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Archive for June 25th, 2008

University student sings her way to big money

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Story by TIM KAMUZU BANDA

Even from the very beginning, Esther Nabaasa Muguzi came across as no ordinary hopeful.

Esther Nabaasa from Uganda celebrates her Sh5 million-worth victory.Photos/CHARLES KAMAU

While most hopefuls in talent searches insist that they are just there to try their luck, Esther said from the very beginning that she was there to win and nothing less would do for her.

If I did not think that I had what it takes, then I would not have entered the competition. I knew that I had a chance, she says confidently.

On Sunday night, that confidence paid off for the 21-year-old Ugandan when she was declared the winner of the second edition of the Tusker Project Fame talent search.

Voters from East Africa overwhelmingly handed the Makerere University student the ultimate prize ahead of Kenyans Victor Asava, Wendy Kimani and David Ogolla in the grand finale that was aired live on national TV from the Tusker Project Fame Academy.

It was a culmination of the three months long search that saw over 10,000 hopefuls being auditioned across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before a handful entered the Academy.

For her triumph, the Ugandan not only joins the exclusive club of millionaires, having bagged Sh5m, but also wins for herself a recording contract with Gallo Records of South Africa the biggest recording label in the continent.

I am happy to have won, very happy, but now it is time to go to the studio and realise a dream that I have always had, Esther said at Nation Centre on Monday.

While Esthers talent and confidence are unquestionable, her win still surprised many as she was barely in the limelight during the show.

The reality TV format that the search took means that the public gets to see every move of each of the contestants in the house.

In most reality TV shows, winners are barely chosen for their talent, but for their intrigues in the house and TPF II just almost went down that road.

The talking point since the show started airing on TV has been about Hemedi Suleiman from Tanzania who flirted with almost every woman in the Academy. In fact, that is thought to be the reason why he survived elimination until the last weekend.

Those sideshows took the limelight from Esther, who many people will be surprised to know, was never up for the numerous probations that led to the eliminations. She is the only contestant to have never been on probation.

I went to the academy to learn and I learnt a lot from the trainers and also had time to write a number of songs, Says Esther who lives in Kampala

The limelight

Esthers vocal abilities actually came to the limelight in the last fortnight when the focus shifted to the few remaining contestants and at a time when the judges pushed them to show East Africa that they can actually sing.

Her performance of, especially, Colours of the Wind, by Vannessa Williams at the grand finale, was faultless.

A last born in a family of five, Esther says that she plans to seek advice on how to invest a huge chunk of the Sh5 million.

She wants to pay for herself to study a course in sound engineering as she is not intending to go back to Makerere University where she was a Second Year telecommunication student prior to auditioning for TPF.

However, she says that the most important thing to her right now is to get to the studio.

I am armed with the songs which I wrote in the house and my album should not take longer than two months before release, she promises.

One of the reasons why Valerie Kimani, who won the inaugural TPF, was not an instant hit is because she took over six months to release her album Baisikeli.

When the album was finally out, Valerie had veered off from pop music, and instead recorded Afro-fusion or world music.

That cast a shadow on TPF ability to produce great recording and performing artistes. Esther is aware that she has to do more to change that perception.

The right person

I admire Valerie but if anyone does not think that she can sing, then all I can tell them is to wait until they hear my music because I am out to prove that the right person won, affirms Esther who stands tall at 57.

Esther, who describes her style of music Afro-pop, says East Africa should prepare to have the first truly East African international artiste in her.

While she says her music will target the international market, she insists that it will leave no doubt that she is from East Africa.

Home country

As music fans prepare to welcome their newest millionaire and celebrity, Esther is fully aware that she will have to please her home country first and compete with the likes of Jose Chameleon, Bebe Cool and Bobi Wine the biggest names on the Ugandan music scene.

East African Breweries Limited sponsored TPF to the tune of Sh350 million, and the search began at a time when the country was still fresh from post-election violence.

We want to use art to heal the country, and we are confident that this show will re-unify Kenyans, EABLs Patricia Ithau said at the launch of the talent search.

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Kabuga case creates a war of words between Kenya and ICTR

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Rwanda tribunal, Kenya in row over Kabuga

Story by JILLO KADIDA

A war of words has broken out between the Kenya Government and the international tribunal investigating the whereabouts of wanted Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga.

The tribunal, in a strongly worded letter, told the Government that the recent step to freeze proceedings from a house belonging to Mr Kabuga was too little and coming too late.

The letter also accuses the Kenya Government of doing nothing on several assets, companies and bank accounts identified by a joint task force as being associated with the fugitive.

Attorney-General Amos Wako has responded to the tribunal saying the allegations contained in a letter by the tribunals chief of prosecution Richard Karegyesa are unwarranted. Mr Wakos letter is copied to the President of the tribunal and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.

According to Mr Wako, the freezing of Mr Kabugas property is a significant achievement for which the government deserves credit.

And regarding the claims that the Government has failed to do anything to arrest Mr Kabuga, the AG said, nothing can be further from the truth.

He says the Kenya Police have always acted swiftly on any leads received from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) or other foreign investigative agencies.

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“REALEASE THE YOUTHS AND ARREST US” RUTO AND NGILU DECLARED

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Just how clear can Ruto or Ngilu be on the issue of amnesty or realese of the arrested youths. Is Kibaki and PNU really listening or if they are listening will they act before it is too late.

Last week at Laboso’s funeral, Ruto did not mince his words. In his own words Ruto said ” it was unacceptable that the leaders of the Grand Coalition were being driven around in GK-plated vehicles as the youths who forced on the country the National Peace Accord languished in the cells”. He further went on to state “We must accommodate those boys because we are the reason they are in custody”. As if that is not enough Ngilu in the same funeral confirmed Ruto’s sentiments by saying and I quote “If the youths will remain in jail then those generals (leaders) who called for mass action must also face the law”

Just who are the generals these two are referring to. I will be damned if I believe for a second that they are talking about PNU officials like Martha. In these statements both Ngilu and Ruto were referring to ODM generals. They were simply telling Kibaki, Karua and Co that the mass action for which the youths were arrested were ordered by the ODM generals and those generals were very much ready to be arrested for those crimes if the crimes were actually committed. Ngilu and Ruto are stating as clearly as can be said that the governmnet should release the youths and arrest all the ODM ministers including Raila Odinga, William Ruto, Musalya Mudavadi and the rest of them. In other words they are daring the Kibaki government to arrest them and stop scape goating through the arrest of the youths. These leaders are comming out to show their disgust with the coalition and are already willing to sacrifice themselves for the shake of their supporters. For them the coalition is a shell without a yolk. It is a joke. There is no honor in it, there is no integrity in it, there is no trueth in it, there is no genuineness and they are now willing to break it apart because the youths issue has become the final straw. They are as clear as clear can be. “No release of the youths no coalition”.

