LATEST AFRICAN NEWS FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE 30/5/2013

Dear employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust,

 

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest newsfeed of African news, taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa.

 

The Centre hopes that you will be informed by the selection presented, in accordance with its policy of presenting as wide a range of reporting as possible, but with the discipline of editorial impartiality, honesty and integrity; and refusal in all circumstances to transmit propaganda, or material that is offensive in racial, pornograph, defamatory, slanderous, or libellious terms.

 

The Centre in all its activities strives to operate on an ethos of openness, fairness, and inclusion of all the employees in the Trust, for whom a deepening of cultural understanding can only be beneficial. Sadly, the Centre cannot say the same of the Trust’s senior management.

 

In fact, the Centre has found the Trust’s senior management to be a covert, neo-totalitarian and blinkered corporate bureaucracy unwilling to admit of its mistakes and the need for reform; and cutting right across the grain of our otherwise open, free and fair society in Great Britain.

 

In terms of its relations with the general public, the Trust’s Senior Press Officer, Ms Joanne Triggs, has not responded to legitimate questions from a serious, trained and professional journalist; and its Complaints Department, headed by Mr Antony Adkin, a crucial point of interface with the general public, is inefficient, and has failed to comply properly with the procedure set out in its Complaint’s booklet on the Trust’s website.

 

The Trust’s senior management  has also attempted to to set so-called ‘terms’ through its legal representative, Mr Stuart Marchant of the Trust’s solicitors Bevan Brittan, on research by a serious, trained and professional journalist. The research has exposed signal deficiencies in the Trust’s operations that can be traced back to bad management.

 

It is clear to the Centre that reform in the Trust should start with a radical restructuring of its senior management, one where overweening and ossified bureaucracy is replaced by responsible officials, with a proper grounding in and knowledge of psychiatry. 

 

And in general a culture of openness should replace one of closed and paranoid, secretive defensiveness.

 

The senior management has had every opportunity to comment on this description, for it was sent to Mr Marchant yesterday with ample time to do so.

 

So it is time for ‘winds of change’ in the Trust,  just as it was for African countries in the mid-twentieth century, and the Centre will do all it can within legal boundaries to help these winds to blow freely.

 

From Wikipedia:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_of_Change_(speech)

 

The Wind of Change speech was a historically important address made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the Parliament of South Africa, on 3 February 1960 in Cape Town. He had spent a month in Africa visiting a number of British colonies, as they were at the time. The speech signalled clearly that the Conservative-controlled British Government intended to grant independence to many of these territories, which indeed happened subsequently, with most of the British possessions in Africa becoming independent nations in the 1960s. The Labour governments of 1945–51 had started a process of decolonisation but this policy had been halted by the Conservative governments from 1951 onwards.

The speech acquired its name from a now-famous quotation embedded in it. Macmillan said:

“The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.”

 

P.S.: When sending out yesterday’s African newsfeed and comment and opinion to employees of Black origin in the Trust, some of the emails were blocked, especially for junior nurses. This means that somebody was preventing the emails from reaching you. Whoever it was, was effectively censoring what you read. And that person or body blocking you from receiving emails from the Centre was also blocking you from receiving emails from elsewhere, which might be important to you, such as an email from your family in the country you came from. This was then a heinous and callous action on the part of the individual or body that blocked your emails.

 

CONTENTS:

 

Nigeria: Plot to impeach Amaechi thickens; Emergency rule: Reps want Jonathan’s power on states’ funds reversed; from the Daily Independent; TF operations: NEMA deny reports that 6,000 Nigerians fled to Niger Republic; from the Daily Post;

Kenya: Kenya police raped, tortured refugees in ‘rampage’; from New Vision/Reuters;

Sudan: Bashir’s remarks are part of military campaign, says NCP figure; South says Sudan plans to derail cooperation deal; Juba and Khartoum in “delicate place” over Abyei, US warns; from the Sudan Tribune/Agencies;

Ghana: MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM; from The Chronicle

South Africa/C. Africa: S. Africa death toll in C. Africa coup rises to 15; from Modern Ghana/AFP;

Zimbabwe: SADC: Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe, Zanu PF; from the Zimbabwe Mail

Sierra Leone: APC Negotiates another $Billion Chinese Investment; from Awareness Times;

Zambia: Fall in copper prices unsettles Fall in copper prices unsettles CMZ; from the Times of Zambia;

Uganda: Rot in Kyambogo; from The Independent;

 

 

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

•South South Gov mandated to finance plan, co-opt seven more lawmakers •Gov’s suspension, political terrorism –Bishop Ajakaiye •NGF election controversy shameful, says NIPPS alumni boss

By Donald Ojogo, Stella Odueme-Omona (Abuja), Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Yaqoub Popoola (Ado-Ekiti)

