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Archive for December 11th, 2008

Norway gives priority to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

This is the right way to go ifgovernments want to safeguard the environment (API)

Norway provides NOK 80 million for clean energy investment fund

Norway and the EU are joining forces to boost investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in developing countries.

Norway has committed NOK 80 million towards a new fund for investments in projects to combat climate change and promote clean energy in developing countries. The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) is a public-private partnership initiated by the European Commission. Norway and Germany are the first two public donors to the fund.

We must do everything we can to help developing countries make a technological leap forward and increase their use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy and hydropower. Poor countries can reap huge economic and environmental benefits through energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy, said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

GEEREF will focus on investments in smaller projects, up to EUR 10 million. These are generally ignored by private investors and international financial institutions. Mr Solheim sees public-private partnerships as an important way of obtaining sufficient funding for adaptation to climate change in poor countries.

This fund can be a prototype for investment mechanisms that will attract private investors who are looking for a return on their investments, and that will also give an economic return on the public funds that are invested, added Mr Solheim.

The European Commission has already invested EUR 23 million in GEEREF. Further contributions totalling EUR 100 million have been pledged for the next four years. GEEREF is part of an umbrella fund structure, the European Initiative on Clean, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Related to Development.

Press contact: Information Adviser Wera Helstrm, mobile: +47 994 09 323.

Source.Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Published by Chief Editor Korir – API

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The final leg is now coming on the Michelle Obama tape

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

The Michelle Obama tape gave hope to many Americans during the run up to the presidential elections between John McCain and Barack Obama. The hope has not become minimal even after over one month since the elections took place.

Having known what some of the contents are, many American voters wished to have the tape released before the elections, hoping to influence the elections between the two men. The release of the tape was not to be, before the elections because a deal struck between Fox News Network and API never materialised due to sabotage still being investigated by API.

After breaking away from the agreement with Fox News Network, API did all it could to find ways and means to release the tape. The news organization experienced two more setbacks caused by hidden sabotage.

This has led to speculations that API was not interested to release the tape after all, but that the News organization was doing what it did with the tape in order to confuse voters or keep voters away from concentrating in getting people to vote for whichever man they had in mind. However, this is just a speculation engineered by those who wanted to see their choice enter the White House finally.

There is no question that API has a tape although some would like it otherwise, but having seen thedesire by many to use the tape as “destroyer” in a peaceful election, API had to thread very carefully after the release of the tape failed before the 4th of November.

A summary of all that has taken place will come out when all these is over so that one may understand what really took place openly and that which transpired behind the scenes.

API will not continue to keep the story alive for long, but will instead bring it to a closure soon. Of all the parties pursuing the release of the tape, a few will be disappointed at the outcome.

The road to the proposed closure has been long and API will ensure that all the facts surrounding the tape, the intended release and the bringing to closure of any further speculation will take place as soon as all the facts are on the table and a final road map to closure is ready.

Ignorance will not be used as defence for what has happened, the delays, the promises, and the hightening of hope, but that all which has taken place has been a challenge to API and has definitely given API a good lesson when it comes to matters of National Interest.

Chief Editor Korir

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NDHIWA PEOPLE THANKS KIBAKI FOR THE NEW DISTRICT AND PROMISED TO REDOUBLE EFFORT IN DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

It was jubilations and joy when it was announced last week that President Mwai Kibaki has created a new district in Ndhiwa one of the fast developing regions in greater South Nyanza region.

Immediately after the news about the birth of the new district came through via the various vernacular FM radio stations and the Kenya Broadcasting Service radio, the residents went into fency, dancing along the main roads and the market places

The announcement coincided with the ODMs grassroots election which were taking place in the various locations, sub-locations and in the five administrative Divisions.All the politicians allied to the area MP Joshua Orwa Ojodeh swept the board, consigning his arch-rivals Mrs Monica Amolo and Tom Okello Obondo into political limbo

OJODEH, WHOIS AN Assistant Minister in the Office of the President incharge of the Provincial Administration and Internal Security was away at the time. He had accompanied President Mwai Kibaki on hjis Nyeri tour and had left the field open for all interested in ODM party positions at the branch levels to battle it out on their own.

The residents of Ndhiwa were over-joyed. They drunk all the beers sold in small bars in marketplaces and danced all the night, while heaping a lot of praise to their MP for the job well done. Civic leaders said the creation of the new district was long over due..

