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Archive for July 7th, 2008

How sincere are the Kenyan Members of Parliament? They do not pay taxes!

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Kenyans,

We do have problems which can be solved by people on the ground in
Kenya. If the people down there are waiting for Kibaki or Raila to speak
out for them then I do think they are missing the point.

Look at things this way, Just some weeks ago this same kimunya now
being lynched was a people`s hero when he came out with the budget which
says MPs will be taxed as any other fellow Kenyans. All people from all
walks of life congratulated him, at the same time this Kimunya was
making all these stupid dills of how to swindle the government funds and
properties. This shows you that K`Onyiego`s theory of Kikuyus have no
ideas, they just act on others information to get ideas does not hold
up. These people have already sat down and calculated what they want and
how to discredit the MPs reaction. They had already counter reaction
made before even the MPs passed a vote of no confindence on him, HOW
ABOUT THAT ?…

The other thing is this, as I said Kenyans should just forget a bout
mouth feeding, distance relatives things, so and so is our Mp so he will
take care of us. Let us look at the Asian countries as an example: Those
people had a lot of nature catastrophy recently and needed human help,
but did you watch when westerner`s ships carrying goodies to Myyrma were
not welcomed straight a way. Can you compare that with Kenya during post
election violence?. Every black man in Kenya wanted something from the
red cross, some left even their homes to go and eat in the red cross
camps. This just tells us how helpless an African has made himself. We
make ourselves so much dependent on our politicians that some just end
up worshiping them at the same time they are just stealing from the
local man everyday. Look at almost all the politicians aren`t they all
tax payers money  thieves?. How do you explain somebody getting over 500
000.00 kenyan shillings plus extra expenses per month from tax payers
money who does not pay tax in a country where some get nothing or live
on less than a dollar but are being taxed. Are MPs not thieves or
robbers?.

The question we must ask ourselves now is this:  what does the present
Kenyan constitution and law say about somebody like Kimunya, how should
the law be applied to him? do we Kenyans have such a section on the law
on how to deal with tax payers money  thieves or not?. Kenyans can save
that country but one man or a politician will not save that country and
that is what the common Kenyan has not realised. They still think that
if they elect so and so as so and so then Kenya will be heaven. Some
have invested on the same people for over 40 yeras and nothing has come
except deaths, lack of food and permanent diseases. Sorry guys it does
not work that way, thieves will always be there even if, Kibaki, Raila,
or Orengo, or Kalonzo or Ruto is the president. Kimunya did what in luo
we say `OYIEYO CHAMI TO KUDHI`. Told people that MPs, will pay tax, got
some people behind him then stole the whole hotel, even money was not
payed for that hotel. Now he will tell you that the MPs does not want
their salary to be taxed that is why they……….

By Paul Nyandoto

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API

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Mbeki to press G8 leaders on Africa

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

By Peter Fabricius

Toyako, Japan – President Thabo Mbeki was due to meet the leaders of the world’s richest nations at the G8 summit here on Monday, determined to press them to keep their past promises to help Africa.

Weighed down by immense global problems, such as rapidly rising food and fuel prices, and climate change, many observers believe the G8 leaders are starting to forget their big commitments to Africa three years ago.

Mbeki and the leaders of Tanzania, Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as Jean Ping, chairperson of the African Union Commission, were expected to have several hours of discussions with the G8 presidents and prime ministers.

They were to remind them that three years ago, at their summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the G8 leaders promised that they and other donors would double their development aid to Africa by an extra $25-billion a year to $50-billion. The G8 share of the extra $25-billion was $21,8-billion.

They also promised to forgive up to $60-billion of Africa’s multilateral debt.

Last year, at their summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, they also promised to increase their financing of African health systems to $60-billion “over the coming years”.

They have made other promises to Africa, but these are the main ones.

But the South African government agrees with humanitarian NGOs like Oxfam that the leaders are not keeping their promises. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad complained at a press briefing last week that the G8 leaders keep making new promises, but have not yet delivered on the big commitments, mainly made at Gleneagles.

Oxfam and other NGOs calculate that the G8 countries have paid up only $3-billion of their share of the promised extra $25-billion – if you exclude African debt relief, which is only 14 percent.

And the NGOs also worry that the draft communique prepared for this week’s summit is too vague, reconfirming the promise to double aid to Africa but not mentioning the figure of $25-billion.

Oliver Buston, of Bob Geldof’s One campaign, called this “bureaucratic sleight of hand” and said the Gleneagles promise “can’t just be erased”.

Masato Kidera, director-general for Sub-Saharan Africa in the Japanese Foreign Ministry, responded last week that it was customary in the G8 not to mention the amounts that individual countries would need to pay to meet the Gleneagles promise.

At its own big African development summit in May, Japan promised to double its aid to Africa to $1,8-billion – but by 2012, not 2010.

Kidera said Japan hoped that the other G8 countries would follow suit, but could not promise they would.

Pahad also stressed the importance to Africa of the G8 summit’s other main agenda items – the rapid rise in food and fuel prices, and climate change.

Mbeki, the only one of 21 leaders here who has attended all eight G8 summits since the last one in Japan in 2000, will also be the only non-G8 leader to meet the G8 leaders in all three of their “outreach” sessions.

Apart from the African meeting today, he will meet the G8 leaders again on Wednesday with the other leaders of the so-called G5 or O5 (Outreach Five) countries, China, Brazil, India and Mexico.

He and these same G5 leaders will then meet the G8 leaders again as part of a wider group, including also Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, of leaders of “major economies”.

At these Wednesday meetings, Mbeki and the other leaders are expected to come under pressure from the G8 leaders to commit to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions in a new international climate change agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, when it expires in 2012.

Though Japan prides itself that this summit will include more non-G8 leaders than any other, Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Lourdes Aranda complained to the G8 for not really listening to the concerns of these “Outreach” countries.
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API/The Star

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KANO PEOPLE VOWED TO STOP THE SALE OF MIWANI FARM IN PIECE-MEAL AT ALL COST.

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo .

The alleged fraudulent sale of Miwani Sugar Mills property to a cartel of wealthy Asians businessmen and farmers at a throw away price at the alleged stage-managed public auction last year took a new dimension when the people of Kano sub-clan vowed to derail the sale at all costs.

The Jo-Kano people consist of a major Luo sub-clans, which lays claims that the land on which Miwani Sugar Company is standing on was their ancestral land and now vowed to derail the attempt at selling it to a new group of India businessmen and farmers in the area.

.The community alleged that the land was seized by force from their forefathers by the British colonialists in around 1920 and given to the white Australian pioneer sugar farmer who first established Miwani Sugar Mills in 1927 for free.

The government of Kenya now owns Miwani as the sole proprietor. But the government, the Kano community says, is free to sale the facility to a new investor, but such a deal must covered all its assets which include the sugar crushing mills, distillery and the 10,000 acres neuclus estate .

Moreover the 99 years lease has since expired, and if the government cannot find a new investor to resuscitate the facility, which is currently under the official receivership, then it could allow the community to repossess the land and distribute it to its original owners. It should revert to the sub-clans of Jo-Kano people for re-distribution to the landless people in the region.

The issue concerning the alleged secret auctioning of the 10,000 acres nucleus estate farm featured prominently during the burial of Mzee Opiko Aloo 89 years old a prominent elder who was highly respected by the entire. residents of the Kano plains in Nyando district.

The burial which was attended by thousands of mourners took place at Mzee Aloos homestead, which is located next to Onjiko Secondary School near the junction of Kisumu-Kisii and Kisumu-Kericho Road.

Mzee Walter Kitoto Adell, the chairman of Riwruok Dongo Kano Manyien (RIDOKAM) in an electrifying speech told the attentive mourners that the people of Kano plain were the blessed among members of the vast Luo community because the area is endowed with a abundance natural resources.

Mzee Adell cited the four Sugar manufacturing factories of Miwani, Kibos, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar Company saying that all are situated on the land which belonged to Jokano people. He charged that all four industries, however, were only benefiting people from outside the Kano community in terms of employment, tendering for supplies and contracts. As well as sub=contracts.

Touching on the alleged sale of the 10,000 acres, Miwani Sugar Mills farm by alleged phantom creditor in a court case which is shrouded with questionable proceedings, Mzee Adell said that the land on which Miwani property stands on was an ancestral land of the Kano people which was given to the Company on 99 year lease at the opening of the 20th century. The lease has since expired. And it should revert to the original owners.

Anybody interested or who had legal claim on Miwani Sugar Company can only sell the factory, but not the land, which is exclusively a community property of the Kano people. He demanded that if the government which now own 100 per cent shares in Miwani is unable to sell the facility to suitable new investor then the land should revert to its former individual owners.

there is nowhere the Kano people would allow any transaction of this land, and the community has no quarrel with the government if it hands over the entire Miwani facility to a new investor who in turn will be able to offer job opportunities to the local people. This good gesture would be very much welcomed by the community.But the Kano people will not allow low and see their prime land being taken over by outsiders on fictitious claims.

The sale of Miwani sugar Company under suspicious circumstances had recently elicited legal tuzzles in court between the joint official receivers=managers, Kenya Sugar Board and a ghost creditor, who had filed a suit in court demanding that Miwani paid Ksh 28 million owed to him by the Company for consultancy services rendered by the plaintiff in 1987.

A high court judge Mr. Justice John Mwera annulled the alleged sale in an 18 pages historical judgment and gave the plaintiff 21 days to appeal.

It later emerged that the court case was filed by pseudo businessman who allegedly had acted on behalf of cartel of business tycoons and sugarcane farmers of Indian origins who had conspired and hatched a secret plan to have the 10,000 neuclus farm given to them at a silver plate The conspirators had used all the tricks in the books including bribery, gagging the local scribes, compromising court officials, lawyers and the rest to act in their favors. But the trick backfired when the High Court Judge at Kisumu made the mailstone judgment annulling the sale of estate farm and at the same time suspending the new title deed of the farm, which had already been changed in a suspici.

Also in attendance at the burial of Mzee Opiko Aloo was the former Nyanza P.C. Peter Raburu, the former commissioner of Police, Phillemon Abongo, the former Deputy Commissioner of Co-operatives, Henry Agimba, former Karachuonyo MP, Dr. Paul Adhu Awiti, a Maseno University lecturer Dr. M.O.T. Agodo, a prominent businessman and land valuer Ojowi Bengo, retired senior Administrative secretary with Kisumu municipality Mr. Adera Owiny, a former KSB director for Muhoron and a farmer/cum=businessman Samuel Bonyoi and John Ngere and the co-ordinator of RIDOKAM Justin Odiko.

The community vowed to pressure the government to sell Miwani only when the facility remain intact for the mutual benefit of all Kenyans and the local community to new and credible investors, and not to allow the company to be sold in a piece-meal at the whims of a cartel of Asian land grabbers who are hell-bend in sabotaging the government effort to off-load its shares in the facility.

The sentiments expressed by Mzee Adell were unanimously approved by the mourners. Some people in the crowd were heard shouting that if the government had no more interested then it should allow the Wananchi to go and settled on the land instead of it getting stolen by Asian land grabbers. A public meeting in which the Miwani issue will be deliberated has been called for Ahero multipurpose Centre on July 26, 2008 and all local politicians, civic leaders and MPs have been invited to attend and take a firm stand on Miwani saga.

End.

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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API

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Kenyan cabinet minister refutes claims

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

By Jeff Otieno in Kisumu

Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno Anyango has strongly denied claims in a section of the press which linked one of his sons to a multi-million scandalwith some powerful clique from mount Kenya region.

