LATEST SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, FRIDAY, 7/6/2013

Dear readers,

Warmest greetings from Barnet, north London. Below please find the latest sub-Saharan African news, comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from newspaper websites right across the continent and down to the Cape.

Here at the Africa Centre when copy tasting and arranging material in order of priority, we try to cater for as wide a readership as possible, including the hundreds of employees of African origin in the 2,800 personnel of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, for whom this service was initially conceived. But if you feel that we can improve on this in anyway, please do feel free to point this out in a comment in the box provided at the bottom of this blog.

NEWS CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Sadc summit on Zimbabwe called off

Kenya: UK says sorry for Mau Mau crimes

East Africa: EAC partner states urged to harmonise corruption policies

Uganda: Museveni addresses the nation, hits at opposition

Sudan: Sudan says Iraq agrees to sell it oil on credit

 

Kenya: Japan to spend Sh90 billion on Kenyan projects, says Ruto

South Sudan: South Sudan gives Jonglei rebel leader Yau Yau ultimatum to surrender

Somalia/Sierra Leone: AMISOM welcomes more peacekeepers from Sierra Leone

Uganda: Terror suspects ‘legally detained in Uganda’

Ghana: Another Ghanaian Multimillion-Dollar Firm Going To South Africans

Ghana: One dead in galamsey shooting at Dunkwa

Nigeria: Nine killed as Fulani herdsmen invade Niger community

Uganda: Hippo mauls Amuru resident

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Nigeria: FG’s reaction to Boko Haram crisis cosmetic –Tambuwal

Africa: Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

Nigeria: Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

South Africa: Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

Ghana: Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

Africa: Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

Ghana: Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

Kenya: MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

Zimbabwe: Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

Rwanda: Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

South Africa: Satanic South Africa

 

 

Sadc summit on Zimbabwe called off

 

A SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) summit on Zimbabwe, due to be held on June 9, has been cancelled, Clayson Monyela, the spokesman for the South African government’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said on Thursday.

“The summit is off. We hope it will be moved to a new date,” he told BDlive on Thursday.

The main purpose of the summit had been for President Jacob Zuma, who is Sadc’s facilitator on the continuing crisis in Zimbabwe, to deliver his latest report.

There was no immediate word about when the summit would take place. It was originally scheduled to be held in Maputo next Sunday and then there were suggestions it would be switched to Pretoria.

Mr Zuma’s task is to help steer Zimbabwe back to peace and stability. The next objective is the holding of free and fair elections. Zimbabwe’s constitutional court ruled last week that the presidential and parliamentary polls must be held by July 29 2013.

The polls will pit 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The political and violent bias shown by Zimbabwe’s security forces in favour of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) are making the prospects of free and fair elections this year increasingly remote, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report warns on Wednesday.

The report, The Elephant in the Room: Reforming Zimbabwe’s Security Sector ahead of Elections, was released days after Zimbabwe’s constitutional court ruled that presidential and parliamentary elections must be held by July 29.

Concerns are mounting that there can be no fair contest between Mr Mugabe and his prime minister, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, until sweeping security sector and other reforms are passed.

A list of pressing electoral issues will be on the table on Sunday, when President Jacob Zuma and regional leaders attend a special summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

Among its key recommendations, the HRW report calls for an overhaul of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying its secretariat remains largely staffed by Zanu (PF) supporters and several senior staffers “are either serving or retired members of the security forces”.

The global rights organisation also wants the voters’ roll to be independently updated, international election observers to be accredited and repressive laws repealed.

“There is an urgent need, ahead of the elections, for Zimbabwe’s security forces to be drastically reformed, to create a political environment conducive for holding nonviolent and credible elections,” HRW said.

It said the report was based on interviews late last year and in March with 50 victims of abuse as well as lawyers, army and police members, rights activists and journalists,

“Since independence in 1980, the army, police and CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) have operated within a system that has allowed elements within their ranks to arrest, torture, and kill perceived opponents with impunity,” the report said.

Many of the reforms demanded by HRW are provisions of the 2008 Global Political Agreement, which was largely brokered and endorsed by Sadc.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s Sadc summit, HRW’s Tiseke Kasambala said that leadership changes in the region, particularly in SA, had led to greater Sadc pressure on the Mugabe government.

“President Jacob Zuma has taken a different line from president Thabo Mbeki, who was all about quiet diplomacy, which almost translated to quiet support for Robert Mugabe,” she told Business Day.

“We’ve seen President Zuma take a more neutral line but be a bit more forceful in his engagement with Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF), much to Robert Mugabe’s chagrin.”

Despite years of economic hardship, partly caused by western sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his inner circle, the country’s security forces have remained loyal to Zanu (PF) and outspokenly critical of Mr Tsvangirai, a former trades union leader who opposed the former white minority regime but did not fight in guerrilla ranks in the war.

Only a month ago, Gen Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said bluntly he would not meet Mr Tsvangirai in person.

“We have no time to meet sellouts. Clearly Tsvangirai is a psychiatric patient who needs a competent psychiatrist,” he told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper in an interview quoted in the HRW report.

“It’s just not possible for me to entertain (him), we are different. Just like oil and water, we cannot mix. As the defence force we will not respect or entertain people who do not value the ideals of the liberation struggle. Meeting such people will be a mockery to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives fighting for the country’s independence.

“Who the hell does Tsvangirai think he is?” Gen Chiwenga asked.

Under Zimbabwe’s previous constitution, and the new one approved by a referendum in March, security personnel must be politically nonpartisan.

The report highlights several examples of extreme and public anti-Tsvangirai sentiment at the top of the military hierarchy, which has previously said it would not recognise him as head of state if he were ever to be elected. A police band even refused to play the national anthem last November when the prime minister attended an official function without Mr Mugabe. From the Zimbabwe Mail.

 

 

UK says sorry for Mau Mau crimes

 

By ISAAC ONGIRI iongiri@ke.nationmedia.com AND BERNARD NAMUNANE bnamunane@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Thursday, June 6   2013 at  22:51

IN SUMMARY

  • Explaining the decision to pay the claimants £19.9 million, Mr Hague said the United Kingdom was eliminating the scar which blighted the relations with its colony.
  • “I would like to make clear now and for the first time, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya. The British Government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” he said.
  • In 2011, the High Court in London threw out claims by the veterans that the British Government should own up to the liabilities of the colonial regime, but allowed demands for compensation to proceed.

 

The stage is set for renewed infighting among Mau Mau war veterans as the British Government Thursday officially announced a Sh2.6 billion compensation package for atrocities committed by colonial forces during Kenya’s war of independence.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who made the announcement at the House of Commons in London for over 5,000 claimants, also publicly apologised for the atrocities committed by the colonial forces.

Explaining the decision to pay the claimants £19.9 million, Mr Hague said the United Kingdom was eliminating the scar which blighted the relations with its colony.

As Mr Hague was announcing the decision, a group led by a Mr Charles Munuhe claiming to represent 12 Mau Mau veteran groups which were not part of the case heard in London said they would file their own suit.

In a statement to MPs earlier in the day, Mr Hague had said: “The settlement I am announcing today is part of a process of reconciliation. We do not want our current and future relations with Kenya to be overshadowed by the past.

“Today we are bound together by commercial, security and personal links that benefit both our countries.  We are working together closely to build a more stable region.”

Mr Hague said the British Government owned up to the torture they took through thousands of Mau Mau fighters during the State of Emergency declared in 1952, stating that they did not condone acts of inhumanity.

He cited the punitive measures which the colonial administration used in its crackdown on Mau Mau, the unjustifiable punishment and brutalities in rehabilitation camps.

“I would like to make clear now and for the first time, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, that we understand the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya. The British Government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” he said.

“The British Government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place, and that they marred Kenya’s progress towards independence. Torture and ill-treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity which we unreservedly condemn.”

Mr Hague’s statement came after the British Government reached an out-of-court settlement with the Mau Mau War Veterans Association which had gone to court with the support of Kenya Human Rights Commission.

The representative suit was filed in London by solicitors Leigh Day in October 2009 for five Mau Mau veterans seeking compensation for ill treatment in colonial detention camps.

In 2011, the High Court in London threw out claims by the veterans that the British Government should own up to the liabilities of the colonial regime, but allowed demands for compensation to proceed.

Last month, Britain moved to the Court of Appeal to oppose the demands for pay. The decision is yet to be made. But some 12 Mau Mau war veterans groups who were not part of the court case have written to the Attorney General seeking permission to file another case against the former colonisers.

The groups, angered by a decision to exclude veterans who are not members of the Mau Mau War Veterans’ Association — which led by former MP Gitu wa Kahengeri — want the AG to permit them to file a case at the International Court of Justice to seek compensation and reparations.

“We the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters Fraternity, an umbrella of 12 Mau Mau registered groups, wish to notify you of our intention to sue the British Government for having failed to consider us for compensation,” said the group’s national coordinator, Mr Charles Munuhe, in a letter to the AG. The group said it did not approve of the out-of-court settlement by the Kahengeri group in which each of the 5,228 members will be paid Sh367,780.

But Mr Martin Day, the lawyer who represented the group, insisted that the case was over. “The case for the 5,228 is ended. We have agreed not to take any more cases under the agreement with Her Majesty’s government so basically this is the end of our work for the Mau Mau,” said Mr Day.

However, another British lawyer, Mr Brian Cox from Tandem Law representing Mrs Eloise Mukami, widow of Mau Mau war hero Dedan Kimathi, insisted they would seek total compensation for the remaining victims. He said that his firm had been instructed to pursue a fresh case. From the Daily Nation.

 

EAC partner states urged to harmonise corruption policies

 

 

Member states of the East African Community have been challenged to adopt a common policy on graft to ensure that the vice is uprooted.

This was said by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Julius Rotich while addressing the media at a dialogue on political integration held in Kigali on Tuesday.

“With a common policy and strategy on corruption, it can help the region to move forward because we get a lot of problems with this vice,” he said.

The survey

According to a study carried out by Transparency International in August last year, Uganda has the highest bribery levels in the region, at 40.7 per cent, followed by Tanzania (39.1 per cent).

Rwanda is the least corrup country in the region at 2.5 per cent.

Connie Bwiza Sekamana, a member of the African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC-Rwanda chapter) urged all stakeholders in the fight against graft to adopt zero tolerance to corruption.

She added that Rwanda is on track in addressing all forms of corruption, including the gender based corruption where women are sexually abused to get employment, yet employment has to be based on merit. From The New Times.

Museveni addresses the nation, hits at opposition

By Joan Akello

President Yoweri Museveni hit at the opposition and some media over sabotage. He called the East African Newspaper cahoots while delivering his state of the nation address at Kampala Serena Hotel today.

“The East African reported that I will have difficulty in delivering the state of the nation address this year because I have not fulfilled some things I said last year. When Daily Monitor and The East African make noise, we know we are doing the right thing,” he said.

He started his speech outlining ten strategic bottlenecks hampering social, economic transformation and political integration such as ideological disorientation and corruption.

He also attacked the West (oil companies) over capitalizing on building a pipeline yet the country desires a right sized refinery and its underestimation of Uganda as a potential market with about 10 million children in school.

He however blamed the  actors over lack of seriousness and that “if Uganda Investment Authority(UIA) and National Environment Management Authority(NEMA)  correct their ways,” it will reduce bureaucracy and  promote private sector led growth .

He says the ministry of health should consider the provision of safe water because water bone diseases contribute 20 percent to the spread of diseases while changing lifestyles can reduce diseases by 80% in particular smoking and obesity.

Museveni also outlined a number of projects that his government will deliver in the next financial year such as Karuma and other power dams that he says will be built.

“Uganda will become a middle income country by 2017,” Museveni said, amidst jitters from some Members of Parliament.

