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Nigeria: It’s official: FG declares Boko Haram a terrorist organisation
Nigeria: US offers $7million reward for information on Boko Haram leader, Shekau
Kenya: Ruto case set for September; Hague court may try Kenyan vice president in Africa; ICC judges to vote on trial of Ruto in Kenya
Sudan: Government’s parties welcome Mahdi’s call to support the army
South Africa: Lonmin workers suspended over alleged union membership fraud
Tanzania: First draft Katiba draws muted criticism in Z’bar
Zambia: ‘Subsidies caused KR2.3bn debt’
Ghana: Police interrogate nine suspected ritual killers
Sierra Leone: SLPP ‘Secret Meeting’ Ends in Chaos…as Pa-O-Pa rebels vow to transform SLPP to SLMBPP
Nigeria: Dangote in world’s top 25 richest with $20b fortune
Kenya: World Bank to channel funds direct to counties
Rwanda: Japanese Congressman to woo investors to Rwanda
COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENT:
South Africa: Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent
Ghana: NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4
Africa: Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation
Zambia: Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality
Rwanda: Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi
South Africa: Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?
Kenya: TJRC denies claims report was doctored
It’s official: FG declares Boko Haram a terrorist organisation
By Daily Post Staff on June 4, 2013
President Goodluck Jonathan has formally approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorized the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and acts of terrorism.
The order which has been gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013 affects both Boko Haram (Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad) and another group – Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan was approved by President Jonathan pursuant to section 2 0f the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (As Amended).
It officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any persons associated with the two groups can now be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act.
The proscription order warns the general public that any person “participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the collective intentions of the said groups will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act”.
Section 5 (1) of the act prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group.
For the purposes of subsection (1) of section, “support” includes –
(a) incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information;
(b) receipt or provision of material assistance, weapons including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training, transportation, false documentation or identification to terrorists or terrorist groups;
(c) receipt or provision of information or moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a terrorist or terrorist group;
(d) entering or remaining in a country for the benefit of, or at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; or
(e) the provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services prohibited under this Act or as may be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to this Act.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity) From the Daily Post.
US offers $7million reward for information on Boko Haram leader, Shekau
By Wale Odunsi on June 4, 2013
To further express it determination to get rid of insurgency in the West African region, the U.S. State Department, through its Rewards for Justice program, has for the first time ever, offered rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organisations in West Africa.
The bounty is placed on leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA);Jama’atu Ahl as-Sunnah il-Da’awati wal-Jihad, more commonly known as Boko Haram.
A statement by the office on Monday stated that the Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Yahya Abu el Hammam and Battalion leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar; rewards of up to $3 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Malik Abou Abdelkarim and MUJWA spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha.
The highest reward of $7 million is for information leading to the location of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.
Abubakar Shekau’s Boko Haram group is responsible for the August 2011 vehicle-bomb attack on a United Nations facility in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed at least 23 people and injured 80.
It has planned and executed more deadly attacks, especially in North-east Nigeria, in its over four years of operations.
Human rights body believes the group has killed at least 3,000 people.
Yahya Abu el Hammam serves as a senior leader of AQIM, planning attacks and kidnappings in North and West Africa. He reportedly was involved in the 2010 murder of an elderly French hostage in Niger.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, previously a leader of AQIM, is the founder of the al-Mulathamun Battalion. It conducted the deadly January 2013 attack on a gas facility in In-Amenas, Algeria, where at least 37 hostages, including three U.S. citizens, were killed.
Malik Abou Abdelkarim is a senior leader within AQIM. Under his command, AQIM fighters have conducted kidnappings and terrorist attacks in North and West Africa.
Oumar Ould Hamaha, previously a member of AQIM, is now the spokesperson for MUJWA, an AQIM offshoot. As a member of AQIM, Hamaha participated in kidnapping of foreigners for ransom, including the kidnapping of a Canadian diplomat from Niamey, Niger, in December 2008.
The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid more than $125 million to more than 80 people who provided reliable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. From the Daily Post.
Lonmin workers suspended over alleged union membership fraud
04 JUN 2013 20:16 STAFF REPORTER
“Lonmin has suspended eight employees following investigations into allegations of membership fraud. Three of them are currently in the middle of disciplinary hearings, while the remaining five face hearings this week,” said company spokesperson Sue Lindsell-Steward on Tuesday.
They allegedly falsified stop orders to make it appear that members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had left the union and joined the National Union of Mineworkes (NUM).
The platinum giant reportedly said at the weekend that about 200 stop orders were falsified in this way and submitted to Lonmin’s human resources department.
The latest development comes after an NUM leader was shot dead in front of union offices and another injured at the Marikana mine on Monday, possibly in retailiation for the killing of a member of Amcu last month. Tensions were further heightened after Business Day reported that Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to Amcu, effectively shutting NUM out of collective bargaining.
The effect of the fraud would have been to relay membership fees from Amcu to the NUM, while also helping the NUM regain its representation. The NUM has until July 16 to retain its status as a majority union or vacate union offices at shaft level.
Amcu ousted the NUM as the majority union after a wildcat strike in Marikana, North West, last year, commanding 70 percent of unskilled workers and machine operators as members.
Rivalry between the two unions was the backdrop to the police’s fatal shooting of 44 people in Marikana in August last year.
Since the wildcat strike in Marikana last year, at least 20 NUM members had been killed, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka claimed.
During a two-day strike in May, Amcu members demanded that the NUM offices be shut-down and accused the union of membership fraud. The strike followed the death of Amcu regional leader Mawethu Steven.
Call for calm
North West premier Thandi Modise has called on Amcu and the NUM to denounce violence and commit themselves to peaceful coexistence at Lonmin and other mines around Rustenburg.
“There is no place for strong-arm tactics and the use of violence in our labour relation regime that allows freedom of association,” she said.
Modise called on workers to remain calm and help police in their investigations to unmask those behind the recent spate of violence.
Lonmin’s action was the latest harassment of NUM members by the company, the union claimed.
“Our shop stewards are now harassed by the company under the pretext of rigging membership, an allegation which the NUM rejects with the contempt it deserves,” National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.
Seshoka said some of the suspended employees were NUM shop stewards, but he could confirm how many.
“For months on end, NUM members have complained that they have been made to join other unions without their knowledge, which management found to be the truth,” he said.
“Whilst the so-called management has been aware who the culprits are, the company has not been able to bring any of them to a disciplinary hearing.” – Sapa. From Mail & Guardian.
Ruto case set for September
TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 – 00:00 — BY OLIVER MATHENGE
The crimes against humanity trial against Deputy President William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang at the ICC will now start on September 10.
In a decision made yesterday, the Trial Chamber V(a) judges also allowed Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to add two new witnesses but rejected the inclusion of four others.
The ICC judges yesterday said that following the request by the two, they had decided to set the new date though Ruto and Sang had requested that the new date be in November.
“The Trial Chamber V(A) decided to set the opening of the trial in the case against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang on 10 September 2013 in order to allow the Defence sufficient time to carry out its preparation,” an alert from the Hague-based court said.
“The Chamber is not persuaded that an additional delay of such an extensive period (more than five months) is necessary in order to permit the Defence adequate time to carry out investigations and otherwise adequately prepare for trial,” the judges said.
The judges had in May decided to vacate the date of the trial’s start, scheduled on 28 May 2013, indicating that a new trial date would be set in due course.
The Chamber held a hearing on May 14, in the presence of the two accused, to discuss procedural matters and other issues including the Prosecutor’s request to add six witnesses to the list of witnesses and the Defence’s request to vacate the trial date to adequately prepare its case.
Yesterday, the judges said that after reviewing the parties and participants’ observations, the Chamber, composed of Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr, authorised the Prosecutor to add two persons to her list of witnesses for the case.
The judges also told Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to ensure that the identities of the two witnesses and all materials related to their testimonies are disclosed to the defence by June 10.
From the Star.
Hague court may try Kenyan vice president in Africa
AMSTERDAM – The International Criminal Court could hold a trial outside The Hague for the first time, after ICC judges said on Monday they may hear the case against Kenya’s deputy president in his own country or neighbouring Tanzania.
Judges were responding to requests from William Ruto’s lawyers, who said it would be “in the interests of justice” for the politician’s trial to be held closer to home.
Both Ruto and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – elected on a joint ticket in March – face charges of orchestrating violence after the previous election, five years ago, in which 1,200 people died.
The attempt to prosecute the leaders of one of Africa’s biggest economies comes as the ICC is under increasing criticism from leaders on the continent who accuse it of unfairly targeting Africans.
Ruto has said he would attend hearings in The Hague if ordered to do so, but has also asked to participate by video link.
