LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, SUNDAY 2/6/2013

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

Warmest greetings. Please find below from the Africa Centre the latest African news, comment and opinion, taken from newspaper websites right across and down the continent.

Your comments and suggestions as to how the Centre could improve this service would be greatly welcomed, however trenchant. Please do put them in the box provided below this post.

NEWS CONTENTS:

Nigeria: We were paid N5, 000 to burn schools —Freed Boko Haram kids

Nigeria: S’South, S’East Governors Back Jonathan, Condemn Northern Terrorists

Sudan: Sudanese top military official comes under rebel attack during visit: sources

Sudan: Security restricts S. Sudan TV from covering VP’s activities, as his office dismisses

Sudan: 23,000 flee Jonglei violence, UN says

Rwanda/Tanzania: Membe: Kikwete won’t apologise to Rwanda

Zimbabwe: Crucial make or break SADC summit in ten days

Ghana: Land Guard attacks: Prampram Police urge Ningo chief to return home

Ghana: Japan to re-open Yen Loan to Ghana

Zambia: Zambia’s FDIs grow

Uganda: BoU responds on banks’ rise in non-performing assets

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Africa: Museveni roots for infrastructure development

Africa/World: Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Nigeria: 2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

Great Lakes: Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

Uganda: How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

Kenya: I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

Kenya: Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

South Africa: ‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

South Africa: Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the enemy

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

Kenya: Why poaching should get us worried

Kenya: Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru

South Africa: ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

 

 

We were paid N5, 000 to burn schools —Freed Boko Haram kids

About 58 pardoned Boko Haram suspects were yesterday released by the military and handed over to Governors Kashim Shettima and Ibrahim Geidam of Borno and Yobe states.

Those granted reprieve, as part of the first batch of freed detainees under Federal Government’s amnesty deal, included 23 women and 35 children.

But the release was emotional as one of the children admitted that they were being paid N5, 000 to set schools ablaze.

According to the fact-sheet obtained by our correspondent, 20 detainees, comprising six women and 14 children, were released in Borno State.

The 20 suspects, arrested between 2012 and 2013, were freed and handed over to Governor Kashim Shettima for rehabilitation and reintegration by the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Order, in Maiduguri.

The document said: “The children are between the ages of 9 and 15 years. The 20 detainees were mostly arrested in Maiduguri, Bama in Borno and Damaturu in Yobe State.

“The six freed women include Hajjia Zainab Mohammed (40); Hajjia Karagama Mohammed (55); Hajjia Zari Mohammed (40); Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62); Hadiza Ahmad (40) and Yakaka Goni Habib (16).

“The 14 children include Abba Modu Aji (10); Mohammed Musa (12); Ibrahim Mohammed (15); Umar Bukar (1)5; Mustapha Umaru (14); Bashir Ali (12); Musa Grema (13); Abba Mohammed (14); Baba Alhaji (13); AbdulAziz Umar (14); Ari Masa’a (14); Bayi Mustapha (14); Mohammed Ibrahim (14) and Alhaji Goni (14).

In Yobe State, 17 women and 21 children were also released by the JTF to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam in Damaturu.

Responding to questions from journalists, most of the women freed in Borno State claimed innocence.

“One of them, Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62), said she was arrested because of her son’s involvement.

Although she said her son was still at large, military sources said the woman was regularly keeping guns for her son after he carried out attacks.

“Another woman, Hajiya Zainab Mohammed, claimed she was a food vendor and was arrested after a raid in Bama town, some 40 kilometres away from Maiduguri.

A reliable source at the handing over ceremony in Maiduguri said: “There was drama at the council chambers venue of the handover when three children revealed that some sect members recruited them mostly to gather information, especially to bring report on troop movement and behaviour of soldiers at duty posts.

One of them said: “We were taken to Damaturu. We watched out for the soldiers at their units and reported back to them. We were reporting when soldiers were at ease or enjoying themselves and when they were off guard, and we were paid for doing that.”

One of the teenagers also revealed that they were paid N5, 000 and provided with fuel in kegs to set schools ablaze in Maiduguri .

He said: “We were given a keg of petrol by our bosses to set some schools ablaze, which we did within Maiduguri, and we were paid N5, 000.”

One of the children also revealed that he was usually sent to steal clothes from houses for use by insurgents.

“They, however, said after they were arrested and interrogated by the men of the JTF, they volunteered information that led to the arrest or killing in gun battle of their pay masters.

“The three boys also said they were in Almajiri schools. They, however, said they were willing to be enrolled into formal education to be combined with Islamic education, with a pledge to be of good behaviour.

The Commander, 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, Brig. Gen. Bamigboye, who did the handing over, said he was acting on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Saad Ibrahim, following President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to the army.

He explained that the detainees were arrested in connection with their roles in the insurgency.

The Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Isa Gusau, confirmed the release of the 58 detainees last night.

Gusau said: “Governor Shettima presented fabrics to the pardoned detainees to assist them. He noted that with the President’s offer, they were like every innocent Nigerian so long as they remained of good behaviour.

He quoted the governor as saying: “We most sincerely thank Mr. President for his magnanimity for releasing our sisters and children. This marks a milestone in our quest for peace through a dialogue and to restore normalcy.

“We will do our part by ensuring that they are integrated into the larger society after rehabilitation to become better citizens.

“The Federal Government has shown commitment by releasing these women and children under detention. We would admit the women into our vocational training centres for rehabilitation.

“As for the children, we are going to hand them over to the Ministry of Women Affairs and social welfare. We will advertise for their parents to come and claim them after they might have signed a written undertaking to inculcate good behaviour and to enroll them in schools.”

Gusau added: “The governor also said for each released child that is enrolled in school, their parents would get N10, 000 for 30 days of uninterrupted stay in school

. “He said it is a foreign model that he is borrowing as a campaign to boost education. The governor also urged the women to turn a new leaf and not walk back to the wrong alley. He commended the security agents for keeping the detainees hale and hearty.

“He assured that the state government wiould do everything to rehabilitate them to be better citizens, promising that the women wiould be trained at the various vocational training centres in the state to acquire skills, while the children would be sent to schools.” From The Nation.

 

S’South, S’East Governors Back Jonathan, Condemn Northern Terrorists

Governors of South-South and South East states  have condemned in strong terms the various acts of terrorism and their sponsors in parts of the country.

The Governors who gave this condemnation yesterday in a communiqué after a closed door meeting in Asaba condemned the abominable behaviours and antics of some Nigerians and their evil collaborators in assaulting the collective psyche of the nation and commiserated with the president, governments, and victims and their families of this evil act.

They appealed to all Nigerians to be cooperate with government to stamp out these evil acts.

In their words “The meeting was concerned at the condemnable behaviour and antics of some Nigerians and their evil collaborators in assaulting the collective psyche of the nation, by waging various acts of terrorism, the South-South and South East Governors commiserate with President, the governments of all affected areas, the victims, their families and majority of peace-loving Nigerians,” the Governors said, adding that it was important for all law-abiding citizens to join hands with governments at all levels to stamp out terrorism and other evils from the society.”

Briefing the press after the meeting which lasted for about four hours, the Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, Governor Liyel Imoke and his counterpart in the South-East Zone; Mr Peter Obi flanked by all the Governors that attended the meeting said, they salutes “the resolute stance of Mr President to confront terror wherever and whenever it occurs in Nigeria,” adding they also commended the President “for his focused leadership and bold, result-yielding transformation agenda, which deserves the unwavering support of all Nigerians and friends of Nigerians alike.”

The Governors emphasised that the laudable achievements of the President in the areas of strengthening democracy, stabilising the polity, growing the economy and improving the quality of life of all citizens continues to unfold.

“The South-South and South-East governors plead with all Nigerians to adopt dialogue and peaceful means to resolve issues affecting the country,” the Governors resolved, adding, “the governors also agreed to work together and ensure regional cooperation in stemming the spate of kidnapping, arson, pipeline vandalisation as well as other nefarious activities in the regions to secure the regions and ensure that the regions remains a conducive environment to attract investments.”

While thanking Governor Uduaghan for been a good host, the Governors stated, “the South-South and South-East Governors agreed on economic and political integration of the old Eastern and Midwestern regions now the South-South and South-East and pledged to strengthen cooperation across the board with particular focus on development of infrastructure linking the region, particularly federal roads.”

“The Governors also pledged to work together to ensure the development of all the ports in the region including the Abia Dry port and called on the Nigeria Port Authority to facilitate the achievements of this objective,” the Governors said, reiterating that while they commended President Jonathan on the extensive rehabilitation and modernisation of the airports across the country, it was important for the Federal Government to establish cargo airports in Owerri and additional deep-sea ports in the regions including Ibaka, Escravos, Agge and also called for the dredging of the Calabar port.

They also, agreed to revive agro-allied industries particularly in palm and rubber plantations to exploit the comparative advantage in agriculture in both regions, adding, “the Governors of the South-South and the South-East states called on the Federal Government to facilitate the full implementation of the Free Trade Zones status amongst the states of the region.”

The meeting which was by Governors Peter Obi of Anambra, Sulivan Chime of Enugu, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Theodore Orji of Abia and Martin Elechi of Ebonyi States and their counterparts in South-South States; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta (host Governor), Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State while Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was represented at the meeting by his Deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru with the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole conspicuously absent used the occasion to mourn the death of late Professor Chinua Achebe, adding that they sympathized  with the people of South-East region and on the death of Professor Chinua Achebe. They also condoled the Achebe family and acknowledged his legacy as a literary giant and international ambassador of the Nigerian culture. From the Times of Nigeria.

 

SGuru knocks Northern leaders over comment against Asari-Dokubo

POSTED ON SATURDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2013

By Ishaya Ibrahim/Lagos

 

Satguru Maharaj Ji, founder of One Love Family, has accused Northern leaders of hypocrisy for calling for the head of Asari-Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, over his remark that should Jonathan failed to clinch the presidency in 2015, the country would be in flames.

In a statement made available to Saturday Independent, Maharaj Ji contended that Dokubo was only restating what some prominent Northern leaders had said in the past. According to Maharaj Ji, when some Northern leaders made similar war threats, nobody in the region felt it was wrong. He recalled that former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, was quoted to have said, in reference to the next general election that “if what happened in 2011 should happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will all be soaked in blood.” For Maharaj Ji, Buhari’s utterance was an incitement of no less proportion than Dokubo’s.

He said leaders of the North must rise beyond seeing Nigeria as their conquered territory where they alone could rule. He urged them to come to terms with the fact that any ethnic group could produce the president.

“We must tell ourselves the truth if Nigeria must be great to play her role as the divine laboratory for re-engineering a new world order where all races must come together in love, peace and unity as children of one Universal Father, Maharaj Ji. They should, therefore, give peace a chance because gone are the days when ascendancy to Nigeria’s political office, at any level, was based on human permutations and combinations cooked from Europe,” he said. From the Daily Independent.

 

Sudanese top military official comes under rebel attack during visit: sources

May 31, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels said Friday they downed a military helicopter near Abu Kershola where a Sudanese army top commander was on a visit to inspect the recently reclaimed area, but the army denied the rebel claims.

SRF spokesperson Abu El-Gassim Al-Haj said in a statement released today that the military plane had been downed in an attack carried by the SRF artillery forces army positions, adding that all the crew members were killed.

Gibril Adam, spokesman for the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Reuters its fighters had attacked a government convoy carrying Sudan’s army chief of staff, Ismat Abdelrahman, just outside Abu Kershola.

“We managed to shoot down a helicopter and hit another one,” Adam said, adding that nine people had been killed in fighting.

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson, Al-Sawarmi Khaled, in Khartoum denied the rebel statements, and said the helicopter crashed due to technical failure during combing operations carried out by the army in Abu Kershola.

However, sources told Sudan Tribune that Sudanese army Chief of Staff narrowly escaped death when he visited the area’s frontlines. The shelling started on his convoy from rebels in mountains nearby prompting Sudanese troops to use tanks and helicopters to secure and evacuate the senior army official safely.

In the process a helicopter was shot down, the sources add.

Eyewitnesses speaking to Reuters and Agence France Presse (AFP) confirmed the incident.

A witness told Reuters heavy shooting broke out after rebels opened fire on the convoy carrying General Abdel-Rahman and the army had used tanks and a helicopter, which apparently was hit.

“I saw a helicopter in the air clouded in smoke,” the witness said.

“During a visit by senior army officials, shots were fired at army positions in the town from the north, and the assailants exchanged fire with the army, who were using tanks,” the witness told AFP under condition of anonymity.

He also said he had “seen smoke and flames coming out of a helicopter,” and that after the incident, “the aircraft that transported the officials left the town”.

Abu-Kershola which is located in north east of South Kordofan state and on the border with North Kordofan, had been seized by the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) fighters on 27 April, but SAF was able to recapture the town this week.

Earlier on Friday, Abu Kershola received a military delegation led by SAF chief-of-staff, Lieutenant General Ismat Abdel-Rahman to celebrate the recapture of the town from the rebels and to inspect the troops.

