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Archive for May 20th, 2008

Norconsult will honour its remaining contracts in Tanzania despite corruption charges

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

By Tom Mosoba

Norwegian international engineering consultancy firm Norconsult AS, which two weeks ago announced the closure of its operations in Tanzania over corruption, has pledged to honour its remaining contracts in the country.

The company has also retracted an earlier statement announcing the sacking of the managing director of its Tanzania office, Mr Francis Kifukwe, saying he had voluntarily stepped down.

The twists and turns point to intense horse trading since reports on Norconsult?s illegal activities in Tanzania were revealed last month.

The company?s global president, Mr John Nyheim, issued a new statement, reversing the firm?s earlier position.
The new statement posted on the company?s website last Wednesday, is in stark contrast with the first one issued on May 5 through the same medium by Mr Nyheim.

While Mr Nyheim was categorical in the first communication announcing the firm?s withdrawal from Tanzania that Mr Kifukwe?s employment had been terminated, he says in the news statement that Mr Kifukwe has resigned.

?Managing director of Norconsult Tanzania Ltd has taken the responsibility and has resigned with immediate effect.
?Norconsult will fulfill all its contractual obligations in Tanzania. All ongoing and rewarded contracts will be completed according to contract,? the statement adds.

Mr Nyheim said Norconsult had put the Dar es Salaam office directly under its headquarters in Norway.
The new statement also makes no mention of the company?s earlier position that no Norconsult employee was aware of irregular payments in the Dar es Salaam office.

The company?s pledge to honour its contracts follows the threat by the Government, through the Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads), to sue the firm for breach of contract.

Tanroads CEO Ephraem Mrema last week told The Citizen Norconsult had not alerted them of their withdrawal and said they would consider legal action to ensure that existing contracts were respected.

It was, however, not immediately clear if the turnaround had anything to do with the threats by Tanroads to sue Norconsult. Calls to their overseas offices bore no fruit as a promise to get back to us was not honoured.

Mr Kifukwe, on his part decline, to comment on the new development or even confirm if indeed he had voluntarily resigned or was forced out of office.

?I would not wish to comment on anything just speak to those who are releasing the information,? Mr Kifukwe said by telephone when reached for comment. Norconsult indicated all the Dar es Salaam operations would be administered from Norway.

Mr Mrema could also not be reached, but sources within Tanroads said the issue of Norconsult contracts was being discussed. ?I can?t therefore confirm or deny if the company will be working (with us),? said an official who asked not to be named.

The Citizen exclusively reported earlier this month that the firm, which has contracts worth billions of shillings, has decided to pull out over corruption.

The firm said it was winding up all its operations in Tanzania after audit reports linked its business to corruption in which audits done over the last one year alone reportedly revealed embezzlement of up to a reported Sh332 million in highly irregular payments.

?We do not accept any kind of misconduct or corruption. As a consequence, we cease our activities in Tanzania,? Mr Nyheim said.

He added: ?Internal and external reviews of the activities of Norconsult?s partly owned subsidiary in Tanzania have revealed activity that is not in accordance with the company?s Code of Ethics and contracts.?

He said the misconduct was revealed through Norconsult?s own internal review followed by an external review by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Mr Nyheim gave examples through which a total of Sh332 million was believed to have been corruptly obtained from its local operations.

?It has been established that in the past several irregular cash payments have been made from Norconsult?s partly owned subsidiary in Tanzania, NTZ, totalling approximately NOK (Norwegian Kronor) 650.000 (Sh156 million),? he said.

He noted that last year, $146 500 (Sh176 million) had been paid out in cash from the project office in Dar es Salaam, with only petty cash receipts as documentation. This particular case apparently involved Norconsult?s participation in the World Bank funded Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Project (Dawasa).

The decision to halt its lucrative contracts in Tanzania followed exposure how the Norwegian company had operating locally for a decade without any form of official registration.

That anomaly did not however prevent Norconsult from executing mammoth projects overseen by some high authorities including the government, World Bank and the Norwegian embassy here in Dar es Salaam. It has over the years evolved into one of the major engineering consultancy firms in Tanzania.

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MINISTER OJODEH WARNS HIS NDHIWA CONSTITUENTS AGAINST HARBOURING HARD-CORE CRIMINAL ELEMENTS IN THE AREA.

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher: korir, africanpress@getmail.no
<By Leo Odera Omolo
RESIDENTS OF LUO-Nyanza region were at the weekend advised to be patient and to give the grand coalition government the breathing space so that it could implement its development agenda and effect the necessary changes and political dispensation.
The assistant Minister in the Office of the President in-charge of the Provincial Administration and Internal Security, Joshua Ojodeh also pleaded with his Ndhiwa constituents to remain vigorously alert against harbouring hard-core criminals bent on disturbing the peace.
Ojodeh told traders in market places and kiosk operators to make sure that they closed their premises and stalls at 6 pm every day, and not to allow any suspicious characters to rent these premises as such person could use the facilities as hideout for dangerous criminal elements. He want the people of Ndhiwa to have sound sleep always without being disturbed by thugs.
Ojodeh was speaking before a huge crowd of people who turned up at Ndhiwa Tpown to grace his homecoming party. Close to 15 bulls, over 30 goats and 20 sheep were slaughtered for the constituents who turned out from all the 14 administrative locations within the four Division of Ndhiwa constituents.
Guest were entertained with ohangla traditional Luo music. The occasion was organized by local Christian churches of all denominations who offered prolonged prayers for peace and tranquility in Kenya .
The Assistant Minister told his audience that the government was in the process of effecting changes within the local administration set-ups. Larger location would be sub-divided and new one created for close administration and development. He cited south Kabuoch and North Kanyamwa . as some of the areas already earmarked for sub-divisions.
Once the plan is effected, plenty of new jobs would be created for young educated men and women within the Provincial administration. He said he had already deposited CDF funds with the KPLC for the extension of electricity supplies in all marketplaces, schools and institutions within Ndhiwa constituency. The programme will start within South Kabuoich and extended to other adjoining locations and sub-locations
The Assistant Minister was informed that the area is currently facing acute shortage of both primary and secondary school teachers. And in a quick answerOjodeh introduced the TSC Secretary Mr. Gabriel Longoiboini who was the chief guest at the ceremony.
In his turn the TSC secretary told the crowd that the matter concerning shortage of teachers in Ndhiwas was receiving urgent attention and would be addressed. He said the TSC was a cash strapped organisatioin and therefore could not engage all the teachers who graduated recently from the Teachers Training Colleges and other institutions. It is countrywide. The TSC, he said is short of 45,000 primary school teachers and 12,000 secondary school teachers..
Mr. longoiboini told the crowd that Kenya has trained many teachers in excess of its requirement, but could not employ all of them. The government was considering exporting some of its trained teachers to Rwandas, Souther Sudan, and the government has even received inquiries from Thailand for trained teachers. He was told that Ndhiwa alone was in shortage of 3000 primary school teachers and 1200 secondary school teachers.
The TSC Secretary who was accompanied by the Nyanza PDE heard in some schools only three or four teachers were taking care of over 400 pupils. This is the major source of poor performance in the national exams and other shortcomings in education development in the region.
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A Mr. Ojiem who introduced himself as a student at the University of Nairobi moved the crowd when he accused the ODM leadership for having relegated Ojodeh to a junior ministerial position instead of giving him a full cabinet position. He said Ojodeh has sacrificed a lot for the party, and even at one time declined a ministerial appointment offered to him by President Mwai Kibaki in 2005 due to the fact that he is patriotic [person who wanted to be in solidarity with his fellow ODM luminaries.
The issue, said Mr. Ojiem has made the people of the entire greater South Nyanza region to rethink twice in connection with their cousins from the north.. Come the year 2012 we will have to take a firm stand and may be forced to charter our own destiny unilaterally,
Mr. ojiem said there was no point in appointing Otieno Kajwang to the position of a full cabinet Minister. Kajwang should have been given an assistant minister position, whilke Ojodeh deserve full cabinet positions. Even the apportioning of Permanent Secretaries were also made in a biased manner against the people of Southern Nyanza. Said Mr. Ojiem whose electrifying speech moved the crowd. He hails from Rangwe Constituency within the same Homa-Bay district.
Ojodeh, however, played down the sentiments expressed by Mr. Ojiem and urged his people to continue their support to the grand coalition government. The ODM , he said will continue to struggle for changes so that Kenyans could realize their democratic right
There was a popular call for the creation of a new Ndhiwa District. The areas has four administrative Division, namely NDHIWA, Riana, Nyarongi and Kobama. And therefore qualified to have a district of its own. But Ojodeh promised his audience that he would take up the matter with the higher authorities.
.For the area to achieve fast development activities, there must be peace, law and order and co-operation between the administrators and members of the public as the only way to achieving the desired development in the area. There should also be good working relations with members of the security personnel working in the area as one way of eradicating crimes.
Ndhiwa residents also expressed their confidence in the prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga and said they were looking forward to receive him and fete him in the near future.
Ends
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A three year contract awarded to Chipolopolo coach

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<By CHISHALA MUSONDA

THE Football Association in Zambia has awarded newly appointed Chipolopolo coach, Herve Renard, a three-year contract.

