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Archive for September 14th, 2007

Never before has an opposition leader simply thrown in the towel the way Mr Kenyatta has done

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2007

Uhuru: Why I will campaign for Kibaki”

Story by LUCAS BARASA and BERNARD NAMUNANE History was made yesterday, when the Leader of the Official Opposition withdrew from the presidential race and threw his weight behind the incumbent.

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kanu Chairman

Mr Uhuru Kenyatta then rallied his party Kanu to back President Kibaki in the December General Election.

The independence party immediately appointed a nine-member team to join negotiations with parties supportive of the Head of States re-election.

Its is the first time in the world that a Leader of the Official Opposition has pulled out of the election race to cast his lot with the incumbent.

The decision also cemented the split of Kanu into two groups, one behind Mr Kenyatta, and the other behind Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who is firmly in ODM.

Move confirmed

The Gatundu South MPs move confirmed long-held speculation that the Kanu chairman would not vie for the presidency to improve his political fortunes in 2012. Last weekend, Mr Kenyatta attended talks with parties friendly to President Kibaki for a possible coalition in Naivasha, alongside Cabinet ministers Musikari Kombo, Mutahi Kagwe, Raphael Tuju, Henry Obwocha and David Mwiraria.

He now joins his political mentor, retired president Daniel arap Moi, who last month declared support for the Head of State and embarked on campaign rallies.

Yesterday, Mr Kenyatta made the historic announcement after a national executive council meeting at Kanu headquarters in Nairobi and said he saw no reason of contesting the presidency while he knew his party had little chance of winning. I cant just vie for the sake of vying. I can only do so when sure of winning.

The Kanu chairman said he had no regrets not contesting the presidency despite being Leader of the Official Opposition and that his and Kanus interest was being in the next government.

Talking tough, he said the objective of political parties was to form a government and that Kanu was to be realistic and know that it was not able to field a presidential candidate and secure a win.

Next government

Our goal and objective is that we must form part of the next government and achieve political power, he said flanked by MPs Marsden Madoka (Mwatate), Yusuf Haji (Ijara), Naomi Shaban (Taveta) and Justin Muturi (Siakago).

The team to negotiate with Kibaki friendly parties will also hold talks with the President.

To be chaired by Mr Kenyatta, the team will also hold talks with ODM-Kenya, the chairman said. This could be to accommodate the interests of Kanu organising secretary Gideon Ndambuki who has of late been seen in ODM-Kenya meetings. He attended yesterdays meeting.

Those named to the committee are MPs Muturi, Madoka, Haji, Shaaban, Nicholas Biwott (Keiyo South), Paul Sang (Buret), former Cabinet minister Sam Ongeri and former Mombasa mayor Taib Ali Taib.

Indications that Mr Kenyatta was headed for talks with the pro-Kibaki parties became clear three weeks ago when he held a dinner meeting with Mr Kombo the Ford-K chairman, who is leading the pro-Kibaki team at China Plate Restaurant in Nairobi.

It is understood that he laid on the table his conditions, including that Kanu being allowed to field parliamentary and civic candidates in its strongholds. Other parties in the talks include the Democratic Party, Ford People, Narc Kenya, Safina, Shirikisho and Sisi kwa Sisi.

Sources said President Kibaki had indicated his willingness to work with the Gatundu South MP in his next government should he win.

Asked why he opted to support the Government he had been opposing since 2003, Mr Kenyatta said: We are entering into negotiations on a number of issues we want addressed. We will support (President Kibaki) if our interests are accommodated. He said Kanus support would only be on account that the 47-year-old party was not dissolved.

Accommodate Biwott

Mr Kenyatta said yesterdays NEC resolved that Kanu branches be harmonised to accommodate a third splinter allied to Mr Biwott. The Saturday Nation had predicted that Mr Kenyatta might opt out of the Presidential race and support President Kibaki.

Never before has an opposition leader simply thrown in the towel the way Mr Kenyatta has done. While opposition parties the world over have been known to withdraw from leadership races for instance in Nicaragua in 1984, Jordan in 1998, or Albania last summer they normally do so to protest a rigged electoral system or an unjust regime.

At worst it may be a political tactic. Lebanons opposition is threatening to boycott a forthcoming election to deny the victor quorum, which would prevent him from legally assuming office.

Political analysts say Mr Kenyatta was caught in a tricky situation. If he were to run for presidency, he would have very little support even from his own constituency.

kibaki_0709072.jpg<President Kibaki

NowKibaki is almost guaranteed a win – a second term in office, throwing ODM’s Raila splinter group into disarray.

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WAFU president refuses to resign

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The West African Football Federations Union (WAFU) president, Ivorian Jacques Anouma, on Thursday told APA he would not resign despite the Ivorian football clubs appeal to do so.

“I would soon make a declaration on issues concerning the running of the WAFU but I tell you, I do not intend to resign from WAFU”, Anouma said.

Jacques Anouma who was elected WAFU president in 2004 up to April 2008, was dismissed and replaced during an extraordinary general meeting recently held on 14 April in Accra, Ghana.

The Ivorian official was accused of “lethargy and mismanagement.

But some country representatives met in Abidjan to reassert their confidence to the president of the Ivorian Football association (FIF) who they said is a WAFU “statutory president”.

To stave off this legitimacy crisis, the African Football Confederation (CAF) had ordered Jacques Anouma to complete his tenure during the executive committee held in Cairo, Egypt on 5 June 2007.

WAFU has 16 members which are Benin, Burkina, Cape Verde, Cote dIvoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal Sierra Leone, and Togo.

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Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission weakened

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2007

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) no longer has powers to investigate grand corruption committed before May 2003, where taxpayers could have lost billions of shillings.

This means suspects linked to mega economic crimes like Goldenberg and parts of Anglo Leasing have been let off the hook.

With one fell swoop, Parliament endorsed a crucial clause buried in the Statute Law (Miscellaneous amendments) Bill, 2007 that effectively barred the anti-graft agency from probing corruption cases committed before it was established in 2003.

The move now weakens KACC but the AG has leeway to selectively use the Penal Code to punish culprits.

The amendment, engineered by Mr Paul Muite (Safina, Kabete), elicited animated debate from the Government side after the Opposition flexed its muscle to push through the clause.

When the matter was put to division by Deputy Temporary Speaker, Mr Kirugi MMukindia, the Opposition emerged victorious with 38 votes against the Governments 27.

Before the vote, Justice minister Ms Martha Karua, said the amendment would render the work done by the anti-graft body for the past three years useless.

In an animated argument, Karua pointed an accusing finger at Muite, saying he had an interest in the matter.

But Mr Kenneth Marende (Emuhaya, Narc) came to the defence of Muite, who is also the chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs.

“The chairman has no interest in the matter at all,” Marende said. But Karua hit back: “Unless the minutes of the committee are shown here, I am bound to believe there is personal interest in the matter.”

She added: “Hon Muites interest is obvious and this amendment is mischievous.”

In the debate that lasted barely 30 minutes, several members rose on points of order, as the House at some instance endured unparliamentary language prompting Deputy Temporary Speaker, Mr Daniel Khamasi, to take charge.

Karua cried foul, saying past economic crimes have not successfully been investigated and the amendment would give KACC a deadly blow.

The amendment thus recognises only economic crimes committed after the enactment of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

Parliament also denied the agency powers to summon suspects and their associates.

By deleting sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003, the MPs declared the end of any pretences to the war against graft.

These sections were the core of the Act and their deletion on the recommendations of the Muite committee means that KACC has no powers to perform its duties.

Efforts by Karua to see KACC retain some powers fell to deaf ears from the Opposition MPs, who were in a hurry to dilute the anti-graft body.

And Kieni MP, Mr Chris Murungaru, was among those celebrating the reduced powers of the agency, saying he had suffered greatly under it.

He said Integrity Centre, where KACC has its offices, had been turned into a secretariat to serve some selfish political interests.

He revisited his past battles with KACC, saying he had won a major struggle when the agency previously summoned him to declare sources of his wealth.

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Kenya: Presidential aspirants and their close confidants will use helicopters in the campaign

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2007

By Willis Oketch And Brian Adero

ODM is assembling an airborne campaign brigade to take on the Government in the battle for State House 2007 which The Standard can now confirm will be fought in the air and on the ground, literally.

The arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) of a consignment of parts out of which helicopters will be assembled locally, for ODM and President Kibakis aerial campaign teams, appeared to signal the magnitude of what is at stake for the combatants.

The parts for the first three helicopters have arrived in completely knocked down (CKD) form.

Sources told The Standard that ODM has acquired at least 10 for its fleet that will feature either the Bell 206 or the Eurocopter, or both.

On the lower side, a select used EC (Eurocopter) 130 helicopter costs $678,000 while the EC 120 goes for $1 million. A 2005 manufactured Bell 206 costs $1.7 million. It was not immediately clear whether the consignments contained used or new parts.

Each of the Pentagon members Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Norman Nyagah and Mr Najib Balala will have at least two helicopters at their disposal, with one playing back-up, sources said.

With roads that resemble lunar landscapes and great distances that could take hours to cover before reaching far-flung and remote parts of the country, the helicopter is poised to join a wide range of other sophisticated technological alternatives which the Kibaki camp has already rolled out. This will make this General Election one of the most memorable.

Aviation insiders say about Sh300,000 is required to hire a helicopter for a day.

Already, Langata MP and ODM presidential candidate, Raila, has created a sensation locally with the Hummer, a rugged-terrain American Sports Utility Vehicle, which he imported early in the year. Apart from becoming almost synonymous with the car, he also triggered a tide of imports by other individuals. A motor dealer has also capitalised on the fad to officially launch the vehicle locally. To crown it all, the US Government followed it up by donating some Hummer military vehicles to the military at a colourful ceremony in Nairobi.

Opportunity for business

Speaking from the US where he is on a tour, Raila said friends of ODM have acquired one helicopter for the party and it would be leasing two others to facilitate Orange presidential campaigns.

Said he: “What is the big deal? We are using our own resources. This is a statement to the Government not to misuse State resources at the expense of the taxpayer. Our friends are assisting us to acquire the campaign machines.”

He added: “President Kibaki is using military helicopters to move around in this electioneering period. This amounts to abuse of State resources, because all the fora he addresses are quickly turned into his campaign rallies for a second term in office.”

In Nairobi, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Railas running mate, would not make a direct reference to the helicopters, but confirmed that they would be using private resources from friends to mount a campaign for Railas victory.

On its part, the Government said individuals and organisations seeking to hire out the machines have approached it.

Narc-Kenya chairman Mr Raphael Tuju said that several people had approached them with contracts for lease of helicopters. He added: “We are examining many of them (read leases) We are well prepared for the campaign task,” he said, without elaborating. He added that several business firms were bringing in choppers to cash in on the campaigns.

Sources close to ODM intimated that the party would also be flying in pilots to navigate the helicopters.

The consignment of parts for the first three choppers was flown in as cargo from South Africa last week. The cargo has been cleared.

“It is true some of the helicopters have arrived. The others will come soon. We are grateful to our well-wishers. They are donations from South Africa, who are supporting the party presidential flag bearer,” said a source privy to the goings-on.

Sources in the aviation industry said at least 10 helicopters originating from France and the US were expected in the country by last month.

The helicopters, which are of the type commonly used locally, are turbine engine helicopters.

The Bell 206 helicopters are said to be long-range.

The manufacturer is expected to bring them through a third country, which is South Africa. The choppers are not allowed to cross wide expanses of water, which is why they are dismantled and packed as components.

Industry sources said assembling the parts might take just a day but are quite exorbitant at $1.9 million a piece.

“The proper assembly will involve putting together in accordance with the Type Certificate Data Sheets, which must be approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the industry regulator, based on papers presented by the manufacturer,” said an expert.

Shipping in aircraft parts is tax-free after the Government scrapped the levy to promote aviation.

Importers only need to adhere to the air navigation regulation of 1987 as amended in cap 394 of Laws of Kenya.

The choppers might come with foreign operating licenses, which are three-month contracts to be returned on termination of lease.

Authorities also confirmed that among the chopper parts that have so far arrived is one belonging to Roads minister Mr Simeon Nyachae.

The Standard also learnt that fleets of different models of bad terrain 4x4s to be used in the campaigns and which include Land Rovers and Hummers are either already in the country or in the high seas.

Additional reporting by Ayub Savula

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Kibaki of Kenya appoints new envoys

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2007

Story by PPS

President Mwai Kibaki has today appointed twelve new Ambassadors and High Commissioners. Three officers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also been promoted to the rank of Ambassador.

The appointees include Major Gen (rtd) James Mutua Mulinge, who becomes Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia and Prof Ruthie Chepkoech Rono as Kenya’s Ambassador to the Netherlands. Others include Mr Daniel Sindiga as High Commissioner to Botswana, Mr Thomas Amolo as High Commissioner designate to South Africa, Prof Festus Kaberia as High Commissioner to India and Amb.Mohammed Mahat who goes to Kuwait.

Others are Ms Catherine Muigai Mwangi as Ambassador who has been appointed to the Republic of Ireland, Mr Mwakai Kikonde Sio as Ambassador designate to Spain, Mr Robert Mutua Ngesu as Ambassador designate to the Sudan, Mr Benjamin A.M. Mweri as Ambassador designate to the Republic of Burundi, Dr Tom Mboya Okeyo as Ambassador designate and Deputy Permanent Representative, United Nations, Geneva and Dr Joseph Kipkemoi Kiplagat as Consul General Designate Juba.

Promoted to the ranks of Ambassador were Mr Albert Abwavo Musasia, Mr Benson Ouma Ogutu and Dr Kipyego Cheluget

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