Warmest greetings. Here is the latest news, comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent and down to the Cape.
Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as to how the Centre can best improve its services to you – we want to be as inclusive as possible in this exciting new initiative, which holds out such Pan-African promise, let alone the beneficial effects of freedom of information for the countries covered in the blog website. Please leave your comment in the space provided.
Africa: Japan pledges $32b to Africa
South Africa: Libyans say Gaddafi salted away billions in SA
Sudans: S. Sudan says Japan to construct alternative oil pipeline
Nigeria: SHOCKER: Nigeria troops discover condoms, narcotic drugs in Boko Haram camps
Nigeria: Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members
Nigeria: Terrorism links: SSS take over Amigos Supermart, Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja
Ghana: My suspension from NPP is unlawful and capricious – Dr. Wereko Brobbey
Nigeria/South Africa: Attacks on Nigerians in South Africa worrisome, says Rep
Ghana: Acting President of Ningo Traditional Area deny reports of unrests in district
Zimbabwe: Supreme Court’s credibility under threat as judges go to war
Kenya: Disarmament planned for violence hit North Rift
Rwanda: Residents urged to test for HIV/Aids
Ghana: NADMO Co-ordinator warns of imminent threat to Bui Dam by galamsey operations
Comment and Opinion:
Africa: And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity
Africa: Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB
Africa: Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation
East Africa: Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC
Uganda: Reshuffles expose Museveni strategy for 2016 elections; UPDF promotions give Brig. Muhoozi control
Tanzania: Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?
Kenya: Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can
Kenya: Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth
Japan pledges $32b to Africa
President Paul Kagame yesterday met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the second day of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), after the premier announced a 3.2 trillion yen (about $32 billion) assistance package to Africa.
The funds will be allocated to boost economic growth through private sector development, and trade and investment.
Other spheres include accelerating infrastructure and capacity development, empowering farmers as mainstream economic actors, promoting sustainable and resilient growth and creating an inclusive society for growth (through education, gender, health, water and sanitation).
Abe hailed Rwanda’s progress in line with development and human security and pledged to work with the Rwandan government in several initiatives on the continent.
“I would like to pay tribute to your country that under your leadership Rwanda has achieved true reconciliation as well as improvement in the quality of living among your people and also the development of the entire country. I certainly look forward to working with you to achieve mutual development for Japan and Africa,” said Abe during his meeting with President Kagame.
In addition to the increased aid, Japan committed 650 billion yen (about $6.5 billion) to infrastructure investment over the next five years, which Abe said would be allocated to developing the infrastructure that “Africa itself deems necessary and plans itself.”
He said the infrastructure investment would focus on expediting development of international corridors that link inland areas with the coasts, and power grids.
Announcing the Africa Business Education (Abe) Initiative for the youth as part of human resource development, the premier said Japan would help Africa train 30,000 business-savvy individuals.
“We will offer undergraduate and graduate education to young people from Africa who come to study in Japan, and in addition we will simultaneously provide them opportunities to work as interns at Japanese companies. This will be at a scale of 1,000 students over five years,” Abe said.
Expressing optimism that Africa’s “promising” young people would soon play leading roles in businesses that connect Japan and the continent, Abe said it was necessary to cultivate human resource that truly match labour market demand, adding that haphazardly enhancing vocational training would not lead to jobs.
While advocating for what he called “education with an exit,” the premier said his country would foster human resource needed by companies in Africa, particularly Japanese enterprises.
The Japanese leader also canvassed for what he called a “true partnership with Africa” that involves “thinking together and working together,” adding that Japan and Africa had gone beyond being good partners to being more like co-managers.
“We’re colleagues and at the same time co-workers. We grow together through mutual interactions, and through this, we’ve become partners that will develop the world,” he said.
Ticad, an initiative of Japan, is the largest policy dialogue on Africa outside the African continent. It is co-organised by Japan, the African Union Commission, UN, World Bank, and the UN Development Programme.
Ticad, which kicked off on Saturday, has 39 African Heads of State and governments, and several development partners in attendance.
From The New Times.
Libyans say Gaddafi salted away billions in SA
02 JUN 2013 09:29 SAPA
Assets worth billions belonging to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi are thought to be held by South African banks.
“National Treasury was approached by a group claiming to be representatives of the Libyan government,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane told theSunday Times.
It reported that Libyan investigators had found evidence that more than $1-billion (about R10-billion) in cash, gold and diamonds was being held by four South African banks and two local security companies.
“The process of verifying the group’s claim is under way,” said Sikhakhane.
Libyan embassy official Salah Marghani told the Sunday Timesinvestigators had “been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya”.
The paper published extracts of letters from Libya’s justice and finance ministers to their South African counterparts, asking for help finding assets linked to Gaddafi which might “have been illegally possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden in South Africa”.
Gaddafi was executed in 2011 after a political uprising in Libya. – Sapa From the Mail & Guardian.
POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013
By Adeola Yusuf
Senior Correspondent, Lagos (With agency reports)
Nigeria’s dwindling oil exports to the United States (U.S.) has crashed further to the lowest in 15 years, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said at the weekend, noting that it was up to Nigeria to seek out new markets on its own.
OPEC’s Secretary General, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, who disclosed this at the end of the group’s meeting in Vienna, only promised that the group would launch a study on the effect of shale oil on its members.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the same vein, told reporters on the sideline of the OPEC meeting that shale oil discovery in the U.S. could reduce the revenues of African oil exporters by 25 per cent.
Though El-Badri suggested that Nigeria and Angola could seek new markets for their oil in China, Alison-Madueke maintained that China might not be a long-term panacea for Nigeria and other OPEC members.
“Asia itself will still have growing energy needs for quite a while, but remember that China itself may be discovering shale gas pretty soon, and oil,” she told reporters after the meeting.
Angola and Nigeria have already started seeking new markets for their crude displaced from the U.S., OPEC said in its in-house magazine published on Friday.
Nigeria is earmarking more of its oil for Asia after exports to the U.S. fell to the lowest level in 15 years, OPEC said.
“Emerging markets like India and China have been growing, and they have absorbed a large part of Angolan exports,” Angolan oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos told the magazine.
The OPEC, however, kept its current oil-production ceiling at 30 million barrels a day on Friday in a widely expected move that members described as an easy decision.
But concerns about the growing threat from shale oil overshadowed the group’s otherwise smooth meeting.
OPEC ministers in an open session before their meeting in Vienna almost dismissed the notion that growing U.S. shale oil production threatened to reduce their oil revenues, but behind closed doors the countries suffering the worst effects of the American boom pressed the group to address the problem, said people present. From the Daily Independent.
S. Sudan says Japan to construct alternative oil pipeline
June 1, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan said Japanese Toyota Company has accepted to construct an alternative oil pipeline from the landlocked nation to the Kenyan Port of Lamu.
The decision, according to South Sudan’s commerce, trade and industry minister, came during a meeting between President Salva Kiir and Toyota’s chairperson, Junzo Shimizu.
“The president met and held talks with the chairperson of the Japanese Toyota company and discussed number of issues. One of the things which were discussed was the construction of the alternative oil pipeline. The meeting was successful one.
The chairperson of the Toyota Company had accepted to construct the alternative oil pipeline to the Lamu port”, Garang Diing Akuong told the state-owned television (SSTV).
President Kiir and Shimizu, the minister added, also discussed ways of how Toyota can benefit from the existing business opportunities in the country.
He did not, however, reveal how much money was required for construction of the new pipeline, estimated by the state-owned television to be about $4bn.
Construction of the oil pipeline is expected to boost South Sudan’s oil export, given that the landlocked country solely relies on transport facilities that pass through neighbouring Sudan.
In March 2012, heads of states from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan convened Lamu, a Kenyan town on the Indian Ocean, to launch the construction of a port and oil pipeline said to be costing up to $16 billion. The Lamu project is widely seen as the best option to South Sudan crude oil exports.
Five months later, Kenya and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and expand a framework of cooperation and partnership between the two states on the principle of equality, mutual benefit, mutual understanding, respect and trust.
The areas of cooperation included the development of a crude oil pipeline between the oil fields of South Sudan and the port of Lamu.
