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Archive for April 23rd, 2008

Kenyan ministers get millions in salaries, but do not attend to parliamentary duties

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

When they recently lobbied to be included in the cabinet, most MPs knew if appointed they will cash in on huge salaries. Those who were named into the cabinet promised that Kenyans that they will serve the country and give priority to the people. Now after getting appointed, they do not even attend to parliament motions that benefit the people.

It is reported that most of them are hanging around Nairobi hotels lunching and meeting friends to enjoy with them the afternoons swimming in alcohol beverages.

Some of the male ministers were cited with concubines in city hotels while their wives are languishing at the country-side

PARLIAMENT: Ministers skip debate on 2000/01 PAC report

It was a new Parliament indulging in an old ritual.

Mr Kilonzo

The House engaged in age-old practice of discussing reports of its watchdog committees whose recommendations have long been overtaken by events.

Perhaps confirming the dangers of delaying to appoint members to its various committees, members took more than three hours debating Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report for 2000/2001 financial year.

There were two problems with that. One, some of the people negatively mentioned in the report spanning the Eighth Parliament have died, long retired, quit the civil service or joined elective politics.

Another anomaly with the 550-page dossier prepared by PAC in September 2004 is that all but three of the 11-member team made it back to Parliament in the last General Election. They are deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Ekwee Ethuro (Turkana Central, PNU) and Energy assistant minister Charles Keter.

In essence, the report faces the ignoble fate of the irony of the missing witnesses. This is because Mr Kenyatta is in the Government and according to House rules will not be expected to defend it. That leaves only Mr Ethuro who initiated debate on the report yesterday to defend its contents and recommendations.

Other members of the PAC that compiled the report after holding 83 sittings were former MPs Joseph Lagat, Norman Nyagah, Kirugi MMukindia, Kembi Gitura, Adelina Mwau, Koigi wa Wamwere, Zebedeo Opore and Billow Kerrow.

The 2000-2001 report, just like many before it, expresses gave concern on Kisii-Chemosit Road which was poorly designed and executed.

Hence the road that was to cost the taxpayer Sh146,492,302 had by November 2004 spent Sh1.8 billion and it was still incomplete, the report says.

PAC recommends that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate the project with a view to establishing whether the Government got value for money and prosecuting any persons involved in embezzlement of public funds.

And Cabinet ministers were criticised for failing to attend the afternoon sitting during debate on PAC report.

Took issue

Temporary deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar took issue with the ministers, who were sworn-in last week, for failing to take the august House seriously.

Said the temporary deputy Speaker: The absence of ministers reduces the importance of debate and I appeal to ministers to show interest in the 2000-2001 PAC report.

By then, there were 28 members 12 on the Opposition benches and 16 on the Government side when debate was concluded and the report endorsed after none of them stood to contribute at 5.20pm, forcing Prof Kamar to adjourn the House one hour and 10 minutes early.

The two ministers present were Mr Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan Development) and Mr Mohamed Elmi (North Eastern and Arid and Semi-Arid Development).

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Pathological thief: Arrested & released in Kisumu – Kenya

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Shem Kosse.

A Kisumu police recently nabbed and released under questionable circumstances, a man who is largely known as a serial thief, after he had allegedly stolen over half a million in one of the leading restaurant-cum-casino, in the lakeside city of Kisumu.

Edward Oduor Osula, who was a cahier with the Vault restaurant-casino, situated off the prestigious Oginga Odinga Street opposite Central Square is suspected for having made away with a staggering khs534 thousand on 6th of April 2008.The money was in hard cash.

The bulky Edward, 34, interestingly, reported to work the following day as usual. And he escaped in an alarming speed in full glare of the staff when the management uncovered the incident and dared questioned him over the same, thus treating Kisumu pedestrians to a free drama as he was speeding off.

The management was shocked beyond disbelief to learn later that the suspect, Edward, who was on the run, had been arrested and released without the management knowledge:

How comes they arrest and let him free without informing me as a complainant to go certify if indeed he is the right person! thundered Mrs. Khadija Konzolo, Managing Director of the said business outfit.

The bespectacled Khadija added that its amazing that all this is happening and yet two of the staff members-Emmanuel Konzolo and Robert Kimeli- had recorded statement over the theft.

As the move continues to raise eyebrows, the no nonsense Kisumu OCS Wanyama, confirmed to this writer that the alleged suspect was arrested and was released on cash bond of ksh 10,000 thousand arguing that the offence was bailable.And, he will soon be arraigned in court.

Though, inner sources privy to the goings-on concerning the matter hinted that the junior officers tasked with investigating the robbery appears to have been compromised. That they embarked on a futile bid for the witnesses to change their initial statements.

Independent investigations reveal that, Edward has allegedly left a myriad trail of hurting toes in the previous stations he has served. He has successfully organized and executed single handedly a spate of theft-by-servant.

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Pattni, a never ending headache? Send him to jail for all crimes he is accused of if really he has committed them

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

Pattni is of Indian origin. Why is he allowed to ruin Kenya? Why is he allowed to be untouchable whenever he causes problems in Kenya? The fact that he may be already a Kenyan citizen, does not give him the right to ruin Kenya’s economy. His cases in court brought by the government has jeopardised millions of tax payers money. Why is the Kenya government naive allowing this Indian man to continue destroying the country.

The only thing we can think of is that there must be some government officials bought by Pattni to assist him to be kept out of jail.

The man should be stripped off the citizenship and send back to India wher he belongs. And yet in India, he would not survive long with his business tricks. It is only in Kenya where people from outside are allowed citizenship, only to have them messing up the country.

Wako disowns Grand Regency deal

Story by SAM KIPLAGAT

The controversy surrounding Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattnis hand-over of Grand Regency Hotel to the Central Bank took a new turn on Tuesday when Attorney-General Amos Wako distanced himself from the deal.

