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Archive for December 21st, 2010

Kenyan man charged in armed robbery in Olathe, KS

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Prosecutors today charged a man with an armed robbery stemming from an incident Sunday in Olathe.

After the robbery, a victim leaving the scene was among two men in a vehicle that struck a pedestrian, who was not seriously injured, police said.

Eliud Kamau, 19, of Olathe, has been charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the incident that took place near the 16700 block of 127th Street. During the robbery, he fired a handgun and took money, but no one was injured, according to police and court records.

The robber fled on foot and two people, including a man who was robbed of money, drove off in a vehicle. It soon hit the pedestrian near Harold Street and Ridgeview Road and left the scene, police said.

The driver was cited for failing to yield right of way to a pedestrian, police said.

Source: Kansas Star


Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 9 Comments »

How James Gachui built a multi-billion shilling empire

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Mr James Gachui, founder of Trans-Century group. Photo/FILE

Mr James Gachui, founder of Trans-Century group. Photo/FILE

Nothing speaks more of the fire of entrepreneurship he carried in his belly than the size of the business empire he built in a span of 15 years.

James Gachui, who passed on last Thursday, was ambition, shrewdness and guile all wrapped up in one – for play in Kenya’s often treacherous business scene.

His close associates say the centrepiece of his drive was the old school belief that a good idea must always give birth to a better idea.

Some say he had in his own right reworked the dictum to suit his entrepreneurship mien, strongly believing instead that good money had to make better money.

Mr Gachui’s large footprint in the world of business was such that it has been hard to get a proper estimate of his worth at the time of passing on.

By the close of last year, the burly businessman had a significant presence in key sectors of the economy – including the consumer market, finance, ICT, energy, and manufacturing.

That list includes East African Cables Limited, the Wananchi Group, Genghis Capital, Enablis, Chase Bank and Galana Oils – the petroleum marketing outfit he founded immediately he parted ways with his last employer, Total Kenya. Going by the most modest estimates, Mr Gachui’s business empire is estimated to be worth more than Sh5 billion.

He was among the group of 29 that in 1997 dreamed big and started an investment club TransCentury (TCL), with an initial demand that the membership forks out Sh1 million each as seed capital.

In the list of membership were some of Kenya’s top most business elite – commonly known as the Muthaiga group – famous for their elaborate business and political connections that ride deep into centre of power – the presidency.

TransCentury’s membership included Zeph Mbugua, Peter Kanyago, Robin Kimotho, Joseph Kamau, Kariithi Njogu, Jimna Mbaru, Joseph Karago, Michael Waweru, the KRA Commissioner General and Eddy Njoroge, the CEO of electricity producer KenGen.

The initial seed money, which the late Gachui once told the Business Daily amounted to Sh24 million, was given to Mr Mbaru, the investment banker and long-serving chairman of the Nairobi Stock Exchange, to invest in the equity market.

TransCentury’s first big investment was the $300,000 (Sh21 million) it ploughed into Castle Breweries, the South African Breweries-backed outfit that set up shop in Kenya at the turn of the Millennium, sparking a bruising battle for the beer market with East African Breweries limited.

That battle came to a close in 2002 when the two beer giants, EABL and SABMiller, signed a truce and agreed on a share swap that saw Castle exit Kenya in exchange for a similar by EABL in neighbouring Tanzania. TransCentury promptly got its money back.

Whether by sheer coincidence or a deliberately crafted plan, TCL quickly transformed into a major player in Kenya’s corporate scene beginning early 2003, a few months into Kibaki’s presidency.

Within months, it had acquired the image of Kenya’s foremost corporate raider with a knack for pulling off stealthily executed multi-million shilling deals and riding them within months to harvest handsome returns.

TransCentury’s first act on this front was the Sh45 million purchase in March 2003 of a 70 per cent stake in East African Cables Limited.

TCL did not stop playing the stock market game, but used its cash to hunt for high potential deals.

That saw the investment club acquire a four per cent stake in utility firm Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) for Sh340 million in March 2006.

It was a hit made at the right time. The NSE’s equity market was then enjoying a robust bull run that saw investors more than double their wealth in a span of six months.

A few months later, amidst controversy involving government ownership of KPLC, TCL sold two per cent of its holdings to enable the government retain majority shares in the power utility firm.

By this time, TCL’s investment had doubled in value to Sh680 million, enabling the group to harvest a Sh340 million profit in October 2006.