In a statement to the press, the bitter cabinet minister challenged those with evidence to come out in the open. He was reacting to a statement in one of the newspapers depicting his son to be operating in a company under the flagship – Green Fuels Ltd which is allegedly associated with the beleagured Finance Minister Amos Kimunya and the late Alex Mureithi.

”I dare anyone with tangible proof to come forward that my son is the Managing Director of the said company which was allegedlygiven sixty thousand hectares of TARDA land, to plant jathropa (Bio-fuel) he thundered.”

The late Alex Mureithi was the chairman of TARDA and at the same time Director of Green Fuels Ltd which according to the story was a clear conflict of interest.

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API

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Immigrants keep Oslo going

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

New figures from the City of Oslo indicate that every fourth resident of Norway’s capital has a non-Norwegian background. They may have come from Sweden, the USA, Vietnam or Gambia, and they’re playing an important role in the job market and the culture.

Only two of 10 employees in Siemens’ company canteen were born in Norway. There are increasing numbers of foreigners in other companies as well, from StatoilHydro to Aftenposten itself.

PHOTO: JAN TOMAS ESPEDAL

“Without the immigrants who work hard and do a great job, we could just forget trying to keep the restaurant branch going,” said the boss of the company canteen at the large German industrial concern Siemens.

Of the 10 persons working in Siemens’ canteen, for example, only two were born in Norway. The others come from Denmark, Sweden, Pakistan, Mexico, Gambia, Turkey, Morocco and Kosovo. All contend that they don’t really think about the international diversity.

“But we do talk a bit about the countries we come from, said Yaya Jallow Olsen from Gambia.

“And we laugh a lot together and have fun on the job,” added Lene Halstvedt from Denmark.

“We learn a lot from each other,” confirmed Yonus Kaplan from Turkey.

New data from the city and state statistics bureau SSB shows that of Oslo’s 560,484 residents, 137,878 are immigrants. That’s up from 85,550 in 1998, when the city had a population of 499,693 and immigrants made up 17 percent, not the 24.5 percent today.

The largest single immigrant group continues to be from Pakistan, with 20,313 living in Oslo. Next in line is Somalia, with 9,708 immigrants and Sweden, with 7,462. Other countries with relatively large immigrant groups in Oslo include Sri Lanka, Poland, Iraq, Turkey, Vietnam, Iran and Denmark. Eastern Europeans as a whole make up nearly as large a group of immigrants as those from Pakistan, with 19,721 registered as living in Oslo.

Foreigners also make up a fairly large portion of the population in Stavanger, where many expatriates are working in the oil and offshore industries.

Erling Lae, head of Oslo’s Municipal Executive Board, is pleased with the amount of foreigners in the capital. “When every fourth resident has a foreign background, I ask myself what the city would look like if they weren’t here,” Lae told newspaper Aften. “Oslo would have been in a deep crisis.

“It doesn’t matter where they’re coming from, but that they’re doing well and have a job. And most do.”

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Zimbabwe ruling party accuses Tsvangirai of snubbing President Mbeki

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Zimbabwes ruling Zanu-PF has on Sunday, accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai of disrespecting the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed mediator, President Thabo Mbeki.

Tsvangirai on Saturday failed to attend a meeting scheduled by Mbeki between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders. Mbeki says Tsvangirai pulled out of the meeting at the last minute saying he had been advised by African Union (AU) leaders to hold off until Mbekis mediation effort is reinforced.

Meanwhile, a milestone moment occurred in Zimbabwean politics when Mugabe was seen shaking hands with MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara. However, South African political commentators have said that the picture would resonate even more, if the hand Mugabe shook was that of his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the bigger MDC faction.

The ruling party wasted no time in attacking Tsvangirai over his snub of the dialogue mediator. While some analysts say Tsvangirai let a golden opportunity slip to give the dialogue the momentum it needs, others believe his snub of Mbeki makes a powerful statement to the international community.

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API/APA

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Malawi president calls in opposition to pass budget

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Celebrating his countrys 44th anniversary of its independence from British colonial rule, Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has reiterated his call to opposition members of parliament to stop placing conditions before approving the already delayed 2008/09 national budget.

Speaking Sunday in the northern city of Mzuzu, to celebrate an occasion whose theme was, \”Building A Nation of Achievers\”, he urged the MPs to return to parliament and approve the budget without delay because it was a critical tool for the country\s development.

\”In government, we will not accept anything less than the budget to be dealt with first before other business in the house. Anything else should come after the budget has been discussed and approved,\” he added, in apparent reference to the oppositions demands for parliament to discuss the dismissing of MPs who defected from their ranks to join the government side.

Mutharika reminded the MPs that nowhere in the world does a sitting parliament reject a budget in the name of democracy.

\”In United States of America, United Kingdom and other countries they never reject the budget. Where are these people (the opposition) copying the idea that democracy means what they are doing? he queried the multitudes that filled up the 20,000-seat Mzuzu Stadium.

He therefore called on opposition leader and former president Bakili Muluzi, who is the chairperson of United Democratic Front (UDF) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader John Tembo not to hold their own people on ransom by failing to approve the long overdue budget.

Malawis financial year ended on 30 June and the new fiscal year started in 1 July. Legally, Mutharika has four months of a grace period to spend funds from the yet to be approved expenditure.

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API/APA

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Kimunya is an animal in the jungle, the best suitable place for him is Guatanamo cell

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Folks,

Let everyone say, “Kimunya be taken to Guatanamo” that is,if Guatanamo is functioning.Right now, he is too powerfulhe canendanger people in Kenya.

