ethiopiantimes

February 28, 2011

African Migrants Targeted in Libya

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 9:29 pm

Doha, Qatar — As nations evacuate their citizens from the violence gripping Libya, many African migrant workers are being targeted because they are suspected of being mercenaries hired by Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

Dozens of workers from sub-Saharan Africa are feared killed, and hundreds are in hiding, as angry mobs of anti-government protesters hunt down “black African mercenaries”, according to witnesses.

About 90 Kenyans and another 64 citizens from South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Burundi landed in Nairobi on Monday, according to officials.

“We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people,” Julius Kiluu, a 60-year-old building supervisor, told Reuters.

“Our camp was burnt down, and we were assisted by the Kenyan embassy and our company to get to the airport,” he said.

Rights organisations say that thousands of workers are stranded in camps and private homes, protected by their colleagues as their governments fail to evacuate them from the chaos.

“But why is nobody concerned about the plight of sub-Saharan African migrants in Libya? As victims of racism and ruthless exploitation, they are Libya’s most vulnerable immigrant population, and their home country governments do not give them any support,” Hein de Haas, a senior fellow with the International Migration Institute, writes in his blog.

Al Jazeera’s Nazenine Moshiri met Seidou Boubaker Jallou, a Malian citizen, who said he fled Libya after many black migrants came under attack.

“The most dangerous situation is for foreigners like us – and also us black people – because Gaddafi brought soldiers from Chad and Niger who reportedly killed Arabs,” he said.

Experts say that Gaddafi has had a long relationship with African fighters who now came to his assistance.

Low-paid labourers

Hundreds of black immigrants from poor African countries, who mainly work in Libya’s oil industry as cheap labourers, have also been injured in the violence. Some were unable to seek medical treatment for fear of being killed.

Saad Jabbar, deputy director of the North Africa Centre at Cambridge University, confirms Africans have become targets.

“I tell you, these people, because of their scheme, they will be slaughtered in Libya. There is so much anger there against those mercenaries, which suddenly sprung up,” Jabbar said.

About 1.5 million Sub-Saharan African migrants work in Libya as low-paid labourers in the oil industry, construction, agriculture and service sectors.
Relevant Links

* North Africa
* Libya
* Arms and Armies
* Conflict

Rights organisations say some anti-Gaddafi protesters wrongly associate African workers with state-sponsored violence.

“African immigrants are now linked to state-orchestrated violence and mass killings, and we may therefore fear the worst about the violent backlash that may follow particularly after Gaddafi is ousted,” said Haas.

Ignored by their governments, African workers are one of the most vulnerable groups in Libya right now. Analysts say unless preventative measures are taken, a massive bloodletting is feared.

“I think it is urgent to do something about it now, otherwise, a genocide against anyone who has black skin and who doesn’t speak perfect Arabic is possible,” said Jabbar.

U.S. Military Reportedly Positioning Forces Around Libya, While U.K. Working on Plans for No-Fly Zone

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 9:17 pm

Feb. 28, 2011: Libyan boys sitting on the cannon of a destroyed army tank celebrate the freedom of Benghazi, Libya.

AP2011

Feb. 28, 2011: Libyan boys sitting on the cannon of a destroyed army tank celebrate the freedom of Benghazi, Libya.

GENEVA – The U.S. military is “repositioning” U.S. forces to be ready should it be called to assist with the situation in Libya, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

Most likely U.S. forces would be asked to provide humanitarian relief, but that decision has not been made yet, Col. Dave Lapan said.

In addition, no decision has been made on whether or not to set up a no-fly zone, an effort that would require NATO support, he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday that Britain would join allies in creating a no-fly zone to protect the Libyan people from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s military, Reuters reported.

“We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets,” Cameron said.”We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defense and the Chief of the Defense Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.”

The European Union slapped its own arms embargo, visa ban and other sanctions Monday on Qaddafi’s regime, part of an escalating global effort to halt his bloody crackdown on critics in the North African nation.

In a series of fast-paced developments, France pledged to send two planes with humanitarian aid to Libya’s opposition stronghold of Benghazi while Germany mulled a two-month cutoff of oil payments to Qaddafi’s regime. The moves came after days of increasing protest against the hundreds, and potentially thousands, of deaths caused by Qaddafi’s military resistance against the popular uprising in his country.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the European measures, including a freeze on assets, aimed to reinforce the U.N. Security Council-mandated sanctions against Libya approved over the weekend.

She said the EU also was putting “an embargo on equipment which might be used for internal repression” and urged coordinated action by nations to help people across North Africa and the Middle East.

A more complex set of negotiations, she added, were being held over the possibility of creating a no-fly zone over Libya.

Diplomats gathered in Geneva on Monday — including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ashton, to coordinate action against Qaddafi’s regime. Clinton was pressing European leaders to enact tough sanctions to force Qaddafi to stop his violent attacks and step down after 42 years in power.

In Paris, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said planes were taking off for the eastern city of Benghazi with doctors, nurses, medicines and medical equipment.

“It will be the beginning of a massive operation of humanitarian support for the populations of liberated territories,” he said on RTL radio.

France’s government is studying “all solutions to make it so that Colonel Qaddafi understands that he should go, that he should leave power,” Fillon added.

Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, proposed cutting off all oil and other payments to Libya for 60 days to make sure that Qaddafi’s regime does not get more money to hire mercenaries to repress anti-government critics.

Westerwelle called Qaddafi’s violent crackdown on protesters “a crime.” “We must do everything so this murder ends,” he said after meeting with Clinton.

“We must do everything to ensure that no money is going into the hands of the Libyan dictator’s family, that they don’t have any opportunity to hire new foreign soldiers to repress their people with,” Westerwelle added.

The German action is significant because 85 percent of Libya’s oil goes to European customers. Last week, both Britain and Switzerland froze assets belonging to the Libyan leader and his family.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, meanwhile, said he has personally urged Qaddafi to step down and set up a transitional government to prevent further violence. Blair told Monday’s edition of The Times newspaper that he made two telephone calls to the embattled dictator last week, but that the message that he should resign was rebuffed. He described the Libyan leader as being in denial about his situation.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd called on the world’s powers to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and compared Qaddafi’s violent suppression of opposition forces to genocides in Rwanda, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica and Sudan’s Darfur region.

“For the sake of humanity, go now,” Rudd advised Qaddafi in a speech to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He later told The Associated Press his nation supported the creation of a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya aimed to prevent the type of aerial bombing unleashed on the Basque town of Guernica in 1937, killing hundreds in the Spanish Civil War. A no-fly zone would require the approval of the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

“Guernica is known throughout the world for the bombing of the civilian population. We have seen evidence of that in Libya. Let us not simply stand idly by while similar atrocities are committed again,” Rudd told the AP.

