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

Warmest greetings. Today the rapidly evolving African newsfeeds and accompanying comment and  opinion taken daily from newspapers right across and down Africa moves into a new phase: the creation of a blog which can be accessed without any concerns , including security ones, by all interested in Africa.

The link to paste into your search engine for the blog website is:

The creation of the blog stemmed in the first instance from the blocking of the Africa Centre’s emails to employees of the Trust, by whom or which agency remains unknown, but the Centre has been critical of the Trust’s senior management.

That for the Africa Centre now is ‘water under the bridge’, and the Centre carries no grudges, for to do so is poisonous, and vitiates the soul and meaning in life.

However, the Centre here would like to quote from Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous, incisive and sarcastic foreword to Frantz Fanon’s ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, the seminal prospectus for anti-colonial freedom fighters, written at the height in 1961 of the vicious, seven-year independence civil war in Algeria:

Europeans, you must open this book and enter into it. After a few steps in the darkness you will see strangers gathered around a fire; come close, and listen, for they are talking of the destiny they will mete out to your trading-centres and to the hired soldiers who defend them. They will see you, perhaps, but they will go on talking among themselves, without even lowering their voices. This indifference strikes home: their fathers, shadowy creatures, your creatures, were but dead souls; you it was who allowed them glimpses of light, to you only did they dare speak, and you did not bother to reply to such zombies. Their sons ignore you; a fire warms them and sheds light around them, and you have not lit it. Now, at a respectful distance, it is you who will feel furtive, nightbound and perished with cold. Turn and turn about; in these shadows from whence a new dawn will break, it is you who are the zombies.

Nor has the Centre lowered its guard; it will always be on the alert for any attempt to censor or repress its essentially benign purpose; the delivery of accurate, impartial and balanced information, in a way that is not offensive, racial, pornographic, defamatory, slanderous and libellious; and is presented to you in good faith and as fair comment.

Most importantly, the Centre’s mission is inclusive – and having the blog will enable you, dear reader, to comment, tell us where we are going wrong, and advise us on how best to improve our service to you.




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

Nigeria: Jonathan challenges critics, says he has performed; from the Daily Independent;

Nigeria: Nobody can impeach Amaechi, says Rivers Assembly Leader, from the Daily Independent;

Nigeria:“We need your help to conquer insurgents” – IGP tells Nigerians; from the Daily Post;

Nigeria: Nobody can impeach Amaechi, says Rivers Assembly Leader, from the Daily Independent;

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe not ready for “credible” election: EU; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

Sudan: Sudan army increasing security around Abu-Kershola perimeter; from the Sudan Tribune;

North/South Sudan: North & South Sudan fix oil export glitch: ambassador; from the Sudan Tribune/Reuters;

Uganda: Govt re-opens Monitor; from New Vision; Uganda police vacate Daily Monitor, Red Pepper premises; from the Star/Reuters;

Sudan: Security officer threatens South Sudan private TV station at gun point; from the Sudan Tribune;

South Africa: Diepsloot residents deny claims of xenophobia; from the Mail & Guardian;

Kenya: President Kenyatta suspends Justice Mutava; from the Star;

Kenya: March 4 polls free, fair – EU; from the Star;

Kenya: Kenya’s war on terror has been effective, say US; from the Daily Nation;

Tanzania: MPs want tougher line on graft; from the Citizen;

Zambia: Hold fire, KCM told; from the Times of Zambia;

Rwanda: Rwandans arrested in Britain over 1994 genocide; from Modern Ghana/AFP;

Sierra Leone: SLPP Thugs Assault SLPP Women; from Awareness Times;

Nigeria: Two killed as Fulani herdsmen attack Tiv communities; from the Daily Independent;

Uganda:Principal Judge decries extra judicial acts; from New Vision;

Uganda: New law to give local companies preference; from New Vision;

Uganda: Govt committed to northern Uganda development – VP’; from New Vision;

Tanzania/Rwanda: JK: New rail line, increased food production key priorities; from The Citizen.







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.




By Chesa Chesa and Sola Shittu (Abuja) Felix Igbekoyi (Asaba)

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday presented to Nigerians his mid-tenure performance report, challenging critics of his administration to provide the criteria they use to insinuate that he has not performed creditably in the past two years.

At a colourful event to mark the presentation of the report at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the President flayed his critics who underscore his achievements without specifying what indices were being used.

The event coincided with the nation’s 14th Democracy Day celebration.

But former President Olusegun Obasanjo fired a veiled salvo at the President at a different venue, saying, “You can only help someone to get a job; you cannot help him to do the job.”

Obasanjo, who spoke as Special Guest of Honour at an investment summit organised by the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, made an indirect reference to Jonathan, both of who many believe now disagree over the state of the nation and the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

President of the Senate, David Mark, on the other hand, for the umpteenth time admitted the challenges, including security militating against the nation, but expressed optimism that they are not insurmountable.

Regardless, the President, who noted that his ministers have said it all before he was called up to speak at the venue, added that he could not just help but make some remarks despite the score card he was making available to Nigerians.

He recalled his sterling qualifications that earned him the candidacy for the governorship of Bayelsa State in 2007, pointing out that his current position and achievements should be appropriately rated or assessed with clear cut criteria.

Brandishing the mid-term report as his marking scheme, Jonathan, a Phd holder and former lecturer, equally reminisced on his days as a teacher who assessed students with a marking scheme, and dared those who think he has not done well to present their own marking scheme.

“Only on Monday, one of the dailies did an assessment of the ministries and performance of ministers, and the first thing I looked for but didn’t see, is the criteria that were used to assess the performance of the ministers, because when people mark you, they should mark with marking scheme.
“A number of comments about the performance of this administration are based on the heart beat of people; sometimes people assess governments based on their heart beats.

“Two ministries – National Planning and Trade and Investments – were given average marks, but these two ministers’ performances in the last two years are unprecedented.

“In terms of businesses, (Trade and Investments minister) has attracted to the country, in spite of our security challenges, so many businesses want to come to Nigeria.

“Before now, Trade of Investment Ministry was like a dead end, but that has changed. Until Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning Minister) came on board before 2011, we never even knew we had a Planning Ministry; that is why I asked what were the criteria.

“I plead with those who want to write and assess us to prepare a marking scheme compare with previous governments and so on and so forth. Develop your marking scheme and mark us,” the President said.

What could pass as an executive summary of the mid-term report was presented by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim; Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Shamsudeen, who chaired the Presidential Committee on Mid-Term Report.

The 234-page ‘Mid-Term Report of the Transformation Agenda 2011-2013 …Taking Stock, Moving Forward’ contains highlights of sundry achievements recorded and previously presented to Jonathan at cabinet meetings and the public by the various ministers at different public fora.

According to the report, government has been able to stabilise the exchange rate in the last two years between N155 and N160 to a dollar while inflation rate has also slowed to 9.1 per cent from 12.4 per cent within the period under review.

The report also shows that Nigeria’s external reserves have increased from $32.08 billion in May 2011 to $48.4 billion as of May 2013 with Excess Crude Account ECA increasing from $4 billion to $6 billion in 2013.

Out of the 14 key policy objectives of the Federal Government’s reform programmes set in 2011, government said it has already achieved eight as at mid-term, implying an above-average performance.

Noting that the administration’s policy was to reduce recurrent expenditure and complete unfinished capital projects, the reported disclosed that “recurrent expenditure has dropped from 74.4 per cent of total budget in 2011 to 68.7 per cent in 2013”, while an Envelop System has been developed to enable ministers prioritise uncompleted capital projects.

Annual borrowing has also fallen from N852 billion in 2011 to N588 billion in 2013, and the country’s debt has reduced, with GDP alongside some other countries comparing as follows: Nigeria -21 per cent; South Africa – 42.7 per cent; SSA -34.2 per cent; USA – 106 per cent; Japan – 225 per cent; and UK – 90 per cent.

Prominent guests at the event were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar; former President Shehu Shagari, ex-Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan; and First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

On hand to deliver goodwill messages were American civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, and former Interim Head of Government of Liberia, Amos Sawyer, while some traditional rulers, religious leaders and members of the diplomatic corps also graced the event.

Conspicuously absent were other former Heads of State, Ibrahim Babangida; Muhammad Buhari; Abdusalami Abubakar; as well as Speaker of House Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who had his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, stand in for him.

Obasanjo, at the Dutse event, said the performance of Lamido as Jigawa State Governor had shown that he was prepared for the job.
He noted that the performance should be an invitation to higher calling, adding, “That is if he agrees to do, but if he does not agree to do, there is nothing an Obaanjo can do about it.”

His audience believed that Obasanjo was making veiled reference to the 2015 Presidential ambition of Lamido.
He had earlier said the road to Jigawa from Kano was better than that from Lagos to Ibadan, drawing a parallel between Lamido and many other Governors in the country.

The former President had shunned invitation to the presentation of mid-term report by Jonathan in Abuja to attend the Dutse event.
Of further significance was the presence of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria at the event.

In his own remarks, Mrak said, “All we need is a collective resolve to confront our challenges and find a lasting solution to them.”
He spoke at the service to mark the 2013 Democracy Day at St. Mulumba Catholic Chaplaincy, Apo, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Mark explained that the state of emergency proclamation in some states of the federation was a last resort to tame the lingering menace of insecurity and bring normalcy back to the land.

The Senate President charged every Nigerian to be a good apostle of peace in the country to facilitate delivery of the dividend of democracy.
He reiterated that the nation was currently passing through some difficulties, especially in the areas of security and socio-economy challenges.
“We can collectively resolve to say enough is enough. All our efforts towards development would come to naught if the crisis continues.

“The state of emergency proclamation on three states was a last resort to curtail the unabating insurgency. And I know it is yielding positive result. Very soon, it will be over as our military formations are living up to the task,” Mark told the congregation.

He thanked Nigerians for their perseverance and cooperation in the propagation and sustenance of democracy, adding that democracy is a process everyone should uphold in order to benefit from its dividends.

“It was by choice and design that the nation chose democracy as the best form of government. Democracy promotes rule of law, upholds human rights, freedom of speech and indeed participatory.

“Whichever faith or religion, I urge Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, unity and progress of the nation,” he added.
Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, also spoke in Asaba on Wednesday at a reception to mark the Democracy Day shortly after commissioning some roads and schools projects in the state, saying the President has done well in handling the crisis with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

He said it was unfortunate that the President has to experience the disturbances but said he has done well, and appealed to people of the South-South geo-political zone to rally round Jonathan.


“We need your help to conquer insurgents” – IGP tells Nigerians

By Emmanuel Uzodinma on May 30, 2013

Nigeria’s Inspector General of police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, on Monday, said it would be difficult to win the war against insurgents in the country without the police’s partnership with members of the public.

Abubakar stated this during a South-East geopolitical zone Intelligence Sensitization and Community Partnership workshop held in Enugu.

The Police Chief who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of police A.I.G zone 9, Umuahia, Solomon Arase, said no Police Force in the world, no matter how well equipped, trained, and remunerated could achieve its policing mandate without intelligence and community support.

Abubakar stressed that the Nigeria police like its counterparts across the world could not curtail the menace of crime and criminalities without the cooperation of the citizens, as well as strategic stakeholders, particularly at the grass roots.

The IGP further indicated that the workshop was designed to “enlighten citizens at the grass roots level, strategic political office holders, our revered Royal fathers, and other strategic security stake holders on their obligations within the internal security structure of the country”.

“It is also expected to engender the spirit of security consciousness among citizens at local level, encourage community partnership and political support in the intelligence functions of the force”, he added.

In his speech, while declaring the workshop open, Governor of Enugu State, Barrister Sullivan I. Chime, represented by the Hon Commissioner of Commerce and Industry Dr. Jude Akubuilo assured the Inspector General of police of the readiness of Enugu state to partner with the police Force in crime prevention and detection.

In his speech, the chairman Senate Committee on police affairs,Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu appreciated the efforts of the Inspector General of police towards the organization of the workshop across the geo-political zones of the country.

According to him, the awareness was in line with a growing global trend which now emphasized community based intelligence and security networking with a view to ensuring proper data gathering for credible intelligence.

A communiqué is expected at the end of the workshop.