General Abdel-Rahman, who was accompanied by senior military officers to visit the area, has affirmed SAF’s determination to defeat the armed rebel groups and regain control over all Sudan’s territory.

In a speech to the troops hours before the attack on Friday, Abdel-Rahman said that the liberation of Abu-Kershola is a “message to the enemies of Islam and Sudan”, stressing that SAF is “resolved to liberate every inch of the Sudan’s territory and cleanse the Nuba Mountains of rebels and mercenaries”.

The Sudanese general was alluding to the SPLM-N rebels who control the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state since June 2011. Recently the SPLM-N and its allied Darfur rebel groups established a joint command in Kauda, one of thetown in the troubled state.

Abdel-Rahman further praised the “heroic role” of SAF’s officers, and soldiers as well as the Mujahideen (holy fighters) of the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and other regular forces.

The commander of SAF’s force which recaptured the town, Adel Ali Al-Kanani, for his part, said that the battle in Abu-Kershola stressed that “the enemy suffered a decisive defeat”.

Following SAF’s recapture of Abu-Kershola, the SRF announced that it had decided to withdraw its fighters from Abu-Kershola due to the economic blockade imposed by the Sudanese army on the town since last April and its disastrous humanitarian impact on the civilians.

They further said that their operation was a positive test for their plans and future attacks aiming to extend the war into other regions in order to topple the regime.

The eastern South Kordofan town also received on Friday a convoy of humanitarian assistance from Um Ruwaba, a town in North Kordofan the rebels attacked before to seize Abu Kershola, to support the civilians who suffered the lack of food during the last weeks.

On the other hand a delegation composed of South Kordofan state officials visited people displaced from Abu Kershola in Al-Rahad town in North Kodofan.

The visiting delegation which was mainly composed of officials from the Nuba Mountains meant to alleviate their suffering after the “negative repercussions” of the attack on Abu Kershola said Omar Rahama Al-Nour director of Nida for Aid and Development, a Sudanese aid group.

The government accused the SPLM-N rebels from the Nuba Mountains of killing some traditional and local leaders in Abu Kershola during the past weeks when they controlled the area.

(ST)

From Sudan Tribune/Reuters

Security restricts S. Sudan TV from covering VP’s activities, as his office dismisses

May 31, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s security services on Friday ordered management of the state owned South Sudan television (SSTV) to refrain from covering activities involving vice president Riek Machar, a source told Sudan Tribune.

However, media official at the office of the vice-president played down reports on censorship imposed on the coverage of Machar’s activities, stressing that no such measures can be taken against “the top boss” of the South Sudanese government during Kiir’s absence.

Security officials, who warned of tough measures if SSTV journalists fail to implement the directive, did not give any reason for the move, which comes a day after privately owned Citizen Television was given a similar directive.

These developments coincided with president Salva Kiir’s trip to Japan and recent reports about competition within the presidency over the leadership of the ruling Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Responding to Thursday’s claims by Citizen Television, Machar’s press secretary, James Gadet Dak, told Sudan Tribune, that the vice president’s the office only became aware of the allegations after reading Sudan Tribune’s story.

“We are not aware of official policy or decision that restricts media coverage on political activities. What I know is that the vice-president, who currently acts in the absence of the president, is the top boss of all the government’s institutions that are under the executive, including the security organs,” he said.

“And I can assure you that he did not authorise that action as acting head of the government,” he said. The state-owned television and radio have normally been broadcasting the activities of Machar’s office, including political functions, he said.

Dak added that if the independent media were facing difficulties in freely covering apolitical events, they should raise their complaints to the ministry of information and broadcasting.

The South Sudanese president was seen off at Juba airport by senior officials including Machar, who in April was stripped of powers delegated to him by the president, after reports emerged that his deputy was considering standing for the chairmanship of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) at an upcoming convention.

There are fears among Kiir’s supporters in the SPLM that he might loss his seat in the upcoming national convention to elect chairperson of the governing SPLM and then be in prime position to be the ruling party’s candidate for the 2015 presidential elections.

“It has been more than one month now since security agents started being harsh on our activities, forcing us to be selective in what we report about activities involving the vice president”, a presenter with the state-owned television told Sudan Tribune Friday.

SSTV’s management, the journalist said, do not want to be seen as a tool disseminating political activities favouring particular politicians. The presenter, who wished to remain anonymous, said that “security services have increased threats on what we cover, especially meetings by the vice president”.

Concerning the reports on restrictions imposed on the SSTV journalists, Dak stressed that Machar activities are well broadcast on the state-owned TV and radio. But he however admitted they are subjected to some pressures.

“I sometimes receive complaints from South Sudan TV about the behaviour of some security agents who agitate that the TV presenters and reporters should not broadcast some of the political opinions stated by the Vice President”, he said.

Journalists claimed that security agents often acted on the directives of individuals in the office of the president when threatening sections of the media who are critical of the performance of Kiir’s administration.

The presenter said some colleagues had, in the past, received threats and others were arbitrarily arrested, pointing out that it was not just the private media facing such mistreatment.

Journalists from independent media organisations “are seriously criticising our coverage and reporting on the national activities without taking into consideration [the] challenges we are facing”.

State media staff had been “threatened at gun point for technical faults”, the reporter said.

Last year, journalists from the state broadcaster were arrested in Wau on suspicion of refusing to cover a speech by president Kiir in aftermath of protests against the Western Bahr el Ghazal government over the relocation an administrative centre. South Sudanese police were accused of shooting dead eight protestors, according to rights groups who say that the events have not been properly investigated.

John Garang, a SSTV presenter was last year arrested by security agents for allegedly allowing footage to be broadcast showing Kiir “in unclear and gloomy appearance”.

Dak advised TV personnel who complained to take up the matter to the ministry of information and broadcasting under which they operate and then see the way forward from that level.

Since independence in 2011, South Sudanese authorities have been reticent to allow freedom of expression among human rights activists and the press – some of the stated aims of the SPLM during the civil war – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

CPJ recently wrote an open letter to Kiir asking him to do more to ensure press freedom and end the self censorship which journalists say they have been forced into over the actions of the security services, human rights and corruption.

Washington’s envoy to Juba, Susan Page, said recently that the US government was “very concerned about the deteriorating levels of press freedom” in the young nation, which has been increasingly criticised for its human rights record by the countries that supported its independence.

(ST) From Sunday Tribune.

23,000 flee Jonglei violence, UN says

May 31, 2013 (BOR) – More than 23,500 people have been forced from their homes in Jonglei state, where the South Sudanese army are fighting an armed rebellion in Pibor county, according to the United Nations.

The UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in a report earlier this week that 19,000 had been displaced in recent fighting but Tim Irwin, a spokesperson for the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), said on Friday that the number of of those seeking refuge Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, which borders Jonglei’s Pibor county, has received about 16,000 people since the beginning of May, Irwin told AP, while 5,000 have arrived in Kenya and 2,500 in Uganda.

Most of those fleeing are women and children, he said, as men will often “stay behind to protect the land and take care of the livestock.”

Jonglei state’s governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the increasing displacement was due to the 10-month-old rebellion by David Yauyau, a priest by training who first begin fighting the government after he failed to become an MP in the 2010 election. Yauyau briefly accepted an amnesty in 2011 before resuming his rebellion with the alleged help of neighbouring Sudan.

“Most people must have ran to Ethiopia and Kenya, these are always the results of war and conflict”, Governor Manyang said.

Manyang said that some civilians in Pibor that are controlled by the South Sudanese army (SPLA) lack “food and certain necessities”, calling upon the humanitarian organisations to come for their rescue.

“Those NGOs, and UN agencies that [left] Pibor because of fear, should now come back to continue providing necessary help to the needy ones there.”

The SPLA, he said, he cleared Yauyau’s forces from Boma and Maruo and some other villages. “All the rebels elements are being pursued by the army now”, Manyang added.

Officials within South Sudan’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) expressing doubts over the high numbers of displaced given by the UN, warning that some people from other areas of the country might have used the Jonglei situation to gain access to refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Pibor county’s commissioner, Joshua Konyi, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that he had received information that some of the people now arriving in Ethiopia had ran to Yauyau’s side for protection during recent clashes. Having realised that his armed group could not protect them they got into difficulties and had to resort to seeking refugees in Ethiopia.

Other people had left for South Sudan’s capital, Juba, but Konyi did not “know how they made it”.

The commissioner of the troubled county declined to reveal who informed him about the presence of Jonglei refugees in Ethiopia and where exactly the refugee camps are located in Ethiopia.

According to Konyi, those who listened to his advice stayed in Pibor with him, after he assured them of their safety.

“Those who listened to my advise are now here, and what we now lack is the food for them, because humanitarian agencies did not come back with food yet”, said Konyi said Juba Arabic on the phone from Pibor.

The RRC warned humanitarian agencies not to conduct self-initiated assessment missions without involving local actors before providing food aid.

The Jonglei director for RRC, Deng Ajak, said in 28 May letter to different humanitarians partners that involving his body would improve the quality of humanitarian actions.

“In order to improve the quality of humanitarian actions during the response and to be held accountable, there is a need to strengthen the level of coordination with the government at all levels”, he said in his letter.

“Hereforth, all the humanitarian operating in Jonglei, are urged to abide by the above principles and include all RRC in all the assessment missions in the state without undermining its institutional structures from the national level to payams [sub districts]”, he ordered.

The letter was sent, according the RRC director, to various humanitarian agencies in South Sudan.

(ST) From Sunday Tribune.

Land Guard attacks: Prampram Police urge Ningo chief to return home

By Myjoyonline.com

Police in Prampram have asked the Chief of Ningo, Nene Otuaboah Agbi II and his elders who have fled the town to return home.

They fled the town to escape attacks from men they suspect to be land guards

The gun-wielding men were said to have taken over lands in the area and selling them at exorbitant prices.

The Ningo-Prampram area has become attractive following government’s plans to build a new international airport there.

The chief and his elders who could not withstand the might of the land guards are currently seeking refuge at a hideout here in Accra.

But crime officer for the Ningo-Prampram area ASP Abdulai Kamagatey told Joy News the safety of the chief and his elders are guaranteed and called on them to return.

What I know is that the whole area has problems with land disputes and they have issues in court.

There is no way we will sit down for anybody to harass anybody for him to vacate his premises,’ he said.

He said they have dispatched men to ensure their safety. From Modern Ghana.

Membe: Kikwete won’t apologise to Rwanda

By Samuel Kamndaya The Citizen Reporter  (email the author)

Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  21:16

IN SUMMARY

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

Dodoma. President Jakaya Kikwete will not apologise to Rwanda or change his stand that the Rwandan government should negotiate with rebels.

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

Mr Membe said there was no way the Head of State could apologise for saying the truth and stating a fact.

He reiterated Tanzania’s position that Rwanda had no option but to get into peace talks with rebels most of whom are fighting President Paul Kagame’s regime from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forests.

He said fighting the rebels unsuccessfully for 17 years necessitated the need to negotiate with them.

According to Mr Membe, Tanzania sees the presence of such rebels in the DRC forests as a setback in the region’s peace process.

“Rwanda has opposed President Kikwete’s statement but the President will not apologise because his statement was based on facts….Rwanda should take this advice….Our President cannot apologise for saying the truth,” Mr Membe said shortly after Parliament endorsed the ministry’s Sh138.36 billion budget for 2013/14 fiscal year.

During last week’s 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, President Kikwete called on Rwanda to hold talks with Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels because the military option had failed to end the war with them.

Kigali has strongly opposed the proposal, with Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo, quoted by Radio France Internationale (RFI) as describing Mr Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”.

She told RFI on Monday that Rwanda would not consider negotiating with people who were responsible for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

“Those who think that Rwanda today should sit down at the negotiating table with FDLR simply don’t know what they are talking about,” she said.

She said it was unfortunate that the rebel group had sympathisers in the region, including President Kikwete.

She urged President Kikwete to retract his comments. She told RFI that she did not expect President Kikwete to suggest that Rwanda negotiate with “known terrorists” since he had served as a Foreign Affairs minister and knows the FDLR background.

She added that Mr Kikwete could be just another sympathiser for the group whose ideology is still being fought in Rwanda and worldwide. The chairman of Rwanda’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Gideon Kayinamura, is also on record as having categorically stated that suggesting negotiations with the FDLR militias was a big insult to Rwandans.

Rwandans living in the US have also petitioned President Barack Obama not to listen to such positions and continue with support to Rwanda and the region to bring FDLR criminals to justice.

The US government has already reinstated a $5 million prize on the FDLR rebel leaders, like Sylvestre Mudacumura and labelled the group as a terrorist movement in the region.

But winding up the debate for his ministry’s budget in the National Assembly yesterday, Mr Membe said Mr Kikwete had no ill-intention in the proposal he made during the 21st African Union Summit on May 26.

According to him, it was high time Rwanda considered the fact that peace was made with enemies and that negotiations could only be made with enemies and not friends.

Mr Membe also told the National Assembly that the government would consider taking to DRC eight journalists to cover the country’s peacekeeper forces in the Eastern side of the country.

“Our forces in DRC are doing a wonderful job and have been received with jubilation and we hope they will keep the spirit alive by demonstrating our values and hospitality,” he said.

Mr Membe, however, noted that there was propaganda aimed at mudslinging Tanzanian forces and thus plans were underway to send reporters under army guidance to report their activities.

“We will soon send eight reporters to DRC where they will document activities by our forces which are already there of peace restoration in the eastern part of the country,” he said.

A total of 1,283 soldiers will be sent to Congo from Tanzania to form the UN Force Intervention Brigade made up of 3,069 soldiers. From The Citizen.

Crucial make or break SADC summit in ten days

Staff Reporter 2013-05-31 16:31:00

A SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) special summit to discuss Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections and the Madagascar political crisis will take place in Maputo, Mozambique on June 9, African National Congress (ANC) chairwoman Baleka Mbete said on Thursday.

Ms Mbete, who was speaking at an ANC foreign policy briefing in Johannesburg, said the Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, expected to face off against President Robert Mugabe in elections later this year, would also be attending the summit.

Although Thursday’s was a party policy briefing, Ms Mbete’s comments hold substantive weight given the fact that current government policies are often hatched by the ruling party.

She was also accompanied at the briefing by Ms Lindiwe Zulu, President Jacob Zuma’s points-woman on Zimbabwe.

“Due to the fact that Zimbabwe was represented at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa by Mr Mugabe, where Mr Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara (leader of the other MDC faction) were not present, we decided in Addis that we need a special SADC summit that will focus on Zimbabwe,” Ms Mbete said.

Party hawks in Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) celebrated Mr Tsvangirai’s absence from both the AU and Sadc meetings and persuaded the region to hold elections “as and when the Zimbabweans were ready”.

Mr Tsvangirai insists the political landscape has to be levelled first before an election date is announced.

While the briefing was meant to clear the air about South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa, a lot of questions regarding South Africa’s insincerity on the Zimbabwean crisis remained unanswered. The Zanu (PF) has used its liberation ties with the ANC and other liberation movements in the Sadc to curry favour. Mr Tsvangirai, on the other hand, is viewed suspiciously over his Western links.

At a 2011 party conference, Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary-general, pledged to “help” Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to win the election against the MDC — a position Ms Mbete seemed to reiterate on Thursday. “The ANC will continue to have relations with Zanu (PF) that it has always had. We think that given the way we in South Africa have conducted elections since 1994 we have something we can share with the Zimbabweans”, Ms Mbete said.

But Ms Zulu, who also heads the ANC’s communications department, denied that her facilitation work in Zimbabwe was biased in favour of the Zanu (PF), given the historical ties between the two liberation movements.

Ms Zulu pointed out that from the outset of their mediation, Mr Zuma had instructed his aides to be mindful that there were three partners, signatory to the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008.

Zimbabwe’s political leaders are looking to the Sadc summit to avail funding for the elections, which are in need of $123m.

Ms Zulu said the loan request to South Africa by Zimbabwe was still being assessed and calculated.

Political commentator Rashweat Mukundu said the Sadc summit was a huge political statement and message to Zimbabwe’s political players that Sadc expected the elections to meet the basic minimum conditions of fairness and integrity.

 

Japan to re-open Yen Loan to Ghana

 

Japan has agreed to resume the Yen Loan portfolio that was withdrawn following the decision by Ghana in the early 2000s to join the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

 

Responding to President John Mahama’s request during a bilateral meeting ahead of Saturday’s opening of the 5th TICAD Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe said they will commence preparatory works towards the resumption.

He noted that Japan continues to attach great importance to Ghana’s economic achievements and “the fact that your country is a strong model for other African countries.”

Making a case for the resumption of the Yen Loan Portfolio, Mr. Mahama said while Japan has been a major contributor to his country’s developmental efforts, the withdrawal of the Yen Loan left a huge gap especially in infrastructural projects.

He thanked Japan for the various grants and other forms of aid received over the years, noting that in March and May of this year alone, two grants to support farmers and the health for all programme, and an agreement to enhance power production have been been signed.

President Mahama expressed his appreciation to Japan for the organisation of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). He informed Mr. Abe of Ghana’s offer to host the next Ministerial meeting of the TICAD in Accra.

Prime Minister Abe in his response recognised Mr. Mahama’s personal relationship with Japan because of his work with the Japanese Embassy in Accra and thanked him for the offer to host the TICAD Ministerial Meeting.

He also confirmed that Japan is looking at the request from Ghana to support portions of the Eastern Corridor Roads Project, and indicated his government’s “high hopes for the Mahama administration and the strengthening of relations”.

Source: Flagstaff House From Ghana Today.

Zambia’s FDIs grow

By JAMES MUYANWA in Yokohama, Japan  –
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has said Zambia has posted great improvement in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) due to increased investor confidence and improved general investment climate.
Mr Sata said here yesterday that the country’s FDI inflows had further been boosted by the improved investor perception, enhanced investment climate and improved trust between the public and private sectors.
The President said during the opening day of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-V) that Zambia was conducive for further investments.
“The recent oversubscription of the debut Eurobond on the international capital market is a clear attestation of international investor confidence in our economy,” Mr Sata said.
He said Japan had continued to be a major player in Zambia’s FDI landscape with several firms investing in the Southern African country.
Speaking during the third session dubbed: ‘Dialogue with the Private Sector’, Mr Sata said recently, Zambia witnessed the establishment of Hitachi manufacturing plant in Lusaka set to boost development in the mining sector in the country and beyond.
On TICAD, Mr Sata said Zambia was ready to support the implementation of the outcomes of the conference and the lessons learnt from the previous such meetings.
“Going forward is Zambia’s desire, and the TICAD outcome will invigorate and build on gains  made under TICAD IV of boosting economic growth, ensuring human security and addressing climate change.” Mr Sata said.
“I wish to reaffirm our Government’s commitment to the implementation of the Yokohama outcome document, namely, the Yokohama Declaration and Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017.”
He paid tribute to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for inviting Zambia to participate in the conference, saying it was a rare opportunity to take stock of progress made in implementing the resolutions from the previous summit.
“It provides an opportunity to share ideas and address challenges and adopt new strategies in our quest to enhance and deepen cooperation between Africa and Japan,” Mr Sata said.
He said African countries had been registering commendable progress in fostering economic growth and improving general living conditions of the people on the continent.
“These can be partly attributed to the continent’s commitment to undertaking reforms with support from cooperating partners like Japan,” the President said.
On the Public Private Partnership (PPP) dialogue, Mr Sata said the concept was an important ingredient in the creation of strong and enabling business environment.
He said through the PPP dialogue within Africa and with developed economies like Japan, synergies could be created to address the challenges.
ment,” Mr Sata said. From the Times of Zambia.

 

BoU responds on banks’ rise in non-performing assets

 

SATURDAY, 01 JUNE 2013 07:03 BY JULIUS BUSINGE

Bank of Uganda has responded to the rise in banks’ non-performing loans and other assets (NPAs) recorded in 2012 arguing that the rise was mainly attributed to the macroeconomic challenges in 2012.

The bank however, in an email to this magazine was quick to say that the industry Non-Performing Assets average remained within acceptable levels. It said the current NPAs/Total Advances ratio as at March 31, 2013 was 4.66% slightly higher than the 4.23% recorded at the end of December 2012.

The bank said it is important that the non-performing assets are kept low in order to ensure a healthy banking sector because higher rates imply increased provisions for loan losses that impacts on earnings and capital of banks. It added that higher rates create risk premiums that can translate to higher lending rates.

 

Lower rates on the other hand encourage credit growth and lead to a healthy banking sector. The bank said the Financial Sector in Uganda is liberalized and the Bank of Uganda (BoU) has not imposed credit controls.

However, it said, each bank is required to have in place a credit policy and procedures manual to guide lending operations.

“BoU has regulations on insider lending, single borrowers’ limit and credit classification and provisioning,” the Bank said, adding that the bank monitors compliance with the regulations through periodic reports submitted by banks and on-site examinations.

Going forward, the bank said the NPAs are expected to fall in future “this is because the underlying factors that led to the higher NPAs levels in the first place have been reversed”.

“The inflation rates are now back to normal and are expected to remain stable within the BOU targeted rate of 5% in the medium term,” the Bank said. From The Independent.

 

Here follows from the Africa Centre the latest African comment and opinion,  taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa:

Africa: Museveni roots for infrastructure development

Africa/World: Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Nigeria: 2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

Great Lakes: Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

Uganda: How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

Kenya: I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

Kenya: Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

South Africa: ‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

South Africa: Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the enemy

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

Kenya: Why poaching should get us worried

Kenya: Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru

South Africa: ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

 

Museveni roots for infrastructure development

By Felix Osike in Yokohama

Inadequate development of the infrastructure, especially electricity is among the factors affecting development of African countries, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
He made the remarks on Saturday at the opening of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) taking place in Yokohama, Japan.
Japan Prime Minsister  Shinzo Abe announced a $32b aid package to African countries  over the next five years including  1000 scholarships  to African  students .

“Without solving the issue of infrastructure, we continue with high production costs which undermine the profitability of private companies and, therefore, discourage investments into the continent,”Museveni said “All countries in Africa, except for South Africa and Libya, still have very low levels of electricity output.  This must change if we are to develop.  Certainly, in the case of Uganda, we shall never again listen to advice that doesn’t advocate for the fast development of the electricity sector in our country.”
“All countries in Africa, except for South Africa and Libya, still have very low levels of electricity output.  This must change if we are to develop.  Certainly, in the case of Uganda, we shall never again listen to advice that doesn’t advocate for the fast development of the electricity sector in our country.”
Museveni is among the 40 African Heads of State and over 3000 delegates attending the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama port city, 30km southwest of the capital Tokyo.
The leaders are discussing creation of robust and sustainable economies inclusive and resilient societies underpinned by peace and security.

Presidents of South Sudan, Somalia and Kenyan Vice President William Ruto are attending the conference for the first time.
This years’ theme is “Hand in Hand with a more dynamic Africa. UN Secretary General  Ban Ki Moon, World Bank  president  and over 20 African presidents  addressed  the conference  yesterday.
Museveni cited seven other strategic factors that he said if addressed to would enable African countries to achieve a robust and sustainably developed economies.
One of problems  is having a human resource that is not developed through education and with improved health. “In many African countries, this is being addressed. In Uganda, for instance, UPE (Universal Primary Education), USE (Universal Secondary Education) and broader higher education have expanded literacy to 70 per cent and above; and the skilling of the population is on the move.”

Another problem he cited is lack of respect for the Private Sector that had become characteristic of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.
“In Uganda, the attack on the private sector went to the extent of Idi Amin physically uprooting the Indian community that was a crucial element of our entrepreneurial class.
Small internal markets created by the balkanization of colonization is another factor.  This bottleneck is being addressed through market integration by the way of the regional blocs – EAC, COMESA, ECOWAS, ECCAS and SADEC he explained. “In addition to this, we have also negotiated for quota-free, tariff-free access to external markets with the USA, EU, China, Japan, etc.  Those who offered these markets should operationalize the offer.”
Exporting raw materials, the President said has also been another problem.  “I am talking about lack of industrialization and value addition.  By exporting unprocessed agricultural and mineral products (coffee, cotton, minerals, etc.), Africa has been a “donor” to the advanced economies, “donating” money and jobs to those economies.  Value addition and industrialization are the answers.  We must produce finished products instead of continuing to export raw materials.”
The president called for the development of the services sector which includes tourism, professional services and insurance.
“The modest efforts we have undertaken in the Tourism sector are already rewarding us with US$ 820 million per annum from 1.5 million tourists.”
Other bottlenecks he cited are undeveloped agriculture and lack of democracy and peace, corruption and weak states.

.While opening  the conference  Japanese Prime Minsiter  Shinzo Abe  announced  a blueprint  for Africa’s  development  stressing  the need for  the continent’s infrastructure  and human resource development
Over the next five years, Japan will support African growth through public and private means of 3.2 trillion yen (approximately $32 billion), including ODA of around 1.4 trillion yen and other public and private resources of around $16 billion.
On infrastructure development, Japan will provide 650 billion yen (approximately 6.5 billion USD), over the next five years. “We will rocket forward in further developing first of all “international corridors” that link inland areas with the coasts, and also power grids,” Abe announced.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the TICAD process as well as the golden jubilee since the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).
“Japan has maintained its faith in the future of Africa. In the 1990’s when the international community had almost forgotten Africa amidst the post-Cold War circumstances, Japan alone believed in the development of Africa, and thereby launched the TICAD process,” Abe stated.
Through TICAD, Japan has consistently promoted the importance of self-help and self-reliance. The TICAD concept also places emphasis on economic growth.

