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Archive for October 21st, 2007

DR Congo: Over 100 rapes recorded in one week in Ituri

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Kinshasa (DR Congo) Some 114 cases of rape were recorded from 1 to 6 October in Ituri, located in DR Congos north-eastern province of Orientale, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) disclosed.

The head of the OCHA in Ituri, Jean-Charles Dupin, said 50 underage girls are among those raped, most of whom live in the localities of Marabo and Komanda, in the Jugu areas of Irumu and Bambo mines.

A quick impact project by the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) was approved to raise populations awareness on rape cases, the missions radio, Okapi, quoted Dupin as saying.

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Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Abidjan (Cote dIvoire) The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday appointed his compatriot, the South Korean Choi Young-Jin as new UN special envoy in Cote dIvoire, APA learnt here on Friday from sources close to the UN in the Ivorian economic.

According to the UN sources, Mr Choi Young-jin took over from the Swedish Pierre Schori, who resigned in February after two-year tenure. Mr Choi Young-jins appointment as UN Special Envoy in Cote dIvoire came at a time when calm is prevailing in the country after the signing on 4 March of the Ouagadougou peace agreement between the Ivorian head of state Laurent Gbagbo, and leader of the New Forces Guillaume Soro, who became Prime Minister as expected in the agreement initiated by Burkina Fasos President Blaise Compaor.

Since both parties signed the agreement, the country seems to have resumed the way to peace with the suppression of the buffer zone on 16 April, the installation of the Integrated Commandment Centre (CCI), holding of the peace symbol on 30 July in Bouak, and starting off public hearings.

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Spain, Morocco move to solve slums issue in Madrid

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Madrid (Spain) Moroccan and Spanish authorities have began establishing contacts to resolve the issue about the Moroccan slum dwellers in the eastern suburb of Madrid, Moroccan diplomatic sources told APA Saturday.

About twenty Moroccans were injured Thursday in fighting with the Spanish as the latter executed a court injunction to demolish Moroccans slum dwelling in eastern Madrid .

The incidents broke out in Caada Real Galiana, a small south-eastern Madrid locality where some 40,000 people, mostly Moroccans Romanians and gypsies, live in over 2,000 illegal houses.

Eyewitnesses told APA, Spanish authorities deployed an impressive security operation to protect the workers demolishing the house of a Moroccan national living with his wife and two children.

Other Moroccans joined in to bar the eviction of their compatriot and his family, leading to fierce fighting with the riot police using rubber bullets to disperse the assailants.

The fighting injured about 20 Moroccans, some seriously.

The Moroccan diplomatic authorities have initiated meetings with a delegation of the Spanish central administration, the Madrid autonomous government as well as officials of the town council covering the Caada Real Galiana district.

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Sudan peace deal crisis talks to restart next week

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) Talks to resolve a standoff in Sudans national coalition government could resume next week after a first round ended without resolution, APA learnt Saturday from the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) office.

The southern Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) froze its membership of the government last week after months of stalemate on implementing major elements of the 2005 peace deal.

Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) office in Khartoum said SPLM Chairman and First Vice President Salva Kiir is meeting Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Khartoum on Saturday and then head south to South Sudan Jonglei state for a peace conference.

Kiir had been due to leave for the south on Friday but had postponed his trip, SPLM officials said. Friday is a holiday in Muslim northern Sudan.

SPLM officials say Kiir is “optimistic” but attacks by Bashirs National Congress Party in the media have continued.

The SPLM has given Bashirs party until January 9, the third anniversary of the landmark peace deal, to show progress on outstanding issues.

These include redeployment of northern troops from southern oil fields, mapping the borders of the oil-rich Abyei region, demarcating the north-south boundary and the fate of hundreds of political prisoners being held in northern jails.

SPLM Deputy Secretary-General Yasir Arman said the party leadership in Khartoum had agreed that a delayed SPLM cabinet reshuffle of their quarter of government posts in Khartoum was linked to the implementation of outstanding elements of the peace deal but until both issues were resolved, the SPLM ministers would not return to work.

