African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Archive for August 27th, 2009

PAKISTAN: Mass graves found in Swat

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: Tariq Saeed/IRIN
The majority of IDPs have returned but the trauma of conflict lingers with the discovery of mass graves

MINGORA, – Human rights groups and local residents say mass graves have been found in parts of northwestern Pakistan which have seen fierce fighting between government forces and Taliban militants since May 2009.

The autonomous Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has reported the discovery of mass graves in Babozai and Kabal sub-districts of Swat District, North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

“We have also documented credible accounts of numerous extra-judicial killings and reprisals carried out by security forces,” Asma Jahangir, the HRCP chairperson, told IRIN.

Senior military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas denies the military were involved: “The militants buried their associates in mass graves” while retreating from areas of conflict. He also denied charges that militants were subjected to torture or summarily executed.

HRCP has demanded an independent inquiry into the alleged extra-judicial killings.

Sebastien Brack, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Pakistan, refused to be drawn into the argument, saying that the ICRC was focusing on meeting the needs of local people. “The infrastructure was destroyed by the fighting. It now needs to be re-built so people have access to health care and to livelihood, which is another key need.”


In Mingora – the principal city of Swat which is beginning to return to normal as markets, offices and schools re-open and supply lines for goods gradually improve – accounts of atrocities during the conflict appear plausible to many.

“I have heard from a cousin in the Kabal area how he was present when a mass grave was found. We have also heard some people were shot on the streets by soldiers,” Emaduddin Khan, a local shopkeeper, told IRIN.

Whether or not such testimonies – and others about militants being tied up and dragged behind vehicles or tortured in other ways – are accurate, they reflect the tension and nervousness lingering in Swat.

“These stories are told everywhere. They make me shudder,” said Muhammad Amjad, 17. Like other boys and young men in Swat, he also faced pressure from the militants to join them.

''Beheadings and use of human shields by Taliban forces are not a blank cheque for the Pakistan Army''

Violations of humanitarian law?

Allegations of gross violations of humanitarian law have been widespread. In May, just a week after the fighting began, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned of violations of war law by the military.

“Beheadings and use of human shields by Taliban forces are not a blank cheque for the Pakistan Army,” Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, said in a statement at the time.

Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 stipulate humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands; that the wounded and sick be collected and cared for; and that the ICRC be granted the right to offer its services to the parties to the conflict.

“No one, no doctors, no relief workers, no journalists were allowed here for months. My son was hit by a bullet, and we could not even get him to a doctor to have it removed from his leg for three days because of the curfew and the fighting,” said local resident Younis Khan, 50.

The fighting displaced 2.3 million people, of whom 1.6 million have now returned home, over half of them to Swat District, the latest Pakistani government figures show.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

YEMEN: Fighting forces 120,000 people to flee

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: ICRC
The ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent Society prepare the distribution of food and essential items to conflict-displaced civilians in Saada Province

SANAA, – Nearly 120,000 people from various districts in Yemens northern province of Saada fled their homes to safer areas on the border with Saudi Arabia as renewed clashes between the army and Houthi rebels escalated over the past four days, according to Mohammed Abdussalam, spokesman for the office of rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi.

Some of these displaced families – from the most war-affected districts, such as Al Salem Saqain, Ghamr, Haidan, Shada, Malahidh, Majaz and Qataber – are now living with host families and others in camps or outdoors, Abdussalam told IRIN on 16 August.

The government does not comment on numbers displaced in Saada while aid agencies could not confirm the figures either because of their restricted movement.

More on Saada conflict
Number of IDPs in north increases agencies
Over 3,000 displaced as clashes flare up in north
Government funds reconstruction efforts in Saada
Child soldiers getting killed in north
The conflict in Saada Governorate – analysis

For the time being, we have no accurate data on the number of IDPs [internally displaced persons] as the movement of our teams is restricted to within Saada city because of intermittent clashes, Rabab Al-Rifai, communication delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen, told IRIN.

We provided 100 tents to some IDPs in one of the four camps and clean water is supplied on a daily basis in the camps, she said, adding that access to clean water was the biggest challenge facing IDPs there.

Al-Rifai said that over the past three months, around 7,600 IDPs in camps had been registered with ICRC and another 4,000 living with host families.

