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Archive for April 23rd, 2013

President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto today named 4 out of 18 Cabinet Secretaries

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

Kenya‘s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto today named 4 out of 18 cabinet secretaries that will constitute the new government. Those nominated and await vetting by Parliament are Dr Fred Matiangi Okengo – Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, Henry K Rotich for National Treasury – Finance), James Wainanina Macharia, ministry of Health and Ambassador Amina Mohammed for the Foreign Affairs ministry. The other 14 are expected to be named in the days to come..

The Kenyatta – Ruto government will 18 ministries including two that fall under the office’s of the president and the deputy president; Kenyatta will be in-charge of the National Government: His deputy Ruto will be in-charge of the Devolved units.

Here below are the 18 ministries:

1. Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.
2. Ministry of Devolution and Planning.
3. Defence
4. Foreign Affairs
5. Education which will have the Department of Education and Department of Science and Technology
6. The National Treasury
7. Health
8. Transport and Infrastructure which will have the Department of Transport Services and the Department of Infrastructure
9. Environment, Water and Natural Resource
10. Land, Housing and Urban Development
11. Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
12. Sports, Culture and the Arts
13. Labour, Social Security and Services
14. Energy and Petroleum
15. Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries under which are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Livestock and Department of Fisheries
16. Industrialization and Enterprise Development
17. Commerce and Tourism which has the Department of Commerce and Department of Tourism
18. Mining

 

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Historic agreement between Norwegian Refugee Council and African Union signed

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has signed a historic agreement with the African Union (AU). “We hope this strategic partnership agreement will strengthen both NRC’s and the AU’s efforts towards helping displaced people in Africa”, says Toril Brekke, Acting Secretary General of Norwegian Refugee Council.

The agreement was concluded between Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Mrs. Brekke at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday 19th of April.

“We are very pleased to enter into this strategic partnership with the AU. This enables us to increase our activities in conflict-affected areas in Africa and to distribute humanitarian aid even more effectively”, says Brekke.

www.africanpress.me/ - Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Toril Brekke, Acting Secretary General of NRC, concluded an agreement between AU and NRC at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday 19th of April. Here they are photographed together with Commissioner of Political Affairs Dr. Aisha Abdullahi (to the left) and Hassan Khaire, Regional Director for NRC Horn of Africa (to the right). Photo: Erik Abild, NRC

http://www.africanpress.me/ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Toril Brekke, Acting Secretary General of NRC, concluded an agreement between AU and NRC at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday 19th of April. Here they are photographed together with Commissioner of Political Affairs Dr. Aisha Abdullahi (to the left) and Hassan Khaire, Regional Director for NRC Horn of Africa (to the right). Photo: Erik Abild, NRC

NRC is the first Norwegian organisation, and one of the few international aid agencies, to have this type of strategic partnership with the AU. Under the agreement, the AU will help the NRC to get access to refugees and internally displaced persons in the AU member states. In addition, NRC and AU agree to work together to strengthen the rights of the displaced in AU member states, including supporting the implementation of the Kampala Convention for the protection of internally displaced. NRC’s Internally Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) will play a key role in this.

“For NRC, the AU is an equally important organisation as the EU. AU member states cover a vast continent where there are currently about four million refugees and ten million internally displaced persons. With support from the AU, we can reach even more of these people. In addition, we appreciate being able to cooperate with the AU on supporting implementation of the Kampala Convention, a ground-breaking new legal framework which binds governments to protect and assist internally displaced persons, ” says Brekke.

AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Dr. Aisha Abdullahi underlined the strategic importance of partnering with NRC: “The scourge of forced displacements in Africa requires a consolidated effort. Therefore, the signing of an MOU with the Norwegian Refugee Council today, goes a long way in solidifying our joint efforts towards alleviating the suffering of victims of conflicts and disasters in Africa”, she said in a press release

NRC has already similar strategic relationships with other actors such as UNHCR, but it is the first time the organisation enters into an agreement with a regional body like the AU. However, the cooperation with the AU and African governments is nothing new. Through the years, the NRC’s emergency roster has assisted the AU with specialists in several areas, and NRC is currently working in twelve African countries.

“Our emergency roster’s effective cooperation with the AU, as well as our increased activity in several locations in Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, has probably played an important role for the AU’s desire to raise our cooperation to a strategic level. I think this partnership will be important and gratifying for both the AU and the Norwegian Refugee Council,”says Brekke.

Norway’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Odd-Inge Kvalheim, welcomes the new agreement: “Norway has large ambitions in the field of humanitarianism. To reach these ambitions we need professional Norwegian organisations that are able to make a difference. We are therefore glad that we have been able to support NRC in their work with establishing close relations to the AU”.


