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Archive for May 15th, 2007

Kenya: ODM-Kenya giving into pressure as presidential aspirants continue to be suspiscious of one another

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

ODM-Kenya yesterday yielded to pressure and postponed the date for presidential aspirants to return their nomination forms as Mr Raila Odinga said he had not declared himself the partys candidate.

The partys secretariat announced yesterday that presidential aspirants will return the forms on Sunday, May 20, and not Tuesday, May 15, as earlier announced.

Interim secretary-general Anyang Nyongo, however, said the aspirants must return the forms to the secretariat as the partys constitution stipulates.

He said: The elections board does not stop us from receiving the forms. The partys constitution states that the forms will be returned to the secretariat.

Elections board

But Prof Nyongo added that the forms will be opened by the National Elections Board, which will be constituted after the May 21 plenary meeting. The plenary will fill vacant positions of the National Executive Committee, which will then form the nine-member elections board, he said.

As Prof Nyongo was addressing the press in Nairobi, in Malindi, Mr Odinga played down reports of a new crisis in ODM-Kenya over the nominations, saying an independent elections board will be constituted before the partys nominations are held.

Mr Odinga stated that at no time have I said I am the preferred ODM-Kenya candidate. However, he added that each of the partys presidential hopefuls had a right to express their view about the impending presidential nominations.

Each one of us believes he is the best suited to unseat President Kibaki, and I see nothing wrong with that since we are competing. I assure you that we shall emerge much stronger after the nominations because whoever wins will be supported by all of us, he said.

Mr Odinga blamed unnamed forces outside ODM-K for attempting to drive a wedge between the aspirants.

There is no sycophancy in ODM-Kenya as is the case in other parties and that is why people are expressing their views freely, he said.

Presidential hopefuls Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta said they would not return their nomination forms until there was a properly constituted National Elections Board. The three said the Tuesday deadline should be pushed back until the board was in place.

Yesterday Mr Odinga said an independent elections board will be constituted before the partys nominations are held.

However, Mr Kenyatta yesterday said the elections board must be put in place before aspirants are asked to return the forms. He said: Our condition still remains the elections board should be constituted immediately. Kanu has already nominated its four members.

Prof Nyongo, who spoke at the partys headquarters, said they had decided to extend the deadline because presidential aspirants were involved in the Magarini by-election campaigns and the mourning the country was in following the crash of a Kenya Airways plane in Cameroon.

He said the partys constitution stipulated that nomination forms be returned to the secretariat, which forwards the same to the elections board.

Prof Nyongo said that as the secretary-general, he was the spokesman of the party and his duty was to give guidance in the event of contradictions. Prof Nyongo said the partys interim NEC was discussing proposals of forming the elections board.

Defended Raila

Elsewhere, MPs Peter Odoyo, Oburu Oginga, Otieno Kajwang and Paddy Ahenda defended Mr Odinga for saying he had high chances of clinching the ODM Kenya ticket.

Although they did not mention Mr Odinga by name, ODM-K presidential hopefuls Musyoka and Ruto said none of the contenders for the partys ticket should give the impression that he/she is the preferred candidate before the nominations are held.

Mr Musyoka and Mr Ruto appeared to be responding to by Mr Odinga in Kisii on Wednesday that the General Election would be a battle between him and President Kibaki.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.

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Kenya: Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga to battle it out – who becomes ODM-K flag bearer

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

THE Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K) is at the crossroads with the rivalry between its top two luminaries Raila Odinga and Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka providing the dramatic countdown to the partys presidential nominations.

Fridays rather spiteful sentiments expressed by Kalonzo as he demanded for a well constituted ODM-K National Election Board (NEB) to conduct a democratic nomination exercise of the Movements flag bearer was an indication that supporters of both the Mwingi North MP and his Langata counterpart are governed by deep suspicions as they dig in for a titanic battle to clinch the partys nod for their respective candidates.

Kalonzos demand to have a constituted NEB at Orange House that is seen to largely marshalled by Raila allies had earlier been echoed by two other ODM-K Presidential candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who insisted that the NEB be in place before the nomination forms are handed over on May 31.

And as an expression of disapproval in the manner in which the secretariat is run, Kalonzo who displayed a bankers cheque for the mandatory Sh1 million nomination fee for the presidency declared that he would not give it to the current office headed by Kisumu Rural MP Prof. Anyang Nyongo.

Both Kalonzo and Raila are perceived as the ODM-K frontrunners to face President Mwai Kibaki in the December General Election and therefore the nomination will ultimately narrow down to the duo.