By Sylvester Enoghase, Oyeniran Apata (Lagos) and Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt)

MAJORITY Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Chidi Lloyd, on Wednesday warned those who are plotting to impeach the state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, not to waste their money to bribe people because “impeachment will not work.”

He said while he believes that President Goodluck Jonathan has no hand in the Rivers State crisis, the President has a duty to intervene.
Lloyd spoke in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent in Port Harcourt.

There have been speculations in town that some pro-Presidency politicians in the state have been plotting to impeach Amaechi in the aftermath of the controversial election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) which he won on Friday but which Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, is also claiming to have won.

“The President has said many times that he has no hand in what is happening in Rivers State. I believe him. But he should be reading newspapers to know exactly what is going on here and intervene accordingly,” Lloyd added.

He believes that the Presidency cannot probate and reprobate at the same time.

“They should do something about this matter”.

On Democracy Day celebration, the lawmaker pointed out that “here in Rivers State we are not celebrating democracy day because we are being hounded and castigated for winning an election. We don’t even know whether today is a democracy day”, he stated.

Lloyd added: “What you can call democracy is only feasible in Rivers State where the dividends of democracy are there for everyone to see. Those who are attacking Governor Amaechi are not attacking him for non-performance.

“In Rivers State there is nothing there for us to celebrate when the police are working with the militants to destabilise the state. They have taken us to the past.

“Look at what is happening in some parts of the state in recent times. These bad people are back to destabilise the peace of the state.”
He enjoined Nigerian political leaders to eschew every form of bitterness and work for the enthronement of an enduring democracy that all citizens would be proud of.

Lloyd is one of the 27 lawmakers suspended by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state led by Felix Obuah.

He noted that Nigeria was merely groping in the dark, saying a good democracy has as its characteristics tolerance, justice and respect for human feelings, not “rule of force and intimidation.”

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on his part apologised to Nigerians on the outcome of the NGF election, insisting though that his colleagues voted for Amaechi.

He said this on a live telecast on the Lagos State Television (LTV) tagged ‘6th Anniversary Public Interaction with BRF’, adding that the post election crisis and controversy was a joke gone too far.

“I am not proud about what we have done. I think we will find another method to clear this and I can only say to Nigerians irrespective of what happens to the election that we are sorry,” he said.

Fashola, who expressed regrets having to speak about the conduct of his colleagues in public, explained that the evidences were clear that the election was won by Amaechi.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also warned state Governors embroiled in a feud over the outcome of the recent NGF election not to unnecessarily overheat the polity.

The Congress also honoured some of its departed heroes by naming some edifices after them.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held till late Tuesday night in Abuja, the NLC noted that while the Governors had the right to organise themselves, it should be within the civilized norms of society.

A communiqué at the end of the meeting reads in part: “Congress therefore refuses to believe that Governors who are themselves beneficiaries of supposedly credible elections cannot organise themselves, a class of 36.

“This presupposes that something fundamentally must have gone wrong somewhere. Whatever it is, the Governors and their fellow travelers in power should quickly fix it.

“As critical custodians of people’s mandate and grand beneficiaries of our democracy, there are certain things Governors must not be seen to be doing.”
The communiqué was signed by Abdulwahed Omar and Chris Uyot, President and Acting General Secretary of the congress, respectively.

“In the light of the foregoing, we call on our Governors to create value around, as well as restore dignity to their office: get back to work instead of unnecessarily overheating the polity: not to put in jeopardy our hard earned democracy; respect the process and outcome of their election.”


Zimbabwe not ready for “credible” election: EU

Zimbabwe still has much work ahead of it if the country is to hold a fair election this year, a top European Union official told journalists in Harare.


“I think there is still a lot to be done if elections are to be peaceful and credible,” EU Managing Director for Africa Nicholas Westcott said during a visit to the southern African nation.

The country recently passed a new constitution in a national referendum.

This paved the way for general elections later this year which should end a fragile coalition government between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.

In light of the new constitutional path Zimbabwe has taken, the EU recently removed some sanctions which targeted Mugabe’s inner circle.

A fair election could push the EU to remove further punitive measures.

Zimbabwe is also in need of cash to hold the election, as the treasury says the state cannot foot the bill. The country entered into a prolonged period of economic collapse more than a decade ago, owing to Mugabe’s policies which included the seizure of white-owned farms.

There has been an economic rebound in recent years, but the recovery is slow and unsteady.

“Our criterion for funding the elections is that we are confident that we are contributing to elections that will not be skewed,” said Westcott.

“I have been looking if we can get assurances that the money will be well spent towards goodwill objectives,” he added.

Zimbabwe’s last election in 2008 was rife with fraud, intimidation and violence targeting the opposition, media and civil society groups.


Meanwhile political violence has left dozens injured in Harare South.

The area surrounding Crest Breeders on the outskirts of Harare turned into a combat zone on Tuesday as ZANU PF supporters indiscriminately attacked a group of MDC activists.

Crest Breeders falls under Harare South, the only parliamentary constituency held by ZANU PF in the Harare metropolitan area. The incumbent MP, Hubert Nyanhongo is ZANU PF’s deputy Minister of Energy and Power development.

The retired army officer has abandoned the constituency and has now set his sights on the Nyanga North seat held by the MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonozra.

Jacob Mafume, the newly elected MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Harare South, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that the unprovoked attack left a number of party activists injured, three of them seriously.

The lawyer-cum politician deplored the attacks and urged leaders in ZANU PF to act immediately to address the political violence and intimidation that their supporters still use against the MDC.

Mafume, currently a legal advisor in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, said it is clear many of ZANU PF’s leaders use political violence to prevail in elections. He explained that such struggles for political office are often waged in the streets by criminal gangs, recruited by politicians to help them hold on to power.

‘Our supporters were attacked on the pretext that Harare South is a ZANU PF stronghold and no one should dare wear anything other than ZANU PF regalia.

‘But the margin of victory in the 2008 elections is not that wide to suggest it’s a ZANU PF territory. What we have is an orchestrated campaign by known people intending to butcher their way to victory in Harare,’ Mafume added.

He stressed that the attackers are well known figures in the area, but have not been arrested because of their political connections.

‘The problem we have in this country is people speak in forked tongues on electoral violence. The more people in ZANU PF preach peace, the more their supporters prepare arms of violence,’ said Mafume.

The level of violence has reached a point where party principals in the GPA urgently need to restrain their supporters. President Mugabe has lately been saying that elections should be peaceful, but the ZANU PF leader has made similar pronouncements before, but they have never been followed through by any action.


Sudan army increasing security around Abu-Kershola perimeter

May 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army is conducting combing operations around the recently-reclaimed area of Abu Kershola in South Kordofan to increase security around its perimeter, a military commander said today.

Brigadier General Adel Ali al-Kanani was quoted by privately-owned Ashorooq TV as saying that their goal is to make Abu Kershola as safe as it was in the past so that life return completely to normal.

In late April, rebels from Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), who aim to topple the regime of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir took control of the area as part of a wide offensive that saw them briefly occupying North Kordofan’s second largest town, Um Rawaba.

This week the Sudanese government announced that it retook Abu Kershola but rebels claimed it withdrew voluntarily for humanitarian reasons.

Ashorooq TV said that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) seized a large number of military vehicles and equipment while destroying many others.

Its reporter said that he saw many burned vehicles and bodies of rebel soldiers scattered in the streets of Abu Kershola.

Sudan state media published photos attributed to SAF media allegedly showing burned vehicles and rebel corpses in Abu Kershola.

The area’s mayor Mohamed Ismail said that rebels ransacked Abu Kershola leaving it in a state of destruction by looting the market and houses and taking medicine out of the hospital.

He pointed out that a committee formed by the state government of South Kordofan including a number of ministers and advisers arrived in Abu Kershola to inspect the situation and get in touch with citizens who persevered over the past period.

A local committee is working on assisting displaced residents with returning to their homes. It has urged authorities and NGO’s to provide urgent humanitarian aid to help in their repatriation process.


North & South Sudan fix oil export glitch: ambassador

May 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The neighbouring states of Sudan and South Sudan fixed a technical issue at an export facility that forced Juba to cut its production by half last week, an official said today.

South Sudan’s ambassador in Khartoum, Mayan Dut Wol, told Reuters that his country’s oil shipment should be loaded in the second half of June.

“The oil is flowing… We expect it to arrive on the 13th, 14th or 15th in Port Sudan,” Wol said, adding that it would be loaded on vessels around June 20.

Last week, Juba accused Khartoum of instructing oil companies to stop production from some oil fields which threatened to drastically derail a deal signed last March allowing for resumption of oil flow after more than a year of being suspended.

The Sudanese government however, denied this saying that it s a result of a technical issue.

Officials at the South Sudan’s petroleum and mining ministry said the stoppage began when security operatives “tied nuts” and chased away oil workers from the Tharjath oil field in Unity state.

At the time, South Sudan president Salva Kiir pledged to halt oil production if Khartoum continues these “playing tactics”.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir this week himself warned Juba that he will shut down the pipelines carrying oil from the landlocked south into the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan if it does not stop backing anti-Khartoum insurgents.

But South Sudan ambassador downplayed Bashir’s threats describing it as an “emotional” outburst of the president which he has got used while growing up in Khartoum.

“I am not shocked,” Wol told Reuters. “We know the president, we know him,” he said, laughing.

He said bilateral meetings have been going on normally since the speech for both sides to work out details on oil, trade and border security deals which were incorporated in last March’s implementation matrix.



Govt re-opens Monitor

By Vision Reporter

The Uganda Government on Thursday morning announced the re-opening of The Daily Monitor. Hours later, after a meeting with the directors of Red Pepper, they were also re-opened.

Statements below:

On Monitor

On Red Pepper


1.    On the 7th day of May 2013, the Daily Monitor published a classified letter headed “proposed investigations” dated 29thApril 2013 purportedly written by Gen. David Sejusa, addressed to the Director General, Internal Security Organisation and copied to a number of senior security officers, including the Chief of Defence Forces and the Director General, External Security Organisation.

2.    Soon after that publication, the Police initiated investigations to establish the authenticity of the letter published by the Daily Monitor.

3.    According to the preliminary inquiries, it was established that the Director General, Internal Security Organisation, to whom the letter was addressed, as well as the officers to whom the letter was copied never received it.  Evidently, it was only the Daily Monitor in possession of the letter.

4.    The Police commenced investigations by asking the journalists and the editors of the Monitor to explain how they got the letter and also to avail the letter.  However, the Monitor employees declined to cooperate.

5.    Subsequently on the 9th of May 2013 the Police summoned the two journalists who were the authors of the story as well as the Managing Director, Monitor Publications Ltd. They reported to CID Headquarters on the 14th of May 2013. However, they refused to co-operate with the Police.

6.    Given the lack of co-operation from the editors and journalists of the Monitor Publications Ltd, on 16 May 2013 the Police applied for and obtained an Order from Court compelling the Monitor Publications Ltd to avail not only the document but also state its source. Again the Monitor Publications Ltd declined to respect the court order.

7.    Subsequently on the 20th of May 2013, the Police decided to go to court again and, this time obtained a search warrant authorizing the search of the Monitor premises for the letter as well as any other document related to or similar to it.

8.    On the 24th of May 2013, the Police was served with a court order canceling the search warrant earlier issued. Noteworthy, the order canceling the search warrant was issued by the same Magistrate who had earlier issued the search warrant. The Police found this to be highly irregular and has challenged the order and the matter is before courts of law.

9.    In order to facilitate the continuation and completion of the search, the Police invoked the provisions of S. 27 of the Police Act, which empowers Police to conduct searches without a search warrant.

10. It should be noted that from the time the search commenced, the Police treated the Monitor premises and had them sealed, as a scene of crime, because apart from the letter, certain crimes had been committed by the Monitor Publications Ltd in particular violations of the Official Secrets Act.

11. In the meantime the management of the Monitor Publications Ltd made contact with me and on the 24th and 25th May 2013 the Government and representatives of the Monitor Publications met in an effort to amicably settle the matter.

12. Later on Sunday the 26th of May 2013, the management of the Nation Media Group met H.E the President in Addis Ababa, where he was attending the AU summit, as a follow up to the above mentioned meeting.

