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Archive for September 17th, 2007

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) Sudans Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Mohamed Haroun accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of war crimes said on Monday that he is not afraid of travelling abroad despite a warrant of arrest having been issued against him.

Haroun told APA that he is not concerned about the International Police (INTERPOL) red notices distributed worldwide asking for his arrest.

However, he said that he has not travelled since the arrest warrant was issued, saying that as a government official travelling is governed by the benefits sought from such a trip.

Haroun was in Jordan, the only Arab country that is party to the ICC, for medical treatment when the ICC Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced charges against him in late February. The Sudanese minister returned immediately to Khartoum that day.

The INTERPOL circulated a notice for the arrest of Haroun last June. The ICC has an agreement with INTERPOL enabling it to use its telecommunications network and databases.

The ICC issued their first arrest warrants for suspects accused of war crimes in Sudans Darfur region in early May. The warrants were issued for Haroun and militia commander Ali Mohamed Ali Abdelrahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, but Sudan refused to hand over the two suspects.

Haroun said the involvement of the ICC in Darfur is political, not judicial, adding that he ICC prosecutor can do nothing but talk to the press.

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Kibaki decides – The Kenyans welcome him into the race for the second term

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Published on September 17, 2007, 12:00 am

By Martin Mutua

President Kibaki will attempt to recapture the presidency through the Party of National Unity (PNU) that he unveiled at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, amid pomp and colour, ending many months of anxiety.

The President also left no doubt that he would use the achievements of his Government to push for his re-election.

By picking PNU as his party of choice, Kibaki leaped the last hurdle in his re-election bid as required by law.

pnu.jpg

A section of the crowd waves a banner in support of President Kibaki outside the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi. Kibaki had just announced his party of choice.

Picture by Jacob Otieno

For the Head of State, it was a significant step coming as it did having earlier set all systems for his campaigns in motion but was still without a political party after Health minister Mrs Charity Ngilu refused to hand over the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), a constellation of political parties that emphatically ushered him to power in 2002. Parading Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Ford-Kenya chairman Mr Musikari Kombo, Ford-People leader Mr Simeon Nyachae, Shirikisho Party of Kenya chairman Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Narc-Kenya chairman Mr Raphael Tuju, the much sought-after face of President Kibakis re-election outfit was finally unveiled.Also given a chance to speak along with the top party leaders was Agriculture minister, Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa, who has been using the huge Rift Valley voting bloc to strategically position himself as Kibakis VP in waiting, if re-elected. His recognition appeared to have been a deliberate move to send a subtle message to expansive region that it featured in the Presidents future plans.

Best hope for Kenya

But Kibaki, who appeared to have finally shut out Narc and Ngilu from his return-to-State House game plan, tactfully avoided mentioning the Democratic Party, Sisi Kwa Sisi, Safina, Agano and Mazingira Party of Kenya all associated with Central Kenya politicians as among the coterie of PNU parties that will spearhead his comeback bid.

Even though some of the leaders, including Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, were present at the function, they neither sat anywhere near Kibaki nor were they given a chance to speak.

In his live telecast speech, Kibaki announced that he would launch his presidential campaigns on September 29. However, the President along with his rivals for the top seat, are already on the campaign trail. Kibaki will make a return to Western Kenya today only weeks after he recently pitched camp there to ask for votes.

With that, the President gave the most telling hint yet that the Ninth Parliament was on its last stretch.

The President has 90 days within which to call the General Election from the time Parliament is dissolved. A campaign period of 21 days is, however, a must.

Kibaki said he had decided, together with other leaders, to form the alliance of political parties along with those who believe they should give the highest priority to the welfare of individual Kenyans.

The President noted that the alliance of parties represented the desire of Kenyans for a just society, where it did not matter where one was born or where they lived.

He added: “This is an alliance that gives hope for the future. That says it does not matter whether you were born rich or poor, you can go to school and get an opportunity to change your life.”

The alliance, he further noted, stood for accountability and good governance of public resources. It also recognises that major economic and social strides have been made even though it believes there was still a lot of work to be done, the President added.