Mr Wako said he was not consulted at any stage before the deal was sealed. But the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Justice Aaron Ringera, who handled the litigation of cases involving Mr Pattni, later issued a statement saying the seizure of the five-star hotel was above board.

According to Mr Ringera, Mr Pattni surrendered the hotel to Central Bank after the anti-corruption authority registered a consent in the High Court on April 9, this year, to seize it from Uhuru Highway Development Ltd, a company associated with Mr Pattni.

The two parties agreed to execute the transfer of the hotel together with improvements and moveable assets.

The recovery process was completely above board and the terms of settlement have been registered in court, Mr Ringera said.

But yesterday, Mr Wako told the Press that he knew nothing about the deal and that he only learnt about it through the media.

He also said he was not aware of allegations that the five-star hotel had been sold to a Libyan company.

Stranger

Terming himself a stranger in the deal, the AG said neither the Central Bank nor the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission approached him for consultation.

But Mr Justice Ringera said that after the registration of the consent, the hotel was now vested in the CBK, after receiving it at a public function two weeks ago.

He said the commission was aware that the Central Banks mandate does not extend to running any commercial entity.

It is, therefore, possible that CBK may exercise its discretion to dispose of the property by way of sale (and) the commission expects that in the event of such a sale, there will be strict compliance with the law, he said.

Last week, CBK lawyer Ken Abuga, while responding to a question from the Saturday Nation, said the hotel was yet to be sold. As and when it is sold, details of the sale will be released to the public.

The response raised questions over whether the hotel, which was a public asset, was in the process of being sold privately. There are clear legal guidelines to be followed in the disposal of public assets, including valuation, advertisement and bidding.

And the fact that Mr Wako has distanced himself from the deal raises questions over why the Central Bank and the anti-corruption commission kept the principal government legal advisor in the dark.

Mr Wakos denial leaves an unanswered question as to whether the Cabinet was briefed on the details of the terms of the agreement before or after it was executed.

Asked whether the AGs office will pardon Mr Pattni following his gesture to surrender the hotel to Central Bank, Mr Wako said: I am waiting to be told of the deal. And when that time comes, I will bring it to the public domain.

In a plea to the Government, Mr Pattni, the Goldenberg architect, asked to be pardoned after he surrendered the hotel.

His petition read in part. I hereby humbly petition the Government… in the spirit of reconciliatory to consider withdrawing all civil and criminal cases revolving around me, my associate companies and the Grand Regency Hotel and any other disputes related thereto affecting my rights and to enable myself adopt a fresh chapter in my life…

Mr Wako said either KACC or CBK should have asked for his opinion on whether the intended hand-over would require dropping the charges against Mr Pattni.

Take over

Under the law, the AG is the only person with powers to take over cases and terminate them.

In his statement yesterday, Mr Ringera said there had been allegations in the media that Mr Pattni was paid some money in exchange for the hotel.

As far as the commission is aware, there has been no such payment, he said.

The Law Society of Kenya said it was saddened by the deal and was studying it before deciding its next move.

Council member Evans Monari said KACC should not use the deal to pass a clean bill on Pattni.

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Letter to the Editor: The use of mother’s language as instruction medium in schools

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

Dear Editor,

There is debate going on at home on the use of mother’s
language as instruction medium in schools. Eminent
academicians have spoken based on studies done. I am
one of the skeptics, but I give the scholars a benefit
of doubt. In the Daily News of 23rd April of Sri-Lanka
appeared an article. This article laments on the
consequences of using mother tongue for instruction in
learning institutions as is the reality after three
decades of use.

The article observes the following:
a) An elite society has been created, due to its
masterly of English of language.

b) That participation in the emerging global debates
and trade is limited.

c) That there is an emergence of English tutorial
schools that are exploiting citizens because people
want to catch up with the English language.

I therefore suggest that proponents of such initiative
do a thorough soul searching. The assimilation concept
used by the Portuguese and French in their former
colonies made our neighbours in the region more fluent
in Portuguese and French because those languages were
used in early ages. In Sri-Lanka now they have to
introduce English language learning as a life skill
programme with a view of facilitating job and loan
acquisition for youths between 18 and 24 years. (This
is a presidential initiative on English as a Life
Skill).

This is lesson one from Sri-Lanka, free of charge,
complements of the Commonwealth Youth Minister’s
Meeting being hosted by the Sri-Lankan Government.

Aubrey Chibwana
Colombo, Sri-Lanka.

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Disgruntled Kipsigis MPs stand against Raila Odinga