Apprehension was rife in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, on Tuesday night following the news that some “Presidency-backed Abuja politicians” had concluded plans to impeach the Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
Daily Independent gathered from authoritative sources that five out of the 32-member state House of Assembly were scheduled to carry out the impeachment of the Governor after being provided with “enough security on the orders of the Presidency.”
But the Presidency debunked the story on Tuesday, saying, “It is an unimaginable conjecture; a rumour by those who feel their patronages in Rivers are already on the verge of waning.”
Regardless, as a prelude to the anticipated impeachment, the Felix Obuah-led Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has concluded plans to approach a Federal High Court to obtain “compelling order” to vacate the “no suspension order” placed on it by a state High Court over the suspension of 27 state lawmakers.
The unfolding drama seems to be a confirmation of the disclosure by Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree, shortly after his suspension and 26 other members from the PDP that there were subterranean moves by forces against the Governor to effect an impeachment, using a fake mace.
By PDP constitution, only the state chapter of the party has the powers to deal with matters relating to, or affecting state officials except the Governor and his deputy.
According to one of our sources, the Rivers State chapter of the PDP has already made arrangements with a top Federal Government official, an indigene of the state, to engage the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to begin the process that would lead to an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“We have been reliably informed that a fake mace has been smuggled into the state to enable five members of the House hold an emergency session even when the House adjourned sine die on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
“The Abuja plan is to falsely impeach the Speaker and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and create confusion through varied responses, which they hope will make the state ungovernable and provide them with some kind of warped basis to introduce emergency rule in Rivers State,” the Speaker had said before the re-election of Amaechi as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) last Friday.
Efforts made to reach Amachree were not successful, as his line rang out without any response.
Also, the state chairman of the PDP, Obuah, could not be reached as his telephone line was switched off as at press time.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak, described the purported plot as laughable.
“How can people descend so low to think that only five members of a state Assembly can impeach a sitting Governor; I mean, this is just too laughable.
“It is just one of the blackmail stunts that the Governor of Rivers State has decided to embark upon because it is simply an unimaginable conjecture; a rumour initiated by those who feel their patronages in Rivers are already on the verge of waning.
“But let me make this point, even at the risk of repetition that, Mr President is a democrat who is interested in following the rule of law; how can people be so callous to think like that?
“As far as we are concerned, the Presidency is not involved, Amaechi is just crying wolf where there is none,” Gulak said.
But despite the Presidency’s denial, Daily Independent gathered that a meeting was held in Abuja on Tuesday where some anti-Amaechi chieftains of the PDP mandated a Governor from the South South to raise N7 billion with which to lure seven more lawmakers into the impeachment plot so as to make their numbers 12.
This, our source said, is to avoid the hulabaloo that may trail any attempt to impeach the Governor with only five lawmakers.
Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye, also spoke on Tuesday, decrying the controversy that trailed the NGF election on Friday.
Ajakaye, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, described the turn of events in the aftermath of the NGF election as “politics of terrorism.”
He said it is dangerous for the nation’s fledging democracy.
He also condemned the suspension of the Rivers State Governor by his party, PDP, for daring to exercise what he termed his (Amaehi’s) fundamental human rights.
He described the suspension as absurd.
“I sincerely detest the actions of those who are always eager to ‘burn other people’s houses in order to boil their eggs’.
“Nigeria belongs to us and we must not allow any group or individuals to destroy our heritage. By God’s grace and the efforts of all genuine patriotic Nigerians, the efforts of our past heroes and heroines will never be in vain,” the cleric said.
President of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), Lawrence Onoja, also described the controversy surrounding the NGF election as shameful and a setback for Nigeria’s democratic process.
Onoja, who spoke at a dinner, ‘Meet-the-Press’, in Abuja on Monday called on the Governors to go to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos, to undergo leadership courses to improve on their capability in election processes.
“The recent unfortunate outcome of the NGF election in which 36 Governors could not count 36 votes is a setback for democratic process. Indeed, the incident that characterised the election deeply saddened AANI.
“We strongly condemn the incident and wish to call on the Governors to immediately put their house in order and refrain from any action that may threaten our collective security. NGF should emulate the internal democracy of AANI.
“We strongly recommend that Governors have refresher leadership course in NIPSS, Kuru in Jos, to enhance their capacity and broaden their patriotic national outlook,” Onoja, a former military Governor of Plateau State, said.
He said President Goodluck Jonathn has the responsibility to have a bipartisan approach to governance, adding that “informal gathering like NGF is not a substitute to constitutional National Economic Council.”
“All the game plans for 2015 should give way to good governance in 2013. We need all hands on deck to address critical challenges facing the county today to be sure of a country in 2015.
“Experience of Nigeria has shown that democracy has its own challenges but the alternative which is military rule will be certainly worse,” he stressed.
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), Dino Melaye, on Tuesday described the suspension of Amaechi by the PDP as “democratic dictatorship.”
According to him, Amaechi was suspended by the hierarchy of the PDP simply because he won re-election as chairman of the NGF.
He believes that the events that characterised the conduct of the election are a pointer to what will happen in the 2015 general elections and that Nigerians must be prepared to resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the election.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, will commission the new secretariat of the faction of the Governors’ Forum led by Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang.
The development is coming five days after the rejection of the re-election of Amaechi by 18 governors who had endorsed Jang as their chairman prior to the election.
Daily Independent reliably gathered that the new secretariat is located on Alvan Ikoku Street, Maitama Abuja.
Pending the appointment of a substantive Director-General, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu has been appointed interim administrator of the factional NGF.

 

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

By Rotimi Akinwumi, Snr Correspondent, Abuja

Less than one week after the National Assembly granted blanket power to President Goodluck Jonathan on the implementation of the state of emergency in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states, the House of Representatives on Tuesday made a U-turn, demanding that the President must be stopped from having access to the funds of those states and their local governments.

Both the Senate and the House had agreed last week that the President be granted power to control the resources of the states and their local governments.

The House had earlier during its own discussions on the official gazette on the emergency proclamation rejected clause 3(e) which provides “for utilisation of the funds of any state or local government in the emergency area.”

But the clause was adopted later when the conference committee set up by the House to harmonise the differences between its own version of the proclamation and that of the Senate agreed to the passage of the clause.

A member of the House, Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, however, brought a motion to the plenary on Tuesday to draw the attention of his colleagues to the mistake made in allowing the contentious clause 3(e) to pass through.

