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Archive for January 24th, 2008

Under trial in Kenya – The settler!

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

Cholmondeley case pushed to March 6

cholomodeley.jpg
Caption: The trial was moved after the parties agreed to await the outcome of a suit filed by Cholmondeley at the Court of Appeal.

The hearing of the murder trial against Tom Cholmondeley has been postponed till March this year.

Justice Muga Apondi pushed to March 6 the hearing of the trial after the parties agreed to await the outcome of a suit filed by Cholmondeley at the Court of Appeal.

Cholmondeley who has denied murdering Robert Njoya at Soysambu farm moved to the court of appeal to contest an order by justice Apondi that required him to furnish the prosecution with a list of defense witnesses he intends to call.

Meanwhile, a voter from Mandera Central was in court Wednesday challenging the election of area MP Hussein Mohammed.

This is the tenth election petition to be filed at the Nairobi law courts in a span of one week.

The voter, Adan Mohammed through lawyer James Orengo accuses the MP and his agents of using threats and force to bar voters from freely participating in the exercise.

He claims that there was no fair election as the whole process was rigged.

He wants a scrutiny of all votes cast including all spoilt ballot papers in Mandera Central and a nullification of the results.

Lifted and published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no

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Talks the only option, says run-away Githongo

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

Mr. Githongo. Photo/ FILE

President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga have no option but to negotiate a way out of the crisis facing Kenya.

Self-exiled former Ethics and Governance permanent secretary John Githongo said both President Kibakis and Mr Odingas sides had to realise the solution to political problems facing the country lay with them.

Mr Githongo, who was speaking in a BBC TV programme yesterday, was optimistic that President Kibaki and Mr Odinga would meet soon.
He regretted the presence of hardliners in both camps.

Shout loud

The hardliners, he said, were holding Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga hostage and have influence because they shout loud.

However, Mr Githongo said the groups represented a minority and President Kibaki and Mr Odinga needed to shun them and do what was right for Kenya.

The price of the current political turmoil and brinkmanship, he said, was being paid by ordinary Kenyans.

Theres no winner in whats happening, Mr Githongo said, adding that no one is going to enjoy being president following what is happening. Its horrific.

The former PS said Kenyans were deeply committed to democracy and that was why they turned out in large numbers and braved the scorching sun and drenching rain to vote on December 27.

Kenyans, he claimed, were unhappy because the elections were stolen in front of their eyes.

Wanted change

The voting out of most of President Kibakis Cabinet, he said, showed Kenyans wanted change. Only 10 out of the 34 Cabinet ministers were re-elected.

The commitment to democracy in Kenya, he added, was the same across Africa. Supporting international mediation efforts, Mr Githongo said former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan had the qualities and reputation to help Kenya get out of the current political turmoil.

He urged the international community to be united, act together and avoid lone ranger moves in search for peace, justice and stability in Kenya.

Mr Githongo said it was not impossible for President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to be in the same room, as they used to be members of the same party and knew each other well. Despite the sense of anger and betrayal, the two could still meet.

Fighting corruption, he said, required one making expensive political decisions that could affect him or her and family.

Lifted and published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no

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Plea for help! Eugene Obiora’s death in Norway while under police custody?

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

This is just like a life time dream if you can just fill it up. I am the leader of the African Civil Liberties In Norway. The same Norway the whole world thinks that they serve rights to people they are pure human rights countries. The country that has a TV that always brings TV pictures from the states showing that blacks are not treated fine or racism. But the main thing is that the kind and size of racism in this society is more than in states. The state racism is nastier. Public servants, teachers, politicians, police any on government site that moral should be warned or stopped from calling us the N word is being backed by the state through undefined laws that N-word have been there for ages an they can use it to any one of us. It doesnt matter whether one is citizen or not.

For a year ago an African is being killed during arrest by the police. This man is called Eugene Obiora. Short time after, very very short time, the investigation started the finalized statement of closing the case that the police did not do any wrong was decided. We demonstrated and showed anger and the fear of us being killed soon in the same events. The case was up again. Yesterday, as they planned it to send out the second ruling from the DA that the case is closed again. Due to the fact that the police did not know how to handle one during arrest then they must be free. Since they did not know that the way they handled him will kill him then they must be free. Can you believe this? This is more less rights to blacks than in any states cities. There is more of the story to be told. I take it here not in the best or correct alphabetical order of happening but a small clue of the case. What I need is to help me to get in contact with Rev. Al, black star news, Martin Luther king Jr , Mandela, Muslim nation members and JC Jackson and also one of the leaders of the ACLU. All these I could not find telephone numbers for them. I am running out of time.

Please I will give you full coverage for interview later if you can help me. You can sell it to other media. I my self is a victim of the police for the past 15 years. I have never been George at the court or done nothing wrong. Havent stolen but a business man who uses his money to ride nice cars, pay for Africans who cant afford lawyers and only good things. One of my companies was closed by the police even though its illegal. That is still waiting for the last round at the court. I have other two am suing the government for. All are waiting. If you dont help then who should help. Tips to all journalists, CNN, BBC and others.

This is an international case to show how countries do hide racism and still bowing the USA as racist events happening place.

The family of the deceased have a lawyer but he is not as good as the foundation of ACLU or Americans on such issue. He needs help from all of you. I tried to contact ACLU but could not find there address but took there membership/others address hope they will help.

Please help me.

Please, please help soon. If not they will kill me before you take contact. They have tried before and a police have promised to do so.

If you receive the mail without understanding the context please inform me. They are trying to sabotage or block our e-mails. They block them, change the text and insert nonsense or insulting so that the receivers will se us as idiots. Is this democracy or freedom of speech?

My address is:

African Civil Rights in Norway.

Mr Sanneh.

Pb 4019 Angelt,

NO-7457 Trondheim,

Norway.

Ps/ Our City is called Trondheim.

Inform Civil Rights Activists for the case by writing a bit of it. African Americans Internet sites for. But lets talk to rectify all small details. There are home pages or at you-tube about this case.

