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Archive for February, 2008

What President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga agreed on

Posted by African Press International on February 29, 2008

The following is the text of the agreement signed Thursday by President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to end Kenyas political crisis.

The pact was witnessed by Mr Kofi Annan, the chief mediator, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is also the chairman of the African Union.

Preamble

The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country. The Kenyan people are now looking to their leaders to ensure that their country will not be lost.

Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern the country without the other. There must be real power-sharing to move the country forward and begin the healing and reconciliation process.

With this agreement, we are stepping forward together, as political leaders, to overcome the current crisis and to set the country on a new path. As partners in a coalition government, we commit ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners, through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.

This agreement is designed to create an environment conducive to such a partnership and to build mutual trust and confidence. It is not about creating positions that reward individuals. It seeks to enable Kenyas political leaders to look beyond partisan considerations with a view to promoting the greater interests of the nation as a whole. It provides the means to implement a coherent and far-reaching reform agenda, to address the fundamental root causes of recurrent conflict and to create a better, secure and prosperous Kenya for all.

To resolve the political crisis, and in the spirit of coalition and partnership, we have agreed to enact the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, whose provisions have been agreed upon in their entirety by the parties hereto and a draft copy thereof is appended hereto.

Its key points are:

There will be a prime minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.

The prime minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.

Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a deputy prime minister.

The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers and the other ministers.
The removal of any minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.

The prime minister and deputy prime ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.

The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.

The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution.

Having agreed on the critical issues above, we will now take this process to Parliament. It will be convened at the earliest moment to enact these agreements. This will be in the form of an Act of Parliament and the necessary amendment to the Constitution.

We believe by these steps, we can together, in the spirit of partnership bring peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it.

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Unrest in Cameroon causes over 20 deaths

Posted by African Press International on February 29, 2008

api-correspondent-tansa-musa.jpg<From Tansa Musa

YAOUNDE, Feb 29 – Authorities inCameroon on Thursday appealed for dialogue to end four days of social unrest,the worst anti-government riots in over a decade, to protest rising fuel prices and the cost of living in the Central African country, as main opposition leader John Fru Ndi of the Social Democratic Front (SDF)said President Paul Biya was “out of touch” with the people, referring to him as an “absentee landlord” during his25 years in power.
Officials estimate up to 20 people have been killed in five days of protests in several cities, including the main economic and port city of Douala and the capital Yaounde. Protesters have vented their rage over high fuel and food prices and a bid by Biya to prolong his presidential mandate in the Central African oil producing country when last December 31 he announced his intention to modify the constitution to run for a third seven-year term when the present mandate expires in 2011. 
Yaounde and Douala, which were paralysed by rioting and looting since Monday, remained tense but relatively calm on Thursday. Police and soldiers patrolled the streets, but most businesses were closed and public transport was not operating.
On Wednesday evening, a stern-faced 75-year oldBiya, appeared on state television to accuse political opponents of fomenting the riots to try to topple him by force. He offered no concessions to protesters demanding falls in the cost of fuel and basic foods, beyond slight fuel price cuts agreed by the government on Tuesday. The government would use “all legal means” to guarantee the rule of law, Biya said.
“The issue at stake is the use, not to sayexploitation, of transporters’ strike  for political ends. For some people, who by the way, did not hide their intentions, the objective is to obtain through violence what they were unable to obtain through the ballot box, that is to say, through the normal functioning of democracy…,” he stated.
”These apprentice sorcerers who manipulated the youths behind the scenes, were not bothered about the risk that they made them to run by exposing them to confrontation with the forces of law and order. As a result, several of them lost their lives, which, of course, cannot but be deplore…It should therefore be made absolutely clear that Cameroon is a constitutional state and intends to remain so…To those who are responsible for manipulating the youths to achieve their aims, I want to tell them that their attempts are doomed to failure. All legal means available to government will be brought into play to ensure the rule of law.”
Communication Minister Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Essam followed up on Thursday with an appeal for dialogue. “Our beautiful country is at a crossroads, people are dying in our main cities and peace is in danger … Let’s call for dialogue and negotiations between people whenever there are differences,” he told Reuters after meeting newspaper editors to urge them to contribute to the dialogue process.
Biyiti bi Essam said it was difficult to give a precise death toll from the riots, in which stone-throwing protesters clashed with armed riot police and public buildings, businesses, shops and vehicles were set ablaze in a string of western towns. “The death toll is very high, but less than 20,” the minister said. But he said not all the deaths occurred in clashes between security forces and protesters. Some resulted from the settling of personal scores and fights over loot. But independent sources put the death toll at over 20.
Far from pacifying citizens, Biya’s broadcast appeared to have infuriated many protesters, including taxi drivers whose strike over high fuel prices on Monday triggered the wider unrest. Witnesses reported protests overnight in the western towns of Limbe and Bamenda and at least four persons were killed.
“This man is not serious. Is he taking us for fools?” said Sebastien Ebanga, a taxi driver in Yaounde. “The strike will continue,” he added. For his part, SDF leader John Fru Ndi denied Biya’s charge that the opposition was behind the demonstrations. He said Biya ruled like an “absentee landlord, not always in touch with the people. He does not know their problems.”
Biya announced eight weeks ago thathe might change the constitution to stay in power when his presentterm ends in 2011. Critics say he could use his party’s majority in the National Assembly to make the constitutional amendments. This riots followed another one in the main economic centre of Douala last Saturday to denounce the proposed constitutional change in which police shot two people dead.
There are already growing concerns that Cameroon, the island of peace in a turbulent Central African sub-region, may, like Kenya in East Africa, slip into chaos. hence the multiplication of calls from development partners on president Biya to initiate dialogue with the opposition and other lively forces in the nation, to resolve issues concerning the state. But so far, Biya, reputed for his high-handedness, refuses to budge.(END)
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Joy as Kibaki, Raila sign power sharing deal

