware and make correct choices during the coming elections. If Britain is the place for Kenyan leaders to go and cool their tempers and arrive at peaceful solutions, then our believe is that the British will also decide on who the ODM-K presidential candidate will be.

It is reported that, “another presidential aspirant, former Vice-President Mr Musalia Mudavadi, on Sunday said he would not make the trip, citing local political engagements”, and this is very encouraging because he would rather be with his people n Kenya rather than running to get advice from London. May be Mudavadi understands that the white man in London will help but not without conditions to satisfy British investors who would like to grab a piece of Kenya.

According to the media, “the meeting, to be held at Oakington Manor School Hall, Wembley, Middlesex, comes at a time when wrangles pitting camps of top leaders have been reported to be escalating. Most of the leaders who spoke at the weekend said they would use the London trip to sort out their differences. The heightened extent of wrangling in the party was illustrated yesterday by Kalonzo’s denial he was a stumbling block to the party’s much sought-after unity.”

The trip to the UK, “to bring together party leaders and their Kenyan supporters abroad, will feature a dinner engagement where tickets will sell for between Sh13,000 and Sh130,000. While releasing the programme of activities lined up for the ODM luminaries, Muruli said the presidential hopefuls would attend an investors’ workshop at an exclusive hotel on Friday.”

It is clear that the British are against Kibaki government because the former internal minister Dr Murungaru never gave them a chance. Now that the Kenyans who belong to ODM-K UK chapter have organised a workshop for investors that the ODM-K presidential hopefuls will attend, only tells it all. Britain will manipulate Kenyan politics if ODM-K comes to power.

Reports say, “bookings for attendance are being made in advance. Later in the evening, the leaders would be hosted to a dinner where those in attendance would have a one-to-one exclusive access to the presidential aspirants. Tickets for the dinner range from £100 (Sh13,000) to £1,000 (Sh130,000). What you pay will determine how close you sit to the aspirants. Speaking via telephone from his Wembley residence, Muruli said for ODM’s UK chapter, the trip would mark the beginning of serious engagement with Kenya’s government-in-waiting.”

The Standard reports that, “ODM-UK chapter is vigorously establishing avenues of helping to underwrite the election campaign expenses as well as attracting investment into Kenya for the new era.”

Mr Muruli is reported saying that the aim is to “showcase the human face of ODM-Kenya leadership with the purpose of cultivating support from potential party funders and potential investors after ODM-Kenya takes over government in 2008”, adding that, “this should also extend to the thousands of Kenyans in the UK who will in turn influence their families in Kenya to vote for ODM.”

But “Locally, Kalonzo said the assumption that he was a stumbling block to party unity was misguided. Kalonzo termed as a creation of the media, claims that his ambitions had compromised efforts by the party to pick a presidential candidate without acrimony.”

He has many critics. He is quoted saying, “Majority of my critics claim that I am the trouble in ODM… others say that I will quit if not elected as torch bearer”, adding, “I want to state clearly that I will be the last person to ditch ODM-Kenya.”

The man from the coast, “the Mvita MP Mr Najib Balala said the planned ODM-Kenya trip overseas would bear fruit, adding that those who expected a split were in for a rude shock.” He called on Kenyans on Sunday, “to vote out the current regime in this year’s General Election.”

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.standard.ke

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Kenya: Moi to continue supporting President Kibaki

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

 By Anderson Ojwang

Former President Daniel Moi will continue supporting President Kibaki during his term, despite being a member of the opposition party Kanu. Moi said the gesture was to reciprocate the support Kibaki had given him during his 24 years in power. When Moi took power in 1979, he appointed Kibaki his Vice President.

Kibaki served in this capacity until 1988 when he was demoted to Health minister.

“I respect President Kibaki and will continue to support him during his tenure as he did the same to me,” Moi said.

He said people have been wondering what he discusses with Kibaki whenever they meet. Both leaders, he said, have mutual respect for one another.

Call to respect incumbent Head of State

Speaking during a funds drive for Kapsowar Mission Hospital in Marakwet District on Sunday, Moi called on Kenyans to respect the incumbent Head of State and the institution of the Presidency for the good of the country.

He said Kibaki should be respected by all Kenyans, regardless of their political party affiliation as a sign of unity and to enhance peace in the country.

“If you do not respect the President, the country can easily plunge into chaos,” he said.

Moi said he would remain faithful to Kanu ideals and cannot join any tribal party, as this was not in the interest of the country.

The former Head of State said he had warned Kenyans that political parties were likely to divide them into regions.

In apparent reference to ODM-Kenya that groups Kanu, the Liberal Democratic Party and Labour Party of Kenya, Moi said from his wealth of experience, he could not mislead his people by urging them to abandon Kanu.

