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Archive for October 1st, 2007

Norwegian minister orders ministry officials to shield the princess – very unsual ministerial act

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Norway’s controversial princess, Martha Louise, is making headlines again, for some questionable state aid she’s getting to fight a proposed cottage development near her summer home, and for the use of her picture on a five-year-old book about angels.

Princess Martha Louise (left) and her partner Elisabeth Samny met reporters the day their so-called “angel school” opened.

PHOTO: Cornelius Poppe / SCANPIX

The princess’ summer home on the island of Hanko lies near the proposed cottage development.


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Princess Martha Louise has herself won the right to defy local laws defending coastal communities against development. She won, for example, extraordinary permission to build a new dock and swimming pool complex at her island property at Hanko, south of Oslo.

She and her family also managed to avoid local environmental protection laws when she added on to a house she bought in a valley west of Oslo. The house was inside a zone where no construction is supposed to allowed, but royal privilege held sway.

Martha Louise since has been active, along with some other local celebrities and residents in the Hanko area, in organized opposition to a proposed leisure development at Hanko. Even though she won dispensation from the law against coastal development, the princess hopes those behind the project “Hanko brygge” won’t.

They plan to build 40 low-rise cottages around a bay on Hanko. Theyll also open the area up to coastal access and build a public beach at the site.

But the project is just around a bend from Martha Louise’s private summer residence, and she was among those signing a petition against the project in 2005.

Now its emerged that Minister of the Environment Helen Bjrny, who has close ties to the royal family, may try to block the cottage project, even though it’s been approved by local authorities. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that even though the project has cleared an appeal at the county level, the ministry will “evaluate” the overall plan for the area and may order local officials to reconsider.

It’s highly unusual for the state ministry to intervene in such cases, especially when they’ve been approved by county authorities after appeal by opponents.

Nor has Bjrny any qualms as to whether she may be subject to a conflict of interest (inhabil, in Norwegian). Bjrny has been a friend of Martha Louises mother, Queen Sonja, for several years and was even a guest at the queen’s 70th birthday dinner that was deemed a private affair by palace officials.

Ministry officials deny Bjrny is acting to shield the princess’ summer home from the project. “Princess Martha Louis’s role in this case has no meaning or relevance for our decision,” Morten Wasstl, political adviser to Bjrny, told Aftenposten. He also said the ministry isn’t trying to undermine the local authorities, but rather “be sure” that the “public interest” has been heeded. Bjrny herself couldn’t be reached for comment.

Photo flap
A photo of the princess, meanwhile, is set to adorn a five-year-old book on angels that’s about to be translated into English. The princess, a physical therapist by training, caused a stir last summer when she emerged as the co-founder of a healing school that aims to teach people “how to contact their own angels.”

Newspaper Dagbladet reported Thursday that palace officials are upset by the use of the princess’ photo on a commercial project. Some media experts claimed the publisher was exploiting the princess’ fame, while others said her angel venture was being done on a private basis, and that the book provided even more publicity for it.

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Military crack-down in Burma succeeds

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

The international community had high hopes that the uprising in Burma would succeed, but instead it was the opposite.

The military is reported to be cleansing within those groups that initiated the uprising. This time around, in comparison to the 1988 uprising, there was no particular leader but the Monks who wanted to pray their way to freedom from the military rule.

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Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Kjell Inge Rkke, the Norwegian billionaire convicted of bribery, was released from a short jail sentence a week early. He then ordered pizzas for all his fellow inmates and the staff at the prison where he served his time.

Kjell Inge Rkke, recently ranked the fourth-richest man in Norway, reportedly headed for Spain as soon as he was released from prison.


Rkke had been ordered to serve a 30-day sentence. He was released after just 23 days at the Hof prison in Vestfold country, south of Oslo.

He reportedly left immediately on holiday. Newspaper VG, however, reported Tuesday that Rkke didn’t immediately forget the people with whom he’d spent the past three weeks.

On Monday evening, a total of 95 pizzas were delivered to the prison, one for each inmate and staff member. Included in the order, handled by pizza restaurants in both Tnsberg and Horten because of its size, were several cases of soft drinks.

The bill in pricey Norway came to around NOK 20,000 (USD 3,600) Attached was a card reading “warm greetings from Spain,” suggesting that’s where Rkke went after his prison release.

It was a masterful public relations stroke by a man who despite some run-ins with the law maintains hero status of sorts in Norway. Only 73 of the pizzas were consumed, VG reported, meaning pizza was on the lunch menu at the prison on Tuesday as well.

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press International – API/ African Press in Norway – APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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UN extends mandate of panel of experts on Darfur arms embargo

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007


Washington DC(USA) The Security Council Saturday decided to extend the mandate of the panel of experts set up to monitor an arms embargo in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan.

The 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution to extend until 15 October 2008 the mandate of the group, which was established in March 2005 to help monitor the implementation of the arms embargo imposed by UN resolutions, and inform the sanctions committee about individuals who impede the peace process, violate international law or are responsible for offensive military over flights.

The panel was also tasked with monitoring the implementation of targeted individual financial and travel sanctions, and developing new recommendations to present to the Council.

Saturdays resolution requested that the panel coordinate its activities with the UNAfrican Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping force to be known as UNAMID scheduled to take over from the existing AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) by the end of this year. At full deployment, UNAMID will be the worlds largest peacekeeping operation, with some 26,000 troops and police officers.

Since fighting erupted in Darfur between rebel groups, government forces and allied Janjaweed militias in 2003, UN officials have repeatedly described Darfur as the scene of one of the worlds worst humanitarian crises. More than 200,000 people have been killed and millions displaced. The conflict has also spilled into neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).


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Nigerian government releases detained German journalists

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Two German journalists arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) two weeks ago in Warri, capital of Delta State in southern Nigeria have been released, the German Ambassador to Nigeria saidSunday.

The two Germans, Florian Alexander Opitz, 34 and Andy Lehmann, 33 were arrested Friday on suspicion of espionage and terrorism, in Ogbe Ijoh Community in Warri where they were filming masked Ijaw youths.

The SSS said their trip to Nigeria was facilitated by Chief Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni, an American woman said to be married to a Nigerian and runs a non-governmental organisation called Academic Associates Peace Work (AAPW).

The SSS said the Germans who arrived in the country through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on the invitation of the American on September 8, 2007 were to be guided by the AAPW officials to oil and gas production areas in the Niger Delta region.

The German Ambassador, Joachim Schmillen said the two German journalists were released to him by the SSS and he thanked the Nigerian government for its understanding over the case.

The two Germans in question are journalist doing legitimate jobs in the region before they were picked up by the men of the SSS. I am happy that they have been handed over to us, he said


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World traditions: Myths and taboos – should we believe them?

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

By Mangoa Mosota and Nicholas Asego

childbirth.jpg<Significant events: Being born and dying.

The two most significant events in life are considered to be the day you are born and the day you die. But while death is a sad event that most people dread, the birth of a child in most communities is a sure way of stirring excitement.

And from conception to birth, a long list of traditions and rituals have to be adhered to lest misfortune strikes and cuts short the life of the little one. Indeed, you probably owe your life to some of these practices your parents had to follow.

Medical experts today tell us that a pregnant woman should not smoke, drink alcohol or eat certain foods. However, for hundreds of years, before the white mans knowledge, our forefathers had dos and donts for expectant women, all for the safety of the unborn baby. These rules continue to be followed by parents because of the fear of the unknown.

“One interesting taboo meal for a pregnant woman among the Luo includes hippo meat because of the belief that when such a woman eats the meat the child will grow up as one who snores like a hippo,” says Richard Onyango, 74. He adds that some people believe that a pregnant woman is also not supposed to look at a leopard, lest she gives birth to a child with spots.

Elizabeth Ndunda says that among the Akamba an expectant woman is not allowed to view a dead body.

“The dead spirits might interfere with the pregnancy. Besides, during pregnancy a woman is prohibited from having sex with her husband, as it may cause her unborn child to have disabilities,” said Ndunda.

Men with high libidos often find themselves under pressure since they are not allowed to be intimate with their partners who are expectant or have just given birth. This gives some of them a convenient excuse to perfect their philandering ways. However in many traditions, a father who engages in such illicit unions is a danger to the child.

Among the Luhya, Kisii and Luo communities, such a man must take a shower first before holding the baby or going home to his expectant wife. Gilbert Ochieng, 49, told Crazy Monday that failure to do this will cause a Chira (curse) and might lead to a miscarriage.

Women have used this to tame their husbands, says Julius Juma, a designer in Kisumu. “Most of these women will confront you with an infant at the door, and watch your reaction. If the man declines to take the child, then his wife knows that the man had slept with another woman,” explains Juma, a father of one.

But trust the man to come up with a solution to the hurdle: “On the day I visit my other woman, I ensure I come home when everybody is asleep,” reveals a man from the Kisii community, who only identified himself as Robert. To him the risks involved are real and cannot be downplayed.

Duncan Masinde, a father of three, told Crazy Monday that he recently witnessed chishila (curse) which caused a child to get unwell due to the unfaithfulness of one parent.

“I saw my neighbours child collapse while playing after the mother had started cheating on her husband. The child had foam coming out of the mouth,” said Masinde.

The situation was apparently saved by a prescription of manyasi, a concoction of herbs. Amos Wekesa, 65, says the concoction is taken by the cheating partner and some of it is sprinkled on the matrimonial bed.

Traditional paternity testBut men from the Kalenjin community will thank their forefathers for lack of this stringent belief on childbirth and philandering as a whole.

“Nothing will happen to the child even if a man cheats on his wife right at the doorstep,” says Evans Kipkoech.

Kipkoech told Crazy Monday that among the Kipsigis sub-tribe, a man is separated from his wife during the advanced period of the womans pregnancy. After delivery they sleep in different rooms for two months.

And even before Western scientists came up with the DNA test to determine paternity, many Kenyan communities had recognised the altruism that it is only the mother who knows the father of the child, and came up with traditional DNA tests to catch up with women who strayed.

Although some communities have elaborate rituals to determine this, the physical appearance continues to be one a key traditional paternity test. Although it is considered a difficult undertaking bearing in mind that newborns might look alike, there are experts for the job.

“Among the Luo, grandmothers and midwives have a way of knowing whether the child belongs to a womans husband or not,” reveals Felix Odundo. They keenly look at the physical appearance of the child including the ears, fingers and nose. What exactly they look for remains a mystery. This is why statements like, this child has taken after his fathers head or ears are common back in the village,” notes Odundo.

“There has to be at least one physical feature that resembles the fathers,” he adds.

For a young unmarried woman who gets pregnant and refuses to reveal the father of the unborn child traditional society has a way out too. “When the woman is in labour, the midwives somehow prolong the birth process. They then ask her to name the father of the child, arguing that it is only after this is done that the child will be delivered without any complications. Any woman who gives false information is asking for trouble,” says Odundo. In this case the accuracy level of the DNA test is usually 99 per cent.

An elder from the Maragoli community, who did not wish to be named, says there is a ritual to determine paternity that involves taking the child near the cattle shed and a sweet potato tube broken over the childs head.

“The mother is first asked to declare her stand because the consequence is that the child will die,” he says.

Among the Luo, an illegitimate child who somehow passes the traditional paternity test and grows to adulthood, has to be careful not to be involved in certain rituals in the homestead lest a curse catches up with him or her.

Naming the child is also a process that is handled with care. Among the Luo a child can be named depending on the season, time of birth or after a relative. Sometimes the dead appear in dreams and ask that the child be named after them. In other cases a child might be born with a scar or a mark that resembles a departed person in the village. Such a child is named after that person.

Traditionally among some Luhya sub-tribes, a trial and error method is sometimes applied: “If an unnamed child cries incessantly, the people will call out different names and when the child stops crying when a certain name is mentioned, that particular name will be chosen for the child,” says Mercy Vitula.

Continuous crying will mean a wrong name has been chosen. In such cases, the debate is settled through a cockfight.

“Two cocks are given the names in questions and the name of the winning cock is adopted,” says Vitula.

If you have always wondered about the existence of what might be regarded as funny names among some communities around Mt Kenya, this can be traced to their crazy naming process.

Among the Meru for example, a child is sometimes given the name of the first animal that the mother or father comes across. “This is why you can meet a Mr Mbogo (buffalo) or Mr Mbiti (hyena) among others, reveals Adams Munya. The Gikuyu have an elaborate naming system.

All this is of course in addition to a Christian or Western name. But some so-called modern Kenyans today go a step further by not giving indigenous names to their children. Thus there will be names like Millennium Anthony or Firestone Hummer.

Children are also supposed to be shielded from evil eyes. The gazing is known as Obusala, among the Luhyas Abanyore sub-tribe and Vusura, among the Maragoli.

“The tongue of the affected child turns white, leading to serious ailment and ultimately death,” says Beverly Nekesa.

Some women in Maragoli can pass Vusura to infants, thus children usually have their bodies completely covered. However, the vusura, also known as ebibiriri among the Kisii, can also be passed through a mothers breast milk. The Kisii at times resort to dressing the child in a red cloth to ward off the effects of the evil eyes. It is for the same reason that breasts are covered during breastfeeding especially in public. Otherwise, a newborn is kept indoors.

Celebrating birthThe celebrations accompanying the birth of child are marked with a lot of excitement, and a bit of comedy, in Kenyan communities. Lillian Achieng gave birth six months ago, but when a colleague refused to enter his house, she was surprised.

“He said he was not prepared to pass greetings to my newborn child, but could do so at an appropriate time,” said Achieng with a grin. Apparently the man refused to greet the child because he had come without anything for the baby. This is referred to ogwasimori omwana among the Kisii and is translated literally as sneezing a child.

The Maragoli have a celebration for the visit of a newborn child known as uvuruti. “A womans mother and her close friends visit the newborn. They bring with them chickens, firewood, bananas and some clothing for the child. At the end of the one-day visit, they are given flour in two baskets, known as vimwero,” said Grace Kaluli.

Kaluli explains that once the flour is finished, the mother-in-law chooses a respected elderly woman from the neighbourhood to return the Vimwero and receive a token of cash.

Among other communities, there are also celebrations involving feasting and buying of gifts.

For the Mijikenda community at the Coast, a male child is circumcised within the first month after birth, and parents are not allowed to have sex until the initiate heals.

Other areas that are carefully considered include bathing and shaving the child.

But given the creeping in of modernity, many of the traditions are today largely ignored by urban dwellers. The question still remains whether the child-related traditions are effective or not.

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Brides who pay their price – does it sound familiar?

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

By Erick Wamanji

The bride is making her entry alone: no groom, no best man, no best maid. Still, the village is euphoric. Locals gather in frenzy, tapping their feet rhythmically to a song. The smell of roast meat blends effortlessly with that of traditional brew, chitchat, the clatter of cutlery, foot trumping and the shrill songs in a neat choreography.

It is a big day. The clan is receiving the bride wealth of their daughter only that this is coming from the daughters reserves, rather than from a groom. Further, the daughter is old enough to have had grandchildren. In this area, as in much of Kikuyu land, bride price is more than just a cementing reward that parents receive for the loss of their daughter to the suitor. Dowry here has another symbolic meaning: before it is paid out, the woman cannot graduate to a level where she may enjoy certain adult privileges. This is why women are increasingly having to pay their own bride wealth.

But why should the modern Kikuyu woman agree to be bound by these old customs? “Everybody is doing it,” says Jacinta Wanjiru of Kiamwee in Maragwa District. “I paid my bride wealth a few months ago. My daughter was getting married, yet my parents had not received mine.”

In order to qualify to receive her daughters dowry, Wanjiru first had to pay her debt to society; she had to buy herself from her parents household by paying them what is considered their right bride wealth, which ought to have been paid ages before. She explains: “I found it scandalous and fraudulent to accept my daughters wealth. It is why I took the initiative. Now my daughter is happily wedded.”

She says that, earlier, “peace was unfamiliar to us. The family was crumbling: they were fraught with disease, financial hitches and even disunity” the uncanny consequences of her indebtedness to her parents. Terrified by the looming curse, she says, she sought an elders counsel, and she was advised to “honour tradition. I then approached my mother and we negotiated. She was very positive.”

Wanjirus payout included bananas, traditional brew, goats, money and other gifts. “I bought myself out!” And did she have a rejuvenating experience! Listen to this now happier woman: “From then, I felt like a new being. Things just started working… I have no regrets.” Today, she says that if custom dictates that people do this many times over, she would pay up without hesitation.

Forestalling the ultimate curseAmong the Kikuyu, the ritual of “buying oneself”, as it is called, is considered sacred and a stepping-stone to a blissful future. Tribulations and misery, women caution, visit whoever ignores this critical rite. “The ceremony must be done if one is to enjoy peace,” insist Bernadette Njeri, another woman who bought herself out.

Society caught up with Njeri at Landless Estate, about 20km from Thika town. Njeri, a single mother, explains that her son was due for nuptials, yet she could not sanction it until she had cleared her debt. And in Ngong, businesswoman Hanna Gitau has just started the process of kurashia (paying out bride wealth), the first step of which is launching the negotiations, in this case with her own parents. “I have paid the first goat,” she says with pride. “I am yet to complete the process.” She adds: “Believe me, it is a burden I want to get off my shoulders soonest. Most of my peers completed theirs and are now happy.”

In spite of urbanisation, this age-old practice is gaining in popularity. In most parts of Central Province, Wanjiru claims, such celebrations have invaded weekend diaries, easily jostling for space with erstwhile popular functions like funerals and weddings. Most affected women are single mothers. Others are widows whose husbands may have died before clearing with their in-laws. Recalls Njeri: “This practice died away, and people ignored it. Im happy that it is returning.” Bride wealth, she asserts, is a parents right. “Women have to take responsibility because some men are either unable or too sly for commitment.”

One single mother observes: “For me, paying up was relieving. It was like a sauna exposure. To my surprise, once I paid my debt, I felt fresher, lighter and vibrant.”

Previously afflicted with weight loss problems, a phenomenon that is still detested by many and seen as a sign of disease or a curse, Njeri says with a chuckle: “Now I am even increasing weight. The wakeful nights are over. That burden was like a jigger in a toe. It was weighing me down.”

Of course, not all modern Kikuyus subscribe to the practice. “That is unheard of,” frowns Josephat Mwangi, a social worker in Ngong. “Cultures vary. To the best of my knowledge, African women were never single. And then men were reliable: in case of death, inheritance of the bereaved woman was an alternative.” This new development of women buying themselves, he believes, is artificial, and was probably invented by enterprising parents who wish to extort their children by sending them on guilt trips.

But others find it interesting. “Culture is dynamic,” says Prof John Oloo, an anthropologist based in Nairobi. “What we are witnessing is a response to a need.” Culture, he observes, evolves and regulates itself. If a woman feels guilty or ashamed, for instance because she was never married, she may like the idea of assuaging the pain by making peace with her parents.

Wanjiru laments that some people view this practice as a consequence of ignorance. “They argue that it is shameful for one to pay ones own price. But that is what I believe in. It has worked for me.”

In the absence of parents, as was the case with Njeri, the wealth goes to the elder brother, via the maternal uncle. Central to the elaborate ceremony is the front goat limb and rib (in Kikuyu called kiande). Roasted, meat from this section of a goat is eaten by the groom, who then offers a portion to the bride. Once partaken of, this is a binding oath. The woman shares her piece with her peers and the gods are appeased.

“I had to bring witnesses,” remembers Njeri. These, she says, stand by your side, just as happens when one takes an official oath.

Recalls Ruth Wairimu of Banana, Kiambu: “My (late) husband had a debt of five goats and some money. I approached my group members for support. We bought three goats. I raised money for the rest (the balance). Then friends escorted me home and I delivered the cargo to my parents.”

Apart from the curse that ostensibly looms large, women who fail to pay up, it is said, are sidelined and stigmatised. Thankfully, womens groups are playing a critical role towards bailing out their peers. Generally, the burden is heaviest for the eldest daughter; unless her wealth is received, she blocks the way for her junior siblings.

It is also abominable for a woman to accept her own childs bride price if none went to her home of origin. Tales abound, narrates Gitau and Njeri, of catastrophes hitting such offenders. One died before she could witness her daughters marriage ceremony. Anothers penalty came in the form of a piece of goat meat that got stuck in the throat as she ate. Still, another was diagnosed with cancer. The offenders children may also end up becoming sociopaths. As is said, punishment from the gods for breaches is chilling, hence the hurry for self-cleansing. Listen to Wanjirus terse warning: “Handled casually, these issues can crush your family!”

Shouldering the mans burdenInterestingly, even in marriages where the husband is still alive and able, some women are taking on the obligation that hitherto was a mans duty. Many working women are fretfully securing loans in a desperate bid to ensure that their bride wealth is paid. “At first, my husband seemed reluctant to pay,” says Mrs Kote, who seeks anonymity. “Later, he was so broke, but pressure was mounting on me to pay my debts. All my younger sisters had their bride price paid.”

Whenever Kote visited her home, she was treated with contempt. “That is why I borrowed a loan of Sh200,000 from my Sacco” an amount that was given to her parents as pride price. Of course, Kote never made her story public. Today, she says, many women in their late 30s and early 40s are already doing this, although they keep it a secret.

Of course not all men are comfortable with the idea of having their woman help them out. “A serious man should pay the wealth,” cautions Mwangi. “Otherwise, who will be in charge in that house?”

Pastor Macharia Maimba of the Deliverance Church, Woodley, admires these women. “It is a noble gesture,” he observes. “That shows respect to parents. It is respect to the community too.”

Jedidah Wangari, a parent who received dowry from her daughter, was elated. Says she: “I was so happy. I was worried of my daughters future, but now I am relieved.” Wangari says society needs to embrace the re-emerging trend. “It is about clearing oneself.”

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Kibaki launches his campaign – Going back to State House is the goal

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Publication Date: 2007/10/01

President Kibaki yesterday launched his re-election campaign at a jam-packed Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and he hinted that the General Election could be held in two months.

President Kibaki acknowledges cheers from the crowd that turned out at Nyayo National Stadium for the launch of his re-election campaign yesterday. With him were leaders of various parties supporting his re-election. Photo/JOSEPH MATHENGE

He said this years elections will be about issues and not about slogans, insults and empty promises.

The colourful event also doubled as the launch of the Party of National Unity (PNU), the Presidents re-election vehicle. It brought together tens of thousands of supporters and leaders of the parties which make up the alliance supporting President Kibakis re-election.

The President asked Kenyans to vote for PNU, to engage in peaceful campaigns and to shun tribalism, hatred and violence.

Lets vote for PNU. This party will unite us, he said.

Improve welfare

It (election) is about sound, wise and proven management of public affairs that will improve the welfare of all our people and create wealth in our beloved country.

He pledged to continue with ongoing development programmes, citing successes such as free primary education and a growing economy. He promised free secondary education starting next year and a better life for Kenyans if re-elected and that no area of Kenya would be sidelined.

The 30,000 seat stadium was filled to capacity with supporters wearing the colours of PNUs affiliate parties. Wananchi began converging at the stadium as early as 7am.

Women belonging to the Ua la Kibaki group stood out in their light blue skirt suits and matching hats.

The Presidents supporters dressed in T-shirts and caps bearing pro-Kibaki slogans waved thousands of pro-Kibaki fliers and carried banners bearing the PNU colours, symbol and slogans.

A helicopter flying a banner with the writings Kibaki Tena, Kazi Iendelee, PNU started flying over the stadium at 11.25am and continued doing the rounds until 2.40pm when the President arrived after a tour of the citys populous Eastlands suburbs.

He also attended Holy Mass at Holy Family Basilica in the morning.

100 vehicles

In a convoy of more than 100 vehicles, President Kibaki accompanied by First Lady Lucy, started the journey around Nairobi at about 1pm after lunch at Hotel Intercontinental.

He drove through Starehe, Kamukunji and Makadara constituencies accompanied by Vice-President Moody Awori, several ministers and the Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, who is supporting the President for a final term.

Various leaders who took to the podium before the President criticised his main challenger, ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Speaker after speaker, including Roads minister and Ford People leader Simeon Nyachae, former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib and Langata parliamentary aspirant Stanley Livondo used their turns at the microphone to criticise Mr Odinga, also the MP for Langata. On Friday, Steadman released an opinion poll showing that Mr Odinga was ahead of President Kibaki by nine percentage points.

The MP had scored 47 per cent against the Presidents 38 per cent in popularity ratings.

But yesterday, Mr Kibaki said he was not afraid and expressed confidence that he would win the elections.

He said party supporters who will have difficulties identifying the partys symbol on ballot papers should seek for help from their friends who can read and write.

Unveiling the new PNU logo of two flaming torches, the President said the single torch that symbolised Narc in 2002 was a torch of light and hope, while the two PNU torches represented progress and unity of purpose.

Competitive hub

In a speech circulated to the Press by PPS but which the President did not read, he said the parties in PNU were determined to transform Kenya into Africas most competitive regional hub for manufacturing and services. The Government would also double investment in infrastructure, build world-class networks of roads, railways, airports and seaports, power and communications, and water supply over the next five years.

The party would also aim to grow the economy to double its current size in five years and ensure security by expanding the police force and providing it with adequate transport and equipment.

He urged the public to use todays statement as a basis of what to tell Kenyans when they tour the country and travel around their constituencies in search of votes for PNU.

Tell the people of Kenya the truth, that Kenya is better than it was five years ago, and will be far better off five years from now under PNU, he said.

The launch of the Presidents campaign now sets the ball rolling for the Head of States team who have to play catch-up with ODM and ODM-Kenya. The two opposition parties have already hit the campaign trail.

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Raila’s wife Ida tells those who defer with her husband that they are blind!

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Raila’s wife is now also inside the ring. She is now telling Kenyans who do not support her husband that they are blind. This is shocking to many observers because in a democracy, people have a right to choose candidates they wish to support. In her world, if you do not support her husband then she calls you “blind”. Does she want one party state with her husbandon the helm? By API*APN editorial.


Publication Date: 2007/10/01

ODM cancelled its rally set for last weekend to avert a clash with the Government, one of its key leaders said yesterday.

MP William Ruto (left) and Mrs Ida Odinga join Mr Odingas running mate, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and his wife, Tessy, during prayers at the Friends Church in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/ STEPHEN MUDIARI

Former vice-president Musalia Mudavadi said the Government had been determined to block the rally scheduled for Uhuru Park to launch the presidential campaign for the partys presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga.

Mr Mudavadi, who is Mr Odingas running mate, claimed that the party had gathered information that their opponents wanted ODM supporters to clash with the police to portray the party as violent.

Launch campaign

We have now pushed our rally to next Saturday and I am appealing to our supporters to come in large numbers to launch our presidential campaign in style.

Police last week cancelled the planned rally because the venue had been booked by the Vijana na Kibaki lobby group.

Mr Mudavadi was speaking at the Ligi Ndogo Grounds in Nairobi when he led Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Gachoka MP Joseph Nyaga in a meeting with Muslim and Christian leaders from Dagoretti constituency.

Mrs Ida Odinga, who was also present, asked Kenyans to vote for her husband saying he represented the change that Kenya had been yearning for.

We should not waste this opportunity. Lets give him together with his team a chance to demonstrate their capabilities. This team indeed has the countrys interests at heart, she said.

According to her, Mr Odinga had worked tirelessly for this country. Those alleging otherwise are blind.

Mr Ruto said all ODM wanted was a free and fair election.

He also said he would defect from Kanu after the party decided to support President Kibakis re-election bid.

We have decided that since the original owners of the party have come back, then its prudent for us to quit. We shall be making an announcement this week as to our next course of action, he said.

On Saturday, Kanu said that its National Executive Committee would decide the fate of leaders who had left the party.

Pray for Kenya

And yesterday, Mr Ruto asked church leaders to pray for Kenya so that the country could get leaders who had the countrys interest at heart.

Mr Nyaga asked the old guard in Government to retire and pave way for young leaders.

He wondered when the youth would ever be given a chance to lead the country. According to him, a growing number of old people were being appointed to senior Government positions.

We are appealing to Kenyans to give our leadership, which consists of energetic men, a chance to bring forth change. Demands for change and reforms are everywhere and we are prepared to do just that, he said.

Earlier, the leaders had attended a service at the Friends Church.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN

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API*APN Opens a Discussion Forum: Discus direct!

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

Welcome to our discussion forum page. Discus freely. You may also post comments directly without approval by the moderator.

Direct posting of comments:
If comments are posted using abusive language, API*APN reserves the right to delete such comments and block the writer from posting any comments in the future.

Welcome as we celebrate our one year anniversary as a news outlet.

African Press International, API/ African Press in Norway, APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Salvation Army officer killed in Pakistan – internal conflict seems to be the cause

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

A Norwegian Salvation Army officer was shot and killed at the Salvation Army’s headquarters in Pakistan late Thursday. A former Salvation Army officer is under arrest, charged with murder.

Salvation Army officer Bo Brekke (inset) was shot in his office in Lahore.


Pakistani police confirmed to that Salvation Army officer Bo Brekke, age 50, was murdered at the organization’s Pakistani headquarters in Lahore.

Police said a man went into the charitable and religious organization’s offices in Lahore’s Mazang district and shot Brekke two times in his own office between 6pm and 6:30pm Thursday.

The suspect under arrest is himself a former Salvation Army officer who was second-in-command to Brekke, but who had been fired because of alleged financial wrongdoing.

The police are describing the murder as part of an internal conflict at the organization. The conflict that motivated the murder, according to police, had to do with an expensive piece of real estate.

Salvation Army officials in Norway said they had no further details on the murder, but said they had been notified through the organization’s internal network.

Communications chief Andrew Hannevik called Brekke “a fantastic resource with wide experience.” Brekke had led the Salvation Army’s work in Pakistan since last year.

Brekke had been an officer with the Salvation Army since 1980, stationed in Norway, Denmark, Sri Lanka, Russia and Bangladesh.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng

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13-year-old bullying victim stabs alleged tormentors

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

A 13-year-old boy in the southern Norwegian town of Skien was in police custody on Thursday, after stabbing two other boys believed to have been bullying him.

Police found the 13-year-old hiding in a nearby house after the stabbing episode.


Other youth in the Menstad district of Skien have said the 13-year-old was in a desperate position Wednesday evening, up against at least three other boys also aged 13 and 14.

Newspaper VG reported that the conflict amongst them had built up over the past several days. Witnesses at the Menstad junior high school reportedly observed that the 13-year-old arrested by police had been both bullied and physically harassed by the others.

On Wednesday, three young teens gathered to attack him near the Menstad Bridge. They live on one side of the bridge, and their alleged bullying victim lives on the other.

He fought back, with a knife, after being chased down by three boys on bicycles. One of the three was stabbed in the stomach, and the other in the leg. Both were taken to Telemark Hospital, where they were in stable condition.

The third boy was also arrested by police. He wasn’t injured. The 13-year-old was, but not by knife wounds, reported VG.

Two witnesses, accompanied by their parents, were being questioned on Thursday. The principal at the school called the episode “terribly sad,” claiming that “we’ve never experienced anything like this in our area before.”

Bullying remains widespread among Norwegian youth, despite repeated attempts by politicians and school officials to crack down on the problem.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng

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A Norway based Liberian Pastor Urges His Compatriots in U.S. to “Speak the Truth and Be Save”

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

A young Liberian Pastor based in Norway, Rev. Alfred B. Nyonteh, Jr., will this Sunday, September 30, preach at the United Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC).

The Church is located at 4300 Queen Ave North in Minneapolis , Minnesota . The Divine Worship service will begin at 11:00 A.M.

According to a dispatch sent to our West African Correspondent in Monrovia, Rev. Nyonteh delivered a brief meditation at the Pastors and Church Leaders Mid-Day Prayer Time in Minneapolis . He spoke on the theme: SPEAK THE TRUTH and used as his text Acts 4:3-10. Rev. Nyonteh, a member of Troviso Normisjon Church in Norway since 2004, admonished his fellow pastors not to compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The young pastor is a graduate of Dr. William R. Tolbert Memorial Baptist Theological Institute in Liberia . Rev. Nyonteh, who has been residing in Norway for three years, is in Minnesota visiting his father, Mr. Alfred B. Nyonteh, Sr., who is a member of UCFC.

Come and listen to this Man of God proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ with power and faith. You will be blessed!

cholobcholob.jpgBy our correspondent J. Cholo Brooks in Liberia.

Published by African Press International(API)/ African Press in Norway (APN) tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Raila Odinga on revenge path against President Kibaki – He feels conned in 2002 by Kibaki

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

kibaki_070907.jpg<President Mwai Kibaki.

(Ashumble as he looks, did he really con Raila in 2002? What is obvious is thathe fired him because he could not trust him. -Editorial API*APN)

President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movements bet for State House Mr Raila Odinga are in the trenches for a battle of a lifetime. As evidenced by the events of the last week including the Presidents presence in delegates conferences of three parties rooting for his re-election yon Saturday, and Railas secret negotiations with Health minister Mrs Charity Ngilu it is total war.The stakes are high for the two, and the promise of a bigger battle shaping up stems from the fact that between them is open feeling of betrayal. There is also the deep-seated feeling in Raila that President Kibaki never tried to reciprocate the support he gave him in 2002, and for which he feels landed him the Presidency. Worse still, he now has to fight the combined force of Ford-People leader Mr Simeon Nyachae, Kanu Chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, and former President Moi, who are now on Kibakis side.

In 2002 the three were standing on President Kibakis way to State House and Raila was the deputy team captain.

The long but sometimes treacherous road for President Kibaki and Raila, his strongest rival for the seat, according to the latest opinion poll, took shape in 1992.

Then, Kibaki ran on the Democratic Party ticket and Raila was in Ford-Kenya, the party of his late father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

In 1997, with his father gone, he ran for president against Moi and Kibaki. He ran on the platform of the defunct National Development Party. This is the party he folded to join Kanu, on whose ticket he expected to fight for the top seat in 2002.

It did not work out as President Moi apparently had a preferred successor, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. As fate would have it, he left Kanu and ended up endorsing Kibaki for the seat. The Othaya MP won but the honeymoon was short-lived.

railaodingawithcappainting.jpg(<Raila Odinga, the man who is bitter and ready for revenge at all costs. – API*APN editorial)

Conned and fired?He fired Raila and other individuals he considered saboteurs of his Government. They, on the other hand, accused him of betraying the pre-election pact.

Today, the two men are in the boxing ring for the final duel. If Kibaki wins he would have the final laugh, since he would never be seeking re-election.

If Raila wins, it would be sweet revenge for a political cabal that he feels conned him.

The two could, however, be the losers if the ODM-Kenya candidate Mr Kalonzo Musyoka wins. If it does happen, then Raila could walk to 2012 from the disadvantaged position of two defeats and age.

For Kibaki it is now or never. For Raila it is do or die. That is why today we focus on the two men history has set on a collision path.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN

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Kenya political prostitution – as long as one gets power

Posted by African Press International on October 1, 2007

In her efforts to pressure Kibaki administration, Health Minister Ngilu has started to travel the political prostituion highway in Kenya. She wants Kibaki to appease her by offeringsomething in the government if the head of state gets his second term. Ngilu says she must be in the next government come what! This is very absurd! Is she thinking of the voters’ welfare or her own? Now she tells the voters that Raila has given her a promise. Trading on positions before things happen is a sign of greedy politicians Kenyans have to deal with. She is now running away from Kalonzo Musyoka, a man from his own backyard in her search for the second seat in the government – the vice-presidency. Running from Ukambani passing Nairobi to Nyanza in search of Raila. Typical! They deserve each other because both of them are doing all they can to market themselves to the top.

By API*APN editorial



ngilu_charity071.jpg<Ngilu: What ODM has promised me. ODM man > Raila(Right Photo)

By Paul Mutua Health minister, Mrs Charity Ngilu, is expected to announce her defection to ODM any time.

Ngilu said she had been offered the second vice-presidencys slot in an ODM government.

The Kitui Central MP said she had struck a deal with Raila to be given the position to recognise her vital role in the 2002 General Election.

She retaliated her vow that she must be in the next government, no matter the price.

Speaking in her Kitui Central backyard on Friday evening, Ngilu said negotiations with Railas team were complete.

On Saturday, journalists camped all morning at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation and at Orange House where Ngilu was expected to formally announce her defection. ODM presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, received Kanus shadow Attorney General, Mr Billow Kerrow, into the party.

When Raila was asked about Ngilu, he said: “You will see many defections, including ministers, since the flow of the River Nile to the ocean is unstoppable.”

ODM sources exuded more optimism, saying Ngilu would decamp officially any time.

During a meet-the people-tour at Kavisuni, Maliku and Kathungi trading centres, Ngilu urged her constituents to reject attempts to drive them back to opposition politics after the December elections.

But she drew a hostile reaction from the crowd when she sought to explain why she was reluctant to support ODM-Kenya presidential candidate Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

“I fear being shut out of the next government,” she told the crowd. Let me tell you the bitter truth: Raila is the choice of the majority. I have no bad feelings on my brother Kalonzo but he has no capacity to marshal support in all provinces like Raila,” she added.

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