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Archive for July 15th, 2008

Sudanese President Charged with Genocide in Darfur

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Refugee from Darfur; file photoThe International Criminal Court prosecutor charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with orchestrating genocide against African tribes in the western region of Darfur and called on the court to order his arrest.
“For over five years, armed forces and the militia/Janjaweed, on al-Bashir orders, have attacked and destroyed villages,” the prosecutors said. “They then pursued the survivors in the desert.”
But beyond a military campaign, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stressed the methodical nature of al-Bashir’s campaign of brutality against ethnic groups, usually African tribes, opposed to him.
That campaign has killed at least 300,000 and forced another 2.5 million to flee their homes.

“Genocide is a crime of intention — we don’t need to wait until these 2.5 million die,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges against al-Bashir: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. He has asked the court to freeze al-Bashir’s assets and order his arrest, but a decision from the judges is not expected for months.

The Sudanese government has denied its role in the violence, saying it has tried to take on both separatist rebels in Darfur and the Janjaweed militia. Many analysts and regional experts have accused the militia of being a part of Sudan’s military efforts against the region, and Monday’s indictment agreed with that conclusion.

In the summary of the case released to the public, Moreno-Ocampo said that the villages attacked from 2003 on were almost always composed of ethnic groups suspected of opposing Bashir’s rule. The indictment also outlined the similar way in which villages were targeted and then destroyed by a coalition of militia and Sudanese military forces.

“These joint forces would then surround the village and on occasion, the Air Force would be called upon to drop bombs on the village as a precursor to the attacks. The ground forces would then enter the village or town and attack civilian inhabitants. They kill men, children, elderly, women; they subject women and girls to massive rapes. They burn and loot the villages,” the document read.

The indictment followed an extensive investigation by the ICC in 18 countries. The investigators conducted some 105 research missions and relied primarily on witness interviews and previous U.N. reports on the crisis in the region.

Moreno-Ocampo stressed that the move was both aimed at holding al-Bashir accountable for the ongoing violence, but also was a way for the international community to step into an country’s internal violence in a way it has not other conflicts.

“The international community failed in the past, failed to stop Rwanda genocide, failed to stop Balkans crimes,” he told the AP. “So this time the new thing is there is a court, an independent court … saying ‘this is a genocide.”‘

It is the third time a sitting leader has been indicted on war crimes — Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic and Charles Taylor of Liberia were both charged while serving as their country’s leader.

The government of Sudan rejected the charges, saying the court did not have the authority to charge al-Bashir.

The Sudanese ambassador to the U.N. condemned the move, and warned his government was “considering various options in dealing with this situation and the limit is the sky for any reaction by the government”.

“It is a criminal move,” Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad said, according to Independent Television News. “A criminal move that should be resisted by all peace wishers and peace-loving countries in the world.”

It was not clear what effect the ICC’s action may have on the ongoing U.N. peacekeeping operation in the region. Some 9,000 African Union troops are in Darfur with the approval of the Sudanese government and on Monday U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon called on the Khartoum government to continue to work with those forces.

Ban “expects that the Government of Sudan will continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations in Sudan, while fulfilling its obligation to ensure the safety and security of all United Nations personnel and property,” said a statement issued by his spokeswoman Michele Montas.

—- Compiled from wire reports and other media sources

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Korir, Chief Editor, API/Source.online-newshour

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A Prime Minister is dead! If announced, what comes to mind?

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

What is your first reaction? The statement does not mention which country has lost the prime minister, nor does it mention which premier has died.

Many would react with shock and yet they do not know the person in question.

When one thinks about human beings, there is a tendency to think quickly and assume, may be the one who has died is the prime minister that I know personally or the leader of my neighbouring country, or even my own country. Does it matter whether the dead person is having a title? Does his status in society have to affect our way of reaction?

Look at the case of the late President of Rwanda who when he was killed, people went on a killing spree saying they loved him. That was the start of the Rwandan genocide, simply because of what they say is love for a leader. Look at the case of John F Kennedy who was killed and people mourned and some are still doing so. There are others like Tom Mboya of Kenya and many others.

We forget that leaders are just people who breath the same air as all of us, they need food to survive just like all of us. They may use servants and order people to do things for them, but be they King Queen, President or Prime Minister, they cannot order any servant to do the toilet thing for them. This is one thing God decided that every person must do it personally.

So people should stop worshipping leaders and treat them with respect when they diliver good service and if they don’t, kick them out and if they perish, we get new leaders without having to slash ourselves simply because of unfounded and imagined love for them. They are just human.

An old woman is dead!

An old woman is dead? What reaction comes immediately? They do not immediately think of their own grandmother, mother or an old womanneighbour. People tend to get faster shock when the mentioned personis a leader of some sort as if that person gives them food on their plate, a person they have no attachment, one who is just elected or nominated to lead and get paid.

Is it bigness that we human being relate to on our every day life or is it our leaderswe imagine love us dictating our thoughts psychologically when we hear of their death? When people visit a shopping mall to do their shopping, they ask for what they want to buy from the seller. They get the goods, pay and leave. They are not attached to the mall goods seller.

