Wednesday, September 30, 2009




Mr Annan, the former UN secretary-general who helped broker the peace deal that ended two months of post-election violence, arrives at the weekend, while ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is expected from next week.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) vice-chairman Hassan Omar said Mr Annan will be in Kenya to assess progress made in the implementation of reforms agreed on under Agenda IV to help solve long-term problems facing the country.


Land, constitutional and legal reforms, eradication of poverty and ensuring equity are the issues that fall under Agenda IV. “I am among those invited for the Tuesday meeting at Serena Hotel,” Mr Omar said. Mr Annan is scheduled to hold a meeting with Kenyan Government and civil society officials who travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, in April to conduct an audit of the grand coalition government.

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict executive director Ndungu Wainaina also said he had received an invitation for a meeting with Mr Annan. Mr Wainaina said the meeting would be a follow-up on discussions the civil society leaders held with Mr Moreno-Ocampo on a strategy to engage the government on reforms.

“The meeting may be part of the international diplomacy aimed at exerting pressure on the Kenyan Government to institute reforms,” Mr Wainaina said. Mr Moreno-Ocampo announced on Wednesday that he will be in Kenya in the “coming weeks” to meet President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to speed up justice.

The announcement coincided with a deadline given to the government by ICC to establish a special tribunal to try the post-election violence suspects or the matter be handled by ICC. But in a statement posted on the ICC website, the chief prosecutor outlined a three-pronged approach that should be adopted to avert a recurrence of violence.

The ICC, he said, is to prosecute those most responsible while national accountability proceedings, as defined by the Kenyan Parliament, “such as a Special Tribunal” for other perpetrators should occur.

“Mechanisms such as the Justice, Truth and Reconciliation Commission should shed light on the full history of past events and to suggest mechanisms to prevent such crimes in the future,” he said.He also stressed that “Kenya will be a world example of managing violence”.


“Decisive consultations between the prosecutor and the Kenyan principals will take place in the coming weeks. Justice will not be delayed,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo. In a statement on behalf of KNCHR, Mr Omar welcomed ICC’s move and urged it to immediately intervene by seeking cooperation of the state and conducting preliminary investigations and analysis.

“The ICC should immediately take action. The move will help hasten the local process,” Mr Omar said. On Wednesday, the local liaison office of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities held a meeting to lay down modalities of Mr Annan’s visit.



September 29 2009

President Kibaki apprised Mr Obama on what is happening in Kenya: The abolition of the previous electoral commission and the establishment of a new interim one; and establishment of an independent committee of experts on constitution review.

He told Mr Obama, in part: “Matters between our two countries on public policy is between our two governments, not between individual citizens.

“We take great exception to letters written by your government directly to various government ministers, civil servants and Members of Parliament in their personal capacity on matters of public policy.”

He added: “While your intentions are good, the methods some of your officials have taken in dealing with my government are disturbing.’’

Separately, eight lobbies, led by the Law Society of Kenya, called on the international community yesterday to freeze the assets of the people threatened with sanctions by the US if they do not support reforms and oppose violence.

Financial watchdog Mars Group also supported the travel ban imposed on the 15 Kenyans. President Kibaki apprised Mr Obama on what is happening in Kenya: The abolition of the previous electoral commission and the establishment of a new interim one; and establishment of an independent committee of experts on constitution review.

He told Mr Obama, in part: “Matters between our two countries on public policy is between our two governments, not between individual citizens.

“We take great exception to letters written by your government directly to various government ministers, civil servants and Members of Parliament in their personal capacity on matters of public policy.”

He added: “While your intentions are good, the methods some of your officials have taken in dealing with my government are disturbing.’’

Separately, eight lobbies, led by the Law Society of Kenya, called on the international community yesterday to freeze the assets of the people threatened with sanctions by the US if they do not support reforms and oppose violence.

Financial watchdog Mars Group also supported the travel ban imposed on the 15 Kenyans.

Additional reporting by Lucas Barasa and Kibiwott Koross

Submitted by vgogero
Posted September 30, 2009 06:25 PM

Thank you Bwana Carson for trying to make some of our leaders see sense .The 15 will probably be the first to fly out of the Country if it starts burning again . They should visit Ghana to learn about goo governance practices

Submitted by munni
Posted September 30, 2009 06:18 PM

Shame on the kenyans who look themselfs down, by thinking what comes out of American mouth is worth surport. The are not heaven or GOD, Please be pround to be kenyan's and stop surpoting American in afoolish way

Submitted by bananahill
Posted September 30, 2009 03:21 PM

Welldone Hon Wetangula,kenya is no colony of anybody,the Ambassador of the U.s.A. is not in kenya to police us but to make money for his country.He should give letters to kenyans who have commited crimes in the U.S not kenyans who hold different opinions on matters related to kenya because it is non of his business,and what is this about kenyans being banned from going to U.S.A every now and then.who cares about going there apart from on goverment business,if and when the need arises.

Submitted by physics
Posted September 30, 2009 12:25 PM

USA has every right to ban WHOMSOEVER from stepping their with it. Why even bother taking your bad behaviour and mannerism to other people's land. Stay in Kenya, the rot that you have created. Kenya is right now at the mercy of donors......THAT IS THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER!!!

Submitted by mza
Posted September 30, 2009 10:02 AM

Why do people just talk of the 'aid' Kenya gets from the US as if the US does not need anything from us? Is it a wonder that one of the largest US embassies in Africa is in Nairobi? These guys are clever enough not to grovel when they want our help say in tackling Somalia. For us, we can even kneel when we want their maize!

Submitted by jahazi
Posted September 30, 2009 09:58 AM

Who really advises some of these people in Kenyan Govt? You have neither tact nor appreciation...what's the perverse sense of bravado for? The warlords of impunity, corruption, greed and ethnic bloodbath are surely fighting back...a losing war. Do they take time to gauge the public mood?

Submitted by Sunburn
Posted September 30, 2009 07:32 AM

So, in the US's warped thinking, there are different standards of human rights violations, for Egypt, for Saudi Arabia and for Kenya? What a bunch of dishonest hypocrites! The LSK and their CSO buddies are a pathetic bunch of naive and traitorous scum.

Submitted by gaga2009
Posted September 30, 2009 04:37 AM

I am not sure what watengula specialized in while in law school but his handling of this matter causes me to speculate that his training is not internatinal relations/foreign affairs. it might help to know the laws before making such arguments

Submitted by JoshWanjala
Posted September 30, 2009 04:07 AM

Africa leaders sometimes mislead their masses with false sense of bravado. The letter was probably trashed by a junior staff as it was not worth the paper it was written on.Kibaki never read the mood of the country it was bungling election, then UN and UNHCR extrajudicial report , then many others lately Ringera and now the 15 letters? Who are Mzee's advisors. Some of the 15 persons may end up in hague time to fire them, then invite Ocampo, time to end impunity.

Submitted by detosh
Posted September 30, 2009 01:55 AM

That is a good move for the US to ban these people. It is a lesson to the rest.

Submitted by ronns
Posted September 30, 2009 01:25 AM

The international community (read US) brought us Kofi Annan, they feed our starving people, they give us expensive antiretroviral drugs for free, they pay our health workers, they pay for all kind of research... and their budget revenue is $2.5 trillion while kenya's is $6.6 billion! Summon indeed. Maskini wengine ni wajeuri kweli.

Submitted by jokaseda
Posted September 30, 2009 12:57 AM

Let Kenya know that this is not a battle of the minds.It is serious and those involved must support reforms whether they are guilty of any form of corruption or not.Those who will support Kenya, may be given lenient judgement if they return Kenya assets.But if they dont, then reforms will deal with them appropriately.Those who have ears let hear.

Submitted by mpisha
Posted September 29, 2009 11:52 PM

It just shows the ill advice the head of state gets from those cronies close to him! Wetangula as one of them!!

Submitted by woz
Posted September 29, 2009 10:39 PM

Thank you, the US Government, for doing what we, the emasculated people of Kenya are not able to do: kick our 'leaders' where it hurts. They have no shame. Do not let up. They will only understand that language. They are past masters at ignoring all private pressure.



September 30 2009

Deputy director Ms Fatuma Sichale also resigns.
The KACC advisory board is now free to advertise for the three vacant positions.

The director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Justice Aaron Ringera has finally left office.

The besieged KACC boss resigned Wednesday following relentless pressure from the body’s advisory board, civil society, politicians and Kenyans to have him step aside.

Mr Ringera communicated his decision to KACC staff during a brief meeting, after which he addressed a news conference.

At the news conference, he read a statement that said, in part,: "My reappointment as the director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission and that of the two assistant directors has raised a national storm and led to a Parliamentary debate hitherto unwitnessed in our country.