El-sudi, in the motion entitled, ‘Need to Amend the Emergency (General) Regulations, 2013 Pursuant to the Emergency Powers Act 1961 and Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended,’ said the House erred in allowing the clause to stay as it runs contrary to the letters of the Constitution.

He agreed though that by virtue of Section 305 of the Constitution, the President has powers to issue proclamation of a state of emergency in the federation or any part thereof subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

El-sudi, however, noted that the House as a whole erred when it allowed the request of the President to control the resources of the states and the local governments in funding the military operations in the states where the emergency proclamation was in force.

He noted that the action of the House has generated condemnation from Nigerians, especially indigenes of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and a near consensus of opinion among Senior Advocates of Nigeria and constitutional lawyers across the country questioning the constitutionality of the said section.

El-sudi also said he was concerned over the Supreme Court interpretation in a plethora of decided cases of the intent and purport of Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as amended on the finances of the states and local governments and on whether Federal Government via National Assembly can validly make laws conferring powers or imposing duties on state functionaries.

All these, he said, made the decision of the House illegal as the affected states are sure to win in court whenever they take the government to court to claim their rights.

Majority of the members who were at the plenary agreed with his position on the issue but a member from Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda, rose in opposition to the motion.

In his argument, Chinda noted that the President needed the power given to him on the emergency declaration and that the House and the opposition should allow the President use the state resources in funding the military actions and wait to see the results.

He insisted that it was better not to  prioritise lives above money, and that “if the money is needed to restore peace to the affected areas, so be it.”

He was backed by Henry Daniel-Ofongo and Warman Ogoriba, both PDP members from Bayelsa State.

However, his comments drew the anger of his colleagues who kept interrupting his speech with shouts of “no, no, no” as he made his points.

House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, could not stomach the claim by Chinda that the Constitution is always suspended during emergency proclamation, as he quoted copiously from the Constitution to fault Chinda’s claim.

The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, in his comment, said the lawmakers should not be seen to demonstrate institutional arrogance in the face of evidences and submissions of eminent Nigerians that part of the adopted Conference Report was against provisions of the Constitution.

When the motion was put to vote, only the three opposing members were the ones who didn’t vote for the motion, as the rest 194 members who were at the Tuesday sitting supported the motion.

In the end, the prayer that the clause be deleted completely as well as asking the Senate to concur and adopt the deletion, was passed.

TF operations: NEMA deny reports that 6,000 Nigerians fled to Niger Republic

By Wale Odunsi on May 29, 2013

The National Emergency Management Agency has denied media report that 6,000 Nigerians have crossed the borders into the Republic of Niger in an attempt to flee the operations of the Joint Task Force in Borno State.

The Director General of NEMA, Mohammed Sani-Sidi, in a statement on Tuesday, said the Agency’s record shows that about 2,367 persons have crossed the border, out of which 126 are Nigerians and have since been registered by the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey.

Sani-Sidi stated that, “We want to state categorically that from information available to us, about 2,367 persons have crossed the border from Kashagar, Baga and Kuros communities all in Borno State to Diffa in the Republic of Niger. Out of this figure, 126 are Nigerians while the remaining are citizens of the Republic of Niger who have returned home due to the ongoing crises in the North East.

“We also wish to add that the National Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency and the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey have already registered the 126 number of the displaced Nigerians that have crossed into the Republic of Niger with a view to providing them with necessary humanitarian supports.”

The NEMA boss therefore maintained that the report was unfounded and not true.

He called on the media and concerned Nigerians to direct all further inquiries on the matter to the agency for clarification.

“I wish to further reiterate that in the spirit of the mutual cooperation between NEMA and the media, the doors of the Agency are always open for enquires on humanitarian issues affecting the country. In conclusion, let me add that the media and members of the public should avoid unnecessary speculation on matters of national interest,” he added.

Kenya police raped, tortured refugees in ‘rampage’


Kenyan police tortured and abused more than 1,000 refugees, asylum seekers and Somali Kenyans in Nairobi in a “10-week rampage” beginning in late 2012, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Wednesday.

The abuses were part of a police crackdown that began the day after an attack on a crowded bus in the Somali-dominated suburb of Eastleigh, which killed seven people, HRW said. No one claimed responsibility for the blast.

Kenya has experienced a series of gun and grenade attacks since it sent its soldiers into Somalia in 2011 to drive out the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab.

Police raped, assaulted, robbed and arbitrarily detained Somali and Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers, as well as ethnically Somali Kenyan citizens, HRW said.

“Every person we interviewed said the police accused them of being terrorists and then extorted money from them,” Gerry Simpson, the report’s author, said at a press conference.

Kenyan police did not respond to repeated calls for comment on the report, which was based on 101 interviews and is HRW’s fourth in four years documenting Kenyan police abuse of Somali refugees.

The government spokesman also was not available to respond to the report.

The report said the scale of the latest crackdown was “unprecedented”. Somali women described being gang-raped by policemen, and people were beaten on the streets, in trucks or in their homes until they lost consciousness, spat blood or broke bones, it said.

Refugees said they were detained for days in police cells without explanation until they paid bribes.

“Personal gain – not national security concerns – was the main reason police targeted and abused their victims,” the report said.

HRW said the police were emboldened by a December government directive ordering an estimated 100,000 urban refugees to move to two camps on its northern borders.

In January, the High Court blocked the planned relocation. At this point, the abuses ended, HRW said. The court is due to rule on the legality of the directive in June.

Many refugees have lived in Nairobi for decades where they can own businesses, attend school or receive medical treatment. None of these opportunities are readily available in the refugee camps, which are severely overcrowded and lack basic services.

The Kenyan government has repeatedly said that it would like the Somali refugees to return home as soon as possible.

