Constitution has room for improvement, Kibaki tells Diaspora Kenyans

On October 31, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

Written By:PPS,    Posted: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 President Mwai Kibaki speaks to over four thousand Kenyans living in Perth city in Western Australia shortly after the closing ceremony of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of States and Governments. Australia hosts over sixteen thousand Kenyans. President Mwai Kibaki has called on Kenyans in the Diaspora to study the [...]

Written By:PPS,    Posted: Mon, Oct 31, 2011
President Mwai Kibaki speaks to over four thousand Kenyans living in Perth city in Western Australia shortly after the closing ceremony of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of States and Governments. Australia hosts over sixteen thousand Kenyans.

President Mwai Kibaki has called on Kenyans in the Diaspora to study the privileges and rights of citizens as enshrined in the country’s constitution and identify provisions that require amendments to serve them better.

President Kibaki said the constitution, promulgated in August last year, is particularly concerned about inclusion and welfare of all Kenyans without any bias.

Addressing Kenyans living in Western Australia in Perth city on Sunday night, the Head of State affirmed that the Constitution demonstrates an admirable concern for human dignity and the rights of individuals, particularly citizenship of Kenyans at home and in the Diaspora.

The Head of State assured that the drafters of the Constitution gave a window of amendment to Kenyans and victims of prejudice and discrimination to fight for their rights and privileges through amendments as provided for in the law.

“Your country’s constitution is not a static document, but can be improved  further to serve the diverse interests”, the President observed.

He assured Kenyans in the Diaspora that the country’s constitution guaranteed the rights and privileges provided both in their country of birth and their respective countries of residence through the dual
citizenship.

President Kibaki asserted that the concept of citizenship, providing for dual citizenship, enables Kenyans living abroad to participate in governance and contribution to the economy through investment.

The Head of State therefore urged Kenyans in the Diaspora to take advantage of the relevant provisions of the country’s constitution to register as voters at the country’s missions abroad and participate in
subsequent general elections.

Chapter three of the Kenya constitution allows for dual citizenship.

A Kenyan citizen can therefore acquire citizenship of another country, and any person can acquire Kenyan citizenship if they meet the requirements of this chapter.

“We want to ensure that Kenyans enjoy their rights as enshrined in the constitution while guarding against abuse of the privileges by unscrupulous people,” President Kibaki said.

The President, at the same time, encouraged Kenyans studying abroad to consider returning home on completion of their studies to participate developing their mother country.

“The country needs the manpower and expertise of Kenyans in the Diaspora to hasten development”, said President Kibaki.

He however pointed out that the government was encouraging Kenyans to acquire a world view so that they could be global citizens who can work and live anywhere.

He observed that the massive infrastructural development ongoing in various parts of the country was made possible through participation of Kenyans with support of development partners.

Participate in election

The meeting was also attended by Cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula, Franklin Bett and Paul Otuoma and legislators Benedict Gunda and George Nyamweya who are members of the parliamentary department committee on defense and several senior government officials.

In his address, Mr Wetangula urged the 2.5 million Kenyans in the Diaspora to register as voters and participate in the election of the country’s next leadership.

The Minister said the huge Diaspora vote could sway the final election result and empower Kenyans abroad to hold their political leaders accountable.

On their part, Mr. Bett and Mr Otuoma praised President Kibaki for his visionary leadership that had enabled equitable development in the country.

The three Cabinet Ministers said, President Kibaki who retires next year in line with the constitution, will leave behind a great legacy of a strong economy and quality infrastructure in the country.

Responding to the currency depreciation concerns by students in the Diaspora, the leaders stressed the need for the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to consider disbursement of loans to students abroad in foreign exchange to enable them complete their studies.

Kenyans residing in Western Australia led by the country’s High Commissioner to Australia Amb. Stephen Tarus and Honorary Consul to Perth Mr. Amu Shah appreciated the provision of dual citizenship in the country’s constitution which they said provided a condusive environment for Kenyans abroad to invest in their motherland.

The Diaspora Kenyans said promulgation of the constitution had strengthened structures to fight corruption and impunity while enhancing respect for the rule of law.

They commended President Kibaki for providing visionary leadership in restoring peace among the various communities after the 2008 political clashes.
 

