Saturday, 16 February 2013

The West needs to be genuine if they're to negotiate with Iran over the nuclear issue

TEHRAN – Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani has said that Tehran’s nuclear issue can be resolved if world powers enter negotiations seriously. 
Rohani, the current director of the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council, told reporters on Friday that the issues between Iran and the West, whether nuclear or otherwise, must be resolved through dialogue.  
“Iran has always said that it is ready to hold serious negotiations,” Rohani said. 
Commenting on unilateral sanctions against Iran, Rohani said, “When the West is increasing pressure and at the same time is talking about negotiations, then negotiations mean surrender.”
“If negotiations are serious and based on mutual understanding, there is no need to such tough actions,” he added. 
Rohani emphasized that if the West is seeking to make the Iranian nation surrender, it will never achieve its goal. The only solution is that they seriously come up for negotiations, he added.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Oscar Pistorius Arrested for 'killing' girlfriend

I feel sorry for South African athlete Oscar Pistorius. 'Accidentally' shooting his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.He thought the girlfriend was a robber yet she was coming to surprise him!

Police in Pretoria have arrested the paraolympian who participated in last year's London Olympics. It's is believed that police in South Africa have denied him bail.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Watanzania tujifunze nini na mdahalo wa urais Kenya?

Nicodemus Minde, Nairobi
Wananchi wa Kenya na Kenya kwa ujumla walionyesha uimara wa demokrasia na utawala wa kikatiba walipofanya mdahalo wa urais mapema wiki hii. Kenya ni nchi ambayo imepiga hatua kubwa sana kwenye misingi ya demokrasia, utawala bora na ujenzi wa maadili ya sheria. Kwanzia miaka ya 90 wakati wa mchakato wa uundwaji wa sera ya vyama vingi kutokana na vuguvugu la baada ya Vita Baridi vya dunia, Kenya imeonyesha ukakamavu na ustawi wa mifumo ya asasi na utaasisi. Hata hivyo, juhudi zao hazikuja kwa urahisi. Jasho, damu na hata machozi vilitawala msukumo wao. Viongozi kama Kenneth Matiba, Hayati Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Martin Shikuku, Raila Odinga, Paul Muite na wengine wengi walijitolea ili kuifanya Kenya kupata uhuru kwa awamu ya pili (second liberation). Wakenya waliendelea kupigana ilikuuondoa kihalali utawala wa kibabe wa rais Daniel Moi. 

Walipigana kuleta mabadiliko ya kimfumo hususan kuleta sheria mpya ya nchi (katiba). Vipingamizi na vizuizi lukuki vilikuja katikati ya azma hii. Hata hivyo, hawakukata tamaa. Walipopiga kura ya maoni ya katiba mpya mwaka wa 2010 na kuuhalalisha mswada uliopendekezwa, Kenya mpya ilizaliwa. Katiba hii mpya ilileta mageuzi kwenye sekta mbalimabli. Sheria za ulinzi wa haki za binadamu zilizingatiwa kwenye katiba hii mpya. Mfumo wa asasi (institutionalism) ulizingatiwa. Mahakama ilipewa uhuru, bunge likapewa majukumu ya kusahili mapendekezo ya ajira za wale walioteuliwa na rais, baraza la mawaziri likapewa sura mpya (kuwa mawaziri watakua watu waliobobea kwenye taaluma zao). Haya ni maandeleo. 

Mdahalo wa urais uliofanyika hivi karibuni ni ishara ya uwajibikaji wa viongozi mbele ya wananchi wao. Chanzo cha mamlaka ya viongozi kwa hakika sasa unatoka kwa wananchi (a people oriented constitutional legitimacy). Kujitokeza kwa viongozi wote kwenye mdahalo huo ni ishara kwamba wanaheshimu hiko chanzi cha mamlaka. Watanzania tunapaswa kuiga huu mfano. Tunapoandika katiba yetu, ni lazima maoni ya wananchi yasikilizwe. Ni lazima tujenge utamaduni wa siasa (political culture). Utamaduni wa uwajibikaji, utamaduni wa viongozi kuheshimu wananchi na kujitolea kuitetea nchi yetu. 

Funzo lingine ni matumizi ya teknolojia mpya katika kukuza demokrasia yetu. Upanuzi wa mifumo ya vyombo vya habari, ushiriki wa wananchi katika msingi hii ni njia mojawapo ya kuleta uwajibikaji. Televisheni zetu bado hazijafika hatua za ubora, watangazaji wetu bado hawafika kilele cha kujikita kitaaluma. Vyama vyetu vya siasa vinapaswa kujijenga na viwe na sura ya kitaifa.