Posted by African Press International on February 29, 2008

By Patrick Wachira

Finally, the much-awaited power sharing deal that has been shrouded in controversy, but which held the only key to a peaceful and agreeable settlement of the post-election impasse has been signed.

Both President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Mr Raila Odinga, appended their signatures on the historic deal that saw the return of the Office of the Prime Minister scrapped by Jomo Kenyatta in 1964.

News that a deal had been struck touched off a carnival mood in Orange strongholds, relief in many parts of the country and general optimism to a battered and anxious population.

The world watched Dr Kofi Annan and his UN-backed Panel of African Eminent Persons and African Union chairman Jakaya Kikwete as they brought together the erstwhile rivals in a ceremony beamed live on TV.

In a nutshell, the deal which will be entrenched in the Constitution created the post of an executive prime minister, who will supervise ministers and lead Government in Parliament. It also provides for the sharing of Cabinet positions based on the strength of parties in the House.

signing-a-deal-kibaki-and-raila.jpg
President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga sign an agreement on power sharing, expected to end the crippling political crisis triggered by the discredited presidential elections. Looking on are, from left to right, Mr Amos Wako, President Kikwete, Dr Kofi Annan, Mr Benjamin Mkapa and Mr James Orengo.

This memorable covenant that could usher in a new era of reforms which successive regimes have procrastinated over until the near post-poll meltdown will assume legal and constitutional force when Parliament is summoned on Thursday next week.On Thursday night, Britain and the United States, who have stridently pushed for real power-sharing to break the crippling impasse arising from a discredited presidential election, swiftly welcomed the development. Kenyas leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

He added: Common sense has prevailed, and the Kenyan people have the outcome for which they have hoped and prayed. I applaud the courage that Kenyas leaders have shown in taking the tough decisions necessary to put Kenya back on the path to prosperity, democracy and stability which it is so richly deserves.

However, Brown said the hard work must continue, adding: Kenyans need help to resettle and rebuild. Real leadership, patience and tolerance are necessary to ensure that the agreement sticks.

Mr Tom Casey, the US State Department spokesman summed the outcome expected to put the country back on track after a bloodletting that claimed at least 1,000 lives and left close to half a million people displaced, thus: Thats an important and very positive step forward. We are very pleased to see that this agreement has been reached.

He noted that the deal would allow the Kenyan people to move forward with what he described as a very basic issue of governance. The official added: We want to see this agreement implemented… We certainly appreciate the goodwill shown by both President Kibaki and Mr Odinga in reaching this agreement. We certainly would hope that everyone associated with their political parties and movements would work with them to support this deal and move it forward.

In his speech soon after signing the accord, President Kibaki gave a solemn promise to see to it that the deal was honoured to the letter so that Kenyans could embark on the task of nation building and reconstruction.

The President was in a jovial mood as he signed off a portion of his powers to rival Raila in a historic moment at the steps of Harambee House.

Post of Prime Minister The new office of the PM will have power and authority to co-ordinate and supervise the functions of the Government and will be occupied by an elected MP who will also be the leader of the party or coalition with majority members in Parliament.Further, his removal and that of his two deputies will only be through a vote of no confidence by majority MPs.