Though no final decision has been taken, the ICC judges said holding parts of the trial in Kenya, or Tanzania, where a U.N. court is trying alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, would bring it closer to victims and affected communities.
Prosecutors have warned that moving the trial to Kenya could make it harder to provide protection to witnesses who, they say, have been threatened into withdrawing their testimonies.
The trial would still be conducted by the ICC, regardless of where it was held. Kenyatta’s lawyers have submitted a similar request to relocate the trial.
Judges also ruled on Monday that the trial of Ruto and his co-accused, broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang, would start on Sept. 10, rather than the original start date of May 28, accepting defence requests for more time to prepare their cases.
Kenyatta’s is a separate case, currently scheduled to start in July, though his defence has requested a delay which judges are considering.
All men deny the charges.
Leaders at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa last week urged the ICC to refer the cases to Kenyan courts.
Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn accused the court of racial bias and of targeting Africans for prosecution, an allegation the court has always rejected. From the New Vision.
ICC judges to vote on trial of Ruto in Kenya
By BERNARD NAMUNANE firstname.lastname@example.org AND ALUGO STACEY email@example.com
Posted Tuesday, June 4 2013 at 22:06
- In their ruling on Monday, Trial Chamber judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr recommended to the presidency that the start of the trial hearings for Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang can be held in Kenya or Tanzania.
A vote of 12 judges at the International Criminal Court will decide whether or not Deputy President William Ruto’s trial will be held in Kenya or Tanzania.
However, The ICC Tuesday said that even if a majority of The Hague judges voted in favour of local trials, only portions of the proceedings could be held away from its seat in the Netherlands.
The statement that sought to clarify questions raised by the Trial Chamber judges’ proposal to the ICC presidency, said the final decision would be taken by the 18 judges of the court in an open sitting.
“This recommendation by the chamber is only one step in the procedure as the final decision on where the court shall sit for the trial will be made in due course…
“The decision on whether or not to sit in a State other than the Host State will be taken, in due time, in a plenary session of the judges, by a two-thirds majority,” the ICC said.
The judges will consider the issues raised by the prosecution, including availability of facilities, security and conditions that meet standards of The Hague, the judges said.
In their ruling on Monday, Trial Chamber judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr recommended to the presidency that the start of the trial hearings for Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang can be held in Kenya or Tanzania.
The trials begin on September 10.
Emotions of victims
The civil society has opposed shifting of the trial of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang to Kenya or Tanzania.
Kenya Coalition for the International Criminal Court national coordinator Ken Wafula said the security of witnesses and human rights defenders and emotions of the victims of the post-election violence were not taken into consideration when Trial Chamber V (A) made the recommendations. From the Daily Nation.
Government’s parties welcome Mahdi’s call to support the army
June 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Council of the National Unity Government Parties (CNUGP), welcomed a call made by the former prime minister and leader of the opposition Umma National Party (UNP) to support the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).
Sadiq Al-Mahdi last Saturday reiterated his rejection to the use of arms to change the current regime, distancing himself from the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), and called for a peaceful transition towards a democratic regime in Sudan.
The opposition leader who was speaking, days after the recapture of South Kordofan’s Abu Kershola from the rebel groups called to support SAF as “a national institution” to defend the country.
He further called to open the army for all the Sudanese and appealed on the “Ansars” members of his party to join the Sudanese army.
CNUGP secretary general, Aboud Jabir Saeed, hailed the position of UNP leader, describing it as “a positive call based on the duties of citizenship that are included in the Constitution”.
He further urged the Sudanese political forces to agree on national issues in order to uphold the value of national solidarity, to meet national challenges, and confront “foreign conspiracies being hatched against the homeland”.
The CNUGP is a political body supposed to coordinate the political positions of the forces participating in the national government which is dominated by the ruling National Congress Party.
Two opposition parties, UNP of Sadiq Al-Mahdi and Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi, condemned last April attacks in Kordofan region, constituency of their supporters.
Al-Mahdi last week called on the rebel groups member of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front to renounce violence and military action and to join the political and civil forces in the country to establish a new regime through political means rather than military action.
(ST) From Sudan Tribune.
First draft Katiba draws muted criticism in Z’bar
The proposed parliament would have 75 members–50 from the Mainland, 20 from Zanzibar and five appointed by the President.
Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar. The draft constitution was received with measured criticism in Zanzibar yesterday as voices that advocated full autonomy for the Isles went silent. Prominent politicians and experts who have been in the forefront championing more independence for Zanzibar were unavailable for comment and people interviewed at street level said the draft was tilted against the Isles. It is a position also held by the deputy secretary general of the Civic United Front, Mr Hamad Masoud Hamad.
Zanzibaris have been calling for more autonomy within the Union akin to the structure of the United Kingdom. Those who spoke to The Citizen said their proposals on the structure of the union were largely ignored. Mr Hamad argued that allocating Zanzibaris fewer seats in the proposed union parliament amounts to shortchanging them. The proposed parliament would have 75 members–50 from the Mainland, 20 from Zanzibar and five appointed by the President.
“In the union, we are equal partners,” Mr Hamad said. “There is no small country and big country. That is why all countries in the East African Community field equal numbers of members in the EAC Legislative Assembly regardless of the size of the country or its population.”
Mr Shaaban Idd Ame, 34 and a resident of Kibeni in the Kusini Unguja region, argued that most wishes of Zanzibaris had been left out in the draft constitution. “The expectations of Zanzibaris were that the union would break up first and then a new pact entered between two countries as equal partners,” he added. “But that wish has been ignored. I wonder why.”
The proposed structure of the union would resemble that of the United States, he went on, while Zanzibaris want a structure that resembles that of the United Kingdom. The deputy secretary-general of the ruling CCM in Zanzibar, Mr Vuai Ali Vuai, appealed for calm, assuring his people that there was still room for further improvement of the draft constitution. He added: “CCM Zanzibar totally agrees with and approves the draft constitution. We urge members of the constitution fora to be proactive and participate fully in improving the document.”
Fifty three-year-old Hashim Moh’d, a resident of Darajani in Zanzibar, argued that “Tanganyikans” stood to gain more from the proposed constitution. “We wanted more autonomy, specifically on immigration and citizenship, foreign affairs, the central bank and currency but our voices have not been heard,” he added. 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.”
An immediate and stronger reaction was expected in Zanzibar, especially from prominent politicians and experts, given that the desire of many people in the Isles for more autonomy was not fulfilled.
Days before the unveiling of the draft constitution, the Zanzibar Reconciliation Committee–which oversaw the burying of the hatchet between rival political groups in the Isles culminating in a government of national unity, outlined 17 areas in which Zanzibar should have full autonomy in the Union dispensation. One of the Committee members, Mr Ismail Jussa, told The Citizen that a call for autonomy would be the second phase of their drive to ensure Zanzibar got full autonomy in a new Union structure under the envisaged new constitution.
Additional reporting by Talib Ussi from Zanzibar. From the Citizen.
‘Subsidies caused KR2.3bn debt’
By KAIKO NAMUSA
GOVERNMENT is indebted to four commercial banks to the tune of KR2.3 billion arising from financing maize subsidies, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Bob Sichinga has said.
Mr Sichinga said in the current form, the subsidy programme could not be sustained without facing the risk of continued borrowing.
Government owes KR2.3 billion to First National Bank, Finance Bank Zambia, Zanaco and Investrust Bank.
He blamed the MMD for not ensuring the country avoided the accumulated debt.
The minister, however, said the Patriotic Front Government was committed to dismantling the heavy debt.
He said this when he featured on ZNBC’s ‘The Quest’ programme on Tuesday evening, along with Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi and Private Sector Development Association director, Yusuf Dodia.
Mr Sichinga said the purpose of waiving the subsidies was because the Government had to create a platform for increasing financial capacity to diversify crop production unlike sustaining the production and supply of maize through borrowing in an unsustainable manner.
“To sustain the subsidy programme is costly at the moment. It means sacrificing growth of other sectors. At the moment we have to service the loan to these banks and we cannot continue borrowing.
“As a responsible Government we had to take the bull by its horns to put an end to this. This decision had to be made, be it harsh but it had to be made,” he said.
He said Zambia was going to plunge into worse debt if the subsidies had continued and assured that Government had not abandoned the farmers because subsidy supply for production would continue but in a different format.
Mr Sichinga said it was vital for Zambia’s farming community to diversify from maize production to ensure the agriculture potential was fully exploited.
He called on Zambians to avoid politicising the subsidy issue but approach it with soberness and look at the long-term benefits.
The debate heated as Ms Nawakwi and Mr Sichinga constantly interjected each other’s flow of discussion.
Ms Nawakwi said the Government had taken the decision in a harsh manner as consultations were not adequate.
