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Archive for October, 2007

JOINT SUMMIT OF EAC, COMESA IS PLANNED IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg< By our correspondent Leo Odera Omolo

 

31/10/07 API/APN in Kisumu, Kenya: Leaders of the East African Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are planning a summit that will lay the foundation of co-operation between the two regional economic blocs.

The planned summit is also supported by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). This was recently disclosed by COMESA Secretary General Erustus Mwencha, who said the summit participants will discuss ways of co-operation and possible rationalization of the regional economic bloc.

Mr. Mwencha did not elaborate nor gave details of agenda or date of the event. But only hinted that the summit will take place soon.

The process of co-operation has started and will take into account political sensitivities, he said.

Stressing that the rationalization of regional economic communities should be able to assist the continent to resolve some of the problems and challenges it is facing in terms of resources dispersion and inability to consolidate the gains of regional integration.

Mwencha a Kenyan who has been at the helm of COMESA after following in the footsteps of his predecessor Mr. Bingu wa Mutharika a Malawian who later became the President of Malawi also revealed that his organization is at the moment encouraging organization such as the World Food Programme to procure food from the region.

He, however, stressed that the EAC member states should concentrate in achieving economic integration, if they are to have a formidable political and eventually competitive bloc.

The most important thing, said Mr. Mwencha is to get the Customs Union to work and to have economic union, which works because at the moment people dont even know what we are talking about. Personally I would like to see a situation where whatever we do will eventually add up to the five steps supposed to be taken to achieve a full EAC, he added.

The three trade blocs, SADC, EAC and COMESA, from Southern and Eastern Africa are moving closer to align and harmonize trade rules for increased integration.

Last June, during te fifth meeting of the Joint Task Force (JTF) held in Zanzibar and attended by delegates of COMESA, SADC and EAC discussed a joint approach to implement regional telecommunication networks based in the COMESA Comtel Project and the SADC Regional Information Infrastructure Project.

The Zanzibar meeting agreed to hold a joint summit of all COMESA, SADC and EAC member states, customs and infrastructure development.

Other signals that the two blocs could be fast pursuing an integration was the announcement by representatives from the EAC, SADC and COMESA mid last year that they had begun consultations aimed at creating one currency and a common Central Bank by 2025.

The COMESA secretariat based in Lusaka, Zambia is already carrying out consultations on the formation of a tripartite task force to oversee the roadmap to a monetary union. It is also holding consultations with a general aim of harmonizing the regions payment system.

A number of Regional Economic Committees have been organized in the various regions of Africa. However, it is now recognized that there are too many regional integration institution, with the resultant overlap of membership and duplication of mandates.

Sources said the forthcoming EAC and SADC summit also aims at resolving Tanzanias position vis-a vis the two blocs, Tanzania belongs to both SADC and the EAC.

There is overlap of membership in economic communities in the Eastern and Southern African regions to an extent unparalleled anywhere else in the world. The overlap has had bearing on the costs and benefits particularly of deeper integration. Moreover, membership in more than on customs union is technically impossible.

As the economic blocs in Eastern and Southern African region union, member states with multiple memberships at present will have to strike the balance of the costs and benefits of belonging to one or another customs union.

Solely concentrating on terrific and revenue foregone will mean missing out on some of the more fundamental aspect of regional integration.

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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$1.4 billion in fresh Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

wilfred-zulu.jpg<By our correspondent Wilfred Zulu

API/APN in Lusaka– Zambia has recorded about $1.4 billion in fresh Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) this year the largest single capital investment within a year since the countrys independence four decades ago.

Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati told API/APN in a telephone interview that the biggest investment was in mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors.

Actually, this investment of $1.4 this year alone is more than the total FDI the country received between 1990 and 2000. We are optimistic that by the end of December, we shall have over $1.5 billion of FDI. This shows that as Government, there is something somewhere that we are doing right, said Mutati.

Against this backdrop, the country focuses that by the end of the year, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will reach seven percent; up by a percentage focused at the start of the year.

The investment level is tremendously great. Besides the four pillars of the economy (mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing), the construction sector is also doing very well as seen from huge housing projects across the country.

In 2001, Zambia embarked on an aggressive economic recovery plan after over two decades of recession. It has reverted to agriculture subsidy a development that has made the country record food surpluses.

The Southern African country also reverted to long-term economic planning and launched a National Development Plan (NDP) that aims at turning the country into a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030.

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TERRORISTS THREAT FORCED KENYA TO INSTAL SPYING CAMERAS ON FERRIES.

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg<By our correspondent Leo Odera Omolo

 

31/10/07API/APN – Kisumu: The Mombasa based Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) has installed closed circuit television cameras in all five ferries as it seeks to improve security in its facilities.

The installation came hot on the heels of a damning report by the US government about the threat of terrorist attacks at the Kenyan port City situated along the Indian Ocean shoreline.

Ferries Mv. Mvita, Mv. Pwani, Mv Kilindini and Mv Harambee-which were all commissioned in 1990 operate at the Likoni channel-linking the mainland and Mombasa Island.

Cameras have also been installed at the ferry approaches to help the management in controlling traffic.

Mr. Joel Ria the KFS Managing Director said the internet connected cameras were installed at a cost of Ksh. 2 million (USD 29, 850) by US firm Texas Alarms.

The security measure was taken after concerns were raised about safety on the ferries. Currently, the ferries carry 160,000 passengers and more than 3,000 vehicles daily. Statistics from KFS show that the five ferries cater for 54 million passengers and 1.1 million vehicles annually.

This rose from 41.2 million passengers and 890,000 vehicles in 2001. KFS expects 74.5 million passengers and 1.38 million vehicles will use the ferries by 2010.