A halt in South Sudan’s oil production, early last year, prompted the land locked country to devise alternative ways of managing its oil resources, which account for nearly 98% of the country’s annual budget.
Meanwhile, Akuong said Kiir, who is currently on a visit to Japan, also held separate talks with the Japanese prime minister, during which the South Sudan leader lauded the cooperation between the two countries.
Kiir, the minister noted, specifically thanked the government of Japan and its business groups for services extended to the new nation in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development.
“The president met today and held talks with [the] Japanese prime minister and senior members of the Japanese government. It was fruitful meeting. The president commended the government of Japan for cooperation and assistance in various areas,” Akuong said.
The two leaders, he added, accepted to work together to strengthen bilateral relations between them and promote investment for business communities in various areas within South Sudan.
(ST) From the Sudan Tribune
SHOCKER: Nigeria troops discover condoms, narcotic drugs in Boko Haram camps
By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 2, 2013
Shocking revelation emerged on Saturday from camps of the Boko Haram sect, following the discovery of packs of unused condoms by the Nigerian Military. Discovered also were used condoms.
Items such as syringes and narcotic drugs believed to have been used by the insurgents were also found in their camps.
A statement by the Director, Defence Information, Brig-General Chris Olukolade entitled, ‘Life in Terrorists Camp: Condoms Everywhere’, reads,
“More of the dirty sides of the insurgents’ life style are being revealed as troops continue to stumble on strange and bizarre objects such as several used and unused condoms as well as charms of various shapes seen in the captured terrorists’ camps.
“Other common items are syringes, test tubes and hand gloves usually found in the rubbles of most of the destroyed camps.
“Apart from chemicals and materials for producing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) narcotics of all types are also found to be common features as troops combed through camps in Sambisa forest, New Marte, and others.
“Meanwhile, Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Assessment teams are in Yobe and Adamawa States to update the reports on the conduct of security operations in those states since deployment of troops in line with the State of Emergency.
“The outcome will also be presented for DHQ’s further strategic guidelines for the subsequent phase of the operations.
“The Defence Headquarters has noted the dissemination through the channels of Aljazeera Television reports alleging massive civilian casualties in the ongoing security operations.
“It wishes to point out that the video clip being shown on the Aljazeera reports has no bearing whatsoever on the current reality in the operations areas.
“It is noted in particular that the footages being referred to as civilian casualties were actually pictures of the destruction perpetrated by the terrorists at the police stations and prisons in Bama, Borno State on 7 May 2013 when the insurgents attacked the town”. From the Daily Post.
Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members
Posted by: TONY AKOWE, KADUNA
Former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari has faulted the federal government’s clampdown on Boko Haram Islamic insurgents.
He accused the government of killing and destroying their houses while the Niger Delta militants were given special treatment by the government.
Buhari who spoke on Sunday on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week monitored in Kaduna also admitted that the road to the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was rough, pointing out that the promoters of the party were well prepared for any hitch that may arise.
Buhari who first spoke in Hausa before the English version accused politicians from the Niger Delta region of starting the current in security in the country by recruiting and arming youths of the region in their desperate attempt to retain power as governors.
The former Nigerian leader said that unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the federal government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government.
While accusing President Jonathan of failing from the beginning to address the security situation in the country, Buhari said he has never been in support of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state.
According to Buhari “what is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants. Every Nigerian that is familiar with what is happening knows this. The Niger Delta militants started it all.
“What happened is that the governors of the Niger Delta region at that time wanted to win their elections. So they recruited the youths and gave them guns and bullets and used them against their opponents to win elections by force.
“After the elections were over, they asked the boys to return the guns; the boys refused to return the guns. Because of that, the allowance that was being given to the youths by the governors during that time was stopped.
“The youths resorted to kidnapping oil workers and were collecting dollars as ransom. Now a boy of 18 to 20 years was getting about 500 dollars in a week, why will he go to school and spend 20 years to study and then come back and get employed by government to be paid N100,000 a month, that is if he is lucky to get employment.
“So kidnapping becomes very rampant in the South -South and the South -East. They kidnapped people and were collecting money.
“How did Boko Haram start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf started his militant and the police couldn’t control them and the army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police.
“The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him, his in-law was killed, they went and demolished their houses.
“Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today. You see in the case of the Niger Delta militants, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua sent an aeroplane to bring them, he sat down with them and discussed with them, they were cajoled, and they were given money and granted amnesty.
“They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues, what brought this? It is injustice”.
While fielding questions in English in the same programme, Buhari said that the promoters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) were aware of the challenges ahead of them in an effort to get the party registered, saying “the road to merger is quite rough.
“The ruling party, with its enormous resources and its capacity for coercion has seen it as a threat and they have said it. Personally, I came to realise since 2007 that Nigerians believe that the only way to stabilise the system of multi-party democracy is for the opposition parties that have representatives right from Councillors to the National Assembly come together to deliver their constituencies democratically. This is the only way you can counter PDP’s enormous physical and material influence in the country”
He expressed optimism that the All Progressive Congress will be registered saying “by nature, I am an optimist. If I were not an optimist, I will not attempt to contest the presidency three times and end up in the Supreme Court three times. I believe we are going to be registered.
“There is a law guiding party registration which states that you must have your headquarters in the nation’s capital that can be identified by INEC and you must have a convention. All the three parties involved have held their conventions and have agreed to forsake our existing parties and go for APC.
“At the national level, we must have those who will run the party. As soon as we meet these criteria and INEC acknowledge that, 30 days after the acknowledgement, we are APC whether INEC write us and give us the registration or not”.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the election of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Buhari said since the forum was not a legal body, he saw no reason for the controversy saying “the confusion is unfortunate.
“To me, the Governors forum is not constitutional and it is not a party affair because they are supposed to come from all the parties. There is no constitutional law as far as I can see. So, why all these row about it.
“I watched the clip of the election which seems to have been conducted in a free and fair way. But then, Jang came and said he won the election when we saw visibly on the screen how they conducted the election.
“The man who presided over the election declared the result there and then. I was surprised how Jang emerged and said he was the one that won the election and proceeded to open his own secretariat.
“So, if 36 of them can not conduct an election, Nigerians should begin to appreciate what we are in for when they are supposed to be conducting an election for over 140 million people by 2015”.
He however said that he was prepared to support anybody who emerge Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), saying “If APC fail to give me the ticket, I will remain in partisan politics and in the party. Anyone the party pick as its candidate, I will support him because I will remain in the APC”. From The Nation.
Terrorism links: SSS take over Amigos Supermart, Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja
By Wale Odunsi on June 2, 2013
Operatives of State Security Service have shut down the Amigos Supermarket, one of the largest supermarkets in Abuja, and Wonderland Amusement park, also in the nation’s capital.
This follows the allegation that a co-owner of the centres was linked to terrorism activities in the country.
The Joint Task Force in Kano had named Fauzi Fawad, a co-owner of the centres who is on the run, as a member of a Lebanese Hezbollah Terrorist cell in Nigeria.
The gates of both business premises that always witness huge activities and patronage were under lock and key on Saturday.
Reacting to the development, Deputy Director of Publicity of the Department of State Security, Marilyn Ogar, confirmed the closure of the premises by the security outfit.
Ogar said the closure was to allow for smooth investigation of the involvement or otherwise of a co-owner of the business outfits in the recent discovery of arms and ammunition in Kano, Kano State. From the Daily Post.
My suspension from NPP is unlawful and capricious – Dr. Wereko Brobbey
By Myjoyonline.com | Ernest Dela Aglanu
Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey, a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described his suspension from the party as unlawful and capricious.
According to him, ‘the NPP, as the group seeking justice and redress from the highest legal body of the land, the Supreme Court of Ghana, has itself acted unlawfully and capriciously in its apparent suspension of my membership of the party.’
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the NPP reached a decision to suspend Dr. Wereko Brobbey from the party on Thursday after it considered his comments and criticisms of party going to court to challenge the results of the 2012 elections.
According to the NEC, the decision to suspend Dr. Brobbey was taken in accordance with the party’s constitution which allows such disciplinary action to be taken against members whose conduct is deemed to have brought the NPP into disrepute.
