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Archive for August 26th, 2008

Giving women opportunity

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

by Scott A Morgan

Lately it seems that one cannot read or hear a news report from Africa without the mentioning of Women being abused in one fashion or another. Whether its the Sexual Assaults that have occured in the DRC or in Zimbabwe or the trafficking of sex workers Violence for some women is a daily occurance.

Last Fall Joe Biden the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who now just happens to be the Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate introduced this bill. The Bill S.2279 was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Halloween. At this time the bill still remains there with no apparent plan for it to be addressed anytime soon. This past Spring a House Version of the Bill was introduced and it is in the House Foreign Relations Committee.

So what could happen if this bill is passed? The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 will be amended. A new Department will be added in the State Department. This new body will be called the Office of Women’s Global Initiatives. It will coordinate all US Activities regarding International Women’s Issues. Some of the programs will be teaching Security Forces in how to prevent Violence Against Women and allow the Agency for International Development in post-conflict operations.

In some instances Women have been at the forefront of change. In other instances they have been used as pawns. In Refugee Camps they have been targeted for abuse. This has been a problem in Africa for the last 15 years. A series of Civil Wars and Interventions have caused the deaths of Millions of People. Millions of others were driven from their homes and were left vulnerable at times. At various times and in different countries there have been stories regarding women seeking refuge in Camps only to be attacked by rebels or even those who have the duty or protecting them.

With the passing of the IVAW Act the USA could provide crucial logistical Support for several Aid Organizations where it is needed. So the current logjam that is currently occuring within the Congress needs to be removed. Not when its politically expedient for one party or the other. One could assume that it may take another major incident or conflict for the Congress to finally get off its collective rear end and do something.

This is another instance where Washington can repair its damaged reputation with the rest of the world. Some of these incidents listed above and others that have been reported have been committed under the auspices of the United Nations. So passing this legislation could give some Agencies and other concerned groups another viable option to request funds and other logisitcal support from. Which in itself is a excellent reason to pass this.

The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com

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African leaders do not want Sudanese leader feried to the Hague for trial

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Bashir report misleading, says Raila

ByCAROLINE WAFULA

Prime Minister Raila Odinga Sunday dismissed reports in a section of the local media that he backs attempts by the International Criminal Court to prosecute Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged genocide crimes in Darfur.

Mr Odinga said in a statement signed by his spokesman, Mr Salim Lone, that the reports were false and misleading.

The PM said he was an adherent of independent investigations into allegations of war crimes, but was not in a position to assess the work of the International Criminal Court.

Mr Odinga reiterated remarks he made two weeks ago to Sudanese presidential envoy, Bona Malwal, that derailing the peace efforts in Darfur would be regrettable.

The PMs position on the indictment is very clear and it was communicated to His Excellency, Bona Malwal, the presidential envoy, two weeks ago, the statement said.

Mr Odinga said that the current effort by the international court could complicate the search for peace in that country.

Ending war

Ending this war must be the principal priority of Sudan and the international community. Anything that could derail this vital goal would be regrettable, said the statement.

The ICC chief prosecutor at the Netherlands-based court filed genocide and war crimes charges against President el-Bashir on July 14, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign of killing and rape in Darfur. The prosecutor said his state apparatus was directly responsible for the deaths of 35,000 people.

Mr al-Bashir last week said the genocide charges levelled against him were part of a global campaign to topple his government, divide the country and plunder its oil resources.

He said there were forces behind the ICC seeking to drive him from power before next years elections can take place.

The African Union has also warned that the planned prosecution was tantamount to pouring oil on fire.

Africas top diplomat, Jean Ping met President el-Bashir and other officials recently and urged the United Nations Security Council to suspend the ICC investigation while peace efforts continue.

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Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (left) and his wife Michelle, with Obamas running mate Joe Biden and his wife Jill during a campaign in Illinois, USA. Photos/REUTERS

ByKENNETH OGOSIA and MICHAEL MUGWANGA

As Barack Obama lives the dreams from his father in his White House bid, an American woman goes about her business in Nairobis Lavington estate without attracting much attention.

She doesnt talk about politics, and she doesnt talk about the Obama Snr she once married.

At the opposite end of town, in Huruma estate live the US candidates close relatives. They too have, until recently, been little known. But unlike the woman, they are mobbed by a prying international press, no doubt looking for material with which to help or hurt the Obama Campaign.

In the book Dreams from my Father by the US presidential candidate, Ruth Ndesandjo features prominently.

Obama Snrs third wife, unlike Senator Obamas mother Ann, is one of the least known ever since she came to Kenya from Havard 44 years ago and married Obama Snr.

