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Archive for March 3rd, 2008

The African Commission finalises rules for the human rights court

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

mohamed-legally-cole.jpg<From Mohammed Legally-Cole)

Discussions on the Rules of Procedures of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights which was underway at the 4th Extra-Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) at the Corinthia Atlantic Hotel Conference Hall in Banjul, The Gambia has just ended. The week-long closed door session kicked off on Sunday, February 17th, 2008 was with the expectations to give the final consideration to the court’s rules of procedure and hopefully adopt them.

It could be recalled that the African Court, which came into existence in 2006, was established by the African Union following its adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

According to the Chairperson of the African Commission, Justice Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, “The African Court is already quite advanced in the elaboration of its rules of procedure”. Regarding the African Commission, Justice Monageng said the original intention had been for the Commission to consider and adopt its rules of procedure during the 42nd ordinary session in Brazzaville, Congo, in November 2007, but its workload made it impossible.

She said, “Hence the main reason for holding this extra-ordinary session is to finalize consideration of our rules of procedure and adopt them, so that they are ready in time for our rendezvous with the African Court later this year, to harmonize the rules of procedure of the two organs.

The extra-ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) ended in Banjul without concluding on all the items on their agenda. The commission was expected to finalize and consider the rules of procedure of the African Human Rights Court in this fourth extra-ordinary session, but the commission in a Communiqu’ said that it had postponed some of the unfinished work to a future date.

“The African Commission would also like to place on record that due to the intensity of the work involved in the consideration of the rules of procedure, it was able to consider only three of the items originally slated for this extra-ordinary session namely, the draft rules of procedure and the human rights situations in Kenya and Somalia,” the communiqu noted.

The Commission’s Chairperson, Justice Sanji Monageng, expressed that the remaining issues will be tackled at the May ordinary session in Swaziland. We hope that the Commission would not be over overloaded again, thus hindering the time table in Swaziland.

The Commission has adopted two resolutions and it will send a fact-finding mission to Kenya and Somalia in due course to investigate allegations of human rights violation in the two neighbouring states, according to reports.

Marie Saine-Firdaus Secretary of State for Justice and Attorney General for The Gambia said she hopes that the rules of procedure for the African Court would serve the interest of all the people on the continent.

In his statement, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Justice, Alhaji Sainey Susso, on behalf of the Attorney General, said the session “is another milestone in the development of the African human rights system. Mr. Susso said that from establishing a commission twenty years ago, they have now seen the need for a human rights court which will consolidate the gains registered by the commission.

He said: “The promotion and protection of human rights in Africa is the primary responsibility of all and sundry because it is only when our human rights are guaranteed, promoted, protected and fulfilled that peace and development will be realised in the continent.

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Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

mohamed-legally-cole.jpg< From Mohammed Legally-Cole)

The United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Barry Wells has disclosed that the Ambassador Girls Scholarship Programme (AGSP) will provide more that 550, 000 scholarships for girls for the next four year period.

Ambassador Wells recently made these remarks at the AGSP/FAWEGAM lesson learning conference which was held at the Paradise Suite Hotel in Banjul, The Gambia. He also emphasised the importance of bringing together both men and women for a greater national development in The Gambia.

For a bird to fly it needs two wings. In the same way, for a country to develop, it needs all its children; men and women. Therefore, if the development of a country should take off, then the analogy of the bird flying truly applies, he told the participants.He added that his analogy seeks to introduce the goal of AEI/AGSP, which is geared towards correcting gender inequity in education in Africa for sustainable development.
The
US ambassador said girls represented 60 per cent of the 40 million children in Africa who had no access to education when AEI was passed in 2002.

He further saluted the entire government and other partners for being supportive to AGSPs efforts and activities, which is implemented through FAWEGAM. He said the programme has provided at least 300,000 scholarships in Africa and about a 100,000 in West Africa.For her part, Yadi Njie Eribo, the coordinator of Forum of African Women in Education, The Gambia (FAWEGAM), underscored the numerous benefits the AGSP has brought towards girls and women empowerment, especially in the areas of education and health. Ms Njie-Eribo added the AGSP has sponsored over 800 girls in the Western Region.

