Kenya’s Institute of Primate Research Woos Western Drug Firms Wary of Animal Rights Extremism

British newspapers reported in early October on efforts by Kenyan medical research institutes to attract European drug firms who have had enough of runaway animal rights extremism on that continent.

Kenya’s Institute for Primate Research, for example, was established by Richard Leakey in the 1960s to further the study of primate evolution, and is now one of the leading research centers in Africa. It is actively promoting the advantages of doing animal research in Kenya where costs are cheaper and animal rights lacks the cache it has gained in parts of Europe.

Institute for Primate Research director Emmanuel Wango told The Telegraph,

We want to encourage and develop a closer relationship with companies from outside Kenya so they can come and see that we will be able to do their work without the problems they have elsewhere.

Our costs are almost a tenth of those in America and we have a much more comfortable way of working. We have everything you need to the same standards, but without these people trying to petrol-bomb your family.

Not that Kenya doesn’t have homegrown animal rights activists. Jean Gilcrhist of the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals bemoans the proposal,

We are not happy with this proposal. If animal experiments are to be done — and we believe that alternatives should be used when possible — then these should be very, very strictly controlled.


Scientists offered animal research haven in Africa. Rob Crilly, The Scotsman, October 8, 2005.

Africa offers haven to drug firms plagued by animal rights activists. Mike Pflanz, The Telegraph, October 25, 2005.

Kenyan Justice Minister Apologizes for Rape Remark

Kenyan Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi apologized in February for using rape as a metaphor for his criticism of aid donors concerned about corruption in that country.

Responding to criticism from donors about corruption in Kenyan, Murungi said that such criticism was “like raping a woman who is already willing.”

The statement brought swift condemnation and protests from women’s rights groups in Kenya. Miriam Kahiga of Amnesty International said of the comment,

It is trivializing rape and the fight against graft in one breath.

She also called Murungi, “an embarrassment to the country.”

Murungi later apologized saying,

I unreservedly and sincerely apologize to all the women of Kenya who were offended by these remarks.

Human rights groups in Kenya have faulted the government for the high incidence of rape and the poor response by police to prevent and investigate such crimes.


Kenyan apology over rape remark. The BBC, February 11, 2005.

It?s a big shame, ministers say of attack. Patrick Mathangani, East African Standard, August 17, 2004.

Sexual Politics. Press Release, Kenya Human Rights Commission, February 10, 2005.

Boutros Boutros Ghali Predicts Regional Water Wars

In an interview with the BBC, former United Nations Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali predicted that conflicts would soon arise between countries in the Nile basin over rights to water that flows through the Nile.

Egypt has long been the largest user of water from the Nile, but countries upstream are coming closer to more intensively using that water, which Boutros Ghali predicts will lead to conflict between Egypt and countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Boutros Ghali noted that Egypt’s population has more than tripled over the last 50 years and is still growing, putting heavy demand on Nile water resources. Boutros Ghali told the BBC,

The security of Egypt is related to the relation between Egypt and Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and other African countries. The real problem is that we need an additional quantity of water and we will not have an additional quantity of water unless we find an a agreement with the upstream countries which also need water and have not used Nile water until now.

But the BBC interview failed to mention a major overriding problem with water in the Middle East and Africa — it is almost universally mismanaged, since it relies on bureaucracies setting water targets and policies rather than letting markets dictate the true cost of water.

In Egypt, for example, 85 percent of water goes to agriculture, and agricultural water use is micromanaged to the point where government committees plan out a year in advanced which crops will be allowed to grow where and how water will be allocated among them. Not surprisingly the result is large-scale inefficiency and misallocation of water resources.

Mismanagement of water is almost universal, even in countries such as the United States which don’t yet have severe water problems. But places like the Middle East and Northern African simply cannot afford to protect industries or individuals from the true cost and scarcity of water. Unfortunately, doing so is likely to prove very politically unpopular, but one can always hope that developing countries might prefer transparent markets in water to conflicts between states that may lead to larger problems, while leaving the underlying problem uncorrected.


