African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for March 12th, 2008

INVITATION TO KENYA CITIZENS ASSEMBLY TELEFORUM SAT MARCH 15TH, (9:00AM EASTERN US, 4:00PM KENYA TIME)

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008


Join fellow Kenyans in charting a new future
Post message: kenyacitizensassembly@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: kenyacitizensassembly-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
We invite you to take part in the formation of the citizens Assembly to lay out the framework for enacting a people-driven constitution in Kenya. Kenya can and will rise again. But this is only possible if there is a democratic constitution in place that can institutionalize good governance in the form of accountability, transparency, citizen participation, devolution of power, equity and free and fair elections.

The citizens Assembly is scheduled to be launched on April 19-20, 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The structure and agenda of the assembly will be discussed in a web-forum scheduled for
Saturday, March 15, 2008, 4:00pm-6:30pm Kenya Time (+3hrs GMT), 9:00am-11:30am Eastern– New York Time (-5hrs GMT), 1:00pm-3:30pm London (+0 GMT), (6:00am-8:30am Western USA PST (-8GMT) .

This will be followed by The Way Forward forums in USA, Canada, UK, Sweden and Kenya, between March 22-31, 2008.

Organizers urge all concerned to step on the path that leads Kenya towards genuine democratic transformation.

For more info Tegi Obanda +1-647-208-1265 (International Coordinator) or Peter Kironyoh +254-722-685830 (National Coordinator)

1. HOW DO I LOG IN TO THE TELEFORUM?

Teleconference on Skype is called Skypecast. Once you login to skype, click on Live to get to Skypecast .

Or go directly, https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/overview.html
Our Skypecast name is Kenya Citizens Assembly Teleforum hosted by ccr-kenya.

or
https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/skypecast/detailed.html?id_talk=3937015&message=new_talk_created

IMPORTANT—-You should be able to join the teleconference directly from your computer. Please go to the skypecast, (blue logo on top menu), and look for the ccr teleforum and click to join directly. Please remember, DO NOT, call ccr-kenya on skype.

Calling ccr-kenya will simply put you on hold, and tie everything as it did last Saturday. If you foregt and dialed ccr-kenya instead of going to the skypecast directly, please promptly hang up and instead go to the skypecast, by clicking the skypecast blue logo on top menu of skype.

If you are able and have time before Saturday, please do a demonstration before Saturday and try joining ongoing skypecasts on skype to have a feel how it works. It is very simple. If you have any problems logging oj the ccr skypecast, look for ccr-kenya within skype as you would normally (outside the skyecast), and send a text message within skype. There will be a separate window open where texting will be possible for those having problem with voice. If all this fails, send e-mail to ccr_kenya@yahoo.co.uk or call or sms +1-647-208-1265.

If you have any problems or questions about logging in, please contact us before Saturday.

The Skypecast will become on or Live at 9:30 am Eastern USA, 2:30 pm, London, 5:30:00 pm Kenya

The duration will be two hours 5:30-7:30 Kenya time.

You can convert the time using this link. Please watch out for day-time saving time changes if any.
http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc

2. WHAT DO I NEED TO USE SKYPE?

If you will be using a cybercafe, please ask the support personnel at your favorite cybercafe to download skype so you can familiarize yourself with it at least a week in advance before March 1.

If you will be using your own computer, these are the details:

What are the system requirements of Skype for Windows?

System requirements
PC running Windows 2000, XP or Vista . (Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls).
Internet connection (broadband is best, but other connections can still work, GPRS is not supported for voice calls, and results may vary on a satellite connection).
Speakers and microphone – built-in or separate. For voice and video calls we recommend a computer with at least a 1GHz processor, 256 MB RAM and of course a webcam.
For High Quality Video calls you will need a high quality video webcam and software, a dual-core processor computer and a fast broadband connection (384 kbps).

Technical details
Version 3.6.0.248 File size 22 MB. Official release. Release date: February 5, 2008. File name: SkypeSetup.exe
To download skype:
http://www.skype.com/download/skype/windows/

Join fellow Kenyans in charting a new future
Post message: kenyacitizensassembly@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: kenyacitizensassembly-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

CCR-Kenya brings together organizations and individuals who believe that for Kenya to truly attain genuine democratic liberation, comprehensive constitutional reforms must be completed. The coalition works to raise awareness, to bring pressure on the ruling class, to allow Kenyans to reform the constitution. This is the only way that Kenyans can reconstitute their country in their own terms, so that they can decide how to relate to each other, how to govern each other, and how to manage their natural resources.
Kenya, as currently constituted, is dysfunctional, artificial, and inorganic. Our country was created out of injustice, which denied the people control over their natural resources. This is the root cause of mass poverty, war, environmental degradation, pandemics, and social collapse. A new constitutional order would truly empower Kenyans to take control of their natural resources and the affairs of their country.

