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Archive for May 9th, 2008

Mr David Kitur, a politician eyeing the Ainamoi Parliamentary seat in the forthcoming by-election, confirms the resettlement of IDPs has succeeded in the region

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no Source.standard.ke

Many leaders are now seeing the need for unity in order to settle the IDPs without any hitch, just as the Ainamoi constituency seat aspirant in the coming by-election Mr David Kitur (photo) has reiterated, saying,

An Olive branch should be extended to all those arrested as one way of strengthening co-existence between the IDPs and their neighbours.”

And we agree with Mr Kitur on this. To have neighbours living in harmony, it is important to give dialogue and forgiveness a chance. Petty offenders involved in the post election violence should be given amnesty in order to speed up the reconcilliation process. API

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Promises for poll violence victims as they return home

Story by Steve Mkawale and Peter Mutai
Kalenjin elders in Rift Valley have vowed to ensure that displaced people return to their homes safely.
The elders, who met in Nakuru on Thursday, said they would ensure that the returnees were not threatened or intimidated by their former neighbours.

Addressing a news conference at a local hotel, former State House comptroller, Mr Abraham Kiptanui, said the elders would support the Governments efforts to resettle the displaced.

“We are going back to our villages to tell our people that those who fled must be welcomed back and assisted to settle unconditionally,” said Kiptanui.

Africa Inland Church cleric Pastor Joseph Cherorot regretted that some people had tried to place conditions ahead of resettlement and told the displaced not to fear.

“Their children have a right to go to school and live in the environment they were used to,” he said.

The elders have organised reconciliation and healing process.

“We will launch a caravan on Saturday and visit all the trouble spots where families were uprooted,” said the pastor.

Former Cabinet minister, Mr Andrew Kiptoon, shared similar sentiments.

Meanwhile, Kipsigis leaders have petitioned President Kibaki to give amnesty to petty offenders arrested during post-election violence.

In a meeting held in Kericho, the leaders said the release was part of the reconciliation.

Mr David Kitur, a politician eyeing the Ainamoi Parliamentary seat in the forthcoming by-election, said the resettlement had gone on without a hitch.

“An Olive branch should be extended to all those arrested as one way of strengthening co-existence between the IDPs and their neighbours,” said Kitur.

Last month, Kipkelion MP, Mr Magerer Langat, appealed to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to accord amnesty to the suspects.

Meanwhile, 45,000 people who had been evicted from Rift Valley have been resettled.

Rift Valley PC, Mr Hassan Noor Hassan, said the Government expected to settle more than 120,000 displaced people in their farms and close camps in the province in three weeks.

Speaking to The Standard on Thursday, the PC said the exercise was on course and hit out at NGOs operating in the region for frustrating Government efforts to move the displaced back to their farms.

Closing down camps

Hassan singled out three NGOs and some community-based organisations, which he did not name, accusing them of using the displaced.

He said many displacement camps were expected to close down in three weeks before the Government starts integrating displaced people with their relatives.

The administrator said camps in Londiani and Sorget in Kipkelion District, Molo town, Endebes, Chesogon, Kachibora, Kitale showground and Burnt Forest were expected to close down.

He said Londiani and Sorget camps would be closed down by the end of the week.

He said the Government on Thursday started on a programme to resettle displaced people in Burnt Forest and appealed to the affected not to agree to be misused by civil society groups.

The PC said displaced people in Nakuru and Eldoret showground camps would be relocated from next week.

Meanwhile, Kipkelion DC, Mr Aden Halake, on Thursday said 4,000 displaced people were yet to be resettled.

The DC was optimistic that the displaced would be resettled by the end of the week.

He said most victims were staying in rental premises, which were burned during post-election violence.

“We are giving them food rations for one month and tents,” Halake said.

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Norwegian kickboxing excites young men and women – a successful tournament took place on the 4th of May, at Mortensrud in the outskirts of Oslo

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Published by Chief Editor Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.trollkampsport.

Sporting events came in different colours and class world wide. People use sporting event to learn more of the strains their bodies can accommodate in form of training exercises and some choose the types of sports they get into for different purposes such as strengthening the mind, research has shown that proper exercises enable our brains function effectively. Well managed coaching enables participants to get a healthy physical training and mental health. Sport is categorised and classified in steps and stages.

“Troll Kickboxing Klubb”a Norwegian kick boxing club had its first club kick boxing championship in the “Light Touch” class on Sunday. The event attracted 8 participants in 2 ranging groups for both young men and young women.

The male classtrooped withthe following participants, Aissa Bouddount, Andreas Kidahl, Daniel Notstad, Jan Pallum and Jonas Svendsen, while thefemale section was represented by Roselyn Korir, Margrethe Myhre and Katinka Steensgaard.

The event organisers and those responsible to see the event through were Thomas Steenberg, Roy Ellingsen, Morten Eriksen and Steinar Kronstad

Achievements

The results achieved were recordedin the female class as follows; first place award in Gold went toMargrethe Myhrewho is clubchampion, Light Touch, followed by an award of Silver to Roselyn Korir who came second number two followed by Bronze winner Katinka Steensgaard takingthe third place.

