African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for April 16th, 2008

Government urged to act tough on Mungiki

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

BY DICKENS WASONGA .
TWO MPs from Nyanza want the government to move with speed and crack-down the out-lawed mungiki sect and its activities ones and for all.
Rarieda MP ,Eng. Nicholas Gumbo and his Kasipul-Kabondo countarpart Oyugi Magwanga accussed the state of not being serious in dealing with the group which has visited mayhelm in different parts of the country in the recent past.
The two legislators who spoke to this writer in seperate interviews said the police and other law enforcement agencies should be mobilised to crack-down the group and no excuse should be entertained.
They wondered why the same force employed by the government to deal with youths protesting the disputed election results has not been used to clear Mungiki, alawless out fit which continue to kill and mame innocent Kenyans.
The duo said it was morally wrong for the government to behave as though the sect was licenced to carry out its henious acts and people who openly associate with it are allowed to get away with it.
Speaking on phone the two Mps added that the fact that the wife to th sect chaiman was killed was not enough reason for its followers to turn their wrath on the public who knew absolutely nothing to do with the incident.
”How can a group which has been out-lawed march in the city streets in broad day light to press for the release of a man who was convicted legally through the courts.,?”said Magwanga.
Kenyans woke up this last week to a rude shoke when the group members barricaded major roads countrywide to protest what they claimed was harrasment by the police.
During the orgy of violence visited on unsuspecting motorists,several cars were burnt down and tyres lit on the roads.
The group seem to have defied the police and throughout the week opereated as though they had taken over the running of some parts of the country which was just begining to recover from the post election skirmishes.
ENDS.
__________________________________
African Press International – api

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

In Kenya, fighting for Cabinet positions is over! Now they fight for chairs in parliament

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.nation.ke

Speaker to rule on Opposition leader

Story by NATION TEAM
House Speaker Kenneth Marende is expected to make a historic ruling on the status of the official Opposition in Parliament following confusion in the seating arrangement in the chamber on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (second left) with Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale whom he found sitting on the seat reserved for the Leader of the official Opposition in Parliament. Dr Khalwale and four other MPs yesterday asked Parliament to recognise an official Opposition to check the grand coalition government. Mr Odinga used to sit on the Opposition leaders seat before he was appointed PM on Sunday. Photo/JOSEPH MATHENGE

Some MPs lobbied to have the Speaker clear the air in the wake of the latest development where Prime Minister Raila Odingas Orange Democratic Movement entered a power-sharing deal with President Kibakis Party of National Unity.

Almost all parliamentary parties were brought into the coalition Government when President Kibaki announced the new Cabinet on Sunday.

Raw deal

MPs Charles Kilonzo (Yatta, ODM-K), Mithika Linturi (Igembe South, Kanu), Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo, PNU), Bonny Khalwale (Ikolomani, New Ford-K) and Abdul Bahari (Isiolo South, Kanu) warned that Kenyans would get a raw deal from the coalition Government unless there was an Official Opposition.

They petitioned deputy Speaker Farah Maalim to suspend the sitting until tomorrow (Thursday) when a ruling on the official Opposition, sitting arrangement of ministers and membership of House watchdog committees would be made.

Mr Maalim said: There is no Official Opposition Party in this House. With the exception of (Lugari MP Cyrus) Jirongos party, all parties are in Government. Therefore there cannot be a reservation for the Official Opposition Party until the ruling is made on Thursday (tomorrow) afternoon. To me the most important is about watchdog House committees and their chairmen.

Signs that some MPs dissatisfied with the composition of the 42-member Cabinet would swing a surprise to show their protest were evident when Mr Kilonzo, Mr Linturi and Mr Kamau walked into the House at 2.29 pm and sat where the Official Opposition Party leader sits.

This was helped by the fact that deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet ministers Henry Kosgey, William Ruto, Sally Kosgei and Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed shifted to the Government front bench to take their seats.

However, Tourism minister Najib Balala attempted to dislodge Mr Kilonzo and Mr Linturi from the seat of the Official Opposition leader.

The Yatta MP asked: Is it in order for the minister to sit on this side harassing ordinary MPs? Can you order that ministers sit in their place?

Mr Maalim described the state of affairs in the House as unique and said the policy of free sitting would suffice until the ruling is made tomorrow.

