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Archive for July 14th, 2008

Meet the woman who was fired over HIV status and won

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

By Judy Ogutu

Her strong voice, charming nature and resilience is outstanding. Apart from the slow trudge in her step, the widow is full of life.

She has weathered many a storm, including bruising court battles, all in an attempt to stamp her rights as an HIV positive woman.

Her petite frame does not betray her strong will and spirit to sail through the turbulences of life.

Mrs Justine Adhiambo Ombuor becomes the first woman in Kenyas legal history to challenge her sacking due to her status and get compensated for it.

Justine Adhiambo Ombuor during the interview. She resolved to live on and fight the court battle to the end. PHOTOS: TOM MARUKO

In 2003, she sued Home Park Caterers Ltd, Metropolitan Hospital and Dr Primus Ochieng claiming she was unfairly dismissed due to her status.

Five years later, last week, an out of court settlement was reached to rest the dispute that had dogged her life like a shadow with a Sh2,250,000 compensation.

When we traced her last week, she was at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) clinic for a medical appointment.

Sacked Without Benefits

In the exclusive interview, Ombuor described the five-year legal battle as tough, saying most times she had to battle stress.

“The case used to be adjourned several times and I became stressed because my immunity was going down. Eventually the case was set for hearing.”

She recalls her hurt when she lost her job.

“The moment I got sacked, my heart sunk. I was hurting so much. I was very sad when I got a termination letter. They fired me without benefits. They sacked me on medical grounds, saying I was unfit for service,” she volunteers.

At this point, she shifts in her chair as if to compose herself. Ombuor, who now lives in Oyugis in South Nyanza says her husband died eight months after she lost her job.

The death was a second blow that brought to her the stark reality that she was now the sole breadwinner for her three sons, two of who are in secondary school. She turned to selling vegetables and this would enable her put food on the table for the boys.

When life in the city became too hard, she shifted to Oyugis and left behind one of her sons with a neighbor at Mathare North, where she used to stay.

One of her sons, she reveals, was severely affected by her lifes new twist. She credits her relatives, who encouraged her to seek justice.

Ombuor wrote letters to the National Aids Control Council (NACC) and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights to seek assistance.

NACC then took her to Rachier and Company Advocates, where lawyer Otiende Amolo represented her for free.

Contracted The Virus

“I did not have anything to offer… My advocate had freely volunteered to do his best. It was him who would at times give me money to pay for my fare to and from court,” she recalls.

Ombuor had throughout the hearing of the case used the initials of her names JAO but after the case was concluded, she allowed us to conduct her interview and reveal her identity.

“I do not now have a problem with people knowing my identity. I am fine with it,” she said.

Since being diagnosed with HIV, Ombuor has lead a healthy life by adopting healthy eating habits and a stress-free lifestyle. Her immunity is now stable and she freely talks about her status.

“I remember when the case started, I would tell my neighbours I am HIV positive but they would not believe me. I have never been admitted to hospital but I occasionally get malaria.”

She doesnt know when she contracted the virus she only learnt of it on April 30, 2002.

When the case began, Ombuor knew she would either win or lose, but all she wanted was redress.

“Some of my neighbours and former workmates used to think I would not make it but I knew I would live to see the conclusion of the case. There were others who supported me while others were against me. I used to tell my advocate I would not die,” she narrates.

At 45, the widow is a beacon of hope for those in similar circumstances.

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API/Standard.ke

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Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

By Ben Agina: Armed Forces Training College Commandant Maj-Gen Geoffrey Lukale Okanga has been retired with immediate effect, The Standard has established.

Okanga is the only key officer in the Department of Defence (DoD) to be sent home.

Another 100 officers in the rank of Major and above are set to retire between now and next year following recommendations by the Defence Council, which met last Tuesday and Friday.

The council meets twice a year, in May and November, but had not done so since May last year.

Okanga has been replaced by Brigadier Haji, who despite his new posting, was not promoted to the rank of Maj-Gen, as should be the case.

Brigadier Simon Karanja, who was Okangas deputy, has been promoted and will replace Maj-Gen PJO Opiyo.

Opiyo, who was General Officer Commanding (GOC) West Command in Gilgil was tipped to take over as the Kenya Army Commander upon the promotion or retirement of Lt Gen Augustino Njoroge, whose terms ends in June next year.

Officers fate uncertain

The fate of Deputy Army Commander, Maj-Gen Jones Mutwii, remains uncertain.

Mutwiis term in office ended last December, but is said to be enjoying a close relationship with Chief of General Staff, Gen Jeremiah Kianga.

In an unprecedented move, Colonel Nyamboks Commission has also been terminated. By implication, Colonel Nyambok ceases to be a Commissioned officer.

Commissions are granted to officers by the President to enable them command their juniors.

However, the termination of an officers commission is equivalent to being fired.

President Kibaki, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is expected to approve the Defence Councils recommendation this week.