Moi has been opposed to the merger of Kanu and LDP and supported former Cabinet Minister Mr Nicholas Biwott’s bid to oust Kanu chairman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, from the party leadership.

Will continue to comment on socio-political issues

Uhuru and the party Secretary General, Mr William Ruto, have since joined ODM-Kenya and are in the race for its presidential flag bearer against Lang’ata MP Mr Raila Odinga, his Mwingi North counterpart Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Mvita MP Mr Najib Balala, former Vice President, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, nominated MP Prof Julia Ojiambo and Ms Nazlin Umar.

The former President said he would continue to comment on socio-political issues despite his retirement in 2002.

“I will come back to tell you what political course to take,” he said.

Moi welcomed the introduction of free primary education, but added that it was likely to compromise quality of education.

Present at the function were local MPs, Mrs Linah Jebii Kilimo and Mr David Sudi, former Kenya Seed Managing Director, Mr Nathaniel Tum and Bishop Silas Yego.

Kilimo and Sudi pledged Sh2 million and Sh4 million respectively from their constituency development funds towards the construction of the Kapsowar Mission Hospital./ The Standard.ke

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Minister’s visit to the US was a success

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

*”Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre wrapped up a trip to the US this week with a lecture at Harvard University. Norwegian students in the audience seemed quite proud of their homeland’s top diplomat afterwards.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (center) made a good impression on Norwegian students at Harvard this week.

PHOTO: JOHN HULTGREN

“He was incredibly good, he spoke on politics, but also on values,” student Kristel Tonstad, who’s finishing up a master’s degree at Harvard, told newspaper Aftenposten. “In American politics, things seem so black-and-white, but Støre talked about negotiating, about the need to listen to your counterpart. I think that appeals to young people.”Magnus Grimeland, another Norwegian student at Harvard, said Støre was “realistic” about Norway’s role in the world. “Norway is a small country, but still has the opportunity to get things done,” Grimeland said, noting that he thinks many Americans think the US is powerful simply because it’s so big.Støre, fresh from discussions with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, remained diplomatic but also was sharply critical of several US positions, especially its refusal to engage in direct talks with either Syria or Iran.

He spoke at length about the problems in Afghanistan but didn’t want to talk about Iraq, saying simply “because there it’s too late.”

Støre stressed a need to negotiate with all parties to conflicts, not least Hamas, which “did all it could to kill the Oslo agreement,” but remains part of the reality in the Middle East and must be heard.

Støre noted that the US hasn’t succeeded in trying to pressure countries into following the US lead by freezing them out if they don’t obey. He claimed that isolation and boycotts are poor politicial instruments, and that military actions very rarely succeed on their own.

He said he thinks Norway’s willingness to speak with all sides in a conflict has boosted its reputation as an international peace broker. Even, it seems, when Norway can point to few actual breakthroughs in conflict resolution.”*

By John Hultgren and Nina Berglund

*”/”*Lifted and Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenpostenENG

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Raja wants “Holmgang” program put off air

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Oslo, Norway: Advocate Abid Raja has accused TV 2’s debate program “Holmgang and the head of the program Oddvar Stenstrøm for handling the debate in a populistic manner directed against Muslims in general.

In a written statement published in Aftenposten today manday, advocate Abid Raja has reacted angrily in connection with the “weekly Holmgang program” aired on Wednesday.

The listeners were asked by the head of the program to call in and answer the question: Are radical Muslims a threat to the western values? And it is reported that Oddvar Stenstrøm is supposed to have said that parts of the world was in fire due to the drawings seen as mockery of prophet Mohammed that angered the Muslims last year.

Raja says Oddvar Stenstrøm must be removed from the program.

This is not the first time Raja has asked TV 2 to stop the weekly program Holmgang. In November 2004 he wrote to TV 2 boss Kåre Valebrokk after a research by the TV 2 indicated that 97 percent of the callers had the opinion that Muslims in general is a threat to western values

Valebrokk did not reply Raja’s letter. Now the advocate hopes that the new boss, who takes over soon as TV 2-boss Alf Hildrum will remove Stenstrøm and stop the program “Holmgang.”

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source ANB-NTB)

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Ivorian leader enters into agreement with former rebel leader

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the leader of the former armed opposition, Guillaume Soro, Sunday signed an agreement in neighbouring Burkina Faso that calls for the setting up a new government in five weeks with the view to end the bloody conflict that has rocked the country since 2002, APA learns here.

At the military level, an integrated army staff will be formed with the integration of soldiers of the former rebel group into the regular army.

The two sides also pledged to revive the disarmament of former combatants and facilitate the progressive removal of the 45 kilometer-wide buffer zone and the eventual withdrawal of the UN and French intervention forces.

The identification of the populations is henceforth no longer general but limited and which will be suspended until after the elections to be held before or on 31 October 2007 in keeping with the UN Resolution 1721.