The coalition government will also reflect portfolio balance and party strength in Parliament.

On Thursday, the Office of the President chosen after Raila and his team objected to having mediation talks held at State House was the venue yet again of this momentous occasion.

Earlier, Annan had engaged Kibaki and Raila for the better part of five hours as they discussed the making of a new political dispensation not seen before in the countrys history.

In his speech, Kibaki asked Kenyans to rededicate themselves and to engage in productive activities that contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our nation. We should also be a caring nation that reaches out to its neighbours and those who are disadvantaged in our society.

Raila regretted that for the last two months, Kenyans had known nothing but sadness. He, however, said that the tragic events that followed the discredited presidential elections would also serve as a platform to launch reforms that would make Kenya a better place to live.

Said he: I wish to thank millions who turned up on the 27th of December to vote. Those who voted were exercising their democratic rights. Kenyans did not know that turmoil would follow but this is what countries at times go through.

He added: Many have been killed, many orphaned, many widowed and many displaced. We should ensure that Kenyans begin to celebrate and love each otherThe crisis was a test for Kenya and a lesson for a forum for foundation for a united country.

In his speech, Annan said he and other mediators would continue with the talks until other agenda, including land access and equity, as well as poverty eradication, are concluded.

On his part Kikwete referred to the violence that rocked Kenya as a historical accident, saying it can be a thing of the past.

He said the toil and sweat of the mediation team had been handsomely rewarded following yesterdays signing of the power deal.

This agreement, if implemented fully, will help the people of Kenya, he said.

Kikwete said friends of Kenya were keen to see the agreement implemented in full, following which they would assist in the task of reconstruction.

He said the task was not for the two principals but the entire Kenyan population across social and political divides.

Earlier, Annan had said he would sustain his efforts until the entire job was completed. He said the AG would work on the Constitutional amendment to be tabled in Parliament for enactment.

He commended the efforts of the mediators, which made the deal possible. Let the process of healing begin now, he said.

The deal was a result of give and take, he said, and expressed hope that those involved would not be left with a feeling that they either gave too much or got too little.

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Vice President survives in the new government coalition deal in Kenya – Raila Odinga wil be answerable to Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-Kenya

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2008

kibaki.jpg<President Mwai Kibaki at the top. He retains the presidential powers. Kibaki will continue to rule Kenya and ensure prosperity for all. He was not going to relinquish power to anyone. He wants to continue serving the Kenyan people while occupying the highest seat in the land.

kalonzo.jpg<Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-Kenya, second in commandreports to the President. He is therefore the man who assumes power should the President fall sick and that is the way Kalonzo will build himslef up in preparation for next presidential elections.

raila6.jpg<Raila Odinga of ODM (possible prime minister) reporting to the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Raila may not like this but he has no choice but accept it otherwise he was going to be seen as a stambling block for peace in the country.

This is the reality in the coming Kenyan politics. The line of Power in Kenya and who is answerable to who.

The Vice President’s seat held by Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-Kenya remains untouched in the new coalition deal struck between the Government and Raila’s ODM. Kalonzo will remain answerable to the president mwai Kibaki. Under the Vice President is probablygoing to be Raila Odinga if he takes the Prime Minister post, with Mwai Kibaki the president on the top.

PNU’s Kibaki and ODM’s Raila Odinga have finally agreed to work together.

Many, however, fear the same may happen again where they did not mange to work together when they formed Narc during Kibaki’s first presidency.

The country is yet to see laws changed to clear the way for the coalition.

ODM got the coalition and not transitional government as they had insisted. They will also have to live with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who remains the country’s vice president answerable to the President and not to the Prime Minister once created.

parliament has now been recalled so that they may enact the necessary laws that will pave way for a coalition to function.

PNU and ODM will also get the opportunity in the new agreement to share ministerial positions.

One deputy prime minister will come from each side.

The prime minister will come from ODM while the Presidency with the real presidential powers will remain with Kibaki assisted by ODM-Kenya’s Kalonzo Musyoka.

It now remains to be seen whether the arrangement will be delayed and also if at all it can function as expected.

If the deal goes on well, the Kenyans may now be able to breath clean and go ahead with their lives.

If ODM was to get the presidency, Raila had promised William Ruto the seat of the Prime Minister. Musalia Mudavadi was to get the Vice Presidency. Now things are different. Many are watching to see what Rutoand Mudavadi will get in the new deal.

