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Archive for May 29th, 2008

VISUAL MESSAGES COMMUNICATED BY POLITICAL PARTIES IN MALAWI

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

<Send to API by Stewart A. Mafeni.

Visual Communications as held by Lester, 2007 is an exploration into the idea that memorable visual messages with text have the greatest power to inform, educate, and persuade an individual. It stresses the idea that images are a collection of signs that are linked together in some way by the viewer.

Visual aids which are amongst tools of visual communication can be anything from the way one dresses, to writings on any flat surface, party colours, party emblems, to items brought in to show what you are talking about. They support the expressive and receptive communicative needs of presenters, teachers, politicians, or individuals in general. In other words, they are nonverbal symbols that reach the audience via the eyes thereby helping them decode meaning from a particular context. As such, they carry meaning whether positively or negatively. It is the purpose of the present work to discuss visual aids or messages communicated by political parties in Malawi.

In order to understand how visual aids carry meaning, theres a need to understand the basic vocabulary of visual language. By visual language one refers to the idea that communication occurs through visual symbols, as opposed to verbal symbols, or words.

Presenters, teachers, or politicians who understand nonverbal language, especially visual language can and do manipulate attitudes of their audience to suit their purposes. This is so because naturally humans respond to visual messages unconsciously, preferring to believe that their opinions are formed by their own judgment and personal taste.

For example, the body language, party colours, party emblems, dress, and expressions of politicians in the modern age of democratic Malawi seem to be as crucial to the success of a particular partys programme. This also plays a role towards the policies and ideas particular political parties hold. Once the politicians send wrong nonverbal signals, the populace simply does not trust them on whatever platform they may be presenting their ideals.

Visual messages sent through the emblem or colour associated with a particular political party also play a vital role to either build or destroy political groupings.

On the other hand, effective use of visual aids (party colours, party emblems etc) can make listeners overlook a great deal in a politicians or political partys background.

To exemplify this, an experience from Malawi would suffice. Evidently the Malawis transformation from one party state to multiparty government portrayed a clear example of this situation. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which was then the only ruling party in Malawis one party system of government was using a Black Cock as an emblem for the party. Furthermore a slogan kwacha was used in whatever activities the party was conducting.

During the transitional period, new political groupings were formed to advocate for multiparty democracy. These new groupings were known as Political Pressure Groups. They used a lighted lamp as their visual aid (emblem). Therefore two emblems were at play, black cock vs lighted lamp.

VISUAL MESSAGES CARRIED BY THE BLACK COCK AND THE LIGHTED LAMP.

In most cases black is associated with attire used during times of bereavement. Satanism acts are also associated with black colour. The black cock emblem for Malawi Congress Party was the target by underground pressure groups to champion the fight for introduction of multiparty politics in a country which was under one-party authoritarian rule since its independence from the British colonial rule in 1964 under Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP). This was done to effectively sell the idea of multiparty system of government.

The party was associated with evil acts such as murdering its people once they happen to oppose bad policies, throw its critics into Shire River so that they become feed for crocodiles. Simply put, the black cock visual image carried negative messages which to most Malawians was very clear. There was correlation between the black cock and the bad things that were happening during the one rule.

As a result Malawi Congress Party lost during a referendum. The Political Pressure Groups showed and told Malawians about the hidden bad meanings /messages of the black cock.

On the other hand, the lighted lamp emblem for the Political Pressure Groups communicated messages of hope or light at the end of the tunnel. Light is associated with good things. As such a brighter future was talked of by the Pressure Groups.

Showing and telling has been discussed by researchers that it leads to higher retention after some considerable time period. People retain information longer when they receive it both through their eyes and through their ears. Visual aids of the black cock did not require to be carried around. Black cock emblem was in each and every place in Malawi. All the Political Pressure Groups had to do was to ask Malawians to check for it in their party member cards or national flag by then which previously had black cock on it. Audiences that remember a message because the visual aids helped their comprehension or understanding, are more persuaded to take action for change. That is why countrywide they voted for change.

All paraphernalia for MCP had black cock and were likened to satanic worship which demand for use of black attire or black everything everywhere. These negative relationships made Malawians dissociate themselves from Malawi Congress Party. And it lost its massive countrywide support. Black cock was correlated to cruelty, oppression, nepotism, murder and monopoly.

The black cock visual image destroyed Malawi Congress Party. Who would be happy to be associated with negative visual images? MCPs visual symbols turned into its visual distractions or destructions.

MALAWI CONGRESS PARTY DURING THE DEMOCRATIC MALAWI.

After a successful transition into multiparty democracy, MCP confessed to the whole nation that it has now changed. It has become a new MCP.

The nation has been trying to look for that rebirth in MCP. One wonders whether MCP is portraying that new self which has been talked of quite often.

As I have indicated at the beginning that for a very long time visual language has been used to encode meaning. Wikipedia contends that vision gives humans inexhaustibly rich information about the objects, events, political parties or peoples behaviour in the world.

Simple language a picture is worth a thousand words. The body language, dress and expressions of any MCP political leader inside or outside parliament speaks to viewers louder beyond mere words in the multiparty era of government.

What is in an individuals mind may be manifested through his/her actions, utterances and body language thereby sending visual messages.

During 2007 budget sitting, the leader of opposition in parliament who happens to be MCP leader has communicated to the entire nation his self image. Standing on a point of order Section 65 first, budget second. This expressed and communicated a visual message that as a leader John Tembo considers political struggles or power very important above the needs of Malawians. These needs are met by availability of the national budget.

Only that time when the leader of opposition rose up and said no to budget, till injunction on Section 65 is vacated”- did he destroy most his reputation and dignity in the eyes of Malawians thereby minimizing his chances of testing the fruits of the highest office on the land.

The tone in this leaders response communicated more bitterness, anger and uncontrollable ambitions by the leader of opposition to Malawians.

My simple message to opposition leaders is Malawians have been observing, read the writings on the walls. Otherwise your visual messages will be eating you out and it will be difficult to regain any lost glories.

VISUAL MESSAGES THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT COMMUNICATED.

