African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for August 2nd, 2008

Egypt intensifies mediation between feuding Palestinian factions

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Egypt on Saturday intensified its contacts with the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah to stop the internal bloody clashes which had been going on between them in the past few days.

An Egyptian official source said, in a statement carried by the state media that Egypts contact with the leadership of the two Palestinian factions is aimed at saving Palestinian lives.

Two Palestinian policemen were killed in a shootout on Saturday with gunmen inside a house of a Fatah key member Ahmed Heles in al Shujaieh neighborhood in Gaza City during a raid by Palestinian interior ministry forces.

At least 28 other people, including six policemen were injured in the clashes.

Egypt has recently mediated a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel which has been generally holding since 19 June.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Zuma describes Mandela as the glue that held the S/African revolution

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Former president Nelson Mandela was the glue that held the revolutionary movement together, and continues to hold the nation together, ANC President Jacob Zuma said here on Saturday.

Zuma was speaking Saturday at Mandelas 90th birthday celebrations at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The ANC decided to hold its own celebrations that would include a mass rally of ordinary South Africans.

He said the ANC was honored and truly blessed to have an icon of Mandelas calibre in its midst, in the organization and in the country.

“We know that you expect nothing from the masses of our people than to see the fulfillment of the vision of a peaceful, prosperous, non-sexist, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

“You have always provided leadership and direction during the most decisive moments in our history,” he told Mandela.

Zuma made several references to Mandelas life during the struggle and historical moments.

In 1944, when the time came to infuse some life into the struggle to face a brutal regime, you played a key role in the formation of the ANC Youth League.

“You did the same in 1949, when militancy was required, during the defiance campaign. You led from the front as you wanted an end to racial domination and hatred,” he said.

Zuma said Mandelas M-Plan was and still is an inspiration for the ANC.

“The M Plan should serve as an inspiration for ANC branches currently.”

“We are encouraging them to establish street committees to fight crime in our communities,” he said.

He also said that Mandela taught them humility, and the necessity of collective wisdom and collective leadership.

“As the struggle continued, waged internally and internationally, you represented the undying spirit of a people who would never rest until justice and human dignity were restored.”

“The Mandela name became synonymous with our struggle for freedom,” he said.

Reference was also made to former Apartheid Prime Minister PW Bothas offer of conditional freedom in 1985 when Mandela said in a statement that “Only free men can negotiate.”

He also said that Mandelas release from prison in 1990 brought the world to a standstill.

Zuma said when he cast a vote for the first time on April 27, 1994; he carried the nations dreams and aspirations.

“During your term as the first president of a free South Africa, you elevated this country from being a pariah to a respected successful modern democracy.

“You served a very short but highly effective term before handing over to your deputy, Comrade (Thabo) Mbeki in a carefully planned succession strategy.”

He said the Nelson Mandela Childrens Fund and Foundation changed the lives of many, especially children.

“You continued to work tirelessly to make South Africa a better country, and to put a smile on the faces of many.

“Your legacy is a book for all to read. If we do not learn, it cannot be your fault,” said Zuma.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Cameroon plans to revamp its drug policy

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Cameroonian Prime Minister Ephram Inoni on Saturday announced the setting up of a new national drug policy based on the reform of the national drug supply system (SYNAME).

The restructuring of the national laboratory for drug quality control and expertise (LANACOME) is a part of this reform, a government source told APA on Saturday.

The joint action to be implemented at the latest in 2010, seeks to improve populations conditions for accessing low-cost health care and fight the proliferation of street medicines.

The Public Health Minister Andr Mama Fouda, said that the prices of medicines dropped by 65% in less than ten years following the establishment of the National Essential Drugs Centre (CENAME).

Besides in the same period “the treatment of HIV and its opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy as well as vaccines registered with the Extended Immunization Programme were free of charge”, he said.

He revealed that 3, 202 medicines had been approved in Cameroun among which some 386 generic molecules, while the promotion of the national therapeutic resources and pharmaceutical industry already helped cover more than 10% of medication needs.

The situation is far from being brilliant on the ground, according to reliable testimonies that access to basic health care is still expensive.

“Generic anti-malarial drugs that used to cost CFA600 francs are now traded at more than CFA2, 200 francs while buying a CFA1, 000 francs card for consulting with a doctor in public hospitals is never respected with the patient having to pay between CFA3, 000 and CFA5, 000 francs, whether it is a general practitioner or a specialist”, the testimonies add.

This situation has mostly favoured self-medication and “street drugstores” where medicines usually poorly stored are sold by inexperienced people.

