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Archive for January, 2011

Outrage as minister suggests isolating HIV-positive people

Posted by Administrator on January 31, 2011

NAIROBI, 31 January 2011 (PlusNews) – AIDS activists are demanding a full apology from a Kenyan cabinet minister who recently suggested that isolating HIV-positive people may be the way to eradicate the pandemic.

“In Cuba, when President [Fidel] Castro was still very strong, anybody who was tested with HIV and AIDS was actually locked somewhere and once you went in, you did not come out,” said Esther Murugi, minister for special programmes, on 28 January at a meeting with members of parliament on HIV/AIDS. “I don’t know whether we should be that drastic or what we should do. But sometimes I think, maybe that is what we should do so that those who are ill are locked in.”

Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council falls under the Ministry of Special Programmes.

Nelson Otwoma, coordinator of the Network of People living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, said her comments were highly irresponsible. “I wonder what was ringing in her head as she said what she said. Other than violating people’s rights, such a suggestion creates stigma, even if not implemented,” he told IRIN/PlusNews.

“We haven’t dealt with stigma completely… Such sentiments coming from somebody of her stature might just awaken the devil of demonizing HIV-positive people by people who might hold a view like hers and who were simply waiting for a trigger,” he added.

Jacqueline Sewe, a member of local NGO Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK), has called on the minister to either publicly apologize to people living with HIV or resign. “HIV is not a contagious disease and it is saddening to hear a cabinet minister say people should be isolated because of their HIV status,” she said. “It is inhuman. She must publicly apologize or resign for what she said.”

“Insensitive”

In a statement, the Gender Violence Survivors Network condemned the minister for her remarks, terming them “insensitive and uncivilized”.

“Isolating PLWAs [people living with HIV/AIDS] will not solve the problem, but will speedily promote and fuel the already existing stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS,” the statement said. “Fear of disclosure due to the threat of rejection, isolation, violence or abandonment by [a] partner leads to new infections within relationships.”

''I wonder what was ringing in her head as she said what she said. Other than violating peope’s rights, such a suggestion creates stigma''

In a text message, the minister told IRIN/PlusNews she was not promoting the idea of isolation, but was merely suggesting it as one option. “I don’t think I said people should be isolated,” the message said. “I only gave examples of what has been done elsewhere and wondered if we could achieve anything if we tried that here.”

Murugi was at the centre of a separate row linked to HIV in 2010, but on that occasion her comments in support of tolerance towards men who have sex with men (MSM) drew praise rather than criticism from AIDS activists.

During the meeting on 28 January, while not condoning homosexuality, she reiterated her call for Kenyans to face up to the reality of MSM in order to deal with HIV in this high-risk group.

While stigma towards people living with HIV has reduced significantly over the years, change has been slow. According to a 2010 study by ActionAid International and WOFAK, a majority of respondents in three Kenyan districts felt that people with HIV deserved their positive status as a punishment for morally unacceptable conduct.

ko/kr/cb

Source: http://www.plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=91775

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CID officer arrested over threat

Posted by Administrator on January 31, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31- An officer attached to the Criminal Investigations Department was arrested on Sunday night when he drew his gun and threatened to shoot a taxi driver in Nairobi.

The officer had boarded the vehicle from the Industrial area to South B but when the taxi driver asked to be paid, he reportedly declined, prompting the taxi driver to stop the car near the Industrial area prison.

It took the intervention of warders at the prison facility to shoot in the air before the officer surrendered.

“The warders initially thought he was a criminal, but he quickly identified himself when they subdued him,” a police officer said.

“They almost shot at him but he finally handed over his pistol before he was escorted to the police station.

Fellow police officers at the industrial police station are reported to have been shocked to see their colleague being brought in handcuffs yet he had left the station a free man.

“That is when the warders and the taxi driver explained what had happened. He had declined to pay and even threatened to shoot the taxi driver,” our source added.

“He could not be interrogated on Sunday night because he was too drunk. They had to wait until Monday,” the source added.

On Monday, the taxi driver recorded a statement with detectives at the Industrial area police station as detectives finalised plans to arraign the officer in court.

