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Archive for September 24th, 2007

If attacks continue, a way will open for Kibaki to postpone the elections for one year

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

“Kenya’s hotly contested presidential and parliamentary elections may be postponed if campaigning brews violence as has now been demonstrated. Kibaki may decide to take the opportunity and postpone the elections. That will give the president time to tune the newly registered PANU party in order to have a good machinery that will ensure success in December 2008 if he chooses to have elections in one year’s time. – API*APN editorial)”.

Story by NATION TEAM
Publication Date: 9/23/2007

Fifteen people were yesterday injured when violent protests broke out in some parts of the country in the aftermath of Fridays attack on Opposition leaders at a harambee hosted by Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae.

Police escort Sotik MP Mr Anthony Kimeto (right) away from a hostile crowd in Sotik town. Photo/SOLLO KIRAGU

Police shot in the air several times and lobbed tear gas to disperse rowdy crowds in Kisii and Sotik towns following the protests staged to denounce the attack on Mr William Ruto, Mr Omingo Magara, Mr Chris Obure and Mr Chris Bichage during the Friday incident. Ten people were arrested.

Investigating the incident

Internal Security Minister John Michuki, who spoke from his Kangema constituency, said police were investigating the incident and that he would not pass any judgement against his Cabinet colleague.

The protests spread to Kericho, Eldoret and Nairobi where three students in a demonstration were arrested.

And Sotik MP Anthony Kimetto was stoned by rowdy youths in his constituency as he joined nominated MP Kipkalya Kones who was addressing a meeting to calm the tension.

As the protests were going on, Mr Ruto and Mr Magara called a news conference at the Nairobi Hospital to say they had forgiven Mr Nyachae and called for calm among the neighbouring communities.

Youths armed with bows and arrows descended on the ODM leaders after disembarking from a helicopter in Nyamarambe in Gucha where Mr Nyachae had a harambee for youths in Mr Magaras South Mugirango constituency.

Leaders continued to condemn the Friday incident, with Mr Kones calling for the ministers arrest. Speaking from Kakamega ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga also called for the arrest of Mr Nyachae. In Nairobi police dispersed over 20 students from Kenyatta and Nairobi universities demonstrating from the Nairobi Hospital. Carrying an empty coffin, they wailed, sang dirges and chanted anti-Nyachae slogans.

In Sotik, several buses and matatus headed to Kisii from Nairobi were escorted to a police station for safety of passengers. Some shops were broken into and goods looted.

Some residents in Sotik fearing they were targeted fled to the local police station while others sought safety in the neighbouring Nyamira District.

At Litein trading centre, police lobbed tear gas canisters at rowdy youths who had mounted road blocks along the Kericho-Kaplong highway. Business premises at Ngoina, Litein, and Kapkatet were closed, with the owners seeking refuge at the local police station. In the morning, vehicles heading to Nairobi and Nakuru from Kisii were stopped by the rowdy youths at Sotik.

Passengers were forced to alight and seek alternative means to their destinations. Following the tension, Buret district commissioner Kutswa Olaka yesterday addressed rallies in the affected areas and asked the local communities to be calm.

ODM-Kenya presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka suggested that all presidential aspirants should assure Kenyans they will restrain their supporters from engaging in campaign violence.

Mr Musyoka further demanded that the candidates condemn all forms of violence and not only when it is directed at them.

He was himself heckled by ODM youths in Busia on Friday.

Mr Musyoka promised to seek a meeting with President Kibaki and Mr Odinga once Parliament is dissolved so that they can collectively assure Kenyans they will control their supporters.

In Kericho, Mr Kones, who is a former ally of Mr Nyachae, blamed the minister for the violence in South Mugirango.

He said the Government should arrest Mr Nyachae the same way Health minister Charity Ngilu was arrested for assisting a suspect to flee from police custody.

In Nyamira, former permanent secretary James Ongwae, Kitutu Masaba ODM official Timothy Bosire, Nyaribari Masabas George Anunda and youth leader Don Bosco Gichana asked leaders to refrain from acts of violence in the electioneering period. In Migori town, Muslim leaders condemned the attack on ODM leaders and asked the Government to apprehend the assailants.

Free traffic flow

Meanwhile, East African Cooperation minister John Koech called for peace and free flow of traffic from Kisii to Nairobi through Sotik. In Kisii, police broke a peaceful demonstration by ODM supporters. Two people injured in the incident were admitted to Kisii district hospital.

The demonstration started at the Kisii-Kisumu-Isebania junction about four kilometres from the town. Police in anti-riot gear dispersed the demonstrators as they approached Kisii police station chanting anti-Nyachae slogans. The demonstrators were led by politicians Kerosi Ondieki, Ben Mogaka, Harun Bogita and John Obwocha.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.nation.ke

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How YarAdua can be a Mandela: An Assessment of the Legitimacy Crisis in Nigeria

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

ANYONE who truly has an iota of interest in the well-being of Nigerians, nay humanity, must be interested in when and how the current controversy over the validity of the April 2007 general elections would be resolved.

The majority of observers had concluded that describing the polls as flawed would be an understatement as electorates were apparently disenfranchised all the way: before, during and after the election or as some would say selection of Alhaji Umaru Musa YarAdua of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To date, his two closest challengers Muhammad Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC) have rejected every entreaty to repeal their respective petitions before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Four months on and the purported resonant victory of the PDP over 49 other registered political parties remains the most contentious mandate ever obtained in the annals of democratic elections in Nigeria or anywhere else on earth. It is the one election described decidedly as brazen robbery of the peoples will rather than the more normal show of stealing it by stealth. It is also the most litigious.

Indeed, it has been compared to and adjudged worse than the 1965 elections that precipitated the nations first military coup in 1966; the 1983 landslide re-election of the then ruling party which brought the military back to power at the end of that year after just four years of democracy and even the terrible 2003 Tazarce charade callously orchestrated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his cohorts in charge of the PDPs do-or-die rigging machine.

The PDP-infested Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had so thoroughly muddled up the process that it is now almost impossible to prove anything at all. Though the judiciary seems primed to substantially deliver justice with minimal fear or favour, the so-called Nigerian factor looks equally tuned to make sure the system cannot work.

According to a cover report captioned INEC, petitioners in hide-and-seek game at Election Tribunals in the Vanguard of 4th August: In nearly all states, petitioners are alleging a connivance between proclaimed winners and INEC to deny the petitioners access to election materials that could help petitioners prove their claims. However, in what must be a minor miracle but a significant signpost of what lies underneath, a few of the various election petition tribunals have been able to annul a couple of elections on account of proven gross irregularities.

Perhaps, the most damning reversal of a PDP victory was the annulment of the election of Honourable Abdul-Hamid Kwarra representing Wamba Constituency in the Nasarawa State House of Assembly who had his third term plans truncated when the Election Petition Tribunal in Lafia quashed his election on the grounds of certificate forgery in response to the petition of the ANPP candidate in the same election. Similarly, the Election Petition Tribunal in Adamawa State also reportedly annulled the election of PDPs Ahmed Mahmoud into the State House of Assembly and ordered for fresh polls.