Museveni says the NAADS programme will be reorganized through giving people materials and getting ‘rid of its big structure of human beings’, and embark on fighting mosquitoes through providing larvaecides .

He also urged parents to pack lunch for their school going children, and also promised that the loan scheme for university education will be launched next financial year on top of the 4000 students on government sponsorship.

Lack of staff, long distance to the medical facility are some of the reasons expecting women shun delivering at health facilities but the president says most of them have a negative attitude towards male midwives.

Interestingly amidst media reports of corruption in public service, the president says he will address parliament as an expert in fighting corruption and criminality.  The speaker interjected MPs and told them that they would be given time to debate the state of the nation address

The president said, “it is easy. I will handle a bunch of  thieving public servants.”

Also present was  the EALA speaker, Margaret Zziwa and EALA MPs , diplomats, members of the civil society , judiciary including Hon James Ogoola. From The Independent.

Sudan says Iraq agrees to sell it oil on credit

 

June 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has announced that the Iraqi government agreed on Tuesday to sell it oil but pay for its price at a later date.

“There is now a technical team from the Sudanese petroleum ministry [in Iraq] to discuss technical issues of the deal in terms of volumes and payments,” Osman said at a news conference in Khartoum upon his return from a two-day visit to Baghdad.

Sudan’s resorting to Iraq for its oil needs signals its lukewarm relations with closer oil-rich nations particularly Saudi Arabia which has been unhappy over Khartoum’s close ties with Iran.

The East African nation been struggling to meet local demand for diesel and other oil products since losing most of its crude output with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Oil used to be the main source of revenue for the budget and of dollars needed to pay for imports.

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

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

Iraq has been one of the countries Sudan has turned to for help with its financial woes.

Last November, the Iraqi government revealed that Sudan had requested a $100 million grant, but Iraq only agreed to disburse a fraction of that ($10 million) to be allocated from its 2013 budget.

At the time, the Iraqi government spokesperson, Ali Al-Dabagh, said that Iraq responded to the request of Sudan’s finance minister who explained the critical economic situation experienced by Sudan following secession of South Sudan and the significant loss of oil revenues which had negatively impacted the budget and the balance of payments as well as the suffering in Darfur.

The Sudanese investment minister also said that the two countries agreed to form a joint council of businessmen including 15 members from each side, adding that the first meeting of the council will be held in Khartoum in the coming weeks.

He declared that the first meeting of the joint ministerial committee between the two countries which is headed by ministers of agriculture will convene in Khartoum.

The Sudanese official disclosed that the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, has promised to discuss the issue of the Sudanese convicts in Iraqi jails with the competent authorities upon a request from Sudan to pardon them or transfer them to Sudan’s prisons to complete their jail terms.

He noted that Sudanese convicts’ prison terms in Iraq ranged from 10-19 years along with one who was sentenced to death.

(ST)  From the Sudan Tribune.

 

Japan to spend Sh90 billion on Kenyan projects, says Ruto

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2013 – 00:00 — BY GIDEON KETER

 

DEPUTY President William Ruto has said his trip to Japan was successful.

He said the economical interest of Kenyans were represented in the meeting.

Ruto was representing President Uhuru at global the fifth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development in Yokohama city.

The objective of the conference was to promote high-level policy dialogue between Japan and African leaders and strengthen cooperation.

Addressing a press conference yesterday at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Ruto said the Japanese government has agreed to fund some of the projects especially infrastructure and agriculture.

He said the Japanese government will spend more than Sh90 billion in various projects across the country.

Ruto said Japan will fund the expansion of Mombasa port at a cost of Sh30 billion and Sh60 billion to fund the 600 kilometre Kitale-Juba road.

He said the Japanese government will fund the expansion of geothermal and coal-powered energy in Naivasha, Kitui and Kwale.

“The Jubilee government is determined to reduce the cost of living. I held talks with the Japanese government and they have agreed cooperate more with us on energy,” Ruto said.

Kenya has appointed Toyota’s president Jun Karibe as a honorary consul in Nagoya, Japan.

Karibe will represent Kenya in Nagoya, Japan’s main economic centre with major manufacturing industries.

The city contributes 40 per cent to Japan’s economy and handles 20 per cent of its international trade.

The move is geared towards spurring Kenya’s economic diplomacy with Japan to reduce the imbalance of trade between the two countries.

The decision to establish a consulate in Nagoya is in accordance with Kenya’s economic diplomacy which aims to strengthen trade and investment ties in its foreign relations. From the Star.

South Sudan gives Jonglei rebel leader Yau Yau ultimatum to surrender

June 5, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan issued an ultimatum to the Jonglei based militia leader, David Yau Yau, on Wednesday asking him to choose between laying down his weapons unconditionally and respond to the presidential amnesty, or risk being pursued militarily.

Defence minister, John Kong Nyuon, said the government was committed to providing adequate security to civilians and their properties not only in Jonglei state but across the two-year-old country.

“We are a government with all capabilities to provide protection to all our civil population and their properties not only in Jonglei state but the entire country. It is therefore not a businessof individuals to claim the responsibility of protection of the members of their ethnic group”, said Minister Nyuon in a clear reference to Yau Yau’s declaration that he was fighting to defend his Murle ethnic group and establish a separate state for marginalised minorities.

He warned that the army would not tolerate individuals using the “tribal card” to commit atrocities, saying it was a matter of time before South Sudan’s army (SPLA) – itself a former rebel movement turned national army – could bring the conflict in the region to an end if Yau Yau does not respond to the presidential amnesty issued in April.

“Yau Yau is taking advantage of the good intention of the president to give peaceful dialogue the opportunity to resolve the conflict. It is not that the SPLA is not capable to end these banditry activities. I consider it banditry because he has no base. He is now on the run. The SPLA forces are hunting for him. We decided to respect the decision of the president but it seems he is not responding. So we are giving him the opportunity to decide between responding to the amnesty or the SPLA will be forced to hunt him. He has to make a choice”, Nyuon said on Wednesday.

Nyuon was speaking to journalists in response to questions about what his ministry intends to do to ensure the peace and stability promised by president Salva Kiir, while addressing the fifth international conference on African development in Japan.

Kiir vowed his government’s commitment to guarantee internal stability, especially along the border with Sudan, which has remained tense and highly militarised since South Sudan’s independence in 2011.

In his speech Kiir also recognised the work of Japanese peacekeepers in United NationsMission in South Sudan (UNMISS), lauding the expansion of their operations in infrastructure development into new areas in Eastern and Western Equatoria states.

He told the conference that his administration, with civil society organisations, had initiated a process of national reconciliation as a way of consolidating peace in the country.

SPLA CLOSING IN ON REBEL HIDEOUTS

Meanwhile, military sources said government soldiers were heading on Tuesday to suspected key areas in north eastern and south eastern parts of Pibor county, located in south eastern part of Jonglei state, allegedly occupied by rebels who oppose the presence of the country’s military or government there.

“At the moment, our forces are on the move. It is just a matter before you hear a new development. Our forces on the ground have clear orders to pursue Yau Yau and his forces and restore law and order in the area so that the civilian can return to their areas and resume normal life”, a senior military source told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday in Juba.

The spokesperson for SPLA colonel Phillip Aguer also told the audience during a question and answer session hosted by privately-owned Citizen Television that it was only a matter of time before the army could bring the rebellion in Jonglei state “to an end”.

The military officer, however, did not provide any further details on the current activities of the army in the area.

(ST) From the Sudan Tribune.

AMISOM welcomes more peacekeepers from Sierra Leone

 Friday 7 June 2013.

 

The African Union Mission in Somalia has welcomed some members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) to the Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu.

AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti; Sierra Leone Contingent Commander, Colonel Mamadi Keita (photo) and senior AMISOM officers welcomed the troops off the plane at Mogadishu Airport before addressing them at a welcome parade.

The Sierra Leoneans constitute AMISOM’s fifth contingent, after the Burundian, Djiboutian, Kenyan and Ugandan contingents and have been deploying into South Central Somalia since early April. This deployment of troops is destined for the port city of Kismayo.

While welcoming the Sierra Leone troops to Somalia, AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti said; “This deployment has now become a reality. You will be working alongside Somalis, Ugandans, Kenyans, Burundians and Djiboutians and also supported by Ethiopian forces and our partners. It’s a consolidated force and your presence here shows the spirit of Africa, you experienced your own problems and are now here; we are all African and here working together to stabilize Somalia.”

The Sierra Leone troops will be working alongside Kenyan troops in Sector 2 where AMISOM forces have made major gains in the fight against insurgents.

“You will work in Lower and Middle Juba with the Kenyan Defense Force, going out and working to stabilize the area, I thank you and welcome you to the mission area and remind you that you are here to serve on behalf of your country and Africa, back home they expect great work from you.” Said Lieutenant General Gutti.

Over the past years the African Union troops alongside their Somali counterparts have significantly expanded the area of control of the Federal Government of Somalia as the government embarks on stabilization efforts in these regions. From The Patriotic Vanguard.

Terror suspects ‘legally detained in Uganda’

 

By Hillary Nsambu

Seven of the 14 suspected July 11, 2010 Kampala terrorist bombers are legally detained in Uganda, the East African Court of Appeal Justice has ruled.

The court said that the Court of the First Instance Division of the East African Community (EAC) made a mistake to rule that the arrest, detention and rendition of the suspects violated the constitutions of Kenya and Uganda.

This was during its ruling delivered recently in Arusha, Tanzania.

The ruling followed an appeal by Uganda’s Attorney General, supported by his Kenyan counterpart, arguing that the EAC Court of First Instance Division erred in law when it concluded that the terrorism suspects were illegally detained in Kampala.

However, the EA Court of Appeal Justice agreed with the Principal State Attorney, Patricia Mutesi, who represented Uganda’s AG, on preliminary objection that the suspected terrorists’ case was time-barred and it should have been thrown out by the court of First Instance.

The court further agreed with Mutesi that the judges of the lower court made a mistake in law in finding that the suspected terrorists’ case was properly before court when it was brought one year later, instead of the required period of within two months.

Mutesi had further contended that the court of the First Instance Division had no inherent power to give interpretation that does not give effect to the Treaty; or which invalidates its provision.

She had also submitted that the court of the First Instance Division had violated the Constitution of the EA Treaty by invalidating the time limit within which the suspects were supposed to file their complaints.

The court was in agreement with her that it was not proper to refer to the current situation of the suspects as unlawful detention.

That it was not proper because they went before the courts of Kenya upon their arrest and currently are before the competent courts in Uganda duly indicted and awaiting trial.

‘Forcibly removed from Kenya’

The suspected terrorists are: Omar Awadh, Hussein Hassan Agade, Idris Mogandu, Mohamed Hamid Suleiman, Yahya Suleiman Mbuthia, Habib Suleiman Njoroge and Seleman Hijar Nyamanndondo.

They had asked the region’s Court of the First Instance Division to release them on the ground that their extradition to Uganda did not follow due process of extradition – ‘having been abducted, forcibly removed from Kenya and handed over to Uganda where they are illegally detained’.

They were indicted with Ugandan suspects who include Isa Ahammed Luyima, Edris Nsubuga, Hassan Haruna Luyima, Abubakari Batemyetto, Muhamoud Mugisha and Muzafar Luyima.

Mugisha is facing charges of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism while Luyima is indicted for being accessory to the offences of terrorism and murder.

“The suspects’ application for reference was filed in the court of First Instance Division of the East Africa Community out of the prescribed time and their appeal is time barred for not complying with the provisions of the Treaty,” the court ruled.

“The continued detention of a suspect, who has already been produced before a court and charged with an offence, is quite a different matter altogether.”

