African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for April 28th, 2008

“Clinton as the first black President”

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Posted to API by : Mia T (IP: 67.85.166.226 , ool-4355a6e2.dyn.optonline.net)

Commentary:


Toni Morrison’s essay, “Clinton as the first black president”, (New Yorker, October 1998) was her defense–some would say, ‘her rationalization’–of clinton vs. his impeachment. Morrison’s argument reduces to this: bill clinton, who is “blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.– after all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness”; is being lynched for not knowing his place.

The irony, of course, is that this is precisely what the clintons are doing to Obama…. And they are doing it for power and treasure, and to hell with their party and the country. All Americans of good will must reject the clintons, completely and absolutely.”What kind of people are the clintons?” (Bob Herbert, The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2008) THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT? clinton legacy of lynching update by Mia T, 7.23.05 “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” (Martin Luther King) Ironically, the logic of this pronouncement by Martin Luther King would, in short order, be refuted by the reality of his own lynching. King’s hope was misplaced and his reasoning was circular.

The resultant rule of law relied on by King presumed an adherence to the rule of law in the first instance. Adherence to the rule of law is not something normally associated with the clintons. Moreover, racial and ethnic disrespect, intimidation, exploitation and hate have always been a fundamental clinton tactic and the reflexive use the “-word and other racial and ethnic slurs, an essential element in the clinton lexicon. When the “first black president” and his wife ran Arkansas, the NAACP sued them for intimidating black voters at the polls. Conversely, the clintons’ refinement of the DNC drag and drop is, arguably, one of the more insidious and repugnant applications of their special brand of race-hate politics. Calculating a black man’s worth to be 5/3 of a vote is no less racist, and arguably more so, than calculating his worth to be 3/5 of a white man; the latter is demeaning, but the former is dehumanizing. But it is even worse. Listen to Randall Robinson in this video. (Indeed, listen to bill clinton in this video.) Listen… watch… read below… about Rwanda. Only one conclusion is possible: A clinton legacy of lynching.

Bill Clinton felt their pain. Retrospectively. In 1998, on his Grand Apology Tour of Africa, a whirlwind tour of whirlwind apologies for slavery, the Cold War, you name it, he touched down in Kigali and apologized for the Rwandan genocide. “When you look at those children who greeted us,”; he said, biting his lip, as is his wont, “how could anyone say they did not want those children to have a chance to have their own children?”
Alas, the President had precisely identified the problem. In April 1994, when the Hutu genocidaires looked at the children who greeted them in the Tutsi villages, that’s exactly what they thought: they didn’t want those Tutsi children to have a chance to have their own children. So the question is: when a bunch of killers refuse to subscribe to multiculti mumbo-jumbo, what do you do?
"All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, “continued Bill in his apology aria, "who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror.”
Au contraire, he appreciated it all too fully. That’s why, during the bloodbath, Clinton Administration officials were specifically instructed not to use the word “genocide”; lest it provoke public pressure to do something.

Documents made public last week confirm that US officials knew within the first few days that a “final solution” to eliminate all Tutsis was underway.
Steyn On America CLINTON, CLARKE AND RWANDA: TEN YEARS ON

_____________________________

African Press International – api

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

Mkapa`s immunity on spotlight

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Despatched to API by Mtachaamambhi

Story By Gadiosa Lamtey

Two ministers yesterday sidestepped questions as to whether former President Benjamin Mkapa is immune from trial on charges related to offences that he might have committed while in office, but which are outside the scope of presidential duties.

Reached for comments, both Constitutional Affairs and Justice Minister Mathias Chikawe and Sophia Simba, Minister for State (Good Governance) in the President`s Office, were not in a position to give a clear answer.
Minister Chikawe said he was unable to give comments because he was bed-ridden.

“As I`m talking to you now, I`m lying on bed. I`m sick. I advise you to call the Attorney General,“ said the minister, without giving other details, including those related to his illness.

However, efforts to reach Attorney General Johnson Mwanyika by telephone proved futile.

In a brief telephone interview, the Minister of State in the President`s Office (Good Governance) Sophia Simba said her office was not in a position to make any comments because issues on the Constitution and laws of the land fell under the portfolio of the Constitutional Affairs and Justice ministry.

“The good governance portfolio is charged with matters surrounding good governance. I therefore advise you to contact the relevant ministry,“ she said in a brief interview with this reporter.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Samuel Sitta, who spoke to The Guardian news desk on his way back to Dar es Salaam from Dodoma, said he did not have an answer.

“I don`t know the procedures employed on the matter. I think it would be better if you talked to the assistant to the Prime Minister. They areworking on the matter, including scrutinizing the evidence. I cannot just speculate,“ said Sitta.

Aloyce Kimaro, the CCM legislator for Vunjo, told The Guardian that as peoples` representatives, the MPs were bound to oversee government performance by telling the authorities what the wananchi wanted them to do.

