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Archive for November, 2007

DRC women living in France appeals for an International Criminal Court

Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2007

Paris (France) Dozens of DR Congolese women living in France on Thursday, appealed to the French president to help support the setting up of a special International Criminal Court (ICC) to judge those accused of war crimes and sexual abuses committed in the country over the last decade.

These Congolese ladies under the umbrella of the Alliance of Patriots for the Reform of DR Congo (APARECO) justified their call by the fact that the French President considers human rights as core of the cooperation between his country and the African continent.

” We call on Frances support because, as a country sitting at the United Nations Security Council, we think that it can use its power to help set up a special International Criminal Court for DR Congo”, APARECOs Public Relations Officer Candide OKEKE told a press conference Thursday in Paris.

“Our appeal is a feedback to your various messages on the kind of relationships you wish to establish between France and Africa”, they said alluding to Nicolas Sarkozy, and reminded him of his commitment to protect human rights everywhere.

They said the court should be tailored after the one trying the genocide case in Rwanda, and war criminals of former erstwhile Yugoslavia.

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UK authorities summons Sudanese envoy

Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2007

London (United Kingdom) Authorities in London on Thursday summoned Sudanese ambassador Omer Mohammed Ahmed Siddig to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as diplomatic pressure mounted on Britain and Sudan over the British teacher charged with blasphemy for allowing her school pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown got personally involved in the affair of the 54-year-old teacher, Gillian Gibbons, who appeared in a Khartoum court on Thursday under threat of punishment under sharia law, which would include 40 lashes, a prison sentence and a fine if convicted.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the Sudanese envoy that the UK wants to make clear to the Sudanese authorities that Ms Gibbons has not shown any lack of respect for Islam.\”

Gibbons is charged with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.

London said it was “unfortunate that despite all the diplomatic interventions and other proceedings, Gibbons was still taken to the Sudanese court where conservative leaders have to decide her fate.”

Authorities and Gibbons family have expressed fears the teddy bear row might snowball into an international clash-of-civilizations crisis similar to the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet of Islam.

Miliband firmly declared: “We hope common sense would prevail on Khartoum and its hard-line leader President Omar Bashir”.

While Britain intensifies pressure on Khartoum, UK officials alleged that Sudans top clerics are calling for the full measure of the law to be used against Gibbons “because her actions were part of a Western plot against Islam”.

\”We are worried because even some sections of Sudanese academia insisted that Gibbons had been wrong to name the bear Mohammed because the animal does not exist in Sudanese folklore; if you call someone a bear they will be angry.”

Miliband said the issue has to be resolved on time to avoid an explosive diplomatic row and escalation among “angry Sudanese who are threatening large street protests after Friday prayers to call for the Briton to be lashed in public or even hanged.\”

\”We want to see her freed as soon as possible. This is a human story, no malice is involved. Her security and welfare are absolutely at the forefront of our concerns…this is not a political dispute.\”

The Liverpool-born Gibbons, a mother of two, taught at an elite British-run Unity School in Khartoum until the outbreak of the teddy bear row.

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Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2007

By Lassima Serme

Korhogo (Cote dIvoire) The disarming process of the former Ivorian rebels and the militia dismantlement will resume “at the latest” on 22 December, as recommended by the new Ouagadougou complementary accord released Thursday in Korhogo by the delegation led by the Foreign and Cooperation Minister Djibril Bassol, APA learnt here in northern Cote dIvoire.

“The former rebels reassembling and the storage of weapons are expected to start at the latest on 22 December”, the new accord signed by the Ivorian head of state, Laurent Gbagbo, and his Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, also New Forces former leader, said.

The new accord read by the Executive Assistant to the Ivorian Foreign and Cooperation Minister, Zakaria Zakan, underscored that “the operations will be conducted by the Integrated Command Centre (CCI) under the supervision of neutral forces, such as the United Nations peacekeeping forces and the French Licorne Forces”.

According to the complementary accords signatories, the countrys presidential polls could be held “at the latest” in mid-2008.

According to the Burkinabe authorities, the choice of the French company Sagem as technical operator to provide a design for the countrys identification cards was also confirmed.

Both Gbagbo and Soro on Tuesday jetted off to Ouagadougou not only to discuss the new time table relating to the implementation of the 4 March Ouagadougou accord, but also to confirm the choice of the French technical operator SAGEM to provide national identification cards and voters cards to the Ivorian population.

