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Archive for April 19th, 2008

A full scale fall-out between Raila and the Kipsigis ODM MPs

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

News Analysis
By Leo Odera Omolo in Kericho Town.
Serious differences have emerged between the ODM and its legislators from the Rift Valley Province over the recent cabinet appointments.
The Kipsigis sub-tribe of the larger Kalenjin community feels its ODM legislators were short-changed and have sought for an immediate meeting between them and the ODM Leader Raila Amolo Odinga, who is also Kenya’s Prime minister to iron out a few things before the community decides its fate andfuture relations with the ODM.
The MPs from the South Rift have threatened to quit Raila Odinga’s ODM party unless they are given key positions in the government. They said they were cheated and treated as outsiders. These complaints were lodged by the MPs from the South Rift particularly those representing various constituencies within the Kipsigis land..
But the Kipsigis MPs move against the ODM have come under very scathing criticism from Lt. Gen John Koech, the retired former Deputy CGS of the combined armed forces of Kenya, who said it was surprising that instead of appreciating that they ( Kipsigis MPs) were given the Roads Ministry which is one of the most lucrative ministerial dockets in the coalition government.
Gen Koech told the disgruntled MPS to come to terms with political reality that they were the beneficiaries of the much flawed and discredited ODM nominations exercises during preliminaries in 2007.
Few of them did not win popular votes from the community, he added, saying that as such, they should appreciate what the ODM has allocated to them.. Gen Koech further stated that during the nomination exercise, the Kipsigis community had submitted the three names of persons the community wanted to be considered forparliament as nominated MPs from the sub-tribe. These were Mrs Rachel Yegon (Bureti) Lt Gen {Rtd }John Koech (Ainamoi) and Mr. Joel Kirui {Kipkelion}whose names were submitted to the party headquarters consideration.. But strangely enough the Kipsigis MPs did not support any of the three. The MPs never lobbied for their own people to be given parliamentary nominations, though the community had given the party thousands of votes.
The Kipsigis MPs should appreciate the truth that they were the beneficiaries of the much flawed ODM preliminaries and should stick to the party. They should not blame Raila Odinga for not including all of them in the ODM cabinet list proposalbecause that would amount tochildishness. The General said he had received the information to the effect that the MPs were planning to launch a new tribal party. Such party, he said could make the community much more isolated from the rest of Kenya. Such a move, he said would be tantamount to practising tribalism politics which could be so detrimental to the peace and tranquility in the region.
Gen Koech had contested the elections in Ainamoi,. But lost to the late David K. Too. The MPs are complaining that their community was not adequately rewarded in the new government yet the ODM had received over 700,000 votes in Kipsigis region in the last election.
They said most of the cabinet appointments went to the North Rift where in contrast the party got less votes. Nandi region which gave the ODM less than 300,000 landed two cabinet slots with one extra in the diaspora.
Our people feel short-changed and betrayed and do not want to be taken for granted anymore, retorted the Buret MP Franklin Bett.
The complaint has now taken a new political dimension, which is posing a real threat toODM’s future relations with the Kipsigis community.
The 9 MPs from the Kipsigis community have been summoned by the Kipsigis council of elders for an urgent meeting in Kericho. The elders want the MPs to explain why the community has been sidelined in the cabinet appointments. Only Bomet MP Kipkalya Kones got the lucrative Roads Ministry with Belgut MP Charles Keter and M/s Lorna Laboso was given the Assistant Minister position in the new look grand cabinet.
According to Zakayo K. Cheruiyot, the MP for Kuresoi, all the Kipsigis MPs met the ODM leader Raila Amolo Odinga and presentedhim with a list ofdemands for an effective representation in the government.
The Generaldefended Mr. Odinga and the entire ODM Pentagon members.
According to the MPs, Raila Odinga had promised the group that the interest of the Kipsigis community will be looked into and catered for adequately.
The meetingin Kericho brought together all the elected civic leaders from Bureti County Council ,County Council of Kipsigis, and the County Council of Bomet, Town county council of Litein, Sotik and Londiani, The Kipsigis council elders and political activities in the region.
The Kericho meeting being held this weekend at the Tea Research Institute Hall, which is located about 8 miles east of Kericho town is a very crucial one. The discontent has been brewing up since President Kibaki named the new cabinet.
An explanation by Raila Odinga and the Minister for Agriculture William Ruto who have moved fast to forestall a possible fallout by saying that the discrepancy in the allocation of cabinet positions has hit the rock, does not seem to have any effect on the leaders in Kericho.
Odinga told the group that his choice of Ministers was dictated by professionalism and regional balance. But the MPs and Kipsigis elders dismissed this as a mere public relations exercise, saying the community has already been short-changed in the same fashion the former president Daniel Moi used to do.
One MP retorted,what is the rationale of giving the Western Province four cabinet posts plus a deputy Prime Minister and yet the region had given the ODM only 600,000 votes? In addition, the Western province has the attorney general who is a key member of the government and also has the Speaker of the House.
If professionalism were the criteria of choosing Ministers then what is Fred Gumo’s profession? The Kipsigis are particularly irked thatRaila had appointed his fellow Luo in the most important land and settlement docket.
The disquiet in ODM has seen MPs who werenot named in the cabinet close ranks with backbenchers from PNU in their push for the formation of grand opposition in Parliament.
The South Rift MPs have also complained that some of the people named in the cabinet did not represent the change the ODM party had promised during its campaign.
Most of them were in the Moi’s regime yet the vote in Rift Valley was about fresh blood and new ideas. That has not been reflected at all, said Konoin MP Dr. Julius Kones.
A source in Kericho has confided to this writer that the area MPs were considering shifting their support to United Democratic Party (UDM) which the new sports minister Prof Helen Sambili usedin successfully contest her seat in Mogotio constituency after she was sidelined by the ODM during its preliminaries.
The UDM was registered in 1997 by then KANU rebels William Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo and former Cheranganyi MP Kipruto Arap Kirwa.
Ends
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Kenya: A sad story of a worried mother in prison. Can the sentence be reduced through presidential pardon?

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Such is a reflection of many countries in the world. Mothers serving long sentences and living with their babies in prison. A very sad affair. Should presidential pardon be applied in some cases? Yes we think so. And yet we also know that a crime has been committed and someone must answer for it. We praise the changes that were initiated by former Kenyan vice President Moody Awuor that has made life for the mothers in prison bearable. API

Pain of parenting from behind bars

By Mangoa Mosota and Emmah Onditi
Loice Achieng Omollo was sentenced to 14 years in prison for robbery.
That was two years ago, but the long sentence is not her greatest worry. Achieng, who is incarcerated at Kodiaga prison in Kisumu, gave birth to her fourth child, a boy, at the prisons health centre, one-and-a-half years ago.

Achieng, 32, who hails from Ngiya in Siaya, separated from her husband due to domestic problems.

“My husband, a driver, chased me away in 2005 since he had plans to marry another woman,” she says.

