Friday, March 29, 2013
Kenyan Supreme Court to Rule on Election Complaints
Six Supreme Court judges arrive at court to hear the petition by Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga filed against president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, March 25, 2013.
US Citizens in Kenya Told to Be Cautious During Vote Ruling
Kenya Law Society to investigate Disputed Election
March 29, 2013
NAIROBI — Kenya's Supreme Court is to present its ruling Saturday on the credibility of the March 4 presidential election, which was marred by technical problems. A court-ordered audit of polling stations has shown discrepancies in the vote tallying.
Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election with 50.07 percent of the vote, just enough to avoid a run-off with the runner-up, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Odinga's lawyers and a civil society group have filed petitions challenging the results.
On the last day of arguments Friday, lawyers representing the two presidential candidates, civil society and the electoral commission, discussed a just-released recount of the results from 22 polling stations.
Odinga's team said the audit showed that vote totals were altered between the local and national tallying centers.
Kethi Kilonzo, the lawyer for the civil society group, the Africa Center for Open Governance (Africog), said the report also showed the head of the electoral commission announced Kenyatta's victory when results from 10 of those polling stations were not yet available.
"This report confirms that the returning officer of the presidential elections made a decision without completing the tally of the results from the polling stations," said Kilonzo.
The electoral commission, the IEBC, has defended the results, attributing any discrepancies to human error.
Kenyatta's lawyer, Fred Ngatia, backed up the IEBC's position Friday, dismissing speculation of any malicious intent.
"But the point is, my lords, it is across the country," said Ngatia. "There is no mischief that can be attributed or no advantage that can be attributed from any clerical error that may have occurred."
There is no question that the election systems put in place by the IEBC were flawed, says George Kegoro, executive director of the Kenyan section of the International Commission of Jurists.
He also says the IEBC has been slow to release election-related documents that may put them in a bad light.
"The IEBC can say on the one had they didn't have a lot of time, but they've also shown that in relation to documents that they regard as assisting them in the case, they show greater efficiency in making those available to parties," said Kegoro.
If four of Kenya's six Supreme Court justices rule that the results were not valid, another presidential election will have to be held. Otherwise, the petitions will be rejected and Mr. Kenyatta will be confirmed the winner of the election, to be sworn in to office on April 9.
Somaliland: SPSDF Accuses the SBF of Corrupt Practices
sbfleaks contact: firstname.lastname@example.org –Editor
By: Yumoha Pasha
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Hue and Cry over the inept and questionable handling by the Somaliland Business Fund-SBF of World Bank and Danish government funded grants to the private sector amounting to $2m continue.
The Somaliland Private Sector Development Forum-SPSDF has appealed to the World Bank for intervention in straightening the ongoings at the Hargeisa based SBF as pertains to the manner relating to the selection of 59 grant awardees for the first round.
In a letter addressed to a senior World Bank official, accessed by Somalilandsun, the Somaliland Private Sector Development Forum informs that it has been inundated with complaints from the business community since the 59 grant winners were announced wants the World Bank to investigate.
"There has been a considerable negative feeling among the business community in Somaliland as a result of the composition of the list of the successful grantees" writes the SPSDF
The complaints against the SBF ranged from the talk of an unfair and biased selection process to accusations of kickbacks, downright favouritism and regionalism from the part of the SBF implementing agency and the supervising World Bank staff in Somaliland.
Accordingly the SPSDF not only offers to help unearth but strongly urges the World bank to embark on investigations about the alleged malpractices surrounding the selection of the 1st round's grant beneficiaries before SBF proceeds to round 2 thus redeem the donors diminished reputation within the citizenry.
The Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) which aims to mobilize the creative energy and resources of the private sector to strengthen private enterprises, increase incomes and create new sustainable employment opportunities and thereby improve the lives of Somalilanders is funded by the world bank and Danish government to the tune of $3.6 million http://somalilandbusinessfund.com/
SBF is a key part of the World Bank's Private Sector Re-Engagement Project Phase II that supports the investment climate, fisheries and gums & resins value chains, solid waste management, and development of Berbera port and financial sector in Somaliland.
The program is financed by the Danish International Development Agency, the (UK) Department for International Development, and the World Bank State and Peace-building Fund is implemented by Landell Mills International Development Consultants, UK and managed by a local Fund Management Unit.
Reprinted below and in full verbatim is the Somaliland Private Sector Development Forum-SPSDF letter to the World Bank
Quote- Dear Mr Mousley
We are writing to draw your attention to the way that the first round of the Somaliland Business Fund (SBF) was handled. We don't know how much you are aware of the situation but there has been a considerable negative feeling among the business community in Somaliland as a result of the composition of the list of the successful grantees.
Ever since the announcement of the winners of the first round of SBF grantees was made public our organization was inundated with complaints from our members. These complaints ranged from the talk of an unfair and biased selection process to accusations of kickbacks, downright favouritism and regionalism from the part of the SBF implementing agency and the supervising World Bank staff in Somaliland.
Various local websites and newspapers have published damaging evidence about the way that the SBF winners were selected, please see this link:
We are urging the World Bank to investigate this scandal surrounding the SBF and rectify the situation by bringing in check and balance in the system, on the one hand, and people who are honest with professional ethics, who are there not to gain personally but to serve the society at large and support the private sector development to create jobs and reduce poverty in the country on the other hand.
There is already a growing concern about the way the first round was handled based on the above noted complaints and if the World Bank ignores these concerns then there will be security implications for the World Bank staff in the future in all those regions. People in those regions felt that they have been denied of the opportunities and resources donated to them by the international community through the World Bank through corruption and incompetence. We hope that the World Bank will heed to our concerns and give us the opportunity to help your investigation to find out what really went wrong with the first round of the SBF before the grants for the second round is proceeded.
We look forward to hear from you soon.
Mr A. Mohamed
Chairman of the Somaliland Private Sector Development Forum-Unquote
To help reach the truth behind the alleged on-going at the Somaliland business Fund thus restore trust in the noble world bank funded project the Somalilandsun which first blew the whistle requests readers with any sbfleaks to submit them to email@example.com –Editor
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
NAIROBI — Rebels in the Central African Republic say they plan to put in place a power-sharing government, a day after seizing the capital.
Officials in the rebel coalition Seleka say they plan to install a government in CAR after driving President Francois Bozize from the capital, Bangui.
Central African Republic rebel leader Michel Djotodia, January 7, 2013 file photo.
One of the Seleka leaders, Michel Djotodia, a former civil servant turned rebel commander, says he will declare himself interim president in the meantime.
The group also pledged to honor aspects of a peace agreement signed in January, including keeping the appointed opposition prime minister and holding elections in two to three years.
Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa director for the International Crisis Group, says the so-called Libreville agreement may be key to stabilizing the country.
"The Libreville agreement at this stage is the only political basis to set up a new government. So the fact that he is saying he wants to respect the framework of the Libreville agreement is definitely something positive," said Vircoulon.
Seleka, a coalition of five rebel groups, launched its initial offensive in December, but stopped short of the capital. They resumed hostilities last week after accusing President Bozize of breaking the agreement signed in January by not reintegrating the rebels into the military.
Central African Republic president Francois Bozize speaks during a news conference in Bangui, Jan. 8, 2013.
Bozize is now taking shelter in Cameroon.
Now that they are in a position of power, Vircoulon says the big question is whether they will be able to stay united, particularly the military and political wings of the group.
"So the real decision makers seem to be the military commanders, so a lot is going to depend on what they want and what they can negotiate at this stage," he added.
Thirteen South African soldiers stationed in CAR were killed during fighting with Seleka rebels. South African President Jacob Zuma announced the deaths Monday, saying the soldiers had been defending their military base in Bangui.
Zuma said South Africa sent 200 soldiers to CAR earlier this year as part of a military cooperation agreement.
The African Union says it has suspended CAR from AU activities, in line with a policy not to engage the perpetrators of coups and rebellions. The United States has called for all parties to respect human rights and has expressed concern about reports of abuses by national security forces and Seleka fighters.
NAIROBI, 25 March 2013 (IRIN) - Whatever the outcome of Kenya's disputed presidential race, this month's elections have delivered a mighty boost to the process of decentralizing power from Nairobi, an act designed to improve local governance and to reduce marginalization and the risk of conflict between communities.
With devolution, as the process is called, Kenya embarks on the most ambitious and rapid transformation of its government since independence.
"Devolution gears to bring services, resources and power closer to the people. And this power means that citizens will be able to make decisions about aspects and issues affecting them directly," said Elias Wakhisi, a programme officer at The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA).
This briefing provides an overview of these ambitions, the risks involved, the progress made and the steps ahead. (Many of these themes are also explored in a recent IRIN film, Power to the People http://www.irinnews.org/Kenya2013/themes.html , part of the No Ordinary Elections series http://www.irinnews.org/Kenya2013/index.html ).
Except for a few years after independence from Britain in 1963, Kenya has, since the colonial era, been a highly centralized state, with considerable executive power concentrated in the capital. The Office of the President is the apex of a hierarchical system of governance known as the provincial administration, which encompasses a vast array of officials, from thousands of chiefs through eight provincial commissioners.
It is a system that leaves most citizens with no say over issues of local importance. Although city and district councils exist across the country, their power and resources are often negligible.
With little money flowing to outer provinces for economic development, millions have migrated to Nairobi in search of work; the capital hosts a range of booming industries while rural areas - especially in far-flung arid regions - have mostly languished.
According to a Society for International Development (SID) report [ http://www.sidint.net/docs/pullingapart-mini.pdf ], Kenya is one of the most unequal societies in the world. The remote northeastern Mandera County has the poorest access to services. There, the number of public hospital beds per resident is a tenth of the figure in better-off areas, such as the Central Highlands, according to a 2011 World Bank report. [ http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRICA/Resources/257994-1335471959878/KEU-Dec_2011_Momentous_Devolution.pdf ]
In Wajir, also in the northeast, 79 percent of children are at risk of chronic malnutrition, compared to 16 percent in the coastal Mombasa County.
"I think [devolution under] the new constitution is good because it brings many things closer. So now [services] are within reach, unlike under the old one, when you could die waiting for Nairobi to respond," Lucas Lotieng, a pastoralist in the northwestern Turkana County, told IRIN. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIfhI3QIe2Y ]
Additionally, disparities in power and resources have often fallen along ethnic lines. Though the country has 42 ethnic groups, only a handful of have dominated the political landscape.
What is being devolved, exactly?
Devolution is a pillar of the 2010 constitution, which divided Kenya into 47 counties, each of which are set to have their own executive and legislative branches of local government; these will be responsible for agriculture, transportation, trade licenses, sanitation, pre-primary education, village polytechnics and most health facilities. While overall policy in these areas may still be drawn up by the national government, counties will be in charge of implementation and service delivery.
At least 15 percent of the national budget will now go to these county governments, with provisions for additional funds under certain circumstances.
The national government retains responsibility for security, foreign policy, national economic policy and planning, as well as many areas of education.
What has been achieved so far?
The new constitution, adopted after a referendum in 2010, set out the legal and institutional framework of devolution.
The 4 March elections filled the county posts outlined in the constitution: 47 governors, who head the executive branch of county governments and who will appoint members of executive committees; and 1,450 ward representatives, who are members of county assemblies or parliaments.
Ward representatives were sworn in on 22 March, when they also elected speakers of their assemblies.
The central government has released over 5 billion Kenyan shillings (US$57.66 million) to finance the operations of the county governments for the current financial year.
And several new institutions have been set up to manage the process of devolution. These include:
- The Transitional Authority, which oversees the shift of powers from Nairobi to the county level;
- The Commission for Revenue Allocation, which manages the distribution of budgetary resources between the central government and the counties and among the 47 counties;
- The Task Force on Devolved Government (TFDG), appointed by the government, which put in place six significant bills that would ensure the development of administrative structures to guide the devolution process;
- The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, whose mandate includes, but extends well beyond, ensuring constitutional provisions regarding devolution are respected.
What happens next?
Once governors-elect are sworn in on 27 March, the entire machinery of county government will begin to take shape. A whole array of new personnel will have to be trained, assets audited and offices built. Assemblies will begin to draw up local legislation and executives will start to implement them.
Many practical issues will have to be sorted out, such locating the physical premises of new institutions. Confusion over how the new bodies and officials will work with the provincial administration, and potential power struggles between governors and provincial or district commissioners - who remain in office as an arm of the national government - will have to be sorted out.
It is expected to take several years for the new devolved institutions to be fully up and running.
What challenges lie ahead?
Capacity, corruption, conflict and commitment are some of the areas of concern raised by civil society.
On capacity, there are fears that existing managerial or technical expertise, especially in long-marginalized and impoverished parts of the country, will fall short of what's required by effective local governance structures. The health sector, in particular, is said to be vulnerable.
Additionally, the corruption and inter-communal rivalries that decentralization is meant to address could end up undermining the whole process.
"We will now be posting civil servants and other officials to the counties to carry out functions, so there is high likelihood that we will simply be devolving the corruption that has taken place in the centre," Tom Mboya, deputy Chief Executive Officer of civil society group Inuka Kenya Trust, told IRIN.
Others have expressed fears that rivalries will lead to the exclusion of minority groups from county-level decision-making and resource-allocation, which could exacerbate tensions between communities, possibly leading to violence. (In 2012, almost 500 Kenyans were killed and more than 100,000 displaced as a result of inter-communal conflicts.)
TISA's Wakhisi said he was confident recent developments - including new legislation, forums for governors and senators, and improved public access to information - had significantly mitigated such risks.
"I foresee a situation whereby relevant institutions that have been put into place will make sure that resources are shared equitably without conflicts," he told IRIN.
Others say the process is already being challenged at the highest levels; there have been accusations that segments of the political class in Nairobi are resisting devolution in an attempt to cling on to their powers.
According to activist Maina Kiai, over the past year, elements of the central government have "basically been refusing to accept that there's a new constitution. If that trend continues then there's likelihood of fallout."
Such views are gaining mainstream traction. The best-selling Daily Nation newspaper recently warned in an editorial: "Those in central government, especially the team at [the Office of the President], who are plotting to undermine devolution through devious machinations, including administrative fiats, are daydreaming and must be stopped right in their tracks." [ http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Editorial/Central-government-is-subverting-devolution/-/440804/1727922/-/15omjvcz/-/index.html ]
Meanwhile, some finer details of devolution, notably financial ones, remain unresolved. Analyst Jason Lakin pointed out in a recent op-ed that the county governments' 15 percent share of national resources would only meet half their estimated budget requirements. [ http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/OpEd/comment/Rich-county-poor-county-The-coming-challenges-of-devolution-/-/434750/1301880/-/view/printVersion/-/16srmr/-/index.html ]
"There is an urgent need to define further the responsibilities that counties will have within specific sectors, and then to think through appropriate and fair mechanisms for sharing resources across counties to meet these responsibilities," Laskin wrote.
Remembered for such thrillers like Turning and turning in the widening gyre, The falconer can't reach the falcon, The centre can't hold and Things Fall Apart
By: Prof Jama Aden Ali
Chinua Achebe, the best African writer in this century, has died at the age of 82. Achebe was an internationally renowned author whose works and publications are purely indigenous.
He highlighted particularly on African culture, history and unique heritage, and was most often known to defend, in his capacity as an African novelist, the African personality, which the colonial powers had chastised or condescended in the past century.
He repelled the European domination and pacification of African tribes by showing that the Africans weren't know-nothing "savage" creatures, but were instead people who as well had their own sophisticated technology, culture and heritage. This was particularly displayed in his first successful novel "Things Fall Apart", which he wrote in 1952.The novel reflects the African make-up, lifestyle and potential heritage. "Arrow of god" and other works are nonetheless works that left no space to defend the African nation, and talk for its purity.
Inspiring younger generations of African writers, after "Things Fall Apart, Achebe moved further and forward to analyse and criticize imposed European culture. This was more so with the African Been-tos who, after coming back home from Europe, obviously after their scholarships, had tried to impose a foreign culture to the Africans. "No Longer At Ease" is an example of Achebe's work that puts across to readers to situations where the returnees undergo sufferings because of the cultural clash. In the early month of 1960, the year of African independence, many elites had appeared on the political arena , and had ruled their countries,albeit their limited experience. Consequently, Africa was plagued through and throgh into widespread corruption. Africa needed saviors. Achebe,s "A man of the people" and ARmah Ayi's moving novel"The Beautiful are not yet Born" are among pieces of literary works intended to correct these mistakes.The mission which he and his friends in Africa were putting across to their readers was to teach Africans the way forward to better lifestyle and development.
Achebe was a distinguished writer, and he will be remembered most by African nationals, and more so, of course, by professional writers in world wide. We are proud of him and are thankful to what he left for his nation.
By: Mohamed Egeh Kiley
Somalilandsun - The answer is no!! Why? Because game animals are poached. Birds both land birds and sea birds are poached by poachers or Game Hunters along the sea-coast and sub-coastal plains. Sea turtles, fish and dugongs are also under fishing presume by Gulf of Aden States and other foreign fishing ships and boats in the territorial, stop or minimize the pressure, I as distinguished (Hal-Door) wildlife manager and environmentalist, succeeded to contact and bring to Somaliland an organization called "Steve Kobrine Safari" which operates in Africa to protect and develop wildlife management, and which operates in the following African countries:
4. South Africa
10. ? Somaliland to fill the number ten post being our accepted desire with that organization of Steve Kobrine Safari activities as shown under:
"In the Horn of Africa and specifically Somaliland is home to a great number of endemic wildlife species. Species such as Beira antelope, Spekes gazelle, Pelzens Gazelle, Dibatag, Philips Dik dik, Striped Hyena, are all fond in Somaliland. These and other species have suffered a continual decline in numbers from drought, overgrazing and especially indiscriminate and unregulated hunting from hunters from the Gulf States. Urgent action must be taken before these species are lost forever. It has proven throughout Africa and the World that a strictly controlled sustainable hunting program is the only answer to generate the large funding needed to properly protect animal species.
Markhor are a type of wild goat native to the high mountains of Pakistan. They were poached for centuries by local herders. In an effort to save the Markhor from imminent extinction conservationists set up a sustainable hunting program which would benefit the local people who lived in the mountains with the Markhor. Proceeds from the hunting monies were given back to the locals and when the Markhor were given a value they became dedicated to protecting them. Today old male Markhor are hunted and the herds are thriving.
This is just one of the many examples throughout the world where private hunting based conservation programs have single handedly saved entire species. Only by giving individual animals value and sharing those benefits with the local people who live near or amongst those animals can you have nay chance of preserving them. We will be harvesting only male animals. The model used throughout the Africa has been that it is sustainable to harvest 5% of a given species population as trophy male animals. To harvest 5 male animals per year there must be a population of 100 hundred animals. Surely there are several thousand of each species listed so the proposed quota of 5 of each species is very conservative and very sustainable.
The program will change the way wildlife is being used and introduce respect to the resource. The program will introduce a form of tourism that will benefit all stakeholders – the Government of Somaliland, community people, the tourist industry, build technical capacity and employment opportunities (wildlife guards, tourist guide, skinners, camp servers, etc.), thereby bringing respect to this renewable natural resource which is so capable of sustaining livelihood, income generation, and employment opportunities. The focus here is to encourage local communities to proactively participate as the custodian of the resource by taking the necessary measures to discourage illegal or unorthodox practices.
In Somaliland where the enforcement of Laws governing the use of wildlife is non-existent, the conservation, protection, management and utilization of the resource becomes very difficult, if not at all impossible. Present use of the resource is troubling by the way and manner it is exploited. Realizing the need to bring the situation under some control and proper management regime. It intends to introduce a revolutionary approach to reduce wastage, increase revenue to government and improved livelihood to the community people living proximal to the demonstration project. This is where the sustainable trophy hunting blueprint has been used successfully throughout the world. The project will demonstrate proper management, conservation practices, protection and utilization of the resources in the concession area.
Wildlife is precious, especially the diversity of species present in Somaliland. We should be more proactive and expedient in making the maximum use of this resource by appreciating their benefits as a resource that can benefit most, if not all, our people. If wisely utilized, wildlife could become an invaluable asset to all.
This document is to propose a five year trial run for a hunting safari program to test the economic, job-creating and viability potential. A five year period is required because finding concentrations of game, changing local perceptions, and realizing a positive result in animal numbers will be a long process. Within this period, all activities will be documented which would include, but not limited, to the following:
a. Identifying the areas of game concentrations
b. Determination of the feasibility of the target species to withstand exploitation in safari hunting;
c. Harvesting with international hunters the species on the quota
d. Introduction and enforcement of regulations within the project area adjacent to communities;
e. Introduction public awareness about the need and benefits of this program;
f. Reception of local communities to the program;
g. Promotion of the program globally;
h. Provide the local communities with revenue for every animal harvest
i. Assessment of revenues and benefits to local communities
j. Evaluation of the project
Proposed trophy fees for Somaliland game
These fees listed below are in the range of other African countries which have established hunting programs such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Cameron, Central African Republic, Zambia, South Africa, etc. The fee listed will be paid to the ministry when a species is taken. A Conservation Fee listed below will be paid to the local community.
Trophy fee paid to government Conservation fee paid to local Community
Beira Antelope $2,500 $1,000
Spekes Gazelle $1,200 $500
Pelzens Gazelle $1,200 $800
Gerenug $1,800 $800
Dik Dik $300 $100
Soemmerrings gazelle $1,800 $800
Striped Hyena $500 $200
Spotted Hyena $500 $200
Warthog $300 $250
Jackal $300 $150
Aardvark $300 $150
Lesser Kudu $2,000 $850
Honey Badger $300 $150
Aardwolf $300 $150
Fox $250 $100
If all species are taken on a safari then government will receive $13,800 per each hunter. With five of each species that will equal $69,000 dollars for the Ministry every year. The local communities will also receive $6,200 and a possible yearly earnings of $31,000. That equals $100,000 entering the Somaliland economy per annum for a resource which generates no income at all. That does not include the money which will be spent on hotels, food and lodging, fuel, vehicle rental, etc. This will also easily amount to another $100,000
We request a letter from the Minister authorizing the hunting of 5 animals of each species per year for Steve Kobrine Safaris.
We would like this project to commence immediately and would appreciate any assistance in this ground breaking new project to help conserve Somaliland's wildlife".
Steve Kobrine and Lupo Santasilia arrived Berbera International Airport on March 15th 2013. They spent Saturday night in Mansoor Hotel of Berbera. The next day – Sunday 17th March, they arrived Hargeisa and were taken to the Minister of Environment who ignored to receive them. They spent Monday night in Mansoor Hotel Hargeisa. They had their legal valid Entry Visas, sent by the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development through the Somaliland Immigration Department before. The two environmental tourists never repeat never gone for hunting game nor for catching but came for permission and discussion with the Minister of Environment to implement in Somaliland very important environmental and management project like the other above listed African States.
In the beginning they contacted me in Awdal Region from the " The College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, Moshi " Tanzania were I was trained in wildlife management 1973—1974, where they got my recent address, I gave copies of their correspondence each to:
1. The Minister,
2. The Director General,
3. And the Game Section Officer.
It is completely untrue what the minister said about the two Environmental Experts, who came to implement environmental development projects in Somaliland like the other above mention successful African countries. To me (Hal-Door) Mohamed Egeh Kille, Their Quest and Visit to Somaliland Amounts to Recognition of Somaliland in the Eyes of the World.
Somaliland: Our message is Simple; Somaliland is here to Stay-SSE
Diaspora applaud Somaliland's decision to boycott the May 2013 London conference for Somalia
Press Statement –Somaliland Societies in Europe-SSE
Somalilandsun - Unlike the February 2012 London conference on the future of Somalia to which Somaliland was invited separately by the United Kingdom government, the planned May 2013 London conference for Somalia organised and chaired jointly by the United Kingdom and Somalian government is totally different. As has been publicised, the aim of this conference is to provide assistance to the Somalian government to achieve its stated policies which include upholding "the unity and integrity of Somalia" while the same Somalia is illegally claiming authority over Somaliland.
The Republic of Somaliland has, since May 1991, been an independent country and has never attended conferences on the unity of "Somalia" and will not do so now.
As members of the Somaliland diaspora groups, we support fully the recent announcement by President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo that Somaliland will not attend this conference or any other meetings which will damage the sovereignty, independence and interests of the Somaliland nation. Somaliland is willing to continue with the bilateral talks with Somalia endorsed at the February 2012 London Conference and looks forward to a time when the two countries can prosper together as neighbours.
Somaliland will be celebrating the 22nd Anniversary of the reassertion of its independence in May 2013. We will be making our representations to the EU countries at a public rally to be held in Brussels on 11th April 2013. Our message is simple: Somaliland is here to stay.
On behalf of the following Somaliland diaspora groups:
Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE)
Somaliland Society UK (SSUK)
West London Somaliland Community
Wales Somaliland Community
Somaliland International Recognition Action Group (SIRAG)
Somaliland Constitutional Group
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – If successful a Kenyan born Somalilander might become the first woman to be elected to the position of Director General for the World Trade Organization-WTO.
After her nomination by the Kenyan Ambassador Amina Mohamed has officially launched her bid for the position of director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) where she hopes to replace Mr Pascal Lamy the fifth Director-General of the WTO whose appointment took effect on 1 September 2005 for a four-year term and reappointed In April 2009 for a second four-year term, starting on 1 September 2009.
As director general, I will work to ensure consolidation and preservation of the current acquis (the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions) of the rules-based Multilateral Trading System. We must protect it from constant assault and contagion of protectionism," says Ms Mohamed.
Currently, Amb. Mohamed serves the United Nations Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon as United Nations' Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Director General for the United Nations Environment Programme based in Nairobi Kenya. She has over the years earned a reputation as distinguished diplomat, lawyer, manager and policymaker working across a broad spectrum of issues facing the global community from International Trade and disarmament issues to the exciting field of sustainable development and environmental policy.
The post of director general is a prestige job with considerable influence And Ms Mohamed has to beat eight other nominees to clinch it, namely Ghanaian Mr Alan John Kwadwo, Ms Anabel Gonzalez from Costa Rica, Ms Mari Pangestu from Indonesia, Tim Groser (New Zealand), Ahmad Thougan (Jordan), Herminio Blanco (Mexico), Tacho Bark (South Korea) and the Brazilian Robert Calvalho.
"They are uniquely and eminently qualified. Many of them are dear friends of mine, friendships made in the period when I was ambassador in Geneva," said Ms Mohamed.
WTO is the forum that governments use to negotiate trade agreements, settle trade disputes and open trade platforms between the member countries and Under its rules, the new director general must be identified by the end of May, or at least three months before the end of Mr Lamy's term.
The selection process, like that for the heads of other major international organisations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, draws global excitement and requires cajoling member states for votes.
While nominating her for the post of WTO Director General the Government of the Republic of Kenya said being an accomplished diplomat and distinguished negotiator, Amb. Amina Mohamed is uniquely placed to bring to the WTO a wealth of experience from over 26 years of public service in Kenya and at the international level.
Born on 5 October 1961, Ms Mohamed graduated with a LLM in International Law from Kiev State University, and has also undertaken post graduate studies at University of Oxford and the Kenya School of Law. She is fluent in English, Russian, and Swahili and has a working knowledge of French.
She is a committed International civil servant who has had a distinguished career both in Kenya and internationally. She has risen through the ranks in Kenya's diplomatic service to the level of Ambassador/Permanent Representative. During her tenure in Geneva from 2000-2006 she registered many achievements. For instance she was the first woman to chair the General Council of the World Trade Organization as well as the first African and first woman to Chair the Council for the International Organization for Migration. She undoubtedly brought to her position as ambassador some excellent analytical and interpersonal skills which she developed during the course of her career in the multilateral arena. Her admirable negotiation skills served her well and she effectively articulated global issues pertaining to the WTO. Above all, she was a tireless team player which was evident during lengthy drafting sessions and while dealing with sensitive International Agreements.
A number of committed votes attribute their support to Amb Mohamed being a motivated and result-oriented Leader, her Expertise in Public Sector management and Institutional Reform and prowess in Legal Practise.
"The government of Kenya is convinced that Ambassador Amina is the candidate best suited to steer the Doha round to its logical conclusion," asserted Sam Ongeri, the Foreign Affairs minister
Video of Amb Mohamed press conference on her candidaturehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ptVJc_8PPr8
WTO CANDIDATES: PROFILE OF AMBASSADOR AMINA C. MOHAMED, CBS, CAV
NAME : Amb. Amina Chawahir Mohammed
NATIONALITY : Kenyan
DATE OF BIRTH : 5th October 1961
PLACE OF BIRTH : Kenya GENDER: Female MARITAL STATUS: Married
CONTACT ADDRESS: United Nation Office-Nairobi (UNON) TELEPHONE: +254 702 116 192
SUMMARY OF CAREER HISTORY: AMB. AMINA MOHAMMED
2011 to date: United Nation's Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, UNEP.
2008-2011: Kenya's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs
2010-2011: President of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime, Vienna
2006-2007: Director for Europe and Commonwealth Affairs as well as Director for Diaspora Affairs
Chairman of the Task Force Sub-Committee on Strengthening and restructuring of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs.
2000-2006: Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and other International Organizations based in Geneva.
Chairman, Coordinator and Spokesperson for the African Group in the WTO, Human Right Commission.
President of the Conference on Disarmament in 2002
Chairperson for the International Organization for Migration in 2002
Chairperson for the Trade Policy Review body in 2003
Chairperson for the Dispute Settlement Body in 2004
Chairperson for the General Council of the WTO in 2005.
2001–2005: Member of the Executive Boards and Committees of the WHO, UNHCR, WIPO, ILO, UNCTAD and UNAIDS
1990-2000: Kenya's Legal Advisor in various Missions abroad, including the 6th Committee of the United Nations.
1986-1990: Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Nairobi
Honours & Awards
National Award of Chief of Burning Spear (CBS).
Cavaliere dell'Ordine Della Stella Della Solidarieta Italiana
Life Member, the Kenya Red Cross Society
Member – The Life and Peace Institute International Advisory Council, Sweden
Member - The World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Arctic
Member- The Strathmore Law School Advisory Board, Kenya
LLM University of Kiev and Kenya School of Law
Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, Oxford University
To support the candidature of Ambassador Amina C. Mohamedhttp://www.facebook.com/SupportAmbAminaMohamedForWtoDirector
Monday, March 25, 2013
Somaliland: "Am in Mogadishu on a Business and Not Political Visit" Mr. Falay
MOGADISHU (Somalilandsun) – "My alleged transfer of allegianng my public standing in Somaliland"
This was said by Mr. Ahmed Abdi Falay, the immediate former deputy mayor of Burao during a telephone interview with the Somaliland media group Editor Munir Ahmed Egge thus denying alleged defection to Mogadishu.
Mr. Falay was reported by Qarannews.com as having decamped to Somalia after landing at the Aden Ade international in Mogadishu where he received a warm and official reception from deputy interior minister Mr. Jama Ahmed Mohamed "Jama Oday" who is originally from Somaliland.
"Am in Mogadishu on a Business and Not Political Visit and expect to return home to Somaliland as soon as my affairs are completed" said Mr. Falay
The former deputy mayor who lost his Burao municipality membership after his bid on a Kulmiye party failed to bear fruits said that he wants to inform not only Somalilanders but the entire world citizenry as well that he is a committed Somalilander to the bone and his being in Mogadishu should not be construed to mean anything else, Said he,
"I Mr. Ahmed Abdi Falay former deputy mayor of Burao local Council and member of the ruling party of Kulmiye central committee hereby deny my alleged defection from Somaliland"
"I therefore wish to deny the alleged change of allegiance by informing that I am currently in the Somalia capital Mogadishu for on a personal visit related to my business thus nothing to do with seeking a post in the government here"
Mr. Falay who was among the first group of elected councilors in 2002 and subsequently held the position of the deputy mayor in the country's second largest local government was at pains as he reiterated his commitment to the yet unrecognized sovereignty of his homeland Somaliland.
In conclusion Mr. Falay who informed that his car is currently at the Berbera international airport's parking lot awaiting his imminent return, Said, "let all be informed that my personal conviction to the irrevocable sovereignty of my country is as strong as ever" further
In the recent past travel to Mogadishu by Somalilanders has raised heckles with the Hargeisa administration that recently sentenced King Rabi Yusuf a traditional leader to two years imprisonment for a similar visit to the current one by Falay.
Somaliland: The scandal surrounding the 1st Round of the World Bank Grants (SBF)
SBF better futureBy: Yumoha Pasha
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) - A large number of our readers have written to us and drew our attention to the way the 1st round of the Somaliland Business Fund was handled by the World Bank and the implementing agency Landell Mills.
There has been a considerable disappointment causing negative feeling among the business community in Somaliland as a result of the composition of the list of the successful grantees.
We have received a lot of complaints from people who have applied the grants and feeling that they have denied of the opportunities by corrupt financial analysts and World Bank staff who have mishandled the application process and the selection of the winners. The complaints ranged from the talk of an unfair and biased selection process to accusations of downright favoritism and regionalism from the part of the SBF implementing agency and the supervising World Bank staff in Somaliland. Some of the main complaints related to and verified by Somalilandsun are noted below:
• Lack of proper information regarding the priority sectors of the economy and the preferred areas for funding, this information was given to specific people with the intention to give them an unfair advantage over the rest of the applicants.
• Out of the 59 successful grantees 43 (73%) come from Hargeisa and its surrounding areas. 36 of those 43 grantees (61%) come from the Hargeisa town. The rest of the country got only 16 grantees (27%). This clearly shows that the system was so unfair and heavily biased towards Hargeisa and to a particular clan.
• Among the businesses who are complaining that there a large number of women businesses who believe that they been deliberately bypassed. They say that for example out of the 59 grantees only 11 (18.6%) are women and they see this as unfair and does not represent women in business.
• More assistance and supervision given to specific number of people which enabled them to complete their applications ahead of time and meet all the criteria required for shortlisting and increase their chances to get the grant.
• World Bank staff on the ground Interfered in the process and had a hand in all the decisions from start to finish. In fact there is some evidence that one senior World Bank representative in Somaliland Mr. ...(name withheld) personally benefitted from the grant scandal.
• There are some "facade companies" who were simply registered for the purpose of getting the grants from the SBF and never had any licenses from the Ministry of Commerce nor had any offices or businesses operating. Each of the financial analysts working in the SBF had one such company and the senior SBF staff member (names withheld) had four for himself.
While a number of Grant applicants alluded to demands for outset payment of kickbacks (between 10% and 20% of the grant value) if their applications were made successful and those who were felt to be "reliable" were then shortlisted for the final list, we have failed to ascertain this fact thus remains an insinuation.
These are serious allegation and while we at Somalilandsun have failed to get a response for official comment from SBF , it is imperative that the World Bank investigate the scandal surrounding the grants disbursement and rectify the situation by bringing in checks and balances in the grant process.
While It is incumbent for the World Bank to be fair and impartial as well as important that it should be seen as such, This is not the first private sector development program undertake by other donors. In fact there are various donors working in Somaliland now such as the USAID/DAI Partnership for Economic Growth, who have attracted positive reaction and dispersed its grants to all regions fairly. There are always some people who might not be happy if they don't get what they wanted but never before has the feeling of the community been so negative about a particular donor than the World Bank.
While there is a growing concern about the way this 1st round was handled based on the above noted complaints and in view of the original noble gesture behind the fund the donor partners should come clean and set the record straight since ignoring these concerns might impinge negatively on the credibility of the World Bank program in future.
Somalilandsun having managed to verify a number of the insinuated misdemeanors after acquiring relevant evidence to back these allegations hopes that the World Bank will heed to people's concerns and expedite necessary investigation to find out what happened and how the World Bank and their implementing agency got it wrong in the 1st round of the SBF.
It is also hoped that the Ministries of Planning and Commerce shall do their own investigations to get to the bottom of the scandal and give guidelines to future rounds of the grant.
• SBF SMALL GRANT AWARDS Rd 1
Somaliland: What Kind of International Justice is this?
By: Yusuf Dirir Ali
Somalilandsun - The International community recognizes the undemocratically selected Somalia government in Mogadishu without giving in-depth considerations and offering the same status to Somalia's former equal union partner to the North – the Republic of Somaliland. Due to the indifference and illegal negligence of Somaliland by the international Community, the Somaliland people have concluded that the International Community is just plain wrong and disrespectful towards the Republic of Somaliland.
Not only that, but calling the democratic Republic of Somaliland an autonomous region of Somalia is cheap affront and those who are relentlessly doing this injustice to Somaliland will be kept in memory.
The International Community needs to pause for a second and ask the following questions: Is the current Somalia State with its selected government in Mogadishu (Federal Republic of Somalia) analogous to the internationally recognized Somali Republic state that existed before the downfall of the Siad Barre dictatorial regime? The simple answer is NO.
To better understand the current events in Somaliland and Somalia, perhaps, it will be more appropriate for the International community to look back at the history of the former Somali Republic. And not only that, but also the whole picture must be viewed in light of the two states' political divergence that took place before and since the collapse of the former Somali Republic in 1991.
As we all know, the Somali Republic was formed by the union of the former British Protectorate Somaliland and the former Italian colony of Somalia. Somaliland gained its independence from Britain on June on 26th, 1960 and Somalia gained its Independence from Italy on July1st, 1960. The two states formed a controversially united country called "The Somali Republic".
Why do I say controversial union? Because that union was never rectified by the democratically elected Somaliland assembly and a latter on in early 1960s a referendum was held to cement the Somaliland- Somalia union. That referendum was overwhelmingly rejected by the Somaliland citizenry and at the same time, that referendum was declared fraudulent by the United Nations reports of that era? For that reason, the people of Somaliland were embittered and sidelined by the Somalia dominated successive administrations.
At the outset, the objectives of the Somalia-Somaliland union failed to realize its most important objective, which was to unite all five Somali territories in the Horn of Africa under one state. The five territories were represented by the white star on the Somali Republic blue flag. The star represented Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, the present Somali region of Ethiopia and the Northern Frontier District (NFD) of Kenya.
The successive Somali Republic regimes including the dictatorial regime of Siad Barre have made multiple attempts to unite the Somali territories control both through diplomacy and military force and all those efforts went in vain. Siad Barre waged a disastrous military campaign in 1977 against Ethiopia and after sustaining a humiliating defeat he turned his guns towards the Somali Republic's army. In one single go the Siad Barre regime murdered more than 80 of the brightest of the bright of the Somali military high ranking officers. Their crime was, hailing from Isaaq, the majority clan in Somaliland. At that same year Djibouti gained its independence from France and having learned their lessons from the Somaliland experience, Djiboutians decided to stay away from the Greater Somali deceptive dream. Djibouti has common borders with Somaliland and its Somali population has common ancestral origins as the population of Somaliland. In other words, the same tribes stride out on both sides of the border between Somaliland and Djibouti.
After failing to cajole Djibouti to join the hoax Somali Republic union and losing the war in Ethiopia, the Mogadishu regime used its heavy artillery, bombers and all his other military might and fire power to annhilate the isolated and helpless Somaliland civilian. Hundreds of thousands of Somaliland civilians were killed, all most all the Somaliland civilians that survived the regimes extermination sought refugee in Ethiopia and all Somaliland cities, towns and villages were leveled to the ground. Scores of Somaliland civilians were buried alive others burned alive and their burning bodies were photographed with smiling soldiers of the Siad Barre regime, who set them alight.
Syrian war will look as hide and seek game in comparison to what took place in Somaliland in 1988. At least the Syrian refugee civilians are getting humanitarian assistance and the opposition is being insufficiently armed, these luxuries were not available to Somalilanders. Do not get me wrong, I hate what is going on in Syria and feel the International community is not doing enough to help defeat Basher Al Assad's inhumane regime, but still the truth can not be ignored and must be told even in this horrific manner and comparison.
Any sensible human being would ask; where was the International Community? And why didn't the International community intervene when these gruesome crimes against humanity were being committed under its watch?
Suffice to say, the military hardware used by the regime to exterminate Somaliland population was inherited from the Soviet Union and at the climax of those gross human rights transgressions, more heavy arms were being supplied by the USA government and by some sisterly Arab countries. The Somalia people - the same brothers and sisters who formed the union with Somaliland, were also cheer-leading for Siad Barre's war machine.
Dozens of innocent Somaliland citizens were taken from their homes in Mogadishu – the capital of the Somali Republic and were murdered in the famous Jaziira beach. Those innocent civilians were murdered by soldiers under the direct command of Siad Barre's own son. What do you think happened in Mogadishu at next daybreak and when the bodies of the victims were discovered? One would expect outrage and unrest in the street of any other national capital, but Mogadishu was different and business went on as usual with no body caring about what happened to "a bunch of Somaliland émigrés to Somalia". And what do you think happened to Masslah Mohamed Siad Barre the perpetrator of the Jaziira beach carnage? Is he fugitive or in jail? Far from that, Massalah was received with open arms in Mogadishu after the downfall of his father and he even ran twice for the Presidency of Somalia , once in Kenya against sheikh Shariif and more recently in Mogadishu against Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the current selected President of Somalia.
After the downfall of Siad Barre, a political tsunami akin to the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia Republics took place in the Somali Republic. The borders of the Somali Republic have changed and the country was automatically fractured into two states with two different national constitutions, governments, military forces and even two different political systems and national currencies. The collapse of the Somali Republic was caused by the warlords in Mogadishu, who ignored Somaliland and formed their own governments.
The Somalia government changed hands between warlords in various internationally supported conferences. Finally, the current Somalia's selected government of Hassan-Shirdoon was created and a new Federal Somalia constitution was adopted. However, the Democratically elected government of the Republic of Somaliland had nothing to do with Somalia's political processes.
In short, the two former Somali Republic states are now two de facto neighboring countries – The Republic of Somaliland and The Federal Republic of Somalia. They both unilaterally reverted back to their respective pre-colonial names and borders.
The crimes of the Somalia government does not end here, but as recent as two weeks ago, the current Prime Minister of Somalia, who himself is an alleged war criminal has written to the USA Secretary of State. In his letter Mr. Shirdoon, the Somalia Prime Minister extended diplomatic immunity to Gen. Mohamed Ali Samater, who was the former said Barre's Prime Minister, defense Minister and the mastermind of the Somaliland war of extermination. Gen. Samater admitted to his role in that war in a USA court and was ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation to some survivors and surviving loved ones of those who were murdered by Gen. Samater.
the current Somalia government disregards its continuous atrocities and selfishly claims to have the God given right of representing in the International arena and even insists on selecting representatives on behalf of Somalilanders in Mogadishu swindle government . The Mogadishu warlords do not understand the importance of the Somaliland referendum and the role of the democratically elected government of Somaliland. Simply said, democracy and self-determination are not in Somalia's dictionary.
I think the whole world is familiar the terrible on going stories of civil war, anarchy, terrorism, warlords, piracy and illegal human-trafficking in Somalia.
Contrary to Somalia, Somaliland did not waste its time on reminiscing in gloomy past with Somalia, did not cross their arms and waited for handouts from the International Community. Somalilander put their whole energy in living in peace with themselves, with their neighbors and with the rest of the world. Somaliland built its country and institutions from zero. Somaliland is now heading to a new era of economic prosperity and is working hard to exploit its natural resources. Somaliland is a cooperating member of the International community and keeps terrorists and sea pirate at bay. But still the International community favors Somalia more than Somaliland.
In conclusion, Somaliland and Somalia were equal partners in the former Somali Republic they co-owned the International recognition of the Somali Republic, but now it seems the International community is biased against Somaliland and is giving an undeserved recognition to the wrong side - Somalia.
I don't know what Somalia has done to be helped by the International community in snatching the Somaliland-Somalia seat in the United Nations and memberships in all other International organizations? Why is the International community rewarding and siding with the criminals and not with the victims is beyond my imagination. If the Somaliland achievements of peace, good governance, security, democracy and economic development do not pay off, then please let us know what pays off.
Perhaps, warlords, anarchy, terrorism, sea piracy, economic misery and sending rape victims to Federal Somalia prisons in Mogadishu are better valued than the democratic ideals of the Republic of Somaliland. If the other three Somali territories were allowed go in their own divergent ways, then why is the International community is wrongfully stitching Somaliland to Somalia? This whole affair is beyond my comprehension and I am lost for words and can only ask; what kind of international justice is this?
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Saturday, March 23, 2013
New migrants will not get free housing, warns David Cameron as Prime Minister stakes out ground for next election
New migrants will not get free housing, warns David Cameron as Prime Minister stakes out ground for next election
Special Report: And access to the benefits system and the NHS will also be restricted, as the PM stakes out his ground for the next election
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Why has the PM decided to take a tough line on immigration?
Could George Osborne fall on his sword?
Miliband turns to chocolate for inspiration
Ukip prepares to put fears over mass Romanian and Bulgarian immigration at heart of campaign strategy
Why has the PM decided to take a tough line on immigration?
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David Cameron will signal his determination to make immigration a key election issue tomorrow, when he pledges to stop new migrants getting taxpayer-funded homes as soon as they arrive in the UK.
The Prime Minister will use a high-profile speech on immigration to announce plans that will force councils to bar migrants from social housing waiting lists until they have been in the country for up to five years. The proposal will form part of a government-wide crackdown on new migrants' access to the benefits system and welfare services, including the National Health Service.
Pressure groups last night warned that the intervention would stoke up an "anti-immigration debate" which could increase hostility towards immigrants already living in this country.
Mr Cameron's dramatic intervention, days after Nick Clegg said migrants from "high-risk" countries should only be allowed into the UK if they pay a deposit of at least £1,000, reinforces the expectation that the main parties are preparing to trade blows over immigration in the run-up to the general election in 2015. Labour has already admitted that it failed to heed voters' concerns over rising immigration when it was in office. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, yesterday told activists that the failing was one of several mistakes made by the Labour government which he had since tried to rethink.
But, amid continuing concerns over the number of new migrants entering the UK – and the benefits available to them when they arrive – Labour's opponents see immigration as a crucial issue on which the party can be made to look soft during a potentially brutal election campaign.
Mr Cameron's analysis of the immigration issue will begin with an accusation that Labour in government was a "soft touch" on immigration issues. Using language that opponents may well criticise as provocative, he will set out his own plans to ensure the immigration system "backs people who work hard and do the right thing".
The Prime Minister will highlight housing as an area where governments have failed to exert enough control, leading to allegations that newcomers are granted privileged access to subsidised accommodation. Mr Cameron will insist that the Government must prevent the development of a "something-for-nothing" culture among new arrivals to the country.
His central pledge will be new regulations to ensure that local councils open their social-housing waiting lists only to established UK residents. At present, councils can impose their own local selection criteria but, to the frustration of ministers, many do not.
The coalition will allow councils to legislate for exceptional circumstances, "to ensure UK nationals are protected when they are moving for genuine reasons" – including for work or after a family breakdown.
"At present almost one in 10 new social lettings go to foreign nationals," a Downing Street source said yesterday. "We want to ensure that we remove any expectation that new migrants can expect the British taxpayer to give them a home on arrival.
"We will introduce an expectation through statutory guidance on councils to introduce a local residency test in determining who should qualify for social housing. Someone would have to live in an area for between two and five years before they could even go on the waiting list." The source added: "This will stop someone from turning up and immediately gaining access to social housing."
But Jan Brulc, of the Migrants' Rights Network, said the proposals, and the escalating rhetoric, endangered the well-being of millions of immigrants who already live in the United Kingdom.
He said: "It is clear after Nick Clegg's speech that immigration will feature heavily in the election debate, but it will be an anti-immigration debate that will do nothing for the comfort of the migrants who are already in this country.
"The argument over the possible arrival of people from Romania and Bulgaria was the first indication of this trend. These proposals will increase the rhetoric, as No 10 intends, but they will affect many people who aren't migrants but who have to move around and be flexible in their careers."
The shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant, dismissed the proposals. He said: "It is all very well Mr Cameron coming up with grand plans, but since he came to power, fewer illegal immigrants have been stopped at our borders, fewer foreign criminals have been deported and more people have absconded from Heathrow airport.
"If he is not looking after the nitty-gritty of this issue, he cannot command the trust of the British people."
But the UK Independence Party's leader, Nigel Farage, yesterday stepped into the debate and accused the main parties of being "all the same" on immigration because they wanted an "open door" to eastern Europeans.
Highlighting fears that large numbers from Romania and Bulgaria would want to come to the UK when movement restrictions are lifted next year, he told colleagues at the Ukip spring conference in Exeter that: "The benefits system in this country should be there to be used by British nationals."