The ANPP candidate, Ibrahim Waziri, filed the petition challenging his disqualification by INEC on the eve of the elections. Waziri who was indicted by the EFCC on bribery allegations and advised INEC to bar him from contesting is reportedly a well-known political rival of former chairman of Yola South Council, Sani Ribadu, the younger brother of the EFCC boss.

In a desperate attempt to allay the restiveness arising from the recent extensive electoral injustice, iniquity and even criminality, President YarAdua has since acknowledged flaws in the last electoral process and proclaimed a Government of National Unity (GNU) which apart from its unconstitutionality and its dark design to sweep deadly dirt under the carpet is a sinister scheme for the transformation of the country into a one-party state. Already, the main opposition party ANPP has shamelessly secured its seats in the controversial contraption and withdrawn its case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal saying its presidential candidate and the nearly seven million Nigerians that were allowed to vote for him are thenceforth on their own in the litigation.

Packs of politicians from other parties especially the AC have also abandoned their platform to join the PDP for an opportunity to come and chop.

Analysts are already predicting the collapse of the AC on account of the continuing mass exodus from its fold. Only recently, its chief promoter in the south, former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State was on record eulogising YarAdua for instituting the Justice Muhammad Uwais Electoral Reform Panel. Common-sense would dictate that the AC chieftain call for a high-powered judicial inquiry into the election whose results his party is contesting at the federal and many states level.

Alas, at the last count, Buhari, Atiku and Alhaji Balarabe Musa, president candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) are the only prominent politicians left fully standing up against all the alleged electoral robberies with the ranks of their supporters diminishing daily.

However, the desperadoes being gulped down into the GNU are not even the nations deepest quandary or the nascent democracys most dangerous adversaries. Over 70 per cent of the incumbent state governors as well as the states and national assemblies members were invariably imposed on the people by the most grotesque godfathers imaginable (read: blood-suckers, shrine-goers and pilferers of juiciest public assets), oftentimes right from the stage of party primaries. These Excellencies and Honourables are, therefore, not just unfit and incompetent for high public offices but also habitually lack any loyalty to the people they are purportedly representing.

Take Vice President Goodluck Jonathan for instance. Here was a man who never considered the chance to vie for anything beyond the Bayelsa state governorship that landed on his lap by default suddenly emerging as candidate for the Number Two position in the land only because Obasanjo who hoped to reap a defacto third term threatened major and more competent contestants from his geopolitical zone with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Without even a grain of the grassroots political experience and achievement of aspirants like Donald Duke, Peter Odili and Sam Egwu, he was foisted on the hapless South-south geopolitical zone.

To show just how unpopular he was locally, his country-home was bombed to rubbles soon after his election to the highest office ever attained by an Ijaw man. His first mark in office was his dangerous dithering to publicise his assets declaration. The former lecturer who reportedly never had one million Naira in his bank account up to 1999 was probably apprehensive over how he could explain amassing almost N300 million worth of cash and choice assets within eight short years.

Or take Senate President David Mark who clinched the Number Three position in the country via a family-affair anointing and affirmation by the PDP even though the petition challenging his controversial election by Usman Dan Abubakar Maishanu of the ANPP remains one of the most promising cases before the judiciary. A third-term apostle who is enormously unpopular even among his colleagues, Mark ascended the seat only after more independent-minded and capable candidates were muzzled out by the party to which loyalty is now said to be supreme. His most infamous achievement to date is the bow-and-go treatment he accorded PDP ministerial nominees at the all-important Senate screening exercise.

Is this how the Senate President of Nigeria going to sacrifice national interests for the dictates of his party? According to an analyst writing under the caption Enter take-a-bow-and-go ministers in the Weekly Trust of 4th August .the Senate President did the bidding of PDP.

He has demonstrated competence in effectively playing out its script against public expectation and yearning. The latest public demonstration of Marks anti-people posture was the brutal beating by his security aides of THISDAY reporter, Abel Orih Idoma, who approached the Senate President for an interview after a church service in Makurdi on the 16th September. A statement by the Coalition of Idoma Professionals dated September 17th said the incident further brought to the fore the lack of quality and ability of Mark to lead the National Assembly as a Senate President.

The case of Speaker Patricia Olubunmi Etteh of the House of Representatives is even more pathetic. This humble former hair-dresser who had the rarest privilege of realising the great Nigerian dream by rising from hair (not grass) to grace as the Number Four citizen in the biggest black country on earth wasted no time in actualising the PDPs come-chop principle. She surreptitiously awarded a sumptuous contract for the renovation of her official residence and that of her deputy to the tune of N628.8 million! Even earlier, she had considered a proposal to install a N98 million body-massaging machine at the expense of the House and was severally accused by some of her colleagues of being bossy, arrogant and overbearing.

It is a wonder that the Presidency has not yet made the same complaints. It could be recalled that Etteh was the first high ranking official in this government to categorically declare the sale of Apo Legislative quarters irrevocable at a time President YarAdua was revoking similar purchases. Also to show her status, Madame Speaker who celebrated her first birthday in office last month in the USA, breached protocol by arriving venue of the reception for the under-17 World Youth Champions at the Eagle Square in Abuja on September 16th, after the Vice President was seated.

As revelations so far from the probe panel into the scam instituted by the House indicate, Etteh and her staunch supporters such as the PDP national chairman, Ahmadu Ali, and the so-called strongman/godfather of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu, do not consider any of her actions to be in the least audacious or wasteful and the nation could have been treated to more salacious sagas of stealing if she had not been found out early enough. Still, Ali issued a garrison-style order that the lady must be let off the hook by her fellow party members no matter the outcome of the on-going investigation.

In his words, The Speaker has done nothing which the PDP as a party that sponsored her should be ashamed of. We are 1000% (sic) behind her. On his part, Adedibu has gone on record to urge President YarAdua to call off the probe because the Yorubas who have apparently appointed him as spokesman and are now bereft of honest politicians to replace her would not accept the possible purge of Speaker Etteh from her exalted post for whatever reasons.
Then there is the case of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, who is gradually cornering Controversy as his middle-name. So far, Aondoakaas outstanding outings consist of a couple of desperate and despicable attempts to curtail the powers of the EFCC to prosecute suspects according to their term of office. His first act in office was to mislead the President into signing a spurious point of order reposing the power to prosecute public cases in his office.

The AGFs meddlesomeness was hardly reversed when he embarked upon seizing the on-going prosecution of former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State right inside the court-room. Since it is doubtful whether there any governors who did not contribute state funds to the last presidential and gubernatorial elections, the AGFs attempt to shield some of them could only be self-serving. Coming at a time when Nigerians are developing hope in the capability of the criminal justice system to apprehend even the biggest bandits such as yesterdays super-governors and possibly presidents, Aondoakaas attitude is a morale murderer. Another serial spoil-sport in the YarAdua cabinet is the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe, who has worshipped and waited on every dictator in Nigeria and now wears a stable scowl on account of his numerous fights against the people. He cannot possibly be expected to excite external empathy towards our nations pathetic plight.

As a sign of what could come, his choice of ambassadors include the atrocious Col. Ahmadu Ali who had only recently completed the task of rendering a promising party into a permanent liability for democracy in Nigeria.