But the worst was yet to come, since Achieng was arrested on suspicion of robbery.

“Nilikuwa nimerudi kwa bwana yangu kuchukua vitu zangu lakini nikashikwa baada ya siku tatu kwa madai ya wizi (I had gone back to my marital home to pick my belongings, but I was arrested three days later, on allegations of robbery,” she claims.

Eunice Atieno and her daughter. Atieno has been sentenced to six months at the Kodiaga Womens Prison, in Kisumu.

She adds: “I was arrested while in the second month of my pregnancy. I do not know how my three children have been surviving.”

Achieng, who now lives in jail with her last born, says her loneliness is exacerbated by the limited time she spends with the child.

“I work for about eight hours a day. A babysitter, who is a fellow inmate picked by prison authorities, minds our children,” she says.

Achieng says she plans to explain to her son how she ended up in prison once he is old enough. Margaret Adhiambo, who is serving a three-month sentence for selling illicit brew, is the current baby-sitter at the prison. She takes care of nine children.

She says she is happy with the job.

“I wash, dress and feed the children. They are handed to their mothers at designated times,” Adhiambo says.

Convicts with young children or those who deliver in prison have to struggle to take care of their children, on top of their daily chores.

But the greatest pain comes when they have to be separated from their young ones once they reach four years. The officer in-charge of the womens section at Kodiaga, Ms Beatrice Were, says the children are usually taken home.

“The regulations do not allow mothers to continue living with their children in prison at this age. The children are supposed to be taken back home,” says Were.

The officer says if a mother is against such an arrangement, her child is taken to a childrens home.

The nine inmates currently living with their children at Kodiaga prison say they do not want to come to terms with separation from their children once they reach four.

Most of them say they lack support from their families and fear that their children might be rejected once they go home. Gladys Adhiambo Ooko, 30, delivered at Kakamega Prison three years ago.

Her daughter was full of excitement as The Saturday Standard spoke to her mother, oblivious of that her mother would spend seven years behind bars for handling stolen property.

Adhiambos husband died in 2006 at the Kodiaga main prison after falling ill.

He was convicted of robbery in the same case, and was to serve a 14-year term.

Adhiambo has served one year, and spent two others in remand.

“I do not know the whereabouts of my other three children. The pain of not knowing about their welfare is devastating,” she says.

Adhiambo is also in a dilemma as to who will take care of her youngest child once they are separated next year.

“I am an orphan. I have two elder sisters but since they have their own children, they may not manage another burden. They used to visit me when I was in remand,” she says.

Adhiambo, commonly referred to as Mama Melo at the prison, had wanted to sit last years Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at the facility.

But she was not adequately prepared due to commitment to her daughter and constant worry about her other children. Eunice Atieno, 22, is serving six months for selling changaa.

The mother of a six-month-old child has served one month.

“I was a hairdresser before I began selling changaa. My husband was arrested on the day I delivered,” she says.

The inmate mothers face other challenges like lack of money to buy clothes for their children, and a father figure for the young ones.

“Since my sisters visited me last in remand, there is no one to buy clothes for my daughter. I wish I could provide for her,” laments Adhiambo.

The Government has tried to ease the plight of the mothers.

The prison is supposed to liaise with the childrens department to take custody of such children.

Were says in most cases, the children are taken to their mothers homes or close relatives.

The officer, however, says the mothers are sometimes reluctant to release the children.

“We make them understand that the law does not allow the children to continue staying in prison,” she says.

Were says the prison feeds the children with nutritional food.

“Their diet consists of milk, fruits, meat and vegetables,” she says.

The mothers and children sleep in a different area from the other convicts.

The officer says when the children reach three-and-a-half years, they are enrolled at Kodiaga Prison Nursery, which also caters for warders children.

“Adhiambos daughter is at the nursery school,” she says.

The officer adds that the women and their children are also provided with medical care at Kodiaga Prison Health Centre.

“The antenatal and postnatal care is up to standard. The children are also constantly examined to ensure they are in good health,” she says.

There are many problems in prison, especially crowding.

But reforms implemented over the last four years have made the lives of inmates bearable, and changed the image of the rehabilitation centres. For instance, they now have buses and access to television and computers, which has made them more enlightened.

At Kodiaga, a Sh1 million water project was completed last year, providing the over 3,000 inmates with clean drinking water.

Last year, former Vice-President, Mr Moody Awori, launched the Kenya Prisons Service Charter and Strategic Plan for 2005-2009. The Charter sets out a five-year plan that will change the face of prisons. This ambitious reform plan will cost Sh70 billion.

Prisons have also started partnering with the private sector in commercial ventures.

Awori said the move would generate additional funds and enhance skills and training for inmates.

Kenchic Limited launched a pilot chicken-rearing project at Kodiaga, with free technical assistance. The project has now been extended to Kamiti and Thika prisons. Kenchic aims to help inmates acquire skills that can enable them start economic activities once they are free.

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Leaders bid farewell to the late Jeremiah Nyagah

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

From right to left: Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, President Mwai Kibaki, Retired former President Daniel Arap Moi and Prime Minister Raila Odinga walking in unity to the burial of former Minister Jeremiah Nyagah (at Kamutungi Farm, Gachoka Constituency, Mbeere District )

Raila, Kibaki preach unity to Kenyans

Patrick Mathangani and Munene Kamau

The new dawn beckoned as President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga ventured out for a public engagement a day after the Grand Coalition Cabinet took office.

They had similar messages: the burning urge to unite the country; the strong will to make the coalition work; and the irrepressible will to ensure Kenya will not return where it was in the season of post-election violence where ethnic passions ran high. Both summed the new era in two words a “New Beginning”.

President Kibaki, former retired President Moi, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka joined family and friends at the burial of former Cabinet minister Jeremiah Nyagah in Mbeere District on Friday.

Kibaki and Raila kicked off the day with separate meetings with the Commonwealth Secretary General Mr Kamalesh Sharma. Raila told the visiting dignitary he was determined to see Kenya become the model of coalition government in Africa. Raila also met senior members of Zimbabwes Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who believe their party beat Mr Robert Mugabe in the elections whose results have not been announced three weeks later today. He promised them he would raise the issue of the Zimbabwean crisis in the Cabinet. MDC secretary general Mr Tendai Biti led them.

At the burial there however were confusing signals on hierarchy in the new dispensation as Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka sat right next to the President at the podium. In the first public appearance, at the burial of veteran politician Mr Jeremiah Nyagah, it was Raila who welcomed the Head of State to speak.

It was a sad day as Kenyans and its leaders, including former President Moi who sat next to Kibaki, bade farewell to one of the last of Independence heroes.

But it was also symbolic as it brought Kenyas past and present under one banner, even as newly sworn-in ministers, drawn from rival parties, adjusted to sharing power, as well as the attention of cameras in the VIP pavilion.

