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Archive for November 5th, 2008

Protected: 41 Kenyans to work in Obama’s White House: Guilt, fear to be branded racists forced some white Americans to vote for Obama – Their vote saved USA from destructive Riots by Obamanuts

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

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Zambia: Rupiah Banda declared winner in presidential poll

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

Lusaka (Zambia) – Acting President Rupiah Banda has won Zambias presidential election, defeating challenger Michael Sata by a narrow margin, the countrys electoral commission announced on Sunday.

Lusaka (Zambia) – Acting President Rupiah Banda has won Zambias presidential election, defeating challenger Michael Sata by a narrow margin, the countrys electoral commission announced on Sunday.

Mr Banda, a pro-business centrist who became acting president after Levy Mwanawasa died of a stroke in August, won 718,359 votes versus 683,150 for Sata, according to final results from 150 constituencies. Mr Sata, the leader of the Patriotic Front, has accused officials of rigging the poll and vowed to contest the result.

Late Sunday, Mr Satas party refused to recognise results of the election and said it would demand a recount.

Our stand is still that we do not recognise the election of Rupiah Banda as something reflecting the will of the people of Zambia, Mr Given Lubinda, a spokesman for Satas Patriotic Front, said. We are going to ask the court (on Monday) to grant an order to scrutinise and recount the votes.

Earlier Sunday, Mr Bandas ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy said it is confident that Mr Bandas lead was unassailable. Mr Satas party said the vote was marked by discrepancies between vote tallies and the number of voters on registration lists.

Zambia is Africas largest copper producer and any political turmoil could unsettle foreign investors, particularly those in the mining sector.

Mr Sata, a populist with strong support among workers and the poor, made the same charge two years ago when he lost the presidential election to Mwanawasa.

Authorities have said the army is ready to prevent unrest in the country, one of the most politically stable in Africa.

Election officials said the count had proceeded slowly, but defended their actions.

The vast distances and poor terrain have created difficulties in delivery of election materials (ballots), Ms Mumba said.

Independent election monitors have noted some irregularities in the poll but have stopped short of condemning the vote.

About 45 per cent of the 3.9 million registered voters cast ballots in the election.

The winner faces the formidable task of matching Mwanawasas strong record of fiscal discipline, praised by Western donors and investors, and fighting corruption, two rare successes in Africa.

The vote is also seen as a test of Zambias commitment to multi-party democracy, restored in 1990 after 18 years of one-party rule under Kenneth Kaunda, but neither Banda nor Sata is expected to reshape the political landscape dramatically.

Tension rose in the capital Lusaka, a Sata stronghold, as the oppositions allegations of fraud became more strident.

On Saturday, Mr Sata stormed into a Lusaka conference hall where the results were being announced, accusing the electoral commission of padding Bandas vote total.

I have evidence that results are being inflated … They cheated me in 2006 and they want to do the same.

It is unclear what Mr Sata and his supporters will do now that Mr Banda has been declared the winner.

Authorities have said the army is ready to prevent unrest in the country, one of the most politically stable in Africa.

Mr Banda has a degree in economics and is also a prominent businessman. He is the owner of KB Davis, a firm that supplies mining equipment in the north-central Copperbelt region. After Mwanawasa fell out of favour with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for calling Zimbabwe a sinking Titanic in 2007, Banda was dispatched to Harare to smooth ruffled feathers.

He held many diplomatic posts, including that of Zambias representative to the United Nations, before being made foreign minister in the 1970s in the administration of Zambias first post-independence leader, Kenneth Kaunda.

After his spell as foreign minister, Banda served as a member of parliament between 1978 and 1988.

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API/Source.The Nation (Kenya) – November 3, 2008.

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Kenya: Country flush with money from expatriates

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

Nairobi (Kenya) – As your plane taxis along the runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a first-time visitor to Kenya will marvel at the world class status of the major entry-point to east Africas premier economy.

And, most probably, you would have jetted in with the national carrier, Kenya Airways, an award-winning airline that flies across the globe with the provident logo The Pride of Africa imperiously smacked on the sleek bodies of its planes.

Exiting from the airport the ubiquitous mob of taxi operators, all out to make an honest buck, will be waiting. The successful one will drive out with a knowing but cheeky smile, intermittently making the usual small talk with his latest catch.

The first billboard standing next to the road always creates an indelible impact with its claim. Kenyans residing in the Diaspora can advise a first-time visitor to Kenya to put their smart money on what is being advertised. It simply reads: Kenya my country, Tusker my beer.

Tusker is the flagship tipple for East Africa Breweries Limited, east and central Africas primary — in capitalisation terms — brewing concern.

Today the brand is found on venerable shelves across the globe, such as Tesco, the third largest supermarket in the UK. In Australia, Canada and the U.S., Tusker Mart, another product of East Africa Breweries Limited, continues to rake in serious money for the brewing behemoth.

But it was not always like this. The push to sell East Africa Breweries Limited products to the Diaspora in the hope to ride the wave of economic patriotism targeting local migrs — began in July 2006. The volumes have since surged on a year-to-year basis. As a spin-off, both the breweries and the local economy have continued to benefit from the inflow of hard currency into the local economy.

In the financial year ending June 30, 2008, the brewing firm exported to the Diaspora beer worth 1.5 billion shillings (21.3 million dollars).

In recognising the linchpin role the Diaspora economy plays in other countries, the Kenyan government in 2007 drafted the Kenyan Diaspora Bill which sought to rope in Kenyans working in the Diaspora. An outline of the bill, prepared by government and a technical team of Kenyans living in the Diaspora, initially admitted that a lacuna linked the two economies Diaspora and local.

The draft bill read: the Diaspora renders concrete development changes but these remain unheralded, unappreciated and without structural support.

According to the latest World Bank statistics for the year ending 2007, money transfers from the Diaspora have now become the leading source of foreign exchange, scraping in 85 billion shillings (1,207 million dollars) and outpacing horticulture at 70 billion shillings (994 million dollars) and tourism at 65 billion shillings (923million dollars), traditionally the two leading industries.

Indeed, if the World Bank were to be believed, the Diaspora is a goldmine for any economy, especially poor and emerging ones. The Bretton Woods Institution says in its report that, globally, around 300 billion dollars is repatriated back to ancestral homes annually, around $14.5 billion by African migrants. Besides, the banking organisation says remittances from the Diaspora ranks only second behind foreign direct investment (FDI) as a source of funding for developing economies.

Separately, a survey conducted by Kenya Club, a London-based organisation, says Kenyans ensconced in the UK send over 50 billion shillings (71 million dollars) back home annually while those located in Germany remit about 360 million shillings (five million dollars).

It is a more stable source of capital than private capital and is expected to rise. This stability has encouraged some emerging market economies to use remittances as collateral against which to borrow on the international capital market on better terms than otherwise, according to the World Bank report.

Beginning 2007, Kenya ranked second in terms of the value of remittances. Nigeria was first with 3.3 billion dollars and Sudan third with 1.2 billion dollars. Senegal and Uganda receive 900,000 million dollars each while South Africa was the beneficiary of 700,000 million dollars. This is according to the World Bank report titled Migrations and Remittances Fact Book 2008.

Veritably, beginning 2003, a year after the momentous defeat of a peculate regime under the heel of a peremptory Daniel arap Moi, the future of this state of 35 million people has certainly been looking up.

For instance, in 2006 the economy registered a 6.1 percent annual growth, making it the highest the country has achieved in three decades. And even with the wounds experienced early this year as a result of a disputed presidential election, the country will still register annual growth of four or more percent.

The perception of Kenyas economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board is very positive. We are seeing it picking up after the developments following the December general elections, says Peter Gakunu, an IMF executive director in charge of 21 African countries.

This is despite the rigours of navigating a country, burdened by internecine ethnic suspicions, lingering poverty and a servile middle class whose only claim to nationhood is a blatant exhibition of consumption.

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API/Source.Inter Press Service (IPS) – November 3, 2008.

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Nigeria: The state of the banks (Editorial)

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

Lagos (Nigeria) – The reaction time of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), may have reduced the anxiety of Nigerians over their money in the banks, and stopped critics in their tracks, but there is a lot more to learn from the experience of the last few days.

