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Archive for January 4th, 2013

Kenya: PROPHET OWUOR’S VISIT TO KISUMU

Posted by African Press International on January 4, 2013

  •  By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

IMG_2499 IMG_2500 IMG_2501 IMG_2504 IMG_2505 IMG_2506 IMG_2507Pomp, colour and fanfare coloured Prophet Dr.David Edward Owuor’s visit in Kisumu City amid tight security as he comes for his Repentance and Holiness crusade.

Security agents drawn from various departments such as Kenya Police, Administration Police, General Service Unit (GSU) and the army some donned in suits with others in full uniform readily armed to curb any insecurity that might attack his motorcades.

The tight security comes when Kenya is faced with grenade attacks across the country since the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) went into war with Al-shaabab in October, 2010 to date.

Prophet Owuor who arrived yesterday for three days crusade with faithful across the country, neighboring nation and international trooped in the city for the crusade. Over 500,000 people have arrived in the city for the mega repentance and holiness crusade for the New Year (2013).

He is known for prophecies both locally and internationally. In 2007 he prophesied the Post Election Violence in Kenya after General election that saw over 1,300 dead and thousands displaced from their homes.

Prophet Dr. Owuor usually holds crusade in the city with over 200 people being healed with crippled walking, blind (seeing) and deaf (hearing ) among other diseases. With ongoing crusade in Kisumu a lot of prophecy is said to be waiting Kenyans a head of the General Election. Already there is a prophecy and indications for the forthcoming election.

God, through Dr. Owuor, has proclaimed His anger for human immorality, revealing how He would punish the people unless they repent from their evil ways and embraced the ‘True Way of Holiness’. It has all come to pass over the years.

When the Dr. Owuor prophesied about earthquakes in China, Chile, US’s Mexico and California, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Tanzania, Kenya’s Nairobi among others, they were fulfilled. When he warned that floods would hit Australia, Malta, Kenya, etc, it happened. When he warns about wars, they do not miss to come. In all the revelations, God provides a way: “Repent from your iniquities for the mitigation of the impending effects of the wrath of Jehovah!”

Through this same servant of Jehovah, God has warned of impending wars in Korea, America, Israel, Kenya, among others. He has warned of mighty distress that would fatally sweep the face of the lands with blood and anguish; with gnashing of teeth and desolation. By his tongue, the Lord has summoned the people to fast and pray so that He alleviates the corollaries.

He is a man of God. If he would not be calling people to repentance and holiness; if he was not calling people to Jehovah Adonai by reconciliation in Christ Jesus; I would doubt him. He cannot be serving another master and direct people to turn to God in tears in supplication for forgiveness and mercy.

Recently in a national TV, there was Prophet Dr. Owuor warning Kenyans of a pending terrible animosity, “with a worse magnitude than the 2008 violence”.

It will sweep Kenya with flood of blood and wananchi will hack one another like ones hacking down trees. Kenyans will kill one another with renewed appetite and the agony will be as horrible as never ever seen in the land.

Prophet Owuor said it will occur simultaneously with the elections to disguise the cause. In the same respect, Jehovah has asked Kenyan leadership to lead the people in a fast on 2nd and 3rd of March, 2013, two days to the voting exercise.

People believe in this prophecy. It sounds quite immediate but believe it will come to pass. They repeat their believe in Dr. Owuor’s prophecies. He is a man of God. If he would not be calling people to repentance and holiness; if he was not calling people to Jehovah Adonai by reconciliation in Christ Jesus; I would doubt him. He cannot be serving another master and direct people to turn to God in tears in supplication and imploration for forgiveness and mercy. This prophecy will come to pass if Kenyans doubt or ignore it.

[Prophet Dr. Owuor] reason I believe something is seriously wrong during this political season is the activities of politicians. There are reports and claims of tribal alliances formed against others.

The coming elections in Kenya have indications of worst schemes for animosities. The phenomenon raises its ugly face in killings like the ones recently seen in Tana River, Baragoi and Garissa.

Antagonisms like one currently shoved through the throats of the Digo by controversial court orders granted to one Evans Waitiki, son of Kamau Waitiki, seeking to evict over 50, 000 people from the land believed to be grabbed in the early days of independence indicate plans to destabilize the nation in this election period.

Another reason Prophet Owuor believe something is seriously wrong during this political season is the activities of politicians. There are reports and claims of tribal alliances formed against others.

This is one of the causes of election distress in 2008 that left many people dead, displaced and property destroyed. The other malevolent act of politicians that stands to sponsor one of the most atrocious violence in Kenya is ‘the buying of allegiance’ with money.

