LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE, SUNDAY 2/6/2013

Dear readers, including employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust,

Warmest greetings. Please find below from the Africa Centre the latest African news, comment and opinion, taken from newspaper websites right across and down the continent.

Your comments and suggestions as to how the Centre could improve this service would be greatly welcomed, however trenchant. Please do put them in the box provided below this post.

NEWS CONTENTS:

Nigeria: We were paid N5, 000 to burn schools —Freed Boko Haram kids

Nigeria: S’South, S’East Governors Back Jonathan, Condemn Northern Terrorists

Sudan: Sudanese top military official comes under rebel attack during visit: sources

Sudan: Security restricts S. Sudan TV from covering VP’s activities, as his office dismisses

Sudan: 23,000 flee Jonglei violence, UN says

Rwanda/Tanzania: Membe: Kikwete won’t apologise to Rwanda

Zimbabwe: Crucial make or break SADC summit in ten days

Ghana: Land Guard attacks: Prampram Police urge Ningo chief to return home

Ghana: Japan to re-open Yen Loan to Ghana

Zambia: Zambia’s FDIs grow

Uganda: BoU responds on banks’ rise in non-performing assets

 

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Africa: Museveni roots for infrastructure development

Africa/World: Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Nigeria: 2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

Great Lakes: Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

Uganda: How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

Kenya: I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

Kenya: Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

South Africa: ‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

South Africa: Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the enemy

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

Kenya: Why poaching should get us worried

Kenya: Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru

South Africa: ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

 

 

We were paid N5, 000 to burn schools —Freed Boko Haram kids

About 58 pardoned Boko Haram suspects were yesterday released by the military and handed over to Governors Kashim Shettima and Ibrahim Geidam of Borno and Yobe states.

Those granted reprieve, as part of the first batch of freed detainees under Federal Government’s amnesty deal, included 23 women and 35 children.

But the release was emotional as one of the children admitted that they were being paid N5, 000 to set schools ablaze.

According to the fact-sheet obtained by our correspondent, 20 detainees, comprising six women and 14 children, were released in Borno State.

The 20 suspects, arrested between 2012 and 2013, were freed and handed over to Governor Kashim Shettima for rehabilitation and reintegration by the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Order, in Maiduguri.

The document said: “The children are between the ages of 9 and 15 years. The 20 detainees were mostly arrested in Maiduguri, Bama in Borno and Damaturu in Yobe State.

“The six freed women include Hajjia Zainab Mohammed (40); Hajjia Karagama Mohammed (55); Hajjia Zari Mohammed (40); Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62); Hadiza Ahmad (40) and Yakaka Goni Habib (16).

“The 14 children include Abba Modu Aji (10); Mohammed Musa (12); Ibrahim Mohammed (15); Umar Bukar (1)5; Mustapha Umaru (14); Bashir Ali (12); Musa Grema (13); Abba Mohammed (14); Baba Alhaji (13); AbdulAziz Umar (14); Ari Masa’a (14); Bayi Mustapha (14); Mohammed Ibrahim (14) and Alhaji Goni (14).

In Yobe State, 17 women and 21 children were also released by the JTF to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam in Damaturu.

Responding to questions from journalists, most of the women freed in Borno State claimed innocence.

“One of them, Aishatu Mohammed Aji (62), said she was arrested because of her son’s involvement.

Although she said her son was still at large, military sources said the woman was regularly keeping guns for her son after he carried out attacks.

“Another woman, Hajiya Zainab Mohammed, claimed she was a food vendor and was arrested after a raid in Bama town, some 40 kilometres away from Maiduguri.

A reliable source at the handing over ceremony in Maiduguri said: “There was drama at the council chambers venue of the handover when three children revealed that some sect members recruited them mostly to gather information, especially to bring report on troop movement and behaviour of soldiers at duty posts.

One of them said: “We were taken to Damaturu. We watched out for the soldiers at their units and reported back to them. We were reporting when soldiers were at ease or enjoying themselves and when they were off guard, and we were paid for doing that.”

One of the teenagers also revealed that they were paid N5, 000 and provided with fuel in kegs to set schools ablaze in Maiduguri .

He said: “We were given a keg of petrol by our bosses to set some schools ablaze, which we did within Maiduguri, and we were paid N5, 000.”

One of the children also revealed that he was usually sent to steal clothes from houses for use by insurgents.

“They, however, said after they were arrested and interrogated by the men of the JTF, they volunteered information that led to the arrest or killing in gun battle of their pay masters.

“The three boys also said they were in Almajiri schools. They, however, said they were willing to be enrolled into formal education to be combined with Islamic education, with a pledge to be of good behaviour.

The Commander, 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, Brig. Gen. Bamigboye, who did the handing over, said he was acting on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Saad Ibrahim, following President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to the army.

He explained that the detainees were arrested in connection with their roles in the insurgency.

The Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Isa Gusau, confirmed the release of the 58 detainees last night.

Gusau said: “Governor Shettima presented fabrics to the pardoned detainees to assist them. He noted that with the President’s offer, they were like every innocent Nigerian so long as they remained of good behaviour.

He quoted the governor as saying: “We most sincerely thank Mr. President for his magnanimity for releasing our sisters and children. This marks a milestone in our quest for peace through a dialogue and to restore normalcy.

“We will do our part by ensuring that they are integrated into the larger society after rehabilitation to become better citizens.

“The Federal Government has shown commitment by releasing these women and children under detention. We would admit the women into our vocational training centres for rehabilitation.

“As for the children, we are going to hand them over to the Ministry of Women Affairs and social welfare. We will advertise for their parents to come and claim them after they might have signed a written undertaking to inculcate good behaviour and to enroll them in schools.”

Gusau added: “The governor also said for each released child that is enrolled in school, their parents would get N10, 000 for 30 days of uninterrupted stay in school

. “He said it is a foreign model that he is borrowing as a campaign to boost education. The governor also urged the women to turn a new leaf and not walk back to the wrong alley. He commended the security agents for keeping the detainees hale and hearty.

“He assured that the state government wiould do everything to rehabilitate them to be better citizens, promising that the women wiould be trained at the various vocational training centres in the state to acquire skills, while the children would be sent to schools.” From The Nation.

 

S’South, S’East Governors Back Jonathan, Condemn Northern Terrorists

Governors of South-South and South East states  have condemned in strong terms the various acts of terrorism and their sponsors in parts of the country.

The Governors who gave this condemnation yesterday in a communiqué after a closed door meeting in Asaba condemned the abominable behaviours and antics of some Nigerians and their evil collaborators in assaulting the collective psyche of the nation and commiserated with the president, governments, and victims and their families of this evil act.

They appealed to all Nigerians to be cooperate with government to stamp out these evil acts.

In their words “The meeting was concerned at the condemnable behaviour and antics of some Nigerians and their evil collaborators in assaulting the collective psyche of the nation, by waging various acts of terrorism, the South-South and South East Governors commiserate with President, the governments of all affected areas, the victims, their families and majority of peace-loving Nigerians,” the Governors said, adding that it was important for all law-abiding citizens to join hands with governments at all levels to stamp out terrorism and other evils from the society.”

Briefing the press after the meeting which lasted for about four hours, the Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, Governor Liyel Imoke and his counterpart in the South-East Zone; Mr Peter Obi flanked by all the Governors that attended the meeting said, they salutes “the resolute stance of Mr President to confront terror wherever and whenever it occurs in Nigeria,” adding they also commended the President “for his focused leadership and bold, result-yielding transformation agenda, which deserves the unwavering support of all Nigerians and friends of Nigerians alike.”

The Governors emphasised that the laudable achievements of the President in the areas of strengthening democracy, stabilising the polity, growing the economy and improving the quality of life of all citizens continues to unfold.

“The South-South and South-East governors plead with all Nigerians to adopt dialogue and peaceful means to resolve issues affecting the country,” the Governors resolved, adding, “the governors also agreed to work together and ensure regional cooperation in stemming the spate of kidnapping, arson, pipeline vandalisation as well as other nefarious activities in the regions to secure the regions and ensure that the regions remains a conducive environment to attract investments.”

While thanking Governor Uduaghan for been a good host, the Governors stated, “the South-South and South-East Governors agreed on economic and political integration of the old Eastern and Midwestern regions now the South-South and South-East and pledged to strengthen cooperation across the board with particular focus on development of infrastructure linking the region, particularly federal roads.”

“The Governors also pledged to work together to ensure the development of all the ports in the region including the Abia Dry port and called on the Nigeria Port Authority to facilitate the achievements of this objective,” the Governors said, reiterating that while they commended President Jonathan on the extensive rehabilitation and modernisation of the airports across the country, it was important for the Federal Government to establish cargo airports in Owerri and additional deep-sea ports in the regions including Ibaka, Escravos, Agge and also called for the dredging of the Calabar port.

They also, agreed to revive agro-allied industries particularly in palm and rubber plantations to exploit the comparative advantage in agriculture in both regions, adding, “the Governors of the South-South and the South-East states called on the Federal Government to facilitate the full implementation of the Free Trade Zones status amongst the states of the region.”

The meeting which was by Governors Peter Obi of Anambra, Sulivan Chime of Enugu, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Theodore Orji of Abia and Martin Elechi of Ebonyi States and their counterparts in South-South States; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta (host Governor), Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State while Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was represented at the meeting by his Deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru with the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole conspicuously absent used the occasion to mourn the death of late Professor Chinua Achebe, adding that they sympathized  with the people of South-East region and on the death of Professor Chinua Achebe. They also condoled the Achebe family and acknowledged his legacy as a literary giant and international ambassador of the Nigerian culture. From the Times of Nigeria.

 

SGuru knocks Northern leaders over comment against Asari-Dokubo

POSTED ON SATURDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2013

By Ishaya Ibrahim/Lagos

 

Satguru Maharaj Ji, founder of One Love Family, has accused Northern leaders of hypocrisy for calling for the head of Asari-Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, over his remark that should Jonathan failed to clinch the presidency in 2015, the country would be in flames.

In a statement made available to Saturday Independent, Maharaj Ji contended that Dokubo was only restating what some prominent Northern leaders had said in the past. According to Maharaj Ji, when some Northern leaders made similar war threats, nobody in the region felt it was wrong. He recalled that former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, was quoted to have said, in reference to the next general election that “if what happened in 2011 should happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will all be soaked in blood.” For Maharaj Ji, Buhari’s utterance was an incitement of no less proportion than Dokubo’s.

He said leaders of the North must rise beyond seeing Nigeria as their conquered territory where they alone could rule. He urged them to come to terms with the fact that any ethnic group could produce the president.

“We must tell ourselves the truth if Nigeria must be great to play her role as the divine laboratory for re-engineering a new world order where all races must come together in love, peace and unity as children of one Universal Father, Maharaj Ji. They should, therefore, give peace a chance because gone are the days when ascendancy to Nigeria’s political office, at any level, was based on human permutations and combinations cooked from Europe,” he said. From the Daily Independent.

 

Sudanese top military official comes under rebel attack during visit: sources

May 31, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels said Friday they downed a military helicopter near Abu Kershola where a Sudanese army top commander was on a visit to inspect the recently reclaimed area, but the army denied the rebel claims.

SRF spokesperson Abu El-Gassim Al-Haj said in a statement released today that the military plane had been downed in an attack carried by the SRF artillery forces army positions, adding that all the crew members were killed.

Gibril Adam, spokesman for the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Reuters its fighters had attacked a government convoy carrying Sudan’s army chief of staff, Ismat Abdelrahman, just outside Abu Kershola.

“We managed to shoot down a helicopter and hit another one,” Adam said, adding that nine people had been killed in fighting.

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson, Al-Sawarmi Khaled, in Khartoum denied the rebel statements, and said the helicopter crashed due to technical failure during combing operations carried out by the army in Abu Kershola.

However, sources told Sudan Tribune that Sudanese army Chief of Staff narrowly escaped death when he visited the area’s frontlines. The shelling started on his convoy from rebels in mountains nearby prompting Sudanese troops to use tanks and helicopters to secure and evacuate the senior army official safely.

In the process a helicopter was shot down, the sources add.

Eyewitnesses speaking to Reuters and Agence France Presse (AFP) confirmed the incident.

A witness told Reuters heavy shooting broke out after rebels opened fire on the convoy carrying General Abdel-Rahman and the army had used tanks and a helicopter, which apparently was hit.

“I saw a helicopter in the air clouded in smoke,” the witness said.

“During a visit by senior army officials, shots were fired at army positions in the town from the north, and the assailants exchanged fire with the army, who were using tanks,” the witness told AFP under condition of anonymity.

He also said he had “seen smoke and flames coming out of a helicopter,” and that after the incident, “the aircraft that transported the officials left the town”.

Abu-Kershola which is located in north east of South Kordofan state and on the border with North Kordofan, had been seized by the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) fighters on 27 April, but SAF was able to recapture the town this week.

Earlier on Friday, Abu Kershola received a military delegation led by SAF chief-of-staff, Lieutenant General Ismat Abdel-Rahman to celebrate the recapture of the town from the rebels and to inspect the troops.

General Abdel-Rahman, who was accompanied by senior military officers to visit the area, has affirmed SAF’s determination to defeat the armed rebel groups and regain control over all Sudan’s territory.

In a speech to the troops hours before the attack on Friday, Abdel-Rahman said that the liberation of Abu-Kershola is a “message to the enemies of Islam and Sudan”, stressing that SAF is “resolved to liberate every inch of the Sudan’s territory and cleanse the Nuba Mountains of rebels and mercenaries”.

The Sudanese general was alluding to the SPLM-N rebels who control the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state since June 2011. Recently the SPLM-N and its allied Darfur rebel groups established a joint command in Kauda, one of thetown in the troubled state.

Abdel-Rahman further praised the “heroic role” of SAF’s officers, and soldiers as well as the Mujahideen (holy fighters) of the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and other regular forces.

The commander of SAF’s force which recaptured the town, Adel Ali Al-Kanani, for his part, said that the battle in Abu-Kershola stressed that “the enemy suffered a decisive defeat”.

Following SAF’s recapture of Abu-Kershola, the SRF announced that it had decided to withdraw its fighters from Abu-Kershola due to the economic blockade imposed by the Sudanese army on the town since last April and its disastrous humanitarian impact on the civilians.

They further said that their operation was a positive test for their plans and future attacks aiming to extend the war into other regions in order to topple the regime.

The eastern South Kordofan town also received on Friday a convoy of humanitarian assistance from Um Ruwaba, a town in North Kordofan the rebels attacked before to seize Abu Kershola, to support the civilians who suffered the lack of food during the last weeks.

On the other hand a delegation composed of South Kordofan state officials visited people displaced from Abu Kershola in Al-Rahad town in North Kodofan.

The visiting delegation which was mainly composed of officials from the Nuba Mountains meant to alleviate their suffering after the “negative repercussions” of the attack on Abu Kershola said Omar Rahama Al-Nour director of Nida for Aid and Development, a Sudanese aid group.

The government accused the SPLM-N rebels from the Nuba Mountains of killing some traditional and local leaders in Abu Kershola during the past weeks when they controlled the area.

(ST)

From Sudan Tribune/Reuters

Security restricts S. Sudan TV from covering VP’s activities, as his office dismisses

May 31, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s security services on Friday ordered management of the state owned South Sudan television (SSTV) to refrain from covering activities involving vice president Riek Machar, a source told Sudan Tribune.

However, media official at the office of the vice-president played down reports on censorship imposed on the coverage of Machar’s activities, stressing that no such measures can be taken against “the top boss” of the South Sudanese government during Kiir’s absence.

Security officials, who warned of tough measures if SSTV journalists fail to implement the directive, did not give any reason for the move, which comes a day after privately owned Citizen Television was given a similar directive.

These developments coincided with president Salva Kiir’s trip to Japan and recent reports about competition within the presidency over the leadership of the ruling Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Responding to Thursday’s claims by Citizen Television, Machar’s press secretary, James Gadet Dak, told Sudan Tribune, that the vice president’s the office only became aware of the allegations after reading Sudan Tribune’s story.

“We are not aware of official policy or decision that restricts media coverage on political activities. What I know is that the vice-president, who currently acts in the absence of the president, is the top boss of all the government’s institutions that are under the executive, including the security organs,” he said.

“And I can assure you that he did not authorise that action as acting head of the government,” he said. The state-owned television and radio have normally been broadcasting the activities of Machar’s office, including political functions, he said.

Dak added that if the independent media were facing difficulties in freely covering apolitical events, they should raise their complaints to the ministry of information and broadcasting.

The South Sudanese president was seen off at Juba airport by senior officials including Machar, who in April was stripped of powers delegated to him by the president, after reports emerged that his deputy was considering standing for the chairmanship of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) at an upcoming convention.

There are fears among Kiir’s supporters in the SPLM that he might loss his seat in the upcoming national convention to elect chairperson of the governing SPLM and then be in prime position to be the ruling party’s candidate for the 2015 presidential elections.

“It has been more than one month now since security agents started being harsh on our activities, forcing us to be selective in what we report about activities involving the vice president”, a presenter with the state-owned television told Sudan Tribune Friday.

SSTV’s management, the journalist said, do not want to be seen as a tool disseminating political activities favouring particular politicians. The presenter, who wished to remain anonymous, said that “security services have increased threats on what we cover, especially meetings by the vice president”.

Concerning the reports on restrictions imposed on the SSTV journalists, Dak stressed that Machar activities are well broadcast on the state-owned TV and radio. But he however admitted they are subjected to some pressures.

“I sometimes receive complaints from South Sudan TV about the behaviour of some security agents who agitate that the TV presenters and reporters should not broadcast some of the political opinions stated by the Vice President”, he said.

Journalists claimed that security agents often acted on the directives of individuals in the office of the president when threatening sections of the media who are critical of the performance of Kiir’s administration.

The presenter said some colleagues had, in the past, received threats and others were arbitrarily arrested, pointing out that it was not just the private media facing such mistreatment.

Journalists from independent media organisations “are seriously criticising our coverage and reporting on the national activities without taking into consideration [the] challenges we are facing”.

State media staff had been “threatened at gun point for technical faults”, the reporter said.

Last year, journalists from the state broadcaster were arrested in Wau on suspicion of refusing to cover a speech by president Kiir in aftermath of protests against the Western Bahr el Ghazal government over the relocation an administrative centre. South Sudanese police were accused of shooting dead eight protestors, according to rights groups who say that the events have not been properly investigated.

John Garang, a SSTV presenter was last year arrested by security agents for allegedly allowing footage to be broadcast showing Kiir “in unclear and gloomy appearance”.

Dak advised TV personnel who complained to take up the matter to the ministry of information and broadcasting under which they operate and then see the way forward from that level.

Since independence in 2011, South Sudanese authorities have been reticent to allow freedom of expression among human rights activists and the press – some of the stated aims of the SPLM during the civil war – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

CPJ recently wrote an open letter to Kiir asking him to do more to ensure press freedom and end the self censorship which journalists say they have been forced into over the actions of the security services, human rights and corruption.

Washington’s envoy to Juba, Susan Page, said recently that the US government was “very concerned about the deteriorating levels of press freedom” in the young nation, which has been increasingly criticised for its human rights record by the countries that supported its independence.

(ST) From Sunday Tribune.

23,000 flee Jonglei violence, UN says

May 31, 2013 (BOR) – More than 23,500 people have been forced from their homes in Jonglei state, where the South Sudanese army are fighting an armed rebellion in Pibor county, according to the United Nations.

The UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in a report earlier this week that 19,000 had been displaced in recent fighting but Tim Irwin, a spokesperson for the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), said on Friday that the number of of those seeking refuge Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, which borders Jonglei’s Pibor county, has received about 16,000 people since the beginning of May, Irwin told AP, while 5,000 have arrived in Kenya and 2,500 in Uganda.

Most of those fleeing are women and children, he said, as men will often “stay behind to protect the land and take care of the livestock.”

Jonglei state’s governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the increasing displacement was due to the 10-month-old rebellion by David Yauyau, a priest by training who first begin fighting the government after he failed to become an MP in the 2010 election. Yauyau briefly accepted an amnesty in 2011 before resuming his rebellion with the alleged help of neighbouring Sudan.

“Most people must have ran to Ethiopia and Kenya, these are always the results of war and conflict”, Governor Manyang said.

Manyang said that some civilians in Pibor that are controlled by the South Sudanese army (SPLA) lack “food and certain necessities”, calling upon the humanitarian organisations to come for their rescue.

“Those NGOs, and UN agencies that [left] Pibor because of fear, should now come back to continue providing necessary help to the needy ones there.”

The SPLA, he said, he cleared Yauyau’s forces from Boma and Maruo and some other villages. “All the rebels elements are being pursued by the army now”, Manyang added.

Officials within South Sudan’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) expressing doubts over the high numbers of displaced given by the UN, warning that some people from other areas of the country might have used the Jonglei situation to gain access to refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Pibor county’s commissioner, Joshua Konyi, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that he had received information that some of the people now arriving in Ethiopia had ran to Yauyau’s side for protection during recent clashes. Having realised that his armed group could not protect them they got into difficulties and had to resort to seeking refugees in Ethiopia.

Other people had left for South Sudan’s capital, Juba, but Konyi did not “know how they made it”.

The commissioner of the troubled county declined to reveal who informed him about the presence of Jonglei refugees in Ethiopia and where exactly the refugee camps are located in Ethiopia.

According to Konyi, those who listened to his advice stayed in Pibor with him, after he assured them of their safety.

“Those who listened to my advise are now here, and what we now lack is the food for them, because humanitarian agencies did not come back with food yet”, said Konyi said Juba Arabic on the phone from Pibor.

The RRC warned humanitarian agencies not to conduct self-initiated assessment missions without involving local actors before providing food aid.

The Jonglei director for RRC, Deng Ajak, said in 28 May letter to different humanitarians partners that involving his body would improve the quality of humanitarian actions.

“In order to improve the quality of humanitarian actions during the response and to be held accountable, there is a need to strengthen the level of coordination with the government at all levels”, he said in his letter.

“Hereforth, all the humanitarian operating in Jonglei, are urged to abide by the above principles and include all RRC in all the assessment missions in the state without undermining its institutional structures from the national level to payams [sub districts]”, he ordered.

The letter was sent, according the RRC director, to various humanitarian agencies in South Sudan.

(ST) From Sunday Tribune.

Land Guard attacks: Prampram Police urge Ningo chief to return home

By Myjoyonline.com

Police in Prampram have asked the Chief of Ningo, Nene Otuaboah Agbi II and his elders who have fled the town to return home.

They fled the town to escape attacks from men they suspect to be land guards

The gun-wielding men were said to have taken over lands in the area and selling them at exorbitant prices.

The Ningo-Prampram area has become attractive following government’s plans to build a new international airport there.

The chief and his elders who could not withstand the might of the land guards are currently seeking refuge at a hideout here in Accra.

But crime officer for the Ningo-Prampram area ASP Abdulai Kamagatey told Joy News the safety of the chief and his elders are guaranteed and called on them to return.

What I know is that the whole area has problems with land disputes and they have issues in court.

There is no way we will sit down for anybody to harass anybody for him to vacate his premises,’ he said.

He said they have dispatched men to ensure their safety. From Modern Ghana.

Membe: Kikwete won’t apologise to Rwanda

By Samuel Kamndaya The Citizen Reporter  (email the author)

Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  21:16

IN SUMMARY

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

Dodoma. President Jakaya Kikwete will not apologise to Rwanda or change his stand that the Rwandan government should negotiate with rebels.

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

Mr Membe said there was no way the Head of State could apologise for saying the truth and stating a fact.

He reiterated Tanzania’s position that Rwanda had no option but to get into peace talks with rebels most of whom are fighting President Paul Kagame’s regime from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forests.

He said fighting the rebels unsuccessfully for 17 years necessitated the need to negotiate with them.

According to Mr Membe, Tanzania sees the presence of such rebels in the DRC forests as a setback in the region’s peace process.

“Rwanda has opposed President Kikwete’s statement but the President will not apologise because his statement was based on facts….Rwanda should take this advice….Our President cannot apologise for saying the truth,” Mr Membe said shortly after Parliament endorsed the ministry’s Sh138.36 billion budget for 2013/14 fiscal year.

During last week’s 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, President Kikwete called on Rwanda to hold talks with Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels because the military option had failed to end the war with them.

Kigali has strongly opposed the proposal, with Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo, quoted by Radio France Internationale (RFI) as describing Mr Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”.

She told RFI on Monday that Rwanda would not consider negotiating with people who were responsible for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

“Those who think that Rwanda today should sit down at the negotiating table with FDLR simply don’t know what they are talking about,” she said.

She said it was unfortunate that the rebel group had sympathisers in the region, including President Kikwete.

She urged President Kikwete to retract his comments. She told RFI that she did not expect President Kikwete to suggest that Rwanda negotiate with “known terrorists” since he had served as a Foreign Affairs minister and knows the FDLR background.

She added that Mr Kikwete could be just another sympathiser for the group whose ideology is still being fought in Rwanda and worldwide. The chairman of Rwanda’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Gideon Kayinamura, is also on record as having categorically stated that suggesting negotiations with the FDLR militias was a big insult to Rwandans.

Rwandans living in the US have also petitioned President Barack Obama not to listen to such positions and continue with support to Rwanda and the region to bring FDLR criminals to justice.

The US government has already reinstated a $5 million prize on the FDLR rebel leaders, like Sylvestre Mudacumura and labelled the group as a terrorist movement in the region.

But winding up the debate for his ministry’s budget in the National Assembly yesterday, Mr Membe said Mr Kikwete had no ill-intention in the proposal he made during the 21st African Union Summit on May 26.

According to him, it was high time Rwanda considered the fact that peace was made with enemies and that negotiations could only be made with enemies and not friends.

Mr Membe also told the National Assembly that the government would consider taking to DRC eight journalists to cover the country’s peacekeeper forces in the Eastern side of the country.

“Our forces in DRC are doing a wonderful job and have been received with jubilation and we hope they will keep the spirit alive by demonstrating our values and hospitality,” he said.

Mr Membe, however, noted that there was propaganda aimed at mudslinging Tanzanian forces and thus plans were underway to send reporters under army guidance to report their activities.

“We will soon send eight reporters to DRC where they will document activities by our forces which are already there of peace restoration in the eastern part of the country,” he said.

A total of 1,283 soldiers will be sent to Congo from Tanzania to form the UN Force Intervention Brigade made up of 3,069 soldiers. From The Citizen.

Crucial make or break SADC summit in ten days

Staff Reporter 2013-05-31 16:31:00

A SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) special summit to discuss Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections and the Madagascar political crisis will take place in Maputo, Mozambique on June 9, African National Congress (ANC) chairwoman Baleka Mbete said on Thursday.

Ms Mbete, who was speaking at an ANC foreign policy briefing in Johannesburg, said the Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, expected to face off against President Robert Mugabe in elections later this year, would also be attending the summit.

Although Thursday’s was a party policy briefing, Ms Mbete’s comments hold substantive weight given the fact that current government policies are often hatched by the ruling party.

She was also accompanied at the briefing by Ms Lindiwe Zulu, President Jacob Zuma’s points-woman on Zimbabwe.

“Due to the fact that Zimbabwe was represented at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa by Mr Mugabe, where Mr Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara (leader of the other MDC faction) were not present, we decided in Addis that we need a special SADC summit that will focus on Zimbabwe,” Ms Mbete said.

Party hawks in Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) celebrated Mr Tsvangirai’s absence from both the AU and Sadc meetings and persuaded the region to hold elections “as and when the Zimbabweans were ready”.

Mr Tsvangirai insists the political landscape has to be levelled first before an election date is announced.

While the briefing was meant to clear the air about South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa, a lot of questions regarding South Africa’s insincerity on the Zimbabwean crisis remained unanswered. The Zanu (PF) has used its liberation ties with the ANC and other liberation movements in the Sadc to curry favour. Mr Tsvangirai, on the other hand, is viewed suspiciously over his Western links.

At a 2011 party conference, Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary-general, pledged to “help” Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to win the election against the MDC — a position Ms Mbete seemed to reiterate on Thursday. “The ANC will continue to have relations with Zanu (PF) that it has always had. We think that given the way we in South Africa have conducted elections since 1994 we have something we can share with the Zimbabweans”, Ms Mbete said.

But Ms Zulu, who also heads the ANC’s communications department, denied that her facilitation work in Zimbabwe was biased in favour of the Zanu (PF), given the historical ties between the two liberation movements.

Ms Zulu pointed out that from the outset of their mediation, Mr Zuma had instructed his aides to be mindful that there were three partners, signatory to the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008.

Zimbabwe’s political leaders are looking to the Sadc summit to avail funding for the elections, which are in need of $123m.

Ms Zulu said the loan request to South Africa by Zimbabwe was still being assessed and calculated.

Political commentator Rashweat Mukundu said the Sadc summit was a huge political statement and message to Zimbabwe’s political players that Sadc expected the elections to meet the basic minimum conditions of fairness and integrity.

 

Japan to re-open Yen Loan to Ghana

 

Japan has agreed to resume the Yen Loan portfolio that was withdrawn following the decision by Ghana in the early 2000s to join the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

 

Responding to President John Mahama’s request during a bilateral meeting ahead of Saturday’s opening of the 5th TICAD Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe said they will commence preparatory works towards the resumption.

He noted that Japan continues to attach great importance to Ghana’s economic achievements and “the fact that your country is a strong model for other African countries.”

Making a case for the resumption of the Yen Loan Portfolio, Mr. Mahama said while Japan has been a major contributor to his country’s developmental efforts, the withdrawal of the Yen Loan left a huge gap especially in infrastructural projects.

He thanked Japan for the various grants and other forms of aid received over the years, noting that in March and May of this year alone, two grants to support farmers and the health for all programme, and an agreement to enhance power production have been been signed.

President Mahama expressed his appreciation to Japan for the organisation of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). He informed Mr. Abe of Ghana’s offer to host the next Ministerial meeting of the TICAD in Accra.

Prime Minister Abe in his response recognised Mr. Mahama’s personal relationship with Japan because of his work with the Japanese Embassy in Accra and thanked him for the offer to host the TICAD Ministerial Meeting.

He also confirmed that Japan is looking at the request from Ghana to support portions of the Eastern Corridor Roads Project, and indicated his government’s “high hopes for the Mahama administration and the strengthening of relations”.

Source: Flagstaff House From Ghana Today.

Zambia’s FDIs grow

By JAMES MUYANWA in Yokohama, Japan  –
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has said Zambia has posted great improvement in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) due to increased investor confidence and improved general investment climate.
Mr Sata said here yesterday that the country’s FDI inflows had further been boosted by the improved investor perception, enhanced investment climate and improved trust between the public and private sectors.
The President said during the opening day of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-V) that Zambia was conducive for further investments.
“The recent oversubscription of the debut Eurobond on the international capital market is a clear attestation of international investor confidence in our economy,” Mr Sata said.
He said Japan had continued to be a major player in Zambia’s FDI landscape with several firms investing in the Southern African country.
Speaking during the third session dubbed: ‘Dialogue with the Private Sector’, Mr Sata said recently, Zambia witnessed the establishment of Hitachi manufacturing plant in Lusaka set to boost development in the mining sector in the country and beyond.
On TICAD, Mr Sata said Zambia was ready to support the implementation of the outcomes of the conference and the lessons learnt from the previous such meetings.
“Going forward is Zambia’s desire, and the TICAD outcome will invigorate and build on gains  made under TICAD IV of boosting economic growth, ensuring human security and addressing climate change.” Mr Sata said.
“I wish to reaffirm our Government’s commitment to the implementation of the Yokohama outcome document, namely, the Yokohama Declaration and Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017.”
He paid tribute to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for inviting Zambia to participate in the conference, saying it was a rare opportunity to take stock of progress made in implementing the resolutions from the previous summit.
“It provides an opportunity to share ideas and address challenges and adopt new strategies in our quest to enhance and deepen cooperation between Africa and Japan,” Mr Sata said.
He said African countries had been registering commendable progress in fostering economic growth and improving general living conditions of the people on the continent.
“These can be partly attributed to the continent’s commitment to undertaking reforms with support from cooperating partners like Japan,” the President said.
On the Public Private Partnership (PPP) dialogue, Mr Sata said the concept was an important ingredient in the creation of strong and enabling business environment.
He said through the PPP dialogue within Africa and with developed economies like Japan, synergies could be created to address the challenges.
ment,” Mr Sata said. From the Times of Zambia.

 

BoU responds on banks’ rise in non-performing assets

 

SATURDAY, 01 JUNE 2013 07:03 BY JULIUS BUSINGE

Bank of Uganda has responded to the rise in banks’ non-performing loans and other assets (NPAs) recorded in 2012 arguing that the rise was mainly attributed to the macroeconomic challenges in 2012.

The bank however, in an email to this magazine was quick to say that the industry Non-Performing Assets average remained within acceptable levels. It said the current NPAs/Total Advances ratio as at March 31, 2013 was 4.66% slightly higher than the 4.23% recorded at the end of December 2012.

The bank said it is important that the non-performing assets are kept low in order to ensure a healthy banking sector because higher rates imply increased provisions for loan losses that impacts on earnings and capital of banks. It added that higher rates create risk premiums that can translate to higher lending rates.

 

Lower rates on the other hand encourage credit growth and lead to a healthy banking sector. The bank said the Financial Sector in Uganda is liberalized and the Bank of Uganda (BoU) has not imposed credit controls.

However, it said, each bank is required to have in place a credit policy and procedures manual to guide lending operations.

“BoU has regulations on insider lending, single borrowers’ limit and credit classification and provisioning,” the Bank said, adding that the bank monitors compliance with the regulations through periodic reports submitted by banks and on-site examinations.

Going forward, the bank said the NPAs are expected to fall in future “this is because the underlying factors that led to the higher NPAs levels in the first place have been reversed”.

“The inflation rates are now back to normal and are expected to remain stable within the BOU targeted rate of 5% in the medium term,” the Bank said. From The Independent.

 

Here follows from the Africa Centre the latest African comment and opinion,  taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa:

Africa: Museveni roots for infrastructure development

Africa/World: Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Nigeria: 2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

Great Lakes: Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

Uganda: How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

Kenya: I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

Kenya: Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

South Africa: ‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

South Africa: Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the enemy

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

Kenya: Why poaching should get us worried

Kenya: Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru

South Africa: ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

 

Museveni roots for infrastructure development

By Felix Osike in Yokohama

Inadequate development of the infrastructure, especially electricity is among the factors affecting development of African countries, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
He made the remarks on Saturday at the opening of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) taking place in Yokohama, Japan.
Japan Prime Minsister  Shinzo Abe announced a $32b aid package to African countries  over the next five years including  1000 scholarships  to African  students .

“Without solving the issue of infrastructure, we continue with high production costs which undermine the profitability of private companies and, therefore, discourage investments into the continent,”Museveni said “All countries in Africa, except for South Africa and Libya, still have very low levels of electricity output.  This must change if we are to develop.  Certainly, in the case of Uganda, we shall never again listen to advice that doesn’t advocate for the fast development of the electricity sector in our country.”
“All countries in Africa, except for South Africa and Libya, still have very low levels of electricity output.  This must change if we are to develop.  Certainly, in the case of Uganda, we shall never again listen to advice that doesn’t advocate for the fast development of the electricity sector in our country.”
Museveni is among the 40 African Heads of State and over 3000 delegates attending the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama port city, 30km southwest of the capital Tokyo.
The leaders are discussing creation of robust and sustainable economies inclusive and resilient societies underpinned by peace and security.

Presidents of South Sudan, Somalia and Kenyan Vice President William Ruto are attending the conference for the first time.
This years’ theme is “Hand in Hand with a more dynamic Africa. UN Secretary General  Ban Ki Moon, World Bank  president  and over 20 African presidents  addressed  the conference  yesterday.
Museveni cited seven other strategic factors that he said if addressed to would enable African countries to achieve a robust and sustainably developed economies.
One of problems  is having a human resource that is not developed through education and with improved health. “In many African countries, this is being addressed. In Uganda, for instance, UPE (Universal Primary Education), USE (Universal Secondary Education) and broader higher education have expanded literacy to 70 per cent and above; and the skilling of the population is on the move.”

Another problem he cited is lack of respect for the Private Sector that had become characteristic of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.
“In Uganda, the attack on the private sector went to the extent of Idi Amin physically uprooting the Indian community that was a crucial element of our entrepreneurial class.
Small internal markets created by the balkanization of colonization is another factor.  This bottleneck is being addressed through market integration by the way of the regional blocs – EAC, COMESA, ECOWAS, ECCAS and SADEC he explained. “In addition to this, we have also negotiated for quota-free, tariff-free access to external markets with the USA, EU, China, Japan, etc.  Those who offered these markets should operationalize the offer.”
Exporting raw materials, the President said has also been another problem.  “I am talking about lack of industrialization and value addition.  By exporting unprocessed agricultural and mineral products (coffee, cotton, minerals, etc.), Africa has been a “donor” to the advanced economies, “donating” money and jobs to those economies.  Value addition and industrialization are the answers.  We must produce finished products instead of continuing to export raw materials.”
The president called for the development of the services sector which includes tourism, professional services and insurance.
“The modest efforts we have undertaken in the Tourism sector are already rewarding us with US$ 820 million per annum from 1.5 million tourists.”
Other bottlenecks he cited are undeveloped agriculture and lack of democracy and peace, corruption and weak states.

.While opening  the conference  Japanese Prime Minsiter  Shinzo Abe  announced  a blueprint  for Africa’s  development  stressing  the need for  the continent’s infrastructure  and human resource development
Over the next five years, Japan will support African growth through public and private means of 3.2 trillion yen (approximately $32 billion), including ODA of around 1.4 trillion yen and other public and private resources of around $16 billion.
On infrastructure development, Japan will provide 650 billion yen (approximately 6.5 billion USD), over the next five years. “We will rocket forward in further developing first of all “international corridors” that link inland areas with the coasts, and also power grids,” Abe announced.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the TICAD process as well as the golden jubilee since the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).
“Japan has maintained its faith in the future of Africa. In the 1990’s when the international community had almost forgotten Africa amidst the post-Cold War circumstances, Japan alone believed in the development of Africa, and thereby launched the TICAD process,” Abe stated.
Through TICAD, Japan has consistently promoted the importance of self-help and self-reliance. The TICAD concept also places emphasis on economic growth.

“The idea that poverty can be overcome through growth is something that has been axiomatic for Japanese right from the start. It is also because we never doubted Africa’s potential,” Abe told African leaders.
What Africa needs now is private-sector investment. “PPP,” or “public-private partnership,” leverages that investment.
Abe also emphasized human resource development but noted that haphazardly enhancing vocational training does not lead to jobs.
“It is necessary to cultivate human resources that truly match labour market demand. I would like to advocate for “education with an exit.” We will aim to foster the human resources needed by companies in the local areas, particularly Japanese companies.
Included in the package, is funding for 1,000 African students over the next five years under the Africa Business Education (ABE)” initiative for the youth. Under this initiative, Japan will offer undergraduate and graduate education to young people from Africa who go to study in Japan. They will simultaneously be provided with opportunities to work as interns at Japanese companies.
Together with the ABE Initiative, over the next five years, Japan will set about cultivating “business and industry savvy human capacities” that will lead to employment for 30,000 individuals.
Japan has also pledged to construct “hubs for human resource development” at 10 locations in the field in Africa, including in Ethiopia and Senegal where they will send experts.
Making universal health coverage part of the “Japan Brand” is another priority area. “We will promote health care that everyone can access–in other words, “universal health coverage.”
Japan also announced strategies to ensure food security in Africa by  transitioning away from agriculture “that enables the farmer to eat” to agriculture “that enables the farmer to earn money.”
Japan will in the next five years also focus on peace building in Africa. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian  Prime Minister  and Africa Union Chairman said  Japan  had pledged  about $540m  for this initiative
Abe also announced that there have been calls for holding the 2018 TICAD in Africa, with a view to further strengthening the partnership.

“I find it simply impossible to wait five years. I would like to state here in front of you, my distinguished colleagues, which I plan to set foot on African soil at the earliest possible time. No details  were available  of the countries  he would be visiting  or which  country  would host  the TICAD VI
Abe asked African leaders to support its bid to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  From New Vision.

 

Rural majority key in global war on poverty and hunger

Food security has been undermined by trade liberalisation and export promotion in the last three decades. The recent purchase or long-term lease of choice African agricultural land by foreign interests to produce food for export is problematic. PHOTO | FILE

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram  (email the author)

Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  19:29

IN SUMMARY

  • More recently, food prices have gone up again as productivity and production have risen more slowly than before, partly due to reduced public investments in recent decades, slower productivity increases in the last decade, as well as recent increases in demand for food crops, including for bio-fuels and more for animal feeds.

 

Over three quarters of the extreme poor in the world live in the countryside. Reducing rural poverty will therefore require significantly higher rural incomes.

Since most rural incomes are related to agriculture, raising agricultural productivity can help raise rural incomes all round.

In the 1960s and 1970s, many governments invested a great deal to increase agricultural, especially food production. In the second half of the 20th century, agricultural productivity rose rapidly.

However, intense price competition reduced farmer incomes, with consumers benefiting more from productivity gains – thus helping to reduce poverty more generally.

Transnational agri-business has profited greatly from innovations in agricultural production, credit, processing and marketing chains in recent decades.

More recently, food prices have gone up again as productivity and production have risen more slowly than before, partly due to reduced public investments in recent decades, slower productivity increases in the last decade, as well as recent increases in demand for food crops, including for bio-fuels and more for animal feeds.

Recent food price increases have been associated not only with significant supply and demand changes, but also biofuel mandates and subsidies as well as much greater commodity speculation.

But if food prices start going down again after the recent price rises, food would become more affordable, while reducing farmer incomes and the incentive to produce more food.

Poor countries are doubly handicapped by their limited tax capacities, resulting in low tax rates on low incomes.

While there is little excessive taxation of small farmers these days, there are also modest significant urban-to-rural resource transfers through the fiscal system or other transfer arrangements.

Government spending in rural areas and on agriculture has generally been motivated by political considerations, especially the desire to secure rural political support, not least by raising agricultural output, productivity and incomes.

However, with a few notable exceptions, most government spending on agriculture is not biased to the poor. Instead, such public expenditure tends to benefit the relatively better-off in agriculture.

This is generally true with improved rural infrastructure or social services, including health and schooling, as well as agricultural support in the form of subsidized fertilizer or other agricultural inputs – usually distributed according to the amount of land owned.

While agricultural taxation is generally proportional to land cultivated or output, much government rural or agricultural spending has benefited plantations and larger farmers more than smaller smallholders, tenants or sharecroppers.

Nevertheless, the poor may have benefited in so far as the rising tide of greater output or productivity lifts all boats.

Meanwhile, the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s mainly involved wheat and rice – neither significant food crops in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – and, to a lesser extent, maize.

Closing the productivity, output and income gap with the rest of the world will require appropriate measures, addressing the disincentives to greater food investments in the continent.

Undoubtedly, increased food production can enhance food security, reduce hunger and improve nutrition in SSA for the farmers themselves.

But food security has been undermined by trade liberalisation and export promotion in the last three decades. The recent purchase or long-term lease of choice African agricultural land by foreign interests to produce food for export is therefore problematic.