13. As a follow up to the undertakings in the meeting between H.E the President and the Nation Media Group, a delegation led by myself met representatives of the Nation Media Group at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On the Government side, the meeting was attended by Hon. Rose Namayanja Nsereko, Minister for Information and National Guidance, Gen. Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Christopher Gashirabake, the Ag. Solicitor General and Mr. Ofwono Opondo, In-coming Executive Director, Government Media Centre. The Nation Media Group was represented by Dr. Simon Kagugube, Chairman Monitor Publications Ltd and Mr. Linus Gitahi CEO. In the meeting the Media Nation Group made written undertakings to the Government.

Specifically, the following are the highlights:

(i)          They highly regretted the story that led to the closure of the Monitor newspaper and KFM and Dembe Radio stations.

(ii)         They undertook that the Monitor newspaper will only publish or air stories which are properly sourced, verified and factual.

(iii)        They also undertook that the reporting in the Monitor newspaper will always be objective, fair and balanced.

(iv)       They undertook to be sensitive to and not publish or air stories that can generate tensions, ethnic hatred, cause insecurity or disturb law and order.

(v)        They acknowledged that there had been violations of their editorial policy by their Reporters and Editors in Uganda. They availed us with a copy of their Editorial Policy and undertook to ensure that both the letter and the spirit of the policy are respected.

(vi)       They undertook to tighten their internal editorial and gate keeping processes, to ensure that stories that impact especially on national security are subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny and verification process before they run.

(vii)      Further they undertook to seek regular interface with the Government of Uganda to ensure that the undertakings they have made will be respected and implemented.

(viii)    They undertook to ensure that the Monitor Publications Ltd will  observe and comply with the laws of Uganda. In particular they committed themselves to co-operate with the Police on the ongoing investigations.

14. In view of the above mentioned commitments and undertakings by the management of the Nation Media Group/Monitor Publications to the Government; and at the request of the management, the Police has called off the cordon of the Monitor premises so that they resume their normal business as police continue with the search.

Dated at Kampala this _30th_day of_May_2013.
Eng. Hilary Onek (MP)

Uganda police vacate Daily Monitor, Red Pepper premises

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – 00:00 — BY EUGENE OKUMU


The 10-day siege that crippled activities in the offices of Uganda’s Daily Monitor and Red Pepper has today ended after police officers who have been conducting searches in the premises vacated the offices today.

The vacation by police follows an order issued by outgoing Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek who directed the Daily Monitor, a sister company to Kenya’s Nation Media Group to be allowed to resume operations.

Trouble started for the newspaper and three other media outlets, Red Pepper Publications, KFM and Dembe FM, after they ran stories of an alleged letter from Uganda’s director of Security Services General David Sesuja.

In the letter, General Sesuja allegedly claimed that there is a conspiracy to groom Brigadere Muhoozi Keinerugaba to succeed his father Yoweri Museveni as the next president of Uganda.

Furthe to the claims General Sesuja asked the Director General of Internal Security Organisation to investigate allegations that there was a plot to assassinate top army and government officials opposed to the succession plan.

Uganda’s media regulator warned it would “penalise” excessive coverage about the Sejusa letter and a court ordered the Daily Monitor to hand over the document, a decision the newspaper has appealed.

“The police showed up saying they have a warrant to search our premises for the Sejusa letter so they cordoned off our premises and started searching,” Don Wanyama, Daily Monitor managing editor, told Reuters.


Security officer threatens South Sudan private TV station at gun point


May 30, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudanese security agents have raided the office of The Citizen newspaper at gun point, demanding that the daily not allow its television station to broadcast anything relating to political engagement and activities of the country’s vice president Riek Machar.

President Salva Kiir, who left for a state visit to Japan on Wednesday, recently removed various powers from his deputy including the chairmanship of a conference on reconciliation in the young nation.

Machar, who was one of the officials to see Kiir off from Juba airport, is rumoured to be considering putting himself forward to become the chairperson of the SPLM – South Sudan’s ruling party – at an upcoming meeting.

The Citizen’s managing director, Nhial Bol Akeen, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that a member of the security services visited his office and “demanded all programs should not be broadcast before they know about our reports”.

The security agents said it was a directive from the “headquarters” but did not specifiy of what institution, Akeen said, adding that the same security officers had last week warned his reporters “not to report on certain issues without consulting them or those relating to the activities relating to the vice president”.

The veteran journalist, who has been harassed by South Sudan’s police and security services on numerous occasions said “the security officer was furious and went to our station and threatened the manager at gun point. He told the manger point blank not to publish anything relating to the vice president”.

With Kiir in Japan, Machar is South Sudan’s acting president until he returns making it hard for the media not cover his activities.

“I do not understand how it will work as the vice president is currently the acting president and there is no way we can avoid covering activities relating to the national issues, since he is now the acting president”, Akeen said.

The media organisation have asked that the directives be made officially rather than through informal threats.

“It should be in a meeting or put it in writing so that it becomes official instead of coming with threats and attack. What they are doing is an attack on freedom and public right to access information”, he said.

Akeen said he suspects that the security agent who came to their offices must have been acting under instructions from individuals in the security institutions who want to control the media from covering certain issues; especially issues relating to current power struggle within the leadership of the country’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The government has denied having any such plan and that there was no information about the attack on The Citizen Television, saying they will find out who were involved in the act.

“I am not aware of this information and we will find out who of the security personnel were involved”, a senior officer in the office of South Sudan’s national security minister said on Thursday.

The officer, who did not want to be identified, said he was sure South Sudan’s security minister, Oyai Deng, was not aware of such a directive but said that he would prefer the media house to show responsibility in what they write or broadcast.

South Sudanese information and Broadcasting Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin could not be reached over the issue despite repeated attempts and several senior officials at the ministry declined to comment on the issue when contacted by the Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Journalists in South Sudan are increasingly complaining that the security services are forcing the young nation’s press to self censor in their coverage relating to the actions of the security services, human rights and corruption, and, since the Kiir-Machar row erupted, coverage of the vice president’s activities.

Last week the US envoy to Juba, Susan Page, said her government was “very concerned about the deteriorating levels of press freedom” in the South Sudan.

“The continued push back, intimidation and harassment of journalists is a violation of their rights and freedoms,” she said last Friday.

Page’s remarks came after the Committee to Protection of Journalists (CPJ) wrote an open letter to president Kiir asking him to address the deteriorating state of press freedom in two-year-old nation.

“We urge you to use the power of your office to ensure that journalists are allowed to work freely without harassment and censure from state security officials”, the letter says.

CPJ said it documented at least 12 cases of “attacks, harassment, and detention” of journalists in South Sudan in past six months.

“In all but two of the cases, security officials were the perpetrators. Security agents, including police, have routinely harassed, intimidated, and occasionally detained journalists,” the letter said.

Threats against the press not only violatte South Sudan’s constitution but also the values the ruling SPLM said it was fighting for during decades of civil war.

This year’s press freedom rankings published by Reporters Without Borders saw South Sudan drop 12 places from 124th to the 148th worst country on the list.



President Kenyatta suspends Justice Mutava



President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended Justice Joseph Mutava over allegations of misconduct after forming a tribunal to probe him.

This follows a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission made  on May 17.

The JSC sub-committee investigating Justice Mutava asked the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of the judge on the basis of three out of the nine complaints that the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had filed against him.

A statement signed by JSC deputy chairperson Prof Christine Mango said the commission was satisfied that the complaints disclosed sufficient grounds to petition the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Justice Mutava.

The LSK filed the complaint against Justice Mutava following a ruling by the Judge terminating the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni. The ruling caused a  public uproar with civil society and legal rights activists including the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) and LSK  questioning the judge’s credibility and describing his decision to acquit Patni as being a ‘miscarriage of justice.’


March 4 polls free, fair – EU

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – 00:00 — BY GIDEON KETER


EUROPEAN Union election observers have said that the March 4 general elections in Kenya were “overally successful, free and fair” despite reported flaws.

They have however said the processing of the final results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission “lacked the necessary transparency as party agents and election observers were not given adequate access to the tallying centres”.

Speaking yesterday in Nairobi while releasing the final report, EU elections observation mission chief observer Alojz Peterle said there are several lessons from the difficulties that arose during the process.

“During these challenging elections we saw many positive achievements that Kenyans can be justly proud of but we also observed several issues that need to be addressed in future,” he said.

“I sincerely hope that the success of achieving a peaceful election will move Kenya forward. In the last five years this country has shown that it can overcome difficulties by learning from the experiences of the past.”

The EU mission in the report said they discovered widespread minor discrepancies in the total tallies and between the numbers of the vote cast for the presidential and other electoral races.

However, the differences were almost all less than 1 per cent. The report states that this figure only “tends to imply tallying errors rather than fraud”. The report also said the use of technology to enhance the transparency of the elections was bound to fail as the time in which they were bought was not sufficient.

“The application of technology support to elections was not successful. This was due in large part to the attempt to introduce new technology less than a year and in some cases just months to the general elections,” the report said.

The report accuses the IEBC for failing to manage the procurement and implemention of experts warning on the use of technology in elections. It stated that more than 3 million Kenyans could not vote as they were locked out from registering as voters.

“While the biometric voter registration process was successful, the time allocated was insufficient to register all those entitled to vote. More than 3 million Kenyans were not registered and therefore were unable to vote in the elections,” the report said.

The report said the failure of the electronic voter identification devices created suspicion about the IEBC’s capability to manage elections. The report commends the Kenyan media and civil society for advocating for peaceful and transparent elections.

However, it states that the media at some point “filtered potentially disagreeable messages that did not conform to the calls for calm and patience”. It also commended the Judiciary for building trust among the Kenyans as the last resort to resolve any elections petitions fairly.

It stated that failure to apply the quota system and the constitutional principle on affirmative action, women participation in the elections was low and as a result no woman was elected senator or governor.

Kenya’s war on terror has been effective, say US

Posted  Friday, May 31  2013 at  04:26


  • The report hails “the long-awaited passage of Kenya’s Prevention of Terrorism Act.” Kenya also made “significant progress” in correcting deficiencies in its apparatus for preventing money-laundering on the part of terrorism financiers, the State Department says.


Kenya has been effectively fighting terrorism, the United States of America said in a new global report on terror.

“Despite Somali refugee issues, preparation for 2013 national elections, the threat of al-Shabaab, and ethnic, political, and economic tensions, the Kenyan government demonstrated persistent political will to secure its borders, apprehend terrorists, and cooperate in regional and international counter-terrorism efforts,” says the US global report on terrorism, issued on Thursday.

The State Department cites Kenya’s success in disrupting “several large-scale terrorist plots.” Positive mention is also made of Kenyan military operations inside Somalia, which resulted in“capture of the key port city of Kismaayo, al-Shabaab’s last major stronghold.”

The report hails “the long-awaited passage of Kenya’s Prevention of Terrorism Act.” Kenya also made “significant progress” in correcting deficiencies in its apparatus for preventing money-laundering on the part of terrorism financiers, the State Department says.

But Kenya “still has much work to do” in implementing the Prevention of Terrorism Act and in developing the capacity to “track, seize, and confiscate the assets of al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups,” the report adds.

It goes on to describe Kenya as “an active law-enforcement partner” in the State Department’s anti-terrorism assistance programme.

“Kenyan law enforcement agencies worked closely with the international community, including the US, to increase their counter-terrorism abilities, secure porous land borders and improve maritime security,” the report says.

In addition, Kenya cooperated with the US to secure “especially dangerous pathogens.” The government also enhanced its ability to prevent the sale, theft or accidental release of chemical, biological or radiological weapons-related material, the report observes.

Kenya paid a price for its commitment to fighting terrorism.

The report notes that at least 34 people have been killed and over 145 injured in more than three dozen terrorist incidents reported in Kenya last year.

MPs want tougher line on graft


By  Florence Mugarula

Posted  Wednesday, May 29  2013 at  22:28


This is despite the fact that a committee appointed by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi established that the official was involved in the irregular selling of public land in the municipality.

Dodoma. MPs on Tuesday accused the government of being reluctant to take disciplinary measures against officials who abuse their positions in Kinondoni District.

They said transferring such officials instead of taking them to court only succeeded in fuelling disputes.

The MPs were debating the 2013/14 budget estimates of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, which was tabled on Monday and passed on Tuesday.

They said most officials, especially in the Kinondoni Municipal Council, were abusing their offices by taking bribes and mistreating the people they were supposed to serve and yet the government responded by transferring them from one duty station to another. Ms Halima Mdee (Kawe-Chadema) said the government was perpetuating inefficiency and corruption by transferring corrupt servants.

She said a former official in the Lands Section of Kinondoni Municipal Council, who was implicated in corruption, was transferred to Mwanza and later the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development before she was moved back to the council. This is despite the fact that a committee appointed by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi established that the official was involved in the irregular selling of public land in the municipality.

“The corrupt official is now back in Kinondoni Municipality…we don’t need her. She was transferred to Mwanza before being moved to the ministry headquarters. You have now brought her back to Kinondoni,” Ms Mdee said.

Mr Suleimani Jaffo (Kisarawe-CCM) said the same problem existed in his constituency, where public servants who went against the principles of their jobs were transferred to other stations.

“This cannot help us to solve these problems. Serious measures should be taken against these people,” he said.

Responding to the queries, Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development minister Anna Tibaijuka said the government was aware of the problem, adding that errant officials were being investigated prior to other measures being taken against them.

The minister of State in the President’s Office, Public Service and Management, Ms Hawa Ghasia, assured Parliament that stern disciplinary and legal measures were being taken against public servants who abused their positions.

Hold fire, KCM told


GOVERNMENT has given Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) management and the three mineworkers’ unions a two-week ultimatum in which to find ways of averting the retrenchment of 2,000 workers.

Labour and Social Security Deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu has directed KCM and the unions to open dialogue and find ways of mitigating the impact of high costs of production to prevent the proposed job cuts at the mining firm.

Mr Mbulu made the directive during a Press briefing in Lusaka shortly after holding a tripartite consultative meeting which comprised the Government, KCM and the three national mineworkers’ unions.

“The Government, the unions and KCM management appeal to employees and other stakeholders is to remain calm.

“KCM management and the unions will report back their progress to the Government within the shortest possible time, but no later than two weeks from today,” he said.

The three unions are Mineworkers Union of Zambia, National Union of Mining and Allied Workers and United Mineworkers Union of Zambia.

This follows a recent decision by KCM to retrench 2,000 employees from the current 8,263 workforce, citing a downward trend in copper prices in the last one year.

Mr Mbulu said during the tripartite meeting, all the parties agreed to allow genuine consultations within the spirit of calmness, mutual respect and collective responsibility to come up with long-lasting solutions.

KCM recently announced its intention to trim its workforce, saying the price of copper on the world market had steadily declined by 22 per cent in the last year, and that macro-economic trends suggested that the price would remain depressed.

Meanwhile, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga has said there are better ways of  sorting out financial problems at the mining firm rather than cutting down on labour.

Mr Mukanga told journalists at the 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe  yesterday that Government ‘s position over the 2, 000 KCM workers earmarked for laying off was that they should be maintained.

“We don’t think KCM will go ahead with the retrenchment of 2, 000 workers because we are sitting down with them right now,” Mr Mukanga said.

He said the Government was working hard to create an enabling environment for mining companies to operate and that it expected a reciprocal approach.

The minister said to that effect, the Government would not accept any surprises of job cuts at KCM.


Diepsloot residents deny claims of xenophobia


Both local and international residents of Diepsloot have denied claims that xenophobia is behind two days of violence in the township.


“This isn’t xenophobia, people are just jealous of the businesses making money and want to steal. They don’t hate foreigners, they are just criminals,” Agnes Tshavengwa, Zimbabwean national and long-term resident of Diepsloot said.

Approximately 80 small-scale shops and informal retailers were looted following the killing of two Zimbabweans on Sunday, allegedly at the hands of a Somali shop owner.

Almost 50 people have since been arrested for public violence, housebreaking, and possession of unlicensed firearms and are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The Somali shopkeeper was also due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of murder and attempted murder.

“The Zimbabwean guys were playing music loudly outside the Somali guy’s shop. They had an argument and he shot them,” said Fungayi Makota, a nearby street vendor who witnessed the incident.

“That guy has had trouble at his shop before but I don’t know why he did what he did.”

While details remain sketchy as to the motives behind the killings, it is seen as the flashpoint for the violence that followed. The situation remained tense throughout Tuesday, with a heavy police presence in the township.

Broken glass from shop fronts and boxes litter the roads around the looted stores. On Tuesday, school children waded through the remains of shops, collecting the little that remained that could be salvaged.

The plunderers gained access through force, breaking down metal doors with crowbars and many shops were also torched after being looted.

One spaza shop, Easy Buy, was destroyed when a side wall was smashed open to gain access to the store. No foreign nationals were hurt during the looting, with many saying they were merely chased away from their shops.

While xenophobia was quickly suggested as the reason for the violence, this has been dismissed by government.

“Government has noted with concern so-called xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in townships around Gauteng,” a statement released on Monday read.

“These acts of violence are pure criminal activities and those found guilty will face the full might of the law.”

This drew criticism from anti-xenophobia civil society groups who claimed the state was not dealing with the issue.

“Many officials in our government also don’t want to attribute this to xenophobia. But, in many cases its xenophobia disguised as crime – not vice versa.”

However, Diepsloot residents lent credence to the government’s assertions and too felt the situation was being exploited by opportunistic criminals.

“It wasn’t even just foreigners that were looting and destroying things,” said Nomphumelelo Maphaha.

“South Africans were next to Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and others just stealing.”

Maphaha, a South African Diepsloot resident since 2005, rents her garage to Ethiopian Misganaw Abide, who converted the space into a spaza shop in 2010.

Abide’s spaza shop was looted and destroyed on Monday night, leaving both him and Maphaha without a steady income.

“We help each other here,” Abide said.

“When people don’t have money I give them credit. We live side by side as neighbours with no problems. Now I have nothing and don’t know how I can start again.”

Abide’s despair is mirrored by Vincent Ngomani, a Mozambican salon owner whose shop was vandalised and stripped during violence on Monday.

“These guys were only interested in breaking my shop and stealing things,” said Ngomani. “We can’t call this xenophobia because they are not telling us to leave and go home. They just want our stuff.”

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian‘s jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice.


Rwandans arrested in Britain over 1994 genocide


LONDON (AFP) – British police on Thursday arrested five men wanted in Rwanda over the 1994 genocide following an extradition request from Rwandan prosecutors.

The men appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court later Thursday under an extradition warrant alleging offences including genocide and murder, according to a Metropolitan Police statement.

The alleged crimes took place between January 1993 and July 1994, police added.

Police named the suspects as Emmanuel Ntezirayo, 51, Charles Munyaneza, 55, Celestine Ugirashebuja, 60, Vincent Bajinya, 52, and Celestine Mutabaruka, 57.

Four of the men won a British court battle in 2009 blocking an extradition as judges feared there was “a real risk” they would not get a fair trial in their home country.

Rwanda’s chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga said all the suspects had a “case to answer” and that his country had made “significant progress” in laying the ground for fair trials, in a statement issued Thursday.

Three of the suspects were mayors of Rwandan communes and are accused of playing a major role in the genocide which claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis.

The men will next appear in court on June 5.

SLPP Thugs Assault SLPP Women

By Aruna Turay
May 30, 2013, 17:22

Members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) suspected to be operating outside the interest of the notorious Pa-O-Pa group of the failed Julius Maada Bio were subjected to deadly physical attacks on Monday 27th May 2012 in Lumley, Freetown.
Prominent among the SLPP members who were mercilessly manhandled, wounded and stripped naked by Pa-O-Pa thugs were four SLPP executive members in the persons of Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu.


The attacks were allegedly led by prominent Pa-O-Pa associates like Jacob Jusu Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray, and Admire Bio. They were reported given backup by several other wayward unidentified youths to perpetrate violence.


Eyewitnesses say the attack and riot was so deadly that the victims had to rush to the police station for rescue.
The actual incident took place at Grassfield in Lumley, where the SLPP was holding its District Executive Elections for Constituency 112.


This election was initially held on the 11th May 2013, but was marred by fraud and rudeness, and was cancelled. Reports have it that the same Pa-O-Pa Group interrupted the counting process in the May 11 elections when they noticed that the outcome was not going in their favour.


Eyewitness reports say the Monday attack was premeditated as the thugs wasted no time in descending on the executive members, who had arrived at the scene to conduct the elections.


Rachiatu Macauley is the SLPP West-West District Women’s Leader cum District Official for Constituency 112. She is one of the victims of the deadly attack. While narrating her ordeal, she told the Awareness Times how the Pa-O-Pa group connived with certain executive members of Constituency 112 to clandestinely organize the said election, following the initial cancellation and postponement, with no authority from the relevant stakeholders.


That election, she continued, was petitioned, cancelled and rescheduled for Monday 27th May 2013.


She disclosed that on her arrival on Monday at the Lumley Police Division to make arrangement for police presence at the election venue, she was told that J.J Saffa had already visited the Station on the same purpose and that police officers have been assigned to him already.
“We arrived at the election premises and we were still trying to park our vehicle when we were rudely accosted by J.J Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray and Admire Bio,” she alleged, adding that they were ordered to go back to wherever they were coming from as the elections were not going to be held. According to her, J.J Saffa and his team argued that the Constituency 112 Executive had already conducted the said elections.
“We were still trying to make sense out of what they were saying when thugs suspected to be acting on their orders arrived at the scene with pepper spray, knives, sticks and other harmful weapons,” she explained, adding that in no time the thugs began to kick, slap and strip them naked.


“We managed to escape from their hands though they continued to chase us until we get closer to the Lumley Police Division,” she disclosed.
The other female victim called Marion Cole also confirmed to the Awareness Times on the phone that they were actually attacked, manhandled and stripped half naked by the Pa-O-Pa thugs.


She further alleged that J.J. Saffa and his team viewed the whole deadly drama but did nothing to stop the thugs apart from laughing provocatively and jubilating.


The victims told this newspaper that they have reported the matter to the police and that they were issued medical forms.


J.J Saffa denied all the aforementioned allegations when we contacted him on the phone. He further denied that he ever went to the police station to apply for security for the said election. J.J Saffa even went to the extent of describing those accusing him of visiting the Lumley Police Station on one hand, and being present at the election scene on the other hand, as “dogs”.

He said he was not at the scene and did not hire thugs to attack anybody.
At the Lumley Police Division, the Local Unit Commander confirmed to this Reporter that his Division is investigating assault complaints made by Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu.
LUC Kabbah-Kamara said the complainants alleged that they were manhandled by unknown thugs and members of the SLPP.
The LUC said statements were obtained from all the complainants and medical forms were issued. The matter, he said, is being seriously investigated.
SLPP National Chairman and Leader, John Oponjo Benjamin, also confirmed to the Awareness Times, in an interview that the party has been briefed on the said matter, and that internal investigations are ongoing.


All attempts by this press to reach the rest of the accused persons proved unsuccessful, but this press stands willing to publish their own sides if they so desire.



By Tor Vande-Acka
Correspondent, Lafia

Just as the nation celebrated 14 years of democracy, Fulani herdsmen have again attacked six Tiv peasant settlements in and around Kadarko, Nasarawa State, killing two people.

The communities are Tse Kyoon, Nyam Adaga, Gbor, Tsenongo and Anom.

Daily Independent gathered that the attackers, who came in two batches, burnt houses in some of the villages and destroyed cropsin the farms on
Tuesday night. The crops destroyed included maize, yam and cassava.

According to a source who spoke to Daily Independent, some of the farmers, who saw the assailants as they came, raised alarm, adding that the first batch were about 30.

He said they brandished sophisticated weapons, while the second group was made up of another 10, who were also armed.

He said because the attackers were spotted from afar, they were able to run for dear lives before they arrived their village proper.

The source also pointed out that but for the second team, the farmers would have escaped without a casualty, adding that it was the second batch that shot the two persons, a man and a woman, at Gbakaan village.

He added that the attackers who threatened to return, were again sighted by some natives of another town the next day.

The incident has sent fears on the farmers in the area, who have fled their homes and were taking refuge in Kadarko town and other settlements in the area.

Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Cornelius Ocholi, to confirm the report, were unsuccessful.