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ELECTRICITY SUPPLY IN TANZANIA TO BE LIBERALISE AND COULD PUT TANSESCO MONOPOLY TO AN END

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

api-correspondent-odera-omolo.jpg< From Leo Odera Omolo in Kisumu
Tanzania wants the countys electricity utility firm The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) to start competing directly with other players in a much more liberalized manner as opposed to its previous monopoly.
According to a Bill which is scheduled to be presented to Parliament later this month, Tanesco will be given permission to obtain licenses for generation, trnasmissin, supply and distribution of electricity.
The firm will also have to get licenses for system operation, cross border trade in electricity, physical and financial trade in electricity and electrical installation.
Tanesco will continue to operate under the current system until such a time that the Minister for Energy and Minerals decided which areas will be open for competition between Tanesco and others says article 40 of the envisage law.
The Bill is intended to make proposals for the enactment of the electricity sub-sector Act due to liberalization of the electricity supply industry and responding to recently encountered challenges in the industry
According to proposals in the bill, especially section 25, all new agreements on purchase and sale of electricity will go through the Energy and Water Utilities Regulations Authority (EWURA) in order to control costs. This will be done under standardized power purchase agreements.
The discussion on the new bill was put off at the end of January this year after legislators demanded to debate the report of the Parliamentary committee to probe on Richmond report before they could discuss revision of current electricity laws.
The Richmond scandal had shaken the government and sparked the resignation of the former Tanzania Prime Minister Edward Lowassa in huff.
In November 2007, parliament formed a special probe committee led by Dr.Harrison Mwakyembe to investigate the tender awarded to Richmond a US based firm to supply 100MW electricity to Tanzania.
The committee recommended that both the outgoing Minister for Energy and Minerals Hon Nizar Karamogi and his predecessor Dr.Ibrahim Msabaha, be reprimanded for causing monetary losses to the country through such shady deals, while asking the Prime Minister Edwards Lowassa to weigh the allegations leveled against him
In drafting the new law, a lot was borrowed from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Bolivia.
The government suspended the privatization of Tanzania in the year 2005 in order to strengthen the power utility and make it financially sound.
However with the recent events in the energy section, the government has become more protective in trying to solve the problems bedeviling the sector.
For more than 10 years the government which fully owns Tanesco has not made any serious investment in electricity infrastructure leading to most of the equipment becoming near obsolete.
Ends
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Hillary Clinton using dirty tricks to destroying Obama’s chances for presidency

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

Author : Mtachaamambhi (IP: 80.239.46.194 , 80.239.46.194)
E-mail :
matacha@yahoo.com
Commentary:

Killary !!

As her chance of being America ‘s first woman president swiftly recedes, Hillary Clinton’s campaign stands accused of using dirty tricks to scupper the chances of Barack Obama becoming America’s first black president.

A manipulated photo of Obama in traditional dress on a trip to Somalia has started doing the rounds on the web. How did it get there?
Obama’s camp accuses Hillary’s flunkies of putting it there. The fight for the Democratic nomination is getting dirtier than Monica Lewinsky’s laundry.

And this is not the first time a Clinton has jumped on anything in a dress.

Take it easy Killary !!

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EAC TO STAGE MAJOR CONVENTION ON REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