In the maleclass, the first place, Gold wasawarded toAndreas Kildahl, keeping club master title in LightTouch, while the second prize in Silver went to Aissa Bouddount and the Bronze awarded toDaniel Notstad

It is reported that 10 to 15 enthusiatickick boxing folksincluding club members cheered the participants making the event a big success. The participants from both groups were praised by the organisers for having participated in the spirit of sports.

Self defence

Kick boxing sport is a good game and yet it can become dangerous if the right precautions are not taken when participating. It is considered a sport that many use in self defence whenever need arises. It is in line with “karate” a game that can be used effectively in self defence in most case situations.

Award ceremony:

Nr 1, The Gold winner – female section: Margrethe Myhre

Nr 2, The Silver Winner – female section: Roselyn Korir

Nr 3, The Bronze winner – female section: Katinka Steensgaard

Nr 1, The Gold winner – male section: Andreas Kildahl

Nr 2, Silver winner – male section: Aissa Bouddount

Nr 3, Bronze winner – male section: Daniel Notstad

To oversee the above event in Mortensrud were a panel of judges comprising of 4 people, namely, Thomas Steenberg, Roy Ellingsen, Morten Eriksen and Steinar Kronstad. One ofthe panelist judges during the tournamentSteinar Kronstad, is also a keen kickboxer who has kickedboxed internationally.

In one of his international kickboxing participation, he crossed the Norwegian borders all the way to a scheduled match in London, the United Kingdom, where he had a match against Pete de Vanney. It is an exiting match to watch, one we would not like to reveal the outcome before you have had the opportunity to watch it. You can enjoy the match between the two here below:

International event in London,

To watch the match, click on the photo direct or the link below.

video
S. Kronstad (closer to camera, right on the photo)vs Pete de Vanney
Steinar Kronstad (Norway), Pete de Vanney (England, Weston-Super-Mare)….Kickboxing Palace Bridgwater Fists of Fury,Kronstad – Pete Fists of Fury, Bridgwater, Palace, 30 09 07 International kickboxing bout, S. Kronstad (Norway), Pete de Vanney (England, Weston-Super-Mare).

Click Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPbwz0YSTRI

On the 11th of May, a very exiciting international kickboxing match “The last Challenge” Casino Style, is scheduled to take place. The world of kickboxing is growing enormously and presents international sporting events that attract large crowds. The event below is expected to attract many people, especially Casino visitors who love betting in sporting arrangements.

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African Press International – API

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Zambia: Counting the cost of recent floods

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

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

story by newton sibanda

Lusaka (Zambia) – Samson Mwenda, a farmer from Namwala in Zambias Southern Province, recalls with bitterness the massive floods of the 2007/2008 rainy season and the harsh consequences they had for his life.

A prominent farmer who owns more than 3,000 head of cattle, Mwenda found that the floodwaters jeopardised his livelihood by making it impossible for him to get his livestock to market. The floods cut off access roads to the railway line and left him isolated from the rest of the country. The local agent for Zambeef, one of largest agribusinesses in Zambia, also stopped buying cattle as the firm could not transport carcasses to market.

“As a farmer I depend on cattle for my livelihood, but I couldnt take cattle to towns along the line of rail, where the price is better, because the road was cut off. Even the local abattoir stopped buying our animals because they could not deliver the carcasses to Lusaka (the capital),” said Mwenda. He is also concerned about the effect the floods have had on his childrens education. They were not able to attend school for several weeks and he fears that the long absence from the classroom will affect their academic performance. In all, some 9,000 children have had their education disrupted, according to official figures.

Mwenda is only one of many people in the Namwala district who are still counting the cost of the recent floods. George Shimalimbika worries that he may have to survive on relief food aid this year, as the floods washed away his maize crop. A retired soldier, Shimalimbika says he will also not be able to recover the cost of the seeds that have gone to waste. The recent floods were particularly severe in Namwala, a small farming community on the banks of the Kafue River. In the Southern Province, it rained for eleven straight days in December. By comparison, there were only three days of rainfall recorded countrywide for November 2007.

Recording stations usually register between 800 and 1,100 millimetres of rain during the entire rainy season, between November and May. However in December 2007, some stations recorded more rain in 10 days than they normally do in the whole season. The 2006/2007 rainy season was also severe; however, it was eclipsed by the more recent downpours. “This season, like the last season, rainfall was quite excessive; but this years was more excessive,” said Maurice Muchinda, director of the meteorological department. “The floods have left a wide range of impacts. School attendance dropped drastically because schools were cut off. Drugs could not reach hospitals.”