However, the most odious and obdurate constituency that the PDP would have to settle is the horde of heavily armed assassins, arsonists, cultists, robbers, kidnappers and thugs currently running a rampage across the country, especially in the Niger-Delta region. The fact is that the ruling party actually bred these monsters that have been let loose on Nigerians everywhere. Following the woeful delivery of democracys dividend between 1999 and 2003, PDP could not entice the electorate on the basis of its record of service.

Millions of jobless youths created by the partys policies and programmes were, therefore, recruited as thugs, given much money and guns to help in the theft of the elections. In a few extreme cases, some of these gangs who felt short-changed have resorted to kidnapping the parents of the beneficiaries of their services to get them fulfil their side of the contract. Others are simply raining bullets and harvesting hundreds of bodies of innocent Nigerians randomly across the country. Now, it is even alleged that one of these notorious cultists is a serving Deputy Governor in the richest oil-producing state in the country.

All these show that there are too many stained spirits in and around the governments of Nigeria for much good to come out of it anytime soon. When we add those disreputable destroyers of democracy such as Andy Uba, whose two-week tenure on the stolen throne of Anambra State was mercifully cut short by the Supreme Court, the line-up leads straight to lawlessness. There is no way all these insufferable individuals and bands that have taken over the corridors of power or lurking around it would allow for any meaningful reforms of the very rotten system that brought them into power and its perquisites.

What moral or even legal authority would leaders who engineered elections have to effectively eliminate armed robbery, assassination, arson, cultism, embezzlement, examination malpractice, human rights violation, kidnapping, ritual killing, thuggery and abuse of office among other matters of urgent concern to Nigerians?

Certainly, President Umaru YarAduas pet vision of transforming Nigeria into the 20th largest economy in the world by 2020 while possible may not be practicable under the current circumstances. In fact, it is even doubtful if his seven-point agenda could be actualised in the next 13 years given the state of affairs at hand. Of course, the President has started on a number of positive notes but so did Obasanjo during his first few months in 1999. For instance, an article on the first 100 Days of the YarAdua administration in the August-September edition of the London-based New African magazine entitled Nigeria: a new approach stated that, It is to his credit that he has almost totally erased the notion that he is but a puppet of the erstwhile president.

He has not only effectively distanced himself from the style and policy implementation strategies of the old regime but has also rapidly consigned that era to history. Similarly, by styling himself a servant-leader and reversing fuel price and VAT rate increases and annulling sale of some strategic national assets like the petroleum refineries in line with public request, YarAdua has rekindled enormous expectations in the minds of many. In the same vein, some of his appointees seem to be the best and brightest around.

They are capable of providing the indispensable intellectual and idealistic prowess to prevail over some pressing public problems. The Secretary to the Federal Government, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, for example, is one of the most brilliant, proficient and practised bureaucrats in the country today. One yarn which made the rounds during his first few days in office was that President YarAdua would often get carried away at meetings with Kingibe and address him as sir in deference to the latters rank in the defunct Peoples Front and Social Democratic Party where they had worked together.

In deference to his own calling, the ex-envoy would diplomatically but firmly tell Mr. President that it now has to be the other way round. Similarly, in terms of integrity, dedication and sheer enlightenment bordering on spirituality, Anthony Gadzama, the new Director-General of the SSS could be the best boss the much misunderstood outfit ever had in its oftentimes horrifying history. He is reputed to be one of the very few focussed serving spies who shun the sinister shenanigans so often associated with the work. Also, another copiously capable character in the cabinet is Tanimu Yakubu Kurfi, the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, a passionately pro-people students union leader in the 80s and a tried and tested humanitarian.
Yet, all these even along with YarAduas likeable lineage, his inherited and acquired integrity as well as his post-graduate education and gubernatorial experience are not even nearly enough to resolve the nations electoral logjam or the governments crisis of illegitimacy. The pervasive political prognosis is that no matter what it is called, how it is composed or what it tries to do, the YarAdua administration would have to bear with been called illegitimate and hearing calls for fresh elections for the reminder of its natural term in office. Talk about a tainted mandate and a civilian coup against the masses would continue to trail his tenure.

As Archbishop John Onaiyekan, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) put it, In spite of recent efforts by President Umaru YarAdua and some of the governors and elected officials to endear themselves to Nigerians, millions have doggedly refused to accept them as validly elected leaders In fact, no elections took place in several parts of the country. In the light of this undeniable reality, we endorse the call for fresh elections.

What is the best way out? Some statesmen and scholars such as former President Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon, Justice Mamman Nasir and Dr. Ahmad Abubakar Gumi believe the whole problem could be resolved by prevailing on Buhari and Atiku to withdraw their petitions challenging the result of YarAduas election in the interest of peace and unity. This is simply sweeping the filth under the already stinking sofa and could only consolidate the penchant for rigging and electoral fraud that threatens democratic rule in Nigeria since 1960. Various analysts have likened their fatwa to begging a burglar or a receiver of stolen goods to keep his booty because he has vowed to use it for good causes and because an attempt to retrieve it could lead to chaos.

An imam of a local mosque in Kaduna when asked what was wrong in supporting YarAdua since he seems to be a first-rate Muslim who can reform the rot, answered by asking whether it is possible for someone that performs ablution with
urine to put his prayers right? According to him, no matter the volume of his faith, the degree of his cleanliness or the goodness of his intentions, anyone that performs ablution with urine would have to completely reverse that ablution by bathing his body with clean water and then performing another ablution afresh.

A one-day conference on Ending Electoral Fraud in Nigeria organised by the Arewa Media Forum in Kaduna on September 8th 2007 similarly concluded that both Nigeria and YarAdua himself stand to make greatest historic gains from a re-run of the April 2007 elections. In a lead paper, Olu Falae, who defined electoral fraud as Anything done or action taken or neglected to be taken by any person or organisation which has the effect of disrupting or sabotaging the will of voters in an election with the consequences that someone else other than the candidate preferred by electorate emerges as winner, left no one in doubt about the duplicity of the exercise.

Even earlier, one US-based Qansy Salako in a letter urged the President to, Think about owing Nigerians a new and properly elected government within your first twelve months. Reconstitute a new and independent federal electoral commission; oversee a just and efficient electoral process; offer yourself as a candidate in a new, free and secure election and abide by the outcome.
For the nation, this would mark the end of injustice, impunity and impetuosity not only in politics but all other important facets of life. From such a clean slate and high moral ground, the country could fly faster to the glorious fate designed for it. For YarAdua who may even easily win the new free and fair election, the act could carve his name as one of the modern worlds greatest statesmen alongside legends like Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Murtala Muhammad, Nelson Mandela and Mahathir Muhammad.

This needs not be as difficult or dangerous as it seems. As an enlightened Muslim privileged to be born and bred into a prominent and patriotic political family, YarAdua is no doubt tutored and duty-bound to act with sincerity, selflessness and a supreme sense of fair-play at all times. This is all it takes.

Conversely, what would not be easy to explain especially before the Almighty God is his active acquiescence with the charade of the last fraudulent elections on the basis of which good governance at all levels may not be realisable.