“What the Zambian people are now talking about is the high cost of living. They do not understand why a Government that promised them better lives during campaigns could do this to them.
“If I cannot understand, what about my relatives in rural areas, how will they understand? This could have been phased out step-by-step, and not in an abrupt manner. You can’t tell the people that you will eat tomorrow,” Ms Nawakwi said.
She said focus should be targetted at ensuring poor people did not suffer the consequences following the removal of subsidies.
Mr Dodia appealed to the Government to ensure there was a transparent system that ensured a level playing field for farmers and all stakeholders.
He said Zambia had vast potential to export and attract foreign earnings and this opportunity could not continue to be wasted.
He said the country had bumper harvests for the past five consecutive years and could not continue to fail to manage the agriculture sector.
“This system shows that it was costly to the Government and we need to have a system in place that will benefit the agriculture sector and ensure all players in the sector benefit.
“The country has great potential but we are fire-fighting on the matter instead of finding lasting and beneficial solutions to our people. Let us look at the business aspect of bringing benefits to our citizens,” Mr Dodia said. From the Times of Zambia.
Police interrogate nine suspected ritual killers
Police in the Central Region are interrogating nine persons over suspected ritual killings of 3 women in the Central Region recently.
The bodies of the victims Mena Badu, 25 years, 40 year old Abena Atta, and an unidentified woman were found at Kissi and Besease in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality.
Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Corporal Raymond Asaaba confirmed to Joy News that the nine suspects are in their custody and are being interrogated.
He said some of the suspects have ‘pleaded alibi’.
But Corporal Raymond Asaaba said the police will use the interrogation to find out whether those in custody are ‘victims of circumstances’ or are linked to the unnatural deaths.
He was also confident substantial evidence would be attained from the key suspects.
He told Joy News preliminary investigations point to the fact that the women were murdered for ritual purposes. ‘What would somebody be using human parts for except for rituals,’ he said.
Corporal Asaaba commended the public for an improved cooperation which has led to the arrest of some criminals in the region. This was after the public was adequately assured of absolute confidentiality in any intelligent information they offer the police, he remarked. From Modern Ghana
SLPP ‘Secret Meeting’ Ends in Chaos…as Pa-O-Pa rebels vow to transform SLPP to SLMBPP
By Aruna Turay
A ‘secret meeting’ summoned over the weekend by the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with the aim to find an internal solution to recent violence perpetrated by members of the Pa-O-Pa Camp against SLPP women and other members perceived to be operating outside the interest of Julius Maada Bio, ended in total pandemonium.
The meeting summoned by the party’s Western Regional Chairman on Saturday 1st June 2013 was invaded by Pa-O-Pa thugs, who did not only rain maternal abusive languages (mammy cusses) that reverberates to the streets, but also vow to rename the SLPP to fit their interest. The thugs chanted and even pasted posters on the walls of the party’s headquarters, indicating that the new name of the SLPP is Sierra Leone Maada Bio People’s Party (SLMBPP).
The invasion of the Pa-O-Pa thugs that resulted in the total obstruction of the meeting that was summoned to actually save certain Pa-O-Pa members from being dragged to court by SLPP women that were recently attacked and stripped half naked in Lumley, was independently confirmed to the Awareness Times Newspaper by Mr. Brima Keita, when this reporter contacted him on the phone.
According to Mr. Keita, he sent specific instructions to the party’s incumbent Constituency 112 Chairman, Joseph Musa to attend the meeting with all his zonal chairmen and executive members.
Keita was however taken aback when Joseph Musa allegedly stormed the meeting venue with people who were neither Zonal Chairmen nor Executive Members of Constituency 112.
The Awareness Times was later told that the group that accompanied Musa to the meeting comprised of members of the notorious Pa-O-Pa camp.
Eyewitnesses say the group actually entered the party’s headquarters with abusive languages backed with facial determination to unleash violence on anyone who attempts to stop them.
The insults were directed at senior members of the party and the thugs allegedly led by Musa were warning everybody to hands-off anything pertaining elections in Constituency 112.
They Pa-O-Pa rebels were even heard openly boasting that the terror recently unleashed on SLPP’s Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu at Lumley was just the beginning of so many planned attacks against non-supporters of Julius Maada Bio.
They threatened to unleash deadly attacks on anyone who dares to interfere in the primaries of Constituency 112.
In a related development however, victims of the Pa-O-Pa Lumley attack yesterday submitted their medical reports at the Lumley Police Division.
Local Unit Commander (LUC) Chief Superintendent Alhaji Gibril Kabba-Kamara has confirmed to the Awareness Times Newspaper that the investigation into the matter is in full swing. From Awareness Times.
Dangote in world’s top 25 richest with $20b fortune
Posted by: Our Reporter on June 4, 2013
Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has broken into the rank of the top 25 richest men in the world.
Forbes, the world’s renowned business/financial news magazine, has said that Dangote, the President/Chief Executive of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, has become the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20 billion fortune as the stock value of the flagship of his holding, Dangote Cement, leaped just about three-fourths since March when Forbes last released its annual ranking of the world’s richest people.
With a current market cap of $20.5 billion, Dangote Cement becomes the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalisation of over $20 billion.
Forbes reported that Dangote’s 93 per cent stake in the cement company is now worth $19.5 billion.
Added to this are his controlling stakes in other publicly-listed companies, such as Dangote Sugar and National Salt Company of Nigeria and his significant shareholdings in other blue-chips, such as Zenith Bank, UBA Group and Dangote Flour; his extensive real estate portfolio, jets, yachts and current cash position, which includes more than $300 million in recently awarded Dangote Cement, Dangote is now worth more than $20 billion.
Dangote is richer than Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, richer than India’s Lakshmi Mittal and running neck and neck with India’s Mukesh Ambani. He is catching up to such Americans as Google’s billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Dangote Cement has recorded an unprecedented surge in its share price, largely due to market response to the company’s impressive results in the first quarter of this year.
The cement manufacturer’s unaudited results for the three months ending March 31 had showed that the company’s pre-tax profit rose to $339 million, representing an 80.6% increase from last year and a strong indicator of the company’s future earning potential. The results also indicate a 79.5 % rise in its earnings per share over the corresponding period last year.
Carl Franklin, Dangote Cement’s Head of Investor Relations in the United Kingdom, explained the company’s share boost, in an email response to Forbes that in the first quarter of 2013, the company had a huge increase in demand across Nigeria, gas supply improved considerably and the capacity was much more ramped up.
“So Q1 was the first sign of just how profitable we can be in Nigeria. The amazing thing is that 66% of our gas-fired production in Q1 was done at 84% gas. Imagine what would happen to margins if we did the same amount at 95%. This has given investors a good sense of what we can really do when everything goes in the right direction,” Franklin said.
“It’s certainly a landmark for a Nigerian company and we’re proud to be the first to achieve it. Obviously we are focusing on building long-term and sustainable value for shareholders through our investments in Nigeria and Africa. Nigeria is a very entrepreneurial country and I can assure you that other companies will follow us in achieving this.”
Forbes reasoned that other companies might eventually achieve this, but it’s going to take a bit of time. Dangote Cement accounts for more than a quarter of the total market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The second largest company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is Nigerian Breweries, West Africa’s largest manufacturer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The company has a market cap of $8.5 billion.
Dangote made its debuted on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008, with a fortune pegged at $3.3 billion. His fortune dropped to $2.5 billion in 2009 and plunged further to $2.1 billion in 2010. It surged 557% in 2011 to $13.8 billion after he took Dangote Cement public. He dropped to $11.2 billion in last year’s rankings, but rebounded at $16.1 billion this year. Since March, Dangote’s fortune has jumped another 30%.
Dangote started building his fortune over three decades ago after taking a loan from Sanusi Dantata and started trading in commodities like flour, sugar and cement.
He became a billionaire after delving into manufacturing these items. He started making pasta, salt, sugar and flour in 1997. But he found his gold mine in cement, when he was awarded a government owned cement business in 2000 and began building his own plant in 2003. He listed Dangote Cement in 2010.
Today, it is Africa’s largest cement company, providing cement to Nigeria and other African countries that otherwise would likely have to pay to import much of the materials.
Dangote told Forbes Wealth Editor Luisa Kroll at Davos in 2011 that he expected his firm to have a market cap of $60 billion within five years. At $20.5 billion, Dangote Cement still has a long way to go to live up to that dream. From The Nation.
World Bank to channel funds direct to counties
By GRIFFINS OMWENGA firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Tuesday, June 4 2013 at 18:31
The World Bank has undertaken to fund county government projects directly over the next five years in a move aimed at supporting devolution.
The global lender on Tuesday said it is finalising on its five-year plan for Kenya in which devolution takes central position.
