‘Back To School’ Programme in Burundi

Source: United Nations Photo/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Continent

Biggest Indian tour delegation gears for Rwanda visit

The volume of tourist inflows from India to Rwanda continues to grow exponentially, thanks to the ever-improving bilateral relations between the two countries. In December this year, Rwanda will receive its largest single Indian tour delegation to date, with at least 100 Indian nationals already confirmed to make the trip. The group will visit in the first week of December. The delegation will consist of 25 students, a 15-member women’s cricket team, 46 religious pilgrims, and a 14-16 member business delegation. “It will be an exciting India Week, so to speak, with a student’s group, women cricketers, pilgrims, and the business delegation,” explained Clarence Fernandes, chairman of Rwanda Renaissance, which organises and facilitates travel for Indians visiting Rwanda. Fernandes was in the country last month to make advance preparations for the upcoming visit.

The 25 students will be visiting Rwanda to attend the National Children’s Summit that is slated for December 7 in Kigali, and also to take part in a “Study Rwanda” programme. The programme, according to Fernandes, is designed on the basis of the Study India Programme, which schools and colleges in the UK have held for the last couple of years in the two Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi. “The structure of the Study Rwanda programme will be based on the existing programme which takes place with British students coming to India,” he further explained.

Meanwhile, the 15-member women’s cricket team will be here to play cricket matches with Rwandan women cricketers. This will be on December 9 and 10 and, Fernandes explains, “the idea is to have as many as 100 Indians at the stadium to cheer our cricket team.” Also travelling with the delegation will be a 14-16 member Indian business delegation who will be in Rwanda to explore trade, tourism and investment opportunities in the country. Lastly, the group will have 46 pilgrims who will be headed to Kibeho in Nyaruguru district for a spot of religious tourism.

“Kibeho is a tourism product which has immense potential. We brought in 46 pilgrims in September last year, and another 22 in April this year, so we’re going to bring in 46 pilgrims this time and they’ll be there for the cricket matches on the 9th and 10th, then they will proceed to Kibeho for the pilgrimage,” Fernandes revealed. He further explained that all members of the delegation will make use of RwandAir’s direct and nonstop flight from Mumbai to Kigali: “We are sure this will be an exciting event for tourism in the country and it will also showcase the various facets of tourism products the country can offer.

It will be exciting from different angles: the first time a students’ group will be coming in, and they have in principle already confirmed 25, though it might go up to 30. But our target is to cross the magical figure of 100 delegates in Rwanda during the first week of December 2017.” He attributed the high numbers to the mixed basket nature of the tour delegation: “For example last September we brought 46 pilgrims, and it was all under one segment -the religious tourism segment. This time we’re looking at a mix of four different segments; students, sports, religious tourism, and business tourism.

All four put together will give us the magical figure of 100, and that’s what accounts for the sharp increase in terms of the total number of Indian visitors to Rwanda. It will be impactful because they’ll all be coming at the same time. Imagine at the cricket matches we will have 100 Indians flying in from India, besides those Indians that are already living in Rwanda who will also be there as well. We do believe this will increase the visibility of Rwanda as a tourism destination, be it for business or leisure or religious or sports tourism.”

Because of the magnitude and unique nature of this particular tour excursion, Fernandes explains, “we’ll definitely have our Indian High Commissioner fly in from Kampala, Uganda, unless of course by that time we have our own Indian High Commission in Rwanda because that is on the cards. This will get wide coverage in Mumbai also, because this is something special. It can serve as a very good marketing tool to bring home the message that Rwanda is safe and secure and it’s easy to do business here, and that the country has got a charm of its own.”

However Fernandes is weary of the rigorous visa regime that awaits the delegation: “The first challenge is to collect 100 passports from 100 individuals scattered all over Mumbai. The next challenge is to handle the laborious task of having to fill 100 application forms, when it can all be done with the click of a mouse. The third challenge is to courier 100 passports to New Delhi which entails ten separate shipments because one courier consignment will not carry more than ten passports.