The Frenchman and the Zambian FA sealed the contract last Friday after the two parties agreed to personal terms and Renard would engaged a fellow French, Patrice Beamelle, as physical trainer.

FAZ president, Kalusha Bwalya, announced the new deal sealed with Renard at Football House in Lusaka adding that a local assistant coach to the Frenchmen would be named soon.

Renards task would be guide Zambia to the 2010 World Cup to be staged in South Africa and Africa Cup earlier the same year scheduled for Angola

Zambia are in Group 11 of the double 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup qualifiers that also comprises Togo and Swaziland.

The Chipolopolo start the campaign for the first ever World Cup to be held on Africa soil with a date against Togo on May 31 in the second round qualifiers.

We have to have time and patience with the new coach and we want to do well. But the world will not stop and wait for Zambia so we will try and bring Zambian football to a level that is acceptable, Kalusha said.

Our moto is eyes on the ball and we expect your eyes to be on the ball. The onus is on players and as administrators we will facilitate and deliver to higher heights. We have a lot of potential to make us play the way we want to playwe want to surprise ourselves and to fulfil the dreams of every Zambia by reaching the World Cup and reach the Africa Cup finals and win it.

Zambia stands at 67 on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World rankings.

Renard, who was o the technical bench of former Ghana coach Claude LeRoy, hopes to build a formidable side to stand challenge.

I hope we can build a good team and work very hard, he said.

Renard watched Zambia demolish Botswana 3-0 in the African Nations Championship first round second leg qualifier in Lusaka on Saturday and on Wednesday the French will be at the helm of the Chipolopolo that play Libya in an international friendly in Tripoli.

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Liberia: Living with Fistula

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: IRIN

Monrovia (Liberia) ? Of 600 rape victims recently interviewed by a Liberian non-governmental organisation, 90 percent of the women were found to be suffering from fistulas – a vaginal tear which results in loss of bladder control and social stigmatisation.

Aid workers say the statistic, provided by the Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) from surveys conducted in April 2008, shows the horrifying prevalence of rape and of a phenomenon which Liberian medical officials say they are ill-equipped to respond to. “These women are living with a serious scar and they are not getting access to treatment,” said Una Thompson, head of WOLPNET. According to local health workers two types of fistula cases are prevalent in Liberia.

One is obstetric fistula, which is a vaginal tear resulting from prolonged obstructed labour. A recent health survey showed that over average 994 women die for every 100,000 who give birth, a higher rate than was estimated during Liberia’s civil war. Doctors say the most common cause of death is vaginal haemorrhaging following childbirth. Some health workers and officials say the spike is a result of improved data collecting. However others say fewer births are being attended by trained medical professionals, who diminished in numbers through the end of the 1990-2003 war, partly because of migration. Read an IRIN report on maternal mortality in Liberia

The other common cause of fistula in Liberia is traumatic gynaecologic fistula that is a vaginal injury resulting from violent sexual assault or when objects are forcibly inserted into the vagina. Violent crime and rape especially of children are common in Liberia, and police and justice systems have proven ineffectual at ending impunity for these crimes. Read an IRIN report on crime in post-conflict Liberia Dr. John Mulbah, head of the maternity centre of Liberia’s biggest referral hospital, the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia, said resources are limited to repair the damage.

“We have only five staff trained to conducted fistula treatment and all of them are based in Monrovia [the capital]”, he told IRIN. “The unit only has 30 beds… our facility is overwhelmed with patients and some have to wait for a long time before being attended to.” The unit was created in February 2007 after the UN sponsored a survey which identified 351 women suffering from fistulas in rural Liberia. The unit is 100 percent funded by international donors, not the government, Mulbah said.

“The drugs and supplies and the only vehicle conducting outreach in rural parts of the country were provided by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Treatment at the unit is free,” Mulbah said. Liberia’s health minister, Walter Gwenigale, told IRIN that transporting fistula patients from rural areas to Monrovia for the treatment is a major constraint on broading treatment. “Bringing those patients to Monrovia requires funds. We are aware that there are lots of fistula cases upcountry but the national health budget for Liberia is just US$11 million which is totally inadequate to deal with all health problems,” Gwenigale said.

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

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Chad: Country seeks foreign help on Darfur refugee influx

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: guardian.Nigeria

In a move to halt further inflow of Sudanese refugees, Chad’s foreign minister Moussa Faki, has urged the international community to step in and resolve the Darfur conflict.

He said some 250,000 refugees have flooded into the country from the civil war that has been ravaging the neighbouring Sudanese province of Darfur for the past five years, with another 190,000 people driven from their homes. “This is a lot. It’s a human, social and environmental problem. Chad is suffering the consequences of this conflict… We already have enough on our hands trying to ensure the development of our people,” Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted Moussa Faki, also the former Prime Minister of Chad, as saying.

Relations have been tense between the two countries since 2003 when war broke out in Darfur, sending hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees fleeing across the Chadian border. Sudan severed diplomatic ties with Chad on Sunday, accusing N’Djamena of backing a rebel assault on the Sudanese capital at the weekend. Chad closed its border the following day, ramping up tensions between the volatile neighbours.

More than 200 people were killed in that assault and other clashes outside the city over three days, as the rebels headed from the remote west to Omdurman, across the river from Khartoum, in at least 150 vehicles. The dead included 97 soldiers. Faki denied that Chad was involved in these attacks, carried out by the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and hotly denied financing them. “That’s totally wrong. We don’t support the rebellion, we are not looking to destabilise Sudan. The opposite is true. We condemn and have already firmly condemned the rebel attack.”

Instead of quibbling over the origin of the attacks, Faki urged that the conflict in Darfur be resolved so as to stem the disastrous effects it is having on the surrounding region. “The issue of Darfur has to be resolved. The epicentre is Darfur, the consequences are waves that have spread to neighbouring countries. The sooner the Darfur conflict is resolved, the better it will be for everybody,” said Faki. He urged that a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission be accelerated. The 26,000-strong force is not yet fully manned because of a row over non-African contingents, with Sudan insisting that African options must be explored fully first.

“It’s high time the international community convinces Sudan to solve the Darfur problem. The hybrid force must be deployed,” said Faki. “Things do not seem to be advancing despite the fact that the consequences have largely gone beyond the borders of the original conflict.”

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

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Sudan: Kiir says SPLM unity is his main concern

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: Sudan Tribune (Sudan), by Isaac Vuni

Juba (Sudan) ? Sudan?s First Vice-President and President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, today opened the Second National Convention of the Sudan People?s Liberation Movement SPLM in Juba.

Kiir said he would adhere to the decisions of the current convention, saying that his main concern is the “consensus and unity of the party”.

The convention will elect the SPLM?s chairman and his deputy, secretary general and members of the political bureau through a free poll. Two SPLM leading members said they would contest against Kiir for the SPLM chairmanship. Kiir said he would be ready to step down if a new leader was chosen. Salva Kiir Mayardit said he was striving to make unity an attractive option and confirmed his full commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to reducing the obstacles facing it. However he added that the will of southerners will be respected if they decide to secede.

