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Archive for December 2nd, 2010

US youth plan causing jitters among Kenyan leaders

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

A youth programme started by US ambassador Michael Rannerbeger is causing Kenyan leaders sleepless nights.

Mr Ranneberger announced the Sh3.6 billion ($45 million) initiative for Kenyan youth on December 16, last year.

He launched the Yes Youth Can programme during Kenya Children’s Parliament Foundation meeting.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua claimed the initiative had become a plot by some “foreign powers” to topple the government.

“The government is concerned over foreign attempts to create despondency against it in the guise of youth empowerment,” he told journalists on Tuesday.

The government, he added, was aware that more than $20 million (Sh1.6 billion) had been channelled to youth groups in the country over the last few months.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga also appeared worried, warning that “it was not proper for an envoy to recruit youth and put them somewhere and tell them what to do.”

To some central Kenya MPs, the youth forum, which has become the face of the US government’s youth empowerment, is a plot to drum up support for the PM in 2012.

A delegate who attended the National Youth Forum last month told the Nation that a top politician from Central sent emissaries who met youths from the province on the sidelines.

A PS is also said to have met the youths from the province to convince them to pull out of the conference.

Mr Ranneberger on Wednesday denied such a plot existed.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/US%20youth%20plan%20causing%20jitters%20among%20Kenyan%20leaders%20%20/-/1064/1065736/-/vjejqm/-/index.html

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Court dismisses “double-sex” convict plea

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

Attempts by an intersex convict to introduce a third gender into Kenyan law books was thwarted Thursday when a constitutional court held there are no such people.

Dismissing Richard Muasya’s plea, a three judge bench said no evidence has been placed before them to show that there are people called intersex.

“The parties in the case have not identified any single person who is intersex. We are not persuaded that there is a body of persons called intersex on whose behalf Muasya can seek orders,” said the three judges.

Judges Hannah Okwengu, Ruth Sitati and George Dulu held that the fact that Muasya has ambiguous genitalia has not in any way affected the sex he was allocated at birth by his parent.

Muasya, the judges said, was named as a man and he didn’t indicate that he wants to change that.

“We reject the argument that third gender should be introduced as society is not ready for it and Muasya is provided for under the constitution which protects one against discrimination based on gender,” they ruled.

On the issue of social stigma Muasya goes through the court had this to say: “The social stigma is of concern but its not a legal problem.”

Their decision arose out of an application by Muasya who was born with male and female genitals, but passes off as a man, seeking legal recognition and unconditional release from Kamiti Maximum Prison because of his ambiguous genitalia.

Muasya says he has been unable to get a birth certificate and hence cannot achieve his academic ambitions.

His would-be wife walked away from him after she discovered his condition, saying she could not live with a fellow woman, Muasya says. He finds himself in a country that does not recognise his gender and that of people like him.

Muasya, who has been convicted of robbery, says the law is discriminatory because it only recognises male and female gender.

Under international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has a right to legal representation, Muasya says. But under the Kenyan law, that right has been denied him.

The Kenyan law does not only fail to recognise people like Muasya, but also lacks definition for such people.

However, in international jurisdiction, a double-sex man is described as one who, because of his or her genetic condition, is born with reproductive organs that are not exclusively male or female.

He believes that, if the court orders his recognition, he will be able to get legal and travel documents, and maybe undergo corrective surgery.

Christian lawyers want the court to ignore his wishes, arguing that allowing a third gender would most likely open floodgates for the teaching of homosexuality and lesbianism.

The Attorney-General also told him to lobby Parliament to have the law changed.

The AG said he believed the allegations of violation claimed against the State were far-fetched and could not be grounds for setting Muasya free.

The only way Muasya can be helped, they said, is to encourage parents with such kids to open up and also educate the public on their ambiguous sex so that their dignity can be respected.

Intersex, they said is not a matter of choice as homosexuals.

The judges also declined to order for his release saying there is no just cause for them to interfere with his conviction.

They noted that Muasya never said he is a woman and so they do not see how his rights have been violated by any laws of the land.

The judges also contend that Muasya was never denied opportunity to vote as he alleges but to the contrary he is the one who disenfranchised himself.

And on the issue of whether the government should pay for him to go through corrective surgery the judges said his case is not any special than that of cancer or HIV and Aids patients to warrant such.

However, Muasya was not left without any remedy as the court awarded him Sh500,000 for inhuman treatment he suffered at Kamiti.

He will be held in Kamiti but in a cell of his own.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1065328/-/11h8euez/-/index.html

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10 year old rape victim locked up

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

MOLO, Kenya, Dec 2 – A 10-year-old girl who was allegedly defiled by her neighbour in July has been sharing a police cell at the Molo police station with adults for the past one week.

Although police had denied they were holding the girl on Wednesday, Capital News has independently confirmed that the girl is still in custody.

The girl is being accused of helping the 27-year-old defiler to molest another minor, but she insists they were both raped by the man.

The alleged defiler is said to have been arrested and later freed in unclear circumstances.

The girl was arrested together with her mother on November 25 but her mother was later released soon after because she has a small baby.