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The humanitarian legacy – Iraq

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

BAGHDAD/DUBAI,  – Ten years after US forces took over Iraq, opinions on the progress made are as polarized as ever.

On one side, the Iraqi and American governments argue, the gains have been significant.

“Despite all the problems of the past decade, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis agree that we are better off today than under Saddam’s brutal dictatorship,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki wrote in a 9 April opinion piece in the Washington Post, marking 10 years after the fall of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Paul Wolfowitz, who served as the US Deputy Secretary of Defence between 2001 and 2005, wrote the same day in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that given the hardships under Hussein, “it is remarkable that Iraq has done as well as it has thus far.”

Others are more circumspect in evaluating these gains, looking to the 1980s – under Hussein’s rule – as a time when Iraqi society was much further ahead.

“By all measures and standards, there has been a deterioration in the quality of life of Iraqis as compared to 25 years ago,” said Khalid Khalid, who tracks Iraq’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the UN Development Programme (UNDP). “The invasion comes on top of sanctions that came before it and the Iran-Iraq war. It’s one continuous chain of events that led to the situation Iraqis are facing now.”

Mixed blessings

In the early 1980s, Iraq was regarded by many as the most developed state in the Arab world. The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the Gulf War of 1991 and subsequent years of sanctions took a heavy toll on developmental indicators, yet Iraq continued to have strong state institutions, even if they were used repressively to maintain Hussein’s power. For example, even after 10 years of an international embargo, the system of food ration distribution operated effectively.

The US invasion and subsequent civil conflict changed this, said Maria Fantappie, Iraq analyst at the International Crisis Group, as violence and de-Baathification drove away the human resources needed to run effective institutions. In many ways, the country has yet to recover.

“In 2003, that heritage of an efficient Iraqi state was completely lost,” Fantappie said. “We have the consequences of this until today… We are not yet at the level of state institutions that can deliver services equally to all citizens.”

Iraq is the only country in the Middle East where living standards have not improved compared to 25 years ago, the World Bank says. In areas such as secondary school enrolment and child immunization, Iraq now ranks lower than some of the poorest countries in the world.

“The war is just such a series of mixed blessings,” said Ned Parker, a former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and long-time Iraq correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. “For every positive development, there’s a negative development that counters it.”

Looking at the data

IRIN has taken a look development and humanitarian indicators for Iraq, which show a decade of fits and starts, with progress in one area met by stagnation in another.

Of course, statistics in Iraq are often “wrong, simply not available or politically misused,” as one researcher put it. While a wealth of information and data exists, it comes from a multitude of sources using different methodologies, and much of it is based on relatively small sample sizes. The UN’s Information and Analysis Unit said in a 2008 report: “As is typical in volatile working environments, data reliability in some instances is questionable, contradictory figures exist, and geographic coverage of the indicators is often compromised for either security or political reasons.”

There are also huge discrepancies when national statistics are broken down by region, with the capital Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in the north often the only governorates ranking above national average in measures of development. As Médecins sans Frontières wrote in a recent article in the Lancet journal, “Much more attention needs to be given to remote areas, where the reality for Iraqis has not substantially improved over the past 10 years.”

What is more, much of the progress is seen in indicators tracking inputs, like how many children enrol in school, rather than outcomes, such as how much they actually learn, said Sudipto Mukerjee, deputy head of UNDP in Iraq.

But even with these caveats, the best available data offer a complex portrait of a country that has seen improvement over the last decade, but is still largely struggling. For example, a recent overview of Iraq’s headway towards the Millennium Development Goals found great strides in the eradication of poverty over 1990 levels, but slower progress on primary education enrolment, which still lags behind 1990 levels.

A million Iraqis remain refugees, and over a million are internally displaced; sectarianism holds sway over political institutions; and healthcare is undermined by a lack of medical personnel, unreliable utilities and fragile national security. Women and girls, who once enjoyed more rights than other women in the region, now regularly find themselves excluded from school and work opportunities, though great progress has been made towards gender equality in recent years. While living conditions, clean water access, poverty rates and education levels are all disappointing compared to historical highs in the 1980s, they are greatly improved from the years Iraq spent under sanctions. And increased decentralization of power has offered some hope for the future.

No easy narrative can be accurately applied to the country’s experiences over the past 10 years, and in many ways, the direction the country has taken may only become clear over the decade to come.

Every day this week, we will bring you our findings on each of the following indicators. Check back regularly!

