28 April 2009 SMC
By Ban Ki Moon
The increased piracy off Somalia’s waters highlights the inter-connected nature of the challenges of our age. Unattended problems rise and reverberate in various corners of the globe.
They spill into the seas. We are now witnessing lawlessness and insecurity, state collapse, the crisis of refugees; the economic and ecological crisis; and, of course, piracy. All have an impact beyond borders. All are linked.
After all, piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of anarchy and insecurity on the ground. Dealing with it requires an integrated strategy that addresses the fundamental issue of lawlessness in Somalia.
That is why we need to get beyond the headlines and write a new chapter for Somalia’s future.
Despite the obstacles we know well, there is hope in the Horn of Africa. Somalia is at a crossroads.
The UN-sponsored Djibouti peace process has produced a broad-based government. That government is taking the hard road to peace.
As a result, the Somali people have the best chance in a generation to end their suffering and move toward a better and more stable future.
We must push open this window of opportunity. Somalia needs support in key areas.
First to establish the Transitional Federal Government’s authority throughout the country;
Second, to rebuild state institutions; Third to address the humanitarian emergency; and to facilitate economic recovery.
This will not happen overnight.
Today we take a vital step by helping the new leadership meet the first responsibility of any government: keeping its people safe and secure. Our support is therefore designed first and foremost to enhance the security of Somalia.
It is based on two pillars: strengthening Somalia’s security institutions, and supporting AMISOM’s ability to help the country.
First and most critically, the development of Somali security institutions: With the assistance of international partners, the Government has begun the process of building the National Security Force and the Somali Police Service.
The Somali government has presented a specific and credible action plan for the next three months.
We should encourage them and help them succeed.
At the same time, the Government must establish solid procedures to ensure that these forces are inclusive, and that they protect civilians and respect human rights and the rule of law.
The only lasting solution for security in Somalia is one that is owned by the Somalis. But above all, it will be an investment - a vital investment at a crucial time to nurture a fragile process and secure a long troubled part of the world.
Source: The Financial Times
Somaliweyn Media Center “SMC”
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
28 April 2009 SMC
By THANE BURNETT
April 27, 2009
It's enough to give the 'pirate' trade a bad name.
After an accused Somali piracy suspect made his way tearfully through a court in New York, his worried mother, late last week, pleaded for compassion in his case.
Adar Abdirahman Hassan said her teenage son - a "talented boy" and "a good student" - is no scourge of the sea, but instead, a confused kid who was roped into taking part in the kidnapping of U.S. ship captain, Richard Phillips.
But how does her eldest child, Abdiweli Muse, who may have been the ringleader of the gang which stormed Phillips's U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama on April 8, compare with those sea-dogs of yore, who once preyed upon slower boats and weaker men off Canada's East Coast?
Do today's pirates hold a stolen candle to their bloodthirsty forefathers? And if they met on open water, how would the legendary likes of Captain Kidd and Black Bart view their modern heirs?
Apparently, says one of Canada's most respected pirate experts, they would be embraced as following -remarkably closely - the age-old pirates' handbook.
"Black Bart would be proud," says Dan Conlin, curator at The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.
Bart - Bartholomew Roberts - was the most skilled pirate of the golden age of his kind.
During the early part of the 1700s, he captured more than 470 vessels, including in waters around Cape Breton and Newfoundland. It was fairly common for bandits to move up off Canada's shores every spring.
Into the 1800s, their executed bodies were still displayed, decaying inside the clutches of gibbets, hung from posts in the Maritimes.
Conlin, who will publish Piracy on the Atlantic - Robbery, Murder and Mayhem on Canada's East Coast this summer, says the high sea raiders of today and yesteryear are born from the same three ingredients - poverty, a weak local government and rich trade tempting them on the horizon.
"As long as you have those ingredients, you'll have pirates," he explains.
Today's scalawags count on the same kind of classic boarding contraptions ancient pirates would have used, and both largely favour small boats to capture larger vessels.
"And holding ships for random - they often did it with slave ships - has always been a common tactic," says Conlin.
Even the excuses by the two generations of pirates - that they're somehow righting social and economic wrongs - mirror one another.
During the last great days of piracy - from 1680 to 1730 - there was also anxiety over where to hold trials, with many, prior to colonial courts, being shipped to England.
But accused pirate Muse doesn't face the same fate. One public hanging, involving an entire pirate crew, took three days to complete.
But who's more blood-thirsty?
Conlin says it was the old salts, who had a fondness for ritualistic torture.
"I'll give the Somali pirates a little credit, they've killed very few people," he notes, but points out the number of people ancient marauders murdered has likely been exaggerated over time.
"But these (new generation) are nasty people ... no bones about it."
One other similarity, he says: "Neither buries treasure. That's a myth."
But would the pirates who patrolled Canadian waters in our earliest years not wince at their modern version - if guilty - crying, with his mother asking for compassion?
Old pirates could also have a softer side. As well as a few female buccaneers of long ago, a 1997 book, Women Pirates and the Politics of the Jolly Rogers, theorized the dreaded Black Bart was a female disguised as the manliest of sea-dogs.
April 27, 2009
In the 15 years since armed Somali fishermen began forcing their way onto commercial ships, pirates have turned East Africa's seas into the world's most dangerous waters. In 2008 alone, Somalia's lawless seamen captured more than 40 large vessels in the Gulf of Aden, a shortcut between Asia and Europe that's vital to the global economy. Wiping out today's pirates won't be easy; they're smarter, better organized, and, frankly, better loved abroad than the swashbucklers of yesteryear. In a special dispatch from Mombasa, Kenya, Mental Floss correspondent David Axe explains.
1. They Have a Robin Hood Complex
Many Somali pirates see themselves as good guys. And at one point, they were. After the government in Mogadishu collapsed in 1991, neighboring countries began illegally fishing in Somali waters. The first pirates were simply angry fishermen who boarded these foreign vessels and demanded a "fee." But as the illegal fishing persisted, some early pirates banded together and called themselves "coast guards." They claimed to be looking after Somalia's territorial integrity until the government could pull itself back together.
These weren't the only vigilantes on the scene, however. Other pirates made their debut robbing U.N. ships that were carrying food to refugee camps in Somalia. These bandits argued that if they hadn't taken the food, warlords would have seized it on land. And they had a good point. Warlords gobbled down at lot of Somalia's relief food during the 1990s.
But from these perhaps defensible beginnings, piracy spread farther from Somalia's shores and evolved into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Today, pirates are blunt about their motives. In late 2008, after a band of pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter full of weapons and demanded $25 million for its release, Sugule Ali, a member of the pirate crew, told a reporter, "We only want the money."
2. Nobody Brings Home the Bacon Like a Pirate
According to some estimates, pirates in 2008 pulled in as much as $150 million, indicating that piracy is now Somalia's biggest industry. In fact, successful pirates are the country's most eligible bachelors. While small-time swashbucklers earn in the low five figures, bosses can pull in $2 million a year—this, in a country where you can buy dinner for less than $1.
But as their wallets fatten, many pirates are heading for greener pastures, and the real money is flowing out of the country with them. Many are buying properties on the seashore of Mombasa, Kenya, where new condos are being built every day. If a condo is selling for a few million dollars, there's a good chance the bosses will throw in an extra half-million, just to make sure the Kenyans don't ask too many questions.
3. Being a Pirate Is Easy!
Piracy is so simple that anyone can do it. All you need is a gun, an aluminum ladder (for scaling other ships), and a motorboat. Then you just have to wait for commercial ships to pass by. Best of all, you don't have to worry about your targets shooting back. By international agreement, civilian vessels aren't allowed to carry guns because governments don't want armed ships moving from port to port. "Once pirates are on board, they've got the upper hand," says Martin Murphy, a piracy expert with the Corbett Center for Maritime Policy Studies.
The best defense against piracy is speed, but because most commercial ships aren't designed to go fast, pirates don't have any trouble chasing them down. The most sophisticated marauders use machine guns and GPS systems, but many pirates are still low-tech fisherman. After they board a ship, all they have to do is steal or ransom the goods and prisoners. The cargo of a typical commercial ship ransoms for about $1 million.
4. The Law Can't Touch Them
Everybody knows piracy is wrong, but is it illegal? The truth is that the places where pirates operate are actually lawless. In Somali territory, there's no functional government to make or enforce regulations. And because nations don't control much of the ocean, there are no laws on the high seas, either.
Throughout history, governments have patched together legal frameworks to bring pirates to justice, but it's never fast or easy. Pirates—even those caught in the act by one navy or another—are often simply released on the nearest Somali beach, without so much as a slap on the wrist.
With Somali piracy on the rise, the world is playing legal catch-up.
In November 2008,the United Kingdom signed an agreement to try pirates captured by the Royal Navy in Kenya. And other countries are following Britain's lead, with nations including the United States, Singapore, and Turkey signing similar agreements. But Kenya, despite having the most powerful democracy in East Africa, doesn't appear to have an effective court system.
When Britain's first batch of eight captured pirates went on trial in Mombasa in December, the defense argued that Kenya shouldn't have jurisdiction and succeeded in persuading the judge to defer the trial. The long-term solution to piracy is a stable Somali government with a functional judiciary, but that requires peace between the country's warring clans. Somalia's new president, elected in February 2009, is just starting to get groups to talk.
5. Pirates Rarely Kill People (Which is Why They're So Dangerous)
It's difficult to tell pirates from fishermen, until they climb aboard another ship and pull out their AK-47s. So, there's not much the U.S. Navy and other military forces can do as a deterrent except sail around and look menacing. After pirates have seized a ship, navies rarely attempt to retake it, because hostages could be hurt in the process.