Principal Judge decries extra judicial acts

By Hillary Nsambu      

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine has lamented acts by some Ugandans who strip naked, thrash or lynch their fellow Ugandans suspected of wrong doing.

Bamwine called upon Ugandans to stop taking the law in their own hands and restore their confidence in the Judiciary, saying that its mission is to administer justice to all people without discrimination.

“Many times, we have seen fellow Ugandans being stripped naked by fellow Ugandans, thrashed, lynched, set on fire – all in an attempt to discipline them. These forms of extra-judicial violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms are legally prohibited,” Bamwine said.

Bamwine was launching a report “Uganda: The right to a fair trail-next steps” compiled by Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)” at a function held at Hotel Cornerstone, Fort Portal in Kabarole District.

The judge assured Ugandans that the Judiciary is independent, competent, trusted and accountable and administers justice to all, so they should restore their confidence in it and stop carrying the law in their own hands.

He said the right to a fair trial could not be enjoyed unless the Judiciary strictly stuck to its core values that are independence and impartiality, transparency, professionalism, integrity, accountability, equity and respect.

“The Judiciary will ensure that it operates freely in its own best judgment, without taking directives from, or being controlled by any person or authority. It will endeavor to have well-trained, professionally competent and self-confident staff that will administer justice to all.

The Judiciary will carry out its activities in an honest and trustful manner and will take all reasonable measures to prevent willful wrongdoing by its officials. It will take full responsibility for its actions and; will always be answerable to the people of Uganda and to its partners.

The Judiciary will uphold the principles of equality, equal opportunities and affirmative action in respect to gender and other disadvantaged groups,” Bamwine reassured Ugandans as he hailed FHRI for its initiative to fight for their civil liberties.


New law to give local companies preference

By Billy Rwothungeyo

Unlike Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda does not have preference schemes for local companies in public tenders.

The local industry’s growth has been compromised as foreign companies with bigger capacity often outdo Ugandan companies to do business with the Government.

However, the preference schemes in the amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act of 2003 promise to be the much needed shot in the arm for many a local contractor and service provider to compete favorably.

Currently, the PPDA Amendment act is before Parliament for approval after the Cabinet’s approval.

The new law will apply preference schemes to goods, works and services, where open domestic or open international bidding methods are used.

It will require that public entities procuring goods, works or services under open bidding shall grant margins of preference. For examples, goods manufactured, mined, extracted or grown in Uganda will have a 15% advantage over the rest.

Works undertaken by local contractors or services provided by local consultants will get a 7% edge.

As regards the construction industry, local contractors and consultants will qualify for preference if they meet incorporation, registration and legal parameters.

Why we need preference schemes

Isaac Kyaligonza, the head of the Procuring and Disposing Unit of the education ministry says the schemes will help vulnerable groups like women and youth get a chance of doing business with the Government.

He says this scheme will bode well for developing of the country’s nascent capacity, especially when it comes to competition with foreign companies.

“Preferential treatment towards our local firms will be positive discrimination. Right now, anyone can bid for any tender,” he says.

“For example, if Uganda is constructing a dam, the steel should not be bought abroad, but rather from a local player,” Kyaligonza, who was a member of review task force, says.

However, Kyaligonza argues that this and other advantages that local players will enjoy should be clearly stated from the onset.

He also says the scheme must be transparently executed from the onset.

The private sector in Uganda is increasingly facing competition from foreign companies in the award of tenders.

The apex body of the local private sector; the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) urges government to act quickly on this front.

PSFU executive director Gideon Badagawa said such schemes would be in good shot in the arm for local companies in their quest for better capacity.

“We have been urging the Government to give local firms preference when there is a tender, For any big contract awarded to a foreign company, there should be mandatory sub-contracting to locals.

Govt committed to northern Uganda development – VP


The Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, has said the NRM Government manifesto is to undertake uniform development across the country to move into a modern economy.

He said the country is faced with many challenges and called upon leaders at all levels to work together in initiating and supporting programmes that will enable the people they lead increase on their income capacities.

Ssekandi was on Tuesday speaking at Lira central market currently under construction after touring the multibillion shilling facility in Lira municipality.

Ssekandi reiterated that the government is committed to the northern Uganda reconstruction programme to restore the social and economic infrastructure of the region to enable the region move at the same pace with the rest of the country in development.

He said Government will continue identifying resources and partners to support the region to recover from setbacks of the insurgency and urged the leaders of the region to work closely with the people to ensure that such support reaches the intended beneficiaries.

The sh26b market being constructed by Arab Contractors is among seven market projects funded by the African Development Bank loan to seven municipalities to be covered in the first phase of the project.

The two-year project expected to be completed by October this year, covers markets in Gulu, Jinja, Mbale, Hoima, Fort Portal, Lira municipalities and Wandegeya.

Lira market will accommodate 26,000 vendors upon completion.

Ssekandi toured the sh1b regional Lira water office block under Urban National Water and Sewage Department in Lira municipality. The two floor building will accommodate about 30 offices covering 23 districts in northern Uganda.

He launched a book entitled “The Granary” written by Lira mayor Morris Odung Omara at Lira Hotel.



JK: New rail line, increased food production key priorities

By  Mkinga Mkinga  (email the author)

Posted  Wednesday, May 29  2013 at  22:16


Tanzania and Rwanda plan to build a railway from Isaka to Kigali, thereby connecting the countries with the region’s first heavy-duty wide gauge line.


Yokohama. President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday the expansion of the Tanzania’s rail network, training of doctors, increasing food production and treating kidney ailments were among the country’s top priorities.

He made the remarks in Yokohama during the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). President Kikwete said there were plans to rebuild the rail line from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kigoma, and construct a new line to Kigali and Bujumbura.

“We should think of having a new railway to Mwanza. We should not refrain from new railway construction,” President Kikwete said.

Tanzania and Rwanda plan to build a railway from Isaka to Kigali, thereby connecting the countries with the region’s first heavy-duty wide gauge line. American firm Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will undertake the construction of the railway line, which is expected to speed up movement of cargo from Tanzania to Rwanda.

President Kikwete also asked Japan to help Tanzania to increase rice production and boost food security. He said Tanzania also hoped it would benefit from Japan’s advances medical sciences as the country grapples with an increase in kidney illnesses.

“We not only need dialysis for patients, but also kidney transplants for those who need them. I know Japan is doing great in this area,” President Kikwete said.

Japan had provided four PhD scholarships, he said, adding that there was a need to increase the number of experts in the health sector.

President Kikwete was scheduled to meet Japanese Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe during his visit.


Please post any comments and/or queries on or about these news stories in the box provided below. Your suggestions as to how this service might be improved are also welcomed.

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

Here is the latest African comment and opinion, taken from the websites of newspapers right across and down Africa:




Africa: Obama’s homecoming –Visits to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania; from The Patriotic Vanguard;

Africa/World: Obama’s Haunting And The Curse Of Governance; from The Chronicle/Agencies;

Ghana: BAWUMIA STANDS TALL IN NPP, from The Chronicle;

Africa: Africa has huge growth potential – professor; from the Cape Times;

Africa: Experts: Infrastructure growth key to Africa’s competitiveness; from The New Times;

South Africa/Zimbabwe: Zuma’s SADC negotiator admits to backing; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

Zimbabwe; Zanu;PF’Zanu (PF) will break-up when Mugabe is gone’ – Nkala; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

South Africa: ‘Foreigners help . . . they are good for the community’;

Kenya: More needed to boost the delivery of justice; from the Daily Nation;

Kenya: Think creatively to quell pastoral conflicts; from the Daily Nation;

Kenya: Battle is on for ownership of lucrative Maasai rights; from the Daily Nation.

Obama’s homecoming –Visits to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania

Wednesday 29 May 2013.



J Boima Rogers, Oxford, UK.

President Obama has announced that he will be making a homecoming African tour and hopefully this is the beginning of a series of such tours. Africa’s son and the most powerful man on the planet will crisscross the continent from Senegal in the west to South Africa in the south and Tanzania in the east, a grand safari. The choice of countries is possibly based on the criteria outlined in my previous paper on how Obama can engage Africa, namely, size of countries and their importance to the US; the long term relationship as an ally or foe; economic interests; security interests; how aligned are these countries with the values of America and; the needs of these countries, namely, their need for foreign aid. A major criterion must be added to this list, namely, the China factor. Since I wrote the paper the Chinese leader has made visits to the continent and America is realizing that China is making a major effort to engage Africa. Obama’s visit is no doubt an effort to emphasise that America is a major player on the continent and wants to be a partner in developing the resources of the continent. What should be the wish list for the countries visited and what are the implications for the rest of the continent, other countries which will obviously look forward to a visit by the President? In particular, what should they do to merit a visit? The exposure that it gives the countries visited and in particular, the opportunities in terms of investment and tourism can not be underestimated. In this paper the emphasis is on business opportunities on the continent and the benefits of the visits will be maximized if countries can demonstrate that they are good destinations for investment.

Why Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania?

Why were these three countries chosen? A quick review demonstrates how the criteria noted above played a significant role in Obama’s choice. Senegal is a regional hub, playing an increasing role in security issues in Mali and the Sahel region as a whole. The bitterly fought recent election which saw a siting president accept defeat to a challenger established the democratic credential of that country. Senegal has been stable since independence albeit with a long running insurgency in the Cassamance region. The US has economic presence; it is among the top five destinations for Senegal’s exports, with the US accounting for 4.8% of that country’s exports, the fifth largest destination. South Africa is the guardian of the Cape of Good Hope where a significant proportion of American trade is routed through. South Africa, the continent’s largest economy conducts significant trade with America, with the US being the second largest destination (8.6%) for South African exports, after China the leading destination. The US, accounting for 8% of South Africa’s imports is the third largest source after China and Germany. Tanzania’s position in the group has security implications in the still volatile region, notably Somalia and Yemen. The country which has also made strides in governance and economic liberalization has seen impressive economic growth rates for over a decade. It is a richly endowed country with vast potential in oil, uranium, gas, agriculture and tourism. Obama may also be sending a message to Kenya, the neighbouring country where his father hails from, notably, that Kenya should get its act together to merit a visit. Tanzania which has borders with eight countries is in a good position as a regional hub. It does not have significant trade relationship with the America, at the moment; the US does not feature among the top five countries in terms of destination for exports or source of imports.

The wish list and implications for other countries

All three countries possess resources that would be of interest to the US, are of interest to US security concerns and are within Obama’s stated views on making the world a better place. What should be the wish list of these countries and how should they prepare for Obama’s visit? The overall objective should be to market their countries with regard to governance, opportunities for US investors and the market for goods and services in those countries and the US. A key consideration should be on how the US should assist in the development of the infrastructure, a major impediment to economic development and trade.

Senegal must emphasise its position as a regional hub and base for US investment and security projects. It’s relatively good (particularly compared to neighbouring countries) infrastructure and links with countries in the region gives it a strong edge. The Senegalese President stated in a speech in July 2012 that his government wanted an optimal energy mix, with a view to reducing supply costs over the medium and long term through diversification—natural gas, hydropower, and renewable energies—as well as through regional integration. American companies should be well placed to play an important role in energy projects. Senegal has vast solar energy potential and American companies who have pioneered shale gas franking techniques should be invited to make explorations and investment. Other opportunities that should be explored include investment in fertilizer production and other downstream activities for the country’s phosphates. Investment opportunities should also be explored for manufacturing using cotton, groundnuts and fish, commodities where Senegal has abundant raw materials. US investment and markets can also be explored for the country’s ship construction and repair industry. The country’s tourism industry could benefit from US investment and visitors. Senegal still has a lot to do to make the country attractive to investors. The World Bank ranked the country 166th with regard to ease of doing business in 2012, having slipped by four places in the index from 2011. The country’s five worst rankings in terms of individual indicators are: getting electricity; registering property; paying taxes; protecting investors and enforcing contracts. In the run up to Obama’s visit the country needs to do a lot to make it an attractive destination for investors.

