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Archive for January 16th, 2008

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

Washington DC-(USA) The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday called on all parties in Ivory Coast to redouble efforts to hold elections by June and extended the mandate of United Nations and French peacekeepers in Ivory Coast to help organize the ballot.

The French sponsored resolution, extending the mandate of the peacekeeping forces until July 30, was adopted unanimously by the 15-member council.

The resolution extends the mandate of the 9,200-strong UN peacekeeping force and the 3,500 French soldiers that support it until July 30 “in order to support the organization in Ivory Coast of free, open, fair and transparent elections” under agreements reached in November 2005.

The agreements hammered out by Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro set out a timetable culminating with presidential elections by June.

The resolution endorses the March accord and the November 28 agreements and calls on all Ivorian parties to implement them “in good faith” within the new timetable. This “will require the Ivorian parties to redouble their efforts,” the resolution said.

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

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South Africa is the ninth-most optimistic country of those surveyed in global audit firm Grant Thornton

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

Johannesburg (South Africa) The majority of privately held businesses in South Africa are still optimistic about the country, ranking South Africa as the ninth-most optimistic country of those surveyed in global audit firm Grant Thorntons 2008 International Business Report, APA learntWednesday.

More than 75% of businesses were optimistic about South Africa this year, according to the report released here.

Now in its sixth year, the survey researches the expectations of privately held businesses in 34 countries. In South Africa, the research was conducted among 300 businesses that employ between 100 and 400 staff members.

This was the third year that South Africas businesses reported a minor drop in optimism levels, with this years drop only at one percentage point down from last year.

South African business also remained more optimistic than the global average of 42% (45% last year). In 2006, 80% of businesses were optimistic about conditions, compared to 84% in 2005, already indicating a waning trend in the positive outlook.

This years study reported that the most optimistic province was Gauteng, at 85%, and the least optimistic province was Western Cape (67%).

Leonard Brehm, national chairman of Grant Thornton South Africa, said: It is encouraging optimism levels remain high, when you take into consideration that some key business indicators, such as turnover, profitability, employment, exports and investment in plants and machinery have dropped significantly, some by up to 10 percentage points.

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Ethnic cohabitation problems led to conflict in Kivu, Tutsi, Mai-Mai said

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

tutsihutsi-group.jpgKinshasa (D R Congo) The difficulties of cohabitation between ethnic groups and communities are at the origin of conflicts and wars in Kivu, the representatives of Tutsi ethnic group and Mai-Mai armed groups attending the Kivu Peace, Security and Development Conference said.

They underscored the difficult cohabitation between Tutsis and other communities in the region, blaming the “hegemonic and expansionist” tendencies of the Tutsis and their exclusion by other communities that consider them as “second class Congolese”. According to them, this is at the origin of the various frustrations.

Information about the massacre perpetrated by all groups was disclosed to participants. The Mai-Mai opposed against the erection of the High-Plateau area into an autonomous territory for fear of violating the Constitution and causing a protracted war, while the Congolese Tutsis have always claimed for the erection of that Southern Kivu area into an autonomous territory.

The Mai-Mai, who are fighting against what they call “the occupants” of their lands, bemoaned the support for the rebels of the National Congress for Peoples Defence (CNDP) by their representatives in Kinshasa.

Besides, they urged all the armed groups to join without delay the mixing centres disseminated across the country and accept, without condition, to be deployed in other provinces than in the northern and southern Kivu.

The various communications underscored that all the parties recognized the Constitution of the country and elected institutions, as well as accept to sign up for the objectives of the conference and give up resorting to weapons if their claims are taken into account.

The Mai-Mai, who are exhorting to the increase in the national army to better protect the national territory, demanded the removal of the embargo on arm supplies against the Democratic Republic of Congo by the international community.

Participants pleaded for the repatriation of all the Congolese refugees so that all the citizens, all tendencies considered, can take part in building the country.

