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Archive for December 7th, 2008

API Chief Editor invited to Obama inauguration as US president on the 20th of January 2009

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2008

The inauguration of president elect Barack Obama is expected to take place on the 20th of January 2009 if his election is not overturned on the 15th of December by the Electoral College, due to his negligence to confirm his real citizenship by birth.

Officials in the Obama camp have negotiated secretly with oneAPI Lawyer about the invitation to be extended to API Chief Editor to attend the inauguration ceremony in Washington.

In a secret meeting held in the UK, Obama camp representative met with a lawyer representing API to discus the possibilities of reaching an agreement so that API Chief Editor may be accorded security if he accepts the invitation. Security has been necessitated by the recent Michelle Obama stories on the tape to be released and the Imam document on Obama’s birth.

There will be a problem if API accepts the invitation. The news organization will be compromised because of the tape on Obama and the Imam document scheduled for release in the next few days.

Obama’s representative was very keen in the meetings to get API to accept the invitation and in return promised high security for the Chief Editor while in the US. The meetings were held for two and a half days in London, ending Sunday morning.

MORE DETAILS on the deal TO COME……

API Editorial

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Raila says he will host a huge party in Washington for Obama on the 20th January 2009

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2008

The Kenya government will foot the bill! The party is meant to cement ties between the US and Kenya and market Kenya for new investors. – API

Raila to lead team for Obama fete in US


US President-elect Senator Barack Obama gives his victory speech during his election night rally in Chicago last month. Photo/REUTERS.

ByKEVIN J. KELLEYPostedSaturday, December 62008at13:55

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is to lead a government delegation to host two celebrations on January 20 in honour of US President-elect Barack Obama in Washington DC before his inauguration.

A black-tie dinner and ball are scheduled to take place on the night of the inauguration at posh Marriott Gateway Hotel.

It is said to be a pan-African gala in honour of the first US president of African descent.

Kenyas ambassador in Washington Peter Ogego said he hopes the new president and the First Lady will include the event in their round of inaugural balls.

Invitations are also being sent to incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN ambassador Susan Rice, Mr Ogego added.

Mr Odinga is expected to attend both of the Kenya-sponsored inauguration celebrations.

The National Democratic Institute, a non-governmental democracy-promotion group, has invited him to take part in the Martin Luther King Jnr Day celebrations in Washington on January 18.

On the inauguration day, the Kenya mission will hold a reception at Washington Plaza Hotel near the route of the parade leading to President Obamas swearing in on the steps of the US Capitol.

The inaugural ball is being hosted by the African Ambassadors Group in Washington, along with the US Corporate Council on Africa and the World Bank-IMF African Society.

Tickets are priced at almost ($200) Sh16,000 per person for an event that Mr Ogego estimates will cost $200,000 (Sh15.8 million)

The envoy said also that the afternoon reception will be open to all and free of charge. However, the embassy will spend about $40,000 (Sh3.1million) on organising it.

Everyone at the embassy in Washington is excited at the prospect of a US president with ties to Kenya, Mr Ogego said, adding that Mr Obamas election offers to Kenya lessons and potential benefits.

The US has demonstrated we can all move beyond artificial barriers be it race, class or ethnicity, he said.

Tangible gains for Kenya can already be felt, the envoy added and cited the uptick in US tourism to Kenya along with the international media attention that the country is receiving.

Additional benefits will come in time, Mr Ogego said, and pointed out, for example, that Bill Richardson, Mr Obamas designee as secretary of commerce, has visited Kenya on three occasions and regards himself as a good friend of the country.

President-elect Obamas convincing victory in the November poll over Republican John McCain triggered celebrations all over Kenya.

In his fathers birth place of Kogelo, several bulls were slaughtered.

Reports said at the time that Mr Odinga joined the the celebrations as he, through an aide, provided more bulls.

After the US elections, Kogelo was on the spotlight as people from as far as Tanzania and Uganda drove to the village, with some bearing gifts for President Obamas extended family.

On the day of the elections, Kisumu residents organised a mock election to express their solidarity with the president-elect. The 44th US president had visited the town in 2006 as the Illinois senator.

In Eldoret, residents poured into the streets as soon as news of an Obama victory reached the town.

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Kibaki and Iran: Case of folly or clever diplomacy?

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2008


Irans president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Considering that Iran is a country the West has been consistently demonising as a pariah state, President Kibakis invitation to his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to visit Kenya came as a surprise.

The official invitation was extended when the two met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last September.

And the invitation falls into a pattern where Kenya is increasingly going off on its own in pursuit of friendships with countries that are not necessarily in the good books of our traditional Western partners.

Whether this irritates these old partners or not, these pursuits are officially being explained purely on the level of economic self-interest.

The September season when the UN General Assembly convenes in New York is a time when there is the biggest concentration of heads of state at one particular place.

Behind the scenes of the formal speeches at the Assembly, substantial business is carried on between the various delegations in their hotel suites.

The notion that the high-level mingling at such events is a casual affair and that invitations for state visits are bandied about in a haze of wine and easy camaraderie is, apparently, quite far from reality.

Indeed, encounters such as Kibakis and Ahmedinejads had been worked out well in advance at senior governmental levels and the two presidents briefed extensively on ongoing bilateral business.

Kenya, of course, has had a longstanding relationship with Iran that long predates the latters current problems with the West over its controversial nuclear programme.

What has happened is that in recent years, Kenya has deliberately opted to take the relationship a notch higher as oil-rich Iran has emerged as a major investor in Africa (as well as in Latin America).

The permanent secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Thuita Mwangi, explained the new paradigm this way: Those who think we should not court Iran because she has a quarrel with so-and-so are taking us back to very old and foolish vestiges of thinking.

New circumstances

There are new circumstances at play in the world. Iran is one of the fastest growing economies with huge resources which it has decided to focus into Africa. We want to take advantage of that.

According to the PS, Iran has numerous competencies into which Kenya could tap. It is becoming an important player in Africa in various fields, especially in the road construction business where word is that it is routinely submitting lower bids than even the Chinese.

Interestingly, Iran is one of the few countries reportedly willing to give grants to finance projects, which recipient countries find more attractive than straight loans.

Also, it transpires that there is one particular Iranian commercial concession that has made Kenya quite happy: Iran, which is a major importer of Kenyan tea, has agreed to suspend certain export standardisation measures that were delaying and tying up Kenyan tea exports in bureaucratic red-tape.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua was categorical that Mr Ahmedinejads visit was definitely on. A specific date is being worked out, but a decision has been taken that the visit will be early next year.

Kenya expects to reap big when the state visit takes place. Such events are normally the occasions when huge projects are announced, and major concessions given.

Irans Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Sheikholeslam came to Nairobi last month on matters relating to the upcoming visit. Among the officials he met was Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who was foreign minister the last time an Iranian president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, visited Kenya in 1996.

Clearly at work

The same pocket-eyeing diplomacy is clearly at work in Kenyas developing embrace of another interesting player, Libyas Muammar Gaddafi.

Like most Arab oil producers brimming with cash from recent high crude prices, Libya has set up an awesome investment kitty which it has been investing liberally in Africa. Such kitties, otherwise called sovereign funds, are being operated by many Middle-Eastern oil producers.

But while Abu Dhabi and Dubai have concentrated on investing their surplus funds in Europe and America, Libya has opted to focus on Africa, especially on the tourism and hotel sector.

In Kenya, Libyas investments have not been limited to the Laico Regency hotel, whose expression of interest to purchase was placed on the table when Kibaki visited Gaddafi early last year. Libya has also bought the local interests of US oil giant Mobil.

Tamoil, a Libyan company, has also been contracted to extend the Kenya oil pipeline from Eldoret and Uganda. At one point, the Libyans were also interested in the tender for revamping the Mombasa oil refinery.

As Kenya sees it, the West has no business disapproving of ties with such countries since she (Kenya) is not party to their quarrels. In fact, Western countries are busy re-engaging Libya for business.

But Iran is completely different ball game. At the UN General Assembly, the US delegation theatrically walked out when Ahmedinejad took the podium. Ahmedinejad, in turn, was seen removing his earpiece when George W. Bush began his speech.

Commercial interests

Actually, there could be minimal diplomatic fallout from the West since what Kenya is clearly pursuing are commercial interests that, in the end, dont threaten anyone.

Those are precisely the interests that have driven the Kibaki government to deepen ties with China, the rising super-power which everybody, including the United States, is busy doing business with.

The next stop on Kenyas diplomatic itinerary will come as a special surprise. According to the Foreign Ministry, it plans to open an embassy in Cuba early next year, coinciding with a visit to Havana by minister Moses Wetangula.

Far from tweaking anybodys nose, Kenyas primary interest is the scope for co-operation in various educational fields Cuba is renown for, such as its medical infrastructure. There are already several dozen Kenyans studying there.

When Kibaki became President in 2003, the first state visit he made was to the US at the invitation of President Bush. It has always looked curious that for a historically Anglo-centred country like Kenya, Kibaki has never deemed it necessary to pay an official visit to the UK.


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PM wants President Mugabe to resign from leadership

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2008

‘Enough is enough’,

Britain’s Brown tells Mugabe

LONDON (AFP) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday that world powers must join together to tell Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe that “enough is enough” amid a cholera epidemic which has killed nearly 600.

Brown said the crisis in Zimbabwe was now “international”, adding he hoped the United Nations Security Council would meet urgently to consider the situation.

His comments come as the international pressure on President Mugabe rises, with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying it was “well past time for Robert Mugabe to leave” and Brown’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband calling the Zimbabwean government a “rogue” regime.

“This is now an international rather than a national emergency,” Brown said in a statement released by his Downing Street office.

“International because disease crosses borders. International because the systems of government in Zimbabwe are now broken. There is no state capable or willing of protecting its people.

“International because — not least in the week of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — we must stand together to defend human rights and democracy, to say firmly to Mugabe that enough is enough.”

Britain Thursday pledged extra aid to fight the cholera outbreak in its former colony, where the death toll has hit 575, according to the UN.

Brown said the focus now was on getting aid to the people who need it most, in part through the establishment of a command and control structure in Harare, stressing that “our differences with Mugabe will not prevent us doing so”.

He added he had been “in close contact with African leaders to press for stronger action to give the Zimbabwean people the government they deserve”.

“I hope that the Security Council will meet urgently to consider Zimbabwe,” he said, also calling on Zimbabwe to allow visits by senior officials.

Source. AFP

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World leaders want Mugabe to go

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2008

Zimbabwe cholera action needed –


With the beleaguered African state now in the grip of a cholera epidemic, the Prime Minister said in a statement that the situation had deteriorated to the point where it demanded an international response.

He said: “This is now an international rather than a national emergency. International because disease crosses borders. International because the systems of government in Zimbabwe are now broken. There is no state capable or willing of protecting its people.

“International because – not least in the week of the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights – we must stand together to defend human rights and democracy, to say firmly to Mugabe that enough is enough.”

Mr Brown said the immediate priority was to prevent more deaths through the distribution of re hydration and testing packs.

He called for the establishment of a “command and control structure” in the capital, Harare, to co-ordinate the work of donors and NGOs to ensure that international aid reached the people who needed it most.

At the same time, Mr Brown said that he had been in close contact with African leaders to press for stronger action “to give the Zimbabwean people the government they deserve”.

He said that he now hoped that the United Nations Security Council would meet urgently to consider the situation in Zimbabwe.

“The people of Zimbabwe voted for a better future. It is our duty to support that aspiration,” he said.


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