African Press International (API)

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Archive for June 22nd, 2008

Political discussions with great relevance for Africa

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

Things must now be getting topsy turvey in your systems, to an extent that you now mix up issues.Who has brought Zimbabwe to the level you now confess? I did not accept the ineptitude with which tallying the electoral process was done in Kenya, but when our leaders realized that they were engaged in zero some games, they held back, came back to reason, and struck a way forward.

That to me was leadership. And I promptly joined ranks with our PNU guys to work for one Kenya.

Is Mugabe above simple human comprehension? Does he and people like you realize the damage Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe? It all calls for honesty.

Mugabe has been in charge since 1981, or whatever, and he must be held to account for all the mess, just like we would have applauded him for all the success.

When I feel I am right, I never seek solace in collective responsibility.

If stating the simple truths make me less intelligent, then I would rather I am less intelligent and do it right, than be intelligent, and get it all WRONG.

Odhiambo T Oketch
Komarock Nairobi.

On Sun, 6/22/08, Africare- NewPublications <Africare_np@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Africare- NewPublications <Africare_np@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [camnetwork] Re: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwe’s election; an African appeal
To: Mwananchi@yahoogroups.com
Cc: “Camnetwork” <camnetwork@yahoogroups.com>, “Abuja Nigeria” <abujanig@yahoogroups.com>, “Africare Publications” <africare-newpublications@yahoogroups.com>, “Voice Of Uganda” <voice-of-uganda@googlegroups.com>
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 4:25 AM

Odhiambo, when mothers and fathers are decapitated, what happened to the children?Come on now. The Zimbabwean crisis is deep rooted.

The problems of Zimbabwean children is no different from that of African-American children; or those in Sudan; DR Congo; Somalia; Kenya.

Its about African Human Resources Odhiambo! The destruction of which is the destruction of African children! You are now seeing it playing out in Zimbabwe.

ARJP

— On Sun, 6/22/08, odhiambo okecth <komarockswatch@ yahoo.com> wrote:

From: odhiambo okecth <komarockswatch@ yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [camnetwork] Re: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwe’s election; an African appeal
To: Mwananchi@yahoogrou ps.com
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 7:15 AM

Can you honestly trash my take on Zimbabwe? You must be very intelligent then to face the problems even kids encounter on account of Mugabe in Zimbabwe.Oto

— On Sun, 6/22/08, Africare- NewPublications <Africare_np@ yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Africare- NewPublications <Africare_np@ yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [camnetwork] Re: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwe’s election; an African appeal
To: Mwananchi@yahoogrou ps.com
Cc: “Camnetwork” <camnetwork@yahoogro ups.com>, “Abuja Nigeria” <abujanig@yahoogroup s.com>, “Africare Publications” <africare-newpublica tions@yahoogroup s.com>, “Voice Of Uganda” <voice-of-uganda@ googlegroups. com>
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 4:07 AM

MsJoe,

From: odhiambo okecth <komarockswatch@ yahoo.com>
Subject: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwe’s election; an African appeal
To: “People Foundation” <shoutpeople@ gmail.com>, ied@iedafrica. org, “jaluo” <jaluo@jaluo. com>, “Judy Miriga” <jbatec@yahoo. com>, kenyacitizensassemb ly@yahoogroups. com, kenyaclub@yahoogrou ps.com, kesol@tiscali. co.uk, “kol” <kenyaonline@ yahoogroups. com>, madaraka-kenya@ yahoogroups. com, “mulembe” <mulembe@yahoogroups .com>, “mundia jr” <mundia2@yahoo. com>, “mwananchi” <mwananchi@yahoogrou ps.com>, “ncec” <ncec@ncamovement. org>, net-kenya@yahoogrou ps.com, next_kenya@yahoogro ups.com, “George Nyongesa” <grnyongesa@yahoo. com>, “Oketch Odhiambo” <komarockswatch@ yahoo.com>
Cc: sundaynation@ nation.co. ke, editor@nation. co.ke
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 5:03 AM

Apparently Odhiambo is unable to answer that straight question. To drive the message home we even made it succinct thusly “African economic forces“.

Indeed our problems are critical thinking! But Odhiambo is very intelligent for that categorization.

ARJP

— On Sun, 6/22/08, MsJoe21St@aol. com <MsJoe21St@aol. com> wrote:

From: MsJoe21St@aol. com <MsJoe21St@aol. com>
Subject: Re: [camnetwork] Re: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwe’s election; an African appeal
To: camnetwork@yahoogro ups.com, Mwananchi@yahoogrou ps.com
Cc: abujanig@yahoogroup s.com, africare-newpublica tions@yahoogroup s.com, voice-of-uganda@ googlegroups. com
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 6:43 AM

ARJP and All:
Sometimes, one wonders about the fate of Africa if we cannot employ critical thinking. You asked a good question. What exactly did Mugabe do besides the land issue? Ethiopia has been at various stages of famine but we hear no stampede of concernedworkers and doers from the West bemoaning- oh our dearCapital.
Lanre asked a question: does Saudi Arabia or Egyptconduct free and fair elections and where are the crippling economic sanctions? When Musharaff aborted the supreme court and jailed the judges, military aid continued to pour into his coffers.
Some people do not seem to understand that Zimbabwe is not an ordinary case; it is a test case of imperial resolve. Of course, baring western manipulations, reasonablepersons such as yourself want free and fair elections for a stable Africa.
Regards,
MsJoe
In a message dated 6/22/2008 5:52:13 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Africare_np@ yahoo.com writes:
Odhiambo,Zimbabwe crisi. Is it about Mugabe or western machinations?

Can we Africans, before blindly critiquing Mugabe, spell out clearly what the man has done to destroy the economy? In other words, what African economic forces were there and operating effectively that president Mugabe destroyed, leading to the country’s economic collapsed?

ARJP

— On Sun, 6/22/08, odhiambo okecth <komarockswatch@ yahoo.com> wrote:

)

The case of Zimbabwe is now beyond the call for more sanctions as some African leaders are calling.Over the years, sanctions on Zimbabwe is hurting the common man, who now finds himself unable to buy common household items. The prices of all items is way too much, and inflation is beyond common sense.

What we need in Zimbabwe is simple; drive Mugabe out of town, and save the people from this man.

Mugabe is an eyesore. He is worse than all the common dictators that have ever ruled in Africa. If the world could unite against Saddam Hussein, and Saddam never ruined Iraq the way Mugabe has ruined Zimbabwe, then why can the world not unite against Mugabe and send him packing?

In 1981 when Zimbabwe attained Independence, that country was the jewel of Africa. Who could imagine that Zimbabwe could be driven down so massively in such a short while?

The damage Mugabe has inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe defies any more call for sanctions; it defies any human reasoning; it defies being nice to the man who has brought this on the people of Zimbabwe. Maybe the man is not human, after all.

The world must unite to drive Mugabe out of Zimbabwe, no more talk.

Odhiambo T Oketch
Komarock Nairobi.

— On Sat, 6/21/08, Chifu <chifu2222@gmail. com> wrote:
From: Chifu <chifu2222@gmail. com>
Subject: [Mwananchi] Zimbabwes election: an African appeal
To: Mwananchi@yahoogrou ps.com
Date: Saturday, June 21, 2008, 11:58 PM

Zimbabwe’s election: an African appeal
openDemocracy

African civil-society leaders, uniting to call for a free election
process and an end to violence in Zimbabwe, invite members of the
global public to support an open letter
20-06-2008

It is crucial for the interests of both Zimbabwe and Africa that the
elections on 27 June 2008 are free and fair.

Zimbabweans fought for liberation in order to be able to determine
their own future. Great sacrifices were made during the liberation
struggle. To live up to the aspirations of those who sacrificed, it is
vital that nothing is done to deny the legitimate expression of the
will of the people of Zimbabwe.

As Africans we consider the forthcoming elections to be critical. We
are aware of the attention of the world. More significantly we are
conscious of the huge number of Africans who want to see a stable,
democratic and peaceful Zimbabwe.

Consequently, we are deeply troubled by the current reports of
intimidation, harassment and violence. It is vital that the
appropriate conditions are created so that the presidential run-off is
conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. Only then can the
political parties conduct their election campaigning in a way that
enables the citizens to express freely their political will.

In this context, we call for an end to the violence and intimidation,
and the restoration of full access for humanitarian and aid agencies.

To this end it will be necessary to have an adequate number of
independent electoral observers, both during the election process and
to verify the results.

Whatever the outcome of the election, it will be vital for all
Zimbabweans to come together in a spirit of reconciliation to secure
Zimbabwe’s future.

We further call upon African leaders at all levels – pan-African,
regional and national – and their institutions to ensure the
achievement of these objectives.

All the initial signatories of this letter have added their names in a
personal capacity rather than in their organisational role.

All individual members of the global public, and civil-society groups,
are invited to endorse the letter here. This appeal is an African
initiative supported by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation The signatories are:

Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar, former president of Nigeria (1998-99)

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations
(1997-2007), Nobel laureate and member of The Elders

Kwame Appiah, Laurence S. Rockefeller professor of philosophy at
Princeton University

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former secretary-general of the United Nations
(1992-97)

Lakhdar Brahimi, former United Nations special representative for
Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and South Africa, and member of The Elders

Pierre Buyoya, former president of Burundi (1987-93, 1996-2003)

Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique (1986-2005)

Achmat Dangor, author and chief executive of the Nelson Mandela
Children’s Fund

John Githongo, former permanent secretary for governance and ethics in
Kenya

Richard Goldstone, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South
Africa

Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel International and founder of the Mo
Ibrahim Foundation

Sam Jonah Former, chief executive of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation

William Kalema, chairman of the Uganda Investment Authority

Among openDemocracy’ s many articles on Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe:

Bev Clark, “Mass evictions in Zimbabwe” (13 June 2005),

Netsai Mushonga, ” Two nights in Harare’s police cells” (5 December 2005),

Andrew Meldrum, ” Zimbabwe between past and future” (23 June 2006),

Conor O’Loughlin, ” Zimbabwean travails” (13 September 2006),

Wilf Mbanga, ” Happy birthday, Robert Mugabe” (21 February 2007),

Stephen Chan, ” Farewell, Robert Mugabe” (20 March 2007),

Michael Holman, ” Dizzy worms in Zimbabwe” (13 September 2007), The
Zimbabwean,

” Zimbabwe votes – and waits” (31 March 2008), Wilf Mbanga,

” Zimbabwe’s unfolding drama” (7 April 2008), Roger Southall,

” South Africa and Zimbabwe: the end of `quiet diplomacy’?” (29 April
2008)

Kenneth David Kaunda, former president of Zambia (1964-91)

Angelique Kidjo, musician and Unicef goodwill ambassador

Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel laureate

Graa Machel, president of the Foundation for Community Development
and member of The Elders

Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana (1980-98)

Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman of the South African Institute of
International Affairs

Benjamin William Mkapa, former president of Tanzania (1995-2005)

Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana (1998-2008)

Antnio Mascarenhas Monteiro, former president of Cape Verde (1991-2001)

Elson Bakili Muluzi, former president of Malawi (1994-2004)

Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former president of Tanzania (1985-95)

Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Civicus

Domitien Ndayizeye, former president of Burundi (2003 – 05)

Babacar Ndiaye, former president of the African Development Bank

Youssou N’Dour, musician and Unicef goodwill ambassador

Njongonkulu Ndungane, former Archbishop of Cape Town and founder of
the African Monitor

Moustapha Niasse, former prime minister of Senegal (1983, 2000-01)

Loyiso Nongxa, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of the
Witwatersrand

Karl Offmann, former president of Mauritius (2002-03)

Mamphela Ramphele, former managing director of the World Bank and
former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town

Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana (1993-2001)

Johann Rupert, chairman of Remgro Limited

Mohammed Sahnoun, former UN/OAU special representative for the Great
Lakes region of Africa and former assistant secretary-general of the OAU

Salim Ahmed Salim, former prime minister of Tanzania (1994-95) and
former secretary-general of the OAU (1989-2001)

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

Nicphore Dieudonn Soglo. former president of Benin (1991-96)

Miguel Trovoada, former president of So Tom & Prncipe (1991-2001)

Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and chairman of The Elders

Cassam Uteem, former president of Mauritius (1992-2002)

Zwelinzima Vavi, general-secretary of the Congress of South African
Trade Unions (Cosatu)

Joseph Sinde Warioba, former prime minister of Tanzania (1985-90)

———————–

AFRICAN PRESS INTERNATIONAL – API

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Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO cobbo@nation.co.ke

There are times when you wish that Libyan strongman Col Muammar Gaddafi would just shut up. The eccentric Gaddafi, who has been in power for nearly 40 years, is proverbial for making outrageous statements.

Last week, Gaddafi weighed into Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nominee for the November US election. Obama, the first African-American to become the nominee of a major party, recently made a speech overflowing with support for Israel.

Referring to Obama as our Kenyan brother, Gaddafi said his support for Israel might stem from an inferiority complex over his African origins.

The question of race, he suggested, could make Obamas behaviour more white than white people, rather than acting in solidarity with African and Arab nations.

On that note, I changed my view of Gaddafi, because he says in public what very many other people mutter into clenched fists.

Such criticism as Gaddafi made of Obama, has been made about many Anglophile Africans before, one of the best examples in East Africa being the case of former Kenyan attorney general Charles Njonjo.

