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AANA BULLETIN No. 03/03, January 27, 2003 (c)

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Sun, 26 Jan 2003 20:39:38 -0800

AANA BULLETIN No. 03/03, January 27, 2003 (c)

All Africa News Agency
TEL: (254 2) 442215 FAX: (254 2)445847/443241

AANA Bulletin
Editor - Mitch Odero

Bulletin APTA
Acting Editor - Silvie Alemba


Rot That Nearly Brought Education To A Standstill

The jostling for room in primary schools in Kenya has exposed rot that has 
in the past two decades nearly brought the education sector to its knees. 
Our writer Pedro Shipepechero unveils details of a research carried out 
last year on the sector here, that reveal corrupt deals that the previous 
regime nurtured within the education ministry.

Since the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) waived all levies in primary 
education after it took over power in December last year, enrolment rate in 
primary schools has dramatically shot up. Some schools have been forced to 
register pupils way above their capacity.

In the process, there have been claims of bribery, with some rich and 
influential individuals trying to bribe education officials to have their 
children enrolled in schools that are otherwise meant for the poor.  This 
kind of rush brings to the fore the murky side of the education sector in 
Kenya, created by the past regime.

A research carried out last year by the Centre for Law and Research 
International (Clarion) shows that misuse of funds allocated to the 
Ministry of Education during the previous regime was partly to blame for 
the decline in school enrolment over the years.

The decline peaked in 1997 when records showed that more than four million 
pupils had quit school to seek employment opportunities.

According to the research, the Ksh1 billion (US$ 12.8 million) allocated to 
the Ministry of Education to assist needy children ended up benefiting 
those whose parents could afford to pay for their education.

"Even though the money allocated is not sufficient, it ends up in corrupt 
hands and is misappropriated," says the eighth issue of the report titled 
Kenya: The State of Corruption, published last December.

The report blames the absence of a proper accounting system in government 
schools, which it says, enabled officers at the ministry to pinch with 
impunity, funds meant for assisting needy children.

The outcome of the pilferage has been a reduction in the gross enrolment 
rates. Children who could not afford school levies dropped out. Most of 
them, according to the research, ended up being employed as child labourers 
on coffee, tea, sisal and sugarcane farms, or became domestic workers.

  "In spite of the fact that corruption within the bursary disbursement 
regime has often been highlighted in the press, it has not elicited much 
attention from the government," says the report, in reference to the 
previous government.

Clarion places the Ministry of Education in third place in a list of 
corrupt government departments. The Office of the President and the 
Ministry of Local Government are placed first and second in that order.

"The ever declining gross enrolment rates partly signify the crisis the 
education sector is facing. Official statistics show that [enrolment] in 
primary schools declined from 93.9 percent in 1999 to 91.2  percent in 
2001, states the report.

It adds: "Over the same period, completion rate of primary education stood 
at 49.8 percent, while progression (transition) rate to secondary education 
was at 46.2 percent, reflecting a high drop-out rate."

Last week, an official in the Ministry of Education who declined to be 
named, told AANA/APTA that while the content of the report was "authentic", 
it was only a tip of the iceberg.

"The mushrooming of private schools in Kenya and the non-expansion of 
government institutions reflect the extent to which corruption had eaten 
into the sector that is charged with the development of human resource," 
said the official.

According to the report, so unimaginative are the fraudsters at the 
ministry that they do not make any attempts to hide their ills. "In one of 
the numerous unearthed cases, the fraudsters successfully swindled 
Ksh780,000 (US$10,000) by making out cheques in the name of 26 students of 
[a school in Coast Province] who had died in a fire tragedy on March 25, 
1998," says the report.

The 26 students "received" Ksh30,000 (US$385) each. This money, the report 
points out, was part of the Ksh 264 million (US$33.9 million) that was paid 
out in questionable circumstances as bursaries in a period spanning four

Translated into real support for schools, the Ministry of Education 
official said, that amount of money was enough to construct 1,056 fully 
equipped classrooms.

In another instance of theft of public resources by officers in the 
education ministry, 10 cheques of Ksh15,000 (US$ 192) each, bearing 
consecutive serial numbers, were made out to one student in 10 different 

The official further told AANA/APTA that the new government could provide 
free education to all children in the country if probity was enhanced in 
the sector. He said that officials at all levels should be compelled to 
declare their wealth and that of their next of kin, to make education for 
all a reality in Kenya.

"The resources are there, only that they are poorly managed, denying would 
be beneficiaries an opportunity to develop their talents" he noted.

Although education bursaries were meant to pay for the education of needy 
children in primary and secondary schools, the report says some college and 
university students with connections within the ministry also benefited 
from the scheme.

In one such circumstance, notes the reports, a former Nairobi town clerk 
paid university fees for his two daughters with money illegally secured 
from the bursary fund.

Given this kind of scenario, says the report, "The general perception is 
that it is next to impossible to win such scholarships unless one has 
'connections.'"  In some cases, political considerations take precedence in 
the awarding of bursaries, most of the time going against procedure.

An example outlined in the report is a case in which a former Nairobi mayor 
helped himself to Ksh1.5 million, which he donated during a funds-drive as 
a campaign strategy.

The money was withdrawn from the Nairobi City Council bursary account. 
Despite such blatant breach of procedure, he was not apprehended, let alone 

The findings reveal that officers at the education ministry headquarters 
unprocedurally allocated money to undeserving students, mostly sons and 
daughters of their relatives and friends, who in return "kicked-back" with 
gifts and money in appreciation. In some cases, the money was allocated to 
what the report calls "ghost students," only to end up in the officers' 

Despite the rot, which had been brought to the attention of senior 
education officials, the past government had been lethargic in putting in 
place measures to correct the mess.

The move initiated by former president Daniel arap Moi to audit public 
primary schools in 2002 to rid the sector of corruption and exploitation 
by  head teachers, never got far. To date, accounts of more than 5,292 
institutions in the country have not been audited.

Are Africans Guinea Pigs In Genetic Research?

The issue of Genetically Modified (GM) foods recently generated unpleasant 
exchanges between the West and Africa, when food donations from the USA to 
starving countries in southern Africa were found to be genetically 
altered.  Africa accused the West of attempting to use its unfortunate 
population as guinea pigs in pursuit of scientific research.  But what 
really are GM foods and why is there so much controversy around them? While 
seeking to answer this, AANA Correspondent Joyce Mulama highlights opinions 
expressed by the Church and those put forward by scientists.

In simple terms, scientists define GM foods as products of a process of 
genetic engineering involving artificial transfer of genes from one 
organism to another, in an attempt to improve yield, quality and taste.

But because the process involves interference with the natural genetic 
make-up of organisms, it has been viewed with lots of suspicion, 
particularly by third world states.

A good reference point would be the recent controversies surrounding 
donations of GM foods in parts of southern Africa, where a food crisis in 
countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, 
elicited international attention.

Severe famine in the region darkened the lives of about 15 million people, 
forcing their governments to turn to western nations for aid. Western 
relief agencies are said to have responded with quick donations of 
foodstuffs a few months back.

These however, turned out to have been genetically modified substances, 
creating bitter exchanges between the affected countries and the western 

While the starving countries maintained their ground that they would not 
accept GM foods, the donors are reported to have given them ultimatums 
amounting to "either make use of GM foods or starve to death".

An interesting case in point is a complicated agreement signed between USA 
and Zimbabwe three months ago. In the agreement, Zimbabwe was expected to 
swap naturally grown maize with genetically modified maize from USA.

According to media reports, the agreement was to enable 17,000 tonnes of 
genetically modified maize from USA to be exchanged with the same quantity 
of naturally grown grain from Zimbabwe.

But Zimbabwe quickly made an about-turn and objected to the issue, arguing 
that the GM food was unfit for human consumption.  In any case, Zimbabwe 
was faced with insufficient stocks of maize.

Zambia is also undergoing a similar experience. With its population of ten 
million, about 2.5 million people are facing starvation. Over 21,000 tonnes 
of food is required monthly to feed them.

Mid last year, President Levy Mwanawasa sent out an appeal for food aid to 
the international community. Again, USA donated GM maize. Regardless of the 
starvation, the president rejected the food, describing it as "poison".

The government then set up a commission to investigate validity of the 
donated GM foods, a move meant to demonstrate its concern over the safety 
of the population.

The commission later came up with findings that concurred with the 
president's  rejection of the food. It described GM foods as fatal to human 
beings, with a high risk of interfering with the local genetic composition 
of maize if introduced to the soil.

An interview with a cross section of Kenyans reveals that many people do 
not quite understand the technology behind genetically modified foods. "All 
I know is that these are dangerous foods which are harmful to the body and 
have been introduced in the continent by the West," says one Emmanuel

Others have not even heard of the term. "I have never heard of what you are 
asking me, what animal is it, tell me," say Benson Watambi.

Head of Research and Development at the All Africa Conference of Churches, 
Dr Kunijwok Kwawang feels that the technology of genetic engineering is an 
experiment by the west. "The process of experimenting on us has turned us 
into guinea pigs," he says.

"This is a continuation of the slave trade in a modern form, including 
slavery of the mind, where they have made us believe that West is best", he 

Dr Kunijwok says the long-term effect of this technology is not known and 
that the West is taking advantage of natural disasters in Africa such as 
drought and famine, to "force these foods down the throats of Africans".

He asserts that the West, who are custodians of this project are in 
business, and "the human-well being is not considered when people are out 
to make money".

Dr Kunijwok underlines the need for the African Union (AU) to come out and 
question on behalf of African nations, the safety of GM foods. "This is the 
time for AU as a voice of Africa to stand up and save its children," he

Genetic engineering also lacks the backing of the Church as an entity. The 
bone of contention is the manipulation of genetic make-up of organisms. 
Christians feel that scientists are trying to 'play' God.
Many argue that altering genetic composition of an organism is not the role 
of mankind but of God.

A senior pastor of Gospel Lighthouse Church in Kenya, Josiah Syanda says 
the Church has a responsibility of standing up for the rights of people and 
protecting lives.

"The repercussions of these foods have not yet been established... The 
Church has a responsibility of investigating until it is satisfied that 
people using GM foods are protected from destruction," says Syanda.

He says the Church must rise up and guard against any injustices. "When you 
manufacture a product with the intention of gaining at the expense of other 
people's  health simply because they are hungry and poor, and do not have 
the machinery to verify the safety of your products, this is injustice," he 

But scientists differ.	A biotechnologist at the Kenya Agricultural 
Research Institute, Dr Christopher Ngichabe, says genetic engineering is 
making rapid entry into agriculture, and that there is need for governments 
to disseminate information about the technology. "People need to understand 
that this technology has many advantages," he says.

Before the advent of this technology, Ngichabe says, there was so much 
spraying of crops with pesticides, irrigation and many more additional 
costs. "Sprays are dangerous to the environment as well as to the 
user.  Irrigation is an expensive business.  Basically, genetic engineering 
is a much safer, farmer friendly and an easier process," he elaborates.

He goes on: "When we are talking of food security and poverty alleviation, 
this technology is the way forward".

Nevertheless, some analysts are of the view that in the midst of the 
enthusiasm for genetic engineering, there has been almost no consideration 
for critical reflection on whether it is appropriate for African 
agricultural systems, and its implications thereafter.

Tracing The Genesis Of Bahutu-Batutsi Hatred

Unknown to many, the mood of intolerance, hatred and animosity begun to 
emerge in Rwanda and Burundi in the early 1960's in a very unpredictable 
manner.  It matured over the years and later resulted in the ghastly 
genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. Our writer, Geoffrey H. Kaiza, a Burundian 
journalism student living in Kenya, reports that former colonial masters 
could have a share of blame for the Bahutu/Batutsi conflict in the two 
Eastern Africa countries.

Tribal clashes, carried out in the tiny and twin countries of Rwanda and 
Burundi have taken many lives. The  weak and the strong, the young and the 
old have all not been spared.

The background of deep hatred between Bahutu and Batutsi of Rwanda and 
Burundi, is traced back to the colonial times shortly after the Berlin 
Conference in 1884.

After the partition of Africa, Germany established colonial rule in both 
Rwanda and Burundi. Unfortunately, the defeat of Germany in the First World 
War allowed Belgium to take control of the countries.  At that time, 
Belgian people were well known to be the most divided society.

The Belgian society was stratified into castes. The Walloons were nobles, 
whereas the Flemish were considered lower class people.  There was hatred 
between the two.  This was exported and could not be hidden in their 
colonies of Rwanda and Burundi.

Meanwhile, around the Sixteenth Century, the kingdom of Rwanda-Urundi was 
one of the most organised states in East Africa.  Despite being stratified 
into three major ethnic groups, there was no ethnic hatred.

The Batutsi, who were pastoralists, formed the royal family. The Bahutu, on 
the other hand, were simply agriculturalists, while the small Batwa tribe 
were hunters and potters.

Although the ruling class was the Batutsi in Rwanda and Burundi, only a 
minority of Batutsi were nobles and rulers. Most were poor and benefited 
little materially from the caste system.

Social mobility and intermarriage blurred the caste distinctions. The 
division became more of class than ethnicity.

Despite some minor differences, Bahutu and Batutsi coexisted 
amicably.  Matters of concern were sorted out peacefully by a council of 
elders, whose members were drawn from both sides.

When the Belgians came however, they introduced the policy of "divide and 
rule" to control and exploit the enormous natural and human resources in 

In Rwanda for instance, they introduced education for the Batutsi 
only.	By so doing, Belgians advanced the Batutsi at the expense of the 
Bahutu. Consequently, only learned Batutsi were given good jobs. The 
Belgians did this to create hatred between Bahutu and Batutsi. It worked.

The majority Bahutu, who felt oppressed, went violent and expelled Batutsi 
from Rwanda during the years of 1959 to 1973.

This can be considered the beginning of an uprising that led to the horrors 
of 1993 and 1994 genocide in Burundi and Rwanda respectively. It was a 
question of monopoly of power by the minority Batutsi, against the wishes 
of the majority Bahutu.

In 1959, events began to run out of control. King Mutara Rudahigwa of 
Rwanda died mysteriously while on a visit to Bujumbura in Burundi. In 
August the same year, the first political party was formed under the name 
Union Nationale Rwandaise -UNAR (Rwandese National Union).

Though it included some Bahutu, it was pro-monarchy, pro-Tutsi, and anti 
Belgian. In October that year, UNAR was countered by the formation of the 
Movement for Emancipation of Bahutu.

UNAR activists attacked a Bahutu sub-chief who was a key figure in 
Permehutu Party. In retaliation, the Bahutu attacked Tutsi chiefs who 
belonged to UNAR. Rwanda's communal violence had begun.

Across the country, Bahutu militias armed with machetes and bows and 
arrows, set fire on thousands of huts belonging to Batutsi, killing 
mercilessly all Batutsi leaders. Women and children were not spared. 
Several hundreds of thousands of people died, while many of those who 
survived went on exile in neighbouring countries.

Later, the colonial masters switched support to Bahutu through what was 
called Bahutu Manifesto, which focused on criticising the social, economic 
and political monopoly of the Batutsi elite.

In 1962, the Bahutu staged a revolution and seized power.  Many Batutsis 
went on exile. Those who managed to reach the border were allowed into the 
relatively peaceful Burundi.

 From Burundi, they launched several attacks through the armed wing of UNAR 
known as Inyenzi (the cockroach) to destabilise the Bahutu regime of 
Kigali, Rwanda. Pressure begun to mount between Kigali and Bujumbura.

In 1963, Prince Louis Rwagasore, son of King Mwanbutsa, was shot dead by 
Kageorgis, a mercenary hired by the Belgian colonial power. This shocking 
event occurred one year after Rwanda and Burundi got their independence.

In 1966, the kingdom of Muramvya in Burundi was attacked by angry Bahutu 
armed with machetes and clubs. Six years later, the Batutsi government of 
Burundi led by Lt Colonel Michael Micombero, carried out an unprecedented 
massacre against Bahutu people. The main target was the educated class.

Thousands of the Bahutu perished in the genocide. The horrors followed an 
alleged aborted coup of 1972 masterminded by a group of top Bahutu army 
commanders against the Tusti government.

Tension continued to mount between Kigali and Bujumbura. Abusive languages 
were aired on radio in Rwanda and Burundi as a result of deep hatred 
between President Gregory  Kayibanda (Bahutu) of Rwanda and Lt Michael 
Micombero (Batutsi) of Burundi.

Conflicts erupted in Burundi with the assassination of President Ndadaye 
alongside other government officials.

The Bahutu went on the offensive, tying their Batutsi neighbours with ropes 
and hacking them to death. The unforgiving Batutsi soldiers then marched 
into Bahutu villages, causing hundreds of thousands of Bahutu peasants to 
flee from their homes.

On April 6, 1994, President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien 
Ntaryamira of Burundi were shot down in Kigali.  They had come from Arusha, 
where they had gone to sign a peace agreement between the government and 
the Rwandan Patriotic Front-RPF (then a rebel group).

The horror that engulfed Rwanda was about to begin. Bahutu military blamed 
RPF and instigated widespread, horrific massacres of innocent 
Batutsi.  Many believe that what they did was in revenge of what had 
happened to them some years ago.

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