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Archive for December 31st, 2007

Fresh term for Kibaki as ODM rejects results

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

kibakiswornin.jpg<Kibaki is sworn in for the second term.

Four days of high anxiety ended in dramatic fashion by the announcement of the presidential results, followed by the swearing-in of Kibaki and an eruption of a fresh round of violence all in quick succession.But the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) quickly rejected the results, on a day when at least 15 people were killed across the country in post-election riots.

Last night, the ODM Pentagon announced its top leadership and supporters will gather at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, from 2pm today and chart the way forward.

In the safety of the VIP lounge at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), away from the glare of the local and international media, Mr Samuel Kivuitu announced the final, hotly contested presidential results that put Kibaki in the lead with 4,584,721 votes, ODMs Mr Raila Odinga runner-up with 4,352,393 and ODM-Kenyas Mr Kalonzo Musyoka third with 879,905.

The announcement was made at a KICC venue sealed off by paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) personnel, who at least twice during the last two days of the nerve-wracking exercise entered the halls, ready to deal with any situation.

Unlike in 2002 when there was pomp and colour on the same day as Kenyans gathered in their thousands at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, to celebrate the end of Kanus 24 years rule, the ceremony at State House last evening was a quiet affair of a few invited guests, top Government officials and Cabinet ministers, a number of them defeated in the just concluded elections.

Only the State-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was allowed to cover the event after independent press was shut out. But there was more bad news coming for the media.

Bad day for media

Soon after President Kibaki was sworn-in, the Government began flexing muscle, banning live TV coverage and with it a thinly veiled warning that it would crack down on any form of dissent.

Pursuant to Section 88 of the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, I am directed by the Minister for Internal Security, Hon John Michuki, that in the interest of public safety and tranquility, that I order the immediate suspension of all live broadcast until further notice, a statement signed by Dr Bitange Ndemo, the Information and Communications PS, read.

The order directs all media houses and journalists in general to forthwith stop any broadcast it described as of inciting or alarming material and take responsibility for such broadcast in line with the law.

With the edict, the Government plunged the local media into a new dilemma at a critical time in the countrys history in which the press is expected to continue playing a vital role.

The directive, faxed to newsrooms last night, was copied to the Commissioner of Police, the newly constituted Media Council of Kenya and the Director-General of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), which issues broadcast licences.

On Sunday, bloody violence erupted in several parts of Nairobi, mainly Kibera and Mukuru and in Kisumu and Kisii moments after President Kibaki was sworn-in.

Minutes after Kibaki finished reading his acceptance speech at State House, palls of smoke could be seen clouding over Kibera and Mukuru slums as reports said several houses had been set on fire.

Kibaki was sworn in at about 6pm, soon after the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu, declared him the winner on KBC television.

Kivuitu had to make the unprecedented live TV announcement after ODM Pentagon members and agents made it impossible for him to announce at the ECK Media Centre, by loudly disputing the results.

All other media, apart from state-controlled KBC, were ejected by police from KICC as Kivuitu moved into his temporary office and read the televised final statement of the presidential results.

Soon after, at about 5.30pm, he was escorted by Police Commissioner, Maj-Gen Hussein Ali, to State House for the swearing-in.

Kivuitu arrived at the lawns of State House just as the ceremony was rolling out, with President Kibaki and invited guests, who included Cabinet ministers, waited.

Kivuitu read his official affirmation declaring Kibaki the winner, then the President was sworn-in in a short ceremony led by Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

Kibaki then read a 900-word acceptance speech in which he thanked Kenyans for re-electing him.

I thank all of you for the trust you have bestowed upon me in renewing my mandate, which I accept with sincere gratitude and humility, he said.

He also called on his rivals in the election, Raila and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, to forget election differences and work together with him.

Earlier, Kivuitus attempt to announce the final result at a media briefing at KICCs Aberdare room was interrupted when Raila led his Pentagon team into the hall and asked him to repeat reading the results of one of the constituencies he had just concluded.

The ECK chairman obliged and read afresh the results for Molo, one of the remaining 18 constituencies yet to be tallied.

But he was cut short by Eldoret North MP-elect, Mr William Ruto, who waved a copy of results he claimed were the correct figures for Molo.

The situation degenerated into a chaotic scene as Kivuitu tried to proceed but the ODM politicians and agents shouted him down, telling him the results he was reading were disputed.

Some 100 GSU officers who had ringed the hall moved in to surround the chairman, who was under siege amid protests.

Ruto, who had got hold of a microphone, told Kivuitu: We have a different tally of the results from Molo other than the one you have read. You cannot continue reading results which are not real!