In the absence of an effective defense, there were more than 100 documented pirate attacks in 2008 that resulted in more than 40 ships being hijacked. But for all their aggression, the body count is low. One ship's captain died of natural causes while being held hostage, and a few militia men have died in shoot-outs as they tried to rescue prisoners, but in general, little blood has been spilled.
Pirates also prefer to keep their prisoners in good health. Not only are civilians worth hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece in ransom, but the pirates' reputation for not harming their hostages has made governments reluctant to strike back on behalf of shipping companies. While the pirates' hands remain mostly blood-free, the navies patrolling East African waters have taken lives. The Indian navy, for example, destroyed one pirate boat only to discover that the pirates had Thai hostages on board. At least a dozen innocent victims died.
6. Pirates Have Friends in High Places
Pirates prowl about 2 million square miles of the ocean. That's a lot of water, and even with thousands of ships on the high seas, it's possible to sail for days without seeing another vessel. So how do pirates know where to look and which ships to attack? Spies. The biggest gangs have informants in Mombasa, the major port in the region, where ships have to file paperwork stating what they're carrying and where they're going.
According to one Mombasa business leader, spies inside the Kenyan maritime agencies pass along this information to pirate bosses—for a price. Pirates are also in cahoots with local big-wigs in northern Somalia. In exchange for a cut of pirates' hauls, officials in the Puntland region of Somalia turn a blind eye to the international crime flourishing under their noses.
7. Sailors Are Fighting Back (And It's Working)
Sailors know what they're getting into when they steer toward East African waters. And because their crews can't carry guns, they've found other ways to fight off pirates. Last year, one Chinese ship used tactics borrowed straight from a medieval castle siege.
When pirates clambered up the side of the Zhenhua 4, the crew climbed onto a higher deck and pulled up the ladder. Then they turned on high-pressure fire hoses and knocked the pirates off their feet. But the crew didn't stop there. Once in better position, the Chinese sailors started hurling down Molotov cocktails, made from beer bottles filled with gasoline.
Four hundred cocktails later, the pirates retreated. One pirate, who wasn't wearing any shoes, saw he was about to walk across a deck paved with shattered glass to get back to his ship. He called up to the ship's stalwart defenders and begged for something to cover his feet.
8. Bigger Ships Mean Bigger Paychecks
Somali pirates are getting bolder. For years, they've chased small fry, such as Kenyan fishermen, small coastal freighters, and U.N. food ships. Today, with faster boats, better weapons, and more accurate information from their spies, they're going after massive cargo ships, super-tankers, and even passenger liners. Nobody's safe.
In September, pirates grabbed a Ukrainian ship called the Faina, which was carrying armored vehicles, rockets, and other weapons. They followed up that dramatic heist by overtaking the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star, which had crude oil aboard valued at $100 million. (Both ships were released earlier this year after ransoms were paid.)
Recent attacks on cruise-liners have been unsuccessful, but maritime officials are increasingly worried. Pirates usually attack in groups of about 10 and capture ships with 20 or so passengers. That ratio of captors to captives lets the pirates stay in control. But with cruise ships carrying as many as 2,000 people, there's no way pirates would be able to conduct an orderly capture. Things might get out of hand; and that, officials say, is when people get hurt.
9. Pirates Hurt Somalia the Most
The biggest victims of Somali piracy are the Somalis themselves. Nearly 4 million people there (half the population) depend on food donations to survive. But pirate attacks on food ships have made it difficult for the United Nations to keep sending provisions. In a desperate bid to keep the supplies flowing, the U.N. issued a plea to the world's navies in 2007.
As of March 2009, no food ship sets sail from Mombasa without a Dutch, Canadian, French, German, Italian, or Greek warship riding shotgun. "If you don't have an escort, you cannot move food there," says U.N. official Lemma Jembere. But naval deployments are expensive, and warships might not be available forever. This could mean death by starvation for millions, all due to a few thousand opportunistic pirates.
10. It May Be Time for Desperate Measures
Even with the world's navies rushing to protect East African shipping, the sheer size of the ocean and the huge numbers of ships involved mean warships are rarely in the right place at the right time. The mood in Mombasa, where so many ship owners and seafarers are based, is bleak. Karim Kudrati, a shipping director whose four ships have all been hijacked at least once, says it's time for the world to mobilize an army and invade Somalia. "Everybody knows where captured vessels are being taken, and on that aspect of things, nothing is being done."
The United Nations recently passed a resolution allowing an invasion, but the United States military has put the brakes on participating in any operation. Perhaps they're hesitant because of their last experience sending troops to Somalia.
In 1993, 18 Americans were killed during a commando raid to capture a few, low-ranking warlords. And yet, it's becoming more and more clear that without major, international intervention, piracy will continue to grow. With the benefits far outweighing the risks, pirates have no incentive to stop pillaging.
THE NEW VISION
Monday, 27th April, 2009
The New Vision Editorial
Seldom has economic thinking been turned on its head so dramatically as in the last few months. Barely a year ago, cash economies were bound to remain backward and poor. You had to have access to credit to develop and grow.
No longer. Ever since the global financial crisis struck six months ago, ‘all you need is cash’ has become the new credo.
As the leading magazine The Economist put it: ‘Since then, the guiding principle for managers everywhere has been to gather up whatever cash they can find, and then do their damnedest to keep as much of it as possible for as long as possible.’
Consequently, African countries like Uganda, where the banking system is still at its infant stage and credit is unaffordable for the majority, find themselves spared the disastrous effects of the credit crunch.
Similarly, the general belief in the past was that you had to trade with the world to climb out of the spiral of poverty and conflict. The more countries were integrated in the global economy, the faster they would develop and grow, experts predicted.
The global crisis has turned this theory, too, upside down. Oil and mineral rich countries in Africa are hit hardest by the credit crunch, while countries who do not solely depend on rich countries’ markets are weathering the storm relatively well.
As a result, East African states, which are primarily trading among themselves, are set to reach the highest economic growth this year in Africa, and, indeed, the whole world.
While the great industrial powers, Japan, the US and Europe, are forecast to register negative growth, East Africa is predicted to achieve a positive growth of 5.5%.
Moreover, contrary to other African countries which have no grip over the factors that determine their future, East African politicians have the advantage that they largely control the course of their economies.
The more reason they should strive to maintain peace and cordial relations, cooperate on security issues and establish conflict resolution mechanisms in the region. The way the Migingo Island dispute is being handled can serve as a litmus test.
THE NEW VISION
Monday, 27th April, 2009
By KARORO OKURUT
The signing of an affidavit by President Yoweri Museveni in defence of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Justice Faith Mwondha, no doubt raised eyebrows in a continent where this is an unfamiliar tale.
In a continent where some leaders blatantly overrule their own courts and disregard the verdicts of their voters to suit their whims, this is a dog-bite-man kind of story.
Journalists say that when a dog bites a man, that is not news. But when a man bites a dog that is the news. Some 22 individuals last week petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the need for Justice Faith Mwondha to appear before Parliament.
The petitioners seek a court declaration that the re-appointment of the IGG does not require parliamentary sanction. President Museveni and Justice Mwondha have both sworn affidavits in support of the petition.
The President says he was “convinced there was need for determination of this matter by a competent court of law now, given the historical determination of the NRM government to get rid of criminality and corruption in Uganda”. President Museveni is the first Ugandan leader to subject himself to judicial due process—and not for the first time. The presidential election petitions of 2001 and 2006 had the President written all over them and he obliged by registering no objections whatsoever to the petitions and also signing certain required affidavits. He only fell short of appearing in court himself—something that was not mandatory.
You get the feeling however that had push come to shove, some rule or other requiring him to be in court himself during those election petitions, he would have showed up. In the true manner of a responsible leader who shows the way not by pointing but by walking it, the President let the courts decide whether his last two election victories actually reflected the will of the people. Now he is back with more affidavits – this time defending the IGG, at a time when another leader in his shoes would be looking for what executive power exits can be taken advantage of.
Ugandans will recall that the last interaction or interface between a president and the Judiciary before the Museveni administration was in 1972. Then President Idi Amin, not amused that the Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka (RIP) would not write verdicts in a way that suited the government, ended the stand-off by having the judge killed! It was clear that for Amin, the Judiciary was nothing more than a tool to achieve his aim and if they declined, the way out was simple—kill them.
And now here we are with a president who is taking time off to sign affidavits, and letting courts determine matters pertaining to him. What this shows, inter alia, is that there is an undeniable rule of law in Uganda; governance is not carried out through bulldozing by the Executive.
Sometimes there are hiccups here and there and indeed we still have some challenges within the Judiciary. In our rural areas for example, where the majority of Ugandans live, there are reports of access to justice being determined by how much money one has; with court officials offering verdicts to the highest bidder. There is need to look into these allegations. The bottom line however is that we have a functional Judiciary that is on the whole, doing a good job.
If ever there was evidence of respect for the rule of law, especially on the part of the Executive, this is it. The President is showing that he too can be subjected to legal due process without any ado.
If the President believes in the court system, this is a critical vote of confidence for the Judiciary and something that all Ugandans can learn from.
Whatever anyone says for or against Justice Mwondha you cannot doubt the size of fight in her; her ability to tenaciously pound her way through obstacles to get to her destination. The zeal she has manifested in pulling down the strongholds of corruption is unmistakable. Her ruthlessness in tackling officials whose hands are forever in the cookie jar has sent chills down the spines of public servants in both local and central Government.
Nobody on the wrong side of the law wants a piece of her served hot or cold. Her first term of office has no doubt put public servants under pressure to embrace integrity in the execution of their mandate; to have some decent measure of respect for the national purse.