And so was Mzee Nyagah buried, ringed by the two classes of Kenyas politics the older generation that took over after Independence represented by Mzee Moi and President Kibaki.

There was also the younger crop waiting on the wings discernible from the faces of the younger politicians such as Raila and Kalonzo, as well as the two deputy premiers Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

The night before, after being sworn-in, Raila hosted dinner for members of the new Cabinet, members of the diplomatic corp and the top cream of Government and the mandarins of industry.

As the guests who included chief mediator Dr Kofi Annan and other foreign dignitaries were treated to sumptuous meals in the Premiers honour, Raila again pledged the Grand Coalition Government would last five years.

“Let us use the five years and give Kenyans a new constitution Let us chew the gum and scale the stairs at the same time,” he urged.

“Unless we embrace the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood the Grand Coalition Government will not work Kenya is back on its feet. We have to make this Grand coalition work,” said Kalonzo at the dinner.

The President, PM and VP, each arrived with his military chopper, and in the same style they left. Kalonzo rode in one with Mudavadi while Raila took along Tourism minister and ODM Pentagon member Mr Najib Balala.

In the company of ten ministers Kibaki and Raila asked Kenyans to forget the past and forge ahead.

Raila seemed to remind Kenyans that they had fought and killed each other largely over land matters and now he would move deliberately and initiate land reforms that would allow Kenyans to own land wherever they wished.

“God has shown us the way and made us to come together. Now, we are united and will sure work together,” said President Kibaki in Mbeere.

He expressed optimism Kenyans would not allow anything to distract them, saying they must now concentrate on nation building. “Id like to ask everyone to forget what has happened and move ahead,” said an enthusiastic Kibaki.

The President, appearing confident the Cabinet would hold, said nothing at all would return the country back to a crisis.

Raila said land was an important issue since it was the main reason Kenyans fought for independence. He appeared to reach out to the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities, which he said spearheaded the struggle for independence driven by the need to reclaim their land.

The Government, he said, would launch reforms to ensure justice and that everyone was allowed to live wherever they wished.

“Nobody should be thrown out of where he lives. Kenya is big enough; everyone can get a place to live,” said the PM in an apparent reference to evictions of thousands of people from their land during the post-election violence.

“We want to see a united Kenya. Let us stop fighting and killing each other,” he said. Raila recalled that during the struggle for independence when he was a boy, the radio would always announce that the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru were dangerous.

“We used to wonder what kind of people these are,” he said amid laughter.

Nyagah who speakers described as a patriot and nationalist served in President Kenyatta and Mois governments. He died at the Aga Khan Hospital last week while undergoing treatment. He was buried at his Kamutungi Farm in Gachoka.

“He was a political icon, a true patriot and a founding father,” said the VP. Nyagah was the chief commissioner of scouts from 1988 to 2003. The VP today holds the position.

Moi said some leaders, who he did not name, were tribalists and not patriots. He said such people were always grumbling and complaining, but asked Kenyans to support Kibaki.

Moi, who supported Kibaki against Raila in the presidential race, said running the Government was no easy task for the President.

“If you were in Kibakis shoes, you would be quite enthusiastic, but you would soon burn out and even run away,” said Moi. “Let us not be driven by hate, which is destroying Africa today,” he advised.

He said Nyagah was a great patriot who served with him in the Legco and fought for the countrys freedom from the British.

“He was a great friend and we worked together for a very long time,” said Moi.

Kibaki asked Kenyans to dedicate their lives to serving the nation, just like Nyagah did.

Former Attorney General Mr Charles Njonjo, who was Nyagahs schoolmate, said unlike many African leaders who never quit, Nyagah knew when to do so.

“It is sometimes good that people in Kenya should know when to retire,” said the former AG, who supported Raila in the presidential campaign, last year.

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Ukambani gets a new boss in Mr Mwau, assistant minister for Transport. He is a threat to Vice President Kalonzo’s supremacy in Kamba-land

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Politicians like Mwau should get top positions because they know how to use it for the benefit of the constituents. Many others should emulate him. The people of Ukambani should let him serve them in the capacity that will benefit them. We applaud his appointment to the post. He should, however, be elevated soon to a full cabinet minister because of his charismatic personality. Kenya needs men of his character who will uplift development and electrify the areas for the good of the people. API

Return of Mwau the PICK Boss

Published on April 19, 2008, 12:00 am

The name John Harun Mwau is sending shockwaves through Ukambani and so is his wherewithal. The Boss of the Party of Independent CAndidates of kenya is back and in a big way. He is in the trenches, buoyed by his deep pockets, to transform Kilome into a model constituency. The man named Assistant minister last week, Mutinda Mwanzia writes, has hit the road running.Mr John Harun Mwaus phenomenon is sweeping across Ukambani and so are his millions. The region is bubbling with stories of the return of The Boss, and his dream to transform Kilome from a basket case to a model constituency. The common line is how over the years, he has blasted roads where cattle tracks existed.

Mr John Harun Mwau recites the Oath of Office during the swearing in ceremony of the Prime Minister, Ministers and their assistant at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday.

The burly former police sharp shooter, the piercing eyes as usual lurking behind dark glasses, last month walked into Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation offices and deposited the last tranche of Sh100 million. That was just part of his contribution to single-handedly have homesteads, churches and public utilities in the poverty infested rural setting, electrified.

The businessman-cum-politician further told The Saturday Standard in an interview that he is paying fees for 263 college students in his constituency. “I have major plans for the constituency, which I will deliver,” he says.

Mwau plans to run his constituency with the traditions of the corporate world, and has employed two people per location to supervise and implement Kilome development projects.

He has also donated 300 motorcycle taxis to youths to enable them do transport business. He says they cost him Sh27 million.

To execute the tasks under the rallying call Osa Vinya Mukamba (The Kamba, take power), Mwau has employed two people per constituency.

The source of the astounding amount of cash lining his pockets could be the result of abdurate steel work of the Atlas Shrugged-type of Rand characters, but not what it is doing for his constituents.

Already, he is on record as the only MP in the Tenth Parliament whose entire salary goes into the constituency development kitty.

But Mwau, like his means, is not new to controversy. As the bad wind swirled around Nakumatt Supermarket chain over the Charterhouse Bank connection, Mwaus name featured either as an interested party or big time depositor. His range of businesses include electronic wholesaling, warehousing and inland container depots. The motto of his political outfit, Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya, is Think, Work, and Grow Rich.

The Boss always leaves a big impression wherever he visits. But in his wake, the political arena sways. For, in his searchlight, he just does not have local politics in his mind. What is coming up is a titanic battle with Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka the icon of the Ukambani political bloc.

“The Boss”, as he called himself in 1992 when he contested and lost the Presidency and Westlands seat, this week added another feather to his cap. Courtesy of Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga, he was named Assistant Minister for Transport. The man, with his trademark long grey beard, did not vie on an ODM ticket but worked with the party Kalonzo fought hard to lock out of Ukambani.

Flamboyant and a mystique figure of sorts, the former head of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority campaigned in the style of Americas perennial presidential race loser, Mr Ross Perrot.

The MP, who conducted his campaigns on helicopters and breathtaking four-wheelers, made his political debut in 1992. Apart from the presidency, he vied for the Westlands parliamentary seat in Nairobi and lost.

I wanted to show Kenyans that the law had been flouted

Undaunted, Mwau filed a curious petition against retired President Mois victory. Mwau argued that he should be made President on the grounds that all the other candidates had used paper other than foolscap to present their nominations. Election laws require presidential candidates to present 40 serially numbered standard sheets of foolscap paper each signed by 25 voters on the nomination day.

“I wanted to show Kenyans that the law had been flouted,” says Mwau in retrospect.

The case, the only presidential election petition to be heard in full, was dismissed, but the court lavished Mwau with praise for his tenacity, resilience and stickler for detail.

Unknown to many, Mwaus hobbies include law, politics and guns. He represented himself when his tenure at former Kaca became controversial. He defended himself before a judge Bench, confirming his legal side.

Mwau, too, is a remarkable and accomplished sharp shooter, of Olympic esteem. A former senior police officer in the Criminal Investigations Department, Mwau is carving out a niche for himself in Kamba politics, as a springboard for a national role.

“You can no longer ignore the man. He will certainly be a force to reckon with in the region,” says Mr Davies Musau, chairman of the Ukambani Leaders Forum.

Mwau won the Kilome seat last year after failing to clinch it in 2002, when Mr Mutinda Mutiso beat him to it.

He turned the tables against Mutiso, who was vying on an ODM-Kenya ticket, the party of choice in Ukambani.

But Mwaus weight and might was felt in a by-election occasioned by the brutal murder of the then maverick area MP, Tony Ndilinge, in November 2001.

In this by-election, Mwaus party put in place a well-oiled campaign team that even eclipsed that of its main competitor, Kanu.

So elaborate was the campaign that he set up a high-tech satellite communication system to monitor the by-election across the vast constituency. His agents used satellite phones to co-ordinate the polls from all centres and had a command post at the Salama, on the Nairobi Mombasa Highway. But the Communications Commission of Kenya officials later dismantled the communications gizmos saying they were unlicensed.

“They feared I had an edge over Kanu and tried every means to derail my campaign,” claims Mwau.

The aggressive Pick campaign was highly mobile and funded to a level that worried the ruling party. Kanu responded by bringing out its heavy political artillery and finances to stem the Mwau wave. By the final lap, it had become evident that the by-election had been reduced to a two-horse race between Kanu and Pick.

The effect of Mwaus resources was underlined when Moi led Kanus top brigade in a campaign blitz two days to the polls.

“Mwau was a threat to us and we had to go an extra mile to stem his tide. He is a tough man who fought and also wins,” says former Masinga MP, Mr Ronald Kiluta.

The former assistant minister concedes that Mwaus entry into active politics will change the political balance in Ukambani and possibly Eastern Province.

“The man has clout and style. He will certainly cause some politicians in the region sleepless nights,” adds the former military officer.

During the by-election, the Pick candidate, Mr Kioko Mulandi, came an impressive second behind Mutiso.

“I did not contest but all our opponents ended up focusing on me. It was a battle I was sure of winning,” says Mwau.

The people of Kilome will not at any time regret electing me as their MP. I will work for them

But now with his win in Kilome and subsequent appointment as an assistant minister, Mwau is on the same mode to catch attention, command power and astound his opponents, even hypnotize them with his presence.

Top among his projects is the provision of clean drinking water to the locals, grading of roads and improvement of learning facilities.

He blames underdevelopment in Ukambani on poor leadership over the years. “Our leaders have spent many years practicing sycophantic politics and undermining each other, at the expense of development,” says Mwau, who does not mince words.

Mwau, Water and Irrigation minister Mrs Charity Ngilu, rebel ODM-Kenya MPs Mr Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) and Mr Kiema Kilonzo (Mutito) are said to be teaming up to checkmate Kalonzo in Ukambani.

Mwau has the resources to mobilise any kind of support he needs in the region. He is no joke

“Mwau and Kalonzo are not the best of friends and their rivalry is certain to go to new levels,” says a local ODM-Kenya MP.

Mwau displayed his wealth in 1997 when he turned up at a fundraising for the National Youth Development Fund, presided over by Moi.

Queuing behind Kanu supporters to make his contribution, he drew the attention of hawk-eyed security detail with the bulging A4 khaki envelope he carried.

Mois security guards drew him aside and checked the contents.

They found Sh2.5 million in cash, earning the politician praise from no lesser person than Moi himself.

In November 1997, Mwau declared he was no longer interested in politics. Under just a month later, Moi appointed him as the head of the then newly created Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority.

But he was removed from office following recommendations by a tribunal formed to investigate his conduct.

But Mwau was back in active politics in 2001. He held a series of meetings at a city hotel with civic leaders, teachers, touts, barmaids and taxi drivers to chart the way forward for Ukambani politics.

“The man has a vast network which works for him. He knows when to activate it for his good,” says former Kibwezi MP, Mr Onesmus Mboko.

A merger between the then Raila Odinga-led National Development Party and Kanu in March 2002 saw Mwaus Pick join in. He was elected one of the four regional Kanu Vice-Chairmen in October.

In the run-up to the 2002 General Election, Mwau crisscrossed Kilome making generous contributions and constructing dams, bridges and roads. The electorate however rejected him. Mwau withdrew from the scene only to emerge last year, winning against the ODM-Kenya wave.

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Raila jumps into the Zimbabwean situation

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Raila to raise Zimbabwe crisis in Cabinet

By Maseme Machuka

Prime Minister Raila Odinga will take up the Zimbabwe crisis to the Cabinet and the African Union.

Raila, who met with senior officials of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at his Treasury offices on Friday, said he would intervene by raising the matter with the Cabinet.

Raila wants Kenya to make its official position on the Zimbabwean crisis known.

Speaking to The Saturday Standard after the meeting, MDC Secretary General, Mr Tendai Biti, said they came to seek Kenyas intervention over their electoral crisis because Kenya had gone through a similar conflict.

“We have come to Kenya because of its uniqueness and its basic resemblance with our crisis. Kenyan people feel the pains their counterparts in Zimbabwe were experiencing,” Biti said.

He said the Prime Minister guaranteed them his commitment to address the concerns they raised with the relevant authorities.

“He assured us of his intervention through the AU Chairman President Jakaya Kikwete to raise the issue with him,” he said.

Biti cautioned that if Africa does not rise to the occasion and assist one of its own, Zimbabwe, then the crisis will degenerate into war.

“Mugabe is busy re-arming militias and organising them. This raises a lot of anxiety and the patience of the people of Zimbabwe is running out,” he added.

Flanked by Deputy Secretary, Mr Isaac Mwaboza, he said the delay in announcing the presidential poll results was raising deep concern on the people of Zimbabwe.

He said the world should come to the rescue of Zimbabweans many of who are dying due to starvation.

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Zimbabwe’s MDC runs to Raila in Kenya to seek assistance to topple President Mugabe

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

MDC has decided that Kenya and Raila can help them get rid of Robert Mugabe. Should Raila make a move to take sides, that will anger the Zimbabwean leader who has a good allie in the South African president Thabo Mbeki. Kenya should concentrate on her own problems of nation building instead of jumping into Zimbabwean situation. The fact that things went fine in Kenya does not mean the same for a country like Zimbabwe.

MDC worships the west and so does ODM but now that ODM is in the government, priorities must change from that of worship and be directed to nation building.API

MDC seeks Kenya’s intervention

Written By:Sophie Mwangi

Caption: Tsvangirai’ has relocated to Botswana with his family for fear of his life.

Zimbabwe’s Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party officials are in the country to seek Kenya’s help in resolving the current political crisis in the country.

Zimbabwe has been hit by a wave of violence following the 29th March general elections in which the official opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory.

However, the incumbent President Robert Mugabe has maintained that he won the polls whose results are yet to be released.

Addressing the press after meeting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga Friday, MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti said the party was also seeking the intervention of the African Union to help resolve the Zimbabwe’s crisis.

Last week, MDC moved to court seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the polls but lost the petition.

Tsvangirai’ has relocated to Botswana with his family for fear of his life.

Mugabe has been accused of launching a violent campaign ahead of a proposed second round of voting.

Mr Mugabe is scheduled to speak at a rally at a stadium in Harare to mark 28 years since independence from Britain and the end of white minority rule.

He has made few public comments since the presidential election, which the opposition says Morgan Tsvangirai won.

On Thursday Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said South African President Thabo Mbeki “needs to be relieved of his duties” as a mediator in the Zimbabwean political crisis.

The official results of the presidential poll have not been released, almost three weeks after election day.

Mr Tsvangirai remains adamant he won the 29 March presidential election outright.

But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it cannot release the results until it investigates anomalies – a partial recount takes place this weekend.

Government ministers suggest that a run-off may be needed and the MDC says its activists in rural areas are being attacked ahead that possible poll.

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Cameroon soon to issue Kenya Airways boeing crash probe results

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

The findings of investigations into the circumstances of the Kenya Ariways Boeing 737 5 May crash are soon to be published, Cameroonian Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) director Ignatus Sama Juma revealed Friday.

The statement was made here Friday on the sidelines of the 3rd meeting of the steering committee on aviation security in Central Africa, held under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“It is my pleasure to tell you that we have completed the collection phase. We will submit the collected information for the first to mark the anniversary of the crash on 5 May next year, and move to the analysis phase so we can begin to write the report,” Juma said.

The AAC director said the publication of the findings should evolve the investigation as the victims families are still on the lookout for compensations.

The Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 crashed into the mangroves near the town of Douala about 5 minutes after takeoff in a downpour, killing all its 114 occupants.

ICAO experts said aviation safety in Africa remains a concern – “while the average global crash rate stands at 1.03 for a million departures, the average is 9.7 in Africa.”

The two latest examples are this weeks crashes in DR Congo and Equatorial Guinea, leaving about forty and a dozen victims, respectively.

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Zimbabwe president threatens to shut down plotting firms

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has threatened to shut down factories ignoring his directive to reduce prices of their products, on Friday accused foreign-owned companies of working with the opposition to topple his regime.

Addressing thousands of Zimbabweans gathered to commemorate the countrys 28th independence anniversary at a Harare stadium, Mugabe threatened tough action against the business sector whom he accused of reneging on pricing agreements.

“I want to warn that anyone who breaks our pricing agreements that we will not hesitate to take over their companies and factories,” Mugabe said.

Zimbabwe is in the middle of an eight-year economic crisis highlighted by runaway prices and shortages of basic commodities.

He accused business of acting as willing partners in the fight by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to gain power from him.

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After pre-election violence, Kenyans start a healing process

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Kenyans says never again will they allow individuals take them back to violence that turned neighbour against neighbour making others assassins. All the leaders say they are ready to work together and bring back the stability that the Kenyans have always enjoyed. API

A time to heal

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga Thursday pledged to work together to heal and re-unite the country.

Mr Raila Odinga, Prime Minister

The President called for the speedy resettlement of internal refugees while the Prime Minister pledged to lead the campaign against violence. He also extended an olive branch to the Mungiki sect members who have been blamed for chaos in which over 11 people were killed this week.

The two leaders spoke when the Grand Coalition Cabinet was sworn in at State House, Nairobi, Thursday.

Said President Kibaki: Now that we have agreed to work together, let us not go back to what we have come from. The most important thing was coming together and we should not stray from the course.

Mr Odinga had earlier said: There will not be two Cabinets but one Cabinet. On this, I and President Kibaki are in full agreement.

Thursdays ceremony was witnessed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and chief mediator Kofi Annan among other dignitaries and diplomats.

After taking his oath of office, Mr Odinga promised to spearhead efforts to end further violence in the country.

We want our Mungiki brothers to come out and talk to us to end the killings. We will go an extra mile to ensure there is peace in this great country of ours. We do not want to see Kenyans killing each other, he said,

For Mr Annan, the former UN secretary-general, the ceremony was the fruit of his mediation effort which saw President Kibaki and Mr Odinga sign a power-sharing deal on February 28, ending two months of violence over the disputed presidential elections which left more than 1,200 people dead and 350,000 displaced from their homes.

The President and the Prime Minister pledged that the grand coalition will work as a team.

President Kibaki said he had spoken to Mr Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on the need for a united administration that has to pull the country out of the political and economic crisis and place it firmly on the path to recovery and progress.

Taken oath

Mr Odinga, who had just taken the oath to become the countrys second PM since independence, said PNU and ODM had come together to form one government and assured Kenyans that there was only one centre of power.

We have decided to create a grand coalition government; we are not creating two governments but one, he said.

Those present at the ceremony said it signalled fresh hope and highlighted the need to promote peace and unity and end violence that shook the countrys stability in January and February. The cost of the violence to the economy was estimated at over Sh260 billion.

Mr Annan, the man who helped the parties to find a solution to the crisis that was tearing the country apart, said Kenya had been on the edge of destruction and the new administration must nurture the peace that has been established.

Kenya was on the brink but now that you have started a new journey, you must stay the course. Some times we tend to treat peace like we treat good health. You never know its value until you lose it. Peace is precious; let us not lose it again, he said.

President Museveni expressed his delight at the restoration of peace in Kenya warned that political leaders should not go into a lull and allow the thorns of violence and political unrest to prick the countrys tender skin again.

It is good that you have found a cure to the disease that had infected you. The duty you have ahead is to keep the prescription safe and apply it as the doctor has instructed. Such diseases are never cured completely, he said.

The leaders spoke after the swearing in of Mr Odinga as the PM, his two Deputy Prime Ministers, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Musalia Mudavadi.

Only 23 Cabinet ministers and 52 assistant ministers were sworn in during the ceremony that took two hours and ended at 12:53 pm. Of the ministers, only five women were sworn in since Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua and Special Programmes minister Naomi Shaaban were sworn in in January.

The others had been sworn-in in January but they attended Thursdays ceremony. However, Medical Services minister Anyang Nyongo will be sworn in at a later date since he was out of the country. Two of the ministers who had been named in January were demoted in the new line-up that President Kibaki named on Sunday. They were Mr Asman Kamama and Dr Wilfred Machage.

Mr Odinga was the first to take the oath of office at 10:49 am. The oath was administered by Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Francis Muthaura. The oath involved swearing allegiance to the Republic of Kenya and its Constitution and bound the office holder to discharge his duties under the President and pledging never to reveal Cabinet secrets.

Next in line was Mr Kenyatta and Mr Mudavadi who took similar oaths before the other ministers were sworn in.

Mr Kamama and Dr Machage were sworn in as assistant ministers for Higher Education and Roads respectively.

President Kibaki urged his new Cabinet to move with speed to resettle the more than 600,000 Kenyans who were displaced from their homes during the two months of post-election violence.

It is unacceptable that a Kenyan should be prevented from accessing his or her property by another, the President said.

The new ministers were also given the responsibility of reconciling Kenyans and bring to an end the cycle of violence that had rocked the country in January and February. They were also urged to work towards a new Constitution and reverse the declining economic growth rate which had triggered an increase in food prices and transport costs.

The President also stated that the Cabinet must be united and should craft policies that will liberate half of Kenyas population from poverty in five years.

If we achieve this goal, the grand coalition will have served its true purpose, which is to unite all of Kenyas leaders in a joint and effective war against poverty, ignorance and disease while also creating a just and democratic society.

US envoy Michael Ranneberger and his German counterpart, Mr Walter Lindner, praised the new Cabinet and urged the members to coalesce into a united team to address the needs of Kenyans.

This was very positive for Kenyans and the agenda that has been laid out is very challenging. The signs are good and the United States will be present to give its assistance, said Mr Ranneberger.

Performance

Mr Lindner, who described coalitions as exceptional said the Cabinet should be judged by its performance and not its size.

Members of the Cabinet should start work immediately. We will look at the product and not the size of the Cabinet and Germany will offer assistance whenever it is required, Mr Lindner said.

Present during the occasion were Tanzania Prime Minister Peter Pinda Mizengo, his Rwandese counterpart, Mr Bernard Makuza, Burundis First Vice President Yves Sahinguvu, former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi, former President Daniel arap Moi, National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, former Vice President Moody Awori and a host of diplomats.

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Raila promises good service to the Kenyan people

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

The newly appointed prime minister in a speech during his swearing in gave himself to the people who he says he will serve deligently. Stressing a point and driving it home, he said there will be one centre of power . That power is the people’s power. API

Raila: Our priority in reforms is institutions

The Kenyan people spoke in very large numbers in the December elections in support of the Orange Democratic Movement.

I pay tribute to their patience, determination and solidarity. I convey my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the mindless violence during the election campaign and in its tragic aftermath.

My heart also goes out to the many Kenyans who have been displaced and in desperate need for resettlement. Their plight is foremost in our mind and a top priority for the Grand Coalition Government.

Dr Kofi Annan, H.E President Kufuor, H.E President Kikwete, H.E former President Benjamin Mkapa and Lady Graca Machel played unique roles in bringing the crisis to an amicable end. Kenyans will forever be indebted to these eminent Africans.

We cannot forget the efforts of British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, EU Development Commissioner, Mr Louis Michel, UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban ki Moon, and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr Don MacKinnon, who were among many others instrumental in finding a solution.

As you are all aware, I travelled many miles and visited many places on the campaign trail last year. I was privileged and humbled to meet different people, holding different beliefs, practising different customs, wearing different attire and speaking different dialects.

They all had similar hopes, similar dreams and similar ambitions. They wanted real change. And most importantly, they were all Kenyans.

The beautiful vision of our society was at a stroke shattered following the announcement of election results that lacked credibility and international acceptance.

It was unfortunate that the spark of a disputed election result ignited the time-bomb of ethnic hatred. We shockingly witnessed and experienced the reality of modern day Kenya.

Lifelong friends and neighbours turned into enemies and in a few cases assassins. We have been to hell and back. Never again in our history must we return to those times.

We must preserve the sanctity of our nation state and remain united. But our unity cannot be based on words and goodwill alone.

The tragic events we have lived through recently may have made us wiser and tolerant as a nation. But we humans pass away; others will take our place. We cannot bequeath them our personal experience. But we can leave them institutions. The life of institutions is longer than that of men.

I am, therefore, determined to provide decisive leadership and build democratic institutions that will hand on the wisdom to succeeding generations of Kenyans and most importantly enshrine truth and justice.

We will break with the past and create a new inclusive Kenya. We will embark on institutional transformation in our society and give Kenyans what is long overdue a new constitution.

We will foster high and sustainable growth that is more equitably distributed. We will lay the foundation of future growth through infrastructural development and create opportunities for long-term employment. We will bring Government, power and financial resources closer to the people through devolution. We will ensure that power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of many, not a few. The Chinese proverb says: “It is not the size of the wave, but the motion of the ocean that moves the ship.” Do not please judge us by the size of the Cabinet. Judge us by what the Cabinet will deliver.

I congratulate my colleagues on their Cabinet appointments and commiserate with those equally competent and qualified members of ODM who missed out. United we have the strength to deliver prosperity with equity and accountability.

Today is a historic occasion. My swearing in as Prime Minister will go further than just an entry in our history books. We can now consign Kenyas past failures of grand corruption and rampant tribalism to the history books.

Kenya will no longer have a ruling class. The rulers are the people. There will be not one or two centres of power just one. Power will forever reside with the people of Kenya.

It has been said “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. Fellow Kenyans, I give you myself in your service. The great responsibility and trust you have placed in me will be my life and I will not let you down.

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Does Raila have genuine influence over Mungiki?

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Raila called on Mungiki to stop violence and they did. Why has he got influence over them? Mungiki says they want jobs and that Raila will give them. The jailed leader says he will leave prison soon for a meeting with Raila. If that is true then the nation should know what kind of influence Raila has on them.

If it is true his influence can bring peace then let it be. Kenyans want peace and not to be terrorised day and night.

Mungiki youths should be listened to if they have a genuine case and be accommodated fully both in government and private sector employment.

Mungiki calls for ceasefire

Published on April 18, 2008, 12:00 am

By Cyrus Ombati and Brian Adero

The Mungiki leadership has called off the four-day violence, moments after Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga, pleaded with the sect to stop the killings and destruction.

Jailed Mungiki leader, Mr Maina Njenga, who talked to The Standard from Naivasha Maximum Prison through an aide, said he had been touched by Railas remarks that Mungiki members could be productively engaged in nation building

“Let all the youths involved in the countrywide strike stop and help Raila build this nation. We believe the Prime Minister will create jobs for us,” Njenga said.

The Mungiki leader said he had spoken to all the coordinators of the protests and requested them to call off the violence.

And Njengas ceasefire directive carried a chilling message to any Mungiki follower who would go against the orders.

“You will be punished accordingly. You must honour the ceasefire and stop rioting,” Njenga said.

The effect of Njengas directive was immediate: Businesses reopened in all parts of Central Province, including Muranga, Kenol, Maragua, Saba Saba, Mukurwe-ini, Othaya and Karatina which had been closed for the past four says.

Transport crisis in many parts of the city and in Central Province eased as matatus returned to the roads. For the first time in four days, commuters sighed with relief as matatu operations returned to normal.

Plea to Raila

The ceasefire came only hours after a special anti-Mungiki police squad, Nyoka, was set up at Vigilance House in Nairobi. The unit is similar to the Kwekwe Squad that tamed Mungiki mayhem in Nairobi and the environs a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, Mungiki coordinator, Mr Njuguna Gitau Njuguna, who had earlier in the day insisted that the violence would go on, however, agreed with his chairman for a ceasefire.

“We are impressed by the Prime Ministers remarks and we know he will bring reforms. The strike has been called off for now to allow development,” said Njuguna on the telephone

Njuguna, who was preparing to address the Press and later issue Raila with a list of grievances, said they would from today ensure that businesses were re-opened in all affected areas.

He also urged matatus to resume operations.

Police officers beat up a suspected Mungiki member in Dandora after gangs struck the area early this week.

At State House, Raila made a passionate plea to members of the banned sect to stop fighting and to talk to the Government about their grievances.

Njenga said he hoped to be released from jail soon to meet Raila and discuss jobs for the unemployed Mungiki youth.

“I am coming out so that we can team up with Raila and other like-minded people in creating jobs to end the oppression Kenyans are witnessing. Let the youths stop fighting now,” he said.

Njuguna introduced a political dimension to the Mungiki debate when he said leaders of the sect had on many occasions engaged in talks with many politicians in Central Province over varied issues.

But as the two leaders called off the strike, some of their followers were wreaking havoc in some parts of Nairobi and Central Province.

They threatened oil tanker drivers in Nairobi as they loaded oil products from depots in Industrial Area. Mungiki members confronted the drivers in the morning and told them to join in the strike or face the consequences.

The threats temporarily affected the deliveries until police were called in to disperse the gangs.

Another group hijacked four matatus plying the Kikuyu-Nairobi route and attempted to burn them. The gangs had bought petrol before police were called in.

One Mungiki adherent was shot dead as others dashed into the thickets. Ten suspects were arrested and four vehicles impounded for allegedly aiding the gangs.

Another suspect lies prostrate after he was beaten up at Waithaka in Nairobi on Thursday.

Another gang had earlier in the night attempted to petrol bomb a chiefs office in Kayole estate, Nairobi. Witnesses and police said five men drove to the officers and threw three petrol bombs, which did not, however, explode. Police also arrested another suspect found with 20 litres of petrol in the city centre. Central OCPD, Mr Tito Kilonzi, said the man said he had been requested by a friend to help him buy the fuel.

There was a stampede in the city centre when suspected thugs engaged police in a shootout. Many residents thought Mungiki members had struck.

Nairobi Area Head of Operations, Mr Wilfred Mbithi, said police patrols had been intensified in the city. More mayhem was reported in several parts of Central Province before the raids were called off.

They struck Karatina town on Wednesday night, where they burnt two vehicles, while a second gang threatened traders in Mukurwe-ini to close their businesses.

Thousands of commuters walked to work following threats to matatu operators in Nyeri, Othaya, Kiria-ini, Kangema, Karatina, Muranga, Saba Saba and Kenol towns.

It was reported that a child sick with pneumonia died at home in Kenol in Maragua as his parents cowered in the house for fear of attack if they took him to hospital.

Additional reporting by Steve Mkawale, Anthony Gitonga, Murimi Njogu, Munene Kamau, Francis Ngige and Amos Kareithi
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Becoming professional footballer? Football education in Norway: API gives guidance

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Helping you to help the youth in your country!

API helps in getting places for the youth interested in serious football. APIassists in getting a resident permit and place to live for the duration of stay. Assistance to acquire a work permit that enables the player to work 20 hours a week in order to make his own pocket money will also be partof the deal.

After the stay in Norway, when the residency permit expires, the footballer either has to travel back to his home country or try his luck in professional clubs in Europe.

API is doing this because we have faith in African football and African youth. African youth have a great potential in football. The problem in the continent is where one is to acquire facilities that support in proper training.

Many African players have made it to professional football in top clubs in European countries. API thinks it is time to assist and guide those who are needy and with ability to be good footballers professionally.

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Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai – The former miner who wants to be President

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

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

Mugabebrought independence to Zimbabwe, not Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai says he wants to bring some kind of western democracy to the country. Mugabe thinks by allowing Tsvangirai to do so, it is bringing back the former colonialists, the British. So this quarrell continues and the beating and disciplining of Tsvangirai continues as the world watches helplessly. May be the West should give Tsvangirai temporary asylum until Mugabe dies because he has stated publicly that he will not let Tsvangirai rule Zimbabwe as long as he is breathing this earthly air.. API

By Joseph Winter

Morgan Tsvangirai has risen from working in a mine to becoming the symbol of resistance to repression in Zimbabwe.

Morgan Tsvangirai after being assaulted by the police in 2005
Morgan Tsvangirai “deserved” to be beaten, Robert Mugabe said

A charismatic speaker, he is a brave man – constantly running the risk of arrest or assassination since emerging several years ago as President Robert Mugabe’s first credible challenger since the 1980s.

As the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition, he has been brutally assaulted, charged with treason and routinely labelled a “traitor”.

A year ago, the world was shocked to see pictures of his injuries after police beat him after arresting him for taking part in a prayer meeting which they said was illegal.

President Mugabe said the veteran trade unionist “deserved” his treatment for disobeying police orders.

But even some of his supporters – mostly young, urban residents – say he has been outmanoeuvred by Mr Mugabe and his allies.

‘Dictator’

His chances of unseating Zimbabwe’s long-time leader were dealt a blow in 2005, when Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change split into two factions.

Some of Mr Tsvangirai’s closest allies accused him of behaving like a dictator.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
1952: Born in Gutu, central Zimbabwe
Left school early to seek work
1974: Started working in a mine
1988: Secretary General on the ZCTU
1997: Organised anti-government strikes, attacked
1999: Helped form MDC
2000: MDC won 57 parliamentary seats
2000: Charged with treason, later dismissed
2002: Lost elections to Mugabe, charged with treason
2003: Charged with treason
2005: MDC splits

He overruled a decision by the party’s leadership to take part in elections for the Senate and ordered a boycott.