The Zambia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZVAC) of the Disaster Management and Impact Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the office of the vice president published an assessment of the damage caused by the flooding. It surveyed 32 districts and found that 5,851 houses had collapsed; 1,693 households were displaced and infrastructure at 58 schools was severely damaged. “The most serious effect is that infrastructure like roads and bridges has been extensively damaged, making movement of people and agricultural produce difficult,” said DMMU National Co-ordinator Domiciano Mulenga.

“People have been displaced and up to now a number of people are still in camps,” he added, noting that food security had been seriously affected because of crops being washed away. The ZVAC report also reveals that 80 percent of districts assessed were left with poor quality drinking water. There was a noted increase in incidences of diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. According to Mulenga, the flooding caused pit latrines to flood, thereby affecting water supply and sanitation.

He said that the gravity of the situation had been somewhat mitigated by a massive response from relief organisations that had provided personnel, food and other supplies. “The response has also involved airlifting supplies to districts cut off by the floods, and we are also partly involved in the rehabilitation process, as some communities have agreed to move to areas of resettlement,” Mulenga said, noting that government and donors had spent about 10 million dollars in the response to the flood situation.

“So, we are working on basic infrastructure in new areas like sinking boreholes and we are also discussing with the ministries of education and health to build schools and clinics respectively.”The full consequences of the floods still need to be determined, according to Mulenga; the results of an in-depth survey of damages are due in June.

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API

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Rwanda: Striving to be regional hub by 2020

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.newtimes.rwanda

story by joseph mudingu.

Gasabo (Rwanda) – In a move to become a regional hub in the service sector, Rwanda is shifting from agrarian to a knowledge-based economy, the Secretary General in the Ministry of Commerce, Antoine Ruvebana has said.

He said this Tuesday while making a presentation on a two-day workshop on Liberalization of Services in the East African Community at La Palisse Hotel-Nyandungu. The workshop organized by the Regional Integration Committee, aimed at formulating Rwandas position on liberalization of the service sector. “The performance of the service sector is vital for economic growth and the eradication of poverty in developing countries. That is why, Rwanda is diversifying its economy by shifting from the traditional commodity base to a more sophisticated knowledge-based economy,” Ruvebana revealed.

He added that there were many factors that favoured Rwanda becoming a regional hub. “Rwanda is strategically positioned geographically and has a singular potential of achieving this by vision 2020,” Ruvebana added. During the workshop the Governor of the Central Bank, Francois Kanimba, recommended that free movement of capital in the financial industry be accelerated. “Free movement of capital is very important because the more you open foreign exchange markets, the more foreign exchange comes in,” Kanimba said.

he added that there were no longer any restrictions on foreign banks operating in Rwanda. “Access to financial services in Rwanda today is very small and the logic of encouraging other new banks to join in the industry is a welcome idea,” Kanimba added. The two day workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of East African Community Affairs and institutions dealing in service sector.

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API

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South Africa: Local cynics out of step with global view on Zuma (opinion)

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.businessday.sa

story by sipho seepe.

The same week that President Thabo Mbeki was being entertained by the King of Swaziland, Jacob Zuma emerged from the door of 10 Downing Street. The smile of the British prime minister bore testimony to the success of the meeting.

Cynics have asked why Zuma is on a charm offensive. What they omit is that Zuma does not invite himself. While some are still angry at Zumas drubbing of Mbeki in December, the rest of the world has moved on. And Zuma has not disappointed. In the latest Time Magazine he is listed among the worlds 100 most influential leaders.

In an appropriately titled article, Zumas on a charm offensive, in The Sunday Independent recently, Ivan Fallon sums up Zumas European escapade thus: His meetings were heavily oversubscribed, with businessmen and politicians almost standing in line; senior Afrikaners have hailed him as the great hope, not just for SA, but for the whole region and, in private, talk of him as even better than Nelson Mandela. The negative messages back home stand in glaring contrast to the confidence and support displayed by influential leaders of the world. For them, SA is a stable democracy.

Suggestions that our institutions of democracy are under threat are unhelpful and misguided. Impressions are being created that, while all of us were affected and infected by the virus of racism, somehow our institutions remained immune. But nothing could be further from the truth. Developments in the media, our communities and some of our universities indicate that creating nonracial communities will remain a challenge for some time. The same can be said of the courts. While the judiciary is an important pillar of our democracy, the suggestion that judges are infallible is not sustainable. Judges are products of their environment and are not immune to the same biases as the rest of us.

Institutions of democracy have to earn respect. And they can do so only if they conduct themselves in a manner that displays independence from political influence or racial bias. Impartiality and integrity cannot be assumed.

This nuanced understanding is contained in an open letter written to George Bizos and Arthur Chaskalson by Paul Ngobeni, deputy registrar of legal services at the University of Cape Town. Ngobeni argues that, far from impugning the integrity of the judiciary, as suggested by Bizos and Chaskalson, Zumas supporters reading of the case against Zuma is much more sophisticated. It is firmly rooted in our own constitution and finds support in the rulings of courts from around the civilised world . Contrary to statements by Bizos and Chaskalson, Ngobeni asserts: There is nothing harmful to the judicial process, SAs constitutional democracy and the countrys reputation in our citizens calling for the courts to live up to their responsibility and to hold the National Prosecuting Authority accountable.

