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

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest African news, comment and opinion from sub-Saharan Africa, takenby the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent, and down to the Cape.

Please do support the Centre with suggestions as to how we can improve our service to you; all comments are welcomed, however trenchant. Just put your view in the box at the bottom of the blog.

 

NEWS CONTENTS:

Nigeria: Troops arrest Boko Haram recruitment agent; Boko Haram chief Shekau may face trial in US

Zimbabwe: Five Zimbabwe parties reject poll deadline ruling; Mutambara breathes fire. . . Constitutional Court ruling final . . . Foreigners can’t challenge our laws; Moyo and Mutambara blasts Zuma

Nigeria: UK backs Nigeria’s bid for Security Council seat

Kenya: Britain set to compensate Kenya’s Mau Mau victims

Burundi: Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources and forbids stories deemed to undermine national security

Nigeria: Fuel subsidy: Falana, others’ petitions led to suspects’ probe – EFCC

Nigeria: 20 feared killed as Fulani Herdsmen, Soja Patali clash in Benue

Kenya: Six governors worried by banditry; Rift Valley tops crime statistics

Kenya: ICC sets new date for case against Ruto (see also comment and opinion)

Rwanda: New impetus in reparation cases

Africa: As TICAD Summit Ends World Leaders Vow to Develop Africa

Ghana: GACL Ordered To Suspend Contract With Security Coy

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS

Kenya: Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

Kenya: Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Uganda: Were these truly martyrs?

Sudan: Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

Sierra Leone: Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

South Africa: Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

South Africa: ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

 

Troops arrest Boko Haram recruitment agent

… 49 suspected terrorists nabbed in Yobe

The military Special Forces have arrested a recruitment agent for the Boko Haram sect, the Defence Headquarters said on Wednesday.

A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade said the unnamed terror agent was arrested in a cordon and search operation in Maiduguri.

According to the spokesman, the suspect used to be in charge of the sect’s armoury.

He added that the troops also arrested five Nigeriens at a hideout in Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in two Toyota Cruiser Jeeps.

The statement said troops were still patrolling the notorious Sambisa forest and cordoned off the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills.

“More abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items are being recovered in the camps of the insurgents.

“Among the recent finds are rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine.

“Others are handset, walkie talkie, car number plates and some food items. Abandoned vehicles recovered include a Golf car, a Honda, Customs pickup van, Honda (2003 Model) and a Volkswagen Monte Carlo”, the statement added.

The DHQ said police stations were being reopened in some parts of Borno State, adding that detachments of police anti-terrorists unit had been deployed to complement security in Kirenowa area of Borno.

Olukolade said a team of local and foreign journalists have commenced a tour of the operational areas of the Joint Task Force.

According to him, the tour, organised by the DHQ was meant to ensure that the media have first-hand information on the situation in the operational areas.

Meanwhile, No fewer than 49 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested at various locations in Yobe State by Special Forces following a tip off by locals in some communities.

Olukolade said the suspects were arrested during cordon and search operation.

According to him, weapons including AK 47 rifles, locally made pistols and ammunitions were recovered from the suspects when federal troops combed Rugan Fulani, Arikime, Afghanistan and Ngandu villages and communities.

“The team led by Air Commodore BE Inyang was also briefed that all the camps of the terrorists in the area had been dislodged as some of the insurgents fled towards Niger Republic.

“The DHQ team was also informed of a trend whereby some particular crimes have now taken the place of terrorism as the criminals now resort to brigandage, robbery and attempted assassination of business rivals.

“All law abiding Nigerians were however assured of the safety of their lives and property as troops of the Special Forces comprising of various security agencies including the Police Anti Bomb Squads are working round the clock to nip the negative trend in the bud.

“Citizens were further encouraged to continue to volunteer information on activities of terrorists in order to help troops rid the state of insurgents,” the statement added. From The Nation

Boko Haram chief Shekau may face trial in US

Posted by: Our Reporter on June 5, 2013

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau could be put on trial for terrorism in the United States when caught, it was learnt yesterday.

United States Acting Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security Amb. Kurt Rice, stated this.

Rice spoke in a joint-teleconference with Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs David Gilmou from Washington DC. The session was aired to audiences in Abuja, Accra, Lagos and Niamey.

They spoke on the U.S government’s offer of $23 million (about N3.6b) in cash rewards promised to people that could provide information on some terrorists in the West African countries.

Among the terrorists is Shekau, who had a $7 million price tag (about N1.6b), placed on his head.

The Federal government yesterday announced that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorised the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and as acts of terrorism.

The statement by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, confirms the exclusive story published by The Nation yesterday.

Boko Haram’s proscription is gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013.

Ansaru, the other terrorist group that came out of Boko Haram, was also proscribed.

The U.S official said the Nigerian Government needed to urgently evolve ways of reducing youth unemployment, as well as addressing the peoples’ political and socio-economic grievances.

“For the first time, the U.S Department of State Rewards for Justice Programme has offered rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organisations in Nigeria and other countries.

“The rewards are to enable the U.S government get at such terrorists, and take them to its court for prosecution.

“We are, therefore, urging the Nigerian Government to also come up with a comprehensive approach to its security problems and challenges,’’ he said.

Rice said that Nigeria’s security problem was a “multi-faceted” one, which also needed “multi-faceted solutions”.

The U.S Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security said the rewards were to expose and prosecute terrorists targeting U.S properties and citizens in West Africa.

“We want people to provide us with confidential information and such information will be carefully used in getting at these insurgents,’’ he said.

“Our intent is to bring him before a court. Our intent in offering this reward at this time is to work with our Nigeria partners to try and make (Nigeria) a more stable and secure area.’’

“The fact is that this is a shared fight against terrorism. This is one tool we have against terrorism and we find that overtime it has been enormously effective and it has saved a lot of lives and we want to continue doing that,’’ he said.

Rice also said that the Rewards for Justice programme, an initiative of the U.S Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, had since inception in 1984, paid about 125 million dollars to 80 people, who provided information on terrorists globally.

Also speaking, Gilmour ruled out suggestions that the seven million dollar (N1.1bn) bounty offered on the head of Shekau could be counter-productive to Nigeria government amnesty offer to the insurgents.

He reiterated the U.S. position that security-based solution was not the only way to address the current security challenges in Nigeria.

He said the U.S. recognised that among Northern Nigeria there were legitimate grievances such as social inequality and youth unemployment.

“We urge the Nigeria government to take seriously those grievances of the general population of Northern Nigeria,’’ he said.

He advised security operatives, currently conducting military operations in three states, under the state of emergency , to try and build the confidence of the population to keep them safe.

The U.S. diplomat on Africa said his government was working closely with Nigeria on security and counter-terrorism issues. From The Nation.

Five Zimbabwe parties reject poll deadline ruling

By AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Five main rivals of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday rejected an election deadline set by the country’s top court.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court last week ordered Mugabe to set a date before the end of July for crucial elections, which will end the longtime ruler’s uncomfortable four-year power-sharing government with his top rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

But leaders of five political parties, including Tsvangirai, “expressed reservations about the practicality” of the deadline given the gamut of reforms still to be made to ensure a credible poll.

The court’s decision last Friday was in response to a case brought by a journalist and democracy activist, Jealousy Mawarire.

In a statement after a meeting in Harare, the five leaders said the court’s action “ironically supposedly informed by the desire to safeguard the rights of the individual applicant, has resulted in the infringement of the rights of millions of Zimbabweans.”

The court’s decision to bring elections forward has played into the hands of Mugabe, who has always wanted to have early elections.

Mugabe had wanted elections by the end of the current parliamentary term on June 29.

Yet his opponents are pushing for a later date to allow more time for all major reforms to be effected to guarantee a free and fair vote.

One of their main complaints is inadequate time for voter registration.

They also want security and media laws they say infringe on free political activity to be changed before the vote.

Security institutions — which are widely seen as pro-Mugabe — need to be reformed to abide by the new constitution, which forbids partisanship, said the leaders.

Human Rights Watch has urged the country’s power-sharing government to “rein in the security forces and keep them out of politics if the elections are going to have any meaning.” From Modern Ghana/AFP.