A senior police officer told Capital News the officer was likely to face charges of misusing a firearm or a more serious offence of attempted murder.

Makadara divisional police chief Thomas Atuti under whose jurisdiction the area where the incident occurred falls declined to comment.

Mr Atuti said if such an incident had occurred “it would be tackled in accordance with the law.”

Last year, CID Director Muhoro Ndegwa barred CID officers from carrying firearms unless they are on official duty.

In a circular sent to all CID officers, the director warned that stern action will be taken to ensure officers do not misuse their firearms.

His decision, he said, was informed by regular complaints that officers-particularly those attached to the CID-were misusing their firearms.

Capital News has reliably established that even with Mr Ndegwa circular to his officers not to carry firearms, CID officers who are not on duty are still walking around with the firearms even when they are off duty.

He could not be reached for comment about the latest incident on Monday.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/CID-officer-arrested-over-threat-11480.html#ixzz1Cch3vykh

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Kenyans jump ship as Dubai sinks

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2011

Dubai, the Persian Gulf city. Photo/REUTERS

Dubai, the Persian Gulf city. Photo/REUTERS

An unknown number of Kenyan workers in Dubai could be headed home as the global economic crunch takes its toll on the Persian Gulf city. And, like many other foreign workers who make up 90 per cent of Dubai’s population, the Kenyans are victims of ongoing layoffs.

With economic growth estimated to dip to less than 3 per cent this year, down from 8 per cent last year, Dubai firms – and largely the United Arab Emirates – are drastically cutting down on staff.

A report by banking giant HSBC has indicated that almost $75 billion (Sh5,250 billion) worth of property projects have been put on hold in Dubai. In its report, HSBC lists 59 projects under review, including eight that have been cancelled. High-cost residential and commercial developments are most at risk.

A large number of Kenyans in Dubai work in the construction and infrastructure, hotel and entertainment and transport industries. Many more are employed as domestic workers. Another portion of the population is involved in business , going to buys goods which they later sell back home in Kenya.

Hotels have also been affected, with revenue said to have fallen by a quarter in December, reflecting the fall in the number of visitors following the global downturn. In 2007, the government of Dubai said it wanted to grow at 11 per cent to 2011.

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars lie abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners — who risk imprisonment if they failed to pay their bills.

Some have left behind credit cards inside the cars, with notes of apology taped to the wind shield. Jobless people in Dubai lose their work visas and must leave within a month.

According to Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, 54,684 residency visas were cancelled in January, compared to 29,418 in January 2008. This translates to about 1,764 a day. But 1,088 visas were issued daily in January, 1,000 fewer than in the same period of 2008.

Private sector visas were the most cancelled. In October, 23,287 visas were cancelled while 25,609 were cancelled in November and 23,814 in December. Domestic help visas were the least cancelled, with just 2,686 cancelled in October while 3,031 and 2,906 were cancelled in November and December respectively.

Dubai has experienced reduced spending, more housing vacancies and lower real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town.

A report by the New York Times says no one knows how bad things have become, though it is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices crashed and scores of Dubai’s construction projects suspended or cancelled.

But with the government unwilling to provide data, rumours are bound to flourish, damaging confidence and further undermining the economy.

The Persian Gulf is cushioned by vast oil and gas wealth, and some who lost jobs in other parts of the world due to the financial melt-down began applying for jobs in Dubai.

But Dubai, unlike Abu Dhabi or nearby Qatar and Saudi Arabia, does not have its own oil, and had built its reputation on real estate, finance and tourism.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/529746/-/u1yr5w/-/index.html

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How Kenya hero pilot steered Flight 701 from the edge of likely disaster

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2011

DENNIS OKEYO | nation KQ pilot Albert Mureithi, 38, during the interview this week, days after he brought home KQ 701 safely despite a missing rear tyre. The plane had 96 passengers and six crew members.

DENNIS OKEYO | nation KQ pilot Albert Mureithi, 38, during the interview this week, days after he brought home KQ 701 safely despite a missing rear tyre. The plane had 96 passengers and six crew members.

The pilot who successfully landed a Kenya Airways flight that lost a tyre in the air last Friday says he did not fear it would end in disaster.

“I did not fear for any disaster. We had planned for both scenarios – landing with one tyre or none at all. I knew if handled well there was no cause for alarm. I was confident,” Captain Albert Mureithi told the Saturday Nation on Thursday.

He had just switched the plane on to the autopilot when the traffic control tower at the Harare International Airport alerted him that he had dropped ‘something’. The officer did not elaborate, and Mureithi turned to his co-pilot, Mr Vincent Ndinya, wondering what they could possibly have dropped.

“That was the only time during the episode that was to last slightly more than three hours when I was a bit worried because from the traffic control tower, they were not telling me what the problem was. At that point I thought about my family of ten years and my 96 passengers as well as five members of my crew,” Mr Mureithi said.

Normal functioning

His first reaction was to look at the controls in the cockpit, which showed the aircraft was functioning well.

The traffic controller called back 10 minutes later, saying they had dropped a tyre– but could not divulge more details until engineers examined it. Then the questions started flooding his mind. What if they had lost all the tyres? What were the safest options to land? Should they turn back to Harare or continue with the flight?

“My first task was to make a decision whether to return to Harare or continue flying to Nairobi. From my training I knew that with one or both tyres under the wing missing, I had to land as light as possible. After consulting with my first officer, we arrived at the decision to fly to Nairobi,” he says.

They decided to do this because to make the aircraft light enough to land it had to burn the fuel and the distance to Nairobi would give the airport authorities time to prepare for an emergency landing.

Reclining on his seat, Captain Mureithi says they had a fallback plan of flying to Lilongwe, Dar es Salaam or Mombasa airports.

“There were some people I had to tell share this information with immediately. The first officer already knew so I had to tell the flight purser who is in charge of the cabin services and safety. There were three flight attendants who also needed to know so that they could also advise passengers and prepare them psychologically,” said Mr Mureithi.

The pilot is all praises for the crew, whom he says absorbed the news calmly, and continued working as if there was no crisis.

“They were very professional and continued with their normal service,” he said.

There was also an engineer on board and Mr Mureithi roped him into the decision making.

“Although I had my own ideas about the landing gears in either scenario I also needed his expert technical take,” he said.

Kenyan airspace

With all the key issues sorted, the captain saved the most important call for last: informing passengers of the imminent emergency landing.

“I knew we had three hours to fly. It is important to know how and when to deliver such information,” explained Mr Mureithi.

He decided to inform passengers just when the aeroplane was entering Kenyan airspace, two and half hours after the incident.

He told them that they had lost a tyre on takeoff from Harare. He also told them that the emergency crew was ready at the airport to ensure a safe landing.

“I also informed them that the people on the ground at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will allow us to fly past the tower with our gears down to establish their condition.

‘‘I could not do all these manoeuvres without telling them because it could easily have created tension and panic,” said Mr Mureithi.

He repeated the messages in English and Kiswahili and ended by asking them to cooperate with the cabin crew. “I think they took it very calmly and were very cooperative. I think when they looked at the crew and called them for questioning, they were surprised that the crew knew it a few minutes after takeoff from Harare,” said Mr Mureithi.

The situation was made easier for the crew by a passenger who, looking at one of the crew members, said: “You knew all along there was a problem and you were still smiling and serving us. Then I think we will be okay.”

As the plane egged closer to the airport a technical team on the ground led by Kenya Airways flight director Paul Mwangi went up to the tower and the controller instructed the pilot to conduct a fly past. The team established that it was only the one tyre that was missing and they discussed the landing options.

The pilot says this was a most delicate moment. If the plane came down too fast, there was a risk the remaining tyre could burst or the wing touching the runaway with disastrous consequences.

“So I came down to the runaway, put the initial weight and high speed on the good side of the tyres by tilting to the left. Gently, I let the plane lose as much speed as possible before landing on the remaining tyre,” recalled Mr Mureithi.

The emergency crew had warned against taxiing on landing, and Mr Mureithi sighed with relief when the plane ground to a halt.

“The emergency crew was very efficient and quick. They advised us to stop taxiing. I just wanted to go home. After landing we could not taxi and I was asked to stop on the taxi way. We were about 3km from the passenger terminal but they had prepared busses to pick us. We were all relieved.”

To his pleasant surprise, the passengers looked more curious than worried when they came off the plane.

“They were actually talking pictures as they disembarked. I tried to meet as many of them as possible and shake their hands as they disembarked to give them some reassurance. About 90 per cent looking okay and calm and relieved,” he said.

When the last passenger boarded the bus to the arrivals terminal, Mr Mureithi and his crew received a thumbs-up from the technical team.

“We were given some days off. I resumed work on Tuesday when I flew to Mombasa. On Thursday I went to Yaoundé for an overnight flight and I came back this morning (Friday)”.

Mr Mureithi smiles shyly when asked how he was received home.

“Apparently it is a small world. My wife, Esther, had known what had happened. She told me as much and thanked God it ended well,” says the father of three boys aged between five and ten.

As we wrap up the interview, the pilot sinks into a pensive mood. He says the incident reminded him of two tragic accidents in the 1970s. The first was 1972 when a Loki Tri-Star flight crushed after the nose gear jammed mid-air.

The second was in 1978 when the landing gear of a US flight failed to deploy in Portland. The ground crew took long preparing for an emergency landing and the flight ran out of fuel.

Today, Captain Mureithi is flying to Egypt, but is still eager to know what went went wrong. “The Kenya Airways Managing Director, has assured me that he will let me know personally. It has never happened in all the years I have flown,” Mr Mureithi said.

Mr Mureithi credits the control tower in Harare for paying attention to what was happening and identified a problem they would otherwise have not known until it was too late.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1097524/-/11fccybz/-/index.html

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Beautiful, available but unlovable

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2011

Some time towards the end of last years, the country watched in disbelief as scores of women stampeded at Kenyatta International Conference Centre to listen to a Nigerian pastor who had promised to help them get husbands.

They came in droves, from all walks of life to learn how the elusive Mr Right can be found. The sight of beautiful, well-appointed and seemingly well-to-do women in the mad rush pointed to a national crisis that begged the question: Why?

In truth, however, the reason for so many seemingly beautiful women not having men in their lives is a no brainer. It is because relationships are not working because these women have become unlovable.

Here are the reasons:

Grooming

Before they even say hallo to a woman, men evaluate them from a distance on a rigid criteria. First on the list is morality which is a big consideration for most men looking to settle down. Most men tend to compare prospective lovers to their mothers. The modern woman has become very complicated from a grooming perspective.

From multiple piercings all over the body to very flimsy dressing to clownish make-up, the so-called modern woman is more likely to scare than attract. The trick is to dress in such a way that you show only a small detail and leave the rest to his imagination. The way women are overdoing it today is ridiculous and ends up sending an inappropriate message about the woman and rather than attract quality men, it only begets her the rubbish that her grooming deserves.

The biggest statement about people lies in the image they present of themselves to the world. Many Kenyan women are selling themselves short by either dressing too provocatively or trashily.

Centre of power

It is expected that as head of family, the man should shoulder the bigger financial burden. But over the last few decades, women have become increasingly empowered economically.

Plum jobs with the attendant high perks are going to women because they are deemed to be more efficient as managers. An iron lady who manages 300 people and is used to getting things done her way is a man’s worst nightmare. His pride will force men to avoid this variety because he fears he may be forced to surrender his authority as a man. And, of course, his ego will also not allow him to play second fiddle.

Money

Today, switch on your radio in the morning or look in the newspapers and whenever a woman is asked what she would want in a man, she will insist that top of her list is financially stability. That is not that bad. What is bad is the unbridled obsession women have with loaded men.

They want to go to clubs, be driven around on weekends and be lavished with expensive gifts. Sadly, men can spot this variety very easily and they are swiftly shoved aside. Ladies, if you have a penchant for the choice things in life, work for it. Do not trade your femininity for such perks. If you expect a man to pay for your extravagances in this day and age, you are in dreamland. This weakness of wanting to reap where they have not sowed has led many women to have multiple relationships to cater for their lofty requirements.

Men are not so stupid and you have to be very special to be perched up somewhere like a queen bee and provided for without limits. That said, there are still men who have so much that the woman’s demands may sound like child’s play. Such men are, however, as rare as diamond, probably too old or already mobbed by countless other women.

Desperation

Women peak at between 21 and 25 years. After that, it’s injury time physically and emotionally as far as romance is concerned. This is the window that make or break women’s entire lives. Rather than making hay while the sun shines, women in this age bracket ran around like headless chicken; walking in and out of relationships at will.

After 28, suitors disappear and the girl enters the next phase of her life. In this phase, she feels ready to settle down but the allure of youth that brought countless men her way is already fading. As she becomes desperate, she starts sending out signals to men that she is available. But these are the same men she had previously shunned and by now probably are already committed somewhere else.

But they will still come calling and because she is now eager to please, she will be used and then dumped in favour of those who gave these same men time and space when it mattered. After 30 years, fear sinks in and with pressure coming from family and friends to settle down, the standards are lowered even further.

She starts casting an eye on married men and eventually resigns to being merely ‘the other woman’. This turn of events can be avoided by being careful when you are at your peak. When this desperation phase comes, stay straight and well-mannered and conduct yourself with self importance. Some quality guy may still find you.

Know it alls

The most unfortunate thing in today is that everybody knows everything. Everybody has an opinion on everything and everyone. In romance, some women have taken this annoying habit to a whole new level. It would be fine if they would just know what they are talking about. Sadly, some women only end up embarrassing themselves and their men before family or respected friends.

Ladies, sometimes the less you say, the better. God knows what happened to the demure woman who, even if she was intelligent and could hold her own anywhere, would rather wait for a man to pick her brains to discover for himself her wit instead of blabbing on endlessly.

Twisted nose

Very annoying women these ones; they dig deep to find fault with everything about aman. She wants her man to dress in a certain way, go out with a certain class of friends, live in a certain neighbourhood and so on. Her petulant nature also has a personal side; she fights with neighbours – mostly because she wants undeserved recognition, resents the prospective in- laws and can’t stand her man’s friends.

This problem arises from an inflated sense of self -importance. While this type of woman may otherwise be very beautiful and well-educated, men avoid her like the plague because she is too much work and not pleasant to be around.

Emotional wreck

As weak as water, this type of woman overreacts to even the most basic of situations. When a female colleague of her man calls and they converse happily, she cries all night and will not talk to him for two days. Or she will fly off the handle when he does not pick her call, keep his promise and things like that.

This kind of woman switches on and off without warning – happy this moment, sulking the next. They explode into hysterics over nothing and are equally exhilarated by little matters. Men want a woman who is stable emotionally because it helps develop trust.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/Beautiful%20available%20but%20unlovable%20%20/-/1216/1097390/-/6kbogaz/-/index.html

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Kibaki names new Chief Justice as ODM protests

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2011

Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Ramazanadi Magan Visram was on Friday night named Chief Justice to replace Mr Justice Evan Gicheru.

President Kibaki also nominated law professor Githu Muigai to take over from Mr Amos Wako as Attorney General.

The President also proposed Mr Kioko Kilukimi, a Nairobi lawyer for the new powerful post of Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Corporation, Mr William Kirwa, was proposed for the new position of Controller of Budget.

But the nominations threatened to divide the government further and provoke a major fight for nomination in parliament after ODM rejected them.

Lands Minister James Orengo protested the nomination of the candidates saying Mr Odinga had not been consulted.

Addressing a swift press conference, Lands Minister James Orengo said that Mr Odinga had advised that the release of the names be delayed awaiting further deliberations by after the two coalition leaders return home from the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

He said that the PM’s position was communicated to the President through Public Service head Francis Muthaura.

“However Mr Muthaura called Mohammed Isahakia (the PS in the office of Prime Minister) yesterday (Friday) afternoon to inform him that the President had made a decision that the names of the nominees be announced.”

The split of the key appointments effectively draws battle lines in Parliament between the President Kibaki’s PNU and Mr Odinga’s Orange movement.

The new Constitution mandates the President to make the appointment in consultation with the Prime Minister.

After identifying their choice, the candidate’s name will be sent to Parliament for debate and approval before the President makes the final appointment.

Another source disputed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga had been consulted before the nominations.

The source who is familiar with the PM’s diary said President Kibaki and Mr Odinga had discussed the subject but not the names. “The names were to be discussed in the next weeks,” the source said.

The PM’s office had been informed of the pending announcement earlier in the day.

With ODM MPs from Rift Valley having rebelled against Mr Odinga and depending with whether the PNU coalition remains united, the vote in parliament could be close.

But the spectre of the matter being bogged down in the courts could delay the process if ODM decides to mount a legal challenge against the nominations.

Earlier, there were expectations that a judge from the Commonwealth would be named as CJ to preside over the transition within the judiciary.

Mr Gicheru’s term was to end by February 27 under the new constitution which also provides for the vetting of judges and magistrates.

The changes are intended to clean up the Judiciary and prosecution services and demonstrate to the International Criminal Court that Kenya is capable of handing cases involving post-election violence suspects.

Mr Justice Visram graduated with a degree in law from the University of British Columbia in 1972. In 1978, he graduated with a second degree in law from University of British Columbia, Canada.

In 2006 he graduated with a Master of Laws degree in International Law from the University of Nairobi.While in practice, he specialised in commercial, corporate and civil law.

In June 1999, he was appointed Commissioner of Assize, and in March 2001, he was sworn in as a Judge of the High Court of Kenya; and in April 2009 as Judge of Appeal.

Prof Muigai holds LLB and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nairobi and an LLM Degree from Columbia University School of Law, New York. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a member of the American Association of Trial Lawyers.

In addition to the practice of law he is an Associate Professor of Public law in the school of law of the University of Nairobi. He specialises in Public law and trans-national legal practice. He is a recognized authority on business regulatory matters and in international commercial arbitration. He is an Associate professor at the University of Nairobi and an International Human Rights Lawyer and a Constitutional lawyer.

Mr Kilukumi graduated with an LLB from the University of Nairobi in 1990. Between 1990-1993, he worked with Kaplan and Stratton advocates. In 1993-1996, he was Public Prosecutor in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

He has been in private legal practice and part time lecturer in criminal litigation since 1996.

Mr Kirwa Holds an MBA in Banking and Finance and is holder of an MA in Agricultural Economics. He previously worked with Barclays bank as a senior manager.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kibaki%20names%20new%20Chief%20Justice%20as%20ODM%20protests%20/-/1056/1097574/-/ju0j6b/-/index.html

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Raila rejects judicial nominees

Posted by Administrator on January 29, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said he is shocked and dismayed after President Mwai Kibaki made nominations to the post of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions without due consultations as required.

Mr Odinga who arrived from Addis Ababa on Saturday afternoon declared the nominations “null and void” as they did not comply with the Constitution. He said they had agreed to withhold the nominations until next week.

He said the decision had caused a constitutional crisis and the Orange Democratic Movement would use legal means to ensure that the law was upheld.

“We cannot as mature people say words that have no meaning,” he said and added: “If I had been consulted I am not a mad man to say I had not.”

President Kibaki on Friday evening nominated Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram to head Kenya’s judiciary. The President also named Professor Githu Muigai the next Attorney General, while lawyer Kioko Kilikumi is listed as the country’s new Director of Public Prosecutions.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service said the appointments had been made after consultations with the Prime Minister and in accordance with the Constitution, but Mr Odinga insisted he was not involved.

“Hiyo ni Kiswahili, ambaye hatutaki (This is insincerity which we do not want),”said the PM.  “Our nation must be led in accordance with the law and respect.”

According to the new constitution, any Presidential appointments must be done in consultations with the Premier Minister. However there is no specified way of ascertaining the consultations.

“Because of the principles set out in the constitution which include fair opportunity, merit, competitiveness and transparency, no appointments can be made without inviting applications and creating a process where the candidates are interviewed and interrogated,” said the PM.

The nominations also drew criticism from Gichugu Member of Parliament Martha Karua who said the process of appointing the Chief Justice had not passed through the Judicial Service Commission, which should vet candidates before forwarding the names to the president for approval.

Ms Karua said the whole procedure of the appointments was flawed and urged the President to withdraw the nominations and allow due process.

“What I see happening is that the Executive is full of impunity and they are deliberately moving to rob Kenyans the new dawn. We must resist this move,” she said.

She said parliament should shoot down the nominations, when they go before the House for approval.

The two principals have in the recent past appointed three commissions after consultations without any issues. These include the Commission for the implementation of the Constitution, the Commission for Revenue Allocation and the Judicial Service Commission.

In 2009 the President and the Prime Minister differed on the appointment of the Leader of government business in Parliament. The President had sent a letter to Speaker Kenneth Marende appointing Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka but the Premier sent his own letter appointing himself.

Mr Marende sent back correspondence demanding that the two principals send a joint name.

The two last year later settled on Mr Kalonzo.

As Mr Odinga was winding up his news conference at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Mr Odinga was on his way there to catch a flight Addis, Ababa Ethiopia for an African Union Summit.

The PM was in Ethiopia to brief a council of ministers on his mediation efforts to end the political deadlock in Ivory Coast.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Raila-rejects-judicial-nominees-11455.html#ixzz1CQz8tWHc

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How did the elephant cross the road? Underneath it

Posted by Administrator on January 28, 2011

In this photo of Monday, Jan. 24, 2011, elephants exit Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass near the slopes of Mt. Kenya. Conservationists say the tunnel connects two elephant habitats that had been cut off from each other for years by human development. (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)

In this photo of Monday, Jan. 24, 2011, elephants exit Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass near the slopes of Mt. Kenya. Conservationists say the tunnel connects two elephant habitats that had been cut off from each other for years by human development. (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — How did the elephants cross the road? They went underneath it.

Dusk had settled on Mount Kenya’s forested slopes, and traffic had slowed to a trickle on the region’s major highway. That’s when three elephants crossed through Africa’s first dedicated elephant underpass — a new solution to the increasing problem of animal-human conflict in Africa.

It was 6:47 p.m. when a gleaming set of white tusks poked through the end of the newly built underpass. A second set of tusks appeared. Then a third. Moving cautiously, the three young males climbed a bank of dirt, made a sharp left turn and crashed into the forest.

The $1 million tunnel — built with donor funds — has successfully connected two wilderness areas and two distinct elephant populations separated for years by human development. The elephants successfully crossed a major road without putting themselves or motorists in danger, and without damaging crops or scaring residents in a nearby village.

“The first time we had a report about an elephant going under the underpass it was very exciting. We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly,” said Susie Weeks, executive officer of the Mount Kenya Trust, one of the partners in the tunnel project. “They actually managed to go through it within days of it being opened.”

The 15-foot-high (4.5-meter-high) tunnel opened for elephant business around Christmas, and on Jan. 1 a bull elephant named Tony made the first crossing. Accompanied by two other young males, Tony moved through the underpass again on Monday as an Associated Press reporter captured the first ever photos and video of elephants making use of the underpass.

Africa’s wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from human development. Villages are being built and crops raised in areas that for centuries were animal wildlands. The new elephant underpass reconnected wilderness areas on Mount Kenya’s highlands and the lower forests and plains, linking 2,000 elephants on Mt. Kenya with 5,000 more below.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save The Elephants, said the 9-mile (14-kilometer) man-made corridor that surrounds the tunnel allows elephants to move from low to high to search for food and mates. The fenced-in corridor will also help strengthen the elephants’ gene pool.

“All over Africa this incredible wildlife is increasingly being fragmented by the growing human population, and if African wildlife is to survive, solutions must be found of this nature, where connectivity is preserved through corridors,” he said.

“I think it’s a good example of the compromises that can be made between human interest and the survival of wild animals,” he added.

At $1 million, the underpass is somewhat pricey, Douglas-Hamilton said. Cheaper solutions will also need to be found, including points where traffic will be stopped so elephants can cross the road, he said.

Kenya’s elephant underpass may be the first in Africa but not the world. China and India have elephant underpasses, and India even has elephant overpasses. In the U.S., a winner was announced Sunday in a contest to design a highway wildlife crossing in Vail, Colorado aimed at reducing collisions between cars and deer, coyote and bighorn sheep.

In South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, which is fragmented by roads and railway lines, officials recently opened an elephant crossing over a road, said Megan Taplin, a park spokeswoman. She said officials have considered overhead bridges that are wide and full of vegetation to help elephants move around.

Kenya’s underpass was 10 years in the making, and didn’t gather much momentum until Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic, donated $250,000. The Dutch government kicked in more money and other donors stepped up. Two major farms allowed the corridor to cross through their land.

One of those family farms gave up 671 acres to the corridor. The elephants have already caused $25,000 in damage, but farm owner-manager Charlie Dyer said he is “just overjoyed and really, really satisfied” to see the underpass in use.

The project had many skeptics, people who feared the elephants wouldn’t walk through a tunnel that humans had built.

“So many people were wondering, are we putting good money into this?” said Weeks. But so far about three dozen elephants passes have been made, providing conservationists with the answer they were hoping for.

The tunnel sits in the rolling hills below Mount Kenya, near fields of young green wheat and bright yellow canola stalks. It was lined with hay and elephant dung to entice the animals through. The bucolic lands can be dangerous, though.

Poaching is on the upswing, fueled by demand for ivory in China. John Pameri, the senior warden at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, one of the partners in the underpass project, said poachers killed more than 30 elephants in northern Kenya in December. Because elephant tusks have increased in value, poaching is “really a big, big danger,” Pameri said.

Save the Elephants has put GPS collars on several elephants and can track their movements. Three minutes after Tony crossed through the tunnel Monday, an automatic text message alert went out to people like Weeks and Douglas-Hamilton, who has since watched Tony climb to the top of the elephant corridor on a Save The Elephants Google Earth maps program.

“This particular corridor is almost a symbol. It’s a very high profile one under the peaks of Mount Kenya, and what happens there is important for Kenya and for Africa in terms of conservancy of elephants and biodiversity,” Douglas-Hamilton said.

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jxOcuItiGlgm7LlEUZhbRNe-dzHg?docId=cffdba0c740a47d389843bde34d01eb3

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Deya’s wife gets 3-year sentence for child theft

Posted by Administrator on January 28, 2011

Mrs Mary Deya, the wife of controversial preacher Gilbert Deya, before a Nairobi court. PHOTO / FILE

Mrs Mary Deya, the wife of controversial preacher Gilbert Deya, before a Nairobi court. PHOTO / FILE

The wife of UK-based evangelist Gilbert Deya has been sentenced to three years in prison over the theft of a child at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Mary Deya will serve another two years on each of the two counts of giving false information.

However, all the sentences will run concurrently, meaning she will only serve three years in prison.

Kibera senior principal magistrate Grace Nzioka said she was satisfied that the wife of Bishop Deya stole the child and gave false information that she had given birth.

The court heard that Ms Deya stole the baby boy from Kenyatta National Hospital on September 10, 2005.

And the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Francis Ndiema told the court that the accused has one conviction in which she was jailed for two years for similar offence.

The accused admitted that she served the jail term at Lang’ata Women Prisons.

In her judgment, the magistrate said: “I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to sentence the accused to three years jail for stealing the baby and additional two years each of the two counts of giving false information.

The sentence comes barely a week after a nephew of Mr Deya, Paul Deya, was found guilty of murdering his three-old son by a London court.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1097254/-/11fcf91z/-/index.html

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DFW Kenya Catholic Community invites you to Charles M Githinji’s Ordination Ceremony

Posted by Administrator on January 28, 2011

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