TransCentury later sold out the remaining stake in the firm for an unknown amount of money and used the proceeds to spread its footprints in other sectors of the economy.

The group, which converted into a private equity firm in late 2008, said in a private placement note to investors in 2007 that it had a presence in a number of Kenyan companies including East African Cables Limited, Avery East Africa, Rift Valley Railways, Development Bank of Kenya, Equity Bank, Kenya Airways and Karen property that was then valued at Sh46 million.

Bought stake

It was only logical that as TransCentury spread its footprint across Kenya and Africa’s corporate scene, Mr Gachui, who was its chair and the lead shareholder with an 8.4 per cent stake, multiplied his wealth at the same pace.

East African Cables alone is now worth Sh3.2 billion by market capitalisation – pricing TCL’s stake at about Sh2.3 billion.

And assuming that TCL has kept 1.06 per cent shareholding in Equity Bank, that stake alone is now worth Sh991 million going by the current market valuation.

But Mr Gachui is said to have had additional presence in equity through his investments in other vehicles such as UK-based Helios Capital.

Since 2007, TransCentury has also spread its presence across the borders into South Africa and Tanzania where it acquired Kewberg Cables for Sh528 million and Tanelec, the cables maker it bought a 70 per cent stake in for Sh298 million, respectively.

The investment club, which converted TCL into a private equity fund in 2008, also had an eight per cent stake in Zambia Metal Fabricators then estimated to be worth Sh163 million and has significant presence in a number of foreign-based private equity and venture capital funds including Aureos China, Aureos South Asia, Business Partners and Helios LLP – the UK-based fund that bought a 24.99 per cent stake in Equity Bank for Sh12 billion in 2008.

The fair value of TransCentury’s total investments, including stakes in quoted companies, is now estimated to be about Sh8.5 billion.

Originally, Mr Gachui was the top shareholder with a 8.4 per cent stake.

Though he was chairman and lead troubleshooter for the investment group, TransCentury was not the epicenter of Mr Gachui’s commercial empire – Jimana Capital, a company he founded with Mr Mbaru was.

Judging by the level of investment, the amount of time he spent shuttling across the globe and personal interest in the subject, Mr Gachui’s friends say Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was the love of his life.

Through Jimana, Mr Gachui not only followed TransCentury in its investment and corporate raider activities but sunk his teeth deep into the ICT world.
Wananchi Group is now estimated to be worth more than Sh10 billion placing Mr Gachui’s stake at not less than Sh1 billion.

He also held major stakes in Seven Seas Technologies – an IT services firm he At Seven Seas, an IT services firm, he helped to establish with private equity funding of Sh390 million from Aureos capital, a Global Private equity Fund.

The company is now estimated to be worth Sh1 billion.

Add on to this his presence in Chase Bank, a commercial bank whose total capital stood at Sh1.2 billion at end of last year, Genghis Capital estimated to be worth Sh280 million, Enablis, an entrepreneurship development financier (about Sh200 million), and the real worth of the man begins to add up offering a glimpse into the multi-billion empire he left behind when he succumbed to a brain tumour last Thursday.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate%20News/-/539550/1075176/-/11m5hkyz/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on How James Gachui built a multi-billion shilling empire

Warning! Your teen could be on Viagra

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Reproductive health experts as well as chemists say the youth — some as young as 16 — are actively buying sex-enhancing drugs.

In using the cheap aphrodisiacs, the youths are exposing themselves to serious health risks, including stroke, heart attack, and prostate cancer.

“From the feedback we are getting through health care providers, the youth is actively using sex-enhancing drugs,” says Mr Simon Wahome, a reproductive health expert with Family Health Options of Kenya.

Chemists interviewed admitted that youths are actively buying the sex-enhancing pills over the counter, especially over the holidays.

“Sometimes up to 10 come to our chemist asking for the drugs. They do not even ask for instructions on how to use them,” says one Nairobi chemist who did not want to be named for fear of hurting her business.

Reproductive health experts and chemists warn that pornography and alcoholism are fuelling the abuse of cheap aphrodisiacs among the youth.

Due to advances in communication technology, pornography is readily available as long one has an Internet-enabled cellphone which can be had for as little as Sh2,500.

Sexual enhancement drugs marketers largely ply their trade through the Internet, as well as easily available pornographic magazines. And with increased access to the Internet, the marketers are carving a niche in what reproductive experts call the experimenting age.

