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Archive for September 23rd, 2009

Gadhafi’s rise to power: Libyan leader took the UN by storm

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009

The man is a no nonsense man. He went to the podium and told the west to accept that the days they thought they were superior has passed. He told them to be more minding and accept that equal democracy is not only for the rich.

Reminding them of many killings initiated by people who may have got the backing of some governments, he told them it was time to release Noriega, the former president of Panama.

He reminded the general assembly that the killing of President Kennedy is surrounded by mystery. The truth has not come out Gadaffi stated.

He told them that the UN headquarters should be transferred from New York to other parts of the world. To explain this, he said this should be done in order to spare world leaders from possible terrorist attack in future in New York because the terrorists hate America.

Gadaffi spoke both as Libyan leader and the chairman of African Union. He had been allocated 15 minutes but decided to speak for a little over 1 hour and 25 minutes. However he did not beat the record set by Castro, former Cuban leader who years back spoke for alittle over 4 hours.

By Chief Editor Korir/ API

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Raila is in the US but Obama chooses not to meet him: Instead he warns Kenya on continued corruption

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009

By Susan Anyangu

US President Barack Obama has warned Kenya, which he fondly refers to as the land of his grandfathers, that there would be no retreat on the road to a new constitution.

His government also declared its eye is on Kenya, especially on how the country tackles corruption and impunity.

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger also warned Washington will get tough on Kenya in the next few weeks. He delivered Obamas caution that there will be no pulling out of the road to a new constitution to avoid recurrence of post-election violence in 2012.

“In the coming weeks the US will speak out more openly and take concrete actions to push for reforms. We are calling for actual results not more task forces and commissions of inquiry,” Ranneberger said.

US President Barack Obama (left), then a senator, when he visited Kenya in 2006.

He spoke on a day Prime Minister Raila Odinga was in the US for a crucial United Nations meeting. It is here that, before he got a second chance to meet Obama, some powerful voices in President Kibakis Party of National Unity were said to have orchestrated a letter to the US Government that Raila was not a Head of State and should not represent Kenya at the dinner table.

Ranneberger attributed his sentiments to Obama himself, yet another sign the son of a Kenyan father elected US first black leader last November, was not about to take his eyes off Kenya.

The speech rekindled that of Secretary of State Hilary Clintons reaction to a remark Obama could be meddling in Kenyas affairs, “Listen to your son, he means well to you”.

Growing impatience

The Obama Administrations latest statement appeared to capture his growing impatience with the slow pace of reforms, and lethargy in tackling corruption and impunity.

Obama is also frustrated by the Governments failure to establish a local tribunal to try post-election violence suspects and implementation of reforms under Agenda Four item of Dr Kofi Annans peace deal.

Speaking yesterday at the United States International University in Nairobi, during the International Day of Peace, Ranneberger said Washington would put pressure on Kenya to deliver on the reforms agenda.

“The spotlight is on Kenya. President Obama has made it clear he sees the broad implementation of the reforms agenda as an urgent step to ensure there is no repeat of the violence witnessed in 2007 or worse,” Ranneberger said.

His sentiments echoed Mrs Clintons and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carsons warnings about two months ago.

“President Barack Obama takes the relationship with Kenya very seriously and very personally. He wants to see the reform agenda go forward. He does not believe it can go forward unless people are brought to account,” Clinton said, last month, while she was in Nairobi.

She echoed Carsons words: “The United States wants to continue to be a strong friend and partner of Kenya. That is why we remain concerned about the trajectory of the politics in Kenya since the flawed elections in December of 2007.”

Clinton explained, “Trying to bring to justice some of those who acted violently and preventing them from believing that they can act with impunity is critical to Kenya. It is important to President Obama.”

This week, it emerged that Obama was determined to have post-election suspects punished, with the impending meeting by the International Criminal Court prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo and Clinton to work out modalities for the trials this week.

Although Ranneberger did not elaborate on the specific actions the US would take to push the Kenya Government, in the past US has imposed visa bans on those seen to be blocking reforms, and businessmen implicated in corruption.

US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger.

Such remarks from the US have been reciprocated by similar sanctions from the European Union. Ahead of Clintons visit to Kenya, the British High Commissioner Rob Macaire revealed the combined number of ministers, top civil servants, and entrepreneurs banned from stepping on British soil because of their conduct and dealings stood at 20.

Agenda four

The Wests agitation lies with the slow pace of reforms in the Agenda Four item of the National Accord which include police, judicial and electoral reforms, and a new constitution.

Yesterday, Ranneberger revealed America would support a move by the International Criminal Court to begin investigations. The US Government contends that so far, the only action from Kenya has been in form of rhetoric and commissions.