Mutambara breathes fire. . . Constitutional Court ruling final . . . Foreigners can’t challenge our laws

Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00

Takunda Maodza Senior Reporter
THE Constitutional Court ruling directing President Mugabe to proclaim election dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 is final and binding and neither Sadc nor the AU can reverse it as

any such attempts will be akin to infringing the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Deputy Prime  Minister Arthur Mutambara  has said.

The DPM, who is a principal to the Global Political Agreement, warned Ms Lindiwe Zulu who is international relations advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma that whatever their political differences or views on the election dates, progressive Zimbabweans would not allow foreigners to violate and desecrate their sovereignty by varying or challenging domestic laws.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu was quoted in some sections of the Zimbabwean media saying with or without the Constitutional Court ruling, harmonised elections will be decided by a roadmap.

“It is not acceptable for the SA facilitation team to use the language that says ‘with or without the court ruling, an election roadmap has to be agreed,’ thus, demeaning and disregarding the decision of our Constitutional Court, while implying that a roadmap outside the laws of Zimbabwe will determine the election date.

“This is an attack on our national sovereignty. All Zimbabweans across the political divide; including those who are offended by the Constitutional Court judgment or feel that it was a wrong decision; must unite, oppose and reject this patronising and illegitimate posturing by our neighbours,’’ DPM Mutambara said.

The backroom facilitation team’s role, the involvement of Sadc and the AU as guarantors; DPM Mutambara said, was never meant to disregard Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

“Foreigners must respect our constitutional dispensation. As Zimbabweans, we must preserve our national sovereignty,’’ he said.

All foreigners, DPM Mutambara said, should realise that a binding and final determination had been made by the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe and it should be  respected without reservation.

Political scientist and Zanu-PF Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo concurred and dismissed as scandalous efforts by President Zuma’s backroom facilitation team to influence the election date when the Constitutional Court had already pronounced itself on the matter.

“That is preposterous as it is scandalous. It can only come from someone with a subversive intention or agenda against our country because the most important fundamental is the rule of law, and in this case the only competent authority is the Constitutional Court.

“We cannot have somebody coming from a country with very serious problems of its own like the Marikanas and all to pontificate and say we will use the roadmap. We do not need the roadmap. We need the Constitution, and we have it,” he said.

Prof Moyo said President Mugabe had already stated that he will abide by the Constitution Court’s ruling, putting to rest any plans to delay the holding of harmonised elections.

He slammed Ms Zulu for trying to provoke a crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We have a woman with nothing to do trying to promote a crisis in Zimbabwe. Election dates in Zimbabwe are not fixed by an agreement between anybody but on the basis of the law,” Prof Moyo said.

He said Sadc through its executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao is on record saying that the regional bloc was waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling on elections otherwise Zimbabwe was ready for polls.

The MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai wants the election held as late as October and is on record denouncing the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Political analyst Dr Charity Manyeruke ruled Ms Zulu offside saying Zimbabwe had to abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

“Zimbabwe will obviously abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Any decision outside the Constitution is ultra vires and illegal,” she said.

“The facilitation team has overstepped its mandate. It has to understand that Zimbabwe is a country that abides by the rule of law and cannot be ruled by individuals who think they can make decisions on what happens, how it happens and when that should happen. People should respect the principle of territorial integrity which is a fundamental principle of Sadc,” she said.

The Constitutional Court, last week, ruled with a crushing majority of seven yeas to two nays that President Mugabe should proclaim elections dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 this year.

The ruling came in the wake of an application by Mr Jealousy Mawarire of the Centre for Elections and Democracy who wanted the court to compel President Mugabe to proclaim the election date before June 29 when the life of the Seventh Parliament lapses.

Sadc’s announcement on the sidelines of the AU’s mid-term summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that it would convene a special summit on Zimbabwe to co-ordinate efforts to find funding for the harmonised elections has been latched onto by forces opposed to elections as an opportunity to lobby for poll postponement.

The regional bloc is, however, on record saying Zimbabwe was ready for elections and it would stand guided by the Constitutional Court ruling on the way forward. From The Herald.

Moyo and Mutambara blasts Zuma

Staff Reporter

THE Constitutional Court ruling directing President Mugabe to proclaim election dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 is final and binding and neither Sadc nor the AU can reverse it as any such attempts will be akin to infringing the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said.

The DPM, who is a principal to the Global Political Agreement, warned Ms Lindiwe Zulu who is international relations advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma that whatever their political differences or views on the election dates, progressive Zimbabweans would not allow foreigners to violate and desecrate their sovereignty by varying or challenging domestic laws.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu was quoted in some sections of the Zimbabwean media saying with or without the Constitutional Court ruling, harmonised elections will be decided by a roadmap.

“It is not acceptable for the SA facilitation team to use the language that says ‘with or without the court ruling, an election roadmap has to be agreed,’ thus, demeaning and disregarding the decision of our Constitutional Court, while implying that a roadmap outside the laws of Zimbabwe will determine the election date.

“This is an attack on our national sovereignty. All Zimbabweans across the political divide; including those who are offended by the Constitutional Court judgment or feel that it was a wrong decision; must unite, oppose and reject this patronising and illegitimate posturing by our neighbours,’’ DPM Mutambara said.

The backroom facilitation team’s role, the involvement of Sadc and the AU as guarantors; DPM Mutambara said, was never meant to disregard Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

“Foreigners must respect our constitutional dispensation. As Zimbabweans, we must preserve our national sovereignty,’’ he said.

All foreigners, DPM Mutambara said, should realise that a binding and final determination had been made by the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe and it should be  respected without reservation.

Meanwhile Zanu-PF Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo concurred and dismissed as scandalous efforts by President Zuma’s backroom facilitation team to influence the election date when the Constitutional Court had already pronounced itself on the matter.

“That is preposterous as it is scandalous. It can only come from someone with a subversive intention or agenda against our country because the most important fundamental is the rule of law, and in this case the only competent authority is the Constitutional Court.

“We cannot have somebody coming from a country with very serious problems of its own like the Marikanas and all to pontificate and say we will use the roadmap. We do not need the roadmap. We need the Constitution, and we have it,” he said.

Moyo said President Mugabe had already stated that he will abide by the Constitution Court’s ruling, putting to rest any plans to delay the holding of harmonised elections.

He slammed Ms Zulu for trying to provoke a crisis in Zimbabwe.

“We have a woman with nothing to do trying to promote a crisis in Zimbabwe. Election dates in Zimbabwe are not fixed by an agreement between anybody but on the basis of the law,” Moyo said.

He said Sadc through its executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao is on record saying that the regional bloc was waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling on elections otherwise Zimbabwe was ready for polls.

The MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai wants the election held as late as October and is on record denouncing the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Another Zanu PF loyalist Dr Charity Manyeruke ruled Ms Zulu offside saying Zimbabwe had to abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

“Zimbabwe will obviously abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Any decision outside the Constitution is ultra vires and illegal,” she said.

“The facilitation team has overstepped its mandate. It has to understand that Zimbabwe is a country that abides by the rule of law and cannot be ruled by individuals who think they can make decisions on what happens, how it happens and when that should happen. People should respect the principle of territorial integrity which is a fundamental principle of Sadc,” she said.

The Constitutional Court, last week, ruled with a majority of seven yeas to two nays that Robert Mugabe should proclaim elections dates and hold harmonised elections by July 31 this year.

The ruling came in the wake of an application by Mr Jealousy Mawarire of the Centre for Elections and Democracy who wanted the court to compel President Mugabe to proclaim the election date before June 29 when the life of the Seventh Parliament lapses.

Sadc’s announcement on the sidelines of the AU’s mid-term summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that it would convene a special summit on Zimbabwe. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Chinwendu Nnadozie

Snr Correspondent, Minna

United Kingdom may have zeroed down on Nigeria to occupy the sole seat reserved for Africa in the proposed expanded permanent membership of the United Nations’ Security Council.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andre Pocock, dropped the hint when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu at Government House, Minna.

The envoy explained that his country is an important ally of Nigeria because of the economic and stabilising role it has been playing in the sub-region and the continent.