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Kisumu bursts as residents celebrate the breakthrough – ODM and the government have agreed to build the nation

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2008

api-correspondent-odera-omolo.jpg
< From Leo Odera Omolo
KISUMU city burst into happiness as Matatus and all sort of vehicles blew up their horns as members of the public joined following the 4pm KTN television brief news footage. The city became so noise forcing traders to hurriedly closing their business fearing looting.
Motorists drove their vehicles hysterically. The town went into a dancing mood, though the details of the mediation outcome had not been released. The city of 3 million residents went beserk with evey resident dancing and singing in praise of the ODM leader Raila Amolo Odinga that man who is believed to have won the discredited presidential result.
School children formed themselves in to small groups of street dancers, while the city blew up into noices coming out of the moving cars and vehicles. The breaking news came as a result of the intensive mediation effort which started this morning under the visiting Tanzanian President Jakaya kikwete , the current chair of the African Unity who had extended his two days visit to Nairobi and got involved in serious discussions with Dr. Kofi Annan and two other eminent African leaders.

Kisumu is the birthplace of Raila Odinga and the stronghold of the opposition ODM party as well as the bedrock of Luo politics

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Kenya government will soon make the biggest mistake – power sharing with ODM in a way that will lead to early elections

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2008

Kenya government, led by President Kibaki, is about to make a mistake that they will regret for a long time.

  • ODM led by Raila wants to share power. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • ODM has been promised a non-executive prime minister.There is nothing wrong with that.
  • ODM has been promised, that together with the government,work in an effort to change the constititution within 12 months will be started. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • ODM has been promised by the government that there will be a truth and reconciliation commission. There is nothing wrong with that.

This is what is wrong and will plunge the country into new chaos:

Kibaki/PNU and ODM/Raila agreeing that should any partner in the coalition pull out of the deal, thenparliament will be dissolved and elections to take place immediately!

ODM has always wanted a presidential re-run and now they are managing to trick PNU and Kibaki and get what they want, a re-run, through the back door.

If the two, PNU and ODM agree on a deal like that, it is most likely that after 6 months, Raila and ODM will decide to pull out of the coalition, for some reason or another, and ask for new general elections. They will, however, not be doing so because of the parliamentary elections, but due to the thirst for the presidential power. They are willing to risk having ODM MPs go and seek a new mandate from their constituents for the simple reason, to have Raila face Kibaki in a presidential re-run.

On this,Kofi Annan leading the negotiation should not be blinded by leaders who want power all costs. Annan should try and understand the Kenyan way of thinking.

One ODM activist calling API from Nairobi has stated that ODM will stop at nothing, but to get the presidency within 6 months, even if it means using forceful means.

The best thing to solve the problem is not putting the Kenyan people through a new election that may turn violent.

Adeal to share responsibilities should be struck, but one that excludes anything to do withgoing back to the electorate, simply because a partner in the coalition is unhappy with the way the government is managed.

  • It is enough for ODM to pull out if they do not get the number of permanent secretaries or ambassadors that they will insist to have.
  • It is enough for them to cry wolf if the changing of the constitution is not rushed as they wish.
  • It is enough for them to cry wolf if they do not get the members of ECK thrown out and replaced by a majority favouring their thinking.

To save the Kenyan people from more violence, the government must act in a decisive manner. We are not saying there should be no sharing of responsibilities if that is best for the country. If that is what is best, then let it be but follow the laws of the land.

Some EU ambassadors based in Kenya should be ashamed. What right do they have to come out and warn the Kenya government for dire consequences. Are ambassadors in Kenya running the country. They keep threathening all the time as if Kenya is under colonial rule.

Can you imagine a Kenyan (high commissioner)ambassador in Britain or US warning the leaders of those countries. This has never happened and we are yet to see it happen.Why is Kenya being bombarded daily with insults from ambassadors from EU countries? By doing so, they are disregarding the rule of law in Kenya.

Giving in to them and their threats is a shame for the Kenyan people.

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Challenging their newly elected MP -Kisumu, Kenya

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2008

api-correspondent-jeff-aguko.jpg<From Jeff Otieno
Kisumu Town East newly elected Legislator Shakeel Ahmed Shabbir has been challenged by across section of his constituents to ensure that he fulfills his last years election pledge where he promised to part with half of his package for the purposes of development.
Speaking to the press in Kisumu under the banner Kisumu Town East Professional caucus the group appealed to the MP to disclose modalities of how the promised package will be known to have salvaged the said down trodden in terms of audit.
As it stands it sounds a little bit vague because no layman will know that theres a fulfillment of the pledge on the part of the MP, they noted in a terse statement.
During the hotly contested campaigns last year, Shakeel took various podiums to gloat the same vow but to date doubts have started to emerge that there could be some semblance of complacency on part of the Legislature a claim we could not immediately establish at the time of going to press because the MPs phone lines remained off the better part of the day.
Early this week during a luncheon for the local journalists in one of the Kisumu hotels, the MP was none committal when one of the journalists confronted him to shade light over the matter.
Meanwhile the long serving pragmatic Kisumu District Commissioner Mr.Jamleck Baruga has been transferred to Nairobi as Deputy Provincial Commissioner, investigations by this journalist can reveal.Baruga according to inside sources in Nairobi could be replaced by Thika District Commissioner a Mr. Oleserian.
Two years ago Barugas transfer was revoked following his parallel studies at the Maseno University, he has however graduated.
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Revealed: Inside the talks room

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

By Standard Team A member of the PNU negotiating team engaged the Panel of Eminent African Persons in heated exchanges and is understood to have let fly comments that stunned mediators before the talks were suspended indefinitely, The Standard can report.

A disappointed lead mediator, Dr Kofi Annan, said he would now engage with the principals, Party of National Unitys President Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movements Mr Raila Odinga, in a bid to give the talks a fresh lease of life.

This emerged even as the US State Department announced it was exploring “a wide range of possible actions” on Kenya, less than 24 hours after the deadlock.

“We will draw our own conclusions about who is responsible for lack of progress and take necessary steps. We will also exert leadership with the United Nations, African Union, European Union and others to ensure that the political solution the Kenyan people deserve is achieved,” the US Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice said in a statement issued by the State Department.

On Tuesday night, details of the exchanges in the mediation room remained sketchy but the minister is understood to have exploded when the former United Nations Secretary-General, Annan, tried to steer discussions towards what was already drafted in the report of the Legal Working Group.

Sources told The Standard the minister was defending the need to preserve the Presidents executive authority and retain him as the appointing authority for both the prime minister and members of the Cabinet when Annan interrupted the argument with the reminder.

Thereafter, the talks are said to have degenerated into accusations, with epithets being hurled across the table as the PNU and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the two protagonists in the disputed and discredited presidential elections engaged in a slinging match.

Both Annan and former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa, who also sits on the Panel of Eminent African Persons, are understood to have found themselves on the rack with attacks, some of them questioning their integrity.

It is at this point or shortly afterwards, sources said, that the minister left the mediation room in a huff.

Mbooni MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo, who together with Justice minister Ms Martha Karua, Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri and his Foreign Affairs counterpart Mr Moses Wetangula makes up the Government team at the talks, is said to have followed the minister outside.

When he returned to the still high-strung room, Mutula reportedly apologised and clarified that the ministers were “personal remarks and not that of the Government mediation team”.

Tampers flared

Later, while addressing journalists at the Serena Hotel after the talks, Mutula remarked: “The meeting was too hot, tempers flared in the afternoon”.

Since the weekend, it was clear the talks could be headed for a gridlock, even collapse.

Matters in the search for a political settlement out of the impasse that has left at least 1,000 people dead, close to half a million displaced and the economy on the brink appeared to have come to a head on Monday.

On Tuesday, that chasm appeared to have widened even as the talks teams put on a brave face.

In perhaps his harshest speech since he arrived in the country slightly over a month ago, Annan openly spoke of his disappointment at the failure by the protagonists to understand the magnitude of the problem at hand.

He appeared dismayed that no one seemed to see the gravity of what in his estimation was an extraordinary situation that required extraordinary measures to deal with once and for all.

Struggling to remain diplomatic in the face of disdain, Annan told an international press conference: “We cannot pretend that nothing has happened, we cannot continue with business as usual”.

The UN-backed mediator asked President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga to either take charge by giving instructions to their representatives, “or I engage them”.

It was only his second statement in under 24-hours that seemed to imply that the two must now show leadership in the process.

On Monday night after a day in which nothing moved in the talks, Annan had stated: “I believe that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities working with the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation have done its work. Im now asking the party leaders, Hon Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki to do theirs”.

He said he had concluded that the teams were incapable of resolving the outstanding issues.

The divide was evident from what the opposing sides in the talks said soon after Annans pronouncement.

While ODM cited frustration even after “ceding a lot of ground” in the talks, PNU insisted it did not see any justification for the suspension.

Mutula, in fact, said the Government side had formally protested against the shelving of the talks and said that the bitter exchanges and flaring of tempers would not justify such a move.

