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Archive for May 4th, 2008

Open letter to James Orengo, Minister for Lands

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Written by : Emali Wanyama (IP: 75.40.26.221 , adsl-75-40-26-221.dsl.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net)

The issue of land is Kenya is very hot, and it is said to be the course of the recent bad blood between certain tribes. If this is the case, and I don’t think it is, let us hope that now that we have an ODM minister something is going to be done about land in Kenya as a whole.

First of all, I wonder why nobody in the Kibaki government except Wangari Maathai tried to do something about the wanton destruction of forests. Today we have a government of fairly well educated people, even if we do have some form 4 dropouts, (better than having standard 2 dropouts). I know you are not the minister for environment, but as the land minister, I think it is your duty now to see that the destruction of forests comes to an end. You are a well educated man and we are hoping that if nothing else, you will at least be able to do this much for the country and for the region for the sake of us all, because we need those forests which are first disappearing.

Second ; If land is such a hot issue, why do we still have settlers holding on to thousands of acres of land and paying peanuts for it as land rent, while millions of Kenyans have no land. I hope you are not going to be like Kamunya and tell us that the agreement at independence was for them to hold the land for 999 years – that is an insult to all of us. Let these people give up half of it so some indigenous Kenyas can also have land, necause we can also afford to pay the government the same peanuts they are paying for land, which was Kenyan land before it was forcefully taken from them.

Third: Another very crucial issue is the land at the coast. Have Kenyans ceded Malindi to Italians and Germans? Even now there is a case where some Italians want to build villas on the coral reef; CORAL REEF! Who ever heard of such folly? Would they be allowed to do so in Italy? No! Can they do it in Tanzania, or Mozambique or any other country with a coast line anywhere in the world? No! This can only happen in Kenya, and I will tell you why. Ni kama watu wa Kenya wamerogwa. Bribes, it has all to do with bribes. All most officials and high ranking kenyans seem to think about is me, me, me. They get bribed left, center and right without any shame. When issues pertaining to these foreigners go to court they always end up getting what they want. We do everything the mzungus want here. We let them come over here to buy land, making the price of land shoot up so high that it is almost impossible for locals to afford it. Why can’t Kenyans say no more land to foreigners!
And the worst thing about it is they come here, buy land, settle, invite their friends who come here, buy land, settle and it goes on and on. Soon they start treating the locals as if we are nothing, so much so that in some beaches they don’t want to see a black face except the man who is sweeping and picking up takataka. When will all this end?

ODM has come into the government with promises of better governance and better things. Can they please start with putting a stop to foreign domination in Malindi, and as you ask for IDPs to be settled in other places, look also at the issue of the settlers who have been allowed to own land, paying Kshs 4.50 an acre a year for 999 years. Show us that ODM is different!

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Ghana: Tussle over VP slot in ruling party underway

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.GhanaianChronicle

story by Charles Takyi-Boadu.

Though talks between the National Executive Council of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen have not yet ended to determine whether or not the latter would rescind his earlier decision and stage a comeback to the party, there are, indications of intense lobbying for him to be made the Running Mate of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the party’s Flag bearer.

Party sources have hinted that handlers and supporters of ‘Alan Cash’, the man who resigned from the party a couple of weeks ago have started intense lobbying for him to be given the position of running mate to pacify the soul of the aggrieved defeated Presidential hopeful. Sources close to the NPP have told The Chronicle that this is what has compelled President Kufuor to wade into the affair, since they believe that the exit of Alan, considering the votes he polled at the party’s December congress, has a tendency of affecting its fortunes in the upcoming general elections.

The setting up of a committee to look into his concerns is thus considered an opportunity for Alan to give some conditions for the party’s consideration before he finally rescinds his decision. The lobbying for Alan begun during his supposed ‘thank you’ tour to parts of the Volta region, when some polling station executives in Sogakope, Ho and Hohoe rooted for him to be considered for the position. This, they said was in view of Alan’s overwhelming popularity and ability to attract votes, a quality that cuts across party lines.

