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Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Western Kenya facing deadly starvation

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher. korir, africanpress@getmail.no

By Leo Odera Omolo , Kisumu – Kenya
MOST parts of Western Kenya regions are currently experiencing acute shortage of food grains. As the maize which is the staple for multiethnic communities residing in many parts of the regions has suddenly disappeared..
And where this particular commodity is available, the price has gone up threshold, which is unaffordable to the average poor rural families. People are starving seriously, though no death caused by hunger has been reported.
Officially, the Kenya government through the countrys agriculture minister William Ruto has announced the increment in the price of maize from Kshs.1300 per a sack of 90kg to Kshs. 1700 per a bag of 90kg. the new official prices, however, is still being considered as very exhorbitant to the average rural folks.
And also owing to the recent liberalization of prices of food commodities, middlemen and .unscrupulous traders are reported to be making quick kills, especially in remote villages. Administrative chiefs whose responsibilities include the supervision of the distribution of the relief food donated by the government and other international agencies have been reported as selling the same for the purpose of enriching themselves. These unpatriotic administrators are cashing in on the prevailing famine situation.
This time around, even districts which were previously considered safe from hunger are also affected. The food scarcity is well spread covering the entire western regions covering Nyanza, western and rift Valley provinces.
It has affected the agriculturally rich areas such as Migori, Rachuonyo, Gucha, Nyamira, Bomet, Kisii,Suba, Sotik, Trans-Mara, Nyando, Bondo, Siaya and even Kericho districts in the wider southern parts of the Rift Vally highlands.
In the North, grains shortage is being experienced in Pokot, Turkana, Mt elgon, teso, Uasin Gishu, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma and Marakwet districts.
Trans-Nzoia is always considered as the granary of Kenya as it produces nearly 30 per cent of the total nations harvest. But the on-going armed skirmishes between the government security forces and the outlawed militia groups of the notorious Sabaot Land Defence Force has seriously hampered the cultivation of farms in the region.
The situation has been aggravated by the recent post-election violence, which had sent farmers fleeing their farms. Ripe maize left unguarded in the field were eventually harvested by unauthorized people who were out to capitalize on the unfortunate situation.
A recent government statement explained that Kenya will have to import maize next month {June 2008} to avert acute shortage of food grains. As the result of the post-election violence that gripped the country in the months of January, February and march this year following the harshly disputed presidential election results. The political upheavals that followed forced many farmers out of their farms, mostly in the North and South of Rift Valley. Thousands of small and large scale farmers abandoned their farms and fled for safety.
The move by the government to import about 270,000 metric tones of maize is meant to cushion the countrys maize reserves between the months of august and September.
Kenya is expected to receive maize supplies through cross border trade with the neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda, though Kampala has since banned maize exports, apparently to enable her tackled her own internal food shortage in its northern and eastern regions, particularly in the worst hit Karamoja districts in the east
A recent brief visit to Sirare border town that separates Kenya and Tanzania in deep southern part of Nyanza province revealed that many tracks loaded with maize were crossing the border while ferrying maize from Tanzania at intervals. Most of these tracks headed to the North and are quickly cleared by the border officials, a sign of the life threatening famines situation in the country.
At the same time the residents of the lower locations bordering Lake Victoria have been receiving regular supplies of maize, which is being smuggled by unscrupulous. Racketeers across the border via Lake Victoria, which are said to be relatively much cheaper that the ones coming from Tanzania.
Kenya is expected very little harvest from its traditional maize growing zone as a result of the recent political turmoil. Even the returning IDP people need a lot of relief food from the international agencies and local NGOs and the government in order to sustain themselves..
Although other Southern African region countries such as Malawi and Zambia are reportedly expecting bumper crop harvest, Kenyas access to that maize would come at zero duty because the two nations are members of Comesa. And therefore Nairobi is banking its hope to capitalize on this, said a top government official.
It is being projected that about 11.5 million tones of maize will be produced in South Africa, of which close to 1.5 million tones will be ready for export.
The government has commissioned the national Cereals and Produce Board to import maize from South Africa under this arrangement. Normally the imports of such commodities attracted 50 per cent duty because they come from outside Comesa member states.
The estimated maize availability balance sheet in Kenya indicates that the country maize stock will soon be below the monthly minimum requirement of 270,000 metric tones in august, according to the East African Grain Council {EAGC}
The EAGC is an umbrella organization for key players in the grain and cereals sub-sector in East and Central Africa. It is also part of the regional agricultural trade intelligence network {Retin}.
Already the government has moved with speed and formed committees in each affected districts to access the famine situation in the remotes far flung districts such as West Pokot Marakwet,Turkana Teso, Baringo, Koibatek and other affected areas.
Ends.
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Tough luck for eager repeaters

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

Years ago, students who failed in KCSE found it easy to repeat Form Four. Today, would-be repeaters are finding that all doors are shut.By James Ratemo

For Doris Kwamboka, a Form Three student at Wiyete Girls Boarding School in Kitale, school life has been an agonising journey. This is her fifth year in secondary school. An average student, Kwamboka has been in and out of school. It was the hefty fees quoted by schools that reduced her to an absentee student.

When she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams at Murinduko Baptist Secondary School in the clash-torn Kuresoi District last year, she did not expect miracles. Her first attempt at the exam earned her a mean grade of D+. The grade could not even secure her a place in a public teachers training college, whose entry grade was C+. Even the police training colleges, which five years ago admitted students at the cut-off mark of D+ in O-level, has since raised the mark to a C+. Her only choice, then, was to repeat.