It’s not only in Rwanda but is a worldwide norm that couriers don’t take more than ten passports in one consignment, and this is done for safety reasons. The next challenge is when the passports return from the high commission with the visas stamped. We have to again redistribute 100 passports to 100 individuals who are in Mumbai, and that calls for more time, money and energy, which can all be avoided if we’re able to apply online for group visas.”

Fernandes reveals that he faced serious challenges in September last year when he had to send 46 passports to Delhi, and again in April when he had to send 24 passports to Delhi. His wish is that come December, it will be possible to apply online for group visas. “At the moment if I want a group Visa I have to send the individual passports to the Rwanda High Commission in New Delhi. So it’s my humble request that the immigration department enables us to apply online for a group visa.”

Source: The New Times

BRICS to broaden cooperation with non-members

The announcement by the BRICS countries that their summit, which opened  September 3 in Xiamen City, China will consider the need to broaden cooperation with non-members is a welcome development for Africa to strengthen partnership with developed and emerging economies. The BRICS group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is a fast growing global economic collaboration. According to recent studies, the combined economies of the BRICS could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world by the year 2050, hence the need for African countries to take advantage of opportunities to cement ties with BRICS.

Speaking ahead of the BRICS Summit that ended on  September 5, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, said that five additional countries had been invited to attend the summit as part of the plans to broaden cooperation with non-members. These are Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand, as well as two African countries — Egypt and Kenya. Yi stressed that the invitation to the five countries is not intended to expand the BRICS grouping, but to broaden cooperation. “We want to broaden the discussion to non-BRICS countries as well,” he said, adding that, “I am confident that the dialogue this year will also be a success and also help expand BRICS influence.”

Yi said BRICS is not a “locked club” and the influence of BRICS cooperation goes far beyond the borders of the five BRICS countries. The impact of the BRICS countries is already being felt across the continent, and a regional development bank has been launched by the BRICS countries to service the African continent. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) is expected to unlock the continent’s socio-economic potential through providing resources for infrastructure and other development.

The NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, is headquartered in Shanghai, China. The main aim of the BRICS Development Bank established in February 2016 to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS member states and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries. The Africa Regional Centre of the NDB will exclusively cater for the developmental needs of the continent.

The BRICS Summit provides an important platform for emerging markets such as Africa in contributing towards international peace and development. For example, the African Union has adopted Agenda 2063, which is a continental strategy that aims to optimise the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans. Some of the major targets under Agenda 2063 include the transformation to a highly developed and interconnected continent through improving transport such as railway. At the regional level, SADC aims to industrialize its economic and has prioritised programmes by focusing on infrastructure development and market integration. The move by the BRICS grouping to broaden its cooperation with non-member comes at the opportune time when South Africa, which is a member of the BRICS, has also assumed the chair of SADC.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has already urged the continent to take advantage of the BRICs to boost development, and described the launch of NDB as development is not only a “critical milestone” for South Africa, but “for the entire African continent,” and should, therefore, be celebrated as a shared achievement. “The launch of the centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole,” he said.

The BRICS summit will among other things discuss issues to do with strengthening solidarity and collaboration, and improving global governance; deepening pragmatic cooperation to achieve mutual benefit; increasing people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing public support; and strengthening institutional mechanism and improving cooperation platform. The theme for the summit is “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future.”

Source: Southern African News Feature (Harare)

Poverty and state abuse, not religion, push Africans to become militants: UN

“Those who join extremist groups tend to have lower levels of religious or formal education and less understanding of the meaning of religious texts” Poverty and state violence, not religion, are driving young Africans to join militant groups, the United Nations said on September 7, after interviewing almost 600 recruits. It is easiest for organisations like al-Shabaab and Boko Haram to recruit young people who are unemployed and frustrated about lack of opportunities and services in remote areas, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) said. But researchers found about 70 percent of recruits said their “tipping point” was a government action, often the arrest or killing of a friend or relative by security forces.

“Contrary to popular narratives, those who join extremist groups tend to have lower levels of religious or formal education and less understanding of the meaning of religious texts,” UNDP said in a statement. “Actually understanding one’s religion can strengthen resilience to the pull of extremism.” Interviews with non-militant youths showed that receiving at least six years of religious schooling reduced the likelihood of joining an extremist group by a third. The Islamist Boko Haram group, whose brutal eight-year campaign in northeast Nigeria shows no sign of ending, accounted for more than half of 33,000 deaths caused by militant attacks in Africa between 2011 and 2016, the U.N. said.

Although more than half of interviewees cited religion as a reason for joining an extremist group, 57 percent did not read religious texts or understood little to nothing of them. The study was based on interviews carried out between 2015 and 2017 in six countries, including Kenya, Nigeria and Somalia, mostly in detention facilities, with most of those interviewed having joined militant groups voluntarily. Researchers found people’s sense of neglect started in childhood, with young people growing up to resent the lack of economic opportunities or chance of change, and distrusting the state to provide services or respect human rights.

More than four in 10 said they were jobless before joining the organisation, while 34 percent said employment was the most immediate need when they signed up. But for many the tipping point was state violence. “Such an individual could, upon witnessing or experiencing perceived abuse of power by the state, be tipped over the edge into extremism,” the report said. Community support for armed groups also drives young people to enact violence out of a sense of duty or in a bid to gain the respect of their neighbours, a separate report focusing on Mali by the charity Mercy Corps said on September 7.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Visa hitch forces cancellation of US-Africa energy summit

A US-Africa energy summit scheduled for later September has been cancelled after African invitees were denied US visas, organisers said on September 6. A notice to prospective attendees said the fully booked two-day event would not take place “because of the denial of US visas to the vast majority of registered African participants, which, as a result, defeated the purpose of the summit and made it untenable”. Olivier Kamanzi, the Rwandan head of the Chicago-based Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, was among the scheduled speakers at the summit set to take place in Madison, the capital of the state of Wisconsin. The ambassadors to the US from Botswana, Ghana and South Africa were also listed as speakers, along with the coordinator of former President Obama’s Power Africa programme.

“This is part of a broad policy of the Trump administration to deny, stall and obstruct visa requests regardless of their source,” said Samba Baldeh, a native of Gambia and an elected official in Madison. “These denials are for everyone, from visits from a member of an immediate family, to former heads of state.” The inability of most invitees from Africa to obtain US visas “squandered a great opportunity for energy-deprived nations to work with advanced energy providers of the US and Wisconsin,” Mr Baldeh added in comments reported by the Wisconsin State Journal. “This policy isolated the US from the business and culture of the rest of the world.” Another US-Africa summit scheduled to be held in California in March was also cancelled because none of the 60 African government and business leaders were able to obtain visas.

Three previous African Global Economic and Development Conferences went ahead despite denial of visas to about 40 percent of participants who would have travelled from Africa, lead organiser Mary Flowers told Voice of America.                 “This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad because these people were so disheartened,” Ms Flowers noted. “I have to say that most of us feel it is a discrimination issue with the African nations,” she added. “We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.”

Responding to a query from Nation, the State Department said on September 7 that “visa applications are not automatically denied. Each visa application is considered individually and in accordance with US law.” A department official added that “the US welcomes travellers for tourism and business.” The official did not comment on the issue of Africans prevented from attending conferences in the US, saying, “Since visa records are confidential under the Immigration and Nationality Act, we are not able to discuss specific visa cases.”

Source: Daily Nation

Central Africa

In Burundi, Commission of Inquiry urges ICC to investigate crimes against humanity

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi believes that crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Burundi since April 2015. Following the report published on August 28, the commission reported that those crimes are taking place in a context of serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and enforced disappearances.