It is believed that the United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi’s former ruling party which is seeking to extend its mandate in the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections, was founded by Brown Mpinganjira, now not very vocal as he used to be when he formed his defunct NDP. Mpinganjira himself has never at any time confirmed or denied the assertion. Under this, visual messages of unclear genesis is evidently communicated.

While the beginnings of the party are scanty, its President and National Chairman Bakili Muluzi claims he is its founder, saying he formed it as a pressure group in 1989.

The UDF and Alliance For Democracy (AFORD) emerged from underground and started campaigning vehemently for change after the Catholic bishops issued an epic pastoral letter in March 1992, criticizing the MCP government of human rights abuse and bad governance, the first ever open challenge Dr. Banda’s one-party rule ever faced since independence.

The pastoral letter opened the way for more debate on whether or not the country should remain a dictatorship or embrace multiparty democracy. As pressure piled up, Banda cracked and later ordered that a referendum take place in June 1993.

When the referendum finally did take place, Malawians overwhelmingly voted for change. That spelt the beginning of the end for Dr. Banda and his MCP.

When the first multiparty general elections were held a year later, in 1994, the UDF scored a landslide victory and wrested power from the MCP’s 30-year stranglehold.

Under Muluzi, the party started well with a lot of promises such as free primary education, poverty alleviation, better social services, good roads, respect for human rights and the rule of law. This sound beginning sent a very upright visual message to Malawians. A bright future that Malawians were anticipating seemed eminent. But later it was evident that instead of bright things, yellowing of everything was coming out.

Ten years down the line, Malawians got disillusioned that they are poorer than they were 10 years ago, according to a UNDP report.

The party with its yellow colours started to lose its grip on the reins when in 2001 its President Bakili Muluzi wanted to manipulate the constitution of the land allowing for open terms rather than the mandatory two five-year terms to give him a chance to continue ruling the country.

After facing strong resistance from the opposition and some rebel UDF MPs, the open-terms bill finally collapsed in parliament in July 2002. Not admitting defeat, the government side drafted another bill to allow the president a third term. This, too, received massive resistance from the opposition and civil society. Sensing another eminent defeat, the government withdrew the bill before it was debated in parliament.

Knowing he would not be given another mandate to rule, Muluzi then handpicked economist Bingu Mutharika in 2003 to his successor,a move which many view as undemocratic. This led to some heavyweights in the party resigning to join the opposition. Simply put, these painted a different visual image for the UDF party. Party officials felt betrayed thereby leading to massive exodus.

Among them are First Vice President Aleke Banda, senior cabinet minister Harry Thomson, former deputy finance minister Jan Jaap Sonke, former deputy agriculture minister Joe Manduwa and most recently Justin Malewezi, vice-president of UDF and state.

With all these defections, the UDF party surely lost the popular support it used to in its heady days.

The yellow colour was associated with leaves of plants during wilting stages. Plant leaves are green but when they turn yellow, it means that they will fall off the plant to later die and decompose. This analogy was likened to UDF. A party that has matured and is now wilting or dying- waiting for regeneration of new leaves. The new growths are the new political parties that have emerged out of UDF.

DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTYS VISUAL MESSAGES.

The new government in Malawi, democratically elected in May 2004, is pursuing an agenda that focuses on growth, wealth creation, and poverty reduction. It recognizes that corruption is a widespread and endemic problem that must be addressed in order for Malawi to realize sustainable economic growth.

After taking office, Mutharika came into conflict with Muluzi, head of the UDF, over Mutharika’s campaign against corruption. The dispute between them has characterized Mutharika’s time in office thus far, and it has been claimed that political conflict is interfering with the country’s governance.

On February 5, 2005, Mutharika announced his resignation from the UDF, saying that he had no support in the party because of his stand against corruption. There had previously been talk of expelling him from the party, and there had also been an alleged assassination plot against him by party members in early January 2005. Those accused were later pardoned by Mutharika, but he maintained the existence of the plot. Mutharika subsequently formed his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In April 2005, Muluzi apologized to the country for choosing Mutharika as his successor “and imposing him on the country”. This communicated an affirmation of Muluzis failure to rule from behind as was previously reported.

Mutharika has upheld the memory of Hastings Banda as a national hero; in May 2006, he was present at the unveiling of a mausoleum for Banda that cost US$620,000. This has earned him high repute and esteem amongst Malawians but mostly people from Central Region.

Through the DPP led government, Malawi has attained debt cancellation, food security, single digit inflation rate, and some sound economic growth. These have communicated a good and sound visual message to the people of Malawi. Message of trust, security, development in most fronts, brighter Malawi and hope.

Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika administration does not practice favouratism in terms of distribution of development activities. For example, each and every constituency is treated with equal measures when it comes to project distribution. Dedza central , a constituency of Honourable John Tembo-leader of opposition in parliament has benefited from these development projects. Mangochi has seen establishment of new food silos though being a stronghold of UDF an opposition political party.

Neno district is a constituency under an opposition MP but it has received development projects. Unlike during UDFs rule where Bakili Muluzi would openly say during his public rallies that where there is an opposition MP, there shall be no development activities.

The stand of DPP on development for all regardless of political parties dominant in that area is a clear visual message for a political party that puts every Malawian at heart. A party whose central focus is on Malawians. This visual aid has helped to build DPP into a strong political party as it enjoys support nationwide though being very new on the scene as compared to other political parties which have failed to penetrate Malawi in all the three regions such AFORD, RP, PETRA, UDF, MCP and PPM .

DPP is doing everything it can to protect this visual language that it has already communicated to the entire Malawi nation. For example, when Regional Governor for the South Nyakamera was quoted as saying no coupons for traditional authorities who support opposition political partiesthe DPP came on the scene instantly with a refutation. The partys secretary general Honourable Hetherwick Ntaba came up with a press statement to refute media reports on the same.

It is very essential to jealously guard the visual message a political party sends out. DPP is aware of this that is why it resorts to every means and ways to protect and safeguard it.

From this discussion, it is evident that visual aids that a particular political party uses may build it or destroy it. A Malawi case has it image to the public.