“Whoever committed an offence should be prosecuted and if sufficiently proved that he has a case to answer, then he must be impeached,“ said Kimaro.

However, in a separate interview yesterday, a senior lecturer and dean of University of Dar es Salaam`s Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Dr Sengondo Mvungi, said the law actually provided for impeachment of a retired President.

“The Constitution protects the President when he executes official duties at the State House, but the law allows taking to task a president doing private business while violating the laws of the land,“ said Dr Mvungi.

He said the Constitution protected the president when performing legitimate public duties vested unto him by the wananchi, like inspecting guards of honour, but not undertakings which defied the laws of the land.

Dr Mvungi urged President Jakaya Kikwete to decide what was the best thing to do in view of current circumstances.

Already, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has told Parliament that the government had begun working on allegations of abuse of office and other excesses levelled against some third-phase government leaders.

Pinda, who was responding to a question, asked MP Hamad Rashid, the leader of opposition in Parliament, said immediate former president Mkapa would be among those to be scrutinized.

Both the retired president and Daniel Yona, who served as Energy and Minerals minister under him, are alleged to have bought the 4bn/- state-owned Kiwira coal power project at 700m/-.

According to Hamad, Mkapa and Yona violated the law on public leadership ethics which restricts government leaders from using public office for private gain.

Pinda told the House that the government was still making a follow-up on the reports so as to know what exactly happened and that any relevant information would be made public after completion of the investigations.

He said the government wanted to know the truth of the matter, and was therefore working hard to establish whether the allegations were criminal or ethical before taking appropriate action.

However, Pinda, a trained lawyer, said that allegations hinging on ethics could hardly be solved by court system and would thus most likely be treated politically, but also added that substantive allegations of a criminal nature would be dealt with by courts of law.

Talking on the same matter, a CCM MP who opted for anonymity, told The Guardian: “If a school child from my constituency asked me this question, I would teach the child about Article 46 of the country�s Constitution, which dwells on the matter.“

He said Clause One of the Article disallowed institution of criminal legal proceedings against a sitting President, while clause two disallowed any proceeding, including civil and criminal against a sitting President in relation to offenses committed before assuming the presidency.

However, the MP said Clause Three of the same Article provided for prosecution and institution of criminal legal proceedings against retired presidents on actions done apart from official duties they performed as president.

SOURCE: Guardian

__________________

African Press International – api

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

The government clarifies: Raila the PM is nr 3 in rank. Kalonzo is senior and next to the President

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

From left: VP Kalonzo, President Kibaki and Raila Odinga.

President Kibaki under siege by the two men fighting for his recognition as to who is closer to him. Kibaki seems to enjoy the longest laugh while Kalonzo’s eyes targets Raila’s head looking for a knockout.

As clarification was being given by the government that Raila is not senior to the vice President, Raila flew to Germany for treatment. It has not been established what kind of sickness the PM is suffering from. Raila has not even completed a month as the PM and this now worries observers that his health may be worsening at the time when the country needs his services. It remains to be seen what the doctors in Germany will say after examinig him today. API

PM third in pecking order, says Karua

Story by WILFRED MUCHIRE and OSCAR KINGORI

The interpretation of the Constitution establishing the grand coalition ranks Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the third in command, Cabinet Minister Martha Karua has said.

Ms Karua, (<left photo) who is the Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minister, said the Constitution and the accord were clear on the duties and responsibilities of each member of the Government, especially the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and ministers.

Lets strive to work for the nation and not interpret the law according to who we like, Ms Karua said as she pointed out that former Attorney General Charles Njonjos interpretation was wrong.

The minister, who was speaking at the AIPCA Kiriti Church in Tetu constituency, during a funds drive for the churchs theology college, was accompanied by area MP Francis Nyammo and former Nyeri Town MP PG Mureithi.

She said even though the accord on the duties and responsibilities of the office of Prime Minister was enacted, the Constitution was never changed on the duties of the Vice President who remained the Presidents principal assistant.

President Kibaki has nothing to clarify over the pecking order. The issue is very clear, she said. However, she said, Mr Odinga was at par with President Kibaki as far as party leadership is concerned.

___________________

African Press International – api

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

Raila Odinga reported to be sick – Last night he was flown to Germany to undergo a medical procedure

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.nosource.standard.ke

Raila has gone to Germany for treatment. ODM is scarce with details of the illness affecting the PM.

Grand plot to undermine PM

By Standard Team
Claims of a “grand plot” to undermine Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Parliament touched off bitter exchanges within ODM on a day PNU also had its missiles trained on the Orange party.
The tussles gathered intensity as the PM (right photo>) jetted out of the country last night for Germany to undergo what sources close to ODM described as a “brief medical procedure”.

