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Archive for September 27th, 2007

Kenya, Ghana top reformers – World bank applouds the two countries

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

By Alari Alare

Kenya is among the worlds top business reformers, with Mauritius being Africas easiest place to do business, according to a World Bank report.

Together with Ghana, Kenya is ranked among the top 10 reformers worldwide this year, due to significant advance in the aggregate ease of doing business rankings amongst countries in Africa.

Mauritius, with six reforms, tops the rankings in Africa on the ease of doing business and places 27th in the global rankings. Burkina Faso and Mozambique continue to become more business-friendly.

The report, “Doing Business 2008” issued by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) mostly assesses legal changes aimed at making it simpler to start a business, gain access to credit, and ease tax burdens.

It is the fifth in an annual series. In 2006/07, 24 African countries implemented 49 reforms.

In the regional rankings on the pace of reform, however Africa fell from third place to fifth, overtaken by South Asia and by the Middle East and North Africa.

The top 10 reformers globally including the two in Africa are, in order, Egypt, Croatia, Ghana, Macedonia, Georgia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, China, and Bulgaria.

Other 11 countries, including three in Africa, had three or more reforms: Armenia, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritius, Mozambique, Portugal, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan.

Reformers made it simpler to start a business, strengthened property rights, enhanced investor protections, increased access to credit, eased tax burdens, and expedited trade while reducing costs. Worldwide, 200 reformsin 98 economieswere introduced between April last year and June this year.

Kenya launched an ambitious licensing reform program, eliminating 110 business licenses and simplifying eight others. The changes have streamlined business start-ups and cut both the time and cost of getting building permits.

The program will eventually eliminate or simplify at least 900 more of the countrys 1,300 licenses. Property registration is also faster now, thanks to the introduction of competition among land valuers. The countrys private credit bureau now collects a wider range of data.

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

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Kibaki headed for victory to regain the second term – Panu becomes PNU, parties agree to agree

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

The agreement by PNU parties makes it possible for president Kibaki to get back to State House after December elections if the parties manage to hold on and avoid a split when electioneering starts – API*APN editorial

Story by PATRICK NZIOKA
Publication Date: 9/27/2007

The Party of National Unity seems headed for a major breakthrough after one of the key partners, Ford Kenya, reversed its position and said it would support joint parliamentary and civic nominations.

Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa addresses a press conference after a meeting by members of the PNU at Lenana House in Nairobi yesterday. The alliance backing President Kibakis re-election appeared to be headed for a major breakthrough after key partners struck an agreement on their campaign strategy. Photo/STEPHEN MUDIARI

kibaki_0709076.jpg<President Kibaki.

The alliance had been rocked by disputes between the 18 member-parties over the mode of nominations since it was unveiled as President Kibakis re-election vehicle on September 16.

Ford Kenya chairman Musikari Kombo yesterday announced that the party had settled for joint nominations. It said any method which would make PNU candidates compete against each other was suicidal. Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa said all partner parties will be holding their delegates conferences where they are expected to take a stand on the nomination issue.

A common stand will later be taken after wide consultations.

Kanu and Ford People will hold their meetings on Saturday and Friday respectively. And as preparations for Sundays launch of the Presidents re-election campaign proceeded at the Nyayo Stadium, PNU also unveiled a 29-member team of politicians who will spearhead the campaigns.

The Nation also learnt that agreement had been reached on the party symbol and colours. The symbol will be two flaming torches while the party flag will be blue, red and white.

Another sticky issue was resolved after it was agreed that a team of politicians will take the front-line in President Kibakis campaigns, relegating the team of professionals and technocrats under Mr Lee Karuri to play a supportive role.

The team dubbed PNU preparatory team consists of 16 ministers as well as representatives from all regions except Nairobi.

It will be chaired by President Kibaki himself while Vice-President Moody Awori is a member.

Conspicuously missing from the list was Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi, also the Narc-Kenya secretary-general. There was also no representative from the smaller parties.

Their teams first assignment will be to organise the launch of President Kibakis campaign on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Move to all regions

The campaign will then move to all regions of the country with representatives form the respective areas expected to take charge.