“Nigeria really matters to the United Kingdom. It is not only an economic power house but a stabilising force in West African sub-region and the continent”.

Pocock commended Nigerian efforts at restoring peace in war town countries in the sub region such as; Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali by contributing peace keepers to restoring normalcy to such crisis stricken countries.

According to him, his home government is looking forward to working with Nigeria, as she prepares to occupy the Security Council seat for two years as non-permanent member, before the proposed expansion of the five-member permanent Security Council.

“We look forward to Nigeria becoming a permanent member of the security council because Nigeria is a stabilising force in the sub-region”.

He however expressed worry of the United Kingdom (UK) on the security challenge in the country, especially in the north and assured of Great Britain’s readiness to assist in restoring peace to troubled spots in the country.

The British High Commissioner also disclosed that the United Kingdom is ready to partner Nigeria in boosting trade relationship between the two countries, which currently stands at $2.5 billion annually to $8 billion in the next few years.

He pointed out that, the High Commission is collaborating with the British business community in encouraging them to make foray into the Nigeria market as it is one of the most viable markets in the continent.

According to the UK Envoy, “We are encouraging British companies to come to Nigeria and invest.

“The environment is conducive because we want to raise our mutual trade balance”.

On the controversial visa regime of the British government as it affects Nigeria, the British High Commissioner said contrary to insinuations Nigerians are among the few people given unhindered access to the United Kingdom, noting that about 200, 000 applications are received annually out of which 160, 000 applicants are successful.

Niger State governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, had earlier advocated for an economic marshal plan for the north as was done during the deep recession in the United States as part of efforts to address the economic imbalance between the north and the southern states and assist in addressing the security challenges.

Aliyu said under the economic master plan; agriculture, education and infrastructural development should be given priority in order to bridge the gap currently existing in the country.

He called for the strengthening of the bilateral ties between Nigeria and Britain in order to allow the country tap into the wealth of experience of the former colonial masters. From the Daily Independent.

Britain set to compensate Kenya’s Mau Mau victims

By AFP

LONDON (AFP) – Britain was on Thursday expected to announce compensation for thousands of Kenyans who claim they were abused and tortured in prison camps during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising, according to a government source.

The Foreign Office (FCO) last month confirmed that it was negotiating settlements for claimants who accuse British imperial forces of severe mistreatment including torture and sexual abuse.

Around 5,000 claimants are each in line to receive over £2,500 ($3,850, 2,940 euros), according to British press reports.

The FCO said in last month’s statement that “there should be a debate about the past”.

“It is an enduring feature of our democracy that we are willing to learn from our history,” it added.

“We understand the pain and grievance felt by those, on all sides, who were involved in the divisive and bloody events of the Emergency period in Kenya.”

In a test case, claimants Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara last year told Britain’s High Court how they were subjected to torture and sexual mutilation.

Lawyers said that Nzili was castrated, Nyingi severely beaten and Mara subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the Mau Mau rebellion.

A fourth claimant, Susan Ngondi, has died since legal proceedings began.

The British government accepted that detainees had been tortured, but initially claimed that all liabilities were transferred to the new rulers of Kenya when the east African country was granted independence.

It also warned of “potentially significant and far-reaching legal implications”.

But judge Richard McCombe ruled last October that a fair trial was possible, citing the “voluminous documentation”.

At least 10,000 people died during the 1952-1960 uprising, with some sources giving far higher estimates.

The guerrilla fighters — often with dread-locked hair and wearing animal skins as clothes — terrorised colonial communities.

Tens of thousands were detained, including US President Barack Obama’s grandfather.

It was only when the Kenya Human Rights Commission contacted the victims in 2006 that they realised they could take legal action.

Their case was boosted when the government admitted it had a secret archive of more than 8,000 files from 37 former colonies.

Despite playing a key part in Kenya’s path to independence, the rebellion also created bitter divisions within communities, with some joining the fighters and others serving the colonial power.From Modern Ghana/AFP.

In Nairobi the country’s law society said on Tuesday more than 8 000 Kenyans are seeking millions of dollars in compensation from former colonial rulers Britain, claiming mistreatment during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising,News24 reports.

“The Law Society of Kenya [LSK] has received lists of ex-Mau Mau fighters seeking compensation running into billions of shillings from the British government,” LSK chief Apollo Mboya said in a statement.

The thousands of submissions follow an October 2012 test case ruling in London’s High Court, in which three elderly Kenyans were given the go-ahead to sue the British government.

Since then, one law firm has submitted more than 8 000 names while another has listed over 700 more, said the society, which is coordinating submissions.

The numbers will rise further with more names due to be submitted from the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which supported the initial test case, the statement added.

the process has been marred by “raging disputes” between competing Kenyan and British law firms, Mboya said, with the law society stepping in to mediate.

“We will follow the proceedings of the compensation cases filed in UK courts and also the professional conduct of the lawyers involved to ensure the victims are adequately compensated,” Mboya added.

At least 10 000 people died during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau insurgency against British colonial rule and a brutal crackdown, with some sources giving far higher estimates. From The Independent.

Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources

Burundi’s president on Tuesday approved a media law that forces journalists to reveal sources

and forbids stories deemed to undermine national security, drawing condemnation from reporters and rights groups Reuters reports.

Journalists said they would ignore the legislation and challenge it in the constitutional court.

Reporters Without Borders said the law, which had been endorsed by parliament and the senate before President Pierre Nkurunziza signed it, set the east African country back 20 years.

“This is a black day for freedom of information in Burundi,” the campaign group said in a statement.

A spokesman for the president, Leonidas Hatungimana, said the legislation took effect immediately but made no further comment.

The bill bans the media from publishing stories about national defence, public safety, state security and the local currency.

Those who break the law face fines of between $2,000 and$6,000, a sum well above the annual salaries of many journalists. From The Independent/Reuters.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Temidayo Akinsuyi

Correspondent, Lagos

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said the probe and subsequent prosecution of some marketers indicted in the fuel subsidy scam was as a result of petitions by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, and other civil society groups.

A prosecution witness, Hammed Lawal, disclosed this in his testimony at the ongoing trial  of two  oil marketers and their company  before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of  an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, over  alleged  fuel subsidy infractions.

Lawal, while being cross examined by the defence counsel, Anthony Idigbe (SAN), on his previous testimony against the defendants, which include,  Samuel Bamidele, Abiodun Kayode Bankole and their company, A.S.B. Investment Company Limited, said the defendants were not specifically mentioned in the said petitions.

EFCC’s operative, who was one of those detailed to investigate the infractions said since the petition was not specific the commission decided to investigate the entire subsidy regime because of the public outcry.

He however said his investigations showed  that defendants fraudulently obtained  payments from the petroleum support fund as subsidy for the importation of petroleum motor spirit (petrol) to the tune of N1,341,471,735.67.

According to him, analysis on the claims by the oil marketers showed that though about 13,415 metric tonnes of fuel discharged by the marketers at Fatgbems depot, the product did not emanate from Sweden as quoted in the bill of lading by the marketers.

Lawal, a graduate of Accounting from Bayero University, Kano (BUK), contended that what was paid for, as evidenced from the letter of credit to the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), was not imported because of the discrepancies  on the documents.

The witness’ contention was that the suspects did not supply the said products form the vessel Pacific Innovator as claimed because the vessel did not load on the dates quoted on bill of lading.

Lawal however told the court that he did not investigate the movement of the vessel neither did he received any report from the captain of the mother vessel.

Asked by Idigbe whether the claims by the marketers  captured the volume of product discharged at Fatgbems depot, Lawal answered in affirmative, but stated that  the vessel conveying the petroleum product  left Sweden on February 20, 2011 contrary to  claims by the defendants that vessel left Sweden on February 13, 2011.

The witness also stated his investigations were mainly based on reports sent to the commission by Inter tech Testing Nigeria Limited and Quality Marine Services concerning the discharge of the said product, affirmed that the forged documents never emanated from Quality Marine Services.

