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Archive for September 11th, 2007

Buganda Plans A break away from Uganda.

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Posted by Ham Mukasa

www.hammukasafoundation.com

Bugandas quest for secession is inevitable

By ROBERT MWANJE

KAMPALA Talk of Buganda, which occupies the central region of present day Uganda breaking away from the rest of the country, has re-surfaced over the last weeks, dividing the country over the matter. What started like the wild ranting of a media seeking politician might yet turn out to be a well orchestrated plan of a section of Baganda seeking to recreate the old dreams of an independent state.MP Hussein Kyanjo of Makindye West re-awakened the debate, which last seriously came up in the early years of Uganda‘s independence at the height of tensions between the monarchy and the central government. Former Buganda Katikiro (Prime Minister) Daniel Muliika has in an exclusive interview with Inside Politics revealed that the calls for Buganda to break away from the rest of Uganda by MP Kyanjo represent a key section of the baganda. Mr Muliika served a dramatic one year at Mengo. He warns of bloodshed if Buganda‘s demands and needs are not paid heed to, the same message carried by Kyanjo. If the central government does not change its attitude towards Buganda‘s demands and interests, the kingdom’s plan to secede must be realised no matter how long it takes, the two men stated in separate interviews.
Muliika says
Buganda
does not need the central government’s goodwill to carry through her plans. But the titular head of the estimated six million Baganda, the Kabaka warned a congregation of Baganda in the Diaspora at the weekend that calls for cessation coming at this time only helps to weaken the kingdoms bid for meaningful federo.Mr Kyanjo, who unveiled Buganda‘s alleged intentions to break away from Uganda, insists that the plan must mature and no authority has the powers to block it.
Why break away? Kyanjo says that as an MP, the proposal to see
Buganda breaking away from Uganda
is his constituents’ demand and places his arguments against the fact that the central government has continually failed to honour the kingdom’s demands. According to Kyanjo, these include federalism, the demand for the kingdom’s property or, that government will stop the illegal and provocative giveaway of Buganda land, and an end to tribalism among others. He says all these are a well calculated plan to impoverish Baganda as a way of weakening the kingdom.Kyanjo says he was working out a plan to extend his campaign country wide with the aim of convincing other regions to support a break away from Uganda except western Uganda

. “It cannot be a coincidence that the army chief, prisons chief, minister of defence, police head, security and internal affairs minister are all from one region (West),” Kyanjo said.Citing examples to bring out the ‘greed’ inside government, Kyanjo said the current establishment has ensured that all juicy Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) contracts have been offered to people from western Uganda. “A lot of injustice has been exhibited to the extent that even the small Chogm contracts have been offered to people from the western region. From car importation to those who will wash them during the summit,” Kyanjo wondered adding that, “some thing must be done. It’s unjust and must be addressed quickly.”He said government has further exhibited a lot of segregation through the education and employment sectors. Kyanjo says government has launched an economic war against baganda and other regions saying concerned authorities have not given equal opportunities to local investors basing on their regions of origin.He said while government has exhibited a lot of tolerance and support to some companies like Apparels Tri-star (Tri-star is owned by an Asian businessman) and individuals like Hassan Basajjabalaba to the extent that state funds were diverted to rescue their private business, the same method has not applied to Baganda owned investments.

Basajjabalaba is a local investor who owns a number of shopping malls in the city center, Kampala International University (KIU), and firms that manage major city markets among other properties. He is also the chairman for NRM (the ruling party) entrepreneurship committee.

Kyanjo wonders why Greenland Bank, Zigotti Coffee Ltd, Kyagalanyi Coffee, H.M Nsamba Coffee Ltd, Ssembule Bank and group of industries, were all left to collapse and be taken over by foreigners.

“It’s a good business principal for the government to support local enterprises but why does it work only for selected ones? How do you convince me that other ventures never deserved to be supported?” he queried.

“There’s nothing that is as painful as being discriminated against. These are just greedy people from the top down through the markets.”

Expressing a lot of dissatisfaction with the current establishment, Kyanjo warns that a revolution to redress the deserted sections must take place. “All Ugandans can’t be oppressed forever. The current establishment was supported by the people of Buganda to power and a lot of promises were made, this was an agreement between the two parties,” Kyanjo said, “government should remember that the Buganda institution was much involved to the extent that even the Kabaka had to join his subjects and practically participated in the war.”

On accusations of inciting the public, Kyanjo said the institution has been insulted repetitively through a number of government officials. “You can imagine a full cabinet minister telling people to get pangs and chase Baganda from a certain region and because he is a minister then he is not inciting the public,” he said.