api-correspondent-odera-omolo.jpg
< From Leo Odera Omolo
The East African Community will hold a major convention in Mwanza , Tanzania on 3-4 March 2008 to address regional infrastructure development.
Dubbed the 5th EAC Permanent Secretaries Retreat, the convention will bring together over 70 participants, Permanent Secretaries from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, including Ministry heads of departments, heads of parastatals, utility regulators, Chief Executives from the private sector, regional experts in infrastructure, finance, customs and trade.
The Retreat will deliberate on the theme EAC Regional Infrastructure Development: Challenges and Opportunities. The First Deputy Prime Minister/Minister for East African Affairs, Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Rt. Hon. Eriya Kategaya will officially open the Retreat.
A strong EAC contingent that includes the Secretary General, Deputy Secretaries General, Director General of Customs and Trade, Judge President of the EACJ , the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly and four Members of the Assembly and other senior officials of the Community will attend the Retreat reflecting the high importance the EAC is placing on the expected action-focused recommendations of the meeting.
The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Juma Mwapachu has stressed the significance of Infrastructure, to facilitate trade and investments, at a time when the EACs national economies were growing in response to the operations of the Customs Union and the move towards the establishment of the EAC Common Market.
The Retreat for Permanent Secretaries will provide an opportunity for the Permanent Secretaries, as the principal policy advisers to their respective governments, to collectively ventilate on issues pertaining to the Communitys objectives in order to enable policy decisions to be made for the benefit of the region.
The thematic areas that will be handled by the Retreat are: Transport (roads, railways, civil aviation and inland waterways) Ports, Energy and Communications. Also included are cross cutting issues relevant to the sectors, including funding, trade facilitation and meteorology. The Retreat is expected to come up with tangible recommendations on the way forward for the regions infrastructure, which is in dire need for improvement.
BACKGROUND NOTE
The 5th Retreat comes at an opportune time when the EAC integration process is deepening with the progress towards the establishment of the Common Market and the recent enlargement of the Community. With these developments, the Community is well set on the path to deliver concrete achievements and tangible benefits of regional integration.
By virtue of the central roles they play in the governance systems of the EAC countries, the Permanent Secretaries have a key responsibility in generating the practical measures in forging closer understanding and concerted effort to concretize the benefits of regional integration.
The Permanent Secretaries are the vital links and focal points of the EAC integration process. This role is formalized under the Co-ordination Committee (Permanent Secretaries) of the EAC which has been pivotal in the past achievements of the Community such as the establishment of the Customs Union. With this appreciation, the agenda of the Retreat is focused on the development of infrastructure, arguably the most important and urgent concern for the EAC region today.
Infrastructure development poses the greatest challenge to the region, essentially due to three factors; first, a good part of the infrastructure of the EAC Partner States is in a poor state and needs urgent development or rehabilitation; secondly, infrastructure development usually involves heavy capital outlays and is an area where there is need to pool resources as well as mobilize support from the development partners; and, thirdly, development of infrastructure is both a measure of the progress and a critical factor in the regional integration and development process.
Through the development of infrastructure, including roads, railways, civil aviation and telecommunications, the EAC aims to achieve not only higher standards of living in the region but also to make the region competitive and attractive for sustainable investment, trade and development and full integration into the global economic society.
Recognized is the need to ensure effective and timely implementation of agreed regional infrastructure projects and programmes in all the Partner States. This would involve addressing inefficiencies in the processes of the procurement systems, time frames, project management, and quality assurance, among other problems faced in the development of the infrastructure projects.
The meeting is expected therefore to spend prime time on analyzing these inefficiencies that add on the cost of undertaking economic activities in the region. Indeed, the meeting would be concerned with the need to place infrastructure projects in the forefront of the liberalization process in order to lower the costs of doing business in the region and usher development.
In light of recent developments in the region, among the issues most likely to feature highly in the deliberations of the Retreat is the urgency to embark on a focused programme of the development, modernization and diversification of the transport system, including railways, roads, lake transportation, airports and communications in the region, addressing both capacity gaps in the systems and overall improvement. Simultaneously, is the need to put emphasis on the development of other communications infrastructure in telephony, meteorology and other essential infrastructure that link the productive factors/centres to markets, both within and outside the region.
As they launch into their deliberations, the participants of the Retreat will not be entirely dispirited. In fact, they would be buoyed at least by recent major breakthrough with the establishment by the EAC of the first regional Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) in Africa , not to mention also, the good prospects of oil and petroleum finds in some parts of the region. These are the kinds of developments and achievements that the participants of the Retreat would be seeking to have more often; hence they will work with great determination towards a more proactive, efficient and speedy accomplishment strategy in the development of infrastructure and other important projects and programmes that have been prioritized under the Third East African Development Strategy (2006-2010).
ENDS
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Martha Karua not to travel

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

martha-karua-kenya-justice-minister.jpg<Justice minister Martha Karua- a hardliner in Kibaki’s government is now faced with problems of her own.

