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Archive for August 20th, 2007

Hard-working teacher wants his lost police job back

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

Nation.Ke Story by KENNETH OGOSIA
Publication Date: 8/20/2007

John Otieno Mboga during his days as an Administration Policeman.

Being a policeman in Kenya has never been easy, and in days gone by, pursuing higher education was a sure ticket to being sacked.

No study leave was granted; instead one was sent packing.

High school principal John Otieno Mboga had to choose between the gun and the pen at some point. He opted for the latter, giving up his revered job of carrying out security duties as an Administration Policeman.

In 1990, with the government deeply troubled by a heightened push for a multi-party politics, Mr Mboga got an admission letter to Maseno University.

He was an AP constable based in North Eastern Province, from where they would be ferried to Nairobi to beef up security during multi-party riots in the city streets.

At his volatile North Eastern Province base, Mr Mboga faced daily danger from cattle rustlers and bandits.

Hard work

I still mourn my best friends who were killed in the line of fire, he said. I had to look for a way out of that kind of life.

Mr Mboga had sat for the last A level examinations in 1989 and passed, gaining admission to Maseno University to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree course.

It was due to hard work, and a bit of luck, that earned me a place at the university. I wanted to advance my education, so I applied for study leave.

Hoping to return to his career as a policeman at a later stage, he decided to go ahead with his studies.

However, those were days before university graduates had a specific role in the police force, and any policeman opting for higher education had to give up his career in the force.

Had he been allowed to proceed on study leave, Mr Mboga would have become a pioneer graduate policeman within the Administration Police hierarchy.

Since graduating with his Bachelor of Education degree in 1994, Mr Mboga has spent the last 14 years in a futile bid to rejoin the force. He has been told that learned people have no future in the force, but he still hopes to return to his job one day.

He is hopeful that recently-introduced progressive structure within the force, where senior government administrative officers have changed ranks to join the AP, could lead to an end to his yearning.

Had I not been bold and walked out, higher education in the force would been a nightmare because even after graduation I wanted them to re-employ me, but the scheme of service had no room for people of my education level.

Hard decision

He is full of praise for the recent changes in the force, which have seen many young policemen attaining higher education including Bachelors and Masters degrees.

Despite having risen to become a high school principal, he is still pleading with the forces high command to reconsider his case.

The hard decision to resign from the force was a gamble with life. Abandoning employment to pursue university studies was not an easy.

Coming from a poor background in Nyanza Province, his family was not comfortable with the decision, as jobs were hard to come by.

Looking back, however, he does not regret his decision.

He joined the Teachers Service Commission as a teacher, and is happy with his position today.

His background within the police force has helped him cope with the demanding pressure of teaching.

Teaching job

Having coped with the hardship in the arid North Eastern Province meant he could cope with any situation in the country.

Upon landing a job with the TSC, he was posted to Andingo Opanga Secondary School, in the dry and hilly Nyakach, Nyando District.

Mr Mboga rose to the position of deputy headmaster in the school, overseeing its revival and an improvement in results.

His next posting was Ogada Mixed Secondary School, before moving returning to Nyakach to head the then decrepit Nyongonga Secondary School.

The school had no fence, and the local community believed only one of their own could head it. It had not sent a student to university since 1977, and was in a total mess.

Nyongonga is today transformed, and is today a force to reckon with in Nyanza.

Mr Mbogo recalls his recruitment into the police force with nostalgia. On recruitment day, in early 1989, he went with his elder to Siaya Stadium. Stripped down to shorts, he joined his fellow hopefuls in the routine run round the stadium, with his certificate held tightly in his armpit.

His A level education stood him in great stead, and he found himself with one other potential recruit from Rarieda Division at the last obstacle. They were ordered to take one more lap around the track.

This man pretended to be my friend, convincing me to run slowly so that we could finish the race together, he explains. He bolted at the last moment, and I had to run as if my life depended on it to catch him at the line.

Both were then recruited to the force, and they next met at Administrative Police Training College, Embakasi.

The 40-year-old father of two is now an admired member of the teaching profession in the province.

His file is full of merit certificates from the good performance of his students.