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API

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Kenya: Tenants in Kisumu to paralyse operations – storm immigration offices over Asian Tycoons conduct

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Publisher: Korir, afrcanpress@getmail.no

By Shem Kosse
Following a recent massive exposure of alleged exploitation of tenants of the ultra-modern shopping malls of the Mega City and Mega plaza situated alongKisumu Nairobi road and the prestigious Oginga Odinga street respectively, the proprietors of the twin malls have now embarked on harassments, intimidations and threats to the tenants fraternity for having leaked the dossier of their agony and the questionable migration status of their manager, to the press.
Talking to this journalist on strict conditions of anonymity, they claimed that the owners of the gigantic building Mithesh Shah, Deepak Shah and the manager Raj Sunil, literally went round each shop, hurling unprinted obscenities to tenants to brace fully for dire consequences of their recent move to lay them bare to the public domain.
I will teach you African idiots a lesson that you will leave to remember. Am highly connected, influential and moneyed you can take me nowhere! thundered the bulky Mithesh Shah, as the trio were walking tall, shuttling from door to door within the magnificent business premises.
The enraged traders have vowed to paralyze the operations of the pair malls and subsequently take to the streets to demonstrate against the managements hefty rental fee and further storm the immigration offices to demand for the deportation of one Raj Sunil, whom they claim is an illegal immigrant who bought Kenyan citizenship.
Sunil citizenship status is rearing its ugly head hot on the heels of a mombasa based Italian business man who is currently criss-crossing the court corridors after thwarting the move by immigration minister Otieno Kajwang to deport him.
It was reported that the fire spitting traders have vowed to default their contractual payment because their relentless efforts to management to renew the terms and conditions of their tenancy, has since fallen on deaf ears.
The tenants bid to read the riot act to the duo Asian tycoons comes at a time when lakeside citys business community is struggling to overcome the negative economic effects slapped on it by post election upheavals.
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API

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Harrowing experience: Court process server held at gun-point and forced to sign affidavits

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Written by Leo Odara Omolo

A court process server in Kisumu is currently living in fear that his enemies real or imagined are plotting for his possible elimination by death.

<John Harun Okello (left) has eventually disappeared from the public and went underground for fear of his dear life.

Okello is a man under siege. He is now hiding in his rural Gem location, not even to venture to the main road fearing that those who had been tormenting him could get hold of him at any time.

Okellos tribulation started last Saturday afternoon. He had just alighted from a Kisumu bound country bus from Nairobi where he had gone for a business. Not knowing that he was a marked man and was being followed by some people, he stopped at a bar called Yala Bar in Manyatta estate, but before he could consume a bottle of beer he had ordered came two men in an open pick-up. The men told him that he was wanted by police. One of the two men was dressed in a black suit, and he believed him to be a genuine police officer.

Okello reluctantly left the Yala Bar in the company of the two men on the understanding that he was underarrest. Instead of being driven to the main Kisumu Police station, the two men drove him to a house, which is a disused residential house cum office. The house is located in Nehru Road. They entered in and within minutes, three other men arrived at the scene.

The men were members of a wealthy Asian family {Sikhs} farming in the Miwani Kibos area. Immediately the three men entered the house, they interogated Mr. Okello and asked him tom sign a series of fresh affidavits. In this affidavits, he was instructed to repudiate and renounced his earlier affidavits, and a statement he had made to the representative of the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Commission{KACC} who had visited Kisumu the previous week to investigate certain issue related to the recent allegedly sale by public auction of the 10,000 hectare neuclus estate farm of ther miwani sugar Mills {1985}, which is the subject of the on-going mega civil suit pending before a Kisumu High court.

He was told that he must sign the new affidavits alleging that he had been forced to append his signatures in the previous affidavits by a local Kisumu based lawyer{name withheld}. The men also took his finger-prints. They offered him Kshs 20,000- which he declined to take. As the interrogation was in progress the alleged policeman produced a revolver and placed it on the table as part of the groups intimidation to have him sign the seemingly prepared documents.

The legal tussle involved the transaction and sales of Miwani farm to an alleged decree-holder plaintiff is in progress. The plaintiff, however, has remained a ghost in a case which has elicited a lot of controversies involving lawyers, magistrates, and the receiver management of Miwani Sugar Mills Limited. The stage managed auction allegedly took place last December and the farms land title deed was transferred the same day.

It later emerged that the management of the Miwani Sugar Mills were unaware of the unfolding court cases.

Okello yesterday narrated that after being forced to sign the fresh affidavits at gun-point. He immediately moved to the CID headquarters in Nairobi where he gave a statement. He was given a letter by the Deputy CID director to take to the Nyanza DCIO on the alleged harrassment and intimidation by police. It later emerged that the policeman who had taken part in Mr. Okellos interrogation could not be identified.

Okello said that his involvement in the matter started in May 2007 when he was approached by somebody who he knew well. The man told him that he had some summons to serve on Miwani Sugar mills{1985} for unpaid debt. He undertook to do the jobs, but when he visited the company, there was nobody responsible who could accept the summons/ He returned and informed the man who devised another method that he should make photo copies and have the summons posted to Miwani Sugar Company by a registered postal mail. Which he did. Some other copies were later sent by van carriers.

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Okello said he innocently did the job well as had been requested by his friend, who later it was transpired to be an employee of an asian family with the vested interests in Miwani Sugar neuclus estates. But all this time, he had no idea nor slightest information that what he was doing had some element of forgery. He was duly paid his dues. But the matter became worse for him early this year, when the issue become a subject of courts legal tussle.

The case is sounding like a Hollywood story. It involved a lot of interests, which include local politicians, senior government officials, lawyers and other parties. It is said to involve investors and industrialists both foreign and locals

The government, which now owns 100 per cent shares through the Kenya Subar Board had called for bids in its effort to off-load it shares to new investors., And one firm hadmade a bid to buy the facility at Kshs 3.7 billion. But the sale has been shelved following the emergence of a legal tussle over the companys neuclus estate. The issue has also attracted the interest of the local farming community in Kano plains and Kajulu areas

Okello has nowappealed to the government to protect the courts process servers in the same manner it protects the Judges, magistrates and other senior court officials, because the process servers are always handling some serious and risky documents involving millions of shillings in litigation cases, which puts their lives at a high risk.

