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Archive for October 22nd, 2007

Kenyan firms need to harness the power of the internet

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Kenyan companies and institutions have failed to tap into that rich lifeline that the internet is. They have poorly functioning websites and many of them are rarely updated. You will be surprised to see some of the culprits. They are the high and mighty including media organisations, universities, research institutions etc.

General Motors East Africa is one huge company that has enjoyed success even as its parent US company undergoes tough times. Yet for thousands of its Kenyan customers, potential ones included, the company has no dedicated website. A search on google reveals that the company’s web presence is on its parent company’s website and only as a page. see GM East Africa page
If you wanted to see their latest range of cars and contact their sales department, then you will have to do your own research alone as there is no website to help you. They are not the only company that has failed to serve their clientele online. CMC Holdings may be the big fish in the motoring world but I bet you can’t get their website (I tried and failed). You won’t see firms like Kenya Bus or Coast Bus online and there are hundreds of companies that hardly bothered to think of going online.

You would think that the media would know better. Nation Media Group has a very vibrant web presence in the name of The group’s website is respected as possibly the best in the region. But even they have failed to use the internet to popularise the group’s fm radio station Easy FM. It is sad that months since the former Nation FM was relaunched as Easy FM, the station has NO presence online and their website has been under construction for ages now. What a shame. (see Easy FM website) Instead of streaming live programming on the internet and strengthening their brand there, Nation’s Easy FM has been sleeping on the job.

Kenya Television Network (KTN) may be a hit in Kenya but it has failed to make its presence noticed online. There has been a site that has been tested in the past few weeks and which holds promise and that site is run by Bernsoft Interactive, not the Standard Group. That means that any time the two companies disagree on the matter, the site will be shut down. By the time of publishing this article, the KTN Online site has not been updated for days although for some weeks it at least had some news clips from Kenya, a first of sorts. It is a test site and will certainly do well once plans are put in place. KBC’s news video content can be found on the international Jump TV (click here to view). Why can’t all the stations mentioned invest in trained Kenyans to run their own online services like the BBC does?

The NTV station has just started a website and it too falls short of expectations. They have no news content and not even a single video clip on the site. That is totally unacceptable in this day and age. You cannot have a website for a TV station that fails to address news (video) coverage. (see NTV website)

The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication has been for a long time the premier media college but it too has NO online presence. A google search reveals only an advertisement for admissions (click here) as posted on the website of the parent ministry (information and communication). There is simply no other website for the famous college. Even the Ministry of Information website has no link or further information on the KIMC. The site is supposed to be the gateway to other major Kenyan government sites but it too is need of a revamp. It fails to load quickly enough and is in really poor shape. They should borrow a leaf from the site of the government spokesman (office of public communications) which is easy to navigate and has good links. Even on the list of parastatals and institution websites, (as listed on the competitive government spokesperson’s website), the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication is still missing.

Kenya’s high commissions abroad have different types of websites (in all manner of colours and templates) designed and mainly run by webmasters who are private entrepreneurs (not civil servants). That shows that the websites are not official sites. A good example is the Kenya High Commission, London site that looks okay (could do with some revamping) but which is run by a private firm on behalf the government. The end result is that there are google ads posted on the website, an outrageous thing for a site meant to represent our government. see Kenya High Commission, London website.

These were just samples. Kenyans need to wake up and tap into the power of the internet for selling, advertising or just informing their clientele and customers.

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Militants in Niger Delta threaten to hit Angola over detained leader

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) A group of militants in Nigerias Niger Delta known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), threatened Sunday that it would, in due course, map out strategies to enable them hit at Angola and any of its interests for holding their commander, Henry Okah in criminal detention.

Okah was arrested about two weeks ago while allegedly trying to purchase arms in Angola, an accusation, which was denied by his associates who said he went to buy a boat.

A statement released here by the group Sunday, said Okahs detention presented Angola as an enemy of the Niger Delta. MEND also claimed responsibility for the kidnap, Saturday night, of expatriate workers of Shell Petroleum Development Company at EA field, offshore of Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta.

MEND, which blamed the Angolan government for the resumption of their attack, admitted in the statement by the Commander of the operation, Don Pedro of taking three hostages in the attack, which took place at 8.45pm Saturday night.

MEND gave the names of those being held as Captain Theo Courtriers (Russia), Lee Mamamara (USA) and Mate Lusa (Croatia). They were working for two contracting firms of SPDC, Hydro Dive and Reson Interoil.