Does Kyanjo have a real strategy?
Kyanjo claims that his plans detail a “very simple way” to achieve an independent state of Buganda. He claims this is so because the public is increasingly realising selfish interests as exhibited by the government. He says his campaign has been much supported by members of Buganda Region parliamentary caucus and a special committee has been set up to follow-up the matter.Buganda‘s secession is a fact which can be realised to ensure a bright future for our grand children. It does not matter how long it may take but it must happen,” he said. The MP says he is aware that his intentions may mean a number of consequences including death but he is ready for everything. ” I’m ready to pay the price for what am fighting for but they (government officials) will pay much than me,” Kyanjo said.

“Not mere dream” – Muliika
Mr Muliika supports Kyanjo’s idea and to him
Buganda does not even need the central government’s goodwill to secede. Muliika lasted only 13 and a half months (Dec.28 2005 – Feb 13, 2007
) as Katikkiro, an incredibly short time.In that period, Mengo the seat of Buganda witnessed the highest level of tensions with central government unseen since the restoration of monarchies in 1993.

Mr Muliika had replaced Joseph Ssemwogerere who held the reigns of power at Mengo for 11 years.
Now retired to his farm in Masaka, Muliika said the move was long over due since central government has failed to realise
Buganda‘s position and interests in Uganda
. “I support Kyanjo’s stand since his demands are clear that Buganda should be left to control itself in all aspects. Buganda is a nation which existed before Uganda and its independence was attained on October 8 1962
,” he said.He urged Baganda not to yield to intimidation by central government saying, “this we must achieve. We are not dreaming. “Only that Baganda have not made-up their mind to pick guns and fight the enemy (central government). An enemy will remain an enemy and you can never solve problems through stealing,” Muliika said. He said whoever attempts to fight Buganda fights his regime, “Obote made the same mistake (fighting Buganda) and where did his regime end? The same applies to this regime, the moment it attempts the same mistake it will take the same direction.” He said Baganda and the Mengo establishment should rally behind the Kabaka to fight for the kingdom’s interests, strongly back Kyanjo’s concerns and draw clear avenues to realise the dream.Muliika cautioned Baganda politicians not to be diverted over their political inclinations since Buganda‘s quest does not affect their political parties and system of governance. “If we have a clear system of governance through which each political party operates things would be simple. It would clearly stipulate the status of kingdoms and their stake in Uganda,” he said. “Central government exists on the kingdom’s expense; we can achieve it with or without government’s backup. Any other objective kingdom can join us.” Debate on secession:
Rubaga North MP, Beti Olive Kamya, a member of the opposition front bench has also joined in the fray.
Kamya’s views on the cessation have kicked up a storm on an internet chat of mainly Ugandans in the Diaspora. In her posting Kamya wrote; “fact is, Baganda have all sorts of grievances which have led them to wish to call it quits. Does anybody have a problem with that? If it is about property in Kampala, no one is under any threat as they will be welcome to live in Buganda, as they do in the UK, USA etc and property can be shared out as we did when the EAC collapsed. Those are details. the principal is that Buganda wants to go it alone – and there 6 M + Baganda according to the latest census and I know many very able countries, with GDP and GDP per capita many times that of Uganda, whose population is much less than 6 M.
Ms Kamya’s proposals have attracted several angry responses especially from none Baganda.
Ms Pam Ankunda notes that there is no special reason that Buganda is advancing in seeking cessation, “My humble opinion though is that Buganda has no cause to secede because our interests are one. No tribe deserves privileges over the other.”Officially government has remained silent about the demands but sources tell Inside Politics that a sense of discomfort over the bubbling demands.

Published By African Press International/African Press in Norway africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE INVITATION THEME: POVERTY ELIMINATION IT’S POSITIVE EFFECT TO GLOBAL CHANGE.

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

At the United Nations Millennium Summit, the world’s leaders pledged to cut global poverty in half by 2015.

International Action Network, is at the forefront of today’s development dialogue in championing the cause for the poor, the disadvantaged and the abandoned. Assisting people living in extreme poverty. We are addressing the many dimensions of human development, including global poverty eradication based on local needs and priorities. HIV/AIDS is a world-wide problem, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce its negative effect to global development, every country need to mobilize all levels of government and civil society as a trusted development partner.

Many countries are increasingly vulnerable to violent conflicts or natural disasters that can erase decades of development and further entrench poverty and inequality. Through our global network, we seeks out and shares innovative approaches to crisis prevention, early warning on global warming, climate change and conflict resolution.

To make further progress on these commitments, we are inviting civil society organizations, Youth Organizations, Community organizations, Non-Governmental organizations (NGO’S), Socio-Cultural Organizations, Educators, Scholars, Researchers, Health Organizations, Professionals, Business Organizations, Human Right Organizations, Decision makers in the private & public sectors, Representatives of Governmental & Non Governmental Organizations, Religious organizations, churches & Women Groups, to join us in the 21st Annual global conference to be held in London UK from the 25th-31st 0ctober 2007.

THEME: HIV/AIDS POVERTY ELIMINATION IT’S POSITIVE EFFECT TO GLOBAL CHANGE.

This conference aims at the following objective:
(a) To Ensure global elimination of poverty in every country of the world
(b) To foster International understanding and solidarity amongs developed, developing and under developed countries.
(c) To create job and education opportunities to poverty ridden countries
(d) To create enabling environment for youths, women and children to express their feelings without molestation.

To participate in this conference, send your letter of interest to the conference organizing committee (rossnna_woodford@yahoo.co.uk) Send your participating information:

(a) Participant(s) Name
(b) Name of Organization
(c) Contact Telephone Number


By Mrs.Rossanna Woodford,
Member Organizing Committee.
International Action Network.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Aftenposten – Norwegian news online blocked by the Chinese

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Readers of Aftenposten’s web site in China have been unable to connect to the news service for the past several days. Officials at the Norwegian embassy in Beijing say they will take up the problem with local authorities if the pages remain inaccessible. Readers trying to click into Aftenposten’s site get the same message — “Problem loading page” — that comes up when trying to click into the BBC News and Wikipedia sites. Both are reportedly banned by Chinese authorities.

Aftenposten’s correspondent in China was unable to get an explanation from Chinese officials. Spokespersons in various government departments referred questions to others, and no one would explain why the pages were jammed.

‘Not surprising’
“It’s not so surprising (since) the authorities deny that they ever censor anything here,” Andrew Lih, a Beijing-based Internet researcher, told Aftenposten. Lih, who has taught new media in Hong Kong and at Columbia University in New York, is viewed as an expert on Chinese censorship of the Internet.

He doesn’t think Aftenposten’s web site is simply suffering from a technical error. “The signals aren’t even coming into China,” he said. “Only the authorities can block the signals like that.”

Lih had no explanation as to why the site was being blocked, and said it might simply have been affected by blockage of other sites. “There’s also the possibility that something on Aftenposten’s pages provoked the Chinese authorities,” Lih said. “It’s not unusual that web sites, even those written in a relatively obscure language like Norwegian, get blocked because of their content.”

Embassy monitoring
Ola Breidal, cultural attach at the Norwegian embassy in Beijing, said embassy officials were following the situation and would contact the authorities if the pages didn’t re-open. “If this proves to be more than just a technical error, we must take it up with the Chinese foreign ministry,” he said.

None of the other major Norwegian news sites has been blocked. Aftenposten’s is the only one with a news service in English as well as Norwegian.

By Kristoffer Rnneberg 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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The Conservatives won the elections in Oslo

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Erling Lae of the Conservative Party (Hyre) scored a personal victory when voters ensured that he’ll remain as head of Oslo’s Municipal Executive Board (byrd). The more ceremonial role of mayor, however, looks set to be the target of a power struggle.

City council leader in Oslo, Erling Lae, has won voter approval to form another city government. Monday’s election swept the Conservatives back to power, after 12 years in control.

PHOTO: Jarl Fr. Erichsen / SCANPIX

The Conservatives won 25.3 percent of the vote, while the more conservative Progress Party won 14.4 percent. That, combined with two other non-socialist parties gives them a non-socialist majority to form the city government.

One of those other non-socialist parties, the Liberal Party (Venstre), won 8.6 percent of the vote and doubled its seats in the City Council (bystyre). That amounted to a relative landslide for the small party in the center of Norway’s political spectrum that’s often the swing vote in forming governments.

Venstre, which literally translates to “left” in Norwegian but which actually is a more right-leaning “center” party, was thus quick to assert itself and even demand it be considered for the mayor’s job.

The party’s national leader also wants solid representation on the board but has said it refuses to rule with the Progress Party. That will leave Erling Lae with a challenge, as he needs to appease both sides.

Lae’s initial reaction was that all the non-socialist parties should now focus on issues, not on party positioning. He also noted that without the Progress Party, “there is no non-socialist majority.”

That’s because the Labour Party actually emerged as most popular, with 30 percent of the vote. But one of its likely socialist partners, SV, lost badly and wound up with only 10.4 percent of the vote, meaning the socialists can’t form a majority.

Now the non-socialist parties need to hash out a compromise before a new city government falls into place. The Conservatives will be in charge, though, overcoming a scandal just weeks ago when its former mayor was caught up in a case of tax evasion and had to resign.

By 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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Pakistan deports ex-PM on return

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

nawaz1.jpg<Nawaz Sharif was mobbed on his arrival at Islamabad

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been deported within hours of returning from exile.

After arriving at Islamabad airport he was arrested on charges of money laundering and put on a plane which later landed in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sharif says he wants to challenge President Pervez Musharraf, who ousted him in a 1999 coup, ahead of elections.

Mr Sharif arrived in Pakistan weeks after the country’s Supreme Court affirmed his right to return.

On board the plane which flew him to Pakistan from London, Mr Sharif told the BBC he wanted to help restore the rule of law.

“It’s democracy versus dictatorship,” he said.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives at Islamabad airport 10/9/07

I have a duty, I have a responsibility, I have a national obligation to fulfil at all costs and that is democracy

Nawaz Sharif

Once the plane arrived in Islamabad, paramilitary troops surrounded it and there was a stand-off on board as Mr Sharif refused to hand over his passport to immigration officials for nearly two hours.

Eventually he agreed to leave the plane and was escorted to the airport’s VIP lounge.

But shortly afterwards, he was separated from his entourage, returned to the tarmac and put on board a helicopter. Later, he was transferred to a plane bound for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Officials said he had been charged with money laundering and corruption.

Large numbers of police had set up barricades on roads to prevent Mr Sharif’s supporters from reaching the airport, while all domestic flights from Islamabad on Monday were listed as cancelled.

Plans abandoned

There were reports of clashes between police and crowds of Mr Sharif’s supporters in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Attok, where shots were fired and several people were said to have been injured.

One worker from Mr Sharif’s Muslim League party (PML-N) told the BBC he and about 20 others had been badly beaten by police outside the airport.

On Sunday, the party said more than 2,000 supporters had been arrested by the Pakistan authorities, while almost its entire leadership had been detained.

Supporters planned to launch a legal challenge to the deportation, which was “a violation of the court order under which Nawaz Sharif was allowed to arrive and stay in Pakistan,” his aide, Sadique ul-Farooq, told the Associated Press.

The religious affairs minister said the government believed it was acting in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling.

Police clash with protesters of Nawaz Sharif

Mr Sharif’s supporters were kept away from the airport

Mr Sharif was exiled to Saudi Arabia in 2000 after being deposed, under what the government says was an agreement that he stay in exile for 10 years.

The former prime minister has denied there was ever such a deal.

The European Union Commission issued a statement saying Mr Sharif should be allowed to defend himself against court charges in Pakistan.

“In our view the Supreme Court’s ruling is very clear and should be respected,” said a spokeswoman.

Political crisis

Mr Sharif had planned to lead a triumphal motorcade from Islamabad to Lahore, his political power base, but he was aware he might not be allowed the opportunity.

He decided at the last moment to leave his brother Shahbaz, also a politician, behind in the UK “to hold the fort” in case he were jailed or deported.

Mr Musharraf has made no secret of his contempt

for Mr Sharif, describing him as corrupt and incompetent.

But for the army, a decision to arrest him is as much a political as a legal decision, says the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan.

The military does not want to make Mr Sharif into a political martyr but it also does not want to see him campaigning for power, he says.

Gen Musharraf has been struggling to contain protests that have grown in strength since he tried to remove the head of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The president plans to seek a new five-year term in office in an election due in the next month.

Lifted and published Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525 source.bbc

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Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

London (United Kingdom) Authorities in London, Monday, hailed as a landmark strategy the involvement of Libya by the United Nations in the negotiation process among the warring factions in Sudan.

The UN Secretary General Ba Ki-Moon, at the rap-up of his African tour over the weekend, met with the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadafi, during which the UN formally urged Tripolis assistance in bringing all the rebels in Sudan to participate in the proposed round table talks.

“He has assured me he can do all things possible in the peace process. Gadafi is a great man with great influence. We very much count on him to mobilise the regional leaders so we can resolve the Darfur crises once and for all”, the UN boss said.

Commenting further on the UN-Tripoli plan, the UK officials said here Monday that: “Apart from Sudan and Libya having a strong link, Gadafi is about the only world leader that Omar al- Bashir has so much trust”.

“We hope he (al-Bashir) will bring all the groups loyal to his government to co-operate with the peace proposal this time around,” the officials said.

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Kenya President decries shortage of judges in Commonwealth countries

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) President Mwai Kibaki has expressed concern that many Commonwealth countries in both the developed and developing world do not match the numbers of judges and magistrates to the caseload.

While opening the 15th Commonwealth Law Conference in Nairobi on Monday Kibaki noted that quality and capability of the prosecution services in the Commonwealth is often unable to cope with the demands of the criminal justice systems and emphasized that the administration of justice must be viewed as an integral part of the overall governance environment in the Commonwealth.

kibaki_0709071.jpg<President Mwai Kibaki

Kibaki said the rule of law cannot be divorced from cultural values and the aspirations of societies and observed that deficiencies in the criminal justice system are quite often the outcome of the way in which resources are structured and allocated to the various arms of the justice delivery systems.

\”Indeed, there is need for constant education and dissemination of the fundamental principles of the laws that we enact. When these laws become rooted in the hearts and minds of our people, it will be much easier to uphold them,\” he said.

He said the Commonwealth countries should not only uphold the rule of law but also promote the institutions and values that entrench the culture of equity and social justice.

\”I am happy that within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa\s Development (NEPAD), African Union member countries have committed themselves to upholding the values of freedom, justice and accountability, said Kibaki.