Recognises Ruth

Mrs Ruth Ndesandjo, the presidential candidates step-mother during an interview. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

As she went about her business in Nairobi as Madari kindergarten teacher, she told the Nation: Ive been here for 44 years and run this school for 28 years, but my age is none of your business.
A close family friend who talked to the Nation after the interview at her residence had fond memories of his encounter with Ruths parents in Boston, USA, in 1966. Mr Barack Odinge Odera said Obama Snr and Ruth were a wonderful couple.

Ruth was most reluctant to do this interview. No interview about my private life. Im Mrs Ndesandjo, a caring man who built for me the school you visited, she said.

And she could only talk about education, and called for the overhaul of the 8-4-4 system, saying: These children have no time to be children.

They wake up at 4am carrying loads of books, remain in class the whole day, do home work in the evening and sleep with examinations in mind.

Lifes not about that. Thats why some footballers, musicians or athletes are earning more money than professors.

Mrs Ndesandjo was pained by the recent student strikes, and even more pained by the corporal punishment prescribed. If you fight your wife everyday thinking she will be disciplined, then you are wrong. She will hate you, Mrs Ndesandjo said.

Across town, is the 26-six year-old Obama Jnrs half-brother called Hussein, a brother called Rajab and a niece called Mwanaisha. Rajab, who has a college education recently moved out to a more upmarket address.

Their mother, Mrs Jael Otieno, stays in Atlanta, US, but has kept a low profile. She, however, sends money to the family.

Hussein is generally quiet and occasionally speaks softly, but as he moves from a distance, he resembles the US presidential candidate. George Hussein Onyango Obama hardly talks about his world famous half-brother. He also attends part-time training in Buru Buru, not very far from where he stays.

Hours after an Italian newspaper broke the story about the youngest Obama, the Huruma neighbourhood became a beehive of activity, with many international media correspondents fighting for the chance to get an interview.

Our chat was interrupted, and soon Hussein became busy. He started giving appointments, saying:. I cant talk now, may be at 3pm, he told us in the morning. He had given the same time to another international correspondent.

At 3pm, we found several journalists waiting, but Hussein was out for lunch. An hour later, his phone was picked by a newly acquired aid and we were told he was busy.

Busy or not, Hussein has acquired some celebrity status. He may just be on the way to the popularity and attention his grandmother in Kogello has. He visited his grandmother just a month ago.

I do not live on less than a dollar a month, he said in reaction to a story in a foreign newspaper that had made the suggestion. Though leaving in considerable humility, the last of the Hussein Obama Snrs children says he is comfortable with the life he is leading and reads mischief in the authors decision to paint him as living in misery.

Lifes good. I live with my cousin and niece in our family house in Huruma, he said. The motor vehicle engineering student said he fully supported his half-brothers presidential pursuit and wished him well. He has never been to the US.

I wish him all the best in the campaigns, said the soft spoken man.

George was born to Obama Snr and Jael six months before his father died in a car accident in Kenya. Jael has since remarried a Frenchman and settled in Atlanta.

George maintains close contacts with his mother and they talk often. But he last talked to the presidential candidate in 2006 when he visited Kenya.

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Kenya may request International Criminal Court to prosecute post-election financiers

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Wakos verdict on poll crimes

By Abiya Ochola

Attorney General Amos Wako has said masterminds of post-election violence could be charged for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands.

Wako told the Commission of Inquiry into Post-election violence led by Appellate Judge Phillip Waki that there were no legal hurdles to prevent the ICC from prosecuting those adversely mentioned.

“The ICC could take over post-election violence cases if need be. If this Commission finds that it is necessary, it can recommend the cases to ICC despite Kenya not having legislated the International Crimes Act,” said Wako.

AG Amos Wako (right) and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko at KICC, on Monday. PHOTO: MOSES OMUSULA

Wako added: “All cases must be prosecuted to their logical end. Cases should only be terminated where there is no evidence linking the person to the crime.”

While absolving his office from blame, Wako said he would not engage in the ongoing debate on amnesty by both sides of the political divide.

Amnesty to boost impunity

Wako further rejected calls for blanket amnesty, saying that could only exacerbate impunity.

During a cross-examination by Waki, the AG said what transpired after the 2007 General Elections had all the hallmarks of crimes against humanity.

Further, the Attorney General added, those found guilty should be permanently barred from holding public office.

Independent reports published locally and abroad have pointed an accusing finger at the political elite, some alleged to be Cabinet ministers, clerics and professionals such as athletes for financing political mayhem in which 1,200 Kenyans were killed and 250,000 displaced.

ODM led by Prime minister Raila Odinga have been calling for unconditional release of youths arrested over post-election skirmishes.

Speaking at an international conference on Restorative Justice and National Humanitarian Law in Nairobi last week, Raila said the youths were not guilty of any offence and should be therefore be set free.

Police say they are pursuing about 300 cases in connection with post-election violence.

President Kibaki, however, and a section of his Cabinet led by Justice Minister Martha Karua have maintained that everybody, including the financiers of the violence should be prosecuted.

Wako said he had set up a joint team with the Commissioner of Police to carry out a joint audit of cases before court and those under investigation.

“The challenge, which has been highlighted, is that would-be witnesses cannot be easily located to record statements or those located were reluctant to participate in identification parades or unwilling to appear in court and give evidence,” he said.

The AG said the police had no no-shoot-to-kill policy and called for the establishment of an oversight board to investigate use of undue force by the police.

Police have come under censured from human rights lobbies for using excessive force to quell demonstrators protests the General Election results.

But a segment of the lobbies, such as the New York-based Human Rights Watch, say the post-election anarchy was pre-planned, and have documented testimonies to corroborate their claims.

On bans imposed on local TV stations in the aftermath of post-election disturbances, Wako said the edict by then Internal Security minister was “unprocedural and illegal.”

“The ban on live broadcasts at the height of the standoff was unprocedural and illegal,” Wako said.

He added that shoddy investigations by police have led to impunity, and called for radical reform in the force.

Key among those is the establishment of an independent directorate of criminal investigations, security of tenure for police commissioners and the directors of public prosecutions.

The AG was put on the spot over his performance even as he laboured to exonerate his office from blame saying the State Law Office was grossly understaffed with only 64 State counsels instead of the required 94.

“The ideal would be 450 professional staff,” he added.

On a different note, Wako revealed the Witness Protection Programmes comes into force next week, on September 2, and Sh20 million has been set aside for the programme.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta dismissed calls for blanket amnesty for the suspects in post-election violence.

Uhuru said the law should be allowed to take its course. He said he was not opposed to the release of petty offenders but was against granting of amnesty to suspects of murders, rapes and arson.

“There is no way we can let off the murderers, rapists and suspects who torched other peoples property. It is absolutely against the law,” said Uhuru.

Speaking in Nyeri on Sunday, Uhuru said it was unfortunate that those calling for the forgiveness of the suspects were not taking into account the victims and families of those who were killed.

“We should also consider the pains of the families that lost their beloved ones and those who were maimed during the chaos,” said Uhuru.

He spoke after attending a thanksgiving ceremony for Kieni MP Mr Nemesyus Warugongo at Nairutia Catholic Church in Mugunda.

“We should allow the law to take its course and if the suspects are already in court we should wait for the outcome of their cases,” said Uhuru.

His sentiments were echoed by Kinangop MP David Ngugi and his Kangundo counterpart, Johnstone Muthama, who said the suspects should not be allowed to go scot-free.

Additional reporting by FRANCIS NGIGE

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President Kibaki under pressure to support formation of Grand Opposition in Parliament

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Back our quest, MPs tell Kibaki

By Standard Team

The clamour for an official opposition in Parliament went a notch higher after MPs supporting the Opposition Bill challenged President Kibaki to back their mission.

30 MPs led by Lugari legislator Cyrus Jirongo said they would write to the President and ask him to reciprocate their support during the formation of the Grand Coalition Government.

“We voted for the formation of the Grand Coalition Government. Why cant they support us to form the Grand opposition to complete the democratic equation in Parliament?” asked Jirongo.

But Lands Minister James Orengo warned ODM to put its house in order, if it hoped to win the 2012 General Election.

In an apparent reference to the quest for an official opposition, Mr Orengo said the party must remain united.

The MPs also said they respect Prime Minister Raila Odinga and wanted him to support their quest “for the sake of democracy in this country”.

Orengo challenged the proponents to shift their energies on giving the country a new Constitution.

“We have a timeline of one year. The focus should now be on a road map to deliver a constitution to the people,” Orengo said.

no tension

But ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyongo said the party would meet this week to discuss the matter.

At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi denied there was a crisis in ODM following the clamour for Official Opposition in Parliament.

Mr Mudavadi, a member of the partys decision-making organ, downplayed dissent from within.

“There is no tension in ODM. There are no jitters at all. What the legislators are doing is precisely within their mandate,” he said.

But as the clamour continued, three ODM MPs vowed to oppose the Bill.

