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Darren Taylor

Quake a ‘wake-up call’ for Africa

Seismologists have warned that East and Central Africa will be struck by natural disasters such as earthquakes, mudslides and volcanic eruptions in the near future, but that countries in the region remain ill-prepared for catastrophes. A powerful earthquake struck the region on Monday afternoon, causing panic in at least six countries.

An orange revolution

''Kibaki out! Kibaki out!'' was the cry on the streets of Kenya as thousands of people celebrated the defeat of a draft Constitution its opponents had branded a “recipe for dictatorship”. A mere three years ago, the same Kenyans, had massed to support Mwai Kibaki with the mantra of ''Kibaki tosha [forward]!''

Kibaki’s ‘chicken shit’ broadside

Kenya's 11,5-million registered voters go to the polls on Monday in the 42-year-old republic's first referendum. But the economic hub of East Africa is tense ahead of the ballot on a controversial draft Constitution. Police have shot dead at least 10 people during violent protests against the document in the weeks leading up to the plebiscite.

Ensuring that justice delayed is not justice denied

David Gicheru is a former guerrilla who fought British colonial forces from hideouts in the dense forests of central Kenya ahead of independence in 1963. As much as the prospect of a poor harvest gnaws at him, so do memories of his struggle against the British -- and Kenya's subsequent treatment of those who liberated the country from colonialism.

Land for loyalty?

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has allocated thousands of title deeds for land in a move his opponents say is an attempt to ''bribe'' voters to support a controversial draft constitution in a November 21 referendum. Environmentalists charge that the ''illegal dishing out of land'' spells ''ecological disaster'' for a country lauded internationally for its stringent legislation to protect wildlife.

‘Who cares about human rights?’

Behind a dilapidated store in a dusty field at Athi River, an export processing zone on the outskirts of Kenya's capital, Nairobi, a group of textile factory workers has gathered for a mid-afternoon break. The heat is searing, and the hastily purchased cool drinks quench thirsts. But not tempers.

Africa’s ‘most wanted’ man

He is in his early 30s but looks much younger with a ''smooth, boyish face'' and a height of a little more than one-and-a-half metres. He is soft-spoken, well-mannered, and often dresses in jeans and track shoes, Nike being his brand of choice. He has hated the United States with a ''passion bordering on insanity'' ever since spending time with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Sudan.

‘He was our Moses; our hero’

Analysts, refugees and political commentators are united in their view that the death of former rebel leader and Sudanese Vice-President, John Garang, could plunge the country into a new crisis and place immense pressure on the peace deal that, in January, ended 21 years of war.

‘We have been cheated’

In bitter twist of irony the opposition Kenya African National Union (Kanu) -- which viciously cracked down on dissent when it was in power -- this week came out in support of mass action. Meanwhile, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and his government declared demonstrations illegal and ordered the security forces to use the "necessary means" to end protests.

Aids court case ends the silence

A historic lawsuit in the Nairobi High Court, the first time that a Kenyan court will have heard a case relating to alleged discrimination against someone living with Aids, recently galvanised East African Aids activists. Previously fractious organisations representing HIV-positive Kenyans, united to demonstrate in the streets and to declare a "new militancy".

Crackdown on killer brew

''Our backs are broken but we are still alive,'' seethed Felix Nge'tich as he scoured the ruins of his shebeen at Nakuru in central Kenya. Security forces and furious members of the public continued to raid drinking dens across the country this week following the deaths of 52 people who consumed the illegal alcohol, known locally as chang'aa.

‘Kenyan cowboys, beware’

Racial tension and anti-foreign sentiment grew in Kenya this week as outrage continued following the release of a white farmer who confessed to killing a Maasai game ranger. The country's attorney general, decided there wasn't enough evidence against Tom Cholmondeley, a member of Kenya's most prominent white settler dynasties, the Delameres, to sustain a murder charge.

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