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Archive for August 17th, 2008

Mbeki expects to reach Zimbabwe deal today

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday he expects Southern African leaders, in Johannesburg for the South African Development Community summit, to help Zimbabwes rival parties conclude a power-sharing deal before the end of today.

But Mbekis measured speech was preceded by Zambias outright rebuke of Robert Mugabes sham elections on June 27.

Speaking on behalf of President Levy Mwanawasa, Zambias foreign affairs minister, Kabinga Pande, said the elections that led to Mugabes proclamation as president were a serious blot on the culture of democracy in the region.

While Mbeki appeared largely optimistic about a settlement, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Tendai Biti appeared less so.

Speaking on the sidelines of the SADC meeting on Sunday, Biti said there was a 50/50 chance.

Mbeki, who is facilitating the talks between Mugabes Zanu-PF and the MDCs two factions, took over the chair of SADC from the ailing Mwanawasa.

On Friday, Mbeki and the chairman of SADCs Organ of Politics and Security, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, were in lengthy discussions with Mugabe and the two MDC leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

They reconvened yesterday after the official opening of the summit, with King Mswati of Swaziland heading the organ.

Accepting the SADC chair, Mbeki said: I am certain that millions of Zimbabweans- both inside and outside- await with great expectation and hope for a positive outcome of our deliberations.

Tsvangirai wants an interim government for 30 months, while Mugabe wants it for five years.

The opposition also wants last years draft constitution adopted immediately, while Zanu-PF only wants the blueprint implemented in three years.

However, a compromise to implement a new constitution after 18 months has been tabled.

Tsvangirai is also demanding that his role as prime minister and de facto head of government be guaranteed in writing but Mugabe has refused, arguing that it would render his post ceremonial.

The two are also at loggerheads over who would chair the cabinet. Mbeki has suggested a compromise in which Tsvangirai would be deputy, but the question of how the two would operate still remains.

Mugabe has suggested that Tsvangirai chair the cabinet in his absence. Tsvangirai initially resisted, but later agreed. The issue reared its head again, though, when it emerged that the acting president chairs the cabinet in the presidents absence. The question is whether Tsvangirai would automatically be acting president.

And so the talks deadlocked. Tsvangirai stormed out of the hotel looking glum and frustrated. He refused to comment, saying Mbeki would issue a statement.

Mbeki has been criticised at home and abroad for protecting Mugabe, but Zimbabwes veteran leader complimented the South African president for the way he had chaired the talks.

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KNUT election campaigns in Rongo causes claims that some candidates have resorted to witchcraftcy in search of votes

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

The new elections of the district branch executive in the newly created Rongo district has began in earnest with allegation and counter accusation that some unpopular candidates for the position of the branch executive secretary have gone solo consulting witchdoctors in the neighbouring country.

A good number of senior teachers are said to be interested in the post of the executive secretary. The branch has been hived from Migori branch following the recently

Establishment of the newly created Rongo district. Originally this branch was previously served by the Migori district branch.

Some name have come forward as the new entrants into the race for the coveted position of district executive secretary, but some of the name already being floated have caused stirs and is only contributing to serious division among member of the teaching fraternity in the district

Among the leading contenders were seen busy having a serious of meetings with their supporter. Behind the scene consultations are also to be in the offing whereby some candidates are said to have sought for political backing by the sitting MPs.

Rongo district has two parliamentary constituencies, namely Uriri and Roingo. The MP for Uriri is Hon Cyprian Ojuwang Omolo the execessively wealthy Nairobi businessman. While his counter part is Hon Dalmas Otieno, the Minister for Public Service

Insiders have confided to us that the two MPs would as much like to excluded from teachers elections politics. But in some quarters teachers are suspecting that there could be some elements of political overtones

At the same time, fears persist that clanism is likely to raise its ugly head in the teachers union politics in Rongo.

There is also the suspicion of KNUT members who are allegedly teaching while armed with fake academic certificate or forged ones. Some of the culprits in this category are the most vocal and noisy make, seeking their relatives and friend to occupy KNU office so that they in turn could protect them from being exposed by the Ministry of Education.

Rongo and Migori district are alleged to be having the largest number of teachers using fake and forged professional certificates. Even those who had no O level academic certificates standard educated are said to have gained undeserved entry or admission into Teachers Training Colleges through briberies. This category of teachers, according to a source in Rongo would like to retain the status quo at all costs.