Aid workers kidnapped, restricted

Over the past five days, a number of international humanitarian organizations – including ICRC, the UN Food & Agricultural Organization, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Medicines Sans Frontiers – sent teams to the restive province but worsening security there has limited their effectiveness, Mohammed Abdullah, a Saada councilor, said.

On 14 August, 15 Yemeni Red Crescent Society (YRCS) aid workers, including doctors and nurses, were kidnapped by rebels from IDP camps in the province, according to Saada Governor Hassan Manaa, as quoted by the Yemen news agency Saba.

Manaa said local authorities were doing their best to facilitate aid agencies access to the displaced.

On 12 August, the government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) discussed ways to provide more effective humanitarian aid for IDPs. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta talked about the future role of UN-affiliated humanitarian organizations in helping displaced families.

Photo: ReliefWeb
A map of Yemen highlighting Saada Governorate

But the fighting has shown no signs of letting up. The government offered the rebels a ceasefire on 13 August on condition that they withdrew from conflict areas, removed their checkpoints and returned kidnapped foreigners, among other issues. The rebels rejected the offer and denied holding any kidnapped civilians.

On 14 August, 15 civilians were killed in military airstrikes on Haidan Market in Saada, according to a local councilor from Amran who spoke to IRIN on condition of anonymity. On the same day he said five Yemeni soldiers were killed and dozens other injured in clashes in the Harf Sifyan District of neighbouring Amran Province, some 100km north of the capital Sanaa.

Another official, also declining to give his name, said 20 Houthi fighters were killed in army airstrikes on Haidan, Dhahian, Matrah and Al-Mahadhir districts.

The sixth war between the Yemeni army and Shia Houthi rebels broke out on 12 August after a year-old truce collapsed. The government accuses the rebels of wanting to impose a strict Islamic rule that was prevalent in Yemen until the 1960s while the rebels say they are defending their people against government oppression.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

SOMALIA: Election ruling rings alarm bells in Somaliland

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: Mohamed Amin Jibril/IRIN
Opposition supporters demonstrating in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, to protest the decision to hold presidential elections without voter registration lists

HARGEISA, – A ruling that Somaliland will hold its oft-postponed presidential election without a voters list has prompted demonstrations, a boycott threat and warnings that the secessionist states relative stability is in jeopardy.

Somaliland, which unilaterally broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, is due to go to the polls on 27 September. The poll was originally scheduled for April 2008.

In late July, President Dahir Riyale Kahin announced that he and the National Election Commission (NEC) had decided to discard a hi-tech biometric voters register that had recently been completed after two years of work, claiming that computer server problems had generated an unreliable list. A representative of Interpeace, a Geneva-based organisation that developed the new system and disputes the extent of the problem, was abruptly deported.

The two main opposition candidates, Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party and Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud of the Development and Solidarity Party, have threatened to boycott the election and refused to even meet Riyale unless he reconsiders his decision.

For his part, Riyale has ignored a parliamentary order to reinstate the voters list, whose suspension the assembly deemed illegal.

The suspension led to demonstrations by opposition supporters, the latest on 19 August in Hargeisa, the capital, with thousands of people.

“We want to show the president that we are fully committed to holding the election using the voter registration lists,” Mustafe Abdi, one of the protesters, said.

According to reports from Lasanod, at least 37 individuals have been arrested since the demonstrations began, including regional officials of the two opposition parties.

Photo: Mohamed Amin Jibril/IRIN
Demonstrators take to the streets of Hargeisa to protest the electoral commission’s decision to hold elections without voter registration

Credibility questions

Yusuf Abdi Gabobe, leader of the Union of Somaliland Journalists, said: “Everybody in Somaliland is worried about the country’s current situation. If we continue without mediation the situation could worsen and conflict could arise.”

Meanwhile, concern is mounting outside the country. The African Unions envoy, Nicholas Bwakira, arrived in Hargeisa on 25 August and was scheduled to meet leaders of all major political parties. His visit follows that of Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Minister, Tekede Alemu.

Earlier in August, the US government expressed profound dismay over the registration issue. We believe the list forms a sound basis for use in the elections scheduled for 27 September. We have directly urged President Riyale to reconsider his decision, according to a press statement released in Nairobi.

Timothy Othieno, a regional analyst with the Overseas Development Institute, a British think-tank, told IRIN that if the minority ruling United Peoples Democratic Party (UDUB) went ahead with the election without the opposition, “they will have no credibility domestically and internationally and this may lead to instability. The lack of credibility may lead to pressures within Somaliland for change, which may not be attractive for Riyale both domestically and internationally.”