The alleged “grand plot” against Raila has been linked to MPs a number of them from ODM who are pushing for a Grand Opposition in a Parliament that has no Leader of the Official Opposition.

Sensationally, the alleged plot has also been linked to the raging protocol wars between the Raila and his brigade on the one hand, and Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and PNU leaders sympathetic to him, on the other.

In contention is exactly who is second to President Kibaki in the pecking order. Politicians in the Kibaki camp maintain that the VP is his principal assistant, and therefore, his second in command.

But Raila loyalists say in the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which gave birth to the Grand Coalition, Raila and Kibaki share executive power equally.

There was no word from President Kibaki, who some leaders say should clear the air on a matter that assumed near-comical dimensions during the Rift Valley peace tour.

On his part, Kalonzo downplayed the pecking order standoff between him and Raila terming it “a small matter”.

“I have no problem with the PM over the pecking order. Our determination to help President Kibaki serve Kenyans is what is being misunderstood as a struggle between the two of us,” the VP, who was speaking on Sunday at Thika High School when he launched a free one-week eye and throat clinic, clarified.

Plot to undermine PM

But claiming to “lift the lid” on the alleged plot at the weekend, Dr Oburu Oginga, the Finance Assistant minister, Bondo MP and Railas brother, claimed that the objective was to portray the PM as inconsequential.

He also alleged that the plot was aimed at cutting ODMs numerical strength in Parliament and, by extension, Railas to throw the reform agenda into disarray.

“There is nothing like Grand Opposition. What these MPs are doing is joining hands with our enemies to cause trouble for the ODM leadership,” Oburu said as the simmering discontent in the party burst out in the open.

Oburu appeared to point at a two-pronged assault on the PM to be mounted in and outside Parliament. Already, up to 75 MPs have signed up a petition pushing for the Grand Opposition, a number of them in ODM.

And, with loyalties seemingly already divided, and with five crucial by-elections in the offing, ODMs leverage in Parliament could be yanked away. This shifting of loyalties may now mean ODM has 106 MPs only on paper against PNUs 98.

“This is an attempt to form another political party through the backdoor to undermine ODM leadership. ODM MPs should be focused on helping Raila discharge his duties effectively,” said Oburu.

Oburu, together with Lands minister, Mr James Orengo, Assistant minister, Prof Ayiecho Olweny, and Nominated MP, Mr Musa Sirma, clashed with MPs, Mr Fred Outa (ODM, Nyando) and Mr Pollyns Ochieng (ODM, Nyakach), over backbenchers opposition plan.

The two said they would, together with others, step up campaigns to constitute opposition in Parliament to check on the Grand Coalition Government.

But Orengo, Oburu and Olweny dismissed the MPs fronting for the grand opposition as self-seekers targeting packages that come with the office of the Leader of Official Opposition in Parliament.

The MPs were speaking at Obago Primary School in Muhoroni at the weekend during Olwenys homecoming ceremony following his appointment to as an assistant minister.

But Mr Ababu Namwamba, the Budalangi ODM MP and party Parliamentary Group Secretary, dismissed Oburus assertion that party legislators fronting for a grand opposition were out to undermine Raila.

“It is clear in the Constitution that the opposition in Parliaments checks on Government, not an individual. I dont understand why my friend Oburu, who has been in Parliament for all these years, cannot understand this,” said Namwamba.

The MP added that the Constitution does not describe Government as Raila, saying “Oburu should stop his blind loyalty to his brother and allow MPs to correct him where he goes wrong”.

And as the standoff between ODM MPs over the Grand Coalition unravelled, the protocol wars would not just go away.

PM powerful than VP

Yesterday, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms Martha Karua, said the Constitution was clear on the pecking order in Government.

She said the power sharing accord enshrined in the Constitution clearly states the pecking order and the specific roles.

“There is no abuse of protocol. The Constitution is very clear on the role of the President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister,” Karua, who was speaking at Isiolo Stadium during the homecoming party of her Livestock Development counterpart, Dr Mohammed Kuti, said on Saturday.

The Gichugu MP was backed by Kuti and Assistant minister, Mr Danson Mungatana, and MPs Mr Erastus Mureithi (Ol Kalau) and Mr MItha MMithiaru (Igembe North).

Kuti, however, pointed out: “The Grand Coalition between the two principals was based on good faith. The same should be reflected by all the MPs in the coalition.”

But speaking on the telephone, former Kabete MP and Safina leader, Mr Paul Muite, said: “You cannot equate the Prime minister to the VP. According to the Constitution, despite the VP being the principal assistant of the President, he has no executive powers as the PM. The PM has more powers than the VP.”

However, Nairobi Metropolitan Development minister, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, and Kibwezi MP, Prof Philip Kaloki, said Kenyans looked upon the three leaders President Kibaki, Kalonzo and Raila to provide servant leadership.