He should not be put to a Kenyan jail.Guatanamo would bemore preferrable,

while he Kimunya awaits charges to be preferred against him. This man is

extremely dangerous. He is a dare devil trying to prove he is too powerful no

Kenyan can do any thing to him or challenge him.This Kimunya is dummy. He forgets the Grand Regency sale wasnegotiated and completed before election. In other words, this money was for their campaign.

They forced themselves to cling to power so to cover up using money stolen from

Grand Regency, and when they were actually busted, they want to drag ODM Raila

and Orengo into it. Remember, at the time they were soliciting for the money they

were in a hurry to finance their election. Regency sale transaction was already up for grabs well before election in Dec. 2007. How can any fool believe his statement of dragging Raila and Orengo into his mess?

Kimunya charges for urgent quit notice are based on:

1) he used his public office to transact public property in a personal private manner

without public consent.

2) he denied more than once when he was questioned earlier that the hotel was not sold and it was later proved that it was sold

3) He defied protocol ethics, legal order requirement proceedure for which he swore allegiance to observe and protect public property in a manner stipulated by law

4) he refused and boasted to public that he will not step aside or vacate public office

5) he continues boastfully, to occupy public office evenafterhe has voted no confidence and the house demonstrated they have no more faith in him

6) he treated and continues to treat public matter as his personal private matter

7) he was trying to arm-twist fellow Members from exposing Grand Regency Saga to wait

a little longer because he wanted block and to destroy evidence as well as manipulate members through scare and manipulative threats

8) from his statement, his behaviour and attitudeanyone can underscore Kenyan Leaders are under duress, he is the power-house using Kibaki as his press button, and using threats as a tool to silence anyone opposing his acts.

9) this is the reason why Orengo cried for dear life and requested for security protection

10) from Grand Regency Saga, it is evident that Corruption is the in-thing – Kimunya and

team must advance in the highest level without obstruction or resistance

11) this is the more reason why ODM is not awarded 50/50 share of Government in the Cabinet

12) this is the more reason why Kibaki want to continue to have a complete power and restrict Raila’s to actively perform Prime Minister’sresponsibiliesso Raila may remainunder Kibaki’s wing and control.

In all this, Kibaki does not want to honour the Grand Coalition Government and would be more than happy he brings it down to unmanagiable level, so he can continue to suppress the DEMANDS of Kenyans and pursue a dictatorship Government.

Kimunya is an animal in the jungle, the best suitable place for him is Guatanamo cell incase the place exists, whilethis matter is given indepth investigation – otherwise, many lives are going to be endangered. Remember, he is a wounded lion.

By Judy Miriga

USA

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API

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New arrest in Norwegian’s murder in Russia

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Police in southern Russia have arrested a third person in connection with the murders of a Norwegian man and his Russian wife at their home in Astrakhan, near the border to Kazakhstan.

Stle Helseth and his wife Svetlana were murdered at their home in Astrakhan, southern Russia.

PHOTO: RENAT MUKTHAROV

Stle Helseth and his wife were found shot to death in their home on Tuesday. Police now suspect it was a planned murder, with Helseth shot three times in the chest and his wife shot once in the head, apparently as they slept in their bed.

Helseth, 40, worked for the large Norwegian engineering and construction firm Aker Solutions in Kazakhstan. He was originally from the southwestern town of Egersund, but hadn’t lived in Norway for many years.

The couple had a 14-month-old son, who was being cared for by his grandmother when the double homicide took place. The little boy reportedly holds Russian citizenship and will remain with his mother’s mother.

As more information filters out on the case, it’s emerged that the couple was last seen Sunday evening and the murders are believed to been committed that night.

Police haven’t revealed a motive for the killings, nor what led them to arrest the three suspects now being held.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Kimunya: Why I won’t resign over hotel saga – Why is President Kibaki silent?

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Embattled Finance minister Amos Kimunya declared Sunday he would only resign if an independent investigation team appointed by President Mwai Kibaki found him guilty of wrong-doing in the controversial sale of Grand Regency Hotel.

Finance minister Amos Kimunya addresses a rally at Miharati Stadium in his Kipipiri constituency on Sunday. Photo/JOSEPH KIHERI

Mr Kimunya maintained he followed procedure in the transaction and declared: I would rather die than resign.

He added: I want the President to get the best investigators in the world to come and investigate me and if the report indicts me, I am not only going to resign from the Ministry of Finance but also as MP for Kipipiri.

Mr Kimunya was last week accused by MPs of not following the law in selling the hotel, leading to a vote of no confidence against him in Parliament.

Public property

The MPs, in their motion of no confidence in the minister, also said Mr Kimunya conducted the initial public offering (IPO) of Safaricom in total disregard of provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and related regulations governing the sale and disposal of public property.

They also accused the minister of not adhering to the provisions of the Privatisation Act in the sale of Safaricom shares.

But Mr Kimunya said he would only resign along with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Attorney General Amos Wako, Lands minister James Orengo, and Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director Aaron Ringera, who, he said, were also privy to the hotel sale details.

In a strong defence he mounted from his Kipipiri constituency in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and four MPs, Mr Kimunya described the onslaught against him as a political witch-hunt.

He said Central Bank governor Njuguna Ndungu, National Security Intelligence Service boss Michael Gichangi and himself were being fought because of their efforts to stop schemes by politicians who wanted to bring in money illegally from abroad and others who wanted him to pay pending bills to cowboy contractors.

Other politicians, he said, were unhappy because he had stopped their plans to start forex bureaux and banks for monkey business.

The Finance minister accused Mr Odinga and Mr Orengo of dishonesty. He said Mr Odinga was informed about the sale of the hotel in April and approved it. Even Mr Orengo knew about the sale, he said.

Mr Kimunya also claimed that the Prime Minister had assured him that the no-confidence motion against him would be postponed so that he (PM) could address Parliament on the issue.

However, he said, he was shocked when Government Chief Whip George Thuo called him during his meeting with the PM to inform him that debate on the motion was about to start.

