LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION ON TUESDAY 4/6/2013

 

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from the websites of newspapers right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape.

This service is yours, and is intended to be as inclusive as possible. So please do leave a comment or suggestion as to how the Africa Centre might best improve its service in future, in the box provided at the bottom of the post.

CONTENTS:

Nigeria: Borno hospital receives 923 corpses in six months

Africa: Japan calls for mass investment in Africa

Ghana: MILITARY GOES HAYWIRE …Punishes Soldier Robbers, Looters Of Gold

South Africa: NUM leader shot dead in front of Lonmin mine (also see comment and opinion)

Nigeria: Nasarawa killings: IGP promises to release report on slain officers at appropriate time

Sudan: South Sudanese opposition call for people of Abyei to be armed

Ghana: Ashanti Youth Disowns Wereko-Brobbey

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Sierra Leone: Freetown: IMF Mission Releases Statement on Sierra Leone Economy

Sudan: Sudan’s economy facing significant challenges, says minister

Rwanda: German minister says Rwanda can spur region

Rwanda: Report faults districts on abetting land conflicts against Genocide survivors

Sierra Leone: SLPP Women Vow to Drag Pa-O-Pa Thugs to Court

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Zimbabwe: MDC veterans call for unity

South Africa: NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

Ghana: Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Kenya: Your security is in the hands of this man

Africa: Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

Uganda: Media clampdown, human rights and succession

Uganda: Uganda, donors sign power deal

Africa: Dangers of bleaching creams

 

 

 

Borno hospital receives 923 corpses in six months

By Maina Maina 

 

Records at the State Specialists Hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital have revealed that the hospital has so far received 923 unknown corpses, which had being evacuated for burial at different cemeteries across the state by environmental workers in the last six months.

DailyPost gathered that, most of the corpses were already decomposed before they were brought to the hospital.

A source in the hospital who did not want his name in print told DailyPost that,”if you go through the hospital record, you would notice that at least the hospital receive about 68 corpses in a day since the last six months. Most of these corpses are of those either hit by stray bullet during

various clashes between insurgents and military or those kidnapped and killed by insurgents whose family could not pay ransom.

“Those with bullet wound were either killed by insurgents or stray bullets but those whose throats were cut off were killed by the insurgents aften being kidnapped and the concerned families could not afford ransom.

“Some of the corpses are horrifying because you can notice that they were mutilated. Everyday, residents behind the hospital come out to ask for some chemicals in order to stop the excess odour being generated by the corpses.

“Government is doing its best as you can see. The enviromental workers are also helping to evacuate the corpses. Until this crises come to an end, I am afraid the people would have to bear with us.

We are all in this, we know the health hazard, but we also have to understanding that killings and kidnapping are still going on in the state.” He explained.

Speaking with a cross section of citizens on the spat of killings and kidnapping in the state, particularly with the recent kidnapping of father of the state Commissioner for women affairs, Hajiya Innah Galadima, despite the ongoing security campaign in the state, people have reacted differently.

Most people said that the ongoing crisis had never been experienced in the state before, affirming that different criminals have found Borno as a fertile ground for their criminal activities.

Malam Inusa Yakubu, a civil servant also told DailyPost that,”Since the crises started, a gunshot could cause serious confusion, as people would be running helter skelter. That is enough to make criminals to find Borno as an interesting place to operate.” He explained. From the Daily Post.

 

Japan calls for mass investment in Africa

 

Africa could turn into a driving force for global economic growth if the Yokohama Declaration issued at the end of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad) is anything to go by.

The conference brought together leaders of 51 African countries, including President Paul Kagame, as well as representatives of international organisations.

While all past Ticad summits have been held in Japan, the declaration contained wording that left open the possibility of holding the next conference in Africa.

At a joint news conference, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Growth exists in Africa, and now is the time to invest in an Africa that will continue to grow.”

‘Leading edge’

Abe said Africa would be at the leading edge of economic expansion and Japan had to make a commitment in a way that would benefit both sides.

“Africa will be a growth centre over the next couple of decades until the middle of this century. Japan will not simply bring natural resources from Africa to Japan. We want to realise

industrialisation in Africa that will generate employment and growth,” he said.

He added: “The type of growth the Ticad recognises is not just figures. It aims to achieve high quality growth by distributing benefits widely and deeply among people in the society.”

In the Yokohama declaration participants in the five-yearly Ticad picked up the theme of developing Africa’s business potential and migrating away from aid.

“We’ll encourage expanded trade, tourism and technology transfer, and assist in developing small and midsize local companies. We’ll also support regional integration to expand intra-regional trade and create new opportunities for private sector development and employment,” reads the declaration.

Role of private sector 

It also affirmed that the private sector is a vital engine of growth that needs to be supported and strengthened.

It calls for promoting of greater private investment, and improving the investment climate and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Participants at the conference, co-hosted by the African Union, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, said they wanted to improve agricultural production on the continent to address food security and improve quality of life for farmers, who constitute a large part of Africa’s economy.

An ‘action plan’ adopted on Monday set goals of boosting growth in the agriculture sector by six per cent and doubling rice production by 2018.

Meanwhile, Earlier Prime Minister Abe met with the leaders of 10 African nations to discuss reforms of the UN Security Council.

Supporting Africa 

African officials asked Japan to support having an African nation named a permanent member. One participant said that 2015 would be an important year for reform because it would mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Currently, Rwanda is among three African countries on the United Nations Security Council–all non-permanent members.

Japan has also sought the support of Africa in its bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council along with India, Germany and Brazil.

With its large number of United Nations members, Africa is considered an important voting bloc. From  The New Times.

 

MILITARY GOES HAYWIRE …Punishes Soldier Robbers, Looters Of Gold

 

 

After coming under heavy public criticism for failing to rein in some of its personnel who have breached the ethics of the profession, the Military High Command appears to have now gone on the offensive by dishing out various punishments to erring personnel who have brought its name into disrepute.

The following is a press statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, detailing punishments meted out to soldiers who have taken the law into their hands.

In recent times, some personnel of the security services, especially the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police Service and the Immigration Service, have attracted negative publicity, because some miscreants in the services have indulged in criminal activities.

The reason why these miscreants in the security services pick up these headlines, as compared to others who perpetrate similar crimes but only attract obscure places in newspapers, is simple, personnel of the security services are supposed to enforce the law and prevent the commission of crimes in society.

Imagine that people who are tasked to conduct anti-armed robbery operations, anti-illegal mining operations, anti-smuggling and anti-logging operations, are rather engaged in robbery, extortion, kidnapping and fraudulent activities.

The Ghana Armed Forces, therefore, takes serious exception to these fraudulent activities, and has in place strict measures to deal ruthlessly with any individual who engages in any criminal activity, both within and outside the barracks. Some were dismissed outright, while others serve detention or suspension in addition to other consequential punishments, as provided by law.

Most importantly, the Ghana Armed Forces has a policy to hand over miscreants who perpetrate serious crimes to the Police Service for prosecution, as prescribed by law and the Ghana Armed Forces regulations.

Contrary to belief that the military shields its own and undermines justice, it will surprise many that the Ghana Armed Force even hands over miscreants in the system who deserve civil court prosecution to the police, regardless of whether the crimes committed by these persons attracted media and public interest or not.

As at 30 April 2013, the Ghana Armed Forces had facilitated the trial of about 22 serving personnel who have committed crimes against the state within the past four (4) years. A few of these persons have been discharged, others are still facing prosecution, and even a few are on remand custody.

For instance, five (5) soldiers have been on remand at the Nsawam Prison since August 2009, for allegedly kidnapping the Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank. These soldiers have consequently, been suspended from the Ghana Armed Forces since 24 August, 2009, though the case is still pending.

Again in 2009, three (3) airmen allegedly conducted unauthorised land guard operations, an action which is strictly abhorred by the Armed Forces. These airmen were handed over to the police and later granted court bail. This case is still ongoing at the Cocoa Affairs Court.

Another incident which occurred in 2009, which the military detests, was the unlawful possession of a firearm by a soldier.  He was initially detained at the Cantonments Police Station and processed for court. Afterwards, he was granted court bail and re-appeared at the Circuit Court at Cocoa Affairs on 16 July, 2010. The case is still pending, awaiting advice from the Attorney General’s Department.

Two (2) major cases came to the fore in 2010. The first involved two (2) airmen, who allegedly engaged in an unauthorised operation and also extorted GH¢53.00 and a mobile phone from a taxi driver on 29 April, 2010. These two individuals were initially detained at the Police Headquarters, and later released to their units. Subsequently, they were arraigned before a Cocoa Affairs Court on 24 September, 2010. Following the transfer of the trial judge, a new judge was appointed, who later adjourned the case sine die.

In August 2011, an unprecedented incident occurred, where an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces escorted a Naval Rating suspected of homicide to the Military Police. The suspect is said to have had a scuffle with a taxi driver, and the driver died afterwards. The Rating was not shielded, but subsequently handed over to civil police, where he was detained until granted bail by an Accra High Court.

The suspect was subsequently re-arraigned before a District Magistrate Court on 7 April, 2012. The case is still pending, as the court awaits the Attorney General Department’s report on the matter.

Other cases that occurred in 2011 involving military personnel include enlistment fraud, unlawful possession and attempted sale of firearm, alleged robbery, and alleged fraud.

Also, in 2011, a Naval Officer was dismissed from the Armed Forces when it was established that he stole two endorsed but open cheques of his friend, and cashed them without his friend’s permission.

Two main cases that drew public attention in 2012 were alleged illegal possession of fake currency and alleged murder. In the case of the former, a soldier and a civilian friend rescued a colleague (suspect) from mob action and handed him over to the Madina Police on 22 March, 2012. The suspect allegedly tried to convert an amount of fake four thousand dollars ($4,000.00) into cedis.

The allegation of murder, on the other hand, was preferred against five (5) soldiers for allegedly causing the death of a civilian while they were on a legal duty, or curbing illegal logging and lumbering (OP HALT) at Weija.

The military was tasked to investigate the matter, and accordingly, the five soldiers were detained at the guardroom. These suspects were arraigned before the Adjabeng Circuit 1 Court, and were made to re-appear on 23 January 2013. This case is still pending before the court.

Two high profile cases also occurred in the early part of this year, for which the Ghana Armed Forces has ensured that justice is done. These cases centered on alleged extortion and alleged assault and robbery.

One soldier is currently on remand at the Kumasi Central Prison for alleged extortion and robbery, while another is on detention and assisting the Ashanti Regional Police in investigations into alleged armed robbery.

Aside all these cases, there are a few others which are dealt with expeditiously when they do occur within the barracks. Those that require civil police attention are quickly forwarded to them.

Clearly, with these drastic measures by the Ghana Armed Forces, miscreants are finding it difficult to fit in to the system, as the Ghana Armed Forces shields no criminals. From The Chronicle

.

NUM leader shot dead in front of Lonmin mine

03 JUN 2013 14:47 SAPA-AFP

 

 

A National Union of Mineworkers leader has been shot dead and another wounded at a Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa, says the union. 

 

The violence comes amid heightened tensions after deadly strikes at the platinum mine last year.

The local shaft leader “was killed in front of the union offices,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) regional spokesperson Mxhasi Sithethi.

The shootings at the Marikana mine near Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg, follow the assassination of a leader from NUM’s rival union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), last month.

Last August, police shot dead at least 34 people in a single day at the Marikana mine.

On Monday, two unknown men approached the NUM leader at around 10am and fired at him, said Sithethi.

“There was no confrontation. Nothing,” he said. “He ran back to the office. They followed him and killed him.”

The victim, whose identity has not been released, suffered at least two gunshot wounds to the head. The attackers then shot the union treasurer at least six times when he confronted them, said Sithethi.

The treasurer is in a “critical condition” in hospital, according to NUM’s secretary general Frans Baleni. The police weren’t immediately available for comment.

Threshold rights
On Monday, Business Day reported Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to the Amcu, shutting rival NUM out of collective bargaining.

Lonmin human resources head Abey Kgotle told Business Day that the company agreed during negotiations at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration that it would set threshold rights of 35% for basic rights and 45% for collective bargaining and rights to full-time shop stewards. Rights for a majority union would stand at 50%.

A trade union would need to achieve these levels of representation in the workforce for it to enjoy the specified rights.

Amcu currently represented 70% of unskilled workers and machine operators in bargaining unit one, Business Day reported.

This meant that the NUM would not have organisational rights among the low-skilled workers.

Lonmin operations has been a battleground between Amcu and the NUM, whose members now made up only 20% of the workforce. – AFP, Sapa. From the Mail & Guardian (also see comment and opinion for full background).

 

 

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

By Chibuzor Emejor
Correspondent, Abuja

Federal Government said N431 billion would be saved annually when the ban on wheat import takes effect, just as it has scaled up activities to boost production of the commodity and meet the nation’s domestic wheat requirements.
Addressing Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAG) in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, said government’s efforts to encourage wheat substitution with high quality cassava flour are yielding positive results. Already, he explained, wheat import to Nigeria declined from an all-time high of 4.051 million metric tones (MMT) in 2010 to 3.7MMT last year.
“As we implement accelerated cassava flour production, with the installation of the industrial scale cassava flour plants, expand cassava production and deploy hundreds of compact modular milling systems, Nigeria’s dependency on imported wheat will decline even further,” he said.
Adesina said government is looking into the local production of wheat in the northern parts of the country, adding that the Lake Chad Research Institute of Nigeria has released new high yielding tropical and heat tolerant wheat varieties that can yield up to six tons per hectare.
This, according to him, is about four times the yield of temperate wheat varieties used during the effort to produce wheat in the 1980s.
He further said with the tropical wheat varieties that are presently available in the country and at the high yields being obtained; it is profitable and economically-viable to produce wheat in the country.
The Minister explained that 21,000 MT was harvested in 2012, from the new varieties, which according to him, would be used as seeds.
The target, he said, is to plant 212,000 hectares of wheat by 2014, with expected production of over one million metric tones, and a projection to expand the cultivated area to 215,000 ha by 2015, with an anticipated production of 1.2 million MT.
“So, in two years, if we accelerate investment, we should be able to produce 2.2 million MT of wheat.
“This would meet 68 per cent of our domestic wheat requirements and save Nigeria N431 billion in wheat imports annually,” he added, urging the group to seriously consider investing in commercial wheat production so as to take advantage of the new opportunities. From the Daily Independent.

POSTED ON MONDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2013

 

•Party is a dysfunctional family, says ACN
•Call pro-Jang Govs to order, Sagay tells Jonathan

By Donald Ojogo (Abuja) and Temidayo Ajkinsuyi (Lagos)

Still basking in the euphoria of the recent suspension of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur, vowed on Monday that he would move against more of those he called “saboteurs” within.
“All agents of destabilisation and distractions in the party must go if the PDP must retain power in 2015,” Tukur told newsmen in Abuja during a press conference to mark 14 years of democracy in Nigeria.
He is speaking for the first time since Amaechi was suspended by the PDP for allegedly refusing “to obey lawful directive by the party.”
The Governor’s suspension came shortly after he won re-election as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) that has now been split into factions because of PDP’s desire to present a “consensus candidate” for the chairmanship position.
Although Tukur did not call Amaechi by name, he said, “The party will no longer tolerate any act of indiscipline and sabotage from its members, to avoid distractions on its desire to retain power by 2015.”
He added that the party was “weary of reports of anti-party activities being leveled against members in some states of the federation,” adding that it (PDP) would begin to invoke relevant sections of its constitution “if only to maintain discipline within its fold.”

“The failure of PDP to strictly enforce its laws by whipping troublesome members into line had accounted for the frequent breakdown of confidence among members, on one hand and with the leadership on the other hand.
“Founding fathers never joked about raising the PDP to a formidable party which must promote justice, equity and fair play among members; party discipline and supremacy were also part of the major planks upon which PDP was built.
“We would no longer hesitate to wield the big stick against perceived saboteurs and agents of destabilisation in its fold, while relying on the appropriate sections of the constitution to serve as guide.
“People say we have crisis in our party. It may appear so, but that also shows that democracy is at play in the way we conduct our affairs.
“We are a family, and like any family, we can disagree and then we will agree. We have mastered the game and that is the reason we have been keeping afloat.
“However, we are talking about discipline here. During the PDP Family Dinner, I emphasised on the necessity for party discipline in line with the vision of our founding fathers. We have our constitution to guide us in maintaining discipline,” Tukur said.
“Today, everybody is talking about 2015 with expectations that we must win fairly and transparently. How can we achieve that if certain members of the party go against the rules with impunity, while nothing happens?
“We have had enough of inconsistencies and loose conducts, and today we say that must stop,” the party chairman added.
But the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also on Monday saw the PDP differently, describing it as a “big-for-nothing dysfunctional family that practices political cannibalism.”
In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, ACN believes that anyone calling the PDP a ‘’big family, united in freedom may be suffering from hallucination.”
It also said in spite of PDP’s continuous dismissal of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a group of strange bedfellows it (PDP) can only underrate the merger at its own peril.
‘’A happy family needs no advertisement, because people know a happy family when they see one. A happy family needs not draw attention to itself because happiness cannot be hidden.
“What the PDP is mistaking for happiness if a form of manic disorder.
‘’As this vanishing family continues to sink, it has now degenerated to consuming its own members for survival. Nothing showed this more than the recent election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“Ever seen a party that is at war because its member won an election? Ever seen a family in which the father is seeking to devour his own son for achieving success?
“Our sincere wish is that this sinking behemoth will somehow survive till 2015 so it can receive the drubbing of its life,’’ ACN said.

It believs that “the PDP is pathologically afraid of the APC, even in its yet-to-be registered form, hence the continuous campaign of calumny and crude attacks on its leaders.”
ACN, however, wondered “why the PDP is spending the time and energy that should have been focused on mending its tattered umbrella to worry about whether or not the merger will succeed or whether it will soon be in disarray.
‘’There is some truth in the saying that anytime one sees a ‘no thoroughfare’ sign, there is definitely a way there.
“The PDP knows for sure that the coming into being of the APC signals its death knell. That is why it has been flailing aimlessly. But the die is cast.
“Nigeria needs to be rescued from these cannibals. No amount of blackmail, abuse, attacks or whatever will deter the patriots who have come together for just one purpose: To rescue Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Itse Sagay, observed that President Goodluck Jonathan could have averted the crisis rocking the NGF by congratulating the actual winner of the election, Amaechi.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, Sagay, who expressed worry over the prediction that Nigeria might break up in 2015, said recent events in the PDP and the Governors’ Forum are pointing towards that direction.
He said it behoves the President to act fast and put a stop to it.
He added that if Jonathan had acted like a statesman and congratulated Amaechi immediately he was declared winner of the NGF election, other Governors, especially the pro-Jang group would have followed suit and the crisis that is rocking the forum, and which is now threatening the peace of the country would have been avoided.
According to Sagay, the principal characters in the NGF drama should not make their personal interest a priority but the peace and stability of Nigeria and loyalty to the Constitution, which they swore to uphold.
“If I were the President and I see all these things happening, I will quickly do all I can to put a stop to it. People have predicted such a very devastating future for the country.
“I, as President, will do everything to avert such an occurrence; certainly not under my watch when I am President. So, it is a pity that what is happening now is allowed to happen.
“I would say those Governors who voted for Jang and lost by refusing to accept that they lost that election are creating a crisis whose impact and ramifications may not be predicted now.
“I believe the President should not just congratulate Amaechi on his victory. He should step in now and say ‘enough is enough; election has been held and won, it does not matter whether the outcome is unfavourable to my interest or not, that is not the issue. The issue is the stability of Nigeria’.
‘“This country must move forward. We must accept outcome of elections, whether pleasant or not and move on so that we can stabilise and think of our development, growth and progress’,” Sagay added. From the Daily Independent.

Nasarawa killings: IGP promises to release report on slain officers at appropriate time

By Wale Odunsi on June 3, 2013

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has disclosed that the report of investigation into the killing of 49 policemen in Nasarawa State, would be made public at the appropriate time and that the police was working hard towards ensuring that justice is done regarding the incident.

Abubakar made this known on Monday in Abuja, shortly after the inauguration of 12 patrol vehicles for the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.

It would be recalled that 49 police personnel and 10 operatives of the State Security Service ,SSS, were brutally murdered while on a foiled operation at Alakyo Village in Nasawara State, on May 7.

They were alleged to have been attacked by members of the Ombatse cult from the ancestral shrine of the Eggon speaking people of Nasarawa State.

Speaking, Abubakar vowed that nobody or group of persons operating under any name would kill officers of the Force and go “scot-free”.

“Investigation is ongoing and the outcome of the investigation will be revealed to Nigerians at the most appropriate time.

“We cannot keep quiet to allow anybody in this country, whether individual or group of persons, under whatever canopy they call themselves, to kill officers of the police and go scot-free.

“There has never been speculation, we have always given the number out, that we lost 49 police officers, ’’ he said.

On the closure of Wonderland Amusement Park and Amigo Supermarket in Abuja, after the co-owner was fingered as head of a terrorist group, the I-G said the closure was part of measures to secure the nation.

“There is nothing new; security is security. You know what is happening in the country.

“We will go ahead to take any measure that deserves to be taken to ensure that Nigeria is safe and Nigerians are given safe and secured environment.

“We shall do everything humanly possible beyond reasoning to ensure that Nigeria is safe and our people are safe and secured, no matter what it takes,’’ he assured. From the Daily Post.

South Sudanese opposition call for people of Abyei to be armed

June 3, 2013 (JUBA) – The leader of the minority group in South Sudan’s parliament has called for handing over the disputed region of Abyei to the United Nations in order to be able to conduct the referendum for the area, while also recommending that the local population be armed to defend themselves.

Anyoti Adigo, the leader of the minority group in the house on the ticket of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) made three alternative proposals to resolving the conflict between South Sudan and Sudan.

“The issue of Abyei is becoming a concern. The two parties are not able to agree. The two presidents have met several times in different places including here in Juba and they did not reach any understanding to the resolve the issue. So we are proposing the way forward. One of our proposals is to hand over the region to the African union and the United Nations. We want the African union and the United Nations to take full responsibility so that they can conduct referendum and disarm any group holding weapons in the area”, Adigo told reporters Monday.

He said the natives of Abyei from the Dinka Ngok tribe, including those holding top-level positions in the government of the republic of South Sudan should go to the area and be with the people there on the ground.

“We also want the people of Abyei, including those holding senior government positions, the ministers, business groups, members of the civil society organisations and other group to go the area and be with the people there on the ground. The local people should be armed because the government of Khartoum is arming Misseriya. These guns should be used for defend”, he said.

The senior member of the country’s second largest opposing party, said Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was killed because did not feel total responsibility and that was why it decided to negotiate.

“Abyei will not be the first place to be given the United Nations. There have been other places in the world given to the United Nations to run when the parties to the conflict like this case between Sudan and the South Sudan have failed to reach an understanding”, he said.

Khartoum and Juba failed to reach a compromise on the formation of an interim administration or on the organisation of a referendum on self-determination.

The region, which is part of the Sudan, had initially to vote in January 2011 to decide whether they want to joint South Sudan or to keep their current situation. But the two parties failed on who can participate in this process. From the Sudan Tribune.

Ashanti Youth Disowns Wereko-Brobbey

 

From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi

 

The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority (VRA) Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, appears not to have only incurred the wrath of the highest decision-making body of his own party, New Patriotic Party (NPP), but also youth groups of the party, in other parts of the region.

The Ashanti Regional Youth Chapter of the party has categorically registered its abhorrence towards the attitude of the former VRA boss, and is calling for stiffer measures against him.

The group said it felt so disappointed that Dr. Wereko-Brobbey, who used to be one of the key Ashanti personalities, could bring shame and humiliation to the entire family of the NPP.

It noted with regret that the former VRA boss, who prides himself as the nephew of one of the founding fathers of the NPP, Mr. Victor Owusu, could allegedly align himself with political opponents, just to run down the party.

The group observed that it was their wish that someone like Dr. Wereko-Brobbey could one day lead the party as its national chairman, but looking at his recent attitude, there was enough evidence to believe that “he is in bed with our political opponents.”

The former VRA CEO has come under venom from his own party, after openly rebuking the running mate of the 2012 presidential election and star witness of the NPP in the ongoing petition at the Supreme Court, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, criticising him of being inexperienced in his presentation at the court.

According to Kwabena Nsenkyire, Ashanti Regional Vice Chairman of the party, Dr. Wereko-Brobbey was someone who had never appreciated anything God has given him, stressing that in spite of all the opportunities granted him during the era of President Agyekum Kufuor, he still went ahead to criticise the administration.

“Even his own uncle, Victor Owusu, had problem with him. He and his uncle were not on good terms before the death of the latter, so we are not surprised at all about what he is doing now,” Mr. Nseknyire observed.

The NPP Regional Vice Chairman further questioned the rationale behind Dr. Wereko-Brobbey’s criticism of the petition filed by the NPP, when he actually took a similar step after he lost his bid for the national chairmanship position.

“During the National Congress, Dr, Wereko-Brobbey claimed he had been cheated when he got less than 10 votes and even went to court, so what is wrong if today, the NPP is also taking similar steps,” Nseknyire questioned. From The Chronicle.

 

Freetown: IMF Mission Releases Statement on Sierra Leone Economy

 Tuesday 4 June 2013.

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Ms. Malangu Kabedi-Mbuyi visited Freetown during May 8–21 to carry out discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultation and for a three-year economic and financial program that could be supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

The mission, according to an IMF press release, held discussions with Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kaifala Marah (photo), Central Bank Governor Sheku Sesay, members of Parliament; representatives of the business community, development partners, and other senior officials.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Kabedi-Mbuyi issued the following statement in Freetown:

“Sierra Leone’s economic growth accelerated to15.2 percent in 2012, reflecting the emergence of large-scale iron ore extraction as well as sustained expansion in agriculture, services, and construction. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow at 13 percent in 2013. Consumer price inflation declined from 16.9 percent in 2011, to 12 percent in 2012, aided by prudent monetary policy and stable exchange rate. It is forecast to decline further in 2013. Sierra Leone’s external position improved in 2012, strengthening the reserve coverage.

“In the fiscal area, the overall budget deficit reached 5.6 percent of non-iron ore GDP, up from 4.6 percent in 2011 partly reflecting infrastructure investment scaling up and higher spending in goods and services. The deficit was financed largely with short-term treasury bills. For 2013, the budget deficit would be contained below 4 percent of non-iron ore GDP, thanks to the expected increase in revenue mobilization, and enhanced expenditure management.

“Policy discussions focused on creating fiscal space to continue supporting investment in infrastructure and human development, reducing inflation to single-digits, facilitating access to financial services, and creating an environment conducive to private sector development and job creation. The mission agreed with the authorities that medium-term structural reforms should focus on bolstering revenue mobilization, strengthening public financial management, maintaining prudent borrowing policies, and deepening financial intermediation.

“The mission reached preliminary understandings with the authorities on key elements of a medium-term economic and financial program that could be supported by the IMF under the ECF. Discussions between the mission and the authorities will continue in coming weeks.

“The mission wishes to thank the Sierra Leone authorities for candid and constructive discussions in Freetown.” From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Sudan’s economy facing significant challenges, says minister

June 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of finance and national economy Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool has acknowledged that the country’s economy is facing significant headwinds despite an austerity program implemented in the wake of South Sudan’s secession.

Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil production when South Sudan became independent in July 2011, worsening an economic crisis as oil was the government’s main source of revenue, providing the cash flow to fund food imports and other basic items.

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

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

Abdel-Rasool listed what he said was signs of trouble in Sudan’s economy which included a deficit in balance of payments deficit, meager outcome to the tripartite economic program, high food prices, growing gap between official and black market exchange rates and the declining rates of economic growth.

The Sudanese official, who spoke at an economic conference in Khartoum on Monday, pledged to curb inflation rate which reached 46% last April frustrating efforts by the government to tame commodity prices which have risen by 300% since 2010.

He also warned against recurrence of the global financial crisis saying that it had negatively impacted African countries including Sudan due to the drop it caused in demand for exports.

Abdel-Rasool said that the government is making strenuous efforts to expand the social security network and fight poverty as well as managing parity in exchange rate and continuing to subsidize wheat and oil.

Statistics indicate that 2 million Sudanese families live in poverty including 300,000 who do not have access to food and drink.

The ministry of social welfare has designated a monthly payment of 100 pounds SDG for poor families out of 450 million pounds SDG allocated for social support.

But economists say that the monthly grant doesn’t meet the basic needs of these families given the high rate of poverty and the significant rise in commodity prices.

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) released last April by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed Sudan’s economy shrinking by -4.4% in 2012.

In 2013, Sudan is expected to achieve a 1.2% growth which is higher than the -0.6% projected by the IMF last year. Next year’s GDP is also forecasted to stand at 2.6% which is slightly better than the 2.1% predicted in the IMF last assessment of Sudan’s economy. From the Sudan Tribune

 

German minister says Rwanda can spur region

 

By Ivan R. Mugisha & James Karuhanga

 

Rwanda can be a driving force in the economic and political integration of the Great Lakes region, a visiting German official has said.

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the remarks shortly after meeting Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi and Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance, in Kigali, yesterday.

Niebel told journalists that Rwanda’s “influential” position in the region can be augmented by its recent significant progress in socio-economic progress.

“In its development strategy, Rwanda is counting on growth and promotion of the private sector which has proven to be successful,” he said, adding that it was equally important to ensure regional security to sustain the achieved success.

Rwanda can be a driving force in the economic and political integration of the Great Lakes region, a visiting German official has said.

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the remarks shortly after meeting Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi and Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance, in Kigali, yesterday.

Niebel told journalists that Rwanda’s “influential” position in the region can be augmented by its recent significant progress in socio-economic progress.

“In its development strategy, Rwanda is counting on growth and promotion of the private sector which has proven to be successful,” he said, adding that it was equally important to ensure regional security to sustain the achieved success.

Minister Gatete commended the relationship between the two countries saying that Germany understood Rwanda’s development priorities.

Early this year, the German government unfroze aid to Rwanda worth about Rwf17.5 billion, six months after suspending it over a controversial UN report alleging that Rwanda supported the M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo.

“Germany has been with us since 1994 and in the last three years, we had an agreement where they have been supporting most of our activities in technical and vocational area, local government, public financial management and now they are involved in other areas of trade and investment,” said the minister.

He added: “Since they are members of international organisations such as the World Bank and Africa Development Bank, they have been supporting us to get resources from these international financial institutions. So our cooperation cannot be any better.”

After becoming the first European country to resume normal development partnerships with Rwanda, Nieber said, Germany also campaigned for others, including multilateral organizations to follow suit. From The New Times.

Report faults districts on abetting land conflicts against Genocide survivors

 

By Jean de la Croix Tabaro

June 04, 2013

 

Districts have been faulted for poor implementation of the land sharing policy initiated in 1996, leading to endless land wrangles involving Genocide survivors.

This is according to the Special Justice Taskforce instituted by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, this year, to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors.

The nine-member committee, comprised officials from various public institutions, was chaired by Deputy Ombudsman Bernadette Kanzayire.

It was set up to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors in relation to regaining their property.

The report, a copy of which The New Times has seen, says while executing the land sharing policy it was found out that land sharing was implemented differently in all districts.

“Some local authorities never implemented land sharing policy as required. They never put into consideration reserving land for child survivors of the Genocide,” the report says.

It also indicates that basing on the policy of land use for community settlements “imidugudu”, some local authorities allocated land belonging to Genocide survivors who either didn’t return home or were still minors to other people without providing compensation to the owners.

The report details land cases which have been handled in the various districts of the country.

Within a three month period starting January 11, it identified 1202 cases involving Genocide survivors’ property countrywide.

Ignorance of issue

More than 300 were resolved, while an estimated 800 issues are still pending and were recommended to the local authorities.

By the time land sharing policy was implemented, the population was not informed about the compensation they were required to provide consequently the value of that compensation today is higher, it said.

It was an obligation for all the beneficiaries of imidugudu policy to compensate land owners.

But people occupying land in settlements reportedly refused to remit compensation arguing that it was public land.

According to the report, there are cases where local authorities put public infrastructure on the land without providing fair compensation to the Genocide survivors.

The report adds that many Genocide survivors are still seeking justice to regain their properties occupied by illegitimately.

It cites a case of seven orphaned children of late Nyirumuringa in Kicukiro district among the many cases of land grabbing.

Family forced out

One of the children, who talked to this paper on condition of anonymity for fear of witch-hunt by the tenants on their land, their three-hectare piece of land in Nyakabanda Cell, Niboye Sector, was grabbed by 30 families who have since kept the plots of land, developed houses and used some part for animal husbandry.

The land grabbers allegedly include one of a prominent leader in the Kicukiro District.

A source said the affect“The land belongs to Nyirumuringa family and their ancestors. I am a witness,” Mohamed Rwakazayire, the then leader of Nyakabanda Cell, whose family is just adjacent to the claimed land, said.

He said the land was divided up by city authorities to people who were relocating from other person’s houses.

Rwakazayire said it was in 1997 when around 30 people formed an association dubbed “Twiyubakire” and reclaimed the land for residential purposes and the Nyirumuringa family tried to halt it in vain.

“We tried to convince the meeting, which was called by local leaders, that the land belonged to us. When we realised no one was sympathising with us, we preferred to keep quiet,” said one of the children.

The task force recommended to the district commission to resolve the problem, but Nyirumuringa family says, the occupants gave this commission mislreating information since none of them acknowledged that they owe the family property.

Kanyarwanda and Ibuka, associations that promote the interests of Genocide survivors, have started assessment of the property issues for further advocacy.

Theoneste Murangira, the president of Kanyarwanda, said the associations are preparing different recommendations to submit to the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Local Government and Office of the Ombudsman.

ed family was forced to vacate this land in February 1994. The family settled in Kabeza, also in Kicukiro. From The New Times.

 

SLPP Women Vow to Drag Pa-O-Pa Thugs to Court

By Aruna Turay
Jun 3, 2013, 12:18

Frantic efforts are being made by stalwarts of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to discourage two SLPP women from pursuing legal disciplinary actions against members of the notorious Pa-O-Pa group operating within the same party.

SLPP’s Marion Cole and Rachiatu Macauley recently reported to the Lumley Police Division that they were attacked and assaulted by members of Maada Bio’s Pa-O-Pa group, and events being monitored by the Awareness Times indicate that these two women are very much determined to put a stop to the deadly attacks being launched against SLPP members perceived to be operating outside the interest of Maada Bio.

The two women, it has been learnt, are very much determined to defy all the pleas of senior SLPP members in order for the law to take its root in this matter.

After the brutalized SLPP women would have submitted their medical reports to the Lumley Police today, Jacob Jusu Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray and Admire Bio might be called in and interviewed by the police to explain their roles in the attack that left the SLPP women thoroughly molested and almost stripped naked. The names of the aforementioned SLPP members featured prominently in the statements of the complainants.

It could be recalled that on Monday 27th May 2013, these two SLPP women, alongside others, were allegedly attacked, beaten up, wounded and stripped half naked at a place called Lumley Grassfield where the SLPP was to conduct an executive election.

Sources within the SLPP Headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown on Saturday 1st June 2013 informed the Awareness Times that some top SLPP party stalwarts including members of the Pa-O-Pa camp summoned a secret meeting aimed at resolving this matter at party level.

The victims reportedly boycotted that meeting, thus underscoring their determination to get justice and restore sanity. From Awareness Times.

 

Below follows the latest comment and opinion taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape:

 

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Zimbabwe: MDC veterans call for unity

South Africa: NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

Ghana: Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

Tanzania: Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

Kenya: Your security is in the hands of this man

Africa: Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

Uganda: Media clampdown, human rights and succession

Uganda: Uganda, donors sign power deal

Africa: Dangers of bleaching creams

Tsvangirai looks to Sadc over election ruling

 

by Ray Ndlovu – bdlive

Prior court rulings have already given traction to Mr Mugabe’s plan for early elections.

ZIMBABWE’s Constitutional Court has in effect backed President Robert Mugabe’s call for swift elections by ordering them to be held before July 31, earlier than the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, wants.

The bitterly split country’s highest court, headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, announced its ruling on Friday after a court application filed by Jealousy Mawarire, a little-known rights activist, for Mr Mugabe to announce an election date. Now aged 89, Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.

He will seek regional endorsement for early polls on June 9 at a summit in Maputo of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), a body which has seldom stood in his way. But Prime Minister Tsvangirai will be at the summit and will press demands for immediate political reforms, both in the security and media sectors and in voter registration, which his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says are essential for fair elections.

Mr Tsvangirai withdrew from the final ballot of the last polls, in 2008, handing victory to Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) who were accused of orchestrating extreme violence against MDC supporters after the first round.

Mr Mugabe was pushed into signing a power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) after the elections but the opposition says Zanu (PF) has dragged its heels and the playing field is far from level.

The next elections are also hamstrung by disputes over the source of funding. Mr Tsvangirai said at the weekend the Constitutional Court had “overstepped its mandate” by ordering a date for the elections — a subject which he said remained a prerogative of the executive.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

“An election date is the responsibility of the executive, which has not shown that it has failed to announce such a date. Sadc and the people of Zimbabwe know that an election date is a result of political pronouncements in which the judiciary has no role to play.”

Political observers said Mr Tsvangirai’s jibe at the judiciary served two purposes: to pre-empt Zanu (PF) from trumpeting the ruling at the Sadc summit and to mark the beginning of a standoff between the opposition and the courts.

Prior court rulings have already given traction to Mr Mugabe’s plan for early elections.

In April, Judge President George Chiweshe dismissed suggestions from the MDC the polls should be delayed until September. He said since Zimbabwe was neither at war nor under a state of emergency, an extension was unwarranted.

It was unknown yesterday if the MDC would appeal the ruling.

Zanu (PF) welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling and rejected any commitment to prior reforms. “There are no reforms, we have no reforms to talk about … elections are long overdue,” the ruling party’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo said.

Parliament’s five-year tenure comes to an end this month, creating a legislative vacuum and allowing Mr Mugabe to rule by decree.

“I think it’s all just cooked up and the MDC does not even know how to respond,” political commentator Tanonoka Whande said.

“I suspect this court thing is a set-up … who is this unknown man (Mr Mawarire) who sued to pressure Mr Mugabe to hold elections by a certain date? The reality is we are not ready for elections yet,” he said at the weekend. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Zimbabwe: Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Erin Conway-Smith

 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — With elections looming in Zimbabwe, the country’s top human rights defender is mired in an unprecedented position: having to defend herself.

Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has spent decades fighting against abuses of the state on behalf of journalists, opposition politicians, activists and ordinary Zimbabweans. But her arrest in March on charges of obstructing justice while representing clients during a police raid has been interpreted as a particularly worrying sign of trouble ahead.

For many Zimbabweans, memories are still fresh of the political violence surrounding the last presidential elections, in 2008. A runoff vote devolved into a bloody show of force by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party that left hundreds dead and the country in tatters.

Now, as Zimbabwe prepares to return to the polls, the intimidation and arrests have started again.

A date for the election hasn’t yet been announced — it must take place within four months of parliament being dissolved on June 29 — but already there has been a crackdown on civil society leaders and journalists.

An editor and a reporter with the Zimbabwe Independent weekly have been charged with publishing “false statements prejudicial to the state,” after a front-page story suggested that security officials close to Mugabe were in secret talks with his rivals from Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe described Mtetwa’s arrest while exercising her right to represent clients, four aides to Tsvangirai, as an attempt to “intimidate” and “harass” lawyers. This week her trial was postponed to June 8 at the prosecution’s request.

Mtetwa, ever the optimist, said the eight days she spent incarcerated before being released on bail taught her what court challenges she can make regarding the conditions in Zimbabwe’s notoriously terrible prisons.

“It was bad, but in a lot of ways it was not too bad because it has given me a direct and personal experience of jail,” Mtetwa told journalists in Johannesburg during a recent screening of a documentary about her work.

A number of international rights groups have warned that conditions for peaceful and fair elections are not in place. It’s still unclear how the vote will be funded — likely South Africa will help to pay — but already Mugabe has announced a ban on Western election monitors.

“Zimbabwe’s authorities cannot expect to create a rights-respecting environment ahead of elections in the context of repression, harassment, and intimidation of civil society activists,” Human Rights Watch’s Tiseke Kasambala said in a statement.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. Since the political violence of 2008, his Zanu-PF party has ruled under a power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change.

But key reforms agreed to under the deal haven’t been implemented, in particular changes to the security sector and the voters’ roll, seen as necessary to create conditions for free elections.

A new constitution, signed by Mugabe this month, imposes a two-term limit (five years per term) for Zimbabwe’s president — but doesn’t apply retroactively, so Mugabe could in theory rule until he is 99.

Mtetwa said the problems in Zimbabwe are not just about Mugabe, but also about a system that’s been allowed to take hold.

“I don’t believe that one man can hold a country to ransom. I also don’t believe that if Mugabe loses the next election things will just fall into place and change just like that,” she said

“Is there an end in sight? Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t do it,” Mtetwa added. “I do believe that historically things like these do come to an end.” – Global Post. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

MDC veterans call for unity

MDC veterans this week called for aspiring parliamentarians who lose out in the party primaries to focus more on bringing a new Zimbabwe than personal ambition.

 


The MDC Veterans Activists Association this week lambasted losing candidates who went on a vitriol against the party and those who threatened to stand as independent candidates in the coming elections.

While supporting calls by party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, for candidates to not to engage in corruption, violence and vote buying during the exercise, MDC VAA founding chairman, Solomon Chikohwero, who is now the organisation’s national advisor, called on candidates that lost even in controversial circumstances to work for the good of the party.

“We applaud the party for exercising this internal democracy transparently, but we don’t support any member of the party who engages in illicit practices, regardless of their position in the current setup,” said Chikohwero.

“……….So far we have seen some, in the case of aspiring candidates, some disgruntled people that have threatened to stand as independent candidates in the forthcoming elections, but we are saying that where there is evidence of corruption, intimidation, violence or vote buying, we should deal with the culprits accordingly through the appeal process.

“Nonetheless, losing the primaries and confirmation processes should not be taken as a ticket for one to be an independent candidate because this is a critical time for us to unite our efforts towards winning the coming general elections and restore Zimbabwe.”

He urged party members to develop a culture of speaking with one voice on critical issues, while also advising the aggrieved to use proper channels to alert the leadership.

“We need even the losing candidates and their supporters to rally behind the winning candidate for the sake of the future of the electorate, the party and Zimbabweans at large,” added the former MDC Chief Security Officer.

“To us, whoever chooses to break ranks with the rest of the party was never a genuine member of the party of excellence, but an infiltrator sent to carry out a certain agenda and hereby warn that their attempts of dividing the party will fail.” From The Zimbabwean.

Ghana: Are NPP Running Away From Control Pink Sheets?

By Margaret Jackson

There is something which is emerging which should give every Ghanaian who wants this Supreme Court (SC) petition case to end soon and on a positive note serious cause for concern. Even though the NPP have observers who have been witnessing the counting of the pink sheets by the KPMG as directed by the SC, the NPP folks want the count to be done on their terms.

This attitude by the NPP is frustrating the KPMG which is bent on completing the count in a way that would be fair to all the parties involved whilst maintaining their integrity and neutrality.

At the heart of the issue is the inability of KPMG to reach NPP’s magic number of 11,842 pink sheets which they claimed they submitted to the SC with their affidavits. In fact, when KPMG did the count of pink sheets lodged at the offices of the SC Registrar the number ballooned from the supposed 11,842 to a whopping 13,928, thus raising a lot of eyebrows.

This huge variance between the supposed number of pink sheets submitted by the NPP as against the number so far counted by the KPMG, has generated a lot of buzz and suspicions because prior to the counting of the pink sheets, the respondents claimed that 8 additional boxes of exhibits mysteriously found their way to the offices of the SC Registrar.

Therefore, to ascertain which party is telling the truth in this pink sheets saga, something else needed to be done to put the issue to bed. But whilst the respondents are of the view that the pink sheets at the offices of the president of the panel sitting on the case should be counted because the parties agreed that it should serve as the control check, the NPP think otherwise.

It is however important to note that the feet dragging behaviour of the NPP even compelled the Head of KPMG Africa to fly down from South Africa to Accra to help resolve the impasse. During the meeting between the KPMG officials and the parties involved in the case, the KPMG Head stressed that since the number of pink sheets counted is different from the number of pink sheets submitted by the NPP, the only way the issue could be resolved is for the control pink sheets to be counted.

The respondents totally agreed with the KPMG on this, stressing that by counting the control pink sheets, it will let the whole world know which party is speaking the truth. In fact the respondents were of the view that if the control pink sheets are counted and the number ties with that of the NPP or the respondents, the whole world will then know which party is speaking the truth.

This did not however go down well with the NPP who threatened last week Thursday to pull out of the pink sheets counting. But the Head of KPMG reminded the NPP that if they pull out, the counting will still go on since they were there as observers. It was at this point that the NPP realized that if they go ahead with their threat to pull out of the counting, they will look very bad in the eyes of Ghanaians.

Therefore, a resolution was reached that all the parties would meet on Monday June 3 to craft the way forward in the counting of the control pink sheets and possibly that of other justices of the SC who also received the same exhibits.