Experiences since the mid-20th century remind us that increasing food production alone will not be enough to eliminate poverty and hunger in the world.

After all, there is currently enough food produced to feed everyone. The problem is that most of the poor and hungry cannot adequately feed themselves. They need the incomes or other means to do so.

As many hundreds of millions – if not more – are so deprived, and likely to remain so for a long time to come, especially with the likelihood of a prolonged economic slowdown, there is no other way to overcome poverty and hunger except with some basic social provisioning, e.g. by establishing the social protection floor.

FAO’s approach is to accelerate the transition ‘from protection to production’, and thus ensure sustainable means to overcome hunger and poverty.

With the growing consensus, momentum and commitment to eradicate world hunger by 2025, it will be necessary to deploy all the necessary instruments as soon as possible.

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said China has become a major ally of the UN agency in many of its priorities, praising the country’s role in fighting hunger and tackling food price volatility.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of FAO, made the remarks before his upcoming visit to China to present a joint report of the global agricultural outlook for 10 years with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In an interview with Xinhua, he said China has become FAO’s major ally in areas like reducing hunger worldwide, stepping up south-south cooperation and balancing the organisation’s budget to stabilising world food prices through the new Agricultural Market Information System, which was launched in June 2011 to introduce more transparency into world food markets.

Sundaram is Assistant Director General for the Economic and Social Development Department of the UN Food and Agriculture OrganisationFrom The Citizen.

2015: Obasanjo cannot decide for North – ACF, others

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on June 1, 2013

 

Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has called on those rolling drums ahead of the 2015 presidential election to stop, saying it is an unnecessary distraction.

ACF was reacting to a recent media reports alleging that former President, Olusegun Obasanjo had anointed Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State as a possible successor of president Jonathan.

It would be recalled that the ex-president at the first Jigawa State Economic Forum in the state capital, Dutse, on Wednesday said, “People of Jigawa, I congratulate you and I congratulate myself; because you can say ‘yes’ Obasanjo put this one (Lamido) on us, he is a good person.

“It comes to one thing that you will say, you can help anybody to find a job but you cannot help anybody to do the job. If he is not ready to do the job hmmmmm… in this case, we found a job for Sule Lamido and Sule Lamido was ready, willing, able, and competent to do the job. Congratulations.”

National Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, however, said, talking about 2015 now was “too early and distractive.”

He said, “I do not expect the media to promote this (politics of 2015) at this point in time. This is because it would be too early and distracting us from governance.

“Moreso, Nigerians are expected to confront our security challenges collectively.”

Also reacting, two prominent Northerners, Dr. Junaid Mohammed and Shehu Sani, in separate interviews said the ex-president was not in the best position to speak for the North.

Junaid said, “I was there. I saw Obasanjo before he presented the speech and after he presented the speech.

“What he said was in no way an endorsement for Lamido for the 2015 election. I wouldn’t want to dignify that with a comment.

“But let me ask you this question. Can Obasanjo deliver even his village, Owu? Or even Abeokuta? The thing is not over until it is over. So, don’t even bother yourself about that.

“Obasanjo is now a private citizen; he is in no position to choose a person for us. For you to say he has endorsed somebody, has he even won an election himself before?

Also speaking, Sani said, “I don’t know the criteria which Obasanjo used to endorse Lamido, but what I read in the papers is different from the speech I listened to on the radio.

“It is possible that he may have been quoted out of context but in reality, if Lamido is interested in the presidency, then he should come out from his cage.

“He should have the courage to speak out against Jonathan, against the continuation of Jonathan in office.

“He should be heard and he should stand tall among the people who are today fighting to save this country from the incompetence of Jonathan.”

Sani also said the North was likely to present a common candidate.

He said, “Not only that the North will present a common candidate, the opposition parties will present a candidate that will be appealing to the North and the South.

“The North should not simply produce one candidate but as an opposition, there should be a credible candidate that is acceptable to all Nigerians.”

He said, “As to the crisis in the Nigerian Governors Forum, it is not inspiring and therefore disappointing. This is precisely because if 36 governors cannot elect their leaders democratically, then it means expecting too much from 73 million Nigerian voters to make judicious use of their democratic rights and make their votes count for the express purpose of nudging elected leaders to be accountable to the people.” From the Daily Post.

 

Negotiating with terrorists: are dirty deals possible in the Great Lakes?

 

Negotiating with terrorists? Well, this depends pretty much on what one understands by both terms ‘terrorists’ and ‘negotiation’.

One would try to define it as listening and being prepared to make concessions, to those who use violence against civilians to achieve political aims.

The purpose of this article is to question the validity of the narrative that ‘democracies’ do not negotiate with terrorists which is quite contradictory in practice and also to examine if such negotiations would be even thinkable, let alone being possible in the context of the Great Lakes region where some ‘democratic’ states indirectly push for such an outcome even though they still view the region as the ‘not so democratic’.

From a Eurocentric view, some argue that this debate is really relevant only in ‘democracies’ as dictators would have no interests in negotiation, but this contradicts the post 9/11 realities as the West saw a dramatic change in the security structure, shift in political discourse and move to a ‘no negotiation’ policy position when dealing with terrorists who are explicit security threats. The argument against negotiating with terrorists is simple.

Democracies must never give in to violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for using it. In other words, negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means.

Talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent, they insist.

Let us not dwell on the premise of the above argument for a moment, instead have a quick look at few pros and cons of negotiating with terrorists, as the ultimate aim should always be to find ways by which to arrive at a peaceful conclusion.

In general, (1) negotiation is the simplest form of keeping an open dialogue with terrorist groups, understanding them and encouraging them to take part in the political process without arms.

The opposite side to that, however, is that by opening the dialogue gives them the political legitimacy which they do not deserve; hence it is better to have no relationship whatsoever until they renounce violence. This shows they voluntarily opted out the democratic process.

(2) Historical accounts show that negotiations have led ceasefires (i.e. Bill Clinton’s negotiation with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, PLO and John Major’s secret talks with the Irish Republican Army, IRA) both of which aimed at advancing peace in respective regions.

The counterargument would be that terrorists want all or nothing (only with few exceptions, of course) and fragile peace in the Northern Ireland took time whereas the Middle East has never seen meaningful peace.

Back to the question as to whether ‘democracies’ do dirty deals with terrorists, and yes in practice they do often negotiate with terrorists. It is public knowledge for instance, that the British government maintained a secret back channel to the IRA even after it had launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street that nearly eliminated the entire British cabinet in 1991.

Other countries such as Spain (i.e. sat down with the separatist group Basque know by its acronym ETA in 1988) only six months after the group had killed 21 shoppers in a supermarket bombing, and Israel that is known for being tough on terrorism (i.e. secretly negotiated the Oslo accords in 1993) even though the PLO continued its terrorist activities and refused to recognize the state of Israel.

What is clear here is the disconnect between what governments publicly say and what they actually do, and the problem with the ‘no negotiations’ rigid stance has consequently prevented any systematic and meaningful research on how best to conduct such negotiations.

It leaves the following questions open: How can a ‘democratic’ country talk to terrorists without jeopardizing the integrity of its political system? What kind of terrorists are susceptible to negotiations? When should negotiations be opened?

In the light of recent suggestions by the Tanzanian President at the African Union (AU) Summit that Rwanda should negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) – a movement on the list of terrorist organisations and accused of having participated in the 1994 genocide that took over a million Rwandan souls, one would wonder why he thought this debate had a merit.

However, this is as an academic talk that is possibly more appropriate for a classroom full of college students enrolled on peace or war and conflict courses in some furthest lands with little knowledge of regional context and reality.

When and why did he take such position and more importantly why now? In politics, there is a theory of political timing which gives the opportunity for politicians to control and influence the events in such way as to maximize the political benefits.

For example, they will use the media platforms (i.e. news) to increase public attention and sway their electors. This incident however turned out to be a sum of political opportunism and muddled diplomacy given the leader’s familiarity of regional political dynamics and great knowledge of the FDLR’s link to the genocide that still troubles the moral conscience of the world, and subsequent mayhem in the Eastern DR Congo.

So what does this tell us about the regional politics? What about the East African Community (EAC) train that is supposedly moving on the same direction? How about the EAC joint military training exercises? Any related or unrelated dimensions to the intervention brigade force?

Clearly, there is a need for common understanding and approach on how to tackle security problems in the Great Lakes region, and so far the regional leaders have appeared to be unified in that front; but one hopes the recent divergence in opinion is not going to derail that process.

This is not an alarm that cooperation among EAC states will be affected, nor does one believe it would right for the community; but it is critically important for the citizens of the region to be informed of these matters as they have potential implications on the countries’ relations.

Is it politics, stupid? I guess sometimes, the answer is simply yes! Some would argue that the region is suffering from a security crisis, but others would rather say, it is a political one. Simple arithmetic would have made us believe that leaders in the region share views on how to combat various armed groups in the region, but some of us are probably naive and should stick with the idea that truth only belongs to God.

It is customary in international relations that any country’s political sovereignty must be respected and in this case, Rwanda’s national security matters are not the prerogative of a foreign President.

Call it a diplomatic incident or else but asking for an independent states to negotiate with an armed group whose agenda is to kill and maim Rwandans is very insensitive and, one hopes this issue will be dealt with swiftly in a mature way by the respected countries. From The New Times.

How overreaction to Tinyefuza by closing down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper may launch yet another presidential candidate

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 07:16 BY ANDREW M. MWENDA

Since the Coordinator of Intelligence Services, Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, kicked off a storm by alleging that there is a plan to have Brig. Muhoozi Keinerugaba succeed his father President Yoweri Museveni as president of Uganda, government has been eclectic.

Yet, more than what Tinyefuza said, it is the response of the government that is troublesome. It seems the government is determined to make a hero out of Tinyefuza.

First, government rapidly mobilized troops and deployed armored personnel carriers at the airport to arrest Tinyefuza on the Saturday he had promised to return. Then again, it backtracked and removed them. When asked, they said the deployment was to protect foreign dignitaries attending the Commonwealth Local Governments meeting.

I can confirm from reliable security sources that a decision has been taken not to arrest Tinyefuza upon arrival at the airport. The plan is to let him go home and then summon him for questioning – in order to deny him the prize of being received with paranoiac tanks at Entebbe.

This seemed to be a sober decision when I left Kampala for London on Friday. Upon my return late Monday night, I found the government had shut down The Red Pepper and Daily Monitor and its affiliate radio stations KFM and Dembe FM. Whoever is advising the government must must be an ally of Tinyefuza. This action is going to amplify his allegations to the rest of the world. What had started as a domestic news story is now going to take a global significance.

Over 90% of Ugandans do not get news from mainstream newspapers even though those are catalysts. They get news from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, if the government’s intention is to stop the spread of allegations regarding a possible ‘Muhoozi project’, then they are flogging the wrong horse; Monitor and Red Pepper are very miniscule players.

These allegations are being debated on social media without any form of restraint. Indeed, Tinyefuza himself picked these rumors from online sources where they had been circulating for months.

However, the closure of Monitor and Red Pepper has deeply damaged the government nationally and internationally without achieving the objective of undermining the rumors themselves. Nationally, it has embarrassed President Museveni’s admirers as they see their leader acting arbitrarily.

Internationally, it has painted the President as an ageing dictator suppressing freedom of speech. Worse of all, it has also given Tinyefuza’s allegations greater credibility than he could have dreamt of. This is because many people may now begin to see in government paranoia an admission of guilt.

If Museveni wants Muhoozi to succeed him, then he needs someone to precipitate a debate on this subject. In many ways therefore, although Tinyefuza is subjectively anti-Muhoozi Project, he is objectively an ally. Nothing sells Muhoozi’s presidential ambitions than a protracted public debate on the matter. Whether the noise on the Muhoozi project is positive or negative is only of secondary value. Muhoozi needs publicity of his name across the country as a potential presidential contender.

At the beginning of this saga, I tended to underestimate Tinyefuza and overestimate Museveni. I felt that Tinyefuza had taken too high a risk without much short-term benefit commensurate to the risk. As a soldier, he could get politically muzzled and rendered inactive and irrelevant as happened to Brig. Henry Tumukunde. Second, I felt that it would have been difficult for him to find allies inside NRM to openly support his cause as Museveni seems to have tightened his grip on internal dissent. However, I also knew that he had touched a raw nerve in Museveni (his family) that was going to rattle the president in a very bad way thus causing him to overreact. And overreact he has.

The crackdown on the media is an unmitigated disaster – less so for the media involved as it is for the government. People on social media sites were attacking Daily Monitor accusing it of being timid and cowardly. Now this action has given them and Red Peppermuch more credibility than any marketing strategy backed by tons of money could ever have accomplished.

If Tinyefuza is making wild allegations about a project that does not exist, why act irrationally to him and the press? The media crackdown will not stop the debate. Instead, it will make Tinyefuza the most discussed subject in bars, streets, shops, restaurants, taxis, buses, homes, schools, hospitals and markets.

From November 1999 to October 2000, I witnessed Museveni turn an obscure colonel into a presidential candidate. Kizza Besigye had authored a document for internal discussion within NRM where he accused government of corruption, incompetence and nepotism. It was not the content of the document that sprang Besigye into prominence but rather government reaction to him.

Museveni then accused Besigye of using the wrong forum and sought to prosecute him through the Military Court Martial. For almost a year and until he was retired from the army, Besigye was frontline news in all media – print and electronic – a factor that he used as a springboard to declare his presidential ambitions.

After the 2001 elections, Besigye was forced into exile. But on realizing that this would improve his political career, he returned to contest for the presidency in 2005/06 elections. Museveni reacted by arresting Besigye and charging him with “rape” and “treason” in the high court and “terrorism” in the military court martial.

In one blow Museveni created the greatest political momentum of any candidacy Uganda had witnessed. It was because of sheer dint of political tenacity and a high doze of rigging that Museveni survived Besigye’s onslaught in 2006.

In 2011, Museveni ignored Besigye and focused largely on his own campaign. In that simple act of civility, he sucked air out of Besigye’s balloon. Where in 2006 a newspaper without Besigye in the headline could not sell, in 2011 a Besigye headline would get 50% returns.

The lesson for me is simple but powerful: in present day Uganda, the best way for government to kill the political attractiveness of a candidate running for office or a politician seeking to build a brand is to ignore them. This is exactly what I thought government would do with Tinyefuza – and how wrong I was. Now Tinyefuza is on the roll.

amwenda@independent.co.ug

ZANU-PF Facing Another Bhora Musango – Analysts

 

By Tinashe Madava

The Mujuru-Mnangagwa succession debacle has been cited as the main heartache

THE 2008 elections shocked ZANU-PF in different ways; apart from a first defeat for President Robert Mugabe at the presidential polls, which led to a run-off, the inroads by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in some rural constituencies which traditionally voted ZANU-PF rocked the liberation war party.

But what must have shaken the ZANU-PF chefs was not just the defeat itself. It was the manner of the defeat, made worse by the perennial infighting that seemed to have no solution.

Many have predicted that ZANU-PF has always been its own worst enemy and would be undone from within.

Although President Mugabe’s party has always rallied to confound critics with some mind boggling poll performances, questions have been asked repeatedly and fingers pointed as to the credibility of election results giving ZANU-PF the edge.

Most often, the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s Office and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) have found themselves at pains to oppose allegations of vote rigging.

Announcement of the 2008 poll results were delayed by weeks leading to suspicions that ZEC was doctoring the results in favour of the incumbent.
Also, in the 2008 presidential election run-off, the MDC formations claim the army was used to intimidate and coerce some sections of the electorate to vote for President Mugabe.

More than 200 people were reported to have died in the political violence that engulfed the country while thousands were either injured or displaced as militias roamed the country to coax-up the numbers for President Mugabe’s re-election.

Without taking anything away from the MDC-T, it was obvious that ZANU-PF’s internal strife caused by the imposition of candidates had resulted in “dissident voters” angry at what they saw as a greedy top brass that had no respect for the people’s wishes and so needed to be taught a lesson. This led to the bhora musango scenario.

Yet, as elections near, President Mugabe seems to be starring at a repeat of the 2008 scenario.

Firstly, the disbandment of District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) last year led critics to say that another bhora musango could be in the offing.
The intensification of infighting in Matabeleland, Manicaland, Masho-naland West, Masvingo and Midlands, all linked to the tussle to succeed President Mugabe, has brought to the fore the murkiness of politics inside ZANU-PF.

It has led some critics to even conclude that the party is not ready for elections as it would like opponents to believe since a politburo appointed team led by ZANU-PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo is still crisscrossing the country in a fire fighting mission to restructure the party and stamp out infighting.
But this too seems to be causing more ructions as those aligned to Emmerson Mnangagwa now say Khaya Moyo and his team are dabbling in succession politics by making sure those in provincial executives support the ascendency on Vice President Joice Mujuru.

The Mujuru-Mnangagwa succession debacle has been cited as the main heartache for ZANU-PF as the country heads for elections, with the potential of causing another bhora musango.

Political analyst, Lovemore Fuyane, says he does not see the party’s restructuring assisting ZANU-PF substantially, come election time, while he postulates that this bhora musango issue is of minimum cause or effect.

“I am aware that ZANU-PF has always said that this so called bhora musango effect cost them but I am not so sure the statistics bear them out. If there was a significant difference between constituency vs presidential votes overall, it might be a valid issue but, other than a few constituencies I really am not sure it’s as significant as they say. They will thus reap what they have sown in the last 33 years as much as the MDCs the last four years,” said Fuyane.

He said ultimately, the biggest determinant in the various constituencies is going to be the national agenda and this probably applies to all political parties.
“In my view the constituency voting trends will mirror the presidential voting trends. Except in a very limited number of constituencies, this election is going to be far less about what happens in specific constituencies than voters’ perceptions of where the country is headed as a whole. This current exercise might at best limit some localised damage and assist parties manage intra party dynamics but if I were leading any of the main parties, my main focus would be on the national agenda, manifesto and the demonstration of the ability to deliver,” added Fuyane.

Fuyane said Zimbabweans, almost without geographic exception, want a sense that things will improve and improve substantially.

Political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Greg Linington thinks that the ZANU-PF restructuring has been ill-timed, especially with elections looming.

“Essentially, it has made President Mugabe’s calls for elections since the inception of the unity government look misplaced.

“It could be another bhora musango and it might be more serious this time around. There is a lot at stake here, the President is aging and people want to secure their positions as well as wealth. Some have ambitions and all this works against ZANU-PF,” said Linington.

He said it was a common factor that ZANU-PF has strong support in the rural constituencies, but is struggling in the urban centres, adding that given this scenario, vote rigging  might come into play again. – FinGaz  From the Zimbabwe Mail.

I’ve grown up with Kenya, step-by-step

By JOHN MUCHIRI (jmuchiri@ke.nationmedia.com)
Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  20:36

IN SUMMARY

  • As an individual, especially after witnessing four administrations in this country, I want to be part of the process that will make Kenya a better place for our children. We are now at a very crucial stage, either to make this country or to break it.

 

Many journalists over the years have asked me my age and I always respond with one line: I am a child of independence.

No! It is not that I am trying not to reveal my age. That statement is literally true because I share a birthday and many milestones with Kenya and the African Union. On Thursday, I celebrated my Jubilee birthday.

When I was born on May 30, 1963, my parents saw me as a fitting independence present, because Kenya attained self-rule just two days later.

Little did they know that I was going to have so many things in common with this great republic down the years.

So many memories of my life in the past five decades have come back in the last few days starting from growing up in a farm in Eldoret. My parents had eight children, three boys and five girls. Unfortunately, out of all my siblings and my parents, only three of us are alive. I have two older sisters.

My parents worked very hard to give us a decent living. We never lacked the basic needs, but they didn’t pamper us. We all had different chores in the farm after school and during holidays.
After primary school, I went to Kenya High School in Nairobi, where my life took shape, in terms of what I wanted to do in life. My interest in music had started while I was still a young girl and my parents bought me a piano as a present. But, as much as I continued to sing, I also concentrated on classwork, especially when it came to the sciences.

Between being a child and getting to high school, I have some memorable moments as far as Kenya is concerned. My mother involved herself a lot with social work and through that I got a rare opportunity to meet Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He had come to officiate at a function in Eldoret, where my mother was involved and I had a precious few minutes around the President.

My father concentrated on his farm work although he was indirectly involved in politics and was always meeting different politicians. In fact, I remember very well when politician Tom Mboya was assassinated; it was the first time I saw my father cry. I never thought my father would cry and I even imagined it was the end of the world. It was a terrible time.

While at Kenya High, I shared a dormitory with a Ugandan girl whose father was assassinated during Idi Amin’s rule. I could not understand why somebody would do that. I was also in the same school with Rosemary, a daughter of popular politician JM Kariuki, when he was killed. I could feel the pain she went through and asked so many questions.

When Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978, almost everything came to a standstill. It was most unexpected and we all wondered what would happen next. It was as if the country had stopped. It was a sad moment.

Moving on to President Daniel arap Moi’s government, I was working in Muhoroni in the sugar industry and I understood well what was going on. Those were the days when you watched what you said because one could easily get into trouble.

At some point, I moved to Nairobi permanently and concentrated more on my music. I remember during the first Saba Saba demonstrations, Kofi Olomide’s wife was in Nairobi. I was supposed to perform for her at the Grand Regency Hotel.

The mood was tense and I remember warning my band members to be very careful after the performance, especially on their way home. They all laughed and told me not to worry about them. The funniest thing was when they rang me the following morning, saying that they had been arrested.

During President Mwai Kibaki’s government, I have seen many positive and negative things.

The development projects and the maturing democracy have been really good for this country. But my lowest point was during the post-election violence that almost crippled the country. I could not believe that Kenya could go down that far. But the signing of the peace accord lifted my spirits about this country.

In my music career, a lot of good things have happened to me. In 2004, I won a prestigious Kora award in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was the first one to be awarded that night, I remember very well. The interesting fact is that it was on December 12, a very significant date in Kenya’s calendar as it is Jamhuri Day.

I had a great opportunity of being the principal at the Tusker Project Fame reality show. It opened up the world of live television to me and it was an amazing experience. The TPF idea is great and has helped a number of musicians to grow their careers. Some of the former contestants call me once in a while just to find out how I’m doing and I appreciate that.

I am proud of the people I grew up with because they have achieved a lot. I went to school at the same time as respectable ladies like Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u and human rights lawyer Betty Murungi.

In fact, one of my favourite teachers was former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife, Ida. She taught me geography and kept on insisting that I should be a lawyer when I leave high school. I insisted that I was a science student, that’s why I later did a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Environment.

Other than having great performances in different parts of the world, I have met and worked with great musicians like Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Rebecca Malope, Angelique Kidjo, among others. I was also involved in the Sudan Peace Process as a repertoire in the peace negotiations.

As an individual, especially after witnessing four administrations in this country, I want to be part of the process that will make Kenya a better place for our children. We are now at a very crucial stage, either to make this country or to break it.

I want to see a proper cultural department with musicians and other creative artists actively involved because we have the experience. I wanted to take a shot at politics during the last General Election but I felt the time was not right.

But I surely will go for it next time. With the best gift in my life being my 20-year-old son, who no longer loves the limelight, I feel much younger and ready to move with this country to the next level, a better one.

Ms Abura spoke to the Nation’s John Muchiri (jmuchiri@ke.nationmedia.com) From the Sunday Nation.

 

Golden Jubilee: Celebrating milestones in Kenya’s history

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR REPORTER

 

After enduring a lot of humiliation from British colonialists for almost a century, Kenyans resisted the oppression through armed rebellion by Mau Mau in 1950. Despite the superior firepower of the British, the Mau Mau uprising lasted up to the late 1950s, when the colonial administration realised its time was up and started paving the way for African self rule.

On the night of June 1, 1963, Kenyans ushered in the new era at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, where the first Prime Minister of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, received the first independence constitution from Prince Phillip Mountbatten, husband to Queen Elizabeth II.

As we mark this historic day today, we look back to the memorable events since Kenya’s internal self rule.

 

Selected major events in Kenya’s history.

  • 1963 Kenya gains independence with Kenyatta as Prime Minister
  • 1964 Republic of Kenya formed with Jomo Kenyatta as President and Oginga Odinga as Vice President

– KADU dissolves and joins KANU

  • 1964 – 1967 Shifta War
  • 1965 Assassination of Pio Gama Pinto
  • 1966 KANU’s Limuru Conference which proposed eight vice presidents

– Oginga Odinga resigns from KANU and forms rival Kenya People’s Union (KPU)

  • 1969 Tom Mboya assassinated, (Assassination sparks ethnic unrest)

– Kisumu Massacre

– KPU banned and Oginga Odinga arrested. Kenya thereby became a de facto one-party state under KANU.

  • 1975 Assassination of Josiah Mwangi Kariuki
  • 1975 –1979 Change the Constitution Movement (seeking to bar Vice President, Daniel Arap Moi from ascending to power in the event of President Jomo Kenyatta’s death)
  • 1978 President Jomo Kenyatta dies

– Daniel Arap Moi becomes the President and releases political prisoners

  • 1980 Bulla Karatasi Massacre
  • 1982 Kenya becomes a de jure single party state

-Attempted coup

  • 1984 Wagalla Massacre

-Lotirir Massacre

  • 1986-1989 Mwakenya arrests, torture, detention and trials
  • 1986 Constitution amendment meant to remove the security of tenure of the Attorney General and Auditor and Controller General
  • 1988 KANU nominations by ‘mlolongo’ (queuing) System
  • 1989 Political prisoners freed Rubia, Matiba and others expelled from KANU

-Muoroto Riots

  • 1990 Detention of Charles Rubia, Kenneth Matiba and Raila Odinga

– Assassination of Robert Ouko

– Sabasaba Riots

  • 1991 Section 2A repealed paving way for multi-party political system

– Further Sabasaba Riots

– Release of political prisoners

– Formation of various political parties

– Multiparty General Elections

– Ethnic/Tribal Clashes

– Crackdown on FERA

– Ethnic clashes

  • 1997 General elections

– Ethnic clashes

– IPPG reform package

  • 2001 Murukutwa Massacre
  • 2002 General Elections, NARC dislodges KANU from power
  • 2005 Referendum on the proposed Constitution (Rejected by 57% of Kenyans)

– President Mwai Kibaki dissolves Cabinet and forms Government of National

– Unity incorporating members of KANU into his new Cabinet

– Turbi Massacre

  • 2006 SLDF atrocities in Mt. Elgon

– Extra-judicial killings by police of Mungiki suspects

  • 2007 General Elections President Mwai Kibaki is declared elected President

– Dispute over the Presidential Results sparks Post Election Violence

  • 2008 Kenya Dialogue and Reconciliation Process

– National Accord is adopted forming the basis for formation of Grand Coalition

– Government with Mwai Kibaki as President and Raila Odinga as Prime Minister

  • 2009 Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission is formed
  • – Timeline prepared by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission
  • From the Star.

‘Xenophobic’ violence spreads, threatens chaos

 

As incidents of violence against foreign nationals continue to be reported, some question whether the label of xenophobia is too simple a diagnosis. By KHADIJA PATEL.

The “xenophobic” violence that has been stalking Gauteng has spread to the Eastern Cape and the Free State. A Somali national, who was attacked by protestors in Greenfield, Port Elizabeth, died in hospital on Thursday after a fatal stabbing in which he sustained wounds to the forehead, chest and stomach.

“It is alleged that a group of people went to the Somalian’s residence and there was a confrontation between them and the Somalian,” an Eastern Cape representative of the South African Police Services told Sapa.

Police believe the stabbing of the Somali man is unrelated to the surge of violence in northern Port Elizabeth in recent days that has stoked fears of an imminent repeat of the xenophobic violence of 2008.

While foreign-owned stores have come under attack in Port Elizabeth, police have hastened to point out that the violence in the city’s informal settlements was sparked off by police arresting three community leaders from Greenfields and Vastrap for the murders of two men accused of robbing a spaza shop. In apparent protest of these arrests, residents blockaded roads with rocks, poles, bushes, bricks, and burning tyres.

From there, violence spread to at least two other informal settlements.

Twenty-one people are said to have been arrested for public violence in northern Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Foreigners in Port Elizabeth are, however, not encouraged. In some areas of the city, police assisted Somalian shop owners with packing their goods and escorted them to places of safety.

And it’s not just the Eastern Cape where foreigners have drawn the ire of local residents.

Also on Thursday, angry residents looted foreign-owned shops in Maokeng, Kroonstad – together with the violence directed against foreign nationals in Sebokeng and Diepsloot in the last week.

In March, more than 25 Somali-owned shops were looted in Mamelodi outside of Pretoria, while five Pakistani nationals were murdered in Mitchells Plain.

However, there are those who believe that xenophobia is too simple a label – and that the underlying causes of the attacks range from poverty to a culture of criminality.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said in Parliament that attacks against foreigners in Diepsloot this week were criminal acts, plain and simple, and should not necessarily be branded xenophobic in nature.

“I think it’s a matter of grave concern. The criminal activities that are perpetuated by some South Africans are not a reflection of xenophobic attacks against foreigners,” he said.

He is not alone believing that the violence cannot be explained by xenophobia alone.

Public policy analyst and editor of ZApreneur, Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen, said the incidence of violence against foreigners in South Africa pointed to a systemic failure of the South African economy that must be regarded similarly to service delivery protests.

“The violence [against foreigners] should be looked at through the prism of violent protests in poor communities,” he said.

Similarly, commentator Nomalanga Mkhize mused on Twitter this week, “In Russia, bread riots led to a revolution, here they lead to ‘xenophobia’.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Secretary-General Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking at a conference on xenophobia, social cohesion and violence at Wits University, organised by the African Centre for Migration and Society earlier this month, noted that inequality, poverty and unemployment were the underlying causes of xenophobia in South Africa.

“We must link these outrageous acts to the underlying social crisis and turn people’s anger against their real enemy [which is] the capitalist system of production, distribution and exchange,” he said.

The ANC believes that no matter the cause of the violence, it cannot be condoned.

“Regardless of what the cause of these violent protests may be, the African National Congress condemns any attacks on members of society, irrespective of nationality,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Thursday.

According to statistics from the African Centre for Migration and Society in 2013, before the current spike in violence, there were at least three incidents of xenophobic violence per week countrywide.

“The basic issue behind the violence is the question of the lack of opportunity to do a whole range of things, including starting a small business,” Hassen said.

“It is about people being able to make their way through the system.”

He notes as well that many of the analyses, made in 2008 after the wave of xenophobic violence that shocked the world, are still relevant.

Back then, Hassen noted during a presentation following the xenophobic violence that a failure to address the lack of opportunity available for South Africa’s poorest would ultimately lead to further unrest.

“Unless [South Africa becomes a nation of opportunity], we can expect a recurrence of xenophobic attacks, and also higher levels of violent service delivery protest,” he said.

The warnings, then, have always been there. The triggers of further violence have become subverted beneath the political spectacle of the day, but as we note the violence spreading and the protests increasing, are we actually listening to what the protestors are saying? DM From the Daily Maverick

Somewhere over the rainbow: the media, the

 

This is Child Protection Week, but it might just as well have been Blame the Media week. It is becoming a common refrain to accuse the media for projecting events in South Africa negatively, as has been witnessed this week in relation to the troubles in Cosatu, the image of the National Prosecuting Authority and the crisis in the mining industry that is badly impacting the entire country. Even the Gupta family believes that the media is on its case, not because they violated national security, but because of a racist agenda. So it seems the answer to South Africa’s problems: let’s get a pair of rose-tinted glasses for every journalist. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

A high-profile businessman recently held a meeting with President Jacob Zuma at the presidential residence in Pretoria while the Guptagate scandal was playing out. A television set was on in the room and the news bulletin was reporting the latest developments around the landing of a planeload of wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base.

The businessman felt awkward but was intrigued to see Zuma’s reaction. He says the president raised his eyes to the television as the news item came on and watched it intently. As the item concluded, the businessman says Zuma clucked his tongue and said “Hayi but the media!”

This is a fascinating and rare insight into what Zuma saw as the problem with the matter. While the brazen abuse of the military facility by the family and the failure of the government machinery to stop it from happening shocked the country, it is intriguing that the president’s default reaction was to deride the media reporting of the issue.

But this was just one person’s version of what he experienced and the public does not have the benefit of any direct interaction with Zuma on the issue to be able to gauge his overall reaction. All there has been was a passing line in an SABC interview with the president early on in the saga when Zuma cautioned that the matter should be handled carefully so as not to jeopardise South Africa’s relations with India. And then there was the media statement by Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj following the release of the investigation report by directors-general condemning the use of the president’s name to secure the landing rights.

But the businessman’s account of the president’s reaction to the Guptagate scandal is consistent with how the ANC and its alliance partners generally perceive media reporting on current affairs. There is a perception that the media has a surreptitious agenda to project the government and the three alliance partners, the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu, in a negative light.

While the SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande is perhaps the most vocal proponent of this view, labelling journalists as “professional cynics” and “prophets of doom” driving a “neo-liberal agenda”, there is now a growing tendency in the alliance and in government to cast the media as unpatriotic, purveyors of negative sentiment and instigators of problems. The irony is that many of these statements are made to the media in press conferences with the expectation that this specific condemnation be reported by the journalists, rather than what they find newsworthy.

On Sunday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held a media briefing to report on the outcome of its central committee meeting last week. The NUM has been in the news frequently in the past year due to turbulence in the mining industry, its epic battles with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), and its dramatic losses in membership. The NUM is also a chief protagonist in the leadership battle playing out in Cosatu. Despite the nature of the news being negative in the terrain the NUM operates in – strikes, retrenchments, violence and intense wage negotiations – the union is convinced that the media has a deliberate agenda to project it in a negative light.

The NUM media statement on Sunday read as follows: “The CC noted with grave concern inaccurate reporting by the media; the lack of investigation and ethical media conduct is disturbing. The media seems hell-bent on distorting events in the mining industry to serve a particular interest and have written the obituary of the NUM.”

This week Cosatu held a highly anticipated central executive committee (CEC) meeting to decide on the fate of its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi following accusations from some affiliate unions that he was involved in impropriety and fraud. Despite leaders in the affiliate unions and the national leadership feeding the media cycle from last year on the internal battles and the crusade to remove Vavi from his position, Cosatu came out of its stalled CEC meeting and lashed the media for reporting on the federation’s troubles.

In a bizarre about-face, Cosatu claimed its leadership was united and that the factional battles and skirmishes during the meeting were all a media fabrication.

“The media and their sources together want to try to divide and weaken the federation, and to set the agenda for COSATU meetings. They failed this week and we are determined that they will never succeed,” Cosatu said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

On the same day, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe was briefing the media on the work of his department ahead of his budget speech in Parliament. The media was naturally interested in what the minister had to say on the performance of the National Prosecuting Authority in light of its recent bad run of bungled prosecutions and resultant public outrage. As reported in Daily Maverick, Radebe became defensive when interrogated by journalists on the NPA’s recent controversies.

“I am satisfied that they are doing a good job,” Radebe said, saying the high conviction rate and jail overcrowding were evidence of this. But he lost his cool with a journalist who said this argument was “nonsensical”.

Radebe hit back: “I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. So the nonsense you’re talking about is with you, not with the system!”

Later during the debate on the justice department’s budget, Radebe’s deputy Andries Nel was more forthright about his views on the media. Bemoaning the lack of positive coverage of the department and sketching a number of stories which he thought were newsworthy, Nel said: “Regrettably, honourable members, your chances of reading about these stories are negligible – the news is either simply too good to be profitable or too fundamentally at odds with the preconceived notions of the prophets of doom.

“Those in the media who want to tell these stories, and they are there, are afraid to do so for fear of being branded as stooges of government who are not truly independent,” Nel said.

On Thursday, Zuma addressed a hastily convened media conference to talk up the economy on the back of poor first-quarter growth data and to calm fears around volatility in the mining industry. After outlining interventions to support the mining industry, Zuma said South Africa should enhance its strengths, including tourism.

During a brief question session, Zuma was asked whether South Africa would not have a greater number of tourists if it had fewer scandals. Zuma’s response was that South Africa had a “good story to tell” and that the incidents of police brutality and corruption were due to “openness”. Incidents of police violence and brutality were far more frequent under Apartheid, Zuma said.

Rather than committing to deal with these problems which had a negative impact on the image of the country, Zuma rather used the benchmark of Apartheid to measure current incidents against. As the media briefing concluded, a chuckling Zuma said to the journalists: “Just report nicely about South Africa.”

Although this was said in jest, the import of Zuma’s message on Thursday was that the media would help the economy along if it were more positive in its reporting of South Africa. Of course the president cannot be faulted for wanting his country to be portrayed in more glowing terms and is rightly worried about the economy. But it is not the media’s responsibility to fix the economy. It is Zuma and his Cabinet’s duty to do so, as well as business and labour.

It is quite easy to confuse patriotism and sunshine journalism. One is the love of your country, the other is deliberately swaying the story to project the subject in a positive light. Although everyone in South Africa’s political leadership claim they support a free and unrestrained media, it would appear from recent utterances that some of them would prefer a less critical, probing media. But reporting on scandals does not make the media unpatriotic, much to the contrary these are in the public interest.

What is unpatriotic are politicians abusing their office and stealing public money, and public officials deliberately misleading the public.

Some of the statements about the media are now veering from criticism to outright hostility and blame for the stories they report. The approach is shortsighted and disregards the real source of the problems besetting the country. A compliant and sycophantic media does not make a country prosper; if it did, Zimbabwe would be the most thriving state on the continent. The secret of success is good and clean leadership in all spheres in society.

Clearly, South Africa does not have that. DM From The Daily Maverick

.
Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Opposition ‘rebuttal’ strengthens Independent News Report on Bonthe

 

Many of our readers wondered as to why we ran the report culled from the opposition SLPP’s Unity Newspaper in our yesterday edition. It was authored by the SLPP Editor Kef Dukulay and was supposed to be a rebuttal of our article on the events in Bonthe. In our opinion, the so-called rebuttal, actually merely strengthened and confirmed our reportage on the matter. Our original report and the so-called SLPP rebuttal are reproduced again by popular demand today. Read them below and make your judgement.


“Cannibalism Allegations is no Excuse to Replace Police with Militia” – Sylvia Blyden

By Augustine Samba (Awareness Times)

The Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President has admonished the Paramount Chiefs and youths of Bonthe district especially inside Jong Chiefdom, to refrain from any attempt to set up a private security unit outside the ambit of the Sierra Leone Police as this would be against the Sierra Leone Constitution.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden was speaking during a government delegation’s visit to Mattru Jong on Saturday May 25th 2013 which followed recent widespread reports of cannibalism and ritual murder incidents in the Bonthe district. These allegations had led to serious misunderstandings between the Paramount Chief, Traditional Authorities, Bondo Women, Bike Riders, Police officers and various youth groupings. It deteriorated into violence erupting on Friday May 24th 2013 leading to damage of properties worth millions of leones and wounding of residents during stonings of each other.
It was in the midst of this that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma requested his Special Executive Assistant (SEA), Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to, over the weekend, lead a high-powered government delegation to the district. The key responsibility of the delegation was to study the situation on the ground inside Bonthe and map out amicable resolutions to the causes of this unwelcome situation if possible.
On her return to Freetown, she held a press briefing at her State House offices on Monday 27th May 2013. Dr. Blyden said that Resident Minister Southern Province Hon. Muctarr Conteh, the Provincial Secretary for the South Mr. Quee and his civil servants, the Director of Regional Operations from the Office of National Security (ONS) at Tower Hill, Mr. Alimamy Marah and other ONS officials plus Police Southern Regional Crime Officer and senior personnel from the Sierra Leone Police accompanied her on the trip inside Bonthe district.
Dr. Blyden said their visit was successful as, on arrival in the morning of Saturday 25th May, they met a highly divided township and chiefdom but left behind a much-more united town and chiefdom which had resolved that not only will the Sierra Leone Police be the primary security outfit in charge of Bonthe but all residents, including the youths and any other militia fighting force will now be subjugated under the 100% authority of the police in effective police-civilian partnership.
She explained that when they arrived in Mattru Jong, the Bonthe district mainland headquarter town, they held several meetings with the host Paramount Chief, Alhaji Abubakarr B. Sheriff, many other Paramount Chiefs of Bonthe, the Bonthe Police, Bondo women, Bike Riders, stakeholders and residents of the district including former kamajor militia fighters.
She recounted that the situation on arrival was they met P.C. Sheriff and his chiefdom council had by then threatened to expel the Police Commander Emmerson Kargbo and all police officers off from Jong Chiefdom and replace them with youthful militia and traditional sorcerers to take up the security of the chiefdom. This, P.C. Sheriff had insisted over the local Mattru radio airwaves, was because he alleged that the Police were unable to quell the cannibalism, strange ritual murders and widespread scaremongering in Bonthe.

 

According to reports, following this derogatory anti-police call by the Chief, thousands of Bondo women held secret meetings in the bondo bush on May 22nd and May 23rd 2013 following which they stormed the Mattru Jong township in the night of May 24th 2013, surrounded the Mattru Police Station with traditional sorcery (SWEH) and invoked curses on any and all policemen who were not able to catch the cannibals and ritual murderers in the area. After this invoking of curse on the police, the women proceeded to take the invoked curse to the base of the youthful Bike Riders but were met with stiff resistance by the riders who rejected the attempt of the women to do their rituals that will ensure spiritual justice to the cannibals who were tormenting the town and chiefdom. This caused a fracas between the women and riders with attendant stonings, woundings and damage to physical properties in the township worth millions of leones.
Dr. Blyden recounted that for the government, the most worrying aspect was the Paramount Chief and a cross section of the district’s stakeholders wanted the police to leave whilst the chiefdom will be placed under the protection of local militia as vigilantes to protect the district from alleged cannibals and ritual murderers. She said the delegation advised them that such an action will be in total contravention of Section 155.(2) of the Sierra Leone Constitution.
Among other concerns raised by the residents, Dr. Blyden went on, there was also a situation where the Paramount Chief, who was accused by a section of the chiefdom to himself have been involved in the business of cannibalism, decided to consult the sorcery services from Moyamba to perform some rituals so as to prove himself innocent.
At the end of the testimonies, the President’s SEA said the delegation was able to successfully re-unite the various antagonists after they brought out their concerns and grievances to the attention of the delegation. The chief’s accusation against the police were openly repeated to the visiting government delegation that because of police inability to quell cannibalism and ritual murders, he wanted the security of his chiefdom handed over to militia. The Police, on the other hand, were able to effectively defend themselves against the charge of being inefficient saying they conducted investigations into all reports with professionalism and even had post-mortems conducted when needed.
Dr. Blyden said the delegation mapped out amicable solutions to address to all the concerns and grievances raised by the residents, adding that at the end of the meeting, all the factions reconciled and assured the delegation that they will henceforth work as one with the police and authorities to address the issue of cannibalism in their district.