Going by clanism arithmetic, the man to watch is Mr. Thomas Awino, who hails fromn Kamagambo the dominant sub-clan in Rongo Rongo Division, but currently the headmaster at Rapogi Mixed Primary School in North Kanyamkago Location in Uriri Division. MR. Awino recently graduated with a batchelor degree in education after parallel studies.

He is believed to be level minded teachers and is very popular with teachers in all the three divisions of Uriri, Awendo and Rongo. He lacked a strong challenger from his Kamagambo home turf. Awino is also advantaged. By his popularity with the teachers, though he l;acked political patronage.

Another aspirant is Mr Samuel Omwaga who is from Waware sub-location in Sakwa East Location and a member of Jo-Chula Rusinga. Sub-clan. Omwaga ius a popular candidate with good following among the teacher sdue to his accessibilkity and social interaction with fellow teacher. He is banking on support of teachers from East Sakwa and South Sakwa{Alego}. He is also said to be a formidable campaigner with a lot of support of teachers in Awendo Division.

Also in the race is the former KNUT executive secretary in Migori district Mr. John Otieno Owuor who hails from the Jo-Kamgundho a minority sub-clan in Uriri Division.

Politically, Owuor is disadvantaged by the allegation that his family had opposed the current Uriri MP Cyprian Ojuwang Omolo for the rapidly ageing Herman Odhiambo Omamba whom Omolo had consigned to a political limbo during the last years general election. It is not very clear whether the two families have since reconciled or not..

Teachers have told us that Owuor is enjoying the backing of some teachers who are allegedly armed with fake academic certificates, and that some of his supporters are those who are suspected to have vandalized the CDF. Owuor, however, will have to go full length to exonerate himself from allegation of being excessively arrogance, associating with teachers with fake academic certificates and alleged bad mouthing his opponents. His previous mission and stint at the helm of KNUT in Migori was couple with allegation is mistreatment of teachers.

Also in the race is a Mr.Omogo who is nicknamed {Mid-Day} blazing sun, while another candidate Awino has nicknamed himself as the {raising sun

.

Others who are also in the race include Mr. Edward Okello of Luwala Primary School, David Omogo of Oruba Primary School.

All the aspirants recently met on a face-to-face encounter campaign during the Prize giving day at Piny Owacho Primary School In Central Kanyamkago in Uriri Division and making accurate and unbiased assessment shows that the KNUT members in Rongo have settled on Thomas Awino to be their next branch executive secretary.

This time around, the Rongo teachers have made it clear that they would to be led by a focus and non-confrontational person who would not promote political thuggery in KNUT.

This is an idea which is well circulated following the recent unconfirmed report that a school teacher at Piny Owacho, Mr. Boaz Jakotaye Omori was recently assaulted at Nyogilo Bar in Rapogi market bar a teacher who claims to be a supporter of one of the candidates for the post of executive secretary.

Some teachers in Uriri area are said to have built palatial houses in their rural homes while allegedly using th4e stolen CDF revolving funds meant for the development and renovations of educational facilities in the area.

The Rongo teachers have also vowed to elect an enlightened teacher, but not a professional mediocre person. The time for mediocrity are long gone, remarked one teacher who preferred to remain anonymous.

Claims and allegations that some candidate hard pressed and facing defeat have resorted to hiring the services of witchdoctors are also rampant, but we were not able to establish the authenticity of such claims.

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API

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Githongo is ready to secretly tape record President Kibaki if he meets him, in the same way he did with Ministers in 2005

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

The president – Kibaki should think carefully if he plans to give audience to Githongo. Githongo might secretly tape him using modern MI5 or MI6 gadgets, only to use them later against Kibaki and Kenya when he returns to the UK. Such tapes will boost Githongo’s roundtrip lectures in European cities against the Kenyan people and the government.

Even if one does not like all the policies in his country, going around the world tainting your own country is malicious but to the pleasure of the west. (API)

Githongo: What I will tell Kibaki if I meet him

By Standard on Sunday Reporter

Self-exiled former Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics John Githongo says were he to meet President Kibaki it would be the moment of truth.

Asked if he would meet President whom he abandoned mid-stream, saying he had lost the support he needed to carry on with his work, and what he would tell him, he said: Absolutely. All I would have is the truth. When he fled the country, with chunks of tapes of recorded conversations with ministers who he said asked him to slow down investigation into the Sh7 Anglo Leasing scandals because it was about us, Githongo said there were serious threats to his life.