By our correspondent Muhammad Hassan-Tom / hassantom@yahoo.co.uk

Published by African Press International – API/ African Press in Norway – APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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Raila Reveals His Plan For Looters At A Private Meeting In The US

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Raila Reveals His Plan For Looters At A Private Meeting In The US

Raila Amollo Odinga: Next President of Kenya?

I am grateful to Joseph-Oloo Obiero of Denver, USA who has provided this blog with excerpts of a personal interview he carried out recently with ODM presidential aspirant Raila Amollo Odinga.

Joseph Obiero said…

I was one of the fortunate few who managed to engage ODM luminary Raila Odinga after his visit to Denver. I have been resident in the US after obtaining my green card in 1996 and starting my career as a Walmart line stores clerk. I landed home over the weekend and the politics that Ive found here are as hot as I could not have imagined.

After his keynote address at Denver, I and a group of about 6 friends engaged Raila for about 15 minutes in the hallway next to the auditorium. I will replicate our conversation and his answers. They are not verbatim, but give the gist of all what he said as accurately as my mind can remember.

JO: When you talk broadly about radical changes, can you tell us in specifics, without resorting to generalities?

Raila(R.O): The changes I envisage and that I have promised to address within my first 90 days in office are; Dismantling the cabals of tribalism that are choking our country and resulting in runaway corruption and frustration for the people of Kenya.

Since the Moi era, or ‘error’ as I call it, prime jobs have been stuffed with semi-literate Kalenjin herdsmen. I imagined that Kibaki would correct this but in fact he maintained many of them, and those he sent home were replaced by his kleptocratic tribesmen. As we all know, 90% of all thievery is perpetrated by one tribe in Kenya and these are the people I must put behind bars and later on catch up with the Goldenberg and the Anglo-leasing we call it anglo-fleecing crooks.

J.O: But people see the likes of William Ruto in your team?

R.O: The matter of bringing in corrupt leaders was started by Kibaki, and in truth, do not be surprised if you find that the likes of William Ruto find themselves behind bars after the elections, because he has cases pending against him. I will not interfere with the courts at all. For now, Ruto is a political necessity, but you know in politics we do have blind loyalties and if we are to win this battle, we have to use all options available. With Uhuru running against Kibaki, the Kikuyus will be divided for sure.

Note: This has since changed, since Uhuru joined Kibaki, but I am certain from what I have heard on the ground, the situation is even worse than opposing Kibaki.

J.O: You seem to have won over Western province, with Musalia as a running mate, but are you sure they will not blackmail you like they did Kibaki when Kombo forced certain key appointments on him especially after the referendum?

R.O: In my case, this will not happen. Musalia has a much weaker character in person than Kombo, and you know the joke about humble Luhya servants as cooks and watchmen…Anyway, jokes aside, Luhya disunity is a blessing for us and I would never have wanted it any other way.

Had the Luhyas united, my plans would have been impossible to fulfil because my nomination was at stake, and if someone like Musalia ruled Kenya, he would not be able to effect the radical changes I talk about. His father was a Moi loyalist and even now if you look carefully, Musalia, like Kalonzo, still behaves as if he is beholden to Moi and cannot talk ill of, much less put Moi behind bars where he belongs. Musalia was created by Moi and given his seat after his father’s death since Musalia’s was one of Moi’s key men and a beneficiary of the grand corruption of the day. I am aware of this but I recognize that I cannot get perfect partners, and truly my friends; there is an election to be won.

JO: When are you planning to go back home?

RO: I am scheduled to be back by Saturday 22nd/Sept/2007 and I would wish to take this opportunity to invite you home for Easter next year, and I assure you that it will take you a long time before you interact with the Kikuyu or Kalenjin officials you used to see everywhereunless of course you plan to visit Kamiti!

In closing, I want to tell you that Hon Muite prepared a long list of charges against Moi and his sons way back in the 90’s when we first thought liberation was at hand. That list is still valid in 2008 and you will read about it in the future. Many of these retired Rift Valley barons will spend their last days incarcerated.

JO: How are you prepared to handle the crisis being created by the Kibaki team regarding your involvement in the 82 coup, since they are using media such as the Government owned media and other media owned by friendly partners like Kenya Times to smear your name?

RO: I truly do not regret my role in the 82 coup, in fact I relish my contribution to that struggle. Those who died are martyrs, and every free country; Cuba, Venezuela, etc had its share of revolutionary martyrs. Even here in America! If it was needed, or was an only option, I would do the same again for the sake of my people. We cannot shy from confronting forces of evil by armed means if need be. That was the beginning of the struggle that got Moi out and the continuing struggle to now get Kibaki out. Kenyans have waited for too long to get rid of these dictators.

Joseph-Oloo Obiero, Denver.

Lifted from Kumekucha Blogspot!

andPublished by Korir, African Press International(API)/ African Press in Norway(APN)

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A shocking interview: Obiero interviews Raila Odinga while on his US tour recently

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Commentary: Author : Adam

Saw this posting in Kumekucha blog and was appalled. The post was contributed by Joseph Oloo Obiero who says he managed to corner Raila Odinga (Right photo)in a Denver hotel hallway last week and asked him questions about his real agenda for Kenya.
It confirms Raila as what I have always believed, a two faced politican who will ride any back to get to State House. His rude comments about his running mate, Luhyas, William Ruto and Kalenjins in general are especially shocking. Read on…

************************

Raila Reveals His Plan For Looters At A Private Meeting In The US

Raila Amollo Odinga: Next President of Kenya?

I am grateful to Joseph-Oloo Obiero of Denver, USA who has provided this blog with excerpts of a personal interview he carried out recently with ODM presidential aspirant Raila Amollo Odinga.

Joseph Obiero said…

I was one of the fortunate few who managed to engage ODM luminary Raila Odinga after his visit to Denver. I have been resident in the US after obtaining my green card in 1996 and starting my career as a Walmart line stores clerk. I landed home over the weekend and the politics that I’ve found here are as hot as I could not have imagined.

After his keynote address at Denver, I and a group of about 6 friends engaged Raila for about 15 minutes in the hallway next to the auditorium. I will replicate our conversation and his answers. They are not verbatim, but give the gist of all what he said as accurately as my mind can remember.

Joseph Obiero: When you talk broadly about radical changes, can you tell us in specifics, without resorting to generalities?

Raila Odinga: The changes I envisage and that I have promised to address within my first 90 days in office are; Dismantling the cabals of tribalism that are choking our country and resulting in runaway corruption and frustration for the people of Kenya.

Since the Moi era, or ‘error’ as I call it, prime jobs have been stuffed with semi-literate Kalenjin herdsmen. I imagined that Kibaki would correct this but in fact he maintained many of them, and those he sent home were replaced by his kleptocratic tribesmen. As we all know, 90% of all thievery is perpetrated by one tribe in Kenya and these are the people I must put behind bars and later on catch up with the Goldenberg and the Anglo-leasing we call it anglo-fleecing crooks.

Joseph Obiero: But people see the likes of William Ruto in your team?

Raila Odinga: The matter of bringing in corrupt leaders was started by Kibaki, and in truth, do not be surprised if you find that the likes of William Ruto find themselves behind bars after the elections, because he has cases pending against him. I will not interfere with the courts at all. For now, Ruto is a political necessity, but you know in politics we do have blind loyalties and if we are to win this battle, we have to use all options available. With Uhuru running against Kibaki, the Kikuyus will be divided for sure.

Note: This has since changed, since Uhuru joined Kibaki, but I am certain from what I have heard on the ground, the situation is even worse than opposing Kibaki.

Joseph Obiero: You seem to have won over Western province, with Musalia as a running mate, but are you sure they will not blackmail you like they did Kibaki when Kombo forced certain key appointments on him especially after the referendum?

Raila Odinga: In my case, this will not happen. Musalia has a much weaker character in person than Kombo, and you know the joke about humble Luhya servants as cooks and watchmen…Anyway, jokes aside, Luhya disunity is a blessing for us and I would never have wanted it any other way.

Had the Luhyas united, my plans would have been impossible to fulfil because my nomination was at stake, and if someone like Musalia ruled Kenya, he would not be able to effect the radical changes I talk about. His father was a Moi loyalist and even now if you look carefully, Musalia, like Kalonzo, still behaves as if he is beholden to Moi and cannot talk ill of, much less put Moi behind bars where he belongs. Musalia was created by Moi and given his seat after his father’s death since Musalia’s was one of Moi’s key men and a beneficiary of the grand corruption of the day. I am aware of this but I recognize that I cannot get perfect partners, and truly my friends; there is an election to be won.

Joseph Obiero: When are you planning to go back home?

Raila Odinga: I am scheduled to be back by Saturday 22nd/Sept/2007 and I would wish to take this opportunity to invite you home for Easter next year, and I assure you that it will take you a long time before you interact with the Kikuyu or Kalenjin officials you used to see everywhereunless of course you plan to visit Kamiti!

In closing, I want to tell you that Hon Muite prepared a long list of charges against Moi and his sons way back in the 90’s when we first thought liberation was at hand. That list is still valid in 2008 and you will read about it in the future. Many of these retired Rift Valley barons will spend their last days incarcerated.

Joseph Obiero: How are you prepared to handle the crisis being created by the Kibaki team regarding your involvement in the 82 coup, since they are using media such as the Government owned media and other media owned by friendly partners like Kenya Times to smear your name?

Raila Odinga: I truly do not regret my role in the 82 coup, in fact I relish my contribution to that struggle. Those who died are martyrs, and every free country; Cuba, Venezuela, etc had its share of revolutionary martyrs. Even here in America! If it was needed, or was an only option, I would do the same again for the sake of my people. We cannot shy from confronting forces of evil by armed means if need be. That was the beginning of the struggle that got Moi out and the continuing struggle to now get Kibaki out. Kenyans have waited for too long to get rid of these dictators.

By Joseph-Oloo Obiero, Denver.

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Media accused of bias when covering the coming Kenya elections

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

By Job Weru and Patrick Muriungi.

Former journalist and Media Council official, Mr Joe Kadhi said the media does not give equal coverage to all aspirants, especially in the presidential race. Kadhi who is also a lecturer at the United States International University, said skewed coverage of politics was likely to deny Kenyans the right to vote wisely.

“Kenyans should be left to decide whom to vote for without influence,” he said.

Kadhi was addressing more than 100 journalists attending a three-day workshop on elections coverage in Nanyuki.

He took issue with the print media, which he said was covering presidential campaigns impartially.

“The media is supposed to be fair in reporting. We should not appear to support one side or a particular candidate,” he said.

In the same workshop, an Electoral Commission of Kenya official, Ms Joan Mudindi said the body was not able to control use of State resources during the electioneering period.

She said the commission was aware some ministers were using State resources to campaign under the guise of performing official duties.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.standard.ke

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Politics of hate – killing one another in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

A brother to former Imenti Central MP, Mr Gitobu Imanyara was stabbed to death, allegedly over an argument over politics.

On Friday evening, Elias Mugambi was stabbed on the chest and died as he was being treated at the Meru General Hospital.

Imanyara said his brother was attacked at Kariene trading centre, at 7pm.

“He picked an argument with a man on political issues, but they disagreed. The man took out a knife and stabbed him several times,” Imanyara told The Sunday Standard on telephone. Police have arrested the suspect and recovered the murder weapon. “He is held at Kariene police station, and I believe the police will conduct a thorough investigation,” said Imanyara.

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Kenyan minister Mrs Charity Ngilu looking for a horse to ride on to State House

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

(With only 3 horses to ride on, Ngilu (photo-below) may be coming out late. Panu horse for Kibaki, ODM-Kenya horse for Kalonzo and ODM horse for Raila. The road to ride is crowded and no other horse has a chance as State house road is not that large to accomodate 4 horses! The story below sums it up. By api*apn editorial)

By Athman AmranHealth minister, Mrs Charity Ngilu, seems to have lost her last trump card with the decamping of the only remaining Narc member, President Kibaki, to the Party of National Unity (Panu) last Sunday.

Her political indecisiveness has left her in political limbo as the windows of opportunity for her to get strategic positioning in ODM and ODM-Kenya are also closing fast.

A source close to her says Ngilus unenviable situation has forced her to withdraw to herself.

Ngilus associate, nominated MP, Ms Cecily Mbarire, sums up her (Ngilus) predicament: “She has been quiet. She has been keeping to herself.” Mbarire, who was one of the last Ngilu allies, has since joined Kibaki in Panu.

Others who went to Parliament through Ngilus National Party of Kenya (NPK) but have now abandon her for alleged indecisiveness are Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Mr Kalembe Ndile (Kibwezi), Mr Kyalo Kaindi (Kathiani) and nominated MP and Assistant minister, Ms Adelina Mwau.

Sources claim Ngilu has been trying to play “mind-games” with the President and those seeking a vehicle for his re-election in the hope of getting “the best deal”.

“She wanted to get the best deal within Narc and to be assured of the vice-presidency. Kibaki did not agree. She wanted to be on top of negotiations,” ODM-Kenyas Mr Joe Khamisi claims.

Ngilu has now been left with the option of either running alone in Narc, which could be suicidal or join Kalonzo in ODM-Kenya.

There is reported pressure from Ukambani for her to work with Kalonzo. “Now she has to play third fiddle. There is pressure for her to work with Kalonzo,” Khamisi says.

“She has talked to us but we do not feel she can be trusted. Ni mtu wa kuruka ruka (she is not settled). She has to be forthright in her intentions,” Khamisi says.

He says people are still talking to her as she had shown some interest in ODM-Kenya. But he adds there are no structured negotiations at the moment.

ODM-Kenya has settled for nominated MP, Dr Julia Ojiambo, as Kalonzos running mate while ODM has its line up set with Mr Musalia Mudavadi as Mr Raila Odingas running mate.

Panu is crowded, with Mr Uhuru Kenyatta with his Kanu remnants, Mr Musikari Kombo with his Ford- Kenya, Mr Raphael Tuju with Narc-Kenya, Mr Simeon Nyachae with Ford-People and Mr Joseph Munyao with DP, among others.

If she decides to go it alone it might be with the hope of luring women voters whose loyalty is divided among other political parties. Such a move would be seen as sexist and discriminatory and would reduce her national stature.

“She had promised women that she would help them get elected. Now she appears to have abandoned them,” Khamisi says.

If she stands alone she would have to measure herself up against her first attempt for the presidency in 1997 on her NPK ticket. She came fifth after former President Moi, Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and the late Michael Wamalwa.

But going to ODM-Kenya would seem to reduce her to a tribalist as opponents are associating the party with the Ukambani region, her former confidante, Mr Tony Gachoka argues.

“Ngilu has been known not to be tribal but a respected national leader. She must go beyond the interests of a region,” Gachoka says.

Gachoka poses: “But can you imagine Ngilu serving under Ojiambo?”

He cautioned Ngilu against making “the same mistake Uhuru made” by allegedly getting into a tribal trap.

Mbarire says she parted ways with Ngilu because she supports the re-election of President Kibaki. But Mwau says her biggest problem with Ngilu is her “inconsistency”.

“I have tried to convince her to support Kibaki. Even her friends have tried to convince her. Instead she asked me to give her time,” Mbarire said.

Mbarire says she was tired of waiting for Ngilu to make her “major announcement” about her political direction.

In early August, for the umpteenth time, Ngilu changed her mind to shed light on her political future arguing it was not the “appropriate time” to reveal her strategy.

“I am in the dark. She has not come out clearly about what she wants. My prayers are that she changes her mind and returns to Kibaki,” Mbarire says.

Last week, Ngilu had been trying to get feelers on the ground, especially in her constituency.

On August 6, Ngilu met associates who are neither MPs nor councillors at Machakos Golf Club in Machakos town. She, however, declined to say what the agenda was or what was discussed.

“She said she would do what her constituents tell her,” Mbarire says.

Khamisi says the problem with Ngilu is that she has “overrated herself”. “She lacks political direction. She has come to the end of her career,” Khamisi claims.

Khamisi and Gachoka feel that Ngilu has always been torn between the Narc Government, which she helped found, and her ideals for reforms.

They gave the example of the referendum vote where Ngilu joined the Orange side too late.

“There was a wave for Orange in Ukambani, which she could not resist,” Khamisi says.

Ngilu later closed ranks with President Kibaki after the referendum of November 2005.

Gachoka says Ngilu has misread the public mood by staying in Narc when others went separate ways.

“She was not part of the group which violated the MoU between the Rainbow Alliance and the National Party of Kenya,” Gachoka says.

Gachoka, who has since joined ODM, says Ngilu missed another opportunity to reinvent herself when she failed to resign after being arrested and humiliated by the Government.

Ngilu was held in police custody for ten hours recently after storming the Nairobi Central Police Station to “rescue” a civil society activist, Ms Ann Njogu. The activist was among those protesting against MPs hefty send-off package.

Gachoka feels that Ngilus decision to join any political party now, which has identified its presidential candidate, would be regarded as reactionary.

He says the situation Ngilu is in is unfortunate as she has played a significant role in “politics of liberation” and has contributed tremendously to the liberation of women.

Ngilu, he says, must join “forces of reform” to win against the “conservatives” before she becomes irrelevant.

“It is time for Ngilu to stand tall and cross the bridge,” he says.

He, however, told Ngilu to desist from advising Raila.

“We do not want anybody to play the role of a mediator. Raila is capable of doing that himself,” Gachoka said, in reference to reports that Ngilu was trying to mediate between Raila and Kalonzo for an alliance.

Ngilu has recently acquired the dubious title of “Madam Doublespeak” for her frequent contradictory statements where support for President Kibaki, ODM and ODM-Kenya are concerned.

Although she has declared she will vie for the presidency on a Narc ticket, she is yet to make public her campaign schedules.

On March 4, NPK mandated her to vie for the presidency, but with her apparent indecisiveness, few are taking her seriously.

There is little evidence on the ground to show NPK still has the structures that existed in 1997 when she vied for the presidency.

Narc is dead with her as the only MP. The party has never held a National Executive Committee meeting, if at all such a committee exists.

It is also yet to hold or announce plans to hold a National Delegates Conference under Ngilus chairmanship, if at all it has delegates, to chart out its political future.

The question is what Ngilu has that she can sell to Panu, ODM or ODM-Kenya to deserve a deal.

Critics see Ngilu with just a reputation of having been a formidable Ukambani politician who could keep Kalonzo in check.

Another reputation is her having made history by being the first woman to vie for president.

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

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Raila as president: Will he revenge if he gets the top job?

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Recently quoted by the Standard -Ke, “Raila sent a strong message to looters of public coffers: “Admit your past misdeeds, return the loot and you shall be forgiven.”

He further reiterated “those who forget or pretend to forget their past have a heavy price to pay”.)

Does this sound as total revenge directed to those who may have punished him earlier? Those who detained him, those who sacked him etc….

What is Raila saying in actual sense? The message to root corruption is well received and very necessary. To bring more development to the country is welcome. To continue free education is the best thing for Kenyans. And yet I smell foreign hands in Raila’s statements directed to looters of public funds and how punishment will be administered. The west has always stated that they want to punish Kenyan leaders – those who served in past and present government. Why is it that we have to listen to the westerners?

We all know that Moi government detained Raila and he has a right to be bitter for having lost many years of his middle-ageism in “Nyayo-safe-house-corridors”. As minister of Public Works and Roads under Kibaki, Raila brought down house build near the roads. This angered many and it must have angered Kibaki too. When he sacked Raila from his government, it was probably due to anger because many Kikuyu homes were pulled down along many Nairobi roads.

Raila has a right to get angry for the sacking from the government.

Now the question that many observers must be asking is the type of punishment Raila, if elected president, will give Moi and Kibaki. Uhuru Kenyatta may also become a target for punishment for leaving Raila camp. On arrival fromhis tour abroad Raila was angered by the new developments in the country and he came out clear in his messagesaying Moi having made public his support for Kibaki for president in the coming elections that theformer President Moi had effectively returned to State House.” adding “And the man who served as his Vice-President, Mwai Kibaki, who is now the constitutionally elected Head of State, is also in the same State House. Recently he has sadly been joined by Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.”

The difference between Raila and Moi is the fact that Moi has made up his mind that he will never work together with Raila and that the former president is convinced on what he believes is right for Kenya and the Kenyan people. Quoted by nation.ke when he announced his support for Kibaki, the former president made it clear:

Former President Daniel arap Moi addresses journalists at his Kabarak Gardens home in Nairobi where he announced he would support President Kibaki in the next General Election. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA

I am convinced that President Kibaki ought to be given a chance to complete the constitutionally-accepted two-term tenure, adding

My reason for this decision is that President Kibaki, by virtue of his office as Head of State and Government of Kenya, is a symbol of nationhood.

This indicates that Moi as an elder has no doubts in his mind. But the question now is what the Kenyan people want and especially the youth who may be crying for change. They are saying that the time for the old quard is over and that they should only serve as advisers when consulted and not otherwise.

Younger men like Uhuru Kenyatta who stood for presidency in the last general elections against Kibaki, managing to get votes that placed him as the opposition leader has disappointed many of his followers lately. As leader of the opposition, he has managed it well until lately when he has been accused of an act that no opposition leader in the whole world is epected to do: Jumping into the government and supporting a sitting president.

