LATEST SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, 9/6/2013

 

Dear readers,

 

Warmest greetings from north London. We apologise for the delay in sending out today’s sub-Saharan African news, comment and opinion, but the chief editor, Mr Jim Bodgener, was away on an excursion up to Cambridge yesterday.

 

Without more ado, therefore:

 

News Contents:

 

 

Nigeria: Emergency rule: Army debunks New York Times report

South Africa: Nelson Mandela update: No news is good news; Mandela in “serious” condition in hospital (also see comment and opinion)
South Sudan: South Sudan’s cabinet holding an emergency meeting on oil shutdown

Comment and Opinion Contents:


South Africa: NELSON MANDELA: THE LAST GREAT AFRICAN KING RECEIVES AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT
Africa: Voluntary HIV testing targets five million workers by 2015
Uganda: The triumph of press freedom
Nigeria: Corruption: I’ll testify against Obasanjo, says varsity don
Kenya: ‘Mad woman’ who rattled the British

 

 

 

   

 

 

POSTED ON SUNDAY, JUNE 9TH, 2013

 

By Stella Odueme-Omona

 

Snr. Correspondent, Abuja

 

Defence Headquarters has described the report published in the New York Times with the title “In Nigeria, Killing People Without Asking Who they Are” as false reflection of the situation on ground.

 

It stressed that the New York Times report, dwelling on what it described as “atrocities being committed by the Nigerian military against innocent civilians”, only sought to create in the minds of its readers an imaginary refugee situation in the area.

 

Director Defence Information (DDI), Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in Abuja at the weekend that the report which quoted non-existent people, painted a picture of an army that cannot distinguish between the enemy and unarmed civilians; an army that turns its guns against the same people it is out to protect.

 

“This is certainly not the Nigerian Armed Forces, and there is no killing of civilians in the on-going operation as New York Times desperately sought to portray.

 

“Imbued with half- truths, unsubstantiated claims and outright misrepresentations, the report, as in some others carried by their fellows in the certain media, strived in futility to demonise the ongoing operation in the North East, all with the intention of bringing to disrepute the character and professionalism of the Nigerian military and security agencies,” Olukolade maintained.

 

He stated that apart from the reference to the series of usually faceless sources, there has not been so far reasonable evidence of the allegations so zealously presented by the paper. From the Daily Independent.

 

Emergency… Niger hosts fleeing Nigerians

 

Posted by: New York Times on June 7, 2013

 

For the soldiers, the young men’s long, flowing robes — the traditional garb of Muslim West Africa — were enough to establish guilt, the refugees said.

 

“As soon as they see you with clothing like this, they shoot,” said Abukar Ari, a Koranic teacher in a long robe who said he had fled across the border from Nigeria two weeks before. “They don’t ask any questions. I’ve seen them shoot people. Yes, I’ve seen them shoot.”

 

Other refugees in the registration lines of thousands who had fled Nigeria’s combat zone echoed these assertions, saying civilians were being killed there by soldiers unconcerned with the distinction between militants and innocents. Friends and neighbors were being shot, they said; young men were being rounded up at night; and citizens with the vertical ethnic scarring of the Kanuri, a group dominant in the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, were being taken away.

 

“They are killing people without asking who they are,” said Laminou Lawan, a student who said he had fled here 10 days before. “When they see young men in traditional robes, they shoot them on the spot. They catch many of the others and take them away, and we don’t hear from them again.”

 

Laminou Lawan, a student, said Nigerian soldiers had been attacking young men just because they wore traditional robes.

 

Nearly three weeks ago, Nigeria launched what it depicted as an all-out land and air campaign to crush the Boko Haram insurgency, using thousands of troops, vehicles and even fighter jets and helicopter gunships just over the border from here, where Nigerian officials say the insurgents have their stronghold.

 

The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, suggesting that he was fed up with the four-year uprising by Boko Haram, announced “extraordinary measures” in his country’s north and placed a large part of it under a state of emergency, ordering troops to “take all necessary action” to end an insurgency that he said was now threatening the country’s foundations.

 

Nigeria’s foreign partners, including the United States, which considers the country an important ally in the fight against Islamist militancy, have watched warily, with Secretary of State John Kerry pointedly warning the Nigerian military about what he called “credible allegations” that Nigerian forces had committed “gross human rights violations” in the period before the offensive began.

 

Last month, more than 200 people were killed in what local officials, residents and human rights groups say was a sweeping massacre by Nigerian forces in the nearby village of Baga, in northern Nigeria. Analysts have long questioned whether Nigeria’s heavy-handed counterinsurgency strategy, which has resulted in numerous civilian deaths since 2009, may be having the opposite effect of the one intended, increasing anger at the Nigerian state and driving new recruits to the militants.

 

Thousands of refugees have crossed into Niger, many saying their government’s fight against Islamists makes no distinction between militants and civilians.

 

But Mr. Kerry has not specifically raised the question of human rights abuses during the latest offensive, and for a good reason: it is difficult to get a clear idea of what is happening. Since its start, much of northern Nigeria has been under a communications blackout, as cellphone service has been cut, physical access has been limited and information restricted to a series of military communiqués. They have announced the “capture and destruction” of Boko Haram camps, the deaths of “high-profile” Boko Haram members and other “terrorists,” the “disarray” of militants, the discovery and destruction of weapons caches, and the “securing” of various towns and settlements in the north from Boko Haram.

 

Nigerian military spokesmen have been at pains to deny any misconduct against civilians during the campaign, trying to reassure the country’s allies by announcing that they were pleased soldiers were sticking to what they called “the rules of engagement.” A spokesman did not respond Friday to a request for comment on the refugees’ accounts.

 

But some of the refugees who have massed here in this remote border village at the far eastern edge of Niger — there are at least 5,000 of them, and possibly as many as 10,000 in the area, officials say — described the fighting in terms that varied widely from the military communiqués.

 

Their testimony is among the first independent accounts of the Nigerian military’s offensive, and they spoke of indiscriminate bombing and shooting, unexplained civilian deaths, nighttime roundups of young men by security forces. All spoke of a climate of terror that had pushed them, in the thousands, to flee for miles through the harsh and baking semidesert, sometimes on foot, to Niger. A few blamed Boko Haram — a shadowy, rarely glimpsed presence for most residents — for the violence. But the overwhelming majority blamed the military, saying they had fled their country because of it.

 

They had come from multiple villages in Nigeria to one of the poorest nations on earth, overwhelming local officials. But at least here, they said, the soldiers of the Republic of Niger are drowsing under a giant tree at the border, not pointing their guns at the civilians who continue to cross it.

 

“The military just opens fire and kills people, and throws bombs and kills people, for no reason,” said Abubakar Ali, a shoe salesman waiting in one of the registration lines. “That is why you see these people here,” he said, pointing out at the crowd. “That is what is happening now in Nigeria.”

 

Others in the crowd said that friends and neighbors had been shot during the offensive. They could not always identify the source of the shooting, but they could easily identify the victims.

 

“I’ve seen the wounded; these are people I know,” said Muhammad Yacoubu, a farmer.

 

“The military are looking for Boko Haram, but if they don’t find them, they take revenge,” said Moustapha Ali, a shopkeeper.

 

Ousmane Boukari, a herdsman, said, “They bombed on Saturday, and they missed their targets; they’re just firing at random, they don’t even know where the Boko Haram are.”

 

Modu Goni, another refugee, said: “At night you hear the shooting, and in the morning you find the bodies, people from the village. When you see your friends dead, it’s scary.”

 

Others spoke of seizures of young men by security forces, a pattern already established in the insurgents’ stronghold city of Maiduguri, according to residents there.

 

“The soldiers took the young men away, at least 10 of them, at night; it’s at night that they make their raids,” said Sherrif Alhadji Abdu, another refugee. “They band their eyes, and take them away. They took away my friends.”

 

At the edge of this village, some of the refugees have erected crude reed shelters in the sand, or simply posted sticks in the ground and placed rags over them. Abou Boukar, a farmer, had just finished building a reed hut. Anything was better than staying in Nigeria, he said. Boko Haram had built a camp near his village. The next day, he saw a Nigerian air force plane flying overhead.

 

“This doesn’t look good,” he recalled saying to himself. And then he fled to Niger. From The Nation/New York Times.

 

 

 

Nelson Mandela update: No news is good news

 

 

 

09 JUN 2013 15:32 STAFF REPORTER

 

 

People around the world are breathing sighs of relief as Nelson Mandela’s condition remains stable while his hospital stay continues.

 

 

Journalists who crowded around Mandela’s home in Houghton on Sunday remained anxious, waiting for news on the former statesman’s health.

 

Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital at about 1.30am on Saturday morning. Mandela suffers from a recurring lung infection. Another update on his health is expected to be released on Sunday afternoon.

 

The last update on the former statesman’s health was issued by the presidency on Saturday morning.

 

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Mandela was in a serious but stable condition in a Pretoria hospital. He said Mandela was receiving the best care possible and that the media was asked to respect the Mandela family’s privacy.

 

In an interview with eNCA, Maharaj said he was pleased at the way Mandela’s latest hospital stay was being handled by the public across the world. Maharaj said the world had expressed “concern” and that people were understandably anxious about Mandela’s health, but that “false stories” were not being spread.

 

“They are coming to terms with reality,” Maharaj said. He did not respond to further questions on Saturday evening.

 

He added that while Mandela had been a long-time sufferer of lung disease, his age would affect his recovery. Mandela will celebrate his 95th birthday on July 18 this year.

 

Family visits
Meanwhile, family members have reportedly visited Mandela at a hospital. His daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, was seen leaving the hospital in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.

 

His wife, Graca Machel, remains at his bedside.

 

Machel had been scheduled to speak at the “Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science” summit in London on Saturday.

 

She cancelled her attendance on Thursday, Maharaj said.

 

Maharaj said on Saturday doctors were doing everything they could to make Mandela “better and comfortable”.

 

“What I am told by doctors is that he is breathing on his own and I think that is a positive sign,” he said. “Madiba is a fighter and at his age, as long as he is fighting he will be fine,” Maharaj said.

 

Regular hospital visits
On April 6, Mandela was discharged from hospital after spending nine days receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has suffered lung ailments before and has been in and out of hospital.

 

Early in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up and was discharged the following day.

 

In December last year, Mandela underwent an operation to remove gallstones and treat the recurring lung infection. He was discharged after an 18-day stay.

 

In January, the presidency said Mandela had made a full recovery from surgery and continued to improve. In February last year he was admitted to hospital for a stomach ailment.

 

At the time, the presidency said Mandela underwent a diagnostic procedure to investigate the cause of a long-standing abdominal complaint.

 

Routine tests
In January 2011, Mandela was taken to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg for routine tests relating to respiratory problems.

 

Mandela’s last major public appearance was in July 2010 at the final of the World Cup at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.

 

Since then he had spent his time between Johannesburg and his village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

 

Mandela stepped down as president in 1999 after one term in office and has been removed from politics for a decade.

 

He appeared in a brief television clip aired by state television in April during a visit to his home by Zuma.

 

At the time, the ANC assured the public Mandela was “in good shape”, although the footage showed a thin and frail old man sitting expressionless in an armchair with his head propped against a pillow. – Sapa, Reuters and Staff reporter From  the Mail & Guardian.

 

 

Mandela in “serious” condition in hospital

 

 

 

JOHANNESBURG – Former South African President and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was in a “serious but stable” condition after being taken to hospital early on Saturday with a recurrence of a lung infection, the government said.

 

The 94-year-old, who became the first black leader of Africa’s biggest economy in 1994 after historic all-race elections, has been in hospital three times since December. He has been battling the infection for several days, a statement said.

 

“This morning at about 1:30 a.m. (7.30 p.m. EDT on Friday) his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital. He remains in a serious but stable condition,” the government said.

 

The wording of the government statement, in particular the use of the word “serious”, is clear cause for concern to South Africa’s 53 million people, for whom Mandela remains a potent symbol of the struggle against decades of white-minority rule.

 

However, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told local television that “doctors have assured us he is comfortable”.

 

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate stepped down as president in 1999 after one term in office and has been removed from politics for a decade.

 

His last appearance in public was at the final of the soccer World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010. He appeared in a brief television clip aired by state television in April during a visit to his home by President Jacob Zuma.

 

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) assured the public Mandela was “in good shape”, although the footage showed a thin and frail old man sitting expressionless in an armchair with his head propped against a pillow.

 

“TOO MUCH A SAINT”

 

Since his withdrawal from public life, he has divided his time between his plush Johannesburg home and Qunu, the village in the impoverished Eastern Cape where he was born and spent his early years.

 

Mandela spent nearly three weeks in hospital in December with a lung infection and after surgery to remove gallstones.

 

That was his longest stay in hospital since his release from prison in 1990 after serving almost three decades behind bars or on the Robben Island prison camp for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government.

 

His history of lung problems dates back to his years on Robben Island, where he contracted tuberculosis.

 

Although he remains deeply revered, Mandela is not without his detractors both at home and in the rest of Africa. Some of them feel he made too many concessions to the white minority in the post-apartheid settlement.

 

Despite more than 10 years of policies aimed at redressing the balance, whites still control much of the economy and an average white household earns six times more than a black one.

 

“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks),” Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 89, said in a documentary aired on South African television this month.

 

“That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.” – Reuters The Zimbabwe Herald.

 

South Sudan’s cabinet holding an emergency meeting on oil shutdown

 

June 9, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s cabinet is in an emergency meeting today in response to the recent development on announcement by the Sudan’s president Omer Hassan Al Bashir to close the oil pipeline and shut down the South’s oil transport through its sea port.

 

President Al Bashir on Saturday announced he had ordered his petroleum minister, Awad Al Jaz, to close the oil pipeline and cut off South Sudan’s oil. Bashir accused South Sudan of supporting rebels of the SPLM-N.

 

A reliable source close to the cabinet told Sudan Tribune that the emergency meeting called by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, has been going on for the last two hours discussing the action Juba will take in response to the development.

 

The two countries have signed a matrix and mechanisms for implementing the cooperation agreements including the proposed formation of a high level committee co-chaired by the two countries’ vice presidents, Ali Osman Taha and Riek Machar.

 

However the proposed committees have not been formed, leaving the two sides with no high level forums to resolve the outstanding issues.

 

Sudan Tribune will bring details on the unfolding resolution of the cabinet.

 

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here follows the latest sub-Saharan African comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from media websites across the continent, and down to the Cape:

 

 

 

Opinion and Comment Contents:

 

South Africa: NELSON MANDELA: THE LAST GREAT AFRICAN KING RECEIVES AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT

 

Africa: Voluntary HIV testing targets five million workers by 2015

 

Uganda: The triumph of press freedom

 

 

Kenya: ‘Mad woman’ who rattled the British

 

 

 

NELSON MANDELA: THE LAST GREAT AFRICAN KING RECEIVES AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT (see News, Mandela stable in hospital)

 

By Humanitas Afrika

 

Johannesburg, South Africa
Global icon Nelson Mandela officially received an early birthday gift: a copy of the concise classic 100 GREATEST AFRICAN KINGS AND QUEENS. He turns 95 on 18 JULY.

 

Receiving the book on his behalf, Dr Makaziwe Mandela (60), the oldest surviving child of Nelson Mandela recounted her lineage and what defined his father.

 

‘The name Mandela originated from our great grandfather Mandela, who was born in 1820. He was the son of King Ngubengcuka, the fourth Monarch of the aba Thembu. Mandela gave birth to Chief Mphakanyisa Henry Gadla Mandela, and he gave birth to our father Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela. It is also so that Nelson Mandela’s development, beliefs and convictions, including his principled stand on inclusivity were derived from sitting at the feet of his elders. It is this African value that has made him the world icon that he is today.’

 

Ama Commey , the 11- year- old daughter of the author Pusch Commey quipped on presenting the book. ‘ That will make Nelson Mandela the last great African King. Number 100. Isn’t that so Daddy?’

 

The first volume covers 10 illustrious Kings and Queens with breathtaking original illustrations. They range from the alluring Cleopatra V11 of Egypt to the richest man who ever lived, Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali. According to Pusch Commey, there are 9 more volumes of 90 Monarchs to come, who like Mandela, were magnificent examples of leadership, as well as great representatives of Africa. The book was written to inspire the continent. It has been adapted as The Glory of African Kings and Queens , for children.

 

HNelson Mandela’s legacy after his reconciliation project was focussed on children. The Nelson Mandela Children’s fund has been active on the educational front. The state -of- the -art Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital is in its completion stage. The man himself spent a great deal of energy during his retirement to persuade captains of industry to build schools for children, and promote non-racialism.

 

‘ The House of Mandela will carry this torch with pride. My career background is that of a social worker. Working with children has been my passion’ said Dr Makaziwe Mandela

 

She added ‘ The greatest service to Tata’s (father) memory is what he sacrificed for , and what was dear to his heart; a better non-racial world for all children, our future. The past is behind us. We learn our lessons from thepast. For many years he celebrated his birthday parties with a host of children at his hometown in Qunu. In his old age he has been surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. ‘

 

As the immense legacy of the icon is pondered, Makaziwe is in no doubt where that legacy is going to be invested.

 

The book 100 Greatest African Kings and Queens is currently available online at http://www.amazon.com and all major online bookshops. Hardcopies are available from Real African Publishers (www.realafricanpublishers.com), who also published the bestselling Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen. Nelson Mandela’s royal book gift launches in Johannesburg in September for distribution to bookshops globally, to be followed by launches in various capitals around the world.  From Modern Ghana.

 

Voluntary HIV testing targets five million workers by 2015

 

About 40 per cent of people living with HIV, the virus that causes Aids, don’t know their status and are missing out on accessing treatment, according to a recent statement from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

 

In many countries, this figure is higher than 50 per cent as further stated in a statement that ILO released on Thursday.

 

It’s in this regard, therefore that ILO supported by UNAIDS, has launched a new initiative dubbed the VCT@WORK initiative, (voluntary counselling and testing) to reach five million workers with voluntary and confidential HIV counselling and testing by 2015.

 

This is part of the ILO’s efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal 6 and the global target of reaching 15 million people living with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment by 2015.

 

The VCT@WORK initiative is therefore a key component of the ILO’s “Getting to Zero at Work” campaign, which was jointly launched with UNAIDS and WHO on World AIDS Day 2012.

 

This initiative will further ensure that people who test positive are referred to HIV services for care and support, and treatment if needed.

 

Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director of UNAIDS called upon workplaces to embrace this new initiative which will help expand access to HIV testing within a healthy, enabling environment and linking to on-going support including treatment.

 

ILO’s Director General, Guy Ryder,   urged all ministries of labour, employers’ and workers’ organisations to join forces and turn this target into reality.

 

Ryder further stated that in order to reach this goal, there is need to work together to ensure that all workplaces are free of stigma and discrimination.

 

“The countdown to 2015 has begun; let us make each day count. We want to use the mobilising power of the ILO to encourage five million working women and men to undertake voluntary HIV testing by 2015,” Ryder said.

 

India has already launched a national VCT@WORK programme while South Africa and Tanzania are expected to do the same in a few months time.

 

HIV/Aids in Rwanda

 

On average, more than two million people in Rwanda go for HIV testing every year according to Doctor Sabin Nsanzimana, the Coordinator of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) care and treatment at Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

 

Uptake of HIV testing has also increased, with 37.7 percent of men and 38.6 percent of women having received results of an HIV test within the past 12 months according to the 2010 Rwanda Demographic Health Survey (RDHS).

 

This is more than triple in comparison with the 11.0 percent of men and 11.6 percent of women testing and receiving results according to the RDHS 2005.

 

HIV prevalence among the general population aged 15-49 years in Rwanda is 3.0 percent; according to the 2010 RDHS. HIV prevalence is higher among women (3.7percent) than men (2.2 percent) and higher in urban areas (7.1 percent) than in rural areas (2.3 percent).

 

According to UNAIDS, it is estimated that seven million people currently eligible for treatment are not accessing it. From The Sunday Times.

 

The triumph of press freedom

 

BY ANDREW M. MWENDA

The closure and reopening of Daily Monitor and Red Pepper exposed the weaknesses, not the strength, of the state

Finally, the government re-opened Daily Monitor and its affiliate radio stations KFM and Dembe on the one hand and the Red Pepper and her sister newspapers Kamunye and Hello Uganda on the other. For many observers, the closure of these newspapers was a blow to press freedom.

This is perhaps true for those concerned with short-term tactical maneuvers. Strategically, the closure of the two daily newspapers and government’s eventual withdraw was a triumph for the cause of a free press.

Since they captured power, President Yoweri Museveni personally and the NRM organisationally have simultaneously facilitated (for the most part) and occasionally suppressed press freedom in Uganda.

 

Museveni and NRM might have won many battles against individual newspapers and journalists but they will certainly lose the war against media freedom. This is because they can close individual newspapers and jail journalists but they can never imprison the idea of freedom of expression – because it lives in the hearts of many.

The foundation of a free press in Uganda is rooted in our nation’s history, from the colonial period to date. So press freedom enjoys a broad consensus in our country. This is not to say, as some commentators present it, that we have an angelic press and a devilish government. I have been in Uganda’s press long enough to know our professional weaknesses and to claim perfection in the media.

Nonetheless, press freedom enjoys greater legitimacy in Uganda than say in Rwanda where it was de-legitimised by the role media and journalists played in the genocide. This legitimacy is the ideological fortress rooted in our nation’s psych that NRM can occasionally assault but never destroy.

Added to this ideological fortress is the fact that Uganda has sustained rapid economic growth for 25 years largely because of a liberal macroeconomic framework. This has facilitated the growth of a large and diversified private sector which has grown in tandem with a large and increasingly more educated middleclass. Yet, although Museveni and NRM have been central to this progressive change, their political behavior has at times remained locked up in the 1980s.

Thus, where the private sector is increasingly attracting the best educated and skilled, the state in Uganda is largely, not entirely, still recruiting mediocre operatives with little sense of how to handle an increasingly sophisticated society in a changing global environment.

This failure was evident in the closure of the Monitor and Red Pepper. For instance, even if we assumed, just for argument’s sake, that government had legitimate grievances against these two media houses, could this justify their closure, albeit temporarily? Secondly, if these grievances were strong, were there no alternative ways to address them other than closing down newspapers? Did anyone in government ask these questions?

I know that Museveni made efforts to open and keep dialogue with the Managing Director of Monitor Publications, Alex Asiimwe, when the David Tinyefuza story broke. He telephoned him a couple of times to express his concerns and share views on the story – the last call being two days before police shut down the Monitor offices.

In all these calls, Museveni seemed understanding. Why did this effort collapse so suddenly? Who were the people within the state who tilted the balance away from the President’s initial approach? Was Museveni a long ranger in his camp?

I got involved in many informal discussions on opening both media houses. I was keen to identify people within government who felt the action was high handed or who, even if they had initially supported it, were open minded enough to listen to alternative views. I was pleased to find many willing and understanding ears.

The lesson I got from this experience is that there are many internal surrogates within the state who can facilitate the cause of media freedom. Therefore, the freedom of the press will be strengthened by battles with the state and dialogue with it.

All too often, the debate about anything in Uganda tends to get polarised around two poles. Those in government accuse their opponents of being subversives and terrorists and use the state to either beat them on the streets or throw then in jail.

Their opponents take a similar stance accusing those in government of being thieves (which they often are anyway) and of being bloodthirsty hounds who should be kicked out of office and killed or jailed. This is not the kind of discourse that builds a democracy.

Having been involved in public debates on democracy in Uganda for nearly 20 years now, I have become more realistic and therefore able to tolerate the delusions of our elites with more patience today than before. I now know that when given any small amount of power, human beings will try to use it arbitrarily – if there are no sanctions for doing so.

This is most pronounced on Facebook, Twitter and on The Independent website. There, Museveni critics have their day to prove their values. Their only weapon is a keyboard and access to internet; their damage is to people’s reputations. There, they indulge in character assassination without fear or restraint.

Clearly, if the same people commanded the police, as Museveni does, they would not hesitate to use it as arbitrarily as him. The difference between them and Museveni is not over values but position: he is in power and they are not. Clearly, when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

As reporters, editors and publishers, we also have power to publish stories which can inflict grievous harm on businesses, individuals, governments etc. Our professional ethics require us to be truthful and accurate, fair and balanced and to provide context. We often fail to uphold these ethics ourselves; and The Independent is a major culprit.

Yet these ethics are not enough. For example, should the only justification for publishing a story or a picture be that it is true and we have the evidence? My view is that if we are to publish a story, especially one that can harm a group, an organisation or endanger national security, it should NOT be justified ONLY by showing that it is true. We also need to show that there was also an overriding right of the public to know. From The Independent.

 

 

 

 

POSTED ON SUNDAY, JUNE 9TH, 2013

 

By Daniel Abia

 

Snr Correspondent P/Harcourt

 

A retired university don, Professor Kimse Okoko says he would not hesitate to volunteer information on the corrupt practices of the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo while he held sway as the country’s president for eight years.

 

Okoko said that he has enough evidence to convince any anti-graft agency that want to probe the former president on his administration’s involvement in several corrupt cases.

 

Speaking in an exclusive interview on his return from medical checks outside the country, the former Professor of Political Science from the University of Port Harcourt said Obasanjo’s government was “mercilessly corrupt”.

 

Reacting to the recent statement made by the Presidency that it was not prepared to probe the past administration, Okoko said that if the presidency says it does not have any evidence against Obasanjo’s excesses, then “they have thrown a challenge to Nigerians”.

 

He urged people to come up with strong evidence and proof against the former president because “Obasanjo’s administration was mercilessly corrupt. If this government says it does not want to probe the past administration, they must have their reason for saying so. In this country, I have never seen at the federal level where a particular government is probing the previous one. It has never happened. It has been a negative precedence.

 

“Those who have any evidence should show up and say yes I have information against this man or this or that government. Government has thrown up a challenge and I am hoping that people will take up that challenge and come up with concrete evidence. And at that point if they still say they don’t have evidence to probe the past administration, then the fight against corruption will not take us anywhere. The fight against corruption must not respect any person at all. Everybody must be treated equally in this process,” Okoko said.

 

The former president of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, said that he would personally testify against the former President if invited to do so.

 

“If they call me as a person, I will give evidence. It is on record that the past administration spent N500billion for road construction across the country. Let them show us how many roads they constructed and at what cost. Those people who were in the system then are still living. There are insiders who have documents also. From the Daily Independent.

 

‘Mad woman’ who rattled the British

 

 

By FRED OLUOCH foluoch@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Thursday, June 6   2013 at  05:03

 

IN SUMMARY

 

  • Archival records show that Charles Hobley, who was the Coast provincial commissioner from 1912 to 1919, attributed most of the responsibility for Giriama resistance against colonial labour and taxation policies to “an old blind rascal named Ngonyo” who “instigated a half-mad woman named Katilili to tour the country preaching active opposition to Government.”
  • But the British were not just sitting by. Mekatilili and a male leader of the Giriama resistance, Wanje wa Mwadorikola, were arrested in October 1913 and sentenced to five years detention.
  • Mekatilili was variously described by the British as a “witch” and a “prophetess who gave additional force to the oath in spreading the gospel of violence”.

 

Mekatilili wa Menza may have been in the freedom struggle scene for a short time, but her contribution in raising the African consciousness among the Giriama people of the Coast was immense.

 

Mekatilili was one of the first women in Kenya to rise up against the British in 1913. Her bravery, oratorical power and charisma earned her a huge following and saw her mobilise the Giriama to take oaths and offer sacrifices to restore their sovereignty.

 

Initially, her concern was the breakdown of the Giriama culture amid British influence and she pushed for a return to the traditional Giriama governance system. By extension, it created resistance to the authority of the British and the appointed headmen, the latter whom she accused of betraying the Giriama for rewards.

 

Mekatilili was particularly against the issue of labour recruitment. At the time, the British were putting increasing economic pressure on the Giriama, through taxation, attempts to control trade in palm wine and ivory, and by the recruitment of young men to work on plantations and public works projects.

 

Mekatilili’s anguish was over the growing disintegration of the Giriama, so she called upon her people to save their sons and daughters from getting lost in the British ways.

 

While her rebellion lasted for only one year, from 1913 to 1914, it had considerable impact on the relations between the British and the locals.

 

The British won the war against the Giriama, who were forced into a stringent peace settlement.

 

But, in the long term, the British government removed land restrictions and lightened labour demands.

 

The Giriama achieved the main goals for which they had originally fought in the longer term, but the virtual withdrawal of the colonial administration from the Giriama hinterland may have contributed to its isolation and economic stagnation to date.

 

Born in the 1840s, Mekatilili was the only daughter in a poor family of five children. Historians attribute her strong feelings on the issue of labour to a personal tragedy, in that one of her brothers was captured in front of her eyes by Arab slave traders.

 

She married but was later widowed, which gave her more freedom to move around as a woman leader.

 

“We are not to fear the Europeans,” she thundered in many of her gatherings, which in most cases ended in taking of powerful oaths that effectively prevented all Giriama from co-operating with the colonial administration.

 

Colonial hut tax

 

 

 

Mekatilili opposed forced labour in British-owned rubber and sisal plantations, the colonial hut tax (forcing every family to give money to the British), land seizure evictions from the fertile Sabaki River Valley and restricted consumption of palm wine.

 

To attract the crowds to her meetings, she used to move from one village to another dancing Kifudu, a revered dance that was performed only during funeral ceremonies. The women would follow her, their men in tow.

 

Archival records show that Charles Hobley, who was the Coast provincial commissioner from 1912 to 1919, attributed most of the responsibility for Giriama resistance against colonial labour and taxation policies to “an old blind rascal named Ngonyo” who “instigated a half-mad woman named Katilili to tour the country preaching active opposition to Government.”

 

She was instrumental in the most important meeting held in Kaya Fungo, the ritual centre of the Giriama, in July and August 1913, where she “led the discussions and complained about labour demands and the jurisdiction of the traditional elders being undermined”.

 

She said the wages which headmen received gave the government the belief that they had a right to demand cheap labour.

 

But the British were not just sitting by. Mekatilili and a male leader of the Giriama resistance, Wanje wa Mwadorikola, were arrested in October 1913 and sentenced to five years detention.

 

The two were deported to the far west of Kenya, Mumias, but escaped a few months later and walked back home to continue with the resistance.

 

The British were mesmerised by how she could have walked such a distance through the forest infested with dangerous wild animals. She was again arrested, this time to be sent north to the Somalia border area. Again, she escaped.

 

Gospel of violence

 

 

 

Mekatilili was variously described by the British as a “witch” and a “prophetess who gave additional force to the oath in spreading the gospel of violence”.

 

But her powerful oaths were not to fight the colonialists, but to try to win back those Giriama who had transferred their loyalties to the British.

 

Despite her exploits, Mekatilili, who died in 1925 at the age of 70, was not recognised among Kenyan freedom fighters until October 20, 2010, the first Mashujaa Day, when her statue was unveiled at Uhuru Garden — renamed Mekatilili wa Menza Garden — in her honour.

 

Please put any comment or constructive cricitism that you may have, however trenchant and all welcomed, as to how we can improve this service, into the box provided at the foot of the blog.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

LATEST SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, 8/6/2013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings from Barnet, north London. Below please find the latest sub-Saharan African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from media websites right across the continent and down to the Cape.

We have had some requests for a more uniform formatting than previously presented, when we reproduced that in which the stories and articles appeared. So for your ease of reading and also should you wish to extract the stories or articles yourselves, we have formatted today’s blog mostly apart from the Contents and headlines in standard printers Times Roman 14 point.

We at the Africa Centre are always open to suggestions or comments, however trenchant, as to how we might best improve this service; it is yours, an inclusive one, and as previously related, our ultimate goal is a sub-Saharan nexus of information which will further the democratic aim of freedom of expression, and the betterment generally of sub-Saharan Africans.

 

News Contents:

 

Nigeria: Emergency… Niger hosts fleeing Nigerians

Zimbabwe: U.S. urges Zimbabwe to allow international monitors; ‘SADC cannot stop polls’ – Zanu PF; Tsvangirai meets white farmers privately

South Africa: Marikana inquiry: I saw cops being killed

Ghana: 65 CHINESE IN THE COOLER …Helicopter Surveillance Expose Massive Illegal Mining Operations; Ghana to deport over 150 Chinese for illegal mining

Sudan: Sudan police tear-gas anti-govt protest: witnesses

Nigeria: Explosive diffused in Kaduna

Nigeria: Drug: NDLEA reads riot act to airlines; Three arrested with hard drugs at Lagos Airport

Uganda: Tighten measures on errant soldiers, UPDF told

Kenya: Nyeri Mau Mau cry foul in pay deal

Sierra Leone: Mendes now lead Sierra Leone Army… As allegations of tribalism in military prove untrue

Sierra Leone: In Sierra Leone, Sylvia Blyden Warns Journalists

Ghana: Chiefs, elders of Nyankpala given ultimatum to reintegrate banished ‘witch’

Comment and Opinion Contents:

Ghana: Media expert, human rights lawyer dismiss GJA’s anti-gay moral crusade

Rwanda: The untold story of Buhanga, the coronation ground

Emergency… Niger hosts fleeing Nigerians

Posted by: New York Times on June 7, 2013

For the soldiers, the young men’s long, flowing robes — the traditional garb of Muslim West Africa — were enough to establish guilt, the refugees said.

“As soon as they see you with clothing like this, they shoot,” said Abukar Ari, a Koranic teacher in a long robe who said he had fled across the border from Nigeria two weeks before. “They don’t ask any questions. I’ve seen them shoot people. Yes, I’ve seen them shoot.”

Other refugees in the registration lines of thousands who had fled Nigeria’s combat zone echoed these assertions, saying civilians were being killed there by soldiers unconcerned with the distinction between militants and innocents. Friends and neighbors were being shot, they said; young men were being rounded up at night; and citizens with the vertical ethnic scarring of the Kanuri, a group dominant in the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, were being taken away.

“They are killing people without asking who they are,” said Laminou Lawan, a student who said he had fled here 10 days before. “When they see young men in traditional robes, they shoot them on the spot. They catch many of the others and take them away, and we don’t hear from them again.”

Laminou Lawan, a student, said Nigerian soldiers had been attacking young men just because they wore traditional robes.

Nearly three weeks ago, Nigeria launched what it depicted as an all-out land and air campaign to crush the Boko Haram insurgency, using thousands of troops, vehicles and even fighter jets and helicopter gunships just over the border from here, where Nigerian officials say the insurgents have their stronghold.

The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, suggesting that he was fed up with the four-year uprising by Boko Haram, announced “extraordinary measures” in his country’s north and placed a large part of it under a state of emergency, ordering troops to “take all necessary action” to end an insurgency that he said was now threatening the country’s foundations.

Nigeria’s foreign partners, including the United States, which considers the country an important ally in the fight against Islamist militancy, have watched warily, with Secretary of State John Kerry pointedly warning the Nigerian military about what he called “credible allegations” that Nigerian forces had committed “gross human rights violations” in the period before the offensive began.

Last month, more than 200 people were killed in what local officials, residents and human rights groups say was a sweeping massacre by Nigerian forces in the nearby village of Baga, in northern Nigeria. Analysts have long questioned whether Nigeria’s heavy-handed counterinsurgency strategy, which has resulted in numerous civilian deaths since 2009, may be having the opposite effect of the one intended, increasing anger at the Nigerian state and driving new recruits to the militants.

Thousands of refugees have crossed into Niger, many saying their government’s fight against Islamists makes no distinction between militants and civilians.

But Mr. Kerry has not specifically raised the question of human rights abuses during the latest offensive, and for a good reason: it is difficult to get a clear idea of what is happening. Since its start, much of northern Nigeria has been under a communications blackout, as cellphone service has been cut, physical access has been limited and information restricted to a series of military communiqués. They have announced the “capture and destruction” of Boko Haram camps, the deaths of “high-profile” Boko Haram members and other “terrorists,” the “disarray” of militants, the discovery and destruction of weapons caches, and the “securing” of various towns and settlements in the north from Boko Haram.

Nigerian military spokesmen have been at pains to deny any misconduct against civilians during the campaign, trying to reassure the country’s allies by announcing that they were pleased soldiers were sticking to what they called “the rules of engagement.” A spokesman did not respond Friday to a request for comment on the refugees’ accounts.

But some of the refugees who have massed here in this remote border village at the far eastern edge of Niger — there are at least 5,000 of them, and possibly as many as 10,000 in the area, officials say — described the fighting in terms that varied widely from the military communiqués.

Their testimony is among the first independent accounts of the Nigerian military’s offensive, and they spoke of indiscriminate bombing and shooting, unexplained civilian deaths, nighttime roundups of young men by security forces. All spoke of a climate of terror that had pushed them, in the thousands, to flee for miles through the harsh and baking semidesert, sometimes on foot, to Niger. A few blamed Boko Haram — a shadowy, rarely glimpsed presence for most residents — for the violence. But the overwhelming majority blamed the military, saying they had fled their country because of it.

They had come from multiple villages in Nigeria to one of the poorest nations on earth, overwhelming local officials. But at least here, they said, the soldiers of the Republic of Niger are drowsing under a giant tree at the border, not pointing their guns at the civilians who continue to cross it.

“The military just opens fire and kills people, and throws bombs and kills people, for no reason,” said Abubakar Ali, a shoe salesman waiting in one of the registration lines. “That is why you see these people here,” he said, pointing out at the crowd. “That is what is happening now in Nigeria.”

Others in the crowd said that friends and neighbors had been shot during the offensive. They could not always identify the source of the shooting, but they could easily identify the victims.

“I’ve seen the wounded; these are people I know,” said Muhammad Yacoubu, a farmer.

“The military are looking for Boko Haram, but if they don’t find them, they take revenge,” said Moustapha Ali, a shopkeeper.

Ousmane Boukari, a herdsman, said, “They bombed on Saturday, and they missed their targets; they’re just firing at random, they don’t even know where the Boko Haram are.”

Modu Goni, another refugee, said: “At night you hear the shooting, and in the morning you find the bodies, people from the village. When you see your friends dead, it’s scary.”

Others spoke of seizures of young men by security forces, a pattern already established in the insurgents’ stronghold city of Maiduguri, according to residents there.

“The soldiers took the young men away, at least 10 of them, at night; it’s at night that they make their raids,” said Sherrif Alhadji Abdu, another refugee. “They band their eyes, and take them away. They took away my friends.”

At the edge of this village, some of the refugees have erected crude reed shelters in the sand, or simply posted sticks in the ground and placed rags over them. Abou Boukar, a farmer, had just finished building a reed hut. Anything was better than staying in Nigeria, he said. Boko Haram had built a camp near his village. The next day, he saw a Nigerian air force plane flying overhead.

“This doesn’t look good,” he recalled saying to himself. And then he fled to Niger. From The Nation/New York Times.

 

 

U.S. urges Zimbabwe to allow international monitors

 

Reuters

WASHINGTON – The United States on Friday urged Zimbabwe to allow outside observers led by a regional consortium of African nations to monitor elections to ensure the vote is peaceful and credible.

 

The 15-member Southern African Development Community, which includes South Africa, has called a summit this weekend to help Zimbabwe raise an estimated $132 million needed for an election.

The regional group, which includes South Africa, wants to avoid a rerun of a disputed poll five years ago, which sparked violence and prompted a flood of refugees into neighbouring countries.

Zimbabwe’s constitutional court told President Robert Mugabe on May 31 to hold elections before the end of July, in a ruling on an application by a Zimbabwean citizen demanding that an election date be set before the current parliament expires next month.

Mugabe, 86, Africa’s oldest head of state, has clung to power since independence from Britain in 1980 and will face his long-time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, in an election.

“The United States sincerely hopes Zimbabwe will hold peaceful, credible presidential and parliamentary elections this year,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing.

“We believe the credibility of these elections would be enhanced if a broad range of international monitors led by the Southern African Development Community were accredited to observe,” Psaki said, adding: “This would help to verify that the elections are truly representative of the will of the Zimbabwean people.”

Although there is no formal opinion poll, surveys in the last year by Freedom House, a U.S. political think tank, and African research group Afro-Barometer have given Mugabe a narrow lead over Tsvangirai.

The country’s finance minister said on May 28 uncertainty over the election was pushing the country’s fragile economy closer to recession. A repeat of the 2008 election violence could end Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.

On Friday, the International Monetary Fund said it was willing to negotiate an economic monitoring program with Zimbabwe, the first step in a process that could see the country fully restore relations with the global lender and donors. From the Zimbabwe Mail/Reuters.

 

‘SADC cannot stop polls’ – Zanu PF

HARARE – President Mugabe’s party Zanu PF says the postponement of the special summit on Zimbabwe which was set for Maputo, Mozambique will not stop the country from preparing for the harmonised elections.

Regional mediators are consulting to set a date for the summit, after one scheduled for Sunday was abruptly called off on Thursday, she told reporters in Pretoria.

SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao this Wednesday confirmed that the special summit on Zimbabwe had been postponed indefinitely.

A new date has not been set for a regional summit to assess Zimbabwe’s readiness for general elections, South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Friday.

Zanu PF’s Secretary for Information and Publicity, Rugare Gumbo complained that though SADC is yet to give reasons for the indefinite postponement of the special summit that had been pencilled for Maputo this weekend, the development has no bearing on Zimbabwe’s preparations for elections in compliance with the Constitutional Court hearing.

Turning to other political leaders who have set conditions for the holding of elections, Gumbo said they must read between the lines that SADC understands that elections are overdue in Zimbabwe and will not continue to entertain cheap politicking meant to delay the polls.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: “The date for such an extra-ordinary summit always gets decided upon by the availability and programmes of heads of state, creating space for this meeting. It’s not an ordinary, scheduled meeting.”

President Jacob Zuma – who has led SADC’s efforts to facilitate negotiations between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and the MDC formations was expected to present his latest report to the meeting.

Media reports on Friday suggested that Sunday’s meeting was called off because President Robert Mugabe informed SADC he would not be available for the summit.

The summit was expected to discuss a range of issues, including the cash-strapped n government’s efforts to raise a US$132m election budget.

Last Friday the Constitutional Court ruled that Mugabe should organise elections no later than July 31.

The polls aim to end an uneasy SADC-brokered unity government between Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which was formed in 2009 after deadly disputed elections. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

 

Tsvangirai meets white farmers privately

 

Saturday, 08 June 2013 00:00
Bulawayo bureau
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday met a group of mainly white farmers in a closed door

meeting in Bulawayo, in what observers said was a mission to reassure them that they will get their farms back should he win the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Mr Tsvangirai recently vowed to review Zanu-PF’s indigenisation and economic empowerment drives and said most local farmers who benefited from the highly successful land reform programme would be brought back to urban centres to work in the industries.

More than 300 000 families benefited from the redistribution of land that was previously held by about 6 000 white farmers. In yesterday’s meeting, at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Farmers’ Hall, burly aides blocked journalists from entering the hall.

A number of black farmers who turned up late for the meeting were refused entry by the aides, while two white farmers who also came late, strolled in without being questioned.

A party official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mr Tsvangirai had been nervous about holding the meeting and had to be convinced by his advisors to go ahead with it.

“He said he did not want to be photographed with white farmers again because it could lose him votes. He wanted to have the meeting cancelled or held informally, but his advisors said it would be a blunder if he appeared to snub the farmers,” said the official.

White farmers and Western countries are among the major bank-rollers of the MDC-T as they fight to effect regime change in the country.

“In the meeting, Mr Tsvangirai was not very specific about what he wanted but hinted that he would return farms that were seized in the land reform,” said the official.

After the meeting, the farmers were asked to remain seated as Mr Tsvangirai and his bodyguards left the venue first.

“That was done deliberately so that journalists would not get shots of the Prime Minister with the white farmers. Mr Tsvangirai has often said pictures of white farmers giving him bundles of cash, which were widely circulated in 2000, cost him victory. He said the pictures alienated him from thousands of voters who benefited from the land redistribution exercise,” said another official.

The official said journalists were excluded from yesterday’s meeting because they covered a session in which he was found wanting when Bulawayo residents grilled him about his party’s proposals to reverse the de-industrialisation of the city.

Mr Tsvangirai also held private meetings with religious leaders at the Brethren-In-Christ Church along Fort Street and Masotsha Avenue, and the National Railways of Zimbabwe unions.

He was said to be on a fire-fighting mission in Bulawayo where his MDC-T party is in turmoil.
No comment could be obtained from Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.

However, on Thursday, Mr Tsvangirai refuted reports that his visit to Bulawayo was to try and quell factionalism that has rocked his party in the province.

In Bulawayo Central, racism has threatened to split the MDC-T apart, with some members saying they did not want to be represented by a white person in Parliament and were therefore against the candidature of Ms Nikki Brown in the constituency.

Primary elections held in the city also exposed deep seated factionalism, with observers saying they turned out to be a contest between factions led by the party’s provincial chairperson Mr Gorden Moyo and Mzilikazi Senator, Mr Matson Hlalo.

Members in Makokoba have threatened a protest vote in the elections, saying Mr Moyo had been imposed on a constituency that, according to the party’s policies, was reserved for women candidates.

The party announced that constituencies that were held by women MPs would be contested among women and Makokoba was represented in the House of Assembly by Ms Thokozani Khupe. From The Herald.

 

Marikana inquiry: I saw cops being killed

 

07 JUN 2013 13:09 SAPA

 

The cop in charge of the Marikana operation has described to the Farlam commission how he saw police officers being hacked to death during the unrest.

 

Giving evidence on Friday, North West deputy provincial commissioner Major General William Mpembe said the two officers, Tsietsi Monene and Sello Lepaku, were killed as police escorted striking mineworkers on August 13.

“I heard [tear gas] shooting. I then realised that strikers had turned against police. It wasn’t a very good scene,” he said. “I saw warrant officer Monene being chopped and killed in front of me … I saw how officer Lepaku was killed.”

Several of the officers’ family members were upset by Mpembe’s testimony and left the auditorium in Centurion.

“Captain Baloyi defended himself. At the same time, the police came to his rescue and he was taken to hospital,” said Mpembe.

The strikers robbed the dead officers of their pistols, a shotgun and rifle.

Mpembe said he then decided police should withdraw and return to the joint operations centre.

He later identified the officer who had fired the tear gas when the strikers turned on police. “He said he had heard an order [to fire], but he couldn’t tell me who gave the order,” said Mpembe.

“The emotions were extremely high, but as a senior officer, I tried to cool down the members,” he added.

Blamed for deaths
Previous witnesses testified that police officials had issued threats to Mpembe, blaming him for the deaths of the two officers.

Mpembe said he was approached by Lieutenant colonel Salmon Vermaak, who told him that his life was in danger as other officers blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.

They claimed to have been against Mpembe’s instruction to go after the armed strikers.

Mpembe, who is the deputy provincial commissioner responsible for operational matters, said he told Vermaak he would not withdraw from the operation until he had handed over to Major General Ganasen Naidoo.

The commission heard the officers were killed just several hours after Mpembe’s arrival at Marikana. He said he had been on leave and was called to Marikana by provincial police commissioner Luzuko Mbombo that morning.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega then appointed him overall commander of the operation.

Mpembe told the commission that since completing his basic police training in 1996, he had received extensive training in crowd management.

Probe continues
Vuyani Ngalwana, for the police, is leading Mpembe in delivering his evidence-in-chief.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the circumstances that led to the deaths of 44 people during the unrest at Lonmin’s Platinum mine in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers on August 16. Another 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Mpembe, led by Vuyani Ngalwana, is delivering his evidence-in-chief before the commission.

President Jacob Zuma has said he would not fire Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for the Marikana shooting because he viewed it as a mistake, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Thursday. – Sapa  From the Mail & Guardian.

 

65 CHINESE IN THE COOLER …Helicopter Surveillance Expose Massive Illegal Mining Operations

By Emmanuel Akli

The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce set up by President John Mahama on May 14, this year, to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the country, has swung into full gear with the arrest and detention of illegal miners, whose activities are causing severe harm to water bodies and the environment as a whole.

Information reaching The Chronicle from a credible source indicates that with the full support of the National Security, the taskforce has now used a helicopter survey to identify all areas where these illegal mining activities are going on in the country.

The information obtained through the helicopter surveillance, The Chronicle gathered, had been handed over to the police and the military, which have started swooping on these illegal Ghanaian miners and their Chinese counterparts.

The Chronicle was told that a military cum police taskforce was dispatched from Accra on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, to arrest and seize equipment being used by the illegal miners.

The Chronicle can report on authority that the taskforce arrested as many as 65 Chinese illegal miners, whose activities were causing havoc to the environment. A source close to the taskforce told The Chronicle that 29 of the Chinese were arrested at the Dunkwa mining district in the Western Region, whilst the remaining 36 were arrested from various locations in the Ashanti Region. All the 65 Chinese have, since, been transported to Accra, awaiting their repatriation.

A source contacted at the Ghana Immigration Service confirmed the story, and said in line with President Mahama’s directive to deport all foreign illegal miners, they were processing the 65 Chinese who are being detained by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for repatriation back to China.

The Chronicle gathered that some of the arrested Chinese were found to using heavy duty equipment and other sophisticated machines, thereby causing substantial damage to the environment.

Some were even using the latest Toyota Land Cruisers to transport fuel from Kumasi, Obuasi and other large towns to the remote villages, where they were operating.

At the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce, which is headed by the Minister of Land and Natural Resources, President John Mahama directed them to seize all equipment used by those illegal miners, who fail to comply with the new directives of obtaining licenses or renewing their licenses.

He also directed them to arrest and prosecute anybody, both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, involved in small-scale illegal mining.  He further mandatedthem to deport all non-Ghanaians involved in small-scale mining, and also revoke the licenses of Ghanaians who had sub-leased their concessions to non-Ghanaians against the rules.

The President also tasked the taskforce to revoke the licenses of Ghanaians who had engaged the services of non-Ghanaian miners in the small-scale mining sector, in ways that are contrary to the rules. Municipal and District Chief Executives  (MMDCEs) and their respective District Security Councils (DISECs) were also to be held accountable for any illegal mining activity in their areas of jurisdiction.

“There is no doubt that the introduction of heavy equipment has compounded the destructive nature of small-scale mining. While traditional mining with pick, shovel and panning may have caused harm, such harm was on a small scale.

The question then is, how do these heavy equipment get to the sites? Who imports them? Who sells them? And who transports them to the various sites?” President Mahama asked, and directed the police to confiscate or disable any mechanical equipment, bulldozers, diggers, conveyor belts and water pressuresystems not licensed by the appropriate authorities.
“In constituting this Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on illegal small-scale mining, I am sending a clear signal to the offending individuals and groupings that government will not allow their activities to cause conflict, dislocation, environmental degradation, and unemployment, when, in fact, the sector should benefit our communities and help develop Ghana,” President Mahama added. From the Modern Chronicle.

 

Ghana to deport over 150 Chinese for illegal mining

By AFP

ACCRA (AFP) – More than 150 Chinese citizens arrested in Ghana for illegal mining will be deported next week but will not face criminal charges, an immigration official said Friday.

The 169 arrests have been carried out since June 1 across the west African country and particularly in the central Ashanti region, a major gold-mining hub.

“I believe by the middle of next week we should have repatriated them,” Michael Amoako-Atta, a spokesman at the Ghana Immigration Service, told AFP.

He had earlier said roughly 100 had been detained, but later said the figure had reached 169.

Amoako-Atta said some of the Chinese nationals were to be presented at a magistrates court Friday in the capital Accra, where authorities would seek permission to detain them until they are sent home.

The group is currently being kept in a series of holding cells at an immigration building in Accra. From Modern Ghana/AFP,

Sudan police tear-gas anti-govt protest: witnesses

By AFP

 

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudanese police on Friday fired tear gas after about 200 protesters gathered near a mosque which became a focus of Arab Spring-style protests one year ago, witnesses said.

“The people want the fall of the regime,” protesters shouted, according to the witnesses who said demonstrators also denounced high food prices.

Witnesses said the protest occurred after prayers at the mosque linked to an opposition party, Umma, in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

Demonstrators made the same calls in June and July last year when when scattered anti-regime protests sparked by inflation spread around the country.

They later petered out following a security clampdown.

A separate spurt of anti-government rallies occurred in December when hundreds marched in Khartoum’s streets after the death of four students.

Periodic protests over the past year against the 24-year government of President Omar al-Bashir, which calls itself Islamist, have failed to generate mass following like the Arab Spring revolts against authoritarian rulers in North Africa and the Middle East which began in December 2010. From Modern Ghana/AFP.

Explosive diffused in Kaduna

Posted by: TONY AKOWE, KADUNA on June 7, 2013 in News Update Leave a comment

The Police in Kaduna on Friday diffused  an Improvised Explosive Device ( IED) concealed in a computer bag along the busy Junction Road in the heart of the Kaduna metropolis.

The discovery of the device created anxiety and panic among residents of the area as business premises were hurriedly closed as police cordoned off the area leading to heavy traffic build up.

While residents of the area panicked, other residents of the metropolis went about their normal business unaware of the development.

Spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Aminu Lawan confirmed the incident.

“This afternoon, some vigilant passersby saw a suspicious carton placed at the Junction road and immediately called the police. Our anti-bomb squad were mobilised to the place and they confirmed that the computer carton was concealing an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

“The road linking the junctions were condoned off and people nearby were evacuated. The bomb was then safely detonated. There was no injury of any kind. The bomb was not near any worship centre, as some people were insinuating. If anything, it was near the Unity Bank.

“We want to thank these vigilante residents who called the police and we urge everyone to report any suspicious object, persons or movements.

“We call on Kaduna residents to go about their business because there is nothing to worry about, ”Lawan stated. From The Nation.

 

POSTED ON SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH, 2013

By Abel Orukpe 

Correspondent, Lagos

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade, has called on airlines to take all necessary steps to prevent drug trafficking in the country.

This was made known during an emergency meeting of airline managers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) with the agency’s leadership.

The agency also disclosed that the United Kingdom authorities have released the Arik crew member that was allegedly found in possession of cigarettes.

She is currently helping NDLEA officers in the ongoing investigation.

However, the crew member reportedly found with 6kg of substance suspected to be cocaine is still being quizzed in London.

Giade warned that any airline found wanting, shall be penalised, pointing out that section 25 of the NDLEA Act outlined the responsibilities of airlines. “It shall be the duty of every commercial carrier to take reasonable precaution to ensure that its means of transport are not used in the commission of offences under this Act. They are to comply with appropriate security measures at points of entry and exit in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other customs control areas, to prevent unauthorised cargo in its means of transportation”.

The NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Mr Hamza Umar, explained that such precautions as contained in the Act include training of personnel to identify suspicious consignment or persons, promotion of integrity of their personnel and submission of cargo manifests in advance.

Others are use of tamper-resistant, individually verifiable seals on containers and reporting to the agency at the earliest opportunity all suspicious circumstances relating to drug trafficking.

The airlines through their representatives pledged their full cooperation with security measures by authorities in preventing drug trafficking.

Since the incident on Monday, security checks on airline officials have been intensified at the nation’s airports as well all entry and exit points.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Joyce Nkemakolam, has said that the regulatory body would not crucify the two Arik Air crew members arrested in London for allegedly being in possession of drugs, before they are found guilty.

Nkemakolam, who spoke with Saturday Independent in a telephone interview in Lagos on Friday, said the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is still probing the matter, adding that it would be wrong to preempt the outcome of the investigation.

The Acting Director General said the body was still monitoring events as they unfold on the issue, adding that it would be wrong to pass judgment before they are found guilty since they were only alleged to have committed the offence.

According to him, “We will not crucify them before they are found guilty. NDLEA is still investigating. Don’t forget that it is still an allegation. It will be wrong to say they are guilty when investigation is still on.”

On whether the NCAA is in touch with other agencies on the issue, he said the matter falls under the purview of Immigration Service and Customs, assuring that the agency would keep the media informed whenever there are new developments.

Arik Air’s Media Officer, Mr Adebanji Ola, could not be reached for comment but the airline had, on Tuesday, said that it would cooperate with United Kingdom and other agencies in their investigations and that it would not tolerate the use of any of its aircraft or crew as courier of banned items and substances.

NDLEA had received a report indicating that one of the crew members, Temitayo Olubunmi Daramola, was found in possession of 6kg of cocaine while Delita Abibimgbi was found with 60 packets of cigarettes.

Arik Air flight reportedly took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Monday, May 20, 2013 to London with a 10-man crew.  From the Daily Independent.

 

Three arrested with hard drugs at Lagos Airport

By Feyi Afisunlu on June 7, 2013

Three persons who allegedly ingested 161 wraps of narcotics, weighing 3.085kg in Lagos were on Thursday arrested at the Muritala International Airport, Ikeja Lagos. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency,NDLEA has said.

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Ofoyeju Mitchell, the NDLEA said the suspects were apprehended at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

“Two of the suspects were importing the drugs into the country, while one was caught attempting to export the drugs to London.

“One of the suspects alleged that a drug baron was after his life for excreting the drugs at the airport toilet in Doha.”

It said that one of the suspects ingested six wraps of cocaine from Brazil, weighing 0.095kg and another ingested 1.175kg of heroin from Pakistan.

It said that the third person, who had dual citizenship of Nigeria and Germany, ingested 100 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.815kg on his way to London.

The statement said one of the suspects, who is an auto parts dealer, claimed he ingested 80 wraps of drugs but excreted them in Doha.

“He was arrested during the inward screening of passengers on Qatar airline flight.

“While on observation, the suspect excreted 6 wraps of powdery substances that tested positive for cocaine weighing 95 grammes,” it added.