____________________

African Press International – api

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

Uganda leader sceptical about deal

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

Museveni suggested Ugandan troops may abandon a ceasefire that expires on April 16 [AFP]

A ceasefire between the government and the rebels expires on Wednesday.

Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, has accused Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group, of not being serious about peace talks.

At a meeting with Sudanese mediators that included Salva Kiir, the leader of south Sudan, Museveni hinted on Monday that his forces could resume operations againstLRA fighters.

Kony failed to show up last Thursday, when Riek Machar, the vice-president of South Sudan, had expected him to sign a peace deal intended to end two decades of war in Uganda.

Museveni flew into Juba, the capital of South Sudan,aboard amilitary helicopter on Monday, the day he had been scheduled tosign the peace deal.

“I have come prepared to sign the agreement but Kony has notshowed up,” he said.

“It is clear that Kony is theone who is not serious.”

However, Kiir hassaid that peace talksare still on track despitethe no-show by Kony.

“The negotiation has not ended,” Kiir said.

“The fact that Joseph Kony has refused to sign the agreement does not mean the end of the road.”

Displaced millions
Twenty years of fighting have left tens of thousands dead and displaced two million people, mainly in northern Uganda.
Several thousands have also been killed in southern Sudan, where the LRA has camps.
A ceasefire was struck in August 2006, leading to a year and a half of negotiations up to the Juba talks.
Kony, a semi-literate former altar boy, took charge in 1988 of a regional rebellion among northern Uganda’s ethnic Acholi minority.
Since the signing of a truce almost two years ago, the nation has engaged in aggressive reforms to attract investors and revamp its image.
___________________

African Press International – api

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

Scores killed in DRC aircrash

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

The aircraft crashed at a residential area.

At least70 people have been killed after a passenger aircraftcrashed in a residential area ofthe Democratic Republic of Congo, Congolese Red Cross officials have said. Rescue teams pulled six survivors from thewreckage, government officials said.

The DC-9 jet crashed into the residential neighbourhood of Birere on Tuesdayshortly after taking off from Gomain the east of the country, government officials said.

“It’s a scene of absolute chaos,” Lionel Healing, a photographer who had been at the crash site, told Al Jazeera.

“What I saw was a large amount of dead bodies being pulled from the wreckage,” he said.
“Shortly after takeoff the plane plunged onto a row of shops and right onto a main road, running through the centre of town … There’s aviation fuel that’s still burning all over a large part of the centre of town.”
The aircraft is thought to have been carrying 85 people.
Aircraft on fire
Julien Mpaluku, the governor of the province, said the plane faltered after takeoff and plunged into the populated neighborhood.
He said: “As the plane has just now crashed, we have sent a team to the site to determine how many passengers were on board.”
Thomas Oleko, an air safety official, said: “It is a passenger plane with a lot of people aboard.
“We’re doing all we can to reach the aircraft but it’s ablaze.”
He said aviation fuel was burning -leading to fears the aircraft could explode.
Poor safety record
The aircraft, owned by Hewa Bora,a private airline,was flying to its eventual destination of Kinshasa, the country’s capital.
David Learmount, an aviation expert told Al Jazeera the DRC’s airline safety record was “appalling”.
“It is really at the moment the worst country on the planet – by a very big margin – for aviation safety,” he said.
He added that developing economies around the world generally had worse safety records while, “serious accidents that kill people have been virtually ruled out” in more developed economies.
Aircraft are used extensively for transport in DR Congo, a huge countrywith few paved roads, with at least 20 private companies in DR Congo operate mainly old planes.
The International Air Transport Association has included DR Congo in a group of several African countries it classed as an “embarrassment” to the industry.
In 2006, the EU banned all but one of the country’s air companies from operating in Europe.
_______________________-
African Press International – api

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

Pope ‘ashamed’ by US priests’ abuse

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

Benedict XV1 met George Bush at the Vatican last year [AFP]

The Pope has said he was “deeply ashamed” by sexual abuse commited by Catholic priests in the US and vowed to keep paedophiles out of the clergy, as he began his first visit to the US as pontiff.
Benedict XVI will hold talks with George Bush during the six-day trip and also pray atNew York’sWorld Trade Center and address the UN.