Those not affected in the changes are Kianga, Vice CGS Lt Gen Julius Karangi, Njoroge and Commandant of the National Defence College (NDC) Lt Gen Jack Tuwei.

Okanga was previously an Assistant Chief of General Staff in charge of Operations, Doctrine, Systems and Training at the Defence Headquarters before which he served as the Director of Military Intelligence.

He was also once the Chief Audit at the DoD, Defence adviser in London and Paris.

Okanga also served with the UN mission in Iran Iraq (UNIIMOG 1988-1989).

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API/Standard.ke

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MPs want ministers probed

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

Two more ministers should be investigated for abuse of office, leaders said at the weekend.

An assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri and three MPs demanded separately that Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang and deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta be probed.

But, calls to investigate Mr Kajwang over claims of impropriety were however vehemently opposed by his colleagues Fred Gumo and Noah Wekesa who absolved him of any wrongdoing.

And, Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba wants Mr Kenyatta probed over the nomination fiasco of councillors.

Those calling for investigations into the Immigration Minister included ODMs Joshua Kutuny and Luka Kigen, and Ford Kenya chairman Musikari Kombo.

Work permits

Mr Kiunjuri, the Water and Irrigation assistant minister, said that Mr Kajwang, who is accused of issuing work permits to foreigners, should face a commission of inquiry just like former Finance minister Amos Kimunya.

A commission of inquiry should be formed to look into the activities of the Immigration minister, he said during a prize-giving day at Moi Equator Girls Secondary School in Nyeri North district.

A commission of inquiry headed by Justice (Rtd) Majid Cockar has been formed to probe the sale of Grand Regency hotel, that compelled Mr Kimunya to resign from office.

Last week, Mr Kajwang defended himself against accusations that he issued work permits to foreigners whose professions are available locally.

Mr Kutuny of Cherangany and his Rongai counterpart, Mr Kigen, asked the Immigration minister to take a bold move and resign before being humiliated should he be found to have acted against the law in approving the work permits.

The two ODM MPs also cautioned ministers against misusing their positions.

And the Rongai MP told Mr Kajwang to be ready to pack up and leave should he be found to have contravened the law. He should not wait like (Mr) Kimunya said Mr Kigen.

Speaking in Kimilili during the victory party for area MP Simiyu Eseli, Mr Kombo a PNU Nominated MP, differed with Mr Gumo and said the Immigration minister must be investigated.
Dr Eseli, the only Ford-K MP, defeated former Trade minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi in the last General Election.

Mr Kombo, who is a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, said investigations were necessary to clear ones name.

We have to hold the president to his word on war against corruption, when he said any one found to be corrupt must step aside, he said.

However, Mr Gumo who had spoken earlier, said Mr Kajwang did nothing wrong by issuing the permits to individuals so long as no money changed hands.

Illegal immigrants have always been issued with permits before Kajwang got into that office, and more so he was just exercising his powers, he said.

But he castigated his cabinet colleagues who misuse their positions.

In attendance were Foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula and Lands assistant minister Bifwoli Wakoli.

In Mombasa, Mr Namwamba said Mr Kenyatta, the Trade minister, should also be investigated over the nomination of councillors during his short stint at the Local authorities docket.

Mr Namwamba said Mr Kenyatta acted in disregard of the law in nominating councillors who did not qualify.

Some councils have more councillors than was required forcing them to incur extra costs in paying them instead of providing services to residents, he added.

Reports by Luke Kapchanga, Kibiwott Koross, Mazera Ndurya and KNA

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API/Nation.ke

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Kibaki friends: Discontent increases over new alliance

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

By David Ochami

President Kibaki has made new friends in a quiet shift of ideology a move causing disquiet among Kenyas traditional Western allies, The Standard can reveal.

The exposure of a series of deals discreetly cut between Nairobi and Tripoli illustrates how close Kibaki has become to Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

State House also started courting China, Iran and Eastern European backers following strained relations with Western allies appalled by spiraling corruption and bad governance.

Under Kibaki, China and Irans diplomatic and economic influence have risen, converse to falling relations with the West.

But it is Gaddafi, whose latest incursions into Kenya has touched off alarm bells. Tripolis activities have created the worrying impression of a takeover.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and his newfound friends, (clockwise) Chinese President Hu jintao, Irans Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libyas Muammar Gaddafi. Kenyas traditional western allies are jittery over the ideological shift.

Libyas sensational arrival and entrenchment in five years, though comparatively low, has alarmed the West and human rights activists for fear of Gaddafis real intentions amid claims that the support was corruptly procured and strengthens Kibaki at the expense of democracy.

Despite the fabled ideological closeness between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Gaddafi, sources who did not want to be named for fear of a diplomatic row, said the Libyans detest the PMs closeness with the US and his nationalist and populist credentials.

Sources also say the US is suspicious of Gaddafis short and long-term designs in the region.

