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Archive for August 11th, 2008

Kenya: Vodoo spirits has began to follow the Mayor

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

Evil pigeon sent to mayors car

By Caroline Mango

A few days after he survived Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadis purge on irregular nomination of councillors, Mombasa Mayor Ahmed Mohdhar came face to face with what was alleged to be mischief by his detractors.

At 6.15am on Thursday, last week, the mayor woke up to a rude shock when a white pigeon laden with an assortment of charms was sent to his official car parked at the councils yard.

“Ukistaajabu ya Musa, utayaona ya Firauni. Mombasa ina wenyewe kweli!” (Wonders never cease. Mombasa has its real owners) exclaimed an eyewitness as some council workers ran for dear life.

The pigeon, which had charms tied around both legs, flew from a nearby house and landed behind the mayors car. It refused to move despite attempts by a small crowd to scare it away.

The mention of charms in Mombasa is associated with djinns (evil spirits), which are used by unscrupulous individuals to cause harm.

“Hii imetumwa, Mungu amsaidie mayor. Hii siyo ya kawaida. Ushaona wapi njiwa amefungwa miguu yote miwili na hirizi, halafu akaruka kawaida na kupaa kwenye gari?” asked a shocked worker. (This one has been sent. May God save the mayor. Have you ever seen a pigeon with both legs tied with charms flying with ease and landing next to a particular car.)

Some council workers who claimed to be familiar with such evil deeds said they untied charms from the pigeon and threw them into a manhole. “By doing that, no harm will befall the mayor. You either throw the charms in a hole or urinate on them immediately,” said a Mr Kiama.

The mayor, who appeared shocked by the incident, said such things do not scare him. “Only the God that I worship can take my life. I do not believe in charms and evil powers so whoever is behind this should know I am protected by Allah,” said Mohdhar.

This incident comes a month after another one where a councillor was allegedly caught placing charms in drawers at the mayors parlour.




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Secret planes on Kenyan soil. What is the US up to?

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

Strange mission at Wilson Airport

By Cyrus Ombati And Brian Adero

Strange and unscheduled military planes from the US have in the last two months been making secretive night landings in Kenya, in what are feared as missions to move terror suspects from the country.

The night landings of US planes at Nairobis Wilson Airport, carrying American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials have raised suspicion and controversy not only among local security agents, but also players in aviation.

Planes at Wilson Airport. Questions have been raised over US aircraft operating from the airport. PHOTO: CORRESPONDENT/

The Prescott Support Group, which has been accused in other parts of the world of being involved in renditioning terror suspects, was allowed to operate in Kenya two months ago.

Documents in our possession show that the company was allowed to fly in and out in a Gazette notice dated June 20 for two years.

Prescott Support Group, which according to the American media, has links with the CIA, applied for renewal of their licence in May, even after the Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) questioned their licence and mission.

Despite the concerns, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) went ahead and granted the two-year licence although ordinarily they should have sought clearance from the Department of Defence (DOD) because of their military aircraft.

According to the Gazette notice, Prescott Group was given the secret landing licence through the US Embassy in Nairobi, whose officials we could not get a comment from on Sunday.

KCAA Director-General Chris Kuto on Sunday confirmed the operations of the planes, saying they were involved in “Turkana for mapping purposes”.

Kuto said the planes carry only American soldiers and their equipment and not passengers, contrary to information from sources at Wilson Airport who had indicated that some passengers did not look like US military officers who are normally in uniform.

Kuto added that the company applied to for aerial mapping operations in Turkana.

“We gave them the licence based on that information. We did not see anything wrong or any reason to deny them the licence,” he said.

The presence of the planes comes at a time when security personnel have launched a search for wanted terror suspect Fazul Abdullah Mohamed.

With growing fears of terrorism in the region, there was speculation that the CIA could be behind night flights to arrest and rendition suspects from Kenya.

On Thursday, Kenya marked the 10th anniversary since the terrorist attack on the US embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 1998. The terrorism remained real after the mastermind, Fazul, sneaked into the country but beat a police dragnet for the fourth time.

Since Fazul was seen in Malindi two weeks ago, local and international security agents have been on high alert and arrested several suspects who had interacted with him.

Fazuls August 7, 1998 explosive arsenal in Nairobi left more than 200 people dead and another 5,000 others seriously injured.

Anti-terrorist police arrested a suspect on Sunday believed to be a close associate of Fazul, even as suspicion emerged in the police force that some security officers could be on the payroll of the international terrorist.

The Prescott Group was allowed to make non-scheduled air service for passengers and freight in and out of Kenya.

The group was also allowed to operate from Africa and beyond using aircraft CN235, l382, BE200 based in the US, Wilson Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The operators had applied for the services early this year. It was not clear the kind of passengers and cargo they would carry even though officials said it was only military.

Non-scheduled flights mean they can fly into the country and take off from remote, unimproved locations not served by traditional air carriers within their area of operations.