But the NPP came to the table on Monday June 3 with a letter stuck in their armpit claiming that they will not go with the counting of the control pink sheets since it did not form part of the direction given to KPMG by the SC. The NPP further claimed that since the SC asked KPMG to count the pink sheets at the offices of the Registrar, KPMG does not have the mandate to go beyond that, and that the pink sheets at the Registrar’s office should be the only pink sheets to be counted.

This sudden backtracking by the NPP is sending the parties back to the SC to receive further directions on the way forward. In fact, it is going to delay KPMG from completing its work on time. One is wondering why NPP is resorting to this delaying tactics if they have nothing to hide.

If the NPP are right in their claim that they did indeed send 11,842 pink sheets to the court, why would they prevent the counting of other exhibits to confirm their claim? The only reason which can come to your mind is that, the NPP may be preventing the counting of the control pink sheets because their numbers do not add up and that is why they are doing everything to prevent the truth from coming out. From Modern Ghana.

 

We need state protection, say Marikana witnesses

SARAH EVANSKWANELE SOSIBO

 

 

Following a string of post-Marikana deaths, witnesses due to testify say they feel unsafe and want to enter the state’s witness protection programme. 

 

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry, set up to look into the police’s fatal shooting of 44 striking miners at the Lonmin mine last year, wants all witnesses to know they have the option of formally entering the state’s witness protection programme. This is because the inexplicable pattern of post-Marikana deaths has impacted on the commission’s work. 

Several killings have taken place at Marikana in the months following the August 16 massacre.

At least one man told the M&G he would consider joining the formal witness protection programme. Tholakele “Bhele” Dlunga, an Amcu shop steward due to testify at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, said witnesses would welcome being part of a protection programme as they did not feel safe.

Last year, after attending a session of the commission, Dlunga and workers were stopped by what they believed to be police, blindfolded and detained.

He said his lawyers had never spoken to him about a witness protection programme and that they would welcome it even if it meant loss of income. “Life comes before money, because if you’re not alive, you can’t even begin to think about making money.”

Hunted down
In an earlier interview, Dlunga said that word at the mine was that influential Amcu members would be hunted down one at a time.

“On the evening of the day [Kholekile] Steven was murdered, people came looking for me at my house. But I think Steven was not killed because of anything he could say to the commission, but he was killed because he was a leader. They want to weaken the organisation. With the way things are, it’s going to end up being a situation of kill or be killed because we have to defend ourselves. If they don’t get us here, they could still get us at home, where we come from.”

But those close to the inquiry say formalised witness protection was often impractical. It would also require witnesses to the Marikana massacre to put their trust in the state – the very system they may have to give evidence against.

In the absence of any other form of state protection, the ability for witnesses to protect themselves is limited. But all those concerned agree that something had to be done to stop the killings at Marikana. And it has to be done soon.

Torture
The M&G understands that at least one legal team has put its witnesses in hotels for the duration of their evidence for their own safety.

The decision to do so followed allegations that surfaced in October last year, that men returning from the commission had been arrested at tortured by the police. One man was allegedly tortured until he soiled himself. Another allegedly lost his hearing in one ear.

The allegations are under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Meanwhile, post-Marikana murders have included several potential witnesses.

Tshepo Mahlangu, a spokesperson for the commission, said all legal teams had been asked to make their witnesses aware of the Witness Protection Act Number 112 of 1998, which spells out the processes potential witnesses should follow should they feel threatened.

“All potential witnesses have the right to approach the witness protection unit and make that application. A witness will then be removed from that area within 48 hours, and placed in a witness protection unit like a safe house. He would not even know where he was going ahead of time,” Mahlangu explained.

He said witnesses who take this route have two options: the first is where a witness is taken out of their community for a period of two weeks. If it is still not safe for them to return afterwards, stage two of the application kicks in. This is an application for permanent witness protection status, where a witness is given a new ID number, changes his name, and moves to a new town until the danger is completely gone.

Most witnesses who take that route don’t go back to their communities, Mahlangu said. They are paid a monthly allowance determined by the state. The amount they are paid depends on what salary they earn and how valuable their evidence is to the commission.

The legislation covers criminal cases, tribunals, and even judicial commissions of inquiry such as the Farlam Commission.

Confidential list
Mahlangu said the commission is concerned about the killing of its witnesses, adding that all witnesses were “very, very important”.

The killings have undermined the work of the commission, he said, because potential evidence is lost.

He could not say how many of those murdered post-Marikana were witnesses as the witness list is strictly confidential. It is therefore difficult to know whether or not those killed post-Marikana were actually on the witness list.

And herein lies the rub: some of the men who witnessed the Marikana massacre and survived it might not be formally called as witnesses to the Farlam commission, yet their lives may still be in danger. Others might not yet have been notified that they are witnesses, and might thus not be aware of the potential threat to their safety.

Compensation
Another problem, pointed out by a source close to the Farlam Commission, who asked not to be identified, is the impracticality of formal witness protection.

Mahlangu said witnesses on the state’s witness protection programme were compensated “in full” – but this is dependent on the nature of the evidence they can offer the commission and how valuable it is.

The state also takes into condition their “overall living conditions” when considering the total amount of compensation they would receive.

Said the source, “You cannot ask a man to give up his entire life over this. He may have many co-dependents, and more than one family to support.”

He also said the idea of blanket witness protection was not feasible. This is because the state would not be able to accommodate over 300 potential witnesses being absorbed into its programme at once, the source explained.

He said he was not aware of any witnesses who had opted for this route. Mahlangu could not confirm this, again, due to the fact that the names of all witnesses and those who have gone into the programme were obviously confidential.

Threatening circumstances
Amcu president, Joseph Mathunjwa, said the issue of witness protection was extremely sensitive and complex. He asked for further questions to be sent in writing but did not respond to them.

NUM spokesperson, Lesiba Seshoka, pointed out that workers could not be expected to gauge the level of risk to their own lives. He said the union wanted witness protection for all workers and potential witnesses.

“Workers shouldn’t have to ask for protection – it must it must be made available to all witnesses. How can a worker be expected to ask for protection when he doesn’t even know if his life is under threat?

“The potential exists that a worker is killed before he even knows there is a threat,” Seshoka said.

But the NUM’s suggestion would necessitate the circulating of the list of witnesses – at least amongst themselves. The potential for the names of witnesses to be leaked would increase.

But Seshoka said the need for witness protection outweighed some of the risks.

“We don’t care what form the protection comes in – we just want there to be extra protection. Whether it is extra policing or whatever – but there must be witness protection.”

Self-protection
In the interim, allegations that workers have long armed themselves in a pre-emptive move to protect themselves, have surfaced.

The NUM says it does not condone this and is unaware of any of its members who have done so. However, he added that the union cannot be expected to police its members all of the time.

“You can’t control workers in their homes but you can in their working environment. We discourage our members from carrying weapons when they are in the work place,” Seshoka said.

While Mathunjwa did not respond to questions, he did call for talks with the presidency about the need for witness protection, while addressing workers at slain Amcu leader, Mawethu Steven’s memorial service.

The presidency said it had not received any formal requests for a meeting.

However, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said, “The minister of labour is always available to assist unions, and to engage her colleagues in other departments where the need arises to deal with urgent matters.”

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant met with union leaders on Monday. Her spokesperson, Musa Zondi, could not confirm what was on the agenda. But he said the meeting would essentially cover issues raised by Jacob Zuma on Thursday. Zuma called for the stabilisation of the mining sector as a cornerstone of the country’s economy.

“The minister of labour has been tasked with supporting mining companies and unions in ensuring fair labour relations processes that promote order and stability in the sector,” Zuma said.

 

Kwanele Sosibo studied journalism at Durban’s ML Sultan Technikon before working at Independent Newspapers from 2000 to 2003. From the Mail & Guardian. 

 

NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody

The truth is that factional violence has long been a way of life in the mining union business. And that was when there was just one power player, the NUM. Now, with two unions battling for supremacy in the Platinum Belt, the matrix of rivalries increases the possibility of violence exponentially. What makes the situation even more perilous, though, is that the current big hitter in the union stakes, AMCU, appears to have learnt nothing from the NUM’s mistakes. As wage negotiations approach organised labour needs to take a long hard look at how it goes about its business. By GREG MARINOVICH.

A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward was shot dead and another man critically wounded at the NUM office at Lonmin’s Western Platinum mine, at Wonderkop, Marikana on Monday. (The NUM has confirmed that a shop steward was shot dead.) According to other sources, another NUM member was shot in the same incident, and was taken to a private hospital in a private vehicle, apparently to avoid his location being discovered and him possibly being attacked again.

The NUM office at the village of Wonderkop is separated from the rival Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) office by a satellite police station, and is across the road from the Lonmin hostel. This was the very same NUM office that was the site of the conflict that started the chain of events leading to the Marikana massacre: the striking Lonmin miners marched on the then-dominant union, the NUM, to have it present their grievances to Lonmin management. On that occasion, Saturday 11 August, 2012, they were met by people they describe as dressed in NUM T-shirts, who opened fire on the marchers, wounding at least two. The marchers further claimed to the Marikana Commission that the wounded were further attacked with sticks and knives.

Many believed that one or two of the striking miners had been killed but, in fact, all of the marchers wounded that day survived.

That march, the striking miners claimed, led them to have no choice but to arm themselves, and become more confrontational. The NUM, on the other hand, claimed that it had to defend its office, which had come under attack.

Evidence at the Farlam Commission seems to suggest that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Monday’s attack on the NUM office follows a campaign by both AMCU and the miners’ strike committee to have the office closed. They say that since AMCU has officially recruited 70% of the workers at Lonmin, the NUM has lost its threshold representational rights and should go.

While Lonmin tried to get the NUM to accelerate the withdrawal of its recognition rights at the mine, and to vacate its office ahead of time to avoid confrontations, the Johannesburg Labour Court ruled last week that this action had to be withdrawn.

The NUM now has until 16 July 16 to show that it has sufficient representation at Lonmin to hold onto its majority-union privileges. AMCU, with its massive majority, wants those perks and privileges to pass to it as soon as possible. The miners also want the NUM out of Lonmin, demonstrating that with a two- day stay-away in the wake of “Steve” Khululekile Steven’s assassination. Stevens was a kingpin unionist who had galvanised the Platinum Belt against the NUM.

As the NUM and AMCU head into strike season more than a little desperate to show themselves as the miners’ union of choice, they do so in an atmosphere of poisoned labour relations and deadly competition between the unions –  and between factions within unions.

In this atmosphere of violent competition, Lonmin last week suspended eight NUM officials who had tried to fraudulently boost the union’s membership numbers at the mine. This is part of a desperate attempt by the union to avoid losing even its rights to access the 28,000-strong workforce at Lonmin.

AMCU had claimed that there were some 800 fraudulent stop orders submitted by the NUM. Lonmin appears to confirm at least 200 such orders as the reason for the shop stewards’ suspension.

The NUM has told of its overt plans to again take control of the prized platinum belt, where it is losing members hand over fist. NUM president Frans Baleni told the SABC that his union was in danger of losing 60% of its members. He claims that many of the people who abandoned the NUM had done so under threats of violence and “some of those members who left are now finding their way home”.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the NUM’s founders, told a May Day rally in Rustenburg, “We must stand firm and united and defend this union. We must declare Rustenburg alliance territory because this is the home of the ANC.”

It was a call for militancy that has been echoed by various NUM officials and, disturbingly, by cabinet ministers.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told a gathering of NUM shop stewards and officials last week: “We are very much aware that you are effectively under siege by forces that are determined to use every trick in the book permanently to defeat you and remove you literally from the face of the earth.

“This is being done with the ultimate goal of ensuring that no progressive trade union will be present in the mining sector that shares the same ideological orientation as the congress movement. That would be betrayal of the proud history of struggle of the NUM.

“Comrades, it is only those who are willfully blind who will not see that these forces, by extension, want to realise one major objective: ultimately to defeat and dislodge the ANC from power and reverse the gains of the national democratic revolution that we scored as a result of the democratic breakthrough of 1994.”

The Cosatu affiliate has said it will do this by using its newly announced Youth League to claw back lost turf. Following the example of the African National Congress’s militant Youth League, the NUM wants to use under-35-year-olds to seize back the initiative.

Against this backdrop of increasing militancy, the Daily Maverick has heard disturbing reports of NUM members bringing in weapons to the shafts where the union has a presence. Other rumours in Marikana speak of a well-known local taxi operator who was arrested with large amounts of cash on him, which the miners say was to be used to buy weapons. Others tell of unionists arrested with weapons on them.

One AMCU loyalist said that NUM members have been accompanying police through Nkaneng shantytown, pointing out where AMCU members live, and where they are said to be harbouring their own firearms. He further claimed that policed opened fire on him with rubber bullets on Monday, for no apparent reason.

Both sides of this union battle are clearly preparing for a struggle that is well outside legal constraints.

The killing of “Steve” also sparked a spasm of violence that saw twin brothers killed when unknown men were searching for an NUM official, hours after AMCU’s power player in the Rustenburg area was gunned down. Another key AMCU organiser narrowly avoided attackers searching for him in the middle of that same night.

Things then quietened down, but preparations have been taking place nevertheless.

Violence is a way of life in the mine union business. Many a local union election is preceded by the killing of one of more candidates from opposing power groupings. Lonmin has seen more than its fair share of unionists targeted by rivals. Insiders tell of the details of how these groupings target each other, often using the pretext of strikes and the accompanying anarchy to assassinate their rivals.

That was the situation when it was just one union dominating the scene. Now, with two unions battling for supremacy in the Platinum Belt, the matrix of rivalries increases the possibility for violence exponentially.

As the wage negotiations approach, and the NUM hierarchy struggles to convince the Chamber of Mines not to cease paying their executive-level salaries, organised labour needs to take a long hard look at how it goes about its business.

Joining a union is how the most vulnerable workers in a capitalist system protect themselves from exploitation and unfair work practices and conditions. Unions have brought great benefits and a degree of justice for blue-collar workers – those who earn their living from the sweat of their brow.

In a country like South Africa, where anywhere between 25% and 40% of adults (depending on which stats you prefer) are without substantive work, employers could (and often do) ride roughshod over workers’ rights and demands were it not for our strong unions and labour-friendly laws.

Yet, somewhere along the line, the unions have become corrupted, both financially and morally. A little while ago, Daily Maverick carried a story about how the mining houses, which were paying the inflated salaries of elected union office bearers at all levels, were about to end the practice. The union heavyweight, NUM, defended being paid by the bosses while working for the workers by saying that it was common practice across all unions, and named various other unions within the Cosatu federation which had similar sweetheart deals. In reality, while all the unions, including Solidarity, Uasa and AMCU, are or were in on the deal, NUM officials are the greatest beneficiaries of the “arrangement”.

As we approach a calendar year since the start of the unhappiness of Lonmin miners with their employer and the then-dominant union at Lonmin’s Marikana, it seems that AMCU has learned little from the NUM’s mistakes. It has successfully lobbied Lonmin to agree to a 35% threshold for basic rights and 45% to be allowed the right to collective bargaining. At the current 70% level of support for AMCU, workers who choose to pay dues to the NUM will not be represented at the workplace in any way.

It seems unlikely that the workers have forgotten the roots of the Marikana strike and yet here AMCU is, pushing for a similarly exclusive deal that again lays the foundation for conflict. AMCU wants a union to have 35% of employees as paid up members before it union can even enter the workplace for recruiting or organising.

Labour lawyer and mediation expert John Brand of Bowman Gilfillan declares the threshold deals the NUM had and which AMCU now wants as counterproductive.

“Imagine a farm, where you have to first recruit 35% of farm labourers before you can set foot on the farm to recruit?”

Brand says that organisational rights are meant to encourage unionisation. “It is in everyone’s best interest to have a union represent a miner in a disciplinary hearing or other matter.

“A threshold should only be relevant in collective bargaining because the results apply to everybody and there democracy must rule. This distinction is not understood in the lay world, and neither in our laws.”

Brand suggests that the way in which successful countries deal with conflict or dispute is through arbitration and mediation as opposed to power.

“We need a new way forward.” DM From the Daily Maverick

 

Otumfuo Bares His Mind: NDC-NPP Dirty Politics

 

By I. K. Gyasi

 

“They (professional serial callers) are foisting on the nation a new culture – a culture of  insult and abuse in the name of free speech and accountability,”  –  Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene (May 17, 2013).

The advisers of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, could be forgiven for cautioning him against accepting an invitation by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to speak to mark the NCCE’s annual observance of Constitution Week in Accra.

What was one of the concerns of the advisers? Stated Otumfuo in his speech that, “The country is in such a dangerous political minefield that one risks getting blown apart by the incendiary force of combined misinformation, misrepresentation and misconception.”

Indeed, to me, it constituted a great act of courage for the Asantehene to agree to speak. It is true that since the days of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the rest of the so-called ‘opposition parties’, we have always had a recourse to insults in our political life.

It is equally true that since the return to constitutional rule, dating from the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, our partisan political atmosphere has been poisoned by new severe forms of abuse, humiliation and defamation of character, not experienced before.

Ex-President J. J. Rawlings has identified a group of ‘babies’ with hard and sharp teeth, ready and willing to tear away the reputation and character of anyone who dares open his mouth to express an opinion, even remotely critical of the position taken by that group.

It must be noted that these babies with hard and sharp teeth are to be found, not only in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), but also in the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

These babies with hard and sharp teeth come in different disguises; serial callers whose mobile phone credits are reportedly paid for by the gurus of the NPP and the NDC; radio and television panelists; writers who post their articles in the newspapers and the internet, and those who use what has come to be known as ‘social media’, etc.

Religious leaders, both Christian and Muslims, chiefs, members of the judiciary, leaders of certain society groups such as think-tanks, and, of course, political opponents, have all been subjected to scurrilous and shameless abuse. Innocent people’s reputations have been shredded.

Decent people dare not express an opinion on national issues of great importance. If they speak, they are accused of taking political positions. If they choose refuge in silence, they are equally attacked for keeping quite.

They ask: Why does the Christian Council not speak? Why is the Catholic Secretariat looking on? Where is the Peace Council? Is the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) not aware of the injustice? Why are Muslim leaders not saying anything? Would all these bodies have kept quiet if the NDC (or NPP) had been in power?

It is all so unfair. It is like two persons fighting and accusing a by-stander of not coming to stop the fight. We do not need much imagination to know what could happen to our highly respected Kofi Annan if he were to criticise the NDC or the NPP in power over an issue.

So, he regrettably, but wisely keeps quiet, when he could make us benefit from his wisdom and experience.

We seem to have taken the assassination of our leaders several notches higher. When I bought a copy of the DAILY GUIDE of Tuesday, May 28, 2013, I was horror-struck by two pictures – one depicting what looked like President John Mahama allegedly having sexual intercourse with a woman, the other depicting what looked like Nana Akufo-Addo allegedly having sexual intercourse with what looked like Ursula Owusu, a lawyer and Member of Parliament.

I am a self-confessed electronic illiterate. I understand that I am lucky, because the DAILY GUIDE editorial management considerately published a censored version of the picture, as what actually were published on the internet left nothing to the imagination .The persons involved were reportedly depicted naked.

Faking the picture and putting them on the internet was filthy, nauseating, scandalous indecent, uncivilised, immoral, distressing, demeaning, depraved, disrespectful, degrading, disgraceful and despicable.

Where are the Council of Elders of the two parties, their mature people, their lawyers and other sensible people? Did those who faked the pictures never have the benefit of proper family upbringing, discipline in schools they attended, and moral teachings from their churches and mosques?

Hear Otumfuo: “We have allowed politics to so dominate our lives and influence our thoughts that nothing else seems to matter to us, but the good of the party we support.”

Hear him once more: “Our society is so polarised that good is bad if you belong to one party, and bad is good if it’s the other way round.”

Members, supporters and sympathisers of both the NDC and NPP are mostly Ghanaians. You will discover that some of them from both sides attended the same educational institution, practise the same profession, and attended the same church. Some are Members of Parliament, even if they sit on the opposite side. What kind of mindset will drive human beings to do this to their follow human beings?

If political office, other political leaders and others in public life can be so shamefully treated, who else is safe? Tomorrow, people in other walks of life would have their bodies faked and placed in all kinds of compromising positions, merely for expressing an opinion.

Otumfuo did not pull any punches when he took on the politicians. Hear him again: “It is the same people, the same politicians who are funding and sustaining the new breed of serial callers. It is the same politicians who, whether they call themselves communicators or propagandists, are unleashing the blatant lies and malicious gossip on each other.” He was certainly walking through a minefield.

Otumfuo called for “a new format that brings enlightenment from sober, independent minds untainted by party propaganda, and release the party propagandists to refocus on what political parties should really be doing in a democracy – thinking and developing ideas and strategies for their parties to direct the nation to greatness.”

Otumfuo was at pains to emphasise that he did NOT (repeat NOT) consider the existence of political parties inimical to the national good.

He said: “I firmly believe that political parties are vital, indeed, indispensable in any democratic system of governance.”

The NPP and NDC should not bastardise the party system of governance. From the Chronicle.

 

Katiba draft proposes 3-government union

By The Citizen Reporter
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  22:17

IN SUMMARY

  • There were groups that advocated a one-government union while others backed the status quo of two governments. Yet others proposed a four-government structure.

 

Dar es Salaam. The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) yesterday unveiled the first draft mother law, which proposes a radical change in the structure of the union.

The commission has proposed a federal union comprised of three governments, according to CRC Chairman Joseph Warioba. Speaking at the launch in the city yesterday, the retired judge said the decision came after consideration of all the views aired on the contentious union issue. This will essentially take the country back to the Tanganyika government that ceased to exist when the United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964.

In the new scheme of things, the Tanganyika government would have its own president, parliament and other organs.

The union government would be leaner, with about 15 cabinet members and a parliament that does not exceed 75 members.“The union issue was the most contentious of all,” Judge Warioba said. “We received many views, some of which called for the break-up of the union itself.”

There were groups that advocated a one-government union while others backed the status quo of two governments. Yet others proposed a four-government structure. “We weighed the pros and cons and arrived at the conclusion that the three-government structure was best,” said the CRC chairman.

The current structure was rejected because of the sensitivities and opposition from both sides of the union.

CRC has also proposed the reduction of the number of union matters from the current 22 to seven. Issues that would still be under the union include foreign affairs, immigration and citizenship, the central bank and currency and defence and security.

Other matters to be retained in the union docket include registration of political parties, constitutional issues and import duty and non-tax revenue accrued from resources that are under the union.

Breaking down the proposed union parliament, Judge Warioba said 20 of the 75 members would be Zanzibari, 50 from the mainland and five appointees of the President by virtue of special seats allocated to the disabled.

A treaty-based union that would give the Isles more autonomy was popular in Zanzibar. But Judge Warioba noted: “The problem with the treaty-based union is that it requires the breakdown of the current union government to allow two sovereign countries to enter a new pact. This is tricky. If you allow it, that would be the end of the union. And, according to the terms of reference that we were given, dissolving of the union is out of the question.”

Some Zanzibaris promptly said the draft constitution has not met their expectations, particularly on the contentious treaty-based union. Fifty three-year-old Hashim Moh’d, a resident of Darajani in Zanzibar, said: “We wanted more autonomy, specifically on immigration and citizenship, foreign affairs and central bank and currency but our voices have not been heard. It is Tanganyikans who stand to gain from the proposed constitution.”

Masoud Suleiman, 51 and a resident of Bububu, said it was sovereignity for Zanzibar now or never. Taxi driver Abdallah Hamad, 33, added: “This draft constitution is a joke and what it has done is to benefit mainlanders.”

But Legislator Rajab Mbarouk Mohamed (Ole-Civic United Front) praised the new constitution, especially for recognising the needs of disabled. “The disabled were neglected for a long time and I commend the CRC for proposing the creation of special seats in parliament for members from that group,” Mr Mohammed added.

Additional reporting by Talib Ussi in Zanzibar and Habel Chidawali in Dodoma. From The Citizen.

Your security is in the hands of this man

.

By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  22:07

IN SUMMARY

  • What his answers lacked in specificity and masterly of national security, they appeared to make up with what Speaker Justin Muturi described as “passion”.

 

Mr Joseph ole Lenku — the little-known hotelier nominated to the powerful position of Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government — presented a confident front when he appeared before MPs for vetting Monday.

Mr Lenku, the general manager of Utalii Hotel, was questioned during a vigorous session which reflected the general unease that he might not have the experience and exposure for such a docket.

For nearly three hours, the 43-year old wrestled with a barrage of questions from MPs on a wide range of issues including spiralling insecurity, the turf wars between the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Kimaiyo, and the National Police Service Commission chairman, Mr Johnstone Kavuludi and the conflict between governors and regional commissioners.

What his answers lacked in specificity and masterly of national security, they appeared to make up with what Speaker Justin Muturi described as “passion”.

MPs wanted to know whether he had the spine to confront drug barons and whether he was prepared to resign if he failed to tackle the myriad challenges facing the docket.

One of the MPs even told him to his face that he was not impressed with his performance at the interview and accused him of giving “general and academic” responses to MPs’ questions.

“You have been giving us very general responses, you have not impressed me,” Ijara MP Ahmed Ibrahim Abbas said.

Mr Lenku had for example explained that he was going to apply technology in border protection but did not specify what kind technology that will be. But he did explain that with the additional resources he was getting from the government, he will buy more arms and equipment for security forces.

Mr Lenku will be stepping into giant shoes: his predecessor, Prof George Saitoti was a former Vice President for more than decade and in the Cabinet since 1983. He had managed big dockets such as Education and Finance and was a professor of Mathematics to boot.

Before then was John Michuki, whose national security experience stretched back to the colonial days when he served in the provincial administration.

But former President Kibaki’s first National Security minister, Dr Chris Murungaru too had no national security experience when he was picked for the docket.

Yesterday, Mr Lenku appeared to have emerged from the session largely unscathed with many of the committee’s members appearing generally satisfied with his performance.

“I think he will manage. The guy was very confident and this is a position which needs a guy who will take very bold decisions. I am personally very confident that he is the right guy for the job,” said a member of the committee who declined to be named because he is on oath not to discuss the deliberations outside Parliament.

However, Kitui Senator David Musila, a long serving Provincial Commissioner in the Moi regime said the job required a person with experience in security matters given the challenges facing the country.

“One would hope that anyone who takes over this challenge must be a man or woman with experience. It will be a pity if a person without experience is appointed to the docket and insecurity continues in the country,” said Mr Musila.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba also had misgivings about Mr Lenku’s ability to deliver.

“One would expect that a nominee for the Interior Affairs docket should be a person who will immediately instill a sense of confidence among Kenyans. While not appearing to look down upon the gentleman, I doubt if a principal of small beverage  college can deal with this challenge,” Mr Namwamba stated.

“The government lost the opportunity in the fight against insecurity when it sacrificed ability, experience and knowledge at the altar of ethnic balancing. Its determination to pander to the demands of ethnic interests clouded their eyes. I just hope that he proves the skeptics wrong. If not, he will go down as the most disastrous choice for a Cabinet Secretary which will come with serious consequences,” he added.

Dr Murungaru also had some misgivings about the choice of Mr Lenku.

“I don’t know the man at all, apart from what I have read in the press. However, handling security matters needs a bit of political exposure. Security has a strong political component especially the cases we are experiencing now in Tana River, Garissa, Bungoma and other parts. It needs that approach. And because security cuts across the country, that political touch comes into play since you will be dealing with the totality of Kenyans. If I was asked, I would have said he is perhaps a little bit green,” he said.

Another MP conversant with security matters but who declined to be named also said Mr Lenku will face serious challenges if appointed.

“He does not have a feel of the job at hand, he will need to learn very fast. It will be a baptism of fire,” said the MP.

It is the turf wars between Mr Kimaiyo and Mr Kavuludi which, however, dominated the interview with several MPs asking Mr Lenku what action he will take to end the squabbling.

MPs also sought to know whether the turf wars were contributing to the rising insecurity in the country and what he would do to fast track reforms in the police service.

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau fired the first salvo when he sought to know what was causing insecurity in Western Kenya while his Kuresoi North counterpart Moses Cheboi demanded to know who, between Mr Kimaiyo and Mr Kavuludi, should take the blame for the problems in the police service.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo warned that the turf wars were taking a dangerous political dimension and wondered why Mr Kimaiyo was seeking “personal powers” yet he sat on the NPSC.

Mr Lenku explained that overlaps in the mandates of the two offices could be behind the turf wars and said that this could be addressed through amendments to the law establishing the two offices.

“It appears that there could be some overlaps and I am also privy to information that some amendments to the law are being worked on. We will come back to you to rectify the law because we appreciate that you can only take orders from one command,” Mr Lenku said.

He added that he will convene a meeting to resolve the rift between the IG and the NPSC chairman as soon as he is appointed noting that it could be contributing to the insecurity in the country.
“I will do this expeditiously because national security supersedes everything else, it is not about individuals,” he stated.

On the conflict between the Governors and Regional Commissioners, Mr Lenku was categorical that the law was very specific on the roles of the two offices and warned the commissioner against meddling in the governance of the counties. From the Daily Nation.

 

Police join forces against organised crime in Africa

By Katare Mbashiru, The Citizen Reporter
Posted  Monday, June 3  2013 at  12:11

IN SUMMARY

Led by ushers, sweeping vans moving in high speeds, police chiefs from Southern African countries arrived at a Dar es Salaam five star hotel with one thing in common: finding a final and conclusive solution to transnational organised crime.

 

Dar es Salaam. For them, the usual Dar es Salaam’s disgusting traffic gridlock never sees the light of the day. They are security heavyweights in their own rights.

Led by ushers, sweeping vans moving in high speeds, police chiefs from Southern African countries arrived at a Dar es Salaam five star hotel with one thing in common: finding a final and conclusive solution to transnational organised crime.

The menace seems to be a thorn in flesh, even as police chiefs worked around the clock to ensure that all criminal networks are cracked down and dismantled.

Regional police chiefs convened for the 18th Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (Sarpcco) annual general meeting, which according to the Namibia Inspector General of Police (IGP), Rt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, came out with specific resolutions.

Among other issues, the meeting concluded that a joint operation be conducted to weed out terrorism and drug trafficking, intercept stolen vehicles, human trafficking, illegal firearms as well as illegal immigrants.

Rt. Gen. Ndeitunga, who was briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting, said that joint operations have been useful due to the fact that the recent operation that was carried out last year, intercepted 77 stolen vehicles, illicit drugs and human trafficking amongst others.

According to IGP Said Mwema, who also doubles as Sarpcco chairperson, on Thursday and Friday last week directors of criminal investigation from all 14 member states were given a special training that would help sharpen their skills before a no-nonsense operation in firming the preamble for a joint swoop that would leave no stone unturned.

However, despite putting inplace different measures to curb crime in the southern Africa region, there have been mixed reactions on the rationale by security officials to ask for foreign investigators interventionin probing big offenders whenever such incidents occur.

A recent example is Tanzania after the Arusha grenade attack at a church where investigators from FBI joined the Tanzanian law enforcers to search for criminals.

But, Namibian IGP was quick to respond that as of now, the world is a global village which required joint forces to weed out criminals.” An injury for one person is the injury to all. In order to identify the modus operandi, we ought to join our hands together including the international community,’’ he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the National Commissioner of Police in South Africa, General Victoria Phiyega.

“If you look on terrorism, human and drug trafficking keenly, you find that there is commonality. That is why we realize that there is a need to find out how we can exchange intelligence,’’ she said.

IGP Mwema, who chaired the Sarpcco meeting, was optimistic that the Regional Bureau in Harare had made an outstanding contribution in ensuring with criminals were hunted from all corners of the region.

Head of the Sarpcco regional bureau in Harare, Chilika Simfukwe, said that in order to ensure that the days for transnational organised crime were numbered the tools and services made available by Interpol were a solution.

Terrorism which seems to be a headache to law enforcers dominated the discussion at the Sarpcco meeting. Commenting on the matter, head of Interpol Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa, Rwego Francis, said terrorism was not a new phenomenon.

“Terrorism has not just started now, we started to experience this menace since 1998 when the American embassies were attacked in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi,’’ he said.

Mr Rwego also underscored the need by all countries in the region to work together in tandem with concerted efforts to curb crime. “Crime does not know borders because criminals are highly cooperating,’’ said the head of Interpol.

He said despite the fact that the East African Community member states have been enjoying the East African Common Market Protocol, wrong doers were also celebrating the same.

In order to prevent terrorism, he said, public awareness was very important.

He asked members of the public to volunteer information to the police that would help cops to share new trends that would put the police ahead of criminals.

The three -day meeting ended on Thursday last week and the closing ceremony was graced by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Home Affairs, Mbarak Abdul Wakil.

In his key note address, the PS called for integration of resources in the Sarpcco region to combat organised crime and related threats.

“We also need to enhance our intelligence, protect our financial system, and strengthen interdiction, investigation and prosecution, as well as disrupting illicit drug trade, its facilitation and other predicate threats,’’ said the PS. From The Citizen.

Media clampdown, human rights and succession

 

BY PETER NYANZI

Prof. Frederick Jjuuko heads the Department of Law and Jurisprudence and is a professor of Media Law at Makerere University. He spoke to The Independent’s Peter Nyanzi about the ongoing standoff between the government and the media.

Were you surprised by the action of the government to close Daily Monitor, Red Pepper and the two radio stations?

Not really, because it has happened before. Two, given the level of political activity in Uganda, you could expect this kind of thing and it is generally in tandem with the intolerance of this regime and its militaristic approach to issues.

But President Museveni’s government has always claimed that Uganda has one of the most free media environments on the continent?

That is part of the government propaganda that has been going around.  It is a gross misunderstanding of what is involved in a free media environment.  We have never had a free media environment under NRM since 1986.

What then, according to you, are the ingredients of a free media environment?

Free media is a fundamental human right that belongs to every human being and it involves freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Journalists enjoy that right but even I as a non-professional have a right to free media.

The other aspect is the fact that it is a civil and political right, which enables citizens to freely discuss political issues as citizens. That is different from the economic right to own property and to invest. That is what we have here –freedom to invest in radio stations and newspapers- and that manifests in the type of content in our media, which is basically of a commercial nature.

If you want to measure the amount of freedom of the media as a civil and political right, you need to look at how much freedom there is to express ourselves politically, to criticize government and its functionaries, to have public debate on how the government runs public affairs, etc.

You will see that it is severely limited. That is why bimeeza were banned. When there are critical issues to be discussed, the media will be savaged. This being a militaristic regime, anything to do with those aspects will always be reacted to very severely.

So what is your assessment of media freedom in Uganda in recent years?

We have not had media freedom. And indeed, whatever has been published or appeared bold and courageous in the media was in spite of lack of media freedom not because of media freedom. People have staked their necks. To some extent the little freedom we see is because people have used legal means to challenge some of the repressive media laws in the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.

There is always widespread international condemnation when media freedoms are attacked anywhere in the world, and it has not been any different this time.  Why is this so?

Well, because we are part of the global community. But also in terms of human rights; I mean we have human rights standards of which we are part. The formation of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 put in place standards and covenants to which Uganda has an obligation.

The global community has a stake.   It’s no longer possible to live in isolation to the rest of the world.  Also, there is ease of communication and solidarity, which are very helpful to humanity.

From a legal perspective, how should the government have handled the Gen. Sejusa situation as opposed to closing down the media houses?

It stems from a bigger political problem.  We have never had a democratic dispensation. Since 1986 and since the promulgation of the Constitution in 1995 and its amendment in 2005, we have had something fundamentally wrong with this regime politically.

At the core of it is that it is militaristic – or you can actually say it’s a military government – which won’t allow to be challenged politically.  Then along with that, the people you could call the ‘conscience of the Movement,’ the people who cherished its original ideals as they were stated – the Amanya Mushegas, the Eriya Kategayas, etc – have left.

This means that this regime has been reduced to its hardcore of militarists. Now, the political contestations are amongst those militarists.  That means a public discussion of their contradictions will always have severe consequences because they will tend to be handled militarily.  That is what the closures of the media houses should be understood to be – military operations.

But the government said the operations were legal?

Just look at the explanations. Ms Karooro Okurut ( then-Information Minister) said the actions were taken under Section 37of the Penal Code Act. Now, if you look at that section, this thing about publishing ‘information that is prejudicial to national security’ is about information about troop movements, locations, and logistics.

It has nothing to do with this situation at all. Then another minister comes and says they have a court search warrant. A search warrant is not an occupation or closure warrant. So the government should have done nothing to the media houses because there was no crime committed. No government official has authority to close a media house. Only the courts can do that. Even those closures by the court are very limited if you look at the Press and Journalists Act.

Why do you think, did the government react like this as regards Gen. Sejusa’s dossier on the so-called Muhoozi Project?

Whether there is a Muhoozi project or not, whether it is true or not or a mere allegation, does not matter. The public have a right to discuss it because it is critical to this country in the sense that it touches on the political transition and succession.  Remember that this country has never had a smooth transition from one president to another.

That means it is in public interest, so it must be published and discussed – true or false. Remember that Section 50 on the Penal Code Act on the publication of false news was nullified and abolished by the Supreme Court.  Justice Mulenga clearly stated why there could be value in publishing the so-called ‘false information.’ That means there is no crime these media houses committed. There is no justification for those measures. They are clearly illegal.

But it is also generally accepted that for the good of society, media should act responsibly. Don’t you suppose that there should be a balance between free media and responsible media?

Who determines what is responsible or not? For example, let’s say someone bought junk helicopters for our army. The government may say it is irresponsible to report it because it may expose our vulnerabilities to the enemy.  But another person may argue – and I think rightly – that it is irresponsible not to let Ugandans know about it so that corrective measures can be taken.

We need to be cautious when we talk about being responsible because in many countries governments use this excuse of ‘national security’ to defend their misdeeds or to save their faces from public scrutiny. My view is that media responsibility should be defined by professional ethics.  That is the forum where media responsibility should be defined, refined and enforced.  It is important that media have their own self-regulation mechanisms to ensure responsibility.

Yes, but you see the challenge is that the professional bodies are not there. There is a vacuum…?

But that vacuum was created by the government.   I will tell you why. For a long time, you had the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA), which under Namakajjo, was building capacity to ensure a strong media institution. Instead, the government created its own statutory body – the Media Council created by itself – to regulate the media.

These State bodies are intended to frustrate the effort toward self-regulation.  Also, the government has tried to infiltrate all the professional media bodies with their intelligence operatives. The effort of the Independent Media Council of Uganda is absolutely important, if it becomes operative.

Those who have complaints against irresponsible media would go to it and the media would show the public that it has mechanisms – not just reactive but pro-active mechanisms – to ensure responsibility. Also, individual media houses and journalists are not strong enough to face up to the State, so the importance of self-organisation cannot be over-emphasized.

The only other alternative is appeasing the government, which I think should not be tolerated by the media because you will be held at ransom and the claims will become bigger and bigger. So, the media need to strengthen through organization so that they are able to take concerted action.

Now, who are the victims of the current action on Monitor Publications and Red Pepper? Of course the immediate victims are the affected media houses and their audiences/readers, but we also know that every other media house is also a victim in terms of the ‘chilling effect.’

Everyone has to be cautious about what they are going to write or say on air. An example has been made of those media houses. The message is very clear.  If media don’t recognise this and act together, they will just be picked up one by one.

Some people say this recent government’s action was expected because of President Museveni’s is keen to protect his family.  What is your take on that?

But don’t forget that at the core, President Museveni is a militarist. That is his constituency. The other things are peripheral. This Sejusa thing is touching on his family and his army, so he has to take a knee-jerk reaction.  But then, they tell us that this is a democratic country and not a military government.

If you want to do such things, then you declare openly that yours is a military government. But if you say that you are running the country democratically, then you can’t say it is criminal to criticise how the army is run or to discuss if or not your son is going to be your successor.

Like I said, all the political contradictions are not on the political front anymore but in the military core. So, there is no way the media can bring out these political contradictions without going there. If the military was at the peripheral and not at the centre of the succession debate, no one would bother going there.

So, in your view the ‘succession question’ has to be addressed and discussed by Ugandans now?

Absolutely, because it is very critical. Look at our history; there has never been a smooth transition in this country.  So it’s a legitimate matter to be reported and discussed by all Ugandans. You can’t run away from it, neither can you challenge it legally.  Whether it is Muhoozi or Mbabazi or whoever is next in the queue to be the successor, let the people and the media freely discuss all the possibilities.

So amid these attacks on freedom of expression, what should Ugandans do to protect their inherent and constitutional rights?

We need to realise that freedom of expression is only part of a spectrum of freedoms as encapsulated in Article 29 of the Constitution. It’s not possible to enjoy any one of those in isolation of the others. We need to make a concerted effort as Ugandans to ensure that we enjoy our rights and that nobody tramples upon them.

All segments of society – the media, CSO, Churches, even those who love President Museveni – should rise to protect him from these excesses. The State should be protector and not violator of these rights.

Do you see government versus media relations improving in the next few years?

No, why should it? The media must not knuckle under State pressure. The fact is that the relationship has always not been good. For example, the media have been directed on who not to employ, who not to host on their talk shows etc. All these threats have been there and the media practitioners know it.

The regulators such as UCC have for years been breathing down the necks of radio stations. That has to change. But it will not be changed by the government but by a better organised media fraternity and civil society. From the Independent.

Uganda, donors sign power deal

By Ibrahim Kasita

 

Uganda and development partners have agreed to fast track the construction of small renewable energy project in the next three to five years to delay the imminent return of load-shedding.

 

The Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs (GET FiT) will support a portfolio of up to 15 private sector-led projects with a total installed capacity of about 125 megawatts (MW).

 

GET FiT programme for Uganda consists of a premium payment mechanism, a guarantee facility to secure against off taker and political risks, as well as a private financing mechanism that will offer debt and equity at competitive rates.

 

The private investment facilitator programme is jointly developed by Uganda, the Germany development agency KfW, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), and Deutsche Bank Group. The programme is supported by Norway, UK’s DFID, Germany, The European Union and the World Bank.

 

At the launch of the programme over the weekend at the Kampala Serena Hotel, the state minister of energy and mineral development, Peter Lokeris, said the Government has already developed standardised power purchase and support agreements.

 

“I call upon project developers to make use of the developed standardised agreements to fast track implementation,” he said. “There will be a little, if any, charge to standardised agreements to accommodate different requirements.”

 

The minister also advised that interconnection requirements for projects beyond five kilometers from the national grids should be brought to the attention of the Government early enough to avoid later interconnection delays.

 

Dirk Niebel, the German Federal minister for economic cooperation and development, said Uganda needs investment close to 7b euros to meet energy supply deficit for the next 30 years.

“There is a need for private capital,” he noted.

Niebel said the implementation of the GET FiT programme in Uganda should help improve the overall enabling environment for private investment in renewable energy through improvements in the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff system and its application.

 

Thorbjorn Gaudstadsaether, the Norwegian ambassador to Uganda, said investor confidence and cost reflective tariffs would help Uganda meet its “ambitious” energy targets.

 

He said the programme will help stabilise power sector finances by adding least-cost generation capacity, enable the Government to pursue its electrification targets, improve the availability of long-term commercial finance for small-scale renewable energy generation projects in Uganda and help decentralise and diversify Uganda’s energy mix, which will enhance security of supply.

 

Daniel Graymore, the director of UK’s DFID Uganda, called for good governance and elimination of corruption if Uganda is to reduce poverty and move up the growth path.

 

“Attracting investments that will create jobs needs tackling corruption,” he said.

Uganda has requested the World Bank to explore the use of a partial risk guarantee mechanism for small hydropower projects, which would be used to facilitate the provision of short term liquidity support.

 

“We expect the World Bank to conclude appraisals for the required partial risk guarantee to conclude the GET FiT package and also facilitate implementation of other projects in Uganda,” Lokeris appealed.

 

The GET FiT programme also supports ‘the Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative under which Uganda was selected as one of the fast movers. From the New Vision.

 

Dangers of bleaching creams

IS black still beautiful? The answer is simply no.
In Zambia, there is a wide spread view by some quarter of our women that a lighter skin is a mark of being beautiful.
From face, hands and legs their skin colour is lighter.
The market stalls are these days piled high with creams which create light image of their body parts.
Young and old mothers who are supposed to be role models use the bleaching creams to ‘enhance’ their beauty.
Brands of mercuric soaps such as Jaribu, Dermont, Asepso, Neko, Diproson, Betasan, Tura, Mililo, Amber, Neoproson, Maxlight, Dermojel and Crusader just to mention a few are plenty.
These soaps are used mostly by illiterates who historically have very little knowledge about the effects these products have on the skin.
In as much as mothers are free to buy creams to make them lovable and attractive, I feel that medical personnel should also speak out because some of the kin lightening  creams sold on the black market are drugs and not cosmetic products.
Dermatologists must sensitise the public about the side  effects of many of these skin bleaching ointments.
Many users do not know the effects of mercurial and bleaching creams, it seriously damages the skin. Skin lighteners destroy the skin and can cause tearing of wounds and general degeneration. Bleaching creams were originally designed to bleach freckles on white westerners.
A tighter control or ban by Government would ease the devastating physical and psychological effects the products have on the people when they develop typical symptoms of scaling, dry skin, rashes and blistering eruptions, which are ghastly to look twice.
It is a pity that the bleached body parts look much uglier, worse off than the skin of the pig. Please be proud of how  God created you, we love you the way you are. Who do we marry if you run away from your natural skin colour?

DOMINIC MUNTANGA
Kabwe. From the Times of Zambia.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

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