“They promised to pay me 2,000 dollars to smuggle the drugs from Brazil to Doha. When I got to Doha, the person who ought to collect the drug from me failed to show up.

“It was for fear of being caught that made me to dispose the drugs at the airport toilet.

“I never knew that six wraps were left in my stomach. Now, I have been arrested and the owners of the drugs are after my life,” the statement quoted the suspect. From the Daily Post.

ICC says it won’t investigate police killings in Tanzania

 

By Julius Bwahama, The Citizen

Posted  Friday, June 7  2013 at  20:47

IN SUMMARY

 

The Head of the Information and Evidence Unit at ICC, Mr M.P. Dillon, wrote to LHRC announcing the decision not to open the case.

 

According to Mr Dillon, the matters raised by the LHRC and evidence available did not meet the threshold for launching local investigations.

 

Dar es Salaam. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has turned down a petition to investigate Tanzania for alleged extra-judicial killings and gross violation of citizen rights.

The court rejected the appeal filed in September last year by the Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC) asking the Hague-based institution to consider opening an investigation into crimes against humanity and other human rights violations perpetuated by security forces.

The LHRC petition accuses the government of complicity and condoning killings by security forces. It claims at least 237 innocent people have been killed since 2003.

But on Wednesday, the Head of Information and Evidence Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor at ICC, Mr M.P. Dillon, wrote to LHRC announcing the decision not to open the case.

According to Mr Dillon, the matters raised by the LHRC and evidence available did not meet the threshold for launching local investigations.

The claims against Tanzania, he added, did not fall within the court’s jurisdiction as they do not meet the definition of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes as defined in Articles 6 to 8 of the Rome Statute.

In a letter to Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba, the LHRC executive director, Mr Dillon writes: “The prosecutor has, therefore, determined that there is not a basis at this time to proceed further.”

“However, the information you have submitted will be maintained in our archives, and the decision not to proceed may be reconsidered in the light of new facts or information.”

The ICC official advised the petitioner to pursue justice with national authorities within Tanzania or raise the same concerns with other appropriate international authorities.

On Thursday, Dr Kijo-Bisimba told The Citizen on Saturday that the ICC stand will not deter their quest to ensure perpetrators of the crimes are brought to book.

“I am not disappointed even though it would have been better for the ICC to consider an investigation,” she said in an exclusive interview at the LHRC offices in Dar es Salaam.

“But at least our aim to highlight in the international stage human right violations in our country has been achieved.”

“We will soldier on. Most foreigners may be thinking everything is well in the country when internally that is not the case.”

The organisation is also awaiting a response to the same petition from the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extra Judicial Killings and the African Commission on People’s Rights.

The announcement comes amid reports that Tanzania is being considered as a possible location for the ICC to prosecute the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and Radio Journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Mr Ruto and Mr Sang each face three counts of crimes against humanity that spring from the violence that engulfed Kenya after the 2007 presidential elections.

The charges against the accused were confirmed in January 2012 and the trial is scheduled to start on 10 September, 2013.

Last week, ICC judges asked the office of the prosecutor to consider moving part of the proceedings to either Tanzania or Kenya itself for logistical reasons.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also faces crimes against humanity charges over the same episode of post-election violence. His trial is set to start in July.

The two Kenyan leaders, who overcame the ICC obstacle to rise to the country’s top political leadership, have lobbied their African colleagues far and wide to intercede on the matter.

They want the hearings moved closer to home, a position that received overwhelming backing during the recent African Union conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda held talks in Dar es Salaam last March with President Jakaya Kikwete but little is known about their discussions.

The visit was telling, however, as it came around the time of the Kenyan lobbying campaign and a few months after the LHRC forwarded its petition.

Several other African countries have also written to The Hague court seeking intervention in human rights violations.

According to Article 53 of the Rome Statute, the ICC must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed before accepting such invitations. The ICC must also consider the gravity of the alleged crimes.

The court must also consider whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes and whether the interests of justice would be served by an external investigation.

The LHRC petition tracks extrajudicial executions in Tanzania from 2003 to 2012. It says that while the right to life is protected in Article 14 of Tanzania’s constitution, it has been undermined by extra-judicial killings perpetrated mainly by security agencies.

The petition cites torture, murder, brutal evictions, a security clampdown and harassment at opposition party rallies in the list of abuse of people’s rights.

It reports that the killings target mainly political activists, demonstrators, human rights activists, crime suspects and investigative journalists.

The rule of law is heavily undermined, the report adds, when the people lose trust in governance institutions.

The petition further says that the structure and law enforcement mechanism that served the one-party system remain intact. From The Citizen.

Tighten measures on errant soldiers, UPDF told

BY PASCAL KWESIGA

A senior UPDF officer has told commanders of the defense forces to step up control and supervision of armed soldiers to prevent them from escaping with arms from their barracks to commit crimes against civilians.

The outgoing chairman of the General Court Martial, Brig. Fred Tolit observed the need for army commanders to step up control and supervision of all armed soldiers to stop incidents of soldiers sneaking out of their barracks to terrorize innocent civilians.

Tolit made the remarks while addressing leaders and residents in Mpakawero village in Bombo town in Luwero district after sentencing Pte. Patrick Okot Odoch to 90 years for killing ten people, injuring three others, aggravated robbery and failure to protect war materials.

“The control and inspection of guns and those holding them on duty should be improved,” Tolit said.

The army standing orders prohibit soldiers from leaving the barracks in uniforms and with weapons assigned to them. They are also not allowed to get out the barracks without movement orders.

“You have to carry out frequent checks of soldiers under your command to ensure they don’t sneak out and if they do so you should be able to get hold of them before they commit crimes,” he added.

Tolit explained that the fact that Okot escaped from his guard duties unnoticed by his colleagues and killed ten people without quick response from his commanders and the police reveal a big laxity in supervision of armed soldiers and command.

He advised residents to report to the authorities once they spot armed and uniformed soldiers roaming their villages, adding that “This is a wake-up call to the people in this area. Don’t allow this to happen again,”

He asked leaders to always inspect drinking places and close down those they deem not to be secure and conducive for the revelers saying “The bar in which Okot killed ten people was not fit to be a bar. The room was too tiny with one door way.”

Tolit observed that the people residing near Bombo land forces headquarters live in “a complex environment” that requires them to cooperate with leaders of the security forces to ensure that they are secure. From New Vision.

Nyeri Mau Mau cry foul in pay deal

By NATION TEAM nyerinews@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, June 7  2013 at  21:11

IN SUMMARY

  • Efforts by the Saturday Nation team to reach the association’s patron, Mzee Ndung’u wa Gicheru, at his home in Kiawara village in Kieni West to clarify the matter hit a snag after his wife denied journalists access.

 

Members of Mau Mau War Veterans Association in Nyeri County Friday said that none of the freedom fighters in the area is among the 5,228 listed for compensation.

They also claimed that Dedan Kimathi’s family had not been recognized in the list yet they are supposed to be key beneficiaries.

The group asserted that there were more than 6,000 Mau Mau members in the county and the municipality alone had 1,024 members.

The veterans stated that there were many imposters in the list and called for a thorough head count, noting that what the British government was offering was too little, and instead should consider paying Sh200 million per war veteran.

Efforts by the Saturday Nation team to reach the association’s patron, Mzee Ndung’u wa Gicheru, at his home in Kiawara village in Kieni West to clarify the matter hit a snag after his wife denied journalists access.

She said her sick husband was not in a position to talk to the media and was protecting his personal interests.

A former Mau Mau captain, Mr Nderitu Wambugu, said that by the British government accepting that the freedom fighters were subjected to torture means that they had the correct number of those involved and questioned how they came up with 5,228.

He alleged that the British government wanted to divide the freedom fighters into smaller groups and yet all of them fought for Kenya’s independence.

The veterans urged President Kenyatta not to allow the funds to be dispersed until they come up with a clear number of those to be compensated which they claimed to be more than 6,000 adding that no genuine fighter should be left out.

“We don’t have a problem with the Kenyan government, what we want is genuine Mau Mau freedom fighters be compensated,” said Mzee Wambugu.

Reported by James Ngunjiri, Stellar Murumba and Samuel Karanja From the Saturday Nation.

 

Mendes now lead Sierra Leone Army… As allegations of tribalism in military prove untrue

 

By Aruna Turay & Augustine Samba
Jun 7, 2013, 17:20

 

The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is highly constituted of fine, gallant and professional military officers from the South-East of the country with Mende and Sherbro origins to the extent that the number one and number two positions are currently held by South-Easterners. Many in local populace are therefore shocked over recent attempts by sections of the local and international media (particularly Kenya’s NATION MEDIA GROUP) attempting to give a false tribal and regional flavor to the recent decision to retire some officers from the army. The Kenyan article against the President of Sierra Leone written by one Kemo Cham is particularly galling to many Sierra Leoneans who view it as seditious and libelous.
Whilst opposition operatives are insisting in their newspaper tabloids that Brigadier Komba Mondeh and others were retired because they belong to the Mende and other ethnic groups from the South/East, the facts remain that from all indications, the current government and President Koroma still has one hundred percent trust in officers who hail from that part of the country.

Evidently, the two senior most positions in RSLAF, Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, are occupied by officers of Mende and Sherbro origin from the South-East.

 

Brigadier General Samuel Omarr Williams is the Chief of Defence Staff and he is a Mende/Sherbro from the Bonthe district in the opposition dominated Southern Province. He was appointed by President Koroma last year to replace a northerner named Robert Koroma (See Page 3). His Deputy and Number 2 man in the military hierarchy is Brigadier John Edison Milton who is also a Mende from the opposition heartland of Moyamba District. Milton replaced Brigadier Sesay, a Northerner, who was retired from position of Deputy CDS last week at the same time as Mondeh and others.

 

What this means is that the two most senior officers in the current Sierra Leone Armed Forces are South-Eastern Mendes with no tribal and/or regional lineage to President Koroma.

 

In an interview with the newly promoted and appointed Deputy Chief of Defence Staff at his Joint Force Command Office at Cockerill Headquarters on Wilkinson Road in Freetown on Thursday 6th June 2013, he confirmed that he was born in a small village called Nyamiana inside Moyamba’s Mano Dasse chiefdom by a Mende woman from Mano Dasse and a Mende father from Serabu, Bumpeh chiefdom in Bo district, along the highway to Bonthe. He is a trained communications specialist.

 

Brigadier Milton was quite relaxed and confident as he debunked the allegations of tribalism on the part of the Commander In Chief, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

 

The newly promoted Brigadier expressed gratitude for his elevation to the current position of Deputy CDS during the recent promotions.
Speaking of his prowess, Brigadier Militon explained that he has proven his merit both on the field of promoting the image of the military through communication tools as well as on the battlefield. He said upon the restoration of normalcy after the tumultuous period of civil strife in the country, he was appointed as Head of the Media in the army by the then British IMATT deployment in the country.

According to him, this was a trying period for the force as there was a need to restore the force’s dented image in the minds of the public.
He narrated how he succeeded via radio and television talk show and newspaper publications to repair the then dented image.

 

Milton was later promoted to the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel and appointed to head the 2nd Battalion in Kenema at the time.
He spent approximately two years as command head in Daru before being appointed Military Assistant (MA) to the then Deputy Minister of Defence, Joe C. Blell, a position he served until he was sent to Ghana’s Senior Division Staff College.

 

He was in Ghana for a year and returned to Sierra Leone and took up an appointment at Benguma Armed Forces Training Center as the Commandant before being transferred to the Freetown Garrison as Brigade Commander for two years.

 

Thereafter, he was moved to the Ministry of Defence where he served as the acting Director of Military Operations and also doubling as Director of Public Relations and Information for close to a year and half. He later relinquished the position of Director of Military Operations and held on to Director of Public Relations and Information.

 

The gallant officer was later sent to the Defence College in Nigeria where he performed exceptionally and became the best foreign student to graduate from the college that year.

 

Since he joined the military in 1985 after undergoing military training in Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy in Britain and graduated as a Staff Officer, Milton has served in various sectors of the army as commander and has commanded successful military operations including the famous ‘Operation Ranger Storm’ that was geared towards rescuing the abducted British soldiers by the rebels during the war.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Milton was the Joint Force Commander in the RSLAF, a position he has held for close to a year now.

 

The fine gentleman is married to a beautiful wife, Mrs. Zainab Milton and they are blessed with three children, two boys and a girl. He has vowed to serve in his new office diligently and be loyal and faithful to Sierra Leone’s Commander-In-Chief, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

 

All the above revelations explain why opposition elements will never justify the tribal and regional sentiments they are attempting to sell in the retirement of officers found wanton of professional misconduct.

 

It is clear to see that no Mende or South/Easterner was sacked to be replaced with a Temne from the north but rather it was the other way around. Under President Koroma, a Northerner was replaced by a South-Easterner for position of Chief of Defence Staff and again under President Koroma, a Northerner has been replaced by a Mende South-Easterner in to position of Deputy Chief of Defence Staff.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma has meanwhile told Awareness Times that going by the “dangerous trends” in the opposition media, the government would have to “sanitise the media through the use of the Public Order Act of 1965”.

“We cannot have this country slip back into chaos because of unwarranted stoking of negative tribal sentiments and hate speech in our polity. If it means forcing journalists to defend in court what they publish, then so be it. We will do it,” Blyden ended. From Awareness Times.

 

In Sierra Leone, Sylvia Blyden Warns Journalists

By Aruna Turay
Jun 7, 2013, 17:18

 

 

Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma has called on local journalists in Sierra Leone to prepare for a “massive and long overdue sanitisation” of the country’s media landscape. According to Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden who just returned from an 8 days absence out of the country, “it is now apparent that the Independent Media Commission has no intention of using the powers granted them to maintain sanity in the media and so we, as a government, are going to be left with no option but to save the country from sliding backwards at the hands of reckless media practitioners. The only solution is to apply Part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965 and start chargingerrant persons to court for criminal and seditious libel”.
“I returned back to Freetown yesterday after some eight days out of the country. Some of what I met published in the local opposition media during our absence in Japan is just too unbelievable. Such media untruths and gross recklessness aimed at inciting this country into turmoil has to be curtailed. If it means forcing journalists to defend their articles in a courtroom to ensure sanity prevails, then so be it as the Commissioners of the Independent Media Commission continue to exhibit their inadequacy,” Dr. Blyden said.
Meanwhile, the following was an Update from Blyden on FACEBOOK SOCIAL MEDIA yesterday afternoon:


From Sylvia Olayinka Blyden:

I notice all this “noise” being made about tribalism being behind retrenchment of some military officers and also being behind the promotions of others. Worse of all is the report in Kenya’s NATION MEDIA GROUP that “the top decision-making body of the army was deliberately chosen to favour President Ernest Bai Koroma’s northern lineage.” Let me use this chance to set the records straight. VERY STRAIGHT..!!!! Firstly, just a year ago in June 2012, His Excellency President Koroma appointed the current Chief of Defence Staff and Head of the army, Major-General S.O. Williams to replace erstwhile CDS, Major-General R.Y. Koroma who was retired from the army. It is pertinent to note that the current CDS, S.O. Williams, is a Mende-Sherbro from Bonthe district in the opposition supported Southern Province whilst Robert Koroma, the man he replaced is a Northerner.

 

Secondly, the newly promoted Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier John E. Milton is a Mende born of a Mende woman from Mano Dasse in Moyamba and a Mende father from Serabu in Bo district along highway to Bonthe. Newly promoted Brigadier John Milton has replaced Brigadier Sesay, a Northerner who has been retired from position of Deputy CDS last week at the same time as Mondeh and others.

 

What this means is that the two most senior officers in the current Sierra Leone Armed Forces are South-Easterners with NO tribal lineage to President Koroma and no regional lineage to President Koroma. Any journalist (local or international) who makes such a claim that “the top decision-making body of the army was deliberately chosen to favour President Ernest Bai Koroma’s northern lineage”, has committed reckless criminal and seditious libel. I repeat, HAS COMMITTED CRIMINAL & SEDITIOUS LIBEL. Let me stop here for now. From Awareness Times.

 

Chiefs, elders of Nyankpala given ultimatum to reintegrate banished ‘witch’

By Myjoyonline.com

Chiefs and Elders of Nyankpala in the Northern Region who banished a 40 year old woman from the town on suspicion that she was a witch will have to reverse their decision or face legal action.

The chiefs took the decision to banish Rahinatu Abdulai and her entire family of 10 earlier this week because according to them the woman was the cause of the ill health of a young lady of the area.

But their decision has sparked rage with a human advocacy group, the Anti-Witchcraft Campaign Coalition of Ghana.

The coalition has therefore issued a three week ultimatum to the chiefs and elders there to either re-integrate the banished woman or face legal action.

Coordinator of the coalition Kenneth Addae tells Joy News their investigation revealed that many other older women have been accused and have also been banished under similar circumstances. From Modern Ghana.

Following are the latest comment and opinion articles taken by the Africa Centre from media websites right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape:

Comment and Opinion Contents:

Ghana: Media expert, human rights lawyer dismiss GJA’s anti-gay moral crusade

Rwanda: The untold story of Buhanga, the coronation ground

 

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

Recent media reports indicate that the United States Government has excluded Nigeria from the list of countries, to be visited by President Barak Obama on his second tour of the African continent. Sources in US had revealed that before the announcement, the Nigerian ambassador to US, Prof Ade Adefuye was invited to the State Department by senior US officials where he was officially informed on the US concerns about security and corruption in Nigeria. Indeed the officials led by the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Donald Yamamoto, reportedly presented the Nigerian ambassador with satellites photographs of the alleged Baga massacre, alleging that it made Nigeria’s inclusion in President Obama’s itinerary extremely difficult.

On May 17th, US secretary of state John Kerry had issued a public statement that  ‘for the first time the US had in its custody credible allegations against the country’s security forces in the implementation of the emergency rule’ recently declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States of Nigeria. He further stated that, “we are also deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violation, which, in turn only escalate the violence and fuel extremism”. He concluded that “the United States condemns Boko Haram’s campaign of terror in the strongest term.

We urge Nigeria’s security forces to apply disciplined use of force in all operations, protect civilians on any security response and respect human rights and the rule of law”.

Earlier, reports claimed that besides the Baga incident, which is regarded as the immediate reason for the snub by the US government, the State Department had been presented with facts on how President Jonathan’s administration had allegedly abandoned the fight against corruption, in particular by pardoning the former governor of Bayelsa State , Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The report also stated that the US officials were said to be concerned about the controversial reports it had received regarding two important Federal Government ministries, namely Petroleum Resources and Aviation. The decision to exclude Nigeria it seemed had been concluded after the May 17th announcement.

While this decision is quite contentious, especially coming at a time President Jonathan has shown a renewed commitment and determination by his government to combat terrorism and the debilitating effects of the corruption monster, we believe that there is a lesson to be learnt from this snub.

The government needs to know that Nigeria still commands the respect of the US, if only it could be more thorough and decisive with the implementation of its programs and agenda. It is still believed in international circles that the United States government still regards the country as its African anchor.

The thinking is that these reforms and war against corruption and terrorism seemed to have lost touch with the core values which Nigeria in particular and the international community in general need, to support and appreciate the efforts of the government. The question is, where are the cherished values of transparency, integrity, honesty, and discipline in the entire process?

Only recently, a United States government report on Nigeria “indicted Nigerian officials of widespread and pervasive corruption, affecting all levels of government”. The report published under the heading, ‘Corruption and lack of transparency in government,’ claimed that “officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.”The report indicated that   “almost $7 billion must have been stolen in the period under review” which was 2012 and again “There was a widespread perception judges were easily bribed and litigants could not rely on courts to render impartial judgments. Citizens encountered long delays and alleged requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favorable rulings,” the report further stated.

President Jonathan on paper is passionate about the Nigerian project, but this latest development should be seen by the government as a reality check on the country’s perceived eminent position in Africa. Two decades ago, the country was considered a frontline state in Africa by the international community, but of late Nigeria’s profile has sunken so low that it has become a laughing stock in the international arena. While we appreciate the effort of the government in tackling these issues, we also urge the administration to have a rethink on some of its methods and strategies in combating these problems which have not achieved the desired goals or objectives. The government should do everything possible within its power to return this country to the path of honor. Indeed leadership should be seen as service and not opportunity for individuals to amass wealth and satisfy vain glory. It should scale down on rhetoric and walk the talk. From the Daily Independent.

 

Media expert, human rights lawyer dismiss GJA’s anti-gay moral crusade

By Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah|edwin.appiah

Media expert, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo has dismissed the call on journalists to take an anti-gay stance against gays and lesbians in their reportage. The call was made by Affail Monney, president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

Mr. Affail Monney told Joy News on Thursday urging anti-gay media stance.

‘The media do not have to take a posture of neutrality as far as right and wrong are concerned’, Mr. Affail Monney said, adding that homosexuality is an issue that is totally wrong, it is morally repugnant, culturally offensive, legally unacceptable and because our laws frown on man sleeping with man and woman sleeping with woman.

But speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communications, University of Ghana said she found the appeal by the GJA president “bizzare” and “wrong-footed”.

She said it was the responsibility of journalists to protect the rights of the vulnerable and marginalized in society. The practice of journalism needed broad-minded and critical thinkers to present thoroughly investigated issues of public concern, she added.

She acknowledged the deep cultural bias against the practice of homosexuality in the country and challenged journalists to find out from conservative groups like religious organisation and chiefs, the basis for this bias.

In her view, issues of homosexuality are complex and the president’s pronouncement did not consider tons of research on the matter. It would be better for Affail Monney to “leave evangelical right wing pastors” to make pronouncements on the issue, she suggested.

She compared the president’s call to apartheid South Africa where a white minority marginalized and denied a black majority certain basic human rights because of the colour of their skin. The associate professor advised the GJA to focus on ‘the morality of the issues’ facing journalists and “look after the welfare of your people” instead of attempting to foist his “personal views” on the Association.

‘I can think of 10 million things we should be doing than what people do in their bedroom’, Gadzekpo said.

Professor Attuafuah, a human rights lawyer and criminologist also contributed to the discussion.

He said although section 104 of the criminal code criminalizes “unnatural carnal knowledge”, proving this would involve installing “cameras in bedrooms”.

The gay question is a question of identity, he said, adding even if Ghana had a law against homosexuality, it would be impossible for the law to prosecute persons based on any “outward manifestation” of the practice such as men holding of hands or the wearing of certain gay symbols.

To him, there are numerous, compelling challenges of our time, that deserved the attention of the Association.

One of them is the pervasive lawlessness in our society, the criminologist pointed out.

The call by the president may be an attempt to “ride on the high crest of public disavow” to make a name for himself, he asserted.

From Modern Ghana.

The untold story of Buhanga, the coronation ground

Sitting on a lush, green and serene ground, Buhanga hill is most known in ancient history as a place where Rwandan kings reigned before they were enthroned.

Buhanga is located in Bukora Cell, Nkotsi Sector, in Musanze District.

The kings, historians say, would spend an unspecified number of days here in company of Abiru – the traditional historians in the king’s court – who performed different rituals aimed at sanctifying the king’s reign.

It is a green 12-hectare forest with a relaxing atmosphere shrouded by a breathtaking breeze.

Joseph Hategekimana is an employee at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and serves as a tour-guide as well as a story teller for those who come to visit the place.

Trailing after him, he easily describes the place, its significance and the different rituals that took place here, probably centuries ago, at the coronation of the kings, who were the titular heads of the Rwandan Kingdom.

“The full name of this place is ‘I Buhanga Kwa Gihanga’ and it draws the name from the first king of Rwanda, called Gihanga, who is believed to have lived in this area,” said Hategekimana.

“There was once a palace here…and it was perched between two big trees,” he says as he points fingers to where the trees stood.

“It was a thatched traditional house that was never destroyed by anyone; it simply succumbed to time. Every would-be king would enter it to be blessed by the Abiru and all rituals happened before he took over the kingdom,” he narrates.

Sitting on a lush, green and serene ground, Buhanga hill is most known in ancient history as a place where Rwandan kings reigned before they were enthroned.

Buhanga is located in Bukora Cell, Nkotsi Sector, in Musanze District.

The kings, historians say, would spend an unspecified number of days here in company of Abiru – the traditional historians in the king’s court – who performed different rituals aimed at sanctifying the king’s reign.

It is a green 12-hectare forest with a relaxing atmosphere shrouded by a breathtaking breeze.

Joseph Hategekimana is an employee at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and serves as a tour-guide as well as a story teller for those who come to visit the place.

Trailing after him, he easily describes the place, its significance and the different rituals that took place here, probably centuries ago, at the coronation of the kings, who were the titular heads of the Rwandan Kingdom.

“The full name of this place is ‘I Buhanga Kwa Gihanga’ and it draws the name from the first king of Rwanda, called Gihanga, who is believed to have lived in this area,” said Hategekimana.

“There was once a palace here…and it was perched between two big trees,” he says as he points fingers to where the trees stood.

“It was a thatched traditional house that was never destroyed by anyone; it simply succumbed to time. Every would-be king would enter it to be blessed by the Abiru and all rituals happened before he took over the kingdom,” he narrates.

What historians  say

According to Prof Déo Byanafashe, a lecturer in the history department at the National University of Rwanda, the place is of a great historic importance and should be properly preserved and publicised so that Rwandans know about it.

“The place should be taught about in schools and should be part of the documented national history,” said the don.

The future

In 2006, the government attached the site to the Volcanoes National Park as an eco-park and the plan to develop it as a cultural tourism site is underway, according to Rwanda Development Board officials.

The project, which will be modified into a cultural site, will be developed by RDB in partnership with Ministry of Sports and Culture together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“We are planning to have a buffer zone to minimise human encroachment,” said Prosper Uwingeli, the Chief Park warden in Volcanoes National Park.

“The area is also rich in biodiversity such as birds, small cats and a variety of trees and therefore, nature tourism can be done. Trails have already been developed,” Uwingeli added.

With the place already on the tourist catalogue, Uwingeli said, what remains is to market this unique heritage site as part of cultural tourism.

The Government has requested RDB to demarcate the area of the eco-park that will be considered for tourism development, and consider expropriation of local communities with land adjacent to the site.

Over 80 individuals with land adjacent to Buhanga will be compensated for the land next to the ecopark. From The New Times.

Thank you for reading this blog. Please put any comments or suggestions in the box provided.

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

LATEST SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, FRIDAY, 7/6/2013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings from Barnet, north London. Below please find the latest sub-Saharan African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent and down to the Cape.

Here at the Africa Centre when copy tasting and arranging material in order of priority, we try to cater for as wide a readership as possible, including the hundreds of employees of African origin in the 2,800 personnel of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, for whom this service was initially conceived. But if you feel that we can improve on this in anyway, please do feel free to point this out in a comment in the box provided at the bottom of this blog.

NEWS CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Sadc summit on Zimbabwe called off

Kenya: UK says sorry for Mau Mau crimes

East Africa: EAC partner states urged to harmonise corruption policies

Uganda: Museveni addresses the nation, hits at opposition

Sudan: Sudan says Iraq agrees to sell it oil on credit

 

Kenya: Japan to spend Sh90 billion on Kenyan projects, says Ruto

South Sudan: South Sudan gives Jonglei rebel leader Yau Yau ultimatum to surrender

Somalia/Sierra Leone: AMISOM welcomes more peacekeepers from Sierra Leone

Uganda: Terror suspects ‘legally detained in Uganda’

Ghana: Another Ghanaian Multimillion-Dollar Firm Going To South Africans

Ghana: One dead in galamsey shooting at Dunkwa

Nigeria: Nine killed as Fulani herdsmen invade Niger community

Uganda: Hippo mauls Amuru resident

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Nigeria: FG’s reaction to Boko Haram crisis cosmetic –Tambuwal

Africa: Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

Nigeria: Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

South Africa: Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

Ghana: Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

Africa: Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

Ghana: Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

Kenya: MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

Zimbabwe: Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

Rwanda: Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

South Africa: Satanic South Africa

 

 

Sadc summit on Zimbabwe called off

 

A SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) summit on Zimbabwe, due to be held on June 9, has been cancelled, Clayson Monyela, the spokesman for the South African government’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said on Thursday.

“The summit is off. We hope it will be moved to a new date,” he told BDlive on Thursday.

The main purpose of the summit had been for President Jacob Zuma, who is Sadc’s facilitator on the continuing crisis in Zimbabwe, to deliver his latest report.

There was no immediate word about when the summit would take place. It was originally scheduled to be held in Maputo next Sunday and then there were suggestions it would be switched to Pretoria.

Mr Zuma’s task is to help steer Zimbabwe back to peace and stability. The next objective is the holding of free and fair elections. Zimbabwe’s constitutional court ruled last week that the presidential and parliamentary polls must be held by July 29 2013.

The polls will pit 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The political and violent bias shown by Zimbabwe’s security forces in favour of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) are making the prospects of free and fair elections this year increasingly remote, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report warns on Wednesday.

The report, The Elephant in the Room: Reforming Zimbabwe’s Security Sector ahead of Elections, was released days after Zimbabwe’s constitutional court ruled that presidential and parliamentary elections must be held by July 29.

Concerns are mounting that there can be no fair contest between Mr Mugabe and his prime minister, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, until sweeping security sector and other reforms are passed.

A list of pressing electoral issues will be on the table on Sunday, when President Jacob Zuma and regional leaders attend a special summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

Among its key recommendations, the HRW report calls for an overhaul of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying its secretariat remains largely staffed by Zanu (PF) supporters and several senior staffers “are either serving or retired members of the security forces”.

The global rights organisation also wants the voters’ roll to be independently updated, international election observers to be accredited and repressive laws repealed.

“There is an urgent need, ahead of the elections, for Zimbabwe’s security forces to be drastically reformed, to create a political environment conducive for holding nonviolent and credible elections,” HRW said.

It said the report was based on interviews late last year and in March with 50 victims of abuse as well as lawyers, army and police members, rights activists and journalists,

“Since independence in 1980, the army, police and CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) have operated within a system that has allowed elements within their ranks to arrest, torture, and kill perceived opponents with impunity,” the report said.

Many of the reforms demanded by HRW are provisions of the 2008 Global Political Agreement, which was largely brokered and endorsed by Sadc.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s Sadc summit, HRW’s Tiseke Kasambala said that leadership changes in the region, particularly in SA, had led to greater Sadc pressure on the Mugabe government.

“President Jacob Zuma has taken a different line from president Thabo Mbeki, who was all about quiet diplomacy, which almost translated to quiet support for Robert Mugabe,” she told Business Day.

“We’ve seen President Zuma take a more neutral line but be a bit more forceful in his engagement with Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF), much to Robert Mugabe’s chagrin.”

Despite years of economic hardship, partly caused by western sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his inner circle, the country’s security forces have remained loyal to Zanu (PF) and outspokenly critical of Mr Tsvangirai, a former trades union leader who opposed the former white minority regime but did not fight in guerrilla ranks in the war.

Only a month ago, Gen Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said bluntly he would not meet Mr Tsvangirai in person.

“We have no time to meet sellouts. Clearly Tsvangirai is a psychiatric patient who needs a competent psychiatrist,” he told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper in an interview quoted in the HRW report.

“It’s just not possible for me to entertain (him), we are different. Just like oil and water, we cannot mix. As the defence force we will not respect or entertain people who do not value the ideals of the liberation struggle. Meeting such people will be a mockery to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives fighting for the country’s independence.

“Who the hell does Tsvangirai think he is?” Gen Chiwenga asked.

Under Zimbabwe’s previous constitution, and the new one approved by a referendum in March, security personnel must be politically nonpartisan.

The report highlights several examples of extreme and public anti-Tsvangirai sentiment at the top of the military hierarchy, which has previously said it would not recognise him as head of state if he were ever to be elected. A police band even refused to play the national anthem last November when the prime minister attended an official function without Mr Mugabe. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

 

 

UK says sorry for Mau Mau crimes

 

By ISAAC ONGIRI iongiri@ke.nationmedia.com AND BERNARD NAMUNANE bnamunane@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Thursday, June 6   2013 at  22:51

IN SUMMARY

  • Explaining the decision to pay the claimants £19.9 million, Mr Hague said the United Kingdom was eliminating the scar which blighted the relations with its colony.
  • “I would like to make clear now and for the first time, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya. The British Government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” he said.
  • In 2011, the High Court in London threw out claims by the veterans that the British Government should own up to the liabilities of the colonial regime, but allowed demands for compensation to proceed.

 

The stage is set for renewed infighting among Mau Mau war veterans as the British Government Thursday officially announced a Sh2.6 billion compensation package for atrocities committed by colonial forces during Kenya’s war of independence.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who made the announcement at the House of Commons in London for over 5,000 claimants, also publicly apologised for the atrocities committed by the colonial forces.

Explaining the decision to pay the claimants £19.9 million, Mr Hague said the United Kingdom was eliminating the scar which blighted the relations with its colony.

As Mr Hague was announcing the decision, a group led by a Mr Charles Munuhe claiming to represent 12 Mau Mau veteran groups which were not part of the case heard in London said they would file their own suit.

In a statement to MPs earlier in the day, Mr Hague had said: “The settlement I am announcing today is part of a process of reconciliation. We do not want our current and future relations with Kenya to be overshadowed by the past.

“Today we are bound together by commercial, security and personal links that benefit both our countries.  We are working together closely to build a more stable region.”

Mr Hague said the British Government owned up to the torture they took through thousands of Mau Mau fighters during the State of Emergency declared in 1952, stating that they did not condone acts of inhumanity.

He cited the punitive measures which the colonial administration used in its crackdown on Mau Mau, the unjustifiable punishment and brutalities in rehabilitation camps.

“I would like to make clear now and for the first time, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya. The British Government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” he said.

“The British Government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place, and that they marred Kenya’s progress towards independence. Torture and ill-treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity which we unreservedly condemn.”

Mr Hague’s statement came after the British Government reached an out-of-court settlement with the Mau Mau War Veterans Association which had gone to court with the support of Kenya Human Rights Commission.

The representative suit was filed in London by solicitors Leigh Day in October 2009 for five Mau Mau veterans seeking compensation for ill treatment in colonial detention camps.

In 2011, the High Court in London threw out claims by the veterans that the British Government should own up to the liabilities of the colonial regime, but allowed demands for compensation to proceed.

Last month, Britain moved to the Court of Appeal to oppose the demands for pay. The decision is yet to be made. But some 12 Mau Mau war veterans groups who were not part of the court case have written to the Attorney General seeking permission to file another case against the former colonisers.

The groups, angered by a decision to exclude veterans who are not members of the Mau Mau War Veterans’ Association — which led by former MP Gitu wa Kahengeri — want the AG to permit them to file a case at the International Court of Justice to seek compensation and reparations.

“We the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters Fraternity, an umbrella of 12 Mau Mau registered groups, wish to notify you of our intention to sue the British Government for having failed to consider us for compensation,” said the group’s national coordinator, Mr Charles Munuhe, in a letter to the AG. The group said it did not approve of the out-of-court settlement by the Kahengeri group in which each of the 5,228 members will be paid Sh367,780.

But Mr Martin Day, the lawyer who represented the group, insisted that the case was over. “The case for the 5,228 is ended. We have agreed not to take any more cases under the agreement with Her Majesty’s government so basically this is the end of our work for the Mau Mau,” said Mr Day.

However, another British lawyer, Mr Brian Cox from Tandem Law representing Mrs Eloise Mukami, widow of Mau Mau war hero Dedan Kimathi, insisted they would seek total compensation for the remaining victims. He said that his firm had been instructed to pursue a fresh case. From the Daily Nation.

 

EAC partner states urged to harmonise corruption policies

 

 

Member states of the East African Community have been challenged to adopt a common policy on graft to ensure that the vice is uprooted.

This was said by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Julius Rotich while addressing the media at a dialogue on political integration held in Kigali on Tuesday.

“With a common policy and strategy on corruption, it can help the region to move forward because we get a lot of problems with this vice,” he said.

The survey

According to a study carried out by Transparency International in August last year, Uganda has the highest bribery levels in the region, at 40.7 per cent, followed by Tanzania (39.1 per cent).

Rwanda is the least corrup country in the region at 2.5 per cent.

Connie Bwiza Sekamana, a member of the African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC-Rwanda chapter) urged all stakeholders in the fight against graft to adopt zero tolerance to corruption.

She added that Rwanda is on track in addressing all forms of corruption, including the gender based corruption where women are sexually abused to get employment, yet employment has to be based on merit. From The New Times.

Museveni addresses the nation, hits at opposition

By Joan Akello

President Yoweri Museveni hit at the opposition and some media over sabotage. He called the East African Newspaper cahoots while delivering his state of the nation address at Kampala Serena Hotel today.

“The East African reported that I will have difficulty in delivering the state of the nation address this year because I have not fulfilled some things I said last year. When Daily Monitor and The East African make noise, we know we are doing the right thing,” he said.

He started his speech outlining ten strategic bottlenecks hampering social, economic transformation and political integration such as ideological disorientation and corruption.

He also attacked the West (oil companies) over capitalizing on building a pipeline yet the country desires a right sized refinery and its underestimation of Uganda as a potential market with about 10 million children in school.

He however blamed the  actors over lack of seriousness and that “if Uganda Investment Authority(UIA) and National Environment Management Authority(NEMA)  correct their ways,” it will reduce bureaucracy and  promote private sector led growth .

He says the ministry of health should consider the provision of safe water because water bone diseases contribute 20 percent to the spread of diseases while changing lifestyles can reduce diseases by 80% in particular smoking and obesity.

Museveni also outlined a number of projects that his government will deliver in the next financial year such as Karuma and other power dams that he says will be built.

“Uganda will become a middle income country by 2017,” Museveni said, amidst jitters from some Members of Parliament.

Museveni says the NAADS programme will be reorganized through giving people materials and getting ‘rid of its big structure of human beings’, and embark on fighting mosquitoes through providing larvaecides .

He also urged parents to pack lunch for their school going children, and also promised that the loan scheme for university education will be launched next financial year on top of the 4000 students on government sponsorship.

Lack of staff, long distance to the medical facility are some of the reasons expecting women shun delivering at health facilities but the president says most of them have a negative attitude towards male midwives.

Interestingly amidst media reports of corruption in public service, the president says he will address parliament as an expert in fighting corruption and criminality.  The speaker interjected MPs and told them that they would be given time to debate the state of the nation address

The president said, “it is easy. I will handle a bunch of  thieving public servants.”

Also present was  the EALA speaker, Margaret Zziwa and EALA MPs , diplomats, members of the civil society , judiciary including Hon James Ogoola. From The Independent.

Sudan says Iraq agrees to sell it oil on credit

 

June 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has announced that the Iraqi government agreed on Tuesday to sell it oil but pay for its price at a later date.

“There is now a technical team from the Sudanese petroleum ministry [in Iraq] to discuss technical issues of the deal in terms of volumes and payments,” Osman said at a news conference in Khartoum upon his return from a two-day visit to Baghdad.

Sudan’s resorting to Iraq for its oil needs signals its lukewarm relations with closer oil-rich nations particularly Saudi Arabia which has been unhappy over Khartoum’s close ties with Iran.

The East African nation been struggling to meet local demand for diesel and other oil products since losing most of its crude output with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Oil used to be the main source of revenue for the budget and of dollars needed to pay for imports.

Last year, the government launched a package of tough austerity measures, including scaling back fuel subsidies to close a fiscal gap, sparking short-lived protests.

Khartoum also moved to effectively devalue the currency which came under enormous pressures as a result of a big shortage in foreign currencies.

Iraq has been one of the countries Sudan has turned to for help with its financial woes.

Last November, the Iraqi government revealed that Sudan had requested a $100 million grant, but Iraq only agreed to disburse a fraction of that ($10 million) to be allocated from its 2013 budget.

At the time, the Iraqi government spokesperson, Ali Al-Dabagh, said that Iraq responded to the request of Sudan’s finance minister who explained the critical economic situation experienced by Sudan following secession of South Sudan and the significant loss of oil revenues which had negatively impacted the budget and the balance of payments as well as the suffering in Darfur.

The Sudanese investment minister also said that the two countries agreed to form a joint council of businessmen including 15 members from each side, adding that the first meeting of the council will be held in Khartoum in the coming weeks.

He declared that the first meeting of the joint ministerial committee between the two countries which is headed by ministers of agriculture will convene in Khartoum.

The Sudanese official disclosed that the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, has promised to discuss the issue of the Sudanese convicts in Iraqi jails with the competent authorities upon a request from Sudan to pardon them or transfer them to Sudan’s prisons to complete their jail terms.

He noted that Sudanese convicts’ prison terms in Iraq ranged from 10-19 years along with one who was sentenced to death.

(ST)  From the Sudan Tribune.

 

Japan to spend Sh90 billion on Kenyan projects, says Ruto

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2013 – 00:00 — BY GIDEON KETER

 

DEPUTY President William Ruto has said his trip to Japan was successful.

He said the economical interest of Kenyans were represented in the meeting.

Ruto was representing President Uhuru at global the fifth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development in Yokohama city.

The objective of the conference was to promote high-level policy dialogue between Japan and African leaders and strengthen cooperation.

Addressing a press conference yesterday at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Ruto said the Japanese government has agreed to fund some of the projects especially infrastructure and agriculture.

He said the Japanese government will spend more than Sh90 billion in various projects across the country.

Ruto said Japan will fund the expansion of Mombasa port at a cost of Sh30 billion and Sh60 billion to fund the 600 kilometre Kitale-Juba road.

He said the Japanese government will fund the expansion of geothermal and coal-powered energy in Naivasha, Kitui and Kwale.

“The Jubilee government is determined to reduce the cost of living. I held talks with the Japanese government and they have agreed cooperate more with us on energy,” Ruto said.

Kenya has appointed Toyota’s president Jun Karibe as a honorary consul in Nagoya, Japan.

Karibe will represent Kenya in Nagoya, Japan’s main economic centre with major manufacturing industries.

The city contributes 40 per cent to Japan’s economy and handles 20 per cent of its international trade.

The move is geared towards spurring Kenya’s economic diplomacy with Japan to reduce the imbalance of trade between the two countries.

The decision to establish a consulate in Nagoya is in accordance with Kenya’s economic diplomacy which aims to strengthen trade and investment ties in its foreign relations. From the Star.

South Sudan gives Jonglei rebel leader Yau Yau ultimatum to surrender

June 5, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan issued an ultimatum to the Jonglei based militia leader, David Yau Yau, on Wednesday asking him to choose between laying down his weapons unconditionally and respond to the presidential amnesty, or risk being pursued militarily.

Defence minister, John Kong Nyuon, said the government was committed to providing adequate security to civilians and their properties not only in Jonglei state but across the two-year-old country.

“We are a government with all capabilities to provide protection to all our civil population and their properties not only in Jonglei state but the entire country. It is therefore not a businessof individuals to claim the responsibility of protection of the members of their ethnic group”, said Minister Nyuon in a clear reference to Yau Yau’s declaration that he was fighting to defend his Murle ethnic group and establish a separate state for marginalised minorities.

He warned that the army would not tolerate individuals using the “tribal card” to commit atrocities, saying it was a matter of time before South Sudan’s army (SPLA) – itself a former rebel movement turned national army – could bring the conflict in the region to an end if Yau Yau does not respond to the presidential amnesty issued in April.

“Yau Yau is taking advantage of the good intention of the president to give peaceful dialogue the opportunity to resolve the conflict. It is not that the SPLA is not capable to end these banditry activities. I consider it banditry because he has no base. He is now on the run. The SPLA forces are hunting for him. We decided to respect the decision of the president but it seems he is not responding. So we are giving him the opportunity to decide between responding to the amnesty or the SPLA will be forced to hunt him. He has to make a choice”, Nyuon said on Wednesday.

Nyuon was speaking to journalists in response to questions about what his ministry intends to do to ensure the peace and stability promised by president Salva Kiir, while addressing the fifth international conference on African development in Japan.

Kiir vowed his government’s commitment to guarantee internal stability, especially along the border with Sudan, which has remained tense and highly militarised since South Sudan’s independence in 2011.

In his speech Kiir also recognised the work of Japanese peacekeepers in United NationsMission in South Sudan (UNMISS), lauding the expansion of their operations in infrastructure development into new areas in Eastern and Western Equatoria states.

He told the conference that his administration, with civil society organisations, had initiated a process of national reconciliation as a way of consolidating peace in the country.

SPLA CLOSING IN ON REBEL HIDEOUTS

Meanwhile, military sources said government soldiers were heading on Tuesday to suspected key areas in north eastern and south eastern parts of Pibor county, located in south eastern part of Jonglei state, allegedly occupied by rebels who oppose the presence of the country’s military or government there.

“At the moment, our forces are on the move. It is just a matter before you hear a new development. Our forces on the ground have clear orders to pursue Yau Yau and his forces and restore law and order in the area so that the civilian can return to their areas and resume normal life”, a senior military source told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday in Juba.

The spokesperson for SPLA colonel Phillip Aguer also told the audience during a question and answer session hosted by privately-owned Citizen Television that it was only a matter of time before the army could bring the rebellion in Jonglei state “to an end”.

The military officer, however, did not provide any further details on the current activities of the army in the area.

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune.

AMISOM welcomes more peacekeepers from Sierra Leone

 Friday 7 June 2013.

 

The African Union Mission in Somalia has welcomed some members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) to the Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu.

AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti; Sierra Leone Contingent Commander, Colonel Mamadi Keita (photo) and senior AMISOM officers welcomed the troops off the plane at Mogadishu Airport before addressing them at a welcome parade.

The Sierra Leoneans constitute AMISOM’s fifth contingent, after the Burundian, Djiboutian, Kenyan and Ugandan contingents and have been deploying into South Central Somalia since early April. This deployment of troops is destined for the port city of Kismayo.

While welcoming the Sierra Leone troops to Somalia, AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti said; “This deployment has now become a reality. You will be working alongside Somalis, Ugandans, Kenyans, Burundians and Djiboutians and also supported by Ethiopian forces and our partners. It’s a consolidated force and your presence here shows the spirit of Africa, you experienced your own problems and are now here; we are all African and here working together to stabilize Somalia.”

The Sierra Leone troops will be working alongside Kenyan troops in Sector 2 where AMISOM forces have made major gains in the fight against insurgents.

“You will work in Lower and Middle Juba with the Kenyan Defense Force, going out and working to stabilize the area, I thank you and welcome you to the mission area and remind you that you are here to serve on behalf of your country and Africa, back home they expect great work from you.” Said Lieutenant General Gutti.

Over the past years the African Union troops alongside their Somali counterparts have significantly expanded the area of control of the Federal Government of Somalia as the government embarks on stabilization efforts in these regions. From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Terror suspects ‘legally detained in Uganda’

 

By Hillary Nsambu

Seven of the 14 suspected July 11, 2010 Kampala terrorist bombers are legally detained in Uganda, the East African Court of Appeal Justice has ruled.

The court said that the Court of the First Instance Division of the East African Community (EAC) made a mistake to rule that the arrest, detention and rendition of the suspects violated the constitutions of Kenya and Uganda.

This was during its ruling delivered recently in Arusha, Tanzania.

The ruling followed an appeal by Uganda’s Attorney General, supported by his Kenyan counterpart, arguing that the EAC Court of First Instance Division erred in law when it concluded that the terrorism suspects were illegally detained in Kampala.

However, the EA Court of Appeal Justice agreed with the Principal State Attorney, Patricia Mutesi, who represented Uganda’s AG, on preliminary objection that the suspected terrorists’ case was time-barred and it should have been thrown out by the court of First Instance.

The court further agreed with Mutesi that the judges of the lower court made a mistake in law in finding that the suspected terrorists’ case was properly before court when it was brought one year later, instead of the required period of within two months.

Mutesi had further contended that the court of the First Instance Division had no inherent power to give interpretation that does not give effect to the Treaty; or which invalidates its provision.

She had also submitted that the court of the First Instance Division had violated the Constitution of the EA Treaty by invalidating the time limit within which the suspects were supposed to file their complaints.

The court was in agreement with her that it was not proper to refer to the current situation of the suspects as unlawful detention.

That it was not proper because they went before the courts of Kenya upon their arrest and currently are before the competent courts in Uganda duly indicted and awaiting trial.

‘Forcibly removed from Kenya’

The suspected terrorists are: Omar Awadh, Hussein Hassan Agade, Idris Mogandu, Mohamed Hamid Suleiman, Yahya Suleiman Mbuthia, Habib Suleiman Njoroge and Seleman Hijar Nyamanndondo.

They had asked the region’s Court of the First Instance Division to release them on the ground that their extradition to Uganda did not follow due process of extradition – ‘having been abducted, forcibly removed from Kenya and handed over to Uganda where they are illegally detained’.

They were indicted with Ugandan suspects who include Isa Ahammed Luyima, Edris Nsubuga, Hassan Haruna Luyima, Abubakari Batemyetto, Muhamoud Mugisha and Muzafar Luyima.

Mugisha is facing charges of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism while Luyima is indicted for being accessory to the offences of terrorism and murder.

“The suspects’ application for reference was filed in the court of First Instance Division of the East Africa Community out of the prescribed time and their appeal is time barred for not complying with the provisions of the Treaty,” the court ruled.

“The continued detention of a suspect, who has already been produced before a court and charged with an offence, is quite a different matter altogether.”

Vice president of the EA Court of Appeal Justice Philip Tunoi headed the Coram, which featured Justices Emily Kayitesi and James Munange Ogoola.

On July 11, 2010 suspected al Shabab terrorists bombed Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant, Makindye, killing at least 76 people and injuring scores others. From New Vision.

 

Another Ghanaian Multimillion-Dollar Firm Going To South Africans

By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Email: mk68008@gmail.com

 

Though the Merchant Bank Ghana Limited and South Africa’s FirstRand Limited merger is yet to be approved by the Bank of Ghana, another South African financial firm is closing a multimillion dollar purchasing agreement with the board and management of Ghana’s Provident Life Assurance Company this year.

The South African financial services group, Old Mutual, which is acquiring the Provident Life Assurance Company says the move is to expand its African presence.

 

Provident Life Assurance Company whose headquarters is located at Provident Towers at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra is the fifth largest life company in Ghana and provides life insurance and investment products‚ mainly via an agency force.

 

The transaction requires relevant regulatory approvals and is expected to complete by the end of 2013.

 

The consideration for the transaction will form part of the R5bn, previously identified by Old Mutual as being available for expansion into Africa‚ it said.

 

Julian Roberts‚ Group Chief Executive‚ commented: ‘This transaction is another important step in our strategy of expanding our emerging markets businesses.”

In March this year Reuters reported that that Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual which last year bought the life insurance unit of Nigeria’s Oceanic Bank, plans to buy minority and majority stakes in businesses in east and West Africa over the next three to five years.

The company during the month of March reported higher-than-expected profit.  It wanted to cash in on growing demand for insurance across the region as rapid economic growth, fuelled in part by the natural resources boom, increases consumer spending.

“We believe that the prospects for growth in Africa are underpinned by sustainable, structural factors,” Old Mutual said, adding that the continent’s economic output is forecast to have quadrupled to $2 trillion between 2000 and 2012.

Old Mutual, which owns insurance, banking and fund management businesses across four continents, said adjusted operating profit for 2012 rose 18% to £1.6bn, narrowly beating the £1.57bn expected by analysts in a company poll.

The improvement was driven by a strong performance from Nedbank Group, Old Mutual’s majority-owned banking business, where profit rose by nearly a quarter to £828m, and good growth at its emerging markets businesses.

Old Mutual’s asset management unit in the United States took in £900m of client money during the year compared with an outflow of £3bn in 2011, its first positive annual inflow since 2007.

The company, which last year deferred plans to float the US asset management business, said the unit was not yet ready to go public.

“It hasn’t got to the state where it would be value-enhancing to do an IPO,” CEOJulian Roberts told reporters on a conference call.

Old Mutual’s London-listed shares have almost doubled over the last three years, beating a 22% gain for the FTSE 100 share index, as it sold businesses to repay debt and dispel investor worries that the group lacked focus and would be worth more broken up.

The disposals partly reversed an international acquisition spree Old Mutual began in 1999 to reduce its dependence on its historic home of South Africa. From The Chronicle.

 

One dead in galamsey shooting at Dunkwa

By Joy News

One person was confirmed dead in what eyewitnesses alleged was a shootout between agents of illegal Chinese miners and residents of Dunkwa in the Central Region.

Following a crackdown on galamsey ordered by president Mahama last month, some persons have allegedly been looting expatriates engaged in illegal mining.

The area is known for illegal small scale mining, dominated by Chinese.

Municipal Chief Executive for Upper West Denkyira, Kofi Owusu Ashia also confirmed the death to Joy News.

He said illegal miners have resorted to hiring private security men to protect their concessions and properties.

An eye witnesses and a local journalist said fighting between the looters and agents of the Chinese led to the death of one person.

Police in the area have confirmed the death of the man but declined any further comments.

Inusah Fuseini,chairman of the Inter-Ministerial taskforce empowered to inject sanity into small-scale mining has said he was surprised by the killing.

The small scale miners have alleged that the taskforce has mounted swoops on their concessions, destroyed their equipment, and made away with gold, money and other valuables.

But Inusah Fuseini who is also the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said the committee has not ordered shooting of illegal miners or the destruction of their properties.

He said the order was to arrest anyone engaged in the illegal practice. He said foreign nationals caught in the business are sent to the District taskforce for screening.

Any foreign national found without proper documentation is then held for deportation, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Chinese residents in Ghana have expressed concern about the manner in which their residents are being treated in the country.

It follows the arrest of one hundred and sixty six Chinese illegal miners in their latest swoop. The Chinese illegal miners were arrested from this month from different illegal mining sites across the country.

They are expected to be deported to their country next week.

A representative of the Chinese Business investors in Ghana Mr. Chen Junqi talked to Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor that the Chinese want government officials to go about the crackdown in a peaceful manner and also investigate the alleged killing of one Chinese by ‘criminals’.

He said pictures of the killing of a Chinese has been circulated through social media in China. He said although the killing was by “bad people”, the people in China are “angry” over the treatment of their nationals living in the country. From Modern Ghana.

 

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

By Chinwendu Nnadozie

Snr Correspondent, Minna

No fewer than nine persons were feared dead and many others sustaining various degrees of injuries as suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded Kushaka village in Shiroro local government council of Niger State.

The midnight operation, an eye witness said, was carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen from the neighbouring Kaduna State, who used dangerous weapons to ransack the farming community.

The attack, which occurred at about 2.am on Wednesday, caught the villagers napping as they lost valuable possession to the invaders.

According to the source, the villagers had retired for the night without having any premonition of what was to happen, only to be suddenly woken up by gunshots, as the invaders ransacked houses, shooting indiscriminately and inflicting cuts on their victims.

Some of the villagers managed to escape to the bush, but the elderly women and children were not as lucky, as they fell to the fire power of the invading forces.

Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, Richard Adamu Oguche, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), confirmed the attack.

He explained that from preliminary reports, the villagers were killed in their houses at about 1.am, when the Fulani herdsmen attacked them.

Oguche said the village is on the border between Niger and Kaduna states, adding that no reason could be deduce for the attack, more so as that the villages had no previous quarrels or misunderstanding with one another.

As part of measures to restore order, Oguche said the command had deployed about three trucks loads of anti-riot mobile policemen to the area.

While investigation into the disturbance is on-going, Oguche said efforts are being made to arrest and bring to book those responsible for the attack.

 

Hippo mauls Amuru resident

 

By Simon Masaba

A man has been killed by a hippopotamus at his home in Okidi trading centre, Amuru district.

Jacob Oloya was seated under a tree in his compound having a meal at around 9:00pm on Tuesday when the beast attacked him.

The deputy Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, said Oloya was attacked by a hippo that is suspected to have come from River Nile in South Sudan through River Aswa.

He said the Police contacted the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which sent a team to hunt down the animal.

Onyango said there were other stray animals in the area and urged residents to be cautious. He advised them to always move in groups to scare off the animals that may attack them.

Oloya’s body was taken Amuru Health Centre for a post-mortem examination. From New Vision.

Here follows the latest sub-Saharan comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from media websites right across the continent and down to the Cape:

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Nigeria: FG’s reaction to Boko Haram crisis cosmetic –Tambuwal

Africa: Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

Nigeria: Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

South Africa: Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

Ghana: Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

Africa: Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

Ghana: Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

Kenya: MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

Zimbabwe: Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

Rwanda: Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

South Africa: Satanic South Africa

 

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

 

•Decries impunity in governance, tasks govt to change tactics

•We can’t survive another civil war, Mark warns

By Celestine Okafor Sola Shittu and Rotimi Akinwumi, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, observed in Abuja on Thursday that application of military might by the Federal Government in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency cannot completely solve the problem of insecurity in the country.

He also pooh-poohed Nigeria’s democracy in the last 14 years, lamenting that impunity and other undemocratic practices have reigned supreme in the land.

As Tambuwal spoke, Senate President, David Mark, also warned those beating drums of war in the country to stop it because no nation can survive two civil wars.

Both of them made the observations in their separate opening remarks at plenary to mark the 2nd anniversary of the country’s Seventh Assembly since return to democracy in 1999.

Tambuwal noted that the nation needs a change of tactics in its quest for development by dumping the current method, which in his opinion was not meeting the needs of the country.

While appraising the legislative performance in the last two years, the Speaker said the House had done well to deserve praise, but noted that there are still areas that need drastic improvements.

On the state of insecurity in the country, Tambuwal noted that the current situation was brought about by the vicious circle of poverty and unemployment, which ought to be tackled more vigorously by government.

The government, according to him, is however concentrating efforts on controlling the “consequences” rather than the “causes”.