The Standard established that a Bich 200 aircraft, belonging to the US, was undergoing maintenance and TCAS installation at the Wilson Airport.

“The crew of the aircraft, both Americans, had said they would be around for 10 days, but they are still around. I dont know where they came from and what their mission is all about,” an engineer at the hangar, who sought anonymity, said.

Extraordinary rendition refers to the controversial American procedure in which suspects are apprehended, sometimes secretly, and sent for interrogation in countries where torture is used as a routine form of interrogation.

Leaked CIA reports cite suspects being arrested, shackled, blindfolded and sedated, after which they are transported, usually by private jet, to other countries.

Although the practice has been in use since the 1990s, its scope has widened immensely since the September 11, 2001 attacks in US.

In Kenya, US flights operate using Air Operating certificate (AOC) belonging to East African company based at Wilson Airport.

In their licence application last year, they wanted a domestic and international operation licence through the US Embassy, but were denied the domestic one.

According to licensing rules, international airlines cannot be granted a domestic licence in a foreign country.

But after failing to get the domestic licence, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were said to have intervened and asked for the airlines exemption to operate domestic flights.

Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said he was not aware of the planes operations. He said the planes were licensed by KCAA to carry out freight services.

“That is a civil aviation issue and does not concern the police. They were licensed by KCAA so we do not come in,” he said.

We could not reach the US embassy and military spokesman for comment. Their mobile phones were switched off.

During the May 12 licensing meeting, local air operators demanded to know the type of operations the Prescott Group would engage in and why they applied for a civilian licence while they were supposed to apply to the military given their operations were military, not civilian.

But a representative of the Prescott Group, Captain (Rtd) Jorim Kagua, told the meeting that they were not in a position to divulge information about the airlines operations.

However, he said they would perform military operations.

A KCAA official told The Standard yesterday that an agreement was signed between Kenya and the US government to perform undisclosed military operations.

Besides the agreement, Kenya and the US recently signed a bilateral agreement for direct commercial flights.

Kenya has previously handed over more than 15 terror suspects to the US and Ethiopian authorities in an exercise that angered many Muslim leaders.

Additional reports by Caroline Mango and David Ochami



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Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

By Ayub Savula Senior Writer

The Prime Ministers office must be expanded with staff and departments for it to be effective.

A report by a United Kingdom company, Adam Smith International, recommends the creation of a senior position under the Office of the Prime Minister to assist the PM to effectively co-ordinate functions of ministries.

As Prime Minister Raila Odinga inches closer to the centre of the Coalition Government, The Standard On Sunday has reliably learnt that a draft report by a leading international institution proposing several new positions in his office, awaits Government approval and implementation.

Scouts from Karen C Secondary School salute Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Friday. PHOTO: COLLINS KWEYU

Now, the PM has a permanent secretary, secretary, and a protocol officer. Mohammed Isakhakia, Karoli Omondi and Tony Gachoka occupy the positions.

Other positions to be created in the PMs office include principal private secretary, two more permanent secretaries, senior policy adviser, political officer, policy adviser, Cabinet Secretariat officer, deputy director of communication and parliamentary officer.

Smith further proposes the establishment of communication, strategy and delivery, parliamentary, policy support, correspondence, finance, administration and personnel units.

The PMs current skeletal staff notwithstanding, Raila has over the last month three, emerged strongly to give meaning to his co-ordination and supervisory roles of functions of government.

In the meantime, anxiety has gripped some key members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) over the delay to implement a new structure creating the new positions.

Reacting to our revelation, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Titus Ndambuki dispelled fears the report would be thrashed. The PS confirmed the draft report is yet to be implemented because discussions are still ongoing on how best to adopt it in the Civil Service structure.

“It is still a zero-draft. We have experts in the Public Service who are still working on it. It cannot possibly be implemented the way it is unless we look at the current structure in the Civil Service,” Ndambuki explained.

The report, he explained, had been drafted only recently by a foreign firm and accordingly requires scrutiny before being integrated effectively into the Civil Service.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua allayed fears the report would be discarded. “The report is being discussed by the Office of the President, the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Public Service,” said Dr Mutua.

He further explained the Government had established systems to discuss the report and look into how to implement it.

The Standard On Sunday has established the detailed report by the UK firm is yet to be implemented, three months after it was drafted.

The document, which was privately handed to top Government authorities, also includes positions for the two deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta.

In its recommendations, the Smith team wants Raila to occasionally delegate specific duties to Mudavadi and Uhuru, particularly chairing Cabinet sub-committees.

Besides the Ministry of State for Public Service, others that the Smith group proposes should fall under the office of the PM include Northern Kenya and Arid Lands and Ministry of Planning.

Other departments within or to be moved to the PMs office include Efficiency Monitoring Unit, Inspectorate of State Corporations and Cabinet Committee.

Three months on, these changes have not been effected by Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura.