Fillon said the prospect of a no-fly zone over Libya needed U.N. support, “which is far from being obtained today,” and he questioned whether NATO should get involved in a civil war in a North African country. The NATO chief has already rejected intervening in Libya.

Lavrov, the Russian minister, said he and Clinton didn’t talk about a possible no-fly zone over Libya in their meeting Monday.

Clinton came to Geneva to make the administration’s case for stronger action against Qaddafi.
“We want him to leave and we want him to end his regime and call off the mercenaries and those troops that remain loyal to him,” Clinton told reporters a day after President Barack Obama branded Qaddafi an illegitimate ruler who must leave power immediately.

British and German military planes swooped into Libya’s desert over the weekend, rescuing hundreds of oil workers and civilians stranded at remote sites. The secret military missions signaled the readiness of Western nations to disregard Libya’s territorial integrity when it comes to the safety of their citizens.

“Right now, our attention is focused on Libya — and rightly so,” Ashton told the Human Rights Council. “The fact that so many colleagues from across the world have gathered here today tells us something big. That what is going on — the massive violence against peaceful demonstrators — shocks our conscience. It should also spring us into action.”

Some 1.5 million foreigners were in Libya before the uprising began. Turkey said Monday it had evacuated 18,000 citizens. More than 20,000 Chinese workers and 10,000 EU citizens have also left Libya, and tens of thousands of others have fled into the neighboring countries of Tunisia and Egypt.

The U.N. Security Council has instructed International Criminal Court to look into possible crimes against humanity occurring in Libya, only the second such referral. The first was in 2005 when the U.N. asked the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal to probe mass killings in Darfur.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/28/military-reportedly-positioning-forces-libya-uk-working-plans-fly-zone/#ixzz1FI591yBk

Somalia: Refugees in Libya Are in Danger Situation

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 6:17 pm

Tripoli — Somali refugees in northern African county of Libya expressed a deep concern about the violent demonstration against Moamar al Qaddafi the leader of that nation.

The demonstrators began to target Somali refugees in Libyan cities and towns by killing or torturing.

Abdihakim Mohammed, Somali refugee in Tripoli, told Shabelle by telephone that a number of Somali young people were killed.

Mohammed said wounded Somalis started to take refuge in the building of Somali embassy in Tripoli.

He stressed no one has come to their help so far.

Two days from now, three Somali refugees were killed by Libyan protestors.

The demonstrators are arguing that Moamar al Qaddafi, the embattled president of Libya has hired mercenaries including Somalis to defend his administration.

Equitorial Guinea ruler’s son ‘ordered $400 million superyacht’

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 5:41 pm

LONDON — The son of Equatorial Guinea ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema has commissioned plans to build one of the world’s most expensive yachts, a rights group claimed on Monday.

President Obiang’s son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorin, has commissioned plans for a yacht costing 288 million euros ($400 million), said Global Witness, which works to break the links between resource exploitation and bad governance.

Teodorin, the agriculture and forestry minister of the small oil-rich state on the west coast of Africa, has placed an order with a German shipyard, the non-governmental organisation said.

The price tag would make it the second most expensive yacht in the world after Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich’s mega-yacht Eclipse.

Global Witness said the yacht would be 118.5 metres (390 feet) long, housing a cinema, restaurant, bar, swimming pool and a security system complete with floor motion sensors and fingerprint door openers.

The vessel’s basic design was completed in 2009 with a planned delivery date of late 2012, but construction has not yet started, the NGO said.

“Evidence points to corruption by Teodorin on a scale that would not be possible or attractive if countries like Germany and the United States were not safe havens, in terms of free passage for him and for his questionable private wealth,” said Global Witness campaigns director Gavin Hayman.

“That a president’s son from such a poor country has ordered this yacht is outrageous extravagance on his part.”

Equatorial Guinea, where Obiang Nguema seized power in 1979, was until recently one of the poorest countries in Africa but is now a major oil producers, drawing 90 percent of its revenue from hydrocarbons.

In a US cable from Washington’s embassy in the capital Malabo, published by the WikiLeaks website, Teodorin is described as “singled out for criticism both here and abroad”.

He “lives the life of an international playboy and is widely accused of corruption. His purchase of a $34 million mansion in Malibu, California once made Forbes magazine and attracted a great deal of attention”.

He is said to have told US diplomats “I’ve been very lucky in business” and “I like to live well”.

Botswana,Dukwi refugee camp: a living hell for asylum seekers?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 5:35 pm

DUKWI: Dukwi Refugee Camp is situated some 180km outside Francistown. The camp is 10km from the village of Dukwi and not far from Nata. All African nationalities, who enter Botswana as asylum seekers, can be found at this camp

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The refugees come from countries like Angola, Namibia (Caprivi Strip), Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Most of these refugees came to Botswana fearing wars that ravaged their countries. Some of them told of how they lost all their family members in the civil wars in their respective countries. However, it has not been smooth sailing in Botswana, where they hoped to find peace and a chance to lead decent lives. Those interviewed narrated how they have been abused in the Centre For Illegal Immigrants Prison, lamenting that they are even denied permits to go into the cities and towns while there is no counselling centre for the traumatised in the camp. On the other hand authorities said they are concerned over frequent incidents of rape, murders, defilement of minors, possession of drugs, such as Marijuana and assaults causing serious bodily harm in the Dukwi Refugee camp.

Francois Bapolisi, 48, is a refugee from Rwanda, who came to Botswana in 2004. He said: “I came from Rwanda because of the civil wars in my country that started in 1990. It was such a painful experience for me because these wars started in the area where and my family and I resided. The rebels attacked our country from Uganda and they wiped out all my family. It is so difficult for me because from my country of origin we have big families of up to 20 people per family unit. They killed almost everyone they came across because all they wanted was power. Before I came to Botswana, I stayed briefly in Tanzania,” explained Bapolisi.

He added that to worsen his situation, he was detained without charge upon arrival in Botswana. He said he was kept at the centre for illegal immigrants for close to two years with his wife and children. “I was an asylum seeker but abused and treated like a criminal in prison. What hurt me the most was that at times we went for days without food and my wife was sometimes compelled to undress in front of our children,” added Bapolisi.

He said that because of the suffering they endured, they need a counselling centre in the camp also that there should be regular communication between refugees and Botswana government officials. “We also do not want to be called ‘refugees’ because we have stayed for more than 10 years in this country. Our representatives in the camp are also useless because they like tribalism and treat us as if we are criminals,” fumed Bapolisi.

Meanwhile, Nasser Osman, 40, is a refugee from Eritrea. He came to Botswana in 1998 as an asylum seeker and runs a shop in the camp. “I came to Botswana because back home, we were persecuted and nearly killed. The problem in Eritrea is that the country is now militarised, the economy is poor and one cannot simply make a living there. I spent my school days in the Sudan also as a refugee. Here in Botswana, it is difficult because one cannot leave the camp without first acquiring a permit, which will specify your dates and time and it’s a process that takes time. If one of us (refugees) is caught outside the camp without a permit, the authorities will simply throw you in prison.”

“In 2000, I applied for a residence permit but the government of Botswana turned it down. Right now I am independent from the authorities in Botswana because they simply cannot help us with anything but rather they keep us here in the camp. Fortunately, as a businessman in the camp, I can afford to take my family to private doctors and my children to private schools. Refugees in the camp are not integrated into the society and that creates a barrier for us. Right now, I cannot be given a licence to continue my business in the city and this means that we simply cannot be upgraded,” Osman added.

Osman lives in the camp with his wife and seven children. He said that despite the problems they face, there are government schools, clinic and the Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) in the camp, which are useful to them.

For Christophina Lisho, 32, an Angolan refugee, life is simply unbearable in the camp: “The problem is that we are not allowed to leave the camp because they (authorities) simply do not want to give us permits. We are also humans and so we need to go out and work to make a living. I came to Botswana in 2000 because the war back home was so severe that I lost all my family members, including parents. Right now, all that I do is a little farming in the camp because I grow some fruits and vegetables to try to make ends meet.”

Meanwhile, one Motswana woman lives in the camp with her nurse husband and preferred to talk on condition of anonymity. “The situation is not too bad in the camp; refugees are normal people and we interact with them quite well. They are the ones running shops here and we buy some of the goods from them. Also there are basic services. We also have the Faith Mission Church here where refugee Christians can worship with Batswana. Also some of the refugees can speak Setswana fluently because they have been in the country for a very long time.The only problem is that there are big poisonous snakes in the camp because we are in the middle of the bush.The other problem is that we have to travel to Dukwi village to buy electricity,” she said.

Habangana Chris, 21, is a Motswana. “We have a hospital in the camp which is well equipped. Also, there is an ambulance that transports people to bigger hospitals especially those that require Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs),” he said.

On the whole, Inspector Oteng Selalame of Dukwi Refugee Camp Police Station said that there are incidents of rapes, defilement of minors, murders, assaults and possession of drugs, especially marijuana. He said because there are many civil servants working in the camp, some crimes committed involve Batswana.

“We also have cases of common nuisance. The thing is that we have Batswana living in the camp so some of the rape cases that occur involve Batswana and refugees. Lately, we also had one case of unlawful wounding that involved a Motswana and a refugee because they shared the same house. Refugees are good people and they are managed well. The common language used in the camp is English even though some of them (refugees) speak Setswana well,” said Selalame.

Selalame added that one of their major concerns is the use of marijuana in the camp. He said the crimes are committed by people of all nationalities, and explained that they try to be fair with everyone.

“We do not just throw asylum seekers into prison for no apparent reason. When they arrive, the Refugee Advisory Committee deals with their issues pertaining their stay in the country and so we take them to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants Prison in Francistown. From there, we wait for correspondence from the relevant parties, especially the Office of the President (OP) because it is they that grant them the refugee status,” said Selalame.

He said that at times refugees give them a headache because their permanent place of stay in Botswana is the Dukwi Refugee Camp.

“Often some of them disappear. In general, refugees understand the procedure of the camp as they follow laid down instructions like applying for a permit to leave the camp. These people cannot work in this country because they do not have the relevant papers or work permits. They are refugees and they should abide by that condition,” Selalame explained.

He added that refugees receive daily food ration and other basic necessities from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

OP officials could not be reached for comment on Friday because they were in a meeting.

Ethiopian, Algerian and Tunisian mercenaries in Lybia

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 4:25 pm

It has been widely documented that many of the worst atrocities on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi have been committed by foreign mercenaries from countries such as Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia. Despite that, the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions Resolution aimed at Libya, which was just enacted last week, includes a strange clause that specifically forbids international war crimes prosecutions against mercenaries from nations which are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which protects many of the mercenaries Gadaffi is using. Section 6 of the Resolution states that the Security Council:

Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;

Why would a clause be inserted to expressly protect war crimes-committing mercenaries on Gadaffi’s payroll from international prosecutions? Because, as The Telegraph’s John Swaine reports, the Obama administration insisted on its inclusion — as an absolutely non-negotiable demand — due to a fear that its exclusion might render Bush officials (or, ultimately, even Obama officials) subject to war crimes prosecutions at the ICC on the same theory that would be used to hold Libya’s mercenaries accountable:
[T]he US insisted that the UN resolution was worded so that no one from an outside country that is not a member of the ICC could be prosecuted for their actions in Libya.

This means that mercenaries from countries such as Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia — which have all been named by rebel Libyan diplomats to the UN as being among the countries involved — would escape prosecution even if they were captured, because their nations are not members of the court.

The move was seen as an attempt to prevent a precedent that could see Americans prosecuted by the ICC for alleged crimes in other conflicts. While the US was once among the signatories to the court, George W. Bush withdrew from it in 2002 and declared that it did not have power over Washington. . . . It was inserted despite Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, saying that all those “who slaughter civilians” would “be held personally accountable”.

Speaking to reporters outside the council chamber, Gerard Araud, the French UN ambassador, described the paragraph as “a red line for the United States”, meaning American diplomats had been ordered by their bosses in Washington to secure it. “It was a deal-breaker, and that’s the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the council,” said Mr Araud.

This report notes that Araud blamed the Obama administration’s demand on “parliamentary constraints” — implying that Obama officials believed inclusion of this provision was the only way to induce Congress to approve and implement it. There’s no evidence that this is the case, but whatever the motives, here we have yet another episode where the U.S. exempts itself from standards it purports to impose on the rest of the world: in this case going so far as to allow murderous mercenaries to go unpunished all in service of this administration’s overarching, compulsive goal of ensuring that America’s own accused war criminals are never held accountable or even required to have their actions subjected to legal scrutiny. This is the sort of gross, credibility-destroying hypocrisy that escapes notice by America’s media but not by anyone else’s.

* * * * *

Two related points:

(1) Here is the crux of America’s foreign policy unintentionally captured by two consecutive tweets.

(2) I’ve written many times before about the case of Sami al-Haj, the Al Jazeera cameraman abducted in late 2001, encaged at Guantanamo for six years without ever being charged, and tortured, all while being questioned almost exclusively about Al Jazeera’s operations, not about Al Qaeda. As I’ve noted, his case was an enormous story in the Muslim world — entailing, as it did, the U.S.’s due-process-free imprisonment and abuse of a journalist — but received almost no attention in the U.S. media (Nicholas Kristof was a noble exception, writing several times about the case and demanding his release).

A newly released WikiLeaks cable documents the hero’s welcome and massive media storm triggered in the Muslim world by al-Haj’s eventual release from Guantanamo in 2007. By contrast, very, very few Americans have any idea who al-Haj is or even know generally that the U.S. imprisoned numerous journalists — including him — for years without due process (though they certainly know that Iran and North Korea did that). The vast disparities in perception between non-U.S. Muslim and Americans are often noted, though it’s usually attributed in the American media to the way in which They are propagandized. Often times, the cause is exactly the opposite: it’s propaganda, to be sure, but not Them who are being subjected to it.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Looking over the language of the U.N. Resolution again, I think it’s quite possible that The Telegraph — and therefore me — got a big part of this story wrong. There’s language in Paragraph 6 defining the scope of the immunity that is easy to overlook because of the strange way it’s drafted — “arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council” — that seems to limit the immunity only to those participating in “operations authorized by” the U.N. Security Council: meaning anyone involved in a U.N. peacekeeping mission (or U.N.-authorized military action) in Libya. That would seem to exclude Libya’s mercenaries from the immunity clause (in an update, Kevin Jon Heller comes to a similar realization).

This is clearly a case where the Obama administration is continuing the Bush administration’s insistence that the U.S. (as a non-signatory to the Rome Statute) should be exempt from all ICC prosecutions, but it does not seem — as The Telegraph and then I indicated — that the cost of this position here is immunity for Libya’s mercenaries.

Wikileaks,Aaron Ringera: Director/Chief Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption accused of corruption

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 4:13 pm

Viewing cable 09NAIROBI1938, VISAS DONKEY: CORRUPTION 212(F) VISA DENIAL
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09NAIROBI1938 2009-09-16 09:09 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET Embassy Nairobi
Appears in these articles:
http://www.spiegel.de/

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #1938/01 2590924
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 160924Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0989
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3327
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

<>
9/16/2009 9:24
09NAIROBI1938
Embassy Nairobi
SECRET
08STATE81854|09NAIROBI1830|09NAIROBI1831|09NAIROBI1859
VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #1938/01 2590924
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 160924Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0989
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3327
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
TAGS: CVIS ECON KCRM KE PGOV PREL KCOR
SUBJECT: VISAS DONKEY: CORRUPTION 212(F) VISA DENIAL
REF: A. 08 STATE 81854

S e c r e t nairobi 001938

Sensitive
sipdis

Dept for af a/s carson, inl/c/cp jane becker, nsc for
senior director gavin

E.o. 12958: decl: 09/09/2019
Tags: cvis, econ, kcrm, ke, pgov, prel, kcor
Subject: visas donkey: corruption 212(f) visa denial

Ref: a. 08 state 81854
b. Td-314/014437-09
c. Nairobi 1830
d. Nairobi 1859
e. Nairobi 1831

Classified By: AMBASSADOR MICHAEL RANNEBERGER. FOR REASONS 1.5(B) AND (
d).

¶1. (C) Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under
Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United
States of Aaron Gitonga Ringera and members of his family.
Ringera was born in Meru, Kenya on June 20, 1950. Post
strongly believes Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited
from public corruption in his capacity as Director/Chief
Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for
the last five years by interference with judicial and other
public processes, and that this corruption has had a serious
adverse impact on U.S. national interest in the stability of
democratic institutions in Kenya, U.S. foreign assistance
goals and the international economic activities of U.S.
businesses. Ringera travels frequently to the U.S. He is
expected shortly to apply for a U.S. visa. The following
provides information requested in ref a, paragraphs 26-28.

¶2. (C) Justice (retired) Aaron Ringera has been
Director/Chief Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption
Commission since its inception in 2004. During this period,
despite a string of major corruption scandals that have come
to light before and after his appointment, he has not only
failed to successfully investigate a single senior government
official, he has actively thwarted their successful
investigation and prosecution by teaming with Attorney
General Amos Wako (ref b). Ringera is part of a system that
has evolved over time involving the Attorney General and the
judiciary that works together to avoid or suppress
investigations/prosecutions of top GOK officials. Ringera
provides cases via investigation to the Attorney General’s
office and insists that they’re strong cases. The Attorney
General fails to prosecute, arguing that the cases are poorly
investigated and sends them back to Ringera. If any cases of
significance leak through and go to court, the judiciary can
be counted on to quash those that are the most sensitive at
the direction of senior government officials. Ringera’s key
role was recently confirmed by the irregular manner in which
he was reappointed on August 31 by President Kibaki to a
second five-year term. The “process” involved in Kibaki’s
decision-making demonstrates that key players in the GOK
hierarchy wanted to retain Ringera to avoid having to deal
with a new and potentially effective KACC Director (ref d).
Leading anti-corruption NGOs have repeatedly noted that “no
politically significant corruption case has been successfully
investigated by the KACC” under Ringera.

¶3. (S) Justice Ringera’s corrupt practices have come out in a
number of ways, most prominently in a recent book, “It’s Our
Turn to Eat,” an account of the resignation of former Kenya
anti-corruption czar John Githongo. Ringera’s involvement
with death threats, which Githongo asserts repeatedly in the
book, is corroborated by ref b (described in para 7 below).
Leading anti-corruption NGOs have followed Ringera’s work for
years and firmly believe that his gross negligence is
intentional, making him a ready accomplice. Ringera’s own
submission to President Kibaki in 2006 regarding the
Anglo-Leasing scandal concluded that a number of senior
officials should have been prosecuted. To date, none of them
have. Finally, the 2006 Parliamentary Public Accounts
Committee report on Anglo-Leasing makes a number of
recommendations to the KACC, none of which have been carried
out. The clear pattern of Justice Ringera’s material
negligence and his involvement in attempts to violently
suppress information on corruption constitutes corruption in
and of itself.

It’s Our Turn to Eat

¶4. (C) “It’s Our Turn to Eat” chronicles former Kenya
anti-corruption czar John Githongo’s rise and fall from power
in Kenya in the early days of the post-Moi administration
under then new President Mwai Kibaki. The book, by Financial
Times reporter Michela Wrong, outlines in particular
Githongo’s investigation of the Anglo-Leasing scandal.
Anglo-Leasing was one of a series of phantom entities used to
perpetrate fraud on the Kenyan taxpayer through non-delivery
of goods and services alongside significant overpricing. The
beneficiaries include the most senior levels of the GOK.
However, due in part to Ringera’s complicity, not a single
senior government official has been successfully prosecuted
for the theft of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from
Kenya. Justice Ringera has played his part in not pressing
hard on this case and attempting to discourage Githongo from
releasing information and investigating Anglo-Leasing
further. The book is drawn primarily from interviews with
John Githongo and Githongo’s writings from his time as
anti-corruption advisor to President Kibaki. Githongo’s
interactions with Ringera paint the picture of a man
(Ringera) who is part of the system within the GOK that
protects its own from prosecution regardless of the crime
committed and will, if necessary, kill to enforce the system.
On November 4, 2005, Githongo admitted to Ringera his
realization that the GOK leadership (among them President
Kibaki) really only wanted him there as window dressing to
“go through the motions” in fighting corruption. Ringera
agreed and said, “So you stay there, you are a little wiser
and you know that you are there. You can’t, in fact, afford
to make any move. That’s when you will really be killed.”
Ringera added, “If you wanted to resign and go today, that’s
when they would kill you.” In February 2006, Githongo was
speaking with Ringera in London one last time before Githongo
resigned and went into exile. According to Githongo, Ringera
told him that Kenyan intelligence “would put something in
your tea” if Githongo went public with what he knew.

¶5. (C) Githongo’s belief that Ringera was part of the
corruption problem was largely based on the latter’s
unwillingness to be responsive to the dossier of information
on Anglo-Leasing that Githongo had put together. Two
instances led Githongo to this conclusion. At the end of
2005 when President Kibaki failed to respond to the dossier,
he sent a copy to Ringera. Githongo said, “I’d told him,
“I’m ready to come and share incontrovertible proof with you,
just ask me.” There was no response from Ringera. At the
same time, it was clear that Ringera was not independent of
President Kibaki. According to the book’s author, “The day
we met he (Ringera) boasted that he had never taken a
telephone call from the presidency during his time in office.
But a former colleague says he never needed to, going round
in person to State House to receive instructions. He would
call staff together and say: the message from the president
is A, B, C, and D.” Ref d’s tale of Ringera’s sudden and
back-door reappointment by President Kibaki on August 31,
2009 confirms that Ringera is part of the cabal keeping a lid
on justice, ensuring senior GOK officials are never held
accountable for their corrupt acts.

¶6. (C) More evidence of Ringera’s involvement in protecting
the corrupt elite came when Githongo testified to the KACC on
Anglo-Leasing in March 2006 in London at the Kenyan High
Commission. According to the book, “Understandably wary,
John had insisted his evidence be taped. Yet at the end of
two days of testimony – long enough, one would have thought,
for any malfunction to be detected and rectified — Ringera
informed John the recording equipment had failed and his
words were, sadly, inaudible. There would be no audio
transcript, only a KACC-drafted summary. After delivering
that bombshell, Ringera waxed astonishingly candid about the
charade being staged for public consumption. There would be
no Anglo Leasing prosecutions until after the 2007 elections,
if ever, he said. When John’s lawyer asked when his client
could return to Kenya to give evidence, Ringera said: “no,
no, I wouldn’t advise that.” According to the book, “a
former lead KACC investigator who had accompanied Ringera to
London went public to confirm the details of the
conversation. I was amazed at what Ringera said. There was
no indication whatsoever the equipment wasn’t working. You
don’t go for days without once going through what you have
recorded.” Once again, the head of Kenya’s anti-corruption
body was doing his best to halt an investigation.

Td-314/014437-09

¶7. (S) Paragraph 5 provides details of statements made by
Ringera to Githongo that Githongo took as direct threats to
his life by the Kenyan political elite, to include Ringera.
This TD corroborates Githongo’s conclusion about Ringera who
is identified in a room with leading Kikuyu politicians,
including Ministers of government, plotting to kill Githongo
in 2009. The conclusion one can draw from this report,
combined with Githongo’s testimony, is that Ringera is part
of those within the Kenyan political elite seeking to
suppress information and those with information that could
assist in punishing and minimizing corruption in Kenya.

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Report on
Anglo-Leasing

¶8. (C) In March 2006, the Kenyan National Assembly’s Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) released its report on
Anglo-Leasing. In its general recommendations, the PAC said
the KACC Director “should liaise with the Attorney General,
the Police Commissioner, and other relevant bodies with a
view to prosecuting persons who were involved in negotiations
and approval of the procurement of Passport Issuing
Equipment” (one of the fraudulent Anglo-Leasing contracts).
To date, after more than three years, the KACC, under
Ringera’s direction, has not carried out this action. The
report further recommends that the “KACC should hasten its
investigations and make its report public as soon as
possible.” In fact, KACC has done the opposite.
Investigations have ceased and there is no public report.
Per ref e, both the PAC report and Githongo have made clear
the complicity of then Justice Minister Murungi in covering
up Anglo-Leasing. Despite the evidence, Ringera has never
followed through on the investigations into Murungi’s role in
the mega-scandal.

KACC Status Report to President Kibaki on Anglo-Leasing

¶9. (C) In June 2006, the KACC under Justice Ringera provided
a brief report to President Kibaki regarding Anglo-Leasing
entitled, “Status of the Investigation of Security Related
Contracts.” In that document, the KACC indicates that there
is “a probability of prosecution” for four senior government
officials, including former Vice President Moody Awori,
former Minister of Finance David Mwiraria, former Minister
for Internal Security Chris Murungaru, and current Attorney
General Amos Wako. Not one of them has been successfully
investigated and prosecuted on the Anglo-Leasing case. Two
groups of businessmen are also specifically linked to
fraudulent Anglo-Leasing contracts — those linked to the
Kamani family and those linked to Anura Perera. Neither of
those principals or their families have been successfully
investigated and prosecuted. Again, as is demonstrated also
in paragraph 8, there is a pattern of behavior by Justice
Ringera that makes it clear that he is part of the shell
game, rather than trying to fight it. KACC reports indicate
that investigations are underway and prosecutions are
“probable” and that there is evidence of corrupt acts yet the
record, particularly for those at the top of government and
business, are unsuccessfully investigated or prosecuted or
there is no action over a number of years. This is
particularly damning when the KACC is not following up on its
own recommendations. As one NGO has noted (see below), it is
currently rare for KACC reports to even mention
Anglo-Leasing, one of the largest scams in recent Kenyan
history, let alone investigate the case.

NGO Views of Ringera

¶10. (SBU) Ref d reports Ringera’s reappointment by President
Kibaki to a second five-year term as KACC Director. Key NGO
reactions, aside from expressing opposition to the process of
Ringera’s reappointment, called into question his performance
and how it warranted reappointment. xxxxxxxxxxxx said the following:

“Public service legitimacy depends on the faithfulness of
public service to the aspirations of the citizens. The track
record of KACC is testimony of betrayal of this principle.
No politically significant corruption case has been
successfully investigated by KACC. While the reasons for
this dismal performance lies with the President, cabinet,
judiciary, Attorney General’s office and parliament, the buck
stops with the head of the anti-corruption oversight
institution. He should have recognized the structural and
policy weaknesses that were going to lead to this failure and
resigned. Or fought for fundamental reforms in a way that
was both visible and credible. In democratic states,
oversight institutions required application of “arms-length”
principles in their leadership, functioning and resourcing.
For a president to appoint the head of an institution that
would take him/her to jail if s/he was corrupt is a travesty
of democratic governance principles. KACC is the one
institution, if any, whose head and staff should owe no
loyalty to the executive they should be investigating.”

¶11. (SBU) Mars Group Kenya, another anti-corruption NGO,
reacted to Ringera’s reappointment as follows: “Apart from
the possible illegality of his new tenure, Kenyans will no
doubt wonder why Justice Ringera merits reappointment in view
of the abject failure of the KACC under his leadership to
make a meaningful contribution towards ending grand
corruption impunity in Kenya.”

¶12. (C) There are two key points in these paragraphs. First,
the KACC is the body that must lead on corruption. Ringera,
who frequently attempts to shift the blame to the Attorney
General (and, per ref c, he is certainly blameworthy), is, in
fact, not taking up fully the duties that are allocated to
him under Kenyan law. His successes have been of the “small
fish” variety. While decrying the KACC’s insignificant
results (which his own staff has reported to us), Ringera
does not act to resolve them or to protest by taking bold
steps to expose those involved in holding up action against
corruption or to resign given the ineffectual nature of his
organization. The second point, regarding the reappointment
makes it clear that Ringera is entirely beholden to President
Kibaki and those around the President, many of whom are
linked to various forms of public corruption over a long
period of time. That lack of independence and clear
connection to the political/corrupt elite inextricably links
Ringera to the corruption that is dragging Kenya away from
the fundamental reforms necessary to assure democratic
stability and economic prosperity.

¶13. (C) In March 2007, Mars Group issued a review of the
KACC’s activities from 2005-2007. In the report, Mars
focused in part on KACC’s efforts on the largest corruption
cases, such as Anglo-Leasing. Its conclusion, among others,
is that “prominent personalities are more likely to benefit
from a recommendation to the KACC to close their files than
less prominent public officers.” They noted that two key
players linked directly to Anglo-Leasing and its cover up,
former Finance Minister Mwariria and current Minister of
Energy (ref e) Kiraitu Murungi, were such ministerial
beneficiaries of apparent KACC largesse.

Serious Effect on U.S. National Interests

¶14. (C) KACC Director Justice Aaron Ringera’s five years of
involvement in public corruption through interference with
judicial and other public processes have had serious adverse
effects on those U.S. interests specified in Proclamation
7750 as well as U.S. foreign policy priorities of promoting
democracy and good governance and sustainable economic
development. Overarching all U.S. interests in Kenya is the
need for the GOK to implement the reform agenda agreed to by
all major political parties in the aftermath of the 2008
post-election violence. This agenda — which focuses on
accountability for the violence and preventing corruption
through constitutional revision, electoral, judicial, police
and land reform, is essential to democratic success, economic
prosperity, stability and security in Kenya. As made clear
by Secretary Clinton during her August 2009 visit to Kenya,
pressing for implementation of the reform agenda and
dismantling Kenya’s culture of impunity is at the core of
U.S. policy. Without significant progress on the reform
agenda, including significant curbs on corruption, Kenya will
almost certainly repeat (or surpass) the election-related
violence ahead of/during/after 2012 elections. By
obstructing due process and committing corrupt acts, Ringera
has demonstrated that he is an obstacle to reform in Kenya
and a major contributor to the country’s culture of impunity.
As a result, he stands against vital U.S. interests in Kenya.

¶15. (C) Stability of Democratic Institutions and Nations:
Justice Ringera’s active participation in a system that
protects senior officials from punishment for corrupt acts
obstructs the fundamental reforms required for Kenya to
ensure democratic stability. Not moving forward on scandals
like Anglo-Leasing or Goldenberg (ref c) means that many of
those suspected of stealing massively from the country’s
treasury have remained not only unpunished but on the job as
Ministers of Government to this day. His protection has
ensured that they continue to be in a position to steal funds
to support election campaigns, and incite/support violence.
For example, per ref e, after leaving the Ministry of
Justice, Kiraitu Murungi went on to be Energy Minister where
he once again has benefited from public corruption. In
addition, per ref b and the credible reporting of John
Githongo, there is strong evidence that Justice Ringera is
involved in planning violence to suppress those who would
expose corruption and seek to act to halt it. That kind of
planning with involvement of elements of the Kenyan state is
a direct assault on democracy and institutions in this
country. At the same time, it is clear to all Kenyans that
participating in public corruption, especially if you are
among the political elite, does in fact pay. There is
little, if any threat of punishment. In a September 2009
letter to Ambassador Ranneberger describing his achievements,
Ringera argues that he has recommended prosecutions of
Ministers, MP’s and others on corruption charges. Yet none
of them have been prosecuted. In the case of Anglo-Leasing,
he asserts that he is held up by various court cases that
have impeded prosecution. He and the Attorney General act in
concert to decry these circumstances, some of which have been
in place for years, but they do not act separately or in
concert to seek changes to law or to key rulings to ensure
that the cases move forward. After five years of working
together, their collaboration rather appears to be an
elaborate system of maintaining the appearance of activity
while achieving the reality of inactivity. The corrosive
nature of this culture of impunity has: directly undermined
the ability of the Kenyan economy to grow at levels required
to move the population to middle income status; built a
permanent level of disregard for the rule of law and the
institutions that are meant to enforce those laws; and
reinforced a system whereby the government does not serve its
population but further marginalizes it while enriching those
in power. The bottom line is that the Kenyan state is weaker
and less able to enhance the lives of its population and
maintain the security of the country’s already porous and
dangerous border areas.

¶16. (C) U.S. Foreign Assistance Goals: According to
Transparency International, the Goldenberg scandal alone
directly cost the Kenyan taxpayer an estimated $500 million.
Anglo-Leasing as well damaged the Kenya government and people
to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars more. Under a
KACC Director committed to protecting the Kenyan people,
those most directly involved and benefiting from this scandal
would have been aggressively investigated and prosecuted.
That has not been the case. With economic prosperity and
poverty alleviation at the heart of our foreign assistance
goals, the ongoing damage done by: (a) not returning the
funds stolen from the Kenyan people, and (b) encouraging
continued public corruption by maintaining the culture of
impunity limits our ability to provide assistance to the
government, denies hundreds of millions of dollars to the
public that could otherwise be utilized to assist in
developing the country, and slows dramatically the
construction of the infrastructure required to create the
environment in which domestic and foreign investors could
thrive.

¶17. (C) International Activity of U.S. Businesses: In his
five years in office, Justice Ringera has helped to maintain
the institutionalization of the culture of impunity that is
rife in Kenya. Under Ringera’s leadership, the KACC has
actively participated in a system that works to discourage
investigation, minimize the likelihood of prosecution, and
throw out court cases that appear to have a chance of taking
down senior GOK officials charged with corruption. Like the
Attorney General, Justice Ringera can claim a perfect record
of not investigating and convicting a single, senior GOK
official. This is a remarkable tally in a country that is
consistently ranked among the most corrupt in the world.
That level of impunity only encourages greater and greater
corruption throughout Kenya at all levels. The resulting
corruption has a direct impact on U.S. business attempting to
operate in Kenya from the police roadblocks set up along
major transport routes, to moving goods to/from the Port of
Mombasa, to fighting counterfeit products that are
undermining American manufacturers based here, to simply
being able to operate on a day-to-day basis with bribe-
seeking local and regional officials. The KACC Director’s
corruption – protecting the most corrupt from accountability
— ensures that U.S. businesses struggle in Kenya.

In Summary

¶18. (S) Justice Aaron Ringera, is at the heart of Kenya’s
debilitating corruption problem. While it was anticipated
that he would be part of the solution when he took office, he
has, instead, become an important element in a system of
protection for political elites. Post strongly believes that
Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited from public
corruption in his capacity as KACC Director for the past five
years by interference in public and judicial processes. The
record demonstrates that:

— the KACC Director is part of the group protecting itself
from prosecution for the Anglo-Leasing scandal;
— he participated in at least one meeting in which the
attempted assassination of John Githongo was planned this
year;
— he was aware of threats to Kenyan anti-corruption official
John Githongo and shared them with Githongo as an apparent
intermediary;
— Ringera has not successfully investigated for prosecution
a single case involving a senior GOK official in five years
in a country that is consistently rated as among the most
corrupt in the world;
— Ringera has not acted on recommendations from Parliament
or followed through on his own recommendations for
prosecution to the President of Kenya;
— Ringera has stopped pursuing Anglo-Leasing cases, one of
Kenya’s largest scandals for which no senior level
investigations/prosecutions have been concluded;
— The backdoor manner in which Ringera was reappointed makes
clear the premium value placed on him heading the KACC among
the political elite.

Additional Information Required for Finding

¶19. (C) Mr. Aaron Gitonga Ringera has not been informed of
the fact that he may be ineligible for a U.S. visa under
section 212(f) of the INA and Proclamation 7750.

¶20. (C) Mr. Ringera’s last visa issuance was a G2 that
expired on July 15, 2007. Mr. Ringera has travelled
frequently to the United States. He is expected shortly to
apply for a U.S. visa.

¶21. (C) Ringera has traveled to the United States five times
since 1997, including three times in 2007. He has been
issued J1, G2, and A1 visas. He currently carries a Kenyan
diplomatic passport D009090 that expires January 19, 2010.
Ringera xxxxxxxxxxxx. We have not
established whether or not Ringera has children and, if so,
who they are.

¶22. (C) Because of the serious effect of Mr. Aaron Ringera’s
corruption, Post recommends that Mr. Ringera be excluded for
travel to the U.S. under section 212(f) of the INA and that
no exception be granted.

Kenya, Ethiopia may attack al Shabaab – sources

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 3:53 pm

ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) – Kenyan and Ethiopian troops could attack Somali rebel group al Shabaab inside the Horn of Africa nation following the rebel’s latest threat to strike at Kenya, security sources said on Monday.

The al Shabaab group, which claims ties to al Qaeda and has been waging a four-year insurgency against Somalia’s government, said on Sunday it would strike at neighbouring Kenya for training Somali government forces and allowing Ethiopian troops to operate from its towns.

Tens of thousands of Kenyans have been fleeing a border town after shells fired during fighting on the Somali side of the frontier landed near a hospital and a police station on the Kenyan side. An official with a group representing aid organisations said one Kenyan had died and 20 had been wounded.

The al Shabaab militia has been stung after Somali forces backed by government-friendly militia struck at the insurgents’ strongholds in the capital Mogadishu and in southern Somalia, where the rebels control the border town of Balad Hawa, a stone’s throw away from the Kenyan town of Mandera and Ethiopia.

Somali troop numbers have been bolstered by the deployment of hundreds of new recruits trained in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The new government offensive has seen Somali forces claw back parts of Mogadishu.

Fleeing residents said Mandera resembled a military camp.

“We expect a major offensive any moment from tonight,” said a Kenya military officer at the frontier with Somalia.
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“The plan to enter Somalia and confront al Shaabab is the only way to protect our territory. Kenya has no option it must fight this group right inside Somalia,” the source added.

Security sources said a convoy of Somali soldiers trained in Kenya backed by Kenyan troops had arrived at the border on Sunday night where they were camping, ready for the incursion.

However, Kenya’s government spokesman said the country’s troops would not launch strikes inside Somalia.

“There is no such plan (to attack inside Somalia). We have police and security forces there to ensure the fighting does not spill over into Kenya,” Alfred Mutua told Reuters in Nairobi.

A Kenyan Treasury official said on Monday the country was seeking parliament’s approval for extra spending on security along Kenya’s frontier with Somalia.

RESIDENTS FLEE

The al Shabaab has said in the past that it would attack Kenya but so far has yet to do so. Last year, the group bombed Uganda in twin attacks that killed nearly 80 people in retaliation for Kampala providing peacekeeping troops that have helped Somalia’s government stay in power.

Al Qaeda has already hit Kenya in two major attacks, in 1998 and 2002.

Kenyan Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere urged Kenyans to be more vigilant, and called for tighter security at shopping malls, hotels and in public transport vehicles.
“We are not taking this threat lightly,” he said.

The fighting in Somalia’s Balad Hawa has paralysed activities across the border in Mandera and forced residents to seek refuge in towns away from the porous frontier.

Issack Dualle of the Mandera NGO Forum, representing non-governmental organisations, said aid agencies had closed their operations and moved to other towns for fear of attacks, paralysing relief operations.

“It’s a total disaster, almost half of Mandera town residents, about 40,000 people, have moved from the border,” Dualle told Reuters.

“The fear is real, a number of houses have been damaged, at least 20 people have been injured, one Kenyan killed, all schools, banks and government offices have been closed.”

A Dutch Bishop accused of sexual abuse in Kenya protected by the vatican.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 11:53 am

Nairobi — A Missionary order has pledged to cooperate with the authorities in investigations into a bishop who left Kenya after being accused of sexual abuse.

Responding to questions by the Nation into the circumstances surrounding the retirement and departure of Ngong Catholic Bishop Cornelius Schilder, the General Superior of the St Joseph’s Missionary Society Rev Anthony Chantry replied:
With regard to recent allegations that have been made in the Kenyan Press, our Society will cooperate with any civil enquiry which may be initiated in the best interests of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.”

The Archbishop of Nairobi John Cardinal Njue, who has been directly responsible for administering the Ngong Diocese since Bishop Schilder left, said he did not know the reasons behind the 2009 departure.

The Cardinal said he only knows that the bishop was allowed by the Vatican to retire early on health grounds. He also said he was not the Archbishop of Nairobi at the time.

During the period that claims against Bishop Schilder were investigated, the Catholic church was under Archibishop Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki. Efforts to reach Archbishop Ndingi were not successful as staff at his office said he was ill and could not talk to the press.

Since taking over the Ngong diocese, Cardinal Njue said, no issues about the conduct of the former bishop had been brought to his attention; and therefore he would not comment. The Cardinal asked why the issue was being raised long after it was concluded and Bishop Schilder left the country.

However, there is credible information that a church inquiry initiated locally and then referred to the Vatican had found the allegations against Bishop Schilder, a Dutchman affiliated with the Mill Hill missionaries, as credible. The alleged offences were committed when he served as a priest in Ngong diocese before taking over as Bishop in November 2003.

The Ngong diocese comprises Kajiado, Transmara and Narok districts with 29 parishes with an estimated 101,870 Catholics out of a population of 960,303. That Bishop Schilder faced such accusations was confirmed by Fr Alphons Eppink, who was the Superior of the Mill Hill Missionaries in Kenya between 2005 and 2008 during the period of investigations.

Reached in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, where he is now based, Fr Alphons confirmed that there were investigations against Bishop Schilder.

However he said the matter was finalised at the Vatican and therefore he was not in a position to give any information. “I was in Kenya during the investigations but I don’t want to comment, really,” he concluded, “I am afraid I cannot comment because the case was handled by Rome”.

Fr Alphons however confirmed that Bishop Schilder was no longer allowed to publicly celebrate Mass, an indication that he left the pulpit in disgrace rather than by ordinary retirement.

Approached by the Nation, Javier Herrera Corona, Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature– the Vatican representative office–in Nairobi, denied any knowledge that Bishop Schilder was edged out because of unacceptable activities. However, he insisted that the activities of one individual should not be used to besmirch the church.
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“We have to distinguish the public life of a person and the private side. What a person does in private should be left to him to answer and not drag a whole community to answer on his behalf,” said Fr Javier.

Fr Javier would neither confirm nor deny that Bishop Schilder faced such accusations, but asked that the matter be left alone. “It is not the right time to bring this matter to the public,” he said. The Vatican envoy however defended the Nunciature from any blame, explaining that there is little it can do where a member of the clergy is accused of sexual abuse.

The Vatican representative said that church rules require that a priest found engaging in sex abuse should face secular law. However, this did not happen in the case of Bishop Schilder. It was never reported to the police according to Ngong DC Hiram Kahiro.

Saving Ethiopians in the Middle East Should Get Priority

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 11:40 am

Like many citizens of the world coming to Arab countries in search of jobs and better life, there are a great number of Ethiopians in the Middle East and North African countries. Among these the numbers of citizens traveling to either work and live in the Middle East countries or use these countries as gateways to other European countries is enormous.

Meanwhile, the ongoing crisis in the Arab World is endangering the lives of millions of other citizens who reside in these countries. As a result of popular uprising as some call it “The Arab Revolution”, there is no stability, law and order.

According to the latest reports by the German Deutsche Welle Radio, Ethiopian emigrants in Libya are in great trouble and even murdered being accused of the many alleged mercenaries hired by President Muammar Al Gaddafi to kill his own people to counter the protests. The fact that Ethiopia does not have an embassy in Libya makes the safety and security of Ethiopians there even worst.

The Arab peoples’ power that some what appears to be one of the fastest revolutions in the history of governments to overthrow dictatorship may also change our attitudes towards the democracy and governance of the Arab countries. For the time being, many hope that a better time is coming for the Arab world which enables them to benefit from their oil wealth, there by changing peoples’ lives for the better.

So far, it does not look like that the people benefited from their wealth; but rather the ruling dictatorial and the surroundings of the kings and khalifates that are the beneficiaries of the wealth of many Arab countries.

We hope that the post-dictatorial governments to come that this will be a new era of the Arab world, awarding them with their basic democratic rights, which will make the Middle East more or less a better place to work as an emigrant.

In the meantime, the government’s priority should be the safety and security of our citizens living in those countries, since one of the major responsibilities of a Government is to protect and safeguard the well being of its citizens abroad, especially during instabilities.

The Ethiopian Government so far did not make official statement regarding the safety of our citizens living in the countries where popular uprising is going on and the situation getting worst every hour.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), should give priority and show serious concern to our citizens. It has to act immediately to the situation of our citizens in the Middle East and North Africa through embassies and consular offices found in the proximity of these countries like Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain and Dubai, where the situation seems to be relatively better; at least for now.

As a responsible citizen and media New Business Ethiopia is very much concerned about the lives of many Ethiopians in the disturbed Arab countries. The ever-growing remittance that the country is getting from our brothers and sisters can only be sustainable and contribute to our development when and only when the safety, security and well being of our citizens living in different parts of the world including the Middle East and North Africa is ensured.

We therefore urge MoFA to act faster and safeguard the well being of Ethiopian emigrants found in the Middle East and North African countries.

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