“The vicious circle of unemployment, poverty and insecurity constitute a grave social malady in our body politic. Sadly the debilitating insecurity situation has forced us to declare a war on consequences rather than causes.

“For now it may be imperative to fight the consequences in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the prosecution of the war against the causes.

“It is important to realise that along the line we must commence the war against unemployment and poverty as a consolidation strategy,” Tambuwal said.

Speaking on erosion of democratic ethos and the way out of the malady, he said: “After 14 years of uninterrupted practice of democracy, we still suffer acute poverty of democratic culture and practices. This is a challenge to all Nigerians but more so for those of us deeply involved in the democratic process and operation.

“We must place national interest above selfish interest, we must place objective principles above parochialism and whims. We must deliberately promote a viable and transparent electoral process.

“The right to opinion and dissent must be given space in our political discuss. Internal party democracy is a sine qua non to the genuine development of democratic culture; therefore as we work and walk towards 2015, we ought to take the vow that all votes must count whether in intra-party democratic processes or at the level of inter party contests.

“True democracy does not happen by accident, it is therefore our duty as intimate practitioners and beneficiaries of political patronage to be in the vanguard of the deepening of democracy.

“The people of Nigeria desire and deserve this, it is right and honourable, we have a duty to deliver these noble expectations.”

On the need to evolve a new policy that will take the nation to the desired height, he said: “Our nation is living in unusual times and unusual times require drastic and unusual remedies.

“In setting the pace of governance we must realise that we are grossly in arrears of our developmental expectations and capacities.

“Our goals and targets must be premised on our collective capacity rather than the limited capacity of an individual or a select few, otherwise we will continue to promote waste. Our job design and job deployment must be functional and waste free.

“The substance and quality of our governance must therefore either be intelligently original or the intelligent adaption of what is relevant, right and proper.

“That way we shall be coasting home to the land flowing with milk and honey.”

On his part, the Senate President noted that the 2015 general election is still two years away with lots of works yet to be done.

He said instead of continuing to heat the polity ahead of election, elected officials should focus on governance and justify their present mandates.

He admitted that though friction is inevitable between branches of government but that the primary loyalty must remain to the people and the Constitution.

Mark threw his weight behind the Federal Government’s ban on the Boko Haram and Ansaru group, saying both the proscription and prescription of stiff penalties for their activities are steps in the right direction.

But, like Tambuwal, he warned that the response to terrorism cannot depend on might and military force alone.

He said the biggest challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the locals from whom the fanatics recruit their foot soldiers.

And to do this, Mark added, government must identify and address the root causes of extremism and sectarian hate.

“Elections are two clear years away. Yet the collision of vaulting personal ambitions is over-heating the polity and distracting the onerous task of governance.

“With so much work yet to be done, we as elected officials should focus on governance and justify our present mandates.

“Overheating the polity is unnecessary, diversionary, divisive, destructive, unhelpful and unpatriotic.

“Into this vitriolic mix is being thrown a spate of mindless and distempered effusions that add no value whatsoever to the quest for national cohesion and development.

“Those beating the drums of war should realise that no nation can survive two civil wars in one lifetime. These trends must stop, and we must all remember that the nation is greater than the sum total of its parts,” he said.

He vowed that the Senate would stoutly resist any attempt to cast the legislature as a rubber stamp while continuing to act in complementarity and collaboration with the executive branch of government, whenever it was in the best interest of Nigerians. From the Daily Independent.

Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

SIMON ALLISON

07 JUN 2013 01:06 (SOUTH AFRICA)

 

Thousands of Africa’s best and best-connected students have been lured to Chinese universities with free degrees, luxurious accommodation and generous monthly allowances. Thousands more will follow in what is an immense and sustained attempt to repair China’s reputation and expand its sphere of influence. In a Daily Maverick special feature, SIMON ALLISON goes to Beijing to examinethe scholarship programme first-hand – and figure out if it’s going to work.

In Africa, China has an image problem. You’ve read the headlines: China is flooding our markets with cheap fakes; it is callously poaching our rhinos; it is building stadiums and roads that don’t last a decade; it is undercutting our labour; it is stealing our diamonds; it is coming to colonise us all over again.

Some of this is sometimes true. Much of it is not, or not completely, the product of nervous imaginations and a well-founded fear of foreign nations who take from Africa more than they give. But image is not about substance, it is about perception; and, after decades of doing things its own way – consequences be damned – China is wising up to the importance of fixing its controversial image in Africa.

A few initiatives are worth noting. The expansion of Chinese media into Africa can’t be ignored. State news agency Xinhua has become the largest wire service operating in Africa, while the Chinese public broadcaster’s new Africa channel (CCTV Africa) is headquartered in Nairobi with a full complement of African staff. Likewise, there has been a significant cultural investment in the form of Confucius Institutes (cultural and language centres designed to rival the British Council or Alliance Française) sprouting all over the continent.

In the long term, however, perhaps the most influential and certainly least examined initiative is the Chinese government’s mammoth scholarship programme, which has grown exponentially over the last decade. There are an estimated 12,000 African students studying right now in China with the support of the Chinese government. This is an astonishingly high figure, dwarfing scholarship programmes offered to African students by any other country.

So, questions need to be asked: What are African students doing there? How are they being treated in China? And who really benefits?

Coming in from the cold

To figure this out, I thought I’d better ask a few African students who are actually there.

Sydwell Mabasa welcomes me into his room at the Communication University of China. He’s clearly happy to see a fellow South African, and over a hot cup of Rooibos – “The taste of home,” says Mabasa – we chat about politics and Oscar Pistorius and why exactly those textbooks aren’t being delivered in Limpopo, his home province. I’m just happy to be inside. Beijing in winter is cold and blustery, the air so thick with smog that you can scrape trails of grime off your face with a fingernail. This is about as far from the warm, blue skies of Africa as it is possible to get.

Mabasa, who works in provincial government at home, is one of 21 African students on a new master’s programme in international communication (almost all the scholarships are awarded at post-graduate level; the idea is to get people who are already well-educated and established in their home countries). He hasn’t contributed a cent to his postgraduate studies, because China is footing the bill. The course is paid for, as are flights, accommodation, food and even a monthly stipend of $250 (R2500). Not too shabby. Neither is his room, a spacious studio with two single beds, a desk, a couple of chairs and an en-suite bathroom (on some mornings, students are even woken up with tea delivered to their door). It’s housed in the 10-storey International Students Centre, a former hotel on campus where all the foreigners stay. “To prevent them infecting the citizenry with their foreign liberal ideas,” jokes a colleague.

It’s a flippant remark, but it’s a serious issue: what kind of education can Africans really get in China, a country where censorship is rife and Facebook and Twitter are still banned? “The education system is good,” Mabasa says. “Most professors who are part of this programme, they studied in the US and Canada and other areas. We get to explore both sides of the world.”

His sentiments were supported by other students I spoke to, all of whom noted that the course presented both Western and Chinese theories, allowing the students to choose what they think works best. “There is a kind of framing sometimes, trying to push you into viewing the world in a certain light,” said Saleh Yussuf Mnemo, from Tanzania. He’s a journalist with experience at the state-owned Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation, and also a lecturer at the Zanzibar Journalism and Mass Media College. Saleh says this “framing” is not unique to the Chinese: “Our education in East Africa was mostly influenced by the British, the French, the Germans. Now we are here we get a real insight into what the Chinese perspective is.”

For many of the students, understanding China is just as important as the education itself. There seems to be a recognition among young Africans that China is going to be around for a while, and that there are relatively few Africans who can relate to China at all. Europe and America are known entities, with deep cultural or historical ties to African societies, but China is still a mystery. To understand China – to be a China expert – is therefore a marketable skill which is valuable regardless of the content or quality of the degree.

This is encouraged by the university, which includes Chinese language, culture and history courses as part of the core programme. “It’s kind of a life-changing experience for them,” comments Professor Zhang Yanqiu, director of the African Communications Research Centre at CUC. She’s also the resident coordinator for the African students in the communications programme, and helps organise trips and cultural experiences – excursions to Shanghai or the Great Wall, for example, or tours of Chinese broadcasters. “They know more about China. Now they know it, they know China personally.”

Yanqiu, however, is the first to admit that there’s an element of self-interest in this as far as China is concerned. “Between China and Africa they do a lot of business and there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of each other. But this programme offers a new channel for Africans to know what’s happening in the real China… For us, it’s a successful programme. The students work like a bridge between the two countries. I think we achieved our goal to let people understand China more, to know the real China.”

The real China

But the real China is flawed, and it can, at times, get in the way of the education. I went with the students to a lecture on new media, a fascinating topic in today’s digital world. The lecture, in English, was sharp, and the discussion freewheeled between analysing the influence on public opinion of US political dramas like West Wing to the skills needed in crafting 140-character tweets. Except they weren’t tweets, of course, because Twitter is banned; they were entries on China’s heavily censored home-grown equivalent, Sina Weibo. Homework for the students, along with an impressive amount of reading, was to set up a Weibo account and start micro-blogging.

Easier said than done. “Whatever I say, they delete most of it,” said one student, referring to the army of censors working in real-time to monitor the social network. Mabasa refers to the restrictions as “social networking with Chinese characteristics”, a clever riff on the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” that forms the basis of the Chinese state’s ideology.

Not that Twitter and Facebook are completely off-limits. Getting round the censors by using a proxy server is slow, but not difficult. I was able to access my Twitter via a simple Google search for “free proxy server”, and students have even more sophisticated ways to evade the Great Firewall. Even some lecturers – employed by the state – have no qualms about telling foreign journalists like me to connect with them on Facebook.

Still, teaching a course on new media when the most influential new media sites – including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress – are technically off-limits necessarily compromises the course. As does teaching classes in international journalism when media in China is similarly controlled and driven by the central government, and international news heavily restricted (the New York Times, for example, is unavailable in China).

When put to her, Professor Zhang accepts this criticism, but is quick to point out that the West has its own, different problems when it comes to the media. “We can see that Western media reports on China and developing countries are not very balanced. For both the teacher and the student we need to balance the coverage. I think the developing countries are in one camp, they are not in the camp for Western countries, so we should understand each other, pay attention to each other, produce coverage on each other and keep the information flow very balanced. Although it’s hard to achieve, we have to help each other.”

This is a refrain I hear again and again from Chinese academics and government officials: China and African countries are in the third world together, they are all countries discriminated against by the West; they are brothers or partners or whatever other word describes a friendly, mutually beneficial partnership between two regions of equal stature and development.

Walking around Beijing, it’s hard to buy this narrative. The city is modern, clean and efficient, with world-class public transport. The sheer number of glistening skyscrapers here is overwhelming, more than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa combined, and they’ve all got electricity and running water. There is a conspicuous absence of the kind of obvious poverty that blights most African cities. Even the smog points to an industrial capacity that Africa can only dream of. Sure, this is just one city, but China’s got plenty of other developed, industrialised metropolises: Shanghai, Shenzen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, to name but a few. Africa, as continent, has a lot of catching up to do.

“When I came here, actually it’s quite different from home,” says Saleh. “China has gone very far ahead. My expectation is that Chinese themselves can feel like maybe they are in heaven.” Heaven might be stretching it, but the point remains: China and Africa are, quite conspicuously, not at the same level of development, no matter how often African and Chinese leaders express their fraternal solidarity.

This cognitive dissonance between the image projected by China in Africa and the reality experienced by students can generate feelings of wariness and caution. Gloria Magambo, who is a manager in the performing arts section of the National University of Rwanda (which is state-run, naturally. There is a theme here), found that her perceptions of China changed dramatically when she arrived in Beijing. “Before I came here, I didn’t know much about China and didn’t even fear China at all and didn’t even care. But now when I know China and actually get to discover who they are and what they are doing that is when my fear is rising instead. Now I know more about China. I have discovered the strength of the Chinese, they are very determined people, and by studying their history I know that whatever Chinese want they can get it… People with such determination, if their inner motive is colonisation, we’re in trouble, we cannot beat them.”

The geopolitics of brand-building

To find out more about China’s motivations – at least as far as its African scholarship programme is concerned – I went to speak to Professor Liu Haifang at Peking University (it’s always Peking University, not Beijing University, a mistake which got me hopelessly lost in the city’s northern suburbs).

Peking University is China’s oldest, and it shows; while there are plenty of the big utilitarian concrete buildings which dot other campuses, here there are also grand old halls, pretty frozen-over lakes and elegant footbridges which lend it an academic gravitas shared by some of the world’s very best universities, like Oxford or Princeton. It also hosts its fair share of African students, some of whom are taught by Professor Liu, who also happens to be one of the leading Chinese experts on the educational links between China and Africa.

There are a couple of things she is eager to set straight. First of all, she says, it’s important to understand that Africans have been coming to study in China for decades – and that there are plenty of African students who are here on their own initiative, without any government support. The figures she quotes take me by surprise: 18,000 self-supporting African students in China compared to the 12,000 on scholarships. And the more scholarships China gives out to Africans, the more come Africans on their own, thanks to word-of-mouth networks – although, Professor Liu points out, this is a subsidiary benefit of the programme, and not a motivation for it. (I met one of these self-supporting students. He is Kenyan, and was most bemused when he was sent to study in China. His brother had been sent to the United States, but, he said, his mother didn’t know which way the world was going and wanted to hedge her bets.)

The other issue she wanted to clarify is that the central government is not the only driver of the scholarship programme. Increasingly, local governments and companies are seeing the benefits of expanding their ties with Africa and sponsoring a few scholarships is seen as a relatively easy way to do this.

But, overwhelmingly, the scholarship programme is still a central government effort, and Professor Liu is crystal clear about what’s in it for China: “The benefit is image, image-building up among Africans. If there is a better image about Chinese government and its support of education among youth, then young people can come to work for Chinese companies and spread good messages to their community.”

This makes sense. Professor Joseph Nye famously coined the expression “soft power” to talk about the more intangible influences of culture and media in international relations. It’s something America, with global icons like Hollywood, McDonald’s and Michael Jackson has in spades, while many people would struggle to name five famous Chinese people. As China’s military and economic might has increased dramatically over the past two decades, its soft power has not kept pace. By training a new generation of Africa’s best students, China hopes to change this and exponentially increase the number of people who feel that they understand China and would orientate themselves in China’s direction – a necessary complement to China’s ambitious economic engagement in Africa.

But, being China, it’s doing it its own way – and it’s something that Professor Liu worries could one day undermine the whole effort. Her concern lies in how scholarship students are chosen; more specifically, that attempts to introduce a unified, merit-based system to award scholarships have foundered. In fact, responsibility for selecting students is often delegated to individual African countries, meaning there can be large disparities in selection criteria – and creating a system that is ripe for abuse.

Although she was careful not to say it directly, Professor Liu implied on several occasions that in some countries, the process was not as transparent as it should be – and she was not the only one. One researcher, speaking to the Daily Maverick off the record, said that some Chinese diplomats use the scholarship programme as a carrot with which to reward cooperation from African governments. “The traditional mindset among some Chinese officials is that they still think the most important thing is to leave enough quota, enough scholarships to give to special persons, the elites. They go to officials’ children or special connections.” The researcher added that this attitude is not always supported by the central government, who are taking a long-term view of the scholarship programme and what its benefits should be. “If you only give scholarships to so-called special relations, then you cannot keep the benefit at all. He will go, he will leave the relationship, and then you have to give to another person, and another person, and it can actually be a very bad cycle.”

A rare publicised example of how this occurs was revealed by Namibian tabloid Informante in 2009. “High-ranking government officials are grabbing educational scholarships offered by China for their children and close relatives,” wrote the paper in a stunning expose. “Investigations show that high-profile figures ranging from former president and founding father, Sam Nujoma; current President Hifikepunye Pohamba; government ministers overseeing procurement of multi-million dollar deals with the Chinese government; senior military and several government officials are snatching the scholarships which are supposed to benefit mainly students from less privileged families for their children and relatives.”

Four years later and this scandal continues to dog the Namibian government. The country’s main independent newspaper The Namibianrecently published a strongly-worded editorial demanding some kind of inquiry into the abuse of scholarships, and The Namibian’s editor, Gwen Lister, told Daily Maverick that she’d seen nothing to persuade her that the situation had changed.

Playing the long game

The big question, really, is will it work? China’s scholarship programme to Africa is remarkable in its scale and intent. At its worst, it’s a brazen attempt to hijack the loyalty of Africa’s ruling classes by going after its youth; at its best, it is a genuine effort to give thousands of Africa’s brightest students the extended education they can’t afford to get anywhere else, and prepare them for a world in which Africa’s orientation will inevitably shift eastward.

Either way, it’s a long game. The programme started in earnest in 2009, and most graduates from it are still in their 30s. China’s selection criteria (favouring both previous work experience and, at times, political connections) means that, within the next couple of decades, many of these graduates are going to be in positions of power and influence. Their experience in China will leave them well-equipped to deal with Chinese businesses and officials, and perhaps favourably disposed to do so. They will also be in a position to tone down some of the hyperbole that dominates the China-Africa political discourse.

But China shouldn’t expect to have it all its own way. “We’ll be influenced by our time here, but that does not mean we’ll be totally in favour of them,” said Saleh, the Tanzanian student. “It’s not like a father and child. We are the future leaders of our countries and we’ll have to look for the future benefit of our countries. We know what we are doing.” DM

This article was researched with a grant from the China-Africa Reporting Project managed by the Journalism Department of the University of Witwatersrand. From the Daily Maverick.

 

Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

By Wale Odunsi on June 5, 2013

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, on Tuesday disclosed that 3.4 million Nigerians were living with HIV/AIDS, the second largest globally.

The agency’s Director-General, Prof. John Idoko, stated this at a Senate public hearing on a bill to prohibit discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Idoko noted that while the national prevalence stabilised at about four per cent, 13 states still carry higher burden.

He said that the country was behind target in several important indicators, affirmed that one of every three people in need was currently receiving treatment.

Idoko, who said only 18 per cent of HIV positive women receive prophylaxis against mother-child transmission, noted that more than 40 per cent of HIV positive persons do not know their status.

Senate President, David Mark, who declared the hearing open, called for an end to stigmatisation and discrimination against persons living with HIV.

Represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi, Mark said the citizens should be educated more about HIV.

He said, “It is important for all to be educated to know that HIV is just like any other disease. Once identified, all a sufferer needs to do is to access treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Infected people are hiding under common diseases like diabetes because of discrimination. They will not tell you that they are HIV positive for fear of being discriminated against in their workplaces.

“That somebody is infected does not mean he is not good or morally upright person or that he should be denied employment or barred from his social networks.

“HIV is a disease that can be contracted both intentionally and accidentally.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, noted that the HIV pandemic poses a big challenge to health and development across the world.

He said, “In the countries that are worst affected, including Nigeria, the impact of HIV/AIDS have eroded decades of developmental goals and gains, stultifying economies and destabilising societies.

“There is no doubt that HIV is expected to continue to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in many countries and population, including Nigeria.

“We must begin to be proactive in the implementation of action plans that are workable and friendly, and advocacy must be carried out at all levels of the society.

“HIV poses a serious obstacle to the attainment of decent work and sustainable development and its effects are concentrated among the most productive age group.

“HIV problem has been made worse by the violation of their fundamental rights at the work place, schools, communities and the larger society on the basis of real or perceived status, particularly, through discrimination directed at persons living with HIV and AIDS.” From the Daily Post.

Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

The stage has been set for another strike on the North West platinum belt, this time at Lonmin, the very scene of August 2012’s bloody Marikana massacre that claimed 34 lives. After Lonmin and majority union AMCU were unable to reach consensus on a recognition agreement, the strike looks like a natural next step. By MANDY DE WAAL and THAPELO LEKGOWA.

After weeks of talks between Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) about the terms of a recognition agreement between the two parties, the new majority union at the platinum mine has called for a strike.

Lonmin stated on Wednesday that AMCU now represented about 70% of that sector of workers; that includes miners and rock drill operators. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – once the most popular and powerful union in South Africa – isn’t currently able to muster representation over 20% amongst these workers.

The mining company has two collective bargaining forums, one which constitutes those workers with whom AMCU enjoys its majority. The second collective bargaining forum comprises artisans, supervisors and what Lonmin calls “skilled workers”. The trade unions recognised by this forum are Solidarity, NUM and the United Association of South Africa (UASA), which is one of the oldest unions in the country.

AMCU wants the two bargaining forums to be rationalised into a single congress that will negotiate on labour issues. Lonmin asserts that this is problematic because it has binding contractual agreements with the NUM, UASA and Solidarity, and says that AMCU wants to bargain collectively beyond its mandate with those employees who haven’t afforded the union any real clout.

The trade union is headed by Joseph Mathunjwa, who earlier blamed tensions at the mine on management. “For AMCU to have organisational rights at Lonmin, you have to have more than 50%, which was an agreement signed by (the) NUM, Solidarity and UASA. Thereafter AMCU is the majority at Lonmin, so (the) same must apply. The management must engage with the union to set a threshold which then will regulate any union’s organisational rights sitting at the workplace,” he said.

“It is the management who made this tension,” said Mathunjwa, who told SABC News that AMCU had abided with the management treaties with other unions to date, but questions why – now that his union has a majority – Lonmin wanted to reset the thresholds required for recognition.

Mathunjwa added that things had been peaceful at Lonmin until such time as the print media broke news of AMCU’s majority with miners and rock drill operators at the platinum mine. “It was quiet. We signed a peace framework agreement with all stakeholders – (the) NUM, AMCU, Solidarity, UASA, and we could see the fruits of that framework. Then all of a sudden once the media came up and said AMCU is that majority at Lonmin, then we had these killings,” the union leader said.

AMCU is demanding recognition thresholds of 35% for basic organisational rights which includes getting union fees from Lonmin employee deductions; 45% for collective bargaining which includes having full-time shop-stewards at the platinum mine, together with union offices; and 50%+1 to be recognised as the majority union which would afford it the rights to set thresholds with Lonmin.

Lonmin proposed thresholds of 35% for basic organisational rights: 45% for collective bargaining; and 50%+1 to be applied to that collective bargaining forum where AMCU enjoys majority support. But it has stuck firm on prescribed thresholds for that collective bargaining forum where AMCU does not enjoy meaningful support, and where it holds binding contracts with the three other unions.

Further, the mining company wants to implement changes on 1 July 2015 so as to “give all parties time to prepare for the change.” Lonmin stated that it was in the process of terminating the NUM’s agreement with the company.

“In December 2011 Lonmin signed a limited organisational rights agreement with AMCU which enabled AMCU to establish structures at its Karee Mine. In recognition of AMCU’s majority status, in January 2013 Lonmin extended the limited organisational rights agreement to all Marikana operations. The extension of the limited organisational rights agreement enabled the union to establish its shaft and branch structures across all Marikana operations and gave it access to offices and other facilities,” Lonmin says in its statement.

When Lonmin and AMCU weren’t able to see eye-to-eye on the recognition agreement, the process was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). This intervention proved fruitless and Lonmin requested that the stalemate be subject to arbitration. The CCMA scheduled the arbitration for Wednesday 26 June 2013.

But AMCU took the decision to the workers at a mass meeting of miners that filled Wonderkop Stadium in Marikana on Wednesday. “We told the commissioner, ‘you are mad’. He can’t decide for us when we were the ones who brought the matter to the CCMA,” Mathunjwa told workers.

He then said that there were two options for the miners – to go to arbitration or to strike. A resounding return roar signalled that the workers had opted to strike, rather than to opt for mediation.

It is only two weeks since the last strike at the mine, when workers downed tools in a two-day unprotected strike mid-May. The day after the strike, Lonmin management asked the NUM to move its offices. The NUM took the matter to court, which ruled that the NUM had until 16 July 2013 to prove its majority.

The NUM’s discomfort is palpable. A couple of days ago Lonmin suspended eight shop-stewards representing the NUM, in connection with membership fraud. It is claimed that the shop-stewards falsified stop orders to try to beef up membership numbers. Lonmin said that some 150 cases of membership fraud had been investigated.

And now the markets will wait and watch to see what will happen at Lonmin. AMCU has given the mining company until Tuesday 11 June to acquiesce to its demands. “We wrote a letter requesting a meeting (with Lonmin) in a bid to avoid a strike. We requested to meet the company on Monday. If we do not have an agreement by Tuesday, we will serve the company with a 48-hour notice to go on strike,” said Jimmy Gama, AMCU’s treasurer.

But despite the dark shadow of Marikana’s bloody history, miners say they are ready for this strike. Daily Maverick spoke to a miner who identified himself as Hlongwane, who said: “We are ready to strike as workers – we will not be intimidated by anyone including (the) NUM.” Last year’s events of (the) workers shooting will not be forgotten but it cannot be a hurdle towards our course as it (will) hold us back.” DM From the Daily Maverick

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

•Graft will mar 2015 poll, Braithwaite predicts

By Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Hassan John (Abuja)

Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, has observed that the future of Nigerian youths could be bleak if they failed to join in the fight against corruption.

He made the observation in Abuja on Thursday at the 2013 Children’s Forum organised by his bureau.

Saba enjoined the youths to “join in this fight as your future is inextricably linked to corruption being reduced in Nigeria to the barest minimum.

“With the reduction of corruption in Nigeria, money that could have been corruptly and primitively stashed away will be released for development. Modern infrastructural facilities will be provided for the general welfare of Nigerians.”

He advised the youth to shun corruption in all its manifestations, speak out against corruption and report all breaches of code of conduct for public officers to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Report all forms of corruption to anti-corruption agencies and ask your parents who are public officers, but stupendously rich, the sources of their income,” Saba charged the youths.

He expressed optimism that if the youths take the fight against corruption seriously, they would have a secured future.

He explained that the Children’s Forum was an annual programme initiated by the CCB to create awareness “in our children on the negative effects of corruption and inculcate in their impressionable minds those high moral standards and acceptable ethical behaviour.”

The occasion was attended by representatives of other anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and many other government agencies.

Children from different schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasarawa and Niger states attended the forum.

Similarly, elder statesman, Tunji Braithwaite, on Thursday identified corruption as the major obstacle hindering Nigeria’s growth and development.

In fact, he said there will not be general election in 2015 unless “king corruption is dethroned.”

Braithwaite, a Presidential candidate in the Second Republic, made the remarks at the Founder’s Day Thanksgiving Service of CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos.

He said there was no alternative to “a constitution of the people of Nigeria” which will decentralise power of the Federal Government as currently structured.

“We will not allow any more charade elections in Nigeria until and unless, we have dethroned king corruption and given ourselves an acceptable constitution to decentralise the disproportionate power at the centre in Nigeria’s governance structure,” he said.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Three Festering Fires’, Braithwaite, who decried the high level of insecurity, fraud and moral decadence in the society, said the call for a Sovereign National Conference where Nigerians can sit and discuss the terms of their co-existence is more imperative than ever before.

He also urged the Federal Government to perish the thought of celebrating the “disgraceful centenary celebration of Nigeria’s existence in 2014”, saying that doing so will amount to “celebrating and venerating a bad history of enslavement.” From the Daily Independent.

Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

 By Samuel Adadi Akapule

It is very critical and crucial for Ghana at this stage to re-examine itself very well by taking a cue from Rwanda and South Africa which have passed the Affirmative Action Bill into law and giving more quotas of political leadership to women.

It is sad to note that a country like Ghana which has chalked a lot of democratic credentials at both continental and international levels is still crawling at a drafting stage with the Affirmative Action Bill, though with claims that the draft has been finalized. What are our political leaders, especially our parliamentarians, who are law-makers of the country telling us as Ghanaians?

The passage of the Affirmation Action Bill into law is long overdue and no further delay is excusable. Ghanaians, particularly Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), are fed up with the empty promises made by successive governments and political parties.

No wonder, many CSOs are continuously expressing their disappointment and frustration in diverse ways about the delay in passing the bill into law.

Only recently, CSOs cried out at a public durbar organised by the Regional Inter-sectoral Gender Network (RISEGNET) in Bolgatanga in May, this year, with sponsorship from the Action Aid Ghana (AAG).

The event reaffirmed the Action Aid’s commitment to the crusade against practices that are inimical to the development of women, such as widowhood rites, Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage of the girl-child, et cetera, since the early 1990s.

Themed “Advocacy for the Passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into Law”, the durbar attracted 150 participants who mainly were gender advocates drawn from the  Past and Present Assembly Women Association (PAWA), queen mothers and women heads of department.

At the end of the public durbar, a communiqué was issued calling on the government to as matter of urgency pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law and to also ensure its effective implementation.

One thing stood clear at the event which this writer carefully observed. One could feel the grief of participants, vehemently demonstrated when they were given opportunities to contribute during the open forum session. They simply were not happy about the delay of the passage of the bill into law.

 

*WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?

Affirmative action, known as positive discrimination in United Kingdom and as employment equity in Canada and elsewhere, refers to policies that take race, colour, religion, sex or national origin into consideration in order to benefit underrepresented group in areas of employment, education and business.

Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined groups within a society. It is often instituted in government and educational settings to ensure that marginalised groups and minority groups within a society are included in all programmes.

The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture and to address existing discrimination.

There is no doubt that when the Affirmative Action Bill is passed into by Parliament and implemented, it would empower the Ghanaian woman to also participate effectively to the decision making process of the country.

There are so many advantages that could be accrued when women are empowered. It should be emphasised that, apart from the development it brings to the women by enabling them to adequately participate on issues affecting them, it is the best means of addressing poverty, disease, hunger.

A gender advocate and Programme Manager of Action Aid Ghana, Mr. James Kusi Boama, did not mince words when he reaffirmed this to this writer in an interview during the durbar.

Realising the importance of the Affirmative Action Bill to development, countries like Rwanda and South Africa subscribed to the passage of the bill into law and this has given a higher quota to women leading to more women parliamentarians and political appointees than their male counterparts.

GHANA, AN INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIBER TO RIGHTS OF WOMEN

It is rather sad that a country like Ghana, which has amassed democratic credentials to the applause of the international community, is yet to pass the affirmative bill into law.

The Ghana Government must take a cue from the two developing countries and also swiftly pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law. There is no doubt that the pace of progress and development would be accelerated if Ghana hastens the process.

“If fact, one wonders what is preventing Ghana from the passage of this significant bill into law. Ghana could have achieved all the Millennium Development Goals if it had passed this important bill into law since it would have addressed some of the challenges militating against the achievement of the goals”, Mr. Boama stressed.

Ghana is a signatory to global declarations and protocols that call for increased women’s participation in decision making, such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the African Union’s Protocol on Women’s Rights among others. Despite all these, women still remain under-represented at decision-making platforms. No doubt, this makes it very difficult for women to contribute effectively to the national development process.

Across Africa, the types of quotas practised include constitutional quotas that are enshrined in the National Constitution and the Electoral Law quotas that are provisions written into national legislation by reserving a certain number of seats for women in political bodies.

There are also voluntary quota systems introduced by the political parties on their own because of some level of commitment on the part of the parties’ leadership. However, there is no binding legislation to implement the provisions and this is preventing Ghana and other African countries from mainstreaming the Affirmative Action into their laws.

*WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS

It is significant to note that, apart from Ghana being a signatory to global declarations and protocols, the foundation or a major impetus for the Affirmative Action Act can be found in certain provisions of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.

Article 12(2) states the protection of fundamental Human Rights principle and provides that “Every Person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to Fundamental Human Rights and freedoms of the individual in this chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for public interest.”

Article 17(2) states that “a person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion creed or social or economic status”. These articles set the tone for the total emancipation of women.

The constitution also imposes certain task on government to promote the cause of women empowerment. This can be found in the Chapter Six of the Constitution. Article 35(5) provides that “the state shall actively promote the integration of the people of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place, circumstance of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.”

What is important to gender advocates is the next clause, which, among others states: “Towards the achievement of the objectives stated in clause (5) of this article, the state shall take appropriate measures to: achieve regional and gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices.”

The obligation of government has not, at present, been achieved. However, some strides have been made in this direction which has led to increase of the number of women in government. For instance, women have ever been appointed by government to head prominent institutions including Parliament, NCCE and CHRAJ among others; but that is not enough, considering the fact that women outnumber men in the population.

The Mahama-led Administration has also appointed some women into political leadership and this must be applauded, but there are still more room for improvement.

The problem seems to lie on the elected in public office, Parliament, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).  In the 2012 Parliamentary election, out of the 275 seats in Parliament, women scored only 30― an unsatisfactory outcome.

*WOES OF UPPER EAST WOMEN IN DECISION MAKING

Giving the overview statistics of women in the leadership positions in the Upper East Region at the public durbar on the Affirmative Action Bill, the Chairman of RISEGNET, Mr. Daud James Abang-Gos, stated that, since independence in 1957, no woman had ever headed the Upper Region (now Upper East Region), spanning over seven successive governments. He said no woman has also ever represented the region as a Council of State Member.

“As at now, we have 23 elected assembly women as against 353 men elected in the region. Out of a total number of 153 government appointees to the various assemblies in the region, 43 are women as against 110 appointees being men.

The region has a total of 529 assembly persons, only 66 are women both elected and appointed whilst the men are 463. All these negative practices are not only affecting the development of women but the entire national development as a whole,” the Chairman of RISEGNET stated.

It is very important to note that the above scenario is not confined to the Upper East Region only, but is spread across all districts and regions across the country.

*WHAT WE MUST DO

Mr. Abang–Gos impressed on the government to follow in the footsteps of Rwanda where the authorities gave more quota to women, leading to appointment of more women parliamentarians and political appointees than their male counterparts.

There is also the urgent need for Government to provide the necessary support for building the capacity of women. This could be in the form of funding through favourable credit and loan schemes.

Women should also be assertive and avail themselves when the bells of political appointment come chiming. Women themselves should support their colleagues when it comes   to elections. Political parties must endeavour to honour the promise of quota as normally indicated in their manifestoes.

A lot of advocacy programmes are needed to break the negative cultural barriers that debar women from participating politics. There is the need for legislation on the quota system when it comes to the appointment of women into leadership position just like it is being done in Rwanda and South Africa.

*CONCLUSION

It is envisaged that with the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law and its effective implementation, it would make a positive impact on the number of women in public offices.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the durbar, assured the CSOs that government was not only committed to the passage of the bill but would religiously implement it. It is the hope of this writer that this time around that Government’s promise to pass the bill into law is not going to be mere lip service.

Dr. James Aggrey’s decades-old assertion― “If you educate a man, you educate an individual; but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation.”― still holds true.

This statement cannot be disputed because the woman is the first teacher of every soul under the sun and the mother of society. Government, particularly Parliament, needs to act swiftly to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law. It is only when this is done that Ghana’ socio-economic development could be accelerated to the highest pedestal.

Let us take a cue from Rwanda and South Africa now to change our fortunes.  There is no doubt that if the Affirmative action bill is passed into law and implemented effectively, it would not only  become an effective  tool for women development but a reliable wheel grinding smoothly towards the ‘Promised Land’ foreseen by our forbears. From The Chronicle…

 

Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Email: mk68008@gmail.com

 

The entrepreneurial spirit across Africa in general and Ghana in particular is unwavering, according to new research commissioned by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. The international study includes East, North and South Africa.

Small and micro businesses are vital for economic growth but face serious challenges.  Even though some might have fallen into business ownership through redundancy, a staggering 85 per cent of entrepreneurs globally reported that given the chance they would do it all over again.

The figure tops 90 per cent in Mexico, Germany and the Netherlands. Even at the bottom of the scale, in Australia and Brazil, more than 75 per cent of entrepreneurs would dive right back in.

A study conducted by the University of Ghana estimates that small enterprises in Ghana provide about 85 percent of manufacturing employment. The study further states that small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) are believed to contribute about 70 percent to Ghana’s GDP and account for about 92 percent of businesses in Ghana.

According to Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, director, Monitoring and Research Division, UN-HABITAT, economies that have had the SME sector make better contribution to GDP have shown consistent commitment to the development of the sector by implementing access to finance and financial incentives, basic and technological infrastructure, adequate legal and regulatory framework, and a commitment to building domestic expertise and knowledge.[1]

This latest Regus research, canvassing over 26,000 business managers and owners in 90 countries, confirms that nimble and flexible entrepreneurs regard lack of access to credit (76%) as the biggest deterrent to setting up a business today.

Red tape (74%) and lack of government support (61%) followed. Half the entrepreneurs who took part in the survey also cited the state of the economy and market domination by large corporations as serious hindrances.

Commenting on the findings, Regus VP for Africa, Joanne Bushell said: “Thank goodness for the Unstoppable Entrepreneur! Who knows what state the economy would be in if they decided to play safe and downsize like a lot of their larger and arguably better resourced competitors.  The challenges they face are not new, but they are clearly saying that little impact has been felt from state support initiatives, despite the best efforts of government”.

 

SMEs are “engines of growth” accounting for up to 99 per cent of businesses and 40 to 50 per cent of GDP.[2]In Ghanaian particular, they provide about 85 percent of manufacturing employment.

 

Globally, 50 per cent of all jobs are generated by SMEs, yet, in spite of this, they attract just a tiny proportion of overall investment across the G20.

Bushell added: “Entrepreneurial firms will need to remain nimble to navigate choppy waters and succeed. The lack of institutional support means that business owners will continue to increasingly favour flexible working in order to avoid lengthy leases and free up their working capital so they can concentrate on growing their business.

“Already, more than half of entrepreneurs are using flexible working locations for most of the week, compared with 39 per cent for those that do not own their businesses.”

Top challenges for entrepreneurs Global East Africa North Africa South

Africa

Lack of access to credit

76%

86%

69%

81%

Red tape

74%

70%

45%

82%

Lack of government support

61%

57%

67%

73%

Current economic conditions

55%

44%

57%

58%

Market domination by large corporations

From The Chronicle.

Constitution demands safe circumcision

07 JUN 2013 00:00 RIA NONYANA-MOKABANE

 

It is is the state’s responsibility to ensure that cultural practices comply with the Bill of Rights, writes Ria Nonyana-Mokabane.

he recent tragic deaths of 28 initiates in ­Mpumalanga have sparked new debate about the regulation of the cultural tradition of circumcision.

Cultural circumcision is an age-old practice in many African ­communities and its advocates see it as a vital rite of passage for boys in their preparation for manhood. My contribution to the debate focuses on the constitutional rights that allow the practice, other rights that must be respected, and how these rights, including the state’s obligations, are balanced in the Constitution.

Most boys who undergo cultural circumcision are younger than 18 and thus under parental care, so it can be assumed that their initiation is sanctioned or encouraged by their parents. In some communities, boys from families who do not uphold the practice participate nonetheless, driven by peer pressure. Non-participants can suffer stigma and marginalisation – rejection for not being “real men” – by their peers.

Most cultural circumcision in South Africa takes place in ­winter. Initiates are expected to stay in the mountains for a lengthy period  without access to education, healthcare and other basic necessities. The reported cases of botched circumcisions by inexperienced cultural practitioners suggest that the lack of access to healthcare makes the initiates very vulnerable.

According to the Bill of Rights, the right to enjoy a cultural practice may “not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights”. Thus, cultural practice may not infringe on the boys’ right to equality, life, human dignity, mental health and their spiritual, moral and social development, among other things. They are entitled to healthcare, education, protection from maltreatment, abuse or degradation, as well as an environment that is not ­harmful to their health and wellbeing.

Here the Bill of Rights strikes a balance between the right to culture and other fundamental rights: the right to a cultural practice must fall within the ambit of other rights as entrenched in the Constitution. No such qualification is made in the case of other fundamental rights ­mentioned above.

It could be argued, therefore, that the interest in protecting other fundamental rights outweighs the right to culture. Throughout, the right to culture has to give way to other rights, rights with no countervailing rights over them. In this, the Constitution created no space to manoeuvre for cultural circumcision to compete with, or trump, other rights.

Reasonable and justifiable
Furthermore, the Constitution provides that the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights may be practised subject to a limitation clause. This means that the right to cultural practices may be limited “in terms of law of general application to the extent that the right is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic ­society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors, including … the nature of the right, the importance of the purpose of the limitation, the nature and extent of the limitation, the relation between the limitation and its purpose and less restrictive means to achieve the purpose”.

The limitation clause applies to all fundamental rights entrenched in the Constitution. Ultimately, the status of this clause reflects the reliance of democracy on the views of the majority: that is, what is democratic should be approved by the majority.

It is clear that exploitation, abuse and the deaths of initiates during cultural circumcision has become a concern for many, including those who support the practice in general. For these reasons, cultural practices that can be harmful and not openly justifiable by the majority in society must be limited.

This does not mean the right to cultural circumcision may not be practised, but that certain measures be put in place to ensure that it does not contravene the initiate’s rights.

This shifts our argument to the responsibility imposed on the state to work towards the realisation of all rights. The Constitution requires that the state “protect, promote and fulfil all the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights”. Thus, there is a compelling reason for the state to establish legislation to regulate the practice of cultural circumcision for the sake of the wellbeing of ­children.

The state’s contribution in this area goes back to March 2004, when national traditional leaders met to discuss the establishment of a national policy framework to address some of the concerns about malpractices in cultural circumcision.

A policy framework was to be developed on receipt of inputs from the provincial branches of traditional leadership groups. The meeting resulted in the enactment of provincial circumcision laws by the Free State, Eastern Cape and Limpopo; laws that seek to prevent injury or death during such ceremonies. These laws require the inspection of the initiation school by health officials to ensure hygienic conditions and proper water supply. They further require a medical report to be submitted a month after the circumcisions, detailing the health of all initiates as well as the consent of the parent or guardian of each child.

Yet there is a gap in this intervention: there has been no progress yet on finalising the national policy framework on cultural circumcision. Also, some of the provincial laws have gaps, because they do not require the child’s consent to participate in cultural circumcision. (They also fail to specify a minimum age at which a child may participate in ­cultural circumcision.)

Valuable contributions
This is the case despite the explicit provision in the Children’s Act that “every child that is of such an age, maturity and state of development as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the right to participate in an appropriate way and views expressed by the child must be given consideration”. This message was echoed by the South African Human Rights Commission in 2009, when it said that South Africa needed to ensure that “children’s voices were heard in matters affecting them”.

The state has made valuable contributions to the lives of children by enacting the Children’s Act, which gives effect to certain children’s rights. But the Act also has gaps: for instance, there is no express mention of cultural circumcision in it. It simply prohibits circumcision of a male child younger than 16, though it makes exceptions for medical reasons (on the recommendation of a medical practitioner) or ­religious practices.

The Act also requires that a male child who consents to circumcision undergoes counselling. He is allowed to refuse circumcision if he has the mind, age and maturity to do so. The Act refers to medical and religious circumcision only.

To end the inconsistencies in the Act, the state must, among other things, consider incorporating a provision explicitly ­prohibiting ­cultural circumcision that is exploitative, abusive or harmful.

A further provision could prohibit the cultural circumcision of children younger than 18. There should be a requirement that such acts be performed in an accredited institution, by qualified medical personnel (in the absence of trained cultural practitioners), and that the boys receive therapeutic care before and after circumcision.

The state must investigate rural communities for initiation schools that operate unlawfully. It should inspect sites to ensure they reach the required standard for the children’s safety and wellbeing.

The right to cultural practice should be enjoyed in a safe environment, one in which the risks of harm are mitigated.

Dr Ria Nonyana-Mokabane is a legal scholar with a doctorate from the University of Pretoria. From the Mail & Guardian.

 

Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

WRITTEN BY  KWAME

Dr. Edward Kissi argues that sexual orientation is no more considered a lifestyle choice, adding that homosexuals are today seen as legitimate groups whose inalienable human rights are to be accorded.

Dr. Kissi made these remarks at a seminar on the topic: Human Rights and the Debate over Dignity and Social Order in Africa at the University of Ghana on Wednesday June 5, 2013.

He said human rights issues have expanded since the later part of the 20th century and called on Africans to adapt to the changing global trend.

Drawing an analogy between sexual orientation and certain immutable circumstances of human existence, Dr. Kissi said: “I did not choose my physical appearance-short, black-I will live in this body till thy kingdom come. It’s an immutable characteristic. So that if you decide that all short people who are dark and who are Kwahu should be sent to a concentration camp and then killed, I’m going to be very upset because that constitutes genocide”.

“…If you say that all people with specific sexual orientation are to be discriminated against, not given equal access to the law, therefore, equality before the law and access to economic resources in Ghana should be based on sexual orientation, that is a crime under international law and I think we should be loud about that,” Dr. Kissi asserted.

Source: radioxyzonline.com From Ghana Today

MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2013 – 00:00 — BY LYDIA MATATA

 

Members of Parliament have complained over biased reporting by the media.

According to the Media Council of Kenya MPs complained of being portrayed as “’a greedy lot that is out to loot the public coffers through unrealistic pay demands” during a consultative meeting with the council today.

Sarah Nkatha, MCK Vice Chairperson assured the parliamentarians that the council will work closely with the media to ensure objective reporting.

A consultative meeting with media owners and editors requested by MPs has also been scheduled for June 21.

National Assembly Clerk Joseph Bundi yesterday ordered journalists out of the media center at the National Assembly.

Bundi, accompanied by parliamentary orderlies, told journalists who were covering the day’s proceedings that they were no longer needed. He said that coverage of the House proceedings will now only be by invitation only.

“There cannot be seating here when we have no space for MPs. The coverage of the House proceedings will be by invitation only. We are not creating residence for journalists in parliament,” Bundi told journalists.

“We have shortage of committee rooms- we are taking as much space as possible including this one. Let us see how we manage the process as we move on,” he said.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild yesterday threatened to cut media coverage of Parliament after the eviction of journalists from the two room building.

The editors said that they did not believe the explanation that the space is required for use by parliamentary committees.

“It is instructive that the action comes shortly after the House Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened reprisals against the media in reaction to unfavourable coverage over MPs demands for increased pay.

The action also came with an assertion by Mr Bundi that the media will henceforth cover Parliament only by “by invitation”,” said statement from the editors.

The editors added that coverage is not a favour but an inalienable right linked to the right of Kenyans to know what goes in Parliament.

Article 118 of the Constitution states that “Parliament may not exclude the public , or any media, from any sitting unless in exceptional circumstances the relevant Speaker has determined that there are justifiable reasons for the exclusion.”

“The Kenya Editors’ Guild therefore demands that Parliament rescind those restrictive measures immediately. The Guild will consider asking media houses halt all coverage of Parliamentary proceedings until the environment for free and unhindered media access is restored,” the statement said. From the Star.

 

Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

The outcome of the forthcoming elections will hinge on the question of who can attract the youth vote, analysts say, as all major political parties try to appeal to young people.


The focus of the MDC-T’s economic blueprint is the creation of jobs, while Zanu (PF) is using its indigenisation and empowerment policy as a carrot to attract the youth vote.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the importance of the youth vote was not only evident in Zimbabwe but across the globe. “Youths constitute the biggest political market not just in Zimbabwe and Africa – their dominance is reflected in global trends”.

“Two fifths of the global voting population are young people. In this election they will definitely be the game changer. Sadly however many of them do not seem to be interested in participating in the electoral processes,” he said.

“Zanu (PF) is reluctant to push for the participation of the youth in electoral processes and cannot be at the forefront because this would only bring more challenges for the party. It is up to the other political parties to drive the push for the registration of young voters,” Rusero added.

David Chidende, the Programmes Officer at Youth Information and Education for Behaviour Change, said it was clear that the youths would be decisive in the elections and should be encouraged to participate in the process.

“The youths constitute about 61 percent of the total population in Zimbabwe. Their vote will add value to the process and all they need to do is to register to vote. It is critical that all parties should have in their manifestos something for the youths. Their policies should appeal to the needs of young people,” Chidende said. Wellington Zindove of the Zimbabwe Youth Forum said there were blatant efforts to muzzle the youth vote. “Young people have encountered a lot of frustration in trying to register as voters.

They have been asked to produce unnecessary documents. You cannot put aside $25 million to frustrate people who want to participate in the process. They must do away with unnecessary requirements to give young people unimpeded access,” Zindove said.

He said parties must concentrate on selling policies that have relevance to the lives of young people. “Right now they are concentrating on issues such as media reform which are too abstract for young people to grasp,” Zindove said.

MDC-T national youth spokesman Clifford Hlatswayo said corruption was an issue of great concern.

“High level corruption has robbed the country of its resources and of the opportunities they offered to the youth so any party that wants to win must have zero tolerance for corruption,” he said, adding that the glaring inequalities in terms of distribution of resources was also of concern to the youth who have witnessed people amass massive wealth at the expense of the poor. From the Zimbabwean.

 

Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

 

Me, I’m contemptuous of statistics. Because, come to think of it, what do mere numbers tell you? Give me a story any time and fiddlesticks to your cold, heartless numbers!

Over the last five years, one million Rwandans have been lifted out of poverty. Yes, our government has to keep track of what’s happening in crisp figures. But do these figures tell even half the story?

For instance, there is this enchanting story that I accidentally picked on one of our many local FM radios, last Wednesday evening. You know how it is. You want to listen to news but the moment you turn the needle, you are assaulted by noises from so many radio stations jostling to catch your attention: advertisements, phone-ins, music, the horde. Anyway, I fell upon an interview that a news anchor was having with an old widow.

Now, this was a story.  In fact, it was not a story. It is (yes, it’s happening) a mine of stories!

The lady hails from central Rwanda and her surname is such a mouthful that it has been imprinted on my mind: Nyirarivuzumwami. She was among the early beneficiaries of the Girinka Programme, a programme introduced by Government in 2006.

It will be recalled that the programme involves Government offering a cow to a poor family to help them combat poverty. But, for reasons of her “identity”, said Nyira— (I shorten withapologies!), she could not keep it. She shared it with her “community”, instead, and there was a beef feast.

After that, she continued to eke out a living the way she always had; going around neighbouring homes to beg. Senior (in age) citizens will have understood what her “community” and “the way she always had” meant.

Those were days when Rwandans saw themselves as fixed, unchanging blocks of Batwa, Bahutu and Batutsi. Batwa were supposed to hunt and beg; Bahutu to till the land; Batutsi to keep cattle.

That’s how things had always been, in spite of sharing everything (language, culture, etc) and so she went back to begging (remember proffering palms for local brew as alms?), since hunting was no longer feasible. Then, some communities were outcasts!

And then came the Nyakatsi Eradication Programme of 2008, a government programme kicked off to move poor citizens from un-sanitised settlements of tiny thatched huts to sanitised, airy and more decent housing.

She was put in a Mudugudu (cluster settlement) where she has two particularly close friends, both belonging to different “communities” from hers and from each other’s. Seeing how destitute she was, the ladies persuaded and offered her a heifer each, offspring of their own programme benefits. And there, says she, the genesis of the “miracle”.

The miracle is that today she is a farmer! The cows have calved three times and at their pick, in a day she has been getting 35 litres of milk on average. At 250 – 300 francs a litre, you can calculate and see her monthly income. In a word, she has become rich. When you add income from her land, she is “wealthy”!

Starting off with looking after the cows herself, she sold most of the milk as she needed only little for her consumption. With time, she was able to hire an able-bodied farmhand to look after them. As she continued to sell milk and offspring of the cows, without counting the offspring she gave to other families in the relay programme, she was able to buy a piece of land and hire another farmhand to work it. Today, the two young men are like his children and, as they continue working for her, they are able to provide upkeep for their own families, too.

Seeing as she was alone, Nyira— (remember the name?) has adopted two orphans. The children are educated free, all right. But still, it means providing uniforms, scholastic material, health insurance (the ubiquitous mutuelles de santé), mosquito nets and others.

Asked if she’ll continue to support them even after the free 12-year basic education, she countered: “Who else do you think will?” After all, said she, she has incomes galore: from her cows; their manure; the extra from their feed; maize, beans, sorghum, Irish potatoes on her pieces of land.

Yes, this transformation, modest as it may seem, was truly remarkable. But, in truth, what was more remarkable was what she capped the interview with. Asked what community she’d say she belonged to today, she answered vehemently: “There are no communities in Rwanda. There is only one community; that of Rwandans. I grieve when I think of the primitive ethnicity-boxes past leaderships had locked us in. If we’d started off as we did in 1995, we’d be a Whiteman’s country.” By “Whiteman’s country”, of course, Nyirarivuzumwami meant a developed country!

The interview must have been thirty minutes but you could develop a tome from it. For all I know, this “ex-begging-community-box” lady does not feature in the “one-million-out-of-poverty-citizens” statistics. Yet she is the real story of Rwanda. Who thought humble Gir’inka would contribute so immensely to exploding the myth of ethnicity? Those thirty minutes!

Me, give me a better definition of unity, reconciliation and poverty alleviation and I’ll give you the meaning of nonsense on stilts! From The New Times.

Satanic South Africa

GREG NICOLSON

07 JUN 2013 01:12 (SOUTH AFRICA)

 

Reports of Satanism linked to gruesome crimes in South Africa beggar belief, but does it exist to the extent suggested by media, where does it come from and how does it fit into the broader narrative of South Africa? By GREG NICOLSON.

According to a testimony at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, that’s the Bible verse that convinced youths to allegedly drug, bind, and set alight Kirsty Theologo and a friend in petrol last October.

Participator-turned-state-witness Lester Moody, who admitted to using drugs heavily, said the group decided Theologo was Johannesburg’s “great prostitute” during a game where one asks questions and burns tissue paper with matches to see the answer. It was decided the “whore of Babylon” would be sacrificed. “Drinking her blood, eating her flesh and burning her with fire” would be rewarded with “power, wisdom, fame and money” thought the youths.

Satanism sounds too farcical to believe – too similar to The Craft orStigmata and distant from facts and motives. Sceptics view it as an excuse used to sensationalise murders that are likely linked to poverty, violence in society, broken families, and psychopathic characters. Yet, media reports suggest it’s a key motive for a number of murders and Satanism is indeed practiced by South Africans, in particular youth.

In May, a 14-year-old boy allegedly murdered four family members in Johannesburg’s East Rand. Reportedly, he was fueled by drugs and Satanism. “This guy said he is a satanist. If he kills he is sacrificing his family for the boss,” told a neighbour. “He said it came from his mind and told him to kill them because of the full moon.” Those killings came after 14-year-old Keamogetswe Sefularo was allegedly murdered in Mohlakeng Johannesburg by Satanists who reportedly drank her blood.

Satanism has a history in South Africa. University of the Witwatersrand media studies lecturer (and Daily Maverick columnist) Nicky Falkof says in the 1980s and 90s, towards the end of Apartheid, white South Africa was gripped by paranoia and Satanism fell into the racially-based fears that characterised the era. Both the English and Afrikaans press had a relatively consistent position, says Falkof in “Satan has come to Rietfontein: Race in South Africa’s Satanic Panic”, treating it “as a legitimate and real threat to white South Africa”.

Satanism was racialised. “Both white and black youth were implicated in the scare but only white youth retained access to its supernatural elements. Where black youngsters were concerned, the possibility of Satanism only opened another channel for state mediation in their lives, while for many young white people, Satanism became another mechanism of enforcing orthodoxy and the political compliance that went with it,” writes Falkof.

“As an expression of the paranoias that dogged white mass culture in the last years of apartheid, as a screen for the repression of the real and radical threats to continued white dominance, the belief in a satanic conspiracy maintained apartheid’s work of racial separation and kept black and white youth in their place, fulfilling the pre-ordained positions given to them by the system’s racial obsessions: whites as conformist bearers of morality, civilization and reason, blacks as infectious, pathological and preternaturally damaged,” she concludes.

Before this, there were ideas around sangomas and muti murders, but white South Africans’ involvement reflected practices in the UK and Europe, says Falkof. The “imported panic” featured key attributes familiar to European and American Satanism – the colour black, upside crosses, the use of wine, and slaughtering cats. But when Apartheid ended, the press coverage on white Satanism did too.

Current media, however, paints it as a crime wave. In 2010, the government’s Tsireledzani report on human trafficking found that satanic cults operate across the country, with the main “operational centre” in Krugersdorp. They are well financed, usually white and count prominent members of society as members. When sacrifices are required, children are preferred. “Respondents believe that victims are either recruited by cult members or purchased from criminal syndicates that specialise in human trafficking: these syndicates are said to be mostly Nigerian. Alternatively, satanic cults will kidnap victims often from rural areas. Other targets are street children and prostitutes, probably because they are less likely to be missed and reported to the police. If the ritualistic killing requires a man, gay men in bars are targeted and sedated to overcome physical resistance,” claimed the report.

The investigation offers information from “respondents” but apart from claiming to have seen a video of satanic sacrifice, offers no hard evidence. Critiquing the claims, Chandré Gould, Marlise Richter and Ingrid Palmery from the Institute of Security Studies said it suffered from “lack of evidence and methodological integrity”. The report’s claims that Satanism is predominantly practiced by whites also differs with media reports which paint it as a subculture among black youth.

Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, head of the Moral Regeneration Movement, advised caution when approaching the issue. There’s a lack of scientific research to support the existence of Satanism as a religion, he said, and it’s hard to separate individual cases of violence as stemming from a religious belief as opposed to other issues. Both the Old and New Testament of the Bible mention such aspects of behaviour but don’t support the view that Satanism has been a distinctive ideology. What’s particularly concerning, said Mkhatshwa over the phone, is if people want to practice Satanism as an established religion.

Dr Kobus Jonker, who headed the SAPS’s Occult-Related Crimes Unit, is a common source of information on the issue. When contacted by Daily Maverick, he said he was too busy with his homeopathy practice, but he explained the issue in a past interview with Vice. “People jump on band wagons and see the devil behind every bush and that’s also wrong. It can be very dangerous, so I don’t do that. The Cult Unit was mainly for occult crimes which would involve cult leaders who are generally very charismatic. They run the satanic sects and tell their followers that they must go desecrate graves and go kill people for sacrifices and that sort of thing. South African Satanists concentrate more on committing crimes. That’s not the case with American and British sects. They are more concerned with LaVey’s teachings and the religious side of devil worship. You will rarely find them committing any of the horrible murders committed here in South Africa by the local sects,” said Jonker, who blamed the practice on the common breakdown of the family unit and children being left to their own devices.