Why then do people react differently when these leaders die, some are even so corrupt and some stealing public funds to feed their own relatives, and yet they are not attached to them in relationship? The same as the sellers in the malls, leaders are given jobs, salaried for their services and if announced, a prime minister or so and so, is dead, this should not affect peoples lives causing lasting long term psychological defects in their lives.

It is, at times, absurd to see people scream their heads off, when it is announced that a prime minister or president is dead. They scream as if they have lost their own father or mother or a loving relative. They should remember that these leaders come and go quickly because of the nature of the work they do. When a person chooses to take up a job that he or she knows can easily damage the health leading to a speedy depatcher from this world, then they should take the consequences that follow. A leader dies, and the people get another one the same day. And yet if a relative dies, one does not get one as a replacement.

This means that people should get used to loosing their leaders and get contended with the fact that new leaders, even better than the dead one, will be ready serve them well.

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Published by African Press International – API

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Remembering heroes and heroines in Kenya has come later than should have been.

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Even though this is happening late than had been expected, it is important to remember the saying, “better late than never” and congratulate Kibaki government for seeing the project through.

Many people, especially the relatives of those to be honoured for giving their lives for Kenya’s freedom, have waited long for this to happen.

They will now feel some comfort and peace that the efforts of their loved ones has been appreciated at long last. (API)

Government to commission heroes/heroines square

Written By:PPS

 The Government will commission a heroes square in Nairobi to honour Kenyans who have made personal sacrifices for the sake of the country, President Kibaki has revealed.

The President who made the remarks Monday during the official opening of the newly refurbished and expanded Nairobi National Museum noted that the initiative was meant to recognize men and women who have played a significant role in the nation’s social and political development.

President Kibaki said, “My Government will continue to identify those who made personal sacrifices for the sake of our country in order to honour them as heroes and heroines.”

The Head of State noted that his Government has built mausoleums for national icons among them the late Bildad Kaggia, Paul Ngei, Koitalel Arap Samoei and unveiled a statue of the late freedom fighter, Dedan Kimathi.

He at the same time revealed that the Government was in the process of building a mausoleum for the late freedom hero, Achieng Oneko and a museum at the mausoleum of the late Tom Mboya.

Commending the National Museums for their central role in preserving the memories of Kenya’s national heroes, President Kibaki urged them to ardently pursue and repatriate all treasured artifacts belonging to the country that were taken away during the colonial era.

The President said, “It is important to keep in mind that there are numerous artifacts that were taken out of the country, especially during the colonial period. These are crucial aspects of our historical and cultural heritage, and therefore every effort must be made to bring them back.”

With regard to the expansion and modernization of the Museum, President Kibaki noted that the project was part of the Government’s reform agenda and commitment to empower the institution in fulfilling its mandate.

“The reforms have included the development of new and exciting exhibitions, revamping the legal framework that regulates the heritage sub-sector and undertaking administrative and organizational restructuring,” noted President Kibaki.

He further asked the Ministry of Finance to avail requisite resources for the completion of remaining galleries and further appealed to philanthropists and the private sector to support the work of the national museums.

The Head of State further expressed the Government’s commitment in creating an enabling environment and providing the necessary support for infrastructure investments in the heritage sector to benefit wananchi and attract international visitors.

He said, “Indeed, the cultural and natural heritage of our country is a major resource that can contribute towards diversification of our tourism products.”

Commending the board and management of the organization for conceptualizing and successfully implementing the project, President Kibaki urged them to take maximum care of the ultra-modern facility, which had now assumed a world class status, for the benefit of present and future generations.

“I have no doubt that visitors coming to this refurbished National Museum find the beautiful architecture, outdoor sculptures and attractive botanical gardens a most pleasant and refreshing experience,” observed the President.

President Kibaki appreciated the generous support of development partners towards the completion the project, particularly the European Union which advanced a grant of eight million euros towards the task.

Other speakers during the occasion were Vice-President, Kalonzo Musyoka, Minister for National Heritage and Culture, William Ole Ntimama, the Director-General and Chairman, National Museums of Kenya, Dr Idle Omar Farah and Issa Timamy respectively.

In attendance were the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Amb. Francis Muthaura, senior government officials, development partners and members of the diplomatic corps.

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API/KBC.ke

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Jailing a foreigner who wanted to fool Kenyans: 3 years in jail, but being white, he may bribe himself out

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Bulgarian jailed for fraud

Written By:KBC Court Reporters

A Bulgarian citizen was arraigned before Nairobi chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei charged with fraud.

Nicolov Andrian Hriston was accused of preparing thirteen fake master cards to be used to withdraw money from Pesa Point cash machines.

It is alleged that he committed the offence last Thursday at Lavington Green Pesa Point in Westlands, Nairobi.

He pleaded guilty and was jailed for three years.

In another case at the High Court, former Central Bank governor Erick Kotut claims that he cannot be accorded a fair hearing in the 5.8 billion shilling Goldenberg case.