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PRESIDENT YAYAH JAMMEH ANNOUNCES THE DISCOVERY OF URANIUM AND OTHER MINERAL IN THE GAMBIA

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

mohamed-legally-cole.jpg<(By Mohammed Legally-Cole)

In a surprised announcement on nationwide broadcast on Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) in Banjul, The Gambia, on Friday 18th January 2008, on the eve of Yowmul Ashura, the Muslim New Year, President Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh informed the nation that The Gambia has now endowed with various minerals that can be exploited for the benefit of the country. The Gambian leader announced the discovery of Uranium, Titanium, Iron, Zirconium and Silicon.

Meanwhile, in another related development, this announcement came about amidst the 24 hour ultimatum given to Carnegie Mineral Gambia Limited by the President of the Republic of The Gambia and Secretary of State for Mineral Resources, Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, which indicated that Carnegie Mineral Gambia Limited to come clean on their activities in the country, failure of which they risk losing their license to operate in the country, not to speak of legal actions to follow. This announcement was broadcasted in the evening national news, monitored on state-radio GRTS on Tuesday 15th January 2008.

The release stated that Carnegie Mineral might be exporting minerals from The Gambia, which they are not reporting accordingly. As a result of this, the release added, Carnegie Minerals Gambia Limited is being asked to tell the Gambian public the truth about what they are actually mining, the quantity of minerals from the Gambia and what the actual international price of tonnage exported are. Original laboratory results of analysis of the type of minerals accepted and exported are also requested, the release concluded.

Below is the full text of the presidents announcement unedited:

Fellow Gambians, first of all I want to congratulate you on the occasion of Yowmul Ashura, which is the Islamic New Year. I also want to thank you for the massive show of support and solidarity yesterday for the first anniversary of major breakthrough. If you remember a few years ago, when I was announcing the discovery of oil in The Gambia, at that time I remember telling you Gambians and non-Gambians alike in this country that Gambia has strategic mineral resources which then I said I was not going to announce but later on at the right moment we will tell you what some of the minerals are. Today am very happy to announce to you that we have discovered proven reserves of titanium in the Gambia. The Americans call it tai-ta-nium. We also have iron in the country. We also have zirconium, as well as silicon. But the biggest discovery is the discovery of uranium in The Gambia. The presence of uranium in The Gambia. At that time we couldnt make such announcements, not that because I was not certain about it, but because before we make such important announcements we have take care of our security and defense to put in a mechanism that can defend this country effectively. Not that at that time we couldnt defend our country as required, but since some of the minerals are of strategic importance, we are to make sure that we have put in a mechanism that can defend this countrys sovereignty effectively. On this very joyous moment of Yowmul Ashura and the discovery of these strategic minerals. I would repeat TITANIUM, IRON, ZIRCONIUM, SILICON and URANIUM. Of course I have more surprises for you later in the year, but I want to make sure that whatever I pronounce is a reality. As far as we are concerned, these minerals I have talked about, we are 100 percent certain that they are in this country and they can be exploited. On this note I wish you a happy Yowmul Ashura. These minerals can be useful; they can also be useless, God forbid. They can only be useful if we Gambians close ranks and work as Gambians. Change our attitude, love each other and defend our country to the last person. Of course we have divergence of political views, but that should not translate into enmity and hostility between us. Gambia will be a great super power as I told you, if we work together. Not a military super power, that is not a super power. That is a super bully. Im talking of a super power of hope for humanity, super power of love, a country where all people, irrespective of their race, their religion or origin can live together in peace as the Almighty Allah wants His creation to live together in peace. We can achieve that. In fact we are achieving that but we can go to the sky if we want to if we all change our attitude and work for the interest of our country, for our own interest.

When these minerals are exploited, you cannot imagine the number of youth that are going to be employed, but you the youth of these country who will be the primary beneficiaries of all these discoveries must change your attitude, must look inwards and not outwards. There is no country where you can earn money easily without working. Even stealing is working because you end up going to jail where you work harder for nothing. Let us love one another, let us respect our country, live and die for our country. I wish you all the best.

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RUMA GAME PARK IS TORCHED BY UNKNOWN ARSONISTS IN THE POST ELECTION VIOLENCE AS MOST OF ITS WILD ANIMALS FLED