The agreement will be supervised by a Permanent Consultation Framework (CPC) comprising of the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, Gbagbo, Soro and opposition leaders Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie.

This agreement is the first concrete result of the negotiations in the presence of the United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) delegation led by the deputy special representative of the UNOCI secretary, Abou Moussa.

Blaise Compaore said he hopes this agreement « will end this tragic issue of the conflict between Ivorians, which is rocking West Africa”.

The agreement which was brokered by Burkinabe head of state, Blaise Compaore, is seen as a direct and practical solution to the problems hampering the resolution of the main issues including the identification, disarmament and the holding of fair elections.

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), of which Cote d’Ivoire is a member, named Compaore as mediator in the crisis.

Since the beginning of the war in Cote d’Ivoire, several mediations had been set up, without success up to now including one that was brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki who headed the last mediation before the involvement of ECOWAS.

Blaise Compaore expressed the hope that the Ivorian people “will take care of the outcomes of the discussions and make sure they are implemented for a final resolution of the crisis”.

On Saturday, the Forces Nouvelles (New Force) representative who had signed the draft document said the agreement conformed to the current debates on the crisis./ APA

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 +47 6300 2525

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Ice Melting in Svalbard

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Svalbard’s glaciers are in full retreat.

PHOTO: Ole Magnus Rapp

Svalbard ice melting

The glaciers on arctic Svalbard are melting faster than researchers believed and the pace has accelerated over the past five years.

Researcher Jack Kohler has been studying the Svalbard glaciers for many years.

PHOTO: Ole Magnus Rapp

Related stories:

Over 16 cubic kilometers of ice from the many Svalbard glaciers vanishes each year. At the same time record summer temperatures have been measured in Longyearbyen, and snowfall has declined.

The resulting changes have already been highly visible, with new islands appearing, and the Blomstrand peninsula being revealed as an island after the retreat of glacial ice.

“We see a clear and dramatic change,” said Kim Holmén, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute. He believes the reduction in ice is due to warmer climate and said that recent research indicates that the consequences of global climate change is first registered in the Arctic.

“Svalbard is now a greater contributor to the world’s rising sea level than we previously believed,” Holmén said.

“The volume of the glaciers is being reduced. One thing is that they retreat, at least as dramatic is that they are also becoming thinner,” said glacier researcher Jack Kohler at the Norwegian Polar Institute. He has worked with the Svalbard glaciers for many years and can state that they are being reduced by 60-70 centimeters (23.6-27.5 inches) in thickness per year.

On Thursday the International Polar Year (IPY) begins, with thousands of researchers from over 60 nations concentrating on polar research. Climate changes and their consequences will be a central theme and much of the research will take place at Svalbard and in the adjacent region.

By Ole Magnus Rapp and Jonathan Tisdall

*”/”*Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenpostenENG

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Sudan denounces UN Secretary-General’s statement on Darfur

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) The Sudanese army spokesman, Brig-Gen Osman Mohamed al-Aghbash, on Sunday denounced UN Secretary-General’s statement condemning the Sudanese government air strikes in Darfur, arguing that the diplomat’s utterances could “hinder the peace efforts,” APA learnt.

Brig-Gen. Aghbash explained that the Sudanese army was “only undertaking restricted defence operations aimed at stopping aggression by the rebel movements and “outlaws” – the non-signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

But the African Union mission currently working in Darfur, warned on Saturday that it risked being paralysed after a civilian working for the AU was beaten up and robbed at his home in the city of Al-Fasher north of Darfur.

“If this kind of attack continues, we are at risk of being paralysed,” AU spokesperson Noureddine Mezni said after four armed men on Thursday burst into the employee’s house, assaulted him and stole his mobile telephone and vehicle.

On Wednesday, Ban Ki-Moon condemned the Sudanese raids saying they have been extended to new areas since 19 January, resulting in more civilian casualties and suffering./ APA

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SPLA soldiers in Southern Sudan to get adult education

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) The southern Sudan minister of Education, Science and Technology Micheal Milli Hussein said Sunday that his ministry would provide a second chance for education through the adult learning course to about 70,000 soldiers in the south, APA learns here.

Hussein said the programme was being jointly funded by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) which received 550million dollars from the South Sudan budget this year as well as from other unspecified sources and his ministry.

One million dollars had been allocated to the literacy programme within the SPLA this year.

“We are soon going to embark on an assessment mission and begin the education programme this year,” said Hussein explained.

The date of the kick-off will be determined by the workshop he said.

“We will be hiring and recruiting teachers from within the forces. They will receive the same salary as before,” the minister of the Education said.