Reacting to the suspension in a letter copied Myjoyonline.com Sunday, the NPP founding member said his suspension from the party was a ‘supreme irony!’
According him, he only got to know about the suspension after the name of Perry Okudzeto, the Deputy Communications Director of the NPP was mentioned as having gone on record to confirm ‘the surreal tale of my purported suspension from the NPP.’
Dr. Brobbey stressed that, he has not ‘heard nothing and recognise nothing about any purported decision by the New Patriotic Party to suspend my membership of the party.’
He noted that his view on the situation is founded on the processes set out in the constitution of the NPP which are stated in Article 4, 4, namely:
‘(a) A Disciplinary Committee shall: (i) Investigate complaints concerning the misconduct of a member; (ii) Make a full, faithful; and impartial inquiry into any complaint referred to it; (iii) Report in writing the results of the inquiry and the reasons leading to the conclusions reached; (iv) Make recommendations to the Executive Committee based on the results of the inquiry,
‘(b)The Executive Committee SHALL, within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the recommendation of a Disciplinary Committee, adopt, modify or reject same and SHALL COMMUNICATE its recommendations and the reasons leading thereto IN WRITING to affected parties.
‘(c) The Executive Committee SHALL make any recommendations deem fit to promote discipline within the party, including SUSPENSION/ EXPULSION of the Member. The recommendation automatically comes into full force and effect where NO APPEAL is lodged against it in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.’
Dr. Brobbey observed that, there is no provision in the NPP constitution that allows the pronouncement of guilt before evidence has been adduced to establish culpability.
‘Neither is there any place for custodial preventive detention or remand in prison during the legal proceedings against the accused member,’ he added.
More soon. From Modern Ghana.
POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013
Snr Correspondent, Abuja.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, has described the reported resurgence of Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa as distressing.
23 Nigerians were forced out of their homes and chased out of Port-Nolloth community on May 26, by some South Africans, accusing them of dealing in drugs without having any prove to back up the claim.
Ukeje in a statement issued on Sunday in reaction to the attack said the renewed attacks came at a point when Nigeria and South Africa had shown commitment to fostering closer relationship between both countries.
She recalled how the two countries in May, signed nine Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in different sphere of human endeavours.
She said such agreements should trickle down the citizenry especially from South Africa and urged Nigerians to remain committed in the knowledge that the government would do everything to protect them.
The lawmaker also commended South Africa High Commissioner, Mr Louis Mnguni, for his quick intervention and promised to work closely with him until the resolution of the issues.
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says is still assessing reported attacks of Nigerians in South Africa.
Martin Uhomoibhi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs had last Thursday condemned the attack saying “Xenophobia under whatever guise is not acceptable”.
“We believe that the action of some elements is inconsistent with our relations with South Africa and it does not have the blessings of our governments”, he said.
The permanent secretary noted that relations between both countries was at its “best forms” in recent time,
“Our relations with South Africa are in the best of forms following the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Cape Town, South Africa and his participation at the World Economic Forum in the country”.
“People must learn to work with their government”, he said.
Part of the MoU will make it unnecessary for nationals of both countries holding official or diplomatic passports to acquire visa before travelling to either country. From the Daily Independent.
Acting President of Ningo Traditional Area deny reports of unrests in district
The Acting President of the Ningo Traditional Area, Nene Kanor Atiatah III has denied reports of unrest in the Ningo Prampram district of the Greater Accra Region.
This follows allegations by the Chief of Ningo, Nene Otuaboah II that some land-guards are threatening to kill him and some of his elders who have consequently fled the town.
The gun-wielding men are reported to have taken over lands in the area and selling them at exorbitant prices.
The police have assured of safety in the town but Nene Atiatah III tells Joy News, the reports are untrue.
‘Land guards have never attacked anybody at Ningo traditional area,’ he said and noted and called on the police to conduct investigations to reveal the person peddling the false rumours.
Ningo-Prampram area has become an attractive destination for many businesses following government’s plans to locate the country’s second international airport there.From Modern Ghana.
POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013
By Adeola Yusuf
Senior Correspondent, Lagos (With agency reports)
Ten bodies have been found during a rescue operation off the coast of Nigeria after a tugboat contracted by Chevron sank penultimate Sunday in rough seas, the vessel’s owner said at the weekend.
The Jascon-4 capsized early on Sunday at a mooring point around 30 km (20 miles) off oil-producing Delta State.
Of 12 people, who had been on board, one was rescued alive and another is still missing.
“The search and rescue operation that has been under way since 26 May has had to be stopped for safety reasons,” the ship’s owner West African Ventures, said in a statement.
“The vessel, which is located some 30 metres under water in an upside-down position, has become so unstable that the risk of injury to our rescue divers has become unacceptably high,” said West African Ventures, which is owned by Sea Trucks Group.
Chevron operates offshore and onshore joint ventures with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and says it spends around $3 billion a year on its Nigerian operations.
The U.S. energy firm’s 2012 net daily production from Nigeria was 238,000 barrels of crude oil, 165 million cubic feet of natural gas and 4,000 barrels of liquefied petroleum gas.
It would be recalled that Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, has confirmed that ‘Jascon 4, vessel belonging to its contractor, West African Ventures Limited, has capsized and sank in the early hours of penultimate Sunday in Delta State.
The vessel sank while supporting a tanker loading at Single Mooring (SBM) No.3 a loading point 30 km offshore in the Escravos area.
Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs explained in a statement that Initial reports indicated that heavy ocean swells caused the Jascon No.4 to capsize while performing tension tow operations of the tanker at SBM No.3.
He confirmed that emergency response has commenced, including Search and Rescue operation with surface vessels, helicopters and divers.
According to him “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, confirms that Jascon No.4 vessel belonging to our contractor, West African Ventures Limited, capsized and sank early this morning while supporting a tanker loading at Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) No.3, a loading point 30 km offshore in the Escravos area of Delta state, Nigeria.
“Initial reports indicated that heavy ocean swells caused the Jascon No.4 to capsize while performing tension tow operations of the tanker at SBM No.3. From the Daily Independent.
Supreme Court’s credibility under threat as judges go to war
Staff Reporter 3 hours 44 minutes ago
Mugabe yesterday said he will comply with the Constitutional Court ruling on Friday
HARARE – Dissenting Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said the ruling by the Constitutional Court ordering elections to be held by the end of next month “defied logic” and compromised the rights of the electorate as a whole.
Seven of the judges on the nine member panel agreed with the ruling but Justice Malaba and Justice Bharat Patel dissented.
The court was ruling on an application by Harare-based rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, who wanted President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to proclaim dates for new elections to choose a substantive government.
Robert Mugabe yesterday said he will comply with the Constitutional Court ruling on Friday ordering him to proclaim dates for the harmonised elections and hold the polls before July 31,
which judgment he described as fair.
He said he would discuss with Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa to set the polling dates as soon as he returns home from Japan where he is attending the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) which ends today.
In his dissenting opinion, made available on Sunday, Justice Malaba said his colleagues’ ruling “defied logic” in finding Mugabe was in breach of his constitutional responsibilities “and at the same time authorising him to continue acting unlawfully” by proclaiming a July date.
“That is a very dangerous principle and has no basis in law. The principle of the rule of law just does not permit such an approach,” wrote Malaba (picture).
He said the new constitution made it clear that elections could be held within four months of the automatic dissolution of the parliament on 29 June and to hold them in
July compromised constitutional rights for the electorate as a whole “to play a meaningful role in the electoral process”, Malaba said.
He added that Mawarire’s lawsuit had turned clear and unambiguous language in the law into “a question of interpretation that plunged the court into irreconcilable differences”.
“I, however, refuse to have wool cast over the inner eye of my mind on this matter,” concluded Malaba.
The ruling possibly brings to an end the wrangling between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the timing of the elections.
Mugabe wanted the polls to immediately follow the dissolution of Parliament on June 29 but the MDC leader was insisting on a delay to allow more reforms to be implemented.