Their reason was that this would boost the party’s chances of securing total victory in the 2008 presidential elections in view of his charisma, popularity and vote-winning qualities. For that matter, some of his supporters and handlers are said to have gone to the extent of pushing Alan to ask the leadership of the party to make him Nana Addo’s Running Mate, as a pre-condition for his comeback to the party.
Meanwhile, big wigs in the party who the paper spoke to on condition of anonymity have discarded the suggestion, since in their opinions it would be more than a suicide mission for the party to make such a choice.

For them it would be a dangerous precedence and should not be considered. For having resigned from the party when efforts were made to address his concerns, they noted that Alan has proven not to be a thorough bred politician since according to them; he cannot withstand the tests of time. This is what the likes of party big wigs, B. J Da Rocha and Hackman Owusu Agyemang greatly detest and protest against; for an individual to hold the entire Dankwa-Busia tradition to ransom.

When news of Alan’s resignation broke, Hackman was one of the people who was accused of having frustrated the efforts of one of Alan’s supporters who was contesting him in the New Juaben constituency’s Parliamentary primary. Though he expressed regret at Alan’s decision to quit the party, he asked him to stop the blame game and leave the rest of them to work. He did not mince words when he said Alan’s resignation would not in anyway affect the chances of Nana Addo or the party in the upcoming elections.

Just last Friday, another old horse, Mr. B.J Da Rocha who was earlier tasked to mediate the process of bringing Alan Kyerematen back to the party after his infamous resignation, called off Alan’s bluff.
For him, it would not only be bad but also a dangerous precedence for the NPP to allow any member to dictate to the party the terms on which he will continue to be a member. In a statement, Mr. Da Rocha noted “I think Mr. Kyerematen is bluffing the party.” For this reason, he asked the party not to tolerate such a bluff.

In his considered view, it would not be in the best interest of the NPP to receive Alan back into the party, since according to him “he will become a disruptive factor in the party, a stumbling block, a loose canon.”
Mr. Da Rocha noted with surprise the statement issued by Alan for the reason that he had written to party Chairman, Peter Mac Manu resigning his membership.

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Somalia: New American airstrike in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.garoweonline.som

The leader of Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgent group was the target of a U.S. airstrike early Thursday morning in the central Somali town of Dhusamareb, reliable sources said.

Adan Hashi Ayro, a fighter said to be in his 30s and spearheading the Somali insurgency, was confirmed to be inside a house in Dhusamareb, which was hit by at least three missiles. Residents reported witnessing four military aircraft hovering above the town, followed subsequently by the sound of explosions at around 3am local time. It could not be independently confirmed that Ayro was killed in the attack, but the BBC Somali Service cited witnesses saying they saw four dead bodies and that the recovery effort is still underway.

Muktar Robow “Abu Mansur,” the al Shabaab spokesman, told Reuters that Ayro was killed inside a Dhusomareb home when “infidel planes” bombed the town. There is no available picture of Ayro, who was allegedly trained in Afghanistan before the U.S. military invasion of 2001 that overthrew the country’s Taliban rulers. The U.S. military has targeted al Shabaab insurgents, and Ayro in particular, at least two times in southern Somalia last year but missed.

In March, the U.S. State Department officially designated al Shabaab a foreign terrorist group, a move the al Shabaab spokesman said he welcomed.

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Zimbabwe: Did the weapons go through Angola?

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir africanpress@getmail.no source.mail&guardian.sa

For a massive ship that carries tons of ammunition and has its own cranes on board, the controversial Chinese ship carrying arms for Zimbabwe is about as easy to pin down as a cockroach in a dark, damp cellar.

The An Yue Jiang is carrying three million rounds of ammunition for AK-47s, 1 500 rocket-propelled grenades and several thousand mortar rounds. The cargo was destined for Zimbabwe, where the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says violence is at its worst since the country became independent.  Maritime and arms-control experts could only speculate on the whereabouts of the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) cargo ship this week, which was meant to be heading back to China. It has managed to stay under the radar after leaving South African waters, but was spotted near the Angolan coast on April 25.

