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Archive for January 18th, 2008

Repatriation of refugees to take place at the end of the month

Posted by African Press International on January 18, 2008

Dakar (Senegal) The voluntary repatriation of the Mauritanian refugees in Senegal will begin on 28 January, sources saidon Thursday.

The decision was made Thursday during the first Dakar meeting of the Tripartite Commission (Senegal, Mauritania and UNHCR) in charge of following-up the repatriation of Mauritanian refugees.

The first phase concerns one hundred and fourteen Mauritanian refugees who will leave the Dagana and Richard-Toll administrative divisions (Senegal) for Rosso-City and Medina Salam (Tekane district) in Mauritania, the same source said.

Once on Mauritanian soil, teams of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will welcome them. The returnees will receive blankets, kitchen utensils, tents, mosquito nets as well as food for three months provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), the source added.

The refugees will also receive cement to build final housings.

In addition, the UNHCR has decided to send to the Mauritanian refugees a mission, as from next 21 January, which will seek their opinion on the appointed date for the beginning of their return.

The number of Mauritanian refugees in northern Senegal is estimated at 24, 000 people.

Published by Korir, API/APN

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The saying goes, When two bulls fight, the grass suffers

Posted by African Press International on January 18, 2008

When two bulls fight, goes the old saying; it is the grass that suffers. The grass here is the ordinary people of Kenya who have been reduced to expendable cannon fodder as the rich and powerful duel for political supremacy.

As witnessed Wednesday, it would be extremely myopic for anyone to imagine that the tension that has rocked Kenya since the disputed presidential election will disappear of its own accord. The nationwide series of protest rallies called by ODM may not have been a success if measured against the simple yardstick of massive crowds gathering and being addressed by their leaders. But then that was never quite the intention anyway. The fact is that as long as ODM keeps up its programme of mass action, normal life will be severely affected.

The disruption to education, commerce, industry, agriculture and almost other economic and social facet is really incalculable. And we have here not even looked at the ever-present threat of violence that the standoff comes with.
There are some elements in government who seem to be living under the delusion that as long as the President is safely tucked away at State House, then the opposition can make noise until it eventually tires. Then there are some in the opposition who would want to take advantage of the political crisis to drive their own very dangerous agenda that seems aimed at anarchy and the dismemberment of Kenya.

The longer it takes for reason to prevail, so that President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga can sit down and work out a compromise that will set Kenya back on the way to normalcy, the more hardliners on both sides will entrench themselves. We have hardliners in government whose calculated statements might have made former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan develop a sudden diplomatic flu, delaying his mediation mission to Kenya.
By insisting that there is absolutely no problem needing mediation, they are trampling on the bodies of those already killed or displaced.

Their obdurate stand must have sounded as sweet music to their counterparts on the other side, who also do not want negotiations that might interfere with what looks like a calculated programme of violence in their regions. Voices of reason on both sides must move swiftly to isolate dangerous demagogues in their midst and drive a process that will lead Kenya back to peace, justice and national reconciliation.


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Posted by African Press International on January 18, 2008

By David Ohito

He warned: “You havent seen the best of ODM yet. It is a battle of wits and it will not be business as usual. We will soldier on with mass action until we triumph over our stolen vote.” Speaking at a Press conference at Orange House, Nairobion Wednesday, Raila said the 99 ODM MPs, their three Narc colleagues and other like-minded members vindicated the peoples will, who only 19 days ago saw the Presidency snatched from their grasp through rigging.

“Money was raining in Parliament lobby rooms and lavatories, but our MPs resisted,” said Raila.

He added: “The election of Mr Kenneth Marende and Mr Maalim Farah as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly is a momentous victory.”

He accused the Government of trying to intimidate MPs, saying: “Parliament looked like a military camp littered with military police, but this did not deter our MPs from voting with their conscience. Dont mistake a cat that has been rained on for a lion. They saw it in Parliament that we are a better team.”

Raila also took issue with President Kibaki, saying he had snubbed him on the floor of the House.

“He came close to my side while he was being sworn in, but he didnt have the courage to greet me,” he said.

Asked why he and his MPs did not sit on the Government side, he said: “They were scared and turned up too early.”

Raila called for a quick resolution to the political crisis over the disputed presidential election that “threatens to divide the country into two”.

“The Government seems unaware of these major blows and developments that have left our nation without a shred of national and international legitimacy. It continues to deploy a massive level of security forces to prevent Kenyans from holding peaceful rallies,” he said.

Raila clarified that there was no dispute over ODMs six nominations slots.

Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr William Ruto, Mr Najib Balala and Ms Charity Ngilu, and 70 MPs attended the news conference.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN

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