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Archive for April 20th, 2008

Raila is the man to watch in 2012. He is already planning behind the scenes a way to the presidency

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Raila bounces back: How will he manage?

By Sunday Standard Team

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is once again the centre of national attention after ending up in a government in which he has enough control to deliver some of the crucial changes Kenyans have long sought.

The man who on May 6, last year at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, where he submitted his “application” for the presidency described himself as “the link to our forefathers visionary path towards the Kenyan Dream” has instead ended up being PM.

The negotiated position has put him at the centre of national attention and he says it is enough to enable him and President Kibaki deliver on devolution of power, which the people have long sought.

Last week he sent two messages across the nation. One: that he is committed to the deal and will work hard to keep the Grand Coalition alive until the 2012 General Election.

Two: that he will unite Kenya, the nation scarred by post-election dispute and the subsequent wave of killing, destruction and displacement.

On the day of his swearing in, he brought to a halt the terror of Mungiki sect members by promising to listen to them and asking them to stop the killings.

Although it is still early to tell how the Grand Coalition Government will turn out, projections are that the Prime Minister will be the greatest beneficiary should he, together with President Kibaki, steer the nation back on track by successfully tackling the national agenda in accordance with the peace accord they signed on February 28.

The long search for a new constitution, for which Raila has paid a personal price, is top on the agenda, together with the thorny issue of land, which runs hand in hand with resettlement of the internally displaced.

There is also reform of the Electoral Commission and the institution of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to look into past crimes and abuses.

Observers say the President, serving his last term, will have less to worry about, save for his legacy. This is unlike Raila, who still has an eye on elective politics.

Through a negotiated deal, President Kibaki and the Prime Minister each have half of the Government. But the President remains the countrys chief executive, although the PM has powers to supervise and co-ordinate the activities of the ministries.

The PM, in public speeches and in an exclusive interview yesterday, indicated that he intend to run one government, not two with President Kibaki to deliver the transparency, efficiency and accountability in service delivery.

Raila, the Orange Democratic Movement leader, constitutionally has the “supervisory and co-ordinating” role over the other 42 members of the Cabinet.

But then there is the Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, who though coming from a peripheral party, is the Presidents principal assistant and the Leader of Government Business in Parliament.

In between, there are deputy Prime ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi. Then there is Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti.

All the five are believed to nurture presidential ambitions, some having been presidential candidates or vice-presidents before.

Those familiar with the President say he is unlikely to show preference for or support any and each will depend on his own work and ability to network to cut through the maze.

The President has nearly one-half of Parliament, but through a constellation of fringe parties and his Party of National Unity.

But Raila has the other half in non-fragmented state. Parliament is the next theatre of action the President and PM have promised a new constitution within a year.

For 15 years, and under two Presidents, Kenya has chased this dream, which has remained a mirage.

Raila, being the second Prime Minister after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta for one year after Independence, is the talking point.

Raila, with his energy and ability to mobilise, is expected to take centre-stage on seeing through some of the reforms the coalition has promised.

In the short time that he sealed the deal with President Kibaki, he is said to be in good working relationship with the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, who only a few days earlier, was seen to be working against him.

Raila is also said to be in a good relationship with Prof Saitoti and is expected to find an ally in Uhuru, who is described as an open person with no backstabbing intrigues.

On Thursday, Raila was sworn in and in the evening he was hosting the entire Government, except the President, to dinner in the company of foreign dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps, and the chief mediator Dr Kofi Annan.

The diners included Mr Muthaura, and the Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, who in recent weeks have been the bearers of PNUs cold messages to ODM.

The next day, he was with the President and the VP at a VIP burial. The three rode in military choppers but the task of introducing the President fell on Raila, though it was Kalonzo who sat the closest.

The events of last week, and Railas promissory and reconciliatory tone, cast the image of a man at the junction of history.

On the one hand, and through a protracted and noisy process, he has delivered 20 ministers to the Government.

But lurking in the shadows is ODMs belief its victory was stolen by President Kibaki. The road to the marriage itself was paved with thorns, both sides could not yield, and when they did, it was just on the magnitude of ornamental value.

Raila says that chapter is behind him, and is focused on making the best of what circumstances has forced on the nation.

There are also those who think the Kibaki succession bug will bite soon and Raila, who says he won but was defrauded by Kibaki, naturally, still has the eye on the prize. That is why, they say, even with the delicate balance with which he dished out positions in ODM, he intends to oil and strengthen the Orange political machine.

But this process is not expected to kick off soon. Observers say there is enough work to keep everyone busy for at least three years before people think of rebuilding their individual parties.

The belief is that the nation is so wounded that whoever will be seen to be rocking the boat at an early stage could face rejection by voters.

Already, the PM is said to be adopting a more quiet approach to dealing with the President, as opposed to ultimatums he used in the first Kibaki presidency.

Then there is the bigger question of whether the forced relationship with Kibaki, to complete the political analogy of Kenyas oil and water in one bottle, will mix well and fire the engine of the nation.

Raila is also the object of attention because, given his packed diary and active political life, he will probably be trying to get as much public exposure without overshadowing the President.

He will also be trying to win over his adversaries in the last election, with whom he is now in Government. During the negotiations they told him he was daydreaming there would be no power sharing. Now they are in one boat, and he is a notch higher.

He also has the onerous task of expanding his frontiers, to fit into the image of the national office, without losing his stewardship of ODM, or even any of his powerful backers. He has towards this end already placated many of them, and by extension their communities, with plum positions.

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Rev. Peter Kairo appointed the new Archbishop of Nyeri

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Written By:Naisula Lesuuda

Caption: He takes over the leadership of the diocese after the Late Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima who passed on in November last year.

His Lordship the Right Rev. Peter Kairo is now the new Archbishop of the catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri.

His appointment was made Saturday by His holiness the pope Benedict the sixteenth.

He takes over the leadership of the diocese after the Late Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima who passed on in November last year.

Born on 24th of May1941, His grace Kairo says his passion for priesthood started very early in life but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

He joined Minor Seminary of Eldoret and later St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi.

After being ordained priest on the 1st of November 1970 he was appointed to the Holy Rosary Parish Nakuru, where he worked for two years.

He later went to the US to study, where he obtained a degree in Bachelor of Arts.

Upon his return he was appointed secretary of Religious Education, Director of Catechesis and Lady Apostolate.

He then worked from 1976 to 1981 as a lecturer at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

He returned to the Cathedral Parish of Nakuru and became the Vicar General of the Diocese.

In March 1983 he was appointed Bishop of the new Diocese of Murang’a and consecrated Bishop on 21st May of the same year where he worked up to his appointment as Bishop of the catholic Diocese of Nakuru on 12th May 1997.

He is elated and thankful to the pope, His holiness Benedict the sixteenth for the appointment.

He says he is ready to serve the people of Nyeri, while at the same time calling on the leaders to ensure the plight of the IDPS is considered with uttermost priority.

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Apology, compensation to unjustly convicted ‘murderer’

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

Publisher, Korir, API africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

The Norwegian government has issued an unqualified apology, together with USD 4m in compensation, to the now-dead Fritz Moen, who was sentenced for two murders he had not committed.

Moen served 18 years in prison for the murders of two young women, in one of Norways worst miscarriages of justice.

He was acquitted of one of the two murders while still alive, but died while the other was on appeal.

After Moen died, another Norwegian man admitted on his deathbed that he was the murderer of the two women.

Moen, who was nearly deaf and physically disabled, spent most of his life in a public institution. His right arm was paralyzed and psychiatrists had diagnosed him as psychotic.

Moen was born in 1941, an illegitimate child of the Nazi occupation. He had almost no contact with his parents throughout his life.

He was imprisoned for 18-and-a-half years for two murders and rapes, which took place in Trondheim in 1976 and 1977. His convictions were mostly based on his confessions during multiple interrogations, despite alibis and the presence of sperm from another person found in one of the cases.

Moen said during his appeals trial that he felt pressured by police investigators to admit to the murders.

The compensation money will be paid to the Conrad Svendsen Center and the Signo fund on behalf of Moen.

The Conrad Svendsen Senter operates homes and care for deaf and blind adults.

Norway’s justice minister, Knut Storbegerget, said: “I will tender an unqualified apology and regret in regard to Fritz Moen and those who were close to him, for the injustice he was subjected to.”

“There is no forgiving for so much suffering and injustice as Fritz Moen was subjected to,” said Storberget. “This must be avoided in the future.”

The Norwegian government had offered compensation of NOK 16m (USD 3m at today’s exchange rate) in March, which was not satisfactory to the Conrad Svendsen Senter and Signo, the inheritor of Moen. They had originally asked for NOK 28m.

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One-quarter of prisoners in Norway are foreigners

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Some 25 percent of prisoners in Norwegian jails are citizens of other countries than Norway.

This is a huge jump from 2003, when just 15 percent of the prisoners were non-Norwegians, reports Aftenposten.no.

For comparison, just 5 percent of those living in Norway are not Norwegian citizens.

The Justice Department report reveals that 683 prisoners began serving sentences in 2007, although the actual figure could be higher, as the report only counts sentences and doesnt include criminals who are directly transferred from arrest to imprisonment.

The list of nationalities in Norwegian jails is topped by Poland, Iraq, Lithuania, Sweden, and Somalia.

Less time for Norwegians
In general, non-Norwegians serve much longer sentences than Norwegian citizens. A large portion of them have been incarcerated for drug-related crimes, which tend to be relatively harshly punished.

Over 20 percent of the Norwegians behind bars were put there for drunk-driving related offences, which usually carry shorter sentences.

How the jailed foreigners came into Norway differs greatly by nationality. Some come from countries that don’t require a visa for entry, others had obtained work visas, and some entered illegally (without papers).

Some of the non-Norwegian prisoners are also asylum-seekers.

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Krekar can stay in Norway

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

After months of quiet diplomacy, the Norwegian government has given up on efforts to send former terrorist-group leader Mullah Krekar back to his homeland.

Mullah Krekar, shown here as he is sentenced to expulsion in 2007, will be allowed to stay in Norway because of human rights issues.

PHOTO: LLISE SERUD/SCANPIX

Krekar, who has been under an expulsion order after being determined a threat to Norway’s national security, initially came to Norway as a refugee from Iraq in the early 1990s.

It later emerged that he was the head of guerrilla group Ansar al-Islam and he repeatedly violated the terms of his asylum by travelling back to northern Iraq to lead guerrilla activities.

Krekar is the only person in Norway ever to have been sentenced to deportation because he is a danger to the countrys security.

However, Norway has not been able to deport Krekar because he faces the death penalty in his homeland. Norway will not extradite anyone if they are under threat of execution when they are returned to their country of origin.

Diplomatic efforts failed
Labour and Inclusion Minister Bjarne Hanssen has been trying to negotiate a way to carry out the deportation order, which was upheld by a Supreme Court decision, but his diplomatic efforts have failed, reports Aftenposten.no.

After meeting with the EU’s coordinator for anti-terrorist operations, Gilles de Kerchove, in Brussels during the last two days, Hanssen has concluded that the Norwegian government cannot come to an agreement with Iraq that will allow Krekar to be sent home safely.

This means Krekar will be allowed to stay in Norway indefinitely.

Satisfied with outcome
Mullah Krekars lawyer, Harald Stabell, is satisfied with the outcome. “An agreement for deportation would not have held up in relation to international regulations on human rights,” said Stabell to newspaper VG.

However, he notes that Krekar continues to be without rights in Norway and the deportation order remains in place.

Hanssen confirmed the decision to let Krekar stay, but said: “With the proviso that I assume the police will protect Norwegian citizens from a person that is regarded to be a danger to the countrys security.”

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Huge surprise gift to Doctors Without Borders

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

A wealthy Norwegian art dealer who died last week has left his entire art collection, worth about USD 40m, to the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders — and with no conditions attached.

Art dealer and collector Haaken Christensen has left his entire collection to humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders. Here, he is pictured at the opening of a new wing at the Henie-Onstad art centre outside of Oslo in 2003.

PHOTO: ARASH NEJAD/SCANPIX

The news came as a big surprise, since it was expected that the art collection of Haaken A Christensen would be donated to a prominent Norwegian art museum.

Christensen had previously given money to the Henie-Onstad art centre outside of Oslo for a new exhibition space, the Haaken Sal, which was opened in 2003.

Christensen had no close family and had also been donating to the Norwegian branch of Doctors without Borders on a regular basis, said his lawyer.

“He expressed great respect for this organization,” said the lawyer, explaining that Christensen was especially impressed by the minimal administration costs of Doctors Without Borders, meaning a maximum of resources reach those who need the help.

Christensen’s will did not specify how the collection, which includes five works by Picasso and one Matisse painting, should be sold or how the funds should be used. Doctors Without Borders has been given full charge, and the art collection will now most likely be sold off in parts or piece-by-piece.

“We are so grateful,” said emergency help coordinator Rakel Helen Ludviksen in Doctors Without Borders, Norway. “This gift can save tens of thousands of lives,” she said.

The gift is reportedly the largest that Doctors Without Borders has ever received and equals about 5 percent of its global annual budget in 2006.

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Cut from a rare stone

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

By Gladys Muraya

The world has made tremendous strides in breaking the walls of gender parity in many professions. However, to break the walls in a male dominated field is another achievement. But to win a highly coveted award in that field for one barely out of their teen calls for an applause. This is what defines the world of Catherine Wanjiru Kibui. The first impression one gets of Catherine is that of one with a shy demeanour. However, this quickly disappears when she begins to speak as she exudes confidence with a penetrating look that commands authority.

This must explain her quick rise up the ladder.

Never in her wildest dreams did Catherine, 22, imagine that she would become a guardette (a female security guard). She completed her high school at Gatanga Girls School in 2004 with hopes of becoming an air steward. Working as a cabin crew had been her long dream.

But she soon saw it dwindling when her parents failed to raise money for her college fees. With nothing to do she resigned herself to assisting them on the farm. After two years of farming, an opening for a matron at a nearby primary school came up. It was during this time that she saw an advertisement in a local daily by G4S Security Company seeking security guards. She made an application and was successful.

At the beginning of last year Catherine began working at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) where she went through induction. She was stationed at the screening area where people and luggage are vetted before getting into the building.

Here is where her interpersonal and communication skills were put to test for she was exposed to people from all walks of life. Within six months, she was promoted to the position of in-Charge, administering 45 guards. This responsibility sharpened her and gave her invaluable exposure.

Catherines day begins at 5.45 am ready for the morning parade at exactly 6.00 am. She then liaises with the KICC security on the days briefings, which is information on all the events, VIPs expected and any other visits of the day. Depending on the event, she may need to request for extra guards to be able to provide sufficient security.

KICC being the hub that it is for high profile meetings and events has been a perfect growing ground for Catherine.

“I need to be on my toes always and in complete awareness of all the goings on at the centre,” she explains.

Unlike other clients, the KICC security department works jointly with outsourced security, this being G4S. This makes it very easy for Catherine since they work as a team.

Another strong attribute of working at the conference centre is the high security systems that have been put in place. The KICC has the Close Circuit TV (CCTV), which is a fully-fledged department. Besides the screening area where the x-ray machine is used, Catherine has been able to work with other security devices like the magnetometer, which people walk through to detect if they have any explosives. The hand held metal detector, the belly scope that is used for motor vehicles and the laptop chain lock, which is an extremely handy device especially in a conference venue like KICC.

It is against this backdrop that Catherine was able to beat all the guards in her area of assignment when the gruelling duel for Guard Of the Year Award began. This propelled her to the district level where she met winners from the various districts. She sailed through without a hitch and faced other candidates at the branch level. Here again, she clinched a winner and entered the national level where she met three other finalists from Central, Nyanza and Coast provinces. In all the stages, they had to go through rigorous interviews and on the final day had to undergo a final one before a panel of five directors.

“They touched on almost everything but dwelt on the knowledge one had of the company and its products,” she says.

She confides that she was not surprised to hear her name called out as the Guard Of the Year (GOY) and believes that she is a notch higher in her profession and has proven to be a reliable worker.

She explains that she is always available and as flexible as possible. This, she says, is easy for her since she is single and has no family impediments.

GOY Award comes with a monetary reward, a badge and a promotion to supervisory level. She completely removes any doubts any woman may have of venturing into this line of work.

Guardettes, as the female guards are known, are now doubling up for most companies as receptionists as they carry out their routine security work. In particular cases this may involve checks on visitors before they can access the buildings.

It is not smooth sailing all through. Being a woman and a young woman at that makes Catherine be looked down upon by some of her charges. However, she does not let this get in the way but ensures she gets the job done.

Within a span of one year and three months, Catherine has been able to reach enviable heights and she believes it is not by chance but this is where she ought to be. Her immediate desire is to be able to take some classes to achieve her current dream of becoming an international security consultant.

One person who is not surprised by Catherines success is Dan Ateto, the KICC Security Manager. He describes her as an easy person to work with and train.

“Her discipline level is high and this being a paramount quality for success has steered her to where she is,” Ateto says.

He says Catherine displays strong leadership qualities, is a team player and has gentility that is a plus in her career.

Besides this, Ateto believes that the support she gets from her employer has also contributed to her success.

Here is a model example of a young woman who will not sit back and wallow in her misery. She has defied the odds and walked a path that many would shy away from. Many a youth should borrow a leaf from her, especially in these times of job scarcity.

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Envoy upbeat about prospects for prosperity in Great Lakes region

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.nosource.apa

The international conference on the Great Lakes Region has initiated new strategies on the peace process which would ensure economic prosperity in the region, said the conference executive secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, shortly after she opened a regional conference on understanding obstacles to peace in the region.

Ambassador Mulamula said on Saturday in Dar es Salaam that the region was doing well, save for a few countries which she said were still dogged by conflicts.

The Great Lakes region has a lot of untapped potentials which needs committed people to develop it, otherwise we will remain behind for ever, she warned.

She said lack of peace was one of the main reasons which retarded development in many countries and the conference would like to reverse the situation through peace agreements between political leaders.

Ambassador Mulamula urged researchers to continue proposing improved ways of overcoming conflicts in the region.

Researchers play a great role in the fight against conflicts in the region as no investment could be made without peace, she insisted.

For her part, the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania Janet Siddall said her country has been supporting the peace process in the region in order to bring social and economic development.

She said the Canadian government was ready to support the peace process in countries which had shown interest to do so.

Speaking earlier, the executive director of Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA) Bubelwa Kaiza said the conference was a result of a two-year research which was done by some researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam, the Great Lakes Peace and Security Network (PeSeNet), and ForDIA in six Great Lakes countries to look into sources of conflicts.

He said participants would discuss findings of the research and propose the best ways to reconcile or solve those conflicts which retard development in the countries.

The Great Lakes region has in recent years experienced political strife, armed conflict and population displacements with severe humanitarian consequences.

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Mozambique will not allow Zimbabwe bound arms ship to dock on its waters

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Mozambique will not allow a Chinese ship carrying arms for Zimbabwe to dock in its ports after a South African court refused to allow the weapons to be transported across its soil, a top official told APAon Saturday.

Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula said neither the Zimbabwean nor the Chinese authorities have yet made a request for it.

We are not going to allow it to dock anywhere in our waters, we have a clear ports policy which stipulates that such cargo needs a special treatment. We have not been contacted yet either by the Zimbabweans or the Chinese, but our Defense ministry is monitoring the situation the minister was quoted saying.

The ship, Yue Jiang, had been at anchor off Durban on South Africas Indian Ocean coast since Monday, turning into a flashpoint for trade unions and others critical of President Thabo Mbekis quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe.

We dont want war anywhere near us, and nobody likes it anyway, Zucula said.

On Friday, the 300,000-strong South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) refused to unload the weapons because of concerns that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabes government might use them against opponents in the post-election stalemate.

Zucula said Mozambique is monitoring the movements of the ship since it lifted anchor and left South Africa.

We know that it registered its next destination as Luanda (Angola) because here we would not allow it on Mozambican waters without prior arrangements, he said.

The ship and its cargo caused uproar across South African political parties, labour unions and non-governmental organisations, which believed the weapons would be used by Zimbabwes army to suppress supporters of Zimbabwes opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe held its elections three weeks ago and the results of the presidential poll have still not been released. However, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already proclaimed himself the victor over Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

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Morocco and France clinch several cooperation deals

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

The ninth high-level meeting between Morocco and France ended here late on Friday with the signing of 16 conventions and agreements in several areas of cooperation.

At the end of the meeting co-chaired by Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi and his French counterpart Franois Fillon, an inter-governmental protocol was signed whereby France provides a contribution in the form of a 75-million donation meant to finance the technical assistance of the studies for the construction of the high-speed train between Casablanca and Tangiers (north of the country).

The launch of this 350-km line, due to be built by French companies at a cost of about 2 billion is planned for 2009.

A financial protocol on a 150-million concessional loan to fund the rolling stock of the Rabat tramway due to start operating in 2010 was also signed by the two sides. This project is also won by French companies.

The French Development Agency signed three funding agreements with Morocco worth more than 100 million.

Two other conventions cover judicial support and on extradition were signed between the two countries justice ministries.

France further announced it would return to Morocco a FREMM frigate, “similar to those used by the French Navy”, people say in Rabat.

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Indian firm to invest U$1.9 billion in Mozambique for fertilizer production

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Indias state-run Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers (RCF) said it will embark on an ambitious investment project of U$$1.9 billion for setting up an ammonia-urea and phosphates plant in Mozambique.

RCF said in a brief statement released here on Saturday that its initiative is crucial especially when the countrys fertiliser industry is striving to survive due to rising subsidy burden and burgeoning raw material cost.

An RCF team had been to Mozambique to hold talks with the government authorities and companies like Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and FOSKOR.

“RCF will soon file an expression of interest for development of an ammonia-urea and phosphates plant in Mozambique”, reads the document.