The BBC aired some of the tapes, including the one on Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi who said it was a manipulation. But he is yet to release the rest of his arsenal. He, however, maintained he kept the President constantly updated on his progress in investigating Anglo Leasing before hegave up. Expected back on Wednesday since February 2005 when he threw in the towel while on an official engagement in London, Githongo maintains he neither betrayed the country nor his community by exposing corruption in the Cabinet.

John Githongo : Former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary

That opinion is their democratic right. I was not employed by Gikuyu Inc but by the Kenyan nation of more than 37 million people, as I have said before, was his response to our question.

The man nicknamed anti-graft czar because of the zeal with which he went about his work on being appointed presidential advisor on war against corruption, answered our questions from London as he prepared for the homecoming.

The interview cast the image of a man whose language, demeanour and disposition appear unchanged. It projected the Githongo Kenyans have known; bold and fearless; consistent, unassuming and unapologetic. On the high and mighty with whom he was in the civil society keeping the Kanu on toes, but who changed language once the National Rainbow Coalition swept into power, Githongo says: I made some serious errors of emotional judgement. Rationally it was clear because I had often written about it. But when confronted with it up close as part of relationships in which you have an emotional interest, it is a different beast altogether.

The former head of Transparency International (Kenya Chapter) who will be talking at the Kenya Human Rights Commissions conference on August 20, held his cards close to the chest when asked if he was coming home to stay. There are a variety of ways one can contribute to building ones nation, was his answer.

Centre of gravity

On Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the capacity to stem the tide of corruption, Githongos response was: Raila Odinga has been the centre of gravity of Kenyan politics for some time now. He is currently balancing thousands of interests and managing endless expectations. The anti-corruption one is not voiced too loudly right now but on it the harshest judgements are made. He has the energy and courage to confront it.

Githongo, a senior associate member of St Antonys College, Oxford, has been staying in London since he resigned and switched homes while on official duty in the United Kingdom. His departure, he said, created the worst political and confidence crisis for Kibaki since he came to power in 2002. He threw in the towel as his boss grappled with the public and donors to demonstrate he intended to tackle runaway official corruption.

The high profile symbol of President Kibakis battle against corruption did not, at the time, say why he was quitting, merely stating he could not continue. But his exit, abrupt as it was, eroded the Kibaki administrations credibility in war against the vice.

He was in London with Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director Justice Aaron Ringera, where they met representatives of Kroll and Associates, a firm contracted by the Government to track down looted wealth in foreign banks.

He later said it took him seven plans to execute his departure. He shared his frustrations with those he was seeking to prosecute over corruption.

Githongo is said to have had a tense meeting with three key ministers associated with Kibakis hard line wing, before flying out to Europe.

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Kenya: Woman’s life cut short by gangsters

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

Woman murdered in Nairobi

Written By:Anthony Kaikai

A middle aged woman was Friday night murdered in cold blood in Nairobi’s Kariobangi estate.

The woman was allegedly attacked in the wee hours of the morning by an armed gang who tortured her before killing her.

Area residents however caught up with one of the alleged attackers and beat him senseless before police intervened.

The forty-year-old Kariobangi businesswoman was allegedly attacked at her home by a gang of armed gangsters who tortured her for several hours.

The woman was later murdered and her body dumped at an abandoned house in the sprawling Kariobangi North estate.

Following the brutal murder, area residents took matters into their hands and descended upon an alleged murderer with all manner of crude weapons, beating him to a pulp.

They claimed the suspect was part of the gang that attacked the woman.

According to the woman’s relatives, unknown assailants recently attempted to attack her but their plans were foiled after her neighbours intervened.

The residents are now calling on the police to hunt down the killers who are still at large.

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Kenya: To curb Cattle rustling and other insecurity matters to be given priority by the government

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

Govt to form committee on cattle rustling

Written By:Rose Kamau/KNA

The Government will form a committee to fast track efforts to curb cattle rustling and other insecurity matters in Arid and Semi Arid areas (ASAL).

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said the steering committee will ensure resolutions passed during a meeting in Naivasha popularly known as the Naivasha Declaration are implemented.

The minister said the resolutions included curbing of cattle rustling and proliferation of small arms.

“The Government takes the issues in the ASAL areas seriously and the provincial administration will be actively involved in the implementation of the resolution,” he said.

Saitoti was speaking at Simba Lodge in Naivasha after a two-day peace and security meeting attended by 40 MPs, PCs and DCs from ASAl areas.