Instead of supervising his teachers, Mr Mboga has opted to stick to his classroom lessons, leading top honours in History and Geography by his students.

In 1997, he was the best geography teacher in Nyando District, and second best in Nyanza Province. He blames poor results in certain schools to infighting and local politics.

I do not believe that an institution must be led by a local, however incompetent he is, he says.

When he first arrived at Nyangonga, the school had only 51 students and was in danger of folding up. The mean grade stood at 3.8, and no student had ever been admitted to university.

Today, the school has over 200 students and the mean grade has been pushed up to 5.86. History was the most improved subject this year, with four As and a mean grade of 8.3.

A total of 14 students have since joined public universities and hundreds admitted to diploma and other tertiary institutions.

The school recently received a Sh227,000 grant from the government to purchase laboratory equipment. The funds were disbursed via the Constituency Development Fund.

The schools biggest problem comes during the rainy season, when floods interfere with the learning, sometimes forcing him to close the institution.

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

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Norway: Ear protectors does not eliminate headaches and nausea

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

Ear protectors have become the latest accessory for employees at Opera Software in Oslo, but they’re not eliminating headaches and nausea caused by noise from a neighbouring building site. Measuring 101 decibels, the noise in the office is equivalent to that at a nightclub.

yvind Stlen is one of Opera Software’s 300 employees who suffer from the noise from a neighbouring construction site.

PHOTO: ANDERS HAGEN


Noise from the neighbouring construction site gives the office workers headaches and nausea.

PHOTO: Anders W. Hagen

Employees at software company Opera Software in Oslo have complained of headaches and nausea in recent weeks. Construction work from the neighbouring building site, where the new condominiums known as Waldermars Hage are slowly taking shape, is making the noise level in the office unbearable for the workers, and it’s now taking a toll on their health.

Ear protectors have become necessary at Opera Software’s office in Waldemar Thranes Gate, but they can only do so much. Anne Christiansen Stavnes, human resources boss at Opera Software, said the noise is making employees ill and becoming a major financial strain on the company.

“We cannot stop working for a period of several weeks. But people are not able to concentrate,” she told Aftenposten.

CEO of Opera, Jon S. von Tetzchner, said that he found the situation “extreme.”

“Sometimes we feel pain in our ears when we sit next to a window,” von Tetzchner said. “I find it worrying that we have not been able to communicate how difficult this situation is for us.”

The software company has tried to take several steps to stop, or at least limit, the noise, but has so far had little success. In fact, their attempts to stop the noise have even seemed counterproductive. Last week, the entrepreneur in charge of the condominium project was given permission to continue work on the building site for another two weeks, only limited by a forced two-hour noise break between 8am and 5pm.

Entrepreneur Byggholt admitted that the noise level from the building site was “quite high,” but said that his company was left with little choice but to go ahead with the construction work.

“I wish we could do this in the evenings, but then the residents in the area would suffer instead,” he said.

Chief physician in Oslo, Eilif Rytter, said that it would be difficult to find an alternative to the present situation, but said he is dealing with the complaint from Opera regarding the unhealthy noise level.

By Kristin Solberg and Anders Hagen

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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Guinea-Bissau police nabs 32 illegal immigrants

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) Guinea-Bissau security forces arrested 32 immigrants from various countries in West Africa as they were getting ready to enter the Canary Islands illegally, APA learnt from police sources in Bissau.

The immigrants, who were nabbed on Sunday in Valera, 132 km from the capital Bissau, included 24 Ghanaians, four Nigerians, one Gambian, and one Ivorian.

On Friday, police questioned the illegal immigrants who first spent a few days in Bissau where before heading for Valera in small groups, the sources said.

According to the police, the move was intended to hoodwink the security forces as they had already contacted ferrymen before reaching Bissau.

\”We have learnt that many other illegal immigrants are currently staying in Bissau and they are just waiting for the right moment to embark for Spain,\” the police said.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+47 932 or+47 63 source.apa

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Kenya: The building up of the original ODM begins as Raila calls on Kalonzo to return from the desert

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

A standard.ke story By Dennis Onyango

The Orange Democratic Party begins to rebuild today from the region it enjoys massive support but where it is also likely to face strong resistance.