This new breed of Satanism, according to Falkof, is totally different to that of the 1980s. “Now when we compare this to what’s going on currently we see a very different beast indeed. There are similarities – the devil, Bibles, dangerous women, weird rituals – but in most cases, news reporting on ‘Satanism’ is more or less the same as news reporting on ‘muti’ or ‘witchcraft’,” says Falkof. “The spectre of that old fear remains in name at least but it’s been subsumed into a larger South African occult. The best example of this is the way that most satanic tales these days involve not the murder of cats, associated with European witches, but rather endless oceans of chicken blood, which have powerful connotations of muti and local magic.”

Asked whether she believes the hype, Falkof says she doesn’t. Satanist acts of violence, however, may operate based on an individual’s perception of, rather than a proven, satanic conspiracy. “Whether or not ‘they’ exist is almost beside the point when it comes to individuals adopting the language and iconography. If you hear enough about this stuff and start to define yourself as the mythical ‘satanist’, and perform his/her practices, then are you one or aren’t you one? Does it matter how ‘real’ the thing is if peoplethink it’s real?” asks Falkof.

But rather than Satanists floating in the dark, she suggests the practice might be linked to the pulse of South Africa. The natural decline in Rainbow Nation rhetoric has been replaced not only by tragedies – Marikana, Anene Booysens, Reeva Steenkamp – but also a disenchantment with the ANC government, corruption, employment and service delivery. In short, dreams have been dashed.

Falkof quotes other academics on the state of flux and draws it back to Satanism: “I think then perhaps what the upsurge of Satanism stories in the last few years signifies is a symptom of this social fear, this sense that things are ‘sliding out of control’ and that we can’t trust those in charge to keep us afloat. I think those sorts of fears often manifest in occult paranoia because the world begins to seem unmanageable. And, related to that, in a way it’s easier to have a clear enemy; the other nifty task that Satanism scares perform is that they polarise things, they create a good vs. evil story that’s very easy to digest.” DM From the Daily Maverick

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, THURSDAY, 6/6/2013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest African news, comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa, takenby the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent, and down to the Cape.

Please do support the Centre with suggestions as to how we can improve our service to you; all comments are welcomed, however trenchant. Just put your view in the box at the bottom of the blog.

 

NEWS CONTENTS:

Nigeria: Troops arrest Boko Haram recruitment agent; Boko Haram chief Shekau may face trial in US

Zimbabwe: Five Zimbabwe parties reject poll deadline ruling; Mutambara breathes fire. . . Constitutional Court ruling final . . . Foreigners can’t challenge our laws; Moyo and Mutambara blasts Zuma

Nigeria: UK backs Nigeria’s bid for Security Council seat

Kenya: Britain set to compensate Kenya’s Mau Mau victims

Burundi: Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources and forbids stories deemed to undermine national security

Nigeria: Fuel subsidy: Falana, others’ petitions led to suspects’ probe – EFCC

Nigeria: 20 feared killed as Fulani Herdsmen, Soja Patali clash in Benue

Kenya: Six governors worried by banditry; Rift Valley tops crime statistics

Kenya: ICC sets new date for case against Ruto (see also comment and opinion)

Rwanda: New impetus in reparation cases

Africa: As TICAD Summit Ends World Leaders Vow to Develop Africa

Ghana: GACL Ordered To Suspend Contract With Security Coy

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS

Kenya: Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

Kenya: Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Uganda: Were these truly martyrs?

Sudan: Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

Sierra Leone: Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

South Africa: Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

South Africa: ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

 

Troops arrest Boko Haram recruitment agent

… 49 suspected terrorists nabbed in Yobe

The military Special Forces have arrested a recruitment agent for the Boko Haram sect, the Defence Headquarters said on Wednesday.

A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade said the unnamed terror agent was arrested in a cordon and search operation in Maiduguri.

According to the spokesman, the suspect used to be in charge of the sect’s armoury.

He added that the troops also arrested five Nigeriens at a hideout in Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in two Toyota Cruiser Jeeps.

The statement said troops were still patrolling the notorious Sambisa forest and cordoned off the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills.

“More abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items are being recovered in the camps of the insurgents.

“Among the recent finds are rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine.

“Others are handset, walkie talkie, car number plates and some food items. Abandoned vehicles recovered include a Golf car, a Honda, Customs pickup van, Honda (2003 Model) and a Volkswagen Monte Carlo”, the statement added.

The DHQ said police stations were being reopened in some parts of Borno State, adding that detachments of police anti-terrorists unit had been deployed to complement security in Kirenowa area of Borno.

Olukolade said a team of local and foreign journalists have commenced a tour of the operational areas of the Joint Task Force.

According to him, the tour, organised by the DHQ was meant to ensure that the media have first-hand information on the situation in the operational areas.

Meanwhile, No fewer than 49 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested at various locations in Yobe State by Special Forces following a tip off by locals in some communities.

Olukolade said the suspects were arrested during cordon and search operation.

According to him, weapons including AK 47 rifles, locally made pistols and ammunitions were recovered from the suspects when federal troops combed Rugan Fulani, Arikime, Afghanistan and Ngandu villages and communities.

“The team led by Air Commodore BE Inyang was also briefed that all the camps of the terrorists in the area had been dislodged as some of the insurgents fled towards Niger Republic.

“The DHQ team was also informed of a trend whereby some particular crimes have now taken the place of terrorism as the criminals now resort to brigandage, robbery and attempted assassination of business rivals.

“All law abiding Nigerians were however assured of the safety of their lives and property as troops of the Special Forces comprising of various security agencies including the Police Anti Bomb Squads are working round the clock to nip the negative trend in the bud.

“Citizens were further encouraged to continue to volunteer information on activities of terrorists in order to help troops rid the state of insurgents,” the statement added. From The Nation

Boko Haram chief Shekau may face trial in US

Posted by: Our Reporter on June 5, 2013

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau could be put on trial for terrorism in the United States when caught, it was learnt yesterday.

United States Acting Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security Amb. Kurt Rice, stated this.

Rice spoke in a joint-teleconference with Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs David Gilmou from Washington DC. The session was aired to audiences in Abuja, Accra, Lagos and Niamey.

They spoke on the U.S government’s offer of $23 million (about N3.6b) in cash rewards promised to people that could provide information on some terrorists in the West African countries.

Among the terrorists is Shekau, who had a $7 million price tag (about N1.6b), placed on his head.

The Federal government yesterday announced that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorised the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and as acts of terrorism.

The statement by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, confirms the exclusive story published by The Nation yesterday.

Boko Haram’s proscription is gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013.

Ansaru, the other terrorist group that came out of Boko Haram, was also proscribed.

The U.S official said the Nigerian Government needed to urgently evolve ways of reducing youth unemployment, as well as addressing the peoples’ political and socio-economic grievances.

“For the first time, the U.S Department of State Rewards for Justice Programme has offered rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organisations in Nigeria and other countries.

“The rewards are to enable the U.S government get at such terrorists, and take them to its court for prosecution.

“We are, therefore, urging the Nigerian Government to also come up with a comprehensive approach to its security problems and challenges,’’ he said.

Rice said that Nigeria’s security problem was a “multi-faceted” one, which also needed “multi-faceted solutions”.

The U.S Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security said the rewards were to expose and prosecute terrorists targeting U.S properties and citizens in West Africa.

“We want people to provide us with confidential information and such information will be carefully used in getting at these insurgents,’’ he said.

“Our intent is to bring him before a court. Our intent in offering this reward at this time is to work with our Nigeria partners to try and make (Nigeria) a more stable and secure area.’’

“The fact is that this is a shared fight against terrorism. This is one tool we have against terrorism and we find that overtime it has been enormously effective and it has saved a lot of lives and we want to continue doing that,’’ he said.

Rice also said that the Rewards for Justice programme, an initiative of the U.S Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, had since inception in 1984, paid about 125 million dollars to 80 people, who provided information on terrorists globally.

Also speaking, Gilmour ruled out suggestions that the seven million dollar (N1.1bn) bounty offered on the head of Shekau could be counter-productive to Nigeria government amnesty offer to the insurgents.

He reiterated the U.S. position that security-based solution was not the only way to address the current security challenges in Nigeria.

He said the U.S. recognised that among Northern Nigeria there were legitimate grievances such as social inequality and youth unemployment.

“We urge the Nigeria government to take seriously those grievances of the general population of Northern Nigeria,’’ he said.

He advised security operatives, currently conducting military operations in three states, under the state of emergency , to try and build the confidence of the population to keep them safe.

The U.S. diplomat on Africa said his government was working closely with Nigeria on security and counter-terrorism issues. From The Nation.

Five Zimbabwe parties reject poll deadline ruling

By AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Five main rivals of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday rejected an election deadline set by the country’s top court.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court last week ordered Mugabe to set a date before the end of July for crucial elections, which will end the longtime ruler’s uncomfortable four-year power-sharing government with his top rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

But leaders of five political parties, including Tsvangirai, “expressed reservations about the practicality” of the deadline given the gamut of reforms still to be made to ensure a credible poll.

The court’s decision last Friday was in response to a case brought by a journalist and democracy activist, Jealousy Mawarire.

In a statement after a meeting in Harare, the five leaders said the court’s action “ironically supposedly informed by the desire to safeguard the rights of the individual applicant, has resulted in the infringement of the rights of millions of Zimbabweans.”

The court’s decision to bring elections forward has played into the hands of Mugabe, who has always wanted to have early elections.

Mugabe had wanted elections by the end of the current parliamentary term on June 29.

Yet his opponents are pushing for a later date to allow more time for all major reforms to be effected to guarantee a free and fair vote.

One of their main complaints is inadequate time for voter registration.

They also want security and media laws they say infringe on free political activity to be changed before the vote.

Security institutions — which are widely seen as pro-Mugabe — need to be reformed to abide by the new constitution, which forbids partisanship, said the leaders.

Human Rights Watch has urged the country’s power-sharing government to “rein in the security forces and keep them out of politics if the elections are going to have any meaning.” From Modern Ghana/AFP.

Mutambara breathes fire. . . Constitutional Court ruling final . . . Foreigners can’t challenge our laws

Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00

Takunda Maodza Senior Reporter
THE Constitutional Court ruling directing President Mugabe to proclaim election dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 is final and binding and neither Sadc nor the AU can reverse it as

any such attempts will be akin to infringing the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Deputy Prime  Minister Arthur Mutambara  has said.

The DPM, who is a principal to the Global Political Agreement, warned Ms Lindiwe Zulu who is international relations advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma that whatever their political differences or views on the election dates, progressive Zimbabweans would not allow foreigners to violate and desecrate their sovereignty by varying or challenging domestic laws.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu was quoted in some sections of the Zimbabwean media saying with or without the Constitutional Court ruling, harmonised elections will be decided by a roadmap.

“It is not acceptable for the SA facilitation team to use the language that says ‘with or without the court ruling, an election roadmap has to be agreed,’ thus, demeaning and disregarding the decision of our Constitutional Court, while implying that a roadmap outside the laws of Zimbabwe will determine the election date.

“This is an attack on our national sovereignty. All Zimbabweans across the political divide; including those who are offended by the Constitutional Court judgment or feel that it was a wrong decision; must unite, oppose and reject this patronising and illegitimate posturing by our neighbours,’’ DPM Mutambara said.

The backroom facilitation team’s role, the involvement of Sadc and the AU as guarantors; DPM Mutambara said, was never meant to disregard Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

“Foreigners must respect our constitutional dispensation. As Zimbabweans, we must preserve our national sovereignty,’’ he said.

All foreigners, DPM Mutambara said, should realise that a binding and final determination had been made by the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe and it should be  respected without reservation.

Political scientist and Zanu-PF Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo concurred and dismissed as scandalous efforts by President Zuma’s backroom facilitation team to influence the election date when the Constitutional Court had already pronounced itself on the matter.

“That is preposterous as it is scandalous. It can only come from someone with a subversive intention or agenda against our country because the most important fundamental is the rule of law, and in this case the only competent authority is the Constitutional Court.

“We cannot have somebody coming from a country with very serious problems of its own like the Marikanas and all to pontificate and say we will use the roadmap. We do not need the roadmap. We need the Constitution, and we have it,” he said.

Prof Moyo said President Mugabe had already stated that he will abide by the Constitution Court’s ruling, putting to rest any plans to delay the holding of harmonised elections.

He slammed Ms Zulu for trying to provoke a crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We have a woman with nothing to do trying to promote a crisis in Zimbabwe. Election dates in Zimbabwe are not fixed by an agreement between anybody but on the basis of the law,” Prof Moyo said.

He said Sadc through its executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao is on record saying that the regional bloc was waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling on elections otherwise Zimbabwe was ready for polls.

The MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai wants the election held as late as October and is on record denouncing the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Political analyst Dr Charity Manyeruke ruled Ms Zulu offside saying Zimbabwe had to abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

“Zimbabwe will obviously abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Any decision outside the Constitution is ultra vires and illegal,” she said.

“The facilitation team has overstepped its mandate. It has to understand that Zimbabwe is a country that abides by the rule of law and cannot be ruled by individuals who think they can make decisions on what happens, how it happens and when that should happen. People should respect the principle of territorial integrity which is a fundamental principle of Sadc,” she said.

The Constitutional Court, last week, ruled with a crushing majority of seven yeas to two nays that President Mugabe should proclaim elections dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 this year.

The ruling came in the wake of an application by Mr Jealousy Mawarire of the Centre for Elections and Democracy who wanted the court to compel President Mugabe to proclaim the election date before June 29 when the life of the Seventh Parliament lapses.

Sadc’s announcement on the sidelines of the AU’s mid-term summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that it would convene a special summit on Zimbabwe to co-ordinate efforts to find funding for the harmonised elections has been latched onto by forces opposed to elections as an opportunity to lobby for poll postponement.

The regional bloc is, however, on record saying Zimbabwe was ready for elections and it would stand guided by the Constitutional Court ruling on the way forward. From The Herald.

Moyo and Mutambara blasts Zuma

Staff Reporter

THE Constitutional Court ruling directing President Mugabe to proclaim election dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 is final and binding and neither Sadc nor the AU can reverse it as any such attempts will be akin to infringing the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said.

The DPM, who is a principal to the Global Political Agreement, warned Ms Lindiwe Zulu who is international relations advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma that whatever their political differences or views on the election dates, progressive Zimbabweans would not allow foreigners to violate and desecrate their sovereignty by varying or challenging domestic laws.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu was quoted in some sections of the Zimbabwean media saying with or without the Constitutional Court ruling, harmonised elections will be decided by a roadmap.

“It is not acceptable for the SA facilitation team to use the language that says ‘with or without the court ruling, an election roadmap has to be agreed,’ thus, demeaning and disregarding the decision of our Constitutional Court, while implying that a roadmap outside the laws of Zimbabwe will determine the election date.

“This is an attack on our national sovereignty. All Zimbabweans across the political divide; including those who are offended by the Constitutional Court judgment or feel that it was a wrong decision; must unite, oppose and reject this patronising and illegitimate posturing by our neighbours,’’ DPM Mutambara said.

The backroom facilitation team’s role, the involvement of Sadc and the AU as guarantors; DPM Mutambara said, was never meant to disregard Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

“Foreigners must respect our constitutional dispensation. As Zimbabweans, we must preserve our national sovereignty,’’ he said.

All foreigners, DPM Mutambara said, should realise that a binding and final determination had been made by the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe and it should be  respected without reservation.

Meanwhile Zanu-PF Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo concurred and dismissed as scandalous efforts by President Zuma’s backroom facilitation team to influence the election date when the Constitutional Court had already pronounced itself on the matter.

“That is preposterous as it is scandalous. It can only come from someone with a subversive intention or agenda against our country because the most important fundamental is the rule of law, and in this case the only competent authority is the Constitutional Court.

“We cannot have somebody coming from a country with very serious problems of its own like the Marikanas and all to pontificate and say we will use the roadmap. We do not need the roadmap. We need the Constitution, and we have it,” he said.

Moyo said President Mugabe had already stated that he will abide by the Constitution Court’s ruling, putting to rest any plans to delay the holding of harmonised elections.

He slammed Ms Zulu for trying to provoke a crisis in Zimbabwe.

“We have a woman with nothing to do trying to promote a crisis in Zimbabwe. Election dates in Zimbabwe are not fixed by an agreement between anybody but on the basis of the law,” Moyo said.

He said Sadc through its executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao is on record saying that the regional bloc was waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling on elections otherwise Zimbabwe was ready for polls.

The MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai wants the election held as late as October and is on record denouncing the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Another Zanu PF loyalist Dr Charity Manyeruke ruled Ms Zulu offside saying Zimbabwe had to abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

“Zimbabwe will obviously abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Any decision outside the Constitution is ultra vires and illegal,” she said.

“The facilitation team has overstepped its mandate. It has to understand that Zimbabwe is a country that abides by the rule of law and cannot be ruled by individuals who think they can make decisions on what happens, how it happens and when that should happen. People should respect the principle of territorial integrity which is a fundamental principle of Sadc,” she said.

The Constitutional Court, last week, ruled with a majority of seven yeas to two nays that Robert Mugabe should proclaim elections dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 this year.

The ruling came in the wake of an application by Mr Jealousy Mawarire of the Centre for Elections and Democracy who wanted the court to compel President Mugabe to proclaim the election date before June 29 when the life of the Seventh Parliament lapses.

Sadc’s announcement on the sidelines of the AU’s mid-term summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that it would convene a special summit on Zimbabwe. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Chinwendu Nnadozie

Snr Correspondent, Minna

United Kingdom may have zeroed down on Nigeria to occupy the sole seat reserved for Africa in the proposed expanded permanent membership of the United Nations’ Security Council.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andre Pocock, dropped the hint when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu at Government House, Minna.

The envoy explained that his country is an important ally of Nigeria because of the economic and stabilising role it has been playing in the sub-region and the continent.

“Nigeria really matters to the United Kingdom. It is not only an economic power house but a stabilising force in West African sub-region and the continent”.

Pocock commended Nigerian efforts at restoring peace in war town countries in the sub region such as; Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali by contributing peace keepers to restoring normalcy to such crisis stricken countries.

According to him, his home government is looking forward to working with Nigeria, as she prepares to occupy the Security Council seat for two years as non-permanent member, before the proposed expansion of the five-member permanent Security Council.

“We look forward to Nigeria becoming a permanent member of the security council because Nigeria is a stabilising force in the sub-region”.

He however expressed worry of the United Kingdom (UK) on the security challenge in the country, especially in the north and assured of Great Britain’s readiness to assist in restoring peace to troubled spots in the country.

The British High Commissioner also disclosed that the United Kingdom is ready to partner Nigeria in boosting trade relationship between the two countries, which currently stands at $2.5 billion annually to $8 billion in the next few years.

He pointed out that, the High Commission is collaborating with the British business community in encouraging them to make foray into the Nigeria market as it is one of the most viable markets in the continent.

According to the UK Envoy, “We are encouraging British companies to come to Nigeria and invest.

“The environment is conducive because we want to raise our mutual trade balance”.

On the controversial visa regime of the British government as it affects Nigeria, the British High Commissioner said contrary to insinuations Nigerians are among the few people given unhindered access to the United Kingdom, noting that about 200, 000 applications are received annually out of which 160, 000 applicants are successful.

Niger State governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, had earlier advocated for an economic marshal plan for the north as was done during the deep recession in the United States as part of efforts to address the economic imbalance between the north and the southern states and assist in addressing the security challenges.

Aliyu said under the economic master plan; agriculture, education and infrastructural development should be given priority in order to bridge the gap currently existing in the country.

He called for the strengthening of the bilateral ties between Nigeria and Britain in order to allow the country tap into the wealth of experience of the former colonial masters. From the Daily Independent.

Britain set to compensate Kenya’s Mau Mau victims

By AFP

LONDON (AFP) – Britain was on Thursday expected to announce compensation for thousands of Kenyans who claim they were abused and tortured in prison camps during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising, according to a government source.

The Foreign Office (FCO) last month confirmed that it was negotiating settlements for claimants who accuse British imperial forces of severe mistreatment including torture and sexual abuse.

Around 5,000 claimants are each in line to receive over £2,500 ($3,850, 2,940 euros), according to British press reports.

The FCO said in last month’s statement that “there should be a debate about the past”.

“It is an enduring feature of our democracy that we are willing to learn from our history,” it added.

“We understand the pain and grievance felt by those, on all sides, who were involved in the divisive and bloody events of the Emergency period in Kenya.”

In a test case, claimants Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara last year told Britain’s High Court how they were subjected to torture and sexual mutilation.

Lawyers said that Nzili was castrated, Nyingi severely beaten and Mara subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the Mau Mau rebellion.

A fourth claimant, Susan Ngondi, has died since legal proceedings began.

The British government accepted that detainees had been tortured, but initially claimed that all liabilities were transferred to the new rulers of Kenya when the east African country was granted independence.

It also warned of “potentially significant and far-reaching legal implications”.

But judge Richard McCombe ruled last October that a fair trial was possible, citing the “voluminous documentation”.

At least 10,000 people died during the 1952-1960 uprising, with some sources giving far higher estimates.

The guerrilla fighters — often with dread-locked hair and wearing animal skins as clothes — terrorised colonial communities.

Tens of thousands were detained, including US President Barack Obama’s grandfather.

It was only when the Kenya Human Rights Commission contacted the victims in 2006 that they realised they could take legal action.

Their case was boosted when the government admitted it had a secret archive of more than 8,000 files from 37 former colonies.

Despite playing a key part in Kenya’s path to independence, the rebellion also created bitter divisions within communities, with some joining the fighters and others serving the colonial power.From Modern Ghana/AFP.

In Nairobi the country’s law society said on Tuesday more than 8 000 Kenyans are seeking millions of dollars in compensation from former colonial rulers Britain, claiming mistreatment during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising,News24 reports.

“The Law Society of Kenya [LSK] has received lists of ex-Mau Mau fighters seeking compensation running into billions of shillings from the British government,” LSK chief Apollo Mboya said in a statement.

The thousands of submissions follow an October 2012 test case ruling in London’s High Court, in which three elderly Kenyans were given the go-ahead to sue the British government.

Since then, one law firm has submitted more than 8 000 names while another has listed over 700 more, said the society, which is coordinating submissions.

The numbers will rise further with more names due to be submitted from the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which supported the initial test case, the statement added.

the process has been marred by “raging disputes” between competing Kenyan and British law firms, Mboya said, with the law society stepping in to mediate.

“We will follow the proceedings of the compensation cases filed in UK courts and also the professional conduct of the lawyers involved to ensure the victims are adequately compensated,” Mboya added.

At least 10 000 people died during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau insurgency against British colonial rule and a brutal crackdown, with some sources giving far higher estimates. From The Independent.

Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources

Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources

and forbids stories deemed to undermine national security, drawing condemnation from reporters and rights groups Reuters reports.

Journalists said they would ignore the legislation and challenge it in the constitutional court.

Reporters Without Borders said the law, which had been endorsed by parliament and the senate before President Pierre Nkurunziza signed it, set the east African country back 20 years.

“This is a black day for freedom of information in Burundi,” the campaign group said in a statement.

A spokesman for the president, Leonidas Hatungimana, said the legislation took effect immediately but made no further comment.

The bill bans the media from publishing stories about national defence, public safety, state security and the local currency.

Those who break the law face fines of between $2,000 and$6,000, a sum well above the annual salaries of many journalists. From The Independent/Reuters.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Temidayo Akinsuyi

Correspondent, Lagos

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said the probe and subsequent prosecution of some marketers indicted in the fuel subsidy scam was as a result of petitions by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, and other civil society groups.

A prosecution witness, Hammed Lawal, disclosed this in his testimony at the ongoing trial  of two  oil marketers and their company  before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of  an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, over  alleged  fuel subsidy infractions.

Lawal, while being cross examined by the defence counsel, Anthony Idigbe (SAN), on his previous testimony against the defendants, which include,  Samuel Bamidele, Abiodun Kayode Bankole and their company, A.S.B. Investment Company Limited, said the defendants were not specifically mentioned in the said petitions.

EFCC’s operative, who was one of those detailed to investigate the infractions said since the petition was not specific the commission decided to investigate the entire subsidy regime because of the public outcry.

He however said his investigations showed  that defendants fraudulently obtained  payments from the petroleum support fund as subsidy for the importation of petroleum motor spirit (petrol) to the tune of N1,341,471,735.67.

According to him, analysis on the claims by the oil marketers showed that though about 13,415 metric tonnes of fuel discharged by the marketers at Fatgbems depot, the product did not emanate from Sweden as quoted in the bill of lading by the marketers.

Lawal, a graduate of Accounting from Bayero University, Kano (BUK), contended that what was paid for, as evidenced from the letter of credit to the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), was not imported because of the discrepancies  on the documents.

The witness’ contention was that the suspects did not supply the said products form the vessel Pacific Innovator as claimed because the vessel did not load on the dates quoted on bill of lading.

Lawal however told the court that he did not investigate the movement of the vessel neither did he received any report from the captain of the mother vessel.

Asked by Idigbe whether the claims by the marketers  captured the volume of product discharged at Fatgbems depot, Lawal answered in affirmative, but stated that  the vessel conveying the petroleum product  left Sweden on February 20, 2011 contrary to  claims by the defendants that vessel left Sweden on February 13, 2011.

The witness also stated his investigations were mainly based on reports sent to the commission by Inter tech Testing Nigeria Limited and Quality Marine Services concerning the discharge of the said product, affirmed that the forged documents never emanated from Quality Marine Services.

But when Idigbe pointed out that the irrevocable letter of credit made it explicit that products will be loaded off shore, and that the short fall in the volume of product in the letter of credit was caused by the rise in price, the witness said he never investigated that.

Lawal however said investigations to the other aspect of the transaction concerning offshore companies were done by another operative, who is competent to give evidence on that.

Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned to July 8, when the prosecution is expected to call more witnesses. From the Daily Independent.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Sola Shittu

Reporter, Abuja

Federal Government has reduced the number of importers of petroleum products from 142 to 38 and admitted delay in the payment of N972.138 billion subsidy for domestic importers a carry over from 2011 and 2012 provision for partial subsidy.

Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley, traced the delay to inability to sort out foreign exchange claims by the marketers at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Stanley, who stated this at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) in Abuja, stated that there has been no payment for any marketer importing petroleum products in 2013.

But, Committee Chairman, Magnus Abe, warned that refineries should be allowed to function optimally so as to reduce importation of petroleum products.

Federal Government allocated N971.138 billion for fuel subsidy in the 2013 budget, while N888.1 billion was allocated in 2012.

The fuel subsidy allocation, as captured on Page XVII of the Approved 2013 Budget signed by President Goodlcuk Jonathan on February 26, indicates that the N971.133 billion is for “domestic fuel subsidy (marketers) (carry-over from 2011 and 2012 provision for partial subsidy).

The PPRA boss explained that the delay is caused by delays in the payment of subsidy claims by the Federal Ministry of Finance resulting in interest a s foreign exchange differential claims request by marketers.

He said although the Federal Government has spent a total of N3.7 trillion in five years, the agency has succeeded in cutting the number of oil marketers from 142 to 38 as at December 2012.

He added that local consumption of PMS has also been brought down from 60.25 million liters per day in 2011 to 40 million liters per day.

In his response, Abe urged Stanley and the PPPRA not to relent in sanitizing and weeding out “briefcase marketers,” adding that they are still lurking around, waiting to manipulate any loophole in the system.

Said Abe: “We are happy that you have put in measures to control the cost of subsidy payment.

“We have looked at the figures and we are impressed with the progress you are making and we believe you can do more.

“At this juncture, all I want to say is that all Nigerians should be vigilant. The reason we are celebrating now is because of the attention, which made some people run away.

“The moment we relax, they may come back. Those who ran away with their briefcases are also looking for how to come back.

“If the figures rise, we will like to know why the rise because there’s still that danger as they are still lurking around.” From the Daily Independent.

20 feared killed as Fulani Herdsmen, Soja Patali clash in Benue

 

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 5, 2013

No fewer than 20 persons have been killed in a renewed violence that broke out between suspected Fulani Herdsmen and Benue militia men yesterday.

Daily Post learnt that the Tiv attackers, also known as Soja Patali, attacked the Fulani community at about 6am. They reportedly opened fire on the villagers, most of whom were women and children.

It was gathered that eight vehicles belonging to Alago were also burnt in the crisis.

Sources said the incident caught Alago people unaware as over 100 heavily armed Tiv farmers reportedly invaded the village, and started shooting.

Reports monitored from the village indicated that aside the 20 people who were killed, 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries, while other inhabitants of the community have vacated their various homes and currently taking refuge in Doma town to avoid being caught in the latest unrest.

Efforts to see the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Shehu were fruitless. From the Daily Post.

Six governors worried by banditry

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – 00:00 — BY KENNEDY LESIEW

Six Governors from the North and South Rift regions are planning for a joint strategy to tackle cattle rustling menace. The five governors will hold joint peace rallies in the five counties affected by cattle rustling in a move aimed to tackle insecurity and attract investors. They have identified insecurity as a major impediment to development in the region Governors in the plan include; Josphat Koli Nanok(Turkana),Simon Kachapin(West-Pokot), Patrick Khaemba (Trans –Nzoia) , Alex Tolgos(Elgey-Marakwet), Benjamin Cheboi(Baringo) and Moses Kasaine(Samburu) vowed to speared head the campaign to tame the menace in the five counties.

“We want to use the peace forums to create awareness to the warring communities on the need to discard outdated cultural practices such as cattle rustling and embrace unity of purpose in order for our counties to realized its full potential.” Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos Said. Tolgos noted that the five counties were unable to attract local and international investors due to insecurity posed by armed bandits.

He expressed concern that unless urgent measures are taken to restore calm in the affected counties, they stood the risk of missing out on viable sustainable projects running into billions of shillings that are yet to be injected in the counties. He said the affected counties have been experiencing increased cases of attacks in the recent past leading to lose of lives and livestock, besides displacement of hundreds of families.

The governor reiterated their commitment to supplement the government’s efforts to enhance peace and cohesiveness among the warring communities for the sake of unity and development. He regretted that the counties ravaged by incidents of insecurity making them lack behind in all spheres of development for decades despite having enormous resources which still remains unexploited. Tolgos said they will incorporate the security agencies in their peace forums in areas that are most hit by insecurity in the affected counties for harmony to prevail among the residents.

“We have talked and resolved to hold joint peace rallies along our borders in an effort to come out with a lasting solution to insecurity problems that have hindered development among the warring communities in the affected counties,” said Tolgos. Efforts to reach other four governors were unsuccessful as they were reported to me in a close door meeting. Past efforts by the government to stem vicious armed attacks in the region through forceful disarmament of those with illegal fire-arms has been frustrated by a section of the political class who have refused to give their political goodwill and support for the initiative.

Two weeks ago, Director of Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons Engineer Patrick Ochieng revealed that there were more than 850,000 illegal fire-arms in hands of civilians in Kenyans. Ochieng disclosed that the security agencies were incapacitated to contain the rising cases of criminal activities that have rocked various parts of the country due to lack of enough resources and equipment. From the Star.

Rift Valley tops crime statistics

By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  23:30

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Most crimes reported in Rift Valley and Central
  • North Eastern has the lowest incidents of crime at 454
  • The report states that the police has increased its presence in crime prone areas in order to fight insecurity

Rift Valley is the most dangerous province to live in this year, according to the latest crime statistics released by the Kenya Police Service on Wednesday.

According to the data, 7,598 crimes were reported in the vast region between January and May this year, almost double the 4,450 crimes reported in Central, the second most dangerous province to live in.

The figures, however, indicate that the crime rate across the country over the first five months of this year has dropped compared to the same period over the last two years. So far, the country has recorded 30,285 between January and May, compared to 33,538 and 31,055 over the same period in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

“The trend shows in the year 2011-2012 there was an increase of 2,483 cases or 8 per cent in reported cases. In 2012-2013, crime decreased by 3,253 cases or 10 per cent in reported cases,” the report says.

The report states that there has been an increase in robbery and homicide even though there has been a decline in economic crimes, consumption of dangerous drugs, motor vehicle theft, criminal damage, theft of stock and offences against morality.

But in an interesting twist, Western and North Eastern provinces which have witnessed violent attacks by suspected militias are the two provinces with the lowest crime figures in the country over the last five months.

The report shows that Western has recorded 2,923 with Eastern (4,279), Nairobi (3,765), Coast (3,658) and Nyanza (3,061).

North Eastern has the lowest incidents of crime at 454 despite the grenade attacks witnessed in Mandera, Garissa and Mandera counties in recent weeks.

Police attribute the crimes to organised criminal groups and gangs, cattle rustling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons especially from war-torn countries as well as inter-tribal and clan clashes manifested in retaliatory attacks by armed militias.

They also cite urbanisation and population growth, economic conditions, poverty level and lack of job opportunities and cultural factors and educational, recreational and religious characteristics.

The report states that the police has increased its presence in crime prone areas in order to fight insecurity.

It has also established security posts which are meant for wider coverage of the area in the form of police patrols and prompt attention to distress calls whenever alarms are raised while also providing members of the public with mobile numbers they can call to report crime. From the Nation.

ICC sets new date for case against Ruto

By Charles Omondi The Citizen Correspondent

Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  10:57

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also facing similar charges before ICC. The ICC Chamber held a hearing on May 14 in the presence of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, to discuss procedural matters and other issues.

Nairobi. The Trial Chamber V(A) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has set September 10, 2013 as the commencement date for the trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and Joshua arap Sang. The two are facing charges of crimes against humanity in relation to the violence that hit Kenya in 2007 – 08 following the disputed presidential election results.

A statement from ICC Monday evening indicated the date was set in order to allow the Defence sufficient time to carry out its preparation.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also facing similar charges before ICC. The ICC Chamber held a hearing on May 14 in the presence of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, to discuss procedural matters and other issues.

The issues included the Prosecutor’s request to add six witnesses to the list of witnesses and the Defence’s request to vacate the trial date to adequately prepare its case.

After reviewing the parties and participants’ observations, the Chamber, composed of judges Chile Eboe-Osuji (Presiding), Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr, authorised the Prosecutor to add two persons to her list of witnesses for this case and set the new date of the trial’s opening accordingly. From The Citizen.

New impetus in reparation cases

The Government is designing a new strategy to ensure that all issues related to compensation of Genocide survivors are sorted by December.

The process has started with an assessment of the Gacaca judgments that were not executed, according to Pascal Bizimana Ruziganintwari, the deputy attorney general and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking to The New Times on Tuesday, Bizimana said the decision was reached after consultative meetings with various stakeholders, including associations of Genocide survivors.

Of the 599,025 Gacaca judgments related to properties, 158,095 were not executed, according to the Special Justice Taskforce commissioned this year by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremye to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors.

In another report, the Justice ministry established that this year alone, 200,000 Gacaca cases that involves reparation out of which around 300,000 were enforced.

“After ascertaining the number of property cases that were not enforced, we will support local entities and court bailiffs so that we execute all the remaining cases by the end of the year,” said Bizimana.

In an October 2012 discussion paper, the associations of Genocide survivors issued various recommendations to government on the need for a reparation fund.

Restitution mooted 

Referring to the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines 19-23, 10 associations, including Ibuka, Surf, AERG, Redress and Duhozanye, recommended restitution.

They defined  this form of reparation as a legal practice that aims at restoring a victim to their situation before the tragedy.

Restitution includes return to one’s place of residence, restoration of employment and return of property, among others.

They also requested compensation for physical or mental harm, lost opportunities, moral damage and costs required for legal or expert assistance, medical services, psychological and social services.

“Compensation is central to the right to an effective remedy and to reparation, particularly when restoring the victim to the situation before the gross violation took place,” reads the document.

Quoting the document, Albert Gasake, the legal advisor of the Survivors Fund, Surf, said the majority of survivors are yet to have receive compensation and/or restitution awarded by courts, despite promises to the effect in the last 18 years.

The document blamed the State, saying even though it was declared jointly liable with the accused in several cases, and compensation awards were made against the State, none of these civil verdicts against the State were enforced.

It also faults the idea of alternative punishment for culprits who fail to get compensation (TIG) “because it benefits only the State and not the survivors.”

Mode of reparation

However, Bizimana said reparation exercise should be seen in Rwandan context before relying on foreign experiences.

He said reparation can be addressed by either looking at the general context, or on individual point of view.

“The government, within its financial capacity, opted to look at the general interests as of reparation of Genocide survivors rather than looking at it from individual point of view. It’s in that context that we established the Fund for Assistance of Genocide Survivors,” he said.

“Through this Fund, the government provides shelter, school and medication to the most vulnerable survivors such as children, the elderly and the disabled.”

Bizimana said crime is a sole responsibility of the offender, which means that the State cannot help culprits to pay damages for their crimes.

Nevertheless, if someone is found guilty, the Rwandan law gives the survivors the right to appeal for reparation on individual basis, he said.

He added that even the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, has a clause which allows Genocide survivors to file in Rwandan courts reparation cases against convicts it tries.

Naftali Ahishakiye, the executive secretary of Ibuka, said more efforts are needed in compensation. From The New Times.

As TICAD Summit Ends World Leaders Vow to Develop Africa

As the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) drew to a close, leaders from 50 African countries and international partners vowed to work hand in hand to deliver quality growth and sustainable development to Africa.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his country would contribute US$32 billion to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies and promoting inclusive and resilient societies.

The funds are expected to help the continent in areas including trade, infrastructure and private sector development, health, agriculture and agro-processing.They include US$1 billion in development, humanitarian and security assistance for the Sahel region and an initiative to help tens of thousands of Africans find jobs.

Delegates at the closing ceremony of TICAD issued the Yokohama Declaration. The document calls on African countries to unleash the continent’s business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.

Under the Action Plan issued on Monday, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.
The declaration and action plan concluded three days of reflections on the economic and development achievements of the African continent since 1993 and challenges over the next five years.

“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.
UNDP was a co-organizer of TICAD V along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).
During the forum, UNDP Administrator moderated a high-level discussion on gender equality and the empowerment of women, with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Heads of UN Agencies and African Heads of State as panelists, and echoed a call from Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, to “see women as the greatest opportunity to unleash the full potential of the continent.”
At a side event on climate adaptation, Helen Clark, President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré and Masaji Matsuyama, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said effective policies to reduce climate vulnerability were key to building sustainable development plans.
The event drew lessons from the Africa Adaptation Programme, a continent-wide scheme to help nations on the continent design and implement more effective climate adaptation measures.
The programme has for instance helped to install weather stations across Burkina Faso, set up a Climate Change Department within the Government of Mauritius and strengthen early warning systems to reduce climate-related disasters in Ghana.

Participants at the forum also agreed that building resilience to disasters and climate change will not only protect the fruits of development in Africa, but is also necessary to further propel inclusive growth in the continent.
“As Japan painfully experienced in 2011, disasters are perhaps the most urgent threat to human security and development. Climate change is only going to make things worse,” Prime Minister Abe said. “Japan is committed to supporting African countries and communities as they strive to build resilience.”
Since 1993, TICAD has played a critical role in raising global awareness of African development issues and providing strategic leadership on development assistance to Africa. Over the past 20 years, the partnership has evolved from a high-level discussion forum to a platform for action. From the Awareness Times.

GACL Ordered To Suspend Contract With Security Coy

Government has directed the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) to suspend with immediate effect its contract with Sohin Security Company, providers of security services at the country’s various airports.

A statement signed by the Mr. Mahama Ayariga, Minister for Information and Media Relations, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the suspension was in response to ongoing investigations by the security agencies into activities of the company and its management.

The GACL management has also been asked to liaise with the state security agencies, ‘’to ensure that the security apparatus at the airports are not compromised during the transition following the directive.’’

Government has over the past few months been involved in a review and investigation into the operations of various state institutions with a view to improving their service delivery, revenue mobilization and prevention of crimes against the state. GNA From The Chronicle.

Below is the latest comment and opinion in sub-Saharan Africa, taken  by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent, and down to the Cape:

 

Kenya: Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

Kenya: Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Uganda: Were these truly martyrs?

Sudan: Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

Sierra Leone: Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

South Africa: Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

South Africa: ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

•60m generators imported annually

By Chesa Chesa and Celestine Okafor, Abuja

Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, on Wednesday, described the nation’s power crisis as a nightmare.

He lamented that 120 million Nigerians (75 per cent of the population) do not have access to electricity supply.

The minister spoke at the Presidential Villa during a press briefing after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

He lamented that 120 million Nigerians (75 per cent of the population) do not have access to

He, however, said the problems associated with power are surmountable with divine intervention together with the efforts being made by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The present challenges, the minister explained, include unprecedented system collapse and heavy storms that shattered transmission lines in Bayelsa and Kebbi states, destroying four transmission towers.

Then, there are man-made problems like vandalism, Nebo said, expressing amazement at the evil reasoning that would push Nigerians to vandalise electricity cables and facilities meant for their own use.

“They will all be defeated by the grace of God,” he declared.

Another nightmare he highlighted was inadequate funding, such that nobody thought of how to maintain the power generation and distribution plants this year because it was strongly believed that the plants would have been successfully sold off to private concerns.

A new mechanism is being put in place to solve this problem, he assured though.

Nebo disclosed that such efforts have resulted in doubling of power generation and supply over two years, from 2,500 megawatts to over 4,000mw now.

Even at that, Nebo assured that current privatisation of power plants which will end by July will raise power supply to over 5,500mw by the end of this year, and 10,000mw by the end of 2014.

The successful buyers of the privatised power plants are expected to have completed payment of their outstanding balance of 75 per cent of the cost by July.

He explained that in the long run, Zungeru and Mambilla hydro plants, conceived nearly 40 years ago but flagged off by Jonathan recently, will add 700mw to the national grid.

Meanwhile, Senators were told in Abuja on Wednesday that over 60 million generators were being imported annually into Nigeria as at 2006,  while about N1.6 trillion was spent to fuel the generators.

Former Director General of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Ayodele Omotosho, disclosed this at a two-day public hearing by Senate Joint Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and Finance on the review of national planning and budgetary process.

Senators and invited guests at the hearing listened with shock and disgust when Omotosho revealed that this huge expenditure arose from the nation’s defective economic planning system.

The Senate committees were jointly chaired by Barnabas Gemade (National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation) and Ahmed Makarfi (Finance).

Omotosho told the committee members that Nigeria cannot realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with such waste and planning deficit.

To arrest the trend, he advised the National Planning Commission to ensure functional capital budgeting.

“We need to take the annual budget back to the capital budget projections,” Omotosho told the committee members.

He charged them to ensure, through their oversight functions, that the NPC and other relevant budgetary agencies engage in proper planning of the nation’s economy.

Omotosho also advised that the Department of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS) should be put under the NPC to get economic planning right.

“There should be adequate budgeting activities,” he said.

The former DG, however, stressed that the constituency projects in the budget should belong to the constituencies.

To achieve this, he said there should be early engagements between the executive and legislative arms of government.

In his own presentation, a Professor of Economics, John Kwanashie, said the nation would begin to get its economic planning right when capital projects go into the national planning arrangement.

“We need to bring the budgetary process into the planning process,” Kwanashie said.

In his memorandum, Henry Boyo, an industrialist, stated that for the country to correct the deficiencies in the existing national planning and budgeting process, there should be need to put in place, a medium term development plan.

He also suggested a stronger, more coherent and inclusive national planning function which requires a multi-year national plan to underpin the annual budgeting process.

Gemade (PDP, Benue North–East) in his welcome address, stressed the essence of the public hearing which, according to him, was to search for solution towards eliminating the “serious discord and acrimony between the legislative and the executive arms of government which consequently stall our progress as a nation.”

He said the nation needs to have a national budget devoid of the current annual “incremental envelop system, which will provide alternative planning policies and strategies with inputs from private and voluntary sectors as well as the international community into an effective development partnership.” From the Daily Independent.

Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

 

By ZADDOCK ANGIRA zangira@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  23:30

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Murder and robbery cases are on the rise according to the report
  • Police attribute the current trend of crime and insecurity to organised gangs, cattle rustling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and inter-clan wars manifested by retaliatory attacks by armed militias
  • The number of women offenders almost doubled from 7,837 in 2011 to 14,518 last year while that of their male counterparts recorded at 6.6 per cent decline

Police officers are among criminals terrorising Kenyans, a report released by the Kenya Police Service Wednesday has revealed.

The report also says murder and robbery cases are on the rise. A lot of the crimes involve the use of firearms and ammunition held by criminals.

The report, which compares the first five months of the last three years, says there was a threefold increase in the number of officers reported to have been involved in various crimes. Between January and May 2011, 18 officers were charged with various crimes, but in 2012, only 14 officers were charged. However, the number increased to 48 this year, representing a 243 per cent increase.

Following the increase in the number of errant officers, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo has said that specialised teams like the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) and crime intelligence personnel will be deployed in affected areas.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Service are working together to crack down on errant officers in the wake of an increase in armed crimes especially in Nairobi and the surrounding areas.

“Where errant officers are reported, we will not hesitate to take action accordingly,” Mr Kimaiyo warned on Wednesday.

The report titled, ‘Kenya Police Service Comparative Figures’ shows that killings and robberies have increased in the last five months, while there has been a reduction in economic crimes and drug trafficking.

Cases of suicide

Out of 1,294 people killed between January and May this year, 869 were murdered, constituting about 64 per cent of the total number. Police reported 199 cases of suicide and 155 of death by dangerous driving.

However, there was a reduction in cases of stealing, motor vehicle thefts, other offences against persons, criminal damage, break-ins, theft of stock, offences against morality and theft by servant.

There was also a substantial reduction in the number of cases reported to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission (EACC) by about 51 per cent, from 7,326 in 2011 to 3,592 in 2012.

The highest number of crimes was reported in the Rift Valley, followed by Central, Nairobi and Eastern. Western, Coast North Eastern and Nyanza recorded significant reduction in crime.

According to the report, gang activities also increased in the period after the general election especially in Bungoma, Busia, Garissa and the Coast.

Most offenders were men although the number of women offenders reported almost doubled, while that of their male counterparts recorded a slight decline between 2011 and last year.

The number of women offenders almost doubled from 7,837 in 2011 to 14,518 last year while that of their male counterparts recorded at 6.6 per cent decline. Major increases among women offenders were noted in Eastern, Rift Valley and Central regions.

A total of 368 firearms were recovered in 2012 compared to 247 in 2011. There was also a steady decline in the number of ammunition recoveries from 16,388 in 2011 to 12,824 in 2012.

Largest decline

The number of persons reported to the police having committed offences went up in Central, while Nyanza registered the largest decline. From the Daily Nation.

Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Staff Reporter

NAIROBI – Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, may have landed his first victory in his crimes against humanity trial and is hoping to strike a second in a few months.

Judges at the International Criminal Court ruled that his trial can begin in September. They have also recommended that portions of it be heard either in Kenya or Tanzania.

Ruto and Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, are facing crimes against humanity charges at the Hague based court.

Should the recommendations by the ICC judges be approved by the court’s president, then it would be the first time that the ICC would hold a trial outside The Hague.

The International Commission of Jurists, the prosecution and the lawyers for the victims disagree with the recommendation.

ICJ Programme Manager, Stella Ndungu says, “Security for the victims and witnesses remain a concern that then needs to be taken into consideration by the court.”

In Tanzania, the case would be held in Arusha where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is hosted. The ICTR tried perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide and is in the process of winding up.

They have not received any recommendations from the government of Tanzania, and that is crucial.

But there may be a problem. Ndungu says, “They have not received any recommendations from the government of Tanzania, and that is crucial. That is a key thing. The government of Tanzania has to be on board with this. It is not on board with this.”

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have received backing from the African Union. The AU says the court has outlived its usefulness.

Hailemariam Desalgne, Ethiopia PM, says, “The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity in governance and in crime, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting.”

The cases would be conducted by the ICC, but for Ruto, it would save him the humiliation of being tried in a foreign land. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Were these truly martyrs?

By Cliff Mugasha

Worldwide, the Catholic Church marks June 3, as the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and companions, the martyrs of Uganda.  St. Charles Lwanga is singled out because of his leading role as a catechist and animator of the martyrs.

The day is celebrated in memory of 22 Christians who were killed in the late 19th Century on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda, allegedly for choosing Christianity.

The 22 ‘martyrs’ were beatified on June 6, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on October 18, 1964, in the presence of global Bishops gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI canonised them. The event is commemorated at Uganda Martyr’s shrine in Namugongo, where pilgrims travel to celebrate the martyrs’ heroism.

In the Catholic Church, the martyrs are venerated for their heroism in professing and witnessing their faith and they have an intercessional role to those who are still struggling in life’s journey to join them triumphantly at the end of their earthly lives.

As a student of history, I always raise several questions about the significance of this day. But before I go into whether the day is significant or not, we need to understand meaning of the term ‘martyr’.

Stephen Patterson, in his book ‘Beyond the Passion (2004)’, defines a martyr as a person who suffers death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle or cause. The online encyclopedia also defines a martyr as somebody who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one.

During the early Christian centuries, especially during the era of Christianisation, the term acquired the extended meaning of a believer who is called to witness for their religious belief, and on account of this witness, endures suffering or death.

Now back to whether we should venerate the Uganda martyrs or not. To help us answer that question, we need to deeply comprehend why Kabaka Mwanga took such a ‘radical’ decision to kill the Christian converts. History has it that the Church Missionary Society in London had sent Protestant missionaries in 1877 to Africa, followed two years later by the French Catholic White Fathers.

These two ideological rivals competed with each other and the East African Coastal Muslim traders for converts and influence. By the mid-1880s, many members of the Buganda kingdom had converted and become proxies for the religious and imperialistic force of the British.

Christianity was largely associated with political power, therefore, Kabaka Mwanga II, upon his ascent to the throne, attempted to destroy the foreign influences he felt threatened the Buganda state.

He believed the new faith, with its protagonists was directly or indirectly challenging the power structures of Buganda.  He strongly believed the external forces were using the Christian converts to overthrow him by undermining his hegemony.

In fact the leaders of the traditional religion advised King Mwanga to eliminate what they called rebellious elements in the kingdom who refused to obey the King’s orders.

The first person to be killed was Bishop Hannington an Anglican bishop, who came from the east in 1885. There was a belief in Buganda that the one who would overthrow the Kabaka of Buganda would come from the east.

In an effort to re-establish the status-quo, Kabaka Mwanga began to persecute the Christians and many of them were burnt to death on June 3, 1886. At the end of the persecution, at least 45 Christians had been killed.

Another theory argues that the Kabaka, being an absolute monarch, his decisions were not challenged by anybody in his kingdom. Joining Christianity meant a commitment to break away from the old life style, make and adopt new alliances, and adjust to new moral and religious standards, adherence and allegiance.

In his efforts to curb the Christian influence and try to regain the traditional and customary powers and authorities over his subjects, Mwanga summoned his chiefs to discuss the ‘disobedience’ of his dissenting subjects.

Satisfied with the subservience of his chiefs, Mwanga gave orders for all the disobedient subjects to be assembled for execution.

He felt, with good cause, that the powers and authority his predecessors had enjoyed were dwindling and had disintegrated under the influence of the missionaries and their converts.

The new flock of believers, therefore, was regarded as ‘rebels’ who had transferred their loyalty to new religious systems. Overall, the beatification of the Christian converts as martyrs was unfounded, if we are to follow their acts and definition of the term ‘martyrs’. As a country, there is no historical warrant, precedent, nor precept in venerating them.

Their conversion to Christianity was a political security of sympathy to the Christian missionaries as against the Kabaka in Buganda’s leadership. This indirectly undermined the Kabaka’s authority and respect.

Whereas Mwanga’s ruling style fell far short of the charisma and political astuteness, his late father (Mutesa I) had demonstrated in dealing with the foreigners, events of the time indicated that his traditional power base was being eroded.

Acceptance of the traditional religion and Kabaka’s power in antiquity was an obligation incumbent on all citizens; failure to deify him was equivalent to treason and not martyrdom as the protagonists of Christianity would want us to believe.

The writer is social worker and social critic

Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

June 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of agriculture Abdel Halim Al-Mutafi said that Sudan wants to curb the 1.5 million tons of wheat imported annually by encouraging domestic production.

Sudan, which lost 75% of its oil production following secession of South Sudan in 2011, is making efforts to reduce food imports to preserve its already-low levels of foreign exchange reserves.

Al-Mutafi expressed hope to reduce imports by having the government continue offering competitive prices to local farmers that would push them to bolster wheat production instead of sorghum and beans.

He noted that farmers prefer to grow crops which are more profitable than wheat, adding that price of a bag of beans is three times the price of a wheat bag .

Sudan’s annual consumption of wheat is around 2 million tons.

He told reporters that Sudan does not face a shortage in grain supply, adding that the necessary funding for the purchase of wheat is available.

But last month, Al-Mutafi, who was testifying before the parliament, acknowledged that there is a serious shortage in agricultural finance, saying that last year’s allocated funds did not exceed 2.5 billion pounds (SDG) which represents only 2% of the total loans extended by the banks nationwide.

In the same testimony he questioned the possibility of achieving self-sufficiency and poverty alleviation, explaining that Sudan’s imports of food products exceed $1 billion, while spending on agricultural activities does not exceed a mere $600 million saying he expects a grain shortage of up to 76 thousand tonnes this year.

Once hoped to be the breadbasket of the Arab world, Sudan’s agricultural sector has continued to deteriorate over the years mainly as a result of negligence, drought, mismanagement, high taxes and the overall economic climate.

Sudanese farmers often complain about the high costs of imported materials such as fertilizers. Many of them were sent to jail as their debt piled up.

Several ambitious plans enacted to bring life to the sector have failed to materialize and critics say the government forfeited a golden opportunity during the oil boom to boost agriculture.

Foreign investors also complain about lack of infrastructure and unfriendly laws which they say deters them from putting money in Sudan’s vast farmlands.

Last month a Saudi investment firm said it will hold off its planned agricultural project in Sudan to produce wheat and other basic food items until the government eases a ban to repatriate profits.

Sudanese officials say that they are refocusing on agriculture as part of the broader economic plan to find alternatives to oil.

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune.

Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

By Gibril Gbanabome Koroma, CEO/Publisher – Thursday 6 June 2013.

Any adult Sierra Leonean cannot deny the fact that our country’s image abroad has undergone a vast improvement since President Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC assumed power in 2007 after free and fair elections in September of that year.

One of the first things our President said when he started work was that he was going to run the country like a business. That shocked some people who had seen leader after leader running the country like their personal property while viewing critics as trespassers and violators who should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed or forced into exile while the people starved in their homes with no electricity.

What a lot of people, especially foreigners, do not know about President Koroma (probably because they do not have enough time to do research on the man before they go to Freetown) is that he comes from a deeply religious home and has vast experience in business (over 30 years).

Now, any experienced and genuine business person would tell you that you cannot run a business successfully without a business plan to guide and motivate you. That’s why many leaders have failed in Africa; they do not have a plan to follow or if they have one, they put it aside and do something else.

President Koroma had a business plan for his first term (2007-2012; he called it the Agenda for Change and he and his ministers, together with civil servants and foreign partners, religiously implemented that plan and anyone who returns to Sierra Leone today after a number of years abroad would tell you that indeed there has been vast changes in the country. Positive changes. Mission accomplished for the Agenda for Change. Now the President has another business Plan, and that is the Agenda for Prosperity (2012-2013) which is essentially about creating an environment in which Sierra Leoneans would have access to jobs or create their own businesses without hindrance and with support from government so that a prosperous middle class can be created who would pay taxes to government which in turn will use that money to develop the country without having to ask foreigners for help. Right now, most of the serious tax payers in the country are foreign investors and a handful of successful Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs.

Recently, when the Rwandan government ran short of cash it asked its nationals in and out of the country for a loan and the money poured in, especially from diaspora Rwandans who are impressed with the work President Paul Kagame is doing in the country. A first in Africa. President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone is many ways like Paul Kagame: Serious, well-organized and very patriotic.

A lot of foreign investors and politicians like Tony Blair have seen the above qualities in President Ernest Bai Koroma (fondly known as EBK or World’s Best); and they have decided to give a helping hand. Let’s face it, Africa still has a long way to go to catch up with the West. Asking for their help is not enough, you have to demonstrate to them that you are a serious and decent person. You need to have a business plan and a clean record; the very things a bank would ask for if you show up, asking for a personal loan. EBK has got that. Let’s clap for him.

On the other hand, former President Kabbah and former SLPP Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio cannot even get a visa to visit the United States. Think about that. From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

A spat between the African National Congress and Democratic Alliance over the latter’s advertising campaign on cellular airtime vouchers is but an indication of the intensive electoral battles coming as the two parties fight for control of South Africa’s richest province. The ANC leadership in Gauteng is on the back foot after being in the losing camp at the Mangaung conference but still believe they can increase their percentage of votes in the province. The DA wants to take control of Gauteng, its strongest area of support after the Western Cape. Depending how the chips fall in both parties, it could be a showdown between Candidate Maimane and Candidate Mashatile for premiership of SA’s most powerful province. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

It’s the psychological factor rather than the numbers that make Gauteng the big prize in the 2014 national elections. Of course the province is populous and therefore its election results would impact on the national figures. But as the hub of South Africa’s economic activity, the political party which controls Gauteng controls the place where decisions, deals and money are made. Gauteng also includes South Africa’s capital and seat of government, its gateway to the world in the form of OR Tambo International Airport and some of the country’s most historic sites.