“We in the SPLM are doing our best to offer an attractive unity in order to achieve a new vision for Sudan. We shall respect and protect the will of the people of Southern Sudan. Even if they decide to secede, the SPLM shall continue to pursue its political agenda for a new Sudan and ensure that the two entities will exist in harmony and cooperation.” Kiir added that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was “not an end in itself, but a step in the continuous pursuit of the new Sudan” and noted that there were still obstacles to be dealt with. “We still can create a suitable environment for bringing political views together,” he said.

With regard to the southern Sudan, Kiir said SPLM works to establish appropriate institutions of the southern Sudan government and its ten states, and to achieve southerners? welfare. “The challenge for me is to establish institutions of power throughout Southern Sudan and its states, to guarantee fair representation at all levels of government, as well as reconciliation and absorption of armed groups and organizing the SPLA into a regular army, dedicated to peace and protecting citizens”, he said. “We have to realize the aspirations of our people with their basic needs; they want shelter, health care education clean drinking water and decent means of livelihoods.”

Salva also underscored that southern Sudan government lacked adequate competent and trained personnel in key civil service positions. It lacks necessary laws, regulations and systems for good governance and prudent public financial management. The SPLM at the climax of its most difficult period, held its first National convention on 2nd April 1994 in Chukudum, Eastern Equatoria state. This second convention comes 14 years after the first convention as SPLM transformed itself into a mass vibrant national political party with five millions registered members just within three years ago, now holding the second national convention in Juba the capital of southern Sudan under the theme No to war, yes to new Sudan.

He said SPLM has taken a longer time to call for the second convention because of then war situation that does not permit holding larger meetings, besides there was also necessity to have an inclusive national convention together with SPLM supporters from with government controlled areas. That SPLM was and is still calling for creation of a New Sudan base on justice and equality to all Sudanese from Nimule to Halfa and from Geneina to Kassala. The SPLM chief explained that the 1983 manifesto was revised in order to pave way to the then changing realities within and outsides Sudan and that it will continue to be revised whenever necessary.

Since the first convention, SPLM has put up party structures with defined roles and functions. It was through such structures that SPLM setup a guideline for peaceful negotiations with the then government of the day in Khartoum under the auspices of regional and international mediators which ended in signing the comprehensive peace agreement on 9th January 2005. Kiir further explained that during the First National Convention more than 700 civil societies representatives deliberated together with armed comrades and resolved to separate the military from civilian administration, hence created the Civil Authority of the New Sudan (CAN) which later organized another meeting with more than 800 SPLA combatants and adopted plans to transform the SPLA into an organic army that is capable of protecting the whole Sudan today.

Kiir noted that late Dr. John Garang who led the people?s liberation struggle for 21 years only had 21 days to enjoy the fruits of that struggle after his inaugurations was very hearting to his comrade in the struggle.

The SPLM Chairman who is also the First Vice-President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan paid tribute to founding members of the SPLM/A whom he descried as heroes and heroines have made their ultimate sacrifices so that we can enjoy the fruits of southern Sudanese liberation struggle and notable among them were; Kerobino Kwanyin Bol, William Nyuon Bany, Arok Thon Arok, John Kulang Puot, Nyachigak Nyashiluk, Francis Ngor Nyang, Akuot Atem de Mayen, Samuel Gai Tut, Galerio Modi Hurinyang, Martin Manieyl Ayuel, Yusif Kuwa Meki, Ager Gum,Regina Morise, Fr. Saturnino Ohure Ilangi, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Dr. Justine Yac Arop and Dominic Dim Deng among others.

Addressing the opening session of the SPLM Second National Convention, the Vice-President of the Republic, Vice-President of the National Congress Party Ali Osmanman Taha confirmed full commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He pointed out that all Sudanese people looked forward to a strong, united Sudan. “The feelings of the sons of Sudan in the south, the east, the west, the centre and the north are feelings of unity. They are looking forward to a strong, united Sudan which represents them all, where they can all find a decent life, a country which they can all contribute to build and raise to the status it deserves among nations. These are the principles we can rely on.” Taha said.

Meanwhile the representative of European Union remarks that democracy requires respect and observance of the rule of law as fundamental bases. He congratulated SPLM quick initiative to transform itself from a movement to a democratic political party in the Sudan for the purpose of achieving political power from the central government in Khartoum. He said the European Union condemned the recent JEM attack on Khartoum, However, he says Darfur issue needs to be addressed in order to end the suffering of innocent people. Adding that the previous peace deal that was been signed in Abuja still stand. The EU representative say implementation of the CPA remains essential part for cementing peace in the whole Sudan and reminded the delegated that EU will remain a reliable partner in realizing peace in the Sudan.

The representative of Eritrean people for democracy, Mr Yamani Gabriel expressed their solidarity with the people of southern Sudan, particularly the SPLM and that Eritrean are still firm friends and would like to ensure that provision of the CPA are fully implemented by the two partners to the deal. He added that reconstruction and building southern Sudan and finding sustainable and durable peace to the people of Darfur is a most if the region is to enjoy smooth flow of businesses and stability. The opening session of the SPLM Second National Convention was attended by delegates from all the Sudanese political parties and representatives, and delegations of regional and neighbouring countries political parties

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

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Namibia: Fuel prices ‘could cripple economy’

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: The Namibian (Namibia), by Tonderai Katswara

The latest fuel hike could force major industries to cut back on production, granting no wage increases and possibly laying off workers because of shrinking profit margins.

These views were expressed by some industries The Namibian spoke to following yesterday’s fuel price hike, which represents an increase of around 56 per cent since the middle of last year. Farmers, fishermen and miners all lamented the increase, which according to them will derail all intended new investments and could also lead to bankruptcy in some extreme instances. For many farmers it could be the final nail in the coffin, as they are just coming out of a taxing drought.

Fishing, agriculture and mining – the mainstays of the Namibian economy – are Namibia’s major export revenue earners and employers. These sectors use heavy-duty equipment which consumes thousands of litres of fuel per month. Petrol currently costs more than N$9 per litre while diesel costs over N$10 per litre. Major players in the fishing industry, Etale Fishing Company and Tunacor Fisheries, on Wednesday said the increase of the diesel price had put severe pressure on their operations, as input costs would spiral up.

“More than 40 per cent of our costs goes to fuel. This is a big expense, and we are currently looking at ways how we can improve our fuel consumption,” said Etale’s Managing Director, Silvanus Kathindi.
He said the company was avoiding retrenchments, but that the rising diesel price was a ‘big concern’ to the industry. Etale’s fishing vessels use around 50 000 to 70 000 litres of fuel per trip, which normally averages nine days at sea. The company currently undertakes three trips a month.

A senior manager at Tunacor, who preferred anonymity, echoed Kathindi’s words, saying the increasing fuel costs were putting pressure on profit margins. “We are currently looking at purchasing newer vessels which use fuel more efficiently. However, this needs huge investment.” He added that the way out of these current problems was to focus on adding value to exports and maximising the income generated.
The fishermen’s union said it could now prove impossible to negotiate higher wages with fishing companies, as they would use the fuel costs as a reason not to increase salaries.

In a further blow, NamPower on Tuesday informed mining companies of a 42 per cent electricity tariff increase from July 1. Roessing Uranium – one of the country’s major mining outfits – said the mine’s fuel bill and the impending power crisis would affect operating costs. “Currently the mine uses about 1,6 million litres of diesel per month. With the increase in the price of diesel, it will add another N$14 million to our diesel expenses for the remainder of the year,” said Roessing’s acting General Manager for Corporate Services, Noel Mouton.

Chamber of Mines General Manager Veston Malango said the diesel price hike would hugely affect mines’ profitability and have a negative effect on the mining industry. He warned fledgling mining companies to evaluate the current economic circumstances. “For the new mines planning to come on board… they will have to critically look at how much workforce they need and also their [expected] production levels before starting operations,” said Malango.

Both the Namibia National Farmers’ Union (NNFU) and Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) said communal and commercial farmers alike were taking a knock as a result of costly fuel. NNFU acting Executive Director Oloff Munjanu said some of their members would be forced to scale down operations, which in turn would hurt production and result in a decline in GDP. NAU Executive Manager Sakkie Coetzee said: “Fuel is a huge part of our production costs – between 20 and 30 per cent.

