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Archive for September 19th, 2008

Norwegians on dopping will be banned

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Banned for ordering doping drugs

Norwegian athletes can now be penalized even if they dont test positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Ordering doping drugs will now carry the same penalty as testing positive for their use.

PHOTO: MORTEN RAKKE

The Australian cyclist Andrew Wyper was convicted by an Australian court two years ago, for having ordered EPO and growth hormones over the internet. This led to him being banned from taking part in sport for two years. He appealed. His appeal was turned down earlier this week by the international Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) and he will now be excluded from sport until 2010.

CAS argued that there was no reason for Wyper to order the drugs if he wasnt going to use them, and consequently importing the drugs was an attempt at doping, which is punished in the same way as a positive doping test.

“This could equally well have happened here in Norway. Importing performance enhancing drugs is illegal. It also conflicts with rules to prevent doping in sport,” says head of the Norwegian anti-doping agency, Antidoping Norge, Anders Solheim to daily newspaper Aftenposten.

In the first six months of this year customs authorities have confiscated more than 83,000 units of various types of doping drug, in 410 separate cases.

Solheim thinks it would be a good idea to discuss closer links between the Police and the sports bodies working against doping.

“I think this would improve anti-doping work in sports,” says Solheim.

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API/Source.aftenposteneng

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Zimbabwe: Zanu (PF) top brass resist unity deal

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Harare (Zimbabwe) – A day after signing a power-sharing agreement with the opposition, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was yesterday fighting political fires in his own Zanu (PF) ruling party as hardliners resisted the deal.

The flare-up within the faction-ridden Zanu (PF) threatens the deal before the first steps towards implementation are taken. Western states, whose support is needed for economic recovery, have adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Disputes within Zanu (PF) forced the cancellation of a crucial meeting between Mugabe and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara. The three men were expected to meet to discuss the formation of a new 31-member cabinet to allow the new all-inclusive government to start working. But Mugabe spent the day in what insiders described as an explosive politburo meeting.

Officials close to Tsvangirai said the meeting was postponed but no “convincing explanation” was given by Mugabe’s side.

Sources said Mugabe had difficulty convincing his politburo to accept the merits of the accord. At least three-quarters of the 49-member politburo will lose their posts in the proposed government of national unity.

Already half of former ministers are going to be discarded when Mugabe announces the new cabinet, expected this week. While the outgoing cabinet had 64 Zanu (PF) ministers, including deputy ministers and provincial governors who are “resident ministers”, the new cabinet will have 31 ministers.

Fifteen would be from Zanu (PF), 13 from the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai and three from Mutambara’s group. Although Mugabe has already given the 10 governors’ posts to Zanu (PF) loyalists, he is supposed to share the posts equally with the two MDC factions, which means five for himself and the other five for Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Sources said Zanu (PF) senior officials are angry at the “sell-out agreement”. The deal has been resisted even by Mugabe’s two vice-presidents, Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru. The two looked isolated and disappointed at the signing ceremony on Monday. To rub salt in the wound, their presence was not even acknowledged as it usually is.

Apart from Msika and Mujuru, members of the Zanu (PF) faction led by Mujuru’s husband, the retired Gen Solomon Mujuru, are furious. Most the faction’s top members are likely to be left out of the cabinet, especially after they fell out with Mugabe during the recent elections. The faction has been trying to oust Mugabe for some time. Mugabe has confirmed this in public and reacted by purging or sidelining them .

Mujuru’s group — whose two key members, Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa, recently left Zanu (PF) amid acrimony — was said to have bitterly complained about the deal which would leave them out of the government. Mugabe is backed by the faction led by his unwavering loyalist , Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Mnangagwa group was behind his disputed re-election and is being rewarded for their support.

Mugabe’s politburo had met on Saturday to discuss the deal. Although it approved the agreement, there was simmering discontent which flared up at yesterday’s meeting.

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API/Source.Business Day (South Africa), by Dumisani Muleya

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Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) – Although a group of Indian peacekeeping soldiers accused of sexual abuse in eastern Congo have returned home, allegations of misconduct continue to surround the battalion.

The United Nations confirmed last month that an internal investigation had uncovered credible evidence that members of an Indian unit stationed in North Kivu province may have engaged in sexual exploitation and abuse. A UN source said around 100 peacekeepers from India allegedly used children both to work for them and to hire Congolese girls for sex. The source said the children were used as domestic servants and to pimp for prostitutes, some as young as 12 or 13 years old.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said he was deeply troubled by the findings, and the Indian government promised a swift and thorough investigation.