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Posted by African Press International on November 29, 2007

Korhogo (Cote dIvoire) Over 4,500 soldiers from the UN and French missions in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI and Licorne), the Ivorian defence and security forces (FDS) and the armed forces of the New Forces (FAFN, former rebels) were deployed to ensure the security of President Laurent Gbagbo during his visit on Wednesday to the north of the country, APA has noted.

The leaders of these four forces met on Tuesday to put the final touches to the security operation.

The UN and French peacekeeping forces are jointly taking part in the security services of President Gbagbos visit to the north of the country on request of the Ivorian authorities, Lt-Colonel Jacques Combalieu of the French forces explained.

“The mission of the French forces in Cote dIvoire is to be ready to help the UNOCI which, in turn, backs the local forces,” the French senior officer said.

“We come as third cordon because President Gbagbos security is first ensured by the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), the Armed forces of the New Forces (FAFN) and then UNOCI troops”, Lt-Colonel Combalieu said.

According to him, “the French troops have mobilised technical communication facilities between the units and we pre-positioned certain facilities in Korhogo, particularly a transmission system which would enable us to back the UN soldiers, if necessary”.

For the accommodation, there are no more rooms in the hotels, the private homes and other houses were rented out on the occasion at inflated prices.

The enthusiasm has reached the bars, the restaurants, and the markets on the occasion of President Gbagbos visit to the countrys northern region, the stronghold of the former rebellion which is now committed to the peace process after five years of a fratricide and divisive war.

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AU to pay compensation for deceased Rwandan peacekeepers

Posted by African Press International on November 29, 2007

Kigali (Rwanda) The Africa Union AU) is in the final stages of releasing the $600,000 payment for deceased Rwanda Defense Force peacekeepers that were serving in the Darfur region of Sudan , the Defense ministry has confirmed.

Rwanda has lost about eight soldiers in the Darfur peacekeeping mission but the AU had so far paid compensation costs for only one of them.

The compensation for other RDF soldiers who also died on duty in Darfur is in advanced stages, the RDF spokesperson Maj. Jill Rutaremara announced here Tuesday.

He said that the ministry of Defense is following up the matter closely with the AU.

So far, many procedures have been accomplished. The $600,000 will be released very soon, Rutaremara told APA.

But he was not certain about actual dates when the cash would reach the defense coffers for subsequent disbursement to the beneficiaries (families of the fallen troops).

The dead RDF soldiers were serving under the African Union flag. In the Rwanda-AU agreement, each soldier who dies on duty in this war ravaged part of Sudan is entitled to $10,000.

The package will increase in the new AU-United Nations hybrid mission.

This development however comes at the heels of the recent death of two more RDF soldiers in Sudan. That brings the number of dead RDF troops in the war-torn region to eight, since the first deployment in 2004. The first four died in August this year, when they were gunned down in an ambush, while escorting a fuel convoy.

The RDF has over 2000 troops serving under the African Union banner in the Darfur region, with its contingent being the first to feature in the peace keeping mission in the troubled area. Rwanda has deployed more 800 troops in the newly approved AU-UN hybrid mission.

Having flared up in February 2003, the conflict in Darfur has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and left large numbers displaced.

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After Pervez comes Pervez! The profile of the new Prevez, Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Kayani

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

The rise of Pakistan’s”Quiet man”

By Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad

Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani

<Gen Kiani has a ‘can-do’ reputation

The rise of Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani through the ranks of the Pakistani military has been rapid if not extraordinary.The man nominated by Gen Musharraf to be his replacement as army chief is noted for his patience, diligence, intelligence and sheer determination.

Another contributing factor has been his ability to keep a low profile when necessary while also being able to take decisive action when it’s needed.

Gen Kayani’s clan is one of the largest and most powerful in the northern Jhelum area of Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab.

The harsh and arid region is famed throughout the subcontinent for only one product – soldiers.

So in many ways Gen Kayani was born to the job.

Passion for golf

He initially studied at the local cadet college in Jhelum, and was subsequently accepted at the army’s military academy in the northern town of Kakul.

In August 1971 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, and joined the famed Baloch regiment.

Pakistani soldier

The general is respected within the army

He joined up in time to experience the military defeat to India of the same year.