So our profit margins are under pressure. Production this year will definitely be affected negatively by all these increases.” Coetzee said ways must be found to help especially newly resettled farmers to absorb these increases. Last year’s drought and this year’s floods had brought livestock and crop farmers to the brink of bankruptcy, he said. “This could be the final nail in the coffin for some farmers, as they are already under tremendous pressure,” said Coetzee.

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

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Raila will campaign to have Esther Passaris elected for Embakasi seat,

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.nosource.kbc.ke

Raila wanted her as mayor for Nairobi. She was not elected or nominated councillor. Therefore she got no Mayoral seat. Now the chance for Raila to have her on board may be around the corner.

We will not be surprised if elected that she will get Assistant minister position created for her and posted to the Prime Minister’s office.

We are yet to see wonders in this accommodative Coalition government that seeks to please politicians by positioning them even without duties but enabling them to earn big salaries.

ODM nominations set for 23 May

Written By:Doreen Apollos

Orange Democratic Movement Party -ODM- has Monday instituted the election board that will run the party’s nominations ahead of scheduled by- elections.

1. Hon. Philip Okundi

2. Dr. Joseph Misoi

3. Mr. Mohamed Okash

4. Hon. Amukowa Anangwe

5. Ms. Judy Pareno

6. Paul Mbatha

7. Hellen Katangie

8. Francis Runya

9. James Wakaba

The party also released the names of the parliamentary candidates that will be vying for the vacant parliamentary seats in three constituencies.

The nominations have been slotted for the 23rd of this month.

Speaking at the party headquarters, medical services minister Prof Ayang Nyong said the party would not offer any direct nominations assuring that the process would be a fair battle.

Also released were the names of the 10 ODM candidates interested in the Emuhaya, Ainamoi and Embakasi, seat.

Battle for the Embakasi seat on an ODM ticket is heating up with Esther Passaris, Mohammed Surma and Julius Were, a brother to the late former area MP, eyeing the orange ticket.

The party which previously has raised issues over ECK’s integrity and capability in manning the elections, expressed optimism in a fair and a just by-election process.

They further revealed that they had selected a sample of ballot boxes that will be used in the election process to ensure transparency.

The party will also be dispatching its executive officers to oversee the nominations at the respective constituencies by Tuesday.

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Presentation of the budget of the East African Community for the financial year 2008/2009 to the East African Legislative Assembly

Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2008

Budget speech by the Rt. Hon Eriya Kategaya, Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the East African Community and 1st Deputy Prime Minister/Minister for East African Affairs, Republic of Uganda.

Old Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, 15 May 2008

Theme: Towards Common Market

INTRODUCTION

1. Hon Speaker, I beg to move that this esteemed Legislative Assembly resolve into a House Committee to debate and approve the proposals of the Council of Ministers of the East African Community for the Budget of the East African Community for the Financial Year 2008/2009.

2. The Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2008/2009 are being presented when significant developments are taking place in the EAC. The ongoing process towards the establishment of the Common Market and the enlargement of the Community, with the admission of the Republics of Rwanda and Burundi last July 2007 to EAC clearly demonstrate the determination to deepen and widen regional integration. Today, the EAC embraces a strong and large market of a combined population of 120 million people, land area of 1.8 million sq. kilometers with a combined GDP of $ 41 billion. This bears great strategic and geopolitical significance as well as prospects for socio economic transformation of our region.

3. This Budget presentation, however, also comes in the wake of recent disturbing developments in our region, the aftermath of the disputed elections that were held in Kenya in December 2007. It can be noted that the developments in Kenya had destabilizing and disruptive effects way beyond Kenyas borders into Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and other parts of the Great Lakes Region. The violence witnessed in Kenya caused great suffering, loss of many innocent lives, displacement of people in Kenya, and, on the whole, impacted negatively on the performance and capacity of the East African Community to realize its integration objectives. It is gratifying that the Kenya situation has settled down but, more importantly is that these developments served as a wake up call to our region and the reality that our region must face in ordering measures that we have to take to ensure the security of our region at all times.

REVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMUNITY, 2007/2008

4. Hon Speaker: In reviewing the performance of the Budget and programme of the EAC for the outgoing Financial Year, I am pleased to note that there was great adherence to the work programme of all the Organs and Institutions of the Community. It is becoming quite evident that the co-ordination of the business of the Community is being ever streamlined. The Community continued to realize good progress and there are positive indications of growing interest in the Community and effective demand for regional strategies and programmes on the broad range of the areas of integration.

5. The focus of the activities of the EAC during the outgoing Financial Year was on the continued implementation of the Customs Union, the integration of the Republics of Rwanda and Burundi, negotiation of the Common Market Protocol and, in the broader view, the implementation of the 3rd EAC Development Strategy which was launched in November 2006. In implementing the 3rd EAC Development Strategy 2006-2010, EAC has adopted a methodical and systematic approach. A regular monitoring and evaluation mechanism has been instituted and is intended to ensure delivery of the concrete objectives of the Development Strategy.

Trade, Finance and Investments

6. Hon Speaker: The success of the EAC will be determined by what the organization sets out to achieve and what it delivers within the stated or implied time frames. Looking back to the ground we have covered since 1999, the question to ask ourselves is: has the EAC been successful? Today, I can say without any fear of contradiction that yes; the EAC has delivered well on its performance and promise. The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community set out that the Customs Union would be achieved within five years of the signing of the Treaty; and this was achieved in January 2005 and all indications are that the Customs Union is performing exceedingly well. Under the Treaty we also undertook to establish a Common Market as the next stage after the Customs Union. Today, I am glad to report that the negotiations for the establishment of the East African Common Market are proceeding well. Following the first meeting of the High Level Negotiating Task Force which met in Kigali between 14-22 April 2008 we are encouraged by the progress made in the consensus on the broad areas of the Articles of the Preamble, Objectives, Principles, and Free movement of Goods, Persons and Labour of the proposed Common Market Protocol. As it resumes its meeting in Nairobi later this month , we believe the High Level Task Force will make further progress. There are strong expressions all round that the time frames agreed by the Partner States for conclusion of the negotiations by December 2008 and launching of the Common Market by January 2010 would be met.

7. Hon Speaker: With these achievements, the EAC has laid a solid foundation of mutual confidence among the Partner States. The EAC is set on a change mode and readiness of accelerating and deepening regional integration through the subsequent stages to the establishment of the EAC Monetary Union and a single currency operations. During the outgoing Financial Year the experts of our region made great strides in the compilation of the studies on the EAC Monetary Union whose proposals will be considered by the Governors of the Central Banks before the end of November 2008. The Council is confident that these studies would further reinforce the ongoing achievements in the regions macroeconomic convergence and quest for a fully liberalized Capital Markets and financial markets integration in East Africa. The achievement of a Monetary Union just as with the prospects of the operations of the EAC Common Market is therefore today a very imminent reality.

Transport, Communications and Meteorology

8. Hon Speaker: In the development of the Community, emphasis continued to be placed on the infrastructure sub-sector. This is the centerpiece of the integration process. The East African Road Network Project, in particular the Arusha-Namanga- Athi River road project has been in the pipeline for a long time. As Honourable Members are aware, the design phase for the project was completed in December 2006 and procurement for construction works proceeded immediately thereafter. Whereas it had been expected that construction would commence during the first quarter of FY 2007/08, delays were encountered. These were attributable to lengthy contracting and procurement procedures necessitating moving back the commencement of the constructions works to the 3rd quarter of 2008 which had earlier been scheduled for commencement in September 2007. The construction of the Athi River Namanga section commenced in Jan 2008 and the Arusha- Namanga section construction is expected to commence in August 2008.

9. In view of these developments, the Council and the Summit have reinforced the emphasis on the development of regional infrastructure. During the strategic retreats held in Mwanza and Kampala, respectively for Permanent Secretaries and EAC Ministers in March and April 2008, plans of action were adopted which will be tabled before the Summit Retreat in Kigali in June 2008 to lead to expedited delivery of regional infrastructure projects in the period ahead. The Council intends to put in place measures addressing the bottlenecks in the sub-sector related to financing and procurement procedures which will be applied in speeding up the East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project as well as the Arusha-Namanga- Athi river road, Arusha Holili Voi Road and Malindi Mombasa Lunga Lunga and Tanga – Bagamoyo Roads and other projects which have long been in the pipeline. Steps have also been taken to extend the infrastructure projects to Burundi and Rwanda. ADB support and commitments have been secured in the context of the prioritization and imperative to fast track the infrastructure programme. ADB has expressed an interest to finance the Bujumbura-Kigoma-Nyakanazi Kigali loop totaling 700km.