KFS is making arrangements to improve use of the ferries by constructing special levies for pass holders.

Pass holders currently have to queue with those that want to buy tickets. A tender for the project is being worked on. We have already received the funding in the current budget and hope to complete the job soon, he said.

Another ferry Nyayo is currently undergoing mandatory annual repair and renovations.

Mr. Ria said this means the ferry will be out of service for about six weeks. Two other old ferries Mv. Mvita and Mv Pwani have already been renovated at a total cost of Ksh. 40 million (USD 597,000)

The MD said ferries, which were commissioned in 1969 and 1975 respectively, were rehabilitated to sustain services at both the Likoni and Mtongwe channels.

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

 

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SCANDALOUS CAMPAIGNS NOW HITS TOP GEAR IN NYANZA

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jeff-aguko.jpg<By our correspondent Jeff Otieno Aguko

API/APN, Kenya: Political temperatures, anxiety, and witch hunting has gone a notch higher in Luo Nyanza a head of the forth coming December 27th General Elections with some of the immediate former MPs and their cronies deeply engaged in scandalous approach to discredit their perceived formidable rivals in various constituencies.

Early this week a well knitted text messages were doing rounds that President Mwai Kibakis P.N.U had infiltrated Raila Odinga led O.D.M. by allegedly sponsoring some clique of parliamentary aspirants.

Those being targeted and were adversely mentioned are industrious and pragmatic Alego Usonga Veteran Politician Edwin Ochieng Yinda, Former powerful Cabinet Minister Dalmas Otieno who is contesting Rongo seat, Nyakach Parliamentary hopeful cum-business guru Ochieng Daima, Kisumu Town West hopeful lawyer John Olago Aluoch, Influential and wealthy former Permanent secretary Eng. James Rege, his Muhoroni Counter part who is Mombasa based business magnet Sam Okello.

Others were Fred Outa of Nyando and Ugenya Youthful candidate Steve Mwanga

Investigations by this journalist has revealed that the whole move is a ploy by some of the immediate former MPs who have apparently sensed defeat even before the party sets the nomination dates.

For starters Eng. James Rege has tightened the Political noose of the Out going MP Paul Adhu Awiti while Mombasa based tycoon Edwin Yinda has completely made serious inroads in Alego thus rendering Arthur Weya literally irrelevant.

Dalmas Otieno Anyango is just a thread distance from bagging Rongo Parliamentary seat which was formerly held by besieged immediate former MP Ochilo Mbogo Ayacko.

Same scenario applies in Kisumu Town West and Nyakach where Daima and Olago have made life difficult for Rev. Nyagudi and former Assistant Minister Peter Odoyo.

Pundits in the region opines that if Justice Richard Otieno Kwatch who is the chairman of O.D.M. election board is left to independently conduct the polls freely devoid of any semblance of manipulation, then the O.D.M outfit stands a chance of clinching the Presidential seat.

An independent and fair election primaries will avert voter apathy and disenchantment.

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Kenyan leaders asks Catholic Bishops to keep off the majimbo debate.

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

Commentary

Dear Kenyans,

Below is an extract of the daily nation on leaders asking Catholic Bishops to keep off the majimbo debate. I belong to none of the major religions and it is my hope that Kenya will continue to be a secular state where all religions including non-believers are treated equally. However, I have the following fears which I think need to be looked into by all sober Kenyans across political divides.

1. Raila Odinga enjoyed my outmost support since I believed he was an atheist (and I respect his freedom of choice to belong to any religion), and as such would be best placed to treat all religions equally as he would owe allegiance to none of them. ?However, he has signed a secret MOU with Muslim clerics. My worry is on what the contents of this MOU are and does it place the Muslims above others in Kenya? If the MOU is fair to all Kenyans, why not make it public?

2. We have clearly seen Muslim leaders like Abdilahi Abdi issuing statements like the one below and claiming to talk on behalf of Muslims. Why hasn?t LSK and political leaders told him and his religious organization to keep off politics and let Muslims freely make their choices? When as in the article below they say that they are campaigning for ODM, aren?t they being partisan? Why can?t the leaders and other organizations tell them that religion and politics are different? It seems like its ok for Muslims to back one party but not ok for other faiths to do the same.

3. We recently watched the catholic bishops being called ?? these characters?? by one political leader. Do we hold those with different opinions as low as this and refer to them as ??characters??. Would any politician in Kenya dare refer to the Muslim religious leaders as ??these characters?? or do we hold Muslim preachers in special ?awe? above other religious leaders. Why can?t we respect the bishops despite them not supporting the same views as we stand for?

4. Since Muslim clerics have signed an MOU with Raila, if ODM does not win the elections and his rivals win, do the rivals have any obligation to treat the Muslims the same as the rest of the Kenyans? I fear and hope that we don?t get a rouge non ODM president who may decide to go out of his way to teach the Muslims a lesson for siding with his opponents.

5. For smaller groups that can not materially influence voting patterns, with who shall we sign an MOU? I for instance could be an atheist who respects other faiths very much. If Muslims sign special MOUs with politicians so as to advance the Muslim demands, how will the rights of the atheist be advanced? What will stop religious groups backing political outfits on the promise of one religion being given special rights? Why can?t our leaders promise all of us equal rights irrespective of our religions? The oath of a leader should be to protect all Kenyans and treat all, ranging from Christians, Muslims, atheists etc as equal before the laws of the land.

