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Archive for June 1st, 2008

Kenya may face UN sanctions as Kabuga allegedly surfaces in Norway with offer

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

A Daily Nation story by David Okwembah

Publication Date: 2008/06/01

Confusion reigns over the whereabouts of Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga after an alleged interview was posted on the internet claiming he was in Norway.

Mr Kabuga.Photo/FILE

And Kenya may face sanctions this week when the manhunt for the fugitive is set for discussion by the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

A blogger who identified himself as Kipter Korir, the chief editor of African Press International, an online newsletter, claims he interviewed Kabuga early last month in an Oslo hotel.

But the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and a host of diplomats were treating the Kabuga interview as a hoax.

The blogger maintained in a telephone interview with the Sunday Nation that he had met Kabuga, who is charged with supplying machetes to militia in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which at least 800,000 were killed, in an Oslo hotel through a Sudanese businessman.

Korir, the editor of African Press International that posted the May 12, 2008 interview with Kabuga on its website, says he did not know he was going to meet the fugitive who has been on the run for the last 14 years until he entered his hotel room.

I met him after I was invited to an Oslo hotel room by one of my Sudanese friends who was visiting Norway, he said.

But the ICTR, the Rwandan government, the Rwandan media, as well as the international community have dismissed the interview as a smokescreen.

The interview was allegedly carried out just four days after the High Court in Kenya froze one of Kabugas accounts in Nairobi where rent for a property in Kilimani area was deposited through a company whose address remains unknown.

The interview also seems to have been timed for release ahead of this weeks UN Security Council meeting.

Early last month, the United States revived efforts to apprehend Rwanda genocide fugitives through their Reward for Justice Programme.

Periodical report

The ICTR chief prosecutor, Justice Hassan Jallow and other top tribunal officials are to present their periodical report to the Council in New York on Wednesday.

Sources in Arusha told the Sunday Nation that Justice Jallow left for New York last night.

Kenya could face UN sanctions if the Council is convinced by the ICTR that it has become a stumbling block in the manhunt for the Rwandan fugitive.

The Kabuga-Kenya saga is already on the Councils agenda as it awaits Mr Jallow and top officials of the ICTR to present their periodic report.

Neither Attorney-General Amos Wako nor the Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula were available for comment.

Mr Wetangula had accompanied President Kibaki on official duties in Japan.

His permanent secretary, Thuita Mwangi, was said to be in a meeting and would respond later to our queries. He had not responded by the time of going to press.

According to Korirs interview, Kabuga, who left Kenya in March, is ready to negotiate an agreeable surrender with the Rwandan government and is ready to face justice in Rwanda but not Arusha.

According to the API chief editor, the 73-year-old fugitive wants the Rwanda government to listen to his side of the story so that an arrangement may be reached in the same way the Sudanese leader Riek Machar has mediated between the Ugandan government and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).

He is very specific on what he wants. Kabuga has a person in mind that he would appreciate as the mediator in the talks between him and the government of Rwanda, Korir added.

I am getting old now and would like to be back in my country before my health lets me down, Kabuga is quoted as saying in the interview.

Explaining why he wants talks to reach an agreement with the Rwandan government when he knows the international court wants him on serious crimes, he said he has diabetes and would not like to be captured while in hiding because whoever finds him would most probably manhandle him without consideration of his health.

Things I will reveal

I have to get a special kind of food because of my diabetes, and that is what I want to be taken into consideration by the government during the talks.

I know I will be useful to the government if they accept to negotiate with me. There are things that I will reveal to them.

Things that will help them achieve their goals in punishing the real killers of our people. I am just picked on because of hatred. You know people get jealous when you are not poor.

And in the interview, the fugitive states that he has lived in Kenya for many years and travelled in and out of the country using different names.

But now he wants to come clean and face what he calls reasonable justice meted by my countrymen and not foreigners.

He says a number of senior security personnel in Kenya always knew of his whereabouts and were good to him.

However, he complains he had to part with a lot of money every month to satisfy their demands.

Some of the people have even helped him obtain travel documents in time of need.

I bought houses for three security men and gave a lot of money to others who wanted to establish private businesses that they will be engaged in when they soon retire, he said.

Kabuga claims to have left Kenya in a hurry as the officers had become greedy and wanted more and more money while some even started to threaten him with arrest if he did not become more generous.

