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Happy New Year

By our correspondent, Feb 29 2008
THERE were celebrations across the country following the signing of the power-sharing deal between President Mwai Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga. Many towns, especially in Nyanza and Western Kenya, erupted in spontaneous celebrations that continued until yesterday morning. Immediately the agreement was signed, a carnival mood engulfed Kakamega town.

Residents cheered and blew whistles as motorists hooted. They wished each other "happy New Year". The news was received with joy in Nandi North District. Residents of Kapsabet town marked what they also termed as " new year" and went to celebrate in pubs restaurants.Kimilili MP Dr David Eseli welcomed the pact, saying it would put the country back on its feet. Law Society of Kenya Chairman, Mr Okong’o Omogeni, said it was encouraging that both President Kibaki and Raila had put the interest of the nation first.. More>>>

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A carnivore mood engulfed the country following the signing of power sharing accord between Kibaki and Raila

Donor conference planned:
As messages of congratulations continued to pour in from the EU, US, UN and AU. British premier, Gordon Brown announced that he'll sponsor a donor's conference on Kenya. More>>>

Put Kenya 1st, party 2nd, urges Marende

By Maseme Machuka and David Ohito, Feb 29 2008
House Speaker, Kenneth Marende has said that he does not foresee any problems with enacting the necessary legislation to constittutionalise the power sharing accord reached between President Mwai Kibaki of PNU and Raila Odinga of ODM. Marende however, called on legislators to rise above party matters and help Kenyans get out of the crisis. He said the people of Kenya have gone through a traumatising moment and any dilly-dallying could aggravate the situation.

He said the both sides of the political divide would work together for the mutual benefit of the people, adding the signing of the pact was not a blow to multiparty politics as the House standing orders does not recognise parties but MPs and Government. Meanwhile, in preparation for the state opening of parliament next Thursday, two high-profile teams from both ODM and PNU were set up Friday to work out details of the official opening of the Tenth Parliament on Thursday. More>>>

Battered economy set to recover

By a correspondent, Feb 29 2008
News that the two main protagonists, President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga through the efforts spearheaded by Mr Kofi Annan had reached an agreement is a relief to the economy which was fast limbing into the abyss.

What the country must grapple with, however, is the effects that the recent unrest has had on the economy and  how it has reversed gains made over the past five years. Independent economists and government bureaucrats have been differing in their estimation of the overall impact of the violence on projected economic growth figures, but they all agree that the political stalemate will have a slowing down effect, at least in the short term. More>>>

nyeri tea
Overgrown tea plantation in Nyeri after workers from Western Kenya fled following ethnic violence

Devolve power to tribes

By Donald Kipkorir, Feb 29 2008
As the second phase of the current talks begins, the mediators must deal with the issue of tribe once and for all. We cannot forever deceive ourselves that we are a nation when we are not. We keep hearing our leaders preach against negative ethnicity yet they employ only their kin. Legislating against negative ethnicity, as has been done in the Public Officers Ethics Act, has been a public relations exercise that no public officer cares about. I’m yet to see a public officer being arraigned in court for employing a relative. More>>>

kibaki_raila
The handshake that sealed the deal

45-year struggle for justice

By Shad Bulimo, Feb 29 2008
Although the country is in a celebratory mood following the signing of a power sharing accord between President Mwai Kibaki of PNU and Raila Odinga of ODM,  spare a thought, just a thought for thousands who perished in the last two months of senseless political-cum ethnic violence that engulfed the country following last year’s botched presidential election results. The wounds are still far too fresh to be wished over and those orphaned, widowed or simply robbed of a brother, sister, father, mother, auntie, uncle, must still be hurting even to fathom the ramifications of yesterday’s peace accord.

Families are torn asunder, ripped apart at the altar of tribalism. Hundreds of thousands are languishing in refugee camps and to Kenyan lexicon has been added the term IDP (internally displaced person). Dogs of war have taken over and machete wielding pick axed gangs are roaming the land establishing fiefdoms based on the rule of the jungle. It’s a chaotic life which 19th century English political theorist, Thomas Hobbes described as too nasty, short and brutal.  The violent visitation on the God fearing Kenyans must surely be a piece of historical accident as Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete put it yesterday.  More>>>

oginga
Political granddad: The grandfather of oppostion politics, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga

Hurdles remain

By Noel Mwakung and Shad Bulimo, Feb 28 2008
The body language between Raila and Kibaki at yesterday's power sharing ceremony belies the bitter rivalry between two ideological camps represented by the two individuals. After such a bitter dispute, which has cost 1,500 lives, trust between the two men has been in short supply - this is why it took more than a month of tortuous talks for them to reach a deal.

This will not be the first time that the two leaders have formed a joint government - they did it in 2002 but it lasted barely three years before they fell out.

While Mr Odinga looks set to take up the new post of prime minister, it is not clear who prevails in the event of a disagreement between him and President Kibaki. More>>>

Victory for Kenya

By Chris Oyuga and Edwin Kimutai, Feb 28 2008
NATIONALISM and international pressure finally triumphed over partisan politics as President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate, Raila Odinga, signed a power-sharing deal that promises to completely change the conduct of politics and governance in Kenya as well as bring an end to 59 days of Kenya ’s worst political nightmare. With Prime minister empowered with powers to coordinate and supervise ministries and government departments, this leaves the President with ceremonial roles, alongside being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
 
Friends and allies of Kenya stood in tow to witness the opening of a new chapter in the nation’s history as the two leaders inked the historic agreement that sets the stage for the country’s first coalition government.  
And the heroes of the day, Kibaki and Raila, rightfully pointed out that neither the Party of National Unity (PNU) nor the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had emerged from the negotiations victorious; it is the nation that has emerged stronger. The deal immediately sparked street celebrations from the shores of Lake Victoria in the west to the shores of India Ocean in the east as a resurgent nation declared never again will they succumb to ethnicity and political hatred. More>>>

Where they're not celebrating

By Wanyama wa Chebusiri, Feb 28 2008
For the woman whose husband was burnt alive in a church in the worst of Kenya's post-election violence, it is a little premature to celebrate Thursday's peace deal signed by the country's warring leaders. It's become a habit of saying 'peace, peace, peace' - and then after peace we see flames of fire," the mother of four says in a displacement camp on the outskirts of Eldoret in the Rift Valley Province. "After peace we see spears; we see arrows; we see bows; we see pangas [machetes]."

The church where her husband died was set ablaze by armed youths in the first few days after President Mwai Kibaki was hastily sworn in as president on 30 December after disputed elections. Those sheltering inside were from Mr Kibaki's Kikuyu community.A man who fled his farm agrees that violence has opened up wounds that the power-sharing agreement in Nairobi will not immediately heal."You see these land skirmishes are not about power or politics; it's not ODM and PNU - it's tribal." More>>>

PEACE COMES TO KENYA AT LAST

Thursday, February 28 2008

Kenya's warring parties have finally reached an agreement to share executive power. Highlights include:

  • The post of prime minister will be created, with the holder having the authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of government functions.

  • The prime minister will be an elected member of parliament and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition if the largest party does not command a majority in parliament.

  • Two deputy prime ministers to be appointed, one to be nominated by each member of the coalition.

  • The prime minister and deputy prime ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no-confidence with a majority vote.

  • A cabinet to consist of a president, vice-president, prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and other ministers.

  • The removal of a minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and agreement in writing by the leaders.

  • The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance, and reflect the parties' relative parliamentary strengths.

  • The coalition will be dissolved if the current parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

kibaki and raila
The President and the Prime Minister agree to share executive power
annan
Man of the moment: Kofi Annan. Some people simply never give up

BREAKING NEWS

GOOD NEWS AT LAST!!!
After frantic efforts and unprecedented shuttle diplomacy and arm twisting by the European Union and US, Kibaki and Raila finally agree to share power. Details on just what the power sharing entails will be revealed at a press conference within the next two hours but it is thought that Kibaki has finally ceded some ground to allow for the position of a powerful prime minister answerable to parliament and not the president.

US, EU to punish talks saboteurs

The European Union has expressed concern over the stalled negotiations and called for an effective power-sharing mechanism. The EU presidency also warned of dire consequences to individuals who obstructed the process.

"The presidency emphasises that a means of effective power sharing in Kenya must be found and that individuals who obstruct the dialogue process will have to face the consequences," read the statement from the EU presidency in Slovenia, faxed to newsrooms on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice repeated her "it won't be business as usual" statement and warned that those seen as sabotaging the negotiations would be punished. The government responded furiously that it won't be dictated to on how to run its affairs. The statement came a day after Annan suspended the talks as the negotiating teams failed to reach a compromise. More>>>

kibor
Jackson Kibor (left) with Henry Kosgey at Law Courts in Nakuru where he has been charged with inciting Kalenjin against the Kikuyu following the botched presidential elections that saw Kibaki controversially declared the winner.

Eldoret violence: Kibor charged

By Karanja Njoroge , Feb 27 2008
A Nakuru Court will this morning rule on whether Eldoret ODM politician, Mr Jackson Kibor, will be released on bond. Kibor was on Tuesday charged before Chief Magistrate, Mr Gilbert Mutembei, with incitement to violence. The court directed that he be remanded in police custody awaiting ruling on his bail application on Thursday. Kibor has denied inciting members of the Kalenjin community against the Kikuyu community.

The charges stated that on February 3, in Uasin Gishu District, he incited members of the Kalenjin community by uttering words that were calculated to bring death or physical injury to members of the Kikuyu community. More>>>

Raila: No No to docile PM

By Ben Agina and Ayub Savula, Feb 27 2008
Tanzanian President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, met ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, to jumpstart the stalled mediation talks. During the two-hour meeting at the Grand Regency Hotel, Raila gave the party’s position.

Raila, who was accompanied by ODM Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joseph Nyagah, maintained that there must be real power sharing through a grand coalition Government. More>>>

kikwete
Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete , the reigning AU chairman adding his voice to search for a solution to Kenya's unprecedented political crisis

Kibaki: Yes No to PM

By Abiya Ochola, Feb 27 2008
Chief mediator, Dr Kofi Annan, discussed with President Kibaki and the PNU mediation team to kick-start stalled talks. The meeting at Harambee House offices started at 10am and lasted for about two hours before Annan and former Tanzanian President, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, left the premises without briefing the media.

Kibaki, who appeared to be fronting for a coalition government with ODM under a memorandum of understanding, was quoted in a Presidential Press Service dispatch calling for a speedy finalisation of the ‘Coalition Agreement’. Kibaki said the terms of the agreement should be used to address the appointment and security of the offices of members of the coalition partners in Government. More>>>

Nakitare flees to US, police in hot pursuit over militia links

By Osinde Obare, Feb 27 2008
Police are looking for a former Saboti MP, Captain Davies Nakitare after a group of youths were allegedly found undergoing military training at his home. Kitale DCIO, Mr Issa Mohamud, said a warrant of arrest had been issued for the former MP. "We have secured a warrant of arrest for the former MP and detectives are on his heels. We want him to shed light on the issue," said Mohamud.

The officer said Nakitare would face charges of promoting warlike activities. Unconfirmed reports said Nakitare flew out of the country on Monday evening to join his family in America. In 1997, during tribal clashes in Rift Valley Province, Nakitare was arrested at his home and charged with possession of AK-47 rifles. Officers on Monday raided the former legislator’s home that also serves a tourist attraction site and arrested 205 youths going through military drills. More>>>

Cleric betrays ODM in mayoral polls

By Steve Mkawale, Feb 27 2008
Nakuru mayoral election was postponed for the second time after ODM and PNU candidates tied. What appeared an easy victory for ODM due to the party’s numerical strength failed, when repeat polls were held amid allegations of sellout by the flamboyant clergyman-cum-politician, Mike Brawan Lumbasio..

PNU leaders pulled a fast one when they proposed nominated councillor Mr Mike Brawan Lumbasio of ODM for the seat, robbing the party of one vote. Mr Lumbasio is a pastor with the Metro Church Centre in Nakuru. ODM has 11 councillors against PNU’s eight. More>>>


ODM, PNU share power in Nairobi

By a correspondent, Feb 27 2008
ODM councillor Geoffrey Odhiambo Majiwa was Wednesday sworn in as the new Nairobi mayor after a last-minute power-sharing deal with his PNU opponent John Njoroge Chege. Under the deal struck by the two rivals behind closed doors, Mr Chege will now become the new deputy mayor. More>>>

World Bank plays ping pong with lake funding

By Jane Akinyi, Feb 27 2008
A conservation project worth Sh4.4 billion for Lake Victoria is in jeopardy due to delay in disbursement of funds from the World Bank. On Wednesday, scientists warned that the delay in the implementation of the second phase of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) could spell doom for the lake, which is choking from massive pollution and weed invasion.

The project, expected to control hyacinth weed invasion among other problems, was to begin in April, but funds have not been released.

Dr Richard Abila, the assistant director of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, however, said the delay was due to bureaucracy of the World Bank, which is funding the project in five East African countries. Some scientists, however, suspected that the World Bank was reluctant to release the money for fear that the country could slip into anarchy. More>>>

Marende's trip to UK official

By Shad Bulimo, Feb 26 2008
In yesterday's news edition, we reported that National Assembly Speaker, Mr Kenneth Otiato Marende was in London on an undisclosed mission. Marende has clarified that he is on official parliamentary business. Speaking to INGONEWS yesterday, the speaker said: "I am on parliamentary business and this kind of trips are very normal in my position."

Mr Marende is a former MP for Emuhaya and his election as speaker means Bunyore has to elect another MP. The speaker hails from Ebusikhale Mumboha and occupies the country's third most powerful position after the president and his vice. That doubles him up as highest ranking Luhya in political terms. Bunyore has never had a full cabinet minister with all former MPS - Eric Khasakhala, Wilson Mukuna and Sheldon Muchilwa - getting only as afar assistant. However, in Marende, Bunyore has scored a major first.

karua and ruto
Going separare ways:
The body language sums it all up. Martha Karua of PNU and William Ruto of ODM going separate ways to consider their political future. Failure to strike a political compromise will open up Kenya to lawlessness with devastating ethnic and economic consequencies.

Annan gives up, dogs take over

By Shad Bulimo and Ben Agina, Feb 25 2008
If he did not live all his life as a diplomat, Kofi Annan would have been more succint with his words and said "I give up". But even for a man whose entire career was spent in brokering deals, agreements, protocols and covenants at the highest level, the Kenyan case is an imbroglio that perhaps even Jesus Christ would shudder to tackle let alone attempt. After weeks of shuttle diplomacy between State House and Pentagon House with strategic sojourns at Harambee House and Kilaguni Lodge, the Ghanaian diplomat on whose shoulders Kenyans pin last hope of rescue and the world awaits delivery of the goods, left no doubt in many people's minds that he had all but given up. His statement that it's now up to Raila and Kibaki effectively throws the hope of a nation to the dogs.

The search for a political settlement out of the post election crisis stalled after the Government side walked back several steps, changed positions on issues already agreed and threw the talks into a spin. The Standard reliably learnt that when the talks resumed after an eventful weekend break, the Party of National Unity (PNU) made it clear it was no longer interested in sharing power. Last night, the task of making the hard choices appeared to lie with President Kibaki and bitter rival Mr Raila Odinga."I believe that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities working with the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation has done its work. I’m now asking the party leaders, Hon Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki to do theirs," a statement issued by Dr Kofi Annan, the lead mediator at the talks after meeting both leaders, read. More>>>

SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, KENNETH MARENDE IN LONDON
marende
Mr Kenneth Marende flanked by John Baraza (left) and Michael Sialai, Principal Clerk Assistant
marende
Mr Marende flanked by John Baraza (left) and Isaac Aluochier

Kakamega gets new DC

By Peter Mutai and Cyrus Ombati, Feb 25 2008
The Government made major changes in the Provincial Adminstration. The changes, contained in a circular dated February 22 and signed by Provincial Administration PS Mr Cyrus Gituai, also saw the reshuffle of more than 100 officials.

More than 20 DCs from Rift Valley Province, which bore the brunt of the post-election violence, were reshuffled or transferred to new stations outside the province. In the changes, senior Naivasha DO I, Mr George Oyiagi, has been promoted to the rank of DC and transferred to Shinyalu District in Western Province. More>>>

Return of demos, teargas and death

By Ayub Savula, Feb 25 2008
ODM last night called for mass action on this Thursday following the stalling of the Kofi Annan mediation talks. Secretary General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, last night sent a letter dated February 25 to Police Commissioner, Maj Gen Ali Hussein, informing him that the party would hold nationwide peace meetings on February 28.

In the letter to the police commissioner, Nyong’o said all the ODM regional coordinators had delivered letters to respective Officer Commanding Police Stations (OCS) across the country. At the same time, Nyong’o informed the Nairobi City Council that they had booked the Uhuru Park grounds. More>>>

Kamba MPs disown Kalonzo

By Martin Mutua, Feb 25 2008
Cracks have emerged in ODM-Kenya. Some party MPs are accusing Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, of running the affairs of the party single handedly. The MPs also accused Kalonzo of having secured his position allegedly on the agreement that he would "organise" the resettlement of displaced people - as a result of the political impasse - in Ukambani.

The MPs warned Kalonzo that such a move would be resisted since they had not been consulted and would not allow Ukambani to be a resettlement area. They said many residents also need land. More>>>

marende
Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Kenneth Marende with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Nairobi. Marende is in London on an undisclosed mission

Marende in London on an undisclosed mission

By Shad Bulimo, Feb 25 2008
Mr Kenneth Otiato Marende, the Speaker of the National Assembly is in London. Mr Marende arrived in London on Saturday but it's not clear whether the nature of his visit is official or private. A spokesman of the Kenya High Commission in London confirmed that the speaker is in town but did not elaborate. Marende who clinched the speaker's position after trounching PNU-sponsored Mr Francis Xavier Kaparo with a narrow margin of four votes, is visiting London at a time when his UK counterpart, Mr Michael Martin, is facing calls for his resignation over allegations of financial impriopriety.

Today, Prime Minister, Gordon Brown defended Michael Martin, insisting he is a very good speaker. The Glasgow North East MP faces calls to resign as speaker of the House of Commons over the latest parliamentary expenses row. On a visit to Clapham this morning, the prime minister said the allegations were now a matter for the House of Commons, but told reporters Mr Martin had been a "very, very good speaker".

At the weekend his aide Mike Granatt resigned as his spokesman after inadvertently misleading the media. Mr Martin has been criticised after it was revealed his wife has claimed more than £4,000 in expenses for taxi fares since 2004. It is also reported he claimed more than £17,000 for maintaining a mortgage-free house in his constituency and used Air Miles accrued on official trips to fly family members. More>>>

michael martins
Speaker of House of Commons, Michael Martin all dressed up

Deal? What deal?

By Bernard Namunane, Feb 24 2008
The Government and ODM Sunday differed over the number of concessions made so far in the talks aimed at ending  the post-election political crisis. Leaders from both sides accused each other of failing to cede the necessary ground to pave the way for a coalition between PNU and ODM. The deal is expected to heal the wounds caused by the crisis sparked by the disputed presidential elections.

On Sunday, the Government team denied press reports that only one issue was standing in the way of a political settlement More>>>

passaris
The beauty and the beast:
Raila Odinga and Esther Passaris, the would be Nairobi Mayor but whose name was expunged from the ODM list by Uhuru Kenyatta of local government because she has sued City Hall.

Raila denies he sought help from Nigeria

By Ben Agina, Feb 24 2008
ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, has taken exception to reports alleging that he went to Nigeria to ask President Umaru Yar’Adua to join the efforts to find a political settlement to the crisis in Kenya. The Lang’ata MP said the report was "very malicious and aimed at creating disharmony in the mediation talks led by former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan."

It was published in "SUNDAY NATION" yesterday. "These kind of reports can bring misunderstanding and confusion in the Annan-led talks," Raila stated. The MP said the report was aimed at putting a spin at the talks and serving other interests not known to the mediation team. More>>>

Ex speaker blames presidency for post election chaos

By Moses Njagih, Feb 24 2008
Former National Assembly Speaker, Mr Francis ole Kaparo, has blamed the presidency for post-election turmoil. To guard against such anarchy, Kaparo called for constitutional changes to introduce a parliamentary system of governance. "I suggest that we introduce the parliamentary system so that Kenyans can elect their legislators and leave the Head of State to be elected by MPs. If they fight in the House over that it would be up to them," he said.

Speaking at Kabiruini showground, Nyeri, during the Scouts and Girl Guide Founders Day on Sunday, Kaparo also accused President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, of perpetuating personal and ethnic interests. .More>>>

kakamega
Displaced persons flocking back to their ancestral homes in Kakamega only to find unwelcoming attitudes.

Truckers, touts prey on displaced women

By Harold Ayodo And George Olwenya, Feb 24 2008
Truck drivers and matatu touts are allegedly eloping with displaced women camping at Ugunja trading centre in Siaya District. Local NGOs also say men were taking advantage of desperate women who lost their husbands in post-election violence. The men are reportedly invoking Luo traditional beliefs that widows require sexual cleansing.

Ugunja Community Resource Centre Executive Director, Mr Aggrey Omondi, said promiscuity was complicating the life of displaced people. "We register people who arrive in lorries from all over the country, but are shocked that some women disappear shortly afterwards," Omondi said. Ministry of Health statistics show that HIV/Aids prevalence in Siaya is 24 per cent. Ms Rose Wariga, Precious Tears Initiative programme director, said they had mobilised youths to keep touts at bay. More>>>

Free education runs into trouble

By Samuel Otieno and Shad Bulimo, Feb 24 2008
The government's re-election flagship of free secondary school education has run aground. The Sh2.9 billion free secondary education funds have not been disbursed to schools, The Standard has learnt. Sources at the Ministry of Education said the money had not been released, even though the President had indicated that it had been sent two weeks ago.

"Maybe the President was misled that the money was disbursed two days before he launched the programme, but as far as we know, no money has been sent to schools yet," a source, who works at the ministry’s accounts office, said. Last week, Education PS, Prof Karega Mutahi said that some schools gave wrong information to the ministry, causing the delay. More>>>

Moody
Professional assistant minister:
Moody Awori addressing Kenyans in London in August 2007 while campaigning for Kibaki's re-election. Before his elevation to vice president, he was known as professional assistant minister, having occupied that position for 20 years under Moi.

Uncle Moody quits politics

By Cosmas Butunyi and Ouma Wanzala, Feb 23 2008
Former Vice-President Moody Awori has retired from active politics.  Announcing his decision, Mr Awori blamed some of his former allies for his failure to recapture the Funyula parliamentary seat in the General Election.  But he said he had forgiven them. “Whatever happened on (December) 27th is not the end of the world. Life has to continue although I was betrayed,” he said. 

He was speaking at his Funyula home where he and his wife Rose were celebrating 50 years of marriage. The ceremony was a blend of Christian and traditional practices. Regarded as one of President Kibaki’s strongest allies in the last Parliament, “Uncle Moody,” as he was informally referred to, became a fashion trendsetter, who blended flamboyance and modesty. 

He lost the Funyula seat to Dr Paul Otuoma of ODM. Since the defeat, his public appearances have been far and between.  During the Moi regime, he acquired the tag, “professional assistant minister” for having served in the same position for 20 years. Mr Awori was first elected to parliament in 1983. During the Moi regime, he acquired the tag, “professional assistant minister” for having served in the same position for 20 years. Mr Awori was first elected to parliament in 1983. Mr Awori, the son of clergyman Canon Awori, was born in 1927 More>>>

Kakamega returnees find unwelcoming home

By Allan Kisia, Feb 22 2008
When vehicles were provided to take them to their ancestral homes, the displaced families could hardly hide their joy. Finally, they would get home after camping for weeks at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. Very few thought of the reception they would get in Western and the homes they longed for.

"When we left Nakuru, I thought all problems were behind me and I was ready to start a new life in my village," says Paul Omutari.

The first batch of internally displaced persons (IDPs), after the post-election violence in Nakuru and Naivasha, arrived in Kakamega last Saturday afternoon. But the reception at Kakamega Police Station shocked the IDPs, who thought they were safe at home. When the first group arrived at the police station, they were confronted with a harsh reality. The station was already struggling to cope with more than 1,000 locals camping there. Facilities were also overstretched. More>>>

Annan talks hit a snag over PM job

By our correspondents, Feb 22 2008
NEGOTIATIONS between the government and ODM yesterday ran into a deadlock over the powers and responsibilities of proposed prime ministers post. It is understood that the PNU side is wary of a premier with executive powers while the ODM side was insistent that it was the least the party would accept (see separate story).

And following the deadlock, chief negotiator former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last evening told the two protagonists to prioritise the “urgency of the work at hand and the expectations of the people of Kenya, the region and the world and end the stalemate.”

“I urge the principals to now take definitive decisions and to give their negotiators clear instructions so that we can move swiftly to a conclusion when talks resume on Monday,” Annan said in a brief statement, adding: “I have asked them to ponder over and do so over the weekend and to return on Monday prepared to conclude an agreement. More>>>

Athletes fume at violence link

By Biketi Kikechi, Feb 22 2008
Athletes from the North Rift have asked the Government for protection from people claiming they sponsored violence. Retired, current and budding runners on Friday gathered at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret to protest at victimisation. The athletes said they had received emails threatening top runners from the region.

"These stories are worrying and it is very sad that athletes are not being allowed to train when we have the World Cross Country championship and the Olympic games coming," said Kipchoge Keino, chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

He said he was shocked to read about the allegations in a Nairobi tabloid when he arrived from Russia, on Friday. "This is calculated to damage the image of Kenyan athletes internationally and it is going to affect young athletes," he said. More>>>

kakamega
The next property hotspot:
Kakamega is slowly rising from the ashes with a property boom to rival Nairobi. Rents have increased by 50% with bungalows fetching shs25,000 per month and the cost of land is fast outstripping supply. A quarter acre plot sells for up shs800,000.

Kakamega's booming real estate

By Roselyne Obala and Joel Okwayo, Feb 21 2008
Western Kenya’s property market received a boost after the introduction and elevation of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology to a full-fledged varsity. The university has caused an acute shortage of residential housing in Kakamega town.

Local investors have flocked the property market to cash in on the demands for accommodation by students and staff from the institution. This is despite recent political skirmishes that left a number of houses burnt down and threatened to reverse the trend. The town is registering a fast growth with the sprouting of commercial colleges and financial institutions. More>>>

Raila in Nigeria as ODM, PNU sign pact

By Shad Bulimo and agencies, Feb 22 2008
Raila Odinga, the ODM leader who is widely believed to have won the Kenya's presidential elections last year is in Nigeria, CNN has reported. No one knows what he is doing or is meeting in Nigeria as there has been no official communication from Pentagon House. Raila's trip to Nigeria comes at a crucial time when his ODM and Kibaki's PNU parties are close to signing an accord that will see Raila occupying the office of the Prime Minister. More>>>

Meanwhile, Kenya Times is flashing as breaking news, that a deal has been signed between PNU and ODM signalling the end of the long, contentious and protracted negotiations aimed at rescuing Kenya from becoming another Rwanda case. Exact details of the agreement remain sketchy but it is believed Kibaki retains most of his imperial powers.

Kenyan workers support change of constitution

By our correspondent, Feb 21 2008
CENTRAL Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has backed calls for piecemeal constitutional reforms to help resolve the current political crisis in the country. Atwoli said if ODM called for mass action, Cotu would advice workers to stay at home to avoid death and injury. The COTU boss noted that amendments to the Constitution to accommodate the outcome of the mediation would pave way for settling the crisis. More>>>

atwoli
Workers voice: Atwoli speaks

Violence claims bankers conference

By James Ratemo, Feb 21 2008
A conference on banking technology slated for this week has been postponed to April. "This postponement has been compelled by an increase in cancellations by international speakers as their countries’ insurance policies will not recognise their travel to Kenya, in light of civil unrest," read the Aitec statement.. More>>>

kisumu burns
Post election violence has cost Kisumu shs2bn

Violence cost Kisumu shs2bn

By KNA, Feb 21 2008
The manufacturing industry in Kisumu has lost close to Sh2 billion due the post-election turmoil that gripped the country. And the business community in the town has challenged the media to stop over concentrating on the violence and instead help build investor confidence to allow businesses thrive in the town once again. Kenya Association of Manufacturers executive officer Felix Muasya said the media gave prominence to negative events, ignoring the positive side of the situation. Kisumu branch of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive officer, Ben Kitoto, asked the Kenya Revenue Authority to review its policy on remittance of tax returns to ensure businessmen did not pay more tax than what they raised.

Aganyanya sues CJ

John Osoro, Feb 21 2008
Chief Justice Evans Gicheru has filed a defence over a defamation case instituted against him be Court of Appeal judge Daniel Aganyanya over corruption claims that led to his suspension.
 Gicheru says he had nothing to do with the suspension of the judges, arguing that it was the prerogative of the President who is immune to any civil or criminal litigation to suspend them.
More>>>

harare millions
Earn millions in a day:
If you want to become an instant millionaire, head straight to the streets of Harare where even beggars like the boy above earn millions in a day's work. Inflation in Zimbabwe is now more than 150,000%, the world's highest.

Mugabe parties as inflation soars past 150,000%

By a correspondent, Feb 21 2008
As many as 10,000 people were converging on a town in southern Zimbabwe for President Robert Mugabe's 84th birthday celebrations, state radio reported Friday. Many were traveling free on commandeered buses and trains, it said. Organizers of Saturday's ceremonies said they raised about 3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars ( $250,000 ) for the bash amid chronic shortages of hard currency, gasoline, food and most basic goods. On Thursday, Zimbabwe's central statistical office said the official rate of annual inflation in the country has rocketed past the 100,000 percent barrier, by far the highest in the world. More>>>


Musician killed five times: Zimbabwean music legend, Oliver Mtukudzi has revealed that he has been killed five time by the fertile rumour mills of Harare. Mtukudzi is angry that Zimbabweans spent so much time spinning rumours than on dvelopment. He was speaking to New Zimbabwe, a London based Zimbawean newspaper ahead of his scheduled concerts in London and Birmingham in March.
mtukudzi
Oliver Mtukudzi, Zimbawean music sensation has been dead five times.

Fresh wave of violence looms

By our correspondent, Feb 20 2008
The mediation talks appeared to be in jeopardy last night after President Kibaki declared there was no constitutional vacuum, even as it emerged that negotiators may have agreed in principle to the creation of a Prime Minister’s post.

Matters were not helped by a persistent ODM, which accused the Government side of dragging its feet and threatened mass action next week if certain demands were not met. The pronouncement by President Kibaki shortly after a PNU Parliamentary Group meeting put him in a direct collision course with ODM and the mediators. Earlier, former United Nations secretary-general Dr Kofi Annan had made it clear that his Panel of Eminent African Persons would work in accordance with the Constitution, but not within it. More>>>

mathare
Maathare burns again:
Fresh chaos erupted in Mathare slums in Nairobi following a police raid over an alleged rent dispute between landlords and tenants. The night operation triggered an angry response from the residents who emerged from their houses at dawn yesterday and unleashed mayhem. More>>>

Tension returns to Eldoret

By Biketi Kikechi, Feb 20 2008
A prominent Uasin Gishu farmer, businessman and ODM politician, Mr Jackson Kibor, was arrested by police and flown to an unknown destination. Tension remained high throughout Friday as impatient supporters and relatives of the elderly farmer camped at the police station demanding to know why he had been arrested.

More than 30 detectives in civilian clothes had also packed the precincts of the Eldoret Police Station. A senior police officer later told The Standard the arrest was part of ongoing investigation on post-election violence. "He has been escorted to an unknown destination where investigating officers are going to conduct a search," said Deputy OCPD, Mr Gabriel Kuya. More>>>

Maathai's life in danger

By Evelyn Ogutu, Feb 20 2008
Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, has received death threats and now believes her life could be in danger. Maathai said she believes the threats were politically motivated after she took a stand she says is perceived as undermining President Kibaki’s presidency.More>>>


Editors warn govt
Editors from various media houses yesterday told the Government to stop interfering with the operations of the Media Council of Kenya. The group said the ministry must stay off and allow the council to discharge its legal mandate without interference. More>>>
western
Bussing them for the trip back to ancestral lands in Western and Nyanza following political violence in Nakuru and Naivasha where Luhya and Luo tribesmen were targetted by Kikuyu.

No easy task relocating 20,000 to Western, Nyanza

By Shad Bulimo and George Omondi, Feb 20 2008
He came to help internally displaced persons settle back into their homes and lifestyles in Nakuru but temperatures in the political thermometers are so high, Peter Hewitt, project manager with the World Health and Humanitarian Foundation, has changed tact and is now busy helping transport 20,000 people back to Western and Nyanza provinces. To get to most parts of western Kenya, for instance, most transporters are asking for at least Sh40,000 per trip. This means that families coming from a particular district must team up and share the cost. More>>>

chopped hands
Hands chopped for building house:
Ms Mariam Kavava, 60 lost both arms when her husband chopped them off for building a house without his knowledge at Mishomoroni, Mombasa. More

70-yr old jailed

A 70-year old woman was shocked when a judge jailed her for one month for contempt of court.Mbeere Muriuki stared in disbelief as prison warders at the Nyeri High Court whisked her away and locked her in the court cells ready to be sent to King’ong’o Prison More>>>

New rules unveiled for UK citizenship

By a correspondent, Feb 20 2008
Immigrants who want to become British and settle permanently in the UK will need to pass more tests to "prove their worth" to the country under new plans. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said migrants would need to demonstrate their contribution to society beyond simply working and paying taxes.

Some migrants may also have to pay into a fund towards public services and have a period of "probationary citizenship". The Tories called the plans, which do not cover EU citizens, a "gimmick". Unveiling the proposals, Ms Smith said reforming how people become citizens was the unfinished business of the UK's migration system. She said that future migrants would need to "earn" citizenship. This scraps the current system which allows people to apply for naturalisation on the basis of how long they have lived in the UK. More>>>

Probationary, earned citizenship

By Dominic Casciani, Feb 20 2008
Migration is a journey - and the British government wants to make it a little bit longer and harder to complete. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has published proposals to overhaul how a migrant becomes a UK citizen.

And the big theme is that migrants will need to take extra steps to "earn" citizenship and become fully-paid up members of society. Ministers say that when a migrant steps into the arrivals lounge, that should not be the end of the journey they take to living in Britain. The critical difference between the current situation is around the idea of a probationary period. During this phase migrants will no longer have access to a full range of benefits that are currently available to permanently-settled foreign nationals. More>>>

Wekesa calls for transitional govt

By Shad Bulimo and Ben Agina, Feb 19 2008
Cracks are tearing the Party of National Unity apart with ministers reading from different scripts. Although President Kibaki is reported to have insisted that any political solution to the stand off must be within the confines of the current constitution, Dr Noah Wekesa his minister for Science and Technology has jumped the gun and is calling for a transitional government. He said it was only such an arrangement that could facilitate power sharing and resolve the current political crisis. Dr Wekesa's intervention could land him in hot soup and is in stark contrast with the hardline position taken by PNU hardline bull dogs such as Martha Karua, Amos Kimunya, Moses Wetangula and Danson Mungatana. More>>>

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He cycled from Nakuru to Kisumu to reach safer grounds

One man's 200km cycle ride to safety

By Baraka Karama, Feb 19 2008
Christopher Okaka, 42, shed tears of joy on arrival at the displaced people’s camp in Kisumu. Okaka was, however, gasping for breath because he had cycled for 30 hours from another camp in Nakuru. He put his life on danger by cycling through the wild, but his face brightened in the knowledge that in Kisumu, he was only a few kilometres from his ancestral home. But Okaka had had little options.

In a lorry that was transporting displaced people from Nakuru to Kisumu, either Okaka or his wife could get a place. He gave the space up for his wife. He added: "I was extremely worried for my family and staying at the camp any longer would have been waiting for death. After I gave my space in the lorry to my wife, I decided to cycle home." His ten-year-old bicycle, christened "Thiringinyi" (Luo for a ‘thorough machine’) was the centre of attention at the camp. More>>>

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Suspected witch, Wayua Muoki in hospital after being rescued from lynch mobs and below Kangundo county council heaquarters in Tala reduced to a shell as angry mobs hunted down the suspected witch
tala

County HQs burnt over witch hunt

By Mutinda Mwanzia, Feb 19 2008
Irate wananchi burnt Government offices in an orgy of violence. The Kangundo Town Council, Matungulu DO and chief’s offices were set on fire by a mob after their attempts to lynch a suspected witch failed. The mob also torched council vehicles and Ministry of Water motorcycles that were parked at the council yard in the orgy that destroyed property valued at more than Sh20 million.

Business in Tala town, the commercial headquarters of Kangundo District, came to a standstill as hundreds of wananchi stormed the council premises and battled police officers who attempted to repulse them. The suspected witch had been summoned for questioning at the country council headquarters More>>>

No deal no business, insists EU

By Alex Ndegwa, Feb 19 2008
The European Union has reiterated that it would not conduct "business as usual" with Kenya. In a press statement released on Tuesday, at the end of Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels, the EU said it would monitor the local situation. "The council reiterates that until a legitimate political settlement is agreed on, the EU and member States cannot conduct business as usual with Kenya," read part of the statement. The EU issued a warning to individuals who stood in the way of the mediation talks."Those who obstruct dialogue or encourage violence will face the consequences," the EU said without elaborating. More>>>


Famine looms in Kenya

By Moses Njagih, Feb 19 2008
A famine could hit the country this year, a report warns. The food situation update for February says serious shortages could be experienced following post-election violence, which mainly hurt the grain basket region of Rift Valley and Western provinces. "Unless the insecurity is addressed, and resettlement and recovery interventions are carried out, the national food supply will be dented significantly," says the report released last week. The report, prepared by United Nations World Food Programme, Usaid, the Government and the Famine Early Warning System further says last year’s poor short rains and low prospect of long rains in the productive region would increase food shortage. More>>>

The return of the premier

By a correspondent, Feb 18 2008
The executive Prime Minister’s office, abolished on December 12, 1964 when Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first President, is now inevitable if a political settlement out of the impasse is to be reached, The Standard has learnt. It is understood to be behind the inordinate delay in striking a deal because of its far-reaching political implications. Sources say it is also the reason for the unrelenting pressure by the international community backing power sharing "as it’s the most viable option in such an arrangement".

"We can make the amendments to make the fundamental changes in order to achieve a political settlement," Mr Raila Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said last night. It could be the biggest compromise from the talks. The President is to be the head of state and the Prime Minister to be the head of government. More>>>

castro
I quit: Fidel Castro, the last bastion of Communism throws in the towel due to ill health. CLICK HERE to view a photographic timeline since 1926 of a man who frustrated 10 most powerful men on earth.

Curtain falls on the last Communist as Castro quits

By a correspondent, Feb 18 2008
Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander in chief of Cuba's military Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma. The resignation ends nearly a half-century of iron-fisted rule that inspired revolutionaries but frustrated 10 U.S. presidents.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said the U.S. embargo on Cuba will not be lifted in the near term. Castro revealed his plans without notice by publishing a letter in the middle of the night in state-run newspaper Granma.

"I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," Castro wrote. "I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas. ... Perhaps my voice will be heard." President Bush said Castro's decision ought to spark "a democratic transition" for Cuba. More>>>

Sinister motive alleged in cops transfer

By Beauttah Omangah, Feb 18 2008
ODM leaders reacted angrily to transfers of police officers from Nyanza, terming it a political scheme against certain communities. MPs, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, Mr Shaakeel Shabir and Mr John Olago Aluoch, questioned the timing of the transfer of 138 officers. Nyong’o told The Standard on Monday that the reshuffle was a ploy to have ‘politically correct’ law enforcers in Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces.

"It is clear that the Kibaki administration wants to sabotage the Kofi Annan-led mediation and then use officers from Gema communities to suppress any subsequent public unrest when the talks flop," said Nyong’o.

He asked the Commissioner of Police to explain the "sudden massive transfers of officers from three communities at this crucial time when Kenyans are focusing on the mediation talks". The MPs demanded that the Government revokes the transfers. But Nyanza PPO, Mr Anthony Kibuchi, denied the transfers were political or ethnic. Kibuchi said those moved had been at one station for more than the mandatory three years. More>>>

Tribal chauvinists hinder constitutional progress

By Dr Eusebius Mukhwana, Feb 18 2008
The problem with power in Kenya today is that it is concentrated in the hands of a few elites (nay tribal chauvinists) that are determined to keep it to themselves at all costs, including human deaths. I have watched Kenya trying to develop a new constitution over the last 18 years without success because of the country being held hostage by the ruling class. It has been a classical example of the struggles between those who have and those who do not. In the end the former have always “won” because they complicate the matter by bringing in their tribal followers and thereby compounding a fairly simple problem.

We have seen the bomas draft, Kilifi draft, Naivasha draft and so on, but at the end of the day we are still stuck in the mud with no new constitution. Over the last 10 years we have had the Kiplagat commission, IPPG and Now IPPG 2, and yet we still have the same document that we started off with in 1992, a whole 16 years ago. And it seems to me like we are still prepared to continue going round in circles. More>>>

Tanzania's more developed than Kenya

By PLO Lumumba, Feb 18 2008
Several years ago, former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere described Kenya as a man-eat -man society. This was in response to Jomo Kenyatta’s remark that Tanzania was a man-eat nothing-society.

Today, our plight show that Nyerere was right. We have put premium on material things and sacrificed integrity and truth at the altar of primitive accumulation of material things.

Our country is tottering in political confusion due to ethnic hatred and pursuit of wealth by any means necessary. Conversely, Tanzania has and continues to demonstrate admirable maturity in the conduct of its social, political and —to some extent — economic affairs. A sampling of several affairs reveals the Kenya-Tanzania divide.

In the late 1980s when multi-party politics became the touchstone of democratisation, Tanzania embraced it through debate. In Kenya, we spilt blood during the ‘Saba Saba’ and ‘Nane Nane’ riots of 1991 before our political leadership surrendered to the people’s will. More>>>

volunteers
Volunteers in refugee camps in Kenya and below, Dr Walter Kizito of MSF
kizito

HIV patients bear brunt of violence

By Karen Allen, Feb 17 2008
Out of 600,000 people who have been displaced in Kenya's post-election violence, at least 15,000 are HIV-positive. Many depend on anti-retrovirals drugs to survive. It is a complicated regime and many need close medical supervision. Yet in some clinics, a fifth of patients have failed to turn up, and that could be just the tip of the iceberg. Patients have either fled to their ancestral homes or are too frightened to venture outside their camps or homes, for fear of fresh violence erupting.

Walter Kizito - a clinical specialist at a Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic in one of Nairobi's slums - puts it in stark terms. "If patients cannot access their medication for anti-retrovirals - and here we are talking of insecurity - HIV could kill more people than injuries from bullets, from violence basically," he says. Bethwell Nyangweso runs a team of volunteers who visit the camps on the edge of Nairobi's slums, trying to identify HIV-positive patients. More>>>

Luo target Luo for Kikuyu wife

By Muliro Telewa, Feb 17 2008
Professor David Habel Odongo, from the Luo ethnic group, married his wife, a Kikuyu lady, more than 20 years ago. All this time, they have lived in Dunga in western Kenya. But he tells the BBC's Muliro Telewa why, in the inter-ethnic post-election violence, his family's livelihood has been lost and his wife's life threatened.

" I was targeted because I am married to a Kikuyu. There is no other reason why they should have attacked me and identified me, " cried Prof Odongo..

At about 0830 local time (0530 GMT), a big group of people not numbering less than 300, wielding pangas [machetes] and axes, came to my guest house and hacked the gate down. The total cost of what has been destroyed is 13-15m Kenyan shillings ($180,000-210,000). I have been married to my wife for over 20 years and I have lived in Dunga for all that time with my lady. We have grown up children - they are at high schools in Uganda." More>>>

Political solution so near yet too far

By our correspondent, Feb 15 2008
Fresh from a retreat, lead mediator Dr Kofi Annan pushed to unlock a gridlock on negotiations by laying a roadmap for what he called a ‘new government’ expected to emerge from the initiative.

Annan announced key agreements by negotiators despite reports that drafting of fine details on power sharing had caused discord between the two teams.

Annan also said negotiators were discussing power-sharing arrangements with their principals before they could come close to a deal.

The former UN Secretary General dwelt mainly on spelling out phases of constitutional, institutional, electoral, political and economic reforms to be undertaken in the short and long-term and the steps to the healing. Highlights include:

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission

Independent Review Committee

Parliamentary, legal and judicial reforms

Reform of the Public Service, strengthening of anti-corruption laws and public accountability mechanisms. More>>>

double
Pre-occupation with Kenyan politics can leave you seeing double.

Turbulent times hit KQ

By James Anyanzwa, Feb 15 2008
Two key senior directors have resigned from Kenya Airways (KQ), The Saturday Standard can reveal. The national flag carrier on Friday confirmed the resignation of Finance Director, Mr Neil Canty and Commercial Director, Mr Hugh Fraser, but said it would issue a formal statement on their positions on Monday.

"They are still in the company, but will be leaving later in the year," said Ms Victoria Kaigai, the airline’s Corporate Communication Manager. "The information has not yet been released formally. It only came to the media through a leaked internal memo. So we will set the record straight on Monday," she added. The crisis has been blamed on post-election violence.

The violence has seen the company suffer reduced capacities mostly on European routes of London, Amsterdam, Paris, Johannesburg and a number of African destinations. More>>>

Kombo's tantrums yield fruit

By Joseph Murimi, Feb 15 2008
Ford-Kenya chairman, Mr Musikari Kombo, has finally been nominated to Parliament only days after threatening to quit the PNU coalition. Kombo, who lost his Webuye seat to ODM candidate, Mr Alfred Sambu, replaced Ms Beatrice Wasike, who had been initially nominated. Kombo clinched the slot after meeting President Kibaki at State House on Thursday.

Wasike was initially the Ford-Kenya nominee but sources said she traded her position with Kombo after she was promised an appointment as an ambassador. The other PNU nominees - who include PNU campaign manager, Mr George Nyamweya and Ms Maison Leshoomo from Samburu - remained unchanged. The Kanu nominee, Ms Amina Abdalla, has not been affected by the latest changes that have caused the delay in the gazetting of the nominated MPs. More>>>

Wako, Sue Kivuitu or we do it

By Amos Kareithi, Feb 15 2008
Twenty civil societies have given the Attorney General, Amos Wako a two-week ultimatum to prosecute Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu. Under the umbrella, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice Initiative, the civil societies also want the 21 commissioners and another 21 senior staff to answer criminal charges for their conspiracy in the bungled presidential election.

A charge sheet prepared by the civil societies, accuses ECK of 112 offences including forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony, and making false documents. The NGO’s spokesperson, Mr Haroun Ndubi led colleagues in presenting a petition to the AG’s office, on Friday. He said the people named in the petition allegedly committed a series of criminal offences. They said after the two-week ultimatum, they would initiate private prosecution against those who not only bungled the elections, but also those who incited people to violence.

Road penalties go up by 1000%

By Maseme Machuka, Feb 15 2008
Maximum penalties for unroadworthy vehicles and overloading have been increased. Roads minister, Mr John Michuki, noted that through the Kenya Roads Act 2007, which recently received presidential assent prescribes maximum penalties for the offences.

The minister said truck owners and drivers who violate laws will now attract a maximum fine of Sh400,000 up from Sh20,000. The maximum jail term for breach of traffic rules was also increased from one year to four years. He said weighbridges are centres of "grand corruption" costing the government billions of money in roads maintenance. He warned officers managing the facilities to stop the vice or meet the full force of the law.

"Over 60 bitumen roads projects are being rehabilitated and reconstructed at a cost of Sh80 billion. This wastage could have been saved if the officers at the centres did their job," he said. More>>>

mudavadi
Combatants at political roundtable, friends in the sky as PNU and ODM share plane

No Kibaki No Raila No Deal

By Ben Agina, David Ohito, Alex Ndegwa and Agencies, Feb 14 2008
Talks on power-sharing were suspended after an intense, energy-sapping 48 hours during which the creation of an executive premier’s post and a split down the middle of Cabinet slots between PNU and ODM strongly featured.

But the proverbial white smoke signalling that a deal had been struck wouldn’t be spewing out of the chimney just yet.

Reports, largely conflicting, indicated that the discussions on the sensitive power-sharing deal may have turned acrimonious, forcing an adjournment to allow the mediators to consult with the chief protagonists, President Kibaki and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga.

Details of what was agreed so far - if at all - would be made public Friday by lead mediator Dr Kofi Annan, who stayed behind at the exclusive resort in the Tsavo, which was the venue of the talks, as the Party of the National Unity (PNU) and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) teams flew back to Nairobi in the same aircraft.

A spokesman for the Panel of Eminent African Persons leading the search for a political settlement out of the post-election crisis hinted at an agreement whose details are to be made public later Friday.

"Mr Annan will make available the text of the agreement signed today between the parties," Mr Nasser Ega-Musa said in a dispatch relayed by SMS. More>>>

cricket
China's cheating crickets

By a correspondent, Feb 15 2008
China's historical fascination with crickets has recently been exhibited in cricket beauty contests, singing competitions and prize fights, according to a January Los Angeles Times dispatch, and has led even to increasing vigilance about crickets cheating with performance-enhancing drugs. The fighters duel in terrarium-sized containers, and, according to the Times, "Overhead cameras (project) the action onto large screens," allowing spectators close-ups of crickets tossing each other around with their powerful jaws. The best fighters may sell for the equivalent of $10,000, are raised on vegetables and calcium supplements, and are sexually active before fights. The doping issue mostly involves the "singers"; slowing the vibration of the cricket's wings produces an attractively lower pitch. [Los Angeles Times, 1-13-08] More>>>

PPS issues lies

By Shad Bulimo, Feb 15 2008
The Presidential Press Service has been caught napping. Two weeks ago following a State House meeting between President Mwai Kibaki and UK's junior minister for African Affairs, Mr Mark Mallock-Brown, PPS issued a press statement saying Britain recognised the Kibaki government. But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Charley William, Head of Press and Public Affairs at the British High Commission in Nairobi denied that the issue of recognition ever featured in the talks. This followed earlier remarks in the House of Commons by a junior minister that Britain did not recognise Kibaki as duly elected president of Kenya. It seems the government is desperate for recognition and State House has resorted to lies to justify what is widely believed as Kenya's stolen elections. So far only President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has officially recognised the Kibaki government. Yesterday, British High Commissioner, Mr Adam Wood reiterated that UK does not recognise Kibaki government as reflecting the democratic will of the Kenyan people. Government bull dogs led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Moses Masika Wetangula have barked at Mr Wood and threatened unspecified actions against him. However, Mr Wood's boss, Foreign Secretary, David Milliband has defended Mr Wood's statement as the official position of the UK government. More>>>

condi
Rapid deployment: Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State coming to Kenya's rescue....

Bush deploys Condi to Kenya

By a correspondent, Feb 14 2008
International pressure Thursday mounted on Kenya to solve the post-election crisis. US President George W. Bush demanded a return to democracy, while Britain said it did not recognise the Kibaki government. President Bush dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya with a message that there must be a full return to democracy. “We’re backing the efforts of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to end the crisis,” President Bush said in a speech on Africa. More>>>

were
The widow of the slain Embakasi MP, Mellitus Were views his body during the requiem mass yesterday in Nairobi. MPs demanded justice.

Riddle of Were's death

By a correspondent, Feb 14 2008
ODM believes the slain Embakasi MP Melitus Mugabe Were was killed elsewhere and his body dumped at his gate at Woodley Estate. The party also accuses the government of not doing enough to net the killers of the MP. Westlands MP Fred Gumo and his Budalang’i counterpart Ababu Namwamba claimed the government was reluctant in expediting investigations to bring to book the killers of the MP whom the party believes was assassinated for political reasons. More>>>

Nepotism at hospital

By a correspondent, Feb 14 2008
THE National Council of Community Based Organisations has demanded the immediate resignation of Kenyatta National Hospital’s (KNH) chief executive, Jotham Michemi, citing his inability to deal with alleged squalid conditions prevalent at the institution. NCBO chairman Tom Aosa said nepotism was widespread at KNH. More>>>

No roses, we're broke

By agencies, Feb 14 2008
Valentine’s day was not all that rosy for florists due to a low supply of flowers that triggered high prices, which lovers had to bear to make the occasion romantic. A bouquet of red roses sold for Sh2,000 up from Sh1,200 last year. But the price of a red rose stem remained at Sh50. Florists complained of dismal sales as lovers chose not to spend on lavish bouquets of red roses. More>>>

Did you know that St Valentine was a martyr?

By a correspondent, Feb 14 2008
When we think of Valentine's Day, we often think of red roses, candy in heart- shaped boxes, mushy valentines, and winged cherubs flying about shooting starry-eyed lovers with arrows. But did you know that the origin of Valentine's Day, or Saint Valentine's Day, comes from the life and death of a Christian martyr? According to author Martha Zimmerman, the date traditionally celebrated as St. Valentine's Day finds it origin in the Roman festival of romance called Lupercalia, when the gods Juno and Pan were honored. It was a fertility festival or a lover's holiday looking forward to the return of Spring. In the fifth century, in an attempt to abolish the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia and its February 15 date to February 14 and called it Saint Valentine's Day. Even though the names and the date were changed, the emphasis continued to be on love.

Who was the real Valentine, and why did he have a day named after him? Some authorities credit Geoffrey Chaucer with originating the custom of linking Valentine's Day with lovers. No link between the day and lovers exists before the time of Chaucer, thus leading some to conclude that it was this famous English author who connected the day with lovers. The fullest and earliest description of the tradition occurs in Chaucer's "Parliament of Fouls" composed around 1380. Since that time it has been traditional to connect St. Valentine's Day with love. More>>>

roses
Say it with roses:
Love expressed through a bouquet of roses is more magical than you think. Just try it, especially on Valentine's Day.

Reap while they make love

By Benson Kathuri, Feb 13 2008
Earnings from flower sales jumped 79 per cent to Sh43 billion ($615.6 million) last year, and industry players say that farmers had met targets for this year’s Valentine’s Day which alongside Mother’s Day - account for between 30 to 40 per cent of annual turnover for the Kenyan farms despite disruptions caused by political violence.

"The year has begun well for the industry going by the January figures. The industry has also met its targets for Valentine’s Day and is on course to fulfilling its quota for Mother’s Day in Europe and the US," Ms Jane Ngige, chief executive for the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), said on Wednesday during a media briefing. More>>>

kanyotu
James Kanyotu dies with secrets of some of Kenya's high profile political murders - Tom Mboya's and former charismatic Nyandarua MP, JM Kariuki's.

Murder secrets die with spymaster

By Patrick Wachira, Feb 13 2008
The death of former spy chief, James Kanyotu, marks the end of an era and with it many secrets. Kanyotu is as one of the most mysterious, feared and long serving directors of Intelligence. Under his watch, three political murders that threatened to rock the core of State power were committed and remained unsolved.For long, there were no public pictures of the man until 2004 when he attended the burial of his mother and journalists jostled for shots of the burly man in dark glasses.

Kanyotu was head of Intelligence in 1969 when an assassin’s bullet felled maverick politician, Tom Mboya, on then Government Road, now Moi Avenue. Six years later, in 1975, he was the spy chief when Nyandarua North MP, JM Kariuki, was murdered and his body dumped in Ngong Forest.The discovery of JM’s body at a time when he was said to be in Zambia led to riots and demonstrations against the Kenyatta regime. There had been another attempt at JM’s life when a bus belonging to the Overseas Trading Company, was blown up in a bomb explosion that killed 35 people in Nairobi. Unknown to the would-be-killers, JM had apparently learnt of the plot and skipped the trip to the Coast.

In 1990, Cabinet minister, Robert Ouko was murdered. The subsequent discovery of his body at the foot of Got Alila Hill rocked the Kanu regime to its foundations. Countrywide riots erupted as the State fumbled and attempted to explain the murder. Attempts to cover-up failed dramatically. Then Chief Government Pathologist, Jason Kaviti, explained that Ouko committed suicide by shooting himself on the head, dousing himself with petrol and then setting himself ablaze. It was the most absurd story Kenyans had heard in a long time.More>>>

tom mboya
Tom Mboya, the most accomplished politician of his time felled by an assasin's bullet in 1969 when James Kanyotu was head of intelligence services.

50% of Kenyatta patients are HIV

By Shad Bulimo and Susan Anyangu, Feb 13 2008
More than 50% of the total in-patient population at Kenyatta National Hospital are HIV. The country's only referral hospital with a bed capacity of 1,800 is now overstretched having admitted 2,500 in-patients thanks largely to the post election violence that erupted following flawed presidential results. The most critical department is the orthopaedic trauma ward which has a capacity of only 34 but is straining to cope with 100 patients. "The trauma orthopaedic ward at KNH, which has a bed capacity of 34, currently has 100 patients. The number of fracture patients has always been high due to road accidents, but this worsened due to post-election violence," said Dr Hezron Nyangito, the PS in the Ministry of Health.

The hospital’s director, Dr Jotham Micheni, said while KNH has a bed capacity of 1,800, approximately 2,500 patients were currently admitted to the facility. More>>>

UK does not recognise Kibaki

By our correspondent, Feb 13 2008
The British High Commissioner Mr Adam Wood said in Nairobi yesterday that his government still did not recognise President Kibaki as legitimately elected. "Our pledge is to recognise states not governments. This has also been expressed by other British ministers. But given the irregularities reported by observers around the presidential elections, we do not recognise the Kenyan Government as presently constituted as representing the will of Kenyan people," Wood said in an interview with our sister television station KTN.

Even more assertive was the position taken by Switzerland in the matter. "To ensure success, Switzerland urges all parties to remain fully committed to the negotiation process," a statement issued from the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi read. "If the mediation efforts nevertheless fail to resolve the crisis, Switzerland would consider taking appropriate measures such as restricting access to its territory to individuals responsible for the failure of the process." More>>>

Wetangula barks at Wood

By our correspondents, Feb 13 2008
A diplomatic row is brewing between Kenya and the United Kingdom following a statement  by High Commissioner Adam Wood that the Government, as currently constituted, did not reflect the wishes of Kenyans.

Kenya  said Wednesday it would not  tolerate such provocations any further and hinted that it would take ‘‘remedial measures’’ against the high commissioner over his  remarks.

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula said the remarks, which were made during an interview on a local  television station on Tuesday, were in total disregard of diplomatic etiquette. More>>>

marende
Power men discuss peace: Parliamentary Speaker, Kenneth Marende and Kofi Annan. PNU has accused Annan of dishonesty.

Govt accuses Annan of lying

By Shad Bulimo and agencies, Feb 12 2008
Word from PNU intimates that Kofi Annan has mutated into a mercenary of sorts not to be trusted to say things agreed upon at the on going mediation talks to stymie the political stand off tearing the country apart. Soon after addressing the special session of Parliament (Kamukunji) yesterday in which he seemed to suggest that an interim government had been agreed with presidential face-off in two year's time, PNU's hawk-eyed Martha Karua punched holes in that statement, dismissing it as an ambush and inaccurate. Where this leaves the talks now, tucked away in some hidden location, due to the sensitive agenda, remains to be seen and especially whether the government side can restore their trust in Annan to deliver a balanced package that will assuage both sides of the political divide. More>>>

Community fights back

By Caroline Rwenji, Feb 11 2008
The Ilchamus Community has moved to court in yet another bid to stop the nomination of 12 MPs. They want the court to issue orders quashing any nominations that may have been submitted to the President by the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

They further want the ECK and the Government Printer stopped from publishing any appointments of nominated MPs until the specifications for the special interest and gender groups are looked into by the Commission. Also known as Njemps, the Ilchamus are closely related to the Samburu and the Masai. More>>>

Lake Victoria's ecosystem threatened

By Cosmas Butunyi, Feb 11 2008
Lake Victoria faces another threat - an assortment of grasses. Experts warn the encroachment of the lake by grasses is an indication that something is amiss in the Lake Victoria ecosystem. The water mass has, for the last seven years, been choking under massive water hyacinth growth. Dr Richard Abila, the deputy director of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute, says the presence of vegetation in the lake is a symptom of a problem.More>>>

Ex police chief arrested

By Osinde Obare, Feb 11 2008
A retired assistant Commissioner of Police is among 30 suspects being investigated over claims of funding post-election violence in Trans Nzoia District. The former officer allegedly financed the burning of houses in Gituamba, Saboti constituency. More than 3,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Kitale police boss, Mr Bernard Muli, confirmed the arrest of the former officer and said he was under investigation. He was picked from his home and taken to the Kitale Police Station under tight security. In Kitale East, police are looking for perpetrators of violence in Cherangany, where more 20,000 people have been displaced. Local DC, Mr Seif Matata, said reports that some people behind the violence were hiding in Kitale town were being investigated. More>>>

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Rude shock as Mrs Gombe Gombe finds her rural home deserted. "I have now realised that life in Mathare slums in the city was a luxury. All doors to my ancestral home seem closed."

Lost city, lost lives

By Harold Ayodo, Feb 11 2008
A displaced woman got a rude shock when she returned to her ancestral home in Siaya and found a deserted homestead. At the homestead, Mrs Gombe Gombe, 42, and her 13 children found shrubs on graves of all family members.

But this was only the beginning - a bigger shock awaited them when Gombe, who left Karapul village for Nairobi in 1982, came face-to-face with the reality of customs that barred her from living in the homestead where she was born and grew up. Villagers described the home as gunda (deserted homestead) due to the death of all family members and growth of thickets on their graves. More>>>

MALE CIRCUMCISION ADVISOR

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Mrs Graca Machel, member of the Eminent Persons Group negotiating a peace deal for Kenya.

Politics not courts can save Kenya

By Mutinda Mwanzia, Feb 10 2008
The current crisis facing the country can only be addressed through a political solution. Mrs Graca Machel, a member of the Kenya National Dialogue For Reconciliation Committee has said. Speaking at the Parliament's Old Chambers, on Tuesday, Machel called on all parties to work towards attaining political solution to the crisis.

Parliament must lead the peace process by passing reforms that will lay the foundation for lasting peace in the country, said the former South African First Lady adding that the House has an historical mission to re-define the common ground where Kenyans must co-exist regardless of their ethnic identity. Parliament will also be required to support all the conclusions arrived at so as to renew the sense of citizenship among all Kenyans. The crisis, which erupted immediately President Kibaki was declared the winner of last month's General Election, provides an opportunity to heal, reconcile and do justice to all. More>>>

Annan moves talks to secret location

By INGONEWS Reporter, Feb 11 2008
Kofi Annan, the chief mediator in the Nairobi talks aimed at arresting the political crisis in Kenya, has moved the talks to a secret location and hinted at a breakthrough in the next 48-72 hours. Mr Annan who also addressed a specially convened parliamentary session known in local parlance as Kamukunji, is upbeat that a lasting solution consisting of a power sharing arrangement is in the offing.

Just what nature, shape or colour of that agreement remains shrouded in mystery until the curtain is raised and all cobwebs cleaned but it is thought to involve a raft of constitutional, legal and judicial reforms stamped by the authority of Parliament. Mr Annan has cautioned negotiating teams from PNU and ODM against speaking about what is or is not in the agreement before the final draft has been agreed, ratified and sealed.

Khalwale, Shitanda petitioned

By INGONEWS Reporter and agencies, Feb 10 2008
Malava MP, Soita Shitanda and his Ikolomani counterpart, Dr Bonny Khalwale are among several members of parliament facing challenge in the election petition courts. Mr Musavini Ndambwa had moved to court to challenge the re-election of former Housing minister, Mr Soita Shitanda for the Malava seat, while Mr Bernard Shinali of Ikolomani challenged the victory of the former assistant minister, Dr Bonny Khalwale. The two petitions challenging the re-election of Malava and Ikolomani MPs came up before Justice Fredrick Ochieng yesterday who adjourned the cases for further mention on March 10. Shitanda and Khalwale belong to a break away party known as New Ford Kenya, hived from Ford Kenya led by Musikari Kombo, the fallen former MP for Webuye.Although separate entities, the two parties are affiliated to the ruling party, the PNU. More>>>

fishing
Time to go fishing, anywhere

Keya's suit against Raila, Kibaki frivolous

By Judy Ogutu , Feb 10 2008
ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, wants the High Court to strike out a petition challenging the election of President Kibaki. Raila says as far as he was concerned, there was no proper and valid petition before the court.

Mr Eliphaz Wesangula Keya has sued Kibaki, Raila, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), Molo Returning Officer, Mr Raban Korallach, and Juja Returning Officer, Mr Watson Mahinda. Keya wants election results of the 210 constituencies scrutinised and tallied by the High Court. More>>>

No more tourist haven

By Gitonga Marete, Feb 10 2008
Kenya’s tourist arrivals last month dropped by nearly 90 per cent as a result of post-election violence, according to industry players. Consequently, earnings from the sector for the first quarter of the year are projected to fall from Sh21 billion to Sh8.4 billion, says Kenya Tourism Board chief executive officer Achieng Ong’ong’a. More>>>

Khang'ati calls for state security

By Our correspondents, Feb 10 2008
The Civil Servants Union is calling on the Government to provide security to its members affected by post-election violence.  Two Union officials speaking separately in Bungoma and Nakuru said it was up to the State to ensure the workers returned to their stations.  Mr Alfred Khangati, the union’s secretary-general, who is also the MP for Kanduyi said civil servants who are useful and productive to the Government were the most affected by the chaos. More>>>

Naivasha IDPs face disease, gloom

By Billy Muiruri, Feb 10 2008
Overstretched sanitary services at Naivasha Police Station have turned into a health hazard. At the same time, mothers say they are unable to visit clinics even as shortage of medicine continues to bite, thereby exposing children to health risks. Ms Jackline Najala, a young mother, says she has not accessed healthcare since she gave birth a week ago. More>>>

Shishia blames Nakuru politicians for ethnic violence

By KNA, Feb 9 2008
Nakuru North DC Fredrick Shisia has blamed local elders for the skirmishes that erupted in the district after the disputed Presidential polls. Shisia said the elders abdicated their roles and failed to restrain rowdy youth from engaging in acts of lawlessness. “It is sad that over 25 people died, over 200 houses torched and food destroyed.

 This is a taboo in African culture,” said the DC. The DC asked the elders from across the political divide in the area to be firm and ensure the youth were not incited into violence. The administrator assured Internally Dispalced Persons that peace had been restored but was quick to warn them against revenging. He said anyone found committing crime will be prosecuted.The DC asked parents to take their children to school. More>>>

Kombo bypass splits PNU

By our correspondent, Feb 9 2008
Ford-Kenya has threatened to pull out from the PNU coalition over the parliamentary nomination row. The party would hold a meeting to review its links with PNU, two MPs said on Saturday.

The members are against the nomination of Ms Beatrice Wasike as the party representative and instead want their party chairman, Mr Musikari Kombo, picked. Kimilili MP, Dr David Eseli and Saboti MP, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, said Ford-Kenya was not consulted over the nomination.

The two, who said they were speaking on behalf of several party leaders, accused top PNU officials of undermining the party. "This is not the first time we are being short-changed by PNU. As a senior partner, our party is entitled to nominate a member and this should be Kombo because he has sacrificed a lot for PNU," Wamalwa said.

Eseli said he had spoken to Kombo, and was equally at a loss how Wasike was nominated. He said the nomination of Wasike, who comes from his constituency, is an attempt to undermine his constituents. More>>>

200 Kisii tribemen killed

By KNA, Feb 9 2008
The violence that erupted countrywide after the discredited presidential elections has claimed more than 200 people in Kisii and property valued at billions of shillings destroyed. Elders in the area castigated land clashes along the Borabu/Sotik border and cautioned against retaliatory attacks from both sides. In a statement signed by the Abagusii Cultural Development Elders Council chairman, James Matundura Araka, the Council vowed to hold peace meeting with their neighbours to find a lasting solution the problem.

 The Council thanked the community for helping Internally Displaced Persons regardless of their ethnic background and desisting from evicting certain communities. Araka said this should serve as an example to all Kenyans. Araka said security should be beefed up in the area to contain atrocities directed at innocent people. Meanwhile,a serious food shortage looms in Kisii following a dry spell. More>>>

PNU now sees sense

By agencies, Feb 8 2008
President Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Mr Raila Odinga have agreed to a negotiated a political settlement to the current crisis. If the plan pulls off, modalities for either an interim government pending fresh elections, or Government of National Unity under President Kibaki, would be out next week.

The international mediating team led by former UN Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan, announced the Government’s notable climbdown so far, on Friday, following joint talks with the two protagonists. Annan’s announcement came along with the caution that it was still premature to conclude a peace deal had been struck. The deal, however, was a far cry from the Government’s long-standing position that the aggrieved should "go to court".

It also was a major shift from Kibaki’s team’s insistence that the President won and that a political settlement of whatever nature was out of question. More>>>

doctors warning
Be warned: Doctors have warned that pre occupying yourself with Kenyan politics may leave you with multiple wrinkes like this man..

First Lady did not shoot son

By a correspondent, Feb 8 2008
President Kibaki’s son, Jimmy, has dismissed claims that he was shot by his mother, Lucy. Speaking for the first time since the swearing-in of his father, Jimmy said he was in "robust health" and that nobody had shot him. Jimmy’s denial comes only days after Imenti Central MP, Mr Gitobu Imanyara, claimed the First Lady assaulted him at State House.


Ojiambo loses round one

By Evelyn Kwamboka, Feb 8 2008
ODM-Kenya chairman, Mr Daniel Maanzo and Dr Julia Ojiambo have lost round one in the battle for nomination to Parliament. The High Court on Friday declined to issue temporary orders stopping the ECK from forwarding the names of two people to the President and the Speaker. Justice Kihara Kariuki said it was because they had failed to produce evidence showing that the party’s National Executive Committee was about to nominate different people. Prof Ojiambo got a paltry five votes in Funyula. More>>>

10 killed at fresh border clashes

By Robert Nyasato, Feb 8 2008
Ten people have been hospitalised with bullet and arrow wounds in renewed fighting at the troubled Borabu/Sotik border. Armed raiders shot them on Thursday evening, only a day after Nyanza PC, Mr Paul Olando, visited the area along with six local MPs and called for an end to the violence.

Ensakia councillor, Mr Dennis Rosana, who rushed the injured to hospitals, told North Mugirango MP, Mr Wilfred Ombui that the assailants had guns. Ombui, who visited the Kisii District Hospital to facilitate footing of the medical expenses of the victims, accused the Government of laxity in dealing with the clashes.

"How many people do the Government want killed for it to deploy GSU personnel to contain the situation? How many houses does the Government want burnt?" wondered the Kanu MP.


Slain MP laid to rest

The slain Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too was laid to rest today in a a funeral that bore the hall marks of a public rally at his rural home. Among the mourners was the ODM Pentagon and a host of other ODM Mps lead by its leader, Raila Odinga. Too who was killed during the violence that engulfed teh nation following borched presidential elections. The newly-elected MP was shot dead by a traffic policeman in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret. The funeral is the first public mass gathering since a ban on rallies was lifted on Friday.

derek
Alan Derek who lived with a dead body for ten years

10 years living with the dead

By a correspondent, Feb 8 2008
The tenant in the Bristol flat where a decomposed body was found told neighbours he "forgot" the corpse was there. Alan Derek, who is aged in his late 60s, is said to have offered the dead man a place to sleep on his sofa a decade ago.

But the man died after a drinking session - and Alan told neighbours he was "too scared" to inform the council in case they punished him for having a lodger.Council workmen who found the corpse said it was still in an upright sitting position on the sofa and resembled "a pile of dirt with bones sticking out".

Neighbour Reggie Askins, 76, said: "The pair had met in the local pub. They were around the same age and would have a good laugh. More>>>


Obama's step mum dreams of White House

By Martin Fricker and Graham Brough Martin, Feb 8 2008
A bingo-loving pensioner from Bracknell could soon be staying with her stepson in the White House. It may sound unlikely, but if the race to be the next president goes as pundits predict then it could easily happen. Democratic hopeful Barack Obama remains a frontrunner to take over from George Bush in the Oval Office. His family-guy image has won over voters of all ages and races across America. But less well-known is his Kenyan background - and the influence an English pensioner has on his life.

For while Barack criss-crosses America on the campaign trail, his stepmother Kezia Obama, 67, lives quietly here in the UK. Many of her neighbours in Bracknell have no idea she is related to the media's man of the moment. She spends her time playing bingo and socialising in the Berkshire town. More>>>

Govt buckles, cancels EA summit

By a correspondent, Feb 7 2008
In Nairobi, the Government buckled to pressure and cancelled an East African Heads of State Summit that was scheduled to take place in Nairobi today, and which ODM had vehemently opposed as a hindrance to the Annan effort. The East African Community (EAC) headquartered in Arusha said the parley had been postponed indefinitely.

The cancellation is widely interpreted as a victory for the opposition ODM party which had opposed the conference on grounds that it's not business as normal. If it had gone ahead, the conference would have scored diplomatic points for the government.

Panic grips MPs over visa ban

By a correspondent, Feb 7 2008
Panic gripped MPs and Cabinet ministers after news that at least 10 personalities had been banned from entering the US. In the meantime, political and business circles were abuzz with inquiries as anxiety heightened over who would be in the list of visa bans.

Several names were being bandied around in the grapevine, but inquiries ran into a brick wall. When approached, politicians denied any knowledge of the ban. A Cabinet minister and a former MP denied that they were among those targeted. A number of public personalities linked to corruption have been banned from travelling to UK and US including Nicholas Biwott, Chris Murungaru, David Mwiraria, etc More>>>

24 women strippers arrested

By Anthony Gitonga and Peter Mutai , Feb 7 2008
Police have arrested 24 suspects for allegedly stripping women in trousers in Naivasha town. The crackdown saw plainclothes policewomen nab unsuspecting youths who attempted to undress them.Naivasha OCPD, Mr Willy Lugusa, said the operation would go on until the town was safe for everyone. "Women in Naivasha have every right to dress as they wish and anybody trying to stop them will face the full wrath of the law," he said, urging women who had fallen victim to the gang to report to the police. More>>>

RISING FOOD PRICES

Prices in KSh/Kg

Product Dec-07 Feb-08
Garlic 150 180
Potatoes 25 35
Onions 35 60
Tomatoes 30 50
Marrow 40 80

'Navumilia kuwa Mkenya'

By Shad Bulimo and Adam Mynott, Feb 7 2008
The government's PR slogan of 'Najivunia kuwa Mkenya' - am proud to be Kenyan - has been corrupted into 'Navumilia kuwa Mkenya' - I tolerate being Kenyan - and for good measure. Inflation is at an all time high with the consumer price index beaten only by Zimbabwe. An example of the chilling state of affairs is Angela Mukoni. She shops for fruit and vegetables at Kangemi market on the outskirts of Nairobi. Last year, her family was living on about 9,000 Kenyan Shillings ($130) a month.

Her husband sold bracelets and masks to tourists, but his income has dried up. Violence across the country has scared off visitors and now the Mukonis' monthly income is down to about $86 a month. Other sectors severely scarred include tourism, floriculture and retail. More>>>

Raila makes major concession

By Shad Bulimo, Feb 8 2008
ODM leader Raila Odinga, has made a significant concession that might just oil the engine of peace vehicle driven by Kofi Annan, the ex UN secretary general. Mr Odinga has said that his party is no longer demanding the resignation of President Kibaki as a precondition for peaceful settlement of the presidential election furore.

Once again, Odinga has demonstrated strong leadership and put his country rather than his ego at the heart of the matter. It remains to be seen if Kibaki can return the favour and play statesmanship rather than senseless ethnic chauvinism.

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Sugar barons are chuckling: Burnt sugarcane fields in Mumias. MPs have raised an alarm that the government is now using violence as an excuse to flood Kenya with imported sugar. Sugar has been used as political weapon to punish people seen as not pro the ruling class.

License to kill sugar industry

By Shad Bulimo and agencies, Feb 7 2008
Remember the near death of Kenya's sugar industry a few years ago? Then a few sugar barons were licensed by the government to "kill" the local sugar economy by flooding the market with cheap imports. They did. Farmers in the sugar belt regions of Western and Nyanza provinces watched helplessly as cane went rotten on the fields and processing factories shut. The industry has bounced back to reclaim some of its lost lustre but it seems a huge conspiracy is underway to wreck the economic livelihood of people from Western and Nyanza provinces who rely on the sugar economy. At least that is the view vouched by local MPs.

Addressing the Press at Parliament Buildings, the MPs, led by ODM Chairman, Mr Henry Kosgey, said on Wednesday that the Government planned to flood the market with cheap imports and use post-election violence as an excuse. Kenya Sugar Board acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Rosemary Mkok(KSB) invited sugar factories’ managing directors for a meeting in Nairobi, on Thursday, to discuss the effects of the violence on the sector. Kosgey, who is from the Tinderet-Chemelil sugar belt, and MPs, Mr Alfred Sambu (Webuye-Nzoia), Mr Ben Washiali (Mumias) and Mr Ayiecho Olweny (Muhoroni), said farmers would suffer if cheap imports flooded the market. More>>>

Budalang'i mourns slain MP

By Renson Buluma and Morton Saulo, Feb 7 2008
A sombre mood still engulfs the rural home of slain Embakasi MP, Melitus Mugabe Were. Relatives and friends flocked his grandfather, Mr Joseph Okingo’s home in Masaka village, Budalang’i, to console the family. It is here where Were grew up under the care of grandparents, Okingo and Angeline.

Relatives from as far as Uganda have been mourning the man described by his grandfather as "a natural leader". Okingo said the family had lost a son who carried the hopes of Bunyala District. "We have cried until there are no more tears to shed," said Okingo.

Angeline, 69, is yet to come to terms with the death of a grandson she brought up from 1993 when Were’s mother, Teresia Agalo, died. "Mugabe has never been involved in crime. Why should he be killed?" she wondered. More>>>

Media circus at Obama's rural Siaya village

By Harold Ayodo, Feb 4 2008
Illinois Senator, Mr Barack Obama’s family in Kenya is up in arms over what it terms invasion of privacy by the international media. The family spokesman, Mr Said Obama, told The Standard at Nyang’oma Kogello in Siaya yesterday that foreign journalists had transformed the village into a "media centre".

To control the journalists visiting the home, the family will from now allow interviews strictly on appointment. Mama Sarah Obama, 85, the senator’s grandmother, said she had been interviewed, filmed and photographed by hundreds of local and foreign journalists in the past two years.

Said disclosed on the day of the Iowa primaries, journalists struggling to interview Sarah engaged in heated exchanges. More>>>

luo deng
Celebrity Spotter, Shem Luchiri meets Luol Deng of Chicago Bulls in London

Kisumu ruled by gangs

By Kenneth Ogosia, Feb 5 2008
Kisumu Town and its environs has now been turned into gangland where criminals are robbing and looting from door-door in broad daylight. What began as mass action over the disputed presidential elections has mutated into criminal acts seemingly beyond the political goodwill.

The criminals are now targeting the working class, business community and generally everybody trying to embrace order. The situation is so pathetic and the branch chairman of Law Society of Kenya, Mr James Mwamu, and several leaders have cautioned political leaders that very soon, people are going to lose confidence in them for failure to restore order. “Kenya does not belong to politicians and soon they may have no country to lead. They should combat the escalating crime without giving it a political angle,” said Mr Mwamu. More>>>

dunga
Dunga ruins in Kisumu. Man points at his hotel, now lying in ruins following clashes over disputed presidential elections. Kisumu is reportedly now under the control of gangs the government having abandoned or neglected its duties.

Maathai, Church praise Cyril Ramaphosa

By our correspondent, Feb 5 2008
Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai and church leaders have accused the government of insincerity in rejecting reknown South African peace maker, Cyril Ramaphosa. Maathai described Ramaphosa as an experienced negotiator, and termed his ejection unfortunate. "I know Ramaphosa as an experienced person and I’m surprised by the accusations that he is a an associate of Mr Raila Odinga. We hope they (team) will get a person to replace him," said Maathai.

Meanwhile, Church leaders in Nyanza have criticised the Government for ejecting South African negotiator, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa from the Annan led peace talks. The church ministers led by their chairman, Bishop Joshua Koyo, also said the Government was not sincere in the talks. "The Government owes Kenyans an explanation as to why it rejected a negotiator who had offered to help on the current crisis. We are reading sinister motives from the Government side but as servants of God, we are optimistic the mediation will succeed," said Koyo. More>>>

50,000 jobs lost so far

By Benson Kathuri and Kimathi Njoka, Feb 5 2008
The economy will lose up to Sh260 billion this year, with over 49,000 jobs having been lost so far and economic growth could drop to three per cent this year should the political impasse extend beyond next month, private sector players have warned.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) chairman, Mr Steve Smith, says the economy that has suffered due to post-election skirmishes would slow down should the crisis go into the second quarter.

"Down to how much depends on how and when we regain our political balance. If sometime this quarter, then down four to five per cent, but if later, then we are in serious trouble," said Smith during a forum organised for CEOs in a city hotel yesterday and atteneded by Kofi Annan, the former UN chief tasked with bridging the political divide that has torn this East African nation asunder following disputed presidential elections. More>>>

Kalonzo to face protests

By our correspondent, Feb 5 2008
He wheezed through London quietly like a thief but vice president, Kalonzo Musyoka dubbed "msaliti" - traitor - is facing ugly protest scenes in US today. An e-mail widely circulated among Kenyans in the Diaspora, accuses the ODM-Kenya boss of representing what it terms "an illegitimate government".

The supporters feel Kalonzo was part of the problem because he influenced ECK’s release of "fake" results. The protests are billed to take place today at the Ritz Carlton, Washington, DC from 5.30pm to 8pm in a meeting between the VP and Kenyans in the Diaspora. More>>>

Great Lakes region feels the pinch

By Lucianne Limo and our reporter, Feb 5 2008
Contrary to government position that the current political impasse is an internal affair, its effects are felt far and beyong the Great Lakes region. The Executive Secretary of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, dismissed remarks by Government officials that the political impasse was an internal problem, saying the effects of the violence were being felt in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.

"Burundi is a land-locked country and the only gateway is through the ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam. Commodities and fuel have to pass through Mombasa," she explained. Mulamula lamented that Burundi had bore the brunt of the violence. "When I left Bujumbura, I did not have gas to cook. We are also facing shortage of fuel, which is now being rationed," she said. More>>>

Militia takes over in Borabu, Bureti

By Beauttah Omanga and Robert Nyasato , Feb 5 2008
A well-organised militia is behind the violence in which more than 20 people have been killed along the Borabu-Bureti border, Nyanza police chief has said. Mr Anthony Kibuchi said the police were investigating the militia to find out who funded it. The PPO said it was "unusual" for the militia to stage sporadic raids along the border despite heavy presence of security officers.

"The militia seems undeterred and causes mayhem with impunity. We are investigating who is behind them and stern measures will be taken as we dismantle fighters," said the PPO. He said although normalcy was returning along the border, the raiders struck at Chebilat trading centre at dawn, attacked residents and burnt business premises and homes yesterday. The attackers also drove away herds of cattle. More>>>

were
Rite of burial:
Retired Maj Charles Diffu (right) briefs the Press about the changes in the funeral plans for Embakasi MP Melitus Were at Lee Funeral Home on Monday. Mr Diffu was accompanied by Mr Were’s brother Victor Were and his sister Francisca Florence.

Slain Were now a graveyard case

By Samuel Kumba and Charles Bosire, Feb 4 2008
Controversy over the burial site of Embakasi MP Melitus Were emerged on Monday as his family postponed the funeral from February 9 to 16. Mr Were’s father, Mr Antony Aloice Ombayo, said he wanted his son’s remains buried in his Mumias home, contrary to arrangements by the burial committee for a Budalang’i burial. Mr Ombayo said his son should be buried according to customary law – in his father’s home.

But the MP’s brother, Mr Emmanuel Were, dismissed his father’s recommendation, saying the legislator was an adult who had established his home in Budalang’i. “I am made to understand that my sons and their maternal uncles plan to bury the late Melitus in Budalang’i; they should know that my son was a Luo and not Luhya and that he will be buried in our ancestral land in Mumias,” Mr Ombayo said. More>>>

NAKURU HAS NO FIRE ENGINE

fire
The only fire engine in Nakuru was burned during the political skirmishes

Without a single fire engine, Nakuru Town is literally sitting on a time bomb. The situation puts in jeopardy nearly 500,000 people and heavy investments in the area in case of a fire outbreak. The only fire engine that was the town’s saving grace was reduced to a shell two weeks ago during the violence over last year’s disputed presidential elections.

Ramaphosa rejected: PNU hardlines have rejected the inclusion of South African politician-cum businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa on account that he has business links with ODM leader, Raila Odinga, a claim which both have denied as pure fabrication.

Crisis as 800 arrive in Kisumu

By our correspondent, Feb 4 2008
Kisumu is facing a fresh humanitarian crisis after hundreds of displaced people arrived at the lakeside town shortly after midnight. The 800 passengers, who were transported by a fleet of buses, were yesterday hosted at the St Stephen’s Cathedral Church compound in Milimani estate. The victims said a similar number of people were on their way to the town. Many were due to travel to far-flung districts in Nyanza while the rest were headed to Western and Rift Valley provinces.

"We left them boarding buses in Naivasha and hope that they will arrive safely because the roads are not safe. They are barricaded with boulders and bonfires," a victim, Ms Rose Atieno, said. Hungry babies wailed as their mothers requested well-wishers to bring them milk.

Bishop Mwayi Abiero of the Anglican Church and the Migosi Ward councillor, Mr Paul Achayo, who received them, said sanitation was a problem. More>>>

kisumu
The sky may be blue but not for these internally displaced persons in this crowded refugee camp

Media ban lifted

The Government has lifted the suspension on live broadcasts. The PS in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo, said the ban had been lifted due to improved security situation. "In view of the improved situation, the Minister for Internal Security Hon George Saitoti has revoked the directive and consequently the suspension is lifted with immediate effect," said Ndemo. In a statement released last night, Ndemo said the lifting of the ban refers to the orders that were issued suspending live coverage on December 30.

Kenya may lose UNEP

By our correspondent, Feb 4 2008
The current political standoff in kenya may yet claim a titanic victim - UNEP, the only UN headquarters on the African continent. The United Nations has sent a warning: Sort out this crisis or risk the relocation of the global body’s office from Nairobi. Meanwhile, the Director-General of the UN office in Nairobi, Dr Anna Tibaijuka, said staff had been put on "heightened alert", meaning that they and their families had been warned against "non-essential mobility". Should the mediation talks fail, the UN would take necessary measures, starting with a caution, but ultimately leading to closure and re-location. More>>>


PNU, ODM warlords face visa ban

On Monday, the US and Canada gave the first hints of a plan to ban top leaders considered to be subverting democracy from travelling to their countries. The US and Canada were categorical that some personalities engaged in what the latter described as "subverting democratic institutions and processes" would be blacklisted and denied entry into the two major world economies. More>>>

Wetangula's double speak

By Shad Bulimo and Caroline Mango, Feb 4 2008
Moses Wetangula, the foreign minister, has issued conflicting statements on whether Kenyan political crisis was discussed or not at the just concluded African Union conference in Ethiopia. On one hand he says the Kenyan crisis was not discussed and on the other, he says the post-election crisis came up in the Executive Council of Ministers and the Assembly of Heads of State. Press reports confirm that Kenya was discussed, with statements from United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, and the outgoing AU Commission chairperson, Prof Alpha Oumar Konare, who warned that the situation risked running out of hand.

Wetangula said President Kibaki spoke on the issue when he addressed the Heads of State. "In the assembly, Kenya was not on the agenda, but Kibaki talked about the aftermath of the election, his commitment to lessen tension and prosecute perpetrators when he was given a chance to address the meeting," said Wetangula. Moon later visited the country on his way from the last week’s AU summit. More>>>

First Lady bays for lawyer's blood

By our reporter and Ban Agina, Feb 4 2008
Gloves are out between two very able political pugilists. In the red corner is the First Lady, Lucy Kibaki and in the blue corner, Gitobu Imanyara. After weeks of swirling rumours about his whereabouts and health, Imenti Central MP, Mr Gitobu Imanyara, finally came out to claim that First Lady Lucy Kibaki had assaulted him in the corridors of State House.

And the renowned lawyer said he would move to court to sue the President’s wife over the alleged incident three weeks ago. But the First Lady reacted swiftly via an e-mail from the Presidential Press Service (PPS) in which she denied assaulting Imanyara. The First Lady has horned her fighting skills over the years and is now a qualified professional ready to knock sense into any man or woman who dares cross her way. Just ask KTN cameraman, Clifford Derrick, civil servant Musyimi for mixing her name with that of Mary Wamboi, widely perceived as Kibaki's 2nd wife and and former VP, Moody Awori for referring to her as Second Lady in a New Year party in Mombasa. More>>>

Saboti taken over by thugs

By Robert Wanyonyi, Feb 3 2008
Two MPs have called for the sacking of Internal Security minister, Prof George Saitoti. And in Mt Elgon, thugs outnumber police. Two MPs said Saitoti had proved to be an ineffective minister to be entrusted with the critical Internal Security docket.

Bumula MP, Mr Bifwoli Wakoli, said Saitoti had clearly shown that he was unable to run the ministry since taking over from Mr John Michuki. Speaking during a tour of displaced victims in Trans Nzoia, Wakoli said it was unfortunate that Kenyans were suffering in makeshift camps while Saitoti gave lip service.

"Saitoti is unable to do his job. President Kibaki should relieve him of his duties and appoint someone who is ready for the job. He could even pick me," said the MP. Saboti MP, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, Kimilili MP, Dr Simiyu Eseli, and Kangundo MP Mr Johnson Muthama, accompanied Wakoli. Wamalwa said security forces in the district had been overstretched and outnumbered by thugs who regularly terrorised residents before retreating to Kabolet and Mt Elgon forests. More>>>

CEOs to mix business and politics

By our correspondent, Feb 3 2008
Kenya’s corporate sector has proposed a chief executive officers (CEO) forum to recommend ways of healing the country from post-election violence. The team of more than 200 CEOs is expected to discuss and recommend economic, social and humanitarian solutions to stem the tide of decline.

Safaricom CEO, Mr Michael Joseph, said the resolutions would be presented to the Kofi Annan led mediation team. "The private sector initiative would discuss the situation, express its concern on the economic impact and consider what support and recommendations it would make to the Kofi Annan initiative," said Joseph.

The forum will be launched tomorrow where the country’s leading business leaders will make presentations. Expected CEOs include Nation Media Group’s Mr Linus Gitahi, Kenya Airway’s Mr Titus Naikuni, and Stanbic Investment Bank’s Mr John Ngumi, among others. More>>>

20 dead as border clashes erupt

By Beauttah Omanga and Robert Nyasato, Feb 3 2008
About 20 people, including a secondary school head teacher, have been killed in the past two weeks along the Borabu-Sotik-Bureti border. The clashes, which some leaders say are political, are also attributed to land ownership and administrative borders.

On Friday, North Mugirango/Borabu MP, Mr Wilfred Ombui, accused some MPs of complicity in the raging violence, saying there were indications that the rampaging gangs were organised.

200 homes burned: By Friday, 10 people had been killed, scores injured and tens of others displaced. Property worth millions of shillings was burnt and schools closed. More than 200 houses were set on fire. Police in Nyanza on Friday arrested 36 youth armed with bows and arrows as they headed to the border.More>>>

raila
ODM Leader, Raila Odinga addresses Bondo faithful yesterday after a Church service. Raila called for peace and urged his supporters to disengage in any acts that could undermine peace efforts fronted by Kofi Annan. He said US, Spain, Italy, France and a host of other foreign governments supported him.

Raila calls for foreign troops

By Peter Atsiaya and George Olwenya, Feb 3 2008
ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, wants foreign troops deployed in Kenya as peacekeepers as the Kenyan police are partisan and discharging their duties discriminatively. Raila claimed that military officers deployed in several parts of the country for civilian duties were not neutral and were "serving their masters". More>>>

Go to school: Meanwhile Raila has told party supporters to stop disrupting education in Nyanza Provinceand to stop using the slogan ‘No Raila, No, School’, saying it earned him a bad name.He said schools were open in other provinces. Said Raila: "My message to all primary and secondary schools students is this: Go back to schools from Monday (today)." Raila’s plea came as a dormitory at a girls’ school in Nyando District was burned. None of the 80 students of Koru Girls Secondary School, however, was injured in the 11pm incident. More>>>

Kalonzo visits UK, US to beg recognition

By our reporter and James Ratemo, Feb 3 2008
Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, the vice president, is to visit London and Washington this week in what is widely seen as a counter offensive from the Kibaki government denied international recognition. Mr Musyoka is expected to brief the House of Commons and Senators on the political crisis in Kenya. Musyoka is scheduled to meet Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, some members of the House of Commons and friends of Kenya.

Top on the agenda will be to reassure them on the Government’s effort to restore normalcy and its commitment to the ongoing mediation talks. After talks in Britain, the VP will then proceed to the US to meet Congressmen and Senators for the same brief. The VP would strive to convince his hosts not to downsize investments in Kenya due to the post-election skirmishes. More>>>

kwendo opanga
Calling it quits: Kwendo Opanga, the editorial director of the Standard Group tendering his resignation to Paul Melley, Group Deputy Chairman and Strategy Adviser. Opanga has worked in the industry for 23 years - at the defunct Weekly Review, Nation and Standard.

Kwendo Opanga calls it a day

By Susan Anyangu, Feb 2 2008
The Standard Group board has announced changes within its organisational structure and the retirement of the Group Editorial Director, Mr Kwendo Opanga. The Group Deputy Chairman and Strategy Adviser, Mr Paul Melly on Friday announced Opanga’s retirement.

Melly paid great tribute to the man he described as "one of the best editors in Africa". "The board would like to announce that having served this group for slightly under ten years, Opanga has decided not to renew his contract with the company," Melly said. He said Opanga would continue working with the group in a consulting capacity in the the newly created position of Technical Editorial Counterpart in Training and Coaching. More>>>

No trousered women here

By Anthony Gitonga, Feb 2 2008
A gang of youths in Naivasha is harassing women wearing trousers. The gang has vowed to ensure women wear skirts and dresses only. At the Naivasha bus terminus, women spotted wearing trousers were flushed out of matatus and ordered to "dress properly".

"African women are not supposed to wear trousers and we want to ensure it stays that way in Naivasha," said one youth who did not want to be named.

A lady who fell victim to the marauding thugs narrated how fellow women rescued her when she walked into a trap laid by the thugs. "I had just alighted from a matatu, having kept off the town for the past week, only to be confronted by a group of men yelling that I remove my trousers," said Miriam Wairimu, a student at a local computer college. More>>>


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