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Archive for May 11th, 2008

Report: Carter Center to Negotiate in Nigeria?

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

by Scott A Morgan

For the second time this year MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) has reached out for Foreign Mediation in its dispute with the FGN (Federal Government of Nigeria.) And once again they have sought the assistance of the main superpower of the world. that being the United States.

Although it wasn’t widely reported in most Media Outlets here in the USA but when President Bush made his State visit to Africa in Feburary MEND faxed an eleven point proposal to the President outlining a plan for a negotiated settlement for peace in the Oil Producing Niger Delta region.

The Plan offered a Standdown of MEND in exchange for a withdrawal of the Nigerian Military from the region, Investment and repair of the infrastructure in the region, having the Police in the region retrained and better Prison Conditions for Henry Okah. Mr. Okah has been a spokesperson for the Group and is currently in FNG custody awaiting charges of Treason. He happens to face Capital Punishment if he is convicted.

Currently MEND continues its program of Attacks on Oil Production which has been a factor in the Massive Spike in the price of Oil in the last few weeks and Nigerian Government Installations. One of the favorite targets of MEND just happens to be Oil Pipelines. They have hit the two largest pipelines in Nigeria over the last few weeks as well.

On May 6th came the stunning annoucement. MEND would halt all of its attacks in the Delta if the FNG allowed for former US President Jimmy Carter to Mediate. This effort will not be the first time the Former US President has been a mediator as he has brokered talks in both Haiti and North Korea. In a formal reply to MEND the Carter Center stated that Mr. Carter would do so if he has been approached by all interested parties in the conflict.

This will not be the first time that the Former President has been involved in the situation. In 1999 he attempted to mediate in the Crisis then but failed.

The fact that Mr. Carter is once again being approached states that he is well known to all interested parties in the situation. A Spokesman for the State Department could not confirm any potential Mediation and stated that there were mechanisms in place to deal with the situation and that they need to be utilized.

The Gulf of Guniea region which has a decent supply of Oil is a interest of the United States. It sent the USS Fort McHenry to the region for a Training Mission involving the Militaries of some the nations in the region. The Situation in the Niger Delta is not the only area where the Pentagon has its focus or should for that matter. There is a Constitution Crisis in Cameroun due to the fact that President Biya seeks another term in Office and there have been Insurgent activity in Ivory Coast as well.

This attempt at mediation if its undertaken by the United States or the Carter Center could be a Windfall for the US in the region. And it is something that needs to be seriously looked at.

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API

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Another Biya party bigwig falls in the anti-graft dragnet

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Story filed by Tansa Musa

YAOUNDE, May11 – Another bigwig of President Paul Biya’s ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), Zacheus Forjindam, the former general manager of the CameroonShipyard and Engineering Company (CNIC),has fallen in the anti-graft drive launched bythe launched by the presidenta in February 2006 under pressure from the donor community.

According to the stateradio, Forjindam and his former director of human resources, Ms. Rose Njoh, were sacked lastWednesday evening and later detained at a police cell until Thursday when they were presented to the state prosecutor on allegations of embezzling state funds. After listening to accusations levied against them, the state prosecutor ordered that they be transfered to be detained at the Douala-New Bell maximum security prison.

“Forjindam and Ms. Rose Njoh spent their first night at the New Bell prison on provisional detention,” said the radio. “The former general manager of the Cameroon Shipyard and Engineering Company has been accused of embezzling state funds amounting to about one billion CFA francs and Ms. Rose Njoh of complicity in embezzlement. They will stay there on provisional detentionuntil their case in heard in court.”

Forjindam, the ruling CPDM special delegate to the North-West province, is the latest in a long list of former senior government officials who have been arrested sincethe campaign to clampdown on rampant corruption in the Central African country was launched.His arrest and detention comesone month after former Finance minister Polycarpe Abah Abah and his counterpart of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono, were taken into custody following complains from members of parliament in March that the war against corruptionwas too slow, giving some culprits time to dissimulate the stolen wealth.

Then, the Vice Prime Minister Ahmadou Ali, in charge of justice, told the assembly the government was working methodically to ensure cases were legally watertight. He said 133 persons suspected of corruption, including ex-ministers, managers of public corporations and MPs, had already been prosecuted, many receiving jail terms ranging from 10 to 50 years.

