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Archive for March 9th, 2012

Hillary Clinton honors women making a difference in Kenya, India and Tanzania at the State Dept

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

US Secretary of State presents an award to Annette Otieno of KickStart a non-profit helping poor women in Tanzania through a farming irrigation tool

US Secretary of State presents an award to Annette Otieno of KickStart a non-profit helping poor women in Tanzania through a farming irrigation tool

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has presented awards of half-a-million dollars each to three organizations working to empower women and girls in India, Kenya and Tanzania.

The three groups — Chintan, Samasource and KickStart — are the first ever recipients of the Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.

The award is funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. Presenting the honor at the State Department Friday, Clinton said it was established to support the “most creative thinkers and committed activists.”

“These are innovators who are making a difference in India, Kenya and Tanzania. These are people who looked at a problem and said, ‘I refuse to accept this. I’m going to do something about it.’”

The first group to receive its award was Chintan, an Indian non-profit organization that works to train and organize waste pickers, eliminate child labor from recycling and increase environmental justice through green jobs and advocacy. Accepting the award for Chintan was Bharati Chaturvedi, the group’s founder.

“On behalf of all these women and young girls who have scavenged through the Indian middle class’s trash, I want to thank you for acknowledging them.”

Samasource is a U.S.-based social enterprise that provides women and girls in Kenya and elsewhere with the skills and resources to perform online jobs for companies in the U.S. and abroad. Leilah Janah is the group’s founder.

“We plan to use this transformational grant to employ 1,000 women across our centers in East Africa through microwork, which is an innovative model that connects them directly into the supply chains, the digital supply chains of some of the world’s largest companies, like Intuit and eBay.”

KickStart is a non-profit helping poor women in Tanzania through a farming irrigation tool known as a MoneyMaker Hip Pump, which helps them grow fruits and vegetables to sell throughout the year, even in the dry season. The program has a micropayment program to enable women to pay for the tool over time. KickStart Tanzania’s Country Manager, Anne Atieno Otieno, made her first ever trip to the United States to accept the award.

“In KickStart Tanzania, we’ve been able to work with women. We’ve seen many of the women being able to lift their lives out of poverty by starting small agribusiness through the MoneyMaker pump.”

Secretary Clinton said the State Department has focused on the challenges facing women and girls, not just because it is what she called a “moral imperative,” but because the U.S. believes that transforming the lives of women and girls transforms societies, countries and the world. Clinton said working with women and on their behalf can open doors for employment, health care and education, which have ripple effects that lift entire communities and foster peace, prosperity and stability.

Source: Voice of America

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Baptist minister in Texas makes another run for Kenyan Parliament

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Solomon Kimuyu

Solomon Kimuyu

DALLAS—A Kenyan expatriate and Baptist pastor who lost his bid for a parliamentary seat in 2007 has announced plans to run again. And his ultimate ambitions reach even higher, as evidenced by hisFacebook page, “Rev. Dr. Solomon Kimuyu for President.”

Five years ago, Kimuyu—who holds citizenship in Kenya and permanent resident status in the United States—became the first Kenyan living in what his countrymen call “the diaspora” to be nominated for office by a major political party. He initially received the Kenya African National Union nomination to represent Machakos, about 35 miles east of Nairobi.

However, when the party that nominated him was folded into a coalition Party of National Unity, another candidate received the endorsement. Kimuyu subsequently ran as the United Democratic Party of Kenya candidate, but he was defeated soundly.

This time, he will run as the Labor Party of Kenya standard bearer, representing the newly created Makovo district.

Once again, his campaign emphasizes the need for Kenya and other nations of the Southern Hemisphere to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals—cutting global poverty in half by 2015, reducing child mortality and fighting HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases.

But after the violence surrounding the disputed 2007 elections and what he sees as problems in the resulting coalition government, Kimuyu also has a new campaign pledge—to bring integrity to Kenya’s political process.

“When people of integrity are elected to power, there will be a change in national policy and the way government does its business,” he said.

Violence in Kenya related to the 2007 elections claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced more than 300,000 people, according to Amnesty International—and Kimuyu remains convinced the numbers were much greater than reported.

Four leaders of Kenya—including two presidential candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto—face trial by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity on charges that stem from the election-related violence.