Lack of implementation of the new structures has left a number of key officials in the PMs and the deputy PMs offices volunteering, without pay from Government.

Only protocol officer Tony Gachoka was recruited in the Civil Service at a lower grade than that of the secretary in the PMs office.

Amid this grim picture, Ndambuki maintains there is no cause for alarm because the report is “in the correct hands of the Government”.

He hinted to The Standard on Sunday the report would be implemented soon probably this week after the finer details have been looked into.

“Soon there will also be reshuffle of clerks in the Civil Service for effective delivery of services in the Government,” he said.

The ODM Spokesman Salim Lone is more optimistic about the current challenges. Pointing out progress was being made, Lone has previously told The Standard on Sunday the PM was intensely involved in the running of Government affairs.

“Of course, there are challenges which are to be expected in such an unprecedented arrangement,” he said in earlier interview.

To date the PMs office remains at the Treasury House, which also houses the Minister of Finance. It was the immediate former holder of the docket Amos Kimunya, who vacated office space for Raila.

On moving to Treasury House, a Ministry of Finance official casually remarked the PM would have to make do with the furniture and other facilities available, since the Government “lacked enough cash” to buy new ones.

Perhaps owing to this and other challenges US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger disclosed the US had committed $500,000 (Sh30.5 million) to support the PMs office.

In an earlier interview with The Standard on Sunday, Ranneberger said the US was putting hope in the PMs office because of the role the Constitution has assigned it, to co-ordinate and supervise functions of government.

As part of these efforts, the PM recently led a delegation to the US, where he briefed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the progress of the Coalition Government and signed a number of bilateral trade agreements.



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Mauritania coup chief won’t rule out election run

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania: The leader of Mauritania’s military coup said Sunday the junta had not decided if its members could stand for election to replace the ousted president, leaving open the possibility he could run for thepost.

Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said the question would be discussed and decided by the junta’s 11-member governing council at a laterdate.

“For the moment, nothing legally would prevent them (junta members) from running,” Aziz told The Associated Press in an interview following the overthrow Wednesday of President Sidi Cheikh OuldAbdallahi.

“But whether the members or the president run … it all depends on what the futuredictates.”

“For now, we have other problems to surmount and the main one is holding elections as soon aspossible.”

The country’s last junta chief, Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, took power in 2005 and barred junta members from running in a 2007 ballot to try to ensure they stood apart from the electoralprocess.

The ballot marked the first free vote in the nation’s history, and saw Abdallahi emergevictorious.

The international community condemned Wednesday’s coup engineered by Aziz and the heads of the armed forces in the overwhelmingly Islamic nation in Africa’snorthwest.


API/Source.The Associated Press

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Mauritanian general defends coup despite international pressure

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) The Mauritanian general who led a coup last week defended the ousting of the country’s president and said Sunday initial international condemnation would not shake up the west African nation.

“I believe that the international community is not looking to destabilise Mauritania,” Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said. “When it has all the information, it will turn in a positive direction.”

In an interview with AFP, Ould Aziz said the ousted president and other top officials “are under house arrest, for their security and the security of the country. Justice exists in Mauritania and there is also a parliament which could be called on to judge them if necessary.”

The former head of the presidential guards staged a coup on Wednesday overthrowing Mauritania’s first democratically elected president after he tried to sack senior military officers.

As most of the international community denounced the bloodless coup, the African Union took the step Friday of suspending Mauritania from the pan-African organisation until it restores constitutional government.

Ould Aziz told AFP Sunday he would do “everything to calm down feelings and bring Mauritanians closer together.”

The 52-year-old general again insisted that the coup was aimed at “avoiding a catastrophe in the country” and eliminating the regime of “an elected president who acted in an irrational manner.”

Over the weekend Ould Aziz said he had warned President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi — who is also accused of corruption — before the coup of consequences if he went through with plans to revamp the military.

“I telephoned him (Abdallahi) personally to explain to him the gravity of his decree and suggest he postpone it to avoid the worst,” Ould Aziz said in an interview on the Al-Jazeera television channel.

Meanwhile, envoys from international and African organisations have converged on the Mauritanian capital to join forces in seeking a resolution to the forced overthrow of the government.

“The solution to the problem rests solely with the Mauritanians, we are going to help them to reach an agreement,” the Arab League’s special envoy, Ahmed Ben Hilli, told AFP on Sunday.

He said he would meet heads of the delegations from the United Nations and the African Union in Nouakchott later Sunday to “find a common position” on dealing with the crisis in the largely desert country.

The AU’s envoy Ramtane Lamamra met Sunday with Ould Aziz, who along with an 11-member military council is installed in the presidential palace.

“We want to prevent Mauritania from falling into a vicious cycle, where the crisis deepens and the international community is led to take measures that would be unfortunate for the lives and the future of the Mauritanian people,” said Lamamra, AU commissioner for peace and security, after meeting with the coup leader.