Published by API africanpress@getmail.no

Advertisements

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 1 Comment »

“Here, my children are in school and I have food to eat,” said Bkole, a mother of five who manages a small plot thick with tobacco and maize plants.

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008

 

Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) – Justina Bkole (38) was just a toddler when her parents fled to western Tanzania in 1972, to escape ethnic clashes in neighbouring Burundi.

Like thousands of other refugees who made the same journey, she stayed in the East African country: a place to which she now has strong ties, even if her roots are in Burundi.

“Here, my children are in school and I have food to eat,” said Bkole, a mother of five who manages a small plot thick with tobacco and maize plants. “But still I am a refugee because my home is in Burundi and I was forced to leave.” Now, Burundi will become home again for many refugees, if not Bkole. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has said the time has come to write the final chapter for one the world’s most protracted refugee situations: all three settlements established in western Tanzania for the Burundian exiles — Ulyankulu, Katumba and Mishamo — will close by 2010. The camps are run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government of Tanzania.

As a result, the 218,000 exiles, commonly referred to as the “1972 Burundi refugees”, and their descendants are being faced with the choice of returning to their homeland or applying for Tanzanian citizenship.
About 80 percent have indicated their willingness to become citizens of Tanzania, according to a U.N. survey, while another 45,000 said they wished to return to Burundi (some are already on their way). A small number may apply for third country resettlement.

Bkole, for one, thinks she will seek naturalisation: “I’m happy here,” she replied, when asked about her reasons for staying on. This is despite the fact that refugees are confined to the camps and must seek special permission to leave — which means they remain isolated from the locals, and that many have little sense of forming part of Tanzania.

Life for most people in Tanzania is humble, and the same holds true for the settlements. Jobs are hard to come by, the unemployment rate runs at about 30 percent and only a quarter of the population is enrolled in school. Refugees scrape by doing odd jobs like tailoring, beekeeping or selling daily staples from ramshackle shops or street side tables. About half are smallholder farmers who grow a variety of crops — tobacco, maize, cassava, groundnuts, rice, potatoes and the like — which are then traded.

Still, those in the settlements enjoy certain benefits, including better medical treatment than nearby Tanzanians. “The UNHCR is like our parents. They give us love but there are also special laws we must follow,” said Thomas Mabruck (44), a volunteer teacher in Ulyankulu and the father of five children aged one to 19. “A refugee is someone who has left for reasons of war, but now I want to say ‘I’m a resident of somewhere’.”
The idea of returning to Burundi is a daunting prospect for some, not least because they will have a safety net pulled from under them.

“Here life is very fine,” said an elderly farmer who gave only the name Ananais. “If they don’t give me citizenship (in Tanzania), where will I go? I will die. I have no options.” Efforts have been made to provide at least some options, however: those going back to Burundi will get a one off allowance of about 42 dollars and a six-month food ration — although no guarantee of land. Another problem may come in the form of language. Most refugees speak Tanzania’s national language, Kiswahili, fluently; but far fewer understand Burundi’s national language: French.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, on a four-day visit to Tanzania this week, has appealed for 34 million dollars to relocate this refugee population — a group that has slipped off the international radar, to a certain extent. Even more funds will be needed, he says, in the effort to resettle people and offer basic social services. On Sunday, Guterres saw off the first group of 252 refugees, some of them children of those who fled Burundi more than 35 years ago, from the Katumba settlement.

“There is no place like home,” he said, cheered on by performers and well wishers who gathered to give a boisterous farewell at the railway station from which the exiles were leaving. “It is not good for one to remain a refugee forever.” Cassian Benedict, a 26-year-old father of two, said he plans to move to Burundi, the homeland of his parents, in October. When he was shown a map of the Central African nation he could not point to exactly where he will go, but seemed undaunted by this.

“I was born a refugee and so were my kids, but it is not too late for us,” said Benedict, standing in a church in Katumba. “We’ll make a better life there. I’m not worried even a little.” Tanzania hosts another 206,500 refugees who fled more recent conflicts in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kikwete has asked those housed in camps in the north-west of Tanzania to leave voluntarily by year end. (END/2008)

 

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.IPS

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

A 40-year-old man, Nicolas Tah, of Mulango Street Fiango, reportedly jumped to death in a well for fear of being arrested and possibly tortured.

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008

 

More than a week after the transporters strike subsided, fierce troops have not stopped breaking into houses in Fiango, Hausa Quarter and Meta Quarter.