The two factions are fielding parliamentary candidates against each other in the 29 March elections after failing to reach a deal and the rival faction is backing former Finance Minister Simba Makoni in the presidential poll.

The eldest of nine children, Mr Tsvangirai left school while a teenager to help support his family.

Mr Mugabe snootily calls Mr Tsvangirai an “ignoramus” because of his humble background and lack of education.

He once told me that his strategy to unseat the president was to wait while Mr Mugabe mismanaged the economy to such an extent that he was forced out of office.

This long-term, passive view has, so far, steered the country away from civil war but has not seriously perturbed the authorities.

The economy is among the worst in the world but Mr Mugabe’s grip on power shows no sign of loosening.

Truncheons

Just before the 2002 presidential elections, a mysterious video tape emerged, which allegedly showed Mr Tsvangirai discussing how to assassinate Mr Mugabe with a Canadian consultancy, Dickens and Madson.

Broken traffic lights
Morgan Tsvangirai says he can get Zimbabwe working again

The head of the consultancy, Ari Ben-Menashe, used to work as a lobbyist for the Zimbabwe Government and he calls Mr Tsvangirai “stupid” for even speaking to him, let alone allegedly discussing killing the president.

Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted, but for 20 months he had the possibility of a death penalty hanging over his head.

He was charged with treason a second time in 2003, after calling for mass protests to oust Mr Mugabe.

These fizzled out under the force of police truncheons.

In September 2000, he told a rally of his Movement for Democratic Change: “If Mugabe does not go peacefully, he will be removed by force.”

The 56-year-old eldest son of a bricklayer says this was not a threat of armed rebellion but a warning of popular discontent.

These treason charges were deemed unconstitutional but he does have a tendency to open his mouth before considering the consequences.

Revenge

The catalyst for Mr Tsvangirai’s transformation was his career in the trade unions.

He used to be an official in Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai wants to give Robert Mugabe the red card

After being plant foreman of the Bindura Nickel Mine for 10 years, he climbed the unionist ladder until in 1988, he was elected secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

As Zimbabwe’s economy declined and workers’ living standards plummeted, the ZCTU took an increasingly political role.

When Mr Mugabe tried to raise income tax to pay pensions for veterans of the 1970s war of independence, a ZCTU-organised nationwide strike forced him to back down.

In apparent revenge for his part in defeating Mr Mugabe and the war veterans, a group of men burst into Mr Tsvangirai’s office, hit him on the head with a metal bar and attempted to throw him out of his 10th floor window.

This was a foretaste of the war veterans’ campaign of violence ahead of elections in 2000 and 2002, which led to the deaths of more than 100 MDC supporters.

Contradictions

Buoyed by its initial victory, the ZCTU held further strikes against the government’s “economic mismanagement”.

But Mr Mugabe stood firm and after intense debate, the ZCTU helped establish the MDC in September 1999.

The IMF are devils
Morgan Tsvangirai

Its nationwide structures were crucial in helping the young party campaign for the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which it won 57 seats – the best opposition showing in the country’s history.

Despite its foundations in the black working class, Mr Mugabe says the MDC is a puppet of white farmers and the UK government.

And, before they lost their land, many white farmers did support, campaign for and help finance the MDC.

The state-controlled media never tires of reminding voters that Mr Tsvangirai did not participate in the guerrilla war against white minority rule.

As a former miner and unionist, his heart is social democratic.

He used to blame many of Zimbabwe’s economic woes on the IMF’s structural adjustment programme.

“The IMF are devils,” he once told me.

Now, he is working closely with industrialists who argue that market forces should be left to solve Zimbabwe’s economic problems on their own, without minimal government interference.

Morgan Tsvangirai is now waiting to find out if he will have to confront these issues as president

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Mugabe vents anger at UK

Posted by African Press International on April 19, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source

Mugabe said thatif people voted for the opposition, they would be inviting the UK back to Zimbabwe [EPA]
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, has denounced former colonial ruler Britain in his first major speech since disputed elections three weeks ago.

Mugabe on Friday told 15,000 cheering supporters in a speech to mark Independence Day at a township stadium: “Down with the British. Down with thieves who want to steal our country.”

Mugabe is under heavy international criticism for failing to authorise the release of results from the March 29 presidential vote, which the opposition says it won.

Marking 28 years of independence, Mugabe said: “Today we hear the British saying there’s no democracy here, people are being oppressed, there’s dictatorship, there’s no observance of human rights, rule of law.
“We, not the British, established democracy based on one person one vote, democracy which rejected racial or gender discrimination and observed human rights.
“We are the ones who brought democracy to this country we are the ones who removed the oppression which was here.”
‘Traitor Tsvangirai’

Morgan Tsvangirai after being assaulted by the police in 2005

Morgan Tsvangirai “deserved” to be beaten, Robert Mugabe said

“There was no mention of election results. The stadium was very small, mostly full of invited guests. There were very few local people here. Those I spoke to outside of the stadium were simplytrying to get on with their lives, queuing for bread.”

Tallies suggest Tsvangirai’s MDC won the poll,
but not by enough to prevent a run-off [EPA]

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is preparing to contest a second ballot run-off against Tsvangirai on Saturday, even though the results of the first round of voting have not been issued.

Despite the holiday on Friday, Zimbabwean judges are hearing arguments from opposition lawyers trying to block a recount.

Independent tallies suggest that Tsvangirai won the election, but not by enough to prevent a run-off.

Electoral officials have said they have found problems with tallies in 23 constituencies, mostly won by opposition candidates.

Anti-Mbeki stance

After staying largely silent since the March 29 presidential election, South Africa on Thursday called for the results to be quickly released and said for the first time that it was concerned by the delay.

Themba Maseko, a government spokesman, said “the situation is dire”.

Mbeki, left, has been criticised for being quiet
on Zimbabwe’s election problems [AFP]

“When elections are held and results are not released two weeks after, it is obviously of great concern,” he said.

But Tsvangirai, disappointed by the mediation efforts of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president, called for him to step down as a mediator to Zimbabwe’s elections crisis.

“President Mbeki needs to be relieved from his duty,” Tsvangirai told a news conference in Johannesburg.

Mbeki had previously played down the gravity of the post-election deadlock, saying the electoral process must take its course and there was no crisis.

The apparent U-turn on Thursday coincided with the US criticising Africa for a lack of action on the Zimbabwe polls.

Despite the U-turn, South Africa has announced that it will not stop a shipment of Chinese-made weapons from reaching Zimbabwe despite fears that the weapons may be used to clamp down on the opposition.

South African officials said they will not intervene because there is no arms embargo against Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said on Thursday that he had asked Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president and chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to launch a new mediation effort.

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African Press International – api

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