Speaking in the same forum, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim said the insecurity in the Northern regions could be addressed if the areas are developed economically.

He said past Governments had neglected the area but improved road networks, health facilities and education would open up the areas and give residents alternative sources of livelihood.

“People in these areas need alternative sources of livelihood and improved infrastructure would open up economic activities,” he said.

The Lagdera MP urged his colleagues to be on the forefront in the fight against cattle rustling.

He said in the past, MPs have shied away from speaking publicly against the vice especially when their communities have been attacked.

“MPs keep quiet on issues of cattle rustling so that they do not run their constituents the wrong way, so that they are re-elected after five years,” he said.

During the meeting, the MPs resolved that the Government should provide quality education and training to children and youth in ASAL areas to enable them diversify sources of income to curb cattle rustling.

They also asked the Government to develop and improve the road network in the affected regions.

The MPs also want a disarmament exercise to be conducted and ensure prompt recovery of stolen animals.

They also demanded that security be intensified along international borders to reduce cross border conflicts.

The legislators also asked the Government to prioritize early warning systems to help in crime prevention.

Cabinet ministers Yusuf Hajji (Defence), Samwel Poghisio (Information), Ibrahim Elmi (Northern Kenya Development), Mohammed Kuti (Livestock) were among those who attended the two day workshop.

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S/African union organises protest marches against Swazi, Zimbabwean leaders

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) led a march against the participation of the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and King Mswati of Swaziland in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit being held in Sandton, Johannesburg on Saturday.

A declaration made by Zimbabwean and Swaziland civil society delegates at a solidarity conference organised by Cosatu and held on August 10-11 read: “We hold dear the firm view that Robert Mugabe and Mswati III are not legitimate leaders of their various countries.

“They cannot claim any amount of legitimacy to rule their countries, for they have not been democratically elected by the peoples of their countries.

“Therefore, as representatives of civil society, we condemn the behaviour of these two leaders and take it upon ourselves to expose them and their unacceptable behaviour before the eyes of the world,” the declaration read.

Zimbabwean organisations which took part in the march included the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, the Zimbabwe Exiles and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

The Swazi organisations which took part in the march were the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, the Swaziland United Democratic Front, the Swaziland Federation of Labour, the Swaziland Youth Congress and the Peoples United Democratic Movement.

There were also South African organisations that took part in the march, and they included the Treatment Action Campaign and the Anti-Privatisation Forum.

Sandton police spokesperson Constable Neria Malefetse said there had been no reports of incidents during the march.

Police officers were monitoring the march to ensure that it was peaceful and that everyone was safe, she said.

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At least 50 die as Ethiopian troops fire on civilian buses near Somali capital

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

At least fifty civilian dead bodies were fund in separate areas of the outskirts of Mogadishu, who were believed to have been killed by Ethiopian troops on the road between Afgoi and Mogadishu on Saturday morning, witnesses have said.

The Ethiopian troops on Saturday opened fire on two civilian buses, killing 38 civilians on the road between Mogadishu and Afgoi district which is 30kms south of Mogadishu, when two Ethiopian army trucks were targeted by a landmine.

The two civilian buses were travelling from Afgoi district to the capital and they were behind an Ethiopian convoy, and as soon as an explosion occurred, the Ethiopians opened fire on the civilian buses.

In a separate incident, reports say that at least twelve people were gunned down by the Ethiopian troops and more than twenty were injured in Hawa Abdi, 17kms south of Mogadishu.

I saw twelve dead bodies, including some of my relatives, said Musa Elmi Abdi, a resident of Hawa Abdi. They died when the Ethiopian troops opened fire randomly on them and this is genocide.

This is not the first time the Ethiopian troops have been accused of opening fire on innocent civilians when they are targeted by insurgents. Last Tuesday, they were also accused of killing at least six people travelling to the Wenlaweyn district, about 90 kilometres north of Mogadishu.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of former President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan-based militias to remove Barre only to turn on each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan war which left thousands killed and millions displaced.

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Plans are underway to revive Arab-African cooperation, says Egyptian official

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

Ambassador Sanaa Atallah, who is in charge of African affairs in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the coming days will witness a revival of Arab -African cooperation and stimulate dialogue between the two sides.

Ambassador Sanaa Atallah told reporters Saturday in Cairo that Egypt is currently holding consultations on ways of activating the Arab-African relations with the secretariat of the Arab League and African Union Commission, as well as with African and Arab communities abroad aimed at preparing for holding an Arab-African summit, the second of its kind after the first Arab-African Summit held in Cairo in 1977.

