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Archive for May 19th, 2008

Is the judge favouring Raila Odinga or it is just the right thing to do?

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

Judge declines to sermon PM

Written By:Lempaa Suyianka

The High court in Nairobi has warned the lawyers representing Stanley Livondo against dragging an election petition they filed on behalf of their client against the election of Prime minister, Raila Odinga as the MP for Lang’ata constituency.

Justice Alnasir Visram told lawyers Paul Wamae and Kamau Kuria who are representing Livondo that the case ought to be disposed expeditiously and that he would not allow for any more adjournments.

The judge’s warning followed an application filed by the two to have the case adjourned, when it came up for hearing on Monday.

Lawyers Kamau and Wamae told the court that they were appealing against the decision made by the judge on April 4th this year.

Delivering the decision, Judge Visram declined to sermon the Prime minister for cross examination on whether he was well served with the petition papers or not.

In his ruling, the judge adjourned the case for two months warning that hearing would resume regardless of whether the court of appeal had made a ruling to overturn his decision or not.

The case will be mentioned on the 2nd of July this year.

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Tribal and clan attitudes killing girls education in Kuria District – Non-Kuria teachers threatening to leave

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Publisher: korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Story by Leo Odera Omolo
Lack of clear-cut short of policy governing secondary schools education has paved the way and rooms for tribalism, clanism and sectarianism into various school in Nynza Province.
Already three girls secondary schools, two located in the newly created Kuria West district and one in Kegonga Division in Kuria East district. The schools affected ar Nyarowa Girls Secondary School, the oldest in the former larger Kuria, Nyabohanse Girls Secondary School and St. Marys Mabera Girls Secondary School. This particular school is sponsored by the catholic Diocese of Homa-Bay.
St. Marys Maber is the worst hit. Nyabohanse is already closed when the girls were incited to go on strike, and the Headmistress forced out. The former Headmistress Mrs Florance Omondi was recently forced to seek for transfer to other schools. The former schools head only mistake is his tribal background. She is a Luo by tribe while it is a known factor tyhatr young graduate Kuria teachers would like to head all the secondary schools located within their locality.
In the neighbouring St. Marys Mabera Girls Secondary School things have taken quite a different dimension. The Headmistress Mrs Diana Oboro, cannot access her place of work. Bands of youths have been hired and intoxicated with bhangs and Changaa to ensure she has no free access to the school.
Mrs Oboro an experienced school teacher per excellence had to be given police escort to access her place of work. Early last week thugs sneaked into the school and padlocked her schools office under mysterious circumstance. The D.C. for Kuria West was forced to move in with a team of security personnel and re-opened the school administration office after cutting the illegal pad-locks.
Mrs Oboro arrived in St. Marys Mabera Girls Secondary School four years ago when the institution was reportedly run-down by its former administrator. The student population had declined from 400 plus to slightly over 200 because parent had removed their doughters and sent them to other school. This was after the had gained the notoriety and even derogatory christened St. Malayas.
Girls were freely sneaking out the schools compound at night time and being driven out by amorous men involved in sexual escapades with impunity. She imposed strict school rules and disciplinary. This has led to St. Marys Mabera Girl s Secondary Schools scoring a respectable position in last years KCSE with close to 60 per cent mean grade passes. Out of 60 students who sat for the KCSE 42 scored c+ and above. This was not mean achievement, and even some parents and schools BOG members felt it was a miracle for the school which many years was performing poorly.
But Mrs Oboros predicament began in February this year. This was after the teachers from within the locality who had expected her to perform poorly sensed that her remarkable performances would prolong her stay in the school. It all started when she quieried about a teacher in the school a Mr. Christopher Nyanganyi Motaigwa married his former student against the rules and regulations which stipulated that a school teacher cannot commit himself to an act of marriage with her former class student unless the girl had stayed out of school for two years.
Mrs Oboro, according to sources reported the incident to the education authoritieds and school BOG for action. The teacher is a former classmaster of the giril in question and he is the son of a retired former Assistant Chief for the area Mzee Joseph Motaigwa, a man who is said to have enormous influence in the schools affairs.