Presidential aspirants Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joe Nyagah are expected at the 64 Stadium, Eldoret, for the partys first rally after it was reclaimed early last week.

As part of the rebuilding, Raila sent a bold message of reunion to ODM-Kenya presidential aspirant Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

The Langata MP said the doors in ODM are open for Kalonzo.

Said Raila: “I am in ODM and Kalonzo is in ODM-Kenya. If he is willing to come he is highly welcome to join ODM and we will give him a (party) number.”

Raila was speaking at the scene of Fridays violence in Kibera where a church compound and private houses were destroyed.

Earlier Nominated MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo offered to arbitrate between the Raila team and Kalonzo camp.

Mutula said he was ready to broker peace between the two parties and give Kenyans a winning team to battle it out with President Kibaki at the General Election due in December.

Kalonzo also sent Raila the same message of reunion. He was speaking at a rally at the Coast on Saturday.

The return of the original Orange, which appears to have surprised even the Government, has sparked off intense national political activities.

Night meetings

In the last week following the return of ODM, MPs from the Rift Valley and Western provinces met separately, trying to strike a common political path.

On Wednesday night, 27 Rift Valley MPs from the Government and the Opposition met, to chart their political future.

Cabinet ministers were also present at the meeting of Western Province leaders, last week.

Agriculture minister Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa, Assistant ministers Mr Stephen Tarus, Ms Alicen Chelaite and former Narc-Kenya chairman, Mr Asman Kamama attended the meeting of Rift Valley MPs on Wednesday night.

Ruto this week explained Rift Valley leaders have been meeting quietly for about a month before the one last that attracted public attention.

He said a number of leaders from the region may be finding it hard to sell President Kibaki and Narc-Kenya and are looking for an outfit acceptable to their voters.

Western Province MPs who met at the Nairobi Club for breakfast haggled over an equation that could lead to a Mudavadi presidential nomination.

Raila said the Government is sponsoring some of the meetings to pressure some ODM leaders to leave the party.

“Why would Musikari Kombo attend a meeting and demand that Mudavadi be the candidate or elseWhy is Kombo himself not running? He has a party. This is an attempt by the Government to divide ODM,” Raila said.

Lobby groups join ODM

Sources told The Sunday Standard that a number pro-reform and human rights lobbyists, including former Ugenya MP James Orengo and lawyer Pheroze Noworjee, who belong to the Social Democratic Party, were expected at the rally.

By taking on board the reform lobbyists, ODM will be seeking to claim the agenda for change to distinguish it from the teams fronted by President Kibaki and that of Kalonzo, who is the Mwingi North MP.

Orengo said he planned to attend the Eldoret rally if he cleared engagements in Nairobi early enough.

Although the party has been upbeat that it survived the exit of Kalonzo, there were signs stability could still be elusive.

Yesterday Ruto re-launched his presidential bid, which he was seen to have abandoned when he opted to back Mudavadi before shifting to Kalonzo then returning to work with Raila.

On Saturday, Ruto held an unexpected rally and announced he was still in the race. The announcement surprised even those who had accompanied Ruto.

The Eldoret North MP is treading a thin line. He has to deal with retired President Moi who is critical of ODM.

Local opponent of the party are said to be working on a scheme to portray Ruto as a sell-out who traded the regions votes with others in ODM.

Rutos declaration was seen by some as a response to the opponents plot, a deliberate move to create more confusion in the party ahead of the September 1 National Delegates Congress where the party will pick the candidate.

A power arrangement the presidential aspirants adopted in anticipation of Kalonzos exit gave Raila the presidential ticket, with Musalia Mudavadi as First Vice-President and Ruto as Prime Minister.

Speakers at the Ruto meeting yesterday were said to have been briefed by his allies. They said Raila had accepted that he would be seeking election as part of a team.

That means that at nomination, the presidential aspirant would also be running mates who include the VP and Prime Minister.

