Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today's Headlines on Kenya - Thurs 7/31/2008

More Canadian missionaries to return to Kenya, Canada - 11 hours ago
CALGARY - Bob Rowe says he has no fear of travelling to the same area in Kenya where two Canadian missionaries were viciously assaulted and left for dead ...
Calgary group going to Kenya
Family members cry out as Canadian missionaries attacked in Kenya ... The Canadian Press
Canadian Missionaries In Kenya Arrive Home After Violent Assault AHN - United Press International
all 127 news articles »

Clashes hit Kenya tourism figures
The Press Association - 12 hours ago
Kenyan tourism dropped by more than a third in the first half of this year after the violent clashes that followed the country's elections. ...
Kenya tourism down in wake of election violence International Herald Tribune
Kenya tourism revenue plunges after election violence AFP
Kenya tourism earnings tumble 32 pct on violence Reuters South Africa
all 21 news articles »

Teen prostitution up after Kenya's election crisis
International Herald Tribune, France - 1 hour ago
AP ELDORET, Kenya: This time last year, Janet Kimani spent her days at school and her nights fighting with her little brothers over what to watch on the ...

Kenya's mediation talks end
Xinhua, China - 3 hours ago
NAIROBI, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Talks aimed at ending Kenya's post election crisis have come to an end after members of the mediation team concluded the last ...

Kenya inflation drops to 26.5 pct in July yr/yr
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 45 minutes ago
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's annual inflation rate fell to 26.5 percent in July from 29.3 percent the previous month as food prices dropped, the national ...
Inflation rate hits its peak in last ten years in Spain EiTB
all 2 news articles »

Kenya seeks environmental-friendly mobile phone handsets
Xinhua, China - 3 hours ago
NAIROBI, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government vowed to step up measures to ensure that manufacturers of electronic products avail to the market only ...

BBC News
Kenya's expensive free education
BBC News, UK - 5 hours ago
By Anne Mawathe When the Kenyan government promised to provide free secondary education last year, many parents were elated. Rolling out the programme in ...

Kenya Muslims say government blocking abuse report
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 21 hours ago
By Guled Mohamed NAIROBI (Reuters) - Muslim leaders in Kenya accused a senior government official on Wednesday of blocking the release of a presidential ...

Kenya: Officers Cleared of Mt Elgon Abuses, Washington - 3 hours ago
Maj-Gen Ali, who received the report last week and presented it to the minister, said many cases mentioned in a report by the Kenya National Commission on ...

Following EU's integration model in the Brussels of east Africa
Irish Times, Ireland - Jul 30, 2008
All the talk of the crisis gripping Europe in the wake of Ireland's Lisbon Treaty No has gone unnoticed by the members of the EAC, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, ...
US warns travelers to East Africa of terror risk The Associated Press
all 51 news articles »

New! Get the latest news on Kenya with Google Alerts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UN report on AIDS - Kenya HIV rates rising - Wed 7/30/2009

Progress made in HIV prevention - BBC

There have been significant gains in preventing new HIV infections in a number of heavily-affected countries, a United Nations programme report says.

However, UNAids warns the Aids epidemic is not over in any part of the world.

The report says prevention programmes have seen changes in sexual behaviour, and a drop in infection rates in countries such as Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Condom use is also increasing among young people with multiple partners in many countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Total infections: 22m
New infections: 1.9m
Deaths: 1.5m

South and Southeast Asia:
Total infections: 4.2m
New infections: 330,000
Deaths: 340,000

Latin America:
Total infections: 1.7m
New infections: 140,000
Deaths: 63,000

Eastern Europe and Central Asia:
Total infections:1.5m
New infections: 110,000
Deaths: 58,000

North America:
Total infections: 1.2m
New infections: 54,000
Deaths: 23,000

East Asia:
Total infections: 740,000
New infections: 52,000
Deaths: 40,000

Western and Central Europe:
Total infections: 730,000
New infections: 27,000
Deaths: 8,000

North Africa and Middle East:
Total infections: 380,000
New infections: 40,000
Deaths: 27,000

Total infections: 230,000
New infections: 20,000
Deaths: 14,000

Total infections: 74,000
New infections: 13,000
Deaths: 1,000

This has been seen in seven of the most affected countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.

In Cameroon the percentage of young people having sex before the age of 15 has decreased from 35% to 14%.

UNAids reports that since 2005 there has been a tripling of HIV prevention efforts, with a focus on sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users.

The report also reveals that the percentage of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmission of the virus to their child rose from 14% in 2005 to 33% in 2007.

In the same period the numbers of new infections among children fell from 410,000 to 370,000.

Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS executive director, welcomed the progress.

But he said: "Gains in saving lives by preventing new infections and providing treatment to people living with HIV must be sustained over the long term.

"Short-term gains should serve as a platform for reinvigorating combination HIV prevention and treatment efforts and not spur complacency."

Globally, the number of new HIV infections has declined from 3 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2007. However, rates of infection are rising in many countries.

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
The BBC's Peter Biles reports from an HIV care centre in Johannesburg

There are now an estimated 33 million people living with HIV worldwide, with two million estimated to have died from Aids last year.

Papua New Guinea
Russian Federation

The number of deaths was down for the second consecutive year - 200,000 less than the 2005 figure.

Aids continues to be the leading cause of death in Africa, which accounts for 67% of the total number of people living with HIV.

Six out of ten of those living with HIV in Africa are women.

The UNAids report stresses that the fight against HIV requires sustained long-term financing.

It warns that as more people go on treatment and live longer, budgets for HIV will have to increase over the next few decades.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/07/29 16:41:33 GMT© BBC MMVIII



KENYA: HIV services are scarce on the street
Allan Gichigi/IRIN

It's easier for street people to get drugs than healthcare

MOMBASA, 29 July 2008 (PlusNews) - In the next four months, Rashid Mwaneno Dona will become the father of a baby that he and his girlfriend, Fatma Chelimo, conceived while living on the streets of Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast.

The excited couple have already chosen names: if it is a boy, he will be named DJ, in honour of Dona's dream career; if a girl, she will be named Tamara, after a benefactor of local street children.

Before starting a sexual relationship, Dona and Chelimo went to a local voluntary counselling and testing centre for an HIV test.

"This test changed our lives; we have decided that we have nothing to do with other people, we are going to stick together until we get our baby and think seriously about how to bring it up," Dona told IRIN/PlusNews.

They are an exception rather than the rule; few people living on the street choose to take HIV tests before sexual activity.

"They have become hardened by life on the streets and their main priorities are finding food and day-to-day survival - they rarely think about the implications of unprotected sex," said Dinah Wairimu, a justice and human rights officer for Youth Alive, a Kenyan NGO working with young people.

A high-risk life
"These people have to make a living, so the girls often turn to sex work and will easily have sex without protection; they are also unprotected from sexual violence," Wairimu said. "They are especially vulnerable because many are children orphaned by HIV and have had no real family structures around them when they were growing up."

Illegal drugs were widely available on the streets, and while high on glue and other substances, young people often made unsafe sexual choices or shared needles, putting themselves at greater risk of contracting HIV.

"The majority of the street families in Mombasa and elsewhere have succumbed to HIV due to the 'don't care' lifestyle practiced on the streets," Dona said, adding that people living on the street were extremely sexually active.

A 2004 study on the sexual behaviour of street children in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, by The Society of People with AIDS in Kenya, found that street children began sexual activity between 12 and 14 years of age, and about 80 percent of them were drug users; they also reported being sexually abused.

The researchers found that although most boys and girls knew about the possible consequences of unprotected sex - including pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections - they rarely took this into consideration before engaging in sex, and only a minority used contraceptives.

In Mombasa, child sex tourism is extremely common, and according to a 2006 study by the government and the United Nations Children's Fund, many of the city's child sex workers had spent part of their lives on the street.

Not welcome in hospitals
"There are no programmes directly targeting these people for HIV education - most programmes are geared towards getting them off the street," said Wairimu. "At the group homes they go to they may get HIV education, but not on the streets."

Moreover, street people found it hard to get medical care. "Many hospitals don't accept them; if they get pregnant they give birth on the street and raise their babies on the street," she said.

Many hospitals don't accept them; if they get pregnant they give birth on the street and raise their babies on the street. Many teenagers, children and even families living on the streets found it difficult to access counselling, testing for sexually transmitted infections and treatment, including life-saving ARV [antiretroviral] drugs and the necessary support to ensure that those who were not infected remained uninfected.

"The most common problem street families face is that they suffer TB [tuberculosis], which could be [related to] HIV, but they do not want to come out in the open to seek treatment," Dona said.

Chelimo had learned about HIV before she started living on the streets in early adulthood and sought the help of social workers at the local Tonoka Social Hall as soon as she discovered she was pregnant, and began attending the antenatal clinic.

Soon after, a fire gutted "Maboxini", a construction of cardboard boxes behind a local bank that she and Dona called home, and her clinic records were burnt.

"Since these vital documents were destroyed it has become extremely difficult to receive the care I need because I do not have the records for my pre-natal clinic," she said.

The records are required for attending the clinic. However, she Dona and were lucky; they were able to find accommodation at Tonoka Social Hall, where they get cooked meals every day and have a bed and blanket.

Wairimu said because only a small number of people on the street managed to permanently rejoin mainstream society, there was a need for HIV education among them, and for hospitals to be more sensitive to their needs.

Kenya has an estimated 300,000 street children, 60,000 of whom live in the capital, Nairobi. Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu also have large numbers of children and young adults living on the streets.

Theme(s): (IRIN)
Children, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (IRIN) Urban Risk [ENDS]

> Full story

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recent violent crimes against westerners - Tues 7/29/2008

These recent incidents of violent crime against westerners are extraordinary and a departure from the norm in Kenya, of respect and hospitality toward volunteers and tourists.

If western women are being raped, what of the Kenyan women who have no voice in the press or the courts?

Kenya is now more than ever in great need of Friends' skills in peacebuilding, healing, reconciliation.

> Learn about AGLI's work to spread the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) workshops.


Dutch Foreign Ministry warns visitors to Kenya
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands - 11 hours ago
The Dutch Foreign Ministry has increased its travel advice for visitors to Kenya. It says travellers should be alert for sexual aggression as well as other ...

Orphanage women raped in Kenya Scotsman
Five Dutch women gang-raped in Kenya: police AFP
5 Dutch women raped in western Kenya International Herald Tribune

all 7 news articles »

Missionaries home after Kenya horror, Canada - 11 hours agoTwo Canadian missionaries who were nearly killed in Kenya returned home Monday evening with words of forgiveness for their attackers. ...

Family members cry out as Canadian missionaries attacked in Kenya ...
The Canadian PressMissionaries attacked in Kenya flying back to Canada
Badly beaten missionary will forgive attackers: Son
Globe and Mail -
all 110 news articles »

From Google News

Gun culture in Kenya - Tues 7/29/2008

Gun culture takes root in Kenya
A new study says police are responsible for nearly a third of gunshot victims in the country. Photo/FILE
email the author)

Posted Tuesday, July 29 2008 at 00:00

In Summary

  • People seeking treatment for gunshot wounds at KNH usually aged between 18 and 24
  • University research study shows one third of victims were found to be targets of police shootings or “official stray bullets”.
  • Young males with gunshot wounds are more than females, outstripping then by a ratio of almost eight to one
  • Gunshots now third most common cause of spinal injury after road accidents and falls from heights

Guns, both illegal and legal, are now the major cause of death for young Kenyan men, the University of Nairobi says.

People seeking treatment for gunshot wounds at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) are usually aged between 18 and 24, indicating an increase in gang violence and a population that is engaging in criminal activities at a very young age, a new study by four researchers at the university says.

“Barely 10 years ago, victims of gunshots were two decades older and most were shot by criminals interested only in dispossessing them,” says lead author W.A. Odhiambo.

But in this study, done at KNH, almost one third of the victims were found to be targets of police shootings or “official stray bullets”.

This is the first time a structured scientific study indicts the police as being responsible for a significant number of gunshot victims.

Although the study does not dwell on circumstances leading to the police shootings, calling them “stray bullets”, this could be interpreted to mean a poorly trained force or what activists call trigger-happy policemen.

“The perpetrators of firearm violence were often identified by victims as a thug or robber (66.4 per cent), followed by police officers, who were responsible for 23 per cent of the injuries out of which nine per cent were ‘stray bullets’,” says the study.

Published in the March issue of the East African Medical Journal, the study looks at more than 700 firearm injuries at the hospital in 2004 to 2005 and within the same period, records a significant increase in the use of guns in committing a crime.

The study, however, does not include those who had died of gunshots before reaching the hospital.

Young males comprise the highest number of victims reporting to the hospital with gunshot wounds, outstripping females by a ratio of almost eight to one. However, when women are involved they are much younger than their male counterparts — by almost seven years.

The study says gunshots are now the third most common cause of spinal injury after road accidents and falls from heights. It warns Kenyans to be more vigilant between 9pm and 10pm because this is when assaults peak.

“Members of the public could be advised to avoid dangerous areas around these hours, while police patrols are increased.”

Another senior lecturer at the university’s School of Medicine, Dr H. Saidi, draws a chilling parallel between the unfolding situation in Kenya and South Africa, whose gun-related crime rate is very high. He says a South African study found that 86 per cent of victims of gun-related incidents were between 13 and 18 years, the majority of whom were intoxicated.

Young victims
“The local study also depicts very young victims. Under what circumstances would this post-school population become victims of firearm assault? Could the current and younger group, as in South Africa, possibly be involved in crime and gang violence?” the study queries.

It concludes that in the absence of any structured crime prevention programmes, increasing poverty and a growing drug culture, firearm-related crimes can only get worse.

> Full story

100 Days Together - Coalition Poll results - Tues 2/29/2009

100 days together

Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki (R) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Photo/REUTERS/Presidential Press Service

By JEFF OTIENO (email the author)

Grand Coalition Government’s performance has been rated at 65 per cent
Mr Odinga tops with 75 per cent approval
President Kibaki has 68 per cent

Prime Minister Raila Odinga commands the highest approval ratings in performance in the Grand Coalition Government, ahead of President Kibaki.

According to the latest opinion poll conducted by the Steadman Group, Mr Odinga tops with 75 per cent approval compared to President Kibaki’s 68 per cent.

The Grand Coalition Government’s performance has been rated at 65 per cent.

The study coincides with 100 days since the formation of the Grand Coalition Government which brought together the two political rivals — President Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

According to the opinion poll, majority of Kenyans view Mr Odinga positively in public service compared to President Kibaki or the Coalition Government as a whole. The study, which was conducted between July 6 and 11, this year, interviewed 2,012 Kenyans aged 18 years. Respondents were from all the eight provinces. The study had a margin of error of +/-2.2 and a 95 per cent confidence level.

However, Steadman’s political consultant, Dr Tom Wolf, said the research did not seek to find out why majority of Kenyans approved of the PM.

“Many Kenyans placed Mr Odinga on the highly approve and somewhat approve categories ahead of President Kibaki,” Dr Wolf said while releasing results of the survey at the Steadman headquarters in Nairobi.

However, he said any leader in the world should be happy with an approval rating of over 50 per cent especially under a difficult political arrangement like the one in Kenya.

Dr Wolf also said many ODM supporters still viewed President Kibaki with hostility as many believe their presidential candidate was robbed of victory.

“Unlike ODM supporters, many PNU supporters view Mr Odinga “mildly” since their candidate was the one who was sworn in as the President,” he said.

Civil war
Dr Wolf said the approval rating of the Grand Coalition was above 50 per cent, largely because of saving the country from imminent civil war rather than its achievements in the past six months.

Majority of Kenyans (78 per cent) support the power-sharing agreement. At the political party level, the agreement receives the highest rating from both PNU and ODM-K faithful at 80 per cent each, with ODM followers giving it a 76 per cent score.

On the provinces, Mr Odinga’s ratings are higher than the President’s in five provinces. The PM leads his partner in Nairobi, Coast, Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western. President Kibaki’s ratings are highest in Central, Eastern and North Eastern.

Individually, the two score highly than the Government in all the provinces except North Eastern where the Grand Coalition scores a high of 80 per cent. In the province, President Kibaki scores 78 per cent, followed by Mr Odinga at 75 per cent.

So far Kenyans are satisfied with the Grand Coalition’s performance in secondary and primary education, in which it scores 78 per cent and 70 per cent approval respectively.

However, the study was conducted before student riots became widespread, affecting the country’s hitherto stable education system.

Kenyans are also happy with the way the Government is handling health matters, with the respondents giving it a satisfaction rating of 65 per cent, followed by electrification programme (58 per cent), water supply (58 per cent) and road construction (55 per cent).

The public, nonetheless, is unhappy with the way the Government is tackling poverty, unemployment, the rising food prices, graft and crime. All have an approval of below 50 per cent.

Of the three political parties forming the Grand Coalition, majority of the respondents identified themselves with the Orange Democratic Movement (53 per cent), followed by the Party of National Unity at 29 per cent. ODM-Kenya (seven per cent) and other smaller parties (four per cent). Seven per cent do not align themselves with any political party.

> > > Full Story

Turkana region suffers - Tues 7/29/2008

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

KENYA: Insecurity heightens poverty in northwest

Ann Weru/IRIN

Residents often have to rely on police reservists and have organised local security to safeguard their livestock

LODWAR, 29 July 2008 (IRIN) - John Lochimoe used to own several heads of cattle that his grandfather left him, until raiders from the neighbouring Pokot District of northwestern Kenya took the animals.

"All the cows my grandfather left me have been stolen, driving me deeper into poverty," he said.

Today, Lochimoe, a single parent of two, who also cares for his mother and mother-in-law, can hardly cope thanks to the insecurity that has robbed him of his livelihood.

"At night the dogs bark all the time and people are always on the look-out. It seems as if the peace and reconciliation efforts do not work," Lochimoe, a former teacher living in Oropoi village, Turkana North District, said.

Like Oropoi, many areas of the mainly arid northern Kenya experience resource-based conflicts, livestock theft and a lack of access to infrastructure such as roads, schools, communication and health facilities.

The situation has particularly affected the pastoralist communities that dominate the region. The major causes of conflict include cattle-rustling, proliferation of illicit arms, inadequate policing, and competition over control and access to natural resources, according to a report by the NGO Practical Action Eastern Africa report. The NGO implements peace programmes in northern Kenya.

"The pastoralists cannot access water and pasture because of the insecurity," Turkana Central District Commissioner George Ayonga said.

Residents rely on seasonal rivers and water pans, and rising fuel costs have also reduced access to motorised water schemes. The insecurity, he added, had caused population displacement, especially in areas such as Lokori and Lomelo, south of the main town of Lodwar.

To cope, residents often have to rely on police reservists and have organised local security to safeguard their livestock. Boys, some as young as 14, carry guns while herding livestock.

According to a drought bulletin for Turkana, June was particularly bad for conflicts in all cross-border zones of Turkana North, Central and South districts.

The problem was attributed to resource-based battles after the failure of the long rains. The region borders Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and the areas of Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu and West Pokot in Kenya. The bulletin recommended strengthening early warning and rapid response systems, in addition to holding peace meetings and encouraging dialogue.

Health issues
According to Sarah Wanaswa of the Oropoi dispensary, many cases of assault and gunshot wounds were reported during the months of peak conflict.

"When there are no peace and reconciliation efforts, there are also many raids," Wanaswa said. "We get targeted more when the herds move."

Apart from insecurity, the region experiences other health problems. Low awareness of personal hygiene, she added, had also often led residents to suffer preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, skin and eye infections. The dispensary, which treats between seven and 10 people each day, relies on supplies flown in by the government and NGOs.

Ann Weru/IRIN

John Ichom, a teacher at a Catholic mission nursery school in the Kaeris area of the Turkana North district.

The other problem was low latrine coverage.

"Most people use the 'cat method'," she said. "Those [residents] who are mobile see no value in erecting latrines which they will not use for long.

"Some say the soil is rocky and are therefore reluctant to dig latrines," she said. "Waste disposal depends on personal knowledge."

Wanaswa said community health workers were conducting outreach services. "We are educating the people on the consequences of not having a toilet."

The dispensary at Oropoi also lacks HIV prevention services while most women deliver at home, seeking medical help only in case of complications. At the same time, the population movements had also contributed to low immunisation coverage of childhood diseases such as measles.

While enrolment in nursery and primary schools is high, transition to secondary education is low due to the tradition of early marriage for girls and boys dropping out of school to take care of livestock. High enrolment in the lower classes is boosted by the school-feeding programmes.

"For most children this is their main meal," John Ichom, a teacher at a Catholic mission nursery school in the Kaeris area of the Turkana North district, said. There are few boarding schools and in some, the classrooms double up as dormitories at night.

"It is as if we are not part of Kenya," said a resident of the lack of infrastructure and rampant insecurity, which had also restricted access to key markets within and outside the region.

In a bid to develop the northern regions, the government has established a ministry of state for the development of northern Kenya and other arid lands.


Themes: (IRIN)
Children, (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition

Report can be found online at:
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Call to halt Kenya military aid - BBC Mon 7/28/2008

An international lobby group has called for military aid to Kenya to be halted until an inquiry is held into a crackdown in the west of the country.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says dozens of people have "disappeared" in Mount Elgon after local men were rounded up.

The operation was intended to tackle an ethnic militia, known as the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), accused of running an 18-month terror campaign.

HRW accuses both sides of committing war crimes in the area.

The security forces have denied repeated complaints of wrongdoing in the area and have blamed any human rights violations on the militia.

HRW says 37 people remain "disappeared", while local human rights groups say more than 70 people have been killed.

Witnesses told researchers that much of the male population had been rounded up.

"The 'successful' operation to tackle the rebellion in Mt Elgon has come at a terrible cost," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

"The government should urgently produce those who have disappeared and ensure that those responsible for torture and other crimes, including the commanders, are held accountable."

In May, the state-funded Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) said the defence minister and army chiefs should face prosecution over the alleged torture of civilians in Mt Elgon.

HRW accuses the SLDF of killing more than 600 people in the past two years.

The SLDF says it is fighting for ancestral land belonging to the Sabaot community.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/07/28 09:14:31 GMT© BBC MMVIII