HRW called on the Kenyan government to investigate and discipline those responsible to deter future abuses.

Simpson said that Nairobi refugees are living in fear.

“There is clearly anticipation of further violence if Kenya’s political leaders decide they want to move people from the cities or force them back to Somalia,” he said. Reuters 

Bashir’s remarks are part of military campaign, says NCP figure

May 28, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) leading figure and MP, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani, expressed reservation on remarks made by president Omer Al-Bashir about negotiations with rebels and South Sudan.

After the recapture of Abu Kershola on Monday, president Bashir said that Sudan would neither recognise nor negotiate with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) or the holdout rebel groups in Darfur and threatened to cancel all cooperation agreements signed with South Sudan.

On Tuesday Ghazi told reporters that “Bashir’s remarks were part of a political speech delivered during a military campaign”, adding that the “final decision on these issues is up to the NCP’s institutions”.

Ghazi, who was a former presidential advisor, was sacked last month from his position as a leader of the NCP bloc at Sudan’s national assembly following remarks in which he said that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir is constitutionally barred from running again for presidency.

Commenting on the cooperation agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, Ghazi said they are likely to be breached, changed, or amended if one party doesn’t carry out its commitment, calling upon the two governments to meet their obligations with regard to those agreements.

He added “if one party breaches its obligations, the other party has the right to do the same thing’.

He further called for open discussions with Juba on accusations regarding South Sudan’s support for the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

Ghazi stressed the difficulty of verifying security breaches along the border between Sudan and South Sudan which is a round to 2.000 km, noting that it is not easy to comb the border effectively.

Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels fighting in two states that border South Sudan. Juba denies supporting the rebels, known as Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), and in turn accuses Khartoum of backing insurgents on its territory.

Ghazi was a member of a 10-member group including Bashir, Nafie and Ali Osman Taha who stood against Turabi in 1999 because he demanded to hand over power to civilians and to give regions more autonomy.

However last November he denied his arrest by the security service with the former head of security and intelligence director Salah Gosh and some radical military calling for reform in the ruling party.

Despite that rumours continued to circulate about Ghazi and his relations with the this group of military and other Islamists calling for reform within his party and the Islamic Movement.

But once again he denied these speculations reaffirming his “aspirations for reform”.

Ghazi also acknowledged in statements he posted on the Facebook his connection to the group of radical army officers, adding that authorities did not accuse him for involvement in the coup.

He further stressed his refusal for military coups and the use of violence in politics, advising the government to equally share power and wealth and strengthen the central state.

Ghazi said the way out of the current impasse can be reached through a national dialogue leading to an agreement over a new political regime based on two pillars of justice and freedom. After what, he added, can be addressed security and economic crises and free elections can be organised in 2015.

He further underscored that fair division (of national wealth and power) between the centre and periphery is necessary to impose security on all over the country.

South says Sudan plans to derail cooperation deal

May 28, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan on Tuesday dismissed its northern neighbour’s claims that it supports rebel opposed to the latter, saying the allegations were a mere plot to derail agreements both countries signed last year.

Speaking at a media briefing in the capital, Juba, the country’s information and broadcasting minister said the new nation was committed to peaceful dialogue and settlement of all outstanding issues with Sudan, which he said, could only be achieved through the implementation of the September 2012 agreements.

“We have said this number of times that the republic of South Sudan does not provide any support to any of the rebel groups in Sudan and our commitment to peaceful resolution is demonstrated by our actions especially in the implementation of the cooperation agreement,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

We have all withdrawn our forces from the border areas and this has been verified and confirmed by the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the international force, which the two parties had agreed to extension of their monitoring and verification activities along border line, he added.

The minister’s remarks cam a day after the Sudanese president, Omer al-Bashir threatened he would order cut-off of oil flow of oil from South Sudan, should the latter allegedly continue to providing support to rebels.

“Such threats from president Bashir clearly show intentions and plans to derail peace process. The production of oil and export through Sudanese territory has economic benefits for both countries,” Marial told journalists.

He further warned that a halt in South Sudan’s oil flow would deprive citizens from both countries benefits associated with oil resources.

While meeting South Sudan president Salva Kiir, early this month, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti claimed Khartoum had evidences that some circles in the Juba government continue to support the rebels opposed to the northern regime.

Karti further transmitted a demand from Bashir asking to allow the Sudanese troops to chase them inside the South Sudanese territory and to close some business offices in Juba allegedly importing military logistics for the rebel groups.

But president Kiir announced that he had rejected these requests as the deployment of joint patrols with the cooperation of a UN force permits to monitor the common border.

In September of last year, the two countries signed a series of cooperation agreements which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, and border trade among others.

After several months of an apparent setback, the two parties signed an implementation matrix in March of this year for these cooperation agreements.

However observers agree that mistrust will continue to prevail between the two countries unless the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is peacefully settled.

(ST)

Juba and Khartoum in “delicate place” over Abyei, US warns

May 28, 2013 (JUBA) – The US government has warned Sudan and South over the contested region of Abyei, saying the two countries were in a “delicate place” regarding the status of the oil-producing region.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, said Abyei remains one of the significant challenges, which the two Sudan’s will have to settle, alongside the other outstanding post-session issues.

“I think North and South [Sudan] are in a very delicate place right now. It is important to build on the peace process, the comprehensive peace agreement, to build on the new independence of the young state, and to put the focus and energy on the people and on developing the future, not on fighting the issues of the past,” said Kerry, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

That’s our challenge, all of us, and we are certainly going to continue to work at it, he added.