The names were unveiled at a press conference at the campaign secretariat on Lenana Road in Nairobi. The meeting was attended by majority of the ministers.

Mr Kirwa read the statement on behalf of his colleagues who held a meeting at the venue before the names were disclosed. He said the team had been set up after consultations between the President and the parties that make up PNU.

The party will also be abbreviated to PNU and not Panu. The name Panu was given by the chairman of the partys coordinating committee, Dr Noah Wekesa, a day after the party was launched on September 16.

Mr Kirwa said the team of technocrats who seemed to have taken over the Presidents campaign will now support the political team.

Other teams in the campaign will provide logistical support to the political wing. We are working together as a team, he said.

Details on responsibilities of the members of the team will be announced after the parties that make PNU deliberate on the matter.

Mr Kirwa said the parties are united in their support for the Presidents re-election out of their conviction that there is unity in diversity.

He said Kenyas future was safe with President Kibaki because he would consolidate the gains made in expanding the democratic space, economy, education, infrastructure and health sectors as well as in job creation as a result of starting new industries.

On the mode of nominating candidates for parliamentary seats, Mr Kirwa said all the parties will be holding their national delegates conferences where they are expected to take a stand on the matter.

Ford Kenya has already rooted for joint nominations.

In addition to Mr Awori and Mr Kirwa, ministers in the 29-member team include Simeon Nyachae, Raphael Tuju, Musikari Kombo, Joseph Munyao and Ali Mwakwere among other ministers, assistant ministers and MPs from various regions.

Also in the list is Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta and several Kanu MPs.

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

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Unfairness! Do we really want to know?

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

vicky1.jpgUnfairness. Think about it. What is it really? You compare the word to something you feel is wrong. Unfair is when something is not right. When something is the opposite of right, but yet it isstill not the same as something wrong. You may think what you just read sounded weird, but it is hard to explain and relate the word to just one thing, because people use it in the wrong content all the time. Some would say it is unfair not getting a boyfriend, not winning a simple game or not having the most expensive new thing. Maybe it IS just that for some people, but do you not think we abuse the word unfair?

Do we really know what it means, or have we forgotten the true meaning behind the word? Have we forgotten what TRUE unfairness really is?Some countries are poor and here we are living in Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, and we are acting like we know how it is being poor. You may wonder how it is that some countries are poor while others are rich. We live in our rich countries and we keep looking out to the rest of the world not really knowing what to do or how to help them.

We have countries on the other side of the world that are struggling andspending everyday living a lifenot knowing what tomorrow will bring them. There are many poor continents in the world and Africa is one of them. Africa is part of the third world, a part of the world that has people suffering in their day to day lives. Is it then not a bit strange that they are the ones paying to go to school, paying for their future and their lives? I hear people complainabout how it is not fair that we have to go to school every single day and about how boring it is. And okay, I am not going to lie about this because I have done it myself fromtime to another. People complain everyday about what they ate the day before, that it was not like they expected or that it did not satisfy there needs.

I always say to myself: What about those who do not get any food at all, those who would rather eat the crumbs left, then end up getting nothing at all? What about those people, those families? There is often little, and sometimes no food at all in the under developed countries, and in the newly industrialized countries there is just enough, while in the industrialized countries like Norway, the country that I live in, there is always enough. And even though we are well in this way,we still do not make it our job to make sure the necessary changes they need gets done, but we just continue living our lives saying there is nothing more we can do.

Now I will ask you. Do you believe there is a link between unfairness and voracity? You may not feel so, but I think that we would not have poor countries if we did not have wealthy ones. We all know there are human beings, people just like you and me living in drought, starvation, hunger, war and distress. We say we are helping them as much aswe can, but we are being greedy making the choice of putting ourselves first.

Put into facts, over a fifth of the worlds population are so poor that they experience everyday as a struggle for life. Their own life and of the ones they love! Poverty is the biggest problem in the world today. There are different kinds of poverty. A country could be rich on resources and still most of the population in that same country could be poor. One more problem with poverty is that it is affecting the childrens future. Poverty is the main reason the childrens rights are being violated. They have bad offers within both health and education. Most of them work in agricultural fields as labourers because of lack of opportunities,but could have the mind and talent to become a great doctor. Does it not then feel wrong to know that they do not get the same possibilities as we do?

As we all know the under developed countries get their main help from the United Nations. Their job is to make better the living standards for the people and uplift their status. The problem occurs because most of the countries are already having huge debts. The debts stand in the way for further development. But should that interfere with our initiatives to try all we can to help them. Wouldnt that be fair to them if we helped as we could? I can repeat day in and day out and tell you what is right, what we should do, what we need to do and still nothing may change. But my goal and our goal should be to contribute to making a better day, future and life for these unfortunate people living there lives in those countries.

Being fifteen year old girl, I have noticed children who think having parents is an obvious thing, not knowing that almost half of the children in the world are homeless, lonely and some livinglike orphans. Now if you are living your life in peace and you have it quite good, all I am going to tell you is that you have to appreciate what you have. Appreciate your family, that you can read and write,that you have got friends, that you have the possibility to go to school, that you have your rights, that you havefreedom, that you havea safe and good life, including many other opportunities lined up infront of you.

As you enjoy the opportunities and priviledges lined up before you, remember that some do not have anything at all, and that is what unfairness really is all about!!

By Victoria Korir – 15 years old (Torstad School, 10th grade)

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Uganda: Did Britain use diseases to annihilate Bunyoro?

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Ham Mukasa
www.hammukasafoundation.com
www.nordicrorlegger.no

Britain ‘used’ diseases to annihilate Bunyoro – evidence
historical perspective.

In the third part of Bunyoro series, Angelo Izama writes about a hate-hate relationship that existed between colonial Britain and Bunyoro Kingdom. A Munyakole businessman married into one of the prominent families in Bunyoro was told by his father in-law that not far beneath, the soft dark soil that makes up his estate, bones of his forebears could be found.

The bones, like the discovery of a faded black and white picture in a dusty suitcase, reminds Banyoro of the dark days when in facing the might of British Imperial conquest, the entire population was brought to his knees, early automatic rifles and sorties filling their proud hills with human bones.

BUNYORO KING: Iguru
Today, British companies are gearing to dig deep into the belly of Bunyoro for oil, no doubt by a twist of history, unearthing the frustration of one of Uganda’s poorest regions.

Two million people died, says Henry Ford Mirima, the spokesman of Bunyoro Kingdom, now a cultural institution with no real political powers.

By some counts, the population declined to just a quarter of its strength before the “great war” between 1893 and 1899.

In his work on why Bunyoro never recovered from the brutality of the conquest unlike other societies brutalised by imperialism, Shane Doyle of the University of Leeds writes that even after the war, Banyoro faced an “antagonistic colonial state”.

The colonial government, he says, was guilty of ignoring the Banyoro. The result is that unlike any other area in the land Sir Winston Churchil [former British Prime Minister] described as the “Pearl of Africa”, Bunyoro was plagued by famine and diseases, most notably syphilis, and sleeping sickness.

Cattle, once the mainstay of Bunyoro’s economy died in such numbers that only the old men around its scattered villages today, who mumble terrible curses against the British, recall a time when herds roamed the kingdom.

According to Doyle, the British, perhaps because of a hate-hate
relationship with Bunyoro, “mis-managed” the emerging social crisis. Colonial authorities, he says, unbothered, prescribed the wrong answers to Bunyoro’s problems including an allegation that the Banyoro were promiscuous to explain the preponderance of syphilis in the region.

Long before Uganda, now famous for its “home grown” ABC response to the deadly disease of HIV/Aids, advocated personal sexual discipline, abstinence being preferred as well as being faithful and condom use, the British establishment funded a “morality campaign” in Bunyoro in response to the syphilis problem there. Based on a view pioneered by one Dr Albert
Cook that venereal diseases needed a moral response, colonial authorities spent money on a “social purity campaign”.