The five-day conference organized by Law Society of Kenya and Commonwealth Association of Lawyers has brought together lawyers and judges from 53 Commonwealth countries and is set to discuss issues including constitutional reforms and constitutionalism, refugee and immigration law, regional initiatives in the enforcement of human rights, corruption and economic crimes.

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Norway’s oil-fuelled economic growth has outpaced all other western countries

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Norway’s oil-fuelled economic growth has outpaced all other western countries during the past four years, and statistics experts think the good times will keep on rolling.

Norway’s economic growth is expected to keep rolling.

PHOTO: ARASH A.NEJAD

Norwegian statistics bureau SSB (Statistisk sentralbyr) has released new data indicating that unemployment is expected to fall even further, remain at a low level and contribute to high wage growth.

While growth in production and employment may moderate in the years ahead, the cyclical upturn of the past four years will continue, predicts SSB. Economic growth already rose “sharply” during the second quarter of this year, agency researchers said.

SSB officials cited “good growth in Norwegian export markets, strong growth in petroleum investments, increased public sector demand and low interest rates” as the main factors behind “the strong and lasting upturn” in the Norwegian economy.

Even though the central bank has been trying to dampen growth by gradual increases in interest rates, the level of housing investments remains high despite a slight slowdown in recent weeks.

“”We think the strong cycle we’re in now will last a long time,” SSB research leader Torbjrn Eika told newspaper Dagens Nringsliv.

He and his colleagues are predicting economic growth of 5.1 percent this year. SSB’s managing director, ystein Olsen, noted that Norway has had such strong growth before, but that it wasn’t sustained.

Leader of the pack
Mainland growth (excluding Norway’s offshore oil industry) is up more than 20 percent over the past four years and up 26 percent since 2000. That beats US economic growth of 13 percent and economic growth among European countries of around 9 percent during the past four years.

The other Nordic countries are doing well, too, but not as well as Norway. Sweden’s growth, for example, came in at 16 percent over the past four years, and is predicted to settle at 4.3 percent this year.

By 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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Teenager caught driving 199 kilometers per hour in an 80 zone may loose licence for life.

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

A 19-year-old male was stopped by police in southern Norway, after being caught driving 199 kilometers per hour in an 80 zone. “I hope some day he’ll thank us for saving his life, and probably others’ as well,” the chief of the highway patrol for Rogaland and Agder counties, Bjart Gabrielsen, told local newspaper Lindesnes Avis.

The young man was picked up by radar at Haugesletta, near the coastal town of Mandal, last week. His speeding, roughly equivalent to 120 miles per hour, set a new record.

“We’re trying to put a stop to this kind of recklessness,” Gabrielsen said. “I’m quite satisfied that he won’t be doing any more driving for a very long time.”

Cases of such excessive speeding generally result in the immediate confiscation of the driver’s license, sometimes for life. Fines are high, and jail terms can be handed out as well. It wasn’t determined what punishment the young man faced, but his license was revoked.

Police said they’d had complaints from residents of the area about what they called “wild” driving, and had responded to calls for patrols.

By Nina Berglund

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Testament of renewed hope for a new Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

By Kalonzo Musyoka

The vision behind my presidential candidature and agenda for Kenya and Kenyans is about a new servant leadership, based on personal integrity, rule of law, social justice, a new constitutional dispensation and economic prosperity.

I invite you to a paradigm shift in the way we plan and manage public affairs Mwelekeo mpya and maisha bora. But who is Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka? What right does he have to run for the office of President? What makes a man born without wealth, privilege or connections think he can presume to put his name on the presidential ballot?

In all humility, I have earned this place. I have earned the right to put my name on the presidential ballot. What is Kenya today? I have a simple answer. Look at me. I was born in a mud house in faraway village. I was a shoeless child who embraced education.

I consumed it hungrily. It gave me a profession. It gave me the means to provide for my family and raise my children. More importantly, it gave me a voice. It gave me language. And language gave me the power to name evil and defend good.

I belong to the post-independence generation, a younger generation. My life was not defined by the struggle against colonial rule. My generation respects our history all of our history, good and bad. I hail the heroes of our independence struggle. I applaud strides made in development. But we live for the future, not the past.

I am a patriotic Kenyan, a lawyer, a Christian, a husband and a father. All these combine to make me what I am. I see Kenya thought these truths. And I see is a nation of hope and grand potential. But a nation that lacks leadership.

That is why I stand before you and announce my campaign for President. However, the race we begin today, ending at State House in December, is not just about Kalonzo Musyoka. It is a journey by all of us. It is about a team, not an individual. I dare say I am the least in the team.

I believe that our greatest strength as a nation is our diversity. Kenya is made up of 43 tribes and other ethnic and racial groups. I believe that the only way we will realise our destiny is if we embrace and empower all members of our society. That is how Kenya becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

One of the responsibilities of leadership is to unify the various entities. Strong leadership makes a nation inclusive, not exclusive.

Some believe that Kenyas problems can be solved by writing a new constitution. I strongly share that conviction, they believe that corruption, bad management and weak leadership can be solved with a different form of Government, and a more responsive Legislature. I believe that too. But this is the easy way out. I do not believe, for a minute, that you can legislate honesty and good governance.

If there is a flaw in our system of Government today, it is the lack of strong, independent and consistent leadership. The most effective way to change bad Government is the installation of leadership that respects institutions. I will provide that leadership.

It is always easier to find fault than it is to sing praise. Many discuss Kenyas failings by comparing our country to other prosperous countries of a similar size or history. But when we compare Kenya to South Korea, do you feel depressed or challenged?

Is it fair to wonder why we do not have an economy and a standard of living comparable to that of Singapore or Malaysia? May be, may be not. I implore Kenyans to rise to the challenge and proclaim: We can do it. The most important goal of my administration will be to embrace the greatness of our nation and to rally Kenyans to surpass the development in those countries.

What, then, are the key issues facing Kenyans today? What are the issues that will consume my time and energy as President?

First, we must re-energise our economic growth by focusing on small and medium enterprises, broadening the use of information and communication technology and deepening the service sectors as vehicles for sustainable growth.

K

enyans possess human genius. All we need is to attract more investment necessary to turn our dreams into reality. We shall fast track investment in infrastructure to propel economic growth. We have the products and the people. All we need are the roads, railways and airports to connect us to our own markets and the hungry markets of the global economy.

The second issue facing our country is grinding poverty and unemployment. The ODM-Kenya government will ensure equitable distribution of the economic gains across our society.

Third is personal security. How safe do you feel in your homes and on your streets today? Do you feel safer today than you did five years ago? Or are you more fearful? I bet definitely yes. We will fight for and guarantee security for all Kenyans.

Fourth, we in ODM-Kenya are committed to concluding constitutional reforms and effecting fundamental changes in democratic political party politics, greater entrenchment of democratic principles and deepening the democratisation process. Specifically, we shall spearhead the enactment of a new constitution that should serve Kenya for many generations to come.

The fifth key issue for my government will be adherence to the rule of law. This means that all Kenyans have equal rights, no matter what gender. The most effective tool against the scourge of corruption is the rule of law, transparency in Government and an enlightened, engaged and firm leadership. When elected, we shall uphold utmost respect for institutions.

Sixth, dear Kenyans, we trust that you will give us the opportunity in the election to deliver on our blue print on universal quality education, adequate health care, decent housing and clean water.

The NARC dream born in 2002 was about a better Kenya for all Kenyans. Today, we are saying and reaffirming that this dream is still alive in ODMKenya. Those who disagreed with the Government-sponsored draft constitution that was meant to kill the dream are still soldiering on under ODM Kenya.

ODM-Kenya portrays the face of Kenya and Kenyans. It represents the best of the new generation of leadership, appropriately blended with the vital wisdom of those with long experience. No orange cutting is ever grafted on a seedling neither on a stem withering with fatigue of time.

It is time for the third and final liberation. When we leave Kasarani, let us go to the villages, to the urban centres, to the hills and to the valleys and tell the people to keep hope alive for help is around the corner.

The writer is the ODM-Kenya presidential nominee. He gave the speech after winning the party nomination

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.standard.ke

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Raila will help us Kenyan Muslims to introduce sharia law

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

A message to Kenyans

raila_sunday.jpg<Raila Odinga.

I support Raila for president. I am sure Raila will help us Kenyan Muslims to introduce sheria law.It is only sharia law that can bring justice and make us equal.

“RAILA FOR PRESIDENT -SHARIA LAW TOSHA”

Guys vote for RAILA, he is the hope from Allah.

By Abdi,

The Standard has reported the following:

Earlier, Balala accused some Government-allied politicians of trying to trick Muslims into voting for President Kibaki.

“Many have come and are even wearing Kanzus (Muslim robes) and caps to fool us. They are just interested in our votes,” Balala, who was celebrating his 40th birthday at Aga Khan Jubilee Hall said.

Former nominated MP, Mr Rashid Sajaad, praised the ODM leader as a friend who had sacrificed a lot for his people.

“I will not let you down. However if I make mistakes, I am only human, let me know,” the Mvita MP said after a ceremony in which he was made an elder. (The Standard, Kenya)

balala.jpgMr Balala, a Muslimstood down for Raila during the presidential ODM faction elections recently: Was there any deal struck between the two men? Could there have been a deal – step down for me and I will enable the introduction of Sharia Laws in the Coast Province if ODM faction gets the presidency.) – API*APN Editorial remarks>

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Marriage is no guarantee to avoid HIV/AIDS

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Posted by Ham Galabuzi.K-Mukasa
Consultant
+47 481 48 231 Norway, +256 782 121 757 Uganda
ham@hgmconsult.com, post@hgmconsult.com
www.hgmconsult.com, www.hammukasafoundation.com

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WHILE marriage has highly been thought to greatly reduce the risk of catching HIV/Aids, it is increasingly emerging that this notion is proving otherwise. This emerged at the just concluded 1st regional forum on best health care practices. The forum, was organised by the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community in Arusha, Tanzania.