The UN special representative for west Africa, Said Djinnit, held talks with Ould Aziz on Saturday but did not disclose the details of the conversations.

Before the meeting Djinnit said that the UN “joins other institutions in calling for the return of constitutional order” and urged that the political disputes be resolved within the democratic institutions.

Faced with international condemnation, the new military junta has promised to quickly hold “fair and transparent” elections.

The party of the ousted president, the National Pact for Democracy and Development (PNDD), said Sunday it had been given permission to reopen its offices which were closed by police during the coup.

The PNDD is part of the group fighting to restore democracy and free their captive president.

The 2007 elections that Abdallahi won were hailed as a model of democracy for Africa, following a three-year transition after a bloodless coup in August 2005.

Mauritania had been facing a political crisis after 48 members of parliament walked out on the ruling party on Monday, less than two weeks after a vote of no confidence in the government prompted a cabinet reshuffle.



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What type of wife are you

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

Some people say that the duration of a marriage largely depends on the type of woman involved.Photo/PHOTOS.COM


In Summary

  • Types of wives: servant, whiner, mother, money-maker, endangered wife, trophy and perfect wife.
  • The average man wants a woman he can generally exert authority over.

Men, like women, look for particular types of women to marry, thinking they are the ideal mate.

However, many relationships break up when the two parties realise they are incompatible. A possible explanation is that they each got into the relationship for different reasons, and therefore, had different expectations.

However, some people say that the duration of a marriage largely depends on the type of woman involved. So, what type of wife are you?

The servant wife

Most men will marry a woman they think will be loyal to them. The average man wants a woman he can generally exert authority over.he average man wants a woman he can generally exert authority over.

The servant wife rarely questions her mans actions and often endorses his ideas. Like a servant, she dare not point out anything wrong for fear of upsetting him.

Her feelings are very flexible, since she will do anything to massage her mans ego. She does not feel offended when her opinion is not sought, even when her input would have been vital.

Her husband is the overall decision-maker, and all she does is execute his orders.

The servant wife suffers in silence and does not realise that she is suffering from ulcers until the doctor makes a diagnosis.

She is a good housewife and will not even venture into an income-generating activity, putting family before everything else.

She is not ambitious and makes do with whatever she has. She shies away from controversy, especially if it is likely to harm her husbands or her familys reputation.

She is the type who will boldly declare her husbands innocence, even when she knows that he is guilty.

But her greatest undoing is, since she lacks control of her life, she cannot achieve any personal development. In addition, she cannot handle desertion, incapacitation or the death of spouse.

Ever heard of a woman who resigns from her job so that she can concentrate on her children and husband? Thats your servant wife.

Her main strength, though, is that she keeps the family together.

The mother-wife

She is overly caring and makes her man feel like a caged bird. A man who is lucky or unlucky to find himself hitched to such a woman, will find himself smothered with love.

The mother-wife is rarely hurt by her mans misdemeanours and is always ready to forgive him. She ignores the things he does to hurt her, always reasoning that she understands him.

She is content to have a man by her side and will go to any length to make sure he remains there. A mother-wife typically goes for a younger man, and will cite her age as an advantage when advising him.

As for the younger man, his main role is to massage her ego and boost her self-esteem, especially among her peers and the public.

Rita Dhiman, a US psychologist and author of Types of Husbands, hypothesises that, since she is older, she is often more financially stable and will spend substantial amounts of money to ensure her man is well groomed, is smart or generally looks good.

She is likely to want to display her man in public. She will let anyone who cares to listen know she owns him. This gives her a sense of prestige, Dhiman writes in her social life text, Your Kind of Woman.

According to the psychologist, the mother-wife will finance her mans needs, especially those that are entertainment and fashion-oriented. She is the type that derives pleasure from playing one- stop-shop for her man.

The main problem is that at some point, that man is bound to become uncomfortable. Often, he will use the money he gets from her to chase and entertain women nearer his age.

Talk of having ones cake and eating it! But woe unto him if he is caught.

In a scenario where there is no age disparity, this type of wife tends to be obsessive and domineering. Her man does not have space to do things without consulting her.

She insists that he must get her express authority before he can carry out any major changes, especially those that affect the family.

She treats her husband and children well, and is fully in control of the home. She is good at making investment decisions, all geared towards improving the familys well-being.

Her major undoing is that she can easily drive her man away.

The money maker

She is materialistic and her relationship is based on what she can get from her man, be it money or special favours.

Her well-being is determined by how much of her mans money she can get. She does not care about the age, physical appearance or even health status of her man.

This woman is in it for the money. The man is usually much older, but if not, he is much more financially stable than she is.

She can be termed a gold-digger. She amasses her mans money before making a decision to leave him if the worst comes to the worst, says Eileen Dreyer, a US marriage counsellor and author or romance novels.

