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Archive for September, 2013

OSLO: Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

Solidarity with Kenya – Prayer service

,Pray for Kenya – Pray until something happens!

Kenyans and friends of Kenya living in Oslo, Norway held prayers for Kenya to pray for the country and the victims of Nairobi‘s Westgate Mall terror attack that took place a week ago.

The hosts:

Oslo International Church, Association of Kenyans in Norway and Kenya Students Association in Norway.

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The important song for the day: ITS WELL WITH MY SOUL:

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

Refrain;

It is well, with my soul

It is well, it is well, with my soul

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

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Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack: Only MEMORIES

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Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 1

Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 2

Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 3

May God bless the people of Kenya. African Press International sends condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones.

End

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New hope for a lasting solution

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

The international group of donors to Palestine has expressed its strong support for the new round of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians 20 years after the Oslo Accords. “The donors want to contribute, but it is the Palestinian and Israeli leaders who are responsible for ensuring that this opportunity is not lost,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

On 25 September, Mr Eide chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC) in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the meeting, and the parties were represented by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Prime Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“It’s extremely good news that a political process is once again underway. At the same time, we know that reaching a solution will be challenging. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have taken courageous steps. Time is running out for a two-state solution. This is why everyone must help to ensure that the negotiations reach a successful conclusion,” said Mr Eide.

At the meeting, Palestine reported on the status of the peace talks to US Secretary of State John Kerry. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Quartet representative Tony Blair, and numerous ministers from the other donor countries gave their support to the current process.

Steps to ease the closure regime in areas occupied by Israel, Palestinian state-building, private-sector driven economic growth and a political solution to the conflict must be seen as interrelated. The meeting also underlined the importance of making process along all these tracks.

“A peace agreement will be in the fundamental interests of both Israel and Palestine. The donors are prepared to make an extra effort to support the political process. But unless the parties reach agreement this time, the donors will not be able to continue as before. The parties are aware of this fact,” said Mr Eide.

 

End

source mfa.norway

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Kenya: THE REAL REASONS BEHIND NZOIA COMPANY’S IMMINENT COLLAPSE

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA
The trouble ridden and financially strapped Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County is threatened with possible collapse following what analysts now say is incompetent institutional management, archaic managerial practices and corruption among other vices currently facing the sugar miller.

Investigations reveal that in addition to the colossal losses which the Company has suffered in recent years the Managing Director and other top managers have through corruption and other dubious means swindled the Company of Kshs. 1.2 billion between the years of 2011 / 2012 by harvesting the Company’s sugarcane from its nucleus farm and pocket the proceeds.

But the above 1.2 billion may only be a tip of the iceberg given the fact that since the discovery of the theft of Company sugarcane no audit of any kind has been undertaken and it is now emerging that the cane from the over 3,700 hectares at Nzoia Nucleus farm may have been benefiting top management and well-connected employees hence the Company’s ever growing debt.

Experts in the sugarcane sector are worried that if the Nzoia situation is not reversed this Company which is the largest single large-scale farming enterprise in Bungoma County will come down with the economy of the whole County given the large tracts of land lying under sugarcane in addition to the abused nucleus estate the largest of such an estate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A report compiled by a task force which includes immediate former directors of the Company that has been forwarded to the Agriculture Secretary and whose copy has been seen by your favourite and popular API speaks volumes about inept management styles by the current CEO of the Company Saul Wasilwa whom the report says and a quote “has demonstrated archaic, corrupt and incompetent institutional management leadership practices that should be considered as totally and unacceptable in this modern erra”.

The document quotes heavily from the factual findings of the Company’s own forensic audit report undertaken by PKF consultants on its behalf in September 2012 whereby the consultants revealed that from the year 2007 -2011 the Company’s own records show that a total of 5089 stacks or 254,445 metric tones of harvest cane valued at Kshs. 76,541,000/= were stolen by Nzoia Sugar Company’s employees from the nucleus estate of the Company. Much of the blame for this theft stops at the MD’s desk as he allowed architects of the fraud to collude with junior officers in the creation of a fertile environment to defraud the Company.

Further more, in the report it is revealed “Impeccable sources indicate that the CEO Saul Wasilwa undertook and was involved in concerted corruption peddling efforts to influence some Board members who interfered with the delay of the conclusion of the report by PKF until the life span of the whole Board came to an end. It is for this reason that some of the directors as responsible citizens of the land have appealed to the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture to insist that Nzoia CEO comes clean of this corruption that saw the dismantling of their own report under suspicious circumstances”.

In the comprehensive 385 page forensic PKF audit report it is revealed a deal of Kshs. 12 million was negotiated under doubtful circumstances and in order for the consultants to pre-maturely end the report although it has now emerged that the CEO with some of his own associates raised Kshs. 10 million to influence key members of the relevant committee of the Board who are said to have manipulated the stringent disciplinary and legal recommendation in the forensic report to ensure that nothing was discussed in the open.

The same memoranda reveals documentary evidence which indicates that the CEO has been colluding with some of his top managers to sell commercial sugarcane to other millers without knowledge and express permission from the Board. In this regard three illegal contracts indicate that the Company may have lost billions of shillings through mismanagement, fraudulent accounting of the Company’s resources at the behest of Wasilwa. It is revealed in the document that 57,000 tones of commercial tones valued at Kshs. 216,600,000 were sold to Mumias, West Kenya and Butail Sugar Companies during the annual maintenance of the factory September/October 2011. Ironically Nzoia Sugar Company is currently faced with acute shortage or cane.

Two other contracts dated February 2012 to July 2012 saw 65,000 metric tones of sugarcane sold by Nzoia Sugar Company to Butail Sugar Company at Kshs. 247,000,000/= through illegal contracts that were never approved. In ant shell under the tenure of Saul Wasilwa as the MD of Nzoia Sugar, Company has experienced colossal loses from the nucleus estate as indicated above and the theft of Sugarcane from Out Grower Farmers particularly the case of 7750 stacks or 42625 metric tones of harvested cane from 5650 individual Out Grower Farmers contracted to the Company . The sugarcane valued at Kshs. 161,975,000/=.

Moreover according to the memoranda there was accumulative loss of approximately 1.2 billion arising from non recovery and fraudulent accountability of investment inputs supplied to sugarcane farmers by the Nzoia Sugar Company. In this regard loss of revenue of unspecified amount that have accrued from the interest which is charged to the Out Grower Farmers but it is deliberately not accounted for in the Company books.

There is also evidence of rampant and unabated corrupt practices in Nzoia Sugar Company which is contained in the Company’s Chief Internal Auditor’s Report whereby it was established that during Mr. Saul Wasilwa’s first tenure as Managing Director Nzoia Sugar Company incurred cumulative losses of more than Kshs. 1.2 billion shillings due to lack of effective internal controls. All in all in this key area of management Wasilwa and a few of his cronies have continuously enriched themselves at the detriment of the sugarcane farmer while the Kenyan tax payer also stands to bear the burden of this mismanagement because the Company’s debt has increased when as a matter of fact it should have declined.

The corruption, kick backs, and fraud has seen Wasilwa and some of his top managers becoming overnight millionaire with property running into hundreds of millions; for instance Wasilwa constructed an ultra modern residential building in Syokimau area Embakasi at the cost of 80 million, the house is expensively furnished with equipments that are remote-controlled. He recently completed another modern family residential house in Musikoma area of Bungoma town at the cost of 48 million. He has constructed a modern residential house in Nakuru at the cost of 45 million and purchased expensive salon cars including Mercedes cars for himself and his wife. There is no question that as Wasilwa continues to lead a lavish life style, beyond his means, poor sugarcane farmers continue to wallow in poverty due to delayed sugarcane delivery payments. Observers opine that, Wasilwa’s earnings can hardly be equated to the multi million shilling empire he has built from the looted millions from Nzoia Sugar Company.

The litany of cases of mismanagement are more or less a catalogue of misdeeds in a management environment which could only pass for a theatre of the absurd because, the Nzoia CEO acts as if he is above the law with little or no regard to established rules and procedures governing Public Companies and other Institutions. His callous approach to the Public Management of Company affairs has encouraged and given way to some of his Top Managers who seem to have taken a cue from him by taking illegal and or questionable decisions so long as such decisions are in their favour.

In the key area of employment, Senior Management staff have employed their own spouses and fast tracked their promotions through the ranks : a standing example is the Company’s Human Resources Manager, Patrick Murambi who employed his wife as a clerk in the harvesting section of the Agriculture Department and within a period less than one year he promoted her to the grade of Supervisor through favouritism at the expense more competent and deserving employees.

The Industrial Relations Manager Mr. Bramwel Simiyu Mbirira influenced his wife’s employment as a Supervisor in the Finance Department. The Company’s Senior Personnel Officer Brian Keya has his wife employed as a Stores Manager while the CEO Mr. Saul Wasilwa and other Managers have also employed their girl friends, and relatives through nepotism and favouritism. All these misdeeds by Wasilwa and his top management team have been committed in the full view of the Branch Secretary of the Sugar cane plantation and allied workers union Macdonald Tabalia Wamocho and the National Chairman of the same who have allegedly been bribed and compromised by Wasilwa and his team.

The memoranda also reviews misappropriation of funds at the personal direction of Saul Wasilwa the MD in what the report describes as false financial reporting of the closing and opening Bank Cash balances. For example, says the report, on June 30th 2011, the actual Bank closing balance was Kshs 844,898,943.00 and not Kshs 672,098,057.00 as reported in the books of accounts. As a matter of fact, the figure was deliberately manipulated by Wasilwa after the Departure of Engineer Julius Nyarotso as Board Chairman and following the immediate appointment of Lawrence Sifuna as Nzoia Sugar Company Chairman. It is instructive to note that typical of the Wasilwa management style, the difference of Kshs 172,800,886.00 was literally swindled as it was not accounted for.

The ever unending intrigues at Nzoia reveals the report in the memoranda, saw the matter of the unaccounted for balance being brought up for investigation to the Chairman of Risk and Boards Audit Committee who chose to do or say nothing and indeed nothing has been heard of the said funds which Wasilwa and his close associates seem to have shared out with Chairman Sifuna.

One of the most widely publicized irregularities at Nzoia Sugar Company is blatant abuse of the Company’s Tendering procedures by the Company’s Top Management Team and particularly the MD who it is said holds a firm grip on members of the Tender Committee who are usually under strict instructions from Mr. Wasilwa to manipulate Tenders and ensure that they are awarded to Companies and Individuals of his choice. The above situation witnessed the award of a Tender for the Supply of a Water Bottling plant to Brief Case Supplier in China even after Wasilwa and Chairman Lawrence Sifuna were bribed by the Brief Case Company’s local agent.

Farmers, Suppliers and other law-abiding citizens of Bungoma County were treated to a circus of some sorts by Lawrence Sifuna following the public revelation of a reported bribery saga in which the local agent of the Brief Case Water Bottling Plant made sensational claims implicating Sifuna in a corrupt deal and despite the fact that Sifuna vehemently denied ever being bribed, his accuser went the whole way to avail documentary evidence to the members of the Media. It was indeed drama when one journalist pointed this out to Sifuna, the Chairman reacted angrily to the allegations warning the reporter not to bother himself with matters that did not concern him. The authors of the memoranda are warning that Nzoia Sugar Company is sliding down slope and is threatening the very survival of the Company let alone destroying the economy of Bungoma County.

END

 

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Law Society of Kenya condemns killing of a lawyer

Posted by African Press International on September 29, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Law society of Kenya Bungoma chapter chairman Andrew Kituyi has condemned the killing of Peter Wanyonyi, an advocate representing Musikari Kombo in a petition challenging the election of Moses Wetang’ula as the county’s senator in the March polls.

Speaking during a fund-raising for the slain lawyer,the chairman noted that Bungoma county has been experiencing attacks leaving residents suffer from serious injuries and some killed yet no explanations has been given by the government in its investigations despite our persistent inquiries.

Mr.Kituyi call upon the police to speed up the investigation in the murder of the advocate for the culprits linked to his death to be brought to justice.

He however cautioned Bungoma residents to remain calm for police to carry out investigations and called on the public to provide the officers with information leading to the murder suspects for their arrest.

He also warned the public, politicians and other leaders in the region to desist from speculative utterances of the advocate’s killing which would be harmful leading insecurity threats.

Police bosses in Bungoma have come under sharp criticism from area residents over the recent spate of killings in Bungoma.
residents  say that the security agents led by Bungoma county commissioner Mohamed Maalim and police commandant Charles Mutinda are not doing enough to install order and assure residents of security.

Meanwhile police in Bungoma have arrested three people of Somali origin before they deported them to Nairobi.According to police sources the three were arrested in Bungoma hotel after reports from the public.

 

End

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Kenya farming: Mr. Raphael Owaka from Kisumu County is able to generate income and provide decent life to his family

Posted by African Press International on September 29, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal

Most farmers in Nyanza region usually pay no heed to cassava farming activities but for Mr. Raphael Owaka from Kisumu County things are different because he is able to generate income and provide decent life to his family out of it.

Owaka, 56, a cassava farmer in Nyakach (formerly Nyando) District, states that he could have ventured into farming much earlier because of the sweet fruits that he has enjoyed since he ventured into cassava farming and stayed focused on the goal.

He says cassava farming especially the improved variety (MH95/0183) have provided him with self employment and a high reliable income to his family that has completely transformed his lifestyle together with that of his family.

Cassava farming can give you everything that you ever dreams to have in your life. I can now provide for my family whatever I desire,” says Owaka.

Owaka started cassava farming way back in 2004 soon after he resigned from his work to embark on Agricultural activities using modern farming technology which most farmers have all along been reluctant to embrace.

He lamented that cassava has different by-products such as starch, flour and cassava chips that are chopped using the cassava chip, starch extractor and miller for the flour. “Starch is used in secondary school to conduct practical and also as the libido activator especially for the old people,” he said.

Nyakach district has favorable climate for horticultural farming activities alongside Cassava but urged the farmers to diversify their Agricultural activities to enable the region produce enough crops for domestic use and excess for exportation now that Kisumu Airport has
been elevated to International status.

Owaka has prospered from his initial investment of only one tree of cassava which has the capacity to produce over 30 tubers compared to the present plot of an acre piece of land which has 4000 cassava trees. From this, he makes a profit of over shs.500, 000 every two
months.

He sells a bag of cassava shs.1,000 and the produce from 1 acre piece of land fetches him not less than shs.1 million collectively annually. Cassava is a perennial crop that one is able to harvest for about 1 year before it may no longer bear tubers as expected.

The crop takes about 6 -8 months to bear tubers while in some parts of the country it takes a much shorter period depending on the climatic conditions of an area and how well the crop has been tendered.

Mr. Owaka is challenged farmers in Kisumu County and its environs to diversify farming activities and stop the traditional preference for maize, sorghum, beans and peas farming only but embrace cassava farming which has the potential to ensure Nyanza attains food
security.

He, however, conducts various training on cassava husbandry to farmers within the Counties where the residents have shown interest in the hope of generating adequate income that could tremendously transform their lifestyle for the better.

“We should focus on farming instead of idling around waiting for famine relief from the Government. Kisumu County does not need relief food if local farmers redouble their efforts by engaging in serious Agricultural ventures using modern farming methods and irrigation,”
Owaka said.

He urged farmers to take advantage of the lake and river waters to irrigate their farms especially during the short rainy seasons. The training program has boosted his source of income, Owaka says, considering that he charges Shs 8,000 for every training he undertakes
which lasts for 2 months.

“We have also conducted farmers’ field school on cassava husbandry where participants are sensitized on the crop production,”Owaka revealed.

He further stated that so far over 1,000 beneficiaries have been trained and joined the cassava farmers associations, including Community Rehabilitation Environmental Protection (CREP) for which he is the coordinator.

In comparison with other types of farming, Owaka says cassava is cost-effective, not arduous and requires simple farm inputs than other crops.

Audrey Rolyne, a farmer trained by Owaka undertakes cassava growing of different varieties alongside bee keeping and concurred with his trainer that the cash crop has greatly helped him lower the cost of production while reaping maximum profit compared to dairy-farming for cattle and goats combined.

Rolyne says she quit her job as a cleaner to venture into farming activities where she grows cassava and now is the proud owner of one and a half-acre fully put under cassava farming that generates income which has comfortably sustained the family.

Mr. Owaka, however, pointed out that cassava farming can cost more than Shs. 50,000 but he has the advantage since it requires less farm inputs to kick-start it.

“For instance if you plant an acre piece of land you will require a total of 4,000 cassava cuttings with one cassava tree bearing over 30 tubers depending on the variety,” Owaka explained.

He says market for the cassava is readily available and during the harvesting days, vendors and local residents compete for his produce due to high quality of the crop.

Owaka says Government efforts to reduce poverty especially in rural areas could be given a major boost if cassava farming is adequately promoted and funded.

Many young people in Nyanza are facing a major challenge of unemployment yet many owned inherited land that lies idle. “If youths are empowered with skills and funded on the cassava, unemployment related challenges like high rate of crime can be reduced significantly,” he says.

Farming is the best investment that one can have in the region, he says, stating that you only need a piece of land where you grow the crop as it does not require a lot of capital like coffee or tea plantations.

Owaka urged the youth to acquire technical and vocational skills rather than idling around and be used by politicians to fight their wars. He hopes to provide employment opportunities to young people in the County by planting pawpaw, vegetables, passion fruits and water melon in another 2.5 acre piece of land.

Kisumu County Director of Agriculture, Joash Owiro pledged to give all the necessary support but challenged more farmers to help satisfy the growing population. According to the last year’s census results most locals are accustomed to dairy, maize, beans, groundnuts and sorghum farming.

The major concern raised by Owaka and Owiro is the low uptake of cassava farming but they remained optimistic that farmers in the area will steadily pick up by joining the production process.

Kisumu County can make major strides in terms of farming to curb the perennial food shortage in the area and particularly in Nyakach district apart from improving the region’s economy.

Farmers should stop politicking and seek assistance from the Government which is always ready to fund such farming initiatives to promote full exploitation of available potential and utilization of Kisumu International Airport.

“Why can’t horticultural farmers alongside those who undertake cassava farming work together to improve their socio-economic development and curb perennial food shortage in the County,” Owiro posed.

ENDS…

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Ruto and Sang case: Decision of the Chamber on adjournment, 27 September 2013

Posted by African Press International on September 28, 2013

Ruto and Sang case: Decision of the Chamber on adjournment, 27 September 2013

Situation: The Republic of Kenya

Case: The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang

The adjournment of the trial is extended up to Tuesday, 1 October 2013, and the hearings in this case will resume on Wednesday, 2 October, with the continuation of the witness’s testimony, in the presence of the accused. This is to permit Mr Ruto to attend the inter-denominational service scheduled for Tuesday, 1 October.

Hearings will then continue on the week of 7-11 October 2013, contrary to what was initially scheduled (except for 9 October due to other hearings to take place in other ICC cases at the ICC’s premises).

 

Source ICC

 

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ICC Prosecutor Statement on the occasion of the 28 September 2013 elections in Guinea

Posted by African Press International on September 28, 2013

Parliamentary elections will be held in Guinea today 28 September 2013. This da y also marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic events that took place on 28 September 2009 at the Conakry national stadium, during which serious crimes under the International Criminal Court‘s jurisdiction were allegedly committed against the civilian population. Since then, my Office has been conducting a preliminary examination of the situation in Guinea.

In accordance with my Office’s policy of encouraging national proceedings, my Office has been engaging with the Guinean authorities on an ongoing basis. As a result, a national investigation into the events of 28 September 2009 is underway and already several persons who may be amongst those most responsible for the crimes committed have been charged. I encourage the authorities to continue their efforts and to ensure that justice is done for the victims as soon as possible. I also urge the international community to support Guinea’s efforts in this regard.

At the same time, it is my Office’s sincere hope that the unfortunate events= of September 2009 will not be repeated. On the eve of the long awaited elec tions, tension is palpable in the streets of Conakry and the rest of the cou= ntry. In these circumstances, appeals for calm and restraint by the political leaders of all parties are particularly welcome. Let me again stress that anyone who seeks to incite violence, to order, request, encourage or cont= ribute in any other way to the commission of crimes falling within the ambit= of the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction is liable to be prosecuted befor e the International Criminal Court. There will be no impunity for international crimes committed in Guinea.

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Africa women volleyball champions Prison Kenya set for Zurich’s World Club championships‏

Posted by African Press International on September 28, 2013

  • By Robert Kibet                                                                September 8, 2013

Kenya Pipeline, the 2011 national league women volleyball title holders is a strong opponent of the five times Confederation of Africa Volleyball Federation (CAFB) and national women volleyball league defending champions Prisons Kenya, head coach David Lung’aho has admitted.

In an interview with API  in Nakuru after the just concluded fifth leg of the national league and the open challenge tournament, Lung’aho said the team performance was of high standard despite loosing to Kenya Pipeline at the tournament’s final that ended 3-2(25-18, 22-25, 14-25, 25-14, 15-9) in favour of Kenya Pipeline.

And as the team report at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani yesterday for training ahead of the October Zurich, Switzerland World Club Championships, team’s head coach Lung’aho is happy for winning the fifth leg against Mount Kenya University team at the finals of the of the fifth leg.

Lung’aho said the loss to Pipelines team in the final match at some extent was contributed by the absence of team captain Brackcies Khadambi who travelled home due to domestic problems, Loice Chepkosgei who is nursing   an arm string injury as well as top scorer Lydia Maiyo who has been out for maternity leave.

“Absence of the three players in the fifth leg and the KVF open tournament cost us a loss at the finals, but I am happy with the team’s performance all through match fixtures in both league and open tournament,” said Lung’aho.

He adds, “Kenya Pipeline is our strong opponent as far in which both the teams have won three matches each. They (Kenya Pipeline) had a tactful play and as for our side we used back benchers to replace the three strong players.”

The warders had beaten KCB and Ulinzi in the fifth leg, and as regard to the past four legs of the national league, Prisons Kenya have won five matches losing one match against Kenya Pipeline in Eldoret.

Lung’aho said the coordination of experienced players Lucy Wacu, Mercy Moim and Everline Makuto earned the team a win at the fifth leg.

The tall tactful coach who has experience of playing for various teams including the Kenyan volleyball team, says Prisons Kenya only have hopes of settling for third or fourth slot at this year’s national league.

As the team start training at Kasarani, Lung’aho said he is going to major in working on loopholes identified during the Nakuru matches, such as lack of ball control and attacks.

The team to the World Club Championships in Zurich, Switzerland will comprise of 16 players.

At the same time, Coach Lung’aho has exuded confidence of better performance this year at the world club championships, saying they are working on past mistakes.

“It was tough beating Petroliers of Nigeria in a match that ended 3-2 during this year’s CAFB championships in Antananarivo, Madagascar but the we know that there is a huge task ahead of us at this year’s World Cup Championship,” Lung’aho said.

The Prisons women team is reporting for training as the under-23 Kenya team also prepares for training ahead of the Under-23 World Cup Championships in Mexico sometimes in September.

Lung’aho adds that they learnt of mistakes when they lost 3-0 and 4-1 to Europe Champions Fenerbahce Universal Istanbul of Turkey and North and Central America side (NORCECA) Lancheras de Catano of Puerto Rico in Group B in last World Club Championships.

Asked on identification of local and young talent on the grassroots, Lung’aho said much needs to be done which has to involve stakeholders’ collaboration.

“There are already steps taken by going around the country training coaches in a bid to establish good volleyball talents,” he said.

On sponsorships, Lung’aho called on various stakeholders including corporate to come in and support volleyball teams in regard to facilities.

Prisons Kenya also preparing to battle it out for Africa Cup of Nations championships to be held at Nairobi’s Kasarani beginning September this year.

Ends.

 

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Kenya: “Police reforms are vital and it would be disastrous if they were diluted at the 11th hour,” said Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa Sarah Jackson

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2013

  • BY PETER  MUKABI (RADIO PRESENTER SAHARA FM KENYA)

Human rights violations will worsen if the Government persists with attempts to amend key laws that regulate the police, a watchdog has warned.

Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday said proposed amendments by Inspector-General David Kimaiyo to the reform package, which has been approved by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, will weaken it and eliminate safeguards that regulate the force.

“Police reforms are vital and it would be disastrous if they were diluted at the 11th hour,” said Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa Sarah Jackson.

“The police have been acting as if they are above the law for years and the Government must honour the commitments it made after the post-election violence and carry through these reforms,” she added.

The National Police Service (Amendment) Bill 2013 and National Police Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2013, which are meant to clarify the responsibilities of the IG and National Police Service Commission, give the Inspector-General more powers.

The Bills are likely to be tabled in Parliament this week. However, Amnesty has warned this would put the powers of the police boss at greater risk of political interference.

The police boss will not be obliged to act on the recommendations of an oversight authority if the Bills pass.

The NPS Act required the police boss to act on the recommendations of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

However, that section has been deleted in the proposed amendments. “This really is a case of one step forward, two steps back. What promised to be a badly needed shake-up is unlikely to deliver on the key goal of a professional and accountable police service,” said Mrs Jackson.

She said the amendments would affect the independence of the IG as the police boss would be appointed by the President and Parliament.

The Bills also seek to allow police to use firearms to protect property and to stop someone charged with a serious crime from escaping or stop anyone helping them to escape, a proposal which has alarmed AI.

“These additional grounds are contrary to international standards on use of force and may facilitate unlawful killings,” said Mrs Jackson.

Kenyan police have been on spotlight since the 2007/8 post-election violence despite the amendment.

 

End

 

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Norway congratulates Bahrain Center for Human Rights on award of 2013 Rafto Prize

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2013

“The prize recognises the courageous and valuable work of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights to promote respect for fundamental human rights in Bahrain. In Norway’s view, independent voices and institutions are vital for promoting freedom of expression. For several years the Bahrain Center for Human Rights has carried out important work in documenting discrimination and violations of freedom of expression and assembly,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

It was announced today that the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BHRC) has been awarded the 2013 Rafto Prize. The Center was established in 2002. In its announcement, the Board of the Rafto Foundation emphasised the Center’s longstanding efforts to promote human rights in Bahrain and draw attention to violations of human rights in an area of the world where this often receives little attention from Western countries.

“The award of the Rafto Prize to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights is also a signal of support and recognition of the important and challenging work being done by human rights defenders in the Gulf region. Norway is following developments in Bahrain closely and is concerned about the human rights situation. We are therefore pleased that an institution from Bahrain has been awarded the 2013 Rafto Prize. We hope that the prize will help to promote wider recognition and respect for the fact that human rights apply to all people – including vulnerable groups such as women, children and migrant workers,” Mr Eide said.

 

End

source mfa.norway

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AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLED, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE’ IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 19-20 AT THE SECOND CHILD AND YOUTH FINANCE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING FOR AFRICA

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2013

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa was held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting gathered some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders were expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.

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Nairobi: President Kenyatta addressing the Nation says the siege has ended, declares 3 days of mourning

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2013


Westgate Mall siege has ended. Many People lost their lives. President Kenyatta addresses the Nation and declares 3 days of mourning.

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Kenya: Gains from World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environmental Project.

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga.
Communities living along the shores of Lake Victoria are now gaining hugely, thanks to the support they are receiving through the World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environmental Project.
In Nandi in the rift valley and Nyando in Nyanza, the locals have ventured into massive tree planting as a way of environmental conservation and the results are impressive.
 A part from reclaiming most of the forest cover that was cleared and turned into farmlands, the residents are now reaping huge benefits from the sale of tree seedlings from nurseries so far established through LVEMP’s support.
The multimillion project which began in 2010 is targeting the implementation of two main broad objectives in its collaborative approach to management of shared natural resources within Lake Victoria Basin.
Working with selected   community groups which have been undertaking activities targeting to reduce environmental stress within the basin, LVEMP is also sponsoring activities aimed at changing the livelihoods of the communities.
The regional project is implemented by all the five member states of the east African community.
 It is undertaking its activities through the government led agencies who offer technical support to the benefiting groups in selected catchment areas.
 In Kenya it is targeting the river Nyando basin and along the shores of Lake Victoria.
According to LVEMP’s national project coordinator madam Francisca Owuor, so far a total of Ksh 116 million has been disbursed to 114 community groups in areas covered by the project.
 It is expected that before the project end in 2015, a total of 240 groups will have been supported.
Speaking at the close of a week-long field excursion organized by LVEMP 2  and attended by twenty journalists from various media houses the coordinator disclosed that Ksh 400M will be spent in the community driven development activities.
She told the journalists that LVEMP has also approved proposals from 225 groups and funding for them is underway.
However, 111 groups whose proposals were approved are yet to be launched to begin implementation of various activities because they are still undergoing environmental impact assessment by the national environmental management authority.
The benefiting groups are those that were already doing something to protect the environment and at the same time engaging in livelihood changing   activities.
Most of the groups  are  for example , engaged in  tree planting along the river banks, other s are  controlling  soil erosion by laying soil conservation structures  like gabions and  erection of  terraces among others.
Apart from conserving the environment, they are also fully embracing commercial agriculture. Some communities have established tree nurseries through the financial support offered by LVEMP while others are keeping dairy animals and keeping bees.
 In the North rift, areas around Nandi Hills, in Nyando and Homa Bay counties, communities are now planting millions of trees in their farms and along the river banks.   They are also protecting water springs by planting bamboo and other tree species that protect the water towers.
The project was necessitated by the realization that Lake Victoria which supports an estimated 30M people either directly or indirectly was facing huge environmental challenges and the stress was linked to unfavorable human activities within the basin which needed to be reversed.
Water levels in Lake Victoria were alarmingly low due to silting because of poor farming activities upstream, quality of the lake water s was greatly compromised as a result of pollution, aquatic immensely interfered with and so there was urgent need to reverse this trend.
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Crop failure would have been a national disaster with global consequences.

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2013

Droughts seem to be increasing, but so are methods to survive them

STOCKHOLM,  – Droughts are rarely seen as a positive development. Historically equated with divine punishment, they can be fatal to local economies and human lives alike.

But they can also provide a crucial test for water management systems, which – when they function effectively – may allow regions to shake off severe droughts that would have otherwise led to widespread loss of life.

“Droughts provide an opportunity for action as well as learning lessons. There is often a sense of community, a greater political will and a heightened awareness of conservation issues,” said Roberto Lenton, from the University of Nebraska’s Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute in the US.

“We have been experiencing, over the last couple of years, some major droughts around the world that have reinforced the growing recognition that we are going to be facing more climate extremes – droughts and floods – and we need to learn how to deal with them more effectively.”

Statistics on natural catastrophic events collected by insurers Munich Re show that the “number of major weather-related natural catastrophes has almost tripled since 1980.” They report “an increase in the length, frequency or intensity of warm-weather periods” and predict that droughts are “likely to become more frequent”.

In a globalized food market, droughts – even those in the developed world – can quickly impact the world’s poorest, as in the 2007-2008 food price crisis, which was aggravated in part by drought in Australia.

So what have we learned from current and recent water shortages?

Water storage and risk management 

The current drought in northeastern Brazil is the most severe water shortage the area has seen in last 100 years. Last year, it caused the deaths of five million cattle.

The federal government has responded with some relief actions, including trucking in water, providing agricultural schemes for farmers, and investing in water infrastructure like dams and reservoirs.

“Whenever you have droughts, over the last 100 years, you see a rapid rise in water stocks and reservoirs,” said Francisco de Assis de Souza Filho, director of the Brazil office of the Columbia Water Center, who added that politicians are often short-sighted when it comes to risk management because they “are only focused on the four years of their mandate”.

Droughts – in Brazil and many other parts of the world – can be a key spur for politicians to invest in dams, water management and resilience, even if prevention strategies would have be more cost-effective.

“Brazil needs to change from reactive drought crisis management to proactive drought risk management. We have a good institutional approach to water research management, but we don’t have a focus on drought management,” said de Souza Filho.

Michael Hayes, director of the US-based National Drought Mitigation Center, says investment in mitigation, planning, monitoring and early warning pays-off when drought strikes.

“If our only focus is on crisis management, we don’t take any steps to reduce our risk to future events.”

As destructive as droughts can be, they can provide the catalyst for better preventive action:

“Droughts provide windows of opportunity to engage the stakeholders,” said Hayes.

Motivating farmers and decision makers is key to making change happen.

“Political will is the foundation of drought management policy,” said Thierry Facon, senior regional management officer for the Asia and Pacific region at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Groundwater

Like Brazil, the US state of Nebraska also suffered a severe drought in 2012, though with a rather different outcome. Nebraska is the country’s biggest producer of red meat, number two for ethanol production, and fourth nationally for the value of its crops.

Crop failure would have been a national disaster with global consequences.

“Droughts provide windows of opportunity to engage the stakeholders”

But the last major drought in the state, in the 1950s, had spurred massive investment in irrigation, and the state’s irrigated land now covers a similar surface area to irrigated farms in entire countries, like Turkey, Egypt and Spain.

By tapping into the groundwater held in the High Plains aquifer, US farmers were able to see through the drought. In fact, production of irrigated corn – thanks to the increased sunshine and longer growing season – actually increased by 5.6 percent.

But while groundwater can provide a useful water supply during drought, the global norm is for unsustainable use of groundwater, prompted by inadequate systems of water management.

In Gujarat, India, the only way to stop farmers from using too much groundwater has been to ration electricity supplies to farmers in an attempt to limit overuse of pumps.

Technology

Recent droughts have shown the strength of technological developments in a variety of sectors, from soil moisture sensors that help boost the efficiency of irrigation to satellite imaging used to track global weather patterns.

“Through these kinds of [satellite] systems, we get a better understanding and learn how to predict, so there are ways to actually know when a drought is coming up,” Mats Eriksson, director of climate change and water at the Stockholm International Water Institute, told IRIN.

As a slow-onset hazard, droughts have often caught governments unawares – though as the 2011 drought in Somalia showed, awareness does not always lead to effective preventive action.

“I think the problem is more communicating this kind of knowledge in a tailor-made format, down to a more local context where people can actually utilize and benefit and plan based on these predictions,” said Eriksson.

Studying past droughts has helped scientists refine their predictive models, and it has helped build technology that can offer greater resilience.

“Technologies have played a great role in mitigating these shortages of water. Science and technology is going to play an increasing role in the future,” said Dilip Kulkarni, head of the Agri-food Division at India’s Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd.

He stresses that in the developing world, water technologies can be extremely beneficial in helping farmers survive water scarcity – as long as the methods have been adapted to the smallholder farms that predominate in places like sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Biotechnology has helped provide drought-resistant plants, while adapted farming practices, like avoiding tillage in dry areas, helped farmers in Nebraska avoid a repeat of the ‘dustbowl years’ in the 1930s.

“Droughts spur technological innovation,” said Lenton. But greater water efficiency does not necessarily mean lower water use, something that is frequently forgotten in discussions about the wonders of drought-resistant technologies.

Learning lessons

In 1877, around half a million people died because of drought in northeastern Brazil, according to de Souza Filho. Economic development and technology have since helped reduce the human cost of drought in Brazil and many parts of the world, though as the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa showed, widespread loss of human life still occurs.

While well-resourced farmers in formal, well-governed water systems, like those in Nebraska, may have learned to survive even severe droughts, poverty continues to leave others exposed.

And the lessons learned in such formal water systems may not even be applicable in tropical informal governance areas, warns Facon.

Communities used to living in arid lands have, of course, knowledge about dealing with drought that has been passed down through generations – for example, mixing pastoral and agrarian ways of life to cope with times of water scarcity.

“In many parts of the world, drought is part of the natural environment. That means that people have developed means and methods to overcome drought,” said Eriksson.

But climate change poses new challenges, particularly with weather extremes that traditional systems, based on historic weather patterns, may not be adequate for.

“Maybe the old traditional systems don’t work anymore, so you have to find ways of maybe supporting them [the systems] if they’re good enough. Or in other cases, the kind of livelihood system that you relied on doesn’t really work anymore – and you have to add other things,” said Eriksson

Climate change maybe creating new lessons to learn.

jj/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

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A home from home: Reaping the rewards

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2013

Fewer babies dying

MQANDULI,  – Mothers and children in South Africa are still dying in alarming numbers, and the country is among only a few worldwide where child deaths are rising. But a rural hospital in the Eastern Cape province has managed to drastically reduce infant mortality rates over the past six years, against the backdrop of a health system that is virtually at a standstill.

report on the deepening crisis, launched this week by activists from the newly formed Eastern Cape Health Crisis Coalition, says the freezing of critical posts has contributed to the loss of scarce skills, and some rural facilities have lost more than half of their nursing staff. Chronic shortages of basic medical equipment and essential drugs persist and mobile clinics are no longer running, depriving rural patients of access to essential health services.

Zithulele Hospital in Mqanduli, a town about 30km south of Mthatha, the provincial capital, is the only hospital in an area of nearly 1,000 sq.km, serving a population of about 150,000 that is one of the poorest in the country, with low education levels and very high rates of unemployment and crime. For decades many men left the area to become mine workers and the legacy of the migrant labour system still has a negative impact on the communities living there.

Sihle Tyelinzima, 18, and more than eight months pregnant, is sitting on small wooden bench outside the rondavel (hut) she shares with two other pregnant women. The rondavel, a few hundred metres from the medical wards at Zithulele Hospital, has been her home for nearly two weeks. “I miss being home with my family and friends but I don’t regret coming to live at the hospital,” Tyelinzima says. “I would rather be homesick than risk losing my baby.”

She lives in Mancamu, about 30km away from Zithulele Hospital, one of several villages near Mqanduli. The distance may seem short, but if she were to go into labour while at home, the heavily pregnant Tyelinzima would have to walk over hilly countryside and cross a stream before reaching a road from where an ambulance or a hired car could take her to hospital.

If she should go into labour at night she would have to wait until morning or give birth at home. Home birth is common in the villages around Mqanduli, but in most cases this is because pregnant women don’t have transport or can’t afford to hire a car to take them to hospital.

A home from home

For this reason the hospital management decided to convert two rondavels once used as nurses’ quarters into homes to accommodate pregnant women nearing the end of their term.

Dr Ben Gaunt, the hospital’s clinical manager, noted that the cost of transport prevents even those living close to roads from getting to the hospital in time. “Hiring a car to bring you to hospital from one of the villages can cost between R600 (US$60) and R1,000 (US$100), depending how far you are coming, and for most families this is half of their monthly household income,” he said.

The maternal waiting homes have had a positive impact on the perinatal mortality rate at Zithulele hospital. Four years ago, when the concept was introduced, 34 out of 1,000 babies delivered at the facility were dying, but this decreased to about 20 per 1,000 live births last year.

Gaunt said the maternal waiting homes were not the only factor causing significant change to the statistics for perinatal mortality at Zithulele. “There were other important contributors, like reinstituting 24-hour caesarean section service; retraining of midwives; reaching out to our feeder clinics through a system that allowed input into primary level antenatal care, and developing protocols for the safe induction of labour.”

In 2005 the hospital faced severe shortages of clinical staff and medical equipment, which worsened a poorly organised maternity service offering sub-standard care. “The maternity service had inexperienced, inadequately supervised staff, and protocols were not properly followed,” he said.

“The partogram (a graphical representation of the changes that occur during labour) was not frequently used; there were shortages of resuscitation equipment, and only two delivery packs with doubtful sterilization in between cases.” The arrival of new senior staff members brought welcome changes.

The Perinatal Problem Identification Programme (PPIP), a monthly audit tool managed by the Medical Research Council, was introduced in 2005. The programme allows the user to analyse basic data and identify avoidable factors associated with each perinatal death. These issues as well as obstetric clinical topics and preventive or pre-emptive factors are discussed at monthly meetings.

Reaping the rewards

The efforts are beginning to pay off. “We have been seeing a steady decline in perinatal mortality in the past eight years,” said hospital manager Nonsikelelo Matebese.

Evidence of this success was noted by Gaunt in the February 2010 edition of the South African Medical Journal, when he pointed out in an article that in the last six months of 2005 the perinatal mortality rate had been 49.1 per 1,000 births, but over the same period in 2008 this had dramatically decreased to 22.4 per 1,000 births.

At the time deliveries at the hospital increased from 745 in 2005 to 1,143 in 2008. “The perinatal care index (PCI) – a marker of the quality of care of newborns that corrects for low birth-weight infants – declined from a very high 3.7 during 2006 and 2007 to 2.4 in 2008,” Gaunt wrote.

While statistics show that the perinatal mortality rate in Zithulele Hospital has been declining, more needs to be done to ensure that babies don’t die from preventable causes. 2013 so far has been difficult for the rural district hospital and the number of perinatal deaths is higher when compared to previous years since the changes were introduced.

Gaunt said four out of about 20 of the deaths in the first six months of 2013 could have been avoided, but attributed this shortcoming largely to challenges that include maintaining equipment, improving relationships with local clinics, integrating care more efficiently, and dealing with the socio-economic factors that influence pregnancy and health-seeking behaviour.

lm/kn/he  source http://www.irinnews.org

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