South Africa will be looking for acknowledgement and concrete measures to develop and expand its position as the largest, most developed and diversified economy on the continent. It should be looking at getting US companies to invest in production for the home market and exports to the rest of Africa and the world. US investment in power generation and support in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination should be areas to stress. US support for regional integration would also be appreciated. Of particular importance is US help in addressing the dichotomy in the country, a first world advanced economy and a third world developing economy existing side by side. Despite steady but relatively low economic growth and sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies the economy has a daunting problem of skill shortages co-existing with very high unemployment. The World Bank stated that “the potential for faster growth has been held back by industrial concentration, skill shortages, labour market rigidities, chronically low savings and investment rates and spatial barriers from the former apartheid system.” US help in revamping the educational sector with emphasis on math, science and technical skills and assistance in the regulatory and delivery framework of the industrial and labour markets should be a priority. The country scores quite high, 39th, in terms of the World Bank’s ranking on ease of doing business. The worst individual rankings are: getting electricity; trading across borders; resolving insolvency, enforcing contracts and registering property. South Africa needs to do a lot to rise up in rankings in these areas where it currently lags behind. In addition, there are two areas which are not covered by the rankings, namely, availability of skilled labour and crime, two very important issues that the country needs to address to demonstrate that it is a good destination for investment. American help, possibly modelled on the New York City experience in crime reduction should be considered.

Tanzania is well endowed in minerals, agriculture and tourism potential. The country will be looking for US investment in a wide range of sectors and in particular, in mining and processing and manufacturing the plethora of raw materials for the domestic, regional and world market. It would be looking to develop its huge tourist potential in terms of investment in facilities and marketing the country to US tourists. Investment in the agricultural sector in a country with a huge area and a wide range of agro-climatic conditions would be welcomed. Agricultural production has been stagnant because of low yields even with this huge potential and US support and investment should be considered. Tanzania is ranked 134th in terms of ease of doing business. In terms of the individual indicators the country ranks lowest in: dealing with construction permits; registering property, paying taxes; resolving insolvency and; getting credit. The country needs to take measures to improve these and other indicators to demonstrate that it is open for business. It has identified bottlenecks in the infrastructure as priority in its development plan. Efforts would need to be made to continue and escalate the fight against corruption and in training to ensure that a skilled workforce is available if it is to continue its rapid economic growth.

All three countries need to make preparation for Obama’s visit so that they can get the maximum benefits. They must prepare an agenda long before the visit to ensure that Obama’s team is made up of the relevant staff and potential investors. They need to highlight the sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies that all of these countries have put in place and measures that they are taking to make them more attractive to investors. They need to highlight their importance in terms of security issues.

This trip will hopefully be the start of other African tours and countries should try to gear up for future visits by Obama. Countries which could be next on the list need to closely monitor developments in the three countries and prepare for visits. Obama as a “change” President is likely to visit countries that meet his progressive agenda and America’s interests. Other countries need to find out what are the prime motivators for Obama to come calling. A country with democratic, legal, press and economic freedom, sensible macroeconomic policies is likely to attract Obama’s attention and if he decides to pay a visit it could give that country an opportunity to sell its attributes to the world and attract investors and tourists.

Concluding remarks

Obama is star attraction and countries he visits need to make use of the brand. Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania must do their best to get value from the brand. This means doing an Obama on Obama, who would have done considerable research on countries he is visiting. They should do their homework by letting him, members of his team and business executives know what their countries priorities are; do media campaigns involving print, broadcast or digital slot to engage a wider pool of potential investors and policy makers and; and get the home team aware and prepared for the opportunities before and when they meet with the American team. As noted in my previous paper, the emphasis must be on the infrastructure, including physical, governance and education and regional projects. Obama is keen on infrastructure projects and so he should be eager to discuss how America can help build and maintain Africa’s infrastructure. Obviously, he and his team and business executives accompanying them would need to be convinced of the viability of proposals, benefits to the US and the position of the competition. African countries must emphasise that America is losing out in the current scramble for the continent’s resources and that the US needs to up its game. Africa has got resources that are in strong demand and other countries, including China, India and Brazil are taking a keen interest in the continent. For Africa the competition is good and it would welcome America taking an active role in developing its resources. The US has certain attributes that make the country a good partner in aid, investment, trade and security. The emphasis must be on investment and trade, to explore, discuss and decide on areas, projects and business deals by African and American participants in meetings. Other African countries must take note and try to be next on the list which will give them a spotlight and opportunities.

Note: J Boima Rogers is the principal consultant at Media and Event Management Oxford (MEMO). MEMO provides policy, marketing, media and event management services.



Obama’s Haunting And The Curse Of Governance

The seeds of the present war were not sown during 9/11, but half a century before and were nurtured by US policies.

“These deaths will haunt us as long as we live…”

I hope so.

It would be nice to believe that the President of the United States, or any other leader, is actually haunted by the deaths of civilians at the hands of the military he commands.

In this case, the President was referring to civilians killed by American drone strikes in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is impossible to know the precise number – critics put the estimate at 1,000 or even higher – and until now the US government has attempted to minimise the number by claiming most of the dead were combatants, based on the rationale that any military-age male hit by a drone was most likely a combatant and thus a legitimate target.

This is not the way you clear away ghosts.

Indeed, if the President has been haunted by civilian deaths, many of the ghosts are of the men he executed merely because they possessed a certain “signature” – the way they looked or where they were at a specific moment. Imagine the uproar if the President was targeting young black or hispanic men for harassment or arrest, never mind termination, merely because of the clothes they were wearing or corner they were hanging out on (or because they responded to someone being blown up down the block or were even at a funeral of an alleged gang member, all of which has happened to civilian victims of US drone strikes).

Of course, the President would never do that. But young Muslim men living in what to Americans are “the most distant and unforgiving places on Earth“; well, maybe all those strikes haunt him enough to want to process them with his fellow Americans to help clear the air, and even his conscience. But they do not seem to be haunting him enough for him to end the practice.

If the President’s speech on May 23 at the National Defense University reflected an unusual and very public expression of ambivalence about policies that are still being pursued by his administration, the ambivalence remains largely at the level of rhetoric rather than policy. The “appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are”, which the President declares he is trying to strike, is one that can only be achieved by understanding precisely who the “we” are that the administration’s actions are trying to “secure”, and then determining whether this “we” actually represents the American people and whether its security is in fact the goal – or at the least, a likely outcome – of his policies.

“And so our nation went to war.”

If the President is haunted by his actions, a core reason is likely because he has not, and indeed cannot, provide the proper historical context for understanding the present policies and why they seem to be producing such animosity abroad and, increasingly, concern inside the US. While the President traces the present moment back “over two centuries”, and reminds his listeners that Americans have always been “deeply ambivalent about war”, he refuses to shine light on the decades of US policy that contributed to the present dynamics of the “war on terror”.

Instead, he merely refers to the “long, twilight struggle of the Cold War” as part of the “price [that] must be paid for freedom”. But was the Cold War really a “twilight war”? Tell that to the roughly 95,000 American soldiers killed in Korea and Vietnam, not to mention the millions of Koreans and Southeast Asians killed by American forces. Or to the – literally – countless people killed, governments overthrown and conflicts stoked in proxy wars across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and, finally, Afghanistan.

If these were all twilight wars, what does the President consider to be war in the light of day?

Does President Obama really not understand that when he describes a “group of terrorists [coming] to kill as many civilians as they could”, people around the world are more likely to think of al-Qaeda than the US? To say this in no way diminishes the evil of al-Qaeda and Muslim terrorism; far from it. Rather, it points to the reality that the seeds of the present war were not sown at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11. They were planted half a century before and were nurtured (whether carelessly or deliberately is another matter) by US policies that for decades put terror in the hearts of people around the world.

That other countries – the Soviet Union, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Mao’s China, and on and on – also pursued and supported oppression, violence and terror at home and abroad does not change the reality that terrorism has been a core tool in the arsenal of US strategic policies, whether diplomatic or kinetic, for as long as it has been a “great power”. Indeed, if we consider the crucial role played by the cleansing and near extermination of Native Americans and of slavery in the first centuries of American history, the use of large scale violence against civilians to advance the interests of elites is at the core of America’s political and cultural DNA.

Of course, that does not make the US “exceptional” (as its leaders are so fond of saying). It makes it all-too normal a country. But when every leader in memory has defined the US as “exceptional” for precisely the opposite reasons to what in actuality makes it normal, the cognitive dissonance makes it nearly impossible for Americans to come to grips with the root causes of the present global conflict in which it is enmeshed.

CAPTION: If Obama wants to end the “war on terror”, he has to change American policy across the Muslim world – and indeed, globally – to support real democracy, justice, freedom and development across the region [Reuters]

Source: Aljazeera



Africa has huge growth potential – professor

May 30 2013 at 11:51am

Cape Town – More than a hundred years after Joseph Conrad dubbed Africa as “the heart of darkness”, another author is determined to dispel that outdated perception once and for all.

US professor Robert Rotberg launched his book “Africa Emerges” at Clark’s Bookstore in the city. His most recent book highlights sub-Saharan Africa’s enormous opportunities for growth in the coming century, as well as the myriad challenges the continent must face to realise its potential.

“I am optimistic about Africa but there are some very large issues that need to be solved,” said the former Harvard professor, who is the Fulbright Research Chair in Political Development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada.

“The fact is, there is a lot to be done. Africa and especially in South Africa are done for without close attention to governance and excellent leadership.”

Rotberg served as a member of the US Secretary of States’ Advisory Panel on Africa in 2004. Three years later he directed the establishment of the Index for African Governance. He is founding director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Intrastate Conflict.

Now, the professor is working on a project that examines the ability of parliamentary systems to have effective oversight over the executive branch. South Africa is one of the many African countries he is using as a case study.

“Leaders I have spoken to are frustrated, disillusioned,” said Rotberg. “South Africa is so far advanced, but the country cannot supply jobs, or solve the energy shortage.”

Rotberg spoke on the importance of leadership in taking advantage of China’s economic involvement in Africa.

Africa’s growth, he said, is a result of China’s role as a trade partner and builder of infrastructure.

“Without China, Africa would not be booming,” he said. “If there is good leadership, countries can take advantage of the Chinese mercantile thrust.”

He sited various development projects in which the Chinese have invested, including a massive $1.2 billion (R11.6bn) dam in Ethiopia and several new mines in southern Africa. “Good leadership is necessary to keep Chinese power in check and to get the most out of economic investments, said Rotberg.

“Africans don’t much like what the Chinese are doing,” he said. “The Chinese are not employing Africans. Instead they bring labour from overseas, and they support corrupt regimes with weapons and funds.”

“This economic growth comes at a time when Africa is experiencing a previously unseen population boom.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will grow to be 3.7 billion in the next 50 years, according to population analysis by the UN. This population explosion will be exceeded only by China and India, whose collective population will top four billion. The rest of the world by comparison will only total two billion collectively.

“South Africa is different from most of sub-Saharan Africa because it is not growing as quickly as other countries like Nigeria and Tanzania. South Africa’s greatest challenge is the creation of jobs,” said Rotberg.

“Employment is important for economic growth and limiting crime.

“South Africa is so far advanced, but it still can’t supply jobs for its school graduates, and that is a problem,” he said.

“Jobs will become particularly important as the country and the continent undergoes a massive population boom.

“South Africa’s population is going to explode in a way that will overwhelm its cities,” he said. Politicians are not going to know what hit them.”

Rotberg is working on another book called Strengthening Governance in South Africa: Building Upon Mandela’s Legacy due next March.


Experts: Infrastructure growth key to Africa’s competitiveness


Rwanda has been ranked as the most competitive country in East Africa and the third in Sub-Saharan Africa due to the available infrastructure and opportunities. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.


African countries need to develop a robust infrastructure to be able to compete globally in terms of economic development, experts attending the 48th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have said.

The five-day meeting dubbed “Africa’s structural transformation” kicked off yesterday in Marrakech, Morocco.

It focuses on the need for Africa to turn economic growth into shared and sustainable economic transformation within the next 50 years.

“Many African countries continue to feature among least competitive economies in the world due to undeveloped infrastructure. It’s time for Africa to focus on infrastructure growth to boost her competitiveness,” said Professor Mthuli Ncube, the chief economist and Vice President of the AfDB.

Ncube who was speaking at the meeting dubbed ‘Connecting Africa’s market in a sustainable way’ added: “By competitiveness we mean all of the factors, institutions and policies that determine a country’s level of productivity.”

