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Archive for May 30th, 2008

Child Prostitution on the Rise in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Story received from Fred Obera

Child prostitution ruins schooling in Kenya. As children are being turned into tourist attractions in Kenya, their rights are undermined, there futures are destroyed completely, and perhaps they are left with HIV and AIDS.

A study by the Kenyan Institute of Policy Analysts and Research (IPAR) has found that Kenya is a major source, transit and destination country for trafficked women, men and children who are forced into unpaid work or forced in to prostitutions.

The report, Trafficking in Persons from a Labour Perspective: the Kenya experience, published by the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, highlights a problem that seems to have evaluated in the last few years- as the buying and selling of human being continues.

The study shows that Kenyans victims are being trafficked to other countries mostly through bogus employment agencies that deceive victims into going abroad for work. Unsuspecting victims are then sent to European, Australia, North America, or the Middle East/Gulf region, where they end up as bonded labour or prostitutes. Some African countries such as South Africa and Botswana are also recipients of these modern day slavery.

Nevertheless- many of victims in this business are children who are being exploited, who then imported from the rural homes in Kenya, countries such as Germany and Italy leads in child for sex tourism in the coastal Kenya. Both of these countries are said to be prone to child exploitation- sex. At the Kenyan coast where the two countries tourists flock; they flock into Kenya coast with the aim of child prostitution and sex for tourism, the little girls as from the age of 12-25, are the eyesore for these old frail tourists from these European countries. In the same coastal cities two towns have been marked as tourists child sex towns in Kenya, where the white aging 60s, 70s and 80s are frequently spotted with young little girls aging 12-25 whom they call their girlfriends or fiancs. These little children have been turned into sex slavery.

The ugly part of this is that- these children drop-out from school having been lured into early relationships and sex by these tourists.

According to the latest ILOs report, estimates (2006), the number of child lobourers by 11 percent globally over the past four years and the number of children in hazardous work have decreased by 26 percent. While this encouraging, there are still 218 million child labourers worldwide, 126 million of which are engaged in hazardous work. Kenya alone in the horn of Africa leads with humanizing forms of child labour; child prostitution and sex tourism are cases which are very rampant at the Kenyan coastal towns, child trafficking, child slavery, child domestic labour and many more forms of child labour.

In western Kenya, where the region has undergone economic deprivation- due to government alienation and political suppression. The region native find it quite imperative to address the economic challenges which has deployed both negative and positive impact on children. Many children are running away from schools especially with the hope of free primary education, due to the poverty situation in this region where children find it much impossible to seat in a class and pay attention while starving. The social protection in this region and delivery of basic services like education, health, housing and food security puts many families in a bizarre nightmare. These have been the major obstacles to tackle by both the failed governments and the people, in view of economic difficulties experienced in this region.

These factors have modified overall patterns of child employment. Many children at the age of 10-15, have exploited the booming agriculture labour. The sugarcane plantation has the major hotspot in this region, where children wake up at dawn to walk at a distance of 5 to 10 kilometres in search for work, these has been witnessed in most western region districts like Nyando, Rachuonyo, Busia, Mumias, Kisumu and many more.

Nevertheless, the terror of child labour is still shifting every year from agriculture to industry and to services, and more so. Henceforth, these children are being exploited from the wage earning- having worked for more than 8hours and at the same time get underpaid as little as 1 US Dollar. Despite this little wage income, they still have no alternative in that the grinding poverty puts many children to work at a very young age, some of these children are also orphaned.

However, and in brief, the Government of Kenya, International Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, political parties, religion and employers need to cooperate in a joint venture to curb this kind of vice, destroying the future of the next generations and giving Kenya a bad picture to the international communities.

—————————–

African Press International – api

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Poll loser freed after three days

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

Story by JOHN NGIRACHU

A politician at the heart of an election and nationality dispute has been released after three days in custody.

Mr Mahamud Sirat, who was being held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport cells, Wednesday claimed he had been tortured while in custody.

He also alleged that police stole Sh700,000 from him during his arrest.

Mr Sirat is disputing the election of Mr Abdirahman Ali Hassan of Kanu, as the Wajir South MP.

But a deportation order had been issued against him on allegations that he was Australian.

Passport

At a press conference in Nairobi Wednesday, Mr Sirat denied the claims, saying he was a Kenyan.

He, however, declined to comment on Immigration minister, Otieno Kajwangs claims that he was in possession of an Australian passport, saying it would interfere with a court case.

Mr Kajwangs order to have Mr Sirat deported to Australia was suspended for 60 days by the High Court on Tuesday.

And Wednesday, police deputy spokesman Charles Owino told the Nation they had not received any complaints from Mr Sirat.