Following this cabinet meeting, the government committed “to increase the supply of private drugstores with generic drugs and to foster local drug making through less handling in licensing cases as well as granting incentives to the national pharmaceutical industry”.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Kenyan leader reaffirms commitment for success of coalition government

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday reaffirmed his commitment towards the success of the Grand Coalition government formed between him and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in February after the two leaders signed a peace pact ending a bloody post-election violence sparked by the disputed December 27 general elections.

Speaking in Nairobi, Kibaki said that this is a unique opportunity for the coalition government to deliver pre-election promises to Kenyans.

The Coalition government that celebrated its 100 days in office last week has experienced shaky experiences among them, the amnesty debate to be granted to the perpetrators of the post-election violence and the sale of a five-star hotel to Libyan investors that saw finance minister, Amos Kimunya resign after he was accused of the selling the hotel below its market value.

The President pleaded with Kenyans to support the Coalition government and embrace unity, adding that the country experienced a painful process when over 1000 people died and over 300,000 others were displaced following the violence.

This is a unique moment in our history and we must make sure that the coalition government works for Kenyans, said Kibaki while speaking at State House in Nairobi.


Published by Chief Editor, Korir , African Press International – API/sourceAPA

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Egypt sees Uganda as essential partner in Nile Basin Initiative

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

The Egyptian minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mahmoud Abu Zeid said on Friday that Egypt has close ties with Uganda in the framework of the permanent quest to strengthen their cooperation and support of the Nile Basin Initiative.

In a statement issued in Cairo on Friday, the minister said Uganda is an essential partner in projects to be implemented within the framework of regional cooperation among Nile Basin countries, starting with the draft study of Equatorial Lakes in 1967 leading to the mechanisms of the Nile Basin Initiative, which was signed in February 1999 in Tanzania.

The minister said the Initiative was aimed at forming a regional entity on the basis of mutual benefit in the light of preserving the historical rights through a fair and balanced system of joint projects on the level of the Nile Basin countries.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Mubarak, Qaddafi discuss African, Arab issues and situation in Sudan

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Libyan counterpart, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi on Thursday held a telephone conversation about recent developments in Africa and the Arab world, especially regarding the situation in Sudan and the outcome of Mubaraks visit to both South Africa and Uganda, which ended on Wednesday.Egyptian official sources said Friday that during the conversation, the two leaders also discussed ways to implement the results of the recent meeting of the Higher Egyptian-Libyan Joint Committee.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Kalonzo faces new rebellion

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka addressing a news conference at his office in Nairobi on Friday where he explained why he accepted the post of VP. Photo/ANTHONY OMUYA

In Summary
  • Discontentment in the party started soon after Mr Musyoka was appointed Vice President.
  • Kiema Kilonzo laughed off the idea of disbanding ODM-K in favour of joining the PNU.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka faces one of his toughest political fights next week after rebel ODM Kenya MPs called for a meeting to oust him from the party.

But his main backers have called their own rival meetings to preempt the impending coup.

Mr Musyokas problems stem from plans to dissolve all PNU affiliate parties and unite into a single party.

There are also perceptions that he abandoned his loyalists when he was elevated to the vice-presidency and that ODM-K was short-changed in its coalition with PNU.

There have also been accusations that he has not fought hard enough to have his supporters appointed to key government positions.

According to a notice signed by ODM-K secretary general Mutula Kilonzo, Mr Musyokas supporters will hold a National Executive Council and Parliamentary Group meeting in Nairobi on Monday.

This will be followed by a meeting of all MPs, councillors and party officials on Tuesday.

But rebel MPs Kiema Kilonzo of Mtito and his Yatta counterpart, Mr Charles Kilonzo, have called their own delegates conference on August 15 at the Bomas of Kenya when Mr Musyokas position as party leader will be discussed.

Discontentment in the party started soon after Mr Musyoka was appointed VP but have since grown into open rebellion by the MPs who accused him of allowing the party to be short-changed in the PNU coalition last January.

And when PNU and its affiliates formed a grand coalition with ODM, the VP was accused by opponents in the party of failing to fight hard enough to secure more seats for ODM-K.

Apart from the VP, the party has two Cabinet ministers Mr Mutula Kilonzo and Mr Samuel Poghisio. It also has three assistant ministers out of 16 MPs.

New battle fronts have been opened in the party after President Kibaki asked PNU affiliates to dissolve themselves and unite.

A group of rebel MPs who have been giving Mr Musyoka sleepless nights over the running of the party fear that their party could be swallowed by PNU. The group includes Mr Musyokas allies-turned-critics.