Vice president of the EA Court of Appeal Justice Philip Tunoi headed the Coram, which featured Justices Emily Kayitesi and James Munange Ogoola.

On July 11, 2010 suspected al Shabab terrorists bombed Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant, Makindye, killing at least 76 people and injuring scores others. From New Vision.

 

Another Ghanaian Multimillion-Dollar Firm Going To South Africans

By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Email: mk68008@gmail.com

 

Though the Merchant Bank Ghana Limited and South Africa’s FirstRand Limited merger is yet to be approved by the Bank of Ghana, another South African financial firm is closing a multimillion dollar purchasing agreement with the board and management of Ghana’s Provident Life Assurance Company this year.

The South African financial services group, Old Mutual, which is acquiring the Provident Life Assurance Company says the move is to expand its African presence.

 

Provident Life Assurance Company whose headquarters is located at Provident Towers at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra is the fifth largest life company in Ghana and provides life insurance and investment products‚ mainly via an agency force.

 

The transaction requires relevant regulatory approvals and is expected to complete by the end of 2013.

 

The consideration for the transaction will form part of the R5bn, previously identified by Old Mutual as being available for expansion into Africa‚ it said.

 

Julian Roberts‚ Group Chief Executive‚ commented: ‘This transaction is another important step in our strategy of expanding our emerging markets businesses.”

In March this year Reuters reported that that Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual which last year bought the life insurance unit of Nigeria’s Oceanic Bank, plans to buy minority and majority stakes in businesses in east and West Africa over the next three to five years.

The company during the month of March reported higher-than-expected profit.  It wanted to cash in on growing demand for insurance across the region as rapid economic growth, fuelled in part by the natural resources boom, increases consumer spending.

“We believe that the prospects for growth in Africa are underpinned by sustainable, structural factors,” Old Mutual said, adding that the continent’s economic output is forecast to have quadrupled to $2 trillion between 2000 and 2012.

Old Mutual, which owns insurance, banking and fund management businesses across four continents, said adjusted operating profit for 2012 rose 18% to £1.6bn, narrowly beating the £1.57bn expected by analysts in a company poll.

The improvement was driven by a strong performance from Nedbank Group, Old Mutual’s majority-owned banking business, where profit rose by nearly a quarter to £828m, and good growth at its emerging markets businesses.

Old Mutual’s asset management unit in the United States took in £900m of client money during the year compared with an outflow of £3bn in 2011, its first positive annual inflow since 2007.

The company, which last year deferred plans to float the US asset management business, said the unit was not yet ready to go public.

“It hasn’t got to the state where it would be value-enhancing to do an IPO,” CEOJulian Roberts told reporters on a conference call.

Old Mutual’s London-listed shares have almost doubled over the last three years, beating a 22% gain for the FTSE 100 share index, as it sold businesses to repay debt and dispel investor worries that the group lacked focus and would be worth more broken up.

The disposals partly reversed an international acquisition spree Old Mutual began in 1999 to reduce its dependence on its historic home of South Africa. From The Chronicle.

 

One dead in galamsey shooting at Dunkwa

By Joy News

One person was confirmed dead in what eyewitnesses alleged was a shootout between agents of illegal Chinese miners and residents of Dunkwa in the Central Region.

Following a crackdown on galamsey ordered by president Mahama last month, some persons have allegedly been looting expatriates engaged in illegal mining.

The area is known for illegal small scale mining, dominated by Chinese.

Municipal Chief Executive for Upper West Denkyira, Kofi Owusu Ashia also confirmed the death to Joy News.

He said illegal miners have resorted to hiring private security men to protect their concessions and properties.

An eye witnesses and a local journalist said fighting between the looters and agents of the Chinese led to the death of one person.

Police in the area have confirmed the death of the man but declined any further comments.

Inusah Fuseini,chairman of the Inter-Ministerial taskforce empowered to inject sanity into small-scale mining has said he was surprised by the killing.

The small scale miners have alleged that the taskforce has mounted swoops on their concessions, destroyed their equipment, and made away with gold, money and other valuables.

But Inusah Fuseini who is also the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said the committee has not ordered shooting of illegal miners or the destruction of their properties.

He said the order was to arrest anyone engaged in the illegal practice. He said foreign nationals caught in the business are sent to the District taskforce for screening.

Any foreign national found without proper documentation is then held for deportation, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Chinese residents in Ghana have expressed concern about the manner in which their residents are being treated in the country.

It follows the arrest of one hundred and sixty six Chinese illegal miners in their latest swoop. The Chinese illegal miners were arrested from this month from different illegal mining sites across the country.

They are expected to be deported to their country next week.

A representative of the Chinese Business investors in Ghana Mr. Chen Junqi talked to Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor that the Chinese want government officials to go about the crackdown in a peaceful manner and also investigate the alleged killing of one Chinese by ‘criminals’.

He said pictures of the killing of a Chinese has been circulated through social media in China. He said although the killing was by “bad people”, the people in China are “angry” over the treatment of their nationals living in the country. From Modern Ghana.

 

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

By Chinwendu Nnadozie

Snr Correspondent, Minna

No fewer than nine persons were feared dead and many others sustaining various degrees of injuries as suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded Kushaka village in Shiroro local government council of Niger State.

The midnight operation, an eye witness said, was carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen from the neighbouring Kaduna State, who used dangerous weapons to ransack the farming community.

The attack, which occurred at about 2.am on Wednesday, caught the villagers napping as they lost valuable possession to the invaders.

According to the source, the villagers had retired for the night without having any premonition of what was to happen, only to be suddenly woken up by gunshots, as the invaders ransacked houses, shooting indiscriminately and inflicting cuts on their victims.

Some of the villagers managed to escape to the bush, but the elderly women and children were not as lucky, as they fell to the fire power of the invading forces.

Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, Richard Adamu Oguche, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), confirmed the attack.

He explained that from preliminary reports, the villagers were killed in their houses at about 1.am, when the Fulani herdsmen attacked them.

Oguche said the village is on the border between Niger and Kaduna states, adding that no reason could be deduce for the attack, more so as that the villages had no previous quarrels or misunderstanding with one another.

As part of measures to restore order, Oguche said the command had deployed about three trucks loads of anti-riot mobile policemen to the area.

While investigation into the disturbance is on-going, Oguche said efforts are being made to arrest and bring to book those responsible for the attack.

 

Hippo mauls Amuru resident

 

By Simon Masaba

A man has been killed by a hippopotamus at his home in Okidi trading centre, Amuru district.

Jacob Oloya was seated under a tree in his compound having a meal at around 9:00pm on Tuesday when the beast attacked him.

The deputy Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, said Oloya was attacked by a hippo that is suspected to have come from River Nile in South Sudan through River Aswa.

He said the Police contacted the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which sent a team to hunt down the animal.

Onyango said there were other stray animals in the area and urged residents to be cautious. He advised them to always move in groups to scare off the animals that may attack them.

Oloya’s body was taken Amuru Health Centre for a post-mortem examination. From New Vision.

Here follows the latest sub-Saharan comment and opinion, taken by the Africa Centre from media websites right across the continent and down to the Cape:

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Nigeria: FG’s reaction to Boko Haram crisis cosmetic –Tambuwal

Africa: Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

Nigeria: Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

South Africa: Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

Ghana: Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

Africa: Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

Ghana: Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

Kenya: MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

Zimbabwe: Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

Rwanda: Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

South Africa: Satanic South Africa

 

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

 

•Decries impunity in governance, tasks govt to change tactics

•We can’t survive another civil war, Mark warns

By Celestine Okafor Sola Shittu and Rotimi Akinwumi, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, observed in Abuja on Thursday that application of military might by the Federal Government in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency cannot completely solve the problem of insecurity in the country.

He also pooh-poohed Nigeria’s democracy in the last 14 years, lamenting that impunity and other undemocratic practices have reigned supreme in the land.

As Tambuwal spoke, Senate President, David Mark, also warned those beating drums of war in the country to stop it because no nation can survive two civil wars.

Both of them made the observations in their separate opening remarks at plenary to mark the 2nd anniversary of the country’s Seventh Assembly since return to democracy in 1999.

Tambuwal noted that the nation needs a change of tactics in its quest for development by dumping the current method, which in his opinion was not meeting the needs of the country.

While appraising the legislative performance in the last two years, the Speaker said the House had done well to deserve praise, but noted that there are still areas that need drastic improvements.

On the state of insecurity in the country, Tambuwal noted that the current situation was brought about by the vicious circle of poverty and unemployment, which ought to be tackled more vigorously by government.

The government, according to him, is however concentrating efforts on controlling the “consequences” rather than the “causes”.

“The vicious circle of unemployment, poverty and insecurity constitute a grave social malady in our body politic. Sadly the debilitating insecurity situation has forced us to declare a war on consequences rather than causes.

“For now it may be imperative to fight the consequences in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the prosecution of the war against the causes.

“It is important to realise that along the line we must commence the war against unemployment and poverty as a consolidation strategy,” Tambuwal said.

Speaking on erosion of democratic ethos and the way out of the malady, he said: “After 14 years of uninterrupted practice of democracy, we still suffer acute poverty of democratic culture and practices. This is a challenge to all Nigerians but more so for those of us deeply involved in the democratic process and operation.

“We must place national interest above selfish interest, we must place objective principles above parochialism and whims. We must deliberately promote a viable and transparent electoral process.

“The right to opinion and dissent must be given space in our political discuss. Internal party democracy is a sine qua non to the genuine development of democratic culture; therefore as we work and walk towards 2015, we ought to take the vow that all votes must count whether in intra-party democratic processes or at the level of inter party contests.

“True democracy does not happen by accident, it is therefore our duty as intimate practitioners and beneficiaries of political patronage to be in the vanguard of the deepening of democracy.

“The people of Nigeria desire and deserve this, it is right and honourable, we have a duty to deliver these noble expectations.”

On the need to evolve a new policy that will take the nation to the desired height, he said: “Our nation is living in unusual times and unusual times require drastic and unusual remedies.

“In setting the pace of governance we must realise that we are grossly in arrears of our developmental expectations and capacities.

“Our goals and targets must be premised on our collective capacity rather than the limited capacity of an individual or a select few, otherwise we will continue to promote waste. Our job design and job deployment must be functional and waste free.

“The substance and quality of our governance must therefore either be intelligently original or the intelligent adaption of what is relevant, right and proper.

“That way we shall be coasting home to the land flowing with milk and honey.”

On his part, the Senate President noted that the 2015 general election is still two years away with lots of works yet to be done.

He said instead of continuing to heat the polity ahead of election, elected officials should focus on governance and justify their present mandates.

He admitted that though friction is inevitable between branches of government but that the primary loyalty must remain to the people and the Constitution.

Mark threw his weight behind the Federal Government’s ban on the Boko Haram and Ansaru group, saying both the proscription and prescription of stiff penalties for their activities are steps in the right direction.

But, like Tambuwal, he warned that the response to terrorism cannot depend on might and military force alone.

He said the biggest challenge is to win the hearts and minds of the locals from whom the fanatics recruit their foot soldiers.

And to do this, Mark added, government must identify and address the root causes of extremism and sectarian hate.

“Elections are two clear years away. Yet the collision of vaulting personal ambitions is over-heating the polity and distracting the onerous task of governance.

“With so much work yet to be done, we as elected officials should focus on governance and justify our present mandates.

“Overheating the polity is unnecessary, diversionary, divisive, destructive, unhelpful and unpatriotic.

“Into this vitriolic mix is being thrown a spate of mindless and distempered effusions that add no value whatsoever to the quest for national cohesion and development.

“Those beating the drums of war should realise that no nation can survive two civil wars in one lifetime. These trends must stop, and we must all remember that the nation is greater than the sum total of its parts,” he said.