Corruption is endemic in Cameroon which was ranked as the most corrupt state in the world in 1998 and 1999, according to Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, and has remained among the firsttenmost corrupt up till today.

Forjindam seizednewspaper headlines during last year’slegislative and municipal elections when hechartered truck-loads of ambulent votersfrom the main commercial town of Douala and Limbe in the south-west and gave them multiplecardsto go and rig electionsinthe main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) stronghold ofthe North-West province in favourof the ruling party.

Thanks to this operation, the SDF, for the first time since it started participating in elections organised in the country in 1997, lost the legislative poll in seven constituencies in the region, reducing its number of seatsin the National Assembly from 22 to 15.

Following his arrest, a senior police official at the Douala-Bonanjo police station told API off-the-record that, like Polycarpe Abah Abah, Forjindam hasrevealed that he used the money he is being accused of embezzling to sponsor the ruling party activities as well as some activities of the First Lady’s numerous charity organisations.(END)

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API

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Mugabe rival accepts run-off vote – Tsvangirai wanted to be stubborn first but he wants power

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

Mbeki and Mugabe held hours of talks on Friday[AFP]

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, has said he will contest a second-round run-off poll in the presidential elections, but under several conditions.“The MDC has decided that we will contest the run-off election,” he said.

“The MDC … will contest the run-off,” he said. “I am ready, and the people are ready for the final round.”

‘Unfettered access’ call

Tsvangirai said that full access for international observers and media was a pre-condition for his participation in the run-off against Mugabe.

“We want unfettered access of all international observers. The ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] has totally discredited itself to a point now they are partisan to the [ruling] Zanu-PF. The reconstitution of ZEC is therefore paramount,” he said.

“Media access should be unfettered, both print and international media,” he said, listing the conditions for his participation in the run-off after disputed March 29 polls.

He also called for an end to violence and asked the Southern African Development Community to send peacekeepers to monitorthe upcoming presidential run-off.

Tsvangirai said previously he won the first round outright and that official figures showing a second round is necessary are fraudulent.

TheUShas also called for the deployment ofelection and UN human rights monitors inZimbabwe.

Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said:”We’d like to see election monitors come in, we’d like to see UN human rights monitors come in and ensure that we have a safeelectoral process there.”

“If this is going to be a successful run-off, obviously that’sthe first thing that has to happen – opposition leaders and theirsupporters must be able to freely campaign free of violence.”

‘No pre-conditions’

Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s justice minister, ruled out on Saturday accepting any pre-conditions.

“The runoff will be held within the framework of the constitution and the electoral laws. There will be no conditionalities that will be outside this framework,”he said.

Chris Mutsvangwa, another official ofMugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, rejected outright Tsvangirai’s conditions for a run-off vote.

Speaking to Al Jazeera’s Supa Mandiwanzira, Mutsvangwa said: “The truth of the matter is – this is like a soccer match where after 90 minutes there is a penalty shootout.

“You don’t try to bring in new referees; you don’t try to bring in new linesmen … because all these people that Morgan wants to come into Zimbabwe are Western countries. That is his definition of what is the international community: The US, Britain and the EU.”

Conflicting claims

The MDC maintains that Tsvangirai won over 50 per cent of the first round vote, making a run-off unnecessary.

But official results gave him a smaller margin of victory over Mugabe.

Under the terms of Zimbabwe’s electoral law, any boycott byTsvangirai would effectively hand victory toMugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in1980.
The MDC’s announcement came as Thabo Mbeki, the South African president,ended a one-dayvisit toZimbabwe for talks withMugabi.

Mbeki met Mugabe on Friday in Harare, as the MDC demanded thatMbeki step down as mediator in the crisis.
Mbekiwason his third visit on behalf of the Southern African Development Community,and was met atHarare’s international airport, where he walked hand in hand with Mugabe and was decorated with flower garlands.
The talks lasted for nearly four hours, after which Mbeki returned to South Africa.
He did not talk to any other government officials or opposition leaders.
The MDC have called for Mbeki to be dismissed as amediator due to his “softy-softly” approach towards Mugabe.