Also in the group are Dr Julia Ojiambo, who was Mr Musyokas running mate and former Ukambani MPs who lost their seats during the December General Election.

Dr Ojiambo is the leader of the Labour Party, an ODM-Kenya affiliate.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

West Kenya set for boost

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (second left) and minister William Ruto right) are taken around the Ministry of Agriculture stand at the Kisumu Show on Friday by Mrs Rhoda Ahonobadha, chairperson of the show. Photo/JACOB OWITI

In Summary

  • The PM promised to act tough on corruption, land grabbing, insecurity and also tackle poor infrastructure.
  • With the upgrading of Kisumu Airport, which is now due, Western Kenya would be linkedto the wider world.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Friday declared that Western Kenya will never be marginalised again.

The region suffered economic isolation under successive regimes and the Grand Coalition would ensure this was never repeated.

I am well aware that this region suffered from economic marginalisation over the years, as borne out by a number of studies by the Planning ministry over the years, he said.

Mr Odinga made what amounted to a major policy speech when he officiated at this years Kisumu Agricultural Society of Kenya show.


Mr Odinga was presiding over his first official function in Nyanza since becoming Prime Minister under the Grand Coaltion agreement.

Huge crowds made it a nightmare for the PMs convoy to manouvre its way around the lakeside town. The area is perceived to be the bedrock of his political support.

The PM promised to act tough on corruption, land grabbing, insecurity and also tackle poor infrastructure, which hinders investment in Kenya.

Any officer found to be involved in corrupt practices will go home, said Mr Odinga.

He said with the upgrading of Kisumu Airport, which was now due, Western Kenya would be linkedto the wider world. He urged residents to monitor international trade trends and identify areas they could exploit.

He said the recently released HIV and Aids prevalence report had put Nyanza on top. He appealed to the residents to take necessary precautions to reduce infections. Among the recommendations he made was male circumcision.

Mr Odinga promised to write off the Sh47 billion owed to the Agricultural Finance Corporation by sugar millers.

He told sugar cane farmers in the Western region that the Government would arrange affordable credit for them to increase their yield. He praised the recent regulations on the importation of sugar.

Mr Ruto recently banned sugar imports into the country to curb illegal stocks that sell cheaply at the expense of local produce.

Mr Odinga warned that the Government would use its agencies to impound and burn illegal sugar stocks.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Kibaki and Raila to get VIP lanes

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

President Kibaki is received by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on arrival for the opening of a seminar at KSMS in May. Photo/PPS


In Summary

  • Cabinet ministers will not enjoy the privilege of driving on the exclusive lanes.
  • Minister allays fears that these new developments will burden taxpayers.

A special lane is to be added on major city roads for the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.

The lane will also be used by emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines and the police when the need arises, Nairobi Metropolitan minister Mutula Kilonzo has said.

According to Mr Kilonzo, Cabinet ministers will not enjoy the privilege of driving on the exclusive lanes.

In an interview with NTV and Daily Nation, the minister added that as part of transforming Nairobi into a metropolis, a lane for taxis and buses will also be introduced to improve commuter transport.

Mr Kilonzo said that the taxis and buses will ferry commuters into the city centre from proposed off-town parking bays. In addition, pedestrian walkways will also be built to ease human traffic.

However, the minister allayed fears that these new developments will burden taxpayers, saying that the Government was seeking partnerships with private investors to establish the proposed infrastructure.

The minister noted that the CCTV cameras being set up around the city would improve security around the capital, adding that motorists breaking traffic rules will now pay fines exceeding their vehicles worth.

Elsewhere, Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said on Friday that some State agencies will soon start operating for extended hours to accelerate economic growth and increase employment.

New system

Dr Mutua noted that in the new system the issuance of IDs, Title Deeds and business licenses will be done from 8 am to 8 pm including over lunchtime.

Speaking during his weekly press briefing, Dr Mutua said that public construction should be conducted on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week to speed up the establishment of infrastructure.

He added that the National Economics and Social Council secretariat has been mandated to study areas where government departments can work in shifts. NESC is expected to release its report in two weeks time.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Circumcision festival kicks off in Western

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

By Robert Wanyonyi and Stephen Makabila

A carnival mood has descended on the greater Bungoma District as the month-long circumcision festivities gain momentum.

A candidate inviting relatives to his big day, in Bungoma. PHOTO: ISAAC WALE

The practice is part of the cultural activities of the community and its done in August every even year.