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

odera-omolo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo
KISUMU – Kenya
UNKNOWN arsonists have torched nearly two third of grassland in the Ruma National Game Park based in Suba district .
Reports reaching here says hundreds of wild animals are believed to have escaped the fire and fled into the nearby villages where the local population aresaid to have fisted on the game meat which became abundant all of a sudden.
An eye witness said it was a field day for the resident of Kanyamwa, Kwabwayi and gwassi locations where the Park animals had fled to while escaping the inferno which took a couple of days before it was put off.
Ruma national game Park is located in the Lambwe Valley.The Park is enconcedbetween Suba and Homa-Bay Districts in the greatersouthern Nyanza. It is the home of rare animals such as the run-Antelope, waterbucks, bushbucks, hundreds of herdes of beautiful impalas,. Oryx, baboons, hyena, leopard and a few herds of buffaloes estimated to be numbering between 60 and 80.
The Park was in 1965 classified as the part of the western Kenya tourist circuit, which include the Maasai Mara, Mt. ElgonNational park lake Nakuru National Game Park. Ruma is the home of exotic birds and the destination of enthusiastic birds watchers in the region.
It is destruction could have adverse economic impact because the money it generates is shared equally between the county Councils of Suba and Homa Bay respectively.
The park is accessible from Homa-Bay town where there are several tourists class hotels and from Mbita town about twenty kilometers to the south west via Luand-Kotieno Mbita Ferry service which links the interior parts of Lambwe Valley to the islands of Rusingaand Mfangano which are full of exotic sceneries.
It is being suspected that the fire that gutted large part of the Park was kindled by marauding youths who were protesting at the outcome of the recently concluded presidential election which they believed was tilted in favour of the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.
The post election violence that gripped the country saw the youths supporting the opposition ODM party headed by Raila Amolo Odinga mobilized themselves attacked the villages surrounding the Ruma National Park to flush out the inhabitants who are members of the Abagusii community. They mob set hundreds of houses belonging to the Kisiis on fire. It happened during the dry spell of time, and the wind might have driven the fire into the park.
The government has deployed the services of a contingent of Game Rangers or wardens in the Park, but mainly for the purposeof protecting its hundreds of species of wild animals from local poachers. The Park is fenced all round, but part of the chainlink wire fences were destroyed by fire and the animals escaped into the surrounding villages.
The locals have for many years accusing the Kisi settlers for cultivating cannabis sativa {commonly known as Bhang} on the hilltop of the Gwassi Hills thereby causing environmental degradation and massive soil erosions. Tribal animosity fanned by the results of the controversial presidential elections, which the local believes and maintain that Raila Odinga had beaten his rival the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki hand down, but was robbed of his election victory by the Electoral commission of Kenya {ECK}.
The Kisiis settler suffered the brunt of unprecedented violence. They were unable to escape the beating owing to the fact that all routes of escaping out of the interior part were closed and barricaded by the marauding ODM youths. Some of the run and hide themselves and their families in the homes of their Luo friends to escape the beating and possibly lynching by the mobs.
It is reported that it was during such commotion when the fire that was raging around the villages close to the Park spread into the Game Park. Some of the Game Warden, particularly non-Luos are also reported to have secretly sneaked out of the KWS camp.
The twenty miles square all-radius game Park is an important national heritage for the region, and its destruction could have a serious repercussion for the economy of the region.
But prominent politicians in the region have recently called upon the government for its degazettement so that its fertile and arable land could be distributed to members of the local communities for farming purposes, arguing that the park was not economically viable as it generates no significant amount of money for the benefit of the local communities.
The local communities comprises of Luo sub-clans of Kanyada in the north east, Kanyamwa in the east, Kwabwayi in the south east, Gwassi in the southwest, Kamireri in the west and Waondo sub-clans in the north west.
One of those politicians who are on record of having urging the government to degazette the RumaNational Park and open its land up for distributions to the landless members of the local communities is the influential Ndhiwa MP Joshua Orwa Ojode. The legislator had maintained that the park is a liability than an asset to the local communities. H had urged for the speedy degazettement of ther park.
The park has also been the subject of controversied between the local poachers and game scouts employed by the KWS for the purpose of protecting the wild animals. It is currently under the management of the KWS, which maintains a contingent of Game wardens at the main entrance of the Park. Its animals had multiplied in recent years ever since the KWS posted its scouts. This is in the case of Rothschild Giraffe which were transported overland from their natural habitat near Eldoret town in the north rift into the Park 15 years ago.
ENDS
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Selling sex (Story in Norwegian language about a Kenyan woman in Oslo)

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

The Kenya woman in Norway forced by alawyer friend to sell sex after being brought to the country on false promises for job offer. The lawyer has been married 5 times. The first time to a Norwegian women and thereafter eastern European and African women. He was marreid to a Kenyan woman and after separation he went to Kenya and got another one. Nowhe has been arrested and will beprosecutedon charges of alleged rape, human trafficking and make the womento sell herself.

Sexsalg
Advokat siktet for voldtekt, hallik- virksomhet og menneskehandel
Av Maiken Ntsund Fotland, Rolf J. Widere, Hans Petter Aass og Anders Sooth Knutsen 24.01.2008 kl. 06:44 Kilde: VG

Den kenyanske kvinnen (28) sier hun dro til Norge fordi advokaten lovet henne jobb som vedpakker. I stedet skal han ha forskt tvinge henne til selge sex.


FOTOGRAFIER: Disse bildene av en 28-rig kvinne skal ha blitt lagt ut p et eskortenettsted mot hennes vilje. Foto: Trond Srs/VG

I gr ble den 57 r gamle Oslo-advokaten varetektsfengslet i 14 dager. Han er siktet for voldtekt, hallikvirksomhet og menneskehandel.

Politiets teori er at profittbegjr ikke skal vre mannens hovedmotiv, men utnytte kvinnene seksuelt, fr VG opplyst.

Bakgrunnen for den alvorlige siktelsen er blant annet en anmeldelse fra advokatens kenyanske ekskone og en 28-rig venninne av henne.

Lovet jobb

VG har vrt i kontakt med 28-ringen, som forteller at hun dro til Norge etter ta truffet advokaten i hjemlandet.

Hun hevder at 57-ringen lovet henne jobb i et firma som driver med salg av ved i Trondheim. 28-ringen fikk visum som sesongarbeider, og de to skal etter hvert ha innledet et forhold.

Kvinnen hevder at advokaten etter kort tid ga henne beskjed om at hun mtte prostituere seg for tjene penger.

– Han viste meg lettkledde bilder av meg som han hadde lagt ut p en eskorteside p internett. Dette gjorde han mot min vilje. Jeg fikk en norsk mobiltelefon og beskjed om at jeg mtte selge sex, sier kvinnen.

Prostitusjonen skulle iflge 28-ringen foreg i et rom i mannens leilighet i Oslo.

– Han ville tvinge meg til selge sex. Han truet med kaste meg ut av huset dersom jeg ikke gjorde det, hevder kvinnen.

Hun forteller at mobiltelefonen hennes til stadighet ble oppringt av menn som ville kjpe seksuelle tjenester.

Iflge 28-ringen nektet hun svare p henvendelsene.

Flyktet

Kvinnen forteller ogs at 57-ringen flere ganger prvde misbruke henne seksuelt.

– Jeg orket ikke mer og flyktet til slutt til en venninne, forteller hun til VG.

N bor kvinnen p hemmelig adresse. De siste dagene har hun sittet i lange avhr med politiet.

Den siktede advokaten str oppfrt med null i formue og inntekt i ligningslistene de siste tre rene.

– Advokaten er den eneste som er siktet i saken, sier politioverbetjent yvind Nordgarden ved Seksjon for organisert kriminalitet.

