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Archive for November 19th, 2009

New Law to Silence Noise Makers

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

Nairobi — Street preachers, touts and those who promote or sell anything by shouting are some of the people put on notice by a new environmental regulation set to come into force on Sunday.

Intended to control noise pollution, the Noise and Excessive Vibration Pollution (Control) Regulations, 2009, will ensure that no one makes any loud and unreasonable noise that disturbs or endangers the comfort and safety of others and the environment.

The rule applies to individuals, firms and organisations carrying out activities that produce noise and excessive vibration within a town’s central business district, a residential area, a silent zone, or any other area declared a silent zone.

The law, however, stipulates maximum permissible noise levels for construction sites, mines and quarries, among other areas known to be producers if noise, said Mr Robert Orina, the chief enforcement officer at the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).

Those who intend to emit noise will be required to inform the community to be affected of the intention to make noise and the purpose before applying for a licence from Nema.

The application for the licence or permit to make noise will be obtained at a fee and restricted to a specified period.

“It is however not automatic that you will get the licence or permit. You will have to justify why you have to make the noise so let nobody ask for permission to make noise for the sake of asking.

“We also urge the municipal councils to zone their areas appropriately such that for instance Jua Kali centres are not located near hospitals and other areas considered silent zones. We also appeal to the lead agencies to have the measuring gadgets to be used to ensure that everybody follows the law,” said Mr Orina.

However, there are several exceptions to the rule, including noise for the purpose of alerting people to an emergency or performance of emergency response.

Others are noise in connection with protection of health and safety of residents or their property during emergencies, warning devices such as police, fire and ambulance sirens, train horns as well as parades and national celebrations.

Mr Orina was speaking at a Kisumu hotel on Wednesday when a Nema team held meetings on environmental conservation.

Copyright © 2009 The Nation.


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Uncollected Passports to Be Cancelled

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

Kenneth Ogosia

19 November 2009

Nairobi — Thousands of passports which have remained uncollected over the last six years will be cancelled in a month.

Director of Immigration Albert Musasia said on Thursday those were the passports applied for between April 2003 and November 12, 2009.

The move is likely to affect thousands of Kenyans who have not collected the travel document for one reason or the other.

Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General Tom Odege said the ministry should publish the names of those who have not collected the passports to avoid punishing innocent people.

“Some of the passports could have been applied for by criminals and instead the records should be used by security agencies to help in investigations,” he said.

Mr Musasia also announced that civil servants in the Ministry of Immigration would now work up to 8pm.

The changes will only affect those working in Nairobi, he said.

The director urged the wananchi to take advantage of the extra time.

Mr Odege asked the ministry to state whether the extra time would attract allowances for its staff in Nairobi.

“We need to know if the rule is mandatory or not because there are several factors to be considered such as allowances, plight of the disabled and married women given the security and transport problems in Nairobi,” the union boss said.

He said such decisions should be arrived at by stakeholders and stated that even in performance contracting, the time line is the official government working hours.

Mr Odege said the ministry should guarantee the workers security through privately arranged transport because the move would put them at risk.

He said married women should be exempted from the rule since it would threaten family stability.

The unionist said passports were sensitive documents requiring thorough security checks.

Copyright © 2009 The Nation. All rights reserved.

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Luck knocked thrice at my door in one week

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By Ramadhan Rajab

A Chinese saying goes, like lightning, good luck rarely strikes twice at the same place.

But Caroline Kitonga can wave three wads of bank notes at this saying to prove otherwise.

For her, luck has not struck just twice, but thrice and with hefty tidings.

In the first such case recorded by the Kenya Charity Sweepstake (KCS), Kitonga won Sh221,000 cumulatively in three separate raffles in one week.

“I have heard of people smile to the banks, today is my turn. But I am yet to believe my luck,” said the 22-year-old purchasing and supplies management graduate.

For Kitonga, good fortune appeared to follow her wherever she went last week.

On three consecutive days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, she played the KCS scratch raffles and won amounts that totalled to a sum she had never dreamt of owning.

“I still can’t believe it. Someone please wake me up,” said the jobseeker as she appeared overwhelmed by the windfall.

“On Tuesday I had just sealed my internship application letters and was walking down Moi Avenue (Nairobi) to post them, when I saw a KCS agent. I decided to buy a New Happy Sweeps Instant Scratch and Win ticket worth Sh20,” she pauses and continues, “I scratched it and when I matched the numbers, I won Sh20,000.”

“I was so excited. I stopped by the street corner and started calling my brother Wycliffe Kitonga. I told him I had won a huge amount at KCS,” she said.

She woke up early on Wednesday and was among the first winners to claim their prizes at KCS’ headquarters on Mama Ngina Street.

My cheque

“I left the KCS office with my cheque and I was smiling all the way. Then, on my way out, I decided to play another raffle. I bought a Sh50 ticket, and I won, Sh1,000,” she said.

“I went right back up the office and I was paid for that one in cash,” she said.

“The winning mood was taking the better of me and I was beginning to think it was so easy to win. I had never won even a needle in a school raffle,” she said in laughter.

She was in town on Thursday and walked to the same vendor on Moi Avenue who had sold her the first ticket. She bought another ticket worth Sh20.

“I felt like I could still win some small amount but what happened when I scratched the card was beyond my wildest dreams,” she said.

“I stood at the corner of the booth and scratched. I could not help screaming out, I told the vendor, wow, I have won again. I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming. My ticket showed Sh200,000,” said Kitonga.

“I hugged the vendor through the booth window, I told him he was the best then I started walking very fast towards KCS House,” she said.

“Even the officials at KCS could not believe my luck. One asked me, you won again? Congratulations,” she said. “That was when I believed I had won a fine sum.”

Catering business

Kitonga now plans to start a catering business with her brother.

“This is a new beginning in my life, I had thought of starting a business, but I had no capital. For now I can see things looking good,” she exclaimed.

Peter Njoroge, KCS marketing manager, said Kitonga broke the company record.

“Never in our history has anyone won cumulative prizes thrice in a week, totalling to such an amount,” he said during the handing over of the big cheque.

Njoroge encouraged more people to play their raffles saying the company stands for worthy causes.

“Despite making good profits 70 per cent of our gains are channelled back to society. No one is a loser in this and we should not shy away from participating in this noble cause,” he said.

Needy person

“Even if you don’t win you have not lost the money but helped a needy person. We support any charities for needy people,” he said.

Kitonga said, “I now feel that one day I will walk away with a million shillings. If other people can win millions why not me?” she posed.

The Kenya Charity Sweepstake is the leading charitable organisation in the country.

It was inaugurated in 1966 by an Act of Parliament. The underlying foundation of the lottery company is to raise funds to assist the Government in the fight to overcome what were considered the three enemies of development at Indipendence, namely poverty, illiteracy and disease.

The organisation raises funds through the sale of instant win scratch tickets, which are sold countrywide by KCS agents and post offices on commission.

Njoroge says the organisation has a wide range of instant scratch and win tickets that cater for all age groups and are easy to play.

“The recently introduced Sh100 ticket known as Mchezaji Millionaire is the only ticket that gives the player a second chance to win in a draw.

Only non-winning tickets are eligible to enter for the second chance draw,” Njoroge said.

Mercy train

Charities that the KCS has supported this year include the Mercy Train project to feed the hungry that was initiated by The Standard Group and other organisations.

The Mercy Train became a beacon of hope during the prolonged drought as it reached out to famine-stricken families across the country.

KCS also supported the Save a Life Fund among other charity works.


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Plan well and laugh after wedding

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By Isaac Opiyo-BusinessDaily Africa.com
Many friends and relatives are averse to being invited to sit on wedding committees for fear of incurring financial burdens that come with the task. Photo/COURTESY

Many friends and relatives are averse to being invited to sit on wedding committees for fear of incurring financial burdens that come with the task. Photo/COURTESY

Calm is yet to return to Derrick’s household two months after his wedding.

