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Archive for September 1st, 2007

WHAT NEXT AFTER ODM & ODM KENYA PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS?

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2007

What next after ODM and ODM Kenya nominations? The harder task then begins! Winning the presidential election in this year general election wont just be easy more so for the opposition.

Many reasons abound for this. First, unlike 2002 there is no outgoing president that there is a void to be filled. Currently there is an incumbent who is gunning for the second term in office. He clearly starts his campaign from a vantage point and enjoying the advantages of incumbency among others.

Secondly the ODM houses have not made their case any easier after the splits and spitting at each other. Chances of uniting especially for the favourites likely to win respective nominations look remote. But it is still possible for the two and the two parties to forge an alliance. A day in politics is a long time and anything is possible.

Thirdly, unlike 2002 there is no great urge to root out a ruling
powerful party. Curiously it is even logically difficult to know which party is ruling.

Fourthly, the current government has had a good measure of success that it is not easy to beat it on several fronts. However it too has its glaring weaknesses like in fight against corruption.

Fifth the largely descanted youth are likely to vote along the tribes of their parents voting patterns. Kenya being a highly tribally minded state gives some ‘tribal kings’ a starting edge in polls. Currently there are 5 main large tribal groupings which will necessary give impetus to any of the leading candidates in this year’s poll. However it should be reckoned that the youth today are very informed and very fluid in making decisions.

For ODM leaders the nomination is a hurdle they obviously needed to overcome, but the battle has just begun.

ikunda1.jpgStory by our East African Correspondent

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

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VISUAL MESSAGES COMMUNICATED BY POLITICAL PARTIES IN MALAWI

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2007

Visual aids can be anything from the way one dresses, to writings on any flat surface, party colours, party emblems, to items brought in to show what you are talking about. They support the expressive and receptive communicative needs of presenters, teachers, politicians, or individuals in general. In other words, they are nonverbal symbols that reach the audience via the eyes thereby helping them decode meaning from a particular context. As such, they carry meaning whether positively or negatively. It is the purpose of the present work to discuss visual aids or messages communicated by political parties in Malawi.

In order to understand how visual aids carry meaning, theres a need to understand the basic vocabulary of visual language. By visual language one refers to the idea that communication occurs through visual symbols, as opposed to verbal symbols, or words.

Presenters, teachers, or politicians who understand nonverbal language, especially visual language can and do manipulate attitudes of their audience to suit their purposes. This is so because naturally humans respond to visual messages unconsciously, preferring to believe that their opinions are formed by their own judgment and personal taste.

For example, the body language, party colours, party emblems, dress, and expressions of politicians in the modern age of democratic Malawi seem to be as crucial to the success of a particular partys programme. This also plays a role towards the policies and ideas particular political parties hold. Once the politicians send wrong nonverbal signals, the populace simply does not trust them on whatever platform they may be presenting their ideals.

Visual messages sent through the emblem or colour associated with a particular political party also play a vital role to either build or destroy political groupings.

On the other hand, effective use of visual aids (party colours, party emblems etc) can make listeners overlook a great deal in a politicians or political partys background.

To exemplify this, an experience from Malawi would suffice. Evidently the Malawis transformation from one party state to multiparty government portrayed a clear example of this situation. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which was then the only ruling party in Malawis one party system of government was using a Black Cock as an emblem for the party. Furthermore a slogan kwacha was used in whatever activities the party was conducting.

During the transitional period, new political groupings were formed to advocate for multiparty democracy. These new groupings were known as Political Pressure Groups. They used a lighted lamp as their visual aid (emblem). Therefore two emblems were at play, black cock vs lighted lamp.

VISUAL MESSAGES CARRIED BY THE BLACK COCK AND THE LIGHTED LAMP.

In most cases black is associated with attire used during times of bereavement. Satanism acts are also associated with black colour. The black cock emblem for Malawi Congress Party was the target by underground pressure groups to champion the fight for introduction of multiparty politics in a country which was under one-party authoritarian rule since its independence from the British colonial rule in 1964 under Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP). This was done to effectively sell the idea of multiparty system of government.

The party was associated with evil acts such as murdering its people once they happen to oppose bad policies, throw its critics into Shire River so that they become feed for crocodiles. Simply put, the black cock visual image carried negative messages which to most Malawians was very clear. There was correlation between the black cock and the bad things that were happening during the one rule.

As a result Malawi Congress Party lost during a referendum. The Political Pressure Groups showed and told Malawians about the hidden bad meanings /messages of the black cock.

On the other hand, the lighted lamp emblem for the Political Pressure Groups communicated messages of hope or light at the end of the tunnel. Light is associated with good things. As such a brighter future was talked of by the Pressure Groups.

Showing and telling has been discussed by researchers that it leads to higher retention after some considerable time period. People retain information longer when they receive it both through their eyes and through their ears. Visual aids of the black cock did not require to be carried around. Black cock emblem was in each and every place in Malawi. All the Political Pressure Groups had to do was to ask Malawians to check for it in their party member cards or national flag by then which previously had black cock on it. Audiences that remember a message because the visual aids helped their comprehension or understanding, are more persuaded to take action for change. That is why countrywide they voted for change.

All paraphernalia for MCP had black cock and were likened to satanic worship which demand for use of black attire or black everything everywhere. These negative relationships made Malawians dissociate themselves from Malawi Congress Party. And it lost its massive countrywide support. Black cock was correlated to cruelty, oppression, nepotism, murder and monopoly.

The black cock visual image destroyed Malawi Congress Party. Who would be happy to be associated with negative visual images? MCPs visual symbols turned into its visual distractions or destructions.

MALAWI CONGRESS PARTY DURING THE DEMOCRATIC MALAWI.

After a successful transition into multiparty democracy, MCP confessed to the whole nation that it has now changed. It has become a new MCP.

The nation has been trying to look for that rebirth in MCP. One wonders whether MCP is portraying that new self which has been talked of quite often.

As I have indicated at the beginning that for a very long time visual language has been used to encode meaning. Wikipedia contends that vision gives humans inexhaustibly rich information about the objects, events, political parties or peoples behaviour in the world.

Simple language a picture is worth a thousand words. The body language, dress and expressions of any MCP political leader inside or outside parliament speaks to viewers louder beyond mere words in the multiparty era of government.

What is in an individuals mind may be manifested through his/her actions, utterances and body language thereby sending visual messages.

During 2007 budget sitting, the leader of opposition in parliament who happens to be MCP leader has communicated to the entire nation his self image. Standing on a point of order Section 65 first, budget second. This expressed and communicated a visual message that as a leader John Tembo considers political struggles or power very important above the needs of Malawians. These needs are met by availability of the national budget.

Only that time when the leader of opposition rose up and said no to budget, till injunction on Section 65 is vacated- did he destroy most his reputation and dignity in the eyes of Malawians thereby minimizing his chances of testing the fruits of the highest office on the land.

The tone in this leaders response communicated more bitterness, anger and uncontrollable ambitions by the leader of opposition to Malawians.

My simple message to opposition leaders is Malawians have been observing, read the writings on the walls. Otherwise your visual messages will be eating you out and it will be difficult to regain any lost glories.

VISUAL MESSAGES THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT COMMUNICATED.

It is believed that the United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawis former ruling party which is seeking to extend its mandate in the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections, was founded by Brown Mpinganjira, now not very vocal as he used to be when he formed his defunct NDP. Mpinganjira himself has never at any time confirmed or denied the assertion. Under this, visual messages of unclear genesis is evidently communicated.

While the beginnings of the party are scanty, its President and National Chairman Bakili Muluzi claims he is its founder, saying he formed it as a pressure group in 1989.

The UDF and Alliance For Democracy (AFORD) emerged from underground and started campaigning vehemently for change after the Catholic bishops issued an epic pastoral letter in March 1992, criticizing the MCP government of human rights abuse and bad governance, the first ever open challenge Dr. Bandas one-party rule ever faced since independence.

The pastoral letter opened the way for more debate on whether or not the country should remain a dictatorship or embrace multiparty democracy. As pressure piled up, Banda cracked and later ordered that a referendum take place in June 1993.

When the referendum finally did take place, Malawians overwhelmingly voted for change. That spelt the beginning of the end for Dr. Banda and his MCP.

When the first multiparty general elections were held a year later, in 1994, the UDF scored a landslide victory and wrested power from the MCPs 30-year stranglehold.

Under Muluzi, the party started well with a lot of promises such as free primary education, poverty alleviation, better social services, good roads, respect for human rights and the rule of law. This sound beginning sent a very upright visual message to Malawians. A bright future that Malawians were anticipating seemed eminent. But later it was evident that instead of bright things, yellowing of everything was coming out.

Ten years down the line, Malawians got disillusioned that they are poorer than they were 10 years ago, according to a UNDP report.

The party with its yellow colours started to lose its grip on the reins when in 2001 its President Bakili Muluzi wanted to manipulate the constitution of the land allowing for open terms rather than the mandatory two five-year terms to give him a chance to continue ruling the country.

After facing strong resistance from the opposition and some rebel UDF MPs, the open-terms bill finally collapsed in parliament in July 2002. Not admitting defeat, the government side drafted another bill to allow the president a third term. This, too, received massive resistance from the opposition and civil society. Sensing another eminent defeat, the government withdrew the bill before it was debated in parliament.

Knowing he would not be given another mandate to rule, Muluzi then handpicked economist Bingu Mutharika in 2003 to his successor,a move which many view as undemocratic. This led to some heavyweights in the party resigning to join the opposition. Simply put, these painted a different visual image for the UDF party. Party officials felt betrayed thereby leading to massive exodus.

Among them are First Vice President Aleke Banda, senior cabinet minister Harry Thomson, former deputy finance minister Jan Jaap Sonke, former deputy agriculture minister Joe Manduwa and most recently Justin Malewezi, vice-president of UDF and state.

With all these defections, the UDF party surely lost the popular support it used to in its heady days.

The yellow colour was associated with leaves of plants during wilting stages. Plant leaves are green but when they turn yellow, it means that they will fall off the plant to later die and decompose. This analogy was likened to UDF. A party that has matured and is now wilting or dying- waiting for regeneration of new leaves. The new growths are the new political parties that have emerged out of UDF.

DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTYS VISUAL LANGUAGE.

The new government in Malawi, democratically elected in May 2004, is pursuing an agenda that focuses on growth, wealth creation, and poverty reduction. It recognizes that corruption is a widespread and endemic problem that must be addressed in order for Malawi to realize sustainable economic growth.

After taking office, Mutharika came into conflict with Muluzi, head of the UDF, over Mutharikas campaign against corruption. The dispute between them has characterized Mutharikas time in office thus far, and it has been claimed that political conflict is interfering with the countrys governance.

On February 5, 2005, Mutharika announced his resignation from the UDF, saying that he had no support in the party because of his stand against corruption. There had previously been talk of expelling him from the party, and there had also been an alleged assassination plot against him by party members in early January 2005. Those accused were later pardoned by Mutharika, but he maintained the existence of the plot. Mutharika subsequently formed his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In April 2005, Muluzi apologized to the country for choosing Mutharika as his successor and imposing him on the country. This communicated an affirmation of Muluzis failure to rule from behind as was previously reported.

Mutharika has upheld the memory of Hastings Banda as a national hero; in May 2006, he was present at the unveiling of a mausoleum for Banda that cost US$620,000. This has earned him high repute and esteem amongst Malawians but mostly people from Central Region.

Through the DPP led government, Malawi has attained debt cancellation, food security, single digit inflation rate, and some sound economic growth. These have communicated a good and sound visual message to the people of Malawi. Message of trust, security, development in most fronts, brighter Malawi and hope.

Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika administration does not practice favouratism in terms of distribution of development activities. For example, each and every constituency is treated with equal measures when it comes to project distribution. Dedza central , a constituency of Honourable John Tembo-leader of opposition in parliament has benefited from these development projects. Mangochi has seen establishment of new food silos though being a stronghold of UDF an opposition political party.

Neno district is a constituency under an opposition MP but it has received development projects. Unlike during UDFs rule where Bakili Muluzi would openly say during his public rallies that where there is an opposition MP, there shall be no development activities.

The stand of DPP on development for all regardless of political parties dominant in that area is a clear visual message for a political party that puts every Malawian at heart. A party whose central focus is on Malawians. This visual aid has helped to build DPP into a strong political party as it enjoys support nationwide though being very new on the scene as compared to other political parties which have failed to penetrate Malawi in all the three regions such AFORD, RP, PETRA, UDF, MCP and PPM .

DPP is doing everything it can to protect this visual language that it has already communicated to the entire Malawi nation. For example, when Regional Governor for the South Nyakamera was quoted as saying no coupons for traditional authorities who support opposition political partiesthe DPP came on the scene instantly with a refutation. The partys secretary general Honourable Hetherwick Ntaba came up with a press statement to refute media reports on the same.

It is very essential to jealously guard the visual message a political party sends out. DPP is aware of this that is why it resorts to every means and ways to protect and safeguard it.

From this discussion, it is evident that visual aids that a particular political party uses may build it or destroy it. A Malawi case has it image to the public.

By: Stewart A. Mafeni

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 9 739 or +47 6300 2525

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The looting of Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2007

Leak of secret report exposes corrupt web
More than 1bn moved to 28 countries
Property in London, New York , Australia

Xan Rice in Nairobi
Friday August 31, 2007
The Guardian

The former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi. Photograph: Reuters

The breathtaking extent of corruption perpetrated by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi was exposed last night in a secret report that laid bare a web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen that his entourage used to funnel hundreds of millions of pounds into nearly 30 countries including Britain.

The 110-page report by the international risk consultancy Kroll, seen by the Guardian, alleges that relatives and associates of Mr Moi siphoned off more than 1bn of government money. If true, it would put the Mois on a par with Africa’s other great kleptocrats, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Nigeria’s Sani Abacha.

Article continues
The assets accumulated included multimillion pound properties in London, New York and South Africa, as well as a 10,000-hectare ranch in Australia and bank accounts containing hundreds of millions of pounds.

The report, commissioned by the Kenyan government, was submitted in 2004, but never acted upon. It details how:

Mr Moi’s sons – Philip and Gideon – were reported to be worth 384m and 550m respectively;

His associates colluded with Italian drug barons and printed counterfeit money;

His clique owned a bank in Belgium;

The threat of losing their wealth prompted threats of violence between Mr Moi’s family and his political aides;

4m was used to buy a home in Surrey and 2m to buy a flat in Knightsbridge.

Kroll said last night it could not confirm or deny the authenticity of the report.

The Kroll investigation into the former regime was commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki shortly after he came to power on an anti-corruption platform in 2003. It was meant to be the first step towards recovering some of the money stolen during Mr Moi’s 24-year rule, which earned Kenya the reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

But soon after the investigation was launched, Mr Kibaki’s government was caught up in its own scandal, known as Anglo Leasing, which involved awarding huge government contracts to bogus companies.

Since then, none of Mr Moi’s relatives or close allies has been prosecuted. No money has been recovered. Three of the four ministers who resigned after the Anglo Leasing scandal was exposed have since been reinstated.

Last night, the Kenyan government confirmed that it received the Kroll report in April 2004. But Alfred Mutua, the government spokesman, said it was incomplete and inaccurate, and that Kroll had not been engaged to do any further work.

“We did not find that the report was credible. It was based a lot on hearsay.” He said the leaking of the report was politically motivated and insisted Kenya was working with foreign governments to recover the stolen money. “Some of the money is in UK bank accounts. We have asked the British government to help us recover the funds, but so far they have refused.”

The report was obtained by the website Wikileaks, which aims to help expose corruption. The document is believed to have been leaked by a senior government official upset about Mr Kibaki’s failure to tackle corruption and by his alliance with Mr Moi before the presidential election in December.

On Tuesday Mr Moi said he was backing Mr Kibaki for a second term, saying he was disappointed that “selfish individual interests have been entrenched in our society”. Mr Moi remains an influential figure in Kenya and his endorsement is expected to go some way to ensuring his successor’s re-election.

In the Kroll report the investigators allege that a Kenyan bank was the key to getting vast sums of money of out of the country via its foreign currency accounts. The same bank had already laundered $200m (100m) on behalf of the late Mr Abacha, with the assistance of a Swiss-based “financier”.

“It is believed that twice as much was laundered through the same system by the Mois,” the report said.

Kroll confirmed last night that it had previously done work for the Kenyan government. A company spokesman was given extracts of the report seen by the Guardian. “We cannot confirm or deny that this report is what it purports to be,” he said. “Nor can we talk about the scope, content or results of any work we have done for the government of Kenya, which remains confidential.”

Gideon Moi is an MP and Philip Moi is a businessman. Daniel Arap Moi’s spokesman did not return calls last night.

Posted to API*APNby Author : Dickson

Source. The Guardian

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The other ODM splinter group of Raila Odinga to choose their flag bearer

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2007

Story by DAVID MUGONYI and LUCAS BARASA
Publication Date: 8/31/2007

Details of how ODM delegates will choose the flagbearer from five aspirants emerged yesterday.

William ole Ntimama and secretary-general Anyang Nyongo, receive Dr Amukowa Anangwe (second right) at the party headquarters after he defected from New Kanu yesterday.

The 4,200 delegates at Kasarani could vote straight and the candidate who emerges with a bigger number of votes becomes the presidential candidate.

The alternative will be to vote for five line-ups and the candidate of the team with the highest votes becomes the torchbearer.

The team system will be complete with preferred names of the five candidates for various offices if the party wins to form the next government.

The delegates will be presented with five choices with one leader as the presidential candidate, another vice-president and the other a prime minister, the Nation has learnt.

The five choices will see presidential aspirants Najib Balala, Musalia Mudavadi, Joseph Nyaga, Raila Odinga and William Ruto alternating as presidential candidates.

However, there will be only three positions meaning that in each of the five teams, two people will be left out.

Arranged alphabetically

The delegates will be asked to vote for the their candidates whose names have been arranged alphabetically.

In the first team, A, Mr Balala is proposed as the presidential candidate, Mr Mudavadi (vice-president) and Mr Odinga (prime minister).

Team B has Mr Mudavadi as the presidential candidate, Mr Odinga as his running mate and Mr Ruto, prime minister.

The third, C, puts Mr Nyaga as the presidential candidate, Mr Mudavadi (VP), while Mr Odinga takes the position of premier.

In team D, Mr Odinga will be the president, Mr Mudavadi vice-president while Mr Ruto will be the prime minister.

The last, E, has Mr Ruto as president, Mr Mudavadi as his running mate and Mr Odinga the prime minister.

Sources said five presidential candidates agreed after a series of meetings that delegates vote for a team to retain the unity of the party rather than individuals, to minimise a fallout after the exercise.

Another source argued that if the delegates were to vote for an individual, it could leave the party divided as supporters of some of the candidates could walk out.

Some of the positions the ODM team is expected to create are not in the Constitution.

The party has also hinted that it will create an additional position of vice-president and two deputy prime ministers.

And differences have emerged over the agenda of the delegates conference.

The Nation learnt that MPs from Rift Valley and Western provinces are questioning why elections of new officials is not part of the agenda.

Refused to disclose

Sources told the Nation that the two provinces want the current officials, led by secretary general Tony Chege and vice chairman Mugambi Imanyara, replaced.

Yesterday, ODM secretary-general Anyang Nyongo, who addressed journalists after a National Executive Council/Parliamentary group meeting at the party headquarters, refused to disclose how the ballot paper looked like.

The ballot is usually seen at voting hall even by delegates, Prof Nyongo said.

Separately, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Balala and Nyaga confirmed that all the five candidates would be in the race for the presidency but did not confirm the voting for various offices.

Some of the delegates are expected in Nairobi today.

Each delegate will be given Sh3,000 as transport allowance but there will be none for accommodation.

The party, however, said it still had a shortfall of Sh6 million for logistics, down from Sh8 million on Wednesday.

It was, however, confident of meeting the deficit by tomorrow.

Presidential nominations

The ODM NEC/PG also agreed to refund Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka and Dr Julia Ojiambo (nominated) Sh1 million they each had paid to take part in ODM-Kenya presidential nominations.

Westlands MP Fred Gumo said the Electoral Commission of Kenya had been requested to oversee the nominations.

Nambale MP Chris Okemo denied that Western Province leaders were unhappy with the list of delegates.

And the party received a major boost yesterday when New Kanu, through chairman Amukowa Anangwe, announced that it had joined the movement.

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

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Kenya: Kalonzo Musyoka wins ODM-K’s ticket to head the party as presidential candidate

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) Kenyas presidential hopeful Kalonzo Musyoka has been officially declared the candidate for the opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya (ODM-Kenya) to run against the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki in elections in December.

Kalonzo, a former foreign affairs minister, emerged the winner at party elections held in Nairobi after beating fellow contestant, nominated member of parliament Julia Ojiambo.

Kalonzo will now spearhead ODM-Kenya\s campaign for the presidency.

In his acceptance speech, Kalonzo said that if elected president he would reduce poverty and boost security in the country.

On Saturday, the splinter opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement, is expected to pick its own presidential candidate in what is expected to be a three-horse race in this years election including two opposition candidates and President Kibaki.

Former President Daniel arap Moi announced on Tuesday that he will support the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki, for re-election for a second term and termed both ODM-Kenya and ODM as political outfits aimed at dividing Kenyans.

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

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