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Archive for April 22nd, 2008

Employers told to respect and listen to their workers

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

Story by Dickens Wasonga

The government want emloyers,especially those of the Asian descent to cultivate good working reletions between themselves and their employees.

Nyanza deputy PC Mr. David Irungu observed that the recent skirmishes exposed the deep sitted bad blood that exists between the workers and their empolyers.

The administrator recalled how some workers took advantage of the violence witnessed in Kisumu city to loot and in some cases helped the agacers to identify which firms to destroy.

Some of them helped looters to track down their employers even within the estates where they reside so as to settle scores which they had with them at their places of work.

Mr. Irungu told a workshop organised by the Kenya association of manufactures in a Kisumu hotel that the region had many pending labour related cases the bulk of which were reported by the employees.

Complaints have been raised in the past by workers especially the unskilled ones who feel they are being exploited by the Asians.

Such greivances range from being kept as casuals for many years,working long hours with no over time,working in poor conditions and high handedness.

Those who have fallen victims have accussed the ministry of labour officials of turning a blind eye on their suffering after being comromised.

The one day meeting to review progress made by KAM since late last year was attended by business community representatives and manufactures from the region.

The author Dickens Wasonga, is a freelance journalist in Kisumu, Kenya

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Africa at large: I support Obama to win only if he promises to leave Africa alone…(commentary)

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

<Story by Charles Onyango-Obbo.

Apart from a few people like former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, I have great difficulty finding politicians who excite me.

When the buzz about Kenya-descended US Senator Barack Obama started with his entry into the race to be the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, I didnt join the party. I checked with a long-time friend in the US, a deeply intelligent Clinton-leaning champion cynic whom it is difficult to fool, how he sized up Obama. He was unenthusiastic, telling me the man was untested, and for a politician of his age and background, disappointingly small-minded about free trade.

I knew Obama had a shot not just at bagging the Democratic Party nomination, but a bankable chance of winning the US presidency when two months ago, I asked the same friend in the US how the Democratic Party contest was going, and he replied, Obama is looking good. Then he revealed, with a lot of embarrassment on his part, that in fact he had contributed some money to the senators campaign! First I couldnt believe him, but it was enough to force me to give Obama a second look. After all, his ancestral home in Nyanza is just a river and a few hills away from our home in eastern Uganda.

So what will an Obama (Right photo speaking – seated is Raila Odinga, the newly appointed Premier)presidency mean for Africa? Or to be a little sectarian, for East Africa? There are quite a few people in Africa who believe that because he is black and his father was Kenyan, a President Obamas policies will favour Africa. In reality, it cant be that easy. A few years ago, I read an interview with the American singer Toni Braxton, at a time when she was the most happening musician. Towards the end, she was asked what it meant to be a successful artist in America.

She said that if you are a black woman, to survive in the American popular entertainment industry, you had to spend a lot of money on things few white women had to: For example, on very expensive hair extensions and weaves, and so on. It is tough being a black woman, she said.

If truth be told, it is tough being a black politician too. Not only America will judge Obama as a black man if he ever gets to be president, but Africa and the rest of the world too will do the same. If Obama fails, it wont be one man who fails. It will be every black person in the world. And one can imagine that there will be people who will say that it explains why Africa, with its Robert Mugabes, is in its current mess. It will be because we just cant hack it. Its a prospect thats enough to scare Africans who are thin-skinned about racism into praying for Obama to lose the Democratic party nomination.

That said, I think the best thing that would happen to Africa is for Obama to win the presidency and do absolutely nothing for the continent. In fact, it would be better if he adopted the most unfavourable policies towards Africa of any recent American president. That would be a shocker, but it would help clarify to Africa that, ultimately, politics is about interests, no matter your tribe or race. Right now, if a white president of a Western country refuses to send his army to stop genocide in some African country or to give money to feed the starving of Darfur, we all suspect that its racism at work.

But if Obama became president and did that, it would help many more see that the first duty of a leader is to take care of his or her own people. And Africa would finally appreciate that the world owes it nothing. That we have to feed and save ourselves.

*Charles Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Groups managing editor for convergence and new products.


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U.N. Boss Assures Liberia of Food Security

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

<Story by J. Cholo Brooks/Liberia
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday arrived in the country as guest of the United Mission here in Liberia.
He was met on arrival by the Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai at the Roberts International Airport.
Speaking at the Monrovia City Hall where he was presented with the keys to the city of Monrovia by Mayoress Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, the UN Boss thanked the people of Liberia and highlighted the historic importance of the city.
He told reporters in Monrovia in his own words, I am here in Liberia to support the country as a mark of my admiration and respect for the people of this country.
On the issue of food crisis in this West African State, the United Nations boss said, I am establishing a task force of eminent persons and experts to see how to tackle this particular issue urgently.
The Secretary-General, is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, and a delegation of senior UN officials, arrived in Monrovia on Monday evening from Accra, Ghana, where he had addressed the Twelfth UN Conference on Trade and Development.
Today he will address a joint session of the Legislature and also hold discussions with Vice-President Boakai and members of the Liberian Cabinet. He will also meet with UN staff and personnel serving in Liberia.