He said he had reported the matter and gave the PCIO a letter from one Mr. Bakari from CID headquarters and gave the names of people who had interrogated him. He knew them well and gave their names to this writer, but for legal reason the names cannot be divulged.

Mr. Okello has also become suspicious that the KACC men who had interrogated him were working in collaboration with his tormentors because when they interrogated him a fresh, they seemed to have the full details of what he had told the KACC men. He revealed that the KACC men had interviewed him at the sunset hotel and on their second mission the interview was conducted at a small hotel called Nyawanda, which is located on the main Kisumu-Kakamega road.

He said he had now abandoned his Kisumu Office from where he used to operate when handling court summons due to fear for his dear life, especially when the police frankly denied thatany of their officers were involved in the kidnapping plot.

After signing the document, the men drove him back to Manyatta after two hours of close door interrogation. It was then thathe went back to Yala Bar and paid his bill for the beer he had consumed before he was taken away forcefully from the bar in full view of other customers and the bar owner.

Okello has now appealed to the Police Commissioner and the Nyanza PPO to intervene with the view to ensure this safety, and to issue a public statement over the issue.

Thye Nyanza PPO and the PCIO could not be reached for the verification of Mr.Okellos claims. But it is understood that the affidavits, which he had been forced to sign under duress would definitely be used in the civil case now pending before a Kisumu court.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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API

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Kenya: ODM MPs opposed to Raila will join Grand Opposition in Parliament no matter what he says.

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

Opposition to hold two-day retreat

By Alex Ndegwa and Ayub Savula

MPs fighting for official Opposition in Parliament have accused some foreign diplomats of hatching a plot to derail their plans.

Announcing that they would today head to Nakuru for a two-day retreat, the members claimed they had collected 80 signatures from MPs supporting their cause.

Mutito MP, Mr Kiema Kilonzo, said members would use the retreat to fine-tune a Private Members Bill to be presented when Parliament resumes next month.

However, Kilonzo did not disclose the number of MPs who had confirmed that they would attend.

During a Press conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, four MPs Kilonzo, Mr Cyrus Jirongo (Lugari), Mr Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Mr Mithika Linturi (Igembe South) warned foreign envoys to keep off Kenyas opposition affairs.

Without disclosing the names of ambassadors or the foreign missions involved, Kilonzo warned the envoys to stop meddling with Kenyas internal affairs.

New twist

“For obvious reasons, I cannot disclose names of the foreign envoys. What I can tell you is that today at 4pm, some MPs have been invited to some residences to lobby them against this Bill,” Kilonzo said.

The allegations introduced a new twist to the raging debate on the controversial plan by some ODM and PNU MPs to amend the law to provide for a coalition opposition.

Last week, a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Kibaki opposed the move on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional.

A grand opposition, the Cabinet said, would contradict the National Accord and Reconciliation Act and rock the fledgling coalition Government.

In what was seen as an attempt to tighten the noose around the MPs and warning that they risked losing their parliamentary seats, the President gazetted July 1 as the date when the Political Parties Act would come into force.

In the Act, any MP who supports the activities of a party other than the one that sponsored him or her to Parliament would be deemed to have defected and should, therefore, seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.

Last week, the Cabinet advised parties in the coalition Government to meet their parliamentary groups and reach an amicable solution. As a follow up, Raila met ODM MPs at the weekend in Nairobi to prevail upon them to drop their plans.

But Budalangi MP, Mr Ababu Namwamba, accompanied by 10 MPs, declared at a rally in his constituency at the weekend that nothing would stand in their way.

Although they said the political parties law did not compel them to resign, Kilonzo said in Budalangi they were willing to seek a fresh mandate from voters if need be.

Namwamba said the battle for the formation of the grand opposition in Parliament must be won.

“As far as I am concerned, I have my democratic right to be in the grand opposition and this does not mean that I am going to join another party,” he said.

Namwamba, the man behind the opposition initiative, said he had not fallen out with his party leader. He had only differed with Railas opinion, not on party affairs.

“I am in ODM and we dont intend to form another party. We are only agitating for the Grand Opposition,” he said.

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African Press International – api

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Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Written by Sam Okello

The question uppermost on Kenyans minds today iswhats happened to Raila Odinga? Ive met many Kenyans during my travels whove asked me to explain what the ODM game plan is. I dont pretend to be an insider in ODM politics. Matter of fact, Im just a humble writer. But I know something about the Hon Odingas kind of politics because Ive watched the man for years. I therefore propose that for us to understand where the Prime Minister is coming from, lets study how he hashandled the most crucial public momentsof his life.