Dreyer says this type of wife pretends to be an angel and will treat her husband like a king as long as he has money. She easily loses interest and becomes indifferent at the first signs of financial problems.

She is the type that easily moves on when her husband is sacked or retrenched. She is also likely to be unfaithful, maintaining secret affairs with other rich men.

She is usually hopeless as mother, and is likely to spoil her children with lots of gifts. She also regularly demands expensive gifts from her man.

Since she is a materialist, she is extravagant and spends more of the mans money than her own salary.

She spends huge sums of money on fashion-related shopping and has no qualms about dragging her man to shopping malls and beauty parlours for shopping sprees.

Notably, her budget always exceeds her needs. Her driving force seems to be to spend the mans money on herself, if she cannot lay her hands on it.

Needless to say, she never has money to put aside for a rainy day.

Ever come across a beautiful woman on the arm of a man who seems to have one foot in the grave?
The endangered species

She has all the qualities of a good wife, only that she is overly suspicious. She loves her man and children and will do everything to make her man feel well taken care of.

Her husband is viewed as the perfect example of a successful man. He is well groomed, smart and sociable.

This makes him liked by colleagues, friends and neighbours. He attracts attention due to his amiable personality.

This does not, however, go down well with his wife. She is always on her husbands case, getting jittery when he talks to people, especially women.

She always wants to know who has been talking to on the phone for so long. She is agitated by night phone calls and will not let her husband off the hook until she is satisfied that it was not a woman.

She is the type that scrolls her husbands phonebook when he is in the bathroom, noting new entries in the phone book so that she can confront him about these people later.

She surprises her husband with questions like, Who is so-and-so? or What do you discuss with so-and-so? when all the while she has been listening in in his conversation with the other party.

She is quick to investigate and arm herself with facts. She might call the numbers she is suspicious of and dig out more details.

She tends to be possessive and although she does things quietly, she can create scenes in social places or the office just to let those around know that she controls her man.

She is insecure and, therefore, sees possible rivals lurking in every corner. Consequently, she makes her husband uncomfortable by compelling him to do some things in secret her to avoid upsetting her.

She can work in cahoots with outsiders to spy on her man.

The whiner

For this woman, nothing is perfect, unless it originates from her. She has a penchant for criticising what other people do and always has ideas on how things should have been done when they have already been done.

She complains a lot even when it is not justifiable.

She is a pessimist, always expressing she doubts about other peoples the abilities and/or ideas.

She will never accept liability for a mistake, even after when it is clear that she is the culprit. When cornered, she will pass the buck, usually to her subordinates.

Her husband is always at pains to resist her negative attitude towards his ideas.

But when she proposes an idea and it does not work out, she is always ready with explanations.

She is always gloomy and rarely talks to people unless she needs their assistance. She spanks her children for the slightest mistake and her man has to live with constant excuses as to why she cannot do certain things, including making love.

Since she is so anti-social, her man is likely to look for peace among his peers at entertainment joints in the evenings, if only to avoid long contact with her. He often returns home late.

When handling the family budget, she tends to favour her relatives and children, but always complains about lack of money when her man tries to do something for his family.

Her relationship with her in-laws tends to be cold.

The trophy wife

She is the flashiest, most beautiful and most modest wife. And perhaps also the most physically attractive.She is more of a public relations object.

She is not overly bothered by her husbands age. All that is important to her is that he is rich and of high standing in society. She often overdoes things, be it shopping, dressing or make-up.

Her husband is respected among his peers although he might not be highly educated.

A trophy wifes main role is to elevate her husbands status and, thereby, make up for some of his irreversible shortcomings.

You find her husband wants to compensate for his deficiencies like education. The wife, especially in the eyes of the public, makes the couple look appreciable. She mostly makes him proud, says Dryer.

This woman is well groomed and is often in the public eye beside her husband. She is likely to be far much younger than him and is always be at his beck and call.

She keeps track of her mans itineraries so that she can plan how they can both attend in style.

She is also keen to reap the benefits of her husbands position, often dropping his name to ensure that she gets appropriate recognition.

She does not care how many women are in her mans life, as long as she is the most privileged.

Due to her cosmetic role, she is expensive to maintain. She regularly shops at the most exclusive malls, often buying stuff she does not really need.

But one thing going for her is that her husband can afford to keep her looking good for as long as she plays her role.

However, she is not a good mother, has no sense of investment and is likely to have auctioneers calling when the man is no more.

The perfect wife

This type of wife is currently is short supply. She is beautiful but does not see the need to broadcast it to everyone.

She does not talk much, especially in public, to avoid offending those around her.

She treats her husband with respect, both in public and private. She does not oppose her husbands ideas but speaks out when it is necessary.

She gives alternative suggestions, most of which are often better.

She has a nose for family-friendly income-generating initiatives. She thinks positive and talks her husband into making deals that benefit the whole family.

Her husband may not have the best character, but she works hard to ensure his image remains positive.