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no
Story by Kipsiele Arap Sugurut {L.O.Omolo},Kericho – Kenya
It is now official that the MPs from Kipsigis community have taken a firm stand against President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime minister Raila Amolo Odinga saying the two have given them a raw deal in the recent appointment of cabinet ministers.
The community which is occupying large chunk of the South Rift got only one full Ministerial post through the veteran Bomet MP Kiplalya Kones who now heads the roads ministry. This is the same ministry which he formerly held during the retired president Daniel Arap Mois lost KANU regime.
Two Assistant ministers, Ms.Lorna Laboso (Sotik) and Hon Charles Keter (Belgut) who was given the Energy docket were the only other two beneficiaries of the appointments made by president Kibaki last week.
However, this is said to have happened so against the community which had a high hope and expectations that after supporting the ODM almost to a man in the last general elections, they would be rewarded by the party when it came to power single handedly or in any coalition arrangement..
The North Rift region gave less support to the party in the last general election, but got the lion;s share of the cabinet posts. This has been in the case of Nandi region where the ODM had received only peanut votes, which were less than 300,000 in comparison to the Kipsigis region, which gave close to one million votes.in comparison to only 240,000 from the two Nandi districts. seen in the Nandi sub-tribe, which in actual fact gave the ODM less votes, but ended up getting three full cabinet posts.
The region has only four Parliamentary constituencies in comparison with nine in Kipsigis land.
. The entire Nandi region comprising of North and South Nandi is divided into two administrative districts in the North and South with only four parliamentary contituencies. But the Nandi got two cabinet positions in Dr. Sally kosgei (Aldai) and Henry Kosgei (Tunderet).also given a ministerial post is Hon William Ruto, a Nandi living in Uasin gishu district..
And in a controversial move to chart a new political direction for the community, the Kipsigis elders, local leaders, professionals and politicians from the Kpsigis region last weekend attended crucial consultative meeting at the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya. The institution is located about nine miles east Kericho town right in the middle of Mau forest area was the behives of intensive political activities..
The Kipsigis are annoyed that their cousins in the larger North Rift get a total of nine Ministerial positions in the grand coalition government yet dispite their having given less votes to the ODM in the last general electons.
The turn of event has elicited a lot hash comments and reactions from member of the Kipsigis community who have now called for a reverse of the communitys political stand and support of ODM as a party. But former Health Minicter Paul K. Sang (Chaman Buch ) while reacting to the complaints said the appointment the Kipsigis community got in the new look cabinet did not came a surprise.
Sang a former MP for Buret claimed that he knew in advance that ODM leadership will dump the community soon after ascending to power.
The former minister disclosed that on a number of occasion prior to the last general election he had appealed to the community tire-think twice the support in ODM saying he had predicted that the Kipsigis would be the losers if the ODM won the elections and formed the government of its own..
I used to tell my supporters to reconsider their stand in ODM because, I had known they will not be rewarded once the party ascends to power; says Sang who lost his Buret seat to Hon. Franklin Bett in the 2007 polls.. Sang had remaiined steadfast in KANU and repeatedly warned the community that they will suffer politically if ODM won he elections.
On Monday this week, five MPS from Kispsigis community issued a press statement after the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya meeting in which they did not mince words over their community feeding over the issue.
The five MPs was Z. K. Cheruiyot (Kuresoi) Franklin Bett (Buret) Langat Magerer (Kipkellion) Dr. Julius Kones (Konoin) and Isaack Ruto (Chepalungu). All argues the statement but the assistant minister for Energy Charles Keter whose names was mentioned as one of the signatories did not sign it neither was he present during the main conference.
The legislator said they were reconsidering their execute in ODM as a result of the raw teal the region got in Kibaki Raila ministerial appointments.
They said the members of parliament from the kipsigis community had received with shock and surprisethe formation of cabinet that effectively belittled and marginalized our community.
In the statement which was read by Dr. Kones while thanks by his colleagues, the MP said the interest and right of the community ended at he ballot box.
They said he intra party consultations had taken care of that concern and promised to address the issue adequately but were later shocked that he same was not honoured.
Dr. Kones said that it was the feeling of the Kipsigis MPs that the mood on the ground was rapidly becoming anti-ODM stand on ministerial post and that the people needed to airtheir displeasure..
We shall consult the community widely in the coming days to chart for away forward and shall make our position known soon.
A series of joint public rallies to sensitize thecommunity have been organized a cross the entire length and width of Kipsigis land in the coming weeks for the MPs to explain their position to the electorate and seek their views, before making any major decision to move out of the ODM for another party.
Ends
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Raila, Ruto full scale political war has erupted in the South Rift over ministerial positions to the Kipsigis community