10. In the Civil Aviation sub -sector, the operationalization of CASSOA followed immediately after the establishment of the agency in June 2007. CASSOA continues to be hosted at its temporary headquarters at the EAC Secretariat while arrangements are made for the agencys relocation to its permanent Headquarters in Uganda. Meanwhile, process towards the establishment of the Unified Upper Flight Information Region (UFIR); implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and the Air Transport Liberalization Programme are progressing well. The Council at its 11th Meeting approved the development of a framework for the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision on the liberalization of the air transport in the region and these programmes are being co-ordinated and linked with the SADC and COMESA under the joint strategies for co-ordination and harmonization of infrastructure projects in the three regional economic communities.

11. EAC was also focused on the comprehensive programme of upgrading the regional airports to competitive international standards. The implementation continued on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) which addresses capacity gaps of the regions airports to support the growing aircraft activity. During the outgoing Financial Year, the EAC embarked on the implementation of the recommendations of GNSS Pilot Study Report which is looking into the GNSS procedures at three selected airports in each Partner State to address capacity enhancement and upgrading of facilities at the selected aerodromes. Efforts were similarly joined in the East African Aviation Training Organizations Rehabilitation Project which aims at marshalling the capacities of aviation schools in the region. The facilities include the East African School of Aviation (Kenya), Civil Aviation Training Centre (Tanzania) and East African Civil Aviation Academy, Soroti (Uganda) whereby the aim is to establish regional self sufficiency and self reliance in the provision of its aviation training demands.

12. Hon Speaker: In the railways sub sector, the concessioning processes of the EAC Railways was completed in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Work is now focused on the completion of the East African Railways Master Plan Study which envisages development and modernization of integrated railways system serving the entire EAC region. The stakeholder review of the Draft Master Plan is scheduled for July 2008 to discuss the recommendations of the consultant.

13. In the quest for a safe and secure maritime operations, the achievements include the agreement on priority thematic areas upon which the priority regional maritime projects will be developed, and the finalization of the Draft Lake Victoria Transport Bill. On expanded and upgraded meteorological services in the region, achievements include the finalization of the draft MOU on Meteorological cooperation, and consideration of the inception report of the Study on enhancing capacities of meteorological services in support of sustainable development in the region.

14. Hon Speaker: On Information and Communications Technology, work continued in the achievements include the coordination of the implementation of the Regional Information Communications Technology Support Project to mainstream ICT into the wide range of regional development initiatives. The evaluation and award for incubator projects and the recruitment of the Web designer for the ICT project was accomplished as well as the finalization of the draft MOU on Cooperation in Communications in the region.

Agriculture and Food Security

15. Under Agriculture and food security, the overall development objective is to promote value addition, productivity and competitive agriculture supplies to realize cross border trade for sustainable food security. Achievements in this sector include the development of a study for establishment of East African Early Warning System to Monitor Food Security (already allocated 200,000 USD for a period 2 months from the Partnership Fund, development of a draft Protocol, and the preparation of an implementation and coordination mechanism for the Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy . A Project Steering Committee on the Control and Prevention of Human and Animal Trans boundary Project has been constituted. Funding proposal for TADs has been prepared and submitted to Partnership Fund, EU and GTZ.

Energy

16. Hon. Speaker – The Strategy for Scaling Up Access to Modern Energy Services, which was approved by the Council in November 2006, aims at achieving the Millennium Development Goals and poverty eradication. I am pleased to report that UNDP and GTZ have supported the energy sector to prepare national and regional level activities for the first two years of the Strategy. With the support of the European Union Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility a Donor Mapping Exercise for the Strategy which is expected to match donors to various aspects of the Strategy that they are most likely to fund is nearly completed. The plan is to bring the various development Partners together to dialogue and obtain firm commitments.

17. The Sector also took part in the Nile Basin Initiative Regional Power Market Study that was completed in January 2008 with the aim of using the outcome of the study to establish an East African Community Power Pool (EACPP). The sector has had very promising discussions with SIDA on the possibility of supporting the establishment of the EACPP. The Sector further obtained assistance of USD 50,000 from the RISP project to support preparation of a Strategy for the Development of Regional Refineries. A Task Force comprising officers from the petroleum sub-sector in the Partner States was formed and mandated to undertake the assignment. The Strategy was considered and endorsed by the Sectoral Council on Energy in April 2008.

18. The East African Petroleum Conferences held every two years on a rotational basis have now become an important event in the calendar of petroleum stakeholders in the Region and indeed, internationally. Preparations for the fourth conference scheduled in March 2009 in Mombasa, Kenya, have commenced. The three previous conferences have contributed to increased interest in exploration and production activities in the region. The African Development Bank has agreed to consider supporting the Sector to carry out the following projects: Review and Update of the East African Power Master Plan; A feasibility study on Kampala-Kigali-Bujumbura oil products pipeline; Kenya-Uganda Power Transfer Enhancement Project; and a feasibility study on Dar es Salaam-Tanga-Mombasa natural gas pipeline. Efforts to seek funding for the implementation phase of these and other energy projects will continue.

19. The achievements in the Energy sector include development of terms of reference for renewable energy and fossil fuel master plan proposals. Also the implementation action plan for the East African Power Master Plan was updated and extended from year 2007 to 2014. Funding proposal was prepared and submitted to the African Development Bank. Consultancy work on identification of activities at national level before implementation of the Regional Strategy for Scale up Energy Services has commenced and is expected to be finalized by early next year.

Tourism and Wildlife Management

20. In the Tourism and Wildlife Sector, the sector finalized development of the criteria for the classification on hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities in the region. Certificates and plaques to be awarded to grade facilities have been concluded and used to grade Hotel in Kampala during the preparation of CHOGM. Preparation of the implementation plan to classify Hotels in the capital cities of Kenya, Rwanda Tanzania and Burundi is underway as well as capacity building for Partner states to using the Standard Criteria. Implementation of the East African Tourism Marketing Plan and Strategy through continued promotion of EAC as a single tourist destination is underway. Five thousand Brochures and DVDs as promotional material were made and distributed to stakeholders during the World major tourism fairs in London and Berlin. The sector has prepared to participate in the 8th Leon Sullivan Summit (Arusha June 2008) and TICAD IV May 2008, Japan). The completion of preparatory work on the establishment and operationalisation of the East African Tourism and Wildlife Co-ordination Agency (EATWCA) has been completed. Draft protocol and operational manual for the Agency has been prepared and will be considered by Sectoral Council in July.

Social Sectors

21. Hon Speaker Under Education, Culture and Sports, Science and Technology Sector- the following were achieved during the financial year 2007/08: the conclusion of EAC Students Essay Writing Competition for year 2007; best students were awarded with prizes and accorded a fully covered tour of East Africa; framework for establishment of the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) has been developed. In addition, the East African Kiswahili Commission has been established and preparations to operationalise the Commission are underway. A draft protocol for the EAC Culture and Sports Commission has been developed. Bills for the IUCEA, the EASTECO, and the Kiswahili Commission have been developed and await enactment into Acts. Tools to verify the applications of Partner States which want to host the newly established EAC Institutions have been developed and a programme and budget for verification has been made.

22. Issues in the Immigration, Labour /Employment and Refugee Management were effectively aired during the National Stakeholders validation workshops on the Labour studies which came up with recommendations on the harmonization of employment policies and labour legislation in East Africa . The sector also participated actively in the Common Market study process and in the validation of the study findings in the Partner States and at regional level. Preparatory activities to undertake a Regional Manpower Survey and the preparation of the survey budget were initiated in collaboration with the Partner States. The 3rd meting of the Ministers responsible for labour and employment held in October 2007 endorsed the labour studies recommendations and the Manpower Survey budget and agreed on a roadmap for the holding of an Extra Ordinary Summit on Poverty Alleviation and Employment Creation in East Africa.

