Afrique : histoire, economie, politique

1998-2001
Nouvelles du Kenya en anglais

NOUVELLES DU KENYA 1998 (en anglais)

03/02/1998
Kenyan opposition disrupts parliament opening

     NAIROBI - Dozens of opposition members of
parliament staged a noisy demonstration inside Kenya's National
Assembly Tuesday during the first parliamentary session since
elections on December 29, eyewitnesses said.
     About 50 opposition MPs chanted and waved placards
protesting against perceived government indifference to a wave
of ethnic violence in which over 100 people have died since
January 11.
     The chanting continued when a stony-faced President Daniel
arap Moi arrived to take his seat and dozens of opposition MPs
refused to stand as he entered the chamber.
     ``Kenya is weeping. Moi, we want peace,'' said one poster.
``Moi is here ... we want him to address the issue,'' shouted
one MP.
      But opposition threats to disrupt the election of the
Speaker of the House faded as Francis ole Kaparo was re-elected
at the first ballot by a two-thirds majority for a second
five-year term.
     Kaporo, a member of the ruling Kenya African National Union
(KANU) party polled 157 votes to 60 for Njehu Gatabaki of the
Social Democratic Party (SDP).
     The new assembly -- Kenya's eighth since independence in
1963 -- sees KANU with it slimmest-ever majority. Widespread
disruption could bring parliamentary business to a standstill.
     KANU has 113 seats to the combined opposition's 109, but
already signs are emerging of rifts in the nine-party opposition
camp.
     Monday a group of leading opposition politicians said they
would disrupt Tuesday's largely ceremonial parliamentary session
to protest against the wave of ethnic killings that has rocked
the East African country.
     They called for a stay-at-home strike by Nairobi workers on
Wednesday followed by prayers in the capital's main park on
Thursday.
     But Kenyan newspapers Tuesday reported that leaders of two
of the largest opposition groups had rejected the idea.
     The East African Standard said National Development Party
leader Raila Odinga and FORD-Kenya chief Michael Wamalwa Kijana,
whose parties have a combined 40 seats, said they would not heed
disruption calls by official opposition leader Mwai Kibaki.
     Odinga and Wamalwa, as well as ruling party politicians,
have been linked to the vacant position of vice-president. Moi,
73, has not appointed a deputy since winning a new five-year
term in January.
     Kibaki's Democratic Party and Charity Ngilu's SDP control 57
seats and are leading the agitation campaign.
     They pledged to prevent the formal swearing in of members of
parliament Tuesday -- or elections of a speaker and deputy
speaker -- until the government ``effectively stopped the
ongoing genocide'' and restored peace across the country.
     More than 100 people have been killed since January 11 in
clashes which opposition and church leaders say are the result
of ethnic Kalenjin tribespeople targeting Kikuyus for not voting
for Moi or KANU in the December 29 elections.
     The government and police have blamed the clashes on
political fighting or ``acts of criminality.''
     Police spokesman Peter Kimanthi said in a statement on
Monday that calm had been restored to areas affected by the
clashes and no deaths had occurred since January 26.
     Tuesday local newspapers carried Kimanthi's statement, but
also carried reports of further violence, including in Moi's
Baringo heartland in the Rift Valley.

