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Archive for April 5th, 2008

ODM’s Cabinet list draws fresh dispute

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Nation reporters

A new Cabinet list released by ODM on Friday showed that some of President Kibakis staunchest supporters are likely to be among major casualties of the new power-sharing Cabinet to be announced on Sunday.

However, the list drew swift reaction from the Government with spokesman Alfred Mutua dismissing it as speculative.

The Government wishes to reiterate the statement it issued this morning and insist that the list of Cabinet portfolio balance that is being circulated is speculative and totally inaccurate, Dr Mutua said in a statement posted in his official website last evening. He said the Cabinet is never formed through the media. Added Dr Mutua: The President requests Kenyans to remain patient until he announces the real structure of the ministries and the list of the members of his Cabinet on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Dr Mutua said.

According to the ODM list, other members of the Cabinet set to lose their portfolios to ODM are Transport minister Chirau Mwakwere, Special Programmes minister Naomi Shaban and Public Service minister Asman Kamama. According to the list, the ministries of Local Government, Foreign Affairs and Energy have been surrendered to ODM. Mr Michukis ministry will be split with the Transport docket going to ODM and Public Works remaining with PNU. But ODM also appeared to have ceded some ground, with the plum dockets of Finance, Internal Security, Provincial Administration, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and all security ministries going to the Government/PNU coalition.

Defence According to the list, PNU will retain Defence and Education but lose the Immigration and Registration of Persons docket. Explaining his partys list, ODM spokesman Salim Lone said: As was indicated yesterday (Thursday) following the meeting between President Kibaki and Prime Minister-Designate Raila Odinga, agreement was reached on the constitution of a new Cabinet compromising 40 ministers, as well as allocation of each ministry between PNU and ODM. Media subsequently carried differing lists of these ministries and their allocation to the parties, obtained informally from unofficial sources, but none of the lists was in fact accurate. I am, therefore, attaching the list of ministries and the party to which each was assigned. According to Mr Lone, President Kibaki and Mr Odinga had also agreed that the number of assistant ministers would be limited to 50, with the assistant in each ministry coming from a party other than the ministers. However, he said that an expected meeting between Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and ODMs Mr Mohammed Isahakia, to finalise the outstanding matters as well as the arrangements for Sunday’s announcement of the Cabinet, had still not been convened by Mr Muthaura.

Anxiety over the Cabinet enveloped MPs from both sides on Friday as President Kibaki officiated at the GSU graduation ceremony and later went to his Harambee House office, where he met key Government leaders including Mr Muthaura. Speaking at the GSU Training School in Embakasi earlier in the day, President Kibaki confirmed that he would name the 40-member Cabinet on Sunday. Mr Odinga is set to be named Prime Minister with Sabatia MP Musalia Mudavadi and either Cabinet ministers Martha Karua, George Saitoti or Uhuru Kenyatta being touted as potential candidates for the deputy Prime Ministers seat. PNU will fill one seat while the other will go to ODM. Mr Odinga was said to have met Mr Mudavadi, his deputy in the party. The technical teams from both sides were said to be working on the sharing of ministries and attaching names to lists that were to be presented to President Kibaki.

Principals Said Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno: The two principals completed their work yesterday (Thursday) by agreeing on the Cabinet size and portfolio balance. Now the work has reverted to technical teams who are working hard to ensure that everything goes smoothly on Sunday. The last minute lobbying and jostling for positions came a day after President Kibaki and Mr Odinga struck a deal on a 40-member Cabinet that is based on the terms of the National Accord brokered by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The earlier failure by the two principals to agree on the details of the Cabinet sparked criticism from envoys and NGOs. Activists who had planned to petition the President to name a lean Cabinet were dispersed by police this week.

their three previous meetings, the President and Mr Odinga had failed to find common ground on the size of the Cabinet, sharing of ministries and portfolio balance. While President Kibaki had initially proposed a 44-member Cabinet, which was later reduced to 38, Mr Odinga initially preferred to retain the status quo at 34 ministries. The two later agreed on 40 seats. However, it emerged that the two parties were yet to agree on how to share 11 ministries. The task, it was said, had been left to the parties technical teams. President Kibaki is likely to reshuffle some members of the half Cabinet he named in January and make appointments that will satisfy PNU affiliate parties. Sources said those highly placed to join the expanded Cabinet are MPs Mutula Kilonzo (ODM Kenya), Musikari Kombo (Ford Kenya), Danson Mungatana (Narc Kenya) and Aden Sugow (Kanu). However, a number of regions that rallied behind the President in the campaigns expect him to reward them. Among them was the greater Meru region whose leaders have publicly stated that they expected President Kibaki to allocate them one more ministerial post in the new line up. Given the limited number of slots, the President is likely to reward a number of MPs with assistant ministerial positions to balance the interests of regions that supported him while also considering the interests of women and the youth who rallied behind his campaigns.