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, the new World Bank Country Director, Diarietou Gaye said the institution will disburse loans and grants directly to county governments provided the national government provides guarantee through the Treasury.
Ms Gaye said the bank, in its efforts to support the current devolution exercise, will work closely with counties to help in the set-up institutional and governance structures.
“The World Bank as a lender is in the forefront of supporting the government on devolution on all fronts and will provide its support in order to ensure that the exercise becomes a success,” said Ms Gaye said.
She said that the bank’s new “Country Partnership Strategy (CPS),” will reflect the face of the new form of government compared to the past where everything was centralised under the Finance ministry.
Senior World Bank economist Jane Kiringai said that the lender will work with the Treasury to set minimum threshold that counties must meet to receive funding from the lender.
However, the lender said, proper county structures must be in place and those seeking help must demonstrate they have the capacity to absorb any funding into viable projects upon approval by Treasury.
“We will have to work with the Treasury because the lending must be guaranteed by the national government and the projects will have to be viable and economically or socially feasible,” said Ms Kiringai.
The development comes at a time when the Treasury cautioned that it will not fund any budget deficits in the counties and that it will also monitor how funds allocated to them are spent.
Budget Controller Agnes Odhiambo warned that the national government needs to keep a keen eye on county spending.
In a recent report assessing the implementation of the 2012/2013 budget in the nine months to March 2013, Ms Odhiambo called for “a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework” to be put in place to “ensure close supervision of projects at county level”.
The Treasury last week succumbed to pressure from MPs and raised revenue to counties from Sh154.77 billion to Sh190 billion.
It also provided Sh20 billion as conditional grants to counties, raising the total revenue to counties from Sh198.6 billion to Sh210 billion.
At the same time, the national government has also raised its external debt ceiling to Sh1.2 trillion to allow it headroom to guarantee more external loans being lent to Kenya. From the Daily Nation.
Japanese Congressman to woo investors to Rwanda
President Paul Kagame, on Monday, met with a Japanese senior Congressman, Toshiaki Endo with whom they discussed promotion of investment from Japan, in both government and private sector among other issues.
This was after attending the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), which ended on Monday.
Endo, is the head of Budget committee of Japan parliament and the chairperson of Japan-Rwanda Parliamentary Friendship Association (JRPFA).
The President asked Endo to work toward increasing the number of Japanese tourists to Rwanda, promoting investment in both government and private sector, setting up “soft loan” (a loan with zero or low interest for a long term like 30 years) for projects in Rwanda, and technical support related to geothermal power generation.
Endo promised to make the best efforts on these issues and also to visit Rwanda in the near future with “good results.”
Growth in Africa
He told Kagame that JRPFA was set up two years ago based on the request by the former Rwandan Ambassador to Japan, Antoine Munyakazi Juru.
JRPFA now actively communicates with Ambassador Dr Charles Murigande, Endo told the President.
He commended Rwanda for its revival from Genocide and the continuous and stable economic growth and security.
Speaking after the 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.”
The conference brought together the leaders of 51 African nations as well as representatives of international organisations. From The New Times.
Following is the latest African comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across sub-Saharan Africa and down to the Cape:
South Africa: Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent
Ghana: NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4
Africa: Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation
Zambia: Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality
Rwanda: Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi
South Africa: Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?
Kenya: TJRC denies claims report was doctored
POSTED ON TUESDAY, JUNE 4TH, 2013
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma- Egba, is surely an interviewer’s delight. In this interview with Assistant Politics Editor, Celestine Okafor, in Abuja, Ndoma- Egba spoke on Senate’s achievements in two years and its next agenda. Egba, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), gave an insight into other critical issues. Excerpts:
How would you assess the performance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the past two years?
We have some successes and some challenges. It is more of a mixed grill. I believe that we have seen more improvements in the last two years in the area of infrastructure than we have seen in the previous regimes. I have seen more energy and resources expended in improving the power sector. But on the negative side, we have also seen an escalation in our security challenges. But the reassuring thing is that the security challenge is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is a global issue and it is not abetting. For us, it’s been a major challenge, a mixed grill. Our democracy is improving; freedoms are getting more and more entrenched. In our political life, we are free to say whatever we want to say. So in terms of the tangibles and the intangibles, we have been obliterated by the security challenges.
The Senate, last week, endorsed the state of emergency declared in some parts of the North-East zone by the federal government. Do you foresee the emergency rule translating to return to normalcy in those areas?
I think we are beginning to feel the successes already even though it is too early in the day because you cannot say how enduring this success will be. But I believe a state of emergency provide the best opportunity we have had since this insurgency escalated to deal with the issue decisively and squarely.
As the leader of the Senate, what will you consider as the landmark achievements of this seventh senate in the last two years?
The biggest achievement has being the stabilization of the polity. The senate worldwide and historically has been structured to stabilize the polity in terms of major crisis and this we have successfully done. If you recall in the beginning of 2012, the nation entered the year with a mass protest resulting from the removal of the fuel subsidy. And if you recall, it was the senate that stepped in to stabilize the polity. So we have played that historical role of stabling the polity each time the national integrity has been threatened. I can see that as the major success. A writer friend of mine sent me a text the other day about the news or massages making the round in the social media about the senate having spent seventy five billion naira to pass five bills. My immediate answer was how was the costing done? Because you can never cost how much it takes to pass a bill. Now if you look at the responsibility of the senate only in term of law making, then you have completely missed the point because parliament has a number of responsibilities and law making may be at the fore. But there are other responsibilities like oversight, advocacy and diplomacy. So how did they (rumour mongers) get the cost for that? I think all in all, the Senate has done fairly well. We have in process, the highest number of bills in the equivalent period than we had since 1999. I don’t have the statistics right here to be quite exact, but I can say for certainty that we have passed the highest number of bills within an equivalent period since 1999. So in terms of legislation, you can see some increases in what we have done. Even though when it comes to assessing a parliament, it is not against the numbers of bills passed that you assess them. Parliament is not a factory where you assess them by how many bills they have churned out from the factory line. So assessing the parliament on the basis of the number of bills is also missing the point. But even at that, you can see some responsibilities to bill making. You can also see a short of the response time to national issues. So I think that the institution (National Assembly) has indeed matured.
You raised a critical point about public impression that the National Assembly is only a mere money-guzzling arm of government, which may not be true. Why is it that the legislature has not been able to correct this seeming wrong public impression it is a profligate body?
It is a mindset. It is not as if we have not been talking about it or correcting the impression. We talk about it all the time. It’s just a public mindset. For the period in our history that the military ruled this country, Nigerians have lived without the parliament. So they got used to living their life without the legislature. Therefore they believed that they can do without the parliament. The parliament now easily becomes the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong. I want to use this opportunity to say again, that out of a budget of about N5trillion, the appropriation for the National Assembly which includes the Senate, the House of Representative and the entire National Assembly bureaucracy, the legislative institute, the National Assembly Service Commission and the subscription to International Parliamentary Organizations and everything including the capital and recurrent expenditure is only N150 billion.
That is under three per cent of the entire national budget. So what is this fixation about 3 percent or less than three percent. You can imagine the public indifference to what happens to 97 percent and what comes to the other organs of government. So it is a public mindset which is very wrong and misplaced. It is not as if we are not addressing it. I am addressing now and again. I have done that on television, in my interviews and we have spoken about it on the floor of the Senate. But Nigerians have just developed that mindset that there must be a scapegoat and normally, it is the National Assembly in this circumstance because the people of this country have lived without us in the past years. But the irony is that it is the same parliament that the people think they can live without that is the symbol of that democracy that Nigerian yearned for. It is an ironic situation.
What should the people of this country expect from the Senate in the remaining two years of your tenure?
As we mature, we will deliver more quickly on the public expectation of us. We will carry out every aspect of our legislative duty with more efficiency and greater maturity. One thing I can assure Nigerians at all times is that this senate will stabilize the nation in times of crisis. We don’t pray for crisis, but this senate will play its role in stabilizing the country.
The opposition parties which have already formed a coalition have vowed to vanquish the PDP in the 2015 general elections. Does your party (PDP) really stand a chance with the people, again, at the polls?
