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Archive for August 10th, 2008

Kibaki’s secret plan for 2012 succession

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The two are said to have a “warm and respectful friendship”. Photo/FILE

By MUGUMO MUNENE and BERNARD NAMUNANE

In Summary

  • Kibaki has changed his routine and now works at Harambee House at least three days a week.
  • Kibaki sees his working relationship with Prime Minister Raila Odinga as key to his legacy.
  • Source says President has no Kitchen Cabinet as men perceived to be close to power have not seen the President this year

President Mwai Kibaki has frozen out the so-called Kitchen Cabinet as he positions himself to establish his legacy and secure the country when he retires in 2012, a senior government official has told the Sunday Nation.

The Muthaiga set, a group of wealthy friends, have not been granted a State House audience this year, the official, who is conversant with the goings-on in the heart of power, said.

Such is the Presidents determination, the official said, that he will not be burdened by lesser politicians, an apparent reference to Mr Kibakis penchant for never defending loyalists who get caught up in scandals or run afoul of the law.

Stepped aside

Former Finance minister Amos Kimunya, of whom Mr Kibaki is said to have been fond, stepped aside after a meeting with the President following the controversy over the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel to Libya.

For starters, Mr Kibaki has changed his routine and now works at Harambee House at least three days a week. Previously, all business was conducted at State House Nairobi.

The person he works closest with is a civil servant, Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, whose job is to carry out the Presidents instructions.

Because of his National Security docket and the proximity of his office to the Presidents, Prof George Saitoti frequently drops in on the Head of State and unobtrusively sits through some meetings.

The official, who would not agree to be named discussing confidential matters, said Mr Kibaki sees his working relationship with Prime Minister Raila Odinga as key to his legacy. The space that the President gives the Prime Minister to operate freely will be his true legacy, the official said.

He denied that the relationship between Mr Odinga and Mr Kibaki is distant, saying that the two, who consult in private for at least two hours a week, is a warm, respectful friendship.

Probably reflecting top-level regret at the bungled MOU power-sharing deal during Mr Kibakis first term, the official said if the two had had the kind of working relationship they have today, history would be different.

He said the Prime Minister and others were beginning to understand the President better.

An agreement was signed between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga to share power after the 2002 election, which Mr Odingas Liberal Democratic Party accused Mr Kibaki of breaching.

The allegations of betrayal soured the relations between the two men, leading to an outright rebellion during the campaign for the 2005 constitutional referendum which the government lost. Mr Kibaki immediately sacked Mr Odinga and the politicians allied to him.

The comments, from the normally cautious and tight-lipped official could be an indicator that Mr Kibaki does not share the Raila-phobia normally associated with his allies.

Behind the scenes

It might also be an indicator of a behind-the-scenes mending of fences between Mr Kibaki and ODM, possibly intended to smooth the Kibaki succession and ward off violence in the country at the next election.

Responding to the allegation that Mr Kibaki is a hands-off and legs-off type of president, the official countered with the observation that he gets things done. There is shrewd politician beneath the veneer of political disinterest, the official said.

The President is not in the habit of carrying unnecessary political baggage, the official pointed out, citing the finality with which he cut links with former loyalists Chris Murungaru, Matu Wamae, David Mwiraria, Matere Keriri and most recently, Mr Kimunya.

The President has no Kitchen Cabinet, the official emphasised, adding that the men perceived to be close to power, including University of Nairobi Chancellor Joe Wanjui, Kenya Airports Authority managing director George Muhoho, KenGen managing director Eddy Njoroge, prominent businessmen Nat Kangethe and Peter Kanyago have not seen the President this year.

The official said the possibility of a Kibaki and Odinga-led succession plan, similar to the arrangement between founding President Jomo Kenyatta and his successor Daniel arap Moi, according to which the latter was supposed to take care if the formers allies, is not out of the question.

Forays

Explaining Mr Kibakis recent and out–of-character forays into party politics, the official said the President is concerned that a weak Party of National Unity would make negotiations in a future coalition difficult and is also aware that the Orange Democratic Party has the potential to become a political monopoly to the detriment of his allies.

He said the President is disinclined to spend too much time on many, smaller parties which are costly and have no strong grassroots support. In the view of the official, in the long run, Ford-K, Narc-K, the Democratic Party and others will have no option but to join PNU.