One evening at 11 p.m., two officers summoned him to a car park near Carnivore and warned him of a possible arrest because two of his protectors had been transferred to another province and could no longer be around to intervene whenever there were discussions about what to do with him, Kabuga said.

He said the two men advised him to seek refuge elsewhere because if he were to be arrested in Kenya, it would become an embarrassment to the government, and those who have protected him all these years would easily be targeted.

The fugitive also blames the changes in Kenya politics and the post-election violence for hastening his departure from Kenya.

He claims the politics and violence in Kenya had affected his businesses and properties in the country.

Shifting allegiance

The political situation was also not conducive any more because my friends are shifting allegiance because of the political landscape, he said.

But even as Korir claims to have interviewed Kabuga, questions abound how Kabuga could have allowed a journalist to interview him without fear of being sold out for the US$5 million (about KSh 310 million) bounty on his head.

The Rwandan daily New Times wondered whether Kabuga and his handlers had suddenly changed into choir boys to put their faith in journalists.

The last journalist who attempted to lure Kabuga into a snare set up by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Nairobi, William Munuhe was found dead in his house in Karen with a bullet in his head.

What guarantees would Kabuga give Kipter Korir that he would not be treated like his compatriot and fellow scribe Munuhe when he agreed to meet? the newspaper asked.

But Korir said he could not risk giving away Kabuga because his life and that of his family would have been in danger.

You know how dangerous the man can be if you betray him! Money is not everything, the API chief editor said in a telephone interview.

Rwandan prosecutor general, Martin Ngoga ruled out negotiations with Kabuga.

But the seizure of some of Kabugas property and freezing of his accounts in Nairobi seemed to satisfy US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Clint Williamson.

This is a welcome development, but it is our strong hope that this represents only a single step towards still more aggressive action from all governments in the region to capture these men, Mr Williamson was quoted as telling New Times.

A senior diplomat involved in the hunt for Kabuga claimed the fugitive was using the newsletter to throw the ICTR off his trail by claiming he is in Europe.

The diplomat dismissed Korir as phony.

Seize property

He also said Kenyas move to seize Kabugas property in Nairobi and freeze one of his bank accounts was an attempt to hoodwink the tribunal that the country was co-operating with ICTR to bring Kabuga and his fellow accomplices to book.

The A-G and Wetangulas office are said to be in possession of a letter from the tribunal asking Kenya to co-operate with ICTR in having Kabuga arrested.

It is on this basis that Kenya is believed to have moved on Kabugas property and account to demonstrate that it is co-operating with the tribunal.

But the move seems to have backfired as the ICTR expected Nairobi to take action on other properties in Kenya it said belong to Kabuga.

The diplomat warned that should the tribunal mention Kenya negatively at the Council, there could be serious repercussions, including sanctions.

The UN Security Council has force of law, and it could put sanctions on Kenya for not co-operating with the ICTR, the diplomat added.

But another diplomat said it was possible that Kabuga may have found his way into Norway using fake travel documents and was exploiting the Schengen Agreement on internal borders among 29 European nations to hide in one of the Nordic countries.


ICT says Kabuga has vast business interests in Kenya

According to ICTR documents seen by the Sunday Nation two years ago, 73-year-old Felicien Kabuga is a wealthy Hutu businessman who is believed to have vast interests in Kenya.

He is associated with three companies, including Hashi Empex Limited at View Park Towers, Ndimo Company limited, Zadok Transporters and Zadok United.

Zadok was incorporated on October 15, 1998 and given certificate number 82983.

The directors of the company are listed as Francis Ngira Batware and Jean Bosco Simiye of post office box 13781, Nairobi. The directors claim they are businessmen.

A Nairobi lawyer Ms Lucy Masua of box 34546, Nairobi, filed the papers for the incorporation of the company.

A physical check at the companys offices at Young Traders complex near city stadium did not yield much.

The office is located in godown number six; there is no sign or name on the gate.

Besides the transportation business, Zadok is also involved in furniture at a shop in Panari House along Mombasa road.

Another company, Hashi Empex has its offices on the fifth floor of View Park Towers where they deal in petroleum products.

The files for Hashi and Ndimo could not be located at the registrar of companies.