Doyle faults the subsequent medical response as prejudiced by Mr Cook’s missionary views, a dominant view then with European elites that “an immense majority of (Africans) had fallen ill through immorality”. In any case, Doyle argues this morality stuff was a part of the half-hearted menu of solutions to the disease and child-mother mortality in Bunyoro.

However, disease following the conquest of Bunyoro was just one of the signs of the decay of that society. Colonial authorities recorded low birth rates and noted that the Banyoro did not respond well to the cash crops pushed on the population which continued to remain hostile.

When sleeping sickness struck in around 1906, the governor Sir Hesketh Bell, approved forceful removal of Banyoro from their lands, a move some scholars say was for “political” rather than medical reasons.

“Many thousands were removed from northern Bunyoro, forcing the abandonment of fishing grounds, fertile land, cultivated gardens, and the benefits of local knowledge of a vast area,” writes Doyle.

These interruptions, he says, upset the social and ecological balance, pushing Bunyoro now fragile from the war period down the slippery slope to a grave-filled social collapse. The colonial state, Doyle concludes, was unable or unwilling to respond to the social crisis that became Bunyoro. Doyle is one of the scholars whose work forms part of the argument being
made by the royal Babito household of Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru that British authorities should apologise for their actions.

Despite the public statements by the Kingdom, and two planned lawsuits including a claim for reparations, the British have kept quiet and the Queen is still expected for the Commonwealth summit that Uganda will host in November. The silence of Britain in Uganda for its actions in the past is, however, undone by the loud concern of London for the goings on in Zimbabwe where Number 10 Downing Street is leading a call for sanctions.

A social crisis is unfolding in Zimbabwe, a former British colony, and Her Majesty’s government is again taking a moral high ground blaming the government of President Robert Mugabe for ruining the economy.

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will not attend a Europe Africa summit if Mugabe is allowed to attend. There is some hypocrisy and duplicity here, which is true about the colonial and post colonial experience of Africa that is not found easily in the books that educate the continents young.

Britain will not apologise for its role in Bunyoro or for slavery, it will not acknowledge its behaviour is part of the continuum of a history of decline in Bunyoro and elsewhere. British public opinion remains convinced of the morality of the actions of the Crown and Queen Elizabeth, if she comes to Uganda, will probably be received as if Bunyoro and Zimbabwe did not happen. Indeed John Sentamu, the Bishop of York, said, “Britain needs to escape from its colonial guilt when it comes to Zimbabwe.”

If post colonial Britain ignored Bunyoro, modern Britain has shrugged off Zimbabwe. Both Britains targeted these societies with hostility. The Banyoro have not forgiven colonial Britain and demand an apology while the rest of Africa looks on at London’s prancing around Mugabe.

And remember that in truth, it is the white farmers and British companies on whose behalf Gordon Brown’s government acts and not the faceless masses in Zimbabwe, which like Banyoro, have gone without apology for what Professor Ali Mazrui, lecturing on reparations, calls the “bondage of history”.
The bone filled hills of Bunyoro will not rest easy.

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KENYAN PRESIDENT NEED TO SPRUCE UP HIS CAMPAIGN!

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

kibaki-campaign.jpgPresident Kibaki – right photo – is seeking re-election for a second term in office on a platform of a conglomeration of parties operating under an umbrella called Party of national Unity. However since the Sunday declaration of his party of choice few weeks ago, the party seems not to have gotten its footing right what with the incessant fighting and quarrel’s amongst the coalescing parties and others like Democratic Party (DP) who should naturally feel part of the coalition.

The import of all this is that sitting MP’s would as much wish to have an easy path back to parliament especially riding on the phenomenon of euphoria witnessed in recent past general election. At the same time the entrenched interests who would want to control the re-election campaigns are also leading the messy like circus that has caused jitters across part of the voting spectrum.

Kibaki can count himself popular but may need to do more on the campaign front. That is not in doubt, what with several tangible achievements and reforms accomplished under his leadership during his first term in office as president. But his team does look as if in disarray something he would probably have to forcibly put in order.