The senior US official further pledged his government’s support for conduct of a referendum in the contested region, which he said was the only way to resolve the conflict. He however stressed that the voting should exclude the nomadic Arab members of the Misseriya tribe allied to Sudan.

“Abyei presents a special challenge, obviously. And I think we agreed that it was critical that Abyei be able to have a referendum with the appropriate Miseriya – that is the Miseriya who actually live in Abyei and have residence there year round, not the migrant Miseriya – that they be able to vote together with residents and then to decide the future”, Kerry’s statement reads in part.

Last year, the African Union mediation team proposed holding a referendum in Abyei this October, but that only those residing permanently in the area will be allowed to vote in the plebiscite and decide whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan.

This proposal would effectively make the majority of voters come from the Dinka Ngok tribe, aligned with South Sudan thus putting the Arab Misseriya nomads, who spend several months in Abyei every year for grazing, at a disadvantage.

The mediators said that the exclusion of the Misseriya nomads comes in line with the decision of the Hague-based arbitration court, which defined the territory of the Ngok Dinka nine chiefdoms in July 2009.

However, Sudan swiftly rejected the plan, which received the blessing of the AU Peace and Security Council, suggesting the matter be referred to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make it binding.

South Sudan president, Salva Kiir last week urged African leaders to provide the necessary support needed for resolution of the final status of Abyei.

Kiir, who was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the inception African body, also rejected Sudan’s proposal for formation of a joint interim administration in the area, arguing that time for the referendum was running short and that it is imperative that only a referendum commission is established in order to organise the vote.

Luka Biong Deng, a senior members of the south-ruling party (SPLM) said president Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omer al-Bashir could not agree on the formation of the joint interim administration in the region.

“Our President Salva Kiir met Sudanese president Omer El Bashir today, but they did not agree. President Kiir expressed the need to establish the referendum commission but Bashir insisted on the formation of joint interim administration first”, Deng told Sudan Tribune from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, Edward Lino, the Co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight committee representing South Sudan said Tuesday that the people of Abyei will not accept any more delay of the referendum beyond October this year.

He called on the people of South Sudan and the international community to provide support needed for the conduct of the vote in the area, saying the vote will only determine the fate of the region.

(ST)

 

MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM

By Emmanuel Akli

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has assured peace-keeping soldiers and officers who have been swindled by importing companies transacting business with them that all the necessary steps would be taken to help them recover their money.

Speaking to The Chronicle in reaction to the story published last week Friday, and headed SOLDIERS HIT BY $500K SCAM, the Director of Public Affairs of the GAF, Col. Mbawine Atintande, said the military high command had taken the issue serious, and would do everything possible to ensure that the affected soldiers received justice.

When asked whether legal action could be brought against the erring companies by their victims,   Col. Atintande said that would be the discretion of the individual soldier, but the GAF, as an institution, would make sure that the sweat of the soldiers, whilst on peace-keeping abroad, did not go down the drain.

Explaining the circumstances that led to the soldiers coming into contact with the importing companies, Mbawine said the GAF, in its efforts to support the welfare of soldiers, allowed the companies to sell their services to the former.

Under this arrangement, the companies would visit the soldiers whilst they are preparing for their peace-keeping duties outside the country to sign contracts with individual soldiers to supply them with whatever electrical gadgets they would like to import.

Brochures are then sent to the soldiers whilst on duties abroad to finally select the gadgets they would like to import.

After the selection, the cost of the gadgets is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping allowances paid to the soldiers, and lodged into the account of the company the soldiers had contracted.

According to Col. Atintande, because, sometimes, orders received by some of the importing companies are not enough to warrant their importation, they inform the head of the mission, who also informs the soldiers who have signed up with that particular company to look for a new one to do the importation on their behalf.

Col. Atintande regretted that sometimes some of the companies fail to inform the mission about their inability to do the importation for the latter to also stop the payment of the goods the soldiers had ordered into their (company) accounts.

He noted that if the military authorities are informed by the companies about their inability to import the goods on behalf of the soldiers on time, there would be no need to deduct the money at source and paid into the accounts of the defaulting companies.

The military man cum journalist further told The Chronicle that the military command was initially dealing with foreign companies, but because their profits were kept in their countries of origin, they decided to shift to Ghanaian-owned companies, so that the huge amount going outside the country would rather stay here in Ghana, but they have been disappointed with the attitude of some of these Ghanaian companies.

He, however, promised that the military would pursue them to ensure that every pesewa they had illegally pocketed from the sweat of the soldiers is reclaimed.

He, therefore, appealed to the soldiers to exercise restraint, as their superiors work around the clock to get their money back for them.

Meanwhile, the following is how The Chronicle reported the earlier story which has elicited the above comments from the Director of Public Affairs.

The Ghana Armed Forces is one of the most disciplined military institutions in the world, but why the leadership of such a noble profession sat down for importing companies to fleece soldiers who went on peace-keeping duties, remains a puzzle.
Information pieced together by The Chronicle indicates that importing companies which transact business with the Armed Forces have duped soldiers on peace-keeping duties to the tune of almost $500,000, but the Military High Command appears not to be doing much to help the affected soldiers redeem their money.
What has even rankled the soldiers is the allegation that some top military officers, who are on retirement, are behind the formation of some of these companies, which have used subtle means to squeeze the money from the soldiers.
Investigations by The Chronicle revealed that anytime soldiers are preparing to go on peace keeping duties outside the country, these importing companies, which have been sanctioned by the Ghana Armed Forces, would flock to their training grounds at Bundase to transact business with them.
In most of the cases, the companies convince the soldiers to allow them import items such as fridges, corn mills and electrical gadgets on their behalf, whilst serving outside the country.
The cost of the items imported is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping money paid to the soldiers. This is after the soldiers have filled forms indicating the items they want, which also serves as an agreement between they and the importers.
The Chronicle gathered, however, that some of the companies (names withheld for now), after collecting the value of the items requested by some of the soldiers from their superiors through deductions at source, failed to deliver without proffering any tangible explanations.
The conduct of these companies is said to have severely affected the soldiers, especially those who use more than half of the allowances that would have accrued to them to import some of the aforementioned items.
This reporter learnt that at a point in time, some of the angry soldiers even arrested a secretary to one of the companies, which had duped them, and attempted to detain her in the guardroom, but the action was stopped by senior officers.
Some of the soldiers told The Chronicle that the training that they go through at the Bundase training camp before they emplane to carry on with peace-keeping duties outside the country, mostly in Liberia, Congo, and Lebanon among others, was very tedious, therefore, for the companies to fleece them of their hard-earned money was unfortunate.
When contacted, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, told The Chronicle that such an arrangement, which also serves as a welfare scheme, exists in some units of the Armed Forces.
He, however, dismissed the suggestion that the leadership of the Army had failed to act after the issue was brought to their attention. To him, the soldiers must be courageous to approach their leaders, especially their Commanding Officers (CO), with whatever problems they may have, instead of rushing to the media.
“Who did they report to, and did the officer fail to do something about their problem?” he asked. When he was told that the soldiers did inform the appropriate authorities, Col. Atintande doubted that, insisting that if such a complaint had been lodged, the soldiers would have been told about whatever action their superiors had initiated.

 

S. Africa death toll in C. Africa coup rises to 15

By AFP

CAPE TOWN (AFP) – South Africa said Wednesday that the death toll arising from its deployment to coup-hit Central African Republic has risen to 15.

Thirteen soldiers were killed and 27 wounded as rebels moved on Bangui which fell on March 24.

But two others have since succumbed to their wounds with the latest dying at a Pretoria military hospital on Monday, the defence force said.

Another soldier died last month.

The deaths marked South Africa’s worst military loss since the fall of apartheid.

South Africa’s government faced a backlash over the deployment of troops to Central Africa, amid accusations of deals with ousted leader Francois Bozize and ruling party business interests.

Any wrongdoing has been strongly denied.

SADC: Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe, Zanu PF

BY DUMISANI SIBANDA

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent regional diplomatic offensive has paid-off following a resolution by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe ahead of the make-or-break elections later this year.

The summit, whose date is yet to be set, will review the implementation of outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) — that ushered in the inclusive government — the election roadmap and election funding.

Tsvangirai last month took a diplomatic tour to sensitise Sadc leaders to press President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement outstanding issues of the GPA and urged the regional bloc to convene a special summit on Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections.

The state media – The Herald and ZBC – however — dismissed his tour as an exercise in futility.

But in an interview yesterday, Sadc facilitator, South African president Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said Zimbabwe was discussed at a Sadc meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit golden jubilee celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.

“It was agreed that a summit of the Sadc Heads of State be held where the issue of Zimbabwe will be discussed. That summit will receive a progress report on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement following the constitutional process,” Zulu said.

“It will clear the way for elections. The three political parties in government will have to agree on the roadmap to elections. They have to agree on what has to happen prior to the elections, during the elections and post elections. The date of the summit has not been set, but the meeting will be held soon.”

This flies in Mugabe and Zanu PF’s claims that Sadc — as the guarantor of the GPA — had given Zimbabwe “the nod” to hold the elections and that the planned extra-ordinary summit was merely to raise funds for holding the elections.

Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters on his return at Harare International Airport on Monday that Sadc had resolved to hold the summit to solely raise funds for the elections following the successful completion of the new constitution.

But Zulu said: “There is no way the issue of funding elections can be looked into in isolation. The funding will come from Zimbabwe itself. Zimbabweans will say if they need funding assistance.”

Zanu PF had all along insisted that the harmonised elections would be held on June 29 this year when the life of the current Parliament expires, while the MDC parties insist on the fulfillment of outstanding issues such as security sector and media reforms first.

Tsvangirai yesterday welcomed Sadc decision on Zimbabwe.

“It’s a welcome development. The Prime Minister welcomes any summit on Zimbabwe. But definitely the summit will not just be about discussing the funding of the elections. It will obviously look at issues around the hygiene issues . . . the environment for holding the elections,” his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

“It will obviously look at issues to do with the implementation of the reforms required under the GPA before the holding of free and fair elections. Remember Sadc are the guarantors of the GPA and from the outset their mandate was to help Zimbabwe have free and fair polls.”

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said they were happy with the development.

“You remember that our President Welshman Ncube wrote to Sadc detailing all the issues that are outstanding, but necessary for the holding of free and fair elections and that is what we want the special summit to attend to,” he said.

On March 28 this year Ncube wrote to the Sadc Troika chairman Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete saying his party was being excluded from the process of drawing up the roadmap to the elections and the need for full implementation of the GPA as a pre-condition for holding free and fair polls.

The Livingstone Sadc summit in 2011 recognised Ncube as a principal in the coalition government, but he has complained that he is being sidelined by partners in the inclusive government, Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe needs at least $253 million to hold the harmonised elections. The country, which has suffered years of economic hemorrhaging, does not have the money and has taken out its begging bowl to South Africa and Angola. – NewsDay

 

APC Negotiates another $Billion Chinese Investment

 

May 29, 2013, 17:26

 
 

 

 

4 4 4: The APC Sun keeps Shining

The APC-led government of Ernest Bai Koroma has Tuesday May 28th 2013, signed a Bilateral Joint Venture in Agriculture with the Chinese at State House. The investment of over one billion dollars will see irrigated rice being grown to feed Sierra Leoneans. Rubber will be grown & processed here for eventual foreign-exchange earning export.