1. When I first heard of Raila Odinga, I was in Form 1 at Kamagambo High School. On a Sunday morning, I was told that the Moi government had been overturned and that a certain Lt. Ochuka had acted in concert with Mr. Odinga to beat another bunch of plotters led by Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo. I was intrigued by the events. When you are a young man, such things as coups are very exciting. But to come to the point, the important thing here is to answer the Why question. Why did Raila find it necessary to kick Moi out by force? The answer is simple. Moi was literally raping Kenya. Be reminded that the man was presiding over a regime that instigated and abetted tribal clashes in the Rift Valley, killed political rivals like Dr. Ouko, looked the other way as corruption threatened the economy, and enriched his familyand the families of his croniesbeyond measure. So why did Raila do it?
2. As I became of age, I watchedas the Hon Odingatransformed himself into a political machine unrivaled in Kenya politics. Matter of fact, Im persuaded that the Langata MP is the most charismatic, most formidable politician Kenya has ever produced.JM came close. The point here is that Raila decided to become a politician to save the nation.You have to remember that during that time, the winds of democratic change were sweeping across Africa and the world. The only way to legitimately acquire power was through the ballot. So Raila did just that. If you ask me, thats a man who plays by the rules.
3. Now that Im a grown man, Ive watched Raila handle fame and fortune with dignity and humility. Hes managed to build a business empire and a political following that makes his rivals go through sleepless nights. Youll recall that he led the nation to defeat theretrogressive Constitution fronted by Kibaki during the referendum. He led the nationto defeat the Uhuru Project. He led the nation to floor Kibaki at the polls.He led the nation to find peace after Kibaki stole the elections in a fashion befitting a man blessed with just a quarter of a brain. Did somebody say Kibaki was a Makerere alum? How he shames his alma mater! The point Im making here is that Raila has always led the nationto a better place.
4. Finally, we all watched, after the stolen elections,how Raila handled one of the most explosive situations Kenya has ever had to deal with. Love him or hate him, what you saw was a man who worried about Kenya more than he worried about himself. He chose to create peace for Kenyas children rather than create space for himself at the State House. That tells a lot about a mans core beliefs and character.
Fellow Kenyans, Ive brought up the matter of the Hon Odinga because many people dont understand what the plan is for the future. What we must all understand is that we are up against the forces of doom. Were up against a cartel that has horded power and wealth since independence. They derailed our democracy in 2007, but we will not let them again. So when you see Moi scheme in the Rift Valley, just remind him that we defeated the Uhuru Project and we will defeat him again. When you see Kalonzomap a GEMA game plan, just remind the traitor that we are writing his final chapter in Kenyan politics. And when you see Kibakisallies do everything to humiliate the Prime Minister, just remind them that we beat them before and we will do it againat a time of our choosing.
Why am I so confident? Because Itrust the Kenyan people. And I trust Raila Odinga. I know for sure thata time is coming when a different kind of politics will have to be played. But, friends, that time is not now. The wise know that you only tip your hand when the path to victory is clear. So as we go forward, let us rejoice that the youth of Central Province, led by the Mungiki leadership, have teamed up with their fellow Kenyans to create a just and humane society.A society where all Kenyan children are cared for regardless of where they come from. Can we do it? Yes we can!
So let the Hon Odinga draw his game plan. In the fullness of time, hell tell us where we are going and how well get there. When that time comes, dont be caught sleeping. Let the man who has called himself the bridge to the future cross the Jordan with us, then well pick the fruits when we get yonder!
For love of Country,

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no, African Press International – API

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The Ministry effects transfers of Chief Officers

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

By Dickens Wasonga, Kenya.

The ministry of local government has effected changes which saw seven chief officers moved within Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces.Notables amongst the changes includes that of the clerk to the municipal council of Kisumu Mr. Rashid Mwakiwiwi who has been at the council for less than two years.
Mr. Mwakiwiwi who was in the news recently for launching a programme to repossess council houses now moves to Malindi county council as the town clerk a move viewed by many as a demotion.The decision to repossess the houses which was allegedly passed by a full council meeting was bitterly contested by those targetted who claimed that it was bieng done selectively to settle scores.So far only one occupant has been evicted while over ten tenants had been identified and many are now wondering what became of the programme.Those who are in the knowclaims that the transfer could have been as a result of infighting and bad blood between the clerk and the new mayor cllr. Sam Okelo.
The two are understood to have been at loggerheads and on several occassions the Nyanza PLGO had to call them to his office to try to help them iron out thier differences in vain.
Mwakiwiwi will be replaced by Mr.Joshua Kutekha who moves in as the new Kisumu town clerk from his former Kakamega municipal council base.
Mr.Tabman Otieno moves from Mavoko municipal concil to replace Mr. Kutekha as the new clerk to the municipal council of Kakamega.
The transfers also affected the Malava acting town clerk Mr. Joe Odundo who was transfered to Kisii municipal council as the deputy clerk.
Bomet town treasurer Mr. Chris Kiptala goes to Suba while Stephen Osiro who has been the treasurer Suba moves Bomet.
Suba has also been on the spot light recently after the alleged misappropriation of the Ksh.14M which the council received as lease payment from Osienala which was carrying a reforestation project.
Kisumu deputy town clerk Mr. Wison Mwita was also moved to Kimilili as the clerk while Wilson Chebii was transfered to Kericho municipal council as the town clerk.
Nicholas Kalela also moves from Homa-Bay to Gusii as the new town clerk while Josphat Ayonga who was assistant town clerk at Kericho municipal council will now be the new acting clerk in Homa-bay.
The changes contained in a letter dated 21 May 2008, from the office of the PS Mr. Sammy Kirui  takes effect immediately and those affected should report to their new stations not later than 3rd of June.
ENDS.

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Gun battle in Mogadishu leaves 18 civilians dead, several injured

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

At least 18 people died late on Monday, eight of them during a fierce clash between the Ugandan soldiers of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Islamist forces in south Mogadishu, eyewitnesses, medical workers told APA.

The fighting, which was the heaviest battle to rock the area for a couple of months began after the Islamist insurgents indiscriminately fired rocket -propelled grenades and machine guns, which caused panic amongst residents of the area.

The Ugandan soldiers responded with artillery barrages and other automatic weapons that the residents of Mogadishu have not witnessed in the past 17 years of clashes.

Major Bariyge Bahuko, spokesman for the African Union forces told APA that no casualties were reported amongst his soldiers but indicated that they had killed two of the attackers.

“It was an unsuccessful assault on the AMISOM lines in KM4 area. An unknown group attacked our base and fired mortars and threw grenades but after a while, we chased them away and killed two of them,” Major Bariyge Bahuko told APA.

“Our soldiers are professionals and they only target the attackers and they know how to defend themselves. We did not kill any civilians and also our shells were not directed at the civilians,” he added.

Meanwhile, Alshabab, the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union, which the United States has labelled a terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the attack on the AMISOM base.

“Our martyrs carried out the attack on the AMISOM base and we succeeded during the operation because we hit their building and damaged it, Alshaba spokesman Muktar Robow told APA.

“There were no any casualties on our soldiers but we will continue attacking them till Somalia is liberated from the invading enemies,” he added.

Elsewhere, in Mogadishu, there were several other casualties killed under various circumstances.

Mogadishu has seen more violence after the Ethiopian invasion to help the transitional federal government pacify Mogadishu, in late 2006 taking over control from the Islamic Courts Unions that had stabilized the south and central regions including the city for six months.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan based militias to fight each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan warfare since then.

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API

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Good for Kenya that Wood is leaving the country – He has been behaving like a small King

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

Wood, Kiai reiterate call for no amnesty

Outgoing British High Commissioner Adam Woods has expressed concern over what he termed as a continued culture of impunity in the country.

In particular reference to calls for blanket amnesty to perpetrators of the post election violence, Wood said it is unfortunate that the law appears to be applied selectively and only targets the poor.

Speaking at the Kenya National Commission on Human rights headquarters on a bid farewell to the civil society members after a 3 year stint in the country as British envoy, Wood took the opportunity to offer an assessment of the country’s handling of justice matters.

Wood is particularly dismayed by the culture of impunity and the selective application of law in criminal cases.

His host, Chairman of the Human rights commission Maina Kiai reiterated that no amnesty should be granted to suspects of the post election violence and called for prosecution of both the actual perpetrators of violence and their financiers.

Wood said the International community is closely watching the grand coalition government to ensure it delivers on the reform agenda.

Kiai also revealed he will be quitting the Commission as Chairman at the expiry of his term by the end of July.

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API

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Tribal, religious leaders sue for peace in the Sahara

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

A delegation from the Popular and Social League of the Great Sahara Tribes comprising traditional and religious leaders from 21African and Asian countries is visiting Niger to find solutions to the insecurity prevailing in the Sahara area, mainly in northern Niger and Mali.
The delegations spokesman, Harika Azdine notes that this visit is part of exchanges with the Niger authorities on the situation in the north of the country in an effort to contribute to the return of peace, reconciliation and concord among the population”.

Azdine, who was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting on Wednesday with Niger acting Prime Minister, Albad Abouba (the holder attending the TICAD IV in Japan) added that his delegation was pleased with the “fruitful exchanges and the readiness” of the Niger authorities for peace.

“The visit by your delegation is a sign of regard, fraternity and solidarity and the Niger people are aware of this move”, the acting PM said.

Since February 2007, Niger has been facing an upsurge of rebel attacks by the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) which is demanding a better reintegration of the population in the uranium-rich northern part of the country with potential for oil potential production.

According to him, by taking up arms, the protagonists of this insecurity can only deter investors, saying that “the issues of poverty raised by those who took up arms are only used to conceal illicit activities mainly drug and arms trafficking”.

He further decried the existence of networks “which due to our porous borders and inadequate means of our states to control the Sahara, are operating in this area while fuelling a situation of insecurity in this space shared by various countries”.

The delegation has already visited neighbouring Mali which is also facing an insecurity in its northern part while some of the delegates are now in Chad.

Popular and Social League of the Great Sahara Tribes, launched in 2006 in Timbuktu (Mali) under the aegis of Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi, groups tribal and religious leaders from 21 countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Mali, Eritrea, Chad, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Mauritania.

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API

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Nigerien leader, Egyptian envoy discuss next AU Summit

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

President Mamadou Tandja of Niger and the Egyptian ambassador to Niger, Mohamed El Samany, on Wednesday held talks focusing mainly on the organisation of the next African Union summit, slated in June-July in the Egyptian resort of Sham el Sheikh.

Addressing reporters in Niamey, the Egyptian diplomat said he delivered a message from President Hosni Mubarak to the Nigerien leader.

He further said he “evoked the presence of a three-staff team of Egyptian ophthalmologists in Niger and the arrival of two doctors”.

According to Ambassador El Samany, these Egyptian doctors will soon be deployed to practice in the eight regions of Niger.

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API

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Court gives Madonna full custody of Malawi boy

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

International superstar Madonna has been granted a full adoption order of Malawi toddler David Banda by the Malawi High Court sitting in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

Madonnas lawyer, Allan Chinula of William and Faulkner Law Firm told journalists outside the courts soon after the ruling that presiding Judge Andrew Nyirenda authorised a full custody with no conditions attached.

“We are very happy with the judgement given. It is over now. The judgement was very reasonable and it would have a lot of impact to the laws of the country on child adoption,” he said.

He said the judgement has cleared the mist which surrounded the case, adding that it would provide the guidelines for future adoptions in the country.

Chinula also stressed the need to those responsible for law reforms in the country to speed up so that Malawi should start using the adoption laws which have international standards in them to avoid the experience which Madonna had.

Currently, the country does not have child adoption laws.

The chief social welfare officer in the ministry of Gender and Child Development, Symon Chisale said he was very happy with the ruling made on the case. “The ministry will continue in passing on the message to Davids biological father, Yohane Banda in Mchinji a district bordering Zambia.

Madonna adopted the child in 2006 and was given temporary custody pending a decision of the court.

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API

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Gun battle in Mogadishu leaves 18 civilians dead, several injured

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

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

At least 18 people died late on Monday, eight of them during a fierce clash between the Ugandan soldiers of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Islamist forces in south Mogadishu, eyewitnesses, medical workers told APA.

The fighting, which was the heaviest battle to rock the area for a couple of months began after the Islamist insurgents indiscriminately fired rocket -propelled grenades and machine guns, which caused panic amongst residents of the area.

The Ugandan soldiers responded with artillery barrages and other automatic weapons that the residents of Mogadishu have not witnessed in the past 17 years of clashes.

Major Bariyge Bahuko, spokesman for the African Union forces told APA that no casualties were reported amongst his soldiers but indicated that they had killed two of the attackers.

“It was an unsuccessful assault on the AMISOM lines in KM4 area. An unknown group attacked our base and fired mortars and threw grenades but after a while, we chased them away and killed two of them,” Major Bariyge Bahuko told APA.

“Our soldiers are professionals and they only target the attackers and they know how to defend themselves. We did not kill any civilians and also our shells were not directed at the civilians,” he added.

Meanwhile, Alshabab, the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union, which the United States has labelled a terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the attack on the AMISOM base.