Never turned up

I told the PM as our coordinator (of Government Business) to accompany me to Parliament but he said he would follow in two minutes. He never turned up, said Mr Kimunya.

The minister also claimed that the PM passed information he had given him on the sale to Gem MP and deputy Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo, who reportedly gave it to the parliamentary committee on Finance.

I am prepared to support the PM if he is going to support me. But not in a situation where when I give him information he passes it over to Jakoyo Midiwo, he added.

However, Mr Odinga Sunday termed Mr Kimunyas calls that he also steps aside as outrageous.

Through ODM spokesman Salim Lone, the PM said he was one of the first officials to demand answers on the sale of the hotel.

Mr Lone said the PM wrote to the KACC seeking an explanation over the controversial sale, before he formed an investigative committee that found the sale fraudulent.

He added: To blame the PM, who is keen on resolving this issue does not hold any water.

Mr Lone said the Prime Minister would Monday hold a news conference on the matter.

Mr Kimunya also called for Mr Orengos resignation because he was aware that the hotel had been sold for Sh2.9 billion contrary to his allegations that it had been disposed of secretly for Sh1.8 billion.

If I should step aside on account that I was misled by CBK officers, which is under my ministry, Mr Orengo should also do the same because his officers were involved in the sale transaction, the minister said.

Mr Kimunya also asked the AG to explain to Kenyans why he had failed to recover the hotel from businessman Kamlesh Pattni since 1993.

He said that Mr Wako did not have the credibility to be in the sub-committee investigating the sale.

He also dismissed as ridiculous accusations that the Safaricom IPO had been conducted illegally, saying it had been billed as the most successful across the world this year.

Mr Kenyatta also called for an independent committee to investigate the matter.

He argued that none of Mr Kimunyas critics had provided evidence showing that the hotel had been disposed of irregularly.

We are tired of people just making noise and not giving us any tangible information on the matter, Mr Kenyatta said.

The Deputy PM also called on his Cabinet colleagues to be careful about the information they were giving the public.

It was not right for reports meant for Government deliberation to reach the media before being tabled in Cabinet, he said.

Other MPs who attended the Kipipiri rally echoed Mr Kenyattas sentiments, arguing that it was unfair for MPs to censure the minister without enough evidence.

The MPs said Mr Kimunya was being attacked politically because of his efforts in fighting corruption.

Nakuru Town MP Lee Kinyanjui said the Prime Minister must also provide answers to questions on the sale, since his duty was to supervise and coordinate Cabinet affairs.

Juja MP George Thuo, who is also the Government Chief Whip said MPs should have given more evidence against the minister before voting against him.

Mr Thuo noted that Kenyans did not have faith in the committee selected by Mr Odinga to investigate the issue because it leaked out its report before it was presented to the Cabinet.

We are therefore asking President Kibaki to appoint an independent committee to investigate the whole saga, said Mr Thuo.

Local leaders in Kipipiri also made scathing attacks on MPs who have been calling for the sacking or resignation of the embattled minister.

They further revisited the issue of post-election violence that led to displacement of people. They regretted that the issue had now taken a back seat.

Former Kipipiri MP Kabingu Muregi noted that the resignation or sacking of Mr Kimunya would be a blow to the Kipipiri constituency and the entire country.

Crowds carrying banners with pro-Kimunya slogans braved afternoon showers that pounded the rally held in Miharati.

The main message displayed across the venue called on the minister to ignore calls of his resignation.

Elsewhere, Education minister Sam Ongeri said the Grand Regency saga and the pressure to get Mr Kimunya out of office was part of the Kibaki succession race politics.

And Water minister Charity Ngilu called for the dissolution of the grand coalition Government if President Kibaki does not sack Mr Kimunya.

Head of the Anglican Church Benjamin Nzimbi asked Mr Kimunya to respect the decision taken by his parliamentary colleagues and step aside to pave way for investigations into the sale.

Reports by Oliver Mathenge, Mugo Njeru and Kenneth Ogosia

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API/Nation.ke

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Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Kimunya: Id rather die than resign

By Beauttah Omanga And Antony Gitonga

I would rather die than resign: That was Finance Minister Amos Kimunyas answer to those who have been clamouring for his resignation.

The embattled minister came out fighting and accused Prime Minister Raila Odinga of being part of a wider scheme to bring him down.

Kimunya said if he had to resign, then Raila, Attorney General Amos Wako, Lands Minister James Orengo and anti-corruption commission director Aaron Ringera must also step aside to allow for investigation.

Kimunya, who has been in the eye of the storm over the Grand Regency Hotel sale, dug in and refused to step down saying: “I would rather die than resign.”

Finance minister Amos Kimunya and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta at Miharati Stadium in Kipipiri constituency, on Sunday.

The minister, who has been elusive since Parliament passed a Motion of no confidence in him on Wednesday, retreated to his Kipipiri constituency to launch a fight back at a rally at Miharati Stadium, less than three kilometres from his rural home.

The minister said he was a wrong target. Said he: “Instead of teaming up with me to catch the thief, they are targeting the wrong person.”

Bribes

Kimunya claimed that the PM was fully briefed prior to the transaction, but “ducked and set Orengo and Wako to implicate him” in the alleged scam.

The battle over the sale of the hotel promised to turn murky as the Finance minister sensationally claimed that Orengo blew the whistle after “his bid to solicit a Sh3 million bribe from a legal firm involved in the sale was turned down.”

“Orengo went public after he was denied a bribe of Sh3 million he demanded from a Mr Adan, one of the lawyers involved,” Kimunya said.

He challenged Orengo to deny ever making the bribe demand.

Kimunyas claims drew quick fire from Raila, Wako, Orengo and lawyer Ahmed Adan who dismissed the allegations.

“Prime Minister Raila Odinga categorically denies and condemns Minister Kimunyas allegations,” said a statement from the PMs spokesman Salim Lone.