Over five hundred million dollars is reported by Agriculture Minister Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay as being available to be deployed into Venture. He informs that 250,000 acres of rubber and 87,500 acres of irrigated rice investment will be undertaken.

 

Chinese Embassy sources inform that on March 15th 2011, Chinese Ambassador Kuang Weilin made a courtesy call to Dr. Sam Sesay during which Weilin said China is willing to share its experiences and promote mutually beneficial cooperation with Sierra Leone in Agriculture. The Agriculture Minister had expressed the hope that Chinese businessmen will come to invest in Sierra Leone Agriculture for which he was invited in November to visit China’s Hainan Rubber Company.

The hardworking minister was then able to convince the Chinese to invest in Sierra Leone. As a result, feasibility study visits were undertaken by Chinese teams which led to formulation of technical, financial, legal and environmental Documents for the Bilateral Joint Venture between China and Sierra Leone.

 

Minister Sam Sesay informs there will be a grace period of 9 years for repayment of the loan. Interest rate will be 2% and annual equal repayments expected over a subsequent period of 25 years. A rubber factory and a rice mill are all expected to be constructed as part of the investment which will employ some 22,000 persons and build a road network spanning over 400km.

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

By Dotun Akano, Reporter, Lagos (with Agency Reports)

Armed pirates attacked an oil products tanker off the coast of Nigeria and abducted an unknown number of crew, security sources said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian-flagged MT Matrix was boarded by gunmen in the early hours of Saturday about 40 nautical miles off the coast of oil-producing Bayelsa State, two security sources said, in a stretch of water often targeted by pirates.

There were 12 Pakistani and five Nigerian crew aboard the vessel when it was attacked, one of the sources said.

A spokesman for ship operator, Val Oil Trading, who declined to give his name, confirmed there had been an “incident”, without giving further details.

A military spokesman in the Delta referred calls for comment on Tuesday to Nigeria’s Navy Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a Navy spokesman, said there had been no report of a hijacking made to officials.

Some shippers in the region don’t report hijackings publicly, out of fears of having their insurance premiums rise.

Telephone numbers for Pakistan’s High Commission in Abuja, could not be immediately connected on Tuesday.

Nigerian Naval authorities listed the ship as one of several allowed to bring subsidised gasoline into the country in May as part of a programme costing the nation billions of dollars a year.

Naval officials listed the ship as being operated by a company called Integrated Shipping Services Nigeria Ltd.

 

Fall in copper prices unsettles CMZ

Posted May 29, 2013

 

By KENNEDY MUPESENI  –

THE Chamber of Mines of Zambia (CMZ) has noted with deep concern the downward trend of metal prices, especially copper over the last few months on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

In a  statement released yesterday, CMZ said  the downward trend in copper prices coupled with the general increase in other costs,  meant that mining operations would have to look at a range of ways to contain such costs.

“Mining operations are unique in the sense that each mine has its own characteristics and cost structure,” the statement said.

It stated that old and deep underground mines have high production costs, while the open pit mines generally have challenges with the grade of copper in ore and high stripping ratio the degree of impact of the lower metal prices and higher costs was therefore different for each mine.

The CMZ assured the public that while all its members were exploring a spectrum of ways to contain costs at their various operations, they have invested in the industry and the country and that,  they were planning to become active participants in the Zambian economy for many years to come.

CMZ stated that movements in metal prices were cyclical adding that, members would only be taking measures that were necessary to ensure the continuation of operations in this difficult period.

 

Rot in Kyambogo

 

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 09:14 BY JOAN AKELLO

Mismanagement, fraud, unhygienic conditions take centre stage as public university goes to the dogs

The arrest and eventual prosecution of seven top administrators of Kyambogo University is only a tiny indication of the rot going on at one of Uganda’s leading public institutions. The arrests appeared to cap a difficult period for the institution, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons ranging from student and staff strikes, fraud involving billions of shillings and administrative wrangles.

But the administrative chaos is not the only problem at the public institution.   Sanitation is pathetic, putting the lives of thousands of students at risk.  A sewerage crisis resulting from leaking sewers, is yet to be dealt with.

Two halls of residence – Portal and Stanley – have faulty taps and showers. The taps are running all day and night and have not been fixed for close to two months.  Secondly, in Portal Hall, water oozes out from the pipes and floods the floor. The shower heads are also faulty.

Some halls like Owen were closed due to poor sanitation and the sorry state of its facilities.  Rubbish especially litter is common place, for example, around the security office, Guild Café and lecture halls. Roads are a terrible mess and stagnant water is everywhere.

One student leader told The Independent that when he reported the issues to the Estates department, he was told that the University did not have money. “So the university has money to waste in paying high water bills but no money to repair faulty taps?” The student leader wondered.

The government coughed Shs 226 million for water and Shs 767.8 million for electricity in the university’s budget for 2011/2012. As the wastage continues, it is also projected that this figure will remain the same for 2012/2013, though the university will get Shs 300 million from non tax revenue, majorly from tuition fees, to foot the water bill.

On the academic front, students have decried the late release of results while others say they are released in bits.  “My results for industrial training for last year have not been released but I have already been given placement for another one this year,” one student said.

Another student said that by May 13, results of Automobile Engineering for Year Three and Microfinance for the same year had not been pinned on the notice boards yet it is already examination time for the new semester. “What if I have missing marks, this is the uncertainty you have to live with at this university,” she said.

