Monday, April 29, 2013

Poem: Heaven Through Hell by Manuel Odeny

Photojournalist Kevin Carter's photo of this girl in Ethiopia inspired this poem.
Pardon my retched soul,
in book of life
Atone my sins with the lambs blood
May the promise of golden streets
Hasten my wary legs home.

To Immanuel’s ground I come
at heavens door I knock
for I’m through hell!
Land of honey and flowing milk
Painted illusions of heaven in good book
Coded pulpit din on fairy-tale winged creatures
A mental prisoner of gospel
Accented talks of glory
“supplicate your dark souls to a Jewish man”
eyes closed,
land swept from our knees
bible, deadly whips on other hand
brotherly love felt in slave ship dungeon

Miles south of sub Sahara Africa
a conception of mistaken passion for love
a drop from a leaking condom.
A fraction of pleasure
summarized in years of hell
pandemic poverty
bullets whiz past my emaciated body
famine hot like a bee sting
carcasses dotting Savannah
as hunger gnaws my intestines


Janjawid spreading Kalashnikov terror
Klansmen lynch mob
Serbia mass graves
pain of child born in Gaza
shelling debris in Mogadishu heat
missing corpse tossing in tsunami
a whiff of Nazi gas

All powerful heaven God
don’t squint in my suffering
while you hold me wear gloves,
least I soil your hands with raw sewerage
hasten my destiny
my will to suffer ebbs
pardon me
be justified through hell I wonder
with a pain to lose the all world,
heaven I truly desire

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

HRW: Uhuru, Ruto Should Cooperate With ICC

Human Rights Watch has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court.

The watchdog in an online statement also called on the new government should also uphold and protect the bill of rights as stipulated in the country’s constitution.

“Kenyatta and Ruto should be held to their promises to attend their trials before the ICC,” said Elizabeth Evenson, HRW senior international justice counsel said.

“As president of an ICC member country, Kenyatta should also ensure that his government provides the cooperation it owes the ICC and the support it needs. Victims of Kenya’s post-election violence and their families have already waited more than five years for justice,” she added.

The two including their co-accused Joshua Sang, former Kass FM host have been voluntarily attending ICC proceedings in their cases before the ICC on charges of committing or contributing to the commission of crimes against humanity during Kenya’s election-related violence in 2007 and 2008.

“The new government should also reverse the climate of fear through publicly pledging to help ensure the safety of people who seek to assist justice efforts,” Evenson said.

Earlier there have been concerns on witness protection by Kenyan government with the ICC prosecutor complaining on witness interference.

Witness interference through pressure on witnesses and their families has been blamed for acquittal of Kenyatta’s co-accused Francis Muthaura after a witness feared to come forward and testify against him.

HRW blames lack of government cooperation which has seen witnesses recanting parts of their testimony and admitting to accepting bribes.

Lastly the new government should uphold the bill of rights enshrined in the country’s 2010 constitution to make progress in reform agenda especially police reforms.

“Intimidation of civil society groups increased in the periods before, during, and following the March 4 elections,” HRW indicated.

Threats against civil society activists, media, and ICC witnesses that amount to violations of national law should be investigated and prosecuted, it added.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Kenya: Private Investors to Add 80 Megawatts To National Grid

Transformer serving this blogger in Migori County, Kenya
The World Bank and private investors are set to add 80 megawatts to the national grid in 12 months through Gulf Power Ltd’s thermal plant in Mombasa Road, near Athi River.

Gulf Power has brought local investors from Gulf Energy Ltd and Noora Power Ltd in the Sh9.12b project which includes Sh2.7b in equity investments and Sh6.4b long-term debt financing.

WB gave the project a major boost through Sh4b loan which will be repaid for more than 15 years.

Already Gulf has signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) for electricity it will generate. The agreement was also signed by the government, WB and JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. of London.

“The WB has now signed partial risk guarantees for a third private power producer to increase the availability of electricity and diversify country’s power,” Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Kenya said.

The move will increase stability of supply of electricity to help businesses grow and create jobs for citizens.

The Gulf Power loan approved in February last year is among WB’s loan with other projects benefiting being Thika Power and Triumph Power Generation which were finished on August and December 2012 respectively.

The loan supports innovative public-private partnership program that helps African countries to unlock their energy potential and improve competitiveness,” Lucio Monari, World Bank Sector Manager for Energy in the Africa Region explained.

The government plans to increase private sector participation and utilize low carbon resources such as wind and geothermal to increase electricity generation capacity by an additional 2,000Mw.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Hustlers Family The Kenyan Bongo Crew With a Flick In Tanzania Movies

Hustlers Family Crew L to R, Wycliffe Mwita (DXL), Chacha Mwita (Chacha Kongo), John Chacha (Mnati),Joseph Mosiabi (Junior Michapo).
Hustlers Family a crew of two brothers and their cousins from Kuria area in Migori County have rocked the music scene with bongo songs.

The brothers John Chacha (Mnati) and Joseph Mosiabi (Junior Michapo) started the crew started the crew in April 2005 but due to education they have been struggling to pick up and incorporated their two cousin Chacha Mwita (Chacha Kongo) and Wycliffe Mwita (DXL).

All of the crew members made a break through after acting in a bongo movie Mtambo Wa Pesa Bandia part 1 & 2 produced by Tivoli Studios in Mwanza, Tanzania after the producer was interested after they released their latest video album Yatima.

In the movie Chacha Kongo acted as a spy selling espionage from a company, Mnati acted as Superintendent of Police, equivalent to OCS in Kenya while DXL and Junior Michapo acted as thugs.

“We were approached by the producer after producing our latest video album and were performing in Musoma and Mwanza in Tanzania to act in the movie and after it had a mild review we acted in part 2 last year,” Mnati says.

Mnati who is the oldest of the crew members said he started singing in 2005 and has released three songs so far Alice when his lover he had educated to college left him, I Wanna Love You and Yatima which talks about orphan children in the society.

The rest started singing between 2001-2010 when they were still in school and only took music and the crew serious in 2010 when Chacha Kongo was the last o finished high school.

“After 2010 we took music seriously and have managed to have shows in Migori, Kisii, Trans Mara, Kilgoris, Isebania and in Tanzania,” DXL said.

In the video album Chacha Kongo has a song Maria and Mama, DXL has Anis Nipe Majibu while Junior Michapo has Vera.

The album has been produced by ‘Sifa Films’ production based in Nairobi

The crew say that music has been a major source of income to the family and has brought fame to the family which has been a major boost in their business as they run a popular pub called Mnati in Kehancha town.

“We have managed to get good audience in town we perform where we get about 30,000-50,000 for performance which helped in producing our songs,” Mnati says.

He added that as the only singing group from Kuria and their Bongo genre of music they’ll break into the national scene and plan to land more movie roles in Tanzania.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

East African Cassava Farmers Benefit From Value Addition Project

Over 54,000 small scale cassava farmers in East Africa has benefitted from value addition project by a NGO.

Brought under 36 Cassava Village Processing Project (CVPP) in Kenya’s Busia and Makueni districts, Arusha in Tanzania and Uganda’s Jinja and Buyende town, the farmers were given over 16 million cassava cuttings of different varieties within a year.

The Farm Concern International (FCI) which funded the project said it has increased income for women and young people by increasing the potential of cassava as source of carbohydrate for animal feed, human and starch for industrial food processing companies.

“During the intervention a total of 10,642 metric tonnes of cassava was processed into chips and chunks for both local and industrial markets, 23,400 metric tonnes were sold to the fresh market, with 45,806 metric tonnes utilised for food security,” FCI said.

The project which partnered with private sector has helped farmers to commercialize farming to improve food security and incomes through small scale industries by mobile motorized and manual chippers for micro-processing which allows farmers to supply to key starch, human and animal feed manufacturers across the region.

“Cassava Villages have been transformed into commercial hubs where small scale farmers collectively produce, process and market their produce accruing benefits as a result of economies of scale and lower transactional costs,” the NGO said.

Farm Concern has also facilitated market linkages between the commercial villages and key cassava industrial players through village based business forums (VBFs).

Under the project cassava farming has been transformed from subsistence crop into a reputable commercialised commodity valued after streamlined marketing systems and favourable market prices.

To cut off brokers the project also created saving schemes in 43 villages whose collective savings of Sh18.2 million has promoted lending for individual and group investments.

The project has created over Sh320million in a year of crop produced in the project which was also carried out.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gender: Lack of Clean Water and Sanitation Affect Women Most

Poor water and sanitation affects women more in African societies, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.
The added that the discrepancy is gender based as African women bear the brunt through inequality, especially when it comes to access to education for girls and women.
“In Africa drawing water, transportation, storage and use, and cleanliness of public and private facilities are mostly the responsibility of women who are most affected by scarcity of water and insufficient water supply,” it said.
In rural areas women and girls are obliged to trek up to 15 kilometers every day to fetch water while in urban areas insufficient water supply results in long waiting lines lasting hours and causing social conflicts.
“Poor sanitation facilities also cause high number of girls drop out in school when they reach puberty that is why water and sanitation programmes should have gender equality in planning,” AfDB added.
AfDB said that under its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative launched in 2003 in partnership with other donors 51 million people have access to clean drinking water and it has aided in building sanitation facilities for 34 million people, of whom 50 per cent are women.
The initiative seeks to involve a gender approach while offering water and sanitation projects to contribute in reduction of water-related chores and increase rate of school attendance for girls, increase income generating activities and create healthy environment.
“These projects need better representation by women in decision-making committees which decreases acts of violence and aggression against women who fetch water from long distances,” the bank said.
Women should also be involved during financing and management of water resources between institutions which will transform the current cultural and social order in the continent.
“This cooperation will also contribute to the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment faced primarily by women and children,” it stressed.
Manuel Odeny © 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chinese Ivory Smuggler Arrested, Poachers killed in Mwingi

A Chinese ivory smuggler arrested by Kenya Wildlife Services has been arraigned at Makadara Law Courst in Nairobi after being arrest at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Feng Jinzhang, 50 was arrested as he tried to smuggle ivory while on transit aboard a flight KQ 542 from Contonou, Benin to Guangzhou, China, late Sunday night.

Jinzhang was arrested by a joint security team comprising of the Kenya Airports Police Unit, Customs officials, Kenya Airways officials and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials.

The suspect was booked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport police station awaiting arraignment in court to answer to charges of smuggling, through Kenyan territory, four pieces of ivory bangles.

His arrest comes with at the backdrop of the ongoing 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP) by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting at Bangkok, Thailand.

The meeting posthumously honoured 13 KWS rangers who died in the line of duty, and nine other recipients from around the world, with a Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award.

A Kenyan delegation, headed by Mr. Stephen Manegene from Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, is lobbying state parties to, among others, to ensure no proposals to trade in elephant ivory can be submitted before expiry of a nine years moratorium agreed at CoP14 in The Hague in 2007.

Over the weekend KWS rangers and the Kenya Police arrested a poachin gang after a fierce gub fight at Bisan Hargeisa, near Mwingi town, Kitui County.

They managed to impound 21 pieces of raw ivory weighing 91kg, and a motorbike. A further search in the surrounding areas by a reinforcement team from Kora National Park and the police recovered seven more pieces of ivory weighing 30.6kg.

The team acted on a tip off from members of the public and the suspects who resisted being search which led to the gun fight.

No ranger was hurt during the incident.

Manuel Odeny, ©2013