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Archive for October 24th, 2009

Dallas police ticketed 39 drivers in 3 years for not speaking English

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2009

By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News
sgoldstein@dallasnews.com

Dallas police wrongly ticketed at least 39 drivers for not speaking English over the last three years, Police Chief David Kunkle announced Friday while promising to investigate all officers involved in the cases for dereliction of duty.

Pending cases will be dismissed, and those who paid the $204 fine for the charge, which does not exist in the city, will be reimbursed, Kunkle said.

“I was surprised and stunned that that would happen, particularly in the city of Dallas,” Kunkle said. “In my world, you would never tell someone not to speak Spanish.”

The citations were issued in several different patrol divisions by at least six different officers. One of those officers was responsible for five of the citations, Kunkle said.

The case that led to the discovery of all the others occurred Oct. 2, when Ernestina Mondragon was stopped for making an illegal U-turn in the White Rock area. Rookie Officer Gary Bromley cited Mondragon for three violations: disregarding a traffic control device, failure to present a driver’s license and “non-English speaking driver.”

In that case and perhaps the others, officials said, the officer was confused by a pull-down menu on his in-car computer that listed the charge as an option. But the law the computer referred to is a federal statute regarding commercial drivers that Kunkle said his department does not enforce.

Bromley, 33, is a trainee officer in the northeast patrol division, meaning he still works with a training officer during every shift. His training officer on that day was Senior Cpl. Daniel Larkin, 53.

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Balala now endorses Ruto for president

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2009

MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct 24 – Tourism minister Najib Balala has thrown his weight behind his cabinet colleague William Ruto for presidency on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket in 2012.

The minister who appears to have broken ranks with ODM party leader Raila Odinga said the days of political dictatorship were gone and all party leaders had a right to eye the party’s ticket for presidency.

“There is no short cut to democracy and all ODM candidates wishing to vie for Presidency on an ODM ticket will undergo party nominations to determine the party’s torch bearer in the 2012 general election,” said Mr Balala.

He told journalists in Mombasa that the Agriculture minister was within his democratic right to seek presidency on an ODM ticket since the party has no automatic candidate.

The Tourism minister termed those opposing Mr Ruto’s bid for the top seat as enemies of democracy.

“ODM is a national party and no leader should reduce ODM to be a regional or tribal party,” he said.

Mr Balala accused a section of legislators of being a stumbling block to Mr Ruto’s State House bid on an ODM ticket. 

“Party members must ensure democracy prevails during the party’s presidential nominations ahead of the 2012 general election,” he said.

The Mvita MP asked his Eldoret North counterpart not to quit ODM and instead fight from within since it was his democratic right to aspire to be the party’s flag bearer during the next presidential election. 

There have been reports that Mr Odinga is about to reconstitute his political team in the Coast province ahead of the 2012 elections by replacing Mr Balala with Kisauni MP Ali Hassan Joho as the ODM chief for the region.

Close allies of Mr Odinga have in the past accused Mr Balala of not doing enough to popularise the party at the coast province.

Source: Capital FM

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Poll areas battle likely to pit Central against rest of Kenya

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2009

The scramble for more constituencies is promising to pit central Kenya against the rest of the country, with Coast and North-Eastern politicians threatening to secede. 

As Central politicians held the second meeting in a week over the matter, some MPs from other parts of the country were dismissing the new-found unity.

MPs from the vote-rich Central region were meeting to “seek a common stand”. They have declared that they want population to be the main consideration as the Interim Independent Boundary Review Commission considers reviews the boundaries.

But their counterparts mainly from Coast and North-Eastern said population should be only an aspect of the review.

They also took issue with President Kibaki’s speech writers whom they accused of misleading him to say that the commission should settle on a “one-man, one-vote” formula.

“This process must free from any interference from any other grouping,” Fafi MP Aden Duale said at a press conference at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.

But speaking earlier after their morning meeting, the Mt Kenya group said it was not planning to influence the outcome of the process.