Leila Ombati

So strong was her desire to excel that, when the government introduced the so-called “Free Secondary Education”, Kwamboka was elated. At last she would get another chance to be in school, this time on a full-time basis, and work hard to improve her grades. Thereafter, she would join a reputable institution of higher education.

Kwamboka went searching for a school in which she would enrol as a repeat Form Four student. Little did she realise that her mission was doomed to fail: no school would enrol Kwamboka as a new Form Four student because all slots were taken.

With the desire to complete school still burning, she finally secured a place at Kitales Wiyete Girls Boarding School not in Form Four but in Form Three.

“She is lucky we had not filled all the vacancies as per our tuition budget from the Ministry of Education,” notes the school Principal Mrs Illa. “Otherwise, she would have been compelled to also pay the Sh10,000 tuition fee, which the government provides for every child under FSE (Free Secondary Education).”

Despite the reprieve, Kwamboka still pays more than Sh18,000 every year. Although the figure feels exorbitant, she now has a sponsor who will pay her fees for the two years she will be at the school.

For many students, dreams of studying at a boarding school remain unfulfilled because the tuition waiver by the government is still not enough to make schooling affordable. Schools still have hidden costs for services like “the bus project”, “the feeding programme” and “extra tuition”, which makes secondary education inaccessible to many poor, would-be students around the country.

Launching the initial Sh2.9 billion for the free secondary education scheme, President Kibaki warned school heads against charging additional fees. He also directed the ministry to ensure that the programmes guidelines were respected.

Hoping that schools might one day heed the presidents call, students like Kwamboka keep their fingers crossed. Repeaters are especially feeling locked out because a second chance was not factored into the FSE plan.

A teacher taking a student through a lesson.

The chairperson of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, Mr Cleophas Tirop, says repeaters must pay their own tuition fee since the government is already overburdened. “It would be logical to give each student one chance.

Those willing to repeat to better their final performance should therefore not expect to benefit from the FSE programme since the ministry is already overburdened,” he argued.

According to Ministry of Education regulations, students cannot be compelled to repeat classes, but they may do so voluntarily. And then the ministry is not obliged to support such a student through the FSE scheme.

The Deputy Director in charge of Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Education, Mr Makori Kedging, told Education that, conventionally, the government does not encourage students to repeat classes.

There is therefore no formal provision to support students in this endeavour. He however acknowledged that the practice is still common in many schools, through special arrangements with the school heads.

“In occasions where a head teacher allows a student to repeat, the ministry cannot take responsibility for their tuition the students have to pay fees as agreed with the concerned school authorities,” he said.

Nonetheless, the ministry has a provision for private candidates to re-sit exams in the subjects they failed.

In this case, affected students are only required to pay an exam fee t o the Kenya National Examination Council. If they wish to go again through the learning process, such students must make a private arrangement for tuition.

Of course, many students still prefer repeating in a school environment to simply enrolling for examinations without some kind of formal coaching.

But such students principal headache remains: how will they benefit from the FSE programme?

When it was first introduced, FSE was seen as the harbinger of hope for poor students who previously had no chance of attending school on a full-time basis.

In the governments estimates, some 1.4 million students are expected to join public secondary schools this year alone, which appears to be meeting the governments goal of increasing transition rates from primary to secondary school.

According to the government, boarding district, provincial and national schools should not charge more than Sh18,627. On their part, day school students are officially expected to be paying no more than the amount they spend on their uniforms.

A blessing for tutorial colleges

Like a vulture that waits to feed on the leftovers of a predator, tutorial colleges are benefiting from students who have been denied access to secondary education.

Leila Ombati, 24, is one such beneficiary. A former student of Nairobi Jaffrey Academy, she was forced to drop out of school at Form Two after her father was retrenched and could no longer afford her fees.

“It was devastating because I was excelling in school and had to contend with staying at home for a while,” explains Ombati. In the four years during which she has been out, Ombati has worked as a shopkeeper while studying at home school.

In January 2008, when the governments FSE policy would be implemented, she was certain of going back to school as a full-time student. She would join as a Form Four student and enrol in college thereafter.

When Ombati tried to enter Langata High School, however, she found that the 2008 class was full. But there was a chance to enrol in Form Three, where she could benefit from the FSE funds.

“I was not ready to waste any more time,” she recalls. “They said they could not gauge my performance and that I had to go back by a class.”

Leila then opted to join Tazama Tutorial College, where Form Four candidates are registered as private candidates.

“I am excited to get a chance to resume school,” she says. With reference to the social life of a repeater, she says, “I feared stigmatisation. ” And then she did not wish to return to the culture of wearing uniform and interacting with younger students. She hopes to pursue a degree in pharmacy.

The Principal of Tazama Tutorial College, Mr James Makau, feels that students who are repeating or who are resuming class after a lapse are no different from their regular peers.

Their biggest challenge, he says, is keeping the pace, completing their studies and excelling in national exams.

Makau says that enrolment into the college has increased despite the introduction of FSE, because students who seek to repeat a class cannot find space in the regular schools.

These students, he says, pay a fee as privately registered candidates. Explains Maxwel Njue, an English teacher at the institution: “Repeaters initially suffer stigma.

But with guidance and encouragement, they excel and (may) qualify to join university.”

In spite of the uneasy evolution, Assistant Minister for Education, Prof Ayiecho Olweny, said the government is determined to provide education for all.

He said that, although public schools have a capacity of between 45 and 55 students per class, those who seek re-admission to re-sit a class should not be locked out.
Additional reporting by Marion Wambugu

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Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

Story by CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

THERES A HEATED RACE going on in East Africa, but most of us go about our lives oblivious to it.

The race is over which country will be the economic champion in the region in the next 10 years.

We are oblivious because the contest is largely invisible. However, you sense it immediately you set foot in Kigali, or Rwanda in general.

In 1994, when the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Army rebels won the war whose high (and tragic) point was the massacre of nearly one million people by the government army and its extremist militia, the Interahamwe, the bushes around the city were full of bodies.

The city, and country, was a wasteland. A putrid smell overhang its hills.

The bushes have since disappeared in what must be the regions biggest middle class housing boom. In one area, Kigali has won the East African race decisively… it is the cleanest and least potholed city in the region.

A colleague asked our pretty and articulate guide the most ordinary question of the week.

Gosh, this city is clean, he said, who keeps it clean, the City Council? he asked.

The reply was quite unexpected. She hesitated for a while, then said: Actually, I am not sure.

In Kampala or Dar es Salaam, we all know who is responsible for the failure to keep the cities clean.

But to get to a stage where an African city is so well-kept people dont even know who is responsible for it, tells you how much progress Kigali has made.

A tiny land-locked nation which lost 30 years in the genocide and has no natural resources, Rwanda decided it could only save itself by being the most competitive in ICT, and offering the best investment climate.

Every country says that, so the test is whether a country actually walks the talk. A story is told in Kigali of a recent group of wealthy Nigerians who came to town to buy into a major Rwandese insurance company.

Its leader said, shyly, that the one thing he would have liked to do while in Rwanda on the deal was to meet President Paul Kagame.

Kagame was told, and he sent word to the Nigerians that he would meet them.
They were asked to wait at their hotel for word on the meeting.

While they were waiting, they were told they had an important guest. Guess who shows up at the hotel room of the team leader? None other than President Kagame himself.

If the other East African presidents didnt know it, Kagame has taken the prize, and if they dont prevent him running away with it, this race is going to end early.

REFLECTING ON THIS, I REALISED that 14 years is a lifetime in politics. In early October, 1990, the RPA launched the armed struggle.

Within days, their campaign fell apart and they were crushed.

I was in the group of journalists that witnessed the final moments as the Rwanda government troops chased remnants of the RPA towards the Uganda border and finished off some who were trapped.

The troops posed triumphantly at the border for our cameras. They celebrated too early.

Four years later, a regrouped RPA was the victor if, indeed, there was one in the Rwanda war.

I was reminded that such reversal of fortune is not common. In 1979, as the Tanzanian army and Ugandan exiles closed in on Kampala and the city was being bombed, it became clear that the game was over for military despot Idi Amin.

Two days to the fall of the city, shells started falling on the Makerere University campus, which had remained the only safe refuge in Kampala.

International radio stations began reporting that the Amin army was planning to invade the campus and use the students as human shields.

That started off a stampede as frightened students took flight. One large group of students headed west, toward the industrial town of Jinja.

Some 30 kilometres along the road, an Amin civilian supporter had set up a one-man roadblock to stop people fleeing.

He was screaming Amins praises, and saying there was no precedent in African history of an army marching from another country and ousting a president in another.

Just then, a long convoy of over 30 cars led by machine-gun mounted Land Rovers, and communication vehicles, with light-armoured trucks bringing up the rear rumbled by.

The figure in the Humvee-type car in the middle of the convoy was unmistakable. It was Amin, waving and thumping the air triumphantly.

But to us, this was clearly a defeated man in retreat trying to save face with empty bravado.

However, his supporter didnt see it that way. He went into higher gear, proclaiming that his hero was going to make the last stand that would scatter the enemy.

It was never to be. Amin died in forlorn exile in Saudi Arabia, on August 16, 2003.

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Amnesty rift widens as Cabinet meets again

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE and LUCAS BARASAThe explosive debate on whether thousands of youths arrested over the post-election violence should be pardoned goes before the Cabinet on Thursday.

Agriculture Minister, William Ruto. Photo/FILE

Those allied to ODM have said the youths should be pardoned while those allied to PNU oppose such calls, saying those who killed others or burnt property should face the law.

Over 1,200 people were killed during the violence sparked by the disputed presidential election results announced on December 30, 2007.

Handling suspects

On Wednesday, Foreign minister, Moses Wetangula said the matter will be discussed during Thursdays Cabinet session.

Information minister, Samuel Poghisio, allayed fears that there was a rift in the Cabinet over the handling of the post-election violence suspects.

What we have witnessed is individual opinion of some MPs. Amnesty was never an issue of agreement or disagreement during the Annan talks, he said.

According to him, individual ministers would support any decision that the Cabinet will make.

Though some of his constituents were among those arrested over the violence, Mr Poghisio said the matter will be sorted out but without applying blanket amnesty.

Blanket amnesty will create more animosity, he said.

Among the crimes committed during the month-long violence were mass murder including the burning to death of 35 people in an Eldoret church and 12 others in a house in Naivasha arson, looting, rapes and destruction of property.

Leaders from the regions most affected by the violence Wednesday claimed that more than 4,000 young people had been arrested and should be released.

However, key Government officials have said those who committed crimes punishable by the law should answer for their misdeeds.

They promised to speed up the trial of the youths languishing in police cells.

On Wednesday, Agriculture minister, William Ruto; assistant minister, Charles Keter; Gem MP, Jakoyo Midiwo and Chepalungu MP, Isaac Ruto, declared that the fate of the youths should be determined by a commission of inquiry into post-election violence and not courts of law.

The people we are talking about here are the boys who came out to demonstrate against the disputed elections, said Mr Ruto.

According to the minister, the youths were urged to take to the streets by ODM leaders to protest against the election results, in which the ECK declared President Kibaki winner, for a second and final term.

ODM disputed the results, saying its candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, had won the election.

ODM called for protests and PNU ordered police to shoot at the youths to quell the protests.

“The police were as guilty as anyone. (ECK chairman Samuel) Kivuitu should also face criminal charges for triggering the violence and those who called for the protests, Mr Ruto said.

However, Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minister, Martha Karua, said the Annan-led talks were categorical that justice should prevail and people found to have participated in post-elections violence should face the law.

Ms Karua, a member of the mediation team like Mr Ruto, said crimes were committed during the fighting and the Government was expediting the trials to ensure that the innocent are released.

This is a matter that decides whether our country is under the rule of law or the rule of the jungle. There is due process to be followed before the youths are released

“They are investigated, prosecuted and charged and those found innocent freed, she said.

She ruled out blanket amnesty as demanded by ODM leaders, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

We should start thinking about the people who were violated, she said.

Ms Karua equated the demands to release the youths to asking the Government to open jail doors to release all criminals.

It is very unfortunate that some ministers are advocating for blanket amnesty; that is not possible even before the international law.

Public Works assistant minister, Dick Wathika said blanket amnesty will encourage impunity.

Thorough investigations should be conducted and those who killed charged with murder.

“Those who set houses ablaze should face arson charges and those who only participated in riots and barricaded roads considered for amnesty, Mr Wathika said.

Mr Midiwo asked Ms Karua and Mr Ruto to solve their differences over the matter through mediation instead of issuing contradictory statements.

Why cant Karua and Ruto negotiate and find a solution to this issue? Why are they giving contradictory statements? he asked.

While demanding the unconditional release of the youths, he accused Rift Valley MPs of being insincere because youths were arrested countrywide.

Leaving them out

They are using the youths to hit at the Government and Prime Minister Raila Odinga for leaving them out of Government, he said.

Mr Keter and Mr Ruto claimed the youths were facing trumped up charges and said they will fight until they have been released.

All these youths were picked from their houses on claims that they were involved in the political violence.

“We (MPs) are their products and this is the time we should pardon each other. We will not stop agitating for their release. We want them released, said Mr Keter.

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Kabuga’s surrender: A test for the Rwandese government

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Commentary by:
Author : Mukiza Edwin (IP: 196.44.240.61 , 196.44.240.61)

Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=196.44.240.61

___________

We in Rwanda are anxious to know the reaction of our Government to the Kabuga appeal.

Let them know that from the sayings of the Man himself he is out of hiding not because of remorse for his dealings in Rwanda, but circumstances beyond his Control.

To his Kenyan Cronies, Justice mustprevailfor complicity in his elusiveness. He is trying to corner his inevitable fate, -and come it will.
Reminds me of the last days of MobutuSese seko ailing, lonely, out of luck and Pitiful. Yet one must not forget that even the most evil kind of people, Goodwill can come out of them.
This is a real test for Our Government, and Confident we are, that the Situation will be solved positively
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Panic over Bills as drafters quit

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

By Ben AginaGovernment legislative agenda could be paralysed amid reports that lawyers charged with drafting laws have quit the State Law Office in droves in search of greener pastures.

The move by the lawyers known as drafters is bound to delay the flow of Bills to Parliament. The drafters are understood to have cited poor remuneration, favouritism and nepotism as reasons for leaving.

The Standard has established that the State Law office has assembled seven new trainees to fill the gap left by four senior officials, who have been drafting proposed laws for the last 10 years.

The four officials at the level of Senior Parliamentary Counsel quit in one year. The State Law Office, which on Monday was ranked last by a Government performance contract evaluation report, now has only four experienced drafters, The Standard learnt.

Those who have left include Mr Gad Awuonda, who has joined the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Mr Jeremiah Ngenyenye, Mr Jeremiah Ndombi, who moved to Parliament, and Mr Samuel Keter, who has joined the Rural Electrification Authority.

The four drafters left behind are Ms Margaret Nzioka, the chief parliamentary counsel, her deputy, Ms Elizabeth Nganga, Ms Linda Murila, the senior principal parliamentary counsel, and Mr James Mwenda, the senior parliamentary counsel).

Sources told The Standard that training a competent drafter takes between seven and 10 years.

Some drafters at the State Law office were taken for a four-month training course at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in the UK, where the Government spent Sh5 million on each counsel.

What they are paid

Last year, the State Law Office advertised in the local newspapers, six positions for principal parliamentary counsel (read drafters), but failed to get applicants.

A parliamentary counsel II earns Sh31,000, parliamentary counsel I Sh35,000, senior parliamentary counsel Sh37,000, principal parliamentary counsel Sh42,000, deputy parliamentary counsel Sh100,000 and chief parliamentary counsel Sh150,000.

The number of drafters in Kenya is a far cry from that of other countries: Hong Kong has 156 and Canada 213.

A drafters role is to ensure that Government policy is expressed effectively in legislation. If legislation is not properly drafted, it is unlikely to implement policy effectively.

Legislation must be clear and accurate. This link to legislation a form of law explains why drafters have traditionally been drawn from the legal profession.

Legislative drafting is intellectual and requires hours of concentration, planning and strategy.

Sometimes, legislation may be urgent and far-reaching constitutional amendments.

However, in emergencies, orders, directives or notifications affecting life and liberty are drafted at top speed.

Drafters work through a number of drafts before they arrive at the final one. They study preliminary drafts, revise and then re-write them again. There may be calls for further clarification from sponsoring ministries.

During the opening ceremony of Parliament in March, President Kibaki outlined the Governments legislative agenda. He said the Coffee and Sugar Acts would be amended.

The aim would be to restructure the sugar industry, introduce Bills and sessional papers covering poultry, dairy and fishing industries, among others.

For tourism to perform better, the President said the Government would table three Bills Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Guidelines and the Tourism and Wildlife Bills.

To tackle poverty, the Government has lined up a sessional paper on Co-operative Development Policy and a Bill on Savings and Credit Co-operatives.

The Government has also lined up Bills to regulate non-public entities such as civil society and international education providers.

According Prof James Crabbe, the man who helped craft the Bomas Draft, the need to train more and more parliamentary Counsel has never been greater.

“There is always a shortage of experienced parliamentary Counsel. In some countries, if outside assistance is withdrawn, there would not be a single parliamentary Counsel to draft legislation for the government,” Crabbe says in a journal.

He adds that drafting was a critical need and it has not been possible for many young independent countries to provide, in the absence of formal training, supervised in-service or on-the-job training and apprenticeship.

He explains that this is due to a shortage of experienced parliamentary Counsel and the demands made on the experienced.

Government policy ranges from policies that departments want expressed in legislation to broader policies of Government that should be reflected in legislation.

This presupposes that policy and legislation are different and there is a process for transforming one into the other. The drafter is at the heart of the process.

The difference between legislation and policy is this: One is law and the other is not. Law operates within a relatively closed system of rules superintended by lawyers and judges.

It is a tool for implementing policy through legal entities or rights, or ascribing legally enforceable consequences to events or situations.

This underscores the critical role of the drafter. The drafter must not only appreciate what legislation is intended to accomplish, but also know how to convey meaning.

In addition, the fact that legislation embodies the law, and does not merely describe it, suggests that a drafter is much more than a stenographer or printer.

The drafter plays a critical role in determining the effect of legislation. Drafting is not just writing words to express ideas. It begins with understanding what is to be expressed.

The process of understanding ideas also involves analysing, critiquing and developing them.

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Discontent rages in Raila Odinga’s camp

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

By Jeff Otieno,Kisumu – Kenya
A wave of despondency, resentment, murmurs, jostling for political supremacy has emerged in Orange Democratic Party (ODM) camp particularly in Luo Nyanza where long time associates of Prime Minister Raila Odinga feels abandoned and short changed.
According to our sources, after his elevation as the Countrys second Prime Minister since independence, the Prime Minister seems to have burnt bridges and structures which made him to be what he is today.
The enraged cronies and foot soldiers opine that Raila is of late playing an ivory tower kind of politics as opposed to his usual trade mark grass root approach. He is again allegedly under siege from busy bodies and new comers opportunists operatives whose political engagements or participation hardly stretches to two years to warrants the kind of attention and rewards theyve bagged so far.
According to some keen political pundits, for Raila to maintain his unrivalled political grip in Kenya and particularly his native region, he should device mechanisms a kin to his father the late Jaramogi Odinga who despite his busy schedules could squeeze and share a word with his lieutenants and admirers even by the road side.
They gave living examples of the likes of Oyangi Mbaja, Luke Obok and the late Mbewa Ndede who were respected opinion shapers and were in the pay role of Jaramogi during their hey days.
In the prevailing situation they emphatically opine that the Prime Minister should have borrowed the same leaf from his father to recognize the consistent and relentless participation of the likes of his renown die hards like former Town Clerk Aduma Owuor who is now a notable desperate pedestrian shuttling in the streets of Kisumu and Nairobi.
During the recent home coming of the Prime Minister in Bondo, a drama ensued when Aduma who had been privy to the terrain, of Jaramogi met the wrath of newly recruited guards who arrogantly confined him to a yard which was housing ordinary people to his disbelief. The former powerful Twon Clerk who was apparently crest fallen was in the company of Odingas other die hards, Ishmael Noo the trade Unionist, controversial Kisumu business tycoon Gordon Kaoko and hotelier cum accountant Bob Madanji.
Investigations by his journalist further reveals that Adumas efforts to see the PM or the Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi hasnt been successful.
A fort night ago the financially crippled Aduma is said to have managed to land an appointment with one of them but a public bus he boarded to Nairobi developed a serious mechanical glitch and ultimately he failed to have the audience.
Before the highly publicized fete could start, this journalist managed to talk to some three Luo MPs on strict condition of anonymity who equally confided that the heckling which was witnessed during the fete should serve as a wake up call to him.
Raila has a bright political future and we revere him but he will only achieve much if he exhibits sensitivity and respect to other leaders, quipped one of the MPs.
They further alleged that since his elevation into that position he has hardly bothered to even call or share with majority of the legislators from the region which is tantamount to insubordination and ridicule.
We dearly miss the roles of the like of Hon Job Omino and Mzee Koyo Opien who could take Raila head on when things were destined wrongly, thundered one of the newly elected legislators from the larger Southern Nyanza.
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Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher: K.Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<BY JEFF OTIENO IN KISUMU.
A wave of despondency, resentment, murmurs, jostling for political supremacy has emerged in Orange Democratic Party (ODM) camp particularly in Luo Nyanza where long time associates of Prime Minister Raila Odinga feels abandoned and short changed.
According to our sources, after his elevation as the Countrys second Prime Minister since independence, the Prime Minister seems to have burnt bridges and structures which made him to be what he is today.
The enraged cronies and foot soldiers opine that Raila is of late playing an ivory tower kind of politics as opposed to his usual trade mark grass root approach. He is again allegedly under siege from busy bodies and new comers opportunists operatives whose political engagements or participation hardly stretches to two years to warrants the kind of attention and rewards theyve bagged so far.
According to some keen political pundits, for Raila to maintain his unrivalled political grip in Kenya and particularly his native region, he should device mechanisms a kin to his father the late Jaramogi Odinga who despite his busy schedules could squeeze and share a word with his lieutenants and admirers even by the road side.
They gave living examples of the likes of Oyangi Mbaja, Luke Obok and the late Mbewa Ndede who were respected opinion shapers and were in the pay role of Jaramogi during their hey days.
In the prevailing situation they emphatically opine that the Prime Minister should have borrowed the same leaf from his father to recognize the consistent and relentless participation of the likes of his renown die hards like former Town Clerk Aduma Owuor who is now a notable desperate pedestrian shuttling in the streets of Kisumu and Nairobi.
During the recent home coming of the Prime Minister in Bondo, a drama ensued when Aduma who had been privy to the terrain, of Jaramogi met the wrath of newly recruited guards who arrogantly confined him to a yard which was housing ordinary people to his disbelief. The former powerful Twon Clerk who was apparently crest fallen was in the company of Odingas other die hards, Ishmael Noo the trade Unionist, controversial Kisumu business tycoon Gordon Kaoko and hotelier cum accountant Bob Madanji.
Investigations by his journalist further reveals that Adumas efforts to see the PM or the Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi hasnt been successful.
A fort night ago the financially crippled Aduma is said to have managed to land an appointment with one of them but a public bus he boarded to Nairobi developed a serious mechanical glitch and ultimately he failed to have the audience.
Before the highly publicized fete could start, this journalist managed to talk to some three Luo MPs on strict condition of anonymity who equally confided that the heckling which was witnessed during the fete should serve as a wake up call to him.
Raila has a bright political future and we revere him but he will only achieve much if he exhibits sensitivity and respect to other leaders, quipped one of the MPs.
They further alleged that since his elevation into that position he has hardly bothered to even call or share with majority of the legislators from the region which is tantamount to insubordination and ridicule.
We dearly miss the roles of the like of Hon Job Omino and Mzee Koyo Opien who could take Raila head on when things were destined wrongly, thundered one of the newly elected legislators from the larger Southern Nyanza.
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Ethiopian troops fighting against the Islamist insurgents in Somalia

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

Ethiopian troops fighting against the Islamist insurgents in Somalia since December 2006 will remain there a little longer to help stabilize that war-torn country, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Wednesday.

The premier, who was addressing parliament on Wednesday morning, said that the troops have successfully completed their mission in driving away insurgents of the Islamic Courts Union from the capital and as such, they will stay in Somalia until the AU sends more troops to help keep the peace in that country.

We have successfully completed our mission based on our national interest. Now, there is no threat by the Islamists who declared a holy war against us. We are there to support the transitional government of Somalia Meles said.

Meles told the parliament that it is not beyond the countrys potential to remain in Somalia for sometime to come and help stabilize the country.

The Ethiopian opposition parties have repeatedly asked the government to announce its exit strategy from Somalia, which they said is costing Ethiopia a lot of money.

However, Meles told the parliament that the troops are using a very low budget, which he said is not affecting the countrys military budget.

Our troops are not luxurious. They are operating with a small budget. We can leave Somalia at any day and safeguard our country. Our presence in Somalia is not beyond our ability, Meles said.

He also indicated that the terrorist groups can no longer be a threat to Ethiopian security.

The AU is still unable to deploy the required 8,000 troops to Somalia despite its repeated call for its member states to contribute troops.

Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi are among the countries that pledged to send troops to Somalia in October 2007. However, it is only around 2,700 Ugandan and Burundi troops that are currently deployed in Somalia under the auspices of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Ethiopian Prime Minister expressed hope that more AU troops will deploy in Somalia under AMISOM as soon as possible.

Somalia, which remains without a central government for the past 17 years, has been regarded as one of the most dangerous places in the world.

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The South African High Commissioner gives assurance to Kenyans

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

The South African High Commissioner to Kenya, Tony Msimanga on Wednesday assured the Kenyan government of adequate security to the more than 20,000 Kenyans living and working in South Africa in the wake of the current xenophobic attacks targeting non-South African nationals.

Reports from South Africa indicate that the death toll since the start of the xenophobic attacks on Monday has risen to 24, with hundreds injured and thousands more displaced from their homes.

Addressing the press while making the assurance to Kenyas Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka in his offices in Nairobi, Msimanga said that already the South African authorities have arrested over 200 people in connection with the attacks and beefed up security to ensure the safety of non-South African nationals in the country.

He said that Kenyans living or working in the affected areas have not been attacked.

On his part, Musyoka said that he will lead in the near future a high level government delegation to South Africa to strengthen the existing relations between the two countries.

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Sudan wins IDB science, technology prize

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

Sudans Ministry of Science and Technology has won a 100,000 dollar-prize from the sixth edition of the Islamic Development Bank contest for Science and Technology, sources said here Thursday.

Sudan won the prize in category three which includes scientific institutions from a least developed member country in the area of agriculture research, an OIC statement said.

Making the announcement, the President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali said the prize will be awarded to the winner by the Chairman of the IDB Board of Governors in the forthcoming 33rd IDB Annual Meeting billed for 3 to 4 June 2008 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Category one of the contest included the most outstanding contribution to social and economic development which was won by the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, University Sains, Malaysia, while category two which is in the domain of the most outstanding contribution to a given scientific field, was won by the Centre for Molecular Biology, University of Punjab , Pakistan.

The IDB prizes were established in 2001 to promote excellence in science and technology excellence and capacity building in IDB member countries.