He vowed that the Senate would stoutly resist any attempt to cast the legislature as a rubber stamp while continuing to act in complementarity and collaboration with the executive branch of government, whenever it was in the best interest of Nigerians. From the Daily Independent.

Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

SIMON ALLISON

07 JUN 2013 01:06 (SOUTH AFRICA)

 

Thousands of Africa’s best and best-connected students have been lured to Chinese universities with free degrees, luxurious accommodation and generous monthly allowances. Thousands more will follow in what is an immense and sustained attempt to repair China’s reputation and expand its sphere of influence. In a Daily Maverick special feature, SIMON ALLISON goes to Beijing to examinethe scholarship programme first-hand – and figure out if it’s going to work.

In Africa, China has an image problem. You’ve read the headlines: China is flooding our markets with cheap fakes; it is callously poaching our rhinos; it is building stadiums and roads that don’t last a decade; it is undercutting our labour; it is stealing our diamonds; it is coming to colonise us all over again.

Some of this is sometimes true. Much of it is not, or not completely, the product of nervous imaginations and a well-founded fear of foreign nations who take from Africa more than they give. But image is not about substance, it is about perception; and, after decades of doing things its own way – consequences be damned – China is wising up to the importance of fixing its controversial image in Africa.

A few initiatives are worth noting. The expansion of Chinese media into Africa can’t be ignored. State news agency Xinhua has become the largest wire service operating in Africa, while the Chinese public broadcaster’s new Africa channel (CCTV Africa) is headquartered in Nairobi with a full complement of African staff. Likewise, there has been a significant cultural investment in the form of Confucius Institutes (cultural and language centres designed to rival the British Council or Alliance Française) sprouting all over the continent.

In the long term, however, perhaps the most influential and certainly least examined initiative is the Chinese government’s mammoth scholarship programme, which has grown exponentially over the last decade. There are an estimated 12,000 African students studying right now in China with the support of the Chinese government. This is an astonishingly high figure, dwarfing scholarship programmes offered to African students by any other country.

So, questions need to be asked: What are African students doing there? How are they being treated in China? And who really benefits?

Coming in from the cold

To figure this out, I thought I’d better ask a few African students who are actually there.

Sydwell Mabasa welcomes me into his room at the Communication University of China. He’s clearly happy to see a fellow South African, and over a hot cup of Rooibos – “The taste of home,” says Mabasa – we chat about politics and Oscar Pistorius and why exactly those textbooks aren’t being delivered in Limpopo, his home province. I’m just happy to be inside. Beijing in winter is cold and blustery, the air so thick with smog that you can scrape trails of grime off your face with a fingernail. This is about as far from the warm, blue skies of Africa as it is possible to get.

Mabasa, who works in provincial government at home, is one of 21 African students on a new master’s programme in international communication (almost all the scholarships are awarded at post-graduate level; the idea is to get people who are already well-educated and established in their home countries). He hasn’t contributed a cent to his postgraduate studies, because China is footing the bill. The course is paid for, as are flights, accommodation, food and even a monthly stipend of $250 (R2500). Not too shabby. Neither is his room, a spacious studio with two single beds, a desk, a couple of chairs and an en-suite bathroom (on some mornings, students are even woken up with tea delivered to their door). It’s housed in the 10-storey International Students Centre, a former hotel on campus where all the foreigners stay. “To prevent them infecting the citizenry with their foreign liberal ideas,” jokes a colleague.

It’s a flippant remark, but it’s a serious issue: what kind of education can Africans really get in China, a country where censorship is rife and Facebook and Twitter are still banned? “The education system is good,” Mabasa says. “Most professors who are part of this programme, they studied in the US and Canada and other areas. We get to explore both sides of the world.”

His sentiments were supported by other students I spoke to, all of whom noted that the course presented both Western and Chinese theories, allowing the students to choose what they think works best. “There is a kind of framing sometimes, trying to push you into viewing the world in a certain light,” said Saleh Yussuf Mnemo, from Tanzania. He’s a journalist with experience at the state-owned Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation, and also a lecturer at the Zanzibar Journalism and Mass Media College. Saleh says this “framing” is not unique to the Chinese: “Our education in East Africa was mostly influenced by the British, the French, the Germans. Now we are here we get a real insight into what the Chinese perspective is.”

For many of the students, understanding China is just as important as the education itself. There seems to be a recognition among young Africans that China is going to be around for a while, and that there are relatively few Africans who can relate to China at all. Europe and America are known entities, with deep cultural or historical ties to African societies, but China is still a mystery. To understand China – to be a China expert – is therefore a marketable skill which is valuable regardless of the content or quality of the degree.

This is encouraged by the university, which includes Chinese language, culture and history courses as part of the core programme. “It’s kind of a life-changing experience for them,” comments Professor Zhang Yanqiu, director of the African Communications Research Centre at CUC. She’s also the resident coordinator for the African students in the communications programme, and helps organise trips and cultural experiences – excursions to Shanghai or the Great Wall, for example, or tours of Chinese broadcasters. “They know more about China. Now they know it, they know China personally.”

Yanqiu, however, is the first to admit that there’s an element of self-interest in this as far as China is concerned. “Between China and Africa they do a lot of business and there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of each other. But this programme offers a new channel for Africans to know what’s happening in the real China… For us, it’s a successful programme. The students work like a bridge between the two countries. I think we achieved our goal to let people understand China more, to know the real China.”

The real China

But the real China is flawed, and it can, at times, get in the way of the education. I went with the students to a lecture on new media, a fascinating topic in today’s digital world. The lecture, in English, was sharp, and the discussion freewheeled between analysing the influence on public opinion of US political dramas like West Wing to the skills needed in crafting 140-character tweets. Except they weren’t tweets, of course, because Twitter is banned; they were entries on China’s heavily censored home-grown equivalent, Sina Weibo. Homework for the students, along with an impressive amount of reading, was to set up a Weibo account and start micro-blogging.

Easier said than done. “Whatever I say, they delete most of it,” said one student, referring to the army of censors working in real-time to monitor the social network. Mabasa refers to the restrictions as “social networking with Chinese characteristics”, a clever riff on the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” that forms the basis of the Chinese state’s ideology.

Not that Twitter and Facebook are completely off-limits. Getting round the censors by using a proxy server is slow, but not difficult. I was able to access my Twitter via a simple Google search for “free proxy server”, and students have even more sophisticated ways to evade the Great Firewall. Even some lecturers – employed by the state – have no qualms about telling foreign journalists like me to connect with them on Facebook.

Still, teaching a course on new media when the most influential new media sites – including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress – are technically off-limits necessarily compromises the course. As does teaching classes in international journalism when media in China is similarly controlled and driven by the central government, and international news heavily restricted (the New York Times, for example, is unavailable in China).

When put to her, Professor Zhang accepts this criticism, but is quick to point out that the West has its own, different problems when it comes to the media. “We can see that Western media reports on China and developing countries are not very balanced. For both the teacher and the student we need to balance the coverage. I think the developing countries are in one camp, they are not in the camp for Western countries, so we should understand each other, pay attention to each other, produce coverage on each other and keep the information flow very balanced. Although it’s hard to achieve, we have to help each other.”

This is a refrain I hear again and again from Chinese academics and government officials: China and African countries are in the third world together, they are all countries discriminated against by the West; they are brothers or partners or whatever other word describes a friendly, mutually beneficial partnership between two regions of equal stature and development.

Walking around Beijing, it’s hard to buy this narrative. The city is modern, clean and efficient, with world-class public transport. The sheer number of glistening skyscrapers here is overwhelming, more than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa combined, and they’ve all got electricity and running water. There is a conspicuous absence of the kind of obvious poverty that blights most African cities. Even the smog points to an industrial capacity that Africa can only dream of. Sure, this is just one city, but China’s got plenty of other developed, industrialised metropolises: Shanghai, Shenzen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, to name but a few. Africa, as continent, has a lot of catching up to do.

“When I came here, actually it’s quite different from home,” says Saleh. “China has gone very far ahead. My expectation is that Chinese themselves can feel like maybe they are in heaven.” Heaven might be stretching it, but the point remains: China and Africa are, quite conspicuously, not at the same level of development, no matter how often African and Chinese leaders express their fraternal solidarity.

This cognitive dissonance between the image projected by China in Africa and the reality experienced by students can generate feelings of wariness and caution. Gloria Magambo, who is a manager in the performing arts section of the National University of Rwanda (which is state-run, naturally. There is a theme here), found that her perceptions of China changed dramatically when she arrived in Beijing. “Before I came here, I didn’t know much about China and didn’t even fear China at all and didn’t even care. But now when I know China and actually get to discover who they are and what they are doing that is when my fear is rising instead. Now I know more about China. I have discovered the strength of the Chinese, they are very determined people, and by studying their history I know that whatever Chinese want they can get it… People with such determination, if their inner motive is colonisation, we’re in trouble, we cannot beat them.”

The geopolitics of brand-building

To find out more about China’s motivations – at least as far as its African scholarship programme is concerned – I went to speak to Professor Liu Haifang at Peking University (it’s always Peking University, not Beijing University, a mistake which got me hopelessly lost in the city’s northern suburbs).

Peking University is China’s oldest, and it shows; while there are plenty of the big utilitarian concrete buildings which dot other campuses, here there are also grand old halls, pretty frozen-over lakes and elegant footbridges which lend it an academic gravitas shared by some of the world’s very best universities, like Oxford or Princeton. It also hosts its fair share of African students, some of whom are taught by Professor Liu, who also happens to be one of the leading Chinese experts on the educational links between China and Africa.

There are a couple of things she is eager to set straight. First of all, she says, it’s important to understand that Africans have been coming to study in China for decades – and that there are plenty of African students who are here on their own initiative, without any government support. The figures she quotes take me by surprise: 18,000 self-supporting African students in China compared to the 12,000 on scholarships. And the more scholarships China gives out to Africans, the more come Africans on their own, thanks to word-of-mouth networks – although, Professor Liu points out, this is a subsidiary benefit of the programme, and not a motivation for it. (I met one of these self-supporting students. He is Kenyan, and was most bemused when he was sent to study in China. His brother had been sent to the United States, but, he said, his mother didn’t know which way the world was going and wanted to hedge her bets.)

The other issue she wanted to clarify is that the central government is not the only driver of the scholarship programme. Increasingly, local governments and companies are seeing the benefits of expanding their ties with Africa and sponsoring a few scholarships is seen as a relatively easy way to do this.

But, overwhelmingly, the scholarship programme is still a central government effort, and Professor Liu is crystal clear about what’s in it for China: “The benefit is image, image-building up among Africans. If there is a better image about Chinese government and its support of education among youth, then young people can come to work for Chinese companies and spread good messages to their community.”

This makes sense. Professor Joseph Nye famously coined the expression “soft power” to talk about the more intangible influences of culture and media in international relations. It’s something America, with global icons like Hollywood, McDonald’s and Michael Jackson has in spades, while many people would struggle to name five famous Chinese people. As China’s military and economic might has increased dramatically over the past two decades, its soft power has not kept pace. By training a new generation of Africa’s best students, China hopes to change this and exponentially increase the number of people who feel that they understand China and would orientate themselves in China’s direction – a necessary complement to China’s ambitious economic engagement in Africa.

But, being China, it’s doing it its own way – and it’s something that Professor Liu worries could one day undermine the whole effort. Her concern lies in how scholarship students are chosen; more specifically, that attempts to introduce a unified, merit-based system to award scholarships have foundered. In fact, responsibility for selecting students is often delegated to individual African countries, meaning there can be large disparities in selection criteria – and creating a system that is ripe for abuse.