Kabugas real estate holdings are suspected to include a large house in Athi River town and the Spanish Villas flats along Lenana Road in Nairobi.

He, however, has registered these properties using proxies.

He is said to own shares in a Westlands shopping complex and another in Kericho together with a minister.

In Naivasha, Kabuga is said to own shares in a hotel in the town centre.

The fugitive is also said to own vast interests in farming including a farm in Kajiado district, Njoro in Nakuru District and Eldoret in Uasin Gishu District.

Kabuga is suspected to be one who bought a large tract of land in Kilifi District that was once owned by the family of former Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana.

Born in Rwanda in 1935, he has used the names Faracean Kabuga, Idriss Sudi, Abachev Straton, Anathase Munyaruga, and Oliver Rukundakuvuga.

He is believed to frequent Europe and African countries such as Madagascar, Gabon, and Kenya

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Published by African Press International (API), Source: Daily Nation, Kenya

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Swedish parliamentary delegation on an assessment visit to Liberia

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

A ten-member Swedish parliamentary delegation has arrived in Liberia to assess the situation in the country and find out how the Swedish government can further assist in the post-war reconstruction effort.

The head of the delegation, Mr. Gustav Blix, told APA Saturday following a consultative meeting with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and members of the Liberian cabinet in the capital Monrovia that while in the country, they would hold discussions with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, womens groups, officials of the Justice ministry as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the legislature, NGOs and civil society groups.

He said they would also pay field visits to Swedish funded projects in south-eastern Liberia.

The open consultations held Saturday with the Vice President and members of the cabinet centred on coordination of donor assistance to Liberia.

During the discussions, concerns were raised about the current situation in Guinea and the humanitarian crisis it could generate for Liberia which is already saddled with the crisis of Liberian returnees from Ghana.

Vice President Boakai and the cabinet also stressed the need for the European Union (EU) to increase its presence in Liberia, and for more support to infrastructural development in the post-war country.

The Swedish lawmakers described the meeting with Vice President Boakai and the cabinet as very interesting.

We are grateful for the presentations on the questions we asked. I think this is a very good government, a government that is working hard to do what they can to improve the lives of their people.

The delegation, which arrived in the country on Friday night, is expected to depart the country on Monday.

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API

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Visiting US parliamentary delegation meet with Egyptian Foreign minister

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

The Egyptian Foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit met on Saturday with a delegation from the United States House of Representatives headed by Representative Nick Rahal, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

A spokesman of the ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Hossam Zaki said the meeting dealt with a number of important regional issues, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli situation, developments in Sudan and the Horn of Africa plus the situation in Lebanon in the light of the Doha Agreement that led to the election of a Lebanese president, as well as the relaxation the political tension there.

He said the American delegation asked to be informed about the Egyptian point of view towards the situation in Lebanon.

The delegations talks with Abul Gheit also touched on bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States.

The delegations visit to Egypt comes as part of a tour of the region which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

Three members of the delegation are of Lebanese origin.

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API

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Signs of mid-life crisis as Kenya turns 45

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

By Gakuu MathengeKenya is 45 today since gaining self-governance and all around are literal signs of mid-life crisis.

A nation we are but the tribulations, anxieties and trepidations of the last few months paint the picture of a nation at war with itself. But even in the thick clouds of internal conflicts and

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki during the signing of the Peace Agreement on February 28.

emotional turbulence, as well as the struggle to understand and accommodate oneself, there is a veneer of hope. In the horizon beckons the hand of hope that we are out of the woods unto the sunny and well-lit green patch.

On Saturday, the message of hope radiated from the Nairobi Safari Park where President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga communed with the members of the Grand Coalition Government in prayer. It was the national prayer day a chapter so different, tranquil and serene, unlike the dark three months after the disputed presidential elections when Kenyans butchered and harangued each other along predictable ethnic fault line.

Today Kenya zooms past the 45 mark on the road of self-rule and with milestone comes the reminder Kenya has survived many a challenges, including the assassinations, coup attempt, bloody conflicts and decades in which misrule and kleptocracy watered the tree of corruption and tribalism.

The road has been both rocky and bumpy, though there have been sunnier and rollercoaster seasons too. But the after-taste of the near self-immolation and disintegration after the elections still sears the tongue.