Through MPs Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Joseph Kiuna (Molo) and Silas Muriuki (Imenti North), the legislators said the review must take into consideration all aspects, including the rural or urban location of a constituency.

“The changes we are instituting in this country are not about 2012 as some people have claimed, but for future generations,” said Mr Kioni. “This will be a very short-sighted approach if we decide to work this way and we then do not deserve to be leaders in this country.”

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Muriuki, who added that any review of constituency boundaries must seek to address historical injustices in representation. He said that a good formula must also take into account the sharing of devolved funds.

At Parliament, Voi MP Dan Mwazo warned that Coast would carve itself off into a state if the review failed to meet expectations, according to the law.

North-Eastern and Coast MPs are saying that they want a “one-kilometre, one-vote” formula, as opposed to the “one-man, one-vote one called for by their Mt Kenya colleagues, including President Kibaki.

The law asks the commission to review the boundaries based on “equality of votes”. It is also asked to take into account population density, in particular the need to ensure adequate representation of urban and sparsely populated rural areas.

The law also says that the Ligale commission should also take into consideration the population trends, the means of communication, the geographical features and the community interests.

But politics, including a change of the system of government in the new constitution, is threatening to scuttle to review.

Agriculture assistant minister Kareke Mbiuki has made it clear that the Mt Kenya group is pushing for more constituencies, with the hope that they can land the post of prime minister if the country adopts a parliamentary system after the enactment of a new constitution.

This, it appears, is informed by the argument that a presidential candidate from the region may be hard to sell to the rest of the country in the 2012 elections.

The constituencies being mentioned for a split include Embakasi, Lang’ata, Kasarani and Starehe in Nairobi as well as Mukurwe-ini, Mathira, Othaya, Juja and Tetu in Central Province. A number in Meru such as Nithi, one of the Tiganias and Igembe are included.

The thinking is that, if split, the areas might yield PNU candidates critical in raising numbers to claim the premiership in Parliament.

PNU vice-chairman George Nyamweya believes that although ODM received less votes than the PNU partners combined, the party harvested more seats in Parliament due the high number of constituencies in Rift Valley.

He has questioned why 6 million votes for PNU yielded only 87 House seats, against ODM’s 101 seats from 3 million votes. Some of the constituencies have more than 100,000 registered voters each. Embakasi, for instance, has nearly 250,000.

Others being mentioned are constituencies in the North Rift and others in Kisumu, Kakamega, Kericho, Sirisia and parts of the larger Gusii.

The MPs also have in mind constituencies such as Molo, Naivasha, Laikipia East and Nakuru Town as well as some in Coast.

However, the push the for more electoral areas could be informed by the desire for political survival for leaders who want enclaves with less competition.

There is also the case for fair representation, given the disparities in the number of people in various constituencies. And of little mention is the question of devolved money such as the Constituency Development Fund.

It is thought that additional constituencies will attract more cash to the regions.

Source: Daily Nation

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Money secrets couples keep

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2009

By CAROLINE NJUNG’E Posted Friday, October 23 2009 at 15:26

 

He must have been blindly in love, to trust his wife with his hard-earned millions. A few weeks ago however, Mohammed Bakhresa, a Zanzibari tycoon, went to court to have his ex-wife, Nasra Abdulwahab, return property worth an estimated Sh130 million.

According to an article in the Daily Nation, the tycoon, since divorced from his wife, had entrusted about Sh500 million to his then wife between 2002 and 2006, money that he had instructed her to invest.

At the time, Bakhresa, a frequent traveller since he had business interests in various parts of the continent, specifically Kenya, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi, lived in Kampala while his wife had set up home in Mombasa. He would send her money regularly, confident that she would invest it prudently for the benefit of the family.

All was well between the two until 2005 when Bakhresa realised that his wife was transferring huge amounts of this money into a secret bank account. This was the hammer that brought an abrupt end to their marriage. Now the previously happily couple is battling it out in court.

Which elicits the question – just how much should you trust your spouse with your money? Does your wife or husband know how much you earn or even how much you have in your company sacco? If he knows all this, do you have a bank account that he does not know about?

Ideally, when a couple decides to settle down and raise a family together, they are making a pact to not only stand by each other in good and bad times, but to share everything else they have, including money and any property they may have acquired or will acquire in future. But this is not always the case, as we found out.

Most married individuals that Saturday talked to disclosed that their spouses have no idea how much they earn and they would never dream of sharing a bank account with each other. The few that do have a joint account, especially the women, have a separate one which their other half knows nothing about.

A good number of women said they would flip if their husbands went into their handbags without permission while quite a number of men would have a fit if they walked in on their wives going through their wallets. Only a handful of married couples said that sharing bank accounts and pooling resources worked for them.

“Let’s be honest, there is no guarantee that your marriage will last forever, therefore it is advisable to play safe,” quips Jane, who has no apologies for keeping a bank account that her husband knows nothing about. She calls it her “rainy day nest” and each month, she puts in at least Sh5,000 – an amount she has been religiously putting away for the last three years.

Over the years, she has invested part of her savings in various company shares and will be the proud owner of a one-acre piece of land by the end of this year. You guessed it – she has no intention of letting her husband get wind of what she’s up.

Jane, an insurance agent, feels justified in keeping her husband in the dark concerning her dealings. They got married under customary law five years ago, and just three years into their marriage, she discovered that he had been cheating on her with the same woman for about a year.

“That woke me up to the reality that there was a possibility that my marriage could end one day, even though my husband swore that he had ended the relationship. What if he decided to leave me and marry another woman?” she wonders.

Her husband had already constructed the house they live in by the time they started living together, therefore it is under his name and so is the property it stands on. Jane is not lost to this fact and should her husband decide to walk out on her and their two children in future, she has no intention of starting her life all over again living in a rented, cramped house. Donald Onyango confesses that though he loves his wife, he does not trust her one bit when it comes to money.

“When we first got married, I would leave my wallet lying around the house; just like I was used to doing when I lived alone.” That was until he realised that his wife was pinching money from him. When he confronted her, she defended herself saying that “yako ni yangu (yours is mine)” therefore she wasn’t stealing from him.

“That is the day I bought a second wallet, which I make a point of leaving under the car seat before I get into the house. My old wallet holds no more than Sh500 at any time, which she finds difficult to take,” says Donald, looking shocked when asked whether his wife has access to his bank account.

Apparently, it is not only men who do not trust their wives with their wallets if Faith Kioko’s case is anything to go by. It may sound comical, but her biggest challenge is finding a new hiding place for her handbag every few days. Three years ago, Faith’s husband lost his job and a few months after that, the couple’s financial woes begun.

“After some time, money started disappearing from my handbag. At first, I thought maybe I had used it, but when I couldn’t account for it, I started suspecting my husband.” Her suspicions were confirmed when she walked in on her husband one day rummaging through her handbag.

Benson Kamau, a married father of two, is of the opinion that couples should keep separate bank accounts. “I meet all my responsibilities at home – I pay the rent, electricity and water bills and pay school fees for our two children; I don’t see why I should account for the remainder of the money that I make,” he says.

Kamau, a businessman, keeps a separate bank account from his wife, who teaches at a private school and says that for the last five of their eight-year-old marriage, this method has worked for them. When the couple got married, Kamau entrusted his ATM card to his wife, giving her unlimited access to his bank account, but a few months into their marriage, he realised that he had made “a big mistake”.

“I travel a lot on business and sometimes I am away from home for several days, so I would leave her my ATM card in case of an emergency,” he says. However, when he realised that his wife was “misusing” the money, he took away the card. “Most of the withdrawals went into buying clothes and shoes that she did not even need, yet the agreement was that she would use the card only when it was absolutely necessary,” he explains.

His verdict? The only person you can trust to make good use of your money is yourself. Linda Kithia is of the same opinion. When she and her husband, both high school teachers, got married five years ago, they decided that it would be easier to manage their money if they pooled it into one bank account.

Two years into the marriage, however, Linda knew that if this arrangement did not change, they would be paupers within a few months. “My husband was always coming up with one business deal after another which he would convince me to invest our money in,” she says.

Eventually, Linda had to put her foot down and say ‘No’ to any more business deals that had no signs of taking off. “Eventually, I found myself footing all the household bills while my husband’s salary went down the drain in his many unsuccessful business ventures.”

What saved their young marriage was coming up with a strategy where each would be responsible for paying certain household bills. They also agreed to part with a slice of their salaries each month, which they put into a mutual savings account. “Unless both of you are disciplined when it comes to handling money, which is rare, operating one bank account cannot work,” is Linda’s verdict.

Speaking from experience, Nancy Wamaitha, an advertising manager, is convinced that a couple that handles finances separately has stumbled on a foolproof way of keeping harmony in marriage. “My job demands that I look good, therefore, I use quite a substantial chunk of my salary to shop for clothes, shoes and other accessories.”

She says that if her husband of two years knew how much she spends on clothes alone in just one month, he would probably be shocked. “I know that he spends a lot on electronic gadgets and on entertainment with his friends, but for the sake of avoiding arguments, I wouldn’t want to know how much because I would disapprove of his spending habits. Both of us have made a silent pact not to account how we spend our salaries to each other.”

Her husband pays the rent, electricity and water bills while she takes care of the groceries and toiletries. They save in their individual saccos. Interestingly, neither knows how much the other has saved or invested. “What matters is that each of us fulfils our responsibilities in the home and as long as we honour them, there is no need for us to track how we use our money,” concludes Nancy.

Willis Onyango would not advise married couples to keep a joint account claiming that he tried it once and it nearly wrecked his marriage. “I thought that combining our salaries in one account was the ultimate show of love and trust on my part, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. From day one, we just couldn’t agree on how to spend our money,” says Onyango.

His wife for instance thought that it was a waste of money to allocate Sh5,000 for entertainment while he thought it ill-advised to allocate a similar amount to clothes and shoes every month. “How many pairs of shoes or clothes does one really need in a year?” he wonders, still perplexed. When his wife blew nearly Sh10,000 on clothes and shoes in one weekend, he knew that the sharing bit would have to come to an end.

After four months of constant bickering about money, the couple finally acknowledged that it was best to keep separate accounts and agreed that each would be entitled to a specific amount in the form of pocket money. He advises other couples to avoid sharing money too soon into the marriage.

“Get to know your partner’s spending habits first before pooling your money together or entrusting her with your money.” Doris confesses that she has a secret bank account that her husband knows nothing about. “Women are more careful with money, therefore, it is wise to have some ‘just-in-case’ money stashed away somewhere.”

She learnt this the hard way. Initially when she and her husband got married, they allowed each other free access to each other’s bank accounts. “We did not have a joint account but we had free access to each other’s ATM cards.”

But that was until she realised that her husband was withdrawing money from her account half of which he either used to spruce up his car, or couldn’t account for. “Obviously, my husband did not respect the money I worked so hard to make and when I realised what was happening, I begun to channel most of the money into a new account that he knew nothing about.”

Obviously, love alone is not enough to sustain a marriage, as most couples find out when the honeymoon high fizzles off. Relationship experts cite money wars as the major enemy of marriage, yet most couples rarely talk about finances before or after marriage. Isn’t this a good time as any to start?

cnjunge@nation.co.ke

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Raila-Ruto fallout might spur alliance between Kikuyu and Luo

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2009

To some, President Kibaki owes a debt of gratitude to Prime Minister Raila Odinga. 

It was the opposition presidential candidate who calmed down more extremist elements in his party to agree to a power-sharing agreement. The deal did not only end the post-election violence, but also lent a modicum of legitimacy to a president re-elected in such contestable fashion.

After the initial clashes, President Kibaki and PM Odinga seem to have reached an understanding that confounds even their respective lieutenants.