“The idea that poverty can be overcome through growth is something that has been axiomatic for Japanese right from the start. It is also because we never doubted Africa’s potential,” Abe told African leaders.
What Africa needs now is private-sector investment. “PPP,” or “public-private partnership,” leverages that investment.
Abe also emphasized human resource development but noted that haphazardly enhancing vocational training does not lead to jobs.
“It is necessary to cultivate human resources that truly match labour market demand. I would like to advocate for “education with an exit.” We will aim to foster the human resources needed by companies in the local areas, particularly Japanese companies.
Included in the package, is funding for 1,000 African students over the next five years under the Africa Business Education (ABE)” initiative for the youth. Under this initiative, Japan will offer undergraduate and graduate education to young people from Africa who go to study in Japan. They will simultaneously be provided with opportunities to work as interns at Japanese companies.
Together with the ABE Initiative, over the next five years, Japan will set about cultivating “business and industry savvy human capacities” that will lead to employment for 30,000 individuals.
Japan has also pledged to construct “hubs for human resource development” at 10 locations in the field in Africa, including in Ethiopia and Senegal where they will send experts.
Making universal health coverage part of the “Japan Brand” is another priority area. “We will promote health care that everyone can access–in other words, “universal health coverage.”
Japan also announced strategies to ensure food security in Africa by  transitioning away from agriculture “that enables the farmer to eat” to agriculture “that enables the farmer to earn money.”
Japan will in the next five years also focus on peace building in Africa. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian  Prime Minister  and Africa Union Chairman said  Japan  had pledged  about $540m  for this initiative
Abe also announced that there have been calls for holding the 2018 TICAD in Africa, with a view to further strengthening the partnership.

“I find it simply impossible to wait five years. I would like to state here in front of you, my distinguished colleagues, which I plan to set foot on African soil at the earliest possible time. No details  were available  of the countries  he would be visiting  or which  country  would host  the TICAD VI
Abe asked African leaders to support its bid to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  From New Vision.

 

Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Food security has been undermined by trade liberalisation and export promotion in the last three decades. The recent purchase or long-term lease of choice African agricultural land by foreign interests to produce food for export is problematic. PHOTO | FILE

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram  (email the author)

Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  19:29

IN SUMMARY

  • More recently, food prices have gone up again as productivity and production have risen more slowly than before, partly due to reduced public investments in recent decades, slower productivity increases in the last decade, as well as recent increases in demand for food crops, including for bio-fuels and more for animal feeds.

 

Over three quarters of the extreme poor in the world live in the countryside. Reducing rural poverty will therefore require significantly higher rural incomes.

Since most rural incomes are related to agriculture, raising agricultural productivity can help raise rural incomes all round.

In the 1960s and 1970s, many governments invested a great deal to increase agricultural, especially food production. In the second half of the 20th century, agricultural productivity rose rapidly.

However, intense price competition reduced farmer incomes, with consumers benefiting more from productivity gains – thus helping to reduce poverty more generally.

Transnational agri-business has profited greatly from innovations in agricultural production, credit, processing and marketing chains in recent decades.

More recently, food prices have gone up again as productivity and production have risen more slowly than before, partly due to reduced public investments in recent decades, slower productivity increases in the last decade, as well as recent increases in demand for food crops, including for bio-fuels and more for animal feeds.

Recent food price increases have been associated not only with significant supply and demand changes, but also biofuel mandates and subsidies as well as much greater commodity speculation.

But if food prices start going down again after the recent price rises, food would become more affordable, while reducing farmer incomes and the incentive to produce more food.

Poor countries are doubly handicapped by their limited tax capacities, resulting in low tax rates on low incomes.

While there is little excessive taxation of small farmers these days, there are also modest significant urban-to-rural resource transfers through the fiscal system or other transfer arrangements.

Government spending in rural areas and on agriculture has generally been motivated by political considerations, especially the desire to secure rural political support, not least by raising agricultural output, productivity and incomes.

However, with a few notable exceptions, most government spending on agriculture is not biased to the poor. Instead, such public expenditure tends to benefit the relatively better-off in agriculture.

This is generally true with improved rural infrastructure or social services, including health and schooling, as well as agricultural support in the form of subsidized fertilizer or other agricultural inputs – usually distributed according to the amount of land owned.

While agricultural taxation is generally proportional to land cultivated or output, much government rural or agricultural spending has benefited plantations and larger farmers more than smaller smallholders, tenants or sharecroppers.

Nevertheless, the poor may have benefited in so far as the rising tide of greater output or productivity lifts all boats.

Meanwhile, the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s mainly involved wheat and rice – neither significant food crops in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – and, to a lesser extent, maize.

Closing the productivity, output and income gap with the rest of the world will require appropriate measures, addressing the disincentives to greater food investments in the continent.

Undoubtedly, increased food production can enhance food security, reduce hunger and improve nutrition in SSA for the farmers themselves.

But food security has been undermined by trade liberalisation and export promotion in the last three decades. The recent purchase or long-term lease of choice African agricultural land by foreign interests to produce food for export is therefore problematic.

Experiences since the mid-20th century remind us that increasing food production alone will not be enough to eliminate poverty and hunger in the world.

After all, there is currently enough food produced to feed everyone. The problem is that most of the poor and hungry cannot adequately feed themselves. They need the incomes or other means to do so.

As many hundreds of millions – if not more – are so deprived, and likely to remain so for a long time to come, especially with the likelihood of a prolonged economic slowdown, there is no other way to overcome poverty and hunger except with some basic social provisioning, e.g. by establishing the social protection floor.

FAO’s approach is to accelerate the transition ‘from protection to production’, and thus ensure sustainable means to overcome hunger and poverty.

With the growing consensus, momentum and commitment to eradicate world hunger by 2025, it will be necessary to deploy all the necessary instruments as soon as possible.

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said China has become a major ally of the UN agency in many of its priorities, praising the country’s role in fighting hunger and tackling food price volatility.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of FAO, made the remarks before his upcoming visit to China to present a joint report of the global agricultural outlook for 10 years with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In an interview with Xinhua, he said China has become FAO’s major ally in areas like reducing hunger worldwide, stepping up south-south cooperation and balancing the organisation’s budget to stabilising world food prices through the new Agricultural Market Information System, which was launched in June 2011 to introduce more transparency into world food markets.

Sundaram is Assistant Director General for the Economic and Social Development Department of the UN Food and Agriculture OrganisationFrom The Citizen.

2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 1, 2013

 

Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has called on those rolling drums ahead of the 2015 presidential election to stop, saying it is an unnecessary distraction.

ACF was reacting to a recent media reports alleging that former President, Olusegun Obasanjo had anointed Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State as a possible successor of president Jonathan.

It would be recalled that the ex-president at the first Jigawa State Economic Forum in the state capital, Dutse, on Wednesday said, “People of Jigawa, I congratulate you and I congratulate myself; because you can say ‘yes’ Obasanjo put this one (Lamido) on us, he is a good person.

“It comes to one thing that you will say, you can help anybody to find a job but you cannot help anybody to do the job. If he is not ready to do the job hmmmmm… in this case, we found a job for Sule Lamido and Sule Lamido was ready, willing, able, and competent to do the job. Congratulations.”

National Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, however, said, talking about 2015 now was “too early and distractive.”

He said, “I do not expect the media to promote this (politics of 2015) at this point in time. This is because it would be too early and distracting us from governance.

“Moreso, Nigerians are expected to confront our security challenges collectively.”

Also reacting, two prominent Northerners, Dr. Junaid Mohammed and Shehu Sani, in separate interviews said the ex-president was not in the best position to speak for the North.

Junaid said, “I was there. I saw Obasanjo before he presented the speech and after he presented the speech.

“What he said was in no way an endorsement for Lamido for the 2015 election. I wouldn’t want to dignify that with a comment.

“But let me ask you this question. Can Obasanjo deliver even his village, Owu? Or even Abeokuta? The thing is not over until it is over. So, don’t even bother yourself about that.

“Obasanjo is now a private citizen; he is in no position to choose a person for us. For you to say he has endorsed somebody, has he even won an election himself before?

Also speaking, Sani said, “I don’t know the criteria which Obasanjo used to endorse Lamido, but what I read in the papers is different from the speech I listened to on the radio.

“It is possible that he may have been quoted out of context but in reality, if Lamido is interested in the presidency, then he should come out from his cage.

“He should have the courage to speak out against Jonathan, against the continuation of Jonathan in office.

“He should be heard and he should stand tall among the people who are today fighting to save this country from the incompetence of Jonathan.”

Sani also said the North was likely to present a common candidate.

He said, “Not only that the North will present a common candidate, the opposition parties will present a candidate that will be appealing to the North and the South.

“The North should not simply produce one candidate but as an opposition, there should be a credible candidate that is acceptable to all Nigerians.”

He said, “As to the crisis in the Nigerian Governors Forum, it is not inspiring and therefore disappointing. This is precisely because if 36 governors cannot elect their leaders democratically, then it means expecting too much from 73 million Nigerian voters to make judicious use of their democratic rights and make their votes count for the express purpose of nudging elected leaders to be accountable to the people.” From the Daily Post.

 

Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

 

Negotiating with terrorists? Well, this depends pretty much on what one understands by both terms ‘terrorists’ and ‘negotiation’.

One would try to define it as listening and being prepared to make concessions, to those who use violence against civilians to achieve political aims.

The purpose of this article is to question the validity of the narrative that ‘democracies’ do not negotiate with terrorists which is quite contradictory in practice and also to examine if such negotiations would be even thinkable, let alone being possible in the context of the Great Lakes region where some ‘democratic’ states indirectly push for such an outcome even though they still view the region as the ‘not so democratic’.

From a Eurocentric view, some argue that this debate is really relevant only in ‘democracies’ as dictators would have no interests in negotiation, but this contradicts the post 9/11 realities as the West saw a dramatic change in the security structure, shift in political discourse and move to a ‘no negotiation’ policy position when dealing with terrorists who are explicit security threats. The argument against negotiating with terrorists is simple.

Democracies must never give in to violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for using it. In other words, negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means.

Talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent, they insist.

Let us not dwell on the premise of the above argument for a moment, instead have a quick look at few pros and cons of negotiating with terrorists, as the ultimate aim should always be to find ways by which to arrive at a peaceful conclusion.

In general, (1) negotiation is the simplest form of keeping an open dialogue with terrorist groups, understanding them and encouraging them to take part in the political process without arms.

The opposite side to that, however, is that by opening the dialogue gives them the political legitimacy which they do not deserve; hence it is better to have no relationship whatsoever until they renounce violence. This shows they voluntarily opted out the democratic process.

(2) Historical accounts show that negotiations have led ceasefires (i.e. Bill Clinton’s negotiation with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, PLO and John Major’s secret talks with the Irish Republican Army, IRA) both of which aimed at advancing peace in respective regions.

The counterargument would be that terrorists want all or nothing (only with few exceptions, of course) and fragile peace in the Northern Ireland took time whereas the Middle East has never seen meaningful peace.

Back to the question as to whether ‘democracies’ do dirty deals with terrorists, and yes in practice they do often negotiate with terrorists. It is public knowledge for instance, that the British government maintained a secret back channel to the IRA even after it had launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street that nearly eliminated the entire British cabinet in 1991.

Other countries such as Spain (i.e. sat down with the separatist group Basque know by its acronym ETA in 1988) only six months after the group had killed 21 shoppers in a supermarket bombing, and Israel that is known for being tough on terrorism (i.e. secretly negotiated the Oslo accords in 1993) even though the PLO continued its terrorist activities and refused to recognize the state of Israel.

What is clear here is the disconnect between what governments publicly say and what they actually do, and the problem with the ‘no negotiations’ rigid stance has consequently prevented any systematic and meaningful research on how best to conduct such negotiations.

It leaves the following questions open: How can a ‘democratic’ country talk to terrorists without jeopardizing the integrity of its political system? What kind of terrorists are susceptible to negotiations? When should negotiations be opened?

In the light of recent suggestions by the Tanzanian President at the African Union (AU) Summit that Rwanda should negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) – a movement on the list of terrorist organisations and accused of having participated in the 1994 genocide that took over a million Rwandan souls, one would wonder why he thought this debate had a merit.

However, this is as an academic talk that is possibly more appropriate for a classroom full of college students enrolled on peace or war and conflict courses in some furthest lands with little knowledge of regional context and reality.

When and why did he take such position and more importantly why now? In politics, there is a theory of political timing which gives the opportunity for politicians to control and influence the events in such way as to maximize the political benefits.

For example, they will use the media platforms (i.e. news) to increase public attention and sway their electors. This incident however turned out to be a sum of political opportunism and muddled diplomacy given the leader’s familiarity of regional political dynamics and great knowledge of the FDLR’s link to the genocide that still troubles the moral conscience of the world, and subsequent mayhem in the Eastern DR Congo.

So what does this tell us about the regional politics? What about the East African Community (EAC) train that is supposedly moving on the same direction? How about the EAC joint military training exercises? Any related or unrelated dimensions to the intervention brigade force?

Clearly, there is a need for common understanding and approach on how to tackle security problems in the Great Lakes region, and so far the regional leaders have appeared to be unified in that front; but one hopes the recent divergence in opinion is not going to derail that process.

This is not an alarm that cooperation among EAC states will be affected, nor does one believe it would right for the community; but it is critically important for the citizens of the region to be informed of these matters as they have potential implications on the countries’ relations.