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

Publisher: Korir api africanpress@getmail.no
By Leo Odera Omolo In Kericho Town 23-04-2008
The warhas broken out between two ODM Pentagon members, which is threatening to split the populist party in the middle.
The two, Raila Amolo Odinga, the Prime Minister and the Minister for agriculture William Samoei Ruto are said to be each pulling in different direction while undercutting each other. The scheme and manoeuvres currently going on , according to a source in Kericho would soon explode in the open. It is indeed, a move which is likely to hurt the Orange Democratic Movement party and tear it into pieces.
The same source, revealed that the discontent between the two cabinet members and supreme leaders of the ODM is caused by the alleged Rutos manoeuvre to upstage Raila in the South Rift region whose inhabitants are the Kipsigis, a sub-tribe of the larger
Kalenjin ethnic group.
Ruto, according to a source wanted to control the politics of both North and South Rift and beingsaid he is actually a Kipsigis whose family migrated to Nandi decades ago, and later settled in Uasin Gishu district wanted to be the overall political supreme person in the entire Kalenjin region, a role which for many years was played by the retired president Daniel Arap Moi.
It has emerged that Ruto and Raila had drawn two parallel lists of the MPs from the Kipsigis region who each one of them wanted to be given ministerial positions in the grand coalition government. But sensing that Rutos list had excluded the veteran Kipsigis politician Kipkalya Kones, the ODM MP for Bomet,Agwambo ignored Rutos list and substituted it with his own, which he eventually presented to President MwaiKibaki.
In his list which he gave to Raila, the Eldoret North MP is said to have excluded Kones and recommendedhis close friend and political associate Charles Keter, the youthful Belgut MP for a full cabinet appointment. Keter, however, clinched the position of an Assistant Minister for Energy, while Railas other staunch supporter Ms Lorna Laboso{Sotik} landed the post of an Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs..this move did not go down well with Rutos scheme, because he had also recommended that his other friend Franklin Bett be appointed to the cabinet, a recomendation which did not work as well.
It is said that Raila had acted after carefully consulting other Pentagon members, and on account of Kones consistency and unswerving loyality to the ODM, while Bett was seen not to be very principled. He had switched camps during last years general election. At one time, Bett was reported to have been shuttling in various splinter groups and camps within the ODM and had even joined Kalonzo Musyokas camp before the latter eventually broke the ranks with the original ODM-Kenya. That gave birth to a new ODM taken by Raila and ODM-Kenya going to Kalonzo. Charles Keter who Ruto wanted to be given a ministerial post, had also shuttled between Rraila Odinga and Gideon Moi of KANU while Kones remained steadfast in ODM.
Having lost in the political game of having his protgs appointed to the cabinet, Ruto, it is being alleged, had resorted to takeaction. He is said to be working on his new scheme in collaboration with the Buret MP Franklin Bett and Chepalungu MP Isaack Ruto, a one time cabinet Minister in the Mois last KANU regime. Ruto had joined the opposition briefly, but rejoined KANU after loosing his seat to John Koech in Chepalungu in 2002.
It has since emerged that it was Ruto who had instigated the Kipsigis MPs to protest against both President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga claiming that the two had short-changed their community in the new set of cabinet appoitments.
The whole hue and cry about their dissatisfaction with appointments of more Kipsigis MPs to the cabinet is the brainchild of Ruto.
The MPs who last weekend met at the tea Research foundation, located about 9 miles east of Kericho town said in their statement that regardless of the south Rift being a strong hold of ODM and the electorate, the only representation it got in the bloated cabinet were only three MPS Kones of Bomet[Roads}, Lorna Laboso and Charles Keter, assistant ministers for Home Affairs and Energy respectively, the latter posts having been rendered valueless to the community.
But Raila Odinga’s staunch supporter came out fire-spitting charging that the protesting Kipsigis MPs were a bunch of cowards. The former deputy CGS Lt. General {rtd}John Koech warned the disgruntled MPS that the Kipsigis community was not for sale, nor for power-bargain by individuals. The protest, he said, is of no consequences, because it was the same Ruto who had conspired with others during the last general election to ensure that only weak and political novices were issued with ODM nomination papers.
Gen Koech is the leading aspirant in the forthcoming by-election in ainamoi constituency to fill the seat left vacant by the late MP David Kimutai Too who was shot and killed in Eldoret by alleged police traffic officer.
He had contested the same seat in December, but lost in the much flawed party preliminary nomination to the late Too. He later joined Too and seriously campaigned for him to win. He was later moved to the pentagon by the party leaders to help in charting out the campaign strategies in the entire Kalenjin region, and at the same took the command of the Kipsigis land to ensure the party scooped all the eight parliamentary seats scattered in Kericho, Buret and Bomet districts.
It is now the wish of the Kipsigis elders that the General should be given direct nomination by the ODM head office to enable him to capture the Ainamoi, because he has remained steadfast in the party as opposed to other contestants who had jumped the ship and contested the election proper in other parties, but still they all lost to the late Too due to the euphoria and waves of Railas popularity within the Kipsigis community at the time of elections last year. He had been given the traditional Kipsigis name of Arap Mibei to signify his virtue as a Kalenjin elder.
But even with no date for the by-election in Ainamoi having been set, and the seat yet to be declared vacant by the Speaker of parliament more than a dozen of prospective aspirants have already declared their interests in the seat.
They include a Nairobi based businessman Paul Chirchir, another Nairobi businessman David Kitur, the younger brother of the slain M Benjamin Kiplangat Too, Ezekiel Ngeny, Julius Kiplangat Kirui,Paul Yaem, Joseph Arap Too, Mzee Ayub Chepkwony , a one time Assistant Minister for Housing and two time MP for the larger Belgut.
There is also a Mr Onesmus Langat the clerk to the County Council of Bureti,, who is an advocate of the high court, and allegedly a political protg of Hon Franklin Bett, Andrew Maritim, Henry Rop,Samuel Rugut, Joel Rop,Joel Siele, the immediate former MP Noah N. Arap Too.
David Too, is said to be a protg of the former Minister for Water Development in Mois last KANU regime Eng. Kipngeno Arap Ngeny who served as the first Ainamoi MP between 1997 and 2002. Ngeny contested the same seat last December on an ODM ticket, but was badly beaten during the partys nomination at the preliminary level. But the former Minister jumped the ship and contested the election proper on an UDM ticket, but still lost.
It is not clear whether Dr Paul Chepkwony of Moi University who also contested and lost the ODM ticket at the last December general election, but stood on another partys ticket is also keen in the seat and would give it another shot.
But the waves of Gen Koech this time round would be an up-hill battle for the other contestants He is credited for having a very colourful development record on the ground. He is the patron and sponsor of Chepngobop secondary schoolin Kapsaus Division and has donated a lot of money to several other social and economic projects in the constituency.
.. ENDS
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Libya Malta to enhance peace and stability in the Mediterranean

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

The Secretary of foreign affairs at the Libyan General Congress (parliament) Soliyman Shahomi met on Tuesday evening in Tripoli with the deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister of Malta Tonio Borge and his delegation, on a visit to Libya.

Libyan foreign ministry sources reported that the meeting discussed means of developing the bilateral cooperation between Libya and Malta particularly between the Libyan Congress and the Maltese parliament.

During the meeting, the Libyan and Maltese officials affirmed the stances of the two countries to enhance peace and stability in the Mediterranean basin, in order to make it a bridge of cultural exchange and economic cooperation between Europe and Africa.

During the meeting, the Maltese foreign minister reaffirmed his countrys willingness to enhance the cooperation and friendship with Libya.

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Ivorian PM holds meetings with ex-rebel New Forces

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

The Ivorian Prime Minister and secretary general of the former rebel group New Forces (FN), Guillaume Soro (left), starts a series of meetings with the FN civil and military administration Tuesday in Bouake (centre), in order to speed up the end of the crisis process mainly the disarmament.