In the course of trying to retrieve items stolen from Les Brasseries Du Cameroun and Transformation Reef Cameroon, TRC (timber company) during the strike, the forces torture and arrest people found with any crates of drinks or computers. Whenever they do not find any stolen items, the troops reportedly destroy TV and radio sets. The victims of this brutality also accuse the men in uniform of raping and stealing money from the houses.On one of their punitive expeditions, the combined forces attacked women selling at Three Corners Fiango market.

They beat the women mercilessly, accusing them that their children had destroyed Kumba. The troops stopped their assault only when some youths stormed the market and told them to kill them (youths) rather than maltreat their mothers.

A 40-year-old man, Nicolas Tah, of Mulango Street Fiango, reportedly jumped to death in a well for fear of being arrested and possibly tortured. Reports say that on March 6, police discovered 25 crates of drinks at Tah’s residence, which he allegedly stole from Les Brasseries Du Cameroun during the strike.When they searched for Tah in vain, the police reportedly carried away his TV set and promised to return for his arrest.

Tah, who was a commercial motorbike rider (bendskin) on discovering that his TV and his FCFA 50,000 was missing, apparently stolen by the police, reportedly told his neighbours that life was not worth living.
It is said that Tah got drunk and returned home late that day and dived into a well in front of his house. His corpse was discovered the next day floating on the surface of the water in the well. Family members removed it and took it for burial to their residence in Ekombe, Mbonge Subdivision.

Tah was married and a father of seven.Meanwhile, most people who stole drinks have buried them in their backyards. Others have carefully packed the drinks in bags and dumped them in their wells.

 

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.The Post.Cameroon

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Recent meeting called to reduce tensions in a contested region which lies on their joint border has resolved the issue for good.

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008

 

Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Ministers from Burkina Faso and Benin say that a recent meeting called to reduce tensions in a contested region which lies on their joint border has resolved the issue for good.

“Things will radically change from now… for more than ten years we have had difficulties to manage this area due to differences in juridical interpretations that was opposing us and our brothers from Benin”, said Clément Sawadogo, the Burkina Faso minister of territorial administration and decentralisation (MATD) “It is a historic deed that we have decided to manage the area with intelligence through measures for a concerted, pacific and appeased management of the locality”, Sawadogo added.

The high level delegations, which met on 7 March at Porga in the north of Benin, committed that neither country would make any “visible sovereignty act” in the 68 square kilometre zone which includes three villages – Koalou, Niorgou I and Niorgou II. The proscribed acts include building paramilitary or police stations, and the presence of any flag in the area. The populations in the area will be allowed to vote in the country of their choice, said the final communiqué of the one day meeting.

Both countries have also agreed to activate a joint commission on the border before June this year to oversee joint work to build infrastructure. The delegations noted that the lack of juridical clarification has meant Benin and Burkina Faso had not invested in basic social infrastructure. “It will be a good example for the rest of Africa where border issues are often solved through wars. Our heads of states have said ‘No’ to guns,” General Félix Hessou, Minister of Public Security of Benin said after the meeting.

“Both countries have ambitions for the area… the one that can build a school should do it. We need knowledge and why should we deprive the populations of school because of an imaginary line dividing our countries,” Hessou added.

Benin and Burkina Faso came close to conflict in 2005 when the headmaster of a school built by Burkina Faso in the contested zone was expelled. The tension was so high that a scheduled meeting of the joint commission to delimit the border was cancelled. In 2007 tensions flared again when an inhabitant of the contested region was transported to a prison in Benin where he later died. The meeting on 7 March came after local officials in the contested villages had made several accusations of unidentified security forces harassing people living there. To prevent security breaches and protect the civilians who complain of harassment, there will now be joint security patrols at the border, the meeting determined.

People who live in the zone are nonetheless sceptical. “I am glad to hear the discourse but I want to see actions follow it”, said Roger Thiombiano, a city council member of the town of Pama in the east of Burkina.
“We still do not know if tomorrow or the day after tomorrow it will be something else because we have always been told same things in the past and later we are harassed and sometimes populations cannot cross the border”, Thiombiano added.

According to a decree of 22 July 1914, the border between Burkina Faso (formerly called Upper Volta) was limited at the natural line of the Pendjari river. According to that agreement, the village of Koalou belongs to Burkina Faso. However the Beninese authorities have a document signed by a colonial administrator in 1938 which gives Benin ownership of the contested piece of land. Last year Burkina Faso and its northern neighbour Niger, with which it shares 600 kilometres of frontier, submitted a border dispute for adjudication to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Officials on both sides of that border have regularly traded accusations of populations being abused and harassed.

Burkina Faso and Mali fought two wars in 1973 and 1985 before they settled their border dispute in the 1990s, also through the ICJ. Burkina Faso gained independence from France in 1960. Most of the difficulties it has faced in determining its border stem from a French decision in 1933 to remove the territory of what was then called Upper Volta in 1933 and share it among its neighbours. The country was later rehabilitated in 1947 following protests from local traditional leaders.