"The deputy director and I have considered all the happenings and have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of Kenya, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission as an institution, staff as well as in the best interest of us as individuals and our families to exit from the leadership of KACC."

Mr Ringera quoted the bible, specifically Ecclesiastes Chapter 2: "There is time for everything....time to be born, time to die, to embrace and refrain....."

"And I would personally add," said Mr Ringera, "There is a time to hold office, and a time to leave office."

The deputy director in charge of legal services, Ms Fatuma Sichale, has also resigned joining fellow deputy Dr Smokin Wanjala, who quit two weeks ago.

The KACC advisory board is now free to advertise for the three positions.

Mr Ringera defended his record at the helm of the anti-graft body, enumerating cases recommended for prosecution.

"To date, the commission has investigated and recommended for prosecution 8 ministers, 4 Members of Parliament, 11 Permanent Secretaries, 65 directors and Chief Executive Officers of public institutions and 96 other senior level management officers of public bodies."

He added that his work and that of his two deputies was beyond reproach.
In all that we have done, we have discharged our mandate with integrity, courage, complete independence, and outmost professionalism," said Mr Ringera.

"We have given the fight against corruption our all. As we bow out, we do with our heads high."

Since Parliament declared his reappointment by President Kibaki illegal three weeks ago, Mr Ringera has defied calls for his resignation until now, even telling off the board when challenged to quit.

He said that only the courts can remove him from office and refused to release funds to place an advertisement for the director’s post saying there was “no vacancy.”

The House, acting on the recommendations of two committees- Delegated Legislation and Administration, Justice and Legal Affairs- nullified his reappointment for a further five-year term after finding President Kibaki erred in law in renewing his contract.

The President reappointed Justice Ringera without reference to the KACC Advisory Board or Parliament, a move termed illegal by the two institutions.

The board is supposed to shortlist candidates, send them to Parliament for vetting before they are forwarded to the President for appointment.

Last week, Mr Ringera met the Chief Justice and the President amid reports that he was being prepared to return to the judiciary as an appellate judge even as his options and those offering their backing reduced.

Indeed, a source close to the presidency said that Ringera’s chances of staying on were “close to none” signalling that State House was distancing itself from the man.

Dr Smokin Wanjala, who until his resignation two weeks ago was the commission’s deputy director, left his post just days after Parliament nullified a gazette notice containing Ringera’s reappointment and those of his two deputies.

Following Justice Ringera’s refusal to quit, a section of MPs had wanted the House reconvened for them to cut funding to KACC.

A draft Bill, which if passed could see the dissolution of the KACC, is also being prepared by Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch.
NGOs on Tuesday resolved to raise funds to advertise the positions of KACC director and two assistants if Mr Justice Ringera does not okay it by Friday.
Submitted by mwatania
Posted September 30, 2009 06:59 PM

We shouldn't celebrate the Ringera exit.There is pain if the MPs fail to push forward with the same zeal for the prosecution of those names forwarded by the commission to the attorney general's office.The core value of the commission was to fight corruption thus parliament should act on those names forthwith.Stop double speak.

Submitted by martin_o_okumu
Posted September 30, 2009 06:52 PM

Let us hear the conclusion, the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear GOD, and keep His Commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Submitted by JoshWanjala
Posted September 30, 2009 06:38 PM

God Kibaki is clueless. Why not take a bold step, read public mood summon AG Wako,the 15 prominent Kenyans impeding reform and tell them to their face they are fired. This guy/his advisors dont get it. Kenyans want total overhaul and are not interested in big vocs like sovereignity,duly appointed,duly elected, prerogative etc. Some of these leaders still live in 70s, 80s and 90s when president was number number 1 in everything.

Submitted by vgogero
Posted September 30, 2009 06:36 PM

We have many highly qualified Kenyans If it has to be a judge then try out Justice Bosire he did a fine job at the Goldenberg inquiry and Mr Githongo your country needs you now at its hour of need

Submitted by abingoben
Posted September 30, 2009 06:29 PM

Bravo our parliament. We are proud that the Kenyan parliament is bringing sense in our governance structures and issues of accountability are being seen to take centre stage. The executive must now wake up. I can proudly say that the days of impunity in Kenya are numbered. Where are Amos Wako and Mutula Kilonzo? I believe President Kibaki is a good and honest leader and he meant well for Kenya in re-appointing Ringera. However his advisers and in particular Wako and Kilonzo are abig liability to our government.

Submitted by oiseaubleu
Posted September 30, 2009 06:24 PM

"In all that we have done, we have discharged our mandate with integrity, courage, complete independence, and outmost professionalism," said Mr Ringera. Tell it to the birds.Nobody's listening

Submitted by KORYEMA
Posted September 30, 2009 06:14 PM

Now Ringera has resigned,parliament should make sure the replacement at KACCA is an individual who can stand alone,reformist,a person of high integrity who believes in continuous revelation.Parliament should not stop with Ringera,it should reverse all illegal appointments and districts created.

Submitted by jahazi
Posted September 30, 2009 06:11 PM

This can only mean good for the country. I wonder what Wako and Gicheru are waiting for. For the first time, the Legilature and General Public prevail against a tyrannical Executive (read president).

Submitted by abiudjohns
Posted September 30, 2009 05:49 PM

It is definately a bit decision for Justice Ringera but it is arguably the best. It is unfortunate that he has taken so long to arrive at this laudable option to resign. I hope this will be a chance for KACC to regain its lost credibility.

Submitted by mosee254
Posted September 30, 2009 05:39 PM

This is what i call taking kenyans for a ride. In Ringeras contract theres a clause stating that if he is dismissed from office he gets all the mone he would have made had he stayed in office for his he gets to walk away with a cool 150 million in the name of stepping aside Kenyans need to wake up this people are out to suck us dry

Submitted by Kenya_Imwe
Posted September 30, 2009 05:25 PM

Mad_genius, lol at the suspicious fire thing. I can totally see that happening. Amos Wako should be the next to go especially since he was supposed to advise the president and also for always making excuses on why he can't prosecute corruption cases.

Submitted by kenyalv
Posted September 30, 2009 05:19 PM

Thank God he has finally resigned.most of the kenyan corporations are full of impunity,i hope Kibaki doesnt appoint another corrupt boss. Kenya will never move forward unless we get people like Ringera out

Submitted by gakuyuexpress
Posted September 30, 2009 05:12 PM

Definitely one of the few victories for national interest against Kibaki and the clique around him that seems to have Moi era hangovers. Interesting, though, how after swearing he "deserved" to hold the post Ringera now claims to be resigning "in public interest." He must be slow to read public mood!

Submitted by OROWE
Posted September 30, 2009 05:08 PM

Pls Kenyan politicians you should respect the pple starting with Kibaki,Kalonzo,Kilonzo and all those insisted his there to stay.Shame on you. Long live KACC long live Kenya and now welcome PLO for the Job and lets Kick Corruption

Submitted by mpisha
Posted September 30, 2009 04:42 PM

Some weeks ago he was absolutely delighted to be reappointed even going ahead to affirm his stay in office...i bet they all burn in the same oil he always claimed to unleash!

Submitted by mad_genius
Posted September 30, 2009 04:25 PM

I predict a fire at Integrity Centre that will burn the sensitive files on Anglo Leasing, Grand Regency, and other sensitive scams connected directly with Kibaki. If Kibaki can't have his buddy to protect him and his family from prosecution, surely, a fire isn't that difficult to start?

Submitted by moigeomari
Posted September 30, 2009 04:23 PM

Daktari Alfred Mutua you should do the same. Kibaki too should be mounted under presssure to give up the keys to state house since the performance record is so poor. I can now get my paper work ready to apply for this job thank goodness. If you are a leader and you cannot deliver to the people, resign before your time comes.

Submitted by omwambi
Posted September 30, 2009 04:22 PM

The President should hang is head in shame.He must respect the rule of law and lead by example.Parliament must take its rightful position to tell the president whenever he goes wrong.Let us be patriotic as corruption is a great demon which will consume the whole country.

Submitted by MichaOlga
Posted September 30, 2009 04:11 PM

Isn't it funny how everyone who is forced by parliament to resign always says something silly like "over my dead body" or "Never" or "Make me" and then....they resign. Maybe someone threatens them and their families...and all manner of "fish" they're associated's sad and funny.

Submitted by kasarani
Posted September 30, 2009 04:09 PM

JOHN GITHONGO is the Gentleman for the JOB.He has done us proud by exposing all the scams in the Government and Surely what has the Attorney General Done with the cases thrown them in the trash can and ofcourse Maina Kiai For the Post of Attorney General

Submitted by ikiplagat
Posted September 30, 2009 03:55 PM

Give this KACC job to people of integrity; Wangari Maathai, PLO Lumumba,Yash Pal Ghai etc..wacha hizi siasa of recycling dead wood

Submitted by thecreature
Posted September 30, 2009 03:29 PM

And he swore to stay?!!! So who is laughing now? Kibaki needs to realize that just because he got away with a rigged election doesn't mean he gets away with every crime he commits while in office. Parliament now has teeth. And it can bite!