——————

API

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Milking the tax-payers kitty: Kenyan MPs to be paid 1million Kenya shillings each as a token

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

Revealed: Former MPs Sh345m secret pay deal

By Joseph MurimiTaxpayers are being lined up to foot the bill for a staggering Sh345 million secret “send-off” pay deal for retired parliamentarians, a good number of whom served between 1963 and 1984, The Standard can reveal.

The paperwork that will lay the ground for the ex-gratia payout is being worked out between Parliament, Pensions Department and Treasury, according to documents in our possession.

Already reeling from spiralling inflation accentuated by rocketing fuel prices, taxpayers will also have to fund the retired MPs gratuity payment, pension, pension enhancement and welfare as part of the deal, but which is still under discussion.

MPs who served between 1963-2002 are being lined up for the gratuity payment, while those who served from 1984-2002 will benefit from the pension payout.

The countrys first Parliament sat in 1963.

The deal, struck by former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FPAK), will see some 345 former MPs take home a cool Sh1 million as ex-gratia payment.

Last night, Mr Wanyiri Kihoro, the acting secretary of FPAK and former Nyeri Town MP, confirmed that the payments were being processed.

He said negotiations for the pay were started in March last year when former MPs gathered for a seminar at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

Kihoro, who served as MP between 1997 and 2002 and who is therefore not eligible for the first tranche, said former MPs were anxious to have the pay deal concluded.

“They are calling me everyday asking me what is happening. They want to know when they are going to be paid because the deal was signed and concluded,” said Kihoro.

Very low salaries

He said the affected MPs were paid very low salaries at their time, adding that at independence legislators got Sh666.66 per month, while the amount stood at Sh5,000 in 1984.

Unlike their compatriots today, who each month take home close to Sh1 million in salaries and allowances, this would be the single largest package for post-independence legislators and their early 70s and 80s counterparts who took home modest salaries.

The deal is contained in minutes of the meeting held by former MPs with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende, and Parliamentary staff on Tuesday last week in Room 9, Parliament Buildings.

Coming back-to-back with another deal that saw outgoing members of the Ninth Parliament each take home a Sh1.5 million “send off” package, the deal is likely to raise a storm in an economy battered by post-election violence and pushed to the brink by rocketing oil prices.

According to minutes in our possession, Marende says Parliament has agreed to pay the package. By virtue of his position as Speaker, Marende is the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that has the last word on such payments.

He headed the team representing Parliament in the negotiations with the former legislators.

Accompanying Marende at the meeting were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, and Ms Christine Mwambua, the principal Clerk Assistant.

Others were the Head of Parliamentary Pensions, Mr Gerald Okolla, and the Parliamentary Legal Officer J M Nyegenye.

The former MPs who attended were Mr Martin Shikuku (the acting chairman of FPAK), Mr Wanyiri Kihoro (acting secretary), Mr David Kombe (organising secretary) and Mr Otieno MakOnyango (assistant secretary).

Others were Mr Ngala Mwendwa, Mr John Barasa Munyasia, Mr Mohamed Omar Soba, Mr Peter Lengees, Mr Adan M Abdillahi, Mr Peter L Nangole, Mr Mutinda Ndambuki, Mr Richard Kakoi, Mr Abdikadir Hassan, Mr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Mr Gerald Muia, Mr John Marimoi and Mr JP Wamukoya.

The meeting started at 11:15am and was attended by 17 former MPs. Soba and Kahengeri opened the meeting with a word of prayer.

Former Cabinet minister, Mr Jeremiah Nyaga, was the chairman the group until he passed away and his position taken by Shikuku in acting capacity.

When we reached him by telephone last evening, Marende said the payment “is a token gesture of appreciation for the work the former MPs have done for the country.

He said they have deliberated on the issue and that only two steps are remaining before the payment is made.

According to the minutes Marende informed the former MPs that Parliament had agreed to pay Sh1 million to those who served between 1963 and 1984.

He told the MPs that the amount was within the bracket recommended in the Cockar Report of 2002.

“Paper work was being worked out between Parliament, the Pensions Department and the Treasury and about 345 former MPs would be paid,” Marende told the meeting.

About 345 of the MPs who served that time are still alive and set to benefit from the windfall.

It was further recommended that because of the delay in making the payment since 2002 when it was recommended (Cockar Report), the spouses of MPs who had died during the last six years be paid as it was within the Pensions law.

The payment to MPs is only one of the freebies that their association has proposed.

It has also proposed a gratuity payment to former MPs who served between 1963 and 2002 (First to Eighth Parliaments).

They have also proposed pension payments to former MPs who served one term between 1984 and 2002, or those who will not be covered by the current windfall.

The former MPs have also called for pension enhancement and be allowed the use of Parliaments library, dinning hall and gymnasium.