It is estimated that between 25,000 and 35,000 boys are to face the knife, known as lukembe, in a transition to adulthood.

Schoolboys abandoned classes weeks back and have been going around villages with jingles, chinyimba, and traditional head gears ekutwa to announce to relatives and family friends their day of reckoning.

School children in uniform have been common features along major roads and highways. They have been escorting the candidates and singing circumcision songs, some obscene and others abusive. Although most schools in Bungoma have not closed the number of children reporting to school had reduced.

“Traditional circumcision among the Bukusu is deep-rooted and it is very difficult to change the practice because it is part of our culture that has to be preserved at all costs,” said Mr John Simiyu, a 60-year-old elder in Kanduyi.

Conservative Bukusus, among them elders, political leaders and even leading professionals support the rite, although Christianity poses a challenge to its survival.

Assistant Lands Minister Silvester Wakoli and his Kimilili counterpart Dr Eseli Simiyu urge the community to preserve its culture.

The Inter-Christian Fellowships Evangelical Mission, (Icfem) based in Kimilili, has since 2002 circumcised 16,000 boys, in hospitals, and its crusade is currently paying considerable dividends.

A Bukusu circumciser from Maliki village, in Webuye sharpens his knives in readiness for the rite.

“This year, we have 16 circumcision centres in Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia and Lugari to circumcise boys who do not prefer the traditional way,” says Mr Solomon Nabie, Icfems director.

The organisation is targeting at least 12,000 boys this season. Christians are opposed to traditional circumcision rites.

“In this era of HIV/Aids, one of the identified avenues for the transmission of the virus is traditional circumcision. Boys undergo a ritual that involves cutting of their foreskin by medically unqualified circumcisers who repeatedly use unsterilised knives,” said Nabie.

He says the ceremonies are accompanied by immoral activities, which lead to schoolgirls being impregnated, youths being infected with venereal diseases, and an increase in insecurity.

Nabie says performance by primary schools in national examinations during even years is not impressive in the district since a lot of time is wasted over the festivities.

Dr Nyukuri Mulati, a lecturer at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology says cultures that are retrogressive should be abandoned. He, however, says circumcision decisions are made at the family level.

“Traditional circumcision breeds poverty. A home can have as many as 1,000 guests or even more during the ritual and they all have to be fed,” says Ms Evelyne Namalwa.

In 2002 workshop convened by the provincial administration it was established that the minimum cost of traditional circumcision is Sh25,000.

Nabie says the cost is much higher given the inflation in the country.

“Today the traditional ceremony may not cost less than Sh60,000,” adds Nabie who says hospital circumcision costs less than Sh1,000.

The chairman of the Bukusu Association of Traditional Circumcisers Dr Isaac Misiko, however strongly dismisses this line of thought, saying most community members are preserving their culture. Circumcisers are drawn from all fields.

Schooled circumcisers

A case in point is this years rites, where six primary teachers, two secondary teachers, two medical doctors, one university lecturer and three elected councillors form part of the traditional circumcisers.

There are several clans of the Bukusu from which the circumcisers are drawn from. They include Bayaya, Bamasike, Basime, Baleyi, Basonge, Baengele and Bakhoma.

“Many community members never allow their children to be circumcised in hospitals. About 70 per cent do it traditionally,” says Misiko.

He says traditional circumcision gives blessings to the initiate.

“The knife is sterilised because it is sharpened and kept hot throughout the night ahead of the ceremony. We also use one knife for each initiate,” adds Misiko. He says circumcisers are trusted and honest and are carefully chosen. “We usually ensure circumcisers have no wounds on their hands, must be mentally sound and must know traditional practices that enhance hygiene,” says Misiko.

He also claims the cost of traditional circumcision is usually exaggerated. He says a family requires around Sh35,000 to carry out the ceremony.

He however says traditional circumcision has some challenges, which include failure to dress the wounds immediately after circumcision. The mud that is used to cover the initiate may not be safe from germs.

Wakoli, says traditional circumcision should be maintained as part of preserving culture. He says there is need for the Government to train traditional circumcisers on the proper hygiene.



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Grand Coalition working for Kenyans, says Kibaki

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Written By:PPS

Caption: President Mwai Kibaki receives an Award presented by the Kenya Scouts Association during the 2008 Patron’s Day at State House Gardens, Nairobi.

President Mwai Kibaki has Saturday reiterated his commitment to the success of the grand coalition Government formed early this year and declared it was working for all Kenyans.

President Kibaki said the unity of purpose was an historical moment for Kenyans to reflect on the challenges that faced the nation and embrace the spirit of brotherhood to co-exist peacefully.

