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Archive for May 10th, 2007

Israel told to seize the opportunity for peace presented by the Arab countries

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

Pretoria (South Africa) A state minister in the South African presidency, Essop Pahad, Wednesday told the opening ceremony of three-day UN meeting in Pretoria on Palestine to urge Israel to seize the opportunity presented by the peace initiative presented by the Arab countries to begin “serious negotiations” to normalise its relations with the Palestinians.

“South Africa believes that until a comprehensive, just and permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is found, the Middle East region will not be able to realise its full potential and will remain a key source of instability and thus a threat to world peace and security,” Pahad said.

Pahad said the emerging united Arab position to push for the implementation of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was an opportunity for Israel to restart negotiations with the Palestinians.

“It essentially calls for the return of all Palestinian land based on the 1967 borders and on the basis of a genuine attempt to establish a Palestinian state living side by side and in peace with Israel,” he said.

Pahad called for meetings under the auspices of the UN between Israel, Lebanon and Syria to take place to facilitate the process. He also called on the European Union and the United States to drop sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

“South Africa will work diligently with all parties to secure a just and lasting peace in the Middle East… we will work within the Security Council and the Non-Aligned Movement, and bilaterally to convince the powers that be that this is an opportunity that should not be missed.”

The meeting in Pretoria was arranged by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and is aimed at restarting the Israeli-Palestinian political process.

Other speakers to address the meeting include Tuliameni Kalomoh, assistant secretary-general for Political Affairs and representative of the UN Secretary-General, and Samih al-Abed, Minister for Public Works of the Palestinian Authority.

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, source.apa

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Malawi’s national football team, the Flames will take on Senegalin a friendly international match to be played on 9 June

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

Lilongwe (Malawi) Malawi’s national football team, the Flames will take on Senegalin a friendly international match to be played on 9 June at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, a Football Association of Malawi (FAM) official said here Wednesday.

FAM Chief Executive Yasin Osman told APA in an interview that the association was in the process of finalising plans to welcome the Lions of Teranga during their camp in the country before they proceed to neighbouring Mozambique for a 2008 African Cup of Nations (CAN) qualifier.

According to the visitors’ programme, Senegal will first play Tanzania in a match scheduled for 3 June and then will come to camp in Malawi for 10 days before proceeding to Mozambique for the CAN qualifier against the Mambas in Maputo.

“We have finalised all the required modalities like accommodation, training ground, transportation and other expenses for the Senegalese,” he said.

Osman said the Malawi-Senegal game will be a test strengthening match for the Flames before their do-or-die encounter with Morocco’s Atlas Lions in September in a CAN Group 12 qualifier.

“The Flames will benefit a lot if they play against the Lions of Teranga, one of the footballing giants of Africa,” he said.

Osman added that Malawi would also benefit from the Senegalese camping here as a way of showing other national teams to camp here as well before and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa.

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Sweden: The Green Horns Are Coming

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

Isn’t it funny that Kenyans have so little respect for the youth while the 1st world or industrialized countries choose to invest more on them? We are often referred to us young man or kijana or young woman or msichana by the older generations when ever we try to make a point as if to remind us our place. As if the older generations know better, more or broadly than we do. More than once I have been totally ignored while trying to say something as if what ever I would say is certainly irrelevant. We are termed as politically immature or in a polite way like in my case, innocent or being in the dark.

Who said that political maturity comes from age or how much time one has spent on the scene? To me politics is like a talent, you are born with it. You either have it or you don’t. And just like any other activity, some are better than others but the beauty is in the eyes of the beholders.

Note the political climate change in the world today. More and more younger leaders are taking over more easily than ever, and revolutionarizing the world for the better.

In a recent war of word between to well known blogs in Sweden, I caught a term which was new to me. Greenhorns. In the statement it was supposed to mean young or inexperienced. At this time please not that this article is not about that war. This word though expressed in contempt, is an exemption to other words used to put us in place. It harbours clearness and prosperity in green and power and boldness in horns. That’s how I want to look at it.

While the immediate generations before us treat us with disregard, caution and disrespect, it is us who are updating the world and making wakeup calls world over. We are not to stop for anything. Forward; as the Rasta man say, we will move and take charge one way or another.

It’s impressive to see that the incumbent president in Kenya has chosen to do more for the young. Free primary school to all, free secondary tuition fees soon to come, is a promise that more and more youth will in future serve a purpose. The immediate former president Moi almost wasted a whole of these greenhorns generation by his careless leadership. Those lost years saw the lose of many youthful lives in alcohol, HIV and crime as hopelessness reigned through the nyayo era. Many of the greenhorns were forced migrate to other countries in such for better lives for themselves and their families as their futures grew darker in their own homeland. Kenya is now one of the worst hit countries in the world by brain drain as a result.