Saying that the new entity was committed to continuously reducing the levels of poverty and ensuring every Kenyan had access to food, shelter, health and education, Kibaki noted: “In order to safeguard the gains we have achieved to date and to attain the objectives and ideals we have spelt out, .”

Enumerating the achievements his Government had made over the last five years, Kibaki urged Kenyans to support him for the final term.

Said he: “Millions of children who would otherwise be out of school have a hope in life due to the free primary education.”

The President further noted that women who used to walk many miles in search of water now had access to clean tap water, adding that the work was still going on.

He further noted that farmers who had given up on farming now had access to markets and enjoyed good prices for their produce while rural communities that had never been supplied with electricity since independence now had lights.

“Hospital cabinets which were empty are now stocked with medicines and an additional 1,000 health centres have been built to bring healthcare closer to Kenyans,” he added.

Kibaki pointed out that his Government had also empowered local communities in every part of the country through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

“Thousands of Kenyans who have lived as squatters since independence have now been empowered through issuance of title deeds. Na kazi inaendelea (The work is ongoing),” he added.

Noting that more than 4,000km of roads have been constructed and that rehabilitation of the transport network meant better movement of all Kenyans, Kibaki observed: “We have been able to achieve all these because of the support of all Kenyans and focused leadership that placed the needs of wananchi first. Leadership is about delivery of development, the improvement of the lives of all Kenyans.”

The President further pointed out that leadership was not about vindictiveness and empty politics or empty propaganda and tribal politics.

He told the gathering at KICC that some politicians, whom he did not name, saddened him as they were polarising the country.

He added: “As a patriot and as your leader, I will continue to dedicate myself to the ideal of national unity. The foundation of my leadership is guided by the words of our national anthem: Justice be our shield and defender, may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty.”

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Former President of Philippines Estrada jailed for life: Kenya should be tough on corruption

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by SAMWEL KUMBA
Publication Date: 9/17/2007

Pressure is mounting on President Kibaki not to assent to the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill that seeks to cushion politicians from public scrutiny.

The Bill has been termed as containing many mischievous provisions designed to free politicians from being accountable to Kenyans.

The bad news for the thieves is that private prosecutions are possible and available for citizens in other jurisdictions. Italy, Spain, France and Britain have received such proceedings and this avenue is also open to Kenya, said non-govenmental organisations.

Yesterday, 31 NGOs urged the Government, through attorney general Amos Wakos office to repeal the amnesty clause passed in the Bill.

The NGOs faulted the performance of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) boss, Mr Justice Aaron Ringera, and told him to resign or be subjected to removal procedure under the law of incompetence.

They termed President Kibakis resolve to fight corruption when he took office as having not been implemented, accusing Parliament of now legitimising theft of the billions of shillings looted in the past 40 years before March 2003.

Miscellaneous Amendments Bills are intended to clean up existing statutes so as to make their objectives more explicit or make them operable. It cannot be allowed that MPs manipulate this process to render the original intent of the law null and void, read their statement in part.

They took a swipe at the Government for having previously misused the said miscellaneous procedure to undermine and manipulate the intent and spirit of the law.

Organisations represented

The organisations represented included National Convention Executive Council, Kenya Land Alliance, Covaw, Cradle, Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Cemiride, Centre for Governance and Development, Creaw, Release Political Prisoners, Ujamaa Centre, Kendren, Youth Agenda, International Commission of Jurists-Kenya, Clarion, Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change and Haki Focus.

The others were Umande Trust, East African Human Rights Institute, Haki Jamii, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Sorec, Muhuri, Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, Global Coalition Against Poverty and the Coalition of Young Kenyan Voters.

The Kenya Youth Community Empowerment Programme, Coalition for Common Sense Constitution, Mars Group Kenya and Africa Centre for Open Governance were also represented.

The NGOs claimed that more than Sh1 trillion had been looted. They identified some of the looting avenues as contractors pending bills (Sh89 billion), Anglo Leasing (Sh56 billion), Ken Ren Fertiliser (Sh6 billion), Kroll report (Sh130 billion), Goldenberg (Sh100 billion) and Charterhouse Bank (Sh70 billion).