Tsvangirai has said that he “has no confidence in Mbeki” and voiced his approval of Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president, taking over mediation.

Mwanawasa has been more critical of Mugabe than Mbeki.

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African Press International – api

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Will Kabuga fight for his wealth?

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

Story by SAM KIPLAGAT

The High Court last Tuesday issued orders to freeze some property in Nairobi belonging to Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga and his wife Josephine Mukazitoni. This effectively sent out the message to them to come out and defend their wealth if not their innocence.

But whether or not the couple will pick up the gauntlet and fight for their property is yet to be seen.

The ruling freezes what is believed to be just a portion of the vast wealth owned by one of the worlds most wanted men. Mr Kabuga has been on the run since 1997 when he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity following the 1994 Rwanda genocide where nearly a million Rwandans were killed.

The High Court ruling was made following a successful application by Attorney-General Amos Wako through Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko. The AG wanted access to rent collected from the property identified as Spanish Villas in Kilimani to be denied to Mr Kabuga and his wife. The property is said to generate approximately Sh100,000 every month in rent.

Spanish Villas

According to the DPP, the Kenya Police and investigators from the ICTR had found that Mr Kabuga owned a number of properties in Kenya, and he and his wife Josephine have been using monies generated from the properties to evade arrest and escape justice by, among other ways, intimidating witnesses who have already testified and those set to testify before the ICTR, based in Arusha, Tanzania.

Mr Tobiko said the money is collected by a company known as Kenya Trust Company Limited it is named as the third respondent in the case.

Mr Kabuga acquired the property in 1995 and three years later, KTC Ltd was contracted by the couples daughter Bernadette Uwamariya to manage it.

Although the physical address of KTC Ltd is not known, the company had been collecting rent and depositing it in an account that was owned by Mr Kabuga at the Commercial Bank of Africa. The account was then closed in 2005 and the Sh3.4 million in it wired to an account Mr Kabuga co-owned with Ms Mukazitoni in Belgium. Since then, KTC has been wiring Sh290,000 in French Francs every three months to Banque De La Poste in Belgium.

Evade arrest

Mr Tobiko pointed out that Kenya has the legal and moral obligation to assist in the prosecution of perpetrators of international crimes of any nature wherever committed.

He said that the matter was urgent since the ICTR was expected to wind up it hearings by the end of this year. To this end, the freezing of the property would be reported to the ICTR president and lead prosecutor immediately.

While certifying the case as urgent, the judge said he was aware that Mr Kabuga is wanted for allegations of genocide and related crimes in Rwanda.

He said in his ruling, Whereas Mr Kabuga is presumed to be innocent unless proved otherwise, the ball is in his court to come forward so that he may be subjected to the due process of the law. During the same, he may defend himself given the serious allegations against him.

Mr Kabuga has been changing names and appearance to evade arrest. He is reported to have used such names as Idriss Sudi, Abachref Straton, Anathase Munyarunga and Oliver Kabuga.

The fugitive, aged 73, was born in Muniga Secteur, Mukarange Commune in Buyumba in Rwanda. Before the genocide in 1994, Mr Kabuga was the President of the National Defence Fund. Under President Juvenal Habyarimanas rule, Mr Kabuga had immense political clout and was a powerful financier. Two of his daughters married President Habyarimanas sons.

Mr Tobiko noted that there have been numerous calls especially to governments of Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to assist the ICTR in its bid to track down suspected perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide. He said the country could face UN sanctions if it does not comply. The US Government has placed a Sh300 million bounty on Mr Kabugas head.

The case will be mentioned again on July 29 when the High Court will require an update on the matter.

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API

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Guinean legislature endorses support for one-China policy

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

The Guinean National Assembly has decided to recognize and support “the uniqueness” of the peoples Republic of China which it regards as “one and indivisible”, a Foreign Affairs commission report said here Saturday.
The Guinean MPs said in a report of the Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Commission of the National Assembly that they answered favourably to a request of the Chinese ambassador, asking for the support of a “friendly country” like Guinea on the Taiwan issue.

After discussions and a serious analysis of the situation, the Guinean National Assembly decided to support the 25 October 1971 United Nations resolution 2758, which, recognizes the one-China policy and its non-separation with Taiwan.

“Considering that Taiwan is an integral part of China, the Guinean National Assembly proclaims solemnly that it recognizes only one China, namely the Peoples Republic, and recognizes as well that Tibet is part of this China,” the Commission underlined in its report.

The Guinean MPs justified their support by the fact that the Peoples Republic of China and Guinea maintain co-operation and friendly relations in various fields since nearly 50 years ago.

The ambassador of China to Conakry, who is very pleased with this support, indicated that the support of Guinea will enable the two countries strengthen the already existing bonds between them.

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API

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Niger national hospital gets oxygen production unit

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

Publisher; Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The public health authorities of Niger on Saturday received a new oxygen production unit with a capacity of 24 bottles per day for the benefit of the national hospital of Niamey (HNN), APA has learnt.

The new equipment cost 75 million CFA francs and has a life span of 10 to 15 years. It will help put an end to imports of oxygen from neighbouring countries.

“This is a very good thing. The issue of oxygen that HNN is suffering was unbearable because we used to import oxygen. But with the new acquisition, our hospital will now be autonomous to the greater benefit of patients”, Dr Issa Lamine, the Niger public health minister told APA.

During the past months, oxygen had become very rare in that nationwide biggest hospital where the only oxygen production unit stopped operating a long time ago.

Technicians explained that the capacity of the new oxygen production unit is three times higher than the previous one and will operate with a simple electricity-supplied mechanism.

The Niamey Hospital, which was built in 1922 by French colonial Governor Jules Brevier, was changed in 1992 into a public utility institution enjoying legal entity and autonomy in management.

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African Press International – api

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Malian army captures 11 Tuareg rebels

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

The Malian army and security forces Thursday captured eleven Tuareg rebels during a skirmish in the Kidal region (north), a release revealed in Bamako.
The army says in the release that it also seized two Toyota vehicles, individual and collective weapons, as well as a “sizeable” batch of ammunition.

The troops “recorded no casualties” during the operations which happened during “an inspection and control mission.”

Open hostilities pit the Malian regular forces against dissidents of the Tuareg rebellion, which drew attention on 23 May 2006, by the simultaneous attacks of two military barracks in the north of Mali.

Neither a peace agreement signed in July 2006 in Algiers (Algeria), nor last 3 April cease-fire protocol in Tripoli (Libya) succeeded in ending the conflict, which continues in the form of surprised attacks of military positions or convoys.

A former Tuareg rebel who agreed to join the regular army was the last victim of the conflict. He was killed on Tuesday in Diabali, some 380km in the north of Bamako. The culprits are armed men identified as belonging to a new rebel group.

The dissidents of the Malian Tuareg rebellion, led by their chief Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, demanded in the beginning the autonomy of the Kidal region. They seem to have re-examined downwards their claims, asking from now on nothing more than “the hastened development” of the northern regions of the country.

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African Press International – api

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Kenya: Now KACC explains Regency deal formerly owned by scandalous Goldenberg connections

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

Story by DOMINIC WABALA

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission has explained the circumstances in which it repossessed Nairobis Grand Regency Hotel from businessman Kamlesh Pattni.

The suit arose in 1993 when Mr Pattni and his companies defaulted in the delivery of $210 million (Sh12.8 billion) in contracts he had entered into with the Central Bank of Kenya.

He was supposed to make the deliveries in dollars although he had received Sh13,525,211.000 as the value.

Under a legal charge, CBK had the option of realising its security and sell the hotel in the event that Mr Pattni defaulted in settling the acknowledged debt.

Forced to enter

But KACC said in a statement that it was forced to enter into an out-of-court settlement after a suit it filed in court four years ago against Uhuru Highway Development Ltd and Mr Pattni to transfer LR No. 209/9514 (Grand Regency Hotel) to KACC took too long.

Looking at the delays in the determination of the cases that preceded the commissions suit, it was imperative for the commission to find some practical and effective means of having its case finalised expeditiously, taking into account the interests of the public, the statement said.

The Central Bank, KACC, Mr Pattni and Uhuru Highway Development Ltd agreed to settle the suit under Section 56B(2) & (4) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, it adds.

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African Press International – api

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No PNU ministers accompanied Raila to Luo-land during his homecoming party

Posted by African Press International on May 11, 2008

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

PNU ministers under RailaOdinga (photo)due to his supervisory role in governmentdid not bother to attend his party in Nyanza., This clearly shows how they equate him. They made sure to send a signal that “we are in the coalition but not on your side”, “We are Kibaki’s and will not be with you to Luo-land.”

This causes unnecessary embarassment to the Prime MInister both nationally and internationally, because there was no show of unity from Kibaki’s PNU ministers in the cabinet.

To soften the PNU ministers, API hasa decided to give them the music below. The PNU ministers should listen to the song. Raila has praisefrom the musicians who has a message in swahili that Raila is the leaderfor the whole country. Below you click on the picture and there you are enjoying the song, despite what some leaders do to him. Many say he is the people’s president! Politics, Politics…… PNU Cabinet, it is time to wake up to reality, even musicians below know it! Dance to the tune with them and give the Kenyans the unity needed.

PNU Ministers: Click on this and listen to Raila’s Praise!Raila Nyundo - Otieno Aloka
Now that they did not bother to join him, will they really be honest and work with him? We believe the PNU ministers will be loyal and reporting directly to Kibaki at all times and will whenever they choose toinform Raila on some issues when he requests to know. It now seems that the PNU ministers will apply the “need to know” principle on Raila. There is no guarantee that they will tell him the truth. PNU cabinet ministers wanted to showtoday that Raila is a Luo leader, not national leader when they intentionallyabsconded so that it looks like he was not able to show the two party coalition unityon his homecoming to Nyanza. API

Thousands turn up to welcome PM in Kisumu

By Peter Atsiaya And Harold Ayodo

Prime Minister Raila Odinga landed in Kisumu with a spring and the swarming crowds garlanded its favourite son with a memorable, pompous welcome.
It was an outflow of adoration for the man they have given so many names all of which pay homage to his political prowess. But when he asked them to accept the Grand Coalition, arguing the Orange Democratic Movement had not been handed a raw deal in the power sharing, they gave him a different face. A long one at that, for those who spoke earlier had to take back the Presidents name.
It was Railas big day; to them he fought the good fight and is at their hearts. It presented to the nation Railas next test, that of solidifying the coalition without losing out on the voting bloc that adulates him so much.

But still Raila, who switched to Dholuo to reach more ears and probably to be more convincing, asked them to forget the past, and grapple with the present and the future.

He said he was out to unite Kenya and asked for support. But the crowd were uncomfortable with his idea of the coalition. “You helped me to spear and kill the antelope to death but someone claimed he is the one who did it we therefore had to share this animal,” Raila told the crowd as it noisily disapproved of certain parts of his speech, particularly the news he would soon be bringing the coalition leaders to Nyanza.

Red carpet reception
His entourage, in which the Party of National Unity wing of the Cabinet was conspicuously missing, said the march to State House was on.
“I shall not get tired, do not get tired, we are only on a short break before the tough battle resumes I hope you will remain solidly behind us,” Water minister Mrs Charity Ngilu said.

Raila told them the coalition was a transitory body, it is temporary, and he is now in a position to push through its campaign promises.

The lakeside city clouded by teargas and scarred by tear-gas fumes only a weeks ago, throbbed with joy as Raila, who too suffered police brutality during post-election violence and the Governments fight-back, landed on a Kenya Air Force jet. The aura around him was stately; he walked on a red carpet and ecstatically watched on the electrified crowd, as State security officials ringed him.

It was a different Raila, the burly bouncers with dark glasses that used to clear the way for him, deep inside the crowds, were not in insight. Instead, because of his recent eye operation, it was Raila who bore detective Kojaks classes.

Raila said he knew that supporters of ODM were bitter with the outcome of the last General Election, but appealed for patience and calm, saying “Mvumilivu hula mbivu.” (Patience pays).

Tension heightened when a section of the crowd shouted down speakers who mentioned names of senior Government officials from PNU. This forced Raila not to mention names of some politicians whom he said had sent greetings to the people of Nyanza.

