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Archive for October 31st, 2007


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.

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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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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.


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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


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


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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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.

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Posted by African Press International on October 31, 2007

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


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).

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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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