Similarly, the international community was requested to facilitate the repatriation of Rwandan refugees (former FAR and interahamwe) to their country and help hold inter-Rwandan dialogue.

All the parties agreed on a peaceful cohabitation and demanded a sincere and mutual forgiveness as well as a real reconciliation.

The conference, which was initially billed to end on January 14th, was extended until January 17, due to the delay in the actual start of activities following logistic problems and the validation of assignments.

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ODM disputing over things all the time: Parties hit by wrangles over lists of nominees for Parliament slots

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

Story by KENNETH OGOSIA and MUCHEMI WACHIRA

Electoral Commission of Kenya and political parties are locked in wrangles over the nomination of 12 MPs to parliament.

ECK Chairman Samuel Kivuitu .

ODM sent two lists to the ECK while ODM-Kenyas registered officials picked their chairman, Mr Daniel Maanzo, whose name was officially sent to the ECK chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu. Safina, which was denied its slot, vowed to move to court while PNU has settled on former Foreign Affairs minister Raphael Tuju, former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib and President Kibakis campaign manager George Nyamweya.

In ODM-Kenya, the registered chairman, Mr Daniel Maanzo, sent his name before the summit could decide on the matter. It is said they wanted to nominate Mr Mohammed Affey and one woman.

ODM vice-chairman Mugambi Imanyara said the list forwarded to ECK by unregistered officials Mr Henry Kosgey, Prof Anyang Nyongo and Mr Omingo Magara, was overtaken by events since they had given Mr Samuel Kivuitu a different set of six names.

The names he gave included himself, the chairman Mr Said Keitany, secretary general Tony Cege, activist Mumbi Ngaru and a member of ODM women democrats lobby, Ms Nancy Abisai.

The other list the Pentagon sanctioned had named former MPs Joseph Nyaga (Gachoka) and Musa Sirma (Eldama Ravine), Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Dor, party executive director Janet Ongera, Garissa womens leader Sofia Ahmed and gender activist Rachel Shebesh.

Nyongo has no authority or capacity to prepare and file any such list. His own certificate was signed by us and ODM filed a list of authorised party signatories on September 29, 2007 with the ECK, Mr Imanyara said.

Elected on its ticket

The Democratic Party on its part insisted that they deserve to be allowed to nominate one MP on the strength of the MPs elected on its ticket.

Vice-chairman Joseph Munyao said they have a total of eight elected members. But ECK only recognises two MPs were elected on a DP ticket. They are East African Cooperation minister Dr Wilfred Machage and Manyatta MP Emilio Kathuri.

However, Mr Munyao said six other members whose names the party had forwarded to PNU to get sponsorship to vie for parliamentary seats were successfully elected and remain DP members.

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Kibaki, Raila avoid talking

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

By Maina Muiruri

The first session of the Tenth Parliament brought bitter political rivals, President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, face-to-face. Raging undercurrents were evident between their opposing sides. Kibaki and Raila, who have not met since the disputed December 27 presidential election, sat within three metres of each other Kibaki on the presidential chair and Raila on the seat of Leader of the Official Opposition.

None appeared to look at the other, despite the close distance, throughout the session that lasted all afternoon.

The two leaders came close to each other at the voting table every time the process was repeated. Kibaki would be the first to vote and Raila would follow. Raila entered Parliament shortly after 2.40pm, accompanied by Mvita MP, Mr Najib Balala, who beckoned the Opposition side to stand up as he shouted: “Mr President!”

The Opposition side rose and thumped the feet as Raila made it to his seat next to Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Balala and Mrs Charity Ngilu.

Kibaki entered shortly after to encounter an Opposition side that refused to stand in his honour. The Government side, however, stood and acknowledged his entry.

The defiance demonstrated by the Opposition was an echo from a similar session in1992, when then Opposition, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, refused to acknowledge former President Mois entry and remained seated. Ironically, only Kibaki, then the leader of DP, and a few MPs stood for Moi.