The Head of State who made the remarks at State House Nairobi while officiating The Kenya Scouts Association Patron’s Day, said the movement’s peace and co-existence theme was in tandem with the challenging moments the country underwent early this year.

President Kibaki said the scout friendship spirit informed the decision of political leaders to form the coalition Government and share the responsibility of providing leadership to the country as brothers and sisters.

The Head of State reminded Kenyans that the country was indivisible and urged communities to live peacefully with one another regardless of their ethnic, religious and political affiliations.

“The loss of lives and destruction of property in the country was a painful lesson that underscores the need for all of us to embrace peace and harmony”, the President said.

President Kibaki recommended the creation of Scouts units in all learning institutions handling young Kenyans as a step towards moulding disciplined and responsible future leaders.

The Head of State said, “I wish, therefore, to take this opportunity to emphasize the need for us to popularize the Scouting Movement among the youth. As we all appreciate, scouting, as an educational movement, helps the youth to grow into disciplined and responsible persons through good character formation.”

President Kibaki, who appealed to all parents to allow children to become scouts, observed that the movement tutors the youth to become dependable leaders through peer education adding that many current national leaders were at a certain stage scout members.

The President also appealed to corporate organizations and other stakeholders to unleash their material and financial support to enable the movement grow and play its rightful role in society.

Kibaki Inspects the guard of honour mounted by Kenya Scouts.

With regard to education, the Head of State termed it as a critical tool for the development of any country adding that the developed world attained its present status through channeling of substantial resources for education and research.

President Kibaki reiterated the commitment of his government to ensure the every young Kenyan enjoys an opportunity to acquire skills that would enable them secure gainful employment and decent livelihood.

“As will be appreciated, the modern world is highly competitive and only highly skilled people will succeed. It is, therefore, immensely important for our youth to take acquisition of skills and knowledge seriously, if they expect to succeed in life,” said the Head of State.

He also advised the youth to avoid the dangers of HIV/AIDS, which he termed as one of the most urgent challenge afflicting the youth, and commended the movement for its proactive approach to the scourge.

President Kibaki said, “I am happy to note that Scouts are being empowered to make healthy choices through Scouting for Solutions Project which promotes abstinence, among other measures. I urge the youth to embrace abstinence, to say no to drugs and to focus on useful activities like sports and other recreational events.”

He also appreciated the leading role the movement has taken in environmental conservation whereby 10 million trees have been planted in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as a gift of peace to the people of Kenya.

“I strongly support this patriotic initiative and urge other Kenyans to emulate your efforts. Let us all embrace the practice of planting trees as well as good waste management in order to conserve out environment,” urged President Kibaki.

The President congratulated the Kenya Scouts Association for achieving the honour to host the 13th World Scout Movement Conference in 2010 and asked all relevant Government ministries as well as stakeholders to assemble the necessary support to make the event a success.

Speakers during the occasion included Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who is the Chief Commissioner of Kenya Scouts Association, Former National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo who is the Chief Scout and the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Prof. Helen Sambili.

The leaders called on students to learn from the Scout movement’s clarion call for peace and desist from destructive riots in schools.

Mr Musyoka was among the 301 scouts who received awards and honours.

Retired President Daniel Arap Moi was awarded in absentia.


Korir/API –

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

War Fears Increasing in the Eastern DRC

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

by Scott A Morgan

Despite the Peace Deal that was reached earlier this year, it is becoming apparent that the Security Situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is once again deteorating. And if a recent report by the BBC is accurate then both Government Forces and Rebel Forces are rearming for a clash that could occur any day now.

These fears have been further highlighted by Reports of Government Forces having sent in Six Plane loads of weapons and Ammunition within the last two weeks. When Questioned About it the Defense Minister of the DRC refused to either Confirm or Deny that the Movements have taken place. Furthermore He stated that this was an internal matter for the authorites to deal with.

This Development comes on the heels of several NGOs that are active in the region reporting that tens of thousands of people have fled the region as the situation deteriorates. A researcher from Human Rights Watch who was recently in the area stated that “The Peace Process is very fragile and shaky.” This means that several Groups are Actively Recruiting New Fighters or continue with the Military Option. The Situation is raising the Concern of both the United States and the European Union.

For its Part the UN told the BBC that the Peacekeepers in the Region are Nervous. After all this is the largest Peacekeeping Operation the UN has ever undertaken with the deployment of over 17,000 troops currently using Chapter VII (Protection of Civilians under Imminent Threat) as a Guide. This Mission however has had problems with reports of Sexual Assaults being committed by UN Peacekeepers and even having the UN Force upgrade the Weapons of Several Militias that are active in the Kivu Provinces in the East.