23. The recruitment of the Gender and Community Development Officer was done in December 2007.The Officer who is expected to report by 1st June 2008, will be responsible for operationalizing the regional Gender and Community Development Framework as adopted by Council in November 2006 and to develop a framework and forum for Civil Society mobilisation and participation in the activities and programmes of the EAC.

24. Under the Health sub-sector the process of the establishment of the East African Health Research Commission was successfully undertaken. Preparations to operationalize the Commission are underway. The 2nd Ordinary Session of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health was held in September 2007 made recommendations which will be forwarded to the 15th EAC Council of Ministers for further action. The EAC Secretariat is currently in the process of developing funding proposals in collaboration with various international collaborating development partners in support of priority regional health projects and programmes in the areas of health research and policy, HIV and AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, e-Health, Management Information Systems, Integrated Disease surveillance and Response, health professional training and practice, medicines and food safety as well as pharmaceutical regulation and practice.

Interstate Defence and Security

25. Hon. Speaker: In the past year the Defence Liaison Office (DLO) liaised and coordinated a number of Defence activities covering the following areas; a study on the establishment of Peace and Security Directorate, this study enabled the policy organs to make decision on the development of an EAC Holistic Protocol on Peace and Security which is ongoing; a Roadmap on actualization of shared utilization of availed technical defence facilities and formulation of the Defence R & D Policy; completion of the Command Post Exercise cycle and holding the first EAC Field Training Exercise on peace support operations; counter terrorism and disaster management. Also the Unit coordinated meetings on performance evaluation of the MOU on Cooperation in Defence; Exchange of information between the Chiefs of Military Intelligence; Coding and checking secure communication of the Defence Chiefs; Performance review and evaluation of the 3rd Edition of Sports and Culture Week. The unit also carried out research on the way forward in strengthening EAC Cooperation in Defence as well as undertook exchange visits among the Armed Forces Headquarters.

26. Hon Speaker, in the past year, the interstate security sector continued with the implementation of the EAC Strategy for Regional Peace and Security. The strategy elaborates measures with a view to developing best practices to meet the challenges of combating crime in the EAC region. The effort was complemented by the establishment of the Sectoral Council on Interstate Security during the 15th Meeting of the Council. The Sectoral Council is charged with initiation and development of policies on cooperation within the sector. The Chiefs of Police, at their last meeting underscored the urgent need to harmonize issuance of computerized National Identity Cards in the EAC Partner States as one way of streamlining free movement of persons in the region; and, on the whole,enhance measures to protect East Africans as well as visitors as they go abouttheir lawful business within the vast EAC region.

27. Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons remains the single most serious challenge to security in the EAC Region. The sector embarked on the implementation of the Small Arms Program that has enhanced the pace of implementing the Nairobi Protocol among the Partner States. The programme focused initially on Development of an institutional, legal, Policy and Political framework for SALW control and identified aspects of National Action Plans (NAP) where they exist, undertaking of preliminary work associated with development of NAPs. Funding was also made available to Regional and National civil society umbrella organizations to strengthen networking and sharing of information. taking into account the need to have specific measures in place to support the key integration benchmarks. The programme strengthened the national SALW focal points to develop national action plans.

28. The sector continues the implementation of the AU Project of Capacity Building Regional Economic Communities. Upon endorsement by the Summit, the office of the EAC/AU Liaison Office has been established based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the liaison Officer appointed by the 15th Meeting of the Council reported to Addis on 9th May 2008. The main objective of the office is to provide liaison between the AU and the EAC in implementing the continental architecture on peace and security under the AU Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council of the AU.

Political Affairs

29. Hon Speaker: In line with the directive of the 6th Extra-Ordinary Summit, the launching of the national consultations on fast tracking the EAC Political Federation in the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi was done in February and March 2008. The launching in Burundi was done by H.E President Pierre Nkurunziza on 28th February 2008 and in Rwanda by H.E. President Kagame on 3rd March 2008. The National Consultative Committees are scheduled to complete their work within a period of four months from the launching.

30. In line with Council decision establishing the working group on good governance, the Sector convened a meeting of the working group whose recommendations were presented to the Council. The Council directed the development of a comprehensive regional framework on good governance that should cover all the pillars of good governance including democracy and rule of law, anti-corruption, ethics and integrity, social justice and equal opportunities, human rights and gender equality. The Council adopted a draft protocol on anti corruption, ethics and integrity and directed convening of a meeting of the heads of anti corruption authorities for consideration. The Sector also convened the Meeting of Heads of National Electoral Commissions in May 2008. The Chairperson of the National Electoral Commissions recommended the establishment of an EAC electoral Commissions forum vide a policy framework to be determined by a Sub-Committee of experts tasked with the exercise.

31. The First Meeting of the Heads of National Human Rights Commission was held in Arusha on 12th -13th February 2008. The Meeting considered the national policies, strategies, programmes and challenges towards promotion and protection of human rights and developed an EAC Bill of Rights and the Plan of Action on promotion and protection of human rights in the region.

International Relations

32. Hon. Speaker, Pursuant to Article 123 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, it is imperative that Partner States define and implement common foreign and security policies. This implies aggregating the intra-Community policies and developing strategic objectives and options for the Community vis--vis its relations with other entities of the world. The main focus of the EACs Department of International Relations is on developing modalities for strengthening relations with other regional and international organisations and enhancing the Communitys competitiveness on the global arena..

Corporate Communications and Public Affairs/ Re-Branding EAC Project

33. Hon Speaker: A major challenge for our region is to create popular awareness, appreciation and participation in the regional integration process. To this extent, the Council approved the EAC Re-Branding Project encompassing the development and implementation of a new EAC Marketing and Publicity Strategy and upgrading of the erstwhile EAC Information and Public Relations Office into a Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPAD). I am pleased to report that preparatory work has begun on the project and, already a number of activities have been undertaken in launching the project. In particular, the first and second EAC Media Summits held respectively in Nairobi in April 2007 and in Dar es Salaam in April this year, which I had the honour to officiate, have yielded tremendous response among the media fraternity. The annual Media summits have now been institutionalized. They bring together the top leadership of the Media of our region, owners of Media Houses, CEOs and leading Media practitioners and have elicited commitment at the highest levels to Media support of the EAC integration process.

34. In the period under review, the highlights of the activities and innovations of the EAC Re-Branding Project were the involvement of celebrities and leading artistes in the region in various promotions of the EAC; publication of advertisements about the EAC in leading international publications during major events such as the World Bank meetings in Washington and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala in November 2007; launching of the annual EAC Update publication and the fortnightly EAC e-Newsletter. New generation EAC brochures, including the EALA Brochure as well as general promotion materials were produced and distributed. Elaborate programme of EAC publications is ongoing, including publications of the Amended EAC Treaty, the EAC Development Strategy 2006-2010, the EAC Annual Report 2006/07 and The Community Magazine. Other ongoing activities and preparations include the launching of competition for the re-design of the Community Logo and Flag in view of the recent enlargement of the EAC by the admission of the Republics of Burundi and Rwanda and prospects of further enlargement.

35. Hon Speaker: Re-branding the EAC will require a well endowed, highly organized and reorganised corporate communications and public affairs function in the EAC taking into account detailed corporate communication and other challenges facing the region and developing strategic interventions and messages. It can be noted that the EAC Re- Branding project received ready support of our development partners. In 2006, the development partners made pledges of total USD 1.2 million under the EAC Partnership Fund to launch the project for a three year period of 2006-2008. However, due to delays in the disbursements of the partnership funds and the EACs own bureaucratic red tape relating to the operationalization of the project ; the project has not been able to roll out fully to date. Special attention will be paid in the period ahead to relaunch the project, including convening of a special meeting of the EAC Ministerial Sectoral Council to consider and give definitive way forward in the operationalization of the Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.