These meetings aim to accelerate the process of regrouping, demobilisation and reintegration of the ex-combatants of the New Forces.

The second goal is the re-establishment of a single treasury following the auditing mission sent to the north on 8 to 12 April.

According to the spokesman of the Prime Minister, Mr. Meite Sindou, these meetings should lead to the standardization as soon as possible of the administration in the north-central and west zones (FN controlled areas). They also aim at securing totally the country for the coming elections, which the Prime Minister wants to be very smooth.

The government of Cote dIvoire which wants to quickly start this end of crisis process set the presidential election scheduled for 30 November 2008.

Guillaume Soro and President Laurent Gbagbo urged Ivorians to embrace this progress, which guarantees a final and lasting peace in the country.

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Participants at CAF symposium in Egypt express satisfaction

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

The first two days of the on going Confederation of African Football (CAF) symposium on technical analysis of the MTN African Nations Cup Ghana 2008 is about to end on a satisfactory note in Cairo, according to the participants.

“I am happy that CAF is organizing such an event because it will have a great impact on African coaches and the development of football in the continent. I am very happy to be here and it is my second time of attending such a gathering,” said Hassan Shahata, the winning coach of CAN Ghana 2008 who made a presentation on the Egyptian teams success.

“This is a great thing because it is good for coaches to come together, interact and share ideas on African football. Africa is a big continent and there is a great need to share ideas openly and for everyone to express his views. By this way, we can go a long way in improving ourselves,” said Kalusha Bwalya, a member of CAF technical committee.

“It was really a great experience listening to Coach Hassan Shahata of Egypt and Otto Pfister of Cameroon. There is always something new to learn from an event like this. I hope this will continue and also help us in our job,” said Coach Mohamed Abdalla Ahmed of Sudan.

The symposium ends on Wednesday with discussion on other topics, among which are the new CAF competition, the African Nations Championship (CHAN) and a presentation on administration and team management by Dr. Kamal Shaddad, a member of the CAF technical committee. Kalusha Bwalya, former star player and President of Zambian FA will talk about the performance of his team in the African Cup of Nations Ghana 2008.

On of the main topics of discussions on Monday and Tuesday was a presentation by Chief Onigbinde, a CAF technical committee member, who looked into some of the ways to develop football in Africa and ways of attracting African players to participate in their national teams with the same performance and enthusiasm as they do in their individual clubs abroad.

This symposium is a follow up to two previous ones held in Ghana in 2004 and Morocco in 2006.

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Rift Valleys MPs refuse to work with ODM’s Raila and PNU’s Kibaki in resettling IDPs unless their people get good jobs

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

Kibaki-Raila face off with Rift Valley MPs

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE

The Government will go ahead and resettle internal refugees in the Rift Valley despite resistance from area MPs.

The two leaders came face-to-face with the resistance from the Rift Valley MPs during a meeting at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, which was called to seek ways of removing obstacles preventing the return of people uprooted from their homes during the post-election violence in which over 1,200 people were killed and property worth billions of shillings burnt down.

Opposing plans

In a demonstration of the split between the Government and MPs from parts of Rift Valley, particularly the Nakuru region on the one hand and lawmakers from North and South Rift on the other, two sets of press briefings were held at Parliament Buildings at the end of the talks, with each side stating its position.

Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto, who led members from South and North Rift in opposing immediate resettlement plans said: The President and the Prime Minister want to proceed with the resettlement of IDPs and they are touring the area as from Thursday.

“However, we are saying that we need time to prepare the ground for the return of displaced people. Resettlement of IDPs is a process and it cannot start tomorrow because even the IDPs have to be consulted.

Mr Ruto and Cherangany MP Joseph Kutuny said the meeting with President Kibaki and Mr Odinga had agreed to form a committee of lawmakers under the leadership of Special Programmes minister Naomi Shaban to agree on details of the resettlement plan.

The final decision on whether the displaced people should be resettled immediately or not could be reached next week by the committee.

“The President and the Prime Minister are touring the affected area to see for themselves the situation on the ground. We need time to prepare for their return, said Mr Kutuny.

Took over chairs

The North Rift MPs had hardly moved away from the venue of the press conference when Central Rift leaders took over the chairs and declared that resettlement of displaced people must start immediately and without any conditions.

Led by assistant ministers Mwangi Kiunjuri and Ndiritu Muriithi, they accused their colleagues from South and North Rift of seeking excuses to extend the stay of internal refugees in camps whose conditions had deteriorated.

No conditions should be attached to the immediate resettlement of displaced people. The Government should not allow a certain group that is dissatisfied with the way the cake was shared on their side to use IDPs to blackmail the Government, said Mr Kiunjuri.

Mr Muriithi urged the Government to urgently address resettlement of the refugees as a priority and told leaders to divorce politics from the plight of people who were ejected from their homes.

It is a shame that some political leaders are playing politics with the misfortune that had befallen on our people.

“We are telling them that they should not use IDPs as political pawns and erase from their minds the belief that most IDPs were occupying land that was not theirs, he said.

The two sets of leaders had just attended the KICC meeting where they were addressed by President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka on the need for displaced people to return to their homes immediately.

The meeting was called to address the security concerns of the refugees who were ready to return to their homes and the demands of the locals that issues of land ownership and ethnic relations be addressed.

However, the President, the PM and the VP left the two-and-a-half-hour meeting without addressing journalists.

Only the Presidents speech in the meeting and a brief on the progress on mitigation and resettlement of IDPs were issued by the Presidential Press Service.

In his speech, President Kibaki outlined the measures that the Government had taken to address the plight of internal refugees but noted that most of them were still in camps because they feared for their security.

That was why, he said, he had convened the meeting to seek the cooperation of the regions MPs to assist in the safe return of the refugees.

Many displaced people remain in camps mainly because they are not yet comfortable enough to return to their homes. It is clear that for this initiative to succeed, Kenyans want to hear expressions of commitment and support to the plight of displaced Kenyans from their leaders, right from the grassroots to the national level, he said.

In their speeches, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka pitched for the cooperation of the MPs in facilitating the quick return of displaced people while sticky issues of land ownership and ethnic relations were being addressed.

While we seek a solution that is acceptable to all communities in the region, it is a matter of urgency that we resettle our brothers and sisters who are living in deplorable conditions, said the VP.

However, South and North Rift MPs who had prepared a list of concerns that were read by Mr Isaac Ruto wanted the resettlement delayed until issues of land ownership were addressed through the Justice, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

They also demanded the unconditional release of all those arrested during the post-election violence, a proper census of IDPs and identification of those willing to return to their homes, an end to evictions in Mau Forest, respect of title deeds and withdrawal of special district officers who were sent to the affected areas.

Other demands included an end to the military action in Mt Elgon, withdrawal of firearms in civilian hands, a series of rallies by a committee of MPs to prepare the ground and fair distribution of relief farm inputs.

But it is understood President Kibaki and Mr Odinga stated that while the MPs demands would be addressed, the meeting had to agree on the immediate return of displaced people who had, within their constitutional rights, bought land and settled in the Rift Valley.

As Members of Parliament, we are national leaders, not chieftains of our communities. Indeed, I believe many of us are serving constituencies that are multi-ethnic and must, therefore, strive to serve the people of Kenya equally and without discrimination, the President said.

It was then that a vote was called to decide who among those present supported immediate resettlement of IDPs or to allow for more time until sticky issues are resolved.

Although Cabinet ministers Henry Kosgey (Industrialisation), Kipkalya Kones (Roads) and Hellen Sambili (Youth and Sports) voted with those who wanted immediate resettlement, those against the move carried the day.

However, President Kibaki and Mr Odinga insisted that resettlement must go on and told the meeting that they will embark on a three-day tour of the affected areas starting tomorrow.

They will hold the first meeting tomorrow in Eldoret at 10am and proceed to Cherangany in Trans Nzoia for another rally to preach unity and reconciliation at 2.30pm.

On Friday, they will hold their first meeting at Naivasha at 10am and proceed to Kuresoi at 12pm. They will hold a rally in Molo at 2.30pm.

The two leaders will address a meeting at Kipkelion on Saturday at 10am and hold their last rally at Cheptilat in Sotik at 2.30pm.

Yesterday, it was not clear whether the MPs who wanted the return of displaced people delayed would accompany the President and the PM.

However, they declared they were committed to the return of uprooted people through a system that makes it impossible for frequent clashes to recur.

We are committed to solving this problem. However, we dont want to settle people only for them to be displaced later in fresh eruption of violence simply because underlying problems have not been sorted out, Mr Ruto said.

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Raila abandoned the meeting with MPs from Rift Valley when they got hot on his and Kibaki’s heels. Kibaki did not leave them

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

When things got hot, Raila Odinga left the meeting. The Rift Valey MPS are mad at him for shortchanging them when he gave ODM MPs names to Kibaki for ministerial positions. These are the people who had supported him during his failed aspirations to become the president. Now the MPs are getting to know who the man they supported is. A man who if not satisfied with you when you complain and not toe the line and be a yes man or woman leaves the meeting as he did at KICC. Could he have done the same if they were Luo MPs from Nyanza?

Hostile reception for Kibaki and Raila

Published on May 1, 2008

By David Ohito And Patrick Wachira

Hostility greeted President Kibaki and Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga, at a meeting with Rift Valley MPs called to fast-track resettlement of displaced people.

Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and a host of Cabinet ministers watched in disbelief as Kibaki and Raila found themselves in unfamiliar waters at the stormy meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on Tuesday. A Party of National Unity MP, Mr John Mututho of Naivasha, raised the tempo when he told the President that tension in the Rift Valley began shortly after the 2002 election when the Kalenjin felt that they were being eased out of the Civil Service.

Rift Valley MPs and State officials wait for President Kibaki and the Prime Minister, Mr Raila Odinga, to address them at kicc, Nairobi, on Tuesday.Picture by George Mulala

So hot were the questions fired that Raila asked for time out and left the meeting early. No explanation was offered for his early exit.

The meeting, called to attempt to resolve the thorny issue of resettling people displaced during post-election violence, ran into hurdles even as President Kibaki sent out a passionate appeal to the MPs to accompany him and Raila on a tour of the province beginning on Thursday.

More than 1,500 were killed and 350,000 others displaced in the post-election violence that rocked the country after the announcement of the presidential elections last December.

Raila set the tempo of the meeting when he said the Grand Coalition Cabinet and the united leadership had been working intensely to lay the basis of a lasting solution.

Sources at the meeting said MPs fired salvos at the two leaders over appointments to the Cabinet and permanent secretaries.

“We expected the Government to reflect the face of Kenya and the appointments of permanent secretaries to reflect the 50-50 power sharing agreement. But we were disappointed,” one MP told President Kibaki and Raila to their face.

Mututho also told the Head of State to his face that the Kalenjin community was angered by what they regarded as “victimisation” and “purge” targeted at their community.

The more than 40 MPs at the meeting cheered Mututho as Laikipia East MP, Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri, who is also the Water Assistant minister, supported him.

The meeting began at 11am, shortly after President Kibaki was ushered into the hall by Kalonzo, Raila, Internal Security minister, Prof George Saitoti, and Head of the Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura.

Ministers at the meeting were Mr William Ruto, Mr Henry Kosgey, Dr Sally Kosgei, Mr Kipkalya Kones, Prof Hellen Sambili, Dr Noah Wekesa, Mr James Orengo and Deputy Prime ministers, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Musalia Mudavadi.