Debate ensured amongst delegates following a presentation by Dr Isaiah Tanui of the Global Aids Programme of the Centres for Disease Control in Kenya in which he cited Uganda as one of the countries in the region with a high incidence of HIV in married couples.

Dr Tanui’s argument was based on Uganda’s recent national HIV/Aids survey
that appeared to indicate that over the last decade marriage did not protect couples from catching the deadly disease. The survey indicated that married couples accounted for the largest proportion of new HIV infections in the country. “Sixty five per cent occurred among married people, 26 percent among divorced or widowed women, and nine percent among never married,” said Dr Tanui.

But last December, the press quoted the Director General of the Uganda Aids Commission as saying that research conducted from 1996 through 2005, showed that 42 per cent of the 130,000 new HIV infections in the country occurred within marriage. It emerged from the discussions that ensured
after Dr Tanui’s presentation that the problem was not only for Uganda but an emerging one for the entire region in all the 10 active East, Central and South African -Health Community countries.

Some delegates called for compulsory HIV testing for all couples intending to marry. Another group led by a Seychelles delegation called for an aggressive voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for intending marriage partners.
The called on religious organisations to join the campaign.

However, Dr Peter Toroitich of Kenya’s National Aids Control Project cautioned the forum that compulsory testing would raise human rights questions. “What we need is to revisit our VCT policies and advise pre-tests every time there are new relationships,” he added.

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When refugees lie for aid

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Posted by Ham Galabuzi.K-Mukasa, Consultant

+47 481 48 231 Norway, +256 782 121 757 Uganda – ham@hgmconsult.com, post@hgmconsult.com, www.hgmconsult.com,www.hammukasafoundation.com

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It is common for NGOs and government agencies who work with refugees to use a translator as an intermediary.
Translators themselves don’t necessarily pose a problem, but it’s just another step of removal between the refugee’s story and the person listening – another chance for miscommunication and misinterpretation.

But Leon Musafiri can speak English, French, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Kinabushia, Lingala, Kirundi, Kilandi, and more. He can tell if someone is Rwandan, Congolese, Ugandan or Burundian, and even which region that person is from. He gauges accents, verifies stories, and knows his geography and history.

As the Chairman of French Speaking Refugees in Uganda, and an intern at the Refugee Law Project, he knows most of the East African refugees in the Kampala area.
He also knows which ones are legitimately refugees as defined by international law and which ones are fabricating stories in order to gain the benefits offered to refugees by NGOs, government agencies and the United Nations. Not all people coming from other countries, even ones where there may be conflicts, are refugees, he says.

“Maybe 60 per cent of the Congolese are telling the truth because so many people are affected by the conflict,” says Mr Musafari, a Congolese refugee himself. “Rwandans 50 per cent and Burundians about 40 per cent.”

According to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees, a refugee is legally defined as a person who “owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

According to Douglas Asiimwe, the Senior Protections Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister, “Not everyone who is suffering is a refugee.” While he was unable to specify any specific statistics, he said there is some fraud among people claiming to be refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) says about 220,000 refugees call Uganda home – among them, some 170,000 Sudanese, 30,000 Congolese, 20,000 Rwandans, 4,000 Somalis, and 2,000 Burundians.
However, UNHRC spokesperson Roberta Russo says that even more “self settled” migrants from these regions are living in Uganda without declaring themselves to officials.

Behind the offices of RLP, an NGO dedicated to pursing the human rights of refugees and displaced people, there’s a small settlement of multinational squatters that have called home an empty plot. They have erecting temporary structures from cardboard, tin sheets, mobile phone sales signs, and whatever other materials they can find. Mr Musafiri stands just at the edge of the settlement, which has burgeoned from about 50 people to 350 people catalysed by the rumour of a generous Japanese businessman spreading a helping hand.

According to the director of RLP, Dr Chris Dolan, the growing settlement has caused the shoestring NGO to spend hundreds of dollars a month on water for the refugees, which it must provide them as a human right. Mr Musafiri, who has been in Uganda since 2002, pauses and considers the settlement and the numbers.

“The rest [of the people] are fabricating stories,” he says. “They have relatives who have successfully come to Uganda as refugees, maybe even gone to Canada or somewhere lese. So when one has been resettled another comes fabricating stories to get help.”