The GSU officers moved in on the ODM team and started shoving them out of the hall.

Raila, Ruto, Mr Joe Nyagah, Mr Najib Balala, Mrs Charity Ngilu and Mr Musalia Mudavadi were herded out by a heavy ODM security detail as GSU officers kept pushing and poking them with batons.

Raila was at one time shoved against a wall as the politicians were herded through a narrow staircase that leads from the Aberdare Hall.

Kivuitu and his team of ECK commissioners were then surrounded and spirited back into his ECK office at KICC by armed GSU officers, where he read the results exclusively through live KBC television.

Kivuitu, who had been awaited all day by media teams, observers, envoys, election agents and politicians had walked into a restless hall at 4.37pm and proceeded straight to announce the results.

The chairman, who together with his commissioners looked tired after spending a night at KICC, said: Now I will announce the results because you want me to.

Later, Raila and the Pentagon team consulted on the KICC faade and addressed media over the standoff.

The team then returned to the Aberdare hall where Raila sat on the ECK chairmans seat and addressed the media on the disputes raised by ODM.

Lifted and published Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.standard.ke

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Raila calls for a million man protest

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has called for a million-man march on Thursday to protest what they called a civilian coup. Leading the partys 100 MPs-elect, Mr Odinga said the Electoral Commission had presided over a civilian coup by declaring President Mwai Kibaki the Head of State.

They have decided to put off a public rally earlier planned for today at Nairobis Uhuru Park, and instead vowed to use peaceful means to force President Kibaki out of office. Todays rally was styled as a platform for Mr Odinga to address the nation as the President-elect.

The party said they had already issued the requisite three-day notice to the police about the Thursday march, expected to take place in all major towns in the country. Party supporters will wear black bands, cloths and carry twigs only.

We are law abiding citizens of Kenya who do not want to give anybody an opportunity to claim the laws were ignored. They are now informed that Kenyans will demand back power the ECK had given Mr Kibaki in a civilian coup, Mr Odinga said.

Addressing journalists at Orange House after an ODM National Executive Committee and Parliamentary Group meeting, Mr Odinga accused the police provoking and killing people in total disregard to the mandate they had given him to be President.

He appealed for peace and calm saying hooliganism and criminal acts would not provide the way forward to the impasse created by ECK chairman Mr Samuel Kivuitu and asked the international community to intervene and save Kenya from losing its glory as Africas democratic state.

We deliberated over weighty issues regarding the elections and rigging that took place. We are pained and saddened that within 48 hours democracy we fought so hard to bring is strangled and killed by a small clique of people, he said.

He said the country was in a state of mourning and the funeral atmosphere will engulf the peaceful demonstration on Thursday. He said the ECK chairman had acted irresponsibly as though he doesnt live in the country to provide its citizens with their legally elected President.

Mr Odinga accused Internal security minister Mr John Michuki of using maximum force in the belief that if it sustained for two or three days then Kenyans will give up.

We will not recognise Kibaki as the President of Kenya and will fight him out of office through peaceful and legal means, he said.

He however ruled out going to court about an obvious fact and wondered whether the premise of the law had changed for him to prove that he was the winner against the loser.

If he is not guilty why does he seclude himself in State House at dusk to be sworn in without the media, diplomats, observers and other Heads of States, he added.

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

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Puntland leader vows to stay in regional capital until release of kidnapped MSF volunteers

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

Madrid (Spain) The President of the Somali semi-autonomous territory of Puntland, Adde Musse, has pledged to stay in Bosasso, capital of the region until the release of the two volunteers of Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF), Spanish diplomatic sources told APA on Sunday.

Adde Musse reaffirmed that he was quite “interested in the resolution” of such a situation following the abduction last Wednesday of Mercedes Garcia, a Spanish doctor and Pilar Bauza, an Argentinian nurse by gunmen in central Bosasso.

According to Spanish ambassador to Kenya, Nicolas Martin Cinto, who is in Bosasso to attend the talks with the abductors, the two MSF doctors are “in good health”.

Unofficial sources reported that the gunmen demand a US$250,000 ransom in exchange for the two hostages.

Last Wednesday, Spain-based MSF chairwoman, Paula Farias, appealed to the kidnappers and to the Puntland authorities for a negotiated solution to avoid any clash for the release of the MSF volunteers.

“We have to preserve the physical integrity of our colleagues, insisted Ms Farias who has been in Somalia for 16 years amidst very hard conditions, particularly at the security level

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

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Puntland leader vows to stay in regional capital until release of kidnapped MSF volunteers

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

Madrid (Spain) The President of the Somali semi-autonomous territory of Puntland, Adde Musse, has pledged to stay in Bosasso, capital of the region until the release of the two volunteers of Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF), Spanish diplomatic sources told APA on Sunday.