On Wednesday the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said the An Yue Jiang was still outside the port of Luanda but had neither docked nor shown signs of returning to China. “It appears that the ship slowed right down over the weekend, probably while it awaited orders. The fact that it then made full speed for Luanda suggests that it got them. We trust that they will be for it to take on fuel and make their way home and that no attempt will be made to land any of its cargo of arms.

Given the lack of any definitive promise from Cosco or the Chinese government to this effect, we can promise that the world will be watching what happens next,” ITF general secretary David Cockroft said. Lloyds Maritime Information Unit (Lloyds MIU), which monitors shipping worldwide, told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday that according to its tracking records the vessel docked at Luanda airport, refuelled and then set sail again.

This series of events is supported by the Angolan government, which insists the ship docked in Luanda but was allowed only to offload construction material destined for Angola. The exact location of the ship could not be given by Lloyds MIU as the captain repeatedly switches off the vessel’s transponder, which can be detected by maritime authorities. There is some scepticism about a promise by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos that the arms would not be offloaded in Angola.

Newspaper reports this week said that Malawian and Zimbabwean intelligence officials and politicians made their way to Angola to meet Dos Santos. The M&G has learned that Mugabe’s right-hand man, Cabinet minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, was accompanied by the country’s top spy, Happyton Bonyongwe, and other security figures on his quest to deliver a “special message” to Dos Santos this week.

“I think people also underestimate the basis of some of our alliances in the region,” a senior Zimbabwean diplomat who was involved in the Mnangagwa mission said. He pointed to a decade-old “military pact” between Zimbabwe with Angola and Namibia.

Many top government officials this week said they believed Mnangagwa would lean on these old military alliances to persuade Angola to allow the release of arms held aboard the An Yue Jiang. Meanwhile, other sources said that a Chinese air cargo company, MK Air, might be involved in transporting the An Yue Jiang’s arms to Zimbabwe. The MK Air flight lodged a suspicious flying plan from Luanda that might have allowed it time to divert to Zimbabwe, said sources in the arms-control industry.

The flight last Saturday from Luanda to a European destination was “lost” for at least 17 hours on its leg between Luanda and Entebbe in Uganda. This gap would have given the aircraft time to make it to Zimbabwe and then on to Entebbe.
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Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai to contest in run-of

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.zimbabweIndependent

story by dumisani muleya

Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai will contest the looming presidential election run-off despite his public remarks to the contrary.

This came as the presidential election candidates or their agents yesterday met Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials to tackle the crisis triggered by the withholding of results more than a month later due to a demand by President Robert Mugabe for a recount of the votes. Yesterdays emergency meeting took place against a backdrop of a fresh problem sparked off by ZECs leakage of official results to defeated Zanu PF leaders who in turn passed them on to the international media in a bid to sustain their pursuit for a run-off.

ZEC and Zanu PF were anxious to ward off mounting pressure for results to come out and build a case for a run-off, especially against a background of MDCs claims that Tsvangirai had won the election outright.
The result gives us a decisive victory so theres no need for a run-off, Tsvangirai told France 24 from Johannesburg yesterday. How can you have a run-off when Mugabe over the last month has been unleashing violence, death squads and violence against our structures?

The MDC says Zanu PF has deployed state security forces the army, police and intelligence units across the country to campaign for Mugabe. This, it says, has triggered a wave of violence nationwide, which has claimed more than a dozen lives and left a climate of fear. A bruising political campaign is expected in the run-up to the run-off. Although Tsvangirai insisted he would not enter a run-off, information gleaned from documents on the deal between the two MDC factions to work together in parliament shows he will take on Mugabe in the second round.

This agreement is premised on the underlying assumption that Morgan Tsvangirai has either won the 2008 Zimbabwean presidential elections held on 29 March 2008, or will face a run-off election, the MDC agreement says. In the event of a run-off election, the parties undertake to campaign together to ensure that Tsvangirai wins the run-off election. According to ZEC results, Tsvangirai got 47,8% and Mugabe 43,2% of the vote. Simba Makoni and Langton Towungana shared the difference.

This means officially a run-off would now follow within 21 days after the official announcement of the results. The results leaked to the foreign media this week were the same as those given to the candidates yesterday. The MDC said it was shocked by the conduct of ZEC and Zanu PF officials, who after failing to release figures for more than a month, leaked the results to the hostile media. Candidates, due to meet again today, were given results but had to enter a secrecy pledge not to leak the already known figures.