Many are now wondering whether Moi’s hand is in it – the long jump into the government, or whether it is entirely Uhuru’s own decision. Whatever the case may be, If Kibaki retains the presidency, it is clear that whoever ochestrated the jumb will ensure that Uhuru gets a good position in Kibaki’s cabinet. Indications has it that Uhuru will be rewarded with a ministerial appointment as the Minister for Local Government, a ministry he held during Moi days.

For Kibaki, it is very important to get votes from Western province. This problem can be solved by promising Musikari Kombo of Ford-K the vice presidency, away from his present position as minister for Local Government.

<Moody Awori (Ready to retire form active politics)

Kibaki does not have to worry about Moody Awori, the present vice president. He retires from active politics and gets appointed to head a parastatal body. He has been the strong man representing Luhya/Western province in Kibaki cabinet. He took over from his fellow western man Wamalwa Kijana. This is why it is easy for Kibaki to allocate that position to another western province man who comes in with his own party, Ford-K

Kalonzo Musyoka (Photograph below) has refused to support Kibaki. When ODM-K split into two, he took with him the ODM with”K” leaving Raila with ODM minus Kenya.

Kalonzo can only make an impact in this year’s presidential elections if he uses his righful senses in picking the right horse to ride on. His jumpy-jumpy attitude will not give him votes.

<(Kalonzo Right in the photo, his deputy Ojiambo in the middle)He either joins Kibaki’s PNU horse if he wants to be in the next government. Joining Raila’s ODM may give hima chance to get votes but not enough to give him the top job, because he will be joining Raila, a man who will not go for something smaller than the big job. Reliable source confirm that if Kalonzo backs Kibaki, he will be rewarded with an appointment as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, a docket he is well versed with.

He was joined by Julia Ojiambo, a woman with little impact in Western Kenya. She has always been in parliament as a nominated MP because of disability to win a seat – the Funyula that vice President Moody Awuori has always occupied.

Interestingly, the man in the center of the controversy, President Kibaki(Right photo) -(the controversy between Moi and Raila) is not saying much at the moment. Even his normally vocal wife – the first lady Lucy Kibaki has also decided to keep a low profile.

Published by Korir, Chief Editor, African Press International(API)/ African Press in Norway(APN) africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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Since and after the referendum Raila has run all his Presidential campaigns on an Anti Kikuyu platform

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Commentary:

Since and after the referendum Raila has run all his Presidential campaigns on an Anti Kikuyu platform. No matter how well disguised he tries to make it. That is the reality. Why did he feel he had to tell us his son was marrying a Kikuyu? What was the point?

We do not know or care to whom Kibaki’s sons and Daughters are married to. Be they married to tribalists or Racists persons, to us is not our matter. Somewill always try to show you he\she has friends of other tribes or skin colours. They know it’s a good camouflage for their true opposite feelings,…

Well it might get him to Statehouse, (key word here is might) he seems to know or assume the only way to wrestle power from the Kikuyus is to demonise them and pit the other tribes, including his against them, though he had no problem supporting Kibaki a while back, but we all know the rest.

He has gone around the country with that “Us versus them” mindset infecting everybody and anybody who’s willing, it’s very easy to convince that poor man\woman in Busia or Keroka,Kilgoris or Kibera that his or her life has taken that kind of a turn because of “them” and earn yourself some votes.

People nowadys hardly remember Moi was in power for 24 good years, and despite directing most of the country’s little remaining resources to Rift valley and looting, he never did much for this country. Oh! he named a couple of Streets and Institutions “Moi”, much good that did us: What has the current “Kikuyu” President tried to do in the last five stormy years? YES we all know the good, but some of us don’t want to accept it, because too much hate has been planted amongst us.

So for Raila’s case, it is not really a yearn for change nor for the good of the country, (come on, he’s been a leader all his life, does he have anything concrete to show in Kibera where he represents, or he has to be a President first), and if it means planting seeds of hate so be it.

This kind of leaders usually know if anything goes wrong and mwananchi’s blood flows you’ll look for them and their families to ask WHY and you won’t find them, anyway, I still think Kibaki is the right man to continue.

He has kept a cool head while all this has happened, not for his sake I believe, but for all our sake as a Nation. We are so lucky to have such a head of State. I look at Zimbambwe and I despair, knowing where the country was before, and what it is now, simply because they have a bad leader at the helm, giving them a new and different leader today, it will still take them years to rebuild.

I look at Kenya and smile with hope knowing where the country was before and where it is now and still heading,

VOTE WISELY and ensure Kibaki gets a second term to continue leading us into continued prosperity!

By Wei Wei

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Got red-handed: Former mayor’s daughter leaves Hydro job after tax scandal

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Former Oslo mayors daughter Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen Wednesday resigned as head of communications in the partly state owned company Norsk Hydro, after last months tax evasion scandal involving her and her father.

Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen left her job.

PHOTO: ANNE-STINE JOHNSBRTEN / SCANPIX

Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen has been on paid leave from her job since the tax scandal involving her and her father, former Oslo mayor Per Ditlev-Simonsen, was made public in August.

Both father and daughter admitted to having funds in a secret Swiss bank account that they never declared to the tax authorities in the 1990s. The scandal ultimately led to the mayor’s resignation ahead of the local election.

Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen leaves her job with a guaranteed income of NOK 2,55 millions (about USD 450,000) in the next year and a half.

“After her period of notice of six months, she will receive her salary for another 11 months,” a press release from Hydro stated.

Ditlev-Simonsen said in a press release that “her heart was still with Hydro,” but added that she found it difficult to continue in her position after it was known that she had failed to declare to the tax authorities the money, amounting to NOK 750,000 (about USD 130,000), she inherited from her late mother.

CEO of Hydro Eivind Reiten thanked Ditlev-Simonsen for the work she had done for the company.

“I am sorry about the situation, but I see that it would be difficult for Cecilie to continue in this position. I thank her for a communications job well done, and wish her all the luck in the future,” he said.

By Kristin Solberg

“Is it wise to reward a culprit – one who has admitted tax evation? One red-handedly got in a lie? Should she not be punished? Maybe not, because of her father’s connections as former mayor of Oslo. Then we say there is corruption in the third world and yet we are blind when the same happens right on our doorsteps, but of course, who bothers to bother the rich and the so-called advanced men and women in the industrialised nations. – API*APN editorial)

 

Lifted and Published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng

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Helping the rich in spending money: Fraudsters emptied bank accounts of wealthy Norwegians

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Armed with fake bank cards, fraudsters have emptied bank accounts of dozens of wealthy Norwegians. Eight people are now charged in connection with the fraud, but police think more people could be involved.

The fraudsters allegedly used computers to make fake bank cards. Using the bank cards as fake IDs, they allegedly convinced banks to withdraw money from bank accounts belonging to wealthy Norwegians, newspaper VG reported Wednesday. A total of NOK 8 million (about USD 1,4 million) was stolen from the 34 victims, mainly wealthy people.

“The criminal group has deliberate sought out wealthy victims,” police attorney Knut Horn in the Oslo police said.

Eight people have so far be been charged in connection with the fraud, but police believe that as many as 18 people could be members of the criminal group allegedly behind the fraud.