On the issue of gratuity the former MPs expressed concern that Parliamentarians who served in the Ninth Parliament were quickly paid in 2007.

The former MPs want those who served between 1963 and 2002 be paid gratuity but the issue was not resolved.

The meeting agreed that for justice and equity, all former MPs should receive the same treatment.

One-term MPs

The payment of pension to one-term MPs who had served in the fifth, sixth and eighth parliaments are to be looked into and that the former MPs be paid in arrears.

The former MPs discussed the low pension payments and noted that some neighbouring countries pay up to US$ 1,000 (Sh62,000) to their former MPs.

The former MPs said some of their colleagues were being paid Sh2,700 per month (an equivalent of Sh90 per day) even after serving 10 years in Parliament.

The meeting agreed that the sub-committee of the former lawmakers formed in March this year should deliberate further with the Parliament pensions and legal staff.

Marende told the MPs that they had been given office space within the precincts of Parliament from where they could run their affairs and access secretarial services.

Revealed: Former MPs Sh345m secret pay deal

Published on May 30, 2008, 12:00 am

By Joseph Murimi

Taxpayers are being lined up to foot the bill for a staggering Sh345 million secret “send-off” pay deal for retired parliamentarians, a good number of whom served between 1963 and 1984, The Standard can reveal.

The paperwork that will lay the ground for the ex-gratia payout is being worked out between Parliament, Pensions Department and Treasury, according to documents in our possession.

Already reeling from spiralling inflation accentuated by rocketing fuel prices, taxpayers will also have to fund the retired MPs gratuity payment, pension, pension enhancement and welfare as part of the deal, but which is still under discussion.

MPs who served between 1963-2002 are being lined up for the gratuity payment, while those who served from 1984-2002 will benefit from the pension payout.

The countrys first Parliament sat in 1963.

The deal, struck by former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FPAK), will see some 345 former MPs take home a cool Sh1 million as ex-gratia payment.

Last night, Mr Wanyiri Kihoro, the acting secretary of FPAK and former Nyeri Town MP, confirmed that the payments were being processed.

He said negotiations for the pay were started in March last year when former MPs gathered for a seminar at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

Kihoro, who served as MP between 1997 and 2002 and who is therefore not eligible for the first tranche, said former MPs were anxious to have the pay deal concluded.

“They are calling me everyday asking me what is happening. They want to know when they are going to be paid because the deal was signed and concluded,” said Kihoro.

Very low salaries

He said the affected MPs were paid very low salaries at their time, adding that at independence legislators got Sh666.66 per month, while the amount stood at Sh5,000 in 1984.

Unlike their compatriots today, who each month take home close to Sh1 million in salaries and allowances, this would be the single largest package for post-independence legislators and their early 70s and 80s counterparts who took home modest salaries.

The deal is contained in minutes of the meeting held by former MPs with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende, and Parliamentary staff on Tuesday last week in Room 9, Parliament Buildings.

Coming back-to-back with another deal that saw outgoing members of the Ninth Parliament each take home a Sh1.5 million “send off” package, the deal is likely to raise a storm in an economy battered by post-election violence and pushed to the brink by rocketing oil prices.

According to minutes in our possession, Marende says Parliament has agreed to pay the package. By virtue of his position as Speaker, Marende is the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that has the last word on such payments.

He headed the team representing Parliament in the negotiations with the former legislators.

Accompanying Marende at the meeting were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, and Ms Christine Mwambua, the principal Clerk Assistant.

Others were the Head of Parliamentary Pensions, Mr Gerald Okolla, and the Parliamentary Legal Officer J M Nyegenye.

The former MPs who attended were Mr Martin Shikuku (the acting chairman of FPAK), Mr Wanyiri Kihoro (acting secretary), Mr David Kombe (organising secretary) and Mr Otieno MakOnyango (assistant secretary).

Others were Mr Ngala Mwendwa, Mr John Barasa Munyasia, Mr Mohamed Omar Soba, Mr Peter Lengees, Mr Adan M Abdillahi, Mr Peter L Nangole, Mr Mutinda Ndambuki, Mr Richard Kakoi, Mr Abdikadir Hassan, Mr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Mr Gerald Muia, Mr John Marimoi and Mr JP Wamukoya.

The meeting started at 11:15am and was attended by 17 former MPs. Soba and Kahengeri opened the meeting with a word of prayer.

Former Cabinet minister, Mr Jeremiah Nyaga, was the chairman the group until he passed away and his position taken by Shikuku in acting capacity.

When we reached him by telephone last evening, Marende said the payment “is a token gesture of appreciation for the work the former MPs have done for the country.

He said they have deliberated on the issue and that only two steps are remaining before the payment is made.