Ruto vows to check Moi influence

Ruto, speaking before he moved to Eldoret on Friday, said Sunday rally is expected to give direction to Rift Valley politics and sell ODM as the political outfit for the region.

It is also expected to lead the region into taking a stand against attempts by Keiyo South MP Nicholas Biwott and Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta, who ODM leaders say are working with former President Moi to field Kanu candidates to cut ODMs support.

Other than Kanu, some of the regions leaders are said to be pushing for the registration of a political party on whose ticket Rift Valley could field candidates then form alliances after election.

Generally, Rift Valley MPs agree that the region had moved from Kanu to ODM.

Local leaders who hit the road to popularise ODM also acknowledged that Raila is the man to beat.

Some leaders, however, think Kanu has a chance and should field candidates.

Ruto said the ground is largely ODM and maintained that a new party would not work. Former Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita shared that position and called on the region to revert to ODM.

Rift Valley leaders have been meeting for about a month now and sources say even Cabinet ministers from the region who have shunned ODM are finding the going rough.

Hostility

Agriculture Minister Kipruto arap Kirwa is said to be toying with reviving his United Democratic Movement fearing that the ground is hostile to Narc-Kenya.

The minister was supposed to have launched Narc-Kenya and Kibaki Tena campaign in the North Rift, but has not because of hostility.

Those who attended the various meetings the regions leaders have held, say the Cherangany MP fears “going against the people”, as he did during the referendum in 2005. His Yes side of the constitutional contest lost the national and local referendum vote.

Sources familiar with the ministers soul-searching say that if the ground remains hostile to Narc-Kenya, he could join ODM.

“Kirwa wants to find his way into mainstream Rift Valley politics. He is concerned that even in the Government of National Unity, he is isolated. He cannot push an agenda there because he is constantly told he is alone,” a source said.

Ruto said there have been various meetings before this week and the feeling is that leaders need to move with the people.

“The agreement is that we must move in the direction the people have taken and political decisions must be in tandem with the grassroots,” Ruto said.

The Eldoret North MP said the only party that resonates with the people in Rift Valley is ODM.

“Every serious Kalenjin leader will attend the meeting (Saturdays) and the rally today. There are a lot of leaders who vow that they do not want to fight with the voters again the way they did selling Banana when the region was Orange during the referendum,” Ruto said.

The rise of ODM out of the confusion in ODM-Kenya has come as a surprise to President Kibakis allies particularly in the Rift Valley and sparked off fresh all-out war between the two groups.

The Eldoret rally was preceded by a meeting of leaders from all the communities in the Rift Valley, who were supposed to take a joint position on the political future.

Initially, MPs were to pick 40 representatives from each constituency and bring them to the meeting. But controversy arose, with complaints that some of the MPs had been infiltrated by anti-ODM forces and were likely to bring in representatives opposed to the partys agenda.

To forestall this possibility, the leaders mandated Ruto and ODM chairman Henry Kosgey to co-ordinate the selection of representatives.

Of the 40 from each constituency, Rift Valley was to pick 20 leaders, who were to meet their counterparts from Nyanza and Western provinces last evening, ahead of the rally today.

There was talk of a plot to shout Ruto down at the rally as a manifestation that the region is uncomfortable with the political arrangement he is crafting, with allies in ODM.

After Eldoret, the party will move to Kerugoya, Central Province, for similar sessions with leaders in an exercise that is scheduled to cover the entire country.

Raila, talking before he left Nairobi for Eldoret, said the rise of the original Orange has shaken the political landscape.

“It is like throwing stone into the bush. Every animal that was asleep has woken up running in every direction,” Raila said.

“Our opponents thought our fate was sealed after Kalonzo fled with ODM-Kenya. They also expected that there would be a major falling out during the nominations. They are shocked that Kalonzo has left but the team is intact. But I am aware that our opponents have gone into an overdrive to divide us,” Raila said.

At the same time, Raila sent a passionate message to Kalonzo, telling him, “You are welcome back to the ODM family, my brother.”

The ODM presidential aspirant said the pro-Kibaki forces had a hand in some of the meetings this week, saying they were attempts to put pressure on some ODM leaders to defect.

