* Kenya's new Information and Communications Minister Raphael Tuju last week punched holes into the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy paper describing it as flawed. "The draft policy lacks vision," said Tuju adding "it is a badly done cut and paste thing that will have to be reviewed." The review will centre on integration of education, taxation, information among things to enable Kenya modernize on an ICT platform.

"We have to decide whether we want to be a country that embraces ICT or consign ourselves to backwardness," the minister said. Tuju was supported by AITEC, a leading ICT group whose chairman Sean Moroney said the policy paper had no input from the private sector. The minister was speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the official launch of ICT Trust Fund.

* The Commonwealth of Learning has appointed Professor Peter Kinyanjui an Honorary Fellow of the organisation. Kinyanjui is Commissioner of Human Development in the e-Africa Commission of the New Partnership in Africa's Development (NEPAD), consultant in open and distance learning for development and former senior staff member of the Commonwealth of Learning, Nairobi, Kenya.

* Long-time Telkom senior specialist, media relations, Andrew Weldrick, has been found dead at his home in Centurion, Pretoria. Telkom spokesman Andrew Weldrick was found dead at his home last week. Weldrick (38) grew up in the Eastern Cape and studied journalism at Rhodes University, and has worked at Telkom for over 10 years. Our condolences to his wife and three children.

* The ICT sector will see modest, but more sustained growth in the future compared to the "boom-to-bust" cycles of the 1990s and early 2000s, says Dimension Data SA chairman designate Andile Ngcaba. Ngcaba spoke at DiData subsidiary Internet Solutions' annual Internetix last week in Cape Town. He said the ICT sector will have to return to business basics, but the exciting times have not passed by yet."A bright future awaits those willing to innovate and accept the challenges presented." Ngcaba was director-general of the Department of Communications until January, before moving across to his present position at DiData. He will become chairman at the end of the year.

* The Kenyan House was stunned to hear that Transport minister John Michuki was part of a team from Telkom Kenya that went to China as a lucrative tender was pending before him. Maoka Maore (Ntonyiri, Kanu) claimed that he had evidence that the minister and the delegation met the Huawei Company management. The MP demanded that the minister, Raphael Tuju, in whose docket Telkom falls, clarify the matter. Said he: "Can we be told whether the tender had been opened or not by the time Mr Michuki's team arrived in China?"

Tuju responding to a question from the MP from Makadara, who had sought to know the criterion used to award the tender for the supply of engineering, survey, installation, testing, commissioning and commercialisation of the Next Generation Voice Network Over Internet Protocol project at Telkom. He wanted to know also why Huawei had offered a 65 per cent discount on its products, and why the Telkom bosses visited the firm in China before the tender as awarded.

Mr Tuju said the company was rated the best in the technical and commercial examinations, and was declared the overall winner by the tender committee, using the normal procedures."The bid price offered by the company at the tender opening was already a discounted amount. The evaluated price was therefore based on the bid price," he added. He said the Telkom management visited the Chinese firm as part of a Government delegation, led by Mr Michuki, who had been invited by the Chinese government.