Is it politics, stupid? I guess sometimes, the answer is simply yes! Some would argue that the region is suffering from a security crisis, but others would rather say, it is a political one. Simple arithmetic would have made us believe that leaders in the region share views on how to combat various armed groups in the region, but some of us are probably naive and should stick with the idea that truth only belongs to God.

It is customary in international relations that any country’s political sovereignty must be respected and in this case, Rwanda’s national security matters are not the prerogative of a foreign President.

Call it a diplomatic incident or else but asking for an independent states to negotiate with an armed group whose agenda is to kill and maim Rwandans is very insensitive and, one hopes this issue will be dealt with swiftly in a mature way by the respected countries. From The New Times.

How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 07:16 BY ANDREW M. MWENDA

Since the Coordinator of Intelligence Services, Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, kicked off a storm by alleging that there is a plan to have Brig. Muhoozi Keinerugaba succeed his father President Yoweri Museveni as president of Uganda, government has been eclectic.

Yet, more than what Tinyefuza said, it is the response of the government that is troublesome. It seems the government is determined to make a hero out of Tinyefuza.

First, government rapidly mobilized troops and deployed armored personnel carriers at the airport to arrest Tinyefuza on the Saturday he had promised to return. Then again, it backtracked and removed them. When asked, they said the deployment was to protect foreign dignitaries attending the Commonwealth Local Governments meeting.

I can confirm from reliable security sources that a decision has been taken not to arrest Tinyefuza upon arrival at the airport. The plan is to let him go home and then summon him for questioning – in order to deny him the prize of being received with paranoiac tanks at Entebbe.

This seemed to be a sober decision when I left Kampala for London on Friday. Upon my return late Monday night, I found the government had shut down The Red Pepper and Daily Monitor and its affiliate radio stations KFM and Dembe FM. Whoever is advising the government must must be an ally of Tinyefuza. This action is going to amplify his allegations to the rest of the world. What had started as a domestic news story is now going to take a global significance.

Over 90% of Ugandans do not get news from mainstream newspapers even though those are catalysts. They get news from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, if the government’s intention is to stop the spread of allegations regarding a possible ‘Muhoozi project’, then they are flogging the wrong horse; Monitor and Red Pepper are very miniscule players.

These allegations are being debated on social media without any form of restraint. Indeed, Tinyefuza himself picked these rumors from online sources where they had been circulating for months.

However, the closure of Monitor and Red Pepper has deeply damaged the government nationally and internationally without achieving the objective of undermining the rumors themselves. Nationally, it has embarrassed President Museveni’s admirers as they see their leader acting arbitrarily.

Internationally, it has painted the President as an ageing dictator suppressing freedom of speech. Worse of all, it has also given Tinyefuza’s allegations greater credibility than he could have dreamt of. This is because many people may now begin to see in government paranoia an admission of guilt.

If Museveni wants Muhoozi to succeed him, then he needs someone to precipitate a debate on this subject. In many ways therefore, although Tinyefuza is subjectively anti-Muhoozi Project, he is objectively an ally. Nothing sells Muhoozi’s presidential ambitions than a protracted public debate on the matter. Whether the noise on the Muhoozi project is positive or negative is only of secondary value. Muhoozi needs publicity of his name across the country as a potential presidential contender.

At the beginning of this saga, I tended to underestimate Tinyefuza and overestimate Museveni. I felt that Tinyefuza had taken too high a risk without much short-term benefit commensurate to the risk. As a soldier, he could get politically muzzled and rendered inactive and irrelevant as happened to Brig. Henry Tumukunde. Second, I felt that it would have been difficult for him to find allies inside NRM to openly support his cause as Museveni seems to have tightened his grip on internal dissent. However, I also knew that he had touched a raw nerve in Museveni (his family) that was going to rattle the president in a very bad way thus causing him to overreact. And overreact he has.

The crackdown on the media is an unmitigated disaster – less so for the media involved as it is for the government. People on social media sites were attacking Daily Monitor accusing it of being timid and cowardly. Now this action has given them and Red Peppermuch more credibility than any marketing strategy backed by tons of money could ever have accomplished.

If Tinyefuza is making wild allegations about a project that does not exist, why act irrationally to him and the press? The media crackdown will not stop the debate. Instead, it will make Tinyefuza the most discussed subject in bars, streets, shops, restaurants, taxis, buses, homes, schools, hospitals and markets.

From November 1999 to October 2000, I witnessed Museveni turn an obscure colonel into a presidential candidate. Kizza Besigye had authored a document for internal discussion within NRM where he accused government of corruption, incompetence and nepotism. It was not the content of the document that sprang Besigye into prominence but rather government reaction to him.

Museveni then accused Besigye of using the wrong forum and sought to prosecute him through the Military Court Martial. For almost a year and until he was retired from the army, Besigye was frontline news in all media – print and electronic – a factor that he used as a springboard to declare his presidential ambitions.

After the 2001 elections, Besigye was forced into exile. But on realizing that this would improve his political career, he returned to contest for the presidency in 2005/06 elections. Museveni reacted by arresting Besigye and charging him with “rape” and “treason” in the high court and “terrorism” in the military court martial.

In one blow Museveni created the greatest political momentum of any candidacy Uganda had witnessed. It was because of sheer dint of political tenacity and a high doze of rigging that Museveni survived Besigye’s onslaught in 2006.

In 2011, Museveni ignored Besigye and focused largely on his own campaign. In that simple act of civility, he sucked air out of Besigye’s balloon. Where in 2006 a newspaper without Besigye in the headline could not sell, in 2011 a Besigye headline would get 50% returns.

The lesson for me is simple but powerful: in present day Uganda, the best way for government to kill the political attractiveness of a candidate running for office or a politician seeking to build a brand is to ignore them. This is exactly what I thought government would do with Tinyefuza – and how wrong I was. Now Tinyefuza is on the roll.

amwenda@independent.co.ug

ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

 

By Tinashe Madava

The Mujuru-Mnangagwa succession debacle has been cited as the main heartache

THE 2008 elections shocked ZANU-PF in different ways; apart from a first defeat for President Robert Mugabe at the presidential polls, which led to a run-off, the inroads by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in some rural constituencies which traditionally voted ZANU-PF rocked the liberation war party.

But what must have shaken the ZANU-PF chefs was not just the defeat itself. It was the manner of the defeat, made worse by the perennial infighting that seemed to have no solution.

Many have predicted that ZANU-PF has always been its own worst enemy and would be undone from within.

Although President Mugabe’s party has always rallied to confound critics with some mind boggling poll performances, questions have been asked repeatedly and fingers pointed as to the credibility of election results giving ZANU-PF the edge.

Most often, the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s Office and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) have found themselves at pains to oppose allegations of vote rigging.

Announcement of the 2008 poll results were delayed by weeks leading to suspicions that ZEC was doctoring the results in favour of the incumbent.
Also, in the 2008 presidential election run-off, the MDC formations claim the army was used to intimidate and coerce some sections of the electorate to vote for President Mugabe.

More than 200 people were reported to have died in the political violence that engulfed the country while thousands were either injured or displaced as militias roamed the country to coax-up the numbers for President Mugabe’s re-election.

Without taking anything away from the MDC-T, it was obvious that ZANU-PF’s internal strife caused by the imposition of candidates had resulted in “dissident voters” angry at what they saw as a greedy top brass that had no respect for the people’s wishes and so needed to be taught a lesson. This led to the bhora musango scenario.

Yet, as elections near, President Mugabe seems to be starring at a repeat of the 2008 scenario.

Firstly, the disbandment of District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) last year led critics to say that another bhora musango could be in the offing.
The intensification of infighting in Matabeleland, Manicaland, Masho-naland West, Masvingo and Midlands, all linked to the tussle to succeed President Mugabe, has brought to the fore the murkiness of politics inside ZANU-PF.

It has led some critics to even conclude that the party is not ready for elections as it would like opponents to believe since a politburo appointed team led by ZANU-PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo is still crisscrossing the country in a fire fighting mission to restructure the party and stamp out infighting.
But this too seems to be causing more ructions as those aligned to Emmerson Mnangagwa now say Khaya Moyo and his team are dabbling in succession politics by making sure those in provincial executives support the ascendency on Vice President Joice Mujuru.

The Mujuru-Mnangagwa succession debacle has been cited as the main heartache for ZANU-PF as the country heads for elections, with the potential of causing another bhora musango.

Political analyst, Lovemore Fuyane, says he does not see the party’s restructuring assisting ZANU-PF substantially, come election time, while he postulates that this bhora musango issue is of minimum cause or effect.

“I am aware that ZANU-PF has always said that this so called bhora musango effect cost them but I am not so sure the statistics bear them out. If there was a significant difference between constituency vs presidential votes overall, it might be a valid issue but, other than a few constituencies I really am not sure it’s as significant as they say. They will thus reap what they have sown in the last 33 years as much as the MDCs the last four years,” said Fuyane.

He said ultimately, the biggest determinant in the various constituencies is going to be the national agenda and this probably applies to all political parties.
“In my view the constituency voting trends will mirror the presidential voting trends. Except in a very limited number of constituencies, this election is going to be far less about what happens in specific constituencies than voters’ perceptions of where the country is headed as a whole. This current exercise might at best limit some localised damage and assist parties manage intra party dynamics but if I were leading any of the main parties, my main focus would be on the national agenda, manifesto and the demonstration of the ability to deliver,” added Fuyane.

Fuyane said Zimbabweans, almost without geographic exception, want a sense that things will improve and improve substantially.

Political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Greg Linington thinks that the ZANU-PF restructuring has been ill-timed, especially with elections looming.

“Essentially, it has made President Mugabe’s calls for elections since the inception of the unity government look misplaced.

“It could be another bhora musango and it might be more serious this time around. There is a lot at stake here, the President is aging and people want to secure their positions as well as wealth. Some have ambitions and all this works against ZANU-PF,” said Linington.

He said it was a common factor that ZANU-PF has strong support in the rural constituencies, but is struggling in the urban centres, adding that given this scenario, vote rigging  might come into play again. – FinGaz  From the Zimbabwe Mail.

I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

By JOHN MUCHIRI (jmuchiri@ke.nationmedia.com)
Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  20:36

IN SUMMARY

  • As an individual, especially after witnessing four administrations in this country, I want to be part of the process that will make Kenya a better place for our children. We are now at a very crucial stage, either to make this country or to break it.

 

Many journalists over the years have asked me my age and I always respond with one line: I am a child of independence.

No! It is not that I am trying not to reveal my age. That statement is literally true because I share a birthday and many milestones with Kenya and the African Union. On Thursday, I celebrated my Jubilee birthday.

When I was born on May 30, 1963, my parents saw me as a fitting independence present, because Kenya attained self-rule just two days later.

Little did they know that I was going to have so many things in common with this great republic down the years.

So many memories of my life in the past five decades have come back in the last few days starting from growing up in a farm in Eldoret. My parents had eight children, three boys and five girls. Unfortunately, out of all my siblings and my parents, only three of us are alive. I have two older sisters.

My parents worked very hard to give us a decent living. We never lacked the basic needs, but they didn’t pamper us. We all had different chores in the farm after school and during holidays.
After primary school, I went to Kenya High School in Nairobi, where my life took shape, in terms of what I wanted to do in life. My interest in music had started while I was still a young girl and my parents bought me a piano as a present. But, as much as I continued to sing, I also concentrated on classwork, especially when it came to the sciences.

Between being a child and getting to high school, I have some memorable moments as far as Kenya is concerned. My mother involved herself a lot with social work and through that I got a rare opportunity to meet Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He had come to officiate at a function in Eldoret, where my mother was involved and I had a precious few minutes around the President.

My father concentrated on his farm work although he was indirectly involved in politics and was always meeting different politicians. In fact, I remember very well when politician Tom Mboya was assassinated; it was the first time I saw my father cry. I never thought my father would cry and I even imagined it was the end of the world. It was a terrible time.

While at Kenya High, I shared a dormitory with a Ugandan girl whose father was assassinated during Idi Amin’s rule. I could not understand why somebody would do that. I was also in the same school with Rosemary, a daughter of popular politician JM Kariuki, when he was killed. I could feel the pain she went through and asked so many questions.

When Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978, almost everything came to a standstill. It was most unexpected and we all wondered what would happen next. It was as if the country had stopped. It was a sad moment.

Moving on to President Daniel arap Moi’s government, I was working in Muhoroni in the sugar industry and I understood well what was going on. Those were the days when you watched what you said because one could easily get into trouble.

At some point, I moved to Nairobi permanently and concentrated more on my music. I remember during the first Saba Saba demonstrations, Kofi Olomide’s wife was in Nairobi. I was supposed to perform for her at the Grand Regency Hotel.

The mood was tense and I remember warning my band members to be very careful after the performance, especially on their way home. They all laughed and told me not to worry about them. The funniest thing was when they rang me the following morning, saying that they had been arrested.

During President Mwai Kibaki’s government, I have seen many positive and negative things.

The development projects and the maturing democracy have been really good for this country. But my lowest point was during the post-election violence that almost crippled the country. I could not believe that Kenya could go down that far. But the signing of the peace accord lifted my spirits about this country.