Although she was careful not to say it directly, Professor Liu implied on several occasions that in some countries, the process was not as transparent as it should be – and she was not the only one. One researcher, speaking to the Daily Maverick off the record, said that some Chinese diplomats use the scholarship programme as a carrot with which to reward cooperation from African governments. “The traditional mindset among some Chinese officials is that they still think the most important thing is to leave enough quota, enough scholarships to give to special persons, the elites. They go to officials’ children or special connections.” The researcher added that this attitude is not always supported by the central government, who are taking a long-term view of the scholarship programme and what its benefits should be. “If you only give scholarships to so-called special relations, then you cannot keep the benefit at all. He will go, he will leave the relationship, and then you have to give to another person, and another person, and it can actually be a very bad cycle.”

A rare publicised example of how this occurs was revealed by Namibian tabloid Informante in 2009. “High-ranking government officials are grabbing educational scholarships offered by China for their children and close relatives,” wrote the paper in a stunning expose. “Investigations show that high-profile figures ranging from former president and founding father, Sam Nujoma; current President Hifikepunye Pohamba; government ministers overseeing procurement of multi-million dollar deals with the Chinese government; senior military and several government officials are snatching the scholarships which are supposed to benefit mainly students from less privileged families for their children and relatives.”

Four years later and this scandal continues to dog the Namibian government. The country’s main independent newspaper The Namibianrecently published a strongly-worded editorial demanding some kind of inquiry into the abuse of scholarships, and The Namibian’s editor, Gwen Lister, told Daily Maverick that she’d seen nothing to persuade her that the situation had changed.

Playing the long game

The big question, really, is will it work? China’s scholarship programme to Africa is remarkable in its scale and intent. At its worst, it’s a brazen attempt to hijack the loyalty of Africa’s ruling classes by going after its youth; at its best, it is a genuine effort to give thousands of Africa’s brightest students the extended education they can’t afford to get anywhere else, and prepare them for a world in which Africa’s orientation will inevitably shift eastward.

Either way, it’s a long game. The programme started in earnest in 2009, and most graduates from it are still in their 30s. China’s selection criteria (favouring both previous work experience and, at times, political connections) means that, within the next couple of decades, many of these graduates are going to be in positions of power and influence. Their experience in China will leave them well-equipped to deal with Chinese businesses and officials, and perhaps favourably disposed to do so. They will also be in a position to tone down some of the hyperbole that dominates the China-Africa political discourse.

But China shouldn’t expect to have it all its own way. “We’ll be influenced by our time here, but that does not mean we’ll be totally in favour of them,” said Saleh, the Tanzanian student. “It’s not like a father and child. We are the future leaders of our countries and we’ll have to look for the future benefit of our countries. We know what we are doing.” DM

This article was researched with a grant from the China-Africa Reporting Project managed by the Journalism Department of the University of Witwatersrand. From the Daily Maverick.

 

Nigeria now has second highest population living with HIV/AIDS globally – NACA

By Wale Odunsi on June 5, 2013

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, on Tuesday disclosed that 3.4 million Nigerians were living with HIV/AIDS, the second largest globally.

The agency’s Director-General, Prof. John Idoko, stated this at a Senate public hearing on a bill to prohibit discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Idoko noted that while the national prevalence stabilised at about four per cent, 13 states still carry higher burden.

He said that the country was behind target in several important indicators, affirmed that one of every three people in need was currently receiving treatment.

Idoko, who said only 18 per cent of HIV positive women receive prophylaxis against mother-child transmission, noted that more than 40 per cent of HIV positive persons do not know their status.

Senate President, David Mark, who declared the hearing open, called for an end to stigmatisation and discrimination against persons living with HIV.

Represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi, Mark said the citizens should be educated more about HIV.

He said, “It is important for all to be educated to know that HIV is just like any other disease. Once identified, all a sufferer needs to do is to access treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Infected people are hiding under common diseases like diabetes because of discrimination. They will not tell you that they are HIV positive for fear of being discriminated against in their workplaces.

“That somebody is infected does not mean he is not good or morally upright person or that he should be denied employment or barred from his social networks.

“HIV is a disease that can be contracted both intentionally and accidentally.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, noted that the HIV pandemic poses a big challenge to health and development across the world.

He said, “In the countries that are worst affected, including Nigeria, the impact of HIV/AIDS have eroded decades of developmental goals and gains, stultifying economies and destabilising societies.

“There is no doubt that HIV is expected to continue to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in many countries and population, including Nigeria.

“We must begin to be proactive in the implementation of action plans that are workable and friendly, and advocacy must be carried out at all levels of the society.

“HIV poses a serious obstacle to the attainment of decent work and sustainable development and its effects are concentrated among the most productive age group.

“HIV problem has been made worse by the violation of their fundamental rights at the work place, schools, communities and the larger society on the basis of real or perceived status, particularly, through discrimination directed at persons living with HIV and AIDS.” From the Daily Post.

Back to square one: Another Lonmin strike looms

The stage has been set for another strike on the North West platinum belt, this time at Lonmin, the very scene of August 2012’s bloody Marikana massacre that claimed 34 lives. After Lonmin and majority union AMCU were unable to reach consensus on a recognition agreement, the strike looks like a natural next step. By MANDY DE WAAL and THAPELO LEKGOWA.

After weeks of talks between Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) about the terms of a recognition agreement between the two parties, the new majority union at the platinum mine has called for a strike.

Lonmin stated on Wednesday that AMCU now represented about 70% of that sector of workers; that includes miners and rock drill operators. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – once the most popular and powerful union in South Africa – isn’t currently able to muster representation over 20% amongst these workers.

The mining company has two collective bargaining forums, one which constitutes those workers with whom AMCU enjoys its majority. The second collective bargaining forum comprises artisans, supervisors and what Lonmin calls “skilled workers”. The trade unions recognised by this forum are Solidarity, NUM and the United Association of South Africa (UASA), which is one of the oldest unions in the country.

AMCU wants the two bargaining forums to be rationalised into a single congress that will negotiate on labour issues. Lonmin asserts that this is problematic because it has binding contractual agreements with the NUM, UASA and Solidarity, and says that AMCU wants to bargain collectively beyond its mandate with those employees who haven’t afforded the union any real clout.

The trade union is headed by Joseph Mathunjwa, who earlier blamed tensions at the mine on management. “For AMCU to have organisational rights at Lonmin, you have to have more than 50%, which was an agreement signed by (the) NUM, Solidarity and UASA. Thereafter AMCU is the majority at Lonmin, so (the) same must apply. The management must engage with the union to set a threshold which then will regulate any union’s organisational rights sitting at the workplace,” he said.

“It is the management who made this tension,” said Mathunjwa, who told SABC News that AMCU had abided with the management treaties with other unions to date, but questions why – now that his union has a majority – Lonmin wanted to reset the thresholds required for recognition.

Mathunjwa added that things had been peaceful at Lonmin until such time as the print media broke news of AMCU’s majority with miners and rock drill operators at the platinum mine. “It was quiet. We signed a peace framework agreement with all stakeholders – (the) NUM, AMCU, Solidarity, UASA, and we could see the fruits of that framework. Then all of a sudden once the media came up and said AMCU is that majority at Lonmin, then we had these killings,” the union leader said.

AMCU is demanding recognition thresholds of 35% for basic organisational rights which includes getting union fees from Lonmin employee deductions; 45% for collective bargaining which includes having full-time shop-stewards at the platinum mine, together with union offices; and 50%+1 to be recognised as the majority union which would afford it the rights to set thresholds with Lonmin.

Lonmin proposed thresholds of 35% for basic organisational rights: 45% for collective bargaining; and 50%+1 to be applied to that collective bargaining forum where AMCU enjoys majority support. But it has stuck firm on prescribed thresholds for that collective bargaining forum where AMCU does not enjoy meaningful support, and where it holds binding contracts with the three other unions.

Further, the mining company wants to implement changes on 1 July 2015 so as to “give all parties time to prepare for the change.” Lonmin stated that it was in the process of terminating the NUM’s agreement with the company.

“In December 2011 Lonmin signed a limited organisational rights agreement with AMCU which enabled AMCU to establish structures at its Karee Mine. In recognition of AMCU’s majority status, in January 2013 Lonmin extended the limited organisational rights agreement to all Marikana operations. The extension of the limited organisational rights agreement enabled the union to establish its shaft and branch structures across all Marikana operations and gave it access to offices and other facilities,” Lonmin says in its statement.

When Lonmin and AMCU weren’t able to see eye-to-eye on the recognition agreement, the process was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). This intervention proved fruitless and Lonmin requested that the stalemate be subject to arbitration. The CCMA scheduled the arbitration for Wednesday 26 June 2013.

But AMCU took the decision to the workers at a mass meeting of miners that filled Wonderkop Stadium in Marikana on Wednesday. “We told the commissioner, ‘you are mad’. He can’t decide for us when we were the ones who brought the matter to the CCMA,” Mathunjwa told workers.

He then said that there were two options for the miners – to go to arbitration or to strike. A resounding return roar signalled that the workers had opted to strike, rather than to opt for mediation.

It is only two weeks since the last strike at the mine, when workers downed tools in a two-day unprotected strike mid-May. The day after the strike, Lonmin management asked the NUM to move its offices. The NUM took the matter to court, which ruled that the NUM had until 16 July 2013 to prove its majority.

The NUM’s discomfort is palpable. A couple of days ago Lonmin suspended eight shop-stewards representing the NUM, in connection with membership fraud. It is claimed that the shop-stewards falsified stop orders to try to beef up membership numbers. Lonmin said that some 150 cases of membership fraud had been investigated.

And now the markets will wait and watch to see what will happen at Lonmin. AMCU has given the mining company until Tuesday 11 June to acquiesce to its demands. “We wrote a letter requesting a meeting (with Lonmin) in a bid to avoid a strike. We requested to meet the company on Monday. If we do not have an agreement by Tuesday, we will serve the company with a 48-hour notice to go on strike,” said Jimmy Gama, AMCU’s treasurer.

But despite the dark shadow of Marikana’s bloody history, miners say they are ready for this strike. Daily Maverick spoke to a miner who identified himself as Hlongwane, who said: “We are ready to strike as workers – we will not be intimidated by anyone including (the) NUM.” Last year’s events of (the) workers shooting will not be forgotten but it cannot be a hurdle towards our course as it (will) hold us back.” DM From the Daily Maverick

POSTED ON FRIDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2013

•Graft will mar 2015 poll, Braithwaite predicts

By Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Hassan John (Abuja)

Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, has observed that the future of Nigerian youths could be bleak if they failed to join in the fight against corruption.

He made the observation in Abuja on Thursday at the 2013 Children’s Forum organised by his bureau.

Saba enjoined the youths to “join in this fight as your future is inextricably linked to corruption being reduced in Nigeria to the barest minimum.

“With the reduction of corruption in Nigeria, money that could have been corruptly and primitively stashed away will be released for development. Modern infrastructural facilities will be provided for the general welfare of Nigerians.”

He advised the youth to shun corruption in all its manifestations, speak out against corruption and report all breaches of code of conduct for public officers to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Report all forms of corruption to anti-corruption agencies and ask your parents who are public officers, but stupendously rich, the sources of their income,” Saba charged the youths.

He expressed optimism that if the youths take the fight against corruption seriously, they would have a secured future.

He explained that the Children’s Forum was an annual programme initiated by the CCB to create awareness “in our children on the negative effects of corruption and inculcate in their impressionable minds those high moral standards and acceptable ethical behaviour.”

The occasion was attended by representatives of other anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and many other government agencies.

Children from different schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasarawa and Niger states attended the forum.