Like a man and woman struck by mid-life crisis, the country is smarting from the brink of a civil war, stumbling from one crisis to the next. From a disputed presidential election, followed by death and destruction, to a country split down the middle over who is to blame and amnesty wars.

Soul searching

Doyen of opposition politics Jaramogi Oginga Odinga with the founding father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

But even as the country begins to heal, with the most unlikely of partners in the Grand Coalition Government beginning to settle, high inflation and food shortage pop up. On Saturday demonstrators against the high cost of food were tear-gassed along the streets of Nairobi. But overall, it is a nation celebrating Madaraka Day today as it struggles to regain its foothold on the African map as the icon of peace and tranquility.

Exactly 45 years ago, the country was in the throes of another monumental crisis: The two major parties at the Third Lancaster Conference in September and October of 1963 Kadu and Kanu were bitterly split over removing or retaining the Majimbo provisions in the Constitution.

Kanu wanted it removed, while Kadu threatened secession if it was removed. Kadu then enjoyed the support of the white settler community. Its political platform was protection of small communities against possible domination by big tribes that formed the bulk of Kanu membership and support base, especially the Kikuyu and Luo communities.

The division threatened the delay of the realisation of the Uhuru dream, and something had to give way quickly.

Kanu, then led by Founding Father President Jomo Kenyatta and fellow nationalist, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, decided to compromise. They agreed to allow the provisions to remain, hammer a deal, attain Independence, and then sort out other things once the new Republic was in place.

Why we lost the way

After Independence in December 1963,Kanu moved constitutional amendments in 1964, deleted Majimbo from the Constitution, and sweet-talked Kadu to become a partner in government. This must have been the first experimentation with power sharing and coalition politics in Kenya.

Kenyattas comrade in the struggle, Jaramogi, became Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs. However, Kenyatta, who had decidedly been married to the capitalist ways of doing things, would soon fall out with Jaramogi, partly due to latters socialist leanings.

Jaramogi also saw in Kenyatta and his powerful elite unbridled abuse of their positions to enrich themselves and their cronies. In Jaramogis corner were other nationalists who felt Kenyattas way of doing things betrayed the ideal for which they fought the colonialists. Among them were Bildad Kaggia and JM Kariuki. For their annoyance, they were kicked out of the corridors of power, together with their de facto leader, Jaramogi.

This was the first major fallout between the towering nationalists and founders of modern Kenya, which sowed the seeds of political mistrust between members of the Kikuyu community and the Luo community.

It is debatable if Jaramogi eventually appreciated that Kenyatta may have been right after all, especially after the collapse of Communism in the late 1980s and the fact that African nations that experimented with socialism still regret it.

The situation was made worse by the assassination of former powerful Kanu Secretary General and Cabinet minister, Thomas Joseph Mboya in 1969. At this point Kenya was nearly torn apart.

The charismatic Mboya, Kaggia, Fred Kubai and Dennis Akumu were among pioneer Independence Kenya nationalists who emerged from the colonial era labour movement, and who were to play leading roles in the struggle for Uhuru. Like Jaramogi, their nationalist roots made their voices credible and became a thorn in Kenyattas government.

Two communities

Historically, political leaders and members of the Kikuyu and Luo communities have always found themselves on the forefront of national discourse for several reasons. At 45, Kenya could reflect on the way Kenyas politics, and even destiny, have revolved around the finger of its top two ethnic groups.

First, the two communities embraced Christianity without resistance, and benefited most from missionary education; the Kikuyu community was hardest hit by dispossession of land to create colonial White Highlands.

Both communities were absorbed into the colonial labour market in a big way. Therefore, they were the hardest hit by its exploitative nature, giving rise to labour movement that later evolved into political nationalism.

Although all communities in Kenya resented and resisted colonialism in various ways, the armed struggle by Mau Mau and the labour activism by trade unionists thrust to the forefront leaders from communities who had most interaction with the colonial economy.

These foundations and roles fashioned in the trenches of struggle against colonial subjugation of Kenyans have continued to shape the national Kenyan political discourse with amity or rivalry, depending on their relationship.

Through 1960s and 1970s although Kenyatta banned Jaramogi from activating his politics through the Kenya Peoples Union multipartism remained a constitutional option until 1982 when former President Moi made Kenya single party state by law, through insertion of the infamous section 2(a).

In mid 1970s, populist politician and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter, JM Kariuki, was murdered in what was viewed, just like Mboyas assassination, as part of Kenyatta succession games. It was another festering wound on Kenya, and the nation once again wept and bled.

The country was left deeply wounded and the mistrust and split between Northern and Southern Kikuyu ran even deeper.

Dictatorship

A year before the country celebrated its 30th birthday, a crisis that shook the nation to the root came calling in the form of the attempted military coup on August 1, 1982.

Many people died, mostly civilians. Properties were destroyed as Kenya Army crushed the mutiny by a section of the Kenya Air Force.

The coup attempt, in which Jaramogi and his son, Mr Raila Odinga (now Prime minister), were heavily implicated is acknowledged as what put Kanu leadership onto a dictatorial streak.

In this zeal to suppress real and imagined enemies among them Jaramogi, Raila and others Kanu became increasingly dictatorial. It became thuggish to an extent it was willing to rig its own elections through the so-called mlolongo (queuing) voting system.

Slowly, a pre-independence scenario obtained, for the second time, bringing the two communities together, initially in the underground Mwakenya movement. This was later fashioned as the second liberation movement in the form of political parties and civil society groups in the early 1990s.

Although diverse ethnic backgrounds were represented in these nascent and sporadic underground opposition operations, it eventually emerged that its most vibrant and daring voices were from the two communities.

Safina leader and former Kikuyu MP Mr Paul Muite was in the thick of things during the heady days of activism to force re-introduction of multi-partism in Kenya.

During an interview, Muite recalls: “(Former) President Moi and the high Kanu command read the signs of the times correctly. They knew the magic that had kept them in power was gone one afternoon in early 1990 when Mr Matiba and Mr Charles Rubia held a two-hour meeting with Mzee Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at his Agip House offices. I knew about the meeting in advance and we had agreed Matiba and Rubia would pass by my office after their meeting with Jaramogi.”

Destiny

What Matiba, Rubia and Jaramogi did not realise was that they were under 24-hour watch by the Special Branch officers – the predecessors of National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS).

“They didnt know they were being shadowed as they headed towards my office at Electricity House; neither did I. My reception was on fifth floor; my office was on sixth floor. Matiba and Rubia had hardly sat down in my office before the receptionist informed me I had visitors. But before I could even respond, a gang of about 30 officers forced their way into my office, banging doors, announcing we were under arrest for holding an illegal meeting!”

Since re-introduction of the multi-partism in the early 1990s, the political players between the two communities have been more or the same individuals, culminating in the disputed presidential election last year, and which nearly plunged the country into a civil war.

During a breakfast prayer meeting yesterday morning, President Kibaki said: “When me and the Prime minister met somewhere near Mount Kenya recently and said what we said, we agreed to repair Kenya, and I know we will succeed, I have no doubt we will succeed.”

Once again, the countrys destiny is in the hands of the two leaders from the two communities, the world is pregnant with hope they will leave the country better than they found. Meanwhile Kenya stumbles through its most edgy season – year 45.

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API

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Police won’t free suspects: Raila’s ODM told by the Police Commissioner

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

Story by FRED MUKINDA

Police Commissioner Major General, Hussein Ali Saturday ruled out the release of suspects arrested in connection with post-election violence earlier this year as a dispute over their fate threatens the cohesion of the grand coalition government.

Gen Hussein Ali-Police Commissioner. Photo/FILE

The commissioner told a news conference that the hands of the police were tied by the law and that they had a mandate to enforce.

We do not know of any youth. We are talking of criminals, he said in an apparent reply to senior politicians who have been calling for the release of thousands of their supporters arrested during the violence that claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced 350,000 people.

Police stations countrywide have recorded more than 12,000 cases of crimes committed during the violence sparked by the announcement on December 30 of the disputed results of the December 27 presidential election.

On Thursday, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said a total of 4,690 petty offences committed during the period had been prosecuted and disposed of in courts countrywide.

Addressing senior Administration Police officers, the minister vowed to defend officers for prosecuting offenders in crimes committed during the post-poll violence.

Police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe said Saturday that police are looking for an additional 550 suspects in connection with 260 of the 7,310 pending cases related to the post-poll violence period, especially for petty offences like taking part in an illegal assembly or defying curfew orders, had been arraigned in court within 48 hours.