Nigerians have been conditioned into having a stimulus generalisation in the fear of bank failures.

A few years ago many banks failed, causing depositors so much trauma. Only recently, Savannah Bank, with an imposing head office in Lagos just disappeared, leaving many Nigerians in so much distress. Customers woke up one morning to learn that the bank has been liquidated.

There is no gainsaying that banking thrives on confidence. With the confidence that banks store wealth and even value, the depositor can go to sleep with both eyes closed. That confidence was shaken with the bank failures of the recent past. But if it was gradually being regained, as shown in the way Nigerians invested in bank shares in the build-up to the reconsolidation in the sector, it came again under threat, when legendary global brands were fingered to have caused the global financial crisis. And that indeed some of them had to be bailed out.

Although the CBN and the Banker’s Committee had said repeatedly that Nigeria banks were insulated from the crisis, there have been strong rumour that some of the nation’s post-consolidation, supposedly strong banks are sick. The rumour was given some strength by the increasing revelations of sharp practices and declaration of paper profits by some of the banks. Even the reputable ones were accused of unhealthy rivalry that weakened their decisions, which should otherwise have been made on strong economic basis.

Coming at the time of share price plunge in the stock market, many Nigerians had reason to panic. But if that was a phobic reaction, they had good reason for real fear when the Technical Director of the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) was reported to have said that only seven Nigeria banks were healthy. The report was made a few days after the CBN Governor Professor Chukwuma Soludo assured the National Assembly that the country’s financial sector was in good shape, and promised that the CBN will not hesitate to bailout banks if the need arose.

The psychological fact that people are more gullible in a state of panic played itself out. Not everybody believed the CBN. Worse still, on the day the NASB report was denied, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) was reported as noting that only four out of the 24 consolidated banks are safe and sound. The corporation’s 2007 annual report was cited as the source for the gloomy report that four out of the 24 banks were safe and sound, 17 banks satisfactory, two banks marginally satisfactory and one bank unsound.

At that anxious moment, it behoved on the CBN to clear that air, and we were indeed going to call upon the Governor to do so urgently with this editorial. The bank was alive to its responsibility when it addressed the press last Friday.

While describing the earlier reports as untrue, the Governor said Nigeria’s banking system is one of the most capitalised in the world, exceeding the global capital adequacy of 10 per cent to a high 20 per cent. He reiterated that the global financial crisis will not affect Nigerian banks, and that the over 27 million customers who have accounts with banks are safe.

He assured that as a banker’s bank, the CBN is ready and will ensure that none of the banks in Nigeria fails. ‘Whatever facility or anything any bank requires, the CBN stands to play its role as a lender of last resort,’ he said. That is another primary role of the bank.

We commend the CBN for the timely reassurance that even if any of the banks were to be threatened, it would save it from collapsing. This will go a long way in relieving some of the tension that has been caused in the last few days. But beyond that, the banks need to also assure their customers through the delivery of their primary functions – accepting deposits and lending – that they are sound and safe. We are aware that some banks have suspended lending to the public.

And beyond blaming journalists for the mistakes of public servants, people who dish out information should be clear about what they are saying and be also mindful of what use it could be put to and the possibility of misinterpretation. At this very tense moment of the financial world, authorities should be extra mindful of what they say.

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API/source.This Day (Nigeria)- November 3, 2008.

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Zimbabwe: Gold mines face collapse

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

Harare (Zimbabwe) – Zimbabwe’s gold mining industry, Africa’s third biggest nine years ago, is on the brink of “total collapse” because the country’s central bank refuses to pay for the gold it buys from the mines, the mines’ representative body said on Monday.

An angry statement issued by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe accused the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) of “deliberately” ruining the industry.

Gold mining companies are obliged by law to sell their gold to the central bank, but for the past two years it has been falling behind on payments “due in terms of official policy to be made four days after delivery”.

It now owes more than $30-million to the predominantly-foreign owned mines, some of which had not been paid for a year, the chamber said. Annual production had fallen from 30 tonnes annually in 1999 to a forecast of less than three tonnes this year.

“This has been happening because the RBZ has failed for pay for gold delivered, resulting in all the mines being unable to sustain production.”

The industry was now “entirely decimated”, it said, calling the situation “a travesty of justice”.

RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, one of the key figures in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, had rejected repeated requests by the chamber for a meeting, it said.

Gono has been using central bank money to import thousands of tractors and other agricultural machinery, which are handed out at virtually no charge to members of Mugabe’s clique.

Three months ago, judges were allocated large plasma televisions and senior state doctors were given imported sedans.

Inflation is running into many millions of percent, the currency has fallen to a fraction of its value in three months and an estimated three million people require food aid.

Gono’s policy of printing money to make up for the shortfall in government coffers is seen a key factor behind the meltdown.

Zimbabweans had been hoping that Mugabe’s agreement in September to share power with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would attract the aid and investment needed for a turnaround. But seven weeks later, the two parties have not been able to agree on the make-up of the Cabinet.

“It is not understandable that at a time when the country requires as much foreign currency as possible, the gold sector, which can generate foreign currency, has deliberately been brought to its knees,” the chamber said.

Without payment, mines were unable to sustain operations, the Chamber said.

“Most gold mines are now unable to meet wages and salaries of their employees,” the statement said.

Exploration had completely ceased and most underground mines had flooded, because they cannot pump water seeping into their shafts. – Sapa-DPA

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API/Source.Sapa (South Africa – November 3, 2008.

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Moderation guidelines

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2008

We noticed a significant increase in the number of unacceptable comments submitted with respect to our blogs. Comments have to be useful to readers. They cannot attack API or its writers. Comments do not engage APIs responsibility. Any personal attacks will be deleted. No comments on API or its writersare going to posted: if a reader wants to criticize API or one of its writers, the reader should sendus by snail mail hiswritten comments with his name and address.

API and its writers are not going to intervene in any discussion with readers or bloggers. Most of API interventions are matters of public record and every one of them is made in good faith. Errors may occur and they will be corrected as required by law and practise.

As a general guidance, API is going to follow the moderation rules established by the New York Times for their blogs. Any doubt as to the appropriatness of a comment will lead to its rejection, and any comment on the rejection will not be posted.

So, what is suitable? Well, we do want to know what people think, and we grant our readers a degree of leeway in criticizing newsmakers and in finding fault with how we present the news. But we draw the line in these ways:
1. No profanity. No obscenity. No asterisks that take the place of letters in objectionable words.
2. No name calling or insults. I dont like it when I see the words idiot or moron or fascist. I can be somewhat tolerant of harsh criticism of public officials, but I am super-aggressive in deleting comments in which other commenters are being attacked. And while I dont mind criticism of The New York Times, personal attacks on our reporters wont be tolerated. And forget about ethnic, racial, religious or sexual slurs. Finally, try not to dominate the conversation so that other people have the opportunity to express their opinions even if they disagree with yours.
3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic are pointless and will be bounced. And we tend to set the bar even higher when we have a huge flow on a certain subject and some of the sentiments seem repetitive.
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Since Kate deals with political issues, its worth taking a second to mention one specific problem we have in that area. Were constantly on the lookout for sock puppets and aliases. If youre working for a candidate, tell us. Your comment could still be valid and worthy of being published. But if you mislead us, forget it.
A couple of final notes. Were not perfect; on more than one occasion weve let bad things slip through. Readers can help us by drawing attention to any comments that seem to cross the lines as Ive spelled them out above. We also dont have a huge squad of people moderating the comments. It takes time to go through them all, and its not unusual for comments to sit for an hour or more awaiting approval. And we have even fewer people doing it at night and on weekends. So, please be patient.

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A last comment. API writers are responsible citizens. They use their own names and are subject to all laws applying to Norwegian citizens and, in some cases, to other countries, for their articles and actions. Bloggers are not subjected to this level of scrutiny, unless they are using their full name and address.

Readers and bloggers can consult the moderation rules of the New York Times below:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/caucus-chatter-2/?scp=2&sq=moderating%20rules&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/agree.html

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/the-top-10-reasons-we-deleted-your-comment/

Posted with our counsels approval.

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