Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who is Gidion Mbuvi Kioko aka Gideon Mbuvi Kioko aka Mike Sonko?

New Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi Kioko was sworn in as controversy surrounding his past rose, especially over alleged prison break in 1998 and dramatic stint at Kamiti Maximum Prison in 2001.

The MP, who is known more by his alias Mike Sonko, took his seat in the august House on a day he battled fresh accusations he has a tainted past and should not have been cleared to run.

When Sonko absconded, all he left were the remains of the shackles he left on his hospital bed. He was probably unchained by a willing police officer, and the records of Shimo la Tewa Prison show that a Mr Gideon Mbuvi Kioko, who was supposed to be incarcerated for six months escaped, and is still on the run.

But even as focus turned to the 1998 incident, Sonko conceded he was jailed for two months at Shimo la Tewa, but denied he escaped.
"I was arraigned in court over some matter for which I was released on bail. When that date came I skipped court for I had to attend my mother’s burial," said the MP. He argued the only reason he got into trouble was he only absconded a court bond, which earned him a four-month jail term.

"I stayed behind bars for only two months then I was released by Justice Oguk following an appeal against my sentence. I never escaped from Kamiti and there is evidence to prove that I was set free by the High Court," he said, as he fought off a report in The Star on Tuesday, that he was jailed over forgery and booked in as prisoner Number KAM/1255/2000/LS. The newspaper carried an affidavit in which Kioko said he had been denied bond/bail and was in Kamiti serving a four-month sentence. He also listed several medical conditions he said he had and which could be complicated by prison conditions, adding he was from a poor family.

But in reference to the Mombasa case, Sonko appears to suggest it was one and the same case as the one that took him to Kamiti — and so, too, he argued was his innocence against forgery charges that is a common denominator in both. He said when he was arraigned before a magistrate in Mombasa over the contempt of court case; the magistrate allegedly sentenced him even as he explained he was attending his mother’s funeral the same day the case come up.

The MP denied ever forging documents aimed at acquiring a prime land in Mombasa. "All those stories being written about me are all false. They have even said all my parents are dead when it is only my mother who passed on," said an angry Sonko. He said the adverse publicity was meant to paint him as a criminal, somebody unfit to be a leader, "but I will not be cowed by those negative stories". He added: "My people know me and I am ready to serve them diligently." He added in reference to report: "One of the papers have named one Gideon Mbuvi Kioko as the one who escaped from Shimo La Tewa. Those are not my names. As per my ID my names are Gidion Mbuvi Kioko. The person whose details they published is not I even though the impression being created is that I am the one."

Sonko was already subject of rebuttals by Interim Independent Commission, which argued that vetting should have been the responsibility of political parties and disciplinary cases were not in its domain.
This was in reference to claims IIEC could have allowed a leader with a criminal past access to Parliament contrary to the requirements of the new Constitution. Outside Parliament, Sonko claimed there were attempts to tarnish his name and wondered why all those details about his past were being published days after his victory.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GoK finally backs down on "State Secrets"

A Cabinet committee on Tuesday dropped its opposition to allowing the International Criminal Court access to sensitive government documents in its investigations. The decision was reached during a three-hour meeting of the committee, which was formed to deal with the ICC. The world court is investigating the killings and other crimes committed during the lawlessness following the last election.

The meeting was also attended by a team from the ICC, which expressed concern at the high level revelations of its communications with government officials regarding the investigations, the sources, who attended the meeting, said.

The committee, chaired by Internal Security minister George Saitoti, however was categorical that it would vet all documents requested by the ICC team before handing them over. The committee agreed to ask Attorney General Amos Wako and the Kenya Police to hand over the requested information to the committee for them to choose the documents to hand over to the investigators, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because of the confidentiality of the meeting.

The meeting at Harambee House was called to discuss the level of cooperation the government was giving to the ICC and came amid revelations of a series of letters that The Hague had written asking for more information. The information is related to the meetings reported by the Waki Commission, and in particular one held at State House, and believed to have led to the killings in Naivasha and Kiambaa church in Eldoret. “The government agreed to fully cooperate with the ICC and will give them access to the documents they want. However, the (Cabinet) committee will decide which documents to hand over,” said a source at the meeting.

The two sides of the Grand Coalition Government, it has emerged, were divided over the level of cooperation with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) demanding full access to all information requested by The Hague. The Party of National Unity (PNU), however, was hesitant to submit reports of high level security meetings that were held at the height of investigations on grounds that they were State secrets. Sources at the meeting said the ODM team, comprising Cabinet ministers James Orengo, Otieno Kajwang’ and Amason Kingi, pushed for the full cooperation. They also reminded their colleagues of the recent agreement they signed with the ICC allowing it to establish offices in Nairobi to expedite its work.

PNU ministers Saitoti and Moses Wetang’ula, however, argued that even though the government had agreed to cooperate with the ICC, it was in the interest of Kenya to safeguard confidential State secrets such as high-level security meetings, according to the source. Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo reportedly argued that since the government had agreed to work with the ICC, it was obliged to provide information. He was also reported by the sources to have added that it should not be taken that giving access to the minutes of such meetings would amount to the government incriminating itself.

The ICC has written two letters to the government seeking access to minutes of the security meetings and another session that was said to have been held at State House immediately after the outbreak of the violence.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Delhi not ready for Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI In another embarrassment—a day after a suspension pedestrian overbridge crashed, and three days after two Taiwanese men were injured after gunmen opened fire on a busload of tourists outside the historic Jama Masjid mosque—a false ceiling collapsed at the Weightlifting arena of the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is the main event venue of the Commonwealth Games. 

Reports say the false ceiling fell directly over the field of play. 

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games CEO Mike Hooper said that he was not responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Delhi Games. 

Earlier on Tuesday, a gleaming new steel-and-concrete suspension pedestrian overbridge came crashing down at the main event venue, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. The disaster left at least 27 workers injured and heightened concerns about the safety of structures being readied in a mad rush for the October 3 opening. Among the injured, five of them seriously, was a site engineer. Authorities refused to pin blame on any agency and Delhi government's Public Works Department, which has been entrusted with several CWG projects, said it had tendered two foot overbridges, including the one destroyed, to a Chandigarh-based company P&R Infraprojects Ltd for Rs 10.34 crore. Work on both the arch-shaped foot overbridges started in March and was scheduled to end this month.

Sarvagya Srivastava, the PWD project manager at the disaster site, didn't say who was responsible for the bridge collapse. When reporters asked for an explanation, he merely said that two of the clamps holding up the causeway snapped and as the load increased progressively on the other cables, all of these snapped and the edifice came crashing down. Public works minister Raj Kumar Chauhan told reporters the bridge, linking the stadium's parking lot to the venue, was meant exclusively for athletes and officials, underlying the lack of attention to facilities tom-tommed as world-class. But later in the day, as fears over safety grew, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, while visiting the injured at AIIMS, tried to play it down insensitively by saying the overbridge was meant for ordinary spectators.

Eyewitness said the bridge came crashing down with a thunderous thud at 3.05pm as workers were giving it finishing touches and laying concrete layers on the walkway. "Suddenly, one portion of the FOB on the stadium side collapsed. We saw labourers jumping from the bridge. The entire bridge came down in less than a minute," said Mohammad Ayub, a worker. He said no medical help was immediately available and the injured had to be rushed to hospital in private cars. 

PWD officials, present at the site when the structure came down, said first two pairs of clamps of structures called the Macalloy bar suspenders, imported from Britain, broke and there was a progressive failure of the remaining 11 pairs resulting in the collapse. "The arch is still intact. A proper investigation would reveal what went wrong in this project," said a senior Delhi government official.

Meanwhile, England's world champion triple jumper Phillips Idowu became the second high-profile athlete in less than 24 hours to pull out of next month's Commonwealth Games due to safety and health concerns even as two more compatriots also decided to skip the October 3-14 mega event because of injury.Australian world champion discus thrower Dani Samuels yesterday pulled out of the controversy-marred Games citing health and security concerns following Sunday's gun attack on two foreign tourists and the recent outbreak of dengue fever in the Indian capital.

Two other high-profile English athletes
Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and 2006 Melbourne Games gold medallist 1500m runner Lisa Dobriskey had also withdrawn from the Games though their pull out was not related to security but due to injuries.

31-year-old Idowu, who won gold in 2006 Melbourne Games, said in his Twitter page that he is withdrawing from the event after hearing news of unhygienic conditions (at the Games Village) and collapse of a footbridge near the main venue of the Games.
"All the press today about bridges collapsing and 23+ people being hurt, floods and uninhabitable living conditions, getting my daughter ready for school this morning and seeing all of that put me off. "I can't afford to risk my safety in the slightest. Sorry people, but I have children to think about. My safety is more important to them than a medal," he tweeted. "I understand people will be disappointed that I will not be competing. I am disappointed. These games mean a lot to me. It's the champs in which I won my 1st medal. And four years ago won my 1st gold, which kicked off the success I have in my career to date," said Idowu.

Ohuruogu suffered a cramp during a training session last weekend and she does not want to take risk as she has not fully recovered from her quad injury she suffered in June. "I am disappointed to miss the Commonwealth Games after working so hard to get fit since my quad injury in June. However, with the 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon the last thing an athlete wants to do is risk re-injury to the same muscle," the 26-year-old said. "It was very important for me to be cautious in dealing with my previous injury, and although training was progressing well, intense competition over three days may prove to be more harmful than good and may compromise the long-term functioning of the muscle.

"With three rounds in the 400m in Delhi I would need to be close to my best to win the gold. I had already picked up my team kit and was getting ready to go to the preparation camp in Doha. Instead I will have a short break now and resume winter training in October to get ready for the 2011 season.

Dobriskey, who claimed the Commonwealth 1,500m title in Melbourne, has been advised to rest and focus on training for next year after an injury-hit season. "I was really looking forward to competing and I'd worked so hard to get back into shape. I'm really disappointed but I just ran out of time. I want to wish all the best to the athletes out in Delhi," Dobriskey said.

Who wants to do the teacher?

In some ways, working as a phone-sex dominatrix is a lot simpler than being on a college faculty. Your relationship with others is clearly defined, no one formally complains about anything you say to them, and you stand little risk of getting caught up in messy struggles over power.

It gets complicated, however, if you try to do both jobs.

Life has become extremely complex in the University of New Mexico's English department in the three years since Lisa D. Chávez, a tenured associate professor, was discovered moonlighting as the phone-sex dominatrix "Mistress Jade," and posing in promotional pictures sexually dominating one of her own graduate students. Although she quickly quit the phone-sex job, admitted to a serious lapse of judgment, and was not found by the university's administration to have violated any law or policy, Ms. Chávez remains at the center of a bitter controversy that has raised questions about faculty governance, the obligations of professors to protect students, and the exact definition of a hostile workplace in an environment of shifting sexual mores.

Several members of the English department accuse Ms. Chávez of abusing her power over students, and allege that the administration retaliated against professors who complained about her extracurricular activities. They also say that the university administration violated a basic principle of shared governance by not entrusting the investigation of Ms. Chávez to a faculty ethics committee.

For her part, Ms. Chávez has accused her accusers, in complaints to the university and the state, of discriminating against her because she is bisexual and Hispanic.

The department has been riven by resignations, as well as by three faculty members' lawsuits, still pending, that stem from the controversy. Many faculty members complain that they now work in a deteriorating atmosphere, which is taking its toll on students.

Gaining Experience

Graduate students in the department were the first to take on phone-sex work, about five years ago. They found it locally at People Exchanging Power, an Albuquerque-based company that offers people with various sexual fetishes a support network, phone-sex services, and opportunities to rendezvous with some of its employees in real life.

The students found it easy to talk about such work with Ms. Chávez. The professor, 48, takes pride in having close friendships with graduate students, often inviting them to her house for parties students characterize as fairly raucous. "I have been told repeatedly since all of this happened that I am stepping over boundaries by being friends with students," Ms. Chávez says. "And I don't think that is true—especially in creative writing, where we end up knowing students so well just through their writing."

When students brought up phone-sex work in her classes, Ms. Chávez, who describes herself as "a pro-sex feminist," spoke approvingly of how empowering such jobs were, of how the students had found a great way to gain outside income and life experience they could draw upon as writers. In February 2007, Ms. Chávez quietly took a job herself at People Exchanging Power. She says she had just gotten divorced, was having trouble making her mortgage payments, and viewed working for the service, which paid more than $40 per hour, as a great way to earn money in her spare time and gather material for her fiction. Working under the Mistress Jade pseudonym, she fielded calls dispatched to her home but, she says, did not meet personally with clients. Her advertisement on the company's Web site asked potential callers: "Do you want a biker bitch, an imperious goddess, or a stern teacher ready to punish unruly students?"

Liz Derrington, a 27-year-old graduate student in the creative-writing program who was going through a divorce herself, went to work for People Exchanging Power at about the same time. "The pay was good—it was far better than waiting tables or anything like that," she says. Ms. Chávez and Ms. Derrington ran into each other at the service and agreed to be photographed simulating sadomasochistic sex acts. A former New Mexico graduate student employed there also appeared in the photos, which were accompanied by captions that used vulgar and degrading terms.In the meantime, a few of Ms. Chávez's students complained to other faculty members in the department that they felt uncomfortable about the sexually charged conversations in her class. One professor, Diane M. Thiel, says she took these concerns to David R. Jones, then the English-department chairman, but he "seemed unconcerned." (Mr. Jones has categorically denied Ms. Thiel's allegations over his handling of the matter.)

In July 2007, some of the photos of Ms. Chávez landed on the desk of Mr. Jones, attached to a note signed "appalled parents." He asked Sharon Oard Warner, a professor of English and Ms. Chávez's boss as the creative-writing program's director, to check the People Exchanging Power site on her home computer to determine if any of the program's students were involved.

Accusing Accusers

In fact, there were several current or former students pictured on the Web site. Among them was Carrie Cutler, a 33-year-old graduate student who had worked for the company before Ms. Chávez took a job there. Ms. Cutler, who remains in the creative-writing program, says she had hoped that taking phone-sex work, which she had heard Ms. Chávez praise in class, would not only help her pay bills but help her remedy Ms. Chávez's complaints that her writing was not dark or edgy enough. She says she quit after growing tired of being on the phone at all hours and dealing with prank callers or people who asked for things she felt uncomfortable providing. Ms. Warner says she passed information about the student and faculty involvement in the company to Mr. Jones. When Mr. Jones then confronted Ms. Chávez, she told him she had considered the outside work partially as research for her writing. But she nonetheless quit the outside job and asked the company to remove her photos from its Web site.

In a document filed in connection with one of her own discrimination complaints, which have been dismissed, Ms. Chávez says Mr. Jones told her that Ms. Cutler was the origin of the accusations against her. The document shows Ms. Chávez raised concerns at that time about Ms. Cutler's mental stability, telling others that "the student who originally started all this had serious mental-health issues, was actively trying to hurt me and my career, and was, perhaps, a danger to me and others." But, her discrimination complaint continued, no one at the university took her concerns seriously. Several faculty members and students in the program say Ms. Chávez later spread word that Ms. Cutler had had a psychotic breakdown that fall and had been threatening to murder fellow students. Ms. Derrington, for one, appeared to take these warnings about her fellow graduate student seriously. She requested that an armed university police officer be present in the room when she defended her dissertation.

Ms. Cutler denies ever having had any sort of breakdown, and several students and faculty members who knew her during this period say she appeared fine. Ms. Chávez, in an e-mail, declined to comment on her interactions with Ms. Cutler.

Widened Scrutiny

Soon after the "appalled parent" letter arrived, the university began to look into the matter, first to see if Ms. Chávez had crossed any lines, but then to see if her colleagues had been out of line in their dealings with her.
The investigation started with the university's Office of Equal Opportunity, which asked various people involved if Ms. Chávez had created a hostile learning environment for her students. But in a confidential e-mail sent to Ms. Warner in early October 2007, Mr. Jones said that the university's president, David J. Schmidly, had decided to call off that investigation, and to hire an outside lawyer to conduct a different one altogether. The subject was not Ms. Chávez's treatment of graduate students, but the conduct of people in the English department as a whole. Ms. Chávez, it appeared, had gone on the offensive, threatening defamation lawsuits against faculty members who, she alleged, were falsely accusing her of engaging in outright prostitution and being romantically involved with a student, Ms. Derrington. She filed a discrimination complaint with the university in which she accused Ms. Warner of having it out for her because she is Hispanic.

In late November 2007, university administrators announced the completion of the investigation. It concluded that Ms. Chávez had exercised bad judgment but did not find her guilty of allegations of maintaining a hostile learning environment, sexual harassment, or other illegal activity or violations of policy that suggested she was unfit for her job. Faculty members who had raised concerns about Ms. Chávez were urged by administrators to enter into mediation with her. One of them was Gregory Martin, an associate professor of English. In a court document, Mr. Martin says Brenda Claiborne, dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences, subsequently warned faculty members that if they continued to demand action be taken against Ms. Chávez, they could face negative consequences, including lawsuits for slander or a decision by the university to abolish the entire creative-writing program.

The warning did not deter them. In February 2008, 14 tenured faculty members in the English department signed a letter to Richard Holder, the university's deputy provost for academic affairs, urging the administration to let a faculty committee investigate Ms. Chávez's conduct. The signers, who included Mr. Martin and Ms. Warner, said her actions raised "serious ethical questions" regarding "abuse of academic freedom and the professional ethics that must govern the relationship of a professor and her student." It said the creative-writing program "has been harmed and continues to be harmed." Soon after, Ms. Chávez filed a discrimination complaint with the state alleging that the accusations against her stemmed from bias based on her being Hispanic and bisexual.

Refusals to Surrender

Provost Holder refused to hand the matter over to a faculty panel for adjudication. In a letter to those who request he do so, he characterized the investigation of Ms. Chávez as thorough, and said he had heard from many other faculty members who attributed the deteriorating atmosphere in the creative-writing program "not to the underlying situation but to the persistence of some in pursuing this matter."
And there was persistence. The faculty members appealed Mr. Holder's decision to President Schmidly and the acting provost, Viola Florez, but they stood behind Mr. Holder.

Then came the reaction: Resignation and lawsuits. Joy Harjo, a prominent American Indian poet who had signed the letter to Mr. Holder, quit the faculty, saying she did not feel comfortable working where she could not protect her students. Ms. Warner resigned as the creative-writing program's director, saying she already been implicitly stripped of her authority and her job had become "untenable." Her resignation letter said, "Evidently, university administrators are more concerned about spurious threats of litigation than about protecting the learning and working environment." Ms. Warner filed a lawsuit against the university last year. She claims that her efforts to pursue complaints against Ms. Chávez led to her being subjected to administrative threats and various acts of administrative retaliation, including an unusual financial audit of a writing conference she oversees and rejection when she later sought to become chair of the English department. Her lawsuit accuses Mr. Jones of keeping those investigating Ms. Chávez in the dark by failing to pass on to them the incriminating photos from People Exchanging Power's Web site.

A separate lawsuit has been filed by Ms. Warner's husband, Teddy D. Warner, a psychologist at the university's medical school. He contends that he suffered a pay cut and was denied a promised private office in retaliation for his wife's activities. The university had denied the couple's allegations. A third lawsuit was filed by Ms. Thiel, the creative-writing professor whose work relationship with Ms. Chávez had been poor even before the phone-sex imbroglio. Ms. Thiel alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work environment by Mr. Jones, Ms. Chávez, and other faculty members in connection with the whole controversy. The university has asked the court to dismiss Ms. Thiel's lawsuit on technical grounds, saying it was filed in the wrong venue because she lives in a different judicial district.

The conduct of Mr. Jones factors heavily in the lawsuits filed by Ms. Warner and Ms. Thiel, even though the university as a whole is the named defendant. In an e-mail, he defended his conduct. "I stand by all my actions in that troubled time, actions intended to protect the rights and safety of a number of students and faculty members, including Warner and Thiel, when we all found ourselves in an extraordinary situation."
Although Ms. Chávez also is not named as a defendant in the lawsuits, she says she seems "to be the target of those in a lot of ways," given how they focus on the university's refusal to punish her. Although she continues to teach and advise students, she says the stress she has suffered as a result of the controversy "has put a real damper on my writing."
Julie Y. Shigekuni, a professor of English who now directs the creative-writing program, says she is trying to keep the program on course despite the controversy. "It becomes complicated, because I think that lawsuits, and the kind of climate of antagonism and fear that is brought by lawsuits, creates unpredictability," she says. "Students are uncertain about how the program is functioning and about the future of the program." Ms. Derrington, who has graduated from the program, likewise would like to put the whole controversy behind her—not because she feels any shame for her phone-sex work, but because people misunderstand what it involved, and she fears she will have trouble finding academic work as a result of it. In the Internet age, however, she is not optimistic about escaping this chapter of her past.

"If you Google me," she says, "this whole issue is the first thing that comes up."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why we did not arrest al-Bashir - Wetangula

Kenya has explained to the International Criminal Court why it did not arrest Sudan President Omar Bashir when he attended the promulgation of new constitution.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang'ula told the President of the assembly of state parties to the Rome statute of the ICC Mr Christian Wenaweser that Kenya was bound by African Union's decision not to arrest Bashir. “The minister clarified that the decision not to arrest Bashir was a resolution by the African Union, of which Kenya is also a member, and due to the complexity of the crisis in Darfur, AU was in agreement that arresting Bashir during this critical period towards a referendum would jeopardize the peace process,” a statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs communication’s chief, Judith Ngunia, said.

The minister explained that following the issuance of the arrest warrant for Bashir, the AU, noting the complexity of the Sudan in relation to Darfur, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the relationship between the North and the South, invoked a clause of the ICC and asked the UNSC to suspend the warrant to allow the African efforts to resolve the crisis. The UNSC never came back to Africa following which the AU summit in Sirte in July 2009, in Addis in January 2010 and in July Kampala 2010, took a decision that its member states were not obliged to cooperate on the case of Bashir, and invoked a Sanctions clause in the Constitutive Act, for non-compliance.

The AU position was also guided by recommendations of its Panel of Eminent Persons led by President Mbeki that urged the solving of the Sudan problem within a comprehensive framework of peace, security, justice and stability. The minister who is attending a UN General Assembly in New York added that Bashir’s visit “was in the wider context of good neighbourliness and peace in the region as Kenya was a strategic partner of Sudan, and also the custodian of the comprehensive peace agreement and therefore had a mandate to safeguard the peace process towards a successful referendum in January 2011.”

The minister who met Mr Wenaweser in New York assured him of Kenya’s commitment in fighting impunity and that Kenya will defend the Rome statute as witnessed in the recent signing of the agreement with the ICC registrar in Nairobi. The agreement gives the court independence to fully and efficiently discharge its mandate and fulfill its purpose within the country.

Mr Wenaweser is also the permanent Representative of Lichestien to the UN in New York. He supported Kenya’s effort to continue engaging both parties in Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement for a successful referendum in 2011 and to ensure that peace, security and stability prevails in Sudan during and after the referendum. Mr Wenaweser also supported the recent political developments in Sudan with regard to the CPA, and following talks between Presidents Kibaki and Bashir of Sudan in Nairobi in which the two parties agreed that the referendum must go on as scheduled for January 9. Mr Wenaweser said Africa had the biggest membership within ICC and therefore should not be ignored, and pledged to support Kenya’s effort to have more funds directed towards peace keeping in the region and in particular in Somalia.

Mr Wetang'ula was accompanied by Kenya’s ambassador to Ethiopia Dr Monica Juma among others.
Kenya got a backlash from among others US President Barack Obama for hosting Mr Bashir during the promulgation ceremony. Mr Bashir is wanted by the ICC over atrocities committed in Sudan’s region of Darfur.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Army sentences 20 year old HIV+ mother to death

MOROTO, Uganda - As the court martial handed the death sentence to Judith Koriang on Wednesday afternoon, the mother stood still with teary eyes. She bowed down as her eyes swept across the courtroom, from chairman Lt. Col. Eugene Sebugwawo to the other members of the 3rd Division army court.

Koriang, a 20-year-old widow with a young son, heard her fate sealed by the court martial sitting in Moroto. She was advised by the court to appeal against the death sentence within 14 days.

Koriang shot dead her husband, Pte. Nelson Okello, on May 1, 2009, at Nakiloro army detachment in Moroto district, a few kilometres to the Uganda-Kenya border, following a domestic spat. The discordant couple was residing in a makeshift hut, popularly known as mama ingia pole.

After Koriang tested HIV-positive and her husband negative, it triggered endless insults from the husband. Koriang told the court that Okello was the only man she had known in life; and his persistent demand that she goes to the man who infected her, sent her mad.

On the fateful day, the husband went back home but refused to eat supper and asked her to leave. She narrated that she played it cool until midnight when she woke up to execute her mission. She picked her husband’s gun stealthily and tiptoed out. She then sprayed bullets on the makeshift structure, knowing that by the time the gun went silent, her son and husband would be dead.

Miraculously, the son survived but the husband was hit by a few bullets out of the 30 she sprayed and died instantly. “After all the mistreatment, the only answer was to kill my son and husband and then turn the gun on myself. Unfortunately, the gun ran shot of bullets,” Koriang told the court martial. She said after the shooting, she entered the hut and carried out the baby and started walking to Moroto Central Police Station, over 30km away, to hand herself in. However, she got tired on the way and decided to rest at Rupa sub-county headquarters after walking for 20km in the night.

Koriang has been on remand in Moroto prison for 14 months.

Pte. Francis Masereka said after the shooting, a search was mounted along the main road to Moroto and Koriang was found seated with her one-year-old baby and taken back to the detachment. Pte. Ariama Okello, the immediate neighbour, said the quarrels started after a UPDF team of doctors tested soldiers for HIV and found that Koriang was positive yet the husband was negative.

After reading the judgement, the court martial chairman said a number of soldiers’ wives had killed their husbands. “To cut the rising trend, Judith Koriang, I am sentencing you to suffer death as a deterrent to others planning the same act,” Ssebugwawo said. After the ruling, Lt. Dan Madaba, her defence lawyer, allowed her to talk to her relatives briefly before she boarded a military truck to prison.

The 3rd Division army spokesperson, Capt. Deo Akiiki, yesterday explained that Koriang, a civilian, was tried in the military court because the UPDF Act allows anybody in the company of the armed forces, who uses firearms to commit a crime, to be tried by the court.

Koriang is the second woman to be sentenced to death by the court martial. The first was Grace Ichakuna from Bukedea, who participated in killing her husband in 2008. There are about 500 inmates in Luzira and Kirinya prisons on death row. Some were sentenced by the army court and others by the civil courts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Obama and Kenya are being dragged in the mud of US racism

Since November 2008, almost every Republican, and especially those in the Tea Party, the fringe wing of the oldest political party in the US, knows that a country called Kenya exists.

All of a sudden the right wing is so knowledgeable about Kenya’s politics and geography than ever before. All this courtesy of US President Barack Obama.

The American right wing has relentlessly tried to push this misinformation to its followers and the shocking thing is, it is sticking. In a country where the public will believe a lie to be true when it’s repeated over and over again despite obvious evidence to the contrary, the right has definitely exploited this weakness. The freedom of expression has brought out the worst of these conspiracy theorists who somehow believe Obama fooled the entire world into believing he was born in Hawaii.

These Obama-haters will compete to display the most ignorant protest signs. In one of the Tea Party rallies, some of the attendees displayed protest signs reading: ‘‘A village somewhere in Kenya misses its idiot” and “Go back to Kenya”.

For a country that prides itself as the world’s largest democracy, these acts by a bunch of ill-informed people are regrettable. Mr Obama is not likely to get a break as long as he is president, and if comments by one Newt Gingrich last weekend are anything to go by, the worst is yet to come. Gingrich, who wants to make a stab for the presidency in 2012, borrowed a line from the ‘‘Birthers’’’ playbook, and in doing so gave us an inkling of what will be coming.

He had this to say in an interview with the National Review Online: “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behaviour, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behaviour.”

The article further quotes Gingrich as saying, "This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.”
Gingrich, a former House Speaker, made these amazing comments in apparent agreement with an article that appeared in Forbes by a conservative writer, Dinesh D’Souza. In his feeble attempt to explain “Obama’s thinking”, D’Souza, who was born in India, goes to great pains to convince Americans that he knows who shaped. “Clearly the anti-colonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. goes a long way to explain the actions and policies of his son in the Oval Office. And we can be doubly sure about his father’s influence because those who know Obama well testify to it.

He goes on to say: “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realisation of his anti-colonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.”

Clearly D’Souza’s intellectual laziness is evident as he does not bother to back up any of his charges. His piece is full of divisive rhetoric and he is definitely gunning to be quoted by conservatives in high positions.
Gingrich’s position on D’Souza’s piece is even more baffling considering that he is a former history lecturer who should have known D’Souza’s article was pure hot air.

But who is surprised really? Gingrich’s main intention is to push the narrative that the President is exotic, non-American, and not “one of us” as the November midterm elections approach. He is trying to appeal to voters’ fears. He comes from the same party that instilled fear in senior citizens, lying to them that Obama is trying to kill them by way of passing health-care reforms.

It is unfortunate that now “Kenya” has become the buzz-word used to score political points. The conservatives would really love to replace the name “Kenya’’ with the word they want to use, “Black”, but for the sake of political correctness “Kenya” seems to be a good cover.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pressure rises on pastor who wants to burn Quran on 9/11

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The government turned up the pressure Tuesday on the head of a small Florida church who plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, warning him that doing so could endanger U.S. troops and Americans everywhere.

But the Rev. Terry Jones insisted he would go ahead with his plans, despite criticism from the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, the White House and the State Department, as well as a host of religious leaders. Jones, who is known for posting signs proclaiming that Islam is the devil's religion, says the Constitution gives him the right to publicly set fire to the book that Muslims consider the word of God. 

Gen. David Petraeus warned Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that "images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence." It was a rare example of a military commander taking a position on a domestic political matter. Jones responded that he is also concerned but is "wondering, 'When do we stop?'" He refused to cancel the protest set for Saturday at his Dove World Outreach Center, a church that espouses an anti-Islam philosophy. "How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?" Jones told the AP. "Instead of us backing down, maybe it's to time to stand up. Maybe it's time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior."

Still, Jones said he will pray about his decision.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Magistrate jails man for Mugabe 'wrinkles' insult

Zimbabweans are reeling in shock after a court jailed a young man for describing President Robert Mugabe, 86, as an "old man with wrinkles".

On Friday, provincial magistrate Samuel Zuze sentenced 23-year-old Gift Mafuka to a year in jail with hard labour for "insulting" Mugabe. The court heard that Mafuka made the "insulting" remark to two children wearing pro-Mugabe T-shirts. 


Mafuka asked the boys, aged about 12, why they were wearing T-shirts with a picture of an old person with wrinkles. Mafuka's sentence was, however, reduced by two months on condition he does not call Mugabe old again in the next five years. The Zimbabwean leader will be 91 five years from now.

Zimbabweans complained at the weekend to Studio 7 radio, which is broadcast via VOA, about the sentence. "What's criminal about saying Mugabe is old?" said a caller to the radio station, which the Zimbabwe government has been trying for some time to get off the air. State-owned radio, television and newspapers did not report Mafuka's jailing. Human rights lawyers claimed the stiff sentence was "political" as Mafuka's comments could not in any way be considered a crime. These lawyers have encouraged Mafuka to appeal, saying his conviction and sentence were unlikely to stand up in a higher court.

Mugabe has been in power for more than three decades. His handlers rely increasingly these days on the law to protect his waning image. Mafuka's jailing has sent shock waves among ordinary Zimbabweans and those facing similar charges.

How Kenya gained from al-Bashir crashing our big bash

A deep debt of gratitude is owed to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for flying to Kenya, at great personal risk, to attend the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Having the handsome Mr al-Bashir flashing his toothy smile from the dais brought international attention to Kenya no news release or press conference could have enjoyed. And the international media were not reporting famine, corruption and drought or flooding. They had to focus on the positive story, which was that Mr al-Bashir was attending the rebirth of a nation, and give our President and Prime Minister a sound bite or two for context.

The picture of the portly Mr al-Bashir spilling out of his chair at Uhuru Park must have irked all those world leaders who thought they could downplay Kenya’s big moment by skipping the promulgation. Where was South African President Jacob Zuma? Where was British Prime Minister David Cameron? Where was our very own US President Barack Obama?

This was a lesson to all those leaders to take invitations from Nairobi seriously because Kenya is capable of delivering the diplomatic coup of the century, any time.

Within a day, Mr Obama was frothing at the mouth and wishing he had come to occupy the very seat Mr al-Bashir was reclining on. Then Kenya turned on its diplomatic charm, and the result? Mr al-Bashir, who had previously refused to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 2005 and instead sent his deputy to represent him, melted and agreed to honour everything in it – including allowing the self-determination referendum for Southern Sudan on January 9, 2011, as appointed in the agreement!

Kenya’s envoy in Khartoum has been overhearing Mr al-Bashir speaking in his sleep, fighting with the referendum date, and wrestling with the whole CPA. This was, therefore, quite a coup.

What a tragedy it would have been to allow Mr al-Bashir to continue wrestling with the referendum date and the peace agreement when the Government of Southern Sudan does not even have a spear to go to war with. What would happen, considering that all the GoSS supplies for military hardware ended up in Kenya’s Department of Defence designated as General Ordinance Supplies Services?

For the price of lunch — which Mr al-Bashir ended up skipping since he is fasting as all good Muslims should during the Holy Month of Ramadhan — Kenya wangled even more from the Sudanese leader. Without any prompting, Mr al-Bashir pledged, hand on heart, not to cut off the oil pipeline and plunge Kenya into an energy crisis, thus frustrating the achievement of Vision 2030. Mr al-Bashir’s presence presented Kenya with an opportunity to philosophise about where its true loyalties lie. Some would even have argued that since international treaties and conventions form part of the law of Kenya, Mr al-Bashir would be whisked off to The Hague after 10.15am.

Yet, when Kenya ratified the Rome Statute, and later enacted the International Crimes Act, it was giving up its identity as an African nation. Kenya, too, has obligations to the African Union. Nations like Uganda, Botswana and South Africa obviously do not value their membership of the AU, hence their promise to arrest Mr al-Bashir in the past. Getting Mr al-Bashir to Nairobi should indicate to the ICC that Kenya has the capacity to smoke out fugitives from their holes and lairs. There are rumours that Kenya has been hiding Mr Felicien Kabuga, suspected mastermind of the Rwanda genocide, but that is a little exaggerated. Yet, if Kenya wanted the Lord’s Resistance Army boss Joseph Kony — another man on the ICC wanted list — in State House, he would come. The presence of Mr al-Bashir was meant to send a chill down the spines of those Kenyans suspected of masterminding, financing and directing the 2008 post-election violence that they will be sought and outed.

It may not be violent; they will not be kicking and screaming; but they will come forward. Besides the show and the good TV, Mr al-Bashir’s presence brought a measure of sobriety to the occasion. Celebrations tend to make people get carried away to start imagining that Rome can be built in a day, or promulgating a new constitution can change a country. Mr al-Bashir, who took power in a bloodless coup and has maintained it by shedding only human chlorophyll, has been accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Yet, the rules of natural justice demand that he be presumed innocent until proven guilty, regardless of the number of arrest warrants issued against him by the ICC. For good measure, Kenya should write to the United Nations demanding the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate the warrants against Mr al-Bashir.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mystery of The Stig solved!

BBC loses fight to hide Stig's identity
London's High Court today refused to grant the BBC an injunction blocking the publication of racing driver Ben Collins' autobiography, in which he claims to be the mystery man known as The Stig in Top Gear.
Legal action against HarperCollins, the book's publisher, began last week as the contents of the book became known. Yet the BBC refuses to confirm or deny that Ben Collins ever was (or still is) The Stig.
It is widely known that Mr Collins worked on the Top Gear show. The BBC argued that the book simply breaches confidentiality obligations. A BBC statement said: "The Top Gear audience has always made it clear that they enjoy the mystery surrounding the identity of The Stig and the BBC felt it important to do all it could to protect that anonymity. The BBC brought this action as we believe it is vital to protect the character of The Stig which ultimately belongs to the licence fee payer. Today's judgement does not prevent the BBC from pursuing this matter to trial and the BBC will not be deterred from protecting such information from attack no matter when or by whom it should arise."
This is not the first time that Ben Collins' name has been linked with the mystery racer dressed in white. Rumour also suggests that there have been several Stigs through the years, with stand-ins including the likes of Damon Hill and even Michael Schumacher.
Stig originally was dressed all in black, but once his identity was uncovered in 2003, as Perry McCarthy, he was replaced and the current Stig was born.
James May, on hearing the ruling, told BBC London: "Obviously I'm now going to have to take some legal action of my own, because I have been the Stig for the past seven years, and I don't know who this bloke is, who's mincing around in the High Court pretending it's him."