Fatsah Ouguergouz, chairperson of the commission, said that among the perpetrators include high level officials from the National Intelligence Service and the national police force, military officials, and members of the youth league of the ruling party-Imbonerakure. “We were struck by the scale and the brutality of the violations. We fear that the crimes will remain unpunished”, he says. The commission of Inquiry accused the Burundian authorities of being unwilling to fight against impunity and guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

The commission reported to have gathered, in difficult situations, about 500 testimonies including many Burundians living abroad as refugees and those who remain in the country. The chairman of the commission also confirmed that the human rights violations continue to be committed in Burundi. “We continue to receive reliable, credible and consistent information confirming that these violations are still taking place in Burundi today”, says Ouguergouz. The Commission calls on Burundian authorities to immediately put an end to the serious human rights violations. It also demands ICC to open an investigations into the crimes committed in Burundi as soon as possible.

Source: Iwacu

Rwandan Senate approves eight new heads of institutions

The Senate on September 7 approved eight public officials who were last week appointed to lead various agencies, with some suggesting an audit into the institutions before the doors are opened to their new leadership. Senator Perrine Mukankusi wondered if the appointees were not curious to take on their new offices starting on a clean slate. “Is it not necessary that the new officials first conduct an audit into these offices before they take them up so that they know exactly the magnitude of the issues that they have to deal with?” she asked.

The officials include Anastase Murekezi, who was appointed the new Ombudsman; Kampeta Sayinzoga, who was appointed the Director-General of the National Industrial Research Development Agency (NIRDA); Seraphine Mukantabana, who was appointed to head the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC); and Gilbert Habyarimana, the new Director-General of the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA). Others are Eric Serubibi, appointed to the position of Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA); and Edouard Bamporiki, who is to head the National Itorero Commission. The others include Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi; who was appointed Governor of Northern Province; and Fred Mufulukye, who was appointed Governor of the Eastern Province.

The president of the Senatorial Commission of Political Affairs and Good Governance Committee, Jean-Damascene Sindikubwabo, told the senators that the committee, which had spent many hours vetting the appointees, was satisfied with what each of the candidates was bringing to the table. Going into specifics, he said Mufurukye had drawn out a plan aimed to tackle two main priority areas. Mufurukye is interested in dealing with the issue of drought, which continues to be a big challenge for people in Eastern Province. He plans to seek immediate funding for irrigation schemes to spur agriculture in the province,” he said.

Senator Sindikubwabo said the commission’s discussions with Sayinzoga had rotated around her goal to change the perception that NIRDA was more into research and instead position it as an institution that was keen on industrial development. He said Sayinzoga’s priority areas of focus will include fixing the issue of quality of exports by conducting a study on how small industries can be supported to grow. Sayinzoga reportedly told the committee of the issue of industries that started small and had potential but collapsed and those that were big and are no longer in business, and indicated her resolve to work toward facilitating the growth of such firms.

However, not all senators were convinced by the appraisals, with Narcisse Musabeyezu taking issues with the new governors for not spelling out how they intended to work with grassroots authorities in fixing issues. Referring to Mufurukye, Senator Musabeyezu suggested that the committee should have advised him better. “When I read what the governor was saying, I was disappointed that all I heard was what they were going to do but nothing on how he will work with mayors, for instance. He has many good ideas but he is a policy person and the implementers are the districts and other grassroots people,” he said. The officials are expected to swear in next week.

Source: The New Times

Former Rwigara presidential hopeful arrested

Rwandan police on September 4 arrested Diane Shima Rwigara, a leading critic of President Paul Kagame, charging her with forgery and tax evasion. Her mother and sister were also arrested on the tax charges. Earlier this year, electoral authorities barred Rwigara from standing in August’s presidential vote, which Kagame won, saying she had not submitted enough supporters’ signatures and some of the names she did sent in belonged to dead people.

Rwigara denied the allegations. “They are accused of tax evasion and secondly Diane Rwigara is accused of using fake documents while she was gathering signatures for (her) presidential candidacy,” police spokesman Theos Badege told reporters on Sept.01. Police said they had a warrant issued by a prosecutor to arrest them. Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, has repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and criticised his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s near total hold on power. Kagame won last month’s election with 98.8 percent of the vote.

