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Archive for December 23rd, 2007

AU expresses dissatisfaction over Somalia peace process

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The African Union (AU) Commission has expressed dissatisfaction over the Somalia peace process as violence overwhelms the capital, Mogadishu this week, APA learnt on Saturday.

The dissatisfaction was expressed by AU Peace and Security Council officials at 104th meeting on Friday during which they discussed the evolution of the situation in Somalia.

Also at the meeting were the representatives of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, the United Nations and Kenya serving as Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

It expressed regrets that both the Somalis and the international community failed to seize the window of opportunity that arose in December last year when the TFG regained control of Mogadishu and other parts of the country, to decisively address the conflict in Somalia.

Meanwhile, the Council welcomed the appointment of a new Prime Minister in Somalia, in the person of Mr. Nur Hassan Hussein, and hoped he would quickly set up an all-inclusive Government, which would take all the necessary steps for the consolidation and sustenance of peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia.

Council further welcomed the appointment by the Chairperson of the Commission of a new Special Representative, Mr. Nicolas Bwakira, and expressed its full support to his efforts.

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Zambia, 5 others lobby for AU chair

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Zambian diplomats are on an offensive lobby to take over the African Union (AU) Commission chairmanship, replacing Alpha Oumar Konare whose term ended last July 2007, APA learnt on Saturday.

Zambias special envoy and the former president, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda is on a two-day visit to Ethiopia, Addis Ababa to drum support from the countrys Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Sources say the five other candidates are Swaziland, Gabon, Mauritius, Sierra Leone and Burundi.

The Zambian nominee is a woman serving as Zambian Ambassador to the United States, Mbikusita-Lewanika.

Voting is due to be held in January 2008 during the 9th AU summit in Addis Ababa.

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Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Rabat, (Morocco) The Moroccan government on Saturday stated that it had no additional explanation or clarifications to give Senegal since Dakar has also recalled its ambassador from Rabat over the diplomatic row sparked off by the Senegals opposition Socialist Party official on the Western Sahara issue.

Last Thursday, the Moroccan foreign affairs minister, Taib Fassi Fehri, said that his countys decision to recall its ambassador from Senegal was for him to explain the rationale behind the Socialist partys new position on the Western Saharan status.

Rabat estimated that its approach by recalling its ambassador seem not to have been well understood by the Senegalese government.

The Moroccan government says it is therefore expecting more clarifications over the decision made by Dakar to recall its ambassador for consultations.

According to the Senegalese government, the declaration of Jacques Baudin does not implicate the government.

Rather, the Moroccan authorities have taken the care to highlight the good relations between the two countries under the leadership of King Mohammed VI and President Abdoulaye Wade.

The Moroccan Kingdom reminded that the relationships existing between the Moroccan and Senegalese peoples were mutually respectful, exceptional and warm,” the Prime minister said.

“Like the Moroccan Kingdom, Senegal independently defines its foreign policy and makes diplomatic decisions it deems appropriate”, the head of the Moroccan government indicated.

This diplomatic incident followed the utterances of Jacques Baudin, senior member of the Senegalese Socialist Party, about the Western Saharan issue as reported by the Algerian press covering the 12 th congress of the Polisario Front in Tifariti.

“Nothing could question the age-old relations between the Moroccan kingdom and Senegal based on a singular historical, cultural and human foundation”, the Moroccan official went on to say.

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Diaspora urges Kenyans to reject federal government

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) Kenyans living in the United States of America (USA) have rejected a proposed federal system of governance popularly known as Majimbo being advocated by the country\s opposition ahead of the 27 December general elections, warning that it would weaken Kenya\s solidarity as a nation in the volatile east African region.

Kenyans living in the Diaspora asked Kenyans to reject the Majimbo system that is being advocated by the Orange Democratic Movement led by opposition front runner, Raila Odinga, and the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenyas leader Kalonzo Musyoka, saying that the prevailing confusion and misunderstanding of the practicability of Majimboism in the country\s society could lead to evictions of Kenyans currently living in harmony among their neighbours and in-laws, citing the 1992 tribal clashes experienced in the country that led to many Kenyans being killed and displaced within the country.

\”The belief and interpretation by some sections of our society that equity in distribution of resources might mean forcefully or cunningly taking away resources from hardworking Kenyans and dishing it away, will demoralise and hence retard the current pace of economic growth. The Soviet Union and the Tanzania under socialism are cases in point,\” the Diaspora Kenyans said in a press statement issued in Nairobi Saturday.

The statement further asked the opposition to assure Kenyans that if they assume power no culprit, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or federal government, would get away with cold blooded murder of their fellow Kenyans.

There has been raging debate in the country over Majimbo ahead of the elections with President Mwai Kibaki seeking re-election for a second term on his Party of National Unity ticket, saying Majimbo was a recipe for ethnic strife in the country.

A poll carried out by the country\s leading research firm indicated that 44 percent of Kenyans also opposed Majimboism.

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History in the making

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

By Kipkoech Tanui

The election week starts today. History is in the making. D-day is four days away 96 hours.

On the last Sunday to another milestone in the nations life, we today bring you more stories and features dedicated to the elections, the Kibaki presidency, power intrigues, and the twists and turns in the big race.

There is also plenty to read on the road Kenya has walked thus far, from December 30, 2002, when Kibaki was sworn-in as Kenyas third president and Commander-in-Chief.

It is the homestretch, and, therefore, much as the flames of passion, with its traditional ethnic flavour continuing to soar, the eye is on the glimmer and glamour of State House.

There is nail biting and anxiety and the big question is whether President Kibaki will clinch a second and final term. Or will he be the first president to bundled out of office at the ballot?

The anxiety of the moment is anchored to the fact that the Presidents main challengers Mr Raila Odinga (ODM) and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-Kenya) were his devout allies in 2002, but he sacked them from the Cabinet after the humiliating defeat at the referendum in 2005.

For Raila, who has led in seven of the controversial Steadman Groups fortnightly opinion polls, and Kalonzo who has stuck to the third position, the referendum was the culmination of the war against Kibaki over alleged betrayal in a pre-election power-sharing pact signed in 2002.

The Presidents side argues the MoU had to be trashed, because it was not going to give the country a Cabinet that is the face of Kenya. The Raila-Kalonzo axis argues that it was an act of betrayal and selfishness. The two, who themselves dramatically fell out and ended up on the ballot with varied symbol of the orange, are out to stake their claim.

If the President wins, his will be the last laugh, for he will not be in the 2012 race. He will have therefore vindicate himself, and reap from his campaign slogan kazi iendelee.

But if Kibaki loses to Raila, he will have been driven into the ignominy of defeat, by a man his side treats with suspicion and who will smile at his Waterloo.

A Raila win will be another chapter in the making of the nation, first because he will have surmounted the myth of unelectability because of certain cultural traits.

Secondly, after years of bare-knuckle struggle for basic freedoms, culminating in nine years in detention, he will have elbowed his way to the Executive.

On the road he walked, it shall then be written, are numerous stops at police cells, the fields of teargas, cudgels, and the haze of broken spirit and shattered family life.

It will be the pinnacle of his life, to achieve the dream his father, the late doyen of Opposition Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, had, but which died after he fell out with Jomo Kenyatta.

For Kalonzo it will be the ultimate miracle, the opening up of a gap between Kibaki and Raila – very much like the Red Sea for the Israelites in the Bible to allow him safe passage to State House.

It will be, it shall be written a diplomatic coup, in honour of Kalonzos role in regional peace-talks, during his watch at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is history in the making. In Kibakis case, if he were beaten, it would be the end of a political career spanning decades and the opening up of a void in central Kenya politics. The political star of so many of his buddies from the days of the Democratic Party in the Opposition benches, will also fade, probably to pop up in 2012.

But for almost ten years he served as Vice-President, will he clinch a decade at State House?

To his credit, he has given his best, on air and on the ground. But the cord he has struck at every rally remains the voters verdict. It must also be noted that given the prominent role Raila played in Kibakis first triumph, a second term would probably break Raila the man he set off on the tracks is unstoppable.

The stakes are indeed high; history is beckoning in the Tenth General Election and the fourth after the restoration of the multi-party era. In all the first two Kibaki and Raila were in the Opposition, but not together. In 1997 they were on the ballot but lost to President Moi, who is now on Kibakis side.

In 2002, Raila was on Kibakis side, against Mois preferred successor Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. Uhuru lost to Kibaki whose second term he is now campaigning for.

Around Raila, under the umbrella of the Pentagon, are Mois last Vice-President Mr Musalia Mudavadi, and the politicians he gave the first-time card to the Cabinet Mr Joe Nyagah and Mr William Ruto.

Raila, too, first served in the Cabinet under Moi. That is the hand from which Raila, too, got the key to the Cabinet, setting off a series of events that eventually silenced the cockerel.

Thursday election will, therefore, be a duel between politicians whose paths have at one point or another run into each other. It is bound to change the political landscape, and history too, no matter who wins.

Between victory and vanquish, honour and disgrace, several axes will have been ground, and political scores settled.

The writer is the Managing Editor, Weekend Editions – Standard.Ke

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SHARJAH FIRMS SEEKING TO INVEST IN TANZANIA OIL EXPLORATION IN TANZANIA

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

odera-omolo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo, in Uganda

A delegation from the Shorjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry will identify investment opportunities in Tanzania’s gas petroleum field.

The chairman of the organization Mr Mohammed Ahmed Al Midfa has stated that Shrjah business firms were interested in gas petroleum exploration in Tanzania.

Mr. Al Midfa said the Shorjah government is planning to set up a centre in Tanzania where products and services from the UAE will be exhibited and investment opportunities in the country tapped.

The Tanzania government has already allocated us land where we will build an exhibition and investment centre to boost trade between the two countries. He said.

Currently two Dubai based companies Black Marlin Energy and RakGas are seeking oil in the Nyuni /Songo Songo area

Geologists experts believe that there are considerable off-shore reserve of gas and oil.

There are 14 companies exploring for gas and oil and so far three arrear have been found to have natural gas deposits .The gas discovered in Tanzania and oil discovered on the border between Uganda and Congo have sharpened interest in the region.

