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Archive for August 9th, 2008

Zimbabwe power-sharing deal close, says report

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

Zimbabwe President Mugabe welcomes his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki at Harare International Airport, July 30, 2008. Photo/ REUTERS

In Summary
  • President Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to hold make-or-break talks in Harare on Sunday.
  • A settlement could be a political coup for Mbeki.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will hold make-or-break talks in Harare on Sunday aimed at finalising a power-sharing deal, a South African newspaper has said.

Business Day, citing unnamed sources, said it was understood the two were not too far apart, though the central issues remain unresolved.

Mugabe said on Thursday that the talks were going well but dismissed media reports about a draft agreement as nonsense.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, the lead regional mediator in Zimbabwe, was expected to fly to Harare for the talks on Saturday or Sunday, Business Day said.

Speculation was rife throughout last week that Mbeki, who has been trying to broker a deal between the ruling Zanu PF and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the past three weeks, had reached a breakthrough.

Draft agreement

The respected Zimbabwe weekly newspaper, The Independent said the meeting will decide whether or not the draft agreement between Zanu PF and the MDC factions would be approved by their principals.

Zanu PF and MDC negotiators reportedly started returning home yesterday ahead of the meeting that will also be attended by Mbeki and his team of negotiators.

Mugabes ZANU-PF and MDC negotiators began talking more than two weeks ago to resolve a crisis that came to a head after the 84-year-old Mugabe was re-elected in a widely condemned June poll boycotted by the opposition.

ZANU-PF and MDC officials were not immediately available for comment on the report.

The Star, a South African newspaper, said on Wednesday that under a draft accord, Tsvangirai would run the country as prime minister while Mugabe would become ceremonial president.

A settlement could be a political coup for Mbeki, who has come in for intense domestic and international criticism for not taking a tough line with Mugabe, a strategy he says would only undermine efforts to end the turmoil.



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Olympics off to a colourful start in Beijing, China

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

The Kenya Olympic team. Photo/MOHAMED AMIN

ByELIAS MAKORI in Beijing, China
In Summary
  • Kenyas cross country champion, Grace Momanyi, was the national teams flag bearer as the athletes marched
  • Although the opening ceremony was performed last night, competition at the Games has already started in football

Kenya joined the rest of the world at a spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games at the newly-built National Olympic Stadium Friday night.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka witnesses the ceremony alongside Chinese host Hu Jintao, US President George W. Bush and about 100 world leaders and government representatives.

The three-hour show ranked as the most sophisticated ever in the history of the games with thousands of performers entertaining a 91,000 strong audience.

It highlighted Chinese history and culture depicted on a huge scroll which was the size of one and a half football grounds.

Harmony was the theme of the opening ceremony that was titled Beautiful Olympics by its designers with Chinas Liu Huan and Briton Sarah Brightman signing together the Olympic Games theme song.

Friday nights ceremony started at exactly eight seconds past eight minutes past eight oclock. To the Chinese, eight is a lucky number that brings with it great tidings, hence the selection of the time, date and month for the spectacular opening ceremony.

Kenyas national cross country champion Grace Momanyi, who will compete in the 10,000 metres race at the Beijing Games, was the national teams flag bearer as the athletes marched round the stadium.

She was followed by Mr David Okeyo, the head of the Kenyan delegation to the Games. Kenya has contestants in athletics, taekwondo, swimming, rowing and boxing.

The Kenyan team entered the Olympic Stadium at exactly 10.15pm to a good applause as the stadiums giant television screens captured images of National Olympic Committee of Kenya chairman Kipchoge Keino, a 1968 Olympic Games medallist accorded celebrity status here.

Biggest competition

The Kenyan Olympics chief was among the dignitaries for whom the VIP area was reserved alongside President Bush whose security detail worked flawlessly to make sure nothing went wrong in the wake of threats of terrorist attacks during the ceremony that celebrates the biggest competition in world sport.

The cream of global sporting talent marched round the stadium including world number one tennis player, Roger Federer, who carried Switzerlands flag.

US basketball superstars were also on parade with the American flag carried by former Sudanese athlete Lopez Lomong

Although the opening ceremony was performed last night, competition at the Games has already started in football with Kenya making their first appearance on Saturday in rowing and boxing.