“We are deeply ashamed and will do whatever is possible so that this does not happen in the future,” he said on a plane to the US on Tuesday.
The trip is the first by a pontiff since a wave of abuse scandals began in 2002, provoking legal actions that led to more than $2 billion in settlements.
“It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests,” said the pontiff, who will be greeted upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in the state of Maryland, by George Bush, the US president.
Priesthood in decline
The two have disagreed on a number of issues, most notably over the war in Iraq and the US embargo of Cuba, but have found common ground in opposing abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.
Dana Perino, a White House spokesman, said ahead of the visit that talks between the two were likely to be “frank and open”.
Perino said: “They can have very frank and open disussions with one another, but I think that their shared values are stronger than any disagreements on policy that they may have.”
A poll released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life showed the German-born pope was viewed favourably by most peole in the US, but was not as popular as his predecessor John Paul II.
But Benedict’s visit also comes amid concerns over a decline in the numbers of people in the US joining the priesthood.
A recent Catholic University study found that 17 per cent of the priests serving in American churches come from other countries.
Enrollment in the four-year theology programs required to join the priesthood have not risen for a decade, the New York Times reported.

________________

African Press International – api

Benedict said the Catholic Church would do everything possible to screen candidates for the priesthood “so that only really sound persons can be admitted”.

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

Dozens dead in Iraq bombings

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

At least 80 people were wounded when the bomber
struck outside a courthouse in Diyala [AFP]

A spate of bombs have gone off in cities across Iraq killing more than 60 people.
In Diyala, 60km north of Baghdad, province a car bomb explodednear a crowd of people outside a courthouse killing at least 40 people and wounding 80, according to Iraqi officials.

Women and children were present “when a car bomb exploded outside the main courthouse in Baquba at around 11.30am 0830 GMT],” a police official said on Tuesday.

Medical officials said many of the dead were charred beyond recognition and people were crowding the local hospital trying to identify the remains of relatives.
An Al Jazeera cameraman at the scene said that the suicide car bomber drove his vehicle through at least one military checkpoint before detonating the explosives.
The US military condemned the bombings and said they appeared to have been carried out by al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Diyala has been one of the main battle grounds between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaeda fighters in recent months.

Al-Qaeda regrouped in northern provinces such as Diyala after being pushed out from western Anbar province and Baghdad.

Diyala also forms a part of the so-called Sunni Triangle, a termed created by the US military. The area is a stronghold for Sunni anti-government fighters.

Al Jazeera’s Owen Fay, reporting from Baghdad, said that with this attack, the Iraqi government isin the midstof battlingmore fighters.

“The government now has to focus on both Sunni and Shia fighters, amid a situation where they are alreadystruggling to secure regions of the country,” he said.

Ramadi attack

In another attack,a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a restaurant in Ramadi inAnbar province,killing at least 12 people, the city’s police chief said.

Tareq al-Youssef said another 14 people were wounded in the attack, which occurred at around 12.30pm local time(0930 GMT).

Al-Youssef saidthe restaurant was near the western outskirts of thecity.

Ramadi, 100km west of Baghdad, was a stronghold for Sunni fightersin the aftermath of the toppling ofSaddam Hussein’sgovernment by US-led forces in 2003.

In a separate incident in Baghdad at least three people were killed and eight others wounded by a car bomb on a police convoy.

A car bomb in the same neighbourhood killed one person and woundedsix others, including four policemen.

A further two car bombings occurred in the northern city of Mosul. Police said the first struck a US convoy and the second was detonated when police cordoned off the area.

Investigators are not stating wheather they believe the series of bombings are related.

Mounting toll

Since Monday, more than 80 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq, which come at a time security forcesare fighting street battles with Shia fightersin Baghdad’s SadrCity.

At least six people were killed in agunfight between US troops and Shia fighters in Baghdad’s Sadr City, the US army said.

Theclash erupted during a US security operation in the Baghdad bastion of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader.

“Coalition forces took on small-arms fire during an operation in As-Sudayra early Tuesday,” the US military said referring to an area inside Sadr City.

Itsaid that in return fire, US-led forces killed three fighters.

The Mahdi Army of al-Sadr have been engaged in sustained clashes with US and Iraqi forces for more than a week in Sadr City, in which around 95 people have been killed so far.

______________________________

African Press International – api

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

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Duba Ports World (DPW), the operator of the Autonomous Port of Dakar since October 2007, on Tuesday received the new extension of the container terminal during a signing ceremony of a protocol between Managing Director M. Bara Sady and the DPW Deputy-Chairman for Africa, Mr M Anil Singh in Dakar.