MEND said, The Angolan government must therefore accept full responsibility for this onslaught. By holding in criminal detention a key stakeholder in the Niger Delta struggle, the government of Angola has crossed a line that they may never be able to go back on, for in due time, our campaigns will be strategically focused on Angolan concerns in Nigeria. We are building a list of these at the moment.

Pedro said Okah was being held in detention with the connivance of the Nigerian government even when there was no evidence of any criminality against him, adding that This madness will not be hurriedly forgotten. There will be no warnings for the things that we shall do in the time to come.

Pedro claimed that the Angolan government had tried to rope in their leader in criminal offences but the law courts of that country absolved him of all allegations and wondered whey they were still keeping him in jail without any offence.

Published by Korir, API/APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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More than 130 illegal migrants apprehended in southern Morocco

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Rabat (Morocco) The Moroccan authorities on Friday and Sunday apprehended about 135 illegal immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa near the city of Layoune (in the south), official sources in Rabat told APA Sunday.

About 100 of the illegal immigrants hailing from Sub-Saharan Africa were arrested on Saturday at 60 kilometres north-east of Layoune, after 35 others were picked up on Friday at 95 kilometres in the north-east of the city.

Since January 2007, the Moroccan authorities have apprehended about 9,800 illegal migration attempts to the Spanish coast, 3000 of which were for the Canary Island.

The operation also led to the dismantling of about 260 networks of migrant trafficking.

In October, 455 Sub-Saharan nationals were repatriated from the airport of Dakhla, in the south.

Published by Korir, API/APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Dissolve House, Kibaki told – Raila and co are impatient

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

By Standard Team

The three top parties battling for the presidency have differed over the urgency to dissolve Parliament. While ODM urged President Kibaki to immediately disband the House, ODM-Kenya and the Party of National Unity (PNU) played down the need for haste.

These differences played out on a day a fourth contender for the presidency joined the fray and the battle for the house on the hill became more intense, exciting and even ugly.

Last night, a source at State House intriguingly told The Standard without elaborating, “From tomorrow (today), you can begin counting the hours”.

Earlier on Sunday, ODM presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga, running mate Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Pentagon members Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joseph Nyagah insisted that Parliament had concluded crucial business and should be dissolved.

“Kenyans are in an election mood. Besides, President Kibakis mandate of leadership has expired and he should dissolve Parliament and ask for votes on an equal footing with all of us,” Raila said by telephone from South Africa.

Mudavadi, Ruto, Balala and Nyagah, who had flown to Bura and Ijara in chartered helicopters, added on the pressure.

Ruto told the President to stop the “delaying tactics” while Balala added: “There is no need of delaying the dissolution of Parliament. We want elections now to deliver an ODM Government with Raila as its leader.”

But Information and Communications minister Mr Mutahi Kagwe weighed in with the rejoinder that Kenyans should not waste time discussing the dissolution of Parliament because it was President Kibakis prerogative.

“This debate is null and void. Parliament is running normally and it is the Presidents prerogative to dissolve it. He will do it in his own time, Kagwe said when reached by telephone.

Crucial bills already passedThe controversial Finance Bill was the last major assignment for the Ninth Parliament as it drew to the evening of its life.

Just before it, by a day, the Political Parties Bill was also passed and with it a new era in the conduct of politics, which will see political parties funded by the State, though with stiff conditions.

The Bill had been passed earlier, but President Kibaki denied it assent on grounds that it had not even defined what political parties were.

In the last few sessions of the Ninth Parliament, the Appropriations Bill was also passed by a handful of members as lack of quorum had become almost a way of life, especially for the better part of this year.

With the passing of the Finance Bill last week, the parliamentary calendar appeared to have run its full life, although technically, it continues until the President dissolves Parliament.

The Presidents powers to dissolve Parliament are unbridled and only tied to the Constitutional proviso that the next Parliament be convened not more than three months after it is dissolved. It is in those three months that the General Election must be held.

On his part, ODM-Kenya presidential candidate Mr Kalonzo Musyoka said the President had enough time to dissolve the House, saying he had up to two weeks from now. He made this suggestion in Kwale, while on the campaign trail.

Regardless, the race for State House, 2007 intensified as the ODM Pentagon made inroads into remote Bura and Ijara, as Kalonzo and his ODM-Kenya brigade continued to pull large crowds.