Kotut claims that the Goldenberg report attracted negative publicity both from local and international media.

Kotut wants the AGstopped from prosecuting him on the strength of the recommendations of the Court of Appeal Judge Samuel Elkanah Bosire-led commission of inquiry into the Goldenberg scandal.

In 2006, the High Court absolved Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti from any wrong doing in the scandal ruling that the Bosire recommendations were biased and unreasonable.

Meanwhile a doctor from Karen Hospital on Monday testified in a murder trial against the son of former North Imenti MP Nteere Mbogori.

Dr. Dan Gikonyo told the court that the victim was admitted at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on December 1 last year and died a month later.

The former MP’s son Albert Kubai Mbogori is accused of killing Benjamin Edward Rahedi in Nairobi.

Dr Gikonyo told the court that Rahedi who succumbed to brain injuries had a gunshot wound on the right side of the head.

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API/KBC.ke

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Welcome to the country where everything is done in reverse

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

All that white-skinned foreigners need to step into this country is enough cash to pay for a tourist visa at the airport. Some of these tourists find jobs or start businesses; they do not bother getting a work permit.

Story by RASNA WARAH

EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN reverse in Kenya. Take, for example, the recent ban on matatus entering the central business district of Nairobi.  In most other cities, an efficient public transport system is seen as the key to easing congestion in the city centre, and people are encouraged to use this form of transport to get to work.

Those who insist on using private vehicles have to pay a penalty. For instance, in London, people who bring their private vehicles to the city centre are charged a congestion fee.

But in Kenya, the rich, with big gas-guzzling private cars, are given priority on our roads; pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users are penalised for being poor and for using environmentally-friendly transport options.

The recent ban on smoking in public places is another example of how Kenya misinterprets the global war against smokers.

In most countries that have adopted laws to curb smoking, smokers are allowed to do their thing in open spaces, which usually means on city sidewalks. But in Kenya smokers have to go into an enclosed space – a public toilet, restaurant or a vehicle – to smoke because most open-air spaces are no smoking zones.

Meanwhile, matatus and trucks spewing noxious carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases are allowed to roam freely on out streets.

And for some strange reason, there seems to be a total silence on another addiction – drinking – that is ruining the lives of many Kenyans.

Excessive use of alcohol not only damages the health of the consumer, it all also deeply scars family members of the alcoholic, who are a times deprived of school fees, food and other necessities so that the alcoholic can indulge in his or her addiction.

Families of alcoholics are also deeply affected emotionally, and it is not uncommon to see children of alcoholics suffering from depression and other psychological illnesses.

Yet, our bars are allowed to operate 24 hours if they like, and there is no limit to how much alcohol can be consumed by a patron.

Then there is the whole question of who is entitled to a work permit, visa or citizenship. Recent queries on the issuance of work permits to foreigners with dubious credentials have brought to the fore an issue that deeply disturbs all those Kenyans (including myself) who dread the prospect of applying for a new passport at Nyayo House.

The situation in Kenya is such that white foreigners are given all kinds of permits and visas to remain in the country while those who are born here often have to part with money to obtain what should be their birthright – a Kenyan passport.

FOR SOME STRANGE REASON, IMmigration officials look the other way when it comes to foreigners with white skin, but get all hot and bothered when the foreigner is black or has a Muslim-sounding name.

All that white-skinned foreigners need to step into this country is enough cash to pay for a tourist visa at the airport. Some of these “tourists” find jobs or start businesses; they do not bother getting a work permit.

Others even find high-paying jobs in fields where there is a surplus of local talent. There are no mechanisms in place to monitor their activities.

For instance, they don’t have to undergo any interview at the airport to determine the nature of their business in Kenya. Their records are not kept or scrutinised at Kenyan embassies abroad.

They are not subjected to stringent conditions when applying for a visa to this country, as Kenyans often are when applying for visas to other countries. Nobody fingerprints them or asks them to provide proof that they can support themselves financially while they are here.

No, we are Kenyans, and we are a hospitable people. We just smile, and say, “Karibuni Kenya! ”

So people with the most dubious credentials end up in the country. Paedophiles, drug and human traffickers, mercenaries, and even terrorists – are warmly welcomed at the airport, no questions asked.

But only if they are white. Black Nigerians or brown Pakistanis with dubious credentials are often held in the airport cells and deported – unless, of course, they are well-connected, in which case they just breeze through immigration control.

Why do Kenyans behave in this strange manner?  Is it because we were colonised and therefore see all white people as superior? Or is it because we have become accustomed to the indignity that comes with subservience and corruption?

Maybe it’s because those who are now in charge of creating policies were once poor themselves, and having escaped poverty, want to keep the poor out of sight so that they are not reminded of their own poverty.

If we are to emerge as a middle-income country in the next 20 years, we must learn from other once-poor countries. Successful economies such as Malaysia and Thailand got that way, not by ignoring the poor, but by integrating them in national development plans.

Ms Warah is an editor at the UN. The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.