President Kibaki emerged from the meeting shortly after 2pm, although it was billed to end at 1pm.ODM legislators non-committal

Immediately they left the venue at the executive suite, Cabinet ministers and MPs congregated in small groups and from their faces and agitated gestures, it was clear that all was not well.

The MPs demanded that President Kibaki and Railas visit be shelved until pending issues were resolved. They argued that a census of IDPs be done to ascertain their numbers, those willing and unwilling to resettle and those living with relatives and families outside the camps.

They also demanded a halt to the military operation in Mt Elgon District and eviction of residents from the Mau Forest, claiming that the operations were merely creating another category of IDPs whose plight should also be addressed.

President Kibakis problems began when differences emerged over the planned tour of the region. As the MPs argued over the visit, Raila asked how many MPs would accompany him and the Head of State in the tour of Rift Valley.

Only MPs from PNU and two ministers raised their hands, while the rest of ODM legislators remained non-committal, throwing the meeting into a division.

But the President insisted that he had scheduled the visit for Thursday, beginning in Eldoret town and proceeding to Cherangany in the afternoon.

Naivasha, Molo and Kuresoi would be next on Friday and on Saturday, Kipkelion, Sotik and Chebilat.

But the MPs insisted that those displaced in Mt Elgon District and Mau Forest be included in the resettlement programme as well.

The Presidential Press Service later issued a statement on the meeting in which the media were barred.

The meeting was the first to consult and seek ways of resolving problems affecting wananchi in various parts of the country. President Kibaki cited peace, security and resettlement of IDPs as some of the issues that were given priority by the National Accord and Reconciliation Committee.

“The Government has deployed adequate security personnel and constructed 34 police stations to provide security to those returning to their farms,” the President said.

He challenged the MPs to support the resettlement of IDPs and urged communities to respect the sanctity of life and property.

“There should be no boundaries for a Kenyan as to where he or she can live, work or own property in the country,” Kibaki said.IDPs in deplorable conditions

Kalonzo struck a middle ground during the meeting, saying the resettlement of IDPs should be urgent as they were living in deplorable conditions.

The VP lamented that the IDPs living conditions had gone from bad to worse with rainy season and intervention must be quick.

“As leaders, we should be mindful of the welfare of the citizens, some of whom are suffering,” Kalonzo said.

Earlier Raila had explained that Sh30 billion was needed for the long-term solution to the resettlement of IDPs.

Special Programmes minister, Dr Naomi Shaban, briefed the meeting on the progress of resettlement.

Shaban said 140,000 people were still in various camps, mainly in the Rift Valley, while others were living with relatives.

Agriculture minister and Eldoret North MP, Mr William Ruto, curiously talked of his docket and avoided the issue at hand.

By the time the meeting ended, ODM and PNU said they would address press conferences at Parliament Buildings, and express their different views on the issue.

PNU MPs insisted that IDPs be resettled without conditions.

“Political leaders must not play politics with the plight of the IDPs or use them as pawns. We are dismayed by veiled messages aimed at creating the impression that the IDPs in Rift Valley had occupied land that was not theirs,” said Kiunjuri, who read the statement on behalf of party MPs.

He said most of the displaced people had lived on their land since the 19th Century and had title deeds.

“Their evictions were grossly unlawful and done in an inhumane manner. Return to their land and settlement cannot and must not be seen as a favour,” he said.

He described demands by the ODM group as blackmail.

Laikipia West MP, Mr Nderitu Mureithi, said it was unacceptable for IDPs to continue to suffer while MPs postponed their resettlement on flimsy grounds such as “further discussions”.

Nakuru Town MP, Mr Lee Kinyanjui, who is also an Assistant minister, called for the immediate resettlement of IDPs, saying the right to live and work anywhere in the country “was not a gift from politicians”.

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Kenya ODM minister is unhappy with President Kibaki

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

ODM minister cries foul over PS slots

By David Ohito

Furious reactions greeted President Kibakis choice of permanent secretaries, with the ODM wing of Government crying foul.

There were protests that the changes in the Civil Service were cosmetic and that old PSs had been recycled and they were likely to drag the reform agenda of the coalition Government.

Like it happened after the naming of the Cabinet a week ago, voices grumbled and murmured that the distribution of PSs was skewed in favour of some communities. An ODM Cabinet minister claimed that President Kibaki had shortchanged the party in the appointment of ministries chief executives on Monday.

The minister, who did not want his name disclosed so as not to ruffle the coalition, said ODM had been outwitted again, and that the retention of retirees would undermine the momentum of reforms.

“We are disappointed. We have a challenge to deliver a new Constitution by February 2009 and carry out institutional and judicial reforms which have been frustrated by the same civil servants,” the minister claimed.

He was of the opinion that many of the retained permanent secretaries needed to be “schooled” on reform and service in a coalition.

But the minister said he had no problem with the Head of the Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, for the purposes of baby-sitting the coalition and transition, but said he should quit once he had midwifed the coalition.

“One of the challenges is to create equal opportunities for all Kenyans in a bid to heal the country. But if top PSs are from Mt Kenya and we want to address imbalance and injustice, we cheat ourselves,” he claimed.

It is a big joke

On his part, and ODM Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Ababu Namwamba, who is also the Budalangi MP, said: “I expected young blood and fresh ideas. I am appalled at the number of retirees retained in Government. They should quit.”

He said the Presidents changes were cosmetic and failed to balance the appointments.

“It is a big joke. We will not let it pass unchallenged. We will raise the issues on the floor of Parliament and demand justification of retaining retirees in the Civil Service,” Namwamba said

The MP said the party was losing because appointments did not allegedly reflect the 50-50 power-sharing, adding that it posed problems for the Orange party ahead of six by-elections.

