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Archive for October 7th, 2010

ODM rebel MPs claim Pentagon behind poll chaos, according to the Daily Nation Online, Kenya

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

This must be hot on Raila Odinga’s heels as leader of Pentagon. Now that his own party MPs are demanding that the minutes taken down during meetings that led to mass demonstrations be released to ICC investigators, this will most definitely split ODM even more.

The MPs who are allied to the Minister of Education Mr William Ruto are the ones demanding minutes released and they are implicating the leadership of the ODM Pentagon that also includes their man. The MPs are in disagreement with the Prime Minister saying his planned visit to Kericho is meant to sabotage them as leaders for the region.

It now remains to see if the PM will allow the release of the minutes because as it now stands, such minutes will most probably put him in trouble and all the other Pentagon leaders.

It is understood that if Mr William Ruto who is now opposed to Raila’s leadership in the party is to be implicated and indicted by ICC, Raila will be in the nest as well. So will all the other Pentagon leaders who attended the meetings.

When the Provincial Commissioners have been question, it will be known how many leaders from the PNU will also be implicated in the chaos that led to many deaths in the country during the post-election violence.

By Chief Editor Korir/ African Press International.

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Kenya: WEAPONS RECOVERED

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

By Dickens Wasonga,  Kisumu-Kenya.

About 2 million arrows and 7,000 pangas and machetes and 54 home-made guns that are suspected to have been used for the executions during the disputed 2007 general elections have been recovered.

This is according to the Inter-Communal Peace Initiatives (ICPI) national co-coordinator Eunice Chebet.

Chebet says ICPI was set up by the ministry of state for special programmes to carry out reconciliation among warring communities during post-election violence and to preach peaceful coexistence among the communities.

She said they have also received a number of property surrendered by those who took part in the looting after the disputed polls.

Speaking at the Kisumu East District headquarters, the officer said they have traversed the country calling on those who illegally acquired property during the violence to surrender them while promising blanket amnesty.

She said they do not intend to prosecute anybody who might have looted any property during the chaos but are advocating for them to peacefully surrender them so that they are reconciled with those they deprived of such property.

She said they have been working closely with the local leaders and the clergy at repentance meetings calling on the people to surrender the property that do not belong to them.

“In our peaceful efforts to persuade the locals to give up such property we have also managed to recover 22 cows in Molo,” said Chebet. She added that the 22 cows have since been surrendered to their owners.

She said they have been helped a lot by those who carried out the looting in identifying the actual owners of such property thus curbing giving the assets to wrong persons.

The officer cited that the acquired weapons are stored separately from other property adding that they will be destroyed at a ceremony they are planning to organize to be graced by President Mwai Kibaki and other security heads in a bid to show the country that citizens have agreed to work together and to stop violence.

“For other valuables save for the cows that have already been collected by their owners, a meeting shall be convened so that their rightful owners identify them.

Chebet was speaking when she received some of the property that were surrendered by Kisumu residents.

She pointed out that they will ensure that the property is acquired by their rightful owners.

Ends…

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THE BODY OF THE KENYAN WHO DIED IN NETHERLANDS NOW FLOWN BACK.

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

By Dickens Wasonga -Kisumu, Kenya.

The body of a 29-year-old Kenyan who died mysteriously a few weeks ago in the Netherlands has now been flown back to the country.

And as earlier demanded by his parents, another autopsy was carried out by two Kenyan pathologists drawn from the ministry of medical services on Wednesday  in Kisumu to establish what could have killed Franklin Othieno Otieno.

The procedure which took less than  a half an hour was conducted by Dr. Dixon Muchana based at the Western Provincial  General Hospital and witnessed by Dr.Charles Muturi of the New Nyanza Provincial Hospital.  Others who witnessed the second autopsy also included the mother to the late Franklin, his brother and one of his uncles.

The results would not be released immediately to the family due to legal technicalities involved  and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy said he would hand over a comprehensive report to the police and the state council in the next three weeks.

But in a surprise twist, the pathologist  however observed that there was  a number of questions which needed to be answered but would not elaborate further during an interview with journalists who gathered at the Star mortuary.

Efforts to prod the pathologist to reveal cause of death to the media also hit a snug as he clarified that doing so would jeopardise investigations by the Kenyan police.

”We have carried out the postmortem in the presence of the family and the police. However the report must be given to the authorities through the office of the Attorney General and I will be ready to go to court and adduce evidence if called upon to do so.  We ensured the autopsy is done without bias.”Dr Muchana said.

They were even more puzzling  claims by the family that some parts of the body were missing but they would not elaborate only indicating that they will get to the bottom of how and what killed their dear son who left Kenya eight years ago to the USA in pursuit of education. They claimed also that  his personal effects could  not be traced too.