According to AfDB, Africa’s challenge is to bring its progress of the last decade to balance, for instance the critical lack of infrastructure – transport, energy, water, telecommunications, which is the basis for all growth.

The experts said that lack of regional economic integration and fragmented national markets; and as well the pockets of serious fragility still persist across the continent.

According to Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, the director, head of competitiveness at the World Economic Forum, bringing private sector on board and developing domestic capital markets will also help in transforming African economies.

“Every African government should make infrastructure development a priority among other important areas of development,” she emphasised.

“Leveraging ICT should be important to connect people and markets. Despite the fact that today ICT is available; to a large extent African economies haven’t utilised it to the maximum.”

The meeting brought together  hundreds of high-level participants, including academics, political leaders, representatives of international organisations, chief executive officers, civil society organisations and the media to examine the key drivers of growth in Africa in next half century.

AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka said the bank’s annual meetings are being held at a crucial time.

Continental support

“Africa is rising, and it needs a push. The rest of the world is languishing, and it too needs a push. Africa needs the world, and the world needs Africa. Each can give the other a push.”

When it comes to competitiveness, Rwanda has been on several occasions ranked as the most competitive country in East Africa, the third in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The recent ‘Doing Business Report 2013’ on East Africa Community partner countries ranked Rwanda as the easiest country in the region to start a business.

The country has been on several occasions positioned as the most reformed country and a place to do business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2013.

Last year, the World Bank survey ranked Rwanda in 52nd position out of 185 economies for doing business.

Zuma’s SADC negotiator admits to backing Zanu PF

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s ruling party says it is taking an active role on the continent, a pronouncement that comes amid conflicts in Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Conflict could come much closer to home later this year with what is likely to be a contentious election in Zimbabwe.

For decades, South Africa’s apartheid system kept the nation on the sidelines of continental politics.  The African Union was on the side of the then-banned African National Congress, which fought racist white rule.

Today, the ANC is South Africa’s ruling party, and has a streak of dominating national elections since the nation’s first democratic vote in 1994.  The party is also behind the push for South Africa to take a more active role as the continent’s economic powerhouse and its most stable democracy.

But the nation’s most pressing international issue is the one closest to home: its northern neighbor, Zimbabwe.  Critics say the two countries relationship could cause problems for South Africa’s dealings with the rest of the continent and its many entrenched leaders.

Zimbabwe has been ruled since its 1980 independence by President Robert Mugabe.  In recent years, Mugabe has been slapped with international sanctions for using political violence against those who oppose his ZANU-PF party.  He also been accused of driving the economy of his once-prosperous nation into the ground.

That economic collapse and political intimidation has prompted hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee to neighboring South Africa.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s adviser on international affairs, Lindiwe Zulu, said the ANC will continue to stand by ZANU-PF because of its history as a liberation party.

“The ANC will continue to have the relationship that it has always had with ZANU-PF,” said Zulu. “This is the question that is always asked: are you not in contradiction when on the one hand as government you are facilitating the process taking Zimbabwe forward, on the other hand, you have an African National Congress that even says, ‘We will support ZANU-PF when they request for support in terms of sharing of ideas, in terms of elections?’”

That closeness between the two parties, she said, has enabled South African negotiators to speak freely and critically with Zimbabwean officials behind closed doors.

She said the region will hold a special summit about Zimbabwe in June, before scheduled presidential elections.  Mugabe, who is 89, is running for another term.

A spokesman for the South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said his party does not support Zimbabwe’s ruling party, either in theory, as the ANC does, or in practice.

He said the ANC’s support for ZANU-PF effectively translates to South African government support for the regime.

“I think the ANC must not try and force South Africans into believing that they have never been guilty in the past of conflating state and party,” said Maimane. “And in fact, there is evidence domestically where the ANC uses state resources for their own party, political activities. So for them to argue a separation of state and [party] in this particular instance is particularly disingenuous.”

ANC officials say they are hopeful Zimbabwe’s elections will be free and fair.  Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008 degenerated into violence, most of it by ZANU-PF supporters against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.  The resulting disputed polls forced Mugabe to form a coalition government, which ZANU-PF has made clear it wants to end.

‘Zanu (PF) will break-up when Mugabe is gone’ – Nkala

By Nduduzo Tshuma


DESPITE his love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe, one of Zanu PF’s founding fathers Enos Nkala believes the party cannot survive beyond the aged leader.

In a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday punctuated by bursts of laughter from the former minister, Nkala tactfully ducked questions, with the trade mark, “I have not exercised my mind on that.”

Never one to shy away from controversy, the former Defence minister waded into the Zanu PF succession politics, saying he believes Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is a better leader than Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.

“Zanu PF is already fragmented, I am not sure if it will survive if Mugabe leaves, these factions will grow beyond what our present politics may take,” he said.

“Zanu PF is an old party, it has made many mistakes during the time it has been in power, and maybe that is what may cause its defeat in the next elections.”

Nkala, recently discharged from hospital over heart and kidney complications, walks with the aid of a gold-coated stick and complains that age has taken the strength from his knees, but the light in his eyes does not reflect that the body is ailing.
His eyes light up each time he speaks of Zanu PF, a party he helped form.

Commenting on revelations by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott that Mugabe wanted to leave politics, Nkala said Zanu PF would collapse without the veteran ruler.

“If he does not stand in the elections, Zanu PF will lose to MDC-T,” he says. “You know Mugabe is a good speaker and commands a lot of respect, if he leaves and someone takes over I do not know who that is, maybe Joice Mujuru, she may not be able to command the respect that Mugabe enjoys.”

However, Nkala said Mnangagwa was a better-suited leader and would lead Zanu PF better in a post-Mugabe era.

“I think Mnangagwa,” he said. “Well he knew what he was doing, he had a programme for his own leadership and I think if he were given the opportunity to put that programme into operation, he would have done very well.”

Pressed if Mnangagwa has always had ambitions to lead Zanu PF, Nkala said: “like anybody else, people have ambitions, they maybe hidden, but they have ambitions.
“If you dig into them you will find that they have ambitions, they maybe loose or solid ambitions.

“Mugabe has done very well and has been in this game for a long time, his strengths overcome his weaknesses.”

Nkala does not believe that grooming a Mugabe successor would have helped avoid divisions in the party.

“Do you groom or someone grooms and projects themselves and become acceptable?” he said. “I am not so sure that you can groom somebody, it is what that individual is made of.”

The Zanu PF founder ominously said army generals wielded immense influence on the country’s politics and he was not certain what would happen if Mugabe lose elections.
“I am not sure what would happen if Mugabe left because the generals have a lot of influence and some of them date back to the days of the liberation struggle,” he said.

Nkala shares memories of the late Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena coming to invite him for Mugabe’s wedding with First Lady Grace.
Mugabe and Nkala were not on speaking terms then and the President reportedly sent Mabhena as an emissary.

“I’m not sure whether really we were not on talking terms or we had grown apart,” the former minister said with a burst of laughter.

Nkala believes that Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa would have been an automatic successor for the late Vice-President John Nkomo had he not left Zanu PF.

Blamed in many circles for his involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres that reportedly killed 20 000 people, Nkala believes Dabengwa, charged at the time with treason alongside Lookout Masuku, would have even risen to the presidency of the party and country.

“I would have thought of Dabengwa himself, but it is hard now since he left Zanu PF,” he said. “I do not know whether Naison Khutshwekhaya (Ndlovu) or Obert Mpofu would make it.

“I have not been exercising my mind on those things. It is hard to see anyone beyond Dabengwa.”

Nkala said he was not sure whether Simon Khaya Moyo, considered by many as the front runner, qualified for the position.

“But if he rises, he would be acceptable, each person has qualities that make for leadership, he cannot just be devoid of those qualities,” he said.

Nkala defended the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, saying the nationalist, “rescued Matabeleland from violence, remember there were flashes of violence so when he went into unity, peace was established, I think he should be applauded for that”.

Commenting on Callistus Ndlovu’s appointment to chair the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial structures, Nkala said he had the ability to turn the party’s fortunes.
On a lighter note, Nkala says he cannot wait to lay his hands on the first edition of the Southern Eye.

Southern Eye, published by AMH, will be launched on Monday, being the fourth paper in the stable after NewsDay, The Standard  and the Zimbabwe Independent. – NewsDay




By Daniel Nonor

Even before the Supreme Court determines the case before it in the historic election petition hearing currently ongoing, a popular opinion is swelling up within the rank and file of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as to who should lead the party in the 2016 elections.

Dr. Bawumia, running mate to Nana Addo Danqua Akufo-Addo in the 2012 general election, has come up more strongly as the likely candidate to lead the NPP in 2016, depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing.

Dr. Bawumia’s role as the second petitioner in the ongoing hearing, and his astute delivery on the dock, is beginning to earn him an admirable position in the hearts and minds of members of his party, and even some opposition members.

Dr. Bawumia’s only hurdle would be Alan Kyerematen, who has managed to form a colossal imagery as Nana’s automatic successor in the minds of many NPP supporters.

Alan Kyerematen, who lost to Nana Addo twice in a contention for the flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party, has been lurking behind the scenes to launch with some more precision when the opportunity presents itself, and to many, the timing cannot be more accurate than now.

When Alan’s nomination came up on the candidates list for the World Trade Organisation top job, many who were frightened at his ambition to annex the seat of government almost jumped into jubilation hoping that the job would take him off his ambition of contesting the presidency.

But, the emergence of Dr. Bawumia as a new darling boy on the block, according to political pundits, is one indication Alan cannot afford to overlook.

Last weekend, the former Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odobeng-Brakwa and a senior member of the New Patriotic Party, P.C. Appiah Ofori’s announcement of his open support for Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the party’s flagbearer in the near future, according to political watchers, only confirms the swelling support Dr. Bawumia is gaining each time he mounts the dock to defend the party.

Mr. Appiah Ofori justified his endorsement on the fact that Dr. Bawumia had so far distinguished himself through the sterling performance he has put up in court in the ongoing petition.

Mr. Appiah Ofori’s open declaration has become more significant, on the fact that he had once been a critic of the choice of Dr. Bawumia as running-mate to Nana Addo in previous elections.

When the bell tolls for a new face to lead the NPP, Dr. Bawumia is sure to stand equal with Alan Kyerematen in a battle of wits and popularity within the NPP.


‘Foreigners help . . . they are good for the community’


31 MAY 2013 00:00 PHILLIP DE WET

In the east of Alexandra, Johannesburg, in an area where a new housing development has seen flare-ups of xenophobia



A Somali family was doing a steady trade in bread, cold drinks and unregistered cellphone SIM cards this week – with just an edge of worry.

“You must be nice to us. We sell for you cheap,” shopkeeper Mohammed cajoled a customer who had grown angry at a lack of available airtime. “You need us here, so other people don’t charge you lots.”

Despite the joking tone, Mohammed says spreading that message is important, and he takes pains to do so. “If other people are saying things about us, we must tell the truth about what we do.”

Not that the family has seen any sign of trouble, or are taking any precautions. If their shop should become a target, they said, they would abandon their stock to looters and retreat into a section of the premises fortified against robbery.

And then they would wait for the dust to settle and start again, with the help of fellow Somalis, in the same way they plan to help their Diepsloot compatriots to re-establish their businesses.

The attitude is one born of experience. Mohammed was not in the country when several areas, including Alexandra, meted out vicious violence against foreigners in 2008. But before leaving Mogadishu he saw brutality that makes South Africans look like amateurs, he said. Then he went to Kenya, just in time for the post-election violence that killed more than a thousand people.

Real threat
About 40km away, in the Themb’elihle township near Lenasia, the nationalities were different, but the situation was the same: calm, with just the usual reasons for tension; burglaries and robberies are a more real threat than mob violence, and easier to prepare for.

“This gate is good,” said a Bangladeshi shopkeeper, thumping a metal door, “but if they come with tools and they make noise, you can’t stop them coming in. If they are not afraid, if the police can’t come here, they’ll take everything.”

Shops in the area were looted the last time the community took to the streets to protest service delivery, but nationality had little to do with it. Local black-owned businesses suffered too, and expect they will again in future. It is the price of doing business.

“Today, it is OK,” said another Bangladeshi shopkeeper, who is employed by a black owner, “tomorrow maybe not. If they come we will run away, then we come back again.”