“Our martyrs carried out the attack on the AMISOM base and we succeeded during the operation because we hit their building and damaged it, Alshaba spokesman Muktar Robow told APA.

“There were no any casualties on our soldiers but we will continue attacking them till Somalia is liberated from the invading enemies,” he added.

Elsewhere, in Mogadishu, there were several other casualties killed under various circumstances.

Mogadishu has seen more violence after the Ethiopian invasion to help the transitional federal government pacify Mogadishu, in late 2006 taking over control from the Islamic Courts Unions that had stabilized the south and central regions including the city for six months.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan based militias to fight each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan warfare since then.

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API

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Raila declares war against illegal settlers in Mau Forest

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Publisher: Korir africanpress@getmail.no
Story by Leo Odera Omolo
Kenyass Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday became the top grand coalition government official to make an extensive tour of the endangered , but important life saving Mau Forest Complex in the South Rift.
He led a team of cabinet Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officialsin making an aerial survey of the massive destruction of water catchmnent, environmental degradation and indiscriminate felling of indigenous trees in the area.
At one point when the PM addressed a mammoth crowd at Tenduet, he came face to face with pangs of accusations and anger of from the local community and was told in face that government officials and the local MPS who were in his entourage were the culprits in hiving off the forestland and were the owners of the adjacent illegal farms.
In an emotional remark the nominated Narok Councillor Jackson Kamunye caused stir when he told the Prime Minister that some of the MPs who had accompanied him were the land grabbers. He also level similar accusation to senior public servant at the Provincial Administration in Nakuru who were also present He shouted ,Those implicated in execising the main Mau Forest and acquiring land are some of the MPs who are here today. One was defeated during the last general election, but another grabber who is also present here is from the Provincial Administration,
During his flight over the 420,00 hetares Mau Forest Complex, the PM was accompanied by the Ministers; Dr. Noah Wekesa {Forestry}, MRS Charity Ngilu {Water},William Ole Ntimama {Heritage} and James Aggrey Orengo the Minister for Land and Settlement.
Also accompanying the PM were MPS Isaac Ruto {Chepalungu},Zakayo K.Cheruiyot\{Kuresoi},Dr. Julius Kones{Konoin}; Luka Kigen{Rongai},Nkaidili Ole Lankas{Narok South} an assistant Minister for \l\ands Gonzi Rai.
Parmanent Secretaries present were. Kombo Mwe0{Forestry},Dorothy Angote{Lands} and Dr. Mohammed Ishakia{PMs Office}
The visit came in the backdrop of the public outcry that the widespread invasion of the Mau Forest by illegal settlers and destruction of indigenous trees, illegal logging and indiscriminate felling of trees at random.It had also emerged that the forestland had been coverted into farmland by unscrupulous settlers who had encroached the forest boundaries in all fronts. And unlawful planting of tea bushes in the catchment areas.
The group saw the thick smoke emanating from hundreds of illegal charcoal burners from burning kilns bellow .
The latest tour by the MP came on the heel of another visit by the Minister for Environment John Michuki who also flew over the vast forestland on May 8, 2008 .Michuki later told the newsmen that he was horrified by the destruction by the destruction of the all-important life supporting natural ecosystem.
Odinga visit was prompted by a equally horrifying report compiled by a team of experts from UNEP, headed by Mr.Christian Lambrechta and other stakeholders who had ealier in the week presented the PM with their report..
The reports showed that Mau Forest was under siege due to human activity and had lost close to 100,000 hectares of forestland in the last ten years. Kenya, the team said was loosing Kshs 20 billion annually as the result of wanton destruction of the forests.
Reports emerging from the North Rift says that timber merchants have also turned and focused their attention to commercial forestry in Keiyo and Marakwet districts for the purpose of earning a living in the lucrative business thathas the government lose billions of shillings.
The pirates have ventured into the business easily by colluding with the forest officials and police.
In Keiyo district, illegal loggers too the advantage of the recent post-election. Violence and unlawfully harvested dozens of hectares of trees at Benon Forest, Kptagat, Msekegwa and Sibor forests.Most of the harvest trees were hidden and were later transported when normalcy returned and they are reportedly in high peak at the moment ferrying the goods[timbers} in hide and seek game.with the authorities.
Wanton destruction of indigenous trees have also been reported to be widespread in Lembus forest Eldama Ravine where the logger are said to have targeted the prized sandal trees and podo.
Raila told a meeting in Kuresoi that the government was treating the matter seriously and was determined to come up with a lasting solution.
The UNEP report on the invasion of the Mau forest had raised alarm over the future of forest projects in Kenya alarmed the government . It has spell the doom on the future of million of people that depend on forest for their survival..
Some of the projects which stands threaten by wanton destruction of trees include the Kshs 18 billion Japanese government supported Sondu Miriu and Sangoro hydro-power project plant that depend on the southwest Mau River as well as lakes Nakuru and Baringo-all are at the centre of the crisis
The report by UNEP experts hs revealed that a total of 1,962 land title deed were issued .irregularly in the Maasai Mau, leading to encroachment on the government trust land..
In its efforts and struggle to save forest, the government of Kenya has at times deploye the use of force in its eviction of illegal occupants, with the process sometime taking political dimension.
But the PM said this week that his office decided to engage the stakeholders so that a solution which is devoid of confrontation and controversy could be found.
If resettlement is necessary, we need to know how to do it without usinf force,said the PM said.
The 420,000 hectares Mau Forest Complex is part of the catchment area of the River Nile Basin. Water bodies such as Lake Nakuru and Ewaso Nyiro are under threat due to the drop in the water level upstream.
UNEPs record indicate that about 50 per cent of forestland for the Nakuru catchmen area has been lost in the last ten years.
In the past, the government carried out evictions of illegal settlers by force where thousands of people ere forcibly uprooted. Environmental groups have also expressed concern over lost of forest cover and its negative impact.
The report underscored the importance of environmental. Stability for economic development, at the same time recommending that rehabilitation of the forest be undertaken as well as addressing pf human activity..
A couple of weeks ago, for several times, the authorities had impounded lorries transporting timber by forest officials as was witnessed in the cases of Keiyo and Marakwet forests.The action resulted in a number of con traders being netted in the dragnet mounted by combined security personnel. Those arrested were prosecuted ina Kitale court, but they could not afford to abandon the deal and after some of them were released on court bails they embarked on secret schemes to retrieve they impounded goods.
Also impounded were lorries and several power saws during the operation which revealed that the illegal loggers had constructed their own makeshift roads into the forest
The operation came as the result of a tip off by the police at Kapcherop and forest officers who were allegedly colluding with pirates.
Marakwet district had reported minimal destruction during the post-election skirmishes, but the forest officials had managed to impound more than 80 tonnes of timber and arrested nine suspects who were locked up at Kapcherop police station.
A senior forest officer in the district disclosed that the illegal logger had even constructed a man made road, but the authority had even arrested the owner of the saw mill altogether with his entire workforce.
The destruction of Mau forest is also a threat to the people of the entire western Kenya region as it is believed to the source of the recent drastic drop in the level of water in Lake Victoria.
Ends
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API