The ANC is desperate to hold on to Gauteng, and the DA is just as desperate to make it the second province where it rules. The DA is concentrating much of its early campaigning and targeted electioneering in Gauteng. The official opposition knows that if it can take the province away from the ruling party, it will break through the psychological barrier that the ANC will rule in perpetuity, and can then solidify its aspirations to be the governing party in South Africa in 2019.

The DA is galvanised by its increased percentage share of the vote in Gauteng – in the 2009 national elections the DA got 21.86% of the vote and in the 2011 municipal elections, it received 33.04%. The ANC went down from 64.04% in 2009 to 60.21% in 2011.

The battle for Gauteng became apparent this week when the ANC in the province flew into a fit after discovering that the DA was advertising messages on MTN airtime vouchers being sold at spaza shops in townships and informal settlements. The ANC called on MTN to dissociate itself from political party advertising, but denied that it had called on its members to boycott the cellular network provider. It has now emerged that the advertising space on the vouchers were sold by a third-party distributor, Blue Label Telecoms, and the DA advertising campaign was featured across the top three cellular network providers, not just MTN.

DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the airtime vouchers enabled the party to “connect with and inform hundreds of thousands of people about our history and our policies”.

“As part of our ‘Know Your DA’ campaign, we have distributed more than 2.5 million DA-branded airtime vouchers. We have every right to utilise this platform to spread our campaign message that we fought against Apartheid,” Maimane said. “In addition to the airtime vouchers, we have distributed 1.6 million of 2.9 million pamphlets and we’ve had one-on-one conversations with nearly 490,000 South Africans. In Gauteng alone, we have visited some 250,000 households.”

DA leader Helen Zille’s chief of staff Geordin Hill-Lewis says the focus on Gauteng in the airtime voucher campaign and others is because this is where the party has the best chance of winning the next election. Outside the Western Cape, it is where the DA has the greatest level of support, and one of the areas the ANC shed votes in the last elections.

Hill-Lewis said the DA was also aware that the ANC in Gauteng was still reeling from being on the losing side at the ruling party’s national conference in Mangaung last December, and that the leadership in the province was divided.

The Sunday Times reported that former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi warned the last ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting about the provincial leadership’s “hatred” of President Jacob Zuma. Mmemezi apparently wanted the provincial executive committee disbanded because of their campaign against Zuma in the lead up to the Mangaung conference. While Mmemezi’s proposal was not taken seriously, there is reportedly distrust of the Gauteng leadership and national leaders will make direct contact with voters as they did not believe the province’s leaders would campaign for Zuma in 2014.

It is also understood that SA Communist Party leaders in Gauteng were lobbying for the ANC provincial conference, scheduled for after the elections next year, to be brought forward. They apparently wanted provincial chairman Paul Mashatile to be voted out of his position before the national elections. However, the ANC NEC has decided that no conferences will be held until after the elections; a bitter leadership battle would damage the campaign badly.

Mashatile and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane faced off in the last provincial conference, at which Mashatile was victorious. Mokonyane was elected onto the ANC NEC in Mangaung and is believed to have set her ambitions beyond the province after the 2014 elections. As a member of the NEC, she is unlikely to challenge for leadership of the province again. Mashatile, one of the leaders of the Forces of Change campaign which wanted Zuma replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe at Mangaung, is no longer a directly elected member of the NEC but attends as an ex-officio member by virtue of his position as provincial chairman of Gauteng.

The process of drawing up election lists, for candidates to the provincial and national legislatures, will begin in the next two months. With Mokonyane destined for the national cabinet, it would make sense for Mashatile, now the Arts and Culture Minister in Zuma’s Cabinet, to head the provincial list as he remains a popular leader in the province. However, the position of provincial premiers, as with the national Cabinet, is the prerogative of the president. If there is any lingering resentment against Mashatile for his role pre-Mangaung, he could very well end up in neither Cabinet.

But such a move would be short-sighted, as the ANC has to marshal all its resources to maintain control of Gauteng. It is particularly vulnerable amongst the black middle class, where there is some level of disenchantment with the ruling party due to the string of scandals in government. The DA is trying to capture these disenchanted ANC voters, which is why it is driving the Know Your DA campaign specifically in townships to show its credentials at opposing Apartheid.

The DA is also running a Blue Blitz campaign to improve its visibility in communities and to recruit volunteers for its door-to-door campaigns. But at the moment there is uncertainty as to who will be the DA’s candidate for premier of Gauteng. Maimane, previously the DA’s candidate for mayor of Johannesburg, is a front-runner and will be most appealing to the black middle class. However, the DA’s leader in Gauteng John Moody will probably feel entitled to the position as he is doing the heavy lifting in the province. Also in the running will be the DA’s caucus leader in the provincial legislature, Jack Bloom.

Hill-Lewis says the DA electoral college will decide who would be the face of their campaign in Gauteng, and unlike the ANC practice of revealing the name of the premier candidate after the elections, the DA will want voters to know who they are voting for.

ANC head of communications in Gauteng, Nkenke Kekana, says the ruling party cannot be arrogant and say there is no contest from the DA in the province. He says despite reports to the contrary, the ANC in the province is politically stable and is “gunning for an increased majority in 2014”.

“Mangaung is behind us; I don’t believe there is a hangover,” Kekana said.

He said a provincial elections task team was looking at ways to attract new voters and consolidate the ANC base in its strongholds. With regard to the black middle class, Kekana believes the “Know Your DA” campaign has failed to make a significant impact. The DA is “still seen as a white party and is struggling to make itself relevant in the townships”, he said.

“During the campaign, we will remind the black middle class where we come from and where we are today. We will acknowledge that there are weaknesses but the answer lies in the ANC and no one else,” Kekana said.

But the ANC will have tough time navigating the string of scandals of the current administration, especially when trying to woo the middle class. The line from the party, however, is that it is through transparency of government that there is a perception of a greater incidence of corruption and scandal.

The area likely to be the biggest election battleground in Gauteng is Soweto, where the evidence of delivery of the ANC government is most visible but where the DA is working all out to secure support.

Kekana says much has been done by the ANC to improve the quality of life in Soweto over the past 20 years. “Our message will be: compare Soweto as it was 20 years ago to what it looks like now. There has been real and visible change to people’s lives.”

But the DA’s Hill-Lewis says while there ANC has achievements in areas like Soweto, there are still major problems in education, housing delivery and the quality of housing, which are causing dissatisfaction amongst residents.

Ultimately it will come down to which party puts up the better election effort. Both will be looking to present a hearts-and-minds campaign with a heady mix of election and highlighting the flaws of the other party. If the airtime voucher campaign is anything to go by, messages will be coming thick and fast on every possible medium, and voters will have to distinguish between the hype and truth.

The time to start paying attention is now. The information avalanche is coming. DM From the Daily Maverick

 

ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

05 JUN 2013 09:38 SAPA

ANC MP Judy Tshabalala has expressed concern about SA’s white youth feeling excluded from Youth Day celebrations, the Beeld has reported.

Tshabalala was participating in the annual parliamentary debate on Youth Day, which will be celebrated on June 16 nationwide.

According to Tshabalala, there was growing evidence that white youth felt excluded.

“We ask for the white youth’s inclusion in all patriotic and activist youth events.

“We did not save the youth from the shackles of apartheid only to allow ourselves to be fenced off in groups,” Tshabalala said, according to quotes in the Afrikaans daily.

“We are diverse, but we are all Africans, and we need to destroy the idea that we have different statuses.” – Sapa From the Mail & Guardian.

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE ON WEDNESDAY 5/6/2013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Below please find the latest African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across sub-Saharan Africa, and down to the Cape.

You can access the full content of the stories and articles below through this link:

jamesbodgener.wordpress.com

Your views are important to us, especially as to how best we might improve this exciting and inclusive new intiative by the Africa Centre. Please put any comments or suggestions you might have, however trenchant, in the box provided at the bottom of the post.

 

NEWS CONTENTS:

 

Nigeria: It’s official: FG declares Boko Haram a terrorist organisation

Nigeria: US offers $7million reward for information on Boko Haram leader, Shekau

Kenya: Ruto case set for September; Hague court may try Kenyan vice president in Africa; ICC judges to vote on trial of Ruto in Kenya

Sudan: Government’s parties welcome Mahdi’s call to support the army

South Africa: Lonmin workers suspended over alleged union membership fraud

Tanzania: First draft Katiba draws muted criticism in Z’bar

Zambia: ‘Subsidies caused KR2.3bn debt’

Ghana: Police interrogate nine suspected ritual killers

Sierra Leone: SLPP ‘Secret Meeting’ Ends in Chaos…as Pa-O-Pa rebels vow to transform SLPP to SLMBPP

Nigeria: Dangote in world’s top 25 richest with $20b fortune

Kenya: World Bank to channel funds direct to counties

Rwanda: Japanese Congressman to woo investors to Rwanda

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENT:

South Africa: Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent

Ghana: NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4

Africa: Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation

Zambia: Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality

Rwanda: Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi

South Africa: Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?

Uganda: Pastor rebukes the clergy, Christians

Kenya: TJRC denies claims report was doctored

 

It’s official: FG declares Boko Haram a terrorist organisation

By Daily Post Staff on June 4, 2013

 

President Goodluck Jonathan has formally approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorized the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and acts of terrorism.

The order which has been gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013 affects both Boko Haram (Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad) and another group – Jama’atu Ansarul  Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan was approved by President Jonathan pursuant  to section 2 0f the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (As Amended).

It officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any persons associated with the two groups can now be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act.

The proscription order warns the general public that any person “participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the collective intentions of the said groups will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act”.

Section 5 (1) of the act prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly  or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group.

For the purposes of subsection (1) of section, “support” includes -

(a) incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information;

 

(b) receipt or provision of material assistance, weapons including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training, transportation, false documentation or identification to terrorists or terrorist groups;

 

(c) receipt or provision of information or moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a terrorist or terrorist group;

 

(d) entering or remaining in a country for the benefit of, or at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; or

 

(e) the provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services prohibited under this Act or as may be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to this Act.

 

 

Reuben Abati

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity) From the Daily Post.

US offers $7million reward for information on Boko Haram leader, Shekau

By Wale Odunsi on June 4, 2013

 

To further express it determination to get rid of insurgency in the West African region, the U.S. State Department, through its Rewards for Justice program, has for the first time ever, offered rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organisations in West Africa.

The bounty is placed on leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA);Jama’atu Ahl as-Sunnah il-Da’awati wal-Jihad, more commonly known as Boko Haram.

A statement by the office on Monday stated that the Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Yahya Abu el Hammam and Battalion leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar; rewards of up to $3 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Malik Abou Abdelkarim and MUJWA spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha.

The highest reward of $7 million is for information leading to the location of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau’s Boko Haram group is responsible for the August 2011 vehicle-bomb attack on a United Nations facility in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed at least 23 people and injured 80.

It has planned and executed more deadly attacks, especially in North-east Nigeria, in its over four years of operations.

Human rights body believes the group has killed at least 3,000 people.

Yahya Abu el Hammam serves as a senior leader of AQIM, planning attacks and kidnappings in North and West Africa. He reportedly was involved in the 2010 murder of an elderly French hostage in Niger.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, previously a leader of AQIM, is the founder of the al-Mulathamun Battalion. It conducted the deadly January 2013 attack on a gas facility in In-Amenas, Algeria, where at least 37 hostages, including three U.S. citizens, were killed.

Malik Abou Abdelkarim is a senior leader within AQIM. Under his command, AQIM fighters have conducted kidnappings and terrorist attacks in North and West Africa.

Oumar Ould Hamaha, previously a member of AQIM, is now the spokesperson for MUJWA, an AQIM offshoot. As a member of AQIM, Hamaha participated in kidnapping of foreigners for ransom, including the kidnapping of a Canadian diplomat from Niamey, Niger, in December 2008.

The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid more than $125 million to more than 80 people who provided reliable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. From the Daily Post.

 

Lonmin workers suspended over alleged union membership fraud

04 JUN 2013 20:16 STAFF REPORTER

 

“Lonmin has suspended eight employees following investigations into allegations of membership fraud. Three of them are currently in the middle of disciplinary hearings, while the remaining five face hearings this week,” said company spokesperson Sue Lindsell-Steward on Tuesday.

They allegedly falsified stop orders to make it appear that members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had left the union and joined the National Union of Mineworkes (NUM).

The platinum giant reportedly said at the weekend that about 200 stop orders were falsified in this way and submitted to Lonmin’s human resources department.

The latest development comes after an NUM leader was shot dead in front of union offices and another injured at the Marikana mine on Monday, possibly in retailiation for the killing of a member of Amcu last month. Tensions were further heightened after Business Day reported that Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to Amcu, effectively shutting NUM out of collective bargaining.

Power struggle
The effect of the fraud would have been to relay membership fees from Amcu to the NUM, while also helping the NUM regain its representation. The NUM has until July 16 to retain its status as a majority union or vacate union offices at shaft level.

Amcu ousted the NUM as the majority union after a wildcat strike in Marikana, North West, last year, commanding 70 percent of unskilled workers and machine operators as members.

Rivalry between the two unions was the backdrop to the police’s fatal shooting of 44 people in Marikana in August last year.

Since the wildcat strike in Marikana last year, at least 20 NUM members had been killed, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka claimed.

During a two-day strike in May, Amcu members demanded that the NUM offices be shut-down and accused the union of membership fraud. The strike followed the death of Amcu regional leader Mawethu Steven.

Call for calm
North West premier Thandi Modise has called on Amcu and the NUM to denounce violence and commit themselves to peaceful coexistence at Lonmin and other mines around Rustenburg.

“There is no place for strong-arm tactics and the use of violence in our labour relation regime that allows freedom of association,” she said.

Modise called on workers to remain calm and help police in their investigations to unmask those behind the recent spate of violence.

NUM response  
Lonmin’s action was the latest harassment of NUM members by the company, the union claimed.

“Our shop stewards are now harassed by the company under the pretext of rigging membership, an allegation which the NUM rejects with the contempt it deserves,” National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

Seshoka said some of the suspended employees were NUM shop stewards, but he could confirm how many.

“For months on end, NUM members have complained that they have been made to join other unions without their knowledge, which management found to be the truth,” he said.

“Whilst the so-called management has been aware who the culprits are, the company has not been able to bring any of them to a disciplinary hearing.” – Sapa. From Mail & Guardian.

 

Ruto case set for September

TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 – 00:00 — BY OLIVER MATHENGE

 

The crimes against humanity trial against Deputy President William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang at the ICC will now start on September 10.

In a decision made yesterday, the Trial Chamber V(a) judges also allowed Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to add two new witnesses but rejected the inclusion of four others.

The ICC judges yesterday said that following the request by the two, they had decided to set the new date though Ruto and Sang had requested that the new date be in November.

“The Trial Chamber V(A) decided to set the opening of the trial in the case against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang on 10 September 2013 in order to allow the Defence sufficient time to carry out its preparation,” an alert from the Hague-based court said.

“The Chamber is not persuaded that an additional delay of such an extensive period (more than five months) is necessary in order to permit the Defence adequate time to carry out investigations and otherwise adequately prepare for trial,” the judges said.

The judges had in May decided to vacate the date of the trial’s start, scheduled on 28 May 2013, indicating that a new trial date would be set in due course.

The Chamber held a hearing on May 14, in the presence of the two accused, to discuss procedural matters and other issues including the Prosecutor’s request to add six witnesses to the list of witnesses and the Defence’s request to vacate the trial date to adequately prepare its case.

Yesterday, the judges said that after reviewing the parties and participants’ observations, the Chamber, composed of Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr, authorised the Prosecutor to add two persons to her list of witnesses for the case.

The judges also told Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to ensure that the identities of the two witnesses and all materials related to their testimonies are disclosed to the defence by June 10.

From the Star.

 

Hague court may try Kenyan vice president in Africa

AMSTERDAM – The International Criminal Court could hold a trial outside The Hague for the first time, after ICC judges said on Monday they may hear the case against Kenya’s deputy president in his own country or neighbouring Tanzania.

Judges were responding to requests from William Ruto’s lawyers, who said it would be “in the interests of justice” for the politician’s trial to be held closer to home.

Both Ruto and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – elected on a joint ticket in March – face charges of orchestrating violence after the previous election, five years ago, in which 1,200 people died.

The attempt to prosecute the leaders of one of Africa’s biggest economies comes as the ICC is under increasing criticism from leaders on the continent who accuse it of unfairly targeting Africans.

Ruto has said he would attend hearings in The Hague if ordered to do so, but has also asked to participate by video link.

Though no final decision has been taken, the ICC judges said holding parts of the trial in Kenya, or Tanzania, where a U.N. court is trying alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, would bring it closer to victims and affected communities.

Prosecutors have warned that moving the trial to Kenya could make it harder to provide protection to witnesses who, they say, have been threatened into withdrawing their testimonies.

The trial would still be conducted by the ICC, regardless of where it was held. Kenyatta’s lawyers have submitted a similar request to relocate the trial.

Judges also ruled on Monday that the trial of Ruto and his co-accused, broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang, would start on Sept. 10, rather than the original start date of May 28, accepting defence requests for more time to prepare their cases.

Kenyatta’s is a separate case, currently scheduled to start in July, though his defence has requested a delay which judges are considering.

All men deny the charges.

Leaders at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa last week urged the ICC to refer the cases to Kenyan courts.

Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn accused the court of racial bias and of targeting Africans for prosecution, an allegation the court has always rejected. From the New Vision.

 

ICC judges to vote on trial of Ruto in Kenya

 

By BERNARD NAMUNANE bnamunane@ke.nationmedia.com AND ALUGO STACEY alugostacy@gmail.com
Posted  Tuesday, June 4  2013 at  22:06

IN SUMMARY

  • In their ruling on Monday, Trial Chamber judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr recommended to the presidency that the start of the trial hearings for Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang can be held in Kenya or Tanzania.

 

A vote of 12 judges at the International Criminal Court will decide whether or not Deputy President William Ruto’s trial will be held in Kenya or Tanzania.

However, The ICC Tuesday said that even if a majority of The Hague judges voted in favour of local trials, only portions of the proceedings could be held away from its seat in the Netherlands.

The statement that sought to clarify questions raised by the Trial Chamber judges’ proposal to the ICC presidency, said the final decision would be taken by the 18 judges of the court in an open sitting.

“This recommendation by the chamber is only one step in the procedure as the final decision on where the court shall sit for the trial will be made in due course…

“The decision on whether or not to sit in a State other than the Host State will be taken, in due time, in a plenary session of the judges, by a two-thirds majority,” the ICC said.

The judges will consider the issues raised by the prosecution, including availability of facilities, security and conditions that meet standards of The Hague, the judges said.

In their ruling on Monday, Trial Chamber judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr recommended to the presidency that the start of the trial hearings for Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang can be held in Kenya or Tanzania.

The trials begin on September 10.

Emotions of victims

The civil society has opposed shifting of the trial of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang to Kenya or Tanzania.

Kenya Coalition for the International Criminal Court national coordinator Ken Wafula said the security of witnesses and human rights defenders and emotions of the victims of the post-election violence were not taken into consideration when Trial Chamber V (A) made the recommendations. From the Daily Nation.

Government’s parties welcome Mahdi’s call to support the army

June 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Council of the National Unity Government Parties (CNUGP), welcomed a call made by the former prime minister and leader of the opposition Umma National Party (UNP) to support the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

Sadiq Al-Mahdi last Saturday reiterated his rejection to the use of arms to change the current regime, distancing himself from the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), and called for a peaceful transition towards a democratic regime in Sudan.

The opposition leader who was speaking, days after the recapture of South Kordofan’s Abu Kershola from the rebel groups called to support SAF as “a national institution” to defend the country.

He further called to open the army for all the Sudanese and appealed on the “Ansars” members of his party to join the Sudanese army.

CNUGP secretary general, Aboud Jabir Saeed, hailed the position of UNP leader, describing it as “a positive call based on the duties of citizenship that are included in the Constitution”.

He further urged the Sudanese political forces to agree on national issues in order to uphold the value of national solidarity, to meet national challenges, and confront “foreign conspiracies being hatched against the homeland”.

The CNUGP is a political body supposed to coordinate the political positions of the forces participating in the national government which is dominated by the ruling National Congress Party.

Two opposition parties, UNP of Sadiq Al-Mahdi and Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi, condemned last April attacks in Kordofan region, constituency of their supporters.

Al-Mahdi last week called on the rebel groups member of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front to renounce violence and military action and to join the political and civil forces in the country to establish a new regime through political means rather than military action.

(ST) From Sudan Tribune.

First draft Katiba draws muted criticism in Z’bar

IN SUMMARY

The proposed parliament would have 75 members–50 from the Mainland, 20 from Zanzibar and five appointed by the President.

Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar. The draft constitution was received with measured criticism in Zanzibar yesterday as voices that advocated full autonomy for the Isles went silent. Prominent politicians and experts who have been in the forefront championing more independence for Zanzibar were unavailable for comment and people interviewed at street level said the draft was tilted against the Isles. It is a position also held by the deputy secretary general of the Civic United Front, Mr Hamad Masoud Hamad.

Zanzibaris have been calling for more autonomy within the Union akin to the structure of the United Kingdom. Those who spoke to The Citizen said their proposals on the structure of the union were largely ignored. Mr Hamad argued that allocating Zanzibaris fewer seats in the proposed union parliament amounts to shortchanging them. The proposed parliament would have 75 members–50 from the Mainland, 20 from Zanzibar and five appointed by the President.

“In the union, we are equal partners,” Mr Hamad said. “There is no small country and big country. That is why all countries in the East African Community field equal numbers of members in the EAC Legislative Assembly regardless of the size of the country or its population.”

Mr Shaaban Idd Ame, 34 and a resident of Kibeni in the Kusini Unguja region, argued that most wishes of Zanzibaris had been left out in the draft constitution. “The expectations of Zanzibaris were that the union would break up first and then a new pact entered between two countries as equal partners,” he added. “But that wish has been ignored. I wonder why.”

The proposed structure of the union would resemble that of the United States, he went on, while Zanzibaris want a structure that resembles that of the United Kingdom. The deputy secretary-general of the ruling CCM in Zanzibar, Mr Vuai Ali Vuai, appealed for calm, assuring his people that there was still room for further improvement of the draft constitution. He added: “CCM Zanzibar totally agrees with and approves the draft constitution. We urge members of the constitution fora to be proactive and participate fully in improving the document.”

Fifty three-year-old Hashim Moh’d, a resident of Darajani in Zanzibar, argued that “Tanganyikans” stood to gain more from the proposed constitution. “We wanted more autonomy, specifically on immigration and citizenship, foreign affairs, the central bank and currency but our voices have not been heard,” he added. Masoud Suleiman, 51 and a resident of Bububu, said it was sovereignity for Zanzibar now or never. Taxi driver Abdallah Hamad, 33, added: “This draft constitution is a joke and what it has done is to benefit mainlanders.”

An immediate and stronger reaction was expected in Zanzibar, especially from prominent politicians and experts, given that the desire of many people in the Isles for more autonomy was not fulfilled.

Days before the unveiling of the draft constitution, the Zanzibar Reconciliation Committee–which oversaw the burying of the hatchet between rival political groups in the Isles culminating in a government of national unity, outlined 17 areas in which Zanzibar should have full autonomy in the Union dispensation. One of the Committee members, Mr Ismail Jussa, told The Citizen that a call for autonomy would be the second phase of their drive to ensure Zanzibar got full autonomy in a new Union structure under the envisaged new constitution.

Additional reporting by Talib Ussi from Zanzibar. From the Citizen.

‘Subsidies caused KR2.3bn debt’

By KAIKO NAMUSA
GOVERNMENT is indebted to four commercial banks to the tune of KR2.3 billion arising from financing maize subsidies, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Bob Sichinga has said.
Mr Sichinga said in the current form, the subsidy programme could not be sustained without facing the risk of continued borrowing.
Government owes KR2.3 billion to First National Bank, Finance Bank Zambia, Zanaco and Investrust Bank.
He blamed the MMD for not ensuring the country avoided the accumulated debt.
The minister, however, said the Patriotic Front Government was committed to dismantling the heavy debt.
He said this when he featured on ZNBC’s ‘The Quest’ programme on Tuesday evening, along with Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi and Private Sector Development Association director, Yusuf Dodia.
Mr Sichinga said the purpose of waiving the subsidies was because the Government had to create a platform for increasing financial capacity to diversify crop production unlike sustaining the production and supply of maize through borrowing in an unsustainable manner.
“To sustain the subsidy programme is costly at the moment. It means sacrificing growth of other sectors. At the moment we have to service the loan to these banks and we cannot continue borrowing.
“As a responsible Government we had to take the bull by its horns to put an end to this. This decision had to be made, be it harsh but it had to be made,” he said.
He said Zambia was going to plunge into worse debt if the subsidies had continued and assured that Government had not abandoned the farmers because subsidy supply for production would continue but in a different format.
Mr Sichinga said it was vital for Zambia’s farming community to diversify from maize production to ensure the agriculture potential was fully exploited.
He called on Zambians to avoid politicising the subsidy issue but approach it with soberness and look at the long-term benefits.
The debate heated as Ms Nawakwi and Mr Sichinga constantly interjected each other’s flow of discussion.
Ms Nawakwi said the Government had taken the decision in a harsh manner as consultations were not adequate.
“What the Zambian people are now talking about is the high cost of living. They do not understand why a Government that promised them better lives during campaigns could do this to them.
“If I cannot understand, what about my relatives in rural areas, how will they understand? This could have been phased out step-by-step, and not in an abrupt manner. You can’t tell the people that you will eat tomorrow,” Ms Nawakwi said.
She said focus should be targetted at ensuring poor people did not suffer the consequences following the removal of subsidies.
Mr Dodia appealed to the Government to ensure there was a transparent system that ensured a level playing field for farmers and all stakeholders.
He said Zambia had vast potential to export and attract foreign earnings and this opportunity could not continue to be wasted.
He said the country had bumper harvests for the past five consecutive years and could not continue to fail to manage the agriculture sector.
“This system shows that it was costly to the Government and we need to have a system in place that will benefit the agriculture sector and ensure all players in the sector benefit.
“The country has great potential but we are fire-fighting on the matter instead of finding lasting and beneficial solutions to our people. Let us look at the business aspect of bringing benefits to our citizens,” Mr Dodia said. From the Times of Zambia.

 

Police interrogate nine suspected ritual killers

By Myjoyonline.com

Police in the Central Region are interrogating nine persons over suspected ritual killings of 3 women in the Central Region recently.

The bodies of the victims Mena Badu, 25 years, 40 year old Abena Atta, and an unidentified woman were found at Kissi and Besease in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality.

Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Corporal Raymond Asaaba confirmed to Joy News that the nine suspects are in their custody and are being interrogated.

He said some of the suspects have ‘pleaded alibi’.
But Corporal Raymond Asaaba said the police will use the interrogation to find out whether those in custody are ‘victims of circumstances’ or are linked to the unnatural deaths.

He was also confident substantial evidence would be attained from the key suspects.

He told Joy News preliminary investigations point to the fact that the women were murdered for ritual purposes. ‘What would somebody be using human parts for except for rituals,’ he said.

Corporal Asaaba commended the public for an improved cooperation which has led to the arrest of some criminals in the region. This was after the public was adequately assured of absolute confidentiality in any intelligent information they offer the police, he remarked. From Modern Ghana

SLPP ‘Secret Meeting’ Ends in Chaos…as Pa-O-Pa rebels vow to transform SLPP to SLMBPP

By Aruna Turay
Jun 4, 2013

 

A ‘secret meeting’ summoned over the weekend by the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with the aim to find an internal solution to recent violence perpetrated by members of the Pa-O-Pa Camp against SLPP women and other members perceived to be operating outside the interest of Julius Maada Bio, ended in total pandemonium.

The meeting summoned by the party’s Western Regional Chairman on Saturday 1st June 2013 was invaded by Pa-O-Pa thugs, who did not only rain maternal abusive languages (mammy cusses) that reverberates to the streets, but also vow to rename the SLPP to fit their interest. The thugs chanted and even pasted posters on the walls of the party’s headquarters, indicating that the new name of the SLPP is Sierra Leone Maada Bio People’s Party (SLMBPP).

The invasion of the Pa-O-Pa thugs that resulted in the total obstruction of the meeting that was summoned to actually save certain Pa-O-Pa members from being dragged to court by SLPP women that were recently attacked and stripped half naked in Lumley, was independently confirmed to the Awareness Times Newspaper by Mr. Brima Keita, when this reporter contacted him on the phone.

According to Mr. Keita, he sent specific instructions to the party’s incumbent Constituency 112 Chairman, Joseph Musa to attend the meeting with all his zonal chairmen and executive members.

Keita was however taken aback when Joseph Musa allegedly stormed the meeting venue with people who were neither Zonal Chairmen nor Executive Members of Constituency 112.

The Awareness Times was later told that the group that accompanied Musa to the meeting comprised of members of the notorious Pa-O-Pa camp.

Eyewitnesses say the group actually entered the party’s headquarters with abusive languages backed with facial determination to unleash violence on anyone who attempts to stop them.

The insults were directed at senior members of the party and the thugs allegedly led by Musa were warning everybody to hands-off anything pertaining elections in Constituency 112.

They Pa-O-Pa rebels were even heard openly boasting that the terror recently unleashed on SLPP’s Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu at Lumley was just the beginning of so many planned attacks against non-supporters of Julius Maada Bio.

They threatened to unleash deadly attacks on anyone who dares to interfere in the primaries of Constituency 112.

In a related development however, victims of the Pa-O-Pa Lumley attack yesterday submitted their medical reports at the Lumley Police Division.

Local Unit Commander (LUC) Chief Superintendent Alhaji Gibril Kabba-Kamara has confirmed to the Awareness Times Newspaper that the investigation into the matter is in full swing. From Awareness Times.

Dangote in world’s top 25 richest with $20b fortune

Posted by: Our Reporter on June 4, 2013

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has broken into the rank of the top 25 richest men in the world.

Forbes, the world’s renowned business/financial news magazine, has said that Dangote, the President/Chief Executive of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, has become the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20 billion fortune as the stock value of the flagship of his holding, Dangote Cement, leaped just about three-fourths since March when Forbes last released its annual ranking of the world’s richest people.

With a current market cap of $20.5 billion, Dangote Cement becomes the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalisation of over $20 billion.

Forbes reported that Dangote’s 93 per cent stake in the cement company is now worth $19.5 billion.

Added to this are his controlling stakes in other publicly-listed companies, such as Dangote Sugar and National Salt Company of Nigeria and his significant shareholdings in other blue-chips, such as Zenith Bank, UBA Group and Dangote Flour; his extensive real estate portfolio, jets, yachts and current cash position, which includes more than $300 million in recently awarded Dangote Cement, Dangote is now worth more than $20 billion.

Dangote is richer than Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, richer than India’s Lakshmi Mittal and running neck and neck with India’s Mukesh Ambani. He is catching up to such Americans as Google’s billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Dangote Cement has recorded an unprecedented surge in its share price, largely due to market response to the company’s impressive results in the first quarter of this year.

The cement manufacturer’s unaudited results for the three months ending March 31 had showed that the company’s pre-tax profit rose to $339 million, representing an 80.6% increase from last year and a strong indicator of the company’s future earning potential. The results also indicate a 79.5 % rise in its earnings per share over the corresponding period last year.

Carl Franklin, Dangote Cement’s Head of Investor Relations in the United Kingdom, explained the company’s share boost, in an email response to Forbes that in the first quarter of 2013, the company had a huge increase in demand across Nigeria, gas supply improved considerably and the capacity was much more ramped up.

“So Q1 was the first sign of just how profitable we can be in Nigeria. The amazing thing is that 66% of our gas-fired production in Q1 was done at 84% gas. Imagine what would happen to margins if we did the same amount at 95%. This has given investors a good sense of what we can really do when everything goes in the right direction,” Franklin said.

“It’s certainly a landmark for a Nigerian company and we’re proud to be the first to achieve it. Obviously we are focusing on building long-term and sustainable value for shareholders through our investments in Nigeria and Africa. Nigeria is a very entrepreneurial country and I can assure you that other companies will follow us in achieving this.”

Forbes reasoned that other companies might eventually achieve this, but it’s going to take a bit of time. Dangote Cement accounts for more than a quarter of the total market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The second largest company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is Nigerian Breweries, West Africa’s largest manufacturer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The company has a market cap of $8.5 billion.

Dangote made its debuted on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008, with a fortune pegged at $3.3 billion. His fortune dropped to $2.5 billion in 2009 and plunged further to $2.1 billion in 2010. It surged 557% in 2011 to $13.8 billion after he took Dangote Cement public. He dropped to $11.2 billion in last year’s rankings, but rebounded at $16.1 billion this year. Since March, Dangote’s fortune has jumped another 30%.

Dangote started building his fortune over three decades ago after taking a loan from Sanusi Dantata and started trading in commodities like flour, sugar and cement.

He became a billionaire after delving into manufacturing these items. He started making pasta, salt, sugar and flour in 1997. But he found his gold mine in cement, when he was awarded a government owned cement business in 2000 and began building his own plant in 2003. He listed Dangote Cement in 2010.

Today, it is Africa’s largest cement company, providing cement to Nigeria and other African countries that otherwise would likely have to pay to import much of the materials.

Dangote told Forbes Wealth Editor Luisa Kroll at Davos in 2011 that he expected his firm to have a market cap of $60 billion within five years. At $20.5 billion, Dangote Cement still has a long way to go to live up to that dream. From The Nation.

 

 

World Bank to channel funds direct to counties

 

By GRIFFINS OMWENGA gomwenga@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Tuesday, June 4  2013 at  18:31

 

The World Bank has undertaken to fund county government projects directly over the next five years in a move aimed at supporting devolution.

The global lender on Tuesday said it is finalising on its five-year plan for Kenya in which devolution takes central position.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, the new World Bank Country Director, Diarietou Gaye said the institution will disburse loans and grants directly to county governments provided the national government provides guarantee through the Treasury.

Ms Gaye said the bank, in its efforts to support the current devolution exercise, will work closely with counties to help in the set-up institutional and governance structures.

“The World Bank as a lender is in the forefront of supporting the government on devolution on all fronts and will provide its support in order to ensure that the exercise becomes a success,” said Ms Gaye said.

She said that the bank’s new “Country Partnership Strategy (CPS),” will reflect the face of the new form of government compared to the past where everything was centralised under the Finance ministry.

Senior World Bank economist Jane Kiringai said that the lender will work with the Treasury to set minimum threshold that counties must meet to receive funding from the lender.

However, the lender said, proper county structures must be in place and those seeking help must demonstrate they have the capacity to absorb any funding into viable projects upon approval by Treasury.

“We will have to work with the Treasury because the lending must be guaranteed by the national government and the projects will have to be viable and economically or socially feasible,” said Ms Kiringai.

The development comes at a time when the Treasury cautioned that it will not fund any budget deficits in the counties and that it will also monitor how funds allocated to them are spent.

Budget Controller Agnes Odhiambo warned that the national government needs to keep a keen eye on county spending.

In a recent report assessing the implementation of the 2012/2013 budget in the nine months to March 2013, Ms Odhiambo called for “a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework” to be put in place to “ensure close supervision of projects at county level”.

The Treasury last week succumbed to pressure from MPs and raised revenue to counties from Sh154.77 billion to Sh190 billion.

It also provided Sh20 billion as conditional grants to counties, raising the total revenue to counties from Sh198.6 billion to Sh210 billion.

At the same time, the national government has also raised its external debt ceiling to Sh1.2 trillion to allow it headroom to guarantee more external loans being lent to Kenya. From the Daily Nation.

 

Japanese Congressman to woo investors to Rwanda

President Paul Kagame, on Monday, met with a Japanese senior Congressman, Toshiaki Endo with whom they discussed promotion of investment from Japan, in both government and private sector among other issues.

This was after attending the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), which ended on Monday.

Endo, is the head of Budget committee of Japan parliament and the chairperson of Japan-Rwanda Parliamentary Friendship Association (JRPFA).

The President asked Endo to work toward increasing the number of Japanese tourists to Rwanda, promoting investment in both government and private sector, setting up “soft loan” (a loan with zero or low interest for a long term like 30 years) for projects in Rwanda, and technical support related to geothermal power generation.

Endo promised to make the best efforts on these issues and also to visit Rwanda in the near future with “good results.”

Growth in Africa

He told Kagame that JRPFA was set up two years ago based on the request by the former Rwandan Ambassador to Japan, Antoine Munyakazi Juru.

JRPFA now actively communicates with Ambassador Dr Charles Murigande, Endo told the President.

He commended Rwanda for its revival from Genocide and the continuous and stable economic growth and security.

Speaking after the conference, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Growth exists in Africa, and now is the time to invest in an Africa that will continue to grow.”

The conference brought together the leaders of 51 African nations as well as representatives of international organisations. From The New Times.

Following is the latest African comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape:

 

South Africa: Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent

Ghana: NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4

Africa: Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation

Zambia: Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality

Rwanda: Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi

South Africa: Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?

Uganda: Pastor rebukes the clergy, Christians

Kenya: TJRC denies claims report was doctored

 

POSTED ON TUESDAY, JUNE 4TH, 2013

Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma- Egba, is surely an interviewer’s delight. In this interview with Assistant Politics Editor, Celestine Okafor, in Abuja, Ndoma- Egba spoke on Senate’s achievements in two years and its next agenda. Egba, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), gave an insight into other critical issues. Excerpts:

How would you assess the performance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the past two years?

We have some successes and some challenges. It is more of a mixed grill. I believe that we have seen more improvements in the last two years in the area of infrastructure than we have seen in the previous regimes. I have seen more energy and resources expended in improving the power sector. But on the negative side, we have also seen an escalation in our security challenges. But the reassuring thing is that the security challenge is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is a global issue and it is not abetting. For us, it’s been a major challenge, a mixed grill. Our democracy is improving; freedoms are getting more and more entrenched. In our political life, we are free to say whatever we want to say. So in terms of the tangibles and the intangibles, we have been obliterated by the security challenges.

 The Senate, last week, endorsed the state of emergency declared in some parts of the North-East zone by the federal government. Do you foresee the emergency rule translating to return to normalcy in those areas?

I think we are beginning to feel the successes already even though it is too early in the day because you cannot say how enduring this success will be. But I believe a state of emergency provide the best opportunity we have had since this insurgency escalated to deal with the issue decisively and squarely.

As the leader of the Senate, what will you consider as the landmark achievements of this seventh senate in the last two years?

The biggest achievement has being the stabilization of the polity. The senate worldwide and historically has been structured to stabilize the polity in terms of major crisis and this we have successfully done. If you recall in the beginning of 2012, the nation entered the year with a mass protest resulting from the removal of the fuel subsidy. And if you recall, it was the senate that stepped in to stabilize the polity. So we have played that historical role of stabling the polity each time the national integrity has been threatened. I can see that as the major success. A writer friend of mine sent me a text the other day about the news or massages making the round in the social media about the senate having spent seventy five billion naira to pass five bills. My immediate answer was   how was the costing done? Because you can never cost how much it takes to pass a bill. Now if you look at the responsibility of the senate only in term of law making, then you have completely missed the point because parliament has a number of responsibilities and law making may be at the fore. But there are other responsibilities like oversight, advocacy and diplomacy. So how did they (rumour mongers) get the cost for that? I think all in all, the Senate has done fairly well. We have in process, the highest number of bills in the equivalent period than we had since 1999. I don’t have the statistics right here to be quite exact, but I can say for certainty that we have passed the highest number of bills within an equivalent period since 1999. So in terms of legislation, you can see some increases in what we have done. Even though when it comes to assessing a parliament, it is not against the numbers of bills passed that you assess them. Parliament is not a factory where you assess them by how many bills they have churned out from the factory line. So assessing the parliament on the basis of the number of bills is also missing the point. But even at that, you can see some responsibilities to bill making. You can also see a short of the response time to national issues. So I think that the institution (National Assembly) has indeed matured.

You raised a critical point about public impression that the National Assembly is only a mere money-guzzling arm of government, which may not be true. Why is it that the legislature has not been able to correct this seeming wrong public impression it is a profligate body?

It is a mindset. It is not as if we have not been talking about it or correcting the impression. We talk about it all the time. It’s just a public mindset. For the period in our history that the military ruled this country, Nigerians have lived without the parliament. So they got used to living their life without the legislature. Therefore they believed that they can do without the parliament. The parliament now easily becomes the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong. I want to use this opportunity to say again, that out of a budget of about N5trillion, the appropriation for the National Assembly which includes the Senate, the House of Representative and the entire National Assembly bureaucracy, the legislative institute, the National Assembly Service Commission and the subscription to International Parliamentary Organizations and everything including the capital and recurrent expenditure is only N150 billion.

That is under three per cent of the entire national budget. So what is this fixation about 3 percent or less than three percent. You can imagine the public indifference to what happens to 97 percent and what comes to the other organs of government. So it is a public mindset which is very wrong and misplaced. It is not as if we are not addressing it. I am addressing now and again. I have done that on television, in my interviews and we have spoken about it on the floor of the Senate. But Nigerians have just developed that mindset that there must be a scapegoat and normally, it is the National Assembly in this circumstance because the people of this country have lived without us in the past years. But the irony is that it is the same parliament that the people think they can live without that is the symbol of that democracy that Nigerian yearned for. It is an ironic situation.

What should the people of this country expect from the Senate in the remaining two years of your tenure?

As we mature, we will deliver more quickly on the public expectation of us. We will carry out every aspect of our legislative duty with more efficiency and greater maturity. One thing I can assure Nigerians at all times is that this senate will stabilize the nation in times of crisis. We don’t pray for crisis, but this senate will play its role in stabilizing the country.

The opposition parties which have already formed a coalition have vowed to vanquish the PDP in the 2015 general elections. Does your party (PDP) really stand a chance with the people, again, at the polls?

Well, I see a lot of activity in the media. I don’t see a corresponding activity in the political turf. What we see is this hype about the opposition merging and so on. What has not been said is that as the opposition is merging with others, there are several other political parties also talking to PDP to merge with us. Even within this opposition parties that are merging, there are some of them even looking at PDP because their circumstances have changed with the merger. So there is going to be a lot traffic either way. But the important thing is that I don’t see this talk or this agitated media talk being translated to political organization on the ground? I will say I don’t see it yet or may be my sight is not good. There is no correlation absolutely between what is happening in the media and what is happening out there in the field. Even with the talk of merger, we had elections in the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) but all that hype did not reflect in any result? And you cannot say that the FCT is exclusively PDP. So a lot is being said, but we will like to see also a lot being done. As for the PDP, I don’t have any fears. We have high magnitude of crisis in the country. Because of our size, I should also expect that our problems will be large. Like they say, that the bigger the head, the bigger the headache. Therefore our problem is also commensurate with our size. But the most important thing is that we have this in-built mechanism for resolving our conflicts. You have seen it from 1999. PDP has had one crisis or the other but the party has always resolved its crisis. PDP has never splintered. It has never gone into factions unlike the other political parties. Whatever they[ opposition] perceive as our crisis now can never be any different from what we’ve had in the past. We will get over the crisis. But whether the other parties can get over their own crisis when it happens is a different story. So I don’t worry about the PDP because we have internal mechanism to survive every crisis. We also have the spread and the penetration in this country to remain solid. PDP is the only party you can find in this country that is virtually everywhere in Nigeria. The other parties that are merging will continue to exist where they have traditionally existed. It is not as if their penetration is going to get any deeper. But like I said, if that is going to happen, I haven’t seen any signs of that anywhere.

In two years of your four year tenure, what will you say were the achievements you have recorded in your constituency? As senate leader and cognate member, a lot is being expected from you?

My major achievement is that the federal government no longer treats us like any other senatorial constituency. Before now, we didn’t have any federal presence. All the federal projects in my area were abandoned. But in the last two years, very serious work has gone on these projects. Today, we have major interventions like the World Bank Projects, African Development Bank (ADB) projects and federal government projects. They are now receiving attention and new projects are also being awarded. At least, what I can claim as a major success is the attention that my state and constituency is now getting from the federal government.

It is expected that political leaders of the South South zone like you should intervene in the lingering face-off between the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Presidency. Recently, the House of Reps conducted a public hearing on the grounding of the bombardier aircraft belonging to the Rivers state government?

Well, it is not just the face-off between Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the President, Goodluck Jonathan. We also have a situation of another face-off between Governor Godswill Akpabio and one of our own senators, Alloysius Etok. When the PDP caucus of the Senate met last week, we set up two panels. One headed by the Deputy Senate President to engage Mr. President and governor Amaechi. And I can say that a few days ago, the panel was in Port Harcourt to engage Amaechi. I have informally engaged governor Akpabio. We are hoping that my own panel will formally meet with him (Akpabio) this week. So we are working on that. But I don’t think that given the sensitivity of the issues, we should be working on the pages of the newspapers. From the Daily Independent.

Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent

 

The National Development Plan is supposed to lead us all to the brighter, sunnier, somehow better scrubbed future, right? That’s what we’ve all been told, by Number One, no less. So how come the NDP became stuck in the political mud? Why is it we hear very strong voices against it, and only a kind of half-hearted refrain in its favour? And what does this really tell us about our country, power, and where our little hand-basket is going? By STEPHEN GROOTES.

If you can think back to the blazing heat of Bloem in December, everyone was talking about two major questions. Would Motlanthe stay on as Deputy President after he lost, and wow, was the National Development Plan going to be the country’s Number One legacy? There was really nothing else to it.

When you get right down to it, Mangaung was an expression of President Jacob Zuma’s power at its fullest. He’d marched in the troops from KZN, given them their orders, and they obeyed them to the letter. The political management was such that once he opened the conference and started speaking, primarily about the NDP, nothing else was on the table. Zuma didn’t even want a proper discussion about it, it must just be adopted, and become ANC policy.

And, as we know at the moment, what Number One wants, Number One gets. The NDP became official ANC policy, after being adopted, we’re told, by consensus. Branches had decided, and there is no going back, you’d have to have another conference to do that. And no one wants one of those right now. Unless Waterkoof is available.

But there actually hasn’t been a discussion. This isn’t about whether all the Mangaung delegates actually read the plan. It’s about whether there was really any discussion about anything else. Was any alternative provided, was there even any democratic space for one to be proposed? Sure, Number One’s people are going to turn around and say that it was up to delegates in their commissions, but it’s also up to them to ensure there’s an atmosphere in which people feel they’re able to bring up alternatives. And you can be sure that Number One’s opening speech would have nixed any of that. You would have to have been a Kgalema-ite to even think of it.

So what we have now, is a formally adopted document. But it hasn’t been accepted by almost anyone.

Number One is powerful, but even he is not powerful enough to get everyone in the Alliance behind one thing. And that lack of power is finally beginning to show. Because if he were a true a democrat, if he really gave a fig about Cosatu and the SACP, he would have ensured they were on board long before Mangaung started. They wouldn’t be fighting about the NDP now.

That’s not to say Number One was wrong. There’s not a chance he would have got everyone behind the blasted thing even if he’d tried. And most other politicians in his position would have done exactly the same. It was political management that allowed Tony Blair to drop Clause IV from the British Labour Party’s Constitution. There’s not a chance Barack Obama has ever forced every member of the Democratic Party to agree with his programmes. That’s simply not how modern politics works. While in the UK you go for John Prescott or create strange delegate rules in the US, we have a different system.

We go to political conferences for one thing and one thing only. To elect, or re-elect someone. If Polokwane and Mangaung had anything in common, it was the mood of the day after the election. If it were a movie, it would be Hangover Part IV: Mangaung Meltdown, with Mike Tyson playing JZ. And after the hangover, people just started to leave. They’d done what they came to do, and once you’ve done that, why stick around?

So policy, at national ANC conferences, and provincial ones, plays a fiddle so far away from the main orchestra pit, it’s actually in the parking lot. This means it’s not done properly. It’s not discussed, there’s no evaluation, and there’s no real point to it.

The time has come to seriously ask, if an ANC conference agrees on something, does that actually mean anything? Anything at all? Can you, as an investor, really read anything into what an ANC conference decides?

It’s only now that people are actually reading the NDP, and discussing it properly. Sure it’s taken a while, but look, this is the Left we’re talking about. They have to organise a study group, apply their critique, work out where their dialectic machine went, and find the batteries for their Apple Macs. But now they’re up and running.

And they’re not pleased. Oh they’re hiding it nicely, but they’re really enjoying it about as much as getting caught on TV in the red Chris Hani T-shirt driving the second BMW. It started with the metalworkers’ union NUMSA, Cosatu’s Political Committee is discussing it this week, and the SACP has now uttered one of its more memorable phrases, saying the NDP should not be “monumentalised”. Like how, please, Blade? Monumentalised like Voortrekkehoogte, or like Freedom Park? Or, gulp horror, like Nelson Mandela Square?

But now that the Left has sunk its teeth into the NDP, they’re going to tear it apart, bit by bit. And the bits they really aren’t going to like will be in the economic policy section. Things like the Youth Wage Subsidy simply aren’t going to sit nicely on the bookshelf with Das Kapital. In any development plan, it’s only the the economic policy section that really matters. And if there’s no agreement on that, then what’s the point?

So what’s going to happen is what always happens. We put it off. We delay. We don’t take action until we absolutely have to. And this means all the political pressure is taken off the people who are supposed to take responsibility for it, the political leaders, and placed on the shoulders of those who are supposed to implement it. The people in the parastatals, the lower levels in the ministries. Everyone in government from Number Three downwards.

And this is what leads to what you and I both know will be the inevitable delays. The whole point of the NDP is that we actually need to start acting pretty damn quickly. Building infrastructure is something you can’t put off forever. Think Eskom. But we’re not even doing that properly yet, because we’re going to fight about it first. But not out in the open. Not as a policy spat with public debates and opportunities for people to insult each other in the website comment section of their choice. Instead, it’s going to be endless proxy wars fought through deployments to parastatals, to government jobs, to places in government that are actually supposed to implement policy, rather than decide it.

What will emerge will be a strange hodge-podge where one or two elements of the plan will be easily identifiable, there’ll be a tinge of NDP here and there, with a hint of IPAP over there. And it simply won’t be good enough. We won’t have planned properly, we won’t have put together what we need, we won’t have thought properly about the future. DM 

Grootes is an Eyewitness News Reporter and the Host of the Midday Report on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk From the Daily Maverick

 

NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4

While the National Democratic Congress (NDC) fights for survival at the Supreme Court in the ongoing election petition, its founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings, is skeptic about the party retaining power in the 2016 general elections.

Mr. Rawlings, who addressed cadres on the eve of the 34th celebration of the June 4th Revolution in 1979 at his Ridge residence in Accra, said the country appeared to be moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, and would need the ingenuity of President John Mahama to reverse the trend.

He said until this was done, the NDC would find it difficult to retain power in the next general elections.

According to Mr. Rawlings, much of the gains made through the era of the revolution, and the principles that gave birth to it, seem to be fast eroding, and now the country is afoot a reversal trend.

Mr. Rawlings attributed much of the setback the country has suffered to the actions and inactions of former President Kufuor and the late President John Evans Atta Mills.

“In spite of the many achievements, many setbacks and reversals have also taken place. But, for more than a decade now, Ghana appears to have been moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, thanks to Presidents Mills and Kufuor/John II and John III.

“President Mahama has the responsibility to pull this country out of that tunnel. How well, how far and how soon John IV can achieve that, is hard to say.”

Speaking of the paradox of the Africa’s poverty in the mix of plenty, Mr. Rawlings emphasised that contrary to assertions that Africa was enjoying an economic upsurge, the reality remained that this was only true for the tiny minority. “The reality for the vast majority is pain and suffering,” he stated.

An observation, which, he said, remained true about many African states, is the fact that “too much power and too much money is being held up in the hands of a few too many wrong people.”

He observed, with some reservation, the foreign dominance and impunity with which some foreign entities operate in the country.

“…Here in Ghana, we see that Accra, the capital, is also almost on the verge of losing out to the impunity of foreign domination. While Ghana cannot close its doors to the rest of the world, it is important that the relevant institutions and citizens remain vigilant, and ensure that every visitor to our country adheres strictly to the laws of our land.

“If we fail to do so, then, in the not too distant future, I truly wonder if the heartbeat of this country will be that of Ghanaians.”

He also used the opportunity to debunk a publication which placed him in the ‘Millionaires list’ in Africa, worth $50 million.

According to him, unlike others who sold their conscience and country for wealth, his values of integrity have been his watch word.

“My fellow countrymen, my value as a man of principle and integrity is incalculable. The difference is that in my situation, I have never exchanged or sold my conscience, or sold my country, my principles or my integrity for money, or destroyed honourable people for money.”

He said the only reason why anyone would make such false claims about him was to sanitise the concept of being a multi-millionaire acceptable to people, and make it look criminal, even if ill-gotten.

“Why then, will such a false statement about me being a multi-millionaire be made? While the statement may be true for most of the others, why add a false statement about Rawlings to that list?

“In order to sanitise the concept of being [a] multi-millionaire, distinguished persons whose values are unrelated to money must be made to also look like multi-millionaires, in order to make the concept acceptable to people in general.

“Being a millionaire, even if ill-acquired, must not be made to look criminal, so that such people can enjoy their loot in safety. Therefore, if Rawlings is made to appear like a multi-millionaire, then there is nothing wrong with others also being multi-millionaires,” he said.

He charged all to help restore the values of the June 4 Revolution, and hold leaders accountable for their stewardship.

“Let us demand more from our leaders, including myself, in terms of probity and accountability. Let us protect those values every day in our schools and workplaces by refusing to go along with lying, cheating, thievery and injustice, but instead, stand up for truth, justice, fairness, respect for each other, and love for our beautiful country.” From The Chronicle.

 

Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation

By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Email: mk68008@gmail.com

 

Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services, or education.

Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.

During the African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, a high-level panel, organised jointly by the World Economic Forum and the African Development Bank, discussed the benefits of relaxing visa restrictions throughout Africa.

Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba, ECOWAS Commissioner of macroeconomic policy, underlined that Africans mainly migrate to Africa.

In ECOWAS, more than 80% of all migration is intra-regional. Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80% African countries, and these restrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa, than for Europeans and North Americans.

In his opening remarks, Professor Ncube underlined that “The movement of talent and people is at the core of regional integration and is a core pillar of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy. Twenty-five percent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would boom.”

Razia Khan, who is head of research in Africa for Standard Chartered Bank, introduced herself rather as a citizen of an African country, traveling extensively within Africa – who often measures the time that it takes to get visas against the amount of economic research that could have been developed.

Leonard Rugwabiza, Director, General Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda, shared the lessons of Rwanda, which has moved to biometrix border management, low restrictions on transfer of services in engineering and legal services as well as visas on arrival for all African citizens since January 1, 2013.

Rwanda, with a limited number of embassies abroad, has also introduced e-visas in order to reduce the costs and time constraints of people in obtaining visas.

He confirmed that “since we opened our borders, tourism from African countries has increased by 24%.”

Furthermore, “trade actually shifted from being oriented to Europe and North America, and is now oriented to neighbouring countries. Trade with neighbouring countries increased by 50% last year, and trade with neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo rose by 73%.”

Abdul Awl, Board Member of Dabashill Group, concluded that: “The private sector is the engine of growth, and we all talk about improving the climate for business sector. Visas are a major barrier, and pose restrictions on doing business.” From The Chronicle.

 

Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality

By Obert Simwanza

LUSAKA (AFP) – Two high-profile cases involving a suspected gay couple and a homosexual rights activist come back-to-back in Zambian courts this week raising concerns over growing homophobia.

Rights activist Paul Kasonkomona, 38, returns to court Tuesday after his arrest in April for demanding that homosexuality be decriminalised in a television programme.

Barely a month later 21-year-old barber Philip Mubiana and bricklayer James Mwape, 20, were arrested and charged with sodomy.

Zambia’s laws have outlawed same-sex relationships since colonialism under Britain, and a sodomy conviction carries a 14-year prison sentence.

Yet these are the first such cases in recent history in the southern African country amid an increasingly anti-gay climate.

“Those advocating gay rights should go to hell, that is not an issue we will tolerate,” Home Affairs minister Edgar Lungu told reporters last month.

“There will be no such discussion on gay rights. That issue is foreign to this country,” he said.

The government’s hardline stance enjoys the backing of Christian organisations.

International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) president Simon Chihana said gay rights should not be allowed in Zambia.

“Such acts are abomination,” he said.

“The government should not even think of allowing such, no matter the pressures from the international community or whoever,” he added.

Local media have taken up the issue and gay rights have also become a hot topic around ordinary Zambians, though the reasons for the recent crackdown are unclear.

But gay Africans’ plight is not limited to Zambia.

Neighbouring Uganda’s parliament is considering a bill that will make homosexuality punishable by death.

President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe to the south famously branded gays “worse than pigs and dogs”.

Malawi, another neighbouring country, in 2010 jailed a gay couple for 14 years for celebrating their wedding.

Then president Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned the two men, but branded their union “satanic”.

Since his death in 2012 Malawi has frozen anti-gay laws under new President Joyce Banda pending a parliamentary debate.

South Africa is the only African country where gay marriage is legal, but the right seems to be a preserve of the rich.

Homosexuals have been murdered in its impoverished townships.

Now in Zambia rights activists like Andrew Ntewewe note the increased threats with concern.