The claims of the missing body parts which we could not immediately confirm since the media were barred from viewing the body was made by Frank’s mother Florence Othieno and his uncle Mr. Paul Siaya.

His body which was flown back to the country by the Dutch authorities on Friday last week is lying at the Star Funeral Home in Kisumu and the family has now been allowed to go ahead with burial arrangements.

The late Franklin was reportedly in the custody of the immigration officers in Netherlands when he died.  At the time, even his parents were not aware he was there.

He is said to have informed his family of his intention to travel back to Kenya sometime in June this year after he cleared his studies at the Houston College In USA where he was taking pharmacy.

The news of his death was delivered to the young man’s family through a girl friend, a Kenyan who was also living in the US.

His death became controversial with conflicting  information trickling in from both the Netherlands host office and their Embassy in Nairobi and at one point the parents of the late Franklin threatened to boycott collecting it if the Dutch authorities brought it to the country’s capital city and dumped it there.

ENDS.

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NOK 1.2 billion for efforts in the High North for 2011

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010


The High North is the most important strategic priority in Norwegian foreign policy.
This is why the Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 1.2 billion for various High North projects for next year, in line with the strategy document New Building Blocks in the North. The Government is giving priority to important projects in the High North. And we are providing the funding to deliver on our promises, commented Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Stre.
The allocation for mapping geological resources in the north, which could form the basis for extraction of minerals, is to be increased by NOK 25 million, and NOK 20 million is to be allocated to the recently opened Fram centre for research on the environment and climate change in Troms. In addition, the Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 20 million for the establishment of BarentsWatch, a joint surveillance and early warning system for the Barents Sea, NOK 45 million for the establishment of a new polar research programme under the Research Council of Norway, and NOK 10 million for a new meteorological radar at Gednje on Varangerhalvya. The new radar will make it easier to forecast dangerous weather conditions, and thus improve safety for fishing vessels and the increasing maritime traffic along the coast towards Russian waters.
Our aim is that Norway should continue to be at the forefront of knowledge development on the High North and the Arctic. The budget proposal will help to strengthen Norwegian activities and presence in the High North as well as our knowledge of the region, said Mr Stre.
The Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 349 billion under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget for various cooperation programmes/action plans in the High North, including with Russia. This is an increase of NOK 48.8 compared with 2010.
We hope and believe that the increased allocation will encourage actors in the north to present good project proposals. Priority will be given to projects in the areas of health, the environment, education and research, Mr Stre pointed out.
The budget proposal entails the continuation of several important projects. These include NOK 54 million for follow-up of national efforts in the field of marine bioprospecting, and NOK 52 million for mapping the seabed under the MAREANO programme. MAREANO is generating vital knowledge that will help the authorities to facilitate various business activities. The mapping of the seabed from the Lofoten islands to the Russian border will be completed in 2014 on the basis of the present level of funding.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget proposal for 2011 gives a full presentation of the Governments increased allocations for High North efforts.
source.mfa.no

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ULTIMATUM ON KISUMU AIRPORT

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

By Dickens Wasonga, Kisumu, Kenya

ULTIMATUM

The completion of the ongoing work of the expansion of the Kisumu Airport has come under threat as members of the Kogony community have given the airport authorities a two Week ultimatum to solve the mystery surrounding their compensation on the land.

Led by nominated councilor George Weda and Kogony ward councilor Joseph Osir, they instructed the resident engineer Patrick Cain who is overseeing the work at the airdrome to organize for a meeting with the Nyanza provincial Commissioner together with Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) managing director and two permanent secretaries from lands and transport ministries to find a solution to the impasse.

Addressing the press after a meeting with the airport authorities at the site, the two civic leaders said they agreed with the resident engineer to organize for such a meeting in a fought night to come up with a lasting solution on the issue.

They accused the government of taking too long to meet their demands citing that with the ongoing fencing of the facility, they risk not being compensated on the already acquired land.

They said they had given the government enough time to meet their demands but it has been reluctant to solve their problem.

The two civic leaders even threatened to derail the work at the facility should their rightful demands fail to be recognized and solved once and for all adding that they risk losing their support on the ground should they fail to win the battle.

The councilors said according to documents they have, their clan donated 206.09 Ha of land for the construction of the airport subject to their resettlement on an alternative land.

However, they added that the title deed on the lease certificate indicates 362.9 Ha thus say 158.81 Ha of their land is in dispute.

It is the disputed 158.81 Ha of that land that makes us fill theres a foul play in the expansion of this airport, said councilor Weda.

And in a letter written by the two leaders to the KAA MD and dated October 3, 2010, they said the land was donated by their community in 1914, 1942 and lastly in 1975/76.

They said their clan (Kogony) was to be compensated by swooping the land with 1 times land in Muhoroni (LR 3102 or LR 640)

They said their community did not acquire the land in Muhoroni adding that KAA and the ministry of Lands promised prior to the current construction of the airport full compensation of the land and construction of an ultra modern double stream primary school (Usoma) which was relocated to a new site as it lied on the demarcated airport land.