It makes me fear a lot because such characters that spend the money may not accept the results when they lose elections. They may use violence as ‘the last part of the game’. That is disastrous to credulous people.

The other malevolent act of politicians that stands to sponsor one of the most atrocious violence in Kenya is ‘the buying of allegiance’ with money. It makes me fear a lot because such characters that spend the money may not accept the results when they lose elections. They may use violence as ‘the last part of the game’.

As they take precautions, President Mwai Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga have no option; they have the obligation to take Kenyans to prayers in accordance with the voice of the man of God, lest we perish in the heinous turmoil.

END

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2012 – a year of continuing turmoil

Posted by African Press International on January 4, 2013

DUBAI,  – The Middle East continued to boil in Year 2 of what was once an Arab “Spring” with the ever-worsening conflict in Syria, toxic spillover into Lebanon, deadly clashes in Egypt, proliferation of weapons in Libya, assassinations and bomb blasts in Yemen, emboldened insurgents in Iraq and continued protests in Jordan.

While much of the world has been consumed by quickly changing political and security developments in the region, longer-term humanitarian issues have also been simmering under the surface – and sometimes in plain – but neglected – view.

Here are 10 of the main issues IRIN highlighted this year:

Syria’s refugee crisis: The number of Syrians registered as refugees in neighbourhing countries skyrocketed from 10,000 at the beginning of the year, to half a million today, despite some borders being less than open. The UN has launched appeal after appeal to help the refugees living in basic conditions in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, even Iraq, and increasingly Egypt, but funding has consistently been insufficient to meet the rising needs – largely due to politics and donor fears. In the meantime, refugees have been vulnerable to harsh winters, labour exploitation; child work; early marriage and political tensions.

The humanitarian toll in Syria: Syria has made the headlines daily in the past year, but most news reports have focused on rebel advances or diplomatic efforts to end the nearly two-year conflict. Meanwhile, the quality of daily life inside the country has spiralled downwards – and fast. In early 2012, alarm bells rang over food security; by year end, even in the capital Damascus people were having a hard time finding bread. Farmers have been especially hard-hit. At least two million people are now internally displaced, and the problem was exacerbated in July when fighting hit Damascus. Winter has brought a whole new series of challenges for the displaced. Healthcare is hard to access. Many people forget that Syria was home to more than 1.5 million refugees – mostly Palestinians and Iraqis – who have become more vulnerable because of the crisis. With millions of people affected, the aid operation has struggled to keep up with the quick increase in needs because of insecurity, a lack of funding, drawn-out initial negotiations with the government over access, and questions around the capacity and impartiality of the major player in the response, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The result is a new kind of humanitarianism – through local activists and illeg al cross-border aid, which has raised some eyebrows in the aid community.

Regional spillover: The Syrian crisis took on regional implications this year, as Lebanese sects with Syrian alliances shot at each other; Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Syria sought a piece of the pie; and Syrian shells hit southern Turkey. The US military even sent troops to Jordan to prepare for a possible widening of the conflict. The Iraqi government says the conflict in Syria has emboldened insurgents at home; increased the flow of weapons across the border; and heightened sectarian tensions. Some analysts have predicted a Sunni-Shia war that would draw in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, armed groups in the occupied Palestinian territory and engulf the entire region.

A forgotten crisis in Yemen: Meanwhile, the poorest country in the Arab world slid further into crisis this year. A crumbling economy has driven more and more people to the point of desperation. If they were not already, the numbers are now staggering: The UN estimates that more than 13 million people – over half the population of 24 million – need humanitarian assistance. More than 10 million people do not have secure access to food; 13 million do not have access to safe water and sanitation; a nd nearly one million children are acutely malnourished. After Arab Spring protests in 2011, a new government was born in 2012, ending the 22-year-rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, but many complain of little change in Yemen. The new government has faced innumerable challenges in its first year, including the demands of minority groups, lingering corruption, and political divisions, as remnants of the old regime try to c ling to power.

These more recent challenges add to Yemen’s long-standing threats: Houthi rebels in the north, al-Qaeda-linked militants in the south and a southern secessionist movement. Despite these deterrents, 2012 saw record numbers of refugees and migrants head to Yemen, where – rather than refuge – they often found more trouble.

Sectarian clashes in the north and military operations in the south brought the number of internally displaced people to nearly half a million. The government declared in June that it had rooted out militants who had taken control of parts of the south, but people have struggled to return to their homes due to landmines, limited basic services, including health care, and continued insecurity. ;Access for aid workers to former conflict areas has increased, but funding is not yet fully secured. Yemen is in desperate need of immediate assistance to avoid becoming the next Somalia.

