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Archive for May 12th, 2007

A reaction by Captain Otim, “in defence of former President the late Milton Obote”

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

Captain Otim reacts to a story written by Ham Mukasa titled: “Uganda: Obote’s claims needed a call for proper research” published earlier.

________________________________________ Capt.Otim writes;

I would like to illustrate my opinion in this forum. For it looks as if this Ham Mukasa is after insulting my president. And this I take it as a serious insult and can end with fatal damage. I would like this man with historical facts to claim the true in his stories.

It looks like he is just a good history teller, just like in his tradition – when they sit in the evening and their grandies tell them sleeping stories. At first i saw him as a brilliant boy but now i see him as a recruiter of anti- northern Ugandans in Uganda. As stated before by my comrades, the issue is clear – in order to have peace in Uganda.

The name Uganda has to be changed and baganda pushed out to Rwanda or western congo. If not, we have to create the nilestate together with our brothers in southern sudan. The partition of Uganda is neccessary otherwise these baganda are going to advocate further killings of my brothers.

You do not know baganda. They are very tricky – everything they do has an aim. Why do you think this boy is using your site to publish his edited stories by the Uganda statehouse, because he is after something. I will also inform you that we are aware of the fact that he is publishing the same stories to a number of newspapers and nett sites.

APN stop publishing this boys story. He and the baganda have already cost us a number of life. Meaning that if he continues, you are encouraging us to work on them once again since last time they never learnt. All we need is peace but we can never have it with these so called baganda.

By Capt Otim
Man of action

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

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Government-backed disarmament war far from achieved

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

BY PAUL ORENGOH KE/SECURITY

In Kenya , the existence of a gun licensing program creates the legal fiction that law-abiding Kenyan citizens can possess a firearm.

But in reality, very few Kenyan citizens, especially those living in remote areas, meet the criteria for a gun license and can afford to pay the associated fees,” says Official Opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta.

In practice, however, only the rich and the socially or politically correct or well connected manage to obtain firearms certificates and keep them…Thus the gun law can be pretty arbitrary and subjective in its application, he chuckles.

Ordinary Kenyans are not even allowed to possess bows and arrows, and the bow and arrow laws are also applied discriminatorily.

Among the pastoralists of the Kenya/Uganda borderlands, many households have firearms, and the crime rate is low, although there is a substantial problem of violence between tribes and clans, especially in cattle-raiding. Estimates of the pastoralists gun stock range from 50,000 to 200,000 in Kenya , and 50,000 to 150,000 in Uganda .

Yet even the worst inter-tribal cattle-raiding violence is exceeded by the violence of the gun confiscation programs. According Kenya’s Internal Security minister John Michuki, the Government would stop at nothing to recover the arms.

West Pokot area District Commissioner Stephen Ikua warned “We shall use force to get them.

In March 2006, a shoot-to-kill directive for the entire country of Kenya was issued to police by Internal Security minister John Michuki, giving the police free rein against the populace.

But the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights cautioned Kenyans to brace themselves for a killing field if police officers were to effect the order.

Extreme brutality in the enforcement of gun prohibition is nothing new in Kenya . A gun confiscation program which the military conducted in 1950 caused the deaths of 50 people, while the government confiscated 10,000 head of cattle.

In 1961, then-Lieutenant Colonel Idi Amin of the King’s African Rifles in the then-British colony of Uganda crossed the border into Kenya and tortured and terrorized members of the Turkana tribe who refused to give up their weapons. At least 127 men were castrated and left to die.

The failed 1984 Operation NYUNDO [Operation Hammer] was a brutal example of the difficulty of disarming civilians who would rather risk death than surrender their ability to protect their families. Operation NYUNDO was a collaborative effort of the Kenyan and Ugandan armiesas are the current gun confiscation programs in those countries.

Krop Muroto, a political activist living in the remote West Pokot, of Western Kenya recalled: “No one knows to date how many people were killed in that operation that lasted three months. The community was further devastated by mass killing of their cattle. 20,000 head of cattle were confiscated, rounded up in sheds and starved to death. Among other atrocities…the army used helicopter gunships, killed people and destroyed a lot of property.

Lukim Kpamba, an elder in the dusty and dry village of Ombwede in the West Pokot district, said the soldiers who carried out that mission were “wild, beyond humanity.