For the better part of the last two years, Kalonzo has been highly rated as the ODM-K main challenger for President Kibaki but his position seems to have lately been threatened and effectively taken over by Raila who staged a momentous launch of his vision last Sunday before declaring himself as President Kibakis main challenger from ODM-K.

With the thunder stolen from him by Raila and his initial charm and popularity with pollsters waning, Kalonzo is now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The reality on the ground essentially places Kalonzo and his ego between a rock and a hard place.

Analysts see a likely realignment of Kalonzo, Uhuru and Ruto to stem the glowing wave of popularity and intense campaign by Raila before the partys nominations expected in June or later in the year.

Indeed, all is not well within ODM-K as it appears that the Langata MP could gradually be isolated by the Movements top luminaries apart from Najib Balala, Joe Nyagah, Julia Ojiambo and Musalia Mudavadi who stood by him during his Vision launch.

Kalonzo may rightly wish to enlist Uhurus and Rutos support to tilt the balance against Raila but the two have nagging problems in their background coupled with the fact that they too have their eyes on the House on the Hill. Uhuru cannot claim to command any following from his Central Province where President Kibaki is holding sway while Ruto banks on a region that only recently relinquished power with former president Daniel arap Moi maintaining good rapport and working relationship with his successor.

Both Raila, Kalonzo and the other luminaries may attempt to play safe and pretend that all is well but their camps are split right down the middle as the election approaches. Raila is under intense pressure from his fanatical followers in Nyanza to go for the presidency with insiders from the Langata lawmakers camp intimating that they have already taken care of a foreseeable Kalonzo exit from ODM-K

Unconfirmed reports also have it that both Kalonzo, Uhuru and Ruto have in the recent past attempted to enlist Mois support, with the latter rebuffing the trio for ignoring his earlier advise to keep off ODM-K which he has consistently described as amorphous.

The apparent discomfort among the presidential candidates and the top party ranks have denied it a properly coordinated campaign in the Magarini by-election, with some keeping off, saying the candidate was allied to one presidential aspirant.

Sources within ODM Kenya told Sunday Times that most presidential aspirants were not keen to campaign for Jefwa Kingi, the Movements candidate as he is seen as a project of some faction battling for the partys presidential ticket.

Although the ODM-K parliamentary group resolved last week that all presidential aspirants be in Magarini, by Friday only Raila, Balala and MPs allied to the two were on the ground campaigning for Kingi. But yesterday, in what is seen as face saving move to assuage their supporters that all is well in the party, Kalonzo and Ruto joined Raila and Balala in Magarini for the campaigns.

Kalonzo who jetted back into the country from Asia on Thursday before proceeding to pick his nomination forms on Friday was not happy with Railas statement that he was the man to beat Kibaki. Allies of the Mwingi North MP said their candidate felt slighted and grossly undermined by Raila and have vowed to go the full distance to prove that he is no pushover.

Confidants of both ODM-K frontrunners appear geared for nothing short of the final ballot box that will determine who gets the State House ticket after the December poll.

Kalonzo sees no other option outside ODM-K and that is why he wants a democratically constituted National Election Board, a restructured ODM-K Secretariat and a National Executive Committee constituted of people above board. That way, he knows, he is the person to face President Kibaki in the impending General Election, said an MP who is a close confidant of Kalonzo who did not want to be named.

And he added: Kalonzo believes that when all democratic instruments are properly constituted, he will definitely carry the day. But before the hurdles are resolved to put in place the NEB and another secretariat, controversy is simmering within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over the disputed list of its members to the ODM-K National Executive Committee (NEC).

Both Raila and Kalonzo are members of LDP and those dissatisfied with the list are allied to the Langata MP and accuse allies of his Mwingi North counterpart of not holding proper consultations.

Kanu has peacefully nominated its members to join the NEC who include MPs Joseph Nkaissery, Billow Kerrow, Justin Muturi, Mardsen Madoka, Chris Okemo, Gideon Ndambuki and officials, Dalmas Otieno, Badi Ali and Geoffrey Gachagua.

Some MPs allied to LDP have dismissed the list of NEC members, saying only the plenary could pick the representatives. MPs Kenneth Marende, Oburu Odinga, Jakoyo Midiwo, Reuben Ndolo, Ayiecho Olweny and Sammy Weya, all in LDP, are rooting for the plenary to pick members.

And as things stand now, the May 21 plenary meeting in a venue to be decided will be a test for both Kalonzo and Raila.