 

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.IRIN

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

The US support Chad – Sudan mediation initiative by Senegalese President

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008

Lagos (Nigeria) – The United States has stated its support for the initiative of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to mediate between Chad and Sudan, which have been trading accusations of destabilisation against each other, a US State Department release said.

The statement, made available to PANA here Tuesday, said the US also supported President Wade’s decision to invite Gabonese President Omar Bongo to bolster his efforts. To show its support, the statement said the US would be represented at the opening ceremony of the mediation in Dakar 12 March by Chargé d’Affaires Jay Smith. ”As noted on February 2, we support the African Union’s (AU) call for an end to armed attacks and a refrain from violence against Chad. We continue to join the AU in condemning the recent attempt by armed Chadian rebels, operating from Sudan, to seize power extra-constitutionally.

”We call for both Sudan and Chad to take immediate steps to ensure that no support is provided to rebels from their neighbor. We call on Sudan, Chad, and rebel groups to cease all cross border intrusions,” the statement added. The US also called for a rapid deployment of the EU Force and the UN Mission to the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), as well as the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) which, it said, would facilitate humanitarian operations and peace efforts in the region.

With tension growing along their common border, Chad and Sudan have been trading accusations. While Chad has accused Sudan of hosting rebels, Sudan blames N’djamena for deploying planes and troops on its territory.

 

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.PANA

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Planning is central to the process of development aimed at improving the quality of life.

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008

 

Kaduna (Nigeria) – In a bid to ensure reduction of child and maternal mortality and boost women and child development, the Women Development Centre has called for the urgent establishment of a national gender data bank to aid planning and gender development.

Director General of the Centre, Dr. Aisha Usman Mohammed who disclosed this in Kaduna yesterday noted that planning is central to the process of development aimed at improving the quality of life. Speaking at a training workshop on Gender Data Generation Analysis and Management of Multi Technical Team Committee (MTT) of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) held in Kaduna, Dr. Aisha said the establishment of the gender data bank was imperative to achieve appropriate gender objectives.

She added; “The initiative for the establishment of the National Gender Data Bank was borne out of the realisation that lack of adequate data on true gender disparities as well as in the economic, social and political spheres has frequently given rise to inappropriate policies, plans and projects by government. “Planning is based on facts, knowing the picture on ground, having a clear understanding of the reality, and the only way to get the facts, ascertain and measure the extent of the problem or otherwise is through data and statistics of the situation on ground.”

Dr. Aisha noted that in constituting the Multi Technical Team Committee (MTT) to spearhead the process, they had looked at other stakeholders whose mandates have direct relevance to gender issues in the country, as membership is drawn from government agencies and line ministries, the academia, civil society groups and gender experts. She further explained that the availability of Gender Disaggregated Data is imperative in presenting a factual representation of the status and roles of women and men in the Nigerian society, adding that it would be the basis for national gender policies aimed at improving the situation of women, children and a foundation of programmes promoting sustainable development and serve as tool for evaluating policies.

Gender data bank according to her “is to provide information to various users, proactively or at their request for conceptualising, formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating development programmes in a timely manner. “Gender Data Bank draws on existing and available sex disaggregated data and gender analytical information on data collection systems.”

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.DailyTrust.nigeria

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Enabling tenants to buy off landlords

Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2008


Kampala (Uganda) – President Yoweri Museveni and the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown have agreed to create a special land fund that would enable Ugandan tenants to buy out landlords.

“The Uganda government and that of United Kingdom will establish a joint inter-governmental committee to work our modalities for the setting up of the land fund,” State House said in a statement yesterday.
This arrangement curiously comes at a time when the government is pushing for an expeditious enactment of the 2007 Land Amendment Bill, which among other things gives priority to tenants to acquire land they are settled on.

Already a cross section of the Ugandan community led by the Buganda kingdom officials are contesting the proposed legislation that also prohibits a registered landowner from evicting any sitting tenant unless by court order. At yesterday’s meeting at 10 Downing Street, the two leaders tasked the planned integrated ad hoc committee to work expeditiously and get the land fund running “as a matter of urgency”.

Mr Museveni is in London at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II to attend this year’s Commonwealth Day. This year’s theme is: “The Environment – Our Future.” Mr Museveni is attending in his new role as Commonwealth chairman.

During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Kampala last November, President Museveni petitioned the UK government through Mr Brown to settle Uganda’s escalating land crises, largely created by uneven property distribution during the colonial epoch.

Mr Museveni argued that the mailo land ownership, which is predominant in Buganda region emanated from the arbitrary decision by colonial officials to dish out community land to a privileged few indigenous collaborators – thus disposing former legitimate land owners.

 

Published by Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.monitor.UG

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: