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Archive for May 18th, 2008

Kenyan Politicians want Kalonzo Musyoka for President in 2012

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

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

Support for Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (right)at this time is not timely. The Grand coalition has just been born. The Grand coalition has no roots yet, and yet the MPs and some leaders are now fronting Kalonzo for president in 2012? This move might split the coalition. This plan will not be taken lightly by the ODM group of Raila Odinga who as PM now is eyeing for the same seat in 2012. This will be seen as a way to block Raila’s dreams for the top seat in 2012. The recent developments between William Ruto and Raila Odinga may have caused the call for Kalonzo’s support. Ruto is becoming a small Kingmaker and he has the weight behind him in the Rift Valley. He is also respected in Western Province for standing down for Musalia Mudavadi who got the Deputy Premiership. Ruto wants the Grand opposition in parliament formed an dsupports the MPs who want to do so, a thing Raila is opposed to and yet they are supposed to be a unit. Ruto is angered that Raila is not impressing upon President Kibaki to order amnesty for the youth who were arrested during the unrest that brought about the Grand coalition. Raila got the premiership and seimply kept quiet. He has called for negotiations with Mungiki but did not go far enough to act on the problem facing the youth in police custody all over the country and mainly the Kalenjins in Rift Valley.(API)

MPs endorse Kalonzo for president

Five Members of Parliament from Mt Kenya region, among them a Cabinet minister, Thursday endorsed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to succeed President Kibaki in 2012.

<Led by Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi (left), the leaders said Mr Musyoka was the best suited to take over the mantle of leadership due to the role he played in averting bloodshed following the disputed December polls.

Speaking at a public rally at Kinoru Stadium in North Imenti, Mr Murungi said they were working on ways to bring in more players into a game plan meant to ensure they succeed Mr Kibaki.

The leaders included North Imenti MP Silas Muriuki, Mr David Ngugi of Kinangop), Mr Peter Mwathi of Limuru and Mr Johnston Muthama of Kangundo.

Big bus

We are in a process of building a big bus which will ensure we capture the presidency to avoid a situation like we witnessed recently. We want to enjoin the Kisii, the Akamba, Gikuyu, Ameru and others interested in joining the bandwagon, Mr Murungi said.

No bus has two drivers and we feel Kalonzo would be a good driver, he added. Mr Murungi said he did not want a situation where power-sharing would be considered following a General Election.

Every speaker heaped praise on Mr Musyoka, highlighting his role and describing him as humble and principled.

The leaders expressed confidence that Mr Musyoka could be trusted to stick by Mr Kibaki until the end of his term.

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Malcolm X: Works of Social Importance

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source:

This page is dedicatedto one of the men who has brought about important decisions and works in the history of fighting racism. Please read it carefully and try to truly understand what the piece is saying.This second dedication is a dedication to Malcolm X.

Malcolm was born in 1924 in Nebraska. As a child, he dropped out of school and eventually went to prison. While there, he studied the Nation of Islam, and when he left jail, changed his name to Malcolm X. In 1964, Malcolm formed the Organization of the Afro-American Unity and continued with his fight against racism until his assassination a year later in 1965.
Quotes from Malcolm X
You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is be an intelligent human being.


It doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.


Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.


The political philosophy of black nationalism means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community; no more.


Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Martin Luther King Jr. – Works of Social Importance: I Have a Dream

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source:

This page is dedicatedto one of the men who has brought about important decisions and works in the history of fighting racism. Please read it carefully and try to truly understand what the piece is saying.This first dedication is a dedication to Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 15, 1929, Martin was born. He married in 1953. Martin gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 and won the Nobel prize in 1964. In 1968, he was assassinated.

I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963 at the Nation’s Capital

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
“But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
“And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?’ we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
“Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
“I have a dream today.”
“I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
“I have a dream today.”
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
“This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew our of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
“This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
“And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
“Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!”
“Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!”
“But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!”
“Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!”
“Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'”

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Mike Wallace: Correspondent Emeritus, 60 Minutes

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source:

Mike Wallace has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since its premiere on Sept. 24, 1968. He announced his intention to become a correspondent emeritus, effective at the end of the 2005-06 season — his 38th on the broadcast. In his new role, he no longer appears regularly on 60 Minutes, but occasionally contributes to the news magazine and all CBS News broadcasts with news-making interviews.

Among his recent journalistic triumphs was his headline-making sit-down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, in August 2006, which won him his 21st Emmy award. In June 2007, he got the first interview with euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian upon his release from prison. He also broke news with the interview of ex-Major Leaguer and admitted steroid user Jose Canseco in February of 2005. Later that year he also interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2002, he obtained an exclusive interview with John Nash, the mentally ill genius on whose life the controversial Academy Award-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” was based. Wallace arranged for Louis Farrakhan and the eldest daughter of Malcolm X, who has accused Farrakhan of indirect complicity in her father’s assassination, to be interviewed together for

60 Minutes. The meeting, broadcast in May 2000, resulted in front-page news when Farrakhan admitted that his words might have egged on the assassins.
His third book, “Between You and Me,” written with Gary Paul Gates, was published in October 2005 (Hyperion).

In 1998, Wallace had one of the biggest scoops of the year: he was the only reporter to accompany U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to Iraq on his mission to prevent war between Saddam Hussein and the Allies. His exclusive interview with Annan was broadcast on 60 Minutes on Feb. 22, 1998. His controversial report on Dr. Jack Kevorkian in November of that year, in which

60 Minutes broadcast Kevorkian’s own videotape showing him injecting lethal drugs into a terminally ill man, spurred debate and media coverage for weeks.
Wallace’s no-holds-barred interviewing technique and enterprising reportage are well known, and his numerous and timely interviews read like a who’s who of newsmakers: George H.W. Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Deng Xiaoping, Manuel Noriega, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Menachem Begin, Anwar el-Sadat, Yasir Arafat, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein, Hafez Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Kurt Waldheim, H. R. Haldeman, Vladimir Horowitz, Itzhak Perlman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonard Bernstein, and Johnny Carson among many others.

Wallace’s experience as a newsman dates back to the 1940s, when he was a radio news writer and broadcaster for the Chicago Sun. After serving as a naval communications officer during World War II, he became a news reporter for radio station WMAQ Chicago. He first joined CBS in 1951, left the Network in 1955 and returned in 1963, when he was named a CBS News correspondent.

His numerous television credits include “Night Beat” (1956-57) and “The Mike Wallace Interview” (1957-60). From 1959 to 1961, he anchored the Peabody Award-winning public-affairs series “Biography,” which focused on a wide range of historical figures, including Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Helen Keller, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth and Clarence Darrow. His book Mike Wallace Asks, a compilation of interviews from “Night Beat” and “The Mike Wallace Interview,” was published in 1958. His memoir, Close Encounter, co-authored with Gary Paul Gates, was published in 1984.

Wallace reported from Vietnam in 1962 and, after returning to CBS, covered the war several times between 1967 and 1971. In September 1990, CBS News presented a one-hour special, “Mike Wallace Then and Now,” which recalled Wallace’s 40 years of reporting and interviewing. In June 1992, he anchored the CBS News/Washington Post-Newsweek co-production “Watergate: The Secret Story,” which marked the 20th anniversary of the break-in at the Watergate complex. In December 1993, he anchored “CBS Reports: 1968,” which chronicled that watershed year in U.S. history. His news-making interview with the highest-ranking tobacco executive ever to turn whistle-blower, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, who revealed critical tobacco industry secrets for the first time on television, was broadcast on 60 Minutes and the

CBS Evening News in February 1996.
In September 2003, he received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, marking his 20th Emmy Award. In May 2002, he won the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, given by Quinnipiac College, for his journalistic contributions to free speech. Wallace won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award grand prize and television first prize in 1996 for the “CBS Reports” broadcast “In the Killing Fields of America” (January 1995), a three-hour report he co-anchored on violence in America. His other professional honors include 19 Emmy Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, a Robert E. Sherwood Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Southern California School Of Journalism and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the international broadcast category.

Wallace was elected a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi (November 1975), and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by the University of Massachusetts (1978). In May 1987, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Michigan and, in 1989, an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Pennsylvania. He was honored in September 1989 by Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications for his lifetime contribution to radio and television. In June 1991, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame and, in September 1991, he was honored by the Radio/Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) with the Paul White Award. In 1993, he was named Broadcaster of the Year by the International Radio and Television Society.

Wallace was born May 9, 1918, in Brookline, Mass. He was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1939 with a B.A. degree. He has a son, Chris, and a daughter, Pauline, and lives in New York with his wife, Mary Yates.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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MISSING: our HIV and Aids prevention campaign

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher; Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.worldnews.ktimes.Independent online (SA) Read Full Article

By Kerry Cullinan

Over the past year, there has been a number of scientific disappointments in the HIV/Aids field, including two failed vaccine trials.

With the failed trials comes the acknowledgement that the world is almost as far from finding a vaccine as 25 years ago when the research first started, and that scientists are short of ideas as to how to circumvent the tricky virus.

“You are quite within bounds to ask, if (the vaccine has) been 10 years away for 20 years, does that mean it’s really never going to happen?” Prof David Baltimore, head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told his organisation earlier this year.

Others have questioned whether the billions spent on the vaccine could not be better spent on Aids treatment.

Back in South Africa, despite the fact that we are in the dying phase of Aids, the problem seems to have fallen off the public agenda.

There is a widespread assumption from many South Africans that the epidemic is being dealt with simply because we have a national HIV/Aids treatment programme based on free antiretroviral drugs.

But in many parts of the country, there are serious problems with this programme. Long waiting lists and a chronic shortage of health workers to administer it are two of the most serious problems.

A poorly administered ARV programme with a high patient drop-out rate means we are courting multi-drug resistant HIV, something we are experiencing with TB after years of a third-rate treatment programme.

This is bad news for those five million plus people already living with HIV. But what about the more than 40 million people who are not?

We have an almost non-existent HIV-prevention campaign, yet this is where there have been interesting advancements. Based on studies that show that circumcision offers men significant protection against HIV infection, countries such as Kenya and Swaziland are running vigorous campaigns to get men circumcised.

But our health department says there is insufficient scientific evidence. The developed world – and even the Western Cape – has reduced the rate of HIV-positive mothers infecting their babies with HIV to less than 5 percent by treating mothers and babies with at least two ARVs.

South Africa (with the exception of the Western Cape which has been doing this for five years) is only just adding a second drug to our prevention-of-mother-to-child HIV treatment.

But little is being done to address the fact that only about 60 percent of pregnant, HIV-positive women ever get ARV treatment – either because it’s not available at their clinics, or they are too scared to test for HIV.

The third interesting development in the field of HIV prevention lies in new knowledge about what researchers call “concurrent partners”.

There is growing consensus that the HIV epidemic is particularly bad in southern Africa because it is pretty common for many people to have two or more concurrent partners over a long time.

This makes us vulnerable to HIV because of the nature of the virus. Scientists will tell you that it’s not the quickest or most effective virus around. It can often take a while to get passed from one person to the next.

In fact, some mathematical models say a person with HIV will only transmit it every 100 times they have sex.

So having a one-night stand with a person with HIV is far less risky than having regular sex with someone with HIV.

“Concurrent or simultaneous sexual partnerships are far more dangerous than serial monogamy because they link people up in a giant web of sexual relationships that creates ideal conditions for the rapid spread of HIV,” explains Helen Epstein in her recent book The invisible cure: Africa, the West and the fight against Aids.

Far from being “promiscuous germ-carriers”, to borrow a phrase from President Thabo Mbeki, a number of surveys have shown that Africans generally have fewer sexual partners than Westerners do and that Brazilian men have more casual partners than Africans.

“Our vulnerability comes from this “interlocking sexual network that (serves) as a ‘superhighway’ for HIV,” Epstein argues.

Importantly, concurrent partnerships are not unofficial polygamy, involving one man and a number of women. For the sexual networks to link up, some of the women also have to have more than one partner.

Epstein believes that Uganda was effective in radically reducing the rate of new HIV infections because of its “Zero Grazing” campaign aimed at encouraging people to be faithful to their partners.

While in South Africa we supposedly have an HIV prevention programme built on “Abstain, Be faithful, Condomise”, in reality no one has ever run a national campaign aimed at getting people to be faithful to their partners.

It’s almost as if we accept that concurrency is normal and we will never be able to change it.

But in times of deep crisis, people have to adapt to survive new conditions.

The “bridges” that facilitate HIV’s superhighway need to come down – and we don’t need a vaccine or a microbicide to do that. – Health-e News Service

    • This article was originally published on page 9 of Daily News on May 16, 2008

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South Africa lacks maritime security skills, systems, says official

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source:

Amidst the saga of the Chinese ship carrying weapons destined for Zimbabwe, the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), Tsietsi Mokhele, told parliament in Cape Town that South Africa lacks technological capacity to monitor foreign vessels in its waters.

The saga had spotlighted a severe skills shortage in the maritime industry. “Our capacity to track and monitor vessels at sea is non-existent,” Mokhele told the Transport portfolio committee of the National Assembly on Friday .

Reports from the International Transport Workers Federation said the Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, has rounded the Cape of Good Hope and was this week south of Port Elizabeth, outside South African territorial waters.

The authorities were unable to say where An Yue Jinag was headed, or pinpoint its position after it had left Durban harbour two weeks ago.

The South African Air Force patrolled the eastern and western coasts in turn daily, but officers admitted that they could easily miss a ship on the ocean. The situation makes the waters around South Africa ideal for ships embarking on clandestine activities.

South Africa lags when it comes to installing a Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system, which it was required to do, in terms of international agreement, by 1st January next year, Mokhele said.

LRIT is a satellite-based security system used for tracking the movement of large ships around the globe. In terms of agreement, South Africa is obliged to implement the system to monitor shipping passing within 1,500km of its coastline.

A well-placed source in the maritime industry, who declined to be named, said “affirmative action has also had a negative impact on South Africas harbours, with unsuitable candidates being selected for many of the training courses, resulting in a huge drop-out rate.”

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Malawi: Turmoil as tobacco prices fluctuate

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: Inter Press Service (IPS), by Pilirani Semu-Banda

Lilongwe (Malawi) – The country’s tobacco industry has been in turmoil after wildly fluctuating prices led protesting farmers to force the closure of the auction floors.

This year’s tobacco sales started on a very high note with prices reaching the phenomenal price of 11 dollars per kg. The high prices did not last, however. The tobacco auction floors opened in Malawi’s capital city Lilongwe in March with a kilogram of tobacco fetching between six and eleven dollars. This gave hope to farmers who have struggled to make any profit from the trade over the last few years. Malawi’s cancellation of subsidies for tobacco production a number of years ago has meant that farmers have to cover the full cost of production.

It costs the average tobacco farmer one dollar to produce one kilogram of the crop, according to Malawi’s ministry of agriculture. But for many years, prices moved between 70 and 90 cents per kilogram. This placed the heavy burden of perpetual debt on farmers as they failed to settle loans to purchase farm inputs. Most farmers cut production and others diversified to different economic activities. Then the unexpected hike in prices happened. Godwin Ludzu, a farmer from Malawi’s central district of Kasungu, was among the lucky ones who sold up to 30 bales of tobacco at 10 dollars per kilogram on the first day of trading. He was ecstatic about the profits he made.

“The price was very good. I will be able to settle all the loans I incurred in producing the tobacco,” said Ludzu. He has been growing tobacco for six years. The auction prices this year are the best he has ever come across. However, the exceptional prices did not last. On the second day, the flicker of hope died. Prices have since fluctuated, with the value of the leaf dropping to between 2.30 dollars and 60 cents for the same quality crop.

The statutory Tobacco Control Commission’s (TCC) general manager Godfrey Chapola confirmed that prices started off high because of a tobacco shortage on the global market. He said that that some countries which grow tobacco have stopped while others have reduced production levels, causing consumption to be higher than supply. The fluctuation in prices has affected farmers badly. Champhira Gondwe, a farmer from the northern district of Rumphi, went to the Mzuzu auction floors in the north of Malawi. He could not sell any of his produce because he found that the tobacco prices were set very low.

“They were being pegged at the maximum price of 2.30 dollars. I couldn’t let my hard-earned produce go at such a low price when our counterparts in Lilongwe sold their tobacco at 10 dollars,” said Gondwe.
The Mzuzu floors were closed on April 14 after violence broke out between the farmers and the guards at the market. The farmers physically blocked the buyers from continuing with sales. The TCC then suspended the sales.

The farmers were not ready to let go of their demand for higher prices after hearing about the worldwide shortage of tobacco. Sales of tobacco were suspended on all four auction floors in April but the floors reopened again in the last week of April. President Bingu wa Mutharika, himself a tobacco farmer, has previously accused buyers of fixing prices but the buying companies – from the U.S. and Switzerland — have denied the allegations.

The southern African country is a major exporter of tobacco, accounting for five percent of the world’s total exports and two percent of total production on the planet. In terms of burley tobacco, Malawi produces some 20 percent of the global total, according to the World Bank. The country derives up to 70 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from agriculture, and the tobacco industry is responsible for 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). About two million of the country’s 13 million people depend on tobacco and related industries for their livelihood.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Uganda: Investigation ordered into CHOGM fraud

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: New Vision (Uganda), by Felix Osike and Mary Karugaba

The Auditor General has instituted an independent probe into the CHOGM road works, The New Vision has learnt. The probe was ordered after it was established that procurement procedures had been flouted and that there were variations in the prices quoted for the different CHOGM roads.

The audit into the CHOGM roads in Kampala and Entebbe is being carried out by COWI Consulting Engineers, a Danish firm. The contracts for the CHOGM roads, amounting to sh21b, were not awarded through competitive bidding, thus denying the Government the benefit of competitive pricing and quality, according to the Auditor General?s report, which was sent to the Cabinet. ?A special audit has been commissioned to establish whether funds released on civil works and infrastructure were spent taking into consideration the principle of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.?

The report said a number of roads remained uncompleted after CHOGM, although payments had been made to the contractors. ?These should be followed up to ensure that works are completed and accountability tendered.? It also found that some road works started when CHOGM was over, ?defeating the objectives for which those funds were budgeted for?. The Auditor General?s findings are in line with an earlier report issued by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority on the roads.

The authority found no records of contracts signed with the companies that repaired the roads. It said the tenders were awarded the same day the procurement process was initiated. The authority recommended disciplinary action against the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works, Charles Muganzi, for flouting procurement regulations. Acting roads commissioner A. Mugisha should also be reprimanded for the same reason, it added.

President Yoweri Museveni recently complained of inflated prices in the road construction sector. In a letter to the Prime Minister last week, he vowed to crack down on those in the Government who are colluding with private contractors. ?I will hold any individual or government agency that awards contracts at a price that is not in harmony with the market price as a thief for whom punitive action will be reserved,? the letter read.
In December 2007, the Cabinet requested the Auditor General to undertake a value-for-money audit on CHOGM activities following complaints from Members of Parliament.

In his report, the Auditor General listed many instances of non-compliance with the laws, which resulted in ?funds not accounted for, loss and abuse of public resources?. The Auditor General also found flaws in the payment for beautification works, media services and the purchase of vehicles. A company contracted to carry out the beautification of the Nsambya-Gaba-Munyonyo-Salama-Kibuye corridor has not completed the works, six months after CHOGM, despite receiving payment for it, the report noted.

Irregularities were also observed in the procurement of CHOGM vehicles. ?The procurement of executive vehicles did not follow the procurement procedures and some were not of agreed specifications.?
On media and publicity services, the report established that the South African firm, Globecast, was paid sh7.8b, without documentation. Another publicity company, Saatchi & Saatchi, has been paid sh1.4b, out of the contracted sh2.4b, also without supporting documentation.

The audit further revealed that sh9b was diverted from CHOGM funds and spent on non-CHOGM activities. The Ministry of Finance released sh270b last year for CHOGM preparations. However, several ministries are reporting huge outstanding debts arising from CHOGM. The works ministry has an outstanding debt of sh31b.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Kenya: Kenya Airways expand routes despite market tumult

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: Business Daily (Kenya), by Wangui Maina

The national carrier, Kenya Airways, is set to launch new routes in Africa and increase frequency on some routes this financial year as part of its expansion plans.

But the move to Antananarivo in Madagascar or increased flights to Angola is not expected to change the market outlook for the airline, which has recently faced one of its most turbulent years. Market experts are not expecting much change in Kenya Airways results, which are expected to be announced on May 30. In the past financial year, the airline has had to contend with the escalating price of fuel and an increase in competition from both international and domestic carriers moving into the region.

Analysts believe the results for the year ending March, 2008, will have marginal change, with most expecting a slight drop in its performance or similar performance as of last year. Mr Charles Ocholla, the head of investment banking and fund management at Suntra, notes that the airline will record profits but that they are likely to be almost the same as last year?s, if not slightly lower, following the half year results.

The half year performance released in September, 2007, were the first signs that the 2007/2008 financial year was not going well for the national carrier as profits fell by 18.8 per cent. Profits dropped to Sh1.97 billion from Sh2.4 billion during the same period in 2006/2007. The rising cost of fuel , currency exchange, increased competition and poor customer service were some of the challenges attributed to the declining profits.
This has not changed in the past six months, with fuel currently at its highest, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics. IATA statistics show that the cost of fuel has risen by 72 per cent in the past one year, with jet fuel currently trading at $146.8 (Sh9,248) a barrel. As of September, 2007, fuel was trading at $78.1 (Sh4,920).

Escalating cost of fuel is likely to make a major dent on the airline?s accounts as the cost of fuel accounts for up to 30 per cent of its total costs, say industry stakeholders. At a previous press briefing, the managing director, Mr Titus Naikuni, noted that currently the airline?s fuel bill was around Sh27 billion, a 70 per cent increase compared to what was spent the previous year. But Resa Imbuye, an analyst with Old Mutual Asset Manager, says although the airline hedges a big portion of its fuel, its books are likely to be impacted ,especially when it comes to re-hedging.

To cushion it, passengers will soon have to dig deeper into their pockets as the airline looks at increasing fuel surcharges. A fuel surcharge is a fee paid by passengers on their ticket as part of taxes.
The appreciating value of the shilling against the dollar has had a major impact on the airline?s revenues as most of its business is carried out in dollars. In the past, the airline has indicated a wish to look at other denomination options although this would only happen if the whole aviation industry agreed.

According to Mr Imbuye, the bearing of a strong shilling impacts the airline both positively and negatively as the airline gains when buying fuel but loses when selling tickets which are denominated in dollars.
The airline has in the past few months been going through a management shift as key staff leave the company. The airline has created a post of Chief Operation Officer (COO) who will oversee the day to day operations of Kenya Airways a move which has been seen as a positive step towards future business strategy by some analysts.

During the last quarter, the airline faced a turbulence due to the skirmishes that rocked the country, leading to cancellation of visits to the country. The impact saw the airline struggle to fill its planes on some of the routes, leading to reduced capacity on routes like London and Amsterdam as well as the withdrawal of flights to Paris. On the other hand the airline has continued to record good performance on its Indian routes, mainly due to the withdrawal of Air India, Chinese routes and the African routes. But Kenya Airways has found a way of making profits, tapping into the high yield customers in the African region.

The move to open new routes like Madagascar this current financial year and increase frequencies to destinations like Ghana, Angola, Dubai, China and Botswana is seen as a positive move for the medium to long term as most airlines still hesitate to operate on the continent. The airline was able to move from a loss making carrier to a profit making one through this strategy which it plans to maintain and even expand further as it awaits delivery of its Boeing 777 and Dreamliners in 2010. The airline?s share has witnessed some volatile movement having shed 41 per cent in the past year. It opened the year at a Sh 62 and has dropped to Sh49.25.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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Zimbabwe: ‘Lack of leadership in the SADC’

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: South African Press Association (SAPA)

Johannesburg (South Africa) – Xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans in Alexandra outside Johannesburg exposed the SADC’s lack of leadership in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis, the MDC said on Thursday.

“It is the reflection that the Zimbabwean crisis is not a Zimbabwean crisis…what happened here exposes the lack of leadership in the SADC,” said Tendai Biti secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s opposition party. He told reporters in Johannesburg the attacks underlined the need for the Zimbabwean crisis to be resolved so that the country’s people could return home. A Zimbabwean was killed and dozens were injured and displaced in the violence that erupted earlier in the week.

Biti criticised the Zimbabwean electoral commission’s announcement on Wednesday that it would hold the run-off election within 90 days. This delay was in breach of the Zimbabwean constitution and the country’s electoral act, he said.

According to Zimbabwean law, the run-off is supposed to be held within 21 days of the announcement of the election results, which took place on May 2. “Delaying the run-off by 90 days…the ZEC is simply buying time for Zanu-PF,” Biti said. He accused the commission of being “a tool in the ruling party’s power machinations”. The MDC wanted the run-off to take place on May 23, and it wanted the SADC to insist on the “reconstitution of the ZEC”.

It also called on a regional body to hold an urgent summit to deal with the legality of the run-off elections, to call for an end to the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe, and to ensure political parties had the freedom of movement in order to campaign. Biti said there were at present no talks taking place between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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South Africa: Business schools among world’s best

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher  Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: South Africa Good News (South Africa)

Four South African business schools have been voted among the world’s best in the 2008 Financial Times business school rankings.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) was ranked in 38th place among 50 business schools in the Top Executive Education Open Programmes category. The University of Stellenbosch’s Executive Education programme (USB-Ed) earned its place in the category at 50th place. Wits Business School joined GIBS and USB-Ed in the rankings for the top 65 schools offering executive training programmes customised for particular companies. GIBS was ranked at 51, USB-Ed at 60 and Wits at 62.

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business maintained its place in the Top 100 Global MBA rankings, though dropped significantly from its 52nd place ranking of 2007 to 71st place in 2008. Speaking to Business Day, GIBS Director Prof Nick Binedell said that the rankings showed that some of South Africa’s business schools are indeed world class. “There are only three schools [on the executive education open programmes list] from emerging markets; Fundação Dom Cabral, GIBS and Stellenbosch. That’s quite a thing for SA. Business schools are ubiquitous now; this is quite an achievement,” he said.

The Lagos Business School (LBS) in Nigeria is the only other African institution to appear in this year’s rankings. LBS ranked 48th in the open enrolment programme category.  Frik Landman CEO of USB-Ed estimates that there may well be over 3 500 business schools in the world. The rankings attained by the South African schools were a magnificent achievement for Africa, he told Business Day. Overall the rankings were led by business schools in Europe and North America.  Of the 100 schools ranked in the Global MBA Rankings, 57 were based in the United States. The category was topped by the University of Pennsylvania, The London Business School and Columbia University.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor – African Press International – API

 

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Africa at large: AU, Microsoft to cooperate in ICT development

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: Panafrican News Agency (PANA)

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) – The Africa Union (AU) and Microsoft have agreed to join forces in acceleration of social and economic development in Africa through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed Thursday at ‘ITU Telecom Africa 2008’ conference in Cairo, Egypt, a forum where stakeholders are discussing the expansion of ICT across the region, the AU and Microsoft committed to collaborate in the promotion of ICT for development, capacity building and enhancing technology access. According to a statement released here Friday by the AU Commission, the two parties will work together to respond to the region’s evolving development needs and foster the creation of regional, scalable technology solutions.

The partners will identify where ICT can be applied to accelerate Africa’s economic growth through capacity building and by enhancing technology access, in particular for youth and rural populations. “Technology plays a critical role in driving competitiveness in today’s global economy,” said Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure. “We welcome Microsoft’s commitment and contribution in providing technology expertise and know-how to foster increased access to technology and bringing the related benefits to all regions in Africa.”

Microsoft will support the AU through technology and innovative solutions, access to technology and skills training, and policy and advocacy support, supporting shared economic reform and private sector development goals. “We welcome the formalisation of our partnership with the AU, as we believe there is no better partner to identify where ICT can be applied in innovative ways to accelerate development across the continent,” said Cheick Modibo Diarra, Microsoft chairman for Africa.

“By extending the scale and impact of solutions developed in Africa by African stakeholders, we aim to transform education, drive local innovation and foster jobs and opportunities,” he added. This partnership will build upon work already in place, including support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) e-schools and e-parliament programmes, existing Microsoft Innovations Centres and a network of over 1,000 Community Technology Centres.

The network, established in partnership with non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations as well as local partners, provides over 200,000 youth, women and entrepreneurs with access to technology, information and communication.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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