Unforturenately these youths they are talking about nolonger exist. According tothe police, they have dissappered in the thin air and I believe majority of Kenyans and ODM MPS know where they are. To be precise, these guys are dead and cannot be accounted for by the government. ODM and PNU MPs already know this.The youths will neverbe released because their bodies were dumped somewhere in the forests ofMt. Kenya and other isolated parks. To make it worse, they were killed by the state machinery. So what exactly will ODM do if no youths surface? What will they do if indeed a genocide was committed?

The only choice is for PNU to come clean. But is PNU going to come clean on this so that they can be forgiven. No oh! No. According to Martha Karua’s statement “”The leaders who are pushing for it (amnesty) fear that if the suspects are brought before court, they will be mentioned”. What is this lady talking about. The police have said the youthsare neither here nor their and Ruto and Ngiluhave already dared her to arrest them. In a criminal case such as this, the person who is wrongfully arrested should be released when the real person who committed the offence has confessed. Ngilu and Rutohave confessed on behalf of their party. What else is Martha looking for? It is simply trime Martha does his/her job. Rlease the youths or dare arrest the ODM pentagon. PNU is once again behaving like a hen with its head in the sand. They still think that the power is with Kibaki, Martha Karua and the GEMA orMEGA elites. The power is with the people. The people want their brothers home and they want those who ordered for the demonstrations like Odinga, Ruto, Ngilu, Balala, Muslya to bring their boys home or get out of the way.But if their brothers are indeed dead, they want Kibaki, Martha Karua, Michuki, Saitoti and others to look them in the eye and ask for forgiveness. Not withstanding, they also know who brought up this mess. It is those who stole the election. They are the Karuas, the Kibakis, the Kavuitus and the Kalonzos and they are the ones who should have in jail or dead. Not the youths.

By Dr. Barack Abonyo

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Kenyan Politicians and the Police in bitter disagreement

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Amnesty: Police speak

By Standard Team

Following the unending row over amnesty for suspects of post election violence, police now say the youths are not in their hands but in the jurisdiction of the courts and prisons.

Police also admitted for the first time that many of the youths thought to have been arrested were missing.

This emerged on Monday as police said they are taking charge to establish the exact status of the problem that is now developing into a security threat and political crisis. Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said no youths were in police custody and those in question were either in remand, jailed or missing.

Kiraithe said a special police team will be set up to sift through the maze of post-election crimes and report back to headquarters with exact figures and status of suspects from the affected regions.

But Kiraithe added that police were not concerned with the debate on amnesty, but just wanted to establish the facts.

When contacted last night, ODM leaders said the onus was on the police to tell Kenyans how many youths were arrested. They said they would continue calling for their release.

Its weird

Agriculture minister William Ruto said: “The issue about the number is weird. They are refusing to tell us the number.”

He went on: “We dont know the number yet. In some cases, they talk about 300 and when they say one case has exactly 17 people and another one 30 people, we cannot have a stand on the exact number of youths held by police.”

Ruto said the worst affected area was Eldama Ravine where many youths were arrested.

Water minister Charity Ngilu said the amnesty issue could only be discussed between the two principals in the Coalition Government President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

At the weekend, Ngilu said “generals” had asked the youths to go to the streets and those who stole the election should be answerable for the violence.

Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto said the police should wait for instructions from their political bosses.

“This is a civilian Government ruled by decisions made by the political leadership,” he said. “We will mount more pressure to have the youths released sooner than later.”

ODMs parliamentary Whip Jakoyo Midiwo said the police killed more people than the youths behind bars. He said the party would sue police officers who shed innocent blood.

He said he was surprised that Police Commissioner Hussein Ali was still in office even after the conduct of the police during the post-election violence.

Resettlement has stalled

Kiraithes announcement on the thorny issue comes after the embarrassing weekend incident where Justice minister Martha Karua was booed in Sotik during the funeral of former Assistant minister Lorna Laboso.

It was also a weekend when it was reported that the resettlement of IDPs had stalled in some regions with returnees being told to keep off until post-election violence suspects were freed.

Police now concede for the first time that an unknown number of youths are missing while at least 500 have been taken to courts and are in remand, jailed or freed, while a bunch are facing charges for capital offences.

Kiraithe said they have started investigation to ascertain the exact status and numbers of youths who ODM has persistently claimed are in the hands of the police.

Kiraithe said police wants to establish the status of youths suspected to be missing.

“Police have no youths in custody, but we have reports many are missing from villages in Rift Valley. We are trying to establish where they went,” said Kiraithe.

He was speaking exclusively to The Standard yesterday shortly after Internal Security minister George Saitoti met the Police Commissioner and the AP Commandant, Mr Kinuthia Mbugua, to discuss the issue and the safety of IDPs returning to their homes.

Details of the meeting, which took place at Harambee House, were scanty but sources said it was agreed that security in the areas where resettlement was taking place be beefed up.

Saitoti is understood to have met President Kibaki later on.

Even though the President has ruled out amnesty, ODM leaders have insisted that the youths in custody be released unconditionally.

Last month, the Cabinet resolved that Ali sorts out whom among those in custody were petty offenders and how many were in for serious crimes.

Despite the Cabinet directive, the issue has continued to be a thorn in the flesh for the fragile coalition Government as ministers, mainly in ODM, calling for amnesty while those in PNU insist on justice.

The Cabinet directive was seen then as a softening of the Government position that could have led to the pardon of petty offenders.

According to police records, about 500 suspects are facing serious charges committed in the post-election period.

Police indicate that 103 case files, involving 137 suspects, are being handled in various Rift Valley towns, mainly Nakuru and Eldoret, 77 suspects have been charged in Nyanza, 98 in Nairobi, 50 in Western Province and 63 in Mombasa.

ODM politicians have claimed that the number could be as high as 4,000 youths held or missing.

Seven councillors are among 50 people who have been charged in a Kapsabet court with post-election violence in Nandi North District.

Kiraithe said it has been claimed many youths never returned home after they took part in demonstrations and have not been found in police cells.

Said he: “We are also concerned about this because it is emerging that the youths cannot be traced. We want the local people to help us in our efforts to know the truth.”

Charges preferred against most of those arrested range from robbery with violence to rape, arson and murder.

Scores of other youths and leaders were rounded up in the regions and charged with petty offences, which included taking part in illegal demonstrations and carrying offensive weapons.

Kiraithe said some of the cases are in different stages of prosecution and police have setbacks in some because witnesses fear to testify. Some witnesses are afraid of testifying against the accused because they are their neighbours, said Kiraithe.