Looking back at his big day, he can hardly remember a task that was harder to accomplish all his life.

He almost lost interest in the event when the escalating budget pushed him to seek additional sources of money to finance the ceremony, despite having already taken a personal loan from his bank for the event.

But even as the occasion drew closer, he was often greeted with pleas from wedding committee members to consider cutting the size of the budget since they too had exhausted their resources — but still the deficit was large.

Like a majority of bridegrooms, he ignored the suggestion and opted to go for another loan from the bank, without informing his bride, to raise the deficit so as not to compromise the standard of his dream wedding.

Fortunately, the bank gave him the loan and he witnessed his dream wedding become reality.

After the wedding, Derrick decided to move into a new residential suite where rent was higher.

Two months down the line and Derrick is now overburdened by debt and is forced to live beyond his means, by borrowing from colleagues to meet his monthly expenses which have surpassed his take home income.

The bank still deducts a big chunk of money from his salary to service the loan.

Derrick’s distress has elicited frequent quarrels with his new bride, with the couple now wallowing in financial difficulty.

Between August and December, the peak wedding season in Kenya, this scenario becomes familiar and is replayed many times over by new couples.

Many new couples have plunged straight into quarrels, or outright divorce, soon after their honeymoon is over.

Often, they enter into the new phase of married life with difficulty beyond their imagination.

This usually emanates from lack of financial planning when it comes to weddings.

Financial planning is not only vital for investments, savings and retirement, but also weddings.

Due to lack of financial planning by most brides and bridegrooms, many friends and relatives are averse to being invited to sit on wedding committees for fear of incurring financial burdens that often come with the task.

Financial planning starts the very minute you and your spouse-to-be agree to come together as a couple.

What follows should working out a budget in terms of how much it will cost to organise a wedding of your choice and standards.

Once the wedding cost is calculated, just like other financial plans, figure out how you will raise the amount from your current sources of income without laying too much hope on the committee that you will constitute.

This is where many would be lifetime partners flop.

Most brides are quick to abandon the duty to their partners, while their only input stops at the point of setting out the kind of wedding they would wish to have.

Consequently, many grooms rush for debt funding either from friends, colleagues or banks to make the day a success — without revealing to their spouses their sources of income.

Cost beyond your means

If the cost is beyond your means, you can consult with your partner on how to cut on some items and reduce the budget but still have a modest and affordable wedding that will keep you away from debts.

With cost in mind, you can schedule your wedding to a future date to create time for you to raise the funds through your own means.

Discussing with your partner how you plan to finance the wedding will enable your bride to see the need to cut down on the wedding budget and have a modest ceremony that will help you stay away from debts, which would later affect your marriage.

Try to figure out how your financial life will be after the wedding.

As you draw closer to the wedding day, say two to three months to the event, recruit a committee to assist you raise funds.

Without subjecting committee members to raising the full cost of the wedding, request them to help raise some of the cost.

Meanwhile, your own fund raising programme should still run mutely — without interfering with the committee’s programme.

In weddings where the cost is reasonable and affordable, committee members find ease in raising funds and sometimes raise more than the set amount because of the fact that the set goal is attainable and reasonable.

Also, when you run your own fund raising plan you will only require a little assistance from the committee.

Consequently, any slight shortfall would not affect your plans.

With a proper plan in place, your wedding will not be stressful.

It will only be a pretest of how you need to persevere to accomplish any given financial plan.

Opiyo is a personal finance consultant.

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Dual citizenship long overdue

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By Sam Makinda  Posted Friday, November 20 2009 at 00:00


The new draft constitution, published on Tuesday, canvasses many issues, but for most Kenyans in the diaspora, one thing that towers above everything else, is dual citizenship.