“From what is happening, it’s clear that we are an intolerant nation to individuals with different sexual orientation,” said Ntewewe, who heads the organisation Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

“The rights of every individual should be respected irrespective of colour, religion, tribe or sexual orientation,” he added.

Kasonkomona’s arrest raised the ire of rights groups who call for his immediate release. He has pleaded not guilty to soliciting for immoral purposes.

The suspected gay couple are back in the dock on Wednesday. They were granted bail after an initial arrest, but detained a second time days later following accusations they had had intercourse again.

They have pleaded not guilty to having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, and plan to challenge the constitutionality of their case when they appear in court in Kapiri Mposhi, 210 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Lusaka.

Human rights activist Josab Changa said locking away pro-gay activists or those involved in same-sex relationships was “infringement” on their rights.

“Human rights should be respected irrespective of the perceived evil that somebody may do,” said Changa.From Modern Ghana

Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi

 

 

‘I was not around when my brother was killing but he, along with his friends, would come back home boasting of how many Tutsis they had killed, which would hurt me throughout the days but there was nothing I could do at the time.’ – Zerda Nyiranzage

Zerda Nyiranzage has lived the last 19 years hearing footsteps on the pavements. But the footsteps behind her are not hers, but rather, for her brother.

The brother is long dead, and for Nyiranzage, the guilt that stalks her everywhere reminds her to atone for her brother’s atrocities in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“I have always felt a huge burden of the killings committed by my brother in the Genocide against the Tutsi,” Nyiranzage, from Rwanteru Cell, Kigina Sector in Kirehe District, said of her deceased sibling’s involvement in the Genocide.

She shared her testimony at Rusumo High School in Kirehe as the first phase of the YouthConnekt Dialogue was officially concluded on Monday.

Nyiranzage said she committed to participate in community work alongside Genocide ex-convicts to help the impoverished Genocide widows.

Most of the former convicts she works with served under Works for General Interest (Tig) programme, which saw thousands of convicts partly serve their sentence doing community work.

“I was not around when my brother was killing but he, along with his friends, would come back home boasting of how many Tutsis they had killed, which would hurt me throughout the days but there was nothing I could do at the time,” Nyiranzage said.

She is a member of the group that is committed to preach unity and reconciliation in the district, through bringing together those whose families were killed and those of the perpetrators.

“People ridiculed me for joining the ex-convicts in the community work where my brother would be, but this is where I feel peaceful, it’s where I feel  the burden of my brother’s killings taken away from me,” she added.

The activities

The group made of Genocide ex-convicts, survivors and relatives of those who participated in the killings has built 26 houses for survivors, among other activities in the community.

“If we all preached reconciliation and unity, our country would definitely be a good place – much to the description of the adage that Rwanda is a country of milk and honey,” Nyiranzage said.

The mayor Protais Murayire commended the activities of the group, saying the district intends to extend such initiatives in other sectors.

The initiative currently has activities in Kigina and Kirehe sectors.

Youth Connekt Dialogue is a series of discussions carried out countrywide among the youth on the history of Rwanda and the way forward, mainly on the development of the country.

Organised by Arts for Peace, a group of musicians and authors led by actor and award-winning filmmaker Edouard Bamporiki and the Ministry of Youth and ICT, YouthConnekt Dialogue has so far toured 14 districts.

The tours have been running under the theme, “A promise of a generation.”

At every tour, the youth bench-marked how they want the future of their country to be.

Bamporiki, the producer of the film, Long Coat, has had his own story to share, because of his own father’s role in the Genocide.

“Ours is tragic history but it can’t stop us from building a progressive nation,” Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Youth and ICT, told youth at the dialogue.

May is dedicated to the activities for the youth to sit and discuss their role in building a prosperous nation.

The YouthConnekt dialogue was mooted last year during a meeting between the youth and President Paul Kagame.

“This has given us a good picture of how the youth are recommitting to develop the country further and promising that they will be the hands that will strengthen Rwanda,” Mbabazi said.

She added that the tour that saw them visit the Iwawa Youth Rehabilitation and Skills Development Centre in Lake Kivu showed that the youth can be the best patriots.

“It’s very inspiring that there is mindset change, and I like the way they say that we love the country; ‘we will work for it, even if it means to give our life.’ That’s patriotism and that’s what we are inculcating in the youth,” she added.

Mbabazi said it will be an annual event where the youth share ideas of how to further build their country, adding that a follow-up will be made to ensure that the commitments made are implemented. From The New Times.

Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?

04 JUN 2013 11:53 KHUTHALA NANDIPHA

 

Brutal hackings across SA have raised the spectre of Satanism and drug use in terrified communities. But the reality is more complex than that.

 

Walking through the crowded Chris Hani Road in Chiawelo, Soweto, you can feel a chill down your spine. The silence is almost tangible and the stares are as direct and sticky as an accusation. The silence is suddenly broken by four elderly women walking past a particular house, exclaiming loudly to each other that Satanism is very much alive in their community.

Their voices sink lower at the mention of the recent spate of four brutal murders, particularly that of a 95-year-old woman stabbed to death by her 38-year-old grandson on this street last week. It is alleged that he killed her for her pension money while under the influence of drugs; however neighbours are adamant that Satanism is at play.

The same accusation has been flung in the case of four family members in Benoni who were brutally hacked by a 14-year-old boy using an axe. Three died and one is recovering in hospital. Community members have accused the teen of sacrificing his family in a Satanic ritual, while others believe he was under the influence of drugs – the sentiment Chiawelo residents share.

“Satanism is real; the instigators have made testimonies on live TV and radio. The manner in which this granny and the other family were murdered surely is a sign that our young people are not in control,” said Nomvuyo Sibaya, a neighbour.

She added that although drugs – particularly nyaope – were freely available in the township, this kind of behaviour was too brutal for drug addicts.

Nyaope is a cocktail of, among other things, rat poison, dagga, heroin and antiretroviral medication.

‘The need to see blood’
“Our children buy nyaope at spaza shops every day, some make their own nyaope mix, and they don’t hack people to death. At most, they will steal a fridge or rob people. The need to see blood splattered is an act of Satanism,” she said.

Anna Moyo of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), however, attributed this behaviour to the ever growing decay of the social system. The levels of poverty, lack of prospects for the youth and the general impatience are said to be the main causes of violent crimes in South Africa.

“It is hard to attribute these incidents directly to Satanism as there is no extensive research done to substantiate that. The legacy of apartheid and colonialism are the key drivers. This speaks to high levels of inequality; unemployment, poverty, social and political exclusion,” she said.

Moyo added that drugs were widely used by perpetrators of the hackings as a result of this social context.

This perspective was supported by the Institute for Security Studies’s Johan Burger, a crime specialist. He insisted that South Africa may never make a significant dent in its high crime rate until it fixed the economic inequality that has resulted in one of the highest wealth gaps between the haves and have-nots in the world between.

Dr Sello Mokoena of Gauteng’s agriculture, rural and social development department warned against using unfounded references to Satanism as a way to derail the main scourge of alcohol and drug use. “It is difficult to comment on Satanism but this attitude undermines the fight against the social problems that need to be addressed promptly,” he reiterated.

Mental state of the two
So far, police investigations have not given a clear indication of the mental state of the two accused. The social development department in the meantime said it would focus on the catastrophic implications of nyaope being so easily accessible. In both cases, it is suspected that drugs, especially nyaope, were the main catalysts. In a summit held earlier this year, social stakeholders resolved to lobby for the strengthening of law enforcement efforts to reduce access to it and other drugs.

But locals in Soweto and Benoni are adamant that if drugs were the cause, such murder cases would be rife in places such as Eldorado Park, where Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane recently set up a task team to fight drug use in the area.

According to the South African Police Service’s figures, 60% of crimes nationally are related to substance abuse and nyaope users constitute a substantial number of users. Last year, in Gauteng alone, 25 949 drug-related crimes were recorded. Of great concern was that nyaope users were typically between the impressionable ages of 13 and 19.

Yet in the impoverished community of Chiawelo and others like it, where small houses crowd upon each other and news spreads like wildfire, paranoia persists about these brutal hackings. Satanism offers a convenient explanation for gossiping elders to explain the behaviour of an alienated and often depressed youth they don’t understand.

“Whether we say it is drugs or not, it is all a part of Satanic practices,” concluded Sibaya firmly, before continuing on her way. From Mail & Guardian.

 

Robert Mugabe grooming Bona for leadership?

 

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe recently caught many unaware when he travelled to Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia for the African Golden Jubilee celebrations accompanied by his daughter, Bona.

 

Mugabe’s wife, Grace did not travel with the president.

Bona, 24 who resembles her mother, looked at ease as she walked the red carpet and greeted Zanu PF politicians and cabinet ministers who usually converge at Harare International Airport to bid Mugabe farewell or welcome him.

The world over, we have had presidents like US’s Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton grace platforms accompanied by their spouses and daughters, hence sending a sense of family and unity.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently introduced his twins to the nation as he accompanied them to register as voters.

But it is the recent image of Mugabe and Bona travelling together on an international assignment that has had all and sundry asking; is the president grooming Bona for the future?

Bona seems to be a favourite of Mugabe ahead of his two sons and in a recent interview with SABC talk show host Dali Tambo, the president describes Bona, a postgraduate student, as “very obedient” and “absolutely trustworthy.”

Asked if any of his children take after him, Mugabe, who boasts an impressive array of degrees, said: “They are still young. The girl, perhaps, yes. She wants to be a chartered accountant. We are very happy for her.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu says Zimbabweans should not read much into the president’s travelling with his daughter.

“From past interviews the president has spoken glowingly of his admiration of his daughter who, among all his children, he approximated her intellectual prowess to his.

“The president like any parent is showing fondness for Bona and obviously grooming her for leadership, but I doubt that to be political. In all the images I have seen of Bona and the president she does not appear to show any enthusiasm for sloganeering or admiration of the bootlickers and Zanu PF supporters that surround her father. Some grooming is certainly taking place but not for politics,” says Mukundu.

He says having experienced the pains of politics for over five decades he doubts the president would want her daughter to go through that.

Bona, named after Mugabe’s mother, was set to get married, Mugabe revealed. Asked by Tambo what qualities he would look for in a future husband for Bona, Mugabe says: “Regarding such approaches, one from a wolf who has come to seize one of my lambs — that’s the feeling. But it must be a person of her own choice. My hope would be first, qualities of a good husband will live with her, because he loves her through thick and thin and not just look at her now as she still is that flower, attractive, blooming.”
“She will have kids and quite a lot of what is now the real charm will disappear and the face will start having wrinkles. So he should not pit her at that time against up and coming younger ones, which is what most people do and as a result we get lots of divorces.”

Phillip Pasirayi, Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ)’s director, said Mugabe wants to groom Bona for a future political role.

“From the look of things it seems the president is closer to Bona than he is to Chatunga.

“They are close probably because Bona emulates her dad’s educational and political exploits.

“I suspect that Bona wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps.

“The lad (Chatunga) is an embarrassment to the First Family after he came out of high school empty-handed,” said Pasirayi.

In the SABC interview Mugabe chides Bellarmine (Chatunga), whose studies at a private school came to an abrupt end earlier this year.

“He has not made me happy in the way he takes to his studies. He should be more serious than he is at the moment.”

Mugabe is a known academic who holds several degrees but is disappointed with his sons who have dismally failed most examinations. Chatunga’s older brother, Robert Junior, also at St Georges College failed his Ordinary levels with a string of U’s (ungraded).

Chatunga only managed to score 14 units during his grade seven examinations which he sat for in 2009 at Hartmann House, the preparatory school for St George’s College, one of the oldest and most exclusive private boys’ school in Zimbabwe.

Although Robert Jnr has also proven to be a laggard educationally — a fact confirmed by Mugabe in a media interview last year — the youngster has, however, excelled in sport, especially basketball.

At some point, the young man even played for the Zimbabwe under-18 team, where he was a star and firm favourite of adoring girls. Commenting on his son’s abysmal failure, a jocular Mugabe said then that Robert had become an “undertaker” for a string of ungraded marks in his examinations.

Playwright Daves Guzha says it is good that Mugabe is exposing his children to the world.

He said gone are the days when people could whisper about the First Family.

“We have had presidents like Obama and Bill Clinton travelling with their daughters so as to expose them to the world. It is a strategy that works as it shows that the president is a family man and loving father,” says Guzha.

Guzha says the president, just like any father should be proud of his children and as a former teacher; he would have loved to have a disciplined family.

“It is his wish that his children attain the highest level of education. It seems of now it is only Bona doing well at school.”

Mugabe and Grace recently attended the graduation ceremony of Bona Mugabe at City University in Hong Kong where they joined hundreds of other parents who came to celebrate their children’s achievements in the university’s Chan Tai Ho Hall.

Bona graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) in Accountancy.

Harare Residents Trust, (HRT) director Precious Shumba says Mugabe is exposing his children to national and international affairs, political, social, cultural and economical, whereupon he believes they will genuinely catch on and become involved in the affairs of the state, and probably in Zanu PF, taking up leadership positions.

“If done above board there is nothing wrong, but if they are imposed, this has potential to cause disaffection from party members and those that work with them. “However, I think that the president is genuinely trying to build his children to enjoy his presidency while learning the intricate nature of leadership, probably for their business empire, and subsequently for political office in the future,” said Shumba.

Political activist Tabani Moyo says it is difficult to read into the mind of the octogenarian leader especially nowadays.

“However, judging from the general tendencies of dictatorships across the continent is that they showcase poor succession plans when they are still young and active.  Like a rude awakening call they are quick to settle for last minute grooming efforts.

“At times such efforts do not show logical conclusions and choice and process but they do it all the same,” said Moyo.

Moyo said he hoped that on this specific trip the first family was on a joint state business and holiday rather than grooming the daughter for public office, “because there are readily available leaders within and without Mugabe’s party.”

Social and media commentator Thomas Deve says children often travel with their parents as part of discovering what the world has to offer, but in so doing, they get extended exposure and enjoy the trappings of power.

“That process makes them aspire to maintain privileges associated with their parents’ jobs and will generally gravitate towards the good life if it is going to be guaranteed by politics. But at the same time, other children resist the grooming and opt for less sophisticated or alternative lifestyles, no wonder why we have many children of politicians that hate politics with a passion.” – Daily News. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Pastor rebukes the clergy, Christians

 

TUESDAY, 04 JUNE 2013 09:29 BY JOAN AKELLO

After the hosts- Uganda Christian University choir warmed the congregation through African praise and dances, a fire spitting Nigerian preacher convinced   hundreds to get Born Again just like the Uganda Martyrs. That was not all; he preached for a record one and half hours against tribalism and religious hypocrisy.

“When we wear our robes as Bishops, some of us behave holier than Jesus,” yet Rt.Rev. Timothy Yahaya says, “There are people playing religion in church but living in hell.”

Yahaya, also Bishop of Jalingo Diocese Nigeria, was preaching on the theme dubbed being faithful witnesses to the end to mark the Uganda Martyrs day at the Anglican side.  “ The Gospel must cross tribal barriers, languages .

Stop preaching  the Gospel  basing ion tribes , divisions and  culture because,”  Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya said,  “ even the nation of Uganda has  to hear this-the Word of God  should be for all.”

Yahaya said, according to internet searches, the Ugandan martyrs were persecuted because they refused to participate in traditional sacrifice and some were against Kabaka Mwanga’s homosexual practices.

“These young man travelled  on foot for days , the mistreatment, humiliation,  the fear of death ,and  the shrine of traditional religion was   enough  to change their minds but they  decided to die on  conviction on  what they believed,” he said.

He likened the circumstances under which the martyrs were killed to present day Nigeria where Christians cannot enter church with bags nor park cars on church compounds.

The church can be bombed with believers in what he calls a world where Satanism and anti –Christ are persecuting the church.

“In Northern Nigeria today, some of our people have been maimed, some have lost their legs but that has not killed the spirit of the Gospel,” Yahaya added, the more they kill us the more we worship Christ.”

The Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi representing government assured Yahaya Nigeria will overcome since Uganda had experienced the same turmoil before.

Uganda is stable and though there are challenges, its stability will not be shaken,” Amama said.

UCU vice chancellor, Rt. Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi said the university spent between Shs 200 to Shs 300million on the Namugongo preparations such as minimal renovations and improvements to preserve the historical site for posterity which he said is ‘ordinarily the prerogative of government  to giuve it a national status’.

He added that UCU has facilitated the writing of a new Liturgy for the church of Uganda as one oth activities to mark the centenary celebrations of UCU whose history is interlinked with Bishop Tucker College that was founded in 1913.

James Ogoola the Chief guest said ‘the blood of the martyrs is but  the watering of the church, therefore it should  remember all the martyrs including Janani Luwum, the third Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Bishop  James Hannington  who was killed  in Busoga.

“Lest we forget , Bishop Hannington  was the first  Bishop of  Equatorial  Africa( todays Easst and Central Africa) …he was  murdered literally on the eve of  the slaughter  of the Namugongo  martyrs  whom we celebrate here.”

Ogoola says Bukedi Diocese is spearheading the Hannington Theological College to teach lay readers and priests in memory of the Bishop.

“I want to challenge the Uganda Christian University (successor  to Bishop Theological  College) and the entire  Church  of the Province, to  remember and honour  Bishop James Hannington, the pioneer  pillar  of the Church of Uganda…came before Bishop Tucker; in  whose martyred footsteps Bishop Tucker walked; indeed whose body Bishop Tucker exhumed from Mumias in Kenya for final burial at Namirembe  Cathedral in Kampala, Uganda.

Yahaya charged  the clergy in Uganda to build more churches, but also ensure they do not act like the Western world that ‘ planted churches  and handed them over  to auditors,  administrators, and undertakers’. From The Independent.

TJRC denies claims report was doctored

IN SUMMARY

  • “We differed on the source of information presented. No proper search had been conducted to link individuals to the alleged land parcels but the international commissioners insisted on including the information,” Prof Ojienda stated.

Members of the Truth commission have dismissed claims that their final report was doctored.

Speaking on behalf of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)’s local members, Prof Tom Ojienda, who authored the land chapter, dismissed claims by his foreign counterparts that some information incriminating senior government officials was deleted.

Prof Ojienda claimed the move by his counterparts was “a desperate attempt to register dissent, which was defeated at the committee plenary”.

He said a last-minute bid to include information a foreign commissioner alleged were intentionally excluded, was rejected due to lack of credible evidence.

“We differed on the source of information presented. No proper search had been conducted to link individuals to the alleged land parcels but the international commissioners insisted on including the information,” Prof Ojienda stated.

He said the information was largely supplied by a former MP from the Coast, whose allegations were unsubstantiated.

“These commissioners’ attempted to register a dissent but time run out. We only have one complete report. And it is the one we gave to the President on May 21,” he said.

Revised chapters

Commissioners Ronald Slye, Gertrude Chawatama and Berhanu Dinka have claimed the TJRC report presented to President Kenyatta had several chapters on land revised and some information deleted.

“We recognise the irony of a commission dedicated to truth, justice and reconciliation, suppressing the voice of the minority in clear violation of our procedures,” the three commissioners said in a statement.

The commission’s chief executive Tom Chavanji could not confirm or deny if the report was edited or not. From the Daily Nation.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION ON TUESDAY 4/6/2013

 

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from the websites of newspapers right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape.

This service is yours, and is intended to be as inclusive as possible. So please do leave a comment or suggestion as to how the Africa Centre might best improve its service in future, in the box provided at the bottom of the post.

CONTENTS:

Nigeria: Borno hospital receives 923 corpses in six months

Africa: Japan calls for mass investment in Africa

Ghana: MILITARY GOES HAYWIRE …Punishes Soldier Robbers, Looters Of Gold

South Africa: NUM leader shot dead in front of Lonmin mine (also see comment and opinion)

Nigeria: Nasarawa killings: IGP promises to release report on slain officers at appropriate time

Sudan: South Sudanese opposition call for people of Abyei to be armed

Ghana: Ashanti Youth Disowns Wereko-Brobbey

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Sierra Leone: Freetown: IMF Mission Releases Statement on Sierra Leone Economy

Sudan: Sudan’s economy facing significant challenges, says minister

Rwanda: German minister says Rwanda can spur region

Rwanda: Report faults districts on abetting land conflicts against Genocide survivors

Sierra Leone: SLPP Women Vow to Drag Pa-O-Pa Thugs to Court

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Zimbabwe: MDC veterans call for unity

South Africa: NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

Ghana: Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Kenya: Your security is in the hands of this man

Africa: Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

Uganda: Media clampdown, human rights and succession

Uganda: Uganda, donors sign power deal

Africa: Dangers of bleaching creams

 

 

 

Borno hospital receives 923 corpses in six months

By Maina Maina 

 

Records at the State Specialists Hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital have revealed that the hospital has so far received 923 unknown corpses, which had being evacuated for burial at different cemeteries across the state by environmental workers in the last six months.

DailyPost gathered that, most of the corpses were already decomposed before they were brought to the hospital.

A source in the hospital who did not want his name in print told DailyPost that,”if you go through the hospital record, you would notice that at least the hospital receive about 68 corpses in a day since the last six months. Most of these corpses are of those either hit by stray bullet during

various clashes between insurgents and military or those kidnapped and killed by insurgents whose family could not pay ransom.

“Those with bullet wound were either killed by insurgents or stray bullets but those whose throats were cut off were killed by the insurgents aften being kidnapped and the concerned families could not afford ransom.

“Some of the corpses are horrifying because you can notice that they were mutilated. Everyday, residents behind the hospital come out to ask for some chemicals in order to stop the excess odour being generated by the corpses.

“Government is doing its best as you can see. The enviromental workers are also helping to evacuate the corpses. Until this crises come to an end, I am afraid the people would have to bear with us.

We are all in this, we know the health hazard, but we also have to understanding that killings and kidnapping are still going on in the state.” He explained.

Speaking with a cross section of citizens on the spat of killings and kidnapping in the state, particularly with the recent kidnapping of father of the state Commissioner for women affairs, Hajiya Innah Galadima, despite the ongoing security campaign in the state, people have reacted differently.

Most people said that the ongoing crisis had never been experienced in the state before, affirming that different criminals have found Borno as a fertile ground for their criminal activities.

Malam Inusa Yakubu, a civil servant also told DailyPost that,”Since the crises started, a gunshot could cause serious confusion, as people would be running helter skelter. That is enough to make criminals to find Borno as an interesting place to operate.” He explained. From the Daily Post.

 

Japan calls for mass investment in Africa

 

Africa could turn into a driving force for global economic growth if the Yokohama Declaration issued at the end of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad) is anything to go by.

The conference brought together leaders of 51 African countries, including President Paul Kagame, as well as representatives of international organisations.

While all past Ticad summits have been held in Japan, the declaration contained wording that left open the possibility of holding the next conference in Africa.

At a joint news conference, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Growth exists in Africa, and now is the time to invest in an Africa that will continue to grow.”

‘Leading edge’

Abe said Africa would be at the leading edge of economic expansion and Japan had to make a commitment in a way that would benefit both sides.

“Africa will be a growth centre over the next couple of decades until the middle of this century. Japan will not simply bring natural resources from Africa to Japan. We want to realise

industrialisation in Africa that will generate employment and growth,” he said.

He added: “The type of growth the Ticad recognises is not just figures. It aims to achieve high quality growth by distributing benefits widely and deeply among people in the society.”

In the Yokohama declaration participants in the five-yearly Ticad picked up the theme of developing Africa’s business potential and migrating away from aid.

“We’ll encourage expanded trade, tourism and technology transfer, and assist in developing small and midsize local companies. We’ll also support regional integration to expand intra-regional trade and create new opportunities for private sector development and employment,” reads the declaration.

Role of private sector 

It also affirmed that the private sector is a vital engine of growth that needs to be supported and strengthened.

It calls for promoting of greater private investment, and improving the investment climate and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Participants at the conference, co-hosted by the African Union, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, said they wanted to improve agricultural production on the continent to address food security and improve quality of life for farmers, who constitute a large part of Africa’s economy.

An ‘action plan’ adopted on Monday set goals of boosting growth in the agriculture sector by six per cent and doubling rice production by 2018.

Meanwhile, Earlier Prime Minister Abe met with the leaders of 10 African nations to discuss reforms of the UN Security Council.

Supporting Africa 

African officials asked Japan to support having an African nation named a permanent member. One participant said that 2015 would be an important year for reform because it would mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Currently, Rwanda is among three African countries on the United Nations Security Council–all non-permanent members.

Japan has also sought the support of Africa in its bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council along with India, Germany and Brazil.

With its large number of United Nations members, Africa is considered an important voting bloc. From  The New Times.

 

MILITARY GOES HAYWIRE …Punishes Soldier Robbers, Looters Of Gold

 

 

After coming under heavy public criticism for failing to rein in some of its personnel who have breached the ethics of the profession, the Military High Command appears to have now gone on the offensive by dishing out various punishments to erring personnel who have brought its name into disrepute.

The following is a press statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, detailing punishments meted out to soldiers who have taken the law into their hands.

In recent times, some personnel of the security services, especially the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police Service and the Immigration Service, have attracted negative publicity, because some miscreants in the services have indulged in criminal activities.

The reason why these miscreants in the security services pick up these headlines, as compared to others who perpetrate similar crimes but only attract obscure places in newspapers, is simple, personnel of the security services are supposed to enforce the law and prevent the commission of crimes in society.

Imagine that people who are tasked to conduct anti-armed robbery operations, anti-illegal mining operations, anti-smuggling and anti-logging operations, are rather engaged in robbery, extortion, kidnapping and fraudulent activities.

The Ghana Armed Forces, therefore, takes serious exception to these fraudulent activities, and has in place strict measures to deal ruthlessly with any individual who engages in any criminal activity, both within and outside the barracks. Some were dismissed outright, while others serve detention or suspension in addition to other consequential punishments, as provided by law.

Most importantly, the Ghana Armed Forces has a policy to hand over miscreants who perpetrate serious crimes to the Police Service for prosecution, as prescribed by law and the Ghana Armed Forces regulations.

Contrary to belief that the military shields its own and undermines justice, it will surprise many that the Ghana Armed Force even hands over miscreants in the system who deserve civil court prosecution to the police, regardless of whether the crimes committed by these persons attracted media and public interest or not.

As at 30 April 2013, the Ghana Armed Forces had facilitated the trial of about 22 serving personnel who have committed crimes against the state within the past four (4) years. A few of these persons have been discharged, others are still facing prosecution, and even a few are on remand custody.

For instance, five (5) soldiers have been on remand at the Nsawam Prison since August 2009, for allegedly kidnapping the Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank. These soldiers have consequently, been suspended from the Ghana Armed Forces since 24 August, 2009, though the case is still pending.

Again in 2009, three (3) airmen allegedly conducted unauthorised land guard operations, an action which is strictly abhorred by the Armed Forces. These airmen were handed over to the police and later granted court bail. This case is still ongoing at the Cocoa Affairs Court.

Another incident which occurred in 2009, which the military detests, was the unlawful possession of a firearm by a soldier.  He was initially detained at the Cantonments Police Station and processed for court. Afterwards, he was granted court bail and re-appeared at the Circuit Court at Cocoa Affairs on 16 July, 2010. The case is still pending, awaiting advice from the Attorney General’s Department.

Two (2) major cases came to the fore in 2010. The first involved two (2) airmen, who allegedly engaged in an unauthorised operation and also extorted GH¢53.00 and a mobile phone from a taxi driver on 29 April, 2010. These two individuals were initially detained at the Police Headquarters, and later released to their units. Subsequently, they were arraigned before a Cocoa Affairs Court on 24 September, 2010. Following the transfer of the trial judge, a new judge was appointed, who later adjourned the case sine die.

In August 2011, an unprecedented incident occurred, where an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces escorted a Naval Rating suspected of homicide to the Military Police. The suspect is said to have had a scuffle with a taxi driver, and the driver died afterwards. The Rating was not shielded, but subsequently handed over to civil police, where he was detained until granted bail by an Accra High Court.

The suspect was subsequently re-arraigned before a District Magistrate Court on 7 April, 2012. The case is still pending, as the court awaits the Attorney General Department’s report on the matter.

Other cases that occurred in 2011 involving military personnel include enlistment fraud, unlawful possession and attempted sale of firearm, alleged robbery, and alleged fraud.

Also, in 2011, a Naval Officer was dismissed from the Armed Forces when it was established that he stole two endorsed but open cheques of his friend, and cashed them without his friend’s permission.

Two main cases that drew public attention in 2012 were alleged illegal possession of fake currency and alleged murder. In the case of the former, a soldier and a civilian friend rescued a colleague (suspect) from mob action and handed him over to the Madina Police on 22 March, 2012. The suspect allegedly tried to convert an amount of fake four thousand dollars ($4,000.00) into cedis.

The allegation of murder, on the other hand, was preferred against five (5) soldiers for allegedly causing the death of a civilian while they were on a legal duty, or curbing illegal logging and lumbering (OP HALT) at Weija.

The military was tasked to investigate the matter, and accordingly, the five soldiers were detained at the guardroom. These suspects were arraigned before the Adjabeng Circuit 1 Court, and were made to re-appear on 23 January 2013. This case is still pending before the court.

Two high profile cases also occurred in the early part of this year, for which the Ghana Armed Forces has ensured that justice is done. These cases centered on alleged extortion and alleged assault and robbery.

One soldier is currently on remand at the Kumasi Central Prison for alleged extortion and robbery, while another is on detention and assisting the Ashanti Regional Police in investigations into alleged armed robbery.

Aside all these cases, there are a few others which are dealt with expeditiously when they do occur within the barracks. Those that require civil police attention are quickly forwarded to them.

Clearly, with these drastic measures by the Ghana Armed Forces, miscreants are finding it difficult to fit in to the system, as the Ghana Armed Forces shields no criminals. From The Chronicle

.

NUM leader shot dead in front of Lonmin mine

03 JUN 2013 14:47 SAPA-AFP

 

 

A National Union of Mineworkers leader has been shot dead and another wounded at a Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa, says the union. 

 

The violence comes amid heightened tensions after deadly strikes at the platinum mine last year.

The local shaft leader “was killed in front of the union offices,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) regional spokesperson Mxhasi Sithethi.

The shootings at the Marikana mine near Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg, follow the assassination of a leader from NUM’s rival union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), last month.

Last August, police shot dead at least 34 people in a single day at the Marikana mine.

On Monday, two unknown men approached the NUM leader at around 10am and fired at him, said Sithethi.

“There was no confrontation. Nothing,” he said. “He ran back to the office. They followed him and killed him.”

The victim, whose identity has not been released, suffered at least two gunshot wounds to the head. The attackers then shot the union treasurer at least six times when he confronted them, said Sithethi.

The treasurer is in a “critical condition” in hospital, according to NUM’s secretary general Frans Baleni. The police weren’t immediately available for comment.

Threshold rights
On Monday, Business Day reported Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to the Amcu, shutting rival NUM out of collective bargaining.

Lonmin human resources head Abey Kgotle told Business Day that the company agreed during negotiations at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration that it would set threshold rights of 35% for basic rights and 45% for collective bargaining and rights to full-time shop stewards. Rights for a majority union would stand at 50%.

A trade union would need to achieve these levels of representation in the workforce for it to enjoy the specified rights.

Amcu currently represented 70% of unskilled workers and machine operators in bargaining unit one, Business Day reported.

This meant that the NUM would not have organisational rights among the low-skilled workers.

Lonmin operations has been a battleground between Amcu and the NUM, whose members now made up only 20% of the workforce. – AFP, Sapa. From the Mail & Guardian (also see comment and opinion for full background).

 

 

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

By Chibuzor Emejor
Correspondent, Abuja

Federal Government said N431 billion would be saved annually when the ban on wheat import takes effect, just as it has scaled up activities to boost production of the commodity and meet the nation’s domestic wheat requirements.
Addressing Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAG) in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, said government’s efforts to encourage wheat substitution with high quality cassava flour are yielding positive results. Already, he explained, wheat import to Nigeria declined from an all-time high of 4.051 million metric tones (MMT) in 2010 to 3.7MMT last year.
“As we implement accelerated cassava flour production, with the installation of the industrial scale cassava flour plants, expand cassava production and deploy hundreds of compact modular milling systems, Nigeria’s dependency on imported wheat will decline even further,” he said.
Adesina said government is looking into the local production of wheat in the northern parts of the country, adding that the Lake Chad Research Institute of Nigeria has released new high yielding tropical and heat tolerant wheat varieties that can yield up to six tons per hectare.
This, according to him, is about four times the yield of temperate wheat varieties used during the effort to produce wheat in the 1980s.
He further said with the tropical wheat varieties that are presently available in the country and at the high yields being obtained; it is profitable and economically-viable to produce wheat in the country.
The Minister explained that 21,000 MT was harvested in 2012, from the new varieties, which according to him, would be used as seeds.
The target, he said, is to plant 212,000 hectares of wheat by 2014, with expected production of over one million metric tones, and a projection to expand the cultivated area to 215,000 ha by 2015, with an anticipated production of 1.2 million MT.
“So, in two years, if we accelerate investment, we should be able to produce 2.2 million MT of wheat.
“This would meet 68 per cent of our domestic wheat requirements and save Nigeria N431 billion in wheat imports annually,” he added, urging the group to seriously consider investing in commercial wheat production so as to take advantage of the new opportunities. From the Daily Independent.

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

 

•Party is a dysfunctional family, says ACN
•Call pro-Jang Govs to order, Sagay tells Jonathan

By Donald Ojogo (Abuja) and Temidayo Ajkinsuyi (Lagos)

Still basking in the euphoria of the recent suspension of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur, vowed on Monday that he would move against more of those he called “saboteurs” within.
“All agents of destabilisation and distractions in the party must go if the PDP must retain power in 2015,” Tukur told newsmen in Abuja during a press conference to mark 14 years of democracy in Nigeria.
He is speaking for the first time since Amaechi was suspended by the PDP for allegedly refusing “to obey lawful directive by the party.”
The Governor’s suspension came shortly after he won re-election as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) that has now been split into factions because of PDP’s desire to present a “consensus candidate” for the chairmanship position.
Although Tukur did not call Amaechi by name, he said, “The party will no longer tolerate any act of indiscipline and sabotage from its members, to avoid distractions on its desire to retain power by 2015.”
He added that the party was “weary of reports of anti-party activities being leveled against members in some states of the federation,” adding that it (PDP) would begin to invoke relevant sections of its constitution “if only to maintain discipline within its fold.”

“The failure of PDP to strictly enforce its laws by whipping troublesome members into line had accounted for the frequent breakdown of confidence among members, on one hand and with the leadership on the other hand.
“Founding fathers never joked about raising the PDP to a formidable party which must promote justice, equity and fair play among members; party discipline and supremacy were also part of the major planks upon which PDP was built.
“We would no longer hesitate to wield the big stick against perceived saboteurs and agents of destabilisation in its fold, while relying on the appropriate sections of the constitution to serve as guide.
“People say we have crisis in our party. It may appear so, but that also shows that democracy is at play in the way we conduct our affairs.
“We are a family, and like any family, we can disagree and then we will agree. We have mastered the game and that is the reason we have been keeping afloat.
“However, we are talking about discipline here. During the PDP Family Dinner, I emphasised on the necessity for party discipline in line with the vision of our founding fathers. We have our constitution to guide us in maintaining discipline,” Tukur said.
“Today, everybody is talking about 2015 with expectations that we must win fairly and transparently. How can we achieve that if certain members of the party go against the rules with impunity, while nothing happens?
“We have had enough of inconsistencies and loose conducts, and today we say that must stop,” the party chairman added.
But the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also on Monday saw the PDP differently, describing it as a “big-for-nothing dysfunctional family that practices political cannibalism.”
In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, ACN believes that anyone calling the PDP a ‘’big family, united in freedom may be suffering from hallucination.”
It also said in spite of PDP’s continuous dismissal of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a group of strange bedfellows it (PDP) can only underrate the merger at its own peril.
‘’A happy family needs no advertisement, because people know a happy family when they see one. A happy family needs not draw attention to itself because happiness cannot be hidden.
“What the PDP is mistaking for happiness if a form of manic disorder.
‘’As this vanishing family continues to sink, it has now degenerated to consuming its own members for survival. Nothing showed this more than the recent election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“Ever seen a party that is at war because its member won an election? Ever seen a family in which the father is seeking to devour his own son for achieving success?
“Our sincere wish is that this sinking behemoth will somehow survive till 2015 so it can receive the drubbing of its life,’’ ACN said.

It believs that “the PDP is pathologically afraid of the APC, even in its yet-to-be registered form, hence the continuous campaign of calumny and crude attacks on its leaders.”
ACN, however, wondered “why the PDP is spending the time and energy that should have been focused on mending its tattered umbrella to worry about whether or not the merger will succeed or whether it will soon be in disarray.
‘’There is some truth in the saying that anytime one sees a ‘no thoroughfare’ sign, there is definitely a way there.
“The PDP knows for sure that the coming into being of the APC signals its death knell. That is why it has been flailing aimlessly. But the die is cast.
“Nigeria needs to be rescued from these cannibals. No amount of blackmail, abuse, attacks or whatever will deter the patriots who have come together for just one purpose: To rescue Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Itse Sagay, observed that President Goodluck Jonathan could have averted the crisis rocking the NGF by congratulating the actual winner of the election, Amaechi.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, Sagay, who expressed worry over the prediction that Nigeria might break up in 2015, said recent events in the PDP and the Governors’ Forum are pointing towards that direction.
He said it behoves the President to act fast and put a stop to it.
He added that if Jonathan had acted like a statesman and congratulated Amaechi immediately he was declared winner of the NGF election, other Governors, especially the pro-Jang group would have followed suit and the crisis that is rocking the forum, and which is now threatening the peace of the country would have been avoided.
According to Sagay, the principal characters in the NGF drama should not make their personal interest a priority but the peace and stability of Nigeria and loyalty to the Constitution, which they swore to uphold.
“If I were the President and I see all these things happening, I will quickly do all I can to put a stop to it. People have predicted such a very devastating future for the country.
“I, as President, will do everything to avert such an occurrence; certainly not under my watch when I am President. So, it is a pity that what is happening now is allowed to happen.
“I would say those Governors who voted for Jang and lost by refusing to accept that they lost that election are creating a crisis whose impact and ramifications may not be predicted now.
“I believe the President should not just congratulate Amaechi on his victory. He should step in now and say ‘enough is enough; election has been held and won, it does not matter whether the outcome is unfavourable to my interest or not, that is not the issue. The issue is the stability of Nigeria’.
‘“This country must move forward. We must accept outcome of elections, whether pleasant or not and move on so that we can stabilise and think of our development, growth and progress’,” Sagay added. From the Daily Independent.

Nasarawa killings: IGP promises to release report on slain officers at appropriate time

By Wale Odunsi on June 3, 2013

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has disclosed that the report of investigation into the killing of 49 policemen in Nasarawa State, would be made public at the appropriate time and that the police was working hard towards ensuring that justice is done regarding the incident.

Abubakar made this known on Monday in Abuja, shortly after the inauguration of 12 patrol vehicles for the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.

It would be recalled that 49 police personnel and 10 operatives of the State Security Service ,SSS, were brutally murdered while on a foiled operation at Alakyo Village in Nasawara State, on May 7.

They were alleged to have been attacked by members of the Ombatse cult from the ancestral shrine of the Eggon speaking people of Nasarawa State.

Speaking, Abubakar vowed that nobody or group of persons operating under any name would kill officers of the Force and go “scot-free”.

“Investigation is ongoing and the outcome of the investigation will be revealed to Nigerians at the most appropriate time.

“We cannot keep quiet to allow anybody in this country, whether individual or group of persons, under whatever canopy they call themselves, to kill officers of the police and go scot-free.

“There has never been speculation, we have always given the number out, that we lost 49 police officers, ’’ he said.

On the closure of Wonderland Amusement Park and Amigo Supermarket in Abuja, after the co-owner was fingered as head of a terrorist group, the I-G said the closure was part of measures to secure the nation.

“There is nothing new; security is security. You know what is happening in the country.

“We will go ahead to take any measure that deserves to be taken to ensure that Nigeria is safe and Nigerians are given safe and secured environment.

“We shall do everything humanly possible beyond reasoning to ensure that Nigeria is safe and our people are safe and secured, no matter what it takes,’’ he assured. From the Daily Post.

South Sudanese opposition call for people of Abyei to be armed

June 3, 2013 (JUBA) – The leader of the minority group in South Sudan’s parliament has called for handing over the disputed region of Abyei to the United Nations in order to be able to conduct the referendum for the area, while also recommending that the local population be armed to defend themselves.

Anyoti Adigo, the leader of the minority group in the house on the ticket of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) made three alternative proposals to resolving the conflict between South Sudan and Sudan.

“The issue of Abyei is becoming a concern. The two parties are not able to agree. The two presidents have met several times in different places including here in Juba and they did not reach any understanding to the resolve the issue. So we are proposing the way forward. One of our proposals is to hand over the region to the African union and the United Nations. We want the African union and the United Nations to take full responsibility so that they can conduct referendum and disarm any group holding weapons in the area”, Adigo told reporters Monday.

He said the natives of Abyei from the Dinka Ngok tribe, including those holding top-level positions in the government of the republic of South Sudan should go to the area and be with the people there on the ground.

“We also want the people of Abyei, including those holding senior government positions, the ministers, business groups, members of the civil society organisations and other group to go the area and be with the people there on the ground. The local people should be armed because the government of Khartoum is arming Misseriya. These guns should be used for defend”, he said.

The senior member of the country’s second largest opposing party, said Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was killed because did not feel total responsibility and that was why it decided to negotiate.

“Abyei will not be the first place to be given the United Nations. There have been other places in the world given to the United Nations to run when the parties to the conflict like this case between Sudan and the South Sudan have failed to reach an understanding”, he said.

Khartoum and Juba failed to reach a compromise on the formation of an interim administration or on the organisation of a referendum on self-determination.

The region, which is part of the Sudan, had initially to vote in January 2011 to decide whether they want to joint South Sudan or to keep their current situation. But the two parties failed on who can participate in this process. From the Sudan Tribune.

Ashanti Youth Disowns Wereko-Brobbey

 

From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi

 

The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority (VRA) Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, appears not to have only incurred the wrath of the highest decision-making body of his own party, New Patriotic Party (NPP), but also youth groups of the party, in other parts of the region.

The Ashanti Regional Youth Chapter of the party has categorically registered its abhorrence towards the attitude of the former VRA boss, and is calling for stiffer measures against him.

The group said it felt so disappointed that Dr. Wereko-Brobbey, who used to be one of the key Ashanti personalities, could bring shame and humiliation to the entire family of the NPP.

It noted with regret that the former VRA boss, who prides himself as the nephew of one of the founding fathers of the NPP, Mr. Victor Owusu, could allegedly align himself with political opponents, just to run down the party.

The group observed that it was their wish that someone like Dr. Wereko-Brobbey could one day lead the party as its national chairman, but looking at his recent attitude, there was enough evidence to believe that “he is in bed with our political opponents.”

The former VRA CEO has come under venom from his own party, after openly rebuking the running mate of the 2012 presidential election and star witness of the NPP in the ongoing petition at the Supreme Court, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, criticising him of being inexperienced in his presentation at the court.

According to Kwabena Nsenkyire, Ashanti Regional Vice Chairman of the party, Dr. Wereko-Brobbey was someone who had never appreciated anything God has given him, stressing that in spite of all the opportunities granted him during the era of President Agyekum Kufuor, he still went ahead to criticise the administration.

“Even his own uncle, Victor Owusu, had problem with him. He and his uncle were not on good terms before the death of the latter, so we are not surprised at all about what he is doing now,” Mr. Nseknyire observed.

The NPP Regional Vice Chairman further questioned the rationale behind Dr. Wereko-Brobbey’s criticism of the petition filed by the NPP, when he actually took a similar step after he lost his bid for the national chairmanship position.

“During the National Congress, Dr, Wereko-Brobbey claimed he had been cheated when he got less than 10 votes and even went to court, so what is wrong if today, the NPP is also taking similar steps,” Nseknyire questioned. From The Chronicle.

 

Freetown: IMF Mission Releases Statement on Sierra Leone Economy

 Tuesday 4 June 2013.

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Ms. Malangu Kabedi-Mbuyi visited Freetown during May 8–21 to carry out discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultation and for a three-year economic and financial program that could be supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

The mission, according to an IMF press release, held discussions with Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kaifala Marah (photo), Central Bank Governor Sheku Sesay, members of Parliament; representatives of the business community, development partners, and other senior officials.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Kabedi-Mbuyi issued the following statement in Freetown:

“Sierra Leone’s economic growth accelerated to15.2 percent in 2012, reflecting the emergence of large-scale iron ore extraction as well as sustained expansion in agriculture, services, and construction. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow at 13 percent in 2013. Consumer price inflation declined from 16.9 percent in 2011, to 12 percent in 2012, aided by prudent monetary policy and stable exchange rate. It is forecast to decline further in 2013. Sierra Leone’s external position improved in 2012, strengthening the reserve coverage.

“In the fiscal area, the overall budget deficit reached 5.6 percent of non-iron ore GDP, up from 4.6 percent in 2011 partly reflecting infrastructure investment scaling up and higher spending in goods and services. The deficit was financed largely with short-term treasury bills. For 2013, the budget deficit would be contained below 4 percent of non-iron ore GDP, thanks to the expected increase in revenue mobilization, and enhanced expenditure management.

“Policy discussions focused on creating fiscal space to continue supporting investment in infrastructure and human development, reducing inflation to single-digits, facilitating access to financial services, and creating an environment conducive to private sector development and job creation. The mission agreed with the authorities that medium-term structural reforms should focus on bolstering revenue mobilization, strengthening public financial management, maintaining prudent borrowing policies, and deepening financial intermediation.

“The mission reached preliminary understandings with the authorities on key elements of a medium-term economic and financial program that could be supported by the IMF under the ECF. Discussions between the mission and the authorities will continue in coming weeks.

“The mission wishes to thank the Sierra Leone authorities for candid and constructive discussions in Freetown.” From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Sudan’s economy facing significant challenges, says minister

June 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of finance and national economy Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool has acknowledged that the country’s economy is facing significant headwinds despite an austerity program implemented in the wake of South Sudan’s secession.

Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil production when South Sudan became independent in July 2011, worsening an economic crisis as oil was the government’s main source of revenue, providing the cash flow to fund food imports and other basic items.

Last year, the government launched a package of tough austerity measures, including scaling back fuel subsidies to close a fiscal gap, sparking short-lived protests.

Khartoum also moved to effectively devalue the currency which came under enormous pressures as a result of a big shortage in foreign currencies.

Abdel-Rasool listed what he said was signs of trouble in Sudan’s economy which included a deficit in balance of payments deficit, meager outcome to the tripartite economic program, high food prices, growing gap between official and black market exchange rates and the declining rates of economic growth.

The Sudanese official, who spoke at an economic conference in Khartoum on Monday, pledged to curb inflation rate which reached 46% last April frustrating efforts by the government to tame commodity prices which have risen by 300% since 2010.

He also warned against recurrence of the global financial crisis saying that it had negatively impacted African countries including Sudan due to the drop it caused in demand for exports.

Abdel-Rasool said that the government is making strenuous efforts to expand the social security network and fight poverty as well as managing parity in exchange rate and continuing to subsidize wheat and oil.

Statistics indicate that 2 million Sudanese families live in poverty including 300,000 who do not have access to food and drink.

The ministry of social welfare has designated a monthly payment of 100 pounds SDG for poor families out of 450 million pounds SDG allocated for social support.

But economists say that the monthly grant doesn’t meet the basic needs of these families given the high rate of poverty and the significant rise in commodity prices.

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) released last April by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed Sudan’s economy shrinking by -4.4% in 2012.

In 2013, Sudan is expected to achieve a 1.2% growth which is higher than the -0.6% projected by the IMF last year. Next year’s GDP is also forecasted to stand at 2.6% which is slightly better than the 2.1% predicted in the IMF last assessment of Sudan’s economy. From the Sudan Tribune

 

German minister says Rwanda can spur region

 

By Ivan R. Mugisha & James Karuhanga

 

Rwanda can be a driving force in the economic and political integration of the Great Lakes region, a visiting German official has said.

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the remarks shortly after meeting Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi and Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance, in Kigali, yesterday.

Niebel told journalists that Rwanda’s “influential” position in the region can be augmented by its recent significant progress in socio-economic progress.

“In its development strategy, Rwanda is counting on growth and promotion of the private sector which has proven to be successful,” he said, adding that it was equally important to ensure regional security to sustain the achieved success.

Rwanda can be a driving force in the economic and political integration of the Great Lakes region, a visiting German official has said.

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the remarks shortly after meeting Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi and Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance, in Kigali, yesterday.

Niebel told journalists that Rwanda’s “influential” position in the region can be augmented by its recent significant progress in socio-economic progress.

“In its development strategy, Rwanda is counting on growth and promotion of the private sector which has proven to be successful,” he said, adding that it was equally important to ensure regional security to sustain the achieved success.

Minister Gatete commended the relationship between the two countries saying that Germany understood Rwanda’s development priorities.

Early this year, the German government unfroze aid to Rwanda worth about Rwf17.5 billion, six months after suspending it over a controversial UN report alleging that Rwanda supported the M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo.

“Germany has been with us since 1994 and in the last three years, we had an agreement where they have been supporting most of our activities in technical and vocational area, local government, public financial management and now they are involved in other areas of trade and investment,” said the minister.

He added: “Since they are members of international organisations such as the World Bank and Africa Development Bank, they have been supporting us to get resources from these international financial institutions. So our cooperation cannot be any better.”

After becoming the first European country to resume normal development partnerships with Rwanda, Nieber said, Germany also campaigned for others, including multilateral organizations to follow suit. From The New Times.

Report faults districts on abetting land conflicts against Genocide survivors

 

By Jean de la Croix Tabaro

June 04, 2013

 

Districts have been faulted for poor implementation of the land sharing policy initiated in 1996, leading to endless land wrangles involving Genocide survivors.

This is according to the Special Justice Taskforce instituted by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, this year, to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors.

The nine-member committee, comprised officials from various public institutions, was chaired by Deputy Ombudsman Bernadette Kanzayire.

It was set up to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors in relation to regaining their property.

The report, a copy of which The New Times has seen, says while executing the land sharing policy it was found out that land sharing was implemented differently in all districts.

“Some local authorities never implemented land sharing policy as required. They never put into consideration reserving land for child survivors of the Genocide,” the report says.

It also indicates that basing on the policy of land use for community settlements “imidugudu”, some local authorities allocated land belonging to Genocide survivors who either didn’t return home or were still minors to other people without providing compensation to the owners.

The report details land cases which have been handled in the various districts of the country.

Within a three month period starting January 11, it identified 1202 cases involving Genocide survivors’ property countrywide.

Ignorance of issue

More than 300 were resolved, while an estimated 800 issues are still pending and were recommended to the local authorities.

By the time land sharing policy was implemented, the population was not informed about the compensation they were required to provide consequently the value of that compensation today is higher, it said.

It was an obligation for all the beneficiaries of imidugudu policy to compensate land owners.

But people occupying land in settlements reportedly refused to remit compensation arguing that it was public land.

According to the report, there are cases where local authorities put public infrastructure on the land without providing fair compensation to the Genocide survivors.

The report adds that many Genocide survivors are still seeking justice to regain their properties occupied by illegitimately.

It cites a case of seven orphaned children of late Nyirumuringa in Kicukiro district among the many cases of land grabbing.

Family forced out

One of the children, who talked to this paper on condition of anonymity for fear of witch-hunt by the tenants on their land, their three-hectare piece of land in Nyakabanda Cell, Niboye Sector, was grabbed by 30 families who have since kept the plots of land, developed houses and used some part for animal husbandry.

The land grabbers allegedly include one of a prominent leader in the Kicukiro District.

A source said the affect“The land belongs to Nyirumuringa family and their ancestors. I am a witness,” Mohamed Rwakazayire, the then leader of Nyakabanda Cell, whose family is just adjacent to the claimed land, said.

He said the land was divided up by city authorities to people who were relocating from other person’s houses.

Rwakazayire said it was in 1997 when around 30 people formed an association dubbed “Twiyubakire” and reclaimed the land for residential purposes and the Nyirumuringa family tried to halt it in vain.

“We tried to convince the meeting, which was called by local leaders, that the land belonged to us. When we realised no one was sympathising with us, we preferred to keep quiet,” said one of the children.

The task force recommended to the district commission to resolve the problem, but Nyirumuringa family says, the occupants gave this commission mislreating information since none of them acknowledged that they owe the family property.

Kanyarwanda and Ibuka, associations that promote the interests of Genocide survivors, have started assessment of the property issues for further advocacy.

Theoneste Murangira, the president of Kanyarwanda, said the associations are preparing different recommendations to submit to the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Local Government and Office of the Ombudsman.

ed family was forced to vacate this land in February 1994. The family settled in Kabeza, also in Kicukiro. From The New Times.

 

SLPP Women Vow to Drag Pa-O-Pa Thugs to Court

By Aruna Turay
Jun 3, 2013, 12:18

Frantic efforts are being made by stalwarts of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to discourage two SLPP women from pursuing legal disciplinary actions against members of the notorious Pa-O-Pa group operating within the same party.

SLPP’s Marion Cole and Rachiatu Macauley recently reported to the Lumley Police Division that they were attacked and assaulted by members of Maada Bio’s Pa-O-Pa group, and events being monitored by the Awareness Times indicate that these two women are very much determined to put a stop to the deadly attacks being launched against SLPP members perceived to be operating outside the interest of Maada Bio.

The two women, it has been learnt, are very much determined to defy all the pleas of senior SLPP members in order for the law to take its root in this matter.

After the brutalized SLPP women would have submitted their medical reports to the Lumley Police today, Jacob Jusu Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray and Admire Bio might be called in and interviewed by the police to explain their roles in the attack that left the SLPP women thoroughly molested and almost stripped naked. The names of the aforementioned SLPP members featured prominently in the statements of the complainants.

It could be recalled that on Monday 27th May 2013, these two SLPP women, alongside others, were allegedly attacked, beaten up, wounded and stripped half naked at a place called Lumley Grassfield where the SLPP was to conduct an executive election.

Sources within the SLPP Headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown on Saturday 1st June 2013 informed the Awareness Times that some top SLPP party stalwarts including members of the Pa-O-Pa camp summoned a secret meeting aimed at resolving this matter at party level.

The victims reportedly boycotted that meeting, thus underscoring their determination to get justice and restore sanity. From Awareness Times.

 

Below follows the latest comment and opinion taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape:

 

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Zimbabwe: MDC veterans call for unity

South Africa: NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

Ghana: Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Kenya: Your security is in the hands of this man

Africa: Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

Uganda: Media clampdown, human rights and succession

Uganda: Uganda, donors sign power deal

Africa: Dangers of bleaching creams

Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

 

by Ray Ndlovu – bdlive

Prior court rulings have already given traction to Mr Mugabe’s plan for early elections.

ZIMBABWE’s Constitutional Court has in effect backed President Robert Mugabe’s call for swift elections by ordering them to be held before July 31, earlier than the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, wants.

The bitterly split country’s highest court, headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, announced its ruling on Friday after a court application filed by Jealousy Mawarire, a little-known rights activist, for Mr Mugabe to announce an election date. Now aged 89, Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.

He will seek regional endorsement for early polls on June 9 at a summit in Maputo of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), a body which has seldom stood in his way. But Prime Minister Tsvangirai will be at the summit and will press demands for immediate political reforms, both in the security and media sectors and in voter registration, which his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says are essential for fair elections.

Mr Tsvangirai withdrew from the final ballot of the last polls, in 2008, handing victory to Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) who were accused of orchestrating extreme violence against MDC supporters after the first round.

Mr Mugabe was pushed into signing a power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) after the elections but the opposition says Zanu (PF) has dragged its heels and the playing field is far from level.

The next elections are also hamstrung by disputes over the source of funding. Mr Tsvangirai said at the weekend the Constitutional Court had “overstepped its mandate” by ordering a date for the elections — a subject which he said remained a prerogative of the executive.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

“An election date is the responsibility of the executive, which has not shown that it has failed to announce such a date. Sadc and the people of Zimbabwe know that an election date is a result of political pronouncements in which the judiciary has no role to play.”

Political observers said Mr Tsvangirai’s jibe at the judiciary served two purposes: to pre-empt Zanu (PF) from trumpeting the ruling at the Sadc summit and to mark the beginning of a standoff between the opposition and the courts.

Prior court rulings have already given traction to Mr Mugabe’s plan for early elections.

In April, Judge President George Chiweshe dismissed suggestions from the MDC the polls should be delayed until September. He said since Zimbabwe was neither at war nor under a state of emergency, an extension was unwarranted.

It was unknown yesterday if the MDC would appeal the ruling.

Zanu (PF) welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling and rejected any commitment to prior reforms. “There are no reforms, we have no reforms to talk about … elections are long overdue,” the ruling party’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo said.

Parliament’s five-year tenure comes to an end this month, creating a legislative vacuum and allowing Mr Mugabe to rule by decree.

“I think it’s all just cooked up and the MDC does not even know how to respond,” political commentator Tanonoka Whande said.

“I suspect this court thing is a set-up … who is this unknown man (Mr Mawarire) who sued to pressure Mr Mugabe to hold elections by a certain date? The reality is we are not ready for elections yet,” he said at the weekend. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Erin Conway-Smith

 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — With elections looming in Zimbabwe, the country’s top human rights defender is mired in an unprecedented position: having to defend herself.

Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has spent decades fighting against abuses of the state on behalf of journalists, opposition politicians, activists and ordinary Zimbabweans. But her arrest in March on charges of obstructing justice while representing clients during a police raid has been interpreted as a particularly worrying sign of trouble ahead.

For many Zimbabweans, memories are still fresh of the political violence surrounding the last presidential elections, in 2008. A runoff vote devolved into a bloody show of force by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party that left hundreds dead and the country in tatters.

Now, as Zimbabwe prepares to return to the polls, the intimidation and arrests have started again.

A date for the election hasn’t yet been announced — it must take place within four months of parliament being dissolved on June 29 — but already there has been a crackdown on civil society leaders and journalists.

An editor and a reporter with the Zimbabwe Independent weekly have been charged with publishing “false statements prejudicial to the state,” after a front-page story suggested that security officials close to Mugabe were in secret talks with his rivals from Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe described Mtetwa’s arrest while exercising her right to represent clients, four aides to Tsvangirai, as an attempt to “intimidate” and “harass” lawyers. This week her trial was postponed to June 8 at the prosecution’s request.

Mtetwa, ever the optimist, said the eight days she spent incarcerated before being released on bail taught her what court challenges she can make regarding the conditions in Zimbabwe’s notoriously terrible prisons.

“It was bad, but in a lot of ways it was not too bad because it has given me a direct and personal experience of jail,” Mtetwa told journalists in Johannesburg during a recent screening of a documentary about her work.

A number of international rights groups have warned that conditions for peaceful and fair elections are not in place. It’s still unclear how the vote will be funded — likely South Africa will help to pay — but already Mugabe has announced a ban on Western election monitors.

“Zimbabwe’s authorities cannot expect to create a rights-respecting environment ahead of elections in the context of repression, harassment, and intimidation of civil society activists,” Human Rights Watch’s Tiseke Kasambala said in a statement.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. Since the political violence of 2008, his Zanu-PF party has ruled under a power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change.

But key reforms agreed to under the deal haven’t been implemented, in particular changes to the security sector and the voters’ roll, seen as necessary to create conditions for free elections.

A new constitution, signed by Mugabe this month, imposes a two-term limit (five years per term) for Zimbabwe’s president — but doesn’t apply retroactively, so Mugabe could in theory rule until he is 99.

Mtetwa said the problems in Zimbabwe are not just about Mugabe, but also about a system that’s been allowed to take hold.

“I don’t believe that one man can hold a country to ransom. I also don’t believe that if Mugabe loses the next election things will just fall into place and change just like that,” she said

“Is there an end in sight? Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t do it,” Mtetwa added. “I do believe that historically things like these do come to an end.” – Global Post. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

MDC veterans call for unity

MDC veterans this week called for aspiring parliamentarians who lose out in the party primaries to focus more on bringing a new Zimbabwe than personal ambition.

 


The MDC Veterans Activists Association this week lambasted losing candidates who went on a vitriol against the party and those who threatened to stand as independent candidates in the coming elections.

While supporting calls by party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, for candidates to not to engage in corruption, violence and vote buying during the exercise, MDC VAA founding chairman, Solomon Chikohwero, who is now the organisation’s national advisor, called on candidates that lost even in controversial circumstances to work for the good of the party.

“We applaud the party for exercising this internal democracy transparently, but we don’t support any member of the party who engages in illicit practices, regardless of their position in the current setup,” said Chikohwero.

“……….So far we have seen some, in the case of aspiring candidates, some disgruntled people that have threatened to stand as independent candidates in the forthcoming elections, but we are saying that where there is evidence of corruption, intimidation, violence or vote buying, we should deal with the culprits accordingly through the appeal process.

“Nonetheless, losing the primaries and confirmation processes should not be taken as a ticket for one to be an independent candidate because this is a critical time for us to unite our efforts towards winning the coming general elections and restore Zimbabwe.”

He urged party members to develop a culture of speaking with one voice on critical issues, while also advising the aggrieved to use proper channels to alert the leadership.

“We need even the losing candidates and their supporters to rally behind the winning candidate for the sake of the future of the electorate, the party and Zimbabweans at large,” added the former MDC Chief Security Officer.

“To us, whoever chooses to break ranks with the rest of the party was never a genuine member of the party of excellence, but an infiltrator sent to carry out a certain agenda and hereby warn that their attempts of dividing the party will fail.” From The Zimbabwean.

Ghana: Are NPP Running Away From Control Pink Sheets?

By Margaret Jackson

There is something which is emerging which should give every Ghanaian who wants this Supreme Court (SC) petition case to end soon and on a positive note serious cause for concern. Even though the NPP have observers who have been witnessing the counting of the pink sheets by the KPMG as directed by the SC, the NPP folks want the count to be done on their terms.

This attitude by the NPP is frustrating the KPMG which is bent on completing the count in a way that would be fair to all the parties involved whilst maintaining their integrity and neutrality.

At the heart of the issue is the inability of KPMG to reach NPP’s magic number of 11,842 pink sheets which they claimed they submitted to the SC with their affidavits. In fact, when KPMG did the count of pink sheets lodged at the offices of the SC Registrar the number ballooned from the supposed 11,842 to a whopping 13,928, thus raising a lot of eyebrows.

This huge variance between the supposed number of pink sheets submitted by the NPP as against the number so far counted by the KPMG, has generated a lot of buzz and suspicions because prior to the counting of the pink sheets, the respondents claimed that 8 additional boxes of exhibits mysteriously found their way to the offices of the SC Registrar.

Therefore, to ascertain which party is telling the truth in this pink sheets saga, something else needed to be done to put the issue to bed. But whilst the respondents are of the view that the pink sheets at the offices of the president of the panel sitting on the case should be counted because the parties agreed that it should serve as the control check, the NPP think otherwise.

It is however important to note that the feet dragging behaviour of the NPP even compelled the Head of KPMG Africa to fly down from South Africa to Accra to help resolve the impasse. During the meeting between the KPMG officials and the parties involved in the case, the KPMG Head stressed that since the number of pink sheets counted is different from the number of pink sheets submitted by the NPP, the only way the issue could be resolved is for the control pink sheets to be counted.

The respondents totally agreed with the KPMG on this, stressing that by counting the control pink sheets, it will let the whole world know which party is speaking the truth. In fact the respondents were of the view that if the control pink sheets are counted and the number ties with that of the NPP or the respondents, the whole world will then know which party is speaking the truth.

This did not however go down well with the NPP who threatened last week Thursday to pull out of the pink sheets counting. But the Head of KPMG reminded the NPP that if they pull out, the counting will still go on since they were there as observers. It was at this point that the NPP realized that if they go ahead with their threat to pull out of the counting, they will look very bad in the eyes of Ghanaians.

Therefore, a resolution was reached that all the parties would meet on Monday June 3 to craft the way forward in the counting of the control pink sheets and possibly that of other justices of the SC who also received the same exhibits.

But the NPP came to the table on Monday June 3 with a letter stuck in their armpit claiming that they will not go with the counting of the control pink sheets since it did not form part of the direction given to KPMG by the SC. The NPP further claimed that since the SC asked KPMG to count the pink sheets at the offices of the Registrar, KPMG does not have the mandate to go beyond that, and that the pink sheets at the Registrar’s office should be the only pink sheets to be counted.

This sudden backtracking by the NPP is sending the parties back to the SC to receive further directions on the way forward. In fact, it is going to delay KPMG from completing its work on time. One is wondering why NPP is resorting to this delaying tactics if they have nothing to hide.

If the NPP are right in their claim that they did indeed send 11,842 pink sheets to the court, why would they prevent the counting of other exhibits to confirm their claim? The only reason which can come to your mind is that, the NPP may be preventing the counting of the control pink sheets because their numbers do not add up and that is why they are doing everything to prevent the truth from coming out. From Modern Ghana.

 

We need state protection, say Marikana witnesses

SARAH EVANSKWANELE SOSIBO

 

 

Following a string of post-Marikana deaths, witnesses due to testify say they feel unsafe and want to enter the state’s witness protection programme. 

 

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry, set up to look into the police’s fatal shooting of 44 striking miners at the Lonmin mine last year, wants all witnesses to know they have the option of formally entering the state’s witness protection programme. This is because the inexplicable pattern of post-Marikana deaths has impacted on the commission’s work. 

Several killings have taken place at Marikana in the months following the August 16 massacre.

At least one man told the M&G he would consider joining the formal witness protection programme. Tholakele “Bhele” Dlunga, an Amcu shop steward due to testify at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, said witnesses would welcome being part of a protection programme as they did not feel safe.

Last year, after attending a session of the commission, Dlunga and workers were stopped by what they believed to be police, blindfolded and detained.

He said his lawyers had never spoken to him about a witness protection programme and that they would welcome it even if it meant loss of income. “Life comes before money, because if you’re not alive, you can’t even begin to think about making money.”

Hunted down
In an earlier interview, Dlunga said that word at the mine was that influential Amcu members would be hunted down one at a time.

“On the evening of the day [Kholekile] Steven was murdered, people came looking for me at my house. But I think Steven was not killed because of anything he could say to the commission, but he was killed because he was a leader. They want to weaken the organisation. With the way things are, it’s going to end up being a situation of kill or be killed because we have to defend ourselves. If they don’t get us here, they could still get us at home, where we come from.”

But those close to the inquiry say formalised witness protection was often impractical. It would also require witnesses to the Marikana massacre to put their trust in the state – the very system they may have to give evidence against.

In the absence of any other form of state protection, the ability for witnesses to protect themselves is limited. But all those concerned agree that something had to be done to stop the killings at Marikana. And it has to be done soon.

Torture
The M&G understands that at least one legal team has put its witnesses in hotels for the duration of their evidence for their own safety.

The decision to do so followed allegations that surfaced in October last year, that men returning from the commission had been arrested at tortured by the police. One man was allegedly tortured until he soiled himself. Another allegedly lost his hearing in one ear.

The allegations are under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Meanwhile, post-Marikana murders have included several potential witnesses.

Tshepo Mahlangu, a spokesperson for the commission, said all legal teams had been asked to make their witnesses aware of the Witness Protection Act Number 112 of 1998, which spells out the processes potential witnesses should follow should they feel threatened.

“All potential witnesses have the right to approach the witness protection unit and make that application. A witness will then be removed from that area within 48 hours, and placed in a witness protection unit like a safe house. He would not even know where he was going ahead of time,” Mahlangu explained.

He said witnesses who take this route have two options: the first is where a witness is taken out of their community for a period of two weeks. If it is still not safe for them to return afterwards, stage two of the application kicks in. This is an application for permanent witness protection status, where a witness is given a new ID number, changes his name, and moves to a new town until the danger is completely gone.

Most witnesses who take that route don’t go back to their communities, Mahlangu said. They are paid a monthly allowance determined by the state. The amount they are paid depends on what salary they earn and how valuable their evidence is to the commission.

The legislation covers criminal cases, tribunals, and even judicial commissions of inquiry such as the Farlam Commission.

Confidential list
Mahlangu said the commission is concerned about the killing of its witnesses, adding that all witnesses were “very, very important”.

The killings have undermined the work of the commission, he said, because potential evidence is lost.

He could not say how many of those murdered post-Marikana were witnesses as the witness list is strictly confidential. It is therefore difficult to know whether or not those killed post-Marikana were actually on the witness list.

And herein lies the rub: some of the men who witnessed the Marikana massacre and survived it might not be formally called as witnesses to the Farlam commission, yet their lives may still be in danger. Others might not yet have been notified that they are witnesses, and might thus not be aware of the potential threat to their safety.

Compensation
Another problem, pointed out by a source close to the Farlam Commission, who asked not to be identified, is the impracticality of formal witness protection.

Mahlangu said witnesses on the state’s witness protection programme were compensated “in full” – but this is dependent on the nature of the evidence they can offer the commission and how valuable it is.

The state also takes into condition their “overall living conditions” when considering the total amount of compensation they would receive.

Said the source, “You cannot ask a man to give up his entire life over this. He may have many co-dependents, and more than one family to support.”

He also said the idea of blanket witness protection was not feasible. This is because the state would not be able to accommodate over 300 potential witnesses being absorbed into its programme at once, the source explained.

He said he was not aware of any witnesses who had opted for this route. Mahlangu could not confirm this, again, due to the fact that the names of all witnesses and those who have gone into the programme were obviously confidential.

Threatening circumstances
Amcu president, Joseph Mathunjwa, said the issue of witness protection was extremely sensitive and complex. He asked for further questions to be sent in writing but did not respond to them.

NUM spokesperson, Lesiba Seshoka, pointed out that workers could not be expected to gauge the level of risk to their own lives. He said the union wanted witness protection for all workers and potential witnesses.

“Workers shouldn’t have to ask for protection – it must it must be made available to all witnesses. How can a worker be expected to ask for protection when he doesn’t even know if his life is under threat?

“The potential exists that a worker is killed before he even knows there is a threat,” Seshoka said.

But the NUM’s suggestion would necessitate the circulating of the list of witnesses – at least amongst themselves. The potential for the names of witnesses to be leaked would increase.

But Seshoka said the need for witness protection outweighed some of the risks.

“We don’t care what form the protection comes in – we just want there to be extra protection. Whether it is extra policing or whatever – but there must be witness protection.”

Self-protection
In the interim, allegations that workers have long armed themselves in a pre-emptive move to protect themselves, have surfaced.

The NUM says it does not condone this and is unaware of any of its members who have done so. However, he added that the union cannot be expected to police its members all of the time.

“You can’t control workers in their homes but you can in their working environment. We discourage our members from carrying weapons when they are in the work place,” Seshoka said.

While Mathunjwa did not respond to questions, he did call for talks with the presidency about the need for witness protection, while addressing workers at slain Amcu leader, Mawethu Steven’s memorial service.

The presidency said it had not received any formal requests for a meeting.

However, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said, “The minister of labour is always available to assist unions, and to engage her colleagues in other departments where the need arises to deal with urgent matters.”

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant met with union leaders on Monday. Her spokesperson, Musa Zondi, could not confirm what was on the agenda. But he said the meeting would essentially cover issues raised by Jacob Zuma on Thursday. Zuma called for the stabilisation of the mining sector as a cornerstone of the country’s economy.

“The minister of labour has been tasked with supporting mining companies and unions in ensuring fair labour relations processes that promote order and stability in the sector,” Zuma said.

 

Kwanele Sosibo studied journalism at Durban’s ML Sultan Technikon before working at Independent Newspapers from 2000 to 2003. From the Mail & Guardian. 

 

NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

The truth is that factional violence has long been a way of life in the mining union business. And that was when there was just one power player, the NUM. Now, with two unions battling for supremacy in the Platinum Belt, the matrix of rivalries increases the possibility of violence exponentially. What makes the situation even more perilous, though, is that the current big hitter in the union stakes, AMCU, appears to have learnt nothing from the NUM’s mistakes. As wage negotiations approach organised labour needs to take a long hard look at how it goes about its business. By GREG MARINOVICH.

A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward was shot dead and another man critically wounded at the NUM office at Lonmin’s Western Platinum mine, at Wonderkop, Marikana on Monday. (The NUM has confirmed that a shop steward was shot dead.) According to other sources, another NUM member was shot in the same incident, and was taken to a private hospital in a private vehicle, apparently to avoid his location being discovered and him possibly being attacked again.

The NUM office at the village of Wonderkop is separated from the rival Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) office by a satellite police station, and is across the road from the Lonmin hostel. This was the very same NUM office that was the site of the conflict that started the chain of events leading to the Marikana massacre: the striking Lonmin miners marched on the then-dominant union, the NUM, to have it present their grievances to Lonmin management. On that occasion, Saturday 11 August, 2012, they were met by people they describe as dressed in NUM T-shirts, who opened fire on the marchers, wounding at least two. The marchers further claimed to the Marikana Commission that the wounded were further attacked with sticks and knives.

Many believed that one or two of the striking miners had been killed but, in fact, all of the marchers wounded that day survived.

That march, the striking miners claimed, led them to have no choice but to arm themselves, and become more confrontational. The NUM, on the other hand, claimed that it had to defend its office, which had come under attack.

Evidence at the Farlam Commission seems to suggest that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Monday’s attack on the NUM office follows a campaign by both AMCU and the miners’ strike committee to have the office closed. They say that since AMCU has officially recruited 70% of the workers at Lonmin, the NUM has lost its threshold representational rights and should go.

While Lonmin tried to get the NUM to accelerate the withdrawal of its recognition rights at the mine, and to vacate its office ahead of time to avoid confrontations, the Johannesburg Labour Court ruled last week that this action had to be withdrawn.

The NUM now has until 16 July 16 to show that it has sufficient representation at Lonmin to hold onto its majority-union privileges. AMCU, with its massive majority, wants those perks and privileges to pass to it as soon as possible. The miners also want the NUM out of Lonmin, demonstrating that with a two- day stay-away in the wake of “Steve” Khululekile Steven’s assassination. Stevens was a kingpin unionist who had galvanised the Platinum Belt against the NUM.

As the NUM and AMCU head into strike season more than a little desperate to show themselves as the miners’ union of choice, they do so in an atmosphere of poisoned labour relations and deadly competition between the unions –  and between factions within unions.

In this atmosphere of violent competition, Lonmin last week suspended eight NUM officials who had tried to fraudulently boost the union’s membership numbers at the mine. This is part of a desperate attempt by the union to avoid losing even its rights to access the 28,000-strong workforce at Lonmin.

AMCU had claimed that there were some 800 fraudulent stop orders submitted by the NUM. Lonmin appears to confirm at least 200 such orders as the reason for the shop stewards’ suspension.

The NUM has told of its overt plans to again take control of the prized platinum belt, where it is losing members hand over fist. NUM president Frans Baleni told the SABC that his union was in danger of losing 60% of its members. He claims that many of the people who abandoned the NUM had done so under threats of violence and “some of those members who left are now finding their way home”.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the NUM’s founders, told a May Day rally in Rustenburg, “We must stand firm and united and defend this union. We must declare Rustenburg alliance territory because this is the home of the ANC.”

It was a call for militancy that has been echoed by various NUM officials and, disturbingly, by cabinet ministers.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told a gathering of NUM shop stewards and officials last week: “We are very much aware that you are effectively under siege by forces that are determined to use every trick in the book permanently to defeat you and remove you literally from the face of the earth.

“This is being done with the ultimate goal of ensuring that no progressive trade union will be present in the mining sector that shares the same ideological orientation as the congress movement. That would be betrayal of the proud history of struggle of the NUM.

“Comrades, it is only those who are willfully blind who will not see that these forces, by extension, want to realise one major objective: ultimately to defeat and dislodge the ANC from power and reverse the gains of the national democratic revolution that we scored as a result of the democratic breakthrough of 1994.”

The Cosatu affiliate has said it will do this by using its newly announced Youth League to claw back lost turf. Following the example of the African National Congress’s militant Youth League, the NUM wants to use under-35-year-olds to seize back the initiative.

Against this backdrop of increasing militancy, the Daily Maverick has heard disturbing reports of NUM members bringing in weapons to the shafts where the union has a presence. Other rumours in Marikana speak of a well-known local taxi operator who was arrested with large amounts of cash on him, which the miners say was to be used to buy weapons. Others tell of unionists arrested with weapons on them.

One AMCU loyalist said that NUM members have been accompanying police through Nkaneng shantytown, pointing out where AMCU members live, and where they are said to be harbouring their own firearms. He further claimed that policed opened fire on him with rubber bullets on Monday, for no apparent reason.

Both sides of this union battle are clearly preparing for a struggle that is well outside legal constraints.

The killing of “Steve” also sparked a spasm of violence that saw twin brothers killed when unknown men were searching for an NUM official, hours after AMCU’s power player in the Rustenburg area was gunned down. Another key AMCU organiser narrowly avoided attackers searching for him in the middle of that same night.

Things then quietened down, but preparations have been taking place nevertheless.

Violence is a way of life in the mine union business. Many a local union election is preceded by the killing of one of more candidates from opposing power groupings. Lonmin has seen more than its fair share of unionists targeted by rivals. Insiders tell of the details of how these groupings target each other, often using the pretext of strikes and the accompanying anarchy to assassinate their rivals.

That was the situation when it was just one union dominating the scene. Now, with two unions battling for supremacy in the Platinum Belt, the matrix of rivalries increases the possibility for violence exponentially.

As the wage negotiations approach, and the NUM hierarchy struggles to convince the Chamber of Mines not to cease paying their executive-level salaries, organised labour needs to take a long hard look at how it goes about its business.

Joining a union is how the most vulnerable workers in a capitalist system protect themselves from exploitation and unfair work practices and conditions. Unions have brought great benefits and a degree of justice for blue-collar workers – those who earn their living from the sweat of their brow.

In a country like South Africa, where anywhere between 25% and 40% of adults (depending on which stats you prefer) are without substantive work, employers could (and often do) ride roughshod over workers’ rights and demands were it not for our strong unions and labour-friendly laws.

Yet, somewhere along the line, the unions have become corrupted, both financially and morally. A little while ago, Daily Maverick carried a story about how the mining houses, which were paying the inflated salaries of elected union office bearers at all levels, were about to end the practice. The union heavyweight, NUM, defended being paid by the bosses while working for the workers by saying that it was common practice across all unions, and named various other unions within the Cosatu federation which had similar sweetheart deals. In reality, while all the unions, including Solidarity, Uasa and AMCU, are or were in on the deal, NUM officials are the greatest beneficiaries of the “arrangement”.

As we approach a calendar year since the start of the unhappiness of Lonmin miners with their employer and the then-dominant union at Lonmin’s Marikana, it seems that AMCU has learned little from the NUM’s mistakes. It has successfully lobbied Lonmin to agree to a 35% threshold for basic rights and 45% to be allowed the right to collective bargaining. At the current 70% level of support for AMCU, workers who choose to pay dues to the NUM will not be represented at the workplace in any way.

It seems unlikely that the workers have forgotten the roots of the Marikana strike and yet here AMCU is, pushing for a similarly exclusive deal that again lays the foundation for conflict. AMCU wants a union to have 35% of employees as paid up members before it union can even enter the workplace for recruiting or organising.

Labour lawyer and mediation expert John Brand of Bowman Gilfillan declares the threshold deals the NUM had and which AMCU now wants as counterproductive.

“Imagine a farm, where you have to first recruit 35% of farm labourers before you can set foot on the farm to recruit?”

Brand says that organisational rights are meant to encourage unionisation. “It is in everyone’s best interest to have a union represent a miner in a disciplinary hearing or other matter.

“A threshold should only be relevant in collective bargaining because the results apply to everybody and there democracy must rule. This distinction is not understood in the lay world, and neither in our laws.”

Brand suggests that the way in which successful countries deal with conflict or dispute is through arbitration and mediation as opposed to power.

“We need a new way forward.” DM From the Daily Maverick

 

Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

 

By I. K. Gyasi

 

“They (professional serial callers) are foisting on the nation a new culture – a culture of  insult and abuse in the name of free speech and accountability,”  –  Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene (May 17, 2013).

The advisers of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, could be forgiven for cautioning him against accepting an invitation by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to speak to mark the NCCE’s annual observance of Constitution Week in Accra.

What was one of the concerns of the advisers? Stated Otumfuo in his speech that, “The country is in such a dangerous political minefield that one risks getting blown apart by the incendiary force of combined misinformation, misrepresentation and misconception.”

Indeed, to me, it constituted a great act of courage for the Asantehene to agree to speak. It is true that since the days of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the rest of the so-called ‘opposition parties’, we have always had a recourse to insults in our political life.

It is equally true that since the return to constitutional rule, dating from the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, our partisan political atmosphere has been poisoned by new severe forms of abuse, humiliation and defamation of character, not experienced before.

Ex-President J. J. Rawlings has identified a group of ‘babies’ with hard and sharp teeth, ready and willing to tear away the reputation and character of anyone who dares open his mouth to express an opinion, even remotely critical of the position taken by that group.

It must be noted that these babies with hard and sharp teeth are to be found, not only in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), but also in the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

These babies with hard and sharp teeth come in different disguises; serial callers whose mobile phone credits are reportedly paid for by the gurus of the NPP and the NDC; radio and television panelists; writers who post their articles in the newspapers and the internet, and those who use what has come to be known as ‘social media’, etc.

Religious leaders, both Christian and Muslims, chiefs, members of the judiciary, leaders of certain society groups such as think-tanks, and, of course, political opponents, have all been subjected to scurrilous and shameless abuse. Innocent people’s reputations have been shredded.

Decent people dare not express an opinion on national issues of great importance. If they speak, they are accused of taking political positions. If they choose refuge in silence, they are equally attacked for keeping quite.

They ask: Why does the Christian Council not speak? Why is the Catholic Secretariat looking on? Where is the Peace Council? Is the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) not aware of the injustice? Why are Muslim leaders not saying anything? Would all these bodies have kept quiet if the NDC (or NPP) had been in power?

It is all so unfair. It is like two persons fighting and accusing a by-stander of not coming to stop the fight. We do not need much imagination to know what could happen to our highly respected Kofi Annan if he were to criticise the NDC or the NPP in power over an issue.

So, he regrettably, but wisely keeps quiet, when he could make us benefit from his wisdom and experience.

We seem to have taken the assassination of our leaders several notches higher. When I bought a copy of the DAILY GUIDE of Tuesday, May 28, 2013, I was horror-struck by two pictures – one depicting what looked like President John Mahama allegedly having sexual intercourse with a woman, the other depicting what looked like Nana Akufo-Addo allegedly having sexual intercourse with what looked like Ursula Owusu, a lawyer and Member of Parliament.

I am a self-confessed electronic illiterate. I understand that I am lucky, because the DAILY GUIDE editorial management considerately published a censored version of the picture, as what actually were published on the internet left nothing to the imagination .The persons involved were reportedly depicted naked.

Faking the picture and putting them on the internet was filthy, nauseating, scandalous indecent, uncivilised, immoral, distressing, demeaning, depraved, disrespectful, degrading, disgraceful and despicable.

Where are the Council of Elders of the two parties, their mature people, their lawyers and other sensible people? Did those who faked the pictures never have the benefit of proper family upbringing, discipline in schools they attended, and moral teachings from their churches and mosques?

Hear Otumfuo: “We have allowed politics to so dominate our lives and influence our thoughts that nothing else seems to matter to us, but the good of the party we support.”

Hear him once more: “Our society is so polarised that good is bad if you belong to one party, and bad is good if it’s the other way round.”

Members, supporters and sympathisers of both the NDC and NPP are mostly Ghanaians. You will discover that some of them from both sides attended the same educational institution, practise the same profession, and attended the same church. Some are Members of Parliament, even if they sit on the opposite side. What kind of mindset will drive human beings to do this to their follow human beings?

If political office, other political leaders and others in public life can be so shamefully treated, who else is safe? Tomorrow, people in other walks of life would have their bodies faked and placed in all kinds of compromising positions, merely for expressing an opinion.

Otumfuo did not pull any punches when he took on the politicians. Hear him again: “It is the same people, the same politicians who are funding and sustaining the new breed of serial callers. It is the same politicians who, whether they call themselves communicators or propagandists, are unleashing the blatant lies and malicious gossip on each other.” He was certainly walking through a minefield.

Otumfuo called for “a new format that brings enlightenment from sober, independent minds untainted by party propaganda, and release the party propagandists to refocus on what political parties should really be doing in a democracy – thinking and developing ideas and strategies for their parties to direct the nation to greatness.”

Otumfuo was at pains to emphasise that he did NOT (repeat NOT) consider the existence of political parties inimical to the national good.

He said: “I firmly believe that political parties are vital, indeed, indispensable in any democratic system of governance.”

The NPP and NDC should not bastardise the party system of governance. From the Chronicle.

 

Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

By The Citizen Reporter
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  22:17

IN SUMMARY

  • There were groups that advocated a one-government union while others backed the status quo of two governments. Yet others proposed a four-government structure.

 

Dar es Salaam. The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) yesterday unveiled the first draft mother law, which proposes a radical change in the structure of the union.

The commission has proposed a federal union comprised of three governments, according to CRC Chairman Joseph Warioba. Speaking at the launch in the city yesterday, the retired judge said the decision came after consideration of all the views aired on the contentious union issue. This will essentially take the country back to the Tanganyika government that ceased to exist when the United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964.

In the new scheme of things, the Tanganyika government would have its own president, parliament and other organs.

The union government would be leaner, with about 15 cabinet members and a parliament that does not exceed 75 members.“The union issue was the most contentious of all,” Judge Warioba said. “We received many views, some of which called for the break-up of the union itself.”

There were groups that advocated a one-government union while others backed the status quo of two governments. Yet others proposed a four-government structure. “We weighed the pros and cons and arrived at the conclusion that the three-government structure was best,” said the CRC chairman.

The current structure was rejected because of the sensitivities and opposition from both sides of the union.

CRC has also proposed the reduction of the number of union matters from the current 22 to seven. Issues that would still be under the union include foreign affairs, immigration and citizenship, the central bank and currency and defence and security.

Other matters to be retained in the union docket include registration of political parties, constitutional issues and import duty and non-tax revenue accrued from resources that are under the union.

Breaking down the proposed union parliament, Judge Warioba said 20 of the 75 members would be Zanzibari, 50 from the mainland and five appointees of the President by virtue of special seats allocated to the disabled.

A treaty-based union that would give the Isles more autonomy was popular in Zanzibar. But Judge Warioba noted: “The problem with the treaty-based union is that it requires the breakdown of the current union government to allow two sovereign countries to enter a new pact. This is tricky. If you allow it, that would be the end of the union. And, according to the terms of reference that we were given, dissolving of the union is out of the question.”

Some Zanzibaris promptly said the draft constitution has not met their expectations, particularly on the contentious treaty-based union. Fifty three-year-old Hashim Moh’d, a resident of Darajani in Zanzibar, said: “We wanted more autonomy, specifically on immigration and citizenship, foreign affairs and central bank and currency but our voices have not been heard. It is Tanganyikans who stand to gain from the proposed constitution.”

Masoud Suleiman, 51 and a resident of Bububu, said it was sovereignity for Zanzibar now or never. Taxi driver Abdallah Hamad, 33, added: “This draft constitution is a joke and what it has done is to benefit mainlanders.”

But Legislator Rajab Mbarouk Mohamed (Ole-Civic United Front) praised the new constitution, especially for recognising the needs of disabled. “The disabled were neglected for a long time and I commend the CRC for proposing the creation of special seats in parliament for members from that group,” Mr Mohammed added.

Additional reporting by Talib Ussi in Zanzibar and Habel Chidawali in Dodoma. From The Citizen.

Your security is in the hands of this man

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By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  22:07

IN SUMMARY

  • What his answers lacked in specificity and masterly of national security, they appeared to make up with what Speaker Justin Muturi described as “passion”.

 

Mr Joseph ole Lenku — the little-known hotelier nominated to the powerful position of Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government — presented a confident front when he appeared before MPs for vetting Monday.

Mr Lenku, the general manager of Utalii Hotel, was questioned during a vigorous session which reflected the general unease that he might not have the experience and exposure for such a docket.

For nearly three hours, the 43-year old wrestled with a barrage of questions from MPs on a wide range of issues including spiralling insecurity, the turf wars between the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Kimaiyo, and the National Police Service Commission chairman, Mr Johnstone Kavuludi and the conflict between governors and regional commissioners.

What his answers lacked in specificity and masterly of national security, they appeared to make up with what Speaker Justin Muturi described as “passion”.

MPs wanted to know whether he had the spine to confront drug barons and whether he was prepared to resign if he failed to tackle the myriad challenges facing the docket.

One of the MPs even told him to his face that he was not impressed with his performance at the interview and accused him of giving “general and academic” responses to MPs’ questions.

“You have been giving us very general responses, you have not impressed me,” Ijara MP Ahmed Ibrahim Abbas said.

Mr Lenku had for example explained that he was going to apply technology in border protection but did not specify what kind technology that will be. But he did explain that with the additional resources he was getting from the government, he will buy more arms and equipment for security forces.

Mr Lenku will be stepping into giant shoes: his predecessor, Prof George Saitoti was a former Vice President for more than decade and in the Cabinet since 1983. He had managed big dockets such as Education and Finance and was a professor of Mathematics to boot.

Before then was John Michuki, whose national security experience stretched back to the colonial days when he served in the provincial administration.

But former President Kibaki’s first National Security minister, Dr Chris Murungaru too had no national security experience when he was picked for the docket.

Yesterday, Mr Lenku appeared to have emerged from the session largely unscathed with many of the committee’s members appearing generally satisfied with his performance.

“I think he will manage. The guy was very confident and this is a position which needs a guy who will take very bold decisions. I am personally very confident that he is the right guy for the job,” said a member of the committee who declined to be named because he is on oath not to discuss the deliberations outside Parliament.

However, Kitui Senator David Musila, a long serving Provincial Commissioner in the Moi regime said the job required a person with experience in security matters given the challenges facing the country.

“One would hope that anyone who takes over this challenge must be a man or woman with experience. It will be a pity if a person without experience is appointed to the docket and insecurity continues in the country,” said Mr Musila.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba also had misgivings about Mr Lenku’s ability to deliver.

“One would expect that a nominee for the Interior Affairs docket should be a person who will immediately instill a sense of confidence among Kenyans. While not appearing to look down upon the gentleman, I doubt if a principal of small beverage  college can deal with this challenge,” Mr Namwamba stated.

“The government lost the opportunity in the fight against insecurity when it sacrificed ability, experience and knowledge at the altar of ethnic balancing. Its determination to pander to the demands of ethnic interests clouded their eyes. I just hope that he proves the skeptics wrong. If not, he will go down as the most disastrous choice for a Cabinet Secretary which will come with serious consequences,” he added.

Dr Murungaru also had some misgivings about the choice of Mr Lenku.

“I don’t know the man at all, apart from what I have read in the press. However, handling security matters needs a bit of political exposure. Security has a strong political component especially the cases we are experiencing now in Tana River, Garissa, Bungoma and other parts. It needs that approach. And because security cuts across the country, that political touch comes into play since you will be dealing with the totality of Kenyans. If I was asked, I would have said he is perhaps a little bit green,” he said.

Another MP conversant with security matters but who declined to be named also said Mr Lenku will face serious challenges if appointed.

“He does not have a feel of the job at hand, he will need to learn very fast. It will be a baptism of fire,” said the MP.

It is the turf wars between Mr Kimaiyo and Mr Kavuludi which, however, dominated the interview with several MPs asking Mr Lenku what action he will take to end the squabbling.

MPs also sought to know whether the turf wars were contributing to the rising insecurity in the country and what he would do to fast track reforms in the police service.

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau fired the first salvo when he sought to know what was causing insecurity in Western Kenya while his Kuresoi North counterpart Moses Cheboi demanded to know who, between Mr Kimaiyo and Mr Kavuludi, should take the blame for the problems in the police service.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo warned that the turf wars were taking a dangerous political dimension and wondered why Mr Kimaiyo was seeking “personal powers” yet he sat on the NPSC.

Mr Lenku explained that overlaps in the mandates of the two offices could be behind the turf wars and said that this could be addressed through amendments to the law establishing the two offices.

“It appears that there could be some overlaps and I am also privy to information that some amendments to the law are being worked on. We will come back to you to rectify the law because we appreciate that you can only take orders from one command,” Mr Lenku said.

He added that he will convene a meeting to resolve the rift between the IG and the NPSC chairman as soon as he is appointed noting that it could be contributing to the insecurity in the country.
“I will do this expeditiously because national security supersedes everything else, it is not about individuals,” he stated.

On the conflict between the Governors and Regional Commissioners, Mr Lenku was categorical that the law was very specific on the roles of the two offices and warned the commissioner against meddling in the governance of the counties. From the Daily Nation.

 

Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

By Katare Mbashiru, The Citizen Reporter
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  12:11

IN SUMMARY

Led by ushers, sweeping vans moving in high speeds, police chiefs from Southern African countries arrived at a Dar es Salaam five star hotel with one thing in common: finding a final and conclusive solution to transnational organised crime.

 

Dar es Salaam. For them, the usual Dar es Salaam’s disgusting traffic gridlock never sees the light of the day. They are security heavyweights in their own rights.

Led by ushers, sweeping vans moving in high speeds, police chiefs from Southern African countries arrived at a Dar es Salaam five star hotel with one thing in common: finding a final and conclusive solution to transnational organised crime.

The menace seems to be a thorn in flesh, even as police chiefs worked around the clock to ensure that all criminal networks are cracked down and dismantled.

Regional police chiefs convened for the 18th Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (Sarpcco) annual general meeting, which according to the Namibia Inspector General of Police (IGP), Rt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, came out with specific resolutions.

Among other issues, the meeting concluded that a joint operation be conducted to weed out terrorism and drug trafficking, intercept stolen vehicles, human trafficking, illegal firearms as well as illegal immigrants.

Rt. Gen. Ndeitunga, who was briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting, said that joint operations have been useful due to the fact that the recent operation that was carried out last year, intercepted 77 stolen vehicles, illicit drugs and human trafficking amongst others.

According to IGP Said Mwema, who also doubles as Sarpcco chairperson, on Thursday and Friday last week directors of criminal investigation from all 14 member states were given a special training that would help sharpen their skills before a no-nonsense operation in firming the preamble for a joint swoop that would leave no stone unturned.

However, despite putting inplace different measures to curb crime in the southern Africa region, there have been mixed reactions on the rationale by security officials to ask for foreign investigators interventionin probing big offenders whenever such incidents occur.

A recent example is Tanzania after the Arusha grenade attack at a church where investigators from FBI joined the Tanzanian law enforcers to search for criminals.

But, Namibian IGP was quick to respond that as of now, the world is a global village which required joint forces to weed out criminals.” An injury for one person is the injury to all. In order to identify the modus operandi, we ought to join our hands together including the international community,’’ he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the National Commissioner of Police in South Africa, General Victoria Phiyega.

“If you look on terrorism, human and drug trafficking keenly, you find that there is commonality. That is why we realize that there is a need to find out how we can exchange intelligence,’’ she said.

IGP Mwema, who chaired the Sarpcco meeting, was optimistic that the Regional Bureau in Harare had made an outstanding contribution in ensuring with criminals were hunted from all corners of the region.

Head of the Sarpcco regional bureau in Harare, Chilika Simfukwe, said that in order to ensure that the days for transnational organised crime were numbered the tools and services made available by Interpol were a solution.

Terrorism which seems to be a headache to law enforcers dominated the discussion at the Sarpcco meeting. Commenting on the matter, head of Interpol Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa, Rwego Francis, said terrorism was not a new phenomenon.

“Terrorism has not just started now, we started to experience this menace since 1998 when the American embassies were attacked in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi,’’ he said.

Mr Rwego also underscored the need by all countries in the region to work together in tandem with concerted efforts to curb crime. “Crime does not know borders because criminals are highly cooperating,’’ said the head of Interpol.

He said despite the fact that the East African Community member states have been enjoying the East African Common Market Protocol, wrong doers were also celebrating the same.

In order to prevent terrorism, he said, public awareness was very important.

He asked members of the public to volunteer information to the police that would help cops to share new trends that would put the police ahead of criminals.

The three -day meeting ended on Thursday last week and the closing ceremony was graced by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Home Affairs, Mbarak Abdul Wakil.

In his key note address, the PS called for integration of resources in the Sarpcco region to combat organised crime and related threats.

“We also need to enhance our intelligence, protect our financial system, and strengthen interdiction, investigation and prosecution, as well as disrupting illicit drug trade, its facilitation and other predicate threats,’’ said the PS. From The Citizen.

Media clampdown, human rights and succession

 

BY PETER NYANZI

Prof. Frederick Jjuuko heads the Department of Law and Jurisprudence and is a professor of Media Law at Makerere University. He spoke to The Independent’s Peter Nyanzi about the ongoing standoff between the government and the media.

Were you surprised by the action of the government to close Daily Monitor, Red Pepper and the two radio stations?

Not really, because it has happened before. Two, given the level of political activity in Uganda, you could expect this kind of thing and it is generally in tandem with the intolerance of this regime and its militaristic approach to issues.

But President Museveni’s government has always claimed that Uganda has one of the most free media environments on the continent?

That is part of the government propaganda that has been going around.  It is a gross misunderstanding of what is involved in a free media environment.  We have never had a free media environment under NRM since 1986.

What then, according to you, are the ingredients of a free media environment?

Free media is a fundamental human right that belongs to every human being and it involves freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Journalists enjoy that right but even I as a non-professional have a right to free media.

The other aspect is the fact that it is a civil and political right, which enables citizens to freely discuss political issues as citizens. That is different from the economic right to own property and to invest. That is what we have here –freedom to invest in radio stations and newspapers- and that manifests in the type of content in our media, which is basically of a commercial nature.

If you want to measure the amount of freedom of the media as a civil and political right, you need to look at how much freedom there is to express ourselves politically, to criticize government and its functionaries, to have public debate on how the government runs public affairs, etc.

You will see that it is severely limited. That is why bimeeza were banned. When there are critical issues to be discussed, the media will be savaged. This being a militaristic regime, anything to do with those aspects will always be reacted to very severely.

So what is your assessment of media freedom in Uganda in recent years?

We have not had media freedom. And indeed, whatever has been published or appeared bold and courageous in the media was in spite of lack of media freedom not because of media freedom. People have staked their necks. To some extent the little freedom we see is because people have used legal means to challenge some of the repressive media laws in the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.

There is always widespread international condemnation when media freedoms are attacked anywhere in the world, and it has not been any different this time.  Why is this so?

Well, because we are part of the global community. But also in terms of human rights; I mean we have human rights standards of which we are part. The formation of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 put in place standards and covenants to which Uganda has an obligation.

The global community has a stake.   It’s no longer possible to live in isolation to the rest of the world.  Also, there is ease of communication and solidarity, which are very helpful to humanity.

From a legal perspective, how should the government have handled the Gen. Sejusa situation as opposed to closing down the media houses?

It stems from a bigger political problem.  We have never had a democratic dispensation. Since 1986 and since the promulgation of the Constitution in 1995 and its amendment in 2005, we have had something fundamentally wrong with this regime politically.

At the core of it is that it is militaristic – or you can actually say it’s a military government – which won’t allow to be challenged politically.  Then along with that, the people you could call the ‘conscience of the Movement,’ the people who cherished its original ideals as they were stated – the Amanya Mushegas, the Eriya Kategayas, etc – have left.

This means that this regime has been reduced to its hardcore of militarists. Now, the political contestations are amongst those militarists.  That means a public discussion of their contradictions will always have severe consequences because they will tend to be handled militarily.  That is what the closures of the media houses should be understood to be – military operations.

But the government said the operations were legal?

Just look at the explanations. Ms Karooro Okurut ( then-Information Minister) said the actions were taken under Section 37of the Penal Code Act. Now, if you look at that section, this thing about publishing ‘information that is prejudicial to national security’ is about information about troop movements, locations, and logistics.

It has nothing to do with this situation at all. Then another minister comes and says they have a court search warrant. A search warrant is not an occupation or closure warrant. So the government should have done nothing to the media houses because there was no crime committed. No government official has authority to close a media house. Only the courts can do that. Even those closures by the court are very limited if you look at the Press and Journalists Act.

Why do you think, did the government react like this as regards Gen. Sejusa’s dossier on the so-called Muhoozi Project?

Whether there is a Muhoozi project or not, whether it is true or not or a mere allegation, does not matter. The public have a right to discuss it because it is critical to this country in the sense that it touches on the political transition and succession.  Remember that this country has never had a smooth transition from one president to another.

That means it is in public interest, so it must be published and discussed – true or false. Remember that Section 50 on the Penal Code Act on the publication of false news was nullified and abolished by the Supreme Court.  Justice Mulenga clearly stated why there could be value in publishing the so-called ‘false information.’ That means there is no crime these media houses committed. There is no justification for those measures. They are clearly illegal.

But it is also generally accepted that for the good of society, media should act responsibly. Don’t you suppose that there should be a balance between free media and responsible media?

Who determines what is responsible or not? For example, let’s say someone bought junk helicopters for our army. The government may say it is irresponsible to report it because it may expose our vulnerabilities to the enemy.  But another person may argue – and I think rightly – that it is irresponsible not to let Ugandans know about it so that corrective measures can be taken.

We need to be cautious when we talk about being responsible because in many countries governments use this excuse of ‘national security’ to defend their misdeeds or to save their faces from public scrutiny. My view is that media responsibility should be defined by professional ethics.  That is the forum where media responsibility should be defined, refined and enforced.  It is important that media have their own self-regulation mechanisms to ensure responsibility.

Yes, but you see the challenge is that the professional bodies are not there. There is a vacuum…?

But that vacuum was created by the government.   I will tell you why. For a long time, you had the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA), which under Namakajjo, was building capacity to ensure a strong media institution. Instead, the government created its own statutory body – the Media Council created by itself – to regulate the media.

These State bodies are intended to frustrate the effort toward self-regulation.  Also, the government has tried to infiltrate all the professional media bodies with their intelligence operatives. The effort of the Independent Media Council of Uganda is absolutely important, if it becomes operative.

Those who have complaints against irresponsible media would go to it and the media would show the public that it has mechanisms – not just reactive but pro-active mechanisms – to ensure responsibility. Also, individual media houses and journalists are not strong enough to face up to the State, so the importance of self-organisation cannot be over-emphasized.

The only other alternative is appeasing the government, which I think should not be tolerated by the media because you will be held at ransom and the claims will become bigger and bigger. So, the media need to strengthen through organization so that they are able to take concerted action.

Now, who are the victims of the current action on Monitor Publications and Red Pepper? Of course the immediate victims are the affected media houses and their audiences/readers, but we also know that every other media house is also a victim in terms of the ‘chilling effect.’

Everyone has to be cautious about what they are going to write or say on air. An example has been made of those media houses. The message is very clear.  If media don’t recognise this and act together, they will just be picked up one by one.

Some people say this recent government’s action was expected because of President Museveni’s is keen to protect his family.  What is your take on that?

But don’t forget that at the core, President Museveni is a militarist. That is his constituency. The other things are peripheral. This Sejusa thing is touching on his family and his army, so he has to take a knee-jerk reaction.  But then, they tell us that this is a democratic country and not a military government.

If you want to do such things, then you declare openly that yours is a military government. But if you say that you are running the country democratically, then you can’t say it is criminal to criticise how the army is run or to discuss if or not your son is going to be your successor.

Like I said, all the political contradictions are not on the political front anymore but in the military core. So, there is no way the media can bring out these political contradictions without going there. If the military was at the peripheral and not at the centre of the succession debate, no one would bother going there.

So, in your view the ‘succession question’ has to be addressed and discussed by Ugandans now?

Absolutely, because it is very critical. Look at our history; there has never been a smooth transition in this country.  So it’s a legitimate matter to be reported and discussed by all Ugandans. You can’t run away from it, neither can you challenge it legally.  Whether it is Muhoozi or Mbabazi or whoever is next in the queue to be the successor, let the people and the media freely discuss all the possibilities.

So amid these attacks on freedom of expression, what should Ugandans do to protect their inherent and constitutional rights?

We need to realise that freedom of expression is only part of a spectrum of freedoms as encapsulated in Article 29 of the Constitution. It’s not possible to enjoy any one of those in isolation of the others. We need to make a concerted effort as Ugandans to ensure that we enjoy our rights and that nobody tramples upon them.

All segments of society – the media, CSO, Churches, even those who love President Museveni – should rise to protect him from these excesses. The State should be protector and not violator of these rights.

Do you see government versus media relations improving in the next few years?

No, why should it? The media must not knuckle under State pressure. The fact is that the relationship has always not been good. For example, the media have been directed on who not to employ, who not to host on their talk shows etc. All these threats have been there and the media practitioners know it.

The regulators such as UCC have for years been breathing down the necks of radio stations. That has to change. But it will not be changed by the government but by a better organised media fraternity and civil society. From the Independent.

Uganda, donors sign power deal

By Ibrahim Kasita

 

Uganda and development partners have agreed to fast track the construction of small renewable energy project in the next three to five years to delay the imminent return of load-shedding.

 

The Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs (GET FiT) will support a portfolio of up to 15 private sector-led projects with a total installed capacity of about 125 megawatts (MW).

 

GET FiT programme for Uganda consists of a premium payment mechanism, a guarantee facility to secure against off taker and political risks, as well as a private financing mechanism that will offer debt and equity at competitive rates.

 

The private investment facilitator programme is jointly developed by Uganda, the Germany development agency KfW, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), and Deutsche Bank Group. The programme is supported by Norway, UK’s DFID, Germany, The European Union and the World Bank.

 

At the launch of the programme over the weekend at the Kampala Serena Hotel, the state minister of energy and mineral development, Peter Lokeris, said the Government has already developed standardised power purchase and support agreements.

 

“I call upon project developers to make use of the developed standardised agreements to fast track implementation,” he said. “There will be a little, if any, charge to standardised agreements to accommodate different requirements.”

 

The minister also advised that interconnection requirements for projects beyond five kilometers from the national grids should be brought to the attention of the Government early enough to avoid later interconnection delays.

 

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal minister for economic cooperation and development, said Uganda needs investment close to 7b euros to meet energy supply deficit for the next 30 years.

“There is a need for private capital,” he noted.

Niebel said the implementation of the GET FiT programme in Uganda should help improve the overall enabling environment for private investment in renewable energy through improvements in the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff system and its application.

 

Thorbjorn Gaudstadsaether, the Norwegian ambassador to Uganda, said investor confidence and cost reflective tariffs would help Uganda meet its “ambitious” energy targets.

 

He said the programme will help stabilise power sector finances by adding least-cost generation capacity, enable the Government to pursue its electrification targets, improve the availability of long-term commercial finance for small-scale renewable energy generation projects in Uganda and help decentralise and diversify Uganda’s energy mix, which will enhance security of supply.

 

Daniel Graymore, the director of UK’s DFID Uganda, called for good governance and elimination of corruption if Uganda is to reduce poverty and move up the growth path.

 

“Attracting investments that will create jobs needs tackling corruption,” he said.

Uganda has requested the World Bank to explore the use of a partial risk guarantee mechanism for small hydropower projects, which would be used to facilitate the provision of short term liquidity support.

 

“We expect the World Bank to conclude appraisals for the required partial risk guarantee to conclude the GET FiT package and also facilitate implementation of other projects in Uganda,” Lokeris appealed.

 

The GET FiT programme also supports ‘the Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative under which Uganda was selected as one of the fast movers. From the New Vision.

 

Dangers of bleaching creams

IS black still beautiful? The answer is simply no.
In Zambia, there is a wide spread view by some quarter of our women that a lighter skin is a mark of being beautiful.
From face, hands and legs their skin colour is lighter.
The market stalls are these days piled high with creams which create light image of their body parts.
Young and old mothers who are supposed to be role models use the bleaching creams to ‘enhance’ their beauty.
Brands of mercuric soaps such as Jaribu, Dermont, Asepso, Neko, Diproson, Betasan, Tura, Mililo, Amber, Neoproson, Maxlight, Dermojel and Crusader just to mention a few are plenty.
These soaps are used mostly by illiterates who historically have very little knowledge about the effects these products have on the skin.
In as much as mothers are free to buy creams to make them lovable and attractive, I feel that medical personnel should also speak out because some of the kin lightening  creams sold on the black market are drugs and not cosmetic products.
Dermatologists must sensitise the public about the side  effects of many of these skin bleaching ointments.
Many users do not know the effects of mercurial and bleaching creams, it seriously damages the skin. Skin lighteners destroy the skin and can cause tearing of wounds and general degeneration. Bleaching creams were originally designed to bleach freckles on white westerners.
A tighter control or ban by Government would ease the devastating physical and psychological effects the products have on the people when they develop typical symptoms of scaling, dry skin, rashes and blistering eruptions, which are ghastly to look twice.
It is a pity that the bleached body parts look much uglier, worse off than the skin of the pig. Please be proud of how  God created you, we love you the way you are. Who do we marry if you run away from your natural skin colour?

DOMINIC MUNTANGA
Kabwe. From the Times of Zambia.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION, ON MONDAY 3/6/3013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest news, comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent and down to the Cape.

Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as to how the Centre can best improve its services to you – we want to be as inclusive as possible in this exciting new initiative, which holds out such Pan-African promise, let alone the beneficial effects of freedom of information for the countries covered in the blog website. Please leave your comment in the space provided.

News Contents:

Africa: Japan pledges $32b to Africa

South Africa: Libyans say Gaddafi salted away billions in SA

Sudans: S. Sudan says Japan to construct alternative oil pipeline

Nigeria: SHOCKER: Nigeria troops discover condoms, narcotic drugs in Boko Haram camps

Nigeria: Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members

Nigeria: Terrorism links: SSS take over Amigos Supermart, Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja

Ghana: My suspension from NPP is unlawful and capricious  –  Dr. Wereko Brobbey

Ghana: Acting President of Ningo Traditional Area deny reports of unrests in district

Zimbabwe: Supreme Court’s credibility under threat as judges go to war

Kenya: Disarmament planned for violence hit North Rift

Rwanda: Residents urged to test for HIV/Aids

Ghana: NADMO Co-ordinator warns of imminent threat to Bui Dam by galamsey operations

Comment and Opinion:

Africa: And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity

Africa: Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB

Africa: Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation

East Africa: Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC

Uganda: Reshuffles expose Museveni strategy for 2016 elections; UPDF promotions give Brig. Muhoozi control

Tanzania: Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?

Kenya: Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can

Kenya: Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth

Japan pledges $32b to Africa

President Paul Kagame yesterday met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the second day of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), after the premier announced a 3.2 trillion yen (about $32 billion) assistance package to Africa.

The funds will be allocated to boost economic growth through private sector development, and trade and investment.

Other spheres include accelerating infrastructure and capacity development, empowering farmers as mainstream economic actors,  promoting sustainable and resilient growth and creating an inclusive society for growth (through education, gender, health, water and sanitation).

Abe hailed Rwanda’s progress in line with development and human security and pledged to work with the Rwandan government in several initiatives on the continent.

“I would like to pay tribute to your country that under your leadership Rwanda has achieved true reconciliation as well as improvement in the quality of living among your people and also the development of the entire country. I certainly look forward to working with you to achieve mutual development for Japan and Africa,” said Abe during his meeting with President Kagame.

Infrastructure

In addition to the increased aid, Japan committed 650 billion yen (about $6.5 billion) to infrastructure investment over the next five years, which Abe said would be allocated to developing the infrastructure that “Africa itself deems necessary and plans itself.”

He said the infrastructure investment would focus on expediting development of international corridors that link inland areas with the coasts, and power grids.

Announcing the Africa Business Education (Abe) Initiative for the youth as part of human resource development, the premier said Japan would help Africa train 30,000 business-savvy individuals.

“We will offer undergraduate and graduate education to young people from Africa who come to study in Japan, and in addition we will simultaneously provide them opportunities to work as interns at Japanese companies. This will be at a scale of 1,000 students over five years,” Abe said.

Expressing optimism that Africa’s “promising” young people would soon play leading roles in businesses that connect Japan and the continent, Abe said it was necessary to cultivate human resource that truly match labour market demand, adding that haphazardly enhancing vocational training would not lead to jobs.

Creating jobs

While advocating for what he called “education with an exit,” the premier said his country would foster human resource needed by companies in Africa, particularly Japanese enterprises.

The Japanese leader also canvassed for what he called a “true partnership with Africa” that involves “thinking together and working together,” adding that Japan and Africa had gone beyond being good partners to being more like co-managers.

“We’re colleagues and at the same time co-workers. We grow together through mutual interactions, and through this, we’ve become partners that will develop the world,” he said.

Ticad, an initiative of Japan, is the largest policy dialogue on Africa outside the African continent. It is co-organised by Japan, the African Union Commission, UN, World Bank, and the UN Development Programme.

Ticad, which kicked off on Saturday, has 39 African Heads of State and governments, and several development partners in attendance.

From The New Times.

Libyans say Gaddafi salted away billions in SA

02 JUN 2013 09:29 SAPA

Assets worth billions belonging to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi are thought to be held by South African banks.

“National Treasury was approached by a group claiming to be representatives of the Libyan government,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane told theSunday Times.

It reported that Libyan investigators had found evidence that more than $1-billion (about R10-billion) in cash, gold and diamonds was being held by four South African banks and two local security companies.

“The process of verifying the group’s claim is under way,” said Sikhakhane.

Libyan embassy official Salah Marghani told the Sunday Timesinvestigators had “been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya”.

The paper published extracts of letters from Libya’s justice and finance ministers to their South African counterparts, asking for help finding assets linked to Gaddafi which might “have been illegally possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden in South Africa”.

Gaddafi was executed in 2011 after a political uprising in Libya. – Sapa From the Mail & Guardian.

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

By Adeola Yusuf

Senior Correspondent, Lagos (With agency reports)

Nigeria’s dwindling oil exports to the United States (U.S.) has crashed further to the lowest in 15 years, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said at the weekend, noting that it was up to Nigeria to seek out new markets on its own.

OPEC’s Secretary General, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, who disclosed this at the end of the group’s meeting in Vienna, only promised that the group would launch a study on the effect of shale oil on its members.

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the same vein, told reporters on the sideline of the OPEC meeting that shale oil discovery in the U.S. could reduce the revenues of African oil exporters by 25 per cent.

Though El-Badri suggested that Nigeria and Angola could seek new markets for their oil in China, Alison-Madueke maintained that China might not be a long-term panacea for Nigeria and other OPEC members.

“Asia itself will still have growing energy needs for quite a while, but remember that China itself may be discovering shale gas pretty soon, and oil,” she told reporters after the meeting.