They said the protocol issue should not be allowed to disrupt service delivery to Kenyans who cared less about who-is-who in the pecking order.

_______________________

African Press International – api

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

Mr. Wilfred Saroni – one of the most successful Kenyan businessmen in the US

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.msdiasphora
Top Kenyan businessmen in the US shuts down school
NASHUA, USA, Sunday 27th April, 2008. Sad news as one of the top Kenyan businessmen in the US shuts down Nashua nursing school, displacing 53 students. Nashua nursing school whose director Mr. Wilfred Saroni was once rewarded with one of America’s prestigious award, “The Ronald Reagan Republican Gold Medal.” lives in the US State of Massachusetts.
The institution has a staff of 67 and operates on an annual budget of more than US $ 2 million (about Kenya Shillings 150,000,000). Mr. Saronis recognition arose from his hard work and resourcefulness, through which he established a pioneering nursing college that now trains over 1,200 students per year. Wilfred Saroni, a Dracut resident who owns the institute as well as several other health-care businesses, came under scrutiny in September 2007 when employees at the Lowell-based Holden Homecare Services complained they were not getting paid, getting paid late or receiving checks that bounced. Similar complaints began coming into the state Board of Nursing last October, according to Margaret Walker, the board’s executive director.
The board requested an audit of the school’s financial statements. Saroni did not comply. “November. Nothing. December. Still nothing,” said Walker. “We told them they could not take any new students. January and February, still nothing.” Saroni attended a hearing before the nursing board on April 17 and said he was in the process of working out an agreement to sell Holden Medical Institute to Premier Education Group, a career-training organization.
Mr. Wilfred Saroni – one of the most successful Kenyan businessmen in the US
State officials have shut down a Nashua nursing school, displacing 53 students, over serious concerns about the school’s financial health. Holden Medical Institute’s Nashua campus bounced checks to instructors and failed to pay electricity, rent and the Internal Revenue Service all while collecting tuition payments, according to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. “They weren’t able to pay for the paper to print transcripts for students,” said Margaret Walker, executive director of the nursing board. “So we didn’t know where money was going. And we still don’t.” Walker said the decision to shut down the school came at a public board meeting April 17, after Holden failed to produce legally required financial statements for the seventh consecutive month. Holden Medical Institute also operates campuses in Lowell and Worcester, Mass.
The Nashua campus at 472 Amherst St., which opened in 2005, specialized in Licensed Practical Nurse certificate programs. Walker said the nursing board is also working closely with the New Hampshire attorney general’s office to determine if any crime was committed. Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Bradley, who is handling the case, could not be reached for comment. Holden Medical Institute Director Wilfred Saroni also could not be reached for comment. A message left at his home in Dracut, Mass., was not returned.
The nursing board is making arrangements to help the displaced students complete the last four months of the one-year program, according to Walker. Certificate program credits are not transferable, but two Nashua colleges have offered to donate classroom space that current students and instructors can use to complete the coursework. The plan is to resume day and night programs using space at Rivier College and Nashua Community College, formerly known as New Hampshire Community Technical College, Walker said. Teachers will be paid out of an escrow fund created with tuition payments that students still owed to Holden.
According to former instructor Mary Heinzl, about 70 percent of the displaced students are immigrants from Africa. Saroni, the school’s director, is a native of Kenya. Heinzl said many of them are single parents or live in single-income households. English is a second language for most of them, she said. “I feel so bad for the students,” Heinzl, who left the school in December amid a shake up in leadership, said. “They have worked so hard . . . there are some really awesome students. They will make great nurses.” Heinzl said teachers were aware while she was there that the school was having financial trouble because paychecks were sometimes late and other times bounced.
The school had about seven instructors when it closed, she said. Complaints have been filed about the school with the New Hampshire Department of Labor, according to Walker. Heinzl, who still keeps in touch with some of her former students, said students were notified of the closing Monday. “They were shocked,” Heinzl said. “They worked so hard.” Tuition to Holden’s LPN program was approximately $12,000, Heinzl said.
_______________________
African Press International – api

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

KIBAKI SUCCESSION BATTLES HAVE ALL BUT BEGUN

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

IT is said that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Kenyans can as well dim their hopes for giant steps reforms they hoped for since a mini political revolution in 2002 and look forward to the all familiar vicious war of succession politics. That incumbent president Kibaki is serving his last term in office mirrors to a new term of a new president which assumingly will be as soon as his term expires as expected to fall in 2012.

Succession politics in the third world and in particular in Africa can be very dangerous. They can have serious repercussions if before and aftermath of an exiting president or leader, they are not handled properly. A case in point is Cte d’Ivoire .After the exit following the death of founding President Felix Houphout-Boigny in 1993, the country has to date experienced un-precedented political turmoil. The once prospering country has all but charted the familiar failed states course.