But the greenhorns are not out there suffering anymore. We continue to struggle not only to make ends meet but also to prosper and take charge. Nobody can stop this and nobody should try. And we will reshape the world we are living in with or without the dictators’ permission, support from those who try to put us down. The best alternative is to be on the side of the youth, listen to us and give us support unconditionally when we need it. Otherwise you will be overtaken by events that reshape the world you are living in, in a way you will not have perceived. The all the greenhorns out there; rumble Young men and women rumble! The day and not just the future is ours. Don’t let any obstacles hinder your way. Take charge!

By Njoro. More by me at My Expression, njoro.wordpress .com

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Uganda: Obote’s claims needed a call for proper research

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

I have taken the time to look back on one of Obote’s last radio talk participation in 2005.

The reminiscences of Dr Milton Obote as revealed to Andrew Mwenda in his serialisations in The Monitor a few years ago are full of gaps and mistakes, which is regrettable since he had almost 20 years in which to refresh his memory free of the pressures of office in Zambia.

Some of the mistakes in the series could have been easily avoided by checking the relevant records.

Professor Senteza Kajubi was never a member of the Legico and therefore could not have won his seat with only 80 votes as Obote alleges. The conservative member of Legico he refers to is Mr Y. Bamutta from Masaka and a member of his own party, UNC and the person who went to collect Obote after being elected President of UNC must have been Paul Kisenyi Sengendo, Jolly Joe Kiwanuka’s personal assistant at the time, not Paul Kiggundu who was a medical doctor and was never involved in UNC politics although he later became an MP in 1962 on a KY card.

It is not true Obote’s UNC had widespread grassroot support. At the time of his election, UNC had already split four-ways, with its national chairman, Jolly Joe Kiwanuka leading the last faction which broke away from I.K Musaazi’s main body in 1959. Kiwanuka brought in Obote as president at his faction’s annual general meeting in Mbale.

Obote in turn split with Kiwanuka and led his own faction with Abu Mayanja as secretary general. At a press conference to welcome John Kakonge into the party in 1960, Mayanja announced that their party had only two branches in the country. Mayanja soon left to join Apollo Kironde’s United People’s Party, where he became publicity secretary. Mayanja couldn’t have left a thriving party to join a new one in a lowly position compared to the one he held in UNC.

The formation of UPC is not properly dealt with by Obote. This point is very important because the impression has always been given that UPC was the successor to the original UNC.

After all the leaders of the main political parties excepting DP, had been deported in 1959 by the colonial government, a strategy was conceived by European and Asian leaders led by Barbara Saben and Jimmy Simpson who were European members of the Legico at the time, to transfer political leadership in Uganda from Buganda in preparation for independence.

Saben and her group prevailed on the African members of Legico to form Ugandan People’s Party with William Rwetsiba as president.

However, although Rwetsiba and his colleagues suited the leadership role very well, they were not the type of soap box orators who would arouse people at political rallies especially at this time when the independence fever was at its highest. Accordingly, there was a disconnect between this party and the masses.

Obote, on the other hand, was a political maverick but without captains. Saben and Simpson worked hard to unite Obote’s faction of UNC. Jimmy Simpson was later elected to Parliament by Buganda Lukiiko when UPC and KY joined in an alliance. Both Musaazi and Kiwanuka’s factions remained independent while David Lubogo’s United Congress Party, another splinter group, became moribund.

Obote may be right about his personal contribution to the transformation of waragi into a refined drink. However, the role of Sir Edward Muteesa was more critical. After a committee chaired by Dr. Eriya Babumba had recommended a modern distillery for waragi, UDC was directed to find an investor but failed in its efforts.

Sir Edward was then approached with a request to talk to Mark Gilbey of the Gilbey gin fame and a friend of his from their Cambridge days.

Gilbey responded positively provided Muteesa or his surrogate played a part in the company which was to be formed for the purpose. This explains why the shareholders in the company which was formed, the East African Distilleries Ltd, Were Duncan & Gilbey Ltd, UDC and the Buganda Government.

The handling of Buganda’s issue will, for a long time, remain Obote’s and UPC’s albastros and matters are not helped when Obote refers to Muteesa as a regional chief. Obote should recall that between February 22, 1966 and July, 1967, he made various public statements, especially to the National Assembly in which he explained the events and his actions leading to the military attack on the Lubiri and suspension of the Constitution.