But when Idigbe pointed out that the irrevocable letter of credit made it explicit that products will be loaded off shore, and that the short fall in the volume of product in the letter of credit was caused by the rise in price, the witness said he never investigated that.

Lawal however said investigations to the other aspect of the transaction concerning offshore companies were done by another operative, who is competent to give evidence on that.

Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned to July 8, when the prosecution is expected to call more witnesses. From the Daily Independent.

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

By Sola Shittu

Reporter, Abuja

Federal Government has reduced the number of importers of petroleum products from 142 to 38 and admitted delay in the payment of N972.138 billion subsidy for domestic importers a carry over from 2011 and 2012 provision for partial subsidy.

Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley, traced the delay to inability to sort out foreign exchange claims by the marketers at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Stanley, who stated this at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) in Abuja, stated that there has been no payment for any marketer importing petroleum products in 2013.

But, Committee Chairman, Magnus Abe, warned that refineries should be allowed to function optimally so as to reduce importation of petroleum products.

Federal Government allocated N971.138 billion for fuel subsidy in the 2013 budget, while N888.1 billion was allocated in 2012.

The fuel subsidy allocation, as captured on Page XVII of the Approved 2013 Budget signed by President Goodlcuk Jonathan on February 26, indicates that the N971.133 billion is for “domestic fuel subsidy (marketers) (carry-over from 2011 and 2012 provision for partial subsidy).

The PPRA boss explained that the delay is caused by delays in the payment of subsidy claims by the Federal Ministry of Finance resulting in interest a s foreign exchange differential claims request by marketers.

He said although the Federal Government has spent a total of N3.7 trillion in five years, the agency has succeeded in cutting the number of oil marketers from 142 to 38 as at December 2012.

He added that local consumption of PMS has also been brought down from 60.25 million liters per day in 2011 to 40 million liters per day.

In his response, Abe urged Stanley and the PPPRA not to relent in sanitizing and weeding out “briefcase marketers,” adding that they are still lurking around, waiting to manipulate any loophole in the system.

Said Abe: “We are happy that you have put in measures to control the cost of subsidy payment.

“We have looked at the figures and we are impressed with the progress you are making and we believe you can do more.

“At this juncture, all I want to say is that all Nigerians should be vigilant. The reason we are celebrating now is because of the attention, which made some people run away.

“The moment we relax, they may come back. Those who ran away with their briefcases are also looking for how to come back.

“If the figures rise, we will like to know why the rise because there’s still that danger as they are still lurking around.” From the Daily Independent.

20 feared killed as Fulani Herdsmen, Soja Patali clash in Benue

 

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 5, 2013

No fewer than 20 persons have been killed in a renewed violence that broke out between suspected Fulani Herdsmen and Benue militia men yesterday.

Daily Post learnt that the Tiv attackers, also known as Soja Patali, attacked the Fulani community at about 6am. They reportedly opened fire on the villagers, most of whom were women and children.

It was gathered that eight vehicles belonging to Alago were also burnt in the crisis.

Sources said the incident caught Alago people unaware as over 100 heavily armed Tiv farmers reportedly invaded the village, and started shooting.

Reports monitored from the village indicated that aside the 20 people who were killed, 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries, while other inhabitants of the community have vacated their various homes and currently taking refuge in Doma town to avoid being caught in the latest unrest.

Efforts to see the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Shehu were fruitless. From the Daily Post.

Six governors worried by banditry

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – 00:00 — BY KENNEDY LESIEW

Six Governors from the North and South Rift regions are planning for a joint strategy to tackle cattle rustling menace. The five governors will hold joint peace rallies in the five counties affected by cattle rustling in a move aimed to tackle insecurity and attract investors. They have identified insecurity as a major impediment to development in the region Governors in the plan include; Josphat Koli Nanok(Turkana),Simon Kachapin(West-Pokot), Patrick Khaemba (Trans –Nzoia) , Alex Tolgos(Elgey-Marakwet), Benjamin Cheboi(Baringo) and Moses Kasaine(Samburu) vowed to speared head the campaign to tame the menace in the five counties.

“We want to use the peace forums to create awareness to the warring communities on the need to discard outdated cultural practices such as cattle rustling and embrace unity of purpose in order for our counties to realized its full potential.” Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos Said. Tolgos noted that the five counties were unable to attract local and international investors due to insecurity posed by armed bandits.

He expressed concern that unless urgent measures are taken to restore calm in the affected counties, they stood the risk of missing out on viable sustainable projects running into billions of shillings that are yet to be injected in the counties. He said the affected counties have been experiencing increased cases of attacks in the recent past leading to lose of lives and livestock, besides displacement of hundreds of families.

The governor reiterated their commitment to supplement the government’s efforts to enhance peace and cohesiveness among the warring communities for the sake of unity and development. He regretted that the counties ravaged by incidents of insecurity making them lack behind in all spheres of development for decades despite having enormous resources which still remains unexploited. Tolgos said they will incorporate the security agencies in their peace forums in areas that are most hit by insecurity in the affected counties for harmony to prevail among the residents.

“We have talked and resolved to hold joint peace rallies along our borders in an effort to come out with a lasting solution to insecurity problems that have hindered development among the warring communities in the affected counties,” said Tolgos. Efforts to reach other four governors were unsuccessful as they were reported to me in a close door meeting. Past efforts by the government to stem vicious armed attacks in the region through forceful disarmament of those with illegal fire-arms has been frustrated by a section of the political class who have refused to give their political goodwill and support for the initiative.

Two weeks ago, Director of Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons Engineer Patrick Ochieng revealed that there were more than 850,000 illegal fire-arms in hands of civilians in Kenyans. Ochieng disclosed that the security agencies were incapacitated to contain the rising cases of criminal activities that have rocked various parts of the country due to lack of enough resources and equipment. From the Star.

Rift Valley tops crime statistics

By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  23:30

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Most crimes reported in Rift Valley and Central
  • North Eastern has the lowest incidents of crime at 454
  • The report states that the police has increased its presence in crime prone areas in order to fight insecurity

Rift Valley is the most dangerous province to live in this year, according to the latest crime statistics released by the Kenya Police Service on Wednesday.

According to the data, 7,598 crimes were reported in the vast region between January and May this year, almost double the 4,450 crimes reported in Central, the second most dangerous province to live in.

The figures, however, indicate that the crime rate across the country over the first five months of this year has dropped compared to the same period over the last two years. So far, the country has recorded 30,285 between January and May, compared to 33,538 and 31,055 over the same period in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

“The trend shows in the year 2011-2012 there was an increase of 2,483 cases or 8 per cent in reported cases. In 2012-2013, crime decreased by 3,253 cases or 10 per cent in reported cases,” the report says.

The report states that there has been an increase in robbery and homicide even though there has been a decline in economic crimes, consumption of dangerous drugs, motor vehicle theft, criminal damage, theft of stock and offences against morality.

But in an interesting twist, Western and North Eastern provinces which have witnessed violent attacks by suspected militias are the two provinces with the lowest crime figures in the country over the last five months.

The report shows that Western has recorded 2,923 with Eastern (4,279), Nairobi (3,765), Coast (3,658) and Nyanza (3,061).

North Eastern has the lowest incidents of crime at 454 despite the grenade attacks witnessed in Mandera, Garissa and Mandera counties in recent weeks.

Police attribute the crimes to organised criminal groups and gangs, cattle rustling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons especially from war-torn countries as well as inter-tribal and clan clashes manifested in retaliatory attacks by armed militias.

They also cite urbanisation and population growth, economic conditions, poverty level and lack of job opportunities and cultural factors and educational, recreational and religious characteristics.

The report states that the police has increased its presence in crime prone areas in order to fight insecurity.

It has also established security posts which are meant for wider coverage of the area in the form of police patrols and prompt attention to distress calls whenever alarms are raised while also providing members of the public with mobile numbers they can call to report crime. From the Nation.

ICC sets new date for case against Ruto

By Charles Omondi The Citizen Correspondent

Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  10:57

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also facing similar charges before ICC. The ICC Chamber held a hearing on May 14 in the presence of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, to discuss procedural matters and other issues.