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Fifteen world countries walk for peace in northern Uganda

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Kampala (Uganda) Over 100 cities in 15 countries have Saturday walked for peace in northern Uganda courtesy of an initiative by GuluWalk 2007, APA has learnt.

GuluWalk 2007 is an international campaign of Athletes for Africa and is coordinated in the United States in partnership with Resolve Uganda and the Africa Faith and Justice Network.

In a statement ahead of the walk, the organisation called on every person with passion to use this chance to be visible and make their voice heard during a walk that will be in many cities across the world including Toronto, Tucson, Tokyo, Tweed Heads in Australia.

The statement said this is because the political leaders have said over and over again, that it is loud local voices that are going to move them to action, to make northern Uganda a priority.

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African Union asks member states to show solidarity with CAR

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The African Union Commission on Friday urged member states to support the Central African Republic (CAR), which lost much of its infrastructure during conflicts in the past years.

The AU, in collaboration with the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, held a solidarity conference on CAR in which a number of African countries and institutions pledged over one million dollars in support.

A report presented at the forum said the country needs hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in road, telecommunication, health and other sectors.

Numerous internal and regional conflicts have plagued CAR for several years, seriously damaging its economy, social and institutional systems.

A report presented at the forum said corruption, impunity and fraud impacted negatively on public life in CAR.

Besides, the state has chronic difficulty in discharging its sovereign responsibilities such as salaries, scholarships, pensions and back pay for the military, the report said.

The report said that the accumulation of salary arrears over several years has reached a record figure of 40-50 months of arrears, amounting to CFA 110-150 billion.

This is a good opportunity to show our solidarity for CAR. The country and its citizens need our support to bring stability and reconstruction in their country, said ambassador said Said Djinit, the African Union Peace and Security Council commissioner.

CAR, where over 70 % of the population lives below poverty line, is struggling for peace in the country.

ADB estimates the country needs $412 million for the road sectors only.

Meanwhile, the secretary general of the government, Ngan Leon Baba, said the government and a rebel group is negotiating to sign an agreement to bring peace and stability.

A number of African countries including Ethiopia, Senegal, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritania, and Gabon have pledged over one million dollars in cash and kind, as well as technical support and training.

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Kibaki, Raila rivalry explodes – the road to State House

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

By Ben Agina and Abiya Ochola

kibakikenyattaday.jpgPresident Mwai Kibaki declared his rivals liars and dreamers promising miracles they cannot deliver. Listening to him at Kenyatta Day national celebrations, Orange Democratic Movements presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga said those were the words of a man who had sensed defeat.

They landed in style at Nyayo National Stadium to mark the day 55 years ago when the Founding Father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was arrested by the British colonial government alongside other five heroes of the Independence war. When the ceremony ended, the bigger story was that of what each thinks of the other.

Though the President was guarded, his denigration of majimbo (federalism), which is the pillar of the ODM Pentagon machine, let out who he had in mind. “We are here, you are here, we shall go on, we shall see how you will deliver your miracle,” said the President.

Sitting 20m away to his right, the faces of Raila and four Pentagon members present Mvita MP Mr Najib Balala, former Vice-President Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Gachoka MP Mr Joe Nyagah and Eldoret North MP Mr William Ruto crumbled in consternation. They appeared wrong-footed; the contortions on the face, and the cameras captured the moment.

Raila saw in the Presidents dismissive hand against his opponents a personalised attack. “It doesnt befit the person of the Head of State to go out bashing his opponents on such a day. This is an indication that he is desperate and has sensed defeat,” he said.

Raila added: “Kibaki missed the point because we came here to celebrate our Independence heroes day, not to campaign for Party of National Unity.”

The President gave an account of his rule on what, if he loses the coming election, could be the last Kenyatta Day he presided over. He showcased himself as the experienced politician with the Midas touch. If his reign is allowed to run to 2012, he will make the economy grow “to double its current size.

On the road Kenya has walked under his guiding hand, he said: “We have spent the last five years building an inclusive and caring society. This has been one of the key themes of my leadership.”

Kibakis new promisesHe then moved on to paint the picture of the next five years under his rule: “In the next five years, under my leadership, we shall grow the economy to double its current size, creating decent jobs and business opportunities for our youth, and good incomes for our urban and rural families. To achieve these goals, I intend to double our investment in infrastructure so as to build world-class networks of airports, seaports, roads, railways, and low-cost housing.”