Here, Karua displays her passport to journalists in Nairobi yesterday, a passport that has a Swiss visa. Yes, that may be true but the reality is different. She knows the truth.�The minister got her visa in Nairobi, a visa that was not going to be respected at the entry point if she had travelled to Switzerland.

The Swiss foreign ministry today confirms to have informed Martha Karua that she was not going to be allowed entry into the country even with the visa from the embassy in Nairobi. The decision was taken by the Swiss ministry of�foreign affairs after the intervention of the country’s minister for foreign affairs says official. “Our minister decided that the minister should not be allowed entry into the country. “Having been a stumbling block during mediation talks, we asked Martha Karua, Kenyan Justice minister not to travel to our country”, the official has said.

�The embassy had given her a visa in� Nairobi without consultation with the foreign ministry. The ministry decided that instead of waiting until she arrived at the entry point, it was better to let her know in advance.

Details coming out from the foreign ministry in the Swiss capital confirm that the UK officials contacted the Swiss authorities on realising that the minister had already been given a visa in Nairobi.

It is now clear how things took turn. It is confirmed that a former UK High Commissioner who was based in Kenya was informed by a�Swiss Embassy official�that Karua had applied and was issued with a visa. On getting the information tha former UK High Commissioner contacted the present UK High Commissioner in Nairobi�requesting for action to stop the minister from entering Switzerland. The UK High Commissioner Mr Wood contacted the Swiss embassy in Nairobi and together with the German Ambassador met over dinner and discussed Karuaa’s fate.

The three diplomats, the UK, The German and the Swiss were all of the opinion that Karua was a stumbling block in the Kenya Annan talks and must be punished at all costs.

The three diplomats agreed that the Swiss government was to be contacted and made to understand that by refusing Karua entery despite the fact that she already had the visa was important for the ongoing talks. The Swiss ambassador agreed to contact the ministery of foreign affairs back home and inform them on the UK concerns. Although the UK concern had come from a former High Commissioner and not the British government, the decision was, however, taken and Karua got word through some source and managed to avoid getting embarrassed at the entry point into Switzerland.

We can also reveal that Germany and the UK are impossing a ban on the minister in an effort to force President Kibaki to releave her from her duties as a government minister.

Unless Kibaki intervenes and reason with the British, the Germans and the Swiss Karua will now have a difficult time and will not be easy for her to enter any country in the west.

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Constructing a new prison in Nyanza – Kenya government

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

From DICKENS WASONGA

FREELANCE JOURNALIST KISUMU CITY KENYA.

THE governmenthas set aside Kshs. 300 M to construct acorrection facility in Nyanza’s Rachuonyo district.
The project brings to six the number of the penal institutions in the province.
According to the area provincial prisons commandant Mr. Benjamin Njoga the facility will accomodate 500 inmates and will have 150 warders when it becomes fully operational.
Mr. Njoga said the facility will be built at Wagwe area of west Karachuonyo division.
He said a 26 acre piece of land which was being held in trust by Rachuonyo county council will be used to construct the facility.
The senior assistant commissioner of prisons said the institution will be used by prisoners who have been sentenced to serve between six months to four years in jail and will be complete in the next six years.
He said in the first six months of the project 30 houses will be built for the prison staff and another unit which will accommodate 80 inmates will be constructed in the first phase of the project.
Mr.Njoga said Kshs. 1M had already been received from the governmentfor the fencing of the project area and part of the money will be used in processing land rates.
He said the institution will help the government to decongest the existing correctional facilities in the province and appealed to the local residents to support it.
Mr. Njoga said Kodiaga G.K prisons which is the biggest penal institution within the entire western region was currently holding 2200 inmates against its official capacity of 800.
He added that Kisii prison which is supposed to accommodate 600 prisoners had a population of 1180 while Homa-Bay had a population of 500 inmates against its capacity of 300.
Others he mentioned included Migori and Kibos prisons which are equally over-stretched
He said that besides the infrastructural development, the institution will invest in agriculture.
”’During our field days the local farmers will have chance to learn about modern techniques of farming and livestock rearing said Njoka.
ENDS
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Guineans asked to integrate refugees

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

Conakry (Guinea) The residents of the NZrkor town, located about 1,000 km away from the capital, Conakry, have been urged to help integrate Liberian, Sierra Leonian and Ivorian refugees that have resolved to live in the region after living there for more than a decade.

To facilitate the integration, the NZrkor authorities have taken advantage of a UNHCR programme to identify all the concerned refugees in the various neighbourhoods of the area.

Official sources say several hundreds of the refugees live in the area.

Following an awareness campaign the prefect of NZrkor, Brem Cond told APA: “We have invited the host populations to welcome these refugees who want to become Guineans and to give them plots of farmland if possible,” Cond said.

He said development partners were also contributing to the process by building health centres, schools and roads.

The prefect said a social integration office has also been opened to handle all the issues relating to the reintegration of the refugees.

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The road to peaceful deal was not easy – Kenyan leaders repair the Nation

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

Tortuous road that led to power deal

 

By Athman Amran

The path that led to the signing of the power sharing deal between President Mwai Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga had many hurdles.

The two adversaries had their swords drawn even before last years December 27 General Election. Emotions that would later burst open in violence and deaths when President Kibaki was declared winner had been whipped in earnest.

During the countdown to the General Election, there were ominous developments that pointed to the hard line stances that would be taken afterwards by both parties.

First there were allegations that the Government was dispatching Administration Police Officers countrywide to rig elections in favour of Kibaki and PNU.

Then there was the scary presence of heavily armed General Service Unit (GSU) personnel who cordoned off the Kenyatta Conference Centre (KICC) just before Kenyans voted. KICC was the vote tallying centre of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

The delay in the announcement of the presidential results and sudden unexplained surges of votes in favour of President Kibaki created further tension.

Then followed the hasty and unfamiliar circumstances in which the presidential results were announced.

This was crowned with a hasty swearing in of President Kibaki at State House, Nairobi. Countrywide violence, which had begun a day earlier, spread and worsened.

This marked the beginning of shadow boxing between President Kibaki and Raila. Kibaki said he won the election fairly and advised his opponent to go to court. Raila insisted the victory was stolen from him and that President Kibaki should step down and pave way for a re-run.

PNU was first playing the “strong-arm” card through use of brutal force to end violence. Then all “peaceful protests” by ODM and live broadcasts were banned.

The next card by the Government was to form a coalition with Mr Kalonzo Musyokas ODM-Kenya and pooling in MPs from other smaller parties.

This was designed to add PNUs numerical strength in Parliament, where it expected the next war to be fought.

But with the rising death toll and destruction of property, PNU and ODM were alarmed.

The international community also expressed concern at the Kenyan situation.

No world leader, except Ugandas President Yoweri Museveni, congratulated President Kibaki.

Then on January 1, 2008, British Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown in his New Year message telephoned Raila and offered to intervene and end the chaos. The death toll had by then reached 300.

Raila had decided he would not meet face to face with President Kibaki. He accepted Gordons offer but with two conditions.

“The first condition is that President Kibaki must first step aside and publicly own up to the fact that he was not elected President. The second condition is that the negotiation must be done by mediators because Im not willing to talk to him directly,” the ODM leader said.

On January 2, several things happened.

Europe offered to assists

The US and the UK issued a joint statement, which quoted UK Foreign Secretary Mr David Milliband and his US counterpart Dr Condoleezza Rice pledging both diplomatic and political assistance to end the crisis.

“The immediate priority is to combine cessation of violence by their followers. We call on all political leaders to engage in a spirit of compromise that puts the democratic interests of Kenya first,” they said.

The African Union (AU) announced that its delegation led by Ghanas President John Kufuor was expected in the country.

A statement from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said: “This visit is part of the AU efforts to assist in overcoming the post-electoral crisis facing Kenya.”

