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Archive for August 30th, 2007

Surprise move by Moi to support Kibaki forces Uhuru to choose wise words

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Story by MACHARIA GAITHO
Publication Date: 8/30/2007

Soon after former President Daniel arap Moi announced his decision to back President Kibakis re-election, Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta released a carefully worded statement in response to speculation over what role the party was playing in the new development.

Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/FILE

The statement, however, gave no hint of where Kanu, or Mr Kenyatta, stood on the matter. It said the decision-making organs of the party had not met to discuss the matter, and that when they would meet, the decision taken would be communicated to Kenyans.

The statement otherwise pointed out that Mr Moi, as citizen was, entitled to his own opinions and had the democratic right to support a candidate of his choice.

It started with the words, it has reached our attention, which deciphered, meant that Mr Kenyatta, the Kanu chairman and Official Opposition leader, had no prior knowledge that his predecessor in the party leadership would be declaring his support for President Kibaki.

Follow the path

And without saying so in exact words, the rest of the statement was trying to make the point that Mr Moi was making an individual decision that was not binding on Kanu. But then what might be the most important thing to be read in Mr Kenyattas statement is on what it did not say it neither endorsed nor repudiated Mr Mois position, leaving open the possibility once the party organs meet, Kanu could officially follow the path set by its former leader.

Notable in the statement also was the assertion Kanu has always stated that it is ready to engage like-minded parties and consultations were ongoing.

What the statement revealed is Mr Kenyatta was caught somewhere between a rock and a hard place. The Kanu chairman cannot have been completely in the dark. Even assuming he had not been kept fully informed, he is sharp enough to have deciphered over the last few weeks that Mr Moi was leaning towards coming out in open support of President Kibaki.

Political events have moved at a dizzying pace for Mr Kenyatta this year. It was only six months ago that after a lot of resistance, he eventually gave way and joined his secretary-general William Ruto in agreeing to move Kanu into ODM.

In the process, he defied Mr Moi who was always dead set against such an alliance and had made clear his anger at Mr Rutos promotion of ODM and links with Mr Raila Odinga.

Once in ODM, Mr Kenyatta came to be counted among the so-called luminaries aiming for the party presidential ticket.

The decision precipitated a crisis in the party.

A splinter group led by Mr Nicholas Biwott, who had failed in his bid for the Kanu chairmanship and linked up with another outfit called New Kanu (a party registered by Kamlesh Pattni lawyer Mugambi Imanyara, who also registered the ODM Party of Kenya recently handed over to Mr Odinga) found new impetus, and with Mr Mois backing, called a factional Special Delegates Conference that purported to sack Mr Kenyatta and other officials on grounds they had deserted the party for ODM. As if on cue, the Government moved speedily to register the Biwott faction as the Kanu official office bearers.

It took a protracted case filed by Mr Kenyatta for the courts to rule that registration of the Biwott team was irregular. But by then, Mr Kenyatta had already had second thoughts about ODM and soon afterwards pulled Kanu out, pleading that the agreement reached earlier in the year about corporate membership had been breached.

Mr Ruto and vice-chairmen Henry Kosgey and Chris Okemo were however firmly committed.

Mr Kenyattas renunciation of ODM put him back into Mr Mois good books. It also provided the former president with an opportunity to reconcile the Kenyatta and Biwott factions.

The key item in Kanu agenda became to assert the partys independence, work towards regaining ground lost to ODM, particularly in the Rift Valley strongholds, and to expel Mr Ruto and others who are accused of mixed loyalties.

But there was also the issue of presidential candidacy. For while now, Mr Kenyatta has been aware that his candidacy would be of no more than nuisance value if he stood against President Kibaki.

Kiambu region

In the 2002 presidential elections, Mr Kenyatta got a decent 300,000 votes in Central Province compared to President Kibakis 700,000. Most of Mr Kenyattas votes in the province came from the Kiambu region, where he captured the Gatundu South seat and also pulled in a good number of legislators including Mr Njenga Karume (Kiambaa), Mr Kuria Kanyingi (Limuru), Mr Arthur Magugu (Githunguri), Mr James Viscount Kimathi (Lari) and Mr Patrick Muiruri (Gatundu North).

But almost as soon as the new government was in place, and Mr Kenyattas political base dissipated, with all the central Kenya MPs swiftly reading the mood of their people and crossing over to President Kibakis side.

Then there was the giant Rift Valley where Mr Kenyatta got an impressive 770,000 votes to President Kibakis 625,000. That, strictly speaking, was not a Kenyatta bloc but the vote of the traditional Kanu heartland then commanded by Mr Moi. The Official Opposition leader, in the politics of today, cannot offer a serious challenge for the presidency. The Kanu voters he won in the Rift Valley five years ago will be looking for a candidate who can better represent their interests. The votes he got in central Kenya and the larger diaspora are now firmly in President Kibakis grip.

And if he stood up against the President, Mr Kenyatta faces the mortal risk of being seen in his own constituency as a traitor, and thus being denied even a return to Parliament.

Even before Mr Moi made his decision on Monday, Mr Kenyatta would have been assessing his prospects, and returning to Parliament would have featured higher on the list of priorities than a presidential bid.

Mr Kenyattas dilemma, thus, has been how he can secure Gatundu South, which might well mean seeking a truce with President Kibaki while maintaining Kanu as a viable political force.

If Mr Kenyatta wants to bid time for 2012, he has to work towards endearing himself to central Kenya bloc that is the bedrock of the Kibaki presidency.

Although it might seem that Mr Mois decision to endorse President Kibaki reduces Mr Kenyatta to irrelevance, it might also have provided him a lifeline.

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CAMPAIGNS HOTS UP IN KENYA

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Last weekend in Kenya the penultimate leg for state-house began with
campaign activities moving to various parts of the Kenya starting with
the coast and Rift Valley. And finally, retired president Daniel Arap
Moi have supported president Kibaki bid for a second term in office.

It is as expected, as going by recent signs in Rift valley and
Honorable Moi’s utterances, it was highly expected that he was likely
to support Kibaki for a second term. Additionally Moi is a very
politically savvy person and his judgment in politics over time has in
most times come correct owing to a variety of reasons including the
scenario prevailing in the country at any given point in time.

In addition Moi loathing of some of the presidential contenders like
Raila Odinga is well known. This is the man who upset his succession
game plan. Raila is an adept political schemer and a consummate
campaigner anybody will ignore at his or her peril.

In addition and it is very correct Moi has been correct over time of
the need of keeping KANU very intact. KANU incidentally is one party
which has remained to cut across most regions in the country albeit
with fewer numbers. Uhuru Kenyatta who ignored Moi advice has finally
awoken to reality of a misstep a bit late, that galvanizing KANU at
this late hour to have a serious shot at the presidency would be
futile. Nonetheless it is a party that can resuscitate itself well if
it adopts an informed strategy. The other party to maintain stability
and likely to win seats in the next parliament is a Democratic Party
of Kenya (DP). It is one of the fall back position for those who would
wish to contest in Kibaki’s party especially in Mt Kenya region, and
the other Kikuyu dominated regions of Nairobi and in Rift-Valley, who
would feel slighted in the nominations which are likely to be skewed
and strangle-held by the currently sitting MP’s.

What is likely to happen? Both Kibaki and Raila Odinga are
presidential contenders to watch. Raila is a consummate campaigner who
can make a good showing in the polls and can play his numerous cards
as is usual with him to his advantage in the polls. Consider also that
he is one person who can unify support around him in the name of
Honorable Ruto, Balala and Musalia Mudavadi knowing all too well that
communities Luhya hardly vote for one particular party. Don’t also
forget that he has a huge following among the youth. Secondly should
Raila support Mudavadi the campaign will also be very hot. Thirdly
even having Raila as the official Leader of the opposition can give
any president a very rough time and sleepless nights which would
easily can force him or her to cut a deal with him.

Finally Kibaki has many advantages going for him. He has the
incumbency to shore up his campaign with all the advantages of being
in power. Secondly his achievements are notable and a large portion of
the population like it. Thirdly he has the support of many fringe
parties and his predecessor who has finally come out to support him.
Fourthly, he has the ‘moneybags’ for his campaigns But he has homework
too. Tribalism in Kenya if taken advantage of can easily and largely
dis-advantage him.

ikunda1.jpgStory by our East African Correspondent,

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

NAIROBI.

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THERE SHOULD BE RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE IN KENYA!

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

In the world today in most parts of the world life has been made so
cheap that people are taking other peoples life without care or regard
for the sanctity of life. Combine this with natural disasters and life
becomes trickier by the day. In Kenya is increasingly becoming
incredible that people don’t have regard for other people’s life.

Just name it criminals, guns in wrong hands, fights over land,
political clashes, policemen, matatu drivers and touts, matatu owners,
illicit groups holding matatu at ransom, politicians etc. What is
worrying is that people who owe the public a duty of care seem to care
less. For instance just recently it was reported in the media that a
policeman carelessly shot a matatu passenger with a shot aimed at the
driver of the same mutate who allegedly refused to part with a bribe.

Still very recently two matatu owners’ officials were found shot dead
and dumped in a morgue in Naivasha. And shortly thereafter another
Matatu owner’s official was in the press saying that his life is in
danger. Consider also that the Mt. Elgon clashes flames are not fully
quelled yet.

Add that to the daily carnage on our roads especially involving the
now increasingly carelessly driven and over speeding matatus. What on
earth happened to the popularly known ‘Michuki rules’? And that
carefree attitude to the many traffic violations are all over from
trucks, small cars and so on. Then consider the many car-jackings
reported and unreported daily.

Street families are slowly creeping back and robberies are the order
of the day. Conmen, cheats con artists are all over. Rapes never fail
to appear in the media, and worse still there are so much of rapes
that go unreported. Yet still the campaigns for the general elections
are now gathering momentum.

Hopefully we won’t be treated to more tribal clashes as happened
before. And it is also a very wishful thinking that our politicians
will carry peaceful campaigns. They will promise but they need to be
highly doubted. Our Kenyan society is simply very sick.

Kenyans need and to be vigorously informed and continuously reminded
about the sanctity of human life which is not and never negotiable!
Selfishness, greed, jealousy, exploitation, gross violation of human
rights are highly epitomized in the Kenyan society. The Civil Society,
Human rights groups, the media, pressure groups, donors, and churches
should be more active than ever.

The duty of protecting human life is not only vested to the government
alone but it is a very collective responsibility which behove
everyone. Nonetheless the government takes a greater responsibility.
There is great need to invest heavily on Intelligence, research both
among the legally armed forces plus civilian in this country. The
level of human rights violation by protectors of law, civilians and
criminals is just too alarming.

ikunda1.jpgStory by our East African Correspondent,

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

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In his own words; Raila accepts defeat saying President Kibaki was not his enemy but that ideological difference has come between them

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

“Allowing Kibaki to get a second term is a good thing for the country. Former President Moi has seen it and now Raila is accepting that fact. The country needs to have stability it enjoys now.”API/APN

Story by MUGO NJERU and GEORGE MUNENE
Publication Date: 8/29/2007

ODM presidential hopeful Raila Odinga yesterday said he would accept defeat if he was beaten fairly by President Kibaki in the General Election.

He, however, urged President Kibaki to give a similar declaration in case he lost his re-election bid.

If President Kibaki beats me in the elections we shall shake hands and embrace and he should be prepared to do the same if ODM beats him, Mr Odinga told a rally at Kerugoya stadium in Kirinyaga District.

Mr Odinga said President Kibaki was not his enemy but that they had differed on political ideology.

Supported Mzee

He told the rally that the Odinga family had never been tribalistic and that was why his father had supported Mzee Jomo Kenyatta for the presidency.

He said during the independence struggle, leaders such as his father, Mr Masinde Muliro and former Cabinet minister Jeremiah Nyagah never embraced tribalism but rather, unity geared towards nationalism.

Mr Odinga called on the people of central Kenya to join other communities in supporting ODM so that they were not left out if it formed the next government.

He said the party aimed at changing the face of Kenya through alleviation of poverty, illiteracy and joblessness, which continue to plague it 43 years after independence.

He said he parted ways with Mr Kibaki after he realised there was no commitment to fulfil the pledges that Narc gave the country during the 2002 campaigns.

Mr Odinga had an easy time addressing a crowd that had previously turned hostile when Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey addressed it.

Premature end

Mr Kosgey was booed when he said the party would form the next Government because it had the support from all the provinces in the country.

He ended his speech prematurely.

The crowd also heckled presidential hopeful Joseph Nyaga, the convenor of the rally, when he said a few leaders surrounding President Kibaki were spoiling his chances of being re-elected.

At the rally were other ODM presidential hopefuls Najib Balala, William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi. Former MPs Martin Shikuku and Chris Obure also attended.

In Bungoma, ODM Kenya presidential hopeful Kalonzo Musyoka criticised Mr Mudavadi for staying with the Raila camp.

Mr Musalia has not learnt from 2002 General Election lesson but I wish him well, he said.

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Former President Moi of Kenya speaks his mind in an interview that illustrates his wish for continued stability

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

The following are excerpts from an interview with Moi at Kabarnet Gardens, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

 

Question: Do you support Kanu fielding a presidential candidate?

Moi: If they want to field a candidate, that is their own shauri. Im not leading Kanu, and I do not want to take sides. I do not want to enter into party politics.

Q: Why do you dislike the Orange Democratic Movement?

Oh yes, I have warned ODM about tribalism.

What is ODM? It is a tribal grouping; it is a grouping of people with different identities coming together, but with no common vision.

Have you seen that, read their interests? Inakatika leo, kesho kutwa ingine, kesho kutwa ingine, mwisho zero (one breaks off today, tomorrow anothereventually there is nothing).

Q: During your rule, was there tribalism?

You cannot say it is because of the way I ruled.

There were many political parties and each had tribalism. It is now up to the youth; they need to look after the welfare of the country.

Have you ever heard me saying that this is for the Kalenjin? I am a nationalist and I promote the interest of every individual.

I want all citizens to know that my President knows my problemsa president should be for all people.

Q: During the referendum (on the Wako Draft), you supported the same people you are opposing. What has changed?

Nimeunga nani mkono (who have I supported)? I do not react without thinking. After that (referendum) I expected MPs to sit down and discuss what sections (of the draft constitution) Kenyans had rejected, but instead they jumped and formed the Orange Democratic Movement. Mwananchi hajui hiyo ni nini (Kenyans do not understand what that is).

Q: What is the logic behind supporting Kibaki yet you had dismissed Narc in 2002?

You follow me. Im supporting Kibaki because he knows the past and the present. The only area I support is a symbol of national unity, not Narc-Kenya policy or Narc; what is that? Peace, peace is the central point.

Q: It is still fresh in the minds of Kenyans the humiliation you suffered during the handover at Uhuru Park, have you forgiven Kibaki?

Which Uhuru Park? If I wont revenge against what was done, Kenyans are more important to me.

Q: Are you not happy with the other parties?

I do not want Kenyans to be put into trouble. If all of them are driven by hate, chuki ya ukabila (tribal hate) this is bad.

Q: Kibaki has not announced which party he will compete for the presidency.

My interest is for you and all Kenyans in general; I do not want Kenyans to land into trouble. How many parties have you seen in ODM? They keep splitting all over, but no one has come to tell Kenyans that it is a national party.

Q: Are you angry with Raila?

Sijakasirika (I am not angry). If I were to get angry, I would get angry with every Kenyan.

I am a Christian, and love is blind.

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Kibaki-Moi courtship to balance Kenya politics

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

By Martin Mutua

Former President Daniel Moi has endorsed Mr Mwai Kibaki for a second term in State House. Mr Moi confirmed what had become increasingly evident his preference for the Othaya MP.

Moi, who ruled for 24 years, said that after a careful assessment, he was convinced Kibaki ought to be given a chance to complete the constitutionally accepted two-term tenure.

The momentous declaration which though expected sent shockwaves within the political arena on Tuesday is likely to touch off a possible tide of realignments.

But Mois declaration immediately sparked off a barrage of criticism, largely from the Orange Democratic Movement, and infuriated a potentially important ally in the Kibaki comeback plan, Kaddus Mr Cyrus Jirongo.

But for others, however, they saw a boost for the Presidents re-election drive, especially in the Rift Valley, which has lately been the stomping ground for ODM.

 

ODM presidential aspirants dismissed as tribalists

 

Addressing a press conference at his Kabarnet Gardens in Nairobi, Moi suggested that the younger generation was not embracing nationalistic ideals. Instead, he saw them as being driven by narrow interests.

“That is why you have heard them splitting from one to two and they will continue splitting and in the end there will be nothing zero!,” he added.

Dismissing ODM presidential aspirants as tribalists, Moi said none of them had spelt their development agenda through a manifesto on what they intended to do for instance in health, education among others.

“All one hears is high-sounding rhetoric, giving false hopes to the people as if a politician can develop the country in exclusion of individual participation and hard work of every Kenyan. While imagination and creativity are in order, pragmatism is a must,” he added.

In ODM Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joseph Nyagah will face it off at a special party National Delegates Conference on Saturday that is expected to pick ODMs presidential flag bearer.

This will be a day after ODM-Kenya, which has Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Dr Julia Ojiambo and Ms Nazlin Umar, will have picked its own candidate.

 

Kanu appeared to distance itself from declaration

 

On Tuesday, Moi said having been the Kenyan President and symbol of nationhood for over 24 years, it would be inappropriate for him to support any brand of politics that is not nationalistic in outlook and committed.

“My reason for this decision is that President Kibaki, by virtue of his office as Head of State is a symbol of nationhood,” he said.

The Independence party, Kanu, whose stewardship Moi ensured went to Gatundu South MP Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2002, however, appeared to distance itself from the declaration.

Uhuru instead said Kanu had structures that had the mandate to deliberate and agree on such weighty matters before going public.

Mois pronouncement also came a day after a major political meeting spearheaded by Cabinet minister Kipruto Kirwa and Keiyo South MP Mr Nicholas Biwott and which 17 MPs from Rift Valley attended in Naivasha.

Moi went on to declare that he would shortly hit the road to campaign for the re-election of President Kibaki, saying that since his retirement from the presidency in 2002 he has keenly been observing the trend of Kenyas politics and the disposition of its players. He, however, asserted that he would remain an active and staunch member of Kanu.

 

Move could radically reshape political landscape

And analysts who spoke to The Standard had varied interpretations on the significance of the move, whose ramifications could radically reshape the political landscape ahead of the elections, which President Kibaki said yesterday in Kilifi would be in three months time.

They said though the endorsement was a boost to Kibakis re-election, but could backfire especially in the expansive Rift Valley, which Moi hopes to rally behind his preferred candidate.

“On the contrary it (Mois endorsement of Kibaki) could work against Kibakis re-election. Moi has endorsed Kibaki for his own political insurance and not because he likes Kibaki as a president,” said Mr Mutahi Ngunyi. “ODM will get support in the Rift Valley.”

Dr Adams Oloo postulated that Mois endorsement could add weight to Kibakis re-election the same way Mois political stand tilted the balance in favour of Opposition at the referendum on the draft Constitution in 2005.

But he cautioned that the retired President had lost his invincibility and the Kalenjin (read Rift Valley) are unlikely to follow him, citing a growing perception that the future of the community was with the (young generation) and not the older generation.

 

Mois support for Kibaki as a major plus

 

Oloo said by supporting Kibakis re-election, he was by extension saying Kanu and its chairman Uhuru Kenyatta should support the incumbent.

Prof Macharia Munene described Mois support for Kibaki as a major “plus” for the incumbent, adding that the retired President was motivated by continuity and stability.

“Moi has nothing to gain as a person. But he is interested for the stability of the country in the coming years,” said Munene. He said the backing was a major statement of the trust he has on Kibakis stewardship.

Former detainee, Prof Richard Oyugi, said Moi was entitled to his opinion, but had no business telling Kenyans whom to elect as their president.

“For Kibaki to accept the endorsement means that his policies are not different from those of Moi,” added Oyugi.

Making the announcement, Moi said he was concerned with the interests of Kenyans and national stability.Asked why he was supporting Kibaki yet he humiliated him at the handover in 2002, Moi said he had forgiven.

Said he: “If I was to revenge, do you think we would be having a country now? I am a Christian and believe in peace and that Kenya is more important than Moi or any individual.”

 

Additional reporting by Murigi Macharia

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Equatorial Guinea leader on four-day visit to Zimbabwe

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Harare (Zimbabwe) Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is in Zimbabwe for a four-day visit during which he will officially open a trade exhibition on Friday in the capital Harare.

Mbasogo and his delegation arrived in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, late on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said he was confident of the growing friendship between the two countries.

During the visit, the Equatorial Guinea leader is expected to explore new areas of cooperation following the signing of an agreement on agriculture in May 2006.

Mbasogo will open the Harare Agricultural Show, an annual exhibition of Zimbabwean and foreign products.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea have improved since the 2004 sensational arrest of suspected mercenaries in Harare who were on their way to stage a coup detat in Equatorial Guinea.

The trial of the ring leader of the mercenaries, British national Simon Mann, is still before Zimbabwean courts after he contested an earlier court decision to extradite him to Equatorial Guinea.

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Sudan accepts new UN special envoy

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) The Sudanese government on Wednesday agreed to the appointment of Pakistani ambassador Ashraf Qazi as the new United Nations envoy to the country, replacing Jan Pronk who was expelled by Sudan in October 2006.

Sudan\s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdul-Mahmoud Abdul-Halim said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has been notified of the Sudanese decision, indicating that the decision came after intensive Sudanese-UN talks.

Qazi was the UN representative in Iraq and is a well-known diplomat who has served as Pakistan ambassador to several world capitals including Washington.

He will accompany Ban during his expected third visit to Sudan next month.

Khartoum declared Pronk persona non grata after his statements, which criticized the Sudanese army and were not received well by Sudan.

About 10,000 UN peacekeeping troops alongside 26,000 counterparts from the African Union (AU) are monitoring the peace accord for Southern Sudan and the troubled Darfur region

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Ban Ki-Moon to visit three African countries in September

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) The visit of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to Sudan, Chad and Libya next September will focus mainly on protecting populations.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday in New York (USA), Ban said his trips purpose is to see by himself the difficulties experienced by the UN troops.”

He revealed that the Security Council had approved Resolution 1769 for the deployment of some 19, 555 troops in Darfur (Sudan).

Expressing his deep concern about the escalation of violence and recent attacks against villages in which hundreds of people were killed, Ban Ki-Moon deplored such acts, terming them as “unacceptable .

He pointed out that he seeks to lay the foundation of a lasting solution to the conflict opposing several rebel groups in the western part of the country to the Khartoum central government.

The UN secretary general called on all parties involved for an immediate ceasefire and suggested the deployment of the Blue Berets stressing the need for huge logistical effort.

In this respect, he believes that this mission is one of the most important and most complex ever deployed by the United Nations together with the African Union (AU).

“Several countries had already made strong commitments but air transport remains the most critical part of the deployment,” he said.

He recalled that the bulk of these troops will be Africans, adding “the supply may exceed the demand.

Yet we need the expertise lacking African countries. All this will not succeed without support from the Sudanese government,” the UN boss noted.

Peacekeeping will not be enough, he pointed out while re-iterating his call for the progress of the Sudanese peace talks in the wake of those held in Tanzania. He suggested a peace conference on the issue at the end of this summer.

The Secretary general will then travel to the Southern Sudans capital, Juba, to push for the respect of the North-South peace accords mainly on power sharing and natural resources to ensure the holding of fully representative elections in 2009 as initially planned.

While ruling out the opportunity of sanctions against Sudan, Ban Ki-Moon plans to hold talks with Chadian President Deby on the refugees and the relations between Chad and Sudan before visiting Libya which he is praising for its efforts to bring Darfur rebels closer.

The SG further said he would organise on his return from Darfur on 21 September, a follow-up meeting on the Paris conference to be attended by the African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Alpha Oumar Konare.

The UN/AU management Committee will also convene its first meeting on 14 September on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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Britain honours Mandela, erects statue in his honour near parliament

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

London (United Kingdom) One of the worlds leading celebrities, former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, on Wednesday reminded the black British leaders in London of their responsibility to be role models to the young people in their communities, APA haslearnt.

He urged them to do more to tackle gang culture in inner cities, as well as help less fortunate youngsters.

Mandela, 89, was accompanied to London by his wife Graca Machel, to unveil a nine-foot bronze statue erected in his honour by the British government and located opposite the British Parliament in central London.

Speaking further, Mandela briefly reminisced on the apartheid era and said: “I am proud to be in No. 10!…the seat of the UK government.

He wittingly added: “My wife and I are happy to be here because, as you know, Britain was one of our rulers, but we overthrew them. We are on equal basis”.

During the occasion, British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown eulogised the ageing statesman, describing him as the “greatest and most courageous leader of our generation”.

The event was officiated by Prime Minster Brown and the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

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Five killed in night attacks in Mogadishu

Posted by African Press International on August 30, 2007

Mogadishu (Somalia) Five people were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday night in heavy gun battles and grenade attacks, police has confirmed.

Heavily armed insurgents launched attacks on government bases around the Hurwaa neighborhoods for about one hour.

Two civilians were caught in the cross fire inside their houses and six others wounded in the night were brought to Shifo Hospital on Tuesday morning, said Hakimo Aden, a nurse.

In another attack on a government base in south Mogadishu insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades and opened machine-gun fire.

No casualty was reported in this attack and government troops on Tuesday morning sealed off the villages to search for weapons.

Hundreds of people have begun to flee from the areas around these bases, fearing that the attacks could escalate.

We have been here for a long time and thought things would calm down once, but now we have decided to leave, said Asho Abdi-nor, as she carried some of her belongs.

In a separate incident group of insurgents armed with pistols and hand grenades attacked a police station in Shangani district.

Police said in retaliation of the attack they killed three militants and two others were arrested.

Pistols welding-men attacked the police station with hand grenades. In retaliation police shot three of them and two were arrested, said Col. Abdi Wahid, a police spokesman.

He said no government soldier was hurt in the overnight attacks.

Last week the leader of the ousted Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said in Asmara, Eritrea, that they would continue attacks until Ethiopians withdraws from Somalia.

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

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