Ekskona anmeldte advokaten tidlig i fjor. Den gang skal det ikke ha blitt innledet en etterforskning.

Da advokaten ble anmeldt p ny for noen uker siden valgte Oslo-politiet sl til.

Mandag klokken 11 ble advokaten pgrepet p sitt kontor i Oslo sentrum.

– Vi ransaket advokatkontoret og hans hjem. Vi har tatt beslag i bde dokumenter og diverse datautstyr, sier Nordgarden.

Sammensvergelse

Den siktede advokaten fler seg utsatt for en sammensvergelse, opplyser hans forsvarer Arild Holden.

Advokaten nekter straffskyld i forhold til den alvorlige siktelsen mot ham.

– De to fornrmede kjenner hverandre, og anmeldelsene er kommet etter at forholdet til min klient er opphrt, og ikke mens de psttte forholdene pgikk. Man gjr seg jo sine tanker om det, sier advokat Arild Holden i advokatfirmaet Elden.

Forsvareren forteller at ekskona og den siktede advokaten s sent som for tre uker siden kom tilbake etter ha feriert sammen i utlandet.

– Min klient er opptatt av en ting, og det er at politiet gr grundig gjennom dokumentbeslag og databeslag i saken. Disse vil etter hans oppfatning vre til min klients gunst, sier Holden.

57-ringen mtte ikke under fengslingsmtet i Oslo tinghus onsdag ettermiddag.

Det var Frp-politiker Henning Holstad som fikk den 28 r gamle kvinnen til kontakte politiet.

– Jeg fikk hre historien hennes gjennom noen venner og inviterte henne til en samtale p kontoret mitt. Det hun fortalte var s grovt at jeg tenkte at dette var en sak for politiet, sier Holstad som er leder i Helse- og sosialkomiteen i Oslo bystyre.

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Senegalese Wednesday performance not convincing to press

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

Dakar (Senegal) The Teranga Lions performance on Wednesday evening at the ongoing CAN football tournament against the Eagles of Tunisia has not convinced the daily local papers, which devoted almost all of their front pages to the match.

Senegal drew with Tunisia (2-2) in their first game of the African cup of nations (CAN) being played in Ghana.

A single phrase in Wolof, the national language, written by the daily “Le Courrier” summarises the disappointment of the most papers: “Xel Dallagoul” (We are not yet convinced), the paper wrote to say that this draw (2-2) is not reassuring at all.

“Le Quotidien” headlines with “No hope” pointing out that “the Senegalese game is far from being convincing, especially after dominating most of the match.”

According to “Sud Quotidien”, the Lions “do not want to win!” And yet, “Senegal imposed itself by its application, its solidity and a good space occupation” during the match.

“Its been a while since the last time we saw such dominating Lions. What did their miss? Nothing other than a good management of the ten last minutes,” the paper commentator wrote.

“Pathetic match +draw-defeat + Senegal-Tunisia: Lions with low mane,” the newspaper “LAs” titled, also vexed by the result as much as the performance of the Lions.

“Dominating but not effective Lions”, “LObservateur” said on its side, quoting the coach Henri Kasperczak who stresses that the national team of Senegal did not showcase its true value”.

According to “Walfadji” paper which speaks also about dominating but tactless Lions, Senegal has a bad defense, which deficiency caused the draw.

In fact, according to many dailies, goalkeeper Tony Sylva is at fault for the two goals scored against Senegal.

“Sylva, is not good in 2008”, “LAs wrote in its inside pages, while “Walf sports” thinks that “Tony Sylva will bear this Tunisia-Senegal cross” for the rest of his life.

“Tony Sylva is no longer good. The two goals he took yesterday, compared to those collected during the last friendly matches, show that he no longer has that thing that makes a difference between a goalkeeper and a gate keeper.”

“Calamity Tony”, “Le Populaire” headlined saying the goal of the Senegalese team “is about to become a sieve,” particularly for lack of a goalkeeper.

The newspaper adds that the dream of Senegalese supporters to see their team beat Tunisia could not come true, “because of two blunders by Tony Sylva”, in reference to the two goals.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO SAMUEL KIVUITU, CHAIR OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF KENYA

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

New comment on your post #3732 “New Vice-President Musyoka takes over”
Author : Mtachaamambhi (IP: 80.239.46.194 , 80.239.46.194)
To Mr. Kivuitu,

We’ve never met. It’s unlikely we ever will. But, like every other Kenyan, I will remember you for the rest of my life. The nausea I feel at the mention of your name may recede. The bitterness and grief will not.

You had a mandate, Mr. Kivuitu. To deliver a free, fair and transparent election to the people of Kenya. You and your commission had 5 years to prepare. You had a tremendous pool of resources, skills, technical support, to draw on, including the experience and advice of your peers in the field – leaders and experts in governance, human rights, electoral process and constitutional law. You had the trust of 37 million Kenyans.

We believed it was going to happen. On December 27th, a record 65% of registered Kenyan voters rose as early as 4am to vote. Stood in lines for up to 10 hours, in the sun, without food, drink, toilet facilities. As the results came in, we cheered when minister after powerful minister lost their parliamentary seats. When the voters of Rift Valley categorically rejected the three sons of Daniel Arap Moi, the despot who looted Kenya for 24 years. The country spoke through the ballot, en masse, against the mind-blowing greed, corruption, human rights abuses, callous dismissal of Kenya’s poor, that have characterised the Kibaki administration.

But Kibaki wasn’t going to go. When it became clear that you were announcing vote tallies that differed from those counted and confirmed in the constituencies, there was a sudden power blackout at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, where the returns were being announced. Hundreds of GSU (General Service Unit) paramilitaries suddenly marched in. Ejected all media except the government mouthpiece Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

Fifteen minutes later, we watched, dumbfounded, as you declared Kibaki the winner. 30 minutes later, we watched in sickened disbelief and outrage, as you handed the announcement to Kibaki on the lawns of State House. Where the Chief Justice, strangely enough, had already arrived. Was waiting, fully robed, to hurriedly swear him in.

