Friday, February 29, 2008

Political Despair Leads to Presidential Assassination Plans!

Call for Presidential Assassination?
By Laura Bulkeley Goldsmith

Politics can be an ugly business, not an original thought. Many pundits during the current 2004 presidential election, however, have noted that the political rhetoric on both sides of the aisle has scaled new heights of stridency, spite, and salacious enmity. Having studied history, one may take this notion to task. Yet, a new book has been written that I believe is unprecedented in serious American literature. It is called Checkpoint: A Novel, by Nicholson Baker. The book records a "dialogue" between two middle aged men who have been friends since high school. Ben has driven to Washington D.C. to visit Jay who has called him in desperation. Jay, in fact, is in the middle of a fiery obsession; that obsession being the assassination of George W. Bush. The book and its author ask, referring to Bush's policies: "How do you react to something that you think is so hideously wrong? How do you keep it from driving you nuts? What do you do with your life while this wrong is being carried out? What are the thoughts -- the secret thoughts, the unpublishable thoughts, so to speak -- that go through your head?"

In the case of Checkpoint, political despair leads to presidential assassination plans. While Ben tries to talk Jay out of his mission, asking him, for example, to realize that the Secret Service would kill him before he could get the job done and that Vice President Dick Cheney, who would step in, would be worse, he nevertheless engages him in conversation for 115 pages rather than alerting the authorities. The book is open-ended. The reader never knows if Jay will move ahead with his plans.

The author of this book, Nicholson Baker, is not some blogger ranting in obscurity on the internet. He is not unknown; no, he is more often than not reviewed quite favorably and has sold respectably as well. Previously, his works have included The Fermata, part fantasy, part hard core porn, and Vox, a "novel" in which the author basically "transcribes" a long telephone conversation between two people who meet over a phone-sex call-in line. He is praised by the mainstream press for his attention to detail and his keen observation of human behavior.

Baker and his protagonist, Jay, join the ranks of Democrats who cannot abide what they perceive as a "selected" president. They are in horror over Bush 43's reorder of American foreign policy. They read "conspiracy" into his every move and are consumed by their personal contempt for him as a man and political contempt for his ideas. (For all of the above, see Fahrenheit 911, a documentary film by Michael Moore, released by Miramax.) Former Vice President Al Gore has compared Bush to Stalin and Hitler. Senator Edward Kennedy has accused the president of starting a war ("cooked up in Texas") in order to achieve political advantage.

More than twenty popular musicians are joining forces in nine swing states across the U.S. from October 1 to October 8, 2004 in order to rally support against the re-election of President George W. Bush. There are four current theatrical productions and five best-sellers (a full one-third of the New York Times list) variously devoted to deriding, belittling, assaulting, and diminishing him. The following documentaries have been released or will be released, all vilifying Bush:

Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (2003) (TV)
The Man Who Knew Bush (2004)
Uncovered: The War on Iraq (2004)
Bush's Brain (2004)
Never have the worlds of literature, theatre, and music taken on the chief executive with such intensity and fury. Still, I do not believe that a discussion for and against the assassination of a sitting president has been the subject of a work of fiction, reviewed by respected publications as if it were simply a meditation on political despondency and frustration. Some may consider the book a baby boomer's tantrum or a conspiracy theorist's handbook; however, publisher Knopf has given credibility and author Baker has given voice to a character whose despair and anger lead to the unthinkable.

A cursory look at past presidential assassins, indicates that they, too, were enraged over governmental matters. Famously, John Wilkes Booth proclaimed, after he shot President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865: "Sic semper tyrannis!" or "Thus always to tyrants!" A passage in his diary read, "Our country owed all her troubles to him (Lincoln), and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment." The safety of the president was never again to be assured.

Charles Guiteau, after his assassination of James Garfield on July 2, 1881, said: "The president's tragic death was a sad necessity, but it will unite the Republican party and save the Republic. I have no ill-will to the president. His death was a political necessity." Guiteau, like Booth, had his reasons.

September 6, 1901, Leon F. Czolgosz, a self-proclaimed anarchist, shot President William McKinley. Among his statements as to motive: "I killed President McKinley because I done my duty." And, "I killed the President because he was the enemy of the people, the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime." It was reported that, prior to the assassination, in his spare time, Czolgosz read radical anarchist magazines and newspapers.

The latter decades of the 20th century were defined by the events of November 22, 1963, when Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Handbills had been circulating around Dallas in the days before the president's arrival. They claimed JFK was "WANTED FOR TREASON" and listed seven grievances against him. Number seven reads, "He has been caught in fantastic LIES to the American people&" Oswald never had an opportunity to explain his motives, as he was shot to death himself by Jack Ruby on November 23rd. A self-proclaimed Marxist and Cuban sympathizer, Oswald said in custody only: "Everyone will know who I am now." Indeed.

Thankfully, there is a list of presidents who have survived identified assassination attempts:

Andrew Jackson (January 30, 1835)
Theodore Roosevelt (October 14, 1912)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (February 15, 1933)
Harry S. Truman (November 1, 1950)
Gerald Ford (September 5, 1975, and September 22, 1975)
Ronald Reagan (March 30, 1981)
Presidential assassination is, shall we say, a deadly serious matter. Our nation has been shattered by each of them. Even James Garfield, president less than 200 days, was mourned for two days in Washington, D.C. by more than seventy thousand people, lined up at the Capitol rotunda to pay their respects. It should not be fodder for a screed masquerading as a novella, published by a major publishing house, reviewed dispassionately with words like, "compelling" by a major national newspaper, and printed with a bulls-eye on the cover, no less. Shame on Knopf and shame on Nicholson Baker. Let us hope Checkpoint: A Novel does not inspire any contemporary malcontents in the volatile atmosphere of 2004. Of this there is no doubt: Words have power.


Dear Friends of the Hauenstein Center:

Christopher and Peter Hitchens -- brothers and rivals -- will debate in Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more.
As you wrap up your work week, please take notice of four opportunities at the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University.

(1) Hitchens v. Hitchens tickets are for sale beginning at 10:00 this morning. Christopher and Peter Hitchens -- brothers, rivals, and renowned political and cultural commentators -- will meet on stage for the first time ever to debate everything under the sun... and much beyond. Don't miss this earth-shattering event on April 3, 2008, at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Beginning at 10 AM, you may purchase tickets to the event through Star Tickets Plus. Visit our website to learn more.
(2) Award winning historian H. W. Brands will be in town as a Hauenstein Center scholar in residence from March 10-12. There is still time to sign up and attend all six of Brand's lectures on the American presidency.
(3) Remember to vote in the second round of the Hauenstein Center's third annual Tournament of the Presidents. This year we are asking voters to decide which former U.S. president should be the next president's greatest guide (regardless of party affiliation). More than 1,100 voters determined the outcome of round 1.
(4) Our YouTube site has a new look, as of yesterday, and plenty of new content. Visit the Hauenstein Center on YouTube to watch Doris Kearns Goodwin talk about Abraham Lincoln's leadership at the Lincoln Bicentennial national kickoff event; Bill Barker talk about Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy and religious beliefs; and Kasey Pipes talk about Dwight Eisenhower's role in the American civil rights movement.
Visit us on the web at www.allpresidents.org for more on all upcoming events.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


The talks from the "inner" circle is as follows:

Electoral Commission of Kenya will be disbanded and a new body formed to oversee general elections.

ODM was initially pushing for a short term transitional government that would prepare for a re-run of the presidential polls, the party has significantly thawed and is ready to accept a power sharing deal
with its bitter rival PNU.

PNU camp feels that a re-run is not an option and prefers to incorporate members of the ODM into Kibakis vacant cabinet positions as a way of appeasing them and their supporters, are open to a coalition idea but do not want to see presidential powers devolved.

It would appear that ODM/NARC are seeking permanent and independent share of political power for their parties as opposed to being mere appointees of PNUs President Kibaki and therefore avoiding the same
treatment the LDP received during the initial days of Kibaki's first term as a NARC president.

The international community fear that the collapse of Kenya will have far reaching implications on the entire
African continent.

Political observers foresee the formation of a balanced grand coalition government which will be facilitated by
constitutional amendments when parliament reconvenes.