Verification by the candidates would begin today and may last a number of days. The MDC accord shows that Tsvangirai who indicated he would come back home after announcement of results will battle Mugabe in the run-off. The MDC agreement facilitated by exiled local tycoon Strive Masiyiwa based in South Africa was finalised this week. The reunification of the MDC in parliament effectively relegated Zanu PF to opposition benches, while ensuring Mugabe is in the meantime the leader of the official opposition.

The two MDC formations reached the deal meant to secure control of the House of Assembly in the aftermath of elections which produced a hung parliament. None of the parties was able to win an absolute majority to be in command of parliament on its own. This led to cooperation between MDC factions. The MDC factions have also agreed to reunify to revert to being a single party within a year. In terms of their agreement, titled Coalition and Cooperation Agreement, the parties agreed to work together not just in parliament, but also in other platforms, including during the anticipated presidential election run-off.

The parties acknowledge that they are two separate formations, but for purposes of consummating this agreement, the parties irrevocably agree and undertake to vote as one, in the legislature, the document says.
The parties agreed to have one chief whip and caucus; to vote together in parliament; to elect a Speaker of Parliament, nominated by the MDC (Tsvangirai) and a deputy speaker from MDC (Mutambara). Initially it was agreed that Mutambaras faction would provide its deputy leader Gibson Sibanda as the speaker, but it was later changed.

There had been suggestions that Welshman Ncube be the speaker but officials in the Tsvangirai camp refused. The Mutambara camp would now provide the deputy speaker and chief whip of the united MDC.
However Sibanda could be appointed President of Senate, sources said yesterday. Arrangements in senate depend on whether Tsvangirai wins the run-off or not. The MDC factions also agreed not less than two parliamentary committee chairpersons would be from the Mutambara group which would be fully represented in all parliamentary committees.

Tsvangirai in exercising his prerogative to form a new government in Zimbabwe, and to make legislative appointments, undertakes and agrees to include some elected legislators and leaders from MDC (Mutambara) into his government, it says. The agreement says there would be two cabinet ministers from the MDC (Mutambara) and four deputy ministers assigned by Tsvangirai in main ministries substantially involved in the transformation process. Tsvangirai, if he wins the run-off, would also appoint two senators from the Mutambara camp to facilitate the agreement. Tsvangirai will have powers to appoint five senators.

Mutambaras group will also get not less than five ambassadors, two of which are in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, which are well-developed, and one in a significant developing country. Tsvangirai has offered to appoint one governor of the three Matabeleland provinces from the Mutambara formation. In the event of any vacancy arising in any of the positions for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to death, dismissal, incapacity, resignation, promotion and/or demotion, Tsvangirai, as president, shall be required to appoint a replacement from nominees of MDC (Mutambara), within 30 days of such vacancy occurring, the agreement says. The parties hereby agree that they will have an irrevocable right and option to re-unify the two parties. The re-unification may take place within a period of 12 months from the effective date.

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Uganda: Is there a deliberate attempt to keep Ugandans sleeping? (commentary)

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.nosource.themonitor.ug

story by Omar Kalinge Nnyago.

1986 was a magic year for Uganda. A new breed of leaders had taken the reigns of power and installed themselves as the peoples vanguard, after a bloody 5-year war that claimed half a million innocent lives.

The young men at the front were different. They had university degrees, and guns on their shoulders. In a country that was ruled by the British, it also helped that they spoke some intelligible English, unlike the man they had overthrown, Okello Lutwa, a semi-literate Leutenant General not much different from Idi Amin in education background.

The politicisation started in earnest, with the famous Chaka Mchaka drills, political economy lectures and prescriptions for Africas problems. They came on TV, on radio and to the people and mesmerised the educated with their eloquence and nationalist, almost socialist fervour. It seemed like it was the time for a thinking Uganda again. We were wrong.