The case for Kenya turning Cte d’Ivoire style is not completely unfounded. Just a short while ago, if you told Kenyans that their country can easily turn basket case, they could not imagine an inch into it. Yet just a few months ago after a disputed presidential vote tallying Kenya was on the brink of unprecedented political tailspin. The tribal hatred which soon engulfed the presidential results announcement was by all standards very dangerous. The resultant fighting has turned the Kenyan history chapter with an ugly blot.

The fact that today Kenya has internally displaced persons (IDPs) rings a bell which creates an analogy to Darfur (in Sudan) refugees. The public display of power games between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka in front of president Kibaki during a tour of Rift Valley to address the issue of IDP’s should not be seen as unusual.

The political competition after forming the seemingly incompatible government of national unity between two arch foe’s the ODM and PNU has only provided a breathing space to an already suffocated state. PNU for instance has several contenders who want to claim the presidential mantle once the race is declared. It is not a secret that Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta, George Saitoti, Martha Karua and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka would very likely or rather almost obviously throw in the towel. It should be supposed that Raila Odinga would obviously want to become president next.

In ODM still there are also several presidential materials like Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Joe Nyagah, Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu. With mind that Kibaki is serving is final term the battle especially in PNU will turn vicious and likely very ugly. For ODM the bets are largely on Raila Odinga.

President Kibaki may want to leave a good memorable legacy after the worst post independence political and almost economic disaster during his reign. But his wish will greatly be distracted by the various battles going on. It is unlikely that any in PNU would want to leave space for the other. Political experience in Kenya is littered with many broken promises. Those who give space for their friends or for convenience more often than not have ended suffering greatly. A case in point is with Jaramogi Odinga and his son Raila Odinga. Political gentleman agreements simply don’t work or put it bluntly they don’t exist!

The political displays between Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka may not entirely lie on political pecking order but also on succession battles going on. Raila Odinga has a huge political clout considering the many regions and communities that supported him. Kalonzo Musyoka also has his constitutional backing just as is Raila Odinga. The confusion prevailing between a hugely popular Prime Minister and a Vice President who is the President’s principal Assistant may only be only one section of the political supremacy battle, more battles are ongoing and will continue to envelop leaving the president probable desired legacy in very great jeopardy or completely made impossible.

The upshot is that succession battles have already begun. They ill cloud any desired reforms. Don’t be surprised if the urgently required constitutional reforms or the road to a new constitution is completely sabotaged. After all who would not want to inherit the currently prevailing constitution?

______________

African Press International – api

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 1 Comment »

Poverty is dangerous

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

THAT Kenya and African countries in general are faced with monstrous challenges associated with poverty is not in doubt. What is in doubt is whether these countries are aware that continued poverty and rising poverty levels are the greatest threat to their stability.

Recent events in the globe where masses have protested of high and still rising food prices across various countries of the globe should alarm policy makers and the political elite. It has been vividly been captured on the media of protesters in far flung countries such as Mexico, Yemen, and closer home in African countries such as Egypt, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Mali and Senegal.

With global energy consumption rising by the day as a result of expansion of economies such as China and India, coupled by rising oil prices the demand on bio-fuels has meant that energy for machines is competing for foodstuffs with human beings. This is made horrid by the fact that regions with vast potential for food production such as in Africa are themselves sufferers of perennial shortages thanks to misguided and confused polices which are heavily ‘incested’ by rotten politics.

Back to Kenya which is a good case study. The fact is that we cannot expand land. The other fact is that Kenya suffers shortages of enough arable land for farming for majority who would necessarily depend on it. Poverty levels in Kenya are still very high. The other fact is that land is the ultimate resource and last result in total means of production (no matter how inefficient) for many in poor regions of the world. This does not however imply that we don’t have enough land to produce adequate food for the population and for export. Blame it still on the many horrid reasons that still bedevil Africa and the third world in general plus our usual political and economic mooch.

If there are things that one should never play around with especially in politics globally and locally, it is land and religion. The two can deflate a good nation or set it asunder all together. Kenya has tasted what confused and skewed land issues can produce. A disputed presidential vote tallying process quickly cascaded in exploding land grievances which date to many years back. The result is that it still nave to assume that even reconciling warring communities will evaporate the issues. And all these revolve around poverty.

A poor nation is a nation one step to war. Poor people are potential fighters and warlords. And when you blend poverty and politics the resultant mixture is potent war and explosions. Since it is difficult to expand land and even more difficult to have it enough for everybody it is prudent we explore better avenues which are better productive and with better returns to occupy the population. This then means better means of production and products with high value content. This leads to a case for exploitation of Knowledge, Science and Technology. Japan and South Korea have nothing much to talk about in terms of land or natural resources. However their human resources have ensured that the two nations have conquered nations and household’s through-out the globe. In any layer of middle class families (and even poor ones) in most part of the world it is difficult to miss a gadget, equipment or machine produced by companies from the two countries. Singularly, several companies in the two countries run budgets which make African countries budgets a joke.