Ngobeni says Zuma is entitled to argue for a dismissal of his case under the doctrine of abuse of process. The general rule is that the unfair or oppressive treatment of an accused by the prosecuting authorities disentitles the state to carry on with the prosecution. The prosecution is set aside, not on the merits, but because it is tainted to such a degree that to allow it to proceed would tarnish the integrity of the court. The court can act in a wide range of circumstances including where, by reason of some circumstance, the defendant would be denied a fair trial; and where, because of some circumstance, it would be unfair to try the defendant.

In cases of undue delay, grave misconduct on the part of the police, executive, or prosecution which undermines or threatens the rule of law, the court may and sometimes should intervene, even where a fair trial can take place. The rationale behind this is that the court should act so as to show its disapproval.

Exposing such infractions is not a threat to our judiciary. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done for the judiciary to enjoy the confidence of society.

*Prof Seepe is president of the South African Institute of Race Relations.

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API

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Zimbabwe: Voting Tsvangirai will lead to civil war – Police Chief

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.association of zimbabwe journalists

Story by David Baxter.

Mutare (Zimbabwe) Voting for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC in the presidential run–off election expected in three weeks’ time, is tantamount to plunging the country into a civil war, a high ranking police officer has warned.

The warning was issued by Senior Assistant Commissioner Mabunda during a meeting with police officers here on Tuesday, stunned police sources told zimbabwejournalists.com. Mabunda is a top lieutenant and confidante to Augustine Chihuri, the police chief who in the past has issued threats that he will not salute Tsvangirai or anyone without proper liberation war credentials. Mabunda is on a countrywide tour – meeting officers of all ranks and warning them of the dangers of voting for Tsvangirai in the expected run-off election.

He vowed during the meeting with the police officers here drawn from all the province’s eight districts that President Robert Mugabe will never be ousted by Tsvangirai.

Should that happen, Mabunda reportedly said a civil war will immediately break out. Most junior officers within the army and the police force are believed to have deserted Mugabe in the ballot box and the warnings by Mabunda are meant to scare them into doing the ruling party’s bidding, especially now as thousands are being left homeless in a brutal campaign in the rural communities that supported the opposition in the March 29 elections.

The meeting was held at the police Main Camp on the edge of the city’s central business district. Officers who attended the meeting said the atmosphere in the meeting was tense. “We were told in no uncertain terms that voting for Tsvangirai is just like voting for war,” said one officer, a constable based at Mutare Central police station. The ruling party got fewer votes than the opposition at polling stations in the March 29 election and some of those booths recording high votes for the MDC are said to have been within police camps.

“Mabunda told us that anyone who will dare continue supporting or sympathizing with the MDC will be in serious problems,” said another officer. The warning by the top police officer coincides with reports of escalating violence targeted at MDC supporters in both the urban and rural areas. The violence is widely blamed on state security agents, war veterans and Zanu PF militants. Thousands of opposition supporters have been displaced while about 200 have been badly assaulted.

Last Saturday the MDC provincial youth leader for Manicaland, Knowledge Nyamhoka, was abducted by yet unknown people at midnight from his Sakubva home and taken to a secluded area where he was badly beaten and left for dead. The MDC says Nyamhoka was abducted by security agents. He was rescued by passersby who found him lying unconscious who took him to a private hospital, the Seventh Avenue Surgical Unit, where he is recuperating.

Two other youth activists from Nyanga were also rushed to the same hospital after meeting the same fate as their leader. The MDC chairman in Manicaland, Patrick Chitaka, said the situation within most opposition strongholds was fast degenerating and urgent measures should be put in place to avert genocide from occurring in Zimbabwe.

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API

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Nigeria: Militants seek role for Carter at Delta summit

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@gtemail.no source.Thisday.nigeria

Story by Ahamefula Ogbu

Port Harcourt (Nigeria) – Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday said that the end of militancy was in sight with the acceptance of former American President, Mr. Jimmy Carter, to mediate in the crisis if invited by the federal government and other stakeholders.

MEND said the peace process being mid-wifed by the federal government would come to naught.The organisation has claimed responsibility for increased attacks on oil pipelines in the region because of its belief that the people were not benefiting from the riches that accrue from crude oil. The Federal Government had planned a peace summit which the group described as a mere jamboree which would lead to evenutal total destruction of pipelines in the region.

However, the organisation also expressed its readiness to call off all hostilities and hold a temporary ceasefire in honour of President Carter, should the Nigerian government accept the former President’s initiative.
MEND also threatened that if as expected, the government fails to seize this new opportunity for peace, our actions will continue to speak volumes beyond the Nigerian shores. MEND said that Carter represents transparency, insisting that they will abide by the decisions reached in any parley chaired by the former American President.