29th September, 2009
By Opiyo Oloya

FORMER US president George Bush once called the United Nations a worthless debating club until he needed it for his war on Iraq. Every leader, especially disgraced dictators, it seems, is eager to use the UN as a platform for making some grand statement that means absolutely nothing to the rest of the world.

Last week, for instance, dithering dank-mouthed disreputable dictators dominated the proceedings at the UN. There was Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, in all his finery, and at his first ever address to the United Nations General Assembly, trying to tear up the preamble to the UN Security Council Charter. He did not do it because the document proved too thick to tear up. Instead, he tossed it over his shoulder.

Speaking way beyond the 15 minutes allotted to heads of state to address the 64th UN General Assembly, Gadaffi railed for 95 minutes against the evil that stalks the world. He called the UN Security Council and its permanent members the “terror council”.

For the record, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China are permanent veto wielding members of the Security Council, the most powerful body within the United Nations. He wanted to know who killed American president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. He accused the US of inventing the swine flu to sell vaccine and antidote to cure the illness. By the time his speech ended, most delegates had either walked out in protest or fallen asleep in their chairs.

Not to be outdone, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech too which sounded like a religious lecture on creationism. “God created the world for humans and humans for Himself,” he began. “Without justice, it would be impossible for human society to taste real peace, beauty, joy and happiness,” he went on. At this point, someone should have interjected and said: “Mr. President, what about all those Iranians that you killed after the elections in June this year, don’t they deserve justice too?” Nobody did, and so Ahmadinejad went on: “These are the same powers that produce new generations of lethal nuclear arms and possess stockpiles of nuclear weapons that no international organisation is monitoring; and, the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were perpetrated by one of them.”

Even a six-year-old would have guessed Ahmadinejad was speaking about the United States of America. The problem though is that by the time he came around to making his point, many of the Western nations led by France had walked out of the assembly. No matter, he carried on.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, always a very eloquent speaker, took a swipe at Western countries for their sanctions against his country. He said: “If they will not assist the Inclusive Government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics. Where stand their humanitarian principles when their illegal sanctions are ruining the lives of our children?” Of course one could say to Mr. Mugabe: “Your moral turpitude is what is preventing the children of Zimbabwe from realising their fullest potential because you must hang onto power until your last breath.”

The problem is that the UN has become a place where leaders whose credibility no longer matter or are in tatters at home come to bask in international limelight. The long-winded speeches they give are not for the assembled leaders of the world, but for the folks back home. It is as if they are saying: “Geez, look at me now, I am here in New York giving a big speech, and if I can give a big speech in New York, I can’t be all bad.” It is a self-congratulatory act that strokes the ego of the dictators and, most importantly, gives them a sense of power that they can feel and see slipping away. The UN is the Viagra that gives them a temporary lift before they go limp again.

These leaders crave legitimacy which, in fact, can only come from real reform back home. Through reforms they raise the hope as well as wellbeing of the masses of their population from biting poverty. But reform also threatens their power base, and so many of them look for legitimacy elsewhere, say, by indulging in anti-American rhetoric or anti-Semitic rant. It makes them feel potent that they are fighting for the little guy, for something worth fighting for. The problem is that the little guy can’t eat anti-American rhetoric.

The big irony lost on many of these dictators is that they speak freely at the UN without constraint. Yet, back home, their citizens do not have the freedom to speak. “The Iranian people are prepared, along with other nations, to help you be rescued from your current situation and to establish peace and prosperity,’ squeaked Ahmadinejad to America. Really, how? How about starting with Iran before exporting the idea to other countries?

Many of the speeches at the UN last week were about reforming the UN to make it work for all nations, big and small. However, in my opinion, the most needed reform at the UN is to provide a forum for opposition and civil leaders from each country to speak at the assembly right after their heads of government have spoken. This way, there is a response, another viewpoint that balances whatever the leader said.

Maybe the very possibility of opposition and civil leaders speaking at the UN General Assembly would keep some of these dictators at home.




LONDON -- China's search for large stakes in some of Nigeria's richest oil blocks comes against a backdrop of problems in other African countries where the Asian giant has oil operations.

Some countries are preventing China from expanding its interests, criticizing it in terms of technical matters and social development.

On Tuesday, Nigeria's oil minister and a presidential spokesman said state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. Ltd. is in advanced talks with Nigeria to take over blocks that are owned by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and other companies, but are underutilized.

An official with Nigeria's state oil company said the number of onshore blocks on offer was about 20 and that negotiations were at a late stage with some companies, including Cnooc. He said he wasn't sure exactly how much crude Cnooc was vying for, but that targeted investment would run into several billion dollars.

Cnooc officials couldn't be reached to comment.

The news of the Nigeria talks followed setbacks this month on deals in Angola and Libya. On Sept. 8, Libya vetoed a $462 million bid by China National Petroleum Corp. for Libya-focused Verenex Energy Inc. Days later, Angola's state-owned Sonangol said it wanted to block the sale of Marathon Oil Corp.'s 20% oil-field stake to Cnooc and China PetroChemical Corp., or Sinopec.

Even in Nigeria, deals have run aground. Companies such as Shell have been at loggerheads with the Nigerian government because the oil concerns haven't fully utilized some drilling licenses.

The companies counter with complaints that the government isn't securing operations, exposing them to militant attacks on pipelines and other infrastructure. Analysts say Nigeria's policy of paying militants to lay down arms has generally failed because the causes of the militancy -- poverty and lack of education and life opportunities -- haven't been tackled.

The threat of a setback in Angola -- China's largest African partner -- is in stark contrast with the enthusiastic reception it found there five years ago, when China was launching a quest for African resources to feed its economic boom. It made a spate of resource acquisitions in the form of oil-for-infrastructure deals.

In 2004, Sonangol chose Sinopec over India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. for the sale of an oil-field stake by Shell. The deal came just after China's Export-Import Bank had granted Angola a $2 billion loan, which broke off talks with the International Monetary Fund over transparency of government finances.

In the first half of 2008, Angola became China's largest oil supplier, covering 18% of its needs. China's commerce ministry reported Sino-African trade hit a record $106.8 billion for the year, up 45% from 2007.

But some in Africa are starting to find the Chinese embrace too tight. The formula of bartering oil for infrastructure initially had given China's oil concerns a competitive advantage against Western companies, whose investors were largely unwilling to fund such projects. But those same projects have become a key factor in China's setbacks. In particular, the insistence of China state companies on keeping local hiring to a minimum has brewed resentment.

"Chinese construction companies are notorious for their highly criticized labor practices -- recruiting their own professionals and laborers," the Centre for Chinese Studies, based at South Africa's University of Stellenbosch, said in a March report on Angola's $3.5 billion plan to build 20,000 apartments in a suburb of the capital, Luanda.

And in August, riots erupted in a suburb of Algiers, capital of Algeria, after Chinese immigrants working on infrastructure deals were accused of not respecting Muslim customs and of taking jobs from locals.

In light of such experiences, Chinese companies may have a hard time expanding in Nigeria. In 2006, Cnooc bought a 45% stake in Total SA's Akpo field for $2.3 billion. The field is now the company's biggest overseas asset with a production capacity of 175,000 barrels per day.

But more than $10 billion of contracts with Nigeria signed in 2006 -- including renovation of a railway, the refurbishment a refinery and the launch of a satellite -- didn't produce results. That is partly because of a change of administration the following year but also because of commercial and technical pitfalls.

Chatham House, a U.K. think tank, this year published a study on how deals by Asian oil companies with the Nigerian government in 2004-2005 in exchange for bankrolling infrastructure projects had generally failed. It concluded that the main reason was the Nigerian government's lack of "follow-up mechanisms to enforce the deals."

It is unclear whether Cnooc is offering to fund and build more non-oil projects in the latest round of contract negotiations.

The International Energy Agency in Paris estimates that about 500,000 barrels a day, on average, of oil production capacity has been shuttered in Nigeria over the past several years due to militant attacks and the agency expects those outages to continue. Getting that capacity back into service has been hobbled by security problems. Nigeria currently pumps around 1.8 million to 1.9 million barrels a day.

The Nigerian government is hoping a recent lull in militant violence in the country's main oil-producing Niger Delta region will continue so producers can restart operations in various areas.

In Angola, Chinese pressure could force the government to "step back" from a refusal to sell the oil-block stake, said U.S. risk consultancy Eurasia Group. A Cnooc spokesman acknowledged Sonangol may use its right to block its acquisition, but declined to comment further.