Some students are said to connive with lecturers to better their grades, cancel retakes or even buy examinations.   Some say Course not Completed (CNC) is common for finalists to get as part of their final results.

A former student told The Independent that he was given CNC because his marks for a certain course unit  in year one  were missing and that he also had three retakes in his first semester Year two, yet  he had never had missing marks nor retakes  as indicated on the notice board.

One lecturer said that this usually happens due to human ‘error’ meaning a certain student may have bought marks or had them changed.

Most people at the university who The Independent talked to said they were not surprised by the tuition scam. What they said surprised them was how long it took to uncover it.  The procedures for paying tuition and receipting it are prone to abuse and need an immediate overhaul.

There are cases where officials write receipts even before the money is paid in the banks. Desk officers, their unofficial agents and accomplices, solicit for willing students to be accomplices in the fraud.

Official reports say Shs 5.5 billion could have been lost in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alone due to fraud in tuition fees.

Students are issued fake examination cards and the registration process is abused including falsification of receipts.

An accountant working at another university told The Independent that the manual tuition fees payment system is what Kyambogo needs to change. With the manual system, students pick slips from the reception then go back to accounts or the desk officers at their respective faculties or departments for registration. With a population of over 25,000 students, there is little room for verification because of the pressure.

Makerere changed this system several years ago in a bid to eliminate such problems. Today, a student at Makerere pays in the bank but because the bank’s computer system and the university’s are linked, the information is shared in real time.  Students can then get an electronic printout of their statements from the Bursar’s office and then process their examination cards.

Administrative wrangling

For Kyambogo, some of these problems are historical and would require a strong leader to overhaul them. The embattled Prof. Ndiege, who came a year after an interim management was dissolved and restructured in 2008, was determined to bring about change, but he was kicked out by the Council.  Lutaalo Bbosa, the first VC after the merger, was also pushed out of office when some staff got disgruntled.

Fresh recruitment and an overhaul of management and the council may be the only solution to redeem the university from its limbo.  Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Education and Sports appears to be powerless, but would want the ministry to consider a collegiate system as a way of dealing with the rot.  But that is in the long term.  What the authorities will do in the short term is what could bring some stability, which still eludes the institution.

Examinations are going on smoothly amidst the rift between the Council and the IGG over the estranged Vice Chancellor Omolo Ndiege. Observers say the standoff and eventual outcome of the court cases could open the door for more reforms in the quasi manner the institution is administered.

Last year, the University Council sent Prof. Ndiege on leave, after the council received complaints from staff over Omolo’s leadership style. It instituted an adhoc committee before taking action, but many say its decision was a knee-jerk reaction.

This, according to observers, was because of the bad blood between some Council members and Ndiege. Indeed, Ndiege  accused the Council of blaming him for all sorts of  things including  failure to  initiate  procurement,  collect house  rents, late release of  results, lack of water, dirty toilets, delayed  payments,  cross-checking  vouchers,  low staff morale, sexual  harassment, reprimanding  errant staff, sponsoring  negative  articles in  newspapers, intimidating  staff, unswept classrooms among other  things. Though he has been away for several months, the situation is only getting worse.

Now, different camps have emerged, those who back Ndiege and those who support Prof Opuda.  While Lawrence Madete, the Kyambogo public relations officer, says some are not bothered by the drama, the rifts have left the university sharply divided.

“He came with the attitude of a sweeper but his people management skills created a problem,” Madete said of Ndiege. “He is a high flyer, bright but also arrogant, which tends to rub some people in the wrong way.”

While appearing before the Parliamentary Social Services Committee that was investigating the problems in Kyambogo University, the University Secretary Sam Akorimo also blamed the leadership style of prof. Ndeige, which he said “was not fit for any university.”

Akorimo said Prof. Ndeige’s style was characterized by barking at staff, disrespect, inability to listen, and witch-hunting members of staff who hold divergent views.

Some staff who spoke to The Independent say Ndiege called himself ‘Chief Executive Officer,’ – thus usurping the powers of the University secretary and that he used security officers to witch hunt them.  However, some of the staff who support Ndiege say that his opponents are either sour grapping or unhappy that he blocked payments of responsibility allowances.

In a letter, dated October 19, 2012,  to the parliamentary committee investigating the mess, Victor Locoro, a staffer in the Faculty of Special needs and Rehabilitation, said Ndiege was not popular because of his ‘unbending strictness’ against fraud.

“There is reason to  believe that this allegation is a plot  by a group of staff and some members of management with indiscipline and or fraud –related  interests to  get him out of office  to  allow room for them to pursue  their selfish  motives  especially now that  the university is  expecting to receive a Shs 72 billion grant  from the African Development Bank,” Locoro wrote.

He said some officials were making fraudulent teaching claims, and that there was gross abuse of overtime and extra load provisions.

For some time, concern has been rife about the rapid disappearance of the university’s land, until the IGG stopped any transactions involving the university’s land. Other assets like vehicles and repairs are abused with careless abandon.

Also in a mess is the system of paying lecturers. In Kyambogo, a lecturer is paid for marking coursework, tests, setting an examination, invigilating during examinations and marking examinations scripts.  This is separate from what the government pays full time staff and also what the university pays as top –up.  Because there are more part–timers, the latter benefit more from such claims.

A full time staff member said the problem in the university is that staffs are paid for everything they do, yet it does not make economic sense to pay a teacher to set an exam.

“The systems are all broken; some departments do not have computers or even chairs for staff so how do you expect them to do research or even mark scripts and release results in time? Another lecturer asked.

 

Please send any comments and/or queries to the Africa Centre Co-ordinator at: jamesbodgener@gmail.com

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

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