Battle for investments

Libya and Chinas chequebook diplomacy has come in the form of free oil, soft loans, investment, construction projects and bribery of the political elite to supplant client regimes, sources told The Standard.

Early last week, Kenya finally gave Libya Oil Holdings Ltd (LOH) the go-ahead to buy 50 per cent shares of Kenya Petroleum Refineries.

LOH will own shares, hitherto owned by three European multinationals Shell International Petroleum Ltd, BP Africa Ltd and Chevron Global Energy Inc introducing a twist to the battle for control of the refinery that has pitted the Libyans against Indian conglomerate, Essar Group.

According to the current issue of the Tripoli Post, the Libyans will reserve a fraction of its share for Essar Group after LOH finalises the deal with the three multinationals.

Libyas sudden rise in the Kenyan economy demonstrates the allies other gains in the energy, information technology, telecommunications and hospitality sectors.

Kibaki backers deny he is auctioning the country or that he has a selfish motive for embracing the East, whose engagement is clouded in stealth, corruption and inferior quality.

They argue that the liberalised economy allows bids from Libya, China and other countries in the Orient.

Alarmed at disgraced Finance minister Amos Kimunyas ouster and formation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the Grand Regency Hotel sale, Libyan diplomats and investment officials have been holding meetings with Kenyan officials to protect their newly-acquired investments.

Seeking bad boy

In the eyes of the West, Irans President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a bad boy. He is a critic of the George W. Bush administration, and supports strengthened relations with Russia, Venezuela, Syria and the Persian Gulf states.

He has said Irans nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes and has refused to end enrichment despite United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In one of his most controversial statements, he called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, another Kibaki friend, has his hands firmly on the main levers of power in one of the worlds largest and fastest-growing economies (and its most populous country).

Under Mr Hu, China has continued to increase spending on defence, and tensions remain high with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.

Once regarded as a pariah by the West, Gaddafi began his return to the international fold after Libya settled the Lockerbie bombing claims and agreed to stop developing weapons of mass destruction.

Western politicians, including the British, Italian, French and German leaders, have since visited Tripoli.

Gaddafi is the Arab worlds longest-serving leader.

A shrewd operator, he survived several attempts on his life and reinvented Libyas system of government. The colonel came to power in a bloodless coup in 1969 against the ailing King Idris I.

In the late 1970s, Gaddafi introduced the Jamahiriya a system of governance based around peoples committees and free of partisan politics.

By the late 1980s, he had given up his official titles to become leader of the revolution, while retaining absolute power.

Over the years, Gaddafi has supported a broad range of militant groups, including the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Libyas alleged involvement in attacks in Europe in the 1980s triggered US military strikes in 1986. Dozens of people were killed, including Gaddafis adopted daughter.

The media rights organisation Reporters Without Borders has said press freedom is “virtually non-existent” in Libya. The State owns and strictly controls the media and the authorities do not permit the publication of opinions contrary to government policy.

That is why Libyan officials in Kenya read a Western plot in the Grand Regency saga and fear their properties might be nationalised after Lands minister James Orengo froze the hotels title last week.

Mr Hisham Ali Sharif, the Libyan embassys charge de affaires, said last week that Libyas property in Kenya was acquired legally, quoting Mr Alhaj Saleh Bashir, who heads Libyas civil service.

Investigation shows that besides the Grand Regency Hotel, the Libya Africa Portfolio (LAP) and its subsidiaries hold interests in oil and hotel properties in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret, following a deal between Gaddafi and Kibaki after bilateral talks last year.

In the June 4-6 talks, the two sides signed agreements paving way for Libyan involvement in energy, telecommunications, information technology and other sectors.

Strong Africa

Compared to the West and emerging China, Libyas investment in Kenya is small but growing. Libyan oil company Tamoil bought Mobil Kenya for $200 million (Sh13 billion) last year and renamed it Oilibya, which now has 64 pump stations across Kenya.

According to Bashir, Libyas investment drive will not be deterred by “recent controversy and distraction”.

On Monday last week, Bashir captured growing suspicion of Libyas private and public efforts in Kenya by attempting to assure “the people of Kenya that our investmentsare free of all ulterior motives ”.

Libyan diplomats are conscious of the bitter memories from the shut down of their embassy in Nairobi in 1987 after claims that its ambassador, Wainis Masselaty, was fomenting dissent in Kenya.

“Libya is not interested in the past. We do not interfere in Kenyan affairs. We are interested only in cooperating with our Kenya brothers under the African Union to uplift the socio-economic conditions, to build roads and eradicate slums,” says Hisham.

Although Bashir denies any hidden motives in Libyas investment, critics believe Libya has joined China, India, Turkey and other nations jostling to control key states in Africa.

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API/Standard.ke

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Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

Story by KENNETH OGOSIA and TOM MATOKE

Members of Parliament have opposed President Kibakis directive that the succession debate should end saying it was undemocratic, even as some ministers backed him.

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula said the Head of State wanted leaders to concentrate on development instead of putting the country in a permanent political mood.

He said the succession issue could consume a chunk of government business and compromise service delivery.

If you go to Uganda or Tanzania it is very difficult to know whether they ever politic and I think until the time of elections, people should concentrate on development rather than blame games, he said. The minister said Kenya had a duty to feed its neighbours in East and Central Africa.

But assistant minister Dick Wathika said the debate should continue, noting that the process of choosing the next president required consistent public debate.

Service delivery

He said that the President did not call for a stop to the debate, but only wanted leaders to concentrate on service delivery.

The President wants us not to spend a lot of time talking instead of service delivery. Kenyans need to be prepared psychologically for who to support, he said

Mr Wathika asked leaders from central Kenya to support an individual from another region for the next President in order to reconcile their community with other Kenyans.

As former Vice-President Wamalwa Kijana and Prime Minister Raila Odinga supported President Kibaki in 2002, we must support a leader from another community capable of uniting us with other Kenyans, said Mr Wathika.

Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo said the debate cannot stop because President Kibaki was expected to retire at the end of his term.

He said President Kibaki should not attempt to impose his successor on Kenyans because the scheme will boomerang like what retired President Moi faced when he tried to push Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Kenyans.

Kenyans will decide who should be their next President and the Head of State is least qualified to stop the debate because his tenure was contested and many Kenyans died as a result. Let the people decide, said Mr Jirongo.

Karachuonyo MP James Rege said President Kibakis stand was similar to what President Jomo Kenyatta subjected the country to by declaring that imagining his death was treasonable.

To me the debate is healthy and I do not think we should be taken back to the Kenyatta era when imagining his death was treasonable, the MP said.

The MPs said the expanded democratic space should not be thinned by such declarations and asked the President to uphold freedom of speech and expression.

A professional association said politicians were fond of holding the public at ransom. Politicians in this country are not serious because they jump into issues which can only be discussed after investigating the motive of the succession agenda, said Mr George Ojema, chairman of Kenya Economists Association.

Mr Ojema said a stable financial base devoid of political pronouncements was essential for economic growth.

President Kibaki on Saturday berated leaders aspiring for high office in the country, saying there was no vacuum in the top leadership.

The President, who expressed the sentiments twice while on a tour of Nyeri, told leaders to instead concentrate on serving the people.

While acknowledging that it was their democratic right to publicly declare their interest in the position, the President called on such leaders to stop dividing the people as they seek high office.

Elsewhere, Agriculture minister William Ruto said those who had started campaigns for the presidency had lost direction and urged them to redirect their energies to delivering pledges made to Kenyans.

Political leaders engaged in 2012 succession debate have lost direction, they should seek ways of delivering services to the people of Kenya first.

At the same time, Mr Ruto urged his Cabinet colleagues and top government officials to fight tribalism, which threatened to split the country during post election violence.

Speaking at Kapsabet Boys High School accompanied by Mosop MP David Koech and his Emgwen counterpart Elijah Lagat, Mr Ruto called for unity in the Cabinet and fair distribution of the national resources countrywide.

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API/nation.ke

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Gaddafi slams Sarkozy’s plan for Union of the Mediterranean

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

The Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has kicked against plans by French leader Nicolas Sarkozy for a Mediterranean Union, warning that such a body will fuel Islamist terrorism and will be regarded as “imperialism” by many in Africa and the Arab world.

Many see the warning by the Col. Gaddafi as constituting a major setback to President Sarkozy’s Mediterranean project, his highest-profile initiative during France’s turn at the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency which began last week.

Sarkozy has invited all the European Union’s 27 leaders, as well as leaders from 17 Mediterranean countries to a summit launching the new “Union” in Paris next week.

But Libya is threatening to boycott the meeting, accusing the EU of trying to divide Africa and the broader Arab world by drawing a Mediterranean Union map that echoes old colonialist designs for the region.

We shall have another Roman Empire and imperialist design. There are imperialist maps and designs that we have already rolled up. We should not have them again, Gaddafi warned in Tripoli.

Speaking at the Bab Alazizya Palace in Tripoli, the same building that was attacked by US fighter planes over 20 years ago in retaliation for a Libyan-sponsored bombing in Berlin, the Libyan leader further predicted that the EU blueprint for the Mediterranean will be a pretext for a new generation of terrorists.

“I believe this project of the Union for the Mediterranean would increase illegal migration and terrorism and give a justification to Islamist extremists to carry out jihad attacks.

These extremists would explain it as a crusade against European colonisation,” he added.

Diplomatic sources in London said that Col. Gaddafi’s anger stemmed from the fact that original plans to build closer co-operation among a only few southern European and North African states that border the Mediterranean were changed to include the whole EU, the Middle East – and Israel – in the new “Union”.

“It is unbelievable that I would come to my own country and people and say that I have a union with Israel. It is very dangerous,” he said. “We Arabs have not been able to unite together. How can we have a union with Scotland or Scandinavia or Israel?”

This is not the first time that Paris under Sarkozy is encountering such a diplomatic snub.

Sarkozy is hoping that he can focus the Union on concrete and non-controversial issues such as maritime co-operation, tackling pollution, solar energy projects and “civil security co-operation”.

“I predict this project will be a complete failure,” said Col. Gaddafi.

French officials hinted Friday that: “The Libya is the only country that is not being represented by the head of state or government”.

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API/APA

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Press Release: Four major bills affecting all Americans introduced this week

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

National security, nationalization of health care, environmental conservation and taxpayer-paid contraception after sex for school children are just four major bills introduced this week in Congress that are of interest to all Americans.

Senate Bill 3227, introduced July 7, is titled Iran Sanctions Act of 2008 and would impose sanctions on Iran and for other purposes.

House Bill 6444, introduced July 9, is titled Healthy Americans Act and would provide affordable, guaranteed private health coverage that will make Americans healthier and can never be taken away.

House Bill 6458, introduced July 10, would establish a national maximum speed limit of 60 miles per hour on highways, and 65 miles per hour on portions of the National Highway System located outside of an urbanized area.

House Bill 6453, introduced July 10, is titled Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act and would amend the General Education Provisions Act to prohibit Federal education funding for elementary or secondary schools that provide access to emergency postcoital contraception.

Each of these bills affects your readers, both directly and indirectly. Please inform them sothey can vote these bills on e-VotingBooth.com.


This is an issue for all Americans to decide, including your readers, because e-VotingBooth.com is the only website where ALL Americans can vote on any pending bill in Congress, including those mentioned above.
The site allows America to switch the focus from the individuals we elect to the legislation itself.
While a simple concept, e-VotingBooth.com has the ability to significantly change forever the government and political landscape of the United States.
Steve Thompson, our founder and president, is available for interviews. Please respond to this e-mail or call 866-670-VOTE (8683), ext 3 to arrange a phone I/V.

Harry Glosenger
Public Relations
866-670-8683, ext 3
e-VotingBooth.com
public.relations@e-votingbooth.com

CONTACT: Public Relations

866-670-VOTE (8683), ext 3

Public.Relations@e-VotingBooth.com

Press Release

July 12, 2008 Release #11-2008

Four major bills affecting all Americans introduced this week

National security, nationalization of health care, environmental conservation and taxpayer-paid contraception after sex for school children are just four major bills introduced this week in Congress that are of interest to all Americans.

Senate Bill 3227, introduced July 7, is titled Iran Sanctions Act of 2008 and would impose sanctions on Iran and for other purposes.

House Bill 6444, introduced July 9, is titled Healthy Americans Act and would provide affordable, guaranteed private health coverage that will make Americans healthier and can never be taken away.

House Bill 6458, introduced July 10, would establish a national maximum speed limit of 60 miles per hour on highways, and 65 miles per hour on portions of the National Highway System located outside of an urbanized area.

House Bill 6453, introduced July 10, is titled Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act and would amend the General Education Provisions Act to prohibit Federal education funding for elementary or secondary schools that provide access to emergency postcoital contraception.

Each of these bills affects you, both directly and indirectly. If you feel strongly about these issues affecting your country then take action now: vote on these bills on e-VotingBooth.com.

e-VotingBooth.com is the only website where all Americans can vote on any pending bill in Congress, said Steve Thompson, founder and president of e-VotingBooth.com, converting the United States from a republic to a direct democracy. The site allows America to switch the focus fromthe individualswe elect to the legislation itself.

Americans can vote at any time on any bill (once introduced), they’re not tied to the voting schedule of any bill. They can even vote bills already enacted.

While Americans have historically been able to write their Congressman or President, these actions are relatively diluted because they are only contacting individuals, Thompson said, whereas voting on e-VotingBooth.com aggregates every single Americans vote in that one respective bill, amplifying their power. No other action is faster, easier or more effective than pulling up a bill and voting in e-VotingBooth.com.

In addition, e-VotingBooth.com will be extremely valuable to Americans in making election decisions because the first enhancement to the website, being developed now and available before the election, is the Voting Scorecard. It will compare elected officials votes right alongside citizens votes, Thompson said. For example,if a voter findstheir Representative, Senator or President voted against his or her votes 90% of the time that voter is far more likely to vote against him or her for re-election than if they had voted 90% with the voter.

Also, continued Thompson, this election will be historical in that it will be the first election in history where citizens will be able to use e-VotingBooth.com, via our Voting Scorecard, to compare their personal voting record against both presidential candidates to make a quantitative and objective voting decision for the office of the President of the United States of America. They would want to register and start voting in e-VotingBooth.com as soon as possible to build the largest and broadest set of votes for comparison before the election.

It is common knowledge our Founding Fathers built a government designed on the principle of limited government and protection of citizens rights: democratic power emanates from the people.

But our Founders also understood participation by all citizens would be necessary to ensure our government works as designed.

Now e-VotingBooth.com goes far beyond helping citizens vote for representatives, it enables all citizens to participate in the legislative process directly and communicate voting results to Congress.

e-VotingBooth.com is a non-partisan, private and veteran-owned company that assumes a fiduciary responsibility to provide this public trust asthe onlytool for all Americans to participate in the legislative process of the U.S. Congress. We also believe e-VotingBooth.com is the perfect tool for all organizations and individuals who wish to remain neutral or apolitical, yet encourage their members to participate in the governance of our country, said Thompson.

Editors Note: Steve Thompson, our founder and president, is available for interviews. Please call 866-670-VOTE (8683), ext 3 to arrange a call.

—————–
API

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Kibaki: there is no leadership vacuum – Future presidential hopefuls warned!

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

Story by PATRICK NZIOKA

President Kibaki has berated leaders aspiring for high office in the country, saying there was no vacuum in the top leadership.

Dividing the people

While acknowledging that it was their democratic right to publicly declare their interest in the position, the President called on such leaders to stop dividing the people as they seek high office.

He added that there was a coalition government in place that brought together the PNU coalition and ODM led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and they should instead focus on working together.

After the launch of the Bible and a booklet on peace and healing at the Dedan Kimathi grounds, President Kibaki drove through the towns main street and later addressed the people who had lined up to welcome him.

Speaking in Kiswahili, the President said, Some people think they can divide the people to get to those top positions. This seat has its holder and assistant.

At the grounds, the President spoke about the many Kenyans who think they can lead the country. He said they should instead concentrate on developing the country at this time to alleviate the plight of the poor.

He also asked those who had fled from Rift Valley to go back now that peace had been restored in the area following the formation of the coalition government.

President Kibaki revisited the negotiations between him and Mr Odinga at the Sagana Lodge, saying both had agreed that Kenyans cannot continue to fight one another. He added that people should forgive those who wronged them, saying that no one was without blame.

No one should think he or she is special as the country belongs to all of us. We will co-exist and what happened was kitu kidogo (a small matter), he said.

He assured the crowd that he was optimistic the country would perform better than other African countries in the economic front.

He asked Kenyans to maintain peace, saying there cannot be development without tranquillity. He reiterated that all Kenyans were equal and free to live in any part of the country without fear.

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API/Nation.ke

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Why is Kenya allowing the two Asians misuse the courts and ruin the economy?

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

The two men have been on the limelight for too long. If they were black Kenyans they would have been put behind bars and the key thrown away. When it comes to the two Asian men, they are allowed to disturb the country for so long. If they were in Pakistan or India, they would have been locked up on corruption charges along time ago. In Kenya, they are allowed to misuse the courts. The two men’s bitter rows has caused alot of tax-payers money. When will the Kenyan establishment learn? (API)

Most wanted and yet pampered citizens

By Patrick WachiraThe fortunes and lives of millionaire-preacher Kamlesh Mansukhlal Pattni and jet-set tycoon Ketan Somaia are intertwined like Siamese twins.

Yet strangely, their circumstances may be, right now, miles apart. They have shared many things and situations, at one time being the most famous inmates of Kenyas gaols.

Though they began as strangers, they became business partners when Pattni bought shares in Somaias Marshalls East Africa Ltd.

Curiously, they later shared the luxurious comfort of being in the private wings of high-cost hospitals when they should have been serving time at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison for various offences and court cases.

Pattnis woes began well before 2003 when he was first arrested for the murder of his German security officer, Friedrich Kohlwes, at Tigoni in Kiambu on March 24, 1994.

The two could easily have been the most famous inmates of Kenyas prisons in 1994. The fact that they were guests of the State at the same time only served to make their circumstances even more interesting.

And perhaps the pair, as partners, was the perfect embodiment of big time fraud and how they could evade spending time in prisons.

They captured the imagination of Kenyans when they wallowed in the luxury of five-star hospital treatment, watching television and entertaining guests in comfort at Kenyatta National Hospital. This was at a time when they were presumed to be in prison.

Reforms

Before Moody Aworis reforms, a TV in jail could only be the subject of make-believe reality. Inmates had to make do with tattered, horribly stained once-white uniforms. They slept in turns, which they still do, because an ordinary cell has no space for this rare luxury. As one group slept, the other made small talk to pass time.

In contrast, Pattni and Somaia enjoyed the trappings of five meals a day, in between carefully served glasses of fresh fruit juice at the private wing of the national hospital. There, they could entertain guests well past visiting hours.

Pattnis woes began well before 2003 when he was first arrested for the murder of his German security officer, Friedrich Kohlwes, 41, at Tigoni in Kiambu on March 24, 1994.

This was nine years after the crime was committed, adding to the mystery that has followed these two men like perennial shadows.

Although he was acquitted of the murder charges, his brushes with the law had just begun. From then on, he became a frequent guest of the State.

Pattni had the dubious distinction of being the first person to be arrested as a victim of President Kibakis anti-graft crusade immediately he took over power.

By August 2004, Somaia had been accused of stealing Sh112 million in a scheme to import 500 London taxis in 1990.

Bitter row

Somaias flagship was Marshalls, but he had been linked to Delphis Bank, which later became Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Suffice it to say that only half the vehicles were delivered, many were grounded in the first two years of import due to lack of spare parts. It is a wonder the remnants can still be seen in the streets of Nairobi.

The manner he and Pattni were treated while in custody caused a bitter row between the police, the Judiciary, prisons, Attorney Generals office and the commission probing the Goldenberg affair.

Attornet General Amos Wako and then Commissioner of Prisons Abraham Kamakil were in a spot when word went out Pattni was being feted when he should have been incarcerated.

When Pattni was first admitted in February 2004 at the Room Number Seven of Level 10 of Kenyatta National Hospitals Private Wing, he enjoyed superior boarding facilities.

With access to TV, newspapers and magazines, as well as an aide, the suspect said to have been suffering from peptic ulcers and heart disease must have been relishing his circumstances.

Perhaps this did not compare favourably with the levels of comfort and luxury of his residence, but heavenly when compared to the brown lumps of barely-cooked ugali and green-turned yellow pieces of sukumawiki.

Indeed, his leisurely lifestyle must have been reminiscent of that described by the man-servant, Yosif, whose master, Hlestakov, in The Government Inspector, was said to sleep and when in need to turn, merely groan and have someone roll him on the side.

Or what do you say of an inmate who enjoys the gentle, caring and constant care of a nurse, in the confines of a private ward?

Life in danger

Yet, these were the surroundings Pattni was to claim precipitated his life being in danger in October 2004. He was promptly moved to the Armed Forces Memorial Hospital where he remained for another month.

He was returned to KNH in November 2004, when he collapsed during hearings of the Justice Bosire-led Commission of Inquiry.

He was taken back to Kamiti two months later, in January 2005, only to return to KNH in curious circumstances, where he spent another several weeks.

No one knows how these two minds, Pattni and Somaia, met and conceived business deals. But some of these were held thousands of feet above the sea level, as they sipped exotic drinks and schemed about making more money for themselves.

Pattni was to joke about this fact during the Bosire Commission sittings at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. He spoke of how he bought shares in Marshalls Ltd.

He testified some of their meetings were held in Somaias jets as they flew over oceans and seas, flying at tens of thousands of feet above.

Somaias flagship was Marshalls, but he had been linked to Delphis Bank, which later became Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Other concerns in which Somaia had direct interests included Block Hotels, United Touring Company, Casinos, and Baumanns.

It was these companies that Pattnis lawyers said, on March 22, 2006, he bought shares but Somaia declined to relinquish the stakes.

The stage was set for a battle of the titans. This was at the Jacaranda Hotel during a shareholders meeting where they traded accusations regarding the ownership of the company.

Pattni insisted he owned 80 per cent of Marshalls and wanted Somaia locked out of what he termed company affairs.

Shareholders were split between the two, but when elections were done, Somaias allies were re-elected. From here, Pattnis fate was sealed. The more than 40 mainly business tycoons heckled and shouted but finally, Somaia was their man.

Still in June the same year, Somaia was in trouble again. There was a fraud case in the UK and he was at the centre of it, accused of swindling a family of some 500,000 (Sh66 million).

It transpired he had apparently promised them shares in Delphis Bank Plc Mauritius. The cash was received from Hemini Plc.

Extradited

And when the matter landed in a Nairobi court for a ruling on whether he could be extradited to the UK to stand trial, Senior Principal Magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka, said the prosecution had not adduced enough evidence to support their case of fraud.

The court also ruled Somaias passport, which had been retained by court, be released to him “unless otherwise legally held”.

Nyali Beach Hotel, which he also owned, was also in trouble. The same year the hotel was be sold over Sh400 million debt, owed to the Kenya Commercial Bank. The hotel was worth some Sh800 million then. It is not clear how the case went.

It is also not clear when the tribulations of the two men will end, now that the story of their lives is replete with twists and turns.

Pattni, on his part, may have been headed for bliss just months ago when he signed a deal with the Government that allowed him to relinquish Grand Regency Hotel and in return, have all suits against him withdrawn.

If that deal falls through, his new life as a televangelist, aptly named Paul, which bears biblical significance of seeing the light, will be rightly in the footsteps of the man who made others fishers of men.

But there is the little matter of Attorney General Amos Wako, who has vowed all the cases against Pattni, must go on and there will be no amnesty.

Wako told the House Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade last week the State was not about to drop Goldenberg-related cases against Pattni and that the deal was done behind his back.

So, what is the fate of the settlement he (Pattni) signed with the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, detailing the amnesty and registered on April 9?

Is it a classic case of the popular soap opera The Rich Also Cry? Clearly, the drama is not about to end.

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API/Standard.ke

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Few women honoured with state funerals

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

State funerals still tend to be given to men.

Men account for 95 percent of those honoured with state funerals in Norway.

Since the Second World War, 54 Norwegians have been buried at the States expense. Three of them were women.

Politicians account for the majority of those given a state funeral, according to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Writers are the most respected among Norwegian artists. Six writers, two composers and one painter have been given state funerals in this period.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Ehud Olmert in Israeli Police fraud probe

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

Israeli police accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of fraud and said a probe into alleged bribe-taking had been widened to look at whether he made duplicate claims for travel expenses.

Police and prosecutors said they asked the Israeli leader during questioning on Friday to “give his account about suspicions of serious fraud and other offences”, which involved him billing different public bodies for the same trips abroad. – Reuters

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API/Reuters

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Cindy McCain, Huckabee to visit Rwanda on poverty assessment tour

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

The wife of presumptive American presidential nominee John McCain, Cindy McCain and Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are among a bipartisan group expected to visit Rwanda on an ant-poverty African tour, US embassy statement said at the weekend.

The group plans to leave Washington next Thursday and return a couple of days later.

According to the statement, the group is traveling to see how U.S. investments have helped some of the world’s poorest people and what steps the next president can take to fight global poverty.

The delegation being sent by the ONE campaign will be led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, a Democrat from South Dakota, and Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee.

The ONE Campaign uses grass-roots efforts to pressure world leaders to address poverty and preventable diseases.

Cindy McCain who would be First Lady will travel to Africa this month as part of a bipartisan delegation’s campaign to address extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

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API/APA

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Nigerian small scale industrialists plan to create 2 million jobs

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

The President of Nigerias National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI),

Alhaji Sanusi Maijamaa, has said that the five- year strategic plan of the association had been

approved by the Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Industry.

Addressing the second annual general meeting of NASSI in Abuja at the weekend, Maijamaa” said: To that effect,

we are working hard for the implementation of the strategies, part of which is to provide 2 million jobs.

Maijamaa called on state officials of the association to work hard to move it to greater heights.

He asked the members to put in more effort to meet the objectives of NASSI as well as the seven-point agenda of the Nigerian government.

“We have a micro-finance scheme for our members and it is meant to support the growth of their businesses through the provision of loans, he added.

In his address, Mr Duro Kuteyi, Chairman of Lagos State chapter of NASSI, said the association was designing a package to encourage the exportation of fruits.

He said that Nigeria had been allowed entry into the juice market in Europe and advised NASSI members to take full advantage of the opportunity.

He lamented inadequate power supply and high tariff on the importation of some raw materials, saying they were impeding the growth of businesses.

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API/APA

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Sudanese protest ICC move to judge Pres. Bachir

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

Ten of thousands Sudanese on Sunday protested the International Criminal Court (ICCs) threat to indict president Omar El-Bashir for alleged war crimes.

In a huge rally organized in Khartoum by the Sudans ruling National Congress Party, the protesters chanted “down, down USA!”

“With our souls, with our blood we die for Bashir,” the protesters chanted as they marched through the streets of Khartoum towards the offices of the United Nations.

The state-sponsored protest brought traffic to a standstill in the capital.

Hundreds of people also gathered near the cabinet office where the government was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.

“The ICC does just what the European Union, the United States of America and Israel tell it to do,” the protesters said in a statement to be delivered to the U.N. offices.

The Sudanese cabinet is currently locked in an emergency meeting chaired by the president Omar El-Beshir over plans by the International Criminal Court to prosecute Sudanese leaders for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

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API/APA

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SA welcomes UN sanction vote

Posted by African Press International on July 14, 2008

South Africa welcomes the decision of the United Nations Security Council not to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe, foreign affairs said here.

Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa Saturday said South Africa voted against the draft resolution on Friday, in accordance with the African Union Summit of head of states and government decision to “encourage President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the MDC to honour their commitment to initiate dialogue with view to promote peace, stability, democracy and reconciliation of the Zimbabwean people”.

He said South Africa was facilitating talks between Zanu-PF, the MDC of Morgan Tsvangarai and MDC of Arthur Mutambara, in Pretoria.

“It is our considered view that imposing sanctions would indeed have impacted negatively on the current process among the Zimbabwean political parties. In addition both SADC and AU have not called for sanctions,” he said.

The AU summit in Egypt had appealed to states and all parties concern to refrain from any action that could negatively impact on the climate for dialogue.

The UN Security Council wanted to impose sanction against Zimbabwe including a travel ban and asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and other individuals.

Russia and China vetoed proposed sanctions on Zimbabwes leaders, rejecting US efforts to step up punitive measures against President Robert Mugabes authoritarian regime after a widely discredited presidential election.

Mamoepa said the role of the international community at this juncture should be to encourage the Zimbabwean political parties to deepen and consolidate the current dialogue process, as facilitated by SADC.

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API/APA

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