“What will we tell voters as we campaign for ODM? We had half a loaf, but others were not considered at all?” he asked

He cautioned that party structures be strengthened countrywide.

The MP singled out Finance, Trade, Energy, Public Health and Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs ministries, saying they were dominated by one community.

Demoted Cabinet minister, Dr Wilfred Machage, now an assistant minister, and leaders from the Meru region also cried foul, saying the PS slots did not reflect “the face of Kenya”.

Machage said his Kuria community deserved compensation for his demotion as a Cabinet minister. Though he welcomed the appointment of Mr Simeon Chache Nyangi as Permanent Secretary, he said the Kuria deserved more slots.

Speaking for the first time over his demotion, Machage lamented: “I was unfairly demoted. As a community, we should be given more slots to compensate the taking away of the flag from me and end marginalisation of the Kuria by successive governments.”

The former East Africa Cooperation Affairs minister, now an Assistant minister for Roads, said he was not bitter.

“Even though the prerogative to appoint and disappoint rests with the executive authority, it is clear that the Kuria, whom I represent, were sacrificed for leaders from other communities.”

Machage, however, said he was ready to serve the coalition Government and his people as an assistant minister.

Meru cries foul

In Meru, political and religious leaders claimed that the Meru region had been given a raw deal in Cabinet and senior Civil Service appointments.

Ameru Leaders Forum Chairman, Bishop Dr Lawi Imathiu, said: “Instead of getting an extra slot in the Cabinet and two assistant ministers, we were deprived of one Assistant minister slot. Equally, no Permanent Secretary was appointed from the region. Instead two, Mr Cyrus Gituai (Internal Security) and Mr Gerishon Ikiara (Transport), were removed.”

North Imenti MP, Mr Silas Muriuki, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairlady, Mrs Joyce Muriuki, and more than 70 councillors from Nyambene and Meru councils, too, joined in the grumbling over alleged failure of President Kibaki to make senior appointments from the Meru region.

Additional reporting by Beauttah Omanga and Patrick Muriungi

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UN Secretary General chalenges to grow food

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

The United Nations Secretary General who ends a two-day visit to Liberia Tuesday has challenged Liberians to strive to be self-sufficient in food production.

Addressing the joint session of Liberias 52nd Legislature Tuesday, Secretary General Ban called attention to the rising prices of food commodities not only in the African region, but the world at large.

Liberia is abundantly blessed in agricultural resources. Today, I callenge you to reduce poverty and create jobs in Liberia by developing your agriculture sector, the UN Secretary General said, and called on international partners to help Liberia realize its agricultural potential.

Ambassador Ban pledged the UNs commitment to work with Liberia in realizing these and other development challenges.

We will work with you as you strive to reach the Millennium Development Goals, including the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will work with you as you heal the divisions that tore Liberia asunder in the past

He commended the government for its focus on economic recovery, poverty reduction, debt fotrgiveness, to fighting corruption and impunity, revitalizing the agriculture sector, restoring basic services and infrastructure, including roads, schools and hospitals.

In welcome remarks earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler used the occasion to appeal to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to structure the drawdown of its troops in direct proportion to the level of peace prevailing in the country. He also appealed that the drawdown be commensurate with the special security reform.

Speaker Tyler also called for a review of the sanctions and travel ban imposed on former officials and close associates of former president Charles Taylor, especially as the former warlord is now facing trial on war crimes charges in the Hague.

Secretary General Ban arrived in Liberia Monday evening for a two-day visit.

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Libyan, Slovak officials discuss cooperation in Mediterranean area

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

A delegation from the Slovak Republic on Monday evening held discussions with the Libyan secretary of state for foreign relations Suleiman Shhomi at the Libyan General Congress (Parliament) in Tripoli on cooperation between the two countries as well as across the Mediterranean region.

The Slovak delegation is led by the chairman of the foreign relations committee at the national council of the Slovak Republic Pores Zala.

Sources at the Libyan parliament said the meeting dealt with reviewing the cooperation and friendship relations between the Libyan general congress and the Slovak national council as well as international issues of common interest particularly enhancing cooperation at the Mediterranean region to be a bridge of peace and stability between the European Union and the African Union.

During the meeting it was agreed to activate the bilateral cooperation agreements between the two countries in the fields of infrastructure, investment, preventing the taxation duality and exchange of visits of students and university professors.

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Tanzanian president assures Norway on proper use of funds

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2008

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

Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday assured the Norwegian taxpayers that his government was keen on good governance, adding that fighting corruption was his main priority.

The president made this position known when responding to a question from a Norwegian journalist who wanted to know whether Norwegian funds would be spent on intended projects or be allowed to end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

The occasion was a joint news conference at the State House in Dar es Salaam, also attended by visiting Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Im confident that Norwegian aid will be spent well, he said in answer to a question about allegations of high-level government corruption, including the Monday resignation of former cabinet minister for infrastructure development, Andrew Chenge, over allegations of having a secret bank account overseas full of millions of dollars.

Kikwete said his administration was committed to the proper utilisation of Norwegian aid money, and has pledged tough action on corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

Whenever there are issues involving corrupt practices, we have not hesitated to take the required action, to investigate and prosecute all those who have participated in such unethical practices, the president said.

On his part, Stoltenberg said that his government was satisfied with how Tanzania was carrying out various Norwegian-supported programmes, particularly in implementing the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal and child mortality rates.

However, Stoltenberg said that Tanzania still faced tough challenges like the need to improve good governance and effectively fight corruption, which is undermining development.

Stoltenberg is on a three-day visit to Tanzania. Norway has pledged to grant Tanzania over US$330 million in the 2007-2011 period for various development sectors.

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