You betrayed us. Perhaps we’ll never know when, or why, you made that decision. One rumour claims you were threatened with the execution of your entire family if you did not name Kibaki as presidential victor. When I heard it, I hoped it was true. Because at least then I could understand why you chose instead to plunge our country into civil war.

I don’t believe that rumor any more. Not since you appeared on TV, looking tormented, sounding confused, contradicting yourself. Saying, among other things, that you did not resign because you “did not want the country to call me a coward”, but you “cannot state with certainty that Kibaki won the election”. Following that with the baffling statement “there are those around him [Kibaki] who should never have been born.” The camera operator had a sense of irony – the camera shifted several times to the scroll on your wall that read: “Help Me, Jesus.”

As the Kenya Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists rescinds the Jurist of the Year award they bestowed on you, as the Law Society of Kenya strikes you from their Roll of Honour and disbars you, I wonder what goes through your mind these days.

Do you think of the 300,000 Kenyans displaced from their homes, their lives? Of the thousands still trapped in police stations, churches, any refuge they can find, across the country? Without food, water, toilets, blankets? Of fields ready for harvest, razed to the ground? Of granaries filled with rotting grain, because no one can get to them? Of the Nairobi slum residents of Kibera, Mathare, Huruma, Dandora, ringed by GSU and police, denied exit, or access to medical treatment and emergency relief, for the crime of being poor in Kenya?

I bet you haven’t made it to Jamhuri Park yet. But I’m sure you saw the news pictures of poor Americans, packed like battery chickens into their stadiums, when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Imagine that here in Nairobi, Mr. Kivuitu. 75,000 Kenyans, crammed into a giant makeshift refugee camp. Our own Hurricane Kivuitu-Kibaki, driven by fire, rather than floods. By organized militia rather than crumbling levees. But the same root cause – the deep, colossal contempt of a tiny ruling class for the rest of humanity. Over 60% of our internal refugees are children. The human collateral damage of your decision.

And now, imagine grief, Mr. Kivuitu. Grief so fierce, so deep, it shreds the muscle fibres of your heart. Violation so terrible, it grinds down the very organs of your body, forces the remnants through your kidneys, for you to piss out in red water.. Multiply that feeling by every Kenyan who has watched a loved one slashed to death in the past week. Every parent whose child lies, killed by police bullets, in the mortuaries of Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret. Everyone who has run sobbing from a burning home or church, hearing the screams of those left behind. Every woman, girl, gang-raped.
Do you sleep well these days, Mr.. Kivuitu? I don’t. I have nightmares. I wake with my heart pounding, slow tears trickling from the corners of my eyes, random phrases running through my head:

Remember how we felt in 2002? It’s all gone. (Muthoni Wanyeki, ED of Kenya Human Rights Commission, on the night of December 30th, 2007, after Kibaki was illegally sworn in as president).
There is a crime here that goes beyond recrimination. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolise. (John Steinbeck, American writer, on the betrayal of internally displaced Americans, in The Grapes of Wrath)

Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi….kila siku tuwe na shukrani (“Justice be our shield and defender…. every day filled with thanksgiving” Lines from Kenya’s national anthem)

I soothe myself back to patchy sleep with my mantra in these terrible days, as our country burns and disintegrates around us:
Courage. Courage comes. Courage comes from cultivating. Courage comes from cultivating the habit. Courage comes from cultivating the habit of refusing. Courage comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions. (Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner)..

I wake with a sense of unbearable sadness. Please let it not be true…..
Meanwhile, the man you named President cowers in the State House, surrounded by a cabal of hardline power brokers, and a bevy of sycophantic unseated Ministers and MPs, who jostle for position and succession. Who fuel the fires by any means they can, to keep themselves important, powerful, necessary. The smoke continues to rise from the torched swathes of Rift Valley, the gutted city of Kisumu, the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa. The Red Cross warns of an imminent cholera epidemic in Nyanza and Western Kenya, deprived for days now of electricity and water. Containers pile up at the Port of Mombasa, as ships, unable to unload cargo, leave still loaded. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan, the DRC, all dependent on Kenyan transit for fuel and vital supplies, grind to a halt.

A repressive regime rolls out its panoply of oppression against legitimate dissent. Who knew our police force had so many sleek, muscled, excellently- trained horses, to mow down protestors? Who guessed that in a city of perennial water shortages, we had high-powered water cannons to terrorize Kenyans off the streets?

I am among the most fortunate of the fortunate. Not only am I still whole, alive, healthy, mobile; not only do I have food, shelter, transport, the safety of those I love; I have the gift of work. I have the privilege to be in the company of the most brilliant, principled, brave, resilient Kenyans of my generation. To contribute whatever I can as we organize, strategize, mobilize, draw on everything we know and can do, to save our country. I marvel at the sheer collective volume of trained intelligence, of skill, expertise, experience, in our meetings. At the ability to rise above personal tragedy – families still hostage in war zones, friends killed, homes overflowing with displaced relatives – to focus on the larger picture and envisage a solution. I listen to lawyers, economists, youth activists, humanitarians; experts on conflict, human rights, governance, disaster relief; to Kenyans across every sector and ethnicity, and I think:

Is this what we have trained all our lives for? To confront this epic catastrophe, caused by a group of old men who have already sucked everything they possibly can out of Kenya, yet will cling until they die to their absolute power?

You know these people too, Mr. Kivuitu. The principled, brave, resilient, brilliant Kenyans. The idealists who took seriously the words we sang as schoolchildren, about building the nation. Some of them worked closely with you, right through the election. Some called you friend. You don’t even have the excuse that Kibaki, or his henchmen, might offer – that of inhabiting a world so removed from ours that they cannot fathom the reality of ordinary Kenyans. You know of the decades of struggle, bloodshed, faith and suffering that went into creating this fragile beautiful thing we called the “democratic space in Kenya.” So you can imagine the ways in which we engage with the unimaginable. We coin new similes:

lie low like a 16A (the electoral tally form returned by each constituency, many of which were altered or missing in the final count)

We joke about the Kivuitu effect – which turns internationalists, pan-Africanists, fervent advocates for the dissolution of borders, into nationalists who cry at the first verse of the national anthem .