The resident priest Father Joseph Matiko who hails from within the locality, appeared to have abdicated his priesthood role, and joined his clansmen in harassing the headmistress for simple reason. She had questioned the rationale of a teacher marrying his former class student before the two years regulation set by the Ministry of Education had lapsed.
The priest is reported to have written several nasty letters to the Bishop accusing the Headmistress Mrs Oboro, and when the Bishop invited the two to his Homa-Bay offices for consultation plus hearing of their views, the Headmistress was cleared of anby wrong doing and told to go back and perform her duty.
The civic leader Councillor Ri0ba Bakobara has also joined the league with his clansmen in traumatizing the headmistress. Only the M[P for Kuria Dr. Wilfred Mchage has come openly and told his constituents not to interfere with the work of civil servants posted to implement development activities in the areas, particularly the teachers . But for some local political reasons, the Assistant Minister pleas have landed on the rocks. The school is said to be located in Bugumbe, a sub-clan of the Kuria , which never humbled itself to the MP and had voted one of their own during the last Decembers general election.
Dr. Machage, however, is said to have soft heart for all the teachers including those who hails from outside the two Kuria district and has always urged them to perform well to the satisfaction of the parents, students and all the stakeholders, He is said to have spoken strongly against those harassing well performing school teachers in his constituency irrespective of their tribal background. Dr. Machage is said to be seriously committed to the education of girls in his constituency and has been very cooperative and resourcesful to the teachers in the area.
Asked why she is staying away from her school, Mrs Oboro toldthis writer over the phone that she has not deserted her students and the school, but she cannot imaginbe going to work only under police escort. Each time she is busy working in the school compound. Hired gang of goons come to the main gates and started hurling abuse and un printable words to her in the face of her staff and students. On one occasion unknown persons visited her house in the schools compound and made an attempt to break into the house with the purpose of causing her bodily harm. The thugs broke all the windows and escaped in the darkness when she raised the alarm.
Mrs Oboro said she has worked hard, built three teachers houses plus her own, domirtory and employed a matron who is taking care of the girls within the school compound and brought the institution back to its normalcy, therefore she wont like to work there under the protection of policemen. After my services is still being required by other communities elsewhere, and I cannot afford to work under such circumstances, she added.
Reached by phone the provincial Director of Education offices in Kisumu promised that the matter is receiving their attention and would be sorted out very soon, but the spokesman declined to give the deadline. But Mrs Oboro is firm saying she will stay out until the problems are sorted out.
Education Minister Prof. Sam K.Ongeri, the man who is known for his lust for excellence will have to move with speed to restore confidence of the parents that all are well and that the schools are beyond the reach of petty clanism politics.
When this writer visited the St. Marys Mabera Grls Secondary School in Kuria West district, he discovered that most of the noise makers are Matatu touts operating in the nearby bus terminal. They have formed the bad habit of shouting obscenity to the Headmistress as soon as she arrives to start work under the police escort.
At timesthe seemingly drunken goons were heard by the distraught looking parents shouting that they would lynch the Headmistress if she continued working in the schools, and that she must vacate in the same style as the former Headmistress of the neighbouring Nyabohanse Girls SecondarySchool whose headmistress went away after the students were incited to go on strike.
The interested locals, according to a source had even used colossal amount of money paying one of the scribes to discredit the Headmistgress in vain. Most of the studenbts told this write that the would walk out of the school if Mrs Oboro was not going toi be allowed to perform her duties.
The parents also concurred with the student that the Headmistress is a performer and wouldnt like her immediate departure , particularly at this time when the Form Fours were being prepared to face this year exam.
One member of the BOG who preferred to maintain his anonymity told this writer that he trouble at the school is caused by young graduate teachers from within the locality, who are apparently in hurry of becoming headteachers. But this could be at the expense pof the students. In some schools, the former head teachers were forced out only to give the rooms for looters of the institutions resources. This is what we really dont want too see it happens here again.
ends
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BONDO COUNTY CLERK IN A MAJOR SCAM

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Story by Shem Kosse.
The Clerk to Bondo County council Richard Kodindo is allegedly embroiled in a massive financial rip off involving a controversial contract close to ksh400, 000.