His first taste of politics came when he served as deputy military secretary to Benazir Bhutto in her first government in 1988.

Since then he has served at various levels of command.

He is a graduate of army colleges in Quetta and Islamabad, and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in the US.

Married with two children, Gen Kayani is president of the Pakistan Golf Association and an avid golfer.

He is respected in the army as a professional soldier who deliberately keeps a low profile.

Crisis management

This is in sharp contrast to the man he has been chosen to replace – Pervez Musharraf.

But maintaining a low profile has not meant that Gen Kayani has shied away from high-profile assignments.

He has a “can-do” image as a man who gets things done.

Gen Kayani has never been seen a part of President Musharraf’s inner circle. But the president has always turned to him when the going gets tough.

It was Gen Kayani who oversaw the investigation into attempts to assassinate President Musharraf in December 2003.

As one of the army’s senior most officers, Gen Kayani could confidently expect to take the top job

In his book, In the Line of Fire, President Musharraf writes how the investigations into the attacks initially ran into problems because of inter-agency rivalries.

“But these disappeared when I appointed Kayani in charge of investigations,” the president wrote.

Observers believe that it was from this time onwards that Gen Musharraf started to rely heavily on Gen Kayani for crisis management.

But insiders say it was actually the winter of 2001-2002 that showcased Gen Kayani’s abilities.

Stand-off

At that time he was serving as Director-General Military Operations (DGMO) – the army’s operational commander.

As Pakistan’s relations with India deteriorated, militants staged a deadly attack on the Indian parliament.

Delhi blamed it on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, and mobilised its army to take action. Soon the two nuclear-armed neighbours were dug in opposite each other along their 1,500km border.

Pervez Musharraf

Gen Musharraf has come to rely on Gen Kiani

Tempers were running high and a single aggressive movement could have sparked conflict. During this time, Maj Gen Ashfaq Kayani was in charge of all troop movements.

Insiders say it was his expert handling of the situation, and his constant contact with the Indian command that kept the eight-month stand-off from becoming an outright war.

It also brought him to the attention of Gen Musharraf. Subsequently, Gen Kayani was promoted to command the army’s elite 10 Corps based in Rawalpindi.

When the attacks on President Musharraf took place in the city, Gen Kayani was the natural choice for the job of finding out who was behind them. The investigations led to a secret military tribunal convicting 11 men of planning and carrying out the attacks.

‘Own man’

Soon after, he was made the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. In March 2007, he was part of the infamous “tribunal” of intelligence chiefs who met Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry the day before his suspension by President Musharraf.

Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani

Gen Kiani in his younger days

He was later named as the only one who sat silently through the entire episode.

Gen Kayani was also the only official at the meeting who did not submit an affidavit against the chief justice.

President Musharraf’s botched attempt to sack the judge triggered a political storm which led to deals with former prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Gen Kayani was instrumental in making both these deals possible .

But while helping his “mentor”, he has remained very much aloof from the increased political wrangling as elections approach.

As one of the army’s most senior officers, Gen Kayani could confidently expect to take the top job. But because he was head of the controversial and shadowy ISI, some felt that he had disqualified himself from further promotion.

No ISI chief has ever been appointed commander of Pakistan’s army. The agency’s dealings have often been at odds with the policy of the government of the day.

Some observers had also contended that Gen Kayani was too much “his own man” for Gen Musharraf to place faith in him.

But Gen Musharraf chose to ignore these doubters when naming his successor in early October.

Now, two months later, on 28 November 2007, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has assumed charge of what is the most powerful office in the country.

The 14th chief of Pakistan’s army has his work cut out, with militants challenging the power of his institution, whose morale is at an all time low.

How he, and his army, copes with the situation could well be a defining moment in Pakistan’s history.

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Musharraf gives up army uniform: A step in the right direction

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Pervez Musharraf (right) hands over command to Gen Ashfaq Pervez KayaniGen Musharraf (Right) said the army was the saviour of Pakistan

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has handed over the command of the military in a ceremony in Rawalpindi.

Gen Musharraf passed a ceremonial baton to Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at the army’s headquarters.

In his farewell address, Gen Musharraf said the army was his “life” and he was proud to have been the commander of this “great force”.

He had been under huge pressure to quit as army chief and is due to be sworn in as civilian president on Thursday.

Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto welcomed President Musharraf quitting his army post but said her party was in no hurry to accept him as a civilian leader.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President Musharraf’s stepping down was a good first step but called for a state of emergency to be lifted ahead of January elections.

President Musharraf has led Pakistan’s military for nine turbulent years. As a civilian leader he will have to work out a relationship with a new army chief and an elected prime minister.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Karachi says President Musharraf has shown great resilience over the years, often bouncing back when seemingly on the ropes.

His legacy as a military leader on the front line of the “war on terror” is a country beset by militancy.

Despite his having preached “enlightened moderation”, President Musharraf is a reluctant democrat whose policies have provided political space for religious conservatives to the exclusion of moderates and liberals, our correspondent says.

‘Half a century’

Dressed in full military uniform, Gen Musharraf arrived at the ceremony with a baton under his left arm.

Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, in Swat district, Pakistan 19 November 2007

Genaral Ashfag Kayani

On his arrival, he was greeted by Gen Kayani and inspected a guard of honour.

A military band played Pakistan’s national anthem and the ceremony began with a recitation from the Koran.

The colourful ceremony was shown live on national television.

“I am bidding farewell to the army after having been in uniform for 46 years,” Gen Musharraf said in his address. He became army chief in October 1998.

“This army is my life, my passion. I love this army, and this relationship will continue, although I will not be in uniform,” he said.

Gen Musharraf added:

“I am fortunate to have commanded the best army in the world. This army is an integrating force, the saviour of Pakistan.

“Without this army, the entity of Pakistan cannot exist.”

‘Excellent soldier’

Gen Musharraf expressed full faith in the ability of his successor, Gen Kayani, to lead the force.

“He’s an excellent soldier and I can say with full confidence that under his command, the armed forces will achieve great heights,” Gen Musharraf said.

He had designated Gen Kayani, a former head of the intelligence services, as his successor in October.

The most serious pressure on the president to give up his uniform had come from the United States, his main international backer.

Washington has grown concerned in recent months at the army’s inability to rein in pro-Taleban militants and by Gen Musharraf’s growing unpopularity.

As a civilian leader, President Musharraf will still have considerable powers, including the ability to sack a civilian government.

He imposed emergency rule on 3 November in order, he said, to control an unruly judiciary and deal with the growing threat from Islamist militants.

General elections are to be held on 8 January. President Musharraf’s critics in Pakistan and allies in the West say they cannot be free and fair unless the emergency is lifted.

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ORENGO STAND NO CHANCE OF WINNING HIS OLD UGENYA SEAT

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

odera-omolo.jpgBy Leo Odera Omolo

API/APN in Kisumu, Kenya – 27/11/07

James Aggrey Orengo (Nyatieng) un-nominated ODM Parliamentary candidate for the Ugenya constituency in Siaya district chances of recapturing the seat, which he lost several years ago to his brother in- law are said to be the remotest.

Orengo who was beaten hands down by the youthful populist and resourceful Steve Okoth Mwanga who was undemocratically and unceremoniously robbed his election victory by the chairman of the ODM election board the retired Justice Richard Otieno Kwach and his team.

The move has since sparked off discontent among the voters who have since vowed they would teach the ODM election board a lesson, which its member will live to regret by voting Mr. Mwanga on Dec 27 during the election proper..

The electorate have vowed to vote for Mr. Mwanga en-mass despite him having crossed to the Cyrus Jirongo KADDU party.

A group of people who fronted themselves as opinion leaders in Ugenya told this writer at Ugenya town this week that their allegiance to Raila Odinga, the ODM party presidential candidate remain unchanged. They will vote for Raila but for the parliamentary candidate. And they made it categorically clear that they would vote for the populist Mr. Mwanga.

The reasons they floated is that despite having represented Ugenya in parliament previously for close to 22 years Orengo has done nothing to his own credit in term of economic and educational development in the area.

We agree the lawyer is a high profile politician and our most illustrious son. But he is not development conscious person. He had no development agenda in his vocabulary. We rejected his bid to be nominated as the ODM torchbearer in Ugenya and as such the clearance certificate should have been issued to Mr. Mwanga who was the legitimate winner of the nomination.

We feel betrayed and cheated but we want to make it plainly clear that we shall still vote for Mwanga. He is our darling because his election could change this most backward constituency in Luo – Nyanza to higher heights of development, said Mr. Ogutu an ODM operative in Ugenya.

