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Archive for May 23rd, 2009

The role of piracy in the Kenyan economy: Another Chepkube?

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on May 23, 2009

by Odhiambo T Oketch -Nairobi, Kenya

I wish someone was a little truthful with the state of the Kenyan affairs.

We have just been given a down cast economic state of affairs. Kenya recorded a 1.7% growth last year. Most of this was in the construction sector. And this is what put me off. How can there be growth in the construction sector when there is an economic meltdown? Is this money genuine? Is this money that is powering the construction industry clean money?

In the US, the economic meltdown is being felt heavily on the housing industry and the US government is doing something to cushion the home owners from imminent loses. On the contrary, our government is recording growth in the construction industry at a time we all know there is a problem. And our government is doing nothing to help Kenyans who are being relegated to less affluent areas, courtesy of the growth in the construction sector.

The common denominator here is that it is people of Somali origins who are powering the growth Kenya is recording in the construction industry. It is also a known fact that people of Somali origins are the major players in the Indian Ocean and in Lake Victoria where piracy is the order of the day.

Eastleigh Estate has been invaded and most of our people are being evicted by the high costs of housing from there. In Gikomba Market, South B and C, and in Komarock, the same is happening. Most Kenyans are being evicted from the areas by the exorbitant rents now being charged. In cases where rent ought to be Kshs 7,000.00 for a two bed roomed house, people of Somali origins are coming in and offering the Landlords Kshs 12,000.00 per month and they pay rent one year in advance.

Could the ransoms the Somali pirates are demanding finding its way into our construction sector? Has the government investigated the source of the Somali wealth; wealth that makes them pay exorbitant rents one year in advance? Which is this lucrative business that is only exclusive to the Somali people? How come Kenyans who are working so hard cannot make such kind of money? Some of these things do not add up, and we need an explanation from our government in defense of Kenyans.

How many Kenyans can afford such rents? No wonder the Government is recording growth in the construction industry. I would have thought the Government would be taking the interest of Kenyans at heart and protecting us from this invasion.

Could it be true that the pirates have bought the Grogan area and hired our police to protect them against the mechanics?

With all due respect, could it be money from the pirates that is driving the growths recorded in the construction industry? Or, is it drug money? What is the government doing to protect indigenous Kenyans from this affront? Or do we have people in the Kenyan Government who are part of the problem?


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The toll of the Sri Lankan conflict in human lives

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on May 23, 2009

(Daily Nation, 23rd May, 2009)

Sri Lanka fficials said over 6,000 soldiers were killed and nearly 30,000 injured since a battle in July 2006 that the military marks as the start of “Eelam War IV”, the final stage of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanka has for the first time made public its heavy casualties from the last phase of the 25-year war, and the UN chief flew to the island today to push for a rapid end to a lingering humanitarian crisis.

Officials said over 6,000 soldiers were killed and nearly 30,000 injured since a battle in July 2006 that the military marks as the start of “Eelam War IV”, the final stage of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In the capital Colombo, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets today to parliament’s grounds for a rally called to honour soldiers.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking to the assembled throng, brushed off Western calls for a war crimes probe into acts by both sides in the final months of the war.

“Since (the July 2006 battle at) Mavil Aru, 6,261 soldiers have laid down their lives for the unitary status of the motherland and 29,551 were wounded,” Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the state-run Independent Television Network.

Troops killed 22,000 LTTE fighters during Eelam War IV, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Sri Lanka declared total victory over the LTTE on Monday after killing off its leadership and remaining fighters in a climactic final battle in the northeast of the island.

Nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who followed or were taken by the Tigers as the military relentlessly cornered them, are now in crowded displacement camps after fleeing in the final months of what was Asia’s longest modern war.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, due to land in Sri Lanka late today, will call on the government to allow aid agencies to have full access to the camps and push for a political solution, UN officials said.

The LTTE had fought to create the separate nation that it called Eelam — the Tamil word for homeland — in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

The government had previously given casualty figures only erratically, and stopped reporting them entirely last year, mindful of a public that might not stomach heavy losses.

The United Nations this week said the conflict had killed between 80,000-100,000 people since it erupted into full-scale civil war in 1983 – including unofficial and unverified tallies showing 7,000 civilian deaths since January.

The government does not give a civilian casualty figure, but says it did not use heavy weapons in the final months and blamed the Tigers for civilian deaths. It says the United Nations numbers were inflated by the LTTE to secure pressure for a truce.

-The question that pops up in the mind is: Might there have been a less costly way for that nation? -Editor

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