Kama inavyosemwa na Watanzania wengi, nami ntasema, inawezekana. Ila Tanzania yenye neema haitawezekana na ubabaishaji na maneno tu. Waswahi wanasema matendo hukidhi haja maridhawa kuliko maneno. Kazi tnayo.  

Monday, 11 February 2013

Full text of Pope's declaration

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI to resign: Ill heath cited as cause

Via Internet sources
The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will step down on February 28.  Pope Benedict was one of the oldest pontiffs to be elected head of the Catholic Church in 2005 aged 85. It’s been almost 600 years since a Pope resigned.  Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 to end the “Western Schism”. When two claimants declared themselves Pope (one in Avignon and the other in Pisa), Gregory resigned and thus helped keep the Roman Catholic Church united.

Prior to this, Pope Celestine V changed the rules and made it possible for Bishops of Rome to resign. He then decided to make good use of his own solemn decree, and lived out his life as an aged hermit. Interestingly, another of the few Popes to resign was also called Benedict. Benedict IX resigned in 1045, selling the position to his godfather so he could marry.  Gregory VI, the man who purchased the papacy from Benedict IX, resigned the following year.

Pope Benedict said he "had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." As a Catholic, I wish the Pope well in his life new endeavor. God bless!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Iran Revolution Anniversary Reflections

Via Reuters
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Tehran would not negotiate about its disputed nuclear program under pressure, but would talk to its adversaries if they stopped "pointing the gun". In a speech to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, he struck a more conciliatory tone than Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on February 7 rebuffed a U.S. call for direct negotiations between the two countries. Ahmadinejad does not have the authority to authorize talks over the nuclear program, which lies with Khamenei. Iran has already agreed to a new round of talks with world powers, but not direct U.S. talks, in Kazakhstan on February 26. 

"You cannot point a gun at the Iranian nation and then expect them to have negotiations with you," Ahmadinejad told a crowd gathered in the capital Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square. His speech was carried live on state television. "Talks should not be used as a lever to impose one's opinions ... If you stop pointing the gun at the Iranian nation, I will negotiate (with you) myself," he added. The United States and some of its allies suspect Iran may be trying to develop atomic weapons capability under the cover of a civilian nuclear energy program, a charge Iran has denied. Many experts believe any nuclear deal needs a U.S.-Iranian thaw and direct talks addressing myriad sources of mutual mistrust and hostility lingering since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Tehran wants sanctions lifted that have slashed oil exports and helped cut the value of the Iranian rial, raising inflation and weakening purchasing power for ordinary Iranians. People held banners saying "Down With U.S.A." at state-organized demonstrations in Tehran and other cities to mark the anniversary of the ousting of a Western- friendly monarchy in favor of clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Ahmadinejad did not address specifics of the planned talks in Kazakhstan. He said Iran would counter sanctions by boosting non-oil exports and weaning itself off crude oil revenues. "Enemies are trying their utmost to put pressure on the Iranian nation to stop its progress but they will not succeed," he said. Khamenei on Thursday rejected a U.S. offer of direct talks, saying talks and pressure were incompatible. He was believed to have been replying to remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, who said on February 2 the United States was ready for direct talks if Iran was serious about negotiations.

The national celebrations are taking place a week after Ahmadinejad and his political rival, parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, traded public accusations of corruption, an outbreak of infighting that is expected to grow more vicious as the country approaches presidential elections slated for June. The parliament is dominated by a faction loyal to Khamenei and hostile to Ahmadinejad, who cannot stand for reelection. Khamenei, Iran's unelected leader, has struggled to suppress rows among officials which have broken out into the open despite warning that such public spats were a betrayal of the country. 

The last presidential election in 2009 set off mass protests at Ahmadinejad's victory, which opponents called fraudulent. Ahmadinejad is believed to have since lost Khamenei's backing. In January, Khamenei's representative to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ali Saeedi, said it was part of the role of the Guards to "engineer" the elections. Ahmadinejad, who is believed to want to maintain influence after stepping down, possibly by backing an ally as a candidate, appeared to warn against such efforts on Sunday. "Some people say they want to engineer and manage the election,Ahmadinejad said. "The great Iranian nation knows which path to take ... some must not speak or act in such a way so as to play into the hands of Iran's deceitful enemies."