In Ugenya, Orengo can only represent a classic society of certain elite, but not the move not simple poor rural folks because he is a very unproductive and mean leader, he added..

Despite being seasoned politician Orengo credibility as a leader is dented by his lukewarm and lackluster performance when he represented the area previously. He is said to be a very mean and a selfish person who care for his own self. But with negative attitude toward the older poor rural folks.

This class of people are the majority and Mwanga has fallen in love with them. It is also disgraceful to the DM as a party for having short-changed Mr. Mwanga and robbed him his victory. The party, the local political pundits say would pay dearly for its mistake.

In the previous incident that in the year 2002 Mr. Paul Nyamodi had won the LDP nomination in Ugenya. But, he too, was robbed off victory when the clearance nomination certificate was handed to the immediate former MP Archbishop Stephen Ondiek.

During the visit I discovered that many voters will vote for Raila Odinga in his presidential bid, but have settled on someone elses to be their next MP decided to vote for the youthful Mwanga.

It was also learnt that all the ODMs civic leaders have deserted Orengo and joined Mwanga campaign team. Jirongos KADDU party can now be rest assured of harvesting one parliamentary seat in Luo-Nyanza and this is the Ugenya seat.

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Darfur situation deteroriating: Violence will increase if nothing drastic is done

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) A new report released in Nairobi by the International Crisis Group (ICG) says that the Darfur crisis is deteriorating by the day and warns violence in the region is on the increase.

The report titled Darfur New Security Reality released on Monday states that the Darfur conflict has changed radically in the past one year and not for the better.

It also warns that access for humanitarian aid is decreasing and the international peacekeeping is not effective.

While there are fewer deaths than during the high period of fighting in 2003-2004, it has mutated, the parties have splintered, and the confrontations have multiplied, the report says.

The report adds that the strategy the African Union-United Nations mediation has been following cannot cope with this new reality and needs to be revised.

While releasing the report one of the co-authors and ICG analyst, Sally Chin said that now that the peace talks have been put on hold the mediation should use this opportunity to reformulate the process, broadening participation and addressing all the root causes of the conflict.

The report accuses the ruling party in Khartoum, the National Congress Party (NCP), of pursuing destructive policies in Darfur while at the same time resisting key provisions in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed two years ago in Nairobi, which ended the north-south war, thus triggering a crisis.

The NCP wants Darfur in chaos to limit the room for an opposition to emerge, while resettling key allies on cleared land and defying Security Council resolutions by integrating its Janjaweed irregulars into official security structures instead of disarming them, the report says.

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Sahel and Sahara communities calls on the Chadians to stop the fighting

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Tripoli( Libya) The Secretariat of the Community of Sahel and Sahara Community States (Cen-Sad) in Tripoli on Tuesday issued a statement calling for immediate secession of fighting between the Chadian forces and the rebels which erupted Monday in eastern Chad.

The Cen-Sad statement called for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire and for the parties to refrain from any action that might destabilize the peace and security of the area.

Cen-Sad further appealed to the leaders of Forces Union for Development and Democracy (UFDD) and Forces Movement for Change (RFC) to stop the escalation and to give priority to negotiation and dialogue under the mediation of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

The Cen-Sad statement went on to express regret at the human losses resulting from the fighting, which it said was in complete contradiction of the spirit of the peace agreement signed in Syrt, in Libya on the 25th October 2007.

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UN to assess the situation: Ogaden region in Ethiopia

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs on Tuesday visited the Ogaden region of Ethiopia where several people are in need of food aid following the Ethiopian governments recent crackdown on the rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

As a result of the insurgency, UN agencies estimate that close to one million people are in need of food aid since the past three and four years.

Currently, the government, in collaboration with international NGOs and UN agencies is delivering 7,000 tons of food aid.

Humanitarian conditions in the area have worsened in the past several months due to fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the ONLF rebels which killed 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese oil workers in April 2007.

Holmes, who is on a nine-day visit to Africa will also visit Sudan and Kenya, and meet with aid agencies and officials to discuss about humanitarian the situation in the respective countries.

While in Sudan, Mr Holmes, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, is scheduled to go to Nyala and El-Fasher in Darfur region, where he will meet people who have been affected by the conflict there.

Holmes is also expected to meet with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday, when they are expected to discuss about the humanitarian situation in the Ogaden region.