The Angolan government and Marathon, which is selling the stake, also declined to comment. But even if the deal moves ahead, "the coziness and preferential terms that have characterized the relationship in the last five years may dissipate," Eurasia said.

Angola may not need China as much as it used to. On Tuesday, the IMF signed a tentative agreement with Angola that could lead to new loans from Western banks. And when Sonangol sought $1 billion of financing this month, the loan was 50% oversubscribed -- thanks mostly to European banks.

The U.S. -- through Chevron Corp. and a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- has promised to ramp up investment in both oil and agricultural projects. As a result, China will likely have to pay more for its African oil push.

"China and African nations are now in the process of tailoring the high expectations raised over the last few years to the realities of any maturing relationship," said Christopher Alden, senior lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
September 29, 2009

I have never liked the slow pace of reforms promised to Kenyans soon after Kofi Annan negotiated the present coalition government. The lackluster performance of reform drivers has got every knowledgeable Kenyan let alone the European Union and the United States State Department worrying.

Be that as it may, I have never liked the haughty and abrasive manner with which the American Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger has been conducting his diplomacy on Kenyan soil. I sometimes wonder whether the meaning of the word “diplomat” has changed with time or whether when it comes to diplomatic etiquette, Americans have their own set of rules that allows them to basically insult and abuse their host country Kenya at will.

Let us face the naked truth here. The reason Kenyans are weary of this coalition when it comes to promises that it has never fulfilled in the recent past. First, both PNU and ODM promised their electorate that there would be a new constitution in the first six months if either of the won the elections.

When both failed to out-rightly win the elections, circumstances which we understand very well, they jointly promised us a new constitution within the first 12 months of the coalition. Two years into the coalition regime, there are no signs that we will have this important document any time soon. If anything, cracks have begun to appear among the Panel of Experts along partisan lines indicating that when the draft is finally presented to the public, chances are that dissidents within the Panel will disown it and put spanners into the works.

Yes, most of the agenda items in the Annan document seem to have been tackled with little concrete results that one can talk of two years later. As I write this article, yes, the old ECK was disbanded and a new leaner body of nine commissioners is in place. However, an electoral commission that operates without a national register of voters is a moribund organization. It cannot be useful in the event of snap national elections. More importantly, it would appear like its two year mandate will elapse before it puts new structures in place. If that happens, the interim body may just be a “permanent” commission.

Yes, we have a Boundaries Review Commission in place to review all district, provincial and constituency boundaries. However, this body has been rendered worthless by the activities of the Executive that has been on a district creation spree. Just this year alone, more than 100 districts have been created by sheer pronouncements of the President whenever he visits various parts of the country. The fact that today Kenyans have more districts than constituencies just goes to show that we are not serious about reforms and good governance that we are fond of talking about.

Yes, the coalition has put in place the TJRC, however the controversial appointment of its chairman, a man believed by many to belong to the witness box before such a body puts into question the sincerity of the appointing authority. When looked together with the controversial reappointment of the KACC chief, one may be forgiven for thinking that Kenya is joking with its own reforms.

Our failure to amend the constitution to create a special tribunal to try the masterminds and perpetrators of political thuggery was a clear indication that both principals had lost control of their troops in Parliament. It was a clear indication that the warlords that caused Kenya more pain and misery were holding the country to ransom and that justice for the little man and woman in Kenya would never be realized in the life of this regime.

Having said that; it is my considered opinion that despite all the weaknesses of this regime, America cannot justify the ranting of its ambassador in this country.

Ambassadors the world over are posted to specific missions with specific mandates and codes of conduct. One of these mandates is definitely not to police the host government no matter how poor or rotten it is. If a foreign government feels very strongly that the host country has failed beyond redemption that the best option is to close its embassy and pull out of the host country. It cannot afford to engage in a shouting match with its host. It is just not the right thing to do.

The problem between Obama and Kibaki now is the culmination of bad advisors surrounding both leaders. Obviously the American ambassador in Kenya and his predecessor has not done a good job. They have misunderstood their briefs. They have turned into bullies rather than diplomats. On the other hand, Kenyan advisors surrounding Kibaki have instead of giving him good counsel that would have made him come out looking better than Obama in the brawl, have used him as a prize fighter and thrown him into the ring to fight a duel he cannot win.

Good counsel would have advised Kibaki to detail Wetangula to deal with the State Department. They didn’t and therefore they should be fired as Kibaki asks Obama to replace Ranneberger with immediate effect.

Finally, Michael Ranneberger is lucky to be in Kenya. Had we been Nigerians, Libyans, Rwandans or Zimbabweans, he would have been declared persona no grata even at the risk of American bombs raining from our skies!



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
September 29, 2009

I have followed the contributions of African leaders at the just concluded UN General Assembly in New York and a follow up meeting in Venezuela at which the South –South talks centered on Africa’s close cooperation with South America.

When I heard that African Heads of State, led by their AU chairman were heading to Venezuela, radical Chavez’s home country, I thought it was a mere cocktail to welcome brothers next door before they crossed the Atlantic back to their homes.

However, when international news feeds started relaying what were being discussed, my mind raced back to what my African leaders’ contributions were at the UN Assembly.

For starters Yoweri Museveni took the opportunity to tell the world what he has been telling us for the last 20 years. He was pleading for regional integration so that Africa could be self reliant. Many more African leaders that spoke before him and after were of the same opinion though with little variations here and there.

The Venezuela talks raised my interest a notch higher when I heard of the South –South talks. They rekindled my fond memories of one Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the last African leader I remember to have had a passion for South- South cooperation. But the fact that it seemed to have died with Nyerere’s peers, I was curious to know what these new comers were going to say.

To tell you the truth, I was disappointed. Let me tell you why I was disappointed.
I could not understand how the present leaders, with half the zeal and commitment of the Nyerere group could finally make the dream come true. Then I remembered Gaddafi’s tireless crusade to unite Africa that has come to nothing simply because we now have” gradualists” and “Africa Unite Now” camps at every AU summit. Then I asked: If we as neighbors in this continent cannot open our borders to each other and unite as a people, what benefit would unity between leaders across the Atlantic bring to our people?

If it has taken us in East Africa 20 years to negotiate the Common Market protocol within the EAC, why do we even bother cooperating with South America?

The desire to cooperate with South America can only serve two purposes: The first purpose is to make Chavez feel like he is clipping the wings of a powerful neighbor up in the North, a neighbor that has breathed down their necks for more than a century. The other purpose is to indulge in diversionary tactics when one has failed on the local scene. In this case, the biggest beneficiaries of this South-South new found spirit are the two oil producing countries of Libya and Venezuela that have been fighting tooth and nail to have control of their respective regions with little success.

The other reason is perhaps to go on an ego trip by believing in greener pastures across the hill when in fact the grass is equally greener on our side of the mountain.

The way I see it is simple. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting Africa to work with South America. After all, Mozambique and Brazil are already very close for historical reasons. However, let us succeed in commercially integrating our regional economic blocks before we venture to play big ball with other players from outside or region.

It would have been more pleasing to see East Africa as a unit signing oil exploration protocols with Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil rather than Kenya doing it alone. It is these lone ranger behaviors that have been and will continue to be our ruin.

Let us do business with South America but for heavens’ sake let us not do it because Chavez wants to prove something to the Americans. Let us by all means trade with our brothers in South America but for the sake of our dignity let us not do it because Qaddafi wants to prove something to his political rivals in the Middle East, Western Europe or his opponents within the ranks of the Africa Union.

Let us use all our available energies and resources to promote trade and regional integration among member states in Africa first. More urgently let us realize our Common Market, Common currency and a common political union in East Africa before we engage in talks of cooperation with distant lands that some of us have only met on the world map.

Come to think of it, when did we last see a South American head of state or even a foreign minister on our shores? Tell me when you next remember. I’ll be interested to share in the knowledge.



By Jerry Okungu
September 29, 2009

Compared to the first two presidents we ever had, Kibaki’s story when it is finally written, will be the richest and most colorful. It will be the most readable chapter in our national history because of the endless drama that has characterized it.

If Kibaki had ruled America for just one year, tons of books would have been churned out by biography experts. Even Hollywood would have butted in with a movie such as Two Centers of Power or even better still, The President who lost the Power to Lead.

Forget the last seven years of President Kibaki’s rule. Just these last three weeks have been enough drama for the President. I only hope that those handlers that are close to him will one day write down their memoirs and allow Kenyans to have a glimpse at how intrigues of power enriched President Kibaki’s legacy in his last days in politics and more importantly, who advised him on what and how he reacted to such counsel.

Can you imagine that in the last three months, President Kibaki has had to deal with the sensitive issues of Mau Forest, cabinet failure to set up a tribunal as required by the ICC, settlement of the IDPs, the controversial appointment of Bethuel Kiplagat as chairman of the TJRC and an even more stormy reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera to the KACC that has put him in collision with Parliament?

As if all of the above have not been enough headaches for one man, he has had to deal with problems of travel bans from the United States’ State Department targeting some of his ministers and top civil servants in his administration.

The way I see it, President Kibaki is going through these problems because he thrives in chaos. Had he not enjoyed the situation, he would have moved fast to deal with his advisors as he asserts his authority on how things should be done his government.
The President is in a quagmire because he is surrounded by wrong advisors; opportunists that would rather lead him to the gallows as long as the y benefit from the chaos that the President now finds himself in.

Many of the problems that Kibaki is currently dealing with are political and can be easily sorted out politically without unnecessary debates in the cabinet. In any case, the present cabinet by its sheer size alone is the wrong place to have any meaningful discussion. It is a crowd.

If Kibaki had good advisors and a solid cabinet, he would have not discussed the plight of Mau Forest thieves in the cabinet where some of those thieves sit. He would have ordered the eviction of illegal squatters and loggers from Mau Forest and any other water towers through an Executive Order. Today, the Mau Forest issue would be history and Kenyans would have moved on with their lives.

If Kibaki had genuine legal advisors in the name of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, they would have advised him to nullify all title deeds issued fraudulently in the past even if on orders of the past heads of state. He would have ordered the arrest of those wealthy Kenyans who infiltrated landless squatters to allocate themselves huge chunks of Mau Forest and charged them in court. Had he done these things, we would today be discussing the plight of land grabbers in police cells and law courts rather than how to compensate thieves in our midst.

If Kibaki had good advisors, he would have bypassed Parliament a long time ago on realizing that interested parties would not allow the bill on a special tribunal to pass. He would have called Justice Gicheru, empowered him to set up a special court within the Judiciary and charge all suspects in Waki’s list with assistance from the ICC prosecutor. As long as the special court met international standards, today Ocampo would not be threatening to set up tent on our borders and Ranneberger would not be singing impunity songs on our heads.

Had Kibaki formed a lean and solid cabinet even with the coalition challenges, his orders on IDPs Operation Rudi Nyumbani would have been carried out to the letter. We would today not be talking of IDPs on the eve of El Nino rains. We would today not be giving fresh ultimatums a year later. Heads would have rolled had some wayward minister failed to carry out his instructions.

The way I see it, some of Kibaki’s advisors have for a long time been sabotaging his presidency. The reason I say this is because every time President Kibaki goofs on a public appointment, his advisors never utter a word. They stand aside as the public ridicules the President.

For how else can one explain why Bethuel Kiplagat was appointed to head the TJRC instead of Bishop Gitari or Justice Waki? When Mandela appointed Tutu to head the TJRC, it was his standing in international circles but more so his courage to confront injustice when he saw it that convinced Mandela that the Bishop fitted the bill. It had nothing to do with his diplomatic flattering abilities.

Finally, the reappointment of Aaron Ringera summarized the level of dishonesty among the President’s men. They threw their master to the dogs!



Tue Sep 29, 2009

Last week Barack and Michelle Obama hosted a reception for visiting foreign dignitaries at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Over the course of the evening, the president, whose "amazingly consistent" smile created a viral video, and first lady posed for over 130 photographs with their guests, all of which were later posted to the State Department's Flickr page.

This caused a problem: Included was a shot of the Obamas posing with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, his wife Sonsoles Espinosa, and two daughters, Laura, 16, and Alba, 13, who've never had photographs of themselves published previously in print or online due to a Spanish law prohibiting the media from doing so. The photo of Zapatero and his family with the Obamas was quickly removed from Flickr at the request of the Spanish government but still lurks online (in the shot seen here their faces are blurred). The flap is adding concerns on the issue of the privacy of world leaders' children in the digital age.

Writing on The Daily Beast today, Republican Senator John McCain's daughter Meghan expressed sympathy for the girls, who've been labeled as "goth" in the photo. She says she's also bewildered by the Spanish government's reaction:

I want to start out by saying I can't believe there is a country that exists where the media protects children of public figures, let alone the prime minister's daughters. It is literally hard for me to fathom that there is a place that respects the privacy of underage children of politicians and diplomats. The second part of this that makes me very sad is that these two girls are enduring a sort of baptism by fire with the media scrutiny that surrounds their family portrait with the Obamas. Not only are they not used to being photographed, but their first foray into being photographed and criticized is on a very public scale with the most famous and powerful politicians in the entire world.

In addition to successfully lobbying the State Department to remove the photo, the Spanish government went so far as to have the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE refrain from distributing it.

The plethora of ridicule faced by Prime Minister Zapatero's children is a reminder of the harsh scrutiny children of world leaders often face over their appearance. Here in the U.S., Chelsea Clinton, who was so closely protected that Time Magazine referred to her as "the Garbo of presidential children," was dealt a harsh review by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh during her father's presidency, in addition to being called "ugly" in an off-color joke told by none other than Meghan McCain's father at a Republican fundraiser in 1998. The Bush twins Jenna and Barbara were famously ridiculed for - and photographed - partying with friends.

The Spanish government's policy toward Zapatero's children contrasts with the tricky relationship between the U.S. media and first daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 8, who have been largely sheltered from the press but certainly haven't been invisible. Back in June, photographers were allowed to photograph the president walking to get ice cream with his girls on Father's Day weekend, not long after the White House requested that the press not publish a photo of Obama waving to Sasha as she stood on one of the White House balconies. Meanwhile, the official White House Flickr page contains numerous "behind the scenes" pictures of the Obama children.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs recently said that the administration would permit press access to the Obama children when they are part of "official events with the president and first lady," but added that "there should be a wide berth of privacy extended to the family" when they're alone or doing something as a family. He added that the White House's Flickr photos of the children exist to control the paparazzi market for pictures of the Obama children, the youngest to occupy the White House since John and Caroline Kennedy, who were also fiercely guarded.

Sheltering their children is forcing modern world leaders to deal with challenges most of their predecessors never had to contend with: digital technology and the Internet. The influx of digital cameras and cell phones and the rise of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. make it easy for anyone to take a photograph and distribute it widely in a matter of minutes, making it virtually impossible for even the highest levels of government to keep the genie in the bottle.

-- Brett Michael Dykes is a contributor to the Yahoo! News Blog.



By Jibril Adan and PPS

Tourism minister Najib Balala has said Muslims were "misled" into not supporting President Kibaki in the last General Election.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by Kibaki for Muslim leaders, Balala said Muslims had since realised that Kibaki meant well for them and that they would work with him.

The luncheon, at a Nairobi hotel, which was initially supposed to be held at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, is part of President Kibaki’s administration’s plan to reach out to and endear itself to Muslims.

Balala was also said to have assured Kibaki of the support of Muslims for his government.

"Muslims have been divided before but now more than ever before we are united and we will back your government," he is reported to have said at the meeting where journalists were not allowed in.

Balala was the focal point for Muslims in ODM during the last general election and he vigorously campaigned for his party leader, Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Attempts to get Balala on telephone were unsuccesful as his phone was turned off.

During the meeting, Muslim leaders reprimanded US ambassador Michael Ranneberger "for acting as though he owns Kenya" and asked President Kibaki to summon him and demand that he stops meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

The leaders, who were hosted by President Kibaki at a Nairobi hotel to mark the end of Ramadhan and Sita, said Ranneberger needed guidance on what is permissible to comment on in the course of duty.

The meeting came only weeks after Ranneberger hosted Muslim leaders to a dinner at his Nairobi residence as part of his efforts to endear his country to Muslims in Kenya.

"We told Kibaki to summon the ambassador and tell him what his roles are in this country," one of the leaders who attended the meeting revealed to The Standard. "He should be told what he can talk about and what he cannot interfere with."

Ranneberger has been caught in the crosshairs of Government functionaries since the US State Department wrote directly to some 15 politicians informing them that they would be barred from visiting the US if found to be working against reforms.

Diplomatic relationships

Kibaki has responded by writing to US President Barack Obama to express his displeasure, while Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula said the diplomat had over-stepped his mandate, and Kenya would review its relationship with the US.

Ranneberger has also been accused by some leaders of misinforming Obama, whose father was a Kenyan, of the true situation in Kenya.

The leaders also thanked Kibaki for policy announcements he made a few months ago when he reiterated that the Government would change how it deals with Muslims.

Kibaki had promised that a High Court station would be established in Garissa to ease access to justice for residents of Northern Kenya. This would be the first such station in North Eastern province.

He also promised that no Muslim girl child would ever be denied education for wearing hijab in school.

"We thanked him for the commitments he made when he received the Sharawe report," ODM nominated MP Sheikh Mohamed Dor who also attended the luncheon said.

The report was compiled by a committee established by Kibaki to look into grievances by the Muslim community and he has promised to implement all the recommendations.

The leaders also presented Kibaki with a number of other issues for which they requested his urgency intervention.

Some of the issues raised were the slow processing of passports for Muslims even though the Government has on several occasions said that action would be taken to ensure that all citizens are served in the same way.

Freedom of worship

Sheikh Dor also said that they requested him to give land titles to the Nubian community resident in Kibera, Manyatta Arabs in Kisumu and others in Lamu district who cannot show ownership for land they have lived on for years.

Leaders who spoke at the luncheon included Sheikh Dor, Defence Minister Yusuf Mohammed Haji, National Muslim Leaders Forum Vice chairman, Al Haji Murigu and the Chairman of Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Prof Abdulghafur El-Bussaidy. National Heritage and Culture Minister William ole Ntimama also spoke at the function.

Kibaki said the Government would continue upholding freedom of worship and forge stronger partnerships with religious organizations.

Kibaki applauded the Muslim community for their "commitment to the wellbeing of the country and for their contribution to national development".

"As Kenyans we have a common purpose. We must, therefore, join hands to promote peace and cooperation among ourselves in order to build a strong, stable and prosperous nation," Kibaki said.

He assured all citizens of his Government’s cooperation in their activities aimed at supporting national development.

Congratulating the Muslim community for successfully going through the Ramadhan, the President thanked them for the commitment they demonstrated to the less fortunate in society through donations during the month.

"I urge all Kenyans to emulate our Muslim brothers and sisters and similarly assist each other," the Head of State said. Several ministers, assistant ministers and religious leaders from other faiths also attended the luncheon.



At least 87 people have been killed after troops in Guinea opened fire on a huge opposition rally in the capital Conakry, reports say. An earlier death toll of 58 rose by nearly 30 late on Monday, according to unnamed police sources.

Some 50,000 people rallied against Capt Moussa Dadis Camara who seized power in Guinea in a bloodless coup last year.The rally was triggered by indications he is to reverse a pledge not to run in a presidential vote set for January.

"They just started to shoot people directly... They tried to kill us",said Opposition leader Sidya Toure

"There are 87 bodies that were collected in and around the stadium after the military came through," a police source told the AFP news agency. Four women are among the dead.

There has been no independent confirmation of the casualty figures, and the Guinean authorities have made no public comment.

Meanwhile, France issued a statement strongly condemning the "violent repression" of opposition demonstrators in its former colony.

Eyewitness' account

The BBC's Alhassan Sillah says a doctor at government hospital in Conakry said his wards looked like "a butchery".

Reports also say at least two opposition leaders have been arrested. "They just started to shoot people directly... They tried to kill us," Sidya Toure, former prime minister and now an opposition leader, told the BBC's Focus on Africa from a hospital.

He said he had been badly injured in the head, and was speaking secretly from the hospital's toilet as the military was not allowing opposition members any contacts with the media.

Our correspondent says the demonstrators later dispersed, but the military is out in force mounting checkpoints on many roads.

Driving through the capital, our correspondent says he saw burnt-out vehicles around the roads and a burnt-out police station. The atmosphere was "very strange and fearful", with very few cars on the road, our correspondent adds.

Eccentric displays

Capt Camara staged a coup hours after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled for more than two decades.The military takeover initially had some popular support, but in recent weeks there have been several anti-government protests.

This is only the beginning of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations we can expect in the next few months says Guinea expert Gilles Yabi.They appear to have been sparked by hints from Capt Camara that he may stand for president in January.

In Conakry, demonstrators gathered outside the capital's largest stadium, carrying placards reading "No to Dadis" and "Down with the army in power", according to the AFP news agency.But the demonstration had already been banned and the stadium was closed and guarded by large numbers of police. Clashes between police and demonstrators followed, with officers charging the crowds and firing live ammunition.

Guinea expert Gilles Yabi told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the rally was not a surprise."This is only the beginning of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations we can expect in the next few months," he said.

Should Capt Camara stand for president, he said, it would be a violation of the tacit agreement between military and civil forces which has kept him in power.
And it would mark a perpetuation of the kind of rule that Guinea has seen for the past decade - which the military had promised to sweep away.

Capt Camara's rule has been characterised by eccentric displays of power - such as forcing members of the elite presidential guard to beg for forgiveness on national TV after they roughed up a veteran officer.

Former aides and officials have been accused of corruption and links to the drugs trade, including the son of former President Lansana Conte, who was shown confessing on TV to smuggling cocaine.



By Reuters and BBC on-line,
September 28 2009

Convicts to undergo chemical castration on leaving prison to prevent such attacks
WARSAW, Poland

Poland on Friday approved a law making chemical castration mandatory for paedophiles in some cases, sparking criticism from human rights groups.

Under the law, sponsored by Poland’s centre-right government, paedophiles convicted of raping children under the age of 15 years or a close relative would have to undergo chemical therapy on their release from prison.

“The purpose of this action is to improve the mental health of the convict, to lower his libido and thereby to reduce the risk of another crime being committed by the same person,” a government statement said.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said late last year he wanted obligatory castration for paedophiles, whom he branded ‘degenerates’.

Mr Tusk said he did not believe “one can use the term ‘human’ for such individuals, such creatures... Therefore I don’t think protection of human rights should refer to these kind of events.”

His remarks drew criticism from human rights groups but he never retracted them.

“Introducing any mandatory treatment raises doubts as such a requirement is never reasonable and life can always produce cases that lawmakers could never have even dreamt of,” said Piotr Kladoczny from the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights.

“If somebody is of sound mind, we punish him. If he is sick, we try to cure him — that’s how it works in Polish law. This bill introduces both approaches. As far as I know, this makes our law the strictest in Europe on this issue,” Mr Kladoczny said.

Prison sentence

The Bill that also enhances jail sentences for rape and incest, must still be approved by the upper chamber of Parliament — a mere formality as Tusk’s Civic Platform party holds a majority of its 100 seats.

At the same time, France’s political elite rallied to the defence of Mr Roman Polanski on Sunday, calling on Switzerland to free the 76-year-old film director rather than extradite him to the United States. Artists and film makers also urged the release of Mr Polanski, who faces charges of having sex with a girl of 13 in 1977, accusing Switzerland of being overzealous in pursuing the case.

Mr Polanski was due to receive a prize for his life’s work at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday, but was arrested on a 1978 US arrest warrant after arriving in Switzerland on Saturday. French Culture minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was “stunned” by the news, adding that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to see the acclaimed director returned swiftly to his family.

“(Mitterrand) profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life,” read a Culture ministry statement.

French Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner also issued a statement, saying he had spoken to his Swiss counterpart to demand that Polanski’s rights were fully respected and that a “favourable” solution be rapidly found.

Mr Polanski holds French citizenship and is married to French singer actress Emmanuelle Seigner. He has spent much of his life here since fleeing the United States in 1978, but regularly visits countries where he does not expect extradition woe.

Mr Robert Harris, a British novelist who said he had been working with Polanski for much of the past three years writing two screenplays, expressed outrage over the arrest.

“I am shocked that any man of 76, whether distinguished or not, should have been treated in such a fashion,” he said in a statement, adding, Mr Polanski had often visited Switzerland and had a house in Gstaad.



September 28 2009

Cabinet ponders revolutionary Bills set to redefine the family, property and rights.
A new law that seeks to revolutionise marriage by outlawing forced marriage and wife inheritance while embracing come-we-stay unions has been drafted.

The Marriage Bill also provides that one does not have to pay dowry to get married, but recognises dowry payment by those who are capable of doing so. It also states clearly that dowry will not be recovered in the event that the marriage collapses.

However, the Bill’s fate hangs in the balance after the Cabinet stopped its debate on grounds that further consultations needed to be made before it is tabled in Parliament.

Last week’s Cabinet meeting chaired by President Kibaki stopped debate on the draft Marriage Bill, Matrimonial Property Bill and the Family Protection Bill to pave the way for “further consultations” with MPs and other stakeholders.

Broaden consensus

“The Cabinet decided to hold further consultations with MPs and other stakeholders in order to broaden consensus on the Bills before they are tabled in Parliament,” read a Cabinet brief dispatched to newsrooms after the session.

The decision has thrown into uncertainty the Bill that also proposes that any man or woman in a marriage would provide for the upkeep of the financially weaker spouse.

According to the draft copy of the Bill, a couple will be deemed to be legally married if they cohabit for two years or more.

It also allows the bridegroom and the bride to decide whether their marriage will remain monogamous or become polygamous at some stage, so long as they both consent in writing.

The Bill further grants a widow the right to marry a person of her choice — a clear attempt to eradicate the culture of forced wife inheritance practised among some Kenyan communities.

It also blocks the marriage of a person to his stepmother, a practice which still prevails in some parts of the country, and further blocks one from marrying an adopted son or daughter.

The Bill seeks to outlaw child marriages by setting the minimum age for marriage at 18 years.

A minister who spoke to the Nation dispelled fears by gender activists that the Cabinet had effectively shot down the three Bills.

“What we did was to refer the Bills back to the drafters so that they are consolidated into one piece of legislation because they are all related,” said the minister, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to reveal Cabinet secrets.

Family lawyer Judy Thongori, in an interview with the Nation, defended the three Bills, saying they were “well-intentioned”.

Ms Thongori argued that the Marriage Bill, in particular, would consolidate all the seven laws currently governing marriages into one.

“They are very good Bills, we do not need to consolidate them into one. Their enactment will address once and for all the inconsistencies in the various pieces of legislation relating to marriage. They do not in any way segregate against one gender,” she stated.

Fr Vincent Wambugu, the secretary of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, which is the assembly of Catholic bishops in the country, objected to the clause recognising the come-we-stay marriages.

“Marriages should not be taken that casually. They are a blessing from God and they are not influenced by issues of property and inheritance. You do not cohabit for two years and declare you are married.”

Renowned Islamic preacher and nominated MP Sheikh Mohammed Dor cautioned the Cabinet to tread cautiously on the three laws.

“We are happy they rejected them in their current form. We will vigorously resist laws which undermine Islamic statutes regarding marriage and the rights of women because these are clearly spelt out,” he said.

Under the Marriage Bill, marriages will be monogamous or “potentially” polygamous where the man could marry more wives without divorcing the first wife.

Couples planning to marry will give a notice of their intention to the registrar of marriages between three weeks to three months of the intended marriage.

Marriages contracted under either customary or Islamic law are deemed as polygamous or potentially polygamous. In all other cases, marriages are presumed to be monogamous meaning that those cohabiting have to agree to have monogamous unions.

Null and void

The Bill also deems a marriage null and void if one of the parties is found to have been insane, drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of consenting to the marriage.

The marriage will also be declared null and void if it was conducted in the absence of the bride or the bridegroom or where either party was not capable of consummating it and has remained in that state ever since.

The Bill recognises marriages under the Islamic and the Hindu faith while also allowing the registration of customary marriages as opposed to the current situation where no Act of Parliament provides for such marriages.

The Bill provides that where the parties are separated, either spouse shall maintain the other spouse. In the current laws, the husband has a duty to maintain a needy wife, but there is no provision for the wife to maintain a needy husband.

The Bill also allows a man to borrow money on the strength of his wife’s finances and vice versa, so long as the money is to be used to cater for the family’s needs.

The Bill lists the grounds for divorce as including proven cases of adultery, cruelty, neglect and separation or desertion for at least two years.



September 28 2009

A pricing circus is playing out in the quest for reduced internet connectivity rates, two months after the landing of the undersea fibre optic cable at the coastal town of Mombasa. In what might be seen as a conspiracy by shareholders of the cables against consumers, the pricing formula remains unclear, with many consumers saying that, while speeds have increased, charges remain significantly high.

The over-hyped expectations of the drop in prices in Kenya with the going live of Seacom and the East African Marines System (Teams) undersea fibre optic cables are now somewhat more “grounded”.

If the current market pricing mechanisms are upheld, Kenyans could continue paying the high prices of internet connectivity but only for higher capacities for the next three or so years, according to people familiar with the matter.

Picture this: A few years ago a megabyte of broadband was selling at between $4,000 and $6,000, but currently for wholesale arrangements the price has been reduced to about $400, more than 10 times less. Although Internet Service Providers (ISPs) currently buy the same capacity at $400, many have not come out openly to reduce end-user tariffs.

It is equally difficult to know who has bought capacity from either Seacom or Teams, making it hard for consumers to make informed decisions on who to buy from. Speeds have improved, but prices for bandwidth are still painfully high for many Kenyans. This leaves the question whether the whole hype surrounding the fibre optic has turned into a false promise.

Operators have been accused of behaving like a cartel to fleece Kenyans but they counter that they need to recoup their investments first. They say meaningful price reductions will take up to three years to materialise.

Mr Michael Joseph, chief executive officer of Safaricom Ltd, argues that it is important to understand that reduction in price will not happen overnight.

“We have only connected to the Seacom cable, which has an impact on Safaricom pricing. Very soon, we will connect to the TEAMS and have access to about 19 per cent of its capacity. Ultimately and hopefully, pricing will be driven by competition,” Mr Joseph said.

He says although it will now be possible to scale down dependency on satellite, it will take some years before Kenya can comfortably do without it.

“Satellite capacity vendors such as Intelsat offer this capacity on the basis of long-term contracts, with better pricing obtained based on the length of contract. Users such as Safaricom cannot immediately exit these contracts without paying heavy penalties,” he added.

Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo says the government will be forced to step in and regulate internet connectivity charges if the prices will not come down significantly in the next one month.

He says that ISPs are raking in “|obscene” profits from the high cost of bandwidth despite the operationalisation of the fibre optic cables.
They are being mischievous,” Dr Ndemo said. “We have been talking about $6000 per Megabyte, and they telling us that they are lowering to $600, which from our calculation their pay back would be less than six months.”

The cost of one megabyte of bandwidth locally has been going for between Sh298,000 and Sh445,000 ($4000-$6000) until recently when the fibre optic cables landed. Many ISPs say they have reduced this to Sh45,000 ($600) but the government wants this lowered further to Sh15,000 ($200).

Mr Ndemo says the argument that the providers have increased capacity for the same price is not valid since majority of Kenyans cannot access afford the current internet connectivity rates.

Zain Kenya Managing Director Rene Meza says bandwidth prices will take some time before they fall as operators. “In the long run competition will drive prices down. This is evident in our latest packages, in which prices have come down compared to what they were afew years ago,” says Mr Meza.

Mr Nicholas Nesbitt, the founder and chief executive officer of Kencall, an outsourcing company, says business processing and outsourcing (BPO) companies can benefit tremendously from lower prices, but adds even at the current pricing bandwidth prices aren’t too high to prevent the companies from operating profitably.

At Kencall, data costs have shrunk by 90 per cent since Seacom went live, he said. Where the company previously paid $3,000 for a one megabyte per second (Mbps) connection via satellite, it now pays just $300.

But JBA Advertising Ltd, an IT startup offering online advertising solutions, is yet to see any meaningful price reductions.

“I don’t know if it is justified for the operators to argue that they have to recoup their investments, but personally, I expected to see a significant drop in prices,” says Ms Wairimu Karumwa, one of the founders of JBA. “ISPs have the potential to offer improved services, greater speeds, but this is not the case on the ground. Congestion is still prevalent.”

The arrangement in the TEAMS cable that individual shareholders negotiate and pay for the cost of onward connectivity to Europe from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates might make the cable more expensive, market observers say. Its rival cable, Seacom, offers a single price.

A Kenya-Europe link was part of the original plan for TEAMS but details were not clearly provided on how it was going to be established. The cable has been grappling with shareholder issues that recently saw some smaller investors forced out of the initial shareholding structure.

The cable, whose date of going live has been a secret, was laid under the Indian Ocean at a cost of $130 million by Alcatel Submarine Networks.

The only companies charged with the first distribution or resell of Seacom’s broadband in Kenya are not directly reducing the prices, but instead offering more bandwidth or higher internet capacity for the old high prices.
Wholesale prices

The same pricing mechanism has been adopted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AccessKenya, which has successfully tested the cable and connected its corporate customers. Last month AccessKenya doubled bandwidth to for corporate customers at its usual price.

While most ISPs seem to be avoiding the bandwidth pricing issue, Kenya Data Networks announced a drop of 90 per cent on wholesale prices, from the current industry average of $4,000 per megabytes to $400 per megabytes.

Reliability of the cables is one of the worries that players are battling with.

Mr Jonathan Somen, AccessKenya group managing director, says: “Seacom is a great cable, but the traffic comes to Nairobi on only one connection which has already suffered a couple of outages in the last weeks. We were able to roll our customers back onto satellite service within 10 minutes when these outages occurred, ensuring that all customers were able to resume working quickly, albeit with the higher latencies you experience on satellite.”

UUNET Kenya Managing Director Tom Omariba says price reductions will come 20-30 per cent, unless the players revert to “overselling capacity, which will mean a bad end-user experience.”

Mrs Angela Ng’ang’a-Mumo, Telkom Kenya’s head of corporate communications, said Orange in July brought down its commercial prices by 50 per cent through the launch of Broadband Nyumbani (broadband through ADSL) and Internet Everywhere 3G+ products.

“We concur with the sentiments raised by other operators. However, our intention is to follow market mechanisms. Consumers would opt for increased speeds as opposed to reduction in tariffs,” she said.