“It is important to educate all parts of society,” said Kuol Diem Kuol, the SPLA Spokesperson via telephone, “and we are trying to modernize the SPLA, but you cannot modernize an army with illiterate soldiers”.

“One of our objectives is that when it is time for the referendum, each SPLA soldier must be able to write and not use the fingerprint,” said Kuol. /APA

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Catholic Bishops blam politicians in Nigeria

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has blamed politicians for the anxiety and controversies surrounding the forthcoming polls in Nigeria, scheduled for April 2007.

According to a communiqué released on Saturday in Abuja after a week-long conference, the bishops noted that past experiences had made Nigerians to enter into the season of election with heightened fear and worry.

“If every election in the history of Nigeria had ended on a note of controversy, Nigerians wonder if it would be different this time around,” the bishops said.

The communiqué said that Nigerians desired a free and fair election, but the level of preparedness of security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made many of them to doubt if the electoral process would reflect their will and produce a credible leadership.”

The bishops observed that if political parties were incapable or unwilling to conduct credible primary elections, what guarantee had Nigerians that the April elections would be credible.

The bishops noted that at the heart of the electoral crisis is the belief that politics is about the acquisition of oil wealth by the political office holder.

“In a curious paradox, our country is rich, but our people are poor.

“That a country of great abundance is inhabited by people who labour under dehumanising deprivation, is a source of concern,’’ they said.

The bishops reminded politicians that the world was watching to see how Nigeria would conduct the election this year.

“The elections provide Nigeria and Nigerians a momentous occasion to resolve to return to the path of honour in the conduct of elections.

“These elections will either increase or diminish the respect that the international community has for Nigeria,’’ the communiqué added.

“What does it profit a politician if he steals the mandate to rule and loses the trust of the people ?” they asked.

On the crisis in the Niger Delta, the bishops urged political office holders in the Niger Delta to account for the revenue that had accrued to the region so far.

The bishops observed that the Niger Delta issue was a question of justice and good governance that concerned all.

“The lingering crisis in the region remains a major source of concern, as oil exploration has brought wealth to oil companies and to a few individuals.

“The staggering millions of inhabitants of the region are yet to benefit from the wealth, with a death-dealing ecological degradation and a gross violation of fundamental human rights.

“It is a grave sin that the Niger Delta, a region that has contributed immensely to the wealth of the country, remains a region of dehumanising poverty, unemployment and destroyed ecosystem.’’

The communiqué urged the relevant government agencies to call political office holders in the region to account for the way the resources accruing to the region had been used.

It stressed that where there were proven cases of misappropriation, appropriate laws should be applied.

The bishops, however, appealed to the youths in the Niger Delta to eschew violence, saying violence would not provide any lasting solution to the problems of the region./APA

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30 000 Jamaicans to go to Ethiopia

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Over 30,000 Jamaicans are expected in Ethiopia to celebrate the Ethiopian new Millennium, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced here Saturday.

Dr. Solomon Ali, the Public Relations and Information Department Coordinator with the ministry said that the Jamaicans have informed them of beginning their preparations to come to Ethiopia.

“The Ministry is undertaking activities aimed at making the tourists’ stay in Ethiopia comfortable. The Jamaicans are likely to attract tourists from other Ethiopia loving countries,” Ali said.

Dr. Ali urged the public, mainly residents of Addis Ababa, the capital, to demonstrate the usual hospitality to tourists coming to celebrate the new Millennium.

According to the Ethiopian Millennium secretariat, an estimated 200,000 people from all over the world are expected to attend the celebrations, due to begin in July until the end of 2008.

The number of tourists visiting Ethiopia currently stands at 250,000 per annum, and there is a plan to increase it to one million in the next five years./APA

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African meeting against corruption starts today in Nairobi

Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) Eight African countries are expected to attend a major anti- corruption regional conference set to open in Mombasa, Kenya’s second city on Monday the 5th of March, APA learns here.

The conference is being organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and it is expected to bring together investigators, prosecutors and anti-corruption policy-makers mainly from Eastern Africa to discuss the war against corruption in the sub-region.

The participants are expected from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, and there will also be expert facilitators and observers to provide training around the conceptual framework of corruption, prosecution, detection and investigation of corruption cases and mutual legal assistance.

“Given that UNODC is the leading agency in the fight against corruption under the UN system and the custodian of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the seminar will practically and pragmatically also address issues of asset freezing, seizure and confiscation in relation to the UNCAC”, read a statement sent to APA Saturday.

According to the statement, the workshop will focus on central themes in anti-corruption related case work including but not limited to the conceptual framework of corruption, prosecution of corruption, detection and investigation of corruption cases, seizure, freezing and confiscation of proceeds of corruption, international cooperation in investigation and prosecution of corruption cases and asset recovery.

The four-day specialized conference is scheduled end on the 9th March./APA

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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