According to legal experts, Schedule Six of the new Constitution stipulates that at least 30 days are required for an intensive voter registration and voters roll inspection. The exercise is set to begin tomorrow ending beginning of July.
Section 157 (3) of the Constitution also stipulates that the nomination of candidates should take place 14 days after the publication of the proclamation for elections, with polling taking place at least 30 days after the nomination process.
Mugabe still had four months to call for election according to Law expert.
Constitutional law expert, Professor Greg Lennington said he was astounded by the ruling.
He said in terms of the Constitution, after the expiry of Parliament, the President has four months to call for elections.
“I have not yet seen the reasons for the judgement, but the correct decision was that of the two dissenting judges, Justices Bharat Patel and Luke Malaba,” he said.
David Coltart, legal secretary in Welshman Ncube’s MDC said the ruling violates other people’s rights to participate in the elections.
“The effect of the judgment will be to seriously undermine our chances of having credible elections,” said Coltart, who is also minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.
“I foresee a variety of very serious logistical and legal challenges arising, including a denial of a few fundamental rights,” he said, adding that the new Constitution signed by Mugabe two weeks ago provides for a mandatory 30-day voter registration exercise.
The fresh voter registration exercise is expected to commence tomorrow.
“So assuming that the constitutionally mandated period of registration begins on Monday the 3rd of June, it must then run until the end of 3rd July,” Coltart said.
The MDC secretary for legal affairs and senator for Khumalo Constituency said the judgment could deprive first time voters who failed to register in the just-ended chaotic voter registration exercise their opportunity to participate in the coming elections.
Section 26A of the Act says that eligible voters must register no later than 24 hours before the nomination date,” said Coltart.
“It means that the nomination day cannot be before the 5th of July.
There have to be 28 days between the nomination day and the election which means the election cannot be before the 2nd of August if the Constitution and Electoral Act are to be complied with.
“If they are seen to be shambolic, illegal and conducted in a manner which denies Zimbabweans their basic rights, then they will lack at the very least the moral authority any new government will need to take the nation forward.”
Chris Mhike, one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers, said while Zimbabwe should respect the court findings, the ruling was anchored on the repealed Lancaster House Constitution.
“We are surprised that the honourable court orders and directs the president to proclaim dates for general elections in terms of the old Constitution, that is the 1979 Constitution, when as a matter of fact, the new Constitution of Zimbabwe provides explicitly that the next elections should be conducted in terms of the new law, not the old,” said Mhike.
Lovemore Madhuku, a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said elections should be held by July 31 as a sign of respect to the country’s Constitution.
“Politicians should work towards ensuring that it is feasible. It is the attitude of politicians that will make it possible or not,” Madhuku told the Daily News on Sunday.
“They must ensure that we have a voter registration starting now which could run for 14-days and put mechanisms that those people who will be 18 years on the election date are registered to vote.”
The constitutional law expert said no politician will have “moral authority” to govern Zimbabwe after June 30 when the current Parliament expires.
“It is better to have a bad election than have no elections. Their time is up and we should have elections as stated by the supreme law,” Madhuku added.
Apart from the legalities set out above, adequate funding for the poll is another hurdle that Mugabe and his coalition partners, Tsvangirai and Ncube will have to contend with in the coming weeks.
All hopes, according to Mugabe, now pin on the forthcoming extraordinary Sadc summit penciled in for Maputo in Mozambique on Sunday, which will discuss poll funding.
Meanwhile, the National Standing Committee of Tsvangirai’s MDC met in Harare yesterday to review the judgment of the Constitutional Court.
Although the MDC expressed misgivings on some of the aspects of the judgment, it resolved to abide by the decision of the court.
“The party reiterated that the date of the election must be process-driven,” said MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.
“In other words, it must be dependent upon the completion of key processes that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the election.
“These processes include the completion of the Ward-based, transparent and accessible voter registration exercise targeting all communities.
“After the voter registration exercise, there must be a period set for the inspection of the voters’ roll to make sure that it is correct and that all eligible voters are on it.
“The MDC also insists that media reforms which should guarantee reasonably equal and fair access by all contesting parties to the State media as enshrined in the new Constitution, must be completed before the election to ensure that there is an even playing field during the elections.”
“It is critical that Zimbabwe completes all legislative reforms to bring all legislation which have a bearing on elections into conformity with the Constitution,” he said.
“These include the Electoral Act, the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”
Mwonzora said “the MDC is ready for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
“That means for the MDC the issue is not about the date of the elections.
“It is about the conditions under which these elections are held.”
Seven of the nine judges who sat as a Constitutional Court concurred with the ruling. The seven who ruled in favour of the application brought by a Harare man, Jealousy Mawarire are: Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Ann-Mary Gowora, Ben Hlatshwayo, George Chiweshe and Antonia Guvava. The two dissenting opinions were by deputy Chief Justice Malaba and Justice Patel.
Mawarire, a registered voter in Zaka and of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa, had approached the Constitutional Court to compel Mugabe to fix the election dates in view of the fact that the life of the current 7th Parliament ends on July 31.
Mugabe said: “Well, that’s the ruling of the court and when the court gives a ruling and the ruling is a judgement and the judgement is meant to establish how people should react to it, there is only one way of reacting to it which is accepting the judgement by our nation,” said President Mugabe.
“We accepted that judgement and we will work in accordance with that judgement.”
President Mugabe said those seeking an extension of the poll dates wanted the Global Political Agreement to continue, yet it was never meant to exist beyond 18 months.
“I am not delaying anything,” he said. “I will not accept that anymore. That’s their wish. We should forget this period and to forget it is to sink it by an election so we drown it out of our memory and say we will never do this again. It’s filthy, it’s filthy, it’s filthy.”
President Mugabe said the court was fair enough to give him enough time to announce the dates and hold the harmonised elections, saying he could have been ordered to hold them ‘tomorrow’.
“It is this decision now that we must obey and I don’t want to offend the law,” said President Mugabe.
“We have offended the law about twice, asking for postponement and we can’t do that again.
“They could have said ‘hold the election tomorrow’, but they could not say that because its impossible to put the election together.
“They were reasonable enough to give us time. They could have ordered us because we have violated the constitution right, left and centre and say do elections now and we would have trampled and said: ‘but we can’t do the elections now give us more time’.
President Mugabe said it was important that the courts provided enough time for the holding of the elections without the Government asking for it.
“So, the court is fair to make judgement on defaulters and we have been criminals on this one,” he said. “So, there it is, we are now going to be cleaner people and get exonerated and say let bygones be bygones, the future will see us clean.”
President Mugabe said if a coalition was to occur in the future, it should be made up of people who would have won elections.
“A coalition, yes, a coalition of members who won an election without involving those who have lost and christianing them in the name of legal justice: ‘we now baptise you as honourable Members of Parliament’. I hope we don’t it again,” he said.
But President Mugabe said he did not think the circumstances were there for such kind of a coalition.
He said the GPA negotiated by three political parties in Parliament was illegal and a cheat on the people’s rights.
“Some people do not wish for elections at all, they have enjoyed riding on this GPA chariot for no pay, no real fare, free of charge,” he said.
“So, we were able now to set up the GPA and the executive comprising persons some who had won elections others who had lost elections. Both Professors (Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube), for example, lost the election.
“(They) had been beaten, but they came now as dignified MPs and honourable ministers, but they are not the only ones. We have honourable ministers out of people who had been regarded as dishonourable by their constituencies, by the people.”
President Mugabe said Sadc had agreed to look at extending poll funding to Zimbabwe, but the country would not depend on that alone.
He said Zanu-PF was ready for the elections.
“We are ready. We have been ready. We stay ready, ever ready like the batteries (that are named Everready).”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has said the party will insist on the full implementation of the agreed reforms before elections are held in accordance with a Constitutional Court judgement delivered on Friday.
The MDC-T national standing committee held an emergency meeting yesterday and resolved that there were serious misgivings on some of the aspects of the judgement.
“The party reiterated that the date of the election must be process driven. In other words, it must be dependent upon the completion of key processes that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of the election,” said party spokesperson Mwonzora.