He said many shot Turkanas and Pokots on sight, or forced men to lie on the ground in a line as they ran across their backs. Other men had their testicles tied together and were then made to run away from each other, he said. Women were raped in front of their husbands, sometimes with empty beer bottles.

Ironically, in April 2006, Security Minister John Michuki told Parliament, The Government has decided to disarm the Pokot by force. If they want an experience of 1984 when the Government used force to disarm them, then this is precisely what is going to happen.

Stephen Ikua, a government representative, said that threats were necessary in order to get civilians to peacefully surrender their firearms. He said: As a government, you should talk from a position of strength. You cannot come in saying you are going to respect human rights.

On April 4, 2007, the civil society in Kenya described the latest military operation in Kenya , code-named Okota [Collect], utilizing tanks, trucks, helicopters, and a local school building as barracks for the army.

In the village of about 2,000 people, 8 weapons were recovered by the intimidation. Fearing a repeat of the 1984 human rights violations that accompanied disarmament, 15,000 panicked people fled to Uganda with their cattle and guns, leaving behind the aged, infirm, and the children.

Starvation and anguish are now stalking Mt Elgon and West Pokot residents, since the Government launched a forcible disarmament exercise a month ago.The residents now say they have resigned themselves to fate and have become refugees in their own country, says Polycarp Ocholla Kamili, lead security analyst with Witerose Group.

A recent visit by this writer revealed the sense of hopelessness and vulnerability that the disarmament has brought, forcing majority residents to relocate to Uganda . Schools have also become ghost institutions, with very few pupils. Although the Government says the operation has not disrupted the villagers normal life, a spot-check reveals otherwise.

In West Pokot alone, 120,000 people need food aid, but only half are getting rations. Schooling is disrupted, and farmsteads are being neglected.

Only months after the forced disarmament program began, seventy illegally possessed firearms had been recovered. Apparently, a few dozen firearms are reason enough for the Kenyan government to go to war against its own citizenry.

((Writings by Paul Orengoh, Tel: +254720878315, Email: wuorengoh81@yahoo.com;

Paul Orengoh
Economic and Political Writer
Tel: +254720878315
Email: wuorengoh81@yahoo.com

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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The deportation of 31 Rwandese from Uganda Saturday sparked off rage amongst the Rwandese officials

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

Kampala (Uganda) The deportation of 31 Rwandese from Uganda Saturday sparked off rage amongst the Rwandese officials who accused Uganda of handling the deportees inhumanely.

The Rwandese citizens were arrested in Uganda recently for illegal entry.

Ugandan officials, led by the Kabale Resident District Commissioner, James Mwesigye, led the deportees in a prison truck to hand them over to the Rwandese authorities.

The head of immigration at Gatuna border post in Rwanda, Godfrey Kayenzu, however protested the manner in which the deportation process was handled by the Ugandan authorities.

Kayenzu wondered why the deportees did not have deportation documents from the internal affairs ministry. He also protested the way in which they were transported to the border aboard a prisons truck.

Commissioner James Mwesigye, however asked the Rwandan officials to find out why its people are entering Uganda illegally. He said the problem of illegal immigrants has increased and could injure the cordial relationship between the two countries.

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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The West African Development Bank (WADB) has earmarked US$ 4 billion loan for the State-owned Niger Power Company (NIGELEC)

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

Niamey (Niger) The West African Development Bank (WADB) has earmarked US$ 4 billion loan for the State-owned Niger Power Company (NIGELEC) to fund the reinforcement and rehabilitation project of an interconnection power line between Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria and Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The project will contribute to the enhancement of “a sustainable environmental management thanks to accessible quantity and quality energy”, WADB’s Chairman Issa Coulibaly explained.

The interconnection line started up in 1976 with a transit capacity of 40 megawatts, is the main source of energy in the River Niger bordering areas, mainly in the capital city Niamey.

WADB’s Chairman deemed that the additional source of power is “an alternative to the energy crisis resulting from acute shortages, including power cuts in the sub-region”.

“The project is a strong anticipatory measure to curb the inadequate power supply”, he added, underscoring that the support of his institution will further help to improve the quality of the services provided by NIGELEC and reduce power cuts.