Indeed, it must be acknowledged that nobody has come out to challenge her competence or commitment to her mandate. There is unanimity that she has done a decent job; with the only contention being her refusal to be vetted by Parliament for the second time following her reappointment by the President.
However, you get the feeling that there is room for improvement in her people-relations – you need to get along with somebody, especially those that you work closely with on a daily basis. It was also arguably unwise of her to go to the press wholesale like she did —blasting individuals and institutions alike without biting her words. A bit of discretion here would have been in order. It is possible to defend yourself without attacking; put your case neatly and let the public and relevant bodies judge.
If you insult the very people that are supposed to vet you, then obviously mayhem should be expected. Going to the media could only make the situation worse, not better for her. That is why firms or institutions have public relations officers so that big people do not have to tango in the media themselves.
Our people say that when you have a dog you do not have to bark yourself; so at best she could have let other people do the talking and fighting for her, as she kept a low profile and continued with her tight schedule.Since the matter is in the good hands of the Constitutional Court, let’s wait for the learned lordships to adjudicate.
By MACHARIA GAITHO,
April 27 2009
AS THE THIRD SESSION OF the 10th Parliament was formally inaugurated last week, the Kenyan leadership received a rude reminder of the challenges this country faces. Yet the murderous rampage in which nearly 30 people in one village were slain in one night was merely a distraction as our leaders focused on what, to them, are clearly more urgent things.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Internal Security minister George Saitoti parachuted into the area for a quick photo-op before rushing back for the fisticuffs over the control of Parliament. President Kibaki made some perfunctory comment but otherwise seemed distracted by more important issues. Ministers and MPs, particularly from the affected areas, largely retained an extremely loud silence.
Perhaps what our leadership, and we as a nation, do not want to confront is that brutal cycle of killing and revenge killings reveals the deep social and economic schisms in society that the Kenyan leadership has neglected to address, since independence. The massacre in Gathaithi village in revenge attacks following a fortnight of murderous attacks by vigilante squads upped the ante considerably in what has been an ongoing battle in the wider central Kenya and diaspora.
While Mungiki is the most dramatic exemplification of the rise of criminal gangs in Kenya, there are many other parts of the country where lawlessness has taken root, and citizens have resorted to ‘‘mob justice’’ in the face of an impotent law and order system.
Mungiki, however, is not just about a criminal quasi-religious cult that has entrenched itself deeply in all the major urban and peri-urban areas of central Kenya. It is also about hopelessly disaffected youth abandoned by society, the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and a leadership elite that cares little about addressing the issues of poverty and unemployment.
It is also about cynical leaders who will exploit jobless youths as foot-soldiers in their political wars, but abandon them once they are no longer useful. Mungiki, in particular, has always had very strong links to the country’s political dynamic.
During the violence that nearly destroyed the country in the wake of the disputed 2007 elections, key politicians recruited and armed Mungiki groups in central Kenya, Nairobi and parts of the Rift Valley diaspora to execute “self-defence” efforts and revenge attacks against rival communities.
THAT WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME THE Mungiki and assorted youth brigades – the so-called Kalenjin warriors in the Rift Valley, the Taliban in the Nairobi slums and the Baghdad Boys in Kisumu – have been used by leaders in society, some in the heart of government, as political shock troops.
From the time of President Moi to the present, Mungiki has adeptly wormed its way into the body-politic, putting itself at the service of whatever political cause it needed to support at any one time. Hence, the sense of betrayal that the same leaders who call the shots in the present government prefer not just to turn their backs on a movement they helped nurture, but are seen as driving the brutal police assaults on the movements that have taken the character of a deliberate policy of extrajudicial executions and disappearances.
But even as human rights groups cry foul and the UN Special Rapporteur threatens to indict Attorney-General Amos Wako and Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, the phenomenon has arisen in affected areas where citizens are themselves up in arms against Mungiki. The vigilante gangs seem to be encouraged by the police and the provincial administration, happy to suggest that security agencies cannot act directly lest they be accused of extrajudicial killings.
Another phenomenon is that almost every criminal activity is now attributed to Mungiki, yet there is little evidence of a single organized gang operating under a centralized command. In the region - the richest in the country but where poverty is also endemic - tens of thousand of jobless youths, many with modest education and aspiration to a better life, mill around aimlessly, watching the flashy cars of the rich politicians shower them with dust.
They are hungry, angry, resentful, alienated and cut-off from society and so-called leaders who only use them and dump them. They turn to crime and terrorize society until society fights back. Eventually what exposes itself is not just the blood and mayhem, but the lack of government.
By Standard Team
The Speaker of the National Assembly holds the hopes of a nation this afternoon (Tuesday), when he rules over the Constitution and leadership of the House Business Committee.
Mr Kenneth Marende will have to offer a way forward out of the impasse between coalition rivals PNU and ODM. Its leaders, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, have sharply disagreed over who should lead Government business in the House.
Today’s ruling comes against the backdrop of the Speaker’s failed overtures to the two principals to resolve the stalemate through dialogue, and as ODM continued to beat the election drums.
Yesterday, ODM was consulting with lawyers over their next move, following Raila’s Sunday demand that fresh elections be held if PNU continues to frustrate it in Government. PNU had accused the PM of plotting a ‘civilian coup’ after totally failing in his premiership duties.
ODM said the fresh elections should be held in six-months, as a clutch of Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, backed the President’s choice of ODM-Kenya leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who is also the Vice-President, to assume the mantle of leading the Government in the House.
Raila and his Orange party have maintained that the PM should automatically take the leadership because his party has the majority MPs.
Last night, it was clear that today would be a critical day in the life of the fledgling coalition that stares a premature death in the face.
Even as many Kenyans invested hope in Marende, a group of 50 MPs began an initiative to break the stalemate. They proposed to have the House Business Committee constituted and a member elected interim chairman.
The caucus of MPs from across the political divide, and which included Assistant ministers, allowed ODM to nominate 11 members to the HBC, against PNU’s 11.
The MPs, emerging from a two-hour marathon consultative meeting at Parliament Buildings, said Parliament would adopt the lists as presented by both ODM and PNU.
"We have resolved to adopt the lists as they will be presented by the respective parties to the House tomorrow (today)," Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto, who spoke for the group, said.
"We decided ODM takes one more seat in the committee courtesy of its numerical strength in the House," said an MP who attended the meeting.
Assistant ministers Kilemi Mwiria and Richard Onyonka said once Parliament adopts the list, HBC members would be expected to meet and elect an interim chairman.
"If they fail to agree on modalities and who should be the committee’s chairman, then we will call upon the entire House to intervene once again and elect a chairman — but after the Standing Orders are amended," said Onyonka.
Efforts to bring the MPs together was mooted early in the day by Assistant minister Cecily Mbarire and Onyonka, who argued that allowing parliamentary parties to take positions was likely to aggravate the situation.
Agenda in abeyance
Yet as the politicians continue to wrangle, crucial House agenda is in abeyance. Sources said ODM was readying its superior majority in the House to frustrate Government business if it did not have its way today.
Already, the Government needs urgent release of Sh26 billion from the Consolidated Fund as part of the Supplementary Budget needed to run its activities.
Traditionally, the Supplementary Budget has been passed in March, three months to the close of the financial year. And with thousands of Kenyans facing starvation, the urgency with which Sh8.5 billion is required cannot be over-emphasized.
ODM has 105 elected and nominated MPs, excluding the ones from affiliate parties, against PNU’s 45, excluding its affiliates. And with effective horse-trading, ODM can frustrate any Government plans in the House.
The country badly needs a new electoral body following disbandment of the discredited Electoral Commission of Kenya last December.
Already, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Review has come up with the names of nine commissioners who are awaiting Parliament’s nod.
With a pending by-election in Bomachoge following the declaration of Mr Joel Onyancha’s election as null and void by the High Court, the electoral body is a necessity.
ODM’s call for fresh elections in six months is also an indicator that an electoral body must be urgently put in place.
And hopes for a new Constitution before the next polls could soon be a mirage.
Though the nine-member committee of experts have already started working, there is need for Parliament to amend the Constitution of Kenya (Review) Act to include the civil society in the process.
Former Justice Minister Martha Karua had indicated before her resignation that a proposal to amend the Act to include 30 members from the civil society as the reference group was on the cards, and Parliament’s approval would be required.
Most importantly, Parliament would be required to approve the budget for 2009/10 financial year in June, and ODM’s support would be crucial.
The HBC is a potent committee that defines the agenda of the House. It has been widely a preserve of Cabinet ministers but the new Standing Orders give back-benchers at least 30 per cent stake in the body.
Some back-benchers are, however, clamouring for 50 per cent stake to neutralize Government control of the powerful House organ.
It is understood that five ODM lawyers, including Mr Mugambi Imanyara, who met at the Prime Minister’s office yesterday morning, explored ways in which the party’s position on new polls could be sustained and be implemented.
Earlier, the PM had met Higher Education Minister Sally Kosgei on undisclosed discussions.
Later in the evening, the lawyers converged again at the Treasury at a meeting convened by the PM, where they met Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’, his Lands counterpart James Orengo and East African Community Minister Amason Kingi.
Elsewhere, party Chairman Henry Kosgey justified the demand for fresh calls in six months to enable the country "to get the required stability and in order for it to attract investment and create jobs".
During a Press conference at Orange House, Kosgey reiterated the party’s demand for Raila to become the leader of Government business in the House, adding: "This is not a contest between (Raila) and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. The contest ended in 2007, and we know who won. This is a demand based on logic, common sense and fair play".
Reacting to reports from PNU that Raila was an appointee of President Kibaki, Kosgey said: "The PM is an appointee of the people of Kenya. He is not PM because President Kibaki likes him but because he comes from the party with the numbers in the House".
The Constitution says the leader of the party with majority members in Parliament shall become Prime Minister.
Karachuonyo MP James Rege said the party would not renege this time round nor climb down from their position. "We have reached the extreme end and we shall not cede on our position".
He said, according to the accord, the party was right to claim the position of Leader of Government Business in the House because the PM "executes the function and affairs of the Government of Kenya".
Fisheries Minister Paul Otuoma said the party’s position was very clear, and ceding ground would "be detrimental (to the party), especially from our supporters."
MPs Rachael Shebesh, Elizabeth Ongoro, Yusuf Chanzu, Otieno Mbadi and ODM Whip Jakoyo Midiwo flanked Kosgey.
By Jerry Okungu
April 27, 2009
The pirate story on the Coast of Somalia is as intriguing as any fiction that has the power to capture the imagination of mankind. It gets interesting when modern society recalls that the last pirate attacks across international waters were carried out by bandits more than two centuries ago.
Personally I remember one character, Long John Silver in The Treasure Island whenever I hear of the word pirate. That one eyed, one legged dagger wielding monster still haunts my memory till today.
Hilary Clinton has described the Somali pirate menace as a 19th century crime that needs 21st century solution. What she probably meant was that whereas the 19th century bandits used crude weapons to attack ships, the latter day counterparts can afford rocket launchers, AK47 assault guns or even hand grenades. However, what makes them close cousins to their 19th century sea robbers is their attire and the canoes they use to capture 21century ocean liners and cargo freights.
Having been living in Somaliland for nearly thirty days and mingling with Somali journalists, politicians, businessmen and ordinary citizens including international aid workers, I can confidently state that I have come across interesting issues that are hardly coming out through BBC, CNN or any major Western news network. Which is interesting, considering that in the whole of Somalia, these networks are considered authorities on local issues.
For starters, for some reason, the official government position, the main opposition political parties and Western media seem to be in agreement; that Somali pirates are just common criminals using the fishing excuse to justify their crimes. And to prove its point, the Somaliland government has actually arrested, tried and jailed a few of them in the recent past.
However, fresh information that is increasingly becoming available is that since Siad Barre was overthrown from power and lawlessness settled in, big fishing companies from Japan, China and Western Europe made the Gulf of Aden their playground.
They came with huge trawlers, dug deep and took as much of the livelihood of these poor Somali fishermen and destroyed what they couldn’t take with them. And because there was no government in power with a national coast guard, the situation went on for more than a decade when fishermen decided to take the law into their own hands.
As the Americans shot dead three pirates and captured one two weeks ago, most Somalis see it as a godsend since the young man will have an opportunity to tell the Somali story. What they want to see is a fair trial in the much acclaimed American judicial system to determine between the Somali “pirates” and international fishing companies who the real criminals are.
Ordinary Somalis do not share the government view that these young men in their 20s are common criminals.
They tend to think that because Somaliland badly needs international recognition, because Ali Sharif, the newly installed Somali president needs acceptance from the international community, the last thing the two presidents would like is to see that they are condoning what the super powers are condemning.
However, assuming that both the government and the opposition parties are right; is it possible that a variety of journalists and aid workers from Mogadishu, Baidoa, Bosaso, Puntland and Somaliland can all be wrong and mistaken? Isn’t it worth investigating by the international community, the MI5, the FBI and other international crime agencies to find the root cause of this menace that has made travel rather unsafe on Africa’s East Coast?
With a 19 year old civil war, those who were born the day Barre was overthrown are now young men of 18. Their women age mates have become mothers and probably their wives. Growing in a lawless society where survival is 90% by the barrel of the gun means becoming an adult with limited opportunities.
As one aid worker put it to me; the pictures he has taken while in Mogadishu, “Africa’s dark corridors”, indicate that there is nothing for young men to look for on the land. Hence they have turned to the sea as the only hope for survival; to swim fish and feed their starving families.
Therefore as they wake up every morning to witness another bombing of their shanty villages, as they watch helplessly as multinational fishing boats cart away their only means of livelihood; their last frontier for survival, they resolved to protect what they believe to be truly theirs, with bare hands if necessary. Hence the determination to attack ships of any kind and force them to pay for their cargo!
Yes, they have taken the law in to their own hands, which is wrong, but desperate circumstances may call for desperate measures.
By JUAN A. LOZANO,
Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON – A member of the crew on the U.S.-flagged ship hijacked by African pirates sued the owner and another company Monday, accusing them of knowingly putting sailors in danger. Richard E. Hicks alleges in the suit that owner Maersk Line Limited and Waterman Steamship Corp., which provided the crew, ignored requests to improve safety measures for vessels sailing along the Somali coast.
Hicks was chief cook on the Maersk Alabama. Pirates held the ship's captain hostage for five days until the U.S. Navy rescued him.
Hicks' lawsuit seeks at least $75,000 in damages and improved safety.
Officials for Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line and Mobile, Ala.-based Waterman said their companies don't comment on pending litigation.
Hicks asked that the two companies improve safety for ships by providing armed security or allowing crew members to carry weapons, sending ships through safer routes, and placing such safety measures on ships as barbed wire that would prevent pirates from being able to board vessels.
"We've had safety meetings every month for the last three years and made suggestions of what should be done and they have been ignored," Hicks said. "I'm just trying to make sure this is a lot better for other seamen."
Hicks also asked the two companies pay at least $75,000 in damages, saying he doesn't know if he will ever work on a ship again.
"My family is not looking forward to me going back out to sea. But I'm not sure if I'm going back. I'm still nervous, leery. I might find something else to do, said Hicks, who has worked 32 years as a merchant seaman. "We think (the companies) should be more concerned about the personnel on their ships than the profits the companies make," said Terry Bryant, Hicks' attorney.
Both companies do business in Texas, which is why the suit was filed in Houston, he said.
Pirates took over the Alabama on April 8 before Capt. Richard Phillips surrendered himself in exchange for the safety of his 19-member crew. The captain was taken on a lifeboat and held hostage for five days before U.S. Navy SEAL snipers on the destroyer USS Bainbridge killed three of his captors and freed him.
Hicks said crew members have been trained on what to do if pirates or others threaten the ship. "We need more than training," said the 53-year-old who lives in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., and has two grown sons. "I never thought nothing like this would ever happen."
Hicks said pirates had tried to board the ship two other times that week, but the Alabama had managed to outrun them. But on April 8, as Hicks was preparing food for the crew, the ship's alarm rang and the captain announced the ship was being boarded by pirates.
Hicks and the other crew members went to their designated safety room, which was the engine room, and they waited there for more than 12 hours in 125 degree heat. "I didn't know if I was going to live or die," Hicks said.
The crew managed to take a pirate hostage, wounding him with an ice pick, and attempted to use him to get back Phillips. But the bandits fled the ship with Phillips as their captive, holding him in the lifeboat until the SEAL sharpshooters rescued him. "He did a hell of a job saving us," Hicks said of Phillips.
But Bryant said the Maersk Line and Waterman share the blame for putting the crew at risk. "We want to bring more attention to the shipping industry and the dangers in pirate-infested waters," he said.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Published on 27/04/2009
By Standard Team
The crack in the Grand Coalition Government seems to be getting wider by the day as PNU and ODM at the weekend exchanged the strongest words since the signing of the peace accord.
What started as discontent in ODM for allegedly being ‘short-changed’ by the PNU side has now escalated to the fight over who between Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should be Leader of Government Business in Parliament and seems to be getting out of hand.
Yesterday, PNU accused Raila of fomenting trouble in the coalition Government to initiate a "civilian coup" and to deflect attention from his failures in the supervision of Government business.
PNU further maintained that the issue of Leader Government Business had been concluded with Kalonzo’s nomination, and challenged ODM to go to court to seek constitutional interpretation.
Raila’s response came fast and furious — he called for fresh elections, saying ODM had been "pushed to the wall".
Both ODM and PNU legislators devoted the weekend to rallies to galvanise support from wananchi ahead of House Speaker Kenneth Marende’s ruling on the matter tomorrow afternoon.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta led the PNU team in Meru, urging President Kibaki to stay put and maintain his choice of Kalonzo (see separate story).
Kibaki’s allies, led by Kalonzo, whom the President has nominated to be Leader of Government Business in Parliament, dismissed the power sharing National Accord as "a two-page document" that did not alter Kibaki’s constitutional prerogative and Parliament’s tradition in naming the House Business Committee (HBC) and its chairman.
"That has been the tradition for 45 years and was not altered by the National Accord," PNU said in a statement read by Roads Assistant Minister Wilfred Machage in the presence of the VP and 20 other MPs.
"It is not up to the Speaker to compare, discuss or seek to judge a letter between the President and a Member of Parliament," Dr Machage said in reference to Mr Marende’s message that he was evaluating the letters received from Kibaki confirming Kalonzo as chairman of the House Business Committee and Raila nominating himself for the same post.
"The action by the PM of nominating himself to be Leader of Government Business is unconstitutional, illegal and unacceptable," said the PNU statement.
"I am perturbed why the Speaker did not rule on the floor," Machage said, indicating that it was evident whose letter had weight in law.
Nominated MP George Nyamweya said neither the Speaker nor Parliament had the authority to "interpret" Kibaki’s constitutional powers.
Machage said Sections 4, 23 and 30 of the Constitution confer on the President powers to delegate his leadership of Government parliamentary business to a minister of his choice.
"The National Accord is not superior to the Constitution of Kenya," said Machage, adding: "Kenyans should not be misled that a two-page accord and amendment in one section makes the Constitution inferior to the accord."