Those arrested for capital offences were held for the maximum 14 days and taken to court according to the provisions of the law, he said, adding that the majority of the petty offenders were released after paying court fines.

Those jailed did not receive sentences of more than three months.

Officers who spoke to the Sunday Nation said the charge sheets presented in court showed the offences committed, the names of the accused and witnesses.

None mentions post-election violence as the basis for arrest.

Officers who sought anonymity to be able to comment freely on the sensitive issue said the law does not allow them to withdraw cases.

Only the Attorney-General can terminate them, they pointed out.

Neither AG Amos Wako nor the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko could be reached for comment.

Release of the suspects

Maj Gen Alis remarks come in the middle of a dispute between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Party over the release of the suspects.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga supports the amnesty and is backed by cabinet ministers from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Addressing the Law Society of Kenya monthly luncheon on Thursday, Mr Odinga said: I dont think we should be talking about giving amnesty to these young men because they committed no crime.

“Is it a crime to fight for your democratic rights? Or is it a crime to stand up and say that last years elections were rigged?

On the other hand, influential ministers from the Party of National Unity (PNU), Prof George Saitoti of Internal Security and Ms Martha Karua of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, want offenders prosecuted.

Prof Saitoti ordered police to speed up investigations and prosecutions of the remaining cases, and particularly those linked to capital and serious offences.

He directed that the cases be ranked according to their gravity so that suspects can be charged more quickly.

Mr Kiraithe said 103 priority cases are before the courts, and the 137 suspects involved are in remand since the offences with which they have been charged are not bailable.

None of the cases have been concluded, and all are in the hearing phase, the Sunday Nation learnt.

They include the burning of a church in Eldoret in which 35 people, mainly women and children, were killed.

Three people are standing trial for those crimes at Koibatek law courts.

The same court is hearing another case in which 17 suspects are charged with the murder of Catholic priest Father Michael Kamau.

In Naivasha, suspects have been detained in connection with the killing of 19 people who burnt to death when the house in which they were hiding was torched.

Three other people are being held in remand after being charged in a Kericho court with killing an Administration Police officer.

At the Eldoret courts, three men have been charged with robbing and killing a district officer and an AP chief inspector in Cheptiret.

Another case involves the killing of Mr Charles Keittany Korir, a former irrigation officer in Koibatek district.

Police records show that the bulk of the pending election-related cases under investigation are relatively petty; they include preparation to commit a felony, carrying offensive weapons like clubs and machetes, defying curfew orders, burglary and theft.

Property worth Sh30 billion was also destroyed in the violence, according to government estimates.

Officers are also investigating suspects accused of taking part in riots, taking part in illegal assemblies and demonstrations.

Police have drawn up a separate list of 200 prominent people suspected to have sponsored the violence.

They include 74-year-old ODM politician Jackson Kibor, who was charged in a Nakuru court with incitement.

Others are Kapsabet mayor Michael Rono, councillors Paul Cheruiyot and Johnston Kirua and former councillors Ishmael Choge, Abid Keter, Richard Ruto and George Ruto, who were arraigned in a Kapsabet court charged with breaking into houses, theft, malicious damage to property and handling stolen property.

Former Moi University lecturer and businessman Silas Simatwo also appeared in court for allegedly providing funds to some of the people who committed crimes.

Police have expressed frustration because some potential witnesses are reluctant to give evidence against suspects, fearing victimisation.

The police have appealed to them to present themselves and give evidence now that the Witness Protection Act has been passed.

Culture of impunity

According to Prof Saitoti, prosecuting those linked to post-election violence would ensure the culture of impunity is eliminated, the rule of law is restored and confidence in the police force strengthened.

And speaking in the ODM stronghold of Nyanza on Friday, Ms Karua opposed calls for amnesty in the presence of her ODM colleagues.

As we leaders fight for the release of the youths who took part in the post-election violence, we should think about the plight of those who lost their relatives in the skirmishes, she said.

She was the only PNU minister attending the funeral of Isaiah Omondi, son of Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno, in Rongo constituency.

Cabinet Ministers James Orengo, Otieno Kajwang, Henry Kosgey and Prof Anyang Nyongo, all of ODM, want the suspects released without conditions.

If those who stole elections are walking free, then those who reacted to the theft should not be confined in police cells, said Mr Orengo.