Peacekeepers are strictly forbidden to socialise with local people, but Mapendo Polepole, a 28-year-old prostitute from Goma, who heads an organisation of women living with AIDS, told IWPR that Indian soldiers from the camp in central Goma are regular customers. They have sexual intercourse with us, without condoms, in their jeeps, during a patrol and in their camps, she said, adding that the soldiers pay 20 US dollars for her services rather than the going rate of two dollars.

Peacekeepers are not allowed to seek entertainment outside the barracks or leave the camp after 6 pm. The UN says all personnel are made aware of the missions code of conduct and no-go areas before signing on and their battalion commander is responsible for their actions while they are on a peacekeeping mission.

A UN official in New York admitted the regulations were sometimes hard to enforce. No matter how many rules we have in place, there is always a way to go around them. It is so hard to monitor, said the official.

Polepole says peacekeepers in Goma have continued to flout the regulations since the 100 peacekeepers left. Her allegations that prostitution was continuing on and around the Indian base were repeated by other sex workers in Goma. Mado Kahindo, 24, says Indian peacekeepers still come to her home for sex. They stop their patrolling jeep in front of my hut after midnight, she said, adding they refuse to enter the house as they do not want to be faced with a prostitutes children. I have to come outside for sexual intercourse in their jeep.

Nick Birnback, chief of the peacekeeping forces public affairs section in New York, told IWPR that a zero tolerance policy was in place and any peacekeeper who broke the rules would be sent home. There is simply no excuse, he said, adding that MONUC has recently increased foot and vehicle patrols to ensure soldiers are respecting the curfew.

In light of the problems, Birnback said the MONUC official responsible for military conduct and investigations is to be relocated from the capital Kinshasa to Goma. For those who want to complain, MONUC has set up a hotline where locals can report any wrongdoing by peacekeepers. However, Birnback admitted that these measures might not always be effective. It doesnt necessarily mean that people are aware of it or they may be afraid to use it, he said.

Polepole said she would not report the attack on her, as prior experience suggested there was no point. She said Congolese police believed women like her deserved this kind of treatment, and reporting incidents of sexual violence to the police was most likely to end in the arrest of the woman herself.

The Congo peacekeeping force has been beset with bad publicity in recent years, with 140 cases implicating soldiers in prostitution or sexual abuse recorded in 2004-06.

* Taylor Toeka Kakala is an IWPR-trained reporter in Goma. Lisa Clifford is an international justice reporter in The Hague.

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API/Source.Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), by Taylor Toeka Kakala in Goma and Lisa Clifford in The Hague

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Kenya: Rethinking ‘Return home’

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Nairobi( Kenya) – The most urgent test of the grand coalition in Kenya is resettlement of the estimated 350,000 or so people made homeless by the violence after the December 2007 elections.

Launched in May, the government’s Operation ‘Return Home’ has been riddled with flaws and many experts on internal displacement argue it has exacerbated the crisis rather than resolving it. Official admission of the multiple failures of Operation Rudi Nyumbani, as the plan is known in Kiswahili, has come from one of the deputy prime ministers, Uhuru Kenyatta, who was sent by President Kibaki to visit some resettlement sites earlier this month.

At a transitional camp in Gitwamba, in Trans-Nzoia district, a surprised Kenyatta said, “(Provincial) administrators had convinced the president that the resettlement programme was almost complete, yet thousands of people are still living in camps.”

Kenyatta’s comment underlines the governments insensitivity which Keffa Magenyi, national coordinator of the Kenya IDP Network, identifies as one of the major flaws of Operation Return Home.

“The idea behind Operation Rudi Nyumbani — that those forcibly displaced, most of them very poor, should go back to their homes and farms rather than getting resettled elsewhere — was in accordance with the spirit and intent of the national reconciliation process,” Magenyi told IPS. “But it lacked strategic planning, coordination and consultation with the IDPs.”

Magenyi is himself a displaced person. On four different occasions since 1993, he has seen his home torched and family members killed or forced to flee to camps by political violence in the Rift Valley. Four months into Operation Rudi Nyumbani, they are still waiting to go home.

“There was no data mapping,” observes Magenyi, “Where the IDPs had come from and where they should go. No data or census of the displaced people either. There are simple and effective methods of doing it. The government also did not use the data that was available with different organisations like the Kenya Red Cross. They used their own criteria.”

The government criteria, based on proof of land ownership, meant that several IDP groups, such as small traders, farm workers and other people without land, remained unacknowledged or outside the resettlement and compensation plan.

There were no clear deadlines for the various phases of the operation, just a political imperative to be seen to act. A lack of coordination between a special ministry set up for resettlement, working from the office of the president, and provincial administrations actually tasked to implement the plan also led to haphazard management.