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API/Nation.ke

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An African Head of State is treated unequal to Heads of State in the West! Sudan’s President to be arrested: Can any Western Head of State get same treat?

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

It is sad that African leaders are treated as second class leaders by the west. We are not saying that nothing has gone wrong in Sudan, but we question the motive of the West when they use ICC to undermine African leaders and yet we do not hear that the same happens to the leaders in the west.

This is discrimination. Western leaders seem to think that they are better than the African leaders and they boldly demonstrate it all the time.

Look at the way they are harrassing Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Now they are on Beshir the President of Sudan.

The warrant of arrest against the Sudanese leader makes him a criminal and we question. Is the west saying that the head of state of the Sudan is a criminal?
Soon the west may issue a warrant of arrest directed at Mugabe. Are the other African heads of State safe? Why don’t the African Unionestablish International Criminal Court that can also issue warrant of arrest targetting western leaders who commit what is considered from the African point of view as crime against humanity. Can Africa open the file of slavery and investigate which countries were responsible and make them accountable. And if any leader who was involved is still alive, be arrested and taken to Africa for trial. There are many people who died during MAU MAU in Kenya. Can people in the UK who were involved be found alive and arrested, taken to Africa to face trial? The west has made Africa and the Africans to go through alot of pain in life. (API

Court seeks arrest of Sudan’s Beshir for ‘genocide’

THE HAGUE (AFP) The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor called Monday for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al-Beshir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

Beshir had “masterminded and implemented” a plan to destroy a large portion of three ethnic groups in the western Sudanese region, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement released in The Hague.

His appeal to the court’s judges marked the first ever request to the ICC for an arrest warrant against a sitting head of state.

Moreno-Ocampo’s bold move came despite fears and warnings that it could enflame tensions in Darfur and lead to the expulsion of aid workers and peacekeepers in Sudan’s troubled western region.

Sudan immediately rejected the call as damaging to Darfur peace hopes, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Khartoum to cooperate with the court.

In Cairo, the Arab League said foreign ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Sudan on Saturday to discuss the prosecutor’s call.

The White House on Monday urged all parties “to remain calm,” in its first reaction to the prosecutor’s call.

The Argentine prosecutor told journalists after delivering the statement that “what happened in Darfur is a consequence of Beshir’s will.”

“The crime of genocide is a crime of intention. Beshir had the intention to destroy the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups,” engaged in a rebellion in Darfur .

“Bashir failed to defeat the armed movements so he went after the people. His motives were largely political. His alibi was a ‘counterinsurgency’. His intent was genocide,” the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement there were “reasonable grounds to believe Beshir bears criminal responsibility in relation to 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

Judges will now examine the application to ascertain whether reasonable grounds exist to believe that a crime within the court’s jurisdiction had been committed, before deciding whether to issue a warrant or not — a process that could take several months.

Moreno-Ocampo is insistent: “Bashir is the president. He is the commander in chief. Those are not just formal words. He used the whole state apparatus, he used the army, he enrolled the militia/Janjaweed. They all report to him. They all obey him. His control is absolute.”

Khartoum, which rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction and refuses to surrender two war crimes suspects already named, warned that the move could threaten peace efforts in Sudan’s long-running conflict.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the prosecutor’s move to indict Beshir “completely disregarded the efforts undertaken by the government, the regional powers and the international community (on Darfur).”

Ali al-Sadiq said the arrest call would only encourage Darfur rebels to launch attacks on the people of Darfur and on UN peacekeepers, as well as “complicate the engagement between Sudan and the UN.”

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said in an interview published on Monday that he was “very worried” by the possibility of Beshir’s indictment.

“It would have very serious consequences for peacekeeping operations including the political process,” he told Le Figaro newspaper. “I’m very worried, but nobody can evade justice.”

At his monthly press conference in Downing Street, Brown urged Khartoum to cooperate.

“We call on the government of Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court has our support for its activities,” he said.

The Arab League and African Union have already voiced their fears over a possible indictment of Beshir, while the Organisation of the Islamic Conference warned of “grave ramifications”.

Western embassies have advised nationals to limit unnecessary travel and the United Nations has stepped up its security levels amid fears that the ICC prosecutor’s move could spark violent retaliation.

Contingency plans have been made for an evacuation of diplomatic missions and aid agency personnel and non-essential staff were told to stay at home on Monday.

The UN says up to 300,000 people have died since the Darfur conflict broke out in February 2003. The Sudanese government puts the death toll at 10,000.

Moreno-Ocampo said the prosecution had collected evidence showing that al-Beshir’s target groups, some 2.5 million people in camps for those displaced by war, were being attacked with the aim of elimination.

“Three main weapons are used to attack them in the camps: rape, hunger, fear,” the prosecutor said.

“They are the most effective methods to commit genocide today, in front of our eyes.”

The conflict began when African ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime and state-backed Arab militias, fighting for resources and power.

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API/Source.AFP

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Sudanese president to face war crimes charges – Can a western leader face same charges while in office or is it only African leaders?

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

The international criminal court (ICC) is expected formally to seek the arrest of Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes offences in Darfur.