Legislators John Mbadi (Gwassi), John Pesa (Migori) and Ojwang Omollo (Uriri) said the Bill was “ill timed” and would not pass.

They said they would mobilise their colleagues to shoot it down.

Mr Mbadi claimed some MPs clamouring for the opposition were insincere.

They said the Grand Official Opposition would weaken ODM and negate the National Peace Accord signed by the coalition partners.

Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba is leading a host of ODM legislators in going against the grain.

Raila, who is the party leader, fears the ODM might lose its majority in Parliament should the Bill sail through.

About 30 MPs have pledged to support the Bill.

It has been published and will be tabled in Parliament when the House resumes in October.

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Kenya: Immigration minister accused of corrupt behaviour by his enemies who want to bring him down

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

KACC: Were investigating Kajwang

By Ayub Savula

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang is trouble once again only days after a parliamentary committee cleared him of corruption claims.

The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) has launched fresh investigation into Kajwangs decision to issue work permits to eight foreign missionaries, against the technical advise of the ministrys senior officers.

On Monday, members of the Church of Jesus of Later Day Saints, who had been issued the permits, were ordered to report at KACC headquarters in Upperhill, Nairobi, to shed light on the saga.

Bishop Enos Lanogwa told The Standard on telephone that he visited KACC where he was questioned over the permits.

“I was at KACC today on matters concerning the permits. I explained to them that we dont bribe to get permits. That would be the last thing to do in my life. I never bribe,” vowed the bishop.

Lanogwa said among the questions put to him was to explain the circumstances in which he and others met Kajwang and how they secured an appointment with his office.

Lanogwa said his church operates legally in Kenya as other religious organisation.

“We are not a sect, we operate within the provisions of the law. We also offer humanitarian services,” said Lanogwa.

The Director of Communications at KACC Nicholas Simani confirmed that an investigation had been opened over the permits saga.

The Church of Jesus of the Latter Day Saints is a religious grouping that espouses radical doctrine that propounds inferiority of the Black race, which they claim is descendent from the Biblical Cain, according to Internet sources.

The bishop said he had met several Government ministers in regard to the church activities and wondered why the church was being subjected to KACC investigations.

The KACC investigation re-opens a saga that erupted two months ago, and appeared sealed last week when the Administration, National Security and Local Authorities Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi, cleared Kajwang of any wrongdoing.

But Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo protested the move to revive the case, saying the matter had been concluded.

“This matter was resolved. The minister is out of the country, who is at it again?” wondered Midiwo.

Joseph Ndathi, then director of Immigration, has since been transferred to Foreign Affairs ministry as director of administration.

Ndathi was replaced by Albert Musasia from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in what Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said were changes to improve service delivery.

Kajwang had been at war with Ndathi over the issuing of the permits to the church missionaries.

During the exchange of letters at the Immigration, in both cases, Kajwang responded: “I have noted the comments of DIS. I have interviewed the applicant. I hereby grant a further two years work permit.”

But responding to the claims Kajwang denied any wrongdoing and said he had always acted within the law.

He also denied allegations that he was involved in corrupt deals. According to him, the law gave the Immigration minister “appellate powers” to review applications that had been rejected and overturn the verdict.

But Kajwang challenged those making the claims of corruption saying he would resign if incontrovertible evidence was tabled.

The minister said he overlooked the advice of his Permanent Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Kisombe and Ndathi in granting work permits to eight members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints “because I saw no reason to deny them entry”.

“The application was from church missionaries who wanted to come to Kenya to preach and support some development activities in the country. I have a soft spot for people who preach,” Kajwang said.

Kajwang could not be reached for comment. His aide said he was in the Ukraine on official assignment.

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Inter-regional trade volumes among EAC member states yet to pick up

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

News analysis by Leo Odera Omolo.

FOUR years after signing of the East African Community Custom Union protocol ,inter-regional trade volumes among EAC member states are yet to pick up.

A survey commissioned by the all powerful East African Business Council (EABC) has authoritatively revealed.

The survey found that the majority of businesses in the region think non-tariff barriers as the main impediment to the realization of this goal of the EAC Customs Union.

Poor road network,,high taxes and duties,extortion,delays by boarder officials and restrictions on importation of goods were felt to be major drawback in more than 15 percent of border towns in the region.

A truck driver transporting goods from the Kenya port of Mombasa to Kigali in Rwanda for example encounters more than 20 barriers setup by police inevitably delaying delivery of the goods in transit.

Despite the alarming situation there are no formal monitoring mechanisms for truck drivers cross border trades and clearing agents to report their experiences with non-tarriff trade barriers.