“This is an extensive case with principals who belong to a criminal network,” said police chief inspector Tommy Lien.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng

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Were drug addicts offered money to vote Labour in the recently completed local elections?

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Drug addicts in the town of Drammen say they were offered money or free kebabs to vote for the Labour Party in the local election last week.

Bent Sandberg was offered NOK 50 (about USD 9) to vote for the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) in the local election last week. He declined the bribe. “It is nasty to take advantage of societys weakest people. And to offer NOK 50 is scornful. But I know many people accepted the money,” he told local newspaper Drammens Tidende. Reports were also coming out Wednesday that some drug addicts had been offered free kebabs to vote Labour.

Else Marie Romset is one of the people who accepted money to go to the voting both. On her ballot, someone had already put a cross next to the name of local Labour politician Yousuf Gilani.

Gilani denied any knowledge about the alleged bribe, and told the local newspaper that he believed someone had planted the story to damage his reputation.

Local Labour Party leader Torgeir Micaelsen Wednesday called for an internal investigation in the party, and threatened to expel the person or persons who offered the bribe.

By Aftenposteneng

(If it is true that Romset accepted the money as she now admits, then she is encouraging bribery and corruption and the authorities should prosecute her for her part in the case. The local party leader states that he will expel those who may have offered the money. It is also correct if he can call for the prosecution of the receptients of the money- api*apn editorial)

 

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Soccer director indicted – A major development in soccer history of Norway smelling of Corruption?

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Morgan Andersen, former director of soccer club Lyn Oslo, was indicted Friday on charges he forged documents tied to the disputed transfer of promising young player John Obi Mikel.

 

Morgan Andersen, pictured here when he was still with Lyn, has been indicted in the dispute over young Nigerian player John Obi Mikel.

PHOTO: TOR RICHARDSEN / SCANPIX

Andersen, who now works for the Fredrikstad Football club south of Oslo, has repeatedly denied the charges against him. He faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

His case is unlikely to come up in court before next summer. Andersen’s defense lawyer, Cato Schitz, said he’d agreed with prosecutors that evidence needs to be collected in England, “and that takes time. Therefore, I don’t think the case will come up in court before June or July next year.”

Prosecutor Terje Nybe believes Andersen forged a contract with John Obi Mikel in 2005. The Nigerian player had been brought to Oslo to play for Lyn, which in turn wanted to trade him to Manchester United. The allegedly forged contract enabled the transfer to go through.

Obi Mikels agent, John Shittu, however, claimed he had a deal to transfer the player to Chelsea. That led to a massive conflict, that eventually ended in a settlement that allowed Mikel’s transfer to Chelsea.

Fredrikstad Football Club officials, meanwhile, say they’re standing behind Andersen, and Andersen thanked them through his attorney for expressions of support from both Fredrikstad’s board and the team’s fans.

“They view (Morgan Andersen) as innocent until proven guilty,” said Schitz.

By Nina Berglund

Obi Mikel, The man surrounded by caused controversy, at the time he was hiding in a hotel room in Oslo, while Morgan Andersen and Lyn were looking for him – API*APN.

 

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Defending ‘untouchables’ wins them this year’s Rafto Prize

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

An organization dedicated to challenging India’s caste system and helping the country’s so-called “untouchables” won this year’s Rafto Prize in Bergen.

The National Campaign on Dalit Human Right (NCDHR) won the prize for its work against discrimination of the “untouchables,” more respectfully called Dalits.

The Rafto Foundation cited the group’s “brave struggle to promote Dalit rights, and for its efforts to emphasise that the discrimination and oppression resulting from caste prejudice is a serious violation of international human rights.”

Arne Liljedahl Lynngrd, chairman of the Rafto Foundation, said he hoped the prize would help publicize the work of NCDHR and highlight the human rights problems tied to the caste system.

NCDHR demands “freedom from cast bondage” for the 260 million Dalits of Asia. NCDHR officials say they’re part of a wider struggle to abolish “untouchability.” Caste discrimination continues to be a “brutal reality,” the organization claims, for more than 160 million Dalits living in India today.

On the very day the Rafto prize was announced, the secretary general of NCDHR was on his way to Bihar, India, where 10 persons who’d been thrown out of their caste were massacred a few days ago.

“This happens again and again,” said Rikke Nhrlind of the International Dalit Solidarity Network. “Police don’t manage to protect the Dalits.”

She was in Bergen when the Rafto prize was announced. The prize, an annual human rights prize awarded in memory of Norwegian Professor Thorolf Rafto, will be formally awarded November 4 at the National Theatre in Bergen.

Several previous winners have also won the Nobel Peace Prize, including Shirin Ebadi of Iran and Kim Dae-jung of South Korea.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no source.aftenposteneng.

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Haga takes over as Norway’s new oil and energy minister – a major change

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

Odd Roger Enoksen (left)is leaving the government, and was replaced by slaug Haga as oil and energy minister. Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa (right) took over Haga’s current job as minister for local governments.

PHOTO: KNUT FALCH/SCANPIX

slaug Haga, a former diplomat who heads Norway’s rural-friendly Center Party, took over Friday as the country’s new minister for oil and energy. She replaces Odd Roger Enoksen, from the same party.

slaug Haga has long cultivated a “green” image.

PHOTO: TERJE BENDIKSBY / SCANPIX

Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa currently heads the Center Party’s members of parliament and will take over responsibility for local governments as kommunal minister.

PHOTO: SCANPIX

Haga most recently has been the cabinet minister in charge of Norway’s townships, and is one of the three leaders of the country’s center-left government coalition.

Now she’s poised to take on an even more demanding ministry in a country fuelled by its oil and gas revenues, but where environmental issues are important. The government has been criticized for failing to follow through on lofty environmental promises made after the 2005 elections, and Haga will be charged with trying to lift the government’s environmental image.

Her appointment comes just as Statoil is taking over the oil and gas operations of industrial firm Norsk Hydro, and environmentalists expect that she will play a tougher role in overseeing the state-controlled Statoil’s activities.

Aftenposten reported that Haga will concentrate on bioenergy and combine that with her party’s constant campaign to direct funding and create jobs in Norway’s outlying districts. A major goal will be to step up development of renewable energy sources.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that Enoksen left because the post was too demanding to combine with his family life. He’s also been criticized, however, for failure to focus on renewable energy sources and for not playing a stronger role in Statoil’s looming takeover of Norsk Hydro’s oil and gas operations.

Frustration may have played a role as well. Opposition politicians were quick to point out that Enoksen has repeatedly been “stabbed in the back” by government colleagues when he’d tried to assert his positions. The prime minister’s office reported Friday morning that Enoksen himself decided to resign.

As part of bringing a stronger environmental focus to the oil and energy ministry, Haga is also expected to devote attention to carbon dioxide emission recapture. That was one of the promises made when the center-left government coalition was formed two years ago but put off when Statoil objected to immediate recapture at its proposed gas-fired Mongstad plant.

Center Party veteran Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa, now a member of parliament, took over Haga’s ministerial role. Kleppa was earlier a minister for health and social issues during the center-right government coalition headed by Kjell Magne Bondevik from 1997 to 2000.

The government ministerial changes were confirmed at the weekly Council of State session at the Royal Palace late Friday morning.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng.ntb

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

 
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