Early last year the council gave out the contract to a contractor to construct a drainage system at Aram market without following the procurement procedures.

The tender was not advertised as required , bidders were never invited and it was awarded through single sourcing.

Councilors and some chief officers who sought anonymity now want the council not to pay money to the contractor, a move which has been rejected by the clerk.

The contractor had received part of the payment to the tune of about ksh.100,000 but members of the town planning committee which was to oversee the completion of the project have since disapproved the work already done, terming it shoddy.

While the committee want the contractor to be forced to go back and re-do the work, the clerk who is said to be related to the owner of the firm is however pushing for his total payment.

He has also come under scathing attack by the local contractors who claim he has denied them an opportunity to get contracts at the expense of his cronies.

When reached for comment the embattled clerk vehemently denied the allegations saying he was simply following the law.

He asserted that the job was advertised in one of the local dailies and bidders competed fairly for it before it was eventually awarded.

He said the contractor has been paid part of his dues and was still on sight to complete the project.

The chief officer said he was operating within a political environment that did not favour some of his decisions but vowed to fight on.

Its worth noting that the beleaguered officer has always had un-ceremonial exits in the previous stations he has served.

Sources at the council confided to these journalists that he was not in good working relations even with the leading politicians from the area and he is said to have vowed never to receive instructions from them.
Unconfirmed reports is swirling over to the effect that the phantom firm in question belongs to the besieged town clerk.And that it is among the chain of his secretly registered firms,through proxies.
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African Nations Championship (CHAN) southern zone qualifiers

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Story by CHISHALA MUSONDA

ANGOLA and Zambia at the weekend both brushed aside their respective light weights rivals Mozambique and Botswana – to set a date in the second and final round of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) southern zone qualifiers.

CHAN is a tournament designed for players featuring in domestic leagues of national associations affiliated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and seven winners from the qualifiers will progress to the final scheduled for Ivory Coast in 2009.

Angola left it late to grab a lone goal victory over Mozambique for a 2-1 aggregate win while Zambia feasted on Botswana 3-0 and advance 3-1 on aggregate.

In the other southern zone qualifier, Zimbabwe will now meet South Africa in the second round after eliminating Namibia 1-0.

Love Kabungula scored Angolas solitary goal in stoppage time in Luanda for the Africa Cup 2010 hosts to advance at the expense of Mozambique.

The first leg ended 1-1.

In Lusaka, Roger Kolas goal in the sixth minute coupled with second half strikes from Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba demolished Botswana who went into the game with 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

In the other CHAN qualifiers across Africa, Ghana reached the final round for the West B Zone with a 4-2 aggregate victory over Togo after the two sides settled for a 2-all draw in Accra.

The match in Accra was Togos home fixture following FIFAs ban to play matches in Lome because of last years violence activities after Africa Cup of Nations qualifier loss to Mali.

From the Central-East Zone, Sudan progressed with a 5-1 aggregate win over Rwanda after their 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Uganda held Tanzania to 1-1 draw but exited from the tournament and gave the Tanzanians 3-1 aggregate win.

Sudan faces Tanzania in the second round.

Morocco booked a place in the second round after a 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over Algeria in their North Zone fixture.

After a 1-1 draw to make the score 2-all aggregate and forced the game to lotteries.

The second round fixtures are scheduled for November.

Results

Morocco 1-1 Algeria

Algeria 1-1 Morocco (Morocco qualify 3-1 pen)

Libya v Egypt (withdrew)

Mali 0-0 Senegal

Senegal 0-0 Mali (Senegal qualify 5-4pen)

Guinea v Mauritania

Mauritania 2-2 Guinea

Burkina Faso 1-2 Nigeria

Nigeria 2-0 Burkina Faso (Nigeria qualify 4-1)

Togo 2-2 Ghana

Ghana 2-0 Togo (Ghana qualify 4-2)

Gabon 0-2 Cameroon

Cameroon 1-2 Gabon (Cameroon qualify 3-2)

Congo 2-1 RD Congo

RD Congo 3-0 Congo (RD Congo qualify 4-2)