Like the Wako draft constitution, which Kenyans rejected in the 2005 referendum, the new document provides for dual citizenship.


It is understandable why a newly independent Kenya decided against dual citizenship in the early 1960s, but the policy was left in place for too long.


Most Kenyan policy makers and the public now appear to acknowledge that those who were born Kenyans should not lose their citizenship on account of taking up citizenship elsewhere.


They also believe children born to Kenyan parents, wherever they may be, are Kenyan citizens.


When I discussed this issue in Nairobi a few years ago, someone commented that dual citizenship would confer clear benefits to the Kenyans in the diaspora who would recover their lost citizenship, but he did not see benefits that would accrue to the country or the majority of Kenyans who live in Kenya.


I argued that dual citizenship involves benefits as well as costs to the Kenyan diaspora, but that it was important to view it as a two-way street in which both the country and the individuals affected would benefit.


I said also that in the longer-term, the country was likely to benefit far more than these individuals.


For example, there are several wealthy Kenyans in the diaspora who are waiting to recover their citizenship before investing substantially in the country, and their investments are likely to generate many jobs, goods and services for Kenyans.


Citizenship involves many things and performs various functions, but it ought to be understood in terms of at least three crucial factors: identity or nationality, rights or privileges, and duties or obligations.


The Kenyans in the diaspora, who were compelled by the current constitution to give up their Kenyan citizenship because they had become citizens of the countries in which they live and work, would regain their Kenyan identity, rights and obligations once the draft constitution is accepted and implemented.


Most countries that have accepted or encouraged dual citizenship have benefited considerably from the resources, skills and services they have received from the diaspora.


Without enormous input from the diaspora, China, India, Israel and Taiwan would not be as advanced as they are today.


This is partly why the African Union (AU) has encouraged its member states, including Kenya, to tap into the diaspora for investments, technology transfer and other development resources.


The AU, which comprises five geographical regions, considers the African diaspora to be its sixth region.


The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs appropriately regards the diaspora as one of the five pillars of foreign policy, in addition to economic, peace, environmental and cultural diplomacy.


According to its Sessional Paper of 2009, the Foreign Ministry intends to work with other ministries to invite Kenyans in the diaspora “to invest their skills and resources in the various sectors of national development”.


The longer the policy makers take to implement dual citizenship, the more Kenya misses out on crucial investments, technology transfers and other job-creation enterprises.


Makinda is a professor of security, terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, Murdoch University Australia.























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PM says Mau settlers to get support

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By WALTER MENYA         Posted Thursday, November 19 2009 at 16:22


Kenyans leaving the Mau Forest will begin receiving humanitarian assistance from the government.


Prime Minister Raila Odinga Thursday said the government had started profiling the people leaving the water tower with the aim of helping them.


“The Government has an elaborate plan to assist those leaving the forests start a new life and be self reliant,” said Mr Odinga.


His statement comes a day after the government stated that squatters leaving the South Western Mau Forest would not be compensated since they did not have documents to support their stay in the 400,000-hectare forest.


In statement sent through the Director of Communication in his office Dennis Onyango, Mr Odinga appealed to those vacating the forest to fill in profiling forms being administered by the Ministry of Special Programmes and the Provincial Administration.


According to the PM, the profiling was important as it would enable the government know the immediate and changing needs of those leaving the forests and offer appropriate assistance.


“The information gathered from the profile will enable the government provide both urgent and long term services to the residents.”


The PM spoke as the Mau controversy took a new twist with Heritage minister William Ntimama calling on the government to investigate the Rift MPs’ sources of finance whom he alleged were bribing squatters to resist eviction.


Mr Ntimama and three other MPs claimed that Agriculture minister William Ruto and his allies from the Rift Valley were giving squatters “dirty money” to stay and fight the government.


But he warned of resistance from communities around Mau if the MPs carry out their threat to lead the people back to the complex.


“If this is true it should be investigated and stopped,” Mr Ntimama said in statement.


The bribery claims were quickly denied by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto who termed Mr Ntimama’s remarks as ‘rumours’.


“That is rumour mongering. I can only respond to facts not rumours,” said Mr Ruto at Parliament buildings.


According to the minister, the planned march by the Rift MPs had been funded by money from suspicious sources.  “It is stolen money, money that has been fraudulently obtained,” he said.


He was flanked by MPs: Joseph Kiuna (Molo), Nkoidila ole Lankas (Narok South) and Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu Town East).


Mr Ntimama, who has been persistent in calling for the eviction without compensation of the squatters from the Mau complex, said the action by the MPs if left to continue was a recipe for chaos.


Mr Ntimama also defended the Prime Minister Raila Odinga from accusations the Mau affair was wholly his instead stating it was a collective decision of the government and international community.


 Daily Nation



















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Bad sex? No thank you!

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

November 17, 2009 – I learned something interesting from a sex therapist the other day. Normally I try to ignore their one-size-fits-all advice when it comes to intimacy. I mean in all honesty these people have never met me OR my partner so how the hell are they supposed to know what works for us in bed?

Well for some reason my mind was changed by a sex doctor who appeared on one of Oprah’s shows recently. Its hard to explain why this particular woman immediately received a full dose of credibility from my end…but I have a feeling sitting next to the queen of talk shows had something to do with it
While the therapist’s words of wisdom seemed geared more towards married couples, somewhere along the way I felt as though she was talking directly to the inside of my bedroom. She had been going on for a while about how sex can be improved by proper communication and how you should tell the other person what you like in bed and vice versa. But here is my problem. I don’t have a husband, or a boyfriend, or even a lover. I have a ‘person’.

This person and I share very little other than text messages arranging our un-romantic rendezvous. I prefer to look at them more as business meetings that have a very strict procedure. We meet up, watch some TV, and satisfy our sexual desires with as little personal talk as possible. Come to think of it, I think we talk more while we’re doing the do than when we’re sitting on the couch idly. No asking questions, no telling of unnecessary tales, no titles. No dinner, no breakfast, just an occasional offering of a drink. So you can see how hard it is for me to start bringing up the Oprah show and what the sex therapist said the other day in-between our minimal conversation.

Having said that, it was the moment when the sex therapist said the following words that I felt I had hit the jackpot: “You can tell most peoples sexual preferences by observing how they give pleasure. Watch the things your partner does to you, and in which order they are done. 9 times out of 10 they’re speaking to you without using words”. ‘Oh my goodness’, I thought to myself. That’s exactly what I was going to do on our next escapade. Granted my side-person and I had been hooking up for close to a year, we were at the point where I thought some spice needed to be added to the routine and this was the perfect way to do so without ever having to talk about it!

So I got to work during our next bedroom meeting. My plan seemed to be working for a while until about halfway through when something very strange happened. Just as we were getting into the heat of the moment, his equipment suddenly mal-functioned! With as little judgment in my eyes as possible, I began to watch him desperately attempt to divert the attention elsewhere by turning up the oral pleasures. I know how embarrassing this must be for a man so I was as accommodating as possible. After what I thought was a painfully long time, he finally got things working again and we proceeded to conclude the experience with very little satisfaction on both ends.

As I drove home the next morning I couldn’t help but think of the previous night. Was it me? Had I let myself go a little? I didn’t think so…in fact if anything I was in the best physical shape of my life! I had embraced my femininity quite a bit over the past couple of months and I felt good about what I was bringing to the table. Had our rendezvous gone on too long? Had the sex therapist lied??!!!

I called up a good guy friend of mine, told him the story and asked him what had gone wrong. His answer was hard to swallow but it seemed like it was due time that I start swallowing the truth rather than…well…that’s a whole other article.