Boxer Aziz Ali comes up against Turkeys Muzaffer Bahram in the light heavyweight category at the Workers Gymnasium here today with rower Matthew Lidaywa competing in the 1,000 metres mens singles sculls category.



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Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

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Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

By Isaac Ongiri

She was the most memorable casualty of the August 7, 1998 bomb blast that shook Nairobi to its core.

Ms Rose Wanjiku touched the hearts of both local and Israeli rescuers who painstakingly tried to remove her from the rubbles of then US embassy. She, however, died on the fourth day. Roses painful death shook the entire nation.

Before then, she had become the symbol of the brave fight which victims of the blast had put up prior to being fished out of the rubble, or gave up the struggle. Despite the horrible scenes, Rose held on for four days, with the Israeli commandos convinced they could reach her alive.

Dwindled hopes

Ms Diana Wangari lays a wreath. Her mother died in the 1998 bomb attack on the US embassy.

Stories of Rose splashed across the world held the nation in shock, as rescuers tried in vain to pull her out. When she finally gave up on her life, hopes of retrieving any other victims alive instantly dwindled.

Diana Wangari, the then nine-year-old daughter of the gallant single mother was too young to understand the misfortune that snapped life out of a woman she knew too shortly as her mum.

Ten years down the line and now 17, Diana is yet to heal and forever close the tragic chapter of her mothers death.

“What I now know is that she is dead, but what I have never understood is what she did to deserve such a painful death,” she toldThe Standard.

Memories of her mother perishing under the rubble send shivers down her spine. She has never recovered from the day a story was told of how her mother died.

Now a Form Three student at Kambaa High School, Diana has been living with relatives after her two brothers, Philip Macharia and James Mwangi were awarded scholarships to study in the US.

Hope Africa, a non-governmental organisation headed by Mrs Sheila Kibuka, helped the two brothers out as relatives took charge of the young Diana.

Mwangi got a job in California where he has been living after completing his education, while Macharia has joined the British military.

When she visited the scene where her mother spent three days under the debris of the collapsed Ufundi Co-operative house, she could not hide the rage in her.

“I can forgive, but I can never forget,” she told The Standard.

Macharia and Mwangi had joined other relatives in the rubble, where the rescuers would facilitate communication between them and their mother.

For three days, the two boys spoke to their mother, whose condition deteriorated by the day. On the fourth day, the two could not speak to her anymore. They knew the worst had finally happened Rose was dead.


They could not imagine life without their mother, who was the familys sole breadwinner. She worked as a messenger with Merchant Co-operative Bank.

Hope Africa now intends to acquire a scholarship for Diana, who expects to write her final examinations next year.

“We are dedicated to helping her. We want to turn the pain in her story into life, that there must be hope even after that deadly attack,” Kibuka adds.

She is now calling on the US Government to support orphans of the August 7 bomb blast.



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Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

By Beatrice Obwocha

Josephat Kabutiei is 42-years-old and a bachelor.

Being a bachelor is not by choice and he vows to remain so until he is cleared of allegations made against him by a woman 14 years ago.

The bespectacled soft-spoken biology and agriculture teacher at Athinai Secondary School in Mogotio, says he is a devoted Christian and a member of the African Inland Church (AIC).

He claims in 1994, a woman, Ms Mary Baimet alleged that they were engaged in a sexual relationship that led to a break up with her fianc.

“I have not been able to worship in any church since or settle, get into a relationship with a woman, and marry. This issue has weighed heavily on my heart,” he says.

Kabutiei says he was a member of AIC Koiserat in Kabarnet, Baringo District and the allegations against him spread among the congregation and village like bushfire.

“Since then I have never been the same again because I was mocked by villagers and became a laughing stock,” he says.

He says he reported the matter to the church so he could be cleared, but did not get the desirable feedback.

Kabutieis quest to clear his name has seen him write to the churchs highest office, the Attorney General, former President Moi, and even filed a suit in court to achieve the goal, but he has not been successful.

The case was referred to the Church Council Youth Leaders and adjudicated by the Reverend Zachariah Chirchir.