Recently there was a change of guard in the Police Department however; serious shifts on reforms remain to be seen.

The raging storm over President Kibakis unilateral reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as the anti-graft director raised a furore, and elicited a terse US reaction. The President has been under attack, mainly by MPs and the civil society that he broke the law by bypassing Parliament and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board.

In reaction, the US said it was not business as usual. The statement called for a re-examination of the reappointment, citing that in the five years it has been in place KACC has not achieved any tangible results.

War on impunity

Ranneberger yesterday reiterated the opinion of his government that corruption and impunity were undermining reforms.

While referring to the culture of impunity, Ranneberger amplified Carsons sentiments: “In the last 18 to 20 years, no high ranking government official, minister, assistant minister or permanent secretary has been successfully prosecuted for graft”.

While the roots of graft get entrenched in society, Ranneberger lamented, empty rhetoric on the fight prevails and blame-games abound, as those in power who can fight corruption do little about it.

“The whole KACC debate is not about Ringera as an individual but rather about the larger picture of the fight against corruption. It is about the ineffectiveness of the systems in place, thus the need for broad reforms,” he said.

Once again, Ranneberger lauded Parliament for its bold move in demanding that President Kibaki nullifies the reappointment of Ringera. He said finally, Parliament is beginning to exercise its independence.

The envoy said impunity in high levels of political office is frustrating reforms and warned this would have serious implications on the 2012 General Election.

“If broader reforms are not implemented before 2012, a greater crisis than was witnessed last year awaits this country,” he cautioned.

source.standard

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APINews

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009


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This is so beautiful!

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009


John 3:16

A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner,
the people were in and out of the cold.

The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell
many papers.

He walked up to a policeman and said,
“Mister,
you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could
find a warm place to sleep tonight would you

?

You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and
down the alley and it’s awful cold in there for tonight.

Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.”



The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You
go down the street to that big white house and you knock
on the door. When they come out the door you just say


John 3:16,
and they will let you in.”

So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked on the
door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,


“John 3:16.”
The lady said, “Come on in, Son.”

She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom
rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went
off. The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:


John 3:16
…I don’t understand it, but it sure makes
a cold boy warm.


Later she came back and asked him “Are you hungry

?
He said, “Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of
days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,”

The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat
any more. Then he thought to himself:


John 3:16
…Boy, I sure don’t understand it but it sure
makes a hungry boy full.


She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a
while. As he soaked, he thought to himself:

John 3:16
I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
clean. You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers
up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out
the lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
he thought to himself:
John 3:16 …I don’t understand it but
it sure makes a tired boy rested.


The next morning the lady came back up and took him
down again to that same big table full of food. After he
ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
rocker in front of the fireplace and


picked up a big old Bible.

She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face.
“Do you understand

John 3:16 ?” she asked gently. He
replied, “No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it
was last night when the policeman told me to use it,”
She opened the
Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
to him about
Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old fireplace,
he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought:
John 3:16 don’t understand it, but it sure
makes a lost boy feel safe.

You know, I have to confess I don’t understand it either,
how

God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus
would agree to do such a thing. I don’t understand
the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as
they watched
Jesus suffer and die. I don’t understand the intense
love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end.
I don’t understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life.


If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions

.

Jesus

said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed
of you before my Father.” Pass this on only if you mean it.


I do Love

God . He is my source of existence.. He keeps
me functioning each and every day.
Phil 4:13 If you love
God
and are not ashamed of all the marvellous things he
has done for you, send this on.

Take 60 seconds & give this a shot

!
Let’s just see if
Satan stops this one.

All you do is:

1)

Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you this,
“Father,
God bless this person in whatever it is that You know
he or she may be needing this day

In Jesus Name

Amen
!

2)

Then send it on to ten other people.
Within hours ten people have prayed for you,
and you caused a multitude of people to pray to
God for
other people. Then sit back and watch the power of
God
work in your life for doing the thing that you know He loves.

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Uganda: Divorced wives to get equal wealth share

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009

Kampala (Uganda) The government is in the process of enacting a law that will require courts to divide wealth between a wife and a husband in case of divorce.

In addition to the Marriage and Divorce Bill, the Government is also working on the Domestic Violence, Administration of Muslim Personal Law and the Female Genital Mutilation Bills.

Gender state minister Rukia Nakadama on Friday said: “These laws will mostly protect women. The will help to solve problems related to divorce, violence, marital rape, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, dowry-related violence and genital mutilation, among others.”

If passed in its present form, the Marriage and Divorce Bill will also allow cohabiting couples to divide the wealth accumulated in the time they stay together.