The caveat, MEND said in a statement sent to THISDAY email, was that the Federal Government would allow Carter to meet with their leader, Mr. Henry Okah, who is currently being tried in Jos, Plateau State.
They also demanded the final outcome of the meeting with Carter should be fully implemented. The militants claimed that they have received a confirmation of the willingness of Mr. Carter to mediate in the crisis through the Vice President of the Carter Foundation, Mr. John Stremlau, and pointed out that such a move would usher in lasting peace in the region.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has received today, May 6, 2008 a confirmation from The Carter Center through its Vice President, Mr. John Stremlau that the former President of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter has graciously accepted to mediate in the Niger Delta crisis on the condition that the Nigerian government and any other relevant stake holder invites him. We urge the Nigerian government to accept this olive branch offered by President Carter in place of the jamboree called the Niger Delta Summit scheduled for Abuja. We do not believe the Abuja summit will achieve any meaningful goal and have no interest in attending it.

President Carter represents transparency, impartiality, humility and integrity; four key ingredients critical in the mediator recipe towards ensuring a genuine and enduring peace process for the region. The Federal government’s acceptance of President Carter to mediate and also visit Henry Okah will demonstrate a readiness on its part, to embrace genuine peace and reconciliation. For a government that talked so much about a peaceful resolution to the Niger Delta problem.

President Carter’s new initiative should be seen as a golden opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the over 50 years of injustice perpetrated against the peace loving people of the Niger Delta. Now the ball is in the court of the government,? MEND said in the statement. The militant group had earlier said there was a possibility of their cessation of hostilities following the appeal Senator Barack Obama made asking them to stop attacks on pipelines.

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API

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Mugabe’s time to go

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

President Robert Mugabe has told his people that he will not accept the rule of Tsvagirai as long as he lives.As a start Mugabe should have already left the leadership of Zimbabwe a while ago. Mugabe had his time but definitely not now. Zimbabwe needs a new lease in governance. It is recognized and acknowledged that Mugabe is a respected war veteran and a liberation hero. Mugabe delivered Zimbabwe from the horrors of colonialism and his chapter in independence history is well guarded by his renown achievements.

But in the familiar third world and specifically African politics he has simply failed to realize that he is past ‘sell by date’. Today Zimbabwe is reeling under his misrule and in the brink of economic disaster courtesy of his misguided policies and failure to implement the right reforms at the right time. The chaotic and shamble land reforms he has lately tried to implement to appease his agitated poor population, is a mockery of the same people who had a lot of faith to a libertarian.

The shame that is Zimbabwe today was not at all forthcoming. It all started as soon Mugabe like most post independence African leaders, started massing power and letting loose his cronies to the country’s purse and the usual ‘feeding trough’. Today, Zimbabwe has the highest inflation in the world which even looks almost immeasurable due to its fast pace in change on day to day basis. It is even puzzling how the majority poor Zimbabweans are managing to move on with a country on a free downward spiral!

The recent general election in which at the presidential level he was pitted against his arch foe and leader for The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai in which he (Mugabe) was beaten in the first round amidst a lot of controversy by what rate in terms of total tally is a pointer of the dark situation that Zimbabwe is in. Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have been a great let down to a promising country and people that was Zimbabwe.

The veteran leader has used his immense political tricks and machinery to sustain power and to harass his opponents and their supporters to the extent that Tsvangirai had to run for dear life to exile in neighbouring South Africa. Mugabe’s ZANU PF lost in the parliamentary vote and it looks that the stage is set where Mugabe will use all intimidating tactics, blackmail and violence to ensure he retains his seat. His military top brass want Mugabe to remain by force. This is myopia of the highest order. Does Zimbabwe need Mugabe as President more than they had of him? I’m sure if you ask African leaders and their cronies they will say that ‘Yes and as long as Zimbabweans want and that as a sovereign state they have no say’. That is the kind of nonsense and apathy prevailing in African leadership.

The big question is what will Mugabe achieve for Zimbabweans which has not during his long reign of 28 years so far? What magic has he suddenly attained to change Zimbabwe’s fortunes? What is it that makes him feel that nobody else is fit to rule Zimbabwe so long as he is alive? Who is choosing or electing who here? Is it Mugabe choosing a president for Zimbabweans or the other way round? It looks that Mugabe in all familiar third world and of course African fashion is keen and has the potential to choose Zimbabweans a president in the presidential run off. Isn’t after all he who is calling the shots at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Land reforms in Zimbabwe should have been carried long time ago not when political fortunes started dwindling! It is not already common knowledge that Zimbabwe like several African countries have serious land problems which need urgent reforms before they explode. It is not sustainable to have a privileged group of white settlers who in a skew-whiff, own all the arable land with questionable acquisition in colonial and pre-colonial era and expect that country not to go asunder. That the unfortunate circumstances poor Zimbabweans are in. But the reforms that Mugabe has carried are not only confused but also un-tenable. There was a better way to reform the land mess in Zimbabwe which would have accommodated both the blacks and the whites without messing commercial farming or upsetting the country’s economic fortunes. It is a great shame for Africa and her leadership which has shown a great propensity for failure!