Among those with Kibaki then in the Opposition were Raila, Cabinet ministers, Ms Martha Karua, Mr John Michuki and Mr Kiraitu Murungi. They took part in dressing down Moi.

Kibaki on Monday had a taste of the stiff opposition his side could face. Ugenya MP, Mr James Orengo, asked why the President should be allowed to vote ahead of the queue in a system that followed the alphabetical order.

But National Assembly Clerk, Mr Samuel Ndindiri, ignored Orengos protest and allowed Kibaki to vote first. When Budalangi MP-elect, Mr Ababu Namwamba, who was the first in the alphabetical order, was called to vote, he told the Clerk: “This is the peoples president. He must be respected, too.”

He then called on Raila to vote before he did. Kibaki remained seated on the high chair after voting, occasionally consulting with some ministers.

Raila occasionally chatted with Mudavadi and Ruto and was mobbed by ODM MPs during voting. With the first two rounds gone to their candidate, Mr Kenneth Marende, ODM expected victory.

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Marende wins on day of high drama

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

 

By Standard TeamMr Kenneth Otiato Marende was pronounced Speaker of the Tenth Parliament in a cliff-hanger that lasted seven hours.

Nearly an hour later, another ODM candidate, Mr Farah Maalim, ran away with the Deputy Speakers position, putting the icing on the cake for the Opposition party that says it won the last presidential election but was stolen from them.

With the dramatic win, the Orange Democratic Movements Marende beat Mr Francis Xavier Ole Kaparo, who has occupied the seat since Kenya went multi-party in 1992.

Marende, the Emuhaya MP-elect who was backed by the Opposition side, won with 105 votes while Kaparo, backed by the Government side, got 101 votes.

Marendes victory now means a by-election will have to be conducted for his Emuhaya seat, which he had won on December 27, and which he automatically relinquishes.

It was the most hotly contested election of the Speaker of the National Assembly in the country, which pitted ODM against PNU and its affiliate parties, both sides, which are still locked in a bitter dispute over the outcome of the presidential election.

The election of the Speaker, which was presided over by House Clerk Samuel Ndindiri, lasted seven hours, starting from 2.30pm.

It was a storm and acrimony from the start as the bitter rivals came face-to-face on the floor of the House for the first time since the disputed December 27 presidential election which observers described as heavily flawed.

ODM says its presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, won the election.

However, the Government side insists President Kibaki won the election fair and square.

Nail-biting tension built up all afternoon going into last night as the election of the Speaker went into the third round after none of the contestants emerged outright winner.

In the first round, Marende garnered 104 votes to beat Kaparo who got 99. Mr Kalembe Ndile got two votes, another two were spoilt while Ms Njoki Ndungu and Mr Wanyiri Kihoro got none.

In the second round, Marende again beat his closest contestant by garnering 104 votes against Kaparos 102. Kihoro managed one vote while Ndungu and Kalembe each got zero.

National Assembly Clerk, Mr Samuel Ndindiri, ruled that the exercise would exceed the 6.30pm parliamentary deadline since it was a Special Session of the House.

All the 207 MPs who were to be sworn-in last night including President Kibaki and Raila, stayed put to the end as it became apparent every vote would count for the winner.

Before voting started, scenes reminiscent to the post-election bitter days of 1992, when the then Opposition refused to acknowledge former President Moi in Parliament, were re-enacted when the Opposition members sat in silence and declined to stand up when Kibaki entered the chamber shortly after 2.30pm.

Cheers as Raila entered chambers

The Opposition side had shortly before risen and cheered as Raila who ODM believes won the presidential election made his entry accompanied by Pentagon member, Mr Najib Balala.

Only the Government side rose for Kibaki, who made his way to the seat reserved for the President just a couple of metres from Raila, who sat on the Leader of the Official Oppositions seat.

Trouble erupted when Ugenya MP, Mr James Orengo, challenged the Clerk that the Standing Orders do not restrict members to voting by secret ballot as he had prescribed.

There was then a heated debate, with several members, especially seasoned lawyers, coming up to defend their side.

Said Orengo: “Would you tell us those provisions (of secret balloting in election of Speaker) in the Standing Orders from the time of Speaker Humphrey Slade up to Francis Kaparos where its written that the voting is by secret balloting?” asked Orengo.

He added: “When some of you were so clear in their head in the Seventh Parliament, you made sure you deleted a provision requiring that MPs read the name of the President while taking their oath of allegiance”.

Karua sprang up to the defence of the Government side, saying yesterdays was the 10th election of the Speaker and wondered by what method members of the ODM want it changed.

Eldoret North MP, Mr William Ruto, told the Clerk: “You cannot change the rules. Show us where the secret ballot is written in the Standing Orders”.

He went on: “We went for secret ballot in the General Election and you stole!”

Mukurweini MP, Mr Kabando wa Kabando (Safina), claimed that some members had been intimidated and threatened.

When voting started, the Government side went up in arms when they noticed that ODM members were showing their marked ballot papers to Hamisi MP, Mr George Khaniri, and Ndhiwas Orwa Ojode, who were noting them down on a paper.

The Government side argued heatedly that the display of the ballot negated the secret ballot method.

Emotions rose as ODM stood its ground and defended its method that had apparently ambushed the Government side.

But ODM MPs shouted back that the Government side was wary of the open method because they were used to rigging.

“These people are used to rigging, that is why they are afraid of openness,” said Eldoret North MP, Mr William Ruto.

The tussle continued and soon became a battle of wits and minds between lawyers, mainly Orengo, Constitutional Affairs minister Ms Martha Karua and Vice-President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

After a short while, voting began and on reaching the 10th person, Kalonzo stood on a point of order to protest at the manner in which some ODM members were showing their colleagues the way they had voted.

“We cannot participate in a flawed process in front of international media. Proceedings should be adjourned altogether,” said Kalonzo.

He said it behoved MPs to abide by the Clerks ruling that any person who did not vote secretly would have his vote invalidated.

Kalonzo expressed fears that having a Speaker who was not neutral would set the country on a wrong footing.

Nyongo blasts Kalonzo

Kisumu Rural MP, Prof Anyang Nyongo (ODM), blasted Kalonzo saying: “You accepted being a Vice-President in a flawed process. Stop being involved in contradictions. Be clear in your mind!”

Attorney-General Mr Amos Wako joined the debate in the House in discussing the weighty issues.

Wako read, then quoted Erskine and May, a book widely referred to in Parliament, detailing the House of Commons election of Speaker.

“The Speaker has to be fair. Standing Orders mention no secret ballot but it has been a tradition that the House has always followed,” said Wako.

But Orengo accused Wako of reading a proposal and the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, which had nothing to do with election of Speaker.

Education minister Mr Sam Ongeri said he came to the House with tremendous hope that all will be well.

Narok North MP, Mr William Ole Ntimama (ODM), asked the Clerk not to be intimidated and to go on with the voting process.

“Its my business to show my people who am voting for,” said Ntimama.

However, Lagdera MP Mr Farah Maalim (ODM), who was gunning for the Deputy Speakers position, recalled that when he was in Parliament between 1992-1997, the House was polarised.

Pointing an accusing finger to those on the Government side, Maalim said: “It is very sad to try and emasculate the wishes of the people. You must learn to win and lose. You cannot force an MP to vote the way you want”.