According to the minutes Marende informed the former MPs that Parliament had agreed to pay Sh1 million to those who served between 1963 and 1984.

He told the MPs that the amount was within the bracket recommended in the Cockar Report of 2002.

“Paper work was being worked out between Parliament, the Pensions Department and the Treasury and about 345 former MPs would be paid,” Marende told the meeting.

About 345 of the MPs who served that time are still alive and set to benefit from the windfall.

It was further recommended that because of the delay in making the payment since 2002 when it was recommended (Cockar Report), the spouses of MPs who had died during the last six years be paid as it was within the Pensions law.

The payment to MPs is only one of the freebies that their association has proposed.

It has also proposed a gratuity payment to former MPs who served between 1963 and 2002 (First to Eighth Parliaments).

They have also proposed pension payments to former MPs who served one term between 1984 and 2002, or those who will not be covered by the current windfall.

The former MPs have also called for pension enhancement and be allowed the use of Parliaments library, dinning hall and gymnasium.

On the issue of gratuity the former MPs expressed concern that Parliamentarians who served in the Ninth Parliament were quickly paid in 2007.

The former MPs want those who served between 1963 and 2002 be paid gratuity but the issue was not resolved.

The meeting agreed that for justice and equity, all former MPs should receive the same treatment.

One-term MPs

The payment of pension to one-term MPs who had served in the fifth, sixth and eighth parliaments are to be looked into and that the former MPs be paid in arrears.

The former MPs discussed the low pension payments and noted that some neighbouring countries pay up to US$ 1,000 (Sh62,000) to their former MPs.

The former MPs said some of their colleagues were being paid Sh2,700 per month (an equivalent of Sh90 per day) even after serving 10 years in Parliament.

The meeting agreed that the sub-committee of the former lawmakers formed in March this year should deliberate further with the Parliament pensions and legal staff.

Marende told the MPs that they had been given office space within the precincts of Parliament from where they could run their affairs and access secretarial services.

Revealed: Former MPs Sh345m secret pay deal

Published on May 30, 2008, 12:00 am

By Joseph Murimi

Taxpayers are being lined up to foot the bill for a staggering Sh345 million secret “send-off” pay deal for retired parliamentarians, a good number of whom served between 1963 and 1984, The Standard can reveal.

The paperwork that will lay the ground for the ex-gratia payout is being worked out between Parliament, Pensions Department and Treasury, according to documents in our possession.

Already reeling from spiralling inflation accentuated by rocketing fuel prices, taxpayers will also have to fund the retired MPs gratuity payment, pension, pension enhancement and welfare as part of the deal, but which is still under discussion.

MPs who served between 1963-2002 are being lined up for the gratuity payment, while those who served from 1984-2002 will benefit from the pension payout.

The countrys first Parliament sat in 1963.

The deal, struck by former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FPAK), will see some 345 former MPs take home a cool Sh1 million as ex-gratia payment.

Last night, Mr Wanyiri Kihoro, the acting secretary of FPAK and former Nyeri Town MP, confirmed that the payments were being processed.

He said negotiations for the pay were started in March last year when former MPs gathered for a seminar at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

Kihoro, who served as MP between 1997 and 2002 and who is therefore not eligible for the first tranche, said former MPs were anxious to have the pay deal concluded.

“They are calling me everyday asking me what is happening. They want to know when they are going to be paid because the deal was signed and concluded,” said Kihoro.

Very low salaries

He said the affected MPs were paid very low salaries at their time, adding that at independence legislators got Sh666.66 per month, while the amount stood at Sh5,000 in 1984.

Unlike their compatriots today, who each month take home close to Sh1 million in salaries and allowances, this would be the single largest package for post-independence legislators and their early 70s and 80s counterparts who took home modest salaries.

The deal is contained in minutes of the meeting held by former MPs with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende, and Parliamentary staff on Tuesday last week in Room 9, Parliament Buildings.

Coming back-to-back with another deal that saw outgoing members of the Ninth Parliament each take home a Sh1.5 million “send off” package, the deal is likely to raise a storm in an economy battered by post-election violence and pushed to the brink by rocketing oil prices.

According to minutes in our possession, Marende says Parliament has agreed to pay the package. By virtue of his position as Speaker, Marende is the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that has the last word on such payments.

He headed the team representing Parliament in the negotiations with the former legislators.

Accompanying Marende at the meeting were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, and Ms Christine Mwambua, the principal Clerk Assistant.

Others were the Head of Parliamentary Pensions, Mr Gerald Okolla, and the Parliamentary Legal Officer J M Nyegenye.

The former MPs who attended were Mr Martin Shikuku (the acting chairman of FPAK), Mr Wanyiri Kihoro (acting secretary), Mr David Kombe (organising secretary) and Mr Otieno MakOnyango (assistant secretary).