Ex-UN chief warns of water wars. Mike Thompson, The BBC, February 2, 2005.

Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda Trade Bloc Accord Goes Into Effect

A treaty between East African nations Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda went into effect in January creating a trade bloc that over the next few years will create a free trade zone.

A similar East African free-trade zone was set up in 1967, but collapsed in 1977 as wars devastated the region.

Under the terms of the agreement creating the East Africa Community Customs Union, Kenya, which has a more industrialized economy than Tanzania and Uganda, will pay duties on goods it exports to the other two until 2010, when such duties will disappear.

The three countries will also set identical tariffs for imports from outside the three countries.


East Africa trade accord launched. The BBC, January 1, 2005.

Transparency International: 1 in 10 Families Worldwide Pays Bribes

To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day in December, Transparency International released the results of its 2004 Global Corruption Barometer highlighting ongoing corruption, especially in the developing world. The survey found that worldwide, 1 in 10 people said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe in the previous year.

The survey polled more than 50,000 people in 64 countries people between June and September 2004.

The rate of bribery was, not surprisingly, much higher in developing countries. For example, in Cameroon more than 50 percent of respondents said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe.

In Nigeria, Kenya, Lithuania and Moldova, 1 in 3 respondents said they or a household member had paid a bribe.

There was some good news, such as surprisingly low levels of bribe paying in South Africa, as well as a surprising level of corruption in Greece where 11 percent of those polled admitted they or a household member had paid a bribe.

Transparency International board member Akere Muna, who heads up the organization’s Cameroon branch, said in a press release,

It is time to use international co-operation to enforce a policy of zero tolerance of political corruption, and to put an end to practices whereby politicians put themselves above the law — stealing from ordinary citizens and hiding behind parliamentary immunity.

Political parties and politicians they nominate for election are entrusted with great power and great hopes by the people who vote for them. Political leaders must not abuse that trust by serving corrupt or selfish interests once they are in power.

According to the BBC, the World Bank estimates that as more than $1 trillion is paid out annually worldwide in bribes.


One in 10 families ‘pays bribes’. The BBC, December 9, 2004.

Political parties are most corrupt institution worldwide according to TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004. Press Release, Transparency International, December 9, 2004.

Nobel Prize Winner — Abortion Is Wrong

Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, according to the Nobel committee, “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai also has strong opinions about abortion and Kenyan fathers who shirk their responsibility, denouncing both in strong language.

When it comes to abortion, Maathai, who is currently Kenya’s deputy minister of the environment, told Norway’s Dagen newspaper,

Both [the woman and the aborted fetus] are victims. There is no reason why anybody who has been conceived, shouldn’t be given the opportunity to be born and to live a happy life. The fact that a life like that is terminated, is wrong.

. . .

When we allow abortion, we are punishing the women — who must abort their children because their men have run away — and we are punishing the children whose life is terminated.

Maathai goes on to identify a particularly bizarre aspect of the Kenyan legal system that she believes drives women there to abortion. Under Kenyan law, mothers alone are responsible for the maintenance of children born out of wedlock. No, that’s not a misprint or an exaggeration — in Kenya, a man who fathers a child out of wedlock has no legally enforceable requirement to financially support that child.

Maathai told Dagen,

I want us to step back a little bit and say: Why is this woman and this child threatened? Why is this woman threatening to terminate this life? What do we need to do as a society? A part of that answer lies in this House [the Kenyan Parliament].

. . .

Now I think we are too lenient on men. We have almost given them a license to father children and not worry about them. That is part of the reason why women abort, because they do not want to be burdened with children whose fathers do not want to become responsible.


Abort er galt, sier Maathai. Jostein Sandsmark, Dagen, December 12, 2004.

“Abortion Is Wrong” says Nobel Prize Winner Maathai. LifeSiteNews.Com, December 7, 2004.