Each of the two major partners will be allocated top positions in government and each will have some degree of executive power which will enable them draw their own line-up of select members of cabinet.

This proposed grand coalition, having a total of 34 members of cabinet, will be structured along this forecast:

Mwai Kibaki (PNU) President & Head of State
Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-K) - Vice President & Deputy Head of State
15 Cabinet Positions - PNU, ODM-K, KANU and OTHER

Raila Odinga Prime Minister & Leader of Parliamentary Business
Musalia Mudavadi Deputy Prime Minister
15 Cabinet Positions - ODM, NARC and OTHER

Kenya rivals agree to share power

The deal follows talks lasting more than a month
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have signed an agreement to end the country's post-election crisis.
At a ceremony in Nairobi, the two men put their signatures to a power-sharing deal brokered by ex-UN head Kofi Annan.

A coalition government comprising members of the current ruling party and opposition will now be formed.

Some 1,500 people died in political violence after Mr Odinga said he was robbed of victory in December's polls.

New two-party coalition government to be set up
Division of posts in new government to reflect parties' strengths in National Assembly
Raila Odinga to take new post of prime minister, can only be dismissed by National Assembly
Two new deputy PMs to be appointed, one from each member of coalition

International observers agreed that December's election count was flawed.

The post-election violence saw thousands of people targeted because they belonged to ethnic groups seen as either pro-government or pro-opposition. About 600,000 people fled their homes.

Although the level of violence had fallen in recent weeks, there were concerns that a failure to reach a deal would lead to a fresh round of blood-letting.

Negotiations between the government and opposition lasted more than a month, stalling several times.

The BBC's Adam Mynott, in Nairobi, says both sides have given ground from their original positions to reach this agreement.

The new coalition will be headed by President Kibaki, with Mr Odinga - whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the largest in parliament - taking the newly created post of prime minister.

Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country

Kofi Annan

Each party will nominate a deputy prime minister, with other ministerial portfolios being shared out to reflect the political parties' strengths in the National Assembly.

Correspondents say both parties are now likely to begin wrangling over who gets what position in the new government, with the post of finance minister likely to prove the most contentious.

After the deal was reached, Mr Annan said: "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country."

He urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: "The job of national reconciliation and national reconstruction is not for the leaders alone. It must be carried out in every neighbourhood, village, hamlet of the nation.

"I call on all Kenyans to support this process so that Kenya can once again be a moral inspiration and economic engine for Africa. And let me assure you that your friends in Africa and the international community are all behind you."

'New chapter'

Speaking after the signing, Mr Kibaki said: "This process has reminded us that as a nation there are more issues that unite than that divide us...

"We've been reminded we must do all in our power to safeguard the peace that is the foundation of our national unity... Kenya has room for all of us."

Political violence has ignited rivalry over land

Mr Odinga said: "With the signing of this agreement, we have opened a new chapter in our country's history - from the era or phase of confrontation to the beginning of co-operation.

"We, on our side, are completely committed to ensuring that this agreement will succeed."

Both men thanked those who had stood by Kenya in what Mr Odinga called its "hour of need", including Mr Annan, the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the UN.

They also urged Kenyans to move forward together without ethnic divisions.

'Very basic issue'

A spokesman for the US state department, Tom Casey, said the agreement was "an important and very positive step forward".

He added: "It allows the Kenyan people to move forward with a very basic issue of governance."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the new power-sharing agreement.

"Kenya's leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential," he said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


PNG woman gives birth while hanging from tree
2:15PM Tuesday February 26, 2008

PORT MORESBY - A pregnant Papua New Guinea woman hung from a tree after being accused of sorcery gave birth to her baby while struggling to free herself, local media reports.

Nolan Yekum and her husband Paul were dragged from their house and hung from a tree by fellow tribesmen who accused them of sorcery after the couple's neighbour suddenly died.

Their ordeal occurred in Kilip village near Banz in Western Highlands Province, PNG's newspaper The National reported today.

The woman and her newborn baby girl, her third child, were doing well in Mt Hagen Hospital after two weeks in hiding, the report said.

Her husband said men entered their house in the middle of the night with a rope and tied it to their necks, accusing them of sorcery over their neighbour's death.

They were dragged outside and hung from a tree, he said.

"We managed to loosen the noose to get our feet on the ground ... we were able to free ourselves.

"My wife, who was about seven months pregnant, delivered the baby while struggling to free herself.

It was a painful experience for me and her," Yekum said.

He said he pleaded with fellow villagers to wait for his neighbour's post-mortem and he accused local police of failing to act.

The couple vehemently denied practising sorcery.



Monday, February 25, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Kenya's two former First Families and the family of President Mwai Kibaki are among the biggest landowners in the country. The extended Kenyatta family alone owns an estimated 500,000 acres — approximately the size of Nyanza Province — according to estimates by independent surveyors and Ministry of Lands officials. (This report first appeared in the Standard Newspaper report by Mr. Otsieno Namwaya)

The Kibaki and Moi families also own large tracts, most held in the names of sons and daughters and other close family members, all concentrated within the 17.2 % of Kenya that is arable or valued. Remember that 80 per cent of all land in Kenya is mostly arid and semi arid land.

The building land crises in the country, experts say, will be difficult to solve because the most powerful people in the country are also among its biggest landowners.The tracts of land under the Kenyatta family are so widely distributed within the numerous members in various parts of the country that it is an almost impossible task to locate all of them and establish their exact sizes.

During Kenyatta's 15-year tenure in State House, he used the elaborate STFS scheme funded by the World Bank and the British Government, to acquired large pieces of land all over the country. Other tracts, he easily allocated to his family.

Among the best-known parcels owned by Kenyatta's family, for instance, are the 24, 000 acres in Taveta sub-district adjacent to the 74, 000 acres owned by former MP Basil Criticos.

Others are 50, 000 acres in Taita that is currently under Mrs Beth Mugo, an Assistant minister of Education and niece of Kenyatta, 29, 000 acres in Kahawa Sukari along the Nairobi—Thika highway, the 10, 000 acre Gichea Farm in Gatundu, 5, 000 acres in Thika, 9,000 acres in Kasarani and the 5, 000-acre Muthaita Farm.

These are beside others such as Brookside Farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu Farm in Juja, a quarry in Dandora in Nairobi and a 10, 000-acre ranch in Naivasha. There is another 200 acres in Mombasa, and 250 acres in Malindi.

Other pieces of land owned by the Kenyatta family include the 52,000-acre farm in Nakuru and a 20,000-acre one, also known as Gichea Farm, in Bahati under Kenyatta's daughter, Margaret. Besides, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, widow of the former President, owns another 10, 000 acres in Rumuruti while a close relative of the Kenyatta family, a Mrs Kamau, has 40,000 acres in Endebes in the Rift Valley Province.

Uhuru owns 5,000 acres in Eldoret, 3,000 acres in Rongai and 12,000 acres in Naivasha, 100 acres in Karen, and 200 acres in Dagoretti. A 1,000-acre farm in Dagoretti is owned by Kenyatta's first wife Wahu.

It is also understood that part of the land on which Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta Universities are constructed initially belonged the Criticos family. The government bought the land from him in 1972 under the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme and transferred to the Kenyatta family the same day Criticos sold it to the government. Land for the two universities was subsequently sold partly and a portion donated by the family.

One of President Kibaki's earliest grabs is the 1,200-acre Gingalily Farm along the Nakuru-Solai road. And in the 1970s, Kibaki, who was then the minister for Finance under Kenyatta, via STFS transferred to himself, 10, 000 acres in Bahati from the then Agriculture minister Bruce Mckenzie.

Kibaki also owns another 10, 000 acres at Igwamiti in Laikipia and 10, 000 acres in Rumuruti in Naivasha. These are in addition to the 1,600 acre Ruare Ranch.

Just next to Kibaki's Bahati land are Moi's 20, 000 acres although his best known piece of land is the 1,600 Kabarak Farm on which he has retired. It is one of the most well utilised farms in the area, with wheat, maize and dairy cattle.

The former President owns another 20, 000 acres in Olenguruoni in Rift Valley, on which he is growing tea and has also built the Kiptakich Tea Factory (recently torched). He also has some 20, 000 acres in Molo. He also has another 3, 000-acre farm in Bahati on both sides of the Nakuru/Nyahururu road where he grows coffee and some 400 acres in Nakuru on which he was initially growing coffee.

The former President also owns the controversy ridden 50, 000 acre Ol Pajeta Farm—part of which has Ol Pajeta ranch in Rumuruti, Laikipia. Some time in 2004 Moi put out an advert in the press warning the public that some unknown people were sub-dividing and selling it.


Published on February 24, 2008, 12:00 am

By Sunday Standard Team
A deal ending the impasse could be announced mid this week, if the parties agree on the sole divisive issue remaining at the talks chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Dr Kofi Annan.

If the two parties agree on Monday or on Tuesday, the fate of the country will remain in the hands of President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.

The two leaders will be presented with about 10 issues that will have been agreed on.

If the two also agree with the proposals expected to come out of the Serena Hotel this week, action will move to Parliament, where new laws would have to be made to cushion the agreements. This could put the country back on track until 2012 General Election. That is unless the coalition collapses before then.

The team negotiating the way out of the paralysis that has marked the country since December 27 could announce a final power sharing accord, as early as next Tuesday or Wednesday.

The team meets on Monday to discuss the only unfinished agenda remaining on the table: whether the issues agreed on so far should be constitutionalised.

On Friday, a member of Dr Annan’s technical team at the talks, Mr Hans Korel, a former Assistant Secretary General of legal affairs at the United Nations, took the negotiators through the options in getting legal protection for the agreements.

Within the ranks of ODM negotiators, there is said to be agreement that a constitutional amendment be undertaken to entrenchment the agreements.

The negotiators pursued this subject until late evening on Friday and broke camp with an agreement that they consult their parties and report back tomorrow.

on Saturday, a statement by the Presidential Press Service said President Kibaki had commended the Government and members of the Kofi Annan-led mediators for their work.

"The President has encouraged them to resolve outstanding issues, taking into account the broader national interests and also ensuring that the solutions they arrive at will withstand the test of time and enhance national cohesion, stability and prosperity," the President said, in a statement.

Kibaki said that despite the challenges the country has faced recently, the broader Kenyan leadership should have the capacity and the will to arrive at a political settlement, which galvanises the citizenry.

Should the deal be reached, it would herald a new Kenya, where Parliament, and not the President, as is the case now, will create ministries and assign them functions.

That could mean death to or even expansion of some of the existing ministries and creation of new ones.

The Orange Democratic Movement wants all the issues agreed turned into law through a constitutional amendment.

ODM’s position was that gentlemen’s agreements like the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group Package of 1997 and the Memorandum of Understanding of 2002, have failed to work because they had no legal force.

Avoid past mistakes

The party wants everything that has been agreed on in the talks to be turned into law partly to avoid the fate of IPPG and the Narc MoU. This is also to avoid a scenario where some individuals could go to court to challenge the legality of what is being implemented.

ODM is pushing the argument that numerous additions and deletions have been done in the Constitution through simple constitutional amendments.

They argue there should be no difficulty doing the same with the agreements from the negotiations.

An ODM official said the Constitution has been amended in the past to either diffuse tension or entrench certain positions and the same can be done now to reclaim the country from the precipice.

"Whenever there has been a crisis that requires a political settlement, the Constitution has always been altered to capture the moment. It was done to remove section 2 (a) and allow a return to multi-party politics. It can be done now," the official said.

"At the time we were amending the Constitution to allow many parties, the country was in a crisis. There was detention without trial. Police were brutal and were breaking up opposition rallies. The Press was under siege. It was the last time the country witnessed the paralysis we have today. Moi rescued the country through an amendment. We have another constitutional moment today," the official added.

The Party of National Unity, although supportive of the power sharing arrangements agreed on so far, was by Friday not committing itself to support their inclusion in the Constitution.

They were to consult with their party, possibly including consulting President Kibaki, on the issue.

Should the negotiators agree on Monday that the issues be part of the Constitution, the ball will move to the courts of Kibaki Raila, who will be expected to give their stand on the close to 10 proposals that constitute a political settlement to the impasse.

So far, the two teams have agreed to have a Prime Minister, who will be the leader of the majority party in the House, with two deputies.

In the deal put together by the Annan team, the PM will only lose his position through a vote of no confidence in the House or if the coalition is dissolved.

The PM would be the Leader of Government Business in Parliament. He or she will also supervise and co-ordinate ministries in the coalition.

The coalition will stand dissolved if one partner pulls out. This means that should either PNU or ODM walk out, none can form another government, either with ODM-Kenya or the smaller parties in the House. Instead, a walkout by any of the partners will mean a General Election.

The reason, sources at the talks say, the country will be having a coalition government is because there was a dispute between PNU and ODM over the election results.

Should one party walk out, the dispute will re-emerge and only fresh polls will resolve it.

As the negotiators took a break at around 8 pm on Friday, they had also agreed that the government formed through the envisaged coalition would be in power till 2012.

They also agreed that government portfolios would be shared equally between the PNU and ODM.

Share government on a 50-50 basis

It was not clear where that agreement left ODM-Kenya. Previously, there had been a proposal of an arrangement that would give 15 Cabinet slots to ODM, 14 to PNU and four to ODM-Kenya.

ODM later opposed this, saying it should share the government on a 50-50 basis with PNU and ODM-Kenya’s slot, if any should come from PNU, which it supports.

When they closed business on Friday, the negotiators had agreed that the government be shared equally "at all levels" between ODM and PNU.

Those to be appointed to the Cabinet were to be picked by the leaders of each party and not by the President, as PNU had previously demanded.

The agreements arrived on by Friday also provided that those appointed to the Cabinet could only be removed through a written authority from the leaders of their party.

The talks resume tomorrow against the backdrop of grim predictions of the consequences should they not succeed.

The international community has virtually stated its case; that there needs to be a power sharing deal that is seen to be fair to both parties and that is protected by law.

Early last week, the Belgium-based International Crisis Group said in a report that although calm had partly returned in Kenya, the situation remains volatile.

The organisation suggested that to address the causes of the crisis, it would not be enough for the Annan team to broker a deal on the mechanics of a transitional arrangement between political opponents and schedule negotiations on a reform agenda.

It said the negotiations must address in detail a programme of power-sharing, constitutional and legal reform and economic policies "that convinces the drivers of violence to disarm".

"For negotiations to succeed, the international community must enhance its pressure, including aid conditionality as well as threats and application of targeted sanctions against spoilers."

ICG warned that armed groups are still mobilising on both sides of the political divide, waiting to strike should the talks collapse. According to the Crisis Group, the Kibaki coalition is buying time to wear down both the opposition and the international community’s resolve.

"It benefits from the presidency’s extensive powers, including unlimited access to public resources. It insists the situation is under control and there is no power vacuum, tends to treat Annan’s mission as a sideshow, while sponsoring alternative reconciliation processes, seeks to have Kibaki’s election recognised by neighbouring countries and continues to resist genuine sharing of executive power."

Representatives at the talks, however, say the Kibaki team appears committed to the negotiations, but they have their hands tied by what looks like a condition that they don’t take a decision on any new issue until they check with the PNU principal.

The Crisis Group said there are "three complementary sets of issues" that must be addressed to finalise a detailed power-sharing agreement.

"The first are the legal and constitutional reforms needed during the transition period, including a complete overhaul of the electoral framework.

Issues pending implementation

The second are the economic policies to be implemented during the transition.

The third are the concrete details of the process to be followed to end the violence and to deal with the humanitarian crisis, including the institutional framework and timelines."

According to the group, neither the ODM nor PNU had control over the violence that has rocked the country. That is contrary to local perceptions where PNU has accused of ODM of sponsoring the violence. It also points to a scary reality that none of the parties could end the violence should it erupt again, because they do not control it.

"International pressure is critical to achieving these objectives. The conditioning of multilateral and bilateral financial help for a negotiated settlement should be reinforced by a general travel ban and asset freeze policy against those who support and organise the violence or otherwise block the political process," the Group said.

It added: "Some hardliners in Kibaki’s camp depend on international credit-worthiness to keep their enterprises prosperous. The prospect of making individuals pariahs can be used to encourage concessions in the negotiations and good faith in implementation of an agreement."

International community has been putting pressure on Kenya and is almost single-handedly responsible for getting the parties to negotiate a settlement.

According to the Crisis Group, in assertions that confirm the position of most Western diplomats in Nairobi, the stakes go beyond Kenya.

The country’s political and economic health is an essential ingredient for the security and prosperity of eastern and central Africa and indeed for how the entire continent’s future is assessed by investors.

"Kenya’s stability determines regional access to energy supplies and basic commodities and guarantees a relatively safe environment for hundreds of thousands of Somali and Sudanese refugees. But concentrating on a power-sharing arrangement between ODM and PNU will not be enough to restore the situation," the group said.

Political parties to blame

The Crisis Group assigned responsibilities to the parties in the conflict. It asked the Kenya Government and PNU Coalition to "engage constructively in the power-sharing negotiations and take the opportunity of discussions on constitutional reforms and economic policies to negotiate guarantees for the continuation of reforms started by the Kibaki administration".

It asked PNU and the Government to restore security in the IDP camps and suspend resettlement and relocation policies until a framework has been agreed.

The group also asked the Government to arrest and prosecute the leaders of the Mungiki sect, and politicians supporting its activities, so as to redress concerns about possible state support for its resurgence.

It also asked ODM to engage constructively in the negotiations and support the immediate opening of detailed talks on constitutional reforms and the economic policies, to be carried out during the transition, with a view to reassuring PNU hardliners over its economic policies as well as addressing the grievances of its own hard line constituencies.

The Crisis Group asked ODM to condemn publicly and threaten with sanctions any ODM leader inciting ethnic hatred, and express sympathy for the victims of the violence.

The ICG wants the US, the European Union, Canada, South Africa and other international partners to peg continued aid to Kenya on the satisfactory conclusion of the negotiation.

It wants the countries to "implement and expand the travel bans already announced by the US, Canada, the UK and Switzerland by freezing the financial assets of individuals directly involved in or supporting violence or otherwise blocking the negotiation process and publicly blacklist their companies on financial markets".

Yesterday, The New York Times, an influential newspaper in Washington, took the cue, urging President Kibaki to "conclude, and implement, an agreement that would share real power with his principal challenger, Raila Odinga".

"Anything less will stoke more fury and destruction. Together, the two must quickly address constitutional and land reform issues that are the root causes of the chaos," the paper said.

It argued that any deal would quickly fall apart if Kibaki also does not cede some "real authority and responsibility" arguing that Odinga "deserves a meaningful role — and Kenya’s survival requires it".

Friday, February 22, 2008

Many Blacks Worry About Obama's Safety!

By DAVID CRARY | AP National Writer
1:32 PM EST, February 22, 2008
NEW YORK - For many black Americans, it's a conversation they find hard to avoid, revisiting old fears in the light of bright new hopes.

They watch with wonder as Barack Obama moves ever closer to becoming America's first black president. And they ask themselves, their family, their friends: Is he at risk? Will he be safe?

There is, of course, no sure answer. But interviews with blacks across the country, prominent and otherwise, suggest that lingering worries are outweighed by enthusiasm and determination.

"You can't have lived through the civil rights movement and know something about the history of African-Americans in this country and not be a little concerned," said Edna Medford, a history professor at Washington's Howard University.

"But African-Americans are more concerned that Obama get the opportunity to do the best he can," she added. "And if he wins, most of us believe the country would do for him what it would do for any president, that he will be as well protected as any of them."

Clyde Barrett, 66, a longtime U.S. Labor Department employee now retired in Tampa, Fla., says he often hears expressions of concern for Obama's safety. One young acquaintance, Barrett said, declared he wouldn't even vote for Obama for fear of exposing him to more danger.

"To me that's a cop-out, where you can't take a stand and support someone because you fear for his safety," Barrett said. "I don't have any apprehension ... We've got to go ahead and persevere."

For many older blacks, the barometer for gauging hopes and fears is the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

But concern about Obama's safety transcends racial lines. He has white supporters who see him as an inspiring, youthful advocate of change in the mold of Robert F. Kennedy, and they are mindful of Kennedy's assassination just two months after King's.

Pam Hart, the principal of a multiracial elementary school in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham, said she is struck by the contrast between some of the black students there, innocently excited about Obama's candidacy, and the more anxious perspective of older people who lived through the violence of the 1960s.

"My 70-year-old aunt -- every time I call her, she says she's really afraid Obama is going to be assassinated. She is so worried that history will repeat itself," said Hart, who is 40. "I understand why she's afraid, but I feel we live in a different world now."

Bruce Gordon, a New York-based business leader and former president of the NAACP, also feels the climate has changed dramatically -- as evidenced by the strong nationwide support that Obama is receiving from whites as well as blacks.

Gordon felt differently back in the mid-1990s, when Gen. Colin Powell was weighing a run for the presidency, and Powell's wife, Alma, was among those voicing concern about his safety.

"When Powell decided not to run, I said to myself, 'Good,' because I thought someone would kill him," Gordon recalled. "This time, I think that if, out of fear, we keep our most talented people from running for office, it will never happen.

"Yes, there's a risk, but I would never want it to be in the way," Gordon added. "In running, Barack Obama has to accept the fact that he faces a risk. And yes, we pray for him."

Obama received Secret Service protection last May -- the earliest ever for any presidential candidate. At the time, federal officials said they were not aware of any direct threats to Obama, but Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin -- who was among those recommending the Secret Service deployment -- acknowledged receiving information, some with racial overtones, that made him concerned for Obama's safety.

Obama's campaign, invited this week to comment on the concerns felt by many blacks, referred to a speech given by the candidate's wife, Michelle, to a mostly black audience in South Carolina last fall.

"I know people care about Barack and our family. I know people want to protect us and themselves from disappointment," she said, before urging people to cast fear aside.

"If you're willing to heed Coretta Scott King's words and not be afraid of the future ... there's no challenge we can't overcome," she said.

Obama himself, while acknowledging that his family and friends are concerned about his safety, has drawn a contrast with King.

"He didn't have Secret Service protection," Obama told TV host Tavis Smiley last fall. "I can't even comprehend the degree of courage that was required, and look what he did."

Sherry Miles, 45, of Madison Heights, Va., said she's had sobering talks about Obama's safety with her friends and her mother.

"People who want to bring drastic change bring a certain fear among those who don't want change," Miles said. "You look back at our history, and all of the people who tried to bring about change were killed or threatened."

Miles, who works for Virginia's Department of Mental Health, said she was troubled listening to a recent local radio show in which one female caller termed Obama "the devil" and falsely asserted that he was Muslim.

"It's ill-informed people like her who concern me," Miles said. "I'm very pleased that Obama is there, doing so well. But at the same time I'm fearful someone will try to hurt him."

Bryan Monroe, Chicago-based editorial director for Ebony magazine, said the risk faced by Obama "is in the back of people's minds," but that their worries are often superseded by excitement that he could win. Their No. 1 question, Monroe says, "is could this really happen in our lifetime?"

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, a former executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, noted that political leaders of any race face risks in a society where mass shootings and other violence by aggrieved or deranged assailants is all too common.

It is troubling, she said, to acknowledge such dangers at the very moment when Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are demonstrating the historic opportunities available to blacks and women.

"We cannot be crippled by fear. That's the overwhelming emotion in the African-American community," Scruggs-Leftwich said. "We have to do the American thing: We buckle up and keep going."

Washington's View on the Kenyan Crisis: Resolve it Peacefully!

by Scott A Morgan

Ever since the Post-Electoral Violence erupted in Kenya last December, the United States has not only been caught flat-footed but has had to change its position on more than one occasion. We saw the Positions that were put forward by the State Department. After Initially Congratulating President Kibaki on his apparent Re-Election the USA had to backtrack from the Statement after the Violence began in the Western Part of the Country.

Shortly after the First of the new year the Administration sent its most senior Diplomat for African Affairs Dr Jendayi Frazier to Kenya on two seperate Occasions. The First Trip was shortly after the First of Janurary when the Violence seemed to be peaking. In Early Feburary She made another trip while visiting Regional Capitals. During this time the Bush Administration was supporting the efforts of the African Union to bring the rival factions together for a Peace Deal that would hopefully end the bloodshed.

However the Pace of the Talks did not please either Advocates for Africa or their Allies in the Congress. Late in Janurary both the House of Representatives and the Senate Introduced Resolutions that not only called for a Peaceful Resolution of the Crisis but would also urge the US to take considerable action as well.The Senate Resolution passed unamimously by the End of Janurary. The House Version passed by Early Feburary and is now being Considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Foreign Relations Committees of Both Houses did Meet last week to discuss the Crisis. After the Hearings and some Consultations the US State Department decided to Ban 10 Prominent Kenyans from entering the United States. On a couple of occasions the Kenyan Crisis did come up while President Bush was on his recent trip to Africa. Secretary of State Rice did accompany the President to Africa and then diverted to Nairobi. In the Eyes of many Observers Her visit to the talks showed that there was serious interest by the International Community to see the situation resolved without any further bloodshed.

There is one major situation to consider however. The pace of the Current Negotiations may not be fast enough to please the Hotheads. There have been reports that although the basic tenents of a deal have been agreed to the Devil may be in the Details. So the inferred threats of more street protests could be an attempt at leverage instead of threatening to resume the violence. However Groups such as the International Crisis Group are concerned that the violence may erupt again if the Negotiations do breakdown.

The Process itself will be a time consuming Effort.Not everyone will be pleased with not only the deal that will be finally signed but with how events will finally play out. Any deal that is to be brokered has to be implemented before the ink even dries on the paper. The Longer the situation is in flux then the problems could not only escalate but even spread. There have been persistent reports of Ugandan Troops along the border with Kenya and keeping a wary eye on its Neighbor. 25% of Uganda's GDP moves through Kenya. Rwanda has about the same number and for Burundi it rises to 33%. So its not only Kenyans that are suffering.

For Several Years the US has Praised Kenya for being a beacon of Stability in a region where Fighting seems to be a daily norm. Tensions in the Horn of Africa are rising again. Somalia still remains in a perpetual state of anarchy as well. So there was considerable pleasure when Kenya had a Peaceful Change of Government several years ago.
But there were hints that trouble was coming particularly with Press Freedom Issues. Next time the Electoral Cycle will be watched with greater Interest now.

The Author is the Publisher of Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com


Annan hails Kenya talks progress
Resident of Mathare slum points his panga during clashes with police (20.02.08)
More than 1,000 people have died in violence since the vote
Ex-UN chief Kofi Annan has announced considerable progress in talks between Kenya's government and opposition aimed at ending the political crisis.

Talks have been adjourned until Friday, as negotiators consult on a compromise which the BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi says has been largely agreed upon.

The deal involves creating a prime minister's post, which the opposition says would have to have real power.

Some 1,000 people have died in violence since disputed elections in December.

The opposition alleges the poll was rigged.

The most important thing would be that there was a prime minister who actually wielded power
Opposition spokesman Salim Lone
"I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel," Mr Annan said after negotiators from President Mwai Kibaki's government and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) adjourned their talks on Thursday.

The negotiators are expected to report back with a possible final deal to be signed on Friday.

Power sharing

The prime ministerial post that could be created as a result of the deal is likely to be held by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Opposition spokesman Salim Lone said he envisaged power being shared by the two sides.

"The most important thing would be that there was a prime minister who actually wielded power, and the president, who would be head of state and would also wield executive power, would not have the authority on his own to dismiss ministers," Mr Lone said.

None of the details has been confirmed by Kofi Annan's team, and there have been a number of occasions in the past three weeks when a deal looked close but then disappeared, our correspondent says.

The current uneasy calm in Kenya should not be misunderstood as a return to normalcy
International Crisis Group report
The rivals have agreed in principle on a grand coalition as a solution to the crisis, but discussions had reached deadlock over how it would work in practice.

The creation of a post of prime minister - which does not exist under the current constitution - was one of the opposition's demands.

Najib Balal, a senior ODM member, told the BBC on Thursday that the opposition would be prepared to accept the post of prime minister provided it carried the necessary authority and power.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga (L) and President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi on 24 January 2008
Talks between the two leaders have been in deadlock

Earlier this week, the opposition warned it would launch new mass protests in a week's time if the talks did not break the political deadlock.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced during the ethnic and political violence that broke out after President Kibaki was declared the winner of December's presidential election.

The opposition alleges widespread rigging, and international observers said the poll was flawed.

'Serious obstacles'

The development came as an international think tank warned that further violence could erupt unless a solution to Kenya's political crisis were found urgently.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) said armed groups on both the opposition and government sides were being mobilised for fresh attacks.

Child drinks water in front of burnt houses in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya (16.02.08)
Analysis warn that the crisis must be resolved urgently
The ICG report called for legal, electoral and constitutional reforms and for aid to be conditional on a peaceful result.

The report warned "serious obstacles" to peace remained.

In a BBC interview, the ICG's Donald Steinberg also warned against reaching a short-term political deal without addressing long-term issues.

He said that at the root of the violence were the tribal divide-and-rule policies of Kenya's previous ruler, Daniel arap Moi, which had not been addressed under Mr Kibaki.

The report noted that as Kenya is a platform for relief operations in Somalia and Sudan, a haven for many refugees from the region, and a vital trade hub, failure to resolve the crisis would have "severe consequences" for the whole of east Africa and beyond.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Kenya: Country in Crisis
International Crisis Group (Brussels)

21 February 2008
Posted to the web 21 February 2008


If Kofi Annan’s mediation of Kenya’s still explosive crisis is to succeed, he must not let the parties postpone the tough details of a power-sharing agreement, and he needs continued strong international support.

Kenya in Crisis, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the situation since the contested presidential election results of December 2007 led to the deaths of over 1,000 people and the displacement of some 300,000 others in waves of violence with a serious ethnic character.

African Union-sponsored negotiations between Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU), led by the former UN Secretary-General, have already made progress. The sides are giving some ground and discussing a transitional arrangement .

This could lead to legal and constitutional reforms and a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to assist in healing wounds. But a sustainable settlement must address the particulars of power sharing and economic policies, with targets and timetables, in order to convince the drivers of violence to disarm.

“The mediation cannot afford to delay discussion of the details”, says Gareth Evans, President of Crisis Group. “This is Kenya’s worst political crisis since independence, and unless people see practical results from these talks soon, mass violence could re-erupt”.

Three complementary sets of issues must be addressed at the same time as finalisation of a detailed power-sharing agreement:

-The first are the legal and constitutional reforms needed during the transition period, including a complete overhaul of the electoral framework.
-The second are the economic policies to be implemented during the transition.
-The third are the concrete details of the process to end the violence and to deal with the humanitarian crisis, including the institutional framework and timelines.

Continued international pressure is critical to achieving these objectives. The conditioning of multilateral and bilateral financial help for a negotiated settlement should be reinforced by actual targeted sanctions against spoilers, including a general travel ban and asset freeze against those who support and organise violence or otherwise block the political process. The prospect of making individuals pariahs can be used to encourage concessions in the negotiations and good faith implementation of an agreement.

“The crisis in Kenya reaches far beyond that country”, says Donald Steinberg, Crisis Group Deputy President. “Kenya is the platform for relief operations in Somalia and Sudan, a regional entrepot for trade and investment, and a key anchor for long-term stabilisation of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. The quicker a solution to the crisis is found, the better the prospects will be for the entire region”.


Texas' Complicated Rules May Favor Obama
By NEDRA PICKLER and BETH FOUHY – 1 hour ago

DALLAS (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton has been waiting to get to Texas to begin her comeback against a surging Barack Obama. She might be more careful about what she wishes for.

Clinton has been banking on the state's large Hispanic population — typically about a quarter of the turnout in Democratic primaries — to give her a victory on March 4. But the Democratic Party in President Bush's home state has a complicated, hybrid primary-caucus that might just be better suited for Obama.

"I had no idea how bizarre it is," Clinton told reporters this week. "We have grown men crying over it."

Unlike other states that allocate delegates by congressional districts, Texas distributes 126 of its delegates among its 31 state Senate districts using a formula based on Democratic voter turnout in the 2004 and 2006 general elections. The 31 districts contain from two to eight delegates. The March 4 primary vote in each Senate district will allocate that district's delegates.

The turnout formula has assigned more delegates to urban centers with a lot of young or black voters that tend to favor Obama and fewer delegates to poorer Hispanic areas expected to favor Clinton. Austin, which includes the University of Texas, gets eight; Houston gets seven and Dallas gets six.

Clinton has spent most of her time so far in the southern, largely Hispanic part of the state. She has made two trips to Hidalgo County, where the Senate district awards just four delegates. She has left the rest of the state to her husband, former President Clinton, who appeared in a dozen cities in East and West Texas in the last week.

But her state director, Ace Smith, said she would travel throughout the state before the primary.

"There are some districts in Austin and Houston he'll do well in that have a lot of delegates. But there are a heck of a lot of other districts that have less delegates we'll do extremely well in," Smith said. "If we run a really strong race in Texas, the delegates are going to take care of themselves."

"We'll be everywhere," he said.

Obama organizer Steve Hildebrand said Obama's momentum and demonstrated ability to win more voters than Clinton will prove more important than the state rules.

"In a majority of the states across the country, Hillary Clinton's candidacy and message has not caught on with voters," he said. "I'm not sure why she thinks voters in Texas and Ohio are all the sudden going to rise to her message. She's not about change; she's not about the future."

Hildebrand said the more people in Texas learn about Obama, the better he should do. He said Obama only got paid staff into Texas a couple weeks ago but now has more than 200 people working in about 22 offices.

Another 67 of Texas' 228 delegates to the party's national convention will be awarded based on attendance at precinct caucuses — Texas calls them conventions — which begin 15 minutes after primary polls close at 7 p.m. on March 4. Finally, the state has 35 superdelegates — Democratic officeholders and party officials — who are not bound by any of this voting.

Obama's campaign believes the caucuses benefit their candidate, because he has beaten Clinton in caucuses 12-3, compared to his 13-9 edge in primaries.

A poll taken last week showed Clinton and Obama in a statistical tie in Texas, but that was before Obama extended his winning streak to 10-0 with victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii Tuesday night and before he began campaigning here. Clinton got a head start with trips to Texas last week while Obama was in Wisconsin.

Obama is spending most of the week in Texas, rather than the other vital March 4 state of Ohio, where he expects to campaign next week. He held massive rallies in Dallas and Houston, but also planned to tour South Texas on Friday in search of Hispanic support.

He's running ads on English- and Spanish-language television and radio. The Spanish-language ads focus on his biography to introduce himself to voters who may not know him as well as Clinton.

Smith, who ran Clinton's successful primary campaign in California, said the campaign has a three-pronged strategy for success: early voting, strong turnout at the March 4 primary, and a good showing at the caucuses. Only people who voted in the primary are allowed to participate in the caucuses.

The Obama campaign is trying to simplify the process by calling it the "Texas Two-Step," and used former "Dancing with the Stars" and Dallas Cowboy standout Emmitt Smith to promote it Wednesday.

"If we win one we're done, and Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America," former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk told a rally Wednesday before confessing he doesn't really understand the party's rules and introducing the football player to explain them.

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said the campaign had been vastly outspent in Wisconsin and other states but that wouldn't be the case in Texas. Clinton's campaign has a large operation, counting 100,000 volunteers and 20 offices around the state.

Clinton is running television ads in which former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros encourages supporters to vote early. Her strategists believe she will capture a large percentage of early ballots. Each county has several locations — like grocery stores and K-Marts — where people can vote early. The Clinton campaign is trying to make sure people know they can vote early and where to go.

During a boisterous rally Wednesday in Hidalgo, in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton made a pitch for supporters to vote early.

"This is the chance for everyone here to make sure you vote and vote early," she said. "Get your friends, your neighbors, your family. Will you do that?"

Early voting began Wednesday, and Obama, too, is encouraging supporters to vote immediately.

Smith said there have been many reports of heavy early voting, with people standing in line for 45 minutes or more.

Associated Press writer Kelley Shannon in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.
On the Net:
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jBPJ … QD8UUD6DG1

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Creditors storm PNU offices to demand payment! Is It Any Wonder?

Published on February 21, 2008, 12:00 am


By Joseph Murimi

Creditors stormed PNU offices for the second time demanding more than Sh60 million.

The creditors jammed the PNU office on Lenana Road and blocked the entrance with their vehicles, demanding audience with Mr Lee Karuri of Kibaki Tena, whom they accused of giving them false promises.

A businessman, Mr Sammy Mucheru, who supplied 40 vehicles for use in the campaigns, said he was owed Sh6 million and his financiers were now pursuing him.

Mucheru, who displayed a demand letter from a bank seeking to recover a Sh3.3 million loan, said he was initially owed Sh7 million, but was paid one million after the last protest.

Mucheru who operates a travel company — Easyride Car Hire and Safaris — said Karuri made promises to pay them, but never did so.

Another company, Arnet, that printed polling registers for nominations is demanding Sh2.6 million and a female trader who supplied lesos is demanding Sh3.3 million while Badge Masters is demanding Sh600,000.

Others supplied various items such as T-shirts, posters, banners, fliers and consultancy services but are yet to be paid nearly two months after the General Election.

Efforts to reach Karuri were unsuccessful, but the PNU deputy Executive Director, Major (rtd) Francis Matu, said efforts were being made to pay the creditors.

Matu said he had spoken to Karuri who had promised that the creditors would be paid by the end of the week.

"The matter is being dealt with urgently. They will be paid by the end of the week,’’ Matu said at the PNU offices.

He said the delay in payments might have been occasioned by the problems the country had faced and asked the traders to be calm as their issue was being sorted out.

The creditors threatened to camp at the office until Karuri or any other senior PNU official addressed them.
Courtesy of Achie W.-USA


Updated on: Thursday, February 21, 2008
Story by: By Barry Salil

A leading Kalenjin elder, Jackson Kibor was yesterday arrested by police in Eldoret town and flown to the Rift Valley provincial headquarters in Nakuru over what police claimed his involvement with post-election violence.
Kibor, 76, had presented himself to the police in Eldoret at 10.00 am but was not attended to by investigating officers and was instead asked to wait for orders from “above.”
The influential Uasin-Gishu politician had presented himself to the police after a warrant was allegedly issued for his arrest over incitement claims.
On Tuesday, criminal investigation officers were said to have visited his various homes in Uasin-Gishu and Trans-Nzoia in a bid to arrest him.
Speaking earlier at the police station, Kibor denied police claims saying was an old man who had no capacity to incite and accused the government of trying to use him as a scapegoat for its failure to protect innocent citizens.
The politician was a key ODM supporter in the North Rift and addressed several party rallies that were presided over by members of the “Pentagon” where he supported the election of Raila Odinga as the president.
Thousands of people thronged the town as word spread that the elderly politician had been arrested. Police sources claimed that, the politician was among several others detectives were investigating on claims that they incited or funded the post- election violence that rocked the North Rift.
Courtesy of Achie.W-USA
Tension high as police arrest ODM politician

Published on February 21, 2008, 12:00 am

By Biketi Kikechi

A prominent Uasin Gishu farmer, businessman and ODM politician, Mr Jackson Kibor, was arrested by police and flown to an unknown destination.

Tension remained high throughout Friday as impatient supporters and relatives of the elderly farmer camped at the police station demanding to know why he had been arrested.

More than 30 detectives in civilian clothes had also packed the precincts of the Eldoret Police Station.

A senior police officer later told The Standard the arrest was part of ongoing investigation on post-election violence.

"He has been escorted to an unknown destination where investigating officers are going to conduct a search," said Deputy OCPD, Mr Gabriel Kuya.

Kuya learned of the arrest from the media after returning to the station from field duties late in the afternoon and consulted the investigating team, who confirmed the arrest.

Independent reports later showed that Kibor was escorted to the airport, from where he was airlifted to Nakuru.

He had initially been taken to the Eldoret Police Station where he recorded a statement the whole morning and early afternoon.

Kibor was among elders who featured as speakers at ODM rallies in the North Rift in the run-up to the last General Election.

He was at one time the Ford Kenya National co-ordinator during the late Vice-President Kijana Wamalwa’s tenure as chairman of the party.

He later moved to Kanu and Ford People, where he played some high profile roles before taking a back seat only to resurface last year.

Police have arrested scores of people in the region in the past three weeks, but none has been charged with in court.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NAGPS: Legislative Action Days: Washington, D.C.



The National Association of Graduate and Professional Students held its biannual Legislative Action Days in Washington, D.C., February 6-8. The next set is scheduled for sometime in September. The NAGPS legislative platform has four main planks:

(1) Support for the Higher Education Affordability and Equity Act (HEAEA, H.R. 3412), which would return graduate student stipends to their pre-1986 tax-exempt status. This issue was the initial impetus behind the formation of NAGPS.

Specifically, section 2 “removes the limitation on the size of the student loan interest deduction and raises the income thresholds for who can take it”; section 5 “expands the definition of ‘qualified educational expenses,’ allowing room and board (the‘stipend’ of a graduate scholarship) to be tax-exempt income”; section 7 “makes permanent higher education tax benefits that would expire in 2010.” While we were in D.C another version of the bill (H.R 4137), essentially a reauthorization of the “Higher Education Act,” was introduced and will hopefully meet with success. NAGPS supports amendments 24, 25, and 35.

According to the NAGPS fact sheet each amendment respectively: addresses problems of increasing costs of graduate and professional education, requires the Secretary of Education to conduct an investigation into how student loan debt effects potential public servants, and will lead to thoughtful legislation to reduce loan debt (24); addresses the problem of increasing textbook prices, grants $5 million to ten schools to initiate textbook rental programs (25); states the support of Congress for freedom of speech for students on and off campus, supports a campus climate that encourages research and academic freedom in America (35).

(2) Support for reducing student loan interest rates for graduate students. Graduates have higher debt than undergraduates, less parental financial support, and may be deterred from pursuing their education (and contributing to the economy) because of the high cost. According to the NAGPS fact sheet, the “College Student Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 5) applies only to undergraduate students.”

(3) Eliminating the HEA Drug Provisions. According to the NAGPS fact sheet, “In 1998, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) added an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA) that denied federal student loan eligibility to anyone with a prior drug conviction. This provision is inequitable and unfairly targets at-risk students.” I met with Rep. Souder’s Legislative Assistant, Brett Swearingen, and found the situation to be quite different: students are only denied federal aid due to drug convictions they have received while attending school. And it is possible to become eligible for federal funding again if the student undergoes drug rehabilitation and two unannounced drug tests.

(4) Retaining foreign graduate student talent in the US. Immigrants contribute to the US economy both academically as researchers and teachers, and professionally as employers and inventors yet they have great difficulty in obtaining visas to work in the US after graduation (among other difficulties). NAGPS supports the creation of an F-4 visa class.

In related news, NAGPS International Student Concerns Chair Gautham Pandiyan (Duke) was recently featured in an article in InsideHigherEd.com (February 7) criticizing Michigan’s decision not to issue driver’s licenses to temporary residents, which would include foreign graduate students. Measures have been taken to remedy the situation, but the fact that it arose signals a troubling attitude to international workers about which everyone should be concerned.

About NAGPS…
The National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) is the only national organization that represents the interests of graduate and professional students in public and private universities at the local, state, and national levels. A grassroots organization, NAGPS actively works to preserve and expand federal student aid and other governmental programs and policies that benefit graduate and professional students.

*I welcome any feedback regarding the NAGPS legislative platform!*

Email: president@nagps.org Or office@nagps.org


Today 17:07:35
Eti President would use his “generosity and mercy” to appoint ODM MPs!The government side said after this, the President would use his “generosity and mercy” to appoint a number of ODM MPs to the Cabinet.

“ODM must be grateful, start behaving appropriately and know there’s a government in Kenya. The party should agree that Kibaki won,” a source at the talks quoted a PNU negotiator as having said.

#2 Today 17:10:35
Eti President would use his “generosity and mercy” to appoint ODM MPs!they sound like they went through the Mungiki ritual......they seem high on something.

#3 Today 17:11:39
Eti President would use his “generosity and mercy” to appoint ODM MPs!Its such kind of arrogance that gets people machetted and arrowed to death. I can feel the blood of ODMers boiling with rage when a thief tells us that he will use his 'generocity and mercy' to appoint our MPs to the Cabinet.

You know what this means, total war, and this time it wont be machettes and arrows, it will be AK 47s, surface-to-air missiles, shells, grenades and bombs. It will be a massacre like never seen before that will make Rwanda seem like sunday school.

#4 Today 17:13:17
Eti President would use his “generosity and mercy” to appoint ODM MPs!If they think we need their "generosity and mercy", it is better we have our own country.

They can keep theirs where they can steal elections all they want and buy arms from China.


Koffi Annan & the international community having seen with heir own eyes the depth of GEMA tribal demagoguery that we have endured since 1960, serious consideration should be given ti hiving off Central & eastern provinces to form a new country called Kibakistan with Emilio "Kaguoya" Kibaki as its founding father. Here are the reasons for this suggestion:

1.] GEMA will not succeed in foisting their tribal hegemony down our throats again regardless of the consequences no matter how dire.

2.] Dividing up countries is no longer impossible if it's neccessary to avoid genocide when both sides of a conflict are so entrenched in their positions that forcing them to live in one country together would inevitably most likely lead to genocide. Examples are (1.) Kenya (2.) Kosovo and Kosovo's independence was declared and recognized last weekend.

3.] An adoption of this solution would save uncountable lives and enable the house of mumbi live ever happily in their own area and anyone who likes to live with them can follow them there, but those who follow them there to steal their things will stand condemned by all peace loving nations.

4.] For those who're worried that this suggestion may create enmity, note that nothing in this suggestion bars the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Kibakistan from establishing mutual diplomatic relations as is the case among any other like minded nations.

While you may postpone discussing this idea today or tommorrow, I really believe that your experience from 1960 upto now will make you realize that this idea should have been implementd yesterday.

Thank you.

Today 21:22:14
Kichwa Mbaya
ODM can win this without any more violenceWith the strong support of the international community, ODM and their supporters can cripple this government without losing a single life. The international community has assured Kenyans that they can deal with kibaki goons without the need for anymore violence or loss of life. Pressure will be brought to bare. Of course they will grand stand, throw temper tentrums but eventually they will agree on the frame work for power sharing. The arm twisting will take place behind the scenes and they can say whatever they want in public but they will succumb to the force of the international community and ODM. They cannot move with business as usual until this matter is resolved to the satisfaction of ODM. Even as PNU mp's are grandstanding, talks are moving along. If PNU wants to taste the wrath of the international community they should walk out of the talks and tell Annan to go to hell. They know they cannot do that so they make this bravado statements but then they continue to talk. Very soon Annan will announce an agreement very similar to what ODM proposed.



Mediation efforts to resolve the post-election crisis are in danger of collapse after the government ruled out possibilities of sharing out power under the so-called grand coalition.

President Mwai Kibaki and MPs allied to his PNU party appeared to seal the fate of the power sharing arrangement when they insisted that “any political solution that will be proposed must be in tandem with the current Kenyan constitution.”
The President’s insistence on sticking to the constitution--a colonial-era treaty which both ODM and PNU agree is long overdue for reform--could block any special new arrangement to accommodate Raila Odinga’s party which is pushing for the creation of the premier’s post.

Political analysts believe the power sharing arrangement can only come into effect if undertaken in tandem with constitutional reforms. The current constitution does not have a position for a prime minister.

And last evening, the European Union warned that it would not hesitate to take “stern action against individuals perceived to be the stumbling block to the negotiations.”
The EU stressed that it was watching the unfolding events in the country keenly and asked the two parties to adhere to the outcome of the Annan sessions. President Kibaki, however, in a statement dispatched by the Presidential Press Service (PPS) soon after a meeting with the chief mediator at Harambee House, gave assurance that the government is supportive of the mediation process.

“The current constitution must serve as a guide while the mediation team discusses what legal and institutional reforms are needed to move the country forward,” the PPS statement quoted the President.
He nevertheless expressed his willingness to work together and share responsibilities (not executive power) in government with members of ODM. Besides, the President conceded that the negotiations, chaired by Mr Annan, had reached a critical stage and reiterated his resolve to ensure that they go through all the remaining stages.
President Kibaki released the statement hours after his negotiators almost paralysed talks in yesterday’s morning session in which they had expressly rejected international calls for a power sharing deal with the opposition.

The PNU negotiators had told chief mediator Kofi Annan that the Government is instead willing to co-opt ODM members into a Government of National Unity.

In what could jeopardise the outcome of the talks that are now in their crucial stage after the violence that rocked the country following the disputed December 27 presidential election results, PNU negotiators are reported to have told their ODM counterparts that it was upon the President to use his discretional powers to incorporate anyone in his cabinet. The latest crisis emerged a day after the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who in no uncertain terms told parties on either side of the negotiating table to reach an agreement on the formation of a joint government. One of the PNU negotiators Mutula Kilonzo bristled when reporters quoted Rice to him as he walked into the afternoon session.

“Those are her own views. This is not America, this is Kenya. We have a constitution,” he said, noting a subcommittee was formed to discuss the issue of “structures of governance”.“We have a system of laws. I believe we are going to come to a reasonable arrangement.”

On the other side, ODM negotiators insisted that a package of piece meal constitutional amendments be passed to accommodate the proposed power sharing agreement pending comprehensive constitutional reforms. The hard-line positions by the feuding camps compelled Kofi Annan to hastily convene a meeting with President Kibaki at Harambee House at 2 p.m. yesterday. Annan was accompanied by Nigerian diplomat Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji who will be assisting in the mediation efforts.
Mr. Adeniji, a former Nigerian minister and UN official, was appointed to assist the Annan team after the government side had rejected the participation of South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.

It was after the one-hour meeting between President Kibaki and Annan that the PNU negotiators agreed to resume the talks at Serena Hotel.
The President further cancelled a PNU parliamentary group meeting that he was scheduled to chair at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) at 4 p.m.
The new development comes barely a day after United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had impressed on President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to agree to a “real power sharing deal” to resolve the current crisis.

Secretary Rice had nevertheless explained that the United States was not dictating a solution to the Kenyan crisis. During yesterday’s morning session, PNU negotiators informed chief negotiator Kofi Annan that the government would under no circumstance share executive power with the opposition.

The government side argued that the proposed power sharing deal is not provided for in the current constitution and they would therefore not be coerced into entering into an illegitimate agreement with the opposition. They insisted that President Kibaki must continue to be the head of state and the head of government pending constitutional reforms that would accommodate the proposed power sharing between PNU and ODM.

The PNU negotiators told Annan that the President had won the elections genuinely under the current constitution and should be allowed to exercise all the powers legally vested in the presidency.

But even in their proposed Government of National Unity with ODM, the PNU team maintained that the President must retain his discretion to appoint cabinet ministers from both parties pending comprehensive constitutional reforms that will accommodate power sharing.

The deadline set by former U.N. boss Annan for a political deal by mid-February has passed, even after last week’s trip to a secluded safari lodge to focus minds.
But the Ghanaian has vowed to stay on until mediation reaches an “irreversible point”.

The meeting between President Kibaki and Kofi Annan was attended by PNU negotiators Martha Karua, Moses Wetangula, Mutula Kilonzo and Sam Ongeri. Others present at the meeting included Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, ministers George Saitoti, Amos Kimunya and Uhuru Kenyatta.And as the PNU negotiators outlined their rigid conditions to Kofi Annan team, PNU legislators convened a press briefing at Parliament Buildings where they reaffirmed the party’s resolve not to share power with ODM. Led by Ganze MP Danson Mungatana, the PNU legislators galvanised their support for a Government of National Unity with ODM. The government parliamentary group rejected any proposal for power sharing insisting that President Mwai Kibaki won the elections and therefore has the sole constitutional right to create his government.
They said the constitution allows the President to “incorporate” members of the opposition into his government.

Last week, Justice Minister Ms Martha Karua had harshly dismissed the western envoys as irrelevant, stating that Kenya was no longer under colonialism
“Kenya is under no obligation to follow the instructions of western countries. They are abusing our hospitality. They should not step on our soil and start telling us what to do,” said Karua, answering the High Commissioner in Kenya Adam Wood after the latter maintained that Britain does not recognise President Kibaki’s government as it “does not represent the democratic will of Kenyans.”

Again last weekend, following the confirmation of the visit of the United States top diplomat, PNU had made clear that it would not be rushed into a deal. Condoleezza Rice tried in vain to address those concerns explaining that the US is “not dictating but aiding in what Kenyans have expressed in their impatience for the two parties to agree,” failing in reassuring the upset PNU hardliners.


ODM has run excellent campaign to sell its agenda internationally and has managed to come out as reasonable, responsible, caring and flexible -most importantly it has wade-off ethnic cleansing/genocide planners accusations. Kibaki and his PNU brigades as the Nation captured aptly, have amazingly managed to portray their true colors; unreasonable, uncouth and stone age anarchist with 'go to court' now 'within constitutional framework' bullcrap. They are yet to link directly any ODM senior member on genocide,besides the mungiki avenge mission have robbed them the innocent tag.

Now it time for ODM to go plan C. Go back to Kenyans and with the backing of 50% strong Odmers prepare take the fight to PNU -on land, air and the sea. The preparation will include meeting thro barazas & rallies, sms, press conferences and the internet. Part of the preparation should include an 'police bullet/rungu dodging tactics', 'tear-gas avoidance', and Citizen driven Anti-Mungiki offensive force-since kwekwe squad has been disbanded. ODM region should immediately form community policing groups as per government policy of combating crime and effecting citizen arrest.

Finally ODM and its allies should make it clear to PNU/Kibaki just like the Intl community that it wont be business as usual here in Kenya. ODM should already, through friendly LSK branches, be arranging for economic boycott, tax delays tactics, general civil disobedience and perhaps citizen-imposed sanctions.

ODM must wallk the tight rope between preparing for next and final onslaught within the current laws and constitution until such a time when PNU eventually catapult.

PNU is not interested in any power sharing coz you don't steal to share. ODM is dealing with hyenas and unless substantial forces is used the cowards will dig in forever.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Visa & Fellowship News From US Universities

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) has re-introduced a bill to reform visa policy (S. 2653) intended to enhance U.S. competitiveness in attracting international students, scholars, scientists and exchange visitors. The bill would also ease business travel. Among other things, the "American Competitiveness Through International Openness Now Act of 2008" ("ACTION Act") would:

· Require the Administration to develop a broad strategy relating to increasing U.S. competitiveness through visa policy for students, scholars, etc. Such a strategy would include a "clear role for the Department of Education in increasing the competitiveness of the United States for international students"

· Establish an International Education Coordination Council, to include representatives from relevant agencies and departments, in order to coordinate activities related to the legislation

· Eliminate the "intent to return" provision for students and replace it with language requiring the student to have the intent, ability, and financial resources to complete a course of study in the U.S.

The bill will be available soon from thomas.loc.gov by searching for "S.2653."
Universities announce increased support for graduate students

There was an unusual concentration of university press releases this week announcing increases for fellowships, stipend levels, or research support. Announcements came from the University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University, the University of Maryland-College Park, and the University of Pennsylvania.




The globalization of higher education is now front-page news

The New York Times kicked off a series on "Global Classrooms" with front page stories Sunday and Monday. The first two installments highlighted U.S. universities establishing oversees campuses, mostly in the Persian Gulf region. While focused on undergraduate programs, one American professor teaching overseas commented on the difficulty of recruiting faculty to join him, "Coming to Qatar, where you don't have graduate students and research grants, does you no good for getting tenure."

www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/education/10global.html (reg. req.)