Water and Sanitation
Electricity
Displacement
Education
Poverty/Economic Growth
Health
Food Security/Malnutrition
Governance/Human Security
Gender
Aid work

In the process of our research, we’ve come across some interesting bits and pieces. For more, check out:

A recent Op-Ed by Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, where he makes the case that Iraq has progressed

The case for why the US intervention was necessary and successful – by Paul Wolfowitz

An entire issue of the Middle East Research and Information Project dedicated to the 10-year mark of Hussein’s toppling

The Guardian newspaper also has a special section on its website dedicated to articles on Iraq 10 years on from the invasion

A pioneering project to track the costs of American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Costs of War

The National Democratic Institute has done a series of public opinion polls in Iraq since 2010. Here is the latest.

The UN’s Joint Analysis and Policy Unit for Iraq is a wealth of detailed, statistical information, including the Iraq Knowledge Network survey the UN helped conduct in 2011.

Over the years, a number of other household surveys have been conducted by the government in collaboration with various UN agencies, including the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), supported by UNICEF; the Iraq Household Socio-Economic Survey (IHSES), supported by the World Bank; the Iraq Living Conditions Survey, supported by UNDP; and the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, supported by WFP.

The government Central Statistics Organization has assembled statistics on human development indicators from various sources, from 1990 onwards, which you can find here.

The World Bank also allows you to download full sets of comparative statistics and the World Health Organization keeps year-by-year statistics since 1999 on each of the health-related Millennium Development Goals.

If you want to crunch numbers, check out the UN Human Development Reports over the years.

The UN recently took stock of Iraq’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, with less than 1,000 days to go before the deadline.

IRIN has coverage many of these issues over the years. Our Iraq archives are here.

An interesting debate in Foreign Affairs magazine about whether Iraq is on track.

The US auditor on Iraq reconstruction’s latest and final report that says $60 billion invested in Iraq’s reconstruction had “limited positive effects”

And on that theme, check out this cynical, almost satirical, book (and subsequent blog) by Peter Van Buren: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

af/ha/rz

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Kenya: 650 orphans uplifted – their school needs to be met.

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA
Over 650 orphans and poor students from rural Matete district in Kakamega County have a reason to smile after an independent organization Nuclear students Trust issued 3 million Kenya shillings to carter for their school fees.
The students from various schools in the district will in the next term not worry over lack of school fees.The initiative by the Nuclear Student Trust(NST)and other financial plyers is expected to provide the orphans with a solution towards the challenges they experience during their learning process where many end up missing schools due to lack of school fees.
More than 1800 free blankets will be distributed to orphans to marginal areas of the districts where access to basic education and transition rates from Primary to Secondary school remain low. According to the project coordinator Mr.John Kariuki,said the fund donated is expected to restore hope among learning orphans as they pursue their academic dreams.”Poor access to funds has greatly inconvenienced them and impacted negatively in their performance at school” said Mr Karuiki.
Alphino Angoya,a concern resident hailed the sponsors for the timely intervention saying that most of the less fortunate students have been forced to drop out of the school due to lack of school fees.
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Kenya’s former prime minister Raila Odinga’s police bodyguard loses gun to a prostitute in Kisumu after sleeping with her

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

The incident is an embarrassment for the government.

It has been reported that the policeman identified as Mr Edwin Okinda was part of a group of policemen that had been providing bodyguard duties to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga when he visited Nyanza region. 

The police boss of the area Joseph ole Tito on Monday confirmed the arrest of the woman identified as Ms Maurine Adhiambo saying she was helping police with the investigations into the matter.

The gun stolen is a Ceska pistol, and had nine 15millimetre bullets according to the report from the police.

Reliable sources state that the officer whose firearm was stolen spent the night at Kisumu’s Dalc hotel with the woman in question and when he woke up in the morning, the woman and the gun was missing.

He spent the night in the hotel after carrying out his escort duties to the former PM who had visited Nyanza region that day.

According to Kenya media, the incident is an embarrasing event especially because CORD members of Parliament are trying to get Raila Odinga to parliament after losing the presidency to President Uhuru Kenyatta.  This is a very sad affair because the gun may now be in the hands of criminals in Kisumu.

The woman was on Tuesday arraigned in a Kisumu court charged with stealing the pistol and money from the police officer

Maurine Adhiambo was before the senior Principal Magistrate Samuel Atonga to answer three counts of theft. The first count, she is to answer is that of stealing a government-issued Ceska pistol valued at Sh150,000 from the officer while he was asleep

The second charge to answer is that of stealing 15 nine-millimetre bullets from the said policeman and the third charge is the cashe totalling  Sh23,000 cash.

It is reported that the police officer was charged last week for being careless and losing a government pistol and ammunition. The man may also face administrative discipline by his employer (the government) and lose his job.

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