You probably know a man about whom people say, Were it not for his wife.. or even one whose family and friends wonder, Why does he mistreat his wife? She is so nice!

She is careful about spending her husbands resources and is a sensible shopper, often going for useful items and brands. She does not engage in impulse buying.

Because she has a good heart, she makes an excellent mother. She is also a good homemaker, always ensuring that her house is spick and span.

She can manage the home when her husband is away and enjoys good relations with her in-laws.

Unfortunately, she is likely to get a raw deal in the relationship because the man is almost certain to be insensitive.



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Raila causes jitters as he moves to centrestage of public affairs

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008


In Summary

  • Kibakis hands-off style gives PM room to exert his influence in various ministries.
  • PM will be responsible for appraising ministers given that he signed their performance contracts.
  • The entry of the PM into the political equation seems to have scattered the group of businessmen who the President consulted in his first term.

With the Grand Coalition entering its fourth month in office, debate is now shifting to whether Prime Minister Raila Odinga has become the focal point of the government.

In the last one month or so, Mr Odinga has come out strongly to assert himself as the coordinator and supervisor of government ministries, and performing some key functions that were previously officiated by President Kibaki.

But more telling is the increasing number of people who are appealing for his intervention on various issues from those who lost out after the sale of government houses was cancelled to those who have lost their jobs in various ministries.

The burning question is whether Mr Odinga is using his hands-on approach to elbow himself to the centre of power, or whether there is a silent agreement between him and President Kibkai to take on the bulk of the executive duties.

However, the President preference for a hands-off and laid-back style of management has not helped observers understand exactly what is happening as he has in the past delegated authority to his Cabinet ministers.

But one thing is for sure that the Grand Coalition is working more coherently than in the initial stages when the division between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Party (ODM), were often played out in the open.

At the time, there was also no clear definition of the roles of the Prime Minister and those of the Head of the Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura.

Mr Salim Lone, the Prime Ministers spokesman, told the Saturday Nation that some people were beginning to recognise that there is a position of the Prime Minister and it was not ceremonial as they had earlier thought.

According to him, this was an improvement of the previous structure where the President also the head of State and Government remained the nerve centre of all public programmes.

He (Mr Odinga) is a results-oriented individual geared towards delivery, and those people who have recognised his worth are now coming to him for consultations. He consults as much with PNU ministers as he does with ODM ones, and he is encouraging people to look at the bigger picture and not to dwell too much on small mistakes, said Mr Lone.

Still, Mr Odinga has picked the momentum and there might be no stopping him.

Last week he made two major statements by announcing the removal of the Kenya Ports Authority managing director, Mr Abdallah Mwaruwa and endorsing the appointment of Mr Brown Ondego as the executive chairman of the troubled Rift Valley Railways (RVR).

Incidentally, Mr Mwaruwa was Mr Ondegos successor at KPA.

Earlier in the week, Mr Odinga had convened a meeting of Kenya and Uganda stakeholders in RVR after questions over its ownership were raised in Parliament.

But also significant was the fact that Mr Odinga this time signed the performance contracts for the ministers, parastatal heads and permanent secretaries. This means that he will be responsible for appraising them, a responsibility performed by the President in the past.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008,which was signed in February 28, requires the President and the Prime Minister to share responsibilities in the composition and running of the government.

But there were doubts over whether Mr Odinga could smoothly carry out his co-ordination and supervisory role given the emotions that followed the disputed 2007 presidential elections which also split many public officers along ethnic and party lines.

Before the formation of the coalition Cabinet, there was apprehension within a section of PNU that the President could lose control of the government once Mr Odinga was formally installed as the Prime Minister.

While President Kibaki is a behind-the-scenes operator who rarely involves himself in controversies, Mr Odinga is an abrasive politician who has stepped on many toes in his quest for political leadership.

The Presidents style of leadership since he came into power in 2002, has always beena hands-off approach to governance, giving room to his ministers to make weighty decisions on their own.

The entry of the Prime Minister into the political equation seems to have scattered the group of businessmen with whom the President consulted in his first five year-term.

The group had a major influence on the presidency, especially in the early days of 2003 when President Kibaki was recovering the injuries he sustained from a road accident during the 2002 campaigns.

The unease that the PMs entry generated was evident early in the year at the height of the negotiations for power-sharing.

The Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Francis Muthaura, gave a public statement defining the pecking order in the government under the new arrangement. He placed Vice-President Kalonzo above the Prime Minister yet the accord defined the President and the PM as principals.

The move was meant to remind Mr Odinga that despite the Accord, he had little room for manoeuvre.

Working relationship

Mr Muthauras decision was to generate controversy after key public functions were hit by protocol hitches. At the time, both the VP and PM jostled to invite the President to speak at public functions.

The controversy even threatened to derail peace meetings led by the President in the Rift Valley, which was hardest hit by the post-election violence.