Angola and Nigeria have already started seeking new markets for their crude displaced from the U.S., OPEC said in its in-house magazine published on Friday.

Nigeria is earmarking more of its oil for Asia after exports to the U.S. fell to the lowest level in 15 years, OPEC said.

“Emerging markets like India and China have been growing, and they have absorbed a large part of Angolan exports,” Angolan oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos told the magazine.

The OPEC, however, kept its current oil-production ceiling at 30 million barrels a day on Friday in a widely expected move that members described as an easy decision.

But concerns about the growing threat from shale oil overshadowed the group’s otherwise smooth meeting.

OPEC ministers in an open session before their meeting in Vienna almost dismissed the notion that growing U.S. shale oil production threatened to reduce their oil revenues, but behind closed doors the countries suffering the worst effects of the American boom pressed the group to address the problem, said people present. From the Daily Independent.

S. Sudan says Japan to construct alternative oil pipeline

June 1, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan said Japanese Toyota Company has accepted to construct an alternative oil pipeline from the landlocked nation to the Kenyan Port of Lamu.

The decision, according to South Sudan’s commerce, trade and industry minister, came during a meeting between President Salva Kiir and Toyota’s chairperson, Junzo Shimizu.

“The president met and held talks with the chairperson of the Japanese Toyota company and discussed number of issues. One of the things which were discussed was the construction of the alternative oil pipeline. The meeting was successful one.

The chairperson of the Toyota Company had accepted to construct the alternative oil pipeline to the Lamu port”, Garang Diing Akuong told the state-owned television (SSTV).

President Kiir and Shimizu, the minister added, also discussed ways of how Toyota can benefit from the existing business opportunities in the country.

He did not, however, reveal how much money was required for construction of the new pipeline, estimated by the state-owned television to be about $4bn.

Construction of the oil pipeline is expected to boost South Sudan’s oil export, given that the landlocked country solely relies on transport facilities that pass through neighbouring Sudan.

In March 2012, heads of states from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan convened Lamu, a Kenyan town on the Indian Ocean, to launch the construction of a port and oil pipeline said to be costing up to $16 billion. The Lamu project is widely seen as the best option to South Sudan crude oil exports.

Five months later, Kenya and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and expand a framework of cooperation and partnership between the two states on the principle of equality, mutual benefit, mutual understanding, respect and trust.

The areas of cooperation included the development of a crude oil pipeline between the oil fields of South Sudan and the port of Lamu.

A halt in South Sudan’s oil production, early last year, prompted the land locked country to devise alternative ways of managing its oil resources, which account for nearly 98% of the country’s annual budget.

Meanwhile, Akuong said Kiir, who is currently on a visit to Japan, also held separate talks with the Japanese prime minister, during which the South Sudan leader lauded the cooperation between the two countries.

Kiir, the minister noted, specifically thanked the government of Japan and its business groups for services extended to the new nation in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development.

“The president met today and held talks with [the] Japanese prime minister and senior members of the Japanese government. It was fruitful meeting. The president commended the government of Japan for cooperation and assistance in various areas,” Akuong said.

The two leaders, he added, accepted to work together to strengthen bilateral relations between them and promote investment for business communities in various areas within South Sudan.

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune

SHOCKER: Nigeria troops discover condoms, narcotic drugs in Boko Haram camps

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 2, 2013

Shocking revelation emerged on Saturday from camps of the Boko Haram sect, following the discovery of packs of unused condoms by the Nigerian Military. Discovered also were used condoms.

Items such as syringes and narcotic drugs believed to have been used by the insurgents were also found in their camps.

A statement by the Director, Defence Information, Brig-General Chris Olukolade entitled, ‘Life in Terrorists Camp: Condoms Everywhere’, reads,

“More of the dirty sides of the insurgents’ life style are being revealed as troops continue to stumble on strange and bizarre objects such as several used and unused condoms as well as charms of various shapes seen in the captured terrorists’ camps.

“Other common items are syringes, test tubes and hand gloves usually found in the rubbles of most of the destroyed camps.

“Apart from chemicals and materials for producing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) narcotics of all types are also found to be common features as troops combed through camps in Sambisa forest, New Marte, and others.

“Meanwhile, Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Assessment teams are in Yobe and Adamawa States to update the reports on the conduct of security operations in those states since deployment of troops in line with the State of Emergency.

“The outcome will also be presented for DHQ’s further strategic guidelines for the subsequent phase of the operations.

“The Defence Headquarters has noted the dissemination through the channels of Aljazeera Television reports alleging massive civilian casualties in the ongoing security operations.

“It wishes to point out that the video clip being shown on the Aljazeera reports has no bearing whatsoever on the current reality in the operations areas.

“It is noted in particular that the footages being referred to as civilian casualties were actually pictures of the destruction perpetrated by the terrorists at the police stations and prisons in Bama, Borno State on 7 May 2013 when the insurgents attacked the town”. From the Daily Post.

Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members

Posted by: TONY AKOWE, KADUNA

Former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari has faulted the federal government’s clampdown on  Boko Haram Islamic insurgents.

He accused the government of killing and destroying their houses while the Niger Delta militants were given special treatment by the government.

Buhari who spoke on Sunday on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week monitored in Kaduna also admitted that the road to the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was rough, pointing out that the promoters of the party were well prepared for any hitch that may arise.

Buhari who first spoke in Hausa before the English version accused politicians from the Niger Delta region of starting the current in security in the country by recruiting and arming youths of the region in their desperate attempt to retain power as governors.

The former Nigerian leader said that unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the federal government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government.

While accusing President Jonathan of failing from the beginning to address the security situation in the country, Buhari said he has never been in support of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state.

According to Buhari “what is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants. Every Nigerian that is familiar with what is happening knows this. The Niger Delta militants started it all.

“What happened is that the governors of the Niger Delta region at that time wanted to win their elections. So they recruited the youths and gave them guns and bullets and used them against their opponents to win elections by force.

“After the elections were over, they asked the boys to return the guns; the boys refused to return the guns. Because of that, the allowance that was being given to the youths by the governors during that time was stopped.

“The youths resorted to kidnapping oil workers and were collecting dollars as ransom. Now a boy of 18 to 20 years was getting about 500 dollars in a week, why will he go to school and spend 20 years to study  and then come back and get employed by government to be paid N100,000 a month, that is if he is lucky to get employment.

“So kidnapping becomes very rampant in the South -South and the South -East. They kidnapped people and were collecting money.

“How did Boko Haram start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf started his militant and the police couldn’t control them and the army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police.

“The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him, his in-law was killed, they went and demolished their houses.

“Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today. You see in the case of the Niger Delta militants, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua sent an aeroplane to bring them, he sat down with them and discussed with them, they were cajoled, and they were given money and granted amnesty.

“They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues, what brought this? It is injustice”.

While fielding questions in English in the same programme, Buhari said that the promoters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) were aware of the challenges ahead of them in an effort to get the party registered, saying “the road to merger is quite rough.

“The ruling party, with its enormous resources and its capacity for coercion has seen it as a threat and they have said it. Personally, I came to realise since 2007 that Nigerians believe that the only way to stabilise the system of multi-party democracy is for the opposition parties that have representatives right from Councillors to the National Assembly come together to deliver their constituencies democratically. This is the only way you can counter PDP’s enormous physical and material influence in the country”

He expressed optimism that the All Progressive Congress will be registered saying “by nature, I am an optimist. If I were not an optimist, I will not attempt to contest the presidency three times and end up in the Supreme Court three times. I believe we are going to be registered.

“There is a law guiding party registration which states that you must have your headquarters in the nation’s capital that can be identified by INEC and you must have a convention. All the three parties involved have held their conventions and have agreed to forsake our existing parties and go for APC.

“At the national level, we must have those who will run the party. As soon as we meet these criteria and INEC acknowledge that, 30 days after the acknowledgement, we are APC whether INEC write us and give us the registration or not”.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the election of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Buhari said since the forum was not a legal body, he saw no reason for the controversy saying “the confusion is unfortunate.

“To me, the Governors forum is not constitutional and it is not a party affair because they are supposed to come from all the parties. There is no constitutional law as far as I can see. So, why all these row about it.

“I watched the clip of the election which seems to have been conducted in a free and fair way. But then, Jang came and said he won the election when we saw visibly on the screen how they conducted the election.

“The man who presided over the election declared the result there and then. I was surprised how Jang emerged and said he was the one that won the election and proceeded to open his own secretariat.

“So, if 36 of them can not conduct an election, Nigerians should begin to appreciate what we are in for when they are supposed to be conducting an election for over 140 million people by 2015”.

He however said that he was prepared to support anybody who emerge Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), saying “If APC fail to give me the ticket, I will remain in partisan politics and in the party. Anyone the party pick as its candidate, I will support him because I will remain in the APC”. From The Nation.

Terrorism links: SSS take over Amigos Supermart, Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja

By Wale Odunsi on June 2, 2013

Operatives of State Security Service have shut down the Amigos Supermarket, one of the largest supermarkets in Abuja, and Wonderland Amusement park, also in the nation’s capital.

This follows the allegation that a co-owner of the centres was linked to terrorism activities in the country.

The Joint Task Force in Kano had named Fauzi Fawad, a co-owner of the centres who is on the run, as a member of a Lebanese Hezbollah Terrorist cell in Nigeria.

The gates of both business premises that always witness huge activities and patronage were under lock and key on Saturday.

Reacting to the development, Deputy Director of Publicity of the Department of State Security, Marilyn Ogar, confirmed the closure of the premises by the security outfit.

Ogar said the closure was to allow for smooth investigation of the involvement or otherwise of a co-owner of the business outfits in the recent discovery of arms and ammunition in Kano, Kano State. From the Daily Post.

My suspension from NPP is unlawful and capricious – Dr. Wereko Brobbey

By Myjoyonline.com | Ernest Dela Aglanu

Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey, a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described his suspension from the party as unlawful and capricious.

According to him, ‘the NPP, as the group seeking justice and redress from the highest legal body of the land, the Supreme Court of Ghana, has itself acted unlawfully and capriciously in its apparent suspension of my membership of the party.’

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the NPP reached a decision to suspend Dr. Wereko Brobbey from the party on Thursday after it considered his comments and criticisms of party going to court to challenge the results of the 2012 elections.

According to the NEC, the decision to suspend Dr. Brobbey was taken in accordance with the party’s constitution which allows such disciplinary action to be taken against members whose conduct is deemed to have brought the NPP into disrepute.

Reacting to the suspension in a letter copied Myjoyonline.com Sunday, the NPP founding member said his suspension from the party was a ‘supreme irony!’

According him, he only got to know about the suspension after the name of Perry Okudzeto, the Deputy Communications Director of the NPP was mentioned as having gone on record to confirm ‘the surreal tale of my purported suspension from the NPP.’

Dr. Brobbey stressed that, he has not ‘heard nothing and recognise nothing about any purported decision by the New Patriotic Party to suspend my membership of the party.’

He noted that his view on the situation is founded on the processes set out in the constitution of the NPP which are stated in Article 4, 4, namely:

‘(a) A Disciplinary Committee shall: (i) Investigate complaints concerning the misconduct of a member; (ii) Make a full, faithful; and impartial inquiry into any complaint referred to it; (iii) Report in writing the results of the inquiry and the reasons leading to the conclusions reached; (iv) Make recommendations to the Executive Committee based on the results of the inquiry,

‘(b)The Executive Committee SHALL, within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the recommendation of a Disciplinary Committee, adopt, modify or reject same and SHALL COMMUNICATE its recommendations and the reasons leading thereto IN WRITING to affected parties.

‘(c) The Executive Committee SHALL make any recommendations deem fit to promote discipline within the party, including SUSPENSION/ EXPULSION of the Member. The recommendation automatically comes into full force and effect where NO APPEAL is lodged against it in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.’

Dr. Brobbey observed that, there is no provision in the NPP constitution that allows the pronouncement of guilt before evidence has been adduced to establish culpability.

‘Neither is there any place for custodial preventive detention or remand in prison during the legal proceedings against the accused member,’ he added.

More soon. From Modern Ghana.

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

Rotimi Akinwumi

Snr Correspondent, Abuja.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, has described the reported resurgence of Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa as distressing.

23 Nigerians were forced out of their homes and chased out of Port-Nolloth community on May 26, by some South Africans, accusing them of dealing in drugs without having any prove to back up the claim.

Ukeje in a statement issued on Sunday in reaction to the attack said the renewed attacks came at a point when Nigeria and South Africa had shown commitment to fostering closer relationship between both countries.

She recalled how the two countries in May, signed nine Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in different sphere of human endeavours.

She said such agreements should trickle down the citizenry especially from South Africa and urged Nigerians to remain committed in the knowledge that the government would do everything to protect them.

The lawmaker also commended South Africa High Commissioner, Mr Louis Mnguni, for his quick intervention and promised to work closely with him until the resolution of the issues.

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says is still assessing reported attacks of Nigerians in South Africa.

Martin Uhomoibhi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs had last Thursday condemned the attack saying “Xenophobia under whatever guise is not acceptable”.

“We believe that the action of some elements is inconsistent with our relations with South Africa and it does not have the blessings of our governments”, he said.

The permanent secretary noted that relations between both countries was at its “best forms”  in recent time,

“Our relations with South Africa are in the best of forms following the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Cape Town, South Africa and his participation at the World Economic Forum in the country”.

“People must learn to work with their government”, he said.

Part of the MoU will make it unnecessary for nationals of both countries holding official or diplomatic passports to acquire visa before travelling to either country. From the Daily Independent.

Acting President of Ningo Traditional Area deny reports of unrests in district

The Acting President of the Ningo Traditional Area, Nene Kanor Atiatah III has denied reports of unrest in the Ningo Prampram district of the Greater Accra Region.

This follows allegations by the Chief of Ningo, Nene Otuaboah II that some land-guards are threatening to kill him and some of his elders who have consequently fled the town.

The gun-wielding men are reported to have taken over lands in the area and selling them at exorbitant prices.

The police have assured of safety in the town but Nene Atiatah III tells Joy News, the reports are untrue.

‘Land guards have never attacked anybody at Ningo traditional area,’ he said and noted and called on the police to conduct investigations to reveal the person peddling the false rumours.

Ningo-Prampram area has become an attractive destination for many businesses following government’s plans to locate the country’s second international airport there.From Modern Ghana.

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

By Adeola Yusuf

Senior Correspondent, Lagos  (With agency reports)

Ten bodies have been found during a rescue operation off the coast of Nigeria after a tugboat contracted by Chevron sank penultimate Sunday in rough seas, the vessel’s owner said at the weekend.

The Jascon-4 capsized early on Sunday at a mooring point around 30 km (20 miles) off oil-producing Delta State.

Of 12 people, who had been on board, one was rescued alive and another is still missing.

“The search and rescue operation that has been under way since 26 May has had to be stopped for safety reasons,” the ship’s owner West African Ventures, said in a statement.

“The vessel, which is located some 30 metres under water in an upside-down position, has become so unstable that the risk of injury to our rescue divers has become unacceptably high,” said West African Ventures, which is owned by Sea Trucks Group.

Chevron operates offshore and onshore joint ventures with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and says it spends around $3 billion a year on its Nigerian operations.

The U.S. energy firm’s 2012 net daily production from Nigeria was 238,000 barrels of crude oil, 165 million cubic feet of natural gas and 4,000 barrels of liquefied petroleum gas.

It would be recalled that Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, has confirmed that ‘Jascon 4, vessel belonging to its contractor, West African Ventures Limited, has capsized and sank in the early hours of penultimate Sunday in Delta State.

The vessel sank while supporting a tanker loading at Single Mooring (SBM) No.3 a loading point 30 km offshore in the Escravos area.

Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs explained in a statement that Initial reports indicated that heavy ocean swells caused the Jascon No.4 to capsize while performing tension tow operations of the tanker at SBM No.3.

He confirmed that emergency response has commenced, including Search and Rescue operation with surface vessels, helicopters and divers.

According to him “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, confirms that Jascon No.4 vessel belonging to our contractor, West African Ventures Limited, capsized and sank early this morning while supporting a tanker loading at Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) No.3, a loading point 30 km offshore in the Escravos area of Delta state, Nigeria.

“Initial reports indicated that heavy ocean swells caused the Jascon No.4 to capsize while performing tension tow operations of the tanker at SBM No.3. From the Daily Independent.

Supreme Court’s credibility under threat as judges go to war

Staff Reporter 3 hours 44 minutes ago

Mugabe yesterday said he will comply with the Constitutional Court ruling on Friday

HARARE – Dissenting Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said the ruling by the Constitutional Court ordering elections to be held by the end of next month “defied logic” and compromised the rights of the electorate as a whole.

Seven of the judges on the nine member panel agreed with the ruling but Justice Malaba and Justice Bharat Patel dissented.

The court was ruling on an application by Harare-based rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, who wanted President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to proclaim dates for new elections to choose a substantive government.

Robert Mugabe yesterday said he will comply with the Constitutional Court ruling on Friday ordering him to proclaim dates for the harmonised elections and hold the polls before July 31,

which judgment he described as fair.

He said he would discuss with Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa to set the polling dates as soon as he returns home from Japan where he is attending the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) which ends today.

In his dissenting opinion, made available on Sunday, Justice Malaba said his colleagues’ ruling “defied logic” in finding Mugabe was in breach of his constitutional responsibilities “and at the same time authorising him to continue acting unlawfully” by proclaiming a July date.

“That is a very dangerous principle and has no basis in law. The principle of the rule of law just does not permit such an approach,” wrote Malaba (picture).

He said the new constitution made it clear that elections could be held within four months of the automatic dissolution of the parliament on 29 June and to hold them in

July compromised constitutional rights for the electorate as a whole “to play a meaningful role in the electoral process”, Malaba said.

He added that Mawarire’s lawsuit had turned clear and unambiguous language in the law into “a question of interpretation that plunged the court into irreconcilable differences”.

“I, however, refuse to have wool cast over the inner eye of my mind on this matter,” concluded Malaba.

The ruling possibly brings to an end the wrangling between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the timing of the elections.

Mugabe wanted the polls to immediately follow the dissolution of Parliament on June 29 but the MDC leader was insisting on a delay to allow more reforms to be implemented.

According to legal experts, Schedule Six of the new Constitution stipulates that at least 30 days are required for an intensive voter registration and voters roll inspection. The exercise is set to begin tomorrow ending beginning of July.

Section 157 (3) of the Constitution also stipulates that the nomination of candidates should take place 14 days after the publication of the proclamation for elections, with polling taking place at least 30 days after the nomination process.

Mugabe still had four months to call for election according to Law expert.

Constitutional law expert, Professor Greg Lennington said he was astounded by the ruling.

He said in terms of the Constitution, after the expiry of Parliament, the President has four months to call for elections.

“I have not yet seen the reasons for the judgement, but the correct decision was that of the two dissenting judges, Justices Bharat Patel and Luke Malaba,” he said.

David Coltart, legal secretary in Welshman Ncube’s MDC said the ruling violates other people’s rights to participate in the elections.

“The effect of the judgment will be to seriously undermine our chances of having credible elections,” said Coltart, who is also minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.

“I foresee a variety of very serious logistical and legal challenges arising, including a denial of a few fundamental rights,” he said, adding that the new Constitution signed by Mugabe two weeks ago provides for a mandatory 30-day voter registration exercise.

The fresh voter registration exercise is expected to commence tomorrow.

“So assuming that the constitutionally mandated period of registration begins on Monday the 3rd of June, it must then run until the end of 3rd July,” Coltart said.

The MDC secretary for legal affairs and senator for Khumalo Constituency said the judgment could deprive first time voters who failed to register in the just-ended chaotic voter registration exercise their opportunity to participate in the coming elections.

Section 26A of the Act says that eligible voters must register no later than 24 hours before the nomination date,” said Coltart.

“It means that the nomination day cannot be before the 5th of July.

There have to be 28 days between the nomination day and the election which means the election cannot be before the 2nd of August if the Constitution and Electoral Act are to be complied with.

“If they are seen to be shambolic, illegal and conducted in a manner which denies Zimbabweans their basic rights, then they will lack at the very least the moral authority any new government will need to take the nation forward.”

Chris Mhike, one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers, said while Zimbabwe should respect the court findings, the ruling was anchored on the repealed Lancaster House Constitution.

“We are surprised that the honourable court orders and directs the president to proclaim dates for general elections in terms of the old Constitution, that is the 1979 Constitution, when as a matter of fact, the new Constitution of Zimbabwe provides explicitly that the next elections should be conducted in terms of the new law, not the old,” said Mhike.

Lovemore Madhuku, a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said elections should be held by July 31 as a sign of respect to the country’s Constitution.

“Politicians should work towards ensuring that it is feasible. It is the attitude of politicians that will make it possible or not,” Madhuku told the Daily News on Sunday.

“They must ensure that we have a voter registration starting now which could run for 14-days and put mechanisms that those people who will be 18 years on the election date are registered to vote.”

The constitutional law expert said no politician will have “moral authority” to govern Zimbabwe after June 30 when the current Parliament expires.

“It is better to have a bad election than have no elections. Their time is up and we should have elections as stated by the supreme law,” Madhuku added.

Apart from the legalities set out above, adequate funding for the poll is another hurdle that Mugabe and his coalition partners, Tsvangirai and Ncube will have to contend with in the coming weeks.

All hopes, according to Mugabe, now pin on the forthcoming extraordinary Sadc summit penciled in for Maputo in Mozambique on Sunday, which will discuss poll funding.

Meanwhile, the National Standing Committee of Tsvangirai’s MDC met in Harare yesterday to review the judgment of the Constitutional Court.

Although the MDC expressed misgivings on some of the aspects of the judgment, it resolved to abide by the decision of the court.

“The party reiterated that the date of the election must be process-driven,” said MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.

“In other words, it must be dependent upon the completion of key processes that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the election.

“These processes include the completion of the Ward-based, transparent  and accessible  voter registration exercise targeting all communities.

“After the voter registration exercise, there must be a period set for the inspection of the voters’ roll to make sure that it is correct and that all eligible voters are on it.

“The MDC also insists that media reforms which should guarantee reasonably equal and fair access by all contesting parties to the State media as enshrined in the new Constitution, must be completed before the election to ensure that there is an even playing field during the elections.”

“It is critical that Zimbabwe completes all legislative reforms to bring all legislation which have a bearing on elections into conformity with the Constitution,” he said.

“These include the Electoral Act, the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

Mwonzora said “the MDC is ready for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

“That means for the MDC the issue is not about the date of the elections.

“It is about the conditions under which these elections are held.”

Seven of the nine judges who sat as a Constitutional Court concurred with the ruling. The seven who ruled in favour of the application brought by a Harare man, Jealousy Mawarire are:  Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Ann-Mary Gowora, Ben Hlatshwayo, George Chiweshe and Antonia Guvava. The two dissenting opinions were by deputy Chief Justice Malaba and Justice Patel.

Mawarire, a registered voter in Zaka and of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa, had approached the Constitutional Court to compel Mugabe to fix the election dates in view of the fact that the life of the current 7th Parliament ends on July 31.

Mugabe said: “Well, that’s the ruling of the court and when the court gives a ruling and the ruling is a judgement and the judgement is meant to establish how people should react to it, there is only one way of reacting to it which is accepting the judgement by our nation,” said President Mugabe.

“We accepted that judgement and we will work in accordance with that judgement.”

President Mugabe said those seeking an extension of the poll dates wanted the Global Political Agreement to continue, yet it was never meant to exist beyond 18 months.

“I am not delaying anything,” he said. “I will not accept that anymore. That’s their wish. We should forget this period and to forget it is to sink it by an election so we drown it out of our memory and say we will never do this again. It’s filthy, it’s filthy, it’s filthy.”

President Mugabe said the court was fair enough to give him enough time to announce the dates and hold the harmonised elections, saying he could have been ordered to hold them ‘tomorrow’.

“It is this decision now that we must obey and I don’t want to offend the law,” said President Mugabe.

“We have offended the law about twice, asking for postponement and we can’t do that again.

“They could have said ‘hold the election tomorrow’, but they could not say that because its impossible to put the election together.

“They were reasonable enough to give us time. They could have ordered us because we have violated the constitution right, left and centre and say do elections now and we would have trampled and said: ‘but we can’t do the elections now give us more time’.

President Mugabe said it was important that the courts provided enough time for the holding of the elections without the Government asking for it.

“So, the court is fair to make judgement on defaulters and we have been criminals on this one,” he said. “So, there it is, we are now going to be cleaner people and get exonerated and say let bygones be bygones, the future will see us clean.”

President Mugabe said if a coalition was to occur in the future, it should be made up of people who would have won elections.

“A coalition, yes, a coalition of members who won an election without involving those who have lost and christianing them in the name of legal justice: ‘we now baptise you as honourable Members of Parliament’. I hope we don’t it again,” he said.

But President Mugabe said he did not think the circumstances were there for such kind of a coalition.

He said the GPA negotiated by three political parties in Parliament was illegal and a cheat on the people’s rights.

“Some people do not wish for elections at all, they have enjoyed riding on this GPA chariot for no pay, no real fare, free of charge,” he said.

“So, we were able now to set up the GPA and the executive comprising persons some who had won elections others who had lost elections. Both Professors (Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube), for example, lost the election.

“(They) had been beaten, but they came now as dignified MPs and honourable ministers, but they are not the only ones. We have honourable ministers out of people who had been regarded as dishonourable by their constituencies, by the people.”

President Mugabe said Sadc had agreed to look at extending poll funding to Zimbabwe, but the country would not depend on that alone.

He said Zanu-PF was ready for the elections.

“We are ready. We have been ready. We stay ready, ever ready like the batteries (that are named Everready).”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has said the party will insist on the full implementation of the agreed reforms before elections are held in accordance with a Constitutional Court judgement delivered on Friday.

The MDC-T national standing committee held an emergency meeting yesterday and resolved that there were serious misgivings on some of the aspects of the judgement.

“The party reiterated that the date of the election must be process driven. In other words, it must be dependent upon the completion of key processes that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the election,” said party spokesperson Mwonzora.

“These processes include the completion of the ward-based, transparent and accessible voter registration exercise targeting all communities. After the voter registration exercise, there must be a period set for the inspection of the voters roll to make sure that it is correct and that all eligible voters are on it.”

He said the MDC-T would also insist that media reforms which should guarantee reasonably equal and fair access by all contesting parties to the state media as enshrined in the new Constitution, must be completed before the election to ensure that there is an even playing field during the elections.

Mwonzora however said the MDC-T would abide by the Constitutional Court ruling directing elections to be held by July 31 of this year.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the MDC is ready for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. That means for the MDC, the issue is not about the date of the elections, is about the conditions under which these elections are held,” he said. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Disarmament planned for violence hit North Rift

By BARNABAS BII bbii@ke.nationmedia.com AND WYCLIFF KIPSANG wkipsang@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Sunday, June 2  2013 at  13:13

IN SUMMARY

  • The government’s planned disarmament comes in the wake of rampant cases of insecurity in Baringo County which has left 15 people dead since the beginning of the year.

The government is to launch a disarmament operation to mop up illegal arms in insecurity prone parts of the North Rift region.

The police have mapped out hotspots in readiness for the operation to check armed conflict among pastoralists in the region caused by cattle raids and criminals who have been harassing the locals.

“The initial phase of the disarmament operation will be voluntary,” said Bernard Leparmai, Baringo County commissioner adding that local provincial administration officials will be involved in the exercise.

But as the government prepares to launch the disarmament operations, tension has gripped Kenya-South Sudan border following the killing of five people and theft of more than 200 goats by Toposa militia non Saturday.

“The attackers have crossed with the animals to South Sudan as some of the families flee the insecurity hit area,” said Barnard Nyakwaka, Turkana North police boss.

He said a security team comprising of regular and administration police officers and Kenya Police Reservists have been dispatched to the common border to avert further attacks that have sparked tensions between pastoralists from the two countries.

“A woman who sustained serious bullet wounds during the attack has been rushed to Lodwar district hospital for treatment,” said Mr Nyakwaka on phone.

The five were shot dead when armed Toposa militia from South Sudan attacked Loruth Sub-location soon after Turkana senator John Munyes left the village after distributing relief food.

“We have names of people in possession of illegal firearms and they should cooperate by surrendering them before the operation is launched,” said Mr Leparmai.

He said that the government has beefed up security in the cattle rustling prone areas in Marigat and Baringo North districts and urged residents who have fled their homes to go back.

Baringo County governor Benjamin Cheboi urged warring communities in the area to co-exist peacefully and discard retrogressive cultural practices and focus on education of their children and socio-economic activities aimed at improving their livelihood.

The government’s planned disarmament comes in the wake of rampant cases of insecurity in Baringo County which has left 15 people dead since the beginning of the year.

The government recovered more than 1,200 arms last year in a disarmament operation that involved the police and the military. From the Daily Nation.

Residents urged to test for HIV/Aids

Rwandans have been urged to seek voluntary HIV counselling and testing to know their zero status.

The Minister of State for Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr Anita Asiimwe, made the call while closing a six-month national anti-HIV/Aids campaign in Nyagatare District last week.

“This will help everyone to know their status; it involves also children infected with HIV/Aids to be taken to hospital for proper medications,” Asiimwe said.

The sensitisation campaign was done through Aids campaigners as part of efforts to achieve global target of zero new infections by 2015.

The minister added that testing pregnant mothers would help fight mother-to-child infections.

Behaviour change

Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the head of HIV division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said the aim of the campaign, which he said had impacted significantly on behaviour change, is to achieve zero infection and death.

The rate of new infections was at 25,000 people every year five years ago, but it has drastically gone down to 15,000, he said.

A recent Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey said because of access to antiviral drugs, HIV prevalence in Rwanda has remained at around 3 per cent since 2005.

Among the pregnant mothers in the district, 140,000 tested for HIV during the six month awareness campaign and 114 were found to be infected.

Of the 160 people who were tested for HIV from Matimba Sector, 36 were found to be HIV-positive. In Nyagatare Sector, 2,200 tested and 42 were found to be infected.

The country director of UNAIDS Dludlu Sibongile appreciated the government’s efforts in HIV/Aids fight.

“The infection in Africa has reduced due to the great efforts put in the fight. Rwanda is among the countries which have put more efforts in preventing and controlling the transmission with the target of Zero by 2015,” she said, reaffirming UNAIDS committment to join efforts with the government in the fight against Aids. From The New Times.

NADMO Co-ordinator warns of imminent threat to Bui Dam by galamsey operations

By Myjoyonline.com | Joy News

The Bui Hydro-Electric Power Project could be adversely affected if illegal mining activities popularly called galamsey activities are not halted along the Black Volta.

This is the warning from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Coordinator, Kofi Porturphy.

Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Porturphy said the Galamsey activities pose serious threats to the Bui Dam and the Volta Lake and must be stopped immediately.

According to him, ‘We must stop [the galamsey operations] effectively. If you go up north to Boli area towards the boarder of Cote D’ivoire the kind of mining activities that are starting there, if we are not careful and we don’t stop them and they divert the course of the Black Volta, Bui Dam will dry up and then the Volta River on the Black Volta will be contaminated and polluted.’

Kofi Porturphy noted that several rivers, including Offin, Brim, Tano, have been polluted due to the illegal mining activities and urged that ‘we must as a people reduce the risk and prevent the disaster from occurring.’ From Modern Ghana.

Here follows the latest comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa:

Africa: And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity

Africa: Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB

Africa: Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation

East Africa: Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC

Uganda: Reshuffles expose Museveni strategy for 2016 elections; UPDF promotions give Brig. Muhoozi control

Tanzania: Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?

Kenya: Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can

Kenya: Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth

And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity

24 MAY 2013 00:00 PHILLIP DE WET

Kwame Nkrumah envisioned an Africa united by necessity and if anything can get the continent’s nations to work together, it’s the prospect of wealth.

Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi made a half-hearted attempt at subverting traditionalism to have himself crowned the continent’s king of kings.

And when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was constituted in 1963, several of the founders considered stronger ties between themselves as a survival strategy in a world torn between two superpowers.

The following 50 years proved that none of their motivations or justifications held water; the continent remained deeply divided along lines ranging from ethnicity to class, with only marginal movement towards integration.

But the next 50 years will be different, various thinkers and institutions believe. By 2063, they say, the continent will have moved close to full economic integration, with people and goods flowing (legally) over national borders that will exist largely as theoretical lines, rather than imposing fences. Because this time the driver will be economic necessity in a competitive world.

The result, they believe, will be utopian: a continent more productive, with faster economic growth, better levels of employment, more skilled people, plentiful food, and perhaps even a universal respect for human rights. And also, by the logic that richer and more comfortable people fight fewer wars, finally a continent at peace with itself.

That may sound much like the thinking behind the initial formation of the OAU, but a shift in logic is already well under way at its successor, the African Union (AU).

Peace and security
Born in the midst of the Cold War and before globalisation, the OAU thought geopolitically, with military might at the forefront. In an analysis of the types of policies created by the OAU and its successor, a group of researchers found that prior to 1980, 40% of the organisation’s work was dedicated to peace and security.

In the decade from 2001, the number of policies dedicated to that section of the AU’s work declined to just 16%. The focus had shifted to social and economic issues, with money – money for development, for education, for healthcare, for housing – at the heart of its work.

And that was despite little change in the level of conflict on the continent. The OAU was born in an era of strife; in 1963 alone, three governments fell to coups: in Benin, Congo-Brazzaville and Togo. That was also the year when open fighting started between Kenya and Somalia (the latter mostly through proxies) in the so-called Shifta War, which would continue for four years, complete with war crimes and mass casualties.

But the AU, too, was created with wars raging. In the decade it was constituted, and the OAU disbanded, there were civil wars in Côte d’Ivoire and Chad, ongoing conflicts in Darfur, wars in the Niger Delta and the Central African Republic, and any number of border and ethnic skirmishes.

The difference, some believe, is that the world had changed in the four decades that separated the two bodies. The AU came into being with member states watching the rise of China as a world power, and India as an economic one, and with the European Union as their major trading partner. The ability of such behemoths to dominate the world could hardly go unnoticed.

“The total gross domestic product of all the SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries, including South Africa, is less than that of Turkey or Denmark,” said Iraj Abedian, a policy-focused economist at the head of Pan-African Capital Holdings.

In unity lies strength
“You find yourself asking, if the entire region can’t compete with a single country, how much less so its constituent members?”

Abedian is of the school of thought, which has become pervasive in recent years, that African states will be forced to unite to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete in the global economy. As Nkrumah said, “in unity lies strength”.

By the same token, the financial unity of the rest of the world poses potential problems for those determined to go their own way. “[Global] integration comes with the risks of interdependence,” said the Africa Progress Panel, headed by former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan, in its 2013 assessment of the continent. “African economies will be affected by market events over which they have little control.”

Economically, the continent can boast neither strength nor unity.

“Today, not only is Africa fragmented by its borders, its power is also limited by the fact of this fragmentation,” says Godwin Murunga, of the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi.

In order to compete, Africa requires internal trade, investment in the skills and technology that can make it more productive, an end to conflict and a reduction in overall military spending, and united policy-making at a global level. For individual countries, that means giving up at least a portion of their sovereignty. And that is exactly what leaders of the AU hope they will do.

Although the AU has yet to finalise its Vision 2063, a planning document eagerly awaited by pan-Africanists everywhere, broad outlines have become clear. Despite its recent problems, the European Union remains a political model. Much focus is on increasing agricultural productivity, then general productivity. Policy harmony on everything from telecommunications to fertiliser will be pushed, and thornier issues such as the fate of state-owned enterprises will follow.

Regional blocs will be nudged towards common passports, such as those of the Economic Community of West African States, and spending requirements – probably first on agriculture, but later on a range of priorities – will be imposed on individual countries.

So, slowly but surely, the believers have it, Africa will rise.


Some wins, some losses for the OAU

The Organisation of African Unity’s original mission included a broad range of objectives.

In a precious few areas, such as gaining independence from colonial masters, it can claim unequivocal victory. In most, however, success was partial or dubious at best. According to its founding charter, its major objectives were:

  • To achieve equality, justice and dignity for all citizens, and ensure their advancement;
  • To establish unity that transcends ethnic or national lines;
  • To establish and maintain peace and stability, and settle disputes through mediation and negotiation;
  • Freedom, including fighting against all forms of neocolonialism;
  • Noninterference in the internal affairs of other African states, with a specific prohibition on cross-border subversive activities; and
  • Nonalignment with any major power blocs.

A century after unity comes utopia

There are a range of visions for what the continent will look like 100 years after the formation of the Organisation of African Union – most of them positive. Between the hopes of continental bodies and views of analysts, these are some of the characteristics of that future:

  • Full or nearly full economic integration, likely with a single currency, but certainly with borders relegated to lines on maps;
  • Free migration between countries, with little to no restrictions on who can live or work where;
  • Food production at a level where the continent feeds itself, rather than importing food;
  • Life expectancy at birth beyond 65 years, and infant mortality at a fraction of current levels;
  • Near-universal education, with a high level of tertiary education;
  • Local capital formation, with a minimal requirement to borrow money for major infrastructure projects; and
  • Integrated transport systems. Few will bet money on a great north-south transcontinental highway being in place, but many envisage trains and ships and planes moving with little friction.
Phillip de Wet writes about politics, society, economics, weird stuff, and the areas where all of these collide. From the Mail & Guardian.

Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB

By JAMES MUYANWA in Yokohama, Japan -

AFRICA’s poverty levels are falling by one percentage point per year, with the absolute number of people living below the poverty datum line declining drastically, the World Bank Group has said.

As a result of the impressive economic growth rate, the continent has been posting in the last 10 years, the poverty rate has gone down, while the number of people living below the datum line of US$1.25 per day, has fallen by nine million in three years.

World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim said here during the opening session of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) that, the bank has placed Africa at the core of its effort to end poverty and boost shared prosperity.

He said the growth the continent had recorded in the last 10 years had impacted on the poverty levels.

“The growth has had an impact on poverty – the poverty rate has been falling at one percentage point a year. For the first time, the absolute number of people living below $1.25 a day has fallen – by nine million in three years,” he said.

Mr Jim said, Africa was varied and complex, thereby providing an opportunity for development.

“Africa has seen impressive growth, particularly over the past 10 years. This is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa. When TICAD started in 1993, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth rate was just one per cent.

“In 2012, it was estimated at 4.7 per cent, and 10 of the fastest growing countries in the world were in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said

He attributed the economic growth to the sound economic policies African countries have put in place and congratulated the leaders attending the conference, who included  Zambian President Michael Sata.

He said the World Bank would continue to partner with African countries through various mechanisms, especially the International Development Association (IDA) which is  the bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

Mr Jim said Africa has been a country of two extremities in that,  despite posting impressive performance, the continent is home to so many poorest people in the world.

In 12 countries for instance, the extreme poverty rate was higher than 60 per cent.

“Making progress in these countries will be harder but the gains will be significant.

“We know that success is possible. In Africa, countries including Liberia and Mozambique are showing the way,” he said.

Mr Kim said the World Bank’s new strategy would be to further strengthen the commitment to states rebounding from weakness and conflict.

“We have the opportunity to make historic progress in the years ahead. We can end extreme poverty and build shared, sustainable prosperity for all peoples,” he said. From the Times of Zambia.

Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation

President Paul Kagame has urged African nations to redefine gender equality as a societal responsibility and not simply women’s issues.

The President made the remarks at the weekend while addressing a thematic session on “Driving African Development through Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” at the fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (Ticad).

“The question that we must address now is how to make more progress in removing the barriers to equal opportunity and promote greater empowerment. That will be done when we all recognise that the question of equality should be part of our values as a society and therefore an obligation to raise everyone to a level where they can play their rightful role in development,” Kagame said.

The Rwanda style

With one of the world’s highest number of women leaders in the public sector and a growing number in the private sector, Rwanda continues to lead in realising gender equality.

To-date, the country has institutionalised women political and economic empowerment through legislations as well as several initiatives aimed at increasing access to economic opportunity. From The New Times.

Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC

Member states of the East African Community must accelerate the bloc’s integration or risk failure, making a failure out of it, the outgoing chairperson of the EAC business council has said.

Gerald Sendawula, who relinquished his duties as chairperson of the East African Business Council (EABC), said this during a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, at the weekend.

He said EAC had failed to create a levelled ground for common trade regimes, warning that the community may end up in failure.

“Let us not wait to witness the repeat of the 1977, when the original EAC collapsed. We must sort out all impediments and talk the same language. Doing business and embracing full regional trade partnership is still a problem. There are forums to address this, let us use them for the common good,” he said.

Dr Enos Bukuku, the EAC deputy secretary-general for planning and infrastructure, echoed similar concerns that states were not fully embracing the integration process.

He urged EABC to engage partner states to promote intra-EAC trade by creating conducive environment.

Breaching principles

Bukuku noted with concern that partner states were not living to the agreed principles of integration.

“Who is holding the process? I will be very transparent; I have been here for two years, and it is the partner states. They signed to participate in the integration agenda, but in meetings they say loudly that because they are sovereign they say no to what they signed. How many years do they need to agree on small matters that don’t threaten security of their countries?” he asked.

He said money was spent on meetings, but that the decisions made were never respected.

“How many meetings have we convened? This is taxpayers’ money spent on these meetings. There are very few decisions taking the region forward. It is not the secretariat that is holding back integration, but member states,” Bukuku said.

“They appended their signatures on integration matters. You can’t have it both ways, more sovereignty and more integration, the arithmetic doesn’t add up. Integration means foregoing part of what is under national sovereignty toward a regional cause,”  he added.

Even the creation of a single currency will require partner states to relinguish monetary policy to a regional centre, Bukuku said.

Meanwhile, Kenya took over the chairmanship of EABC from Uganda under the rotational policy.

Vimal Shah, the head of Kenya private sector, was unanimously elected to replace Sendawula, who had served out a one-year term. From The New Times.

Reshuffles expose Museveni strategy for 2016 elections

BY JULIUS ODEKE, JOAN AKELLO & RONALD MUSOKE

President tightens grip on army, police, media

Three days after he shut down two independent newspapers, and two radio stations, President Yoweri Museveni on May 23 shuffled his cabinet, placing the Defence sector, Internal Affairs, and Information in the hands of the military and trusted cadres.

Since the reshuffle, the second time in nine months, was announced, commentators have said the changes set the tone for the 2016 election in which Museveni, who will have completed 30 years in power, is expected to seek another five-year term.

By putting two generals in charge of police, and three party ideologues in charge of the media, Museveni has signaled that dissenting views, opinions, and activities within his party, the NRM, and from the opposition are likely to be muzzled.

Journalists in Uganda are routinely beaten up and their equipment confiscated by police and soldiers and their offices ransacked. But conditions are likely to get tougher, according to analysts.

Renowned Ugandan columnist Charles Onyango Obbo, makes this point on his blog, Naked Chiefs, of May 24.

Onyango writes that the recent attacks on the media are sideshows to the real thing—which according to him is the grand scheme to have Museveni retain power beyond 2016—when he will clearly be above 75 years old. Another scheme to manipulate the Constitution is on the cards and hence the choice of some of the ministers and other technocrats.

Onyango-Obbo says:  “While the Museveni government’s anti-free media streak goes way back, it would never muzzle the press merely for the sake of muzzling it… The attacks on the free media are usually part of its wider political scheme, and never the end.”

The changes also follow the flight to Europe of a top general, David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, after he alleged in a letter that Museveni plans to purge top military personnel and politicians opposed to his continued stay in power or the transfer of the presidency to his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Museveni named Gen. Katumba Wamala to head the army as Chief of Defence Forces. A career soldier from regimes preceding Museveni’s, Gen. Wamala cemented his role in the army leadership in battles against Museveni’s enemies in the DR Congo and northern Uganda where he gained a reputation for professionalism that matched his firmness. When he was named to head the police in 2001 for a four-year stint, he showed how armed forces can achieve results with a human face.

The man he replaces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima moves to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is crucial in the organisation of national elections. The move to Internal Affairs also shunts Gen. Nyakairima out of any action in the army which has become restless following Gen. Sejusa’s allegations of divisions and intrigue.

But the shuffle could produce its own tensions. When another army boss, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu was removed from the position and named minister, he rejected the position, quit Museveni’s government, and is now leader of the largest opposition party in Uganda; the Forum for Democratic Change. It is unclear how, Gen. Nyakairima, renowned for keeping his views to himself, is reacting to the removal from the army at age 54.

For now, he joins another general, Kale Kayihura, who as Inspector General of Police oversaw the 2011 election and its aftermath with unprecedented security deployment and brutality. Kayihura has himself been promoted to general from Lieutenant general in a move that could complicate reporting lines between him and Gen. Nyakairima who is his boss in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Museveni also elevated Ofwono Opondo, who has been the acerbic-tongued spokesperson of his NRM party to head the Uganda Media Centre, which is designed to be a funnel for all government information to the media and the public.  Ofwono Opondo, who has a proven record as an ideological attacking machine against Museveni’s opponents, is deputised by Col. Shaban Bantariza, a more pliable but no less formidable spin-doctor.

Rose Namayanja Nsereko who has been the state minister for Luweero Triangle has replaced Karooro-Okurut as the Information and National Guidance Minister. Namayanja’s new appointment may be surprising to only those who do not know her. Although she holds two bachelor’s degrees, including one in law from Makerere University, the Nakaseke District Woman MP has no experience in media unlike her predecessor.

She is a cadre, who served at Museveni’s Statehouse as a Political Officer for three years from 2008, is said to hold a Master’s qualification in Security Sector Management from the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Peter Mwesige, the executive director of the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), the leading professional journalism training institute in Uganda, says the President wants the Information docket under “someone who can bring order in the media”.

He says outgoing Information Minister Karooro Okurut was under pressure to introduce the Press and Journalist (Amendment) Act 2010 which was criticised by the media operators as an attempt tofurther  stifle independent media.

Semujju Nganda, a former journalist who is now an MP and Shadow Minister for Information and National Guidance says Karooro was moved possibly because of the mutual respect she has with the media.

“Karooro Okurut had an idea of how the media works, and because she is decent, it was easy for her to understand the media,” Ssemujju says.

Mwesige says Namayanja is expected to bring her “firebrand” approach.

“The president is still frustrated with the communication gap and is now looking for those who can respond in real time, which may explain why Okurut was moved,” Mwesige says, “Namayanja can respond to issues and take on people without being labeled an outsider.”

Taken in combination with Ofwono Opondo and Col. Shaban Bantariza, the Namayanja tenure promises to be an interesting combination of well-schooled propaganda, rabid intimidation, and further muzzling of independent media. That should work well for President Museveni who always clamps down on the media, including the government-run New Vision, during election time.

In September 2009, barely two years to the 2011 election, the government shut down CBS FM, Radio Two Akaboozi, Ssuubi FM and the Catholic-owned Radio Sapientia.

After the latest clampdown on two newspapers and two radio stations, Makerere University professor of media law, Frederick Jjuuko, told The Independent in an interview that such actions have a “chilling effect” as other media fear to report events independently. From The Independent.

UPDF promotions give Brig. Muhoozi control

BY HAGGAI MATSIKO

Museveni removes the last of bush war heroes, courts Buganda, north

When on May.23 President Yoweri Museveni announced a reshuffle in the army, it was a move to tighten his grip on the force following allegations of dissent over the rapid promotion of his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Museveni put in charge of UPDF administration four of his most loyal officers and removed two of the force’s longest serving officers that represented the last of his 1980s bush war comrades.

The Force’s former Chief of Defence Forces, Aronda Nyakairima, who moved to head the Internal Affairs Ministry and his deputy, Ivan Koreta, appointed ambassador to a yet to be named station, were the last of the 1980s  bush war heroes still in the UPDF.

Gen. Koreta was the last of the crop that started fighting in the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) that ousted former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and is among the first group of soldiers that trained with Museveni in the 1970s in Mozambique and in Tanzania to launch FRONASA.

Aronda joined the NRA bush war in 1982 after completing his Bachelors in Political Sciences.

Their departure clears the way for a younger generation of officers led by Museveni’s son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the commander of Special Forces, to take over the leadership of the UPDF.

Brig. Muhoozi is known to be influential among a young crop of very loyal officers who have been deployed in critical units of the force in the reshuffle.

Among them is his namesake, newly promoted Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, who takes charge of the UPDF’s biggest command, the Land Forces. Others are Brig. Leopold Kyanda who is the new Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, newly promoted Maj Gen. Samuel Turyagyenda who is new commander of the Air Defence Division, and Col. Emmanuel Kanyesigye who becomes commander of the 4th Division located in Gulu. He has been Fifth Division Operations Officer.

Brig. Muhoozi’s influence and grip on the UPDF is likely to soar because the closure of the generation gap and the purging of the war heroes who have often acted with a sense of entitlement because of, they say, the `sacrifice’ they made to put Museveni in power.

Gen. Katumba Wamala, the former Commander Land Forces who takes over from Nyakairima as CDF and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, who was formerly the Chief of Staff Land Forces, joined Museveni’s army after he captured power.

Gen. Katumba’s former post, as Commander Land Forces which is the UPDF biggest unit, is under Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, the former Commander of the Air Defence Unit.

The President also made his former trusted aide and bodyguard, Maj. Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the UPDF’s new Joint Chief of Staff (JACOS).

Katumba, Angina and Mbadi cannot brag of fighting in the bush and know that their greatest forte is their allegiance to Museveni.

Katumba, for instance, joined the Museveni army much later. He had been in the army that Museveni’s forces defeated, the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). His biggest posting in the Museveni government was when he served as police chief. In the UPDF, Katumba has climbed the ranks because he religiously obeys the powers that be and is said to be disciplined.

His deputy Angina is also a post 1985 war soldier. Angina’s biggest postings in the UPDF are military attaché at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington, Chairman of the General Court Martial, and Chief of Staff Land Forces.

Mbadi on the other hand was not known outside army circles until he became Museveni’s body guard. His promotion to head the Fourth Division in Gulu in 2012 surprised many as his ascension to JACOS has no doubt shocked many.

Mbadi replaced Fred Mugisha, who boasted of the 1985 war credentials, having followed his brother, Jack Mucunguzi in the bush in his teens. Mugisha who will now head a yet to be formed, National Counter Terrorism Centre.

While Mbadi, Katumba and Angina will be handling the administrative work of the army, these young officers, led by Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, will be in charge of running the operations of the fighting force.

The changes in the army leadership came as security operatives continued a siege at two closed media houses, the tabloid Red Pepper and Uganda’s leading independent newspaper, the Daily Monitor, and its sister FM radio stations, KFM and Dembe.

The media houses are being punished for publishing a letter alleging a conspiracy to assassinate those against plans to have Brig. Muhoozi succeed his father.  The letter was reportedly authored by Gen. David Sejusa, an advisor on Security to President Museveni and Coordinator of Intelligence Services who has since fled to Europe.

The letter’s contents, Ugandan authorities, claimed threatened national security by seeking to cause dissent in the UPDF.

Gen. Nyakairima was among those who, according to The Monitor report, Gen. Sejusa named among government officials to be targeted for opposing Museveni’s alleged plan to have his son, Muhoozi, succeed him.

With the promotions, according to analysts, Museveni has scored three hits with a single shot; he has dealt with internal opposition within the army and government, rewarded loyal cadres, and strategically deployed to ensure success at the 2016 polls.

By naming Gen. Katumba Wamala, a member of the largest and most influential tribe in Uganda – the Buganda, to the top of the army leadership and Gen. Angina, an officer from northern Uganda which has complained of marginalisation, President Museveni has sought to appease regions outside of western Uganda.

The concentration of top positions in the army and the government in the hands of people from western Uganda has become a major rallying point for Museveni’s opponents. From The Independent.

Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?

By John Mashaka  (email the author)

Posted  Sunday, June 2   2013 at  13:36

IN SUMMARY

Investors, foreign and domestic, must be encouraged to invest in domestic processing and manufacturing of both renewable and non-renewable resources.

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Asian countries have dominated much of the news in this decade over their economic growth and boom. Africa, on the other hand, has remained on the back burner. And yet its economies have been exponentially growing despite world economic troubles. Africa is poised to overtake those Asian tigers, becoming a global new economic frontier if it can establish itself as the new global manufacturing hub for its natural resources.

Among other countries, Tanzania could take a lead in pushing the continent into a new economic frontier. Due to its low cost of labour and abundant natural resources – ranging from minerals, oil, and natural gas to agricultural and non-agricultural natural resources – Tanzania and the rest of Africa are the new destination for the developed and developing economies thirsting for energy, food, and raw materials. Discoveries of mineral resources in many of African countries, especially those in Sub-Sahara Africa, point to the tremendous economic potential. Non-renewable fossil fuel discoveries along the Indian Ocean East African coastline are likely to generate significant amount of wealth, which could be converted into renewable resources which will in turn continue to produce wealth after oil and gas are long gone. Tanzania is a case in point. It must exploit her current natural gas boom by designing a blueprint that will see the country enter into the much needed industrial revolution to help uplift the living conditions of the people.

During the colonial era, most African countries were colonies that supplied raw materials for European industries. The colonial powers established authoritarian control over their colonies and people in order to extract resources from them as cheaply as possible. They did little in terms of infrastructural development. There was nothing more than railways and harbors built to carry raw materials to feed the industries of the North and never intended for future economic development. To date, Africa is the continent that has the most natural resources. Asian and western nations, along with their nationals, have discovered Africa’s potential in quenching their growing thirst for energy and raw materials for their industries. They are flocking to Africa in large numbers. Flights from Dubai, Doha, and Addis-Ababa into Dar es Salaam, are 80 per cent filled with young men and women of Asian descent arriving to seek the endless economic possibilities in Tanzania. Tanzania and most African countries are like modern day colonies, where emerging powers and developed nations battle it out over natural resources. They are taking jobs away in the form of exports of raw materials and unprocessed minerals. The Tanzania government on its part must urgently design a policy that will ban exportation of raw materials in order to promote domestic industrialization. This process will in turn create jobs for the youth and wealth for the people.

Investors, foreign and domestic, must be encouraged to invest in domestic processing and manufacturing of both renewable and non-renewable resources. Developed and developing nations, which have been engaging in economic cooperating with Tanzania, for instance, now have the opportunity to support the country by investing into domestic processing and manufacturing. Their long time purchase of the country’s raw materials at a throw away price, processing it, before selling it back as expensive finished goods, has not been equitable business practice.

Tanzania is a lucrative market that is continuing to grow. With a population of 44 million people, and the growing middle class, Tanzania is a gold mine that will not only propel the country into another frontier, but also likely to improve the living condition of its people if our abundant natural resources are properly managed and processed domestically. From The Citizen.

LETTERS

Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can

 

The history of Rwanda is mostly acrimonious and sad, culminating in 1994 genocide that claimed almost a million lives. President Paul Kagame’s role in this history is still being written but suffice it to say when he and his RPF brigade stomped into town that July 1994 their first official task was to collect dead and mostly decomposing bodies from the streets homes schools even churches.

Today 17 years later Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world. The cleanliness all around surprises any first time visitor to this stunningly beautiful country.

On the global stage the country enjoys respect. On the UN Doing Business Index, it is third in Africa. Corruption is almost negligible. Rwanda is now popularly referred to as the new African Dawn. A nation can truly be risen from the ashes.

The one resounding lesson we draw is: Africa can work, it is possible, and really that if you make the decision to, there is really no one stopping us. I do not know of any case where a determined people who made their very best effort to uplift themselves from poverty failed. All that Africa needs is to determine that we want better and I am sure we will get it.

I know some will then say that many African countries lack good leaders. I find that a lame excuse. There is something national leadership and governments can do for us. But there is a lot more that people must do for themselves.

The work ethic in Africa by the ordinary man and woman on the street is very wanting. We are mainly victims of ourselves.

ANDREW NGANGA, Kigali From the Daily Nation.

Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth

In their letters to the editor Wangari Buku (NationMay 28), H. P. Pauline (Nation, May 31) and Peter Muthaura (NationJune 1) decry the falling standards of English. Many other writers to the editor have raised similar concerns. As a teacher of English I cannot agree with them more.

It is true that the standards of both written and spoken English have fallen to alarming levels. Consequently, the quality of education has plummeted. English, being the language of instruction, has a direct bearing on the other subjects examined by the Kenya National Examinations Council.

Today we have professionals who cannot effectively hold a conversation with their clients. Due to language barriers, the quality and efficiency of service delivery has also suffered.

The education stakeholders need to go back to the drawing board and ask when the rains started beating us. Why can’t our learners pronounce basic English words accurately?

Sheng has contributed too. However, whining about sheng does not help solve the matter at hand.

Year in year out Knec decries the deteriorating levels of insha and composition yet the stakeholders are never in hurry to address this worsening situation
Let us start somewhere.

When the science subjects were not being well performed at the national examinations, the stakeholders came up with measures to address that. That is how the Kenya Science was borne.

Years later they established SMASE which was a deliberate move to strengthen science and mathematics subjects in our schools. Today these subjects are way ahead of languages. Last year alone the then minister for education lauded the sterling improvement on these subjects.

English and Kiswahili are vital in all careers one pursues. It is for this reason that I urge the stakeholders in education to find ways of turning around the performance of languages. Until that is done we will continue lamenting as standards fall.

ASHFORD KIMANI, Nairobi
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Sheng to blame

I have been following the discussion initiated by Wangari Buku with the subsequent contributions by Ms Elderkin and Muthaura among others. I find that a lot of young people are in too much of a hurry to care about precision (in all matters, not just in language).

I read comments in the Daily Nation on-line edition and any time someone comments on poor grammar/spelling there is a big chorus of “grammar police” which I find rather disconcerting. I think the problem starts with our glorification of Sheng.

TONY LAW, Nairobi From the Daily Nation

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.