Continued violence in Iraq: Iraq slipped out of the headlines as the US pulled out its troops at the end of 2011, ending a nearly nine-year occupation. But 2012 was no less violent for civilians. A surge of violence in January, in the weeks after the withdrawal, had many Iraqis reconsidering their options. Insurgent dynamics have changed post-withdrawal; Shia groups have become less active, while Sunni groups appear to have resurged, with several high-profile coordinated bombings across the country throughout the year. But the main driver of violence continues to be dysfunctional and polarized politics. The situation is likely to get worse in the lead-up to ele ctions in 2013 and 2014, and as the situation in neighbouring Syria deteriorates further. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced by the war, and tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees returning from Syria could further destabilize the country.

The stalling of Libya’s transition: Libya held its first democratic elections since the ousting of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, but a power struggle between Libya’s budding new government and a web of revolution-era militias continued to plague Libya’s transition to stability after the toppling of Gaddafi in late 2011. Tens of thousands of Libyans remained displaced months after the fighting ended, afraid to return home because of lingering ethnic tensions. Clashes in southern tribal areas rocked the country in the early months of the year; and many minorities were unsure if the revolution would finally bring them more rights. Libya’s policy towards migrants, who were violently targeted in the months following the revolution, remained harsh. Many of them, along with Libyan refugees and failed asylum seekers, are still stranded on the Egyptian border.

A post-revolution mural in Libya reads “freedom” in Arabic

The price of Egypt’s revolution: It has been another gripping year in Egyptian politics, as debate and controversy surrounded the withdrawal from power of the ruling military council; the election of a new president, the disbanding of parliament, and the drafting of a new constitution. Increased polarization within Egyptian society led once more to a series of fatal clashes on the streets throughout the year. The political turmoil has prevented the much-hoped-for economic revival, with foreign currency reserves dropping by more than half, unemployment rising, poverty increasing, and the budget deficit at US$27.5 billion and growing. The poor have been the hardest hit. In the short term, the revolution has yet to bring tangible gains; on the contrary, it has led to fears of rising malnutrition; fuel shortages; child abductions; and a rise in religious extremism. The new constitution was passed in a referendum at the end of the year, but opposition remains high. Next year is likely to be as unpredictable as the past two. < br />
Never-ending challenges for Palestinians: Changes in Egyptian politics raised hopes in the Gaza Strip that a five-year blockade by Egypt and Israel would be eased. (New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement is close to the Islamist rulers of Gaza, Hamas). But significant changes have yet to take effect, with Gazans continuing to depend on underground tunnels to smuggle in supplies. This has left Palestinians continuing to face food insecurity, an aid-dependent economy, and Israeli settlement expansions in the West Bank. This year, Gaza had the added misery of a severe fuel shortage and related energy crisis, with the UN predicting in August that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2016. It was in this context that in November, Israel launched (with the stated aim of halting rocket-fire from Gaza into Israel) large-scale air attacks which killed dozens of civilians, displaced thousands of others, and left communities on both sides of the border reeling. The legacy of the eight-day military operation is still not clear; at the end of December, Israeli officials said they would start allowing construction materials to enter Gaza daily via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Despite the high needs, aid agencies have traditionally struggled to provide aid amid tight Israeli restrictions; but this year, aid agencies in oPt began resisting the status quo.

Migrants in Israel: Throughout 2012, Israel hardened its stance towards migrants. In January, it introduced a new law designed to stop what it calls “infiltrators” and by spring, public opinion had significantly shifted against migrants, leading to attacks involving Molotov cocktails, mob beatings and police crackdowns. In April, Israel began deporting South Sudanese asylum seekers who previously had protected status in Israel.

The coordination of humanitarian aid: When Valerie Amos became UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs in 2010, one of her priorities was to increase partnerships between the UN and other players in the field. After years of mistrust between the mainstream humanitarian system and aid agencies in the Arab and Muslim worlds, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2012 signed memorandums of understanding with Qatar and Kuwait. OCHA’s liaison office in the Gulf has set up a new web portal as a link between Gulf donors and the UN, and Gulf countries are moving towards increased coordination in aid and emerge ncy preparedness among themselves. Aid agencies in the Muslim world are also trying to make better use of the billions of dollars given in alms and charity every year.

ha/cb
source http://www.irinnews.org



 

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A precarious existence in the Jordan Valley

Posted by African Press International on January 4, 2013

AL-JIFTLIK/WEST BANK,  – For those who recently watched images of the Israeli bombardment in Gaza, the wide open hills of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank ap pear as a stark contrast.