Milliband and Rice supported the peace initiatives of the AU, EU and the Commonwealth.

Kibaki, in an attempt to resolve the issue internally, invited all MPs-elect from all political parties for a meeting at State House, Nairobi. The agenda of the meeting was unclear, so was its outcome.

A PPS dispatch later said 85 MPs-elect met the President who urged them to focus on issues that affect the people once Parliament is opened. No ODM or ODM-Kenya MP turned up.

Ignoring Kibakis gestures, Raila on January 3 said his team had identified former United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, former South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Kufuor for mediation.

Raila said he had talked to Brown, Rice and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“All these leaders want peace and we have identified Annan, Kufuor and Tutu to negotiate but the Government has refused,” said Raila.

Tutu had already arrived in the country at the invitation of the All Africa Conference of Churches to lead a delegation to mediate between the political adversaries to restore peace.

Tutu, after meeting with President Kibaki at State House, Nairobi, on January 4, said the President was willing to form a coalition government if the Opposition ended the post-election violence.

President Kibaki had also assured Tutu that once Parliament re-opens, the Government would reach out to find a solution.

But Tutu wanted the process initiated even before Parliament re-opens.

On January 5, Kibaki and Raila met separately with US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Dr Jendayi Frazer.

She noted that a solution to the crisis could not be found through “dishing out political seats” as President Kibaki had been suggesting. She said fundamental challenges that triggered the unrest had to be addressed.

On January 5, President Kibaki invited Raila to a meeting at State House, Nairobi on January 12. It was intended “to restore peace and resolve political crisis”.

But Raila said he would only attend the meeting if it was part of the negotiation process that Kufuor was expected to spearhead.

A frustrated President Kibaki then formed a coalition government with Mr Kalonzo Musyokas ODM-Kenya on January 8.

Kalonzo was named Vice President in the “half-cabinet” comprising 17 ministers. This was seen as bait for ODM MPs who were hungry for Cabinet posts to jump ship and cut down the size of Railas party.

Kufuor arrived on the same day to facilitate dialogue between the Government and the Opposition.

On January 9, Kufuor managed to talk with President Kibaki at State House, Nairobi and later with ODM leaders at Hotel Intercontinental. But Kufuors mission flopped when President Kibaki and Raila failed to meet face-to-face to kick-off the dialogue.

The Ghanaian jetted out empty handed and passed the ball to Annan.

Former Presidents Mr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana and Mr Joacquim Chissano of Mozambique also came on January 12 to help end post-election chaos.

On January 18, Kibaki appointed a committee to spearhead national political dialogue headed by Kalonzo.

The committee was to represent the Government in negotiations led by Annan.

It also comprised Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti, Attorney General, Mr Amos Wako, Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Moses Wetangula and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms Martha Karua. Others were Finance minister, Mr Amos Kimunya, Kanu chairman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Transport minister, Mr Ali Mwakwere and Mbooni MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo.

ODM refused to work with the team. It accused Kalonzo of being a traitor.

Panel of eminent persons

But Annans arrival beamed a ray of hope. His team comprised Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Mr Nelson Mandela and former Tanzanian President Mr Benjamin Mkapa.

ODM and PNU selected four leaders each to form the National Dialogue Team to sit with Annan and his team.

PNU chose Karua, Education minister, Prof Sam Ongeri, and Kilonzo. Wetangula joined in later.

ODM chose Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr William Ruto and Aldai MP, Dr Sally Kosgei, while Ugenya MP, Mr James Orengo, joined later.

The agenda of the Annan team was to ensure immediate stop to violence, restoration of fundamental rights and liberties and measures to be taken to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis and promotion of reconciliation and healing.

On political crisis, the issues would include power sharing, constitutional review and reform of the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

Annans fourth agenda is the discussion of long-term issues and solutions.

The ice was broken when on January 24 Annan managed to bring Raila and President Kibaki together for the first time since the announcement of disputed presidential election results on December 30.

The two leaders shook hands at Harambee House, Nairobi, after a face-to-face meeting in the presence of Machel, Annan and Mkapa.

Annan brought the two leaders together again on January 29 at County Hall, Nairobi.

On February 1, the first signs emerged that progress was being made in the talks. The Government and ODM agreed to hold joint rallies to stop the escalating violence and restore basic human rights. This was after a 10-hour meeting of the team headed by Annan. They had agreed there should be freedom of assembly, expression and press, to help end political turmoil.

On February 8, President Kibaki and Raila agreed to share power but PNU insisted the President should call the shots. ODM wanted an interim government based on party strength in Parliament.

On February 12, Annan suggested that a grand coalition was the best way to tackle the dispute. He was speaking at a Speakers Kamukunji at Old Parliament chambers.

His comment was not received well by the Government side, and the talks hit rough waters again.

Karua argued that no such agreement had been reached.

The team then moved to Kilaguni Serena Lodge to hammer out a final deal, which Annan had expected would be reached between 48 and 72 hours.

On February 15 he said: “I will not tire I will be here as long as it takes to arrive at new Government. I will not be frustrated nor tire. I will pay the price of staying until we resolve the crisis”. He was addressing an international press conference at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi after the retreat at Kilaguni.

At crucial and sensitive moments in the talks, the US, UK and the EU issued ultimatums that did not go down well with the Government.

On February 15, Bush said he was sending Rice to Kenya to deliver a message.

“In terms of Condis visit, the key is that the leaders hear from her first hand that the US desires to see that there be a power sharing agreement that will help this nation resolve its difficulties,” Bush said.

Rice arrived on February 18 and talked of governance structures for real power sharing.

The talks however almost collapsed when on February 26 a member of PNU team engaged the panel in heated exchanges.

The member made comments that stunned mediators and talks were suspended.

Annan then decided to engage with President Kibaki and Raila.

And as if in an orchestrated move, AU chairman and Tanzanian President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, arrived on February 26. Two days later, Annan met Raila and President Kibaki to end a deadlock over the Prime Ministers post.

Kibaki had wanted the Prime Minister and his two deputies to be appointed under current laws while waiting for a comprehensive review of the Constitution while Raila wanted a proper power sharing deal.

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Kenya now faces the reality – How to share the riches

Posted by African Press International on March 3, 2008

Annan leaves as talks team tackle Agenda 4

By Standard TeamLead mediator Dr Kofi Annan flew out on Sunday, exuding confidence that the power-sharing agreement signed between President Kibaki and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga would hold and move the country to new heights.

kofi-annan-and-wangari-maathai.jpg
Former UN Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan, and Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, at Serena Hotel. Picture by Stafford Ondego

After 42 days of gruelling shuttle diplomacy in the city, the former United Nations secretary-general was confident Kenyans would finally have the peace they so much desired following the post-election turmoil that saw community rise against another, leaving behind an unprecedented trail of blood, death, injury and destruction.Annan left for Kampala, Uganda, as it emerged that former head of South Africas Independent Electoral Commission, Judge Christiaan Kriegler, would chair the Independent Review Committee that would investigate the discredited 2007 presidential election.

The committee, that begins its sittings on March 15th, is expected to investigate all aspects of the flawed poll and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.

And when the mediation talks resume this morning, on the chair will be the new Chief Mediator, former Nigerian Diplomat Oluyemi Adeniji.

The team will tackle Agenda Four, which covers essential changes in law and the Constitution, the establishment of the Justice and Reconciliation Commission and constitutional offices.

Annan said although he was leaving for Uganda and onwards to his base in Geneva, he would remain at short call and would be willing and ready to fly back to Nairobi whenever needed.

Intense emotions“Its time to say goodbye. But I am only bidding you farewell not fading away. I will be back periodically and will come when I am needed,” he said at an emotional send-off outside the Serena Hotel.

Serena Hotel was the base of the mediation talks from where Annan would shuttle to various other offices in the city, including State House, Harambee House, Pentagon House and Parliament to meet either the principals in the negotiations or some of the negotiators.

It was in the same hotel that intense emotions were witnessed during the negotiations, including altercations between members that at one point forced Annan to temporarily shelf the talks.