The solution to Zimbabwe and African problems need to be engineered from within Africa, where already there is massive potential but lukewarm interest to change anything. The international community cannot afford to ignore the crisis quickly enveloping in Zimbabwe and in Africa in general. The consequences for turning a blind eye in Africa will have immense catastrophic proportions. The likely conflagration potential in Africa is quite immense and has a great likelihood to engulf the entire world in a big way. The world is not making adequate commitments to sort out Zimbabwe.

It is very clear that it is Mugabe’s time time to go. He had his time at the helm in Zimbabwe’s politics. There is a Ugandan saying which goes that ‘even a good dancer retires’. In a sense it means that even with good dancing skills a superb dancer does not dance endlessly. Mugabe had his good time which history will take cognizance of. For now it is time to go. Zimbabwe needs change before it is too late!

<Story by Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda

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API

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Zambia: A Frenchman appointed coach

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Story by Chishala Musonda

THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has appointed Frenchman, Herve Renard, coach for the Chipolopolo.

FAZ vice-president, Emmanuel Munaile, announced at a briefing in Lusaka that the association settled for Renard, 39, to coach Zambia.

Renard, who was Ghana assistant coach to Claude LeRoy at the 2008 Africa Cup, is expected to guide the Zambia to the both Africa and World Cups in 2010 to be staged in southern Africa.

Angola hosts the 2010 Africa Cup starting mid February while South Africa stages the World Cup four months later.

The Frenchman first task is the joined 2010 Africa Cup and World Cup Group 11 second round qualifier against Togo at the month-end.

We never wanted to engage any of those who have been head coaches for national teams in Africa before and we found that Renard was the best.
It will be the first time he will be heading the national team and we feel he has a lot to prove, Munaile said of the French coach.
Munaile, who had a tough time answering questions from journalists who felt the new coach was not capable of handling the national team, said Renard has sufficient experience having played for the French under-16 national team before coaching a number of teams.
He has coached Cannes, AS vallarus, AS Draguignan, AS Cherbourg and Cambridge United.
He has also coached in Vietnam and China before trekking to Ghana where he is assistant coach to fellow French Claude LeRoy.


Together, they guided the Black Stars to a third finish at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
Munaile said Renards capability to handle the Zambia national team could not be doubted at this moment adding that the Frenchman should be given time.
Of course, we had to work within our parameters and we can afford what Renard is asking for, he added.


He said the date that Renard would start work and the length of the contract would be agreed upon after the two parties meet next week.
Yes he is not known but Roald Poulsen (former national team coach), was he known before he came here? Munaile asked.
The FAZ vice president declined to mention the names of the two other coaches who were short listed saying doing so could jeopardise their jobs with the teams they are coaching at the moment.

German World Cup, Lothar Matthaus, was at one time been considered to take charge of Zambia before he clinched coaching contract with an Israeli club, Maccabi Netanya Football Club.

The German proposed a monthly salary of US $30,000 to the Zambian FA who were only able to pay US $25,000, the amount that is expected to be offered to Renard.

The Frenchman is expected in Zambia on Wednesday to finalise the deal.

Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development Gabriel Namulambe said the engagement of Renard was okay if FAZ was happy with it.
If FAZ is happywho Am I? Namulambe asked

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African Press international – api

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Burundi: Why peace remains elusive

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

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

Bujumbura (Burundi) – Burundians breathed a sigh of relief in March 2008 when the government and sole remaining rebel group, the Forces nationales de libration (FNL), announced they would resume negotiations on 1 April and complete them in July. But that day came and went without any talks taking place.

Any lingering hopes for renewed dialogue were dashed when fighting broke out between the army and FNL fighters on 17 April, killing 33, with each side accusing the other of initiating the conflict. For some observers and analysts, the clashes demonstrated the FNLs determination to put pressure on the government and to show the outside world that it was still a force to be reckoned with. Talks between the government and the FNL stalled in July 2007 when rebel delegates walked out of the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM), designed to oversee a ceasefire accord signed in September 2006. The rebels, whose leaders are based in neighbouring Tanzania, said they did not feel their security was guaranteed inside Burundi. They also accused mediators of bias.

Former president Domitien Ndayizeye said: “We should have expected [the fighting]; there is nothing concrete in the ceasefire accord” signed by FNL leader Agathon Rwasa and the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Gaspard Nduwayo, a political analyst and university lecturer, said the current socio-political context also helped to explain the FNLs will to resume fighting. “The weakness of the government, the absence of a government response to the many demands of the population, and the publics grievances against the CNDD-FDDs [the governing party] rule, give strength to political opponents and legitimacy to the FNL fighting, he said.

But most important, he said, was the FNLs desire to force the government to give the rebels jobs in the country’s institutions, just as the CNDD-FDD did when it transformed itself from a rebel movement into a political party and went on to win elections. Providing key posts to the FNL is problematic. Many jobs are not in the gift of the government, but are decided by elections. Handing out such posts would mean changing the constitution, a near-impossible task in the current political climate.

According to Southscan, a UK-based provider of African political and security analysis, Nkurunzizas failure to stick to an agreement to free up to 3,000 prisoners and refusal to integrate part of the FNL into the national army also contributed to the resumption of fighting.

Since the talks stalled in July 2007, the FNL has made their resumption conditional on immunity being granted to its leaders. Existing immunity legislation, according to the rebels, does not mention the group by name. Southscan reported that the existing legislation only covered the period up to 2006, while the FNL wants the immunity to be extended to the present. Nkurunziza has so far not only refused these demands but has also prevented parliament, which could vote through an immunity extension, debating the issue, according to Henri Boshoff of the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.
He appears not to favour a power-sharing deal because his CNDD-FDD party would have to hand some of its posts to the FNL rebels.

The presidents room for manoeuvre is hampered by splits within his own party linked to the jailing of former number two Hussein Rajabu on charges of plotting to overthrow the state. Meanwhile, according to the ISS, Nkurunziza has alienated elements of the opposition whom he had hoped to win over. As a result, parliamentary and legislative activity has remained paralysed for more than a year, said Boshoff.

The United States unambiguously blamed the rebels for the April attacks, accusing them of violating the 2006 ceasefire. A State Department statement on 23 April commended the Bujumbura government for its measured response and urged the FNL to return to the JVMM. In a message to the nation on 25 April, Nkurunziza also accused the FNL of repeated ceasefire violations and called for sanctions to be imposed on the rebels. Some analysts, however, have questioned whether such measures would be effective, given that the rebels tend not to travel out of the region or have important assets that might be frozen.

In early May, the foreign ministers of Tanzania and Uganda, meeting under the auspices of the Regional Initiative on Peace in Burundi, said Rwasa and other senior leaders had 10 days to leave Tanzania for Burundi.
“We do not accept that decision,” FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana told Reuters. “We want amnesty first before we return to Burundi.” The FNL has also come under fire from the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, who accused the rebel group of having 500 children within its ranks. “The outbreak of renewed fighting by the FNL of Agathon Rwasa proves once again the need to quickly separate all children from fighting forces even before a final peace deal is signed, Radhika Coomaraswamy said.

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Successful donor conference for Sudan in Oslo

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

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

Donor countries pledged a total of USD 4.8 billion for assistance to Sudan during the Sudan Consortium in Oslo from 5 to 7 May.

The donor conference was a great success, primarily because it demonstrated that there is strong political will behind the efforts to promote peace and development in Sudan, said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

The Sudan Consortium brought together participants from 45 countries and international organisations. This is the broadest participation ever at a donor conference for Sudan.

The donors pledged a total of USD 4.8 billion (nearly NOK 25 billion) for assistance during the period 20082011. Norway pledged USD 500 million (about NOK 2.5 billion) for the period. The funds will be used for emergency relief and aid for reconstruction and development, and will be provided through a number of different channels.

Large parts of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and the south have already been implemented, but critical points still remain. We expect the parties to increase their efforts to fully implement the peace agreement in the time ahead. It is also essential that the parties reach political agreement on Darfur, where the humanitarian situation is still critical, Mr Solheim underlined.

Full implementation of the peace agreement between the north and the south is necessary to achieve lasting peace in the whole of Sudan. At the conference, Norway emphasised that both the parties and the international community must give priority to programmes and projects that promote peace and development in areas where the peace is particularly fragile. Norway also underlined the importance of strengthening democratic institutions and public administration, actively including civil society, and increasing focus on womens rights and gender equality.

During the conference, discussions on the challenges that still remain in Sudan have been open and frank, including on the situation in Darfur. There is agreement on the necessity of formulating a broad strategy to resolve the Darfur conflict on the basis of the peace agreement, which enjoys wide support, and of improving security for the population and ensuring unhindered access for emergency relief, Mr Solheim concluded.

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Medvedev takes over from Putin as new Russian president

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

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

<Medvedev, left,was a close allyof Putin throughout his presidential terms [AFP]

Dmitry Medvedev has been inaugurated as Russia’s president, taking over from Vladimir Putin, who was soon afterwards nominated the country’s prime minister.
Medvedev took the oath of office in an inauguration ceremony on Wednesday at Andreyevsky Hall in Moscow, becoming Russia’s third president since the end of the Soviet era.

He said in his inaugural address that “the development of civil and economic freedom” would be the key issues covered during his presidency.

Medvedev was hand-picked as a candidate for the presidency by Putin, his long-time mentor.

Putin as PM
The new presidentformally nominated Putinfor the office ofprime minister shortly after his inauguration.

Viktor Zubkov, Russia’s prime minister, resignedafter Medvedev’s inauguration,clearing the way for Putin to be appointed in the post.