As this is happening the ODM brigade led by Raila Amolo Odinga the seemingly de-facto opposition leader during Kibaki’s first term in office look to be make a good match. To match Raila’s campaign strategies, euphoric charismatic and highly charged and energized campaign, would require more creativity. It is no doubt as at now that Kibaki and Raila are the front runners in the race.

The few months remaining will require a lot of more input from the two leading contenders and also not to fully rule out Kalonzo who may opt to enter into coalition with any of the two. All said and hopefully we are in for a very charged hot political campaigns but hopefully
peaceful.
ikunda4.jpgBy our correspondent, Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,
P.O. Box 51806,
NAIROBI
KENYA.

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Petition to all ECOWA members

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

This is an official petition to all ECOWAS members Presidents and their Executives-on behalf of West African middle-class crumbling in Diaspora!

They can be found in various modern-day cotton fields, aiding and abating capitalisms schemes. They are youth and young adults who form a bloc of your able-bodies; they are straight A students in their respective schools, and they are perceived as the most resourceful and dedicated workers in their various places of employment. Most of them boast Maters and Doctorate degrees in their fields of specialization.

You would find some in the red-zones of North America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world with a semblance of development-fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat. Some have devised a means to maintain good credit and engage in meaningful businesses, such as cab driving, African-style boutiques, restaurants and mom and pop shops. Some have forfeited their precious lives to nonentities who claim to be indigenes of the lands they live in. Some are victims of immigration policies that require them to exist in vacuums and utter apprehension of their surroundings and friends.

But most importantly, they are all scared to return home because their leaders (at home) have a history of unscrupulousness and masses abandonment. These bona-fide West Africans are caged in the wilderness, and they are imploring you to hurry up and post their bails

A. Uzor Ogbue, Founder/CEO, Africa Uzor Foundation (A voice in the wilderness) September 25, 2007

Please forward this e-mail to “conscious” Africans!

Happy Independence Day to Nigerians all over the world…

AUO

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ODM rally planned for Saturday hits the rocks – Cancelled due to security threat

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Story by DAVE OPIYO and LUCAS BARASA

ODM activist Tony Gachoka displays copies of documents which the party had recieved in connection with the Saturday rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi. Yesterday, the police said they had cancelled the rally because the venue had been booked by another party. President Kibaki is expected to launch his re-election campaign in Nairobi on Sunday.
Photo/WILLIAM OERI

Police have cancelled the ODM rally scheduled for Saturday on grounds that Uhuru Park was already booked for two days.

But ODM officials protested the move and insisted that the Nairobi rally would go on since President Kibakis campaign launch was scheduled for Sunday, a day after their rally.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said they had evaluated the security situation among other factors and decided that the ODM rally would not take place a day before the presidential function.

He said: Police have evaluated other factors and decided it should not take place for security reasons. The venue had been booked because the President said he would be launching his campaign on Saturday.

Booked by group

ODM officials were also informed that the venue had been booked by another group.

But ODM secretary-general Anyang Nyongo and Eldoret North MP William Ruto argued that meetings of similar magnitude have taken place in Nairobi on the same day within a few kilometres of each other.

Mr Ruto, a member of the partys top grouping, the Pentagon, told police to keep out of politics, saying, they should not be taking sides.

He said police were only supposed to provide security during rallies and not issue permits or cancel any meeting.

Whoever says he has cancelled the rally does not understand the law. We are not supposed to get any permit. What we need is to notify police of our rally, he said. Mr Ruto read mischief in the cancellation, saying, even during referendum campaigns, two parallel rallies were held in Nairobi at Uhuru Park and at Nyayo Stadium.

Coming after he and MP Omingo Magara were injured and ejected from a rally in Kisii, Mr Ruto said the cancellation would send wrong signals in the country.

Prof Nyongo vowed that ODM would continue withthe rally as planned.

Speaking to the Nation on phone, Prof Nyongo said police had already licensed the rally, and that the reasons given for cancellation were invalid.

There will be no problem because the President will be having his a day after. Police had already given us a licence. We were to hold ours on Sunday, but police said President Kibaki will do his the same day. That is when we switched to Saturday, Prof Nyongo said.

The Kisumu Rural MP dismissed police explanations that the rally was cancelled for security reasons, asking: Why should the President fear his own people?

Hidden agenda

The secretary-general accused the Government of panicking and having hidden agenda. He asked if people would be barred from eating at a hotel in Nairobi if the President will be at the venue the following day.

In the past, Prof Nyongo said, many meetings were presided over by the President just hours or a day after Opposition held theirs at the same venue and never raised any eyebrows.

The Saturday ODM rally is a culmination of a three-day tour of Western, Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces by the party leaders after the September 1 presidential nominations. The tour started last Saturday following the return from a visit to US of Langata MP Raila Odinga the partys presidential candidate.

Police had said in a statement that the rally, which had been slated for this Saturday had not been approved as the venue had been booked for two days by another political party.

We have received two notices from the Government one giving us the approval to hold our rally and another cancelling it the same day as another political group had been granted the permission to hold their activities at the venue, said party activist Tony Gachoka.

Mr Gachoka showed the Nation copies of the letter from the City Council dated September 25, 2007, granting them authority to use the park.

The letter signed by Mr B. K. Njenga for the councils Director of Environment read in part: Authority is hereby granted to you to use Uhuru park grounds for your public rally on September 29 subject to the following conditions:-

–That the party pay a rental fee of Sh40,000 and a refundable deposit of Sh14,000;

–That erection of structures of any kind including a podium, tent or banners within the park shall attract separate charges and specific authority shall be sought;

–That the party obtain payment vouchers from the Parks superintendents office at City Park and make required payments at the City Hall.

The letter, however, adds that in the event of greater priority schedules for the venue on the same day, the convenors shall be informed soonest possible to make alternative arrangements.

Complied with conditions

Mr Gachoka said they complied with all of the conditions set by the council to secure the venue.

We have paid the fees as required, and even notified the police in advance to provide us with security during that day, but the Government appears to have panicked. They are now using arm-twisting tactics to frustrate our efforts. We shall not be cowed.

Yesterday, preparations were going on at Nyayo Stadium where the Presidents meeting is scheduled for Sunday.

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

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Kenya ranks 15th out of 48 countries – In good governance: A plus for Kibaki government

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Kenya has been ranked 15th out of 48 countries on good governance and economic management in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to a research by the Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University and a think-tank comprising leading African academicians, Kenya scores an overall index of 59.3, 26.9 points less than the best country.

The research used the Ibrahim Index of governance indicator to rank the 48 countries. It was funded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was founded by Dr Mohammed (Mo) Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born entrepreneur and founder of Celtel mobile phone company.

Baseline data

According to the foundation, the 2007 index used the 2005 data as the baseline data for all the countries studied. The study ranks Mauritius as the best governed country in sub-Saharan Africa, recording the highest score of 86.2, followed by the Seychelles (83.1). Botswana comes in third with a score of 73, Cape Verde fourth with 72.9 and South Africa filling the last slot in the top five category with 71.1.

To come up with the overall scores, the index measured the five pillars of good governance, namely safety and security, rule of law transparency and corruption, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

Mauritius scored highly in virtually all the five pillars measured, scoring highest in safety and security (91.7), rule of law transparency and corruption (85.2), participation and human rights (88.7), sustainable economic opportunity (75.5) and human development (90).

Kenya, on the other hand, registered top marks in participation and human rights (64.1), human development (63.8), safety and security (62.9), rule of law transparency and corruption (57.9) and sustainable economic opportunity (47.9).

Economic opportunity

Completing the top 10 are Gabon (67.4), Namibia (67), Ghana (66.8), Senegal (66) and Sao Tome and Principe (65.3). Among the East African Community member states, Tanzania ranks as the best governed country with an overall score of 60.7, followed by Kenya (59.3), Rwanda (57.5), Uganda (55.4) and Burundi (46.8).

The worst country in terms of quality of governance is Somalia, with the lowest score of 28.1, followed by the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (38.6), Chad (38.8), Sudan (40) and Guinea-Bissau (42.7).