All these have not been met and were left wondering when our people shall get justice, said councilor Osir.

They also challenged their area MP Olago Aluoch to take the matter to the house should the meeting slated in two Weeks time fail to bear fruits.

Our former MP Rev. Kenn Nyagudi tried to help us solve this impasse but unfortunately he lost his seat before his dreams could come true, said councilor Weda.

The complains came just when the Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked KACC boss PLO Lumumba to name and shame those engaged in corrupt land deals when he led the government in the official handover of more than 50 title deedsto ministries and institutions at Ardhi house in Nairobi.

Ends

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Stronger focus on climate change in development policy

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

The Government will allocate NOK 27.1 billion (USD 4.6 billion) to the fight against poverty in 2011. Increased efforts to promote clean energy and support adaptation to climate change will put a stronger focus on climate change.

We are one of the few countries in the world that fulfil the UNs target for budget allocations to the fight against poverty, said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

In 2011, the development budget will amount to 1.02% of Norways gross national income (GNI).

The Government will increase its support for adaptation to climate change, with a particular emphasis on agriculture, women and food security. Africas agricultural sector depends on women. It is therefore crucial that they are able to deal with the effects of climate change. Norways efforts to promote clean energy and to help the victims of natural disasters will also be stepped up considerably.

The very poorest people are seriously affected by climate change. Natural disasters force people to flee their homes and also destroy their livelihoods. It is therefore important that we enable poor people to deal with climate change better in the future, said Mr Solheim.

There is an urgent need for energy in poor countries. Energy security is a precondition for economic growth and improved welfare. At the same time, it is essential to limit emissions. The financial crisis has made it more difficult to fund investments in new sources of energy in poor countries.

We are doubling our efforts to promote clean energy and ensure that poor countries have access to clean, renewable energy. During the next 50 years, developing countries will account for the greatest increases in energy consumption. The enhanced focus on clean energy is therefore also an important element in our efforts to combat climate change, said Mr Solheim.

Involving private investors is an important aspect of our clean energy initiative. The Government is therefore increasing the allocation to Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries). In addition it will support energy projects in Africa and Asia, with a particular focus on India.

The Government will step up efforts to increase poor countries tax revenues and to prevent illicit capital flows, which drain them of huge financial resources.

Development comes to a halt when money disappears like that. We will work to increase investments in and trade with poor countries. At the same time, we will look at ways of generating funds for development, said Mr Solheim.

The Government will continue to focus on conflict resolution and peace, human rights and humanitarian aid, women and gender equality, good governance, institution-building and anti-corruption. It will also continue its work to reduce child and maternal mortality.

In 2011, the Government proposes to increase its development assistance as follows:

  • A doubling of the allocation for its clean energy initiative, bring it up to about NOK 1.6 billion (USD 270 million).
  • An increase of NOK 335 million (USD 57 million) in the allocation for adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sector, food security and prevention of natural disasters.

source.MFA

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Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2010

4 Oct 10

In a little over three months, Africa could very well get a new, independent nation when South Sudan votes in a referendum on secession from the north.

In Juba, the capital of South Sudan, expectations are high. No matter who you speak to, it seems that the answer is always the same; separation cannot come soon enough.

The reason for this is clear. Southerners have a tendency to lay most of the blame for the suffering that two civil wars have brought squarely at the feet of the government in Khartoum, often overlooking the atrocities that were committed by their own leaders.

In a lavishly-furnished car hire office, which has the air conditioning turned up a fraction too high, I meet George.

Two years ago, George took the decision to leave Australia, his adopted homeland, and return to the country where he grew up. Sudans civil war was officially over, and George felt that he could usefully contribute to the rebuilding of the post-war society.

Leaning over the desk, George says in a low, emphatic whisper, On January 9, we will become an independent nation. There really is no other choice.

It is rare to find a southerner living in Juba who does not share such views.

Of course, Juba does not represent the whole of South Sudan. But there are enough people in the capital city calling for independence to give a fair indication of how Januarys vote will go.

More than 1,000 kilometres to the north in Khartoum, things are noticeably different.

KHARTOUM SILENCE

While the south is making a great deal of noise about the historic significance of the referendum, many officials in Khartoum have been worryingly silent.

Few column inches are given over to talk of the referendum in the Sudanese media – and when the subject is touched upon, it is invariably to point out the benefits of unity. There are not many commentators in the north who are even discussing the possibility of what will happen if secession does go ahead.

Worse, there are signs that certain factions of the ruling National Congress Party, NCP, might be prepared to disrupt the referendum.

On September 27, Haj Majid Suwar, a prominent NCP politician, said that his party would not accept the vote unless southern troops withdrew from contested areas and allowed free campaigning.

The north has only just dropped its objections to the composition of a referendum commission to register voters and oversee the polls, and only after the south agreed to let it be headed by a northerner, Ibrahim Khalil.

With just over three months until the crucial poll, there may not be sufficient time for the referendum commission to carry out its work.

For its part, the government denies that it is actively trying to sabotage the referendum process. President Omar al-Bashir and second vice-president Ali Osman Mohammed Taha have both said that they will accept its outcome, even though they have made it clear that they would favour unity.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since a coup in 1989 brought him to power as a young military officer, probably had little choice but to agree to respect the outcome of the vote, after being railroaded into signing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, which paved the way for the referendum.

But few others in the north seem to have given much thought to the fact that, come January 9, Khartoum may lose control not only of a large chunk of the country but also of the revenue that the souths oil reserves continues to generate.

Reliable oil data is notoriously hard to come by, but petroleum giant BP estimates that Sudan produces half a million barrels of oil a day, with more than 80 per cent coming from the south.

The revenue from this oil has fuelled an economic boom in north Sudan, but little seems to have trickled down to the south.

Not only has this created resentment among southerners, it has also thrown into doubt the question of whether Khartoum is really taking the souths bid for succession seriously.

The danger isnt so much about whether Khartoum is actively trying to frustrate the referendum process. It is about the perception among southerners of what is happening in the north and here the government must tread very carefully, if they do not want to see a return to bloodshed.

The hazards of Khartoums state of denial regarding the referendum must not be underestimated. Expectations are now so high in South Sudan that any suggestion Khartoum is trying to frustrate the process could result in violence and even full-blown war.

REFERENDUM PREPARATIONS

South Sudans vice-president, Riek Machar, says that Khartoum should give a clear indication that it is prepared to accept the will of the people in the south, since this is in their best interests.

Khartoum wants the resources in the south, but they know that using sheer force might not be the best way of getting what they want, Machar told IWPR. For example, it would be better for them to have a co-operation agreement with us. Oil is already flowing northwards to the Red Sea, and all the [oil] refineries are in the north. It makes sense [for both sides] to continue this arrangement.

Machar remains optimistic that Khartoum will see the sense of cooperation with the south.

We have had experience of war since 1955, he said. Both sides have lost countless lives. There is a general fatigue of fighting. If the south votes for independence, and the north doesnt let them go, then this will create war. And what would either side gain?

Despite his certainty that the north will play ball, Machar reserves a veiled threat for what will happen if they dont.

The south is now stronger than at any time since independence, he said. It is quite conceivable that we could turn around and announce that we are going to build a pipeline in any direction. It could go to Ethiopia to Djibouti or Asab or it could go to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya. It could even go to the Atlantic ocean. But would that be economical for either the north or the south?

Two years ago, it seemed inconceivable that Khartoum would ever entertain the notion of cutting the south free.

But last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, PCA, an international body based in The Hague which takes decisions in cases where parties are otherwise unable to reach an agreement, came up with a surprise decision: two large oil fields, which had been part of the southern province of Abyei, would be reassigned to the north.

Abyei is due to hold its own referendum on January 9, when it will decide whether it wants to stick with the south or become part of the north.

At the time, the decision of the PCA was seen as an important attempt to diffuse a potentially volatile situation, but since then there has been only limited progress on implementing the ruling.

There is still no demarcation, said Douglas Johnson, an academic who has advised the government on the boundaries between northern and southern Sudan. We’ve had a whole dry season [since the PCA decision] where we could have had demarcation very quickly, but this still hasnt happened.

Those living in Abyei report that although fighting in the region has now stopped, the situation remains tense.

We are worried that violence could return, Deng Majok, Abyeis paramount chief, said. We know that the Misseriya are gathering on the north-eastern border [of Abyei], but we dont know what they are intending to do.

The Misseriya, a nomadic tribe of cattle-herders, have reportedly been used by the Sudanese government to stir up trouble in the past a claim Khartoum strongly refutes.

DELAYING TACTICS

The PCAs ruling in 2009 provided a valuable window of opportunity for Sudan to escape the horrors of the past, by making southern secession less objectionable to the north.

Khartoum may yet conclude that separation is far less bothersome than trying to hang on to a bunch of former revolutionaries.

But, for many in Khartoum, which has largely managed to avoid the direct consequences of war, the importance of the referendum for those in the south is not properly understood.

The Sudanese government has a history of using delaying tactics. Khartoum was heavily criticised for postponing national elections twice, which eventually took place in April. In Darfur, they held up action on resolving the crisis until they were forced to act by the international community.

If the same approach is used with South Sudan, the whole situation could explode.

Khartoum must make it crystal clear that it will not stand in the way of a free and fair vote on January 9. The consequences of ambiguity could be terrible.

Blake Evans-Pritchard is IWPRs Africa editor.

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