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Archive for September 6th, 2007

Posted by African Press International on September 6, 2007

Madrid (Spain) The Scientific and Technology Committee on Wednesday revealed that “few countries show interest in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), whose Eighth conference of signatory countries is being held in Madrid, Spain, from 3 to 14 September.

According to Grard Begni from DesertNet, an international working group to combat desertification, “we have noticed that we have not gone so far in setting up the points of reference and indicators in many countries, stressing that some indicators are under elaboration.

Even though some countries acknowledge that land degradation is a threat and a hindrance to the environment and to their socio-economic development, their “national reports do not account for the existing link between the biophysical, socio-economic and cultural knowledge, and the activities undertaken to combat desertification”.

In its synthesis report, the UNDCCs experts revealed that the link between traditional knowledge and the scientific understanding of phenomena is “obviously insufficient though they could help in understanding the practises and favour knowledge transfer”.

“We suggest involving traditional knowledge even though they are not accessible, a situation that compels us to address the issue for the knowledge not to disappear,” the Malian Safiatou Maiga said.

On Tuesday, no sooner had the COP8 works kicked off than the delegates from the civil society organisations quite simply asked for the review of UNCCD, while slamming what they termed as “idleness of the convention”.

In its analysis, the UNCCDs group of experts noted that “members of the public occasionally and non-systemically took part in the combat as opposed to the few countries that focused on the setting up of regular basis participation procedure to the convention.

To address the so-called “idleness” of the convention, the experts suggested involving scientific progresses that “should be spread not only to the scientists exchanging results during meetings, but also to the population facing desertification”. The experts further pleaded for the transposition of traditional knowledge in order to scientifically understand the phenomenon of land degradation.

The eighth conference of states parties to the Convention to combat desertification, which is being held in Madrid with 2000 participants, is expected to lead to the adoption of a ten-year strategic plan including the period 2008-2018.

Published by Korir, API*APN tel+4793299739 or+4763002525 source.apa

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Beninese named UN Desertification Convention chief

Posted by African Press International on September 6, 2007

Cotonou (Benin) Former Beninese Environment and Urban Planning minister Luc-Marie Constant Gnancadja was elected executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and soil degradation (UNCCD), diplomatic sources disclosed to APA on Wednesday.

The source close to the Foreign Affairs ministry said Beninese president Yayi Boni had strongly supported Gnancadjas application for the post.

The new deputy secretary-general, 48, served as Beninese Environment, Habitat and Urban Planning minister from June 1999 to February 2005.

Gnancadja is a consultant and expert accredited by the Cotonou court of appeal.

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

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Kibaki allies will block ODM from success – Kibaki’s second term secure

Posted by African Press International on September 6, 2007

Publication Date: 9/5/2007

A two-tier campaign strategy for the re-election of President Kibaki has gained momentum just days after Opposition parties named their flagbearers.

The President is expected to face off with ODM candidate Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM Kenya in the General Election.

Youths supporting President Kibaki at a past rally at the Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi. Several groups are working together to spearhead the Presidents campaign and counter the ODM wave after ODM and ODM-K picked Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka respectively to challenge Kibaki in the State House race. Photo/FILE

Various groups allied to President Kibaki are coming together to counter the Orange wave after ODM and ODM-K successfully nominated their candidates.

At the centre of the Presidents strategy is the Kibaki Elections Board and the yet to be named coalition on whose platform the Head of State is expected to seek re-election. The board is considered to be the campaigns technical wing.

Investigations have revealed that the elections board, under the guidance of the Presidents daughter, Judy, comprises the Council of Elders and a team of former senior civil servants. The latter brings together several lobby groups.

Recruiting people

One of them the Kibaki Tena Campaign has been recruiting people who will spearhead the Presidents re-election campaign at the village level.

Taifa Tekelezi is another lobby group. It was formed last year and is a combination of several organisations and political parties.

We have firmly established ourselves in every corner of this country, its national coordinator, Dr Thuo Mathenge, said in an interview with the Nation.

Yesterday, plans were underway to start yet another lobby expected to bring together more than 50 political parties. The revelation was made by one of the leaders involved in the lobby, Mr Julius Mwangi Muriuki.

We have already met and decided. What we are doing now is to form our own budget, Mr Muriuki, also the secretary-general of Sisi Kwa Sisi party, said.

The lobbies are to get funds for their operations from the election board, the supreme body in the campaign. The money is being raised by the Council of Elders, which brings together friends of the President, including University of Nairobi chancellor Joe Wanjui.

On the political front, President Kibaki has picked a team to engage his allies in the Government of National Unity (GNU) to drive his campaign. They include the parties which remained in Narc after the departure of Mr Odingas Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The parties targeted include Democratic Party (DP), Ford Kenya, Shirikisho, Kanu and a group of Rift Valley MPs supportive of retired President Moi. Mr Moi has voiced his support for the Presidents re-election.

The Presidents men are also reaching out to other friendly parties like Ford People, which is led by Mr Simeon Nyachae and Ford Kenya, whose leader is Mr Musikari Kombo.

The starting point for President Kibakis political machinery is in the GNU where we have a residue of Narc, Ford Kenya, Ford People, Kanu and part of ODM, which wants to join us, Kieni MP Chris Murungaru said in an interview.

We are all working together, hammering details of how to agree with Nyachae, Kombo, Maalim, Saitoti and Rift Valley MPs, he said.

However, there is a feeling among some lobbies that the Kibaki Tena Campaign team is isolating them in an attempt to lock them out of the campaign funds raised by the elections board. And this has caused rivalry between the Kibaki Tena group and other lobbies, threatening to tear the teams apart.

Kibaki Tena is the think tank of the re-election campaign. It has a budget of Sh4 billion while Taifa Tekelezi and the yet to be formed coalition are raising their own money.

Mr Lee Karuri who is the CEO of the Presidents re-election machinery was earlier quoted as saying that the money for the campaign would not come from public coffers, but would be raised from the Presidents supporters.

Unlike Taifa Tekelezi or the proposed inter-party lobby, which has politicians as the main players, Kibaki Tena brings together professionals, business people and technocrats. The group is officially registered as Maendeleo Resource Trust. It has several directorates, which operate different programmes. But they are answerable to Mr Karuri.

Political Affairs and Strategy is one of the directorates. Most of the people in this department are top civil servants and university lecturers. Their work is to come up with winning strategies.

Former military officers

There is also the Outreach directorate whose aim is to reach out to special groups both in the formal and informal sectors and lobby them to support the President.

Most of the members of the group are former military officers who have chosen to remain anonymous. They have been gathering intelligence on which groups should be targeted and incorporated in the Kibaki Tena campaign.

However, the Youth directorate, commonly known as Vijana Na Kibaki (Youths for Kibaki) and Women for Kibaki have been carrying out an open campaign.

Another important department is the Regional directorate which is charged with the work of appointing regional coordinators.

These are the officials directly involved in the campaigns at the grassroots level. They appoint campaigners to head the re-election campaign in villages.

The campaigners include location/ward coordinators and agents to supervise the presidential elections.

This is where members of Taifa Tekelezi and the proposed coalition are accusing the Kibaki Tena group of encroaching on their turf.

We are the politicians and the work of identifying who is to campaign for President Kibaki should be left to us, Mr Mathenge, the national coordinator of Taifa Tekelezi said.

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

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