In my music career, a lot of good things have happened to me. In 2004, I won a prestigious Kora award in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was the first one to be awarded that night, I remember very well. The interesting fact is that it was on December 12, a very significant date in Kenya’s calendar as it is Jamhuri Day.

I had a great opportunity of being the principal at the Tusker Project Fame reality show. It opened up the world of live television to me and it was an amazing experience. The TPF idea is great and has helped a number of musicians to grow their careers. Some of the former contestants call me once in a while just to find out how I’m doing and I appreciate that.

I am proud of the people I grew up with because they have achieved a lot. I went to school at the same time as respectable ladies like Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u and human rights lawyer Betty Murungi.

In fact, one of my favourite teachers was former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida. She taught me geography and kept on insisting that I should be a lawyer when I leave high school. I insisted that I was a science student, that’s why I later did a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Environment.

Other than having great performances in different parts of the world, I have met and worked with great musicians like Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Rebecca Malope, Angelique Kidjo, among others. I was also involved in the Sudan Peace Process as a repertoire in the peace negotiations.

As an individual, especially after witnessing four administrations in this country, I want to be part of the process that will make Kenya a better place for our children. We are now at a very crucial stage, either to make this country or to break it.

I want to see a proper cultural department with musicians and other creative artists actively involved because we have the experience. I wanted to take a shot at politics during the last General Election but I felt the time was not right.

But I surely will go for it next time. With the best gift in my life being my 20-year-old son, who no longer loves the limelight, I feel much younger and ready to move with this country to the next level, a better one.

Ms Abura spoke to the Nation’s John Muchiri (jmuchiri@ke.nationmedia.com) From the Sunday Nation.

 

Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR REPORTER

 

After enduring a lot of humiliation from British colonialists for almost a century, Kenyans resisted the oppression through armed rebellion by Mau Mau in 1950. Despite the superior firepower of the British, the Mau Mau uprising lasted up to the late 1950s, when the colonial administration realised its time was up and started paving the way for African self rule.

On the night of June 1, 1963, Kenyans ushered in the new era at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, where the first Prime Minister of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, received the first independence constitution from Prince Phillip Mountbatten, husband to Queen Elizabeth II.

As we mark this historic day today, we look back to the memorable events since Kenya’s internal self rule.

 

Selected major events in Kenya’s history.

  • 1963 Kenya gains independence with Kenyatta as Prime Minister
  • 1964 Republic of Kenya formed with Jomo Kenyatta as President and Oginga Odinga as Vice President

– KADU dissolves and joins KANU

  • 1964 – 1967 Shifta War
  • 1965 Assassination of Pio Gama Pinto
  • 1966 KANU’s Limuru Conference which proposed eight vice presidents

– Oginga Odinga resigns from KANU and forms rival Kenya People’s Union (KPU)

  • 1969 Tom Mboya assassinated, (Assassination sparks ethnic unrest)

– Kisumu Massacre

– KPU banned and Oginga Odinga arrested. Kenya thereby became a de facto one-party state under KANU.

  • 1975 Assassination of Josiah Mwangi Kariuki
  • 1975 –1979 Change the Constitution Movement (seeking to bar Vice President, Daniel Arap Moi from ascending to power in the event of President Jomo Kenyatta’s death)
  • 1978 President Jomo Kenyatta dies

– Daniel Arap Moi becomes the President and releases political prisoners

  • 1980 Bulla Karatasi Massacre
  • 1982 Kenya becomes a de jure single party state

-Attempted coup

  • 1984 Wagalla Massacre

-Lotirir Massacre

  • 1986-1989 Mwakenya arrests, torture, detention and trials
  • 1986 Constitution amendment meant to remove the security of tenure of the Attorney General and Auditor and Controller General
  • 1988 KANU nominations by ‘mlolongo’ (queuing) System
  • 1989 Political prisoners freed Rubia, Matiba and others expelled from KANU

-Muoroto Riots

  • 1990 Detention of Charles Rubia, Kenneth Matiba and Raila Odinga

– Assassination of Robert Ouko

– Sabasaba Riots

  • 1991 Section 2A repealed paving way for multi-party political system

– Further Sabasaba Riots

– Release of political prisoners

– Formation of various political parties

– Multiparty General Elections

– Ethnic/Tribal Clashes

– Crackdown on FERA

– Ethnic clashes

  • 1997 General elections

– Ethnic clashes

– IPPG reform package

  • 2001 Murukutwa Massacre
  • 2002 General Elections, NARC dislodges KANU from power
  • 2005 Referendum on the proposed Constitution (Rejected by 57% of Kenyans)

– President Mwai Kibaki dissolves Cabinet and forms Government of National

– Unity incorporating members of KANU into his new Cabinet

– Turbi Massacre

  • 2006 SLDF atrocities in Mt. Elgon

– Extra-judicial killings by police of Mungiki suspects

  • 2007 General Elections President Mwai Kibaki is declared elected President

– Dispute over the Presidential Results sparks Post Election Violence

  • 2008 Kenya Dialogue and Reconciliation Process

– National Accord is adopted forming the basis for formation of Grand Coalition

– Government with Mwai Kibaki as President and Raila Odinga as Prime Minister

  • 2009 Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission is formed
  • – Timeline prepared by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission
  • From the Star.

‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

 

As incidents of violence against foreign nationals continue to be reported, some question whether the label of xenophobia is too simple a diagnosis. By KHADIJA PATEL.

The “xenophobic” violence that has been stalking Gauteng has spread to the Eastern Cape and the Free State. A Somali national, who was attacked by protestors in Greenfield, Port Elizabeth, died in hospital on Thursday after a fatal stabbing in which he sustained wounds to the forehead, chest and stomach.

“It is alleged that a group of people went to the Somalian’s residence and there was a confrontation between them and the Somalian,” an Eastern Cape representative of the South African Police Services told Sapa.

Police believe the stabbing of the Somali man is unrelated to the surge of violence in northern Port Elizabeth in recent days that has stoked fears of an imminent repeat of the xenophobic violence of 2008.

While foreign-owned stores have come under attack in Port Elizabeth, police have hastened to point out that the violence in the city’s informal settlements was sparked off by police arresting three community leaders from Greenfields and Vastrap for the murders of two men accused of robbing a spaza shop. In apparent protest of these arrests, residents blockaded roads with rocks, poles, bushes, bricks, and burning tyres.

From there, violence spread to at least two other informal settlements.

Twenty-one people are said to have been arrested for public violence in northern Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Foreigners in Port Elizabeth are, however, not encouraged. In some areas of the city, police assisted Somalian shop owners with packing their goods and escorted them to places of safety.

And it’s not just the Eastern Cape where foreigners have drawn the ire of local residents.

Also on Thursday, angry residents looted foreign-owned shops in Maokeng, Kroonstad – together with the violence directed against foreign nationals in Sebokeng and Diepsloot in the last week.

In March, more than 25 Somali-owned shops were looted in Mamelodi outside of Pretoria, while five Pakistani nationals were murdered in Mitchells Plain.

However, there are those who believe that xenophobia is too simple a label – and that the underlying causes of the attacks range from poverty to a culture of criminality.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said in Parliament that attacks against foreigners in Diepsloot this week were criminal acts, plain and simple, and should not necessarily be branded xenophobic in nature.

“I think it’s a matter of grave concern. The criminal activities that are perpetuated by some South Africans are not a reflection of xenophobic attacks against foreigners,” he said.

He is not alone believing that the violence cannot be explained by xenophobia alone.

Public policy analyst and editor of ZApreneur, Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen, said the incidence of violence against foreigners in South Africa pointed to a systemic failure of the South African economy that must be regarded similarly to service delivery protests.

“The violence [against foreigners] should be looked at through the prism of violent protests in poor communities,” he said.

Similarly, commentator Nomalanga Mkhize mused on Twitter this week, “In Russia, bread riots led to a revolution, here they lead to ‘xenophobia’.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Secretary-General Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking at a conference on xenophobia, social cohesion and violence at Wits University, organised by the African Centre for Migration and Society earlier this month, noted that inequality, poverty and unemployment were the underlying causes of xenophobia in South Africa.

“We must link these outrageous acts to the underlying social crisis and turn people’s anger against their real enemy [which is] the capitalist system of production, distribution and exchange,” he said.

The ANC believes that no matter the cause of the violence, it cannot be condoned.

“Regardless of what the cause of these violent protests may be, the African National Congress condemns any attacks on members of society, irrespective of nationality,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Thursday.

According to statistics from the African Centre for Migration and Society in 2013, before the current spike in violence, there were at least three incidents of xenophobic violence per week countrywide.

“The basic issue behind the violence is the question of the lack of opportunity to do a whole range of things, including starting a small business,” Hassen said.

“It is about people being able to make their way through the system.”

He notes as well that many of the analyses, made in 2008 after the wave of xenophobic violence that shocked the world, are still relevant.

Back then, Hassen noted during a presentation following the xenophobic violence that a failure to address the lack of opportunity available for South Africa’s poorest would ultimately lead to further unrest.

“Unless [South Africa becomes a nation of opportunity], we can expect a recurrence of xenophobic attacks, and also higher levels of violent service delivery protest,” he said.

The warnings, then, have always been there. The triggers of further violence have become subverted beneath the political spectacle of the day, but as we note the violence spreading and the protests increasing, are we actually listening to what the protestors are saying? DM From the Daily Maverick

Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the

 

This is Child Protection Week, but it might just as well have been Blame the Media week. It is becoming a common refrain to accuse the media for projecting events in South Africa negatively, as has been witnessed this week in relation to the troubles in Cosatu, the image of the National Prosecuting Authority and the crisis in the mining industry that is badly impacting the entire country. Even the Gupta family believes that the media is on its case, not because they violated national security, but because of a racist agenda. So it seems the answer to South Africa’s problems: let’s get a pair of rose-tinted glasses for every journalist. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

A high-profile businessman recently held a meeting with President Jacob Zuma at the presidential residence in Pretoria while the Guptagate scandal was playing out. A television set was on in the room and the news bulletin was reporting the latest developments around the landing of a planeload of wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base.

The businessman felt awkward but was intrigued to see Zuma’s reaction. He says the president raised his eyes to the television as the news item came on and watched it intently. As the item concluded, the businessman says Zuma clucked his tongue and said “Hayi but the media!”

This is a fascinating and rare insight into what Zuma saw as the problem with the matter. While the brazen abuse of the military facility by the family and the failure of the government machinery to stop it from happening shocked the country, it is intriguing that the president’s default reaction was to deride the media reporting of the issue.

But this was just one person’s version of what he experienced and the public does not have the benefit of any direct interaction with Zuma on the issue to be able to gauge his overall reaction. All there has been was a passing line in an SABC interview with the president early on in the saga when Zuma cautioned that the matter should be handled carefully so as not to jeopardise South Africa’s relations with India. And then there was the media statement by Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj following the release of the investigation report by directors-general condemning the use of the president’s name to secure the landing rights.

But the businessman’s account of the president’s reaction to the Guptagate scandal is consistent with how the ANC and its alliance partners generally perceive media reporting on current affairs. There is a perception that the media has a surreptitious agenda to project the government and the three alliance partners, the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu, in a negative light.

While the SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande is perhaps the most vocal proponent of this view, labelling journalists as “professional cynics” and “prophets of doom” driving a “neo-liberal agenda”, there is now a growing tendency in the alliance and in government to cast the media as unpatriotic, purveyors of negative sentiment and instigators of problems. The irony is that many of these statements are made to the media in press conferences with the expectation that this specific condemnation be reported by the journalists, rather than what they find newsworthy.

On Sunday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held a media briefing to report on the outcome of its central committee meeting last week. The NUM has been in the news frequently in the past year due to turbulence in the mining industry, its epic battles with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), and its dramatic losses in membership. The NUM is also a chief protagonist in the leadership battle playing out in Cosatu. Despite the nature of the news being negative in the terrain the NUM operates in – strikes, retrenchments, violence and intense wage negotiations – the union is convinced that the media has a deliberate agenda to project it in a negative light.

The NUM media statement on Sunday read as follows: “The CC noted with grave concern inaccurate reporting by the media; the lack of investigation and ethical media conduct is disturbing. The media seems hell-bent on distorting events in the mining industry to serve a particular interest and have written the obituary of the NUM.”

This week Cosatu held a highly anticipated central executive committee (CEC) meeting to decide on the fate of its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi following accusations from some affiliate unions that he was involved in impropriety and fraud. Despite leaders in the affiliate unions and the national leadership feeding the media cycle from last year on the internal battles and the crusade to remove Vavi from his position, Cosatu came out of its stalled CEC meeting and lashed the media for reporting on the federation’s troubles.

In a bizarre about-face, Cosatu claimed its leadership was united and that the factional battles and skirmishes during the meeting were all a media fabrication.

“The media and their sources together want to try to divide and weaken the federation, and to set the agenda for COSATU meetings. They failed this week and we are determined that they will never succeed,” Cosatu said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

On the same day, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe was briefing the media on the work of his department ahead of his budget speech in Parliament. The media was naturally interested in what the minister had to say on the performance of the National Prosecuting Authority in light of its recent bad run of bungled prosecutions and resultant public outrage. As reported in Daily Maverick, Radebe became defensive when interrogated by journalists on the NPA’s recent controversies.

“I am satisfied that they are doing a good job,” Radebe said, saying the high conviction rate and jail overcrowding were evidence of this. But he lost his cool with a journalist who said this argument was “nonsensical”.

Radebe hit back: “I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. So the nonsense you’re talking about is with you, not with the system!”

Later during the debate on the justice department’s budget, Radebe’s deputy Andries Nel was more forthright about his views on the media. Bemoaning the lack of positive coverage of the department and sketching a number of stories which he thought were newsworthy, Nel said: “Regrettably, honourable members, your chances of reading about these stories are negligible – the news is either simply too good to be profitable or too fundamentally at odds with the preconceived notions of the prophets of doom.

“Those in the media who want to tell these stories, and they are there, are afraid to do so for fear of being branded as stooges of government who are not truly independent,” Nel said.

On Thursday, Zuma addressed a hastily convened media conference to talk up the economy on the back of poor first-quarter growth data and to calm fears around volatility in the mining industry. After outlining interventions to support the mining industry, Zuma said South Africa should enhance its strengths, including tourism.

During a brief question session, Zuma was asked whether South Africa would not have a greater number of tourists if it had fewer scandals. Zuma’s response was that South Africa had a “good story to tell” and that the incidents of police brutality and corruption were due to “openness”. Incidents of police violence and brutality were far more frequent under Apartheid, Zuma said.

Rather than committing to deal with these problems which had a negative impact on the image of the country, Zuma rather used the benchmark of Apartheid to measure current incidents against. As the media briefing concluded, a chuckling Zuma said to the journalists: “Just report nicely about South Africa.”

Although this was said in jest, the import of Zuma’s message on Thursday was that the media would help the economy along if it were more positive in its reporting of South Africa. Of course the president cannot be faulted for wanting his country to be portrayed in more glowing terms and is rightly worried about the economy. But it is not the media’s responsibility to fix the economy. It is Zuma and his Cabinet’s duty to do so, as well as business and labour.

It is quite easy to confuse patriotism and sunshine journalism. One is the love of your country, the other is deliberately swaying the story to project the subject in a positive light. Although everyone in South Africa’s political leadership claim they support a free and unrestrained media, it would appear from recent utterances that some of them would prefer a less critical, probing media. But reporting on scandals does not make the media unpatriotic, much to the contrary these are in the public interest.

What is unpatriotic are politicians abusing their office and stealing public money, and public officials deliberately misleading the public.

Some of the statements about the media are now veering from criticism to outright hostility and blame for the stories they report. The approach is shortsighted and disregards the real source of the problems besetting the country. A compliant and sycophantic media does not make a country prosper; if it did, Zimbabwe would be the most thriving state on the continent. The secret of success is good and clean leadership in all spheres in society.

Clearly, South Africa does not have that. DM From The Daily Maverick

.
Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

 

Many of our readers wondered as to why we ran the report culled from the opposition SLPP’s Unity Newspaper in our yesterday edition. It was authored by the SLPP Editor Kef Dukulay and was supposed to be a rebuttal of our article on the events in Bonthe. In our opinion, the so-called rebuttal, actually merely strengthened and confirmed our reportage on the matter. Our original report and the so-called SLPP rebuttal are reproduced again by popular demand today. Read them below and make your judgement.


“Cannibalism Allegations is no Excuse to Replace Police with Militia” – Sylvia Blyden

By Augustine Samba (Awareness Times)

The Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President has admonished the Paramount Chiefs and youths of Bonthe district especially inside Jong Chiefdom, to refrain from any attempt to set up a private security unit outside the ambit of the Sierra Leone Police as this would be against the Sierra Leone Constitution.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden was speaking during a government delegation’s visit to Mattru Jong on Saturday May 25th 2013 which followed recent widespread reports of cannibalism and ritual murder incidents in the Bonthe district. These allegations had led to serious misunderstandings between the Paramount Chief, Traditional Authorities, Bondo Women, Bike Riders, Police officers and various youth groupings. It deteriorated into violence erupting on Friday May 24th 2013 leading to damage of properties worth millions of leones and wounding of residents during stonings of each other.
It was in the midst of this that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma requested his Special Executive Assistant (SEA), Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to, over the weekend, lead a high-powered government delegation to the district. The key responsibility of the delegation was to study the situation on the ground inside Bonthe and map out amicable resolutions to the causes of this unwelcome situation if possible.
On her return to Freetown, she held a press briefing at her State House offices on Monday 27th May 2013. Dr. Blyden said that Resident Minister Southern Province Hon. Muctarr Conteh, the Provincial Secretary for the South Mr. Quee and his civil servants, the Director of Regional Operations from the Office of National Security (ONS) at Tower Hill, Mr. Alimamy Marah and other ONS officials plus Police Southern Regional Crime Officer and senior personnel from the Sierra Leone Police accompanied her on the trip inside Bonthe district.
Dr. Blyden said their visit was successful as, on arrival in the morning of Saturday 25th May, they met a highly divided township and chiefdom but left behind a much-more united town and chiefdom which had resolved that not only will the Sierra Leone Police be the primary security outfit in charge of Bonthe but all residents, including the youths and any other militia fighting force will now be subjugated under the 100% authority of the police in effective police-civilian partnership.
She explained that when they arrived in Mattru Jong, the Bonthe district mainland headquarter town, they held several meetings with the host Paramount Chief, Alhaji Abubakarr B. Sheriff, many other Paramount Chiefs of Bonthe, the Bonthe Police, Bondo women, Bike Riders, stakeholders and residents of the district including former kamajor militia fighters.
She recounted that the situation on arrival was they met P.C. Sheriff and his chiefdom council had by then threatened to expel the Police Commander Emmerson Kargbo and all police officers off from Jong Chiefdom and replace them with youthful militia and traditional sorcerers to take up the security of the chiefdom. This, P.C. Sheriff had insisted over the local Mattru radio airwaves, was because he alleged that the Police were unable to quell the cannibalism, strange ritual murders and widespread scaremongering in Bonthe.

 

According to reports, following this derogatory anti-police call by the Chief, thousands of Bondo women held secret meetings in the bondo bush on May 22nd and May 23rd 2013 following which they stormed the Mattru Jong township in the night of May 24th 2013, surrounded the Mattru Police Station with traditional sorcery (SWEH) and invoked curses on any and all policemen who were not able to catch the cannibals and ritual murderers in the area. After this invoking of curse on the police, the women proceeded to take the invoked curse to the base of the youthful Bike Riders but were met with stiff resistance by the riders who rejected the attempt of the women to do their rituals that will ensure spiritual justice to the cannibals who were tormenting the town and chiefdom. This caused a fracas between the women and riders with attendant stonings, woundings and damage to physical properties in the township worth millions of leones.
Dr. Blyden recounted that for the government, the most worrying aspect was the Paramount Chief and a cross section of the district’s stakeholders wanted the police to leave whilst the chiefdom will be placed under the protection of local militia as vigilantes to protect the district from alleged cannibals and ritual murderers. She said the delegation advised them that such an action will be in total contravention of Section 155.(2) of the Sierra Leone Constitution.
Among other concerns raised by the residents, Dr. Blyden went on, there was also a situation where the Paramount Chief, who was accused by a section of the chiefdom to himself have been involved in the business of cannibalism, decided to consult the sorcery services from Moyamba to perform some rituals so as to prove himself innocent.
At the end of the testimonies, the President’s SEA said the delegation was able to successfully re-unite the various antagonists after they brought out their concerns and grievances to the attention of the delegation. The chief’s accusation against the police were openly repeated to the visiting government delegation that because of police inability to quell cannibalism and ritual murders, he wanted the security of his chiefdom handed over to militia. The Police, on the other hand, were able to effectively defend themselves against the charge of being inefficient saying they conducted investigations into all reports with professionalism and even had post-mortems conducted when needed.
Dr. Blyden said the delegation mapped out amicable solutions to address to all the concerns and grievances raised by the residents, adding that at the end of the meeting, all the factions reconciled and assured the delegation that they will henceforth work as one with the police and authorities to address the issue of cannibalism in their district.

 

In response to journalists questions as to why the government seemingly only cared about Bonthe’s reports and not other places in the country allegedly with report of similar practise of suspected ritual murder like Bombali, Dr. Blyden said the uniqueness of the situation in Bonthe was that the allegations of cannibalism and ritual murders were not a matter of an isolated case but had turned widespread to the extent that young children in some Bonthe chiefdoms could no longer go to school out of fear of being kidnapped and turned to dinner by cannibals or used as body parts in rituals. This widespread fear amongst the citizens, she said has not happened in other places in Sierra Leone neither had other places called for the expulsion of the entire police force from their soil.
“It is only inside Bonthe that you have calls for the expulsion of the Police over inability to catch supposed cannibals and ritual murderers. Such calls, the government simply could not allow to continue. Every inch of Sierra Leone is constitutionally under the protection of the Sierra Leone police and I am happy to report that following our intervention, the people of Bonthe now realise that they have to work with the police to secure themselves,” Dr. Blyden said adding “The Resident Minister for the Southern Province is also going to work to ensure the Local Police Partnership Board is strengthened throughout Bonthe district and he will continue to monitor developments and report back to His Excellency the President but for now, no police officer is leaving Bonthe and no militia is taking over the defence or security of Bonthe”.

 

Dr. Blyden said another different as-yet-classified information concerning Bonthe district was being investigated by the Sierra Leone Police but the public will be informed in due course.


THE SLPP’S “REBUTTAL” FOLLOWS:

As APC blows false cannibalism rumours in Mendeland…..Sylvia Blyden calls Bonthe People Man Eaters!

By Kef Dukulay (SLPP newspaper editor)

The Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma has labeled Bonthe District as a district infested with cannibals, with several reports of people being caught and eaten in addition to rampant and strange ritual murders. Sylvia Blyden has also stated on both the Face Book and in her newspaper that there still exists a militia fighting force in Bonthe District, especially in Matru Jong ready to be revived using the same Kamajor nomenclature, and that the said militia were recently ordered by Paramount Chief Alhaji Abubakarr Sheriff to challenge the authority of the police and parade the chiefdom for scaremongers.

Sylvia Blyden went on to say that cannibalism and ritual murder has become so widespread in Bonthe District that some young children in some Bonthe chiefdoms could no longer go to school out of fear of being kidnapped and turned dinner by cannibals or used as body parts in rituals.’ Sylvia Blyden also lied to journalists in his press conference after the so called intervention that’ it is only inside Bonthe that you have calls for the expulsion of the entire police for not tracing cannibals and ritual murderers.’
However, independent investigation mounted by this press on the ‘blown out’ Bonthe cannibal story Sylvia Blyden is using to insult an entire district has exposed the dangerous serpent in the Presidential Aide that the. APC is utilizing to demonize the people of Southeast. On her Tuesday May 28th, 2013 Edition of the Awareness Times Newspaper, half of the front page occupied the very tantalizingly dangerous caption indicating that a government delegation headed by Sylvia Blyden, the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma who went on the cannibalism investigation, admonished the Paramount Chiefs and the youths of Matru Jong that ‘cannibalism is no excuse to revive Bonthe Kamajors’.

Out of an orchestrated diabolism, Sylvia who herself wrote the story but made a surrogate reporter (Augustine Samba) author it, brought the issue of Kamajors in an issue very isolated, and that had nothing to do Kamajor revival. In fact in our investigation, it came out that Sylvia Blyden had no business leading a delegation to Matru Jong on such an issue in the first place if only not to continue provoking issues since all what she wants for Sierra Leone is another round of upheaval.

 

In telephone conversations yesterday with various stakeholders in Bonthe District, in particular with Paramount Chief Sheriff of Matru Jong, the Local Unit Commander Matru Jong, Emerson Kargbo, the District Chairman, Joseph Problyn and a senior woman in the district, they all pointed to Sylvia’s story as an inaccurate account, a hell raising political ploy aimed at putting the ditrict in bad light, especially just when Charles Margai has been molested by the APC for claiming the support of Kamajors.

 

According to Paramount Chief Sheriff, it is a wicked lie for anybody to blackmail the district as where people eat people. Though he was political in the sense that he claimed that there are people after his seat in the chiefdom so they are the ones peddling wrong rumours amongst locals that there are cannibals in his chiefdom, he called Sylvia Blyden as a liar to have written a twisted story after her so-called delegation visited the township.

 

In his explanation, the chief said people against him in the chiefdom were scaring people that there are cannibals in the chiefdom and that as a chief, he must have hands in the business.

 

“There is no actual report or practice of cannibalism here. It is only people’s imagniation because they want to smear my name for that reason, the women, about one thousand of them decided to swear the ‘perceived cannibals’ in the township, stopping at various locations to perform the ceremony,” Chief Sheriff noted, saying it was during that process that the bike riders and the women clashed as the former wanted to prevent the women from performing their ceremony in their area.

 

The chief also denied any accusation of maintaining a militia in that part of the country and ordering the militia to expel the police from the township. “Sylvia Blyden or whosoever wrote the story is lying.

 

There is no militia here, let alone order them (militia) to drive the police away.

 

We have only few police here and they have our respect so that was not the case.

 

According to the Chief, with the isolated ritual killing of the woman whom he said was a relative of his, Matru Jong is quiet and that the clash between the women and the bike riders was not anything serious to warrant an unexpected government delegation.

“The woman was going into the other village from Mongerewah when she was killed, but that was very isolated, just as everywhere in the country, as we hardly get such cases. The police are on their investigation,” he continued. The chief however, noted that the ceremony performed by the women was with his consent.

#end

QUESTION:
If the Chief was in such good terms with the Police, why did his endorsed women ceremony see thousands of women head straight to the Bonthe Police station to invoke their curse on Police officers?

Other than that point and the rudeness in the Kef Dukulay article, what else is different between our report and the SLPP’s “rebuttal”?

Why poaching should get us worried

From Sunday Nation.

By KWENDO OPANGA
Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  15:46

IN SUMMARY

  • Is Nairobi listening? Poaching should worry it more than it does the heir to the British throne.
  • The poacher is usually a local person who is paid a pittance to carry out the most dangerous, most violent and bloodiest work.

 

May I return to the grim topic of the poaching of the elephant and rhino, which I wrote about on May 12.

Four reasons account for this: one, a mother and son, both employees of the world-famous Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), were arrested for what amounts to be smuggling, or trafficking in, ivory.

Two, Dr Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep), weighed in on the matter with an important question: who is benefitting from the poaching of the twin endangered species? Three, British Prince William, who proposed to his wife at a game sanctuary in Kenya, is alarmed by the poaching menace.

Four, a reader, Mr Daniel Njaga of Menengai Holidays, wrote to me arguing that poaching is not about conservation but about national security. Njaga’s take is that poaching is closely tied to the rising tide of insecurity and, therefore, if Kenyans are not secure, then their wildlife will not be.

I agree with Mr Njaga which is why I argued that checking poaching must involve all Kenya’s security agencies. My take is that the security of our wildlife cannot be left to conservationists alone. That is also why I say the sentences handed down by Kenya’s courts to smugglers of, and traffickers in, ivory and rhino horns are insignificant.

This is so because a kilo of rhino horn costs more than a kilo of gold. This brings us to the arraignment of the ATE employees. Programme director Cynthia Moss, commenting on the arrest of deputy director Susan Soila and technical support assistant Robert Ntawasa, said ATE was facing some of its most challenging times ever.

True. Her colleagues face charges of possession of six ivory pieces without an ownership certificate, dealing in game trophies without a licence and failing to report possession of the same to the police.

The question Kenyans will want the court to answer is simple: did professed protectors of the elephant turn predatory poachers? The charge sheet says the two were arrested by a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) covert team in a sting operation. It puts the weight of the ivory trophies at 19 kg and their worth at Sh1.9 million.

Sounds familiar but this case will be different from previous ones.

For example, in 2012 authorities made 18 seizures of wildlife trophies at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and two at the port of Mombasa. Eight were unaccompanied luggage while 12 were claimed by lone foreigners. The arrest of the ATE duo took place away from ports of entry and the accused are locals who – please note – work with elephants.

More importantly, ATE is among 31 conservation groups that on March 30, 2013 wrote to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Attorney-General Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko protesting against what they called gross violation of anti-poaching laws.

Four days earlier, Chinese national Tian Yi had been fined a paltry Sh30,000 after he pleaded guilty to possessing 439 pieces of worked ivory.

The conservationists wrote: “Given the investment on wildlife, the current wildlife poaching situation is a national embarrassment.

The poaching and dealing in ivory and rhino horn cannot be treated as a wildlife matter alone but as an intertwined syndicate of organised crime, corruption and money laundering activities. This letter is a plea for your intervention to protect our heritage and the future of our tourism sector.”

This brings us to Dr Steiner’s question. Put another way, why those lone individuals or why the unaccompanied luggage? Look, there are at least six players in the ivory or rhino horn smuggling chain. These include the poacher, broker, dealer, financier, exporter and consumer.

The poacher is usually a local person who is paid a pittance to carry out the most dangerous, most violent and bloodiest work.

The consumers are in China or Hong Kong, which makes trade in ivory and rhino horn the work of organised international networks. Gun runners are involved. It is highly likely that drugs and human traffickers share routes, information on how to beat law enforcement and even contraband with poachers.

Hear the International Union for Conservation of Nature: “Rampant poaching and illegal wildlife trade nurture international criminality and undermine the economic and social prospects of Central African states. It is in the economic interest of these countries to vigorously combat this scourge.”

Is Nairobi listening? Poaching should worry it more than it does the heir to the British throne.

Kwendo Opanga is a media consultant opanga@diplomateastafrica.com

 

Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru.

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013 – 00:00 — BY WILLIAM NYAMBURA

As a young and ambitious entrepreneur, Jedidah Wanjiru, 26 is always on the move. She owns Phones Dome Enterprises, which sells a variety of phone brands on wholesale in Kenya and Tanzania. When she is not marketing the phones, she is making deliveries, taking stock or buying more stock.

5am: My day starts with a prayer at 5am. I’m a very prayerful Christian. After prayers, I go to the gym for about an hour then prepare for work.

8am: I’m normally in the office by 8am where I take my breakfast then proceed to taking stock in order to work with the right figures in mind. I then leave the office for the more tasking segment of my work – researching for markets for the goods or searching for new products to satisfy the needs of my customers. In the process I also meet with them to discuss business issues.

1pm: My business is very demanding and I therefore do not have lunch. At this time, I will most likely be in a warehouse or on my way to the market so I just have fruits or a drink to keep me going. The saying, ‘nothing good comes easy’ keeps me on my toes.

7pm: My day ends at 7pm but I still respond to clients’ phone calls. On getting to the house I first quench my spiritual thirst by reading the Bible after which I start preparing supper. I love cooking my own meals as I am very good at it.

11pm: After having dinner, I will watch a movie or chat with friends on social media till around 11.30pm when I retire off to bed.

I often don’t have free time but when I get some spare time I indulge in cooking and trying out new recipes or spending time with friends to catch up on the latest in town. Positive competition keeps me occupied and focusing on the future.

Saturday is also a working day for me but I wake up at 8am, hit the gym for an hour or so then do routine runs throughout the day until 6pm when I retire for the day to have a quiet evening with family.

On Sundays I wake up at 8am and leave for church where I am actively involved in the ministry. The service ends at around noon when I leave to either visit my mother or have some quality family time. From the Star.

 

ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

REBECCA DAVIS

  • 31 MAY 2013 02:21 (SOUTH AFRICA
    • The Constitutional Court handed down its ruling on Thursday in an interesting case: considering the question of whether the first wife in a Tsonga customary marriage should have to consent to her husband’s subsequent marriages in order for them to be valid. It’s not the first time a customary law issue has been brought before this court to determine its adherence to the precepts of the Bill of Rights. Often, however, the problem is determining what exactly customary law dictates. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The case in which the Constitutional Court handed down judgment on Thursday, Modjadji Florah Mayelane v Mphephu Maria Ngwenyama and Another, centred on the issue of validity of a man’s polygynous marriages if his first wife is not aware that these have taken place, or has not accepted these. (“Polygyny”, rather than “polygamy”, refers to the situation when a man is married to more than one wife at a time.)

The applicant in the case married her late husband under Tsonga customary law in 1984. It was only after his death that she was informed that her husband had carried out a later customary marriage, with the woman who became the first respondent in the case. The applicant argued that the second woman’s marriage was invalid because she, the first wife, had not consented to it: a notion upheld by the North Gauteng High Court. However, on appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that both women had carried out valid customary marriages with the deceased man.

The applicant then took the matter to the Constitutional Court, asking the court to rule the second marriage invalid. The respondent counter-argued that the Constitutional Court should uphold the finding of the Supreme Court of Appeal, because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine whether consent to subsequent marriages is required by Tsonga customary law.

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), the Rural Women’s Movement and the Commission for Gender Equality joined the case as friends of the court. WLC director Jennifer Williams explained to the Daily Maverick that the WLC argued that the High Court had been incorrect. “Our concern was that the case that [the second wife’s] marriage was invalid would negatively affect women,” Williams said. This is because only the man can apply for the contract which deals with the property-related consequences of a second marriage, and he may not do so in order to ring-fence one wife’s particular rights to access property.

“Obviously there exists a lot of sympathy for first wives because often they are the longer relationship, have brought up the kids, and sometimes subsequent wives are a lot younger,” concedes Williams. But she notes that this will not always be the case. “Wives should be equally protected,” she said. “We don’t want to penalise or prejudice any of the wives.”

Williams says the Women’s Legal Centre gets a fair number of queries dealing with situations like that which appeared before the Constitutional Court. “In many cases it comes out after a man dies and there are competing claims for the estate,” she said.

The challenge the Constitutional Court faces in these matters is twofold: to ensure that the customary law is aligned with the Bill of Rights, and to determine what exactly customary law says about a given issue.

Professor Chuma Himonga, the current holder of the NRF Chair in Customary Law at UCT, points out that the first of these challenges is not unique to customary law.

“The courts face similar challenges in respect of other components of the South African legal system, including the common law and legislation,” she told the Daily Maverick. “The challenge to the courts that is unique to customary law, however, is that of how to ascertain living customary law.” This can be tricky because customary law’s sources are oral in nature, rather than written pieces of legislation.

“This problem is compounded by the dearth of research on customary law, which also goes back to the colonial and Apartheid eras,” Himonga says.

Williams agrees. “Customary law is an oral system developed according to what was happening in society,” she says. “During colonialism it was codified by white men, as told to them by black men, so it took on a patriarchal lens there too.”

Another issue is that Tsonga customary laws will not be the same as those of other groups, though they may be very similar in some respects. Because of this, Himonga says, “a judgment on the customary law of one group should generally not be applied to the customary laws of other groups in the country, in the same way that one would apply the decision of a court in one case to another case in common law.” Himonga says that a failure to appreciate this “was one of the major ways customary law was distorted under colonialism in South Africa and other African countries”. In other words, the notion of legal precedents cannot apply in the same way that it does in common law.

The majority judgment of the Constitutional Court on Thursday found in favour of the first wife. The judgment held that at the time when the first marriage took place, Tsonga customary law would have required the first wife to be informed of her husband’s subsequent customary marriages. Because she hadn’t been informed, the second marriage was thus found to be invalid.

The majority judgment also held that Tsonga customary law has to be developed to include a clearer requirement that the first wife’s consent to subsequent marriages is necessary for them to be valid. “The import of the judgment,” explained a media statement from the Constitutional Court, “is that, from now on, further Tsonga customary marriages must comply with the consent requirement in order to be valid.” This requirement will, however, only apply to Tsonga marriages concluded after May 30.

As previously noted, this can only explicitly apply to Tsonga marriage law. But Monica de Souza, researcher at the Centre for Law and Society at UCT, pointed out to the Daily Maverick that there is a wider implication. “The Court based its decision on developing customary law in line with the equality and dignity rights of wives in customary marriages. All customary law is subject to these rights, including other customary marriage systems.”

Dr Julian Brown, lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Wits, told the Daily Maverick that he thinks there is further significance to the Constitutional Court’s ruling in this regard.

“This is the clearest articulation of the court’s likely approach to approaching customary law matters,” Brown said. “Living customary law is better defined; a process of adjudication is spelled out; and an actual development of a customary law system has been ordered – all of which is significant.”

The Constitutional Court has directed that judgment must be published, a summary drafted, and it must be circulated to Houses of Traditional Leaders and the minister of Home Affairs. “We are pleased about this, but it’s a huge job to make sure it’s sufficiently widely publicised,” says Williams. “We really need to get the message out there to educate both women and men so that marriages are entered into with full consent.” She also notes that what constitutes “consent” itself is a highly complicated issue.

Can attempts to develop customary law in line with the Bill of Rights cause a backlash? “It’s wrong to assume that customary law is not accommodating of principles of dignity and equality,” De Souza says. She points out, too, that customary law is flexible by its nature. “However, those with conservative, patriarchal or rigid perceptions of customary law may well dislike this judgment,” she concedes.

Williams says it’s essential to work at building acceptance of the idea that customary law can and should be developed. “Rulings like these need to be clearly communicated, and we also need to address societal attitudes to make sure that behaviour catches up with the law.”

An intriguing question to consider, which the case tangentially raises, is whether the constitutionality of the practice of polygyny itself could be challenged at the Constitutional Court.

“I suppose polygyny could be challenged. There are some undesirable features about it,” says Himonga. “But I also think the Court would have quite difficult questions to deal with before invalidating the practice, such as, for example, issues of choice by consenting adult women, enforceability and whether certain social and cultural issues are not best left to non-legal solutions.” DMFrom the Daily Maverick.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi

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