Some of the victims were bailed out after paying fines, while those unable to pay are in remand.

But the police spokesman was quick to add that police were not party to the amnesty debate.

Among those arrested for serious crimes were 19 murder suspects who were charged with killing a Catholic priest, Fr Michael Kamau, at Muserechi on the Nakuru-Eldama Ravine road.

The suspects were, however, released before they could be arraigned in court to plead to the murder charges.

Their freedom was short-lived and they were re-arrested and charged with minor offences.

An incitement case involving a prominent Eldoret businessman, Mr Jackson Kibor, has been going on in a Nakuru Court.

Kibor is alleged to have made inflammatory statements via an international radio station targeting a community.

Four suspects are also being held at Nakuru Prison in connection with the burning a church in Eldoret where 30 people are believed to have died.

In the case, that is pending in the Nakuru High Court, the suspects were airlifted from Eldoret and brought to Nakuru to face the charges.

Police sources indicate that more suspects who have been mentioned in the proceedings are likely to be arraigned in court.

Former Nakuru town MP David Manyara was also arrested in April in connection with the chaos that rocked Nakuru town. He was arrested alongside Nakuru businessman Zakayo Waweru and the police wanted to bond them to keep peace for a year.

The two, however, declined and the case is pending before the Nakuru Chief Magistrates Court.

In Nyanza, PPO Anthony Kibuchi said most suspects arrested at the peak of the violence were released unconditionally.

In Mombasa, the OCPD, Mr Patrick Wafula, said 63 suspects were charged with various offences and the cases are going on.

Reported by Cyrus Ombati, Titus Too, Jane Akinyi, Willis Oketch, Karanja Njoroge and Anderson Ojwang
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Norwegian leaders speak poor English – it is very embarassing

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Poor English skills plague politicians, and their listeners

Some top Norwegian politicians speak such poor English that they risk losing influence as they stumble through prepared speeches or try to express themselves to foreigners, claims a professor at the University of Oslo. He thinks it’s downright embarrassing.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is clearly more comfortable speaking his native Norwegian than he is speaking English.

PHOTO: AFTENPOSTEN TV

Erik Solheim, shown here with Sudan’s foreign minister last week, is among those needing to polish their English skills, according to a Norwegian professor.

PHOTO: HEIKO JUNGE/SCANPIX

Former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik’s “day book” flub is a classic example of politicians’ halting English.

PHOTO: STEIN J BJRGE

Bernt Hagtvedt, a professor of political science at the University of Oslo, is tired of listening to Norwegian politicians speak broken English when addressing foreign audiences.

Hagtvedt is convinced that their lack of English proficiency damages Norway’s effectiveness in putting forth its positions on important international issues.

“When their grammar, nuances and vocabulary are so deficient that it adversely affects understanding, we have a problem,” Hagtvedt told NRK on its national morning radio broadcast.

He claimed that even though children in Norway are taught English in the schools, it’s “a problem that many Norwegians think they are fluent in English,” when they’re not.

“We speak a simple English, with 700-800 words we know,” Hagtvedt said. “And we don’t even try to pronounce them correctly.”

He called Norwegians’ lack of English proficiency “an illustration of a general laziness in Norway. We’re not concerned with standards, and have no interest in striving for anything beyond what we already know.”

Asked whether he gets embarrassed when he hears Norwegian politicians speak, he responded with an immediate “Yes!”

Hagtvedt said it’s “abundantly clear that we must improve knowledge of English in the schools. And we should expect that broadcasters, politicians and other top government officials work on their English.”

Some have. Many, including former cabinet minister Anne Enger Lahnstein when she was in office, have attended language schools in England. And several politicians over the years have exhibited an impressive command of English (former foreign aid minister Hilde Frafjord Johnsen comes to mind) and several other languages as well. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stre, for example, can move seemingly effortlessly from Norwegian to English to French.

Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik was thoroughly embarrassed after he spoke of writing in his “day book” (a literal translation of the Norwegian word for diary, dagbok) after meeting former US President Bill Clinton.

“It’s clear that language is power,” said Hagtvedt. “My simple point is, work on it!”

To listen to some Norwegian politicians’ broken English, go to NRK, scroll down the page and click on the links for:

Torbjrn Berntsen, when he was Minister for the Environment:
Helen Bjrny, a later minister speaking on the Kyoto Agreement;
Former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, speaking during a trip to Washington DC:
Former Prime Minister Kre Willoch;
Current Cabinet Minister Erik Solheim, a former UN Envoy
and current Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

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WORLD FOOD CRISIS

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

The world is apparently experiencing skyrocketing food prices occasioned by rising fuel costs and distorted agriculture policies driven by powerful and rich nations. Third world countries especially those in Africa are finding themselves in a compounded problem which they may not have immediate ability to sort out. The skyrocketing world oil prices is making availability and production of food crops for food a waking nightmare.

The world is simply torn between satisfying a global economy which is gluttonly guzzling enormous amount of energy especially from oil and the need to protect the global population from hunger. It is evident that alternative sources of fuel has to be explored otherwise the global economies will continue to be vulnerable and susceptible to manipulations of prices and the likelihood of oil scarcity in future. The likelihood of oil prices rising to outrageous levels is not longer a far-fetched cry.

The demand for oil plus the global economy-politics around the resource has forced a re-think in the Western hemisphere on the alternatives to crude oil for provision of the critical energy to the economies of the world. Already Brazil has lead the way in exploitation of crops in production of alternative oil. The US is increasingly using corn in production of fuel. This is a factor in exacerbating the global food crisis whereby it is increasingly becoming clear that the re-think on crude oil and the search for alternatives has forced the competition for food crops between machines energy and human food. On the other hand large swathes of land is put under cultivation for crops meant for fuel production denying food production the necessary space. This is a red flag!

In addition poor agricultural policies adopted by the developed world where outrageous subsidies have made agricultural produce from third world penetration into those markets impossible has greatly meant that third world had to re-think against food production as a commodity for export. Coupled with the many political disorganization and confused policies in third world countries it has meant that third world is unable to produce food even to feed itself let alone for the consumption by the rest.

The world has no choice but to look for alternative source of fuel to avoid the so many risks surrounding reliance on crude oil such as exhaustion and the numerous political and security risks associated with its many source areas such as in middle-East. Already even the gulf regions have started diversifying investments using the fortunes made in oil such that they are a major force in the world of Wealth funds. But all this should not be at the expense of food. Already it is clear that very many poor people in the globe are starving due to mistakes which are not of their making but for governmental and corporations weaknesses to foresee the calamity they have been busy creating.