Annan on Thursday witnessed the signing of the historic political deal between ODMs Raila and PNUs Kibaki, and whose process was fast-tracked through efforts of African Union chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

Annan hoped the power-sharing deal, that brought a sigh of relief to a tensed country, would lead to national reconciliation and healing.

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Dr Kofi Annan (right) and UN Director-General Dr Anna Tibaijuka listen as the Moipei Sisters, who are Unicef ambassadors, perform at the Serena Hotel.Picture by Stafford Ondego

Before Annan left, the Moipei Girls Quartet of Mary, Maggie, Marti and Seraphine of Brooke House School and who are also the Unicef Ambassadors recited a message of hope for Kenyans and thanked Annan for doing a “good job”.Flanked by the UN-Habitat Director, Dr Anna Tibaijuka, and Nobel Peace laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, Annan thanked Kenyans for the support and prayers they gave his team as they sought a solution towards a peaceful political settlement.

Annan also paid tribute to Kibaki and Raila for showing leadership and for their statesmanship.

Annan said the next phase of the talks was crucial as it touched on the Constitution and land issues.

He asked Kenyans to stay the course and not to leave the issues at hand to politicians.

“Kenya has a lot to offer. As Kenyans you need to work together, heal and unify the nation,” said Annan, adding that it was a beautiful country which he would like to see remain prosperous.

Annan left even as the task of transforming the historic Harambee House deal into law shifted to Attorney-General Amos Wako and Parliament.

The AG and four other lawyers, Ugenya MP James Orengo, Mr Caroli Omondi (ODM), Mbooni MP Mr Mutula Kilonzo and Dr Gichira Kibaara (PNU/Government) will this morning start drafting the necessary Bills to amend the Constitution and accommodate the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008.

It is this accord that Parliament is expected to translate into law and entrench in the Constitution.

President Kibaki opens the First Session of the 10th Parliament on Thursday where MPs are expected to give priority to issues touching on the power-sharing agreement.

GoodwillElsewhere, the Thursday accord continued to elicit positive reactions locally and internationally.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss- Kahn praised the role played by President Kikwete in resolving the stalemate that had stalled the mediation.

According to a report appearing in the Tanzanian paper Daily News, Mr Dominique said in Dar es Salaam that the deal would go a long way towards stabilising the regions economy.

The newspaper added that Kikwete chaired a crucial last minute five-hour peace meeting that saw Kibaki and Raila agree to sign the ultimate peace pact.

Progress had been hampered by hardliners on both sides, leaving a frustrated Annan to announce the suspension of the talks.

Kikwete told reporters on arrival from Kenya on Friday evening at the Julius Nyerere International Airport that he had detected a sense of urgency on both sides to end the crisis. Kikwete decided to stay one more day than was earlier scheduled.

He said Kibaki and Raila signed the peace pact of their own accord, apparently as they were all eager “to get their country out of the political quagmire”.

ODM said priority should now be given to the legislation to transform the power-sharing deal into law when Parliament opens this Thursday.

“The responsibility we have ahead of us as a matter of priority is to put all what has been signed into law and then we look at the Government structure and the Cabinet positions,” said ODM deputy leader Mr Musalia Mudavadi.

Vice-President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka expressed optimism that the deal would be entrenched in the Constitution.

Kalonzo said there was mutual goodwill from both sides of the political divide, which would make it easy for the necessary constitutional changes to be passed.

Speaking at the Baptist Church, Nairobi, during a preparatory mass for the churchs Golden Jubilee, Kalonzo praised the breakthrough and thanked the mediation teams for their good work.

He addd: “We are now geared to setting up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Committee, to confront the mistakes of the past and resolve them so as to live together in harmony for the sake of peace”.

He asked the international community to be part of the peace process by shelving visa bans and threats against certain leaders.

The Anglican Church said the pact reached between President Kibaki and Raila was a “gift” to Kenyans and the best thing to happen in the country in many years.

Anglican head Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told MPs to put aside their political interests and expeditiously entrench the agreement in the Constitution.

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

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