But Joli Mozi didn’t seem to have anyone in Kampala when she came, aside from the two orphans she adopted along the way. A thin 35-year old Congolese woman in a scarlet gomesi accompanied by a Somali boy and a Congolese girl, Ms Mozi does not know where to go. It’s clear that she’s in need, but being in need doesn’t necessarily make her a refugee according to international law.

She tells a story of people who attacked her family in December 2004. “It was dark, so I couldn’t see who was who,” she says, adding that her husband ran one way, she took another, while the children also run to another direction.

She crossed the border in south-western Uganda and eventually made it to Masaka. Ms Mozi says she ended up in Mbarara where she worked for Medicins Sans Frontiers in an official capacity. However, Ms Mozi said she had no education and both she and her parents were poultry farmers.

A phone call to MSF proved that Ms Mozi was in fact employed threre as a housekeeper and nanny. “She’s very nice,” said Patrice Piola, the country director the MSF branch Epicentre, “but be cautious about what she’s saying because sometimes she can be very imaginative.”

“You have to ensure that what they say is true to maintain credibility and continue settling other refugees,” says Mostafa Khezry, the Senior Protection Officer at UNHRC.
Mr Musafiri doubts her story. But when pressed, he says, “Who are we to judge?” He’s not allowed to name names to anyone, though he does confront the refugees. “I say to them, ‘It’s better to declare yourself and open your heart,’ and usually they do.”

It’s easy for people to open up to Mr Musafiri because he is also a refugee. As a student leader at the university in Congo, in June 2001 Mr Musafiri refused to join a rebel group – Congolese Rally for Democracy (RDC). The group operated primarily in Eastern Congo with external support from Rwanda. It was at the time headed by Adolph Onosumba.

The RDC thought he should be recruiting many students. But as the son of a pastor and a pacifist himself, Mr Musafiri held to his principles. He soon found himself in a prison container somewhere near Goma in February of 2002. But a commander who was tasked with executing Musafiri knew and respected his father’s religious works and chose to release him.

His legal status changed from “Congolese” to “Refugee” the minute he reported to the Ugandan police when he crossed the border at Bunagana in the west.

Many Congolese like Mr Musafiri are granted refugee status immediately because the conflict in Congo has been so severe for so many years that it has create an influx of refugees so large the government of Uganda couldn’t possibly handle their cases one by one. Therefore, Uganda has granted them prima facie status, or status right away. Mr Musafiri got his refugee card within the month.

Other people like Ms Mozi aren’t as lucky. At press time, she was still waiting, and chances are, she’ll be waiting a long time.

Published by Korir, African Press International(API)/ African Press in Norway(APN) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir will on Thursday 13 September, begin an official visit to the Vatican and Italy at the head of a high-ranking delegation and during which he will hold talks with Pope Benedict XVI and the Italian President and Prime Minister, sources said on Sunday.

Sudanese ambassador to France and non-resident ambassador to the Vatican Ahmed Hamid al-Faki said that a number of issues would be discussed during the visit including boosting the relations between Sudan and the Vatican and how to promote inter-religious dialogue.

Sudan would brief Vatican on progress of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the efforts it was making in realizing peace in Darfur including the religious coexistence in Sudan and the inter-religious dialogue.

The high-level delegation comprises a number of ministers and senior government officials, Islamic and Christian clergymen, businessmen and heads of media institutions.

The Vatican has a resident embassy in Khartoum since May 1972 and to which Sudan intends to reciprocate. A delegation from the Vatican participated in the Islamic-Christian Dialogue Conference in Khartoum recently.

The Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican to Sudan, Archbishop Bocardi has affirmed the importance of the visit of President Omer Al-Bashir to the Vatican next Thursday.

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Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) Sudanese government troops have agreed to end their siege of 61 south Sudanese soldiers, resolving a stand-off that risked undermining the north-south peace deal, military sources told APA on Sunday.

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) troops surrounded the small south Sudanese platoon on Thursday in the region of South Kordofan, accusing them of breaking the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement by bearing arms.

Kuol Diem Kuol, spokesman for the Southern Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), told African Press Agency through telephone on Sunday that the SAF troops had agreed to release the platoon late on Saturday, after mediation from the United Nations.

But Kuol said the SPLA would now consider “reciprocating” unless it received a formal apology from the national government, dominated by the ruling northern National Congress Party of President Omar al-Bashir.

“They lifted their siege after the intervention of UNMIS (The U.N. Mission in Sudan) based in Abyei. Our team proceeded to their destination,” he said.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended two decades of conflict between the northern government and the former rebel SPLA. Under its terms, the south was granted semi-autonomy, allowed to keep its own army and promised a referendum on secession from the north by 2011.

Both armies were also required to withdraw to their respective zones that were demarcated in 1956 along the north-south border. The two sides have traded accusations of failing to redeploy before a July 9 deadline.

South Kordofan was one “transitional” area which the peace deal said should be patrolled by integrated north-south troops after the redeployments had been finalised. The integrated troops have so far not been formed.

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