“We are moving and we are going everywhere. We will incorporate leaders from the Coast, Central, Eastern and North Eastern Provinces. No region will be left out,” Raila said.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.standard.ke

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It takes a Scotish for Norwegian Opera to grow in the right direction

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

The newly appointed chief of the Norwegian Opera (Den Norske Opera) promises to develop home-grown talent, even though he doesn’t hail from Norway himself.

Paul Curran seems keen on helping the Norwegian Opera grow.

PHOTO: CARL MARTIN NORDBY

Paul Curran is only 42 years old, and Norway’s leading international opera singer, Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, said she’d never heard of him.

“He’s completely unknown to me,” she told newspaper Aftenposten, “but it’s exciting that he’s young. Then there’s sure to be a lot new he will mount, and many new impulses. It can be good to have an artistic leader with a foreign background.”

The Opera officials who hired Curran clearly agree, and claim they’ve nabbed an enthusiastic and sought-after rising international star.

Curran is originally from Glasgow, speaks five languages and plans to learn Norwegian. He was educated as a dancer and a a director, in London, Helsinki and Sydney, and he’s been involved with productions at opera companies including those in Milan, Venice, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, Denver and Tokyo.

Now he’s looking for a flat in Oslo, where he’ll take over as Opera chief in January 2009. Curran admits that he’s only ever seen one production of the Norwegian Opera, when he was a “young student,” but he’s thrilled by the construction of Oslo’s new Opera House, due to open in April.

“Oslo is getting the most extraordinary new Opera House in the whole world,” he said. “I really mean that.”

He said he intends to recruit more talent and to “support and develop” Norwegian singers and talk to “everyone, from the prima donna to the cleaners.”

Curran himself will, along with the chiefs for the ballet company and the orchestra, report to new Opera director Tom Remlov.

By Per Kristian Haugen and Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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Sudan: Nine families of detainees in U.S. prison protest

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

Khartoum (Soudan) Families of nine Sudanese detained in the U.S. Guantanamo prison camp, protested in front of the U.S. embassy in Khartoum on Sunday demanding their release following news that one may be freed soon, APA has observed.

Last week the brother of detained Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj said Washington had outlined a conditional release for Hajj provided he does not leave Sudan.

Group of families marched outside the U.S. embassy in solidarity with all nine.

Family members of the nine said the possibility for Hajjs release was good news but they wanted all to be freed.

“We are here in solidarity to demand the release of our brothers, sons, and fathers from Guantanamo and for their return to their families,” Hajjs brother Asim al-Hajj said.

“This suffering needs to end. It has continued for longer than six years, without any hearing for the detainees before a court, and without charge,” he added.

The U.S. holds nine Sudanese. The nine were detained in Pakistan and Afghanistan on suspicion of “terrorist” activity and later transferred to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the family members detainees said during there protest.

One of the protesters presented U.S. embassy official Joel Maybury with a petition of 5,000 Sudanese signatures for the release of the detainees.

Maybury said the embassy would convey the message to Washington but he declined to comment on the likelihood of the release of any of the other prisoners.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+47 932 or+47 63 source.apa

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British embassy closes visa, consular sections in Sudan

Posted by African Press International on August 20, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) The British embassy in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Sunday closed down its visa and consular sections due to heightened fears that Western interests may be attacked, diplomatic sources has said.

Sources said the British embassy has also said that it has suspended its public services as a precautionary measure.

The decision comes after Sudanese police found three caches of weapons in the capital during the past week.

Police arrested 20 Sudanese in connection with the caches, which contained grenades and ammunition, a statement from the interior ministry said on Sunday.

Foreign Islamists had been arrested but an interior ministry played down fears of terrorist attacks.

“All those arrested are Sudanese,” the interior ministry has said. “We dont consider this to be terrorist act, its just that there a lot of arms getting into Khartoum these days, the statement added.

On Saturday the British embassy in Khartoum issued a notice to Britons living in Sudan to be vigilant.

The Embassy in Khartoum estimates that there are about 1,300 Britons in Sudan with 2,500 dual nationals.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+47 932 or+47 63 source.apa

 

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