But there are still plants like jatropha which can do very well especially in third world countries like in Africa and Asia which can produce reasonable amount of fuel to warrant research and huge investments in this. But this still should not be at the expense of food production. If warning signs like these are ignored added to the effects of environmental degradation clearly the world is sitting on a time bomb. We are busy starving humanity for no good reason at all. We can produce sufficient alternative fuels to address the risks associated with oil and still improve on agriculture policies to curtail the eminent global suffering as a result of lack of food. Food insecurity in the world is likely to be a major source of instability especially in third world countries more so those in Africa .There is need for a strong intelligent redress before it is too late.

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,

Nairobi.

Kenya.

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The coming of Illinois Senator Barack Obama presidency is full of many expectations both in Kenya and Africa. Fred Obera explores why

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

By Fred Obera

Africa is hurt factors unique to other continent and place in the world, distance from viable markets and especially in terms of trade, Senator Barack Obama is a where about this says a Kenyan living at the backyard of Obamas ancestral village in Alego Siaya, where his father use to herd goats.

Barack Obama is our beacon of hope, his quest for US presidency is timely and symbolic to both Kenya and the entire continent, we identify with him so easily as a new African- American man in the land of hope, with all the opportunity for African, US and the world, were aware that he knows that Africa is gradually shrinking from prominence on the world stage, he knows some of the biggest issues plaguing Africa, for centuries now is the ethnic conflict and conflict between many groups living within the borders of the dual monarchy (African Countries), democratization, accountability and transparency, all are expected to be addressed during his tenure.

Obamas presidency is welcomed with more enthusiastic and overwhelming audacity of hope, his presidency as most opinion analysts says will do little nil, to instill in Africans, the capacity for better leadership choice. But there will be a plenty of hope. Since the senator infuse hope and ambition. But even he, must be wary of perceived as righteous or condescending.

The African-American prodigal son with Kenyan roots Senator Barack Obama will severely constrained within this context, if he manages to clinch the presidential quest.

What then are likely to be the impression and implications of both Kenya and Africa? Are Africans expectations on an Obamas presidency a foregone conclusion? Are they misplaced? Africans have always appreciated the magnitude help theyve ever received from the superpower (US), especially war on terrorism, global threats to human being especially to Africa which is still behind in technology, funds for conflict resolutions, poverty eradication and HIV/Aids pandemic fight, but besides that there are numerous issues which the superpower leaderships hadnt solve for Africa! After the independence, Africa was left with pathetic leadership structure which has remained ever since autocratic, dictatorial, and perhaps misrules regimes which has thwarted African economy to generate poverty; this could be headache to Obama.

Another nightmare to senator, might be the too much Africans problems which seem too numerous to count, too overwhelming to catalogue. The AIDS pandemic victimizes the sub-Saharan, even has high birth rates burden societies already unable to educate and absorb their youth. Poverty remains a scourge, and wars between ethnic groups seem emblematic of Africas capacity for tolerance. Besieged by problems, Africa is often dismissed as continent of hopeless or consigned to a future as ward of the international aid community. This has always remain the greatest challenge, and the Obamas presidency might be expected to face the real challenge of development or economic empowerment which will go hand in hand with improvement of the already existing institutions and technology to lift the lives in the abject poverty. Despite the aid and other assistances, poverty and corruption still continue unabated in the African institutions and during the senators visit in Kenya two years back, he thoroughly dwelt on corruption which he elaborated as the destruction of the African developments. In his oratory speech he reiterated that it will not be easy to eliminate corruption in a day or in a year, but everything must be done to ensure that Kenya (Africa) does not sink further into abyss of corruption, bad governance and bad leadership.

The expansion of the African economy is another objective. Through introduction of free international trade without any barriers in both the US and Europe will encourage traders and farmers in Africa to overproduce, and for this to be achieved, we must end programs that specifically subsidizes exports. For Africans, however, these changes are very cosmetic, if they cannot be eliminated African will still remain poor, since others reap our market, yet we dont reap theirs, Obama is expected to address this if God help him clinch the power of the US heart.

Nevertheless, ever since, Africans are trying to make the ends meet the means, to make the best out of a bad situation. In some parts of Africa, farmers and traders are trying to expand their capacity and production, with the hope that if the US and Europe did somehow curtail their produce, they might reap the already existing gap. In Congo which is a source of hope and possibilities; surrounded with honeyed natural resources like cobalt, diamond, gold, forest, good rainfall etc, has been ever toned with ethnic cleansing, civil war against neighboring countries, bad governance you name them. With its untapped market the world leaders have tend to forget it, as their merciless investors reap the countries resources, through exploiting the indigenous.

Paradoxically, whats happening in Africa underlines the moral of the African saying that when a king fats, the soldiers tighten their bottoms, and smiles while thanking the king for having passed away a good breath. The large multilateral farms uniformly bypass Africa when doling out investment and jobs, yet Africans remains the worlds largest productive and untapped market and its greatest source of cheap labour. Some after benefiting from the African resources abandon and leave the country in civil wars.

This are the voices African people are prepared to raise if Obama wins the US presidency. Time is short and whatever happens will be a surprise. My happiness will be if his policy during his tenure will tackle reform agenda in Africa institutions especially change of the British rule of law which most Africans have stuck with for instances the Kenyan constitution stalemates. But still in my view any compliant change hell bring to Africa will open the way to further changes and will be welcomed with both hands.

Most welcome of all, however, would be for Africans to rise to the occasion and engineer a managed change themselves, starting with the presidents themselves, to nature African solutions rather than waiting to be directed. Im disgusted with Robert Mugabe, that man is insane.

Most importantly, Barack Obama has already accumulated more fame in Africa. Millions of people in Africa, Asia (Japan, Korea) and around the world are captivated by his life and his achievements. Obamas speeches are inspiring so many because he following the footsteps of the likes of JF. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela etc, he want to practice on the change we can believe in, that is why he has ever insisted on that principle, he want a change he want to see in the world and his message is none other than his life itself. He is an honest seeker of truth, a fearless defender of the weak and uncompromising practitioner of non-violence. A believer in a democratic institution and a believer that, every life has equal. That is the man the world wants to be in the US White House.

ends.

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api

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Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

CONTARY to claims in some quarters that his popularity and influence has fizzled, the retired President Daniel Arap Moi is still not only commanding large following in this country, but he is a force to reckon with.

Despite of successive failure of candidates he had been fronting in the recent past, the political image of this grand old man of Kenyas politics has refused to fade away as quickly as his political enemies and detrecters may be wishing.

The fact that his favorite candidates in the recently concluded by-elections in the Rift Valley, his home turf and in North Eastern were badly beaten has changed nothing in terms of Mois fame, image and standing in the public eyes. The man is highly respected and referred as achievers in his own right. His name remained a household in many Kenyan families.

Mois only mistake was his handing over of the mantle of KANU leadership to the son of his old friend and mentor, the late President Jomo Kenyatta, Mr. Uhuru Mungai Kenyatta whose inconsistency and lack of foresight has sent the party of Uhuru to its deathbed

Mois departure from active politics has created the leadership vacuum in his home region. Five years after he left the corridor power, Rift Valley, is increasingly a restive region, a veritable political hotbed. This may be so partly because of the hangover arising from the long power binge to speak, and partly because of a growing numbers of frustrated young people

These young people have been envigorated and motivated by the fact that since the end of Mois rule in 2002 and he entry of President Mwai Kibakis administration, the larger Kalenjin Community has been heard in certain quarters grumbling that their community has been given a raw deal by the new government despite Mois blessing and unswerving support for the President and the government..

Topping the list of numerous complaints is the allegationst that members of the community has been haunted out of government and in Quasi-government organizations and their places in civil services, military, police and parastatals taken over by members of President Kibakis Kikuyu community

This is mirrored on the latest charged political atmosphere in the Province. The feeling has mainly been demonstrated in the new political direction that the community has been taking since the end of the Mois rule

Since 2003, the political trend and sentiments in Rift valley has been fiercely anti-government. It is also a strange world for the community that has been supportive to the successive KANU governments ever since independence in 1963,but all of a sudden finding itself unfamiliar grounds, the natural reaction would be to feeling of being sidelined and unfairly targeted

But what is currently fueling animosity is the so-called amnesty debate. This is an emotional issue. Anyone who speaks against the granting amnesty to the perpetrators of the post-election violence is seen as the worst enemy of the community.

And this why President Kibaki hardliner cabinet Minister Ms Martha Karua earned massive booing and hackling when she addressed the thousands of mourners during the funeral of the former Assistant Minister for Home-Affairs and the Sotik MP Ms. Lorna Laboso.

The next day at Kaparuso village in Bomet President Kibaki deviated from amnesty debate and delivered a reconciliatory speech while mourning his departed Road Minster Kipkalia Kones, The hero and the man who has been playing populist politics in kipsigis land for decades.

In their final parting act with the retired President Moi in the 1980s Kones had become the villain of Kalenjin politics because of his independent mindedness. But last weekend Mois condolence message stunned many mourners as it was full of political dynamism and magnanirmly, and sounded reconciliatory between the two political giants of the Kalenjin politics. In particular and Rift valley province in general.

Mois massage was read by his son Gideon Moi and appeared to have been well received by the mourners,. who turned in t5heir thousands to give Donald Kipkemoi Kipkalya Kones a warm sends off. The way and the manner in which Mois message was received by mourners at Koness funeral is a clear indication that the self-proclaimed professor of Kenyas political is still held in the highest esteem by his Kalenjin community and Kenyan communities at large.

But for Mzee Moi to re-print the absolute authority within the larger Kalenjin ethnic groups and Kenyans in general, he must come out in full colour and support a group of youthful politicians in the region who want to take over the leadership of his old party KANU.The partys revitalization process must start forthwith.

The amnesty debate is such a thorny issue in the Rift Valley since many residents see the continued incarceration of violence suspects as the extension of the purported and perceived persecution as well as marginalization of the Kalenjin community by the Kibaki government.

Calls by grand coalition partners who are led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister William Ruto for the perdon of the suspects strike a particular positive note among the population

Moi has yet to make his stand publicly known over the amnesty issue and the sooner he makes up his mind contribution towards this debate the better. And off course many people are aware, that the retired president was also a victim of the post-election violence which saw part of his business and farming empire vandalized.>He is still expected to take a fatherly stand. .

In the forthcoming by-elections to fill the vacant seats in both Sotik and Bomet constituencies Moi is expected to support Nick Salat in Bomet who was beaten hand down by the late Kipkalya Kones in the December election and who is known to be close to the former President

But in Bomet constituency the fate of the vacant seat was sealed off last Saturday when a huge crowd of mourners unanimously endorsed Mrs. Beatrice Kones as the next MP to take her husbands mantle of leadership in order to finish her late husbands dream and complete development projects which the late kones he had initiated.

In the recent by election in Ainamoi Moi had supported a KANU candidate Mr. Paul Chirchir who performed dismally gathering only 1,440 votes against leading candidates Benjamin Langat of ODM 17,532 and Dr. Paul Chepkwony 15,552

In North eastern where Moi held considerable sway in his days and where pockets of his support is catered for by Dr. Adbullahi Ali was beaten by ODM: Mohammed Gobow by more than a thousand votes

In Kilgoris, Moi candidate and former cabinet minister Julius Sunkuli had to give way to two leading aspirants, Gideon Konchellah,of PNU, the eventual winner and the challenger Jonathan Ngeno of ODM who gave a good account of himself by loosing narrowly and respectably.

Virtually all of the Moi candidates in the Rift Valley including his favorite Son Gideon who was swept away in December 2007 in Baringo Central, the seat on which he has held for close to 42 years of uninterrupted representation., ever since independence.

His two sons Jonathan Toroitich and Raymond Moi who both vied for Eldama Ravine and Rongai respectively were similarly humiliated in protect of their fathers support for President, PNU and the government

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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api

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Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

The recent announcement by Kenyas Minister for Lands James Aggrey Orengo that the government would soon seize plots of land whose 99-year leases have expired was received with mixed reaction and great expectations, shock and apprehension in certain quarters.

However, it came as relief to the Kenyan communities who lost large tracts of land, seized at gun-point by the former colonial rulers many years ago.. The colonial administration had seized what was previously known as the tribal reserve land and distributed the same to the white settlers at the turn of the twentieth century.

The latest move by Orengo, if implemented could witness the repossession by the government of thousands of hectares o disused land owned by absent foreign landlords at the Kenyas coastal line. Even the family of the diposed former Sultan of Zanzibar still owns what was known as the The Coastal Strip along the coastal line, But it could be also be a blessing in disguise to those people who were forced out of their ancestral land and consigned to the semi-arid and unproductive land in the South Rift region.

The issue of land ownership in Kenya, has remain and thorny and volatile and what the Minister had announced contained nothing therein it. The same is contained, not just in the Kenyan law, but also in the yet-to-be approved new National Land Policy. The law, however, is clear and well spelt that once leases expire, the land reverts to the landlords,.in this case, the government of the day.

Apart from the existing land law, the proposed National Land Policy has also outlawed l and downgraded LL THE 999-.year land leases to 99-year leases.

The 999-year leases were mainly given to the white land owners or white settlers who practiced agriculture during the early days of Kenyas colonialism rule. But once the provisions of the legalized. National Land Policy is complete, those holding such long years farm leases will bid them goodbye.

Thoese expected to be affected will, obviously be the owners of large tract of land in much of Laikipia district, Naivasha and Nakuru, Nanyuki, Central Province, Machakos, Taita-Taveta and Kericho, bureti and Sotik districts. In the North Rift foreigners are still owning large tracts of land in both North and South Nandi districts, especially in the nandi hills area where there are close to 40 large scale tea estates and green leaves tea processing factories. Absenteeism landlords consist of wealthy Arabs from Oman and rich Europeans from various European countries.

In Laikipia, even the three first Kenyan families of the Kenyattas, Mois and Kibakis had acquired huge tracts of land on which they have established ranches in collaborations with foreign investors or on private family business concerns..

In Limuru, Nandi Hills, Kericho, Bureti and Sotik., thousands of prime land on which tea bushes are are currently standing on were grabbed from the owners and dished out, almost free of charge to the white settlers around 1910 and 1922. the early white settlers experimented the plantation of tea bushes, and their farms were latter swallowed by the arrival of multinational tea companies shortly before independence in early 1960s..

The lands were dished out to white settlers under what the local were made to believe that the leases of temporary ownership would last for 99-years.,and that thereafter the land would revert to the original ownership from people whose land were seized and redistributed to the white farmers, And when the communities concern pressed their demands that they should be told the truth, they were later given a rude shock when they learnt in the 1980 that the tea plantation lands were not for 99-yerar leases, but for 999-years leases..

The communities whose land was taken away have in fact been pressurising the successive KANU regimes ever since independence to make a firm stand on the issue of future o0wnership of the land after the expiry of leases.

This particular land issue, is believed to have been the bone of contention and source of disagreement between the late Kipkalya Kones, and the retired president Daniel Arap Moi and members of the Kipsigis community.Kones then the Minister of State in the office of the president earned his first sacking from the cabinet in the 1980s. The then youthful Minister was viewed suspiciously by the government was secretly inciting the Kipsigis community to demand back the thousands of acres of land on which tea bushes stand on and close to 30 green tea processing factories in both Kericho and Bureti and Sotik districts.

Kones was also known to be vehemently opposed to the idea of his community cousins from the north being favored in acquiring foreign owned tea farms, while his clansmen {the Kipsigis} had nothing, and the land is what they considered as their ancestral

The Kipsigis were also pressing for the land to change its status quo

The land ownership issue has remained a thorny issue ever since the country attained her political independent from great Britain in 1963. It was the source of the tribal clashes which had erupted soon after 1991 lasting up to 1993. the skirmishes claimed close to 1500 lives of Kenyans. It erupted again soon after the 1997 general election spilling thousands of refugees from their homes. Some of those fled the clashes torn areas have yet to return to their homes, and are living with relatives in central Province and Nairobi.

But the worse clashes were those witnessed early this year following the much flawed presidential votes tallying..

The case of the original ownership of the land must be addressed. For example all the trea estates in kericho stands and still bearing the names of indiginant owners of the land and their sub-clans. For example Chomogonday Tea Estates owned by James Finlays Company stands on the land used to be occupied by a Kipsigis sub-clan, which is known as Kapchomogondek. While Kapsongoi , and Kitumbe are also bearing the sub-clans. The same are with places like Kapkorech, Chebown, Kimulot, Chebtebes, kerenga, and only Kimugu estates, which are names after the small river known as Kimugung. These names are still fresh in the mind of the indigenous people whose cries for justice will never be given hearing.

The Kipsigis tea land issue was later to re-emerged during the 2007 general election, and the popular party the ODM led by the charismatic Raila Odinga exploited it to the muximum, dimissing the support the Moi family had given to the PNU and president KIbaki as part of face saving after the former president had failed to assist the Kipsigis land buying companies to acquire the tea estates..

Moi himself unaware, went out full blast in his support for Kibaki re-election. The result was that from the two most populous Kalenjin sub-tribes, the Nandis and the Kipsigis turned Mois please down and only voted for the ODM ticket. This is also what is going to happen during the forthcoming by-elections in Sotik and Bomet.

Orengos new land policy, however, is not clear on the all-important issue of what will eventually happen to the land once it is taken over by the government. The new policy, however, calls for clear legal framework for identifying and recording genuine landless people and establishing clear equitable criteria for allocation of settlement scheme plots.

Although it setr out to solve landlessness in the country, the new policy recognizes that it is not possible for every Kenyan to own land since land is finite resource; the goal of this policy is to facilitate access tom the land.

The policy, generally offers a range of proposals on how to access, control and utilize land in the country. It was enacted out of a process that started in 2003 after the coming to power of president Kibakis administration., and was jointly co-ordinated by the Kenya Lands Alliance and the ministry of Lands. This took more than four years to complete. And this is the first time Kenya is implementing a comprehensive land policy.

The new KENYAS land policy categorically banns foreigners owning land in the country. It asks the government to prohibit non. Citizens fro9m holding freehold interests in land, though those willing to engage in productive ventures cab be leased land for 99-year basis. It is totally silent of what would be the future of the leased land once the 99-year lease expired.

If implemented, the new policy will put to an end the situation in which som extremely rich people like Adnan Kashogi or families which own vast tracts of lands. \e\ven those in the habit of subdividing land into ever smaller pieces that they later sell will have to give up this kind of business.

ENDS

leooderaomolo@yahoo com

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api

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SOUTH AFRICA: THE LAND, ITS PEOPLE AND HISTORY ISBN 9780980258752

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Dear Friends

Please be so kind to inform me of the price and availability of above or alternatively if you could refer me to a publisher in SA that would be able to help me in purchasing a copy.

Kind regards

Wasiela Galant

Orders Officer

thoroldsorders@icon.co.za

FrankR Thorold (Pty) Ltd,

PO Box 241,

Johannesburg 2000,

SOUTH AFRICA

3rd Floor, Meischke’s Building,

42 Harrison St (cnr Market St),

Johannesburg 2001,

SOUTH AFRICA

Phone : +27-11-838-5903 / 838-6031

Fax : +27-11-838-4715

VAT No. 4290124751

Member ABA, UK

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api

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Many ODM leaders should be made answerable – post election violence

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Many ODM leaders encouraged the post election violence. Those leaders must be made to account for the deaths of innocent Kenyans. API

Row over real number of youths in custody

Story by MUGO NJERU and SOLLO KIRAGU

MPs calling for the unconditional release of youths arrested over the post-election violence were on Monday unable to give the exact number of people allegedly being held by police.