So most of the camps are officially closed and most of the IDPs ticked as returned home; but the overwhelming majority have only been moved to camps somewhere else. The very few who have gone back face an unwelcoming, sometime hostile, response from their erstwhile tormentors.

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API/Source.Inter Press Service (IPS), by Najum Mushtaq

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South Africa: Mbeki out in weeks

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Cape Town (South Africa) – Moves are under way to install Jacob Zuma as the country’s president immediately, without calling an early election.

This is the compromise decision between party moderates, who initially feared that sacking President Thabo Mbeki before the end of his term and calling for an early poll would destabilise the country, and hawks, who had been calling for the removal of the current administration as early as January.

ANC national executive members told Weekend Argus on Saturday that Judge Chris Nicholson’s ruling on Friday, in which he implied Mbeki had influenced the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to charge Zuma, had galvanised opinion against the president. Senior party leaders had discussed the matter informally on Friday and reached consensus that Mbeki had to go immediately.

The party plans to use the “British model”, in which Tony Blair was pressed to resign in favour of Gordon Brown without calling an election. Once Zuma is in office, it will be up to him to call for an election between April and July next year.

Zuma, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe convinced militants who wanted Mbeki sacked in January that the new leadership was not ready for an early election. But the “British model” will allow the party, with Zuma at the helm, to take its time. The NEC will meet next weekend to discuss the matter and most likely decide Mbeki’s future.

Weekend Argus has learnt that National Assembly Speaker and ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete and party chief whip Nathi Mthethwa have decided to call a special caucus of ANC MPs on September 25 to decide Mbeki’s fate and to communicate the decision that will by then have been taken by the NEC.

According to the Constitution, the National Assembly, through a two-thirds majority vote, can remove a sitting president if he is found guilty of serious misconduct or is unable to perform his duties.

“We’ve got more than two-thirds in parliament but the question is will Mbeki’s ministers vote, because they don’t want him to go. But, either way, even if they don’t vote, the DA will vote with us. We will still have the two-thirds majority either way,” said a senior ANC MP.

The Constitution states that an election among MPs in parliament to fill a vacancy in the office of the president must be held at a time and on a date determined by the chief justice, but not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs. Party sources said the strategy to sack Mbeki would involve amending the ruling party’s parliamentary list and first swearing in Zuma as an MP before electing him as president. One MP would have to make way for Zuma.

This will happen whether Mbeki decides to resign or is removed by a vote in parliament. The latter option will not be difficult to achieve as the ANC has the required two-thirds majority and most opposition parties – notably the DA and ID – have already called for Mbeki to resign.

The decision to dismiss Mbeki was revived by Judge Nicholson’s finding that the National Prosecuting Authority’s latest bid to charge Zuma was invalid. The judgment was damning of Mbeki, with the judge implying the president had interfered in the decision to prosecute Zuma. Zuma had always claimed that his prosecution was politically inspired – an accusation Mbeki denied.

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API/Source-Cape Argus (South Africa), by Moshoeshoe Monare and Sibusiso Ngalwa

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Zimbabwe: Scepticism over power-sharing deal

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

Harare (Zimbabwe) – While celebrating the announcement of an historic power-sharing deal by Zimbabwe’s political protagonists last Thursday, analysts and civil society leaders have warned that if there is no commitment from all the signatories, the deal could just remain “a useless piece of paper”.

Although agreeing that the deal was the only way out of the current crisis in Zimbabwe, some analysts believe such “negotiated democracy” could disempower ordinary Zimbabweans, sandwiching them between “two strong political parties joined together by their mutual suspicion of each other”. But others believe the settlement, despite its “compromised nature, was the best way to go”. At the same time, it is a “fragile agreement that needs to be handled with caution”.

Kenya-based Zimbabwean human rights activist, Brian Kagoro said the deal — which he described as a “Kenya Tea export of negotiated democracy” — was a subversion of the people’s will by “strong-men who after losing elections resort to stone age politics that depends on who has the bigger stone to throw or the larger stick”.

“It was one of those unique cases, where either side was doomed if they signed the deal and they were equally doomed if they didn’t,” said Kagoro. “No negotiated settlement ever represents the best way to go.

“The fact that the same political prescription forced down Kenyans’ throats has been replicated in Zimbabwe paints a grim picture for forthcoming elections in several African countries. As a process, negotiated power-deals amongst elites entrench the politics of entitlement and patronage . . . The crude reality though is that people do not eat politics. They require food, shelter and other basic necessities that mere political squabbling cannot deliver.”