While human rights groups have welcomed the prospect, there are fears any such move could cause a backlash in Sudan, potentially placing international peacekeepers and foreign diplomats at risk. There is also little immediate prospect of Bashir being brought to trial.

The ICC’s prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is due to outline the crimes allegedly committed by state-sponsored militias in the regions, and list the individuals charged at a press conference in The Hague at 1pm local time (midday BST).

While Moreno-Ocampo has refused to say whether Bashir will be among those sought for trial, sources connected to the prosecution have said he will be charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for organising attacks against people in Darfur, a vast, mainly arid province in western Sudan.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been made homeless since a revolt broke out in the region in 2003. Bashir’s regime is accused of deliberately organising Arab militias to attack Darfur’s black African civilian population, something it denies.

The president’s supporters have promised an angry response to any war crimes charges, prompting western embassies in Khartoum to instruct staff against unnecessary travel in the coming days.

In an interview published today, the UN head, Ban Ki-Moon, said he was “very worried” at the possible reaction to charges against Sudan.

“It would have very serious consequences for peacekeeping operations, as well as the political situation,” he told Le Figaro, adding that “nobody can evade justice”.

Bashir’s ruling National Congress party yesterday warned of “more violence and blood” in Darfur if an arrest warrant were issued, state TV reported.

Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of the president outside a cabinet meeting called by Bashir to discuss a response, waving signs condemning the ICC and Moreno-Ocampo.

There are fears the case could prompt moves to expel the 9,000-strong UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, which said today it had restricted some operations involving civilian staff for safety reasons.

Bashir’s government refuses to recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC, and he is extremely unlikely to stand trial in The Hague.

Last year Moreno-Ocampo issued arrest warrants against a Sudanese government minister and a commander of the government-backed janjaweed militia over 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and forced expulsions.

However, the minister, Ahmad Muhammad Harun, remains in the government, in charge of humanitarian aid in Darfur.

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API/Guardian.UK

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Ethiopian police arrest nine suspects for Addis Ababa terrorist attack

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

The Ethiopian police have arrested nine people in connection with the recent terrorist attacks in Addis Ababa, APA learnt on Sunday.

The Ethiopian Federal police said that the nine people were arrested after months of investigations by the police, supported by the residents of Addis Ababa.

The nine were arrested for the May terrorist attacks in Addis Ababa when six people died in a taxi explosion near the Ethiopian ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The police accused one of the nine people arrested of being directly involved in the attack.

The police have found enough evidence from the arrested man who admitted to having taken part in the terrorist attack in Addis Ababa. The man admitted to being part of the incident in collaboration with other three people, a police statement said.

The police showed pictures of the three people they have accused of being to be behind the attack.

The eight other people were arrested for cooperating with the man they accused of being directly involved in the taxi explosion in Addis Ababa.

According to the police, the man was trained in Eritrea to undertake other terrorist attacks in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia has always blamed Eritrea for being behind suck attacks as a consequence of the border tension between the two countries. However, Eritrea has always denied complicity in such incidents.

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API/APA

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French aid agency earmarks CFA1.6bn to help Togo pay off arrears to AfDB

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

The French Development Agency (AFD) has granted Togo a 1.6 billion CFA francs ($3.9 million) support for a total clearance of its debt vis--vis the African Development Bank (AfDB) and for the development of its agriculture.

The funding agreement was signed Friday by Yves Picard, AFDs Director and Adji Othth Ayassor, Togolese Economy and Finance minister.

“This support by France is a contribution to the total clearance of our arrears vis--vis the AfDB that enables us to resume healthy and normal cooperation ties with this institution,” Adji Othth Ayassor said.

Under the “Facility for Fragile States” (ETF) programme launched by the AfDB to enable the countries emerging from conflict to consolidate their position, to have a facility allowing them to promptly resume ties with the donor community and additional resources to boost their economies, the African banking institution in April cleared 99% of Togos CFA 10 billion francs arrears. The country will then have to repay only 1%, which is105 million CFA francs.

France had already granted Togo a few weeks ago a 100 million euros bridging loan which enabled it to pay off its arrears to the World Bank.

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API/APA

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Mediterranean Union summit opened Sunday in Paris

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Over 40 heads of state and government on Sunday afternoon attended the inauguration of the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) a body that will have to outline the economic, cultural, and social partner relations between Europe and the other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The majority of the UPM member countries leaders who arrived in Paris the day before headed for the Grand Palais, the venue of the summit.

The opening ceremony of the conference, co-chaired by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak started around 15:30 (local time) and was immediately followed by a closed-door three-hour plenary.

A the end of the session, the two hosts of the summit held a joint news conference to elaborate on the content of the common protocol signed by all participants.

The Union for the Mediterranean, a brainchild of French President, Nicolas Sarkozy seeks, according to its boosters to pave the way for the implementation of several projects jointly conceived by the 44 members of the Union.

Those projects include the cleaning up of the sea and the creation of maritime highways, as well as the swift development of a solar energy plan that will allow European countries to import solar electricity from the South.

