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/ 7 June 2006

In East Africa, soccer is ‘very, very important’

<a href=""><img src="" align=left border=0></a>It has been dubbed "The Greatest Show on Earth", and in Kenya that’s precisely what the Soccer World Cup is. So, with just days before the latest tournament kicks off in Germany, excitement among soccer fans in the East African country is mounting.

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/ 29 March 2006

Eating shoots and leaves

Kenya’s Parliament reconvened amid the usual grandeur and opulence that accompanies the occasion. While the rulers sated themselves with a sumptuous dinner and stroked one another’s egos with speeches overflowing with praise, Betty Tom lit a fire 400km away at Orongo in western Kenya and gave thanks to God.

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/ 21 February 2006

Graft scandals rock Kenya

The fallout from a growing list of corruption scandals in Kenya is intensifying by the week as national and international outrage at the apparent rot at the heart of President Mwai Kibaki’s regime swells. Recently, education minister George Saitoti, Kibaki’s personal assistant Alfred Getonga and the president’s close ally Kiraitu Murungi exited the corridors of power.

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/ 9 December 2005

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.

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/ 21 November 2005

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.

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/ 6 October 2005

‘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.

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/ 22 July 2005

‘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.

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/ 12 July 2005

Africa on two wheels

What began as the "insane adventure" of "a boy from the Cape who loves rugby and boerewors" has transformed into a plea for Africa and its people. And as Blair and Bush and Bono debate the salvation of the continent from war, famine, debt and disease, Riaan Manser (30) has some advice for them: "Africa needs tough love."

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/ 27 May 2005

‘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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/ 13 May 2005

Ethiopia’s path of oppression

It wasn’t the remembrance of Ethiopian rebel leader Jettane Ali, that darkened the mood around his grave at Marsabit. The 36 Ethiopian refugees from the disputed territory of Oromia in southern Ethiopia who gathered in the oasis in northern Kenya to pay their respects ahead of this Sunday’s parliamentary poll were convinced that the election would yield victory for Ethiopia’s ruling party.

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/ 6 May 2005

Desert of death and dreams

The Dida Galgalu desert is a good place to hide. Perennial drought and famine extract their daily toll here, where warring nomadic tribes battle over livestock and shifta (bandits) prowl the dead land in search of bounty from the odd supply lorry that chances over the twisted network of rough tracks.

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/ 22 April 2005

Nuba faction feels betrayed by peace deal

Dadu Abdi Mohamed wasn’t jumping up and down with the rest of the cheering, flag-waving mass when the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the Sudanese government signed a "comprehensive peace deal" to end Africa’s longest conflict. The former SPLM/A guerrilla, living in exile in Kenya, believes they were sold out by their leader.

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/ 11 February 2005

SA frozen out of note tender

The Central Bank of Kenya has secretly removed the South African Bank Note Company, a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, from a shortlist of international security printing firms in line to win a tender worth almost R800-million to print "new generation" currency for the East African country over the next five years.

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/ 26 October 2004

Hope without a home

The old man’s rough brown hands clutch a pile of purple animal entrails that steam in the morning chill. As he staggers away, one of the young Somali slaughterers waves a dagger, and explains: "It’s all he can afford. We are all poor here. But he is the poorest. The old one has no money for good food." The election of an interim president is cause for optimism, but Somalia’s dispossessed have nothing to return to.

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/ 4 October 2004

Three blind mice vs lame duck

Simmering tension in Kenya’s coalition government has exploded into open hostility with war-talk and vicious, personal attacks. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) — a "partner" in the ruling National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) — last week confirmed its intention to abandon the coalition "in time" to fight its erstwhile allies in the 2007 election.

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/ 27 September 2004

Drugs flood Kenya coast

Watching his brother "waste into death" as heroin finally broke his emaciated, convulsing body didn’t turn Abdullswamad Nassir (30). Neither did the late-night caller who threatened to murder the radio presenter’s family, after he’d pleaded with his community to "fight" the drug lords who have transformed Kenya’s pristine coast into a "graveyard".

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/ 23 July 2004

Kenya in a political void

The prospect of more violence in Kenya has escalated following the call for another rally, in Mombasa on July 24, in support of constitutional reform. Supporters of President Mwai Kibaki have threatened the organisers of the rally with "unfortunate consequences" should it go ahead. At least two people were killed and several others arrested during demonstrations earlier this month.

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/ 11 May 2004

The ghost that haunts the Maasai

"Since Julie was killed, no one has come to ask us how we feel about it. You are the first, thank you. This terrible thing happened here, in our land. But no one cares how we feel," says Sairowuai, Maasai chief of Empwuai enkang. The murder of a British tourist 16 years ago has been blamed for the decline of this famous tribe.