J. Cholo Brooks CEO Global News Network, Nic. -Publisher of The Star Newspaper- Website: Mobile Phone: +2316461010/+2315461010

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Cheruiyot wins his fourth Boston marathon

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

Written By:claire wanja

Kenya’s defending champion Robert Cheruiyot won his fourth Boston Marathon in six years on Monday.

Cheruiyot, 29, finished in an unofficial time of two hours, seven minutes and 46 seconds, followed in second place by Abderrahime Bouramdane in 2:09:04 and Khalid El Boumliliof Moroccothird 2:10:35.

Cheruiyot, the first Kenyan man to win four Boston Marathons after victories in 2003, 2006 and 2007, controlled the pace through the hilly Boston suburbs.

The 29-year-old Kenyan put distance between himself and a thinning pack of runners at about one-and-a-half hours into the race but slowed in the final stretch to miss by 32 seconds his own 2006 course record.

“It was a tough race. Boston is not that easy. The course is very difficult,” he told a news conference after winning the $150,000 winner’s prize and a likely chance to represent Kenya at the Beijing Olympics in August.

It was the 16th time since 1991 that a Kenyan has won the world’s oldest annually contested marathon.

The real drama was in the women’s field, where Tune and Russia’s Alevtina Biktimirova battled shoulder-to-shoulder through the final stages with both runners sprinting ahead of the other in the final yards in the closest finish in the history of the women’s race in Boston.

“I am happy to be winning in Boston,” said Tune, 22, who placed second in last year’s Olympic Commemoration Marathon in Nagano, Japan.

Biktimirova, 25, said she simply lacked enough power.

“I wanted to win very badly. I was fighting until the end,” she said. “In the end I just didn’t have enough speed.”

In the men’s race, Cheruiyot finished the 112th edition of the Boston Marathon in an official time of two hours, seven minutes and 46 seconds, in ideal race conditions with temperatures around 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius), partly cloudy skies and little wind.

Only one American finished in the top 10, Nicholas Arciniaga taking 10th place. The last American to win the Boston Marathon was Greg Myer in 1983.

No elite U.S. women runners entered this year because the race came a day after the nation’s top women competed in Boston for three spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

Deena Kastor, who won bronze at the 2004 Athens Games, won the U.S. Olympic women’s trials on Sunday, securing her spot at the Beijing Olympics.


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SADC countries praised for blocking Mugabe’s weapons from China

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

Story by C. Musonda

Countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) have been commended for not allowing their territories used as transit of military hardware the Zimbabwean government bought from China.

A Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, was not allowed on Mozambique waters last week while in South Africa the vessel was turned away and is reported heading for Angola in hope for docking.

On Sunday, Zimbabwe announced a further delay in a partial recount of the vote in the March 29 parliamentary election the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) declared to have out-rightly won.

The SADC chair and President of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa, said China could play a more useful role in the Zimbabwe crisis than supply the weaponry.

I hope this will be the case with all the countries because we dont want a situation which will escalate the situation in Zimbabwe more than it is, President Mwanawasa told reporters in Lusaka.

The SADC chairman said he was happy South Africa and Mozambique had refused to have the weapons off-loaded on their territories saying the answer to the situation in Zimbabwe was dialogue.

The vessel, An Yue Jiang, left South African waters Friday after the court declined permission of transporting the arms across that country.


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Jostling for top parastatal jobs intensify

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

<Story by Jeff Otieno, Kisumu – Kenya

After the formation of the Grand Coalition Cabinet a fortnight ago between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the quest for plum positions is in top gear.

Interestingly and surprisingly, those nurturing ambitions for the said slots in both camps (ODM and
PNU) shouldnt expect monuments but should exhibit tolerance and team work for the marriage to survive, according to documents sneaked to this scribe.

It is imperative to note that key personalities in the government had got their contracts extensions a year before the general elections were called in what keen political pundits have attributed to tactical antics by the PNU brigades.

At Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Chairman Leonard M.J Mwangola was appointed in January 4th 2007, his term is to expire in January 3rd 2010. Commissioner General Michael Waweru was appointed on March 4th 2006 and his term is to expire 3rd March 2009. Other members like Mildred A. Awuor were appointed January 4th 2007 and expiry of her contract is January 3rd 2010. Another member Hosea S.K Kepkemoi was appointed on January 4th 2007 and expiry of his term is January 3rd 2010.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Prof. Njuguna Ndungu was appointed on 4th March 2007 and his contract expires on 3rd March 2011. His deputy Jacinta Wanjala Mwatela got her appointment letter 12th may 2005 and her contract expires on 11th May 2008. Members Nicholas Alexander Nesbitt was appointed on 28th September 2006 and his term expires on 27th September 2010 while Joseph Kahora was appointed on 28th September 2006 and his contract expires on 27th September 2010. Other members Agnes Wanjiru was appointed on 4th January 2007 and term expires on 3rd
January 2010 and finally Wanza Kioko was appointed on 4th January 2007 and the term is expected to expire on 3rd January 2010.

National Aids Control Council (NACC) chairperson Prof. Miriam K. Were was appointed 3rd March 2006 and her contract expires on 2nd march 2009. Director Prof. Alloys S.S Orago was appointed on 11th February 2007 and his term expires on 10th February 2010.

At the Consolidated Bank of Kenya, Chairperson Eunice W. Kagane was appointed 4th January 2007 and her term expires on 3rd January 2010. The managing Director David Ndegwa was appointed on July 1st 2007 and his term expires on 30th June 2010. Director Cleopa K. Mailu was appointed on 4th January 2007 and the contract expires on 3rd January 2010. Alloyce S.B Ayako another director was appointed on 4th January 2007 and his term expires on January 3rd 2010 and lastly Director Sellomith L. Bobooti got his appointment on January 4th 2007 and the contract expires on January 3rd 2010.

At the financially crippling and corruption plagued Chemelil Sugar Company, the managing director Prof. Julius Nyabundi was appointed on 19th june 2006 and the contract expires a few weeks to come on 18th June 2008. Sources confided to this journalist that Nyabundis chances to get a new contract are dwarf due to what they term as highhandedness to workers and arrogance to farmers. The rest of the members have their contracts extended up to 2009.

Another sugar outfit Sony Sugar Company, industrious chairman Herbert Ojwang was appointed on December 7th 2006 and his contract expires on 6th December 2009. His other members like Olali Philip, Andrew Oyach and William Sankal have got their contracts extended up to 2009. The only member Richard Birir Bwogo is the only one who has ended his term. He was appointed on
November 15th 2004 and his contract expired last year November 14th 2007.

At the lucrative Kenya Pipeline, pragmatic managing Director George J. Okungu was appointed in November 2004 and his contract expired in November 2007. But sources within the government circles confided to this journalist that Okungu stands to get his contract renewed due to his unrivalled track record to make the oil outfit vibrant after taking over from his predecessor Shem Ochuodho. His member J.M Mathenge was appointed on March 25th 2006 and his contract expires
on 24th March 2009. Jackson Mwalulu was appointed on March 25th 2006 and his contract expires on 24th March 2009.

National Oil Corporation of Kenya is the only place with a vacancy. It will be interesting to see how both camps will scavenge for one of their own to get the MDs position same to Pyrethrum Board of Kenya which to date has no MD.

At the lucrative Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), eloquent and industrious MD Dr. Ongonga Achieng credited for transforming the industry which has suffered from adverse publicity from foreign press was appointed on 6th November 2003 and his contract was extended late last year until November 2009.

Major General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana chairman Kenya Ports Authority was appointed on 10th August 2005 and his term expires on 10th August 2008. Communications Commision of Kenya Director General John Waweru was appointed on 11th May 2005 and his term expires on 12th May 2008.

At the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), presidents long time ally George Kamau Muhoho was appointed on March 26th 2006 and his term expires on 25th March 2009.

Pyrethrum Board of Kenya is the only outfit where the directors term of office will all expire in 19th June 2008 and this is where both divides are slated to hoover around in.


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Kenya: Muthaura survived from being dropped as PS, despite his age

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

Everybody expected him to go but Kibaki decided otherwise. The president, by doing so, has shown his trust towards Muthaura and wants him to be around for sometime in order to continue taming the ODM new-comers who think a government is run as in active politicking where one can say things but does not have the responsibility to follow up.

19 new PSs named as Muthaura remains


President Kibaki has appointed 19 new Permanent Secretaries and dropped nine others as he put final touches to the grand coalition government unveiled last week.

Francis Muthaura Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of Public Service

The team will be headed by long-serving Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, who was widely expected to retire from the Civil Service on account of his age.

Also notable is the return of Dr Mohamed Isahakia to public service as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Ministers Office. Dr Isahakia has been Personal Secretary to Prime Minister Raila Odinga at his Pentagon office and was a key member of the ODM team that negotiated sharing of Cabinet positions in the grand coalition government.

The line-up seemed to reward party loyalty as some of those appointed played a key role in the General Election as well as events that followed the disputed presidential election results.

Also in the team are university professors from the public universities, including a deputy vice-chancellor.