He says Chirchir presided over the dispute and Baimet admitted she was in the wrong and asked for forgiveness.

Kabutiei said he wanted his name to be cleared before the church because he felt that way, doubts about him as a committed Christian would be eliminated.



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UDI hits back at tabloid critics

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

The Immigration Directorate (UDI) reacts strongly to accusations made in the press on Friday. Siri Rustad says that the UDI has never intended to make women asylum-seekers responsible for their own safety.

Violence at facilties for asylum-seekers may lead to better manning.


“We deeply deplore the fact that a rape has taken place at one of our reception centres. However, I have never talked about women being responsible for avoiding rape, says UDI department chief, Siri Rustad to news bureau NTB.

VG Nett writes on Friday, that the UDI says that women asylum-seekers have as much responsibility for protecting themselves from rape, as women living in any other type of accommodation. The story relates to the assault and rape of a 20 year-old women from Rwanda two weeks ago at a centre in Telemark.

Security at Norwegian reception centres for asylum-seekers has been criticised from several quarters recently.

“The attacker is responsible for rape. We have to protect women from unwanted attention, harassment and violence and the Police have a duty to ensure the safety of those living at the centres. However ordinary reception centres are not like a secure facility. We try to make them as similar to ordinary housing as possible, says Rustad.

Those who run reception centres have to ensure that men and women have separate bathroom and toilet facilities and that the tenants have locks on the door to their rooms. An annual review by the UDI, is supposed to ensure that these regulations are upheld. After the incident in Telemark, the UDI will look into whether more people need to be hired at the reception centres.



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Conservative government to sell stocks

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

A large scale sell-off of government-owned stocks is likely to follow if the Progress Party (Frp) and the Conservatives (H) come to power after next year’s general election.

Progress Party leader Siv Jensen (left) and Conservative leader Erna Solberg, will reduce government shareholdings if they can form a government next year.


The Progress Party, which favours a smaller role for the government in society, is ready to sell NOK 300 billion (USD 60 billion) of government stocks.

The value of government-owned stocks on the Oslo stock exchange totalled NOK 570 billion, according to figures for 2007.

A Frp-H coalition in 2009, would propose selling state-owned shares on a large scale. This is confirmed by both Torbjrn Hansen (H) and yvind Korsberg (FrP).

“One of our aims is to sell NOK 288 billions worth of the Government’s holdings in the 2009 2013 period,” says Korsberg.

Both parties think it will be possible to sell the shares in an acceptable manner, over a four year period, assuming there is a majority for it.

“The Conservatives aren’t planning quick sale, but there are several industries where the state has little or no reason to be involved,” says Hansen. He wants to continue the sell-off started by the first Stoltenberg government, which was continued by the second Bondevik administration.

The Progress Party wants to go further. It wants to sell the government holding in Scandinavian Airlines. The Conservatives aren’t ready for this yet. Both want the state to reduce its ownership in major companies like StatoilHydro, Telenor and Yara. The Conservatives want to maintain absolute majorities in StatoilHydro and Telenor, while the Progress Party wants to settle on 34 percent ownership.

“We want to maintain enough shares to ensure that company headquarters and research and development divisions stay in Norway,” says Korsberg to financial news website E24.

Consensus between the Parties breaks down after the sale. Frp want to put the money straight into a government infrastructure fund, whereas H want to reinvest the money through the Government Global Pension Fund.



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Beijing Olympics open with spectacular ceremony

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Photograph: Tim Wimborne/ Reuters

Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

The Beijing Olympics got under way in spectacular fashion yesterday with a lavish opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest stadium.

The event mixed China’s millennia of history and hi-tech present as a modern global powerhouse.

The four-hour event, meticulously choreographed by Zhang Yimou, China’s most celebrated film director, ended with the final torch bearer, the former Olympic gymnastics champion Li Ning, being hoisted aloft by invisible wires.

In the style of one of Zhang’s martial arts films, he then “ran” along the rim of the stadium’s roof before igniting the vast Olympic cauldron as thousands of fireworks lit up the skyline.

But however spellbinding the show, it remained clear that pressure over human rights and other political issues would not disappear as organisers had hoped.

A pro-Tibet group said it had unsuccessfully tried to stage a protest at the ceremony, while demonstrators marched on Chinese embassies in several other countries.

In front of a crowd of 91,000, among them more than 80 heads of state, the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, launched the event to a huge cheer.

Marking the culmination of seven years’ work including a comprehensive, and at times controversial, revamping and clean-up of the Beijing, the ceremony kicked off a Games billed as China’s coming out party as a major world power.

The Olympics, which come with an estimated 20bn bill, have sparked a fervour of patriotic pride among many of China’s people. Thousands of Beijingers thronged the city’s streets, waving flags and chanting their country’s name.

At once a glittering, showy extravaganza and a patriotic demonstration of pride in 5,000 years of recorded history, the opening ceremony was timed to start at eight minutes past 8pm on August 8, reflecting the number’s status in China as a bearer of good fortune.

It took in everything from giant written scrolls and a representation of the Great Wall formed by thousands of performers to spacemen floating from the stadium roof, symbolising one of China’s most recent technological achievements.

The event then moved on to the parading of the national teams, ordered according to the number of strokes needed to write their names in Chinese characters.

The Chinese contingent, cheered wildly amid fervent hopes the country could top the medals table for the first time, was led out by the nation’s most celebrated sports star, the 7ft 6in basketball star Yao Ming.

The US team chose the Sudan-born 1,500-metre runner Lopez Lomong, who has voiced his opposition to China’s support for the regime in Khartoum, which has been condemned internationally for its actions in Darfur.

Once the teams had paraded, and with the ceremony running well over its scheduled three and a half hours, the Games were formally declared open by Hu and the Olympic flag hoisted on a giant pole adjoining the Chinese emblem.

Finally, the torch was brought into the stadium at the end of an epic and protest-hit progress around the world.

A final relay of former Chinese Olympic gold medallists saw the flame passed to Li, who won three gold medals, two silver and one bronze at the 1984 LA Olympics.

But away from the stadium, protests continued. A pro-Tibet group said three US demonstrators had been detained near the site after planning to hold up Tibetan flags during the ceremony.

Other protesters tried to storm Chinese consular offices in Nepal and India, while smaller demonstrations took part in London, Brussels and elsewhere.

The US president, George Bush, kept the issue high on the agenda when he called for freedom of expression and religion just hours before joining Hu for the ceremony.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, another guest at the event, told French TV he had raised the issue at a lunch meeting with Hu and the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao.

Games organisers will be hoping for a change in the weather to disperse the smog that has hung over the stadium and the city in recent days, while the issue of drugs is another cloud on the horizon.

The Olympic fire – China


Published by African Press International – API /Source: The Guardian

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US Suspending Aid to Mauritania After Coup

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

By Scott A Morgan

After a Period of Silence the United States is adding its voice to the collective International Choir that has condemned the Coup that took place in Mauritania this week. The Arab League and the African Union have called for the the Release of Both the President and the Prime Minister. Currently the whereabouts of the President are Unknown and the Prime Minister is believed to be held in an Army Barracks at this time.

First of all what is the pertient information regarding the events that led up to the Coup? After Attempting to replace four senior Generals including the head of the Presidential Guard itself, President Abdallahi was detained by renegade soldiers loyal to General Abdel Aziz. The Country has had problems with both Corruption and an Islamist Insurgency as well. And as it just so happens to be the second coup that the Country has had in the last three years. The last junta promised Democratic Elections and delivered.

Now that some of the background is covered what is the state of Relations between the Uninted States and Mauritania? Generally the US has had good relations with the North African Country. The US has been strongly supportive of the Election Process that had taken place after the 2005 coup. The US has increased Military Cooperation with the Country as it is believed that Al-Qaida has conducted Operations there and uses the country as a base of operations.

So how tempered has the response been from Washington after the Coup? First of all the US Embassy in the Country urged all Americans to “exercise extreme caution” for the rest of the day. The State Department Condemned the coup in the “Strongest Possible Terms” but the US has now taken the action that could force some Action to be taken. We have decided to curtail the Assistance that we provide to the impoverished African nation.

What is the Dollar Amount of the Funds that the US will be withholding? A quick check shows that an estimated $22 million will be suspended. The Majority of those funds $15 million are for Military Cooperation with American Forces. Four Million are earmarked for peacekeeping training programs and the rest for development assistance. The US will not be cutting back any aid that deals with food or medical aid.

Who Benefits from this? The coup replaces a unpopular President who was attempting to negotiate with Islamic Extremists. In a country where personality is a political asset that could be seen as weakness. Could Democracy itself benefit? Most Political Parties and the General Population of the Country are supportive of the coup. But the Military has had a hand in every Government the country has had since it gained Independence from France in 1960.

There is a chance that the US and France could end up with a President that will be more vigorous in combatting the Islamists in the Country. then again the reverse could be in order. However a strong president that has the interests of Mauritania as an objective than just lining their pockets with Gold will be the best way forward. That will be the best way to move the country forward.

The Author publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at


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Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang. Photo/FILE


Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang has been cleared of corruption allegations in the issuance of work and entry permits by a Parliamentary committee.

The committee on Administration, National Security and Local Authorities said Mr Kajwang acted within the law in approving the issuance of entry and work permits to foreigners.

The committee, chaired by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi (ODM), indicted the immigration director Joseph Ndathi and recommended that he be investigated for failing to focus on the overall administration of the department.

The committee recommended that the National Security Intelligence Services be investigated for clearing foreigners on the basis of fake papers and in the process undermining the security of the State.

The committeess report that was tabled yesterday stated: The minister, in approving the work/entry permits acted within powers vested in him by the Immigration Act Cap 172 Sec 5 (3), which gives the minister discretion to grant or reject appeals and the powers given are final and cannot be challenged in a court of law.

The committee faulted the Act for failing to state the number of foreigners who should be granted citizenship and proposed that it should be amended to block future ministers from using those powers arbitrarily to naturalise non-Kenyans.

The committee launched investigations following allegations of corruption at the Immigration ministry, which forced Mr Kajwang to come out in the public to deny the charges.

Reports had indicated that an unusual number of foreigners had either been granted citizenship, entry permits or work documents in a short period since the Grand Coalition Government was formed.

The matter, it also became clear, was being investigated by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. In the report, the Parliamentary committee noted that corruption was rampant at the ministry and proposed a total overhaul of the staff.

A complete overhaul of the staff of the Immigration Services Department is mandatory if corruption is to be controlled at the ministry. Thorough investigations of the staff by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for alleged corruption by the officers at the Immigration Department should be carried out urgently, stated the report.



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Insurgents fire mortar shells at Somali presidential palace in Baidoa

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

Mortar shells rained down Thursday evening on the Somali presidential palace and the airport in Baidoa, the seat of the parliament, about 250kms south of Mogadishu, residents told APA.

A sudden bang suddenly broke out in Baidoa with consecutive blasts alternatively near the airport and the presidential palace, Abdulahi Sheikh Jeesow, a shopkeeper in Baidoa, told APA by telephone. The Ethiopian troops and the government soldiers cordoned off the vicinity of the palace, the roads are empty, business is closed and the tension in the capital is high.

Colonel Dahir Mohamed Hersi, a military spokesman in Mogadishu, confirmed the attack through a telephone interview. He said there were no casualties reported but he confirmed that four shells landed in the presidential palace.

Baidoa is the seat of the Somali parliament where many of members of parliament are based and it is the second time in the recent past that the place has been attacked since after the Islamists were chased out of south and central Somalia in late 2006 with the help of Ethiopian troops.

Southern and central Somali towns have been the hardest-hit with insurgent attacks, including roadside bombings, assassinations and guerilla-type attacks against the government forces and their Ethiopian allies. But in recent months, more attacks have been reported in the countryside, including in the Bay region and other regions in central Somalia.



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United States suspends aid to Mauritania after coup

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

The US State Department has condemned in the strongest possible terms the overthrow of Mauritanias first democratically-elected president and on Thursday suspended more that $20 millions in non-humanitarian aid to the country.

“At present, all non-humanitarian US foreign assistance is suspended and under review,” US State Department spokesman Mr. Gonzalo Gallegos said here Thursday.