 

In response to journalists questions as to why the government seemingly only cared about Bonthe’s reports and not other places in the country allegedly with report of similar practise of suspected ritual murder like Bombali, Dr. Blyden said the uniqueness of the situation in Bonthe was that the allegations of cannibalism and ritual murders were not a matter of an isolated case but had turned widespread to the extent that young children in some Bonthe chiefdoms could no longer go to school out of fear of being kidnapped and turned to dinner by cannibals or used as body parts in rituals. This widespread fear amongst the citizens, she said has not happened in other places in Sierra Leone neither had other places called for the expulsion of the entire police force from their soil.
“It is only inside Bonthe that you have calls for the expulsion of the Police over inability to catch supposed cannibals and ritual murderers. Such calls, the government simply could not allow to continue. Every inch of Sierra Leone is constitutionally under the protection of the Sierra Leone police and I am happy to report that following our intervention, the people of Bonthe now realise that they have to work with the police to secure themselves,” Dr. Blyden said adding “The Resident Minister for the Southern Province is also going to work to ensure the Local Police Partnership Board is strengthened throughout Bonthe district and he will continue to monitor developments and report back to His Excellency the President but for now, no police officer is leaving Bonthe and no militia is taking over the defence or security of Bonthe”.

 

Dr. Blyden said another different as-yet-classified information concerning Bonthe district was being investigated by the Sierra Leone Police but the public will be informed in due course.


THE SLPP’S “REBUTTAL” FOLLOWS:

As APC blows false cannibalism rumours in Mendeland…..Sylvia Blyden calls Bonthe People Man Eaters!

By Kef Dukulay (SLPP newspaper editor)

The Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma has labeled Bonthe District as a district infested with cannibals, with several reports of people being caught and eaten in addition to rampant and strange ritual murders. Sylvia Blyden has also stated on both the Face Book and in her newspaper that there still exists a militia fighting force in Bonthe District, especially in Matru Jong ready to be revived using the same Kamajor nomenclature, and that the said militia were recently ordered by Paramount Chief Alhaji Abubakarr Sheriff to challenge the authority of the police and parade the chiefdom for scaremongers.

Sylvia Blyden went on to say that cannibalism and ritual murder has become so widespread in Bonthe District that some young children in some Bonthe chiefdoms could no longer go to school out of fear of being kidnapped and turned dinner by cannibals or used as body parts in rituals.’ Sylvia Blyden also lied to journalists in his press conference after the so called intervention that’ it is only inside Bonthe that you have calls for the expulsion of the entire police for not tracing cannibals and ritual murderers.’
However, independent investigation mounted by this press on the ‘blown out’ Bonthe cannibal story Sylvia Blyden is using to insult an entire district has exposed the dangerous serpent in the Presidential Aide that the. APC is utilizing to demonize the people of Southeast. On her Tuesday May 28th, 2013 Edition of the Awareness Times Newspaper, half of the front page occupied the very tantalizingly dangerous caption indicating that a government delegation headed by Sylvia Blyden, the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma who went on the cannibalism investigation, admonished the Paramount Chiefs and the youths of Matru Jong that ‘cannibalism is no excuse to revive Bonthe Kamajors’.

Out of an orchestrated diabolism, Sylvia who herself wrote the story but made a surrogate reporter (Augustine Samba) author it, brought the issue of Kamajors in an issue very isolated, and that had nothing to do Kamajor revival. In fact in our investigation, it came out that Sylvia Blyden had no business leading a delegation to Matru Jong on such an issue in the first place if only not to continue provoking issues since all what she wants for Sierra Leone is another round of upheaval.

 

In telephone conversations yesterday with various stakeholders in Bonthe District, in particular with Paramount Chief Sheriff of Matru Jong, the Local Unit Commander Matru Jong, Emerson Kargbo, the District Chairman, Joseph Problyn and a senior woman in the district, they all pointed to Sylvia’s story as an inaccurate account, a hell raising political ploy aimed at putting the ditrict in bad light, especially just when Charles Margai has been molested by the APC for claiming the support of Kamajors.

 

According to Paramount Chief Sheriff, it is a wicked lie for anybody to blackmail the district as where people eat people. Though he was political in the sense that he claimed that there are people after his seat in the chiefdom so they are the ones peddling wrong rumours amongst locals that there are cannibals in his chiefdom, he called Sylvia Blyden as a liar to have written a twisted story after her so-called delegation visited the township.

 

In his explanation, the chief said people against him in the chiefdom were scaring people that there are cannibals in the chiefdom and that as a chief, he must have hands in the business.

 

“There is no actual report or practice of cannibalism here. It is only people’s imagniation because they want to smear my name for that reason, the women, about one thousand of them decided to swear the ‘perceived cannibals’ in the township, stopping at various locations to perform the ceremony,” Chief Sheriff noted, saying it was during that process that the bike riders and the women clashed as the former wanted to prevent the women from performing their ceremony in their area.

 

The chief also denied any accusation of maintaining a militia in that part of the country and ordering the militia to expel the police from the township. “Sylvia Blyden or whosoever wrote the story is lying.

 

There is no militia here, let alone order them (militia) to drive the police away.

 

We have only few police here and they have our respect so that was not the case.

 

According to the Chief, with the isolated ritual killing of the woman whom he said was a relative of his, Matru Jong is quiet and that the clash between the women and the bike riders was not anything serious to warrant an unexpected government delegation.

“The woman was going into the other village from Mongerewah when she was killed, but that was very isolated, just as everywhere in the country, as we hardly get such cases. The police are on their investigation,” he continued. The chief however, noted that the ceremony performed by the women was with his consent.

#end

QUESTION:
If the Chief was in such good terms with the Police, why did his endorsed women ceremony see thousands of women head straight to the Bonthe Police station to invoke their curse on Police officers?

Other than that point and the rudeness in the Kef Dukulay article, what else is different between our report and the SLPP’s “rebuttal”?

Why poaching should get us worried

From Sunday Nation.

By KWENDO OPANGA
Posted  Saturday, June 1   2013 at  15:46

IN SUMMARY

  • Is Nairobi listening? Poaching should worry it more than it does the heir to the British throne.
  • The poacher is usually a local person who is paid a pittance to carry out the most dangerous, most violent and bloodiest work.

 

May I return to the grim topic of the poaching of the elephant and rhino, which I wrote about on May 12.

Four reasons account for this: one, a mother and son, both employees of the world-famous Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), were arrested for what amounts to be smuggling, or trafficking in, ivory.

Two, Dr Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep), weighed in on the matter with an important question: who is benefitting from the poaching of the twin endangered species? Three, British Prince William, who proposed to his wife at a game sanctuary in Kenya, is alarmed by the poaching menace.

Four, a reader, Mr Daniel Njaga of Menengai Holidays, wrote to me arguing that poaching is not about conservation but about national security. Njaga’s take is that poaching is closely tied to the rising tide of insecurity and, therefore, if Kenyans are not secure, then their wildlife will not be.

I agree with Mr Njaga which is why I argued that checking poaching must involve all Kenya’s security agencies. My take is that the security of our wildlife cannot be left to conservationists alone. That is also why I say the sentences handed down by Kenya’s courts to smugglers of, and traffickers in, ivory and rhino horns are insignificant.

This is so because a kilo of rhino horn costs more than a kilo of gold. This brings us to the arraignment of the ATE employees. Programme director Cynthia Moss, commenting on the arrest of deputy director Susan Soila and technical support assistant Robert Ntawasa, said ATE was facing some of its most challenging times ever.

True. Her colleagues face charges of possession of six ivory pieces without an ownership certificate, dealing in game trophies without a licence and failing to report possession of the same to the police.

The question Kenyans will want the court to answer is simple: did professed protectors of the elephant turn predatory poachers? The charge sheet says the two were arrested by a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) covert team in a sting operation. It puts the weight of the ivory trophies at 19 kg and their worth at Sh1.9 million.

Sounds familiar but this case will be different from previous ones.

For example, in 2012 authorities made 18 seizures of wildlife trophies at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and two at the port of Mombasa. Eight were unaccompanied luggage while 12 were claimed by lone foreigners. The arrest of the ATE duo took place away from ports of entry and the accused are locals who – please note – work with elephants.

More importantly, ATE is among 31 conservation groups that on March 30, 2013 wrote to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Attorney-General Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko protesting against what they called gross violation of anti-poaching laws.

Four days earlier, Chinese national Tian Yi had been fined a paltry Sh30,000 after he pleaded guilty to possessing 439 pieces of worked ivory.

The conservationists wrote: “Given the investment on wildlife, the current wildlife poaching situation is a national embarrassment.

The poaching and dealing in ivory and rhino horn cannot be treated as a wildlife matter alone but as an intertwined syndicate of organised crime, corruption and money laundering activities. This letter is a plea for your intervention to protect our heritage and the future of our tourism sector.”

This brings us to Dr Steiner’s question. Put another way, why those lone individuals or why the unaccompanied luggage? Look, there are at least six players in the ivory or rhino horn smuggling chain. These include the poacher, broker, dealer, financier, exporter and consumer.

The poacher is usually a local person who is paid a pittance to carry out the most dangerous, most violent and bloodiest work.

The consumers are in China or Hong Kong, which makes trade in ivory and rhino horn the work of organised international networks. Gun runners are involved. It is highly likely that drugs and human traffickers share routes, information on how to beat law enforcement and even contraband with poachers.

Hear the International Union for Conservation of Nature: “Rampant poaching and illegal wildlife trade nurture international criminality and undermine the economic and social prospects of Central African states. It is in the economic interest of these countries to vigorously combat this scourge.”

Is Nairobi listening? Poaching should worry it more than it does the heir to the British throne.

Kwendo Opanga is a media consultant opanga@diplomateastafrica.com

 

Day in the life: Jedidah Wanjiru.

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013 – 00:00 — BY WILLIAM NYAMBURA

As a young and ambitious entrepreneur, Jedidah Wanjiru, 26 is always on the move. She owns Phones Dome Enterprises, which sells a variety of phone brands on wholesale in Kenya and Tanzania. When she is not marketing the phones, she is making deliveries, taking stock or buying more stock.

5am: My day starts with a prayer at 5am. I’m a very prayerful Christian. After prayers, I go to the gym for about an hour then prepare for work.

8am: I’m normally in the office by 8am where I take my breakfast then proceed to taking stock in order to work with the right figures in mind. I then leave the office for the more tasking segment of my work – researching for markets for the goods or searching for new products to satisfy the needs of my customers. In the process I also meet with them to discuss business issues.

1pm: My business is very demanding and I therefore do not have lunch. At this time, I will most likely be in a warehouse or on my way to the market so I just have fruits or a drink to keep me going. The saying, ‘nothing good comes easy’ keeps me on my toes.

7pm: My day ends at 7pm but I still respond to clients’ phone calls. On getting to the house I first quench my spiritual thirst by reading the Bible after which I start preparing supper. I love cooking my own meals as I am very good at it.

11pm: After having dinner, I will watch a movie or chat with friends on social media till around 11.30pm when I retire off to bed.

I often don’t have free time but when I get some spare time I indulge in cooking and trying out new recipes or spending time with friends to catch up on the latest in town. Positive competition keeps me occupied and focusing on the future.

Saturday is also a working day for me but I wake up at 8am, hit the gym for an hour or so then do routine runs throughout the day until 6pm when I retire for the day to have a quiet evening with family.

On Sundays I wake up at 8am and leave for church where I am actively involved in the ministry. The service ends at around noon when I leave to either visit my mother or have some quality family time. From the Star.

 

ConCourt: Second wife only with first wife’s say-so

REBECCA DAVIS

  • 31 MAY 2013 02:21 (SOUTH AFRICA
    • The Constitutional Court handed down its ruling on Thursday in an interesting case: considering the question of whether the first wife in a Tsonga customary marriage should have to consent to her husband’s subsequent marriages in order for them to be valid. It’s not the first time a customary law issue has been brought before this court to determine its adherence to the precepts of the Bill of Rights. Often, however, the problem is determining what exactly customary law dictates. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The case in which the Constitutional Court handed down judgment on Thursday, Modjadji Florah Mayelane v Mphephu Maria Ngwenyama and Another, centred on the issue of validity of a man’s polygynous marriages if his first wife is not aware that these have taken place, or has not accepted these. (“Polygyny”, rather than “polygamy”, refers to the situation when a man is married to more than one wife at a time.)

The applicant in the case married her late husband under Tsonga customary law in 1984. It was only after his death that she was informed that her husband had carried out a later customary marriage, with the woman who became the first respondent in the case. The applicant argued that the second woman’s marriage was invalid because she, the first wife, had not consented to it: a notion upheld by the North Gauteng High Court. However, on appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that both women had carried out valid customary marriages with the deceased man.

The applicant then took the matter to the Constitutional Court, asking the court to rule the second marriage invalid. The respondent counter-argued that the Constitutional Court should uphold the finding of the Supreme Court of Appeal, because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine whether consent to subsequent marriages is required by Tsonga customary law.

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), the Rural Women’s Movement and the Commission for Gender Equality joined the case as friends of the court. WLC director Jennifer Williams explained to the Daily Maverick that the WLC argued that the High Court had been incorrect. “Our concern was that the case that [the second wife’s] marriage was invalid would negatively affect women,” Williams said. This is because only the man can apply for the contract which deals with the property-related consequences of a second marriage, and he may not do so in order to ring-fence one wife’s particular rights to access property.

“Obviously there exists a lot of sympathy for first wives because often they are the longer relationship, have brought up the kids, and sometimes subsequent wives are a lot younger,” concedes Williams. But she notes that this will not always be the case. “Wives should be equally protected,” she said. “We don’t want to penalise or prejudice any of the wives.”

Williams says the Women’s Legal Centre gets a fair number of queries dealing with situations like that which appeared before the Constitutional Court. “In many cases it comes out after a man dies and there are competing claims for the estate,” she said.

The challenge the Constitutional Court faces in these matters is twofold: to ensure that the customary law is aligned with the Bill of Rights, and to determine what exactly customary law says about a given issue.

Professor Chuma Himonga, the current holder of the NRF Chair in Customary Law at UCT, points out that the first of these challenges is not unique to customary law.

“The courts face similar challenges in respect of other components of the South African legal system, including the common law and legislation,” she told the Daily Maverick. “The challenge to the courts that is unique to customary law, however, is that of how to ascertain living customary law.” This can be tricky because customary law’s sources are oral in nature, rather than written pieces of legislation.

“This problem is compounded by the dearth of research on customary law, which also goes back to the colonial and Apartheid eras,” Himonga says.

Williams agrees. “Customary law is an oral system developed according to what was happening in society,” she says. “During colonialism it was codified by white men, as told to them by black men, so it took on a patriarchal lens there too.”

Another issue is that Tsonga customary laws will not be the same as those of other groups, though they may be very similar in some respects. Because of this, Himonga says, “a judgment on the customary law of one group should generally not be applied to the customary laws of other groups in the country, in the same way that one would apply the decision of a court in one case to another case in common law.” Himonga says that a failure to appreciate this “was one of the major ways customary law was distorted under colonialism in South Africa and other African countries”. In other words, the notion of legal precedents cannot apply in the same way that it does in common law.

The majority judgment of the Constitutional Court on Thursday found in favour of the first wife. The judgment held that at the time when the first marriage took place, Tsonga customary law would have required the first wife to be informed of her husband’s subsequent customary marriages. Because she hadn’t been informed, the second marriage was thus found to be invalid.

The majority judgment also held that Tsonga customary law has to be developed to include a clearer requirement that the first wife’s consent to subsequent marriages is necessary for them to be valid. “The import of the judgment,” explained a media statement from the Constitutional Court, “is that, from now on, further Tsonga customary marriages must comply with the consent requirement in order to be valid.” This requirement will, however, only apply to Tsonga marriages concluded after May 30.

As previously noted, this can only explicitly apply to Tsonga marriage law. But Monica de Souza, researcher at the Centre for Law and Society at UCT, pointed out to the Daily Maverick that there is a wider implication. “The Court based its decision on developing customary law in line with the equality and dignity rights of wives in customary marriages. All customary law is subject to these rights, including other customary marriage systems.”

Dr Julian Brown, lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Wits, told the Daily Maverick that he thinks there is further significance to the Constitutional Court’s ruling in this regard.

“This is the clearest articulation of the court’s likely approach to approaching customary law matters,” Brown said. “Living customary law is better defined; a process of adjudication is spelled out; and an actual development of a customary law system has been ordered – all of which is significant.”

The Constitutional Court has directed that judgment must be published, a summary drafted, and it must be circulated to Houses of Traditional Leaders and the minister of Home Affairs. “We are pleased about this, but it’s a huge job to make sure it’s sufficiently widely publicised,” says Williams. “We really need to get the message out there to educate both women and men so that marriages are entered into with full consent.” She also notes that what constitutes “consent” itself is a highly complicated issue.

Can attempts to develop customary law in line with the Bill of Rights cause a backlash? “It’s wrong to assume that customary law is not accommodating of principles of dignity and equality,” De Souza says. She points out, too, that customary law is flexible by its nature. “However, those with conservative, patriarchal or rigid perceptions of customary law may well dislike this judgment,” she concedes.

Williams says it’s essential to work at building acceptance of the idea that customary law can and should be developed. “Rulings like these need to be clearly communicated, and we also need to address societal attitudes to make sure that behaviour catches up with the law.”

An intriguing question to consider, which the case tangentially raises, is whether the constitutionality of the practice of polygyny itself could be challenged at the Constitutional Court.

“I suppose polygyny could be challenged. There are some undesirable features about it,” says Himonga. “But I also think the Court would have quite difficult questions to deal with before invalidating the practice, such as, for example, issues of choice by consenting adult women, enforceability and whether certain social and cultural issues are not best left to non-legal solutions.” DMFrom the Daily Maverick.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi

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LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION, SATURDAY, 1/6/2013

Dear readers, including employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, here is the lastest African newsfeed and comment and opinion from the Africa Centre. The articles have been taken from the websites of African newspapers right across the continent and down to the Cape.

Please feel free to make a comment, however trenchant, in the box provided; and any suggestions as to what news and issues the Centre should cover would be more than welcomed.

NEWSFEED CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Supreme Court orders elections by July 31; fromReuters; Election by 31 July-Constitutional Court; from The Zimbabwean;’Court has overstepped its mandate’ – PM; from the Zimbabwe Mail (see also comment and opinion);

Nigeria: Emergency rule: Boko Haram still killing Christians in the North – CAN; from the Daily Post;

Nigeria: No gang-up can stop PDP –JonathanJonathan has faced greatest challenges –Uduaghan; from the Daily Independent; “It’s growth without development” – ACN reacts to Jonathan’s mid-term reports; from the Daily Post;

South Africa: Zuma puts ‘personal sentiments’ aside to drop media cases; from the Mail & Guardian;

Kenya: President Kenyatta appoints Tribunal to investigate Justice Mutava; from the Star;

Ghana: NPP suspends Wereko Brobbey;The Presidential Ambitions Of A Traitor…Wereko Brobbey BEWARE!!, from Modern Ghana;

Sudan: Khartoum calls on US’s Rice to handle Sudan’s issues objectively; from the Sudan Tribune;

Sudan: Sudan warns newspapers against offending its ‘holy fighters’; from the Sudan Tribune;

Zambia: Sata challenges mining companies; Mopani spends over $700m on suppliers; from the Times of Zambia;

Uganda: Bad debts choking banks; from The Independent; Tanzania: Tanzania, Japan close Sh54 billion rice irrigation deal, from The Citizen;

Uganda/Kenya: New Hoima-Turkana pipeline proposed; from New Vision;

Zimbabwe: Illegal hunting in prohibited areas; from the Zimbabwean;

South Africa: Breytenbach’s return spells trouble for Zuma’s NPA cohorts; NPA invites Breytenbach to discuss her return to work; from the Mail & Guardian;

Zambia: Ndola council, Chinese firm seal housing deal; from the Times of Zambia.

COMMENT AND OPINION CONTENTS:

Zimbabwe: Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls; from the Zimbabwe Mail/Mail & Guardian;

Ghana: Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles, from The Chronicle;l

Kenya: From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history; from the Saturday Nation;

Africa: Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track; from the New Times;

Kenya: Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays; from the New Times/Agencies;

Kenya: Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot; Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast; from the Saturday Nation;

 

Supreme Court orders elections by July 31

Reuters 12 hours 54 minutes ago

Elections should take place no later than 31st July 2013,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ordered President Robert Mugabe on Friday to hold elections before the end of July, adding to a political controversy over the timing and funding of the vote in the southern African state.

“The elections should take place no later than 31st July 2013,” the court’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said.

He was ruling on an application to the court by a Zimbabwean citizen demanding that Mugabe set an election date before the current parliament expires next month.

Mugabe, 89, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is to face long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in the vote.

Tsvangirai has been arguing that fresh elections after disputed polls in 2008, which led to the formation of a power-sharing government, should be delayed.

He says this will allow for the opening up of broadcast media, registration of new voters and reform of the military to ensure it stays out of politics.

A Zimbabwean rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, filed a case with the Constitutional Court challenging Mugabe to set dates for presidential and parliamentary elections by June 29, arguing that the executive risked violating the constitution.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku, whose ruling was supported by six other judges, said it was now legally impossible to hold elections by June 29, but that Mugabe had violated Mawarire’s rights as a voter by not proclaiming an election date so far.

There was no immediate response from the presidency but lawyers say Mugabe could seek an extension on the July 31 date through the courts.

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti, a senior member of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has said the country is struggling to find $132 million needed to be able to hold the elections. Regional leaders have called a special summit to help Harare raise the money.

Mugabe has been in power since leading the former Rhodesia to independence from Britain in 1980, and denies charges that he has used violence and rigged the last four major elections to retain office.

Election by 31 July-Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court on Friday (today) ordered President Robert Mugabe to proclaim dates for elections which should be held not later than 31 July.


The ruling was made by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku while handing down judgement in an application in which the applicant, Jealousy Mawire, was seeking an order compelling Mugabe to proclaim the election dates which he argued should not extend beyond 30 June 2013.

President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, MDC President, Welshman Ncube and Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, were cited as the first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents, respectively.

Chidyausiku said that although harmonised elections were due upon the dissolution of Parliament on 29 June 2013, the date was no longer feasible due to the failure by President Robert Mugabe’s “failure to issue a proclamation fixing the date for the harmonised elections timeously”.

Part of the ruling read: “It is declared that the failure by the first respondent to fix and proclaim date(s) for harmonised general elections to take place by 29 June 2013 is a violation of the first respondent’s constitutional duty towards the applicant to exercise his functions as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and uphold the rule of law in terms of Section 18 (1a) of the Constitution.”

Chidyausiku said that by failing to proclaim dates for elections, Mugabe violated the applicant’s right as a voter and his legitimate expectation of protection from the law entrenched in Section 18 (1) of the Constitution.

“Accordingly, the first respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and election for members of governing bodies of local authorities in terms of Section 58 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which elections should take place by no later than 31 July 2013,” read the judgement.

The Constitutional Court ordered Mugabe to bear the costs of the suit.

‘Court has overstepped its mandate’ – PM

Staff Reporter 8 hours 58 minutes ago

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that the Constitutional Court had overstepped its mandate by ordering elections to be held by July 31 insisting that the determination of poll dates was the responsibility of the executive

Handing down judgement in a case in which a Harare-based rights activist, Jealousy Mawarire, wanted President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to announce dates for the new polls, the Court ruled that it was legally impossible to hold elections by June 29 when the life of the current Parliament ends.

The court however, said Mugabe had violated Mawarire’s rights by rights as a voter by not proclaiming an election date so far.

The Zanu PF leader has always insisted that elections should immediately follow the end of Parliament but faced opposition from coalition partners with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai insisting the polls should be delayed to allow further reforms.

In a statement Friday, Tsvangirai said the court had no authority over the determination of election dates.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play,” the MDC-T leader said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.

“There is clear evidence that there are some within the executive who wish to circumvent the consultative role in the GPA and the share responsibility enshrined therein to pronounce an election date under the cloak of judicial authority.

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

“The Principals have a consultative mechanism that would ensure that a date is proclaimed following an agreement by all parties. This is what SADC, the AU and the people of Zimbabwe expect, not a date set up under the cover of the judiciary without a mechanism to ensure to that issues of the election environment and reforms are addressed.”

The MDC-T leader has previously said his party would not participate in the elections unless media and security sector reforms are implemented.

Zanu PF says there is nothing wrong with the country’s security services adding any talk of reform is the height of treachery.

The MDC-T has over the past week been holding primary elections around the country to choose candidates for the polls which will replace the coalition government.

The government has also said it does not have the US$130 million needed to fund the polls although the regional SADC grouping is expected to hold a summit in June to discuss ways of raising the cash.

Lawyers however said Mugabe could seek an extension on the July 31 date through the courts.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the court has ‘overstepped its mandate’ and has no power whatsoever to set an election date. He said an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said his party is not ‘worried’ about the July 31st deadline but is ‘worried’ about the conditions under which elections are going to be held. He said: “There must be key processes that have to be achieved first before elections can be held and these processes can be achieved within the stipulated timeframe.”

It had been widely reported that the MDC formations in government wanted elections to be held later to give time for reforms that have still not been implemented. But Mwonzora said: “The MDC led by Professor Ncube is the one that wants elections after September. The MDC led by Dr. Tsvangirai wants elections before the UNWTO conference (August).

“Where you may have heard us talking about September is what the law says – the period in which the elections must be held by,” added Mwonzora.

We were not able to get a comment from the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube.

Analysts say while the court decision appears to be exactly what ZANU PF wants, they do say it is possible to hold elections in the given time frame.

International Crisis Group analyst Trevor Maisiri said the new constitution allows for 30 days of voter registration and then there must be 44 days within which election date must be announced, and nominations made before an election. He said: “There is a possibility of running the voter registration process in parallel to the 44 days for pronouncement of date and for nominations. That will make it possible for an election by 31 July.”

Maisiri said Mugabe appears to have transferred the issue of election dates from being a political issue to being a legal one and that only makes it more difficult for Tsvangirai to argue against.

The development comes as the Southern African Development Community prepares to hold an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe on 9th June, which observers say seems to fit perfectly with this plan to hold elections by July.

Analysts say the timing of the summit is significant as SADC leaders are set to meet in the Mozambican capital to specifically deal with Zimbabwe’s election preparations. It is at this summit that Mugabe is expected to present the election roadmap as outlined in the Global Political Agreement, signed by the political partners when the coalition government was formed four years ago.

ZANU PF says the summit is an important development as SADC has promised to assist the election funding in Zimbabwe. “The question of a roadmap and so on is so wishy-washy. It’s all nonsense that people want to inject but there is really nothing of that matter,” revealed Gumbo.

However the MDC-T spokesman stressed that his party believes there are at least four crucial processes that are needed before an election can be held – completion of voter registration, democratization of the media to make the media accessible to all contesting parties, total eradication of violence and security sector reform.

But the ZANU PF spokesman said there are no reforms to talk about. Gumbo added: “We have finished reforms. Forget about it, it is water under the bridge. We are not going to look at so-called media reforms. We are not going to look at security sector reform because reforms were done. They were all incorporated in the constitution. What remains is for us to go ahead with the election.” He said his party will finalize the rules and regulations for his party’s primary elections by the end of next week and hold them shortly afterwards.

Mwonzora responded by saying: “That is the usual meaningless arrogance of ZANU PF. SADC is going to discuss conditions of elections.”

But Maisiri believes the MDC formations will have to be clear about what they are demanding and that their demands will have to be practical, especially when they go to the SADC summit. He said the former opposition parties now need to clearly outline what they require from the regional body. Whether they’ll get it is another question. – Additional reporting: SW Radio

 

Emergency rule: Boko Haram still killing Christians in the

North – CAN

By Ameh Comrade Godwin on May 31, 2013

Despite the emergency rule imposed on Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States, by president Goodluck Jonathan, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday alleged that the Islamic outlawed sect, Boko Haram was still killing Christians in the north.

CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media and Public Affairs), Kenny Ashaka alleged that the emergency rule has not stopped the sect from killing Christians in the volatile region.

According to him, “Last Friday, for instance, an executive member of CAN in Gwoza Local Government, Rev. Luka Bazigila and a member of the COCIN Church, Yohanna, both of whom were in attendance at a Christian fellowship were shot dead by gunmen, who mounted a tricycle.

“Members of the sect also killed the step mother of the Medical Director of the Borno State Hospital, when they could not find the doctor at home. A Muslim guard, employed by a Christian architect in Abuja, was mistaken for a Christian and shot dead. One COCIN member on the Mandara Mountain was burnt by members of Boko Haram on Sunday morning.”

While commiserating with the families of the victims of the renewed killings, the cleric enjoined all Christians to pray for peace and unity in the nation as well as an end to the ongoing insecurity challenges in the country.

“In the light of a recent statement that the military recovered a document containing the names of Boko Haram sponsors, I call on the Federal Government to expose the sponsors now. I believe that such exposition will go a long way in the fight against Boko Haram and will serve as a deterrent to others who might want to toe the same line, he said.

POSTED ON FRIDAY, MAY 31ST, 2013

By Ajibola Abayomi (Lagos), Chesa Chesa (Abuja) and Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt)

After a closed-door meeting with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the Presidential Villa on Friday, President Goodluck Jonathan declared that no gang-up can stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from being at the helm of affairs in the country.
“We will always come together as PDP, and PDP will always win elections. No matter the conspiracy by the opposition, no party will defeat PDP,” the President declared.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted for some hours, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State told State House correspondents that there are no factions in NGF.
“There is no any factionalisation of the NGF; NGF is one and I am the chairman of the NGF.
“We have met with Mr. President, with me leading a team of governors from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to congratulate Mr. President and to consult with him on very serious national issues,” Jang said. According to the Plateau governor, such issues include security and what should be done in the next two years to ensure the stability of democracy and development of the country.
Governors who accompanied Jang to the Villa were Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Peter Obi (Anambra), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Theodore Orji (Abia), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Idris Wada (Kogi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), as well as Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar, and Deputy Governor of Benue State, Steve Lawani.
However, the suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, on Friday, suffered a set-back as the High Court sitting in Port Harcourt stopped the PDP from taking further action against the governor, pending the hearing of a substantive suit by the governor challenging his suspension from the party.
Justice Emmanuel Ogbuji issued the order following a preliminary application brought before the court by Amaechi’s team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Akin Olujinmi. The court also directed the party to maintain the status quo in the matter until the substantive suit has been heard and treated. The court also summoned the PDP to appear before it on Thursday, June 6, 2013, when the matter is expected to come up for further hearing.
Justice Ogbuji also directed Amaechi to serve the PDP the necessary court processes by pasting them on the walls of the party in Abuja and through newspaper publications.
Olujinmi, said the court had directed him to put the party on notice before the adjourned date. “We are in court to set aside the suspension. We prayed the court to grant us an interim injunction restraining the party from doing anything further based on the purported suspension,” Olujinmi said.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP had on Tuesday announced the suspension of the governor from the party for his failure to rescind the decision of the House of Assembly to suspend the elected officials of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.
But the general belief of most Nigerians is that the governor’s suspension was sequel to his re-election as NGF chairman, having polled 19 votes to beat his rival, Jang, who scored 16 votes.
The NGF had been enmeshed in controversy since its election penultimate Friday in Abuja, as Amaechi and Jang lay claim to the chairmanship.
A few hours earlier on Thursday night at a dinner hosted by Jonathan at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa for PDP stalwarts, the chairman of PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), Chief Tony Anenih, described the tussle between the two governors, both members of the party, as embarrassing.
The dinner at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, rounded off Jonathan’s presentation of a mid-term report and celebration of the nation’s Democracy Day – marking 14 years of unbroken democratic rule, with the PDP firmly in charge at Aso Rock.
The President declared that the PDP faithful ought not to fret because of antics of the opposition because political groupings or parties formed solely on the basis of conspiracy, especially against one man (him), would not succeed.
According to Jonathan, it is better when the opposition abuse, gang-up or meet in kitchens and toilets to conspire against PDP than when they sing the praises of the ruling party, because it is the latter situation that raises cause for serious concern.
“PDP is a party not formed as result of conspiracy against anybody. We are not busy conspiring against anybody. We are not like a party conspiring against one person.
Notable at the dinner were Senate President David Mark, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, state governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers, PDP Board of Trustees and National Working Committee members, and Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark.
Former chairmen of the party, and other party stalwarts were also present at the event where Jang was introduced as chairman of NGF.
Conspicuously absent was Amaechi and the immediate past chairman of the of the party’s BOT, former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Still basking in the euphoria of Amaechi’s victory as the chairman of NGF, Congress for Progressive change (CPC) on Friday declared that more governors from PDP fold would soon join the opposition camp.
During a chat with Saturday Independent, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, said “all Nigerians know the position of the governors who are members of All Progressives Congress (APC). When fully registered, it would be an understatement to say that we are going to win the Presidency and many states.
“Our focus is to rebuild Nigeria. The door of our party is opened. More PDP governors would join us soon on this journey. It would no longer be at NGF level anymore. Even If Jonathan himself is willing to join us, we shall accept him too.”

POSTED ON SATURDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2013

By Felix Igbekoyi/Asaba

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has faced the greatest challenge with the violent activities of the Islamic terrorist, Boko Haram.

Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, said this in Asaba after commissioning some roads and schools in the state, adding that the President has done well in handling the crisis with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the three North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

He said it was unfortunate that the President has to experience the disturbances but noted that he has done well. He appealed to the people of the South-South to rally round President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a veiled reference to Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, he argued that after only two years in the saddle, it is very wrong to compare him with somebody who has ruled for eight years, adding that after listening to his broadcast, he had no doubt that he had done very well.

“As a son of the resource rich but impoverished South-South region that it is out of place for fellow indigenes of the region to attempt to pull him down instead of supporting him fully,” Uduaghan said.

‘’As a state government, we are giving him our maximum support to succeed. The politics of Nigeria is still very regional. It is a game of interest. We must struggle for the interest of Delta State and the Niger Delta. We should give him our maximum support. He is human. We should not be in the forefront of those criticising him,” Uduaghan said.

He warned that kidnappers in the state risked having their houses demolished, saying that the crusade against kidnapping and armed banditry in the state has started to yield fruits as the rate of kidnapping is presently on the downward trend.

He said the state has the highest cases of kidnap convicts, who have been sentenced to different prison terms, warning locals in a notorious community (name withheld) in the state, which has the dubious record of harbouring kidnappers to desist from the act.

At Okpanam, the governor declared that the government would no longer tolerate misguided youth activists who go about obstructing development projects.

“It’s growth without development” – ACN reacts to Jonathan’s mid-term report

By Wale Odunsi on May 31, 2013

The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, yesterday said the average Nigerian is worse off than he was when President Goodluck Jonathan came into office.

The party was reacting to the mid-term pass mark the Federal Government awarded itself on Wednesday.

The ACN which is merging with others to form a mega party ahead of the 2015 poll, made its position known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

It said, despite the seemingly impressive economic figures being reeled out by the administration, “what we are seeing is growth without development”. The so-called 6.5% economic growth announced by your finance minister is meaningful on paper,” the party said.

It wondered how the statistic will help the thousands of university graduates who are scrambling to work as truck drivers or how it will make Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or the East-West road safer for Nigerians.

The ACN wondered why President Jonathan is suddenly irritated that Nigerians have not given his administration a pass mark, after about three years in the saddle and two years since he was elected.

“Mr. President, Nigerians need no marking scheme to know that the rate of unemployment went up, under your watch, to an unprecedented 23.9% by December 2011, according to figures given by the National Bureau of Statistics. Today, the figure must be hovering above the 50% mark!

“Mr. President, Nigerians need no marking scheme to know that under your watch, security of lives and property, as well as the welfare of the citizens – the raison d’etre of any government – are at the lowest ebb. A day before you demanded a marking scheme from Nigerians instead of giving them better life, a popular musician was attacked by a nine-man gang that snatched his car and deprived him of his money in the country’s economic capital city – the fate being suffered daily by millions of your compatriots!

“Mr. President, what marking scheme does one need to know that despite the seemingly impressive economic figures being reeled out by your administration, the average Nigerian is worse off today than he or she was before you assumed office?

“What we are seeing is growth without development. The so-called 6.5% economic growth announced by your Finance Minister is meaningful only on paper. How does that help the thousands of university graduates who are scrambling to work as truck drivers? How does it make Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or the East-West road safer for Nigerians?

“Mr. President, what has been the impact for Nigerians of the high foreign reserves figure and the stable exchange rates for the naira reeled out by your Finance Minister? Is it not a cruel irony that as Mr. President was luxuriating in phantom economic indices on the second anniversary of his administration, Nigerians across the land could not even watch him on television because the power situation has been exceptionally poor in recent times?

‘And in case Mr. President thinks it is only the opposition and the media – his administration’s favourite whipping boys – that are scoring his administration low, the Washington-based global advocacy and campaigning organisation, ONE, was listing Nigeria – under President Jonathan’s watch – and DR Congo among as ‘‘Laggard countries’’ pulling Africa back from reaching the MDG goals by 2015? Surely, this global body did not use any ‘Jonathan-style marking scheme’ to name Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Ghana and Ethiopia as the top performing countries in Africa (on the MDGs), even when they are less endowed than Nigeria?’’ ACN queried.

The party said it would not have wasted its energy on commenting on the mid-term performance record of the Jonathan Administration, had the President not isingenuously decided to blame imaginary enemies of his administration for his token achievements in the face of mounting challenges facing the country.

It urged President Jonathan to shut his ears to praise-singers, “especially those of the pig-at-the-trough hue from across the Atlantic who have never seen an African government, no matter its governance record, that is unworthy of their association, as they hunt for cheap funds from despotic governments across the continent to rehabilitate themselves back home.

“Mr. President, it is never too late for you to put your shoulder to the wheel, shun the political jobbers around you, reinvigorate your cabinet by chasing away the deadwood there – though some of them come highly recommended on paper – and giving Nigerians a more purposeful governance.

“When that happens, Mr. President, you will not need to waste valuable time on lecturing your much-sapped compatriots on how to assess your administration, and you would have succeeded in rending those seemingly implacable critics of yours in the media and the opposition jobless,’’ the ACN said.

Zuma puts ‘personal sentiments’ aside to drop media cases

31 MAY 2013 17:39 CLAIRE HU

President Jacob Zuma has dropped all outstanding defamation cases against the media for cartoons and articles he considered offensive.

“The president feels that measured against the broader nation[al] interest and challenges which the country is faced with, his personal sentiments, however aggrieved he may feel, must give way,” said presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj in a statement on Friday.

The decision may also have been influenced by the fact that Zuma missed a deadline last Thursday for legal documents to be submitted relating to six of his claims against media groups and individuals associated with them.

He has initiated 14 claims against the media between 2006-2010, amounting to around R60-million. They included a R5-million action against Jonathan Shapiro over his Zapiro cartoon showing Zuma loosening his trousers while “Lady Justice” is being pinned down by his colleagues, which was dropped in October.

Earlier this year, two claims against Rapport and one against the Sunday Sun were also dropped and Zuma was ordered to pay legal costs. Other claims were against publications including the Star and the Citizen.

Maharaj said the president considered some of the articles brought his name or that of his office into disrepute, and in some instances “sought to cast African males in a particularly negative light with bigoted and racist overtones and innuendo”.

The president was mindful that some of the litigation started before he assumed office, and the decision to drop it was “informed by the broader agenda of reconciliation and nation building”, he added.

The president intended redressing prejudice and inequality through government-led programmes and forging better working relationships with like-minded interest groups.

Intimidation tactic
May 23 was the last day for Zuma to hand over documents relating to his six claims against the media.

“If the deadline is missed today [May 23], we will apply for a court order against President Zuma to hand over the documents. If he misses the deadline again, we will ask that the claims be dropped,” said Dario Milo – appearing for Independent Newspapers, Avusa and the Citizen – last Thursday.

According to News24 at the time, media lawyers said they doubted whether Zuma was really serious about the claims and said they were possibly being used as an intimidation tactic to keep the media in check.

“Milo said the ease with which claims were instituted between 2006 and 2010 but then neglected could point to Zuma never really being serious about them in the first place,” added News24.

President Kenyatta appoints Tribunal to investigate Justice Mutava

FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR REPORTER

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed a Tribunal to investigate Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava over allegations of misconduct.

The President appointed Justice David Magara as the chairperson of a five member Tribunal.

Other members of the Tribunal are Justice  Maureen Odero,  Justice David Majanja, Mr. Omesh Kapila and Professor Patricia Kamiri Mbote.

Justice Maureen Odero and Justice David Majanja are Judges of the High Court. Mr. Omesh Kapila is a Senior Counsel while Professor Patricia Kamiri Mbote is the Dean of Faculty of Law at the  University of Nairobi.

The Tribunal shall prepare and submit a report and recommendations . President Kenyatta also appointed Ms. Nazima Malik as the Lead Counsel and Mr. Emmanuel Bitta as Assistant Counsel to assist the Tribunal. The President also appointed Ms Mugure Gituto and Mr. John Makori as Joint secretaries to the Tribunal.

The President yesterday suspended Justice Mutava after forming the tribunal to investigate the judge’s conduct. The suspension followed a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission made  on May 17.

The JSC sub-committee investigating Justice Mutava asked the President to appoint the tribunal to investigate the conduct of the judge on the basis of three out of the nine complaints that the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had filed against him.

A statement signed by JSC deputy chairperson Prof Christine Mango said the commission was satisfied that the complaints disclosed sufficient grounds to petition the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Justice Mutava.

The LSK filed the complaint against Justice Mutava following a ruling by the Judge terminating the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni.

The ruling caused a  public uproar with civil society and legal rights activists including the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) and LSK  questioning the judge’s credibility and describing his decision to acquit Patni as being a ‘miscarriage of justice.’.

 

 

Ghana: NPP suspends Wereko Brobbey

By citifmonline.com

A source in the leadership of the New Patriotic Party, NPP has revealed to Citi News that Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey has been suspended from the party.

The decision to suspend the party stalwart was taken at an emergency National Executive Committee meeting held on Friday.

The source said Dr. Wereko Brobbey was found to have breached certain sections of the NPP Constitution. He has since been referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the party for the appropriate sanctions.

The former VRA boss has been in a war of words with party loyalists and leaders since he publicly condemned its decision to protest the election of John Mahama at the Supreme Court.

Dr. Wereko Brobbey in a series of articles has criticised the leadership for pursuing the election petition instead of restructuring for the next elections.

In his latest piece, he described the party’s star witness for the election petition, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia as a ‘confused and clueless.’

His comments has been described by some executive members of the party as disrespectful.

The Presidential Ambitions Of A Traitor…Wereko Brobbey BEWARE!!

A youth-wing of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Young Patriots, has in a tersely worded-statement, taken Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, former Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority and one-time Presidential Candidate of the defunct United Ghana Movement to the cleaners.

The statement, issued today, accused the former VRA CEO who prides himself as one of the founding members of the NPP of sabotaging and undermining Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, the NPP’s 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate, to pave way for his own Presidential ambitions on the NPP’s ticket for the next elections.

Tarzan, as Dr. Wereko Brobby is affectionately called, on Thursday released a press statement titled, ‘On the face of the pink sheets or at the heart of the matter’ in which he scolded the petitioners in the ongoing 2012 Presidential Election Petition for using Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia whom he described as a ‘clueless witness’ to prosecute their case.

But the Young Patriots, in a sharp riposte, described the attack on Dr Bawumia and the NPP leadership, as part of a grand scheme to undermine his (Bawumia’s) potential as a future Presidential Candidate.