The 19 new PSs are among a total of 56 appointees who include key sectional secretaries in the government, the State House Comptroller Hyslop Ipu, Investment Secretary Esther Koimett, Economic Secretary Dr Kamau Thuge and Financial Secretary Mutua Kilaka, who have all retained their jobs.

But contrary to speculation some of those who have attained the retirement age of 55 years were retained in the new line-up.

Those dropped were Dr Gerishon Ikiara of Transport, Cyrus Gituai of Internal Security, Solomon Boit of Local Government, Mahboub Mohamed of Water and Irrigation, Zachary Mwaura of Defence and Ms Joyce Nyamweya who was in charge of Structural Reforms.

Others are Mrs Rachael Arunga of Special Programmes, Rachael Dzombo of Gender, Sports and Social Services and Alice Mayaka of Home Affairs.

Instead, he appointed Mr Francis Kimemia, who has been a deputy secretary, the new Internal Security PS while Mr Kenneth Lusaka, the Muranga South District Commissioner, was named the Secretary, Provincial Administration.

Mr Abdulrazak Aden Ali, the Managing Director of Uaso Nyiro Development Authority, will be the new PS at Transport while Mr Samuel Kirui, a former Telkom managing director, is the new Local Government PS.

Ms Nancy Kirui has been switched from Home Affairs to Defence and her place taken by Dr Ludeki Chweya, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi who has lately been consulting for the government on political issues.

Global award

Ms Nyamweyas position has been taken over by Mr Richard Ndubai who has been instrumental in civil service reform and is credited with the civil service global award that the government won last year.

The surprise retentions include Energy PS Patrick Nyoike, Prof Karega Mutahi of Education and Dr David Stower of Water and Irrigation. They are all said to be past retirement age.

The new PS for Labour is Ms Beatrice Naliaka Wasike, a PNU supporter who was dropped from being nominated to Parliament in preference for former Local Government minister Musikari Kombo.

The Director of Medical Services, Dr James Nyikal, has been elevated to PS Public Health and Sanitation and his place taken by his deputy, Dr Francis Kimani.

The new PS for National Heritage and Culture, Mr Seno Nyakenyanya, is a former diplomat and lately deputy secretary in the ministry of Youth Affairs.

Dr Silas Njiru, the new PS for Trade, has been working for the African Development Bank in Tunisia. He previously worked for the government.

The PS Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Amina Mohammed, has been Kenyas Permanent Representative in Geneva, Switzerland.

Been teaching

The new Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Industrialisation is Prof John Krop Lonyangapuo, who has been teaching Mathematics at the University of Nairobi.

The PS Gender and Children Development, Ms Leah Adda Gwiyo, is a career civil servant who was a senior deputy secretary in the Public Service Commission.

The trend of creating Secretaries to head key departments in ministries continued as more were appointed, including Mr Daniel Maanzo, the chairman of ODM-Kenya to head Sports.

Mr Gideon Mulyungi, the chairman of the Architectural Association of Kenya, is the Secretary for Works while Dr Kithure Kindiki, the head of Public Law at the University of Nairobi, is the Secretary for National Cohesion.

Others in the same category are: Prof George Godia, in Education and Prof Abdirazak Shaukat who has been a deputy vice-chancellor at Egerton University and has been appointed Secretary National Council for Science and Technology.

Others appointed Secretaries are: Mr Caroli Omondi (PMs Office, Administration), Mr Simon Chacha Nyangi (External Trade), Mr Said Athman (Culture), Prof Jacqueline Oduol (Gender and Children), Mr John Ndirangu Maina (Nairobi Metropolitan, Physical Planning), Dr Julius Monzi Muia (National Economic and Social Council) and Mr Sam Mwale, who is the Principal Administrative Secretary in OP.


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ODM loses out to PNU: No 50/50 on the appointments of Permanent Secretaries and ambassadors

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

It was known to many. There was no way Kibaki was going to accept to be dictated by ODM when the government was going to appoint the PSs and diplomats. ODM wanted to politicise everything but they have now seen the reality and must face it as a party with mature leadership.

May be ODM will again call for mass demonstrations because of loosing out to PNU on this. ODM is a party known to enjoy demonstrating every time things does not go their way. This time however, Ruto and Raila are busy in the ministries and may not have time to rally their supporters. Ruto is busy with the farmers. He shouldlsknow that farmers demonstrate when prices are high so he will have to be ready to deal with that in the near future. He will be on the receiving end.

For Raila, who asked Mungiki to go to round table talks, it was a shock to see that when Mungiki people went to him they were teargassed by police and Raila has not come out to condemn that.

