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Thursday, 31 July 2014

How the Swiss get rich at Zambia’s expense

December 11, 2012 

Film still from the documentary “Stealing Africa.”

Film still from the documentary “Stealing Africa.”

Zambia sits on Africa’s largest reserves of copper and a single Swiss Company is making billions from mining this resource. Zambians, however, see nothing of this wealth, and most live on less than a dollar a day. How is that possible?

How is it that Africa is so rich in resources and yet so poor? The question is often asked as much by Africans interested in altering the continent’s fortunes as by those intent on blaming Africans alone for the paradox.

The IMF and World Bank were involved in the sale of the mines

We write about this ‘blame Africans’ issue from time to time, either directly or indirectly, as do many others. It’s simply easier for people to blame it all on Africans because that absolves everyone else of any responsibility.

The question of how Africa can be so rich in resources yet so poor – relative to the other continents – is also central to the impressive documentary Stealing Africa by Danish film-maker Christoffer Guldbrandsen.

In the documentary, Christoffer Guldbrandsen reveals how one Swiss company, Glencore, is making billions from copper mining in Zambia while the country remains one of the poorest in the world. You won’t be surprised to learn that the IMF and World Bank were involved in the sale of the mines that led to this situation.

So much money
When are African nations going to stop taking advice from these organisations? The neoliberal policies they “recommend” have been disastrous for Africa and for developing nations around the world, resulting in the continuous transfer of wealth from the south to the north.

You can read more about this inImpoverishing a Continent and in How the IMF, World Bank and Structural Adjustment Program destroyed Africa. The IMF has eventried pushing its policies on China!

The village's residents voted against handing anything back to Africa

Glencore makes so much money from copper mining in Zambia that the mayor of the village in which the company is registered can’t spend all the money the company contributes to the public coffers. Meanwhile 60% of Zambia’s population live on less than $1 a day and 80% are unemployed.

Greed and selfishness
When Glencore went public, the windfall tax earned by the Swiss village of Ruschlikon was so large that the mayor proposed a lowering of the tax rate by 7%. But one local resident had a different idea. He suggested the tax rate be reduced by 5%, and that the difference between the two rates of tax reduction should go to the African communities affected by Glencore’s operations. A public meeting was called, but the village’s residents voted against handing anything back to Zambia. They wanted to keep all the money for themselves.

The Swiss municipality of Rüschlikon where money “made” from Zambia’s mines has made everyone rich.

The Swiss municipality of Rüschlikon where money “made” from Zambia’s mines has made everyone rich.

This is far from an isolated case; wherever you are from in Africa, you can be sure that some of that country’s resources are making less for the country than for the Western multinationals involved in extracting those resources.

Aid misconception
The popular perception is that Africa receives so much money in aid and it just wastes the money, and that Western countries are very generous in providing any aid in the first place. But as pointed out in the documentary, the amount of money flowing out of Africa is ten times the amount of aid the continent receives.

Even those familiar with some of the ways in which Africa continues to be sucked dry by these multinationals will despair by what they will learn from Stealing Africa. The next time you hear someone blaming it all on Africa or complaining about how much aid the continent receives, send them a link to the documentary.


CORD leader Raila Odinga has said decades of land-grabbing are to blame for the ongoing violence in Lamu and other parts of the Coast. Without naming names, Raila says the solution is for those who grabbed the land to return it.

"It is wrong for anyone to blame the Opposition for what is going on in Lamu. The only way for the problem to be resolved once and for all is for those who grabbed the land to return it," said Raila on Monday night during an Iftar dinner hosted by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho in the Arab Boys' grounds.

More than 100 people have been killed by unknown attackers in Lamu in the last one month and property worth millions of shillings, including hotels, reduced to ashes.

Despite the heavy deployment of security personnel in the region, the raiders have continued to make audacious attacks. On Saturday, they arrived at a mosque, introduced themselves as members of al Shaabab, uttered jihadist summons, disarmed police officers who were guarding the mosque, and then went into a farm and harvested maize which they carried away into a forest.

"This issue cannot be resolved militarily or by arresting innocent political leaders. The solution is in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Report. Just implement it," Raila declared.

TJRC condemned the Mpeketoni land settlement scheme of the 1960s as “unprocedural, dubious, irregular" and the cause of perpetual tensions in the area.

The TJRC Report, which was handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta last year, also analysed conflicts in Lamu in the context of the Shifta (Kenya-Somali) conflict of the 1960s.

