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Archive for December 30th, 2008

I wish I had listened to my mother when she advised me not to get married at a young age

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

KENYA: Caroline Mwita: “I wish I had listened to my mother, who advised against getting married early”

Photo: Bristol-Myers Squibb
“I do not know whether I got HIV from my husband or from [one of] these men”

KISII, 29 December 2008 (PlusNews) – “I met my future husband when I was around 13 years old and I went to Kisii town to live with my father, who worked there as a watchman.

“We talked [she and her future husband] and he told me that he was working in one of the supermarkets as a loader, and we started going out.

“I managed to convince him that I should finish my primary schooling before we could marry. Unfortunately, before I could even sit for my final primary education exam, I became pregnant and we decided to get married.

“After only one year, my husband died. He had been sick on and off but I did not expect him to die that soon. After the burial, I was told that I would be inherited and I was scared, because the man who would inherit me was old enough to be my father.

“I had no choice but to do as they wanted. I could not even go back to my parents because my father [agreed with] these people. All I could do was cry, but I soon got used to it.

“The first man to inherit me died, and our child died soon after birth. And it is then that I realised I was [HIV] positive.

“The second man only stayed for three months and left to inherit another woman. I am now living with the third man to inherit me after my husband’s death.

“I do not know whether I got HIV from my husband or from [one of] these men. We have sex without even protection, yet you cannot even tell them a thing.

“It is sad, because somebody is just inheriting you, yet the community gives them complete control over you.

“At times I wish I had listened to my mother, who advised me against getting married early.”


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Kenyans must not be deceived, there shall be no peace if the Mungiki sect pressing issues are not addressed

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

The Waki recommendation and setting up of the Kenya tribunal to look into the 2007 post-election violence will only bear lasting fruits if the Mungiki militiaʼs sect matters are also addressed as part of the main agenda.

The top Kikiyus in the government have for the past years been victimising innocent Kenyans in the name of being members of this outlawed sect, through well orchestrated propaganda being spread by security agents as licence to kill and brutally murder innocent people without justice.

Kenyan must not be deceived, there shall be no peace if the Mungiki sect pressing issues are not addressed, and in essence the road map for the tribunal success is to follow up with Kenyan PM Raila Odinga gesture to open up talks with Mungiki leaders, hear their grievances with sober approach to find a lasting solution to the same.

Hundreds of the suspected members of mungiki have been executed in cold blood in broad daylight, the butchering of people without charging them in the court of law shall not eliminate the group, and instead it will further escalate more violence and increase human right abuses in Kenya.

The Kenya government must accept the fact that this group are children of the Mau Mau freedom fighters whoʼs forefather fought for the liberation cause of the land, now living under extreme poverty in the streets or as squatters or landless, while ongoing killings and abductions are being staged by a renegade faction sponsored by government to distort the genuine and original cause of sect to demand back their ancestral land.

Sweep the history under the carpet in order to avoid answering questions on those behind the mysterious killings will let this myth go.

Many innocent Kikuyus are currently seeking asylum across the world after being falsely framed by the powerful figures of their community in the current government as members of the banned sect, this is a tact being used by these ruthless and blood thirsty wealthy land grabbers to eliminate rightful owners of land grabbed by the late Kenyattaʼs family and his cronies.

There are reports that so many Kikuyus in the past years have fled the country and currently seeking asylums around the world under the fear of being implicated as members ofMungiki and therefore if the Kenya government does not take swift action to have formal reconciliation meeting with sect leaders, it wonʼt be surprised if they transformed itself to sophisticated and dangerous revolutionary movement in Central Province.

By Rev. Okoth Otura

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Wake up and start demanding your rights and every Kenyan rights from the government.

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

It’s very sad that this fellow has been putting his life for the emancipation of Kenyans and, today, his life is in danger but the people he has always fought for, are the very ones sending these characters to put him off tyhe streets. Once this is done, you will hear how they rush to condemn the government or who ever is behind this – then, it will be history!

Why are do we always take human life so cheap? Why should we use those who have supported us as things to be used up? Kenyans must surely wake up if they really want to have a peaceful country where everyone will move freely and trade wherever they choose to do so.

We are, today, in the jaws of those who believe, like the Boers before them, that those whose names could not be found in the history books during independent, were made to be our servants and slaves!

Wake up and start demanding your rights and every Kenyan rights from the government. The civil liberties must be granted to everyone
irrespective of the house where Odhiambo came from. We don’t need to hoodwink the family the way we have done with the Mbai’s and others, then, we disappear into oblivion!

By Otieno Mbare

Otieno Mbare, P.hD (Econ & Bus.Adm) Research Fellow, bo Akademi University & Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
+358 2 2154 976 (Off) +358 40 5341 996

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Somalia crisis: A member of parliament in the Yusuf camp, who requested anonymity, told IRIN Yusuf was pressured into resigning by the international community.

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

SOMALIA: Fresh turmoil, uncertainty as president resigns

Photo: Liban Warsame
President Abdullahi Yusuf resigned on 29 December four years after his election

NAIROBI, 29 December 2008 (IRIN) – Fresh turmoil and uncertainty loom for the people of Somalia – already ravaged by displacement, conflict, drought and hyper-inflation – after the countrys interim president resigned on 29 December.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned after disagreements with parliament and his prime minister, as well as pressure from the international community.

“President Abdullahi Yusuf resigned at around 1000am local time. The speaker of parliament, Sheikh Aden Madobe, is now the acting president until a new one is elected,” Abdi Haji Gobdon, the government spokesman told IRIN.

Gobdon said parliament had to elect a new president within 30 days, according to the interim constitution.

Yusuf’s resignation comes days after the man he appointed as prime minister, Mohamed Mahamud Guled, resigned – in defiance of parliament.

Yusuf, a former warlord, was elected four years ago to a five-year term in the hope that he would bring peace and stability to the war-torn country.

According to local sources, Yusuf, in a resignation speech, told parliament he had failed to do so, and blamed both Somalis and the international community for his failure.

Photo: Hassan Ahmed/IRIN
Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein

Clash with premier

Yusuf and the Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein had clashed over attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Islamist-led armed opposition.

Yusuf was opposed to peace talks held in Djibouti which brought together representatives of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and a faction of the Eritrea-based opposition group, the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS), led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

The ex-president regarded these talks as “a plan to weaken his power”, said a Somali political observer. “He saw the whole process as a way to sideline him.”

According to the observer, Yusuf could still pose a serious obstacle to peace in the country. “He will most likely re-establish his political base in Puntland and use that as a bargaining chip.”

A member of parliament in the Yusuf camp, who requested anonymity, told IRIN Yusuf was pressured into resigning by the international community.

“He was forced to resign and it will not lead to peace and stability,” said the MP who was speaking from Galkayo, Yusuf’s home town.


A Somali civil society source told IRIN Yusuf’s departure would be positive if it meant the end of “warlordism” in the country.

“If it marks the end of a warlord era then it is positive and we welcome it.”

He said the resignation should be accompanied by serious changes in the TFG “if anything positive is to come out of it”.

A Nairobi-based regional analyst who preferred anonymity, welcomed Yusuf’s resignation, calling it “very positive”.

“This is a very positive and long-awaited step that removes impediments to the Djibouti peace process,” he said, adding that considerable challenges remain.

He said the TFG and the Djibouti wing of ARS need to move quickly to form a broad-based government. “They need to move with greater urgency to form a unity government and bring in others opposed to the process.”

Ethiopian forces

Photo: TS/IRIN
Yusuf will be remembered as the man who brought Ethiopian forces into Somalia – file photo

Many Somalis will remember Yusuf as the man who brought Ethiopian forces into Somalia, which led to a fierce insurgency and the displacement of over a million people.

Over the past couple of months, insurgents comprising Islamist Al-Shabab, nationalists and militia clans opposed to foreign forces, have taken control of more than a dozen localities, according to a local journalist.

The TFG has control only over Mogadishu and the town of Baidoa, 240km southwest of Mogadishu, where the parliament is based.

At least 16,000 Somalis died between 2007 and 2008 and more than 30,000 were injured, according to local human rights groups. According to the UN, 2.6 million Somalis need assistance. That number is expected to reach 3.5 million by the end of the year.

Somalia has the highest levels of malnutrition in the world, with up to 300,000 children acutely malnourished annually, according to the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF).


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Humanitarian access to Gaza has been severely restricted by Israel since early November.

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

ISRAEL-OPT: Dire humanitarian situation looms in Gaza

Photo: Wissam Nassar/IRIN
Palestinians mourn relatives during funerals in Gaza after previous Israeli military activity (file photo)

GAZA CITY, 29 December 2008 (IRIN) – As a result of a major offensive on 27 December by Israel against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, a dire humanitarian situation looms, according to aid officials.

Gaza had been teetering on the edge of such a crisis even before the Israeli offensive: Humanitarian access to Gaza has been severely restricted by Israel since early November.

Now infrastructure in several areas has been destroyed, leaving residents without electricity and water.

On 28 December Oxfam said it had been forced to temporarily suspend most of its humanitarian work in Gaza because of the bombing, and a programme which will feed 25,000 people has also been put on hold.

Only UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been able to send staff to Gaza since early November.

Photo: Tom Spender/IRIN
A Qassam rocket is displayed in Sderot town hall, next to pictures of residents killed in rocket and other attacks (file photo)

“Since 3 November Oxfam Great Britain’s requests for the coordination of 10 staff members to enter and exit Gaza have been denied,” said Oxfam administrator Mohammed Abu-Gharbieh.

The death toll in Gaza has risen to over 300, but Hamas says rocket-fire into Israel will continue. One Israeli civilian was killed on 27 December by a missile fired by militants from Gaza and a second civilian was killed on 29 December.

Home to 1.5 million Palestinians, Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth.

Shortage of medical supplies

Our capabilities are limited. Since August we have not received basic medications. The ICRC, which usually delivers 60 types of medication, has been unable to deliver a shipment for one month said health ministry spokesperson Hamam Nasman.

One hundred and five drugs and 230 basic supplies, like alcohol, cotton, needles, and IVs [intravenous drips] are out of stock.

About 50 percent of Gazas 200 ambulances are not working due to the lack of spare parts, according to the head of ambulances and emergency care at the health ministry, Mawia Hassanin. As a result, victims were being brought to hospitals in private cars, donkey carts, and some were being carried by others on foot.

Air strikes

Eight students from Gaza Vocational Training Centre in Gaza City were killed and 20 injured by an air strike, said UNRWA [UN Palestinian agency for refugees] spokesperson Sami Mshasha. Two UNRWA teachers were also killed.

Numerous targets were attacked in the Israeli offensive which continued on 29 December, including the presidential compound, security and police headquarters, the central prison in Gaza City and five mosques.

Photo: UNRWA
UNRWA stopped distributing food in Gaza on 18 December

At least 55 women and children in Gaza have been killed in Israeli air strikes since Saturday [27 December], according to a tally by a UN aid agency, said Mshasha.

The attack follows a decision by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet to escalate Israel’s response to rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza against southern Israeli communities.

The Israeli army said on 27 December that the air strikes “will continue, will be expanded, and will deepen if necessary.”

UNRWA recognises Israels legitimate security concerns. However, its actions should be in conformity with international humanitarian law and it should not use disproportionate force, said Commissioner-General of UNRWA Karen AbuZayd.

Israeli goals

Israel has two goals, according to the spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Ministers Office, Mark Regev: To create a new security environment in Israel and to protect the population in the south.

UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness in Jerusalem said: It is virtually impossible to run or to do large-scale planning for such a humanitarian operation. We feed more than 750,000 people in Gaza. The World Food Programme feeds over 200,000 people in Gaza. We do cash distributions to 94,000 people. To conduct an aid operation of this scale – given the drip drip drip on and off policy of supplies into Gaza – its become virtually impossible.

UNRWA stopped distributing food in Gaza on 18 December.



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Kenya politics > ODM drops case against PNU – ODM leaders may be the ones to face the tribunal after all

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2008

Try poll violence suspects locally, says minister

By Peter Atsiaya

ODM has rescinded its decision to take PNU to The Hague over post-election violence, Lands Minister James Orengo has said.

Mr Orengo said the move was to give the proposed local tribunal opportunity to deal with perpetrators of the violence that claimed more than 1, 000 lives and left thousands homeless.

“We have decided not to go ahead with plans to have International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate and try leaders in PNU who were in charge of the Government during the skirmishes,” said the Ugenya MP.

Speaking in Kisumu on Sunday, Orengo said a plan to set up a local tribunal to deal with the matter was positive.

“It is not fair to exhibit Kenyans to the international community. A home grown solution was the best way of dealing with the matter,” he said.

Orengo said Kenya was a sovereign and should not move to a level where ICC is allowed to assume the responsibility of the Judiciary.

Orengo was quick to add that if the local tribunal would not deal with the matter exhaustively ICC should step in as proposed by the Waki Report.

“The tribunal should not be used to protect some powerful leaders because Kenyans want to bring to an end the era of impunity,” he said.

ODM, PNU and NGOs had presented their complaints to ICC for investigations and prosecution.

“If ICC declares that issues raised by ODM merit investigations and trial they are free to move in,” he said.

He went on: ” May be issues raised by our party might not be exactly what the tribunal would be dealing with.”

The minister said the tribunal should not leave any loopholes that would warrant ICCs intervention.

Orengo called on leaders in the Government not to interfere with the tribunal once set up.

“We are aware that some influential leaders in the Government, who fear being touched, might use their positions to frustrate the work of the tribunal for their selfish good,” he said.

Orengo said the Government must show commitment to ending the culture of impunity.

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