Michelle Obama: From slavery to US First Lady
So proud: First Lady, Michelle Obama.
By Reuters, Oct 9 2009
A genealogist working with The New York Times has traced Michelle's family tree back five generations to a 6-year-old slave girl named Melvinia who was valued at $475.
The White House said first lady Michelle Obama had not known many of the details of her family history and enjoyed reading it. She had declined to comment on the story for The New York Times because of the personal nature of the subject.
“I don’t believe she knew or had known all of this, but enjoyed reading about her family history,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
The slave girl Melvinia initially appears in the documentary record in 1850, the property of South Carolina landowner David Patterson, who owned 21 slaves.
After Patterson died in 1852, Melvinia was sent to a smaller 200-acre farm in Georgia, the home of Patterson’s daughter and son-in-law, Christianne and Henry Shields. She was one of only three slaves on the farm near Atlanta.
Sometime when she was a teenager, possibly as young as 15, Melvinia became pregnant by a white male. The father is unknown, possibly Henry Shields, then in his 40s, or one of his four sons, aged 19 to 24.
Melvinia gave birth around 1859 to a boy, Dolphus. She and the father of her first-born son are Michelle Obama’s great-great-great-grandparents, genealogist Megan Smolenyak says.
Three of Melvinia’s four children are listed on the 1870 census as mulatto. One was born four years after emancipation, raising the possibility that the relationship with the original father continued even after the Civil War.
After being freed, she worked on a farm adjacent to that of Charles Shields, one of Henry Shields’ sons.
In her 30s or 40s, Melvinia reconnected with former slaves she had known as a child on the Patterson estate. She moved with the couple — Mariah and Bolus Easley — to a spot near the border with Alabama.
Dolphus married one of the Easleys’ daughters, Alice. The couple are Michelle Obama’s great-great-grandparents.
Melvinia, who took Shields as her last name, died in 1938 in her 90s.
Dolphus and Alice moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where he was a co-founder of First Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Trinity Baptist Church.
Dolphus, a carpenter, thrived in Birmingham, but he split up with Alice. She moved around, working as a seamstress and a maid.
Their son, Robert Lee Shields, married Annie Lawson in 1906 and worked as a laborer and railroad porter. Robert Lee disappeared from the public record when he was about 32 years old.
He was Michelle Obama’s great-grandfather.
Robert Lee’s son, Purnell Shields, was the first lady’s grandfather, her mother Marian Robinson’s father. He moved to Chicago as part of the great migration north and worked as a painter.
Halala plans a mobile clinic in Western
By Felix Makachia, March 5 2009
Dr. Wambulwa and Dr. Ennanuella said that they are pleased of HalalaUSA's plan of a mobile clinic in western Kenya. "This is a good idea due to the growing population and economical dificulties that the residents face. A large population of western Kenya not only are unable to afford health but lack means to get to hospital, and with a mobile clinic many will benefit and lives will be saved."
The two said that health is the key element to all beings and it is so hurting to see the less unfortunate losing lives that can be saved with a good plan like the mobile clinic. They challenged and warned the Halala community not to worry about who gets the credit of the plan but how good and effective the plan is. Working together as Halala and crediting the group is the most important basic element of Halala's future.
Mr. James Shaw an Immigration Attorney joined the HalalaMD at the meeting, he said that, "it's a high time that we (Halala) as a community encourage our kids the importance of education and what subjects to pick." Mr. Shaw said that nation wide the percentage of students enrolling to science subjects has dropped drastically and yet it is the number one paying field. If we mentor and assist our kids by guiding them to put more emphasies on science subjects they will eventually come up as liking the subject but if we don't encourage them they wont care or pay attention to the subject said Mr. Shaw.
Prof. Wajackoyah at the meeting said that he was so pleased with the idea of a mobile clinic, "this is a good step forward to lighten and give back to the community that made us proud." Prof. Wajackoyah also challenged the Halala community by saying that, "lets not be satisfied for what we've done or where we are but let's be proud of what the unfortunate benefit from the hope we give them."
Prof. Wajackoyah was happy and thankful for the recieption he and his friends got from the HalalaMD and said that he is confedent that the august AGM hosted by HalalaMD will be successful. Prof. Wajackoyah donated soccer balls to be used in the Mulembe Tournament that will be held during the August AGM in Maryland.
HalalaMD president Pracky Ilamaha and his vice Frank Malala said that they were so honored to have Mr. Shaw PhD, Dr. Wambulwa MD, Dr. Ennanuella MD, and Prof./Lawyer Wajackoyah. They promised to work together and make sure that HalalaMD is a strong force and will be a hard fist to be recognised. They praised newly born HalalaTexas, whom they spoke with there president Mr. Luta on the phone.
By Felix Makachia (Former player Gor Mahia)
Obama and the stranger - 20 yrs on...
By our correspondent, Nov 10 2008
When it was finally Mary's turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness. -You'll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway , the man behind the counter said. Mary had no money. Her new husband had traveled ahead of her to Norway , and she had no one else to call.
I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary. As tears streamed down her face, she heard a 'gentle and friendly voice' behind her saying, 'That's okay, I'll pay for her.' Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man? Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man. -He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary. She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back.
The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her. Who was the man? Barack Obama. Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign: He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling. She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway .
At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago , and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university. Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him: In the spring of 2006 Mary's parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
And Obama replied: In a letter to Mary's parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped 'United States Senate, Washington DC', Barack Obama writes**: 'I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I'm happy I could help back then, and I'm delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway . Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama , United States senator'. The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election, especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the story of the kind man who helped out a stranger-in-need over twenty years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office. Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in the maelstorm of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right now. UPDATE: Thanks for the recommends, folks! Also, remember this was 1988, when 100 dollars was quite a bit of money, compared to today's value.
Millenium disability conference a landmark
By Phitalis Maskhwe, September 22 2008
But, surely, why now and not earlier? Is it because there were no disabled persons when these global goals were formulated and agreed upon by the international community and world leaders? Suffice to say the Nairobi meeting has come at a time when another High Level meeting on these goals is scheduled for next week on the 25th in New York, United Nations Headquarters.
In September 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed to a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. Placed at the heart of the global agenda they are now called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Summit’s Millennium Declaration also outlined a consensus road map for how to proceed, with a stronger focus on human rights, good governance and democracy.
Africa with an estimated 80 million persons with disabilities is largely classified as a poor struggling continent. This is one continent where the MDGs dialogue resonates more than anywhere else. Africa has the notorious distinction of “manufacturing” the fastest number of persons with disabilities, its wanting capacity to support them, notwithstanding. This is owing to her propensity for bad governance, intolerance, human rights abuse and corruption all leading to incessant conflicts and war, which leave many maimed.
The disabled Africans best epitomize the face of poverty, human rights abuse, exclusion and bad governance, core issues that are the heart and soul of the Millennium development goals! By the way, what are these goals? They are halving extreme poverty and hunger by the 2015, achieving universal primary education, empowering women and promoting equality between women and men. Others include reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds and maternal deaths by three-quarters, reversing the spread of killer diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria. The last two goals are on environmental sustainability and global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade and debt relief.
A synopsis into the world and situation of the disabled and an analysis of their needs and issues against the so called MDGs may help.
More than 113 million children around the world do not attend school, majority of which are children with special needs. How then can one imagine of achieving universal primary education by 2015, without clearly and comprehensively addressing the educational needs and challenges facing disabled children ?
How on earth, can we talk of empowering women and promoting equality between men and women; when disabled women and girls constitute a disproportionate number among the two-thirds of the worlds illiterate who are women? And talking about child and maternal deaths makes a mockery about the health situation of disabled people! How many children with severe and multiple disabilities, especially in Africa live to celebrate their fifth birth day? The disabled in developing countries die in droves for lack of basic rehabilitation and health services, and few are even lucky if they access a bowl of porridge a day, you know! How many women and girls with disabilities have access to sexual and reproductive health, safe and friendly gynecology and obstetric care and support services, and leave alone safe motherhood?
We all know that diseases have erased a generation of development gains. But, how much have the disabled featured in all major initiatives aimed at reversing the spread of killer diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria? What about access to water and sanitation facilities, how inclusive and accessible are current products and services in these sectors, for instance? And to what extend does global partnership for development take cognizance of the innumerable needs and concerns of the global disabled? The list of questions and gaps on this subject of MDGs and disabled people are infinite.
And so after serious deliberations and reflection, delegates resolved to:
The writer, a sociologist with a physical disability is a regular commentator on disability rights and development and works for Leonard Cheshire Disability- International. He can be reached on Phitalis@email@example.com.
THE GOVERNMENT OF KENYA
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Private Secretary/Comptroller: Mr. Hyslop Ipu
Public Communications Secretary & Government Spokesperson: Dr. Alfred N. Mutua
Secretary, National Economic & Social Council: Dr. Julius Monzi Muia
Principal Administrative Secretary: Mr. Sam Mwale
Secretary, Presidential Press Service: Mr. Isaiah Kabira
Ministry of State for Internal Security & Provincial Administration
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Francis Kimemia
Secretary, Provincial Administration: Mr. Kenneth M. Lusaka
Ministry of State for Defence
Permanent Secretary: Amb. Nancy Kirui
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
Ministry of State for Home Affairs
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Ludeki Chweya
Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons
Permanent Secretary: Mr. Emannuel Kisombe
Ministry of State for National Heritage & Culture
Secretary, Culture: Mr. Said Athman
OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
Secretary, Administration: Mr. Caroli Omondi
Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Edward Sambili
Ministry of State for Public Service
Permanent Secretary, Public Sector Reforms & Performance Contracting: Mr. Richard Ndubai
OFFICE OF DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTRY OF TRADE
Secretary, External Trade: Mr. Simon Chacha Nyangi
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Finance
Finance Secretary: Mr. Mutua Kilaka
Investment Secretary: Ms. Esther Koimett
Economic Secretary: Dr. Kamau Thuge
Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs
Secretary, National Cohesion: Dr. Kithure Kindiki
Secretary, Physical Planning: Eng. John Ndirangu Maina
Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development
Secretary, Physical Planning: Eng. John Ndirangu Maina
Ministry of Roads
Ministry of Public Works
Secretary for Works: Mr. Gideon Mulyungi
Ministry of Transport
Ministry of Information & Communication
Ministry of Energy
Ministry of Lands
Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources
Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Livestock Development
Ministry of Fisheries Development
Ministry of Regional Development Authorities
Permanent Secretary: Eng. Carey Orege
Permanent Secretary: Dr. Hukka Wario
Ministry of Education
Secretary, Education: Prof. George Godia
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
Permanent Secretary: Prof. Crispus Kiamba
Secretary, National Council For Science and Technology: Prof. Abdirazak Shaukat
Ministry of Cooperatives Development
Ministry of Special Programmes
Ministry of Gender & Children Development
Secretary for Children Affairs: Prof. Jacqueline Oduol
Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation
Ministry of Medical Services
Director of Medical Services: Dr. Francis Kimani
Ministry of Labour
Ministry of Youth and Sports
Secretary, Sports: Mr. Daniel K. Maanzo
Office of the Attorney General
Luhya shelf life like Simon Makonde's
By Shad Bulimo, March 25 2008
Prof Kikaya, who contested unsuccessfully for Saboti Parliamentary seat in last year’s general election, was briefing Abeingo Community Network committee members in London yesterday. He urged the community to take control of their economic destiny by accumulating wealth through savings and capital creation. He said, if you plot the life of a typical Luhya, you’ll find the bare facts chilling. He lives his village in shimalabandu, boards a matatu (owned by a Kikuyu) to Kakamega to board a bus (owned by a Kikuyu) on his way to work in Nairobi. On the way, he stops at the local kiosk (owned by a Kikuyu) to buy soda and biscuits. If he is too tired to walk to the bus stop, he hires a boda boda (owned by a Kikuyu but rented to a Luhya rider).
When he arrives in Nairobi, he boards another matatu (owned by a Kikuyu) to take him to Kawangware. On the way to his house (rented from a Kikuyu), he stops at a street market to buy sukumawiki, onions and tomatoes (from a Kikuyu trader) and a local shop (owned by a Kikuyu shopkeeper) to stock up on some groceries. He then stops a local butchery (owned by a Kikuyu) before arriving at his rented house (owned by a Kikuyu). In the morning, he goes to work either for a Kikuyu or a Mhindi. Over the weekend, he decides life is worthless if you don’t enjoy yourself. His way of enjoying life is to go the local bar (owned by a Kikuyu) to drink some tuskers. If he is religiously-inclined, he might go to one of the evangelical churches (owned by a Kikuyu or Nigerian) where tithe is emphasised more than spiritual nourishment. When he dies after a life of “hard” (read manual) work, his remains are transported to his ancestral home in a coffin (bought from a Kikuyu) and bus hired from (you guessed it … from a Kikuyu).
You don’t have to be an actuarist to realise that a typical Luhya does not accumulate any meaningful savings to take ownership of capital or the means of production. “In other words, we shall continue to be pawned as slaves on the economic conveyor belt unless we start developing risk taking and thinking of owning rather than renting the tools and means of economic production,” he said.
Prof Kikaya, who is transiting London on his way to New York, said a group of Luhya have come up with an investment plan that targets transport, finance, food security and share trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Membership will be rolled out to any Luhya who wants to buy shares shortly after registration.
Bounce not handshakes signals new Kenya
By Shad Bulimo, London March 19 2008
Addressing members of Kenya Society in London yesterday, Mr Githongo, the self-exiled anti-corruption czar, said that yes the political class on both side of the political divide must come together and demonstrate that a new spirit to embrace diversity without acrimony is truly here and they are part of the lot that are writing a new chapter for Kenya but the agreement must be backed by genuine warmth of the heart and spirit that should be seen to flow in the veins of mama mboga who should feel free and safe enough to plough her trade in Karatina or Kisumu.
Dubbed “Stepping Back from the Abyss”, Githongo regretted that the Kofi Annan Accord, while diffusing an explosive situation, was externally imposed and in a sense Kenya has lost its sovereignty. “Our sovereignty has been sucked away and we need to start thinking about how we can regain it,” said the burly anti-corruption campaigner. He said post election violence was a result of decades of injustices and perceptions of economic inequality which has been simmering for decades and the rigging of the elections was merely the trigger that ignited the great fire of ethnic anger.
To regain our sovereignty, Kenya needs a new road map that addresses the plight of the poor and de-ethnicizes the presidency and appointments to the judiciary, parastatals and the civil service. He said Kenyans need to reflect on whether a benevolent president is better for them or devolution of power. Before the elections, he said, the only debate that came closer to addressing devolution of power was majimbo versus centralised government. “My own take is that it should not be simply a matter of dividing power but diffusing power so that never again should one person have the power to hire and fire the cabinet, judiciary and civil service.”
Githongo, who has been appointed the vice president of World Vision, said that what happened to Kenya has vital lessons for other countries in Africa where similar symptoms of conspicuous consumption among the elite are evidently causing resentment among the majority poor. He paid tribute to Annan and his team of Eminent African Persons (Graca Machel and Benjamin Mkapa) and said that whatever number of medals Kenya has, Annan should get them all.
Also present was Mr John Small, the chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
Shad Bulimo is the editor of www.abeingo.org, an online portal of the Luhya community
MISSION TO KENYA
January 11, 2008 - Disturbed by the post-election violence in Kenya, which resulted in the loss of lives, destruction of properties and displacement of people, the Africa Forum, composed of Former African Heads of State and Government and other African leaders, took the initiative to effect a mission to the Republic of Kenya from January 07 – 12, 2008. The aim of the mission was to assess the situation and offer advice on the modalities and mechanism for the resolution of the crisis that engulfed the country soon after the announcement of the results of the Presidential Elections. On behalf of the General Assembly of the Forum, the Chairperson of the Forum former President H.E. Joaquim Chissano, requested the following former Presidents to join him as members of the mission: H.E. Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, the first President of the Republic of Zambia; H.E. Sir Ketumile Masire, Former President of the Republic of Botswana; and H.E. Mr. Benjamin William Mkapa, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The mission met with national leaders including H.E. President Mwai Kibaki, H.E. Mr. Daniel arap Moi, former President of the Republic of Kenya; Hon. Raila Odinga, Hon. Kalonzo Musioka and representatives of other political parties as well as other stakeholders, namely, the AACC and other Religious leaders, the Commonwealth Observer Mission, Domestic Observer Group, African Ambassadors accredited to Kenya, the Peace Ambassadors and Civil Society Organisations. The mission also held consultations with H.E. President John Kufuor of Ghana and Chairman of the African Union.
The mission visited areas of the country affected by violence in Eldoret and Nairobi and held discussions with affected and displaced persons, community leaders and local authorities.
On the basis of what emerged from the meetings and consultations at different levels, we former Heads of State and Government on this mission strongly urge all concerned parties to –
It is the general impression of the mission that all national stakeholders yearn for the resolution of the crisis and restoration of peace in the shortest time possible. Encouraged by the disposition of all concerned parties to engage in constructive dialogue in the search for durable solution to the root causes of the crisis, the Africa Forum is therefore committed to:
The Africa Forum further commits itself to support efforts at all levels that are aimed at restoring normalcy and constitutional order in Kenya. The Forum is grateful that its concerns and those of other friends of Kenya about the crisis are valued and appreciated by all parties it consulted, including people in the affected areas it visited.
The mission acknowledges the excellent support and cooperation received from all parties, in particular, H.E. President Mwai Kibaki, H.E. Mr. Daniel arap Moi, former President of Kenya; Hon. Raila Odinga, Hon. Kalonzo Musioka, representatives of other political parties, Religious leaders, African Ambassadors accredited to Kenya, the Peace Ambassadors and Civil Society Organizations. The mission encourages these stakeholders to continue to support and contribute constructively to the process of dialogue, peace building and national reconciliation. The mission also wishes to acknowledge the excellent logistical and substantive support of the UNDP Country Office in Kenya.
Nairobi, 11 January 2008
Rigging whistleblower flees Kenya
By a Correspondent, Jan 12 2008
The civil servant who alleged vote tallying irregularities at the Electoral Commission of Kenya has fled the country, the Nation has learnt. Mr Kipkemoi arap Kirui, an employee of the National Assembly who had been seconded to the ECK to help tally last December’s General Election votes, claimed he left the country for fear of being harmed.
It has been impossible to reach him on his phone since he spoke of the alleged tallying anomalies. Mr Kirui sent e-mail to some of his friends, including our staffer, informing them that he had left the country. He said: “This is to officially inform you that I am in Europe on some special status after some people threatened my life.”
However, Mr Kirui did not name his host country, who had threatened him, or the date of his departure from Kenya. His one-paragraph note was also quiet on the status of asylum he had sought in the host country. Asylum is a form of protection that allows individuals to live in another country, provided that they meet the definition of a refugee and are not barred from either applying for or being granted asylum, and eventually to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident.
People seek asylum because they have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. In most countries the world over, however, genocide suspects are not granted asylum. Mr Kirui stunned the country when he appeared on live television, saying his conscience could not allow him to keep mum about the alleged vote tallying irregularities at ECK.
He spoke at a sideline news conference convened by the ODM at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on December 31 last year, following a stand-off between the party members and ECK over the presidential results. ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his Orange colleagues had insisted that the tallying had been tampered with in favour of President Kibaki, while the PNU dismissed the claims.
“I am speaking to the people of Kenya. My conscience would not allow me to see what I have seen and not speak about it,” Mr Kirui said, after being introduced to the audience by ODM Pentagon member William Ruto and Mr Odinga.
Media wins over offensive bill
By Patrick Nzioka, Nairobi August 22 2007
In returning the Bill to the House, the President sided with the tradition of media freedom in Kenya and rejected the wishes of some of his main political backers, including several Cabinet ministers who had voted in favour of the clause on the floor of the House. The offending clause, introduced by Ol Kalau MP Muriuki Karue, would have removed the protection enjoyed by the media against being forced to reveal confidential sources in courts of law.
The clause reads: “When a story includes unnamed parties who are not disclosed and the same becomes the subject of a legal tussle as to who is meant, then the editor shall be obligated to disclose the identity of the party or parties referred to.” President Kibaki, who received the Bill from attorney general Amos Wako yesterday, sent it back to Parliament with instructions that the clause be deleted.
He said it was ambiguous and likely to cause problems in its interpretation because the expression “unnamed parties” as used in the clause had not been qualified or restricted.“The meaning ... can be construed to include subjects of a story as well as sources of information. This could act as a great inhibition of Press freedom and undermine the democratic strides we have made as a nation,” the President said.
After the Bill is taken back to Parliament, MPs can either delete the clause or reject the President’s proposal if 65 per cent (or 145 MPs) vote against it. Mr Karue introduced the offending clause late into the debate on the floor of the House.
Clause to be deleted
In a statement, the Presidential Press Services said the President had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Francis ole Kaparo, giving reasons for his refusal to assent to the Bill. He also advised that clause be deleted because it was “offending”. Section 46(3) and 4 of the Kenyan Constitution gives the President powers to refuse to assent to any Bill. This means that Parliament will only deal with the mentioned clause and not any other part of the Bill because Parliamentary standing orders do not allow opening of debate on a matter that has been concluded.
The Bill had been criticised as retrogressive and meant to water down the democratic gains on the freedom of the media. Critics argued that it would undermine the profession since it struck the core tenet in the media: Protecting sources of confidential information. The Media Owners Association first raised the red flag on the Bill and called on the minister for Information and Communications, Mr Mutahi Kagwe, to unconditionally withdraw it from Parliament to facilitate dialogue.
But several MPs beat them to the tape when they went to court to question the legality of the Bill. However, the case could not go on since the Bill had not become law. Journalists from numerous media houses later held protest marches in Nairobi and Nakuru urging the President to reject the Bill. The silent demonstration in Nairobi begun at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner on Wednesday, August 15.
Yesterday, the LSK praised President Kibaki for refusing to approve the Media Bill. In a telephone interview with the Nation, LSK chairman Okong’o O’Mogeni said there was an urgent need to review the Standing Orders of Parliament so that MPs are barred from introducing amendments on Bills that have been drafted after consultations with various stakeholders.
This, Mr O’Mogeni said, would ensure that contributions made by key players in the course of drafting the Bills outside Parliament are not disregarded when they are tabled for debate in the House. - Nation
By Shad Bulimo, London August 19 2007
Kenya Commercial Bank is to make a dramatic return to London, the government has announced. Addressing hundreds of Kenyans in London yesterday, Vice President, Dr Moody Awori said the bank would open a branch in London and United States to harness resources in the Diaspora.
The Bank opened a service branch in London in the 1980’s but dramatically shut it down in mid 1990’s under unclear circumstances. At the time, it operated merely as a consultative vehicle; short of offering full fledged banking services. This time around, with an estimated 135,000 Kenyans in the Diaspora, the bank will offer full menu of banking services such as savings, current accounts and loan facilities. Kenyans in the Diaspora remit an estimated shs67 billion every year and the government is keen to facilitate banking services to make the process of economic and monetary transfer less cumbersome.
Dr Awori, who is also Minister for Home Affairs, said the government was responding to the wishes of Kenyans in the Diaspora. He said, KCB had already opened branches in East African countries and the overseas branches would form part of the expansion plan.
Establishment of a Kenyan bank was one of a raft of issues Kenyans in the UK had presented to the government in a memorandum. Other issues raised included the speeding and liberalisation of the Information and Communications (ICT) sector, waiver of duty on donated imports especially medical equipment; insecurity in Kenya and immigration.
Kenyans felt that the visa fees imposed by countries such as US and UK are far too extortionate and the fact that they are not refundable in case of unsuccessful application does infer that these countries are increasingly relying on visa fees from poor Kenyans as an income stream. Then was the issue of Kenyans who are not Kenyans. These are people who arrived here under cover and have received status in the UK based on the nationality they declared when they arrived.
The VP spent considerable time explaining Vision 2030, the government’s blueprint in economic management to bring Kenya to the level of an industrialised nation in 22 years time. He said the vision is being implemented in a 5-year tranche.
Accompanying the VP was the permanent secretary in the office of the vice president and ministry of home affairs Ambassador, Mrs. Nancy Kirui, a former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Also present was Kenya’s High Commissioner to UK and Ireland, HE Joseph Muchemi.