Rwanda 1-1Sudan

Sudan 4-0 Rwanda (Sudan qualify 5-1)

Uganda 1-1 Tanzania

Tanzania 2-0 Uganda (Tanzania qualify 3-1)

Angola 1-0 Mozambique (1-1)

Mozambique 1-1 Angola (Angola qualify 2-1)

Zambia 3-0 Botswana (0-1)

Botswana 1-0 Zambia (Zambia qualify 3-1)

Namibia 0-1 Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe0-0 Namibia (Zimbabwe qualify 1-0)

South Africa v Mauritius (withdrew)

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Strike shuts five airports

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Thousands of travelers were left stranded Friday morning after workers went on strike at five Norwegian airports. Talks between their union and the country’s civil aviation authority Avinor failed to result in a settlement.

Flights in and out of the affected airports were cancelled Friday morning.

PHOTO: MORTEN HOLM/SCANPIX

Bergen is among the worst-hit by the walkout, after its airport was forced to close because it no longer had enough staffing to handle an emergency.

The other airports affected are those serving Harstad and Narvik in northern Norway, Molde, Mo i Rana and Mosjen.

Some workers at Norway’s main international gateway airport, the Oslo airport at Gardermoen (OSL), also walked off the job but OSL was able to remain open. All flights to the airports that are closed, however, were cancelled.

The airport at Kristiansund on Norway’s northwest coast will likely close from Sunday if the strike continues.

Only 220 workers spread over the five airports were taken out during the first phase of the strike, but that was enough to leave the airports short of adequate emergency personnel.

State mediator Svein Longva said the two sides in the conflict “were so far apart that there was no basis to put forward a proposed settlement that could be recommended by both parties.”

The conflict is primarily over wages. Avinor “simply didn’t offer enough money,” said a union representative.

If no progress is made in subsequent negotiations, another 158 workers will go on strike at the airports in Oslo, Alta, Leknes, Sandnessjen, ,Sogndal, Svolvr and Stavanger from May 20. Oslo’s airport was hoping to keep its international operations functioning. Passengers were advised to stay in touch with their airlines for information on departures and arrivals.

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Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

One of the main men behind Norway’s legendary Winter Olympics in Lillehammer 14 years ago and one of its star skiers are poised to front a new effort to secure an Olympics up north in 2018. One of the biggest hurdles is simply building public support for the expensive project.

Petter Rnningen will take over as head of Troms 2018.

PHOTO: LARS AAMODT

Vegard Ulvang, a former Olympic star himself, will also work to drum up support for another Olympics in Norway.

PHOTO: Hkon Mosvold Larsen / SCANPIX

Petter Rnningen will take over as daily leader of “Troms 2018,” succeeding Bjrge Stensbl who ran into conflicts with the group’s chairman, Petter Jansen.

Rnningen played a key role in securing the Olympics for Lillehammer in 1994. He’s also been an adviser to organizing committees in the US, Canada and Russia when the International Olympic Committee granted the games to Salt Lake City in 2002, Vancouver in 2010 and Sotsji in 2014.

Sports officials concerned over a lack of public support for Troms’s bid also have secured the aid of former Olympic cross-country skiing star Vegard Ulvang. He started work Wednesday to drum up support among athletes for a 2018 Games up north.

Ulvang himself hails from northern Norway, and athletic officials hope he’ll build enthusiasm among skaters and skiers and other athletes for an Olympics in Troms. His first official meeting was with the Norwegian skating federation.

Troms Mayor Arild Hausberg, meanwhile, called Rnningen the city’s “dream candidate” to take over the job of leading the organizing committe.

“He’s the man who can organize an Olympics,” said Hausberg, who now hopes for harmony and greater enthusiasm around his city’s Olympics bid.

“What we have to do is get the people enthused, and get the athletes enthused and get back optimistic faith in the project,” he added. Critics have claimed an Olympics in Troms will demand huge amounts of public funding and that it’s not worth the cost.

Others were furious that Troms was chosen over other Norwegian cities thought to be better suited to host an Olympics. The choice of Troms was widely viewed as a political ploy to plow money into an outlying district, especially since Oslo scored highest in a survey of suitable cities for an Olympics.