The ceremony was held ahead of the reception on Wednesday of three power jib cranes from Chine that will be operative as from 28 April, the Port Managing Director told a press conference in the late morning.

The arrival of the two metal detectors is expected in 2008 and two others in 2009, Mr Singh said, adding however that DPW started charging since 1st April.

The company will take up its four quarters in the port of Dakar on 30 June, at the end of the transition that is being assured since 1st January by a group of operators among which Bollor group, which has been operating in Senegal for 80 years now.

Commenting on the arrival of DPW in Dakar, Mr Singh said the presence “will contribute to speeding up the development of Senegal” “Lets not just see a presence of DPW in the port of Dakar. This will impact on the port as the containers will go from 240,000 to 1 million, which is very meaningful. However, we are training some Senegalese in Djibouti that is our model in Africa”, he said.

“But, our activity will help to develop other related activities considering the opportunity we have, specially in the energy, tourism sectors where we plan to set up a free zone”, Mr Singh said.

The partnership between the Port of Dakar and DPW was implemented in October 2007 following the signing of an agreement to manage the container terminals of the north zone and the future port for 25 years in compensation of a 300 billion dollars CFA francs-investment plan.

The accord also includes flooring the quays, levelling of workers, acquiring four metal detectors between 2008 and 2009, and power jib cranes that require a 70 billon CFA francs investment.

The other stage will be implemented in 25 years, while the third one includes the port of the future with a one-kilometre long quay and 9 metal detectors.

______________________

AfricanPress International – api

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

Tanzania, China strengthen ties after decades of friendship

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete have pledged to promote traditional friendship and practical cooperation between the two countries, state owned newspaper Habari Leo reported Tuesday.

China and Tanzania have respected and supported each other since the establishment of diplomatic ties. China treats Tanzania as its all-weather cooperative partner, said Wen, adding that China will continue to provide economic aid and broaden pragmatic cooperation with Dodoma.

Acknowledging China\s precious support and assistance for Tanzania in the past, Kikwete said the Tanzanians valued the friendship with the Chinese people, adding that they were glad to host the Olympic torch relay in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.

According to official statistics, the trade volume between the two countries in 2007 reached US$794 million, up 48.2 percent compared to the preceding year.

Kikwete, who is the chairman of the African Union, visited China in 2006 to attend the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

___________________________

African Press International – api

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

Kenya condemns killings of Kenyans by insurgents in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Kenya on Tuesday condemned the killings of two Kenyans along with two Britons by insurgents in Somalia on Monday and urged belligerent factions in that country to halt the killing of noncombatants, development workers.

The two Kenyans, Andrew Kipyego and Mr.Gliford Koech were English teachers at a school in Beled-Weyne in Somalia.

In a statement signed by the countrys foreign affairs minister, Moses Wetangula ,the government called upon the Transitional Government of Somalia to do all within all its means to protect all non citizens working on their territory.

The statement further said that the government has established a Crisis Management Team (GMT) to immediately establish the circumstances by working with the Federal Transitional Government of Somalia and other agencies working in the are where the men were killed.

Sources said unidentified gunmen attacked the house in which the four lived and opend fire and thereby killing them instantly.

________________________________

African Press International – api

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

UN envoy tries fresh efforts to reach peace deal in Northern Uganda

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The United Nations envoy heading efforts to end the conflict that has ravaged northern Uganda for two decades will contact the key parties to assess the way forward after the government of Uganda and the rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) failed last week to sign a permanent peace agreement, a UN spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Mr. Joaquim Chissano, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas, will try to see what can be done now to support the peace process, spokesperson Ms. Marie Okabe told reporters.

We were obviously expecting a different outcome, she said, adding that the UN has yet to make a full assessment of the situation. In the best of cases, this will be only a temporary setback to the process, but we cannot say at this point.

The Ugandan government forces have been fighting the LRA in the north of the country since the mid-1980s and during the conflict the rebel group has become notorious for its human rights abuses.

A series of accords struck by the two sides earlier this year raised hopes that they could reach a permanent, wide-ranging agreement ending the conflict, and last week LRA leaders were expected to emerge and sign a deal mediated by the government of Southern Sudan. But the deal did not go through.

___________________________

African Press International – api

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

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Ghanas former vice president, Professor John Atta-Mills, Tuesday requested Nigerias assistance in making the 7 December general election in Ghana free, fair and transparent.

Speaking during a visit to former governor of Abia State in southeastern Nigeria, Chief Orji Kalu, in his home in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, Mills said that time had come when Africans cannot rely on foreign friends for our elections.

I believe that Nigerians are interested in democracy. I want Nigerians to take interest in our forthcoming election and make sure that it is free, fair and transparent.

“This is the gift that Nigerians can give to us, he said.

Mills, who was vice president to Jerry Rawlings, said the situation in Zimbabwe was unfortunate and expressed hope that a solution would be found.

Mills, who is the presidential candidate of National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Ghana, attributed the situation to insincerity of leaders.

For his part, Chief Kalu promised that he would do all in his powers to heed to the Mills request and wished him well in his endeavour

_______________________

African Press International – api

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

Nigerian Appeal Court nullifies election of Bayelsa state governor

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt in southeastern Nigeria Tuesday nullified the election of the governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva, of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ordered fresh election within 90 days.

The Action Congress governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Mr Ebitimi Amgbare, had gone on appeal to challenge the decision of the election petition tribunal upholding the election of Sylva.

The petitioner said that no election was held in the state on 14 April, 2007 and called for fresh election to be conducted in the state.

The Election Petition Tribunal in Bayelsa State had in its judgment declared Amgbares petition null and void and lacking in merit.

The Appeal Court in a unanimous judgment held that no governorship election took place on 14 April, 2007 in Bayelsa State.

The four justices said that the decision was borne out of the failure of the governor and other respondents to produce the form EC8A, which, they said, was the basis for every election.

Justice Saka Ibiyeye, who read the judgment, said that the burden of proof to show that election held in the state was on the respondents to produce form EC8A.

The court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise fresh elections and ordered that the Speaker, Mr Werimepere Seiborugu should be sworn-in as the acting governor.

The judgment brings to nine the number of state governors, whose elections were nullified by the election petition tribunals and the Appeal Courts in Nigeria.

______________________

African Press International – api

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

EMBATTLED ENGINEER NOW TRANSFERRED

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

BY JEFF OTIENO IN KISUMU
Kisumu city embattled engineer Lawrence Airo is now officially transferred.
The engineer who has been hitting the press pages of late on accusations that he has been misusing the council 20million worth of grader during his stint, has been transferred to lowly Siaya Municipal council early this week according to investigations by this Journalist
For starters, enraged council trade Unionists and a clique of councillors were the first to draw first blood on Airo that he was allegedly ripping off the revenue accruing from the grader by allocating it to his favourite local contractors at friendly costs.
In a bid to perpetuate and camouflage his sinister dealings of the grader, he decided not to open a special account for it, thus making it difficult to gauge its viability on the part of the financially crippling civic authority whose workers have not been paid salaries for now a staggering 12 months, the civic leaders observed at one time.
Impeccable sources further confided to this scribe that an engineer from Nairobi has been posted at the city council to take over from him.
END
_____________________________
African Press International – api

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

MEETING TO DISCUSS MARITIME PIRACY AGAINST SHIPS IN THE HIGH SEAS

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

By Leo Odera Omolo
The meeting of the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) started in Dar es Salaam today (Monday 15-04-2008)
Among issues top on the agenda to be tackled during the five day sub-regional meeting on piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean in the wider context of promoting maritime security in the region.
The Dar meeting has been called in response to the international maritime Organisation (IMO) resolution A,1002 (25) on piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters of te coast of Somalia.
The resolution called upon governments in the region to conclude cooperation with the IMO and implement as soon as possible ,a regional agreement to prevent ,deter and suppress piracy and armed robbery against merchant, cargo and passenger ships plying the waters of the high oceans..
The overall aim of the meeting is to promote good maritime security on a regional basis with particular emphasizes on prevention, detection and suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region seas.
In order to achieve this objective the first stage of the meeting will be a three day sub regional workshop addressing practical and operational aspects of the prevention, detection and suppression of piracy against ships.
The Dar meeting is expected to bring together participants from 19 countries including Comoros ,Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya ,Madagascar, Maldives , Mauritius ,Ethiopia, India ,Mozambique, Oman, South Africa, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Sychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Yemen.
In addition, interested United Nations bodies, agencies and program international organizations and other states from outside the region are expected to attend as the meeting will also link to previous regional initiatives conducted by IMO in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden
The Tanzanias Minister of State for Defense and National service Ali Hassan Mwinyi is expected to inaugurate the conference tomorrow (Tuesday)
Acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships world wide are of big concern to the IMO and to shipping in general
The ongoing meeting can thus be seen in the wider context of IMOs initiatives on maritime security including its special efforts to keep shipping lanes of vital importance and significance open to international navigation.
The east coast of Somalia has been the hot spotlight due to the insecurity in that country in the horn of Africa which has been without any credible government for the last 13 years.
Ends
CHINESE TO OFFER MODERNISATION FACILITIES TO TAZARA RAI LINE
LINKING TANZANIA AND LAND LOCKED ZAMBIA
By Leo Odera Omolo
The Chinese government has pledged to revamp all the Beijing assisted economic projects it initiated decades ago in the Republic of Tanzania.
They include the 1860 long kilometers Tanzania-Zambia railways,which was previously dubbed as UHURUrailways which was built during the Rhodesia UDI period of the late Ian Smith, which was hurting the landlocked Zambia so hard.
The contract to modernize the locomotives was signed between General Electric and Tazara in September 2006 and will expire by the end of 2009.
Tazara is jointly owned by the government of Tanzania and zambia and was established with billion of Chinese loan and grants. The construction work was also carried out by the Chinese engineers and workers and was commissioned in 1970-1975.However,the capacity to offer quality service has been declining over the years due to ageing locomotives ,wagons and infrastructure.
Out of reported 30 locomotives,only 21 are currently in working condition. According to GEs sources ,the modernization of Tazaras locomotives is expected to give the locomotive another 25 years working life .It will also enhance reliability of railway services.
Currently Tazara transports 600,000 metric tones of goods and one million passengers per annum. This represent a decline of about 50 percent compared with its capacity 20 years ago.
Meanwhile Tanzania is one of the developing in the third world which has abandoned a close to 800 rail line rot.
The hither vibrant and economically viable rail line linking Kenya towns of Taveta with the Tanzania town of Moshi is presently disused, abandoned and dilapidated.
The southern eastern line which also linking Moshi with IMO,pss through Tanga point and shakes through sisal growing zone in Tanga and Korogwe appeared to have been left idle for many years.
Built by the colonialists in early 1930s and 1940s, this important but now abandoned rail line passes through some parts of the country which are highly productive interms of Agriculture with exception of Chalize district where perhaps due to the recent natural catastrophic events of excessive floods, agricultural activities seemed to have slowed down.But the land in the entire region is fertile and arable.
The Moshi-Tanga-Dar Es Salaam rail line was an important economic luck and outlet between the Kenyan port city of Mombasa ,Moshi,Arusha,Tumo and tanga and dar Es Salaam.It was mainly for the purpose of ferrying overland heavy loads of sisal daily from the region.But perhaps the recent expansion of the Dar Es salaam part has deprived it of cargo and goods.
Other contributing factors could be attributed to the construction of the ultra modern Dar,ES Salaam Chalize,Korogwe,Mombo,Imo,Moshi,Arusha highway. But still the same, the authority need to fund altenative use of this very vital economic link, which had served the region effectively in the past when the buses, petrol tankers and other modes of transport was nowhere.
A Kenyan weekly recently quoted the GE communications leader in Africa Mr.Justins Wamiri as saying that a part from locomotive already in the service two more are being repaired for release at the end of this month. We are pleased to serve our rail road customers, Tazara and to strengthen the infrastructure of countries across the African continent
Tazara which also install the GE bright start control systems on locomotive which will lead to further improvement in reliability.
Tazara rail services are critical to Zambias cooper industry which is critical to Zambias copper which is key to the countrys economy.
The bright star control system will enable Tazara to move much heavier loads with the same locomotive use less fuel and detect faults occurring on the locomotive due to its self diagnostic capabilities.
GE has been a partner of Tazara selling it the original locomotives and has been supplying spare parts.
Ends
____________
African Press International – api

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

STAKE HOLDERS CRY FOUL ON VISA RESTRICTIONS IN EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY MEMBER STATES

Posted by African Press International on April 16, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

BY Leo Odera Omolo
The two major media houses in Kenya were singled out and censured for allegedly being partly responsible for fuelling the recent political unrest and instability in the country which sparked off post-election violence last December.
The chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC) Mr.Arun Devani while addressing the second Media Summit in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.
Mr.Devani specifically mentioned the Nation Group, the Standard and the Weekly Citizen newspapers and accused these publications for having taken sides in the Kenyas political situation which followed the flawed presidential election results December.
Mr.Devani disclosed that the business communities and the advertisers had met secretly and together we asked the editorial boards of some newsrooms in Kenya to leave out sensatiolism in their news articles.
He alleged that the media in Kenya was more interested in making profits than in the peace and tranquility within the society and its peoples welfare.
Mr.Devani said during the same conflict some newspapers in Kenya moved from printing thirty pages to over sixty pages to serve the interests of some political groups they were representing.
He queried where the Kenyan media had placed its wisdom as it was only producing one-sided news articles that were fuelling the conflict in the country during that highly volatile period of time when Kenyans went for each others throat. .
The EABC chairman called upon the media to reflect on the societys welfare, to make people in the region achieve prosperity, and better future.
During the same two-days Media Summit held at the posh Mavenpick Hotel the attention of the participants were drawn to the effect that the East African Community (EAC) seemed to be not aware of the on-going very pathetic visa restrictions to citizens of partner states when traveling from one country to another.
Ambassador Juma Mwapachu,the,the EACs Secretary General told the meeting that in principle citizens of all the five member states ,namely Kenya,Tanzania , Uganda,Rwanda and Burundi were free to move within the regions without requirement of visa.
He said it was wrong for citizens of any partner country to be denied entry into any EAC member states because he or she had no visa.
Mwapachu was responding to complaints raised at the second media summit by some delegates that movement within East African region was still cumbersome and bothersome. Citizens from member states were experiencing a lot of difficulties when crossing the border from one state to the other.
They said the political will often expressed by the regional leaders for economic integration has not been translated into action because of restriction of movement of people..
David Waweru,the managing director of the government owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation said he was required to get an entry visa during his recent visit to Burundi.
He further stated that he had experienced similar treatment in other countries and requested the EAC boss to clarify on this highly embarrassing situation.
The EAC Secretary General on his part said he was not aware of such visa restrictions and pledged that the community would work hard to ensure such barriers are removed.
Ambassador Mwapachu explained that East African passport have been introduced in order to ease movement of people within the region. And that member states should accept and respect this important document.
Immigration restrictions have also been eased out to facilitate investment within the region.
Burundi and Rwanda were last year officially admitted into the regional trading bloc on July 1 2007
Waweru who was once chief executive officer{CEO} of Mwananchi Communications limited which is owned by the Nation Group in Tanzania added that airline fares within EAC region were too expensive, adding that the cost of air travel from either Kigali or Bujumbura to Dar Es Salaam surpassed that of flying from any paint in East Africa to Dubai and questioned the rationale of air travel in the region.
Air tickets from Nairobi or Mombasa to Dar Es Salaam costing USD300 and said this undermined inter-state travel.
A Kenyan scholar Mr. Fredrick Owiti who is the Principal economist with EAC wondered why Tanzania were recently barred from buying shares in the on-going sales o shares in Kenyas Safaricom.
Owiti told the meeting that there were long ques of Ugandan in Kampala wanting to buy shares in Safaricom than in some Kenya cities.
Owiti said This was unfortunate that Tanzaia has not liberalized its capital account adding that the restriction denied Tanzanians the opportunity to trade inmajor foreign profitable companies.
Owiti who is in charge of investment and private sectors promotion at EAC secretaries, warned that the first EAC collapsed in 1977 because of omission of the private sector in its development projects.
He added that globally at least 2percent of investment is influenced by peace and security and called on EAC member states to ensure all trouble spots in the region are contained to win confidence of foreign investors.
Mboneko Munyaga a senior journalist with the government owned daily news cautioned that East Africa region can soon become a battle ground following recent discovery of oil and gas.
The journalist cited the tension between Uganda and democratic republic of Congo over the oil reserves found in Lake Albert. He also wanted clarification on recent reports on huge oil and gas deposits found between the isles of Zanzibar and Pemba and the mainland Tanzania and wondered whether the border between the two union states would have to be re-drawn once the exploration of hydrocarbon commence.
Dr.Flora Musondo, EAC director of Trade hit at the critics of economic integration within EAC and accused them of only highlighting the negative side and playing down positive aspect. She cited the custom union and the common market and said although there had been fears that economically advanced partners states would dominate others ,the benefits of integration surpassed disadvantages by far.
Ends
_______________________
African Press International – api

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

 
%d bloggers like this: