Uhuru Kenyatta has won the presidency. It's done. Let's move on." The son of Kenya's first independence leader may not have secured Francis Odera's vote but, like so many other Kenyans, this middle-aged Nairobi resident is just relieved the election has concluded peacefully.

Now he and others believe it is time to return to work and do what Kenyans do best.

Kenya did not burn, in most places riot police remained idle for much of the day, revellers and those licking their wounds showed restraint and Mr Kenyatta and his challenger Raila Odinga drew praise from many Kenyans for statesmanship in their respective speeches.

Yet, as one Kenyan friend put it, there has been a "revolution in Kenyan's political maturity but not a revolution in the leadership".

Kenyans have pinned their hopes on a new constitution, which dilutes the power of the presidency and offers a degree of devolution. Most agree that it was a vital ingredient that helped to avoid a repetition of the violence of five years ago. Kenyans have a right to be proud.

Millions of Kenyans are excited at the prospect of having the youngest leader ever - Mr Kenyatta is just 51. He is a familiar figure, the son of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, but as the country celebrates half a century of independence, Kenya now enters a period of uncertainty .

ICC 'inconvenience'

Mr Odinga is challenging what he calls another "tainted election" tinged with "rampant illegality" at the supreme court.

The detailed allegations will emerge over the coming weeks but it is far from clear whether this "evidence" would significantly sway the result. One has to ask how will Odinga supporters react to a defeat at Kenya's top court?

Meanwhile, Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are bound by a fragile ethnic alliance which some commentators doubt will last.

And both men are facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes allegedly committed the last time Kenya went to the polls.

Mr Kenyatta was delivered a solid mandate by the Kenyan people. The constitutional threshold he crossed to avoid a second round run-off was indeed "paper thin" but he still won outright.

The matter of the ICC is viewed as an inconvenience rather than an impediment by most of his supporters, who regard Mr Kenyatta as an innocent man, confident he will clear his name.

He also now wields tremendous power, influence and personal wealth. The unwritten narrative from the victorious Kenyatta camp is "Game On".

The international community's pre-election threats of "consequences" for Mr Kenyatta may well have backfired.

Their position softened in the days leading up to the election but it was no doubt one reason Kenyans supported Mr Kenyatta's Jubilee coalition.

The Kenyan newspapers bear this out in the post-election flurry, with Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a senior lawyer, writing in The Nation that the Kenyatta and Ruto victory "must be seen as a slap in the face of sponsors of ICC cases".

Mr Kenyatta has promised to "honour international obligations" but warned foreigners to "respect the sovereignty" of his country.

Britain, which committed £16m ($24m; 18m euros) to the Kenyan election, is going to have to find an accommodation with the new leadership.

Not only does it rely on co-operation from Kenya to deliver its long-term security agenda but five of the top firms in Kenya are wholly or partly British-owned.

So look out for compromises and a more conciliatory tone. Lawyers are discussing the possibility of giving evidence at The Hague via video link and British businesses will be keen to keep Mr Kenyatta on side.

Price of peace

Which brings us to the issue of peace. Campaigners for justice have coined the phrase "peace coma".

They argue that, blinded by the "haze of peace" which mercifully kept violence off the street, Kenyan voices of dissent risk being hushed for fear of being branded peace traitors.

Jebet, a member of Mr Ruto's Kalenjin community in the Rift Valley, fears that "Kenya has gone back to the Moi era".

President Daniel Arap Moi ruled with an iron fist until the advent of multi-party politics in the early 1990s.

As a Kalenjin, Jebet says: "We have gone back to an irrational system that says, let's take care of our own… and looking after our own has not paid off for the majority of Kenyans."

Jebet, like many other young Kenyans. worries that checks and balances on Kenya's leadership will be muted for the sake of peace.

A prominent commentator from one of Kenya's daily newspapers has spoken of a similar fear: "The peace industry has overwhelmed the media, it has basically become uncritical, losing its oversight role."