An Observer from the United States who witnessed the signing of the Goma Accords earlier this year stated that “Militias are ultimately afraid to disarm and demobilize and that they want to hold onto their land that they have through military meands.” This could be why General Nkunda who may be one of the most feared men in all of Central Africa would recruit new fighters in both Rwanda and Burundi.

So If Hostilities Break Out in the East Who else besides the Civilian Population will be impacted? Since Several Militias from both Rwanda and Uganda are hiding in the East and in some cases have actually been collecting taxes from the Residents in the area any conflict could bring in one or the other Country. Both Countries were active Participants in the Congolese Civil War back in the 1990s.

The Likelyhood that any conflict will break out in the next couple of days is considered to be low in the eyes of some security analysists. However the underlying tensions will continue to grow as long as the Congolese Government and MONUC( United Nations Mission in the Congo) conduct half-hearted operations against the Militias in the East. Pressure from both Kigali and Kampala is likely to increase in the upcoming days and months with the threat of intervention likely to be used.

Whatever course of action that occurs must benefit the Central Government in Kinshasa. This is despite the wishes of several Militia Leaders in the East who think of themselves as Patriots and Leaders. The Congo Peace Process must be allowed to move forward.


The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. it can be found at



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Raila is facing rebellion and rejection by the Kipsigis people

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

Bty Leo Odera Omolo.

THE Succession battles for the Bomet and Sotik Parliamentary seats have kicked off in earnest even before issuance of writs by the Speaker of the National Assembly declaring the seats vacant.

The most crucial and grueling battle is expected in Bomet constituency which has already attracted six aspirants with more expected to plunge into the race soon.

Kones, the political kingpin of the Kipsigis community died in a fatal air crash at Kanjonga in Enoosupukia, Narok North District in June 2008 a longside his parliamentary colleague Lorna Laboso, who is allegedly being rumoured to have been his long time girlfriend for many years.

It is being alleged that late legislator had abandoned her husband , a Sotik businessman Mr. Kipsumek who is alleged be the father of her only son, and was flirting around with Kones. The ministers official police bodyguard Kenneth Bett altogether with the aircraft pilot also perished in the accident.

During the funeral of the departed Minister at his Kaparuso village home, a section of the mourners proposed that Beatrice, the first wife of the fallen minister succeeds him in the impending by-election polls.

Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga who was among the hundreds or so dignitaries in attendance appeared to have succumbed to the idea under the pressure of the mourners and backed the proposal when he described Kones as a lion and that a lions wife was equal to the task- an oblique reference to the mans first wife.

The succession proposal was made by a local politician-cum- businessman, Nicholas Kipleliet Rono and seconded by Bomet County Council Chairman, John Kalya and former Bomet Mayor David Sang. All the three are well known Kones die-hard sycophants.

However the proposal has sparked off a storm in the constituency that is considered a political hotbed in the Kipsigis region. The seat has remained a high profile ever since it was vacated by its first incumbent, the late Isaac Kipkorir Arap Salat, who had represented it since its inception in the late mid 1970s when the area was subdivided into two constituencies, namely Chepalungu and Bomet. Originally it was one constituency, which was known as Chepalungu created in 1962.

The former MP for Chepalungu was Hon Kimunai Soi who won the seaton the defunct KADU party ticket in 1963. He lost it in the 1969 general election to a former police inspector Barmelel Tamason a Nandi immigrant during the 1969 general election. Tamason lost the seat to the late Mr. Chumo in 1974 and thereafter Bomet was hived out of Chepalangu in the early 1970s.and a long time political associate and friend of the retired President Daniel Arap Moi, Mr. Isaac Kipkorir Salat ,a trade unionist was elected as the first MP for the area.

Salat had dominated the KANU politics in Kipsigis region for close to two decades, during which he served in the successive regimes as an Assistant minister before he succumbed to a throat cancer ailment at the age of 54.

Although Kones was beaten hand down by the youthful Nick Salat, the son of Isaac Salat in 2002, he reclaimed the seat back in 2007 not due to his enhanced popularity, but due to the euphoria of the ODM waves which swept the entire Kipsigis region at the time.

Arguably Bomet constituency is divided almost equally between KANU and the ODM. But the voting to decide the next winner could be decided on personality cult. Many new contentious issues have since cropped up, which might complicate matters for the ODM and at the same time enhance KANUs chances of clinching the seat.

Kones belonged to the Kipecherek sub-calan, a clan famed for having the mixture of blood of Kisiis and Kipsigis,But his arch-rival Nick Salat is an indigenous Kipsigis. For the first time, clan politics could raise its ugly head and take the centre stage in the forthcoming Bomet by-election.kanu on the other hand appeared to have made major inroads in the region.

Traditionally the Kipsigis did not approve the political heritance by wives. A house wife is considered as a mother of the clan, but not a ruler and can hardly be voted in to parliament and take up the mantle of political leadership from her departed husband .If Beatrice Kones stand and win the seat, she could go in the annals of history as the first widow to win the election in a rural constituency.

Two other widows MRS Rachel Ngeno the wife of the former Road minister, the late Prof. Jonathan Ngeno has tried he luck twice in her former husbands Buret constituency, but performed dismally and poorly at the polls.


Another widow Mrs Edna Bore, the wife of the former Nyanza P.C the late Amos Bore has also tried her luck in Buret, but performed poorly; it would therefore be an uphill task for Mrs Kones to convince the Bomet electorate that she is the right person to inherit her late husbands seat.

Mrs Kones chances of winning the seat would depend entirely how she has been carryi8ng herself as an housewife with a clean and untainted name which is devoid of domestic squabbles and allegations of infidelity


Allegations are also rampant that Beatrice Kones life with her late husband had a frosty relationship and that made her considered as not a forthright housewife. This would be to the disadvantage as the constituents have been heard saying it openly that she did not deserve to inherit Kones seat.

The chances are that Nick Salat would be in the race. Salat is a populist and a formidable opponent, though there are other aspirants whose status remained rather insignificant and might not pose any threat to Mrs Kones.

The proposal has also put Raila Odinga in a big dilemma due to the fact that Mr. Sammy Sigei who is married to Railas sister- in -law is also in the race for the same seat. As the saying goes, blood is thicker than water, therefore the PM is expected to throw his weight behind Mrs. Ida Raila Odingas brother in-law. Sigei is married to Idas younger sister..

In such an unlikely political scenario surfaced them Mrs. Kones should first as well forget the pipe dream of clinching the seat left vacant by the demise of her late husband.

KANU loyalists in Bomet are so many and that is why despite of the ODM euphoria, Nick Salat had given Kones a run for his money in the year 2002. He lost the election in a highly credible note, therefore is the man to watch.

Local political pundits say Nick Salat stand a better chance of performing well during the forth coming by-election on account of his track record as the MP for the area between 2002 and 2007.

Salat need only the support of the KANU heavyweights like Gedion Moi, Nocholas Biwott and others. The intervention of the grand old man of Kenyas Politics the retired President Daniel Arap Moi would also be to the advantage of Nick Salat. He stands to gain political mileage over the other aspirants.

Other aspirants include Richard Langat (Chinese) and Dr. Chirchir. More names are expected to come forward within the next few weeks.

But the main battle line is clear. It will be between the ODM and KANU. The little known UDM a party which has only one MP in parliament in the name of Hon. Mr. Hellen Sambili, the Minister for Sports could also cause trouble as it did during the recent Ainamoi by-elections in Kericho district.

ODM politics and popularity in Kipsigis region is currently on crossroad following numerous allegations and counter accusations that the party did not bargained well for members of the Kipisigis community to be appointed in senior positions both in the cabinet and civil service. Kipsigis people have also been sidelined in the parastatal organizations by the grand coalition government


A prominent Kipsigis politician Mr. William Kipkemoi Kettienya was

recently heard lamenting that all the parastatal appointment went to the North Rift due to the influence of the Agriculture Minister William Ruto and his counterpart Henry Kosgei, the Miniater for industrial development


The volatile issue of Mau Forest Complex in which the prime minister and the de facto ODM Raila Odinga has taken a strong stand using heavy handedness against thousands of illegal squatters is likely to take the center stage.

The removal of the thousands of illegal squatters from the Mau forest Complex would spill out thousands of Kipsigis residents who had acquired the land in Mau.The majority of them having come from the semi-arid rural areas of Bomet and Chepalangu constituencies.

Other rumours currently making the round in Bomet and other parts of Kipsigis region is that many members of the community have been kicked out of civil service and replaced by Kikuyu and Los.

The latest discontent would affect the outcome of the by-election in the neighbouring Sotik if Raila Odinga cannot tone down the volatile Mau issue or face rebellion by the Kipsigis Communityagainst the ODM.




Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Authorities lift ban on public meetings, demonstrations in Douala

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

By Tansa Musa
YAOUNDE, Aug 2 – The government of Cameroon has decided to lift the ban on public meetings and demonstrations in the main economic and port town of Douala following the return of peace to the Littoral province, said a statement from the governor of the province.
“The decision to lift this ban is due to the return of social peace in the province,” said Governor Francis Yengo Fai.
The governor imposed the ban in the province and the port town early February following a series of street demonstrations organised by the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) to denounce plans by President Paul Biya to modify the constitution to allow him run for a third seven-year termwhen his present mandate expires in 2011.
The ban further fueled popularfrustrations and discontent among the population generated by a peaceful strikeby the transporters union to protest rising fuel and food prices which resulted in popular riots later in February, with security forces killing over 100 people.
President Biya seized the opportunity offered by the riots and bloody confrontation with security forces to impose what many observers said was”an undeclared state of emergency” and “a reign of terror” in the Central African country to use his party-dominated parliament to amend the constitution to allowhim run for as many mandates as he wants.
Before the amendment, Cameroon’s constitution provided that the president of the republic is elected for a term of office of seven years renewable once. For the opposition, the amendment means that the 75-year old Biya, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1982, will be in power for life.
“We arehappy that the governor has finally come to his senses and lifted this very unpopular decision which was anti-democratic and a violation of one of the fundamental rights of the people, that is the right to air their opinion through peaceful public demonstrations,”reacted SDF coordinator for the Littoral province Hon. Jean Michel Nintcheu.
“We just hope the government will never again takes such a very unfortunate decision that has left many scars in the minds of our peace-loving people.”(END)



Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Congo Basin makes significant progress toward forest certification – WWF

Posted by African Press International on August 2, 2008

By Tansa Musa
YAOUNDE,Aug 2 – More than one million hectares of Congo Basin forests, the world’s second largest block of forests, have achieved certification under the world’s leading sustainable forestry scheme, according to a press release from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) published in Yaounde.
The basin is a haven for indigenous peoples and endangered species like elephants and gorillas, but is also important in sequestering carbon and safeguarding water supply and quality.
“With rampant illegal logging, vagueconcession boundaries and massive blocks of pristine forest destined for the chainsaw, this (certification) is a laudable step towards avoiding an ecological disaster,” said visiting WWF director general James P. Leape.
The release said the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has now been achieved for forestry operations on 1.5 million hectares, a significant step towards WWF’s ‘Green Heart of Africa‘ network initiative goal of having certification achieved 50 percent of production forest in the Congo Basin.
The certification involves logging companies SEFAC, Transformation Reef Cameroon (TRC) and WIJMA in Cameroon and CIB in Congo Republic.
Leape urged other timber companies operating in the region to emulate these lofty examples so as to ensure sustainable forest manegement.
“While the certified forests will have to be maintained according to acceptable international standards, there is urgent need for other timber business operations in the region to adopt responsible forest management practices in order to ensure the conservation of this unique forest ecosystem for the benefit of people in the region and the world,” he stated.
WWF expects that by 2012, some 7 million hectares of forest in the Congo Basin, or what it refers toas the Green Heart of Africa, would be under credible certification while another 5 million hectares will be progressing towards that very goal.
The Congo Basin holds an estimated 1.80 million km2 of tropical forest, making about 15 percent of the world’s remaining total.
But there is uncontrolled, unregulated and unsustainable exploitation of the forest’s natural wealth, which together with infrastructural development across the region could result in the loss of much of the remaining forest and irreparable damage to freshwater ecosystems, threating the health, livelihoods and social well-being of more than 75 million people, says the global environmental organisation.
Meanwhile, the release said WWF-CARPO (Central AfricaRegional Programme Office) has set up the Central Africa Forest and Trade Network (CAFTN) to promote sustainable forest manament and trade in the basin.
“Illegal forest exploitation and forest crimes are largely due to poor governance and insufficient law enforcement,”said WWF-CARPO’s regional representative Laurent Somm.
“WWF also recognizes that responsible forest management plays an important role in the economic growth of tropical countries and reducing poverty in forest communities.
“WWF is convinced thatthe adoption of responsible forestry schemes by logging companies will contribute greatly to the conservation of the Congo Basin forests and towards improving the national economy and also improve the livelihoods of local communities.”
He added that for the success of responsible forestry in the region, there is a high need for governments to set up enabling conditions that include enacting adequate legislation and enforcement and promoting good governance while providing support to responsible forestry initiatives.(END)

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: