LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION, SATURDAY, 1/6/2013

Dear readers, including employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, here is the lastest African newsfeed and comment and opinion from the Africa Centre. The articles have been taken from the websites of African newspapers right across the continent and down to the Cape.

Please feel free to make a comment, however trenchant, in the box provided; and any suggestions as to what news and issues the Centre should cover would be more than welcomed.

NEWSFEED CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Supreme Court orders elections by July 31; fromReuters; Election by 31 July-Constitutional Court; from The Zimbabwean;’Court has overstepped its mandate’ – PM; from the Zimbabwe Mail (see also comment and opinion);

Nigeria: Emergency rule: Boko Haram still killing Christians in the North – CAN; from the Daily Post;

Nigeria: No gang-up can stop PDP –JonathanJonathan has faced greatest challenges –Uduaghan; from the Daily Independent; “It’s growth without development” – ACN reacts to Jonathan’s mid-term reports; from the Daily Post;

South Africa: Zuma puts ‘personal sentiments’ aside to drop media cases; from the Mail & Guardian;

Kenya: President Kenyatta appoints Tribunal to investigate Justice Mutava; from the Star;

Ghana: NPP suspends Wereko Brobbey;The Presidential Ambitions Of A Traitor…Wereko Brobbey BEWARE!!, from Modern Ghana;

Sudan: Khartoum calls on US’s Rice to handle Sudan’s issues objectively; from the Sudan Tribune;

Sudan: Sudan warns newspapers against offending its ‘holy fighters’; from the Sudan Tribune;

Zambia: Sata challenges mining companies; Mopani spends over $700m on suppliers; from the Times of Zambia;

Uganda: Bad debts choking banks; from The Independent; Tanzania: Tanzania, Japan close Sh54 billion rice irrigation deal, from The Citizen;

Uganda/Kenya: New Hoima-Turkana pipeline proposed; from New Vision;

Zimbabwe: Illegal hunting in prohibited areas; from the Zimbabwean;

South Africa: Breytenbach’s return spells trouble for Zuma’s NPA cohorts; NPA invites Breytenbach to discuss her return to work; from the Mail & Guardian;

Zambia: Ndola council, Chinese firm seal housing deal; from the Times of Zambia.

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls; from the Zimbabwe Mail/Mail & Guardian;

Ghana: Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles, from The Chronicle;l

Kenya: From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history; from the Saturday Nation;

Africa: Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track; from the New Times;

Kenya: Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays; from the New Times/Agencies;

Kenya: Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot; Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast; from the Saturday Nation;

 

Supreme Court orders elections by July 31

Reuters 12 hours 54 minutes ago

Elections should take place no later than 31st July 2013,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ordered President Robert Mugabe on Friday to hold elections before the end of July, adding to a political controversy over the timing and funding of the vote in the southern African state.

“The elections should take place no later than 31st July 2013,” the court’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said.

He was ruling on an application to the court by a Zimbabwean citizen demanding that Mugabe set an election date before the current parliament expires next month.

Mugabe, 89, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is to face long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in the vote.

Tsvangirai has been arguing that fresh elections after disputed polls in 2008, which led to the formation of a power-sharing government, should be delayed.

He says this will allow for the opening up of broadcast media, registration of new voters and reform of the military to ensure it stays out of politics.

A Zimbabwean rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, filed a case with the Constitutional Court challenging Mugabe to set dates for presidential and parliamentary elections by June 29, arguing that the executive risked violating the constitution.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku, whose ruling was supported by six other judges, said it was now legally impossible to hold elections by June 29, but that Mugabe had violated Mawarire’s rights as a voter by not proclaiming an election date so far.

There was no immediate response from the presidency but lawyers say Mugabe could seek an extension on the July 31 date through the courts.

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti, a senior member of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has said the country is struggling to find $132 million needed to be able to hold the elections. Regional leaders have called a special summit to help Harare raise the money.

Mugabe has been in power since leading the former Rhodesia to independence from Britain in 1980, and denies charges that he has used violence and rigged the last four major elections to retain office.

Election by 31 July-Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court on Friday (today) ordered President Robert Mugabe to proclaim dates for elections which should be held not later than 31 July.


The ruling was made by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku while handing down judgement in an application in which the applicant, Jealousy Mawire, was seeking an order compelling Mugabe to proclaim the election dates which he argued should not extend beyond 30 June 2013.

President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, MDC President, Welshman Ncube and Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, were cited as the first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents, respectively.

Chidyausiku said that although harmonised elections were due upon the dissolution of Parliament on 29 June 2013, the date was no longer feasible due to the failure by President Robert Mugabe’s “failure to issue a proclamation fixing the date for the harmonised elections timeously”.

Part of the ruling read: “It is declared that the failure by the first respondent to fix and proclaim date(s) for harmonised general elections to take place by 29 June 2013 is a violation of the first respondent’s constitutional duty towards the applicant to exercise his functions as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and uphold the rule of law in terms of Section 18 (1a) of the Constitution.”

Chidyausiku said that by failing to proclaim dates for elections, Mugabe violated the applicant’s right as a voter and his legitimate expectation of protection from the law entrenched in Section 18 (1) of the Constitution.

“Accordingly, the first respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and election for members of governing bodies of local authorities in terms of Section 58 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which elections should take place by no later than 31 July 2013,” read the judgement.

The Constitutional Court ordered Mugabe to bear the costs of the suit.

‘Court has overstepped its mandate’ – PM

Staff Reporter 8 hours 58 minutes ago

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that the Constitutional Court had overstepped its mandate by ordering elections to be held by July 31 insisting that the determination of poll dates was the responsibility of the executive

Handing down judgement in a case in which a Harare-based rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, wanted President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to announce dates for the new polls, the Court ruled that it was legally impossible to hold elections by June 29 when the life of the current Parliament ends.

The court however, said Mugabe had violated Mawarire’s rights by rights as a voter by not proclaiming an election date so far.

The Zanu PF leader has always insisted that elections should immediately follow the end of Parliament but faced opposition from coalition partners with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai insisting the polls should be delayed to allow further reforms.

In a statement Friday, Tsvangirai said the court had no authority over the determination of election dates.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play,” the MDC-T leader said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.

“There is clear evidence that there are some within the executive who wish to circumvent the consultative role in the GPA and the share responsibility enshrined therein to pronounce an election date under the cloak of judicial authority.

“An election date is the responsibility of the executive, which has not shown that it has failed to announce such a date. SADC and the people of Zimbabwe know that an election date is a result of political pronouncements in which the judiciary has no role to play.

“The Principals have a consultative mechanism that would ensure that a date is proclaimed following an agreement by all parties. This is what SADC, the AU and the people of Zimbabwe expect, not a date set up under the cover of the judiciary without a mechanism to ensure to that issues of the election environment and reforms are addressed.”

The MDC-T leader has previously said his party would not participate in the elections unless media and security sector reforms are implemented.

Zanu PF says there is nothing wrong with the country’s security services adding any talk of reform is the height of treachery.

The MDC-T has over the past week been holding primary elections around the country to choose candidates for the polls which will replace the coalition government.

The government has also said it does not have the US$130 million needed to fund the polls although the regional SADC grouping is expected to hold a summit in June to discuss ways of raising the cash.

Lawyers however said Mugabe could seek an extension on the July 31 date through the courts.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the court has ‘overstepped its mandate’ and has no power whatsoever to set an election date. He said an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said his party is not ‘worried’ about the July 31st deadline but is ‘worried’ about the conditions under which elections are going to be held. He said: “There must be key processes that have to be achieved first before elections can be held and these processes can be achieved within the stipulated timeframe.”

It had been widely reported that the MDC formations in government wanted elections to be held later to give time for reforms that have still not been implemented. But Mwonzora said: “The MDC led by Professor Ncube is the one that wants elections after September. The MDC led by Dr. Tsvangirai wants elections before the UNWTO conference (August).

“Where you may have heard us talking about September is what the law says – the period in which the elections must be held by,” added Mwonzora.

We were not able to get a comment from the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube.

Analysts say while the court decision appears to be exactly what ZANU PF wants, they do say it is possible to hold elections in the given time frame.

International Crisis Group analyst Trevor Maisiri said the new constitution allows for 30 days of voter registration and then there must be 44 days within which election date must be announced, and nominations made before an election. He said: “There is a possibility of running the voter registration process in parallel to the 44 days for pronouncement of date and for nominations. That will make it possible for an election by 31 July.”

Maisiri said Mugabe appears to have transferred the issue of election dates from being a political issue to being a legal one and that only makes it more difficult for Tsvangirai to argue against.

The development comes as the Southern African Development Community prepares to hold an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe on 9th June, which observers say seems to fit perfectly with this plan to hold elections by July.

Analysts say the timing of the summit is significant as SADC leaders are set to meet in the Mozambican capital to specifically deal with Zimbabwe’s election preparations. It is at this summit that Mugabe is expected to present the election roadmap as outlined in the Global Political Agreement, signed by the political partners when the coalition government was formed four years ago.

ZANU PF says the summit is an important development as SADC has promised to assist the election funding in Zimbabwe. “The question of a roadmap and so on is so wishy-washy. It’s all nonsense that people want to inject but there is really nothing of that matter,” revealed Gumbo.

However the MDC-T spokesman stressed that his party believes there are at least four crucial processes that are needed before an election can be held – completion of voter registration, democratization of the media to make the media accessible to all contesting parties, total eradication of violence and security sector reform.

But the ZANU PF spokesman said there are no reforms to talk about. Gumbo added: “We have finished reforms. Forget about it, it is water under the bridge. We are not going to look at so-called media reforms. We are not going to look at security sector reform because reforms were done. They were all incorporated in the constitution. What remains is for us to go ahead with the election.” He said his party will finalize the rules and regulations for his party’s primary elections by the end of next week and hold them shortly afterwards.

Mwonzora responded by saying: “That is the usual meaningless arrogance of ZANU PF. SADC is going to discuss conditions of elections.”

But Maisiri believes the MDC formations will have to be clear about what they are demanding and that their demands will have to be practical, especially when they go to the SADC summit. He said the former opposition parties now need to clearly outline what they require from the regional body. Whether they’ll get it is another question. – Additional reporting: SW Radio

 

Emergency rule: Boko Haram still killing Christians in the

North – CAN

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on May 31, 2013

Despite the emergency rule imposed on Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States, by president Goodluck Jonathan, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday alleged that the Islamic outlawed sect, Boko Haram was still killing Christians in the north.

CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media and Public Affairs), Kenny Ashaka alleged that the emergency rule has not stopped the sect from killing Christians in the volatile region.

According to him, “Last Friday, for instance, an executive member of CAN in Gwoza Local Government, Rev. Luka Bazigila and a member of the COCIN Church, Yohanna, both of whom were in attendance at a Christian fellowship were shot dead by gunmen, who mounted a tricycle.

“Members of the sect also killed the step mother of the Medical Director of the Borno State Hospital, when they could not find the doctor at home. A Muslim guard, employed by a Christian architect in Abuja, was mistaken for a Christian and shot dead. One COCIN member on the Mandara Mountain was burnt by members of Boko Haram on Sunday morning.”

While commiserating with the families of the victims of the renewed killings, the cleric enjoined all Christians to pray for peace and unity in the nation as well as an end to the ongoing insecurity challenges in the country.

“In the light of a recent statement that the military recovered a document containing the names of Boko Haram sponsors, I call on the Federal Government to expose the sponsors now. I believe that such exposition will go a long way in the fight against Boko Haram and will serve as a deterrent to others who might want to toe the same line, he said.

POSTED ON FRIDAY, MAY 31ST, 2013

By Ajibola Abayomi (Lagos), Chesa Chesa (Abuja) and Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt)

After a closed-door meeting with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the Presidential Villa on Friday, President Goodluck Jonathan declared that no gang-up can stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from being at the helm of affairs in the country.
“We will always come together as PDP, and PDP will always win elections. No matter the conspiracy by the opposition, no party will defeat PDP,” the President declared.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted for some hours, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State told State House correspondents that there are no factions in NGF.
“There is no any factionalisation of the NGF; NGF is one and I am the chairman of the NGF.
“We have met with Mr. President, with me leading a team of governors from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to congratulate Mr. President and to consult with him on very serious national issues,” Jang said. According to the Plateau governor, such issues include security and what should be done in the next two years to ensure the stability of democracy and development of the country.
Governors who accompanied Jang to the Villa were Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Peter Obi (Anambra), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Theodore Orji (Abia), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Idris Wada (Kogi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), as well as Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar, and Deputy Governor of Benue State, Steve Lawani.
However, the suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, on Friday, suffered a set-back as the High Court sitting in Port Harcourt stopped the PDP from taking further action against the governor, pending the hearing of a substantive suit by the governor challenging his suspension from the party.
Justice Emmanuel Ogbuji issued the order following a preliminary application brought before the court by Amaechi’s team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Akin Olujinmi. The court also directed the party to maintain the status quo in the matter until the substantive suit has been heard and treated. The court also summoned the PDP to appear before it on Thursday, June 6, 2013, when the matter is expected to come up for further hearing.
Justice Ogbuji also directed Amaechi to serve the PDP the necessary court processes by pasting them on the walls of the party in Abuja and through newspaper publications.
Olujinmi, said the court had directed him to put the party on notice before the adjourned date. “We are in court to set aside the suspension. We prayed the court to grant us an interim injunction restraining the party from doing anything further based on the purported suspension,” Olujinmi said.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP had on Tuesday announced the suspension of the governor from the party for his failure to rescind the decision of the House of Assembly to suspend the elected officials of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.
But the general belief of most Nigerians is that the governor’s suspension was sequel to his re-election as NGF chairman, having polled 19 votes to beat his rival, Jang, who scored 16 votes.
The NGF had been enmeshed in controversy since its election penultimate Friday in Abuja, as Amaechi and Jang lay claim to the chairmanship.
A few hours earlier on Thursday night at a dinner hosted by Jonathan at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa for PDP stalwarts, the chairman of PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), Chief Tony Anenih, described the tussle between the two governors, both members of the party, as embarrassing.
The dinner at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, rounded off Jonathan’s presentation of a mid-term report and celebration of the nation’s Democracy Day – marking 14 years of unbroken democratic rule, with the PDP firmly in charge at Aso Rock.
The President declared that the PDP faithful ought not to fret because of antics of the opposition because political groupings or parties formed solely on the basis of conspiracy, especially against one man (him), would not succeed.
According to Jonathan, it is better when the opposition abuse, gang-up or meet in kitchens and toilets to conspire against PDP than when they sing the praises of the ruling party, because it is the latter situation that raises cause for serious concern.
“PDP is a party not formed as result of conspiracy against anybody. We are not busy conspiring against anybody. We are not like a party conspiring against one person.
Notable at the dinner were Senate President David Mark, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, state governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers, PDP Board of Trustees and National Working Committee members, and Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark.
Former chairmen of the party, and other party stalwarts were also present at the event where Jang was introduced as chairman of NGF.
Conspicuously absent was Amaechi and the immediate past chairman of the of the party’s BOT, former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Still basking in the euphoria of Amaechi’s victory as the chairman of NGF, Congress for Progressive change (CPC) on Friday declared that more governors from PDP fold would soon join the opposition camp.
During a chat with Saturday Independent, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, said “all Nigerians know the position of the governors who are members of All Progressives Congress (APC). When fully registered, it would be an understatement to say that we are going to win the Presidency and many states.
“Our focus is to rebuild Nigeria. The door of our party is opened. More PDP governors would join us soon on this journey. It would no longer be at NGF level anymore. Even If Jonathan himself is willing to join us, we shall accept him too.”

POSTED ON SATURDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2013

By Felix Igbekoyi/Asaba

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has faced the greatest challenge with the violent activities of the Islamic terrorist, Boko Haram.

Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, said this in Asaba after commissioning some roads and schools in the state, adding that the President has done well in handling the crisis with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the three North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

He said it was unfortunate that the President has to experience the disturbances but noted that he has done well. He appealed to the people of the South-South to rally round President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a veiled reference to Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, he argued that after only two years in the saddle, it is very wrong to compare him with somebody who has ruled for eight years, adding that after listening to his broadcast, he had no doubt that he had done very well.

“As a son of the resource rich but impoverished South-South region that it is out of place for fellow indigenes of the region to attempt to pull him down instead of supporting him fully,” Uduaghan said.

‘’As a state government, we are giving him our maximum support to succeed. The politics of Nigeria is still very regional. It is a game of interest. We must struggle for the interest of Delta State and the Niger Delta. We should give him our maximum support. He is human. We should not be in the forefront of those criticising him,” Uduaghan said.

He warned that kidnappers in the state risked having their houses demolished, saying that the crusade against kidnapping and armed banditry in the state has started to yield fruits as the rate of kidnapping is presently on the downward trend.

He said the state has the highest cases of kidnap convicts, who have been sentenced to different prison terms, warning locals in a notorious community (name withheld) in the state, which has the dubious record of harbouring kidnappers to desist from the act.

At Okpanam, the governor declared that the government would no longer tolerate misguided youth activists who go about obstructing development projects.

“It’s growth without development” – ACN reacts to Jonathan’s mid-term report

By Wale Odunsi on May 31, 2013

The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, yesterday said the average Nigerian is worse off than he was when President Goodluck Jonathan came into office.

The party was reacting to the mid-term pass mark the Federal Government awarded itself on Wednesday.

The ACN which is merging with others to form a mega party ahead of the 2015 poll, made its position known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

It said, despite the seemingly impressive economic figures being reeled out by the administration, “what we are seeing is growth without development”. The so-called 6.5% economic growth announced by your finance minister is meaningful on paper,” the party said.

It wondered how the statistic will help the thousands of university graduates who are scrambling to work as truck drivers or how it will make Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or the East-West road safer for Nigerians.

The ACN wondered why President Jonathan is suddenly irritated that Nigerians have not given his administration a pass mark, after about three years in the saddle and two years since he was elected.

“Mr. President, Nigerians need no marking scheme to know that the rate of unemployment went up, under your watch, to an unprecedented 23.9% by December 2011, according to figures given by the National Bureau of Statistics. Today, the figure must be hovering above the 50% mark!

“Mr. President, Nigerians need no marking scheme to know that under your watch, security of lives and property, as well as the welfare of the citizens – the raison d’etre of any government – are at the lowest ebb. A day before you demanded a marking scheme from Nigerians instead of giving them better life, a popular musician was attacked by a nine-man gang that snatched his car and deprived him of his money in the country’s economic capital city – the fate being suffered daily by millions of your compatriots!

“Mr. President, what marking scheme does one need to know that despite the seemingly impressive economic figures being reeled out by your administration, the average Nigerian is worse off today than he or she was before you assumed office?

“What we are seeing is growth without development. The so-called 6.5% economic growth announced by your Finance Minister is meaningful only on paper. How does that help the thousands of university graduates who are scrambling to work as truck drivers? How does it make Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or the East-West road safer for Nigerians?

“Mr. President, what has been the impact for Nigerians of the high foreign reserves figure and the stable exchange rates for the naira reeled out by your Finance Minister? Is it not a cruel irony that as Mr. President was luxuriating in phantom economic indices on the second anniversary of his administration, Nigerians across the land could not even watch him on television because the power situation has been exceptionally poor in recent times?

‘And in case Mr. President thinks it is only the opposition and the media – his administration’s favourite whipping boys – that are scoring his administration low, the Washington-based global advocacy and campaigning organisation, ONE, was listing Nigeria – under President Jonathan’s watch – and DR Congo among as ‘‘Laggard countries’’ pulling Africa back from reaching the MDG goals by 2015? Surely, this global body did not use any ‘Jonathan-style marking scheme’ to name Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Ghana and Ethiopia as the top performing countries in Africa (on the MDGs), even when they are less endowed than Nigeria?’’ ACN queried.

The party said it would not have wasted its energy on commenting on the mid-term performance record of the Jonathan Administration, had the President not isingenuously decided to blame imaginary enemies of his administration for his token achievements in the face of mounting challenges facing the country.

It urged President Jonathan to shut his ears to praise-singers, “especially those of the pig-at-the-trough hue from across the Atlantic who have never seen an African government, no matter its governance record, that is unworthy of their association, as they hunt for cheap funds from despotic governments across the continent to rehabilitate themselves back home.

“Mr. President, it is never too late for you to put your shoulder to the wheel, shun the political jobbers around you, reinvigorate your cabinet by chasing away the deadwood there – though some of them come highly recommended on paper – and giving Nigerians a more purposeful governance.

“When that happens, Mr. President, you will not need to waste valuable time on lecturing your much-sapped compatriots on how to assess your administration, and you would have succeeded in rending those seemingly implacable critics of yours in the media and the opposition jobless,’’ the ACN said.

Zuma puts ‘personal sentiments’ aside to drop media cases

31 MAY 2013 17:39 CLAIRE HU

President Jacob Zuma has dropped all outstanding defamation cases against the media for cartoons and articles he considered offensive.

“The president feels that measured against the broader nation[al] interest and challenges which the country is faced with, his personal sentiments, however aggrieved he may feel, must give way,” said presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj in a statement on Friday.

The decision may also have been influenced by the fact that Zuma missed a deadline last Thursday for legal documents to be submitted relating to six of his claims against media groups and individuals associated with them.

He has initiated 14 claims against the media between 2006-2010, amounting to around R60-million. They included a R5-million action against Jonathan Shapiro over his Zapiro cartoon showing Zuma loosening his trousers while “Lady Justice” is being pinned down by his colleagues, which was dropped in October.

Earlier this year, two claims against Rapport and one against the Sunday Sun were also dropped and Zuma was ordered to pay legal costs. Other claims were against publications including the Star and the Citizen.

Maharaj said the president considered some of the articles brought his name or that of his office into disrepute, and in some instances “sought to cast African males in a particularly negative light with bigoted and racist overtones and innuendo”.

The president was mindful that some of the litigation started before he assumed office, and the decision to drop it was “informed by the broader agenda of reconciliation and nation building”, he added.

The president intended redressing prejudice and inequality through government-led programmes and forging better working relationships with like-minded interest groups.

Intimidation tactic
May 23 was the last day for Zuma to hand over documents relating to his six claims against the media.

“If the deadline is missed today [May 23], we will apply for a court order against President Zuma to hand over the documents. If he misses the deadline again, we will ask that the claims be dropped,” said Dario Milo – appearing for Independent Newspapers, Avusa and the Citizen – last Thursday.

According to News24 at the time, media lawyers said they doubted whether Zuma was really serious about the claims and said they were possibly being used as an intimidation tactic to keep the media in check.

“Milo said the ease with which claims were instituted between 2006 and 2010 but then neglected could point to Zuma never really being serious about them in the first place,” added News24.

President Kenyatta appoints Tribunal to investigate Justice Mutava

FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR REPORTER

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed a Tribunal to investigate Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava over allegations of misconduct.

The President appointed Justice David Magara as the chairperson of a five member Tribunal.

Other members of the Tribunal are Justice  Maureen Odero,  Justice David Majanja, Mr. Omesh Kapila and Professor Patricia Kamiri Mbote.

Justice Maureen Odero and Justice David Majanja are Judges of the High Court. Mr. Omesh Kapila is a Senior Counsel while Professor Patricia Kamiri Mbote is the Dean of Faculty of Law at the  University of Nairobi.

The Tribunal shall prepare and submit a report and recommendations . President Kenyatta also appointed Ms. Nazima Malik as the Lead Counsel and Mr. Emmanuel Bitta as Assistant Counsel to assist the Tribunal. The President also appointed Ms Mugure Gituto and Mr. John Makori as Joint secretaries to the Tribunal.

The President yesterday suspended Justice Mutava after forming the tribunal to investigate the judge’s conduct. The suspension followed a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission made  on May 17.

The JSC sub-committee investigating Justice Mutava asked the President to appoint the tribunal to investigate the conduct of the judge on the basis of three out of the nine complaints that the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had filed against him.

A statement signed by JSC deputy chairperson Prof Christine Mango said the commission was satisfied that the complaints disclosed sufficient grounds to petition the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Justice Mutava.

The LSK filed the complaint against Justice Mutava following a ruling by the Judge terminating the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni.

The ruling caused a  public uproar with civil society and legal rights activists including the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) and LSK  questioning the judge’s credibility and describing his decision to acquit Patni as being a ‘miscarriage of justice.’.

 

 

Ghana: NPP suspends Wereko Brobbey

By citifmonline.com

A source in the leadership of the New Patriotic Party, NPP has revealed to Citi News that Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey has been suspended from the party.

The decision to suspend the party stalwart was taken at an emergency National Executive Committee meeting held on Friday.

The source said Dr. Wereko Brobbey was found to have breached certain sections of the NPP Constitution. He has since been referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the party for the appropriate sanctions.

The former VRA boss has been in a war of words with party loyalists and leaders since he publicly condemned its decision to protest the election of John Mahama at the Supreme Court.

Dr. Wereko Brobbey in a series of articles has criticised the leadership for pursuing the election petition instead of restructuring for the next elections.

In his latest piece, he described the party’s star witness for the election petition, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia as a ‘confused and clueless.’

His comments has been described by some executive members of the party as disrespectful.

The Presidential Ambitions Of A Traitor…Wereko Brobbey BEWARE!!

A youth-wing of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Young Patriots, has in a tersely worded-statement, taken Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, former Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority and one-time Presidential Candidate of the defunct United Ghana Movement to the cleaners.

The statement, issued today, accused the former VRA CEO who prides himself as one of the founding members of the NPP of sabotaging and undermining Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, the NPP’s 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate, to pave way for his own Presidential ambitions on the NPP’s ticket for the next elections.

Tarzan, as Dr. Wereko Brobby is affectionately called, on Thursday released a press statement titled, ‘On the face of the pink sheets or at the heart of the matter’ in which he scolded the petitioners in the ongoing 2012 Presidential Election Petition for using Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia whom he described as a ‘clueless witness’ to prosecute their case.

But the Young Patriots, in a sharp riposte, described the attack on Dr Bawumia and the NPP leadership, as part of a grand scheme to undermine his (Bawumia’s) potential as a future Presidential Candidate.

Whiles warning Tarzan “to lay off Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia”, the group urged him “to wine and dine with his new found love, President Mahama and the NDC and leave Nana and the NPP alone”.

“Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey,… cannot claim to have actively participated in the activities of the party since he miserably lost his ambition to be party chairman, for which he shamefully threatened to go to court but is yet to man up to. The party elders and executives have held several meetings and none of them has Dr Brobbey been present.

The Young Patriots wish to urge Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey to shelve any ambitions of becoming the Presidential candidate of the NPP because it will never happen in his life time and the Young Patriots will not even allow him near any function of the NPP,” the statement added.

Below is the statement issued by the Young Patriots.

THE PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS OF A TRAITOR: WEREKO BROBBEY BEWARE

The naked presidential ambitions of Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey was fully on display yesterday when he granted an interview to Citi fm to the effect that his stake in the NPP party is the 2016 elections.

This ambition will not see the light of day and the earlier he shelves it, the better for him.

First and foremost Wereko Brobbey is not a member of the New Patriotic Party and can therefore not claim to have a stake in the party. He may trace his ancestry through the great Victor Owusu of blessed memory but beyond that, he is a betrayal of the party’s ideology and principles.

His formation and his subsequent running as the Presidential candidate of the United Ghana Movement (UGM), marked the end of his association with the NPP. There is no record anywhere within the party books to indicate that he was formally readmitted into the party as required.

The Young Patriots have checked and have found no record that Dr WWereko Brobbey is a card bearing member of the NPP let alone a member in good standing.

Thirdly, Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey, a supposed founding member and elder of the party cannot claim to have actively participated in the activities of the party since he miserably lost his ambition to be party chairman, for which he shamefully threatened to go to court but is yet to man up to. The party elders and executives have held several meetings and none of them has Dr Brobbey been present.

The Young Patriots wish to urge Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey to shelve any ambitions of becoming the Presidential candidate of the NPP because it will never happen in his life time and the Young Patriots will not even allow him near any function of the NPP.

His continuous maligning of party executives and especially his latest insults of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, whom he thinks he will be pitching against in 2016 is but a wrong attempt to seek attention.

We hereby caution him to lay off Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia. We urge him to wine and dine with his new found love, President Mahama and the NDC and leave Nana and the NPP alone. A word to the wise….

SIGNED
Richard Nyamah
Fred Amankwa Sarfo
John Kumah
Hopeson Adoryena

Khartoum calls on US’s Rice to handle Sudan’s issues objectively

May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Khartoum on Thursday rejected a statement by US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, about bombing of civilians in South Kordofan and called to take “impartial and objective” stands when she deal with Sudanese issues.

Following the adoption, on 29 May, of a resolution extending the mandate of UN force in Abyei for six months and increasing its military personnel on Wednesday, Rice said the US drafted resolution was unanimously adopted stressing it aims to protect civilian in Abyei and monitor the joint border.

Rice further said that Washington remains concerned about the “violence and the complex humanitarian crisis” in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, “including and especially the ongoing indiscriminate aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces of civilian targets”.

“Sudan’s refusal to allow international humanitarian access to the Two Areas is also wholly unacceptable”, she further emphasised.

Diplomats in Khartoum are very keen to react to statements made by Rice who is seen as a friend of the South Sudanese ruling party SPLM and a supporter to the Sudanese rebel SPLM-N, due to her old relations with the two movements, and because she was close to a group of Americans who lobbied in Washington for the South Sudan independence.

“It is absolutely not true that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) bombed civilian targets in the two regions, or in any other areas of Sudan”, said on Thursday foreign ministry spokesperson, Abu Bakar Al-Siddiq.

He added that SAF “provided a model of ethical and professional commitment” in the protection of civilians when it “cleansed” Abu Kershola from the rebels who held the area for a month.

Rebel groups are accused of killing over 45 civilians in the area for their links with the ruling National Congress Party. They are also accused of destroying a power station in another town in North Kordofan.

Saddiq further wondered why the U.S. ambassador did not condemn the “heinous humanitarian crimes” committed by the Sudanese rebels in Abu Kershola, as did Valerie Amos, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

He expressed hopes that Rice abandons her “unjustified” stand and addresses issues with “objectivity and fairness”.

In reaction to Bashir statement about the closure of the oil pipeline if Juba continues its support to the rebels, Rice on 29 May encouraged Khartoum to stay committed to the signed cooperation agreements, and to hold “inclusive peace process with the SPLM-North”.

She also called on Sudan and South Sudan to implement September 2012 agreements and to “respect each other’s sovereignty and bring an end immediately to proxy support of militia groups on both sides of the border”.

(ST)

Sudan warns newspapers against offending its ‘holy

May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese 2nd Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef warned today that his government will not allow newspapers or university activists to make any insults against its “mujahideen” (holy fighters).

“We don’t want any foolish talk,” Youssef said. “Those who are fighting the rebels and lose a martyr every morning for their homeland, we will not allow by any means that they be stabbed in the back”.

Youssef’s remarks come days after Khartoum announced that it has recaptured South Kordofan area of Abu-Kershola from rebels belonging to Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) who took control of it in late April.

Around the same time, SRF briefly occupied North Kordofan’s second largest town of Um Rawaba taking the government and observers by surprise given the ease by which they overran it and the fact that it is outside the rebels normal operation zones that has been largely confined to South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

The government launched a fierce media and mobilization campaign vowing that they will now move to crush the rebels once and for all. It also accused SRF rebels of committing atrocities against civilians in Abu-Kershola.

Sudanese officials also claimed that some opposition parties have privately lauded the SRF widening military offensive hoping that it will push the government into collapsing.

The Sudanese 2nd VP speaking in Omdurman said that the rebels and the “fifth column” were jubilant when Abu-Kershola fell to SRF but that the Sudanese army is capable of chasing them to their “holes”.

He also claimed that rebels are receiving external help and pledged that the government will kick out the “fifth column” and send them to join the rebels.

South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun paid a visit to Abu-Kershola today and made statements afterwards asserting that rebels had a stunning defeat describing them as “agents and mercenaries from Darfur bandits along with militias from Kordofan and Blue Nile combined”.

He hailed the Sudanese army for defeating the rebels and vowed to continue the campaign until entire Kordofan and the country is “cleansed” from their presence.

(ST)

Sata challenges mining companies

By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA  –

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has asked mining companies in Zambia to ensure their investments translate into improved welfare of Zambians.

Mr Sata said mining companies should be compliant with all the laws of the country and undertake meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities that would contribute to the
improvement of the lives of people in communities they operated.

He said this in a speech read for him by Vice-President Guy Scott at the official opening of the 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS) in Kitwe yesterday.

He said Government efforts alone would not suffice to ensure continued contribution of the mining sector to development and prosperity, hence the need for the cooperation of all players, particularly mining firms.

“I wish, therefore, to urge all mining houses to work with Government in ensuring that these mineral resources being exploited benefit the people to whom they belong,” he said.

In that regard, he expected mining companies to be compliant with all the laws of the country and to undertake meaningful CSR activities that would better the lives of people.

This, he said, would enhance the investment climate because communities would be able to see the benefits of the exploitation of their resources.

Mr Sata was happy with this year’s show theme: ‘Mining and Agriculture for Continued Development and Prosperity’, which he said was the main agenda of Government as it resonated well with the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto.

He said mining had, since independence, been the engine of Zambia’s economic growth, providing the much needed foreign exchange earnings, creating employment and stimulating growth in other sectors of the economy.

He said the agricultural sector accounted for about 18 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and provided livelihood to more than 50 per cent of the population with the sector being the main source of income and employment for women.

“Against this background, my Government is committed to ensure that these two sectors continue to contribute to the development of this country and prosperity of the people,” Mr Sata said.

He reiterated Government’s commitment to creating a conducive investment environment for mining to flourish where both the investor and the owners of the mineral resources were assured of a fair return from the exploitation of the mineral resources.

“In this regard, the Mines and Minerals Act Number 7 of 2008 is being reviewed and the new one expected to be in place before the end of the year.

He said the aim of the statute was not only to have a law that was in line with the international best practices but also responsive to the needs of the people.

He was aware the mining industry could not grow to the extent of making significant contributions to the economic development if the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

Mr Sata said this was the reason Government was working on addressing the problem of electricity energy through ZESCO which was undertaking a number of projects to increase power generation capacity by 1,500 megawatts by 2015.

In the transport sector, he said Government was working on improving the road network and the current railway network to help reduce the cost of doing business.

He said it was Government’s resolve to develop further the agricultural industry and other sectors of the economy, saying this was the reason Government had taken measures to reform  the sector.

He, however, assured the agricultural sector of continued subsidies on fertiliser, which he said would benefit 900, 000 farmers during the next farming season, which would also see farmers and Government contributing equally towards the cost of fertiliser inputs.

“Further, I want to emphasise that the subsidy on seed will continue.
Each beneficiary farmer will receive 10 kilogrammes of seed free of charge,” he said.

With regard to livestock, Mr Sata said Government was concerned that the great potential for the sector had largely remained untapped despite the availability of huge grazing land and plenty water resources.

Earlier, Show Society chairperson Bill Osborn observed that mining and agriculture had continued to, not only, provide employment to the majority Zambians, but also getting the larger populace out of poverty.

Mr Osborn called for clear-cut policies for the mining and the agricultural sectors to co-exist and support each other without one negatively affecting the other.

He was happy that this year’s show had grown in size and stature stressing that this had reflected Zambia’s continued economic growth.

“We do have more exhibitors this year and a good number of new exhibitors from various sectors of the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sandvik Mining Company emerged the overall stand winners of this year’s CMACS.

Mopani spends over $700m on suppliers

By JOSEPH BANDA
  –
MOPANI Copper Mines has spent more than US$700 million on local and foreign suppliers and contractors between April 2012 and April 2013, chief executive officer (CEO) Danny Callow has said.
Mr Callow said in a statement yesterday that 57 per cent of the money was spent on capital projects, while the remaining 43 per cent went towards purchasing of other mine supplies.
He said of the 43 per cent spent on mine supplies, 80 per cent which was more than $250 million was spent on local suppliers and contractors.
“We are spending quite a significant amount on suppliers and contractors. Capital expenditure constitutes the largest expenditure on foreign suppliers because of high value items for such projects as shaft sinking and smelter upgrade that cannot be sourced locally,” he said.
He said the total capital expenditure between April 2012 and April 2013 was about $416 million out of the total expenditure of about $730 million.
Mr Callow said Mopani had implemented a policy which gave preference to local suppliers where the price was competitive and quality was good.
Foreign suppliers were only used in cases where there was no local representation of the original equipment manufacturer, while the company had also introduced a system where all companies were classified according to their geographical location, with first preference given to the local suppliers before regional, national or foreign suppliers could be considered.
“We have a deliberate policy to give priority to Zambian-owned companies in preference to foreign-owned firms. This strategy of local business development has proved useful in the evaluation of our contribution to local business development.
“Over the last 12 months between April 2012 and April 2013, our statistics show that our local business development strategy is working and we are spending significantly more money on Zambian suppliers,” he said.
He said in order to ensure that the local business development strategy was implemented, all foreign vendors had been requested to partner with locals by having local representation or shared ownership.
He said in its strategy to enhance Zambian business development, the mine was also assisting them to supply to mines in the DRC and so far, 14 Zambian vendors were dealing with mines in the Congo DR.
Mr Callow said in 2012, Mopani Copper Mines implemented a multi-million world-class Enterprise Resource Purchasing System that strived to create a level playing field for all suppliers and contractors by providing a confidential and rigid adjudication process.
The company has planned workshops and trainings for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), having allocated $230,000 for the programme in 2013.
He said there was a long way to go in promoting local supplier and contractor companies and in some cases, there was no option but to go out to international providers, especially on one-off, capital purchases.
He said as a result, Mopani Copper Mines had developed a centre for training businesses in tender submission, company registration and use of electronic facilities and printers to assist them in getting started.
In addition, in conjunction with the various chambers of commerce and supplier and contractor associations, the mine was considering allocating a dedicated amount of money to SMEs to help them become price and quality competitive.
And president of the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors, Augustine Mubanga welcomed the initiatives by Mopani Copper Mines, saying the business being generated by the mine would bring substantial benefits to SMEs.
Mr Mubanga commended Mopani Copper Mines for its initiatives which should be emulated by all mining companies to build capacity in local businesses.
“The move to link 14 companies to DR Congo mines is highly commendable because it gives the companies an opportunity to grow their businesses. We are always in support of such progressive ideas that are meant to benefit our members,” he said.

Bad debts choking banks

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 10:11 BY JULIUS BUSINGE

Experts warn banks on poor due diligence

If you want to know why the performance of most banks in Uganda in the year 2012 was appalling poor look no further than the increase in nonperforming loans and other assets (NPLs).

NPLs are one of the indicators that describe how well or bad the banking sector is faring. An increase in the percentage implies negative growth by the sector and vice versa.

These loans generally are deemed to be nonperforming if they are in arrears for a period exceeding 90 days without any form of interest payment or plan for restructuring.

A quick look at most bank financial results for the year indicates that most performed terribly on this front, which affected their general profitability levels.

Senior top bank officials told The Independent that the challenges of 2011 that carried on in 2012 including the high inflationary pressures, a volatile exchange rate, and a tight monetary policy [which led to hikes in lending rates] among other factors are to blame for the hikes in NPL’s.

Stanbic Bank Uganda, Uganda’s largest bank on all fronts, was arguably the most hit by these loans. The bank’s NPLs doubled from Shs 45.9 billion in 2011 to Shs 92.1billion in 2012.  On the other hand, the bad debts written off jumped to Shs 93bn from Shs 18bn in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

Phillip Odera, the MD, told The Independent in an email that the severe economic conditions brought about by runaway inflation that necessitated Bank of Uganda to raise interest rates and for commercial banks to follow suit, was the principle reason why many borrowers had to default on their loans.

“NPL’s are a deduction from the operating income and therefore substantially reduce the profit for the year,” he said. Indeed, the bank’s net profits somewhat increased to  Shs 130 bn from Shs 121bn  a year earlier, indicating a rise of only Shs 9bn compared to an increase of almost Shs 50 bn in net profits between 2010 and 2011.

However, Odera said they had not lost all hope as a non performing loan could become performing if it has been restructured and the new terms and conditions are being met.

“In other words we can adjust either the repayment period, or the repayment rate (or both) in order to better cushion the borrower,” he said.

As a measure to curb the growth of these loans, Odera said they are now focusing more on “the borrower’s ability to withstand the economic vagaries that might arise.” “This leads to far more selective lending than before,” he added.

Some analysts have argued that this should serve as a warning to financial institutions that have been persuading almost forcing people and companies to take loans even when they have no ability to generate income to pay back. Odera said if this happens anywhere then it is “most unfortunate.”

“Certainly Stanbic Bank does not subscribe to any such dealings and any staff found guilty of such would be immediately dismissed as this is in violation of bank policies and procedures,” he said.

At Centenary Bank, NPLs rose from Shs 12.4bn to Shs 18.3bn in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Fabian Kasi, the Bank’s managing director attributed the rise in NPLs to the “sluggishness” in the economy.

Kasi said the variable related loans (the ones that change with changes in economic indicators) contributed a lot to the increase in the NPLs.

He said the demand for goods and services was quite low in 2012 and this affected their customers as they could not sell enough stock of their products or provide services to enable them repay back the loans as they fell due.

Kasi also blamed the closure of the Land Registry Office in the Ministry of Lands for the problem as it impacted on the real estate sector.

“Some of our customers involved in the real estate sector business could not transact during closure of the Land Registry, thus ending up not servicing their loans as their repayments fell due,” he said.

He said the increase could be attributed to the delay to release government funds to some ministries, which affected sectors like construction. “In the end our customers in such sectors could not honor their loan obligations on time,” he said.

As a measure to curb the rise, Kasi said, they are cautiously lending to some sectors like real estate and construction.

“We are also deepening our loan analysis and appraisal techniques and tightening our internal controls,” he said.

Milly Nkaja, the senior credit officer at Standard Chartered Bank, said the upward movement of the bank’ s NPLs from Shs 5.5bn to Shs  10.3bn was mainly on account of one customer who was downgraded to nonperforming status during the year.

Although the industry saw a significant increase in NPLs, as a result of the harsh economic environment, their NPLs were kept within acceptable levels – just 0.5% and 0.8% of the total portfolio in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

As a result, Nkaja said the impact caused by the increase was minimal. The bank’s net profit increased from Shs 98.2bn in 2011 to Shs 132.1bn in 2012.

She said, as a culture, the bank helps customers to resolve the issues surrounding their loan obligations through restructuring the facilities, giving advisory services among others.

“It is important to note that selling the customer’s property to pay a loan is not in our best interest and we try to minimize such instances,” she said.

One of the measures to control NPLs, she said, is continuing to be vigilant in the way they manage risk as demonstrated by the percentage of NPLs to the overall portfolio.

Crane Bank’s NPLs rose to Shs 24.7 billion in 2012 up from Shs 93 million in 2011. A.R Kalan, the managing director, said though the bank recorded the loans to the tune of 4.2%, this level of their NPLs was below the industry average of about 5.8-6%.

Housing Finance Bank’s NPLs doubled to Shs 21.8 billion from Shs Shs 10.9bn.

Top Bank NPLs (billions)

Bank 2011 2012
Barclays 80.2 106.2
Stanbic 45.9 92.1
Dfcu 23.9 28.7
Crane 93 million 24.7
Centenary 12.4 18.3
BOA 4.7 18.2
Tropical 2.6 16.8
Ecobank 1.4 10.9
Stanchart 5.5 10.3

Experts urge caution

Senior economists Lawrence Bategeka from the Economic Policy Research Centre at Makerere University and Stephen Kaboyo, the managing director at Alpha Capital Partners, a forex trading and financial consultancy firm, appeared to tell banks to go back to basics. They said, if not controlled, NPLs might cause trouble to the industry and eventually curtail economic growth.

“If someone does not qualify to get a loan don’t give it to them,” Bategeka said in a recent interview, adding that most banks have in the past not followed the right procedures to giving loan facilities to borrowers.

Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the financial services sector, is mandated to ensure that banks follow those right procedures when giving out loans.

Analysts say it’s not enough for a bank to give out a loan because a borrower has given his/her house or land as collateral. The bank must first ensure that the borrower will generate sufficient future revenue to service the loan. Hundreds of borrowers’ houses and pieces of land are now lined up for auctioning for the banks to recover some of the loans.

None of the Central Bank officials appeared to be willing to discuss the issue with The Independent. The communications office asked for questions to be sent by email but until press time they unusually remained unanswered after several days of waiting.

In its annual financial supervision report for the period 2011 up to June 2012, the central bank says the ratio of private sector credit to GDP declined slightly from 16.6% to 15.5%, reflecting the pro-cyclical nature of commercial bank lending.

As a share of broad money, the report says private sector credit was 65% as of June 2012, compared to 62% in June 2011.

The report says commercial banks’ holdings of government securities grew by a miserable billion during 2011/12 from Shs 670.2 billion in the previous year implying increased difficulty to service loans by the existing borrowers during the year.

It adds that the stock of NPLs more than doubled in June 2012 with the NPL ratio standing at 3.4% compared to 1.6% in June 2011. However, the June 2012 percentage is higher than the 2.2% recorded in 2010.

The central bank’s policy rate -the central bank rate going up to 23% at the beginning of last year – aimed at fighting inflation that reached over 30% at the end of 2011 – before reducing the rate to 12% later in the year. Most commercial banks increased their prime lending rate to about 30% from around 20% a period before. This forced many borrowers to default on their payments.

Going forward in 2013, Odera said they expect significantly lower rate of NPLs and to recover a significant portion of the losses because interest rates were reducing and other economic indicators like inflation and the exchange rate were under control.

Kasi foresees a declining trend in NPLs in 2013 as the economy improves, inflation is contained to lower levels, and the exchange rate is currently stable. “We are yet to see more reduction in interest rates that will in the end favor our borrowers,” he said.

Tanzania, Japan close Sh54 billion rice irrigation deal

By Felix Lazaro, The Citizen )

Posted  Friday, May 31  2013 at  23:14

IN SUMMARY

  • Under the pact, Tanzania will be charged a low interest rate. The credit will be disbursed through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the Small Scale Irrigation Development Project.

 

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and Japan yesterday signed a Sh54.13 billion credit deal for financing paddy irrigation schemes in the country.

Under the pact, Tanzania will be charged a low interest rate. The credit will be disbursed through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the Small Scale Irrigation Development Project.

The agreement was signed in Dar es Salaam by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance, Mr Ramadhani Khijjah, and the Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Masaki Okada.

Mr Okada was accompanied by the Jica Tanzania office chief representative, Mr Yasunori Onishi.

Mr Khijjah said that the funding objectives were in line with the goals of the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty.

These include boosting farming productivity and enhancing food security through irrigation schemes.

“The fund will increase rice production under the District Development Fund,” he said.

Mr Okada, for his part, said that it was Jica’s plan to help Tanzania promote irrigation projects by utilising existing schemes for agricultural development.

“We expect to improve approximately 32,000 hectares of existing irrigated land and expand nearly 20,000 hectares of irrigation schemes,” the envoy said.

New Hoima-turkana pipeline proposed

By Ibrahim Kasita

Looking for oil is not an easy venture. It is an expensive and highly risky business game. However, the rewards are high. International oil companies have invested close to $2.5b in exploring for the hydrocarbons in Uganda for 15 years. 

With a commercially-established petroleum resource asset base of about four billion barrels in reserves, the firms have planned for an early payback period to not only repay the total investments, but also ensure stable cash flows.

“They (the oil companies) want to get their money quickly. They prefer exporting the crude oil to the international market by pipelines,” Peter Lokeris, the state minister of energy and mineral development, explained.

However, the “holistic” plan is to first get a small refinery (30,000 barrels per day) up and running with interconnecting pipelines from the oil wells to the power plants, the central processing complex.

The pipelines and the related infrastructure will have options for crude oil surplus exports to the Indian Ocean to deliver crude destined to the world markets.

The first export route the oil firms envisaged was a 1,300km pipeline stretching from the Lake Albert basin all the way to Kampala, Kisumu, Nairobi and Port Mombasa of Kenya estimated to cost about $4b.

This was going to be an expensive venture which would make Uganda’s crude oil less competitive compared to the global market, making domestic refinery the most profitable venture.

Economies of scale

The discovery of some oil deposits in Kenya’s Turkana basin by the same company operating in Uganda –Tullow- has changed the crude oil export strategy. The discovery is still in early stages for commercial feasibility.

South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya have partnered to develop the proposed Lapsset Corridor project that will see the construction of a modern port in Lamu, a Kenya-South Sudan oil pipeline, a railway line and highway through Ethiopia and an oil refinery.

Tullow and partners are now pushing for an oil pipeline that will start from Hoima (where the refinery and power plant will be put up) to Lira, then Moroto before connecting to the Turkana basin for onward transmission to either Mombasa Port or Port Lamu.

Then, another pipeline from Juba will be constructed to Turkana.

This proposed export route plan is set to shape regional politics and Uganda’s future relations with its neighbours, especially Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and even Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.

Game changer

But massive expansion will demand massive investment and massive improvement in business conditions for foreign investors, including harmonised East African Community (EAC) investment and exploration rules to give investors legal mechanisms for prospecting, building and transporting across national borders.

Special legal and fiscal regimes have already attracted an increase in exploration bids but there is much to be done, especially for other kinds of businesses that do not involve hundreds of millions of dollars.

There must also be direct benefits to those living on the land that the pipeline will go through, rewarding them for their property, separately from the royalties going to the government, in order to empower individuals, not just the state.

It is people, not governments, who create economic activity.

Governments must also remove the obstacles to creating and running businesses so everyone can benefit from the promised EAC free market.

EAC members must live up to their promises of allowing region-wide free trade and movement for all products and services, so efficient markets can develop rapidly, not just in oil.

Energy could drive robust and sustainable economic growth in East Africa, but only if coupled with economic freedom, lower corruption and better business conditions for all.

Illegal hunting in prohibited areas

Wildlife conservationists and tourism players in Hwange National Park have expressed concern over increasing incidents of illegal sport hunting in prohibited hunting areas in the area.


The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, a wildlife pressure group, this week accused the Department of National Parks and Wildlife management and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of approving sport hunting in the park and other sensitive areas such as in the area where the Presidential elephant herd roams.

“We are extremely disturbed by reports from concerned tourists of gunfire being heard in tourist areas. Investigations have uncovered that hunting quotas have been approved by the Ministry of Environment in areas that should never have them. The Parks Authority and the Ministry have reneged on guarantees made in previous years,” said Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the task force.

Non-hunting areas bordering two prime photographic safari camps have been issued with hunting quotas. Rodrigues said his organization has also received reports of hunting even in the national park itself.

“We are also hearing unconfirmed reports that paying overseas hunters are evident as happened in previous years despite denials by the wildlife authorities, being allowed inside the Park to hunt. With the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit in August, we fail to see how Zimbabwe can hold its head high remembering also the awful scenario we reported previously about elephants being shipped off to horrific conditions in China. We urge the Tourism Minister to get involved to put pressure on the Environment Minister to fix escalating problems in Hwange photographic tourism areas,” said Rodrigues.

Conservancy operators in the area who spoke to The Zimbabwean confirmed hearing gunfire in the prohibited hunting areas.

“There is chaos in the area. We have heard gunfire several times in prohibited hunting areas such as photographic safari camps. The situation has deteriorated last year when mining companies were granted special mining grants to explore coal and methane gas in the area. We have also seen an escalation in incidences of poaching in the area,” said a conservancy operator in the area who refused to be named for fear of victimization.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management had not responded to questions send via the e-mail to Caroline Washaya Moyo, the department’s spokesperson, by the time of going to press.

Breytenbach’s return spells trouble for Zuma’s NPA cohorts

31 MAY 2013 00:00SALLY EVANSSAM SOLE

The National Prosecuting Authority’s bosses fear Glynnis Breytenbach will pursue cases that would harm the president’s interests.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) decision to challenge its humiliating defeat in prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing appears to have all the finesse of a Gupta wedding.

Almost no one believes there is any chance of reversing the 15-0 drubbing it received – every charge was thrown out – but, like the politically connected business family, the Guptas, the NPA has gone too far for embarrassment.

Those calling the shots at the NPA know they cannot afford to let Breytenbach back in. Here’s why:

Breytenbach’s return to lead the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Unit would kick-start two stalled cases she took personal control of before her suspension – the Richard Mdluli fraud case and the Imperial Crown Trading 289 (ICT) fraud case.

Her return would destabilise a cabal of decision-makers at the apex of the NPA, including the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, and the national head of commercial crime, Lawrence Mrwebi, who appear to have been positioned by Zuma to protect his interests.

Jiba has been key in blocking efforts by the Democratic Alliance to force the NPA to release the Zuma “spy tapes” that formed the basis for the NPA’s decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma. The DA needs the tapes to launch a bid to overturn that decision.

Zuma’s delay in appointing a permanent director is emblematic of his dilemma. He appears to believe he can rely on Jiba and to be less sure he can rely on anyone else. Jiba herself cannot be appointed because of her own disciplinary history.

Mrwebi has been central to protecting Mdluli and other political or business allies of Zuma or his family.

The NPA says it must challenge the decision because the findings “have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA”. The organisation’s mandarins have a point here: if they accept Breytenbach’s victory and allow her to return they risk a wider revolt against the political deference and legal illiteracy that have come to characterise the NPA.

NPA invites Breytenbach to discuss her return to work

30 MAY 2013 16:14 SALLY EVANS

Glynnis Breytenbach’s legal team has received “an invitation” from the NPA to “discuss her return to work, pending the review application”.

  •  

The invitation followed a letter to the state attorney on Tuesday from Breytenbach’s lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar in which he said his client was “eager to return to work”.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lost its case to get rid of Breytenbach on Monday, when the presiding chair in her disciplinary hearing advocate Selby Mbenenge ruled that he could not find her guilty on the 15 charges brought against her by the NPA.

Mbenenge, the third chair appointed by the prosecuting authority, ruled that the NPA had not “proven the guilt of the employee” in any of the “plethora of charges”.

However, Breytenbach’s keenness to go back to work following her acquittal received a blow when, on Tuesday, the NPA released a statement saying that it was going to seek a review of Mbenenge’s findings through the Labour Court. The NPA said it would ask the Labour Court “to set aside the findings and replace them with a finding of guilty against Ms Breytenabch”.

Commenting to the Mail & Guardian on the NPA’s invitation to meet and hold discussions, Wagenaar said on Thursday afternoon that while they have indicated that they are “prepared to discuss her [Breytenbach’s] return to work” with the NPA, he noted: “but we don’t regard [the discussions] as a condition for her to return to work.”

Mbenenge’s findings were ‘incorrect’
The NPA’s statement following Breytenbach’s victory, claimed that the findings have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA. It added that Mbenenge’s findings were “factually incorrect and legally unsustainable”.

The NPA’s persistence in finding Breytenbach guilty flies in the face of a statement made by acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba in an answering affidavit in the Labour Court last year, where she said that if Breytenbach “is found not guilty it will be the end of the matter”.

Wagenaar alluded to Jiba’s statement in his letter to the state attorney. He said: “Our client has been unable to work for more than a year now and will as such need to be apprised of the progress that has been made in her matters during her absence. She will make the necessary arrangements in this regard.” It is believed the discussions will take place on Friday.

Zambia: Ndola council, Chinese firm seal housing deal

By CHATULA KAMPO  –
THE Ndola City Council(NCC) and a Chinese firm have signed a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) for the construction of more than 2,000 houses at a cost of US$200 million at Dola Hill site opposite the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
The Chinese firm, Henan Gouji, would build the houses and in
addition, a hospital and two five-star hotels would be constructed on the 200-hectare land in a period of not more than three years.
The housing project would be called the Ndola City Council
and Henan Gouji Housing Project.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Civic Centre in Ndola yesterday, manager Jack Guan said the project was expected to start at the end of September and would create more than 1,000 jobs for the local people.
He said local suppliers would be engaged in the provision of building materials.
“We will do quality and standard works that will be commended by Government.
“We also want to ensure that the project is completed on time,” he said.
Mr Gaun said the housing units would range from low class to high class.
Ndola Mayor Davies Chiwala commended the firm for the project, adding that it would address the housing shortages in the city.
He said the houses would be available for sale to members of the public after the project was completed.
Mr Chiwala, however, urged the firm to complete the project on time adding that Government would not tolerate contractors who offer shoddy works.
“Make sure that you finish your project on time, we do not want a situation where the land given remains dormant for a long time without development,”
“The Government through this council will repossess any land that is not developed.
“We want serious and competent investors to work with us to to benefit the local people because we are in a hurry to develop,” he  said.

Here is the latest opinion and comment taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa:

Zimbabwe: Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls; from the Zimbabwe Mail/Mail & Guardian;

Ghana: Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles, from The Chronicle;l

Kenya: From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history; from the Saturday Nation;

Africa: Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track; from the New Times;

Kenya: Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays; from the New Times/Agencies;

Kenya: Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot; Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast; from the SaturdayNation.

Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls

M&G

Zanu-PF and the MDC are in new talks as legal problems delay President Robert Mugabe’s wish for elections on June 29.

President Robert Mugabe may not get what he wants — to hold the national polls next month — because of unexpected legal obstacles that stand in his way.

Mugabe last week signed the new Constitution into law in a bid to speed up the poll date. But it has now emerged through party negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations that they first need to align the new charter to the existing legislation.

Negotiators from the three parties who spoke to theMail & Guardian this week confirmed they are in new talks over a number of constitutional and legal issues, besides political matters, that still need to be sorted before a date for the elections could be announced.

The negotiators are now locked in secret meetings to map the way forward, and all declined to be named owing to agreements among them not to publicise the details of the talks in the media.

Negotiators say key among these is the mandatory 30-day voter registration exercise that will only start next week and end in early July.

They said there is now also the extraordinary Southern African Development Community summit (SADC) that will be held at a date not yet known to discuss the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the funding of the polls.

A special summit on Zimbabwe
SADC’s secretary general Tomaz Salamão announced this week that SADC would hold a special summit on Zimbabwe.

Although Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the country needs $132-million for elections, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau is demanding $164-million to organise the polls effectively. Biti confirmed on Tuesday that the Cabinet had agreed on a consolidated voter registration plan after the treasury secured $25-million for the process.

Zanu-PF insiders say Mugabe is under pressure from Zanu-PF politburo hardliners to call for elections by June 29, which is when the tenure of the coalition government expires.

The SADC-appointed facilitator for Zimbabwe’s political dialogue, South African President Jacob Zuma, met Mugabe on Sunday during the African Union General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss preparations for the special summit.

A SADC troika summit held in South Africa recently demanded that Zimbabwe first adopt critical reforms, including the controversial security sector reforms, before the elections take place.

Negotiators say, in addition to these political issues, there is also a lot of legal work that needs to be completed before elections.

Amendments to law
“While politicians are talking as if general elections will be held any day from now, the reality is there are still a lot of issues which need to be taken care of before poll dates can be announced,” a senior MDC-T negotiator said.

“Now that there is a new Constitution, we are still negotiating amendments to the Electoral Act to accommodate proportional representation introduced by the new Constitution, election of senators to represent people with disabilities, take into consideration new time limits on proclamation of election dates and polling day, the transfer of election results between polling centres and factor in challenges to the validity of the next presidential election results.”

A Zanu-PF negotiator explained that under the new Constitution 60 senators, 60 members of the National Assembly and 80 members of provincial councils will be elected by a system of proportional representation based on the votes cast for constituency members of the National Assembly.

“The current Electoral Act makes no provision for proportional representation and will have to be amended extensively to take this into account. Even thresholds on proportional representation and party lists will have to be negotiated,” he said.

“In addition, the new senate will have two senators specially elected to represent persons with disabilities. How they will be elected and even the definition of persons with disabilities will have to be set out in the amended Electoral Act,” the negotiator said.

Asked for comment, a senior official of the smaller MDC party involved in the ongoing negotiations said one provision in the new Constitution alone makes Mugabe’s election date demands impossible.

Time limits

“Clause 157(3) of the new Constitution requires nomination day in every election to be at least 14 days after proclamation of the election date, and at least 30 days before the polling day,” he said.

“These time limits will have to be incorporated into Section 38 of the Electoral Act, which will make it impossible to have elections by the end of next month.”

Furthermore, negotiators say the Electoral Act as currently configured is vague and inconsistent on how and when election results must be transferred between electoral centres from ward to constituency on a provincial and national level. This ambiguity, lawmakers say, must be clarified to remove the inconsistencies.

‘There are two reasons why immediate legislative amendments are needed. The first is that the next general elections will be held in accordance with the new Constitution, and the Electoral Act will have to be amended to align it to the new Constitution before the polls are held,” an MDC-T negotiator said.

“The second reason is that the provisions of the new Constitution, which come into operation immediately, will trigger changes to several other statutes. “For instance, the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must be amended before the elections to remove the power of the minister of local government to appoint councillors because under the new Constitution all councillors will have to be elected. For the same reason, the ministerial notices laying down the number of councillors in each council will have to be amended.”

Another negotiator said: “Since the registrar general and his officials will be obliged to apply the new provisions when dealing with applications for identity cards, voter registration and passports, there should be less bureaucracy. However, the president will not be able to issue a proclamation calling the next elections before all these things are done.” – Mail & Guardian

Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles

Kojo appiah-kubi, phd

At independence in 1957 not only was Ghana thought to lead the way for African political liberation but was also to be developed into a model to show the world that the black man is capable of ruling himself. With the desire to ‘wrestle the command¬ing heights of the economy from foreigners’, who then con¬trol¬led the economy, the first post colonial government developed and implemented a series of the development plans on the back of gargantuan increases in government expenditure with large import content.
The results of these developments were steep rises in budget deficits, price levels and foreign indebtedness as well as massive declines in foreign reserves and economic growth. Thus by the mid sixties annual inflation exceeded 20% whilst the fiscal budget deficit rose to a height equiva¬lent to about 6% of GDP. The country recorded its first negative economic growth rate of about 5.1% since indepen¬dence in 1966.
These developments marked the beginning of Ghana’s movement in “circles”, whereby various successive governments come to power on the back of massive criticisms of economic failures of previous governments. They then promise to achieve economic stabilization necessary for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, but end up achieving very little positive gains for the country. They also marked the subsequent introduction of structural adjustment programmes, austerity budgets, liberalization and stabilization programmes in Ghana, and deepened dependency on the Breton Woods Institutions. And that is what all subsequent governments since the sixties have taken the nation through but with achieved mixed results.
The Acheampong, SMC I and II regimes, for instance, assumed power in the seventies on the back of rising prices, deteriorating trade and budget balances, declining foreign exchange reserves, stagnating economic growth, etc., which they assigned to the economic mismanagement of previous regimes. Contrary to the promise of redeeming Ghana from its economic woes, the Acheampong’s National Redemption Council rather sent the economy through a serious economic decay. The economy saw an annual contraction in per capita GDP by more than 3%, in industrial output by 4.2% and in agricul¬tural output by 0.2% between 1970 and 1982. The annual average rate of inflation rose from single-digit in the early seventies to peak 121.2% in 1977, while the fiscal deficit levelled off at 10.9% of GDP in the same year.
Then came Rawlings Provisional National Defence Council with the promise to defend the nation against economic mismanagement. The regime introduced dramatic changes in the exchange rate, fiscal, monetary, privatisation, and trade policies that brought increased liberalisation in the economy. The economy made some initial gains, which could, however, not be sustained after a brief period of economic recovery. Hence at the time Ghana transitioned from military to democratic rule in 1992 the macro-economic environment was fast deteriorating and the nation was back to square one. Narrow and broad fiscal balances, for instance, recorded deficits of about 3.4% and 10.7% of GDP respectively in 1992. Annual inflation rate rose to average 39.5% between 1983-1992. The total public debt jumped from $2.9 billion in 1983 to $4.3 billion in 1992, with both trade and current account balances showing persistent deficits and worsening trends.
These movements of five steps forward four steps backwards have continued unabated since the return to civilian regime in 1992, with the economic performance having been closely associated with cycles of stabilization programmes; austerity budgets; deteriorating current account and fiscal balances; rising indebtedness and prices; and deteriorating macro-economic environment. As a result of these developments the actual GDP growth performance has been much lower than the predicted potential of the country.
Between 1992-1995 under the NDC I, for instance, the budget balance deteriorated at an annual average of –0.62% of GDP. The rate of deterioration increased further to annual average of –6.43% of GDP during NDC II (1996-2000). The public debt equally ballooned successively from an initial level of $4.2 billion in 1992 to $7.8 billion in 2000. The inflation and cedi-dollar depreciation rates rose to hit a peak of 40.5% and 49% respectively.
When the NPP assumed power in 2001 it castigated in its first budget the previous NDC government for having “…failed systematically to meet performance benchmarks and policy requirements agreed upon”. Despite its promise “…to put together a realistic action programme for attaining the national quest to re-establish macro-economic stability and re-establish credible and sustainable policy framework for co-operation and development”, the NPP regime also fell prey to moving in economic circles. Indeed it did make some initial gains, which it could not sustain over time. The budget deficit, which it brought down to an annual average of -4.1% of GDP during 2001-2004 rose again during 2005-2008 to -4.5% of GDP. Similarly the price levels rose to double digits with the current account balance, cedi depreciation rate, and foreign exchange reserves also assuming deteriorating trends. The public indebtedness finished off at $7.9 billion in 2008 higher than in 2000 under the NDC despite huge debt reliefs from HIPC.
In 2009 the new NDC led government, in its first budget statement, described the then economy of Ghana as having being rundown by the previous NPP administration. The then President Atta Mills promised Ghanaians in his first state of the nation address: “Our administration will build a robust economy and address the challenges which the private sector faces in investing, growing and expanding”. He then assured Ghanaians: “This is the beginning of the rescue plan for building a better Ghana”.
After 4 years of implementation of the supposed rescue plan the fundamentals of economic situation and predicament have by all indications worsened. The economy is currently weaker and more fragile than ever before. The fiscal deficits have grown larger (from ¢2.5 billion to ¢8.7 billion and running at an annual average of 7.2% of GDP during 2009-2012). The inflation rate managed to stay in single digit for some two years but remained higher than expected. The national debt stock ballooned to unprecedented levels; from ¢9.5 to ¢33.5 billion in 2009-2012, an annual increase of ¢6 billion. The depreciation in the value of the Cedi over the four year NDC era exceeded that of eight years of NPP. The current account deficit has grown from $3,473.50 million in 2008 to $5,179.29 million in 2012.
Despite the apparent boost in the country’s economic potential with a new oil find and high dividends from the country’s political stability, the reigning high prices of its major exports including cocoa and gold, the long-term economic performance of the economy of Ghana continue to remain below its potential. Ironically the economy is currently much weaker and more fragile than ever before. The macro-economic environment appears to have worsened, particularly, since the return to civilian regime in 1992. The movement of the economy in circles and deterioration of macro-economic environment have indeed assumed increasing speed accentuated by unbridled fiscal indiscipline during years of general elections. These movements, whose zenith always coincides with the nation’s general elections, only entrench a pattern of a “4-year political economy cycle” of fiscal indiscipline which is not healthy for the development of the country.

source:Ghanaweb

From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history

By DANIEL BRANCH AND NIC CHEESEMAN satnation@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  22:04

IN SUMMARY

  • A combination of declining income from exports and a change in economic strategy forced Kenya to turn to the World Bank in 1980 to be able to pay its debts. One of the first African countries to do so, Kenya was set on a path towards a smaller state, and a stronger market economy, courtesy of internationally designed Structural Adjustment Programmes. While this may have allowed private enterprise to thrive, the state itself became weaker as a result.
  • The assassination of Foreign minister Robert Ouko on February 13, 1990, was every bit as important in its ramifications. Most notably, it led international donors to take a much more critical attitude towards the Kanu government, which eventually translated into greater pressure for the end of the one-party state.

In July 1962, Tom Mboya set out his vision of the new nation in a speech as powerful and heartfelt as any other in Kenya’s history.

Delivered to the bedrock of colonial society, the white settlers in the Kenya National Farmers’ Union, Mboya observed that “to date, our people have been dragged through history”. He promised: “Henceforth, we will write our own history.”

It was a challenge taken up with great enthusiasm. Kenya’s history since has been written by the millions and not by the few. Writing this history was not just the affair of the likes of Mboya, Moi, the Odingas and the Kenyattas. It also concerned the city-slickers of Nairobi, the pastoralists of Turkana, farmers on the slopes of Mount Elgon, hotel staff at the beaches of the Coast and Somali refugees in Dadaab.

But, despite Mboya’s optimism the shadow of colonialism continues to loom large. It is perhaps only in the past decade that the full extent of the damage wreaked by the bloody final years of colonial rule has been appreciated. The mental maps of the country we carry around with us are still shaped by colonial cartographers, as a quick glance at the boundaries of the “new” 47 counties reveals.
To be sure, the disinterest shown by the British to certain parts of the country has been exacerbated by periods of post-colonial neglect, but there can be no doubt that the foundations of many of Kenya’s social and economic divisions can be traced back prior to independence. Similarly the significance of Christianity and a powerful centralised state have deep roots.

In many ways the colonial legacy left Kenya a fragile nation. Yet reviewing the 50 events that define Kenya’s history over the past half-century reveals that Kenyans have not simply accepted their fate. Instead, these milestones demonstrate that for all of the country’s fragility and occasional violence, the last 50 years has been marked by resilience, ingenuity, and triumph.
FRAGILITY:

The 1964 coup attempt and the fallout between Kenyatta and Odinga

Kenya gained independence at the height of the Cold War. The first defining event of its independent history saw the new government abandon its policy of non-alignment, by which it meant steering a course between the American and British, on one hand, and the Chinese and Soviets, on the other. The Lanet Mutiny of January 1964 by members of the Kenya Rifles provoked Jomo Kenyatta to seek British assistance to restore order.

That decision led to a series of agreements with the British by which the former colonial power agreed to provide military support in the event of any domestic or foreign threat to Kenyatta’s government. Kenya has generally enjoyed close relations with Britain, the United States and other Western governments ever since.

What makes the occasional spats with the likes of Smith Hempstone, the US ambassador in the 1990s, and his British counterparts, Edward Clay and Christian Turner, notable is that they punctuated periods of otherwise constructive engagement.

Jomo Kenyatta’s domestic policies aligned Kenya with the Western allies too. The economy in the 1960s and early 1970s was orientated towards exports of agricultural products and dependent upon favourable prices being paid by foreign consumers. While these policies drove growth and helped improve living standards, they also divided Kanu and ultimately resulted in Oginga Odinga’s decision to break with the government.

Prior to this, Kanu had successfully used both carrot and stick to persuade the only other opposition party, the Kenya National Democratic Union (Kadu), to ‘voluntarily’ dissolve itself.
This process necessitated the integration of Kadu leaders into Kanu, and it was through this process that Daniel arap Moi rose to the position of Vice- President.

The dissolution of Kadu was therefore critical not just in enabling Kanu to establish a one-party state but in laying the foundations for the ‘Nyayo’ era.

But the refusal of Odinga and other ‘radicals’ to follow Kenyatta’s lead on economic matters quickly undermined the appearance of unity. The creation of the rival Kenya People’s Union (KPU) and the ‘little general elections’ the new party contested against the Kanu government in 1966 demonstrated the complex fault lines that divide the political class, and marked the beginning of the struggle for power between the Kenyatta and Odinga dynasties that would come to a head in the election of 2013.

Kanu convincingly won the day, but the same economic policies that supported a steady expansion of the economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s also left the country vulnerable to shifts in the global economy. The global recessions caused by the oil crises of 1973 and 1979 had devastating effects on the economy of Kenya and others across the African continent, with far reaching implications.

A combination of declining income from exports and a change in economic strategy forced Kenya to turn to the World Bank in 1980 to be able to pay its debts. One of the first African countries to do so, Kenya was set on a path towards a smaller state, and a stronger market economy, courtesy of internationally designed Structural Adjustment Programmes. While this may have allowed private enterprise to thrive, the state itself became weaker as a result.

It is only over the past decade or so that the economy has recovered from the shocks of the 1970s and 1980s. The state did not recover nearly so quickly.

In its place vigilante groups and militias sprung up, sowing the seeds for the gradual transfer of control over violence away from the state. This process, and the limitations of the police force and the Judiciary, meant that the government was unable to deliver security and justice to citizens when they needed it most in the aftermath of the 2007 election.

Economic fragility went hand in hand with political fragility. President Kenyatta’s death in 1978 (6) led to fierce competition behind closed doors, as some of his allies attempted to change the constitution to prevent Moi, as Vice-President, from succeeding Mzee.

The “Change the Constitution” movement lost the day for two reasons. First, Kenyatta felt that a rotation of power between ethnic groups was important for national unity and so prevented efforts to remove Moi from office – a lesson as relevant today as it was then.

Second, senior Kikuyu leaders such as Mwai Kibaki and Charles Njonjo rallied to Moi’s side, enabling him to see off his rivals.

Kenyatta’s death not only left Kenya without a president, it left the nation without its figurehead. Shortly into Moi’s tenure, the deep political divisions that had surfaced in 1978 reappeared. Following efforts by Odinga to set up a new political party to rival Kanu, Moi passed legislation that turned Kenya from a de facto one-party state (in which there was no legal restriction on opposing parties) to a de jure one — Kanu became the only legal party under Section 2A of the constitution.

This was a critical moment because it set the scene for the battle between Kanu and pro-democracy activists in the late 1980s and suggested that Kenya would be less open in the Nyayo era than it had been under Kenyatta’s rule.

Together with the restriction on political freedoms, Moi’s decision to prohibit ethnic welfare associations such as the Gikuyu Embu and Meru Association (Gema) generated considerable political unease and further instability. On August 1, 1982, members of the air force mounted their coup against Moi. Some coups are important because they lead to a change of government. But coups that fail can be just as important in the way that they change the perceptions and actions of the survivors.

In the years that followed the coup Moi’s regime became increasingly repressive of critical voices. For much of the rest of the decade, real and imagined critics of the government were subjected to harassment, arrest and in the worst cases torture. But this did not succeed in silencing dissent. Coercion has never proved to be an effective means of maintaining stability in Kenya, from the era of colonial rule onwards.

In Moi’s case, the 1988 elections proved to be a critical juncture. The clear evidence of rigging – made obvious by the use of queue voting, so that it was plain for all to see that in many areas the less popular candidate had been declared the victor – undermined the legitimacy of the one-party state.

At the same time, by plotting to lock out many prominent leaders such as Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba in party and national elections, Moi unintentionally created a leadership for the country’s nascent pro-democracy campaign. As a result, Kenya experienced another period of intense political turbulence as Matiba, Odinga and Rubia came out in favour of regime change.

This period of Kenyan history is perhaps best remembered for the saba saba riots, a genuine moment of popular mobilisation against authoritarian rule, which played an important role in setting the scene for the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

The return of competitive politics had major implications that reached far beyond the political sphere. The need to fund election campaigns, combined with the weakening of state institutions as a result of Structural Adjustment Programmes and the strategies employed by the Moi government in the late 1980s, ushered in a new phase of rampant corruption that demonstrated just how fragile the country’s mechanisms of fiscal and political accountability had become.

This period was epitomised by the Goldenberg scandal, in which hundreds of billions of shillings of government revenue were misappropriated in an elaborate export scam. That none of the major players in the scandal were ever effectively prosecuted demonstrated the extent to which law and order had broken down, while the economic impact of the scandal – estimated to be well over Sh100 billion – illustrated the high cost of weak institutions.

VIOLENCE:

Assassination of popular leaders sowed the seed for political reform

Partly as a result of episodes of instability, Kenya has suffered a series of episodes of traumatic violence. It is tempting to ignore these moments in favour of a more rose tinted celebration of 50 years of independence, but that would do a disservice to some of the most important figures in the nation’s history.

In the 1960s there was the assassination of Pio Gama Pinto (1965), which dealt a significant blow to those more radical members of Kanu such as Oginga Odinga, for whom he had been such a successful organiser.

In terms of national politics, the 1969 assassination of Tom Mboya, one of the most talented and respected politicians of his generation, was perhaps more significant. With his death, Kenya not only lost a brilliant mind, but one of the few political leaders capable of mobilising support across ethnic lines.

Pinto and Mboya were not alone. In 1975 the popular Kikuyu leader, JM Kariuki, was killed, sending shock waves through Central Province. Kariuki’s claim that Kenya had become a nation of “10 millionaires and 10 million beggars” suggested that had he lived he would have focussed greater attention on the need to limit the growth of the super rich and super poor – sadly, we shall never know.

The assassination of Foreign minister Robert Ouko on February 13, 1990, was every bit as important in its ramifications. Most notably, it led international donors to take a much more critical attitude towards the Kanu government, which eventually translated into greater pressure for the end of the one-party state.

At the same time, the investigation into the assassination contributed to the fall from grace of one of Moi’s most notorious allies, Nicholas Biwott.

It is often said that Kenya has been peaceful and stable since independence, but these assassinations – which occurred in pretty much every decade of independence – tell a different story.

It is tempting to wonder how Kenya would have developed if so many of those who put forward a different vision of the country’s future had not been cut off in their prime. For example, imagine if Tom Mboya, who was born just a year before Mwai Kibaki, had just retired from public life rather than been buried in 1969.

While their methods differed significantly, what united Mboya, JM Kariuki and Pio Gama Pinto, in particular, was a concern for equality and social justice. Although many Kenyans did well under Jomo Kenyatta, the gains that were made were not shared equally, which contributed to the grievances of those groups who consider themselves the ‘have nots’.

At times violence has also erupted on a mass scale. Thousands were killed and many more displaced during the 1992 and 1997 elections in which Kanu supporters instigated ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley in an attempt to displace, and hence disempower, communities assumed to support opposition parties.

This violence not only assisted Moi to retain power throughout the 1990s, it sowed the seeds for instability and inter-communal tensions in the 2000s.

The difference between the 2007 election and those that had gone before was not that political leaders engaged militias to act as ‘protection’ around election time, but that many of the groups that had supported Moi in 1992 and 1997 had broken away from the government following Kanu’s defeat in 2002 and were now in opposition.

As a result, the fragile state could not cope with the forces ranged against it, resulting in a loss of life on a tragic scale. The collective loss of a sense of security and the damage done to national identity continues to haunt the country, particularly given the failure to provide justice to the victims.

But violence can unite as well as divide. Few moments of national unity have been as sincere and pronounced as the outpouring of grief that followed the terrorist attack on the US embassy on August 7, 1998 as well as other similar incidents. Although the city centre recovered quickly, the trauma of that day and the incomprehensibility of the act will never be forgotten by those there.

The attacks also had an important impact on Kenyan foreign policy: thereafter, anti-terror strategies became increasingly central to the country’s engagement in the region.

Kenya’s regional relations have largely been peaceful, but not always. The status of Somali citizens of Kenya has been a long-running debate that the country has yet to fully resolve.

The Shifta War began less than a fortnight after independence and although that conflict ended in 1967, successive Kenyan governments remained uncertain of their relationships with their Somali citizens and with Somalia itself.

This situation has been further complicated by Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in October 2011, which was the first time that Kenyan troops have been deployed on foreign soil to attain a military objective. In years to come we may look back on this moment as a key development in Kenya’s journey to becoming a more proactive regional force.

How to deal with past instances of violence remains a thorny topic, but justice is increasingly being done for those who have suffered. In July 2002, some 200 Maasai and Samburu who had been bereaved or maimed as a result of British army explosives left on their land accepted more than $7 million in compensation from Britain.

More recently, Mau Mau victims won the right to pursue their claims for compensation in relation to the mistreatment that they experienced during the insurgency. It now looks likely that the British Government will pay compensation to thousands of Kenyans, which will not only right a colonial wrong, but also set a precedent for how governments should deal with atrocities in their past.

At the time of writing, Kenyans are still trying to come to terms with crimes that may have been committed by its own government. The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) set up in the wake of the power-sharing violence has been dismissed by many as flawed process, but the publication of its report last month was nonetheless important.

The 42,000 witnesses who gave testimony give the Commission’s report a weight that it would not otherwise have, and it has raised important questions about how to deal with political leaders who stand charged with a range of violations – including some that are often forgotten as a result of the overriding focus on the post-election violence of 2007.

However, in some cases Kenyans may not be able to decide how to deal with the past themselves. The ICC case against three prominent Kenyans accused of committing crimes against humanity will go ahead this year (24), despite the government’s efforts to have the charges against the President and Deputy President dropped. The outcome of the cases, and how the government responds to them, will shape Kenya’s domestic and international politics for decades to come.

RESILIENCE:

Not even inflation and poor leadership dampened quest for better lives

This political and economic fragility, as well as the harsh climate in much of the country, has meant that Kenyans have had to exhibit resilience in their daily lives.

This reliance and determination has found expression in a variety of forms. One of the first was the harambee schools movement by which communities across the country through their own hard work and funds sought to give their children education with which to escape poverty.

Without such initiative, it would have been impossible to cope with demands for education created by the dramatic increase in population witnessed over the past 50 years, which has seen the number of Kenyans grow from 7 million people in 1963 to over 40 million today.

Another way of coping with that enlarged population has been for Kenyans to move away from the countryside into the towns and cities. With a population of just under 400,000 at independence, Nairobi’s population reached a million just 20 years later.

That growth created obvious problems that continue to be visible on a daily basis: crowded roads, insufficient houses and poor public health. But the city has also been a place of cultural dynamism and become the heartbeat of the national and regional economy.

The effects of demographic change and the fluctuating economy have been felt in the countryside too. Channelling the spirit of harambee, self-help groups dominated by women helped provide welfare, protect access to land and, in the case of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement, campaign against damage to the environment that put livelihoods in rural areas in jeopardy.

In the absence of opposition parties during the dark days of one-party rule and its aftermath, such groups increasingly became vehicles for political change. In February and March 1992, women activists joined the wives, mothers and sisters of prisoners to protest against political imprisonment at Freedom Corner. Their courage shamed the Moi government and shows that Kenyan civil society groups are far from being the puppets of foreign interests. Kenya’s civil society was built on the blood and sweat of Kenyans, not the money of donors.

Other important forms of resistance had gone before. In the 1980s, the underground Mwakenya movement linked university lecturers, students, and literary figures in a widespread critique of the one-party state.

Although Mwakenya never threatened to topple the Moi regime, the Draft Minimum Programme published in September 1987 was one of the most serious attempts to discuss the state of the nation in the 1980s, and played an important role in keeping alive the idea that a more democratic future was possible.

The other great pillar of civil society has been the churches. Although a minority of the population were Christian at independence, by 1988 that figure stood at more than 80 per cent. It was not just the numbers of Christians that changed the face of Kenya, but also the engagement with politics exhibited by the clergy and congregations.

The protests by the churches against the practice of queue voting in the 1988 general election, and the willingness of some bishops to speak out in favour of reform, provided a groundswell of popular support for the pro-democracy movement and set in train the series of events that led to the abandonment of one-party rule.

Without them it seems unlikely that it would have been feasible for leading opposition figures to launch the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford), the umbrella movement that actively campaigned for multiparty politics. Although Ford later fragmented, enabling Moi to win power in the 1992 election against a divided opposition, it forced the political opening on which so much of the progress in Kenya over the last 20 years has been based.

Supporters of democracy learnt quickly that the mere fact of holding elections was not enough to guarantee a change to the way the state treated its citizens. They came to realise that major constitutional change was the only way to protect the individual and collective rights of all Kenyans.

For more than two decades, civil society activists demonstrated courage, leadership and resilience in their efforts to fundamentally change the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.

Along the way they gradually expanded the boundaries of what was possible. Despite successive aborted periods of constitutional review under Moi, they continued to push for power to be devolved from the president to the people. In 2004, their efforts crystallised into the Bomas Draft of the constitution, which proposed significant new constraints on the Executive.

However, the final draft of the constitution that went before the country in a referendum in 2005 differed in significant ways from the Bomas Draft, and so civil society groups joined the campaign of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), defeating the government’s proposals.

The Bomas Draft was nonetheless significant, because it shaped all future constitutional debates. The 2010 Constitution can be traced back to these earlier periods of constitutional review, and the civil society and opposition groups who worked so hard to push the process forwards.

All civil society movements require a mouthpiece and the Kenyan press has often been an important source of news and information. One of the first weekly newspapers was the African Standard, which was established in 1902.

The paper was sold three years later to two British businessmen who promptly changed the name to the East African Standard, which published daily from then on.

In a separate development, the Englishman Charles Hayes started a Swahili weekly called Taifa in 1958, which became a daily newspaper, Taifa Leo, in 1960. This was a particularly significant development with respect to this article, because soon after an English language version of the paper – the Daily Nation – went into publication on October 3, 1960, and if that hadn’t happened you wouldn’t be reading this piece today.

More recent developments have involved the deregulation of the radio network. Because most Kenyans do not have access to television, the radio has been a critical source of information. Under the one-party state, the government’s monopoly over the radio was an important source of political control.

But following the deregulation of FM radio control over information has been decentralised to hundreds – if not thousands – of new stations (35).

This has been both good and bad. Many more voices are now being heard, and Kenyans have the capacity to produce shows that are closer to the interests, and the needs, of local communities. But vernacular radio stations have also been accused of being a source of division, and in some cases incited ethnic violence around the 2007 elections.

Daniel Branch is an Associate Professor in African History at the University of Warwick and author of Kenya: Between Hope and Despair 1963-2012. Nic Cheeseman is a university lecturer in African Politics at the University of Oxford, the founder of http://www.democracyinafrica.org, and the Joint Editor of African Affairs. [niccheeseman@gmail.com]

Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed optimism that the continent will achieve economic structural transformation in the next few years, if the leaders focus on empowering citizens to reach their goals.

Dr. Donald Kaberuka made the remarks yesterday while addressing a news conference at the sidelines of the ongoing 48th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Marrakech, Morocco.

“Africa needs accelerated structural transformation in order to take the bulk of its population out of poverty. This requires deeper investment in factors leading to growth-boosting structural change,” he said.

Kaberuka stated that the continent has doubled its Gross Domestic Product in ten years, an indication that Africa was on the right move to achieve economic transformation, if the governments keep the momentum,

“In the next 50 years there will be major trends that will influence what Africa does to achieve inclusive growth, for instance population and demographics, natural resources, young population, however this needs to be planned carefully for the betterment of every citizen,” he said.

“We Africans need to ensure that generated revenues are invested in people and infrastructure development.”

Dr Kaberuka stated that despite the slowdown in the global economy, Africa reports 6.6 per cent growth in 2013. Sub Saharan African growth alone stands at 5.7 percent. “And if you exclude the region’s largest and most complex economy, Sub Saharan Africa’s performance is actually 6.7 per cent.”

According to Kaberuka, for the first time, Africa’s per capita GDP has crossed the 1000 US dollar barrier; infant and maternal mortality is down by a half while life expectancy is up from 40 to 60 years.

And there are more children in school than at any time in recent history.

“We need to know how to invest in education, infrastructure, health of the people and ensure that investment takes place, how do we accelerate technical training and regional integration, how do we deal with fragile states that are holding others back,” Kaberuka noted.

The transformation we are looking at, he said, is not simply becoming a place where we have got more mobile phones than Europe and North America combined, but a place where we manufacture the mobile phone components.

“It will not happen miraculously, it needs careful planning by the private and public sector combined efforts.

According to Ali Bongo Ondimba, the Gabonese President, African governments should ensure that growth becomes more inclusive, while maximising natural resource use efficiency.

“We should appreciate what has been achieved in the last decade and now it’s time to join our efforts and integrate to realise our continent’s potential,” he said.

Appearing on the discussion Panel on Wednesday President Paul Kagame called on Africans to do things right to position the continent in its deserved place, saying that there was a favorable platform to make it happen.

Rwanda, among few countries in Africa, has registered substantial progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within in the period of three years.

Since 2007, the Government of Rwanda has made achieving the MDGs fundamental to its policy framework. Within the last five years Rwanda poverty reduced by 13 per cent with one million Rwandans lifted out of poverty.

Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays

  • Agencies
  • May 31, 2013
  • Goods at Port Mombasa. The New Times / Courtesy.
  • Renewed economic activity following a smooth presidential vote is driving demand for imports in Kenya, weakening the shilling and prompting wariness about the central bank’s response, including more interventions.Kenya’s central bank intervened for the first time in four months on Wednesday and currency traders in east Africa’s biggest economy said in the aftermath it is likely to do so again if the shilling starts to decline.The shilling had fallen 1.7 percent in just over a week to an eight-week low of 85.25/45 per dollar before Wednesday’s intervention, tumbling on strong demand for hard currency from importers,

    It was at 85.00/85.20 on Thursday, slightly weaker than its 84.85/84.95 close the previous day. Traders viewed this as stable but said the bank would come in again if the weakening trend picked up.

    “The central bank is on top of the game and might keep intervening whenever the shilling comes under pressure,” said Ignatius Chicha, head of markets at Citibank.

    “We are going to have more demand than supply as we see resumption in economic activity.”

    Demand for imported goods has picked up along with the economy since it became apparent that the March election was not going to lead to the kind of violence the followed the previous one.

    But this could weigh on the shilling and could feed into inflation if left unchecked.

    In late 2011, the central bank was forced to hike interest rates sharply to rein-in imported inflation that had pushed the shilling to a record low of 107 per dollar in October that year.

    At the time, the current account deficit – the difference between a country’s imports and exports – had risen to above 10 percent. The current account deficit stands at above 12 percent of GDP, driven by increased local demand for foreign goods.

    Peter Mutuku, head of trading at Bank of Africa, said the shillings depreciation was inevitable “because of the current account mismatch”.

    The shilling is still 1.6 percent stronger to the dollar so far in 2013, but is widely expected to weaken by year-end, pressured by Kenya’s persistently high current account deficit.

    A Reuters poll of eight analysts and traders gave a median forecast of 88.00 shillings per dollar by year end.

    The central bank has remained active in the market, regularly sterilising liquidity through actively soaking up liquidity since last year to support the shilling by making it slightly expensive to hold long dollar positions.

    Central bank has also been selling hard currencies even as it cut its borrowing costs by 950 basis points since July 2012 to support the economy.

    Some traders said a weaker shilling could tempt the central bank to reverse course on a cycle of interest rate cuts.

    “We could see interest rates go back up but that is a last resort because they (central bank) are keen on growth at the moment,” said a trader at one commercial bank.

    However, for now, they said the bank’s foreign exchange reserves of at least 0.27 months cover above the statutory four months worth of import cover, had given it room to sell even more dollars in the market.

    “Looks like the central bank has managed to cool off excess demand for now and is keenly watching the market,” said Dickson Magecha, a trader at Standard chartered Bank.

Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot

 

By  LILIAN OCHIENG’ news@nation.ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  23:36

IN SUMMARY

  • The murder of Kisumu ODM aspirant Shem Onyango Kwega happened around 10am on October 29. Two people have been charged with the offence.

Some 121 murders were committed in Kisumu last year, according to figures released by police.

Of these, 87 cases were presented in court but only 14 have been concluded.

Police link the murders to family feuds, saying that most were reduced to manslaughter.

Nyanza Police boss Joseph ole Tito said one of the sensational murders in 2012 was of that of a political aspirant in broad daylight.

Protests

“The case is still pending,” Mr Tito told theSaturday Nation.

The murder of Kisumu ODM aspirant Shem Onyango Kwega happened around 10am on October 29. Two people have been charged with the offence.

The murder triggered violent protests from thousands of residents and disrupted business.

Two bullets pierced Mr Kwega’s head and jaw as he drove to the town centre with his wife.

He was pronounced dead at the Aga Khan Hospital where he had been rushed.

His wife Rose died a few days later.

During the ensuing demonstrations, four other people lost their lives.

Residents stormed the provincial police headquaters demanding justice. A few days later, two men were arrested and brought to the High Court in Kisumu on November 1, last year.

Mr Francis Onyango Nyakwaka and Mr John Muga Onyango were charged, not with murder, but violently robbing and killing Mr Kwega while armed with an AK-47 rifle.

They were also charged with violently robbing Mr Nelson Odwaro Oduogo of a Bible and other items, all valued at Sh10,000.

They denied all the charges and were remanded for further investigations.

During the mention on November 6, they were charged with manslaughter.

Kondele police boss Johnston Wanyama explained: “If they had been charged with murder or manslaughter, they would be out on bail, so the charge we preferred was weightier and the sentence likely to be stiffer.” No hearing date has yet been set for the case.

Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast

By NATION CORRESPONDENT
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  23:07

IN SUMMARY

  • The police are on the spot again after failure to unravel a recent killing in Mombasa of a Kenya Ports Authority employee a month ago in her house.

The high number of murder cases at the Coast have baffled the police with statistics indicating they doubled last year.

There were 33 murders reported in Mombasa in 2011, but this went up to 74 last year.

They include the murder of civilians, police officers and foreigners, with the police accused of doing little to arrest culprits.

Hardly a week passes before a murder is reported.

The police are on the spot again after failure to unravel a recent killing in Mombasa of a Kenya Ports Authority employee a month ago in her house.

The woman’s household items were stolen during the attack by people whom neighbours said were known to her.

Coast Provincial Police boss Aggrey Adoli has attributed the cases to the increasing number of illegal gangs.

Sometimes, he adds, the murders are due to quarrels among lovers.

At the Mombasa High Court, murder cases have increased, including that on the killing of the Changamwe police boss and three other police officers on March 3.

High Court judge, Justice Martin Muya this week ruled that the prosecution conceals the identities of witnesses lined up to testify against five Mombasa Republican Council members on trial for the murders.

Justice Muya had been told that the prosecution witnesses lived in the same residential areas as the suspects and their lives would be endangered should their identities be made public.

The court heard that the director of public prosecution had taken a step to protect the witnesses by liaising with the directorate of criminal investigations.

In an affidavit, an undercover officer stated that several witnesses were apprehensive of their security, property and families and that their identities be concealed.

He added that more people were being sought over the killings of the Changamwe police chief Otieno Owour, OCS Salim Chebii and police constables Stephen Maithya and Andrew Songwa on March 3 in Jomvu.

“I have established that there were more than 100 MRC members who systematically executed the attacks,” the affidavit further states.

On the same night, five policemen were killed in a gang attack in Kisauni, Kilifi County.

The banned group has been accused of executing the murders at the Coast.

Mr Adoli said security had been beefed up in the region and warned criminals that their days were numbered.

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

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