The girl claims she was sexually abused by her neighbour on July 12 but the family did not pursue the matter due to lack of funds. They are among nearly half a million people who were displaced by the post-election violence.

The young girl’s mother said she was unable to follow up the matter because she could not afford the Sh500 required at the hospital to have a P3 form filled-out.

“I delivered two days after my daughter was defiled and I could not follow up the matter, My sister in-law who took her for treatment could not afford the fee required for the P3 form to be filled-out and that is why we did not pursue the matter,” she said.

The woman whose husband was killed during the post election violence told Capital News she was arrested last Thursday for failing to pursue the alleged rape but was later released because of the infant.

A police officer at the Molo police station who sought to remain anonymous told Capital News that the girl was detained and has been sharing a cell with adults because the station does not have a juvenile cell.

“The girl is being held at the station, she has been in custody but her mother was released,” the police officer said and revealed that she was being held awaiting further directions from the investigating officer.

It is alleged that she aided the man to rape another young girl by holding her hands as the man allegedly sexually abused.

It emerged that the police were no longer pursuing the girl’s complaint that she had herself been defiled.

A cleric who spoke to Capital News on Wednesday said he had visited the station and spoken to the young girl.

“I don’t understand why the police should hold a minor in custody yet she is herself a victim of rape, she ought to have been assisted to seek justice because she is a victim,” Pastor Kamau said.

When Capital News telephoned the area district police chief Achesa Litabalia on Wednesday, he denied knowledge of the matter and insisted that no such victim was being held at the station.

“I am not aware of any such case.  We are not holding any minor at the station. I would want to know where you got such reports,” Mr Litabalia said.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/10-year-old-rape-victim-locked-up.html#ixzz171BcKyps

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MPs demand answers on US Sh1b for youth

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

MPs on Thursday demanded answers on Sh1.6 billion set aside by United States government for youth groups in Kenya.

Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh was put under pressure to issue a statement urgently when he asked that he should do so in a week.

Belgut MP Charles Keter (ODM) asked the minister to clarify the statements attributed to government spokesman Alfred Mutua and US ambassador Michael Ranneberger that the US has funded youth groups in Kenya.

Dr Mutua on Tuesday claimed a plot had been hatched to overthrow the government following the leaks of US diplomatic cables that described Kenya as “a swamp of corruption.”

US undersecretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson telephoned Prime Minister Raila Odinga to apologise over the leaks.

Mr Odinga on Wednesday dismissed claims of a plot to overthrow the government. However, he criticised the US envoy in Nairobi over his countrywide tours ostensibly to empower the youth.

Mr Keter asked Mr Ojodeh to table the list of those who would receive the money.

Mr Ojodeh drew angry reactions from MPs when he asked for a week to respond to Mr Keter saying he needed time to talk to the US ambassador and check whether the monies were wired directly to the groups or organisations.

But Mr Keter objected saying the matter was serious and required urgent attention.

Juja MP William Kabogo accused the minister of “attempting to buy time until the House goes on recess” and demanded that the statement be issued on Tuesday.

Dr Boni Khalwale asked the minister to also include the audited accounts of the said donor funds stating that the Controller and Auditor-General normally audits all donor funds.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim directed Mr Ojode to issue the statement next Thursday.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/MPs%20demand%20answers%20on%20US%20Sh1b%20for%20youth%20/-/1064/1065668/-/1320ooh/-/index.html

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WikiLeaks: Cable cites potential Kenya link with US firm

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

The whistle- blowing website wikileaks Tuesday released a US diplomatic document, marked “confidential,” that makes specific references to Kenya.

The mentions on Kenya are contained in a February 12, 2009, cable to the State Department from James Swan, the American ambassador to Djibouti, concerning a controversial US security firm’s proposed anti-piracy activities in the Horn’s waters.

Ambassador Swan was seeking guidance from the State Department about his embassy’s “appropriate level of engagement with Blackwater,” the US contractor that was prospecting for clients seeking protection from pirate attacks.

On one hand, US embassies are supposed to assist US companies in making business deals in host countries. On the other hand, Blackwater was being depicted by critics as a lawless mercenary operation.

In 2007, the contractor’s employees shot dead 17 civilians on a street in Baghdad, with some commentators saying this incident was typical of Blackwater’s “spray and pray” tactics — meaning its personnel shoot randomly when they feel threatened.

Ambassador Swan suggested in his cable that Blackwater “will likely engage Oman and Kenya in the future”.

Explaining that Blackwater would use a former US research ship to conduct armed patrols from a port in Djibouti, the ambassador noted that “in the event of a mechanical malfunction, the only facilities capable of repairing BW’s [Blackwater Worldwide’s] ship are located in Mombasa.”

Ambassador Swan further noted that Blackwater had briefed officials at the US embassy in Nairobi about its plans. The company also intended to apprise the embassy in Nairobi of its operating procedure once it had been approved by legal reviewers, the cable stated.

Blackwater had no intention of handing over captured pirates to Kenyan authorities, Ambassador Swan added.

“Blackwater does not intend to take any pirates into custody, but will use lethal force against pirates if necessary,” he wrote.

The 183-foot US-flagged ship, the “McArthur,” would carry .50 calibre machine guns and an unarmed drone, the cable indicated. It said the ship’s personnel would consist of 15 crew members and 18 armed guards, all of them US citizens.

Blackwater, today known as Xe Services, ultimately abandoned its anti-piracy initiative because the company was unable to attract any clients for its proposed security operations off the East African coast.

Wikileaks says it has received some 1800 US communications on the topic of Kenya as part of a trove of more than 250,000 secret US diplomatic documents it obtained from unnamed sources. The group has so far released only 471 of those documents.

Source: Daily Nation

Related: WilkLeaks: US sees Kenya as a “swamp” of corruption

Related: WikiLeaks Founder: Kenya report leak influenced 2007 poll

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PM now denies ordering arrest of gays

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday denied that he had ordered a nationwide crackdown on homosexuals but maintained that such unions were illegal.

He argued that he was misquoted and that his statements were not meant to victimise anyone because: “I understand there are gay rights.”

The Premier, who was speaking during the opening session of the review on Kenya’s progress two years after the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Accord was signed, also argued that he was only highlighting some of the half truths that were used during the referendum campaigns.

“It was said that I ordered the arrest of gay people but nothing could be further from the truth. I did not say that. I was just explaining the propaganda used by people who were campaigning against the new constitution,” he argued.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga was captured on camera saying: “We will not tolerate such behaviour in the country. The Constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared.

“Any man found engaging in sexual activities with another man should be arrested. Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested,” the premier had warned.

The Prime Minister also cited the recent population census results which put the ratio of men to women equal, and wondered why people should engage in homosexuality.

”This [homosexual] kind of behaviours will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in those acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested,” he told a crowd in his Langata constituency.

He said leaders who were propagating rumours of same sex marriages in Kenya during campaigns for the new Constitution had failed miserably because Kenyans did not buy their propaganda.

”Those were lies from leaders who wanted to confuse Kenyans to reject the new law; the Constitution is very clear on that matter. It does not state anywhere that same sex marriage is legal in Kenya,” he added.

His remarks on Sunday elicited an outcry from various human rights groups in the country which wanted him to retract the said statements and apologise.

The Bill of Rights under chapter four of the new Constitution states that: “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.”

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/PM-now-denies-ordering-arrest-of-gays-10731.html#ixzz16xTaAYu7

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The ICC six will be known in two weeks

Posted by Administrator on December 2, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo says he will reveal the names of six Kenyans who are suspected of masterminding the 2008 post election violence in the next two weeks.

Mr Ocampo said in Nairobi on Thursday that he will apply for summons against the six individuals, and that arrest warrants will only be necessary should they fail to honour the invites.

He said that he had finalised his investigations on two cases involving the six and would present his arguments before Trial Chamber Three at The Hague within at fortnight.

“Before December 17, we will file two cases of about 80 pages each summarising the facts and analysing the evidence collected,” Mr Ocampo said in Nairobi.

“Their names will be known, but these individuals are still innocent. Their guilt or innocence will be decided by the judges at the end of the judicial process,” he said.

Mr Ocampo was speaking at the start of a two-day meeting called to review the performance of the coalition government after two years, organised by the Kofi Annan Foundation.

He outlined an elaborate process and indicated that he expected trials to start by late 2012 or early 2013.

“It will be a demanding process and there could be delays and setbacks,” cautioned Mr Ocampo.

After the judges clear his requests for the summons, a hearing to confirm the charges shall be held presumably towards the end of next year or early 2012. At this stage the judges shall evaluate the evidence to determine whether it meets the threshold.

“The judges can confirm the charges and send the case to trial or amend or reject the charges,” he said.

The hearing will then be followed by a trial.

His address came amidst criticism of his process by Eldoret North MP William Ruto on the sidelines of the meeting.

Mr Ruto addressed journalists outside the venue of the conference and repeated claims that the process was flawed and compromised since witnesses had admitted being been bribed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

Mr Ocampo however defended the KNCHR saying his team had received no evidence of witness bribery by the commission.

“We reviewed the work done by KNCHR and we found no support for such allegations,” said Mr Ocampo.

He added that although they had relied on the KNCHR and the Waki Commission reports to open an investigation, they collected their own impartial evidence.

“We collected new evidence, including testimonies, videos and documents,” he said.

Two witnesses emerged last month claiming that they had been bribed by KNCHR’s Hassan Omar to implicate Mr Ruto.

But on Thursday Mr Ocampo declared: “They are not our witnesses.”

The Prosecutor reiterated that he would deal with the prime suspects and the country had to come up with its own path to deal with other offenders.

“Today Kenya should discuss how to assist the victims and how to ensure peaceful coexistence,” he charged.

Present at the opening of the conference were Prime Minister Raila and Chief Mediator Kofi Annan, diplomats and members of the civil society.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/The-ICC-six-will-be-known-in-two-weeks-10733.html#ixzz16xSo3HtC

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