Peace and security in countries bordering the Mediterranean, especially the Middle East was high on the agenda of the UPM meeting.

Some high profile leaders have failed to attend the summit, notably King Mohamed VI of Morocco and Belgian Prime Minister, who both apologised to their peers for their busy schedules. The other noteworthy absentee is Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi, who earlier described the meeting as a frightening and dangerous tool that would compel Arab countries to recognise Israel.

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API/APA

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Discussing Kenya politics: Trusting tribes or not?

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

A reply toSam Okello,

Let the players tell the tale of Sagana Lodge. Let it come from the horses mouth.

It will go down in History and people will judge them squarely. People will respond unequivocally rather than when it comes from third party it may take equivocal turn of event. It may be dismissed as mere rumours. That does notimply there should’nt be question marks.

Kenya is for Kenyans, Kanyans are now informed, it is no longer thedays of the old.

The Civil Society is up and about. One man show is no deal. Kenyans have woken up from slamber and are getting out of slavery. Deal or No Deal, Kenya is destined to forge development for all irrespective of who is who. It will take a little while but it will never be the same again. The dew is drifting.

I am positive, because CHANGE is here, and CHANGE must BRINGNew idiological FRESH AIR. Air that can be breathed freely and enjoyed by all; since air, isthat which cannot be bought, a Gift from God.

By Judy Miriga, USA

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A reply to Sam Okello:

HERE WE GO AGAIN, SAM SINCE WHEN HAVE YOU STARTED TRUSTING KIKUYUS??. DO YOU KNOW THAT WITHOUT THE LUOS KIKUYUS WOULD HAVE HAD IT ALL?? WHO TOLD YOU THAT THEY HAVE FORGIVEN US??. THE ONLY WAY OUT IS KENYA TO HAVE A NEW WORKING CONSTITUTION. MUSEVENI. MUGABE, MOBUTU, KENYATTA, MOI, KIBAKI, SAID BARE, HEILISILASIA, ALL NIGERIAN DICTATORS, RAWLINGS, SADAT, GADAFFI etc THE LIST IS TOO LONG, ALL GRADUATED WITH DISTINCTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO COMMUNITY OR TRIBAL ELDERS. LOOK AT WHICH DIRECTIONS THEY TOOK THEIR COUNTRIES OR COMMUNITIES TO?.
WE AFRICANS WE CRY AGAINST DICTATORS AT THE SAME TIME WE MAKE THEM EVERY DAY. IT IS SAD THAT EVEN THE ELITES HAVE JOINED THE NON ELITES IN DOING THIS. WE SHOULD PRAY THAT THE YEAR 2012″ COMES WHEN KENYA IS HAVING A WORKING NEW CONSTITUTION THE REST WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF. ALL THE SUCCESFUL COUNTRIES HAVE MADE IT BECAUSE OF GOOD WORKING CONSTITUTION, MARK ME WELL NOT BECAUSE OF AN INDIVIDUAL. WE DO HAVE A LOT OF EINSTENS, or NEWTONS or, LEONARDO DA VINCI TYPE OF PEOPLE ALSO IN AFRICA TOO, but WHERE ARE THEY???.

By Paul Nyandoto.

07/14/08 5:56 >>>

Sam Okello wrote:

Sagana State Lodge. It’s somewhere out there in Nyeri. A rich colonial history. I don’t know who owns it, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is what was said there by the ODM Leader and the President back in February, about a month after Kenya had undergone a wave of bloodletting unseen in Kenya since independence. As the two protagonists met in that secluded lodge, they’d left behind an anxious nation that was literally begging for a way out of the political impasse that had engulfed it for weeks. Both of them had haggled with their lieutenants for a softening of position, and both had been held hostage by the intransigence of their communities. Yet both realized that for Kenya to work together, some very serious negotiations had to be slapped on the table and difficult decisions made.

I revisit the meeting that took place at Sagana between Kibaki and Odinga because you won’t understand the road-map to 2012 until you come to grips with what went on at the state lodge, an edifice given to Kenya by the Brits. Impeccable sources have confirmed that the meeting at the lodge was like the meeting Jomo Kenyatta held with Moi in Gatundu before the founding father of the nation left to meet his Maker. Historical accounts have it that it was in Gatundu that the late founding father promised to pass on the torch to Moi if Moi signed on to protecting Mama Ngina and the children, the wealth and the wider Agikuyu community. Moi, being the humble and cunning Vice President that he was, accepted the terms of the old man. And so Mzee Jomo Kenyatta beat back the Ngoroko and other nefarious Mt Kenya organizations that sought to deny Moi the throne.

Fast forward. After the unprecedented death and mayhem of December and January, it became obvious to the thought-leaders in Central Province that the community had veered too far off track and was marching away from the rest of Kenya. The wise men in the community therefore started seeking ways to make amends. To these wise men, there was no way to make amends without making the Prime Minister central to their schemes. It is in this light that President Kibaki and the ODM Leader sat at Sagana and drew the map right into 2012. What I can reveal is that the clamour to install the Prime Minister as an Agikuyu elder is a leaf out of the Sagana playbook. I can also reveal today that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the coalition President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga put together will ride on into 2012, or until those two gentlemen decide it’s time to implement the Sagana Plan. And by the time the Sagana Plan comes to fruition, the son of Kenya’s first Vice President will be the new President of Kenya. You can take that to the bank.

But it’s now clear that a section of the ODM coalition, especially members of Parliament from the South Rift, are very unhappy with the incremental rapprochement between the Big Two and the general realignments taking place on the political landscape. What our friends from this corner of the Rift Valley may be failing to take into account is the fact that the Prime Minister has in mind a coalition that brings Kenya together. A national coalition. He’s already a Luo elder. He’s an Arap Mibei. And soon he’ll be an Agikuyu elder. What you see emerging is the beginning of something that should have taken place right after independence…the birth of a nation. The fulfilment of The Mau Mau Prophecy. For forty five years we’ve been led by men who failed to create cohesion and understanding between us. Men who watched with glee, and even cashed in, as Kenyans fought Kenyans. That will change starting 2012, or sooner.

Given the significance of the Sagana Plan, it is now crucial for Kenyans to create a pathway to lasting peace. The fire and brimstone rhetoric that has characterised our discourse as a nation must now give way to development and honest healing. Of course there will be moments when we must shout like hell to correct a wrong, just like we did with Kimunya, but even such nuclear option moments must be conducted without attributing the sleaze of one man to an entire community.

Does that make sense? I think it does.

So as we look into the future, let’s be optimistic and proud of where the nation is going. The foundation of a stable and prosperous nation was laid at Sagana. Yes, this is a classic case of something good springing out of a truly desperate situation. The future is now ours to shape. We will only fail if we allow the squabbles and the disappointments of the years gone by to cloud our thinking.

Let’s all go to Sagana!

For Love of Country,

Sam O. Okello

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API

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Commentary: Visas to USA or Europe will be almost impossible to get if Kibaki do persue this type of relationship.

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Kenyans,

This new Kibaki`s Alliance with Iran`s president Mohmond Ahmadinajad, Muammar Gaddafi and even the chinese president Hu jintav will not bring a lot of positive side effects to Kenyans hopping to join Europeans or USA Universities, or Kenyans hopping to do good business with the west. Infact it might even affect the already Kenyans living in Europe or USA in future. Visas to USA or Europe will be almost impossible to get if Kibaki do persue this type of relationship.

IRAN or Libya have no high technology, neither do they have distinct universities which will compensate the now USA or European universities already accomondating Kenyans today. Another point is that Kenyans will hardly have any opportunity to get jobs in these two countries, you can even forget about china at the moment already.

Another point is that these countries do not know what is called democracy we Kenyans are now fighting for today. Iranian women hardly show their faces in the open, human right abuse is more than enough. China is even taking weapons to kill people in DARFUR. what the hell is Kibaki thinking. And why should Iran have an oil refinary in Kenya at the time USA or Isreal are already thinking of striking Iran??. Is Kibaki realy thinking a head or just for today?. Kenya has had very good relationship with Israel, and let us not think the Israelist will still maintain that if we open all our doors to Iranians.

Paul Nyandoto

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API

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Zimbabwe remains ICC full member – England did not manage to kick out Mugabe’s team

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Zimbabwe will remain a full member of the International Cricket Council, an official said on Friday, after the deeply divided world body worked out a last-minute compromise.
The ICC Executive Board, meeting for an unscheduled third day, agreed to keep Zimbabwe in its fold after the African nation acceded to India’s request to pull out of next year’s World Twenty20 championships in England.
The British government had made it clear it would not issue visas to Zimbabwean cricketers which could have forced the ICC to move the lucrative tournament out of England.
Zimbabwe Cricket Union president Peter Chingoka told AFP Zimbabwe had voluntarily pulled out of the event.
“Zimbabwe has agreed not to participate in the Twenty20 world championships in the wider interest of cricket,” Chingoka said.
“But we will continue to be a full member of the ICC and welcome any team that wants to play against us.
“We voluntarily agreed to back out of the Twenty20 Worlds because we were told we won’t get visas to England. We don’t want to gate crash where we are not welcome.”
The cricket boards of South Africa and England last week suspended bilateral ties with Zimbabwe.
While England and South Africa wanted Zimbabwe to be suspended from the ICC, the Asian bloc – led by the game’s commercial powerhouse India – opposed the move.
India convinced Zimbabwe to reach a compromise at a late-night meeting on Thursday, an Indian board official told AFP.
The ICC was expected to confirm Zimbabwe’s position at a press conference later on Friday.

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API/Zimbabwe Guardian

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Uganda central bank to train entrepreneurs on loan utilization

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

Bank of Uganda plans to launch a programme on how to utilize loans from banks and micro finances.

Justine Bagenda, a microfinance economic expert with the bank, told journalists in Kampala on Monday that many people rush to get loans without entrepreneurship skills and knowledge on which type of loans to take and have ended up failing.

He said the bank will organize countrywide workshops to sensitize Ugandans on these challenges.

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API/APA

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Until money do us part…

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2008

By Franc OgongoDo you know that about 29 per cent of all married couples in Kenya argue or fight over issues related to money? Money is one of the top ranking issues that serve as a basis for conflict in marriages worldwide.

Thousands of couples disagree and even fight in their relationships over expenses, savings, and even lack of money. A general survey of marriages in Kenya indicates that few married couples pay deserving attention to this problem.

Now, if you and your spouse handle money differently and constantly sink into verbal or even physical fights, it is time to talk and resolve this problem conclusively before it drives you apart.

In most cases observed, couples experiencing conflicts related to money are known to lack a solid financial road map. Without a basic plan for income and expenditures, they lose sight of the integral value of managing money appropriately.

Why do couples fight over money?

There are many reasons as there are couples in the world. The most common ones, however, include:

Conflicting perception over money

Money means different things to different people. When couples are on different pages concerning money, and each one strongly defends and/or practices their perception, they are bound to experience conflict in their relationship.

Varying expectations

People have different expectations about money. Some expect money to be a source of security; others expect it to be a source of happiness, respect and fulfilment. Based on these expectations, therefore, is how each spouse relates to money.

Spending habits

One woman described how she has already spent her next one-year salary. “I am tied up in debts, I will get nil salary for the next 12 months” she revealed. According to her, she bought jewellery, perfume and expensive suits using a loan she acquired from her bank.

Her husband sees this as the highest form of irresponsibility, but she sees nothing wrong with her actions.

People have different spending habits. Some spend more than what they have and easily get buried in credit card debts, loans and mortgages they cannot finance.

Others clinically budget and stick within their means, however little their earning may be. Having enough to spend, and to do the things each wants to do is important to both parties. When couples are not able to do that, then other issues pop up in the relationship.

In a relationship, one or both parties may want to live a lifestyle that is clearly beyond what they can afford from their regular income. When this happens, other problems arise.

Ending the money fights in your relationship

Establish a financial road map

It has long been established that when the husband and wife are not on the same page about spending, saving and investing money, other difficulties inevitably arise. Having money or not having money plays a big role in any marriage.

Take time with your spouse and jointly visualise your financial goals and financial future. Make a list of the things you intend to achieve or acquire. Agree on the investments you want to make; say like, buying a house, a car, your childrens school fees and others.

Having a mutually agreed road map will make it easier for you to get along.

Effectively communicate about money

This has often emerged as the most difficult obstacle to establishing goals, expectations, and developing a financial plan. You must communicate in spite of any difficulty.

For example, how do you get your spouse to understand that they will need to curb their spending habits so that you both can begin putting some money away?

Have a money agreement

There has to be a viable agreement about money. Most couples discover that a lack of money, a lack of spending control, or a lack of fallback savings eventually causes other problems in a marriage. Little things grow into much bigger things.

Future arguments over finances can be avoided by simply, creating an understanding of expectations, setting objectives and agreeing on a financial roadmap.

Stop living beyond your means

Avoid living in a neighbourhood you cannot comfortably afford just to impress your friends or relatives. Avoid competing with your well off neighbours. If you cannot afford it comfortably, simply do not commit yourself.

For couples living beyond their means, it is much more than just where they live, it may go further and even include where their children are born.

Treat the household like a business

Pay attention and attend to all financial matters in good time. Couples must understand that it is not only appropriate but also necessary to manage finances in a marriage just like in business. Just as finances must be planned in a business, they must also be planned in a marriage.

Create an income and expense statement

What are your individual and combined earnings? What are your individual and combined expenses? Having a clearer picture on how much money you earn in a month, as well as how much you spend is essential.

Create a budget

Having a spending budget is a key avenue to financial bliss in marriage. Couples who spend strictly on budget are known to experience fewer relationship problems. Some couples do not like the idea of budgeting because they find it rigid and constricting but unknown to them, budgeting allows them to have enough for a rainy day, and to avoid marital differences caused by money.

Have individual allowances

Having money you can spend without having to explain yourself to someone else is as important in any relationship as independence. Allowance will minimise arguments or disagreements that revolve around one party spending on items or issues, which the other considers to be non-essential.

Figure out how to pay your debts

If you are already in debt, chances are that you will experience difficulties in achieving financial freedom until the debts are fully paid. Agree on a plan of action in which you both share equally in cost cutting measure.

Track and cut your expenses

Companies all over the world are constantly trying to find and implement cost cutting measures. To build financial stability in your marriage, your expenses should not outweigh your income. Being able to track your expenses will enable you to understand and even correct your spending habits.

Have only one credit card for your entire family

More and more Kenyans are sinking into debt, thanks to the credit card. Though it may seem like a good idea, being able to spend what you have not yet earned enslaves your income. Financial strains are likely to stretch your significant others patience, especially if you are the one doing the credit spending.

A synchronised money sense can unite you and your significant other, while a poor sense of handling money in marriage could break your marriage apart.

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API/Standard.ke

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