Monday, 31 December 2012


Koffi Olomide

Congolese rhumba musician Koffi Olomide faces arrest in Zambia for alleged assault, local media reported today.
The privately-owned daily, The Post, said that Olomide had been reported to the police for allegedly assaulting a freelance journalist at the upmarket Taj Pamodzi Hotel on Friday evening during his show.
“The 44-year-old Jean Ndayisenga reported to Kabwata police that the multi-award-winning musician kicked him in the face as he tried to take a picture of him after a show at Lusaka’s Taj Pamodzi on Friday,” reported the Sunday Post.
According to the paper, Kabwata police deputy criminal investigations boss Augustine Hamoonga said that Koffi had been reported to Kabwata Police Station for assault.
The paper quoted Mr Ndayisenga as saying: “He kicked me in the face and my flash got damaged.
There were a lot of people and they saw what happened.”
It reported that Olomide was no stranger to trouble with the Zambian police as he evaded arrest during his previous visit two years ago following differences with his promoters at the time.
It said that in his home country, the 58-year-old musician appeared in court for allegedly assaulting his producer Diego Music Lubaki and malicious destruction of hotel facilities in August this year.
There was no immediate comment from Olomide.
Olomide is in Zambia for a series of shows in the capital, Lusaka, and Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province.
Olomide is liked by many at his Zambian shows but it is not clear how much damage the incident will cause to his impending shows

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012


A member of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) pulls a
barricade to close a road leading to the India Gate in
New Delhi December 29, 2012. Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

An Indian woman whose gang rape in New Delhi triggered violent protests died of her injuries on Saturday in a Singapore hospital, bringing a security lockdown in Delhi and recognition from India's prime minister that social change is needed.
Bracing for a new wave of protests, Indian authorities closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women's rights. About 100 people staged a peaceful protest on Saturday morning.
The 23-year-old medical student, severely beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi two weeks ago, had been flown to Singapore in a critical condition by the Indian government on Thursday for specialist treatment.
The attack has sparked an intense national debate for the first time about the treatment of women and attitudes towards sex crimes in a country where most rapes go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly, according to social activists.
"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4:45 a.m. on Dec 29, 2012 (2045 GMT Friday). Her family and officials from the High Commission (embassy) of India were by her side," Mount Elizabeth Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Loh said in a statement.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was deeply saddened by the death and described the emotions associated with her case as "perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change.
"It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelize these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action," Singh said in a statement.
Delhi's chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, said the woman's death was a "shameful moment for me not just as a chief minister but also as a citizen of this country".
The woman, who has not been identified, and a male friend were returning home from the cinema by bus on the evening of December 16 when, media reports say, six men on the bus beat them with metal rods and repeatedly raped the woman. media said a rod was used in the rape, causing internal injuries. Both were thrown from the bus. The male friend survived the attack.
The public outcry over the attack has caught the government off-guard. It took a week for Singh to make a public statement on the attack, infuriating many protesters who saw it as a sign of a government insensitive to the plight of women.
The prime minister, a stiff 80-year-old technocrat who speaks in a low monotone, has struggled to channel the popular outrage in his public statements and convince critics that his eight-year-old government would now take concrete steps to improve the safety of women.
Protesters, mostly young middle class students, fought pitched battles with police around the capital last weekend. Police used batons, water cannon and teargas to quell the protests, and sealed off the main protest sites.
T.C.A. Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner to Singapore, told reporters hours after the woman's death that a chartered aircraft would fly her body back to India on Saturday, along with members of her family. The woman's body had earlier been put into a van at the hospital and driven away.
Indian media had also accused the government of sending her to Singapore to minimize any backlash in the event of her death but Raghavan said it had been a medical decision intended to ensure she got the best treatment.
"She was unconscious throughout," Raghavan said of her time in Singapore. "She died because of the severe nature of the injuries."
Some Indian medical experts had questioned the decision to fly the woman to Singapore, calling it a risky maneuver given the severity of her injuries. They had said she was already receiving the best possible care in India.
On Friday, the Singapore hospital had said the woman's condition had taken a turn for the worse and she had suffered "significant brain injury". She had already undergone three abdominal operations before arriving in Singapore.
The suspects in the rape - five men aged between 20 and 40, and a juvenile - were arrested within hours of the attack and are in custody. Media reports say they are likely to be formally charged with murder next week.
Many Indians have called for the death penalty for those responsible.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told Times Now television on Saturday the government was committed to ensuring "the severest possible punishment to all the accused at the earliest".
"It will not go in vain. We will give maximum punishment to the culprits. Not only to this, but in future also. This one incident has given a greater lesson" Shinde said.
He said earlier the government was considering the death penalty for rape in very rare cases. Murder carries the death penalty.
The case has received blanket coverage on cable television news channels. Some Indian media have called the woman "Amanat", an Urdu word meaning "treasure".
Commentators and sociologists say the rape tapped into a deep well of frustration many Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership.
Many protesters have complained that Singh's government has done little to curb the abuse of women in the country of 1.2 billion. A global poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June found that India was the worst place to be a woman because of high rates of infanticide, child marriage and slavery.
New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.


Exactly five years ago today, an ominous cloud was hanging over the country as Kenyans grew impatient with the delayed announcement of the presidential election results.
A group of youths brandish crude weapons during protests in Nairobi
December 31, 2007 following the announcement of the disputed
results of the presidential elections. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP
They were alarmed that unlike past elections, the results of the votes they had cast for their preferred presidential candidate in the polls on December 27, 2007, were yet to be announced two days later.
More so was the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) team which had seen the lead built by its presidential candidate Raila Odinga drastically reduced by votes which had trickled in from Central Kenya.
For chroniclers of history, December 29, 2007, a Saturday just like today, marked the beginning of 30 hours in which a country, hitherto referred to as a haven of peace surrounded by unstable neighbours, would be destroyed.
Of course, this was not to say that Kenya’s stability ran deep to its roots- bits of election violence had been witnessed in parts of the country in previous poll years going back to 1992. But the seismic wave underlying the political rivalry between President Kibaki of Party of National Unity (PNU) and Mr Odinga of ODM was so strong, threatening to set off the tectonic plates that held Kenya together.
Nairobi’s Central Business District was turned into a ghost town with no vehicles on the roads, shops closed and city residents safely locked in their houses. Few PNU and ODM supporters, were however at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), which was the now defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya’s main tallying centre.
Heightened tension
The tension was heightened by reports that violence had broken out in some parts of the country following claims that the results were being rigged.
A group of journalists who were at the KICC were under pressure from their respective news rooms to find out exactly what was happening. The then ECK boss, Mr Samuel Kivuitu, and his team led by then Commissioner Jack Tumwa at the KICC were of little help. The election observers and some officials who had been seconded to the ECK tallying teams offered little help.
The commission’s main tallying centre was made up of 10 teams, with each team working on results from 21 constituencies. The task of each team was to verify results from the constituencies by comparing the outcome with forms 16, 16A and 17A from returning officers before computing the results which were to be announced by Mr Kivuitu at the media centre.
Mr Kivuitu’s team allowed domestic observers to monitor the verification process before the announcement of the results. It was some minutes after noon that signs of things not going well in the verification of the results began to emerge.
A few commissioners expressed concern over the delayed results from certain areas. Indeed, it took Mr Kivuitu to raise the commission’s concern later in the afternoon when he complained publicly that he could not reach some of the returning officers in the field.
Their cell phones, he said, were off and quipped that some of them could be “cooking” results. Results from Lamu East and Lamu West later came in without requisite documents and there was a push for them to be accepted- no one could say where the push came from. This was also the case with results from Dujis and Wundanyi constituencies.
At night, the ECK had received results from all constituencies apart from 14 in which it was said they were riddled with serious anomalies.
Monitor verification process
Observers who had requested Mr Kivuitu’s intervention to monitor the verification process on Saturday night, revealed that some of the results were either accompanied by unsigned forms or only photocopies of the forms.
In some, returning officers delivered in person results different from the ones they had reported on phone. Garsen, Kipipiri, Starehe, Turkana Central, Turkana North, Kajiado North and Kinangop constituencies’ results came in without proper documents.
The electoral commission announced results from 22 constituencies without the required documents. These were Makadara, Galole, Ijara, Lamu East, Dujis, Likoni, Igembe South, Malindi, Wundanyi, Voi, Alego, Kitutu Masaba, Bumula, Bomachoge, Kuria, Kimilili, Nyaribari Chache, Kieni, Ol Kalou and North Imenti.
At about 11pm, a parliamentary clerk, Mr Kipkemoi Kirui, who had been seconded to the ECK claimed that the tally was being manipulated in some centres.
At this time, PNU presidential agent Martha Karua and her ODM counterpart James Orengo demanded to be allowed in to the tallying centres to verify results from each constituency as required by the law.
They were to carry out the exercise over the night as some MPs from both sides pitched camp at the KICC exchanging harsh words with the word ‘rigging’ dominating their exchange.
An attempt by then ODM supporter Miguna Miguna to enter into the tallying centres was thwarted by security teams which were being beefed up as it became clear that the presidential election results would not be announced the following day.
The following day, amid tight security and with security agents having cleared KICC of MPs including Mr Odinga, Mr Kivuitu announced the results through the national broadcaster KBC plunging the country into unprecedented violence.