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Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

odera-omolo.jpgBy Leo Odera Omolo

API/APN in Kisumu, Kenya – 27/11/07

Kenyas Brookside Dairy Ltd, a firm in which the family of the founding father of the nation the late President Jomo Kenyatta has the controlling shares spurred by rising competitions coupled with tremendous growth in milk output and consumption locally, has begun to look beyond the countrys borders for its products.

The Brookside products, which include yoghurt, butter, cream, ghee and the preserved long life milk (UHT).

In an effort to capture the East African Community Market, Brookside Dairy opened sales offices in Dar Es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza in January this year.

The companys sales and marketing general manager Elias Ocholla was recently quoted as saying that Tanzania offers a vast market for Brooksides range of long life products as well as high value fermented products.

In 1994, Brookside Dairy was producing 5,000 processed milk daily. This has since risen to over 750,000 litres a day.

The increased processing capacity sets the stage for expansion in the region, says Mr. Ocholla.

But it is the companys recent break into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market that has made the greatest statement on the firms intent to go truly regionals. Under the deal Brookside will supply over Ksh 500 million (USD 75) worth of long life milk products annually in the next three years to SADC countries.

The regional trading bloc is currently facing severe milk shortage.

The milk producers Associations of South Africa estimates that the regional market will face a shortfall of over 20 million litres annually for the next three years. At the same time, South African farmers are currently only meeting domestic demand with no extra for export to the SADC porting states.

The most affected markets are Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Angola, Mauritania, Namibia and Malawi.

The Brookside Manager attributed the acute milk shortage in Southern Africa to the near collapse of small-scale dairy farming in the region occasioned by hyper-inflation in the pricing of cattle feeds.

This has meant that large South African milk processors such as Parmalat and Clovers are no longer supplying satellite countries as they concentrate on meeting local demand.

The Kenyan firm recently won supply tenders for Egypt, Middle Eastern and other countries.

Brookside is confident of meeting its export commitment without interfering with local domestic market demand.

Kenya on the other hand, is currently experiencing milk boom driven by sustained growth in the dairy sector, which now stands at four billion liters annually.

Industry report say that increased demand for milk is also being noticed in Latin America, Asia and China where consumption is expected to grow ten-fold in the next seven years.

Countries in the SADC bloc have had to source milk from other markets including Kenya. We have the most modern equipment in the region and thereafter can easily meet the orders from SADC said Mr. Ocholla.

Brookside Dairy will be supplying the SADC countries its range of long-life milk, particularly UHT products that are in short supply currently. The company products have been tested and meet all quality standards of SADC as well as International Quality Standards.

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A ticking time bomb: Kenya slums expanding rapidly

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

harrison-ikunda.jpgBy HarrisonMwirigiIkunda, API/APN in Nairobi, Kenya.

By 2012 it is estimated that 65% of Kenya’s population will be living in urban areas. This is also in line with global trends where more and more people and actually majority of the world’s population will be living in urban centres in the next 10 or so years.

With the Kenyan economy in the upswing mood the push and pull to urban centres will be greatly enhanced. Additionally the returns from agriculture being relatively lower and harder to come by, plus the difficult albeit also a bit controversial and very problematic land tenure system in Kenya, a bigger push to urban centres is quite inevitable.

But the Kenyan urban situation as is in most developing countries is also growing into a major calamity and that is to be found in poor planning and the growth of informal settlements otherwise called slums. Kenya is rapidly growing into a slum capital. The biggest slum in Kenya Kibera- is the largest in Africa. And slum is a growing phenomenon in Kenya. Majority of the population in Kenya’s biggest cities led by Nairobi and Mombasa live in Slums.

Strangely or probably it is to be expected the highest number of
voters in Kenya’s cities like in Nairobi are to be found in slum.
Despite economic ‘boom’ nothing seems to change on the settlements side. More and more people are habiting in squalid areas. Even in not so slum areas and indeed in low cost housing areas like Githurai, Zimmerman, Kawangware, Riruta Satellite, Mathare North, Mlango Kubwa, Eastleigh, Huruma, Dandora and so on have a very thin line in differences to slum areas when it comes to social amenities like schools, health centres, crime rates, sewerage disposals, lighting and so on. Indeed simply stating there is almost nothing like planning in our Kenyan cities and towns. Then you wonder why traffic congestion on the roads not to mention in housing is the order of the day.