Rwigara claimed she was being held under house arrest before the police action on September 4. “Tell us why we are being arrested? Why should we go to the police while you have confined us to this place and took away all our money without leaving us any?” Rwigara said as she and her family was being taken away. Asked about this, Badege, the police spokesman, said that earlier police had only searched Rwigara’s home and taken a few items and money away in line with the law. It was a clear application of the law,” Badege said.

Rwigara was disqualified as a candidate after allegedly failing to collect enough supporting signatures ahead of the election. According to electoral laws, independent presidential candidates are required to present 600 signatures, with at least 12 from each of Rwanda’s 30 districts, in order to run for president.

Rwigara allegedly turned in signatures of some people who had been long dead and others who belonged to a rival political party, according to Rwanda’s electoral commission.

Rwigara is the daughter of the late Assinapol Rwigara, a tycoon who fell out with Kagame before his death in a car accident in 2015. Kagame won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. But he has also faced increased criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media, and suppression of political opposition.

Source: The Independent (Kampala)

North Africa

French FM in Libya to boost Paris-brokered accord

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Libya on September 4 as part of an effort to bolster a peace deal between rival faction leaders signed in Paris in July. “This is a signal of the commitment of France, of President [Emmanuel] Macron’s wish, to contribute to resolving this crisis,” Le Drian told reporters in Tripoli.

Libya has been plunged into chaos by fighting between rival militias since the overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. Le Drian said the September 4 visit was a follow-up to the 25 July accord signed in Paris by the head of the UN-backed Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj, and military strongman Khalifa Haftar. “Our objective is the stabilisation of Libya in the interest of Libyans themselves but also in the interest of neighbouring countries, of which we form part in a way,” he said at a joint news conference with Libyan counterpart Mohamed al-Taher Siala.

France’s aim is “a unified Libya with functioning institutions” that would stave off “the terrorist threat” and clear the way for reconciliation, he added. German Foreign Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Britain’s Boris Johnson both visited Libya during the summer. After his Tripoli visit, Le Drian was to go to Misrata and the eastern cities of Benghazi and Tobruk, as they did.

Source: Radio France Internationale

Security Council strongly condemns ‘heinous’ attack on Egyptian police

The members of the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the “heinous and cowardly” terrorist attack that took place on September 11 in Sinai, in which at least 18 policemen were killed and 3 were injured. “They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt, and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured,” read a statement issued to the press by the 15-member body.

Council members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these “reprehensible acts of terrorism” to justice. Also, UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on September 11 that the world body sent its condolences to the Government and people of Egypt on the attack.

Source: UN News Service

Tunisian parliament approves major cabinet reshuffle

The Tunisian Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP), or parliament, approved on September 11 night a major cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. The reshuffle involves 13 portfolios and seven secretaries of state. Former Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi, 67, returns to the post, while 55-year-old Lotfi Brahim, the former commander-in-chief of the Tunisian National Guard, will take the helm of the Interior Ministry. Taoufik Rajhi was named as minister of the Head of Government, a new ministerial position in charge of monitoring economic reforms. The government of Chahed consisted of 26 ministers and 14 secretaries of state before the reshuffle. Now it has been expanded to 28 ministers and 15 secretaries of state.

Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing)

Europe accused of complicity in ‘horrific abuse’ of migrants in Libya

Thousands of migrants desperate to get to Europe are being held in detention centers across Libya. Some are run by foreign aid agencies, others by the myriad armed groups vying for power and money. Joanne Liu, international president of the aid group Doctors Without Borders, has recently returned from visiting detention centers in Libya and told reporters that militia groups are detaining migrants in horrific conditions where they are subject to torture, rape, starvation and killing. “Basically, I will describe those detention centers are for me, manufacturers of suffering at industrial level,” she said.