In recent weeks, it has been rare for the President, the PM and the VP to all be present at the same public function.

Now Mr Odingas working relationship and constant consultations with President Kibaki in the running of government, is likely to open a fresh round of jostling especially in the light of the presidential succession in 2012.

Mr Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are believed to be eyeing the presidency in the 2012 election and would be uncomfortable being subordinate to the man they are going to compete against in four years time.

That explains why there has been a push to have the two team up ahead of the elections.



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Official: AU intends helping to reach a solution not a problem in Mauritania

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

The African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, on Sunday said in Nouakchott that the AU will back up a solution and not problem in Mauritania.

“We have already expressed our position about the coup”, he told the media after a meeting with the President of the High State Council in Mauritania (HCE), General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Sunday in Nouakchott.

HCE proclaimed itself as leader of the country after ousting former President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

“I am bearing a message of the Commissions President Jean Ping and with the support of the AU Peace and Security Council”, Mr. Lamamara said.

He explained that the “political and legal frame of that message is well known as it naturally results from the African Union documents”.

The African envoy added that the texts “are not subject to change” and they “apply naturally to all the cases where established regimes are unconstitutionally changed”.

Mr. Lamamra, who arrived Saturday evening in Nouakchott recalled that the AU had followed Mauritania to succeed its transition (2005 2007), but underscored that the ultimate responsibility for solving the current crisis is incumbent upon Mauritanians themselves.

The AU announced through a statement of the Foreign Ministry that Tanzania, the acting Chair of the AU, has suspended Mauritania from the Organisation “until the country regains a constitutional government”.

“The military coup is a loss for Mauritanians because it has stolen from the people their fundamental right to freely elect the leaders of their choice”, the Tanzanian foreign Minister, Bernard Member, the Chair of the AU Cabinet meeting said.

The Mauritanian Head of State, Sidi Mohamed Ould Abdallahi, who was elected on April 2007, was deposed on August 6th by a group of army officers whom he had fired early the same morning, including his Chief of Staff, General Abdel Aziz, the leader of the coup.

These officers, former members of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy (CMJD) were suspected of supporting 25 MPs and 23 Senators who resigned the day before from the presidential party, the National Covenant for Democracy and Development.

The military coup occurred on Wednesday in Mauritania amid a set of crises that affected the social and political life of the country during the last two months.



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AU welcomes appointment of Abyei Administration in Sudan

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

The Commission of the African Union (AU) on Sunday welcomed the appointment on Saturday of the Abyei Administration in Sudan, saying it was “a significant step in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)” signed a few years ago among the Sudanese parties.

The Commission commends the Sudanese leadership for its adherence to the timelines agreed to in the Abyei Road Map for the Return of the IDP1s and Implementation of the Abyei Protocol, signed on 8 July 2008,AU said.

Several years ago, the CPA was signed by Sudanese parties to solve Sudanese political problems.

The Commission commends the parties for the ongoing redeployment of their forces from the Abyei region, and encourages them to complete the deployment of the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) as soon as possible.

It further expressed full commitment to the Sudanese parties for the implementation of the CPA.



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Liberia appoints new ambassador to U.S.A

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, as the new ambassador Plenipotentiary and Exraordinary to the United States.

Barnes served as Liberias Permanent Representative at the United Nations in New York before his new appointment.

Mr. Barnes, an opposition politician, replaces Mr. Charles Minor who was last year accused of involvement in malpracices by staff of the Liberian Embassy in Washington, a presidential mansion source this week.

The appointment of a new Liberian ambassador to the United States coincides with the appointment by the U.S of a new ambassador to Liberia.



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Liberia: witness tells Commission ECOMOG was bribed for mansion take-over

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

former official of the defunct ULIMO-K, Mr. Alieu Jesus Swaray claimed that the West African Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) was paid by ethnic Krahns of slain president Samuel Kanyon Doe, to allow ex-AFL General Charles Julu to take over the Executive Mansion in August 1994.

Swaray made the testimony at the weekend in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Thematic and Institutional hearings that are going on in Monrovia.

General Julue, during the interim rule of Professor David Kpormakpor in August 1994, announced that he had taken over the Executive Mansion through a coup, but was smoked out of the presidential mansion by ECOMOG troops.

He told the TRC that the plan by the elite Krahns to overthrow the interim regime became clear when retired General J. Hezekiah Bowen (a Krahn) refused an offer by the defunct NPFL and ULIMO-K faction leaders Charles Taylor and Alhaji Kromah to serve to accept the chairmanship of the proposed Council of State at the Akosombo Peace talks of 1994.

Swaray further told the hearing that the sub-regional force was engaged in supplying arms and ammunition to splinter rebel factions.



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Alleged witness says American CIA killed Liberian President Tolbert

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

One of the founding members of the defunct Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), Counselor Chea Cheapoo said it was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that killed President William R. Tolbert, and not the military junta that toppled his ruling True Whig Party regime on April 12, 1980.