Environmentalists have also blasted a proposed Olympics in Troms on the grounds it will damage the area’s fragile Arctic atmosphere and generate more carbon emissions from increased flights to the northern city.

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Fatal ambush in Philippines

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Maoist-led guerrillas ambushed a police patrol near a southern Philippine mining town on Friday, killing one and wounding a dozen others, a day after the government held secret talks with rebel leaders in Norway. Colonel Allan Luga, an army brigade commander in the Compostela Valley on the troubled southern island of Mindanao, said about 30 communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels ambushed the police team. The NPA ambush came a day after negotiators from the Manila government met rebel representatives in Norway to find ways to resurrect peace talks that have been stalled since August 2004. Since 1986, Manila has been holding on-and-off talks with the communists’ political arm, the NDF, to end one of the longest-running Maoist insurgencies in Asia that has killed more than 40,000 people.

REUTERS/AFTENPOSTENENG

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Oil fund grows again

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

The fund in which Norwegian officials stash away the country’s oil revenues for future generations has rebounded, after shrinking for several months in a row.

The Bank of Norway revealed figures Friday showing that the fund grew to NOK 2.017 trillion (USD 396.5 billion) in April from NOK 1.947 trillion in March.

The growth ended a four-month skid amid turmoil on global financial markets.

The value of the fund, officially called Norway’s Government Pension Fund — Global, was still below its all-time peak of NOK 2.083 trillion hit last November. The fund is Europe’s largest equity investor

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Ministers overspend budget

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

Just a day after they unveiled their revised national budget, comes news that Norway’s government ministers have overspent their own budget and needed more than NOK 7 million in extra funding.

Pay hikes, consultants’ fees and severance pay associated with the departures of two cabinet ministers contributed to a 16 percent increase in costs of the left-centre coalition government led by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour Party.

Figures released Thursday show that it will cost NOK 135 million (about USD 27 million) to run Stoltenberg’s office and those of his government ministers this year.

In addition to higher payroll costs, Stoltenberg’s government has drummed up higher travel costs and faces higher costs for heightened security measures.

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Okemo forsees the colapse of Kenya Grand Coalition due to mistrust among leading players

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

We could not agree less with Okemo. The Grand Coalition is not even 3 months old into a five year term period and they are already campaigning for 2012 presidency! Some are already fronting the VP to take over from Kibaki. What a shame on Kenyan leaders to start an early campaign when IDPs are suffering. They seem to think of positions only instead of serving the people and having the IDPs get settled. (API)

Coalition faces collapse, says ODM lawmaker

Story by MICHAEL OONGO and OUMA WANZALA

An ODM MP Sunday predicted the collapse of the grand coalition Government before the end of its term.

Nambale MP, Chris Okemo, claimed there was a lot of mistrust and bickering among key coalition Government leaders, owing to their deep political differences, thus threatening the survival of the system

I dont see this Government finishing its term because the key players cannot work together for long owing to their different approaches to various issues affecting this country, said the MP.

He said he had talked to a number of Cabinet ministers from both sides, who indicated that they were currently working together merely for the sake of peace to prevail in the country but would take their different stands later.

Still unresolved

Noting that he had earlier predicted the collapse of the previous Narc government over the same problems, Mr Okemo added that most of the issues which divided the Narc leaders were still unresolved.

He, however, appealed to his constituents to support the grand coalition Government to foster peace, adding that the country could only realise meaningful development under a peaceful atmosphere

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Egypt – Bush – Reforms

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

Bush calls on Egypt to lead political reforms in the Middle East

United States president George W. Bush said that the US has realized the magnitude of the challenges facing the Middle East, calling on Egypt to lead the political reforms, as well as expressing his belief that the region is able to achieve a good future.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum “Davos” being held at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, Bush said; “to achieve progress in the Middle East requires economic reforms accompanied at the same time with political reforms”.

He called on countries in the region to benefit from free trade and remove barriers and restrictions to trade with each other, pointing out that the US will continue to negotiate with states in the region to conclude free trade agreements bilaterally with them.

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Somalia-Attacks-Insurgency

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

Somali Islamist rebels seize three towns within as many days

Islamist insurgents on Sunday overpowered government troops in Kamsuma, 430km south of the capital, with less resistance after the troops ran away soon after they received reports that Islamist rebels were going to Kamsuma on Sunday, residents told APA.

Kamsuma, is the provincial capital of Lower Jubba, was managed by clan militias backed by the government soldiers but who were said to have swiftly ran away before the Islamist reached in the town.

“The troops ran away without taking part in any fighting. We heard some exchange of fire but it looked like a signal to drive the soldiers out of the capital and the Islamists later poured into the town from the outskirts,” said Ibrahim Dheere, one of the local elders in Kamsuma, who spoke to APA by telephone.

Officials of the Islamist, who led the insurgents to capture the town, gave a speech to the people who gathered in a clearing in the town.

“Today is an important day for us because we chased the group who are obeying the infidel Ethiopians and the puppet TFG. Our aim is to manage the town with Islamic law and to give you security. I am calling on you to support the Islamists and to attack the Ethiopians and their puppets,” Sheikh Ishaak Abu-Muslim, commander of the group that captured the town reportedly told the people.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Islamist insurgents overran the important town of Jillib in Jubba region, 40km south of Mogadishu. They killed three clan militias and took control of the place and reports say that the town is still under their control.

Two days before, Islamist insurgents also captured Dinsor, about 60 km north of Baidoa, the base of the Somali parliament which almost all the government members parliament are based.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan based militias to fight each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan war and the death of thousands of, people and the displacement of millions.

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Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

African squads hire new coaches ahead of CAN-World Cup qualifiers

People have been witnessing changes at the heads of African soccer squads ahead of the combined qualifiers for 2010 African Cup of Nations (CAN) and World Cup to be kicked off in two weeks.

At least ten squads have changed their coaches for various reasons since the end of the February 2008 African Cup of Nations.

Some great soccer squads that kept turning over their rout in Ghana, such as Nigeria, Cote dIvoire, Morocco and Mali, have sacked their coaches.

South Africa was coerced to dispense with Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreiras services for family reasons to be replaced by one of his compatriots Joel Santana, who was leading so far Carioca of Flamengo.

The motion in the benches was expected to gain momentum in the upcoming days, as at less six teams are looking for coaches.

After the resignation of German Rinhard Fabish, Benin seeks a new coach as well as Tunisia which parted with Frenchman Roger Lemerre who shifted to Morocco.

Togo eyes for the services of Frenchman Henri Stambouli while Rwanda negotiates with French-Polish Henry Kasperczak. In Ghana, Frenchman Claude Le Roy turned out a two-year extension of his contract whereas Frenchman Alina Giresse resigned last Sunday from the Gabonese teams head.

The former French teams midfielder is victim of the elimination by Cameroon in the qualifiers for the African Championship of Nations (CHAN), a competition reserved to African local players.

Following its surprising victory to Cameroon by 1-2, Gabon was defeated at home on Saturday by the Indomitable Lions (0-2), a defeat that angered Gabonese soccer fans.

Here are the countries that hired new coaches:

Zambia: Herv Renard (France)

Burkina: Paulo Duarte (Portugal)

Liberia: Antoine “Tony” Hey (Germany)

Morocco: Roger Lemerre (France)

Cote dIvoire: Vahid Halilhodzic (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Nigeria: James Peter (Nigeria)

Mauritania: Alain Moizan (France)

Mali: Stephen Keshi (Nigeria)

South Africa: Joel Santana (Brazil)

DR Congo: Patrice Neveu (France)

Congo : Ivica Todorov (France-Bulgaria)

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Raila joins the suspicious lane: What are the politicians upto when they front Kalonzo for President?

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

I am the PM, see what I got here, Raila seems to be saying!

PM alleges new plot

By Standard TeamThe lid has finally been blown off the pressure cooker that is the Grand Coalition Government, with the crisis which the top political leadership has stridently denied in the past weeks boiling over.

There was also a flurry of contradictions and doublespeak as leaders appeared to change positions on the thorny issue of amnesty for post-election violence suspects, the Grand Opposition and the Kibaki succession.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga fired the first salvo with claims of dishonesty in the coalition and alleged a conspiracy by a section of its leadership to make it unworkable.

The PM further stoked the embers of controversy and appeared to accentuate the divide in Government over what to do with those arrested for allegedly perpetrating violence during the post-election crisis by referring to the suspects as “those who fought for democracy”.

Clear signs of a party torn down the middle were also evident in President Kibakis PNU as the Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, appeared to close ranks over the Kibaki succession debate describing it as “premature and irrelevant”.

With this pronouncement, the two broke ranks with at least half a dozen Kibaki allies, notably Ms Martha Karua (Justice) and Mr Kiraitu Murungi (Energy), who appeared to up the ante on the post-Kibaki era by beginning to rally PNU behind Kalonzo four years ahead of 2012.

Irrelevant talk

“You know that Im not a dishonest person and I speak out what is in my heart. There are people in the Grand Coalition Government who are not open,” Raila, who was speaking at Nandi Hills, where he joined Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, and Sports minister, Prof Hellen Sambili, at ODM chairman Mr Henry Kosgeys homecoming party, said.

The PM did not name names, but claimed the individuals behind the conspiracy were hell-bent on wrecking the coalition.

Addressing the gathering at Nandi Hills Stadium, Raila told supporters that the coalition was just a stopover before the party makes another stab at the presidency in the next General Election.

The crowd waved at Raila and responded with chants of “President! Our President!” each time speakers referred to him as Prime Minister.

Separately, Kalonzo and Uhuru sought to stem the growing succession clamour, saying it was misplaced and untimely.

“The debate is irrelevant at the moment. We are underrating the intelligence of Kenyans. We cannot afford to occupy ourselves with talk of who will be the next President when thousands of Kenyans are refugees in their own country,” said Kalonzo.

Worshippers greet Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Dandora, Nairobi, on Sunday. Picture by Collins Kweyu

Speaking yon Sunday at Ekerenyo IDP camp, Nyamira District, while on his way to a burial in Omonono village in the same district, Kalonzo said: “The Prime Minister and I have a duty to help the President in service delivery to Kenyans who voted us into office.”

And in Nairobi, Uhuru termed the succession debate irrelevant and said it was wrong for leaders to start rallying Kenyans behind some leaders as potential Kibaki successors even before wounds inflicted following the last elections had healed.

“We are yet to sort out the issues that caused bloodshed among Kenyans and yet some people are busy drumming up support for some leaders. That is wrong and unacceptable,” Uhuru, who was speaking at a campaign rally for PNUs Mr Ferdinand Waititu in Embakasi constituency, stated.

He urged the media to “kill” the early 2012 campaigns debate by giving it a blackout.

Amnesty for democrats

But the question of suspects being held in police custody for alleged post-election violence still divided the coalition down the middle and could get worse.

Previously guarded on the issue of hundreds of youths arrested over links with the violence that left at least 1,000 people dead, hundreds maimed, property worth millions of shillings destroyed and close to half a million people homeless, Raila spoke candidly of his bitterness earlier in Kisumu and again in Nandi Hills.

“The youths should be given amnesty. They fought for democracy after the disputed presidential poll. They should be set free,” Raila said after visiting Butere DC, Mr Samuel Njora, who is undergoing treatment at Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu, following a road accident.

It was the first time the PM closed ranks with Mr William Ruto, the Eldoret North MP and Agriculture minister, over the matter after weeks of apparent dilemma.

This could further drive a wedge in the coalition. Both Kalonzo and Karua have rejected ODMs call for amnesty for post-election violence suspects.

In Nandi, Raila repeated his stand on the suspects stating: “These youth have been arrested in the ODM strongholds of Mathare, Kibera, parts of Rift Valley and Nyanza. I have already met President Kibaki and Internal Security minister, Prof George Saitoti, over the issue, but the youths are still being held in cells.”

On his part, Kosgey said: “We mean well and we support the Government, but we need our rights. The Government should stop selective justice.”

MPs, Mr David Koech, Sambili, Ms Lorna Laboso, Prof Ayiecho Olweny, Mr Franklin Bett and Mr Jackson Kiptanui, were at the ceremony.

Raila gave Rutos apology, saying the MP was attending Assistant minister, Mr Omingo Magaras homecoming party in Kisii. The MP arrived later at the function.

The fragile nature of the coalition also played out, with ODM saying it might seek disengagement if some people made it impossible to work.

On Sunday, in his address, Mudavadi said it was ODMs position that if it became impossible for the party to stay in the coalition, it would move out.

“If ODM is dissatisfied with the Grand Coalition Government, we can make a policy decision as a party and declare that we are moving out of the Government,” he said.

Speaking separately, Nambale MP, Mr Chris Okemo, warned that the grand coalition may not last to 2012, saying there was mistrust among MPs and ministers of the two sides. He also said the spirit of unity exhibited by President Kibaki and Raila was not being felt at the grassroots, further threatening the future of the coalition.

Speaking at Kisoko Primary School in his Nambale constituency during a meet-the-people tour, Okemo said: “The Coalition Government is too fragile because of the big divisions between the two parties (ODM and PNU). It is only at the top that we see a sign of unity, but in real sense there is no genuine unity.”

Internally, ODM also sought to consolidate itself by calling for unity within its ranks, with Raila telling supporters: “ODM will be there even after Raila and Kosgey. That is why those who are looking at the future should support the party.”

He was making the appeal even as 12 MPs behind the push for Grand Opposition kicked off countrywide campaigns to seek support from the people.

The MPs, who included Mr Ababu Namwamba, Mr Langat Magerer, Dr Julius Kones, Mr Charles Kilonzo, Mr Fred Kapondi, Mr Isaac Ruto, Mr Lucas Kigen, Mr Kiema Kilonzo, Mr Mithika Linturi and Mr Charles Keter, were speaking in Kericho during a fundraiser at Meswondo Secondary School at the weekend.

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API

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Virgin boss on a mission to sell Kenya

Posted by African Press International on May 19, 2008

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

By Lucianne Limo And Brian Adero

Virgin Atlantic has rolled out a Sh30 million advertising campaign to woo UK tourists back to Kenya.

The drive, which begins today, will be used as an initiative to get tourists back to Kenya, and focuses on the migration of the wildebeest.

Virgin Atlantic president, Sir Richard Branson, gave Kenya a clean bill of health and vowed to help the country get back on track and increase tourist numbers.

“Kenya is a fantastic and safe place to come. We need to get tourism back on track,” he said.

The campaign will appear on Londons underground mainline railway, as well as the national Press.

Branson made the announcement at Sarova Mara Game Camp at the Maasai Mara on Saturday.

Tourism minister, Mr Najib Balala, has said Bransons tour was a clear indication that Kenya was back on the recovery path.

Branson regretted that post-election violence was a major setback to tourism, especially the airline industry.

“The violence was disastrous to the airlines, hotels and to the people of Kenya. Virgin was also affected, but we decided to be faithful to Kenya and not switch to other routes,” he said.

Branson, however, warned that the airline would pull out of the Kenyan route should violence erupt again.

“If politicians mess the country again, we will not stick here. We will move out,” he said.

According to Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), tourism earned Sh8 billion between January and April, way below the expected Sh21 billion.

KTB Chairman, Mr Jakes Grieves Cook, expressed optimism that the tourist arrivals would improve.

Virgin Atlantic is one of the worlds leading long-haul airlines and flies daily to Nairobi. It flies to 30 destinations worldwide from its headquarters at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

The aviation industry will get a boost as Branson re-launches the Nairobi-London route with the introduction of another aircraft, which will also mark the airlines first anniversary.

A delighted Kenya Tourist Board Managing Director, Dr Achieng Ongonga, said Bransons visit was a blessing.

“He came at a time we really needed someone of his stature to send a message to the world that Kenya is back to normal,” Ongonga said.

On Saturday, Branson opened two dormitories at Sekenani Primary School, a co-ed institution at the Maasai Mara, built by the airline at a cost of Sh8 million.

The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold Card volunteers collectively contributed 30,000 from sponsorship and donations to the project.

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API

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