Speaking in Lari, Kiambu, afterwards Kalonzo said the Constitution was clear on presidential appointments and there was no reason for the country to be subjected to unnecessary debate.
Kalonzo said presidential appointments could not be contested and wondered why leaders keep on confusing Kenyans on the issue.
But Raila maintained that ODM would push for fresh elections if the Speaker’s ruling does not go his way.
Raila chose Kibera, in his Lang’ata constituency, to declare that his party would not cede further ground on the matter, asking his constituents to be ready for elections.
"We can’t cede any further ground, we have been pushed to the wall. The country has said No. If the decision is not rescinded, we are ready to seek a fresh mandate," said Raila.
Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh, who addressed the Kibera meeting, urged ODM MPs to attend tomorrow’s session in Parliament, saying the House would not debate who should be Leader of Government Business but "observe the National Accord".
Ms Shebesh accused PNU of using Kalonzo to propagate its agenda.
"I want to advise the VP. Don’t be used to fight wars that you don’t know about. We know the VP is not even a PNU presidential candidate for 2012," said Shebesh.
And Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu said the Orange party was fed up and now ready for elections.
"Even if it means going to elections tomorrow, we are ready," he told a cheering crowd in Kibera.
Higher Education Minister Sally Kosgei accused PNU of generating the squabbles by ignoring the National Accord. "PNU is ignoring the Accord and this is the source of trouble. In the Accord, the PM is the head of Government. We can’t have someone with 14 MPs as head of Government," said Dr Kosgei.
Raila said his party has a majority in Parliament and has the right to be given the position, arguing this is the practice all over the world.
He accused PNU of misleading the country by borrowing from the Constitution, which vests executive powers on the President.
He claimed that the National Accord is clear on the separation of executive powers between the PM and President.
At the weekend, Kibaki reiterated that his nomination of Musyoka as Leader of Government Business would not be reversed.
Raila maintained yesterday: "We won’t quit. In fact, it is they (PNU) that should quit. To us quitting means going to the polls."
Speaking at the 19th PCEA General Assembly Moderator at St Andrews Church in Nairobi a fortnight ago, President Kibaki ruled out early elections before reforms are undertaken.
–Reporting by David Ochami, Peter Opiyo, Maseme Machuka and Patrick Muriungi
By Jerry Okungu
April 26, 2009
I have had an occasion many times in the past to train all sorts of people in Somaliland in the last five years. However, never before have I spent four weeks training a group of young journalists that were so eager to learn that staying late into the depressing heat of the scorching afternoon sun for more learning was a pleasure to them.
The story of these young Somali journalists; and they came from all the regions of former Somalia Republic; now divided into Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia is an intriguing one. Although Puntland is an autonomous region with its president, it has not declared independence from Somalia the way Somaliland did nearly 20 years ago.
One such journalist is SAADIA MOHAMMED, a 19 year old radio personality based right inside war-torn Mogadishu. One gets a little frightened to learn that due to circumstances beyond her control, Saadia started broadcasting at the age of 16 when in most countries such a tender age requires a child to be still in school.
Although she joined Xurmo Community Radio Station in mid 2006 just after completing her secondary education in Mogadishu, Saadia has had some training in journalism in Mogadishu and KIMC in Nairobi, something that opened her eyes to real professional journalism.
The station is owned by a local NGO called INXA (PEACE, HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK).
Soon after coming back from Nairobi, she decided to join the Indian Ocean University that operates a campus in Mogadishu.
She is now an accomplished radio producer, presenter and newscaster.
She produces two sensitive radio programmes that deal with Human Rights violations and another one called Woman’s Voice.
The two popular programmes have landed her into trouble many times with Islamic extremists who have threatened her with dire consequences if she doesn’t stop inciting women against men which to them is against Islamic teachings.
She however vows not to be cowed insisting that her freedom of expression and press freedom in Somalia are two fundamentals worth suffering for.
As a 19 year old broadcaster, Saadia lives with her mother, a former MP in Siad Barre’s government and now a widow.
Although her mother is very supportive of her as a journalist, her brothers worry and even discourage her telling her to stop broadcasting because the job is not for girls.
The young star broadcaster of Mogadishu who loves reading, writing, music and Mexican movies dreams of being a Social Commentator on National Television one day.
One Saiid Ibrahim Hussein is another Mogadishu based Somali journalist in a class of his own. He is probably the most multi-skilled young journalist I have come across.
Despite his troubled early days in Somalia soon after the war broke out, forcing him to cross borders, he is now a Chief Producer at one of Mogadishu’s independent television stations.
In his mid 20s, Bunna runs his own sports website. One more thing; Bunna is acutely aware of events happening beyond the borders of war torn Somalia and has a sharp analytical mind why Somalia will remain unstable for a long time unless the international interest groups stop meddling in his country. He believes that lawlessness and piracy are creations of the West for where else would these poor people get sophisticated arms from?
The other journalist is KHADRA KHALIIF MOHAMMED, probably the youngest journalist in the whole of Africa; thanks to his father who is a veteran journalist a former university professor and now a proud owner of a newspaper in Bosaso in Central Somalia.
Born just about the time Barre left power, her family moved from Mogadishu after the war to settle in Bosaso. She now lives with both parents in her new town while working with her father in their family newspaper.
Like Saadia and Bunna above, she has had some journalism training in Bosaso and Nairobi at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication between 2007 and 2008, courtesy of Care International.
Now she is one of the young editors in her father’s company and has written a lot about Somali pirates; a venture that has earned her ominous telephone calls and text messages from both fundamentalists and pirates themselves.
However, due to support from her parents, she has decided that Somalia and journalism are her place and calling and she has no intentions of leaving her country.
Like SAADIA Mohammed, she is in love with Mexican movies.
Mukhtar Adan Dalmar is another journalist from Baidoa, Abdulahi Yusuf’s former base before he was forced to quit power. I met Dalmar too at the Hargeisa Journalism training programme organized by Care International.
Twice a beneficiary of the Care International program, Dalmar was born in Mogadishu where he grew up and went to school. However, his schooling was interrupted between 1991 and 1995 because there were no schools in all of Somalia because there was no government.
Between 1996 and 1999 he resumed informal education in private institutions, learning different subjects like English, math, computer skills and science among other subjects.
From 1999- 2001 he enrolled for a two-year higher institute course at Somalia Institute of Management and Administration (SIMAD) to study Information Technology (IT).
As a journalist, he worked at a radio station located in Baidoa from 2004 to 2005. The station was owned by an NGO called the Democratic Concern (DMC)
From 2006 to date, he has worked as a consultant for Community Care Center in Baidoa. During the same period, he became the regional representative for the international Horn Cable TV (HCTV) based in Hargeisa.
Dalmar has benefitted from a BBC Trust training in online journalism, Community Development and Care International’s three month course in Nairobi, Kenya.
He is a self-made individual and is proud of it. And like Saadia, Bunna and Khadra among many of his colleagues I me, he has no desire to leave Somalia for any place on earth; certainly not as an economic or political refugee!
With this kind of talent and determination to make a difference in this violent region, the international community owes these young people a chance to excel. Their level of commitment is inspiring enough to know that investing in them now will make the whole region a better place to live in because their generation has seen it all and deeply believes in democratic governance and basic rights of every individual.
By Otieno Sungu
BIDII AFRICA FORUM
April 27, 2009
Africa is arguablly one continent rich in minerals,probably richer than we currently envisage for not much of its minerals have been discovered if not explored and mined.
Africa is a continent that has contributed greatly to the developement of the world as we know it, beginning with the craddle of mankind to it's labour force during slave trade on which the foundations of great economies of the Western world today were laid.
Africa definitely is a great continent, rich and diverse in cultures compared to Asia or Europe for instance.
Africa has had a human resource more resolute to survive than any other continent, that with communities with rudimentary technology before its conquest, its people fought disease, poverty, inequity and domination successfully, had political structures that ensured harmony and peaceful co-existance; something to commend our forefathers for.
However,this great continent has suffered the worst calamity ever since it liberated itself from Western colonialism( again a fight wedged with crude weapons that drove away the colonisers).Though disease, poverty, tribalism,illiteracy and many other things plague our continent, our worst enemy has been, with exception of a very few; Africa's leaders.
I shall not recount the dictators of yore such as Iddi Amin,Sani Abacha and Bokassa or today's Mugabe and Gadaffi but wish to focus on a club of African leaders calling itself the African Union.This is actually a union which has not the interest of Africa's problems or worse still, may not even have the grasp of what our problems in Africa are.This is the new club of dictators masquarading as Africa's leaders.How else would popularly elected leaders be wining, dining and conferencing with despots in the name of securing Africa, enhancing human rights and democracy? How can the two opposites be talking the same language?
It is amazing that the AU has not transformed itself into a union that has solutions to Africa's challenges and every other year Heads of States and govenrments from all over Africa waste tax payers money from across Africa(twice every one year) to go and holiday in one or the other cities of Africa in the pretext of discussing issues affecting Africa.
The AU has failed miserably to ensure democracy, the conerstone on which any society can thrive, takes root in africa.
These are among the AU's objectives;
..... to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; to achieve peace and security in Africa; and to promote democratic institutions, good governance and human rights.
Of all these, I am yet to find out one that the AU, since its inception in July 2002 can give a favourable report card on and claim forward movement across africa.
Take a case of promoting democratic institutions, the AU's handling of both botched elactions in Kenya and Zimbabwe is a true indication that it is a failure and embarrasment to Africa and a club of leaders hell bent on hanging to power with the help of club members such as former South African President Thabo Mbeki. How can an institution claiming to promote democracy be led by a man who has never subjected himself to free and fair universal suffrage to get legitimacy from the populace he pupports to lead? When were Presidential elections last held in Libya and whom did Muammar Gadaffi beat in those elections? Is this the type of man to lead Africa's vision for true democracy?
What human rights can the AU be promoting when a popolar uprising like the one in Madagascar is what they are busy fighting instead of insisting on democratic fabrics of members states to avoid the myriad coups,counter coups,popoluar uprisings and revolutions that not only continue to plague Africa but very pregnant in many nations even at the moment?
How can the AU allow among its members blatant election fraudsters like Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Kibaki of Kenya and even give such people time to address its conferences?
It is a shame that while its parallel the EU can suspend member states or deny membership to states that have not shown concrete steps towards securing human rights and open democracy, the AU opens its doors for all sorts of African despots like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda,Bingu Wa Mutharika , Muamar al Gadaffi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe just to name a few.
This club of visionless leaders should be rejected by the people of Africa for it has failed to secure Africa like in Darfur,DRC Congo, Somalia, Chad and many other places. It is a waste of resources considering countries have to contribute to its administrative budget and the 53 Presidents and Ministers trips very twice a year.
We still rely on the UN, USA and Western countries to solve our problems, including piracy on our seas in the Horn of Africa region.It is time the people of Africa asked tough questions to this outfit and demand answers for it is sustained by taxes from the hard working African man/woman.
Tel-+256 124 984
+254 734 890 012.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Sunday, 26 April 2009 SMC
Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse;
Over many years I have been writing about Somalia.
Now what has happened is that foreign powers with their state-of- art fishing vessels and floating factories have decimated the thousands of years’ old coral reefs and breeding grounds for the world’s best lobsters and other shell fish that were the only means of living for Somali fishermen.
Even the planet lost out to global warming with so much destruction. The West, especially the world leader, the USA, has made no comment or effort to protect the livelihood of the poor Somali fishermen as well as preserve the planet’s ecological structure; coral is part of the planet’s future.
The foreign ships come with steel nets to which are attached long metal spikes resembling vicious plough shares; these dig deep into the living coral to get at the lobsters and other sea life, leaving the Somali coast an ocean graveyard.
As a consequence there was only one way of living left to the brave Somali fishermen; and make no mistake, they are very brave seamen and navigators. They had no choice but to take revenge on foreign shipping and earn a living by ransom demands.
The foreigners who caused such devastation were considered reputable business men: the Somalis who have retaliated with infinitely less damage to our precious planet are the ones who are considered criminals and called “pirates.”
None of them wish to endanger their own lives and that of foreign crewmen but it has become their only answer to the murder of their ancestral fishing grounds.
Their best hope now is to have the teenager, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, who has been brought for trial in America make a gallant stand in front of America’s might and defend, in front of the watching world, the Somali fishermen’s reasons for disturbing trade vessels of the super powers.
It rests on President Barack Obama, who has real dignified contact with Africa, and an inherited understanding of the problems facing the weak when battling the strong, plus an intelligence corridor superior to that of the CIA’s, to keep a special watch on this case.
After all, the world has been kept agog over the activities of a pet water swimming hound. Let’s now see similar attention on the progress of this brave fisherman who saw his three comrades shot down as if they were vermin. From his trial, perhaps we will see the new America reflect those old values that made the country so admirable, rather than the blazing-gun mentality that recently predominated and has so harmed its reputation.
There is always a silver lining and so we look to President Obama, who is an African Jaluo by ancestry; the Jaluos’ main occupation is that of fishermen.
President Obama must cast his net afar and bring hope and peace to the very poor of Somalia. It can be done. In my many years in Africa, I variously battled and worked with the Somali people for years. I learned enough to recognize that they are a people of great dignity and demand respect despite their poverty.
President Obama is uniquely placed to understand their plight.
Somaliweyn Media Center “SMC”
By Fwamba Nc Fwamba
BIDII AFRICA FORUM
April 26, 2009
What is wrong with Kenya, we postulate. Or put bluntly, what is the problem with Kenyans? The country attained her full independence in 1964 but as the cliché goes, her contemporaries at independence time are way ahead in terms of development.
In as much as we continue to mourn the death of democracy in the country, we may as well reckon that democracy, which which rules by the majority is not the problem in Kenya. As we seek answers as to why a human being can muster the ability and strength to slaughter his fellow human being, we may as well understand that it is such instances of insecurity which make up the problems in Kenya. As we still try to find out who really won the presidential elections in 2007, we may come to the sad fact this does not constitute the problem Kenya faces. As we grapple with hunger and cases of maize being stolen from national reserves, we must know this is not part of Kenya problem. When we try top ponder why high level corruption can never be prosecuted in the country, we may come to realize there is a very big problem other than these in the country. Our problem is our lack of reason.
When the government feels tired and yawns every time it has to reason, our country gets on its knees. When the government does not want to put effort to reason, it makes it hard for wheels that drive the country to move any inch. When Kenyans do not reason, Kenya fails to reason. When all we care about is positions of influence yet we fail to inject reason into those positions, we fail miserably.
We must accept the fact that we lack the ingredients that constitute reason. That is why our biggest endowment is pleasure when politicians offer contradictions. In short, what would be absurd to the American or Briton is humour to us. What Tom Daschle finds as reason enough to make him opt out of an Obama government cannot be reason for a Kenyan minister to quit. What Bill Clinton finds as reason to confess he has sinned is no reason enough for a Kenyan leader to know he is not infallible that as a human being, he can also make mistakes. We are totally in a strange country!
When a draft constitution is put forth for us to deliberate whether it is good or not, not just for our ego but also for future generations, we hide reason at the rooftops of our houses and allow politicians to decide the best way, when we know too well, just like us, they do not use reason. I sometimes agree with the president when he uses the ‘pumbavu’ slur, for it is what can best explain the cause and effects of what we do.
When that time comes where reason shall replace considerations of expediency, politics, popularity and vanity, then we can as well match the strides made by our age mates in independence terms.
THE NEW VISION
24th April, 2009
By Lydia Namubiru
LAND conflicts will escalate in at least 30 districts in Uganda unless urgent measures are taken to resolve them, experts have warned.
A ‘time bomb in waiting’ is how the NGO Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) calls the looming land crisis as a result of population pressure and lack of proper land policies.
The conflicts include border disputes with neighbouring countries, inter-district border disputes, wrangles between landlords and tenants, and tenants resisting acquisition of land by investors.
The disputes over international boundaries include Migingo island in Lake Victoria pitting Uganda against Kenya, a 9 km stretch in Yumbe between Uganda and Sudan, the Katuna border area with Rwanda and the Mutukula border area with Tanzania.
Disagreements with the Democratic Republic of Congo involve Rukwanzi Island in Lake Albert, Semliki, Medigo area in Pakwach and Vurra border area in Arua.
The disputes over Migingo Island and Rukwanzi Island have already led to violence. In August 2007, Congolese soldiers killed a Ugandan-based British oil worker accusing him of illegally crossing the border.
And last week Kenyan slum dwellers uprooted the railway line to Uganda protesting what they called continued Ugandan occupation of Migingo Island.
Disputes over district borders exist between Moroto and Katakwi, Sironko and Kapchorwa, Bundibujo and Kabarole, Moroto and Lira, Tororo and Butaleja, Butaleja and Budaka and over Namatala swamp between Mbale and Budaka districts.
In Buganda region, conflicts are expected to worsen between landlords and tenants, the latter increasingly facing eviction as land becomes scarce and its value goes up. Violent evictions have pervaded the area in recent years.
Land’s ministry spokesperson Dennis Obbo argues that the proposed land amendment bill will solve many of the conflicts in Buganda as it seeks to give more protection to the tenants.
However, the bill has been fiercely resisted, particularly by interest groups, and it has been shelved for now.
In Gulu district, returnees from internally displaced people’s camps are locked in land disputes over boundaries as original land marks have disappeared and the elders who knew them have died.
In parts of Ankole and Bunyoro, royals who hold large chunks of land are embroiled in conflicts with people who have occupied their land for decades.
In Kasese, three indigenous tribes are fighting over a small portion of land that was not taken over by the Government for game parks or forest reserves.
“The people of Kasese have been squeezed into ‘a corridor for survival’ as the rest of the land mass is inaccessible because it is gazetted as Government protected land,” says one of the research reports by ACODE.
According to the researchers, the Government holds 65% of the land in Kasese while the district’s three tribes of Bakhonzo, Basongora and Banyabindi are left to share the remaining 35%.
As a result of land scarcity, the Basongora cattle keepers encroached on Queen Elizabeth National Park upon their return from the Democratic Republic of Congo where they had been chased out.
Violent clashes broke out with the Uganda Wildlife Authority which tried to evict them back into the survival corridor. “To say the least, Kasese is sitting on a time bomb, which could explode anytime,” says the report.
In the Eastern part of the country, the Karimojong of Moroto accuse the Teso people of Katakwi of having altered the border line in their favour in the 1960s, when Curthbeth Obwongor from Teso was minister of local government.
In 1966, the altering of the border caused heated disagreements in the area. The Karimojong petitioned then President Milton Obote, who subsequently cancelled the alteration and dismissed Obwongor from parliament.
The dispute, however, flared up again in 2004 when then LC5 of Moroto, Terence Achia, locked horns with his Katakwi counterpart, Steven Okure Ilemukorit, over parts of Napak, Kodike and Alekilek which the latter claimed belonged to Katakwi.
“These recent claims and counter-claims by politicians are threatening to inflame the conflict and could result into generalized violence,” the report says.
The situation in Kibale, which has seen bloody disputes in recent past, is far more complex than any other region and dates back to colonial days.
The colonial government gave part of the Kibale land to chiefs in Buganda Kingdom. When the so-called lost counties were given back to Bunyoro kingdom after independence, the Baganda landlords fled with the land titles. As a result, the occupants on about 70% of Mailo land in the area have no security of ownership.
In addition, the Government has over the decades resettled different groups of people in the area. Immigrants now comprise 50% of the district’s population, up from 10% five decades ago. A rift between the indigenous Banyoro and the immigrants has become apparent in 1990s and has continued to grow.
Bulisa district is another trouble spot where oil prospects are just the latest catalyst to a looming land war. According to the area MP, Birahwa Mukutale, the British colonial government took 80% of the land in Bulisa and Bugungu to gazzet it as Murchison Falls National Park and Budongo Forest reserve.
The remaining 20% was then zoned into grazing land near the lake and land for cultivation near the park. This land has been communally owned and used for over 60 years. “Unfortunately, in 2004, Bulisa was invaded by nomadic herdsmen who do not respect the zoning. As a result, there are daily conflicts between cultivators and herdsmen,” says Mukutale.
In addition, the herdsmen claim they individually hold land titles for about 40 sq miles in Bulisa. But the indigenous residents refute these claims, arguing that all this land is communally owned.
What should be done?
Officials in the lands ministry agree with the ACODE researchers. “The hot spots are many,” says Dennis Obbo, the ministry’s publicist. “We have found that wherever there is productive use of land along an administrative border, there is conflict.”
Mapping the land conflict areas and noting the unique drivers of conflict in each area should be the first step to avert war, according to Onesmus Mugyenyi, the executive director of ACODE.
“We carried out this research because we wanted to show the Government that conflict mapping should be adopted as a strategy for resolving disputes. It should be done on a regular basis so as to help plan interventions.”
“We are hoping that the land policy will sort out many of the problems,” says Obbo. The government is also in the process of buying land from absentee landlords to help insecure tenants acquire land titles.
“The government has so far bought over 76 hectares of land with money from the Land Fund.”
The Bulisa MP believes that systematic demarcation of land would also be part of the answer. The Government is currently carrying out pilot projects in the districts of Iganga, Ntungamo, Kibale and Mabale.
The World Bank is set to fund the project in another 28 parishes countrywide. In this exercise, all land will be surveyed and land owners will be able to secure their tenure by registration and acquisition of land titles.
The high population growth rate, which goes hand in hand with climate change, is another area that needs to addressed, according to the Africa Peer Review.
Estimated at 3.2% a year, Uganda’s population growth rate is third highest in the world. The average Ugandan woman gives birth to seven children in her lifetime. By 2050, Uganda’s population is expected to reach 120 million, three-fold the current population.
“This is a serious challenge that affects the growth levels in Uganda”, says the 2009 Peer Review report. “It is strongly recommended that Uganda considers adopting and implementing a national population policy as a key element in its poverty reduction strategy.”
As most of the land conflicts are in highly populated areas, a population policy might also be a key element in averting an escalation of land wars in Uganda.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
April 25 2009
President Mwai Kibaki has replied to the letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly that was requesting for a solution on the issue relating to the designation of the Leader of Government Business in the House and also the Chairman of the House Business Committee.
In his letter, the President informed the Speaker that he had written his previous two letters pursuant to the executive authority vested in him by Section 23 and 24 of the Constitution of Kenya.
In the two letters, the President designated H.E. Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, E.G.H., M.P., Vice President and Minister for Home Affairs, as the Leader of Government Business in the House and also nominated him Chairman of the House Business Committee as required by the relevant Standing Orders.
Having executed that Constitutional responsibility, His Excellency the President considered the matter closed and therefore deemed further consultations on the matter as unnecessary.
President Kibaki further brought to the attention of the Speaker that, for the orderly management of Government, Constitutional Institutions and offices should be accorded their due respect and dignity.
The letter to the Hon. Speaker was also copied to the the Prime Minister.
NATION TEAM AND AGENCIES
April 25 2009
One of Kenya’s most respected law scholars, Prof Hastings Winston Opinya Okoth-Ogendo, has passed on.
The late Prof Ogendo, a former Vice Chairman of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, passed away on Friday night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he had gone to do some work for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He had left the country last Saturday, April 18.
According to Ed Rege, a close family friend, Prof Ogendo fell ill last Monday. “And for the next three days, his illness got worse,” said Mr Rege while briefing the media at the deceased's residence in Karen.
“On Wednesday, he was joined by his wife, Mrs Ruth Okoth. We understand that he was taken to hospital on Thursday to seek treatment but unfortunately, he did not make it. He died on Friday night while under intensive care,” said Mr Rege.
He told the Sunday Nation they plan to transport the body to Nairobi by Tuesday, April 28. He said doctors were still carrying out a post-mortem examination on the body before it is released.
And he disclosed that a tentative burial date has been set for May 9, at Gem Rae, in Nyando district. This is subject to approval from the family. “In the meantime, we shall be holding regular meetings at the Nairobi Club to finalise funeral arrangements,” said Mr Rege.
Prof Ogendo’s death sent shock waves across the country with Prime Minister Raila Odinga describing it as a “blow to the pro-reform movement in the country”.
“I have received the news with disbelief. In Prof Ogendo, the country has lost a top brain and an academic just when the country needed him most. He was an undisputed authority on land law,” said the PM in a statement.
Mr Odinga said the late professor contributed greatly to the National Constitutional Conference at the Bomas of Kenya and the search for a new constitution. He said the country had lost a patriot, a fighter and a high calibre scholar.
Similar messages of condolences were sent by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and former Nyakach MP Peter Odoyo.
Dr Ben Sihanya, the dean of Law at the University of Nairobi said Kenya has lost a distinguished scholar, who participated in the establishment of the school.
“Its a big shock to us. His expertise in land law was unrivalled on the continent. He has advised many governments on these issues. We shall sadly miss him,” said Dr Sihanya.
Born in 1944, the late Prof Ogendo attended Maseno and Alliance High schools before proceeding to the University of East Africa in Dar-es Salaam and the Oxford University for his Bachelors Degree in Civil Law.
He then attended the University of Yale between 1973 and 1978 where he earned a Doctorate of Science of Law. He later taught at the University of Nairobi, Boston University Law School, New York University Law School amongst others.
He leaves behind his wife, Mrs Ruth Okoth, and five children.
APRIL 25, 2009
By Juma Kwayera
Reconciling the records of the Registrar of Persons and the voters’ roll will in future enable Kenya escape the spectre of ghost voters, one of the most bizarre findings of the probe into the conduct of the disputed 2007 presidential poll.
Speaking to The Standard on Saturday, a day after South Africa went through what international monitors hailed as one of Africa’s most democratic, peaceful, free and fair elections won by the African National Congress (ANC) presidential candidate, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, Mr Tony Msimanga, the country’s High Commissioner to Kenya, said the reconciliation of the registers accounts for relatively few incidents of electoral fraud.
"South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) poll registers is linked to Home Affairs one. The Home Affairs registers are a critical database, which the IEC can revert to in the event of doubts or forgeries of any sort. The two registers bear identical information, which minimises chances of fraud," Msimanga observed.
Kenya is grappling with the construction of a new voters roll after the previous one was dismissed by retired South African Judge Johann Kriegler’s commission of inquiry as outdated and prone to manipulation. The commission, which looked into the conduct of the disputed 2007 presidential elections, recommended the disbandment of the electoral commission, compilation of a new voter register, and review of electoral boundaries and digitisation of the poll process to restore confidence in the institutions of governance. The recommendations were supposed to be implemented within a year. Although the ECK was sent home, it has not been replaced and country is on the precipice of a constitutional crisis in the event of a vacancy in the Executive. The country’s situation is made even more urgent after Parliament failed two months ago to approve the names of nominees to form the Interim Independent Electoral Commission.
Mr Tony Msimanga South Africa’s High Commisioner to Kenya during the interview on Thursday. [PHOTO: Maxwell Agwanda/STANDARD]
Parliament, which resumed sittings on Tuesday, amid controversy over the composition of the House Business Committee, is expected to repeat the exercise, which if it sails through will set the stage for a fresh start in preparations of the 2012 poll, but more significantly expedite the conduct of by-elections.
Even if the interim poll team is constituted, said Msimanga, it must enjoy the unequivocal confidence of the electorate.
"The South African elections were successful because the election body is independent and the process is transparent. We have put in place systems that work and which are foolproof. If approached, we are willing to help Kenya put behind its election-related chaos," he said.
In past elections, the defunct ECK relied on the "black book" as back-up of its registers. But it has proved not only disastrous but also unreliable as data in it was manually entered and is prone to manipulation.
Against such a backdrop, Msimanga said the country needs to digitise its records "as manual records are problematic."
The South African elections coincided with the opening of the Third session of the tenth Parliament on Tuesday. Business of the national assembly has been dominated by rancour between coalition partners — the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Party of National Unity (PNU). The bad blood stems from ODM’s recent complaints that their counterparts lack respect and have greed for power. The envoy, who was at the centre of diplomatic frenzy to douse the post-election violence, observed that the political atmosphere in Kenya is highly volatile.
"Kenya needs assistance and South Africa is willing to lend support to institutionalise democracy in the country. Africa cannot afford to see Kenya go the other route," he said.
With South African polls adjudged as one of the freest and most democratic on the continent, the searchlight switches back to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and more recently Madagascar, where elections and democracy have appear to be stalling, raising fears Africa is sliding back into its chaotic past.
Asked about what to expect of Zuma’s presidency, Msimanga said economic, social and foreign policies will remain largely unchanged. He said the incoming president will build on his predecessor’s policies, which are grounded in the governing ANC party’s manifesto.
"Zuma will continue with ANC policies. He cannot go against party policies that are central to the party’s popularity. We have created institutions that work and it will not be possible for Zuma to come up with policies that are inconsistent with those of the party," the High Commissioner said. He added, "We went though a successful election because we have foolproof systems. Disputes are rare because the process is transparent and IEC is accountable."
Indeed, the only electoral malpractice that was detected in KwaZulu Natal, where violence had been expected, was speedily dealt with when the IEC official was arrested and arraigned in court on Thursday as opposed to Kenya, where the defunct ECK lacked legal backing to prosecute such incidents.
However, in spite of his rollercoaster run to victory, the envoy conceded the new leader still faces a confidence problem from mainly white South Africans and intellectuals who fear he will revert to socialist tenets to appease poor blacks who came out in numbers to repulse the challenge posed by Congress of the People (Cope) party.
Cope split from ANC in expression of solidarity with former President Thabo Mbeki, who was forced to step down by the party in September, last year. The other parties were white dominated democratic alliance and King Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party, whose sheen has dimmed.
"Whites still do not trust Zuma. The new president faces the perceptions that he is a polygamist and a communist, because of the common code he strikes with the poor," the diplomat said.
White South Africans often view Zuma with spite, likening him to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is reviled in the West for his anti-white land reforms and restitution to the black majority. Zuma has, however, on several occasions spoken candidly against Mugabe’s tyrannical rule unlike his predecessor who preferred "quiet" diplomacy.
APRIL 25, 2009
Under different circumstances, leading lawyers like Gibson Kamau Kuria would today ask for legal mechanisms to be put in motion to show that President Kibaki can still continue being relied upon to steer the ship of State.
They would invoke the Constitution to enquire into the wellness and ability of the national CEO. They would seek to know that it is safe to continue trusting him with the heavy, sensitive and critical responsibility of Office of President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya.
But Kibaki is not Daniel arap Moi. People like Kamau Kuria and others know why they were very vocal against Moi. They know why they say nothing on Mzee Kibaki’s atrophied presidency. Instead they praise him, even as the country hurtles most dangerously on Destruction Highway.
But history shows that this is how it has always been with societies that will self-destruct. They have a sleepy, slow and laid back incumbent who quietly surrenders the instruments of State to his courtiers and hangers on. As the nation dithers on Destruction Highway, he is conspicuously missing in action. Only occasionally does he peep outside his hideout to mutter some irrelevant things while the nation slowly smoulders in what will presently become a full-blown inferno.
When France was gravitating towards the apocalypse of revolution in the late 1780s, Louis XVI was an absent-minded, slow and laid back Head of State and Government. He squandered valued time in making door locks and experimenting with guns and chasing after wild animals in the jungle. When he was not doing this, he would be sampling fine wines in the Palace at Versailles, while the spoilt Queen Marie Antoinette massaged his feet. Or he would simply be wallowing in perfumed bathtubs, completely oblivious of the storm building outside. Even when the custodians of public opinion raised the red flag, the drowsy King Louis XVI took no notice. In the proper order of time, France paid the price. But Louis XVI also paid his price, with his head, as did the spoilt Queen.
Elsewhere in Russia, King Nicholas II had for all practical purposes and intents surrendered the country into the hands of his spoilt Queen, Tsarina Alexandria and Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Rasputin, also known as the Mad Monk, doubled up as the queen’s not-so-secret lover and magic maker. Nicholas would in the proper order of time be forced to abdicate from the throne in May 1917. His reign saw Russia degenerate from one of the greatest powers of the times to an economic and military disaster. Historians have told of how the Bolsheviks ended the Romanov Dynasty with the weakly Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov as the last emperor. The country paid a heavy price.
Weak leaders are bad for any country. And President Kibaki is clearly not a strong willed leader. The religious fraternity has recently ventilated its exasperation with what it calls ‘a moribund president’. What they are saying is simply that the President is not in charge of the affairs of State. At any rate, he does not behave like one who is in charge. President Kibaki leaves you wondering what the presidency is about.
Ugandans are flying their flag on Kenyan soil and the President thinks this is just a practical joke. They tamper with beacons in West Pokot and the President’s voice is missing. Goons slaughter dozens of Kenyans in Gathiathi village and the President is missing in action. Kenyatta University goes up in flames under the charge of hopelessly flawed leadership and the President is nowhere.
The country is in the throes of a frightening constitutional crisis and the President sees nothing wrong with this. We have no electoral commission and no voters’ registers. If this presidency were to fall vacant in the present circumstances the country would burn. But the President is doing nothing to correct this absurdity, which in the first place he should never have allowed.
Make no mistake. The country is in a free fall. The electoral commission collapsed. The Judiciary is tottering on the brink of collapse. The Cabinet has collapsed. At its very best; it is a Tower of Babel. The presidency is ailing and crumbling. The only institution that can save Kenya is Parliament. But Parliament is ailing and facing imminent paralysis. For all its avarice and allied weaknesses, the Tenth Parliament must not be allowed to collapse. A presidency in atrophy requires other organs of State must take leadership. It is on the shoulders of the Speaker Kenneth Marende that the load of saving Kenya rests.
He must begin by saving Parliament. He must not let Parliament collapse. He must ensure there is a Leader of Government Business in the House next week and that this leader is not some whimsical self-seeking opportunist or turncoat who cannot be trusted with the reforms that Parliament must undertake, beginning now.
Parliament for its part needs to move swiftly with the reform programme and to lead the way in Agenda Four of the National Peace and Reconciliation Accord.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga waded into the raging controversy over the leadership of the House Business Committee (HBC) with a declaration his party would not abandon the fight for the top seat.
Raila said the world over, it is the Premier who serves as Leader of Government Business in Parliament, a position that complicates the search for a solution to the impasse between him and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.
Flanked by Agriculture Minister William Ruto and five other ODM MPs from the North Rift, Raila vowed the party will not allow another leader "with a party of 12 MPs" to assume the position while the Constitution was clear on the holder.
"The Constitution says the leader of the party with majority MPs in the House becomes the Leader of Government Business. How can a leader of a party with 12 MPs lead the majority? Where on earth has this happened? This seat belongs to ODM and we cannot allow another mistake to occur," Raila said at a burial in Eldoret East constituency.
But speaking in Gucha District Musyoka stuck to his guns, saying President Kibaki was the country’s chief executive by election and agreement and deserved respect.
He added: "We are going to move on and there are no two ways about it."
The VP called on Kenyans to respect the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislator.
"The debate makes Parliament what it is and it can be hotter than what it was yesterday. It was even worse during Shikuku’s (Martin) time," he said.
Elsewhere, former Cabinet Minister Martha Karua said Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka is the man who should take the role of Leader of Government Business in the House.
Karua, while in Kirinyaga, said although the accord calls for equal power sharing, the President has designated Kalonzo to be the Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
"The President appoints the Prime Minister and hence the hierarchy is very clear. The President designates his vice to deputise for him in Parliament," she noted.
ODM dug in barely a day after House Speaker Kenneth Marende said he would consult the President and the PM to unlock the impasse, which has paralysed Parliament.
Raila dismissed claims by Party of National Unity members that the President appointed him, saying he had the mandate of the people.
"We won the election and because of loss of lives due to the post-election violence we agreed to share the loaf. This is an indication that I was not hungry for power because I could have not agreed to negotiate. We have been gentle for long and this should not be misconstrued," he said.
Raila said in Tanzania, Uganda, UK and Germany, the Prime Minister was the Leader of Government Business in Parliament and wondered why Kenya wanted to adopt a different position.
Ruto said ODM was committed to tackling problems in the Coalition Government and warned the ongoing debate should not be taken lightly.
"Raila is the co-ordinator and supervisor of Government affairs both outside and inside Parliament, and if they feel the post of Prime Minister is superior to that of President, then President Kibaki should become the Prime Minister and Raila becomes the President," he said
He also said the Constitution was clear on the matter and that ODM will not relent in the quest for its share in Government and must be recognised as an equal partner.
"We have no problem with Kalonzo Musyoka being the Vice-President, but he cannot pretend to be the Leader of Government Business in the Parliament while he has few MPs in the House. This is unconstitutional," said Ruto.
Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno said: "Even if Prime Minister Raila Odinga agrees with President Kibaki’s choice of the Vice- President for the position, as ODM MPs we will not allow it."
Speaking in Mombasa, Otieno claimed there was an attempt to derail reforms by creating a wedge between the President and the Prime Minister so that they would be blamed in 2012 for having failed to bring reforms.
"There are some leaders who have started campaigning for 2012 to undermine the reforms and this ODM leaders will not allow," said Otieno.
Fight not between PM and VP
ODM Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo, said: "Kenyans should not misread the PM’s quest for the Leader of Government Business as a fight with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka."
Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara warned PNU to stop reading the law as if the National Accord never exists.
"Appointment to HBC and that of the Leader of Government Business must reflect the reality of the composition of the House. President Kibaki must consult the PM on all important legislative matters and agenda. I fear the HBC is full of people who only paint a gloomy picture for reforms. It has people who have never shown commitment to change," Imanyara said.
The Law Society of Kenya Chairman Okong’o O’mogeni said the rift was as a result of each group allowing strangers to the accord to get in between them.
"These strangers are elbowing their way into the business of government to which they did not bind themselves" warned O’mogeni. He wants the President and Prime Minister to hold urgent face-to-face consultations to end the impasse.
"Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern without the other. As partners in a Coalition Government, we committed ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners through constant consultation and willingness to compromise," read part of the agreement signed by the two principals.
Reports by David Ohito, Beauttah Omanga, Anderson Ojwang’, Munene Kamau, Morton Saulo, Willis Oketch, Kenan Miruka.
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