Well, I see a lot of activity in the media. I don’t see a corresponding activity in the political turf. What we see is this hype about the opposition merging and so on. What has not been said is that as the opposition is merging with others, there are several other political parties also talking to PDP to merge with us. Even within this opposition parties that are merging, there are some of them even looking at PDP because their circumstances have changed with the merger. So there is going to be a lot traffic either way. But the important thing is that I don’t see this talk or this agitated media talk being translated to political organization on the ground? I will say I don’t see it yet or may be my sight is not good. There is no correlation absolutely between what is happening in the media and what is happening out there in the field. Even with the talk of merger, we had elections in the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) but all that hype did not reflect in any result? And you cannot say that the FCT is exclusively PDP. So a lot is being said, but we will like to see also a lot being done. As for the PDP, I don’t have any fears. We have high magnitude of crisis in the country. Because of our size, I should also expect that our problems will be large. Like they say, that the bigger the head, the bigger the headache. Therefore our problem is also commensurate with our size. But the most important thing is that we have this in-built mechanism for resolving our conflicts. You have seen it from 1999. PDP has had one crisis or the other but the party has always resolved its crisis. PDP has never splintered. It has never gone into factions unlike the other political parties. Whatever they[ opposition] perceive as our crisis now can never be any different from what we’ve had in the past. We will get over the crisis. But whether the other parties can get over their own crisis when it happens is a different story. So I don’t worry about the PDP because we have internal mechanism to survive every crisis. We also have the spread and the penetration in this country to remain solid. PDP is the only party you can find in this country that is virtually everywhere in Nigeria. The other parties that are merging will continue to exist where they have traditionally existed. It is not as if their penetration is going to get any deeper. But like I said, if that is going to happen, I haven’t seen any signs of that anywhere.
In two years of your four year tenure, what will you say were the achievements you have recorded in your constituency? As senate leader and cognate member, a lot is being expected from you?
My major achievement is that the federal government no longer treats us like any other senatorial constituency. Before now, we didn’t have any federal presence. All the federal projects in my area were abandoned. But in the last two years, very serious work has gone on these projects. Today, we have major interventions like the World Bank Projects, African Development Bank (ADB) projects and federal government projects. They are now receiving attention and new projects are also being awarded. At least, what I can claim as a major success is the attention that my state and constituency is now getting from the federal government.
It is expected that political leaders of the South South zone like you should intervene in the lingering face-off between the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Presidency. Recently, the House of Reps conducted a public hearing on the grounding of the bombardier aircraft belonging to the Rivers state government?
Well, it is not just the face-off between Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the President, Goodluck Jonathan. We also have a situation of another face-off between Governor Godswill Akpabio and one of our own senators, Alloysius Etok. When the PDP caucus of the Senate met last week, we set up two panels. One headed by the Deputy Senate President to engage Mr. President and governor Amaechi. And I can say that a few days ago, the panel was in Port Harcourt to engage Amaechi. I have informally engaged governor Akpabio. We are hoping that my own panel will formally meet with him (Akpabio) this week. So we are working on that. But I don’t think that given the sensitivity of the issues, we should be working on the pages of the newspapers. From the Daily Independent.
Analysis: The long, hard NDP of discontent
The National Development Plan is supposed to lead us all to the brighter, sunnier, somehow better scrubbed future, right? That’s what we’ve all been told, by Number One, no less. So how come the NDP became stuck in the political mud? Why is it we hear very strong voices against it, and only a kind of half-hearted refrain in its favour? And what does this really tell us about our country, power, and where our little hand-basket is going? By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If you can think back to the blazing heat of Bloem in December, everyone was talking about two major questions. Would Motlanthe stay on as Deputy President after he lost, and wow, was the National Development Plan going to be the country’s Number One legacy? There was really nothing else to it.
When you get right down to it, Mangaung was an expression of President Jacob Zuma’s power at its fullest. He’d marched in the troops from KZN, given them their orders, and they obeyed them to the letter. The political management was such that once he opened the conference and started speaking, primarily about the NDP, nothing else was on the table. Zuma didn’t even want a proper discussion about it, it must just be adopted, and become ANC policy.
And, as we know at the moment, what Number One wants, Number One gets. The NDP became official ANC policy, after being adopted, we’re told, by consensus. Branches had decided, and there is no going back, you’d have to have another conference to do that. And no one wants one of those right now. Unless Waterkoof is available.
But there actually hasn’t been a discussion. This isn’t about whether all the Mangaung delegates actually read the plan. It’s about whether there was really any discussion about anything else. Was any alternative provided, was there even any democratic space for one to be proposed? Sure, Number One’s people are going to turn around and say that it was up to delegates in their commissions, but it’s also up to them to ensure there’s an atmosphere in which people feel they’re able to bring up alternatives. And you can be sure that Number One’s opening speech would have nixed any of that. You would have to have been a Kgalema-ite to even think of it.
So what we have now, is a formally adopted document. But it hasn’t been accepted by almost anyone.
Number One is powerful, but even he is not powerful enough to get everyone in the Alliance behind one thing. And that lack of power is finally beginning to show. Because if he were a true a democrat, if he really gave a fig about Cosatu and the SACP, he would have ensured they were on board long before Mangaung started. They wouldn’t be fighting about the NDP now.
That’s not to say Number One was wrong. There’s not a chance he would have got everyone behind the blasted thing even if he’d tried. And most other politicians in his position would have done exactly the same. It was political management that allowed Tony Blair to drop Clause IV from the British Labour Party’s Constitution. There’s not a chance Barack Obama has ever forced every member of the Democratic Party to agree with his programmes. That’s simply not how modern politics works. While in the UK you go for John Prescott or create strange delegate rules in the US, we have a different system.
We go to political conferences for one thing and one thing only. To elect, or re-elect someone. If Polokwane and Mangaung had anything in common, it was the mood of the day after the election. If it were a movie, it would be Hangover Part IV: Mangaung Meltdown, with Mike Tyson playing JZ. And after the hangover, people just started to leave. They’d done what they came to do, and once you’ve done that, why stick around?
So policy, at national ANC conferences, and provincial ones, plays a fiddle so far away from the main orchestra pit, it’s actually in the parking lot. This means it’s not done properly. It’s not discussed, there’s no evaluation, and there’s no real point to it.
The time has come to seriously ask, if an ANC conference agrees on something, does that actually mean anything? Anything at all? Can you, as an investor, really read anything into what an ANC conference decides?
It’s only now that people are actually reading the NDP, and discussing it properly. Sure it’s taken a while, but look, this is the Left we’re talking about. They have to organise a study group, apply their critique, work out where their dialectic machine went, and find the batteries for their Apple Macs. But now they’re up and running.
And they’re not pleased. Oh they’re hiding it nicely, but they’re really enjoying it about as much as getting caught on TV in the red Chris Hani T-shirt driving the second BMW. It started with the metalworkers’ union NUMSA, Cosatu’s Political Committee is discussing it this week, and the SACP has now uttered one of its more memorable phrases, saying the NDP should not be “monumentalised”. Like how, please, Blade? Monumentalised like Voortrekkehoogte, or like Freedom Park? Or, gulp horror, like Nelson Mandela Square?
But now that the Left has sunk its teeth into the NDP, they’re going to tear it apart, bit by bit. And the bits they really aren’t going to like will be in the economic policy section. Things like the Youth Wage Subsidy simply aren’t going to sit nicely on the bookshelf with Das Kapital. In any development plan, it’s only the the economic policy section that really matters. And if there’s no agreement on that, then what’s the point?
So what’s going to happen is what always happens. We put it off. We delay. We don’t take action until we absolutely have to. And this means all the political pressure is taken off the people who are supposed to take responsibility for it, the political leaders, and placed on the shoulders of those who are supposed to implement it. The people in the parastatals, the lower levels in the ministries. Everyone in government from Number Three downwards.
And this is what leads to what you and I both know will be the inevitable delays. The whole point of the NDP is that we actually need to start acting pretty damn quickly. Building infrastructure is something you can’t put off forever. Think Eskom. But we’re not even doing that properly yet, because we’re going to fight about it first. But not out in the open. Not as a policy spat with public debates and opportunities for people to insult each other in the website comment section of their choice. Instead, it’s going to be endless proxy wars fought through deployments to parastatals, to government jobs, to places in government that are actually supposed to implement policy, rather than decide it.
What will emerge will be a strange hodge-podge where one or two elements of the plan will be easily identifiable, there’ll be a tinge of NDP here and there, with a hint of IPAP over there. And it simply won’t be good enough. We won’t have planned properly, we won’t have put together what we need, we won’t have thought properly about the future. DM
Grootes is an Eyewitness News Reporter and the Host of the Midday Report on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk From the Daily Maverick
NDC WILL LOSE 2016 …Jerry Rawlings Booms On June 4
While the National Democratic Congress (NDC) fights for survival at the Supreme Court in the ongoing election petition, its founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings, is skeptic about the party retaining power in the 2016 general elections.
Mr. Rawlings, who addressed cadres on the eve of the 34th celebration of the June 4th Revolution in 1979 at his Ridge residence in Accra, said the country appeared to be moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, and would need the ingenuity of President John Mahama to reverse the trend.
He said until this was done, the NDC would find it difficult to retain power in the next general elections.