Nairobi. The Trial Chamber V(A) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has set September 10, 2013 as the commencement date for the trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and Joshua arap Sang. The two are facing charges of crimes against humanity in relation to the violence that hit Kenya in 2007 – 08 following the disputed presidential election results.

A statement from ICC Monday evening indicated the date was set in order to allow the Defence sufficient time to carry out its preparation.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also facing similar charges before ICC. The ICC Chamber held a hearing on May 14 in the presence of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang, to discuss procedural matters and other issues.

The issues included 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.

After reviewing the parties and participants’ observations, the Chamber, composed of judges Chile Eboe-Osuji (Presiding), Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr, authorised the Prosecutor to add two persons to her list of witnesses for this case and set the new date of the trial’s opening accordingly. From The Citizen.

New impetus in reparation cases

The Government is designing a new strategy to ensure that all issues related to compensation of Genocide survivors are sorted by December.

The process has started with an assessment of the Gacaca judgments that were not executed, according to Pascal Bizimana Ruziganintwari, the deputy attorney general and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking to The New Times on Tuesday, Bizimana said the decision was reached after consultative meetings with various stakeholders, including associations of Genocide survivors.

Of the 599,025 Gacaca judgments related to properties, 158,095 were not executed, according to the Special Justice Taskforce commissioned this year by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremye to analyse injustice faced by Genocide survivors.

In another report, the Justice ministry established that this year alone, 200,000 Gacaca cases that involves reparation out of which around 300,000 were enforced.

“After ascertaining the number of property cases that were not enforced, we will support local entities and court bailiffs so that we execute all the remaining cases by the end of the year,” said Bizimana.

In an October 2012 discussion paper, the associations of Genocide survivors issued various recommendations to government on the need for a reparation fund.

Restitution mooted 

Referring to the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines 19-23, 10 associations, including Ibuka, Surf, AERG, Redress and Duhozanye, recommended restitution.

They defined  this form of reparation as a legal practice that aims at restoring a victim to their situation before the tragedy.

Restitution includes return to one’s place of residence, restoration of employment and return of property, among others.

They also requested compensation for physical or mental harm, lost opportunities, moral damage and costs required for legal or expert assistance, medical services, psychological and social services.

“Compensation is central to the right to an effective remedy and to reparation, particularly when restoring the victim to the situation before the gross violation took place,” reads the document.

Quoting the document, Albert Gasake, the legal advisor of the Survivors Fund, Surf, said the majority of survivors are yet to have receive compensation and/or restitution awarded by courts, despite promises to the effect in the last 18 years.

The document blamed the State, saying even though it was declared jointly liable with the accused in several cases, and compensation awards were made against the State, none of these civil verdicts against the State were enforced.

It also faults the idea of alternative punishment for culprits who fail to get compensation (TIG) “because it benefits only the State and not the survivors.”

Mode of reparation

However, Bizimana said reparation exercise should be seen in Rwandan context before relying on foreign experiences.

He said reparation can be addressed by either looking at the general context, or on individual point of view.

“The government, within its financial capacity, opted to look at the general interests as of reparation of Genocide survivors rather than looking at it from individual point of view. It’s in that context that we established the Fund for Assistance of Genocide Survivors,” he said.

“Through this Fund, the government provides shelter, school and medication to the most vulnerable survivors such as children, the elderly and the disabled.”

Bizimana said crime is a sole responsibility of the offender, which means that the State cannot help culprits to pay damages for their crimes.

Nevertheless, if someone is found guilty, the Rwandan law gives the survivors the right to appeal for reparation on individual basis, he said.

He added that even the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, has a clause which allows Genocide survivors to file in Rwandan courts reparation cases against convicts it tries.

Naftali Ahishakiye, the executive secretary of Ibuka, said more efforts are needed in compensation. From The New Times.

As TICAD Summit Ends World Leaders Vow to Develop Africa

As the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) drew to a close, leaders from 50 African countries and international partners vowed to work hand in hand to deliver quality growth and sustainable development to Africa.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his country would contribute US$32 billion to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies and promoting inclusive and resilient societies.

The funds are expected to help the continent in areas including trade, infrastructure and private sector development, health, agriculture and agro-processing.They include US$1 billion in development, humanitarian and security assistance for the Sahel region and an initiative to help tens of thousands of Africans find jobs.

Delegates at the closing ceremony of TICAD issued the Yokohama Declaration. The document calls on African countries to unleash the continent’s business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.

Under the Action Plan issued on Monday, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.
The declaration and action plan concluded three days of reflections on the economic and development achievements of the African continent since 1993 and challenges over the next five years.

“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.
UNDP was a co-organizer of TICAD V along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).
During the forum, UNDP Administrator moderated a high-level discussion on gender equality and the empowerment of women, with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Heads of UN Agencies and African Heads of State as panelists, and echoed a call from Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, to “see women as the greatest opportunity to unleash the full potential of the continent.”
At a side event on climate adaptation, Helen Clark, President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré and Masaji Matsuyama, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said effective policies to reduce climate vulnerability were key to building sustainable development plans.
The event drew lessons from the Africa Adaptation Programme, a continent-wide scheme to help nations on the continent design and implement more effective climate adaptation measures.
The programme has for instance helped to install weather stations across Burkina Faso, set up a Climate Change Department within the Government of Mauritius and strengthen early warning systems to reduce climate-related disasters in Ghana.

Participants at the forum also agreed that building resilience to disasters and climate change will not only protect the fruits of development in Africa, but is also necessary to further propel inclusive growth in the continent.
“As Japan painfully experienced in 2011, disasters are perhaps the most urgent threat to human security and development. Climate change is only going to make things worse,” Prime Minister Abe said. “Japan is committed to supporting African countries and communities as they strive to build resilience.”
Since 1993, TICAD has played a critical role in raising global awareness of African development issues and providing strategic leadership on development assistance to Africa. Over the past 20 years, the partnership has evolved from a high-level discussion forum to a platform for action. From the Awareness Times.

GACL Ordered To Suspend Contract With Security Coy

Government has directed the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) to suspend with immediate effect its contract with Sohin Security Company, providers of security services at the country’s various airports.

A statement signed by the Mr. Mahama Ayariga, Minister for Information and Media Relations, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the suspension was in response to ongoing investigations by the security agencies into activities of the company and its management.

The GACL management has also been asked to liaise with the state security agencies, ‘’to ensure that the security apparatus at the airports are not compromised during the transition following the directive.’’

Government has over the past few months been involved in a review and investigation into the operations of various state institutions with a view to improving their service delivery, revenue mobilization and prevention of crimes against the state. GNA From The Chronicle.

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

 

Kenya: Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

Kenya: Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Uganda: Were these truly martyrs?

Sudan: Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

Sierra Leone: Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

South Africa: Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

South Africa: ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2013

•60m generators imported annually

By Chesa Chesa and Celestine Okafor, Abuja

Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, on Wednesday, described the nation’s power crisis as a nightmare.

He lamented that 120 million Nigerians (75 per cent of the population) do not have access to electricity supply.

The minister spoke at the Presidential Villa during a press briefing after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

He lamented that 120 million Nigerians (75 per cent of the population) do not have access to

He, however, said the problems associated with power are surmountable with divine intervention together with the efforts being made by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The present challenges, the minister explained, include unprecedented system collapse and heavy storms that shattered transmission lines in Bayelsa and Kebbi states, destroying four transmission towers.

Then, there are man-made problems like vandalism, Nebo said, expressing amazement at the evil reasoning that would push Nigerians to vandalise electricity cables and facilities meant for their own use.

“They will all be defeated by the grace of God,” he declared.

Another nightmare he highlighted was inadequate funding, such that nobody thought of how to maintain the power generation and distribution plants this year because it was strongly believed that the plants would have been successfully sold off to private concerns.

A new mechanism is being put in place to solve this problem, he assured though.

Nebo disclosed that such efforts have resulted in doubling of power generation and supply over two years, from 2,500 megawatts to over 4,000mw now.

Even at that, Nebo assured that current privatisation of power plants which will end by July will raise power supply to over 5,500mw by the end of this year, and 10,000mw by the end of 2014.

The successful buyers of the privatised power plants are expected to have completed payment of their outstanding balance of 75 per cent of the cost by July.

He explained that in the long run, Zungeru and Mambilla hydro plants, conceived nearly 40 years ago but flagged off by Jonathan recently, will add 700mw to the national grid.

Meanwhile, Senators were told in Abuja on Wednesday that over 60 million generators were being imported annually into Nigeria as at 2006,  while about N1.6 trillion was spent to fuel the generators.

Former Director General of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Ayodele Omotosho, disclosed this at a two-day public hearing by Senate Joint Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and Finance on the review of national planning and budgetary process.

Senators and invited guests at the hearing listened with shock and disgust when Omotosho revealed that this huge expenditure arose from the nation’s defective economic planning system.

The Senate committees were jointly chaired by Barnabas Gemade (National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation) and Ahmed Makarfi (Finance).

Omotosho told the committee members that Nigeria cannot realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with such waste and planning deficit.

To arrest the trend, he advised the National Planning Commission to ensure functional capital budgeting.

“We need to take the annual budget back to the capital budget projections,” Omotosho told the committee members.

He charged them to ensure, through their oversight functions, that the NPC and other relevant budgetary agencies engage in proper planning of the nation’s economy.

Omotosho also advised that the Department of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS) should be put under the NPC to get economic planning right.

“There should be adequate budgeting activities,” he said.

The former DG, however, stressed that the constituency projects in the budget should belong to the constituencies.

To achieve this, he said there should be early engagements between the executive and legislative arms of government.

In his own presentation, a Professor of Economics, John Kwanashie, said the nation would begin to get its economic planning right when capital projects go into the national planning arrangement.

“We need to bring the budgetary process into the planning process,” Kwanashie said.

In his memorandum, Henry Boyo, an industrialist, stated that for the country to correct the deficiencies in the existing national planning and budgeting process, there should be need to put in place, a medium term development plan.

He also suggested a stronger, more coherent and inclusive national planning function which requires a multi-year national plan to underpin the annual budgeting process.

Gemade (PDP, Benue North–East) in his welcome address, stressed the essence of the public hearing which, according to him, was to search for solution towards eliminating the “serious discord and acrimony between the legislative and the executive arms of government which consequently stall our progress as a nation.”

He said the nation needs to have a national budget devoid of the current annual “incremental envelop system, which will provide alternative planning policies and strategies with inputs from private and voluntary sectors as well as the international community into an effective development partnership.” From the Daily Independent.

Murders, robberies on the rise as more police officers linked to crimes

 

By ZADDOCK ANGIRA zangira@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Wednesday, June 5  2013 at  23:30

 

IN SUMMARY

  • Murder and robbery cases are on the rise according to the report
  • Police attribute the current trend of crime and insecurity to organised gangs, cattle rustling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and inter-clan wars manifested by retaliatory attacks by armed militias
  • The number of women offenders almost doubled from 7,837 in 2011 to 14,518 last year while that of their male counterparts recorded at 6.6 per cent decline

Police officers are among criminals terrorising Kenyans, a report released by the Kenya Police Service Wednesday has revealed.

The report also says murder and robbery cases are on the rise. A lot of the crimes involve the use of firearms and ammunition held by criminals.

The report, which compares the first five months of the last three years, says there was a threefold increase in the number of officers reported to have been involved in various crimes. Between January and May 2011, 18 officers were charged with various crimes, but in 2012, only 14 officers were charged. However, the number increased to 48 this year, representing a 243 per cent increase.

Following the increase in the number of errant officers, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo has said that specialised teams like the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) and crime intelligence personnel will be deployed in affected areas.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Service are working together to crack down on errant officers in the wake of an increase in armed crimes especially in Nairobi and the surrounding areas.

“Where errant officers are reported, we will not hesitate to take action accordingly,” Mr Kimaiyo warned on Wednesday.

The report titled, ‘Kenya Police Service Comparative Figures’ shows that killings and robberies have increased in the last five months, while there has been a reduction in economic crimes and drug trafficking.

Cases of suicide

Out of 1,294 people killed between January and May this year, 869 were murdered, constituting about 64 per cent of the total number. Police reported 199 cases of suicide and 155 of death by dangerous driving.

However, there was a reduction in cases of stealing, motor vehicle thefts, other offences against persons, criminal damage, break-ins, theft of stock, offences against morality and theft by servant.

There was also a substantial reduction in the number of cases reported to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission (EACC) by about 51 per cent, from 7,326 in 2011 to 3,592 in 2012.

The highest number of crimes was reported in the Rift Valley, followed by Central, Nairobi and Eastern. Western, Coast North Eastern and Nyanza recorded significant reduction in crime.

According to the report, gang activities also increased in the period after the general election especially in Bungoma, Busia, Garissa and the Coast.

Most offenders were men although the number of women offenders reported almost doubled, while that of their male counterparts recorded a slight decline between 2011 and last year.

The number of women offenders almost doubled from 7,837 in 2011 to 14,518 last year while that of their male counterparts recorded at 6.6 per cent decline. Major increases among women offenders were noted in Eastern, Rift Valley and Central regions.

A total of 368 firearms were recovered in 2012 compared to 247 in 2011. There was also a steady decline in the number of ammunition recoveries from 16,388 in 2011 to 12,824 in 2012.

Largest decline

The number of persons reported to the police having committed offences went up in Central, while Nyanza registered the largest decline. From the Daily Nation.

Kenya’s Ruto wins first battle at ICC

Staff Reporter

NAIROBI – Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, may have landed his first victory in his crimes against humanity trial and is hoping to strike a second in a few months.

Judges at the International Criminal Court ruled that his trial can begin in September. They have also recommended that portions of it be heard either in Kenya or Tanzania.

Ruto and Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, are facing crimes against humanity charges at the Hague based court.

Should the recommendations by the ICC judges be approved by the court’s president, then it would be the first time that the ICC would hold a trial outside The Hague.

The International Commission of Jurists, the prosecution and the lawyers for the victims disagree with the recommendation.

ICJ Programme Manager, Stella Ndungu says, “Security for the victims and witnesses remain a concern that then needs to be taken into consideration by the court.”

In Tanzania, the case would be held in Arusha where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is hosted. The ICTR tried perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide and is in the process of winding up.

They have not received any recommendations from the government of Tanzania, and that is crucial.

But there may be a problem. Ndungu says, “They have not received any recommendations from the government of Tanzania, and that is crucial. That is a key thing. The government of Tanzania has to be on board with this. It is not on board with this.”

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have received backing from the African Union. The AU says the court has outlived its usefulness.

Hailemariam Desalgne, Ethiopia PM, says, “The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity in governance and in crime, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting.”

The cases would be conducted by the ICC, but for Ruto, it would save him the humiliation of being tried in a foreign land. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

Were these truly martyrs?

By Cliff Mugasha

Worldwide, the Catholic Church marks June 3, as the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and companions, the martyrs of Uganda.  St. Charles Lwanga is singled out because of his leading role as a catechist and animator of the martyrs.

The day is celebrated in memory of 22 Christians who were killed in the late 19th Century on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda, allegedly for choosing Christianity.

The 22 ‘martyrs’ were beatified on June 6, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on October 18, 1964, in the presence of global Bishops gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI canonised them. The event is commemorated at Uganda Martyr’s shrine in Namugongo, where pilgrims travel to celebrate the martyrs’ heroism.

In the Catholic Church, the martyrs are venerated for their heroism in professing and witnessing their faith and they have an intercessional role to those who are still struggling in life’s journey to join them triumphantly at the end of their earthly lives.

As a student of history, I always raise several questions about the significance of this day. But before I go into whether the day is significant or not, we need to understand meaning of the term ‘martyr’.

Stephen Patterson, in his book ‘Beyond the Passion (2004)’, defines a martyr as a person who suffers death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle or cause. The online encyclopedia also defines a martyr as somebody who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one.

During the early Christian centuries, especially during the era of Christianisation, the term acquired the extended meaning of a believer who is called to witness for their religious belief, and on account of this witness, endures suffering or death.