The NGOs further claimed banks and public corporations where billions were looted and land grabbing as documented by the Ndungu report showed the extent of the plunder.

They accused MPs of moving to protect themselves from public scrutiny on their wealth declarations on the pretext of rendering them vulnerable to criminals.

They also accused the Government of insincerity in the fight against corruption.

The NGOs stated that as the Kenyan Parliament was passing the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill, which they have interpreted as unilateral forgiveness for past thieves, Joseph Estrada was jailed for life for his theft from the people of Philippines.

Mr Estrada, the former Filipino president, was found guilty by an anti-graft court more than six years after he was ousted from power, accused of among other things, receiving huge amounts of money from illegal gambling.

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Kibaki to seek second term under PNU – He has a very huge support to win

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA and MUGUMO MUNENE
Publication Date: 9/17/2007

President Kibaki has formally declared that he will seek re-election on a Party of National Unity ticket.

The Presidents decision gave a new momentum to the race for State House. He is being challenged by Langata MP Raila Odinga of ODM and Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM Kenya.

President Kibaki (centre) in a show of unity with leaders of key parties in the Party of National Unity coalition. They are from left Shirikisho leader Ali Mwakwere (partly hidden) Ford-P leader Simeon Nyachae, Vice-President Moody Awori, Ford-K boss Musikari Kombo, Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta and Narc Kenya chairman Raphael Tuju. Photo/JOSEPH MATHENGE

Shortly before 4pm yesterday, the President made history when he decided to join another party in his re-election bid after he ditched Narc which sponsored him in 2002.

To safeguard the gains we have achieved to date and to attain the objectives and ideals we have spelt out, I have decided that I will seek re-election as President of the Republic of Kenya under an alliance that we have named the Party of National Unity, the President announced.

The members of the coalition, which was revealed exclusively by the Daily Nation last Wednesday are: Kanu, Ford Kenya, Ford People, Narc Kenya and Shirikisho among others, the President announced. Each party will retain its identity.

Welfare of Kenyans

President Kibaki said the party was formed to address the challenges facing the country including tribalism.

We have decided to form an alliance of political parties who believe that we should give highest priority to the welfare of individual Kenyans, peace, unity and development of our country, he said.

The President said the alliance represented the desires of Kenyans, gave hope for the future and stood for accountability and good governance.

It is, in his words, an alliance that says yes, we have made major economic and social strides but there is still a lot of work that remains to be done.

He said his re-election vehicle was committed to reducing poverty and ensuring every Kenyan had access to food, shelter, health and education.

It also advocated for a stable and united country.

The President was flanked by his key supporters, including leaders of various Government-friendly parties.

They included the leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, who is Kanu chairman, Ford Kenya chairman Musikari Kombo, Narc Kenyas Raphael Tuju, Ford People leader Simeon Nyachae, Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere (Shirikisho) and DPs Sam Nyamweya.

President Kibaki did not name DP a party he founded in 1991 and which nominated him to Narc in 2002. The DP played a key role in the formation of PNU.

The President only listed Kanu, Ford Kenya, Ford People, Narc Kenya and Shirikisho but invited other parties who hold similar objectives to join us.

He said a coordinating team of PNU would prepare for the formal launch of his presidential campaigns on September 29.

The President cited his Governments achievements as some of the reasons he was seeking a second term in office, to complete the projects he had initiated.

Among the success stories he enumerated were free primary education, which has seen millions of children go to school, increased access to tap water, revival of agriculture and provision of markets for farmers produce, expansion of rural electrification and equipping of hospitals.

According to him, 1,000 hospitals had been built to take health care closer to people, communities empowered through the Constituency Development Fund, thousands of squatters issued with title deeds and 4,000 kilometres of roads built and transport network rehabilitated.

We have been able to achieve all these because of support of all Kenyans and focused leadership that placed the needs of wananchi first, the President said.

Leadership, he added, was about delivery of development and improvement of lives of all Kenyans.

Leadership is not about vindictiveness and empty politics. It is not also about empty propaganda and tribal politics, he said.