Because it was Gaddafi speaking, he raised many other unspoken issues. He assumes that Africans have a natural duty to be in solidarity with Palestine, and the wider Middle East in favour of the Arab side, to put it crudely.

However, outside a small circle of left-leaning intellectuals and internationalist activists in Africa, theres actually not much sympathy for Palestine. Anyone who was a pro-Palestine activist in the 1980s and early 90s will know that.

The reason is not hard to see. Like everywhere in the world, every weekday in primary schools, and every Sunday in the millions of Christian prayer services in Africa, there is a pitch in favour of Israel. Being Christian is almost synonymous with being pro-Israel in its confrontation with its Arab adversaries.

Secondly, the divisions between Arab Africans and African Africans, if there is any such thing, are much deeper than tends to be acknowledged. The notion of sub-Saharan Africa, which tends to be accepted in Africa without question, is one that divides Arab North Africa from black Africa.
Its not politically correct to delve into the roots of this division. Scholars like Prof. Ali Mazrui have dealt with it by including the Arab/Islamic thread as part of Africas triple heritage.

This tends to mask the fact that in black Africa, the Arabs are seen as racists in part because of their role in the slave trade, and also because of the rabid anti-black Africa sentiments in countries in North Africa. Last year, in Gaddafis Libya, thousands of black Africans were attacked and run out of the country.

Scholars say Arab slavery was better than the European one, because the Africans were not exploited for labour as happened in the Americas, but were turned into eunuchs in the courts of the sultans, among other things.

THAT NOTWITHSTANDING, THERES A feeling today that the descendants of Western slave traders have atoned more for the crimes than the Arabs. While Western leaders have apologised, the Arab world continues to be in denial about slavery.

While a guilty West has paid back with crumbs in aid, scholarships, and so on, at the height of the oil crisis of the late 1970s, the OAU appealed to Arab oil producers to sell the continent cheap oil because we were brothers. The Arab oil producers tuned them out.

Obamas father was a Kenyan who went to the US on a scholarship, so hes not descended from slaves. Still, if all the facts above are taken together, the irony and insensitivity of an (African) Arab leader telling an African-American that his support for Israel is based on an inferiority complex is staggering.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Groups managing editor for convergence and new products.

————————

African Press International – api, source.nation.ke

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Kenyans being fooled by Nigerian drug dealers end up in foreign jails and some even die there.

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

It is sad. Kenyans are being taken for a ride by the Nigerians who use them to ferry drugs for them. These Kenyans tarnish the name of the country by engaging in the trade for the simple reason – to earn big money forgetting when got they will not live to enjoy the money. API

How Nigerian barons lure Kenyans into drug trade

Story by DOMINIC WABALA

A man jailed for life in China on Friday is among more than 150 Kenyans who have been arrested in connection with drug trafficking around the world since 2004, according to anti-narcotics sources.

Nairobi City has been a major drug centre. Photo/FILE

Many, including students, are serving life sentences or could be executed, the authorities fear.

Kenyans are increasingly being lured to act as mules for West African mainly Nigerian drug syndicates, an anti-narcotics detective who cannot be named, said.

The Nigerian syndicates are aggressively targeting students, especially girls, who are asked to swallow sachets of drugs and hide others in their private parts, the officers said.

The fear is that the syndicates will destroy Kenyas image and the integrity of its passport and cause Kenyans abroad to be profiled and targeted.

Nigerian syndicates

The activities of the Nigerian syndicates, about which officers said they are having problems obtaining evidence, are getting out of hand and will likely gather pace with the expected introduction of direct flights from Nairobi to the United States.

The British minister of State responsible for Counter Terrorism and Narcotics, Kim Howells, who visited Kenya last year, said that Kenya has become a major transit point for drugs destined for Europe and America.

In 2005, British police gave their Kenyan counterparts a list of 40 suspected drug traffickers travelling between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and various British cities.

The number of Kenyans in custody could be greater because, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press division head Wachira Nyaga, Kenyan missions abroad do not keep records of citizens arrested on drug charges.

It is unfortunate that our missions do not keep records of Kenyans arrested or serving sentences on drug charges. This is because many Kenyans do not register with the embassies as required and only do so when seeking assistance after they encounter problems, Mr Nyaga said.

Nationality of suspects

He said that in most cases, police in other countries contact the missions to verify the nationality of suspects arrested while travelling on Kenyan passports.

The recent arrest of two Kenyan university students in Malaysia and the sentencing to life of another student in China are an indication of how serious drug trafficking has become.

Deborah Donde and Emily Gathoni were arrested by Malaysian police on suspicion of drug trafficking after they were found in a room in which four kilos of marijuana were seized.

The two Kenyan students, one a daughter of a former MP, were arrested along with a Saudi and an Eritrean in an apartment in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur.

The former MPs daughter was released for lack of evidence.

Twenty-six-year-old fourth year University of Nairobi student Olivia Singaniabe Munoko was sentenced to life in prison in China in 2006.

She was arrested in March 2006 at Guangzhous Bai Yui international airport in possession of 1.8 kg of heroin. She had just landed at the airport from Kuala Lumpur.

The large number of mule arrests has been attributed by the international community to Kenyas becoming a major drug trafficking hub in the region and the presence of international drug trafficking syndicates, especially from West Africa.

Drug barons have been recruiting couriers, especially young women, who are lured by the promise of large amounts of money and lavish lifestyles.

While some of the couriers are innocent young women who are either lured or blackmailed by the drug lords, some have become seasoned mules, criss-crossing the world in the service of drug lords.

In 2002 a Kenyan woman identified as Setteena Idris Abdalla was jailed for 20 years by a Mauritius court for trafficking in 1 kg of heroin.

Another Kenyan was charged in a Thai court with possession of 1.5 kg of cocaine.

Twenty-six-year-old Christopher Lake, who was arrested in a raid by police in a Bangkok apartment in September 2002, had sneaked in the drugs from the Netherlands.

Detectives recovered drugs, mobile phones and a list of customers.

Seven Kenya Airways employees are among those held abroad on drug charges. While some are serving terms, others died in foreign jails. Larry Ogwel, 30, died in a Mumbai jail in India while serving a 10-year sentence for trafficking in heroin.

Mr Ogwel had worked for Kenya Airways for about six years and was scheduled to wed two weeks before he was arrested.

He died less than a year after he was sentenced.

Emily Barasa, a Kenya Airways in-flight supervisor, was arrested in 2001 at Londons Heathrow Airport. She had just disembarked from flight KQ 102 in July 2001 when she was intercepted by British anti-narcotics officers who detected the drugs in her luggage. She has since served her jail term and returned home.

In 2003, two Kenyan businesswomen, Dorothy Manju Nzioki and her sister, Susan Kaluki Nzioki, who were wanted by US authorities on drug trafficking charges, were handed over to Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) detective Kevin Blair to face charges in the United States.

They were charged with smuggling heroin into the United States.

A Kenyan woman serving a jail term in Langata Womens prison travelled to the United States to testify against them.

Another Kenyan was arrested in London in 2005 with 5 kg of cocaine after disembarking from flight KQ 101. He was charged in court.

Then came 29-year-old Allan Choge, a son of the family of a prominent politician, who was arrested at Heathrow airport in April 2005 on KQ flight 101. He was accused of using his airline staff status to sneak in the 5 kg of high grade cocaine stashed in a travelling bag.

Lack of evidence

He was released two weeks later for lack of evidence and returned to Kenya. In August 2005 another KQ in-flight attendant, Nancy Waiguru, was arrested at Heathrow as she attempted to sneak in five kg of cocaine. Sniffer dogs picked out her travelling bag in which the drugs were discovered after the crew disembarked from the plane. She is now serving a five-year jail term in Britain.

Two months after Ms Waigurus arrest in London another KQ in-flight attendant was intercepted in Amsterdam with five kg of high grade cocaine. Her fate remains unknown.

She joined George Kiragu who was arrested in Amsterdam in December 2004 in connection with a seizure of 295 kg of cocaine by Dutch authorities.

The son of former Kirinyaga South MP Stephen Kiragu was arrested along with five Dutch nationals after Dutch detectives found the cocaine in a godown within Amsterdams Champagneweg 11 Te Zevenbergen area.

He was linked to the Sh6.4 billion cocaine haul that was seized by Kenyan authorities around the same time.

Although his younger brother, David Kiragu, has since been sentenced and fined Sh18 billion, Kenyan authorities maintain that Stephen Kiragu was the mastermind of the largest cocaine haul ever intercepted by detectives in Africa.

More Kenyan drug traffickers could be serving sentences around the world but are unknown to the government because of using fake documents or not registering with the embassies abroad.

——————

API:source.nation.ke

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The Lottery owners in Kenya are stealing from the wananchi?

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

They are definitely getting rich through a fake scheme. The government must see to it that the owners pay winners and money to charities given out. The government should check if the lottery company owners have hidden foreign accounts. Something is very fishy here. Read between the lines and judge for yourself. API

Lottery firm yet to give jackpot 7 years on

Story by DAVID OKWEMBAH
Kenyans hoping to win the Sh20 million jackpot in the Toto 6/49 lottery are in for a rude shock: they have little or no chance of laying their hands on the coveted prize.

The odds of someone who pays on average Sh65 a week to play a combination of 18 numbers winning the top prize are one in 14 million, according to the government agency that regulates gambling.

Seven years after the First Lotto lottery was set up in Kenya by three Bulgarian nationals, it has yet to pay out the top prize, according to the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

First Lotto, which has offices in all major towns in Kenya, says about 20,000 players enter the lottery each week paying between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million.

Toto 6/49 has so far raised at least Sh500 million and claims to have paid out Sh20 million to charity since 2002 when the company was set up. This is contrary to official gaming rules that stipulate that 25 per cent of total earnings go to charity.

According to the company, on average the lottery raises between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million across the nation every week or Sh6 million a month.

Changed hands

Last year ownership of First Lotto changed hands; the new owner, Club of Clubs, is registered in the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea.

This transfer came on the heels of the collapse over a Sh70 million debt of another lottery firm operating in Kenya. Playwin, known by its popular name Je Ukipata?, went under in April last year after a foreign investor pulled out of a Sh500 million deal to keep it afloat. While Playwin had promised to dish out Sh10 million every week, it collapsed without anyone ever winning the advertised money.

When the firm went under, the BCLB promised to issue a statement regarding the status of lotteries in the country; the statement was not forthcoming.

A Singapore-based company, together with a local entity Ansellia Holdings, owned that lottery.

Like Playwin, First Lotto has links to the Far East; one of the registered directors of Club of Clubs is listed as Tyng Lee (Chinese). The other is Eekbal Rayani (Kenyan).

First Lotto, which is a subsidiary of Club of Clubs, is owned by Eekbal Rayani, Amin Rayani and Zakir Rayani, who also serves as the chief executive.

Last week Charles Wambia of the BCLB said the body was concerned that no one had won the First Lotto jackpot.

We are working on modalities to have the jackpot won, he said without explaining how the board planned to do this.

Zakir Rayani, who spoke to the Sunday Nation, was at pains to explain why the jackpot had never been won.

Game of numbers

This is a game of numbers, he said, noting that the number of players in First Lotto was so low that it was impossible to win the ultimate prize.

We only have 20,000 players, the First Lotto chief executive said, agreeing with the BCLB that the odds are impossible for so few participants to win the jackpot. This requires that the winner has marked the combination of all six numbers resulting from a weekly draw.

There are 49 numbers to choose from. Betters can play from a minimum Sh25 for six numbers to more than Sh100,000 for 5,005 numbers.

For anyone to win the First Lotto jackpot, the number of participants would have to rise to at least 1 million, Zakir Rayani said.

Nevertheless, the lottery would appear to have become a cash cow for the owners.

The BCLB requires that at least 50 per cent of the money collected be paid out in prizes, while another 25 per cent must go to charity. If a lottery firm takes in Sh6 million a month, then at least Sh3 million should be paid out in prizes and another Sh1 million to charity.

The highest prize First Lotto has ever paid is Sh457,000 in 2006. The June 15 draw came up with a prize of Sh302,000. Mr Rayani said it has yet to be claimed; the winner has 30 days from June 15 to collect it.

While Britains national lottery boasts of creating more than 2,000 sterling millionaires since its inception 14 years ago, First Lotto is yet to claim its first shilling millionaire.

Since March 2007, First Lotto has given Sh350,000 to charity against an income of Sh66 million.

A memorandum of understanding signed between the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) and First Lotto had been accumulating dust until the Sunday Nation made inquiries last week.

It was then that Duncan Ndegwa, the Nairobi branch chairman of APDK, was summoned to First Lotto offices in Parklands and given a cheque for Sh50,000.

Disabled people

According to the MoU, First Lotto was supposed to employ at least 200 physically disabled people. But since the Rayanis took over the lottery in March last year not a single person from APDK has been employed, Mr Ndegwa said.

In fact, the number of APDK people working with First Lotto has dwindled to 15 from 60 who were initially employed by the Bulgarian owners, he said.

Mr Zakir confirmed the existence of the MoU with APDK but said some of the employees from APDK had left for greener pastures.

He blamed the post-election violence for the companys inability to give to charity as stipulated by the BCLB. The chief executive claimed that the money collected by First Lotto was only enough to run its operations.

He declined to divulge details regarding the use of the money meant for prizes in the lottery.

————–

API.source.standard.ke

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A matchmaker from heaven

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

By Erick Wamanji

At the junction of Ralph Bunche and Valley Road, Nairobi, stands Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC). It is towards this church that a cheerful couple walks gaily. The petite woman is splendid in a pink dress with matching earrings, a white scarf and silver stilettos.

Meet Ruth Silpa and her husband Solomon Kilaha. Both became widowed at a tender age and suffered the agony of becoming single parents. Many years later, through a programme of widows, widowers and single mums at the NPC, they are happily remarried.

Through this church-based matchmaking project, single people congregate to share. They bond and may fall in love, which can culminate in marriage. The programme is a deliberate endeavour that was initiated to tame the pace at which marriage is collapsing or losing its lustre.

Also cognisant of the fact that young people too grapple with relationship problems, and that traditional support structures are no longer available, another programme to attract the youth and prepare them for marriage was born. In “Crossroad”, for that is its name here, young people in their 20s are taught skills of spotting, approaching and dating a potential mate. They also gain skills in the art of courtship.

At first, each gender is tutored separately. When they are ready, men and women are allowed to meet and mingle. Those who are lucky to win a soul get enrolled in pre-marital classes. The course is free and takes six months, although participants pay Sh2,000 for stationery and snacks.

The scheme has psyched many into marriage, and has created a fertile ground for bonding. According to the church, the marriages are blossoming.

Desperate measures
Henry Kahio and his wife Teresa Kamau met as youth, fell in love and were taken through the process of making and sustaining a marriage. When they finally tied the knot in December 2006, they had discovered the importance of a functioning family.

Must a successful marriage originate from a spontaneous relationship? “Not any more,” declares Pastor Julius Akenga, the man behind the project. “Marriage is threatened because, today, no one teaches people how to make a home. In fact, we were worried about the increased number of single parents in society.” The threat to marriage, the pastor says, has threatened the foundation of the family and, by extension, the church and society.

He carries on: “At NPC, we take the institution of marriage very seriously. We are therefore putting mechanisms in place to ensure that the family remains firm and productive.” Through the programme, he says, young people are encouraged to marry and procreate.

The Kilahas owe their new marriage and its success to the programme. Theirs is a heart-rending story. After enduring widowhood for years, they eventually triumphed after cupid struck while the man and woman were fellowshipping with others in the ministry.

“When I was widowed, it was Solomon who introduced me to the Widows and Widowers Ministry,” says Ruth. “I was only 25 when my husband died in a tragic road accident. Here I was, young and widowed. The world was crushing in on me. For seven years, I waited and prayed and God answered me eventually.”

Ruth testifies that the training sessions at the church were beneficial. Progressively, she heard and internalised the Biblical doctrine that “two are better than one”. Mutually, she and Solomon agreed to remarry.

“My children were young when their mother died,” recalls Solomon, a Nairobi-based radiographer. “I didnt want to rush to a decision of remarrying. I wanted them to mature. Then I could seek their consent to get another wife.” In the meantime, he attended the church workshops.

Of her current husband, Ruth says shyly: “He was our best man.” When she lost her former husband, Kilaha was there for her bereaved family. “He closely consoled us. We were friends for seven years before opening up after attending the sessions in the ministry.”

It is in this ministry, which is gaining currency in the city, that couples learn their roles in marriage. Here, women learn to submit, and men learn to serve their wives. Consultation in decision-making is emphasised, as is openness.

Adds Teresa, who works in a local bank: “Through the ministry, we learnt how to deal with in-laws, and why communication is important. In fact, we (she and her husband) call each other at least three times in a day.”

The importance of gifts and birthdays, bedtime mannerisms, as well as the value of keeping an elegant figure are stressed.

Anger management
Teresa continues: “There is also the issue of courtesy and the need to solve problems amicably.” Courtesy words like “sorry” and “thank you”, she says, are common in her house. “They have got us going It is a programme I would recommend to anyone who values the sanctity of family and marriage.”

Pastor Akenga says friendship is critical to the success of a marriage. In fact, he insists that a couple must bond before getting children.

“They learn that it is wrong for children to come into a world where mum and dad are antagonistic. A child must come to a warmly couple.”

Premarital preparation for couples involves the inculcation of skills in anger management and the need to understand ones expectations in marriage. The expectations, Akanga says, must be clear and reasonable to avoid frustration. “If a compromise is not reached, it is better not to go on, than to get into marriage only to end up miserable or divorced.”

Teresa recalls: “We wrote our expectations and discussed them over. For instance, I dont expect him to surprise me on my birthday with a car key or a key to a house, for such are major projects that must be first discussed. Another thing we learn is building trust, being honest and managing our finances. There is nothing to hide. Now Im on leave and I let him go with my ATM card, because I trust him.” She asks: “But suppose I find out that my account is empty?” Then she answers her own question: “Next time, I will hesitate. So trust is important.”

“The institution of marriage is under threat,” declares Akenga, a forlorn look on his face. The trend of the rising numbers of single parents, he observes, “is dangerous for society and the church at large.”

Owing to the popularity of the matchmaking programme, every year dozens of couples go through these sessions and get married.

Priming the youth for marriage

At the church, young people are prepared on how to relate with the opposite sex. Akenga recalls: “The other day, we went to Camp Malta in Sagana for a night out and responded to most of the youths questions, some which are quite interesting.”

Singles, he explains, are taken on out-of-the-city excursions, where the atmosphere is conducive for “opening up. We have several events for bonding, including dinner (for instance on Valentines Day), or trips away from the city.” It is during these events that mature youths get an opportunity to mingle, spot potential partners and start dating.

Met and married
Recalling how he and his wife met, Joseph Mwangi, who is a member of the church, says, “I was a youth; my wife too. The process enabled us to meet and we got married. It was a great thing.”

Today, Akenga is indeed a busy man. Every weekend he officiates a marriage that he has nurtured from infancy. “We were worried that the place of the marriage institution was collapsing,” observes Akenga. “With this threat, the dominion and authority bestowed upon man is threatened. We need to participate in creation.”

One of the reasons behind the collapse of marriages, he says, is the rat race and the individualism it spawns. All this, in Akengas reasoning, is borne out of ignorance. He says struggles in life can only be meaningful when one has a strong and functioning family. “The biggest worry is that many people have not been brought up to appreciate and respect this institution (marriage). The fabric holding this is in tatters, leading to an increase in divorce and single parenthood. But if the family stands, the church will stand and so will society.”

About children who are brought up by single parents, Irene Njoki, also of the church, says, “They are pampered or left on their own. They hardly learn values and virtues. That is why single parenting should be discouraged.” Initially, Njoki was a single mother. Thanks to the ministry, she “hooked up” and now is settled in marriage. “My son is now growing up in a complete family. He will learn values and virtues in life.” Children who grow up in families, she says, learn conflict resolution and resilience.

A flourishing project
Pastor Akenga is all smiles. “Its a successful project,” he says. Many people are enrolling in it, some even from outside the church.”

Adds Kahio: “The process was very useful. In fact, I learnt how to take family matters seriously. For the time weve been married, I can assure you it has been a happy family.” He says that, in the old days, the extended family tutored individuals on how to raise families. “Now that is no more and we need classes like this.”

Explains Solomon: “We decided to get married for three main reasons: to be testimony and encouragement for others who had gone through a depressing experience like ours, to fulfil Gods command and bear as many children as we can and, finally, to serve God as a family. The church ministry prepared us for all this.”

Confesses Teresa: “There were many things we didnt know. Our marriage could be struggling were it not for the ministry.”

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Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

By Sunday Standard TeamAs Kenyans united to mourn the two fallen MPs, questions abound on the credibility of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the competence of the pilot of the crash plane.

Enquiries into the records of the plane and the pilot, and scrutiny of KCAAs conduct, point to discrepancies that bring to question the safety of local airspace. Those who died on Tuesday June 10 could just have walked into a death trap the pilot who was cleared to fly totally with the help of the eye (Visual Flight Rule), and was prohibited to fly in clouds, tried to navigate his way through it.

The Nairobi-Kericho sector on which he flew is decreed high-altitude and the lowest Chrsitoph Maria Schnerr, who also died in the crash, was 13,000ft. He crashed at 8,000ft above sea level. He was so low for the area, and engulfed by clouds, he ploughed into a canopy on the Kajonga Hills.

The plane had two Global Positioning System (GPS) at the time. “GPS is useful but it is not approved solely on general aviation aircraft as a navigation tool,” our source explained.

Had the pilot been on the Instrument Flight Mode, he added which means the pilot did not see the environment around him the Air Traffic Controller would have alerted him of the obstruction.

“But because he was on visual rule, the ATC takes it that you know what you are doing and you will steer off at the right time, unless of course you report distress. In this case we need to also ask if the pilot did so. So far there is no evidence he did,” the expert familiar with the latest crash, told The Sunday Standard.

Pilot mishaps

The plane itself has its own mystery. It had United States of America registration N2322T when it landed in Kenya; its first registration in the country was 5Y-BUN. But shortly after belly-landing at Ukunda, it was changed to 5Y-BVE.

“It is not strange to change the registration of planes, but in this case why shortly after an accident? Did something serious happen to the plane?” asked the expert familiar with aircraft accident investigations.

Records show the pilot was born on July 16, 1957, and held a German passport number 4893048079.

The records also show he could have operated in Kenya for about three years, on a tourist visa.

It is not clear why KCAA would allow a tourist to fly a commercial plane, at the countrys busiest airport, let alone train as one.

In September 2006, Schnerr landed his plane on the belly while flying between Kijigwa and Ukunda. He apparently forgot to engage the landing gear, which releases the retractable wheels from its fold. This was besides the hair-raising incident in which he flew across a restricted path above Jomo Kenyatta International Airports Runway 06, nearly coming into contact with an international airliner.

The story of Schnerr and his plane, with which he crashed and died alongside Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones, Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso, and Kones bodyguard, Kenneth Kipkoech Bett, also ends up with more questions, than answers.

Demand for the truth

With tears rolling down the cheeks of those who knew the three, stung by how sudden their lives were cut short mid-air, Bett was buried on Thursday, Laboso on Friday and Kones yesterday.

At the three burials the demand was made: “We must be told what happened with their flight, whether it was human or mechanical error. We must be told.”

The mourners, among them VIPs, said that was the only way their hearts and minds would settle, and along with it, should come assurances similar mistakes would not be made on air.

KCAA director Chris Kuto has on several occasions since the crash defended the authoritys record, dismissing calls for his resignation along with other board members, as misplaced and unnecessary.

The authority has also vouched for the operator of the aircraft, the pilot and the plane itself.

However, walking in the footsteps of the pilot whose passport shows he was a resident of Osterburg but born in Gleiwitz, and who could have been celebrating his 51st birthday next month, tells a different story.

It is much like that of his plane, which saw him arrested in Mombasa when he arrived with it in Kenya, after flying 75 hours. Instead of going the route for which it was cleared from the US, with a landing in Addis Ababa, he detoured to Djibouti. When the plane landed in Mombasa, the anomaly in the route saw him arrested. It is not clear how this matter was resolved, but one thing is, on a tourist visa he conquered the sky with passengers aboard.

Controversy also surrounds his flying hours, whose accumulation to pilots is a mark of honour, competence and experience. The pilot cleared to fly out the plane after it was brought in from the US, was drawn from Kenya Police Air Wing pool, but privately.

Schnerr was in the cockpit but the 75 hours were loaded into his log, further helping fast track him to the inner club of white shirts, epaulettes and navy blue coats and trousers. It was part of the arsenal for hands-on experience, which any operator and licensing officer ask for.

Adventure pilot

The Germans sojourn in Kenya, and his legendary yet short career in the air began in 2004 when he arrived, armed with a tourist visa. Then aged 47 he bumped onto a Kenyan pilot and friendship blossomed. He is said to have expressed interest in flying and was soon training for pupil pilot licence in Nairobi. Armed with a tourist visa, and a foreigner at that, and having a good friend inside KCAA, he was no stranger at Wilson Airport and the sky above. For his age and colour, he could be training for leisure, and who can stop a tourist from seeking adventure in the air?

“Whether he had the minimum qualifications for the PPL is not clear, but at this stage, it could be argued he was training for leisurely solo flights, not to ferry human cargo,” said our source, who because of the sensitivity of the latest crash and the small-sized numbers of accomplished investigators in his field, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Through with the PPL, and having failed in some of the ground courses forcing him to re-sit the exams, he asked to register for what is every young pilots dream, the real money-raker Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) . He was told it would take between 12-18 months locally, and he would not have it.

He is said to have left for the US from where, within four months, he returned with his CPL, complete with instrument rating multi-engine (clearance to fly more than one engine).

“In Americas ground schools, to get a CPL takes more than six months. This is a world record,” added our source.

Last year Schnerr sought to have his foreign licence converted into Kenyas. “This is mandatory. He was supposed to do some ground exams, including law, navigation, geography of the area and meteorology,” the source added.

“The question that must be asked is who checked him out or supervised and guaranteed to the authorities he deserved the Kenyan CPL to fly? It must be asked how many hours he had and if he had the command of Kenyas geography,” our expert added.

Some discrepancies

He said this was important because among the aviation fraternity, the pilot was not supervised stringently and would most times do “touch and go” (land and take-off) exercises at Wilson Airport between 6:15pm and 7:15pm.

He said records show he started flying his own plane, which he initially wanted to lease out, with 250 hours (this includes the 75 borrowed from the police pilot who brought the plane).

To process the purchase of the plane, as well as the handling of the requisite registration rules, he approached a registered operator at Wilson Airport. He could not do it himself, because he was not registered.

It came with an export certificate of airworthiness signed on the November 5, 2006, by Mr Steven Saunders of the US Federal Aviation Administration. This is within the Department, in Kenyan terms, Ministry of Transportation. It showed it had flown for 4,488.9 hours.

Apart from the “belly landing in Ukunda, the plane had no other incidents of mishaps, and on January 5, last year, Kenya Civil Aviation Authorities Airworthiness Engineer M Igumba, reported to the repairer, in writing, “document vetting findings on of 5Y-BUM”.

He raised some discrepancies, which had to be addressed before a compliance report is submitted to KCAA.

Hours carried from US aircraft logbook to Kenyan aircraft logbook did not tally.

Operators name and address not written in the logbooks.

Before carrying passengers undercarriage retraction and extension check must be carried out.

Meticulous inspection of the main landing gear (for damages suffered at the belly landing to be corrected.
It is not clear what followed but the expert explained: “The plane appears to have been in good condition, it is the management of the flight, routing and piloting that I believe led to the crash. The pilot was not seeing the ground, he was in the clouds, and he was not on instruments, that is the recipe for disaster.”

In any case, the pilot had flouted Kenya Civil Aviation Act 394, which among others, bars non-residents without training from flying in Kenya.

But the fable in the flight lies in the operator, a private company at Wilson Airport, to which Schnerr turned because he did not have an Air Operator Certificate.

“This is the only aircraft the company had, but the actual owner was the pilot. The question must be asked if the operator had the capacity to technically manage a flight, including routing, or it was left to the pilot whose training appear to have gaps,” our source added.

The guy who dispatched the plane in the company might not have been qualified, we must ask, who planned the route for Chris (the pilot)? Was he competent? Did he know all the sectors and alternate airports among other flight related factors?”

He posed: “For the pilot to fly out on this environment he should have been signed out by a competent and approved inspector. Was this done and who is the inspector around that day?

It is to the KCAA board that the nation looks up to for an answer to the hard questions. And it is the Air Accidents Inspector to ask.

However, in the aviation fraternity it is often asked if the KCAA board has the capacity and independence to execute its mandate. Though it could have been well intentioned given their experience in the field, some of the top KCAA board members have vast investments in the industry.

Could the bug of conflict of interests have bitten the board? When they make decisions, are they free enough or do they pull back because of the possible implication to their interests?

These are some of the hard questions the Government and the international civil aviation agencies will be asking as they try and unearth what ails Kenyas aviation industry.

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Kenya: President pays glowing tribute to the late Kones

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

Written By:PPS,Posted: Sat, Jun 21, 2008

President Mwai Kibaki Saturday joined thousands of mourners in paying their last respects to the late Minister for Roads Kipkalia Kones who was buried at his Kaparuso village farm in Longisa location, Bomet District.

Addressing mourners, President Kibaki described the late Kones as an able and experienced leader who served his constituents and Kenyans in general with dedication.

The President recalled that the late Roads Minister accompanied him on his recent trip to Japan and proved to be very knowledgeable on issues affecting the country, especially infrastructure development, during discussions with development partners.

He pledged the Government’s support to complete all the development projects initiated by the late Minister.

The Head of state also said the Government will support the family and education of the children of the late Kones to ensure they complete their studies.

He appealed to all Kenyans to embrace peace and good neighborliness as a tribute to the late Minister, reiterating his call for wananchi to emulate the grand coalition leaders who agreed to work together for the sake of unity in the Country.

“As leaders, we have resolved to shelve our political differences and work together in developing the country. I appeal to wananchi to unite and join us in improving our country,” President Kibaki said.

Leaders led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for thorough investigations into the cause of the tragic plane crash that killed the Minister.

Mr Odinga, at the same time, said the findings of the investigations into the plane crash and others in the recent past should be made public to end speculations.

The Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister William Ruto supported taxing of Members of Parliament allowances and appealed to their colleagues opposed to the move to reconsider their stand.

Over 70 members of parliament led by the National Assembly Speaker attended the burial.

The late Minister was a member of the Coalition Government Cabinet for only 58 days.

He is survived by two widows, Beatrice and Lilly, six children and five grand children.

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MONUC rejects criticism of its report on DRC conflict

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) said the criticisms against its report on the fighting in February and March in Bas-Congo between the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) sect fellows and the security forces made by the Congolese Communication and Media minister, Emile Bongeli, last Tuesday were baseless.

The UN mission investigation report made public Friday concluded that 100 people, mainly followers of the Bundu dia Kongo religious sect, were killed during the operations launched on February 28 by the Congolese national police, which, according to the document, had used “war weapons disproportionately”.

The interim UN spokesperson, Sylvie Van De Wildenbeg, estimated that the investigation was carried out “in-depth based on a sound methodology” by human rights experts who did a serious work.

The interim spokesperson underscored that it was not an accommodating report.

MONUC recommended that the Congolese authorities open a judicial inquiry into the alleged perpetrators to be prosecuted and condemned according to the law.

MONUC said it was ready to “facilitate the judicial investigation”.

Minister Bongeli, who is also the spokesperson for the Congolese government had told a news conference Tuesday that the MONUC report was “accommodating and manipulative”, based on no evidence apart from allegations about the existence of common graves.

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AU, France sign budgetary support agreement

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

The African Union and France on Friday signed in Addis Ababa a budgetary support aimed at supporting the activities of the AU Commission.

Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Mr Stphane Gompertz, French ambassador in Ethiopia, and the permanent representative of France to the African Union, signed this agreement at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The agreement also includes an amendment to the Convention which has been governing, since September 2005, budgetary assistance provided by France to the African Union.

This new text will detail, in accordance with the priorities set up by the African Union, the areas of implementation of the French budgetary assistance to the AU in 2008, which amounts to 1.7 million dollars. These amounts will mainly come in support of capacity-building and AUs initiatives in three areas, the AU said.

Accordingly, nearly $700, 000 will be devoted to support the strengthening of the African Standby Force while $390 000 will be directed to the electoral assistance fund, which the African Union has just set up.

The African stand by Force still under discussion by the AU is expected to be functional by 2010.

Half a million dollars will also benefit the programme for promotion of French at the African Union, to be implemented in partnership with the International Organisation of Francophonie.

Besides, on this occasion, France has been willing to illustrate its commitment with the AU by deciding not to request the reimbursement of the support provided in kind by the French army to the AU mission in Sudan (AMIS), from the facility in Abeche (Chad) from 2004 to 2007. Such an assistance amounts to 1.4 million euros, the AU added.

A few days ahead of the summit of Sharm-El-Sheikh, the signing of this text, which renews the framework for French financial assistance in support of AU action, is an additional testimony of our continuous and confident bilateral cooperation, said Gompertz, the French ambassador.

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AfDB approves $ 500,000 post-conflict emergency relief for Kenya

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a grant of US$500,000 from its Special Relief Fund (SRF) to finance emergency relief programmes to alleviate the sufferings of victims of the recent post-election violence in Kenya.

According to a press release issued here by the bank, the Board on 5 June 2008 approved the emergency humanitarian relief assistance in support of the Kenyan government and the United Nations efforts to provide urgent food aid distribution and deliveries of water purification supplies, medicines and shelter materials to victims of the civil unrest in which some 1,000 people died while 300,000 were displaced.

Furthermore, about 700,000 other people affected by three successive years of floods and drought from 2006 in parts of Kenya will also benefit from a US$ 500,000 emergency relief grant approved on Tuesday, 17 June 2008 in Tunis, by the Board of Directors of the AfDB Group.

The amount, also from the SFR, will be used to finance part of the cost of the humanitarian relief assistance to the affected people as well as support the Kenyan government and United Nations efforts to deliver urgent food aid and water purification supplies, medicines and shelter materials to flood victims.

As a result of successive seasons of failed rains followed by devastating floods since December 2006, some 3 million people have been plunged into crisis due to destroyed livelihoods and the death of livestock. The UN estimates that 700,000 people have been affected by the floods in terms of temporary displacement, loss of property, livestock and crop losses, the release said.

Over 100 people were reported drowned in flooded areas where some of Kenyas poorest people reside. Communities have had their livelihoods ruined by three years of drought and floods with the most serious impact felt along the Tana River, where communities have been forced to move to higher ground. The river basin was severely flooded displacing some 3,500 people. All sanitation and water systems along the river south of Garissa were either damaged or destroyed.

There have been widespread cases of diarrhoea resulting from contaminated water; especially in Moyale, Kwale and Mombasa.

The floods have also caused serious damage to infrastructure, especially in the east where roads, clinics, schools and latrine systems have been damaged. The Somali refugee camp at Ifo and Dadaab was seriously affected with the hospital damaged and refugee homes inundated.

Meanwhile, the Bank Group Board is expected to approve another US$500,000 on 23 June 2008 to finance part of Kenyas Avian Flu emergency preparedness programme.

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Somalia: Gunmen toss grenade at cinema, killing 2 and wounding 7

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

Unknown gunmen tossed a hand grenade at a cinema in the central Somali town of Galkayo on Monday night, killing two people and wounding seven others, officials and eyewitnesses said.

Two men were sighted standing outside the cinema for nearly half an hour as viewers were trooping to the cinema, then one of them tossed a hand grenade to the entrance of the cinema. The explosion killed two men and wounded seven others, said Muse Farah Damal, an eyewitness.

The regional police chief, Abdirahman Aded Gelle said the police helped to take the wounded to the main hospital in the town and the culprits escaped but we are after them.

Meanwhile, two huge explosions rocked parts of the Somali capital early on Tuesday at a time when hundreds of government soldiers cordoned off the road between the airport and the presidential place as President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was supposed to use the road on his return from Djibouti where he met with the UN Security Council.

Presidential spokesperson Husein Mohamed Mohamud said the president reached his palace safely.

The spokesperson for the African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Brigye Bahuko said the troops carried out a mine clearing operation on the road the president was supposed to use.

The explosions you heard this morning were two of improvised explosive devices planted on the road near the airport and our troops detonated them, he said.

In a separate incident, heavily armed Islamic insurgents launched an attack late on Monday night at a government military base south of Baidoa.

The insurgents attacked at Manas military base 30 km south of Baidoa and briefly took the control of the base, said Madey Nur Garas, a local resident.

The insurgents spokesperson, Abdirahin Issa Adow said: Our troops launched an attack on this military base and briefly held it, killing several government soldiers and confiscated weapons and ammunition.

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Ghana Black Stars seeks to revenge on the Gabonese team

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

The Ghana senior national team, the Black Stars are expecting to revenge the 2-0 defeat it suffered in the hands of Azingo Nationale, the Gabonese national team in their return leg of Group 5 in the joint 2010 World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifier scheduled for the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra on Sunday.

After the 2-0 defeat last week, most of the key Black Star players such as Chelseas Michael Essien, Laryea Kingston of Hearts, John Mensah of Rennes, Sulley Ali Muntari of Portsmouth and John Paintsil of West Ham United, came under intense pressure from soccer fans who jeered and booed at them on arrival in Ghana.

The team is therefore poised to make amends to confirm their lead of the group although they have the same points with Libya, who also have six points but with an inferior goal difference.

Soccer analysts on Saturday predicted that the match will not be an easy one for the Black Stars looking at the way things went in Libreville last weekend, but hoped the Stars will carry the day.

Already, the nationwide supporters union and other supporters associations are rehearsing to give massive support to the Stars to ensure their qualification to the next round.

Meanwhile, the Stars interim coach, Sellas Tetteh, is expected to play his last game as the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has contracted a German coach, Guido Buchwald, although the GFA has so far denied the reports that it has signed the contract.

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Central African govt, rebels meet in Libreville for peace pact

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2008

Representatives from the government and the various rebel groups in the Central African Rep. (CAR) are in Libreville to sign a comprehensive peace accord ahead of the Central African all-inclusive political dialogue due to take place next July in Bangui, a reliable source told APA.

Almost everybody is here but we dont know when the agreement will be signed, a source close to the Gabonese state presidency told APA.

The signing could take place tonight. What is unlikely is tomorrow or next week,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Another source told APA that last minute adjustments were reportedly delaying the process.

Leaders from the various rebel groups are demanding security guarantees for them and their soldiers who are due to be cantonned.

The political opposition is demanding a blanket amnesty that would also benefit the leaders of the former regime of President Ange Felix Patasse who was toppled in a March 2003 coup.

A meeting was held on Thursday at the Gabonese Foreign ministry to harmonies opinions on this issue.

On 9 May 2008 in Libreville, the Bangui regime and the Peoples Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD), a rebel group active in the north-western CAR, signed a peace and ceasefire accord with the government.

This accord complements those successively signed on 2 February 2007 in Sirte, Libya with the Front for the central African Peoples Democracy (FDPC) of Abdoulaye Miskine and on 13 April 2007 with the Union of Democratic Forces for Rally (UFDR) of Michel Am Non Droko Dotodja.

The Libreville comprehensive agreement was expected to pave the way for the long-sought for dialogue in Bangui and supposed to bring back a lasting peace in the CAR.

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