Similarly, elder statesman, Tunji Braithwaite, on Thursday identified corruption as the major obstacle hindering Nigeria’s growth and development.

In fact, he said there will not be general election in 2015 unless “king corruption is dethroned.”

Braithwaite, a Presidential candidate in the Second Republic, made the remarks at the Founder’s Day Thanksgiving Service of CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos.

He said there was no alternative to “a constitution of the people of Nigeria” which will decentralise power of the Federal Government as currently structured.

“We will not allow any more charade elections in Nigeria until and unless, we have dethroned king corruption and given ourselves an acceptable constitution to decentralise the disproportionate power at the centre in Nigeria’s governance structure,” he said.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Three Festering Fires’, Braithwaite, who decried the high level of insecurity, fraud and moral decadence in the society, said the call for a Sovereign National Conference where Nigerians can sit and discuss the terms of their co-existence is more imperative than ever before.

He also urged the Federal Government to perish the thought of celebrating the “disgraceful centenary celebration of Nigeria’s existence in 2014”, saying that doing so will amount to “celebrating and venerating a bad history of enslavement.” From the Daily Independent.

Ghana Must Take A Cue From Rwanda And South Africa And Pass Affirmative Action Bill Into Law

 By Samuel Adadi Akapule

It is very critical and crucial for Ghana at this stage to re-examine itself very well by taking a cue from Rwanda and South Africa which have passed the Affirmative Action Bill into law and giving more quotas of political leadership to women.

It is sad to note that a country like Ghana which has chalked a lot of democratic credentials at both continental and international levels is still crawling at a drafting stage with the Affirmative Action Bill, though with claims that the draft has been finalized. What are our political leaders, especially our parliamentarians, who are law-makers of the country telling us as Ghanaians?

The passage of the Affirmation Action Bill into law is long overdue and no further delay is excusable. Ghanaians, particularly Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), are fed up with the empty promises made by successive governments and political parties.

No wonder, many CSOs are continuously expressing their disappointment and frustration in diverse ways about the delay in passing the bill into law.

Only recently, CSOs cried out at a public durbar organised by the Regional Inter-sectoral Gender Network (RISEGNET) in Bolgatanga in May, this year, with sponsorship from the Action Aid Ghana (AAG).

The event reaffirmed the Action Aid’s commitment to the crusade against practices that are inimical to the development of women, such as widowhood rites, Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage of the girl-child, et cetera, since the early 1990s.

Themed “Advocacy for the Passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into Law”, the durbar attracted 150 participants who mainly were gender advocates drawn from the  Past and Present Assembly Women Association (PAWA), queen mothers and women heads of department.

At the end of the public durbar, a communiqué was issued calling on the government to as matter of urgency pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law and to also ensure its effective implementation.

One thing stood clear at the event which this writer carefully observed. One could feel the grief of participants, vehemently demonstrated when they were given opportunities to contribute during the open forum session. They simply were not happy about the delay of the passage of the bill into law.

 

*WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?

Affirmative action, known as positive discrimination in United Kingdom and as employment equity in Canada and elsewhere, refers to policies that take race, colour, religion, sex or national origin into consideration in order to benefit underrepresented group in areas of employment, education and business.

Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined groups within a society. It is often instituted in government and educational settings to ensure that marginalised groups and minority groups within a society are included in all programmes.

The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture and to address existing discrimination.

There is no doubt that when the Affirmative Action Bill is passed into by Parliament and implemented, it would empower the Ghanaian woman to also participate effectively to the decision making process of the country.

There are so many advantages that could be accrued when women are empowered. It should be emphasised that, apart from the development it brings to the women by enabling them to adequately participate on issues affecting them, it is the best means of addressing poverty, disease, hunger.

A gender advocate and Programme Manager of Action Aid Ghana, Mr. James Kusi Boama, did not mince words when he reaffirmed this to this writer in an interview during the durbar.

Realising the importance of the Affirmative Action Bill to development, countries like Rwanda and South Africa subscribed to the passage of the bill into law and this has given a higher quota to women leading to more women parliamentarians and political appointees than their male counterparts.

GHANA, AN INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIBER TO RIGHTS OF WOMEN

It is rather sad that a country like Ghana, which has amassed democratic credentials to the applause of the international community, is yet to pass the affirmative bill into law.

The Ghana Government must take a cue from the two developing countries and also swiftly pass the Affirmative Action Bill into law. There is no doubt that the pace of progress and development would be accelerated if Ghana hastens the process.

“If fact, one wonders what is preventing Ghana from the passage of this significant bill into law. Ghana could have achieved all the Millennium Development Goals if it had passed this important bill into law since it would have addressed some of the challenges militating against the achievement of the goals”, Mr. Boama stressed.

Ghana is a signatory to global declarations and protocols that call for increased women’s participation in decision making, such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the African Union’s Protocol on Women’s Rights among others. Despite all these, women still remain under-represented at decision-making platforms. No doubt, this makes it very difficult for women to contribute effectively to the national development process.

Across Africa, the types of quotas practised include constitutional quotas that are enshrined in the National Constitution and the Electoral Law quotas that are provisions written into national legislation by reserving a certain number of seats for women in political bodies.

There are also voluntary quota systems introduced by the political parties on their own because of some level of commitment on the part of the parties’ leadership. However, there is no binding legislation to implement the provisions and this is preventing Ghana and other African countries from mainstreaming the Affirmative Action into their laws.

*WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS

It is significant to note that, apart from Ghana being a signatory to global declarations and protocols, the foundation or a major impetus for the Affirmative Action Act can be found in certain provisions of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.

Article 12(2) states the protection of fundamental Human Rights principle and provides that “Every Person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to Fundamental Human Rights and freedoms of the individual in this chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for public interest.”

Article 17(2) states that “a person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion creed or social or economic status”. These articles set the tone for the total emancipation of women.

The constitution also imposes certain task on government to promote the cause of women empowerment. This can be found in the Chapter Six of the Constitution. Article 35(5) provides that “the state shall actively promote the integration of the people of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place, circumstance of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.”

What is important to gender advocates is the next clause, which, among others states: “Towards the achievement of the objectives stated in clause (5) of this article, the state shall take appropriate measures to: achieve regional and gender balance in the recruitment and appointment to public offices.”

The obligation of government has not, at present, been achieved. However, some strides have been made in this direction which has led to increase of the number of women in government. For instance, women have ever been appointed by government to head prominent institutions including Parliament, NCCE and CHRAJ among others; but that is not enough, considering the fact that women outnumber men in the population.

The Mahama-led Administration has also appointed some women into political leadership and this must be applauded, but there are still more room for improvement.

The problem seems to lie on the elected in public office, Parliament, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).  In the 2012 Parliamentary election, out of the 275 seats in Parliament, women scored only 30― an unsatisfactory outcome.

*WOES OF UPPER EAST WOMEN IN DECISION MAKING

Giving the overview statistics of women in the leadership positions in the Upper East Region at the public durbar on the Affirmative Action Bill, the Chairman of RISEGNET, Mr. Daud James Abang-Gos, stated that, since independence in 1957, no woman had ever headed the Upper Region (now Upper East Region), spanning over seven successive governments. He said no woman has also ever represented the region as a Council of State Member.

“As at now, we have 23 elected assembly women as against 353 men elected in the region. Out of a total number of 153 government appointees to the various assemblies in the region, 43 are women as against 110 appointees being men.

The region has a total of 529 assembly persons, only 66 are women both elected and appointed whilst the men are 463. All these negative practices are not only affecting the development of women but the entire national development as a whole,” the Chairman of RISEGNET stated.

It is very important to note that the above scenario is not confined to the Upper East Region only, but is spread across all districts and regions across the country.

*WHAT WE MUST DO

Mr. Abang–Gos impressed on the government to follow in the footsteps of Rwanda where the authorities gave more quota to women, leading to appointment of more women parliamentarians and political appointees than their male counterparts.

There is also the urgent need for Government to provide the necessary support for building the capacity of women. This could be in the form of funding through favourable credit and loan schemes.

Women should also be assertive and avail themselves when the bells of political appointment come chiming. Women themselves should support their colleagues when it comes   to elections. Political parties must endeavour to honour the promise of quota as normally indicated in their manifestoes.

A lot of advocacy programmes are needed to break the negative cultural barriers that debar women from participating politics. There is the need for legislation on the quota system when it comes to the appointment of women into leadership position just like it is being done in Rwanda and South Africa.

*CONCLUSION

It is envisaged that with the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law and its effective implementation, it would make a positive impact on the number of women in public offices.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the durbar, assured the CSOs that government was not only committed to the passage of the bill but would religiously implement it. It is the hope of this writer that this time around that Government’s promise to pass the bill into law is not going to be mere lip service.

Dr. James Aggrey’s decades-old assertion― “If you educate a man, you educate an individual; but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation.”― still holds true.

This statement cannot be disputed because the woman is the first teacher of every soul under the sun and the mother of society. Government, particularly Parliament, needs to act swiftly to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law. It is only when this is done that Ghana’ socio-economic development could be accelerated to the highest pedestal.

Let us take a cue from Rwanda and South Africa now to change our fortunes.  There is no doubt that if the Affirmative action bill is passed into law and implemented effectively, it would not only  become an effective  tool for women development but a reliable wheel grinding smoothly towards the ‘Promised Land’ foreseen by our forbears. From The Chronicle…

 

Economic Obstacles Fail To Deter ‘Unstoppable Entrepreneurs’

By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Email: mk68008@gmail.com

 

The entrepreneurial spirit across Africa in general and Ghana in particular is unwavering, according to new research commissioned by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. The international study includes East, North and South Africa.

Small and micro businesses are vital for economic growth but face serious challenges.  Even though some might have fallen into business ownership through redundancy, a staggering 85 per cent of entrepreneurs globally reported that given the chance they would do it all over again.

The figure tops 90 per cent in Mexico, Germany and the Netherlands. Even at the bottom of the scale, in Australia and Brazil, more than 75 per cent of entrepreneurs would dive right back in.

A study conducted by the University of Ghana estimates that small enterprises in Ghana provide about 85 percent of manufacturing employment. The study further states that small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) are believed to contribute about 70 percent to Ghana’s GDP and account for about 92 percent of businesses in Ghana.

According to Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, director, Monitoring and Research Division, UN-HABITAT, economies that have had the SME sector make better contribution to GDP have shown consistent commitment to the development of the sector by implementing access to finance and financial incentives, basic and technological infrastructure, adequate legal and regulatory framework, and a commitment to building domestic expertise and knowledge.[1]

This latest Regus research, canvassing over 26,000 business managers and owners in 90 countries, confirms that nimble and flexible entrepreneurs regard lack of access to credit (76%) as the biggest deterrent to setting up a business today.

Red tape (74%) and lack of government support (61%) followed. Half the entrepreneurs who took part in the survey also cited the state of the economy and market domination by large corporations as serious hindrances.

Commenting on the findings, Regus VP for Africa, Joanne Bushell said: “Thank goodness for the Unstoppable Entrepreneur! Who knows what state the economy would be in if they decided to play safe and downsize like a lot of their larger and arguably better resourced competitors.  The challenges they face are not new, but they are clearly saying that little impact has been felt from state support initiatives, despite the best efforts of government”.

 

SMEs are “engines of growth” accounting for up to 99 per cent of businesses and 40 to 50 per cent of GDP.[2]In Ghanaian particular, they provide about 85 percent of manufacturing employment.

 

Globally, 50 per cent of all jobs are generated by SMEs, yet, in spite of this, they attract just a tiny proportion of overall investment across the G20.

Bushell added: “Entrepreneurial firms will need to remain nimble to navigate choppy waters and succeed. The lack of institutional support means that business owners will continue to increasingly favour flexible working in order to avoid lengthy leases and free up their working capital so they can concentrate on growing their business.

“Already, more than half of entrepreneurs are using flexible working locations for most of the week, compared with 39 per cent for those that do not own their businesses.”

Top challenges for entrepreneurs Global East Africa North Africa South

Africa

Lack of access to credit

76%

86%

69%

81%

Red tape

74%

70%

45%

82%

Lack of government support

61%

57%

67%

73%

Current economic conditions

55%

44%

57%

58%

Market domination by large corporations

From The Chronicle.

Constitution demands safe circumcision

07 JUN 2013 00:00 RIA NONYANA-MOKABANE

 

It is is the state’s responsibility to ensure that cultural practices comply with the Bill of Rights, writes Ria Nonyana-Mokabane.

he recent tragic deaths of 28 initiates in ­Mpumalanga have sparked new debate about the regulation of the cultural tradition of circumcision.

Cultural circumcision is an age-old practice in many African ­communities and its advocates see it as a vital rite of passage for boys in their preparation for manhood. My contribution to the debate focuses on the constitutional rights that allow the practice, other rights that must be respected, and how these rights, including the state’s obligations, are balanced in the Constitution.

Most boys who undergo cultural circumcision are younger than 18 and thus under parental care, so it can be assumed that their initiation is sanctioned or encouraged by their parents. In some communities, boys from families who do not uphold the practice participate nonetheless, driven by peer pressure. Non-participants can suffer stigma and marginalisation – rejection for not being “real men” – by their peers.

Most cultural circumcision in South Africa takes place in ­winter. Initiates are expected to stay in the mountains for a lengthy period  without access to education, healthcare and other basic necessities. The reported cases of botched circumcisions by inexperienced cultural practitioners suggest that the lack of access to healthcare makes the initiates very vulnerable.

According to the Bill of Rights, the right to enjoy a cultural practice may “not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights”. Thus, cultural practice may not infringe on the boys’ right to equality, life, human dignity, mental health and their spiritual, moral and social development, among other things. They are entitled to healthcare, education, protection from maltreatment, abuse or degradation, as well as an environment that is not ­harmful to their health and wellbeing.

Here the Bill of Rights strikes a balance between the right to culture and other fundamental rights: the right to a cultural practice must fall within the ambit of other rights as entrenched in the Constitution. No such qualification is made in the case of other fundamental rights ­mentioned above.

It could be argued, therefore, that the interest in protecting other fundamental rights outweighs the right to culture. Throughout, the right to culture has to give way to other rights, rights with no countervailing rights over them. In this, the Constitution created no space to manoeuvre for cultural circumcision to compete with, or trump, other rights.

Reasonable and justifiable
Furthermore, the Constitution provides that the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights may be practised subject to a limitation clause. This means that the right to cultural practices may be limited “in terms of law of general application to the extent that the right is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic ­society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors, including … the nature of the right, the importance of the purpose of the limitation, the nature and extent of the limitation, the relation between the limitation and its purpose and less restrictive means to achieve the purpose”.

The limitation clause applies to all fundamental rights entrenched in the Constitution. Ultimately, the status of this clause reflects the reliance of democracy on the views of the majority: that is, what is democratic should be approved by the majority.

It is clear that exploitation, abuse and the deaths of initiates during cultural circumcision has become a concern for many, including those who support the practice in general. For these reasons, cultural practices that can be harmful and not openly justifiable by the majority in society must be limited.

This does not mean the right to cultural circumcision may not be practised, but that certain measures be put in place to ensure that it does not contravene the initiate’s rights.

This shifts our argument to the responsibility imposed on the state to work towards the realisation of all rights. The Constitution requires that the state “protect, promote and fulfil all the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights”. Thus, there is a compelling reason for the state to establish legislation to regulate the practice of cultural circumcision for the sake of the wellbeing of ­children.

The state’s contribution in this area goes back to March 2004, when national traditional leaders met to discuss the establishment of a national policy framework to address some of the concerns about malpractices in cultural circumcision.

A policy framework was to be developed on receipt of inputs from the provincial branches of traditional leadership groups. The meeting resulted in the enactment of provincial circumcision laws by the Free State, Eastern Cape and Limpopo; laws that seek to prevent injury or death during such ceremonies. These laws require the inspection of the initiation school by health officials to ensure hygienic conditions and proper water supply. They further require a medical report to be submitted a month after the circumcisions, detailing the health of all initiates as well as the consent of the parent or guardian of each child.

Yet there is a gap in this intervention: there has been no progress yet on finalising the national policy framework on cultural circumcision. Also, some of the provincial laws have gaps, because they do not require the child’s consent to participate in cultural circumcision. (They also fail to specify a minimum age at which a child may participate in ­cultural circumcision.)

Valuable contributions
This is the case despite the explicit provision in the Children’s Act that “every child that is of such an age, maturity and state of development as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the right to participate in an appropriate way and views expressed by the child must be given consideration”. This message was echoed by the South African Human Rights Commission in 2009, when it said that South Africa needed to ensure that “children’s voices were heard in matters affecting them”.

The state has made valuable contributions to the lives of children by enacting the Children’s Act, which gives effect to certain children’s rights. But the Act also has gaps: for instance, there is no express mention of cultural circumcision in it. It simply prohibits circumcision of a male child younger than 16, though it makes exceptions for medical reasons (on the recommendation of a medical practitioner) or ­religious practices.

The Act also requires that a male child who consents to circumcision undergoes counselling. He is allowed to refuse circumcision if he has the mind, age and maturity to do so. The Act refers to medical and religious circumcision only.

To end the inconsistencies in the Act, the state must, among other things, consider incorporating a provision explicitly ­prohibiting ­cultural circumcision that is exploitative, abusive or harmful.

A further provision could prohibit the cultural circumcision of children younger than 18. There should be a requirement that such acts be performed in an accredited institution, by qualified medical personnel (in the absence of trained cultural practitioners), and that the boys receive therapeutic care before and after circumcision.

The state must investigate rural communities for initiation schools that operate unlawfully. It should inspect sites to ensure they reach the required standard for the children’s safety and wellbeing.

The right to cultural practice should be enjoyed in a safe environment, one in which the risks of harm are mitigated.

Dr Ria Nonyana-Mokabane is a legal scholar with a doctorate from the University of Pretoria. From the Mail & Guardian.

 

Allow gays sexual freedom in Ghana – Professor

WRITTEN BY  KWAME

Dr. Edward Kissi argues that sexual orientation is no more considered a lifestyle choice, adding that homosexuals are today seen as legitimate groups whose inalienable human rights are to be accorded.

Dr. Kissi made these remarks at a seminar on the topic: Human Rights and the Debate over Dignity and Social Order in Africa at the University of Ghana on Wednesday June 5, 2013.

He said human rights issues have expanded since the later part of the 20th century and called on Africans to adapt to the changing global trend.

Drawing an analogy between sexual orientation and certain immutable circumstances of human existence, Dr. Kissi said: “I did not choose my physical appearance-short, black-I will live in this body till thy kingdom come. It’s an immutable characteristic. So that if you decide that all short people who are dark and who are Kwahu should be sent to a concentration camp and then killed, I’m going to be very upset because that constitutes genocide”.

“…If you say that all people with specific sexual orientation are to be discriminated against, not given equal access to the law, therefore, equality before the law and access to economic resources in Ghana should be based on sexual orientation, that is a crime under international law and I think we should be loud about that,” Dr. Kissi asserted.

Source: radioxyzonline.com From Ghana Today

MPs complain over being portrayed as greedy

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2013 – 00:00 — BY LYDIA MATATA

 

Members of Parliament have complained over biased reporting by the media.

According to the Media Council of Kenya MPs complained of being portrayed as “’a greedy lot that is out to loot the public coffers through unrealistic pay demands” during a consultative meeting with the council today.

Sarah Nkatha, MCK Vice Chairperson assured the parliamentarians that the council will work closely with the media to ensure objective reporting.

A consultative meeting with media owners and editors requested by MPs has also been scheduled for June 21.

National Assembly Clerk Joseph Bundi yesterday ordered journalists out of the media center at the National Assembly.

Bundi, accompanied by parliamentary orderlies, told journalists who were covering the day’s proceedings that they were no longer needed. He said that coverage of the House proceedings will now only be by invitation only.

“There cannot be seating here when we have no space for MPs. The coverage of the House proceedings will be by invitation only. We are not creating residence for journalists in parliament,” Bundi told journalists.

“We have shortage of committee rooms- we are taking as much space as possible including this one. Let us see how we manage the process as we move on,” he said.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild yesterday threatened to cut media coverage of Parliament after the eviction of journalists from the two room building.

The editors said that they did not believe the explanation that the space is required for use by parliamentary committees.

“It is instructive that the action comes shortly after the House Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened reprisals against the media in reaction to unfavourable coverage over MPs demands for increased pay.

The action also came with an assertion by Mr Bundi that the media will henceforth cover Parliament only by “by invitation”,” said statement from the editors.

The editors added that coverage is not a favour but an inalienable right linked to the right of Kenyans to know what goes in Parliament.

Article 118 of the Constitution states that “Parliament may not exclude the public , or any media, from any sitting unless in exceptional circumstances the relevant Speaker has determined that there are justifiable reasons for the exclusion.”

“The Kenya Editors’ Guild therefore demands that Parliament rescind those restrictive measures immediately. The Guild will consider asking media houses halt all coverage of Parliamentary proceedings until the environment for free and unhindered media access is restored,” the statement said. From the Star.

 

Youth vote will decide elections: analysts

The outcome of the forthcoming elections will hinge on the question of who can attract the youth vote, analysts say, as all major political parties try to appeal to young people.


The focus of the MDC-T’s economic blueprint is the creation of jobs, while Zanu (PF) is using its indigenisation and empowerment policy as a carrot to attract the youth vote.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the importance of the youth vote was not only evident in Zimbabwe but across the globe. “Youths constitute the biggest political market not just in Zimbabwe and Africa – their dominance is reflected in global trends”.

“Two fifths of the global voting population are young people. In this election they will definitely be the game changer. Sadly however many of them do not seem to be interested in participating in the electoral processes,” he said.

“Zanu (PF) is reluctant to push for the participation of the youth in electoral processes and cannot be at the forefront because this would only bring more challenges for the party. It is up to the other political parties to drive the push for the registration of young voters,” Rusero added.

David Chidende, the Programmes Officer at Youth Information and Education for Behaviour Change, said it was clear that the youths would be decisive in the elections and should be encouraged to participate in the process.

“The youths constitute about 61 percent of the total population in Zimbabwe. Their vote will add value to the process and all they need to do is to register to vote. It is critical that all parties should have in their manifestos something for the youths. Their policies should appeal to the needs of young people,” Chidende said. Wellington Zindove of the Zimbabwe Youth Forum said there were blatant efforts to muzzle the youth vote. “Young people have encountered a lot of frustration in trying to register as voters.

They have been asked to produce unnecessary documents. You cannot put aside $25 million to frustrate people who want to participate in the process. They must do away with unnecessary requirements to give young people unimpeded access,” Zindove said.

He said parties must concentrate on selling policies that have relevance to the lives of young people. “Right now they are concentrating on issues such as media reform which are too abstract for young people to grasp,” Zindove said.

MDC-T national youth spokesman Clifford Hlatswayo said corruption was an issue of great concern.

“High level corruption has robbed the country of its resources and of the opportunities they offered to the youth so any party that wants to win must have zero tolerance for corruption,” he said, adding that the glaring inequalities in terms of distribution of resources was also of concern to the youth who have witnessed people amass massive wealth at the expense of the poor. From the Zimbabwean.

 

Simple lesson from tiny Girinka’s contribution

 

Me, I’m contemptuous of statistics. Because, come to think of it, what do mere numbers tell you? Give me a story any time and fiddlesticks to your cold, heartless numbers!

Over the last five years, one million Rwandans have been lifted out of poverty. Yes, our government has to keep track of what’s happening in crisp figures. But do these figures tell even half the story?

For instance, there is this enchanting story that I accidentally picked on one of our many local FM radios, last Wednesday evening. You know how it is. You want to listen to news but the moment you turn the needle, you are assaulted by noises from so many radio stations jostling to catch your attention: advertisements, phone-ins, music, the horde. Anyway, I fell upon an interview that a news anchor was having with an old widow.

Now, this was a story.  In fact, it was not a story. It is (yes, it’s happening) a mine of stories!

The lady hails from central Rwanda and her surname is such a mouthful that it has been imprinted on my mind: Nyirarivuzumwami. She was among the early beneficiaries of the Girinka Programme, a programme introduced by Government in 2006.

It will be recalled that the programme involves Government offering a cow to a poor family to help them combat poverty. But, for reasons of her “identity”, said Nyira— (I shorten withapologies!), she could not keep it. She shared it with her “community”, instead, and there was a beef feast.

After that, she continued to eke out a living the way she always had; going around neighbouring homes to beg. Senior (in age) citizens will have understood what her “community” and “the way she always had” meant.

Those were days when Rwandans saw themselves as fixed, unchanging blocks of Batwa, Bahutu and Batutsi. Batwa were supposed to hunt and beg; Bahutu to till the land; Batutsi to keep cattle.

That’s how things had always been, in spite of sharing everything (language, culture, etc) and so she went back to begging (remember proffering palms for local brew as alms?), since hunting was no longer feasible. Then, some communities were outcasts!

And then came the Nyakatsi Eradication Programme of 2008, a government programme kicked off to move poor citizens from un-sanitised settlements of tiny thatched huts to sanitised, airy and more decent housing.

She was put in a Mudugudu (cluster settlement) where she has two particularly close friends, both belonging to different “communities” from hers and from each other’s. Seeing how destitute she was, the ladies persuaded and offered her a heifer each, offspring of their own programme benefits. And there, says she, the genesis of the “miracle”.

The miracle is that today she is a farmer! The cows have calved three times and at their pick, in a day she has been getting 35 litres of milk on average. At 250 – 300 francs a litre, you can calculate and see her monthly income. In a word, she has become rich. When you add income from her land, she is “wealthy”!

Starting off with looking after the cows herself, she sold most of the milk as she needed only little for her consumption. With time, she was able to hire an able-bodied farmhand to look after them. As she continued to sell milk and offspring of the cows, without counting the offspring she gave to other families in the relay programme, she was able to buy a piece of land and hire another farmhand to work it. Today, the two young men are like his children and, as they continue working for her, they are able to provide upkeep for their own families, too.

Seeing as she was alone, Nyira— (remember the name?) has adopted two orphans. The children are educated free, all right. But still, it means providing uniforms, scholastic material, health insurance (the ubiquitous mutuelles de santé), mosquito nets and others.

Asked if she’ll continue to support them even after the free 12-year basic education, she countered: “Who else do you think will?” After all, said she, she has incomes galore: from her cows; their manure; the extra from their feed; maize, beans, sorghum, Irish potatoes on her pieces of land.

Yes, this transformation, modest as it may seem, was truly remarkable. But, in truth, what was more remarkable was what she capped the interview with. Asked what community she’d say she belonged to today, she answered vehemently: “There are no communities in Rwanda. There is only one community; that of Rwandans. I grieve when I think of the primitive ethnicity-boxes past leaderships had locked us in. If we’d started off as we did in 1995, we’d be a Whiteman’s country.” By “Whiteman’s country”, of course, Nyirarivuzumwami meant a developed country!

The interview must have been thirty minutes but you could develop a tome from it. For all I know, this “ex-begging-community-box” lady does not feature in the “one-million-out-of-poverty-citizens” statistics. Yet she is the real story of Rwanda. Who thought humble Gir’inka would contribute so immensely to exploding the myth of ethnicity? Those thirty minutes!

Me, give me a better definition of unity, reconciliation and poverty alleviation and I’ll give you the meaning of nonsense on stilts! From The New Times.

Satanic South Africa

GREG NICOLSON

07 JUN 2013 01:12 (SOUTH AFRICA)

 

Reports of Satanism linked to gruesome crimes in South Africa beggar belief, but does it exist to the extent suggested by media, where does it come from and how does it fit into the broader narrative of South Africa? By GREG NICOLSON.

According to a testimony at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, that’s the Bible verse that convinced youths to allegedly drug, bind, and set alight Kirsty Theologo and a friend in petrol last October.

Participator-turned-state-witness Lester Moody, who admitted to using drugs heavily, said the group decided Theologo was Johannesburg’s “great prostitute” during a game where one asks questions and burns tissue paper with matches to see the answer. It was decided the “whore of Babylon” would be sacrificed. “Drinking her blood, eating her flesh and burning her with fire” would be rewarded with “power, wisdom, fame and money” thought the youths.

Satanism sounds too farcical to believe – too similar to The Craft orStigmata and distant from facts and motives. Sceptics view it as an excuse used to sensationalise murders that are likely linked to poverty, violence in society, broken families, and psychopathic characters. Yet, media reports suggest it’s a key motive for a number of murders and Satanism is indeed practiced by South Africans, in particular youth.

In May, a 14-year-old boy allegedly murdered four family members in Johannesburg’s East Rand. Reportedly, he was fueled by drugs and Satanism. “This guy said he is a satanist. If he kills he is sacrificing his family for the boss,” told a neighbour. “He said it came from his mind and told him to kill them because of the full moon.” Those killings came after 14-year-old Keamogetswe Sefularo was allegedly murdered in Mohlakeng Johannesburg by Satanists who reportedly drank her blood.

Satanism has a history in South Africa. University of the Witwatersrand media studies lecturer (and Daily Maverick columnist) Nicky Falkof says in the 1980s and 90s, towards the end of Apartheid, white South Africa was gripped by paranoia and Satanism fell into the racially-based fears that characterised the era. Both the English and Afrikaans press had a relatively consistent position, says Falkof in “Satan has come to Rietfontein: Race in South Africa’s Satanic Panic”, treating it “as a legitimate and real threat to white South Africa”.

Satanism was racialised. “Both white and black youth were implicated in the scare but only white youth retained access to its supernatural elements. Where black youngsters were concerned, the possibility of Satanism only opened another channel for state mediation in their lives, while for many young white people, Satanism became another mechanism of enforcing orthodoxy and the political compliance that went with it,” writes Falkof.

“As an expression of the paranoias that dogged white mass culture in the last years of apartheid, as a screen for the repression of the real and radical threats to continued white dominance, the belief in a satanic conspiracy maintained apartheid’s work of racial separation and kept black and white youth in their place, fulfilling the pre-ordained positions given to them by the system’s racial obsessions: whites as conformist bearers of morality, civilization and reason, blacks as infectious, pathological and preternaturally damaged,” she concludes.

Before this, there were ideas around sangomas and muti murders, but white South Africans’ involvement reflected practices in the UK and Europe, says Falkof. The “imported panic” featured key attributes familiar to European and American Satanism – the colour black, upside crosses, the use of wine, and slaughtering cats. But when Apartheid ended, the press coverage on white Satanism did too.

Current media, however, paints it as a crime wave. In 2010, the government’s Tsireledzani report on human trafficking found that satanic cults operate across the country, with the main “operational centre” in Krugersdorp. They are well financed, usually white and count prominent members of society as members. When sacrifices are required, children are preferred. “Respondents believe that victims are either recruited by cult members or purchased from criminal syndicates that specialise in human trafficking: these syndicates are said to be mostly Nigerian. Alternatively, satanic cults will kidnap victims often from rural areas. Other targets are street children and prostitutes, probably because they are less likely to be missed and reported to the police. If the ritualistic killing requires a man, gay men in bars are targeted and sedated to overcome physical resistance,” claimed the report.

The investigation offers information from “respondents” but apart from claiming to have seen a video of satanic sacrifice, offers no hard evidence. Critiquing the claims, Chandré Gould, Marlise Richter and Ingrid Palmery from the Institute of Security Studies said it suffered from “lack of evidence and methodological integrity”. The report’s claims that Satanism is predominantly practiced by whites also differs with media reports which paint it as a subculture among black youth.

Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, head of the Moral Regeneration Movement, advised caution when approaching the issue. There’s a lack of scientific research to support the existence of Satanism as a religion, he said, and it’s hard to separate individual cases of violence as stemming from a religious belief as opposed to other issues. Both the Old and New Testament of the Bible mention such aspects of behaviour but don’t support the view that Satanism has been a distinctive ideology. What’s particularly concerning, said Mkhatshwa over the phone, is if people want to practice Satanism as an established religion.

Dr Kobus Jonker, who headed the SAPS’s Occult-Related Crimes Unit, is a common source of information on the issue. When contacted by Daily Maverick, he said he was too busy with his homeopathy practice, but he explained the issue in a past interview with Vice. “People jump on band wagons and see the devil behind every bush and that’s also wrong. It can be very dangerous, so I don’t do that. The Cult Unit was mainly for occult crimes which would involve cult leaders who are generally very charismatic. They run the satanic sects and tell their followers that they must go desecrate graves and go kill people for sacrifices and that sort of thing. South African Satanists concentrate more on committing crimes. That’s not the case with American and British sects. They are more concerned with LaVey’s teachings and the religious side of devil worship. You will rarely find them committing any of the horrible murders committed here in South Africa by the local sects,” said Jonker, who blamed the practice on the common breakdown of the family unit and children being left to their own devices.

This new breed of Satanism, according to Falkof, is totally different to that of the 1980s. “Now when we compare this to what’s going on currently we see a very different beast indeed. There are similarities – the devil, Bibles, dangerous women, weird rituals – but in most cases, news reporting on ‘Satanism’ is more or less the same as news reporting on ‘muti’ or ‘witchcraft’,” says Falkof. “The spectre of that old fear remains in name at least but it’s been subsumed into a larger South African occult. The best example of this is the way that most satanic tales these days involve not the murder of cats, associated with European witches, but rather endless oceans of chicken blood, which have powerful connotations of muti and local magic.”

Asked whether she believes the hype, Falkof says she doesn’t. Satanist acts of violence, however, may operate based on an individual’s perception of, rather than a proven, satanic conspiracy. “Whether or not ‘they’ exist is almost beside the point when it comes to individuals adopting the language and iconography. If you hear enough about this stuff and start to define yourself as the mythical ‘satanist’, and perform his/her practices, then are you one or aren’t you one? Does it matter how ‘real’ the thing is if peoplethink it’s real?” asks Falkof.

But rather than Satanists floating in the dark, she suggests the practice might be linked to the pulse of South Africa. The natural decline in Rainbow Nation rhetoric has been replaced not only by tragedies – Marikana, Anene Booysens, Reeva Steenkamp – but also a disenchantment with the ANC government, corruption, employment and service delivery. In short, dreams have been dashed.

Falkof quotes other academics on the state of flux and draws it back to Satanism: “I think then perhaps what the upsurge of Satanism stories in the last few years signifies is a symptom of this social fear, this sense that things are ‘sliding out of control’ and that we can’t trust those in charge to keep us afloat. I think those sorts of fears often manifest in occult paranoia because the world begins to seem unmanageable. And, related to that, in a way it’s easier to have a clear enemy; the other nifty task that Satanism scares perform is that they polarise things, they create a good vs. evil story that’s very easy to digest.” DM From the Daily Maverick

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

 

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