“This includes more than three million dollars in development assistance, more than four million dollars in peacekeeping training, $805,000 in non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, demining and related assistance, and 15 million dollars in military-to-military cooperation,” he added. But the spokesman also said that $4.9 million in food aid will continue.

The United States also froze aid under the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a program launched in 2004 by President George W. Bush that links development aid to good governance.

A US law, approved by Congress in 2006, requires the administration to halt non-humanitarian aid to any country in which a democratic government is ousted by the military.

The United States has been providing about ten million dollars in annual aid to Mauritania in recent years, most of it in the form of food, economic assistance and a Peace Corps presence, though there is also a small military training program.



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Post-election violence could have been averted if Kenya adopted the APRM

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

If Kenya had adopted at least 50 percent of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the country could not have degenerated into the post-election violence witnessed in January following last years bungled presidential elections, civil society groups meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, noted on Friday.

The violence claimed more than 1000 lives and displaced over 300,000 people.

A senior official at the Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Tom Kagwe, told the conference that the country immediately abandoned the implementation of the APRMs Programme of Action (POA) after Kenya acceded to it in 2006, and since then, he said the country had been sitting on a time bomb.

APRM, an out growth of the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), is a voluntary African self-monitoring initiative aimed at improving governance and enhancing development.

If APRM was implemented, at least half of it, Kenya could not have sunk to such a precipice after the bungled presidential polls, noted Kagwe as he addressed the conference dubbed, “Security and Governance in Kenya and the APRM”.

The conference, organized by both the KHRC and the Africa Human Security Initiative was also cognizance of the fact that lack of moral integrity in the political leadership and administration, marked by corruption, nepotism, abuse of authority and failure to enforce the law, are some of Kenyas internal security challenges.

What is however most disturbing, is the fact that Kenya descended into anarchy within eighteen months after the APRM framework had reviewed the governance of the state and made specific recommendations for reform of the security sector, noted the civil society groups.



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Former Mauritanian president, co-detainees transferred to convention centre

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

The former Mauritanian president Sidi Mohamed Ould Sheikh Abdallahi, overthrown on Wednesday, was transferred late Thursday afternoon from the battalion of the gresidential guard headquarters to the Convention Centre in the northern suburbs of Nouakchott, APA learns from official sources.

According to these sources, four other prisoners, namely ex-Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed El Waghev, the ex-Interior minister Mohamed Ould R zeizim, ex-director general of the national agency for reception and integration of refugees Moussa Fall, and former minister Ahmed Ould Sidi Baba were all transferred to the same place.

Apart from its wide conference halls, the Convention Centre is a huge complex with sumptuous villas which serve as residence to high-ranking guests of the country.

The centre is under the strict control of the presidential guard and is in a huge space, contrary to the presidential battalion head office located near the state house in a cramped area and surrounded by dwellings.

The former First Lady Khattou Mint El Boukhari on Thursday was also taken from the presidential palace to her residence in the same district of Tevragh Zeina.

However, her house is guarded by men in uniform, according to witnesses.



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School unrest in Kenya questionable

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2008

Various theories have been raised as the main causes of the spate of student unrest in our schools in th recent past.

The most bizarre reasoning was given by the minister in charge in the floor of parliament. At a time when the world is moving forward, Kenya is moving backwards at full speed, aided by the the minister who in normal circumstances, should be at the fore front in championing growth and positive change.

I have looked at the issues raised and I find that we are all refusing to come to terms with reality. There is a general breakdown of law and order in the society, and the sooner we face up to it the better.

As a community of people, we come together every 5 years to put in place a set of new rulers. We then give the President the instruments of power, to uphold and safe guard, to obey and cherish our constitution. In so doing, like in the last elections, the voice of the people ought to be heard.

But when we circumvent the voice of the people with such impunity, then we marshal all the state organs to also circumvent the voice of the people, we court trouble. We set in place the culture of impunity where all and sundry will do as they please because the law and the law enforcers have been compromised.

Our problems become bigger when the President does not obey the law, the law for which he had sworn to obey, uphold and cherish. Things become thicker when the law enforcers, the police, become entangled in politics. They mis the point therein and all they see is the person that they serve, not the law.

We must build a culture where the President must act in accordance with the law, and he must at all times obey the law. We must build a culture where the police must respect the law that they enforce. In our situation, the police do not look at the law, they look at what the appointing authority wants. That creates impunity, and all citizens are alive to such things.

We also have the Judiciary which is supposed to interpret the law whenever there conflict. But when we have a political Judiciary like the one that we do have, one that does not understand the laws that they are meant to interpret, we are creating a bad situation. And all and sundry are alive to the happenings at the Judiciary.

We all know that cases are not won on the merits of law. Cases are won on the expediency of the litigants. The one with the right connections will easily win even the most bizarre of cases that merited outright dismissal. When the Judiciary messes with the people, the people are faithfully watching, and a time will come when the people will rebel against the Judiciary, and that will be a sad time indeed for Kenya.

The consequences of such impunity from the presidency, the police force and the Judiciary are recipes for chaos. If this goes on, we are living on a time bomb. The rebellion that could come from the people is far much more dangerous than what we have seen with school children. Such impunity from the state must end. We must strive to obey law and create some order.

Last year, Kenyans saw their votes stolen with active participation of these institutions. The results was the kind of conflict that we saw that pitted Kenyans against Kenyans. The result was the massive loss of life and property. If it were not for the rapid return to sanity by the two protagonist, Kenya would have exploded a lot more badly.

To safeguard any more of this, we must all respect the will of the people, respect the law, and obey just orders. Without this, we are creating a ripe situation for chaos any other time. I must emphasize, the presidency, the police force and the Judiciary are institutions that are by law established for the good of the country. But if these are the institutions that are used to oppress the people who fund their operations, then a repeat job as the one that we witnessed in January, will tear this country apart.

Such a situation will not win the confidence of all and sundry that these institutions are working for our good. The people might resort to the common law as best as they can. We shall have realized that the written law is fraught with mischief, hence not worth obeying.

The example set by the three afore mentioned institutions has given courage to other state organs and the general public. Impunity manifests itself in how ministers handle their dockets, how teachers ran institutions of learning, how matatus terrorize other motorists by breaking all the known traffic rules, how the Traffic Police stand rudderless every day in our roads, collecting money from matatu drivers instead of directing traffic, how TV editors feed our children pornography everyday on TV, how the radio talk presenters talk nothing but sex everyday on radio, and how parents behave indeferently to the bad habits being developed by their children.

These are the symptoms that drive our society to the precipice. In this kind of a scenarion where all behave with impunity, would you expect anything better from our children. They are part of the society, and they see in us what they would want to be. We must all obey th law and set good examples for our children.

What do these children see in us? They see people who have stolen big time running for public office then getting appointed as Ministers. This informs them that despite being a thief, you can be rewarded. They hence grow up wanting to be thieves so that one day they can be Ministers.

They see people who have run down institutions getting better political postings. They see as their role models people who operate corruption cartels that skim the country of Billions of shilling getting state commendations.

They see as their role models pimps and charlatans who seem to be laws unto themselves getting appointed to all important state positions. They see the police break the law, they see the Judiciary return questionable verdict, and then they form an opinion; impunity pays.

If we respect our laws and enforce the same, we will not see thieves in our government. If we respect our laws and enforce the same, we will see no nude show on TV, nor will we hear Maina Kageni talk about nothing but sex everyday.

If we respect our laws and enforce the same, we will not see anymore matatu madness in our roads and the traffic police watch.

If we care for our children, we will not subject a class one pupil to reading History, Geography, Physics and Chemistry as we currently have. If we respect our children, we will not grab all the land that they should use for play fields. If we respect our children, we will not subject them to be taught by people who had failed their preliminary exams. We will not accept failures into Teacher Training Institutions. We will take the best.

If we respect our children, we will not accept journey men who had no interest in the teaching profession to teach our kids. We will take those who have that calling and pay them well to mould the future of our children.

But when we clamp down on mobile phones, on buses and such like non-issues, it enforces our lack of understanding on this serious issue. It brings to mind how pedestrian the government has been handling all issues national.

This is the kind of pedestrian approach to governance that keeps confining Kenya at the lower ends of development.

Odhiambo T Oketch
Komarock Nairobi



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