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Professor Eldred Masunungure, said though the details of the deal were still hazy, the finding of common ground by the leaders was a milestone.

“Whatever is in the deal, the very act of them agreeing and finding common ground is the turning point for the nation,” he said.

Another analyst, Professor John Makumbe, said given the current crisis, “anything on the table should be accepted and tried”.

“It’s unfortunate the situation has become so bad in the country that a compromise is the only way forward. It is important that no one puts their foot wrong and breaks the agreement,” Makumbe said. “It’s a fragile agreement, it’s like you are holding eggs, where the stuff inside is rich and good, but the shell is very thin and very fragile. If you break it everything falls and goes to waste. Both Zanu PF and the MDC will have to put the country ahead of their partisan interests.”

“The challenges are very severe. What, for example, do they do with people who slaughtered and tortured others only a few months ago? Are they going to send them to prison or sit in the same Cabinet with them? It’s going to be a tricky process to implement the whole agreement.”

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, said: the “voice of ordinary people was not represented in the agreement”.

“It is clear the agreement is not what the people want,” Madhuku said. “The talks should have been part of an inclusive process. We are pressing ahead for a new, people driven constitution that will lead to fresh elections.”

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API/Source.Zimbabwe Standard (Zimbabwe), by Vusumuzi Sifile

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Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2008

By Dennis OnyangoBeing a party spokesman during the crisis, gave Mr Salim Lone a visibility. During a farewell party on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said his spokesman also won support even among ordinary people. But Lone says he also began to sense hostility from others.

Credible people he trusted began to advise him to be careful. A key Orange official told him that some opponents believed he was the one who had “poisoned the minds of members of the international media and the international community stationed in Kenya,” against PNU.

At the peace talks at the Serena Hotel, Lone says, a Cabinet minister complained he was influencing the United Nations staff.

In her remarks at the Wednesday lunch, Dutch Ambassador in Nairobi Van den Assum disclosed one reason envoys respected Lone was that despite his position in ODM, they found him very candid and clearly concerned, not just about ODM, but also the country.

It got so bad at the end of January, Lone had to sneak out. A series of events may have made him an easy target of suspicion.

First, there was the powerful article he wrote in The Independent, which put the blame on the Government for the outrage. Subsequently, the international media turned to him for interviews.

When the international community chose to act, the man put in charge was Dr Kofi Annan, who was Lones boss at the UN. At the UN, he had also worked with Mrs Graca Machel, another member of the Annan team, and Lord Mark Malloch Brown, Britains Cabinet Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN. Old links

In Annans team was also former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, whom Lone says he has known since the 1970s. They were all instrumental in the peace talks.

In the 1970s when Lone was editor of The Sunday Post newspaper in Nairobi, Mkapa was the editor of Daily News in Tanzania. The two, according to Lone, got along well.

By the time Mr Mkapa became president, Lone had moved to the UN headquarters in New York. Lone says each time Mkapa attended UNs meetings they spent hours chatting as friends.

In the 1990s, Mrs Machel had conducted a pioneering study on children in situations of armed conflict for the UN General Assembly. Lone was in the Advisory Board of the study group and says he got to know Machel well.

In Britain, a key voice on Kenya, another man with whom Lone had worked at the UN under Dr Annan had taken charge.

Mr Malloch-Brown had served as Annas chief of staff and eventually deputy secretary general at the UN.

Lone denies he communicated privately with any of them during the negotiations that led to the National Peace Accord.

“I only met them at official functions as a member of the Raila team,” he says. A train of events in one week convinced him he had to leave the country.

On Monday, January 27, a diplomat warned Lone to take great care. On Tuesday and Thursday, MPs-elect Mugabe Were of Embakasi and Ainamois David Kimutai Too were shot dead.

On Friday, Lone said, he was criticised at the Serena peace-talks by the PNU side.

“Even though I never got any death threats, I had been told by too many people to be careful,” he said.

So Lone left for New York and returned a day after the peace accord was signed. That accord may have saved the country, but Lone has reservations about it.

“The Accord was indispensable in our case. But it should not be a model for other African countries. The notion that election fraud committed by the authorities should be followed by power sharing agreement will give the green light to dictators to fix elections,” he said.

When he took up as ODM and later the PMs spokesman, Lone knew one thing, “The most important aspect” of being a spokesman is credibility.

“If you dont have credibility nobody will believe you and nobody will take you seriously even when you are speaking the truth,” he added.

“The notion that I was the one who influenced the international community and the international media to intervene in ODMs favour is laughable. The positions they took were determined by events on the ground entirely, and their new perceptions. “

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API/Source.standard.ke

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