These may be premature fears before the president has even been sworn in but they do speak to Kenya's complex contradictions.

On the one hand, Kenya has embarked on a new kind of politics, ushering in a new constitution. The promise of more democratic rights for more people is considered by the majority to have helped deliver a calm and peaceful election.

But it is the same political elite that has secured the levers of power. Many believe the challenge now is for the new leadership to convince Kenyans that they will use that power for the benefit of all, to continue on that democratic path.

A first step would be to reach out to those who did not vote for them.

 

KwaZulu-Natal - A Zululand man has survived a black mamba attack, despite only being treated about an hour after being bitten.

A nurse at Hlabisa Hospital said most people died if they did not get treatment within 30 minutes of being bitten.

The nurse, who asked not to be identified because she is not allowed to speak to the media, said Makhundu Thusi was the first person in Mpembeni village to have survived such a bite.

Thusi, 30, said he was aware of at least two others who had died last year. “It is a miracle that I’m still alive.”

He said he was connecting a pipe to a spring water hole on Saturday when the mamba appeared from the bush.

“I was picking up the pipe when the snake appeared and raised its head to the level of my knee. Then it attacked me before it disappeared.”

He tied a rope around the upper part of his bitten leg to minimise the circulation of the poison in his bloodstream, he said.

When he got home his grandmother gave him potassium permanganate (a mild antiseptic) to drink. His neighbours gave him a traditional concoction.

“I think that helped to slow down the poison. But on the way to hospital I became very ill. I was sweating, vomiting and messing up my trousers. My hearing and sight also started fading,” Thusi said.

When he finally got to the hospital an hour after the bite, he was taken to theatre where he was given an injection.

NM MAMBA 1 31171897Hlabisa Hospital spokesman Themba Shange confirmed that it was the first time the hospital had managed to save the life of a victim of a black mamba bite.

“We usually resuscitate the snake victims and refer them to Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni. But they do not make it,” he said.

Herpetologist Martin Rodrigues, a manager at Crocworld Centre in Scottburgh, said it was common for people to survive and make a full recovery after being bitten by a black mamba. He said this depended on the severity of the poison.

The chances of survival had increased because the treatment for venomous snake bites had improved in the past 20 years.

Black

mambas could be found throughout the province, especially in coastal areas. -

The Mercury

There certainly are advantages in being a Ghanaian. Of course, there are challenges as well, but for the moment, I am concentrating on the advantages.

There is an advert in a recent issue of the Spectator magazine, for "a Spectator Events Exclusive" at which "the famous S-G is appearing" and a "renowned writer and broadcaster, will lead the discussion of Mr Annan's new book Interventions, A Life in War and Peace".
I am not sure that I would describe Mr Annan as oozing with charisma as one of the speakers claimed, but I would certainly agree he is cool”

Now I just went to the launch of this book at the University of Ghana and the great man himself was there, the famous former secretary-general in the advert that is, and he told the assembled hall why he wrote the book and he went to great lengths to tell his side of the Rwanda genocide story, probably the biggest catastrophe he presided over.

He took questions from the audience and he signed copies of the book which were offered to us at a huge discount.

I did say there are advantages in being Ghanaian, remember?

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, is probably the most famous living Ghanaian and the University of Ghana, of which he is chancellor, organised the launch of the book.

The launch did not go the way book launches normally go in these parts.

Nobody auctioned the first copy for an outrageous sum of money and, indeed, somebody suggested during the question and answer session that the book should be made available for free online.

'Goose pimples'
I was not quite sure if this was to be just for us Ghanaians or for the whole world.

It was impressive that all the speakers at the launch managed to find something interesting to say about the book and its well-known author.


Mr Annan was criticised for the UN's failure to stop the Rwandan genocide
I am not sure, though, that I would describe Mr Annan as oozing with charisma as one of the speakers claimed, but I would certainly agree he is cool.

By the way, he is apparently called "Mr Cool" by his colleagues.

I had heard some of the anecdotes that have found their way into the book, but the story about the meeting with the imprisoned Nigerian opposition leader Moshood Abiola still gives me goose pimples.

I am African... I reserve the right to criticise Africa and Africans and I will keep on doing this ”

Kofi Annan
Mr Annan tells the story about being taken to see Chief Abiola in the middle of the night (the description of the journey there alone would justify whatever you pay for the book).

A few minutes into the conversation, as Mr Annan was negotiating the terms of his release, Chief Abiola suddenly asks: "But who are you?"

When he is told he is speaking with Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, he asks: "What happened to the other one? The Egyptian?"

Suddenly you got an insight into the conditions under which Chief Abiola - the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential elections - was detained by Nigeria's then-military regime.

Chief Abiola did not know that Boutros Boutros Ghali was no longer the UN secretary-general.

Then there is the anecdote about the press conference in Gabon with a group of African journalists.

Why, Mr Annan was asked, did he so often criticize Africa and African governments?
Part of his answer to this question is music to my ears and makes me proud to call Mr Annan my compatriot.
I really must borrow this answer whenever I am taken to task for criticising African leaders.

The Spectator magazine called their event - which takes place on 17 January - with Mr Annan the perfect Christmas gift. The tickets cost $32 (£20) plus value added tax.

Well, I just had the perfect gift and I did not pay a penny for it.

There are advantages in being Ghanaian.

If you would like to comment on Elizabeth Ohene's column, please do so below.

BBC

Some 80 years after its first launch, the iconic board game of Monopoly has finally released its first African city edition.


A Lagos-themed version of the popular real estate game was unveiled earlier this week, making Nigeria's bustling economic capital the first city in the continent to have a dedicated Monopoly edition.
"Lagos is special, it's a megacity, one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa," says Nimi Akinkugbe, head of Bestman Games which is distributing the Lagos edition.
"But apart from that, Lagos also holds a very special place for Nigerians all over the world. There are about 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora who are very nostalgic about Lagos; it's not just for Lagosians but for people all over the world," she adds.
The affluent Banana Island, a man-made waterfront community boasting multi-million dollar mansions and manicured lawns, was revealed as the game's most expensive property, joining Boardwalk in the standard U.S. edition and Mayfair in the London version.
Many of the squares for the game's upmarket locations feature sponsorship from banks, radio stations and shopping centers. In contrast, the square dedicated to the floating shantytown of Makoko, which is the cheapest piece of real estate in the Lagos edition of the game, was left unsponsored.


monoLocal officials were heavily involved in bringing Monopoly to the sprawling metropolis of some 15 million people. Their goal was partly to promote the city's rich history and landmark sites but also to encourage responsible behavior and inform citizens about laws that are often overlooked.
"You've been caught driving against traffic. Report for psychiatric evaluation," is the message on one Chance card, which issues a fine -- in line with the laws introduced recently by the local government to deal with the city's major traffic problem.
Read related: Africa's daily commuting grind
Another card reads: "For using the overhead pedestrian bridge on Worodu Road, move forward three spaces." Akinkugbe explains that many lives have been lost as people tend to cross the express highway by running across the road. "By rewarding the person that uses the overhead bridge by moving forwards three spaces, slowly it begins to sink in," she says.
And there are also references to Nigeria's corruption problem: "For attempting to bribe a law enforcement agent, pay a fine," says another card.
"This gives us an opportunity to educate the public about those things," says Akinkugbe. "[It's about] penalizing negative behavior and rewarding good behavior but in a fun and enjoyable way. We all know that learning through play is one of the most powerful forms of learning because it is not forced but is done in a relaxed, easy way."
Akinkugbe says that two other African countries -- South Africa and Morocco -- have a version of Monopoly, but Lagos is the only city in the continent to have its own edition. She says that the Lagos game was sold out within 24 hours of its release, as about 4,000 people got their hands on it.
mono1"Thousands of Nigerian families they are going to be playing Monopoly over Christmas, having a good laugh and learning at the same time, and just appreciating the city," she says.
The first patented version of Monopoly was launched in the United States in 1935 at the height of Great Depression. It has since become arguably the most popular board game in the world, with several localized editions released over the years.

cnn

KADUNA—The Sultan of Sokoto and President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, Dr. Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday said that the present security and developmental challenges facing Northern Nigeria was self inflicted by northerners themselves.

The Sultan spoke at the Northern Nigeria Governors Peace and Reconciliation Committee meeting in Kaduna, blaming northerners for inflicting heavy pains on themselves.

His words, “Let us sit and talk freely and articulate positions that will bring us out of the quagmire we put ourselves. It is important that religious and traditional rulers from our various states sit together, so that each and everyone of us will talk freely for us to articulate a position as the way out of this problem we find ourselves.

We northerners have put ourselves in a quagmire, because whatever that is happening in the North is our own doing. This was because we did not do what we are supposed to do. And since we know that, we have to solve our problems ourselves. So, I think, it is not a bad idea that the committee was set up.

Sultan, Onaiyekan sue for peaceful co-existence

“We wrote a memo of about nine pages or thereabout covering various issues affecting the country and the north in particular to the then Acting President and now President. Goodluck Jonathan, through the Nigeria Inter Religious Council, NIREC, where we suggested solutions to the problems.’’

In his own remarks, the Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, attributed the security challenges facing the North and the country in general to high level of poverty in the country and the region in particular.

Onaiyekan further said that another aspect of the problem was associated with religion, saying that, bad image of the country has spread to the outside world and there was need for the stakeholders to address the issue with a view to putting a permanent end to the problems.

Bad governance

He stressed that, Christianity and Islam in Nigeria should not be seen as an accident of history, but God’s design that cannot be changed by anyone.

According to him, the main problem in the country was bad governance and once that is addressed headlong, all other problems would be tackled too.

Kukah hails Sultan, Onaiyekan

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Mathew Kukah, in his remarks lauded the participation of both Sultan Abubakar and Cardinal Onaiyekan saying, “With the Sultan and our amiable Cardinal as members of this committee, we should have the confidence that all sides will be well represented and every view honestly put down with suggested solutions. We also hope that the government would play its own parts when this assignment is finished.”

By LUKA BINNIYAT -/Vanguard

State funeral' for hundreds of Kenyan lawmakers
Throngs of Kenyans wearing black marched down the streets, coffins perched on their shoulders, crooning altered dirges in a mock funeral for lawmakers.


When the march came to a halt outside parliament offices in downtown Nairobi, hundreds of caskets lay charred, a defiant message against a recent hefty retirement package lawmakers passed for themselves.
The Kenyan president rejected the package, which included a bonus of $110,000 each and a state funeral for lawmakers, an honor reserved for presidents and high achievers.
The mock caskets were a spoof on the state funerals.
Major newspapers in the nation heaped praises on the president and criticized the lawmakers, who had attempted to pass another retirement package in October.
"Africa's big men behaving badly," an editorial in the Daily Nation newspaper screamed.
"Drama as civil society members bury greedy MPs," a story in the Standard read.
Good news for Mubarak
Former President Hosni Mubarak, once a powerful figure in Egyptian politics, will get a new trial after an appeals court tossed out his life sentence.
A judge overturned his conviction for failing to stop the killing of hundreds during the uprising in 2011. He will remain in prison as he awaits his next court date, likely in April.
Compared to the defiant riots that erupted during his trial in June, Egyptians appeared to welcome the news Sunday with shrugged shoulders. During the trial, both sides lunged at one another in court as fiery supporters and foes clashed outside.
The nation has spent the last year mired in protests, prompting the Economist to describe it as a "Dilemocracy."
20 years and over $1B later, U.S. recognizes Somalia
After pouring more than $1 billion in aid to Somalia, the United States officially recognized the nation's government for the first time in more than two decades.
American officials have not recognized it since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Clan warlords and militants battled for control, sparking a civil war and mayhem nationwide.
Two years later, militants shot down Black Hawk helicopters and killed American forces attempting to raid a warlord in the capital of Mogadishu.
U.S. applauded Somalia's progress, citing its first democratically-elected government and its successful efforts to push out al Qaeda-linked militants.
"We provided more than $650 million in assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia, more than $130 million to Somalia's security forces," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "In the past two years, we've given nearly $360 million in emergency humanitarian assistance and more than $45 million in development-related assistance to help rebuild Somalia's economy. "
Global uncertainty amid Algerian hostage crisis
Algerian forces stormed a gas facility to free foreign hostages without warning other governments, leaving leaders in a series of capitals scrambling to get information on their citizens' fates.
Heavily armed fighters attacked the remote BP facility in the desert this week, holding workers from various nations hostages. Attackers said the raid was a result of the French offensive against Islamist militants in northern Mali.
Captives included Americans, Japanese and Britons.
Hours after the raid, it was unclear how many hostages had been let go, killed or still held captive.
Analysts say Algeria raided the complex to salvage its tough military's reputation after militants attacked with security forces nearby.
"The temptation to show its strength first and foremost must have been overwhelming for a regime that showed as little weakness in the face of the Arab Spring," the Telegraph's Richard Spencer said.
The nation has a massive military budget, which makes it influential in stabilizing the region, Anouar Boukhars, a scholar in the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East program, said in an editorial in The New York Times.
Roaring success for South African musician
Your African culture may be your ticket to Hollywood, according to a famous South African musician.
Lebo M put his stamp on "The Lion King," his powerful opening vocal sequence contributing to its appeal as a popular culture phenomenon.
More than two decades later, the singer and songwriter still has a passion for what he does.
His arrangements captured the spirit of Africa -- and the politics in his home country at the time.
"That's the hardest thing to do right now -- to tell young people in Nigeria, in Johannesburg, in Ghana that the African in you is your ticket to Hollywood," he said this week.
Before he got the gig, the movie's producers scoured his hometown of Soweto, looking for him.
"They looked all over," Lebo said. "At the time, there was no iPhone ... to find somebody in Soweto, good luck!"

CNN

 

Ghanaian President John Mahama is due to be sworn into office following a disputed election victory last month. Mr Mahama, who became acting president in July, has called for unity ahead of the inauguration, appealing to rivals who contested the 7 December result.

Official results gave Mr Mahama 50.7% of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off against opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who won 47.7%.

The biggest opposition group is expected to boycott Monday's ceremony.

Mr Mahama was Ghana's vice-president until the unexpected death of President John Atta Mills in July.

He has served since then as acting president.

Ghana is regarded as one of Africa's most stable democracies and is one of its fastest growing economies.

Ahead of his inauguration, Mr Mahama appealed to members of parliament to work together.
"For the long-term survival of our nation, we must agree and commit to a multi-partisan process," he told them on Friday.

"Whatever our differences, whatever our politics, we must pull together and rise to meet these challenges."

Mr Mahama is due to be sworn in before 11 African heads of state, the BBC's Sammy Darko reports from the capital, Accra. Officials from the US, China and the UK will also be there.

But Mr Akufo-Addo's New Patriotic Party (NPP) is expected to boycott the ceremony.

The NPP filed a petition over the election result at the Supreme Court in late December, saying it had found irregularities including unregistered voters casting ballots.

Mr Mahama's National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the elections were the most transparent the country had seen.

International election observers described the 7 December poll as free and fair. Ghana's government says the presence of international leaders at Monday's ceremony is an endorsement of the vote.
BBC

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