Now with all these chaos add the evil phenomenon of aids prevalence, poverty, moral decadence, corruption, negligence and so on. Kenya is growing a generation of children and young people who are simply hopeless. But not everybody has lost hope. A young man called Armstrong O’Brian Ongera, the Executive Director of Capital Youth Caucus Association (CYCA) a partner to ADDHU International (a humanitarian NGO from Portugal) is optimistic that something can be done about it.

Such optimism is rare. And coming from young people like Brian is even rarer. Recently he (Brian) and the president of ADDHU International, Professor Laura Vasconcellos visited the slums in Nairobi and other poverty alleviation centres around the country and got a scare so to say. But they are optimistic something can be done if there is political will and people with means including the corporate sector chips in.

The trip follows another one done by an investigative Journalist from New York (USA) a Mr. Robert Neuwirth who with the CYCA leader (Brian) visited Kibera extensively and other slums and interviewed a good number of people. Another Journalist from Public Radio International/BBC USA a ms Sheri Fink in the company of Brian visited the slums and developed a documentary on slum life. The documentary was named ‘slum life in Kenya’ and was initially aired by the PRI/BBC USA. They also published a book ‘Shadow Cities’. It was published in USA in 2005.

Strangely some foreign media outlets, Tourists, international
organizations seem more worried by the growth of slum life in Kenya than Kenyans themselves. When the current UN Secretary General Ban KI Moon visited Kenya for the first time he made a highly published detour of Kibera slums in Nairobi. Indeed Kenya is increasingly becoming a slum tourist centre. Shame on Kenya!

Something needs to be done and very urgently. Poor urban planning, poverty, congestion, a don’t care attitude, scarcity of water, insecurity, poor infrastructure, lack of very essential social amenities, prostitution (including child) and so on is a hard sticking time bomb!

Published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no

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The people of Lesotho to get education opportunities in Indonesian institutions

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Maseru (Lesotho) Indonesia will be offering the people of Lesotho opportunities to study in Indonesian institutions, an official of the Indonesian Embassy in South Africa said on Tuesday during a three-day visit.

The head of Information, Social and Cultural Affairs for the Pretoria-based Indonesian Embassy, Fred Panggabean also said the establishment of trade links between Indonesia and Lesotho could eventually see citizens of both countries setting up businesses in either country.

Panggabean, who was accompanied by the embassy\s Head of Economic Affairs, said there is a need to further entrench existing relations between the two countries.

He said the purpose of their visit was to explore areas of possible cooperation in business, arts and cultural training, with various local community-based organisations.

He said they will also identify the potential in Lesotho that Indonesia can promote, such as products that can be marketed and possibly exported to Indonesia, while at the same time establishing market opportunities for Indonesian products in Lesotho.

He said Indonesia has had long and good relations with Lesotho that had been restricted to a diplomatic level but Indonesia is seeking to expand and strengthen these relations.

The Indonesian delegation heads back to South Africa on Wednesday.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

 

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EU and East African Community (Five countries) enter into trade deal

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2007

Kampala (Uganda) Despite calls from international aid agencies and pundits to resist pressure to sign Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union, the five countries of the East African Community have agreed to the new pact.

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson on Tuesday announced that Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi agreed to a plan that will gradually open their markets to the European market over a period of 24 years.

Despite giving European firms more access to their markets, some industries will still be protected from competition to prevent local businesses from going bankrupt.

Under the terms of the new deal, about a fifth of the East African Community trade would still be exempt from the requirement to lower customs duties, with particular attention given to industrial products and agriculture.

Mandelson said negotiations would continue next year in an effort to have a more comprehensive EPA in place by 2009.

The international aid agency, Oxfam, has responded to this news with an urgent call to the East African countries to stop further negotiations.

Luis Morago, head of Oxfam\s EU advocacy office, said the countries are being placed under enormous pressure to sign deals before the end of the year that could cause significant damage to their economic prospects.

Several African countries and aid agencies have expressed fears that the EPAs threaten industry and farming in developing countries by exposing them to cheap European imports.

The EPAs will replace preferential trade obligations, which are due to expire in December and have proved controversial in recent years.

A number of other nations in West Africa, and some Pacific nations, have yet to accept the new arrangements.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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