In the officials thinking, Mr Kibaki wants to create a strong party for his Central Kenya constituency and his allies which can credibly negotiate with other parties and personalities, possibly Mr Odinga, and act as a counterweight to ODM.

The official said the Presidents Gema allies seem to be waking up to the reality that a stab at the presidency in 2012 is a long shot and that it may make better sense for them to settle for the premiership.

On Justice Minister Martha Karuas quest for the presidency, the official said he did not think that the President would be so ungrateful as to sack her for expressing presidential ambitions but said the thinking is that she should first deliver a new constitution and then use that as her ticket to national leadership.

He said the mood at the top is that there are genuine fears that the Justice minister might be acting spoilt after failing to get the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

Ms Karua could not be reached for comment on Saturday although she has said in the past that theres nothing to stop her from aiming her sights at the presidency, and theres no set time when a candidate should begin his or her campaign.

The Justice minister has increasingly cut an independent figure away from the President by directing her Narc-K political wheel away from the latter who wants to see a more united and stronger PNU.

Holds the key

But he said that Ms Karua holds the key to Mr Kibakis legacy because Mr Kibakis presidency will be remembered depending on the way that justice over the post-election violence is delivered, how cohesion and the dissipation of ethnic tension is handled and the writing of a new constitution is completed.

An aide to Mr Odinga, who did not agree to be named because he is not authorised to comment on confidential discussions, claimed that a plan has been worked out between Mr Odinga and the President in preparation for Mr Kibakis retirement in 2012.

He said Kenyans should not imagine that the two still habour a grudge against each other following the disputed Presidential election results which the ODM candidate claimed to have won.

That is why a recent story about the stolen election infuriated the Prime Minister. He could not imagine that such utterances could come out of his mouth when he knows how much lee way the President has decided to give him in preparation for 2012, said the aide.

The aide said the leaders were concerned about the blood-letting to which they drove the country during the last elections and were working together to prevent its recurrence.

He said the reason the President has taken personal charge of organising his allies and PNU is in order to strengthen his hand in negotiations with Mr Odinga.

He was referring to the recent drive by the President to unite all affiliate parties of PNU to form one strong party.

Another ally of the PM said it was significant to note that when Mr Odinga led a Cabinet delegation to the UK recently, he heaped praise on the President whom he described as a democrat who cannot be compared to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

You cannot just describe as a democrat a man who a few months ago you were fighting for taking away what you believed was your victory. The two have struck a rapport, and Kenyans had better become accustomed to what is likely to happen in the lead up to the next polls, he said.

He said Mr Odingas motivation was that in order to be accepted and respected internationally, he must be seen to be overcoming ethnic boundaries, forgiving those he sees as having denied him electoral victory and uniting all Kenyans.

This is why nowadays you see the Prime Minister everywhere; seeking solutions to thorny issues like the Mau Forest and coming up with a working relationship between the government and the private sector, he said.

The aide further said that due to the development, there were some people who were not happy with what the PM is doing. He said that their expectations were so high that they do not understand why the premier is not pushing the President to accommodate most of the policies that ODM held.

The problem with these people is that they have not learnt to live with the times. The Prime Minister is not just the ODM leader now. He is a leader of this country who has to close ranks within government for tomorrows sake, he said.

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API/Source.nation.ke

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Obama’s muslim roots may route him off the White House Lane

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

Obama and his supporters are dead scared of this. They want the route to lead to the White House, but with his Muslim link from his father’s side, he may loose to get the top seat, many observers now say.

But why are Americans so scared to have a Muslim President? This may be seen as discriminatory if they do not vote Obama in simply because of his background. (API)

Obamas African link is as real or illusory as the Muslim connection

Otuma Ongalo

Ever since Barack Obama became a sensation in US politics, many individuals and nations have claimed links with him. Some of the relations border on absurdity, but it is the Muslim link that has been fought back with ferocity despite not being too farfetched.

The people of Ireland say OBama is one of them. They trace his ancestry to a shoemaker known as Fulmuth Kearney. The Scottish say Obama descended from William I of Scotland, who reigned from 1165 to 1214.

A Scottish scholar, Prof Ian McNeil, claims he spotted Obamas potential in 1980s at Harvard. He allegedly told his wife that his student would be Americas first black president.

Brazil, the country with the worlds largest population of African descendants, regards Obama as one of its own. Brazilians also cite a 1928 book The Black President which predicted a US election matching a black, a feminist and a conservative candidate (but in 2228).