Hitting at the opposition, the President said he was saddened that some politicians were dividing the country on tribal lines.

These politicians do not want to focus on real issues that affect wananchi. That is not the direction we want to see Kenya going. As a patriot and your leader, I will continue to dedicate myself to the ideal of national unity, he said.

The President said his leadership was guided by the words of the national anthem: Justice be our shield and defender, may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty.

He thanked Kenyans including his family and First Lady Lucy, for the support they had given him in the last four and half years he has been at the helm.

The President also remembered his key allies who died after Narc came to power including vice-president Michael Wamalwa, Cabinet ministers Geoffrey Parpai, Mohamed Khalif and Karisa Maitha.

He also paid tribute to the Marsabit plane crash victims.

Government-friendly MPs and lobby groups campaigning for President Kibaki, including Vijana na Kibaki, welcomed the new party saying they would now hit the road to ensure PNU won.

Vijana na Kibaki leader Joseph Kioko said: We will now mobilise the youth to vote for President Kibaki under PNU.

Yesterdays launch brought together key leaders in President Kibakis political game plan, including Mr Kenyatta, who in the 2002 General Elections, gave President Kibaki a run for his money and ended as runner-up.

Vice-President Moody Awori, Mr Kombo, Trade and Industry minister Mukhisa Kituyi are President Kibakis key men in Western Province while Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa, Noah Wekesa (Science and Technology), George Saitoti (Education) and John Koech (East African Community) will spearhead PNU campaigns in Rift Valley.

In Coast, President Kibaki will rely on Mr Mwakwere, the Shirikisho chairman and Cabinet ministers Morris Dzoro and Suleiman Shakombo while in Eastern Province, the Presidents pointmen include ministers Kiraitu Murungi, David Mwiraria, Mutua Katuku, Njeru Ndwiga, assistant minister Kalembe Ndile and MP Justin Muturi.

Mr Tuju, Mr Nyachae and Planning minister Henry Obwocha will sell PNU in Nyanza while President Kibakis pointman in Nairobi remains Sports minister Maina Kamanda.

Mr Kenyatta and ministers Amos Kimunya, Mutahi Kagwe and Martha Karua will campaign in Central Province.

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Ngilu declares her stand: She supports Kalonzo as ODM presidential candidate and Raila as deputy

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Written By:KNA,Posted: Sun, Sep 16, 2007

ngilu_charity07.jpgCaption: Health Minister Charity Ngilu : ‘I will apply my 2002 magic that brought together president Kibaki and the late Wamalwa Kijana to unite Kalonzo and Raila.

Health Minister Charity Ngilu has on Sunday declared support for ODM Kenya’s presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka but on condition that Mwingi North MP unites with ODM’s flag bearer Raila Odinga.

Speaking during a funds drive in her Kitui Central constituency, Ngilu said she would apply her 2002 magic that brought together president Kibaki and the late Wamalwa Kijana to unite Kalonzo and Raila.

The Health Minister also expressed shock at Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to support president Kibaki’s re-election.

“There are three serious presidential candidates in this year’s general elections and I had planned to run but realized I would spoil chances for Kalonzo,” said Ngilu.

She further said she had endured tribulations in the current leadership adding that the last straw was when retired president Moi said he will support Kibaki’s re-election this year.

She said Kalonzo couldn’t win the presidency on his own.

“ODM-Kenya’s flag bearer Kalonzo is very good but he cannot win the presidency on his own and the only way is to unite with Langata MP and ODM presidential candidate in the initial ODM family,” said the Kitui Central MP.

She suggested that Kalonzo should be the ODM family presidential candidate while Raila should be the vice-president adding that failure to unite will confine us to the opposition.’

The Minister singled out the rejection of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), invitation of KANU MPs in government of national unity, sacking of ministers who opposed the referendum and her recent arrest and detention as some of the tribulations she had suffered.

“Ndinduu ndauwia maongu” (a friend does not cook bitter food for a friend) said Ngilu in Kamba dialect adding that the support of Kibaki re-election by leader of official opposition Uhuru Kenyatta was shocking.

