- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

KENYA

Anti-corruption chief will resign

NAIROBI | Kenya’s anti-corruption boss on Wednesday announced his resignation, days after his reappointment by President Mwai Kibaki was rejected by parliament.

Aaron Ringera’s five years at the helm of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) have been much criticized, and the extension of his tenure in September caused an uproar at home and abroad.

“We have come to the conclusion that it will be to the best interest of the country, the KACC and our families to leave office,” Mr. Ringera, who was followed in his resignation by his deputy, told reporters in Nairobi.

On Sept. 17, Kenya’s parliament rejected the reappointment, arguing that Mr. Kibaki had deliberately excluded the house from the decision.

A week later, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said that Washington had sent 15 top Kenyan officials, including ministers and high-ranking civil servants, letters threatening travel bans.

Among the key reforms that President Obama’s administration charged were not being supported by the officials concerned were “bold anti-corruption steps.”

Mr. Ringera, Kenya’s best-paid civil servant, is accused by his critics of failing to change a culture of impunity in the state apparatus and bring to justice key figures in two major scandals that cost Kenya billions of dollars.

SOMALIA

Islamist factions on brink of war

MOGADISHU | The Islamist alliance that has ruled the key southern Somali port of Kismayo for a year was on the brink of collapse Wednesday, with two factions vowing to fight for supremacy.

The al Qaeda-inspired al Shabaab and the more political Hizbul Islam group both claim control of Kismayo, whose port is a key source of revenue, since seizing the town from the transitional government troops in August 2008.

Hundreds of heavily armed fighters allied to Hizbul Islam have this week been deployed near Kismayo, located about 300 miles south of the capital, Mogadishu.

After capturing Kismayo last year, the two sides agreed to share power, each governing for six months alternatively, but the deal foundered with al Shabaab’s refusal to honor it.

Witnesses said residents had begun fleeing the port town.

KENYA

Hague prosecutor eyes vote violence

AMSTERDAM | The International Criminal Court prosecutor intends to pursue charges against “those most responsible” for Kenya’s 2008 postelection violence, his office said Wednesday.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he wanted a three-pronged approach: the ICC prosecuting the worst offenders, a special tribunal as defined by the parliament of Kenya for other perpetrators, and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look at the underlying causes of the violence.

The postelection violence in Kenya killed at least 1,300 people and uprooted more than 300,000 in East Africa’s biggest economy.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s office said “decisive consultations” would take place with principal officials in Kenya over the next few weeks.

KENYA

2,600 pounds of ivory seized

NAIROBI | Authorities in Ethiopia and Kenya have seized at least 2,600 pounds of bloodstained ivory from about 100 illegally killed elephants at airports, the head of Kenya’s Wildlife Service said Wednesday.

Julius Kipng’etich said trained dogs sniffed out a consignment of tusks at Kenya’s national airport late Tuesday. Another shipment of tusks sent by the same individual had been seized Monday at the airport in Ethiopia’s capital.

Both shipments were sent as unaccompanied luggage to Bangkok. Police have launched an investigation and wildlife officials said they will continue to patrol the airport with dogs.

Ivory trade was banned internationally in 1989 because of its devastating effect on elephant populations.

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