Finance and Administration

36. Hon Speaker: In the Finance, Human Resources and Administration areas, professional staff undertook training in Result Oriented Management following the introduction of the new organization structure implemented in March 2007. The Human Resources Department continued providing overall capacity building and continuous training programme to raise the quality of EACs human resource base. A total of 26 professional posts were advertised, short listed, interviews conducted and letters of offer given to qualifying candidates, including 20 from Rwanda and Burundi. Other qualitative interventions introduced in the period under review were development of policies and procedures on HIV/Aids in the Workplace that await consideration and approval of the Council, development of operations plans and aligning the same to the overall EAC Development Strategy.

37. The construction of the EAC Headquarters is of a paramount strategic importance to the Community. The project was effectively kickstarted through a workshop that involved all relevant stakeholders on 21st and 22nd February 2007. The Project Consultants and EAC carried out necessary reviews and amendments on the Project brief to incorporate, among other things, relevant consideration to the accession of Rwanda and Burundi into the EAC by adjusting preliminary designs accordingly, as well as establishing the actual spatial and functional requirements, with expected project cost estimate. This exercise was done and concluded by end of June 2007, leading to an increase of the project size and the cost by about 46%. The German Government has expressed willingness to finance the additional costs. Award of the construction contracts is expected by end of July 2008, while construction is planned to take 30 months, including the six months Defects Liability period. The Project is therefore expected to start from September 2008 and be completed by October 2010.

38. The Finance Directorate implemented the upgrade of the Sun systems software from 4.2.6 to 5.3.3. Basic training of the new system was also undertaken during the year. Further the Finance Directorate facilitated the financial management of new and major projects under RISP, Partnership Fund, AU Capacity Building, African Capacity Building Foundation as well as miscellaneous donor funding like IDRC, Rockefeller Foundation, Swiss Tropical Institute, WHO, and e- government project. In this financial year, EAC is experiencing funding problems due to the fact that up to now, less than two months to the end of the financial year, only 65% of the total budget has been paid. Further delays in receipts of donor funding after the budget has been approved has also been experienced in the financial year 2007/08.These will have implications on the implementation of the planned activities of the Community for the financial year 2007/08.

39. Hon. Speaker: I would now like to turn to the activities of the various organs and institutions of the Community the East African Legislative Assembly, East African Court of Justice, and Lake Victoria Basin Commission and in so doing, to underscore the fact that all of them did discharge themselves exceedingly well in the period under review.

East African Legislative Assembly

40. The Second EALA which was inaugurated on 5th June 2007 has stepped very confidently in the shoes of its predecessor and accomplished a large legislative programme within a very short time of its inauguration, debating and passing the following bills in rapid order: The Lake Victoria Transport Bill 2007; The EAC Appropriation Bill 2007; The EAC (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill 2007, The EAC Customs Management (Amendment) Bill 2007, and The Summit (Delegation of Powers and Functions) Bill 2007. In the remaining course of the year, a number of other Bills including the EALA Elections Bill 2007 will be finalized. The following Bills are in the pipeline for passage by the EALA in the immediate period ahead: Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill, The Inter-University Council for East Africa Bill, The EAC Kiswahili Commission Bill, and the EAC Civil Aviation and Oversight Bill, The East African Health Research Commission Bill; The East African Science and Technology Bill will be tabled for debate in the Assembly; and the EAC Trade Negotiations Bill, 2007 has been tabled as a Private Members Bill. Committee work was also stepped up with all the six Committees carrying out visits to EAC projects and programmes and institutions in strengthening the EALAs oversight and outreach functions.

East African Court of Justice

41. As regards the East African Court of Justice, activities continued a steady rise with references coming before the Court, including Reference No. 1 of 2007, James Katabazi and 21 others Vs The Secretary General of EAC and The Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda; and Reference No. 3 of 2007, East African Law Society and 4 Others Vs The Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya and 3 Others which have been handled. The Court Committees and Court Plenaries were equally engaged with ongoing administrative matters in Finance and Administration, Rules of Procedure, Court Publicity and Training. The Council has provided resources for human resource and equipment to meet the requirements of the amendments of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community reconstituting the Court into two divisions, the First Instance Division and the Appellate Division.

Other institutions of the Community

42. Hon. Speaker: As regards the Institutions of the Community, I am also pleased to observe that the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization maintained a high performance in the harmonization, co-ordination and implementation of the various measures in promoting sustainable use of the fisheries resources of Lake Victoria, involving the wide range of stakeholders; the Inter University Council for East Africa in implementing the 2006-2015 Strategy in promoting higher education research in East Africa. The East African Development Bank vigorously pursued its challenge to turn into a lead financing agency for regional development project and progress. And has established very clearly its readiness to play a pivotal role in the period ahead as we strive to deliver the tangible benefits of regional integration.

Lake Victoria Basin Commission

43. Activities of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission were focused on the launching of the Lake Victoria Environment Management Project Phase II (LVEMP II) and, on the whole, the operationalization of the Commission. The Lake Victoria Transport Bill, 2007 as well as the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill, 2007 were subjected to public hearings in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and thereafter to detailed consideration by the appropriate Sub-Committee of EALA; The EALA considered and passed the Lake Victoria Transport Bill 2007 on 19th September 2007. The Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill 2007 was deferred to the Sectoral Council, and is to be tabled to its forthcoming 5th Meeting;

44. Navigation Equipment and other accessories for the Vessel RV Jumuiya has been procured and installed. Hydrographic Surveys of the ports of Mwanza, Kisumu and Portbell has been completed; Preparation for the proposal of a new Policy to regulate water release from the Lake Victoria is at an advanced stage. The Water Balance Equation, as well as the Legal implications, as major inputs has been reviewed as basic input to the modeling of the require flow regime, The recruitment of a Consultant to carry out the actual modeling and propose the required policy was completed and submitted an Inception Report on 3rd April 2008. Monitoring and backstopping of activities under the Mount Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Program is on going. The project is being subjected to a Mid-Term Review in April/May 2008. Study Tour around the Lake Victoria for Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors was conducted from 16th 27 May 2007.

Supplementary Budget for Financial Year 2007/08

45. Hon Speaker: Unforeseen developments intervened in the course of Financial Year 2007/08 necessitating expenditure over and above the approved budget. This situation arose as a result of various challenges in the area of prevention and control of both human and animal Trans-boundary diseases, which continue to take a heavy toll on lives as well as impact negatively on the regional economy.

46. In recognition of the importance of these transboundary diseases the EAC Secretariat convened an extraordinary meeting of EAC Ministers responsible for Livestock, Wildlife, Tourism, Information and Health 2006 and 2007. The meetings directed a number of actions to be undertaken to contain this tragedy, among others the harmonization of the transboundary systems within the EAC be undertaken, mobilization of resources to fund laboratory capacity, research, surveillance and emergency preparedness plan in the EAC, establishment of an EAC Regional transboundary Human and Animal Diseases Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund and constitution of an Integrated regional Human and Animal Disease Steering Committee.

47. The plan and budget request for an Integrated Regional emergency preparedness and response to Trans Boundary human and animal diseases in East Africa was presented to the Extraordinary Meeting of Council of Ministers in April Council of Ministers 2007. The Council of Ministers approved USD 648,274 being counterpart funding for the project over five years. In the first year (FY 2007/ 08) the Secretariat was directed to draw the required USD129, 654 from the Float Fund and the remaining period of the project, funding is to be included in the annual budget of the Community. In view of the above, this supplementary budget is therefore being presented the Assembly for approval.

Future Outlook

48. Hon. Speaker: The Budget for the Financial Year 2008/09 has been developed taking into consideration the Third EAC Development Strategy (2006-2010) whose main theme is Deepening and accelerating Integration. The programmes that are being proposed for implementation in the FY 2008/09 are within the broad and specific objectives stipulated in the Development Strategy for implementation in the financial year 2008/09 and I would highlight them as follows: the consolidation of the EAC Customs Union, establishment of the Common Market , laying the foundation for the EAC Monetary Union and delivery of the concrete objectives with regards to infrastructure development, agricultural and food security; development of industries; and promotion of ICT, tourism, trade, investments, construction of the EAC Headquarters, promotion of popular awareness and participation in the EAC. These areas as well as Lake Victoria development, environmental management, role of the EALA in legislating and EACJ on solving court cases and implementation of the Treaty, will constitute the major areas of expenditure pressure in the coming financial year.