Said Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando: Going by the mood in the country, people want a youthful person who has a zeal for change. They are tired of old leaders who have no reform agenda. But it is Mr Odinga who has had to walk a tight rope as he seeks to come up with 20 men and women to presented to President Kibaki for inclusion in the Cabinet. It is understood the first consideration went to Pentagon members namely Mr Mudavadi, who is set to be appointed deputy PM, and MPs William Ruto, Najib Balala, Joseph Nyaga and Charity Ngilu are likely to get ministerial posts. Although there have been murmurs by the PNU side against Mr Rutos appointment, he is likely to feature in the new Cabinet on grounds of being a key figure in ODM and the votes and MPs Rift Valley contributed to the party. Then the issue of regional balance weighed in heavily with MPs Sally Kosgei (Aldai), Margaret Kamar (Eldoret East), Kipkalya Kones (Bomet), Charles Keter (Belgut), Henry Kosgey (Tinderet), Lornah Laboso (Sotik), William Kipkiror (Baringo North), Musa Sirma (nominated) and William Ntimama (Narok North) mentioned as the team from which Rift Valley will get its five ministers.

Join Cabinet From Nyanza, sources said that Mr Odinga had proposed MPs Anyang Nyongo (Kisumu Rural), Dalmas Otieno (Rongo), Orwa Ojode (Ndhiwa), James Orengo (Ugenya), Omingo Magara (South Mugirango) and Chris Obure (Bobasi). The Western Province MPs who are likely to join the Cabinet besides Mr Mudavadi are Mr Chris Okemo (Nambale) and Mr Wycliffe Oparanya (Butere). Should the province get a fourth slot, MPs Alfred Khangati (Kanduyi) and Alfred Sambu (Webuye) could be in contention. In addition to Mr Balala, it is said that Mwatate MP Calist Mwatela was set to join the Cabinet while Dujis lawmaker Aden Duale is the likely politician to represent North Eastern Province in the cabinet.

Reported by Bernard Namunane, Muchemi Wachira And Kenneth Ogosia

__________________________________________________ African Press International – api

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Life of human rights crusader in danger

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no.

shem.jpg<Story from Shem Kosse

Renowned Kenyan activist based in Canada has expressed fears over his life following the series of threats, harassments and intimidations he has received.

Mr. Barry Obondo who is a member of the global movement Christian Democratic Movement-Kenya (C.D.M-K) Canada chapter, claims that the agents of the incumbent Kenya regime are working round the clock to nip his wings in the bud because of his hard line stance against the Kenyas Government wide spread corruption and abuse of human rights.

In a strongly worded press statement emailed to this writer, Barry who left Kenya in the early 2002 to pursue a degree course in Canada disclosed that on January 2008, his blood brother was kidnapped, harassed and questioned by armed state agents in a futile bid to uncover more information about him.

He was later released and threatened with dire consequences if he dare reported to any relevant authority said Barry.

The string of threats that ranges from mails, phone calls to text messages kicked off late last year on diverse dates of 28th, 3rd and 4th of October and December respectively.

This was after the CDMK, in July 2007, sued the Kenyan government for past and recent atrocities committed against humanity, in the International Criminal Court (ICC) Hague-read the unsolved political assassinations and the brutal killings of innocent citizens in Kisumu that happened in July 2004.

The indictment article appeared in one of Kenyas leading newspaper The Standard on August 13th 2007 and soon afterwards, he started receiving threats from government operatives.

<Mr Barry

We will make sure we kill you and use your blood to anoint more soldiers to take care of traitors like you thundered one of the callers.

Not left out in the agony is his family who have equally received their fare share of the threats demanding that the activist to severe links with the CDMK, whereby he is in charge of Communication and networking.

His active on-line presence in the organization has provided alternative forum for activism and carrying out movements cause since its activities had been banned by the government.

Pragmatic Barry alongside CDM-K officials suspects the involvement of the members of the prescribed dreaded Mingiki sect for his current predicament.

Judging from the nature of the threats of hunting my head and using my blood to anoint other soldiers is the largely known mode of visiting terror on people by the sect adds Barry in the statement.

To starters, Barrys activism dates back to his high school days where he organized students forum within the Christian Union Club encouraging fellow Christian colleagues to participate in the political process of the country, and the constitutional review process that was in the offing by then.

He was further inspired by the president cum cofounder of the CDMK Rev Okoth Otura, whom he met in the year 1999. This added impetus to the visionary Barry to go full throttle to agitate for new constitutional dispensation in Kenya.

In the year 2000 to 2001, as a youthful activist he organized two youth forums to collate and collect views of youths on the ongoing constitutional review process before jetting out of the country in 2002 to pursue studies in the global front, where he has too, continued to push for realization of meaningful change in Kenya.

CDM-K was one of the religious groups agitating for an amendment of the constitution. CDM-K pushed for reduction of presidential powers, inclusion of more effective legislation to fight corruption and inclusion of laws that would protect the underrepresented-women, children and the youth.

Religion has fundamental influence to the character of Kenya and it believed that the Christian perspective of democracy would unite Kenya and provide solutions to the wrong political perspective of ethnic politics in Kenya.

This threatened the corrupt political institution and ethnic-based allegiance that many corrupt politicians in the government thrived on.

As a result of CDMK activism and perceived threat to the political dynamics in Kenya, the movement was denied registration as a political party in Kenya in November 2004. Most officials were subsequently threatened with death.

The president of CDM-K Otura,who was instrumental for the struggle for Kenyas second liberation was also threatened, beaten and eventually fled Kenya and sought political asylum in Canada in July,2005.

With most officials out of the country, CDM-K was destined to operate from out of Kenya. They regrouped and webbed all over Europe to continue propagating CDM-K’s work and message.

And consequently, in the process, Barry was made an official of CDM-K in September 2005 in charge of communications and networking including building an online presence and eventually building and maintaining the CDM-K website and bloc in December 2006.

This provided an alternative forum for their activism in spreading their message of democracy, just governance and constitutional reforms, especially after having been denied activity in Kenya.

Back to Barry, in 2005 August he journeyed back to Kenya to see his family coupled with fact-finding mission about the killing of pro-democracy protesters in the lakeside city of Kisumu in July 2004.

In November 2005, he got a letter from the Kenyan High Commission in Ottawa-through his university querying his student status in order for them to process a bursary that he had won through the Ministry of Education for his excellent performance in the high school science fair.

After I sent the required documents in April of 2006, I never received a response from them. I called the KHC about it and they said that my name was not on the list anymore. My father tried to follow up with the Ministry in Kenya in August of 2006.

Continuing: While he was there they asked him questions about my activities with CDM-K and said they will get back to us about the bursary within a week, but they never did. This is the first time I got a hint that the government had started victimizing me because of my activities with CDM-K the reformist recalls nostalgically.

In view of the unfolding scenario, he appears to be desperately concerned about his safety in Kenya. Not even the relentless efforts by the family with the relevant authorities to intervene have bore any fruit, regarding the threats to his life.

Its worth noting that the threats on Barrys life comes barely three months after one Mr. George Buoga who is CDMK human rights division director was forced into hiding and eventually fled the country after reportedly attacked by government hired goons.

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African Press International – api

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Press Release: Kenya Grand Coalition Cabinet size is inconsequential

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

From Rev. Okoth Otura
Press Release
The recent settlement of the Kenya Grand Coalition cabinet by His Excellency Mwai Kibaki and PM Designated Hon Raila Odinga, is a great gesture of political breakthrough from post election violence trauma in Kenyas history, in fact, it has raised hope that the two leaders are willing to transform and restore Kenyas political, economical and social development traits.
Kenyans and the International Community vested hope and trust on Hon Kibaki and Hon Raila to pilot the country to safe landing, after the Africa Imminent Persons, led by Dr Hon Koffi Annan broker the signing of significant and historical peace deal between the two leaders, therefore the cabinet settlement is great achievement and should be backed by every concern citizens.
Kenya is still bleeding and is in intensive care unit, and thus any political prescription dossier that could lead in rapid healing is inevitable, no matter how expensive it may be.
The entire world focus is on Kenya, keenly watching how amicably the PNU/ODM will embark in a radical political, social and economical transition without declining back to crisis.
Kenya political recent crisis and its dynamics is of its kind, which can developed to be a concept as role model in solving the political and humanitarian crisis tearing our continent.
Christian Democratic Movement of Kenya (CDMK), hereby urge all Kenyans and the International Community to attend the swearing in of the Grand Coalition cabinet on April 12 2008 to legitimate the Kenyan government, to enable us start the second face of the our demand of Majimbo System of Government as the safety net of Internal Displace Persons and Refugees currently living without dignity in camps.
The critics of the cabinet size should not compare the out dated Kenyan Unitarian government system with Federal Systems of governments such as, Canada, Germany, USA or any other, since they are being governed in the three autonomous federation assemblies ( Federal, Regional Majimbo and Local Governments) .
In essence, the regional governments offer direct services to their residents without discrimination as long as they are registered in their respective regions, it is the mandate of the regional government to protect their tax payers.

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African Press International – API

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Uhuru for Deputy Premiership, Karua to retain her Justice and constitutional docket, while Michuki gets Provincial Administration?

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

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

<“The” who is fooling who game? It wasn’t me says Kibaki!

Who is fooling who?

By Saturday Standard Team

The clock ticked towards release of an expanded coalition Cabinet Sunday as another firestorm appeared to build up around the sharing of 40 ministries. It was the day the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement played a ping-pong game with each other over the twin sensitive issues of portfolio balance and new ministries.

President Kibaki declared in the day he was happy with the deal struck with Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga on Thursday and was waiting for Sunday afternoon to unveil the new list.

Later the Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua denounced a power sharing list in the days dailies, saying it was, “inaccurate, misleading and speculative.”

He added: “The lists published in various newspapers are fake. The Government considers whoever supplied the fake information to the media to be mischievous and one who intends to damage the agreement between President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga with the aim of causing disharmony.”

Making clear he was speaking on the authority of the President Mutua, added: “It is also important to clarify that in yesterdays meeting between President Kibaki and Hon Raila Odinga, the names of who would be included in the Cabinet were not discussed. It should also be noted that the agreement is for formation of 40 ministries and an equal number of Assistant Ministers.”

Then ODM, through its director of communication Mr Salim Lone joined in the catfight, saying in the meeting between Kibaki and Raila, “agreement was reached on the constitution of a new Cabinet compromising 40 ministers, as well as allocation of each ministry between PNU and ODM.”

Mr Lone attached the list of 20 ministries, the old and the yet to be created, and the manner of sharing, again in his word on the basis of what the two principals agreed.

President Mwai Kibaki inspects a guard of Honour mounted by General Service Unit recruits during their pass-out parade at GSU Training School,Embakasi, Nairobi Friday. Picture by Stafford Ondego

He then talked of another bi-party meeting, which failed to take off Friday, to work on the finer details of the Thursday deal.

“A number of additional steps still needed to be taken to complete all the formalities for Sundays planned announcement of the Cabinet. These formalities, as agreed, include the organisational structure and physical location of the Office of the Prime Minister, the finalisation of the functions and responsibilities of each ministry, the appointment of Permanent Secretaries and redefining the role of the Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet.”
He added: “However, as of 6pm today, the expected meeting between Amb Francis Muthaura and Mr Mohammed Isahakia, representing the President and the Prime minister-designate, to finalise these outstanding matters as well as the arrangements for Sundays announcement of the Cabinet, had still not been convened by Amb Muthaura.”

It was after Lone circulated the new list that Mutua issued the second statement of the day denouncing it, and telling off ODM with the line, “Cabinet is never formed through the media”.

“The Government wishes to reiterate the statement it issued this morning and insist that the list of Cabinet Portfolio balance that is being circulated is speculative and totally inaccurate.”

Mutua went on: “The President requests Kenyans to remain patient until he announces the real structure of the ministries and the list of the members of the Cabinet on Sunday, April 6.

For emphasis, in this paragraph Mutua capitalised the word real, and in the one before, totally.

Curiously whereas Mutua said the agreement on 40 ministers and an equal number of assistant ministers, and though Lones list bore 40 ministries, the ODM spokesman gave a different account of what was agreed upon on the junior ministers.

“The two principals on Thursday also agreed that assistant ministers would be limited to 50, with the assistant minister in each ministry coming from a party other than the ministers, he said.

Mutua fought criticism the new Cabinet would be both bloated and wasteful, arguing, “in this time of healing, there is no price that is too high for our country to ensure peace, harmony, reconciliation, healing and stability that will spur and grow the economy and create even more wealth.”

He added: “In actual fact, the time some of these critics have spent holding media conferences to criticise whatever the President and Prime Minister-designate decide, would be better spent visiting and assisting internally displaced Kenyans. Let our actions speak louder than our voices.”

Lones list showed Presidents side retaining the high-profile dockets of Finance, Justice, Defence, Internal Security, Lands, Public Works, and Information and Communications.

Railas ODM would walk away with Local Government, Foreign Affairs, Roads, Health, Planning, Energy, Water, Transport, Tourism, Agriculture and Immigration.

It would, according to Lone also have the new Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands, which featured in its manifesto.

Other ministries expected to be created and which are lined for ODM in the list are Public Service, and Cabinet Affairs.

Other than the other traditional portfolios both PNU and ODM would share, the Presidents side would get four newly-created ministries; Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Provincial Administration, and both Basic and Higher Education.

The two leaders now bound by the Constitution to share power in line with the Annan Deal, held separate meetings with their backers as the attention of the nation turned to the three critical dates. First, is Saturday when the new list must be completed, Sunday when the new ministers are to be named, and next Saturday when they are expected to be sworn-in at Uhuru Park.

The President spoke in Embakasi then went to meet his key ministers at the Harambee House. Raila was at Pentagon House where among others, he met Mvita MP Najib Balala. Saturday, ODM leaders said it was brave of Raila to have pulled off the deal. But the official said it was the partys wish that the swearing-in would come earlier than next week so that resettlement of the internally displaced can begin.

Separately, our enquiries revealed lobbying for Cabinet slots and other senior government positions dominated the agenda of ODMs meeting.

Sources revealed all the remaining five Pentagon members would automatically join the new Cabinet. They are Mr William Ruto (Eldoret North), Mrs Charity Ngilu (Kitui Central), Joseph Nyagah (ODM, nominated), and Balala.

The ministers Kibaki met were: Mr Moses Wetangula, Prof George Saitoti, Ms Martha Karua and Mr Asman Kamama.

“The Pentagon team will be with the Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga in the Government. We do not want to disturb him (Raila) because he is busy working on the list of Cabinet appointments,” said Balala.

ODM has already settled on Sabatia MP Mr Musalia Mudavadi as the partys deputy Prime minister. Ngilu, Ruto and Balala have endorsed Mudavadi for the seat.

PNU is yet to decide on their deputy PM though the names of Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Saitoti and Karua, keep popping up in PNU corridors.

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African Press International – api

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The cost of running a third world government: Where will the money come from?

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

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

By James Anyanzwa and James Ratemo

Cabinet: What it will cost the taxpayer

It is now official Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets to maintain a bloated Cabinet.The proposed 40-member Cabinet agreed between President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate, Mr Raila Odinga, will cost the taxpayer at least Sh352 billion a year.And analysts have warned that the already battered economy, due to the recent post-election skirmishes, could compromise recovery and reconstruction efforts.

The consequences of the huge numbers could lead to higher taxation and an even higher cost of living.

Annual revenue collections, estimated at Sh375 billion, are projected to sink by as much as 30 per cent (Sh90 billion).

The additional costs were anticipated when the Bill creating the offices of prime minister, two deputies and now the additional ministries were tabled in Parliament.

However, they were not budgeted for, in addition to the costs of resettling displaced people. This means the overall costs to the taxpayer could skyrocket.

The cost of running 34 ministries this year is Sh299.6 billion, according to the 2007/8 Budget, translating to an average of Sh8.8 billion for each ministry.

Using the average cost, 40 ministries could cost the taxpayers about Sh352 billion a year. Capping ministries at 24 would have reduced expenditure on ministries by Sh130 billion.

For instance, a minister earns Sh887,500 salary and Sh200,000 in allowances. This adds up to Sh1.087 million a month.

An assistant minister earns Sh887,500 and Sh100,000 in allowances, translating to about Sh987,500 a month.

Forty Cabinet ministers will, therefore, cost the exchequer Sh43.5 million a month, and 40 assistant ministers Sh35.5 million.

This means that it would cost the exchequer a whopping Sh1.06 billion annually in salaries alone.

Although the pay for the prime minister and two deputies is still unclear, the figure is bound to skyrocket.

The public wage bill has often constituted four per cent of recurrent expenditure.

Other additional costs would include 40 permanent secretaries, new office space, additional support staff, housing and vehicles.

Expenditure to constrain developmentThe Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) said the country couldnt afford a bloated Cabinet, while the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (Ipar) said the move would erode donor confidence towards the Government reconstruction agenda.But on the overriding issue of national reconciliation, the European Union has applauded the gesture, saying the country needs a Government that is representative and power-sharing between equals to ensure stability and prosperity.

The chief political players have agreed on a Cabinet of 40 instead of 24 members of civil society have been calling for.

Mr Barasa Tiberius, a research fellow in Governance and Development Programme at Ipar, said a Cabinet of 40, the biggest in Kenyas history, would cost close to Sh2 billion annually.

Though the cost implications are yet to be assessed, according to Barasa, it was obvious that expenditure would constrain development.

Barasa said the Government was likely to pay each minister close to Sh2 million a month. He said a huge Cabinet would put Kenya in conflict with donors.

“The Cabinet is a disadvantage to donors and some will not give aid to Kenya to pay salaries at the expense of development,” he said.

He expressed fears that the two leaders were under pressure to reward their loyalists, a move that would promote patronage.

“Evidence from countries with a lean Government show they are efficient,” he said.

ICPAK chairman, Mr Stephen Lugalia, cautioned that development would be hampered.

“The additional ministries are a cost we can ill afford,” he said.

Lugalia said a bloated Cabinet would mean an expanded Civil Service, whose top officials also enjoy hefty salaries and allowances.

For instance, permanent secretaries take home a minimum salary of Sh213,640 and a maximum of Sh423,280 a month, besides Sh80,000 and Sh75,000 entertainment and extraneous allowances.

More begging bowlsICPAK Vice-Chairman, Mr Michael Itote, told The Standard that the situation would lead to higher taxation and increased prices for basic commodities and more “begging bowls” to donors.“What will certainly irk the public is that the perks the extra ministers will earn do not take into account the state of the economy,” said Itote.

Last years wage bill as a percentage of the gross domestic product declined from 9.7 per cent to eight per cent in 2006 on the back of improved economic performance.

In the first sign yet that the downturn in the economy is taking its toll, the Government unveiled tough measures to cut spending as Treasury sought to plug a shortfall in the Sh603 billion Budget.

The new budget cutbacks, called Austerity Expenditure Measures, are aimed at cushioning the economy in the face of post-election turmoil that appears to have slowed down revenue collection gains made in recent years.

Treasury Permanent Secretary, Mr Joseph Kinyua, is understood to have ordered all departments to cut budgets by up to 40 per cent to help cater for the anticipated shortfalls.

The PS also announced a freeze on employment of new staff in a bid to lessen the wage bill.

Civil Service recruitment, which resumed during President Kibakis first term, had been frozen in the early 1990s following donor withdrawal.

The unforeseen political instability situation is also said to have contributed to increased demand for extra financial allocations from Government departments reached Sh52 billion this month.

“I think it is going to be a difficult thing for the Government in the short term,” Mr Billow Kerrow, the former Mandera Central MP, said.

Additional reporting by Samuel Otieno and Mutinda Mwanzia

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African Press International – api

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Shut up, Mutua tells the speculative media

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.kbc.ke”The question, however is whether Dr Mutua will retain his position when the Grand coalition government is formed. Will ODM demand to have his head in the cold corridors out of power? It is understood that ODM men would like to see those who have been good supporters of the president being pushed into the cold.” API

Written By:Carol Gakii

Gov’t denies cabinet claims

The government has dismissed reports appearing in a section of the media outlining the alleged new cabinet line-up.

Addressing the press Friday morning Government Spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua said the reports were misleading and called on the media to stop speculating and wait for the big announcement on Sunday.

” The lists of Portfolio balance and mention of names of who will be included in the cabinet, that appear in today’s newspapers, are inaccurate, misleading and speculative. The lists published in various newspapers are fake.The Government considers whoever supplied the fake information to the media to be mischievous and one who intends to damage the agreement between President Mwai Kibaki and Hon. Raila Odinga with the aim of causing disharmony in the country.” He said.

On Thursday President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga reached a compromise and agreed to have a 40-member cabinet, ending a two-week stalemate over the naming of a new government.

” It is also important to clarify that in yesterday’s meeting between President Kibaki and Hon. Raila Odinga, the names of who would be included in the Cabinet were not discussed. It should also be noted that the agreement is for formation of 40 Ministers and an equal number of Assistant Ministers.” Said Mutua.

The two said the cabinet will be named on Sunday and sworn in on Saturday April 12.

Mutua says those who are decrying the cost of an expanded Cabinet should be aware of two things.

  1. Most of the new ministries are sub-divided from formerly existing ministries and therefore the budget and members of staff for those new ministries already exist and will be hived from the original ministry. This means that the Government budget allocation to ministries is already catered for.
  2. In this time of healing, there is no price that is too high for our country to ensure peace, harmony, reconciliation, healing and stability that will spur and grow the economy and create even more wealth.

However, a section of the media has claimed that during the talks held Thursday PNU retained key ministries including Finance, Internal Security, Public Works, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Information among others.

ODM is said to have gotten the Local Government, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Transport, Roads and energy portfolios among others.

The naming of the new cabinet has been delayed since the signing of a deal between President Kibaki and Raila on a grand coalition with the two principals said to be consulting over the issue.

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Dr. Alfred N. Mutua, E.B.S – Public Communications Secretary
alfredmutua2.jpg
Profile

Dr. Alfred N. Mutua is Kenyas first Official Government Spokesperson and Public Communications Secretary (PCS). He was appointed on June 22, 2004 and was tasked with setting up a new office and communication system for the Republic of KenyaMutua’s career has been varied. He has been a Journalist and Filmmaker with 14 years experience in both Print and Broadcasting in Kenya, the United States (US), Australia and the United Arab Emirates. (UAE).

He has worked and written for various Local and International papers as a Reporter, Columnist and Editor. His work has been published in various newspapers, including.The Daily Nation, East African Standard, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Billings Gazette, Spokesman Review, The Spokane African-American Voice (where he served as the founding Editor), Valley News-Herald and the East African.

Dr. Mutua has also published extensively in Magazines and Journals. For the Daily Nation, Dr. Mutua wrote the popular column Msafiri (The Traveller – on social & political issues) for two years and has also written Commentaries touching on Communication and the nature of Kenyas development.

As a Journalist, he has covered many aspects of Communications including Speech Writing and Public Speaking. His area of expertise is Persuasion, Marketing and the use of Communication and Media for Development. He believes in people being empowered by Information such that they are able to develop themselves.

As a Media Consultant, he has offered advice and performed publicity duties for groups such as Centre for Law & Research International (CLARION) and the Youth Agenda in Nairobi.

The Government Spokesperson has also served as Consultant with Nation Broadcasting Divisions Nation TV in Nairobi. As a Film-maker, Mutua has written and produced work for various Private and Government agencies including the United States Government Wildlife and Refuge Department.

In 1993, Mutua directed the film Indiscretion, which was awarded The National Huckleberry Film Festival second place trophy in Nashville, Tennessee. In March, 2004, he released the first feature film made in the UAE, And the Desert Smiled which was filmed in Dubai and its environs.

He wrote, produced and directed the film, which premiered at Century Cinemas in Dubai and was launched by UAEs H.E Sheikh Nahayan. In 1997, he produced a documentary, An African in America. In 1998, he produced and directed another documentary titled, Housing as a Human Rights Issue, for UNIV-Kenya. The film won the Best Production award at the UNIV International Conference in Rome, Italy.

Dr. Mutua has worked as a foreign correspondent for Australias leading current affairs program Dateline on SBS Television. His interviews and documentaries have featured Presidents and various International personalities. For example, he was the first to conduct a TV interview with President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Kinshasa, after Joseph Kabilas father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated.

In 1996, Mutua interned as a Researcher and Reporter with an affiliate of the American Public Broadcasting Corporations Jim Lehrer Newshour. He later collaborated with KREM2 TV, a CBS affiliate, and continued producing documentaries.

His skills include scriptwriting, producing, directing, camera operation and editing – both analog and digital (Final Cut Pro & Media 100). He has also developed his on-camera talent through his extensive Public Speaking ventures. In 1994, for example, he was one of the top speakers at the American Interstate Oratory session in Alaska, where he presented a speech on Human Rights issues.

He covered the Sydney 2000 Olympics for Nation Media Group and produced and presented three TV segments, 22 radio segments and numerous newspaper articles.

Mutua is computer literate on both PC and Mac, and conversant with Adobe PhotoShop, Quark Express, Ventura, CorelDraw, Illustrator, Excel, Adobe PageMaker and Web Design Programs. In Australia, he undertook Communication projects for Telstras Pacific Access, Minter Ellison Law Firm and as a Communications Officer for WorkVentures Company Ltd.

Born on August 22, 1970, Mutua holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism from Whitworth College in the United States (US), a Masters of Science in Communications (MS) from Eastern Washington University and a Doctorate in Communication and Media from the University of Western Sydney.

He has lectured in Kenya (Daystar University), the US, Australia, and recently served as an Assistant Professor in the College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai. He has conducted extensive research on the use of Media for democracy and development and before his appointment was conducting funded research on the Voice of Arab Journalists, for a book.

He has travelled extensively in Africa, the Americas, Canada, Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. He is proficient in English, Swahili, Kamba and is working on Arabic and French. Mutuas ancestors hail from Makueni and Machakos Districts in Kenya. He is married.

amutua@comms.go.ke

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African Press International – api

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Kenya: Kisumu Mayor, Town Clerk in tight corner over directive

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

<Story from Shem Kosse
The graft-ridden kisumu city council recent decision to non-staff tenants to vacate its houses especially in the posh estate of millimani has elicited sharp reaction across the current occupants of the houses and the political divide on the other hand.
Talking on strict conditions of anonymity, the enraged residents of milimani took issue with the citys new mayor Sam Okello and clerk Mr. Rashid Makiwiwi for allegedly implementing the directive selectively.
Why spare some people and yet this was a full council meeting resolution? gloated one resident.
The council should apply directive fairly irrespective of ones political status in the society! added one of the fiery politician in the lakeside city.
The duo, according to inner sources, are in catch 22 position.Tthey are yet to serve some occupants of the up-market estate with the notice of vacation since they are prominent personalities in the luo land political and business circles.
Ahead of the pack is the prime minister designate Hon Raila Odinga,Gem Mp Hon Jakoyo Midiwo,ODM secretariat think-tank bespectacled prof Larry Gumbe,Mollasses plant top echelon official Mr. Israel Agina and banking expert Mr. Mkuria,among others are some of the high profile personalities who are reportedly being treated with the soft gloves.
Unconfirmed reports further reveals that the city mayor who is a perennial parliamentary looser of Muhoroni seat and the town clerk held a secret meeting with some Asian tycoons at the exclusive Nyanza club in what is largely seen as a controversial bid to maintain the status quo(read not to quit the houses).
Independent investigations also reveals that some of the council houses which were begging for refurbishment,were rented out to organizations on contractual basis who repaired them in turn.
And they too were issued with quit notices and their repective contracts are yet to expire.This is likely to open flood gates of legal suits against the financially crippling council.
Consecutive efforts to reach the soft spoken mayor and town clerk for comment proved futile by the time of going to the press.
A one -month notice to repossess the council houses was made ata full council meeting which was chaired by the citys mayor and with Town clerk as the secretary.
The clerk to the council Mr. Rashid Mwakiwiwi earlier said that the move was in tandem with the mechanisms being put in place so thatthe cash-strapped councilcan be able to recover money it is owed by the tenants.
It was unearthed that the tenants owe the council over ksh1M inrent arrears with some having to pay between ksh.200, 000-5OO, OOO.
Further, the clerk said some senior officers at the council have been compelled to live in non-council houses with some in deplorable state. While the rent defaulters are enjoying the civic bodys facilities at the heart of the town and its environ.
The tough talking Makiwiwi promised to read the riot act to those who will defy the ultimatum.
ENDS.
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African Press International – api

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Cyber Seminar: What now?

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.Norwegian Council for Africa


Post election consequences and challenges in Zimbabwe
As Zimbabweans are anxiously awaiting the result of the general elections held last Saturday, a major question arises: What now? Join in the Cyber Seminar on Monday 7th of April and discuss the future of Zimbabwe.

The Cyber Seminar is a virtual seminar a forum for participants all over the world to engage with each other and with panellists from academia, politics and civil society on issues of current interest to Africa. For the upcoming session the theme is the post election consequences and challenges in Zimbabwe. Is this election the beginning to the end of the Mugabe regime? Will a possible transition to a new government be peaceful and democratic? Will the opposition MDC have the capacity to govern Zimbabwe out of the current economic, social and political impasse?