Ee Mungu nguvu yetu
Ilete baraka kwetu
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi
Natukae na undugu
Amani na uhuru
Raha tupate na ustawi.

O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.

Rarely do we allow ourselves pauses, to absorb the enormity of our country shattered, in 7 days. We cry, I think, in private. At least I do. In public, we mourn through irony, persistent humour, and action. Through the exercise of patience, stamina, fortitude, generosity, that humble me to witness.

Through the fierce relentless focus of our best energies towards challenges of stomach-churning magnitude. We tell the stories that aren’t making it into the press: the retired general in Rift Valley sheltering 200 displaced families on his farm, the Muslim Medical Professionals offering free treatment to anyone injured in political protest. We challenge, over and over again, with increasing weariness, the international media coverage that presents this as “tribal warfare”, “ethnic conflict”, for an audience that visualises Africa through Hollywood: Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond.

I wish you’d thought of those people, when you made the choice to betray them. I wish you’d drawn on their courage, their integrity, their clarity, when your own failed you. I wish you’d had the imagination to enter into the lives, the dreams, of 37 million Kenyans.

But, as you’ve probably guessed by now, Mr. Kivuitu, this isn’t really a letter to you at all. This is an attempt to put words to what cannot be expressed in words. To mourn what is too immense to mourn. A clumsy groping for something beyond the word ‘heartbreak’ . A futile attempt to communicate what can only be lived, moment by moment. This is a howl of anguish and rage. This is a love letter to a nation. This is a long low keening for my country.

By Mtachaamabhi

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I have made similar comments in the past and was subjected to personal attacks

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

—– Original Message —–

To: An East African Online Forum Dedicated to Information Exchange.
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: [Jambo] (no subject)
Thank you Mr Odero for setting the records straight. I have made similar comments in the past and was subjected to personal attacks. Most of those from the perpetrator regions are in denial that innocent people are suffering in the hands of their brothers. Instead they shift the blame to the police for brutalizing their people. At the end of the day, this is not about presidential resultsbut it could be jealousy of those hard working people who they claim have taken their “mugundas”.
But the same should apply to Kikuyus as well…our prominent politicians used the anti kikuyu strategy during their campaign and this is themain reason why we have witnessed the killing of many innocent Kikuyus and Kisiis in the recent weeks. It is not so much about Kibaki’s rigging but a result ofcampaign strategythat the poor mwananchi interpreted as “Mkikuyu, adui wa maendeleo”. I know the moment I sound like I am pro Kikuyu, many people will jump at me with venom but love me or hate me, the truth is, all this skirmishes have beeninstigated by the same politicians we support.
They have made their fanatic supporters believe that the enemy of Kenya are the Kikuyus, thats unacceptable and wrong. Tribalism is Kenya’s biggest enemy and thanks to it, we have now lost the socialtranquility that we have enjoyed for years. It isonly after we are able denounce ethnicity that we will realize full harmony again.
Ask the ordinary Kikuyu businessman in Kericho how much he has benefited from Kibaki’s governmentin the last five years and he will tell you that it has been business as usual for him. Chancesare, he voted for Raila but because he is “Kogoyiot”, he is now displaced and all his hardearned businessesand houses he has owned for the last 40 yearsis now history. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE? Who is to blame?
Choni Bwachoka,
Sandton, RSA
On 1/22/08, Leo Odera Omolo <leooderaomolo@yahoo.com> wrote:

Leo Odera Omolo
Kisumu
22/1/2007
THE PERSECUTION OF ABAGUSIII PEOPLE BY THEIR NEIGHBOURING COMMUNITIES MUST COME TO AN IMMEDIATE END