Others were Mr Ngala Mwendwa, Mr John Barasa Munyasia, Mr Mohamed Omar Soba, Mr Peter Lengees, Mr Adan M Abdillahi, Mr Peter L Nangole, Mr Mutinda Ndambuki, Mr Richard Kakoi, Mr Abdikadir Hassan, Mr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Mr Gerald Muia, Mr John Marimoi and Mr JP Wamukoya.

The meeting started at 11:15am and was attended by 17 former MPs. Soba and Kahengeri opened the meeting with a word of prayer.

Former Cabinet minister, Mr Jeremiah Nyaga, was the chairman the group until he passed away and his position taken by Shikuku in acting capacity.

When we reached him by telephone last evening, Marende said the payment “is a token gesture of appreciation for the work the former MPs have done for the country.

He said they have deliberated on the issue and that only two steps are remaining before the payment is made.

According to the minutes Marende informed the former MPs that Parliament had agreed to pay Sh1 million to those who served between 1963 and 1984.

He told the MPs that the amount was within the bracket recommended in the Cockar Report of 2002.

“Paper work was being worked out between Parliament, the Pensions Department and the Treasury and about 345 former MPs would be paid,” Marende told the meeting.

About 345 of the MPs who served that time are still alive and set to benefit from the windfall.

It was further recommended that because of the delay in making the payment since 2002 when it was recommended (Cockar Report), the spouses of MPs who had died during the last six years be paid as it was within the Pensions law.

The payment to MPs is only one of the freebies that their association has proposed.

It has also proposed a gratuity payment to former MPs who served between 1963 and 2002 (First to Eighth Parliaments).

They have also proposed pension payments to former MPs who served one term between 1984 and 2002, or those who will not be covered by the current windfall.

The former MPs have also called for pension enhancement and be allowed the use of Parliaments library, dinning hall and gymnasium.

On the issue of gratuity the former MPs expressed concern that Parliamentarians who served in the Ninth Parliament were quickly paid in 2007.

The former MPs want those who served between 1963 and 2002 be paid gratuity but the issue was not resolved.

The meeting agreed that for justice and equity, all former MPs should receive the same treatment.

One-term MPs

The payment of pension to one-term MPs who had served in the fifth, sixth and eighth parliaments are to be looked into and that the former MPs be paid in arrears.

The former MPs discussed the low pension payments and noted that some neighbouring countries pay up to US$ 1,000 (Sh62,000) to their former MPs.

The former MPs said some of their colleagues were being paid Sh2,700 per month (an equivalent of Sh90 per day) even after serving 10 years in Parliament.

The meeting agreed that the sub-committee of the former lawmakers formed in March this year should deliberate further with the Parliament pensions and legal staff.

Marende told the MPs that they had been given office space within the precincts of Parliament from where they could run their affairs and access secretarial services.

Revealed: Former MPs Sh345m secret pay deal

Published on May 30, 2008, 12:00 am

By Joseph Murimi

Taxpayers are being lined up to foot the bill for a staggering Sh345 million secret “send-off” pay deal for retired parliamentarians, a good number of whom served between 1963 and 1984, The Standard can reveal.

The paperwork that will lay the ground for the ex-gratia payout is being worked out between Parliament, Pensions Department and Treasury, according to documents in our possession.

Already reeling from spiralling inflation accentuated by rocketing fuel prices, taxpayers will also have to fund the retired MPs gratuity payment, pension, pension enhancement and welfare as part of the deal, but which is still under discussion.

MPs who served between 1963-2002 are being lined up for the gratuity payment, while those who served from 1984-2002 will benefit from the pension payout.

The countrys first Parliament sat in 1963.

The deal, struck by former Parliamentarians Association of Kenya (FPAK), will see some 345 former MPs take home a cool Sh1 million as ex-gratia payment.

Last night, Mr Wanyiri Kihoro, the acting secretary of FPAK and former Nyeri Town MP, confirmed that the payments were being processed.

He said negotiations for the pay were started in March last year when former MPs gathered for a seminar at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

Kihoro, who served as MP between 1997 and 2002 and who is therefore not eligible for the first tranche, said former MPs were anxious to have the pay deal concluded.

“They are calling me everyday asking me what is happening. They want to know when they are going to be paid because the deal was signed and concluded,” said Kihoro.

Very low salaries

He said the affected MPs were paid very low salaries at their time, adding that at independence legislators got Sh666.66 per month, while the amount stood at Sh5,000 in 1984.

Unlike their compatriots today, who each month take home close to Sh1 million in salaries and allowances, this would be the single largest package for post-independence legislators and their early 70s and 80s counterparts who took home modest salaries.

The deal is contained in minutes of the meeting held by former MPs with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende, and Parliamentary staff on Tuesday last week in Room 9, Parliament Buildings.

Coming back-to-back with another deal that saw outgoing members of the Ninth Parliament each take home a Sh1.5 million “send off” package, the deal is likely to raise a storm in an economy battered by post-election violence and pushed to the brink by rocketing oil prices.

According to minutes in our possession, Marende says Parliament has agreed to pay the package. By virtue of his position as Speaker, Marende is the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that has the last word on such payments.

He headed the team representing Parliament in the negotiations with the former legislators.

Accompanying Marende at the meeting were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, and Ms Christine Mwambua, the principal Clerk Assistant.

Others were the Head of Parliamentary Pensions, Mr Gerald Okolla, and the Parliamentary Legal Officer J M Nyegenye.

The former MPs who attended were Mr Martin Shikuku (the acting chairman of FPAK), Mr Wanyiri Kihoro (acting secretary), Mr David Kombe (organising secretary) and Mr Otieno MakOnyango (assistant secretary).

Others were Mr Ngala Mwendwa, Mr John Barasa Munyasia, Mr Mohamed Omar Soba, Mr Peter Lengees, Mr Adan M Abdillahi, Mr Peter L Nangole, Mr Mutinda Ndambuki, Mr Richard Kakoi, Mr Abdikadir Hassan, Mr Gitu wa Kahengeri, Mr Gerald Muia, Mr John Marimoi and Mr JP Wamukoya.

The meeting started at 11:15am and was attended by 17 former MPs. Soba and Kahengeri opened the meeting with a word of prayer.

Former Cabinet minister, Mr Jeremiah Nyaga, was the chairman the group until he passed away and his position taken by Shikuku in acting capacity.

When we reached him by telephone last evening, Marende said the payment “is a token gesture of appreciation for the work the former MPs have done for the country.

He said they have deliberated on the issue and that only two steps are remaining before the payment is made.

According to the minutes Marende informed the former MPs that Parliament had agreed to pay Sh1 million to those who served between 1963 and 1984.

He told the MPs that the amount was within the bracket recommended in the Cockar Report of 2002.

“Paper work was being worked out between Parliament, the Pensions Department and the Treasury and about 345 former MPs would be paid,” Marende told the meeting.

About 345 of the MPs who served that time are still alive and set to benefit from the windfall.

It was further recommended that because of the delay in making the payment since 2002 when it was recommended (Cockar Report), the spouses of MPs who had died during the last six years be paid as it was within the Pensions law.

The payment to MPs is only one of the freebies that their association has proposed.

It has also proposed a gratuity payment to former MPs who served between 1963 and 2002 (First to Eighth Parliaments).

They have also proposed pension payments to former MPs who served one term between 1984 and 2002, or those who will not be covered by the current windfall.

The former MPs have also called for pension enhancement and be allowed the use of Parliaments library, dinning hall and gymnasium.

On the issue of gratuity the former MPs expressed concern that Parliamentarians who served in the Ninth Parliament were quickly paid in 2007.

The former MPs want those who served between 1963 and 2002 be paid gratuity but the issue was not resolved.

The meeting agreed that for justice and equity, all former MPs should receive the same treatment.

One-term MPs

The payment of pension to one-term MPs who had served in the fifth, sixth and eighth parliaments are to be looked into and that the former MPs be paid in arrears.

The former MPs discussed the low pension payments and noted that some neighbouring countries pay up to US$ 1,000 (Sh62,000) to their former MPs.

The former MPs said some of their colleagues were being paid Sh2,700 per month (an equivalent of Sh90 per day) even after serving 10 years in Parliament.

The meeting agreed that the sub-committee of the former lawmakers formed in March this year should deliberate further with the Parliament pensions and legal staff.

Marende told the MPs that they had been given office space within the precincts of Parliament from where they could run their affairs and access secretarial services.

—————

API

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Mauritius hosts Commonwealth regional course on trade negotiation skills

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

A five-day intensive course on Trade Negotiations Skills for English-speaking African countries organized by the World Trade Organization (WTO) opened Thursday at Le Meridien Hotel, in Pointe aux Piments, 20 km from the capital Port Louis.

Speaking at the opening session, the Mauritian Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Anand Newoor pointed out that the course is designed to allow participants acquire good skills to enable them to negotiate for their governments in sub-regional, regional and multilateral negotiations.

Newoor added that the challenge of developing countries is not just to increase their share in world trade but also to shape multilateral trade rules that condition the international trading environment.

He further declared that a more equitable sharing of the gains from trade would emanate from a rule-based trading system which provides members the opportunities to engage constructively in trade negotiations.

Dr Dickson Yeboah, a resource person for the training course and counselor at the WTO Institute for Training and Cooperation pointed out that participants should be able to analyse and take position on issues such as liberalization of tropical products, the safeguard mechanism and trade preferences which are particularly important to African countries. He further pointed out that negotiating skill is critical at the level of the WTO, COMESA and SADC trade regimes.

“By participating in the WTO negotiations, developing nations should put all their weight in rectifying the inequalities and imbalances that have accentuated in the multilateral trading system over the last five decades”, pointed out Dr Yeboah.

Delegates from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Mauritius, Uganda, Malawi, Ghana and Botswana are taking part in the course.

————–

API

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US presidential candidates unite against Darfur crisis

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

All three United States presidential candidates on Wednesday released a joint statement on the situation in Darfur.

“After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur,” Democratic presidential hopefuls Ms. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mr. John McCain said in a joint statement released by the Save Darfur Coalition.

Condemning atrocities against civilians in Sudan and demanding an end to the violence, the three rivals for the White House added: “As we campaign for president of the United States over the next several months, we expect there to be significant focus on the many differences between us. It is with this awareness that we are taking the uncommon step of issuing a joint statement about an issue. Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us.

The candidates made clear that tough policies against the violence in Darfur would continue when the next president is seated in the White House early next year.

“It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush administration,” the candidates concluded.

“If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve,” the statement said.

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Sierra Leone war crimes ruling bolsters victim protection, HRW says

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

The decision by Sierra Leones war crimes court to reject sentence reductions for two convicted militia members because they fought for a legitimate cause is crucial in ensuring justice for all victims of human rights violations, a Human Rights Watch press release has said.

The appeals chamber of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone handed down its judgment on Wednesday in the sentencing of Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, former leaders of the government-supported Civil Defence Forces (Karmajors) during Sierra Leones armed conflict that ended in 2002.

Both men were convicted of war crimes involving extreme acts of violence such as mutilations against civilians. The trial chamber of the court had reduced their sentences on the grounds that they had engaged in the conflict to secure democracy. The appeals chamber however rejected that portion of the ruling.

Consequently, consistent with this and other findings, the appeals chamber increased Fofanas sentence from six to 15 years and Kondewas sentence from eight to 20 years. This decision rightly affirms that there is no excuse for attacking and mutilating civilians regardless of the purpose in fighting, said Elise Keppler, international justice senior counsel at Human Rights Watch.

The Special Court trial chamber found the defendants guilty of very serious violations of international humanitarian law following testimony from more than 100 witnesses who described barbaric crimes that included mutilations, targeting, and deliberate killing of unarmed men, women, and children, and the murder of women who had sticks inserted and forced into their genitals.

The ruling reinforces the principle that all parties in a conflict must abide by the same rules and be subject to the same punishment, said Keppler. To do less would provide victims unequal protection under the law depending on who their attackers are.

The HRW release said it is unprecedented at international courts for the political motivation of a perpetrator in taking up arms to be accepted as a mitigating factor in reducing sentences.

The Special Court, created in 2002 through an agreement between the United Nations and the Sierra Leonean government, is charged with bringing to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for grave crimes committed since November 1996, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, other serious violations of international humanitarian law, and certain violations of Sierra Leonean law.

Sierra Leones Special Court has thus far tried eight individuals associated with the three warring factions during the conflict the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and the Civil Defence Forces (Karmajors) in Freetown.

The former president of Liberia Charles Taylor is being tried by the Special Court, for crimes allegedly committed in Sierra Leone, at the facilities of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Taylors trial was relocated from Liberia due to security concerns in the region.

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Panic grips Conakry as heavy gunfire rocks the city

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

Activities were suddenly interrupted in the Guinean capital on Thursday morning following heavy shooting that could be heard from the Alpha Yaya Diallo and the Mamadou Boiro military camps, the headquarters of the Republican Guard.

Businesses, schools and banks were closed and the population, deprived of vehicles as filling stations have been closed since Monday, was trying to walk home.

Some elements of the Presidential Security Unit (BASP) were deployed at the entrance of the Kaloum commune hosting the offices of the public service and the presidential palace watching closely the movements of the few vehicles that dared venture into the area.

Mobile telephones are said to have helped fuel this panic causing engagement on the too much sought network.

The mutinous soldiers have added a new element to their demands-the sacking from the army of all old generals.

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African Press International – api

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Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

The United Nations Deputy Secretary- General Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro on Wednesday appealed for enhanced support for Africa as the continent endeavors to reach the internationally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ) by their 2015 deadline.

Addressing the high-level Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Ms. Migiro warned that no African nation is on track to achieve all the Goals, calling for urgent action.