Putin was Russia’s presidentfor the past eight years butwas barred from runningfor a third consecutive presidential term byRussia’s constitution.
However, heis expected to exercise considerable power as an adviser to Medvedev.
Medvedev assumed control of Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal at a ceremony with military officials.
Jonah Hull, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Moscow, said Medvedev has “pretty strong ideas of what he wants to try and achieve for Russia”.
“Perhaps the most striking note [of Medvedev’s speech] was the emphasis that he put on human rights and freedoms,” he said.
“That’s a little in contrast to the tone in things we’ve seen under Vladimir Putin.”
Rule of law

Many Russians think that Putin will manage
Medvedev’s presidency [AFP]

Medvedev said he will aim to create “new and wide opportunities of self-fulfilment for citizens – citizens who are free and responsible both for their own success and the flourishing of the entire country.”

“It is such people who create a really worthy nation and are the sources of a strong state, a state which today has the needed resources and a clear understanding of its national interests.”

Highlighting his background as a lawyer, the new president said that he would work to ensure that Russian laws are applied fairly.

“I attach particular importance to the fundamental role of the law, on which both our state and our civil society are based,” he said.
“We must achieve a sincere respect for the law and overcome legal nihilism.”
Sergei Strokan, a Russian journalist, told Al Jazeera that he was particularly interested by Medvedev’s emphasis on abidingby the rule of law.
“At the start of Putin’s presidency, he also was speaking about law, but he said ‘dictatorship of law’. There was no mention of dictatorship in Medvedev’s speech,” he said.
“But Medvedev is a lawyer himself and he is emphasising that law has to awaken Russia.”
Medvedev thanked Putin for his leadership during his inauguration and said he would count on his support in the future.
Meteoric rise
Medvedev’s inauguration caps a rise from being a Putin-era bureaucrat to the leader of the world’s largest energy producing country.
He takes over from a leader who presided over strong economic growth in Russia.
The country has recovered from an economic collapse in the early 1990s to become the world’s 10th largest economy, with a $1.3trn gross domestic product.
Economic growth has risen from 7 per cent in 2006 to 8.1 per cent in 2007, and the average monthly salary has risen from $80 to $640 over the course of Putin’s two terms as president.
Medvedev campaigned in March’s presidential election on a promise to follow a plan engineered by Putin.
Medvedev’s first important act will be to formally name Putin as Russia’s prime minister, after which they will both attend a military parade at Red Square on Friday.
Two thirds of Russians believe that Putin will control Medvedev despite being in a less prestigious office, according to a poll released in April by the Levada Centre, a public opinion survey organisation.
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Putin: Steps down as president takes over as Russian Prime Minister

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2008

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

Putin, left,is expected to wield formidable power during Medvedev’s presidency [EPA]
Russia’s lower house of parliament has confirmed Vladimir Putin as prime minister a day after his protege Dmitry Medvedev replaced him as president of the country.
Members of parliamentvoted 392-56 for Putin’s appointment, with the communists the only faction voting against. In a speech at the Duma on Thursday, Putin said Russia should aim to be among the leading nations in the world in terms of living standards within 15 years.

He called for the “consolidation of political forces and solidarity of society” in Russia and said that “co-ordinated work by all branches of government” is imperative.
Medvedev nominated Putinto be Russia’sprime minister shortly after taking over as the country’s president on Wednesday.
Putin has said he will work closely with the new president.
He willset up a new cabinet, which is expected to be broadly similar to one that was in place during his eight-year presidency.
Close partnership
Many Russians believe that Putin will still exercise formidable power despite no longer being the country’s president.

He selected Medvedev as United Russia’s candidate for a presidentialelection in March, which Medvedev won by a wide margin.

Medvedev was hand-picked by Putin to
become Russia’s president [AFP]

Jonah Hull, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Moscow, said Putin would aim to boost the profile of the prime minister’s office after its role was minimised during his presidential term.

“The potential is now there to create a system of two centres of power, with checks and balances between Putin and Medvedev – something that Russia, in its political system since the Soviet era, has not had,” he said.

“[During his presidential term] Putin went out of his way to bolster his presidency and to create a top-down system of government in which the president was unchallenged and unchallengeable.

“There is going to be a certain amount of change in the power sharing arrangement – but there is not, if Putin is to be believed, going to be any change to the constitution.”

Military show

Although Putin and Medvedev are political allies, some analysts have said that the partnership could be unstable.

After he won the presidency in March, Medvedev said only the president would determine foreign policy, but Putin has called the prime minister’s office the “highest executive power in the country”.

In his inaugural speech on Wednesday, Medvedev promised to bring greater “civil and economic freedom” to Russia.

He alsosaid he would strive toensure that the rule of law is upheld.

Shortly after he took the presidential office, Medvedev was presented with a briefcase containing controls for Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Both Medvedev and Putin will attend a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square on Friday, where Russia’s new Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles will be displayed.

The Victory Day parade is the biggest display of Russia’s military might since the end of the Soviet era in 1991.

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