President Kibakis Party of National Unity (PNU) also had several teams, with Vice-President Mr Moody Awori leading the onslaught in Maasailand, campaigning in various parts of the country.

President Kibaki also had a busy Sunday attending Mass at the Holy Family Basilica before proceeding to the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) for a Jua Kali exhibition, where he said the sector will be expanded to alleviate poverty (see separate story inside).

MP heckledThe Kenya Peoples Partys (KPP) Pastor Pius Muiru introduced a new flavour to the campaigns with his eloquence, when he defied all odds to launch his campaigns at a well-attended rally at the historic Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi.

However, things also took an ugly turn after violence reared its head in Meru and Nairobi, where PNU-allied MPs, among them a minister and two assistant ministers, were caught up in flare-ups.

Environment minister Mr David Mwiraria, two Assistant ministers Mr Peter Munya and Mr Raphael Muriungi together with Ntonyiri MP Mr Maoka Maore and others were caught up in election campaign chaos in Maua town, Meru.

Three Cabinet ministers and two assistant ministers also found themselves in a tight spot as heated exchanges marred a PNU rally in Nairobi convened by Kamukunji MP Mr Norman Nyagah to launch his bid for the seat.

In Maua Stadium, Mwirarias bodyguards had to draw pistols to escort him and other dignitaries out of the VIP dais after supporters of various parliamentary aspirants turned rowdy and overran the venue.

The minister appeared to limp as bodyguards shielded and escorted him to his official car, which sped off towards Meru town.

Nyagah who is also the Government Chief Whip was heckled and denied a chance to speak at his own rally at Uhuru Estate next to Jerusalem shopping centre in Nairobis Eastlands.

There was drama and confusion as angry youths carried a mock coffin and cross as they escorted Nyagah out of the venue.

The ministers Mr Moses Akaranga (Public Service), Mr Maina Kamanda (Sports) and Mr Gideon Konchellah (Immigration) and Assistant minister Mr David Mwenje were forced to leave the venue of the meeting in a huff, with security men shielding them from the rowdy mob.

Elsewhere in Mombasa, Kalonzo cautioned Muslims against being promised special treatment by certain political parties if they win the General Election.

“I want to tell you that what any marginalised group wants in this country is equal and not special treatment,” he said.

Speaking during what he described as Gods revolution rally at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa, the Mwingi North MP said he was saddened by the Government move to arrest several Muslims and prosecute them in a different country.

He said the huge turnout was a demonstration of the peoples second thought after they were allegedly misled by opinion polls.

He appealed to Kenyans to stop relying on opinion polls and face the reality, claiming they were being manipulated.

Kalonzo said his government would borrow a leaf from Senegal where despite being 80 per cent Muslim and 20 per cent Christian, the government treated both equally.

On the ongoing debate on federalism (Majimbo), he said it was a harmless word that emphasised the need for devolving power and equitable distribution of resources.

He warned the Party of National Unity to be prepared for a big shock because anybody who was against federalism would not get a single vote in the province.

Bahari MP, Mr Joe Khamisi said Shirikisho Party of Kenya had lost direction by decamping from their initial clarion call for federalism.

Said he: “Im asking Shirikisho to come back home to ODM-Kenya, the party that stands for federalism.”

In attendance included ODM-Kenya running mate Dr Julia Ojiambo, Deputy Speaker Mr David Musila and MPs Mr Daudi Mwanzia, Mr Kiema Kilonzo, Mr Charles Kilonzo, Mr Lucas Maitha, ODM-K chairman Mr Samuel Poghisio and secretary-general, Mr Mutula Kilonzo.

Reports by Ayub Savula, Francis Ngige, Lawrence Kinoti, Patrick Beja, Edith Fortunate, Patrick Wachira, Ngumbao Kithi and Joseph MurimiLifted and published by API/APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Publication Date: 10/22/2007

Kenyas horticultural industry has received a boost after a British minister dismissed a campaign by environmental lobbyists that the produce should be shunned because it contributes to global warming.

Workers package cut flowers. Environmentalists are campaigning against the products, saying they contribute to global warming. Photo/FILE

UK Trade and Development minister Gareth Thomas asked the lobbyists and large supermarkets to be fair to African countries that fly their produce to the UK.

He told a meeting on Food Miles to be fair and accurate in indicating the true carbon footprint of all the food consumers buy.