President Kibaki retains 24 PSs

By Ben Agina

President Kibaki slightly tinkered with the Civil Service as The Standard exclusively reported on Sunday, retaining at least five PSs, who should have been retired, among them Mr Francis Muthaura, as he sought to keep the sector intact.
A career diplomat and civil servant, Muthaura will now be expected to oversee the delicate transition process as Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet. The President also retained Prof Karega Mutahi (Education), Mr Patrick Nyoike (Energy), Mr Joseph Kinyua (Finance), Mr David Stower (Water and Irrigation) and Mr Wanjuki Muchemi (Solicitor-General).
Up to 24 permanent secretaries from the old dispensation were retained.

In the changes that took Kibaki one more step into concluding the formation of the Grand Coalition Government, the Head of State dropped Mr Cyrus Gituai (Internal Security), Mr Gerishon Ikiara (Transport), Mr Zachary Mwaura (Defence), Ms Rachel Arunga (Special Programmes), Ms Rachel Dzombo (Sports) and Mr Mahboub Maalim (Water).
The position of Advisor/Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, previously held by Mr Stanley Murage, was scrapped. His name did not feature in the new line up.
Last night, there were at least three clear signs of direct political influence in the appointments by President Kibaki and the Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga.

Raila appeared to have pushed for the elevation of Dr Mohammed Isahakia as PS in the PMs office and Mr Caroli Omondi, who becomes Administration Secretary in the same office.

Isahakia served as ODM head of secretariat and personal assistant to Raila, while Omondi was the liaison officer for the Orange party at the mediation talks. He is also understood to be a benefactor of the party.

University of Nairobi don, Dr Ludeki Chweya, may also not shake off the political appointee tag, having been in PNUs think-tank in the campaigns and electioneering period last year. He is now the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of State for Home Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President.

ODM-Kenyas Mr Daniel Maanzo was also rewarded after waging a war of attrition with party boss and Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, over the failure to nominate him to Parliament.

The extent of consultation between Kibaki and Raila in picking the new-look Civil Service remained unclear. It came ahead of a crucial meeting today between the two leaders and Rift Valley MPs, where there were loud murmurs over the manner in which the coalition Cabinet was picked.

In the new line up, Ms Nancy Kirui replaces Mwaura at Defence, while Mr Francis Kimemia takes over the mantle from Gituai at Internal Security and Provincial Administration.

Former DC, Mr Kenneth Lusaka, is the Secretary in charge of Administration in the Internal Security ministry. The head of Presidential Press Service (PPS) has also been elevated from a directorship to the level of Permanent Secretary. Mr Isaiah Kabira stays in charge.

There were no changes at the Ministry of Finance as Mr Joseph Kinyua is still the PS, Mr Mutua Kilaka (Finance Secretary), Ms Esther Koimett (Investment Secretary) and Dr Kamau Thuge (Economic Secretary).

The Public Communications Secretary and Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, was also retained.

Former Director of Medical Services, Dr James Nyikal, was promoted to PS in the Public Health and Sanitation ministry. The new DMS is Dr Francis Kimani.

In the Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture, the PS is Mr Seno Nyakenyanya, while the Secretary of Culture is Mr Said Athman.

Also rewarded after her name was removed from the Ford-Kenya nomination list to Parliament is Ms Beatrice Naliaka Wasike, who is now the PS in the Ministry of Labour. Mr Murugu Kinuthia has been retained in the Youth and Sports ministry.

The PS in the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 is Dr Edward Sambili. Mr Titus Ndambuki has also retained his position in the Ministry of State for Public Service. Permanent Secretary, Public Sector Reforms and Performance Contracting is Mr Richard Ndubia.

In the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Trade, the PS is Mr Silas Njiru, while the Secretary of External Trade is Mr Simon Chacha Nyangi.

Former Telkom Managing Director, Mr Samuel Kirui, is now the PS in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government. Mr Kirui takes over from Mr Solomon Boit who was dropped.

Mr David Nalo is now the East African Community PS, while Mr Thuita Mwangi has been retained in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minsitry has a new PS in Ms Amina Mohammed. She replaces Ms Dorothy Angote, who has been moved to the Ministry of Lands in the same capacity.

Dr Kithure Kindiki becomes the Secretary, National Cohesion.

The former Chief Architect at the Ministry of Public Works, Mr Philip Onyango, has been promoted to PS in the new Ministry of National Metropolitan Development. The Secretary of Physical Planning in the ministry is Mr John Ndirangu Maina.

Mr Michael Kamau has been confirmed as the PS Ministry of Roads. The PS of Public Works is Mr Mark Bor, while Mr Gideon Mulyungi is the Secretary of Works.

The Ministry of Transport has a new PS in Mr Abdulrazak Aden Ali, replacing Mr Gerishon Ikiara who has been retired.

The PS for Water and Irrigation is Mr David Stower. He has been taken back to his old ministry after a stint at the Ministry of Regional Development.

Dr Bitange Ndemo has been retained as the PS of the Information and Communication ministry, while Mr Patrick Nyoike remained at the Ministry of Energy.

The PS in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife is Mr Kombo Mwero, while his counterpart at the Ministry of Livestock Development is Dr Jacob ole Miaron.

Other retained in their positions are Prof James ole Kiyiapi (Environment and Mineral Resources), Ms Rebecca Nabutola (Tourism), Dr Romano Kiome (Agriculture), Prof Karega Mutahi (Education), Prof Crispus Kiamba (Higher Education, Science and Technology), Mr Tirop Kosgey (Housing), Mr Emannuel Kisombe (Immigration and Registration of Persons) and Mr Wanjuki Muchemi (Solicitor-General).

Prof Micheni Ntiba is the PS in the Ministry of Fisheries Development, while Mr Carey Orege, who was formerly Chief Engineer Roads, is the PS in the Ministry of Regional Development Authorities.

The PS Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands is Dr Hukka Wario, while PS Ministry of Industrialisation is Prof Krop Lonyangapuo. The Secretary for Industrialisation is Dr John Musonik.

The PS for Special programmes is Mr Ali Dawood.

The Ministry of Gender and Children Development PS is Ms Leah Adda Gwiyo, while Prof Jacqueline Oduol is the Secretary for Children Affairs.

Mr Hyslop Ipu remains the Private Secretary/Comptroller of State House, while Dr Julius Monzi Muia is the Secretary, National Economic and Social Council.

The principal Administrative Secretary in the Cabinet Office is Mr Sam Mwale.


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Rift Valleys MPs vow to pull the strings in IDP resettlement – a headache for the government

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

Storm as Kibaki, Raila meet Rift Valley MPs

Standard Team

Intensifying agitation for an opposition, simmering discontent over the Cabinet and a potentially explosive IDP resettlement agenda could push President Kibaki and Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga, back into the eye of another storm a bit too soon.

The bad news is that the three issues appear intertwined and if badly handled, the potent mixture could torpedo the fragile coalition Government cobbled together to haul the country out of a crippling post-election crisis.

If discontent over the manner in which the Cabinet was picked causes a fallout in sections of the Rift Valley where the loudest rumbles were felt in the South Rift at the weekend this could directly affect the resettlement of IDPs, who are mostly in camps in the expansive province.

President Kibaki and Raila need the goodwill of Rift Valley leaders and residents if resettling IDPs is to be tackled.

But both have been at the centre of sustained attacks over the manner in which they picked the Cabinet, with claims that they sidelined certain regions, which voted for them overwhelmingly in the last General Election.

However, the presidential vote became the subject of a dispute that plunged the country into a crisis that necessitated international intervention and mediation efforts to reach a political settlement.

The messages of discontent could further deepen suspicion and mistrust and transfer hostilities to a meeting that will today bring together President Kibaki, Raila and Rift Valley leaders at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) today to try and break the ice over the IDPs crisis.

Sources told The Standard that the meeting, which will be attended by the regions MPs, would discuss “security matters”, post-election violence, which rocked the Rift Valley, and IDPs. Agriculture minister and Eldoret North MP, Mr William Ruto, had hinted at the meeting expected to start at 10am at the weekend.

The President and the Prime Minister held a two-hour meeting at Harambee House yesterday to chart the agenda of todays meeting whose invitations were made by Government Chief Whip and Juja MP, Mr George Thuo.

But todays meeting is likely to be mired in difficulties because President Kibaki and Raila will be seeking the co-operation and goodwill of dissatisfied MPs to push the reconciliation and resettlement agenda.

On his part, Raila underlined his commitment in resolving the IDP issue. But even as he articulated this position, Keiyo leaders in the North Rift, a region seen to have taken the lions share of ODMs Cabinet slots compared to the South Rift, also grumbled that they had been given a raw deal.

Keiyo North MP, Mr Lukas Chepkitony of ODM, warned that the community would withdraw its support, saying: “We are giving Raila two conditions to meet urgently more slots in the Cabinet and key positions in the Civil Service.”

He said the community had previously been used to at least one Cabinet slot and felt left out of the coalition Government as none of the communitys leaders was appointed.

“We had Hon. Nicholas Biwott in the Cabinet throughout his stay in Parliament. When a wind of change swept him aside, at least somebody from the community should have been appointed to replace him. We have been reduced to mere passengers in the Government,” lamented Chepkitony.

In picking the Cabinet, Kibaki and Raila appeared to have been more inclined to political expediency in the hope that this would satisfy most if not all of the diverse political interests that supported them in last years General Election.

The result was a bloated Cabinet of 40, an additional burden to already overstretched taxpayers. And the two leaders still seem to have failed to satisfy everyone.

Yesterday, backbenchers added to the storm when they opened another front that could see Parliament become another battlefield on a year that constitutional review and other far-reaching reforms are expected to top Government agenda.