“These processes include the completion of the ward-based, transparent and accessible voter registration exercise targeting all communities. After the voter registration exercise, there must be a period set for the inspection of the voters roll to make sure that it is correct and that all eligible voters are on it.”
He said the MDC-T would also insist that media reforms which should guarantee reasonably equal and fair access by all contesting parties to the state media as enshrined in the new Constitution, must be completed before the election to ensure that there is an even playing field during the elections.
Mwonzora however said the MDC-T would abide by the Constitutional Court ruling directing elections to be held by July 31 of this year.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the MDC is ready for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. That means for the MDC, the issue is not about the date of the elections, is about the conditions under which these elections are held,” he said. From the Zimbabwe Mail.
Disarmament planned for violence hit North Rift
By BARNABAS BII email@example.com AND WYCLIFF KIPSANG firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Sunday, June 2 2013 at 13:13
- The government’s planned disarmament comes in the wake of rampant cases of insecurity in Baringo County which has left 15 people dead since the beginning of the year.
The government is to launch a disarmament operation to mop up illegal arms in insecurity prone parts of the North Rift region.
The police have mapped out hotspots in readiness for the operation to check armed conflict among pastoralists in the region caused by cattle raids and criminals who have been harassing the locals.
“The initial phase of the disarmament operation will be voluntary,” said Bernard Leparmai, Baringo County commissioner adding that local provincial administration officials will be involved in the exercise.
But as the government prepares to launch the disarmament operations, tension has gripped Kenya-South Sudan border following the killing of five people and theft of more than 200 goats by Toposa militia non Saturday.
“The attackers have crossed with the animals to South Sudan as some of the families flee the insecurity hit area,” said Barnard Nyakwaka, Turkana North police boss.
He said a security team comprising of regular and administration police officers and Kenya Police Reservists have been dispatched to the common border to avert further attacks that have sparked tensions between pastoralists from the two countries.
“A woman who sustained serious bullet wounds during the attack has been rushed to Lodwar district hospital for treatment,” said Mr Nyakwaka on phone.
The five were shot dead when armed Toposa militia from South Sudan attacked Loruth Sub-location soon after Turkana senator John Munyes left the village after distributing relief food.
“We have names of people in possession of illegal firearms and they should cooperate by surrendering them before the operation is launched,” said Mr Leparmai.
He said that the government has beefed up security in the cattle rustling prone areas in Marigat and Baringo North districts and urged residents who have fled their homes to go back.
Baringo County governor Benjamin Cheboi urged warring communities in the area to co-exist peacefully and discard retrogressive cultural practices and focus on education of their children and socio-economic activities aimed at improving their livelihood.
The government’s planned disarmament comes in the wake of rampant cases of insecurity in Baringo County which has left 15 people dead since the beginning of the year.
The government recovered more than 1,200 arms last year in a disarmament operation that involved the police and the military. From the Daily Nation.
Residents urged to test for HIV/Aids
Rwandans have been urged to seek voluntary HIV counselling and testing to know their zero status.
The Minister of State for Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr Anita Asiimwe, made the call while closing a six-month national anti-HIV/Aids campaign in Nyagatare District last week.
“This will help everyone to know their status; it involves also children infected with HIV/Aids to be taken to hospital for proper medications,” Asiimwe said.
The sensitisation campaign was done through Aids campaigners as part of efforts to achieve global target of zero new infections by 2015.
The minister added that testing pregnant mothers would help fight mother-to-child infections.
Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the head of HIV division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said the aim of the campaign, which he said had impacted significantly on behaviour change, is to achieve zero infection and death.
The rate of new infections was at 25,000 people every year five years ago, but it has drastically gone down to 15,000, he said.
A recent Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey said because of access to antiviral drugs, HIV prevalence in Rwanda has remained at around 3 per cent since 2005.
Among the pregnant mothers in the district, 140,000 tested for HIV during the six month awareness campaign and 114 were found to be infected.
Of the 160 people who were tested for HIV from Matimba Sector, 36 were found to be HIV-positive. In Nyagatare Sector, 2,200 tested and 42 were found to be infected.
The country director of UNAIDS Dludlu Sibongile appreciated the government’s efforts in HIV/Aids fight.
“The infection in Africa has reduced due to the great efforts put in the fight. Rwanda is among the countries which have put more efforts in preventing and controlling the transmission with the target of Zero by 2015,” she said, reaffirming UNAIDS committment to join efforts with the government in the fight against Aids. From The New Times.
NADMO Co-ordinator warns of imminent threat to Bui Dam by galamsey operations
By Myjoyonline.com | Joy News
The Bui Hydro-Electric Power Project could be adversely affected if illegal mining activities popularly called galamsey activities are not halted along the Black Volta.
This is the warning from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Coordinator, Kofi Porturphy.
Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Porturphy said the Galamsey activities pose serious threats to the Bui Dam and the Volta Lake and must be stopped immediately.
According to him, ‘We must stop [the galamsey operations] effectively. If you go up north to Boli area towards the boarder of Cote D’ivoire the kind of mining activities that are starting there, if we are not careful and we don’t stop them and they divert the course of the Black Volta, Bui Dam will dry up and then the Volta River on the Black Volta will be contaminated and polluted.’
Kofi Porturphy noted that several rivers, including Offin, Brim, Tano, have been polluted due to the illegal mining activities and urged that ‘we must as a people reduce the risk and prevent the disaster from occurring.’ From Modern Ghana.
Here follows the latest comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa:
Africa: And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity
Africa: Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB
Africa: Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation
East Africa: Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC
Uganda: Reshuffles expose Museveni strategy for 2016 elections; UPDF promotions give Brig. Muhoozi control
Tanzania: Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?
Kenya: Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can
Kenya: Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth
And now Africa rises, to unite in prosperity
24 MAY 2013 00:00 PHILLIP DE WET
Kwame Nkrumah envisioned an Africa united by necessity and if anything can get the continent’s nations to work together, it’s the prospect of wealth.
Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi made a half-hearted attempt at subverting traditionalism to have himself crowned the continent’s king of kings.
And when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was constituted in 1963, several of the founders considered stronger ties between themselves as a survival strategy in a world torn between two superpowers.
The following 50 years proved that none of their motivations or justifications held water; the continent remained deeply divided along lines ranging from ethnicity to class, with only marginal movement towards integration.
But the next 50 years will be different, various thinkers and institutions believe. By 2063, they say, the continent will have moved close to full economic integration, with people and goods flowing (legally) over national borders that will exist largely as theoretical lines, rather than imposing fences. Because this time the driver will be economic necessity in a competitive world.
The result, they believe, will be utopian: a continent more productive, with faster economic growth, better levels of employment, more skilled people, plentiful food, and perhaps even a universal respect for human rights. And also, by the logic that richer and more comfortable people fight fewer wars, finally a continent at peace with itself.
That may sound much like the thinking behind the initial formation of the OAU, but a shift in logic is already well under way at its successor, the African Union (AU).
Peace and security
Born in the midst of the Cold War and before globalisation, the OAU thought geopolitically, with military might at the forefront. In an analysis of the types of policies created by the OAU and its successor, a group of researchers found that prior to 1980, 40% of the organisation’s work was dedicated to peace and security.
In the decade from 2001, the number of policies dedicated to that section of the AU’s work declined to just 16%. The focus had shifted to social and economic issues, with money – money for development, for education, for healthcare, for housing – at the heart of its work.
And that was despite little change in the level of conflict on the continent. The OAU was born in an era of strife; in 1963 alone, three governments fell to coups: in Benin, Congo-Brazzaville and Togo. That was also the year when open fighting started between Kenya and Somalia (the latter mostly through proxies) in the so-called Shifta War, which would continue for four years, complete with war crimes and mass casualties.
But the AU, too, was created with wars raging. In the decade it was constituted, and the OAU disbanded, there were civil wars in Côte d’Ivoire and Chad, ongoing conflicts in Darfur, wars in the Niger Delta and the Central African Republic, and any number of border and ethnic skirmishes.
The difference, some believe, is that the world had changed in the four decades that separated the two bodies. The AU came into being with member states watching the rise of China as a world power, and India as an economic one, and with the European Union as their major trading partner. The ability of such behemoths to dominate the world could hardly go unnoticed.
“The total gross domestic product of all the SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries, including South Africa, is less than that of Turkey or Denmark,” said Iraj Abedian, a policy-focused economist at the head of Pan-African Capital Holdings.
In unity lies strength
“You find yourself asking, if the entire region can’t compete with a single country, how much less so its constituent members?”
Abedian is of the school of thought, which has become pervasive in recent years, that African states will be forced to unite to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete in the global economy. As Nkrumah said, “in unity lies strength”.
By the same token, the financial unity of the rest of the world poses potential problems for those determined to go their own way. “[Global] integration comes with the risks of interdependence,” said the Africa Progress Panel, headed by former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan, in its 2013 assessment of the continent. “African economies will be affected by market events over which they have little control.”
Economically, the continent can boast neither strength nor unity.
“Today, not only is Africa fragmented by its borders, its power is also limited by the fact of this fragmentation,” says Godwin Murunga, of the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi.
In order to compete, Africa requires internal trade, investment in the skills and technology that can make it more productive, an end to conflict and a reduction in overall military spending, and united policy-making at a global level. For individual countries, that means giving up at least a portion of their sovereignty. And that is exactly what leaders of the AU hope they will do.
Although the AU has yet to finalise its Vision 2063, a planning document eagerly awaited by pan-Africanists everywhere, broad outlines have become clear. Despite its recent problems, the European Union remains a political model. Much focus is on increasing agricultural productivity, then general productivity. Policy harmony on everything from telecommunications to fertiliser will be pushed, and thornier issues such as the fate of state-owned enterprises will follow.
Regional blocs will be nudged towards common passports, such as those of the Economic Community of West African States, and spending requirements – probably first on agriculture, but later on a range of priorities – will be imposed on individual countries.
So, slowly but surely, the believers have it, Africa will rise.
Some wins, some losses for the OAU
The Organisation of African Unity’s original mission included a broad range of objectives.
In a precious few areas, such as gaining independence from colonial masters, it can claim unequivocal victory. In most, however, success was partial or dubious at best. According to its founding charter, its major objectives were:
- To achieve equality, justice and dignity for all citizens, and ensure their advancement;
- To establish unity that transcends ethnic or national lines;
- To establish and maintain peace and stability, and settle disputes through mediation and negotiation;
- Freedom, including fighting against all forms of neocolonialism;
- Noninterference in the internal affairs of other African states, with a specific prohibition on cross-border subversive activities; and
- Nonalignment with any major power blocs.
A century after unity comes utopia
There are a range of visions for what the continent will look like 100 years after the formation of the Organisation of African Union – most of them positive. Between the hopes of continental bodies and views of analysts, these are some of the characteristics of that future:
- Full or nearly full economic integration, likely with a single currency, but certainly with borders relegated to lines on maps;
- Free migration between countries, with little to no restrictions on who can live or work where;
- Food production at a level where the continent feeds itself, rather than importing food;
- Life expectancy at birth beyond 65 years, and infant mortality at a fraction of current levels;
- Near-universal education, with a high level of tertiary education;
- Local capital formation, with a minimal requirement to borrow money for major infrastructure projects; and
- Integrated transport systems. Few will bet money on a great north-south transcontinental highway being in place, but many envisage trains and ships and planes moving with little friction.
Africa’s poverty rate falling —WB
By JAMES MUYANWA in Yokohama, Japan –
AFRICA’s poverty levels are falling by one percentage point per year, with the absolute number of people living below the poverty datum line declining drastically, the World Bank Group has said.
As a result of the impressive economic growth rate, the continent has been posting in the last 10 years, the poverty rate has gone down, while the number of people living below the datum line of US$1.25 per day, has fallen by nine million in three years.
World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim said here during the opening session of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) that, the bank has placed Africa at the core of its effort to end poverty and boost shared prosperity.
He said the growth the continent had recorded in the last 10 years had impacted on the poverty levels.
“The growth has had an impact on poverty – the poverty rate has been falling at one percentage point a year. For the first time, the absolute number of people living below $1.25 a day has fallen – by nine million in three years,” he said.
Mr Jim said, Africa was varied and complex, thereby providing an opportunity for development.
“Africa has seen impressive growth, particularly over the past 10 years. This is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa. When TICAD started in 1993, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth rate was just one per cent.
“In 2012, it was estimated at 4.7 per cent, and 10 of the fastest growing countries in the world were in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said
He attributed the economic growth to the sound economic policies African countries have put in place and congratulated the leaders attending the conference, who included Zambian President Michael Sata.
He said the World Bank would continue to partner with African countries through various mechanisms, especially the International Development Association (IDA) which is the bank’s fund for the poorest countries.
Mr Jim said Africa has been a country of two extremities in that, despite posting impressive performance, the continent is home to so many poorest people in the world.
In 12 countries for instance, the extreme poverty rate was higher than 60 per cent.
“Making progress in these countries will be harder but the gains will be significant.
“We know that success is possible. In Africa, countries including Liberia and Mozambique are showing the way,” he said.
Mr Kim said the World Bank’s new strategy would be to further strengthen the commitment to states rebounding from weakness and conflict.
“We have the opportunity to make historic progress in the years ahead. We can end extreme poverty and build shared, sustainable prosperity for all peoples,” he said. From the Times of Zambia.
Kagame says Africa needs to redefine women’s emancipation
President Paul Kagame has urged African nations to redefine gender equality as a societal responsibility and not simply women’s issues.
The President made the remarks at the weekend while addressing a thematic session on “Driving African Development through Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” at the fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (Ticad).
“The question that we must address now is how to make more progress in removing the barriers to equal opportunity and promote greater empowerment. That will be done when we all recognise that the question of equality should be part of our values as a society and therefore an obligation to raise everyone to a level where they can play their rightful role in development,” Kagame said.
The Rwanda style
With one of the world’s highest number of women leaders in the public sector and a growing number in the private sector, Rwanda continues to lead in realising gender equality.
To-date, the country has institutionalised women political and economic empowerment through legislations as well as several initiatives aimed at increasing access to economic opportunity. From The New Times.
Call to harmonise trade regimes in EAC
Member states of the East African Community must accelerate the bloc’s integration or risk failure, making a failure out of it, the outgoing chairperson of the EAC business council has said.
Gerald Sendawula, who relinquished his duties as chairperson of the East African Business Council (EABC), said this during a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, at the weekend.
He said EAC had failed to create a levelled ground for common trade regimes, warning that the community may end up in failure.
“Let us not wait to witness the repeat of the 1977, when the original EAC collapsed. We must sort out all impediments and talk the same language. Doing business and embracing full regional trade partnership is still a problem. There are forums to address this, let us use them for the common good,” he said.
Dr Enos Bukuku, the EAC deputy secretary-general for planning and infrastructure, echoed similar concerns that states were not fully embracing the integration process.
He urged EABC to engage partner states to promote intra-EAC trade by creating conducive environment.
Bukuku noted with concern that partner states were not living to the agreed principles of integration.
“Who is holding the process? I will be very transparent; I have been here for two years, and it is the partner states. They signed to participate in the integration agenda, but in meetings they say loudly that because they are sovereign they say no to what they signed. How many years do they need to agree on small matters that don’t threaten security of their countries?” he asked.
He said money was spent on meetings, but that the decisions made were never respected.
“How many meetings have we convened? This is taxpayers’ money spent on these meetings. There are very few decisions taking the region forward. It is not the secretariat that is holding back integration, but member states,” Bukuku said.
“They appended their signatures on integration matters. You can’t have it both ways, more sovereignty and more integration, the arithmetic doesn’t add up. Integration means foregoing part of what is under national sovereignty toward a regional cause,” he added.
Even the creation of a single currency will require partner states to relinguish monetary policy to a regional centre, Bukuku said.
Meanwhile, Kenya took over the chairmanship of EABC from Uganda under the rotational policy.
Vimal Shah, the head of Kenya private sector, was unanimously elected to replace Sendawula, who had served out a one-year term. From The New Times.
BY JULIUS ODEKE, JOAN AKELLO & RONALD MUSOKE
President tightens grip on army, police, media
Three days after he shut down two independent newspapers, and two radio stations, President Yoweri Museveni on May 23 shuffled his cabinet, placing the Defence sector, Internal Affairs, and Information in the hands of the military and trusted cadres.
Since the reshuffle, the second time in nine months, was announced, commentators have said the changes set the tone for the 2016 election in which Museveni, who will have completed 30 years in power, is expected to seek another five-year term.
By putting two generals in charge of police, and three party ideologues in charge of the media, Museveni has signaled that dissenting views, opinions, and activities within his party, the NRM, and from the opposition are likely to be muzzled.
Journalists in Uganda are routinely beaten up and their equipment confiscated by police and soldiers and their offices ransacked. But conditions are likely to get tougher, according to analysts.
Renowned Ugandan columnist Charles Onyango Obbo, makes this point on his blog, Naked Chiefs, of May 24.
Onyango writes that the recent attacks on the media are sideshows to the real thing—which according to him is the grand scheme to have Museveni retain power beyond 2016—when he will clearly be above 75 years old. Another scheme to manipulate the Constitution is on the cards and hence the choice of some of the ministers and other technocrats.
Onyango-Obbo says: “While the Museveni government’s anti-free media streak goes way back, it would never muzzle the press merely for the sake of muzzling it… The attacks on the free media are usually part of its wider political scheme, and never the end.”
The changes also follow the flight to Europe of a top general, David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, after he alleged in a letter that Museveni plans to purge top military personnel and politicians opposed to his continued stay in power or the transfer of the presidency to his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Museveni named Gen. Katumba Wamala to head the army as Chief of Defence Forces. A career soldier from regimes preceding Museveni’s, Gen. Wamala cemented his role in the army leadership in battles against Museveni’s enemies in the DR Congo and northern Uganda where he gained a reputation for professionalism that matched his firmness. When he was named to head the police in 2001 for a four-year stint, he showed how armed forces can achieve results with a human face.
The man he replaces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima moves to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is crucial in the organisation of national elections. The move to Internal Affairs also shunts Gen. Nyakairima out of any action in the army which has become restless following Gen. Sejusa’s allegations of divisions and intrigue.
But the shuffle could produce its own tensions. When another army boss, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu was removed from the position and named minister, he rejected the position, quit Museveni’s government, and is now leader of the largest opposition party in Uganda; the Forum for Democratic Change. It is unclear how, Gen. Nyakairima, renowned for keeping his views to himself, is reacting to the removal from the army at age 54.
For now, he joins another general, Kale Kayihura, who as Inspector General of Police oversaw the 2011 election and its aftermath with unprecedented security deployment and brutality. Kayihura has himself been promoted to general from Lieutenant general in a move that could complicate reporting lines between him and Gen. Nyakairima who is his boss in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Museveni also elevated Ofwono Opondo, who has been the acerbic-tongued spokesperson of his NRM party to head the Uganda Media Centre, which is designed to be a funnel for all government information to the media and the public. Ofwono Opondo, who has a proven record as an ideological attacking machine against Museveni’s opponents, is deputised by Col. Shaban Bantariza, a more pliable but no less formidable spin-doctor.
Rose Namayanja Nsereko who has been the state minister for Luweero Triangle has replaced Karooro-Okurut as the Information and National Guidance Minister. Namayanja’s new appointment may be surprising to only those who do not know her. Although she holds two bachelor’s degrees, including one in law from Makerere University, the Nakaseke District Woman MP has no experience in media unlike her predecessor.
She is a cadre, who served at Museveni’s Statehouse as a Political Officer for three years from 2008, is said to hold a Master’s qualification in Security Sector Management from the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
Peter Mwesige, the executive director of the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), the leading professional journalism training institute in Uganda, says the President wants the Information docket under “someone who can bring order in the media”.
He says outgoing Information Minister Karooro Okurut was under pressure to introduce the Press and Journalist (Amendment) Act 2010 which was criticised by the media operators as an attempt tofurther stifle independent media.
Semujju Nganda, a former journalist who is now an MP and Shadow Minister for Information and National Guidance says Karooro was moved possibly because of the mutual respect she has with the media.
“Karooro Okurut had an idea of how the media works, and because she is decent, it was easy for her to understand the media,” Ssemujju says.
Mwesige says Namayanja is expected to bring her “firebrand” approach.
“The president is still frustrated with the communication gap and is now looking for those who can respond in real time, which may explain why Okurut was moved,” Mwesige says, “Namayanja can respond to issues and take on people without being labeled an outsider.”
Taken in combination with Ofwono Opondo and Col. Shaban Bantariza, the Namayanja tenure promises to be an interesting combination of well-schooled propaganda, rabid intimidation, and further muzzling of independent media. That should work well for President Museveni who always clamps down on the media, including the government-run New Vision, during election time.
In September 2009, barely two years to the 2011 election, the government shut down CBS FM, Radio Two Akaboozi, Ssuubi FM and the Catholic-owned Radio Sapientia.
After the latest clampdown on two newspapers and two radio stations, Makerere University professor of media law, Frederick Jjuuko, told The Independent in an interview that such actions have a “chilling effect” as other media fear to report events independently. From The Independent.
BY HAGGAI MATSIKO
Museveni removes the last of bush war heroes, courts Buganda, north
When on May.23 President Yoweri Museveni announced a reshuffle in the army, it was a move to tighten his grip on the force following allegations of dissent over the rapid promotion of his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Museveni put in charge of UPDF administration four of his most loyal officers and removed two of the force’s longest serving officers that represented the last of his 1980s bush war comrades.
The Force’s former Chief of Defence Forces, Aronda Nyakairima, who moved to head the Internal Affairs Ministry and his deputy, Ivan Koreta, appointed ambassador to a yet to be named station, were the last of the 1980s bush war heroes still in the UPDF.
Gen. Koreta was the last of the crop that started fighting in the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) that ousted former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and is among the first group of soldiers that trained with Museveni in the 1970s in Mozambique and in Tanzania to launch FRONASA.
Aronda joined the NRA bush war in 1982 after completing his Bachelors in Political Sciences.
Their departure clears the way for a younger generation of officers led by Museveni’s son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the commander of Special Forces, to take over the leadership of the UPDF.
Brig. Muhoozi is known to be influential among a young crop of very loyal officers who have been deployed in critical units of the force in the reshuffle.
Among them is his namesake, newly promoted Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, who takes charge of the UPDF’s biggest command, the Land Forces. Others are Brig. Leopold Kyanda who is the new Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, newly promoted Maj Gen. Samuel Turyagyenda who is new commander of the Air Defence Division, and Col. Emmanuel Kanyesigye who becomes commander of the 4th Division located in Gulu. He has been Fifth Division Operations Officer.
Brig. Muhoozi’s influence and grip on the UPDF is likely to soar because the closure of the generation gap and the purging of the war heroes who have often acted with a sense of entitlement because of, they say, the `sacrifice’ they made to put Museveni in power.
Gen. Katumba Wamala, the former Commander Land Forces who takes over from Nyakairima as CDF and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, who was formerly the Chief of Staff Land Forces, joined Museveni’s army after he captured power.
Gen. Katumba’s former post, as Commander Land Forces which is the UPDF biggest unit, is under Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, the former Commander of the Air Defence Unit.
The President also made his former trusted aide and bodyguard, Maj. Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the UPDF’s new Joint Chief of Staff (JACOS).
Katumba, Angina and Mbadi cannot brag of fighting in the bush and know that their greatest forte is their allegiance to Museveni.
Katumba, for instance, joined the Museveni army much later. He had been in the army that Museveni’s forces defeated, the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). His biggest posting in the Museveni government was when he served as police chief. In the UPDF, Katumba has climbed the ranks because he religiously obeys the powers that be and is said to be disciplined.
His deputy Angina is also a post 1985 war soldier. Angina’s biggest postings in the UPDF are military attaché at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington, Chairman of the General Court Martial, and Chief of Staff Land Forces.
Mbadi on the other hand was not known outside army circles until he became Museveni’s body guard. His promotion to head the Fourth Division in Gulu in 2012 surprised many as his ascension to JACOS has no doubt shocked many.
Mbadi replaced Fred Mugisha, who boasted of the 1985 war credentials, having followed his brother, Jack Mucunguzi in the bush in his teens. Mugisha who will now head a yet to be formed, National Counter Terrorism Centre.
While Mbadi, Katumba and Angina will be handling the administrative work of the army, these young officers, led by Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, will be in charge of running the operations of the fighting force.
The changes in the army leadership came as security operatives continued a siege at two closed media houses, the tabloid Red Pepper and Uganda’s leading independent newspaper, the Daily Monitor, and its sister FM radio stations, KFM and Dembe.
The media houses are being punished for publishing a letter alleging a conspiracy to assassinate those against plans to have Brig. Muhoozi succeed his father. The letter was reportedly authored by Gen. David Sejusa, an advisor on Security to President Museveni and Coordinator of Intelligence Services who has since fled to Europe.
The letter’s contents, Ugandan authorities, claimed threatened national security by seeking to cause dissent in the UPDF.
Gen. Nyakairima was among those who, according to The Monitor report, Gen. Sejusa named among government officials to be targeted for opposing Museveni’s alleged plan to have his son, Muhoozi, succeed him.
With the promotions, according to analysts, Museveni has scored three hits with a single shot; he has dealt with internal opposition within the army and government, rewarded loyal cadres, and strategically deployed to ensure success at the 2016 polls.
By naming Gen. Katumba Wamala, a member of the largest and most influential tribe in Uganda – the Buganda, to the top of the army leadership and Gen. Angina, an officer from northern Uganda which has complained of marginalisation, President Museveni has sought to appease regions outside of western Uganda.
The concentration of top positions in the army and the government in the hands of people from western Uganda has become a major rallying point for Museveni’s opponents. From The Independent.
Can Tanzania be the new economic frontier?
By John Mashaka (email the author)
Posted Sunday, June 2 2013 at 13:36
Investors, foreign and domestic, must be encouraged to invest in domestic processing and manufacturing of both renewable and non-renewable resources.
Asian countries have dominated much of the news in this decade over their economic growth and boom. Africa, on the other hand, has remained on the back burner. And yet its economies have been exponentially growing despite world economic troubles. Africa is poised to overtake those Asian tigers, becoming a global new economic frontier if it can establish itself as the new global manufacturing hub for its natural resources.
Among other countries, Tanzania could take a lead in pushing the continent into a new economic frontier. Due to its low cost of labour and abundant natural resources – ranging from minerals, oil, and natural gas to agricultural and non-agricultural natural resources – Tanzania and the rest of Africa are the new destination for the developed and developing economies thirsting for energy, food, and raw materials. Discoveries of mineral resources in many of African countries, especially those in Sub-Sahara Africa, point to the tremendous economic potential. Non-renewable fossil fuel discoveries along the Indian Ocean East African coastline are likely to generate significant amount of wealth, which could be converted into renewable resources which will in turn continue to produce wealth after oil and gas are long gone. Tanzania is a case in point. It must exploit her current natural gas boom by designing a blueprint that will see the country enter into the much needed industrial revolution to help uplift the living conditions of the people.
During the colonial era, most African countries were colonies that supplied raw materials for European industries. The colonial powers established authoritarian control over their colonies and people in order to extract resources from them as cheaply as possible. They did little in terms of infrastructural development. There was nothing more than railways and harbors built to carry raw materials to feed the industries of the North and never intended for future economic development. To date, Africa is the continent that has the most natural resources. Asian and western nations, along with their nationals, have discovered Africa’s potential in quenching their growing thirst for energy and raw materials for their industries. They are flocking to Africa in large numbers. Flights from Dubai, Doha, and Addis-Ababa into Dar es Salaam, are 80 per cent filled with young men and women of Asian descent arriving to seek the endless economic possibilities in Tanzania. Tanzania and most African countries are like modern day colonies, where emerging powers and developed nations battle it out over natural resources. They are taking jobs away in the form of exports of raw materials and unprocessed minerals. The Tanzania government on its part must urgently design a policy that will ban exportation of raw materials in order to promote domestic industrialization. This process will in turn create jobs for the youth and wealth for the people.
Investors, foreign and domestic, must be encouraged to invest in domestic processing and manufacturing of both renewable and non-renewable resources. Developed and developing nations, which have been engaging in economic cooperating with Tanzania, for instance, now have the opportunity to support the country by investing into domestic processing and manufacturing. Their long time purchase of the country’s raw materials at a throw away price, processing it, before selling it back as expensive finished goods, has not been equitable business practice.
Tanzania is a lucrative market that is continuing to grow. With a population of 44 million people, and the growing middle class, Tanzania is a gold mine that will not only propel the country into another frontier, but also likely to improve the living condition of its people if our abundant natural resources are properly managed and processed domestically. From The Citizen.
Rwanda rose from the ashes, Kenya too can
The history of Rwanda is mostly acrimonious and sad, culminating in 1994 genocide that claimed almost a million lives. President Paul Kagame’s role in this history is still being written but suffice it to say when he and his RPF brigade stomped into town that July 1994 their first official task was to collect dead and mostly decomposing bodies from the streets homes schools even churches.
Today 17 years later Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world. The cleanliness all around surprises any first time visitor to this stunningly beautiful country.
On the global stage the country enjoys respect. On the UN Doing Business Index, it is third in Africa. Corruption is almost negligible. Rwanda is now popularly referred to as the new African Dawn. A nation can truly be risen from the ashes.
The one resounding lesson we draw is: Africa can work, it is possible, and really that if you make the decision to, there is really no one stopping us. I do not know of any case where a determined people who made their very best effort to uplift themselves from poverty failed. All that Africa needs is to determine that we want better and I am sure we will get it.
I know some will then say that many African countries lack good leaders. I find that a lame excuse. There is something national leadership and governments can do for us. But there is a lot more that people must do for themselves.
The work ethic in Africa by the ordinary man and woman on the street is very wanting. We are mainly victims of ourselves.
ANDREW NGANGA, Kigali From the Daily Nation.
Set up a team to arrest the falling standard of English among youth
In their letters to the editor Wangari Buku (Nation, May 28), H. P. Pauline (Nation, May 31) and Peter Muthaura (Nation, June 1) decry the falling standards of English. Many other writers to the editor have raised similar concerns. As a teacher of English I cannot agree with them more.
It is true that the standards of both written and spoken English have fallen to alarming levels. Consequently, the quality of education has plummeted. English, being the language of instruction, has a direct bearing on the other subjects examined by the Kenya National Examinations Council.
Today we have professionals who cannot effectively hold a conversation with their clients. Due to language barriers, the quality and efficiency of service delivery has also suffered.
The education stakeholders need to go back to the drawing board and ask when the rains started beating us. Why can’t our learners pronounce basic English words accurately?
Sheng has contributed too. However, whining about sheng does not help solve the matter at hand.
Year in year out Knec decries the deteriorating levels of insha and composition yet the stakeholders are never in hurry to address this worsening situation
Let us start somewhere.
When the science subjects were not being well performed at the national examinations, the stakeholders came up with measures to address that. That is how the Kenya Science was borne.
Years later they established SMASE which was a deliberate move to strengthen science and mathematics subjects in our schools. Today these subjects are way ahead of languages. Last year alone the then minister for education lauded the sterling improvement on these subjects.
English and Kiswahili are vital in all careers one pursues. It is for this reason that I urge the stakeholders in education to find ways of turning around the performance of languages. Until that is done we will continue lamenting as standards fall.
ASHFORD KIMANI, Nairobi
Sheng to blame
I have been following the discussion initiated by Wangari Buku with the subsequent contributions by Ms Elderkin and Muthaura among others. I find that a lot of young people are in too much of a hurry to care about precision (in all matters, not just in language).
I read comments in the Daily Nation on-line edition and any time someone comments on poor grammar/spelling there is a big chorus of “grammar police” which I find rather disconcerting. I think the problem starts with our glorification of Sheng.
TONY LAW, Nairobi From the Daily Nation
Endsit, and Bi-Bi.