Having captured the eye of the educated, the NRM revolution steadily moved to abolish ideology in their discourse, which was understandable, as they had to steal some money for the Americans and the British who were eager to sell capitalism and democracy to Africa. Ugandas political discourse became shallower and shallower every passing day.

Under the individual merit system, politicians had to devise other ingenious ways to get elected. They made sure they avoided any serious topics during their campaigns. They just threw money at the electorate, boozed them a little, danced a little, gossiped a little and told a few, often bad jokes.

Shallowness became a factor of success in Ugandas politics. But before that, in the botched 1980 elections campaign, we had listened to Prof. Ponsiano Mulemas brilliant speeches at DPs rallies. Listening to Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi, a CP presidential candidate in that election, you would think you were sitting in a lecture room.

That was the time for those who really knew what they were talking about. We had started believing that running a country needed brain. We were keen to find out whether Paul Ssemogerere really had a second degree. Or whether Dr Obote deserved the honourary doctorate he was throwing around. Truth be told, Obote always sounded exceptionally brilliant. The nation admired depth in those days.

Today, to survive in Ugandas shallow political waters you must be just as shallow. Kampala city was later to reward a prominent politician with a big post on the basis that he was the least educated and most ignorant in the campaign.

A new culture that glorifies ignorance had been born. As time went on, Ugandans started seeing more PhDs and professors in cabinet. They thought it would be a good thing for the country, if you had people of knowledge at the helm. They were wrong again. To survive in the revolution, they had to suspend their conscience and to forget whatever they learned or taught at school. The NRM revolution, they soon learned, does not reward honesty, knowledge, or intelligence.

So, to keep your job for some time, you have to act stupid, dumb. You should never sound like you know some things more than the president. It must be painful for these ladies and gentlemen, but they still need the free fuel and trips abroad, for treatment and other goodies. I hope they are patiently waiting for the day that those who know will be taken seriously again.

The NRM revolution has systematically cultivated mediocrity in society to unprecedented levels. The universalisation of primary education was a noble idea. But in it was embedded a malicious disregard for academic standards, as if to create a generation of semi-literate Ugandans who could be easily manipulated in future.

I have met primary leaving pupils who cant figure out the balance on a thousand shillings note when they buy an item. Now, universal secondary education will complete the cycle of mediocrity, and this is not an accident. It is calculated.

There seems to be a deliberate attempt to produce half baked products to flood the market. Meanwhile the few affluent and those who hold power have the real schools they take their children to. Only their children will be able to compete in the global economy. The poor ones will only be able to work as cleaners and of course, dogmatic voters once every five years, to keep their rulers in power.

When even universities got sucked into the mediocrity pit and started organising more beauty contests than intellectual quizzes, and students were encouraged to know more about what Beyonce and Akon had for breakfast than about Mazruis latest book, Ugandas fate was sealed.

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Release Mayombo death report

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.newvision.ug

By Emmanuel Kajubu

The late Mayombo’s wife Juliet and daughter Natalia Mayombo lay a wreath on the grave in Kasokero, Kijura village

The late Mayombo’s wife Juliet and daughter Natalia Mayombo lay a wreath on the grave in Kasokero, Kijura village

The Government has been urged to release the report into the death of Brig. Noble Mayombo.

At a memorial service for Mayombo, held yesterday at St. John’s Cathedral, Kabarole, the dean of the cathedral, Patrick Kyaligonza, said people had the right to know what killed the brigadier.

Present at the service were his father, Rev Canon James Rwaboni, Mayombo’s widow Juliet and children as well as Mayombo’s brothers Phillip Winyi and Rwaboni Okwiri, and sister Gertrude Katuramu.

Others included the deputy chief of defence forces, Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta, Brig. James Mugira and members of the Toro royal family, including the head of the Babiito royal clan, Charles Kamurasi.

The Toro Kingdom flag and the national flag were flying at half-mast outside the cathedral.

People should accept and believe that God took Mayombo away from us, but also we were told the report into his death has been finalised and it is with the president, said Kyaligonza

It is our right as Batooro and Ugandans to know what killed Brig. Mayombo. We can’t rest until the Government releases the report and we know how our son died, he added amidst murmurs from the gathering.