The lobbyists, mainly calling themselves Soil Association, have been pushing for a ban on any produce air freighted to the British market, arguing that they have contributed to global warming.

They argue that aircraft emit carbons while flying the products to the market.

Responding to their demands, some large supermarkets now label fresh produce from Kenya, indicating that it contributed to global warming. Consumers who are environment-friendly are said to avoid such products.

However, speaking in London during a debate on food miles and value of organic exports for farmers in developing countries, Mr Thomas said it was important the true carbon footprint of food production and transportation was considered.

He said: Food miles alone or the distance food has travelled is not the best way to judge whether the food we eat is sustainable. Driving six-and-a-half miles to buy your shopping emits more carbon than flying a pack of Kenyan green beans to the UK.

Mr Thomas also said if the produce, mainly French beans, peas, vegetables and flowers, is labelled contributor to carbon emissions, it should also bear a tag that shows that where it comes from it also helps reduce poverty.

He described the export of horticulture produce from Africa to the UK markets as a success story because proceeds from the products created jobs, helped take children to school and pay medical bills.

The minister added: The Department for International Development supports farmers across Africa to access UK and European Markets.

Yesterday, Kenyas Agriculture Attach at the High Commission, Mr Abraham Barno, said Kenya will continue its campaign to fight against a possible ban of air-freighted products. Under the Grown Under the Sun campaign, Mr Barno said the country would educate consumers that fresh produce from Kenya grows under a natural environment unlike those produced under greenhouses.

He said studies had indicated that greenhouses pollute the environment five times more than airplanes that fly produce from Africa.

However, Mr Barno said that although studies had indicated that 19 per cent of consumers, who buy fresh produce avoid those that have been labelled, Kenya has not recorded any bad business.

Sainsbury supermarket chief executive Justin King disagreed with labelling of the products arguing that it was counterproductive and would hurt developing economies in Africa. Speaking at a breakfast meeting of African Business, Mr King said the theory that the products being flown to the market contributed immensely to carbon emissions did not make sense.

The Soil Association has been campaigning for the ban of air-freighted products to the UK markets from mid last year

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I know Raila too well, says Kamotho – I will frustrate his campaign for presidency

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Kamotho out to frustrate Raila

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 10/21/2007

Former Kanu secretary-general Joseph Kamotho has said he will ensure that Langata MP Raila Odinga will have a difficult run in the race for the presidency.

Speaking a day after he was roped into President Kibaki’s national re-election campaign, the combative Mathioya MP said he was in familiar waters when it came to campaigning against Mr Odinga.

I know Raila far too well, he told a PNU rally at Kiria-ini market in his Mathioya constituency. If for all these years he has never won my wars, I do not think he is just about to win one this time round.

Mr Kamotho, who was Kanu secretary-general for 13 years was replaced by Mr Odinga after the latter�s National Democratic Party merged with Kanu.

But late in 2002, Mr Odinga fell out with then President Moi and led a group of leaders, including Mr Kamotho, in ditching Kanu for the Liberal Democratic Party, which later joined hands with the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) to support President Kibaki in the 2002 General Election.

Campaign for President

At the weekend, Mr Kamotho joined the team led by Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta to campaign for President Kibaki in upper Eastern and North Eastern provinces among other areas.

The team is set to embark on its vote hunting mission today in Marsabit and Moyale districts before moving on to Garissa in North Eastern.

On Saturday, Mr Kamotho told Kenyans not to be swayed by propaganda.

He was supported by Kitutu Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi, who told the Kiria-ini rally that the clamour for majimbo was meant to snatch wealth from hard-working communities and give it to �those who do not want to sweat.

He also said the ODM presidential candidate should explain what he meant by saying that he was a social democrat.

Finance assistant minister Peter Kenneth proposed that all tea and coffee factories be closed on polling day while shops and social places should only be opened after owners prove they have voted.

He also dismissed those calling for renewal of Mr Samuel Kivuitu’s term as ECK chairman. Mr Kivuitu’s term ends on December 2.

ODM and ODM-K have been calling for Mr Kivuitu’s term to be extended to ensure a level playing field in the next election.

And in Meru, PNU leaders challenged Mr Odinga to tell Kenyans his religion.

They said the country needed a president who could assure Kenyans of continued freedom of worship.

�We all know that President Kibaki is a Catholic and Kalonzo Musyoka is a follower of the Baptist Church, but can Raila tell Kenyans which religion he belongs to or even his baptism name?� said Trade assistant minister Petkay Miriti at a rally at Muthaara market in Tigania East.