“Clande’s are there to sustain you in between relationships; as in they’re temporary. You guys have been ‘chipsing’ each other for ten months, you have no commitment, and who knows what’s happening when you leave that bed. My dear, its time for you to move on. This thing has run its course and you both know that. So find someone new. A lover, a boyfriend, a husband…whatever you can handle right now but this clande has expired!”

I hung up the phone mid-chuckle. He was right. And so was the therapist. The only people not telling the truth in this story were the ones having bad sex. There are a lot of things I will tolerate in this lifetime, but bad sex? No thank you.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/lifestyle/

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Read the Constitution, Kenyan President advises

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

ELDORET, Kenya, Nov 19 – President Mwai Kibaki has called on  Kenyans to rise above individual and partisan interests and approach Constitution review with a sense of sobriety in order to deliver the much awaited new law.

President Kibaki pointed out that Kenyans were seeking a unifying constitution that guaranteed prosperity and the entrenchment of the modern tenets of democracy.

He said publication of the harmonised draft provided the country with the unique opportunity to transform itself through a new constitutional dispensation.

The Head of State encouraged Kenyans to read the document and submit their views on the proposed Constitution to enable the country build the necessary consensus.

“Let us all place the interests of our dear nation above any partisan and individual interests.  Kenya is greater than any individual or political and social grouping,” the President at the pass-out parade of over 5,000 army recruits at Eldoret Armed Forces Training College.

President Kibaki expressed Kenyans’ desire to have a Constitution that will faithfully and adequately serve current and future generations.

With regard to Armed Forces participation in development, the President affirmed the country’s military personnel were highly reputed for their participation in international peace keeping operations in various parts of the world.

“The confidence bestowed on our troops serving outside the country is a true testimony of the high standards of our military training and professionalism,” said the President.

The Head of State noted that a total of 858 military personnel are serving as part of the international peace keeping force in various parts of the world.

The President acknowledged the valuable contribution the Armed Forces continued to make in utilising their skills and assets to spearhead development projects all over the country.

The Head of State urged the Armed Forces to uphold the noble tradition of civic activities in the interest of national development and the well being of the people.

On mopping up of illicit arms, President Kibaki appreciated past successful security operations conducted by the military to get rid of illegal fire arms and dismantle organised criminal groups.

He urged the Armed Forces to intensify efforts towards securing Kenya’s borders from the influx of illegal firearms and drugs which contribute to increased levels of crime and insecurity in the country.

Expressing confidence that the country’s military has the capacity to defend our country against acts of external aggression, the President reassured Kenyans that the government will take all necessary steps to defend its territorial integrity.

Reminding the graduands that they are entrusted with the duty of defending the country and will be posted to various units of the Armed Forces, the Head of State urged them to maintain high standards of discipline, commitment and professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

In attendance were Assistant Minister for Defence David Musila, Chief of General Staff Gen Jeremiah Kianga and Rift Valley PC F. O. Warfa among other senior government officials.


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New law shuts door to gay weddings

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

Those wishing to marry partners of the same sex still have to seek countries where such marriages are allowed, before they can tie the knot.

Same sex marriages will not be allowed if proposals in the harmonised draft constitution become law.

Only marriages between opposite sex will be recognised despite spirited attempts by the gay community to have their relationships legalised.

Opposite sex

According to the document, every adult will have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, but this will be based on the “free consent of the parties”.

It reads: “The parties to the marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of marriage, during and at the dissolution of their union.”

The proposal by the committee of experts comes exactly a month after two Kenyan men became the first gay couple to openly wed in London, sparking a huge debate on morality issues in the country.

It also elicited sharp responses from religious organisations, who described the union between Mr Chege Ngengi, 40 and his bride, Daniel Chege Gichia, 39, as “unacceptable and unnatural.

The two became civil partners under the controversial Civil Partnership Act, which came into effect in the UK in 2005 allowing couples of the same sex to have legal recognition of their relationship.

During the drafting of the proposed law, Lawyer Otiende Amollo, a member of the committee had revealed that they had rejected suggestions by British MPs to recognise and protect the rights of homosexuals in the draft.

“We told them that such a thing cannot happen because if we did so, a majority of Kenyans would reject the draft during the forthcoming referendum,” he told journalists last month.

The draft further says that all children, regardless of whether they had been born within or outside wedlock will be protected from all forms of exploitation and any work that is likely to be hazardous or adverse to their welfare.

“They will also not be arrested or detained except as a measure of last resort,” it adds.

Children, regardless of whether they were born within or outside wedlock, will also be considered equal before the law.

And if by bad luck you sustain injuries from a defective good or service, then yopu need not worry — you will definitely be compensated by those you had bought the goods from.

It does not matter that you bought the good or service from a public or private entity. But this will only happen when the draft constitution becomes law.

Kenyans will also have a right to live anywhere in the country without restrictions, with the State being required to provide access to justice for all.

“The fee shall be reasonable and shall not impede access to justice,” reads the draft law.

These are just but a few of the many proposals the Committee of Experts have put forward for debate as they seek to protect rights of Kenyans and their fundamental freedom.

Kenyans must also be aware that if you are arrested by the police, the law requires that you should be arraigned before a court of law ‘as soon as reasonably possible.

This should not be later than 48 hours after your arrest or not later than the end of the first day in court after the expiry of the time.

The draft constitution also upholds an individual’s right to privacy, which includes the right not to have your house searched, possessions seized and information relating to their families or private affairs unnecessarily revealed.


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Uganda kingdoms, Kenya ‘majimbos’ pose threat

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By Costantine Sebastian, Arusha

The proliferation of kingdoms and chiefdoms in Uganda and the concerted calls for ‘majimboism’ in Kenya do not augur well for a regional political federation.

According to the EAC secretary general, Mr Juma Mwapachu, if the region was really committed to a viable political partnership it should do away with ethnic political groupings like the kingdoms being promoted in Uganda.

He further noted here on Tuesday that equally important was the issue of checking and taming political violence that engulfed Kenya immediately after the 2007 general election.

Mr Mwapachu sounded these warnings in a speech to open the 12th Conference on Democratic Transition in East Africa organised here by the Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (REDET) of the University of Dar es Salaam.

He said the organisation of the conference in Arusha, which is hosting celebrations of the EAC 10th Anniversary, was relevant and timely.

It will contribute towards addressing political challenges facing the regional integration process, he explained.

He said another political challenge that should be squarely addressed in the context of the EAC political federation is the issue of Zanzibar in the Union Government of Tanzania.

Mr Mwapachu said he was upbeat about the recent consensus reached by the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government and the opposition Civil United Front.

He told journalists that a government of national unity or a coalition in the isles would be okay provided it addressed the pertinent issues that for many years had divided Zanzibaris.

Citing the examples of Germany under the current chancellor and Italy since World War II, he said coalitions can be political arrangements that enhance stability in the region.

“The theme of this year’s REDET conference, which is ‘Governance and Development at the Grassroots in the East African Region, is a topical issue with relevant implications� the EAC political federation will not materialise without addressing governance issues at the local, national and regional levels,” he told the gathering.

Commenting on the theme, the associate chairman of REDET, Dr Benson Bana, said the grassroots, particularly the local level governance institutions, are given scant attention in the discourse of governance and development in many countries.

The neglect, he cautioned, was not good and should be stopped for it had a negative impact on the democratization process in the region.

He said REDET has been holding annual conferences on democratic transition since 1998. The gatherings, he added, have been providing an important forum for EAC countries to share knowledge and learn from each other�s experience in democracy dispensation and governance.

The two-day gathering, which was also attended by the Arusha regional commissioner, Mr Isidori Shirima, has drawn participants from all the five EAC member states.

It is the third conference on democratic transition in the region to be organised by REDET in Arusha. Since its inception in 1992 it has strived to undertake various activities aimed at contributing to the democratization process in East Africa.

The Citizen

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