6. As for the professional groups and other religions, why are you slow on demanding that the MOU between Raila and Muslim leaders be made public so that we non Muslims can know what to expect when that MOU is implemented. The MOU could be skewed to favor a few and our only chance to correct is now. Are Muslim leaders blackmailing a future government by committing its leaders to demands which the public is not party to? How does Raila (assuming he becomes president) sign an MOU or treaty on behalf of all the Kenyans with one religion, without consulting the rest of the Kenyans and more so keep the contents of that MOU secret.

Can all religious groups be sober and non partisan in giving their opinions on political issues in Kenya? Let both the Muslim and Christian leader remain neutral and simply give advice to their followers and not declare what side they support. The common Kenyans have enough brains to choose their destiny without dragging religion into it otherwise after elections, the major fight will start e.g. If ODM wins, some Christians will be quick to label it a Muslim government while some Muslims will be claiming that were it not for their support, the ODM team would have lost and as such, Muslims will demand special recognition. If Kibaki wins, and he is catholic, many will be quick to condemn the catholic bishops as the cause of the win and some Christian fanatics will be quick in telling Muslims ?? serikali ni yetu and we are going to fix you.??

The time is now for all sober Kenyan to demand that religion and state be kept apart. I want a Kenya where religion is a personal matter but not an issue of national politics. What faith I profess should be my own business and the law should treat us equally. Let us think beyond elections.

By Njoroge

Below is the extract of the Daily Nation referred to in the article above. The African Press will decide if to print it or not.

Kenya: Leaders Ask Catholic Church to Be Non-Partisan

Nairobi

The Catholic Church was yesterday asked to stop making political statements in the run-up to the December 27 General Election.

A cross section of leaders, who included ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Mr. Okong’o Omogeni, Anglican Church of Kenya Mombasa Bishop Julius Kalu, outgoing Narok South MP William ole Ntimama, and the chairman of the National Muslim Forum, told Cardinal-designate John Njue to remain non-partisan during the campaigns, after the Catholic church in Kenya asked its faithful to reject the majimbo system.

But Archbishop Njue, who is also the chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, was backed by Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi who said Kenyans needed a devolved unitary system and not federalism as proposed by ODM and ODM Kenya, whose presidential candidate is Mr. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka.

Mr. Odinga reminded the head of the Catholic church in Kenya that he was among the more than 600 delegates who attended, debated a

nd endorsed the Bomas Draft constitution, which advocated the majimbo system.

Contrary opinions

Said the ODM leader: “It is now surprising that they (Catholic bishops) are now turning around to give contrary opinions. It is all in a name, because they fear the name majimbo, but you cannot ran away from it. I will be emphasising on the details at a later date.”

Mr. Omogeni also asked the Catholic bishops, who issued the call in a controversial pastoral letter on Thursday, to desist from meddling in politics on the eve of the General Election.

Said Mr. Omogeni: “I would like to advice the Catholic bishops to instead receive views from the proponents and the opponents of majimbo before making their stand public.”

Mr. Ntimama asked the bishops to reconsider their stand and allow their members to freely decide on whether to support the majimbo proposals.

But Archbishop Nzimbi threw his weight behind the Catholic bishops, saying he was uncomfortable with the word majimbo because it had taken a strong political connotation.

He said: “I will support devolution when we meet as the House of Bishops before we come up with a pastoral letter.”

The archbishop said Kenyans needed more time to understand the full meaning and implication of such a system.

The National Muslim Leaders Forum, chaired by Mr Abdillahi Abdi, said the forum fully supported the majimbo system, saying it would benefit its members and people in North Eastern Province.

Mr Abdi also said the forum supported ODM and would ensure that it campaigned for it to win at the polls.

In South Nyanza, Muslim leaders accused Catholic bishops of campaigning for the re-election of the President under the pretext of opposing the majimbo system.

Led by Mr Ebrahim Omar Hussein, they asked the clerics to allow their flock to freely choose which party to back at the General Election.

Scaring Kenyans

The chairman of the unregistered Islamic Party of Kenya, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa accused the Catholic church of trying to scare Kenyans into voting for the Government by claiming that majimbo would create ethnic chaos in the country.

He challenged the prelate to tell Kenyans where in the world majimbo had created chaos.

“It is those who are saying that majimbo will cause chaos that are guilty of inciting Kenyans to violence,” he said.

He also took issue with President Kibaki for “creating too many districts”, and wondered where the Government was going to get money to run them.

Elsewhere, ODM Presidential running mate Musalia Mudavadi yesterday said Kenyans would decide whether to go the majimbo way once the party came to power.

This would be done by way of a referendum, he said.

“The ODM government will subject any policy issue that created public confidence crisis to legal consultations and constitutional provisions,” he said.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, God made me cute, what happened to YOU?” By Njoroge

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UGANDA TO TRAIN SOUTH SUDAN POLICE FORCE FOLLOWING VISIT BY MINISTERS

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpgBy our correspondent Leo Odera Omolo

30/10/2007 API/APN, Kampala: UGANDA the semi-autonomous government has finalized the arrangement to train new recruited policemen for Sudan.

Plans are also underway for the building of a new railway that will link up the Nothern town of Gulu and Juba the capital of Southern Sudan.

Ugandan Ministers agreed on the project according to her Internal Affairs Minister of Uganda Matia Kasaija during a recent visit to the South Sudan capital of Juba. This visit was meant for creating a conducive environment for the trade between the two countries.

Plans are also a foot to improve the road as one way of enhancing security in the South Sudan, Minister Kasaija attributed the insecurity faced by Ugandan traders in Juba, to decades of wars and the total collapse of state infrastructures.

South Sudan is trying its best level to help them build capacity .In our talks with their Inspector General of Police, we agreed that we will assist in building their police force. But the biggest constraint said the Minister was the lack of human resources.