“Look at Prof Sam Ongeri, he is distraughtyou have never seen him like this,” the MP, who spoke for the Government side, said in reference to the bitter exchanges that had erupted.

He added: “We have not given up. We were distraught by what happened on the mediation floor when it degenerated almost into personal insults.”

ODM Pentagon member Mr Musalia Mudavadi, who together with Mr William Ruto (Eldoret North), Dr Sally Kosgei (Aldai) and Mr James Orengo (Ugenya) constitute the Orange partys team, said: “We are extremely frustrated. The moment we made some ground a complete reversal was made”.

International pressure mounts

He added: “We have been dedicated and committed to the talks. As ODM, we ceded ground on our original position that Kibaki should resign. We did this even despite the tribulations that we have gone through because we wanted Kenya to go on and be together”.

On Tuesday night, as the deadlock forced a suspension of the talks, the US threatened to exert leadership with the UN, the EU and the AU to force a political solution on Kenya.

The statement came barely a week after Rice visited the country to impress upon President Kibaki and Raila to reach a settlement soon.

“It cant be an illusion, power sharing must be real,” Rice said and warned that the solution to the countrys crisis lay in sharing of power between the two camps.

Indeed, it is the quest for real power sharing by ODM and the reluctance by PNU to make any meaningful concessions that appear to have wound back the clock on the talks even as progress appeared to have been made.

In her statement on Tuesday, Rice noted that the two leaders assured her of their commitment to work out a structure for real sharing of power.

“While some progress has been made,” noted Rice in her statement, “I am disappointed by the failure of leadership necessary to resolve all the remaining issues.

“There can be no excuse for further delay. There can also be no excuse for violence and those responsible must be held accountable,” she warned.

“I want to emphasise that the future of our relationship with both sides and their legitimacy hinges on their cooperation to achieve this political solution,” Rice warned, adding that her country was exploring a wide range of possible actions.

She noted that peaceful voices continue to mount from civil society organisations, churches and from the Kenyan people on the need for a political solution.

She reiterated her strong commitments to efforts by the Annan mediation team to bring a political solution to the problem.

But the Government reacted sharply to the US statement at a hurried press conference on Tuesday night.

The PNU mediation team urged international friends not to impose solutions on Kenya.

“Our international friends as we have stated before are welcome to make suggestions and to support the dialogue process but not impose solutions and should take care not to legitimise or reward violence, death and destruction. All relevant factors must be taken into account to avoid rush judgment based on incomplete information,” read the statement in part.

Mutula instead accused the ODM side of being responsible for the stalemate due to their “amazing” demands.

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Why is Raila Odinga and ODM allowed to continue holding Kenyans hostage?

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

Let us face it. This is not tribal. This is not hate. Why is Raila Odinga and ODM allowed to continue holding Kenyans hostage? Raila wanted to become the president. He did not get it and will not get it.

He is now trying to settle for the lower position of prime minister and he may get it, but not with executive powers.

It is not a hidden fact that Raila and ODM hold the Kenyan people hostage in their fight for power.

Raila and ODM are using threats all the time. If they do not get as they wish, then they shout – Mass demonstrations! Is that democracy or hostagery? The international community is being fooled day and night by these leaders who are now only thinking of themselves and not the Kenyan population.

Nigeria had a presidential dispute. It went to court and the rightfull owner of the presidency was declared yesterday. Why is the ODM refusing to go to court and get orders to solve the problem on the presidency issue?

ODM and Raila are saying that the courts in the country are unreliable. Why have they now used the court in the case of Nairobi Mayoral elections? This is double standards behaviourby ODM. They go to court when they want and they refuse when they fear to loose.

____________

Court declines to stop mayoral elections

Written By:Nancy Akinyi/Dzuya Walter,Posted: Wed, Feb 27, 2008

A Nairobi court Wednesday afternoon declined to issue an order by ODM councilors seeking to stop the Nairobi mayoral elections.

The petition also sought to declare ODM Baba Dogo Councillor Godfrey Majiwa as Nairobi’s new mayor.

In his ruling, Justice Joseph Nyamu said he could not interfere with the conclusion of the disputed mayoral elections, and advised that aggrieved parties could seek a legal remedy once the lot is cast at City Hall.

The polls turned chaotic on Monday after ODM’s Geoffrey Majiwa and PNU’s Njoroge Chege tied with 42 votes each.

Justice Nyamu was firm in his orders when lawyer James Orengo representing Majiwa approached him and sought to stop the continuation of the elections.