It is not surprising therefore that business in the EAC region opt to most of their requirements from the rest of the world.

Tanzania;s imports from the non-EAC world account for non 75 percent of its total imports, while the figure for Burundi is 43 percent imports from EAC countries by Kenyan and Tanzanian businesses account only for six and five percent of their total imports respectively.

Europe is the chief source of imports to the EAC countries, taking between seven and 14

Percent of the total.

This years EABC survey follows the climate index for East Africa done in 2003,a year before the customs union protocol was signed.

The study listed high border-crossing charges, lengthy bureaucratic checks and verification inspections by customs authorities as the main problems hindering the smooth flow of trade within EAC partner states.

Tragically five years after EABC recommendations on their eliminations on their, the business community in the region is still facing the same problem.

In the survey under review ,EABC calls for speedy implementation of the monitoring mechanism to fast-track elimination of NTBS in the EABC.

NTB monitoring mechanism was developed jointly by EABC and was adopted by the Council of Muslims in August 2006 with the objective of facilitating the process of identifying, reporting and monitoring the elimination of current and future NTBS in the EAC.

The director of customs in the EAC Kenneth Bagamugunda was recently quoted by the mass as saying; NTBS increase the cost of doing business, thus rendering the region uncompetitive.

This defeats EACs integration objective of developing a competitive private sector both in the region and globally.

The director said that one of the serious impediments of doing business in the EAC is the sorry state of infrastructure. The cost associated with congestion and delays at the ports telecommunications, poor road and railway networks are prohibitive air travel costs;

all undermine the relative advantage of doing business in the region ,rendering products unable to compete with cheap and illegal imports and also incompetetive in export market.

A Kenyan permanent secretary to the EAC David Nalo says there is an urgent need for immediate removal of NTBS if cross border trade is to realize efficiency.

The PS has urged both private and public sectors to activily take part in the process of implementation of the custom union.

currently building needs assessment of the units charged with the responsibility for implementing the mechanism should also be considered as the basis for concerted capacity building intervention in support of EAC efforts for elimination os NTBS. the report says.

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Mining of iron and construction of thermal power stations attract great interest from companies

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Filed by Leo Odera Omolo

More than 81 internationals and local firms are seeking to partner with the National Development Corporation of Tanzania to start mining of iron ore and construction of thermal power stations at Mchuchuma and Liganga respectively.

The NDC holds a prospective licence fro mining of coal in Mchuchuma and Iron ore in Liganga operated within the Regional Spatial Development Initiative (RSDL),which is implemented by South African governments Department of Trade and Industry and other development partners

Tanzanias Minister for Industry ,Trading and Marketing Dr.Mary Nagu said recently that so far 81 firms from within and outside Tanzania have unsolicited bids to invest in the project.

The minister said 38 of the firms want to execute the Kiganga iron project while 43 have shown interest in investing in Mchuchuma thermal power project

ten companies have shown interest in investing in both projects under the strategic integrated approach that is sought in order to speed up the Mtwara Development corridor said the Minister

The two projects in which Mchuchuma coat will be turned into thermal power and the Liganga Iron ore turned into steel ore considered critical for the future economic development of Tanzania

The director of project development at NDC,Alley Mwakibolwa was recently quoted by the media s saying that the corporation was currently busy preparing the request for proposals and as such ,it would not be ethnical under procurement regulations to reveal names of bidders.

The RSDI program has fro some time been seeking a private investor to partner with the NDC to development the two mineral assets located in southern Tanzania.

The program facilitates investment that unlock economic potential in specific southern African countries enhancing their attractiveness fro investment.

Initially the Tanzanian governments proposal to award the project to multinational investors did not attract much interest only a few regional companies with in from Europe submitted bids early last year . These were sub-Saharan Resources NL of Australia, Athi River Kenya and MM integrated of Tanzania

NDC says the total projects embedded in the Mtwara corridors Development Project that are currently being promoted are estimated to cost USD3.5 billion of which Mchuchuma is to cost USD 600 million iron ore in Liganga USD 1 billion and soda ash in Lake Natron USD 600 million

According to an early draft document on strategic prospective of the Mtwara corridor development (MTDC) process in Tanzania the country has identified 100 projects worth USD 79 billion in the MTDC. The projects to be spread over 15 sectors, will provide 193,308 temporary jobs and create a turnover of USD1.87 billion annually and indirect employment of 114,646 people.

The draft document says the investments portfolio is projected to produce a volume of trade within and outside the country of some 25,446,000 metric tones per annum.