The sleepy Japanese Western fishing city lays claim to Obama since it bears his name (or does he bear its name?). Baracks birthday, August 4, is Chopsticks Day in the city.

Indonesia says Obama is its son. This is the country where Obama was raised initially after his mother got married to Lolo Soetoro.

He will find himself at home in Malaysia since his half-sister, Maya Soetoros husband Konrad Ng, who was born in Canada, has his roots there and is also of Chinese ancestry.

The Obama link claim is endless. Even the high and mighty are associated with him. He is the 11th cousin to US Vice-President Dick Cheney through one Mareen Duval, a 17th Century French immigrant.

Americas President George Bush is not left out either. He is Obamas 11th cousin: they share the same great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.

His rival in the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, has the Obama link too. He is a distant cousin of Brad Pitt and Hillary is related to Pitts girlfriend, Angelina Jolie!

It has not been deemed necessary for Obama to ward off these claims imagined, ludicrous, associated or real the way the Muslim link has been dismissed.

“Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was never raised a Muslim and is a committed Christian.” This website statement was issued during Democratic Party nomination campaigns.

Of course, an Islamic link is too devastating for anyone aspiring to ascend to top politics in America. The western media have repeatedly portrayed Islam as the religion of global terrorism.

But even with the presidential ambition at stake, Obamas past Islamic connection cannot be deleted from his unique multicultural history. His maternal grandfather was a Muslim, and so was his father, who later died an atheist. He may not have been a practising Muslim but this link makes him a Muslim just like his African or Kenyan link, although he has never been African or Kenyan.

Name Hussein is a taboo

Muslims believe anyone born to a line of Muslim males is a born Muslim, even if he is a non-practising one. It is the same belief with the Jews, but I doubt if Obama would be fervently fighting the Jewish link had it been part of his history.

His middle name, Hussein, is not only a taboo in American politics, but the media have also taken the cue worldwide.

Is Obama trying to hide a critical part of his history to clinch the White House ticket or is a history being imposed on him to deny him the White House dream?

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API/Source.standard.ke

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Energy and roads infrastructures to be the focus during China-ECOWAS economic and trade summit

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

Story by Ekoue Blame

The 34th Summit of Ecowas Heads of State held in Abuja in 2008 placed high premium on the need to strike a strategic partnership with China in the ears of trade , energy , transport and agricultural sectors.
As a result ,the Ecowas Private and Public Sectors tycoons and technocrats met in Lome to adopt a strategy framework for economic co-operation ahead of the much awaited first China-Ecowas Economic and Trade Forum scheduled for the 23th to 26th of September 2008 in Beijing.
The new framework is expected to respond positively to emerging global economic trends rather than political imperatives of the past.
According to the Ecowas specialists present at the this anticipatory meeting, the China-Ecowas Economic and Trade Forum will focus more in the areas which can be helpful the two sides.
Mr Alfred Braimah , Director of the Private Sector of the Ecowas Commission and also chairman of the meeting explained to the BBC English service that every activity has a climax , and for us at the Ecowas this is one, we have been working towards mobilization in both private and public sectors for the upcoming China-Ecowas Forum because we have since been working towards mobilizing key projects across all sectors for the Forum. So this meeting is to offer member states and distinguished business promoters of the private sector the opportunity to review their projects .
Many issues like the public and private sectors Investment in africa, the Transfer of Technology, and modernization of the Agriculture as well as the bilateral trade partnership between the Chinese government and the West African sub-region will be in the agenda of this first Economic and Trade China-Ecowas Forum he explained.
He said all the focus will be put more in the energy ,road and railway infrastructures as the key priorities to promote trade within the Ecowas Community.
Mr Braimah said the critical milestone we want to achieve to-day is focus , focus in terms of priority projects that will move forward the regional integration process and also priority projects that will support the private sector growth in the 15 member-states.
In a proposed document of lists submitted to the projects review committee by all participants from the 15 Ecowas member states.
At the meeting the focus was on the priorities such as regional and national roads infrastructural projects .

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Published by African Press International – api

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Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

Kilemi Mwiria

We laud the Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development Mutula Kilonzo for his vigour to make Nairobi more habitable and efficient.

But focus should be on the majority of Nairobians struggling in very difficult circumstances to get to work.

This is why some of us were surprised by Kilonzos announcement he prioritises creation of a dedicated lane for the President, Prime Minister and Vice-President. He has also proposed similar lanes for emergency cases and public transportation which, to many, are more deserved.

Questions arising include how much time the top three would be on the road, whether this lane would be closed when it is not being used, and where this lane would be carved from. In any case, the top three have not asked for such privilege.

Most Nairobians walk and cycle to work under stressful conditions because there are few, if any, designated walking paths and cycling lanes in the city. During the rainy season, they have to contend with mud, and with dust during dry spells.

Worse still, matatus and cyclists invade their deprived walking terrain. Because of the sorry state of walking paths and the absence of affordable transport, the poor workers trek for hours to and from work. They often have to walk in darkness, unsure of their safety: much of their residential areas are unlit and insecure.

Because of the absence of flyovers at major crossing points, pedestrians have to compete with fast motorists. On Thika Road, for example, there are traffic-related deaths on almost a weekly basis at the Breweries-Nakumatt point. It does not help that some motorists have little regard for pedestrians and cyclists, reminding them as they do they have no road licence.

Walking paths, bicycle lanes and flyovers should be an integral part of our road and street networks. We could learn from Europe and Asia where bicycles and mopeds are an essential element of urban transportation systems.

From the experience of these countries, we also know public rail networks are great for decongesting cities and improving public transportation. In these countries, many senior government officials use bicycles, buses and trains to and from work. It is the wealthy business community that has the privilege of using choppers, because they can afford.

Out there, to talk of special lanes for an elite group of road users would be considered wasteful and unpatriotic.

In addition to decongesting Nairobi, neat walking paths, bicycle lanes, flyovers, and an efficient public transportation system come with other advantages, including: environmental conservation, a healthier city population associated with more exercise, and improved efficiency.

Given that presidential convoys and those of visiting dignitaries sometimes inconvenience road users and themselves get delayed from important business due to heavy jams, they should consider using helicopters.

The minister should consider parking lots for commuters outside the city centre, provision of shuttle transportation in the city centre, incentives for car pooling and use of public transport.

Establishment of specific parking lots for matatus outside the city centre is a good idea as long as we make it easier for matatu users to get to and from their places of work. Some of these reforms will not be possible until we reclaim grabbed land meant for public transportation and other facilities.

A new Nairobi should serve the interests of the majority of Kenyans; it should be more pro-people.

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API/Source.standard.ke

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Makerere is the vanguard of globalisation in Eastern Africa

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

<By Ali Mazrui

Globalisation is a new word but it represents a long-drawn out historical process. It consists of the forces that are pushing the world into becoming a global village.Most recently, those forces have been at their most dramatic in the Information Superhighway: Internet and the death of distance and in the spectacular interdependence of the world economy. When South-East Asian economies take a downturn, Boeing feels the pain because sales of planes decline dramatically.

But what paved the way for the Information Superhighway and the computer revolution in world economy? Higher education and the escalating sophistication of research are part of the story. Higher education has been a major force in the bid to turn the world into a global village.

Oldest university in eastern Africa

At the global level, Makereres role has to be examined in symbolic terms. As the oldest university college in Eastern Africa, Makerere was the vanguard of globalisation in the regions experience. If higher education has been central to the momentous process of turning the world into an interdependent global village, Makerere has been more than part and parcel of the process. In Eastern Africa it has been a historic vanguard.

Makerere was part of a British global university like Legon in Ghana, Mona in Jamaica, Ibadan in Nigeria. They were all affiliates of the University of London.

Makerere evolved from Euro-African University College linked to London to Pan-East African University College linked to the University of East Africa. I still remember when the Department of Political Science at Makerere struggled with the University of London over whether to include Karl Marx in a course on political philosophy.

Makerere experienced globalisation in reverse. There was a time when it was too global and not African enough. Makerere was teaching French, German, Russian before teaching African languages for a degree.

The Makerere experience posed the question: How much of globalisation is Westernisation? Western education produced young Obote who changed his name from Apollo Obote to Milton Obote out of admiration for the author of Paradise Lost, John Milton an English poet. Was that globalisation or Westernisation? Makerere and Western education produced Julius K Nyerere who translated two of Shakespeares plays into Kiswahili. Was that globalisation or Westernisation?

Makerere had unofficial links with Transition magazine, which was founded by Rajat Neogy who was not himself at Makerere. Transition became the most scintillating and intellectually effervescent magazine in Anglophone Africa in 1960s. Future Nobel laureates wrote for it, like Wole Soyinka (he later edited it) and Nadine Gordimer. Future world-class novelists wrote for it like Paul Thoroux, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiongo. Kwame Nkrumah and Tom Mboya responded to articles in Transition.

The Uganda phase of Transition ended after Obotes Government imprisoned the Editor, Rajat Neogy, in 1968. When Neogy was released he re-started Transition in Ghana, and subsequently handed it over to Wole Soyinka. The Ghana phase of Transition ended when Soyinka tried to change the magazines name to Cindaba.

Now there is a US phase of the same magazine, with Soyinka as the editorial board chair, and Henry Louis Gates and Kwame Anthony Appiah as editors. Now the magazine is based at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Linkages from Makerere to Harvard!

hollywood superstar

Makerere also witnessed an astonishing array of visitors from most parts of the world. I remember personally inviting the distinguished Irishman, Conor Cruise OBrien who had served with the UN in Katanga. In his speech at Makerere he described Moise Tshombe, the secessionist leader of Katanga, as “the best politician that money can buy.”

I remember the Hollywood film superstar, Sidney Poitier, expressing surprise that there were so many homosexuals in Uganda. When I asked him what gave him that idea, he referred to so many men in the streets holding hands. I laughed. I told him, “in this culture holding hands is a sign of friendship and goodwill and not a sign of sex.”

I remember listening to a sermon in the Main Hall by Father Trevor Huddleston. It was one of the most moving sermons in any religion that I have ever heard. He kept returning to a simple refrain: Near the hill where he was crucified, there was a garden! Simple but the juxtaposition of the horror of the crucifixion and the beauty of the garden was so deeply moving.

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API/Source.standard.ke

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Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

By Gakuu Mathenge

Medical Services Minister Prof Anyang Nyongos appointment of former Director of Medical Services Ouma Muga and Dr Kipkerich Koskei is against his dictum “need for reform and crafting of a clean break from the rotten past.

During their leadership of Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board, regulations, and professional ethics were hardly observed. Licensing woes, importation and distribution of substandard drugs into local market, registration of quacks and mercenaries as medical drugs dispensers and distributors are some of the challenges the board faced. Koskei was chief pharmacist, and secretary to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) while as Director of Medical Services, Muga was chairman in 1990s.

The minister has reinstated Koskei as chief pharmacist after being kicked out by his predecessor Mrs Charity Ngilu in 2002 and appointed Muga chairman of taskforce to investigate Kenya Medical Service Agency (Kemsa).

In 1998, former Health Minister Joshua Angatia condemned Afya House as Mafia House, expressing his frustration with cartels of merchants, importers and senior civil service fat cats that disregarded rules and morals in their money minting schemes.

When Ngilu took over the docket , among the first people she sent packing was Koskei, under whose watch millions of taxpayers money was used to buy nonessential medical items.

Among the first major official functions that Ngilu performed was to expose and order destruction of mult million expired items in stores throughout the country.

The “travesty of justice”, is never far from Nyongos lips, especially during his activist days. Travesty means a debased or distorted version of something.

This is the Nyongo who spent 1990s in trenches with other forces fighting for restoration of social justice, democracy and morality in public office. He was among the finest foot soldiers, both in and out of Parliament, fighting against the Kanu regime that debased public service.

When a section of Kanu leaders joined grand opposition outfit of President Kibaki (then Opposition leader), Michael Kijana Wamalwa (Ford-Kenya leader) and Ngilu (then leader of NAK), in 2002, there were reservations that they would poison a Government the then opposition envisaged.

We were told not to despair since the dyed in the reformists Nyongos, Karuas, Muites, Kiraitus and Kituyis would counter any bad influence from the Kanu boys. We believed it was the dawn of new era. The appointment of Muga, to investigate Kemsa, is essentially telling him to investigate the mess he and Koskei created, then pass judgement on individuals trying to clean it up.

Ngilu interfered with professionalisation of drug procurement, resulting in the withdrawal of USAID procurement and drug distribution systems support to Kemsa, which had been started by Institute of Supplies and Management chairman, Chris Oanda.