But he warned even under current circumstances, the election date should be maintained. Any further delays will have denied Somalilanders an opportunity to express themselves through the ballot box. There will never be a perfect election and a consistent tradition of elections will sort out these intricacies over time. The point being that Somaliland needs to get into the habit of having regular elections even if they are not perfect.”

Three UK-based organisations invited to coordinate international observers during the elections have also sounded the alarm. In a statement released on 20 August, Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London, and Somaliland Focus (UK) expressed deep concern at recent developments and hinted they would pull out.

We feel that under the current circumstances, the only possible outcome [of the election] would be seen by a significant proportion of Somalilanders as lacking legitimacy. We are therefore concerned about whether we are able to provide the coordination and observation role to which we have been committed to date, unless the situation changes markedly, they said.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

YEMEN: Tough challenges for aid workers in Saada

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: Rocco Nuri/UNHCR
Displaced children in al-Mazrak area of Hajja

SANAA, – Aid organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to help civilians in the northern Yemeni governorate of Saada after renewed clashes there between the army and the al-Houthi Shia rebels.

Saada is an active, armed confrontation with a very volatile security situation, so the World Food Programme [WFP] has to carefully balance staff security on one side and its mandate to assist affected people [on the other], Gian Carlo Cirri, WFPs Yemen representative, told IRIN.

Fighting in Saada flared up again on 12 August. Aerial bombardments of Houthi strongholds in Saada have forced many to flee into neighbouring governorates.

According to UN agencies, there are some 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Saada and the governorates of al-Jawf, Hajjah and Amran as a result of the conflict.

The Yemeni Red Crescent (YRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are the only two organizations running IDP camps in Saada Governorate, according to Abbas Zabarah, secretary-general of the YRC.

Other international NGOs are also working in the region, but with great difficulty because of the insecure roads in and out of Saada.

Photo: Rocco Nuri/UNHCR
UNHCR registers IDPs in al-Yarmuk School in Hajja

The difficulties of travelling the main roads hinder access to the population, and especially the injured, [and] to health structures, said a recent statement by Mdecins Sans Frontires.

IDPs who have fled to Hajjah Governorate have been getting aid, but aid within Saada has been put on hold by the authorities due to insecurity, said Rocco Nuri, external relations officer for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Yemen.

Nuri said the UN resident coordinator for Yemen sent a letter to Yemens deputy prime minister on 17 August asking for local ceasefires to allow aid workers to distribute aid.

Aid workers under threat

UN agencies have pulled out all foreign staff and almost all local workers from Saada (three abducted foreign aid workers were found dead in Saada in June), and are concentrating their efforts on distributing essential items to IDPs in safer areas outside Saada Governorate.

A joint UN mission has registered some 13,000 new IDPs in Hajjah Governorate since 15 August and is beginning to meet their essential needs. It is planning similar action in other governorates in the near future.

Partnership is always the best option to coordinate effective humanitarian intervention and avoid duplication of assistance, Nuri said.

In a case of a complex emergency, as is the case of the conflict in northern Yemen – with massive displacement of people, loss of life and difficult access to the affected population – a coordinated response [among UN agencies] that goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single agency is required to address the needs of the affected population.

Photo: Rocco Nuri/UNHCR
Spontaneous IDP settlements in the al-Mazrak area of Hajja Governorate

Few IDP camps

UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson in Yemen Naseem Rehman explained that a particular challenge of the crisis in Saada is that IDPs are not centralized in camps, but instead are staying with extended families in nearby governorates. Determining who is an IDP and who needs the most help is, therefore, a difficult task.

All of them are mobile, but they need assistance nonetheless, and the advent of the month of Ramadan, with rising food prices, has put an extra burden on relief agencies, he said.

On 13 August, 15 YRC workers were kidnapped by Houthi rebels and released a few days later. Zabarah of the YRC said they were kidnapped while doing their jobs; cooperation with the local authority is what insured the workers safe release.

Other aid organizations are extremely vigilant, and cooperating with local authorities.

“For the time being, [our workers] are moving extremely cautiously. They are mainly operating from their homes and they are in contact with us and with the authorities in Saada to organize relief operations based on the neutrality principles to which we want to adhere, WFPs Cirri said.