These will pass from twice a day to twice a month with 50% reduction in thermal generation.

NIGELEC’s Executive Manager, Ibrahima Foukori pledged that his company “would endeavour to speed up the implementation of the project in accordance with the appropriate technical standards”.

He further recalled that the WADB had already disbursed about “17, 750 billion CFA francs to the power sector of Niger along the ten past years”.

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

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Benin recorded in 2006 a 4.1 percent economic growth rate

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

Cotonou (Benin) Benin recorded in 2006 a 4.1 percent economic growth rate against an average of 3 percent in the past two years, according to an official document on the country’s economic assessment sent to APA.

The document reveals that this economic growth rate observed in December 2006 in Benin marks a break with the downward trend started since 2003.

“This recovery of the economic activity essentially stemmed from an improvement of the production in the primary sector, namely in the cotton industry which is estimated at 285,000 tons against 190,000 tons in 2005”, the document wrote.

Owing to this increase in Benin’s economic growth rate in December 2006, the inflation hits 3.8 percent in the same period. Moreover, this rate exceeds the UEMOA convergence criteria set at 3 percent.

Economic experts explain this inflation level by the hike of oil products prices due to a deficient supply.

“But the inflation may worsen due to the power cuts which mar the sub-regional economy and particularly that of Benin”, the document revealed.

In the public finance field, the same document notes, the December 2006 total revenue of the Beninese state are estimated at 416.9 billion CFA francs compared to 383.4 billion in 2005, or a 8.7 percent increase.

“This increase in revenue is also enhanced by the customs revenue as well as the tax revenue which increased to 18.7 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively”, the document stressed.

The 2006 upward trend of the revenue is said to be related to a slight resumption of the economic activities, to an improvement (by Nigeria) of the import of products coming from Benin.

In this context, the document reveals, the state’s expenditure and net loans are estimated at 479.6 billion CFA francs in late December 2006 compared to 489.3 billion CFA francs in 2005, which is a 2 percent drop.

“The project costs amount to 113.4 billion CFA francs on 31st December 2006, corresponding to a low cost rate of 57 percent. The total deficit (except donations) is estimated at less than 54.9 billion CFA francs in 2006 compared to less than 84.7 in 2005, or a 35.2 percent improvement rate “.

This improvement is explained by the measures taken by the government to restore the fiscal discipline particularly the setting up of a treasury committee in charge of strictly tracking the revenue and the expenditure management, as well as the balance between the means and government bonds.

Such move allowed the state to discharge its considerable internal arrears.

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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Namibia has expressed opposition to calls for a 20 year ban on trade in ivory, which has been proposed by Kenya and Mali

Posted by African Press International on May 12, 2007

Windhoek (Namibia) Namibia has expressed opposition to calls for a 20 year ban on trade in ivory, which has been proposed by Kenya and Mali, suggesting instead use of the resources in a sustainable manner, APA learns here Wednesday.

“Namibia is completely against the call for a moratorium on the ivory trade because this is against what we have been working for,” said Malan Lindeque, permanent secretary of the ministry of the environment and tourism Wednesday.

Lindeque said that Namibia has a good conservation record, adding that SADC countries should be allowed to use ’their resources in a sustainable manner, because their good conservation measures warrant it.’

“We strongly oppose measures that do not take into recognition the circumstances that we have in our conservation programme.”

Kenya, Mali, Togo and Ghana want their proposal for ivory trade ban to be adopted at the forthcoming 14th Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES) to be held in the Netherlands early June.

While Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are also seeking a CITES nod for a one-off auction of about 40 tonnes of stockpiled ivory.

Tanzania is also seeking to downgrade its elephant population from Appendix I to Appendix II.

“That proposal is not applicable to Namibia and goes directly against our conservation programme,” Lindeque said in reference to the proposal for the wholesale ban on ivory trade.

Efforts by countries of the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) to fight the ivory trade ban could be dealt a blow by reports from Zimbabwe that about 40 black rhinos had been lost to poachers in some government parks and conservancies.

Under CITES, no country is allowed to trade in rhino products following the massive decline in its population in the 1980s.

Southern African countries are currently working together to help boost the populations and recently Zimbabwe donated one black rhino to the Khama Wildlife Sanctuary in Serowo, Botswana.

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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