For Obote to claim now that in attacking the Kabaka’s palace, Amin was on a frolic of his own is to go against written evidence, especially his own.

In a statement to the National Assembly on May 25, 1966, Obote made it clear that the Buganda government ministers did not support the resolution in the Lukiiko moved by a lowly representative from Kooki calling for the ouster of the central government from Buganda’s soil.

He also informed the House that the Speaker of the Lukiiko lost control of the proceedings due to the behaviour of noisy hooligans in the public gallery who were armed with sticks and machetes to threaten members.

In this atmosphere, no resolution could be passed. However, contrary to this evidence from Obote’s own mouth, he justified the attack on the palace and the suspension of the Constitution on what he called the Lukiiko’s act of rebellion.

Buganda Government could not have been responsible for a resolution it opposed right from the beginning and which resolution was not passed anyway. History will judge Obote according to the facts and not on his thoughts.

Obote’s claim that Ibingira had a hand in the crossing of KY members to the UPC in 1965 is not correct. The truth is in 1965, UPC started opening up branches in Buganda contrary to the terms of its alliance with KY.

This put KY at the cross-roads. As an unregistered movement, it could not open branches of its own and to turn it into a political party would have unnecessarily and recklessly politicised the institution of Kabakaship.

An emergency meeting of all KY MPs, Buganda Lukiiko members and Ssaza chiefs was held in the Blue Room in the palace where it was decided that KY MPs should join UPC after rejecting the idea of joining DP or going it alone.

As soon as the meeting dispersed, Amos Sempa and Daudi Ochieng announced KY would become a national party contrary to the decision which had just been unanimously adopted. Seven MPs decided to go by the original decision and crossed to UPC.

Among the members who attended the meeting who are still alive are Mohabib Semakalu, the present Lukiiko Speaker, Mayanja Nkangi, then Katikkiro and A.D Lubowa, a minister.

Lastly, Obote’s contribution to the struggle for independence must be the subject of debate and scrutiny.

Obote spent years in Kenya and his election to the Legico in 1958 as member from Lango was his effective introduction to Uganda politics. Although he used to make moving speeches in the House, his involvement in the rough and tumble of Uganda’s politics did not come until he became leader of UNC in 1960, a decade after Musaazi and Kiwanuka started the struggle.

By A Good Muganda
Ham Mukasa
http://www.hammukasafoundation.com
http://www.hgmconsult.com

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Uganda: One year into Kisanja (presidential period) – Museveni

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS TEAM
On Saturday, February 18, 2006 just six days to the February 23 elections, Brig. Noble Mayombo sat quietly in the large compound of President Museveni’s country home of Rwakitura.

Mayombo, who had arrived in Rwakitura late on Friday, was leading a delegation of mainly FDC supporters whom he wanted to have a discussion with the president and possibly convert into the Movement at a crucial time to the election.

One year later, on a similar Saturday, May 5, Museveni sat in the compound of what Mayombo was planning to turn into his own version of Rwakitura in Kijura, some 34 kilometres from Fort Portal town not to lay a campaign strategy but to bury Mayombo.

While back in 2006 Mayombo carried a puzzled look given the magnitude of that election and the challenge presented by Kizza Besigye, he nevertheless had a tinge of optimism in the corner of his eyes.
LIKES IT: Museveni enjoying a light moment after his supporters decorated him with ‘Essanja’ which symbolised his bid for the third term in 2006 compaigns File Photo

The first year of President Museveni’s third term has turned out to be probably the most politically turbulent of his long political career.

Economically, the year has been difficult for the government which has continued to run a largely cash budget.

The continuing power crisis where it is now standard for the country to be plunged into darkness at midnight, the diesel shortage and the Mabira forest saga, have played out probably the gloomiest year overshadowing the discovery of commercial quantities of petroleum and the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).

In politics Museveni’s first year of Kisanja has seen the most frequent, most violent and most unprecedented streets riots ever.

Dissent in Parliament among members of the Movement caucus who have come out to openly challenge their leader and a growing opposition has left the President isolated.
The death of Mayombo crowned a difficult year. This is a fact Museveni alluded to when he said he was top on the list of the regional mafia that wanted to eliminate some key NRM cadres.
That group, Museveni suggested, could have eliminated Mayombo.

“What killed him so quickly? I am looking at two lines of investigations. One is that our security has been monitoring a group of criminally minded individual people in the region that have been talking of eliminating some strong NRM cadres and Mayombo’s name was high on that list,” Museveni said adding, “of course I am number one of the list.”
The statement has sent chills down the spines of many in the inner circle where Mayombo clearly belonged.

But Museveni did not stop there, highlighting a corrupt free life Mayombo lived, Museveni hinted at another subtle possibility of the corrupt to have played a silent hand in Mayombo’s death before returning to the possibility of Mayombo succumbing to a badly managed health condition that he had lived with for over 10 years.

The president’s explanation scuttled laborious efforts by the Director for Medical Services in the UPDF, Honorary Brig. Dr James Makumbi to explain the deterioration of Mayombo’s health. But worse still gave credibility to the poisoning rumours that now put every top member of the security and political strata on tenterhooks. The investiagations should be conducted and findings released immediately.

By A good Mugandan

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Uganda: Power crunch ‘haunts’ Museveni in new term

Posted by African Press International on May 10, 2007

By ANGELO IZAMA
KAMPALA

If President Yoweri Museveni were leading a different country, the embarrassing situation with Uganda’s collapsing energy sector would have been a political emergency for his new administration as it completes its first year in his new term.

As it is, the plunge in power supply to the lowest levels in Uganda’s history, pitiable management of energy generation and distribution assets and a dubious energy policy regime will hardly leave a dent on the political fortunes of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

Here is why. Uganda has a low demand for electricity despite official load forecasts to the contrary. That can partly explain why despite the halving of energy supply over the last two years has produced no significant fallout.

Official figures place demand at close to 480MW and an annual demand growth of 11%. Consider that actual power supply was 280MW at one point and that supplies today are as low as 135MW and sometimes less. One explanation for the silence is projections of demand have largely been false. Consumer (and therefore voter) demand for electricity in Uganda is confined to the 12% of the Ugandan population with access to electricity (less than a quarter of the country) mainly based in Kampala and a few towns.

Demand of these consumers also follows a pattern, only rising from 6 to 9 in the evening with activity in homes. This makes it easy to respond to the specific nature of home-based demand at peak times by pointing supplies of limited electricity at these particular times. Consider too that export figures for 2006 grew by 18% despite the power shortage, largely in areas that do not require a lot of power. Uganda has few value-addition industries that require huge infusions of electricity.

One of the interesting things to note about inaccurate load forecasts in Uganda and elsewhere is that they lead to an overproduction of power that remains unconsumed.

Over production is evident because Uganda sustains large losses in power transmission [some say up to 30% of power generated]. Moreover infrastructure for connectivity itself is tattered especially for upcountry locations. In effect the concern over power supply is exaggerated and therefore the electricity supply situation not surprisingly has not gained traction as a political issue because of its narrow and fractious constituency in the industrial and urban dweller community.

President Museveni may have promised to fix the energy problems but his political headaches are unlikely to come from a crisis in this sector.
However, this does not mean that there are no problems brewing here. The mismanagement of this sector has shown it can lead to serious problems. An example is the recent unanticipated diesel shortage, which could have led to diesel protests.
Uganda’s current energy supply is close to 40% thermal electricity supplied by diesel generators using ordinary diesel.

Before the Ministry of Energy made its decision to go thermal, voices warned that expensive diesel generators would strain supplies. The Ministry was also advised to invest in infrastructure for heavy fuel oil generators. In spite of being forewarned the Ministry has allowed a 100MW capacity to be generated from diesel [which represents 70% of the total demand for diesel in Uganda]. Unsurprisingly when problems emerged last month with the Kenya pipeline, supplies were constrained for car and other uses.

Supplies are normalising but such bad judgment has not produced its last upset. The lack of planning at the heart of the events will come back to haunt the President and his party.

At the time the diesel shortage struck, Uganda’s national oil reserves had quietly been drained. A national security issue, these strategic reserves aught to have been available for emergencies but there were not. No official explanation is forthcoming but information available to this reporter suggests that stringent access to the reserves have repeatedly been breached. The strain was worsened by lack of alternative supply routes for oil destined for Uganda. Country supplies are reliant on access through Kenya alone.

The managers of Uganda’s energy sector did not make contingency plans for a supply crisis knowing full well that demand for diesel for thermal energy had trebled, that relying on Kenya alone was too risky and even that supply from Nairobi could not be counted upon since the poorly maintained pipeline was due for repairs lasting up to 18 months.

Consider again that the Ministry had advance knowledge that national reserves were running on empty and that a supply route for oil through Dar es salaam-Mwanza was not feasible. The country has no transport capacity over Lake Victoria since nationally operated ferries are sunk.

It is clear that Uganda’s energy sector managers are not in shape to respond to a more serious emergency. A crisis in this sector is therefore waiting to spring another surprise especially if lack of supply connects with a vital activity like the diesel shortage did with transportation.

Izama.angelo@gmail.com

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