Whiles warning Tarzan “to lay off Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia”, the group urged him “to wine and dine with his new found love, President Mahama and the NDC and leave Nana and the NPP alone”.

“Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey,… cannot claim to have actively participated in the activities of the party since he miserably lost his ambition to be party chairman, for which he shamefully threatened to go to court but is yet to man up to. The party elders and executives have held several meetings and none of them has Dr Brobbey been present.

The Young Patriots wish to urge Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey to shelve any ambitions of becoming the Presidential candidate of the NPP because it will never happen in his life time and the Young Patriots will not even allow him near any function of the NPP,” the statement added.

Below is the statement issued by the Young Patriots.

THE PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS OF A TRAITOR: WEREKO BROBBEY BEWARE

The naked presidential ambitions of Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey was fully on display yesterday when he granted an interview to Citi fm to the effect that his stake in the NPP party is the 2016 elections.

This ambition will not see the light of day and the earlier he shelves it, the better for him.

First and foremost Wereko Brobbey is not a member of the New Patriotic Party and can therefore not claim to have a stake in the party. He may trace his ancestry through the great Victor Owusu of blessed memory but beyond that, he is a betrayal of the party’s ideology and principles.

His formation and his subsequent running as the Presidential candidate of the United Ghana Movement (UGM), marked the end of his association with the NPP. There is no record anywhere within the party books to indicate that he was formally readmitted into the party as required.

The Young Patriots have checked and have found no record that Dr WWereko Brobbey is a card bearing member of the NPP let alone a member in good standing.

Thirdly, Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey, a supposed founding member and elder of the party cannot claim to have actively participated in the activities of the party since he miserably lost his ambition to be party chairman, for which he shamefully threatened to go to court but is yet to man up to. The party elders and executives have held several meetings and none of them has Dr Brobbey been present.

The Young Patriots wish to urge Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey to shelve any ambitions of becoming the Presidential candidate of the NPP because it will never happen in his life time and the Young Patriots will not even allow him near any function of the NPP.

His continuous maligning of party executives and especially his latest insults of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, whom he thinks he will be pitching against in 2016 is but a wrong attempt to seek attention.

We hereby caution him to lay off Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia. We urge him to wine and dine with his new found love, President Mahama and the NDC and leave Nana and the NPP alone. A word to the wise….

SIGNED
Richard Nyamah
Fred Amankwa Sarfo
John Kumah
Hopeson Adoryena

Khartoum calls on US’s Rice to handle Sudan’s issues objectively

May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Khartoum on Thursday rejected a statement by US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, about bombing of civilians in South Kordofan and called to take “impartial and objective” stands when she deal with Sudanese issues.

Following the adoption, on 29 May, of a resolution extending the mandate of UN force in Abyei for six months and increasing its military personnel on Wednesday, Rice said the US drafted resolution was unanimously adopted stressing it aims to protect civilian in Abyei and monitor the joint border.

Rice further said that Washington remains concerned about the “violence and the complex humanitarian crisis” in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, “including and especially the ongoing indiscriminate aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces of civilian targets”.

“Sudan’s refusal to allow international humanitarian access to the Two Areas is also wholly unacceptable”, she further emphasised.

Diplomats in Khartoum are very keen to react to statements made by Rice who is seen as a friend of the South Sudanese ruling party SPLM and a supporter to the Sudanese rebel SPLM-N, due to her old relations with the two movements, and because she was close to a group of Americans who lobbied in Washington for the South Sudan independence.

“It is absolutely not true that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) bombed civilian targets in the two regions, or in any other areas of Sudan”, said on Thursday foreign ministry spokesperson, Abu Bakar Al-Siddiq.

He added that SAF “provided a model of ethical and professional commitment” in the protection of civilians when it “cleansed” Abu Kershola from the rebels who held the area for a month.

Rebel groups are accused of killing over 45 civilians in the area for their links with the ruling National Congress Party. They are also accused of destroying a power station in another town in North Kordofan.

Saddiq further wondered why the U.S. ambassador did not condemn the “heinous humanitarian crimes” committed by the Sudanese rebels in Abu Kershola, as did Valerie Amos, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

He expressed hopes that Rice abandons her “unjustified” stand and addresses issues with “objectivity and fairness”.

In reaction to Bashir statement about the closure of the oil pipeline if Juba continues its support to the rebels, Rice on 29 May encouraged Khartoum to stay committed to the signed cooperation agreements, and to hold “inclusive peace process with the SPLM-North”.

She also called on Sudan and South Sudan to implement September 2012 agreements and to “respect each other’s sovereignty and bring an end immediately to proxy support of militia groups on both sides of the border”.

(ST)

Sudan warns newspapers against offending its ‘holy

May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese 2nd Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef warned today that his government will not allow newspapers or university activists to make any insults against its “mujahideen” (holy fighters).

“We don’t want any foolish talk,” Youssef said. “Those who are fighting the rebels and lose a martyr every morning for their homeland, we will not allow by any means that they be stabbed in the back”.

Youssef’s remarks come days after Khartoum announced that it has recaptured South Kordofan area of Abu-Kershola from rebels belonging to Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) who took control of it in late April.

Around the same time, SRF briefly occupied North Kordofan’s second largest town of Um Rawaba taking the government and observers by surprise given the ease by which they overran it and the fact that it is outside the rebels normal operation zones that has been largely confined to South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

The government launched a fierce media and mobilization campaign vowing that they will now move to crush the rebels once and for all. It also accused SRF rebels of committing atrocities against civilians in Abu-Kershola.

Sudanese officials also claimed that some opposition parties have privately lauded the SRF widening military offensive hoping that it will push the government into collapsing.

The Sudanese 2nd VP speaking in Omdurman said that the rebels and the “fifth column” were jubilant when Abu-Kershola fell to SRF but that the Sudanese army is capable of chasing them to their “holes”.

He also claimed that rebels are receiving external help and pledged that the government will kick out the “fifth column” and send them to join the rebels.

South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun paid a visit to Abu-Kershola today and made statements afterwards asserting that rebels had a stunning defeat describing them as “agents and mercenaries from Darfur bandits along with militias from Kordofan and Blue Nile combined”.

He hailed the Sudanese army for defeating the rebels and vowed to continue the campaign until entire Kordofan and the country is “cleansed” from their presence.

(ST)

Sata challenges mining companies

By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA  –

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has asked mining companies in Zambia to ensure their investments translate into improved welfare of Zambians.

Mr Sata said mining companies should be compliant with all the laws of the country and undertake meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities that would contribute to the
improvement of the lives of people in communities they operated.

He said this in a speech read for him by Vice-President Guy Scott at the official opening of the 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS) in Kitwe yesterday.

He said Government efforts alone would not suffice to ensure continued contribution of the mining sector to development and prosperity, hence the need for the cooperation of all players, particularly mining firms.

“I wish, therefore, to urge all mining houses to work with Government in ensuring that these mineral resources being exploited benefit the people to whom they belong,” he said.

In that regard, he expected mining companies to be compliant with all the laws of the country and to undertake meaningful CSR activities that would better the lives of people.

This, he said, would enhance the investment climate because communities would be able to see the benefits of the exploitation of their resources.

Mr Sata was happy with this year’s show theme: ‘Mining and Agriculture for Continued Development and Prosperity’, which he said was the main agenda of Government as it resonated well with the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto.

He said mining had, since independence, been the engine of Zambia’s economic growth, providing the much needed foreign exchange earnings, creating employment and stimulating growth in other sectors of the economy.

He said the agricultural sector accounted for about 18 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and provided livelihood to more than 50 per cent of the population with the sector being the main source of income and employment for women.

“Against this background, my Government is committed to ensure that these two sectors continue to contribute to the development of this country and prosperity of the people,” Mr Sata said.

He reiterated Government’s commitment to creating a conducive investment environment for mining to flourish where both the investor and the owners of the mineral resources were assured of a fair return from the exploitation of the mineral resources.

“In this regard, the Mines and Minerals Act Number 7 of 2008 is being reviewed and the new one expected to be in place before the end of the year.

He said the aim of the statute was not only to have a law that was in line with the international best practices but also responsive to the needs of the people.

He was aware the mining industry could not grow to the extent of making significant contributions to the economic development if the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

Mr Sata said this was the reason Government was working on addressing the problem of electricity energy through ZESCO which was undertaking a number of projects to increase power generation capacity by 1,500 megawatts by 2015.

In the transport sector, he said Government was working on improving the road network and the current railway network to help reduce the cost of doing business.

He said it was Government’s resolve to develop further the agricultural industry and other sectors of the economy, saying this was the reason Government had taken measures to reform  the sector.

He, however, assured the agricultural sector of continued subsidies on fertiliser, which he said would benefit 900, 000 farmers during the next farming season, which would also see farmers and Government contributing equally towards the cost of fertiliser inputs.

“Further, I want to emphasise that the subsidy on seed will continue.
Each beneficiary farmer will receive 10 kilogrammes of seed free of charge,” he said.

With regard to livestock, Mr Sata said Government was concerned that the great potential for the sector had largely remained untapped despite the availability of huge grazing land and plenty water resources.

Earlier, Show Society chairperson Bill Osborn observed that mining and agriculture had continued to, not only, provide employment to the majority Zambians, but also getting the larger populace out of poverty.

Mr Osborn called for clear-cut policies for the mining and the agricultural sectors to co-exist and support each other without one negatively affecting the other.

He was happy that this year’s show had grown in size and stature stressing that this had reflected Zambia’s continued economic growth.

“We do have more exhibitors this year and a good number of new exhibitors from various sectors of the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sandvik Mining Company emerged the overall stand winners of this year’s CMACS.

Mopani spends over $700m on suppliers

By JOSEPH BANDA
  –
MOPANI Copper Mines has spent more than US$700 million on local and foreign suppliers and contractors between April 2012 and April 2013, chief executive officer (CEO) Danny Callow has said.
Mr Callow said in a statement yesterday that 57 per cent of the money was spent on capital projects, while the remaining 43 per cent went towards purchasing of other mine supplies.
He said of the 43 per cent spent on mine supplies, 80 per cent which was more than $250 million was spent on local suppliers and contractors.
“We are spending quite a significant amount on suppliers and contractors. Capital expenditure constitutes the largest expenditure on foreign suppliers because of high value items for such projects as shaft sinking and smelter upgrade that cannot be sourced locally,” he said.
He said the total capital expenditure between April 2012 and April 2013 was about $416 million out of the total expenditure of about $730 million.
Mr Callow said Mopani had implemented a policy which gave preference to local suppliers where the price was competitive and quality was good.
Foreign suppliers were only used in cases where there was no local representation of the original equipment manufacturer, while the company had also introduced a system where all companies were classified according to their geographical location, with first preference given to the local suppliers before regional, national or foreign suppliers could be considered.
“We have a deliberate policy to give priority to Zambian-owned companies in preference to foreign-owned firms. This strategy of local business development has proved useful in the evaluation of our contribution to local business development.
“Over the last 12 months between April 2012 and April 2013, our statistics show that our local business development strategy is working and we are spending significantly more money on Zambian suppliers,” he said.
He said in order to ensure that the local business development strategy was implemented, all foreign vendors had been requested to partner with locals by having local representation or shared ownership.
He said in its strategy to enhance Zambian business development, the mine was also assisting them to supply to mines in the DRC and so far, 14 Zambian vendors were dealing with mines in the Congo DR.
Mr Callow said in 2012, Mopani Copper Mines implemented a multi-million world-class Enterprise Resource Purchasing System that strived to create a level playing field for all suppliers and contractors by providing a confidential and rigid adjudication process.
The company has planned workshops and trainings for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), having allocated $230,000 for the programme in 2013.
He said there was a long way to go in promoting local supplier and contractor companies and in some cases, there was no option but to go out to international providers, especially on one-off, capital purchases.
He said as a result, Mopani Copper Mines had developed a centre for training businesses in tender submission, company registration and use of electronic facilities and printers to assist them in getting started.
In addition, in conjunction with the various chambers of commerce and supplier and contractor associations, the mine was considering allocating a dedicated amount of money to SMEs to help them become price and quality competitive.
And president of the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors, Augustine Mubanga welcomed the initiatives by Mopani Copper Mines, saying the business being generated by the mine would bring substantial benefits to SMEs.
Mr Mubanga commended Mopani Copper Mines for its initiatives which should be emulated by all mining companies to build capacity in local businesses.
“The move to link 14 companies to DR Congo mines is highly commendable because it gives the companies an opportunity to grow their businesses. We are always in support of such progressive ideas that are meant to benefit our members,” he said.

Bad debts choking banks

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 10:11 BY JULIUS BUSINGE

Experts warn banks on poor due diligence

If you want to know why the performance of most banks in Uganda in the year 2012 was appalling poor look no further than the increase in nonperforming loans and other assets (NPLs).

NPLs are one of the indicators that describe how well or bad the banking sector is faring. An increase in the percentage implies negative growth by the sector and vice versa.

These loans generally are deemed to be nonperforming if they are in arrears for a period exceeding 90 days without any form of interest payment or plan for restructuring.

A quick look at most bank financial results for the year indicates that most performed terribly on this front, which affected their general profitability levels.

Senior top bank officials told The Independent that the challenges of 2011 that carried on in 2012 including the high inflationary pressures, a volatile exchange rate, and a tight monetary policy [which led to hikes in lending rates] among other factors are to blame for the hikes in NPL’s.

Stanbic Bank Uganda, Uganda’s largest bank on all fronts, was arguably the most hit by these loans. The bank’s NPLs doubled from Shs 45.9 billion in 2011 to Shs 92.1billion in 2012.  On the other hand, the bad debts written off jumped to Shs 93bn from Shs 18bn in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

Phillip Odera, the MD, told The Independent in an email that the severe economic conditions brought about by runaway inflation that necessitated Bank of Uganda to raise interest rates and for commercial banks to follow suit, was the principle reason why many borrowers had to default on their loans.

“NPL’s are a deduction from the operating income and therefore substantially reduce the profit for the year,” he said. Indeed, the bank’s net profits somewhat increased to  Shs 130 bn from Shs 121bn  a year earlier, indicating a rise of only Shs 9bn compared to an increase of almost Shs 50 bn in net profits between 2010 and 2011.

However, Odera said they had not lost all hope as a non performing loan could become performing if it has been restructured and the new terms and conditions are being met.

“In other words we can adjust either the repayment period, or the repayment rate (or both) in order to better cushion the borrower,” he said.

As a measure to curb the growth of these loans, Odera said they are now focusing more on “the borrower’s ability to withstand the economic vagaries that might arise.” “This leads to far more selective lending than before,” he added.

Some analysts have argued that this should serve as a warning to financial institutions that have been persuading almost forcing people and companies to take loans even when they have no ability to generate income to pay back. Odera said if this happens anywhere then it is “most unfortunate.”

“Certainly Stanbic Bank does not subscribe to any such dealings and any staff found guilty of such would be immediately dismissed as this is in violation of bank policies and procedures,” he said.

At Centenary Bank, NPLs rose from Shs 12.4bn to Shs 18.3bn in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Fabian Kasi, the Bank’s managing director attributed the rise in NPLs to the “sluggishness” in the economy.

Kasi said the variable related loans (the ones that change with changes in economic indicators) contributed a lot to the increase in the NPLs.

He said the demand for goods and services was quite low in 2012 and this affected their customers as they could not sell enough stock of their products or provide services to enable them repay back the loans as they fell due.

Kasi also blamed the closure of the Land Registry Office in the Ministry of Lands for the problem as it impacted on the real estate sector.

“Some of our customers involved in the real estate sector business could not transact during closure of the Land Registry, thus ending up not servicing their loans as their repayments fell due,” he said.

He said the increase could be attributed to the delay to release government funds to some ministries, which affected sectors like construction. “In the end our customers in such sectors could not honor their loan obligations on time,” he said.

As a measure to curb the rise, Kasi said, they are cautiously lending to some sectors like real estate and construction.

“We are also deepening our loan analysis and appraisal techniques and tightening our internal controls,” he said.

Milly Nkaja, the senior credit officer at Standard Chartered Bank, said the upward movement of the bank’ s NPLs from Shs 5.5bn to Shs  10.3bn was mainly on account of one customer who was downgraded to nonperforming status during the year.

Although the industry saw a significant increase in NPLs, as a result of the harsh economic environment, their NPLs were kept within acceptable levels – just 0.5% and 0.8% of the total portfolio in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

As a result, Nkaja said the impact caused by the increase was minimal. The bank’s net profit increased from Shs 98.2bn in 2011 to Shs 132.1bn in 2012.

She said, as a culture, the bank helps customers to resolve the issues surrounding their loan obligations through restructuring the facilities, giving advisory services among others.

“It is important to note that selling the customer’s property to pay a loan is not in our best interest and we try to minimize such instances,” she said.

One of the measures to control NPLs, she said, is continuing to be vigilant in the way they manage risk as demonstrated by the percentage of NPLs to the overall portfolio.

Crane Bank’s NPLs rose to Shs 24.7 billion in 2012 up from Shs 93 million in 2011. A.R Kalan, the managing director, said though the bank recorded the loans to the tune of 4.2%, this level of their NPLs was below the industry average of about 5.8-6%.

Housing Finance Bank’s NPLs doubled to Shs 21.8 billion from Shs Shs 10.9bn.

Top Bank NPLs (billions)

Bank 2011 2012
Barclays 80.2 106.2
Stanbic 45.9 92.1
Dfcu 23.9 28.7
Crane 93 million 24.7
Centenary 12.4 18.3
BOA 4.7 18.2
Tropical 2.6 16.8
Ecobank 1.4 10.9
Stanchart 5.5 10.3

Experts urge caution

Senior economists Lawrence Bategeka from the Economic Policy Research Centre at Makerere University and Stephen Kaboyo, the managing director at Alpha Capital Partners, a forex trading and financial consultancy firm, appeared to tell banks to go back to basics. They said, if not controlled, NPLs might cause trouble to the industry and eventually curtail economic growth.

“If someone does not qualify to get a loan don’t give it to them,” Bategeka said in a recent interview, adding that most banks have in the past not followed the right procedures to giving loan facilities to borrowers.

Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the financial services sector, is mandated to ensure that banks follow those right procedures when giving out loans.

Analysts say it’s not enough for a bank to give out a loan because a borrower has given his/her house or land as collateral. The bank must first ensure that the borrower will generate sufficient future revenue to service the loan. Hundreds of borrowers’ houses and pieces of land are now lined up for auctioning for the banks to recover some of the loans.

None of the Central Bank officials appeared to be willing to discuss the issue with The Independent. The communications office asked for questions to be sent by email but until press time they unusually remained unanswered after several days of waiting.

In its annual financial supervision report for the period 2011 up to June 2012, the central bank says the ratio of private sector credit to GDP declined slightly from 16.6% to 15.5%, reflecting the pro-cyclical nature of commercial bank lending.

As a share of broad money, the report says private sector credit was 65% as of June 2012, compared to 62% in June 2011.

The report says commercial banks’ holdings of government securities grew by a miserable billion during 2011/12 from Shs 670.2 billion in the previous year implying increased difficulty to service loans by the existing borrowers during the year.

It adds that the stock of NPLs more than doubled in June 2012 with the NPL ratio standing at 3.4% compared to 1.6% in June 2011. However, the June 2012 percentage is higher than the 2.2% recorded in 2010.

The central bank’s policy rate -the central bank rate going up to 23% at the beginning of last year – aimed at fighting inflation that reached over 30% at the end of 2011 – before reducing the rate to 12% later in the year. Most commercial banks increased their prime lending rate to about 30% from around 20% a period before. This forced many borrowers to default on their payments.

Going forward in 2013, Odera said they expect significantly lower rate of NPLs and to recover a significant portion of the losses because interest rates were reducing and other economic indicators like inflation and the exchange rate were under control.

Kasi foresees a declining trend in NPLs in 2013 as the economy improves, inflation is contained to lower levels, and the exchange rate is currently stable. “We are yet to see more reduction in interest rates that will in the end favor our borrowers,” he said.

Tanzania, Japan close Sh54 billion rice irrigation deal

By Felix Lazaro, The Citizen )

Posted  Friday, May 31  2013 at  23:14

IN SUMMARY

  • Under the pact, Tanzania will be charged a low interest rate. The credit will be disbursed through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the Small Scale Irrigation Development Project.

 

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and Japan yesterday signed a Sh54.13 billion credit deal for financing paddy irrigation schemes in the country.

Under the pact, Tanzania will be charged a low interest rate. The credit will be disbursed through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for the Small Scale Irrigation Development Project.

The agreement was signed in Dar es Salaam by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance, Mr Ramadhani Khijjah, and the Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Masaki Okada.

Mr Okada was accompanied by the Jica Tanzania office chief representative, Mr Yasunori Onishi.

Mr Khijjah said that the funding objectives were in line with the goals of the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty.

These include boosting farming productivity and enhancing food security through irrigation schemes.

“The fund will increase rice production under the District Development Fund,” he said.

Mr Okada, for his part, said that it was Jica’s plan to help Tanzania promote irrigation projects by utilising existing schemes for agricultural development.

“We expect to improve approximately 32,000 hectares of existing irrigated land and expand nearly 20,000 hectares of irrigation schemes,” the envoy said.

New Hoima-turkana pipeline proposed

By Ibrahim Kasita

Looking for oil is not an easy venture. It is an expensive and highly risky business game. However, the rewards are high. International oil companies have invested close to $2.5b in exploring for the hydrocarbons in Uganda for 15 years. 

With a commercially-established petroleum resource asset base of about four billion barrels in reserves, the firms have planned for an early payback period to not only repay the total investments, but also ensure stable cash flows.

“They (the oil companies) want to get their money quickly. They prefer exporting the crude oil to the international market by pipelines,” Peter Lokeris, the state minister of energy and mineral development, explained.

However, the “holistic” plan is to first get a small refinery (30,000 barrels per day) up and running with interconnecting pipelines from the oil wells to the power plants, the central processing complex.

The pipelines and the related infrastructure will have options for crude oil surplus exports to the Indian Ocean to deliver crude destined to the world markets.

The first export route the oil firms envisaged was a 1,300km pipeline stretching from the Lake Albert basin all the way to Kampala, Kisumu, Nairobi and Port Mombasa of Kenya estimated to cost about $4b.

This was going to be an expensive venture which would make Uganda’s crude oil less competitive compared to the global market, making domestic refinery the most profitable venture.

Economies of scale

The discovery of some oil deposits in Kenya’s Turkana basin by the same company operating in Uganda –Tullow- has changed the crude oil export strategy. The discovery is still in early stages for commercial feasibility.

South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya have partnered to develop the proposed Lapsset Corridor project that will see the construction of a modern port in Lamu, a Kenya-South Sudan oil pipeline, a railway line and highway through Ethiopia and an oil refinery.

Tullow and partners are now pushing for an oil pipeline that will start from Hoima (where the refinery and power plant will be put up) to Lira, then Moroto before connecting to the Turkana basin for onward transmission to either Mombasa Port or Port Lamu.

Then, another pipeline from Juba will be constructed to Turkana.

This proposed export route plan is set to shape regional politics and Uganda’s future relations with its neighbours, especially Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and even Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.

Game changer

But massive expansion will demand massive investment and massive improvement in business conditions for foreign investors, including harmonised East African Community (EAC) investment and exploration rules to give investors legal mechanisms for prospecting, building and transporting across national borders.

Special legal and fiscal regimes have already attracted an increase in exploration bids but there is much to be done, especially for other kinds of businesses that do not involve hundreds of millions of dollars.

There must also be direct benefits to those living on the land that the pipeline will go through, rewarding them for their property, separately from the royalties going to the government, in order to empower individuals, not just the state.

It is people, not governments, who create economic activity.

Governments must also remove the obstacles to creating and running businesses so everyone can benefit from the promised EAC free market.

EAC members must live up to their promises of allowing region-wide free trade and movement for all products and services, so efficient markets can develop rapidly, not just in oil.

Energy could drive robust and sustainable economic growth in East Africa, but only if coupled with economic freedom, lower corruption and better business conditions for all.

Illegal hunting in prohibited areas

Wildlife conservationists and tourism players in Hwange National Park have expressed concern over increasing incidents of illegal sport hunting in prohibited hunting areas in the area.


The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, a wildlife pressure group, this week accused the Department of National Parks and Wildlife management and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of approving sport hunting in the park and other sensitive areas such as in the area where the Presidential elephant herd roams.

“We are extremely disturbed by reports from concerned tourists of gunfire being heard in tourist areas. Investigations have uncovered that hunting quotas have been approved by the Ministry of Environment in areas that should never have them. The Parks Authority and the Ministry have reneged on guarantees made in previous years,” said Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the task force.

Non-hunting areas bordering two prime photographic safari camps have been issued with hunting quotas. Rodrigues said his organization has also received reports of hunting even in the national park itself.

“We are also hearing unconfirmed reports that paying overseas hunters are evident as happened in previous years despite denials by the wildlife authorities, being allowed inside the Park to hunt. With the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit in August, we fail to see how Zimbabwe can hold its head high remembering also the awful scenario we reported previously about elephants being shipped off to horrific conditions in China. We urge the Tourism Minister to get involved to put pressure on the Environment Minister to fix escalating problems in Hwange photographic tourism areas,” said Rodrigues.

Conservancy operators in the area who spoke to The Zimbabwean confirmed hearing gunfire in the prohibited hunting areas.

“There is chaos in the area. We have heard gunfire several times in prohibited hunting areas such as photographic safari camps. The situation has deteriorated last year when mining companies were granted special mining grants to explore coal and methane gas in the area. We have also seen an escalation in incidences of poaching in the area,” said a conservancy operator in the area who refused to be named for fear of victimization.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management had not responded to questions send via the e-mail to Caroline Washaya Moyo, the department’s spokesperson, by the time of going to press.

Breytenbach’s return spells trouble for Zuma’s NPA cohorts

31 MAY 2013 00:00SALLY EVANSSAM SOLE

The National Prosecuting Authority’s bosses fear Glynnis Breytenbach will pursue cases that would harm the president’s interests.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) decision to challenge its humiliating defeat in prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing appears to have all the finesse of a Gupta wedding.

Almost no one believes there is any chance of reversing the 15-0 drubbing it received – every charge was thrown out – but, like the politically connected business family, the Guptas, the NPA has gone too far for embarrassment.

Those calling the shots at the NPA know they cannot afford to let Breytenbach back in. Here’s why:

Breytenbach’s return to lead the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Unit would kick-start two stalled cases she took personal control of before her suspension – the Richard Mdluli fraud case and the Imperial Crown Trading 289 (ICT) fraud case.

Her return would destabilise a cabal of decision-makers at the apex of the NPA, including the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, and the national head of commercial crime, Lawrence Mrwebi, who appear to have been positioned by Zuma to protect his interests.

Jiba has been key in blocking efforts by the Democratic Alliance to force the NPA to release the Zuma “spy tapes” that formed the basis for the NPA’s decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma. The DA needs the tapes to launch a bid to overturn that decision.

Zuma’s delay in appointing a permanent director is emblematic of his dilemma. He appears to believe he can rely on Jiba and to be less sure he can rely on anyone else. Jiba herself cannot be appointed because of her own disciplinary history.

Mrwebi has been central to protecting Mdluli and other political or business allies of Zuma or his family.

The NPA says it must challenge the decision because the findings “have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA”. The organisation’s mandarins have a point here: if they accept Breytenbach’s victory and allow her to return they risk a wider revolt against the political deference and legal illiteracy that have come to characterise the NPA.

NPA invites Breytenbach to discuss her return to work

30 MAY 2013 16:14 SALLY EVANS

Glynnis Breytenbach’s legal team has received “an invitation” from the NPA to “discuss her return to work, pending the review application”.

  •  

The invitation followed a letter to the state attorney on Tuesday from Breytenbach’s lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar in which he said his client was “eager to return to work”.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lost its case to get rid of Breytenbach on Monday, when the presiding chair in her disciplinary hearing advocate Selby Mbenenge ruled that he could not find her guilty on the 15 charges brought against her by the NPA.

Mbenenge, the third chair appointed by the prosecuting authority, ruled that the NPA had not “proven the guilt of the employee” in any of the “plethora of charges”.

However, Breytenbach’s keenness to go back to work following her acquittal received a blow when, on Tuesday, the NPA released a statement saying that it was going to seek a review of Mbenenge’s findings through the Labour Court. The NPA said it would ask the Labour Court “to set aside the findings and replace them with a finding of guilty against Ms Breytenabch”.

Commenting to the Mail & Guardian on the NPA’s invitation to meet and hold discussions, Wagenaar said on Thursday afternoon that while they have indicated that they are “prepared to discuss her [Breytenbach’s] return to work” with the NPA, he noted: “but we don’t regard [the discussions] as a condition for her to return to work.”

Mbenenge’s findings were ‘incorrect’
The NPA’s statement following Breytenbach’s victory, claimed that the findings have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA. It added that Mbenenge’s findings were “factually incorrect and legally unsustainable”.

The NPA’s persistence in finding Breytenbach guilty flies in the face of a statement made by acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba in an answering affidavit in the Labour Court last year, where she said that if Breytenbach “is found not guilty it will be the end of the matter”.

Wagenaar alluded to Jiba’s statement in his letter to the state attorney. He said: “Our client has been unable to work for more than a year now and will as such need to be apprised of the progress that has been made in her matters during her absence. She will make the necessary arrangements in this regard.” It is believed the discussions will take place on Friday.

Zambia: Ndola council, Chinese firm seal housing deal

By CHATULA KAMPO  –
THE Ndola City Council(NCC) and a Chinese firm have signed a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) for the construction of more than 2,000 houses at a cost of US$200 million at Dola Hill site opposite the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
The Chinese firm, Henan Gouji, would build the houses and in
addition, a hospital and two five-star hotels would be constructed on the 200-hectare land in a period of not more than three years.
The housing project would be called the Ndola City Council
and Henan Gouji Housing Project.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Civic Centre in Ndola yesterday, manager Jack Guan said the project was expected to start at the end of September and would create more than 1,000 jobs for the local people.
He said local suppliers would be engaged in the provision of building materials.
“We will do quality and standard works that will be commended by Government.
“We also want to ensure that the project is completed on time,” he said.
Mr Gaun said the housing units would range from low class to high class.
Ndola Mayor Davies Chiwala commended the firm for the project, adding that it would address the housing shortages in the city.
He said the houses would be available for sale to members of the public after the project was completed.
Mr Chiwala, however, urged the firm to complete the project on time adding that Government would not tolerate contractors who offer shoddy works.
“Make sure that you finish your project on time, we do not want a situation where the land given remains dormant for a long time without development,”
“The Government through this council will repossess any land that is not developed.
“We want serious and competent investors to work with us to to benefit the local people because we are in a hurry to develop,” he  said.

Here is the latest opinion and comment taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa:

Zimbabwe: Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls; from the Zimbabwe Mail/Mail & Guardian;

Ghana: Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles, from The Chronicle;l

Kenya: From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history; from the Saturday Nation;

Africa: Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track; from the New Times;

Kenya: Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays; from the New Times/Agencies;

Kenya: Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot; Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast; from the SaturdayNation.

Why Robert Mugabe can’t call polls

M&G

Zanu-PF and the MDC are in new talks as legal problems delay President Robert Mugabe’s wish for elections on June 29.

President Robert Mugabe may not get what he wants — to hold the national polls next month — because of unexpected legal obstacles that stand in his way.

Mugabe last week signed the new Constitution into law in a bid to speed up the poll date. But it has now emerged through party negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations that they first need to align the new charter to the existing legislation.

Negotiators from the three parties who spoke to theMail & Guardian this week confirmed they are in new talks over a number of constitutional and legal issues, besides political matters, that still need to be sorted before a date for the elections could be announced.

The negotiators are now locked in secret meetings to map the way forward, and all declined to be named owing to agreements among them not to publicise the details of the talks in the media.

Negotiators say key among these is the mandatory 30-day voter registration exercise that will only start next week and end in early July.

They said there is now also the extraordinary Southern African Development Community summit (SADC) that will be held at a date not yet known to discuss the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the funding of the polls.

A special summit on Zimbabwe
SADC’s secretary general Tomaz Salamão announced this week that SADC would hold a special summit on Zimbabwe.

Although Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the country needs $132-million for elections, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau is demanding $164-million to organise the polls effectively. Biti confirmed on Tuesday that the Cabinet had agreed on a consolidated voter registration plan after the treasury secured $25-million for the process.

Zanu-PF insiders say Mugabe is under pressure from Zanu-PF politburo hardliners to call for elections by June 29, which is when the tenure of the coalition government expires.

The SADC-appointed facilitator for Zimbabwe’s political dialogue, South African President Jacob Zuma, met Mugabe on Sunday during the African Union General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss preparations for the special summit.

A SADC troika summit held in South Africa recently demanded that Zimbabwe first adopt critical reforms, including the controversial security sector reforms, before the elections take place.

Negotiators say, in addition to these political issues, there is also a lot of legal work that needs to be completed before elections.

Amendments to law
“While politicians are talking as if general elections will be held any day from now, the reality is there are still a lot of issues which need to be taken care of before poll dates can be announced,” a senior MDC-T negotiator said.

“Now that there is a new Constitution, we are still negotiating amendments to the Electoral Act to accommodate proportional representation introduced by the new Constitution, election of senators to represent people with disabilities, take into consideration new time limits on proclamation of election dates and polling day, the transfer of election results between polling centres and factor in challenges to the validity of the next presidential election results.”

A Zanu-PF negotiator explained that under the new Constitution 60 senators, 60 members of the National Assembly and 80 members of provincial councils will be elected by a system of proportional representation based on the votes cast for constituency members of the National Assembly.

“The current Electoral Act makes no provision for proportional representation and will have to be amended extensively to take this into account. Even thresholds on proportional representation and party lists will have to be negotiated,” he said.

“In addition, the new senate will have two senators specially elected to represent persons with disabilities. How they will be elected and even the definition of persons with disabilities will have to be set out in the amended Electoral Act,” the negotiator said.

Asked for comment, a senior official of the smaller MDC party involved in the ongoing negotiations said one provision in the new Constitution alone makes Mugabe’s election date demands impossible.

Time limits

“Clause 157(3) of the new Constitution requires nomination day in every election to be at least 14 days after proclamation of the election date, and at least 30 days before the polling day,” he said.

“These time limits will have to be incorporated into Section 38 of the Electoral Act, which will make it impossible to have elections by the end of next month.”

Furthermore, negotiators say the Electoral Act as currently configured is vague and inconsistent on how and when election results must be transferred between electoral centres from ward to constituency on a provincial and national level. This ambiguity, lawmakers say, must be clarified to remove the inconsistencies.

‘There are two reasons why immediate legislative amendments are needed. The first is that the next general elections will be held in accordance with the new Constitution, and the Electoral Act will have to be amended to align it to the new Constitution before the polls are held,” an MDC-T negotiator said.

“The second reason is that the provisions of the new Constitution, which come into operation immediately, will trigger changes to several other statutes. “For instance, the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must be amended before the elections to remove the power of the minister of local government to appoint councillors because under the new Constitution all councillors will have to be elected. For the same reason, the ministerial notices laying down the number of councillors in each council will have to be amended.”

Another negotiator said: “Since the registrar general and his officials will be obliged to apply the new provisions when dealing with applications for identity cards, voter registration and passports, there should be less bureaucracy. However, the president will not be able to issue a proclamation calling the next elections before all these things are done.” – Mail & Guardian

Ghana’s Economy Moving In Circles

Kojo appiah-kubi, phd

At independence in 1957 not only was Ghana thought to lead the way for African political liberation but was also to be developed into a model to show the world that the black man is capable of ruling himself. With the desire to ‘wrestle the command¬ing heights of the economy from foreigners’, who then con¬trol¬led the economy, the first post colonial government developed and implemented a series of the development plans on the back of gargantuan increases in government expenditure with large import content.
The results of these developments were steep rises in budget deficits, price levels and foreign indebtedness as well as massive declines in foreign reserves and economic growth. Thus by the mid sixties annual inflation exceeded 20% whilst the fiscal budget deficit rose to a height equiva¬lent to about 6% of GDP. The country recorded its first negative economic growth rate of about 5.1% since indepen¬dence in 1966.
These developments marked the beginning of Ghana’s movement in “circles”, whereby various successive governments come to power on the back of massive criticisms of economic failures of previous governments. They then promise to achieve economic stabilization necessary for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, but end up achieving very little positive gains for the country. They also marked the subsequent introduction of structural adjustment programmes, austerity budgets, liberalization and stabilization programmes in Ghana, and deepened dependency on the Breton Woods Institutions. And that is what all subsequent governments since the sixties have taken the nation through but with achieved mixed results.
The Acheampong, SMC I and II regimes, for instance, assumed power in the seventies on the back of rising prices, deteriorating trade and budget balances, declining foreign exchange reserves, stagnating economic growth, etc., which they assigned to the economic mismanagement of previous regimes. Contrary to the promise of redeeming Ghana from its economic woes, the Acheampong’s National Redemption Council rather sent the economy through a serious economic decay. The economy saw an annual contraction in per capita GDP by more than 3%, in industrial output by 4.2% and in agricul¬tural output by 0.2% between 1970 and 1982. The annual average rate of inflation rose from single-digit in the early seventies to peak 121.2% in 1977, while the fiscal deficit levelled off at 10.9% of GDP in the same year.
Then came Rawlings Provisional National Defence Council with the promise to defend the nation against economic mismanagement. The regime introduced dramatic changes in the exchange rate, fiscal, monetary, privatisation, and trade policies that brought increased liberalisation in the economy. The economy made some initial gains, which could, however, not be sustained after a brief period of economic recovery. Hence at the time Ghana transitioned from military to democratic rule in 1992 the macro-economic environment was fast deteriorating and the nation was back to square one. Narrow and broad fiscal balances, for instance, recorded deficits of about 3.4% and 10.7% of GDP respectively in 1992. Annual inflation rate rose to average 39.5% between 1983-1992. The total public debt jumped from $2.9 billion in 1983 to $4.3 billion in 1992, with both trade and current account balances showing persistent deficits and worsening trends.
These movements of five steps forward four steps backwards have continued unabated since the return to civilian regime in 1992, with the economic performance having been closely associated with cycles of stabilization programmes; austerity budgets; deteriorating current account and fiscal balances; rising indebtedness and prices; and deteriorating macro-economic environment. As a result of these developments the actual GDP growth performance has been much lower than the predicted potential of the country.
Between 1992-1995 under the NDC I, for instance, the budget balance deteriorated at an annual average of –0.62% of GDP. The rate of deterioration increased further to annual average of –6.43% of GDP during NDC II (1996-2000). The public debt equally ballooned successively from an initial level of $4.2 billion in 1992 to $7.8 billion in 2000. The inflation and cedi-dollar depreciation rates rose to hit a peak of 40.5% and 49% respectively.
When the NPP assumed power in 2001 it castigated in its first budget the previous NDC government for having “…failed systematically to meet performance benchmarks and policy requirements agreed upon”. Despite its promise “…to put together a realistic action programme for attaining the national quest to re-establish macro-economic stability and re-establish credible and sustainable policy framework for co-operation and development”, the NPP regime also fell prey to moving in economic circles. Indeed it did make some initial gains, which it could not sustain over time. The budget deficit, which it brought down to an annual average of -4.1% of GDP during 2001-2004 rose again during 2005-2008 to -4.5% of GDP. Similarly the price levels rose to double digits with the current account balance, cedi depreciation rate, and foreign exchange reserves also assuming deteriorating trends. The public indebtedness finished off at $7.9 billion in 2008 higher than in 2000 under the NDC despite huge debt reliefs from HIPC.
In 2009 the new NDC led government, in its first budget statement, described the then economy of Ghana as having being rundown by the previous NPP administration. The then President Atta Mills promised Ghanaians in his first state of the nation address: “Our administration will build a robust economy and address the challenges which the private sector faces in investing, growing and expanding”. He then assured Ghanaians: “This is the beginning of the rescue plan for building a better Ghana”.
After 4 years of implementation of the supposed rescue plan the fundamentals of economic situation and predicament have by all indications worsened. The economy is currently weaker and more fragile than ever before. The fiscal deficits have grown larger (from ¢2.5 billion to ¢8.7 billion and running at an annual average of 7.2% of GDP during 2009-2012). The inflation rate managed to stay in single digit for some two years but remained higher than expected. The national debt stock ballooned to unprecedented levels; from ¢9.5 to ¢33.5 billion in 2009-2012, an annual increase of ¢6 billion. The depreciation in the value of the Cedi over the four year NDC era exceeded that of eight years of NPP. The current account deficit has grown from $3,473.50 million in 2008 to $5,179.29 million in 2012.
Despite the apparent boost in the country’s economic potential with a new oil find and high dividends from the country’s political stability, the reigning high prices of its major exports including cocoa and gold, the long-term economic performance of the economy of Ghana continue to remain below its potential. Ironically the economy is currently much weaker and more fragile than ever before. The macro-economic environment appears to have worsened, particularly, since the return to civilian regime in 1992. The movement of the economy in circles and deterioration of macro-economic environment have indeed assumed increasing speed accentuated by unbridled fiscal indiscipline during years of general elections. These movements, whose zenith always coincides with the nation’s general elections, only entrench a pattern of a “4-year political economy cycle” of fiscal indiscipline which is not healthy for the development of the country.

source:Ghanaweb

From Cold War to M-Pesa, events that shaped our history

By DANIEL BRANCH AND NIC CHEESEMAN satnation@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  22:04

IN SUMMARY

  • A combination of declining income from exports and a change in economic strategy forced Kenya to turn to the World Bank in 1980 to be able to pay its debts. One of the first African countries to do so, Kenya was set on a path towards a smaller state, and a stronger market economy, courtesy of internationally designed Structural Adjustment Programmes. While this may have allowed private enterprise to thrive, the state itself became weaker as a result.
  • The assassination of Foreign minister Robert Ouko on February 13, 1990, was every bit as important in its ramifications. Most notably, it led international donors to take a much more critical attitude towards the Kanu government, which eventually translated into greater pressure for the end of the one-party state.

In July 1962, Tom Mboya set out his vision of the new nation in a speech as powerful and heartfelt as any other in Kenya’s history.

Delivered to the bedrock of colonial society, the white settlers in the Kenya National Farmers’ Union, Mboya observed that “to date, our people have been dragged through history”. He promised: “Henceforth, we will write our own history.”

It was a challenge taken up with great enthusiasm. Kenya’s history since has been written by the millions and not by the few. Writing this history was not just the affair of the likes of Mboya, Moi, the Odingas and the Kenyattas. It also concerned the city-slickers of Nairobi, the pastoralists of Turkana, farmers on the slopes of Mount Elgon, hotel staff at the beaches of the Coast and Somali refugees in Dadaab.

But, despite Mboya’s optimism the shadow of colonialism continues to loom large. It is perhaps only in the past decade that the full extent of the damage wreaked by the bloody final years of colonial rule has been appreciated. The mental maps of the country we carry around with us are still shaped by colonial cartographers, as a quick glance at the boundaries of the “new” 47 counties reveals.
To be sure, the disinterest shown by the British to certain parts of the country has been exacerbated by periods of post-colonial neglect, but there can be no doubt that the foundations of many of Kenya’s social and economic divisions can be traced back prior to independence. Similarly the significance of Christianity and a powerful centralised state have deep roots.