Adde Musse reaffirmed that he was quite “interested in the resolution” of such a situation following the abduction last Wednesday of Mercedes Garcia, a Spanish doctor and Pilar Bauza, an Argentinian nurse by gunmen in central Bosasso.

According to Spanish ambassador to Kenya, Nicolas Martin Cinto, who is in Bosasso to attend the talks with the abductors, the two MSF doctors are “in good health”.

Unofficial sources reported that the gunmen demand a US$250,000 ransom in exchange for the two hostages.

Last Wednesday, Spain-based MSF chairwoman, Paula Farias, appealed to the kidnappers and to the Puntland authorities for a negotiated solution to avoid any clash for the release of the MSF volunteers.

“We have to preserve the physical integrity of our colleagues, insisted Ms Farias who has been in Somalia for 16 years amidst very hard conditions, particularly at the security level.

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

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Insurgents assassinate top Somali military official

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

APA-Mogadishu (Somalia) Landmine killed a top government military official and one of his body guards on Monday, the latest casualty in a vicious Islamic insurgency in Somalias capital, official sources confirm.

A well-known military official, Colonel Farah Abdulle Gaal was at his base near Bakara Junction south of the city, when a landmine hidden under his seat exploded, said Abdulahi Hassan Barise, the citys deputy police commissioner.

He used to be there every morning to inspect the security operations, but this morning a landmine blew him up. It was a barbaric and inhuman act, said Mogadishu deputy mayor, Abdi-fitah Shawey.

Mr. Shawey said they believed that Col. Abdulle Gaal had been a target because he was a brave and prominent government figure.

The armed Islamist wing known as “Al-shabab” has claimed responsibility for the killing. In a statement posted on their internet website, the group said they had killed one of the top aides of the Ethiopian invaders.

On Sunday, the spokesman of the Mogadishu regional administration Mohamed Muhidin was killed in a similar landmine explosion.

On Sunday night, the restive Somali capital has seen the worst violence for months, after concerted attacks were launched by the insurgents on government troops bases, those of the Ethiopians and a base of the African Union peace-keepers.

At least eight civilians were killed by a mortar round fired during the fighting, including a mother and her five children.

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

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Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

Kinshasa (DR Congo) Soldiers to ousted General Laurent Nkunda, reportedly recruited some 200 children in a secondary school in Tongo, in the North-Kivu Rutsuru territory last 17 December, according to a report by the United Nations Mission in DRC (MONUC) copied to APA.

According to the Mission, these students were “forced into recruitment” after their school equipment and identity cards were burnt by some elements of the National Peoples Defence Congress (CNDP), a political and military movement of Nkunda.

The UN Mission recalls on this issue that child recruitment in armed troops is a “war crime and a crime against humanity”.

Last week, the Mission denounced the presence of hundreds of children on the North-Kivu frontline where for some moths the insurgents of Laurent Nkunda have been fighting against the DRCs Armed Forces (FARDC) on the one hand and against the Mai-Mai armed group on the other.

Besides, the Mission notes that the CNDP and the Rwandas Democratic Liberation Front (FDLR) were allegedly to blame in the recruitment of children in this DRCs eastern province.

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

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Insurgents assassinate top Somali military official

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2007

Mogadishu (Somalia) Landmine killed a top government military official and one of his body guards on Monday, the latest casualty in a vicious Islamic insurgency in Somalias capital, official sources has confirmed.

A well-known military official, Colonel Farah Abdulle Gaal was at his base near Bakara Junction south of the city, when a landmine hidden under his seat exploded, said Abdulahi Hassan Barise, the citys deputy police commissioner.

He used to be there every morning to inspect the security operations, but this morning a landmine blew him up. It was a barbaric and inhuman act, said Mogadishu deputy mayor, Abdi-fitah Shawey.

Mr. Shawey said they believed that Col. Abdulle Gaal had been a target because he was a brave and prominent government figure.

The armed Islamist wing known as “Al-shabab” has claimed responsibility for the killing. In a statement posted on their internet website, the group said they had killed one of the top aides of the Ethiopian invaders.

On Sunday, the spokesman of the Mogadishu regional administration Mohamed Muhidin was killed in a similar landmine explosion.

On Sunday night, the restive Somali capital has seen the worst violence for months, after concerted attacks were launched by the insurgents on government troops bases, those of the Ethiopians and a base of the African Union peace-keepers.

At least eight civilians were killed by a mortar round fired during the fighting, including a mother and her five children.

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

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