The essence of this message is it high time to change strategies and tactics. The move should be to high value production coupled with mass production and export with greater exploitation of the benefits of knowledge, science and technology. With that, most people should move to urban areas where industries should be re-distributed across many of them and with efficient infrastructure. Anything short of this would mean more land chaos across the country as population pressure will make parcels of land smaller, scarcer, less productive and economically unviable.

On the other hand we have service industries such as ICT (especially on global back offices services outsourcing) and tourism which can easily wipe out unemployment in this country. Hopefully the new minister for tourism Hon Balala who hails from a region largely dependent and largely likely to benefit, will aggressively market the Kenyan tourism offering globally. The tourism ministry and organizations working under it need to be properly funded and not with meager budgets which will dim prospects of growth. Of course they require ingenius and proper management.

The upshot is that land is not expanding and land will continue becoming scarcer by the day, and that production will of course tail spin concomitantly. With this poverty will continue ballooning unless checked appropriately. And a word of caution, in today’s global and national politics there is no bigger time bomb than poverty!

________________

African Press International -api

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

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

Kenyas Minister for Finance Amos Kimunya has expressed optimism over a 7 percent growth of the countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in spite of the political crisis.

Kimunyas recent projection of a growth between 4.5 and 6 per cent is still achievable.

He made the statement recently in Nairobi during a signing ceremony of a grant agreement with the African Development Bank (ADB) in the tone of 100 billion shillings ($1.6 billion ) for farmers in the grain basket regions of the country.

But the ministry was quick to slam against the developed economies for using cereals to produce bio-fuels while causing artificial shortage of food on the world market.

Kimunya said the government has put in place measures to support farmers through the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Cereals and Produce Board to provide them with loans and funds.

He said farmers could access cheap loans to be able to purchase farm inputs and ensure higher production of food in order to help bring down the high overlying inflation.

The funds provided by the Africa Development Bank will be used in projects including infrastructure, agriculture, health, institutional support, water and sanitation of the 16 already ongoing projects.

The Minister further blamed the high inflation rate in the country, which is currently at 21.8 per cent on high-energy costs occasioned by high petroleum prices on the world market.

Kimunya said the strengthening shilling has helped to cushion Kenyans against adverse effects of the weakening US dollar.

————

African Press International – api

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

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

Delegates to the workshop of the Union of African Parties for Democracy and Development in West Africa (UPAD/AO) from five countries, have pledged their support for the electoral process and the restoration of peace in Cote dIvoire through free and fair elections.

We urge the international community as well as the technical and financial partners to support the political process underway in the country and help Cote dIvoire organise free, fair, and democratic elections, the UPAD/AO wrote in a statement.

The statement was issued at the end of workshop on decentralisation and good governance which ended at the week end in Niamey the capital of Niger.

Participants at the workshop discussed issues related to the Ivorian peace process and the crisis caused by the increase in food prices that affected many countries.

Furthermore, the particunother discussed the overall social and economic situation in Africa.

The participants invited the heads of state and government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to include in the agenda of their next summit, the economic crisis resulting from the high cost of living.

Concerning decentralisation, which was the main theme of the workshop, the UPAD/AO chairperson, Hama Amadou from Niger, told reporters that the political leaders are aware of the efforts we still need to make, in order to achieve decentralisation.

Delegates from Cote dIvoire, Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger attended the workshop.

————–

African Press International – api

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

The best way to solve the crisis between Prime Minister Raila and VP Kalonzo

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

The has been a fight for seniority between the Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Kusyoka, who is the principal assistant to the President and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Protocol has failed, it is claimed by many. We know that the constitution stipulates that the VP is next to the President. The PM, however, does not want to recongnise that. He wants to be next to the president.

Both men have their eyes on the presidency in the year 2012. This the reason each one wants to exert power and build himself in preparation for the big seat.

Kenyans have gone through a painful period and should not be subjected to new worries of power struggle between leaders.

Kibaki as the head of state should take a decision. He should institute a change of the constitution soon and have the VP’s office scraped so that Kenya has the office of the President and Prme Minister only. By doing so, then the Prime Minister becomes his, the president’s, number two man in the hiarachy.

Kenya has had a need to have a VP because it was necessary to have someone assist the president in his workload. But as Kenya is now, with a PM, having most of the workload and supervising the ministries, the president does not need a principal assistant in the name of a VP.

Another clear thing is when the accord was signed to have a grand coalition. Kibaki and Raila signed. If the VP was to be retained, it would have been good to have him sign some kind of documetn at the time as well. The VP joined PNU just like Uhuru Kenyatta joined the PNU. The two and other smaller parties reaped ministerially and should be satisfied with that. At least for now.

