Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kenya : Leaders reject political pact made in Ethiopia-Standard Digital :

A section of leaders from Marsabit County have dismissed a political agreement reached in Ethiopia recently by their rivals.
The leaders accused the country of trying to influence the outcome of next polls in the region.

During a meeting in Huruma, Nairobi, the leaders mainly from Borana community asked the Ethiopia Government to stop meddling in Marsabit County politics.
The meeting that was attended by members of the community living in Nairobi was led by Moyale MP Mohammud Ali and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim (Supkem) Secretary General Aden Wachu. They vowed to reject an alleged decision arrived at a Borana cultural event, under the watch of senior Ethiopian Government authorities, which allegedly endorsed a candidate for Marsabit Governor seat.
A section of Borana leaders had sought the help of their traditional ruler (Abba Gadha) Guyo Gobba to mediate between two aspirants who are eyeing the seat. The meeting took place at Shawa Bare School in Ethiopia.
But Ali did not attend the meeting. The traditional ruler declared his opponent Chachu Tadicha as the community’s nominee for the post.
Five meetings
But Monday, members of the community castigated the involvement of Ethiopia leaders in the decision.
“The meeting that was held in Ethiopia and under the watch of the country’s senior Government officials had a hidden agenda. We have no problem with Abba Gadha, but we are concerned with the decision taken at the meeting, which was dictated by Ethiopian officials,” said Christopher Galgalo, a member of Borana professional forumat ye.
A Borana Council of Elder member Kanchora Liban said traditions dictate five meetings to be held before a decision is made. He faulted the ruling made, saying it was taken after area MP failed to appear at the meeting.
Wachu, who is eyeing Moyale parliamentary seat, urged residents to disregard the decision taken through the influence of Ethiopian authorities and rally behind Ali’s candidature for Marsabit Governor seat.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kenyan, Ethiopian forces sign new memorandum of understanding

Kenyan, Ethiopian forces sign new memorandum of understanding

(June 20, 2012,NTV's)-- Kenyan Defence Minister Yusuf Haji Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with his Ethiopian counterpart Siraj Fegessa on security in the horn of Africa. In a move that comes as the AMISOM and its allied forces are said to be planning an attack on al-shaabab's last stronghold, Kismayu, Haji issued a warning to the Somali militant group.

NTV's Ben Kitilli reports on the situation in the Somali war, as Kenya and Ethiopia vow to continue working together to bring down the al-shaabab.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kenya’s north, long overlooked, poised to get even Capital News »

LOYANGALANI, Kenya, Jun 12 – Poor, drought-prone and populated by pastoralists, northern Kenya was largely overlooked for decades. But new-found oil and Africa’s largest wind farm could be set to change all that.
“This country has long been divided between low potential regions and high potential regions, according to a very deliberate government policy,” said Mzalendo Kibunjia, who heads the national cohesion and integration commission.
“But now the low potential is becoming the high potential,” he told a recent conference on the future of the north, organised at Loyangalani on the shores of Lake Turkana, one of the hottest and most desolate regions of Africa.
It started in early March with the launch of what has been presented as Africa’s most ambitious infrastructure project: an oil pipeline, a railway and a highway across northern Kenya to Lamu on the Indian Ocean where a port will be built in order to give Kenya’s landlocked northern neighbours Ethiopia and South Sudan port access.
A few days later UK-listed Tullow Oil said it had found very promising quantities of oil in the Turkana region.
Moreover in the coming months a consortium of European and African companies is to start building Africa’s biggest wind farm, also in Turkana; it will have the capacity to supply 20 percent of Kenya’s energy needs.
A few months may be all it takes to invert the historical configuration of the more developed south and the under-developed north.
Currently the north, which covers half of Kenya’s surface area of 582,600 square kilometres (224,942 square miles) is home to a mere 10 percent of the country’s 39 million inhabitants.
The three regions that make up the north of the country are also by far the poorest in Kenya. More than 94 percent of the population of Turkana lives below the poverty threshold, compared with 22 percent in Nairobi, according to the last census in 2009.
The north has long been cut off from the rest of the country.
Without coffee, tea, or industry, the British never saw any reason to build a railway to the north.
Even today the macadam road stops just north of Isiolo, normally considered the frontier town between north and south. Beyond that point there are only dirt roads, impassible in the rainy season and often unsafe because of bandits.
Turkana, Samburu, Somali, Rendille, Gabra and El Molo peoples, among others, raise goats and camels with no access to electricity or running water.
But that could change quickly.
“If we do a good job, less than five years is all the north needs to catch up with the rest of the country,” said local MP Joseph Lekuton.
The transformation could be speeded by the fact that the new constitution adopted in 2010 will, starting next year, decentralise large chunks of the national budget.
That is, if this process is handled well, warned Lekuton.
“I think it will help if we have good governors in the country. I hope most of these governors will not go to jail in two or three years because of all this money they will have to manage,” he said.
Hassan Wario, a director at National Museums of Kenya and a native of the northern Wajir district, voiced a similar concern.
He fears that any energy-based boom in Northern Kenya “would obviously benefit the elites” first and foremost.
Speculators are reportedly already snapping up land around Turkana’s oil fields.
“It’ll be a long time before a Turkana or an El Molo gets any petrodollars,” Wario said