Vijana na Kibaki lobby group regional coordinator, Mr Alex Wachira, said Mr Odinga was taking advantage of jobless youths to hoodwink them that he would create employment if they elected him.

He told the youth to instead take advantage of the various policies President Kibaki�s government had introduced to ensure they were self-reliant.

Environment minister David Mwiraria alleged that Mr Odinga would ban the growing and sale of miraa (khat), which is the region�s major cash crop.

He urged voters to turn out in large numbers to ensure a landslide victory for President Kibaki.

At an earlier rally in Nkubu, South Imenti constituency, Mr Mwiraria and Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi accused ODM leaders of planning to change Kenya into a socialist state and that was why they were clamouring for federalism.

According to them, some states would block people from owning property outside their districts of origin.

Mr Murungi also accused ODM of spreading propaganda against the Government’s development. They have eyes, yet they don�t see. They have ears and yet they don’t hear, Mr Kiraitu said.

Support majimbo

According to him, there was no way MPs in the next government would support majimbo because the system was rejected immediately after Kenya attained independence in 1963.

Transport assistant minister Njeru Githae said that majimbo would lead to the seizure of resources from people perceived to be outsiders in various states.

Former State House comptroller Matere Keriri claimed that some leaders now allied to ODM had always wanted to seize President Kibaki�s government when he was unwell during the first two years of his administration.

They wanted to get power through the back door, which made him (the President) worried. I had to block them (from accessing State House),� said Mr Keriri.

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Rebel delegation poised to visit Uganda for consultations

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Juba (South Sudan) The delegation of the rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda to the peace talks in Juba, the Southern Sudanese capital, is expected in Uganda next week to carry out mobilization and consultations in the waraffected areas, its spokesperson Mr. Martin Ojul saidSunday.

“We are going to be in Uganda to carry on with our mobilization,” Martin Ojul told APA through telephone from Juba.

He expressed appreciation with the efforts of the government of South Sudan in mediating peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government.

“We want to reassure the people of Southern Sudan that we are still focused and committed to peace,” said Ojul.

The Juba peace talks broke off for consultation on agenda number three on accountability and reconciliation in July.

Mr. Ojul said that the LRA delegation will be accompanied to Uganda by the core-mediator of the peace talks, Dr. Samson Kwaje, the cessation of hostilities monitoring team chairman, Major General Wilson Deng and five African observers.

The LRA peace delegation to Juba is also expected to meet its leader, Joseph Kony in Ri-Kuwanga in South Sudans western Equatoria State.

According to Ojul, the delegation will discuss how consultations will be carried out next week in the war-affected areas in northern Uganda.

There are reports that the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, and his deputy, Vincent Otti, are having strong differences regarding the peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government. Sources said that fighting recently broke out between forces loyal to Kony and Otti.

Published by API/APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Kenyans need to be aware of prophets of doom – The opposition

Posted by African Press International on October 22, 2007

Author : Jon Bondo

Commentary by Jon Bondo:
The president has a valid point, and Kenyans need to be aware of prophets of doom.

Why must one be a president for them to demonstrate they can do things that deliver goods and services to the citizens? Why is that the opposition presidential aspirants imagine they can satisfy the entire country’s demands when they have failed to meet the needs of their constituencies which are 200 times smaller? The problem is that there are too many lies being told, and Kenyans are being taken for granted by these guys. It will be damn wrong to elect president someone who was part of group that was behind the 1982 coup. How gullible have we, Kenyans become?

Kibera electorate should wake up and do the right thing by electing a leader who lives in their midst, and not a foreigner who lives in the posh Karen homes. They must wake up to the reality of their present for the sake of a better future by electing a leader who will truely deliver on their most important need, water and sanitation.

Political majimbo will only hurt the poor man most and enrich the regional business magnates and politicians. I do not see how a Moyale resident will benefit from majimbo if food grown in Meru does not find its way to Moyale easily and freely. If Moyale imposes regional levies to such cross boarder trade and facilitation, this will only hurt the region’s people more.

CDF is good enough a vehicle to deliver resources and empower the citizens economically, and sustain national unity than economic majimboism, which will not do.

Some districts will get poorer since they will have nothing to sell and exchange for supply of goods and money. Such districts will perish while the well endowed ones continue to be wealthy.

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