Flocks of sheep accompanied by their herders cross the hillsides, home to some of the most fertile land in all of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and unrivalled even in Israel.And yet despite the abundant land and resources, Palestinians living in the Valley are some of the poorest in oPt, lacking even the most basic infrastructure.

The Jordan Valley is marked by a patchwork of zones in which Palestinians are allowed to live, which leave little room for manoeuvre.

“These restrictions have removed their ability to be self-sustaining. They are in an artificial humanitarian crisis; they have the capacity, the training, the education, but because of man-made restrictions, they are made vulnerable,” Ramesh Rajasingham, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in oPt, told IRIN.

For a start, much of the Valley is officially out of bounds to Palestinians – 44 percent is marked as closed military zones (including so-called firing zones) and nature reserves. An additional 50 percent is controlled by Israeli settlements, regarded as illegal by many in the international community. That leaves only 6 percent for Palestinians, according to figures from Save the Children.

A second layer of restrictions reinforces this exclusion: Under the Oslo peace accords, 90 percent of the Valley was labelled “Area C”. In this area of the West Bank, Israel retains full civil and military control, enabling it to restrict Palestinian movement, construction and development projects.

“A few years ago, communities in Area C were self-sustaining; they could trade, sell produce, graze their animals, and move around freely,” said OCHA’s Rajasingham.

Many of the Bedouin farming communities in these zones predate the Oslo accords and the firing zones (set up in the 1960s), but they now find themselves increasingly excluded or living a precarious existence.

Most Palestinians there live without sufficient access to clean water, while Israeli settlements nearby have plentiful water supplies subsidized by the Israeli government.

Within the firing zones, more than 90 percent of the Palestinian communities are water scarce with access to less than 60 litres per person per day.

Food security in Area C is 24-34 percent for the shepherds, many of whom live in the firing zones.

Military operations

Overlooking the Valley are multiple Israeli military bases.

Army vehicles speed down the roads during the day, artillery fire echoes from nearby, while at night military helicopters circle overhead.

Seven weeks ago during the eight-day bombardment in Gaza, tanks, army jeeps and military camps were in the Valley as part of a training exercise carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which their spokesperson’s unit told IRIN was necessary to “prepare for various security scenarios”.

They added that it was important for “intruders” to “be kept clear from the military areas… for the security of both soldiers and Palestinian civilians.”

“The army came and said ‘if you don’t leave this area for the training exercise, we will demolish your houses. You must go to Tayasir, which is far away from here,” Eid Ahmad Musa al-Fakir (68), a herder from the village of Hamamat Al-Maleh, told IRIN.

“It was hard for us to go there with our sheep and our belongings and it’s now winter, we don’t have so much money and the animals are breeding. So we moved just a short distance away to the roadside.”

In preparation for the military exercise, the Israeli army issued more than 40 eviction orders to Palestinian families in the northern Jordan Valley living in or near Firing Zone areas.

A number of Palestinians returned to their homes, but Al-Fakir and his family are unsure of when they will go back: “The army told us that even if the training exercise is over, we should not come back. Here by the roadside it’s hard for our animals to graze, but we are afraid to return and find that we have to move again,” he said.

Firing zones

This displacement and others like it this year have left Palestinian families in the area reporting a “general environment of fear and uncertainty, particularly among children”.

Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) did not respond to interview requests for specifics about the recent military exercise.

Some 5,000 Palestinians, mostly Bedouin and herding communities, live in designated firing zones across the West Bank, according to OCHA.

Palestinians living in firing zones are among the most vulnerable populations in the West Bank with little access to services such as health care and education, and no basic utilities like electricity and sanitation.

Access to firing zones is prohibited to Palestinians without permission from the Israeli authorities and cover about 18 percent of the land in the West Bank.

Residents in these areas are frequently issued with eviction and demolition orders even though “many residents report that there is little or no military training in areas where they reside.”

Where Palestinians have tried to construct, they face opposition from the Israeli government.

Permit regime

The Israeli permit regime, which some analysts say contravenes international law, makes daily living in Area C even more difficult for Palestinians as they are required to apply for permits to construct structures like water cisterns, latrines and houses.

Permits are rarely granted, forcing Palestinians to forego them and risk demolition.

All these restrictions and layers of regulation make daily life in the Jordan Valley precarious.

According to the Ma’an Development Centre, an independent Palestinian development and training institution, “Israel has carried out more demolitions in the Jordan Valley than anywhere else.”