It is noteworthy that there are ten African countries which members of the Arab League, and their population constitutes about 70 per cent of the total population of the League.

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Four African boxers qualify for Olympic quarterfinals

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

Four African boxers qualified to the quarterfinals on Friday and Saturday in the 2008 Olympic Games second boxing preliminary round (round of 16) held at the Workers Gymnasium in Beijing.

The results of African athletes who were in competition for a place at the quarterfinals in Mens Bantam, Mens Feather, Mens Fly, Mens Light Fly, Mens Light categories are as follows:

-In Mens Fly (51kg) Round of 16 held Saturday: Cherif Walid from Tunisia edged Lee Oksung from Korea by points 11-5.

-In Mens Bantam (54kg) Round of 16 held on Friday: Julie Bruno from Mauritius edged Tojibaev Hoorshid from Uzbekistan by points 16-4.

-In Mens Bantam (54kg) Round of 16 held on Friday: Ikgopoleng Khumiso from Botswana beat Moroccan Mesbahi Hicham after the referee stopped the contest.

-In Mens Feather (57kg), Round of 16 held on Friday: Chadi Abdelkader from Algeria beat Adi Sailom from Thailand by points 7-6.

-In Mens Light Fly (48kg) Round of 16: Uutoni Jafet from Namibia edged by Maszczyk Lukasz from Poland by points +5-5.

-In Mens Light Fly (48kg) Round of 16: Plange Manyo from Ghana edged by Carvalho Paulo from Brazil by points 21-12.

-In Mens Feather (57kg) Round of 16: Santos Reyes Arturo from Mexico beat Shili Alaa from Tunisia by points 14-2.

-In Mens Light (60kg) Round of 16 held on Friday: Lawal Rasheed Olawale from Nigeria edged by Javakhyan Hrachik from Armenia by points 12-0.

-In Mens Middle (75kg) Round of 16: Sutherland Darren John from Ireland edged Kassel Nabil from Algeria after the referee stopped the contest.

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Nigerians in Cameroon hail happy outcome of Bakassi case

Posted by African Press International on August 17, 2008

Many Nigerian nationals living in Cameroon see the handover of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon as the strengthening of the sisterly relations between the two countries as “an example of wisdom which should be emulated.”

Estimated at about four million people in Cameroon, the Nigerian community concentrates particularly in commercial activities and agricultural chiefly in the trade of electronic appliances.

They also dominate the small-scale fishing and the sale of spare parts sectors.

The president of the Association of Nigerian Nationals of Douala (ARND), Humphrey Ido, said the handover of Bakassi is a good thing for the population of both countries who will continue to maintain the good-neighbourly relations, adding that this border dispute is the making of the political leaders.

“We are happy that peace is preserved between our two countries. For us, the Bakassi case is a problem of politicians. The peoples of the two countries have nothing to do with it, but unfortunately suffer the consequences of such misunderstanding,” he declared.

“Our wish is that this peace is durable, since the two peoples have been living together for decades,” Mr. Ido continued.

Nigerians in Douala admitted to “never having truly a problem of integration in Cameroon”, even at the height of the armed crisis between Yaounde and Abuja.

The mayor of the island of Manoka, which houses the headquarters of the 6th district of Douala, Mr. Ernest Edimo, said that nearly 70 percent of his districts population comprises of foreigners, including Beninese, Ghanaians, Liberians, Malians, Sierra Leoneans, Togolese and especially Nigerians who represent 50 percent.

At the Yabassi Camp district where the Nigerian community in Douala is concentrated, some Nigerians hailed “the happy outcome” of the Bakassi case.

They said the border dispute “concerns only politicians”.

Apart from Douala and Yaounde where they are very much present in the trade of spare parts, the strongest concentrations of Nigerians in Cameroon are in the border regions, particularly in the provinces of Adamaoua in the far north, the north, north-west and south-west provinces.

The Bakassi case dates back to December 1993 when Nigeria had annexed this allegedly- oil rich small territory of 1000 square kilometres.

Cameroon took the case before the United Nations and won the case following the verdict without appeal at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on October 10, 2002.

Moreover, the 12 June 2006 UN-backed Green Tree agreement (USA) between the presidents of the two countries determined the handover calendar of Bakassi to Cameroon.

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