The MTDC is a multinational project involving the countries of Malawi,Mozambique,Tanzania and Zambia

The project is under the Southern African Transport and Communication commission of that SADC

ENDS

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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Kenya: Raila’s task force on Mau Forest rejected

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

News Analysis By Leo Odera Omolo

Five members of Parliament from the Rift Valley over the weekend expressed their total rejection of a task force team recently appointed by the Prime Minister Raila Odinga to look into the intended eviction of thousands of settlers allocated land in the Mau Forest complex by the previous KANU and Narc regimes.

The MPs all mainly from Raila Odingas ODM party made a specific demand that two officials be removed from the list of task force members.

Led by the youthful Kipkellion MP Mageror Langat, the legislators said they would not accept nor recognize recommendations of the said task force .They further claim that a Mr.Lumumba Odenda of the Kenya Land Alliance and human rights activist Charles Ole Sena would not give residence a fair chance to give their views

The five legislators were speaking at Mogogosiek Trading Centre in Bureti District during the Konoin Road Race in which the residents participated in the running to conserve Mau Forest

Langat on his part wondered why the government appointed the two yet it knew it pretty well the two have been the league with those fighting for the eviction of settlers from the Mau Complex.

The running to conserve Mau Forest programme was organized by the area MP Dr.Julius Kones and MPs vowed to remove the two officials they suspected to be collaborating with those out to maginalize the Kipsigis community, especially its members living diaspora Mau Forest included.

Dr.Kones told the gathering that the MPs from the region have informed the Prime Minister of their displeasure with the two and the position they have taken.

This is something the government needs to address before the task force begins the deliberation and extensive tour of the areas affected said Dr.Kones. We will not be party to their findings and recommendations he added.

Kones said the communities living around Mau Forest have been at the forefront of environmental conservation and wondered why the state was blaming them for destroying the water tower?

Among the speakers was Energy Assistant Minister Charles Keter who categorically denied that there was acute shortage of water to generate electricity including the multibillion shillings Sondu-Miriu Hydro Power project and urged politicians to stop politicking the project

Keter said he had personally visited the project site and saw there was enough water to generate electricity. It only needs to be commissioned he said .

Other MPs who addressed the gathering included Chepalungu MP Issac Ruto who said that those settlers set to evict out of Mau Complex would not move until the government compensate them.

Most of these settlers in Mau had already sold their ancestral land in the former larger Kericho district and went Mau to try the land at the invitation of the previous governments . He wondered why the same government of Kenya now wants to kick them out of the legally acquired land

Meanwhile four minority communities of forest dwellers have accused the grand coalition government of intimidating them over its plan to evict them from the forest where they have been dwelling from time immemorable

The communities which comprise the ogiek,Yiaku,Ogiik and Sengwet said the palnned Mau Forest evictions were the beginning of a major ejection exercise the government intends to carry in all the forests

Mr.James Koinare of the Yiaku Peoples Association has warned his sub-tribes men and other communities would move to count to bar the government from interfering with their affairs

In Kenya, especially in the expensive Rift Valley Province there are a good numbers of Forest dwelling Communities. The communities living in government forests are commonly called Ndorobos. They include Ogiek,Ogiise,Yiaku and Sengwet. Ndorobo are also found in parts of Taita Hills at the Coast Province where they are called Oriangulos

In the Rift Valley the Ndorobos dwells in the indigenous . They dont till the land or keep livestock, but their livelihoods revolve around hunting small game animals(antelopes,) bee-keeping and gathering of wild fruits and herbs for food and medicine.

These forest dwellers are found in many places ,but huge numbers inhabit the controversial Mau forest complex,Mukogodo,Mt.Elgon,Ndoinet and Cherangany forest in the Rift valley Province

The government has now ordered communities to vacate the forest or be forcefully evicted, but the communities are now threatening to sue the government over the planned evictions.

The Ndorobos forest dwellers have lived in the places mentioned ever since the colonial times when they were classifies by the British colonialists as untouchable people

They posed no threat to the ecosystem and environmental degradation since they are not involved in land cultivation nor contribution of permanent houses to schools or keeping domesticated livestock but depends entirely on the forests resources like honey-bees, wild fruits and hunting of small antelopes

The Ndorobos Ogiek have expressed concern that their people were among the targeted group in the 400,000 hectares Mau Forest water tower evictions

The Ogiek are on the verge of being thrown out of Mau Forest and we fear that we may soon follow suit said a spokes person of the Yiaku community.