Every year, three institutions are selected by an independent panel of eminent scientists from the Muslim World to receive the prize in the three categories.

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African Press International – API

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Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

The demarcation of the Ethiopia-Sudan border will not displace anybody on either side, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zewani told parliament on Wednesday.

He said Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed that the border demarcation, to start in the near future, will not displace any individuals from the land they occupy.

We, Ethiopia and Sudan, have signed an agreement not to displace any single individual from both sides to whom the demarcation benefits, he said.

The border between Ethiopia and Sudan dates back to 1907 when Sudan was under British colonial rule.

The two countries have so far been unable to physically identify their borders.

Recent reports said that Ethiopian farmers were displaced by Sudanese troops at two border areas but Meles told the parliament that this was land that was occupied by Ethiopia in 1996, which was given to two investors by the Ethiopian government, and Sudan complained about it.

We have given back this land, which was occupied in 1996. This land before 1996 belonged to Sudanese farmers. There is no single individual displaced at the border as it is being reported by some media, Meles said.

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Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.daily.observer.gambiaTaiwan’s new president took office Tuesday and set the tone for his administration’s policy on rival China: better economic and political ties but no plans for unification with the mainland, according to reports monitored by the Daily Observer.
The inauguration of Ma Ying-jeou, 57, represents a clear break from the pro-independence policies of the eight-year presidency of Chen Shui-bian.

The vice-president Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy was attending President Mas inaugural ceremony ceremony on behalf of President Jammeh. She was accompanied to the island by secretaries of state and senior government officials.

Addressing political leaders and representatives from Taiwan’s dwindling cadre of diplomatic allies, Ma exhorted Beijing to seize the chance created by his March election victory to build a better future for people on both sides of the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. “(I) hope that the two sides can use this rare historical opportunity,” he said. “Let’s open a new page of peace and prosperity.”

Ma made it clear that even while he renounces the platform of formal independence espoused by his predecessor, he also opposes unification anytime soon with the mainland, from which Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. “We will adopt the principle of no independence, no unification and no use of force,” he said.

China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has repeatedly threatened to attack if the island makes its de facto independence permanent.

Ma’s comments in his inaugural address were consistent with his long-standing policies of seeking greater economic engagement with Beijing without renouncing Taiwan’s effective sovereignty.

Ma’s election victory was fashioned on his pledges to tie Taiwan’s powerful but laggard high-tech economy to China’s economic boom.

In recent weeks, however, he has made clear he has no intention of giving up on Taiwan’s sovereignty – the core goal of China’s policy toward the island. And in late April, he named a strong supporter of Taiwanese sovereignty to oversee relations with China, in a move that elicited silence from the mainland and anger from China-friendly hard-liners in his own Nationalist Party.

“What matters is not sovereignty, but core values and way of life,” he said Tuesday. “We … hope that mainland China will continue to move toward freedom, democracy and prosperity for all the people.”

While Beijing has abandoned communism in all but name, it remains an authoritarian state, whose lack of political freedoms trouble Taiwanese, now well into their second decade of a freewheeling democracy.

Ma also urged Beijing to seek reconciliation with Taiwan in “the international arena” – a clear reference to the often costly competition to win diplomatic recognition from countries around the world. “In light of our common Chinese heritage, people on both sides should do their utmost to jointly contribute to the international community without engaging in vicious competition and the waste of resources,” he said.

Yen Chen-sheng, a political analyst with Taipei’s Institute for International Relations, said Ma’s speech may irritate China because it ruled out early talks on unification.

“Beijing may not be too pleased,” he said. “But it may accept (the speech) because Ma did not overstep the bottom line of independence.”

by Ebrima Jaw Manneh
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African Press International – API

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South Arica: Cops will root out ‘anarchy’ – Mbeki

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

Publisher: korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.sapa

Johannesburg (South Africa) - President Thabo Mbeki on Monday reiterated his call for an immediate end to attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng, which have left 22 people dead and up to 10 000 seeking refuge in shelters.

“Citizens from other countries on the African continent and beyond are as human as we are and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” the president said in a statement. “We dehumanise ourselves the moment we start thinking of another person as less human than we are simply because they come from another country.” South Africans should appreciate that they were bound to other Africans by culture, economics and above all, history. “South Africa is not and will never be an island separate from the rest of the continent,” he said.

Mbeki called upon those behind the “shameful and criminal acts” to stop. “The law-enforcement agencies must and will respond with the requisite measures against anyone found to be involved in these attacks.”
Mbeki said that everything possible was being done to bring perpetrators to book. “Already, more than 200 alleged perpetrators have been arrested. Both the minister of safety and security and the acting police national commissioner are keeping me informed of developments and I am confident that the police will soon make significant breakthroughs in getting to the root of this anarchy.”

Mbeki thanked the public, police and community members who had joined in with calls for the cessation of violence. “In particular, I would like to thank those who have lent a helping hand to the victims by, amongst others, offering shelter, clothes and food.” These people, he said, had demonstrated true South African spirit. “Let us all work together to make it impossible for the few criminals in our midst to realise their inhuman objectives,” said Mbeki.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) met with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to discuss the current wave of xenophobic attacks, the ANC’s national working committee said on Monday. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the meeting had taken place because the flashpoints where the violence had occurred were places where there was an IFP presence. “Your structure must talk to our structure … so there is no mud-slinging,” he said.

He said the situation was such that anyone could jump on to the bandwagon and trigger a reaction. The two parties had agreed to keep lines of communication open and to work together in all areas where they had structures. The parties would “isolate the criminal element” and work together with law-enforcement agencies. Mantashe said the ANC was looking at all possibilities of what might be behind the attacks. This could be anything, such as whether people felt there was a lack of service delivery or if there was some issue around development houses allegedly being sold for kickbacks.

“Anything that people suspect is the cause we must dig deep into the case,” he said. ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte said speaking to the IFP was a “purely proactive” step. “Where we can work together, we will,” she said. She said all ANC structures had been called to talk directly to the communities where the violence was taking place. A meeting had taken place with all four ministers in the security clusters, she said.
The party could not say by when it hoped the situation could be resolved. The end of a crisis could not be determined by a timeline, said Duarte. The ANC, however, hoped for a “speedy end” to the acts of violence, she said.

South African Human Rights Commission chairperson Jody Kollapen on Monday warned that police may be “stretched” in dealing with the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng. Kollapen, speaking in Durban at a pre-launch event of the Durban Press Club at the International Convention Centre, said the government might have to seriously consider bringing in the army. “My understanding is that the police are stretched,” he said, but warned that “calling in the army has all kinds of implications”. Without some kind of resolution of the conflict, South Africans could take scant comfort from the images being presented in the media.

“We need to be careful. These things spread so easily to other communities.” Kollapen expressed concern that while the police focused resources on the affected communities, those that had as of yet not been affected could find themselves without protection. Asked if the attacks were being orchestrated, he said that he was not aware that there was intelligence pointing to that fact. He believed the attacks were more “copycat” in nature and had been brought about because “the level of resentment towards foreigners is quite high”.

Kollapen said that South Africans viewed that which came from outside the continent in a positive light, while Africa was viewed in a negative light. “You haven’t seen any attacks on Bulgarians, have you?”
He questioned the role of the media prior to the events that brought Gauteng into the international spotlight. “By and large the media has portrayed immigration in a negative light,” he said, citing various headlines.
“What effect does this have on the psyche?” he asked.

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API

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South Africa: A national disgrace

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2008

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

As concern mounted over the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng that have left at least 22 people dead and up to 10 000 people seeking refuge in shelters, President Thabo Mbeki vowed that everything possible would be done to bring perpetrators to book.

“I call upon those behind these shameful and criminal acts to stop! Nothing can justify it. “The law enforcement agencies must and will respond with the requisite measures against anyone found to be involved in these attacks,” Mbeki said. The 2010 Local Organising Committee said the violence would not deter people from coming to the World Cup as they understood the context in which the attacks were happening. Chief executive Danny Jordaan said: “Most people understand that the attacks arise from the conduct of disgruntled people.

“Many people around the world condemn this behaviour.” Jordaan said that it was evident to the international community that the attacks were not nationally condoned. “South African leaders have condemned the attacks and the whole world will see that South Africa does not endorse this behaviour.” Fifa president Sepp Blatter has refused to comment on the impact the attacks would have on the World Cup.
Nobel peace laureate and struggle icon Desmond Tutu also added his voice in condemning the attacks. “Please stop. Please stop the violence now. This is not how we behave. These are our sisters and brothers. Please, please stop,” Tutu said.

The ANC’s national working committee last night called on all party structures to “talk directly to communities to ensure that the rights of all persons living in our country are upheld”. The Western Cape branch of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association said: “For the hatred to boil over in May – the month we celebrate Africa Day – is an embarrassment for all South Africans.” The former freedom fighters said they would educate locals on how the people of neighbouring countries gave them sanctuary when they were forced to flee during apartheid.

“Our presence on the ground caused problems for the governments that sheltered us, attracting unwelcome attention from the apartheid state, but never were we made to feel unwelcome.” The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said two miners from neighbouring countries had been killed in the violence and three injured. It joined the call for military intervention. “Many NUM members come from neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland and others.

“We therefore can’t allow the situation to be polarised further,” said NUM deputy general secretary Oupa Komane. Opposition parties lambasted the government for its handling of the violence. They, too, called for the army to be deployed. DA chief whip Ian Davidson said Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula needed to “pull her head out of the sand” and acknowledge the causes and the extent of the violence in Gauteng.
“The DA is deeply concerned about the extent of the humanitarian crisis developing across Gauteng as a result of violent attacks on foreign nationals.”

The time had come for “targeted intervention” by the government to halt the violence and establish refugee camps for those displaced by it. “The government’s attempts to formulate an adequate response and workable solutions to this stalemate hinge upon a full acknowledgement by the minister that this is an emergency, rather than the workings of a so-called ‘third force’ or a rag-tag of unspecified ‘criminal elements’.”
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the government had not responded adequately.

Mbeki had announced a committee to analyse the causes for this outbreak of barbarity – but this, said Holomisa, would do little good. “Analysis is not good enough. The government is analysing the causes, but its immediate task is to ensure the safety of all who reside in our country, whether local or so-called ‘foreign’,” Holomisa said. Analysing the causes of the violence was a good idea for the medium to long term, but for now “the priority is to stop the bullets, the violence, the looting, the rapes and the setting of people on fire”, Holomisa said.

Two immediate steps were required to restore order, he said. First, Mbeki needed to deliver a nationally broadcast condemnation of the attacks. “Whether this is xenophobia, criminal hooliganism, ethnic hatred or tribalism, what is required is for the chosen government of the people to address the nation to say that this behaviour is totally unacceptable.” Second, the army needed to be called in to assist the police.
The army had transport and personnel resources at its disposal and would be able to bolster police efforts to restore order.

It would also ensure that other normal police duties were not neglected. “This madness must be stopped within 48 hours. It can be stopped in 48 hours.”

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API

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