A group of youths shout at GSU officers on Nairobis Ngong road during the post-election violence early in the year. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA

Four MPs at the centre of the campaign threatening to rock the 68-day-old coalition government disputed the figure of 103 suspects police insist are in custody.

However, they could not give their own figure. Agriculture Minister William Ruto, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to have the youths released, described the police figures as obnoxious but failed to indicate how many are in custody and where they are being held.

Murder and rape

But Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe insisted that 103 suspects were in custody, facing charges of arson, murder and rape, among others.

The thorny issue of amnesty for the youths also threatens to derail the resettlement programme as host communities are now linking the release of the youths to the successful stay of returning internal refugees.

On Monday, Mr Ruto accused the Government of double standards in dealing with suspects of post-election violence.

The police should also go for all those who were behind the violence, including political leaders, policemen and even Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman Samuel Kivuitu, instead of holding innocent youths in custody, he said.

Addressing the press shortly after officially opening a workshop on food security in Africa at Nairobis Windsor hotel, Mr Ruto maintained that police were still holding many innocent youths over the violence.

There appears to be two sets of laws; one for the downtrodden and another for the leaders in this country, which should not be allowed, he said.

Mr Ruto said the magnitude of the violence was testimony that the problem should not just be wished away.

Blame game or selective prosecution of people is not going to work, he said.

The minister said the Waki Commission of inquiry into the post-election violence should be given a chance to complete its work before blame could be apportioned.

But Mr Kiraithe maintained that there were no unaccounted youths in their custody.

Specific charges

Those arrested are facing specific charges of murder, rape and arson and those are the people we are holding. Those who were facing lesser charges like breach of peace were dealt with speedily and have gone home, Mr Kiraithe said.

He said he had asked to be given an updated breakdown of the charges the suspects are facing, and he promised to share the information at an appropriate time.

Other sources, however, hinted that police were investigating reports that some leaders had recruited youths and were now under intense pressure to disclose their whereabouts.

Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat said the Cabinet should decide on the best method of dealing with the post-election violence suspects still in custody.

He said that the decision should be favourable to all parties. Mr Langat said ministers had the capacity to resolve the dispute and should not take the debate to the public.

They are embarrassing the Government and they should not bring this small issue to the public since the public cannot solve the issue, he said.

The ODM MP said the debate should be resolved immediately to allow Kenyans embark on building the country.

Konoin MP Julius Kones said the reconciliation will only be complete if justice is seen to be done on those suspects in custody. He said the charges were trumped up and that is why they have not been charged in court of law.

The Konoin MP said that they would push for the release of the youths.

Energy assistant minister Charles Keter said that the youths should be released unconditionally, since they were fighting for democracy.

If leaders agreed to work together for the sake of the country, why then doesnt the Government release the youths who were demanding for democracy? Mr Keter asked.

He accused police of shooting and killing youths in Kericho, where a lawyer disclosed that there were only 13 post election violence suspects in custody.

Mr Siele Sigira said he was representing the group, which has been charged in a Kericho court. He said one is a minor while another is a Form Four student at Koitaburot Secondary School.

The suspects are accused of armed robbery and malicious damage. Their case will be heard on June 30.

About 60 people have been arrested in Nandi North and Nandi south districts and charged in court in Kapsabet over the post-election violence.

The violence suspects comprise 17 current and former civic leaders from the former giant Nandi districts.

The councillors were arraigned in court where they were bonded by the courts to keep peace for at least two years after they were suspected for having fanned the post election violence in the two Nandi districts.

Nandi-Hills and Kapsabet town bore the brunt of the violence after several businesses were looted and set on fire by arsonists.

A petrol station and ATM belonging to Pesa point in Nandi hills were burnt and cash amounting to millions looted during the violence as thousands of Tea pickers suspected top have been sympathetic to a rival political party were evicted from their houses in the sprawling tea plantations.

Buildings and business premises belonging to certain communities were selectively looted and set ablaze which to date have never been repaired.

Nandi leaders, led by Cabinet ministers Henry Kosgey, the ODM chairman, and MPs Mr Elijah Lagat (Emgwen) and David Koech (Mosop) have been calling for the release of those arrested.

The Three Nandi MPs have instead called for investigations into the role the police played. They claim hundreds of people were killed by the officers countrywide.

They argued that, in Nandi no one was killed by protesters, and that one youth was killed by a stray bullet from police.

South Rift Law Society of Kenya Secretary Gideon Mutai claimed that there were many other suspects, but could not give the exact number when pressed to do so.

The claims come amid delayed resettlement of some of the displaced families who have been met with hostility by their neighbours.

Some Rift Valley residents appear to have changed their minds after initially expressing willingness to accept back the refugees who fled their homes at the height of the bloody chaos.

At least 46 people who had returned to their farms in Surgoi, Uasin Gishu district, fled back to the camps when the hostile locals asked them to leave.

The US has urged the countrys leaders to follow the law in dealing with the suspects.

Those arrested should be charged and prosecuted as prescribed by law, while the innocent should be released unconditionally, said the US ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Ranneberger, on Sunday.

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api.source.nation.ke

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Zimbabwe: Violence Shatters Prospects For Free Election (Opinion)

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Ambuya (Zimbabwe) – Chigombe stands in front of what used to be her two thatched huts, that she built with her own hands. They have been razed to the ground in the wave of political violence sweeping across Zimbabwe ahead of the election run-off next week.

What is left cannot shelter her from the cold winter nights. A suspected Zanu PF militia visited her homestead and burnt all that she had worked for. The little harvest she had got from last season was not spared and the only cow she got when her daughter was married was taken away by the assailants.

As if that was not enough, she does not know where the militia took her only son Albert to after they accused him of supporting the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC. What pains her most is that there is nothing she can do about it except pray that wherever he is, he is alive and will come back to what used to be their home.

Mbuya Chigombe is not the only one petrified. So are other Kodza villagers in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province. Since the March 29 harmonised elections, Zanu PF militia have descended on their village causing a lot of unrest to villagers in many different ways.

In surrounding villages like Kaseke, Maodza and Shutu people were either ordered to surrender their national identity cards or were asked who they voted for. They were told that in next week?s presidential run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, secret camera would be placed in polling stations and they would be able to tell who the villagers had voted for. The objective is to coerce the electorate to vote for Mugabe.

On Friday, over 5,6 million Zimbabweans are expected to vote in the second round of the presidential poll. In the first round Tsvangirai garnered the most votes with 47, 9% of valid votes (1 195 562 votes), followed by Mugabe with 43, 2% or 1 079 730 votes.

After the results were announced, speculation was rife that Tsvangirai would trounce Mugabe by a large margin in a run-off. However, the environment that the electorate has been living in since March 29 has drastically changed and fears are that MDC might lose to Zanu PF.

The possibility of Mugabe turning around the tables will not come as a surprise to Zimbabweans following the violence, intimidation, displacements, alleged secret voter registration and controversial postal voting by security forces.
lar manner.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said that it was most likely that the MDC would lose the elections because of the radical change in the electoral landscape.

“The electoral landscape as compared to pre-March 29 has completely changed and the prominent factors to the are violence, arson and harassment which cumulatively have instilled fear in the electorate with some of them, especially in areas where violence has been rampant, thinking of altering their voting preferences,” Masunungure said.

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api.source.Zimbabwe Independent (Zimbabwe/UK)

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South Africa: Devastating blow for judge

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Johannesburg (South Africa) – A united Constitutional Court has dealt Cape Judge President John Hlophe a devastating blow with a bombshell complaint to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) about alleged interference in the Jacob Zuma case.

In a 21-page statement submitted to the JSC on Tuesday, Chief Justice Pius Langa on behalf of the entire Bench blows apart Hlophe?s bold insistence that it is ?inconceivable that a single judge sitting in Cape Town can influence 11 judges in the highest court of the land,? as the Saturday Star quoted him as saying two weeks ago.

Hlophe now faces an uphill battle to save his career. The JSC has given him 10 days to answer the complaint, after which the court will have five days to comment afresh.

Looking for a door to the Constitutional Court, Hlophe turned to his old friend, Judge Chris Jafta, a judge of appeal acting at the Constitutional Court in the absence of Deputy Judge President Dikgang Moseneke and Judge Albie Sachs. Jafta and Hlophe have been friends since they both lectured at the former University of Transkei. When Hlophe received a ?mandate?, as he allegedly told Judge Bess Nkabinde, he leant heavily on his former colleague to give him access. He allegedly visited Jafta in his office unannounced at the end of March in a bid to influence him in Zuma?s favour in the Zuma/Thint matter. Two weeks earlier, Jafta sat on the Bench when the legal teams for Zuma and Thint presented their reasons for wanting the search and seizure warrants declared unlawful.

According to Jafta, Hlophe told him in Zulu that he was ?our last hope? [?Sesithembele kinina?] to rid Zuma of this legal obstacle. He appealed to Jafta for help, suggesting he and Zuma were both being persecuted. Jafta told his seniors his impression was that Hlophe ?wished for a particular result in this matter,? but did not specify it.

Jafta believed he had dealt with the matter sufficiently by rejecting Hlophe?s approach, and saw no need to lay a complaint at the time. He did, however, feel compelled, when he heard Hlophe was due to visit Judge Bess Nkabinde, to warn her Hlophe was lobbying for Zuma.

Hlophe allegedly told Nkabinde that the privilege issues in the Zuma/Thint cases had to be decided ?properly?.

In a subsequent conversation with another Constitutional Court Judge, Yvonne Mokgoro, Nkabinde expressed ?concern? that Hlophe knew she was writing a post-hearing note for the court on privilege. The writing of these notes by assigned judges is standard practice in the Constitutional Court; they are then discussed by a full Bench. Although Langa?s statement does not speculate on how Hlophe gained this insight, the chief justice suggests he was told by one of the 11 judges hearing the case.

According to Nkabinde, Hlophe told her ?he had a mandate? — apparently to sway Nkabinde and Jafta in Zuma?s favour. The Constitutional Court stressed from the outset that there is no evidence Zuma or Thint knew of or prompted Hlophe to lobby for them. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told the Cape Argus on Thursday: ?Judge Hlophe is not a member of any structure of the ANC, so I don?t know what mandate he would be talking about.? Asked whether Zuma or his legal team discussed the case with Hlophe, Hulley replied ?absolutely not? and cautioned against ?broad inferences?.

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api.source.Mail & Guardian (South Africa), by Mandy Rossouw

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Kenya: Do the honourable thing, dear MPs, and pay all your tax (Opinion)

Posted by African Press International on June 25, 2008

Nairobi (Kenya) – Life is bloody unfair, if the standard issue Kenyan MP is to be believed. It is the traditional story of poor little rich kid. Their pay packet reads like the average woman?s idea of heaven on earth.

They are said to earn significantly more than MPs in better-off countries. But to hear them tell it, theirs is a tale of misery.

Why anyone should then fight tooth and nail ? literally, sometimes ? to get to Parliament is beyond comprehension. A little bird recently told me that some spent as much as Sh30 million for only 5,000 votes in some constituencies. If you have that kind of loose change, another Sh18 million over five years is hardly something to write home about. Only an idiot would go to such an extent if the end result is a negative pay check.

If those in an uproar over taxation are to be believed, their constituents are a little more than vampires hell-bent on sucking every little drop of cash out of their pockets. When they see their MPs, they do not picture mortals with needs and responsibilities like everyone else. They see mobile ATMs.

Those cash cows are now bristling at the notion that they should give to Caesar everything that belongs to him. In a land where conspiracy theories abound, MP Bonny Khalwale?s heartfelt protest will go down in the annals of history, much like Marie Antoinette?s if-they-don?t-have-bread-let-them-eat-cake.

In the heat of the moment during debate on Wednesday, he asked: ?Do they want to make us as miserable as our constituents?? It is to be hoped the people of Ikolomani heard it, loud and clear.

Let us take a quick look at what our dearly beloved leaders are entitled to: We give them some Sh3 million to buy cars duty-free, Sh75,000 in car allowance, and Sh366,000 to ensure their fuel-guzzlers remain on the road. They also get drivers and bodyguards. We give them Sh8 million in housing loans each term at an interest rate of a mere three per cent and a house allowance of Sh70,000 to ease their mortgage burden. There is a constituency allowance of Sh50,000. Their total allowances come to Sh651,000 out of a package that works out to Sh851,000 every month. There is even an extraneous allowance of Sh30,000, whatever that means. That they should pay tax on only Sh200,000 is an outrage in a country where hardworking citizens pay up to 30 per cent of their income in tax and 56 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.

The central argument that the anti-taxation brigade advances is that much of their money is spent on subsidising a plethora of needs of their constituents. They contribute to weddings, bride price, funerals, sports days and homecoming parties where food and drink flow like the Nile.

If MPs are expected to play bountiful, they have only themselves to blame. We do not elect them to give us handouts. We expect them to lead from the front and pursue a political course that will enable us to take care of ourselves without having to resort to begging and blackmail.

Where I come from, the word for shame translates into a swollen head. It announces to the world that you have no principles. You become an outcast if you persist on this path.

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api.source.Daily Nation (Kenya), by Lucy Oriang

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