In response, Ms Karua had said: You dont solve a problem by killing innocent people and destroying their property.

Earlier in the week, the chairman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Mr Maina Kiai, called for the prosecution of those involved in post-election violence, including politicians who organised and funded militias.

He said it would be wrong to pardon those implicated in the violence.

And on Friday, commissioners convened a press conference and called for selective amnesty.

They supported amnesty for those who committed minor offences like blocking roads, on condition they apply for it within a legislative framework.

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API

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Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

Story by CHARLES WANYORO

Gikuyu, Embu, Meru leaders Saturday made the first effort to reach out to their Rift Valley counterparts and seek a solution to the perennial conflicts tied to electioneering.

Mr Kiraitu Murungi and Bishop Lawi Imathiu at a past church function. Photo/FILE

Comprising more than 20 sitting and former Members of Parliament the leaders joined the more than 600 delegates who sought to discuss the problems affecting their relatives living outside the region.

They petitioned President Kibaki to decisively tackle unrest in the Rift Valley, claiming that the President had abandoned Gema members in the diaspora soon after they voted for him.

They resolved to unearth the cause of the hostilities that recur every time the country goes to elections.

The meeting chaired by the former world Methodist Church President Dr Lawi Imathiu, resolved that the problem be addressed once and for all.

It has been happening since 1992 and we can bet it will happen in 2012 unless it is addressed now once and for all.

“Despite the governments effort to address resettle those that were displaced, the root causes of the problem have to be established and addressed, they said in a statement read by the deputy chairman of the group, former Anglican provost, Bishop Peter Njenga.

Among the government officials present were Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi, Agriculture assistant minister Japhet Kareke Mbiuki and the government Chief Whip and Juja MP George Thuo.

Others were MPs Silas Muriuki (North Imenti), Joseph Kiuna (Molo), Ephraim Maina (Mathira), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Lenny Kivuti (Siakago) and Elias Mbau (Maragwa).

The meeting, which took place in Meru, also sought to rally the entire Gema communities to back the proposed reforms aimed at addressing reconciliation.

Former MPs Njenga Karume, Norman Nyagah, Justin Muturi, Kirugi MMukindia, Waithaka Mwangi, Alfred Nderitu and David Mwiraria who attended the meeting also endorsed the resolution that the leadership of the revived Gema be handed to youthful leaders.

The meeting was however marked by grumbling and protests among the Meru delegates led by Mr Paul MEthinkia of the Njuri Ncheke council of elders.

Mr MEthinkia refused to give the councils position, saying they had been ambushed.
He said the Gikuyu members had not informed them of the agenda in advance.

He was backed by Mayor Henry Kiogora who led a walkout of five councillors from the Meru Municipal Council and addressed a press conference as the meeting progressed.

Molo MP Mr Joseph Kiuna said the government had failed to assist Gema members in the diaspora in the time of post-election violence even after voting for President Kibaki.

He said they were affected by violence since 1992 but the leaders had ignored them.
Mr Murungi however praised the idea to revive Gema and asked other tribes not to misinterpret it as a move to separate themselves from the rest of the country.

The leaders said unemployment among the youth was the main problem and resolved to initiate incoming generating projects for them.

They said this would help wipe out illegal youth organisations such as the Mungiki.

They however maintained that the youth should not abandon their traditions.

We will give a fresh look at such activities like sports, the arts and other activities, Bishop Njenga said.

They expressed fears that they have suffered all this time despite having one of their own in State House.

The group dismissed the emerging succession debate saying it was a waste of time as long as the issue of empowering the youth and the rest of the community members was not adequately addressed.

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API

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Second round of inter-Somali dialogue opens Saturday in Djibouti

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2008

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

The second round of dialogue between the Somali government and the opposition is scheduled to begin on Saturday morning in Djibouti under the auspices of the United Nations, with participation of a number of countries and parties concerned with the Somali issue, including Egypt as an observer.

The Egyptian ambassador to Somalia (resident in Kenya) Said Mursi, represents Egypt in the talks.

Ambassador Mursi announcement here on Friday that the dialogue, which is a continuation of the first round of talks held from 9th -15 May, is part of Somali national reconciliation, with the objective of ending the fighting and war and restoring stability to the country.

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API

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