We asked them (the Sudanese) for 100 qualified young men and women to train as police officers, but they could not find them. No education has been going on in the Southern Sudan for the last 40 years said Kasaija.

The Ugandan state Minister for defense Ruth Namkabirwa,who was part of the visiting Uganda delegation to the South Sudan said the SPLA was trying to disarm the civilians who had been causing instability.

South Sudan has been at war for the last 40 years and has only known a real state barely two years. Many institutions are just being built now. Mr Kasaija said during press briefing in Kampala.

During a recent search ,thousands military uniforms were recovered from people who have been posing as SPLA soldiers and setting up fake road blockssaid the Minister.

Addressing a public rally in Juba the Ugandan Ministers advised the Ugandan businessmen and traders to observe the law until order in South Sudan was fully restored.

We have different characters in Juba noted the state Minister for Regional Cooperation Isaac Musumba. Some of them rob fellow Ugandans .We are requesting those doing business in Juba not to fake people along because they spoil things for the genuine traders

About the large number of Ugandan lingering in Juba prisons, Minister Musumba said Uganda has agreed with Southern Sudan authorities to review many of the pending cases.

While in Juba, the Ugandan Ministers also addressed issues of double taxation on Ugandan goods, immigration and a legal system to redress disputes.

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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TRIBAL CLASHES FEARS STILL PERSIST IN WESTERN KENYA AS SIX PEOPLE ARE KILLED IN MT. ELGON.

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo, API/APN correspondent

29/10/07

API/APN, Kisumu – Kenya: Tribal clashes have erupted in Western Kenya as the general election is approaching raising fears of possible reoccurrences of more trouble during the electioneering campaign period.

More houses were torched at the clash-torn Kuresoi Division in the newly created Molo district.

Reports emerging out of the area says tension remained high following an attack by unspecified number of armed raiders who torched 25 dwelling houses on Friday night.

Hundred of villagers have fled their houses in search of safety. They fled their houses for fear of further attack. The Friday night incident bring to 44 the number of houses burnt down over the past 5 days.

But the police have issued an assurance that everything would be done to stop the violence, which has pitted members of the Kikuyu and Kipsigis tribes.

Apart for the killing of the 80 year old man in the middle of last week at the infamous Kamwaura village nobody was injured in the latest attack.

The fleeing residents sought refuge elsewhere after the nightlong ordeal that threatened to escalate despite the heavy presence of police and members of the para-military units the dreaded General Service Unit (GSU).

Police reported the arrests of several troublemakers including a woman at the Mungetho area on the suspicion that they were planning to attack various homesteads in the vicinity.

The woman was accused of selling the illicit and highly intoxicating changaa drink to the raiders who have been terrorizing the locals residents in Mungetho since last Friday when 10 dwelling houses were set ablaze at Kamwaura.

An assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the security operation in the violence prone area Mr. Ephantus Kiura confirmed that 15 houses were burnt down at Getucha, a four at Mwangati three at Buchage and two at the nearby Arimi farm.

So far three people have lost their lives in the latest arson attacks and several other left injured.

A former Kuresoi MP James Koske visited the affected area at the weekend and consoled the affected families.

Koske strongly condemned the violence and called upon the government to look for a lasting solution before the situation deteriorates further

A Mr. Silas Gitai 80, and his son Mr. Kahunda 50 are among the latest victims of the seemingly well coordinated and conducted by well-drilled group of raiders. The attack has spread to many other parts of Kuresoi where inhabitants consisted members of Ndorobo (orkiek), Kipsigis, Turgen and the Kikuyu. There are also a few Kisii residents who have settled in the area.

An eight year old boys earlobe was chopped off when his home was invaded by more than 50 armed men in Githiriga village.

Meanwhile local leaders have appealed to the government to involve local community leaders in the peace initiative to help solve the ethnic clashes problem once and for all.

The former Permanent Secretary in charge of Provincial Administration and Internal Security Mr. Zakayo K. Cheruiyot who is vying for Kuresoi parliamentary seat on ODM ticket said the provincial administration should work hand in hand with local leaders in a joint concorted effort to resolve the issues. Also be involved are the local clergymen, he added.

In Mt. Elgon area police performed a security ring outside various secondary schools where the Form Four students are currently sitting for the KCSE national exam amid reports that six people were hacked to death as violence escalated.

The killers beheaded their victims, leaving the violence weary residents in deep shock.

The attackers believed to be members of the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), launched simultaneous attacks on several villagers killing six people and injuring several others.

In the Coast Province two boys were killed and another gangster was seriously hurt when a Manyatta village came under heavy attack on Sunday morning in Tana River district. In the bloody violence, which also saw one Mr. Gitahi and his son being taken to hospital with arrowheads lodged in their bodies following a 3 am raid on their homes in Githiriga while a Mr. Benson Njuguna 65 was found in his house lying in a pool of blood after he was attacked while asleep by unknown armed men believed to be the Kipsigis moran. They broke the door of his house and attacked him ruthlessly with matchetes.

Also identified to have died at Kamwaura was Mr. Alex Gachiri and Mr. Festus Karanja who was killed in the neighbouring Kamwaura trading centre.

The chairman of Kenyas Electoral Commission Mr. Sam Kivuitu made the most eagerly awaited election date as on December 27, 2007. The announcement and the dissolution of Parliament earlier in the week by President Mwai Kibaki have also raised political temperature in the country.

Reports emerging from the newly created Molo district say four more houses were brought down on Wednesday night in the troubled Kuresoi area.

The torched houses, according to the local D.C. Solomon Abwaku were unoccupied at the time of the incident, and the police are actively investigating the matter.

In the Mt. Elgon district in Western Province a suspected member of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) killed a man, the police have strongly refuted that the militia group had also attacked and raided two police posts within the district.

A senior police officer confirmed that Mr. Joseph Mutonyi 52 was hacked to death and his body dumped in a pit latrine.

It was obviously the work of people suspected to be members of the rag-tag army who killed Mutonyi at his Chelebei village house, said the District Criminal Investigation Officer (DCID) Mr. Said Mbaruk.

Sources in Western Province say that suspected SLDF militia attacked two police posts on Tuesday night last week, but were quickly repulsed by police officers manning the station.

The heavily armed gunmen allegedly attacked Chelebei and Kipsigon police posts. The militia men came close to rescuing their three colleagues who were being held at Chelebei post, but we responded promptly forcing the assault and to fleeing into the forests.

After the abortive raid at Chelebei, another group of people suspected to be the same gang attacked Kipsigons post about five kilometers away, but they too were repulsed. No casualties were reported.

In the Molo incident, arsoning set on fire three unoccupied dwelling houses in the troubled Kamwaura village in Kuresoi Division causing a lot of panic among villagers.

The unknown raiders struck at 11 pm on Wednesday night despite the heavy presence of security personnel in the area.

Last week, armed raiders attacked Kamwaura trading centre and torched 10 houses before fleeing with seven herds of cattle and household goods of unknown value.

These arsonists struck as local religious leaders pitched tent in the area to hold prayers and reconciliation meetings. The area has witnessed ethnic violence in which 15 people have died since last year.

During the Wednesday inter denominational prayer meetings, the police came under scathing attack for failing to arrest politicians fanning violence.

Some of the politicians seeking to contest the Kuresoi parliamentary and civic seats in the area were also accused of inciting the youth to commit animosity.

The leaders and local residents pointed an accusing finger at the police for their laxity in the dealing with the perpetrators of violence, who were said to be well known to area residents.

The religious leaders have been at the forefront of reconciliation effort in the area that has witnessed constant tribal conflicts between the two communities, namely the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu. The Kalenjin, particularly members of the Kipsigis sub-tribe considers themselves as the indignant people while treating the Kkuyu as aliens.

The seemingly endless tribal conflict is suspected to be politically instigated and the religious leaders have called upon the government to involve civil society in peace building efforts.

In Sondu areas along the Nyanza Rift Valley Provinces, the calm has returned following last week skirmishes in which the members of the Kipsigis community were shot dead by police in their effort queing the armed contractors between the Kipsigis and Kisiis.

But by Thursday evening there was still heavy pressure of the regular police and members of the paramilitary units (GSU).

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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CAR launches second phase demobilisation process of ex-combatants

Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

Bangui (Central African Republic) The second phase demobilisation and reintegration process of the ex-combatants is underway in the Central African Republic (CAR), through the Community Support Project (PRAC), an official source told APA Monday.

The Central African government, in conjunction with the United Nations Development (UNDP), started the operation since Saturday.

This second phase of demobilisation and reintegration concerns 2,000 ex-combatants in the cities of Sibut, Bozoum and some localities about 100 km of Bangui, Captain Alphonse Ballot, national expert in disarmament at the Central African Defence Ministry, told APA.

Captain Ballot indicated that the delay noted in the implementation of the 2006 PRAC programme concerning the number of ex-combatants not integrated will be made up over the last two months of this year.

One thousand and seven hundred combatants were demobilised and reintegrated last year while 5,000 were to follow, according to the forecast of the PRAC.

Ex-combatants are mostly young civilians enrolled in the militias of the former regime of President Ange-Felix Patasse and rebel movements created in CAR from 1996 to 2003.

UNDP agreed to finance the PRAC for the management of ex-combatants, as part of the re-establishment of peace in the country, following the overthrow of Patasse by the current head of state Francois Bozize in March 2003.

UNDP estimated the number of ex-combatants across the country at 25,000 in 2004, following a survey and an awareness campaign on voluntary disarmament and the reintegration of disarmed people conducted by experts.

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Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The United Nations Security Council on Monday extended by one year the sanctions on Cote dIvoire, a country trying to overcome a four-year conflict following the signing of the 4 March Ouagadougou Accord.

Through Resolution 1782 unanimously adopted by its members, the UN Security Council extended until 31 October 2008 these sanctions adopted in 2004 and 2005.

These sanctions include an embargo on arms, and travel ban and assets freeze against Charles Ble Goude and Eugene Djue staunch partisans of President Laurent Gbagbo, and the New Forces (FN, ex-rebel) commander Martin Fofie Kouakou in Korhogo.

According to UN, these sanctions will be re-examined in six months on the latest, in light of the progress made in the peace process, particularly when the 4 March Ouagadougou Accord is fully implemented and following free and open presidential and parliamentary polls.

Hailing the beginning of the implementation of the Ouagadougou Accord, the Council urged Ivorian parties to take concrete measures for the identification and registration of voters, for the disarmament, unification of security forces and the restoration of the state authority across the country.

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Regrets immigrant-dog comparison

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

istein Christoffersen said that immigrants needed the same kind of rearing as dogs and children.

PHOTO: BERGENS TIDENDE
A newly elected Progress Party city councilor for Bergen has now apologized for an interview where he compared the integration of immigrants with raising dogs or children. istein Christoffersen at first seemed committed to the views he expressed in an interview with newspaper sane Tidende, but changed his tune after reactions began to build.

“I deeply apologize that, in an interview with sane Tidende, made comments on immigration policy that are easy to misunderstand and have been interpreted negatively. I see that my statements can be interpreted this way, especially the comment about setting boundaries and dogs,” Christoffersen said in a press release Tuesday.

In the local newspaper sane Tidende Christoffersen had said: “We must take care that those who are here are properly integrated. That includes education in both language and how our society works. It is about setting boundaries, and is no different than raising children or dogs.”

Christoffersen confirmed the statements to national newspaper Dagbladet’s web site, and said he had two dogs himself that he had to raise so they could function in society, and rejected the idea that he feared his comparison might spark reactions.

“No, not if you read closely, then you see that I also compare them with children. Immigrants, children and dogs have to learn to fit in to the society around them,” he told dagbladet.no.

Christoffersen also told Bergens Tidende’s web site that people wanted to misunderstand him, and that “Everyone who has a dog knows what I mean.”

Christoffersen is councilor for building applications and districts in Bergen, in a Progress, Conservative and Christian Democrat parties led council.

After the Socialist Left Party group leader formally demanded that Christoffersen be replaced in the council, the Progress Party politician decided to apologize.

“I wish I had not said this, because it does not represent my values or attitudes,” he said. City council leader Monica Mland also apologized for Christoffersen’s remarks.

The Progress Party has a populist, right-wing profile and has traditionally had difficulty finding political partners in Norway, despite its steadily growing popularity, due in part to a history of xenophobic policies.

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Must investigate confession

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

Trude Esps was found murdered in Geiranger in 1996.

PHOTO: SCANPIX

A convicted killer has retracted a confession to one of Norway’s long running murder mysteries, but police will investigate nevertheless.

Sheriff Jens Arne Hessegjerde has seen false confessions before, but they cannot be ignored.

PHOTO: Knut Fjeldstad / SCANPIX

The 47-year-old prisoner is serving nine years for killing his partner in Orkanger in November 2006.

The 47-year-old convict reportedly told a prison employee that he killed Trude Esps, a young woman raped and murdered in Geiranger in 1996.

During a 45-minute session of police questioning he denied having anything to do with the Esps case. Police lawyer Sindre Stave of South Trndelag police says that the possibility must be investigated.

Stave said he does not interpret the man’s statement as a confession, but would have to check with experts in the Geiranger case. The interview and other information from Trondheim police will now be sent to the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) in a few days.

Sheriff Jens-Arne Hessegjerde, who has seen many twists and turns in the course of the local investigation of the Esps killing, said he was taking nothing for granted.

“We have had three to five confessions to the murder of Trude Esps that have been checked out. Some of them took some time to rule out. But we have information about the murder that has not appeared in the media,” Hessegjerde said.

The sheriff refused to comment on whether this information extended to DNA or other forensic evidence from the 1996 crime scene.

The Esps investigation has so far included 3037 interrogations, 1814 tips from the public and 4393 interviews, but the case remains a mystery.

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

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PNU chiefs in State House meeting with Kibaki

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

 

Published on October 30, 2007, 12:00 am

By Joseph Murimi

President Kibaki summoned his generals to State House, Nairobi, for a crisis meeting in a last-ditch effort to resolve a nominations stand-off threatening to tear apart his Party of National Unity (PNU).

Cabinet ministers, Vice-President, Mr Moody Awori, Kanu chairman, and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, among other leaders of PNU constituent parties attended yesterdays daylong meeting, but discussions on the thorny issue were last night said to be inconclusive.

Though the leaders seemed to agree on a joint nomination, according to a source, the general membership, especially aspirants, remained adamant.

“We have resolved to go on even if it means up to midnight. We want conclusive discussions and then leave Nairobi to campaign in the villages, the source told The Standard.

Since the coalition announced it would hold joint nominations, some partners have insisted they would go it alone. Only Kanu had been left to field candidates.

PNU is seeking to forestall any fallout at a critical time when the General Election is around the corner.

The source said the State House meeting was alive to the fact that the tussle between immediate former MPs and aspiring candidates poses a risk to the party unity. Aspirants are accusing immediate former MPs of locking them out of PNU and behaving as if they own the party.

They are pushing for direct nominations by their mother parties. The source, however, said the meeting ruled out direct nominations.

The leaders also sought a new strategy to help consolidate the gains the President and PNU have made.

The meeting noted that though the latest opinion poll showed Kibaki had gained marginally, he was still trailing his main rival.

It was resolved that PNU brigade should campaign on anti-majimbo platform because the public mood was for a unitary state, not federalism.

The source said the meeting agreed that the President launches his manifesto on November 10 at Uhuru Park and that final details be worked out.

PNU top party organ, the Council, would draw representatives from all affiliate parties, it was resolved.

Below the Council would be the Co-ordinating Committee, now chaired by Science and Technology minister, Dr Noah Wekesa, and the National Elections Board.

Our source said the meeting was also to draw timetable for nominations to meet the Electoral Commission of Kenya deadline.

Others who attended the meeting included Mr Musikari Kombo, Mr Chirau Mwakwere, Mr Joseph Munyao, Mr Kipruto Kirwa, Mr Raphael Tuju, Prof George Saitoti, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Mr Simeon Nyachae, Prof Wangari Maathai and Mr Paul Muite.

Lifted and published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.standard.ke

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Kibaki picks five new ECK bosses

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA and ODHIAMBO ORLALE
Publication Date: 10/30/2007With only 57 days to the December 27 General Election, President Kibaki has appointed five new commissioners to serve in the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

President Mwai Kibaki

Two other commissioners, vice-chairman Kihara Muttu and Mr Jack Tumwa were re-appointed after their terms expired yesterday. However, the tenures of their five colleagues were not renewed.

The new members are Mr Samuel Nyanchama Maugo, Mr Shem Sanya Balongo, Ms Rachel Wanjala Kileta, Mr David Alfred Njeru Ndambiri andMr Daniel Waisiko Wambura. They will all serve for five years.

Replaced

They replaced Ms Rachael Mzera, Mr Abuya Abuya, Mr Habel Nyamu, Mr Samwel Manyunza and Mr Stephenson Mageto.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service released last evening said the new appointments took effect immediately.

The transition ended months of speculation over the fate of the seven commissioners whose terms were expiring yesterday.

Chairman Samuel Kivuitus term ends on December 2. Both ODM and ODM Kenya have in the past asked the President to extend Mr Kivuitus term. Their call was supported by the US ambassador to Kenya and envoys from the European Union.

The term of Mr Kivuitus long serving vice-chairman, Mr Gabriel Mukele, expired two weeks ago. He was replaced as commissioner by Ms Pamela Tutui but his job as vice-chairman was taken by Mr Muttu after an election by the 21 commissioners. Mr Muttus re-appointment could be an indication that Mr Kivuitu could also be on his way out.

The appointment of an ECK chairman is the prerogative of the President under the Constitution while the deputy is elected by commissioners.

A commissioner holds office for five years and the President can extend the term after every five years.

The outspoken Mr Kivuitu oversaw the 1997 and 2002 general elections and the 2005 referendum on the proposed constitution which Kenyans voted against.

On Sunday, Mr Kivuitu led the commission staff in day-long prayers at KICC in Nairobi. They prayed for national unity and peaceful elections. At the time, Mr Kivuitu said he felt sorry that some of the commissioners were leaving after many years of working together. He said he knew how to work with them even in times of crisis.

Describing ECK as an institution, Mr Kivuitu was however hopeful that new commissioners could still successfully oversee the elections. Experienced commissioners would only be required to resolve issues that required urgent attention.

The independence of the commission and its ability to competently handle the December 27 election has been a point of heated debate across party divides, with those supporting the renewal of Mr Kivuitus tenure saying continuity was needed to guarantee free and fair polls.

ODM and ODM-K leaders have in the past criticised the President for failing to stick to the 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Parties Group (IPPG) agreement which required that all parties be consulted in the appointment of ECK commissioners.

ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga said the President could not be a player and at the same time appoint a referee. The President is seeking re-election on a PNU ticket.

President Kibakis decision to appoint nine commissioners earlier in the year without consulting parliamentary parties was met with opposition by some NGOs, envoys and politicians allied to the Opposition.

Meanwhile, fresh details indicate that ECK has already taken key steps in readiness for the December 27 General Election.

The commission led by Mr Samuel Kivuitu has started buying vehicles, motorboats and other items and materials needed for the big day.

It has also signed agreements with private air charter firms to provide freight services during the campaigns and on the election day.

Mr Kivuitu estimated that the election will cost about Sh5 billion.

Two foreign companies, one South African and one British, are on stand-by to print about 43 million leaves of ballot papers, which will be used by voters in the presidential, parliamentary and civic elections.

And yesterday, commissioners were dispatched to violence-prone areas of Mt Elgon, Kuresoi and Tana River to assess how the commission will deal with security on the day of elections.

There are 14.2 million registered voters and the commission assumes all will turn out to vote.

That means Mr Kivuitus team has to have about 14.3 million leaves of ballot papers for each category presidential, parliamentary and civic so that voters are guaranteed enough ballot papers in every station.

ECK secretary J.H. Tsola said that if a polling station has 557 registered voters, then the printer will be asked to print 12 booklets each containing 50 leaves. That would bring the number of leaves available to about 600.

Ballot paper

In certain cases where the figure is so close to the next zero an additional booklet would be printed to cover cases where a ballot paper might be torn accidentally or to provide an extra sheet in case of a spoilt vote.

The Nation has established that two firms which won the printing tenders will be printing different categories of the ballot papers.

The South Africa printer has been detailed to print the presidential and civic ballot papers. In all, it will print 28.6 million leaves of ballot papers: 14.3 million for presidential and another 14.3 million for civic elections. The UK firm will print parliamentary ballot papers for the 210 constituencies. It, too, will print 14.3 million leaves.

The ECK is now waiting for presidential candidates to present nomination papers on November 14 and 15 before it can forward their names and party symbols to the South African firm.

And once parliamentary and civic nominations are concluded between November 23 and 24, the names of candidates in every constituency and civic wards, their party names and symbols will be forwarded to the two firms.

To ensure the General Election is not affected by transport hitches, ECK has set aside Sh110 million to buy motor vehicles, motorboats and hire aircraft.

Ten new Toyota Prado cars were bought for some of the commissioners to help them supervise the electoral process.

Another six Land Rovers and nine double cab four-by-four vehicles were also bought to ensure all the commission staff and election materials are sent to the respective polling stations in time for the polls.

ECK has also bought speed boats to transport election materials to islands like Lamu at the Coast and Mfangano and Ringiti on Lake Victoria.

Last week, Mr Kivuitu had said the polls would start at 6am and close at 5pm, which means voting time had been reduced by an hour. Previous elections were conducted from 6am to 6pm.

According to Mr Kivuitu, the results of this years elections would be known a day after the casting of ballots as ECK had introduced a new system of reporting using Short Text Message (sms) and email. Every constituency will have a computer to transmit the results.

The announcement of results will be quick. In 2002, I was beaten for delay and I dont want a similar scenario to befall me or my successor, Mr Kivuitu said.

Of the 14.2 million registered voters, 7.5 million are women. Sixty one per cent are aged between 18 and 40 years.