“I bring you greetings from Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Najib Balala and other colleagues in the Government from Nairobi, who could not make it to this occasion,” Raila said.

Agriculture Minister William Ruto and his Public Works colleague Chris Obure had earlier found themselves in trouble when they tried to justify the Coalition Government.

Ruto was forced to eat his words after he mentioned the name of President Kibaki in his speech.

“President Kibaki and Raila are principals in the Coalition Government,” Ruto said, before the crowd interjected by shouts of usitaje Kibaki (do not mention Kibaki).

Ruto then changed tact amid cheers, and said,” Raila na yule mwingine (Raila and the other person) are leaders of the Coalition Government.”

Obure received a similar treatment when he asked the crowd, “How many wanted the leaders to stick to the Coalition Government? It responded with a resounding No!

Cries of hatuwataki (we do not want them) rent the air after Raila announced that he planned to bring members of the Coalition Government to the region as part of reconciliation.

ODM was not shortchanged
Over 45 MPs attended the ceremony at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu. It was a rare occasion as Raila turned into his ecstatic supporters to appreciate the inevitability of certain sections of his speech.
Later Railas spokesman, Mr Salim Lone, commented: “Kisumu today provided a fascinating combination of passionate adulation for Raila and at the same time open expression of their dissatisfaction with his policy on coalition government. This is a true democratic spirit.

“We were not short-changed let us not be bitter but forget the past and move ahead as one nation,” Raila said.

The crowd of over 30,000 people seemed not to be contented with the explanation.

“I am in a better position to serve you because all the Cabinet ministers and their assistants report to me. You must know that I am an Executive Prime Minister,” Raila said, amid cheers.

He went on, “I co-ordinate and supervise all the ministries and you should bank on me for the change that you voted for.”

When a section of the crowd continued to mumble over the power sharing deal, Raila sought to explain in Dholuo. “Joka nyanam okwa dhi marach ahinya ewach ni (People of the Lake, we have not faired badly in this matter).” That is when he gave the analogy of the antelope and himself as the hunter.

He said ODM benefited from the power sharing deal, adding party MPs were allocated strategic ministries and counted one after another.

Lands Minister James Orengo echoed Railas sentiments saying, “We in ODM have majority and authority in Parliament we should not be underrated.”

The crowd at one time complained of perpetual harassment by police before Raila said Ndhiwa MP Orwa Ojode would address their grievances.

“Ojode is the assistant minister of Internal Security and will deal with complaints you have raised about the police,” Raila said. But Ojode was not at the function as he had travelled to Mt Elgon on official duty.

Raila said he wanted to prove to the world that grand coalition governments could work in countries hit by a leadership stalemate after elections.

There was also a mass disapproval from the crowd when a visiting Tanzanian Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mr John Magufuli mentioned the Ugandan Government in his speech.

“Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will remain united to bring economic development in East Africa,” Magufuli said, amid shouts of “hatutaki kusikia Uganda.” (We do not want to hear Uganda).

Magufuli caused laughter when he retreated, saying: “Kenya, Tanzania and the other country you do not want me to mention would foster unity in East Africa.”

Residents of Kisumu widely believe that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is not in good books with Raila following allegations that its soldiers helped to quell post- election protests that left hundreds of people killed and maimed in the lakeside town.

At the same time, ODM sent the strongest signal ever that they had begun serious preparation for the General Election in 2012. Ministers Ngilu (Water), Orengo (Lands), Mr Henry Kosgey (Industry), Mr Otieno Kajwang (Immigration) and Ruto said ODM had not abandoned the presidential dream.

Trade Assistant Minister Mr Omingo Magara said: “Watch this space we are going to do great things as people from western Kenya because we will remain united.”

Speakers including Raila paid tribute to the youth whose massive protests forced President Kibaki to negotiate with ODM.

“We thank you because you were our weapons when the PNU were adamant on our demands after the disputed poll results. You blocked all roads and forced them to heed our call,” Ruto said.

Ruto called for the unconditional release of hundreds of youth arrested by police over the post-election violence.

He also spoke about selective justice in the handling of post-election violence suspects.

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African Press International – api

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