When dividing wealth, the domestic work done by the wives will also be considered.

The Bill also bans the payment of bride price, which it replaces with the giving of marriage gifts, which must not be mandatory. The Bill also gives authority to women to decide on the number of children they want to produce.

Presenting the Bill to MPs at Entebbe Imperial Resort Beach on Friday, Uganda Law Reform’s Tessa Kawooya said: “Polygamy will not be allowed where customary requirements have not been adhered to.”

However, several MPs reacted angrily to the Bill, saying it would create more problems in marriages.

Aswa MP Reagan Okumu argued that the Bill contradicts the time-tested African values and norms pertaining to marriage.

“In both Christianity and our African culture, divorce is discouraged. But this law encourages divorce rather than seeking to consolidate marriages,” Okumu said.

Oyam South MP Isha Otto added: “Our cultures, values and norms should be protected against Western cultures. It is the skyrocketing immorality that has created the problems, not because the African measures have failed to work.”

However, Kinkizi East MP Chris Baryomunsi said: “The Bill will help us to ensure that the human rights are adhered to and promote gender equality. I am sure many MPs will support it.”

Nakadama said other Bills, which her ministry had drafted, would soon be tabled in the Parliament.

source.newvision.ug

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Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009

Nairobi (Kenya) – Children born with sickle cell anaemia in the region and probably across sub-Saharan Africa are dying in their thousands because their weak immune systems cannot fight off bacterial infections, a Kenyan study has established.

The study, the largest of its kind ever to be conducted in the world, and whose results have been published in the respected journal Lancet, recommends that newborns be screened for sickle cell anaemia, and those found to have the condition to be immunised against common infections.

Whenever such children report to hospitals, the study says, they should also receive special care.

This study will make a huge difference to the way my ministry thinks about sickle cell disease, said Dr S. K. Sharif, Kenyas Director of Public Health and Sanitation.

Sickle cell anaemia affects millions of people worldwide but more than 80 per cent of cases are in Africa where an estimated 200,000 children are born with the condition every year.

The inherited disease manifests in the formation of abnormal, sickle-shaped red blood cells. Normal cells are round.

Abnormal sickle cells cause complications because they do not pass easily through blood vessels, and can form clusters which block the flow of blood to limbs and organs leading to pain, infections and organ damage.

The Kenyan study, which involved researchers from the the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri)-Wellcome Trust Programme in the coastal district of Kilifi studied blood samples from all children aged under 14 who were admitted to the local hospital during a ten year period between 1998-2008.

The researchers screened the samples for cases of infections and then tested the positive samples for sickle cell anaemia.

From 40,000 admissions to the hospital, the Lancet report says, the researchers identified more than 2,000 cases of infections with various bacteria.

When the infected childrens blood was screened for sickle cell anaemia, it was established that the prevalence of the condition was more than 20 times than in the general population, which stands at less than three in every 1,000 children.

This, the researchers concluded, showed that sickle cell anaemia considerably raises the risks of infections.

The most common bacterial infections in the children with sickle cell anaemia were caused by an organism called Streptococcus pneumoniae, which accounted for 41 per cent of cases, and Haemophilus influenzae type b, which was responsible for 12 per cent of infections.

Both organisms cause serious infections that may lead to life-threatening pneumonia or meningitis. However, they are both preventable by vaccination.

Significantly, the researchers involved in the study now estimate that in Kilifi, it is likely that up to one quarter of all child-deaths are attributable to sickle cell anaemia, with bacterial infections accounting for a sizable proportion.

Our study provides strong impetus for the introduction of vaccination programmes for all children in Africa, a move that will dramatically improve the survival chances of children born with sickle cell anaemia, said lead researcher Dr Tom Williams, a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and researcher in tropical medicine at the University of Oxford. Health policies need to be based on solid evidence such as this research, rather than on rumour and personal preference.

Medical experts say that studies such as the one conducted at Kilifi will be important in helping poor countries to reduce childhood mortality in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

This is despite the fact that than 70 per cent of child deaths every year are attributable to six causes, namely diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, and lack of oxygen at birth.

The MDG on mortality, the experts say, will probably not be achieved if other childhood killers such as sickle cell anaemia are not given attention, and resources committed to mitigate their effects.

To date, sickle cell anaemia has not enjoyed a high priority on African health agendas, despite the relatively high impact it has on childhood mortality, which far exceeds estimates for HIV, observed Dr Williams. HIV commands vast attention from the international community, yet sickle cell anaemia is virtually invisible on the international health agenda.

source.ea.kenya

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East Africa: Region to have a common currency by 2012

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2009

Nairobi (Kenya) The East African Community projects to have a common currency by 2012.

According to the Community Secretariat, a joint study on the proposed harmonised Monetary Union has already kicked off and is expected to end later this month.

This week, the team spearheading the study team led by European central bank consultants is visiting Bujumbura, where it will hold a consultative meeting on the proposed unified currency. Similar meetings have already been held in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali and Kampala. The last one will be conducted in Arusha next week.

Targeted in the study are the central banks of the EAC partner states and their, ministries of finance, planning, EAC Affairs and trade. Others are capital markets, bureaus of statistics and the banking fraternity.

“The purpose of these visits is to meet with the various stakeholders in the process towards Monetary Union and to make them acquainted to those matters which are likely to arise in this process,” Kenya’s EAC Minister Amason Kingi told The EastAfrican.

Critical to the study is the preparedness of the region to for a common Monetary Union.

Also featuring prominently are the legal implications of the proposed currency shift. The findings of the study are expected to be released next January.

The EAC Secretariat says the region will begin setting up the necessary legal and institutional framework.

Leading economists say it is time the region formed a common central bank and currency to be competitive in the global market and attract foreign investment.

African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell Mkwezalamba says that a common monetary system will enhance intra-East Africa trade, initiate competition and put the region in the global picture as a business hub.

“The creation of a Monetary Union can be seen as a fundamentally political issue, though with important economic implications. Currency unions are generally formed as part of a larger strategic push to integrate the countries entering such unions,” Mr Mkwezalamba said, adding, “The decision to embark on a currency union is a major policy decision.”

But is the region ready for the proposed union? Though a desirable move, analysts say the region should approach it cautiously. A unanimous argument is that the merger will create a more stabilised currency that will be less prone to inflationary pressures.

While a Monetary Union may improve the region’s economic policies, stimulate growth and foster good governance, observers say questions remain unanswered on the feasibility of the proposed union.

“The objective of regional integration seems well founded, but it is unclear whether forming a monetary union will contribute greatly to it. A currency that is ill-managed and subject to continual depreciation is unlikely to stimulate pride or give member countries any clout on the world stage,” says a report by the World Bank.

Today, the region’s currencies are weakening “asymmetrically” against the international ones. Although the three currencies of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have been falling against the dollar, the Ugandan currency has been hardest hit.

“In order to be strong and stable, EAC governments will have to institute measures to ensure they abide by strict fiscal and economic criteria. However, we must remember that the region once had a common currency. What will be required now is to check on the gaps that existed and improve on it,” Mr Kingi said.

To function smoothly and bring about economic benefits for all EAC partner States, experts say the Monetary Union should start with a high degree of sustainable monetary and economic convergence among partner states.

“The partner states should experience synchronous economic cycles, similar external shocks as well as similar inflation and growth rates. Income levels may also be important,” said Mr Kingi.

According to the minister, the talks on Monetary Union are progressing well among the member states.

“Our target is to ensure that once we have a harmonised market by November this year, we will immediately engage on striking an agreement on a merged currency from early next year. I am certain we will get there,” he said.

Analysts say if the pace at which the integration process has been taking place is maintained, then the region is “almost there” in achieving the preconditions, known as the optimum currency area, for the Monetary Union.

However, despite a positive outlook for the realisation of the union, debate still lingers on whether the region should instead sit back and wait for the proposed African Monetary Union which has been predicted to be in place by 2021.

The argument is that once the continent establishes a united currency system, regional and individual country currencies will be rendered redundant.

“One of the key pillars to the realisation of African Union is the successful integration of regional blocs. I don’t think our quest for a unified currency will conflict with what the continent is seeking,” Mr Kingi said.

The establishment of a common currency in East Africa comes a few months after East African central banks proposed a radical monetary policy regime that responds to the dynamics of the global economy.

In a meeting of central bank governors held in Nairobi in March to discuss the choice of monetary regime for the EAC economies, experts said the region should adopt a sound monetary policy that will accelerate capital flows.

“As East African economies are becoming sophisticated, central banks are running out of traditional monetary policy ammunition to fight the slowdown in growth and inflation.

This has compelled us to relook at the transmission mechanism of monetary policy. The region is becoming more integrated and capital movement across countries is increasing in volume,” Central Bank of Kenya Governor Prof Njuguna Ndung’u said.

Prof Ndung’u said the increasing influence of external factors on global inflation dynamics was also a driving force in policy choices.

“The spike in oil and commodity prices last year, for example, which initially appeared as a supply shock at the individual country level, represented economic overheating at the global scale, and domestic monetary policy tightening may not have been the most effective way to deal with this situation in our context,” he said.

source.ea.kenya

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