Mr Juma Maharage, Tanzanias Ambassador to the UAE sad the government has offered six blocks for oil exploration, stretching from the northwest to the Country.

Mr Maharage said last week that Tanzanias political and economic reforms as well as its friendly investment policies make it favourable environment for foreign investment.

Sharjah has already invested in food processing in Tanzania and is now seeking opportunities in Tourism and the hospitality sector

A Tanzania delegation recently visited the UAE and made presentations on the investment opportunities in mining, horticulture, aviation, realestate, manufacturing, fishing and oil sector.

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Malawi Red Cross clocks 75 years of humanitarian work

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

 
Lilongwe (Malawi) The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), a locally-based humanitarian organisation which provides a range of services to society here, said on Friday that it has been able to implement its community-oriented programmes in the past 75 years to support the underprivileged due to cooperation from people and organisations in the country.

Speaking during the occasion marking 75 years of the organisation’s work in Malawi in Lilongwe, MRSC President Andrew Kagwale said the implementation exercise has largely been carried out due to the good partnership among government structures, civil society organisations and stakeholders.

\”This partnership has made our work possible, and consequently make a positive difference in the lives of those who are vulnerable,\” he said.

For over decades, the organisation has been providing services like community health, food security, disaster management and relief, water and sanitation, irrigation, refugees care, first aid, tracing and blood donor recruitment and HIV/Aids.

Kagwale added that currently the organisation is planning to develop a recruitment strategy that would bring about more diversity in the membership of the national society.

In addition, the society is developing a long-term self-financing plan to ensure long term sustainability of its national programmes, he said.

Red Cross work started in the British territory of Nyasaland (now Malawi) in 1932 as a branch of the British Red Cross. It became a full national society in 1966 and was recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1970 and was later admitted as a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1971.

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AU expresses dissatisfaction over Somalia peace process

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The African Union (AU) Commission has expressed dissatisfaction over the Somalia peace process as violence overwhelms the capital, Mogadishu this week, APA learnt on Saturday.

The dissatisfaction was expressed by AU Peace and Security Council officials at 104th meeting on Friday during which they discussed the evolution of the situation in Somalia.

Also at the meeting were the representatives of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, the United Nations and Kenya serving as Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

It expressed regrets that both the Somalis and the international community failed to seize the window of opportunity that arose in December last year when the TFG regained control of Mogadishu and other parts of the country, to decisively address the conflict in Somalia.

Meanwhile, the Council welcomed the appointment of a new Prime Minister in Somalia, in the person of Mr. Nur Hassan Hussein, and hoped he would quickly set up an all-inclusive Government, which would take all the necessary steps for the consolidation and sustenance of peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia.

Council further welcomed the appointment by the Chairperson of the Commission of a new Special Representative, Mr. Nicolas Bwakira, and expressed its full support to his efforts.

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

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Senegal retaliates, recalls ambassador to Morocco

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) APA-Dakar (Senegal) Senegal has recalled its ambassador to Morocco for consultations, in retaliation for the recalled Moroccan ambassador to Senegal, APA has learnt.

In a statement recalling the ambassador, Senegal argued that the recalled Moroccan ambassador was not accredited to the Secretary General of the Socialist Party (PS, opposition) Ousmane Tanor Dieng, whose colleague attended a function in the Western Sahara which Morocco considers as part of its territory.

The government of Senegal feels it cannot be held responsible for the declarations made by Jacques Baudin on behalf of the Socialist party, the statement said.

Moroccos decision to recall its ambassador in Dakar was an unfriendly gesture, which did not take into account all the efforts made by Senegal to find a solution to the crisis between Morocco and the so-called Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the statement said.

In reaction to the general outcry aroused in Morocco by hostile statements on the Western Sahara issue by Jacques Baudin, on behalf of the Senegalese Socialist Party, Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taib Fassi Fehri, on Thursday declared that nothing can disrupt the relations between Senegal and his country.

Mr. Fehris declaration was made in the wake of a controversy over the declarations of a Senegalese opposition party member, Mr. Jacques Baudin on the Western Sahara issue as reported by the Algerian media that covered the 12th Congress of the Polisario Front held in Tifariti, a town Morocan authorities consider as a buffer zone.

Mr. Jacques Baudin, on Wednesday told APA in an interview that Senegals stance in the Saharawi issue remains the same and the Socialist Party is still committed to the friendly relations, which have always existed between Dakar and Rabat.

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Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2007

Washington DC (USA) President Bushs special envoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios, has resigned U.S. officials said Saturday.

Mr. Natsios, a former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in September 2006 to trying to resolve the crisis in Darfur resulting from a genocide.

He worked to maintain a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war between north and south Sudan.

His successor is expected to be Richard Williamson, a senior Republican Party official in Illinois and a former deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

No details of Natsios resignation were immediately available but several officials and Darfur observers said he had been frustrated by bureaucratic infighting within the administration over Sudan policy and recently informed Bush and White House chief of staff Josh Bolten of his intention to resign.

Others noted he had accepted the job for a one-year tour.

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