“Pornography makes sex look like fun — something you can do continuously. In the absence of correct information, young people swallow this lie, leading to their misuse of sex-enhancing drugs,” says Mr Wahome.

These revelations might shock many parents. Sex-enhancing drugs are, after all, largely associated with elderly men seeking medical help for erectile dysfunction.

The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority (NACADA) admits to having little concrete data on the abuse of sex-enhancing drugs among the youth. However, it categorises them as the fifth most abused prescription drugs in the country, after painkillers, sedatives, stimulants, and steroids.

Some of the easily available sex-enhancing drugs include Vega, Stamina, Miagra, Cialis, Levita, and Enzoy.

Pharmacists say Enzoy, a starchy powder sold at Sh50 a sachet, is the most popular with the youth.

Experts say these cheap aphrodisiacs, which have flooded the market, can only complicate matters for a country that has no official sex education syllabus, although 20 per cent of youths admit to experimenting with sex by their 16th birthday.

They claim that these cheap aphrodisiacs help them live up to the benchmarks of sexuality mostly set by un-censored information readily available on the Internet.

“It is about image; they all want to impress their girlfriends with their sexual prowess,” says Denis Junior, a First Year business student at Mount Kenya University.

Although Denis does not use the drugs, he confides that they are the latest sexuality trend among young men eager to live up to their Casanova image.

In the tumultuous world of relationships, he says, young men live in constant fear of their girlfriends walking out if certain performance benchmarks are not met. And much of the information regarding sex falsely sets the benchmark around virility.

The Centre for the Study of Adolescence concurs. As long as the mass media, more so, the Internet, continues to portray the ideal man in sexual terms, then more young people will continue to experiment with such drugs.

“In the absence of adequate and correct information about sexuality, the youths are experimenting with what they gather from the Internet and the mass media,” says Mr Albert Obbuyi, a researcher at the Centre for the Study of Adolescence.

The National Aids/STD Control Programme (NASCOP) warns that more young people are likely to engage in unprotected sex if the abuse of sex-enhancing drugs is not checked.

Dr Nicholas Muraguri, the NASCOP director, says as more young men fall victim to the macho image of sexuality served up by the mass media, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and Aids, will take their toll on the youth.

“The urge to show that you are a good performer is likely to lead a person to have multiple partners. And young people are likely to have unprotected sex,” says Dr Muraguri.

According to NASCOP, one in every five teenagers in the country admits to experimenting with sex by their 16th birthday. Only 25 per cent of them use protection.

“If they now start experimenting with sex-enhancing drugs, the gains we have made against the spread of STDs will be reversed,” says Dr Muraguri.

So what is the way forward? Definitely not restricting the avalanche of information about sex-enhancing drugs available to the youth today, says the Centre for the Study of Adolescence.

“On the contrary, we need to talk to them more about their sexuality, at school, at home, and in churches. Give them adequate and correct information on sexuality,” advises Mr Obbuyi.

This approach, he says, will counter the avalanche of un-censored information that is luring the youth to the sex-enhancing drugs market. “Above everything else,” adds Mr Obbuyi, “it will counter the macho image of manhood that revolves around sexual performance and size.”

But for the national sexually transmitted diseases control watchdog, NASCOP, pharmacies should simply stop selling sex-enhancing drugs over the counter.

“These are prescription drugs for people suffering from erectile dysfunction. It is illegal to sell them over the counter,” says Dr Muraguri.

But NACADA concedes that policing thousands of pharmacies around the country to ensure that they don’t sell the drugs to the youth is currently not a priority.

The authority says it is preoccupied with fighting harder drugs like heroin and cocaine.

“We have not done much basic research on the abuse of sex-enhancing drugs among the youth,” concedes a NACADA official.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board warns that abuse of sex-enhancing drugs exposes the youth to a host of medical complications, including stroke, heart attack, and priapism — a condition in which the penis is continually erect. It is painful and seldom caused by sexual arousal.

“A drug like Sildenasil, or what is commonly called viagra, was initially meant to treat high blood pressure. Abusing it could lead to low blood pressure, causing a host of other medical complications,” warns Dr Jayesh Pandit, head of medicines information at the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

But all these fly in the face of a multi-million sexual enhancement drug industry, one that is backed by a powerful mass media that continues to propagate the ideal sexual man myth.

And until something is done to counter these sales drives, more youths will continue swallowing the myth that ideal manhood can be purchased — over the counter.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/DN2/Warning%20Your%20teen%20could%20be%20on%20Viagra%20/-/957860/1076374/-/item/1/-/beo3xcz/-/index.html

Posted in Features, Kenya_Health | Comments Off on Warning! Your teen could be on Viagra

Kenyan inspired by Obama to join politics in Canada

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Mayor James Atebe who in 2008 was re-elected mayor of Mission in the province of British Columbia in western Canada for a second time.

Mayor James Atebe who in 2008 was re-elected mayor of Mission in the province of British Columbia in western Canada for a second time.

By successfully running for the White House, President Barack Obama not only made history, but also inspired many who have since followed in his footsteps.
One such person is James Atebe who in 2008 was re-elected mayor of Mission in the province of British Columbia in western Canada for a second time.

He is much like President Obama who started from a humble background at the Illinois State Senate before having a shot at the White House.

“If a do a good job my citizens will tell me to move up the (political) ladder,” he said at the offices of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Tuesday.

If this comes to pass, he would be eyeing a seat in the Provincial legislature.

Mr Atebe is in the country for holidays and will be visiting Ekerenyo Village in North Mugirango, the place where he was born and brought up. No matter how many miles he stays away from his ancestral home, Mr Atebe has fond memories of Kenya and the weather.

“When I arrive home, I would want to take off my shoes and walk bare feet in my mum’s farm,” he joked on Tuesday.

Mr Atebe went to Canada after his A-levels at Homa Bay School, to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Calgary in 1984.

Here, Mr Atebe studied with Stephen Harper the man who is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

Masters degree

He later obtained a masters in urban planning from the University of Washington in the United States in 1990.

Two years later he returned to Canada where he launched his political career in 1999. His life, like those of his mother, Mrs Jerusa Nyakerario, and other siblings, always had a political angle.

Mr Atebe was first elected mayor of Mission in 2005 after serving two terms as councillor. He ran on a ticket of the New Democratic Party (NDP) that has a progressive social democratic philosophy.

In his first attempt at the councillor’s post in 1999, he recalls, he employed the campaign strategies he learnt from his father and former assistant minister Livingstone Atebe Marita.

In his recollections, he said: “I did borrow from Kenya campaign style. I did a lot of posters and placed adverts in newspapers.”

He also had a caravan that went from one neighbourhood to another. He had only been in Canada for six years at the time and was hardly known. But on the strength of his campaign, people came to know him more and more.

In due course, he was attracting large crowds. When the results came, he won by a large margin. He was re-elected in the subsequent election and in 2005, he ascended to the mayoral seat.

He retained the seat in the November 15, 2008 elections against his opponent, a 24-year-old who received less than 20 per cent.

Yet Mr Atebe owes everything to his motherland. “Kenya is known for expert leadership,” he said. “I have been privileged to be a leader in Canada, but I owe it to the education and upbringing in Kenya,” said Mr Atebe.

But unlike President Obama who endured open racial abuse during his campaign, Mr Atebe recalls that was not the case for him.

His election in a predominantly white society that had just 20 Africans was a manifestation that Canada as a society is mature culturally and politically. which he wants Kenya to emulate.

After experiencing first hand the post-election violence in 2008 — he had to be airlifted from his home in Kisii to Wilson Airport at the height of the chaos — he is emphatic that the NCIC has to unite Kenyans.

“That incident should never have happened It was disappointing,” he said.

NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia and commissioners Jane Kiano and Alice Nderitu could not hide their joy after receiving the man who has followed in the footsteps of President Obama.

Said Mr Kibunjia: “Mr Atebe is a good example of where we want to take this country.”

Source: Daily Nation

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 2 Comments »

Elderly Kenyan man hit and killed by vehicle in Richmond,VA

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Joseph Mungai Gitubia who was hit and killed by a vehicle in Richmond, VA

Joseph Mungai Gitubia who was hit and killed by a vehicle in Richmond, VA

An elderly Kenyan man was hit and killed by a vehicle in Richmond Virginia on 18th Dec 2010.Mr Joseph Mungai Gitubia father of Jane Kamau was crossing the busy West Broad near Parham Road in Henrico’s West End when the accident occurred at 7.20 pm Saturday night.

According to the Police, Mr Gitubia, 82-years old walked out into the middle of the street to cross the westbound lanes when he was hit by a Chevy Trailblazer. Nearby police officers saw the accident and immediately began CPR but Gitubia was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Joseph Gitubia who came to the US with his wife 8 years ago was less than a mile from his house and was coming from the shopping center going back home a thing he has done many times says pastor Eunice Mukuria. He was a loving and kind man, very active and was regarded as a father and Grandfather in the community. He was always seen with his wife, Mary Wamaitha Mungai playing his guitar and singing whenever there was a gathering.
The community in Richmond is reaching out to the Kenyans to help repatriate the body back to Kenya for burial. Family and Friends are meeting daily at Jane Kamau’s recidence-5720 Eunice Court, Apt D. Richmond VA 23228. Here below is the obituary message.
Death has occurred of Joseph Mungai Gitubia in Richmond VA.He was Husband to Mary Wamaitha Mungai, Brother to the late Ben Mwega Gitubia, the late Rebecca Wanjiru Mbugua and Lucy Njeri Mwega-Texas.He was father to Jane Njoki Kamau-Richmond, Ruth Wanjiru-Nairobi, Gladys Mugure -Kahoro Githunguri, Rebecca Ngendo Mwaura, Alice Wairimu, Moses Mbugua and the late Margaret Wambui Ndungu.Father in law to Peter Kamau –Nairobi and John Ndungu Kahoro.
For more information, please contact the following:
Jane Kamau 804 475 6143
Dennis Kamau 804 366 5550
Pastor Humphrey Muraya 804 397 1753
Pastor Hezron Mukuria 804-332 7063
Pastor Eunice Mukuria 804 276 8854
Pastor Andrew Mweu 443 622 6899
Joseph M. Kariuki 804 982 4258
Charles Thuku 804 520 0021
Moses Mungai Gitubia 718 723 434(Nairobi Kenya)
More information will follow.

Posted in Obituaries | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Harambee launched for Uhuru Hague case

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – Central Kenya leaders on Monday launched a funds drive in aid of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s legal defence in The Hague after he was mentioned as one of the suspected perpetrators of the 2008 post election violence.

Central Kenya Parliamentary Group Vice Chairman Kiraitu Murungi argued that the litigation fees accrued while defending the ICC suspects, in the event that the case went to trial, would be too expensive to meet solely.

He claimed that each of the six suspects needed close to Sh150 million to get good legal representation.

“When someone is your friend you don’t run away from him when he has problems. And in addition to that, one day your friend will die and if you are a true friend, it is your duty to be a member of his funeral committee,” he argued.

He however added that the Central Kenya caucus was open to the idea of raising funds for the other five suspects but through consultations with the executive members of their respective political alliances.

“We believe that those other groups will also be meeting like we are because I know the issue we are raising is common for all of us. So we will see what we can do but our primary responsibility is to highlight issues relating to central Kenya,” he said.

Mr Murungi further explained that the group would open a bank account which would have trustees where Kenyans could send or deposit monies to kick off the legal defense fund.

It was however not clear whether or not the funds would also be sent through mobile money transfer services.

“We want to mobilise all Kenyans who feel as outraged as we do to support the fund. If five million Kenyans contributed Sh100 each, we would reach our goal so let us not think about a few rich people contributing for this process,” he said.

The MPs argued that their drive was neither political nor tribal claiming that they made the same efforts in an attempt to resettle Internally Displaced Persons. 

They also maintained their scathing attacks on the ICC saying it had become a judicial conspiracy to settle political scores. Mr Murungi added that the lawmakers from Central Kenya would support the motion to withdraw Kenya from the Rome Statute when the debate came up in Parliament on Tuesday.

“Kenya’s membership in the ICC has in the past compromised her role as a peacemaker in the Horn of Africa. This together with the politicisation of the Kenya case has convinced to abrogate our membership and join other states like America, Russia and China,” he said.

He also asked the government to fast track the judicial reforms in order to help prosecute those behind the 2007/08 violence.

Mr Murungi was accompanied by Group Chairman Ephraim Maina, Assistant Ministers Ferdinand Waititu and Lee Kinyanjui, Naivasha MP John Mututho, Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando and Kabete MP Lewis Nguyai among others.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Harambee-launched-for-Uhuru-Hague-case-10940.html#ixzz18krd4wZg

Posted in Kenya | 3 Comments »

The log in America’s eye

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Last week, after the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court charged six senior Kenyan officials with orchestrating widespread violence following the 2007 national elections, President Obama rightly called on all Kenya’s leaders to “cooperate fully” with the court.

Similarly, declaring that “there has to be accountability,” Obama called on Sudan to cooperate with the court after it accused President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan of genocide in Darfur in July.

To its credit, this U.S. administration has repeatedly affirmed the centrality of international justice to U.S. foreign policy. But many wonder at the apparent disconnect between American support for justice abroad and Obama’s determination to “look forward not backward” at home.

Resistance to judicial scrutiny of post-9/11 U.S. government abuses, from torture to extraordinary rendition to unlawful surveillance, has made the president’s solemn exhortations to others ring hollow, and it has undercut the credibility of U.S. aspirations to global leadership on human rights.

This month’s WikiLeaks disclosure that the Bush administration pressured Germany not to pursue 13 C.I.A. operatives suspected of involvement in the unlawful 2003-2004 abduction and mistreatment of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, is yet another reminder that the U.S. must change course. And Masri’s pathbreaking lawsuit before the European Court of Human Rights offers a timely opportunity for Washington to do just that.

As is now well known, Masri was seized by security officers in Macedonia on Dec. 31, 2003, while crossing the border by bus from his home in Germany. He was detained incommunicado for 23 days, during which time he was threatened, interrogated and denied permission to contact a lawyer, a consular officer or his wife. On Jan. 23, 2004, he was handcuffed and blindfolded, driven to Skopje airport and turned over to the C.I.A.

Told he would be medically examined, Masri was instead severely beaten. His clothes were sliced from his body and his underwear forcibly removed. He heard the sound of photographs being taken, he was thrown to the floor, his hands were pulled back and a boot was placed on his back. A firm object was forced into his anus.

With chains attached to his wrists and ankles, Masri was flown to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was locked up for more than four months in a secret prison known as the “Salt Pit.” During this time, he was beaten and kicked, force-fed following a 27-day-long hunger strike and denied medical care. He was never charged or given access to his family or German representatives.

On May 28, 2004, long after U.S. officials knew they had the wrong man, Masri was flown in a C.I.A.-chartered aircraft to a military airbase in Albania, then driven several hours in a car, dumped on the side of the road and instructed not to look back.

After meeting with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in December 2005, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the U.S. government had admitted that Masri had been “erroneously taken.” Official inquiries by the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the German Parliament have all pointed to U.S. involvement. Nonetheless, Washington has never publicly acknowledged its role in Masri’s mistreatment.

Instead, senior U.S. officials have persistently denied responsibility and obtained dismissal of Masri’s attempts to secure judicial redress in U.S. courts on the grounds that “state secrets” precluded consideration of his claims.

In 2009, represented by my organization, Masri filed a complaint in Europe’s highest court against Macedonia for its part in the affair. Last month, the court confirmed that this case will go forward.

The Masri case provides the United States a chance to back up President Obama’s accountability rhetoric with substance. Although the U.S. is not a party to the proceedings, it may assist the court by acknowledging that Masri’s rendition was a mistake and providing information about what happened.

There are many good reasons for the U.S. to use the case to signal a new direction. Masri was victim of a practice — extraordinary rendition to torture — that the U.S. has since repudiated.

The European Court is a symbol of another time in which governments recommitted themselves to the rule of law after having gone astray. Most important, we can’t preach justice to others without practicing it ourselves.

James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, served as coordinator of prosecutions and senior trial attorney in the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on December 22, 2010, in The International Herald Tribune.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/opinion/22iht-edgoldston22.html

Posted in World News | Comments Off on The log in America’s eye

Suspect held over Kenya explosion

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21- A man is being detained for interrogation over Monday night’s explosion at the Kampala Coach bus terminus that killed three people in Nairobi.

The suspect was arrested on Monday night as the search for the attackers intensified, police said.

“There was a suspect who is in custody and he is being interrogated over the attack. He was arrested in Kibera slum,” Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said.

He said the suspect was being interrogated to determine if he had played any part in planning or executing the attack.

Police did not give any more details of the arrest but confirmed that the suspect “is being interrogated by detectives from the anti-terrorism police unit.”

A senior police officer speaking on condition of anonymity said “our officers are trying to find out the relationship between the suspect who is in custody and the one who died after the explosion.”

Police believe that one of the three killed by the blast was the one carrying the luggage that had the explosive.

On Tuesday morning, Bomb Disposal Unit officers re-visited the scene of the blast where they searched for more evidence.

The officers said they had recovered shrapnel of a grenade that exploded as guards and officials of the bus company searched passengers as they prepared to board the bus.

“We were not able to establish immediately last night what kind of explosive it was but we have now confirmed that it is a grenade. We are working with various security organs to establish its source,” an officer attached to the Bomb disposal unit said.

The ill-fated bus which was partly blown up by the grenade was still parked where it was last night.

There was enhanced security at the explosion site and other surrounding areas, mainly congested streets and bus termini and well as eateries and pubs.

On River Road, we witnessed hundreds of armed police officers patrolling the streets.

“We are not taking chances, we have increased our security presence all over the city, we want to ensure the city remains safe,” Nairobi PPO Antony Kibuchi said.

One person was killed on the spot and two others died in hospital where they were undergoing treatment after the blast.

Out of 39 people who were rushed to hospital after the explosion, only seven were still in hospital by midday on Tuesday.

Officials at the Kenyatta National Hospital told Capital News those admitted were in a stable condition and were likely to be discharged in due course.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Suspect-held-over-Kenya-explosion-10943.html#ixzz18knJJoff

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Raila faces tricky political situation after Ocampo fingers Kosgey and Ruto

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s statement in Parliament on Thursday afternoon aptly captured the central role played by Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey in ODM politics.

“I am the party leader of ODM; my deputy party leader is there (on the Ocampo list), my national chairman is there . . . so I am the most agonised person,” the PM told MPs while responding to questions about the government’s stand on the ICC process.

Mr Odinga was referring to Mr Kosgey, the ODM national chairman, and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, the deputy party leader.

The PM was responding to a query raised by Belgut MP Charles Keter about why of the six persons accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the mass killings after the 2007 election three are from the Kalenjin community.

Addressing a press conference a few hours later, the party’s other deputy leader Musalia Mudavadi also spoke out in support of Mr Kosgey, saying ODM would give him and the other five “all the moral support they may require”.

“It caught all of us by surprise, that is all I can say,” Mr Mudavadi told the Sunday Nation in a subsequent interview.

On Saturday, politicians and political analysts were in agreement that Mr Kosgey’s exit from the scene as a result of the ICC trials may dent the party and deal Mr Odinga a body blow from which he may find it hard to recover.

Until the announcement Wednesday by the ICC prosecutor, Mr Kosgey remained the face of ODM in Rift Valley and Mr Odinga’s most trusted political ally in a region that has been fast drifting away over differences between the PM and Mr Ruto.

In Mr Kosgey, the PM found a vastly experienced political ally who could be counted on to stick out his neck even in the most difficult political situations. The minister is said to be a wealthy man with vast business interests.

With Mr Ruto leading the Kalenjin community towards the ‘No’ camp during the referendum campaigns, it was to Mr Kosgey that the PM turned to spearhead the ‘Yes’ campaign in the Rift Valley.

It is Mr Kosgey who had also stuck his neck out for Mr Odinga when he ran into trouble with the community over the controversial Mau evictions.    

“As a community we are mourning, our people are really affected given that out of the six names, three of them are from the Nandi community, I do not want to speculate on what Kosgey’s situation means to ODM,” the party’s Director of Elections Joseph Misoi said on Saturday.

“This violence was not planned by the community; it was spontaneous and caused by the stolen vote,” he added.

Biggest losers

Uasin Gishu Narc-Kenya pointsman Kipkorir Menjo said Mr Ocampo¹s move would have a serious impact on the country¹s political landscape.

For him, the biggest losers are Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga because their two closest allies, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Kosgey, may be out of the political equation come 2012 as a result of the ICC trials.

“We may have a new political realignment altogether with a new crop of leaders. I foresee parties perceived to be small benefiting a lot. We should expect new faces in the presidential race because I fear the cases against the six may not be concluded before 2012, and they will therefore not be eligible to run for any public office,” he said.

Similar views were echoed by university don and political analyst Prof Macharia Munene, who said Mr Kosgey’s inclusion on the list of six was a big blow to Mr Odinga’s fortunes in the North Rift.

“The mentioning of Kosgey is, of course, a big loss to Raila. Kosgey is one of the few Kalenjins still with him. He was the face of Raila and ODM in the region. The fortunes of ODM have been seriously eroded in the region,” Prof Munene told the Sunday Nation.

A source close to Mr Odinga, who did not want to be named because of fear of antagonising his relationship, said the PM’s biggest headache was finding a replacement for Mr Kosgey in Kalenjin land in the event that Mr Kosgey is forced to leave the political scene.

“Sally (Kosgei, the Agriculture minister) is perceived as elitist in that region, while Bett (Franklin) has not come out strongly and also lacks the clout and muscle Mr Kosgey brings to ODM. That is the problem. They are all lightweights and rather inexperienced,” said the source who is based at the PM’s office.

That Mr Kosgey brings invaluable political clout to ODM, especially in the North Rift, has been demonstrated by the spirited defence Mr Odinga’has always accorded him whenever he runs into trouble when discharging his ministerial duties.

When Mr Kosgey ran into trouble recently over the appointment of the new Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) director with demands that he steps aside, Mr Odinga was quick to defend him, saying nobody should be hounded out of office on “mere allegations”.

When he was publicly accused by his assistant minister Nderitu Mureithi of improperly firing three heads of parastatals in July last year, it was Mr Odinga who intervened and ordered that the directors remain in office until the correct procedures could be instituted to remove them. They remain in office to date.

Additional reporting by Wycliff Kipsang

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1074900/-/79lr40/-/index.html

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Kibaki condemns Nairobi bus explosion

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2010

An Administration Police officer at the scene of the explosion next to a Kampala- bound bus in downtown Nairobi December 21, 2010. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has condemned the attack that left two dead and 41 injured. WILLIAM OERI

An Administration Police officer at the scene of the explosion next to a Kampala- bound bus in downtown Nairobi December 21, 2010. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has condemned the attack that left two dead and 41 injured. WILLIAM OERI

President Kibaki and his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka have condemned Monday’s explosion next to a Kampala-bound bus in downtown Nairobi that claimed the lives of two people.

In his message, President Kibaki strongly condemned those who perpetrated the heinous act against innocent people.

“Indeed, it is unfortunate that people can be so inhuman as to plan to use deadly devices to harm the innocent,” President Kibaki said.

The Head of State assured Kenyans that the government has put in place comprehensive investigations and those behind the attack will be brought to justice.

“The security of our people is paramount. No efforts will be spared to ensure that security is beefed up.”

The President said that security forces would work closely with Kenyans to ensure their security. 

He wished those who suffered injuries in the incident and who are either recuperating at home or in hospital quick recovery.

On his part, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has appealed to Kenyans to remain calm following the blast.

Mr Musyoka, who visited the injured at Kenya National Hospital at 10 pm, called on Kenyans not to panic but instead continue with their arrangements for Christmas festivities without fear.

He condoled with those who may have lost their loved ones during the incident and wished the injured quick recovery.

Mr Musyoka commended Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and his team for quickly responding to the incident and launching investigations. He similarly lauded other Kenyans who helped rescue and take the injured to hospital.

“We condemn this act that intended to cause fear, despondency and even loss of lives. I urge Kenyans not to disrupt their forthcoming holidays out of fear.

“The government is fully alert, and is taking every possible action to secure the safety of all Kenyans and visitors in the country,” the Vice President assured.

The blast occurred at 7.40 pm as passengers were boarding a Kampala Coach bus in the River Road area.

One man died at Kenyatta and a woman was pronounced dead on arrival at Nairobi Hospital. The man is suspected to have been among those carrying the box with the explosive device.

41 people suffered injuries and were rushed to different city hospitals.

At KNH, most of the 33 patients admitted were Kenyans (19), Ugandans (6), Tanzanians (3), Burundians (3) and two Sudanese nationals.

Dr Charles Kabetu, the acting chief executive officer, said the patients were stable.

Earlier Monday, Uganda’s police chief warned “strong indications” that Al-Qaeda-linked militants wanted to attack during the Christmas period and said security forces would issue an alert for vigilance.

The threats came from Islamist groups including the Al-Shabaab and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Inspector General Kale Kayihura told AFP.

“Terror threats from Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab and ADF are the main threats as we go for the festive season and there are strong indications they want to attack,” he said.

“We are going to issue security alert so that people are aware of these threats as they go for festivities.”

Uganda in July suffered East Africa’s worst attacks in 12 years when suicide bombers struck two Kampala bars, killing 76 people. The attack was claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kibaki%20condemns%20Nairobi%20bus%20explosion/-/1056/1076186/-/o1rwmlz/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on Kibaki condemns Nairobi bus explosion

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