But the question is will LDP delay the nomination of its NEC representatives until the plenary session while Kanu has forwarded its list? The plenary brings together MPs from Kanu and LDP, youth, women and some members from NGOs.The matter of LDP representatives appears too far from being resolved, as party Secretary-General Joseph Kamotho has stood ground that the decision would neither be reversed.

Kamotho, together with LDP chairman David Musila forwarded the names to ODM-K headquarters.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525.source.kenyatimes

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Kenya: Memorial service for crash victims

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

About 1,500 people congregated on Friday at the local offices of a South African cell phone company that lost four staff members in a plane crash last week that killed all 114 aboard.

The head of the fourth African cellular phone giant MTNs Cameroon operations, Campbell Utton, was on board, as was its chief financial officer, Sarah Stewart, company secretary Patrick Njamfa and network engineer Patrice Enam. The four were traveling to South Africa for a business meeting, and Stewart was accompanied by her husband, Adam Stewart. Utton was South African, the Stewarts were British and Njamfa and Enam were Cameroonian. The mourners gathered at the MTN headquarters in Douala for an ecumenical service led by a Muslim imam, a Catholic priest and a Presbyterian preacher. Our hearts are broken. Our hearts are heavy, said Emmanuel Ncheng, the Presbyterian clergyman. Blaise Yong, Enams brother, traveled more than 1,200 kilometers (700 miles) to attend the service.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.kenyatimes

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Kenya victims – plane crash to be investigated

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

Officials investigating the crash of a Kenya Airways flight will focus initially on why the pilot took off in a thunderstorm, an official familiar with the probe said on Thursday.

A safety notice lies on the ground, 07 May 2007, on the site where a Kenya Airline Boeing 737-800 crashed near the village of Mbanga Pongo in the Douala area. Cameroon on Wednesday defended the delay in locating the crash site of a Kenya Airways jet, saying search operations were based on satellite information from France which were wide off the mark.

Flight KQ507 dove into a swamp seconds after takeoff on Saturday, killing all 114 people on board the Boeing 737-800.

The official said a Royal Air Maroc jetliner that was next in line to take off from the Cameroonian airport waited 45 minutes after the departure of the Kenya Airways flight.

We want to know why did other planes wait for the storm to pass and not him. Thats the question, said the Cameroonian official. He would not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525.source.kenyatimes.

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EU: Foreign relations of the European Union

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

The foreign relations of the European Union are primarily a domain of the member-states, although the Union as a whole is beginning to exercise some influence through its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). External representation is handled by the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Commissioner for External Relations. The Commission is gaining greater representation in bodies such as the United Nations and G8.

Policy is agreed on an inter-governmental basis however the general effect of the Union is also felt through Enlargement; the attraction of membership is taken as a major factor contributing to reform and stabilisation of the former Communist countries in Eastern Europe. The Union and its member states also contribute 43 billion in humanitarian aid; making it the largest humanitarian aid provider in the world. These factors influencing other countries are generally referred to as “soft power”, as opposed to military “hard power”.

The European Commission has a representation at G8 summits.On the world stage the Union is gaining greater influence and ability to speak as a bloc. All 27 member states are represented in the World Trade Organization (WTO) through its Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson. The latest WTO negotiation round has currently stalled, partly due to European refusal to curtail the agricultural subsidies unless other developed countries would also stop subsidising their agricultural producers.

Europe has had a long history with the United States, being particularly close during the Cold War. The US initially supported the development of the European Community and ensured the defence of the continent through NATO. However recently there has been friction between the United States and the modern European Union, for example over the Iraq war. Some individual member state governments have backed the USA over the war revealing weaknesses in forming a coherent foreign policy.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525.source.wikipedia

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EU: Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

The third of the three pillars of the European Union is focusing on cooperation in criminal matters, including sharing of intelligence (through Europol and the Schengen Information System), agreement on common definition of criminal offences and expedited extradition procedures. It is the EU instrument of law enforcement and combating racism.

It was created as the Justice and Home Affairs pillar in the Treaty of Maastricht; subsequently the Treaty of Amsterdam transferred the areas of illegal immigration, visas, asylum, and judicial co-operation to the integrated first (European Community) pillar. The term Justice and Home Affairs now covers these integrated fields as well as the intergovernmental third pillar.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.wikipedia

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EU: Common Foreign and Security Policy

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

Defence and security are traditionally matters of national sovereignty. EU policies in this area were established as the second of the three pillars in the Maastricht treaty of 1992. The Common Foreign and Security Policy or CFSP were further defined and broadened in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997. It superseded the European Political Cooperation.

The CFSP acknowledges NATO being responsible for territorial defence of Europe and “peace-making”. In 1999 the European Council took over responsibilities for the implementation of peace-keeping missions (EUFOR in Bosnia Herzegovina, Congo) and policing of treaties. The supervision is coordinated by the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

The European Security and defence Policy is an element of the CFSP and stipulated the framing for policies that could deal with humanitarian and rescue tasks, and tasks of combat forces. It includes the creation of a 60,000-member European Rapid Reaction Force for peacekeeping purposes, an EU military staff, a European Defence Agency and an EU satellite centre (for intelligence purposes).

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.wikipedia

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EU: Politics of the European Union and Three pillars of the European Union

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

Supporters of the European Union argue that[citation needed] the growth of the EU has been a force for peace, democracy, and prosperity for its member states. However, others contend[citation needed] that peace in Europe since World War II is instead the product of other causes, such as the moderating influence of the United States and the Soviet Union, the need for reconstruction after World War II, a collective temporary exhaustion with waging war, and the disparate reasons that caused dictatorships within Europe to end.

The nature and future direction of the European Union itself is a key issue in European politics and a significant issue in the national politics of the member states. General issues include whether or not to belong to the EU, the impact of the EU on the member states, sovereignty issues, economic harmonisation issues, what the EU is becoming and should become (i.e. a single country in itself or a club of individual countries), the ultimate size of the Union, limits on new accession, the pace of new accessions, expansion in membership versus internal integration, a future as a political union versus a future as a free trade zone, the geographical limits of “Europe” for membership purposes, and the values and historical-cultural identity of the Union. Internal structure, procedures and policies are themselves subject to constant political debate. Specific issues at present include the status and future of the constitutional treaty; enlargement on the Balkans and Turkish accession; problems of financial probity and democratic accountability; relative economic viability; revision of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact; and the Common Agricultural Policy.

The President of the European Commission Jos Manuel BarrosoThe Financial Perspective for 20072013 was defined in 2005 when EU members agreed to fix the common budget to 1.045% of the European GDP.[9] UK Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to review the British rebate, negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Former French President Jacques Chirac declared this increase in the budget will permit Europe to “finance common policies” such as the Common Agricultural Policy or the Research and Technological Development Policy. France’s demand to lower the VAT in catering was refused.[10] Controversial issues during budget debates include the British rebate, France’s benefits from the Common Agricultural Policy, Germany and the Netherlands’ large contributions to the EU budget, reform of the European Regional Development Funds, and the question of whether the European Parliament should continue to meet both in Brussels and Strasbourg.

The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE), commonly referred to as the European Constitution, is an international treaty intended to create a constitution for the European Union. The constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands, where referenda were held[11] causing other countries to postpone or halt their ratification procedures. The constitution now has an uncertain future.[12][13] As of February 2007, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Spain have ratified the constitutional treaty. Finland, Germany and Slovakia have completed parliamentary procedures required for ratification. Spain and Luxembourg held referenda, thus in those member states the constitution was ratified by popular vote.[14]

The ‘pillar’ structure created by the Treaty of Maastricht moved the older policies and activities into the ‘first pillar, labeled the ‘European Communities’. The more controversial new policy areas – foreign policy, security and defence, asylum and immigration, and judicial co-operation – were moved into two new ‘pillars’.

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.wikipedia

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Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Gamblers engaged in a popular Ram Game in Nigerias commercial capital city of Lagos now drug the rams so that they can fight furiously and win prizes for them.

The rams are given Indian hemp or cannabis to intoxicate and energize them so that their performance can be enhanced during the ram fight staged mostly at weekends.

Usually the rams are fed with raps of the cannabis and made to inhale the cannabis through their nostrils.

According to a ram owner, who engages in the gambling, the effects of the cannabis are noticeable just about 20 minutes after administering the drugs.

He said that the drugs would make the rams to perform better when it engages in a fight with another ram.

According to him, the drug helps the ram to feed properly and be psychologically ready for the fight.

I spend about N200 (about US$1.3) every day to buy cannabis for my ram so that it can be strong and win prizes for me, the ram owner and gambler, who prefers anonymity said Saturday in Lagos.

Reacting to the practice of administering drugs on rams for the game, a veterinary doctor, Victor Nwachukwu, said that the substance was capable of stimulating the central nervous system of the ram, thereby increasing its adrenaline.

He condemned the practice of administering drugs on rams, warning that the rams will become aggressive, furious or excited and the substance will affect their normal behaviour and temperament and in the long run, will affect their mental stability.

The game is usually staged in open spaces in Lagos by youths and some adult gamblers for huge sums of money.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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