Last mile solutions

Rural areas remain underdeveloped, with very little telecommunications infrastructure in place. This is the reason internet connectivity in Kenya will remain expensive, compared with developed countries.

Afsat Communications says the continent experiences a capacity crunch and the landing of the cables in the region is welcome, but adds the operators will need time to recoup their huge investments.

Some of the costs saved by operators will be eaten up by retention of some bandwidth on satellite for redundancy purposes due to unreliability of the cables.
Safaricom CEO says there are only so many places that can be served by fibre and copper, leaving the last mile solutions to be delivered largely on wireless platforms like 3G and WiMAX.

“So far we have not seen any purposeful moves by the industry regulator to reduce the costs of this spectrum,” he adds.

Like its peers, Wananchi Group says the competitive market environment should dictate prices. “The landing and commissioning of the Teams and Seacom cables bodes well for both corporate and individual consumers in Kenya,” says group chief executive officer, Euan Fannell.

“They will receive better service and more enhanced features of the internet. Market forces will ultimately determine internet pricing in Kenya.”



PORLAMAR, Venezuela
September 28 2009

The second Africa-South America Summit (ASA) has ended here with the adoption of the Declaration of Nueva Esparta as leaders vowed to promote South-South cooperation.

According to the 30-page document, South American and African countries reaffirmed their "commitment to promote South-South cooperation as the main objective of the two regions, so as to complement the traditional North-South cooperation" and "promote sustained economic growth ... in the two regions."

The countries have also promised to "exchange their experiences and encourage a close and effective cooperation between the two regions, with the strong support of the African Union (AU) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), as main pillars of cooperation between our peoples."

To achieve these objectives, ASA countries have decided to "strengthen the monitoring mechanism" established at the first summit of the ASA I, held in 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The second summit of the SAA, which ended Sunday in the northeastern Venezuelan city of Porlamar, brought together some 30heads of state and government, as well as senior officials from 66 countries in both regions.

President of Niger, Mamadou Tandja, said "the South-South alliance will give our countries the chance to break the vicious circle of poverty" because it would be both innovative and strategic, which undoubtedly contributes to the integration and sustainable development in the developing countries, which had been plunged into poverty and domination."We see as a reality the ambitions that Africa and South America will take to build prosperity for their peoples," said Tandja.

Meanwhile, Malian President Toure Armadou Toumari said the ASAsummit helps to implement the cooperative agreements between the two continents.

"If this alliance between the countries of South America and Africa achieved its stated objectives, it can shape the future of the world, "said Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. "To realize concrete results in this regard, we must promote democracy, good governance and respect for human rights in our countries. Our people are asking us to do better," he said in a speech.

During the two-day summit, several agreements of cooperation were signed, including one between Venezuela and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on agricultural cooperation with Africa.

According to the agreement, Venezuela will provide seeds, fertilizers and vaccines for agricultural production. It also intends to help African countries make tools for agricultural use, organize seminars on agriculture and provide technical training.

Moreover, Venezuela could offer scholarships to African students studying in the American country, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela has also signed a memorandum of agreement with SierraLeone for the creation of a joint mining venture. According to Chavez, Venezuela will sign similar agreements with Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Namibia and South Africa. "I promise you that we will see good results, because we have been successful in the field of mining," he said.

The third summit of the ASA will be held in 2011 in Libya.

Monday, September 28, 2009



By Standard Team

Even before investigators close files on Kenya Pipeline Corporation’s Sh7.6 billion Triton saga and Sh6 billion lost in Line 1 extension, boardroom wars have imploded over upcoming Sh14 billion oil pump project.

Besides the stampede over the upcoming project, KPC risks paying out in excess of Sh200 million to Customs Department for ‘goods’ it just received on paper and for which documentation purports to have been sourced from outside the country. The trick, sources at KPC reveal, was to let the clearing agent raise the Custom duty from its accounts then seek reimbursement from KPC — which would then pay up plus a commission of three per cent.

Down the road this process was abused as the clearing and forwarding companies colluded with KPC management, revenue officials and bank staff to draw up documents purportedly reflecting ‘import’ of the goods. For every faked import, a token sum was declared as duty payable to KRA and money was actually paid.

However, forensic examination by Customs Department now reflects a different story, and KPC’s senior management is said to be wary of KRA’s meticulous approach to these issues that are not reflected in its world class Simba software computing system.

So intense is the new tussle that the rules have been bent by top Energy ministry officials and KPC management in the process of filling up slots left vacant by the firing of senior staff in the restructuring ordered by Minister Kiraitu Murungi in June. At the time the minister, who was reacting to a KPC own audit report that Sh6 billion was sunk into an incomplete project and even after completion, said it did not attain the pumping capacity for which the President was called to unveil the opening plague.

In what is becoming KPC’s stubborn face of scandal, fresh complaints of massive corruption include the haul of old machinery parts from its plant by a well-connected internal cartel, which are then refurbished by a Kenyan-based company that purports to be Japanese — then the same ware is resold to KPC as brand new.

The magnitude of managerial problems at KPC is discernible from the fact that already the police are investigating an attempted assassination of a manager. Sources revealed an Administration Police inspector and a Sergeant, along with two civilians were arrested as they planned to kill the officer. Their paymasters are believed to be KPC insiders. A third civilian involved but who chickened out at the last minute leaked murder plot to the police. When the security officers were arrested, they were found to be linked with a robbery in Nyeri and are fighting this particular charge as investigations progress on the planned assassination.

The head of special crimes prevention unit at Criminal Investigations Department Mr Richard Kasola confirmed investigations were still on and revealed it covers six suspected accomplices, among them KPC staff. But at KPC a senior manager declined to discuss the matter and referred us to the CEO Mr Selest Kilinda whose calls all went unpicked even after the senior manager promised to link us up with him.

vantage positions

The new war, in which top Ministry officials are repositioning themselves for vantage positions as the Line 4 oil pipeline extension from Nairobi to Western draws closer, is so intense that a member of the Board is said to have meddled in a new list of senior managers to be announced anytime beginning today.

"He arm-twisted the board, he has the chairman and the new MD on his side. He wants a new team that would help cover up his footprints in past scandals and who will feel indebted to him for their positions. In one case he told the board one of the acting managers would not be promoted because he was too strict and ‘not for the system’,’’ said a KPC insider.

He gave the case of a top manager he single-handedly pushed to be promoted even though he did not have the requisite certificate of registered engineer as was advertised. Worse still he had not even applied because he did not have the strengths sought in the newspaper adverts for the job and only did so after he was reportedly assured by his ‘handlers’ at KPC that the job was his to lose.

Clean up mess

On Sunday, KPC officials were at a loss over the story. The public relations consultant Mr Sam Karanja, who was referred to The Standard by KPC management said, "I am trying to lay my hands on the facts before we can give you comprehensive response."

Said Karanja, "There is nothing I can do for now... please hold the story because I do not have the facts."

Responding to our queries, PS Energy Patrick Nyoike said the appointments were fair and competitive, adding that the new team would clean up the mess and restore confidence in KPC.

Nyoike who spoke to us on the telephone said the newly appointed managers recruited from outside are expected to report next week. He said he did not participate in recruitment of KPC staff except for the MD.

When asked about a manager who has been offered a position and yet he is not a registered engineer he said: "Any senior engineer who is not registered will not get the job."

He said the extension of the Eldoret-Kampala-Jinja pipeline would cost USD 180 million (Sh13.5 billion).

Kiraitu did not respond to our queries. His public relations agent Mr Tony Kago said he would revert to us with answers but he hadn’t by press time.

The cyclic wave of corruption in KPC, that defies changes to senior management positions and for which have seen the careers of former MDs shattered before being hauled before courts, is linked to three clearing and forwarding companies. They are all in turn linked to senior politicians and a handful of Energy ministry officials. The endless cycle of scandals at KPC is said to have deflated staff morale, precipitated frequent punitive transfers and sackings, and completely subjugated the corporation to the whims of top ministry officials. "They come here and order us around like they did during the Triton saga, asking operation guys to release the oil. But when the scheme bursts, you see them on television declaring they are not involved in daily management of KPC and will try and find out how that could have taken place,’’ said another KPC manager.

playing with fire

Several examples of the graft cases in KPC were given, including one currently under investigation by Kenya Anti-Corruption commission. A company by the name ABC Metallurgicals Ltd won a Sh45 million tender but after the supply of what it bid for, the invoice went to a company bearing close names but which investigators believe was a fake formed to shadow it. The company under investigations calls itself ABC Metalurgiacs and is believed, with the help of senior KPC officials, it always got away with the tenders bid for and legitimately won by the first.

This second company is said to be connected to a son of a senior Party of National Unity politician and when its payments were queried, a senior Energy ministry official is said to have warned the Finance Department it was playing with fire by standing between him and the loot.