05/02/98
Kenya slaps curfew on clash area

       NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi
Thursday slapped a night curfew on all urban centers in parts of
the troubled Rift Valley area where over 100 people have died in
ethnic violence since Jan. 11.
     Moi's Presidential Press Service said all businesses in
Nakuru district would have to close between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
and ``anyone loitering ... will be arrested.''
     Central Bank Governor Micah Cheserem said that Rift Valley
violence was scaring potential foreign investors and inflicting
further damage on the east African country's economy.
     ``Clearly some of our politicians don't deserve to be called
leaders. Some of our politicians have inflamed tribal violence.
These leaders encourage people to fight -- but then run to the
safety of (the capital) Nairobi,'' Cheserem told Reuters.
     Moi cautioned that ``businessmen of a certain community ...
who are funding the violent activities will have their business
licenses reviewed,'' the report said.
     He said he would ``saturate'' the area with security
personnel to stamp out the violence.
     Nakuru district includes Njoro and Molo, scene of some of
the worst clashes between ethnic Kalenjin and Kikuyu.
     Opposition politicians and church leaders say the Kikuyu are
being targeted for not voting for Moi or his ruling Kenya
African National Union (KANU) in December's elections.
     The government and police say the clashes are ``criminal
acts'' or being fueled by opposition politicians.
     Opposition leader Mwai Kibaki alleged Thursday that senior
government officials were behind the clashes and denied his
Democratic Party had incited violence.
     Hundreds of Kenyan university students boycotted classes and
barricaded their campus Thursday to protest the clashes.
     The students, at Jomo Kenyatta University on the northern
outskirts of Nairobi, carried placards and chanted slogans
calling for Moi to resign.
     Witnesses said around 1,000 students took part in the
protest. They said police were standing by, but so far had made
no attempt to storm the campus.
     Cheserem added to the pressure on the government to end the
clashes, calling the violence ``a declared war'' and saying it
was hurting international investment and undermining the
economy.
     He told Reuters ethnic violence and official corruption
continued to impede development despite public commitment by Moi
to revamp economic growth.
     ``Our leaders have gone beyond their mandate to declare war
... and this is shaming us,'' he said. ``Ordinary people just
want their peace. The language of poverty knows no tribes.''
     Cheserem said that below the president, ``there have been
unfortunate developments -- declared war between the Kalenjin
and Kikuyu.''
     The Rift Valley has been relatively calm this week after two
weeks of violence in Moi's heartland.
     Next Sunday Jesse Jackson, President Clinton's special envoy
for Africa, is due to tour the worst-hit areas and talk to
thousands of people who have fled their homes because of the
violence.

09/02/98
US envoy urges Moi's action on Kenya clashes

     NAIROBI  - Jesse Jackson, the U.S. envoy for
democracy in Africa, Monday urged Kenyan President Daniel arap
Moi to show greater leadership in dealing with a series of
ethnic clashes that have killed more than 100 people.
     Jackson told a news conference that he had appealed to Moi
to visit the Rift Valley, adding that a joint visit with
opposition leader Mwai Kibaki would provide a useful symbol of
ethnic and political unity.
     State-run radio later said that Moi would Wednesday visit
Njoro, one of two districts hit by clashes.
     ``The president's presence, personal presence and touch,
will show a humane expression of care across lines, party,
ethnic lines,'' Jackson said.
     ``The use of targeted troops to make people feel secure and
a commitment to find the terrorists and bring them to justice,
would also send an important message,'' said Jackson, a
prominent civil rights activist and former U.S. presidential
candidate.
     Following a morning meeting with Moi, Jackson said: ``My
impression is that... President Moi is going to offer leadership
in this regard.''
     More than 100 people have been killed since Jan. 11 in a
series of raids and revenge attacks between ethnic Kalenjins and
Kikuyus in Nakuru and Laikipia districts of the Rift Valley.
     A soldier and an ex-serviceman were hacked to death in
separate incidents in Nakuru district Saturday, Kenya's
privately owned Daily Nation reported Monday.
     Four people were seriously wounded when raiders struck in
another incident in the Rift Valley, breaking into homes and
stealing cattle and sheep, it said.
     Arsonists also torched 17 houses and injured four people at
Lorian, the East African Standard said.
     Opposition and church leaders say Kikuyus are being punished
for not voting for Moi and the ruling Kenya African National
Union (KANU) party in elections last December.
     KANU officials accuse Kibaki and other opposition leaders of
inciting violence.
     Journalists and independent observers say many of the early
victims of the violence appeared to be Kikuyus, but that
Kalenjin people now make up about half the dead.
     Sunday Jackson visited victims of clashes in Nakuru district
and said he was shocked at the injuries he saw.
     ``It seems that there was little election violence, but it
seems that in the post election challenge (period) there was
systematic violence... we urge the government to stop it,''
Jackson said, stressing Kenya's election was part of an upward
curve for the country in terms of democracy.
     ``My appeal to leaders across party, across tribal, across
regional lines (is to) put an end to this violence.''
     Jackson later went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
as part of a three-nation African tour including Liberia.
     President Clinton is due to visit Africa in March, but
Jackson declined to be drawn on whether he thought Kenya would
be part of Clinton's itinerary.
     ``One should not read too much into that (Clinton's choice
of destinations) in that there are 54 countries in Africa and
the president can only visit four or five of them,'' Jackson
said.
     He added that Southern African Development Community states
and Central Africa were among Clinton's concerns.