The newly created administrative Division will be known as Pala Division. It is now in addition to the existing four other Divisions, namely Riana, Kobama, Nyarongi and Ndhiwa. The area has now been sub-divided into a total 22 locations and 52 sub-locations. Six new more locations were created. They included Kwabwayi West, Kwabwayi Central, Kabuoch East, Kanyamwa West and Koguta Locations.

The residents have resolved amicably tht the district headquarters should remain at Ndhiwa town which has the best facilities such as houses for the accommodation of civil servants, schools, water, electricity and offices.

Ndhiwa is not fast developing area but the bastion and hub food production in the region. Ndhiwa has five administrative covering 14 locations. The area can now be accessed by all weather roads. But the memorable is the new road which is branching off at Opapo via Magina in Riana division and traversing the entire constituency via Ober ,Pala,Unga and Ndhiwa Divisional headquarters

All these areas covering the interior part of Ndhiwa were impassable forcing the residents to walk a very long distances. They will now be able to access medical facilities, schools and dispensaries.

The same new roads link up with the Oria-Rapedhi road via Pala. It has the interior part of Ndhiwa to be easily accessible. It is also linking Pala-Amolo via Opoya area with a number of newly constructed bridges across River Kuja.

Thanks goes to the area MP Joshua Orwa Ojode whose parliamentary tenure of 14 years as the representative of the area has witnessed massive development of the various economic ,rural electrification ,communication and better constructed educational institutions.

And before Ojode took over as the MP for the area 14 years ago, ndhiwa was considered as one of the backward region within the greater South Nyanza.

Administratively ,Ndhiwa previously had only one Division ,Dhiwa. But during Ojodes tenure more administrative division have sprung . These include Kobauna,Nyarongi,Riana,Ndhiwa and Pala inSouth Kabuoch. It has witnessed the creation of more administrative location than in any other Division in the region.

The residents of the agriculturally rich area are very lucky lots. In each and every secondary school there is power and water supplies for the hygene of the students and teachers. Each of the 14 plus locations has one operational dispensary and health clinic, which are full of drugs supplies.

Ojode who is an Assistant Minister in the office of the President incharge of the Provincial Adminsitration and Internal Security told this writer that he was one of the happiest man for having realized his ambition to give people of Ndhiwa the best services.

The coming of the new district, w hich is heaved out of Homa-bay is the one of the MPs major achievements . But he is still struggling hard to have a medium size white sugar factory established in Ndhiwa. The factory according to Ojode will easy the problem of the local farmers who are forced to take their mature canes to the Awendo based sony sugar more than twenty kms away. This exercise is very expensive consuming a lot of farmers money in cane transport costs.

Ojode who is a close supporter and friend of the Prime Minister Raila Odinga is a moderate politician who maintains that hard work and less talks was one of the quickest way to succeed. H e has always urged his constituents to be patient and give the government time to plan well for their advancements.

Atone time Ojode stunned the nation when he turned down the cabinet ministerial appointment offered to him by President Mwai Kibaki.

He did so in solidarity with Raila Odinga and other ODM colleagues but he was strangely left out in the new coalition cabinet list in the ODM/PNU grand coalition government formed jointly by Kibaki and Raila when the announcement over the voice of Kenya radio and various TV stations across the country revealed the creation of Ndhiwa district , the residents took to the roads dancing and marrying in a rejoiceful mood.

we have wanted for this new district for a very long time but we are now satisfied that Ndhiwa is the youngest district in the region . We promise to make good use of the close administration brought to us by the government said one local teacher John M Onyango.

Ndhiwa with five administrative Divisions is now too big and we are asking the government to create a second parliamentary constituency in the area. This should serve the Joka Bunch and Kanyano communities while nearest should remain in the old Ndhiwa constituency said a civic leader who preferred to maintain his secret identity.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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The EU has been reluctant to any reaction force to quell the crisis in DRC to assist the 17,000-strong UN force, Monuc already on the ground.

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

Africa dominated proceedings Tuesday when foreign ministers of the European Union concluded their meeting in Brussels, as the Union proposed sending troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo and assisting Zimbabwe, and against the backdrop of the deployment of an EU naval force to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The EU has been reluctant to any reaction force to quell the crisis in DRC to assist the 17,000-strong UN force, Monuc already on the ground. Belgium, backed by the UN Secretary General Ba Kin-moon, has been asking the EU to provide a rapid reaction force; and some EU member states are already reconsidering their position.

The EUs foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, indicated that the EU could decide on a response to the UNs request by the end of the week and Louis Michel, the European development commissioner, will in the next couple of days head to the embattled Congolese city of Goma.

These are emerging as official sources say that a British-German-French EU battle group is on stand-by to be deployed before the end of the year, and an Italian-Spanish battle group is also waiting in the wings.

But the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy are all hesitant about sending a rapid reaction force.

The UK Foreign Minister David Miliband argued that troops should be sent through the UN and not the EU.

Belgium, the former colonial master in the Central African country, says that it would take four to six months for additional troops to arrive to reinforce Monuc.

One decision that was taken was the addition of 11 Zimbabwean officials to the EUs travel blacklist.

The list already has the names of 160 people, including that of President Robert Mugabe, who are alleged to have committed gross infringements of human rights.

The EU is also considering the possibility of letting the World Health Organization (WHO) play a bigger a role in the country, where reports say that over 600 people have died in a cholera epidemic in recent days.

The foreign ministers will look more closely at a clause that would allow the WHO to act in Zimbabwe without the governments consent on the grounds that the epidemic now poses a threat to the health of the international community.

While downbeat about the situation in Zimbabwe, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner downplayed the role that the EU could play in the country. The price paid by the people of Zimbabwe is already too high. How can we find a solution? Sanctions? Against whom? he asked.

Swedens foreign minister, Carl Bildt, argued that it was primarily the responsibility of other African leaders rather than European leaders to deal with the problems in Zimbabwe and added that Mugabes comment about the EU causing the misery in the southern African country was comical.

Monday also saw the launch of a maritime military mission off the Somali coast, called EU NAVFOR, to replace the existing NATO mission.

A fleet of at least six ships and three observation planes, provided by a total of eight EU member states, will escort aid and merchant ships in an effort to deter pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden.

source.apa

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Ghanaian election results: Over two hundred thousand Ballots considered null and void

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

About 205,238 ballots papers were considered null and void and therefore rejected by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana in Sundays presidential elections.

The chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, who made this known at a press conference in Accra while declaring presidential results, expressed concern about the large amount of rejected ballots.

He said in spite of voter education mounted by the commission in the run up to the elections, the rejected ballots represented 2.4% of total votes cast of 8,671,272.

He said voter turn out was 69.52% adding that total number of registered voters amouted to 12,472,758.

In all the commission set up 22,000 polling stations.

source.apa

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The Pirates continue to terrorise international waters

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

The international community is able if it wants to unite and stop the piracy. It is just a matter of agreeing on priorities. (API)

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Somali piracy backed by international network

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) Ahmed Dahir Suleyman is cagey as he talks about the global network that funds and supports piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“We have negotiators, translators and agents in many areas … let me say across the world,” said Suleyman, a pirate in the harbor town of Eyl, where scores of hijacked ships are docked.

“These people help us during exchanges of ransom and finding out the exact person to negotiate with,” he told The Associated Press. Before cutting off the cell phone call, Suleyman snapped: “It is not possible to ask anymore about our secrets.”

The dramatic spike in piracy in African waters this year is backed by an international network mostly of Somali expatriates from the Horn of Africa to as far as North America, who offer funds, equipment and information in exchange for a cut of the ransoms, according to researchers, officials and members of the racket. With help from the network, Somali pirates have brought in at least $30 million in ransom so far this year.

“The Somali diaspora all around the world now have taken to this business enterprise,” said Michael Weinstein, a Somalia expert at Purdue University in Indiana. He likened the racket to “syndicates where you buy shares, so to speak, and you get a cut of the ransom.”

Weinstein said his interviews with ransom negotiators and Somalis indicate the piracy phenomenon has reached Canada, which is home to 200,000 Somalis.

John S. Burnett, a London-based author working on a book about hijackings off the Somali coast, said there is no doubt Somali pirates are part of “transnational crime syndicates.” He said information from sources, including people involved in ransom negotiations and payouts, indicates the money goes as far as Canada and capitals in Europe.

“Places like Eyl are getting only a portion of the millions in ransom being siphoned off,” he said. “The Somali diaspora is huge.”

