CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS PRESS STATEMENT:  IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:       THURSDAY 1ST JULY 2010 

PLACE:           Nairobi, Kenya

 Dear Partners,

UHAI is very excited to announce the third Changing Faces Changing Spaces Conference to be held next year from 30th March – 1st April 2011. This conference offers a unique opportunity for activists, allies, partners, and donors working to build both the LGBTI and Sex Worker movements in East Africa to meet with each other and share ideas on strengthening these essential movements.

We are pleased to have the honour of convening and hosting this conference. Please mark your calendars as you prepare to participate in this valuable opportunity to share ideas, learn from partners, mourn our losses and celebrate the marvellous gains made since the last Changing Faces Changing Spaces Conference.

Block out 30th March – 1st April 2011 for Changing Faces Changing Spaces Reloaded!

Warm Regards,

UHAI Team

[Blogger`s note: en in other werd on the ground……]

KENYANS MUST PASS THE NEW CONSTITUTION TO STOP THIS DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

 Yesterday, the Kenyan nation watched in consternation as MPs dipped their fingers in the public till and stole with impunity.

It will be remembered that two years ago, 17 public spirited individuals drawn from the civil society filed Petition No. 769 of 2008 asking the Nairobi High Court to scrap the Parliamentary Service Commission and recover public resources it has squandered on MPs. This petition was certified as urgent by Justice Nyamu. Justice Nyamu also disqualified himself from the case and referred it to the Chief Justice for him to constitute a bench to hear it. This is the last that was heard of the matter.

In response to this, the PSC constituted the Akiwumi tribunal whose report they adopted yesterday. The adoption of the report seems to us as “gold rush” by the MPs who feel threatened by the wave of a new constitution and therefore want to benefit more before an anti-theft legislation is enacted by the people of Kenya on 4th August 2010.

It is tragic that our Parliament is not able to agree on important development issues, but it took merely 30 minutes of debate yesterday evening for them to award themselves this unethical pay rise.

Our MP’s are presently paid  Ksh 851,000 and they seek to increase this amount  to 1.1million which is  400 times more than the minimum wage for the lowest paid worker   On top of this increase they seek to increase the present sitting allowances from the present  10,000 to 30,000 shillings.

Members of Parliament take home a severance package of Ksh 1.5million every 5 years, this will now be increased to 3.6million. Parliament has issued instructions to the Minister of Finance Honorable Uhuru Kenyatta to allocate money for this increase backdated to 2008. Where will this money come from? The budget is presently running a deficit of Sh223 billion.  Parliament has threatened refuse to pass budget appropriations and effectively stall government operations.

The adoption of a report promoting theft of public resources is the greatest betrayal the Kenyan citizens can get from their representatives. Being an MP is about service, not about self enrichment. We condemn them in the strongest terms possible.

We would like to note that the Proposed Constitution of Kenya sets up  the Salaries and Remuneration Commission  and its role as captured in Article 230 (4) (a) will be to “set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of State officers” and this includes MPs. Whereas MPs in Naivasha had wanted to still retain powers of the Parliamentary Service Commission ( PSC) to appoint tribunal to make recommendations on their salaries the COE disagreed and though the PSC was retained, this function which enables MPs to increase their salaries at will, was removed.  

Further Article 116 (3) of the proposed constitution says that any law or policy that “confers a direct pecuniary interest on members of parliament shall not come into force until the next general election of members of Parliament”

In respect of this, we state as follows

  • We caution that if the PCK is opened up for amendment, as some members of Parliament and some other anti-reform individuals and sectors are saying, MPs will remove this safeguard against theft of public funds. 
  • We demand that the Chief Justice expediently sets up a bench to hear that petition as it is overdue considering what Kenyans are going through
  • We announce operation rudi nyumbani for these MPs in 2012. When there was violence in 20007/8, parliament never saw to it that all IDPs were resettled. The many paper shelters dotted across the country is a testimony to this. Now they have, once again, stolen from Kenyans. MPs waende nyumbani.

Finally, we urge all Kenyans, regardless of religion or creed, regardless of ethnic background, regardless of their views on the Proposed constitution so far, to understand that the PCK is the only weapon we have to protect ourselves from this greed, and therefore to vote Yes for the constitution.

SIGNED THIS 1ST Day of JULY 2010, BY:

NAME ORGANISATION SIGNATURE
 molisa nyakale  peace theatre  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

[blogger’s note: and because sharing is caring, spread the werd, we’re re-building loving and peaceful communities]

For folks who participated in any of the public marches and rallies leading up to and during the G20 meetings, who have experienced or witnessed police brutality and who would like to share stories about what really happened in the streets of Toronto here is a compilation of links, sites and spaces that you can share your stories, testimonials and incident reports.

It is so important that our stories be documented, compiled and shared because main stream media will not do this for us, because we need to hold Toronto’s police force and City Hall accountable for their actions, because we need to leverage this information to help innocent people get released free of charges from prison, because we can’t let the violence against peaceful demonstrators and community organizers of this past weekend be silenced, because we can’t let property damage and the actions of few mask the real violent terrorism of G20 and IMF on a global scale.

Please continue to stand and be counted. Peace.

 

1. To file an official police complaint:
– Against the RCMP (commission for public complaints against the RCMP): www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca
– Against the O.P.P or Toronto Police (office of the independent police review director): www.oiprd.on.ca

 2. If you would like to share experiences and seek peer support please email peertopeersupportforactivists@gmail.com.

 3. If you would like to share your story and support the call for a public inquiry go to this site. They are doing a large scale compilation of incident reports. The more reports they collect the more power they have to make class action suits against Toronto Police, to request a city sanctioned inquiry (which has been refused already by mayor miller) and to demand Police Chief Bill Blair:
www.g20inquiry.org

 4. Demand answers. Get the truth. “Canadians Demand a Public Inquiry” facebook group.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=135629036463012

 5. Canadian Civil Liberties Association is collecting information & testimonials. They also had many objective observers at several marches, rallies and police clashes (folks in white caps).
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canadian-Civil-Liberties-Association/80851911931?ref=ts
www.ccla.org

 
6. Write to your MP, your MPP, your local councillor, the mayor, etc.  Find them at:
pm@pm.gc.ca
http://canada.gc.ca/directories-repertoires/direct-eng.html#mp
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do?locale=en
mayor_miller@toronto.ca
http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp

 7. Rabble Blog, to post videos, responses, articles & photos:
http://rabble.ca/issues/g8-g20

 8. G20 Alternative Media Centre: Post stories & articles, tweets, youtube videos, photos:
http://2010.mediacoop.ca/

 9. Toronto Star is conducting a poll: “Do you think the police response to weekend
G20 protests was heavy-handed, or was it appropriate given the threats?” Vote! http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/829601–g20-editorial-brutal-spectacle-failed-a-city-and-its-people

 10. CBC Radio is developing a series to share the stories of several individuals (activists, community organizers, folks who were arrested etc.) who participated in the G20 demonstrations. You can contact the senior producer, social media, Kim Fox if you would like to participate and share your stories publicly:
– 416-205-2130
kim.fox@cbc.ca
list(ing)s compiled by

Natalyn Tremblay
Co-Director and Program Coordinator
www.thepeopleproject.org
info@thepeopleproject.org
(647)-231-5844

A Global Citizen has:
The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life.
The courage to embrace difference, to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures and to grow from these encounters.
The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends across the world over.
                                        – Buddhist Philosopher Daisaku Ikeda

 

(next on the Q[‘t] werd: peace camp & the Peace is Possible (PiP summer) workshops for pikney en youth)

ase. ase……

(re) introducing the q[/t] werd: a video diary

It ain’t no mystery that we (been) preparing for dis’ (not-so) new film & video projects: nekkyd & the Q[/T] werd. 

season 1 features 32[+4]stories en the magic is in  retelling of OUR stories

some of the [extra] ordinary people featured [en behind the scenes] include: anitafrika dub theatre, blackness yes! and blockorama, bombastic kasha, bunge la mwananchi, bredrin and dadas in solidarity, colour me dragg, [is] the crux, deb singh, Elijah Masinde, elimu sanifu, faith Nolan, funkasia, the funketeers, gender education and advocacy project, house of munro, Ishtar, kalmplex, nikki mawanda, nneke dumele, red lips. cages for black girls, swagger, tajudeen abdul raheem, victor mukasa, en the Yoruba house project

A love letter to rafikis, [aka.] bredrin and dadas in solidarity.

 

b is for blackness yes! and blockorama

an(other) open letter to pride toronto

Dear committee (and communities)

Thank you for the (growing) fiya this time, evident not only with word on the ground, the press conference featuring the return of accolades by 20+ former Pride grand marshals, honoured dykes and award recipients, but even more poignantly in the packed house that was the “our pride includes free speech” community meeting.

Clearly, we the people are not, have never been in the minority, and there are more of us who are fed up with the oppressive trends that have pride toronto aligned not WITH  the community but with the ‘big boys’….

In the spirit of rebuilding solidarity, I offer one other example of the many gaps that we have all the power to redress…..

 If I was to (not so) randomly pick just one request for funding as a concrete example of where to divert some of the proceeds from ‘Pride’, it would be (something like) alexa’s story.

http://www.gaykenya.com/our-activities/equality-fund/3707.html

Given the efficient corporate machine the committee has been for years now (depending on where you look at it from), token monetary awards to more LGBTTIQ individuals and groups in poorer nations would be another concrete way to not only build solidarity among global queer/trans communities but steps closer to (re)politicizing the mission of Pride being carried out by ‘the powers that be’……yes, the community discussions are important, but to make it plain, we need more than all this talk……

The Shame awards that were presented to the ‘official’ Pride Toronto committee and the return of so many awards by previous honoured folks this morning, is one of the many obvious signs that the decision to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) because of the words ‘israeli apartheid’ is one in a long line of historical shifts that have distanced the committee from the ‘realness’ in the diversity of our communities.

The truth is that all the missteps of the committee are fingers pointed straight at our own complacency and distance from the political work behind not only our own civil rights, but those of brothers and sisters around the world.

The truth is, the fight for peace is far from over, and as much as we have alot to celebrate, we cannot rest until all oppressed people are also free. It should be more simple really, like this hadithi…..

ALEXA’S STORY: BANDA PROJECT

In February 2010, the LGBTI community in Mtwapa experienced an unprecedented attack from neighbors fueled by various rumored versions of a gay wedding. The most repeated version was that a popular gay man joked to his barber during a haircut that he was grooming himself up to get married to his boyfriend. The barber took offense and reported news of the planned gay wedding to his local mosque. The congregation was then instructed by their imam to monitor social events that weekend. Local radio stations, Kaya FM, Baraka FM and Rahma FM and national stations Kiss FM and Classic FM were to pick up the story and run with it. Together the stations have a great grassroots reach and influence.

On the said wedding day, angry youth stormed KEMRI offices in Kilifi to flush out the gay couple that was to wed. Yusuf X. “Alexa” was considered partner to the groom, the media covered his story and published his pictures. 

Alexa is now much sought after in his hometown. GALCK has since resettled him in Nairobi, but he wishes to relocate to Voi to start a business, and continue with his life.

Alexa shared a business proposal to manage a banda (food kiosk) in Voi, serving Coastal delicacies and fast foods. He will also stock telephone airtime. Voi is moderately promising for business and prospective clients will include mostly middle level income residents and travelers.

 

Budget (in Kenya shillings)

  Unit Unit Cost Total
       
Resettlement Costs      
Transportation, Nairobi-Mombasa-Voi 1 8000 8000
House Rent: Deposit, 2 months Rent 3 4500 13500
House Utilities (Electricity, Water): Deposits, 2 months 3 2000 6000
Food, Upkeep, Emergencies, First month 1 10000 10000
Business Costs      
Banda Rent: Deposit, 2 months Rent 3 3500 10500
Banda Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas): Deposits, 2 months 3 3000 9000
Banda Opening Stock 1 20000 20000
Banda Set Up: Kitchenware, Furniture, Misc. 1 16000 16000
Administration Costs      
Transport, FB Accommodation, 5 visits, 1 staff 5 6000 30000
Phone follow ups 10 100 1000
Alexa, survey trip: Transport, FB Accommodation 1 6000 6000
Discretionary Funds (Contingencies, Emergencies) 1 10000 10000
  Total:   140,000

 

Monitoring and Evaluation

An Organizing Committee of the G-Kenya Trust Executive, and Board of the Equality Fund is formed to provide oversight for the Banda Project.

The Advocacy and Media Liaison at G-Kenya Trust will supervise the Banda Project by:

 1.    Accompanying Alexa on an initial visit to Voi to survey the neighborhood, and confirm budget lines, and the viability of the business plan—tentatively on the weekend of June 8th/9th.

2.       Reporting on the initial survey visit, discussing proposed timelines for implementation, and seeking approval for implementation of the project from the Organizing Committee in the week ending June 11th.

3.       Accompanying Alexa on a second visit to implement the project, i.e.: purchase of materials and stock, signing of leases, and utility contracts, tentatively by the weekend of June 11th/12th.

4.      Phone monitoring and supporting Alexa on the progress and challenges of the business every two weeks between June 15th and September 15th.

5.       Physical monitoring (visiting) thrice, to track growth, and challenges, on or around the weekends of July 16th, August 20th and September 17th, evaluating project challenges and seeking appropriate institutional remedies.

6.      Reporting monthly, after every physical visit, to the Organizing Committee on the progress of the project.

Donations

Please send donations via:

M-Pesa to 0700 718585

Direct Debit to the Kenya Gay and Lesbian Trust, Account No.: CA2-1200004266, NIC Bank Ltd., NIC House, Masaba Rd.

(Please call us on [+254] 0700 718585 after the transaction so we can confirm receipt).

http://www.gaykenya.com/

blogger’s note: and in other (q werd) news on the ground, with more steps forward, Brazil’s President Lula decrees National Day Against Homophobia…….

Attending the request of ABGLT (Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans Association), on Friday June 4th, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, (on the eve of São Paulo’s 14th LGBT Pride March,)  signed a decree creating the National Day Against Homophobia, to be commemorated annually on May 17th. The Decree was published in the Official Gazette, today, Monday June 7th (text below).

The news was received on Friday evening by ABGLT’s president during the 10th Citizenship and Respect for Diversity Awards, held by the São Paulo LGBT Pride Association.   

According to Toni Reis, ABGLT’s president, “the Decree is the governmental recognition that homophobia exists in Brazil and that concrete actions are needed to reduce or eliminate prejudice, discrimination and stigma against the LGBT community. We hope that Brazil’s example will be followed by the 75 countries where homosexuality is a crime and in the 7 countries where the death penalty exists for homosexuals”, he said. Reis also congratulated the federal government, in particular the Human Rights Secretariat of the President’s Office, for its efforts in approving the Decree.

The Decree adds to the list of honoured campaign proposals made prior to president Lula’s second term of office (2007-2010): the continuity of the Brazil Without Homophobia Programme; the holding of the 1st National LGBT Conference; the creation of the National LGBT Coordination, the National LGBT Council and the National Plan to Promote LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights. While the national Legislative Branch has failed to approve any laws that would guarantee the equal rights of the LGBT community, the Judiciary and Executive Branches have shown, through decisions and actions, that Brazil respects its Federal Constitution, articles 3 and 5 of which state that there will be no discrimination and that all people are equal before the law, without distinction of any nature. 

May 17th 1990 was the date on which the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organizations highest decision making body, removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Since then the data has been celebrated internationally as the Day Against Homophobia.

It is one of ABGLT’s strategies that the Brazilian states and municipalities recognize the Day Against Homophobia through laws or decrees. The day already exists officially in 9 states: Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná and Santa Catarina; and in at least 15 municipalities: Lauro de Freitas-BA, Alfenas-MG, Itaúna-MG,

Cuiabá-MT, Rondonópolis-MT, Picos-PI, Curitiba-PR, Francisco Beltrão-PR, Natal-RN, Mesquita-RJ, Rio Grande-RS, Florianópolis-SC, Joinville-SC, Campinas-SP and Ribeirão Preto-SP (www.abglt.org.br/port/leis_homofobia.php)

Further information

 Toni Reis – President, ABGLT: +55 41 9602 8906

Carlos Magno – Communications Secretary, ABGLT: +55 31 8817 1170

 DECREE DATED JUNE 4TH 2010 

Creates the National Day Against Homophobia.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, in the use of the attributions conferred upon him by article 84, items II and VI, sub-item “a”, of the Federal Constitution,

 

D E C R E E S :

 

Article. 1 – May 17th is hereby established as the National Day Against Homophobia.

 

Article 2 – This Decree shall come into force on the date of its publication.

 

Brasília, June 4th 2010; 189th year of Independence and 122nd year of the Republic.

 

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA

Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi

 

(Official Gazette.  No. 106, Monday June 7th 2010, Section 1 – Page 5)