She asked the Kitui Central electorate to give her permission to pursue her mission of uniting Kalonzo and Raila in the run up to the general elections pointing out that she had united a fragmented opposition in 2002 to end kanu’s 24 year rule..

The harambee netted 421,410 shillings with Kitui central contituency development fund (CDF) giving 300,000 shillings while Ngilu gave a personal donation of 30,000 shillings.

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Tanzania President in NY to attend UN General Assembly

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) The United Republic of Tanzania President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has arrived in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly Session (UNGAS) which begins on September 18, APA leanton Sunday.

President Kikwete is expected to address the assembly on September 24 and 27 on various political and social issues including global climate change the top item in the agenda in this years meeting.

The president would also deliver a speech on UN reforms, especially the structure of the UN Security Council and will also speak on the political situation in the Great Lakes region and developments in western Sudans region of Darfur, official sources said.

Kikwete will Co-Chair with the Finnish President, a global summit to discuss climate change and receive African American Institute (AAI) award to Tanzania in recognition of the countrys efforts to ensure that more children attend school.

The sources says that, President Kikwete will also meet other top political, social and business leaders including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

The presidents delegation includes several ministers and members of the business community.

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Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The United Nations Operations in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) announced Saturday in a statement that a green line (the former buffer zone) is fully established in the country since Friday.

According to this statement, in accordance with the 4th March Ouagadougou political agreement, “the United Nations Operations in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) dismantled on 14 September, 2007 its last checkpoints and transferred the safety of people and goods in the old buffer zone to the mixed brigades of the Integrated Command Centre “.

This operation ends the complete dismantling process of the buffer zone.

At the same time, UNOCI effectively established the “green line” as from Saturday 15 September, 2007 by setting up seventeen observation posts, as indicated in the Ouagadougou agreement.

“ONUCI is pleased with the implementation of this important part of the political agreement and renews its determination to continue supporting the effective implementation of the agreement”, the release continued.

In addition, “it urges the Ivorian parties to continue joining their efforts for the quick advent of a real and lasting peace”.

Divided into two since 19 September, 2002, Cote dIvoire made new progress towards peace and reunification since the signing of the political agreement on 4 th March in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The suppression of the buffer zone on 16 April, the progressive implementation of the Ouagadougou political agreement, the weapon incineration ceremony on 30 July in Bouake, the Independence Day celebrations throughout the territory on 7 August and the progressive deployment of the administration are seen as positive signs of a positive evolution of the political and security situation in Cote dIvoire

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Chadian president to visit China on Sep 19

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Beijing (China) Chadian President Idriss Deby will pay a state visit to China from 19 to 23 September, Chinese Foreign Ministry officials announcedon Sunday.

Debys visit which is at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, will be the first of its kind after the two countries resumed diplomatic relation on 6 August 2006.

The relations were severed in 1997 when Chad recognized Taiwan which China considers as part of its national territory.

Last April, the Chadian Minister of External Relations Ahmad Allami, paid a visit to Beijing to reopen the Chadian embassy there.

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Over 200 African stowaways nabbed in Spain

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Madrid (Spain) A total of 222 illegal immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa were at the weekend nabbed on the southern coasts of Spain and Canaries Islands onboard about ten makeshift vessels, APA has noted.

According to the Spanish rescue services, three fishing boats were intercepted during the past two days off the Canaries archipelago, transporting 92 sub-Saharan illegal immigrants, including about ten underage stowaways.

They departed from the west-African coasts, across the Atlantic Ocean to the Canaries.

During these past 24 hours, 65 stowaways from the Maghreb were nabbed in Motril (east), and 30 in Cadix (south).

In addition, four sub-Saharan aliens were intercepted in Velez-Malaga (south).

In the region of Cartagena ( Murcia, east), five pateras (small wooden vessels) landed 25 stowaways from the Maghreb.

The region of Valence (east) recorded the first arrival of illegal vessels from the Maghreb.