Mr Lone said: “The PM took up the issue of corruption allegations on Grand Regency forcefully when they surfaced in April and immediately addressed a letter seeking answers from KACC on a host of issues mentioned in the media.”

The statement added: “The PM was subsequently reassured, at least in part, when Mr Kimunya publicly dismissed talk of the Grand Regency sale and when news of the sale broke. The Cabinet committee on Finance that he chairs set up a team that produced a factual report on allegations of corruption within a day.”

Lone said Raila would issue a comprehensive statement today.

Reached for comment, Wako said on the telephone: “The Attorney General cannot be used in the manner in which the minister is claiming. My job is to safeguard the interest of all Kenyans. I deny completely, in the strongest possible terms, his allegations.”

Wako said a Central Bank of Kenya board of governors meeting had resolved that the AG be involved in the sale transaction, which he said he was not.

“The issue Kimunya should be telling the public is why Treasury and CBK bypassed the AGs office after it had been resolved to involve it. That is what should be a big part of the investigation,” Wako said.

Adan said in a press conference he called after Kimunyas allegations: “Orengo is a close friend, a polished lawyer I have worked shoulder to shoulder with. Kimunyas allegations are falsehoods, baseless and the bribe theory totally unfounded.”

Raila refused defend him

Kimunya said: “Raila was very much briefed of all the transactions as regards Grand Regency. I suspected all was not well when he failed to come to Parliament to defend me on the very crucial day I was being discussed.”

The minister said he had personally been to the PMs office where he briefed him and pleaded with him to prevail upon Parliament to defer the censor Motion until the following day.

But despite an assurance, the PM did not live up to his word.

In Parliament on Wednesday, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka unsuccessfully tried to convince Parliament to defer the censure Motion, saying Raila had requested so.

The hard-hitting Kimunya said: “I got an assurance from the PM that he had even talked with the Chief Whips and asked them to have the matter discussed the following day. But while in Parliament, I did not see Raila whom I expected to defend me,” said Kimunya.

The Finance minister said Orengo was informed of the deal on April 23.

He dismissed the team that was formed by the PM to investigate him, saying: “They have no moral standing to investigate me. If I am guilty, they too are. If the CBK official made a mistake and they are under me, Lands officials also did the same and Orengo should carry the burden too.”

He went on: “I am being crucified for what I never did. I will also quit my Kipipiri parliamentary seat if I am found guilty of any wrongdoing. There is no way Kipipiri people will be represented by a thief.”

Hire foreign investigator

He asked President Kibaki to summon foreign investigators to investigate the Grand Regency saga, saying he had no confidence in Kenyan sleuths.

“I am asking the President to invite internationally-recognised investigators to investigate the whole saga,” said Kimunya.

He claimed that a few days before the matter was raised in public by the Lands minister, the PM was first briefed and allegedly gave Orengo the go ahead.

“Orengo was at the Treasury to brief the PM. I was also at the Treasury. Why didnt he brief me, too, or even ask for details of what he had found out before rushing to the Press?” asked Kimunya.

Reached on the telephone, Orengo reacted angrily, saying he had instructed his lawyers to sue the minister for defamation.

“Kimunyas strategy of fighting back is backward and primitive. He should not try to pull along other people to sink along with him. Let him not trivialise an important national issue,” said the Lands minister.

Orengo added: “I have struggled for this country for a very long time. I cannot betray the cause and comrades we fought with while Kimunya was nowhere in the political radar.”

Its politics

On the composition of team headed by the AG to investigate the saga, Kimunya said it was “suspect”.

“If the same people who have been complaining that we (PNU) shortchanged them are the ones to investigate me, then I am sorry, they cannot be fair no matter what,” said Kimunya.

The Finance minister said he had acted in good faith and wondered why the AG had disowned him too.

“The AG has failed since 1993 to repossess the hotel on behalf of the Government. I, the CBK and the KACC teamed up and salvaged the hotel. How can he now turn and say I am wrong. Is he sincere?” he asked.

He said he was being fought because of his firm stand against corruption at the Treasury.

Said he: “I am being targeted because I am against corruption. Our rivals (ODM) went out during the campaigns and promised contractors that if they took over power, their pending bills would be cleared. I have said No until they show me justification. That is why I am being fought.”

He said he was as clean as snow and even invoked Jesus name, saying: “I am clean. Even if Jesus comes today, he will find me innocent. Even Jesus was crucified for sins he never committed.”

He took a swipe at leaders from Central Province, who had disowned him, saying: “They are rejoicing when I am in hot soup. But what will they do when the truth comes out?”

He was apparently referring to leaders, led by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua, who have demanded accountability from Kimunya over the saga.

Kimunya said he was not given enough time to defend himself in Parliament when the matter came up for debate.

“The speed at which the matter was rushed proved that it was a pre-determined Motion. I was meant to be censored no matter what happened,” said the bitter minister.

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API/Standard.ke

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“I will resign if the other players step aside too”-Kimunya

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

Written By:James Rono

Beleaguered Finance Minister Amos Kimunya on Sunday stood his ground insisting that he will not resign over the Grand Regency saga unless all those involved step aside.

Kimunya wants Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Lands Minister James Orengo, Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) director Aaron Ringera and Attorney General Amos Wako to step aside saying they were all involved in the sale of the Hotel.

The Minister called for the establishment of an independent probe committee saying the Wako led team is partisan, as it comprises individuals who were involved in the sale of the five star hotel.

He said he will not only resign as a minister but will also relinquish his parliamentary seat if he is proven to have been directly involved in the scam.

Speaking in his Kipipiri constituency, Kimunya also denied allegations that he allocated shares worth 7 billion shillings to a mobile telephony company known as Alkazar, saying the allegations are pure lies aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

Other leaders who addressed the rally said the Parliament should have given Kimunya time to defend himself before taking a vote of no confidence against him.

Those who attended the rally include, deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Government Chief Whip George Thuo and other leaders.

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API/KBC.ke

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Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

The Sketch

Ekwe Ethuro, the Turkana Central legislator, is a man of strange ways. Born in Turkana, largely pastoralist community, Ethuro defied the odds to achieve an admirable feat in education, and this he did in style studying Agriculture at both Undergraduate and Masters levels.

He further surprised many by earning a prestigious docket at the Ministry of Planning as an Assistant Minister in the last Government, while in his early 30s.

Hitherto, he had been a very vocal leader in the House, and his wits have not been letting him down. But yesterday, when the brilliant MP tried to recall what he learnt in Management at the university, he found himself in unfamiliar territory. To Ethuro, there is a management term called mbwa kali, which he defined as “management by walking around”. Mohamud Mohamed Ali, the Special Programmes Assistant Minister to which Ethuro attributed the mbwa style of supplying relief food in Turkana, argued it was not parliamentary language. Deputy Speaker, Farah Maalim, agreed.

Even after support from Abdul Bahari Member for Isiolo South and Asistant Minister Simeon Lesrima that actually mbwa is management parlance, did not help.

Lesrima said: “Indeed, mbwa is a management term but kali is not.” Ethuro stuck to his guns, telling the Chair he is a man of integrity and could not withdraw the term. So off he went, courtesy of the Chairs powers.

He has written history as the first MP to be thrown out of the Chamber in the Tenth Parliament. Ethuros cunning Mbwa could have barked in the Chamber undeterred had its canines been different from the Kiswahili word for dog.

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API/Standard.ke

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Reforms to open up Parliament

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

By Alex Ndegwa
The public followed live proceedings of Thursdays historic censure Motion in Parliament against Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, thanks to reforms sanctioned by Speaker Kenneth Marende.

This month, a sub-committee formed to review Parliamentary Standing Orders (rules of procedures) will finalise its work ready to present the proposals that would further open up Parliament to the public.

To underscore the urgency of the exercise, the chairman of the sub-committee, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, informed the House the deadline for submitting the written proposals is July 11.

The team is not starting from scratch since it is relying on proposals by a committee in the previous Parliament contained in the so-called Seventh Draft.

After fine-tuning the draft, the Imanyara team will submit a report on July 17 to the Standing Orders Committee, which the Speaker chairs.

There will be a workshop for MPs from July 24-25 to discuss recommendations on amending the Standing Orders, before the report is tabled in the House as a sessional paper, for approval before the end of the current session.

Parliament last reviewed its rules of procedure in 1997 and the Tenth Parliament should rise to the occasion. Parliament, and particularly committee sessions, have long been shrouded in secrecy and steeped in routine procedures that have outlived their usefulness.

That Marende has lived up to his word and began steps to overhaul the institution to boost efficiency and rope in the public in its work deserves praise.

Radical proposals to demystify Parliament by opening up the institution to more public scrutiny, doing away with archaic traditions and promoting accountability are lined up.

Protect witnesses

Once the proposals are adopted, the public will be allowed to attend committee proceedings that are presently held in camera. Exceptions will only be cases where members deem it necessary to hold closed door meetings, for instance to protect witnesses.

The bulk of Parliament work is done in respective committees where members grill public officials over questionable transactions and comb through Bills before they are approved by MPs.

For instance, the secret sale of the Grand Regency hotel that culminated in MPs passing a vote of no confidence against Kimunya boiled over during sessions held by the Finance, Trade and Commerce committee.

The committee, chaired by Nambale MP Chris Okemo, had grilled the minister and raised a red flag over the controversial deal before Lands Minister James Orengo blew the cover.

Plans to roll out comprehensive live broadcast of House proceedings are under way. In the last two weeks State-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation radio and television have covered the proceedings live.

Soon, other private stations, including KTN and NTV, will be allowed to get feeds of live signals. A proposed select committee, the library committee, will oversee broadcasting of House proceedings.

Marende, while making his acceptance speech upon election as Speaker in January, pledged to spearhead reforms to open up Parliament more to the public.

Other changes to the straightjacket House rules will see the scrapping of the “guillotine” method, which has provided a loophole for suspect budgetary allocations to pass undetected.

Borrowed tradition

The practice permits members to lump together all votes for ministries and departments that have not been debated for approval without scrutiny to beat the constitutional deadline of October 30.

Essentially this scheme is a fertile ground for corruption because it presents an opportunity to squander taxpayers money on scams such as Anglo Leasing.

Kenya borrowed the tradition from the British Westminister, which has since ditched it, bowing to public pressure for enhanced transparency in how the State taxes and spends.

Alongside scrapping of the guillotine, the suggestion to compel Treasury to furnish members with annual Draft estimates not later than March 21 (three months before the budget is read) will promote transparency.

This way, MPs will have adequate time to pore through the voluminous books and smoke out suspect allocations, unlike the current trend whereby they are ambushed on the eve of Budget day.

MPs will play more roles in the preparation and audit of the national budget following the establishment of a Fiscal Analysis and Appropriations committee.

In addition, the Budget office staffed with economic experts to help members understand the estimates will be set up to boost members ability to interrogate the Budget.

Currently, debate is ongoing on a private members motion by Maragwa MP, Elias Mbau, seeking the House approval to draft a Bill to legislate on these measures to step up MPs involvement in budget making.

Members supported the motion saying Treasury had in the past presided over skewed distribution of national resources that had led to conflict.

But Kimilili MP, Eseli Simiyu, cautions members that Parliament should not seek to seize control of the function because a budget is a tool for a party that had won an election to fulfill its manifesto.

As a result, the Government of the day should be allowed latitude to implement its programmes but Parliament should keep watch against plunder of resources.

There is also the suggestion to limit debate on financial statements to three days from seven and to two days from three for taxation in order to do away with repetitive debate.