For more than 15 years, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and Kenya Pharmaceutical Distributors Association have raised eyebrows regarding Koskeis leadership in pharmaceutical sector.

Dr Fred Sioi manned the chief pharmacists office in acting capacity for five years without confirmation. This is against the civil service regulation. This confirms the fierce competition of vested interests in the multi-billion public health and drug sector. Even in absence of hard evidence of impropriety, the appointments borders on a travesty of justice.

The ODM fraternity must protect the party from being used as a by-pass to launder tainted careers.

The writer is a senior political writer at The Standard:

gmathenge@eastandard.net

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API/Source.standard.ke

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Mbeki due in Harare as deal nears in Zimbabwe political crisis

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected in Zimbabwe on Saturday amid reports that the countrys feuding parties have reached a pact to end an eight-year political crisis.

Mbeki is expected to hold meetings with President Robert Mugabe and the two faction leaders of a split opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

Sources indicate that he would table a proposal on a power-sharing deal that was agreed by the negotiators from Mugabes ZANU PF and the MDC factions in inter-party talks being mediated by South Africa.

Mbeki is facilitating the talks under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The sources further said that he would first holding separate meetings withthe three Zimbabwean leaders before arranging a joint meeting where they are expected to endorse the draft deal agreed by their representatives in Pretoria.

The successful resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis would be a major diplomatic coup for the embattled Mbeki, who has been criticised for taking a softly stance against alleged human rights abuses by Mugabes government.

A deal this weekend would help restore the South African leaders battered image as his country prepares to take over the chairmanship of SADC from Zambia.

A SADC summit is scheduled to be held in South Africa on August 14 and 15.

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API/SourceAPA

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German couple freed by Somali pirates

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

A German couple kidnapped by Somali pirates in late June as they sailed through the Gulf of Aden has been finally released, local officials said on Saturday.

The German hostages have been released on Friday night and handed to the Puntland administration, but they reached the port town of Bosasso at dawn this morning under the escort of the police, the governor of Bari region Muse Geele Yusuf told APA by telephone.

The mayor of Bossaso Abdi-risaq Hared Ismail said the couple, identified only as Juergen and Sabine, had arrived in the town and were waiting to fly out.

Pirates abducted the couple from their yacht off the lawless Horn of Africa nations coast on June 23 and demanded a ransom of 2 million dollars.

For the last two months, negotiations for their release by officials from the two rival administrations of Puntland and Somali-land have been going on, but it was not clear if any ransom had been paid to free the hostages.

The pirates have been holding the captives near a mountain, which is believed to be a pirate stronghold, in the disputed region of Sanaag.

A local clan elder in the region, Dahir Hamud Godane, who was involved in the negotiations, said half of the demanded ransom was paid to the pirates, but the Puntland officials had declined to comment on that.

The release comes after two Italian aid workers with North-South Italian Cooperation CINS were freed earlier in the week after being seized in May.

A ransom of 1 million dollars was reportedly paid to secure their release.

Piracy is rife off the coast of Somalia. Cargo ships and luxury yachts have been targeted by heavily armed pirates, who often hold the crew for ransom.

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API/SourceAPA

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South Sudan missions abroad to enjoy full diplomatic status

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2008

The Sudan government of national unity has granted the autonomous government of South Sudan the power to operate diplomatic liaison missions abroad who will also enjoy full diplomatic status as their colleagues in the unity government, APA has learnt.

The government of national unity, dominated by the National Congress Party of Omar al-Bashir has so far refused to recognize South Sudan diplomatic missions abroad.

Khartoum had insisted that Sudan would only to be represented by the diplomatic missions under the government of national unity, as South Sudan is not a separate country.

The recognition of the South Sudan diplomatic missions therefore came as a surprise to many people in the country as the government of national unity had vowed never to recognize such missions.

Dr Benjamin Barnaba, Minister of Regional Co-operation in the South Sudan government said that there had been a Memorandum of Understanding between the ministry and the government of national unitys ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a press statement issuedSaturday, Barnaba said that, It had been agreed that the government of South Sudans officers in the liaison offices abroad would now be given standard diplomatic status and privileges, including diplomatic immunity.

Barnaba said the names of the South Sudanese liaison staff will be added to the lists held by Sudanese embassies and they will be afforded equal treatment. They are directed to work hand in hand with Sudans ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel to develop cultural, trade and investment relations.

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API/SourceAPA

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