Conditions for looting may come around sooner rather than later. A crisis committee for the township, which has had a long-running battle with local and provincial authorities over housing, plans to take to the streets again on Monday, and is anticipating clashes with police.

“We decided we are going to go there and invade those houses that are supposed to be allocated to the people of Themb’elihle,” said community organiser Bhayiza Miya of a recent set of community meetings. “We know they will come here with rubber bullets and make arrests. The way to avoid that is for them to respond to our grievances.”

The central grievance is the allocation of government-built houses some 3km away, and a dispute about whether underlying dolomite rock (and the risk that sinkholes may develop) makes Themb’elihle so unsafe that all residents should be moved away.

In the past that issue has seen protests that eventually escalate into clashes between police and groups of residents, making it nearly impossible to police the settlement at night. Then, under cover of darkness, shops are looted and occasionally set on fire.

“Criminal elements” may again take advantage of the chaos of a protest to steal, Miya said, but that would be crimes of opportunity, not xenophobia. “Foreign nationals are part of our meetings, they are part of our committee. When we don’t have funds [to organise community action] we go to these shops and they help us. With us here, the foreigners help the community by selling cheap. Me, I’m running a tuckshop myself, and I want them to teach me where they buy their stuff and how they run their businesses, because they are good for the community.”

Phillip de Wet writes about politics, society, economics, weird stuff, and the areas where all of these collide.


More needed to boost the delivery of justice

The Judiciary has gone through remarkable reforms since the enactment of the Constitution nearly three years ago. It has become more open and has conducted its affairs in a fairly transparent manner.

The creation of the Supreme Court, competitive appointment of judges and magistrates and public vetting of officials have all helped to restore faith and confidence in the court system.

However, the true test of reforms will be when courts become platforms for expeditious, judicious and efficient administration of justice.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga met 470 convicts at Kamiti Maximum Prison, accused of capital offences and who have protested about the delay in hearing and concluding their appeals. Some appeals have not been heard for 30 years!

The delay in resolving cases and the mistreatment of prisoners and suspects is not restricted to those accused of capital offences; they apply to others too, and underline a fundamental fact that reforms at the Judiciary have not gone deep enough.

When he took over office, Dr Mutunga undertook to clear the backlog of cases, ensure honest arbitration and end the notoriety of missing files, among other ills. Clearly, these targets are far from being achieved.

But the logjam in the justice system is not only a fault of the courts. The prisons, the police, the prosecution and defence teams are all to blame.

On many occasions, cases cannot proceed because of poor investigation, ill-prepared lawyers or inept prison staff. This is why reforms must be all-inclusive.

To this extent, efforts to bring all justice departments to deal with common challenges must be energised to improve the delivery of justice.

Think creatively to quell pastoral conflicts


Posted  Thursday, May 30  2013 at  19:00

Pastoralist parts of Kenya are again back in the news because of the clan fights going on in Mandera County.

Nomadic communities have been dogged by violence for decades, and, historically, they have been mostly over cattle, grazing lands and other similar issues.

Sadly, the causes are not that simple any more. Despite the frequent nature of these clashes, our government is unable to find lasting solutions.

Why solutions have evaded us this long is worth considering. Is it because the real causes of the conflicts are unknown? Or is it that the causes are known but the right solutions are not being applied?

Naturally, the starting point when tackling problems of this nature should be to determine their root causes. Any attempt at solving them that does not include this core component will be futile.

Contrary to common belief, these clashes, when they occur, especially in places like Mandera and the Tana Delta are not necessarily about the quest for cattle as the case may be in Turkana and Pokot areas.

Deep-seated grievances over land ownership or a quest by some communities to have exclusive right of residence in certain areas may be the main cause.

Thus, the problem of ethnic-based violence in pastoral areas has diverse causes and, as such, the solutions need not be uniform across the board, but tailor-made to suit the specific grievances.

For many years now, the authorities have adopted a straitjacket approach in their attempt to address the issue.

The reaction of the police and the government in general has become boringly predictable whenever such incidents arise.

It often starts, and ends, with deploying more troops to the area ostensibly to disarm the people of their “small arms and light weapons” and that is expected to make the problem go away somehow.

Regrettably, this has been the standard response in all the incidents. But the problem persists because the response fails to take into account the real cause of the problem.

Disarming communities

What sense does it make to blame the weapon rather than its user? If illicit small arms are to blame for the violence in Mandera as the Inspector-General of police claims, then who is to blame for the massacres in the Tana Delta?

There is clearly an urgent need for the government to unearth and understand the causes and be more innovative in their solutions. This is because the methods that have traditionally been employed to address conflict have failed.

Disarming the communities is certainly not among the solutions. On the contrary, why not consider arming them so that each community can defend itself against aggression by other communities?

As it became evident recently in the Tana Delta, the police cannot defend every village or homestead even when their stations are located a few metres away.

Thus the only logical thing to do may be to allow all pastoralists to carry arms so that they can defend themselves adequately. This is what they have always done anyway, albeit illegally.



Battle is on for ownership of lucrative Maasai rights

Posted  Thursday, May 30  2013 at  05:12


  • According to Light Years IP, an NGO which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries, about 80 companies around the world are currently using either the Maasai image or name.
  • If the Maasai “brand” were owned by a corporation, it would be worth more than $10m (about Sh0.5 billion) a year, perhaps even “more”, according to Layton. How much of this the Maasai might be able to claim would be up to negotiation.
  • If the Maasai do take control of their brand, large sums of money could suddenly start flowing into the community.


Imagine a Maasai warrior, or a Maasai woman, adorned with beads. It is one of the most powerful images of what has been described as “tribal Africa”.

Dozens of companies use it to sell products—but Maasai elders are now considering seeking protection for their “brand”.

Dressed in a white checked shirt and grey sweater, Isaac ole Tialolo does not come across as a Maasai. The large round holes in his ears—from where his jewellery sometimes hangs—might be a clue, though.

Isaac is a Maasai leader and elder. In the mountains near Naivasha, he lives a semi-nomadic life, herding sheep, goats and, most importantly, cattle.

But Isaac is also chair of a new organisation, the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative, a project that is beginning to take him around the world, including, most recently, London.

“We all know that we have been exploited by people who just come around, take our pictures and benefit from it,” he says. “We have been exploited by so many things… you cannot imagine.”

Crunch time for Isaac came about 20 years ago, when a tourist took a photo of him without asking for permission, something the Maasai are particularly sensitive about. “We believe that if somebody takes your photograph, he has already taken your blood,” he explains. That is why he was so furious that he smashed the tourist’s camera.

Twenty years later, he is mild-mannered and impeccably turned out, but equally passionate about what he sees as the use—and abuse—of his culture.

“I think people need to understand the culture of others and respect it,” he says. “You should not use it to your own benefit, leaving the community, or the owner of the culture, with nothing. If you just take what belongs to somebody and go and display it and have your fortune, then it is very wrong.”

According to Light Years IP, an NGO which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries, about 80 companies around the world are currently using either the Maasai image or name.

These include a range of accessories called Masai made for Land Rover; Masai Barefoot Technology, which makes speciality trainers; and high-end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Masai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.

“It’s almost certainly the biggest cultural brand in the world,” argues Ron Layton, the founder and head of Light Years IP.

“It ranks right up there. It’s a serious brand. Those companies may be using the Maasai brand in ways that really do enhance their business, so it’s reasonable for the Maasai to say, ‘Well, why aren’t you coming to talk to us? Why aren’t you asking our permission? Why don’t you engage with us?’” says Layton.

But the reality is that there has never been a single, unified Maasai body for companies to approach and seek permission, though that could soon change.

Light Years IP is involved in a niche but growing area of development policy, known as “intellectual property value capture”.

The argument is that intellectual property rules offer the potential to provide a valuable source of income for people in developing countries, who tend to get only a small sliver of the profits made on their goods on the international market.

If the Maasai “brand” were owned by a corporation, it would be worth more than $10m (about Sh0.5 billion) a year, perhaps even “more”, according to Layton. How much of this the Maasai might be able to claim would be up to negotiation.

“It’s time the world sat up and took notice,” says Lord Boateng, a member of the UK’s House of Lords, whose grandfather was a cocoa farmer in Ghana. “It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Boateng is on the board of directors of the newly-created African IP Trust, which has taken on the Maasai as one of its first cases.

“They are not getting value. Their image is being abused,” says Boateng. “The Maasai are an ancient and sophisticated people, they know they are being ripped off and they want this to stop.”

It is not yet certain that the Maasai will choose to pursue intellectual property protection, but Maasai elders like Isaac ole Tialolo want to be sure that the whole community is on board first.

Together with Light Years IP, he has been travelling around Maasai areas holding meetings and workshops. It is a huge task—according to some estimates, there could be as many as three million Maasai in 12 districts spread across a vast swathe of Kenya and Tanzania. So far, they have reached about 1.2 million people.

Once the consultation is complete, and if the Maasai choose to go forward, the plan is to create a General Assembly of Maasai elders, trained in IP, who would act as a legal body specifically on this issue, negotiating with companies via a licensing agent, on a case-by-case basis.

That is the dream, at least. But according to some lawyers, the Maasai case is not especially strong in terms of international property law.

“They are on a sticky wicket with the law,” says Ben Goodger, an expert on international IP law and a partner at the law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer in the UK. IP law, he says, has been designed for new businesses and people creating innovations, and it is not really well-suited to this kind of case.

Patents, for example, would offer little or no protection to the Maasai, because the product or service has to be new. Trademarks could potentially offer a better route. But trademarks are issued on a first-come-first-served basis, and a number of companies have already got trademarks for use of the Maasai name or image.

“It looks to me like they have got some quite powerful opponents,” says Goodger. “Those guys may not just give that up easily.”

The idea of cultures seeking IP protection is not an entirely new one. The Native American Navajo recently brought a case against the clothes company Urban Outfitters for use of their name.

But perhaps the best parallel with the Maasai is the case of Aborigines in Australia who, 15 years ago, secured a voluntary code that governs use of their cultural and intellectual property.

They are useful in creating an industry norm, which can serve as a kind of name-and-shame tool for those who do not sign up.

“That’s very clever. That’s exactly what they should do,” says Bruce Webster, an independent international branding expert.

“Then it’s a proud, ancient people against exploitative Western multinationals—and they’ll win the PR battle absolutely.”

For the moment, the Maasai are not going after any companies, though they have written to a number in cases where they have found the use of their name or image to be particularly offensive.

They are sensitive about the portrayal of their bodies, for example, and they don’t like images of their jewellery used inappropriately.

Each colour of bead has a special meaning. “This, we call it norkiteng,” says Isaac, holding up a circular necklace with threaded beads hanging down from points of the circle. It is given as a gift to a new bride. Used in some commercial contexts, it can seem disrespectful.

“It offends me because they don’t know the meaning… they misuse it,” says Isaac.

If the Maasai do take control of their brand, large sums of money could suddenly start flowing into the community.

“The Maasai have already been branded like there’s no tomorrow, but they haven’t seen the benefits,” says Duncan Green, senior strategic adviser for Oxfam GB. He supports the IP campaign in principle, but warns there could be problems without a system in place to ensure the money is used fairly.

It’s an issue the Maasai have thought about. The proposed General Assembly of elders would, it has been suggested, be underpinned by a constitution specifying how the money should be distributed and used.

But for Isaac at least, it is not primarily about the money. “What matters is the respect,” he says. He has hosted a series of live phone-ins in the indigenous Maa language, and the phones have been buzzing.

To Western ears, it might sound counter-intuitive for the Maasai to be hotly debating notions such as intellectual property, copyright and trademarks, such emblems of modern capitalism.

But, says Isaac, though these may not be terms they are familiar with, the Maasai have a strong sense of ownership of their culture and a visceral sense of violation where they feel their image has been misused.

“People are very excited, very excited. They are asking every day, ‘When is it going to happen? When is it going to happen?’ It’s something that is spreading like fire all over the community,” says Isaac.

Ron Layton spoke to The World, a co-production of BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston.



Please post any comments and/or queries about these articles in the box provided below. Your suggestions for the improvement of this service will be most gratefully welcomed.


Endsit, and Bi-Bi.


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