His other rival for the seat, Mwingi North MP Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, was in Mombasa and walked out of the provincial Kenyatta Day fete after his team was denied the chance to speak. His is also campaigning on majimboist Government, but one limited to the economy and not style of governance.

The President left no doubt, in what he read in English and later expounded in Kiswahili, that he had reserved the peak of his Kenyatta Day address to dismantle the reputation of his challengers.

Kibaki said it was wrong for politicians to mislead Kenyans that they will achieve miracles if they ascend to the presidency. Kibaki said a few years ago his challengers were in government and wondered what experience they had gathered now to enable Kenya to prosper. Railas response was that the speech was packed with emotions.

Speaking in Kiswahili, Kibaki took the singular line: “Where have you been to discover new ways of improving the economy?”

He advised leaders seeking elective positions to speak the truth otherwise they may promise what they cannot deliver. “Tafadhalini tuambie wakenya ukweli kwa sabababu kesho ukipewa kiti itakuwa imechelewa wakati ambapo utakuwa umegunduwa kuwa ahadi zako huwezi kutimiza, said the President. (Please lets tell Kenyans the truth because if you win the elections it might be too late when you realise that what you promised is not achievable.”)

“I have served for five year and I have five more. When I finish my term I will go home,” said the Head of State.

Let the people decideHowever, he said it was up to the voters to decide whether he should continue. “Lets compete and we see who wins. You have the power to vote. You are the ones who will decide.

The Presidents appeal drew ODM criticism. ” We expected him to speak as a Head of State but it appeared he was addressing a PNU campaign rally,” said Raila.

Raila added: “We did not expect Kibaki to make partisan statements at this function. We came here to celebrate a national day. It became a campaign rally.”

Kibaki urged Kenyans to make prudent choices so that this country may enjoy leadership that unites the people and leads to a brighter and more equitable future.

“Scrutinise their past records. Examine their character and judge them on the basis of why they have done for this country,” the President advised Kenyans.

He observed that in an effort to win attention, some political leaders were making pledges without giving any serious consideration to the unity of the nation or the peace and security of its people.

Kibaki said it was misleading for politicians to portray federalism as the one solution to the social and economic challenges Kenyans face. The President argued federalism (majimbo) was likely to fan tribal sentiments but Raila disagreed.

“The Bomas Draft (that was rejected) talks about regionalism that will devolve resources to the regions,” said the ODM presidential hopeful.

He sounded a warning that this years elections will be between those who are for the de-centralisation of resources and those who support centralisation. The President said the most well known instrument of devolution the Government has used in the last five years is the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

But Raila, who served as the Minister for Roads, said the CDF was never a Cabinet agenda. “I was in the Cabinet when Kibaki opposed the issue of CDF…he later changed his mind when MPs threatened to shoot down the Budget if the CDF Bill was not passed.

Raila said Kibaki has been in Government since independence.

Kenya, the ODM leader said, has been lagging for 43 years because of bad a Constitution. He accused Kibaki of being part of the crop of old politicians who do not want the country to move forward.

Kalonzo steered clear of the Presidents speech as he launched a road show in Mombasa ahead of his rally today at the Tononoka Grounds.

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Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

Publication Date: 10/21/2007
President Kibaki has hit out at Opposition leader Mr Raila Odinga in his presence and appealed to voters to give him another five years at State House.

Sounding confident, the President recited his economic achievements and gave a new set of pledges in what was seen as a move to woo voters in the face of opinion polls that have placed him behind Mr Odinga.

President Kibaki arrives for the Kenyatta Day celebrations at Nyayo stadium.

The President described his rivals as people who had suddenly discovered miracles adding that they never left a mark during their stint in the Cabinet.

If you were in Government two years ago and you are now telling us that you have a miracle that when I get there I will perform miracles we will be here to see how those miracles are performed, he said.

I am asking my brothers to tell Kenyans the truth. As a person who has shown no signs, and you are promising miracles, what happens if you get there (State House) and you fail? You would have lied to Kenyans and it would be too late (to reverse their decision), he added.