According to Mr. Rawlings, much of the gains made through the era of the revolution, and the principles that gave birth to it, seem to be fast eroding, and now the country is afoot a reversal trend.
Mr. Rawlings attributed much of the setback the country has suffered to the actions and inactions of former President Kufuor and the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
“In spite of the many achievements, many setbacks and reversals have also taken place. But, for more than a decade now, Ghana appears to have been moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, thanks to Presidents Mills and Kufuor/John II and John III.
“President Mahama has the responsibility to pull this country out of that tunnel. How well, how far and how soon John IV can achieve that, is hard to say.”
Speaking of the paradox of the Africa’s poverty in the mix of plenty, Mr. Rawlings emphasised that contrary to assertions that Africa was enjoying an economic upsurge, the reality remained that this was only true for the tiny minority. “The reality for the vast majority is pain and suffering,” he stated.
An observation, which, he said, remained true about many African states, is the fact that “too much power and too much money is being held up in the hands of a few too many wrong people.”
He observed, with some reservation, the foreign dominance and impunity with which some foreign entities operate in the country.
“…Here in Ghana, we see that Accra, the capital, is also almost on the verge of losing out to the impunity of foreign domination. While Ghana cannot close its doors to the rest of the world, it is important that the relevant institutions and citizens remain vigilant, and ensure that every visitor to our country adheres strictly to the laws of our land.
“If we fail to do so, then, in the not too distant future, I truly wonder if the heartbeat of this country will be that of Ghanaians.”
He also used the opportunity to debunk a publication which placed him in the ‘Millionaires list’ in Africa, worth $50 million.
According to him, unlike others who sold their conscience and country for wealth, his values of integrity have been his watch word.
“My fellow countrymen, my value as a man of principle and integrity is incalculable. The difference is that in my situation, I have never exchanged or sold my conscience, or sold my country, my principles or my integrity for money, or destroyed honourable people for money.”
He said the only reason why anyone would make such false claims about him was to sanitise the concept of being a multi-millionaire acceptable to people, and make it look criminal, even if ill-gotten.
“Why then, will such a false statement about me being a multi-millionaire be made? While the statement may be true for most of the others, why add a false statement about Rawlings to that list?
“In order to sanitise the concept of being [a] multi-millionaire, distinguished persons whose values are unrelated to money must be made to also look like multi-millionaires, in order to make the concept acceptable to people in general.
“Being a millionaire, even if ill-acquired, must not be made to look criminal, so that such people can enjoy their loot in safety. Therefore, if Rawlings is made to appear like a multi-millionaire, then there is nothing wrong with others also being multi-millionaires,” he said.
He charged all to help restore the values of the June 4 Revolution, and hold leaders accountable for their stewardship.
“Let us demand more from our leaders, including myself, in terms of probity and accountability. Let us protect those values every day in our schools and workplaces by refusing to go along with lying, cheating, thievery and injustice, but instead, stand up for truth, justice, fairness, respect for each other, and love for our beautiful country.” From The Chronicle.
Visa Requirements In Africa Hamper Trade, Job Creation
By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services, or education.
Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.
During the African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, a high-level panel, organised jointly by the World Economic Forum and the African Development Bank, discussed the benefits of relaxing visa restrictions throughout Africa.
Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba, ECOWAS Commissioner of macroeconomic policy, underlined that Africans mainly migrate to Africa.
In ECOWAS, more than 80% of all migration is intra-regional. Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80% African countries, and these restrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa, than for Europeans and North Americans.
In his opening remarks, Professor Ncube underlined that “The movement of talent and people is at the core of regional integration and is a core pillar of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy. Twenty-five percent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would boom.”
Razia Khan, who is head of research in Africa for Standard Chartered Bank, introduced herself rather as a citizen of an African country, traveling extensively within Africa – who often measures the time that it takes to get visas against the amount of economic research that could have been developed.
Leonard Rugwabiza, Director, General Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda, shared the lessons of Rwanda, which has moved to biometrix border management, low restrictions on transfer of services in engineering and legal services as well as visas on arrival for all African citizens since January 1, 2013.
Rwanda, with a limited number of embassies abroad, has also introduced e-visas in order to reduce the costs and time constraints of people in obtaining visas.
He confirmed that “since we opened our borders, tourism from African countries has increased by 24%.”
Furthermore, “trade actually shifted from being oriented to Europe and North America, and is now oriented to neighbouring countries. Trade with neighbouring countries increased by 50% last year, and trade with neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo rose by 73%.”
Abdul Awl, Board Member of Dabashill Group, concluded that: “The private sector is the engine of growth, and we all talk about improving the climate for business sector. Visas are a major barrier, and pose restrictions on doing business.” From The Chronicle.
Zambia sees growing intolerance of homosexuality
By Obert Simwanza
LUSAKA (AFP) – Two high-profile cases involving a suspected gay couple and a homosexual rights activist come back-to-back in Zambian courts this week raising concerns over growing homophobia.
Rights activist Paul Kasonkomona, 38, returns to court Tuesday after his arrest in April for demanding that homosexuality be decriminalised in a television programme.
Barely a month later 21-year-old barber Philip Mubiana and bricklayer James Mwape, 20, were arrested and charged with sodomy.
Zambia’s laws have outlawed same-sex relationships since colonialism under Britain, and a sodomy conviction carries a 14-year prison sentence.
Yet these are the first such cases in recent history in the southern African country amid an increasingly anti-gay climate.
“Those advocating gay rights should go to hell, that is not an issue we will tolerate,” Home Affairs minister Edgar Lungu told reporters last month.
“There will be no such discussion on gay rights. That issue is foreign to this country,” he said.
The government’s hardline stance enjoys the backing of Christian organisations.
International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) president Simon Chihana said gay rights should not be allowed in Zambia.
“Such acts are abomination,” he said.
“The government should not even think of allowing such, no matter the pressures from the international community or whoever,” he added.
Local media have taken up the issue and gay rights have also become a hot topic around ordinary Zambians, though the reasons for the recent crackdown are unclear.
But gay Africans’ plight is not limited to Zambia.
Neighbouring Uganda’s parliament is considering a bill that will make homosexuality punishable by death.
President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe to the south famously branded gays “worse than pigs and dogs”.
Malawi, another neighbouring country, in 2010 jailed a gay couple for 14 years for celebrating their wedding.
Then president Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned the two men, but branded their union “satanic”.
Since his death in 2012 Malawi has frozen anti-gay laws under new President Joyce Banda pending a parliamentary debate.
South Africa is the only African country where gay marriage is legal, but the right seems to be a preserve of the rich.
Homosexuals have been murdered in its impoverished townships.
Now in Zambia rights activists like Andrew Ntewewe note the increased threats with concern.
“From what is happening, it’s clear that we are an intolerant nation to individuals with different sexual orientation,” said Ntewewe, who heads the organisation Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
“The rights of every individual should be respected irrespective of colour, religion, tribe or sexual orientation,” he added.
Kasonkomona’s arrest raised the ire of rights groups who call for his immediate release. He has pleaded not guilty to soliciting for immoral purposes.
The suspected gay couple are back in the dock on Wednesday. They were granted bail after an initial arrest, but detained a second time days later following accusations they had had intercourse again.
They have pleaded not guilty to having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, and plan to challenge the constitutionality of their case when they appear in court in Kapiri Mposhi, 210 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Lusaka.
Human rights activist Josab Changa said locking away pro-gay activists or those involved in same-sex relationships was “infringement” on their rights.
“Human rights should be respected irrespective of the perceived evil that somebody may do,” said Changa.From Modern Ghana
Atoning for her brother’s atrocities against the Tutsi
‘I was not around when my brother was killing but he, along with his friends, would come back home boasting of how many Tutsis they had killed, which would hurt me throughout the days but there was nothing I could do at the time.’ – Zerda Nyiranzage
Zerda Nyiranzage has lived the last 19 years hearing footsteps on the pavements. But the footsteps behind her are not hers, but rather, for her brother.
The brother is long dead, and for Nyiranzage, the guilt that stalks her everywhere reminds her to atone for her brother’s atrocities in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“I have always felt a huge burden of the killings committed by my brother in the Genocide against the Tutsi,” Nyiranzage, from Rwanteru Cell, Kigina Sector in Kirehe District, said of her deceased sibling’s involvement in the Genocide.
She shared her testimony at Rusumo High School in Kirehe as the first phase of the YouthConnekt Dialogue was officially concluded on Monday.
Nyiranzage said she committed to participate in community work alongside Genocide ex-convicts to help the impoverished Genocide widows.
Most of the former convicts she works with served under Works for General Interest (Tig) programme, which saw thousands of convicts partly serve their sentence doing community work.
“I was not around when my brother was killing but he, along with his friends, would come back home boasting of how many Tutsis they had killed, which would hurt me throughout the days but there was nothing I could do at the time,” Nyiranzage said.
She is a member of the group that is committed to preach unity and reconciliation in the district, through bringing together those whose families were killed and those of the perpetrators.
“People ridiculed me for joining the ex-convicts in the community work where my brother would be, but this is where I feel peaceful, it’s where I feel the burden of my brother’s killings taken away from me,” she added.
The group made of Genocide ex-convicts, survivors and relatives of those who participated in the killings has built 26 houses for survivors, among other activities in the community.
“If we all preached reconciliation and unity, our country would definitely be a good place – much to the description of the adage that Rwanda is a country of milk and honey,” Nyiranzage said.
The mayor Protais Murayire commended the activities of the group, saying the district intends to extend such initiatives in other sectors.
The initiative currently has activities in Kigina and Kirehe sectors.
Youth Connekt Dialogue is a series of discussions carried out countrywide among the youth on the history of Rwanda and the way forward, mainly on the development of the country.
Organised by Arts for Peace, a group of musicians and authors led by actor and award-winning filmmaker Edouard Bamporiki and the Ministry of Youth and ICT, YouthConnekt Dialogue has so far toured 14 districts.
The tours have been running under the theme, “A promise of a generation.”
At every tour, the youth bench-marked how they want the future of their country to be.
Bamporiki, the producer of the film, Long Coat, has had his own story to share, because of his own father’s role in the Genocide.
“Ours is tragic history but it can’t stop us from building a progressive nation,” Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Youth and ICT, told youth at the dialogue.
May is dedicated to the activities for the youth to sit and discuss their role in building a prosperous nation.
The YouthConnekt dialogue was mooted last year during a meeting between the youth and President Paul Kagame.
“This has given us a good picture of how the youth are recommitting to develop the country further and promising that they will be the hands that will strengthen Rwanda,” Mbabazi said.
She added that the tour that saw them visit the Iwawa Youth Rehabilitation and Skills Development Centre in Lake Kivu showed that the youth can be the best patriots.
“It’s very inspiring that there is mindset change, and I like the way they say that we love the country; ‘we will work for it, even if it means to give our life.’ That’s patriotism and that’s what we are inculcating in the youth,” she added.
Mbabazi said it will be an annual event where the youth share ideas of how to further build their country, adding that a follow-up will be made to ensure that the commitments made are implemented. From The New Times.
Hacking murders: Drugs or Satanism?
04 JUN 2013 11:53 KHUTHALA NANDIPHA
Brutal hackings across SA have raised the spectre of Satanism and drug use in terrified communities. But the reality is more complex than that.
Walking through the crowded Chris Hani Road in Chiawelo, Soweto, you can feel a chill down your spine. The silence is almost tangible and the stares are as direct and sticky as an accusation. The silence is suddenly broken by four elderly women walking past a particular house, exclaiming loudly to each other that Satanism is very much alive in their community.
Their voices sink lower at the mention of the recent spate of four brutal murders, particularly that of a 95-year-old woman stabbed to death by her 38-year-old grandson on this street last week. It is alleged that he killed her for her pension money while under the influence of drugs; however neighbours are adamant that Satanism is at play.
The same accusation has been flung in the case of four family members in Benoni who were brutally hacked by a 14-year-old boy using an axe. Three died and one is recovering in hospital. Community members have accused the teen of sacrificing his family in a Satanic ritual, while others believe he was under the influence of drugs – the sentiment Chiawelo residents share.
“Satanism is real; the instigators have made testimonies on live TV and radio. The manner in which this granny and the other family were murdered surely is a sign that our young people are not in control,” said Nomvuyo Sibaya, a neighbour.
She added that although drugs – particularly nyaope – were freely available in the township, this kind of behaviour was too brutal for drug addicts.
Nyaope is a cocktail of, among other things, rat poison, dagga, heroin and antiretroviral medication.
‘The need to see blood’
“Our children buy nyaope at spaza shops every day, some make their own nyaope mix, and they don’t hack people to death. At most, they will steal a fridge or rob people. The need to see blood splattered is an act of Satanism,” she said.
Anna Moyo of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), however, attributed this behaviour to the ever growing decay of the social system. The levels of poverty, lack of prospects for the youth and the general impatience are said to be the main causes of violent crimes in South Africa.
“It is hard to attribute these incidents directly to Satanism as there is no extensive research done to substantiate that. The legacy of apartheid and colonialism are the key drivers. This speaks to high levels of inequality; unemployment, poverty, social and political exclusion,” she said.
Moyo added that drugs were widely used by perpetrators of the hackings as a result of this social context.
This perspective was supported by the Institute for Security Studies’s Johan Burger, a crime specialist. He insisted that South Africa may never make a significant dent in its high crime rate until it fixed the economic inequality that has resulted in one of the highest wealth gaps between the haves and have-nots in the world between.
Dr Sello Mokoena of Gauteng’s agriculture, rural and social development department warned against using unfounded references to Satanism as a way to derail the main scourge of alcohol and drug use. “It is difficult to comment on Satanism but this attitude undermines the fight against the social problems that need to be addressed promptly,” he reiterated.
Mental state of the two
So far, police investigations have not given a clear indication of the mental state of the two accused. The social development department in the meantime said it would focus on the catastrophic implications of nyaope being so easily accessible. In both cases, it is suspected that drugs, especially nyaope, were the main catalysts. In a summit held earlier this year, social stakeholders resolved to lobby for the strengthening of law enforcement efforts to reduce access to it and other drugs.
But locals in Soweto and Benoni are adamant that if drugs were the cause, such murder cases would be rife in places such as Eldorado Park, where Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane recently set up a task team to fight drug use in the area.
According to the South African Police Service’s figures, 60% of crimes nationally are related to substance abuse and nyaope users constitute a substantial number of users. Last year, in Gauteng alone, 25 949 drug-related crimes were recorded. Of great concern was that nyaope users were typically between the impressionable ages of 13 and 19.
Yet in the impoverished community of Chiawelo and others like it, where small houses crowd upon each other and news spreads like wildfire, paranoia persists about these brutal hackings. Satanism offers a convenient explanation for gossiping elders to explain the behaviour of an alienated and often depressed youth they don’t understand.
“Whether we say it is drugs or not, it is all a part of Satanic practices,” concluded Sibaya firmly, before continuing on her way. From Mail & Guardian.
Robert Mugabe grooming Bona for leadership?
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe recently caught many unaware when he travelled to Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia for the African Golden Jubilee celebrations accompanied by his daughter, Bona.
Mugabe’s wife, Grace did not travel with the president.
Bona, 24 who resembles her mother, looked at ease as she walked the red carpet and greeted Zanu PF politicians and cabinet ministers who usually converge at Harare International Airport to bid Mugabe farewell or welcome him.
The world over, we have had presidents like US’s Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton grace platforms accompanied by their spouses and daughters, hence sending a sense of family and unity.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently introduced his twins to the nation as he accompanied them to register as voters.
But it is the recent image of Mugabe and Bona travelling together on an international assignment that has had all and sundry asking; is the president grooming Bona for the future?
Bona seems to be a favourite of Mugabe ahead of his two sons and in a recent interview with SABC talk show host Dali Tambo, the president describes Bona, a postgraduate student, as “very obedient” and “absolutely trustworthy.”
Asked if any of his children take after him, Mugabe, who boasts an impressive array of degrees, said: “They are still young. The girl, perhaps, yes. She wants to be a chartered accountant. We are very happy for her.”
Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu says Zimbabweans should not read much into the president’s travelling with his daughter.
“From past interviews the president has spoken glowingly of his admiration of his daughter who, among all his children, he approximated her intellectual prowess to his.
“The president like any parent is showing fondness for Bona and obviously grooming her for leadership, but I doubt that to be political. In all the images I have seen of Bona and the president she does not appear to show any enthusiasm for sloganeering or admiration of the bootlickers and Zanu PF supporters that surround her father. Some grooming is certainly taking place but not for politics,” says Mukundu.
He says having experienced the pains of politics for over five decades he doubts the president would want her daughter to go through that.
Bona, named after Mugabe’s mother, was set to get married, Mugabe revealed. Asked by Tambo what qualities he would look for in a future husband for Bona, Mugabe says: “Regarding such approaches, one from a wolf who has come to seize one of my lambs — that’s the feeling. But it must be a person of her own choice. My hope would be first, qualities of a good husband will live with her, because he loves her through thick and thin and not just look at her now as she still is that flower, attractive, blooming.”
“She will have kids and quite a lot of what is now the real charm will disappear and the face will start having wrinkles. So he should not pit her at that time against up and coming younger ones, which is what most people do and as a result we get lots of divorces.”
Phillip Pasirayi, Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ)’s director, said Mugabe wants to groom Bona for a future political role.
“From the look of things it seems the president is closer to Bona than he is to Chatunga.
“They are close probably because Bona emulates her dad’s educational and political exploits.
“I suspect that Bona wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps.
“The lad (Chatunga) is an embarrassment to the First Family after he came out of high school empty-handed,” said Pasirayi.
In the SABC interview Mugabe chides Bellarmine (Chatunga), whose studies at a private school came to an abrupt end earlier this year.
“He has not made me happy in the way he takes to his studies. He should be more serious than he is at the moment.”
Mugabe is a known academic who holds several degrees but is disappointed with his sons who have dismally failed most examinations. Chatunga’s older brother, Robert Junior, also at St Georges College failed his Ordinary levels with a string of U’s (ungraded).
Chatunga only managed to score 14 units during his grade seven examinations which he sat for in 2009 at Hartmann House, the preparatory school for St George’s College, one of the oldest and most exclusive private boys’ school in Zimbabwe.
Although Robert Jnr has also proven to be a laggard educationally — a fact confirmed by Mugabe in a media interview last year — the youngster has, however, excelled in sport, especially basketball.
At some point, the young man even played for the Zimbabwe under-18 team, where he was a star and firm favourite of adoring girls. Commenting on his son’s abysmal failure, a jocular Mugabe said then that Robert had become an “undertaker” for a string of ungraded marks in his examinations.
Playwright Daves Guzha says it is good that Mugabe is exposing his children to the world.
He said gone are the days when people could whisper about the First Family.
“We have had presidents like Obama and Bill Clinton travelling with their daughters so as to expose them to the world. It is a strategy that works as it shows that the president is a family man and loving father,” says Guzha.
Guzha says the president, just like any father should be proud of his children and as a former teacher; he would have loved to have a disciplined family.
“It is his wish that his children attain the highest level of education. It seems of now it is only Bona doing well at school.”
Mugabe and Grace recently attended the graduation ceremony of Bona Mugabe at City University in Hong Kong where they joined hundreds of other parents who came to celebrate their children’s achievements in the university’s Chan Tai Ho Hall.
Bona graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) in Accountancy.
Harare Residents Trust, (HRT) director Precious Shumba says Mugabe is exposing his children to national and international affairs, political, social, cultural and economical, whereupon he believes they will genuinely catch on and become involved in the affairs of the state, and probably in Zanu PF, taking up leadership positions.
“If done above board there is nothing wrong, but if they are imposed, this has potential to cause disaffection from party members and those that work with them. “However, I think that the president is genuinely trying to build his children to enjoy his presidency while learning the intricate nature of leadership, probably for their business empire, and subsequently for political office in the future,” said Shumba.
Political activist Tabani Moyo says it is difficult to read into the mind of the octogenarian leader especially nowadays.
“However, judging from the general tendencies of dictatorships across the continent is that they showcase poor succession plans when they are still young and active. Like a rude awakening call they are quick to settle for last minute grooming efforts.
“At times such efforts do not show logical conclusions and choice and process but they do it all the same,” said Moyo.
Moyo said he hoped that on this specific trip the first family was on a joint state business and holiday rather than grooming the daughter for public office, “because there are readily available leaders within and without Mugabe’s party.”
Social and media commentator Thomas Deve says children often travel with their parents as part of discovering what the world has to offer, but in so doing, they get extended exposure and enjoy the trappings of power.
“That process makes them aspire to maintain privileges associated with their parents’ jobs and will generally gravitate towards the good life if it is going to be guaranteed by politics. But at the same time, other children resist the grooming and opt for less sophisticated or alternative lifestyles, no wonder why we have many children of politicians that hate politics with a passion.” – Daily News. From the Zimbabwe Mail.
TUESDAY, 04 JUNE 2013 09:29 BY JOAN AKELLO
After the hosts- Uganda Christian University choir warmed the congregation through African praise and dances, a fire spitting Nigerian preacher convinced hundreds to get Born Again just like the Uganda Martyrs. That was not all; he preached for a record one and half hours against tribalism and religious hypocrisy.
“When we wear our robes as Bishops, some of us behave holier than Jesus,” yet Rt.Rev. Timothy Yahaya says, “There are people playing religion in church but living in hell.”
Yahaya, also Bishop of Jalingo Diocese Nigeria, was preaching on the theme dubbed being faithful witnesses to the end to mark the Uganda Martyrs day at the Anglican side. “ The Gospel must cross tribal barriers, languages .
Stop preaching the Gospel basing ion tribes , divisions and culture because,” Rt. Rev. Timothy Yahaya said, “ even the nation of Uganda has to hear this-the Word of God should be for all.”
Yahaya said, according to internet searches, the Ugandan martyrs were persecuted because they refused to participate in traditional sacrifice and some were against Kabaka Mwanga’s homosexual practices.
“These young man travelled on foot for days , the mistreatment, humiliation, the fear of death ,and the shrine of traditional religion was enough to change their minds but they decided to die on conviction on what they believed,” he said.
He likened the circumstances under which the martyrs were killed to present day Nigeria where Christians cannot enter church with bags nor park cars on church compounds.
The church can be bombed with believers in what he calls a world where Satanism and anti –Christ are persecuting the church.
“In Northern Nigeria today, some of our people have been maimed, some have lost their legs but that has not killed the spirit of the Gospel,” Yahaya added, the more they kill us the more we worship Christ.”
The Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi representing government assured Yahaya Nigeria will overcome since Uganda had experienced the same turmoil before.
Uganda is stable and though there are challenges, its stability will not be shaken,” Amama said.
UCU vice chancellor, Rt. Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi said the university spent between Shs 200 to Shs 300million on the Namugongo preparations such as minimal renovations and improvements to preserve the historical site for posterity which he said is ‘ordinarily the prerogative of government to giuve it a national status’.
He added that UCU has facilitated the writing of a new Liturgy for the church of Uganda as one oth activities to mark the centenary celebrations of UCU whose history is interlinked with Bishop Tucker College that was founded in 1913.
James Ogoola the Chief guest said ‘the blood of the martyrs is but the watering of the church, therefore it should remember all the martyrs including Janani Luwum, the third Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Bishop James Hannington who was killed in Busoga.
“Lest we forget , Bishop Hannington was the first Bishop of Equatorial Africa( todays Easst and Central Africa) …he was murdered literally on the eve of the slaughter of the Namugongo martyrs whom we celebrate here.”
Ogoola says Bukedi Diocese is spearheading the Hannington Theological College to teach lay readers and priests in memory of the Bishop.
“I want to challenge the Uganda Christian University (successor to Bishop Theological College) and the entire Church of the Province, to remember and honour Bishop James Hannington, the pioneer pillar of the Church of Uganda…came before Bishop Tucker; in whose martyred footsteps Bishop Tucker walked; indeed whose body Bishop Tucker exhumed from Mumias in Kenya for final burial at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala, Uganda.
Yahaya charged the clergy in Uganda to build more churches, but also ensure they do not act like the Western world that ‘ planted churches and handed them over to auditors, administrators, and undertakers’. From The Independent.
TJRC denies claims report was doctored
- “We differed on the source of information presented. No proper search had been conducted to link individuals to the alleged land parcels but the international commissioners insisted on including the information,” Prof Ojienda stated.
Members of the Truth commission have dismissed claims that their final report was doctored.
Speaking on behalf of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)’s local members, Prof Tom Ojienda, who authored the land chapter, dismissed claims by his foreign counterparts that some information incriminating senior government officials was deleted.
Prof Ojienda claimed the move by his counterparts was “a desperate attempt to register dissent, which was defeated at the committee plenary”.
He said a last-minute bid to include information a foreign commissioner alleged were intentionally excluded, was rejected due to lack of credible evidence.
“We differed on the source of information presented. No proper search had been conducted to link individuals to the alleged land parcels but the international commissioners insisted on including the information,” Prof Ojienda stated.
He said the information was largely supplied by a former MP from the Coast, whose allegations were unsubstantiated.
“These commissioners’ attempted to register a dissent but time run out. We only have one complete report. And it is the one we gave to the President on May 21,” he said.
Commissioners Ronald Slye, Gertrude Chawatama and Berhanu Dinka have claimed the TJRC report presented to President Kenyatta had several chapters on land revised and some information deleted.
“We recognise the irony of a commission dedicated to truth, justice and reconciliation, suppressing the voice of the minority in clear violation of our procedures,” the three commissioners said in a statement.
The commission’s chief executive Tom Chavanji could not confirm or deny if the report was edited or not. From the Daily Nation.
Endsit, and Bi-Bi.