Mayombo, who was the Permanent Secretary for Defence, died on May 1 last year at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. Mayombo was also the chairman of the New Vision Board of Directors.

At the burial at Kijura last year, President Museveni told mourners that a probe team, to be headed by Mugira, would investigate Mayombo’s death.

Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga said in Parliament this week that the probe committee finished its investigations and handed its report to the President.

Kyaligonza said his family and friends should not mourn but thank God for the life of Mayombo and the good things he did.

On behalf of the UPDF, Koreta said Mayombo served the army professionally and diligently.

If you don’t remember death, then you have learnt nothing about life, he said.

Rev. Canon Rwaboni hailed Museveni for his close relationship with the family. He thanked the people who contributed to the Mayombo Memorial Fund. After the church service, family members and friends proceeded to Mayombo’s grave to lay their wreaths.

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President Museveni inspects the workers parade during the Labour Day celebrations at Kololo Airstrip on labour day

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.newvision.ug

By Henry Mukasa

President Museveni inspects the workers’ parade during the Labour Day celebrations at Kololo Airstrip yesterdayUgandans should take advantage of the soaring prices by churning out more produce to push forward the Prosperity for All programme, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

Speaking at Kololo airstrip during Labour Day celebrations yesterday, Museveni blasted people who on the radio claim that his Government’s failures had caused food prices to skyrocket.

He attributed the high prices to the increased percentage of rich people in the world, including Ugandans, and the expansion of Uganda’s market to South Sudan and Eastern Congo.

The rich who used to live mainly in Western Europe, Canada, the US and Japan have spread to China, India, Africa and Kampala, he explained. Consequently more people live affluent lifestyles.

Even you here in Kampala are driving so many cars. By driving so many cars causing traffic jam, you are contributing to the rise of prices. It means steel and petroleum prices will go up. More cars mean more petrol, more demand and higher prices.

In 1986, only 40,000 cars plied Ugandan roads. Today the number has risen to 500,000, he noted.

Giving the example of himself as a cattle farmer, Museveni said from the beef he supplies to Kampala he used to earn sh1,800 per kilo. Because of the demand in Juba he now gets sh2,500.

We should benefit from the high prices by getting into production. The high prices are to our advantage as farmers. Instead of roaming in the capital city, spreading rumours and crowding bimeeza (radio talk-shows) you should be in your gardens.

He termed as liars those who accused the Government of being responsible for the high prices and warned of an imminent crack-down on radio stations where presenters spread such reports.

The liars are shameless. They are enemies of the country. If you are ignorant about something, keep quiet.

When the NRM took power in 1986, the economy was on its knees with no production in industries, he recalled. Today between 400,000 and 500,000 tones of cement and 200,000 tones of sugar are produced annually, while over 600MW of power is being generated, up from 60MW in 1986.

How can you say that the Movement has failed? Production has gone up but even demand is high, the president said. In 1986 there was no load-shedding. 60MW was enough for lighting because there was no production.

Museveni, however, noted that because the high prices affect the cost of living of the urban working class, their plight would be looked into.

On the Bujagali dam project, the President instructed the police chief, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, to hunt for workers who steal construction materials. He also told him to deploy screened cops at the site in Jinja.

Speaking about national security, Museveni reiterated that nobody can destabilise the country again. He wondered why mediators and elders from the North were begging LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign the peace agreement.

Kony can come out if he wants. If he doesn’t, he will come in another form, the President commented.

The national celebrations at Kololo were characterised by a guard of honour and march by police, prisons and workers from production and service sectors.

David Nkojjo, the chairman of the National Organisation of Trade Unions, decried the absence of a minimum wage and the lack of a comprehensive employment policy.

He called for the establishment of a labour productivity centre to ascertain the causes of low productivity of Ugandans. The trade union boss urged Museveni not to approve the Local Service Tax, which was passed by Parliament recently. He said the tax was a replica of the graduated tax the President abolished. Nkojjo said local governments could be funded with an indirect tax by increasing VAT by 1% or cutting 1% from the current 18% and distribute it to local governments.

He also called for the retention of NSSF as the basic mandatory workers savings scheme.