While another spokesman Mr.Daudi Leboo of the Ogiek said his comminuty should be allowed to continue living inMau Forest since they contribute a lot in conservation and have no other home . the communities have also called for their inclusion in the national forest and land governance structures

We have been sidelined for along time leading to our under development: said Mr. Joseph Kakweitu a member of the Ogiek

Most of the Ndorobos or Ogiek are the concoctions from the various Kalenjin larger ethnic groups. These are the people who flatly refused to come out of the forest in the late 19th and 20th century when the British colonialists invaded Kenya and made the country a British protectorate colony. They have seen no light in terms of modern life and very few of their Children came out of the forest to go to schools

Ends

Leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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The World Health Organization recommended circumcision after holding a consultative meeting of in March 2007 in Switzerland.

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

My friend Peter,
You stated that, ” You cannot argue convincingly and using statistics that so many circumcised men did not contract HIV/AIDS compared with so many uncircumcised men who got infected and make a conclusion about the transmission of HIV?AIDS” That is exactly the argument used by a studydone at Makerere University inUganda where Nelson Sewankambo, Dean of Medicine concluded that ”Among the 187 seronegative men who had HIV positive partners none of the 50 who were circumcised became infected compared to 40 of 137 who were not circumcised” This study was about viral load as a predictor of HIV transmission but somehow it drew conclusion on circumcision. The study was published in new England Journal of Medicine, 2000, 342: 921-929.
My argument was, “Statistics show that more cut Kenyans carry the HIV virus than the uncut. The math is very simple, 1.5 million Kenyans have the virus and HIV prevalence is only 10% in Nyanza province as per WHO”. It is simply a laymen interpretation that does not rquire any knowledge of HIV transmission. All I was tring to say if that if you add up HIV prevelance in other provinces where circumcision is practised you will find a larger number than that in Nyanza province. In addition to the fact that a large number of Nyanzians are already cut, its easy to conclude that more cut are infected than uncut. We have the data to calculate this number andI will attempt it later.
The World Health Organization recommended circumcision after holding a consultative meeting of in March 2007 in Switzerland. They cited strong evidence from three randomized controlled trials undertaken in Kisumu, Kenya, Rakai District, Uganda both funded by the US National Institutes of Health. I do not know if this is the same studydone at Makerere.It will be interesting tohear frompeople in Kisumu or anywhere else in Kenya who know something about this study.
Like politicians in Kenya always state that, “Money has been poured to finish me”, we always use the same kind of argument when we feel our culture is threatened. That is where culture always gets into scientific discussion and I would add scientific studyas one of the pressures used to change culture.
By Nyanja
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HIV does not differentiate Circumcised and the uncircumcised: Precaution is the best way to go

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

My dear friend Nyanja,

I think we are making a small debate be bigger than what is should be. If you critically read through your writing, the contradictions are glaring. The simple mistake we are all making is that of trying to mix medical issues with cultural issues. You cannot argue convincingly and using statistics that so many circumcised men did not contract HIV/AIDS compared with so many uncircumcised men who got infected and make a conclusion about the transmission of HIV?AIDS. In experimental sciences there are normally treatments and a control in any experiment that we use to discuss and interpret the results. In more refined science processes are used to explain findings to supplement the statistics. Those arguing thus should go a step further using process science to explain their results. When we have a very complete picture and understanding of the process then we draw convincing conclusions and carry the masses in the process.

We know from common and circulating knowledge that HIV/AIDS is transmitted through blending of clean body fluids with infected body fluids in specific habitats that are conducive to the survival of the HIV Virus. Moreover the HIV Virus barely lives for 30 seconds outside a body habitat. If the circumcised man without the use of condom stays in contact inside an infected womans body for more than thirty seconds, he suffers the same risk like the uncircumcised man of contracting HIV/AIDS. This likewise happens to an infected man staying in contact with healthy woman for a similar duration. We have further learnt that there are individual gene attributes that make some people be of less risk than others, and so forth. What I am saying is that the science must be right before we use it to make recommendations.

In Medical Science and I am not a Medic, before recommending any treatment or using any drug in a prescription, there are a minimum number of iterations that your drug or treatment must undergo for verification and before being accepted as a prescription drug or way of treatment.

What I am saying is that we should not mix culture with medicine. Cultural changes are caused by societal pressures, experiences, individual or communal expectations, aspirations and general benefits that the new status creates for the individual or the community. Each individual in such a circumstance makes a choice based on the glaring facts surrounding him or her. For example, our parents had the choice of sending us to school or leaving us to stay at home education. The wiser ones chose to educate their children to enable them participate in a modern world.

In conclusion, I dont think we have reached a good scientific stage to make some statements about who is at higher risk or lower risk just based on circumcision. I still believe that as a precaution, we should bring to a bare minimum (Zero) our sexual misadventures and if we must do it then it has to be through protected sex. Let the Biological Scientists give us a prescription or an immunity strategy since this is what will make the Human Race survive HIV/AIDS.

I rest my case.

By Peter Okoth

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Egypt writes off military debts owed to it by African states

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Egypt has informed African states with military debts to the Egyptian government that it has decided to write them off with the aim of alleviating the debt burden hanging over them.

A spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign ministry, Ambassador Hossam Zaki, said in a statement on Sunday that the foreign ministry has accordingly informed African governments with military debts to Egypt.

The move came in the wake of an initiative by President Hosni Mubarak during the last African Union summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, to cancel all military debts owed by African states to Egypt with the aim of reducing the financial burden on the economies of African countries.

Zaki stressed that the Egyptian commitment to the African countries will continue on a permanent basis, and through many bilateral and multilateral channels.

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API/Source.apa

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Madagascar complains of mistreatment of Malagasy workers in Mauritius

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

The Malagasy embassy in Mauritius on Monday complained that some Malagasy citizens working in Mauritius were being mistreated by their employers.

Mija Rasamizafi, economic and commercial counsellor at the embassy told APA that on arrival in Mauritius, the passports of some of his countrymen have been confiscated by their employers. Added to this, he said, they were sometimes not paid for overtime that they work.

Rasamizafi said that there have been many cases where Malagasy workers have signed a contract in Madagascar for a specific job but when they arrive in Mauritius, they were asked to perform completely different tasks.

Rasamizafi indicated that the number of permits issued to Malagasy workers has tripled since 2004 and presently some 3,650 Malagasy workers were officially in the island. Most of them, he stated, work in the textile industry but that many of them did not register themselves at the embassy.

Beas Cheekhooree, the director of the Denim company in Port Louis, which manufactures denim cloth for the jeans industry told APA that he was very much satisfied with his Malagasy workers. He however said many of the Malagasy workers did not have either a work permit or a residential permit and as such, they were being subjected to exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

At the Mauritius labour office, an inspector acknowledged that some foreign workers were actually mistreated, but due to a lack of staff, his office was unable to control all factories where foreigners work.

He added that as Malagasy citizens do not need a visa to enter Mauritius, many come without a definite contract and just land here to try their luck as it is well known in Madagascar that there is a shortage of manpower in Mauritius.

He further observed that more labour inspectors should be employed to check on all cases of mistreatment of not only Malagasy but also Bangladeshi, Chinese and Indian workers.

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API/Source.apa

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Somali president, PM in Ethiopia for talks

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

Several members of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), including the President Abdulahi Yusuf, the Prime Minister Nur Hissein Hassan and the parliamentary speaker are in Addis Ababa holding a closed door session since Sunday, APA learns here Monday.

This meeting, taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa come in the wake of reports that President Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Hassan are at odds for the past few months on the current peace making efforts in Somalia, with which Ethiopia is said to have expressed its dissatisfaction.

Ethiopian sources however said that there has yet been little progress in resolving the dispute.

However, there is no official statement from both the Somali officials and the Ethiopian government about the details of this closed door session.

While President Yusuf and PM Nur Hassan were expected to give a press briefing on Monday afternoon, but it was cancelled at the last minute without giving any specific reason. However, according to one TFG diplomat, the briefing has been postponed for Tuesday.

Ethiopia, which is backing the TFG both militarily and politically, is doing its best to avoid the difference between the president and the PM negatively impacting on the search for peace in Somalia.

Recently, the TFG signed a peace accord in Djibouti with some Somalia opposition parties, which was welcomed by the international community and the UN.

However, the latest disagreement between President Yusuf and PM Nur is feared to aggravate the current peace making efforts for Somalia, which remains without a central government since the past 18 years.

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API/Source.apa

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Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2008

The heads of UN peaceking missions in West Africa will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Bissau for their 14th coordination meeting, a release of the United Nations Operations in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) reveals.

Apart from the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Cote dIvoire Y.J. Choi, his counterparts from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) and the head of the UN Office for the Consolidation of Peace in Guinea Bissau (UNOGBIS) will attend the two-day event.

The release said the agenda will also include a presentation on the recommendations of the 16th meeting of force commanders of UN peacekeeping missions in West Africa, which took place in Monrovia, Liberia on 21 August.

Participants will discuss the latest developments in the sub-region since the 13th meeting, held on 13 and 14 June in Dakar, Senegal.

The periodic meeting of heads of UN peacekeeping missions will also include a presentation by the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

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API/Source.apa

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