From the Worldwide Faith News archives

All Africa News BULLETIN No. 07/03 February 24, 2003 (B)

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 27 Feb 2003 18:04:25 -0800

All Africa News BULLETIN No. 07/03  February 24, 2003 (B)

P. O Box, 66878, 00800 Westlands, NAIROBI, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-4442215, 4440224
Fax: 254-2-4445847, 4443241
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AANA Bulletin	  Acting  Editor -Elly Wamari				     
Bulletin APTA	Acting Editor - Silvie Alemba

Youth In Africa Express Need For Peace Formula

BUJUMBURA (AANA) February 24 - The World Student Christian Federation 
(WSCF) has appealed to politicians and church leaders to invest more 
efforts in war against ethnic violence and political unrest in Burundi and 
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At a seven-day peace building workshop held here from February 2, 31 
participants from Burundi, Rwanda and DRC, condemned the killings of 
innocent people during fights between rebels and government forces in the 

They expressed strong determination to promote a culture of peace through 
dialogue among the youth, and to put in place mechanisms that would allow 
them to manage conflict ideologies "peacefully and wisely".

They noted that since it was the youth that perpetrators of war used to 
execute their missions, the same youth could be instrumental in making peace.

Modeste Mfashwanayo, the WSCF  Executive  Secretary for  Africa region, 
revealed to AANA at the end of the workshop that they would carry out a 
study to understand how conflicts worked, and by so doing, develop 
preventive machinery.

In his presentation, Modeste intimated that conflicts were part of human 
nature and therefore inevitable in any society.

He noted that whenever conflict occurred, peaceful resolution ought to be 
the way out. "When conflicts arise, a wise person will adopt a positive 
attitude, because peace-building is a process of high quality 
relationship," he said.

The youth leader explained that any potential conflict, be it tribal, 
linguistic, social, political, economic or religious, needed some proactive 
measures that were peacefully managed, before it became a crisis.

Meanwhile, Burundi peace negotiations in South Africa, gained some mileage 
on February 12, when two rebel leaders agreed to resolve their differences.

Sources say that Hutu rebel leaders, Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye of Forces 
for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) and Alain Mugabarabona of the National 
Liberation Front (FNL) jointly flew to Bujumbura shortly after signing a 
peace deal.

Their joint entry into the capital, has rekindled hope that peace may soon 
prevail in the country.

Reported by Geoffrey H. Kaiza

Namibia Again Proposes A Power Project On Okavango

WINDHOEK/MAUN(AANA) February 24 - Namibia has unveiled plans to use the 
Okavango River to generate electricity to improve power supply in its 
marginalised eastern region of Caprivi, 1,200 kilometres from the capital, 
Windhoek.  The plan has once again caused some controversy.

Namibia's power utility, NamPower, has been awarded the tender for a 
pre-feasibility study of the hydroelectric potential at the top tourist 
areas of Popa Falls on the river.

Through the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission, Botswana and 
Angolan, who also share the river, have given Namibia the go-ahead to 
investigate the proposal.

"Since 1990 Caprivi region has been supplied [with power] from .... 
Livingstone (southern Zambia)," says John Langford, NamPower's programme 

"The electricity demand in the region has recently outstripped supply, and 
the last alternative would be to develop a hydropower scheme at Popa 
Falls," he adds.

He says the proposed hydropower facility, known as Divundu Hydro Power 
Project, would have the capacity to generate between 20 and 30 Mega Watts 
of electricity, and that the flow of the Okavango River will not be 

The pre-feasibility study at the site begun last October, and is scheduled 
to be completed in July.

But the plan has once again shocked environmentalists, who say it could 
spell the end of aquatic life in Okavango's delta region across Botswana's 
north-western resort towns of Maun and Shakawe.

In 1969, the Namibian government had to abandon a similar project after it 
emerged that it was not feasible.

The International River Network (IRN), a wetland conservation organisation, 
believes that "the most alarming threat" is to the 100,000 people living in 
the Okavango delta region and the spectacular wetlands, pools and dryland 
forests which supports a US$ 70-million tourist industry.

Scientists fear huge erosion will take place as a result of the 
hydroelectric scheme, and that the delta will not recover for between 130 
and 200 years if the river is tampered with.

"It is difficult to predict what the knock-on effects will be in the delta 
itself but whatever they are, it is clear they will last for a long time", 
says Professor Spike McCarthy, a hydrologist at South Africa's University 
of Witwatersrand.

Sediment is transported by the river and is vital to the functioning of the 
delta downstream, playing a key role in maintaining the varied and 
productive nature of this inland oasis, the world's largest.

Besides supplying the Caprivi region, the proposed hydropower project is 
expected to benefit southeastern Angola, northwest Botswana and parts of 

The Okavango River, which flows from Angola, drifts for 50 kilometres 
across Namibian territory before entering Botswana. Namibia does not 
contribute any water to the river because of its perennial droughts. It is 
in Botswana where the effects would be felt.

Over 50,000 tourists visit the delta every year, and Maun has been 
identified as the focus point in Botswana's government effort to diversify 
the economy from diamonds to tourism.

The project has sent shock waves through Maun's businessmen, safari 
operators and residents who already anticipate a bleak future.

In early February, at a meeting organised by EcoServ Botswana, one of the 
companies involved in the pre-feasibility studies, they urged the Namibian 
government to consider other options of power generation, such as wind and 

Reported by Rodrick Mukumbira

Law Should Be Enforced To Curb FGM, Say Activists

NAIROBI (AANA) February 24 - The National Focal Point, a network of 
organisations against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, has called 
upon the government to urgently implement the Children's Act of 2001, 
prioritising the section on FGM.

The call comes after a reported escalation in the number of cases of young 
girls being forced to flee their homes in order to escape female 
circumcision and early marriages.

At a press conference here on February 18, the organisation's Programme 
Officer, Habil Oloo, said that although protection of young girls from 
harmful rites was a major milestone achieved with the enactment of the 
Children's Act, the government needed to put in more efforts to stop FGM 
and early marriages.

He explained that rescue centres were overflowing with girls running away 
from their homes, and that it was proving impossible to cope with the 
increasing number.

  "By girls taking refuge away from their homes, the family unit is slowly 
but unintentionally being broken," Oloo pointed out. He noted that girls 
needed to be nurtured by their parents or guardians, and not in rescue

Addressing the press on the same day, Mrs Priscilla Nangurai, a 
headmistress at a girls school in Kajiado town (approximately 110Km from 
Nairobi), regretted that there were many girls who did not know who to turn 
to when faced with circumcision or early marriages.

Kajiado town is inhabited mainly by the Maasai community, who are notorious 
for forced early marriages.  The community also has the second highest FGM 
prevalence rate in the country.  89 percent of Maasai girls go through this 

Nangurai has rescued over 120 girls. She is currently sheltering 40, who 
have run away from their homes to escape FGM and early marriages.

One of the girls, 14-year-old Jedida Nkadayo, gave a heart-rending account 
of how she was circumcised in 1997, and thereafter forced by her father 
into marriage with an old man. "I was circumcised because in Maasai 
culture, you can't give out a girl if she is not circumcised," she said.

"I stayed with the man for three days and ran away with the help of my 
mother, who had reported the matter to the area chief," she went on.

Research reveals that as efforts to eliminate FGM intensify, perpetrators 
of the rite are getting cleverer by the day. Julie Maranya, an anti-FGM 
activist, said that among the Kisii community in western Kenya, where she 
comes from, girls are normally circumcised between ages 12-16.

"But parents have now realised that at these ages, the girl will have been 
sensitised on the dangers of FGM, and are now starting to circumcise at six 
years," she said.

The Kisii have the highest prevalence rate of FGM in Kenya (97 percent).

The National Focal Point is appealing to the government to introduce 
regular medical checks on all girls in FGM prone areas.

The aim will be to monitor and take to task, parents who are still 
promoting the practice. "In the event that a girl was 'uncut' in one term 
and the next term she is circumcised, the parent or guardians should be 
prosecuted," Oloo asserted.

Reported by Joyce Mulama

Amnesty Wants Tormentors Charged, Victims Indemnified

NAIROBI (AANA) February 24 - Amnesty International has called upon Kenya's 
newly elected government to commit itself to the fundamental rights and 
freedoms of people as enshrined in both domestic and international treaties.

Spurred by recent disclosure of infamous torture chambers at a government 
building in Nairobi (Nyayo House), the human rights organisation urged the 
government to bring to book, perpetrators of torture, and to make provision 
for compensation of survivors of the acts.

In a memorandum issued February 18 to coincide with the state opening of 
Kenya's Ninth Parliament, the organisation challenged the new government to 
make a clear statement that it would not tolerate torture and ill treatment 
by police.

The previous regime had designed chambers for torture of alleged critics of 
government, particularly during the period prior to re-introduction of 
multi-party politics in 1991. Survivors of the tortures recently disclosed 
their experiences in the chambers.

The human rights agency nevertheless praised the government for the 
positive signs it had shown to abolish the death penalty and to protect the 
rights of street children.

Further, the agency asked the government to institute an independent body 
to investigate cases of human rights abuses described in Akiwumi Commission 
report (on 1991 ethnic cleansing in Rift Valley Province), as well as all 
political assassinations and disappearances.

Amnesty recommended that those found responsible for committing human 
rights abuses be prosecuted, saying that failure to do so would send wrong 
signals that perpetrators could continue to act with impunity.

Through the memorandum, the rights body also added voice to calls for a new 
constitution, urging the government to prioritise the constitutional reform 

Reported by Joseph K'Amolo

Presidential Speech Sets The Tempo For 'Second Liberation'

NAIROBI (AANA) February 24 - Kenya's Ninth Parliament opened February18, 
officially clearing the path for implementation of visions of the National 
Rainbow Coalition (NARC) government.

The colourful ceremony was marked by a comprehensive presidential speech, 
containing details of the way the government intended to move in pledges 
made by NARC during campaigns in the run-up to elections last year.

Saying the occasion heralded "second liberation" for Kenya, President Mwai 
Kibaki reiterated the government's commitment to uphold the tenets of good 
governance. "Good governance is the key objective of the NARC government, 
for [it] creates the latent potential of our people," he said.

"A pillar of this is to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in Kenya... 
This should be our most enduring legacy as a government," he went on.

To drive this point home further, the president pointed out the 
government's commitment to complete the stalled constitutional review 
process.  "Constitutional review process is central to all my government's 
objectives," he said

"The new constitution will create the legal framework and institutions that 
will give life to the principles of democracy - accountability, 
transparency and social justice," he explained.

Promising zero tolerance on corruption, President Kibaki said his 
government will implement policies to bring the ailing economy back on 
track.	Legislation to monitor conduct of public officials will be enacted 
in parliament and an anti-corruption authority with powers to prosecute 

Kenya's economy has been growing at a rate below 0.2 percent. High interest 
rates, inflationary tendencies, dilapidated infrastructure and corruption 
have been raised as reasons for such poor performance.

The speech that touched on ways of re-injecting life into every sector, 
gave high priority to agriculture, health, infrastructure,  tourism, 
and  the informal sector.

The president's speech has been received positively by ordinary Kenyans. 
"Its now up to the government to fulfil all the pledges it has made to the 
Kenyan people," says one Ishmael Okandi.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice, Bernard Chunga, has been suspended from office 
over allegations of graft and misconduct.  President Mwai Kibaki announced 
this February 21.

Chunga also faces claims of his involvement in torture of alleged political 
dissidents in the period between mid 80s to early 90s, while serving as 
Deputy Public Prosecutor.   He is accused of having used his office to 
plan, condone and execute a programme of torture and illegal trials of 
critics of government.

A tribunal to probe Chunga has been constituted.  The five-man tribunal 
will be headed by Speaker of National Assembly, Mr. Francis ole Kaparo.

This is the first time in Kenya's history that a tribunal has been set to 
investigate a Chief Justice.

Long-serving Court of Appeals Judge, Evans Gicheru, has subsequently been 
appointed acting Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.  He takes office 

Reported By Herman Kasili

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