Migrants picked up at sea by Libya’s EU-sponsored coast guard are sent back into the country’s murky detention system. Lui describes it as a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion, and accuses Europe of complicity. “Are they OK with containing and sending people back to where they will be raped, tortured and enslaved? Are they OK aiding and abetting criminals and smugglers?” she asked. Italian Prime Minister Paulo Gentiloni pledged on September 7 to demand improved conditions in the detention centers. “But this commitment cannot go against our commitment to fight against the human smugglers and the flow of migrants into our countries,” he said.

The EU is struggling to balance public pressure to end the migration crisis with the bloc’s much vaunted human rights values, said Libya analyst Riccardo Fabiani of the Eurasia Group. “This is the problem and the paradox here, that Europe needs, at least from the point of view of the authorities, to do something about migration, to reduce migration,” he said. “And the only way to do it is to reach a deal with the various parties and actors involved in human trafficking. But the price to pay for this is human rights violations and effectively accepting that a degree of violence and human rights violations will take place.” Increasingly, Fabiani says, Europe appears willing to pay that price to end the crisis.

Source: Voice of America

Southern Africa

Mugabe drops succession bombshell

President Robert Mugabe, on September 9, said he will not impose his wife as Zimbabwe’s next president as he opened up on his troubled relationship with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe told thousands of his supporters at Bindura’s Chipadze Stadium, Mashonaland Central that anointing Grace as his successor would be a violation of the Zanu PF constitution. However, the declaration contradicted his wife who had spoken a few minutes earlier emphasising that the 93-year-old ruler had a right to hand-pick a successor. Last month the 52-year-old first lady went public demanding that Mugabe anoint a successor as Zanu PF infighting reached frightening levels. “I will never do that, never,” he said. “The party leader will be chosen by the people at congress and as a lawyer, I will respect that.”

Mugabe’s speech, which appeared like an attempt to cool off tempers after his wife humiliated Mnangagwa, was about the history of factionalism in Zanu PF but also a serious attack on the VP’s standing as a politician. He said he did know how Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Mnangagwa became enemies after plotting against him during the so-called Tsholotsho declaration. “Prof Moyo chose to support Mnangagwa to take over,” Mugabe told the rally. He acknowledged the existence of G40, which he said was a creation of the likes of national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Team Lacoste, but said Mnangagwa always denied that he was a leader of a faction. “I asked where Lacoste came from and Mnangagwa said he does not know, if it is the cup [I am the boss cup] throw it away. You cannot suffer because of a cup,” Mugabe said.

On G40, Mugabe said: “It was started by Kasukuwere after the election of Barack Obama as the American president. Obama as in his 40s and Kasukuwere said we also want a leader in the 40s and called themselves G40. “But now Obama is gone, that should end. If he called himself G40, he remained in the country and we have a history and processes to follow.” He said Kasukuwere and Masvingo political kingmaker, Josiah Hungwe once clashed in the politburo, with the Psychomotor minister accusing the Local Government minister of using his position as commissar to build his power base to take over power.

Mugabe said Masvingo had serious tribal problems while Midlands had minor issues which could be sorted out. The Masvingo problems, he said, started during the days of the late Edson Zvobgo, who he said was a self-proclaimed tribalist. “I met the Masvingo provincial leadership after [Tourism minister Walter] Mzembi was sent by the provincial MPs who called for the axing of [late Provincial Affairs minister] Shuvai Mahofa and Josaya Hungwe,” Mugabe said. He said they tried to resolve the problems but did not manage and a lot of work still needed to be done.

Mugabe also spoke about Moyo’s dossier detailing Mnangagwa’s alleged plot to seize power. “Moyo once said in the politburo that he will never support Mnangagwa again,” Mugabe said after chronicling Mnangagwa and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi’s history. He warned Mnangagwa against being pushed by people into trying to oust him. Mugabe said Moyo’s dossier included allegations that the VP forced former broadcaster Godfrey Majonga to jump from the second floor of a Harare apartment after they clashed over a girlfriend. Majonga suffered serious injuries and is now wheelchair-bound. Mugabe said Mnangagwa had prepared his own 85-page dossier against Moyo but requested for more time before he presents it to the Zanu PF politburo because he was not well.