Seventy-five MPs drawn across the parties signed a petition to the Speaker of the National Assembly asking him to recognise them as the Grand Official Opposition.


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Uproar in the Kenya parliament

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

75 MPs sign for Opposition

By Joseph Murimi
Seventy-Five MPs have signed a petition to the Speaker of the National Assembly to recognise them as the Grand Official Opposition.
The MPs, drawn from different parties, said they constituted themselves as the Grand Official Opposition because of the desire by the Kenyan people to have an official opposition in Parliament.
Igembe South MP, Mr Mithika Linturi, who is behind the drive, says 75 MPs have since signed the petition and five more are expected to join them by the end of the week.

He said Kenyans had expressed the need to have an opposition to check on the excesses of the Coalition Government that was sworn-in last week.

Linturi, in the petition, says there is need for an official opposition to check the Executive so that Parliament is not used like a rubber stamp.

He said the 75 MPs were not pushing for the opposition after failing to make it to the Cabinet.

Linturi said MPs would push for the recognition of an opposition using all means.

“Saying we are reacting because of missing out in the Cabinet is not true. These are extraordinary times in our country and there is huge risk of operating without an opposition, Linturi said.

He started the debate in Parliament seeking to have the Grand Official Opposition recognised.

He said no matter how well meaning any Government is, there is need to ensure there are checks and balances and individuals playing the watchdog role.

The MP said the media cannot play the watchdog role alone.

The petition to the Speaker says in part, “ in view of the desire by the Kenyan people to have an Official Opposition in Parliament, the following Honourable Members wish to constitute themselves as the Grand Official Opposition.

But the MPs have an uphill task because the Standing Orders do not recognise individuals as the Official Opposition.

The rules only recognise a party that has a minimum of 30 members.

The MPs are pushing for a change of the Standing Orders so that they can be recognised as the Grand Official Opposition, the same way the law was changed to allow for a Coalition Government.

There were murmurs of disapproval after President Kibaki announced the Cabinet.

Those who were left out claimed that they had been short-changed.

Many, including the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, saw the drive for the formation of an official opposition as a reaction by those left out of the Coalition Cabinet.

He argued that one does not need to be in the opposition to offer constructive criticism of the Government.

The Speaker has already ruled that Parliament would for the time being be without Official Opposition because the one suggested by the MPs is not legally recognised.


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Ethiopia breaks diplomatic relations with Qatar

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api source.apa

The Government of Ethiopia on Monday announced that it has broken off its long-standing diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Ethiopias decision stems from an accusation that Qatar was supporting terrorist elements in the country and “which could destabilize the region as a whole,” the statement explained.

This decision has been taken after long observation of Qatars activities in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia has displayed considerable patience towards Qatars attempts to destabilize our sub-region and, in particular, its hostile behavior towards Ethiopia.

Ethiopia urged the African Union (AU) Commission to examine “the implication of this situation in the interest of the Africa-Arab cooperation,” the statement further said.

Qatars ostensibly maverick political alliances might be regarded as innocuous. They are not. Its image is misleading. Qatars activities have far-reaching consequences for the whole of Africa.

Ethiopia also accused Qatar of providing direct and indirect assistance to terrorist organizations in Somalia and other areas where Ethiopian troops are fighting against Islamist forces.

Ethiopia however indicated that it has raised the issues with the Government of Qatar on a number of occasions, but that the Qatari authoritieis have alway “paid deaf ears to all of our efforts.

APA was however unable to get Qatars reaction since the country has no embassy in Addis Ababa.


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Mogadishu residents bury victims Monday amidst uneasy calm

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api source.apa

An estimated 70 persons were killed during the weekend fighting in the Somali capital, between Ethiopian troops which back the Transitional Federal Government forces and the Islamic insurgents, sources confirmed Monday.

Eyewitness Aden Haji Yusuf, 60, said as they recovered the bodies on Monday of their neighbors killed in the fighting, there was still gunfire raging from a distance.

On Sunday, the Ethiopians allegedly surrounded the Al-hidaya Mosque and killed 10 mullahs including Sheikh Said, the chief of the group in southern Somalia, said Shiekh Abdi-kheyr Isse, a member of the group.

Faduma Ahmed, a mother of six children and resident of the capitals main livestock markets where the fighting was raging said Ethiopian tanks were still stationed in the area and feared that the insurgents could launch a counter attack.

According to doctors and local residents nearly 100 others are being treated in the hospitals, but a rights organization (Elman) has put the figure at 81, all of them civilians.

Early on Monday, hundreds of civilians could be seen fleeing the area on donkeys, on foot or by car fearing reprisals and renewed fighting.