Source: http://kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=73236

 

Author vs warlord: Jubaland’s ‘governor-in-waiting’

On October 31, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

   By EAST AFRICAN TEAM  (email the author) Posted  Sunday, October 30  2011   If the Kenyan military incursion succeeds and the port of Kismayu is captured, the next item on the agenda will be choosing a man to put in charge of the liberated area that is likely to become the semi-automous state of Jubaland. Will [...]

 

 By EAST AFRICAN TEAM  (email the author)

Posted  Sunday, October 30  2011  

If the Kenyan military incursion succeeds and the port of Kismayu is captured, the next item on the agenda will be choosing a man to put in charge of the liberated area that is likely to become the semi-automous state of Jubaland.

Will it be the prolific author and French educated PhD Dr Mohammed Abdi Gandi or the former warlord Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Islam, known also as Sheikh Ahmed Madobe?

 

It is widely held within the intelligence community in the region that the choice of either is of great interest to two regional powers, Kenya and Ethiopia.

 

Gandi, who is a former minister of defence of Somalia, and the current “president of Azania” (Jubaland) is said to be the candidate favoured by the Kenyan intelligence establishment. He is based in Kenya and is also said to be a favourite with the French.

 

Nicknamed “Gandi,” Mohammed hails from the Ogaden sub-clan of the Darod, which is prevalent in Kenya and Ethiopia.

 

The choice of Gandi is said to make Addis Ababa uncomfortable, largely because of the notion that he could harbour the territorial ambitions of his people to carve out an Oromia super-state that unites the Oromo population in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

 

 

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Kenya Shemsudin Ahmed however, says that his people know Gandi well and they have a good working relationship. Ethiopia also supports Kenya’s military incursion.

 

He said that Ethiopia’s worry is foreign powers such as Eritrea that have in the past supported Oromo insurgents.

 

Gandi holds PhD degrees in geology and anthropology and history.

 

A former research scientist at the IRD in Paris, Gandi was awarded an International Baccalaureate Diploma. He also served as a senior programme advisor of UNDP Somalia in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR).

 

An active participant in the Somali peace process, Gandi was lead consultant in an initiative called “Mapping the Somali Civil Society.” He also chaired the Technical Committee at the Arta Somali Peace process that took place in Arta, Djibouti, as well as being a member of the Somali civil society at the Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference that was held in Kenya.

 

An accomplished author, Gandi has published eight books in addition to more than 40 scientific articles in various academic journals.
In February 2009, Gandi was appointed Somalia’s minister of defense by the nation’s then head of government, prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke. He held the position until November 2010.

 

In April 2011, the new autonomous region in southern Somalia referred to as Azania (formerly Jubaland), was formed and Gandi took over as its first president. Gandi’s first stated policy initiative is to remove the Al Shabaab group of militants from the territory.

 

Ras Kamboni

 

Sheikh Ahmed Madobe is the chairman of the Ras Kamboni movement. As a member of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) he was governor of Kismayu in 2006.

This is the man favoured by Kenya’s military establishment and Ethiopians who have dealt with him.

 

The military view Madobe in a good light because he has commanded a militia in the past and he could easily raise an army.

 

When the ICU was overthrown by the Ethiopian National Defense Force, he fled towards the Kenyan border when he was wounded, and later received medical treatment at an Ethiopian hospital. He was later arrested by the Ethiopians.

 

When the Somali parliament expanded to 550 MPs, he was elected MP in January 2009 and released from Ethiopian prison.

 

In April 2009, he announced his resignation from parliament.

 

Sheikh Ahmed Madobe was the leader of Ras Kamboni Brigades (the predecessor to the Ras Kamboni movement) which was allied to Hizbul Islam. In October 2009, armed conflict between Hizbul Islam and Al Shabaab began in a dispute between a fraction of the Ras Kamboni Brigades and Al Shabaab over who was in charge of Kisimayu.

 

 

The Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and Jabiso, which were aligned to Al Shabaab in Hiiraan and Mogadishu refused to support the Ras Kamboni Brigades.

 

This also led to a split within the Ras Kamboni Brigades, with a faction led by Ahmed Madobe starting the war against Al Shabaab and a faction led by Hassan “Turki” siding with Al Shabaab.

 

The battle of Kismayu was decisively won by Al Shabaab, which expelled Madobe’s Ras Kamboni forces from the city.

 

In the battles that followed, in November 2009, Madobe’s forces were overpowered by Al Shabaab and local allies and forced to withdraw from the Lower Juba region and most of southern Somalia. 

 Source: http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/1264380/-/nij3pkz/-/

 

Two Men Convicted in the 2009 Murder of a Kenyan Native in California

On October 30, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

Sunday, 30 October 2011     George Onyango was a loving father who gave hugs to his sons each day before he left for work. An English teacher in his native Kenya before bringing his family to the U.S. in 2006, Onyango urged his sons to study hard to prepare for success in the world. [...]

Sunday, 30 October 2011

 

Two Men Convicted in the 2009 Murder of a Kenyan Native in California

 

George Onyango was a loving father who gave hugs to his sons each day before he left for work.

An English teacher in his native Kenya before bringing his family to the U.S. in 2006, Onyango urged his sons to study hard to prepare for success in the world.

Onyango taught by example, attending Whittier Law School during the day and working nights as a group home counselor in Yucaipa.

In his free time, Onyango loved to take his family to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and other sights.

Onyango also took his group-home charges on field trips, trusting them and believing they shared a mutual respect, his cousin said.

That’s why he never suspected two of the youths were plotting the horrible crime that ended his life on a summer night two years ago, leaving his sons orphaned.

The teen killers were tried as adults and were convicted recently on all charges.

Carlos Dubose, 17 at the time of the crime, was convicted of murder, carjacking, robbery, kidnapping, evading arrest and using a steam iron and dowel to beat Onyango to death, as well as special circumstances including torture.

Now 19, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole at sentencing Nov. 4.

Davion Whitmore 15 years, 8 months old at the time of the crime was convicted of murder, carjacking, robbery and kidnapping to commit robbery, said Deputy DA Beth Houser.

Because he was under 16 at the time, Whitmore, now 18, faces 25 years to life.

Houser hopes the convictions bring Onyango’s sons a sense of justice knowing their father’s assailants will never get out of prison to harm someone else.

The boys’ relatives, Rose and Godfred Masinde, took them in to raise them with their daughters.

It wasn’t an easy transition for the traumatized boys, who lost their mother to a brain tumor a few months after moving to this country and now had lost their father.

Masinde said he had to reassure the boys they were full members of his family.

I sat down with them on Thursday evening to ask how they are doing.

Abraham Onyango, 16, and David Onyango, 13, said their studies suffered at first, although teachers and friends were sympathetic.

David misses the walks his father used to take with him. Abraham misses the family road trips to Arizona.

Today both boys are doing well in school. Abraham is a senior at Yucaipa High School. He plans to study pre-med or engineering at college next year.

David would like to be a dentist or study law.

Especially difficult for Abraham was having to testify at the trial. He had to identify his father from bloody crime-scene photos.

“It was disturbing,” he said quietly, adding that he had nightmares afterward.

The killers sat expressionless in court, he said, “like they didn’t care.”

Masinde wants the boys to write victim statements to be read at the sentencing. Both boys are reluctant, saying it is painful to relive the crime.

Abraham said he never wants to see the killers’ faces again. I hope no one outside prison ever sees them again.

Source- http://www.pe.com/local-news/columns/cassie-macduff-headlines/20111022-yucaipa-killers-convicted-in-group-home-slaying.ece 

 

 

 

Kenyan Jets Bomb Southern Somalia, 10 Dead

On October 30, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

October 30, 2011 VOA News   Photo: AP A Kenyan F5 fighter jet (file photo) Suspected Kenyan fighter jets have bombed the southern Somali town of Jilib, killing at least 10 people. At least 45 people were also wounded in the attack. Local officials say Sunday’s strike targeted an area where al-Shabab militants were distributing [...]

October 30, 2011

VOA News

 

A Kenyan F5 fighter jet (file photo)

Photo: AP
A Kenyan F5 fighter jet (file photo)

Suspected Kenyan fighter jets have bombed the southern Somali town of Jilib, killing at least 10 people.

At least 45 people were also wounded in the attack.

Local officials say Sunday’s strike targeted an area where al-Shabab militants were distributing food to internally displaced people.

Reports say many of those killed were civilians, including several children.

Kenya sent an undisclosed number of troops across the border earlier this month to fight Al-Shabab, which is blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.

On Saturday, Kenya’s military chief General Julius Karangi told reporters there is no timeline on the operation against al-Shabab rebels. He said his troops will remain in southern Somalia until Kenyans feel safe.  

Meanwhile on Sunday, Somalia’s al-Shabby militants say an American citizen was one of two suicide bombers behind a recent attack on an African Union military base in the capital.

A pro-Shabab radio station and website identified the Somali-American bomber as a young man named Abdisalan. It said he emigrated to the United States at the age of two.

U.S. authorities have not verified the claim, although several American citizens of Somali origin are believed to have traveled to Somalia to join the insurgency.

On Saturday, two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside the AU peacekeeping base in Mogadishu. It is unclear how many soldiers were killed in the attack, but al-Shabab says dozens died.

Al-Shabab is fighting to topple the U.N.-backed Somali government and set up an Islamic state in Somalia. The militant group has lost ground to Somali government and African Union troops in recent months but still controls considerable territory in southern and central Somalia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Kenyan-Jets-Bomb-Southern-Somalia-10-Dead-132884553.html

 

Kenya air raid targets al-Shabab militants in Somalia

On October 30, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

30 October 2011 Continue reading the main story   At least nine people have been killed and 50 wounded in a Kenyan air raid targeting al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia. A Kenyan military spokesman told the BBC the planes had targeted the outskirts of the town of Jilib. He said 10 fighters of the al-Qaeda-linked [...]

30 October 2011

Locator map
 
At least nine people have been killed and 50 wounded in a Kenyan air raid targeting al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia.

A Kenyan military spokesman told the BBC the planes had targeted the outskirts of the town of Jilib.

He said 10 fighters of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group had been killed and dismissed reports of civilian deaths as “al-Shabab propaganda”.

Kenyan forces have moved across the Somalia border to target the group.

The country blames al-Shabab for frequent assaults on its security forces in the border province of North Eastern as well as a spate of kidnappings.

“We received intelligence that a top al-Shabab leader was to visit a camp in Jilib so we conducted an air raid,” Kenya army spokesman Maj Emmanuel Chirchir told the BBC.

“Confirmation from the human intelligence is that 10 al-Shabab fighters were killed and 47 others wounded,” he added.

He said that no civilian camp had been attacked. Earlier reports said that displaced civilians had been killed in the raid.

“This is all al-Shabab propaganda,” he said.

The hardline al-Shabab group, which controls much of southern Somalia, denies carrying out kidnappings and has warned Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia or face bloody battles.

The Islamist group is locked in a battle with the transitional government for control of parts of the country currently outside of is power, particularly in the capital Mogadishu.

The government controls very little territory, but does have several militant groups around the country it regards as allies, and it is backed by the international community.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15513430

 

Kenya military chief suggests Somalia incursion could be long

On October 30, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

 Gen. Julius Karangi declares that his troops will remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe. Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya— The commander of Kenya’s defense forces declared Saturday that his troops would remain in neighboring Somaliauntil the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab [...]

 Gen. Julius Karangi declares that his troops will remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.

  • Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya—
The commander of Kenya’s defense forces declared Saturday that his troops would remain in neighboring Somaliauntil the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.Given the messiness of other countries’ incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Gen. Julius Karangi suggests that Kenya’s first military adventure since independence nearly half a century ago could be a long one.In 1992, U.S.-led forces launched Operation Restore Hope, which led to the “Black Hawk Down” catastrophe of October 1993, in which 18 U.S. troops were killed and the bodies of some of them dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to defeat the Islamic Courts Union, a religious alliance that had taken power in the country. Ethiopian forces withdrew in 2009, only to see the rapid advance of Shabab, a successor to the ICU. Ethiopia claimed to have achieved its mission, but the situation in Somalia suggested otherwise.

Kenya’s decision to get involved with one of Africa’s most intractable war zones, a failed state that hasn’t had a government for two decades, was a “spur of the moment” one, Karangi said Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, he said the decision was made in early October. Twelve days later, troops were in Somalia, he said.

“Some people mentioned that this entire operation was preplanned, [that] it had been on the table for many, many months and years, and the answer is no. We acted as a country on the spur of the moment,” he said.

Government authority to invade was given Oct. 4, three days after Somali gunmen kidnapped Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu from the Lamu resort archipelago on Kenya’s northern coast. She died in captivity, but the date and details of her death aren’t clear. Kenyan troops entered Somalia on Oct. 16, three days after two Spanish aid workers were kidnapped from a refugee camp in Kenya by Somali gunmen.

The kidnappings, and their repercussions for Kenya’s $730-million tourist industry, have boosted public support for Operation Linda Nchi, which means “protect the nation.”

Karangi said that for Kenyans to feel safe, the Shabab would have to be severely “degraded.”

“This campaign is not time bound. When the Kenya government and the people of this country feel that they are safe enough from the Al Shabab menace, we shall pull back. Key success factors or indicators will be in the form of a highly degraded Al Shabab capacity,” he said.

Karangi said one Kenyan soldier had died in the military action. He did not say how many Kenyan soldiers are involved in the mission, but said the number is “sufficient.”

Kenya’s key aim is to take the town of Kismayu, a deep-water port that is the Shahab’s main base and its key supply point.

robyn.dixon@latimes.com

 Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-kenya-somalia-20111030,0,4326630.story

 

 

Kenya says its forces will stay in Somalia as long as it takes

On October 29, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

October 29, 2011    REPORTING FROM NAIROBI, KENYA — The commander of Kenya’s defense forces declared Saturday that his troops will remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.Given the messiness of other countries’ incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Julius Karangi [...]

October 29, 2011 
 
Kenyan troops head into Somalia on Oct. 18 2011
REPORTING FROM NAIROBI, KENYA — The commander of Kenya’s defense forces declared Saturday that his troops will remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.Given the messiness of other countries’ incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Julius Karangi suggests that Kenya’s first military adventure since independence nearly half a century ago could be a long one.

In 1992, U.S.-led forces launched Operation Restore Hope, which led to the “Black Hawk Down” catastrophe of October 1993, in which the bodies of 18 U.S. troops were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to defeat the Islamic Courts Union, a religious alliance that had taken power in the country. Ethiopian forces withdrew in 2009, only to see the rapid advance of Shabab, a successor to the ICU. Ethiopia claimed to have achieved its mission, but the situation in Somalia suggested otherwise.

Kenya’s decision to get involved with one of Africa’s most intractable war zones, a failed state that hasn’t had a government for two decades, was a “spur of the moment” one, Karangi said Saturday.

 

Speaking at a Nairobi news conference, he said the decision was made in early October. Twelve days later, troops were in Somalia, he said. “Some people mentioned that this entire operation was preplanned, [that] it had been on the table for many, many months and years, and the answer is no. We acted as a country on the spur of the moment,” he said.

Government authority to invade was given Oct. 4, three days after Somali gunmen kidnapped Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu from the resort of Lamu on Kenya’s northern coast. She died in captivity, but the date and details of her death aren’t clear. Kenyan troops entered Somalia on Oct. 16, three days after two Spanish aid workers were kidnapped by Somali gunmen.

The kidnappings, and their effect on Kenya’s $730-million tourist industry, have boosted public support for Operation Linda Nchi, which means “protect the nation.” Karangi said that for Kenyans to feel safe, Shabab would have to be severely “degraded.”

“This campaign is not time-bound. When the Kenya government and the people of this country feel that they are safe enough from the Al Shabab menace, we shall pull back. Key success factors or indicators will be in the form of a highly degraded Al Shabab capacity,” he said. Karangi said only one Kenyan soldier had died so far in the military action.

He did not say how many Kenyan soldiers are on the ground, but added it was “sufficient.” Kenya’s key aim is to take the port town of Kismayu, a deep-water port that is Shahab’s main base and its key supply point.

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/10/kenya-somalia-al-shabab-militants.html

 

Are Kenyans seeking a buffer zone in Somalia?

On October 28, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

28 October 2011 Continue reading the main story   As Kenya’s troops continue their incursion into southern Somalia in pursuit of Islamist militants, the BBC’s Will Ross considers the motives behind the deployment. “I hope in three or four months, al-Shabab will have been removed from our region. Then one day I’ll invite you to [...]

28 October 2011

Kenyan soldiers advance near Liboi in Somalia, on 18 October 2011
 
As Kenya’s troops continue their incursion into southern Somalia in pursuit of Islamist militants, the BBC’s Will Ross considers the motives behind the deployment.

“I hope in three or four months, al-Shabab will have been removed from our region. Then one day I’ll invite you to come to Kismayo to see what’s going on,” said Abdullahi Shafi, personal assistant to the governor of Somalia’s Lower Juba region.

He is hopeful that with Kenyan military help, he can soon return home to a new semi-autonomous region in southern Somalia.

“We have been in hell for the last 20 years. We need a new Somalia,” he said, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Azania” – the name of the new region which comprises Gedo, Lower Juba and Middle Juba.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

I think the Kenyans are into a very long and messy intervention in Somalia”

End Quote Rashid Abdi Horn of Africa analyst

It already has a flag – blue, white and red – a parliament, a house of elders and a president in waiting.

The Kenyan government says it sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab, whom it blames for the recent kidnappings of tourists and aid workers.

“Kenya has the capacity, the ability and the will to defend its territory and its people,” said Moses Wetangula, Kenya’s foreign minister.

But analysts point out that for several years Kenya, with international support, has been pushing for Azania, traditionally known as Jubaland, to be set up.

Kenya has trained and equipped Somali troops, as it would like a buffer zone to shield its territory from lawless Somalia.

So some analysts see the kidnappings as just a convenient excuse for carrying out the plan militarily.

Map of Somalia's disputed areas

The army has been giving unverifiable reports of success across the border.

The Kenyan media, which have scarcely questioned the motive for going to war, have told the country about captured towns that no one has ever heard of.

One front page article referred to the “imminent fall of Kismayo”.

For now, the cautious voices are being drowned out.

“It’s not going to be easy for Kenya to stabilise and pacify that part of Somalia, much less drive out al-Shabab,” said Rashid Abdi, of the International Crisis Group.

“I think the Kenyans are into a very long and messy intervention in Somalia.”

Rich in oil?The man who hopes to soon end his absentee presidency says the creation of Azania, in April, came about following the consultation of more than 30 clans.

He says he is not a separatist, but speaks of a bright future for his people in a Somalia where power is devolved from Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab's military spokesman Sheik Abdul Asis Abu Muscab Al-Shabab has threatened retaliatory attacks in Kenya

“Our priority will be to consolidate the peace, set up the administration and re-establish education and health systems before we move on to development and infrastructure,” Somali MP Professor Mohammed Abdi Gandhi told me in Nairobi.

Asked where he got his last name from, he smiled and replied, “Because I’m against violence.”

A geologist with dual French and Somali nationality, he has critics who accuse him of imposing what some call the “Gandhi plan” without being all-inclusive.

“They met at a hotel in Naivasha where Professor Gandhi was proclaimed the president. Everybody clapped. The constitution was produced. They all clapped again, even though they hadn’t even read it,” one critic told me.

In response, Mr Gandhi says the process has been as inclusive as possible with dozens of consultative meetings.

There are reports that Azania – or at least the sea off its coast – is rich in oil.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

Professor Mohammed Abdi Gandhi, president of Azania

[President] Sheikh Sharif doesn’t want change… He wants al-Shabab to stay”

End Quote Mohammed Abdi Gandhi President of self-declared Azania

Mr Gandhi, a former Somali defence minister, has worked as a consultant for the French oil giant Total. This and this has led some to conclude that countries including France and Norway have thrown money at the Azania project.

“These are all rumours. Not true,” he says.

“To my knowledge, there are no groups or companies that have come to us. When it’s peaceful, then we will open the door and all the international oil companies can come to explore. Nothing is under the table.”

Centralised power has not worked well in Somalia.

The war has kept the government confined to the capital Mogadishu and, more often than not, to hotels in Nairobi.

As Puntland and Somaliland and several other states break away, a devolved form of government is seen as better way forward, as long as it is well planned and not done through the gun alone.

“Ideally, Somalis should have been given the opportunity to plan for a federal state in a gradual, consensual way,” says Mr Abdi.

“Right now, we have clans competing among themselves to carve out clan enclaves or cantons in various parts of Somalia. I don’t think clan states are the way forward for Somalia.”

Ethiopian factorSomali government officials have given mixed reactions to the Kenyan incursion.

A Kenya soldier on the border with Somalia Kenyan troops are fighting alongside a Somali militia against al-Shabab

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said the government was grateful for logistical support but said the Kenyans should stay out of Somalia – a comment which drew this response from the president of Azania.

“Sheikh Sharif doesn’t want change. To prolong his power, he wants the status quo. He wants al-Shabab to stay. He is a big obstacle to peace. He has done a lot to block our programme,” Professor Gandhi told me – without ruling out the possibility of this stance leading to armed conflict between the president’s and his soldiers.

“If he keeps the status quo, he can convince the international community that he is fighting al-Shabab. He needs more help and more time. For him, all he has in mind is to stay in power.”

The controversial issue of foreign troops in Somalia could complicate the Kenyan mission.

Some analysts suggest it could even help bolster al-Shabab, which has played the nationalist card before.

The Kenyans are fighting alongside a militia run by Sheikh Ahmed Madobe – a man who does not see eye-to-eye with Mr Gandhi.

As well as this potential source of tension, there is also concern that clan rivalries could break out if the common enemy of al-Shabab is dealt with.

Then there is the Ethiopia factor.

Analysts say Addis Ababa is strongly opposed to Azania being set up.

The fear is Ethiopian Somalis of the Ogaden clan may seek support or refuge across the border in Azania which is inhabited mainly by people of the Ogaden clan.

As for Kenya, it clearly had to act to secure its border – the question is whether that should have been done without crossing the frontier or at least without going deep into Somalia’s web of war.

“I think once the body bags come back home and the huge bill comes in at a time when the shilling is depreciating so fast, Kenyans will sober up. They will realise that this kind of foreign adventurism may have been ill advised,” said Mr Abdi.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15499534

 

Al Shabaab vows huge blast in Kenya

On October 27, 2011, in News, by PublicEye

  Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels called on Thursday for supporters in Kenya to carry out a major strike in retaliation for a 12-day military incursion by east Africa’s powerhouse.   Kenya has sent soldiers and heavy weapons into southern Somalia to crush the al Qaeda-linked militants Nairobi blames for a string of kidnappings on Kenyan [...]

 
  • Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels called on Thursday for supporters in Kenya to carry out a major strike in retaliation for a 12-day military incursion by east Africa’s powerhouse.
     
    Kenya has sent soldiers and heavy weapons into southern Somalia to crush the al Qaeda-linked militants Nairobi blames for a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent border incursions.
     
    Kenyan units have advanced on several fronts with Somali government troops and allied militias towards al Shabaab strongholds and a fighter jet bombed its port city of Kismayu on Sunday.
     
    “The time to ask Kenya to stop war has passed. The only option is to fight them. Kenya, you have started the war and so you have to face the consequences,” Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor, a top al Shabaab official, told a demonstration.
     
    Kenyan military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir told Reuters their forces clashed with al Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia, east of a town called Tabda, on Thursday and two wounded soldiers had been evacuated.
     
    “There was action today between al Shabaab and our forces. We managed to kill nine al Shabaab,” he said.
     
    An al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters his fighters had ambushed four Kenyan military vehicles near Tabda. He did not give details of any casualties.
     
    The al Shabaab official urged sympathisers in Kenya to shun the grenade attacks that hit the capital Nairobi on Monday, killing one person and wounding 29. Police said on Thursday that all but six of the victims had now returned home.
     
    “The Kenyan Mujahideen who were trained by Osama in Afghanistan, stop throwing grenades at buses. We need a huge blow against Kenya. Hand grenades hurled can harm them but we want huge blasts,” he told hundreds of people gathered in Elasha, near Mogadishu.
     
    Residents said al Shabaab had ordered them on Wednesday to close businesses and attend the anti-Kenyan rallies.
     
    The two grenade attacks on a bar and a bus terminus in downtown Nairobi have spooked Kenyans and security has been beefed up in the capital at hotels, government buildings, restaurants, bars and shopping malls.
     
    The blasts came two days after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent attack. A Kenyan man has pleaded guilty to one of the attacks and being a member of al Shabaab.
     
    MORE GRENADE ARRESTS
     
    Kenya’s Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said two more people had been arrested over the attacks and were due to appear in court this week. He said the man who pleaded guilty went to Somalia in February and returned to Kenya in August.
     
    The United Nations has warned that hundreds of Kenyan Muslims have been recruited by al Shabaab and that youth organisations have raised funds for the Somali militants.
     
    A U.N. Monitoring Group report on Somalia published in July said al Shabaab had extensive funding, recruiting and training networks within Kenya.
     
    Al Shabaab has yet to carry out a major strike in Kenya but has used suicide bombers to devastating effect in Somalia and Uganda — whose troops are fighting the rebels in Mogadishu as part of an African Union force.
     
    Twin suicide blasts in Kampala killed 79 people watching the soccer World Cup final last year and a truck bomb in Mogadishu killed more than 70 people earlier this month.
     
    Gunmen also attacked a vehicle in northeastern Kenya on Thursday not far from the Somalia border, killing four government employees and wounding two guards, officials said.
     
    Northeastern Provincial Commissioner James Ole Serian told Reuters the attackers were being pursued and another official said there were reports they were heading towards Somalia.
     
    NO TALKS WITH SHABAAB
     
    Kenya’s southern neighbour Tanzania also issued a terrorism alert late on Wednesday following the Nairobi attacks.
     
    “We have received threats,” Robert Manumba, director of criminal investigations, told state TV. “Experience shows us that terrorism is an international crime. The al Shabaab group is composed of members from all east African countries.”
     
    Al Qaeda struck Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing hundreds of people in suicide bombings of the U.S. embassies there.
     
    A diplomatic row between Somalia and Kenya over the incursion appeared to have been resolved. Somalia’s president had cast doubt on the government’s support for the Kenyan incursion on Monday.
     
    But on Wednesday, the Somali government said while it had not agreed for Kenyan troops to cross the border, the prime minister would head a new committee to liaise with Nairobi.
     
    “We support Kenya’s operation inside Somalia because they support, train and provide other military support to our troops to defeat al Shabaab and we are very grateful to Kenya,” Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told Reuters in an interview.
     
    “But we have to understand one thing: Somalia has the lead, our military has the lead in all operations taking place inside Somalia,” he said late on Wednesday.
     
    The semi-autonomous northern Somali region of Puntland also said on Thursday it supported the Kenyan incursion.
     
    Kenya has long watched its anarchic neighbour warily and its troops have made forays across the porous border with Somalia in the past, but this month’s assault marks the first concerted push to drive the rebels away from the frontier.
     
    Kenyan government spokesman Mutua stressed Kenya had no intention of occupying southern Somalia and would return once it had dismantled al Shabaab’s networks. He also said Kenya would not negotiate with the militants.

    Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/18723-al-shabaab-vows-huge-blast-in-kenya.html

 

Memorial for Professor Wangari Muta Maathai

On October 27, 2011, in Announcements, by PublicEye

                                 A Memorial Ceremony Philosopher, environmentalist, educationist, political activist, freedom fighter, mother, grandmother, guiding light. We will miss her. We will celebrate her. We will emulate her. We will never forget her. — H. E. Macharia Kamau, Ambassador and Permanent Representative at Kenya Mission to United Nations The Cathedral Church of St. John the [...]

                     

           Wangari MutaMaathai (1940–2011)A Memorial Ceremony

Philosopher, environmentalist, educationist, political activist, freedom fighter,
mother, grandmother, guiding light. We will miss her. We will celebrate her. We will
emulate her. We will never forget her.

— H. E. Macharia Kamau, Ambassador and Permanent Representative at Kenya Mission to
United Nations

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street)
New York, NY.

Monday November 14th, 2011
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

All are invited to attend. The ceremony will begin promptly.
Please, no flowers or presents.
Donations to Green Belt Movement
(www.greenbeltmovement.org)

From:

Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations
866 UN Plaza Suite 304
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1(212)-421-4741
Fax. +1(212)-486-1985