Cheapoo said he was informed after the blody military coup by the wife of President Tolbert that it was a white man associated with the CIA that killed her husband.

Counselor Cheapoo, who testified before the ongoing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, further indicated that he was later shown a map by one of the coup makers, used by the CIA to enter the Executive Mansion to carry out their mission.

Cheapoo accused the CIA of involvement in series of actions that resulted in problems for the Liberian state, and called on them to stop meddling in the affairs of the Liberian nation.

Cheapoo who served as the first Justice Minister when the Peoples Redemption Council (PRC) added that the military regime which removed the government from power never trusted the politicians, and never informed them about certain actions they took.

Cheapoo said as even as Justice minister, he had nothing to do with the execution of the former 13 government officials by the coup makers.

The execution of the 13 former officials of the True Whig Party (TWP) sparked widespread tension and condemnation, and is said to have been responsible for the civil war.

Charles Taylor himself (a Congo or Americo-Liberian) announced in 1990, that he brought the war to revenge the execution of the 13 former government officials who were all members of the Settler Community, otherwise known as Congos.



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Environment: Why maintaining a good environment management is vital yet nothing is happening!

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2008

THE MAU forest have lately been in the Kenyan new media for all the wrong things going on there pus the accusations and counter-accusations that have become all too familiar in Kenya. The Mau complex present a complex case where the need to protect a fragile ecosystem is unfortunately increasingly getting a political connotation. The politicians are all too quick to make quick bucks out of a dangerously veering environmental disaster!

Incidentally the third world especially in Africa and Kenya included have good natural resources but which they do not realize the importance of safeguarding or protecting through proper utilization and maintenance. The rate of destruction will come to bear very negatively in the mid-term and in the long run. In the near past for instance Africa was endowed with many clean and natural streams and rivers all over. Today most of these have dried and others polluted to the extent that they are simply an ecological disaster.

Besides the many challenges facing the globe there are specific ones and which can easily be addressed that face poor nations out of their own psychological and physiological weaknesses. Political inefficiency and backwardness with weak economic structures and safeguards in place have led to desperate measures which have resulted to destruction of the environment. As they do so they consign their present and future generation to a disturbed and very unsecure future hitherto they don’t foresee or fell helpless to redress.

Right now the global community is seemingly aware the crisis on environmental degradation with the adverse effects as occasioned by global warming. What is not clear is whether there is adequate effort to eliminate the effects and putting to a halt or minimizing the factors busy destroying the environment. The rich and most industrialized nations of the world are the greatest polluters of the world but the more severe consequences are unfortunately being and look set to continues felt among the poor nations.

Africa’s vast resources has remained a curse to date courtesy of the leadership problem and the massive influence and brunt of political and economic shenanigans of the West and now the gluttonous East. It remains the cheapest source of raw materials and of course a good reservoir for labour. Africa remain the pawn of the rest of the globe. Africa simply is not addressing its environmental risks.

Back to Kenya and the environmental disaster in the waking. Against the global recommendations of 10% forest cover Kenya at independence had a cover of above 2% . Today it is anywhere below 1%. It is surprising that anybody living in Nairobi would wonder that the Nairobi Water company has to ration availability of water to consumers at the current period. It is simple as that nature is slowly but surely hitting back. The environmental as been destroyed beyond sanity levels. There is simply inadequate water flows.

The issue to consider on developing countries like Kenya is the availability of cheap source of energy. Clearly the cost of fuel globally and Kenya specifically make it outrageous to expect majority who are poor to afford. Electricity costs are also on the roof. Besides this the demand for land is increasingly leaning to dangerous levels. We still need plenty of wood products for constructions here in Kenya and for offshore importers. Coupled with all this Forest extinction is becoming real. The Mau complexity and others which have not been brought to the surface is just a microcosm of a society slowly degenerating to abyss.

The point is demand for land will increase until we provide suitable alternatives for livelihood for the increasing number to the already poor that Kenya and third world . Also firewood will remain the most important source of energy or fuel for most people in Kenya both in rural and in urban centers for quite some good time. In the short term we need to be replacing the destruction at a faster rate than decimation of trees plus make subsistence farming less important by exploring the exploitation of modern technology and commerce as the way to a sustainable future.

Forest farming should be endeared into a national culture such that forestry and agro-forestry is vigorously practiced and promoted. But while at it the trend in Kenya is the farming of the eucalyptus trees for quick commercial benefits, While it is good in commercial sense, in the long term it is not sustainable. The government and the NGO’s should be keen on the disaster in the waking as Eucalyptus is quite disruptive and destructive in the long term in terms of water availability and desertification. Besides farming trees for commercial sense there should be promotion of indigenous forest trees and other conservative exotic trees which in the long run will guarantees good incomes and conservation of the environment.

By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda, Nairobi – Kenya



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