Friday, July 30, 2010

Public Notice from the Republic of Kenya

Kibaki vs Moi: 'Mchongoano' for grown ups

For the better part of this month, Kenyans have been treated to a pressure-cooker referendum campaign with fisticuffs reported between supporters of the Greens and the Reds in some areas.

But the last leg of the campaign is evolving into a fairly light-hearted affair as the rival camps lock horns in the political version of Mchongoano, the hilarious Kenyan art form in which contestants try to outwit each other with words, not fists.

Americans call it ‘Yo Momma’ jokes.

Bifwoli Wakoli, the lands assistant minister who has publicly played clown a few times in the past, recently tickled a crowd in Eldoret when he wondered: “which man would want to marry me?” That was in response to allegations by the ‘No’ campaign that the Proposed Constitution allows same-sex marriages. Former president Moi, too, has given a good account of himself with quite some sharp tongue on the campaign platform. Last week, Moi retorted to the popular reference to his former political allies as “Moi orphans” by questioning the wisdom of doing so as if “I am dead”.

Well, all this has just been part of the curtain-raiser. The big show is the clash of the presidents, and it is as mouthwatering as it can probably get.

It started on Tuesday when President Kibaki uncharacteristically gave his predecessor a tongue lashing while addressing a ‘Yes’ rally. In typical casual Kibakispeak, the President aimed a jibe at “Wazee wengine (some old men)” moving around “wakisema katiba ni mbaya (claiming the Proposed Constitution is bad)”. He rubbed it in by terming Moi’s behaviour “a shame” and sought to finish the former president off by suggesting that he (Moi) “deserved sympathy”. If Kibaki appeared to land a heavy punch, he certainly fell short of a TKO. On Wednesday, Moi came out in a fighting mood poking some fun of his own at President Kibaki as having failed to deliver on his lofty 2002 campaign promise to give Kenyans a new constitution within 100 days of assuming power. And so it continued well into Thursday, with the old timers having a back-and-forth. This  weekend will no doubt see them trying to win the war of words.

For people who prefer to see themselves as statesmen, it might not degenerate into the quick-fire personal or mother insults like they do on the American Yo Momma. But from their long history as political friends-turned-foes, there are sufficient character and leadership flaws for either man to use as fodder and win this other contest in the referendum.

BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Wanjiru loses Starehe parlimentary seat

Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru has lost her parliamentary seat after a Kenya court ruled that she was not validly elected during the 2007 general election.

Giving his verdict, Justice Kihara Kariuki said the poll was marred by massive tampering of election material. The judge said he did not know when and where the tampering occurred, adding that with the irregularities Bishop Wanjiru was not validly elected. However, Justice Kihara declined to grant prayers by petitioner Maina Kamanda, who had requested the court to declare him the validly elected Starehe MP. He said that the court has no powers to declare him the area MP since its only jurisdiction was to determine whether an MP was validly elected or not.

The judge said that was the role of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and the Speaker of the National Assembly. Mr Kamanda had prayed to the court to declare him the winner and his name substituted with that of Bishop Wanjiru. If the prayer was allowed, the former MP would have avoided a by-election. He based his prayers on the strength of Section 27(2) of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act. The section allows the Speaker to make changes should the court so declare. Bishop Wanjiru becomes the seventh MP to lose her seat through an election petition, an indictment of the flaws in the 2007 general election.

The Bishop, who vied for the seat on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket, was then announced to have defeated Mr Kamanda of the Party of National Unity (PNU) by 895 votes. Mr Kamanda disputed and filed a petition in February 2008. A vote recount was ordered and Mr Kamanda was found to have 49,306 votes against Bishop Wanjiru's 34,871, a difference of 14,435. According to him, he lost the seat after Forms 16A were falsified. But Bishop Wanjiru disputed his lead saying the ballot boxes were interfered with at the Nyayo National Stadium where they were kept after the elections.

Three by-elections have already been held with two MPs losing in the subsequent polls. Mr Omingo Magara of South Mugirango lost the seat to Manson Nyamweya as Joel Onyancha lost to Simon Ogari in Bomachoge.
Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere, who also lost an election petition, successfully recaptured the Matuga seat in a by-election in July. Several election petitions are still pending in court. They include the petition challenging the election of Dr Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani), Mr Simon Mbugua (Kamukunji), Mr Walter Nyambati (Kitutu Masaba) and Mr Ngata Kariuki of Kirinyaga Central.

You bought Harrods for £1.5bn? Well, that's very nice sir... but we're still clamping you!

Looking on the bright side, at least the owners won't have much trouble stumping up the parking fine.

But even when you've just bought Harrods for £1.5billion, and the cars are among the fastest and most exclusive in the world, getting them clamped is still a bit of an inconvenience.

The uniquely liveried supercars belong to the Qatari royal family, which bought the flagship store three months ago. On the left is a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce, worth £350,000. In front of it is a bespoke specification Koenigsegg CCXR, one of only six in the world and worth a staggering £1.2million.

Back home on the open highways and expressways around Qatar, either car could still fall victim to speed cameras (providing, that is, the cameras can register top speeds in excess of 200mph). But anyone who has ever nipped into Harrods for a few minutes could have told them that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea shows no mercy - or discrimination - towards parking regulation breaches in the cramped, crowded streets that surround it.

Hence, two large yellow triangles rather spoiled the sleek lines of the fabulously rare cars when clampers contracted by the council spotted them driverless and illegally parked. Within minutes, they made sure the cars were going nowhere fast. That set in train the universally familiar hassle of paying a release fee (£70), coughing up a fine (between £40 and £120, with a reduction for prompt payers), and sorting out the paperwork.  Hopefully none of the wheels was damaged during the clamping operation - the Koenigsegg's are made of carbon-magnesium and cost £3,000 each. Nor was the driver obliged to hand over the key. A diamond encrusted option is available for £36,000.

Shoppers and tourists craned for a peek at the spectacle as it unfolded in the heart of Knightsbridge. The council, which clamped 8,883 vehicles in the borough last year, declined to comment specifically on the case, as did Harrods.

The Koenigsegg is built to customer requirements, right down to body-contour matching seats. Potential CCXR buyers are flown to company HQ on an airbase in Sweden, where boss Christian Von Koenigsegg takes them for a spin.  Such is his confidence in the car's stability that he accelerates to 200mph and slams on the brakes - without putting his hands on the steering wheel. The Qatar version of the car is said to produce more than 1,064bhp, does 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 249mph. Petrol consumption - of less concern in the oil rich Middle East than in SW1 - is around 14mpg.

The Lamborghini has a top speed of 213mph and is capable of 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. Only 350 have been built. Both cars are finished in the Al-Thani royal family's hallmark 'baby blue' colour, although it would be unfair to have expected the clampers to know that. The family has an estimated personal wealth of £2.4billion as well as stakes in dozens of businesses around the world.

They live a playboy lifestyle and assets include a fleet of multi-million pound yachts and luxury homes in countries across the globe.  They own a string of luxury vehicles - including a one-off, 7.3litre V12 Pagani Zonda Uno. If only the drivers had taken advantage of the Harrods valet parking fee. It costs just £10 for the first hour.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Siasa Duni thinks this is the man behind the Uhuru Park blast

This man has been using Uhuru Park blast tactics to achieve political objectives since the 70s.

There is enough circumstantial evidence to link retired president Moi to the explosions that went off at Uhuru Park last month during a No campaign killing. Moi has a history of violently resisting change.

When he was put under pressure to re-introduce multiparty democracy, he warned us that multi-party would "burn you". He then got busy ensuring that his prophecy was fulfiled with the infamous land clashes. Arrows were imported into the country through the Office of the President to be used in killing the very same Kenyan taxpayers whose taxes had paid for them. Moi learnt his bomb tactics from the brutal Kenyatta regime which he faithfully served for 12 years as Vice President. The Kenyatta government used bombs in 1975 to kill innocent Kenyans for political reasons shortly before the JM Kariuki assassination.

Interestingly this Moi charade and the history behind it is one more reason why Kenyans badly need a new constitution today.

For the record the whole Uhuru Park bomb blast thing flopped badly. One of the main reasons for this was the fact that the whole thing was planned by relics of the past trying to apply old methods to a brand new Kenya that has changed tremendously from the days when bomb blasts scared Kenyans into changing their political positions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bring back Hellon, Arunga and the entire Finger of God circus!

June came and went, awakening the sudden realisation that while Kenya slept, Larry King might have quietly sneaked into Kenya to conduct a CNN Live interview with jazz maestro Joseph Hellon.

It is quite typical of these celebrity types nowadays to sneak in, do their thing and take a powder — in the fashion of Naomi Campbell, Michael Douglas and Jose Mourinho. No one can say they were not warned. Prophecy had decreed that in June, this year of our Lord, Larry King would travel to Runda, Nairobi, to cajole and probe the saxophonist on home ground at his Finger of God church into revealing the specific plans he has for Kenya and the world. The very public visit by US Vice-President Joseph Biden last month could have been nothing more than the distraction needed to allow Mr King to interview Kenya’s future leadership without being mobbed by celebrity groupies.

Mr Hellon, who has since acquired new alternate identities as Vendetta Super Nova or Crab Nebula, to avoid being mobbed, launched the Placenta Party of Kenya and now he needs an outlet into the world for his ideas. Seeing that he will be running for President in 2012 on the party’s ticket, with former television anchor Esther Timberlake (née Arunga) as his running mate, global media such as CNN are critical in reaching the millions of Kenyans in the Diaspora who will vote the pair in.

News that Larry King, who is “hanging up his suspenders” after 25 years of asking questions to presidents, prime ministers and other important people in the world, will be replaced by Piers Morgan is quite distressing. Obviously, not many people will want to hear about Vendetta Super Nova if he were to be interviewed by some nondescript British editor.

Vendetta himself is overqualified to lead Kenya since, in the music pecking order, a saxophonist is cleverer than a disc jockey, yet the people made Andry Rajoelina President of Madagascar. The mastermind of the political plan to take back Kenya, according to Vendetta, is Mr Quincy Timberlake — a man of such brilliance and talent that authorities are afraid of him and continuously persecute him with arrests, court charges and detention in the manner of a freedom fighter. Just as well that the Kenyan authorities heeded the entreaties of Vendetta not to touch a hair on Mr Timberlake’s back when he was in custody. Mr Timberlake, whose safety alone has guaranteed peace and the avoidance of outbreaks of spontaneous violence and rioting in Nyanza, Rift Valley and Nairobi, will be Prime Minister in the Vendetta government. Never mind that the position of Prime Minister of Kenya will lapse in 2012 whether there is a new constitution or not.

As Kenya entered the official campaign period, with the Yes and No camps fatigued by weeks of word slinging, citizens are sending out urgent and desperate pleas to the Placenta Party to show them the way.
The absence of the party and its top leadership from the referendum has left the campaigns in a lurch.
Kenyans are confused between colour symbols and choices. They need direction to avoid making a choice that could steep the country in cultism, freemasonry and other evils.

Already, the Placenta Party, whose colours are red, blue and white, has made a strong showing in by-elections held in Kenya so far, significantly reducing the influence of the big parties and signalling, as their slogan suggests, that Kenyans are taking their country back. Vendetta explained the colours to a Nairobi radio station: “The red stands for torture … being sedated … Blue stands for prosperity and white symbolises the earth of transparency; we will be transparent in all that we do.” With milk as their official drink, it can get very confusing when followers have to pick a colour.

Understandably, after hosting Larry King, the party might want to concentrate on impressing its next high-profile visitor, Mrs Sarah Palin, later in the year. People had dismissed Mrs Palin as a spent force when she resigned as Governor of Alaska, leaving the border with Russia to become a headache for President Barack Obama. Then she went on and started the Tea Party and has been winning elections left, right and centre. Kenya waits with bated breath for the visit of Mrs Palin, who is expected to bring lessons on how to shoot moose, breastfeed grandchildren, use flashcards during speeches, and to train Kenya’s vice-president-in-waiting, Mrs Timberlake.

The country needs the Placenta Party to speak up about the Proposed Constitution and tell them whether to vote Red or Green. In the months they have been away from the public limelight, a dangerous political paralysis has set in.

Friday, July 23, 2010

800 all out - a tribute to the greatest spin bowler in cricket history

Muttiah Muralitharan created cricket history on Thursday when he became the first bowler to take 800 Test wickets.

His achievements are remarkable - he has taken 10 wickets in a Test match on 22 occasions, 12 times more than Shane Warne, who sits in second in the all-time wicket-takers' list. Although his career has been plagued by controversy because of his unorthodox bowling action, Muralitharan remains one of the greatest players the game has seen - not to mention one of the most popular.

The Sri Lanka off-spinner, 38, who made his Test debut in 1992, began his final match against India on 792 wickets. He ousted record Test run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday and went on to take 5-63 as India had to follow on. Team-mate Lasith Malinga took 5-50 but with the last pair together, Murali had last man Pragyan Ojha caught by Mahela Jayawardene at slip to reach his 800. It left Sri Lanka needing to score 95 to win the match and take a 1-0 lead in the series, which their openers did with little fuss, but Muralitharan's achievement - reached in his 133rd Test - will overshadow the game.

Needing three wickets in the second innings to reach the magic 800 mark, he removed Yuvraj Singh with the last ball of the fourth day, and trapped fellow off-spinner Harbhajan Singh lbw early on day five.
With paceman Malinga liable to blast the Indian tail away at any time, Murali had to wait for his moment - having lbw and stumping appeals turned down, while seeing VVS Laxman, India's last recognised batsman, run out off his bowling. Last pair Ojha and Ishant Sharma resisted for 15 overs, but the safe hands of Jayawardene, one of the most reliable slip fielders of the modern era, fell to his left and pouched his 157th Test catch to begin the Sri Lankan celebrations.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Facebook officially has 500 million users, most of whom think Zuckerberg is a creep

That's right, Mark Zuckerberg has announced via the official Facebook blog that the site now has 500 million users. The social networking site -- which has been reuniting girls with their long lost best friends from third grade since February of 2004 -- also simultaneously announced something called Facebook Stories, which is, well totally uninteresting. Regardless, that's an insane and impressive number, so kudos! Now, back to your fake lawn mowing or whatever it is you do (cue the children's choir singing Radiohead songs).

Confessions of a husband beater in the diaspora

"I am a husband beater! I am proud of that, honestly. My husband and I are both Zimbabwean. We were childhood friends. We were not the type that spent time together, of course. We went to the same school and did Computer Science at the University together. Obviously, we grew close and we just ended up in a relationship. We got married and six months later, decided to pack our bags and run away from crumbling Zimbabwe. We couldn't see ourselves having children and affording them.
"We came to America together. We lived in Indiana. We got jobs as assembly workers, which was a terrible blow to our self-esteem. At least I was only a computer programmer, while my husband had been a manager.
"After a few months, I was convinced by fellow Zimbabweans to ditch the assembly line for a certified nurses' aide job. I went to school and within a few weeks, I was working in a nursing home, cleaning old people's filth. It was a tough job and I couldn't get used to it. But, it paid the bills handsomely, especially since I took many shifts.
"Our daughter was born that year. There is no maternity leave in America. I had complications and had to stop working. My husband worked 80 hour shifts to cover the bills until I gave birth. Our daughter was barely two weeks old before I was back on that floor, working my heart out. I couldn't take it.
"The smell! I had been away for too long.  My husband encouraged me to do nursing. He said I would earn more and I wouldn't have to clean up old people. I didn't want to do nursing, but it seemed like a good idea. He said we would progress as a couple if I did nursing. He made a lot of sense at the time. So, I sacrificed my dreams for the family. I decided to go back to school, which meant that my husband had to work more hours while I took a Licensed Practical nursing course. I felt like we were both contributing and I was so proud of my husband and I. It was about 18 months and during those months; I got pregnant again, and had another baby, a boy. My husband worked hard those months.
"As soon as I had my diploma, I was back on the floor of the old people full time. I had been working part-time while going to school and increasing my family. I began to make up for it by doing doubles almost every day, including weekends. Very slowly, my husband stopped working!
"He cut his hours from 60 at the time, to 40, which was okay, because he deserved the break, and I picked up more hours. Then he cut them to 32, and then 30 and then 24.
"I said to him that since he was now home most of the time while I worked and paid the bills, could he please pick up our children from the baby sitter and watch them until I came home. He refused, so I had to work more hours to compensate for him not working and the huge baby sitter bill.
"I started doing two shifts a day, from seven to three, and then from three to eleven. We needed the money! I would come home, exhausted, feet swollen and there is my husband, drinking Heineken and smoking weed with his new black American friends.
"I started getting depressed and bitter! I wondered why I had to pick up the children so late at night when he was home. I hated coming home to a smoke-filled house and strangers sitting about my living room. We started fighting. He would call me the 'B' word often, and I would cry from sheer exhaustion and the verbal abuse. He was verbally abusive indeed. I needed him to respect our house and to get a job!
"Nothing I said got through to him and our children suffered. A fellow nurse suggested to me a few months later that I was getting too fat because I was depressed. She was also from Zimbabwe. She suggested I join a gym or something, so that I could have some free time to myself.
"I started taking kick boxing classes. It was good for me. It was the one thing I could do for myself.
"Well, one Saturday, I came home from buying new blankets for us. I had woken up early so that I could spend the day with my children before leaving for a three to eleven shift, which was probably going to turn into a double shift. I was at the mall for about four hours, which was longer than I had thought. I had left the children with him and, as usual, he had locked himself up in the bedroom, watching BET.
"He left our children in the living room all by themselves. The children were still in their diapers from the previous night. In fact, the diapers were hanging about their ankles because they were soaked with urine. They hadn't eaten or drank anything. They looked like orphans, while the father had prepared himself some bacon, eggs and toast and had swallowed it down with orange juice. I had worked for that food! I worked for my children, not him.
"He had let his own children go without food or drink. What sort of a man was he? He didn't even realize what he had done!
"I fed and bathed my children, and then got ready for work. I took them to the baby sitter's house and drove to work. I was fuming! I had married a useless man, I finally realized.
"I came home that night, not in a good mood and the apartment was filled with people and smoke. I took my children and went straight to bed. He came after me and asked me why I had been rude to his friends. I said I was tired, but he started again.
"'You B. you are ugly and should be thankful that I married you. My mother told me not to marry you because you were a B. But I didn't listen to her, now look.'
"Hearing the commotion, his friends left. Then I turned on him.
"Honestly, I think I was possessed by my grandfather's spirit or something. I used him like a punching bag, as if I was in a kick boxing class. I broke his jaw with my kick and then proceeded to ground him to nothingness in a matter of minutes! I don't know what came over me. I felt invincible. I felt was doing justice to my babies. He was too ashamed to tell the police I had hit him and so I got away with it. His jaw got wired and he ate out of a straw for a very long time.
"He said to me he hadn't realized that I was so strong. Neither had I.
"But, let me tell you, he changed from that day on. There were no more friends of his in my apartment while I worked. I realized that beating him got me results quickly, so I continued.
"I went to more kick boxing classes and added some judo and any other classes I could lay my hands on. I beat him all the way into a new job.
"After a few black eyes and hunger, he went looking for a job! I beat him into being a better father! I would tell him that if I came home and my babies were not home in their bed, we would have a very close conversation. I would come home and my babies are fast asleep, smelling of soap and in fresh clothes. I made him nervous, and the bedroom thing just went out of the window, but I didn't miss it at all. I know he thinks I am crazy and I let him think that because it gives me the life I want. Every opportunity I get, I beat him! There has been peace in my home since! I am happy.
"That is my secret to a happy marriage.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plucky King Leopold

Louis Michel, the former European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, is reported by the EU Observer as offering his opinions about Leopold II, King of the Belgians and one-time private owner of the Congo:
“Leopold II was a true visionary for his time, a hero,” he told P-Magazine, a local publication, in an interview on Tuesday 13th July. “And even if there were horrible events in the Congo, should we now condemn them?” … “Leopold II does not deserve these accusations,” continued Mr Michel, himself a descendent of the Belgian king and a “Knight, Officer and Commander” in the Order of Leopold, Belgium’s highest honour. … “The Belgians built railways, schools and hospitals and boosted economic growth. Leopold turned the Congo into a vast labour camp? Really? In those days it was just the way things were done.” …. Admitting there were “irregularities,” he said: “We can easily be tempted to exaggerate when it comes to the Congo … I feel instinctively that he was a hero, a hero with ambitions for a small country like Belgium.” “To use the word ‘genocide’ in relation to the Congo is absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate.”
Let’s be clear about this: what Michel has said is comparable to Holocaust-denial. If you doubt this, or even if you haven’t read it yet, then Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost should set you right. Perhaps 10 million people, perhaps half the population of the area, died during the “Free State” period, victims of Leopold’s greed for the region’s natural resources, chiefly rubber.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Did you hear the one about the idiot who tried to grab the World Cup trophy?

You think you know America. But do you know "Top Secret America"?

Top Secret America is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Watch the video and find out more here. 


The Washington Post has published their first installment of their “Top Secret America” project. The project is a two year investigation into the national security culture within the country in the wake of the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks. The articles, which were written by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, have a number of graphics and a searchable database. They also cover the unintended pitfalls of increasing government financing for agencies that have been unable to appropriately divert the amount of money that has been coming in.


The report covers 1,271 different government organizations and 1,973 private companies that work in programs that are related to national security, intelligence and counter-terrorism. From those agencies, 854,000 people were investigated. 

The writing is on the wall...

An opinion poll conducted early this month and released last Friday by Strategic Research indicates that 62% of Kenyans will vote Yes, 20% of registered voters will choose No while 18% were still undecided.
Curiously 63% interviewed believe that the new draft constitution is a good document but needs amendments. “When we ask them why they vote Yes yet they want amendments, they say the draft is better than the current Constitution,” said Strategic Chief Executive Officer Caesar Handa while releasing the polls. The document is most popular in Nyanza Province where it enjoys 84 percent approval followed by North Eastern at 78 percent while Western is at 73 percent.

The No camp has most of their support in Rift Valley and Eastern Provinces, although relatively low at 32% and 30% respectively. “These two provinces have high percentages of undecided voters at 21% for Eastern and 17% for Rift Valley,” said Mr Handa. The poll from this little known group varies widely with the previous polls carried out by renowned pollsters. The esteemed South Consulting, an organisation that works with the AU Panel of Eminent Persons, released a poll late last month which showed that 49% would vote for the proposed Constitution, while 22% indicated No. The team explained that a decrease for the Yes vote had switched to the 22 percent who were “undecided". Another survey by the commercially run Synovate showed that 57 percent would vote Yes — down by 7% points since April. 20% were against the draft constitution and 19 percent were undecided.

The No camp has consistently disputed the polls saying they are skewed to favour the Yes team which is predominantly a government camp. The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja disputed the Friday polls, saying they are suspicious. The clauses on abortion, Kadhis Courts and the Chapter on Land remain the most discussed and divisive in the ongoing debate.

Following reports that Yes was losing ground in June, Green camp leaders have upped their campaigns often conducting aggressive rallies in their backyard. President Mwai Kibaki has been to Nyeri, Embu and Murang’a while Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has met leaders from his Ukambani region. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta also met grassroots leaders from the Mount Kenya region in an attempt to consolidate support and tame the rising No popularity.

The referendum campaigns in Kenya have attracted the U.S. congress and civil society and even President Obama whose father is Kenyan; with accusations that the U.S. government has pumped millions into the Yes camp while the civil groups in America are claimed to be funding the No group led by Kenya’s  churches. So I reckon it's even-steven.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Statement Regarding the Blessed Kampala Operations” - From the leaders of Harakat Shabaab Al-Mujahideen, Released July 14, 2010

This document is the transcript of a communiqué obtained by NEFA investigators and made available on behalf of the NEFA TerrorWatch subscription service. This transcript is provided for educational and informational purposes only. For more information on the Shabaab al-Mujahideen, see NEFA Senior Investigator Evan Kohlmann’s Special Report, “Shabaab al-Mujahideen: Migration and Jihad in the Horn of Africa" at: baabreport0509.pdf.

With the atrocities perpetrated by Uganda against the Muslim Somali population escalating, their forces, serving under the auspices of the African Union, grasp every opportunity available to unleash their anger against Islam and the Muslims by bombarding our innocent men, women, and children with mortars day and night.  Carrying on with their scheme of unsettling the stability of this country and in order to protect corrupt leaders of the apostate regime, the enmity of the crusaders has reached such a level that they bombarded the densely populated areas of the Muslims with approximately 300 mortars a day.  Families are massacred, children are orphaned, women are widowed and close to two million Muslims have been displaced, leaving behind their homes and settling in a barren land with no access to the basic facilities of life.

But despite the many warnings that were directed towards this force to end their brutal assault against our innocent population, their oppression only continued to escalate.  Whenever the Mujahideen face the invaders and resist their oppression, the Ugandan and Burundian African Union Forces immediately respond by targeting the markets and residential areas with their highly sophisticated  weapons.

We, the leaders of Harakat Shabaab Al-Mujahideen, hereby claim responsibility for the blessed operations in Kampala.  In addition, we state that these operations were carried out in order to heal the hearts of the believers and to nurse the wounds of our ailing Muslim population, which has been, for so many years, bleeding and attending funerals for its sons and daughters who’ve become victims of this cowardly shelling.

These blessed operations will, by the permission of Allah, act as a warning to all the transgressing forces to stop their atrocities against the Somali Muslim population.

Additionally, we inform the Ugandan population that what you are experiencing today is a result of the flawed policies of your government; and know that it is only a fraction of what our people go through on a daily basis and it is from justice to retaliate in equal measure.

We also inform the countries who intend to send their forces to Somalia that the fate of your soldiers will not be any better than those who came before you.  The events of Kampala are still fresh in your minds and wise is he who learns from the fate of others.

As for you Muslims of Uganda, the time has come for you to rush to the aid of your Muslim brothers in Somalia and stand together firmly in their defence.  This is an obligation of religion and creed.

Finally, we inform our brave Muslim Somali population that we will not hesitate to protect them against the oppressors whatever the cost may be and whatever the distance may be.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FBI agents take suspects’ heads

KAMPALA - A suicide bomber carried out one of the twin bomb attacks that killed 74 people in the city as they watched the World Cup final on Sunday, security agencies said yesterday.

State minister for internal affairs, Matia Kasaija, said the security agencies have established that the Kabalagala blast was executed by a suicide bomber. He, however, said it is not yet clear whether the Kyadondo rugby club blast, moments after the Kabalagala attack, was also carried out by a suicide bomber.  “The Kabalagala incident has been confirmed that it was carried out by a suicide bomber. However, the Kyadondo incident was similar but we are not 100 percent sure,” the minister said in a phone interview yesterday.

Two heads believed to be of Somalis suspected to be suicide bombers were recovered from Kabalagala and the rugby club in Lugogo moments after the grisly incidents.  The heads were taken away from the city mortuary by the American intelligence agency, FBI, on Monday evening for further investigations, sources said.  “There is nothing strange about that. There is a purpose and it is part of the investigations,” Kasaija explained. Four FBI operatives arrived at the mortuary at about 5pm and left shortly after with the heads in bags to see if they match records of other terrorists, sources said. The heads were delivered to the city mortuary on Monday after the blasts.

It is not clear where they took the heads, but sources said the FBI and local investigators were concerned about the identity of the heads.  “If two of the three explosions were set off by suicide bombers, how do you explain the third explosion,” the source said. By the time the FBI took the heads, they were still recognisable.

However, speaking at the Media Centre yesterday, Dr. Byaruhanga said the heads were taken for DNA and other forensic tests.  Addressing journalists at the same centre yesterday, Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said the Force had arrested six suspects in connection with the blasts. The Police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected to be a Somali, Shafique Abdulnoor, who was reportedly found loitering in Katwe, a Kampala suburb.  Abdulnoor, who was detained at Katwe Police Station, did not have identification documents, a source said, adding that he crossed into Uganda via Kenya. He had a bag that contained shoes.

Meanwhile, Interpol said on Monday it would send a team to Uganda to beef up the investigations. Secretary general Ronald Noble described the attack as “despicable and cowardly”. He said Police chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura requested for the assistance. “This attack on innocent victims who had simply gone out to enjoy the World Cup must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and those behind it can only be regarded as cowardly,” Noble said in a statement on Interpol’s website. He said Interpol would provide on-site support for the investigators. The announcement comes after Kenyan anti-terrorism experts arrived on Tuesday. “We also have teams from the USA, the UK and other countries. They are here working,” Kasaija said.

Speaking at the Media Centre briefing, the Ugandan Police doctor, Moses Byaruhanga, said the death toll had been reduced from 76 to 74. He said the bodies of other people who died of other causes had been included by error.  He said the city mortuary had handled 71 bodies from the blasts––50 of them men and 19 women. He also gave their nationalties.  Two heads were also unidentified, he said.  Al-Qaeda inspired Somalia-based militants, al-Shabaab, have since claimed responsibility for the attacks.

An unexploded suicide vest was recovered at Ice-Link Discotheque in Makindye, which should have been the third strike.  While al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, Kayihura pointed a finger at the ADF rebels.  But they denied involvement.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Missing Rwanda opposition leader found beheaded

KIGALI - The vice president of the opposition Democratic Green Party Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, who was reported to be missing on Monday, has been found dead according to a top party official.

Frank Habineza, the party's president, said on Tuesday that his deputy’s body was found lying near a wetland in Butare. Mr Habineza said that he could not confirm the cause of his death. "I can confirm that he was found dead this morning. His brother called Antoine Haguma was at the scene and identified the body. The body was found 2km from Rwanda National University an area which is about 4km from a wetland called River Mukula,” Habineza said. "His head had been cut off. Until now we don’t know the cause of the death. We can’t confirm the cause but we have approached the relevant authorities and asked them to help in all possible ways.”

Mr Rwisereka went missing on Monday after his car was found abandoned near the southern city of Butare. Police had earlier confirmed that Rwisereka's pick-up truck had been found. The Democratic Green Party is one of Rwanda’s political parties that is yet to be registered for the country’s presidential elections on August 9. Rights groups have accused the government of tightening the screw ahead of a presidential election in August with two opposition leaders being arrested in the run-up to the vote.

According to critics the arrest of two opposition leaders, the suspension of two newspapers and the murder of a critical journalist are signs of an increasing clampdown. However, the government in Kigali has said that some genuine incidents have been politicised. According to government officials there has been an effort to pursue dialogue with the opposition and there is an increased acceptance of opposing views since the 1994 genocide.
Police have also arrested two journalists for articles that they said could rekindle ethnic hatred and incite public disorder. However authorities say strict anti-genocide legislation is necessary to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed 16 years ago.

Suspects held after Ugandan World Cup bomb attacks

KAMPALA — Ugandan police made several arrests Tuesday and recovered unexploded suicide belts at a nightclub after 76 soccer fans were killed by two bomb attacks while they watched the World Cup final on television.

The find in a suburb of Kampala on Monday was "consistent" with what was seen at the two blast sites in the city, said the inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura. The discovery suggested that militants planned to carry out more attacks, he added. Al-Shabab, Somalia's most dangerous militant group, claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks . The Islamists are calling for Uganda to withdraw their African Union peacekeeping forces from Somalia.

Government spokesman Fred Opolot announced the arrests but did not say how many people had been held or where they were from. The coordinated blasts were the first time al-Shabab has taken its bloody push for power onto the international stage. American former aid worker Nate Henn was among the victims. The U.S. has offered assistance with its investigations.

The State Department said it had three FBI agents on the ground collecting evidence. An additional FBI team is on standby to deploy to the east African nation, it said.
Opolot said there was no suggestion an African Union summit to be hosted by Uganda this month would be canceled following the bombings.

Kampala bombing update - Before & After. WARNING: The Following Photos May Disturb Some Viewers



Uganda bombings could indicate new roles for al-Qaeda affiliates

KAMPALA - The bombings orchestrated by Somalia's al-Shabab militia that killed at least 74 people watching the World Cup finals on television on Sunday night are the latest sign of the growing ambitions of al-Qaeda's regional affiliates outside the traditional theaters of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The attacks, intended to inflict maximum damage on civilian targets, mark the first major international assault by Somali militants in a region where the United States and its allies are attempting to stem the rise of Islamist militancy. At least one American was killed and several were wounded in Sunday's strikes.

The United States has provided millions of dollars in military and economic aid, training, equipment, logistical support and intelligence to regional counterterrorism allies such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Uganda is a training ground for soldiers for Somalia's transitional government, which al-Shabab is seeking to overthrow, in a program backed by the United States and European nations. Troops from Uganda and Burundi make up a U.S.- and Western-backed African Union peacekeeping force in the Somali capital of Mogadishu that protects the fragile government.

A top spokesman for al-Shabab, speaking from Mogadishu, said the militia carried out the bombings, and he alluded to the group's aspiration to use Somalia as a launching pad for international attacks. Ali Mohamud Raghe, the spokesman, threatened further attacks if Uganda and Burundi continue to supply troops to the African Union force.

A Ugandan military spokesman vowed that his nation's soldiers will not leave Somalia. "It increases our resolve to make sure Somalia is pacified. These criminals cannot have room to expand and grow because they are a threat to regional and international peace," said Lt. Col. Felix Kulayige. "If they have hoped this cowardly act will make us leave Somalia, they are totally mistaken."
Importing violent tactics

Al-Shabab's new boldness comes as foreign fighters trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan are gaining influence inside the movement and importing their violent tactics. Suicide bombers, including foreigners of Somali descent, have in recent months staged several attacks in Mogadishu. The militia also continues to attract Americans to the Somali conflict, including two New Jersey men arrested last month by U.S. authorities and charged with intending to join al-Shabab. The United States has deemed al-Shabab a terrorist organization. Sunday's attacks come seven months after al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen -- al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- showed its global aspirations with its failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner. Another group with al-Qaeda links, the Pakistani Taliban, helped orchestrate the botched attempt to bomb Times Square in May.

Top al-Shabab leader Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Zubeyr last week accused the African Union forces of committing "massacres" against Somalis. He warned that his forces would take revenge against the people of Uganda and Burundi. 

Banning soccer

The militia, which seeks to create an Islamic emirate and has imposed Taliban-like dictates, has banned soccer in many areas and prohibited broadcasts of the World Cup, describing the sport as "a satanic act" that corrupts Muslims.

The explosions in Kampala tore through the Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village restaurant, where boisterous soccer fans, including clusters of foreigners, had gathered to watch Spain beat the Netherlands in the World Cup final.

Among the dead at the rugby club was Nate Henn, 25, of Wilmington, Del., a worker for Invisible Children, a California-based aid group that helps child soldiers, the organization said on its Web site. Emily Kerstetter, 16, of Ellicott City was injured, according to WMAR-TV in Baltimore. She was in Kampala with her grandmother's church group from Pennsylvania.

Joanne Lockard, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said there were no directives for embassy staff members or other U.S. citizens to leave Kampala, which is widely considered one of the safest capitals on the continent. Unlike neighbors Kenya and Tanzania, where al-Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in 1998, Uganda had never been a target of international terrorism.

During a visit to the rugby club on Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni vowed to pursue those responsible. "If you want to fight, go and look for soldiers. Don't bomb people watching football," he told reporters.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the attacks and offered their condolences. "The United States stands with Uganda," Clinton said. "We have a long-standing, close friendship with the people and government of Uganda and will work with them to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice."

At the rugby club, witnesses and police said two explosions killed at least 43 people who had gathered on the rugby field to watch the soccer final on a large-screen television. As people went to help the victims of the first blast, a second, more powerful bomb detonated, witnesses said. "It sounded like a massive tire blowout. There was dust and smoke everywhere," said Simon Peter Lubagasa, 28, who operates a boda boda taxi and was at the club. "People were on the ground crying. Some had cracks on their heads. I saw one person with his ear blown off."

Police said they suspect that a suicide bomber set off the second blast. A police official said investigators found the head of a man who appeared to have Somali features. As of Monday afternoon, 20 cars belonging to the victims were still parked on the field, where organizers had set out rows of white plastic chairs. "I was picking up bodies until 7 a.m.," said Alphonse Motebasi, a police commander whose pants were splattered with blood.

At the Ethiopian Village restaurant, crowds of Ugandans gathered on Monday, peering over the walls at the carnage inside as police stood guard and investigators combed through debris that looked like the aftermath of a tornado. Onlookers shook their heads at the overturned tables on the restaurant's patio, the shattered glass and shreds of clothing. "How can someone kill innocent Ugandans?" demanded Godfrey Ivimba, 34, the owner of a printing business. Residents said the restaurant was popular with Ethiopians and Eritreans, as well as other foreigners.

At Mulago Hospital, Betty Nbagire, 37, lay on a bed, eyes closed, tubes attached to her body, struggling to survive. She was at the rugby club. Her sister Salome sat next to her. She said Uganda's soldiers should pull out of Somalia. "If that was the cause of this attack, our soldiers should come home," she said, her voice almost a whisper. "They should be here to protect us and not to protect those people in Somalia."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kampala bombing update: WARNING - The Following Photos May Disturb Some Viewers

Here's a list of bomb casualty patients at International Hospital of Kampala (IHK), alongside photos of the horrific bombing at Kyadondo Rugby Club: 

ICU - Critical condition:
• Tibenda Alice
• Abbas Mohamed
• Alice Mwine
• Semwogerere Francis
• Brahane Eyob
• Un identified 1
• Unidentified 2
• Kesteller Emily

• Heck Joanne  (Female 68yrs)
• Chris Sledge
• Satyani Jared (male 26yrs)

Hope Ward:
• Sadat Mohamed
• Nyenhanga Regan

IPD 2:
• Tendekura Kenneth (male 20yrs)
• Kramer Pamella (female 46yrs
• Thomas Kramer (14yr old male)
• Abebe Micky
• Teski Samsom
• Mekomen Lydia
• Ruta Desta (female 35yrs)
• Mzamiro Ramathan
• Yohamed Yemane (Male 37yrs)
• John Lulu
• Asrat Abraha
• Luhinda Emma

• Philip Hern (yet to be taken)
• Angela Kalyegira (taken by relatives)
• Peter
• Unidentified (taken to Mulago mortuary- African)
• Unidentified (taken to Mulago mortuary -African)

For further Information please contact:

+256 783 750 519 - Client Relations manager
+256 772 627 735 - Ass. Director of Nursing

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kampala bombing update

US President Barack Obama has called the deadly explosions that ripped through a rugby club and a restaurant in the Ugandan capital Kampala "deplorable and cowardly," a spokesman said.

"The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of those who have been killed or injured," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement.  "The United States is ready to provide any assistance requested by the Ugandan government."

A senior administration official said the United States was in contact with its embassy in Kampala and was in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding requests for assistance from Uganda's government.

At least 64 people were killed in the explosions as crowds watched the World Cup football final, police said.

One American national was among those killed, a US embassy spokeswoman in Kampala told reporters.

Meanwhile, Police have confirmed that 10 Eritreans and one American are among those killed in the simultaneous bomb blasts that went off in Kampala last night. Six Americans believed to be from a Church group Pennsylvania are also injured.

Close to 60 confirmed dead in Kampala bomb blasts

KAMPALA - What should have been a feisty viewing of the 2010 World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain turned tragic as three bomb explosions ripped through Kampala city suburbs, killing more than 50, and leaving scores critically injured. 
By 2.00am this morning, 15 bodies had been received at the city mortuary at Mulago Hospital as ambulances and Police patrol teams ferried the injured to various hospitals. Most of the deceased were part of the revellers at the popular Kyadondo Rugby Club in Lugogo. 
The first bomb went off in Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala. The explosion went off during half-time. The other two went off at the Kyadondo Rugby Club at 11.18pm–one after the other–in close succession. 
The Police suspect that the Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia could have been behind the attacks. “We have been suspecting that these people could be planning something like this. At least I can confirm that 13 people have been killed in the Kabalagala incident and I am still waiting for reports from Kyadondo,” the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said on NTV-Uganda. 
Asked whom he meant by “these people”, Kayihura said: “Al Shabaab.” The Kabalagala bomb, the Police said, could have been targeting foreigners. 
The Police could not put a figure on the casualties at Kyadondo, though eyewitnesses put the dead at more than 40. At the epicentre of the blast, as seen on TV, lay the severed head of a Somali-looking man, who obviously bore the brunt of the explosion. It is therefore reasonable to assume that it was a suicide bombing. There were also unconfirmed reports of other blasts in Ntinda and Bwaise. By 1:00am, Kyadondo was deserted, save for the injured awaiting evacuation, as security operatives sealed off the club. 
Witnesses said the two bombs exploded right in front of the giant screen relaying a live telecast from South Africa. The night was soon after punctured by sirens on racing Police patrol trucks as the Police and counter-terrorism unit moved in. The explosions took the victims by surprise as many were blown off their chairs and others died in their seats. Many others could have been killed and injured in the pandemonium that ensued. 
In Kamwokya, a suburb popularly frequented by expatriates, all was quiet, save for the car park which was full of vehicles where the Dutch Community hosted a live telecast of the match at Iguana restaurant. Ntinda, a suburb that “never sleeps”, was deserted as several bars emptied hastily. Public transport was scarce, save for a few brave boda-boda riders. Most revellers in groups were seen walking home, some still carrying the famous vuvuzela, a trademark of the 2010 World Cup, South Africa. 

Kampala Bombing update

More pictures of the tragic bombing at Kyadondo Rugby Club here:

kampala Bombing update

Apparently the threats were dismissed just last week... 

Kampala Bombing update

Al-Jazeera is quoting Maj. Gen. Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, saying he believes Al-Shabaab are responsible, and the bombs were tartgeting World Cup crowds...

BREAKING NEWS: 33 die in Kampala bomb attacks

KAMPALA - At least 33 people are reported dead in two bomb explosions in Kampala.

One explosion targeted the Kyadondo Rugby Club where The New Vision was screening the final game of the 2010 World Cup.

The blasts occurred minutes after 11.00pm. Blood, broken chairs, clothes and shoes were seen everywhere on the ground while security soldiers and rescuers were evacuating and saving the wounded, according to a New Vision sports journalist who was at the Kyadondo event.

The other blast was reported at the Ethiopian village, in Kabalagala, while another blast was reported in Ntinda. There are varying death tolls: New Vision 33, Reuters 23, BBC 20 and CNN over 40...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spot the ella

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Barcelona fail to pay player wages for June!

Barcelona failed to pay their players at the end of June, club president Sandro Rosell has revealed.

Rosell, who succeeded Joan Laporta at the financially troubled Catalan outfit last week, also said a loan of about £125m had been secured to pay wages. "We found a club in debt, with liquidity problems. At this point we have to take a loan to pay the wages of the players," he said. But Rosell said Barca can still afford Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Barca recently sold defender Dmitro Chygrynskiy to Shakhtar Donetsk for about £12.5m to help raise much-needed funds, even though coach Pep Guardiola had been keen to keep him. They also sold Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure to Manchester City for about £20m.
However, Rosell has moved to reassure worried fans that Barca's problems are under control and that the process of securing a loan had already started under the previous board.

"The banks know that we have a business plan that will allow them to recover the money. The club is not bankrupt because it generates income," he added. "The members shouldn't be afraid because it is under control. We must resolve this tension. It can be done in two ways: to have extra income, like selling Chygrynskiy, and/or taking a loan, which is what we have done. The previous board had already begun this process. We followed the same path - the same banks, the same target but with a different business plan. They [Laporta's board] also knew they needed this credit."

And Rosell even claimed that over 50m euros (about £41m) would still be available to spend on new players.

Despite their financial issues, Barcelona have been pursuing Arsenal star Fabregas for some time and recently signed Spain striker David Villa from Valencia. Rosell intends to meet Gunners manager Arsene Wenger in South Africa shortly to discuss a deal for Fabregas, who started his career at the Nou Camp. "It's now or never. We'll do it fast. It won't be protracted," said Rosell. "I'll try to see Wenger in South Africa, then we'll tell you what happens. We would not pay the 50-60m euros that I have read about. If Arsenal do not go crazy, he might play at Barca. There will be 50m euros to sign more players. This is the case every year. This is our plan for the future.Technically, as of now we have 50m euros plus 15 for Chygrynskiy and 24 for Toure. In total, 89m euros (about £75m)."

Immigrants helping Germany - minister

Immigrants have helped give Germany a strong team at the World Cup, the country's Sport Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a radio interview on Monday.

He said the large number of players of foreign origin in the side was an indication of improving integration in a country of 82 million with a foreign population of about seven million. "It's tremendous progress -- 11 of the 23 Germany players are from immigrant families," de Maiziere, who is also the Interior Minister, told Deutschlandfunk radio. "They've worked hard, delivered a great performance. They wanted to become German citizens and they've done that without turning their backs on their home countries," he added. "We've accepted that and they're loved as much as anyone else.
It's a successful example of integration -- a role model for our country."

The families of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski came from Poland, Mesut Ozil is of Turkish descent, Sami Khedira's father is from Tunisia, Jerome Boateng's father is Ghanaian and Mario Gomez was born to a Spanish father and German mother. Guest workers have been coming to Germany for decades but until recently few children of foreigners played for Germany. Before the citizenship law was reformed in 1999, conservative governments had said Germany was not a country of immigrants. "This soccer team is a successful example of integration," added de Maiziere. "Those who work hard will be accepted and those who have faith (in Germany) will have opportunities."

The national team has been opening itself up since the 1998 World Cup when many in Germany hailed the ethnic diversity of the French side that won the trophy after an all-white German team lost 3-0 to Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fake Gatwick owner story causes contention between blacks

LONDON - A misleading story being distributed about the purchase of the loss making Gatwick Airport by Global Infrastructure Partners has caused division across Pan African communities.

When Nigerian investment banker, Adebayo Ogunlesi, secured the top job of chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) it is unlikely he could have known that he would one day be described by thousands as the owner of the US based group of private investors. Despite GIP being a joint venture between Credit Suisse and General Electric Infrastructure, a viral internet campaign has grown describing him as the new owner of Gatwick Airport after GIP agreed to buy it from BAA for £1.5bn following its £110m loss year end April 2009.

Ironically the story is now becoming a source of contention causing division between a minority of Africans describing themselves as Nigerians and ‘blacks’. Some believe that the fake headline stating a ‘black man buys Gatwick airport’ should have referred to Ogunlesi as a Nigerian. It is also argued that ‘black’ people want to claim the ‘success’ which should instead be owned by egocentric ‘Nigerians’.

The misunderstanding may have been caused by the misinterpretation of a headline published first by Sky News that read ‘Gatwick Buyer Promises First Class Service’. This seems to have lead to the growth of conspiracy theories arguing there was a media whiteout denying a significant tale of African history despite the story being widely published during October 2009.

Toyin Agbetu, a Pan African writer from the Ligali publishing house said, “This is not the first time such confusion has been spread within our community. From the promotion of the fake Willie Lynch speech and alleged ‘pro-black’ poems by prominent Africans in America to the support of the bogus Matrix/Terminator claims by our talented sista, a little research will always reveal the Truth that our Pan African history is full of many real and greater success stories including those based on facts detailing the mighty deeds of our Ancestors.”

Bayo Ogunlesi is the Chairman and Managing Partner of GIP and is based in New York City. GIP is a 5.64 billion US dollar fund managed for the benefit of its investors by a professional investment executive team of partners, each of whom is a direct investor in the fund.

Ogunlesi previously served as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of Credit Suisse’s Investment Banking Division and was also responsible for their worldwide capital markets (debt and equity), mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and advisory, industry, country and regional banking businesses. He was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) after which he claimed “My role as Chairman of AFC will provide a unique opportunity for me to contribute to the development of Africa by helping to build what I am sure will become a leading force in the financing of infrastructure assets on the continent.”

However he is not known to be a Pan Africanist and his long history in corporate finance does not reveal any interests in supporting grass roots projects that benefit the empowerment of African people worldwide.

The acquisition of Gatwick was handled by Michael McGhee, GIP’s partner in London. The ownership page of the Gatwick Airport Website states; “Gatwick Airport Limited (Gatwick) is the company licensed to operate Gatwick Airport by the Civil Aviation Authority. Gatwick is wholly-owned by Ivy Bidco Limited (Ivy), a company formed to undertake the acquisition of Gatwick. Ivy is ultimately controlled by funds managed by Global Infrastructure Management, LLC, part of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).”

There are no Africans on the Board of Directors.

Toyin Agbetu concluded, “It is my belief that the forthcoming memorials commemorating the achievements of Marcus Mosiah Garvey this year will reveal we already have mighty work to build upon. Once this message is understood then perhaps we will all recognise there is no need to support or fabricate manipulative myths designed to appease ego” 

Uhuru’s dilemma over the Gema mantle

The Gema community, led by the House of Mumbi, is desperate. There is no obvious heir-apparent to President Mwai Kibaki in central Kenya. The power vacuum is so large that the community is at risk of disintegrating as a political force.

That’s why it met in Limuru last week to resuscitate Uhuru Kenyatta, the underachieving prince. But Mr Kenyatta is acting like a deer caught in the headlights. He doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. Mr Kenyatta cannot find his footing. He has completely been spooked by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the other prince, on the draft constitution. My crystal ball tells me that no matter what Gema does, Mr Kenyatta may be on his political deathbed.

I will tell why I don’t think it’s too early to write Mr Kenyatta’s political obituary. You will recall that except for his big name, Mr Kenyatta was a nobody until former President Daniel arap Moi picked him from obscurity in 2001. It was an unprecedented meteoric rise for the political novice from Gatundu. Mr Moi immediately elevated him to the Cabinet and, to the shock of the nation, launched him into political orbit as Kanu’s presidential candidate. But not even the tutelage of the “professor of politics” could save Mr Kenyatta – a greenhorn – from a humiliating drubbing by Narc and Mr Kibaki. A decade later, Mr Kenyatta has yet to find his political identity.

Mr Kenyatta only has himself to blame for his political woes. Given an opportunity to be a national leader, he has chosen to be an ethnic chief at every turn. In 2007, he didn’t have to hitch his wagon to PNU. But he was positioning himself to inherit Mr Kibaki’s mantle in the Mt Kenya region. This was shortsighted political opportunism. In Limuru last week, Mr Kenyatta again happily accepted the title of tribal chief.

I don’t think being the alpha male in Gema will do much for his political fortunes in today’s Kenya. Gema, like all tribal groupings, has a stench that is decidedly anti-Kenya. Gema is so “yesterday” that Mr Kenyatta should be ashamed of associating with it. In the wake of the demonic violence in 2008, the country is looking for a leader who is not captive to a tribal cabal. That’s why I was shocked to see retired Anglican Archbishop David Gitari, a respected reformer, and his Methodist counterpart Bishop Lawi Imathiu, co-chairing the Gema tribal conclave. I am sure Jesus would not have approved. But the yoking of the political and religious elite from the region tells us plenty – Gema has pushed the panic button because the community is politically at sea. I have news for them.

Looking to Mr Kenyatta to rescue Gema – or vice versa – is a pipe dream. He doesn’t have it in him, and Kenya is highly unlikely to return a Kikuyu to State House. Mr Kenyatta has several albatrosses around his neck. The first is the draft constitution which he has only given tepid support. By agreeing to take over the ‘Yes’ campaign within Gema, Mr Kenyatta effectively admitted that he had been a “watermelon” – green on the outside and red on the inside. Until then he had appeared to support the constitution, but actually didn’t. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating – it remains to be seen whether he will now totally embrace the constitution and vigorously campaign for its passage.

Mr Kenyatta’s problem – which is also Gema’s – is that Mr Odinga has cleaned their clock on the constitution. It is Mr Odinga’s project. Period. Nothing Mr Kenyatta does now can change that basic political reality. Mr Odinga’s “ownership” of the constitution means that Mr Kenyatta cannot use it to revive his presidential ambitions for 2012. Mr Kenyatta’s only choice – and Gema’s – is to subordinate their interests to another candidate. He cannot go it alone. Nor is he going to be the top dog. Not in 2012. He has two plausible choices. Either he hooks up with Mr Odinga as a junior partner, or throws his weight behind Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. He and Gema must decide which of the two options serves Kenya, and them, best. But they need to put Kenya first and themselves second. Mr Kenyatta is still a relatively young man. He may have at least one more bite of the apple.

The matter of post-election violence also poses a grave danger to Mr Kenyatta’s political career. Recently, the High Court refused to expunge his name from a report of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights linking him to the violence. He has now appealed that decision. No one knows what implications this has for the investigation by Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court.

But this must be a trying time for Mr Kenyatta. Gema’s determination to anoint Mr Kenyatta – in spite of his problems – shows the dearth of leadership within its ranks. Perhaps they should throw their weight behind Martha Karua, the Gichugu legislator, if they have to stay home.