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General Koech quits ODM, leaving the party in South Rift hanging on the balance

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Story by Leo Odera Omolo, Kericho – Kenya
The massive support that the Orange Democratic Movement {ODM} had enjoyed in the South Rift region during last December general election seemed to be fizzling out too fast following unconfirmed reports that its nomination preliminaries in both Ainamoi and Kilgoris constituencies were sham and massively rigged.
The ODM suffered a major political set-back in Kipsigis land as the man who is perceived to be Raila Odingas staunchest political ally in the area announced that he had quit the party after being rigged twice.
The former deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. {rtd} John Koech made a terse statement saying he was quiting the ODM. Koech is believed to have won the last Saturday preliminary nomination in Ainamoi, but he was once again robbed of his victory following the alleged scam of stuffing ballot boxes with unstamped ballot papers, which were casted in favour of MR. Benjamin Langat, the younger brother of the late MP for the area David Kimutai Too, who eventually emerged the winner.
Local political pundits and the observers alike have placed the blame in the doorstep of the Belgut MP Charles Keter who is an Assistant Minister for Energy in the grand coalition for having been allegedly involved in the massive rigging. Keter, the pundits claimed had vested interestin the Ainamoi constituency and is out to ensure that no strong candidate emerges the winner, and that such a scenario would threaten his own position in the neighbouring Belgut constituency.
The end of the preliminary nomination exercise last Saturday, two contenders, Gen. Koech and a Nairobi businessman David Cheruiyot Kitur were on the lead. But during the countingof the votes, it emerged that some ballot boxes were stuffed with thousands of unstamped ballot papers, clearly showing that there were elements of irregularities. The losers immediately sent protest notes to the party headquarters.
It later emerged that Raila Odinga, the party overall leader was in favour of a repeat of the exercise, so that the genuine could emerged. But senior politicians in the ODM from the Rift Valley who had vested interest in the constituency intervened and ordered for the release of the nomination certificate to Mr. Benjamin Langat in an unclear circumstances.
The action has provoked anger among the Kipsigis supporters ODM supporters who immediately urged both Gen Koech and Mr. Kitur to lodge their protests with the ODM headquarters in Nairobi.
Another thorny issue, which is likely to destroy the ODM in Ainamoi and perhaps make the party loose the by-election is the Prime Ministers speech yesterday in Molo, after he had flown over the endangered Mau Forest to assess environmental damage and destruction of indigenous trees and forest land in the water catchment area. The Prime Minister insisted in his speech that the close to 15,000 illegal squarters would be evicted, though this time around, he said the eviction exercises would be carried out in a humane manner, but not with brutalities like those of the past.
The majority of the illegal squarters are members of the Kipsigis sub-tribe, a community whose MPs have of lately been grumbling with myriad of complaints against the ODM as the result of the cabinet appointments in the grand coalition government. TheMPs from the region had made it clear that they were shopping for another popular party, and now that the ODM is being blamed for having conducted yet another flawed nomination in the region this could be complicated for Raila, whose hitherto was the man of the dayin the region.
Obviously, the eviction ofillegal settlers in Mau Forest would definitely feature prominently in the campaign in Ainamoi. So far four other aspirants had by yesterday presented their nomination papers to the ECK and were duly nominated to contest the seat. KANUis sponsoring a Nairobi businessman Mr. Paul Chirchir, while dr. Paul Chepkwony who came second to the late Mr. too in the December general election is again on the race on an UDM ticket. He is a senior lecturer at the Eldoret Moi University and being considered as a strong challenger to the ODM candidate.
Another strong candidate is Mr.. John Kibet Keino of the Agano party and Mr. Parven Sigei of the UDP. The fallout in ODM could be of much value to KANU faction, which is led by Gideon Moi . The talks , which is making the round in Kericho town and its environment is that Mr. Moi could offer a better alternative leadership to the seemingly chaotic ODM nomination system.
Pundits were quick in pointing out that the departure of Gen Koech could spell doom and possibly the end of the ODM influence in the region. After losing in the preliminary nomination exercise in similar fashion last year, Gen Koech steadfastly stayed on and vigorously campaigned for the party in the entire Kipsigis region. When his name was floated to the party bosses with two other names that of Joel Kirui and Mrs Rachel Yegon, not even one single MP stood firm and pressurized the ODM luminaries for anyone among the three to be nominated. Raila was later quoted as saying that the three names had lacked the goodwill blessing of their MPs.
ODM members in Kericho were heard murmuring in low tone saying that {enough is enough} and were in full support of Gen Koech saying he had worked hard for the party only to be rigged out twice. The General who is a man of substantial means, is believed to have spent a fortune using his own resources in the December campaign and was expecting to be rewarded with either nomination and goodwill support to enable him win the by-election. That is why he had no option but to quit in huff. ODM also is blamed by the locals as lacking logistic backing and support in place for its candidates and as such could easily be beaten in the Ainamoi contest if either KANU or PNU threw their weight behind one candidate.
ends
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API

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