The commissioners also factored in historically-rooted threats to peace posed by the proposed construction of the new Lamu Port. It said the Jomo Kenyatta Presidency (1964-1978) engaged in setting up dubious settlement schemes that on the surface appeared to help locals, but in the end turned out designed specifically to help upcountry people.

TJRC reported that only about 15 to 20 per cent of indigenous coastals benefited, while the rest of the land was taken up by upcountry people. To make matters worse, the report said, some members of coastal communities who received allotment letters had their land subsequently illegally taken away.

“In Lamu district, where a larger settlement programme was implemented, supported by aid from Germany, 10,000 members of the Kikuyu community were settled between 1969 and 1979, including ex-Mau Mau soldiers. The irregular move raised the population of the Kikuyu to 20 per cent in the district", the report said.

TJRC found that locals had previously lost their land to Arabs and the British and hoped to regain it at Independence, when upcountry people, especially Kikuyus and Kambas, checked in.

Raila also claimed that the Jubilee Government was trying to "fool" coastal residents "by issuing title deeds". President Kenyatta has issued thousands of titles to coastal people and promised more in the future.

Raila also alleged that the Jubilee Government does not safeguard the rights of Muslims and claimed there is a plot to silence all vocal Mombasa MPs by arresting them. He urged Muslims to rally behind Cord.

“There are many ways to skin a cat - I want us to join hands as Coast residents because I know Coast people are courageous. If we say we move forward, we move forward without taking steps back,” said Raila.

Speaking at the same function, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula claimed that the country is being held to ransom by a few individuals who "carry incredible historical-injustices baggage on their shoulders".

Wetang’ula said the government has failed to deal with insecurity and is now profiling people on the basis of their tribe and religion. Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale said the Opposition will stand "in solidarity with Muslims in good and in bad times".

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said an audit by the Ministry of Lands shows 500,000 hectares of Lamu county land has been grabbed by 22 organisation.

The President released the bombshell at State House on Thursday after a lengthy meeting with Lamu County leaders led by governor Issa Timmamy.

Uhuru said a ministry of land audit showed that most of the land in Lamu had been grabbed by criminal element between April 2012 and November 2012, despite a Moratorium on Public Land. This was during the coalition government of former President Mwai Kibaki and former PM Raila Odinga and Siaya Senator James Orengo's tenure as Lands minister.

The grabbed land accounts for 70 percent of all land in county leaving a paltry 30 percent for locals.

"Last year while in Lamu to issue title deeds I ordered the lands minister to carry out an audit of all land allocations in Lamu county, it has revealed that between 2011-2012 500,000ha which accounts for 70 percent of Lamu was alienated to private entity in a dubious manner," Uhuru said.

"Land was grabbed strategically for speculation purposes, targeting Lapsset. 13, Out of the 21 berths for the Lamu Port, have been allocated to grabbers. The Lamu Special Economic Zone was allocated to private companies over the same period," said the President.

Uhuru ordered immediate revocation of all land title deeds issued during that period in Lamu county. He also ordered that Inspector General of Police and CID to bring the culprits to book.

Lamu has faced a number of attacks that has left more than 100 people dead.

The government has insisted the killings are as a result of politics and land related issues and not al shabaab attacks.

The revelation came hours after Kenyatta amet with regional leaders on Thursday morning to discuss the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project at State House, Nairobi.

The meeting was attended by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan.

The leaders discussed joint financial options to fund the project which will require an estimated Sh2 Trillion.

Private entities involved

1. Brick Investments Limited, LR No. 29110, got 40,014 acres

2. Brick Investments Limited LR No. 29113 got 40,014 acres

3. Rusken International Limited LR No. 2911 got 40,014 acres

4. Mat International LR No. 29115 got 40,014 acres

5. Witu Nyangoro (DA) Company LR No. 29274 got .79, 534 acres

6. Witu Conservative Self Help Group LR No. 281448 got 54,201 acres

7. Shanghai Investment Limited LR No. 29247 got 19,760 acres

8. Fincorp Investments (K) Limited LR No. 29246 got 41,990

9. Kaab Investments LR No. 29322 got 6,268 acres

10. Sheila Ranch Limited LR No. 29254 got 5,399 acres

11. Dynamic Trading Co. Limited LR No. 29067 got 22,230 acres

12. Savannah Fresh Fruits Exports LR No. 29067 got 24,502 acres

13. Mokowe Kibokoni Ranch Limited LR No. 29256 got 6,725 acres

14. Panda Nguo Boni Community got 12,350 acres

15. Baragoni Boni Community LR No. 2927 got 19,760 acres

16. Khalrala Ranch LR 29255 got 12,276 acres

17. Cyberdom Investments LR No. 29322 got 11,000

18. Others are listed as ranches like Baragoni Ranch

19. Enganani Ranch

20. Lamu Investments

21. Others listed as ranches Amu Ranch

22. Maalim Ranch, also among those listed.

Asian anti-Black racism in Nigeria

March 17, 2014 — 

Anti-Black racism from Arabs is nothing new, but anti-Black racism from East and South-East Asians is not what most Nigerians expect. I work at an Asian embassy in Nigeria, and here’s what I witnessed.


An update on the article you are about to read:
Since the publication of this essay, there has been renewed interest in the situations I mentioned here. I wrote this immediately after those negative incidents occurred, when I was still upset that they occurred at all. Since then, the environment has improved considerably. The diplomats who have always been respectful, as I mention in the essay below, took the allegations very seriously. They organised meetings with foreign and local staff members during which grievances were aired and measures were taken.

While reading this essay, it must be kept in mind that the offending parties have been either chastised or have been relieved of their positions at the embassy. Steps have been taken to improve mutual respect and tolerance that are required for better relations, and I hope the environment continues remains favourable. End of update.

racism2Positive stories
When relations really started booming between Africa and China, I was based in the UK and, as a result, had an outsider’s perspective on things. At home in Nigeria for a few weeks a year, I would constantly catch glimpses of the presence of China, and, as time moved on, of other Asian countries that didn’t want to be left out.

I blogged about Asian-African social encounters – the Chinese chef flirting with the Nigerian waitress at this Chinese restaurant I frequented; my cousin’s friend who is Malaysian Chinese and always trying to speak pidgin to her; my other other cousin (you know how it is with us Africans and cousins) who works with a Chinese construction company and testified that his bosses were always at clubs in the weekends trying to chat up Nigerian girls; my Igbo friend telling me about his Chinese neighbours in Equatorial Guinea whom he learnt Chinese from and taught a bit of Igbo to.

For an Asian to call us "monkeys" is beyond preposterous

But one thing I didn’t blog about was how – despite these seeming positive stories – my people did not have good things to say about Asians. “Asians are greedy”, “Those Chinese are so stingy”, I heard it all including the horrid “ching chong” jokes. I spent hours lecturing people about how their views were wrong, and wondered at the Western influence on these anti-Asian and anti-Chinese remarks (I’m sure Nigerians did not come up with “ching chong” on their own).

Asian embassy
Earlier this year I came to Nigeria with the intention of staying for a month or two, then heading to China. In that month, my mother saw a job advert for a position with the embassy of a certain Asian country (I shall not name names and remain vague for reasons of privacy). She thought I should send in an application, which I did. To my surprise I got called for an interview and got the job. I started almost immediately, and knew almost immediately, subconsciously, even though I’m only just admitting it, that all was not right.

Still, it is considered good to work at an embassy and, as a graduate of international relations, this was just in my field. In fact I had been queried about my dissertation on Africa-China relations during my interview. My friends thought the job was perfect for me because of my love and consumption of Asian media. I looked forward to enjoying the “international” environment.

Yet one of the first things a Nigerian member of staff told me on my first day at work was “We are a family, you know these Asians never respect us. You can never trust them.” She spoke in a mix of Yoruba and pidgin. I felt disconcerted. Not this again, when will I see the end of Nigerian anti-Asian behaviour? Little did I know that what would come to disturb me was not anything the Nigerian staff had to say but the way the Asian staff acted towards them.

An example of Asian social tone-deafness and anti-black racism. Posters across South Korea featured monkeys declaring 'Africa is coming' as part of cigarette branding campaign. The tobacco firm responsible pulled the ads after it faced accusations of racism. (Source: AfricaIsACountry.com)

An example of Asian social tone-deafness and anti-black racism. Posters across South Korea featured monkeys declaring ‘Africa is coming’ as part of cigarette branding campaign. The tobacco firm responsible pulled the ads after it faced accusations of racism. (Source: AfricaIsACountry.com)

When you read a news report about the dark side of Africa-Asia relations, you read with a degree of detachment, but to witness what’s being described is a different ball game. I have been at this embassy since March 2013, and since then I have witnessed the humiliation of Nigerians in their own country, ironically at the hands of Asians with whom we’re supposed to be in “win-win” partnership.

Anti-Black racism from Arabs is nothing new, but anti-Black racism from East and South-East Asians is not what most Nigerians expect. For an Asian to call us “monkeys” is beyond preposterous. For Asians to shout and yell at us, even to the point of physically assaulting a woman in her 40s is unbelievable. As you may be aware, Nigerians thrive on respect, as do Asians. Older people, Asian and African, command respect, yet to my non-Nigerian colleagues this does not translate across nationalities. I see that they have respect for each other, but literally zero, zilch, none, for older Nigerian staff.

I know a bit of the language, so I can understand when they are insulting us in our presence, calling us “bastards.” Just a few weeks ago, one of the younger staff (in her 20s) reported some Nigerian staff member (in their 40s) to the admin head for “disobeying” her. I was out of the office when I heard this news and was blown away by the sheer ridiculousness of it all. What does it mean to “disobey” someone?

"The Koreans here don't like Nigerians at all”

I was there when the incident that lead to this “disobedience” went down. The Asian lady colleague was rude as hell, snapping her fingers and banging on the table to get our intention when a simple “excuse me” would have done. And we are supposed to be working together. One question that often runs through my head these days is “would they do it to us if we were from their country?” I very much doubt it.

I spoke to another staff member about the incident (she hadn’t witnessed the incident) and the lady said, “You know, the problem is that they think they are white when they are just bloody Asians!” I cringed at the “bloody Asians” bit, and at her implicit assertion that only white people can get away with disrespecting Nigerians (when really no foreigner should get away with treating you like shit in your own country), but as I said above, Nigerians are generally not used to anti-Black racism from anyone who is not white or Arab. Despite my qualms, I can honestly agree that Asians here do act, or at least try to, act like white people. Essentially, they look down on Africans while viewing themselves as superior. How many pale-skinned people are walking around in African countries behaving like “masters”?

Working here has lifted a veil from my eyes and now I see more examples of Asians behaving badly in Nigeria, in the media, through friends and on my own. For example recently two Chinese men tried to rape a Nigerian woman (it is hard reading the comments at the end of that report). When my older Nigerian colleague was physically assaulted by one of the younger men at the embassy I work at, she could have gone to the media as well.

The Chinese men who attempted rape will face the law, but this Asian man at my embassy won’t. We were told he had lost his job but I just learned that he actually served out his contract before taking up another job with a heavy industries company in Port Harcourt. A case of my enemy doing well? Fortunately I can rest assured the dude will be beaten the hell up if he tries any shit in Port Harcourt. I won’t even go into how this dude tried to date me (this was before he physically assaulted my colleague); I quickly realised that I was not been accorded the respect I deserve, especially from someone who claimed to “like” me. It ended before it began, but not before he tried to grope me in the office.

(Source: korea-diva.com: “Being Black in Korea: What’s Wrong with this pic?”)

(Source: korea-diva.com: “Being Black in Korea: What’s Wrong with this pic?”)

Mixing with the locals
The few times I’ve gone out clubbing, I see more Asian men with white women than I should be seeing in an African country. Same at dinner places, Asians hanging out with the white folk. A friend and I took our Korean teacher out for a late lunch and she bluntly told us “The Koreans here don’t like Nigerians at all. They think I’m strange for going out with you girls.”

A new friend of mine who aspires to work at an Asian embassy strongly believes that, before leaving their respective countries for Nigeria, their respective foreign affairs departments tell them that they are only in Nigeria to work, not to mix with the locals. I personally think it is the other way round, they come here and initially all is well, there are smiles, curiosity and then a few months down the line someone is shouting at you for not giving them your car keys and refusing to call you by name but preferring to bang on a table while shouting “Listen to me!”.

When I told my mum all the sagas I’ve witnessed at this embassy, the first thing she asked was “Do they treat you like this as well?” Surprisingly the answer is no. Maybe it’s my “global citizen” background, or the fact that I come from a wealthy family and my salary here doesn’t mean much to me (Another theory the Nigerian staff have is that the initial respect they have for us initially held rapidly diminishes when they discover how little we are paid).

No smiles
The only person who has tried to bully me is the physical assault dude, and it was a really silly situation that seemed, to me, to have more to do with his wounded pride. I really wish he had tried to yell at me or put his hands on me like he did to my colleague. Unlike my colleague, who amazingly did nothing, I would have beaten him back. Still when I was new here, I became the one who got asked “Why do Nigerians always try to cheat us?”, to which I responded “You know, not all Nigerians cheat; people from your country cheat Nigerians too”.

In other words I was now lecturing Asians about how not to be anti-Black, but I got tired of it pretty quickly. I now adopt a policy of no-smiles, and no greeting until I am greeted first. I don’t care if I’m labelled rude and disrespectful but respect is mutual. I must add that this sort of behaviour is not coming from the older generation, but from the young ones. Those in their 20s and 30s.


This image is NOT a reference to any specific embassy. “Lagos, Nigeria 2007” (Photo: Paolo Woods)

This image is NOT a reference to any specific embassy. “Lagos, Nigeria 2007” (Photo: Paolo Woods)

I’ve been here for 10 months and I find that I’m exhausted emotionally and mentally. I detest coming to work and rubbing shoulders with those BlackInAsia calls “neo-colonial Asians”, a term that I would not have been comfortable using before this year. It has also become really hard for me (since I started working here) to enjoy media from this particular Asian country the way I used to.

It took a reminder from Hateya (a friend who gives me advice) that these are poor representatives of their country for me to pause and take a breather. Yet something must be said because so many Asian countries are sending bad eggs to Nigeria, and I can imagine to other African countries as well.

What does this mean for Blasian Bridges, to borrow a term from blogger Silver Tiger? What I keep seeing is the lack of kinship at best, and the dangerous idea that white people are better than Asians. We are not moving forward if Asians in African countries struggle to have the basic respect for Africans and adopt anti-Black attitudes towards us.

This article appeared originally on The Blasian Narrative and is reproduced here in edited form with the author’s permission.

Ugandan artist, Bobi Wine banned from Birmingham venue over homophobic lyrics

Source: Birminghammail

July 30, 2014 — He was reported to have told fans, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”


Ugandan Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, sparked a storm by urging fans: “All Ugandans get behind me and fight the Batty Man.”

And in his reality show, a “Keep Up With The Kardashians” style hit in Africa, Wine was seen on camera penning the lyrics: “If you’re a man, you better be a man. If you’re a girl, you better stay a girl. “Burn all the batty man.”

Drum chief executive Charles Small said: “Bobi Wine’s appearance and beliefs conflicts with The Drum ethical and equal opportunity policy.”

A spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, which provides support for the city’s LGBT community, applauded the Drum’s decision.

He said: “There can be no place for sexist or racist views that cause problems.”

The spokesman dismissed Wine’s views as simply a way of gaining “tacky publicity”.

Wine, who has three wives, was remaining defiant, despite calls to ban his performances in the UK.
He was reported to have told fans: “I know people will be opposed to me, and I’ve been banned from other countries because of my ideology of fighting gay people. “I’m proud to be fighting for the family and the culture. “Uganda does not support or allow gay people. “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Wine was to appear as part of a concert staged by Ugandan drama and music troupe, The Ebonies.

The Drum stressed its management were unaware of the controversial rapper’s views or even that he was among the line-up when the gig was arranged. “They just hired the space,” a spokesman said.

Mr Small said he had now received assurances the 32-year-old, who described himself as a role model for Uganda’s underprivileged, would not be part of the show.

He added: “The Drum will not tolerate or condone any homophobic sentiments and lyrics at any time.

“And if an artist or individual was found to be in breach of our rules while on stage or in the building the show or performance would be terminated and persons ejected from the building.”

Mr Small said he was awaiting a further guarantee the show would be free of anti-gay content.

R. Kelly Dropped From Ohio Festival After Protests

Backlash from fans forces promoters to cut ties with R&B singer.

R. Kelly's past is still haunting him. TheBlack Panties singer was slated to perform at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, over the Labor Day weekend, but has beendropped from the lineup due to protests stemming from past allegations of sexual misconduct.

Concert promoters reacted to the swarm of social media complaints calling for them to pull the Grammy-winning singer from the three-day festival. They announced their decision via Twitter on Monday.

"FMMF and R. Kelly have decided to part ways. Thank you for your support, we look forward to seeing you next month."

Kelly’s publicist released a statementsoon after the news went public. "R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours."

The controversial R&B crooner was pegged to headline the festival and perform on Aug. 29, opening day. Kelly's presence at the event did not sit well with some bands and vendors, who began to pull out from the festival due the singer's scandalous legal issues.

Kellz made headlines in 2002 when he was charged with 21 counts of making child pornography. A jury ultimately found him not guilty of the crimes in 2008, but he has been unable to escape the incident.

The singer seemingly responded to the "hate" with an Instagram post on Wednesday (July 30) featuring an image of his song "Shut Up."

"Well I'm here to tell you today boy you #Haters are so #SLOW And it saddens me to know Some of ya'll want me to go away," Kellz wrote in a lengthy message. "Well when it's time for me to go My #GOD is gonna orchestrate it all Until then I will ACCEPT the #Stones."

The show will go on without the "Cookie" singer, as the remaining acts include former Destiny's Childmember Michelle Williams.

BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus

In pursuit of trying to eliminate Africans from Africa

By Reuters; Wednesday, July 30th 2014 
The doctor leading Sierra Leone's fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country's chief medical officer said.

The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows the deaths of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease's spread across West Africa.

Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

The 39-year-old Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the Health Ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the far north of Sierra Leone.

He died on Tuesday afternoon, less than a week after his diagnosis was announced, and on the same day that President Ernest Bai Koroma was due to visit his treatment centre in the northeastern town of Kailahun.

"It is a big and irreparable loss to Sierra Leone as he was the only specialist the country had in viral haemorrhagic fevers," said the chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo.

Weak health systems are struggling to contain the disease despite international help ranging from doctors to safety equipment.

The West African airline Asky has suspended flights to and from Sierra Leone and Liberia as concern over the spread of the virus has increased since the first death was reported last week in Nigeria's coastal city of Lagos, home to 21 million people.

Togo-based Asky said it would no longer take on food in Guinea, where the outbreak was first identified. It said that passengers leaving the Guinean capital Conakry would be checked for signs of the disease before departure.

The airline added that medical teams would be deployed to screen passengers in transit through its Lome hub. The victim was a Liberian who travelled to Nigeria on Asky via Lome.

Nigeria's largest carrier, Arik Air, has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola risk.

The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent although the disease can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it.

On Monday, a U.S. administration official said President Barack Obama was receiving updates and noted that U.S. agencies had stepped up assistance to help contain the virus.

Double blow for CORD as push to remove IEBC team fails

But what made them think they had the slightest chance?

By Wilfred Ayaga
Wednesday, July 30th 2014 
The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) Wednesday suffered a double blow after the House rejected attempts by its members to present a minority report alongside one that had dismissed a petition calling for the removal of nine Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) commissioners.

The Jubilee-dominated House went ahead to debate and vote on the main report, with Speaker Justin Muturi ruling that the dissenting views of the members had been well captured in the report tabled by the House Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

The ruling by the Speaker opened the way for a heated debate on the main report, with CORD MPs standing their ground that the committee, chaired by Samuel Chepkonga, had erred in dismissing the petition by Wafula Buke.

The petition had called for the removal of nine commissioner of the electoral body, among them Chairman Isaak Hassan.

Nine grounds

Buke had presented nine grounds for the removal of the commissioners, chief among them being that they had demonstrated incurable incompetence in their conduct during the 2013 General Election.

Buke relied on materials that were presented before the Supreme Court and argued that their content provided enough grounds for the removal of the commissioners.

In their defence, the commissioners dismissed the petition and told the committee that the allegations against them were vague and had failed to pinpoint specific acts that would warrant their removal from office.

Chepkonga said the committee provided Buke with enough opportunity to present his case.

CORD MPs, who registered their dissent on the report included Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay), David Ochieng’ (Ugenya), Christine Ombaka (Siaya) and Agostino Neto (Ndhiwa).

In their dissenting opinion, the CORD MPs claimed the commission’s report presented to the National Assembly on July 18 contained results which were either omitted or falsified.

Majority Leader Adan Duale supported the committee report and faulted the opposition in its call for a referendum to disband the IEBC.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Indian girl crosses red line to win Bukusu soulmate

The Standard


Wednesday, July 30th 2014 
Timothy Khamala having a light moment with Sarika during the interview. 

Webuye, Kenya: There’s much to be said of the popular adage “love conquers all” at least for two unlikely lovebirds – Sarika Patel, 24, and Timothy Khamala, 25.

It has the look of a clip off Hindu romantic movies or better still a chapter in a book of fairy tales, except that the woman is of Asian extraction and the man a proud Bukusu.

Many would find it difficult to fathom but nothing would underscore the reality than the popular adage “love is blind” than this romantic epic playing out somewhere in Western Kenya.

Whereas love is no respecter of racial boundaries, this one has stretched the parameters for the Asian folks where marriage is confined within the community and select families. Whereas it is not stated openly, Asian families, even those born in Kenya, frown at relationships between their boys or girls and ordinary “black” Kenyans.

Cases of suicide have been reported among Asian families whose children have crossed this red line. But as it seems, a gush of love from an Asian girl is shattering this myth as she takes a Bukusu soulmate in an affair she has come to treat as a matter of life and death.

Dramatic was the meeting between Sarika and soft-spoken Khamala.

Theirs was a love bred in the remote village of Nangina in Webuye, one that has swam against the torrents of race, colour, religion and even more, social stratification.
“This is the man of my dreams, he knows how to love and it is him that will be the father of my unborn children. I love him with all my life,” stated a determined Sarika when The Standard visited their home.

It is chilly and rainy evening when we met the two lovebirds. Moments earlier, we learnt that Sarika’s relatives had just left their homestead trying to unpluck her from the village.

They left crestfallen, probably resigned to the fact that they had failed miserably and soon the relationship will be complicated by the entrance of children. 

She stuck to her guns and refused to leave the love of her life. This is her new home, she stresses. But just what lured the young woman to the poor casual labourer with quite a humble background?

Khamala lives in a beat-up and scruffy hut and inside there is just a squeaky bed.

How a daughter of a wealthy business magnate would fall for a poor Bukusu man is something that has left many intrigued because of the line in the old dance hall song, "there is no romance without finance".

The tycoon

Sarika is the daughter of Chabbadia Patel, the owner of several business enterprises in Western Kenya. She is the fourth-born in a family of seven. Those close to the family say she is her father’s favourite.

“You touch her, you touch his father’s heart and that she is here I am sure the father is boiling hot,” confided a family friend.

Sarika first met Khamala when he came to work at their family business enterprise in Webuye as a casual labourer.

Today, however, Khamala no longer works at Sarika’s family premises. He was long reprimanded and sent home for falling in love with a family way above his class.

“I do not have a job right now, they sent me away. I am currently thinking hard on how I will get money to take care of my love and our daughter,” says Khamala

And this is how Sarika recalls first meeting Khamala. “I liked him the moment I saw him. I remember he was washing my father’s vehicle. They were two of them washing the vehicle and I remember ejecting the other fellow just to be closer to Timothy. I was crazy I tell you,” said Sarika during the interview.

She added: “He is the most understanding man I have ever met, he makes me feel like a woman, he is my second love but definitely unmatched by the first. He is golden,” says Sarika.

It has not been all rosy though for the lovebirds with opposition emanating from all quarters, especially from her family.

“We have known each other for four years, and it has been dramatic. My parents do not support the relationship. They have on more than one occasion tried to unhook me from my fiancé. This has been in vain because we love each other,” says Sarika.

Khamala is a palpably shy Bukusu young man and right now is the talk of the village.

“I have met ladies, but this one is sent from above. I remember I tried resisting her, fearing that her family would kill me but not anymore. I love her,” declares Khamala.

Even more surprising, she has adopted Khamala’s daughter from his first marriage. Khamala broke up with his first wife when the daughter was a toddler. Sarika took up the task of feeding, washing and rearing the girl.

“This is my very own blood, I fed her like my own and now she is my daughter and I am proud of her,” declared Sarika.

An easy-going Sarika exudes confidence as she goes about her chores.

She bonds well with her mother-in-law Evelyn Khamala who has taught her the Bukusu dialect and she is learning slowly.

“It is quite difficult to adapt to this kind of life, I must admit. I was born and brought up in a wealthy family. However, I am comfortable living in this beaten up hut. I adore this love than riches,” she said.

Khamala’s mother says, when Sarika came, at first she was afraid of the Indian culture and she even tried discouraging his son but later on she came to accept her
“My daughter-in-law is very different despite coming from a rich family. She is very down-to-earth, and takes care of me like her mother. She does house chores for me like washing clothes and cooking. She even helped me in planting maize in my shamba,” said the mother.

Sarika was born in Mukumu, started schooling at Webuye Kindergarten and proceeded to Booker Academy for her O-levels. Later on, she joined several schools in Nairobi before returning home to manage her father’s businesses.

Some villagers have even started proffering theories, some claiming Khamala may have used "black" magic to win the Asian beauty.

Interestingly though, Khamala tells us that it was Sarika who in fact first approached him and not the other way round.

He tells us that he was first approached by Sarika while washing their car. She asked for his number but he was too afraid to give it out. For him, he thought this was an ingenious scheme to have him fired from his workplace.

“There was no way I was going to give out my number. To my disbelief, however, she traced it through a friend,” reveals Khamala.

He reiterates culture does not matter and parents should know that.

He advises youth to tread carefully before getting into a relationship in order to identify genuine love.

“Sarika’s parents have tried taking her away but she keeps coming back. What surprises me is that for every occasion we met, she has kept some special stones for remembrance. Even the clothes she wore when we first met, she has kept them religiously,” Khamala states.

Mama Evelyn urges parents to support their children when they get ready for marriage and avoid undermining their decisions.

Kenyan girls to sue British Airways over abuse by pilot

The StandardBritish Airways

Girls and young women who allege they were sexually abused by a British Airways (BA) pilot in African schools and orphanages plan to sue the airline, a law firm representing them said on Wednesday.

Lawyers argue that BA should be held responsible for the actions of First Officer Simon Wood who carried out the alleged crimes during stopovers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Wood, 54, was found dead after being hit by a train in August 2013, two weeks before he was due in court on charges of indecent assault and making indecent photos of a child.

“We allege that Wood was able to abuse the victims, by reason of his employment with the airline, in particular through his involvement with the airlines’ community relations work,” said Nichola Marshall, a lawyer at Leigh Day which is representing 16 alleged victims aged from eight to 20.

“The schools and orphanages that our clients attended were all in receipt of charitable donations from the airline, and Wood played a key role in administering those donations, on behalf of British Airways.”

A team from the law firm would meet with other possible victims in Kenya and Uganda in the coming weeks, she said.

“We were shocked and horrified to hear the allegations against Simon Wood, which appear to relate to his involvement in child-related activities entirely outside the scope of his employment with British Airways,” BA said in a statement.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere says sorry for smoking and it won’t happen again

Steve Brenner in New York 
26 July 2014 

Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, talks to Jack Wilshere during a training session.
Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, talks to Jack Wilshere during a training session. Photograph: Stuart Macfarlane/Arsenal FC
Jack Wilshere has apologised for the “unacceptable” images of him smoking in a Las Vegas swimming pool this month and has said it will never happen again. The 22-year-old Arsenal and England midfielder, who was pictured outside a nightclub with a cigarette in his mouth last season, is well aware of his responsibilities as a role model and a parent and knows such incidents cannot keep occurring.

Arsène Wenger is understood to be relaxed about the pictures but he will remind Wilshere again about the ramifications of a highly paid athlete caught smoking.

Speaking before Saturday night’s friendly against the New York Red Bulls, the midfielder was desperately sorry for his actions and knows grave errors of judgment have been made. “I regret it. I’ve been seen before doing it. I said then I made a mistake and I made a mistake again,” Wilshere said. “People make mistakes. I’m young, I’ll learn from it. I realise the consequences it has and the effect on kids growing up. I have kids and I don’t want them growing up to think their dad smokes and it’s OK for a footballer to smoke because it’s not. It’s unacceptable and I will accept the consequences and move on.

“It does motivate me to try harder in training and not just in training; it motivates me to improve because a lot of people start to talk, people who don’t know me but want to have an opinion, and it is down to me to let my feet do the talking.

“This is a big season for me. I came back early to pre-season to show people my commitment. I am fully committed to the club and to my job and I want to show everyone that.”

The pictures of Wilshere smoking were condemned by many who are worried that he is failing to live up to expectations following a season hampered by injury. Certainly the arrivals of the Chilean Alexis Sánchez from Barcelona and the France full-back Mathieu Debuchy have givenArsenal fans cause for optimism, a view shared by Wilshere.

“I think over the past few seasons I’ve had a few injuries. I know I’ve got going, had to stop and get going again,” he added. “This season I’m looking to have a really great pre-season and get a really good base of fitness and take that into the season.

“The new signings have definitely given us a lift. It has been different this year. Normally I’m on holiday and we don’t make signings, we make them a little later. But this year we’ve been really positive and gone into the market and got a couple of really great players.”