Now back to whether we should venerate the Uganda martyrs or not. To help us answer that question, we need to deeply comprehend why Kabaka Mwanga took such a ‘radical’ decision to kill the Christian converts. History has it that the Church Missionary Society in London had sent Protestant missionaries in 1877 to Africa, followed two years later by the French Catholic White Fathers.

These two ideological rivals competed with each other and the East African Coastal Muslim traders for converts and influence. By the mid-1880s, many members of the Buganda kingdom had converted and become proxies for the religious and imperialistic force of the British.

Christianity was largely associated with political power, therefore, Kabaka Mwanga II, upon his ascent to the throne, attempted to destroy the foreign influences he felt threatened the Buganda state.

He believed the new faith, with its protagonists was directly or indirectly challenging the power structures of Buganda.  He strongly believed the external forces were using the Christian converts to overthrow him by undermining his hegemony.

In fact the leaders of the traditional religion advised King Mwanga to eliminate what they called rebellious elements in the kingdom who refused to obey the King’s orders.

The first person to be killed was Bishop Hannington an Anglican bishop, who came from the east in 1885. There was a belief in Buganda that the one who would overthrow the Kabaka of Buganda would come from the east.

In an effort to re-establish the status-quo, Kabaka Mwanga began to persecute the Christians and many of them were burnt to death on June 3, 1886. At the end of the persecution, at least 45 Christians had been killed.

Another theory argues that the Kabaka, being an absolute monarch, his decisions were not challenged by anybody in his kingdom. Joining Christianity meant a commitment to break away from the old life style, make and adopt new alliances, and adjust to new moral and religious standards, adherence and allegiance.

In his efforts to curb the Christian influence and try to regain the traditional and customary powers and authorities over his subjects, Mwanga summoned his chiefs to discuss the ‘disobedience’ of his dissenting subjects.

Satisfied with the subservience of his chiefs, Mwanga gave orders for all the disobedient subjects to be assembled for execution.

He felt, with good cause, that the powers and authority his predecessors had enjoyed were dwindling and had disintegrated under the influence of the missionaries and their converts.

The new flock of believers, therefore, was regarded as ‘rebels’ who had transferred their loyalty to new religious systems. Overall, the beatification of the Christian converts as martyrs was unfounded, if we are to follow their acts and definition of the term ‘martyrs’. As a country, there is no historical warrant, precedent, nor precept in venerating them.

Their conversion to Christianity was a political security of sympathy to the Christian missionaries as against the Kabaka in Buganda’s leadership. This indirectly undermined the Kabaka’s authority and respect.

Whereas Mwanga’s ruling style fell far short of the charisma and political astuteness, his late father (Mutesa I) had demonstrated in dealing with the foreigners, events of the time indicated that his traditional power base was being eroded.

Acceptance of the traditional religion and Kabaka’s power in antiquity was an obligation incumbent on all citizens; failure to deify him was equivalent to treason and not martyrdom as the protagonists of Christianity would want us to believe.

The writer is social worker and social critic

Sudan seeking to curb wheat imports through domestic production

June 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of agriculture Abdel Halim Al-Mutafi said that Sudan wants to curb the 1.5 million tons of wheat imported annually by encouraging domestic production.

Sudan, which lost 75% of its oil production following secession of South Sudan in 2011, is making efforts to reduce food imports to preserve its already-low levels of foreign exchange reserves.

Al-Mutafi expressed hope to reduce imports by having the government continue offering competitive prices to local farmers that would push them to bolster wheat production instead of sorghum and beans.

He noted that farmers prefer to grow crops which are more profitable than wheat, adding that price of a bag of beans is three times the price of a wheat bag .

Sudan’s annual consumption of wheat is around 2 million tons.

He told reporters that Sudan does not face a shortage in grain supply, adding that the necessary funding for the purchase of wheat is available.

But last month, Al-Mutafi, who was testifying before the parliament, acknowledged that there is a serious shortage in agricultural finance, saying that last year’s allocated funds did not exceed 2.5 billion pounds (SDG) which represents only 2% of the total loans extended by the banks nationwide.

In the same testimony he questioned the possibility of achieving self-sufficiency and poverty alleviation, explaining that Sudan’s imports of food products exceed $1 billion, while spending on agricultural activities does not exceed a mere $600 million saying he expects a grain shortage of up to 76 thousand tonnes this year.

Once hoped to be the breadbasket of the Arab world, Sudan’s agricultural sector has continued to deteriorate over the years mainly as a result of negligence, drought, mismanagement, high taxes and the overall economic climate.

Sudanese farmers often complain about the high costs of imported materials such as fertilizers. Many of them were sent to jail as their debt piled up.

Several ambitious plans enacted to bring life to the sector have failed to materialize and critics say the government forfeited a golden opportunity during the oil boom to boost agriculture.

Foreign investors also complain about lack of infrastructure and unfriendly laws which they say deters them from putting money in Sudan’s vast farmlands.

Last month a Saudi investment firm said it will hold off its planned agricultural project in Sudan to produce wheat and other basic food items until the government eases a ban to repatriate profits.

Sudanese officials say that they are refocusing on agriculture as part of the broader economic plan to find alternatives to oil.

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune.

Remarkable Boost for Sierra Leone’s Profile Under EBK

By Gibril Gbanabome Koroma, CEO/Publisher – Thursday 6 June 2013.

Any adult Sierra Leonean cannot deny the fact that our country’s image abroad has undergone a vast improvement since President Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC assumed power in 2007 after free and fair elections in September of that year.

One of the first things our President said when he started work was that he was going to run the country like a business. That shocked some people who had seen leader after leader running the country like their personal property while viewing critics as trespassers and violators who should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed or forced into exile while the people starved in their homes with no electricity.

What a lot of people, especially foreigners, do not know about President Koroma (probably because they do not have enough time to do research on the man before they go to Freetown) is that he comes from a deeply religious home and has vast experience in business (over 30 years).

Now, any experienced and genuine business person would tell you that you cannot run a business successfully without a business plan to guide and motivate you. That’s why many leaders have failed in Africa; they do not have a plan to follow or if they have one, they put it aside and do something else.

President Koroma had a business plan for his first term (2007-2012; he called it the Agenda for Change and he and his ministers, together with civil servants and foreign partners, religiously implemented that plan and anyone who returns to Sierra Leone today after a number of years abroad would tell you that indeed there has been vast changes in the country. Positive changes. Mission accomplished for the Agenda for Change. Now the President has another business Plan, and that is the Agenda for Prosperity (2012-2013) which is essentially about creating an environment in which Sierra Leoneans would have access to jobs or create their own businesses without hindrance and with support from government so that a prosperous middle class can be created who would pay taxes to government which in turn will use that money to develop the country without having to ask foreigners for help. Right now, most of the serious tax payers in the country are foreign investors and a handful of successful Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs.

Recently, when the Rwandan government ran short of cash it asked its nationals in and out of the country for a loan and the money poured in, especially from diaspora Rwandans who are impressed with the work President Paul Kagame is doing in the country. A first in Africa. President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone is many ways like Paul Kagame: Serious, well-organized and very patriotic.

A lot of foreign investors and politicians like Tony Blair have seen the above qualities in President Ernest Bai Koroma (fondly known as EBK or World’s Best); and they have decided to give a helping hand. Let’s face it, Africa still has a long way to go to catch up with the West. Asking for their help is not enough, you have to demonstrate to them that you are a serious and decent person. You need to have a business plan and a clean record; the very things a bank would ask for if you show up, asking for a personal loan. EBK has got that. Let’s clap for him.

On the other hand, former President Kabbah and former SLPP Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio cannot even get a visa to visit the United States. Think about that. From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Battleground Gauteng: The race for SA’s big prize in 2014

A spat between the African National Congress and Democratic Alliance over the latter’s advertising campaign on cellular airtime vouchers is but an indication of the intensive electoral battles coming as the two parties fight for control of South Africa’s richest province. The ANC leadership in Gauteng is on the back foot after being in the losing camp at the Mangaung conference but still believe they can increase their percentage of votes in the province. The DA wants to take control of Gauteng, its strongest area of support after the Western Cape. Depending how the chips fall in both parties, it could be a showdown between Candidate Maimane and Candidate Mashatile for premiership of SA’s most powerful province. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

It’s the psychological factor rather than the numbers that make Gauteng the big prize in the 2014 national elections. Of course the province is populous and therefore its election results would impact on the national figures. But as the hub of South Africa’s economic activity, the political party which controls Gauteng controls the place where decisions, deals and money are made. Gauteng also includes South Africa’s capital and seat of government, its gateway to the world in the form of OR Tambo International Airport and some of the country’s most historic sites.