Members also want the standing orders amended to grant Parliament teeth to enforce recommendations of watchdog reports like the ones prepared by the Public Accounts Committee and Public Investment Committee.

They also want sanction for minister(s) who fail to report on progress in implementation of committee reports.

Sanctions

Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana argues that the standing orders ought to be changed to allow clear sanctions on ministers and their assistants.

“Government is borne out of Parliament. Parliament must have some teeth to deal with errant Ministers,” says the medical services assistant minister.

Mungatana adds he wants to see a situation where ministers censured by the House either lose a months salary or are suspended from the House for a certain period.

Kenyans, he says, cannot have confidence in a government that is “stinking”.

Mungatana explains these are some of the issues he expects to be raised when members meet during a workshop to amend the standing orders scheduled for later this month.

The practicability of a proposal that every motion approved by the Speaker shall be allocated time is under review. The push for this amendment is perhaps meant to prevent the House Business Committee the Government dominated committee tasked with setting the agenda of the House from “sitting on unpopular” motions.

The proposals include allowing women MPs to enter the debating chamber with their handbags and all phrases used that make the August House sound like an exclusive mens club removed.

Two proposed changes to the rules of procedures to allow public petitions and question time relating to matters of State will undoubtedly make Government functionaries more accountable to citizens.

If the changes become a reality, the Tenth Parliament will allow Kenyans, for the first time, to present public petitions through a system borrowed from the House of Commons of Canada and other Commonwealth parliaments.

The previous Parliament had proposed the introduction of question time for the Leader of Government Business relating to matters of State and general performance of Government agencies every Tuesday, from 3pm to 3.30pm.

Given that the suggestion had been made before the Grand Coalition Government, members have proposed that instead the same be reserved for the Prime Minister and extended to one hour.

This is the practice in the UK where the Prime Minister fields questions from members touching on policy and general conduct of Government.

The Tenth Parliament should ensure these reforms become a reality so that in future the premier is compelled to explain to the public from the floor of the House in case any of his charges is caught with their hands in the till.

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API/Standard.ke

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In defence of Mugabe

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2008

After all the intense international media focus on Zimbabwe last week, once again we must ask: why? Why the frantic effort to isolate President Robert Mugabe, all out of proportion to any wrongs he and his government might have done- in essence, using artillery fire to blast a mosquito? What is going on?

As I asked in April, why is it that the ZANU-PF government, with the same tyrant called Mugabe as president, the same corruption, and same mismanagement kept inflation down to single digit figures, but after 2000, the same leader, government, and fiscal policies suddenly become so hopelessly incompetent that inflation is at the latest reported to be over 500,000 percent?

Zimbabwe- as viewed through western media- is the story of a country that was once Africas breadbasket and one of the most prosperous nations but which under the tyrannical rule of Robert Mugabe has now sunk into a basket case and human rights abuses, economic collapse, and corruption have eclipsed all previous world records.

How is it that we so easily believe distortion and lies? The Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, announced in March that according to its own count, it won 50.3 percent of the vote in that first round.

If the MDC is right, we have to ask: for all the corruption, abuse of power by Mugabe and his henchmen, the total collapse of the economy, world record inflation, violence by police, and disgust by the population- perfect conditions in which any opposition party should surely flourish- is that all the MDC could manage was a mere 50.3 percent?

Why didnt the very popular MDC win the election in the range of 75 percent if Mugabes rule has totally ruined Zimbabwe? Meanwhile, as we are fed daily reports of the collapse of Zimbabwes economy, few of us hear of the performance of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange: The stock market doubled to fresh records yesterday in the aftermath of Fridays Presidential election run-off, stretching gains started several months ago. (The Herald, July 1, 2008).

Since The Herald is government-owned and so might seek to paint a rosy picture, let us turn to a US financial website, Daily Reckoning in 2007 to corroborate this strange performance by the stock market in Harare: Zimbabwe is in the middle of an economic disintegrationYet the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (the ZSE) is the best performing stock exchange in the world, with the key Zimbabwe Industrials Index up some 595% since the beginning of the year and 12,000% over twelve months. This jump in share prices is far in excess of increases in consumer prices. (Daily Reckoning, April 12, 2007)

As for that widespread belief that Mugabes government is a cabal of thieves that freely loots the national treasury, here is a press release from the African Development Bank on May 12, 2008: [The] Zimbabwean government last month paid part of its arrears to the African Development Bank (AFDB) Group. On April 14, 2008, the country paid $500,000 to the African Development Bank and $150,000 to the African Development Fund. Zimbabwe has, in all, paid $650,000 to the Bank Group despite numerous economic challenges currently facing the country, both globally and locally.

Would a government that repays its international loans, despite the current economic crisis, be the same to so irresponsibly let inflation soar to unheard of levels? Most observers and the general public believe Zimbabwes economic crisis was brought about by Mugabes decision to seize white-owned commercial farms in 2000.

That might well be true. But how about another, much more sinister element in this food shortage; sabotage?
Has anybody thought about this possibility that Britain and the United States, the two countries most vocal against Mugabe, might be engaged in secret sabotage of the Zimbabwean economy?

A former undercover operative John Perkins recalled events that are strikingly familiar to what we see in Zimbabwe today: [In] 1951Iran rebelled against a British oil company that was exploiting Iranian natural resources and its peopleAn outraged England sought the help of herally, the United StatesWashington dispatched CIA agent Kermit Rooseveltto organise a series of violent demonstrations, which created the impression that [Iranian Prime Minister] Mossadegh was both unpopular and inept. (Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, Ebury Press, 2005, page 18)

Clearly, Mugabes capital crime was to displace White privilege in Zimbabwe and personally stand up to the White establishment in London and Washington.

By timothy_kalyegira@yahoo.com

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API/Monitor.UG

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