17/02/98
FEATURE-Kenya's tourism industry faces a bleak 1998

       NAIROBI, Kenya - The fatal stabbing of a British
visitor at an exclusive safari lodge over the weekend was the
latest in a series of natural and man-made calamities that have
befallen Kenya's tourism industry.
     Roy Chivers, a former policeman, was stabbed by robbers
while walking with his wife in a private game sanctuary at the
Aberdares Country Club, about 140 miles north of Nairobi.
     The incident -- as the government swiftly affirmed -- was an
isolated one. Apart from bag snatchings and other petty thefts,
most tourists to Kenya have an incident-free holiday and the
country boasts an enviable number of repeat visitors.
     But after a disastrous year, the fear is that the knife blow
that killed Chivers might prove to be a dagger through the heart
of the Kenyan tourism industry.
     Kenya's beaches and game reserves have long drawn hundreds
of thousands of visitors -- usually on package tours that mix
coastal relaxation with traditional wildlife safaris -- every
year. But since last July, the number of visitors has plummeted.
From a high of over 850,000 in 1994, Kenya drew less than
600,000 visitors in 1997, industry experts say.
     First, ethnic rioting on the coast sparked fears that
tourists might be targeted in the chaos that followed. Then
unseasonable rains from October to February washed away roads
and bridges leading to game parks and reserves. Widespread
outbreaks of flood-related diseases such as cholera, malaria and
the mysterious Rift Valley fever added to the woes.

     ETHNIC VIOLENCE BURIES A DEAD SEASON
     Uncertainty over December's general elections did little to
calm fears and more ethnic violence, this time in the Rift
Valley in January, effectively buried what had been a dead
season. Tourism Minister Henry Kosgey told a news conference
this week the situation was bleak but could be salvaged.
     ``Current bookings and (room) occupancy are running at
around 50 percent and we need at least 45 percent to break
even,'' he said. ``We have to look at our marketing and our
(market) position to see where we can capitalize and improve.''
     But industry experts say a series of ``foreign junkets'' by
government officials trying to sell Kenya abroad will fail.
     ``Potential tourists are not going to be persuaded to visit
Kenya by a government official in a suit,'' said Robert Shaw, a
local businessman and economic analyst. ``The government and
industry have to wake up to the fact that Kenya is not only
competing with other African nations for tourists but also with
the Asian market which, with its current financial and currency
woes, has become very attractive.''
     David Western, director of Kenya Wildlife Services, says the
industry downturn may force operators to rethink.
     ``One thing we have already discovered is that the small
operators, the ones who offer a more personalized service, are
doing well -- some exceptionally well,'' he told Reuters. ``It
is the big operators that are suffering more at the moment.''
     The Kenya Association of Tour Operators confirmed the trend
and is hoping 1998 will not be worse than 1997.
     It is difficult to tell how badly operators are hurting.
Most of the big ones are offshoots of holding companies like
Lonrho, which set tourism losses against profits in other
sectors.

     FIRST SHOTS IN A PRICE WAR
     The first shots are already being fired in what could turn
into a price war by tour operators desperate for a slice of an
ever-shrinking cake. National carrier Kenya Airways is offering
roundtrip flights from Europe with a free week's stay at a top
hotel in Mombasa for just $499, while Air France and other
European carriers have slashed fares to Nairobi.
     European tour operators say they will scale back the number
of charter flights to Kenya because of slack demand and the
failure to tackle deep-seated problems.
     So what can be done to turn the situation around?
     Shaw, who wrote prophetically in the East African Wildlife
Society's magazine Swara this month that ``it is just a matter
of time before serious incidents of (national park) insecurity
are splashed across the papers of the international press,''
argues for less government interference.
     The Kenya Tourist Board, the semi-autonomous marketing arm
of the Tourism Ministry, is being advised by European Commission
consultants, but Shaw says it needs greater independence and
more flexibility.
     Shaw, a fierce critic of the current KWS management, also
accuses the parks body of ``selling off the family silver'' to
meet current budget needs after the KWS announced last month it
would cut staff, slash executive salaries and sell equipment to
make ends meet.
     ``We need the government to be involved in the industry,''
Western said. ``They are responsible for the infrastructure, for
security ... operators can't do it alone.''

05/03/98
Kenya raises taxes to contain budget deficit

     NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya announced wide-ranging tax
increases Thursday to contain a ballooning budget deficit.
     Calling the measures ``firm and painful'' but necessary to
get Kenya's economy back on track, Finance Minister Simeon
Nyachae announced higher value added tax (VAT), fuel price
increases, a drive on tax arrears and a freeze on all duty
waivers for charitable organizations.
     ``The implementation of these macroeconomic and structural
reform measures is essential to enhance economic growth, limit
the rate of inflation to a manageable level and enable interest
rates to fall,'' Nyachae said.
     Financial analysts linked Thursday's moves partly to
Nyachae's failure to raise revenue on soft loans provided by
businesses for employees.
     The minister caved in Wednesday to the threat of a general
strike, suspending the application of a law raising tax rates on
the loans.
     The climb-down was aimed at ending a bank strike, which
entered its sixth day Thursday, and averting the threatened
general strike.
     Kenya's trade union confederation, COTU, called off a public
rally Thursday and said it was abandoning plans for the general
strike because of Nyachae's change of heart.
     Nyachae said Kenya's budget deficit was projected to rise to
3.9 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in fiscal 1997/98
(July/June) from a target of 1.7 percent (the same as the 96/97
figure) if emergency corrective measures were not put in place.
     Last week the International Monetary Fund painted a bleak
picture of Kenya's economy, with its budget deficit ballooning,
GDP growth and the shilling currency declining, interest rates
climbing and inflation rising well beyond projections.
     The IMF said the government had agreed to cut spending by
$165 million in order to keep the budget deficit at about 2.4
percent of GDP.
     Nyachae said the government would also maintain a strict
monetary policy and accelerate its privatization of state firms.
     Veteran President Daniel arap Moi, who won a final five-year
term in December elections, has repeatedly urged Kenyans to
tighten their belts on account of a tough economic year.
     Nyachae said drought in the first half of last year and
heavy rains linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon from
October to around January had led to massive destruction of
infrastructure and crops -- which meant that there would be a
substantial shortfall in revenue in the fiscal year.
     Kenya has to import to meet a severe food deficit at a time
it expects less money from diminished production of tea and
coffee. Tourism earnings are also low because violence in the
coastal region late last year has driven away visitors.

13/04/98
Audit reveals ills in Kenya's public finances

       NAIROBI, April 13  - Critics of the way Kenya's
government runs the economy have found a new stockpile of
ammunition in the auditor-general's report for the 1995/96
financial year.
     David Njoroge's 555-page audit of public finances is
peppered with words like ``unconstitutional,'' ``illegal'' and
``unsatisfactory.''
     The public document, tabled for debate in parliament,
details unauthorised or excessive expenditure and negligent
accounting practices affecting virtually every government
department.
     Ministry cash-books, government bank accounts and
expenditure on everything from the presidential jet to unused
computers are all held up to scrutiny and found wanting.
     It will add to the pressure on Finance Minister Simeon
Nyachae, who last week said he wanted to cut government spending
by 20 billion shillings ($335 million), or over 10 percent,
every year for the next three years.
     Nyachae is also bent on cutting the public sector salary and
allowances bill by 20 percent, through a long overdue slimming
course for the bloated bureaucracy, and the opposition and trade
unions are calling for a crusade against high-level corruption
to make savings and boost revenue.
     ``At a time when Kenyans are feeling the effects of a
stagnant economy and a rise in levels of poverty, no more
wastage and plunder of public funds should be tolerated,'' the
Sunday Standard said in an editorial on Njoroge's report.
     Copies have started circulating in Nairobi and newspapers
have published highlights.
     Columnist Kwendo Opanga voiced the view of many Kenyans who
say the auditor-general issues a damning report every year with
no known consequences for the culprits.
     ``Who says we are not transparent? That official document
that catalogues thievery by government officers is out,'' he
wrote in the Sunday Nation.
     Njoroge calculated the executive's excess expenditure in
1995/96 -- ``incurred without the authority of Parliament'' --
at 910 million shillings or about $15 million at current
exchange rates. The Office of the President, a super-ministry,
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were responsible for the
lion's share.
     If all the bills incurred by ministries in the year were
included, instead of being carried forward to 1996/97, the
unbudgeted expenditure would have soared to 3.5 billion
shillings.
     Worse, the figure was almost identical with the excess
Njoroge found in 1994/95, suggesting his annual exercise is not
changing the habits of Kenya's senior officials.
     His previous report found 14.7 billion shillings' worth of
unsupported direct debits by the Central Bank of Kenya in 1994
and before. He said about half were later identified and
explained but ``no acceptable supporting documents have been
produced for the balance of expenditure'' in time for the latest
report.
     This balance included a payment of 5.78 billion shillings to
Goldenberg International Limited, a company accused of a massive
scam in the early 1990s involving non-existent gold and diamond
exports.
     The case is currently being tried in Nairobi after years of
pressure by donors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who
are demanding action against official corruption.
     The IMF halted a $205 million loan package to Kenya last
July, citing mismanagement in key areas of the economy and the
failure to check official corruption.
     The auditor-general's report complained that his office had
still received no supporting documentation from the Office of
the President for the purchase of a $46 million jet for
President Daniel arap Moi.
     On the unbudgeted construction of an international airport
at Eldoret, in Moi's home area, Njoroge said a balance of 950
million shillings is ``still illegally and unconstitutionally
charged'' to the country's Consolidated Fund.
     The report says land for the airport was bought at far above
its official valuation and payment was made in part by giving
the unnamed vendor rich land near Nairobi to which the
government ``does not apparently have title.''
     The Ministry of Finance does not escape opprobrium.
     Statements of its accounts with the Central Bank and
majority state-owned Kenya Commercial Bank ``reflect large
unexplained balances which have been outstanding for a
considerable period of time.''
     The reconciliations of the Office of the President's
recurrent cash book ``are significantly in arrears'' with the
latest dated November 30, 1994, the auditor-general says.
     On the revenue front, Njoroge hit out at the poor quality of
accounting by the government unit in charge of privatising state
enterprises. The result was ``that it was not possible to
determine the amounts collected from the Privatisation programme
or whether the amounts collected were properly accounted for.''
     A catalogue of uncollected revenue included import duty at
airports, outstanding security bonds on imports and the
diversion of transit goods which were sold in Kenya despite
being imported duty-free for export to neighbouring countries.

24/07/98
Kenya quashes prosecution of Treasury chiefs

       NAIROBI, July 24 - Kenyan authorities on Friday
abruptly dropped fraud charges against four leading Treasury
figures and a dozen officials and businessmen, less than 24
hours after their arrest was ordered by Nairobi's chief
magistrate.
     ``I have instructions to enter a nolle prosequi (termination
of prosecution) in this case, and hereby do,'' Director of
Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bernard Chunga said in a written
presentation to Nairobi Chief Magistrate Uniter Kidullah.
     Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General John
Msafari and others including the agency's commissioner for
customs and excise, Samuel Chebii, were alleged to have
defrauded the government of 231 million shillings ($3.9 million)
in revenue.
     Other officials accused were Treasury Financial Secretary
Joseph Kinyua and Fiscal and Monetary Affairs Director Njehu
Kiriria. KRA comes under treasury control.
     The four senior officials named are close allies of Central
Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Micah Cheserem and considered key
cogs in the East African country's economic reform process.
     Their case raised alarm bells in Kenya's financial circles.
     Under Kenyan law, the DPP can terminate any criminal charges
against anyone on the instructions of the attorney-general. The
attorney-general is not required by law to explain his actions.
     Kidullah issued the arrest warrants on Thursday following an
application by the director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption
Authority (KACA) John Harun Mwau. The men had not been formally
charged but the DPP can stop prosecution before it begins.
     Chunga said the criminal investigations department (CID)
would probe the case and report to the attorney-general.
     Mwau told Reuters on Friday that he had done his job --
trying to rid the country of graft and Chunga had to do his.
     ``I am impartial. We take any case to court after we have
completed investigations. We are not witch-hunting,'' he said.
     But senior financial sources linked the arrests to
International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands that civil society be
represented in the board of Mwau's KACA and that a new KACA
board elect its director -- something which could lead to the
replacement of Mwau.
     They said such legislation was being drafted and was
expected before parliament within weeks, and said Mwau might
have been acting to show that his authority was independent to
fight the move.
     KACA accused the officials and businessmen of defrauding the
government through failure to tax revenue on sugar and wheat
imported from Brazil and Argentina.
     They are also to be charged with breaching the public trust
by fraudulently allowing 1,400 tonnes of uninspected sugar into
the country. The private Kenya Television Network said the
offences occurred between March and May this year.
     The influential Daily Nation newspaper said some of the
officials were briefly detained on Thursday night then released.
     Failure to collect tax on illegal sugar imports was a key
complaint made by the IMF when it suspended a key loan to Kenya
in July last year, and the IMF had asked for reform of the KRA.
     Other IMF demands, agreed with the government after talks in
August, included setting up of an independent anti-corruption
authority, reform of the energy sector and investigation of past
abuses of public funds. KACA was set up in December under Mwau,
an ex-policeman and former presidential candidate.
     Mwau's outfit disappeared from view in its first six months
of operation, before finally bursting into life last month when
it pressed charges against some Nairobi City Hall officials.
     The prosecution of Msafari and others at the KRA would be
the most high-profile case Mwau's team has brought.
     ($-59.15 Kenya shillings).

29/07/98
FOCUS-Kenya anti-corruption boss suspended

     NAIROBI, July 29 - The head of the Kenyan
Anti-Corruption Authority, John Harun Mwau, was suspended from
office on Wednesday by President Daniel arap Moi, an official
statement said.
     Mwau has been involved in a war of words with Kenyan Finance
Minister Simeon Nyachae since he accused four senior treasury
officials of defrauding the government last week.
     The statement said the president had appointed a tribunal to
``inquire into the proper performance of the functions of the
Office of the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority.''
     ``Consequently ... he has suspended with immediate effect
John Harun Mwau from the exercise of the functions of the
director of the said authority pending the outcome of the
tribunal's inquiry.''
     On Thursday, Mwau charged four leading treasury officials
and 11 others of defrauding the government of 231 million
shillings ($3.9 million) through failure to tax imports of sugar
and wheat.
     But less than 24 hours later, Attorney General Amos Wako
abruptly terminated the case and on Monday Nyachae launched a
savage attack on Mwau, saying the treasury officials had acted
legally, under his explicit instructions and with the knowledge
of the cabinet.
     Wednesday's statement made no mention of who would be on the
tribunal, or whether it would also investigate the charges that
Mwau brought against the treasury officers, including Kenya
Revenue Authority commissioner-general John Msafari.
     Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended
aid to Kenya, with one of its core complaints being growing
official corruption. In response to IMF demands, Moi set up the
Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA) last December, installing
Mwau as its first head.
     But the IMF has never been happy with the way KACA was set
up. It asked for new regulations to be drafted which would
involve civil society in KACA's board, and thus in choosing its
boss, before talks on fresh aid can resume.
     Mwau, a maverick former presidential candidate, kept a low
profile in his first six months as KACA chief before finally
bursting into life last month when he pressed charges against a
number of officials at Nairobi's City Hall.
     Last week's charges were by far the most high-profile case
Mwau's team has brought.
     On Monday, Nyachae acccused Mwau of abusing the legal
process, called for a judicial or parliamentary inquiry into the
case and offered to resign if his officers had committed any
offence.
     A cartoon in Wednesday's Daily Nation newspaper showed Mwau
and Nyachae slugging it out, both men puppets controlled by the
same pair of hands -- recognisably those of the president.
     Donors say the public row has undermined the credibility of
the country's efforts to stamp out corruption.

05/10/98
Teachers strike across Kenya

Police were deployed at the union's headquarters

Teachers throughout Kenya have gone on strike over pay, with police in the capital, Nairobi, breaking up a demonstration by several hundred strikers.
Riot police took up positions outside the teachers' union headquarters in Nairobi after the Kenya National Union of Teachers began its nationwide action.
The KNUT called out its 200,000 members for the third time in a year following the government's failure to implement the second phase of a pay award worth up to 200%.
The government said it had run out of money but the union's chairman, John Katumanga, said he did not believe this, and accused the government of threatening union members.

Broken promises

David Gitari, head of the Anglican Church in Kenya, said he did not believe the government lacked the money to pay the promised pay rises, but that it had been wasted on high-level corruption.

"The government made a mistake to ... not abide by the agreement," he said.
President Moi: Accused of renaging on pre-election promises
"I can't believe that it [the government] has no money. If it can find 200 million shillings to give to new Kenya Wildlife Service director Richard Leakey for animals last month, why not pay teachers?"

President Moi had agreed to raise teachers' salaries by up to 200% over five years before last year's election. But the government paid just one increase before saying in July it did not have enough money to pay the rest.

Education Minister Kalonzo Musyoka said if the raises agreed on were put into effect, 80% of his ministry's 1998-99 budget of 44 billion shillings would go to pay salaries.

The strike comes as schoolchildren prepare for exams later in the month.

The starting salary for a new teacher is about £25 per month, with experienced teachers receiving about £125 per month, salaries they say are too small to live on.

University students have threatened to join the strike if it is not resolved soon.

 08/12/98
Kenya Leader Raps Corruption

 Kenya Leader Raps Corruption
     NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ President Daniel arap Moi said Tuesday
 that Kenya is facing an economic crisis that will worsen in the
 coming year because of rampant corruption in all the government
 ministries.
     ``Despite the fact there is global economic recession facing
 South Asia, Europe and Russia, the situation in Kenya is more
 serious than ever before,'' Moi said at Kisii, about 375 miles
 northwest of the capital Nairobi.
     Kenya is so rife with high-level corruption that the
 International Monetary Fund last year suspended a $220 million loan
 to the country until it cleans up the graft.
     Last May, Finance Minister Simeon Nyachae announced the
 government was broke and said a major reason was customs officials
 taking bribes not to collect duties on imported goods.
     Moi warned Tuesday that any civil servant caught in corrupt
 handling of funds will face a life sentence in prison.
     ``I have today directed the police to track down the economic
 saboteurs and the law will be applied sternly,'' he said.
     ``Government officers who have perpetuated corruption in various
 ways are to take full responsibility.''
     Since coming to power in 1978, Moi has regularly promised to
 tackle corruption.

27/12/98
Various groups in public life are being invited to help shape Kenya's new constitution.

President Daniel arap Moi has signed the Kenya Review Commission Amendment Act, which establishes a 25-member commission to help review the existing constitution.

The act was adopted by parliament earlier this month.

The latest move is an important step in a bitter battle for reform.

Members of the commission are to come from all parts of public life and will include representatives of political parties, women's organisations and religious groups.

They will work alongside two other groups - a national consultative forum and a district one, to carry out the review.

Constitutional crisis

The issue of constitutional reform in Kenya is heated.

In the summer of 1997, demands by opposition figures and reform groups for constitutional change led to violent demonstrations by thousands of people on the streets of several Kenyan cities.

Their protests were violently suppressed and more than a dozen people lost their lives in a crackdown by paramilitary police.

The call for constitutional reform then became a rallying cry for opponents of President Moi in the run up to general elections a year ago.

When President Moi was returned to power, he announced that a review would be carried out.

Much time has since been spent in arguments and debates as to who exactly should carry out the review.

A statement by Attorney General Amos Wako said that if everything runs to schedule, the new constitution should be in place by the middle of 2001 - a year ahead of the next general elections.

Sources :
Site infobeat (www.infobeat.com)
Agence Reuters
BBC Africa


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