Participate in the Cyber Seminarand engage with Zimbabwe experts and other participants on the future of Zimbabwe. Registerandstart posting your comments and questions in the Cyber Seminar chat room now!

Panellists:
Dewa Mavhinga is a human rights lawyer currently working as Deputy Coordinator for Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forums International Liaison Office in London.
*Second panellist to be confirmed

Place: World Wide Web
Date: April 7th
Time: 15.00 17.00 local time Norway (GMT + 1)
You may log in and out of the debate as you wish

*******
The Cyber Seminar is a virtual seminar a forum for participants all over the world to engage with each other and with panellists from academia, politics and civil society on issues of current interest to Africa.
The Norwegian Council for Africa works to promote economic, political and social justice in and for Africa. We seek to achieve this goal through the dissemination of accurate, fair and unbiased information. Vital to this endeavour is the promotion of African voices and sources of information: In debating Africa, Africans must be included.

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African Press International – api

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Kenya: War still rages over tycoons body

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

api-correspondent-jeff-aguko.jpg<Story from JEFF OTIENO IN KISUMU
The body of the late Nyando Tycoon Paul Isaac Odero is still lying at Aga Khan Morgue over two months after it was retrieved controversially from his grave in Wangaya Village in Nyando District.
Two sons of Odero, Isaac and peter went to Court early February this year challenging the move by the clan and other family members to burry the body in his native Wangaya village.
Kisumu Principal Magistrate Abdul Elkindy immediately granted the orders permitting the plaintiffs to retrieve the body until the verdict of the suit is known. The removal of the body from the grave yard was however dramatic, the prisoners who were sent to execute retrieved it without the coffin to the chagrin of villagers.
It is imperative to note that the tycoons wives Peres,Helida and Risper have ganged up with the two sons for the body to be buried in Muhoroni settlement scheme while the other wife Peres Ogonda together with other children of the tycoon and clan members are for his native Wangaya village alleging that those were the wishes of the late Isaac even though he didnt put it in writing as a will.
This week the presiding Magistrate decided to transfer the case to the high court citing inconsistent traditional customs to content with being a staunch Muslim.
For starters, the late tycoon has got a galaxy of rental business premises and properties like land webbing across Nyanza province major towns. He had five wives and four are alive to date and close to 40 children.
A source in the family fraternity who talked to this journalist on condition of anonymity was however not happy with the prevailing barbaric tussle, wondering loud who will foot the staggering accumulating bills at the prestigious Aga Khan Hospital mortuary after the determination of the suit.
All these expenses being incurred at the mortuary and the precinct of court should have been channeled to the late Oderos school children Education kitty he gloated.
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African Press International – api

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A Reversal of Norms in an Election Cycle

Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2008

Published by Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Scott A Morgan

Southern Africa is currently waiting with baited breath right now. Another Election has come and gone in Zimbabwe. This time there are several key differences in the run up to the Elections that should have people concerned about the Near Future for the Impoverished and Suffering Country.

In the four most recent elections since 2000 there were a series of violent confrontations between supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front) and the Opposing MDC (Movement for Democratic Change). Several Candidates for Office were actually Murdered along with Party Workers. This Election Cycle was relatively calm compared to other cycles.

Another tactic that has been used by the Ruling Elite has been Controlling the flow of information. In the past the Government used a Media Commission to silence a persistent critic the Daily News. The paper was also forced to cease Operations as well. In another front the CIO (Central Intelligence Organization) was able to purchase shares of other Independent Papers and in some cases place Operatives on the Editorial Boards. The result? They could place stories or monitor letters to the editors to locate supporters of the Opposition.

So this brings us to the events of March 29,2008. There were a lot of seats being contested on the local and National levels. And the Presidency itself was being contested by three main candidates. The Campaign Season was Peaceful with little or no reports of violence being reported. But the day after the elections is when the trouble was noticed.

In the past few elections the Speed in which ZANU-PF was declared the victor was stunning. Sometimes it was within a few hours after the closing of the polling places. In this cycle the speed of the releasing of the results is akin to what happened in Florida in 2000. But the results of the elections so far are indicating that the MDC has captured the Lower House of Parliament.

During the process of gradually revealing the Data the Zimbabwean Government deployed Riot Police around the Capital of Harare. Also the Information of the Makeup of the Senate has been time consuming as well. In recent days A couple of Western Journalists have been detained for Practicing Journalism without a Licence. So now tensions are simmering right now.

On Several Occasions there have been Offical Announcements stating that what happened earlier this year in Kenya would not be tolerated. There have been reports that senior Military Leaders have threatened a Coup if the Proper Results do not occur in this Election. It has been reported that President Bush has called President Mbeki for an Assessment of the situation.

To those who have been following Zimbabwean Politics over the last decade there is no suprise. In the Past they have watched a Party that Liberated their Country from Minority Rule turn Autocratic. They have taken it to the point where the Transparency of an Election are called into question. So one can only imagine what may occur if there is a Presidential Run-off which is what ZANU-PF wants. And after that Anything will probably go. And Sadly that is what they probably want to happen.

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African Press International – api

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