With a concerted drive by African governments and their development partners, we can accomplish these goals for a better world, she told the more than 40 African heads of state who had gathered in Yokohama for the event, which is being hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

The three-day event co-organized by the Japanese government, the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank kicked off Wednesday with the theme, Towards a vibrant Africa: A continent of hope and opportunity.

Participants, who also include high-level representatives from Asia and other regions, as well as heads of international agencies and non- governmental organizations (NGOs), will discuss how to ensure that Africas robust economic growth is self-sustaining and inclusive to allow poor communities to reap the benefits.

The conference will also confer on how to boost human security to allow people to live in dignity, free from fear and want.

Launched in Tokyo in 1993, TICAD aims to promote African development through ownership by the continent and stresses the importance of Asia-Africa cooperation.

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US ambassador wants to decide Kenya’s future

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2008

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

He always puts his nose in everything that happens in Kenya. When the Kenyan leaders try to do something for the people and the country, the US ambassador seems to know better.

Why can’t Kenyan ambassador to the US in Washingston attack the US policies or even tell off President Bush on certain controversial issues? Or it is only the US officials that have the ability and disrespect for other countries that they meddle in issues? It is very saddening that Kenyan MPs can simply be summoned to the US ambassadors house to be dictated. It is even possible they get threats that if they do not pull their socks, they will be refused visas to the US in future. Or do they get some funds to put into projects in their constituencies?

Any one who has lived abroad and learnt to know the white people will agree with me that bowing to the white man’s demands as the MPs are doing is disgusting move. Who is the US ambassador, whose term expires soon when Bush leaves the White House, to dictate Kenya? But of course, it is the Kenyans who allow him to behave as such! Ignore him as the Foreign minister recently told Raila that he should not summon ministers to meet a junior officer in the rank of ambassador.

Can a Kenyan ambassador in the US summon the congressmen? If that happens, the Kenyan ambassador may be put in the first flight to Kenya.

US envoy hosts 10 MPs as calls for Grand Opposition mount

Story by ODHIAMBO ORLALE
About 10 MPs Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, at his Nairobi residence on the eve of a retreat by legislators clamouring for a Grand Opposition.

The identity of the 10 could not immediately be established, but it was said they had been invited by the Ambassador to frustrate MPs efforts to lobby for support for a private members Bill by Budalangi MP, Ababu Namwamba, to legally create a Grand Opposition in Parliament.

Controversial

An MP who did not attend the meeting but was privy to the goings-on, claimed the US Ambassador invited the 10 to lobby against the controversial Bill, which would be discussed Thursday and Friday during the retreat at a Naivasha Hotel.

But when contacted, a US Embassy official, Ms Kim Dubois, confirmed that a meeting was on going between the Ambassador and some MPs, but she said did not have details.

Ms Dubois said the Ambassador would soon address a media conference on the claims.

Earlier, five MPs supporting formation of an opposition had accused some foreign diplomats of frustrating their attempts to check the Coalition Government.

Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, one of the architects of the plan, said the envoys were meddling in Kenyas internal affairs by speaking openly against the private members Bill to create an opposition.

But, Mr Kilonzo who did not name the envoys said the diplomats had made their stand on the issue public.

The ODM-K MP claimed that one of the envoys had invited some MPs to his residence to try and convince them to abandon the clamour for a Grand Opposition.

MPs who addressed a news conference at Parliament buildings were Cyrus Jirongo (Lugari), Mithika Linturi (Igembe South), Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) and Joshua Kutuny (Cheranganyi).

On his part, the Igembe South MP said Kenya was a sovereign state whose leaders and institutions must be respected.

Foreign missions must respect our Parliament and tell us whether they were working with some powerful people in Government to frustrate our efforts to form a Grand Opposition, said the MP.

Mr Linturi vowed to frustrate any moves by the unnamed missions to conspire against the interest of the public.

We have received information that some envoys are opposed to the Grand Opposition and that one of them is hosting some MPs Thursday at 4pm in his residence to lobby them to abandon our course. But we want to tell them that our mission is unstoppable, Mr Kutuny said.

Democracy

On his part Mr Jirongo, said they want to ensure that the Grand Coalition Government of President Kibakis PNU and Prime Minister Raila Odingas ODM, were kept on their toes in Parliament in line with the tenets of democracy.

Mr Jirongo, who is the Kaddu chairman and only opposition MP in Parliament, said politicians in Government had a tendency to forget voters and the public at large as far as fairness and equity was concerned.

Meanwhile, Mr Kilonzo announced that a Bill to create the Grand Opposition was ready and would be tabled in Parliament in two weeks time after it resumes from a three-week break.

The Mutito MP said public rallies will be held across the country for the next two weeks to popularise their noble cause.

For the next two days, he said, MPs supporting their cause would hold a two-day retreat at a Naivasha hotel to fine-tune the Bill.

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