In many ways the colonial legacy left Kenya a fragile nation. Yet reviewing the 50 events that define Kenya’s history over the past half-century reveals that Kenyans have not simply accepted their fate. Instead, these milestones demonstrate that for all of the country’s fragility and occasional violence, the last 50 years has been marked by resilience, ingenuity, and triumph.
FRAGILITY:

The 1964 coup attempt and the fallout between Kenyatta and Odinga

Kenya gained independence at the height of the Cold War. The first defining event of its independent history saw the new government abandon its policy of non-alignment, by which it meant steering a course between the American and British, on one hand, and the Chinese and Soviets, on the other. The Lanet Mutiny of January 1964 by members of the Kenya Rifles provoked Jomo Kenyatta to seek British assistance to restore order.

That decision led to a series of agreements with the British by which the former colonial power agreed to provide military support in the event of any domestic or foreign threat to Kenyatta’s government. Kenya has generally enjoyed close relations with Britain, the United States and other Western governments ever since.

What makes the occasional spats with the likes of Smith Hempstone, the US ambassador in the 1990s, and his British counterparts, Edward Clay and Christian Turner, notable is that they punctuated periods of otherwise constructive engagement.

Jomo Kenyatta’s domestic policies aligned Kenya with the Western allies too. The economy in the 1960s and early 1970s was orientated towards exports of agricultural products and dependent upon favourable prices being paid by foreign consumers. While these policies drove growth and helped improve living standards, they also divided Kanu and ultimately resulted in Oginga Odinga’s decision to break with the government.

Prior to this, Kanu had successfully used both carrot and stick to persuade the only other opposition party, the Kenya National Democratic Union (Kadu), to ‘voluntarily’ dissolve itself.
This process necessitated the integration of Kadu leaders into Kanu, and it was through this process that Daniel arap Moi rose to the position of Vice- President.

The dissolution of Kadu was therefore critical not just in enabling Kanu to establish a one-party state but in laying the foundations for the ‘Nyayo’ era.

But the refusal of Odinga and other ‘radicals’ to follow Kenyatta’s lead on economic matters quickly undermined the appearance of unity. The creation of the rival Kenya People’s Union (KPU) and the ‘little general elections’ the new party contested against the Kanu government in 1966 demonstrated the complex fault lines that divide the political class, and marked the beginning of the struggle for power between the Kenyatta and Odinga dynasties that would come to a head in the election of 2013.

Kanu convincingly won the day, but the same economic policies that supported a steady expansion of the economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s also left the country vulnerable to shifts in the global economy. The global recessions caused by the oil crises of 1973 and 1979 had devastating effects on the economy of Kenya and others across the African continent, with far reaching implications.

A combination of declining income from exports and a change in economic strategy forced Kenya to turn to the World Bank in 1980 to be able to pay its debts. One of the first African countries to do so, Kenya was set on a path towards a smaller state, and a stronger market economy, courtesy of internationally designed Structural Adjustment Programmes. While this may have allowed private enterprise to thrive, the state itself became weaker as a result.

It is only over the past decade or so that the economy has recovered from the shocks of the 1970s and 1980s. The state did not recover nearly so quickly.

In its place vigilante groups and militias sprung up, sowing the seeds for the gradual transfer of control over violence away from the state. This process, and the limitations of the police force and the Judiciary, meant that the government was unable to deliver security and justice to citizens when they needed it most in the aftermath of the 2007 election.

Economic fragility went hand in hand with political fragility. President Kenyatta’s death in 1978 (6) led to fierce competition behind closed doors, as some of his allies attempted to change the constitution to prevent Moi, as Vice-President, from succeeding Mzee.

The “Change the Constitution” movement lost the day for two reasons. First, Kenyatta felt that a rotation of power between ethnic groups was important for national unity and so prevented efforts to remove Moi from office – a lesson as relevant today as it was then.

Second, senior Kikuyu leaders such as Mwai Kibaki and Charles Njonjo rallied to Moi’s side, enabling him to see off his rivals.

Kenyatta’s death not only left Kenya without a president, it left the nation without its figurehead. Shortly into Moi’s tenure, the deep political divisions that had surfaced in 1978 reappeared. Following efforts by Odinga to set up a new political party to rival Kanu, Moi passed legislation that turned Kenya from a de facto one-party state (in which there was no legal restriction on opposing parties) to a de jure one — Kanu became the only legal party under Section 2A of the constitution.

This was a critical moment because it set the scene for the battle between Kanu and pro-democracy activists in the late 1980s and suggested that Kenya would be less open in the Nyayo era than it had been under Kenyatta’s rule.

Together with the restriction on political freedoms, Moi’s decision to prohibit ethnic welfare associations such as the Gikuyu Embu and Meru Association (Gema) generated considerable political unease and further instability. On August 1, 1982, members of the air force mounted their coup against Moi. Some coups are important because they lead to a change of government. But coups that fail can be just as important in the way that they change the perceptions and actions of the survivors.

In the years that followed the coup Moi’s regime became increasingly repressive of critical voices. For much of the rest of the decade, real and imagined critics of the government were subjected to harassment, arrest and in the worst cases torture. But this did not succeed in silencing dissent. Coercion has never proved to be an effective means of maintaining stability in Kenya, from the era of colonial rule onwards.

In Moi’s case, the 1988 elections proved to be a critical juncture. The clear evidence of rigging – made obvious by the use of queue voting, so that it was plain for all to see that in many areas the less popular candidate had been declared the victor – undermined the legitimacy of the one-party state.

At the same time, by plotting to lock out many prominent leaders such as Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba in party and national elections, Moi unintentionally created a leadership for the country’s nascent pro-democracy campaign. As a result, Kenya experienced another period of intense political turbulence as Matiba, Odinga and Rubia came out in favour of regime change.

This period of Kenyan history is perhaps best remembered for the saba saba riots, a genuine moment of popular mobilisation against authoritarian rule, which played an important role in setting the scene for the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

The return of competitive politics had major implications that reached far beyond the political sphere. The need to fund election campaigns, combined with the weakening of state institutions as a result of Structural Adjustment Programmes and the strategies employed by the Moi government in the late 1980s, ushered in a new phase of rampant corruption that demonstrated just how fragile the country’s mechanisms of fiscal and political accountability had become.

This period was epitomised by the Goldenberg scandal, in which hundreds of billions of shillings of government revenue were misappropriated in an elaborate export scam. That none of the major players in the scandal were ever effectively prosecuted demonstrated the extent to which law and order had broken down, while the economic impact of the scandal – estimated to be well over Sh100 billion – illustrated the high cost of weak institutions.

VIOLENCE:

Assassination of popular leaders sowed the seed for political reform

Partly as a result of episodes of instability, Kenya has suffered a series of episodes of traumatic violence. It is tempting to ignore these moments in favour of a more rose tinted celebration of 50 years of independence, but that would do a disservice to some of the most important figures in the nation’s history.

In the 1960s there was the assassination of Pio Gama Pinto (1965), which dealt a significant blow to those more radical members of Kanu such as Oginga Odinga, for whom he had been such a successful organiser.

In terms of national politics, the 1969 assassination of Tom Mboya, one of the most talented and respected politicians of his generation, was perhaps more significant. With his death, Kenya not only lost a brilliant mind, but one of the few political leaders capable of mobilising support across ethnic lines.

Pinto and Mboya were not alone. In 1975 the popular Kikuyu leader, JM Kariuki, was killed, sending shock waves through Central Province. Kariuki’s claim that Kenya had become a nation of “10 millionaires and 10 million beggars” suggested that had he lived he would have focussed greater attention on the need to limit the growth of the super rich and super poor – sadly, we shall never know.

The assassination of Foreign minister Robert Ouko on February 13, 1990, was every bit as important in its ramifications. Most notably, it led international donors to take a much more critical attitude towards the Kanu government, which eventually translated into greater pressure for the end of the one-party state.

At the same time, the investigation into the assassination contributed to the fall from grace of one of Moi’s most notorious allies, Nicholas Biwott.

It is often said that Kenya has been peaceful and stable since independence, but these assassinations – which occurred in pretty much every decade of independence – tell a different story.

It is tempting to wonder how Kenya would have developed if so many of those who put forward a different vision of the country’s future had not been cut off in their prime. For example, imagine if Tom Mboya, who was born just a year before Mwai Kibaki, had just retired from public life rather than been buried in 1969.

While their methods differed significantly, what united Mboya, JM Kariuki and Pio Gama Pinto, in particular, was a concern for equality and social justice. Although many Kenyans did well under Jomo Kenyatta, the gains that were made were not shared equally, which contributed to the grievances of those groups who consider themselves the ‘have nots’.

At times violence has also erupted on a mass scale. Thousands were killed and many more displaced during the 1992 and 1997 elections in which Kanu supporters instigated ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley in an attempt to displace, and hence disempower, communities assumed to support opposition parties.

This violence not only assisted Moi to retain power throughout the 1990s, it sowed the seeds for instability and inter-communal tensions in the 2000s.

The difference between the 2007 election and those that had gone before was not that political leaders engaged militias to act as ‘protection’ around election time, but that many of the groups that had supported Moi in 1992 and 1997 had broken away from the government following Kanu’s defeat in 2002 and were now in opposition.

As a result, the fragile state could not cope with the forces ranged against it, resulting in a loss of life on a tragic scale. The collective loss of a sense of security and the damage done to national identity continues to haunt the country, particularly given the failure to provide justice to the victims.

But violence can unite as well as divide. Few moments of national unity have been as sincere and pronounced as the outpouring of grief that followed the terrorist attack on the US embassy on August 7, 1998 as well as other similar incidents. Although the city centre recovered quickly, the trauma of that day and the incomprehensibility of the act will never be forgotten by those there.

The attacks also had an important impact on Kenyan foreign policy: thereafter, anti-terror strategies became increasingly central to the country’s engagement in the region.

Kenya’s regional relations have largely been peaceful, but not always. The status of Somali citizens of Kenya has been a long-running debate that the country has yet to fully resolve.

The Shifta War began less than a fortnight after independence and although that conflict ended in 1967, successive Kenyan governments remained uncertain of their relationships with their Somali citizens and with Somalia itself.

This situation has been further complicated by Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in October 2011, which was the first time that Kenyan troops have been deployed on foreign soil to attain a military objective. In years to come we may look back on this moment as a key development in Kenya’s journey to becoming a more proactive regional force.

How to deal with past instances of violence remains a thorny topic, but justice is increasingly being done for those who have suffered. In July 2002, some 200 Maasai and Samburu who had been bereaved or maimed as a result of British army explosives left on their land accepted more than $7 million in compensation from Britain.

More recently, Mau Mau victims won the right to pursue their claims for compensation in relation to the mistreatment that they experienced during the insurgency. It now looks likely that the British Government will pay compensation to thousands of Kenyans, which will not only right a colonial wrong, but also set a precedent for how governments should deal with atrocities in their past.

At the time of writing, Kenyans are still trying to come to terms with crimes that may have been committed by its own government. The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) set up in the wake of the power-sharing violence has been dismissed by many as flawed process, but the publication of its report last month was nonetheless important.

The 42,000 witnesses who gave testimony give the Commission’s report a weight that it would not otherwise have, and it has raised important questions about how to deal with political leaders who stand charged with a range of violations – including some that are often forgotten as a result of the overriding focus on the post-election violence of 2007.

However, in some cases Kenyans may not be able to decide how to deal with the past themselves. The ICC case against three prominent Kenyans accused of committing crimes against humanity will go ahead this year (24), despite the government’s efforts to have the charges against the President and Deputy President dropped. The outcome of the cases, and how the government responds to them, will shape Kenya’s domestic and international politics for decades to come.

RESILIENCE:

Not even inflation and poor leadership dampened quest for better lives

This political and economic fragility, as well as the harsh climate in much of the country, has meant that Kenyans have had to exhibit resilience in their daily lives.

This reliance and determination has found expression in a variety of forms. One of the first was the harambee schools movement by which communities across the country through their own hard work and funds sought to give their children education with which to escape poverty.

Without such initiative, it would have been impossible to cope with demands for education created by the dramatic increase in population witnessed over the past 50 years, which has seen the number of Kenyans grow from 7 million people in 1963 to over 40 million today.

Another way of coping with that enlarged population has been for Kenyans to move away from the countryside into the towns and cities. With a population of just under 400,000 at independence, Nairobi’s population reached a million just 20 years later.

That growth created obvious problems that continue to be visible on a daily basis: crowded roads, insufficient houses and poor public health. But the city has also been a place of cultural dynamism and become the heartbeat of the national and regional economy.

The effects of demographic change and the fluctuating economy have been felt in the countryside too. Channelling the spirit of harambee, self-help groups dominated by women helped provide welfare, protect access to land and, in the case of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement, campaign against damage to the environment that put livelihoods in rural areas in jeopardy.

In the absence of opposition parties during the dark days of one-party rule and its aftermath, such groups increasingly became vehicles for political change. In February and March 1992, women activists joined the wives, mothers and sisters of prisoners to protest against political imprisonment at Freedom Corner. Their courage shamed the Moi government and shows that Kenyan civil society groups are far from being the puppets of foreign interests. Kenya’s civil society was built on the blood and sweat of Kenyans, not the money of donors.

Other important forms of resistance had gone before. In the 1980s, the underground Mwakenya movement linked university lecturers, students, and literary figures in a widespread critique of the one-party state.

Although Mwakenya never threatened to topple the Moi regime, the Draft Minimum Programme published in September 1987 was one of the most serious attempts to discuss the state of the nation in the 1980s, and played an important role in keeping alive the idea that a more democratic future was possible.

The other great pillar of civil society has been the churches. Although a minority of the population were Christian at independence, by 1988 that figure stood at more than 80 per cent. It was not just the numbers of Christians that changed the face of Kenya, but also the engagement with politics exhibited by the clergy and congregations.

The protests by the churches against the practice of queue voting in the 1988 general election, and the willingness of some bishops to speak out in favour of reform, provided a groundswell of popular support for the pro-democracy movement and set in train the series of events that led to the abandonment of one-party rule.

Without them it seems unlikely that it would have been feasible for leading opposition figures to launch the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford), the umbrella movement that actively campaigned for multiparty politics. Although Ford later fragmented, enabling Moi to win power in the 1992 election against a divided opposition, it forced the political opening on which so much of the progress in Kenya over the last 20 years has been based.

Supporters of democracy learnt quickly that the mere fact of holding elections was not enough to guarantee a change to the way the state treated its citizens. They came to realise that major constitutional change was the only way to protect the individual and collective rights of all Kenyans.

For more than two decades, civil society activists demonstrated courage, leadership and resilience in their efforts to fundamentally change the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.

Along the way they gradually expanded the boundaries of what was possible. Despite successive aborted periods of constitutional review under Moi, they continued to push for power to be devolved from the president to the people. In 2004, their efforts crystallised into the Bomas Draft of the constitution, which proposed significant new constraints on the Executive.

However, the final draft of the constitution that went before the country in a referendum in 2005 differed in significant ways from the Bomas Draft, and so civil society groups joined the campaign of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), defeating the government’s proposals.

The Bomas Draft was nonetheless significant, because it shaped all future constitutional debates. The 2010 Constitution can be traced back to these earlier periods of constitutional review, and the civil society and opposition groups who worked so hard to push the process forwards.

All civil society movements require a mouthpiece and the Kenyan press has often been an important source of news and information. One of the first weekly newspapers was the African Standard, which was established in 1902.

The paper was sold three years later to two British businessmen who promptly changed the name to the East African Standard, which published daily from then on.

In a separate development, the Englishman Charles Hayes started a Swahili weekly called Taifa in 1958, which became a daily newspaper, Taifa Leo, in 1960. This was a particularly significant development with respect to this article, because soon after an English language version of the paper – the Daily Nation – went into publication on October 3, 1960, and if that hadn’t happened you wouldn’t be reading this piece today.

More recent developments have involved the deregulation of the radio network. Because most Kenyans do not have access to television, the radio has been a critical source of information. Under the one-party state, the government’s monopoly over the radio was an important source of political control.

But following the deregulation of FM radio control over information has been decentralised to hundreds – if not thousands – of new stations (35).

This has been both good and bad. Many more voices are now being heard, and Kenyans have the capacity to produce shows that are closer to the interests, and the needs, of local communities. But vernacular radio stations have also been accused of being a source of division, and in some cases incited ethnic violence around the 2007 elections.

Daniel Branch is an Associate Professor in African History at the University of Warwick and author of Kenya: Between Hope and Despair 1963-2012. Nic Cheeseman is a university lecturer in African Politics at the University of Oxford, the founder of http://www.democracyinafrica.org, and the Joint Editor of African Affairs. [niccheeseman@gmail.com]

Kaberuka: Africa is on the right track

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed optimism that the continent will achieve economic structural transformation in the next few years, if the leaders focus on empowering citizens to reach their goals.

Dr. Donald Kaberuka made the remarks yesterday while addressing a news conference at the sidelines of the ongoing 48th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Marrakech, Morocco.

“Africa needs accelerated structural transformation in order to take the bulk of its population out of poverty. This requires deeper investment in factors leading to growth-boosting structural change,” he said.

Kaberuka stated that the continent has doubled its Gross Domestic Product in ten years, an indication that Africa was on the right move to achieve economic transformation, if the governments keep the momentum,

“In the next 50 years there will be major trends that will influence what Africa does to achieve inclusive growth, for instance population and demographics, natural resources, young population, however this needs to be planned carefully for the betterment of every citizen,” he said.

“We Africans need to ensure that generated revenues are invested in people and infrastructure development.”

Dr Kaberuka stated that despite the slowdown in the global economy, Africa reports 6.6 per cent growth in 2013. Sub Saharan African growth alone stands at 5.7 percent. “And if you exclude the region’s largest and most complex economy, Sub Saharan Africa’s performance is actually 6.7 per cent.”

According to Kaberuka, for the first time, Africa’s per capita GDP has crossed the 1000 US dollar barrier; infant and maternal mortality is down by a half while life expectancy is up from 40 to 60 years.

And there are more children in school than at any time in recent history.

“We need to know how to invest in education, infrastructure, health of the people and ensure that investment takes place, how do we accelerate technical training and regional integration, how do we deal with fragile states that are holding others back,” Kaberuka noted.

The transformation we are looking at, he said, is not simply becoming a place where we have got more mobile phones than Europe and North America combined, but a place where we manufacture the mobile phone components.

“It will not happen miraculously, it needs careful planning by the private and public sector combined efforts.

According to Ali Bongo Ondimba, the Gabonese President, African governments should ensure that growth becomes more inclusive, while maximising natural resource use efficiency.

“We should appreciate what has been achieved in the last decade and now it’s time to join our efforts and integrate to realise our continent’s potential,” he said.

Appearing on the discussion Panel on Wednesday President Paul Kagame called on Africans to do things right to position the continent in its deserved place, saying that there was a favorable platform to make it happen.

Rwanda, among few countries in Africa, has registered substantial progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within in the period of three years.

Since 2007, the Government of Rwanda has made achieving the MDGs fundamental to its policy framework. Within the last five years Rwanda poverty reduced by 13 per cent with one million Rwandans lifted out of poverty.

Kenya’s hunger for imports risks more central bank forays

  • Agencies
  • May 31, 2013
  • Goods at Port Mombasa. The New Times / Courtesy.
  • Renewed economic activity following a smooth presidential vote is driving demand for imports in Kenya, weakening the shilling and prompting wariness about the central bank’s response, including more interventions.Kenya’s central bank intervened for the first time in four months on Wednesday and currency traders in east Africa’s biggest economy said in the aftermath it is likely to do so again if the shilling starts to decline.The shilling had fallen 1.7 percent in just over a week to an eight-week low of 85.25/45 per dollar before Wednesday’s intervention, tumbling on strong demand for hard currency from importers,

    It was at 85.00/85.20 on Thursday, slightly weaker than its 84.85/84.95 close the previous day. Traders viewed this as stable but said the bank would come in again if the weakening trend picked up.

    “The central bank is on top of the game and might keep intervening whenever the shilling comes under pressure,” said Ignatius Chicha, head of markets at Citibank.

    “We are going to have more demand than supply as we see resumption in economic activity.”

    Demand for imported goods has picked up along with the economy since it became apparent that the March election was not going to lead to the kind of violence the followed the previous one.

    But this could weigh on the shilling and could feed into inflation if left unchecked.

    In late 2011, the central bank was forced to hike interest rates sharply to rein-in imported inflation that had pushed the shilling to a record low of 107 per dollar in October that year.

    At the time, the current account deficit – the difference between a country’s imports and exports – had risen to above 10 percent. The current account deficit stands at above 12 percent of GDP, driven by increased local demand for foreign goods.

    Peter Mutuku, head of trading at Bank of Africa, said the shillings depreciation was inevitable “because of the current account mismatch”.

    The shilling is still 1.6 percent stronger to the dollar so far in 2013, but is widely expected to weaken by year-end, pressured by Kenya’s persistently high current account deficit.

    A Reuters poll of eight analysts and traders gave a median forecast of 88.00 shillings per dollar by year end.

    The central bank has remained active in the market, regularly sterilising liquidity through actively soaking up liquidity since last year to support the shilling by making it slightly expensive to hold long dollar positions.

    Central bank has also been selling hard currencies even as it cut its borrowing costs by 950 basis points since July 2012 to support the economy.

    Some traders said a weaker shilling could tempt the central bank to reverse course on a cycle of interest rate cuts.

    “We could see interest rates go back up but that is a last resort because they (central bank) are keen on growth at the moment,” said a trader at one commercial bank.

    However, for now, they said the bank’s foreign exchange reserves of at least 0.27 months cover above the statutory four months worth of import cover, had given it room to sell even more dollars in the market.

    “Looks like the central bank has managed to cool off excess demand for now and is keenly watching the market,” said Dickson Magecha, a trader at Standard chartered Bank.

Family feuds blamed for deaths as low rate of convictions puts detectives in Kisumu on spot

 

By  LILIAN OCHIENG’ news@nation.ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  23:36

IN SUMMARY

  • The murder of Kisumu ODM aspirant Shem Onyango Kwega happened around 10am on October 29. Two people have been charged with the offence.

Some 121 murders were committed in Kisumu last year, according to figures released by police.

Of these, 87 cases were presented in court but only 14 have been concluded.

Police link the murders to family feuds, saying that most were reduced to manslaughter.

Nyanza Police boss Joseph ole Tito said one of the sensational murders in 2012 was of that of a political aspirant in broad daylight.

Protests

“The case is still pending,” Mr Tito told theSaturday Nation.

The murder of Kisumu ODM aspirant Shem Onyango Kwega happened around 10am on October 29. Two people have been charged with the offence.

The murder triggered violent protests from thousands of residents and disrupted business.

Two bullets pierced Mr Kwega’s head and jaw as he drove to the town centre with his wife.

He was pronounced dead at the Aga Khan Hospital where he had been rushed.

His wife Rose died a few days later.

During the ensuing demonstrations, four other people lost their lives.

Residents stormed the provincial police headquaters demanding justice. A few days later, two men were arrested and brought to the High Court in Kisumu on November 1, last year.

Mr Francis Onyango Nyakwaka and Mr John Muga Onyango were charged, not with murder, but violently robbing and killing Mr Kwega while armed with an AK-47 rifle.

They were also charged with violently robbing Mr Nelson Odwaro Oduogo of a Bible and other items, all valued at Sh10,000.

They denied all the charges and were remanded for further investigations.

During the mention on November 6, they were charged with manslaughter.

Kondele police boss Johnston Wanyama explained: “If they had been charged with murder or manslaughter, they would be out on bail, so the charge we preferred was weightier and the sentence likely to be stiffer.” No hearing date has yet been set for the case.

Police alarmed by wave of murders at the Coast

By NATION CORRESPONDENT
Posted  Friday, May 31   2013 at  23:07

IN SUMMARY

  • The police are on the spot again after failure to unravel a recent killing in Mombasa of a Kenya Ports Authority employee a month ago in her house.

The high number of murder cases at the Coast have baffled the police with statistics indicating they doubled last year.

There were 33 murders reported in Mombasa in 2011, but this went up to 74 last year.

They include the murder of civilians, police officers and foreigners, with the police accused of doing little to arrest culprits.

Hardly a week passes before a murder is reported.

The police are on the spot again after failure to unravel a recent killing in Mombasa of a Kenya Ports Authority employee a month ago in her house.

The woman’s household items were stolen during the attack by people whom neighbours said were known to her.

Coast Provincial Police boss Aggrey Adoli has attributed the cases to the increasing number of illegal gangs.

Sometimes, he adds, the murders are due to quarrels among lovers.

At the Mombasa High Court, murder cases have increased, including that on the killing of the Changamwe police boss and three other police officers on March 3.

High Court judge, Justice Martin Muya this week ruled that the prosecution conceals the identities of witnesses lined up to testify against five Mombasa Republican Council members on trial for the murders.

Justice Muya had been told that the prosecution witnesses lived in the same residential areas as the suspects and their lives would be endangered should their identities be made public.

The court heard that the director of public prosecution had taken a step to protect the witnesses by liaising with the directorate of criminal investigations.

In an affidavit, an undercover officer stated that several witnesses were apprehensive of their security, property and families and that their identities be concealed.

He added that more people were being sought over the killings of the Changamwe police chief Otieno Owour, OCS Salim Chebii and police constables Stephen Maithya and Andrew Songwa on March 3 in Jomvu.

“I have established that there were more than 100 MRC members who systematically executed the attacks,” the affidavit further states.

On the same night, five policemen were killed in a gang attack in Kisauni, Kilifi County.

The banned group has been accused of executing the murders at the Coast.

Mr Adoli said security had been beefed up in the region and warned criminals that their days were numbered.

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION ON FRIDAY, 31/5/2013

 

LATEST AFRICAN NEWS, COMMENT AND OPINION ON FRIDAY, 31/5/2013

 

 

Dear readers, including employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust,

Warmest greetings. Today the rapidly evolving African newsfeeds and accompanying comment and  opinion taken daily from newspapers right across and down Africa moves into a new phase: the creation of a blog which can be accessed without any concerns , including security ones, by all interested in Africa.

The link to paste into your search engine for the blog website is:

jamesbodgener.wordpress.com

The creation of the blog stemmed in the first instance from the blocking of the Africa Centre’s emails to employees of the Trust, by whom or which agency remains unknown, but the Centre has been critical of the Trust’s senior management.

That for the Africa Centre now is ‘water under the bridge’, and the Centre carries no grudges, for to do so is poisonous, and vitiates the soul and meaning in life.

However, the Centre here would like to quote from Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous, incisive and sarcastic foreword to Frantz Fanon’s ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, the seminal prospectus for anti-colonial freedom fighters, written at the height in 1961 of the vicious, seven-year independence civil war in Algeria:

Europeans, you must open this book and enter into it. After a few steps in the darkness you will see strangers gathered around a fire; come close, and listen, for they are talking of the destiny they will mete out to your trading-centres and to the hired soldiers who defend them. They will see you, perhaps, but they will go on talking among themselves, without even lowering their voices. This indifference strikes home: their fathers, shadowy creatures, your creatures, were but dead souls; you it was who allowed them glimpses of light, to you only did they dare speak, and you did not bother to reply to such zombies. Their sons ignore you; a fire warms them and sheds light around them, and you have not lit it. Now, at a respectful distance, it is you who will feel furtive, nightbound and perished with cold. Turn and turn about; in these shadows from whence a new dawn will break, it is you who are the zombies.

Nor has the Centre lowered its guard; it will always be on the alert for any attempt to censor or repress its essentially benign purpose; the delivery of accurate, impartial and balanced information, in a way that is not offensive, racial, pornographic, defamatory, slanderous and libellious; and is presented to you in good faith and as fair comment.

Most importantly, the Centre’s mission is inclusive – and having the blog will enable you, dear reader, to comment, tell us where we are going wrong, and advise us on how best to improve our service to you.

 

CONTENTS:

 

Ghana: MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM; from The Chronicle;

Nigeria: Jonathan challenges critics, says he has performed; from the Daily Independent;

Nigeria: Nobody can impeach Amaechi, says Rivers Assembly Leader, from the Daily Independent;

Nigeria:“We need your help to conquer insurgents” – IGP tells Nigerians; from the Daily Post;

Nigeria: Nobody can impeach Amaechi, says Rivers Assembly Leader, from the Daily Independent;

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe not ready for “credible” election: EU; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

Sudan: Sudan army increasing security around Abu-Kershola perimeter; from the Sudan Tribune;

North/South Sudan: North & South Sudan fix oil export glitch: ambassador; from the Sudan Tribune/Reuters;

Uganda: Govt re-opens Monitor; from New Vision; Uganda police vacate Daily Monitor, Red Pepper premises; from the Star/Reuters;

Sudan: Security officer threatens South Sudan private TV station at gun point; from the Sudan Tribune;

South Africa: Diepsloot residents deny claims of xenophobia; from the Mail & Guardian;

Kenya: President Kenyatta suspends Justice Mutava; from the Star;

Kenya: March 4 polls free, fair – EU; from the Star;

Kenya: Kenya’s war on terror has been effective, say US; from the Daily Nation;

Tanzania: MPs want tougher line on graft; from the Citizen;

Zambia: Hold fire, KCM told; from the Times of Zambia;

Rwanda: Rwandans arrested in Britain over 1994 genocide; from Modern Ghana/AFP;

Sierra Leone: SLPP Thugs Assault SLPP Women; from Awareness Times;

Nigeria: Two killed as Fulani herdsmen attack Tiv communities; from the Daily Independent;

Uganda:Principal Judge decries extra judicial acts; from New Vision;

Uganda: New law to give local companies preference; from New Vision;

Uganda: Govt committed to northern Uganda development – VP’; from New Vision;

Tanzania/Rwanda: JK: New rail line, increased food production key priorities; from The Citizen.

 

 

 

 

 

MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM

By Emmanuel Akli


The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has assured peace-keeping soldiers and officers who have been swindled by importing companies transacting business with them that all the necessary steps would be taken to help them recover their money.

Speaking to The Chronicle in reaction to the story published last week Friday, and headed SOLDIERS HIT BY $500K SCAM, the Director of Public Affairs of the GAF, Col. Mbawine Atintande, said the military high command had taken the issue serious, and would do everything possible to ensure that the affected soldiers received justice.

When asked whether legal action could be brought against the erring companies by their victims,   Col. Atintande said that would be the discretion of the individual soldier, but the GAF, as an institution, would make sure that the sweat of the soldiers, whilst on peace-keeping abroad, did not go down the drain.

Explaining the circumstances that led to the soldiers coming into contact with the importing companies, Mbawine said the GAF, in its efforts to support the welfare of soldiers, allowed the companies to sell their services to the former.

Under this arrangement, the companies would visit the soldiers whilst they are preparing for their peace-keeping duties outside the country to sign contracts with individual soldiers to supply them with whatever electrical gadgets they would like to import.

Brochures are then sent to the soldiers whilst on duties abroad to finally select the gadgets they would like to import.

After the selection, the cost of the gadgets is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping allowances paid to the soldiers, and lodged into the account of the company the soldiers had contracted.

According to Col. Atintande, because, sometimes, orders received by some of the importing companies are not enough to warrant their importation, they inform the head of the mission, who also informs the soldiers who have signed up with that particular company to look for a new one to do the importation on their behalf.

Col. Atintande regretted that sometimes some of the companies fail to inform the mission about their inability to do the importation for the latter to also stop the payment of the goods the soldiers had ordered into their (company) accounts.

He noted that if the military authorities are informed by the companies about their inability to import the goods on behalf of the soldiers on time, there would be no need to deduct the money at source and paid into the accounts of the defaulting companies.

The military man cum journalist further told The Chronicle that the military command was initially dealing with foreign companies, but because their profits were kept in their countries of origin, they decided to shift to Ghanaian-owned companies, so that the huge amount going outside the country would rather stay here in Ghana, but they have been disappointed with the attitude of some of these Ghanaian companies.

He, however, promised that the military would pursue them to ensure that every pesewa they had illegally pocketed from the sweat of the soldiers is reclaimed.

He, therefore, appealed to the soldiers to exercise restraint, as their superiors work around the clock to get their money back for them.

Meanwhile, the following is how The Chronicle reported the earlier story which has elicited the above comments from the Director of Public Affairs.

The Ghana Armed Forces is one of the most disciplined military institutions in the world, but why the leadership of such a noble profession sat down for importing companies to fleece soldiers who went on peace-keeping duties, remains a puzzle.
Information pieced together by The Chronicle indicates that importing companies which transact business with the Armed Forces have duped soldiers on peace-keeping duties to the tune of almost $500,000, but the Military High Command appears not to be doing much to help the affected soldiers redeem their money.
What has even rankled the soldiers is the allegation that some top military officers, who are on retirement, are behind the formation of some of these companies, which have used subtle means to squeeze the money from the soldiers.
Investigations by The Chronicle revealed that anytime soldiers are preparing to go on peace keeping duties outside the country, these importing companies, which have been sanctioned by the Ghana Armed Forces, would flock to their training grounds at Bundase to transact business with them.
In most of the cases, the companies convince the soldiers to allow them import items such as fridges, corn mills and electrical gadgets on their behalf, whilst serving outside the country.
The cost of the items imported is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping money paid to the soldiers. This is after the soldiers have filled forms indicating the items they want, which also serves as an agreement between they and the importers.
The Chronicle gathered, however, that some of the companies (names withheld for now), after collecting the value of the items requested by some of the soldiers from their superiors through deductions at source, failed to deliver without proffering any tangible explanations.
The conduct of these companies is said to have severely affected the soldiers, especially those who use more than half of the allowances that would have accrued to them to import some of the aforementioned items.
This reporter learnt that at a point in time, some of the angry soldiers even arrested a secretary to one of the companies, which had duped them, and attempted to detain her in the guardroom, but the action was stopped by senior officers.
Some of the soldiers told The Chronicle that the training that they go through at the Bundase training camp before they emplane to carry on with peace-keeping duties outside the country, mostly in Liberia, Congo, and Lebanon among others, was very tedious, therefore, for the companies to fleece them of their hard-earned money was unfortunate.
When contacted, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, told The Chronicle that such an arrangement, which also serves as a welfare scheme, exists in some units of the Armed Forces.
He, however, dismissed the suggestion that the leadership of the Army had failed to act after the issue was brought to their attention. To him, the soldiers must be courageous to approach their leaders, especially their Commanding Officers (CO), with whatever problems they may have, instead of rushing to the media.
“Who did they report to, and did the officer fail to do something about their problem?” he asked. When he was told that the soldiers did inform the appropriate authorities, Col. Atintande doubted that, insisting that if such a complaint had been lodged, the soldiers would have been told about whatever action their superiors had initiated.

 

 

POSTED ON THURSDAY, MAY 30TH, 2013

By Chesa Chesa and Sola Shittu (Abuja) Felix Igbekoyi (Asaba)

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday presented to Nigerians his mid-tenure performance report, challenging critics of his administration to provide the criteria they use to insinuate that he has not performed creditably in the past two years.

At a colourful event to mark the presentation of the report at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the President flayed his critics who underscore his achievements without specifying what indices were being used.

The event coincided with the nation’s 14th Democracy Day celebration.

But former President Olusegun Obasanjo fired a veiled salvo at the President at a different venue, saying, “You can only help someone to get a job; you cannot help him to do the job.”

Obasanjo, who spoke as Special Guest of Honour at an investment summit organised by the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, made an indirect reference to Jonathan, both of who many believe now disagree over the state of the nation and the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

President of the Senate, David Mark, on the other hand, for the umpteenth time admitted the challenges, including security militating against the nation, but expressed optimism that they are not insurmountable.

Regardless, the President, who noted that his ministers have said it all before he was called up to speak at the venue, added that he could not just help but make some remarks despite the score card he was making available to Nigerians.

He recalled his sterling qualifications that earned him the candidacy for the governorship of Bayelsa State in 2007, pointing out that his current position and achievements should be appropriately rated or assessed with clear cut criteria.

Brandishing the mid-term report as his marking scheme, Jonathan, a Phd holder and former lecturer, equally reminisced on his days as a teacher who assessed students with a marking scheme, and dared those who think he has not done well to present their own marking scheme.

“Only on Monday, one of the dailies did an assessment of the ministries and performance of ministers, and the first thing I looked for but didn’t see, is the criteria that were used to assess the performance of the ministers, because when people mark you, they should mark with marking scheme.
“A number of comments about the performance of this administration are based on the heart beat of people; sometimes people assess governments based on their heart beats.

“Two ministries – National Planning and Trade and Investments – were given average marks, but these two ministers’ performances in the last two years are unprecedented.

“In terms of businesses, (Trade and Investments minister) has attracted to the country, in spite of our security challenges, so many businesses want to come to Nigeria.

“Before now, Trade of Investment Ministry was like a dead end, but that has changed. Until Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning Minister) came on board before 2011, we never even knew we had a Planning Ministry; that is why I asked what were the criteria.

“I plead with those who want to write and assess us to prepare a marking scheme compare with previous governments and so on and so forth. Develop your marking scheme and mark us,” the President said.

What could pass as an executive summary of the mid-term report was presented by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim; Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Shamsudeen, who chaired the Presidential Committee on Mid-Term Report.

The 234-page ‘Mid-Term Report of the Transformation Agenda 2011-2013 …Taking Stock, Moving Forward’ contains highlights of sundry achievements recorded and previously presented to Jonathan at cabinet meetings and the public by the various ministers at different public fora.

According to the report, government has been able to stabilise the exchange rate in the last two years between N155 and N160 to a dollar while inflation rate has also slowed to 9.1 per cent from 12.4 per cent within the period under review.

The report also shows that Nigeria’s external reserves have increased from $32.08 billion in May 2011 to $48.4 billion as of May 2013 with Excess Crude Account ECA increasing from $4 billion to $6 billion in 2013.

Out of the 14 key policy objectives of the Federal Government’s reform programmes set in 2011, government said it has already achieved eight as at mid-term, implying an above-average performance.

Noting that the administration’s policy was to reduce recurrent expenditure and complete unfinished capital projects, the reported disclosed that “recurrent expenditure has dropped from 74.4 per cent of total budget in 2011 to 68.7 per cent in 2013”, while an Envelop System has been developed to enable ministers prioritise uncompleted capital projects.

Annual borrowing has also fallen from N852 billion in 2011 to N588 billion in 2013, and the country’s debt has reduced, with GDP alongside some other countries comparing as follows: Nigeria -21 per cent; South Africa – 42.7 per cent; SSA -34.2 per cent; USA – 106 per cent; Japan – 225 per cent; and UK – 90 per cent.

Prominent guests at the event were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar; former President Shehu Shagari, ex-Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan; and First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

On hand to deliver goodwill messages were American civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, and former Interim Head of Government of Liberia, Amos Sawyer, while some traditional rulers, religious leaders and members of the diplomatic corps also graced the event.

Conspicuously absent were other former Heads of State, Ibrahim Babangida; Muhammad Buhari; Abdusalami Abubakar; as well as Speaker of House Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who had his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, stand in for him.

Obasanjo, at the Dutse event, said the performance of Lamido as Jigawa State Governor had shown that he was prepared for the job.
He noted that the performance should be an invitation to higher calling, adding, “That is if he agrees to do, but if he does not agree to do, there is nothing an Obaanjo can do about it.”

His audience believed that Obasanjo was making veiled reference to the 2015 Presidential ambition of Lamido.
He had earlier said the road to Jigawa from Kano was better than that from Lagos to Ibadan, drawing a parallel between Lamido and many other Governors in the country.

The former President had shunned invitation to the presentation of mid-term report by Jonathan in Abuja to attend the Dutse event.
Of further significance was the presence of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria at the event.

In his own remarks, Mrak said, “All we need is a collective resolve to confront our challenges and find a lasting solution to them.”
He spoke at the service to mark the 2013 Democracy Day at St. Mulumba Catholic Chaplaincy, Apo, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Mark explained that the state of emergency proclamation in some states of the federation was a last resort to tame the lingering menace of insecurity and bring normalcy back to the land.

The Senate President charged every Nigerian to be a good apostle of peace in the country to facilitate delivery of the dividend of democracy.
He reiterated that the nation was currently passing through some difficulties, especially in the areas of security and socio-economy challenges.
“We can collectively resolve to say enough is enough. All our efforts towards development would come to naught if the crisis continues.

“The state of emergency proclamation on three states was a last resort to curtail the unabating insurgency. And I know it is yielding positive result. Very soon, it will be over as our military formations are living up to the task,” Mark told the congregation.

He thanked Nigerians for their perseverance and cooperation in the propagation and sustenance of democracy, adding that democracy is a process everyone should uphold in order to benefit from its dividends.

“It was by choice and design that the nation chose democracy as the best form of government. Democracy promotes rule of law, upholds human rights, freedom of speech and indeed participatory.

“Whichever faith or religion, I urge Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, unity and progress of the nation,” he added.
Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, also spoke in Asaba on Wednesday at a reception to mark the Democracy Day shortly after commissioning some roads and schools projects in the state, saying the President has done well in handling the crisis with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

He said it was unfortunate that the President has to experience the disturbances but said he has done well, and appealed to people of the South-South geo-political zone to rally round Jonathan.

 

“We need your help to conquer insurgents” – IGP tells Nigerians

By Emmanuel Uzodinma on May 30, 2013

Nigeria’s Inspector General of police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, on Monday, said it would be difficult to win the war against insurgents in the country without the police’s partnership with members of the public.

Abubakar stated this during a South-East geopolitical zone Intelligence Sensitization and Community Partnership workshop held in Enugu.

The Police Chief who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of police A.I.G zone 9, Umuahia, Solomon Arase, said no Police Force in the world, no matter how well equipped, trained, and remunerated could achieve its policing mandate without intelligence and community support.

Abubakar stressed that the Nigeria police like its counterparts across the world could not curtail the menace of crime and criminalities without the cooperation of the citizens, as well as strategic stakeholders, particularly at the grass roots.

The IGP further indicated that the workshop was designed to “enlighten citizens at the grass roots level, strategic political office holders, our revered Royal fathers, and other strategic security stake holders on their obligations within the internal security structure of the country”.

“It is also expected to engender the spirit of security consciousness among citizens at local level, encourage community partnership and political support in the intelligence functions of the force”, he added.

In his speech, while declaring the workshop open, Governor of Enugu State, Barrister Sullivan I. Chime, represented by the Hon Commissioner of Commerce and Industry Dr. Jude Akubuilo assured the Inspector General of police of the readiness of Enugu state to partner with the police Force in crime prevention and detection.

In his speech, the chairman Senate Committee on police affairs,Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu appreciated the efforts of the Inspector General of police towards the organization of the workshop across the geo-political zones of the country.

According to him, the awareness was in line with a growing global trend which now emphasized community based intelligence and security networking with a view to ensuring proper data gathering for credible intelligence.

A communiqué is expected at the end of the workshop.

 

 

 

POSTED ON THURSDAY, MAY 30TH, 2013

By Sylvester Enoghase, Oyeniran Apata (Lagos) and Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt)

MAJORITY Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Chidi Lloyd, on Wednesday warned those who are plotting to impeach the state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, not to waste their money to bribe people because “impeachment will not work.”

He said while he believes that President Goodluck Jonathan has no hand in the Rivers State crisis, the President has a duty to intervene.
Lloyd spoke in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent in Port Harcourt.

There have been speculations in town that some pro-Presidency politicians in the state have been plotting to impeach Amaechi in the aftermath of the controversial election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) which he won on Friday but which Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, is also claiming to have won.

“The President has said many times that he has no hand in what is happening in Rivers State. I believe him. But he should be reading newspapers to know exactly what is going on here and intervene accordingly,” Lloyd added.

He believes that the Presidency cannot probate and reprobate at the same time.

“They should do something about this matter”.

On Democracy Day celebration, the lawmaker pointed out that “here in Rivers State we are not celebrating democracy day because we are being hounded and castigated for winning an election. We don’t even know whether today is a democracy day”, he stated.

Lloyd added: “What you can call democracy is only feasible in Rivers State where the dividends of democracy are there for everyone to see. Those who are attacking Governor Amaechi are not attacking him for non-performance.

“In Rivers State there is nothing there for us to celebrate when the police are working with the militants to destabilise the state. They have taken us to the past.

“Look at what is happening in some parts of the state in recent times. These bad people are back to destabilise the peace of the state.”
He enjoined Nigerian political leaders to eschew every form of bitterness and work for the enthronement of an enduring democracy that all citizens would be proud of.

Lloyd is one of the 27 lawmakers suspended by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state led by Felix Obuah.

He noted that Nigeria was merely groping in the dark, saying a good democracy has as its characteristics tolerance, justice and respect for human feelings, not “rule of force and intimidation.”

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on his part apologised to Nigerians on the outcome of the NGF election, insisting though that his colleagues voted for Amaechi.

He said this on a live telecast on the Lagos State Television (LTV) tagged ‘6th Anniversary Public Interaction with BRF’, adding that the post election crisis and controversy was a joke gone too far.

“I am not proud about what we have done. I think we will find another method to clear this and I can only say to Nigerians irrespective of what happens to the election that we are sorry,” he said.

Fashola, who expressed regrets having to speak about the conduct of his colleagues in public, explained that the evidences were clear that the election was won by Amaechi.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also warned state Governors embroiled in a feud over the outcome of the recent NGF election not to unnecessarily overheat the polity.

The Congress also honoured some of its departed heroes by naming some edifices after them.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held till late Tuesday night in Abuja, the NLC noted that while the Governors had the right to organise themselves, it should be within the civilized norms of society.

A communiqué at the end of the meeting reads in part: “Congress therefore refuses to believe that Governors who are themselves beneficiaries of supposedly credible elections cannot organise themselves, a class of 36.

“This presupposes that something fundamentally must have gone wrong somewhere. Whatever it is, the Governors and their fellow travelers in power should quickly fix it.

“As critical custodians of people’s mandate and grand beneficiaries of our democracy, there are certain things Governors must not be seen to be doing.”
The communiqué was signed by Abdulwahed Omar and Chris Uyot, President and Acting General Secretary of the congress, respectively.

“In the light of the foregoing, we call on our Governors to create value around, as well as restore dignity to their office: get back to work instead of unnecessarily overheating the polity: not to put in jeopardy our hard earned democracy; respect the process and outcome of their election.”

 

Zimbabwe not ready for “credible” election: EU

Zimbabwe still has much work ahead of it if the country is to hold a fair election this year, a top European Union official told journalists in Harare.

 

“I think there is still a lot to be done if elections are to be peaceful and credible,” EU Managing Director for Africa Nicholas Westcott said during a visit to the southern African nation.

The country recently passed a new constitution in a national referendum.

This paved the way for general elections later this year which should end a fragile coalition government between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.

In light of the new constitutional path Zimbabwe has taken, the EU recently removed some sanctions which targeted Mugabe’s inner circle.

A fair election could push the EU to remove further punitive measures.

Zimbabwe is also in need of cash to hold the election, as the treasury says the state cannot foot the bill. The country entered into a prolonged period of economic collapse more than a decade ago, owing to Mugabe’s policies which included the seizure of white-owned farms.

There has been an economic rebound in recent years, but the recovery is slow and unsteady.

“Our criterion for funding the elections is that we are confident that we are contributing to elections that will not be skewed,” said Westcott.

“I have been looking if we can get assurances that the money will be well spent towards goodwill objectives,” he added.

Zimbabwe’s last election in 2008 was rife with fraud, intimidation and violence targeting the opposition, media and civil society groups.

Violence

Meanwhile political violence has left dozens injured in Harare South.

The area surrounding Crest Breeders on the outskirts of Harare turned into a combat zone on Tuesday as ZANU PF supporters indiscriminately attacked a group of MDC activists.

Crest Breeders falls under Harare South, the only parliamentary constituency held by ZANU PF in the Harare metropolitan area. The incumbent MP, Hubert Nyanhongo is ZANU PF’s deputy Minister of Energy and Power development.

The retired army officer has abandoned the constituency and has now set his sights on the Nyanga North seat held by the MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonozra.

Jacob Mafume, the newly elected MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Harare South, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that the unprovoked attack left a number of party activists injured, three of them seriously.

The lawyer-cum politician deplored the attacks and urged leaders in ZANU PF to act immediately to address the political violence and intimidation that their supporters still use against the MDC.

Mafume, currently a legal advisor in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, said it is clear many of ZANU PF’s leaders use political violence to prevail in elections. He explained that such struggles for political office are often waged in the streets by criminal gangs, recruited by politicians to help them hold on to power.

‘Our supporters were attacked on the pretext that Harare South is a ZANU PF stronghold and no one should dare wear anything other than ZANU PF regalia.

‘But the margin of victory in the 2008 elections is not that wide to suggest it’s a ZANU PF territory. What we have is an orchestrated campaign by known people intending to butcher their way to victory in Harare,’ Mafume added.

He stressed that the attackers are well known figures in the area, but have not been arrested because of their political connections.

‘The problem we have in this country is people speak in forked tongues on electoral violence. The more people in ZANU PF preach peace, the more their supporters prepare arms of violence,’ said Mafume.

The level of violence has reached a point where party principals in the GPA urgently need to restrain their supporters. President Mugabe has lately been saying that elections should be peaceful, but the ZANU PF leader has made similar pronouncements before, but they have never been followed through by any action.

 

Sudan army increasing security around Abu-Kershola perimeter

May 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army is conducting combing operations around the recently-reclaimed area of Abu Kershola in South Kordofan to increase security around its perimeter, a military commander said today.

Brigadier General Adel Ali al-Kanani was quoted by privately-owned Ashorooq TV as saying that their goal is to make Abu Kershola as safe as it was in the past so that life return completely to normal.

In late April, rebels from Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), who aim to topple the regime of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir took control of the area as part of a wide offensive that saw them briefly occupying North Kordofan’s second largest town, Um Rawaba.

This week the Sudanese government announced that it retook Abu Kershola but rebels claimed it withdrew voluntarily for humanitarian reasons.

Ashorooq TV said that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) seized a large number of military vehicles and equipment while destroying many others.

Its reporter said that he saw many burned vehicles and bodies of rebel soldiers scattered in the streets of Abu Kershola.

Sudan state media published photos attributed to SAF media allegedly showing burned vehicles and rebel corpses in Abu Kershola.

The area’s mayor Mohamed Ismail said that rebels ransacked Abu Kershola leaving it in a state of destruction by looting the market and houses and taking medicine out of the hospital.

He pointed out that a committee formed by the state government of South Kordofan including a number of ministers and advisers arrived in Abu Kershola to inspect the situation and get in touch with citizens who persevered over the past period.

A local committee is working on assisting displaced residents with returning to their homes. It has urged authorities and NGO’s to provide urgent humanitarian aid to help in their repatriation process.

(ST)

North & South Sudan fix oil export glitch: ambassador

May 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The neighbouring states of Sudan and South Sudan fixed a technical issue at an export facility that forced Juba to cut its production by half last week, an official said today.

South Sudan’s ambassador in Khartoum, Mayan Dut Wol, told Reuters that his country’s oil shipment should be loaded in the second half of June.

“The oil is flowing… We expect it to arrive on the 13th, 14th or 15th in Port Sudan,” Wol said, adding that it would be loaded on vessels around June 20.

Last week, Juba accused Khartoum of instructing oil companies to stop production from some oil fields which threatened to drastically derail a deal signed last March allowing for resumption of oil flow after more than a year of being suspended.

The Sudanese government however, denied this saying that it s a result of a technical issue.

Officials at the South Sudan’s petroleum and mining ministry said the stoppage began when security operatives “tied nuts” and chased away oil workers from the Tharjath oil field in Unity state.

At the time, South Sudan president Salva Kiir pledged to halt oil production if Khartoum continues these “playing tactics”.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir this week himself warned Juba that he will shut down the pipelines carrying oil from the landlocked south into the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan if it does not stop backing anti-Khartoum insurgents.

But South Sudan ambassador downplayed Bashir’s threats describing it as an “emotional” outburst of the president which he has got used while growing up in Khartoum.

“I am not shocked,” Wol told Reuters. “We know the president, we know him,” he said, laughing.

He said bilateral meetings have been going on normally since the speech for both sides to work out details on oil, trade and border security deals which were incorporated in last March’s implementation matrix.

(ST)

 

Govt re-opens Monitor

By Vision Reporter

The Uganda Government on Thursday morning announced the re-opening of The Daily Monitor. Hours later, after a meeting with the directors of Red Pepper, they were also re-opened.

Statements below:

On Monitor

On Red Pepper


GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON THE POLICE SEARCH AT THE MONITOR PUBLICATIONS, THURSDAY 30TH MAY 2013

1.    On the 7th day of May 2013, the Daily Monitor published a classified letter headed “proposed investigations” dated 29thApril 2013 purportedly written by Gen. David Sejusa, addressed to the Director General, Internal Security Organisation and copied to a number of senior security officers, including the Chief of Defence Forces and the Director General, External Security Organisation.

2.    Soon after that publication, the Police initiated investigations to establish the authenticity of the letter published by the Daily Monitor.

3.    According to the preliminary inquiries, it was established that the Director General, Internal Security Organisation, to whom the letter was addressed, as well as the officers to whom the letter was copied never received it.  Evidently, it was only the Daily Monitor in possession of the letter.

4.    The Police commenced investigations by asking the journalists and the editors of the Monitor to explain how they got the letter and also to avail the letter.  However, the Monitor employees declined to cooperate.

5.    Subsequently on the 9th of May 2013 the Police summoned the two journalists who were the authors of the story as well as the Managing Director, Monitor Publications Ltd. They reported to CID Headquarters on the 14th of May 2013. However, they refused to co-operate with the Police.

6.    Given the lack of co-operation from the editors and journalists of the Monitor Publications Ltd, on 16 May 2013 the Police applied for and obtained an Order from Court compelling the Monitor Publications Ltd to avail not only the document but also state its source. Again the Monitor Publications Ltd declined to respect the court order.

7.    Subsequently on the 20th of May 2013, the Police decided to go to court again and, this time obtained a search warrant authorizing the search of the Monitor premises for the letter as well as any other document related to or similar to it.

8.    On the 24th of May 2013, the Police was served with a court order canceling the search warrant earlier issued. Noteworthy, the order canceling the search warrant was issued by the same Magistrate who had earlier issued the search warrant. The Police found this to be highly irregular and has challenged the order and the matter is before courts of law.

9.    In order to facilitate the continuation and completion of the search, the Police invoked the provisions of S. 27 of the Police Act, which empowers Police to conduct searches without a search warrant.

10. It should be noted that from the time the search commenced, the Police treated the Monitor premises and had them sealed, as a scene of crime, because apart from the letter, certain crimes had been committed by the Monitor Publications Ltd in particular violations of the Official Secrets Act.

11. In the meantime the management of the Monitor Publications Ltd made contact with me and on the 24th and 25th May 2013 the Government and representatives of the Monitor Publications met in an effort to amicably settle the matter.

12. Later on Sunday the 26th of May 2013, the management of the Nation Media Group met H.E the President in Addis Ababa, where he was attending the AU summit, as a follow up to the above mentioned meeting.

13. As a follow up to the undertakings in the meeting between H.E the President and the Nation Media Group, a delegation led by myself met representatives of the Nation Media Group at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On the Government side, the meeting was attended by Hon. Rose Namayanja Nsereko, Minister for Information and National Guidance, Gen. Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Christopher Gashirabake, the Ag. Solicitor General and Mr. Ofwono Opondo, In-coming Executive Director, Government Media Centre. The Nation Media Group was represented by Dr. Simon Kagugube, Chairman Monitor Publications Ltd and Mr. Linus Gitahi CEO. In the meeting the Media Nation Group made written undertakings to the Government.

Specifically, the following are the highlights:

(i)          They highly regretted the story that led to the closure of the Monitor newspaper and KFM and Dembe Radio stations.

(ii)         They undertook that the Monitor newspaper will only publish or air stories which are properly sourced, verified and factual.

(iii)        They also undertook that the reporting in the Monitor newspaper will always be objective, fair and balanced.

(iv)       They undertook to be sensitive to and not publish or air stories that can generate tensions, ethnic hatred, cause insecurity or disturb law and order.

(v)        They acknowledged that there had been violations of their editorial policy by their Reporters and Editors in Uganda. They availed us with a copy of their Editorial Policy and undertook to ensure that both the letter and the spirit of the policy are respected.

(vi)       They undertook to tighten their internal editorial and gate keeping processes, to ensure that stories that impact especially on national security are subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny and verification process before they run.

(vii)      Further they undertook to seek regular interface with the Government of Uganda to ensure that the undertakings they have made will be respected and implemented.

(viii)    They undertook to ensure that the Monitor Publications Ltd will  observe and comply with the laws of Uganda. In particular they committed themselves to co-operate with the Police on the ongoing investigations.

14. In view of the above mentioned commitments and undertakings by the management of the Nation Media Group/Monitor Publications to the Government; and at the request of the management, the Police has called off the cordon of the Monitor premises so that they resume their normal business as police continue with the search.

Dated at Kampala this _30th_day of_May_2013.
                                        
Eng. Hilary Onek (MP)
MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

Uganda police vacate Daily Monitor, Red Pepper premises

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – 00:00 — BY EUGENE OKUMU

 

The 10-day siege that crippled activities in the offices of Uganda’s Daily Monitor and Red Pepper has today ended after police officers who have been conducting searches in the premises vacated the offices today.

The vacation by police follows an order issued by outgoing Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek who directed the Daily Monitor, a sister company to Kenya’s Nation Media Group to be allowed to resume operations.

Trouble started for the newspaper and three other media outlets, Red Pepper Publications, KFM and Dembe FM, after they ran stories of an alleged letter from Uganda’s director of Security Services General David Sesuja.

In the letter, General Sesuja allegedly claimed that there is a conspiracy to groom Brigadere Muhoozi Keinerugaba to succeed his father Yoweri Museveni as the next president of Uganda.

Furthe to the claims General Sesuja asked the Director General of Internal Security Organisation to investigate allegations that there was a plot to assassinate top army and government officials opposed to the succession plan.

Uganda’s media regulator warned it would “penalise” excessive coverage about the Sejusa letter and a court ordered the Daily Monitor to hand over the document, a decision the newspaper has appealed.

“The police showed up saying they have a warrant to search our premises for the Sejusa letter so they cordoned off our premises and started searching,” Don Wanyama, Daily Monitor managing editor, told Reuters.

 

Security officer threatens South Sudan private TV station at gun point

 

May 30, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudanese security agents have raided the office of The Citizen newspaper at gun point, demanding that the daily not allow its television station to broadcast anything relating to political engagement and activities of the country’s vice president Riek Machar.

President Salva Kiir, who left for a state visit to Japan on Wednesday, recently removed various powers from his deputy including the chairmanship of a conference on reconciliation in the young nation.

Machar, who was one of the officials to see Kiir off from Juba airport, is rumoured to be considering putting himself forward to become the chairperson of the SPLM – South Sudan’s ruling party – at an upcoming meeting.

The Citizen’s managing director, Nhial Bol Akeen, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that a member of the security services visited his office and “demanded all programs should not be broadcast before they know about our reports”.

The security agents said it was a directive from the “headquarters” but did not specifiy of what institution, Akeen said, adding that the same security officers had last week warned his reporters “not to report on certain issues without consulting them or those relating to the activities relating to the vice president”.

The veteran journalist, who has been harassed by South Sudan’s police and security services on numerous occasions said “the security officer was furious and went to our station and threatened the manager at gun point. He told the manger point blank not to publish anything relating to the vice president”.

With Kiir in Japan, Machar is South Sudan’s acting president until he returns making it hard for the media not cover his activities.

“I do not understand how it will work as the vice president is currently the acting president and there is no way we can avoid covering activities relating to the national issues, since he is now the acting president”, Akeen said.

The media organisation have asked that the directives be made officially rather than through informal threats.

“It should be in a meeting or put it in writing so that it becomes official instead of coming with threats and attack. What they are doing is an attack on freedom and public right to access information”, he said.

Akeen said he suspects that the security agent who came to their offices must have been acting under instructions from individuals in the security institutions who want to control the media from covering certain issues; especially issues relating to current power struggle within the leadership of the country’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The government has denied having any such plan and that there was no information about the attack on The Citizen Television, saying they will find out who were involved in the act.

“I am not aware of this information and we will find out who of the security personnel were involved”, a senior officer in the office of South Sudan’s national security minister said on Thursday.

The officer, who did not want to be identified, said he was sure South Sudan’s security minister, Oyai Deng, was not aware of such a directive but said that he would prefer the media house to show responsibility in what they write or broadcast.

South Sudanese information and Broadcasting Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin could not be reached over the issue despite repeated attempts and several senior officials at the ministry declined to comment on the issue when contacted by the Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Journalists in South Sudan are increasingly complaining that the security services are forcing the young nation’s press to self censor in their coverage relating to the actions of the security services, human rights and corruption, and, since the Kiir-Machar row erupted, coverage of the vice president’s activities.

Last week the US envoy to Juba, Susan Page, said her government was “very concerned about the deteriorating levels of press freedom” in the South Sudan.

“The continued push back, intimidation and harassment of journalists is a violation of their rights and freedoms,” she said last Friday.

Page’s remarks came after the Committee to Protection of Journalists (CPJ) wrote an open letter to president Kiir asking him to address the deteriorating state of press freedom in two-year-old nation.

“We urge you to use the power of your office to ensure that journalists are allowed to work freely without harassment and censure from state security officials”, the letter says.

CPJ said it documented at least 12 cases of “attacks, harassment, and detention” of journalists in South Sudan in past six months.

“In all but two of the cases, security officials were the perpetrators. Security agents, including police, have routinely harassed, intimidated, and occasionally detained journalists,” the letter said.

Threats against the press not only violatte South Sudan’s constitution but also the values the ruling SPLM said it was fighting for during decades of civil war.

This year’s press freedom rankings published by Reporters Without Borders saw South Sudan drop 12 places from 124th to the 148th worst country on the list.

(ST)

 

President Kenyatta suspends Justice Mutava

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR REPORTER

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended Justice Joseph Mutava over allegations of misconduct after forming a tribunal to probe him.

This follows a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission made  on May 17.

The JSC sub-committee investigating Justice Mutava asked the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of the judge on the basis of three out of the nine complaints that the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had filed against him.

A statement signed by JSC deputy chairperson Prof Christine Mango said the commission was satisfied that the complaints disclosed sufficient grounds to petition the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Justice Mutava.

The LSK filed the complaint against Justice Mutava following a ruling by the Judge terminating the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni. The ruling caused a  public uproar with civil society and legal rights activists including the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) and LSK  questioning the judge’s credibility and describing his decision to acquit Patni as being a ‘miscarriage of justice.’

.

March 4 polls free, fair – EU

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – 00:00 — BY GIDEON KETER

 

EUROPEAN Union election observers have said that the March 4 general elections in Kenya were “overally successful, free and fair” despite reported flaws.

They have however said the processing of the final results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission “lacked the necessary transparency as party agents and election observers were not given adequate access to the tallying centres”.

Speaking yesterday in Nairobi while releasing the final report, EU elections observation mission chief observer Alojz Peterle said there are several lessons from the difficulties that arose during the process.

“During these challenging elections we saw many positive achievements that Kenyans can be justly proud of but we also observed several issues that need to be addressed in future,” he said.

“I sincerely hope that the success of achieving a peaceful election will move Kenya forward. In the last five years this country has shown that it can overcome difficulties by learning from the experiences of the past.”

The EU mission in the report said they discovered widespread minor discrepancies in the total tallies and between the numbers of the vote cast for the presidential and other electoral races.

However, the differences were almost all less than 1 per cent. The report states that this figure only “tends to imply tallying errors rather than fraud”. The report also said the use of technology to enhance the transparency of the elections was bound to fail as the time in which they were bought was not sufficient.

“The application of technology support to elections was not successful. This was due in large part to the attempt to introduce new technology less than a year and in some cases just months to the general elections,” the report said.

The report accuses the IEBC for failing to manage the procurement and implemention of experts warning on the use of technology in elections. It stated that more than 3 million Kenyans could not vote as they were locked out from registering as voters.

“While the biometric voter registration process was successful, the time allocated was insufficient to register all those entitled to vote. More than 3 million Kenyans were not registered and therefore were unable to vote in the elections,” the report said.

The report said the failure of the electronic voter identification devices created suspicion about the IEBC’s capability to manage elections. The report commends the Kenyan media and civil society for advocating for peaceful and transparent elections.

However, it states that the media at some point “filtered potentially disagreeable messages that did not conform to the calls for calm and patience”. It also commended the Judiciary for building trust among the Kenyans as the last resort to resolve any elections petitions fairly.

It stated that failure to apply the quota system and the constitutional principle on affirmative action, women participation in the elections was low and as a result no woman was elected senator or governor.

Kenya’s war on terror has been effective, say US

By KEVIN KELLEY New York
Posted  Friday, May 31  2013 at  04:26

IN SUMMARY

  • The report hails “the long-awaited passage of Kenya’s Prevention of Terrorism Act.” Kenya also made “significant progress” in correcting deficiencies in its apparatus for preventing money-laundering on the part of terrorism financiers, the State Department says.

 

Kenya has been effectively fighting terrorism, the United States of America said in a new global report on terror.

“Despite Somali refugee issues, preparation for 2013 national elections, the threat of al-Shabaab, and ethnic, political, and economic tensions, the Kenyan government demonstrated persistent political will to secure its borders, apprehend terrorists, and cooperate in regional and international counter-terrorism efforts,” says the US global report on terrorism, issued on Thursday.

The State Department cites Kenya’s success in disrupting “several large-scale terrorist plots.” Positive mention is also made of Kenyan military operations inside Somalia, which resulted in“capture of the key port city of Kismaayo, al-Shabaab’s last major stronghold.”

The report hails “the long-awaited passage of Kenya’s Prevention of Terrorism Act.” Kenya also made “significant progress” in correcting deficiencies in its apparatus for preventing money-laundering on the part of terrorism financiers, the State Department says.

But Kenya “still has much work to do” in implementing the Prevention of Terrorism Act and in developing the capacity to “track, seize, and confiscate the assets of al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups,” the report adds.

It goes on to describe Kenya as “an active law-enforcement partner” in the State Department’s anti-terrorism assistance programme.

“Kenyan law enforcement agencies worked closely with the international community, including the US, to increase their counter-terrorism abilities, secure porous land borders and improve maritime security,” the report says.

In addition, Kenya cooperated with the US to secure “especially dangerous pathogens.” The government also enhanced its ability to prevent the sale, theft or accidental release of chemical, biological or radiological weapons-related material, the report observes.

Kenya paid a price for its commitment to fighting terrorism.

The report notes that at least 34 people have been killed and over 145 injured in more than three dozen terrorist incidents reported in Kenya last year.

MPs want tougher line on graft

 

By  Florence Mugarula

Posted  Wednesday, May 29  2013 at  22:28

IN SUMMARY

This is despite the fact that a committee appointed by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi established that the official was involved in the irregular selling of public land in the municipality.

Dodoma. MPs on Tuesday accused the government of being reluctant to take disciplinary measures against officials who abuse their positions in Kinondoni District.

They said transferring such officials instead of taking them to court only succeeded in fuelling disputes.

The MPs were debating the 2013/14 budget estimates of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, which was tabled on Monday and passed on Tuesday.

They said most officials, especially in the Kinondoni Municipal Council, were abusing their offices by taking bribes and mistreating the people they were supposed to serve and yet the government responded by transferring them from one duty station to another. Ms Halima Mdee (Kawe-Chadema) said the government was perpetuating inefficiency and corruption by transferring corrupt servants.

She said a former official in the Lands Section of Kinondoni Municipal Council, who was implicated in corruption, was transferred to Mwanza and later the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development before she was moved back to the council. This is despite the fact that a committee appointed by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi established that the official was involved in the irregular selling of public land in the municipality.

“The corrupt official is now back in Kinondoni Municipality…we don’t need her. She was transferred to Mwanza before being moved to the ministry headquarters. You have now brought her back to Kinondoni,” Ms Mdee said.

Mr Suleimani Jaffo (Kisarawe-CCM) said the same problem existed in his constituency, where public servants who went against the principles of their jobs were transferred to other stations.

“This cannot help us to solve these problems. Serious measures should be taken against these people,” he said.

Responding to the queries, Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development minister Anna Tibaijuka said the government was aware of the problem, adding that errant officials were being investigated prior to other measures being taken against them.

The minister of State in the President’s Office, Public Service and Management, Ms Hawa Ghasia, assured Parliament that stern disciplinary and legal measures were being taken against public servants who abused their positions.

Hold fire, KCM told

By CHILA NAMAIKO, MOFFAT CHAZINGWA and ETAMBUYU SANG’ANDU   –

GOVERNMENT has given Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) management and the three mineworkers’ unions a two-week ultimatum in which to find ways of averting the retrenchment of 2,000 workers.

Labour and Social Security Deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu has directed KCM and the unions to open dialogue and find ways of mitigating the impact of high costs of production to prevent the proposed job cuts at the mining firm.

Mr Mbulu made the directive during a Press briefing in Lusaka shortly after holding a tripartite consultative meeting which comprised the Government, KCM and the three national mineworkers’ unions.

“The Government, the unions and KCM management appeal to employees and other stakeholders is to remain calm.

“KCM management and the unions will report back their progress to the Government within the shortest possible time, but no later than two weeks from today,” he said.

The three unions are Mineworkers Union of Zambia, National Union of Mining and Allied Workers and United Mineworkers Union of Zambia.

This follows a recent decision by KCM to retrench 2,000 employees from the current 8,263 workforce, citing a downward trend in copper prices in the last one year.

Mr Mbulu said during the tripartite meeting, all the parties agreed to allow genuine consultations within the spirit of calmness, mutual respect and collective responsibility to come up with long-lasting solutions.

KCM recently announced its intention to trim its workforce, saying the price of copper on the world market had steadily declined by 22 per cent in the last year, and that macro-economic trends suggested that the price would remain depressed.

Meanwhile, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga has said there are better ways of  sorting out financial problems at the mining firm rather than cutting down on labour.

Mr Mukanga told journalists at the 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe  yesterday that Government ‘s position over the 2, 000 KCM workers earmarked for laying off was that they should be maintained.

“We don’t think KCM will go ahead with the retrenchment of 2, 000 workers because we are sitting down with them right now,” Mr Mukanga said.

He said the Government was working hard to create an enabling environment for mining companies to operate and that it expected a reciprocal approach.

The minister said to that effect, the Government would not accept any surprises of job cuts at KCM.

 

Diepsloot residents deny claims of xenophobia

29 MAY 2013 00:00 NICKOLAUS BAUER

Both local and international residents of Diepsloot have denied claims that xenophobia is behind two days of violence in the township.

 

“This isn’t xenophobia, people are just jealous of the businesses making money and want to steal. They don’t hate foreigners, they are just criminals,” Agnes Tshavengwa, Zimbabwean national and long-term resident of Diepsloot said.

Approximately 80 small-scale shops and informal retailers were looted following the killing of two Zimbabweans on Sunday, allegedly at the hands of a Somali shop owner.

Almost 50 people have since been arrested for public violence, housebreaking, and possession of unlicensed firearms and are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The Somali shopkeeper was also due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of murder and attempted murder.

“The Zimbabwean guys were playing music loudly outside the Somali guy’s shop. They had an argument and he shot them,” said Fungayi Makota, a nearby street vendor who witnessed the incident.

“That guy has had trouble at his shop before but I don’t know why he did what he did.”

While details remain sketchy as to the motives behind the killings, it is seen as the flashpoint for the violence that followed. The situation remained tense throughout Tuesday, with a heavy police presence in the township.

Looting
Broken glass from shop fronts and boxes litter the roads around the looted stores. On Tuesday, school children waded through the remains of shops, collecting the little that remained that could be salvaged.

The plunderers gained access through force, breaking down metal doors with crowbars and many shops were also torched after being looted.

One spaza shop, Easy Buy, was destroyed when a side wall was smashed open to gain access to the store. No foreign nationals were hurt during the looting, with many saying they were merely chased away from their shops.

While xenophobia was quickly suggested as the reason for the violence, this has been dismissed by government.

“Government has noted with concern so-called xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in townships around Gauteng,” a statement released on Monday read.

“These acts of violence are pure criminal activities and those found guilty will face the full might of the law.”

This drew criticism from anti-xenophobia civil society groups who claimed the state was not dealing with the issue.

Opportunistic
“Many officials in our government also don’t want to attribute this to xenophobia. But, in many cases its xenophobia disguised as crime – not vice versa.”

However, Diepsloot residents lent credence to the government’s assertions and too felt the situation was being exploited by opportunistic criminals.

“It wasn’t even just foreigners that were looting and destroying things,” said Nomphumelelo Maphaha.

“South Africans were next to Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and others just stealing.”

Maphaha, a South African Diepsloot resident since 2005, rents her garage to Ethiopian Misganaw Abide, who converted the space into a spaza shop in 2010.

Abide’s spaza shop was looted and destroyed on Monday night, leaving both him and Maphaha without a steady income.

“We help each other here,” Abide said.

“When people don’t have money I give them credit. We live side by side as neighbours with no problems. Now I have nothing and don’t know how I can start again.”

Abide’s despair is mirrored by Vincent Ngomani, a Mozambican salon owner whose shop was vandalised and stripped during violence on Monday.

“These guys were only interested in breaking my shop and stealing things,” said Ngomani. “We can’t call this xenophobia because they are not telling us to leave and go home. They just want our stuff.”

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian‘s jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice.

 

Rwandans arrested in Britain over 1994 genocide

By AFP

LONDON (AFP) – British police on Thursday arrested five men wanted in Rwanda over the 1994 genocide following an extradition request from Rwandan prosecutors.

The men appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court later Thursday under an extradition warrant alleging offences including genocide and murder, according to a Metropolitan Police statement.

The alleged crimes took place between January 1993 and July 1994, police added.

Police named the suspects as Emmanuel Ntezirayo, 51, Charles Munyaneza, 55, Celestine Ugirashebuja, 60, Vincent Bajinya, 52, and Celestine Mutabaruka, 57.

Four of the men won a British court battle in 2009 blocking an extradition as judges feared there was “a real risk” they would not get a fair trial in their home country.

Rwanda’s chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga said all the suspects had a “case to answer” and that his country had made “significant progress” in laying the ground for fair trials, in a statement issued Thursday.

Three of the suspects were mayors of Rwandan communes and are accused of playing a major role in the genocide which claimed the lives of an estimated 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis.

The men will next appear in court on June 5.

SLPP Thugs Assault SLPP Women

By Aruna Turay
May 30, 2013, 17:22

Members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) suspected to be operating outside the interest of the notorious Pa-O-Pa group of the failed Julius Maada Bio were subjected to deadly physical attacks on Monday 27th May 2012 in Lumley, Freetown.
Prominent among the SLPP members who were mercilessly manhandled, wounded and stripped naked by Pa-O-Pa thugs were four SLPP executive members in the persons of Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu.

 

The attacks were allegedly led by prominent Pa-O-Pa associates like Jacob Jusu Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray, and Admire Bio. They were reported given backup by several other wayward unidentified youths to perpetrate violence.

 

Eyewitnesses say the attack and riot was so deadly that the victims had to rush to the police station for rescue.
The actual incident took place at Grassfield in Lumley, where the SLPP was holding its District Executive Elections for Constituency 112.

 

This election was initially held on the 11th May 2013, but was marred by fraud and rudeness, and was cancelled. Reports have it that the same Pa-O-Pa Group interrupted the counting process in the May 11 elections when they noticed that the outcome was not going in their favour.

 

Eyewitness reports say the Monday attack was premeditated as the thugs wasted no time in descending on the executive members, who had arrived at the scene to conduct the elections.

 

Rachiatu Macauley is the SLPP West-West District Women’s Leader cum District Official for Constituency 112. She is one of the victims of the deadly attack. While narrating her ordeal, she told the Awareness Times how the Pa-O-Pa group connived with certain executive members of Constituency 112 to clandestinely organize the said election, following the initial cancellation and postponement, with no authority from the relevant stakeholders.

 

That election, she continued, was petitioned, cancelled and rescheduled for Monday 27th May 2013.

 

She disclosed that on her arrival on Monday at the Lumley Police Division to make arrangement for police presence at the election venue, she was told that J.J Saffa had already visited the Station on the same purpose and that police officers have been assigned to him already.
“We arrived at the election premises and we were still trying to park our vehicle when we were rudely accosted by J.J Saffa, Abdul Kanja Sesay, Kabineh Kallon, Mustapha Janneh, Faiah Mansaray and Admire Bio,” she alleged, adding that they were ordered to go back to wherever they were coming from as the elections were not going to be held. According to her, J.J Saffa and his team argued that the Constituency 112 Executive had already conducted the said elections.
“We were still trying to make sense out of what they were saying when thugs suspected to be acting on their orders arrived at the scene with pepper spray, knives, sticks and other harmful weapons,” she explained, adding that in no time the thugs began to kick, slap and strip them naked.

 

“We managed to escape from their hands though they continued to chase us until we get closer to the Lumley Police Division,” she disclosed.
The other female victim called Marion Cole also confirmed to the Awareness Times on the phone that they were actually attacked, manhandled and stripped half naked by the Pa-O-Pa thugs.

 

She further alleged that J.J. Saffa and his team viewed the whole deadly drama but did nothing to stop the thugs apart from laughing provocatively and jubilating.

 

The victims told this newspaper that they have reported the matter to the police and that they were issued medical forms.

 

J.J Saffa denied all the aforementioned allegations when we contacted him on the phone. He further denied that he ever went to the police station to apply for security for the said election. J.J Saffa even went to the extent of describing those accusing him of visiting the Lumley Police Station on one hand, and being present at the election scene on the other hand, as “dogs”.

He said he was not at the scene and did not hire thugs to attack anybody.
At the Lumley Police Division, the Local Unit Commander confirmed to this Reporter that his Division is investigating assault complaints made by Marion Cole, Rachiatu Macauley, John Kallon and Michael Yambasu.
LUC Kabbah-Kamara said the complainants alleged that they were manhandled by unknown thugs and members of the SLPP.
The LUC said statements were obtained from all the complainants and medical forms were issued. The matter, he said, is being seriously investigated.
SLPP National Chairman and Leader, John Oponjo Benjamin, also confirmed to the Awareness Times, in an interview that the party has been briefed on the said matter, and that internal investigations are ongoing.

 

All attempts by this press to reach the rest of the accused persons proved unsuccessful, but this press stands willing to publish their own sides if they so desire.

 

POSTED ON THURSDAY, MAY 30TH, 2013

By Tor Vande-Acka
Correspondent, Lafia

Just as the nation celebrated 14 years of democracy, Fulani herdsmen have again attacked six Tiv peasant settlements in and around Kadarko, Nasarawa State, killing two people.

The communities are Tse Kyoon, Nyam Adaga, Gbor, Tsenongo and Anom.

Daily Independent gathered that the attackers, who came in two batches, burnt houses in some of the villages and destroyed cropsin the farms on
Tuesday night. The crops destroyed included maize, yam and cassava.

According to a source who spoke to Daily Independent, some of the farmers, who saw the assailants as they came, raised alarm, adding that the first batch were about 30.

He said they brandished sophisticated weapons, while the second group was made up of another 10, who were also armed.

He said because the attackers were spotted from afar, they were able to run for dear lives before they arrived their village proper.

The source also pointed out that but for the second team, the farmers would have escaped without a casualty, adding that it was the second batch that shot the two persons, a man and a woman, at Gbakaan village.

He added that the attackers who threatened to return, were again sighted by some natives of another town the next day.

The incident has sent fears on the farmers in the area, who have fled their homes and were taking refuge in Kadarko town and other settlements in the area.

Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Cornelius Ocholi, to confirm the report, were unsuccessful.

Principal Judge decries extra judicial acts

By Hillary Nsambu      

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine has lamented acts by some Ugandans who strip naked, thrash or lynch their fellow Ugandans suspected of wrong doing.

Bamwine called upon Ugandans to stop taking the law in their own hands and restore their confidence in the Judiciary, saying that its mission is to administer justice to all people without discrimination.

“Many times, we have seen fellow Ugandans being stripped naked by fellow Ugandans, thrashed, lynched, set on fire – all in an attempt to discipline them. These forms of extra-judicial violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms are legally prohibited,” Bamwine said.

Bamwine was launching a report “Uganda: The right to a fair trail-next steps” compiled by Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)” at a function held at Hotel Cornerstone, Fort Portal in Kabarole District.

The judge assured Ugandans that the Judiciary is independent, competent, trusted and accountable and administers justice to all, so they should restore their confidence in it and stop carrying the law in their own hands.

He said the right to a fair trial could not be enjoyed unless the Judiciary strictly stuck to its core values that are independence and impartiality, transparency, professionalism, integrity, accountability, equity and respect.

“The Judiciary will ensure that it operates freely in its own best judgment, without taking directives from, or being controlled by any person or authority. It will endeavor to have well-trained, professionally competent and self-confident staff that will administer justice to all.

The Judiciary will carry out its activities in an honest and trustful manner and will take all reasonable measures to prevent willful wrongdoing by its officials. It will take full responsibility for its actions and; will always be answerable to the people of Uganda and to its partners.

The Judiciary will uphold the principles of equality, equal opportunities and affirmative action in respect to gender and other disadvantaged groups,” Bamwine reassured Ugandans as he hailed FHRI for its initiative to fight for their civil liberties.

 

New law to give local companies preference

By Billy Rwothungeyo

Unlike Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda does not have preference schemes for local companies in public tenders.

The local industry’s growth has been compromised as foreign companies with bigger capacity often outdo Ugandan companies to do business with the Government.

However, the preference schemes in the amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act of 2003 promise to be the much needed shot in the arm for many a local contractor and service provider to compete favorably.

Currently, the PPDA Amendment act is before Parliament for approval after the Cabinet’s approval.

The new law will apply preference schemes to goods, works and services, where open domestic or open international bidding methods are used.

It will require that public entities procuring goods, works or services under open bidding shall grant margins of preference. For examples, goods manufactured, mined, extracted or grown in Uganda will have a 15% advantage over the rest.

Works undertaken by local contractors or services provided by local consultants will get a 7% edge.

As regards the construction industry, local contractors and consultants will qualify for preference if they meet incorporation, registration and legal parameters.

Why we need preference schemes

Isaac Kyaligonza, the head of the Procuring and Disposing Unit of the education ministry says the schemes will help vulnerable groups like women and youth get a chance of doing business with the Government.

He says this scheme will bode well for developing of the country’s nascent capacity, especially when it comes to competition with foreign companies.

“Preferential treatment towards our local firms will be positive discrimination. Right now, anyone can bid for any tender,” he says.

“For example, if Uganda is constructing a dam, the steel should not be bought abroad, but rather from a local player,” Kyaligonza, who was a member of review task force, says.

However, Kyaligonza argues that this and other advantages that local players will enjoy should be clearly stated from the onset.

He also says the scheme must be transparently executed from the onset.

The private sector in Uganda is increasingly facing competition from foreign companies in the award of tenders.

The apex body of the local private sector; the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) urges government to act quickly on this front.

PSFU executive director Gideon Badagawa said such schemes would be in good shot in the arm for local companies in their quest for better capacity.

“We have been urging the Government to give local firms preference when there is a tender, For any big contract awarded to a foreign company, there should be mandatory sub-contracting to locals.

Govt committed to northern Uganda development – VP

By VISION REPORTER

The Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, has said the NRM Government manifesto is to undertake uniform development across the country to move into a modern economy.

He said the country is faced with many challenges and called upon leaders at all levels to work together in initiating and supporting programmes that will enable the people they lead increase on their income capacities.

Ssekandi was on Tuesday speaking at Lira central market currently under construction after touring the multibillion shilling facility in Lira municipality.

Ssekandi reiterated that the government is committed to the northern Uganda reconstruction programme to restore the social and economic infrastructure of the region to enable the region move at the same pace with the rest of the country in development.

He said Government will continue identifying resources and partners to support the region to recover from setbacks of the insurgency and urged the leaders of the region to work closely with the people to ensure that such support reaches the intended beneficiaries.

The sh26b market being constructed by Arab Contractors is among seven market projects funded by the African Development Bank loan to seven municipalities to be covered in the first phase of the project.

The two-year project expected to be completed by October this year, covers markets in Gulu, Jinja, Mbale, Hoima, Fort Portal, Lira municipalities and Wandegeya.

Lira market will accommodate 26,000 vendors upon completion.

Ssekandi toured the sh1b regional Lira water office block under Urban National Water and Sewage Department in Lira municipality. The two floor building will accommodate about 30 offices covering 23 districts in northern Uganda.

He launched a book entitled “The Granary” written by Lira mayor Morris Odung Omara at Lira Hotel.

 

 

JK: New rail line, increased food production key priorities

By  Mkinga Mkinga  (email the author)

Posted  Wednesday, May 29  2013 at  22:16

IN SUMMARY

Tanzania and Rwanda plan to build a railway from Isaka to Kigali, thereby connecting the countries with the region’s first heavy-duty wide gauge line.

 

Yokohama. President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday the expansion of the Tanzania’s rail network, training of doctors, increasing food production and treating kidney ailments were among the country’s top priorities.

He made the remarks in Yokohama during the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). President Kikwete said there were plans to rebuild the rail line from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kigoma, and construct a new line to Kigali and Bujumbura.

“We should think of having a new railway to Mwanza. We should not refrain from new railway construction,” President Kikwete said.

Tanzania and Rwanda plan to build a railway from Isaka to Kigali, thereby connecting the countries with the region’s first heavy-duty wide gauge line. American firm Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will undertake the construction of the railway line, which is expected to speed up movement of cargo from Tanzania to Rwanda.

President Kikwete also asked Japan to help Tanzania to increase rice production and boost food security. He said Tanzania also hoped it would benefit from Japan’s advances medical sciences as the country grapples with an increase in kidney illnesses.

