Friday, April 4, 2008

Today's headlines - Fri 4/5/2008

Agreement reached on Kenyan government
United Press International - 7 hours ago
NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 (UPI) -- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga announced Thursday that they had agreed to a ...

Agreement reached on Kenyan government
Published: April 4, 2008 at 12:37 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 (UPI) -- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga announced Thursday that they had agreed to a 40-member cabinet.Details are to be released Sunday, The Daily Nation of Nairobi reported. The government is to be sworn in April 12.

Kibaki and Odinga were under pressure from Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, who helped negotiate a power-sharing arrangement. Kibaki declared victory in a disputed presidential election, setting off weeks of deadly violence.The agreement creates six new ministries and cabinet positions. Kibaki pushed for a larger cabinet to create positions for parties in his coalition, while Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement wanted a smaller cabinet.

The ODM is to get 20 cabinet positions.Mwalimu Mati, head of the Mars Group, an anti-corruption organization, estimated the cost of the new ministries at $800 million a year."Announcing such a bloated cabinet at this time is like putting out a fire with gasoline," Mati told The Guardian. "These guys are completely out of touch with public thinking."

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be reproduced, redistributed, or manipulated in any form.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today's Headlines - Wed 4/2/2008

KENYA: Floods hit thousands, including IDP camps

02 Apr 2008 14:29:39 GMT 02 Apr 2008 14:29:39 GMT
Source: IRIN

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

NAIROBI, 2 April 2008 (IRIN) - At least 6,000 people have been affected by flooding following heavy rains in the southern coastal district of Taveta, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said.

"Three primary schools have also been closed temporarily after being submerged," Anthony Mwangi, the KRCS Public Relations Manager said on 1 April. "The water levels in some areas are up to chest level."

Groups of people have been marooned, with transport services also affected, he said.

The hardest hit areas include the villages of Eldoro A, B, C, Ngutini Python Hill, Kinongo A, B, Kisogoto, Marodo, Lambu, Marigasa, Kiwalwa and Marisa in the Kimorigo, Mbogoni and Mahoo sub-locations of the district. The schools affected were Abuni, Eldoro and Notima primary schools.

Some pit latrines also filled up or collapsed due to the flooding, presenting the risk of spreading water-borne diseases. However, Mwangi said there had not been any reports of contamination so far.

He said KRCS was providing food and non-food items to the affected people and trying to assess the needs of those marooned.

"We are also conducting an assessment to determine the magnitude of the flooding," he added.

Meanwhile, KRCS has helped thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by flooding in their camps move to higher ground.

"The flooding is a major challenge facing the IDPs but we cannot relocate them to different camps due to logistical issues," Mwangi said.

The camps most affected by flooding included those in Nakuru in Rift Valley Province and the neighbouring town of Naivasha. There are at least 15,718 IDPs in the Showground camp and 1,020 in the Afraha camp, two of the main IDP camps in Nakuru.

In the long-term, Mwangi said, the needs of the IDPs, such as resettlement, security, house reconstruction, the provision of farming implements and peace and reconciliation, would need to be addressed.

Thousands of people were displaced across the country following the eruption of violence over the disputed results of the December 2007 elections.

© IRIN. All rights reserved.

More humanitarian news and analysis: news

Accusations fly as Kenya's political deadlock deepens

By C. Bryson Hull 18 minutes ago

Kenya's opposition on Wednesday accused the government of trying to spoil a power-sharing deal by seeking to vet new cabinet ministers, a move that targets opposition politicians it blames for post-election violence.

President Mwai Kibaki and opposition chief Raila Odinga are at odds over the shape and size of a coalition cabinet created under a pact to solve a post-election crisis that degenerated into ethnic violence that killed more than 1,200 people.

The deal brokered by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan brought a sense of stability and a financial rebound to the east African nation, which saw the prospects of its economy -- one of the brightest in Africa -- seriously hampered by the violence.

But more than a month has passed since the deal that will make Odinga the prime minister, and many Kenyans are frustrated at the deadlock over the cabinet.

It is supposed to be split roughly in half between Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Kibaki-allied parties.

Annan in a statement on Wednesday said he was "seriously concerned by the failure to compose and announce the coalition government" and urged Kibaki and Odinga to "come to definite decisions for the sake of the Kenyan nation."

The sides are haggling over who gets what ministry, how big the cabinet should be and in the latest contentious issue, the president's assertion that he has the right to vet ministers based on their corruption records.

That, the opposition says, is meant to target ODM member William Ruto, whom many in Kibaki's camp blame for engineering the killing of members of the president's Kikuyu tribe in the Rift Valley after his disputed December 27 re-election.

"I think they should be the last people to have the audacity to talk about a clean government," ODM politician Najib Balala told reporters, referring to ministers in Kibaki's half-cabinet who have been linked to corruption cases.

"Let me be clear that there will be no legitimate government formed without William Ruto."

Ruto denies all wrongdoing, but has been dogged by a land theft case that is working its way through Kenya's courts. He is despised by Kibaki backers but has ODM's support because he gave them the Rift Valley province -- the largest chunk of voters.

"The main issue is that the president has point-blank refused to have Ruto and Anyang' Nyong'o," said a Kibaki-allied cabinet aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nyong'o is ODM secretary-general, and in the crisis was the main spokesman urging supporters to take to the streets despite a government ban on demonstrations. All the protests turned bloody, between rioting and an often-deadly police response.

Political analyst Macharia Gaitho warned that the vetting plan was a clear recipe for deadlock that could unsettle the current peace.

"The agreement explicitly states that ODM nominees appointed to the cabinet will be appointed by the ODM leader, so there is no room for Kibaki to vet," Gaitho said.

"So we are deadlocked on who gets in, because Raila would not want to be seen as taking dictation from Kibaki."

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: )

(Additional reporting by Wangui Kanina, Duncan Miriri and Hereward Holland; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Today's headlines - Mon 3/31/2008

Kenya: Mediation Talks Resume, Washington - 1 hour ago
Apart from ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps assigned to Kenya, foreign governments and international governmental institutions like the ...

Mediation Talks Resume Tomorrow

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
31 March 2008 Posted to the web 31 March 2008
By Abiya OcholaNairobi

Mediation talks resume after a two-week break.

Talks chairman, Mr Oluyemi Adeniji, jetted back into the country from Nigeria on Saturday morning, but maintained a low profile as anxiety heightened over the new Cabinet composition.

A source close to the talks said the teams might revisit Agenda Three on power sharing after President Kibaki and prime minister-designate, Mr Raila Odinga, did not agree on Cabinet portfolio.

"The teams will not continue discussions on Agenda Four with issues on political settlement like Cabinet formation unresolved. They may adjourn the talks until the Cabinet issue is resolved or agree to discuss the stalemate with a view to finding a breakthrough," said the source.

The teams are expected to tackle items under Agenda Four that deal with long-term issues of land and judicial reforms as well as equity.

Also on the agenda is composition of the Violence Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Independent Review Commission, headed by South African retired judge, Justice Johann Kreigler.

"The remaining issues cannot be handled under the current atmosphere," said the source.

Raila and Kibaki have twice failed to agree on the size and portfolio of the Cabinet under the power-sharing arrangement.

Raila has advocated a 34-member Cabinet, but Kibaki wants one with 44 members.

Mr William Ruto, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr James Orengo and Dr Sally Kosgei represent ODM while Cabinet ministers, Ms Martha Karua, Mr Moses Wetangula and Prof Sam Ongeri and Mbooni MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, represent PNU.

Apart from ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps assigned to Kenya, foreign governments and international governmental institutions like the African Union, European Union and the United Nations have been quiet over the latest stalemate.

The US Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice, had been vocal in pushing for a speedy political solution to the worst crisis in Kenya's history.

The EU, Kenya's largest trading partner, had threatened economic sanctions at the height of the crisis, but are yet to issue a statement on the stalemate.

Chief mediator, Dr Kofi Annan, has also disregarded calls that he return to help sort out the stalemate.

He told Raila and Kibaki that the composition of the Cabinet was well within their reach and saw no reason why he should return.

Copyright © 2008 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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