President Kibaki was speaking at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi during the Kenyatta Day celebrations.

Mr Odinga and other ODM leaders Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joseph Nyagah also attended the function but avoided the VIP pavilion.

Appealing for votes, the President said: I am ready to go on with my work. I have five years and once I am through, I will go. It is up to you to decide whether I have to serve another five years or not.

Speaking to the media after the function, Mr Odinga described the accusations by the President as personal, emotional, unprovoked and demeaning of a head of state.

The Presidents speech was very emotional, misdirected. It does not befit a head of state. It is now clear that the ODM wave is making the President panic, he said.

We came here to join Kenyans in the celebrations and did not expect the President to turn the celebrations into a PNU campaign meeting. If we had known he would not speak as a head of state we would not have come, Mr Odinga said.

The spat capped a week of sustained campaigns by President Kibakis Party of National Unity (PNU), ODM and the Kalonzo Musyoka-led ODM Kenya.

President Kibaki had been invited to address the nation by Vice-President Mr Moody Awori at 12.42 pm after colourful parades by the armed forces, security agencies, scouts and girl guides. He did not go straight to his written speech but made some off-the-cuff remarks in Kiswahili. He later spoke in Kiswahili to applause by the audience.

In his speech, the President paid tribute to the freedom fighters for their sacrifice to the country. Saying the country would soon hold elections, President Kibaki urged voters to assess all candidates, look back into their past and vote for them on the basis of their track records.

I urge you to carefully evaluate all those seeking leadership positions. Scrutinise their past records, examine their character, and judge them on the basis of what they have done for this country. Make prudent choices so that this country may enjoy leadership that unites and leads to a brighter future, he said to wild cheers from the Vijana na Kibaki lobby group.

He spoke about Majimbo, which has been the hottest topic of the past week, and described as misleading ODMs contention that the system would give the answer to the challenges of poverty, disease and despondency in the country. He said Majimbo would fuel ethnicity, bring disunity and more marginalisation.

The issue of federalism, for instance, has been portrayed as the one solution to the social and economic challenges we face. This is misleading because you cannot generate more resources for development simply by telling communities to stay in their own reserves. This is only likely to fan tribal sentiments, he said.

The President said his Government had chosen devolution and was channelling funds to the grassroots through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), bursaries, and the Local Authority Transfer Fund (Latf).

The Presidents sentiments were echoed by the Leader of the Official Opposition Mr Uhuru Kenyatta who said a federal system of government was unsuitable for Kenya.

I have never been a proponent of federalism. I believe what is important is the devolvement of resources to the grassroots, he said after the celebrations.

Mr Odinga, now a proponent of Majimbo, said ODM was advocating the Majimbo espoused in the Bomas Draft that stressed the equitable distribution of resources.

We are not talking of political federalism. Ours is devolution with emphasis on regionalism. This election is between those who want a centralised government and those fighting for devolution, he said. The Langata MP claimed that President Kibaki was opposed to CDFwhich he said was initiated by Ol Kalou MP Mr Karue Muriuki and had even advised then Finance minister Mr David Mwiraria not to accept it.

I was in his Cabinet when he opposed it. Members arm-twisted him by threatening to shoot down the Budget before he accepted. But that is only 2.5 per cent of the revenue. What happens to the rest of 97.5 per cent of the money? he posed.

Mr Odinga served as Roads and Public Works minister between 2003 and December 2005 when he was sacked for rallying Kenyans to vote against the proposed new constitution.

He defended himself against accusations that he never left a mark in the ministry saying he was only in Government for three years.

He said the President had been in Government since 1963 and shared the blame for the 43 years of failure.

Additional reporting by Patrick Nzioka

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Rugby: World cup goes to South Africa – England defeated.

Posted by African Press International on October 21, 2007

South Africa defeated the defending champions – England in this year’s world cup Rugby that took place in France.

The occassion was grazed by the presence of the South African President Thabo Mbeki who had travelled all the way from his country to watch the game.

The stadium was filled tocapacity. Scores 15 to 6. The South Africans were thrilled.

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