Commentary by Leo Odera Omolo

The question which longer into the minds of many Kenyans, and which requires an urgent answer, is the reason why members of the Abagusii community should be subjected to political persecution and made to suffer the brunt of the on-going lawlessness in the country?
It has been almost three weeks since the country was plunged into an unprecedented wave of violence after a disputed poll result which handed president Mwai Kibaki election victory in a hotly contested presidential race.
The Abagusii, are relatively small community which is ensconced between the Masaai and the Kipsigis communities along the borders of Southern Rift Valley and Nyanza Provinces. The community is encircled in its South Western boarders by its highly populous Luo community has suffered a great deal ever since the violent flare-ups
The community is reputed and well known for its hard working members. Butit was recently subjected to violence eviction from their legally acquired land plots and other valuable properties in Tran-nzoia, Uasin-Gishu, Kuresoi, Kipkelion, Kisumu, Sondu, Oyugis, Migori, Trans-Mara, Nakuru and Nandi regions.
Most of the victims had settled in the settlements scheme areas in the early 1960s and late 1970s when the White Highlands, which was previously exclusively reserved by the British colonial administration to the White Settlers were opened up for Africans soon after Kenya attained her political independence.
In 1963. The post- independence KANU government headed by Kenya’s founding president, the late President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had entered into a serious negotiation with the British Government for cash loan which runs into colossal amount of money. The money was later used in paying compensation to the White settlers, the majority who had opted to leave the country voluntarily for green pasture in other countries.
The scheme paved the way for new African settlers and members of the Abagusii community then living in a tensely populated Kisii Highland District took the advantage of the availed opportunities, mobilized themselves into small groups of land buying companies and raised sufficient money which enabled many Kisiis to acquire more land in the newly opened settlement schemes.
This was meant to easy out the congestion in the overcrowded Gusii villages. Many families sold their ancestral land to either their kins and neighbours and used the accrued proceeds to purchase land in the new settlement scheme countrywide.
Earlier in 1962 the Boundary Commission which was appointed by the British government and headed by one Prof Mackenzie had recommended the extension of the original Kisii District boundaries to include what is now known as Borabu district which was recently curved out Nyamira district be transferred from Kericho district to Kisiii Highland original district.
These areas stretching from the Mokomoni and Makairo in the old North Mugirango location and the mountainous area overlooking the Sotik Highland Tea, Kepkebe and Ngoina tea estates to Manga, Nyausiongo and Kijauri settlement schemes which were previously parts parts of the Sotik Highland an area which was part of the Whites settlement areas which were then being administered by theSotik sub district of the larger Kericho.
The same Boundary Commission of 1962 also extended the boundary of the old Kisumu district to include former White settlers areas of Chemelil, Koru, Muhoroni and Fort-Tennan in what is today called Nyanza sugar belts in Nyando district. Many Luos like in the case of Kisiis were offered large tracks of land in this settlement areas.
It is worthwhile to remember that the Boundary Commission headed by Professor Machenzie come to force while the older Kericho district was still being administered by Nyanza Provincial Administration from Kisumu before the district was eventualy transferred the Rift Valley Provincial Administration in Nakuru the same year.
These areas were separately being administered by the defunct Nyanza County Council with its head office in Kericho. The Council was mainly catering for the interests of White settlement in the two regions.
The Abagusii people in the district had equally shared the Sotik settlement areas with their Kipsigis neighbours in the same way the Luos had shared the Nyanza sugarbelts with their Nandi neighbours.
But strangely enough the Kipsigis have since 30th December 2007 turned the heat on the Abagusi people under the guise of the on-going political impasses and launches full-scale tribal clashes against the Abagusii people for no a parent reason and justification whatsoever.
The Kisii people are being victimized under the pretext of mass action called by the opposition ODM party in protest against irregularities in the election results of the presidential election. The post election period has witnessed many Kisiiis being forcefully evicted out of their legitimately acquired land plots in places like, Kuresoi, Londiani, Molo, Elburgon areas. Many members of this community are being treated like vilens and yet they had acquired their firms legally in same manner on a willing seller willing-buyer bases. Many of them have lost their lives in their skirmishes. This is totally unacceptable and does not auger well in the true Kenyans spirit of peaceful co-existence.
On political front the Abagusiii people voted wisely for nearly almost all the competing political parties. The community voted for all the leading presidential candidates, namely president Kibaki of PNU his excellency Raila Amolo Odinga of ODM and Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka of the ODM-K
Any sane person who dare to read the recently published by the ODM as the audited polls results in all the ten parliamentary constituencies in Gusii land would see that
both Kibaki and Raila had shared the votes equally. Therefore it is difficult for any level minded Kenyan to come into terms with the reality as to why the Abagusii, people are being made to suffer. For example the reason why they had voted for this or that particular political party. The whole thing is total mockery to the tenets of democratic principles.
The ODM party captured four parliamentary seats in South Mugirango, Bobassi, Boncharii and Mugirango West constituencies which are spread in Gucha, Kisii Cenral and Nyamira districts. The party has seems secured the support of two more MPs from those who had earlier contested the elections during ODM preliminaries worn the elections but later lost the party tickets under mysterious circumstances to their adversaries. The two are Robert Monda (Nyaribari-Chache)and Richard Momoina Onyonka of Kitutu chache.
The two had worn their .preliminaries comfortably but in a strange fit of events were strangely denied the ODM tickets by the party leadership forcing them to more to other smaller parties and eventually worn during the election proper held on 27th December 2007.
Monda who worn in Nyaribori Chache has sins charged the party and rejoined the ODM. The later had lost the party ticket to Mr. Christ Bichage whom he later bit he down while Mr. Onyonka had lost the party ticket to the former PS Minister of agriculture Mr. Ongwae that went a head and worn the Kitutu Chache seat.
The ODM can now on six constituencies in Gusii land out of 10 seats. PNU worn two seats while its principal partner KANU got two. The MPS slots in Gusiland were therefore evenly distributed to the major political parties and no one should complain about this.
It is therefore wrong for any group of Kenyans to go venting their anger on the Abagusii people by way of chasing them out of their legally acquired land and properly anywhere in this country. The community is too liberal and had voted for every party that deserved votes.
Some of the people who settle in Narok, Mau Narok, Kuresoi, Trans-Nzoia, Londiani and elsewhere are reported to have caste their votes in accordance with reveling local political environment, therefore they deserve no ill-treatment on account of voting for the perceived “wrong party” The Abagusiii should not be persecuted on the account of negative political outburst by some of their leaders. After an even the most excessively arrogant former road minister Simion Nyachae who is credited for making un-cordinated erratic out bust against neighboring communities was voted out and consigned to a political limbo.
Both Kalenjin and Luo leaders should preach peace and tell their followers to leave the Abagusiii people alone. It was however, heartening that Mrs Ida Odinga and some of newly elected Luo MPs had jointly launched the initiative of touring all the peri-urban areas of Kisumu city and made passionate appeal to the communities to leave in harmony and to avoid and called for hate campaign against each other.
Other leaders Should follow suit.
During the dark years of the struggle for independence, members of the AbagusiiCommunity like any other communities large or small contributed immensely towards the liberation war.
Some of the community illustrious sons were in the forefront of the struggle by black nationalists. Men like the like the late Senator John Kebaso, the late James Nyamweya, the late Barnabas Omae, the late Mzee Johnson Kiragori, Washington Ondicho, Henry Nyabuto, John Mamboleo Onsando, the late Lawrence George Sagini, Mathews Omwena to mention a few actively participated in liberation war of the early 1950s and late 1960s.
This hardworking and industries Abagusi community should be left alone to live in peace and tranquility and enjoy the fruits of Uhuru like any other Kenyans.
Those who had settled in other region outside Gusiii must be allowed to own their lawfully acquired property and land. Forceful and violence eviction of member of this community must stop. The eviction of the Kisii workers out of the tea estate and factories in Kericho, Bureti and Bomet district where they are lawfully earning their living must be discouraged at all cost.
The Kisii need peace, harmony and tranquility to co-exist with other Kenyans. These are my views over the on-going tribal cleansing in some parts of Western Kenya under the pretext of mass action are retrogressive.
I concur with sentiment expressed by several MPs from the region led by the Minister of Education Prof Samuel K. Ongeri ( Nyaribari Masaba), j Onyancha ( Bonchari, and Omingo Magara ( South Mugirango) that their community is being presented for no fault of their own.
End

Leo Odera Omolo @yahoo.com

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Blackouts in Zambia

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

wilfred-zulu.jpg<By Wilfred Zulu
Lusaka– Zambias copper mines have indefinitely suspended their operations following the recurring national power blackouts that have led to equipment damage and underground flooding.
Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) which is the largest mine in the country, stated that it could not continue operating under current circumstances as it posed as a threat to both the safety of the miners and equipment. The company added that it was in the meantime assessing in monetary terms the extent of the damage caused, thus far, on its equipment.
Mufulira and Chambishi Copper mines also issued a similar statement.
Government has responded by ordering power utility, Zesco to immediately disconnect the countrys power system from the regional interconnector under the regional power pool.
On Saturday, the country plunged into darkness at 19:48 hours and power was only restored in some parts of the country after 23:00 hours while other parts had to do without electricity until late Sunday. On Monday, the blackout re-occurred at 19:28 and went on until evening the following day.
On the mines, reports indicated that over 300 miners where trapped underground after the Saturday blackout and had to wait for several hours until the Copperbelt Energy Corporation, a supplier of power to the mines on behalf of Zesco, managed to import power from Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hospitals, including the countrys largest health Institution University Teaching Hospital, had to do with candles save for critical departments like operating theatres which had supplies fromstandby generators.
Besides, some residential areas have gone for weeks without electricity making residents stage a peaceful demonstration against the utilitys failure to restore power. The public is generally calling for the resignation of Zescos management with other concerned citizens warning that the persistent blackouts posed a threat to national security.
Minister of Energy Kenneth Konga meanwhile told parliament on Tuesday that the blackouts were due to increased demand from neighboring countries especially Zimbabwe resulting in overloading.
Konga said government therefore instructed Zesco to temporarily disconnect the Zambian power system from the regional interconnector until national power situation stabilized. As if to emphasize the magnitude of the problem, Parliament on Tuesday was forced to prematurely curtail debate because of a power blackout at the building. Even after the standby generators roared, business could not continue as the microphones could not function.
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WHITHER KENYA!

Posted by African Press International on January 24, 2008

One great Nigerian scholar wrote a book about ‘The Problem with Nigeria’. In the book he says that the problem with Nigeria is not its air, people, weather and so on. But he says that Nigeria has suffered and continues to suffer due to a multiplicity of inherent factors. Similarly, Kenya suffers today as a result of too many and complex factors. The disputed presidential elections provided the right flames and at the peak of too many forces coming to fore.

That there are factotums in the country for all manner of political activities being carried on, shows the level this country is in terms of human conditions. And unfortunately young people are getting radicalized by the day to take very extreme positions which do not augur well for the nationhood. Similarly we have made our children so conscious of the existence of extreme tribalism through extreme positions taken by various political leaders and their supporters. I do not at all blame the media on this, suffice it to say that the media is simply telling the reality as it is. Anybody who may feel like blaming the media is a cause to a future unsettled anger which will explode at the opportune time.

Kenyans need to be wary. It should be in Kenyans mind how statehood can be easily destroyed. How easy is it start a war and how difficult to end or prevent it’s recurrence. The fratricide we are witnessing played by main political protagonists plus their supporters on the ground spread across the country, is clearly setting a very dangerous precedent.

It would have been a bit unbelievable or unfathomable say in early December 2007, that Kenya could actually degenerate and sink to the lows it is already in. The consequences of what has already happened are unimaginably severe. For instance prior to 2007 general election one of the fastest growing industry and which shown greater untapped potential was tourism. It was a thriving and a very promising industry and had already attained the status of the top foreign exchange earner for the country. And now? No more! It will require a lot of reconstruction in terms of image and injection of more superb marketing skills plus improvement of the infrastructure to get there once more and grow it. It definitely requires an injection of a huge fund for revival and promotion. But this depends on the course the governance will take. That is if peace talks do yield to acceptable and mollifying solutions. If not, it will not be only tourism but will spill across the board and this is very dangerous.

A mass of unemployed people is very dangerous. A mass of poor people is worse. A mass of young unemployed and poor young people is simply terrible. And when you have a large pool of educated, unemployed and almost or already hopeless it is a signal there is a catastrophe on the way. And when you spice this with political quagmire and endless political fights, then you simply forget you have a country. Unfortunately many may not see this, but it is a reality.

Already in Kenya we have the fertile seeds of chaos and the fertilizer to geminate them to anarchy and a confused and destructive future. Battles witnessed so far and the never ending grumbling and hate speeches tell it all. We simply must act while there is time.

Many underlying problems make the task very tough. We have land problems, unemployment, and skewed employment styles since time immemorial, tribal antagonism, foreign interests, regional problems et al. Simply stating Kenya must be restored if the whole region is to remain. If it goes to the dogs the whole region with its many opportunities and present challenges and chaos will go with it.

We must reform our constitution, we must create employment opportunities, we must ensure fair distribution of resources, we must reform the electoral commission of Kenya (which is highly maligned by now), we must make peace and we must restore hope and justice among others. This is not time to take sides.

The solution coming out of the peace talks (on going) must be one which guarantees fairness, justice and restoration of peace through out the country. We must guarantee posterity a better future. The present events have blotted Kenya’s history forever. We can only make something good after this by taking decisions and acts which restore confidence and hope.

After all Kenya is greater than all in it. Unless present day leaders rise to the occasion, they will forever be condemned. They have the destiny of the country in their hands. They have to act and act in the right direction. Kenyans expect nothing less than this.

harrison-ikunda.jpgBy Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,

Nairobi, Kenya .

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