___________________________________

African Press International – api

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

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

Lawyers for a detained Zimbabwe journalist Frank Chikowore have filed an urgent application seeking the courts intervention for his release, a week after he was caught up in a police crackdown on an opposition strike.

Lawyers for Chikowore, a freelance journalist arrested together with more than 20 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party supporters on April 15, have applied for a High Court order for his release.

The urgent court application follows the refusal of bail for the journalist after he appeared before a magistrate earlier this week.

Chikowore is facing public violence charges after being caught up in a police swoop on organisers and other MDC supporters who participated in a nationwide strike called for April 15 by the opposition.

He is accused of involvement in the torching of a bus, after initially being wrongly accused of working as a journalist without compulsory accreditation from the Media and Information Commission.

The strike was meant to push for an early release of presidential election results.

The government has refused to publish the results of the presidential election held more than three weeks ago, and the opposition says that is part of a ploy to steal the vote.

The High Court application came as Reporters Without Borders voiced concern about the ongoing assault on media freedom in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean journalists are being exposed to great danger because of the failure of the community of African states to put pressure on the government of Robert Mugabe, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Zimbabwe authorities have stepped up a crackdown on journalists and other voices of dissent since the countrys disputed March 29 elections.

Former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general Luke Tamborinyoka, now director of information for the MDC, is among those detained with Chikowore.

Another journalist, Stanley Karombo, has also not been seen more than a week after he was taken from his Harare home by suspected operatives of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation.

____________________

African Press International – api

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

Morocco hails UN mediator on Western Sahara

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

The Moroccan government on Thursday hailed what it termed as the “clear and unbiased vision” of the United Nations mediator on the Western Sahara issue, Peter Van Walsum, who declared that “the independence of Western Sahara is not a realistic option”.

Speaking at the end of a cabinet meeting, the Moroccan Communication Minister and government’s spokesman, Khalid Naciri, said the report presented on Monday to the United Nations security Council “falls neatly within the framework of the UN mediator’s attributions”.

Peter Van Walsun, who toured three times in the countries in the Maghreb region, is qualified to inform the 15 Security Council’s members about the course of the negotiations on the Western Sahara and in which Morocco, Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania have been taking part since June 2007 in Manhasset near New York.

The UN mediator has a “clear and unbiased vision”, based on good awareness of the “objective realities” of the 33-year old Western Sahara issue, pleaded in favour of the Moroccan government.

The UN Secretary General’s envoy on Monday personally told the Security Council that “the independence of Western Sahara is not a realistic option”, urging it to order the pursuance of the talks while taking into account the political reality and international equality”.

He had rejected the current status quo in the Western Sahara’s crisis, terming it “intolerable” and “too much easily accepted not only by some spectators who are not committed in other countries, but also by the Polisario Front’s unconditional partisans who didn’t live in the camps, but convinced that those staying in would rather stay there forever instead of negotiated solution apart from total independence”.

The words by the UN mediator are the first of the kinds since the Rabat’s proposal in April to grant Western Sahara (about 250,000 square kilometres) a large autonomy were hailed with “great satisfactions” in Rabat.

Many influential capitals, including Washington, London and Madrid haield the declaration, which they thought deserved to be « taken into account » while Pretoria that is chairing the UN Security Council for the month of April rejected them and slammed the UN mediator for supporting Algeria-based Polisario since 1975.

At the fourth round, the talks on Western Sahara which were held in March under the aegis of the United Nations came up against stances that were “quite different” from the protagonists’.

The Polisario Front claims a self-determination referendum described as “unacceptable” by the Moroccan authorities who, in the eye of the observers, stick to their autonomy proposal following the UN mediator’s report.

_________________________

African Press International – api

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

Egypt expresses concern about the escalation of tension in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

Egypt has expressed its deep concern regarding the escalation of tension in the security and armed military confrontations in Somalia, which claimed the lives of scores of unarmed Somali people, and displaced hundreds of civilians during the past few days.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister on Thursday called of all parties in Somalia to exercise self-restraint and avoid endangering the lives of civilians at risk and to respect the inviolability of dwellings and houses of worship.

Aboul Gheit called for dialogue in a positive atmosphere between the transitional government and the opposition, calling upon the Somali people to meet their responsibilities. He also appealed to all regional parties concerned not to waste more opportunities to achieve peace in Somalia.

“The Somali people have the greatest need for peace, security and stability and to avoid the spectre of renewed violence and fighting, Aboul Gheit said in press statements issued in Cairo on Thursday.

He renewed his call upon the Somali parties to deal positively with the mediation efforts undertaken by the United Nations.

He pointed out that Egypt will take part at the end of this month at the meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia in Norway, where participants will have the opportunity to conduct a serious and frank dialogue on all aspects of the Somali issue and the way forward for the start of dialogue between the government and the opposition.