Sheik Qasim Ibrahim Nur, director of security at Somalia’s Interior and National Security Ministry, said evidence points to Somali expatriates in Kenya and the United Arab Emirates, but declined to give further details. He said there is “no doubt” the pirates have links outside Somalia.

Kenya’s government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, said the issue was under investigation. In Dubai, a police officer at the Interior Ministry denied claims that anyone was funding piracy. He asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The deals with “investors” appear to be fairly informal, with family or clan networks stretching overseas. The lack of a proper banking system in Somalia, which has not had an effective government in almost 20 years, makes it difficult to trace how much funding the pirates get from overseas or how it is channeled.

Somalia is a failed state with no banks, only a cash-based, informal transfer network called hawala. A hawala operator takes in money on one end, then instructs a relative, friend or another agent in another country to hand a like amount to someone else. The paperless system, based on trust and oral agreements, is commonly used in the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa.

There is some concern that the system is used for overseas payments to and from the pirates especially now that they are getting their ransoms in cash, sometimes dropped in burlap sacks from a buzzing helicopter.

The pirates acknowledge using foreign help.

“All I can tell you is we have people in Nairobi, Djibouti, we have people in Dubai and many other countries,” said Gamase Hassan Said, a pirate in Eyl speaking by telephone.

Aden Yusuf, another pirate in Eyl, told The AP that foreigners in Dubai, Nairobi, Djibouti and elsewhere help pirates get sophisticated equipment, such as money-counting machines seen at foreign exchange bureaus, in exchange for a cut of the ransom.

Roger Middleton, an expert on East Africa at Chatham House think tank in London, said ransoms in the past have been “channeled to expatriate Somalis around the world.” But pirates appear to be opting for direct cash payouts more often now bypassing even the hawala tranfer system because of concerns about scrutiny by governments, he said. In one instance at the beginning of this year, he said, the pirates wanted the money delivered through the Gulf but nobody was prepared to take it.

“That may be an indication that the (UAE) government was stepping up pressure,” said Middleton, whose information comes from private security firms and people party to hostage negotiations.

In the Emirates, hawala operators have been ordered to register with the Central Bank and to report transfers larger than $550, but it is unclear how many actually do so.

The Somali pirates also rely on a local network of corrupt officials and villagers eager for money in a region with no real economy. Somali pirates generally dock hijacked vessels near the coast in the northern Somali region of Puntland as they negotiate ransoms. Rogue security and government officials there allow the pirates to use ports and move freely around towns while they restock ships, said Abdullahi Said Aw-Yusuf, a district commissioner in Eyl.

“This is the main reason why pirates are stationed in Puntland,” Aw-Yusuf said.

Piracy has turned many tiny fishing villages off Somalia’s coast into boomtowns, where pirates build sprawling homes, cruise in luxury cars and marry multiple wives. Often dressed in military fatigues, the pirates are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and grenades. The weaponry is readily available throughout Somalia, where 20 years of anarchy means nearly everyone owns a gun and a bustling arms market operates in the capital.

The pirates have attacked more than 90 vessels this year and successfully seized more than 36.

AP reporters Salad Duhul in Mogadishu, Somalia, Barbara Surk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tarek el Tablawy and Sebastian Abbot in Cairo, Egypt and Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

Source.ap

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THE ODM ELECTIONS IN NYANZA LEFT MANY BIG NAMES TUMBLING AS NEW POLITICAL ALIGNMENTS EMERGES IN KARACHUONYO, RONGO, KISUMU EAST, KASUIPUL-KABONDO ,NDHIWA AND URIRI

Posted by African Press International on December 11, 2008

News Analysis By Leo Odera Omolo

THE just concluded grass root election by the Orange Democratic Movement{ODM} has produced shocking results in many places.

The elections were marred by acts of political thuggies and violent in various parliamentary constituen cies covering the entire Luo-Nyanza.

In Karachuonyo the local political operatives allied to the area MP Eng. James Rege were badly mouled by the newcomers. A local scribe Jack Nduri who is a stringer for the STANDARD became the new Rachuonyo party supremo. The election show many big names tumbles.

The former ODM chairman in Karachuonyo Samson Oyala was locked out at the sub-location level, and so were political heavyweights in the area like George Kwanya Odidi. The MP Rege too was locked at his home turf sub-location level and di not make it to the constituency office.

It became apparently clear in Karachuonyo that local political operatives allied to the Regional Director of Marie Stopie Clinics Mr. Cyprian Otieno Awiti had a upper hand against the MPʼs supporters. The MP who is an excessively arrogant communications engineer by profession is said to be under siege

It is being alleged that Eng Rege is currently rotating toward Minister William Ruto camp within the ODM is a besieged man. The other allegations making the round is that the MP has soft heart toward PNU as opposed to the Raila Odingaʼs aligned forces in the region. Cyprian Awiti is close to both Raila and his elder brother Dr. Oburu Oginga, and the outcome of ODM party grass root elections in Karachuonyo is clearly pointing out the way the year 2012 parliamentary voting g system in the constituency will be.

Minister James Orengo and his cronies swept the board in Ugenya, while Dalmas Otieno the Minister for Public Servicesd had locked horns with his arch-rival George Ochillo Ayacko in Rongo. An attempt by Dalmas Otienoʼs supporters tolock out Mr. Ayacko on a flimsy claims that he had ditched ODM and joined Charity Ngiluʼs Narc in the year 2007 did not materialized.

Although Otieno and his supporters carried the day in an election which was marred by ugly scenes at both Awendo and Rongo, the outcome has proved that Ochillo, who is the immediate former MP for the area was not a push-over. Supporter made good account for themselves, but lost while citing a lot of irregularies open riggings.

In Kisumu Town East, men suspected to be allied to the besieged MP Shakeel Ahmed Shabbir were reported to have resorted to violent and thuggery, seting ablaze houses of their perceived opponents. A former Kisumu Municipal Councillor and a nominated Counmcillor Mr. Olum had his house at Manyata torched, while Kolwa ERast Counmcillor Oruko Otugein Kolwa also came under fire.

Another area which witnessed acts of violent and political thuggery was Rarieda constituency

Where supported of the area Mp Eng. Nicholas Gumbo had clashed in various areas with the supporters of a prominent Nairobi lawyer Mr. Amolo Otiende.

In Gem, supporters of the area MP Washington Jakoyo Midiwo won all the seats comfortably, but his Kasipul-Kabondo counter part Oyugi Maguwanga had it very rough.

Dr. Oburu Oginga the Mp for Bondo spent the best part of Saturday supervising the election for the whole of last Saturday. In Bondo it went on very smoothly without any incident.

. Other areas where the election were carried out peacefully include Migori, Nyatike, Mbita and Ndhiwa

Ndhiwa MP Joshua Orwa Ojode stayed away during most parts of the campaign, but his men swept the board locking out his prennial opponents like Tom Obondo and Mrs Monica Amolo whgo made a futile effort to capture some of the seats.

The lady luck had befallen Ojode following the last weekʼs elevation of Ndhiwa sub-district into a full district by President Mwai Kibaki. The creation of the new district has enhanced Ojodeʼs popularity and standing within the local society giving him a heroic status.

Things, however, did not go smoothly in Mbita constituency which is represented by the Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwangʼ where opponent groups gave the Ministerʼs men a run for their money. It was a clear indication that despite having a high profile within the grand coalition government, Otieno Kajwangʼs popularity within the constituency has nose dived. The Minister is facing a heap of accusations and allegations of poor disbursement of the revolving funds the CDF, school bursary funds and road management funds.

In Nyakach an attempt by the sitting MP Ochiengʼ Daima to lock out his rivals Eng. Kodera and Peter Odoyo, the immediate former MP for the area failed.

Other places there were serious disagreements, leading to parallel elections being held by the various warring camps. It is believed that newly elected party officials would try to present the results of their parallel election to the ODM headquarters in Nairobi this week. This could cause fracases unless th ODM top bras official and members of its Pentagon acted swiftly and ordered for a repeat of the election in t

jos branches where the parallel elections were held.

In Uriri and Migori constituencies, the elections were peaceful. At the same time there were fracases and confrontation in the Muhoroni ODM elections. But the recent opu8rge by the government against the top managers of the corruption ridden Chemelil Sugar Company has gone a notch higher for the area MP Prof.Patrick Ayiecho Olueny.

It was reported last week that that four top managers at Chemelil Sugar Company have either been summarily dismissed or sent on compulsory leaves following numerous allegations of massive misappropriation and embezzlement of the company resources. The include the top security man, head of account, marketing manager and several other less luminaries

The elections left a clear indications of the future political realignment in Luo Nyanza as top leaders

Are getting rerady for the future battles in the year 2012.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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