“We not only need dialysis for patients, but also kidney transplants for those who need them. I know Japan is doing great in this area,” President Kikwete said.

Japan had provided four PhD scholarships, he said, adding that there was a need to increase the number of experts in the health sector.

President Kikwete was scheduled to meet Japanese Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe during his visit.

 

Please post any comments and/or queries on or about these news stories in the box provided below. Your suggestions as to how this service might be improved are also welcomed.

Dear readers, including employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust,

Here is the latest African comment and opinion, taken from the websites of newspapers right across and down Africa:

 

CONTENTS:

 

Africa: Obama’s homecoming –Visits to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania; from The Patriotic Vanguard;

Africa/World: Obama’s Haunting And The Curse Of Governance; from The Chronicle/Agencies;

Ghana: BAWUMIA STANDS TALL IN NPP, from The Chronicle;

Africa: Africa has huge growth potential – professor; from the Cape Times;

Africa: Experts: Infrastructure growth key to Africa’s competitiveness; from The New Times;

South Africa/Zimbabwe: Zuma’s SADC negotiator admits to backing; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

Zimbabwe; Zanu;PF’Zanu (PF) will break-up when Mugabe is gone’ – Nkala; from the Zimbabwe Mail;

South Africa: ‘Foreigners help . . . they are good for the community’;

Kenya: More needed to boost the delivery of justice; from the Daily Nation;

Kenya: Think creatively to quell pastoral conflicts; from the Daily Nation;

Kenya: Battle is on for ownership of lucrative Maasai rights; from the Daily Nation.

Obama’s homecoming –Visits to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania

Wednesday 29 May 2013.

 

Commentary

J Boima Rogers, Oxford, UK.

President Obama has announced that he will be making a homecoming African tour and hopefully this is the beginning of a series of such tours. Africa’s son and the most powerful man on the planet will crisscross the continent from Senegal in the west to South Africa in the south and Tanzania in the east, a grand safari. The choice of countries is possibly based on the criteria outlined in my previous paper on how Obama can engage Africa, namely, size of countries and their importance to the US; the long term relationship as an ally or foe; economic interests; security interests; how aligned are these countries with the values of America and; the needs of these countries, namely, their need for foreign aid. A major criterion must be added to this list, namely, the China factor. Since I wrote the paper the Chinese leader has made visits to the continent and America is realizing that China is making a major effort to engage Africa. Obama’s visit is no doubt an effort to emphasise that America is a major player on the continent and wants to be a partner in developing the resources of the continent. What should be the wish list for the countries visited and what are the implications for the rest of the continent, other countries which will obviously look forward to a visit by the President? In particular, what should they do to merit a visit? The exposure that it gives the countries visited and in particular, the opportunities in terms of investment and tourism can not be underestimated. In this paper the emphasis is on business opportunities on the continent and the benefits of the visits will be maximized if countries can demonstrate that they are good destinations for investment.

Why Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania?

Why were these three countries chosen? A quick review demonstrates how the criteria noted above played a significant role in Obama’s choice. Senegal is a regional hub, playing an increasing role in security issues in Mali and the Sahel region as a whole. The bitterly fought recent election which saw a siting president accept defeat to a challenger established the democratic credential of that country. Senegal has been stable since independence albeit with a long running insurgency in the Cassamance region. The US has economic presence; it is among the top five destinations for Senegal’s exports, with the US accounting for 4.8% of that country’s exports, the fifth largest destination. South Africa is the guardian of the Cape of Good Hope where a significant proportion of American trade is routed through. South Africa, the continent’s largest economy conducts significant trade with America, with the US being the second largest destination (8.6%) for South African exports, after China the leading destination. The US, accounting for 8% of South Africa’s imports is the third largest source after China and Germany. Tanzania’s position in the group has security implications in the still volatile region, notably Somalia and Yemen. The country which has also made strides in governance and economic liberalization has seen impressive economic growth rates for over a decade. It is a richly endowed country with vast potential in oil, uranium, gas, agriculture and tourism. Obama may also be sending a message to Kenya, the neighbouring country where his father hails from, notably, that Kenya should get its act together to merit a visit. Tanzania which has borders with eight countries is in a good position as a regional hub. It does not have significant trade relationship with the America, at the moment; the US does not feature among the top five countries in terms of destination for exports or source of imports.

The wish list and implications for other countries

All three countries possess resources that would be of interest to the US, are of interest to US security concerns and are within Obama’s stated views on making the world a better place. What should be the wish list of these countries and how should they prepare for Obama’s visit? The overall objective should be to market their countries with regard to governance, opportunities for US investors and the market for goods and services in those countries and the US. A key consideration should be on how the US should assist in the development of the infrastructure, a major impediment to economic development and trade.

Senegal must emphasise its position as a regional hub and base for US investment and security projects. It’s relatively good (particularly compared to neighbouring countries) infrastructure and links with countries in the region gives it a strong edge. The Senegalese President stated in a speech in July 2012 that his government wanted an optimal energy mix, with a view to reducing supply costs over the medium and long term through diversification—natural gas, hydropower, and renewable energies—as well as through regional integration. American companies should be well placed to play an important role in energy projects. Senegal has vast solar energy potential and American companies who have pioneered shale gas franking techniques should be invited to make explorations and investment. Other opportunities that should be explored include investment in fertilizer production and other downstream activities for the country’s phosphates. Investment opportunities should also be explored for manufacturing using cotton, groundnuts and fish, commodities where Senegal has abundant raw materials. US investment and markets can also be explored for the country’s ship construction and repair industry. The country’s tourism industry could benefit from US investment and visitors. Senegal still has a lot to do to make the country attractive to investors. The World Bank ranked the country 166th with regard to ease of doing business in 2012, having slipped by four places in the index from 2011. The country’s five worst rankings in terms of individual indicators are: getting electricity; registering property; paying taxes; protecting investors and enforcing contracts. In the run up to Obama’s visit the country needs to do a lot to make it an attractive destination for investors.

South Africa will be looking for acknowledgement and concrete measures to develop and expand its position as the largest, most developed and diversified economy on the continent. It should be looking at getting US companies to invest in production for the home market and exports to the rest of Africa and the world. US investment in power generation and support in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination should be areas to stress. US support for regional integration would also be appreciated. Of particular importance is US help in addressing the dichotomy in the country, a first world advanced economy and a third world developing economy existing side by side. Despite steady but relatively low economic growth and sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies the economy has a daunting problem of skill shortages co-existing with very high unemployment. The World Bank stated that “the potential for faster growth has been held back by industrial concentration, skill shortages, labour market rigidities, chronically low savings and investment rates and spatial barriers from the former apartheid system.” US help in revamping the educational sector with emphasis on math, science and technical skills and assistance in the regulatory and delivery framework of the industrial and labour markets should be a priority. The country scores quite high, 39th, in terms of the World Bank’s ranking on ease of doing business. The worst individual rankings are: getting electricity; trading across borders; resolving insolvency, enforcing contracts and registering property. South Africa needs to do a lot to rise up in rankings in these areas where it currently lags behind. In addition, there are two areas which are not covered by the rankings, namely, availability of skilled labour and crime, two very important issues that the country needs to address to demonstrate that it is a good destination for investment. American help, possibly modelled on the New York City experience in crime reduction should be considered.

Tanzania is well endowed in minerals, agriculture and tourism potential. The country will be looking for US investment in a wide range of sectors and in particular, in mining and processing and manufacturing the plethora of raw materials for the domestic, regional and world market. It would be looking to develop its huge tourist potential in terms of investment in facilities and marketing the country to US tourists. Investment in the agricultural sector in a country with a huge area and a wide range of agro-climatic conditions would be welcomed. Agricultural production has been stagnant because of low yields even with this huge potential and US support and investment should be considered. Tanzania is ranked 134th in terms of ease of doing business. In terms of the individual indicators the country ranks lowest in: dealing with construction permits; registering property, paying taxes; resolving insolvency and; getting credit. The country needs to take measures to improve these and other indicators to demonstrate that it is open for business. It has identified bottlenecks in the infrastructure as priority in its development plan. Efforts would need to be made to continue and escalate the fight against corruption and in training to ensure that a skilled workforce is available if it is to continue its rapid economic growth.

All three countries need to make preparation for Obama’s visit so that they can get the maximum benefits. They must prepare an agenda long before the visit to ensure that Obama’s team is made up of the relevant staff and potential investors. They need to highlight the sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies that all of these countries have put in place and measures that they are taking to make them more attractive to investors. They need to highlight their importance in terms of security issues.

This trip will hopefully be the start of other African tours and countries should try to gear up for future visits by Obama. Countries which could be next on the list need to closely monitor developments in the three countries and prepare for visits. Obama as a “change” President is likely to visit countries that meet his progressive agenda and America’s interests. Other countries need to find out what are the prime motivators for Obama to come calling. A country with democratic, legal, press and economic freedom, sensible macroeconomic policies is likely to attract Obama’s attention and if he decides to pay a visit it could give that country an opportunity to sell its attributes to the world and attract investors and tourists.

Concluding remarks

Obama is star attraction and countries he visits need to make use of the brand. Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania must do their best to get value from the brand. This means doing an Obama on Obama, who would have done considerable research on countries he is visiting. They should do their homework by letting him, members of his team and business executives know what their countries priorities are; do media campaigns involving print, broadcast or digital slot to engage a wider pool of potential investors and policy makers and; and get the home team aware and prepared for the opportunities before and when they meet with the American team. As noted in my previous paper, the emphasis must be on the infrastructure, including physical, governance and education and regional projects. Obama is keen on infrastructure projects and so he should be eager to discuss how America can help build and maintain Africa’s infrastructure. Obviously, he and his team and business executives accompanying them would need to be convinced of the viability of proposals, benefits to the US and the position of the competition. African countries must emphasise that America is losing out in the current scramble for the continent’s resources and that the US needs to up its game. Africa has got resources that are in strong demand and other countries, including China, India and Brazil are taking a keen interest in the continent. For Africa the competition is good and it would welcome America taking an active role in developing its resources. The US has certain attributes that make the country a good partner in aid, investment, trade and security. The emphasis must be on investment and trade, to explore, discuss and decide on areas, projects and business deals by African and American participants in meetings. Other African countries must take note and try to be next on the list which will give them a spotlight and opportunities.

Note: J Boima Rogers is the principal consultant at Media and Event Management Oxford (MEMO). MEMO provides policy, marketing, media and event management services.

 

 

Obama’s Haunting And The Curse Of Governance

The seeds of the present war were not sown during 9/11, but half a century before and were nurtured by US policies.

“These deaths will haunt us as long as we live…”

I hope so.

It would be nice to believe that the President of the United States, or any other leader, is actually haunted by the deaths of civilians at the hands of the military he commands.

In this case, the President was referring to civilians killed by American drone strikes in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is impossible to know the precise number – critics put the estimate at 1,000 or even higher – and until now the US government has attempted to minimise the number by claiming most of the dead were combatants, based on the rationale that any military-age male hit by a drone was most likely a combatant and thus a legitimate target.

This is not the way you clear away ghosts.

Indeed, if the President has been haunted by civilian deaths, many of the ghosts are of the men he executed merely because they possessed a certain “signature” – the way they looked or where they were at a specific moment. Imagine the uproar if the President was targeting young black or hispanic men for harassment or arrest, never mind termination, merely because of the clothes they were wearing or corner they were hanging out on (or because they responded to someone being blown up down the block or were even at a funeral of an alleged gang member, all of which has happened to civilian victims of US drone strikes).

Of course, the President would never do that. But young Muslim men living in what to Americans are “the most distant and unforgiving places on Earth“; well, maybe all those strikes haunt him enough to want to process them with his fellow Americans to help clear the air, and even his conscience. But they do not seem to be haunting him enough for him to end the practice.

If the President’s speech on May 23 at the National Defense University reflected an unusual and very public expression of ambivalence about policies that are still being pursued by his administration, the ambivalence remains largely at the level of rhetoric rather than policy. The “appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are”, which the President declares he is trying to strike, is one that can only be achieved by understanding precisely who the “we” are that the administration’s actions are trying to “secure”, and then determining whether this “we” actually represents the American people and whether its security is in fact the goal – or at the least, a likely outcome – of his policies.

“And so our nation went to war.”

If the President is haunted by his actions, a core reason is likely because he has not, and indeed cannot, provide the proper historical context for understanding the present policies and why they seem to be producing such animosity abroad and, increasingly, concern inside the US. While the President traces the present moment back “over two centuries”, and reminds his listeners that Americans have always been “deeply ambivalent about war”, he refuses to shine light on the decades of US policy that contributed to the present dynamics of the “war on terror”.

Instead, he merely refers to the “long, twilight struggle of the Cold War” as part of the “price [that] must be paid for freedom”. But was the Cold War really a “twilight war”? Tell that to the roughly 95,000 American soldiers killed in Korea and Vietnam, not to mention the millions of Koreans and Southeast Asians killed by American forces. Or to the – literally – countless people killed, governments overthrown and conflicts stoked in proxy wars across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and, finally, Afghanistan.

If these were all twilight wars, what does the President consider to be war in the light of day?

Does President Obama really not understand that when he describes a “group of terrorists [coming] to kill as many civilians as they could”, people around the world are more likely to think of al-Qaeda than the US? To say this in no way diminishes the evil of al-Qaeda and Muslim terrorism; far from it. Rather, it points to the reality that the seeds of the present war were not sown at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11. They were planted half a century before and were nurtured (whether carelessly or deliberately is another matter) by US policies that for decades put terror in the hearts of people around the world.

That other countries – the Soviet Union, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Mao’s China, and on and on – also pursued and supported oppression, violence and terror at home and abroad does not change the reality that terrorism has been a core tool in the arsenal of US strategic policies, whether diplomatic or kinetic, for as long as it has been a “great power”. Indeed, if we consider the crucial role played by the cleansing and near extermination of Native Americans and of slavery in the first centuries of American history, the use of large scale violence against civilians to advance the interests of elites is at the core of America’s political and cultural DNA.

Of course, that does not make the US “exceptional” (as its leaders are so fond of saying). It makes it all-too normal a country. But when every leader in memory has defined the US as “exceptional” for precisely the opposite reasons to what in actuality makes it normal, the cognitive dissonance makes it nearly impossible for Americans to come to grips with the root causes of the present global conflict in which it is enmeshed.

CAPTION: If Obama wants to end the “war on terror”, he has to change American policy across the Muslim world – and indeed, globally – to support real democracy, justice, freedom and development across the region [Reuters]

Source: Aljazeera

 

 

Africa has huge growth potential – professor

May 30 2013 at 11:51am

Cape Town – More than a hundred years after Joseph Conrad dubbed Africa as “the heart of darkness”, another author is determined to dispel that outdated perception once and for all.

US professor Robert Rotberg launched his book “Africa Emerges” at Clark’s Bookstore in the city. His most recent book highlights sub-Saharan Africa’s enormous opportunities for growth in the coming century, as well as the myriad challenges the continent must face to realise its potential.

“I am optimistic about Africa but there are some very large issues that need to be solved,” said the former Harvard professor, who is the Fulbright Research Chair in Political Development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada.

“The fact is, there is a lot to be done. Africa and especially in South Africa are done for without close attention to governance and excellent leadership.”

Rotberg served as a member of the US Secretary of States’ Advisory Panel on Africa in 2004. Three years later he directed the establishment of the Index for African Governance. He is founding director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Intrastate Conflict.

Now, the professor is working on a project that examines the ability of parliamentary systems to have effective oversight over the executive branch. South Africa is one of the many African countries he is using as a case study.

“Leaders I have spoken to are frustrated, disillusioned,” said Rotberg. “South Africa is so far advanced, but the country cannot supply jobs, or solve the energy shortage.”

Rotberg spoke on the importance of leadership in taking advantage of China’s economic involvement in Africa.

Africa’s growth, he said, is a result of China’s role as a trade partner and builder of infrastructure.

“Without China, Africa would not be booming,” he said. “If there is good leadership, countries can take advantage of the Chinese mercantile thrust.”

He sited various development projects in which the Chinese have invested, including a massive $1.2 billion (R11.6bn) dam in Ethiopia and several new mines in southern Africa. “Good leadership is necessary to keep Chinese power in check and to get the most out of economic investments, said Rotberg.

“Africans don’t much like what the Chinese are doing,” he said. “The Chinese are not employing Africans. Instead they bring labour from overseas, and they support corrupt regimes with weapons and funds.”

“This economic growth comes at a time when Africa is experiencing a previously unseen population boom.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will grow to be 3.7 billion in the next 50 years, according to population analysis by the UN. This population explosion will be exceeded only by China and India, whose collective population will top four billion. The rest of the world by comparison will only total two billion collectively.

“South Africa is different from most of sub-Saharan Africa because it is not growing as quickly as other countries like Nigeria and Tanzania. South Africa’s greatest challenge is the creation of jobs,” said Rotberg.

“Employment is important for economic growth and limiting crime.

“South Africa is so far advanced, but it still can’t supply jobs for its school graduates, and that is a problem,” he said.

“Jobs will become particularly important as the country and the continent undergoes a massive population boom.

“South Africa’s population is going to explode in a way that will overwhelm its cities,” he said. Politicians are not going to know what hit them.”

Rotberg is working on another book called Strengthening Governance in South Africa: Building Upon Mandela’s Legacy due next March.

 

Experts: Infrastructure growth key to Africa’s competitiveness

 

Rwanda has been ranked as the most competitive country in East Africa and the third in Sub-Saharan Africa due to the available infrastructure and opportunities. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

 

African countries need to develop a robust infrastructure to be able to compete globally in terms of economic development, experts attending the 48th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have said.

The five-day meeting dubbed “Africa’s structural transformation” kicked off yesterday in Marrakech, Morocco.

It focuses on the need for Africa to turn economic growth into shared and sustainable economic transformation within the next 50 years.

“Many African countries continue to feature among least competitive economies in the world due to undeveloped infrastructure. It’s time for Africa to focus on infrastructure growth to boost her competitiveness,” said Professor Mthuli Ncube, the chief economist and Vice President of the AfDB.

Ncube who was speaking at the meeting dubbed ‘Connecting Africa’s market in a sustainable way’ added: “By competitiveness we mean all of the factors, institutions and policies that determine a country’s level of productivity.”

According to AfDB, Africa’s challenge is to bring its progress of the last decade to balance, for instance the critical lack of infrastructure – transport, energy, water, telecommunications, which is the basis for all growth.

The experts said that lack of regional economic integration and fragmented national markets; and as well the pockets of serious fragility still persist across the continent.

According to Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, the director, head of competitiveness at the World Economic Forum, bringing private sector on board and developing domestic capital markets will also help in transforming African economies.

“Every African government should make infrastructure development a priority among other important areas of development,” she emphasised.

“Leveraging ICT should be important to connect people and markets. Despite the fact that today ICT is available; to a large extent African economies haven’t utilised it to the maximum.”

The meeting brought together  hundreds of high-level participants, including academics, political leaders, representatives of international organisations, chief executive officers, civil society organisations and the media to examine the key drivers of growth in Africa in next half century.

AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka said the bank’s annual meetings are being held at a crucial time.

Continental support

“Africa is rising, and it needs a push. The rest of the world is languishing, and it too needs a push. Africa needs the world, and the world needs Africa. Each can give the other a push.”

When it comes to competitiveness, Rwanda has been on several occasions ranked as the most competitive country in East Africa, the third in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The recent ‘Doing Business Report 2013’ on East Africa Community partner countries ranked Rwanda as the easiest country in the region to start a business.

The country has been on several occasions positioned as the most reformed country and a place to do business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2013.

Last year, the World Bank survey ranked Rwanda in 52nd position out of 185 economies for doing business.

Zuma’s SADC negotiator admits to backing Zanu PF

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s ruling party says it is taking an active role on the continent, a pronouncement that comes amid conflicts in Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Conflict could come much closer to home later this year with what is likely to be a contentious election in Zimbabwe.

For decades, South Africa’s apartheid system kept the nation on the sidelines of continental politics.  The African Union was on the side of the then-banned African National Congress, which fought racist white rule.

Today, the ANC is South Africa’s ruling party, and has a streak of dominating national elections since the nation’s first democratic vote in 1994.  The party is also behind the push for South Africa to take a more active role as the continent’s economic powerhouse and its most stable democracy.

But the nation’s most pressing international issue is the one closest to home: its northern neighbor, Zimbabwe.  Critics say the two countries relationship could cause problems for South Africa’s dealings with the rest of the continent and its many entrenched leaders.

Zimbabwe has been ruled since its 1980 independence by President Robert Mugabe.  In recent years, Mugabe has been slapped with international sanctions for using political violence against those who oppose his ZANU-PF party.  He also been accused of driving the economy of his once-prosperous nation into the ground.

That economic collapse and political intimidation has prompted hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee to neighboring South Africa.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s adviser on international affairs, Lindiwe Zulu, said the ANC will continue to stand by ZANU-PF because of its history as a liberation party.

“The ANC will continue to have the relationship that it has always had with ZANU-PF,” said Zulu. “This is the question that is always asked: are you not in contradiction when on the one hand as government you are facilitating the process taking Zimbabwe forward, on the other hand, you have an African National Congress that even says, ‘We will support ZANU-PF when they request for support in terms of sharing of ideas, in terms of elections?’”

That closeness between the two parties, she said, has enabled South African negotiators to speak freely and critically with Zimbabwean officials behind closed doors.

She said the region will hold a special summit about Zimbabwe in June, before scheduled presidential elections.  Mugabe, who is 89, is running for another term.

A spokesman for the South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said his party does not support Zimbabwe’s ruling party, either in theory, as the ANC does, or in practice.

He said the ANC’s support for ZANU-PF effectively translates to South African government support for the regime.

“I think the ANC must not try and force South Africans into believing that they have never been guilty in the past of conflating state and party,” said Maimane. “And in fact, there is evidence domestically where the ANC uses state resources for their own party, political activities. So for them to argue a separation of state and [party] in this particular instance is particularly disingenuous.”

ANC officials say they are hopeful Zimbabwe’s elections will be free and fair.  Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008 degenerated into violence, most of it by ZANU-PF supporters against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.  The resulting disputed polls forced Mugabe to form a coalition government, which ZANU-PF has made clear it wants to end.

‘Zanu (PF) will break-up when Mugabe is gone’ – Nkala

By Nduduzo Tshuma

 

DESPITE his love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe, one of Zanu PF’s founding fathers Enos Nkala believes the party cannot survive beyond the aged leader.

In a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday punctuated by bursts of laughter from the former minister, Nkala tactfully ducked questions, with the trade mark, “I have not exercised my mind on that.”

Never one to shy away from controversy, the former Defence minister waded into the Zanu PF succession politics, saying he believes Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is a better leader than Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.

“Zanu PF is already fragmented, I am not sure if it will survive if Mugabe leaves, these factions will grow beyond what our present politics may take,” he said.

“Zanu PF is an old party, it has made many mistakes during the time it has been in power, and maybe that is what may cause its defeat in the next elections.”

Nkala, recently discharged from hospital over heart and kidney complications, walks with the aid of a gold-coated stick and complains that age has taken the strength from his knees, but the light in his eyes does not reflect that the body is ailing.
His eyes light up each time he speaks of Zanu PF, a party he helped form.

Commenting on revelations by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott that Mugabe wanted to leave politics, Nkala said Zanu PF would collapse without the veteran ruler.

“If he does not stand in the elections, Zanu PF will lose to MDC-T,” he says. “You know Mugabe is a good speaker and commands a lot of respect, if he leaves and someone takes over I do not know who that is, maybe Joice Mujuru, she may not be able to command the respect that Mugabe enjoys.”

However, Nkala said Mnangagwa was a better-suited leader and would lead Zanu PF better in a post-Mugabe era.

“I think Mnangagwa,” he said. “Well he knew what he was doing, he had a programme for his own leadership and I think if he were given the opportunity to put that programme into operation, he would have done very well.”

Pressed if Mnangagwa has always had ambitions to lead Zanu PF, Nkala said: “like anybody else, people have ambitions, they maybe hidden, but they have ambitions.
“If you dig into them you will find that they have ambitions, they maybe loose or solid ambitions.

“Mugabe has done very well and has been in this game for a long time, his strengths overcome his weaknesses.”

Nkala does not believe that grooming a Mugabe successor would have helped avoid divisions in the party.

“Do you groom or someone grooms and projects themselves and become acceptable?” he said. “I am not so sure that you can groom somebody, it is what that individual is made of.”

The Zanu PF founder ominously said army generals wielded immense influence on the country’s politics and he was not certain what would happen if Mugabe lose elections.
“I am not sure what would happen if Mugabe left because the generals have a lot of influence and some of them date back to the days of the liberation struggle,” he said.

Nkala shares memories of the late Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena coming to invite him for Mugabe’s wedding with First Lady Grace.
Mugabe and Nkala were not on speaking terms then and the President reportedly sent Mabhena as an emissary.

“I’m not sure whether really we were not on talking terms or we had grown apart,” the former minister said with a burst of laughter.

Nkala believes that Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa would have been an automatic successor for the late Vice-President John Nkomo had he not left Zanu PF.

Blamed in many circles for his involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres that reportedly killed 20 000 people, Nkala believes Dabengwa, charged at the time with treason alongside Lookout Masuku, would have even risen to the presidency of the party and country.

“I would have thought of Dabengwa himself, but it is hard now since he left Zanu PF,” he said. “I do not know whether Naison Khutshwekhaya (Ndlovu) or Obert Mpofu would make it.

“I have not been exercising my mind on those things. It is hard to see anyone beyond Dabengwa.”

Nkala said he was not sure whether Simon Khaya Moyo, considered by many as the front runner, qualified for the position.

“But if he rises, he would be acceptable, each person has qualities that make for leadership, he cannot just be devoid of those qualities,” he said.

Nkala defended the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, saying the nationalist, “rescued Matabeleland from violence, remember there were flashes of violence so when he went into unity, peace was established, I think he should be applauded for that”.

Commenting on Callistus Ndlovu’s appointment to chair the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial structures, Nkala said he had the ability to turn the party’s fortunes.
On a lighter note, Nkala says he cannot wait to lay his hands on the first edition of the Southern Eye.

Southern Eye, published by AMH, will be launched on Monday, being the fourth paper in the stable after NewsDay, The Standard  and the Zimbabwe Independent. – NewsDay

 

 

BAWUMIA STANDS TALL IN NPP

By Daniel Nonor

Even before the Supreme Court determines the case before it in the historic election petition hearing currently ongoing, a popular opinion is swelling up within the rank and file of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), as to who should lead the party in the 2016 elections.

Dr. Bawumia, running mate to Nana Addo Danqua Akufo-Addo in the 2012 general election, has come up more strongly as the likely candidate to lead the NPP in 2016, depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing.

Dr. Bawumia’s role as the second petitioner in the ongoing hearing, and his astute delivery on the dock, is beginning to earn him an admirable position in the hearts and minds of members of his party, and even some opposition members.

Dr. Bawumia’s only hurdle would be Alan Kyerematen, who has managed to form a colossal imagery as Nana’s automatic successor in the minds of many NPP supporters.

Alan Kyerematen, who lost to Nana Addo twice in a contention for the flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party, has been lurking behind the scenes to launch with some more precision when the opportunity presents itself, and to many, the timing cannot be more accurate than now.

When Alan’s nomination came up on the candidates list for the World Trade Organisation top job, many who were frightened at his ambition to annex the seat of government almost jumped into jubilation hoping that the job would take him off his ambition of contesting the presidency.

But, the emergence of Dr. Bawumia as a new darling boy on the block, according to political pundits, is one indication Alan cannot afford to overlook.

Last weekend, the former Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odobeng-Brakwa and a senior member of the New Patriotic Party, P.C. Appiah Ofori’s announcement of his open support for Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as the party’s flagbearer in the near future, according to political watchers, only confirms the swelling support Dr. Bawumia is gaining each time he mounts the dock to defend the party.

Mr. Appiah Ofori justified his endorsement on the fact that Dr. Bawumia had so far distinguished himself through the sterling performance he has put up in court in the ongoing petition.

Mr. Appiah Ofori’s open declaration has become more significant, on the fact that he had once been a critic of the choice of Dr. Bawumia as running-mate to Nana Addo in previous elections.

When the bell tolls for a new face to lead the NPP, Dr. Bawumia is sure to stand equal with Alan Kyerematen in a battle of wits and popularity within the NPP.

 

‘Foreigners help . . . they are good for the community’

 

31 MAY 2013 00:00 PHILLIP DE WET

In the east of Alexandra, Johannesburg, in an area where a new housing development has seen flare-ups of xenophobia

 

SPECIAL FOCUS

A Somali family was doing a steady trade in bread, cold drinks and unregistered cellphone SIM cards this week – with just an edge of worry.

“You must be nice to us. We sell for you cheap,” shopkeeper Mohammed cajoled a customer who had grown angry at a lack of available airtime. “You need us here, so other people don’t charge you lots.”

Despite the joking tone, Mohammed says spreading that message is important, and he takes pains to do so. “If other people are saying things about us, we must tell the truth about what we do.”

Not that the family has seen any sign of trouble, or are taking any precautions. If their shop should become a target, they said, they would abandon their stock to looters and retreat into a section of the premises fortified against robbery.

And then they would wait for the dust to settle and start again, with the help of fellow Somalis, in the same way they plan to help their Diepsloot compatriots to re-establish their businesses.

The attitude is one born of experience. Mohammed was not in the country when several areas, including Alexandra, meted out vicious violence against foreigners in 2008. But before leaving Mogadishu he saw brutality that makes South Africans look like amateurs, he said. Then he went to Kenya, just in time for the post-election violence that killed more than a thousand people.

Real threat
About 40km away, in the Themb’elihle township near Lenasia, the nationalities were different, but the situation was the same: calm, with just the usual reasons for tension; burglaries and robberies are a more real threat than mob violence, and easier to prepare for.

“This gate is good,” said a Bangladeshi shopkeeper, thumping a metal door, “but if they come with tools and they make noise, you can’t stop them coming in. If they are not afraid, if the police can’t come here, they’ll take everything.”

Shops in the area were looted the last time the community took to the streets to protest service delivery, but nationality had little to do with it. Local black-owned businesses suffered too, and expect they will again in future. It is the price of doing business.

“Today, it is OK,” said another Bangladeshi shopkeeper, who is employed by a black owner, “tomorrow maybe not. If they come we will run away, then we come back again.”

Conditions for looting may come around sooner rather than later. A crisis committee for the township, which has had a long-running battle with local and provincial authorities over housing, plans to take to the streets again on Monday, and is anticipating clashes with police.

“We decided we are going to go there and invade those houses that are supposed to be allocated to the people of Themb’elihle,” said community organiser Bhayiza Miya of a recent set of community meetings. “We know they will come here with rubber bullets and make arrests. The way to avoid that is for them to respond to our grievances.”

The central grievance is the allocation of government-built houses some 3km away, and a dispute about whether underlying dolomite rock (and the risk that sinkholes may develop) makes Themb’elihle so unsafe that all residents should be moved away.

In the past that issue has seen protests that eventually escalate into clashes between police and groups of residents, making it nearly impossible to police the settlement at night. Then, under cover of darkness, shops are looted and occasionally set on fire.

“Criminal elements” may again take advantage of the chaos of a protest to steal, Miya said, but that would be crimes of opportunity, not xenophobia. “Foreign nationals are part of our meetings, they are part of our committee. When we don’t have funds [to organise community action] we go to these shops and they help us. With us here, the foreigners help the community by selling cheap. Me, I’m running a tuckshop myself, and I want them to teach me where they buy their stuff and how they run their businesses, because they are good for the community.”

Phillip de Wet writes about politics, society, economics, weird stuff, and the areas where all of these collide.

 

More needed to boost the delivery of justice

The Judiciary has gone through remarkable reforms since the enactment of the Constitution nearly three years ago. It has become more open and has conducted its affairs in a fairly transparent manner.

The creation of the Supreme Court, competitive appointment of judges and magistrates and public vetting of officials have all helped to restore faith and confidence in the court system.

However, the true test of reforms will be when courts become platforms for expeditious, judicious and efficient administration of justice.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga met 470 convicts at Kamiti Maximum Prison, accused of capital offences and who have protested about the delay in hearing and concluding their appeals. Some appeals have not been heard for 30 years!

The delay in resolving cases and the mistreatment of prisoners and suspects is not restricted to those accused of capital offences; they apply to others too, and underline a fundamental fact that reforms at the Judiciary have not gone deep enough.

When he took over office, Dr Mutunga undertook to clear the backlog of cases, ensure honest arbitration and end the notoriety of missing files, among other ills. Clearly, these targets are far from being achieved.

But the logjam in the justice system is not only a fault of the courts. The prisons, the police, the prosecution and defence teams are all to blame.

On many occasions, cases cannot proceed because of poor investigation, ill-prepared lawyers or inept prison staff. This is why reforms must be all-inclusive.

To this extent, efforts to bring all justice departments to deal with common challenges must be energised to improve the delivery of justice.

Think creatively to quell pastoral conflicts

 

By KASSIM B. ALASOW
Posted  Thursday, May 30  2013 at  19:00

Pastoralist parts of Kenya are again back in the news because of the clan fights going on in Mandera County.

Nomadic communities have been dogged by violence for decades, and, historically, they have been mostly over cattle, grazing lands and other similar issues.

Sadly, the causes are not that simple any more. Despite the frequent nature of these clashes, our government is unable to find lasting solutions.

Why solutions have evaded us this long is worth considering. Is it because the real causes of the conflicts are unknown? Or is it that the causes are known but the right solutions are not being applied?

Naturally, the starting point when tackling problems of this nature should be to determine their root causes. Any attempt at solving them that does not include this core component will be futile.

Contrary to common belief, these clashes, when they occur, especially in places like Mandera and the Tana Delta are not necessarily about the quest for cattle as the case may be in Turkana and Pokot areas.

Deep-seated grievances over land ownership or a quest by some communities to have exclusive right of residence in certain areas may be the main cause.

Thus, the problem of ethnic-based violence in pastoral areas has diverse causes and, as such, the solutions need not be uniform across the board, but tailor-made to suit the specific grievances.

For many years now, the authorities have adopted a straitjacket approach in their attempt to address the issue.

The reaction of the police and the government in general has become boringly predictable whenever such incidents arise.

It often starts, and ends, with deploying more troops to the area ostensibly to disarm the people of their “small arms and light weapons” and that is expected to make the problem go away somehow.

Regrettably, this has been the standard response in all the incidents. But the problem persists because the response fails to take into account the real cause of the problem.

Disarming communities

What sense does it make to blame the weapon rather than its user? If illicit small arms are to blame for the violence in Mandera as the Inspector-General of police claims, then who is to blame for the massacres in the Tana Delta?

There is clearly an urgent need for the government to unearth and understand the causes and be more innovative in their solutions. This is because the methods that have traditionally been employed to address conflict have failed.

Disarming the communities is certainly not among the solutions. On the contrary, why not consider arming them so that each community can defend itself against aggression by other communities?

As it became evident recently in the Tana Delta, the police cannot defend every village or homestead even when their stations are located a few metres away.

Thus the only logical thing to do may be to allow all pastoralists to carry arms so that they can defend themselves adequately. This is what they have always done anyway, albeit illegally.

 

 

Battle is on for ownership of lucrative Maasai rights

By CORDELIA HEBBLETHWAITE
Posted  Thursday, May 30  2013 at  05:12

IN SUMMARY

  • According to Light Years IP, an NGO which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries, about 80 companies around the world are currently using either the Maasai image or name.
  • If the Maasai “brand” were owned by a corporation, it would be worth more than $10m (about Sh0.5 billion) a year, perhaps even “more”, according to Layton. How much of this the Maasai might be able to claim would be up to negotiation.
  • If the Maasai do take control of their brand, large sums of money could suddenly start flowing into the community.

 

Imagine a Maasai warrior, or a Maasai woman, adorned with beads. It is one of the most powerful images of what has been described as “tribal Africa”.

Dozens of companies use it to sell products—but Maasai elders are now considering seeking protection for their “brand”.

Dressed in a white checked shirt and grey sweater, Isaac ole Tialolo does not come across as a Maasai. The large round holes in his ears—from where his jewellery sometimes hangs—might be a clue, though.

Isaac is a Maasai leader and elder. In the mountains near Naivasha, he lives a semi-nomadic life, herding sheep, goats and, most importantly, cattle.

But Isaac is also chair of a new organisation, the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative, a project that is beginning to take him around the world, including, most recently, London.

“We all know that we have been exploited by people who just come around, take our pictures and benefit from it,” he says. “We have been exploited by so many things… you cannot imagine.”

Crunch time for Isaac came about 20 years ago, when a tourist took a photo of him without asking for permission, something the Maasai are particularly sensitive about. “We believe that if somebody takes your photograph, he has already taken your blood,” he explains. That is why he was so furious that he smashed the tourist’s camera.

Twenty years later, he is mild-mannered and impeccably turned out, but equally passionate about what he sees as the use—and abuse—of his culture.

“I think people need to understand the culture of others and respect it,” he says. “You should not use it to your own benefit, leaving the community, or the owner of the culture, with nothing. If you just take what belongs to somebody and go and display it and have your fortune, then it is very wrong.”

According to Light Years IP, an NGO which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries, about 80 companies around the world are currently using either the Maasai image or name.

These include a range of accessories called Masai made for Land Rover; Masai Barefoot Technology, which makes speciality trainers; and high-end fashion house Louis Vuitton, which has a Masai line that includes beach towels, hats, scarves and duffle bags.

“It’s almost certainly the biggest cultural brand in the world,” argues Ron Layton, the founder and head of Light Years IP.

“It ranks right up there. It’s a serious brand. Those companies may be using the Maasai brand in ways that really do enhance their business, so it’s reasonable for the Maasai to say, ‘Well, why aren’t you coming to talk to us? Why aren’t you asking our permission? Why don’t you engage with us?’” says Layton.

But the reality is that there has never been a single, unified Maasai body for companies to approach and seek permission, though that could soon change.

Light Years IP is involved in a niche but growing area of development policy, known as “intellectual property value capture”.

The argument is that intellectual property rules offer the potential to provide a valuable source of income for people in developing countries, who tend to get only a small sliver of the profits made on their goods on the international market.

If the Maasai “brand” were owned by a corporation, it would be worth more than $10m (about Sh0.5 billion) a year, perhaps even “more”, according to Layton. How much of this the Maasai might be able to claim would be up to negotiation.

“It’s time the world sat up and took notice,” says Lord Boateng, a member of the UK’s House of Lords, whose grandfather was a cocoa farmer in Ghana. “It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Boateng is on the board of directors of the newly-created African IP Trust, which has taken on the Maasai as one of its first cases.

“They are not getting value. Their image is being abused,” says Boateng. “The Maasai are an ancient and sophisticated people, they know they are being ripped off and they want this to stop.”

It is not yet certain that the Maasai will choose to pursue intellectual property protection, but Maasai elders like Isaac ole Tialolo want to be sure that the whole community is on board first.

Together with Light Years IP, he has been travelling around Maasai areas holding meetings and workshops. It is a huge task—according to some estimates, there could be as many as three million Maasai in 12 districts spread across a vast swathe of Kenya and Tanzania. So far, they have reached about 1.2 million people.

Once the consultation is complete, and if the Maasai choose to go forward, the plan is to create a General Assembly of Maasai elders, trained in IP, who would act as a legal body specifically on this issue, negotiating with companies via a licensing agent, on a case-by-case basis.

That is the dream, at least. But according to some lawyers, the Maasai case is not especially strong in terms of international property law.

“They are on a sticky wicket with the law,” says Ben Goodger, an expert on international IP law and a partner at the law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer in the UK. IP law, he says, has been designed for new businesses and people creating innovations, and it is not really well-suited to this kind of case.

Patents, for example, would offer little or no protection to the Maasai, because the product or service has to be new. Trademarks could potentially offer a better route. But trademarks are issued on a first-come-first-served basis, and a number of companies have already got trademarks for use of the Maasai name or image.

“It looks to me like they have got some quite powerful opponents,” says Goodger. “Those guys may not just give that up easily.”

The idea of cultures seeking IP protection is not an entirely new one. The Native American Navajo recently brought a case against the clothes company Urban Outfitters for use of their name.

But perhaps the best parallel with the Maasai is the case of Aborigines in Australia who, 15 years ago, secured a voluntary code that governs use of their cultural and intellectual property.

They are useful in creating an industry norm, which can serve as a kind of name-and-shame tool for those who do not sign up.

“That’s very clever. That’s exactly what they should do,” says Bruce Webster, an independent international branding expert.

“Then it’s a proud, ancient people against exploitative Western multinationals—and they’ll win the PR battle absolutely.”

For the moment, the Maasai are not going after any companies, though they have written to a number in cases where they have found the use of their name or image to be particularly offensive.

They are sensitive about the portrayal of their bodies, for example, and they don’t like images of their jewellery used inappropriately.

Each colour of bead has a special meaning. “This, we call it norkiteng,” says Isaac, holding up a circular necklace with threaded beads hanging down from points of the circle. It is given as a gift to a new bride. Used in some commercial contexts, it can seem disrespectful.

“It offends me because they don’t know the meaning… they misuse it,” says Isaac.

If the Maasai do take control of their brand, large sums of money could suddenly start flowing into the community.

“The Maasai have already been branded like there’s no tomorrow, but they haven’t seen the benefits,” says Duncan Green, senior strategic adviser for Oxfam GB. He supports the IP campaign in principle, but warns there could be problems without a system in place to ensure the money is used fairly.

It’s an issue the Maasai have thought about. The proposed General Assembly of elders would, it has been suggested, be underpinned by a constitution specifying how the money should be distributed and used.

But for Isaac at least, it is not primarily about the money. “What matters is the respect,” he says. He has hosted a series of live phone-ins in the indigenous Maa language, and the phones have been buzzing.

To Western ears, it might sound counter-intuitive for the Maasai to be hotly debating notions such as intellectual property, copyright and trademarks, such emblems of modern capitalism.

But, says Isaac, though these may not be terms they are familiar with, the Maasai have a strong sense of ownership of their culture and a visceral sense of violation where they feel their image has been misused.

“People are very excited, very excited. They are asking every day, ‘When is it going to happen? When is it going to happen?’ It’s something that is spreading like fire all over the community,” says Isaac.

Ron Layton spoke to The World, a co-production of BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston.

«

 

Please post any comments and/or queries about these articles in the box provided below. Your suggestions for the improvement of this service will be most gratefully welcomed.

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.

LATEST AFRICAN NEWS FROM THE AFRICA CENTRE 30/5/2013

Dear employees of the Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust,

 

Warmest greetings. Here is the latest newsfeed of African news, taken from newspaper websites right across and down Africa.

 

The Centre hopes that you will be informed by the selection presented, in accordance with its policy of presenting as wide a range of reporting as possible, but with the discipline of editorial impartiality, honesty and integrity; and refusal in all circumstances to transmit propaganda, or material that is offensive in racial, pornograph, defamatory, slanderous, or libellious terms.

 

The Centre in all its activities strives to operate on an ethos of openness, fairness, and inclusion of all the employees in the Trust, for whom a deepening of cultural understanding can only be beneficial. Sadly, the Centre cannot say the same of the Trust’s senior management.

 

In fact, the Centre has found the Trust’s senior management to be a covert, neo-totalitarian and blinkered corporate bureaucracy unwilling to admit of its mistakes and the need for reform; and cutting right across the grain of our otherwise open, free and fair society in Great Britain.

 

In terms of its relations with the general public, the Trust’s Senior Press Officer, Ms Joanne Triggs, has not responded to legitimate questions from a serious, trained and professional journalist; and its Complaints Department, headed by Mr Antony Adkin, a crucial point of interface with the general public, is inefficient, and has failed to comply properly with the procedure set out in its Complaint’s booklet on the Trust’s website.

 

The Trust’s senior management  has also attempted to to set so-called ‘terms’ through its legal representative, Mr Stuart Marchant of the Trust’s solicitors Bevan Brittan, on research by a serious, trained and professional journalist. The research has exposed signal deficiencies in the Trust’s operations that can be traced back to bad management.

 

It is clear to the Centre that reform in the Trust should start with a radical restructuring of its senior management, one where overweening and ossified bureaucracy is replaced by responsible officials, with a proper grounding in and knowledge of psychiatry. 

 

And in general a culture of openness should replace one of closed and paranoid, secretive defensiveness.

 

The senior management has had every opportunity to comment on this description, for it was sent to Mr Marchant yesterday with ample time to do so.

 

So it is time for ‘winds of change’ in the Trust,  just as it was for African countries in the mid-twentieth century, and the Centre will do all it can within legal boundaries to help these winds to blow freely.

 

From Wikipedia:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_of_Change_(speech)

 

The Wind of Change speech was a historically important address made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the Parliament of South Africa, on 3 February 1960 in Cape Town. He had spent a month in Africa visiting a number of British colonies, as they were at the time. The speech signalled clearly that the Conservative-controlled British Government intended to grant independence to many of these territories, which indeed happened subsequently, with most of the British possessions in Africa becoming independent nations in the 1960s. The Labour governments of 1945–51 had started a process of decolonisation but this policy had been halted by the Conservative governments from 1951 onwards.

The speech acquired its name from a now-famous quotation embedded in it. Macmillan said:

“The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.”

 

P.S.: When sending out yesterday’s African newsfeed and comment and opinion to employees of Black origin in the Trust, some of the emails were blocked, especially for junior nurses. This means that somebody was preventing the emails from reaching you. Whoever it was, was effectively censoring what you read. And that person or body blocking you from receiving emails from the Centre was also blocking you from receiving emails from elsewhere, which might be important to you, such as an email from your family in the country you came from. This was then a heinous and callous action on the part of the individual or body that blocked your emails.

 

CONTENTS:

 

Nigeria: Plot to impeach Amaechi thickens; Emergency rule: Reps want Jonathan’s power on states’ funds reversed; from the Daily Independent; TF operations: NEMA deny reports that 6,000 Nigerians fled to Niger Republic; from the Daily Post;

Kenya: Kenya police raped, tortured refugees in ‘rampage’; from New Vision/Reuters;

Sudan: Bashir’s remarks are part of military campaign, says NCP figure; South says Sudan plans to derail cooperation deal; Juba and Khartoum in “delicate place” over Abyei, US warns; from the Sudan Tribune/Agencies;

Ghana: MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM; from The Chronicle

South Africa/C. Africa: S. Africa death toll in C. Africa coup rises to 15; from Modern Ghana/AFP;

Zimbabwe: SADC: Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe, Zanu PF; from the Zimbabwe Mail

Sierra Leone: APC Negotiates another $Billion Chinese Investment; from Awareness Times;

Zambia: Fall in copper prices unsettles Fall in copper prices unsettles CMZ; from the Times of Zambia;

Uganda: Rot in Kyambogo; from The Independent;

 

 

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

•South South Gov mandated to finance plan, co-opt seven more lawmakers •Gov’s suspension, political terrorism –Bishop Ajakaiye •NGF election controversy shameful, says NIPPS alumni boss

By Donald Ojogo, Stella Odueme-Omona (Abuja), Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Yaqoub Popoola (Ado-Ekiti)

Apprehension was rife in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, on Tuesday night following the news that some “Presidency-backed Abuja politicians” had concluded plans to impeach the Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
Daily Independent gathered from authoritative sources that five out of the 32-member state House of Assembly were scheduled to carry out the impeachment of the Governor after being provided with “enough security on the orders of the Presidency.”
But the Presidency debunked the story on Tuesday, saying, “It is an unimaginable conjecture; a rumour by those who feel their patronages in Rivers are already on the verge of waning.”
Regardless, as a prelude to the anticipated impeachment, the Felix Obuah-led Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has concluded plans to approach a Federal High Court to obtain “compelling order” to vacate the “no suspension order” placed on it by a state High Court over the suspension of 27 state lawmakers.
The unfolding drama seems to be a confirmation of the disclosure by Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree, shortly after his suspension and 26 other members from the PDP that there were subterranean moves by forces against the Governor to effect an impeachment, using a fake mace.
By PDP constitution, only the state chapter of the party has the powers to deal with matters relating to, or affecting state officials except the Governor and his deputy.
According to one of our sources, the Rivers State chapter of the PDP has already made arrangements with a top Federal Government official, an indigene of the state, to engage the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to begin the process that would lead to an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“We have been reliably informed that a fake mace has been smuggled into the state to enable five members of the House hold an emergency session even when the House adjourned sine die on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
“The Abuja plan is to falsely impeach the Speaker and Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and create confusion through varied responses, which they hope will make the state ungovernable and provide them with some kind of warped basis to introduce emergency rule in Rivers State,” the Speaker had said before the re-election of Amaechi as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) last Friday.
Efforts made to reach Amachree were not successful, as his line rang out without any response.
Also, the state chairman of the PDP, Obuah, could not be reached as his telephone line was switched off as at press time.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak, described the purported plot as laughable.
“How can people descend so low to think that only five members of a state Assembly can impeach a sitting Governor; I mean, this is just too laughable.
“It is just one of the blackmail stunts that the Governor of Rivers State has decided to embark upon because it is simply an unimaginable conjecture; a rumour initiated by those who feel their patronages in Rivers are already on the verge of waning.
“But let me make this point, even at the risk of repetition that, Mr President is a democrat who is interested in following the rule of law; how can people be so callous to think like that?
“As far as we are concerned, the Presidency is not involved, Amaechi is just crying wolf where there is none,” Gulak said.
But despite the Presidency’s denial, Daily Independent gathered that a meeting was held in Abuja on Tuesday where some anti-Amaechi chieftains of the PDP mandated a Governor from the South South to raise N7 billion with which to lure seven more lawmakers into the impeachment plot so as to make their numbers 12.
This, our source said, is to avoid the hulabaloo that may trail any attempt to impeach the Governor with only five lawmakers.
Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye, also spoke on Tuesday, decrying the controversy that trailed the NGF election on Friday.
Ajakaye, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, described the turn of events in the aftermath of the NGF election as “politics of terrorism.”
He said it is dangerous for the nation’s fledging democracy.
He also condemned the suspension of the Rivers State Governor by his party, PDP, for daring to exercise what he termed his (Amaehi’s) fundamental human rights.
He described the suspension as absurd.
“I sincerely detest the actions of those who are always eager to ‘burn other people’s houses in order to boil their eggs’.
“Nigeria belongs to us and we must not allow any group or individuals to destroy our heritage. By God’s grace and the efforts of all genuine patriotic Nigerians, the efforts of our past heroes and heroines will never be in vain,” the cleric said.
President of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), Lawrence Onoja, also described the controversy surrounding the NGF election as shameful and a setback for Nigeria’s democratic process.
Onoja, who spoke at a dinner, ‘Meet-the-Press’, in Abuja on Monday called on the Governors to go to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos, to undergo leadership courses to improve on their capability in election processes.
“The recent unfortunate outcome of the NGF election in which 36 Governors could not count 36 votes is a setback for democratic process. Indeed, the incident that characterised the election deeply saddened AANI.
“We strongly condemn the incident and wish to call on the Governors to immediately put their house in order and refrain from any action that may threaten our collective security. NGF should emulate the internal democracy of AANI.
“We strongly recommend that Governors have refresher leadership course in NIPSS, Kuru in Jos, to enhance their capacity and broaden their patriotic national outlook,” Onoja, a former military Governor of Plateau State, said.
He said President Goodluck Jonathn has the responsibility to have a bipartisan approach to governance, adding that “informal gathering like NGF is not a substitute to constitutional National Economic Council.”
“All the game plans for 2015 should give way to good governance in 2013. We need all hands on deck to address critical challenges facing the county today to be sure of a country in 2015.
“Experience of Nigeria has shown that democracy has its own challenges but the alternative which is military rule will be certainly worse,” he stressed.
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), Dino Melaye, on Tuesday described the suspension of Amaechi by the PDP as “democratic dictatorship.”
According to him, Amaechi was suspended by the hierarchy of the PDP simply because he won re-election as chairman of the NGF.
He believes that the events that characterised the conduct of the election are a pointer to what will happen in the 2015 general elections and that Nigerians must be prepared to resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the election.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, will commission the new secretariat of the faction of the Governors’ Forum led by Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang.
The development is coming five days after the rejection of the re-election of Amaechi by 18 governors who had endorsed Jang as their chairman prior to the election.
Daily Independent reliably gathered that the new secretariat is located on Alvan Ikoku Street, Maitama Abuja.
Pending the appointment of a substantive Director-General, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu has been appointed interim administrator of the factional NGF.

 

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

By Rotimi Akinwumi, Snr Correspondent, Abuja

Less than one week after the National Assembly granted blanket power to President Goodluck Jonathan on the implementation of the state of emergency in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states, the House of Representatives on Tuesday made a U-turn, demanding that the President must be stopped from having access to the funds of those states and their local governments.

Both the Senate and the House had agreed last week that the President be granted power to control the resources of the states and their local governments.

The House had earlier during its own discussions on the official gazette on the emergency proclamation rejected clause 3(e) which provides “for utilisation of the funds of any state or local government in the emergency area.”

But the clause was adopted later when the conference committee set up by the House to harmonise the differences between its own version of the proclamation and that of the Senate agreed to the passage of the clause.

A member of the House, Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, however, brought a motion to the plenary on Tuesday to draw the attention of his colleagues to the mistake made in allowing the contentious clause 3(e) to pass through.

El-sudi, in the motion entitled, ‘Need to Amend the Emergency (General) Regulations, 2013 Pursuant to the Emergency Powers Act 1961 and Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended,’ said the House erred in allowing the clause to stay as it runs contrary to the letters of the Constitution.

He agreed though that by virtue of Section 305 of the Constitution, the President has powers to issue proclamation of a state of emergency in the federation or any part thereof subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

El-sudi, however, noted that the House as a whole erred when it allowed the request of the President to control the resources of the states and the local governments in funding the military operations in the states where the emergency proclamation was in force.

He noted that the action of the House has generated condemnation from Nigerians, especially indigenes of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and a near consensus of opinion among Senior Advocates of Nigeria and constitutional lawyers across the country questioning the constitutionality of the said section.

El-sudi also said he was concerned over the Supreme Court interpretation in a plethora of decided cases of the intent and purport of Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as amended on the finances of the states and local governments and on whether Federal Government via National Assembly can validly make laws conferring powers or imposing duties on state functionaries.

All these, he said, made the decision of the House illegal as the affected states are sure to win in court whenever they take the government to court to claim their rights.

Majority of the members who were at the plenary agreed with his position on the issue but a member from Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda, rose in opposition to the motion.

In his argument, Chinda noted that the President needed the power given to him on the emergency declaration and that the House and the opposition should allow the President use the state resources in funding the military actions and wait to see the results.

He insisted that it was better not to  prioritise lives above money, and that “if the money is needed to restore peace to the affected areas, so be it.”

He was backed by Henry Daniel-Ofongo and Warman Ogoriba, both PDP members from Bayelsa State.

However, his comments drew the anger of his colleagues who kept interrupting his speech with shouts of “no, no, no” as he made his points.

House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, could not stomach the claim by Chinda that the Constitution is always suspended during emergency proclamation, as he quoted copiously from the Constitution to fault Chinda’s claim.

The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, in his comment, said the lawmakers should not be seen to demonstrate institutional arrogance in the face of evidences and submissions of eminent Nigerians that part of the adopted Conference Report was against provisions of the Constitution.

When the motion was put to vote, only the three opposing members were the ones who didn’t vote for the motion, as the rest 194 members who were at the Tuesday sitting supported the motion.

In the end, the prayer that the clause be deleted completely as well as asking the Senate to concur and adopt the deletion, was passed.

TF operations: NEMA deny reports that 6,000 Nigerians fled to Niger Republic

By Wale Odunsi on May 29, 2013

The National Emergency Management Agency has denied media report that 6,000 Nigerians have crossed the borders into the Republic of Niger in an attempt to flee the operations of the Joint Task Force in Borno State.

The Director General of NEMA, Mohammed Sani-Sidi, in a statement on Tuesday, said the Agency’s record shows that about 2,367 persons have crossed the border, out of which 126 are Nigerians and have since been registered by the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey.

Sani-Sidi stated that, “We want to state categorically that from information available to us, about 2,367 persons have crossed the border from Kashagar, Baga and Kuros communities all in Borno State to Diffa in the Republic of Niger. Out of this figure, 126 are Nigerians while the remaining are citizens of the Republic of Niger who have returned home due to the ongoing crises in the North East.

“We also wish to add that the National Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency and the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey have already registered the 126 number of the displaced Nigerians that have crossed into the Republic of Niger with a view to providing them with necessary humanitarian supports.”

The NEMA boss therefore maintained that the report was unfounded and not true.

He called on the media and concerned Nigerians to direct all further inquiries on the matter to the agency for clarification.

“I wish to further reiterate that in the spirit of the mutual cooperation between NEMA and the media, the doors of the Agency are always open for enquires on humanitarian issues affecting the country. In conclusion, let me add that the media and members of the public should avoid unnecessary speculation on matters of national interest,” he added.

Kenya police raped, tortured refugees in ‘rampage’


Kenyan police tortured and abused more than 1,000 refugees, asylum seekers and Somali Kenyans in Nairobi in a “10-week rampage” beginning in late 2012, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Wednesday.

The abuses were part of a police crackdown that began the day after an attack on a crowded bus in the Somali-dominated suburb of Eastleigh, which killed seven people, HRW said. No one claimed responsibility for the blast.

Kenya has experienced a series of gun and grenade attacks since it sent its soldiers into Somalia in 2011 to drive out the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab.

Police raped, assaulted, robbed and arbitrarily detained Somali and Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers, as well as ethnically Somali Kenyan citizens, HRW said.

“Every person we interviewed said the police accused them of being terrorists and then extorted money from them,” Gerry Simpson, the report’s author, said at a press conference.

Kenyan police did not respond to repeated calls for comment on the report, which was based on 101 interviews and is HRW’s fourth in four years documenting Kenyan police abuse of Somali refugees.

The government spokesman also was not available to respond to the report.

The report said the scale of the latest crackdown was “unprecedented”. Somali women described being gang-raped by policemen, and people were beaten on the streets, in trucks or in their homes until they lost consciousness, spat blood or broke bones, it said.

Refugees said they were detained for days in police cells without explanation until they paid bribes.

“Personal gain – not national security concerns – was the main reason police targeted and abused their victims,” the report said.

HRW said the police were emboldened by a December government directive ordering an estimated 100,000 urban refugees to move to two camps on its northern borders.

In January, the High Court blocked the planned relocation. At this point, the abuses ended, HRW said. The court is due to rule on the legality of the directive in June.

Many refugees have lived in Nairobi for decades where they can own businesses, attend school or receive medical treatment. None of these opportunities are readily available in the refugee camps, which are severely overcrowded and lack basic services.

The Kenyan government has repeatedly said that it would like the Somali refugees to return home as soon as possible.

HRW called on the Kenyan government to investigate and discipline those responsible to deter future abuses.

Simpson said that Nairobi refugees are living in fear.

“There is clearly anticipation of further violence if Kenya’s political leaders decide they want to move people from the cities or force them back to Somalia,” he said. Reuters 

Bashir’s remarks are part of military campaign, says NCP figure

May 28, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) leading figure and MP, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani, expressed reservation on remarks made by president Omer Al-Bashir about negotiations with rebels and South Sudan.

After the recapture of Abu Kershola on Monday, president Bashir said that Sudan would neither recognise nor negotiate with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) or the holdout rebel groups in Darfur and threatened to cancel all cooperation agreements signed with South Sudan.

On Tuesday Ghazi told reporters that “Bashir’s remarks were part of a political speech delivered during a military campaign”, adding that the “final decision on these issues is up to the NCP’s institutions”.

Ghazi, who was a former presidential advisor, was sacked last month from his position as a leader of the NCP bloc at Sudan’s national assembly following remarks in which he said that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir is constitutionally barred from running again for presidency.

Commenting on the cooperation agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, Ghazi said they are likely to be breached, changed, or amended if one party doesn’t carry out its commitment, calling upon the two governments to meet their obligations with regard to those agreements.

He added “if one party breaches its obligations, the other party has the right to do the same thing’.

He further called for open discussions with Juba on accusations regarding South Sudan’s support for the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

Ghazi stressed the difficulty of verifying security breaches along the border between Sudan and South Sudan which is a round to 2.000 km, noting that it is not easy to comb the border effectively.

Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels fighting in two states that border South Sudan. Juba denies supporting the rebels, known as Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), and in turn accuses Khartoum of backing insurgents on its territory.

Ghazi was a member of a 10-member group including Bashir, Nafie and Ali Osman Taha who stood against Turabi in 1999 because he demanded to hand over power to civilians and to give regions more autonomy.

However last November he denied his arrest by the security service with the former head of security and intelligence director Salah Gosh and some radical military calling for reform in the ruling party.

Despite that rumours continued to circulate about Ghazi and his relations with the this group of military and other Islamists calling for reform within his party and the Islamic Movement.

But once again he denied these speculations reaffirming his “aspirations for reform”.

Ghazi also acknowledged in statements he posted on the Facebook his connection to the group of radical army officers, adding that authorities did not accuse him for involvement in the coup.

He further stressed his refusal for military coups and the use of violence in politics, advising the government to equally share power and wealth and strengthen the central state.

Ghazi said the way out of the current impasse can be reached through a national dialogue leading to an agreement over a new political regime based on two pillars of justice and freedom. After what, he added, can be addressed security and economic crises and free elections can be organised in 2015.

He further underscored that fair division (of national wealth and power) between the centre and periphery is necessary to impose security on all over the country.

South says Sudan plans to derail cooperation deal

May 28, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan on Tuesday dismissed its northern neighbour’s claims that it supports rebel opposed to the latter, saying the allegations were a mere plot to derail agreements both countries signed last year.

Speaking at a media briefing in the capital, Juba, the country’s information and broadcasting minister said the new nation was committed to peaceful dialogue and settlement of all outstanding issues with Sudan, which he said, could only be achieved through the implementation of the September 2012 agreements.

“We have said this number of times that the republic of South Sudan does not provide any support to any of the rebel groups in Sudan and our commitment to peaceful resolution is demonstrated by our actions especially in the implementation of the cooperation agreement,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

We have all withdrawn our forces from the border areas and this has been verified and confirmed by the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the international force, which the two parties had agreed to extension of their monitoring and verification activities along border line, he added.

The minister’s remarks cam a day after the Sudanese president, Omer al-Bashir threatened he would order cut-off of oil flow of oil from South Sudan, should the latter allegedly continue to providing support to rebels.

“Such threats from president Bashir clearly show intentions and plans to derail peace process. The production of oil and export through Sudanese territory has economic benefits for both countries,” Marial told journalists.

He further warned that a halt in South Sudan’s oil flow would deprive citizens from both countries benefits associated with oil resources.

While meeting South Sudan president Salva Kiir, early this month, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti claimed Khartoum had evidences that some circles in the Juba government continue to support the rebels opposed to the northern regime.

Karti further transmitted a demand from Bashir asking to allow the Sudanese troops to chase them inside the South Sudanese territory and to close some business offices in Juba allegedly importing military logistics for the rebel groups.

But president Kiir announced that he had rejected these requests as the deployment of joint patrols with the cooperation of a UN force permits to monitor the common border.

In September of last year, the two countries signed a series of cooperation agreements which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, and border trade among others.

After several months of an apparent setback, the two parties signed an implementation matrix in March of this year for these cooperation agreements.

However observers agree that mistrust will continue to prevail between the two countries unless the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is peacefully settled.

(ST)

Juba and Khartoum in “delicate place” over Abyei, US warns

May 28, 2013 (JUBA) – The US government has warned Sudan and South over the contested region of Abyei, saying the two countries were in a “delicate place” regarding the status of the oil-producing region.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, said Abyei remains one of the significant challenges, which the two Sudan’s will have to settle, alongside the other outstanding post-session issues.

“I think North and South [Sudan] are in a very delicate place right now. It is important to build on the peace process, the comprehensive peace agreement, to build on the new independence of the young state, and to put the focus and energy on the people and on developing the future, not on fighting the issues of the past,” said Kerry, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

That’s our challenge, all of us, and we are certainly going to continue to work at it, he added.

The senior US official further pledged his government’s support for conduct of a referendum in the contested region, which he said was the only way to resolve the conflict. He however stressed that the voting should exclude the nomadic Arab members of the Misseriya tribe allied to Sudan.

“Abyei presents a special challenge, obviously. And I think we agreed that it was critical that Abyei be able to have a referendum with the appropriate Miseriya – that is the Miseriya who actually live in Abyei and have residence there year round, not the migrant Miseriya – that they be able to vote together with residents and then to decide the future”, Kerry’s statement reads in part.

Last year, the African Union mediation team proposed holding a referendum in Abyei this October, but that only those residing permanently in the area will be allowed to vote in the plebiscite and decide whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan.

This proposal would effectively make the majority of voters come from the Dinka Ngok tribe, aligned with South Sudan thus putting the Arab Misseriya nomads, who spend several months in Abyei every year for grazing, at a disadvantage.

The mediators said that the exclusion of the Misseriya nomads comes in line with the decision of the Hague-based arbitration court, which defined the territory of the Ngok Dinka nine chiefdoms in July 2009.

However, Sudan swiftly rejected the plan, which received the blessing of the AU Peace and Security Council, suggesting the matter be referred to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make it binding.

South Sudan president, Salva Kiir last week urged African leaders to provide the necessary support needed for resolution of the final status of Abyei.

Kiir, who was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the inception African body, also rejected Sudan’s proposal for formation of a joint interim administration in the area, arguing that time for the referendum was running short and that it is imperative that only a referendum commission is established in order to organise the vote.

Luka Biong Deng, a senior members of the south-ruling party (SPLM) said president Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omer al-Bashir could not agree on the formation of the joint interim administration in the region.

“Our President Salva Kiir met Sudanese president Omer El Bashir today, but they did not agree. President Kiir expressed the need to establish the referendum commission but Bashir insisted on the formation of joint interim administration first”, Deng told Sudan Tribune from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, Edward Lino, the Co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight committee representing South Sudan said Tuesday that the people of Abyei will not accept any more delay of the referendum beyond October this year.

He called on the people of South Sudan and the international community to provide support needed for the conduct of the vote in the area, saying the vote will only determine the fate of the region.

(ST)

 

MILITARY MAD OVER $500K SCAM

By Emmanuel Akli

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has assured peace-keeping soldiers and officers who have been swindled by importing companies transacting business with them that all the necessary steps would be taken to help them recover their money.

Speaking to The Chronicle in reaction to the story published last week Friday, and headed SOLDIERS HIT BY $500K SCAM, the Director of Public Affairs of the GAF, Col. Mbawine Atintande, said the military high command had taken the issue serious, and would do everything possible to ensure that the affected soldiers received justice.

When asked whether legal action could be brought against the erring companies by their victims,   Col. Atintande said that would be the discretion of the individual soldier, but the GAF, as an institution, would make sure that the sweat of the soldiers, whilst on peace-keeping abroad, did not go down the drain.

Explaining the circumstances that led to the soldiers coming into contact with the importing companies, Mbawine said the GAF, in its efforts to support the welfare of soldiers, allowed the companies to sell their services to the former.

Under this arrangement, the companies would visit the soldiers whilst they are preparing for their peace-keeping duties outside the country to sign contracts with individual soldiers to supply them with whatever electrical gadgets they would like to import.

Brochures are then sent to the soldiers whilst on duties abroad to finally select the gadgets they would like to import.

After the selection, the cost of the gadgets is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping allowances paid to the soldiers, and lodged into the account of the company the soldiers had contracted.

According to Col. Atintande, because, sometimes, orders received by some of the importing companies are not enough to warrant their importation, they inform the head of the mission, who also informs the soldiers who have signed up with that particular company to look for a new one to do the importation on their behalf.

Col. Atintande regretted that sometimes some of the companies fail to inform the mission about their inability to do the importation for the latter to also stop the payment of the goods the soldiers had ordered into their (company) accounts.

He noted that if the military authorities are informed by the companies about their inability to import the goods on behalf of the soldiers on time, there would be no need to deduct the money at source and paid into the accounts of the defaulting companies.

The military man cum journalist further told The Chronicle that the military command was initially dealing with foreign companies, but because their profits were kept in their countries of origin, they decided to shift to Ghanaian-owned companies, so that the huge amount going outside the country would rather stay here in Ghana, but they have been disappointed with the attitude of some of these Ghanaian companies.

He, however, promised that the military would pursue them to ensure that every pesewa they had illegally pocketed from the sweat of the soldiers is reclaimed.

He, therefore, appealed to the soldiers to exercise restraint, as their superiors work around the clock to get their money back for them.

Meanwhile, the following is how The Chronicle reported the earlier story which has elicited the above comments from the Director of Public Affairs.

The Ghana Armed Forces is one of the most disciplined military institutions in the world, but why the leadership of such a noble profession sat down for importing companies to fleece soldiers who went on peace-keeping duties, remains a puzzle.
Information pieced together by The Chronicle indicates that importing companies which transact business with the Armed Forces have duped soldiers on peace-keeping duties to the tune of almost $500,000, but the Military High Command appears not to be doing much to help the affected soldiers redeem their money.
What has even rankled the soldiers is the allegation that some top military officers, who are on retirement, are behind the formation of some of these companies, which have used subtle means to squeeze the money from the soldiers.
Investigations by The Chronicle revealed that anytime soldiers are preparing to go on peace keeping duties outside the country, these importing companies, which have been sanctioned by the Ghana Armed Forces, would flock to their training grounds at Bundase to transact business with them.
In most of the cases, the companies convince the soldiers to allow them import items such as fridges, corn mills and electrical gadgets on their behalf, whilst serving outside the country.
The cost of the items imported is then deducted at source from the peace-keeping money paid to the soldiers. This is after the soldiers have filled forms indicating the items they want, which also serves as an agreement between they and the importers.
The Chronicle gathered, however, that some of the companies (names withheld for now), after collecting the value of the items requested by some of the soldiers from their superiors through deductions at source, failed to deliver without proffering any tangible explanations.
The conduct of these companies is said to have severely affected the soldiers, especially those who use more than half of the allowances that would have accrued to them to import some of the aforementioned items.
This reporter learnt that at a point in time, some of the angry soldiers even arrested a secretary to one of the companies, which had duped them, and attempted to detain her in the guardroom, but the action was stopped by senior officers.
Some of the soldiers told The Chronicle that the training that they go through at the Bundase training camp before they emplane to carry on with peace-keeping duties outside the country, mostly in Liberia, Congo, and Lebanon among others, was very tedious, therefore, for the companies to fleece them of their hard-earned money was unfortunate.
When contacted, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, told The Chronicle that such an arrangement, which also serves as a welfare scheme, exists in some units of the Armed Forces.
He, however, dismissed the suggestion that the leadership of the Army had failed to act after the issue was brought to their attention. To him, the soldiers must be courageous to approach their leaders, especially their Commanding Officers (CO), with whatever problems they may have, instead of rushing to the media.
“Who did they report to, and did the officer fail to do something about their problem?” he asked. When he was told that the soldiers did inform the appropriate authorities, Col. Atintande doubted that, insisting that if such a complaint had been lodged, the soldiers would have been told about whatever action their superiors had initiated.

 

S. Africa death toll in C. Africa coup rises to 15

By AFP

CAPE TOWN (AFP) – South Africa said Wednesday that the death toll arising from its deployment to coup-hit Central African Republic has risen to 15.

Thirteen soldiers were killed and 27 wounded as rebels moved on Bangui which fell on March 24.

But two others have since succumbed to their wounds with the latest dying at a Pretoria military hospital on Monday, the defence force said.

Another soldier died last month.

The deaths marked South Africa’s worst military loss since the fall of apartheid.

South Africa’s government faced a backlash over the deployment of troops to Central Africa, amid accusations of deals with ousted leader Francois Bozize and ruling party business interests.

Any wrongdoing has been strongly denied.

SADC: Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe, Zanu PF

BY DUMISANI SIBANDA

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent regional diplomatic offensive has paid-off following a resolution by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe ahead of the make-or-break elections later this year.

The summit, whose date is yet to be set, will review the implementation of outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) — that ushered in the inclusive government — the election roadmap and election funding.

Tsvangirai last month took a diplomatic tour to sensitise Sadc leaders to press President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement outstanding issues of the GPA and urged the regional bloc to convene a special summit on Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections.

The state media – The Herald and ZBC – however — dismissed his tour as an exercise in futility.

But in an interview yesterday, Sadc facilitator, South African president Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said Zimbabwe was discussed at a Sadc meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit golden jubilee celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.

“It was agreed that a summit of the Sadc Heads of State be held where the issue of Zimbabwe will be discussed. That summit will receive a progress report on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement following the constitutional process,” Zulu said.

“It will clear the way for elections. The three political parties in government will have to agree on the roadmap to elections. They have to agree on what has to happen prior to the elections, during the elections and post elections. The date of the summit has not been set, but the meeting will be held soon.”

This flies in Mugabe and Zanu PF’s claims that Sadc — as the guarantor of the GPA — had given Zimbabwe “the nod” to hold the elections and that the planned extra-ordinary summit was merely to raise funds for holding the elections.

Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters on his return at Harare International Airport on Monday that Sadc had resolved to hold the summit to solely raise funds for the elections following the successful completion of the new constitution.

But Zulu said: “There is no way the issue of funding elections can be looked into in isolation. The funding will come from Zimbabwe itself. Zimbabweans will say if they need funding assistance.”

Zanu PF had all along insisted that the harmonised elections would be held on June 29 this year when the life of the current Parliament expires, while the MDC parties insist on the fulfillment of outstanding issues such as security sector and media reforms first.

Tsvangirai yesterday welcomed Sadc decision on Zimbabwe.

“It’s a welcome development. The Prime Minister welcomes any summit on Zimbabwe. But definitely the summit will not just be about discussing the funding of the elections. It will obviously look at issues around the hygiene issues . . . the environment for holding the elections,” his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

“It will obviously look at issues to do with the implementation of the reforms required under the GPA before the holding of free and fair elections. Remember Sadc are the guarantors of the GPA and from the outset their mandate was to help Zimbabwe have free and fair polls.”

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said they were happy with the development.

“You remember that our President Welshman Ncube wrote to Sadc detailing all the issues that are outstanding, but necessary for the holding of free and fair elections and that is what we want the special summit to attend to,” he said.

On March 28 this year Ncube wrote to the Sadc Troika chairman Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete saying his party was being excluded from the process of drawing up the roadmap to the elections and the need for full implementation of the GPA as a pre-condition for holding free and fair polls.

The Livingstone Sadc summit in 2011 recognised Ncube as a principal in the coalition government, but he has complained that he is being sidelined by partners in the inclusive government, Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe needs at least $253 million to hold the harmonised elections. The country, which has suffered years of economic hemorrhaging, does not have the money and has taken out its begging bowl to South Africa and Angola. – NewsDay

 

APC Negotiates another $Billion Chinese Investment

 

May 29, 2013, 17:26

 
 

 

 

4 4 4: The APC Sun keeps Shining

The APC-led government of Ernest Bai Koroma has Tuesday May 28th 2013, signed a Bilateral Joint Venture in Agriculture with the Chinese at State House. The investment of over one billion dollars will see irrigated rice being grown to feed Sierra Leoneans. Rubber will be grown & processed here for eventual foreign-exchange earning export.

Over five hundred million dollars is reported by Agriculture Minister Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay as being available to be deployed into Venture. He informs that 250,000 acres of rubber and 87,500 acres of irrigated rice investment will be undertaken.

 

Chinese Embassy sources inform that on March 15th 2011, Chinese Ambassador Kuang Weilin made a courtesy call to Dr. Sam Sesay during which Weilin said China is willing to share its experiences and promote mutually beneficial cooperation with Sierra Leone in Agriculture. The Agriculture Minister had expressed the hope that Chinese businessmen will come to invest in Sierra Leone Agriculture for which he was invited in November to visit China’s Hainan Rubber Company.

The hardworking minister was then able to convince the Chinese to invest in Sierra Leone. As a result, feasibility study visits were undertaken by Chinese teams which led to formulation of technical, financial, legal and environmental Documents for the Bilateral Joint Venture between China and Sierra Leone.

 

Minister Sam Sesay informs there will be a grace period of 9 years for repayment of the loan. Interest rate will be 2% and annual equal repayments expected over a subsequent period of 25 years. A rubber factory and a rice mill are all expected to be constructed as part of the investment which will employ some 22,000 persons and build a road network spanning over 400km.

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH, 2013

By Dotun Akano, Reporter, Lagos (with Agency Reports)

Armed pirates attacked an oil products tanker off the coast of Nigeria and abducted an unknown number of crew, security sources said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian-flagged MT Matrix was boarded by gunmen in the early hours of Saturday about 40 nautical miles off the coast of oil-producing Bayelsa State, two security sources said, in a stretch of water often targeted by pirates.

There were 12 Pakistani and five Nigerian crew aboard the vessel when it was attacked, one of the sources said.

A spokesman for ship operator, Val Oil Trading, who declined to give his name, confirmed there had been an “incident”, without giving further details.

A military spokesman in the Delta referred calls for comment on Tuesday to Nigeria’s Navy Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a Navy spokesman, said there had been no report of a hijacking made to officials.

Some shippers in the region don’t report hijackings publicly, out of fears of having their insurance premiums rise.

Telephone numbers for Pakistan’s High Commission in Abuja, could not be immediately connected on Tuesday.

Nigerian Naval authorities listed the ship as one of several allowed to bring subsidised gasoline into the country in May as part of a programme costing the nation billions of dollars a year.

Naval officials listed the ship as being operated by a company called Integrated Shipping Services Nigeria Ltd.

 

Fall in copper prices unsettles CMZ

Posted May 29, 2013

 

By KENNEDY MUPESENI  –

THE Chamber of Mines of Zambia (CMZ) has noted with deep concern the downward trend of metal prices, especially copper over the last few months on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

In a  statement released yesterday, CMZ said  the downward trend in copper prices coupled with the general increase in other costs,  meant that mining operations would have to look at a range of ways to contain such costs.

“Mining operations are unique in the sense that each mine has its own characteristics and cost structure,” the statement said.

It stated that old and deep underground mines have high production costs, while the open pit mines generally have challenges with the grade of copper in ore and high stripping ratio the degree of impact of the lower metal prices and higher costs was therefore different for each mine.

The CMZ assured the public that while all its members were exploring a spectrum of ways to contain costs at their various operations, they have invested in the industry and the country and that,  they were planning to become active participants in the Zambian economy for many years to come.

CMZ stated that movements in metal prices were cyclical adding that, members would only be taking measures that were necessary to ensure the continuation of operations in this difficult period.

 

Rot in Kyambogo

 

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 09:14 BY JOAN AKELLO

Mismanagement, fraud, unhygienic conditions take centre stage as public university goes to the dogs

The arrest and eventual prosecution of seven top administrators of Kyambogo University is only a tiny indication of the rot going on at one of Uganda’s leading public institutions. The arrests appeared to cap a difficult period for the institution, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons ranging from student and staff strikes, fraud involving billions of shillings and administrative wrangles.

But the administrative chaos is not the only problem at the public institution.   Sanitation is pathetic, putting the lives of thousands of students at risk.  A sewerage crisis resulting from leaking sewers, is yet to be dealt with.

Two halls of residence – Portal and Stanley – have faulty taps and showers. The taps are running all day and night and have not been fixed for close to two months.  Secondly, in Portal Hall, water oozes out from the pipes and floods the floor. The shower heads are also faulty.

Some halls like Owen were closed due to poor sanitation and the sorry state of its facilities.  Rubbish especially litter is common place, for example, around the security office, Guild Café and lecture halls. Roads are a terrible mess and stagnant water is everywhere.

One student leader told The Independent that when he reported the issues to the Estates department, he was told that the University did not have money. “So the university has money to waste in paying high water bills but no money to repair faulty taps?” The student leader wondered.

The government coughed Shs 226 million for water and Shs 767.8 million for electricity in the university’s budget for 2011/2012. As the wastage continues, it is also projected that this figure will remain the same for 2012/2013, though the university will get Shs 300 million from non tax revenue, majorly from tuition fees, to foot the water bill.

On the academic front, students have decried the late release of results while others say they are released in bits.  “My results for industrial training for last year have not been released but I have already been given placement for another one this year,” one student said.

Another student said that by May 13, results of Automobile Engineering for Year Three and Microfinance for the same year had not been pinned on the notice boards yet it is already examination time for the new semester. “What if I have missing marks, this is the uncertainty you have to live with at this university,” she said.

Some students are said to connive with lecturers to better their grades, cancel retakes or even buy examinations.   Some say Course not Completed (CNC) is common for finalists to get as part of their final results.

A former student told The Independent that he was given CNC because his marks for a certain course unit  in year one  were missing and that he also had three retakes in his first semester Year two, yet  he had never had missing marks nor retakes  as indicated on the notice board.

One lecturer said that this usually happens due to human ‘error’ meaning a certain student may have bought marks or had them changed.

Most people at the university who The Independent talked to said they were not surprised by the tuition scam. What they said surprised them was how long it took to uncover it.  The procedures for paying tuition and receipting it are prone to abuse and need an immediate overhaul.

There are cases where officials write receipts even before the money is paid in the banks. Desk officers, their unofficial agents and accomplices, solicit for willing students to be accomplices in the fraud.

Official reports say Shs 5.5 billion could have been lost in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alone due to fraud in tuition fees.

Students are issued fake examination cards and the registration process is abused including falsification of receipts.

An accountant working at another university told The Independent that the manual tuition fees payment system is what Kyambogo needs to change. With the manual system, students pick slips from the reception then go back to accounts or the desk officers at their respective faculties or departments for registration. With a population of over 25,000 students, there is little room for verification because of the pressure.

Makerere changed this system several years ago in a bid to eliminate such problems. Today, a student at Makerere pays in the bank but because the bank’s computer system and the university’s are linked, the information is shared in real time.  Students can then get an electronic printout of their statements from the Bursar’s office and then process their examination cards.

Administrative wrangling

For Kyambogo, some of these problems are historical and would require a strong leader to overhaul them. The embattled Prof. Ndiege, who came a year after an interim management was dissolved and restructured in 2008, was determined to bring about change, but he was kicked out by the Council.  Lutaalo Bbosa, the first VC after the merger, was also pushed out of office when some staff got disgruntled.

Fresh recruitment and an overhaul of management and the council may be the only solution to redeem the university from its limbo.  Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Education and Sports appears to be powerless, but would want the ministry to consider a collegiate system as a way of dealing with the rot.  But that is in the long term.  What the authorities will do in the short term is what could bring some stability, which still eludes the institution.

Examinations are going on smoothly amidst the rift between the Council and the IGG over the estranged Vice Chancellor Omolo Ndiege. Observers say the standoff and eventual outcome of the court cases could open the door for more reforms in the quasi manner the institution is administered.

Last year, the University Council sent Prof. Ndiege on leave, after the council received complaints from staff over Omolo’s leadership style. It instituted an adhoc committee before taking action, but many say its decision was a knee-jerk reaction.

This, according to observers, was because of the bad blood between some Council members and Ndiege. Indeed, Ndiege  accused the Council of blaming him for all sorts of  things including  failure to  initiate  procurement,  collect house  rents, late release of  results, lack of water, dirty toilets, delayed  payments,  cross-checking  vouchers,  low staff morale, sexual  harassment, reprimanding  errant staff, sponsoring  negative  articles in  newspapers, intimidating  staff, unswept classrooms among other  things. Though he has been away for several months, the situation is only getting worse.

Now, different camps have emerged, those who back Ndiege and those who support Prof Opuda.  While Lawrence Madete, the Kyambogo public relations officer, says some are not bothered by the drama, the rifts have left the university sharply divided.

“He came with the attitude of a sweeper but his people management skills created a problem,” Madete said of Ndiege. “He is a high flyer, bright but also arrogant, which tends to rub some people in the wrong way.”

While appearing before the Parliamentary Social Services Committee that was investigating the problems in Kyambogo University, the University Secretary Sam Akorimo also blamed the leadership style of prof. Ndeige, which he said “was not fit for any university.”

Akorimo said Prof. Ndeige’s style was characterized by barking at staff, disrespect, inability to listen, and witch-hunting members of staff who hold divergent views.

Some staff who spoke to The Independent say Ndiege called himself ‘Chief Executive Officer,’ – thus usurping the powers of the University secretary and that he used security officers to witch hunt them.  However, some of the staff who support Ndiege say that his opponents are either sour grapping or unhappy that he blocked payments of responsibility allowances.

In a letter, dated October 19, 2012,  to the parliamentary committee investigating the mess, Victor Locoro, a staffer in the Faculty of Special needs and Rehabilitation, said Ndiege was not popular because of his ‘unbending strictness’ against fraud.

“There is reason to  believe that this allegation is a plot  by a group of staff and some members of management with indiscipline and or fraud –related  interests to  get him out of office  to  allow room for them to pursue  their selfish  motives  especially now that  the university is  expecting to receive a Shs 72 billion grant  from the African Development Bank,” Locoro wrote.

He said some officials were making fraudulent teaching claims, and that there was gross abuse of overtime and extra load provisions.

For some time, concern has been rife about the rapid disappearance of the university’s land, until the IGG stopped any transactions involving the university’s land. Other assets like vehicles and repairs are abused with careless abandon.

Also in a mess is the system of paying lecturers. In Kyambogo, a lecturer is paid for marking coursework, tests, setting an examination, invigilating during examinations and marking examinations scripts.  This is separate from what the government pays full time staff and also what the university pays as top –up.  Because there are more part–timers, the latter benefit more from such claims.

A full time staff member said the problem in the university is that staffs are paid for everything they do, yet it does not make economic sense to pay a teacher to set an exam.

“The systems are all broken; some departments do not have computers or even chairs for staff so how do you expect them to do research or even mark scripts and release results in time? Another lecturer asked.

 

Please send any comments and/or queries to the Africa Centre Co-ordinator at: jamesbodgener@gmail.com

 

Endsit, and Bi-Bi.