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SHAMEFUL POLITICAL THUGGERY

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

The weekend violence meted to Raila Odinga and his ODM entourage in the larger Meru districts as he campaigned for presidency is very unfortunate! The same goes to the violence which erupted in Dagoretti constituency during a rally organized by immediate former Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo when rival PNU aspirant’s supporters tried to disrupt it.

It matters little who you support and whom you don’t when leaders or whatever other shade of personality comes knocking for votes. To throw stones, disrupt the rally or heckle and all forms of political mediocrity is quite preposterous. What Raila faced in Meru is no different from what Nazir Umar faced in Kisumu a while ago, nor different with what Stanley Livodo faced in Kibera a short while ago. But all these actions are highly condemnable and primitive to say the least.

Plenty of reasons are available to support this kind of argument.
Raila, Kibaki, Kalonzo, Muiru and all other Kenyan political
contenders have every right to visit any part of Kenya any time any day. Who even said that a Luhya for instance cannot contest for even a parliamentary or civic seat in Murang’a, who said a Kikuyu cannot do the same in Bondo? Who said a Kisii cannot contest in Turkana or a Kalenjin contest in Malindi? Who on earth said a Meru cannot contest in Kericho or a Maasai in Kitui? So long as any of these and other varieties can meet the requisite electoral minimum conditions they have every right as Kenyans to contest anywhere.

For that matter Raila has a right to visit Othaya, Muranga, Chuka, Meru, Maua, Nyeri, Kirinyiga, Embu and Kiambu and so on, despite being President Kibaki traditional strongholds. Indeed Raila should make a point of visiting those areas not long after the violence prone tour of the region over the weekend. He should even do so tomorrow! The thuggery experienced cannot have been spontaneous. Some politicians
and their operatives must have been involved in these despicable acts.

Indeed it was reported in the media that a head teacher in a school in Meru is so worried that he maybe sacked because Raila’s entourage helicopter landed in his school. Any administrator who may attempt to even point a finger at this honourable teacher should be the first to
go. That is Stone Age thinking!

President Kibaki for instance has every right to campaign in any
corner of the Kenyan republic. And he deserves to be respected as a presidential contender and as head of state. Even the day he will leave office, he deserves maximum respect for having ruled Kenya and having made a lot of contribution to the Kenyan nation. He deserves respect whether in office and the day he leaves office whatever that time will be.

Raila, Kalonzo and Muiru also do deserve freedom to visit anywhere and deserve respect and protection. They also have a right to rule and govern Kenya if they so become head of state. What the thuggery formentors and their hoodlums forget is that should say Raila become head of state he will rule them and they will have no choice but to abide by the law else they risk jail or be confined to political oblivion.

Anybody at this day and age thinking of balkanizing Kenya or zoning it for that matter is just foolish. Leaders will come and go but Kenya remains. What the hecklers and other forms of hoodlums do also forget is that they are just hirelings and forget that they are just objects for hire for some myopic short term gains for some short sighted politicians. They risk their lives for people whose interests far much override their own if at all they have any. What a shameful state!

ikunda9.jpg< By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda, API/APN correspondent
Nairobi, Kenya.

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EGYPTIAN INVESTMENT AND TRADE IN UGANDA IS WORTH UGANDA SHS 220 BILLION.

Posted by African Press International on October 30, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo, API/APN Correspondent

Kampala

29/10/07

Egyptian investors have injected Ushs 220 billion in nine projects in Uganda and created 1,773 jobs in the country.

But out of this amount a total of USD 3.1 million has been invested in Agriculture, hunting, fishing and forestry sectors and other in construction and real estates and finance.

This was disclosed by the Egyptian Ambassador to Uganda Reda Bebars who explained that apart from the increased trade between the two countries, several multinational Egyptian copmanies had come into the country.

The envoy predicted that the number of investors and traders from Egypt would increase to take advantage of the 19 per cent tax reduction on imports offered by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Apart from the increased trade between the two countries, several multinationals had come into Uganda said the envoy.

They have been looking at trading and investing in Asia, Europe and South Africa, but these are not members of COMESA that offer a tax reduction on imports.

The Ambassador encourage the business communities in Uganda and Egypt to start exchange visits There should also be information dissemination on business opportunities and products, but we also count a lot on the media to promote investment opportunities, he said.

The envoy further disclosed that trade between Egypt and Uganda grew by 40 per cent in the 2005 2006 period.

Ambassador made these remarks while he was handing over 40 boxes of drugs to the Disaster Preparedness Minister Prof. Tarsil Kabwegyore in Kololo, Kampala last week.

The drugs were donated by the Egyptian government for the flood victims in the north and eastern Uganda. The region is in bad need for relief aid.

Meanwhile Ugandas economic freedom has put it in the fifth position out of 40 countries in sub-Sahara Africa, the 2007 economic freedom index has shown.

Economic freedom means individuals are free to work, produce and provide services, consume and invest the way they want while the freedom is protected by the state.

What is killing Ugandas investment climate is bureaucracy. For example, it takes long for an investor to acquire a land title deed.

The energy has been another challenge that has been disturbing investment promotion, the Uganda Investment Authority (VIA) board of Directors Chairman Patrick Bitature has said.

Bitature however, said the Presidential investors round table meeting had identified most of the obstacles to investment promotion and the government would address them.

In addition, VIA has drawn a five-year plan aimed at attracting investments that would bring technology, skills and jobs into Uganda.

Bitature said to fully implement the plan; the authority needs to double its staff to 60 or more. VIA would also require more government support through provision of state assets for exploitation rather that budget resources alone.

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