Reported by Maina Muiruri, Ben Agina and Martin Mutua

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PEACE V/S BLOOD JUSTICE

Posted by African Press International on January 16, 2008

Instability is a long-term, insatiable monster:The threat of instability is not something that can be taken lightly. Take a look at conflict-ridden areas like Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.Civil war and instability is a LONG TERM MONSTER that takes a life of its own. It takes decades to get back to peace – and by that time the original reasons for fighting no longer matter – actually become trivial compared to the number of lives lost! There are no winners in war.Lessons From Somalia:ODM, please don’t preach to us about justice v/s peace. Somalia is our neighbor, where are they now? For how long have Somalis been killing their own people? Each warlord seeks justice and power believing that it is rightfully his. When will they stop? Do you want Kenya to go in that direction? How different are you from the Somali warlords?A “president in waiting” must uphold the law:A “president in waiting” must be at the forefront in showing BELIEF in the Legislative process and respect for the LAW. Not doing so and resorting to terror, disorder and blackmail sends a fearful message about the kind of president Kenyans would have had. Here is a “president in waiting” who has no respect for the judiciary – and yet had neglected numerous opportunities to fix the judicial system – while serving as a legislator for decades. A dictator in waiting has no respect for rule of law.Any Kenyan who objectively reads between the lines will see a potential “dictator in waiting”, and a dangerous and oppressive one as such. If he has no respect for the laid down laws and processes when out of power what guarantee do we have when he gets into power?There will be other Elections:Constitutionally, President Kibaki will not serve another term. There will be other elections for Raila. By destroying the country to quench his thirst for power, Raila sets himself up for failure. He will inherit a country with a shattered global reputation, downtrodden economy and jobless citizens consumed with tribal hate. Then what will he do? Bitter Kenyans, including previous ODM supporters, will unite against him and what he represents. Impact of shattered global reputation:Reputation is not just about tourism. The world is converging. Kenya had been positioning itself for global take off as an IT outsourcing hub with BPO and software consulting as key drivers. This could have created thousands of jobs and easily transformed the nation into an emerging “tiger” economy just like India!Now the world sees Kenya as a land full of murderous arsons and Machete wielding Savages. Who will risk outsourcing to Kenya? One week of thoughtless violence has taken us back 20 years.

Stop whining, be constructive – Fix the problem in parliament!

ODM has the numbers in parliament. They should stop whining like cry babies and go to parliament to change the laws and ensure the problem never occurs again. If they mistrust the judiciary – then push for the new constitution – to entrench independence of judiciary. If the presidency has too much power – that the incumbent is tempted by it, then push for devolution of power.If you want to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, then start with constitutional laws lowering MP salaries and restricting MPs ability to squander national resources!If each tribe must “rule Kenya” in turn:If each tribe must “rule Kenya” in turn – to appease primitive ethnic egos, then so be it – go to parliament and make it LAW. Enshrine it in the constitution. Push your agenda Peacefully and Lawfully.

Political Shortsightedness:

Rejecting the new constitution was a show of serious political shortsightedness by the ODM. One could argue that during the referendum, ODM – in it’s chest-thumping fervor, inadvertently set itself up for the current quagmire. They rejected laws that, ironically, would have helped bring about the change they kept telling Kenyans about. This is what happens when the opposition merely “opposes” without considering the consequences for the overall nation and its citizens. On many occasions, legislative bills that would immensely benefit the ordinary citizens get shot down by the opposition – in order to blame the government for not delivering on certain promises. Long-term progress for the entire nation is sacrificed for the interests of a few greedy politicians. No wonder Africa develops at such a slow pace!

Pass progressive laws to win the hearts and minds of Kenyans!

Ironically – if you combine PNU and ODM-Kenya votes, you find that 60% of Kenyan voters are now Pro Government. It is a fact that the majority of Kenyans now support President Kibaki. Raila and ODM should step up to the plate as leaders and win the hearts and minds of all Kenyans not by empty rhetoric but by visible, measurable actions! 2012 is not far away use your numbers in parliament and pass Progressive laws for the benefit of ALL Kenyans and the country as a whole. Use your numbers to help salvage the countrys reputation. Be a true statesman Sir! Swallow your personal pride and ego for the sake of the nation.

Be constructive. Heal the nation. Fix it in Parliament. LET PEACE PREVAIL!

By Kenyans for peace.

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