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Rwanda takes complaints against Spanish indictments to AU

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api source.apa

With regards to the recent indictments by a Spanish judge of 40 senior Rwandan military officials, the Rwandan government has now taken its complaints to the African Union.

The Rwandan minister of Justice and Attorney General, Justice Tharcisse Karugamara, has recently been in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital to explain the Rwandan case to a meeting of African justice ministers, and seek support from his fellow African leaders, in what he termed as a new neo-colonial foreign aggression against African countries.

We have taken our case to AU justice ministers because of this typical arrogance and abuse by some western powers who are in cohort with some genocide deniers. The ministers have taken a decision, Karugarama said in Kigali on Monday.

Earlier this year, Judge Fernando Andreu of Spains National Court issued indictments targeting 40 senior Rwandan military officers on charges of “genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism”. President Paul Kagame was also a subject in the case but cannot be tried owing to presidential immunity.

Several senior Rwanda officials, including President Kagame and some opposition party leaders have strongly condemned the Spanish judge, calling the indictments bogus and lacking merit in law.

The Spanish indictments issued based on the “universal jurisdiction” that is enjoyed by some judges in the west, were made following similar ones by another French judge Jean Louis Bruguiere in 2006.

In a declaration after a meeting of African ministers of justice and attorneys general over the weekend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, slammed these and other indictments to African leaders, saying it is an attack on the sovereignty of states.

“The abuse of the principle of “universal jurisdiction” by some non-African states is a great affront to sovereignty of states,” reads a draft declaration signed by the ministers.

The ministers, as a result, instructed the Commission of the African Union to carry out a study and make recommendations to be considered during the next session.


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UN disburses $6m for post-conflict reconstruction in G/Bissau

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api source.apa

The United Nations has approved 6 million dollars (about 2.5 billion CFA francs) to Guinea-Bissau as part of support for reconstruction in post-conflict countries, sources has confirmed.

Among other things, the fund will also help rebuild the army, police and public administration as well as create health and educational infrastructure including youth-focused projects.

The fund is the first portion of the amount requested by Guinea-Bissau among its assessed financial needs between 35 and 50 million dollars.

Prime Minister Martinho Dafa Cabi recently handed over the list of funding priority areas to members of the United Nations Commission for Peace-building in Guinea-Bissau

The West African nation is the third country after Sierra Leone and Burundi to benefit from the fund the United Nations established in 2005 to help countries emerging from armed conflict revive their economies and rebuild their destroyed infrastructure.

Nearly 9 years after the end of civil war (June 1998-May 1999), Guinea-Bissau is yet to recover from the conflict, which has destroyed virtually all the basic infrastructures and severely crippled the economy.


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US urges Arab support for Iraq

Posted by African Press International on April 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api source.aljazeera

The US secretary of state says that Iraq’s leaders are more united than ever [EPA]
The US is asking Iraq’s neighbours to back statements of support for Baghdad with money and political moves, claiming an improvement in the level of violence in Iraq.
Iraq and its US backers intend to make a case for debt relief and symbolic steps, such as visits to Baghdad by diplomats, at a meeting on Monday of Gulf Arab officials in Bahrain.

No Arab state currently has a permanent embassy in the Iraqi capital.
Iran is also to be discussed at the two-day meeting attended by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state. A larger gathering of Arab states and Iraq’s international backers is planned for Tuesday in Kuwait.

Focus on Iran

Rice began her three-day Middle East trip with a visit to Baghdad on Sunday, where she said she was encouraged despite a recent surge in fighting.
Rice has been making the case that majority-Shia Iraq is an Arab state, with an Arab identity that deserves solidarity from its majority-Sunni neighbours.
The Bush administration is arguing that although Iran has influence inside Iraq, Sunni states nervous about Iran’s spreading influence in the Middle East should not use that as an excuse to give Iraq the cold shoulder.
Few excuses
Speaking on Sunday in Baghdad, Rice challenged Arab states to respond to security improvements and political advances in Iraq, saying that there are now few excuses left for delay.

She said she would make the case that much has changed inside Iraq in the past year, in part due to the presence of additional US troops and also to what she says is growing political cohesion among Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic factions.

“Adjustments are going to have to be made,” in the way Arab states regard Iraq, she said.
Monday’s developments came as six people died in clashes in Baghdad’s Sadr City.
A police commander said the dead in the predominantly Shia district of the capital included three policemen and three civilians.
Four other civilians were injured in the fighting, according to the officer.
Al-Maliki’s comments
For his part, Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, who will attend the Kuwait conference, told The Associated Press news agency on Monday that he would speak frankly to Arab diplomats.
“There are countries that support the political process and are opening embassies here,” he said, a reference to unfulfilled pledges from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
“We need the others to open embassies here, too. There are some nations that don’t recognise our political process and … are inciting strife. “I am bewildered by the position of these nations.”
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