Majiwa together with Esther Passaris moved to court seeking the orders and accusing local government Minister Uhuru Kenyatta of acting in excess of his powers by allegedly interfering with the list of nominated councilors.

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.nosource.kbc

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Kenya talks broke down yesterday as expected

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

The Kofi Annan-led talks in Kenya broke down yesterday due to unwillingness to badge from demands by parties fighting for power.

While the dispute still continues, the Kenyan people are suffering. The leaders must realise that their ambitions continue to hurt the country.

Many now await to see what Annan will do next. Will he pull out and be seen as a failure or will he continue to try and convince the Kenya government to relinquish power.

Observers however, do not expect the government to give the presidency to Raila as he wishes. He may get the premiership, non executive and that is of course satisfactory to men who wish to be titled at all costs.

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No agreement was ever reached – Kenya

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

Government: No agreement on contentious issuesStory by ANTHONY KARIUKI

The Government side in the Annan-led mediated talks has said no agreement has been reached on four contentious issues.

The negotiators sought to clarify the sticking points in light of what they said was a growing trend of misleading reports on the progress of the peace talks.

Justice minister Martha Karua, Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri, Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo sit on the government side of the mediated talks.

Justice minister Martha Karua, Prof Sam Ongeri (Education), Moses Wetangula (Foreign Affairs) and Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo at todays news conference. Photo by MICHAEL MUTE

They were all present at Sundays news conference at Harambee House, Nairobi.

They said that the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, comprising the government, the Opposition and Annan-led team of Eminent Persons, had yet to agree on: Equal share of ministries between Government and ODM; that the Prime Minister should have a supervisory role; that elections shall follow if the coalition under discussion collapses and anchoring the Act in the Constitution.

It is this last issue that has been most contentious with ODM holding the view that any deal will have to be entrenched in the constitution through an amendment in Parliament.

The government has now said that their position has always been that any agreement reached shall be in accordance and consistent with the current Constitution, said the press statement.

The Government side has said there is agreement on: Establishment of the office of Prime Minister and two Deputies who shall be appointed by the President; Prime Minister will co-ordinate performance of government ministries and perform any other duties assigned by the President and the Coalition will cease if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved, the Coalition parties agree in writing or one Coalition partner withdraws from the coalition by a resolution of the highest decision making organ of the party in writing.

All other issues are under negotiation to which end various proposals by the parties are on the table for discussion, the statement concludes.

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Africa at large: Traditional medicine may be tested in trials

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

Doctors For Life International (DFL) said on Sunday that it was encouraged by the move towards submitting traditional African medicine (TAM) to scientific testing and clinical trials.

However, in a statement, the DFL said it found Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’s comments on Saturday inappropriate and counterproductive. Tshabalala-Msimang, during an address to the Presidential Task Team on Traditional African Medicine, said: “We cannot use Western models of protocols for research and development. We should guard against getting bogged down with clinical trials.”

DFL said being inconsistent with scientific safeguards would leave ample loopholes to make it virtually inevitable for the general public “who use untested TAM” to ingest substances from scavenged body parts that were mixed with some of the medicines.

“This will lead the SA pharmaceutical industry further up the garden path similar to the disastrous HIV/Aids policy.” The DFL said considering the “extremely high incidence” of muti-killings, it was clear that some potions sold as traditional African herbal medicine contained human body parts. “DFL has numerous testimonies of traditional healers using human body parts in herbal mixtures. Usually the medicine is considered more powerful if the body parts are removed while the victim is still alive.

“Human genitals are often used in love potions and remedies for infertility and/or impotence,” the statement read It called for guidelines to use in the research, production and approval of the traditional medicines.

 

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Africa at large: Lack of precise goals fails Africa’s administrative reforms

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) – Despite the time and resources spent on reforms aimed at improving performance of governments in Africa, the reforms have not positively impacted lives of ordinary people, an African expert in development administration said Monday.

Njunga Michael Mulikita of the Tangiers, Morocco-based African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD) said that key stakeholders were concerned that public administration in sub-Saharan Africa was still characterised by inefficient services despite the wide ranging reforms. In response to concerns of civil society organisations, private sector and ordinary citizens, Mulikita told PANA that CAFRAD and the Harare, Zimbabwe-based African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) have jointly organised a three-day Pan-African Conference for Chairpersons of National Commissions for Administrative Reforms to reflect on the current state of reforms in African countries.

Starting 25 February (today) 2008 in Tangiers, the conference would also examine new trends and approaches from which to draw lessons, thereby permitting a more results-focused implementation of reforms, Mulikita explained. According to the expert, though there was evidence of progress in a few countries, the reforms were in general hampered by the lack of clear definition of mission and objectives of each administration. In addition, Mulikita mentioned lack of definition of the expected results and performance of each official, lack of motivation and merit system at work, insufficiency in the use of modern methods in organisation and management of public services, and heavy bureaucratic procedures as other obstacles to improving public administration in Africa.

The conference brings together chairpersons of national directorates and commissions of administrative reforms from Arabic, English, French and Portuguese speaking countries. “It is the shared expectation of both CAFRAD and ACBF that the conference will help to enhance capacities and competences in formulating, coordinating and implementing administrative and governance reforms. “More specifically, it is expected that the participants will become better acquainted with new strategies, new approaches and actual trends to take into account when preparing reform programmes,” added Mulikita, who is the conference coordinator.

 

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Confidential ODM ministerial list: Ruto and Balala to be left out

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2008

William Ruto and Najib Balala has not been included in a secret cabinet list that ODM has prepared. Leaving Ruto out will cause a split in ODM and soon we will witness 3 ODMs in the country. The split will also cause imbalance in parliament and reduce Raila’s strength in Kenyan politics.
Ruto has given Raila a great large number of followers in the Rift Valley, but now has been kicked off the power line secretly.
In an effort to please the Kalenjins, Raila’s list includes Henry Kosgei handing him assistant minister position, not a full cabinet minister.
It is understood that Ruto was not included in the list because of the church incident in Eldoret that took many lives. He has been accused of having knowledge on what took place. People were burnt alive in the church.
One of his main supporters, a councillor, has been arraigned in court accused of inciting the public in the area to riot and cause damage to property.
The controversial in the Sunday Standard about the Government having agreed on sharing of posts according to parliamentary strength has its roots in the intense struggle within ODM for cabinet positions.
Raila is having sleepless nights about some of his cohorts that he will have to disappoint including William Ruto and Najib Balala. It therefore became necessary to ask for some assistance from Dennis Onyango and Dominic Odipo at Standard. Having printed the story about equal positions, it would enable Raila to cry foul and tell those he left out that in fact they had been included in positions, but the Government has sabotaged his efforts by reneging on the deal in terms of numbers.
Raila has presented the following cabinet:
Prime Minister – Raila Amolo Odinga.
Minister for Agriculture – Oburu Odinga (Raila’s brother)
Minister for Health -Sally Kosgey
Mnister for youth affairs – Ali Hassan Joho
Minister for co-operative development -Musalia Mudavadi
Minister for EA community – Sheikh Mohammed Dor
ASSITANT MINISTERS:
DALMAS OTIENO- COMMERCE AND TRADE.
OMINGO MAGARA.- FINANCE.
MOHAMMED AHMED MOHAMMED- ROADS AND PUBLIC WORKS
CHARITY NGILU- WATER AND IRRIGATION JAMES ORENGO- FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
OTIENO KAJWANG- JUSTICE AND CONST. AFFAIRS
SHAKEEL SHABBIR- LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JOE NYAGA- TRANSPORT
CALISTUS MWATELA- E.A. COMMUNITY
JANET ONGERA- GENDER SPORTS AND CULTURE.
JAMES REGE- INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
GEORGE KHANIRI- LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES
HENRY KOSGEY- LANDS
KIPKALYA KONES- OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
JOSEPH NKAISSERY- DEFENCE
From Okoth Omondi
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Posted by African Press International on February 26, 2008

Norway has been a peaceful country, but now as sources reveal, a crisis will soon affect the country.

Many may attribute this to the recent recognition of Kosovo as an independent state, whereby the Serbians are angered and are a suspect to take revenge, yet thethreat will not necessarily come from there.

Oslo city has many groups now and a realization is upcoming on factual sense that the Norwegian naivity may be exploited very soon.

The security services in Norway, under the leadership of Jrn Holme are in a position to save Norway and the Norwegian people from upcoming disaster if they act sooner, rather than later.

Our sources reveal that the country is now a main target terroristically and yet many in Norway may wish to dwell on the comfort enjoyed thinking – we are far from any danger!

API took the opportunity today to contact Jrn Holme, the PST boss in an effort to salvage that which is ongoing within the social circles, but those who surround himand of the opion that they know better ensure important security information do not reach him.

Norway is now a target and the country must be prepared to deal with the aftermath.Major places of distraction located are the Tube and Train passages.

By Korir, API africanpress@getmail.notel 932 99 739

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