The funding pattern of the proposed investment will be finalised in due course, adds the statement.

RCF has estimated an investment of $1.9 billion for mining purposes.

Rock mining could be undertaken by RCF, South Africas Industrial Development Corporation and the government of Mozambique.

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Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

The Paris Club of creditors have resolved to cancel more than 97percent of Liberias external debts negotiated under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, according to a press statement issued here Saturday.

The Liberian government in the statement says the debt waiver demonstrates the commitment of bilateral partners in supporting post-war Liberias reform agenda.

The Liberian government further noted that it was a demonstration of the confidence partners have for the future prospects for poverty reduction and development of Liberia.

Liberia owes an estimated US$4.7 billion to international partners.

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You are only as old as your hair

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Story by KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA

Our leaders are quickly learning to shed their years. Prime Minister Raila Odinga lost that look that used to make him seem like a cat that had dipped its mouth into a bowl of milk by dyeing his goatee and moustache.

Now he looks like a version of himself when he was being harassed by the Moi administration in the years after the 1982 failed coup attempt.

Call it camouflage, but it works. Image is everything. If you do not look young, you are not young.

After a while, the image grows on you. Prof Peter Anyang Nyongo used to be all grey some years back. Now, hardly a soul can remember those times. He is all virile and energetic, thanks in no small part to the dye. Then there is a tentative adapter to the whole hair-dye party in the name of former Finance minister Chris Okemo, whose erstwhile black hair has started turning black in small streaks. Very soon, his nutrition will be responsible for a whole new crop of black hair covering his entire head.

There are less austere measures, though, that also camouflage age with dignity and they involve a razor-blade and skill. Former President Daniel arap Moi decided that keeping short-cropped hair, and then losing it entirely kept him ageless. Former Vice-President Moody Awori would add a bit of shine to the scalp after the clean shave. Today, Regional Authorities minister Fred Gumo looks ageless

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Women want Thabo Mbeki disciplined

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Story by KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA

This week, I was blown away by a letter the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) wrote in Isindebele to the mother of South African President Thabo Mbeki: Dear Mother of Thabo, We greet you in the name of sisterhood and in our mother tongue (Isindebele). We are writing to you as mother of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe to ask for your help.

On Saturday, 12 April 2008, your child Thabo Mbeki came to Zimbabwe to meet Robert Mugabe. We dont know what they discussed or the real reason he came to Zimbabwe so we cannot comment about that but we want to comment about the words he used when he was leaving.

He said: There is no crisis in Zimbabwe. We find this has provoked us. Please correct him. Zimbabwe is in an economic, political and social crisis. We cannot afford three meals a day or even find the basic commodities to feed our children. The political crisis has been worsened by the recent election.

Although the polling day was peaceful, we have been annoyed by the refusal of Mugabe to release presidential results. Socially, the number of police in the streets and in our rural areas makes life very tense.

NaThabo (Mother of Thabo), please correct your son about these issues and tell him to refrain from disrespecting us by his comments.

Please discipline him before we have to do so.

our neighbours, Women of Zimbabwe Arise

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Succession war begins in earnest

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2008

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

Story by KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA

Within hours of completing the swearing in of the Cabinet on Thursday, President Kibaki began the slow journey into political irrelevance.

It is a journey that began with the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act and the Constitution Amendment Bill. The naming of the Cabinet and its swearing in are the final straw.

His predecessor, Mr Daniel arap Moi, held on for a little longer than usual by being evasive on whether or not he would seek a third term as president.

(He had already served four terms.) When he did accept that he was leaving, 2002 became a year of goodbyes.

He saw rebellion as he had never known it in his government, in his administration, in his party, in his family. Mr Kibaki cannot expect any better with a full four years to go.

Politics is an amazing thing. You can be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the most powerful man in the country, and yet have people behaving as though you do not exist.

The fact that Mr Kibaki is serving his final term as President makes him a lame duck. Within his Party of National Unity, a battle can be expected between those he has shown should succeed him and those who believe they deserve to be his heirs.

There are people keen to upstage him and show that the centre of gravity has shifted.

More important, foreigners and Kenyans with an eye on the future will not be interested in someone who needs to set up a foundation on economic revival.

In the competition to make Mr Kibaki irrelevant, you can expect to see more and more of the Prime Minister who takes to public attention like a duck to water. It does not help that Mr Kibakis style and Mr Odingas contrast like day and night.

If the energy Mr Odinga has exhibited in the past two days is anything to by, Kenya is in for very interesting times.

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African Press International – api

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