The ANC is desperate to hold on to Gauteng, and the DA is just as desperate to make it the second province where it rules. The DA is concentrating much of its early campaigning and targeted electioneering in Gauteng. The official opposition knows that if it can take the province away from the ruling party, it will break through the psychological barrier that the ANC will rule in perpetuity, and can then solidify its aspirations to be the governing party in South Africa in 2019.

The DA is galvanised by its increased percentage share of the vote in Gauteng – in the 2009 national elections the DA got 21.86% of the vote and in the 2011 municipal elections, it received 33.04%. The ANC went down from 64.04% in 2009 to 60.21% in 2011.

The battle for Gauteng became apparent this week when the ANC in the province flew into a fit after discovering that the DA was advertising messages on MTN airtime vouchers being sold at spaza shops in townships and informal settlements. The ANC called on MTN to dissociate itself from political party advertising, but denied that it had called on its members to boycott the cellular network provider. It has now emerged that the advertising space on the vouchers were sold by a third-party distributor, Blue Label Telecoms, and the DA advertising campaign was featured across the top three cellular network providers, not just MTN.

DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the airtime vouchers enabled the party to “connect with and inform hundreds of thousands of people about our history and our policies”.

“As part of our ‘Know Your DA’ campaign, we have distributed more than 2.5 million DA-branded airtime vouchers. We have every right to utilise this platform to spread our campaign message that we fought against Apartheid,” Maimane said. “In addition to the airtime vouchers, we have distributed 1.6 million of 2.9 million pamphlets and we’ve had one-on-one conversations with nearly 490,000 South Africans. In Gauteng alone, we have visited some 250,000 households.”

DA leader Helen Zille’s chief of staff Geordin Hill-Lewis says the focus on Gauteng in the airtime voucher campaign and others is because this is where the party has the best chance of winning the next election. Outside the Western Cape, it is where the DA has the greatest level of support, and one of the areas the ANC shed votes in the last elections.

Hill-Lewis said the DA was also aware that the ANC in Gauteng was still reeling from being on the losing side at the ruling party’s national conference in Mangaung last December, and that the leadership in the province was divided.

The Sunday Times reported that former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi warned the last ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting about the provincial leadership’s “hatred” of President Jacob Zuma. Mmemezi apparently wanted the provincial executive committee disbanded because of their campaign against Zuma in the lead up to the Mangaung conference. While Mmemezi’s proposal was not taken seriously, there is reportedly distrust of the Gauteng leadership and national leaders will make direct contact with voters as they did not believe the province’s leaders would campaign for Zuma in 2014.

It is also understood that SA Communist Party leaders in Gauteng were lobbying for the ANC provincial conference, scheduled for after the elections next year, to be brought forward. They apparently wanted provincial chairman Paul Mashatile to be voted out of his position before the national elections. However, the ANC NEC has decided that no conferences will be held until after the elections; a bitter leadership battle would damage the campaign badly.

Mashatile and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane faced off in the last provincial conference, at which Mashatile was victorious. Mokonyane was elected onto the ANC NEC in Mangaung and is believed to have set her ambitions beyond the province after the 2014 elections. As a member of the NEC, she is unlikely to challenge for leadership of the province again. Mashatile, one of the leaders of the Forces of Change campaign which wanted Zuma replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe at Mangaung, is no longer a directly elected member of the NEC but attends as an ex-officio member by virtue of his position as provincial chairman of Gauteng.

The process of drawing up election lists, for candidates to the provincial and national legislatures, will begin in the next two months. With Mokonyane destined for the national cabinet, it would make sense for Mashatile, now the Arts and Culture Minister in Zuma’s Cabinet, to head the provincial list as he remains a popular leader in the province. However, the position of provincial premiers, as with the national Cabinet, is the prerogative of the president. If there is any lingering resentment against Mashatile for his role pre-Mangaung, he could very well end up in neither Cabinet.

But such a move would be short-sighted, as the ANC has to marshal all its resources to maintain control of Gauteng. It is particularly vulnerable amongst the black middle class, where there is some level of disenchantment with the ruling party due to the string of scandals in government. The DA is trying to capture these disenchanted ANC voters, which is why it is driving the Know Your DA campaign specifically in townships to show its credentials at opposing Apartheid.

The DA is also running a Blue Blitz campaign to improve its visibility in communities and to recruit volunteers for its door-to-door campaigns. But at the moment there is uncertainty as to who will be the DA’s candidate for premier of Gauteng. Maimane, previously the DA’s candidate for mayor of Johannesburg, is a front-runner and will be most appealing to the black middle class. However, the DA’s leader in Gauteng John Moody will probably feel entitled to the position as he is doing the heavy lifting in the province. Also in the running will be the DA’s caucus leader in the provincial legislature, Jack Bloom.

Hill-Lewis says the DA electoral college will decide who would be the face of their campaign in Gauteng, and unlike the ANC practice of revealing the name of the premier candidate after the elections, the DA will want voters to know who they are voting for.

ANC head of communications in Gauteng, Nkenke Kekana, says the ruling party cannot be arrogant and say there is no contest from the DA in the province. He says despite reports to the contrary, the ANC in the province is politically stable and is “gunning for an increased majority in 2014”.

“Mangaung is behind us; I don’t believe there is a hangover,” Kekana said.

He said a provincial elections task team was looking at ways to attract new voters and consolidate the ANC base in its strongholds. With regard to the black middle class, Kekana believes the “Know Your DA” campaign has failed to make a significant impact. The DA is “still seen as a white party and is struggling to make itself relevant in the townships”, he said.

“During the campaign, we will remind the black middle class where we come from and where we are today. We will acknowledge that there are weaknesses but the answer lies in the ANC and no one else,” Kekana said.

But the ANC will have tough time navigating the string of scandals of the current administration, especially when trying to woo the middle class. The line from the party, however, is that it is through transparency of government that there is a perception of a greater incidence of corruption and scandal.

The area likely to be the biggest election battleground in Gauteng is Soweto, where the evidence of delivery of the ANC government is most visible but where the DA is working all out to secure support.

Kekana says much has been done by the ANC to improve the quality of life in Soweto over the past 20 years. “Our message will be: compare Soweto as it was 20 years ago to what it looks like now. There has been real and visible change to people’s lives.”

But the DA’s Hill-Lewis says while there ANC has achievements in areas like Soweto, there are still major problems in education, housing delivery and the quality of housing, which are causing dissatisfaction amongst residents.

Ultimately it will come down to which party puts up the better election effort. Both will be looking to present a hearts-and-minds campaign with a heady mix of election and highlighting the flaws of the other party. If the airtime voucher campaign is anything to go by, messages will be coming thick and fast on every possible medium, and voters will have to distinguish between the hype and truth.

The time to start paying attention is now. The information avalanche is coming. DM From the Daily Maverick

 

ANC: White youth shouldn’t feel excluded

05 JUN 2013 09:38 SAPA

ANC MP Judy Tshabalala has expressed concern about SA’s white youth feeling excluded from Youth Day celebrations, the Beeld has reported.

Tshabalala was participating in the annual parliamentary debate on Youth Day, which will be celebrated on June 16 nationwide.

According to Tshabalala, there was growing evidence that white youth felt excluded.

“We ask for the white youth’s inclusion in all patriotic and activist youth events.

“We did not save the youth from the shackles of apartheid only to allow ourselves to be fenced off in groups,” Tshabalala said, according to quotes in the Afrikaans daily.

“We are diverse, but we are all Africans, and we need to destroy the idea that we have different statuses.” – Sapa From the Mail & Guardian.

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

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