A remarkable element about the Kibaki-Odinga understanding is that it is not just a PNU-ODM coalition, but one that might also somehow represent the long-elusive Kikuyu-Luo rapproachment.

In some circles, there is even talk that it could lead to a political alliance ahead of the 2012 elections. This is especially so with the fallout in ODM that is seeing Mr Odinga parting ways with powerful Agriculture minister William Ruto, which, in Kenyan dynamics, translates to a Luo-Kalenjin split.

Yet old suspicions die hard. To many, relationships between the two groups will always be defined by historical schisms, betrayal and mistrust. Mr Odinga’s father, Mr Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, helped Mr Jomo Kenyatta out of detention and into State House as the first president.

His reward was being thrown into political limbo for a generation. From the other side, some might see him as the ingrate entrusted with the vice-presidency, but who was too impatient to wait his turn.

Best chance

Some might go back to the 1992 successful conclusion of the multi-party campaign and Mr Oginga Odinga’s best chance to fulfil a life-long quest, only to fall flat when fellow multiparty campaigner Kenneth Matiba and new convert Mwai Kibaki, both Kikuyu, split the opposition vote and thus helped President Moi’s re-election.

There is also 2002, after Mr Raila Odinga went into Kanu, destroyed it from within, and decamped in time to ease President Kibaki’s ascent to power, only for the latter to renege on a power-sharing pact.

That Saturday, 40 years ago, stands out as a pivotal moment in Kenya’s political history that further poisoned relations between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, and by extension between the “ruling Kikuyu” and the “opposition Luo”.

In July the same year, the charismatic and brilliant Economic Planning minister and Kanu secretary-general Tom Mboya had been assassinated.

It was Mr Mboya, who, in 1966, had devised and executed the strategy that had driven his Luo rival, Mr Odinga, out of the vice-presidency and into opposition. He was seen as the most likely successor to Mr Kenyatta, and his reward for getting Mr Odinga out of the way was a bullet on a Nairobi street.

Assassination

Tensions were still high over the Mboya assassination when Mr Kenyatta made his ill-fated visit to Kisumu. At independence in 1963, Mr Kenyatta was Prime Minister and Mr Odinga his effective deputy.

The relationship soon soured, and it was almost inevitable that Mr Odinga would be drummed out of Kanu in 1966. The Luo naturally saw it as a great betrayal and the fractures wrought have never been healed. In fact, they accentuated with the Kisumu shootings and detention of Mr Odinga.

President Kenyatta died in 1978 without ever again stepping in Luoland. His successor, Mr Daniel arap Moi, inherited the suspicion and distrust of the Luo and their leadership.

Mr Odinga and ex-Kenya People’s Union leaders were locked out of successive elections once Mr Moi came to power because they had not demonstrated sufficient “change of heart”.

President Moi’s natural suspicions were reinforced in the abortive 1982 coup attempt by elements of Kenya Air Force. The farcical attempt was linked to the Odingas. The old man was briefly confined to house arrest. His son, then deputy director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards, was initially charged with treason, which carries the mandatory death sentence, before being detained without trial.

Detention camps

Mr Raila Odinga went on to become a veteran of the Moi era detention camps.

When the agitation for a return of the multiparty system picked up early in 1990, the Odingas, and by extension the Luo, were in the thick of the action. They found ready allies in a large corpus of leading Kikuyu politicians and businessmen who had over the years been shunted aside by the Moi system.

It looked like a match made in heaven, and to the point that President Moi attempted to fight alliance by bringing back the Kikuyu on his side.

Those were the so-called Gema-Kamatusa (Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana, Samburu) talks. At one session at Nakuru State House, President Moi told Gema representatives that they should shun any alliances with the “communist” and “subversive” Luo, and unite with the Kalenjin.

Now, some in both the Luo and Kikuyu leadership are considering uniting against a common foe.

These are the ethnic dynamics and ironies of Kenyan politics.

Source: Daily NATION

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