In reply, Museveni said Uganda, as the only country without a minimum wage in East Africa, was the fastest growing economy in the region.

He also rejected equating the Local Service Tax to the abolished graduated tax. While graduated tax was for all people, regardless of whether they were employed or not, the local service tax targets people with income only, he explained.

Museveni ruled out the privatisation of NSSF, saying the Government could not privatise what it did not own. What was being considered was the liberalisation of the pension sector to break NSSF’s monopoly, he clarified.

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Corrupt top cop removed by the Kenya government

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

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

DCIO interdicted


Kirinyaga District Criminal Investigations Officer Isaac Onyango has been interdicted on corruption charges.

The move follows allegations that the officer has been using a car that was being held as an exhibit in a case to run personal errands.

The DCIO received his interdiction letter Thursdayordering him to hand over to hisdeputy and vacate office with immediate effect.

Confirming the report Deputy Kirinyaga Police boss Patrick Oduma however said they are yet to receive official communication from the headquarters.

Sources said the officer was investigating a case involving a vehicle theft but early last month he went to the court and withdrew the case citing lack of evidence. He however continued using the vehicle.

Meanwhile four people died on the spot when a Nairobi bound Matatu overturned along the Embu – Mwea road.

A fifth person died on arrival at the Embu Provincial general hospital. All the dead were in the ill-fated vehicle.

According to Wanguru OCSGabriel Lesikon the vehicle overturned after both rear tires burst causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

He said nine of the survivors were rushed to Embu Provincial General Hospital where they were admitted in critical conditions.

Lesikon appealed to motorist to be cautious and ensure they do not exceed the speed limit set by the government to ensure the safety of passengers.

He expressed concern that motorists plying the Embu – Nairobi highway are tempted to speed on the road which was recently repaired.

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African Press International – api

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Pair jailed for royal blackmail

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

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

Ian Strachan

Ian Strachan (left) and Sean McGuigan had denied blackmail

Two men who demanded 50,000 from a Royal Family member in exchange for tapes featuring gay sex claims have been jailed for blackmail.

Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan were jailed for five years each for attempting to extort money from the unidentified royal.

His identity had been concealed during the two-and-a-half-week-long trial.

Strachan, 31, and McGuigan, 41, both of London, had denied charges of demanding money with menaces.

Among the claims in the recordings were that the royal, referred to as witness A, performed a sex act on his employee, witness D, at a party.

Strachan, who is originally from Aberdeen, in Scotland, and McGuigan had used the tapes to demand money from the royal after trying, unsuccessfully, to sell them to newspapers.

Prosecutions for blackmail are rare but it is a serious offence which can involve the victims making themselves vulnerable
Mark Carroll, CPS

Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, told the court that it had been a “classic example of blackmail”.

The two men were arrested in a sting operation at a London hotel by undercover police officers last September.

The Old Bailey heard that Strachan was a “Walter Mitty”-type fantasist who routinely claimed to be a friend of royals and lived an extravagant lifestyle.

McGuigan, who is a recovering alcoholic, contacted A’s representatives last July and was present as the tapes were played to an undercover officer, who posed as a royal aide, in a meeting shortly before the pair were arrested.

The judge, Mr Justice Cooke, said the offence was so serious that the pair had to be jailed.

He told them: “The corrosive evil of blackmail means that any sentence must have a deterrent effect.”

‘Scurrilous accusations’

And the judge said he was sure that the men had acted together to target the royal – a victim who was “particularly susceptible”.

Mr Justice Cooke said the two men had encouraged D to make “scurrilous accusations” and collected “scurrilous and salacious” material against A and his family.

Following the guilty verdict, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewing lawyer Mark Carroll said: “Although they claimed to be acting in the interests of the victim, the jury rejected this story and agreed with the prosecution that they were simply interested in the money.

“Prosecutions for blackmail are rare but it is a serious offence which can involve the victims making themselves vulnerable in order that the case comes to trial.”

He added that the CPS “will not hesitate to prosecute blackmail cases and we will always seek to protect the anonymity of blackmail victims”.

The trial is thought to have cost at least 1m.