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Kenya gets top marks on religious relations – Respecting religious freedom

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by KEVIN J KELLEY in New York
Publication Date: 9/16/2007

Kenyan authorities respect religious freedom, and Kenyans are tolerant of the diverse creeds in the country, the US State Department says in a report issued on Friday.

The positive appraisal is the latest example of the US increasingly favourable view of Kenyas performance on human rights issues.

The Government at all levels sought to protect this right (of religious freedom) in full and did not tolerate its abuse, either by governmental or private actors, states the Kenya section of the 2007 International Religious Freedom Report.

Intermarriage between members of Christian denominations is common, and inter-faith prayer services occur frequently, the report adds.

Intermarriage between Muslims and Christians, although less frequent, also is socially acceptable.

The report, however , notes complaints about discrimination voiced by members of Kenyas Muslim community.

In the view of some Muslim leaders, the survey adds, government discrimination has worsened in the aftermath of the 1998 US embassy bombing, the 2002 attacks at the Coast and terrorist incidents elsewhere in the world.

The Government stated that heightened scrutiny was necessary to deter illegal immigration, in particular illegal border crossings from Somalia, and was not used to discriminate against religious affiliation, the report says.

Majority

The State Department estimates that 80 per cent of Kenyans practise Christianity, with Protestants accounting for 58 per cent of that religious majority and Roman Catholics making up the rest.

Ten per cent of Kenyans are Muslims, the report says.

Some Muslim groups claim to represent up to 30 percent of the population, the State Department notes, adding, This figure is not supported by demographic data.

No mention is made of the Mungiki in the new religious freedom study.

In its 2004 report, the State Department said members of the sect had been frequently harassed and periodically arrested and detained.

That study also noted that some Mungiki had been accused of extortion, killings, illegal drug sales and for-hire vigilantism.

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Kibaki rolls out his campaign machine – Fighting for the second term

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA
Publication Date: 9/16/2007

President Kibaki will today launch his re-election campaign in a televised address during which he is expected to quit Narc, the party on which he rode to power in 2002, for the Party of National Unity.

President Kibaki at apublic function. He is expected to address the nation and announce his party for re-election bid today. Photo/FILE

Mr Kibaki has been under pressure by his allies to name his party for the past year following differences in Narc and trooping of his close allies to Narc-Kenya.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service yesterday said the President will make the long-awaited announcement of his re-election vehicle today at 3 pm at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

President Mwai Kibaki will tomorrow Sunday 16th September 2007, make a radio and television address to the nation at 3.00 pm, the three paragraph statement said.

Political party

It added: During the address the President is expected to state the political party on whose ticket he will seek his second and final term of office as President of Kenya, in the forthcoming general elections.

Government sources told the Sunday Nation that the President will defect from Narc and join the new Party of National Unity.

He will also use the address, the sources said, to chart the way forward and the people with whom he will be moving forward another way of saying that he will formally launch his campaign and explain the parties with which he will be working. The announcement will pave the way for the dissolution of Parliament and put the country firmly in a campaign mode for elections which are expected on the week of December 17.

Mr Kibakis key opponents, ODM and ODM-K, have already held their nominations, picking Langata MP Mr Raila Odinga and Mwingi North MP Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, as their flagbearers.

The announcement of Mr Kibakis new party has been delayed due to disagreements among the parties supporting him. But when the he met the Government of National Unity backbenchers on Wednesday, sources said, he promised to name his party this week.

A Cabinet meeting the President chaired on Thursday resolved that PNU be President Kibakis re-election vehicle, the Sunday Nation was informed. PNU was registered on August 23, according to records at the office of the Registrar of Societies.

A committee headed by Science and Technology minister Dr Noah Wekesa had proposed PNU, Grand National Union (GNU), Narc Original and Narc Asili as possibilities but, PNU won the day, the Sunday Nation learnt.

Apart from Dr Wekesa, other prominent members of the coordinating committee of pro-Kibaki parties include Mazingira Party leader and Tetu MP Wangari Maathai, and Democratic Party (DP) of Kenya secretary-general George Nyamweya.

Mr Nyamweya said in an interview earlier in the week: We settled on Party of National Unity (PNU) and we have only been waiting to formalise it.