Clashes between government forces and Houthi rebels began in 2004, after the killing of rebel leader Hussein al-Houthi. The exact number of civilian casualties since then is difficult to gauge because of government restrictions on the media in the region.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

BANGLADESH: Hundreds of thousands stranded by floods

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: Contributor/IRIN
Monsoon flooding badly affected northeastern Kurigram District

DHAKA, – Heavy monsoon rains, which arrived much later than normal this year, have stranded hundreds of thousands in southeastern Bangladesh and threatened livelihoods, say local officials.

According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), there are nine places where river levels are 3-125cm above the danger level. If current rainfall persists – as the FFWC thinks it will – by the end of August over 30 percent of the country could be inundated, the forecast warns.

The FFWC blames the flooding on unusually heavy rainfall combined with drift water flooding in from the Assam and Meghalaya regions of India.

Kurigram, Rajbari, Sirajganj and Rangpur districts in Rajshahi Division, and Rajbari in Dhaka Division are the worst affected. Bangladesh has six divisions.

In Kurigram District, over 200,000 people in seven sub-districts were left stranded by floodwaters, with over 30,000 hectares of crops inundated and presumed lost.

Its been 10 days since we were stranded by the flood and there is no sign that the water will recede soon. It seems that no one is concerned about our plight, Lalchad Khan, a 65-year-old resident of Ulipur sub-district in Kurigram, complained.

Relief efforts under way

But according to government officials, relief efforts are under way. We have already opened up a flood relief centre in the district. To provide emergency relief support, we have requested the government for 50 metric tonnes of rice and five million taka (US$74,000), Mohammad Asaduzzaman, district commissioner of Kurigram, told IRIN.

Photo: David Swanson/IRIN
Floods are a regular occurence in low-lying Bangladesh

In addition, 2,200 Vulnerable Groups Feeding (VGF) cards were being provided to each of Kurigram Districts 72 unions (sub-locations).

Each family provided with the card receives 20kg of rice. VGF cards are issued by the government in times of crisis to ensure food delivery to those most severely affected.

More than 30 villages in Sirajganj District were inundated and thousands of people made homeless by the flooding. Many were forced to seek shelter on flood embankments. A seven-year old boy drowned in the districts Natuapara union, according to local media.

Another 25,000 people in Kaunia sub-district of Rangpur District were marooned when the River Tista burst its banks and washed over the embankments.

The sub-district executive officer of Kaunia, Mohammad Anwar Hossain, told IRIN relief goods had already been delivered by the ministry and would be distributed among union council chairmen.

Farmers are not the only ones affected: More than 50,000 quarry workers in Jaintyapur sub-district of Sylhet were left without the means to support their families after heavy rains flooded the areas quarries.

Flooding is a recurring occurrence in low-lying Bangladesh, with monsoon flooding an annual occurrence. On average, every seventh year a severe flood hits the country, say experts.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

ZIMBABWE: Cholera maybe making a comeback

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: WHO/Paul Garwood
Preparing for cholera’s return

JOHANNESBURG, – The first cases of what might be another cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe are being investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Zimbabwe officially declared the cholera outbreak that began in August 2008 at an end in July 2009, after the waterborne disease had killed more than 4,000 people and infected nearly 100,000 others.

According to local media reports, 12 people contracted cholera last week in Chibuwe district, near the town of Chipinge in Manicaland Province, about 300km southeast of the capital, Harare. No fatalities were reported.

The WHO representative in Zimbabwe, Custodia Mandlhate, told IRIN that laboratory tests were being conducted and “the next 24 to 48 hours” would determine whether the disease was cholera.

The 2008/09 cholera epidemic, the worst outbreak in Africa since 1994, was blamed on the country’s dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure, which provided ideal conditions for the disease to spread.

The infrastructure remains largely unrepaired and aid agencies have been warning that the onset of the rainy season, which usually begins in September or October, could spark another epidemic.

“The outbreak of cholera in Chibuwe has caused panic among community members and health personnel. The cases are sporadic, as they are reported in different villages. [The] nurse in charge at Chibuwe clinic fears that there is likely to be more cholera cases in the area,” said an NGO alert on Zimonline, an internet-based news website.

''We [aid agencies] all expect cholera to return, and it can be at any moment''

Rian van de Braak, head of mission in Zimbabwe at the medical charity, Mdecins Sans Frontires, told IRIN that cholera had not yet been confirmed and it was “hard to say” at this stage.