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Ethiopia foreign minister sends first ever letter to Eritrean counterpart

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Seyoum Mesfin on Tuesday transmitted the first ever letter to his Eritrean counterpart notifying Eritrea of its material breaches of the Algiers Agreements.

Ethiopias entitlement to invoke the breaches is a ground for considering legal and peaceful options, a foreign ministry statement said.

The ministry said that legal and peaceful options may include terminating the Agreements or suspending their operation in whole or in part.

The two countries signed the Algers agrement three years ago to end their border conflict peacefully and after which the UN deployed its peacekeeping forces.

Mesfin also transmitted a copy of Ethiopias Notification to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General, and to other Witnesses of the Algiers Agreements including the AU, the foreign ministry of Algeria and the US State Department.

In his letter to the above, Seyoum explained that the notification is a formal legal measure with a specific purpose of putting Eritrea on notice that unless Eritrea returns into compliance with the agreements, its material breach would force Ethiopia to consider its peaceful and legal options under international law.”

Despite Ethiopias scrupulous observance of its obligations under the Agreements and in particular, despite Ethiopias readiness to demarcate the boundary on the basis of the delimitation decision of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Boundary Commission (EEBC), Eritrea has shown no willingness to be in the compliance with the Algiers Agreements, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign affairs said.

Ethiopia is still calling for dialogue to solve the border dispute while Eritrea refused any dialogue with Ethiopia unless the border demarcated physicaly as it was decided four years ago by the The Hague based Ethiopian and Eritrean Boundary Commission(EEBC).

Ethiopia is saying that the commission did a mistake, and awarded Ethiopian town ,Badme to Eritrea.

The Ministry also said Eritrea has made repeated public threats against Ethiopia and imposed severe restrictions on United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) besides coordinating the activities of “terrorist groups” to destabilize the region.

For all these compelling reasons, the statement said, it has become imperative that Ethiopia reminds Eritrea of its responsibilities under the Algiers Agreements.

“Seyoum also transmitted to the parties above, a detailed explanation underling Ethiopias commitment to peace resolution of disputes and its willingness to engage Eritrea in sincere, good faith discussions, the ministry added.

The two countries launched a border war in 1998 and during which over 70,000 soldiers were died from the two sides.

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Senegal: Home minister urges African countries “not to harbour terrorism”

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) Senegals Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom Tuesday urged African countries not “to provide a safe haven to terrorism” at the opening of a three-day sub-regional conference organised for 23 west and central African countries.

“We should not provide a safe haven to any form of terrorism,” Ngom said.

Ngom noted that all efforts will be necessary to pursue and fight terrorism just as cross-border criminal networks, suspicious NGOs and dodgy organisations which interconnection makes more difficult the assessment of the terrorist threat.

“Senegal changed its criminal code and procedures to deal ruthlessly with all forms of terrorism,” the Senegalese minister recalled.

“We are combating a fearful enemy: terrorism; the fight must neither be individual nor national nor continental but global,” he added, adding that his country already signed about 12 anti-terrorism agreements while four others are being examined.

The deputy representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) West and Central Africa regional Bureau, Amado Philip de Andres, called on each participant “to return home with a clear idea about the expectations of the UN Security Council on anti-terrorism, implementing sanctions against Al-Qaeda and the Talibans as well as preventing the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and follow-up these expectations”.

The UNODC Terrorism prevention Department meeting organised in conjunction with the experts of the three UN Security Council committees on anti-terrorism, seeks to build the countries capacities in preparing their reports to the three UN antiterrorist committees mainly by stressing the progress but also the challenges to be met.

Published by Korir, API*APN source.apa

 

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Provisional results favour ruling party in Malagasy legislative polls

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Antananarivo (Madagascar) The unofficial provisional results of the Sunday early legislative polls in Madagascar are continuing to drop at the home affairs ministry, contrary to the announcement made by the authorities that they planned to carry out quick compilation and publication of reports.

More than 48 hours after the closure of the polling centres on Sunday evening, only the county towns of former provinces conveyed all their provisional results at the home affairs ministry for compilation.

In Antananarivo, the capital, the 12 candidates of the ruling party (Tiako i Madagasikara – I Love Madagascar) including four serving ministers, swept the 12 coveted seats.

In Diego-Suarez (1,300km north), the TIM candidate also topped his challengers with 74 percent of the votes. That performance was predictable because the voting papers of the three other contenders were absent from the polling stations on Election Day. Thus, the electorate had no alternative.

In Mahajanga (800km north-west), the great surprise stems from Hary Kalizy, a famous local journalist who outperformed the ruling partys candidate with 40.75 percent of the votes.

In Toamasina (320km east), the outgoing President Marc Ravalomanana managed to take up his challenge of taking this landmark political stronghold off former President Ratsirakas party.

Thus, Botozaza Pierrot, general manager of the ports authority and TIM candidate won with 44.45 percent of the votes.

The senior minister, Yvan Randriasandratriniony of TIM, won the region of Fianarantsoa (800km south) with 37.70 percent.

In Toliara (1,100km south-west), the mainstream party nearly lost the lead as its candidate, Mana Florent Parfait, narrowly outran his challenger Dimby Benaria, the outgoing MP and TIM supporter.

However, Benaria stood as an independent candidate, picking 31.29 percent against 29 percent.

For the outgoing national assembly speaker, Mahafaritsy Samuel, no result was so far displayed at the home affairs ministry.

However, according to APA interviews, he managed to win his electoral stronghold of Toliara.

For the former Prime Minister, Jacques Sylla, as well, no result was shown for his electoral district of Sainte-Marie Island (900km east). However, APA on Tuesday around midday disclosed that he won this region with 63.20 percent.

The health minister, Jean-Louis Robinson outvoted his two other counterparts with 81.49 percent according to the provisional results so far compiled on Tuesday around 6pm in 99 out of the 183 polling stations in the district of Amparafaravola, ( 750 km east of the capital).

The agriculture vice-minister, Harifidy Ramilison, may embody the single disappointment of Ravalomananas regime because he obtained only 27.43 percent of the votes, according to the data gathered on Tuesday by APA in Fort-Dauphin (1,800 km southeast).

The environment minister, Koto Bernard may outrival his two counterparts that ran for these legislative polls as regards the provisional results received on Tuesday by APA around 6pm. So far, on late Tuesday, there was no result displayed on Bernards table

Published by Korir, API*APN source.apa

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UN Security Council endorses resolution for peacekeepers for Chad, CAR

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2007

Washington DC-(USA) The United Nations Security Council Tuesday unanimously passed a French resolution endorsing sending a European Union-UN force to Chad and the Central African Republic to protect civilians reeling from a spill over of the Darfur conflict.

The resolution was adopted by the councils 15 members, hours before French President Nicolas Sarkozy was to open a rare Security Council summit on African conflicts on the sidelines of the current UN General Assembly session.

The resolution approves the establishment in the two former French colonies, for a period of one year, of a UN “multidimensional presence intended to help create the security conditions conducive to a voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons.”

Under the proposed resolution, 300 UN policemen would be tasked with monitoring camps for Darfur refugees and internally displaced people, which number respectively 236,000 and 173,000 in Chad alone, according to the UN. The UN police officers would be protected by 3,000 European troops, mostly French, under a British general.

Humanitarian groups have been lobbying for urgent protection for refugees and internally displaced people in Darfur and eastern Chad, especially women who are the target of rampant sexual violence.

Non-governmental organizations have generally applauded Frances efforts to get the humanitarian mission to Chad and CAR under way. But some suspect France of having a hidden agenda in the deployment to its two impoverished former colonies.

During the council debate as well as during the General Assembly session this week, world leaders are likely to urge a speedy deployment of the 26,000-strong UN-African Union (AU) force to take over peacekeeping in Sudans war-ravaged Darfur region from the 7,000 ill-equipped AU troops.

The council is also likely to address the challenge of preventing countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone or Liberia, which recently emerged from devastating civil wars from relapsing into conflict.

Participants are also to examine the linkages between African conflicts and a variety of threats such as global warming, drug and arms trafficking, illegal exploitation of resources, terrorism and uncontrolled migration.

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

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