Yesterday, Housing assistant minister Bett Tett said the new umbrella party could not be Narc because of the problems that forced some members to walk out and join Narc-Kenya.

I doubt. It cant be Narc. Lets wait and see what will be announced, she said by phone.

Parties in the talks are Ford Kenya, DP, Saba Saba Asili, Mazingira, Spark, Safina, Ford People, Shirikisho and Sisi Kwa Sisi.

Safina Leader and Kabete MP Paul Muite yesterday called for the formation of an election board made up of nominees from the pro-Kibaki parties to spearhead the campaign.

PNU will act as an umbrella under which the nine Kibaki-friendly parties will work in the same way 14 parties joined hands ahead of 2002 election to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

PNU is expected is expected to unveil its symbol today, with the choice being between two lions, two Olympic torches or two rings.

However, records show that people registered as officials of the party are not well known in political circles. Mr J. Nyaboga is registered as the chairman, Mr Albert Muiruri as secretary and Mr Wilfred Apenja as treasurer. Sources close to the presidency said PNU was chosen because the name would be neutral and would bring together all parties backing the President for a second and final five-year term.

We are talking about unity in the country and the unity of all the political parties supporting the Presidents re-election for a second term, the source said.

The name was chosen from a cluster of other parties, which had also been registered. These were the Grand National Union, Narc Original and Narc Asili.

We did not want to resort to the name Narc, which some people associate with particular ethnic communities, the source pointed out. Efforts to come up with a party that will sponsor President Kibaki to defend his seat have been going on for the last two months.

This is after the Narc chairperson, Mrs Charity Ngilu, allegedly failed to cooperate with other members of the ruling coalition who wanted her to join them in discussing how they could use the party as the vehicle for President Kibakis re-election.

Mrs Ngilu has already indicated that she may also seek the presidency on a Narc ticket although sources yesterday said she was holding talks with Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka, the ODM-K presidential nominee.

What has been derailing the naming of the PNU is failure by the pro-Kibaki parties to agree on the mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Whereas some want every candidate to be subjected to primary nominations by the umbrella party as was the case with Narc in 2002, other parties want to sponsor their candidates in their strongholds but support the Presidents re-election. Most of the parties in the proposed coalition prefer the second option.

Dr Wekesa was to name the grand coalition last Friday but some parties asked for more time to consult their National Executive Committees and agree on the proposed mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Some of the parties, which have indicated that they wish to go it alone in the nominations include Ford Kenya, Ford People, DP, Safina and Sisi Kwa Sisi.

But DP, which has already identified its parliamentary and civic candidates especially in Central Kenya and parts of Nyanza appeared to soften its stand on joint nominations.

The Presidents defection, if it comes to pass, will not be without controversy. Already, the Law Society of Kenya is warning him not to move to another party before dissolving Parliament.

LSK boss Okongo Omogeni said if he chooses another party before parliament is dissolved it he will be seen as having defected.

The matter could be made worse when the Speaker is notified in Parliament that he has decamped from the party that sponsored him.

This could have some very serious constitutional, ethical and moral implications, said Mr Omogeni by telephone.

It will mean that he shall have surrendered his rights of being an MP and by extension the presidency. President Kibaki should therefore choose his words very carefully when making his announcement today.

Additional reporting by DAVE OPIYO

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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Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The Ivorian national basketball squad will take part in the twentieth edition of the African Basketball Championship (CAN) in Senegal later this month to defend the title but without its professionals, national technical director, Ddjadi Clment told APA on Sunday.

“We could be stripped of our professionals because they have started classes and it is very hard to have them with us during this competition. And even more difficult, this coincides with recruitments in European and other leagues which makes it difficult for their clubs to release them,” Clment said.

“We have the girls we need for a good CAN without the professionals. We will continue on the drive of the All-Africa Games where we had a good ranking,” he added.

The Ivorian delegation will arrive in Dakar on 17 September. Cote dIvoire will play in the group with hosts Senegal, Tunisia, Mozambique, Mali and Madagascar.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+4793299739 or+4763002525 source.apa

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