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African Press International – api

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Zimbabwe announces poll results – where will they go next? Civil war or dialogue?

Posted by African Press International on May 4, 2008

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

Morgan Tsvangirai (l) and Robert Mugabe (r)This two men, Tsvangirai and Mugabecan either drive Zimbabwe into a civil war.

Fair enough if they enter into dialogue and form a government of national unity.

Alternatively, be men enough and do the right thing: One makes exit from power, whilst the othermake entry into power as soon as possible and enable the Zimbabweans to start living their lives again without worries of killings that can become the thing of the day.

Morgan Tsvangirai in Johannesburg, South Africa 28 April, 2008

Official results say Morgan Tsvangirai gained the most votes

The long-awaited results of Zimbabwe’s presidential poll have been announced, with the opposition’s Morgan Tsvangirai winning 47.9%, forcing a second round.

Election officials say Mr Tsvangirai beat President Robert Mugabe’s 43.2%, but neither candidate passed the 50% threshold for an outright win.

A spokesman for 84-year-old Mr Mugabe says he will stand in a run-off vote.

But Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the result was “scandalous daylight robbery”.

The MDC accuses ruling party supporters of rigging the vote and of launching a campaign of intimidation and violence following the elections on 29 March.

It says the delay in announcing the results was to give pro-government militants time to organise and carry out their attacks.

election results

Zanu-PF party says the scale of the violence has been exaggerated and accuses the MDC of staging political attacks.

Chief Elections Officer Lovemore Sekeramayi said former Finance Minister Simba Makoni came third with 8.3%.

He said a date for the second round between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai would be announced later. It should be held within three weeks.

Mr Makoni held back from endorsing either candidate after the results announcement, saying instead Zimbabwe could not afford another round of voting, the AFP news agency reports.

“The way forward for this country is for the political leaders to work together,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, Bright Matonga, told the BBC that both main parties had been aware that no-one had won outright.

Zanu-PF’s Bright Matonga says the results brought no surprises

“The laws of Zimbabwe and the constitution clearly states that for one to be an outright winner, they have to achieve 50 [per cent] plus one,” he said.

“We are following our constitution, not people’s wishes.”

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti told the BBC that Mr Tsvangirai should be declared president, as he had gained 50.3% of the vote.

Mr Tsvangirai has in the past said he would not take part in a run-off unless international observers were involved.

He has moved out of Zimbabwe amid fears for his safety.

Before the official results were announced, the MDC had queried 120,000 votes given to Mr Mugabe – which they say could have tipped the balance in the president’s favour and stopped Mr Tsvangirai winning outright.

“This whole thing is a scandal, scandalous daylight robbery,” said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, after the results were announced.

“What we are being given here as the outcome are some fudged figures meant to save Mugabe and Zanu-PF.”

But projections from independent monitors were similar to the official results, with Mr Tsvangirai just short of the threshold for outright victory.

Observers needed

The UK and United States have raised doubts about the results and the possibility of a second round being fair.

The UK Foreign Office said the results “lack credibility”, adding that a second round would not be fair unless the violence ended and more international monitors were present.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe came second in the vote but is determined to keep fighting

“President Mugabe’s campaign of violence and intimidation coupled with the arrest of 99 electoral commission officials in the last month show exactly how Zanu-PF will approach any second round,” a spokeswoman said.

The election officials have been accused of trying to rig the elections in favour of the MDC.

US state department spokesman Tom Casey said it was hard to see how a run-off could be fair “when the government has done everything it could to both delay and obscure the results”.

The MDC and human rights groups say there has been a massive campaign of violence against opposition activists in rural areas in anticipation of a run-off vote.

The MDC says hundreds of people have fled their homes and 20 have been killed.

On Thursday, the defence minister in neighbouring Botswana said Zimbabweans were fleeing the violence, with almost 100 people arriving in the past three days.

He said in the past, Zimbabweans had been economic migrants but now they were seeking political asylum.

There have been similar reports from Mozambique.

The two men below can either drive the country into to a civil war or enter into dialogue and make peace in the country, coalition government or exit from, and entry to, power.

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African Press International – api

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