49. The Budget estimates for 2008/09 therefore target deepening and widening of regional integration. The need to strengthen the EAC Secretariat role of co-ordination of the regional programme has been strongly felt and expressed. To this extent, the Budget proposals provide for the reinforcement the Office of the Secretary General in providing the leadership in the vision setting and vision management for a vibrant and highly visible regional integration. The Council is also making provisions for the strengthening of the structures and operations of the Office of the DSG ( Political Federation), the Defence Liaison Unit, the Legal Affairs Department and the Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs in view of the need to deepen the integration process through the various activities in the important political aspects of the regional integration.

50. The Budget estimates also put emphasis on the central facilitative role of the Finance and Administration Directorate to provide enhanced institutional capacity in human resource , physical equipment , operational streamlining, financial management, and ICT up scaling for the organization to the highest level in accordance with international standards. Indeed, in keeping with latest demands, ICT development provides the biggest challenge for the organization. In this regard, special attention is paid to robust response to the ICT requirements. Provisions have been made in the Budget to acquire advanced computer hardware and software towards fulltime Internet connection in the region with improved utilization of dedicated bandwidth to include video conferencing system, heavy duty LCD multimedia projectors and computers and Electronic Data Transfer System between EAC Secretariat and Partner States. Similarly, the EAC Library and Documentation Centre will be ICT enhanced in its printing, publishing and overall up-dating, exchange and dissemination of information databases. These measures, taken as a whole, wil revolutionize communications as well as engender savings in the overall EAC operations. The Budget that I am presenting today also puts emphasis on the EAC Headquarters Construction whereby the focus will be on the sourcing of additional funding for the project, taking into account the expansion of EAC; additional accommodation and equipment requirements for the East African Legislative Assembly and the East African Court of Justice.

51. Hon. Speaker: The Projects and Programmes Division is at the heart of the integration process. The Division will be charged with heavy demand under the Third EAC Development strategy in delivering the concrete objectives of the Community. Among these prioritized areas are the development of a regional capital markets authority the conclusion of the negotiations for the Common Market Protocol; and launching of the EAC Statistical project that will itself be a crucial tool in regional development, providing the statistics to aid decision making anchored on reliable and comparable statistics. The Council is placing great emphasis to Statistics in terms of resource allocation. I am also pleased to note the support extended by the development partners, in particular the EU to the tune of US$ 0.8m; development of an implementation framework for the East African Census 2010 Project, (US$ 0.7m) by UNFPA. Given the concrete orientation of the EAC programme in the period ahead, information and statistics management will be worked mainly be in investments and private sector development projects infrastructure development and consolidation of the customs union, in particular the easing in of Rwanda and Burundi into the Customs Union; elimination of NTBs and capacity building for trade negotiations and EAC negotiations as a bloc in the multilateral fora.

52. Hon Speaker, Considering a broad view of the future outlook of the EAC, I would like to take this opportunity to restate the economic emphasis of EAC integration, and in doing so, also underline fundamental issue of political will and political co-operation in the Community. Over the past year, the EAC engaged a thoroughgoing consultative process on the movement towards the political Federation of East Africa. The pursuit of the Political Federation objective provides the spirit that drives the effort in building a single and strong regional economic bloc that we are intent upon. Without resolute political will and clearly articulated and embraced political will, we can only hold back the integration process. The critical issues before the EAC and indeed the Assembly today, including the strengthening of our regional bloc, hinge on the political will. A time has come when we must re-examine our positions on the question of political will in the integration process.

53. In stating this, I have in mind Co-operation in Foreign Policy Co-ordination and Co-operation in Defence, Regional Peace and Security Matters. It is these aspects of our co-operation that we must now place equal emphasis as we determine the moulding of an East African identity and solidarity that would render our regional integration meaningful and purposeful. It is these areas of cooperation that touch on regional peace, defence and security, that are a source of worry and uncertainty among our people. We cannot succeed in our resolve to build a secure, stable and peaceful environment that assures the free movement, interaction and transaction of lawful business by our people if we do not quickly roll out concrete protocols that bind us over these areas of cooperation.

54. It gives hope to note that some of these issues, in particular on Foreign Policy Co-ordination, Inter-State Defence Co-operation and Inter-State Security Co-operation, are high on the EAC Agenda today. I would urge you as the Assembly to take up these matters in earnest, both in your legislative, oversight and outreach functions, in steadying the course of our regional integration. The EAC should maintain constant orientation as a decisive organization with clear, results focused appreciation of the mission in practical, measurable and demonstrable interventions that leave no doubt as to our seriousness of purpose and commitment to protect our sovereignty and promote peaceful, friendly co-operation in the East African region.

55. Hon Speaker, I believe that I speak with the full support of this august Assembly that the EAC would not, has not and will never shy of its cardinal responsibility in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts that may at any time arise in our region. This position is notably in accordance with the provisions of the EAC Treaty but also the AU and UN conventions that assign frontline role of regional mechanisms in the prevention, management of conflicts. In this regard, I would like to draw the attention of the Assembly to the very important commitment which the EAC Partner States have entered under the 11-nation International Conference on the Great Lakes; in particular, the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region which was signed by our Heads of State here in Nairobi in December 2006 and which all the EAC Partner States have since ratified. We need to pay very close and faithful attention to this Pact as well as EAC own relevant Protocols in ensuring regional approach for sustainable peace and development; addressing the root causes of conflict; establishing good governance, just and equitable order of society; on the whole, maintaining a proactive posture in the prevention of conflicts and invoking robust joint mechanism for management and resolutions of conflicts whenever they arise in the region. Today, even as we follow closely the developments in our region, we are called upon, more than ever before, to pay closer attention to the aspects of Political co-operation in the regional programme with similar commitment and resolve as we do on the trade and economic co-operation aspects.

Assumptions in the Budget Estimates FY 2008/2009

56. Hon Speaker The Budget for FY 2008/09 has been prepared with specific assumptions in mind namely: continued and consolidated political support for the East African Community; Maintaining stability and enhancing convergence of macro-economic environment in Partner States including controlled inflation and stable and predictable exchange rates; availability of adequate and timely financial resources; access to earmarked financial and technical assistance support from EACs Development Partners; Improvement in human resource capacity including additional staff and timely recruitment as the activities of the Community expands.

57. The EAC during FY 2008/2009 will intensify the process of integration through diligent implementation of Summit and Council decisions and EAC-Development Strategy. Major activities that will to be undertaken during FY 2008/09, and which have significant budget implications, include negotiations on the East African Common Market and Free Movement of People; study on the EAC-Monetary Union, intensification of the programmes on infrastructure development; statistics, implementation of customs and trade, capacity building, EPA and Negotiation.

58. The activities planned in the FY 2008/09 and projections for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 are geared towards consolidation of the achievements so far made and also take into account the constraints faced during the previous financial years. Owing to the fast growing and expanding mandate of the Community, as we progress through various stages of integration, the existing programmes and priorities have been reviewed within the framework of the EAC-Development Strategy 2006-2010. New priorities will continue to emerge for which additional financial resources will be required to enable implementation of the agreed priority programmes in the medium term.

Summary of the Budget FY 2008/2009

59. Hon Speaker, given this policy review and presentation of the Budget as already considered by the Council, the Council of Ministers recommends to the East African Legislative Assembly to debate and approve the Budget of the East African Community for the Financial Year 2008/09 of US Dollars 30,561,232. This figure represents 9% increase in the Partner States contributions. However, taking into consideration the contribution from the Development Partners, the Budget for the Financial Year 2008/09 reflects an overall increase of 7.9%. The Budget is allocated to the East African Community Secretariat, US Dollar 16,289,023; Defense Liaison Unit, US Dollars 696,276; Directorate of Customs and Trade, US Dollar 1,871,842; East African Legislative Assembly, USDollars 6,819,609; East African Court of Justice, USDollars 2,443,657; and Lake Victoria Basin Commission, US Dollars 2,440,825. This Budget is to be financed from Miscellaneous Income of US Dollars 150,526; Revenue Float of US Dollars 662,180; development partners contribution of US Dollars 6,329,590 ; and contribution from the Partner States of US Dollars 23,418,936.

60. Hon Speaker: I beg to move.

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<Posted to African Press International by Leo Odera Omolo (left photo)

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