Fatima Abid Aouda Soraiya Fakir, displaced from the village of Al-Maitah

OCHA’s factsheet on Jordan Valley settlements says that in 2011 alone there were 200 demolitions of Palestinian structures, including homes, resulting in the displacement of 430 people.

In some instances, a building is demolished by the Israelis, rebuilt by Palestinians and then demolished again.

Israeli settlers on the other hand are given financial assistance by the Israeli government to encourage settlement expansion.

The settlement of Tomer, south of the Palestinian village of Fasayil, specializes in the production of dates.

According to the Ma’an Development Centre, the settlement has become “a flourishing community with a modern infrastructure, prosperous industries, and reliable social services” as a result of “tax breaks, grants and other benefits”.

By contrast, “[Palestinian ] homes in Fasayil are made of tin, plastic and mud” and the community has faced four waves of demolitions since January 2011.

There are 10 Israeli settler communities partially or completely in the firing zones of the West Bank, though they almost never face threats of demolition.

A strategy of control?

Many in the Jordan Valley see military exercises in firing zones as well as repeated house demolitions as an Israeli strategy to empty the land of Palestinians and confiscate it for further settlement expansion and agricultural production.

“This is a mountainous area, with [Israeli] people scattered across the place. Their purpose is to make us all leave so that they can take it for themselves,” Fatima Abid Aouda Soraiya Fakir, one of the women displaced from the village of Al-Maitah, told IRIN. “They are afraid that we will become established here if we stay, like the village of al-Aqaba which now has schools and clinics.”

Al-Fakir, the Palestinian from Hamamat Al-Maleh, agrees. “The army wants everyone in this area to move,” he said. “It’s happening slowly and over time, but they definitely do not want us here.”

But the spokesperson’s unit for the IDF said all structures erected in closed military zones were illegal.

Chris Whitman from the Ma’an Development Centre agrees that the recent exercise is a method for Israel to consolidate its power in the valley.

“To have people who are outside the system, herding and moving around is [taken as] a form of defiance,” he told IRIN.

“So Israel makes sure these people know the boundaries; makes sure they are not connected to water or electricity; ruins the area with artillery so that the animals cannot graze; and gives them the idea that their existence is temporary.”

The IDF declined to respond to these allegations.

Whitman added that Palestinians in the Jordan Valley have become increasingly impoverished over the past 20 years.

Those that have family elsewhere, or can afford to, may eventually choose to leave for larger towns or cities. But many rely on their animals for survival and cannot move elsewhere.

The Palestinians in Al-Maitah say that despite their recent experience, they are staying put.

“We are here now and we just want the Israelis to leave us alone,” Ahmad Eid Soraiya Fakir from Al-Maitah told IRIN. “We are willing to live in any condition if we have to, but we will not leave.”

zm/jj/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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Kenya elections 2013: Politicians challenged by voters

Posted by African Press International on January 4, 2013

  • BY JACKSON MARWA

Over 100 aspirants in Nakuru County were given a rare opportunity by the church to market their policies in connection with the coming General elections.

In the event organized by major churches and attended by over 3,000 people, the aspirants for various elective positions were vetted on the past lives.

The voters braved rains in the AP grounds in Naivasha to listen to their leaders during the event that was also used as a prayer meeting.

According to Bishop Charles Kabiru from Gospel church, the move was meant to unite area residents and give them a chance of knowing their leaders.

“The church has decided to participate in these elections by letting the faithful question their leaders before electing them,” he said.

This was echoed by Bishop Peter Kimemia from Kenya Assemblies of God who said that they will move to other parts of the county to preach the message of peace.

“This is our first meeting and we want to use the leaders to preach peace and have a chance to interact with the voters before the elections,” he said.

Addressing the voters, assistant minister for roads Lee Kinyanjui said that if elected as governor he would make sure that agriculture sector in the county was improved.

The Nakuru Member of Parliament said his ministry was one of the best performing and had not been involved in any corruption scandal. “You need credible leaders and if elected I shall address the challenges facing farmers in this country which has high potential,” he said.

Former Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua who is vying for the post of governor told of his ambitions to construct more factories in the county.“The potential of this county has not been fully exploited and we need a fish factory here and a motorcycle assembly plant,” he promised.

Naivasha Member of Parliament John Mututho called for his re-election saying that he was among the leading debaters in parliament and had been involved in making various key bills.

“We have done a lot for Lake Naivasha, CDF and various laws and I seek a second term and also appeal for peace as we head to the elections.

Others who attended the colorful ceremony were former MPs Jane Kihara and Koigi Wamwere who are seeking the post of Senators.

The two called for peaceful elections noting that the County was one of the most affected by Post election violence and hence the need for coexistence.
Ends.

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