“It can be a couple of incidental cases [of cholera], or it can be start of the next one [epidemic],” she said. “Last time it started before the rainy season and in an urban setting. These [suspected] cases are in the rural areas. We [aid agencies] all expect cholera to return, and it can be at any moment.”


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

ZAMBIA: NGOs fear law will hobble their activities

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Fears of restrictions

LUSAKA, – Zambian civil society fears the imminent introduction of legislation designed to regulate non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that may compromise their independence and even result in a clampdown on their operations.

The 2009 NGO Bill, passed by parliament last week and now awaiting the signature of President Rupiah Banda to become law, calls for “the registration and co-ordination of NGOs, to regulate the work, and the area of work, of NGOs operating in Zambia.”

If the bill becomes law, a 16-member board will be established by the community development minister, consisting of not less than eight government officials and a minimum of two representatives from civil society, to “receive, discuss and approve the code of conduct [of NGOs], and … provide policy guidelines to NGOs for harmonizing their activities to the national development plan of Zambia”.

NGOs will be compelled to re-register every five years and submit annual information on their activities, funders, accounts, and the personal wealth of their officials; failure to comply could result in the suspension or cancellation of registration.

However, civil society leaders and human rights activists fear the proposed new law could be used by government to silence critics and erode civil society.

Finn Petersen, country director of MS-Zambia, the Danish Association for International Co-operation in Zambia, which works to build local democracy and land rights, and funds over 20 local advocacy NGOs and community-based organizations, told IRIN the proposed legislation would hamper the operations of NGOs.

“The bill is rather restrictive than facilitative in championing the development agenda. The bill imposes serious restraints on the work and functioning of the NGOs, which will ultimately be detrimental to Zambian society as a whole and to development work in particular, as we rely on partnerships with local organisations to carry out programmes,” Petersen said.

“Ultimately, we fear that the effect of the law will be to render it very difficult for NGOs, who provide critical analysis and checks and balances on the sitting government, to function properly,” he commented.

“It could also lead to a dwindling number of civil society organisations, in particular small locally-based ones, as they will struggle to meet the criteria of the bill. This will eventually be detrimental to allowing the voice and free expressions of the population living in rural and remote areas to be heard.”

Eroding civil society

NGOs are currently registered by the Registrar of Societies, a quasi-government body, but the government has little power to restrain NGOs from voicing political dissent, and any attempt to de-register an organization usually involves long court actions. SACCORD was de-registered by the government in 2006, only to have its NGO status reinstated by the court.

''Because of the way this law has been framed, it will discourage professionally qualified people from going into the NGO sector. When they hear that the NGOs are being ordered to declare their personal assets by a board of people who don’t seem to be sufficiently able to supervise them, then they may just shun venturing into the sector''

“What we would have loved is a law where NGOs self-regulate themselves. We are very much concerned and are appealing that the president should not assent to the bill at all, otherwise it will be a bad legacy from his presidency,” Lee Habasonda, executive director of the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes [SACCORD], a human rights and good governance watchdog, told IRIN.

“Because of the way this law has been framed, it will discourage professionally qualified people from going into the NGO sector. When they hear that the NGOs are being ordered to declare their personal assets by a board of people who don’t seem to be sufficiently able to supervise them, then they may just shun venturing into the sector,” Habasonda said.

“The five-year period will bring in a lot of insecurity among the NGOs participating in our development process,” Engwase Mwale, executive director of the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Committee [NGOCC], an umbrella body for civic organizations promoting gender issues, told IRIN.

“When it comes to outside partners and donors, if they know that they are going to have a license for five years … it will affect the contracts and development projects that may take longer than five years,” she said.

“Some of the provisions will disadvantage grassroots organizations, mainly … women’s groups at the community level. In terms of advocacy NGOs, mainly on issues of gender equality and equity, these NGOs offer alternatives to governments as well as provide checks and balances. The legislation … will reduce the space … to effectively carry out their operations,” Mwale said.

Civil society’s contribution to democracy

This is government’s second attempt in as many years to regulate civil society; the NGO bill was suspended in 2007 after widespread protests by societies and opposition parties.

Multiparty democracy was reinstated 18 years ago after Kenneth Kaunda, president of Zambia since independence from Britain in 1964, was unseated in 1991 by former trade unionist Frederick Chiluba.

Zambian civil society was seen as pivotal in forcing Kaunda to abandon one-party rule and adopt multiparty democracy, and also helped block Chiluba’s bid for a third term in office in 2001. During the tenure of President Banda’s predecessor, Levy Mwanawasa, who died in office in 2008, civil society maintained pressure for the adoption of a new constitution.

Since Banda’s election in October 2008, civil society has also opposed the hefty gratuities of about US$60,000 proposed by parliament for each cabinet minister and member of parliament.

NGOs no longer fashionable

Ronnie Shikapwasha, information minister and chief government spokesperson, dismissed the criticism. “Once it comes into law, this bill will actually enhance the growth … and quality of NGOs in the country … Why are the NGOs in Zambia not wanting to be regulated, to be transparent? Are they hiding something? Let the Zambians know and see how they are operating,” he said.

''It is old-fashioned to set up an NGO so that you are going to be at variance with the government … with the people that have been elected''

“Why should they [NGOs] ask for transparency from the government when they themselves are not transparent? How can you regulate yourself when the country in which you are operating has got laws that are supposed to regulate you?” Shikapwasha asked.

“It is old-fashioned to set up an NGO so that you are going to be at variance with the government … with the people that have been elected … When you are going against the government, you are becoming a political party,” he maintained.

Most Zambian NGOs are funded by Western donors, whom government often accuses of setting the agenda for civil society. “NGOs should not become like the opposition,” Shikapwasha said. “They should not be used as an opposition point, even for foreign countries.”


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »


Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2009

By Jeff Otieno

Kenya Electricity Generating Company Ltd (KENGEN) has allegedly been rocked by a massive scandal at its KIPEVU station.

In a terse letter dated 10th August 2009 to the Managing Director Eddy Njoroge, Witerose Security Systems Ltd Chief Executive Polycap Ocholla alleges that the station Manager Eng. Abel Rotich has been demanding bribes from him in order to be kept a float to continue doing a contract with the company.

Ocholla said that he started doing business with KENGEN way back in 2003 and emphasized that the relationship has been very cordial.

Torrid ties started in August 2007 when Eng. Rotich wrote a letter of harmonization demanding that Witrose reduces its number of security guards from 44 to 36 irrespective of letter of award Ref: PROC.475/DM/WK dated 26th April 2007 for the ongoing contract. And second letter of harmonization Ref: OM/KPV/117/10/AR/e, dated July 26th 2007.

In the harmonization letter Ocholla alleges that Eng Rotich was suggesting that he reduce the actual guards as per his letter by 11 guards, but he continue invoicing KENGEN as per the letter of award and that the amount of Kshs.10, 440 multiplied by the 11 which is equivalent to Ksh.114, 840 to be shared between them on fifty fifty basis in exchange of a cheque worth Kshs.619, 440.

Since I knew this would compromise the security of the station at the expense of our image by deploying less guards in very key sensitive positions and considering the negative impact should theft occur, we have never been in good relationship, the letter read in part.

Ocholla said that he has been at the mercy and has suffered of late in the hands of this manager who at times colludes with his juniors to stage manage theft to portray his company as inept with a view of denying him business.

Several alleged theft cases of copper cables in KIPEVU have been confirmed to be stage managed by Rotich and his cronies within the station and our guards have never been involved to take stock of length of cables to be used within the precincts of KIPEVU or without, the letter further read.

He went on to say that when they were previously involved to do stock and to move cables from one outfit to the other, such claims of theft didnt occur and records are there to attest to the claim.

He continued to mention an interesting case where 80 metres of black cable was cut by a Mr. Gonna of KIPEVU and the same was loaded on a private courier Data Rush Company vehicle registration No. KBB 886X driven by Mr. Thomas Macharia on 25th July, 2008 allegedly being transported to KENGEN Nairobi Office. Its common knowledge that KIPEVU is supplied from your Nairobi stores, and why would 80 metres cable be taken to Nairobi in a private van and more so without a gate pass? he questioned.

In a letter which was equally copied to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) he concluded that since most of the alleged dubious deals being propelled by Rotich have been unearthed by his guards, hes now pushing that the Managing Director Eddy Njoroge terminates his contruct.

Hes further intending to go the full throttle of swearing an affidavit in regards to all the claims against Mr. Rotich and to even adduce more evidence when called upon by the authorities.


Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: