Weekly anb12194.txt #6

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 19-12-2002      PART #4/6

* Kenya. Detainees freed - 13 December: The Kenyan judiciary has cleared nine people who were detained after the attacks on Israeli targets in Mombasa last month. The nine fishermen -- six Pakistanis and three Somalis -- have only been charged with entering Kenya illegally and face fines and deportation. In late November, suicide bombers killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis at an Israeli-owned hotel north of Mombasa. Kenyan police are still questioning three people in connection with the attack. The nine defendants were shabbily dressed and looked tired when they appeared before a high court judge, today. The men, who pleaded not guilty, had been arrested on a fishing boat in Mombasa airport in the wake of the 28 November attack. They have been fined the equivalent of $630. If they fail to pay the fine, they will be jailed for one year. They will then be deported to their home countries. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 13 December 2002)

* Kenya. The Press reflects on Moi's rule - The following are excerpts from Kenyan press editorials and commentaries on Daniel arap Moi's planned retirement from the presidency and his impact on the country. People's Daily: "President Moi [on 12 December] presided over what was for certain his last national function... Uncharacteristic of him, the president extended an olive branch to his real or perceived enemies and also asked those he had offended to forgive him...When President Moi seeks forgiveness, he should be aware that he is addressing the millions of Kenyans who will continue suffering the pestilences emanating from his rule. Forgiveness demands that one confesses his or her sins first." Daily Nation: "Although President Moi is deeply unpopular...he will be missed greatly for a variety of reasons...In his own way, President Moi always managed to be diplomatic when reading his formal speech in English...He would then launch into the gibberish that has become his stock-in-trade, often in thoroughly broken Swahili, that could not be improved with 50 years of practice...It is in this gibberish that President Moi's talent as a humorist has come to the fore...President Moi's departure from mainstream public life is likely to trigger a wave of nationwide nostalgia. In many ways, President Moi's was a class act". East African Standard: "If President Moi did not intend to hand over power, then he would have no business travelling around the world, saying goodbye to some of the leaders who have worked with him in his capacity as the President of Kenya". "Daily Nation": "Although he [President Moi] has said before that he will hand over power peacefully to whoever wins, there is still some sense of disbelief. Kenyans want to hear words of hope and optimism rather than hate and ridicule." (BBC News, UK, 13 December 2002)

* Kenya. 9 suspects innocentés - Six Pakistanais et trois Somaliens arrêtés au lendemain des deux attentats anti-israéliens du 28 novembre à Mombasa, ont été mis hors de cause, a annoncé la police kényane le 13 décembre. Les neuf hommes n'en ont pas moins été jugés pour entrée illégale au Kenya et condamnés à être expulsés du pays. Trois suspects restent sous les verrous. (La Libre Belgique, 14 décembre 2002)

* Kenya. L'opposition pressent une fraude - Le 17 décembre, la coalition nationale Arc-en-ciel (NARC, principal parti d'opposition) a accusé l'Union nationale africaine du Kenya (KANU, au pouvoir) de planifier le trucage des élections générales du 27 décembre. Un des principaux leaders de la NARC, Raila Odinga, a accusé le parti au pouvoir de s'intégrer dans le recrutement des agents électoraux pour ce scrutin, qui servira à élire un nouveau président, un Parlement et les responsables de l'administration locale. "Nous avons des informations selon lesquelles la police, la Commission électorale et l'administration ont reçu ordre d'assurer à la KANU 25% de voix obligatoirement dans toutes les provinces", a-t-il affirmé. Les accusations d'achat de voix, les actes de violences et l'intimidation des électeurs ont caractérisé la campagne électorale. (PANA, Sénégal, 18 décembre 2002)

* Kenya. Countdown to elections - 12 December: President Daniel arap Moi denies planning to rule Kenya from behind the scenes after he retires. (On 5 January 2003). In the last major official function of his presidency, Moi tells a large independence day rally in Nairobi that he plans to use his time trying to end wars in Africa. "I shall be so busy that no one need fear that I will attempt to rule through the next president". Opinion polls suggest the Opposition are favourites to triumph in the 27 December general elections, which will see President Moi step down after 24 years in power. "I have had my time and will render support to our next president," President Moi says. He also asks Kenyans to vote freely and in a peaceful atmosphere and accept the results the polls will deliver. "The whole world is watching us and if we fail this test, we will be seen as just another African failure". -- Opposition leaders have been seeking clarification of how the handover of power will be conducted when President Moi steps down. 13 December: 27 December is declared a public holiday to enable workers to vote in the general elections on that day. 14 December: Mwai Kibaki, the opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC)'s candidate for the presidential elections, has returned to Nairobi following his hospitalisation due to a car accident. 16 December: NARC promises to unveil a new Constitution if voted into power. -- The authorities have established a Rapid Response Team, deploying its members nationwide to look out for polling offenses. 17 December: A committee has been formed to oversee the transition of power after the presidential election. The committee is made up of the Attorney General, Amos Wako; Public Service head Sally Kosgei; Chief Justice Bernard Chunga. 18 December: Mwai Kibaki accuses the government of making suspicious payments to some contractors. He says that if elected, his government will not pay the debts of the present regime. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 18 December 2002)

* Liberia. Boat tragedy - 16 December: A boat carrying more than 200 passengers has capsized on a river in north-west Liberia. The wooden boat was overloaded with people going to the funeral of a popular local footballer. Liberian Defence Minister Daniel Chea said 48 bodies had been recovered so far, while at least 15 people were known to have survived. The final number of casualties is not yet known. Mr Chea said the boat was one of three crammed with mourners heading on Friday from Robertsport in Grand Cape Mount County across the Mofa river. "The first two made it safely across the river, but the third could not and plunged into the river," Mr Chea said. He expected the toll of 48 to rise "because right now it is a matter of discovering and burying bodies, there appears no chance of finding survivors. No matter how spacious the boat was, allowing such a large number of people to get on board was pushing it to the limit," he added. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 16 December 2002)

* Liberia. Naufrage - Le samedi 14 décembre, au moins 50 personnes ont trouvé la mort dans le naufrage d'un bateau sur la rivière Maffa dans le district de Grand Cape Mount, au nord du Liberia, et plusieurs dizaines d'autres sont portées disparues. Quelque 120 passagers, revenant d'un enterrement, se trouvaient dans l'embarcation surchargée lorsqu'elle a chaviré. Seuls 13 passagers auraient survécu. 50 corps ont été retrouvés. Le lundi, la marine libérienne poursuivait les opérations de secours. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 17 décembre 2002)

* Libya/Congo (RDC). Libya denies Congo RDC's allegations - 15 December: Libya has denied allegations by Congo RDC that it has sent tanks and troops into Congolese territory. The Libyan news agency, Jana, quoted a government official as saying that Libya had no forces or equipment of any kind in northern Congo, on the border with the Central African Republic. This is an area held by a Ugandan-backed rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). On 13 December, Congo had asked the United Nations Security Council to call for the immediate withdrawal of Libyan troops. The Libyan army and MLC rebels have intervened in the Central African Republic to support the country's President Ange Felix Patasse, who was faced with a military uprising in October. (BBC News, UK, 15 December 2002)

* Libya/Zimbabwe. No fuel deal - Zimbabwe and Libya have failed to reach an agreement on a new formula to end Zimbabwe's fuel supply crisis. A Libyan delegation left Zimbabwe at the weekend after officials failed to agree a new formula for financing fuel imports. However, the Zimbabwe state-owned newspaper, the Herald, said further meetings will be held before the end of the month. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 17 December 2002)

* Madagascar. Parliamentary elections - 12 December: As Madagascar prepares for the 15 December parliamentary elections, Amnesty International calls for an independent investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the country. In a report, the organisation details human rights violations which it says were committed by the supporters and security forces of the former president, Didier Ratsiraka and, to a lesser degree, by those of the present head of state, Marc Ravalomanana. It says that hundreds of people were arrested in the first half of this year during a major political stand-off between the two men, and clashes between their separate factions of the military. At least 35 people died in months of political violence which followed last December's presidential election. In its report, Amnesty International calls for independent and impartial inquiries into all violations and abuses, including assassinations and torture. "It highlights the need to bring to justice all those who are suspected of committing serious human rights violations during the political crisis," spokeswoman Benedicte Goderiot says. The report states that between 400 and 500 arrested during the crisis are still being held in custody in overcrowded prisons. The government puts the figure at 144. 15 December: The polls have closed in Madagascar after elections for the country's parliament. The vote was the first major test of the popularity of President Marc Ravalomanana, in the wake of the political crisis that followed disputed presidential elections last year. As the last voters put their marks on their ballot papers, most people in Madagascar are hoping that this will bring an end to a catastrophic year for the country. Although ostensibly a vote for 160 candidates to the National Assembly, most people see the poll as nothing less than a referendum for Marc Ravalomanana. The question is, does he really command enough support to be the legitimate president, and will the international community now unlock its funds for this poor and often forgotten corner of Africa? 16 December: Although the official results will not be published for another ten days, the early evidence emerging from the elections suggests Parliament will be dominated by politicians who support Marc Ravalomanana. 17 December: The Opposition alleges that voting in the elections was manipulated. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 17 December 2002)

* Madagascar. Elections législatives - Le dimanche 15 décembre, six millions d'électeurs malgaches étaient appelés à désigner 160 députés au scrutin uninominal à un tour. Le grand favori est le nouveau parti du président Ravalomanana, Tiako'i Madagascar, autrement dit "TIM". L'opposition fait pâle figure. L'Avant-garde de la rénovation malgache (Arema), l'ancien parti de l'ex-président Ratsiraka, a volé en éclat, mais une aile dissidente a néanmoins décidé de se présenter sous ses couleurs. Un autre ex-président, Albert Zafy, a pris la tête d'un Front du refus, dénonçant le "despotisme" du régime de Ravalomanana et appelant au boycott du scrutin. Les élections se sont cependant déroulées dans le calme. -- Selon les premiers résultats partiels, le TIM est assuré d'obtenir une majorité de 60 à 70% des 160 sièges à l'Assemblée nationale. La participation au scrutin a été entre 50 et 60% des électeurs. -- Le 18 décembre, le ministère de l'Intérieur a communiqué les résultats définitifs dans 44 circonscriptions: la coalition présidentielle a remporté 43 des 44 sièges. Selon les nouvelles projections, elle devrait s'adjuger 80 à 90% des 160 sièges à l'Assemblée. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 19 décembre 2002)

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