The time has come to urgently deal with the political and security situation in Somalia, he added.

____________________
African Press International – api

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

UN refugee agency to open four new refugee camps in Ethiopia

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on Friday plans to open four new refugee camps in Ethiopia to host Eritrean and Somalia refugees.

The UNHCR office in Ethiopia said that one of the camps will be in Tigray and the two others will be in Afar regional states, which are meant to host Eritrean refugees.

It said that the fourth camp will be opened in the Somali State of eastern Ethiopia that would accommodate refugees from Somalia.

The UNHRC is opening these new refugee camps following the arrival of thousands of refugees both from Eritrea and Somalia.

According to Ethiopian officials, each month over 600 Eritrean refugees are flowing into Ethiopia through the border.

The UNHCR office confirmed here that an average of 600 Eritrean and 800 Somali refugees have been entering the country in a month.

UNHCR, in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia, is currently providing assistance for close to 22,000 Eritreans and 26,000 Somali refugees, the UNHRC said.

There are also 26,000 Sudanese and 2,600 Kenyan refugees in the country while voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees from camps in western Ethiopia has been progressing well.

The UNHCR has reportedly helped repatriate more than 30,000 Sudanese refugees over the past year alone.

_____________

African Press International – api

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

Israel rejects Hamas truce offer

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2008

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

The blockade of the Gaza Strip has forced UN Works and Relief Agency to halt food aid deliveries [AFP]

Israel has dismissed a conditional six-month truce proposed by Hamas,saying thatitwas aruse to allowthe Palestininan groupto recover from lossesafter recent clashes with the Israeli military.

“Hamas is biding time in order to rearm and regroup. There would be no need for Israel’s defensive actions if Hamas would cease and desist from committing terrorist attacks on Israelis,” David Baker, Israeli government spokesman, said on Friday.

“Israel will continue to act to protect its citizens,” he told the Reuters news agency.

West Bank extension

Mahmoud al-Zahar, the former Palestinian foreign minister, told reporters inCairo on Thursday, said: “The movement agrees to a truce in the Gaza Strip … fixed at six months, during which period Egypt will work to extend the truce to the West Bank.”

He said other Palestinian factions, including Islamic Jihad and groups based in Damascus, had preliminarily approved the offer.

Al Jazeera’s David Chater in Gaza said that the Egyptian mediators were due to officially present the ceasefire proposal to Israeli official next week.

“At the moment this does seem to be a very discouraging shot across Hamas’s bows by Israel,” he said.

“But there is no doubt that the Hamas Gaza-first proposal is a significant development and a breakthrough in terms of the fact they are willing to accept Gaza only for the the first few months of a ceasefire and then discuss … developing it and extending it to the occupied West Bank.”

Tacit agreement

However, an official close to Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, suggested that the two sides could still decide to hold their fire without a formal accord being agreed.

“We don’t rule out a tacit agreement, on condition it is done in stages. In a first stage we demand all groups stop firing rockets. Israel would then be willing to reduce its operations if the calm continues,” he told the AFP news agency.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has voiced cautious support for the truce initiative.

“We hope that this proposal is a serious one, and we hope it will be taken seriously by Israel,” Nimer Hammad, an aide to Abbas, said.

Israel has besieged Gaza since fighters from Hamas’s armed wingrouted Palestinian Authority forces loyal to rival Fatahthere in June.

Food aid suspension
Meanwhile, thousands of Gazans gathered at the Rafah and Erez crossings to protest against the Israeli blockade, which on Thursday forced the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) to suspend aid deliveries after lorries ran out of fuel.

David Chater said that the rallies were “part of a continuing campaign by Hamas to show the plight of the Palestinian people and the corrosive effect of the siege on society”.

The last shipment of fuel to Gaza by Israel – the sole distributor of it to the territory – came before Palestinian fighters attacked an Israeli fuel depot on April 9.

An emergency shipment of fuel for UNRWA lorries from within Gaza was reportedly intercepted on Thursday by angry strawberry farmers who needed the supplies for irrigation and refrigeration.

‘Extremely unhelpful’

“The big picture is there is a peace process going on and this is extremely unhelpful,” Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UNRWA, said.

“Hungry, angry people do not serve the interests of peace, neither do they serve Israel’s security interests.”

Israel has accused Hamas of stage-managing the crisis to encourage international condemnation of Israel.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing once again Hamas attempts to create a crisis situation in the Gaza Strip, on the back of the civilian population,” Colonel Nir Press, head of the Israeli office for liaison with Gaza, said.

Also on Friday, Israeli security forces were hunting for Palestinian fighters after two security guards were shot dead at an industrial complex near the West Bank.

___________________

African Press International – api

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

 
%d bloggers like this: