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Archive for August 11th, 2007


Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

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Leaders in Kenya, Kalanzo, Ojiambo and Uhuru look for ways to support the government in efforts to kill ODM-K

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

By Dennis Onyango

Mr Clean tag aside, and beyond love for the Bible, Kalonzo can easily pass as the gentleman of Kenyas politics. But lately the Mwingi North MP is battling claims hes ODMs master of deceit. Is it tact or self-destruction?

Mwingi North MP Mr Kalonzo Musyoka convenes his war council on Saturday to review the health of his campaign and the possible impact of his switch of parties in ODM-Kenya.

The council, which was expecting their man to arrive from South Africa on Friday night, will also try to cast an eye on the former ministers political future.

Sources revealed the strategists are also expected to propose to him what they think he must do to remain afloat even as four other key ODM-Kenya presidential aspirants appear to warm up to each other, whilst planning to fight for State House without Kalonzo on their side.

Sources familiar with the Kalonzo campaign reveal among the issues to be discussed is the viability of restarting and sustaining talks with the other side meaning the other aspirants: Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joe Nyagah.

Two, they will also be considering the political mileage Kalonzo may get were he to convince the registered ODM-Kenya chairman and fellow lawyer, Mr Daniel Maanzo, to hand over the party instruments to the team led by Mr Henry Kosgey and Prof Anyang Nyongo.

Thirdly, the evaluation of the possible impact caused by the combination of Maanzos court case to forestall any hostile takeover of the party by the Kosgey team, the label defector Raila stuck on the labels of their man, and the picture of the budding alliance between Kalonzo and Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Julia Ojiambo, the leader of Labour Party of Kenya which Kalonzo has now joined.

Recent events in the politics of Kalonzo have been difficult to read

The spirit of the talks will be the questions: Was Kalonzos move strategic or political suicide? Has their candidate gained support or is he facing isolation? Do Ojiambo and Uhuru bear the promise of a winning team?

The team will also weigh the impact of such in-house matters as the feeling some of the politicians around him, mainly from Ukambani, are piling pressure on him to walk away from the Raila group in the hope that this will generate a Kalonzo-wave in their home turfs, ensuring they are elected without sweat.

The war council will be meeting against the backdrop of increasing interest on the move Kalonzo pulled, and last weeks meeting in Karen where he is said to have trashed yet another formula which kept Raila at the helm of the movement whilst maintaining him at the second position.

Saturdays meeting comes against the background of confused and confusing moves by the candidate they work for, many of which have left more questions than answers.

Even as political upheavals go, recent events in the politics of Kalonzo have been difficult to read. Having left the Liberal Democratic Party for Ojiambos party, is the Mwingi North MP and one time high-flying challenger to President Kibaki now weaker or stronger?

This week, Kalonzo called his colleagues in ODM to a breakfast meeting where they discussed a power deal, which he later disowned. Why did he convene the breakfast in the first place and why did he disown it later?

These are time-wasting and worrying days

Kalonzo walked out of the meeting with his colleagues in ODM and went straight into a discussion with Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta whose hold on the party is at best weak and with Shirikisho, which is torn between supporting President Kibaki and running against him.

Kanu, too, is torn between being in the Opposition and working with the Government. And Uhuru does not has of yet have the party fully in the bag, a larger part of it is still clinging on ODM, with the help of the Ruto-led group.

After pulling all these moves, the big question still remains: Will the latest political machinations by the MP do him any good?

Answers to most of these questions cannot yet be given with certainty. But for the last one: probably not! Even within ODM-Kenya, Kalonzos allies are beginning to liken him to a weak but bloody-thirsty boxer swaying on his feet, throwing a sudden flurry of desperate punches but with little sense of where he is aiming.

Even among the MPs allies, these are time-wasting and worrying days. Nominated MP Mr Franklin Bett, a supporter of the Mwingi North MP, has asked himself questions and arrived at answers.

“What is the strength of the people Kalonzo is trying to coalesce with? With all due respect to Mama Julia (Ojiambo), she is a lightweight in the politics of Western Kenya. Look at Uhuru. He is a lightweight in Central Kenya as long as President Kibaki is running,” Bett said.

“Kalonzo should be taking every step to be in good terms with Ruto, Raila and Mudavadi. He is doing nothing in that direction. A Kalonzo candidature without Raila leads him to the Opposition. A Raila candidature without Kalonzo and the rest also sees him headed for the Opposition,” Bett added.

Kalonzo found it hard to operate in LDP

Bett, however, says he understands why Kalonzo jumped out of LDP, but maintains the Mwingi North MP has not left ODM-Kenya.

“Kalonzo wanted to be free from control by Raila. That is why he left LDP. He was seeing trouble in anything placing him with Raila. But he has not left ODM. He only moved from one room to another in the same house.”

The Nominated MP said Kalonzo found it hard to operate in LDP, which was in the hands of Prof Larry Gumbe and Mrs Mumbi Ngaru, who he says are Railas sympathisers.

This was despite the fact that the former chairman, Mr David Musila, is a Kalonzo supporter just like Mr Joseph Kamotho, in the final days before he left.

“Gumbe and Mumbi would not budge on anything unless it was from Raila, despite Musila being the chairman. They made life very difficult for Kalonzo,” Bett revealed.

Kilome MP Mr Mutinda Mutiso thinks Kalonzos move was strategic.

“Kalonzo wanted to bargain for his presidential race from a position of strength. He was not comfortable with the LDP secretariat and he chose the option of moving out,” Mutiso said.

Ngaru, on the other hand, said it was Kalonzos “acts of treachery”, which broke relations in LDP and caused tension to date.

Raila was not aware of Nakuru meeting

For her, the story of the trouble between Kalonzo and Raila began on the Easter Monday of 2005. Ngaru recalls that on a Wednesday in the Easter week of April 2005, she received a call from LDP supporters in the Rift Valley.

They told her Raila and Kalonzo had asked them to gather at least 70 leaders for a meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.

According to the leaders, Raila and Kalonzo were to meet them on Saturday. A day later, the same group called and said they had been told to move the meeting to Stem Hotel in Nakuru and that Raila and Kalonzo would attend on Easter Monday.

On the Easter Monday, Mumbi got a call from Raila who asked her to a meeting at Serena. When Ngaru got to Serena, a waiter told her she had been left behind.

” I asked by whom? and I was told Kalonzos group had just left for Nakuru,” she recalled. “That is when I remembered to ask Raila whether he was attending the Nakuru meeting.”

It turned out that Raila was not aware of the Nakuru meeting. Somebody had used his name to gather a crowd.

With that, Mumbi on Friday revealed , she called a contact in the meeting that was being addressed by Kalonzo, and with the speakerphone turned on, she listened from Serena to whatever transpired in Nakuru.

“That was the incident that really broke relationships in LDP,” Ngaru said.

“I remember Raila called his Personal Assistant and asked why he was not told about the Nakuru meeting. The PA said there was no such meeting. Things just moved from bad to worse from then. It was treachery of the worst kind,” she added.

Kalonzo was bitterly against LDP secretariat

Mumbi also rebutted complaints that she and other secretariat officials never listened to Kalonzo in LDP. Mumbi said Kalonzos team brought in their own person, former Kituyi mayor Mary Mbandi, to be their “ears and eyes at the secretariat.”

“When they wanted to know anything, they would call her, not Gumbe or myself. She would relay their instructions to the secretariat.

“Now, why would I take instructions from my junior? That was insubordination. We decided to let them deal with their person. If it did not work for them; they only have themselves to blame,” she said.

Kalonzos complaints today about ODM-Kenya secretariat sound familiar to those he left behind in LDP.

In one incident during a party retreat at the Simba Lodge, complaints about the LDP secretariat made three of Kalonzos allies almost set on Muhoroni MP Prof Ayiecho Olweny.

Dispute had arisen after it emerged that Mrs Mbandi had not been allocated space at the event, amid complaints that she was neither an MP nor a secretariat official.

Twice, in those early days, Kalonzo is alleged to have told Mvita MP Mr Najib Balala that he would sink the LDP boat unless he was the presidential candidate.

At that time, Kalonzo was bitterly against LDP secretariat, which he said was packed with Raila allies.

Questions about MPs capacity to plot an action

When he sent one of his allies to be one of the coordinators during LDP grassroots elections, the ally was rejected on ground that he was an official of ROAP, a party that was emerging in Ukambani and has since been registered.

Out maneuvered at LDP, Kalonzo moved to ODM-Kenya with the rest. Initially, he made the creation of independent Nominations and Elections Board a condition for him to return his nomination papers.

When the board got in place, chaired by former High Court judge Justice Richard Otieno Kwach, Kalonzo shifted demands again, and turned his guns on the secretariat, demanding the sacking of Nyongo and Kosgey.

Claims that Railas people took over LDP secretariat and outmaneuvered him again in ODM-Kenya secretariat has led to questions about the Mwingi North MPs capacity to plot an action that determines a political course.

Is he weak? Is he too trusting or simply lacking the connections a politician needs to wade through Kenyas murky politics? The greatest political move Kalonzo pulled has created more questions than answers.

Mutiso thinks Kalonzo is a believer in playing by the rules and has respect for institutions of organisations. “It is a divide between those who want to play by the rules and those who dont. The ODM-Kenya secretariat was clearly positioned to favour one person,” Mutiso said.

Kalonzo loses out because of poor public relations

To Mumbi, the LDP secretary general who confesses that she has no time for Kalonzo, the Mwingi North MP loses out because of poor public relations.

“Kalonzo has very poor public relations. It is a question of how you approach people. Kalonzo has this tendency of wanting people to feel small before him. That is a complete contrast with Railas approach,” Mumbi said.

“Raila looks at who is in charge here and plans how to work with that person for his own good. Kalonzo looks at your station in life. He sees me as a mere former councillor and mayor. I will not be very far from the truth if I say Kalonzo thinks Balala is a mere former mayor and that it is the cause of the tension between them. He has a way of turning everyone against him,” she added.

But Kalonzo could count on the dictum: a minute in politics is a long time, and secondly, there are no permanent enemies in politics, just interests. On the second tier he could, as his supporters argue, also seek solace in the fact that he has a clean past, is religious and imbued with a higher sense of acceptability across the country.

Lifted and published by API*APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525.

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Now it is clear: Voting for Raila and ODM-K is selling Kenya to foreigners as the story tells

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

Publication Date: 8/11/2007
A group of foreigners took to the campaign trail in support of ODM Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

ODM Kenya presidential hopeful Raila Odinga at a past political rally. Photo/FILE

The team of 11, who said they were investors and businessmen from Germany urged a gathering of about 200 people in a hotel in Kapsabet town to vote for the Langata MP when elections are called later in the year.

But the man they were campaigning for yesterday denied he had asked the group to drum up support for him as he seeks the ODM Kenya presidential nomination.

And the German Embassy in Nairobi also denied knowledge of the foreigners saying they had not informed it of their presence in the country.

The group is led by Mr Andrew Hemline, who last week addressed a meeting of grassroots leaders of parties allied to the Orange Democratic Movement, and urged them to vote out President Kibakis Government because it had allegedly failed Kenyans.

Friends of Odinga

Those who attended the meeting held in one of the hotels in Kapsabet Town, in Nandi North district, said they had been informed by ODM-K officials and Friends of Odinga lobby that some investors from Germany would hold a rally in the town and urge Kenyans to elect Mr Odinga in the December election.

But the organisers, among them ODM-K officials in Emgwen constituency, led by Mr Ishmael Choge, Ms Rose Ngeny and Mr Christopher Kemboi (Emgwen ODM-K chairman) and Mr Simeon Sawe (treasurer), said since they did not have a police permit to hold the rally, they advised the foreigners to hold their meeting in the hotel.

At the hotel meeting, the group praised Mr Odinga and denounced other ODM leaders, especially Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta, terming the two as sympathisers of the Government.

The group showed a film and urged Kenyans to follow the example of the people of Venezuela who took to the streets and unanimously helped President Hugo Chavez to win elections in 1999.

President Chavez charmed his way into the hearts of poor and working class Venezuelans by employing his charisma and flamboyant public speaking style on the campaign trail.

The teams calls for a Venezuelan kind of revolution prompted a walkout by some people.

However, Mr Odinga yesterday denied claims that he had brought the Hemline group into the country to campaign for him.

He described Mr Hemline as a friend and a musician who was giving his opinion about the present political situation in the country.

He is not campaigning for me at all and I have not asked him to do anything for me, said Mr Odinga.

He said he had not thought of hiring outsiders to assist him in his campaign and stated that whoever emerged the ODM-K presidential candidate would win the elections.

Remain neutral

An official at the German embassy denied any official links with Mr Hemline and his group and sought to reassure Kenyans that his government had no preferred candidate in the Kenyan elections.

Germany has no specific candidate it supports in the coming elections and will always remain neutral. The activities of private enterprise cannot be used to link the embassy with any politician, said an official.

The Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), which is in charge of voter education, also denied having enlisted the team to educate the people at the grassroots.

ECK Vice-Chairman Gabriel Mukele said the team was not part of organisations which will conduct civic education.

We have just shortlisted 33 organisations to carry out voter education. They are well qualified and experienced but not those Germans. Enlisting them would not be proper, he said.

Yesterday, the Nandi North district security committee said it was not aware of the groups activities.

District Commissioner Haron Komen said the committee was never informed that the group would call a rally or a meeting in Kapsabet town in support of Mr Odinga.

Mr Komen defended the Provincial Administration, saying it did not play a big role whenever political rallies took place and that his office learned of the meeting after the group had left.

European Union

During the Kapsabet meeting, Mr Hemline urged Kenyans to vote for Mr Odinga, saying the German government and some members of the European Union wanted the ODM-K presidential hopeful to take over because President Kibaki had failed them and that his association with retired President Daniel arap Moi was meant to return Kenya to the single party era.

However, the claim was denied by the German embassy. If they have said anything on behalf of the Government of Germany, then we strongly deny. Obviously, that is nonsense, said the embassy official. I have never heard of the group and the private enterprise is not obliged to tell us what their mission is in the country, he added.

Apart from Mr Odinga, others seeking the ODM presidential ticket are former vice-president Musalia Mudavadi and MPs Musyoka, William Ruto, Najib Balala, Joseph Nyaga and Julia Ojiambo.

The group promised to have Kenyans in major towns mobilised within the next four weeks and rally them behind Mr Odinga for real change in the country.

Reports by Tom Matoke, Bernard Namunane and Lucas Barasa

Lifted and published by African Press International, API/ African Press in Norway, APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Nigerian leader urges Chinese investment in power sector

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Nigerian President Umaru Yaradua Friday urged the Chinese to invest in the Nigerian power sector.

Receiving a delegation of Chinese investors, led by the governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel in Abuja, Yaradua said that Nigeria was interested in tapping from Chinese experience in the power sector.

Briefing journalists after meeting with Yaradua, Daniel said that the Chinese delegation was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to brief YarAdua on plans by the Chinese to develop a free trade zone in Ogun state.

Daniel said that in the course of discussion, Yaradua requested that the Chinese should return for further discussion on he possibility of their investment in power generation in Nigeria.

He said that the Chinese had expertise in setting up small power stations which had ultimately led to their self-sufficiency in power generation, explaining that Nigeria would want to tap into that experience.

Daniel said that the 10,000 megawatts of electricity, which Nigeria was striving to attain was just 3 percent of Chinese consumption

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The Gambia, US hold civil-military relationship seminar

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

Banjul (The Gambia) The US Embassy in Banjul and the Government of the Gambia are jointly organising a week-long seminar on promoting relations between civilians the military in the country.

According to the US embassy, the seminar will be conducted by the Centre for Civil Military Relations in Monterey, California, an agency of the US Department of Defence that is responsible for civil-military relations education programmes worldwide.

Up to 60 participants will take part in the programme and about half of them from the Gambian military and law enforcement agencies and the other half comprising civilians from government and non-governmental organisations, the media and other members of civil society in The Gambia.

Topics to be covered include security forces and the legislature, regional peace support operations, military professionalism in a democracy, the security forces and the media, the armed forces and HIV/AIDS, civil military relations in The Gambia and civic education programmes.

There will also be action plan development, course evaluation and presentation of certificates.

The seminar is being held at the joint officers mess in Kotu, some 12 kilometres from Banjul, the capital.

Published by Korir, API*APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Mauritius: Women wrestlers win gold medals

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2007

APA – Port Louis (Mauritius) Women wrestlers from Mauritius yesterday won three gold medals out of seven in the individual wrestling competition at the Ankatso Gymnasium in Antananarivo at the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) which is currently taking place in Madagascar.

Two other women wrestlers won silver.

Joanna Chen Hin beat Melanie Bibian of Reunion Island in the -48 kg category; Clairmene Alberty beat Razafiarisoa Haingotiana of Madagascar in the -63 kg category, while Danella Roussety beat Beatrice Salah Aly of Reunion Island in the -72 kg category.

The three girls come from the Mauritius dependency of Rodrigues.

Joyce Milazar (-51 kg) and Anna Colette Marie (-55 kg) both won the silver medals.

Expressing his satisfaction over the performance of the wrestlers, Alex Albert, the women Mauritian coach underlined that this was the result of the hard training prior to the Games.


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