“Those who are accountable … must bear the full responsibility for the crimes they committed,” Kimuyu wrote in a recent letter to more than 130 bishops and pastors in Kenya. “I urge that no bishop and/or church in Kenya should ever take sides with those who committed the atrocities against our people as a nation.”

Kimuyu also wants to overturn the constitutional recognition granted to Kadhi courts, a provision of Islamic Sharia law related to enforcement of laws regarding marriage, divorce and inheritance among Muslims.

“We must be in Parliament to repeal the constitution,” he explained.

Proponents of the provision in the 2010 constitution that establishes Kadhi courts framed it as a necessary concession to protect the rights of Kenya’s Muslim minority. But Kimuyu views the measure as granting official recognition to Islam and as the first step toward imposing Sharia law on all Kenyans.

“Christians are locked out by this constitution,” he insisted. “This constitution only meets the needs of Muslims.”

Kimuyu has lived in the United States more than two decades, earning degrees from Howard Payne University, Dallas Baptist University and the University of North Texas and launching several homes for home for children and youth.

Before moving to Texas, he served as pastor of Athi River First Baptist Church in Kenya, general secretary of the Baptist Convention of Kenya and vice president for the All-Africa Baptist Union.

Source: http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13577&Itemid=53

Posted in Diaspora News | 9 Comments »

Kenyan born CNN correspondent Ali Vershi honoured by Immigration Daily

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Kenyan native Ali Vershi- CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT

Kenyan native Ali Vershi- CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT

Jambonewspot.com-Kenyan native Ali Velshi has been named immigrant of the week by Immigration Daily, a resource for legal professionals. Ali who is CNN’s chief business correspondent and also a regular anchor of the network’s news broadcasts was born in Nairobi and raised in Toronto, Ontario.

The 42 year old is also the host of the weekly show Your $$$$$ and is also the author of the book Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis, which was published in 2009.

In 1996, Velshi was awarded a fellowship to the United States Congress from the American Political Science Association.

In 2008, he reported on the killing of former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto from the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, which was bombed later that year.

During the financial meltdown of 2008/2009, Ali was ever present in our living rooms as viewers tuned to CNN to watch the unfolding events on Wall Street.

Another notable Kenyan native who immigrated to Canada is Zain Verjee. Verjee started her television broadcast career as an anchor on the Kenya Television Network (KTN) evening news and host of the talk show Third Opinion.

Verjee is now the anchor for CNN’s World Report and is based in the network’s London bureau.. She previously covered the US State Department for CNN.

Posted in Diaspora News | 15 Comments »

ICC throws out Ocampo Four appeal request

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

From left: Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

From left: Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

The International Criminal Court has rejected the Ocampo Four applications to appeal the decision on the confirmation of charges.

The Pre-Trial Chamber 11 found that their defence teams’ arguments were mere disagreements of the court’s majority decision and not arguable grounds for appeal.

Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova and Cuno Tarfusser rejected Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang applications to appeal the Chamber’s decision to commit them to trial for crimes against humanity.

However, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul dissented.

The judges ordered the registrar to forward the decision confirming the charges to the ICC Presidency to constitute a Trial Chamber.

“The Chamber, by majority, orders the Registrar to transmit to the Presidency the Decision on the Confirmation of Charges together with the record of the proceedings in the present case, as provided for in rule 129 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,” the judges said in their ruling.

The President of the court is now expected to constitute the trial chamber by May 9 which will then set the calendar for the trials.

The decision is set to be a major blow to two of the suspects – Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto- who have expressed their interest to run for the Kenyan presidency as the law requires that they be at The Hague in person for the hearings.

The judges directed that the names of Henry Kosgey and Hussein Ali, who had been initially named by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo as suspects, be removed from any future filings relating to the cases.

The suspects had identified several issues that they wanted to appeal arguing that the judges erred in law by using flawed evidence from the prosecutor. But the judges agreed with Mr Moreno-Ocampo that the suspects were arguing against the judges thinking and decision and not legal issues.

Appeal Chamber judges led by Ghanaian Akua Kuehenyia on February 29, rejected an appeal by the suspects to suspend the trial until their appeals are heard. The ruling communicated by the Ghanaian judge means the trial can continue even as the appeals are being argued.

The Appeals Chamber judges said that if they eventually decide to grant the appeal, any ongoing proceedings would be discontinued at that time. According to the Rome Statutes, the Appeals Chamber may confirm, reverse or amend the Pre-Trial Chamber judges’ decision over jurisdiction.

“The Appeals Chamber emphasises that the present decision is concerned only with the request for suspensive effect,” judge Kuehenyia said in the ruling.

Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are accused of having organised attacks against PNU supporters in Rift Valley following the controversial announcement of President Kibaki as the winner of the 2007 elections. The two are accused of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of the population and persecution.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura are accused of having organised the Mungiki and pro-PNU youth to carry out revenge attacks against ODM supporters in the Rift Valley. They each faces charges of crimes against humanity, specifically murder, deportation or forcible transfer, persecution and rape. The Pre-Trial Chamber judges dropped a charge on other inhumane acts brought against them by Mr Moreno-Ocampo.

The suspects had asked the pre-trial chamber for leave to challenge its conclusions on the facts filed by the prosecutor.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/ICC+throws+out+Ocampo+Four+appeal+request/-/1064/1362952/-/gs05gg/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Will Kenya’s property bubble burst?

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Every six months or so, Kenya’s top two mortgage financiers, Housing Finance and KCB, organise bus tours of Nairobi’s property developments.

Gathering at the  break of dawn on a Saturday, participants stream onto buses that drive out to the developing zones of Nairobi. Such has been the pace of property development that some of the blocks of flats, town houses and bungalows are still only served by dirt roads.

Now, this housing push is grinding to a halt. Inflation rose for most of last year, making people review their spending and postpone property investments.

In November 2011, the inflation rate hit 19.7 percent, up from 5.4 percent in January, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Between late July and early December 2011, the Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) Monetary Policy Committee raised the central bank rate four times, from 6.25 percent to 18 percent, and commercial banks raised their rates in response.

They say they are renegotiating with their clients to ensure there are no defaults, but how much the renegotiations will help the banks’ balance sheets will only become apparent later in 2012 when they release the results.

Kenya is also in the middle of campaign mode with presidential and other elections due at the latest by March 2013. Since the return of multiparty politics in 1991, Kenya has always registered a slowdown or negative growth in an election year.

18.9 percent Kenya’s inflation rate in December 2011, up from 4.5 percent a year earlier

Early in the year is not a good time to gauge the market, with people still recovering from the Christmas holidays and paying school fees.

An offical at Housing Finance hinted that interest rates may fall in the next few months.

“At the moment, the market is quite slow. We’ll only see the true effect of the interest rates spike from March for home owners, and March-April for developers,” she said.

At the moment, Housing Finance is offering new mortgages at 23 percent, compared to existing fixed mortgages at 14 percent. These are worrying times for some mortgage holders.

A senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi woke up one morning to find that his bank had increased his and his wife’s monthly repayments by KSh64,000 ($750).

The couple had just bought a house on the outskirts of Nairobi for KSh10m to be repaid over 10 years. They had a choice: restructure the mortgage or struggle with the new rates.

Restructuring would have meant increasing the repayment period to 20 years with only a KSh15,000 reduction in monthly repayments.

They chose to go with the new rates. “I’m not sure what capitalist model our banks have chosen. The repayment rates are unsustainable and are breeding corruption,” says the 38-year-old lecturer, who asked not to benamed.

So is the Kenyan property market experiencing a bubble that is about to burst? It would be easier to answer that question authoritatively if the country had a national property index.

However, a number of credible indicators point to the answer being no. A World Bank-CBK baseline study of the mortgage market in November 2010 put national demand at 205,823 housing units per year with a supply of about 50,000 per year.

It found there were only 13,803 mortgage accounts as of June 2010. It also reported that most property developments concentrated on the higher end of the market and that most people funded their housing projects using cash.

This has left a huge gap in supply for the poor and, for the vast majority of Kenyans, buying a house still remains a distant dream.

The study helped bankers review their knowledge and assumptions about the sector.The report revealed that the average mortgage was KSh4m, so CfC Stanbic Bank now offers a 100 percent mortgage for properties worth between KSh3m and KSh10m.

It previously offered such loans only for properties worth KSh7m or more.

All this was just a dream before President Mwai Kibaki came to power in 2002. At that time…

18.9 percent Kenya’s inflation rate in December 2011, up from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Source: http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/news-analysis/will-kenya-s-property-bubble-burst-501806922.html

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

Elections are next year, says Kibaki

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – President Mwai Kibaki has given the strongest indication yet that general elections will be held next year.

Addressing leaders from Nyeri at the Sagana State Lodge on Friday, the Head of State said it was important to dwell on what the court ruled since he has no authority to change the court decision.

“That is a decision of the court and I cannot change that. It is important to reiterate that the courts ruled that elections will be held in March 2013,” he asserted.

However, his clarification came after the media reported him to have said the elections would be held end of 2012, “Mimi si kusema tutachaguana mwaka huu. (I did not see we will have elections this year),” he told the gathering.

“Hapana, hio ni porojo,mimi sijasema hayo, koti ishasema na sisi tutafuata hayo…hayo mengine ni porojo na hao wanasema wako hapa hapa,” (Those are rumors, I did not say that. The court ruled and that is what we will follow, the rest are rumors and those saying that are here,” Kibaki retracted from his earlier statement which was unclear if he meant elections would be end of this year or early next year.

Earlier he was quoted to have said in Kiswahili, “Kama tutachaguana tutachaguana mwisho wa mwaka huu…new year..si ndio… (If we will have elections, it will be in end of this year, isn’t that ok.)”

High Court judges recently ruled that elections should be held in March 2013 unless the two principals agree to dissolve the coalition government this year. If that were to happen, elections would have to be held within 60 days of the coalition being dissolved.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has maintained that elections should be held end of this year.

Visiting US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman on Friday morning urged the government to publicly announce the election date and end anxiety.

Parliament has before it a Bill presented by Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo which proposes amending the Constitution which stipulates that elections be held on the second Tuesday of August. The Bill proposes changing all future elections from August to December.

So far, countrywide voter registration has not been conducted after the previous voters’ cards were illegalised after Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) was disbanded.

Source: CAPITAL FM

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Shake hands with foreign athletes at own risk, UK Olympic team told

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

A senior British official has caused uproar by warning that the country’s athletes risk contracting diseases  if they shake hands with their foreign counterparts during the London Olympics.

The diseases will then affect their performance in the world’s biggest sports event, which starts on  July 27, Mr Ian McCurdie, the British Olympic Association’s chief medical officer said, on Tuesday.

His advice prompted sharp reactions from the Kenyan and Australian Olympic committees. The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock)  laughed off Mr McCurdie’s advice.

“This is very surprising. It is like they are telling us we should not go to London. I do not think they (British) would behave like this,” Nock secretary Francis Kinyili Paul said on Thursday.

The games, he said, were all about building solidarity in sport. Many top athletes from around the world, including Britain, come to Kenya for high altitude training.

The most notable ones in recent times are marathon record holder Paula Radcliff and 5,000m world champion Mo Farah, who are almost assured of making the British team and meeting familiar faces from Kenya.

“Kenyan athletes are clean and do not carry diseases. They would have no problem shaking hands with other people at the Games. We will be shaking hands,” Mr Paul said.

Australian athletes have also dismissed the advice and said they would shake hands with their rivals at the London Olympics, saying not to do so would be an “embarrassment”.

Mr McCurdie said in his advice that “within reason” shaking hands should be off-limits, given that bugs could spread like wildfire in the close confines of an athletes’ village.

He said they had drawn up a list of health advice for its 550-strong team of athletes and 450 support staff for the Games, and hand-shaking was on it.

“Hand hygiene is it. It is all about hand hygiene,” he said. But the Australian Olympic Committee said it would not be heeding the advice.

“Australian athletes have always extended the hand of friendship and we will most certainly be doing that in London,” spokesman Mike Tancred told AFP.

“For us, someone not shaking hands would be an embarrassment. It’s the Australian way.”

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Shake+hands+at+own+risk+UK+Olympic+team+told+/-/1056/1362220/-/fsnp8cz/-/index.html

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Mother of Kenyan woman in a coma in Dubai appeals for more prayers

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Dubai “Esther wake up, mother’s here” echoed inside the room of Kenyan assault victim Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba at the Intensive Care Unit in Rashid Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

Hannah Mwikamba, Esther’s mother, arrived early morning on March 2 to be by her daughter’s bedside and has not left her since. Esther has been on life support since February 18 after a brutal assault by a man in a Dubai parking lot. The case is under police investigation.

“My daughter is still unconscious. As much as I try to talk to her and sing for her the songs she loved to listen to before, she still would not wake up,” Hannah, speaking through a translator, told Gulf News during a visit in the hospital.

Hannah said that doctors had told her that her daughter’s condition has not changed.

“The only report we got was the same — unconscious, she has not gained consciousness yet,” Hannah said, breaking into tears.

Asked what she first thought when she saw her daughter upon her arrival, Hannah said: “When I saw her, I thought she was dead. I panicked completely. My whole body became numb. I couldn’t move; my whole body froze. But I really really tried to stay strong. I was so shocked when I saw my daughter surrounded by all the machines.”

But she was able to breathe a sigh of relief minutes after. “But when I came close and touched her hand, I saw her chest move so I believe that she is still alive,” Hannah added.

Association

Esther, the sole breadwinner of the family, has been battling for her life for the past three weeks.

But the fight is not hers alone. Scores of Kenyans have come to visit her in the hospital to offer prayers for her. A welfare association in the Kenyan community has been organised to aid the family during their stay in Dubai.

With this, Hannah said her heart overflows with joy and gratitude.

“I am so happy and so grateful to Rashid Hospital. They’ve been taking good care of my daughter. I am also grateful to all the Kenyans here, to all the people living in the Emirates because I believe that they are praying for her.

“I hope that they would continue praying for her because their prayers have been keeping her alive and their prayers will wake her up.”

Source: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/assault-victim-s-mother-appeals-for-more-prayers-1.991858

Posted in Diaspora News | 5 Comments »

Mass weddings in Nigeria set to kick off as men asked to lodge applications to marry divorcees and widows

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Kano State Hisbah Command says it is set to marry off the first set of widows and divorcees numbering about 100.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the board as saying that the exercise was aimed at reducing the hardship of women and divorce rates in the state.

The Commander of the Hisbah, Malam Aminu Daurawa, had earlier announced in a broadcast that interested men and women must obtain application forms from the command.

Malam Yahya Tanko, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, told NAN on Wednesday, that the marriage rites would take place in batches.

He said about 20 of them had already been married off while over 1, 000 applications were being processed by the command.

Tanko said the next batch of 100 widows and widowers would soon be married.

He also said that a workshop would be organised for the men and women to brief them on the need to stay in matrimony based on Islamic guidance.

Tanko said that Hisbah was determined to wipe out all societal ills from Kano, adding that the planned marriages was one of the ways of achieving its aim. (NAN)

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203080536.html

Posted in Africa | 4 Comments »

Kenyan in the DFW area enters Walmart sponsored “Get on the shelf” contest

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Joyce Kerubo Nderi is hoping to win a chance to have shelf space at Wamart. Photo by KOBI KENZO KONCEPT

Joyce Kerubo Nderi is hoping to win a chance to have shelf space at Wamart. Photo by KOBI KENZO KONCEPT

By ANTONY KARANJA in DALLAS, TX

A Kenyan entrepreneur based in the DFW area has entered Walmart’s “Get on the Shelf” contest and hopes that this is her opportunity to introduce her products to the masses as well as a chance to sell them on Walmart.com and at local Walmart stores.

Joyce Kerubo Nderi is pitching her beauty products which contain all natural oils and emollient butters, carefully enriched with complementary herbal extracts, plant proteins, botanical and essential oils.

According to Walmart, the Get on the Shelf Contest is an online contest where businesses and individuals are invited to submit products that are not sold by Walmart.

According to Joyce, she came up with the idea of launching her products after struggling with falling hair and terrible acne at a time when she was using products that contained chemicals. She decided to research on alternative remedies and that is when she realized she could actually use safe products on her face as well as on her hair.

Her line of products, Joyce’s Natural Blends, consists of a conditioner, shampoo, lotion, oily skin remedy, hair oil and several others which she highlights on her YouTube video entry.

The public started voting online on the submissions on March 7 and the voting is scheduled to end on April 4.

Ten finalists will be selected and then the second round of voting begins which will determine the top three products to be sold on Walmart.com.

The Grand Prize winner’s product will be sold on Walmart.com and featured on the site’s home page, and also get valuable shelf space in select Walmart stores across the country.

Joyce is seeking all the support that she can get in order to realize her dream. She hopes as many Kenyans around the world will vote for her products and they might be coming to a Walmart near you.

To vote for Joyce click here

To visit her website, click here

Posted in Diaspora News | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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