Source: The Standard

Ghost workers hit Malawi’s national registration exercise

Malawi’s national registration exercise has been hit by ghost workers which has seen money being paid to people not physically existing in the work force. Sources close to the national registration exercise confided in Nyasa Times that Pricewaterhousecoopers, an accounting firm managing the exercise, calling for a verification of the workers. “All the supervisors have been requested to compile names of their officers, complete with their registration numbers and telephone numbers,” he said. “This comes amid suspicion of ghost workers existing in the system and they are trying to flush out.”

In a related development some supervisors have complained of being hard done by the some top officials by being duped on their credit entitlement. A source said all the supervisors were supposed to be receiving at least K10,000 worth of credit each month. “When we were engaged we were supposed to be getting K10,000 per month but as for me I only got once last month. The amount was supposed to be K10,000 and I got K5,000 and yet some of us in fact a few less than 20 out of around 180 were been given the credit.”

The source said the officials have also suspiciously reduced their entitled amount from K10,000 to K5,000 without any explanation. “We suspect that somebody knows something about this and is corruptly benefiting from what is due to us,” he said. The exercise is so far on track with no serious queries raised in the Southern Region as it was the case when it rolled out in the Central Region in May.

Source: Nyasa Times (Leeds)

In South Africa, Government calls for calm in fishing protest

The Department of Forestry and Fisheries says it has not taken a decision on the total allowable catch (TAC) for West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) for the 2017/18 fishing season. The department on September 13 said it is concerned that the recent protests linked to a rumoured reduction in the TAC is premature. The department has appealed for calm and it has urged law and order to be maintained to prevent destruction to lives and property.

According to the department, a consultative process is underway, which is based on a recommendation to reduce the TAC from the previous fishing season. “This process is the normal one that is followed to determine the annual TAC and it must be stressed that the recommendation does not constitute a decision. “The protest action based on a reduced TAC is misplaced and misleading, as the decision has not yet been finalised. The fishing season for WCRL starts on 1 October for the Northern Cape and 1 November for the other areas. The department will announce the TAC for the coming season shortly,” the department said in a statement.

Through the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP), the department has also made a significant provision in the WCRL fishery from both the Offshore and Nearshore sectors for the small scale fisheries as part of the implementation of the small scale fisheries policy. Thousands of people depend on fisheries resources for food and as a source of income to meet basic needs.

“The importance of maintaining or even increasing the yields from these fisheries by sustainable harvesting and sound management that balances science and socio-economic parameters is of great importance to ensure that South Africa’s fisheries contribute to DAFF’s stated goals, which include food security and nutrition, job creation and contribution to the GDP. The responsibility of the department is to ensure that balance,” the department said.

The department said it recognises that fishers, particularly small-scale fishing communities, have legitimate grievances and demands, which the department is attempting to address together with the affected communities.

Source: SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

East Africa

UN issues fresh aid appeal to help starving Kenyans

The United Nations issued a fresh appeal for $106 million (Sh10 billion) to help for Kenyans threatened with starvation. Nearly 370,000 children in parts of the country hardest hit by drought now require urgent treatment for acute malnutrition, the UN humanitarian agency said on September 7. “In the worst-affected counties, like Turkana South, the acute malnutrition rate is as high as 37 per cent, more than twice the emergency threshold of 15 per cent,” the agency warned. The UN estimated 5.6 million Kenyans are currently in need of humanitarian aid.

International donors may not respond adequately to the new appeal, however. Only $71 million was raised in response to a UN plea in March for $166 million in aid for Kenya. The 43 per cent response rate may reflect the lower priority assigned to Kenya at a time when UN agencies and NGOs are focused on four famine-threatened countries; Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen. The new appeal for Kenya, intended to help meet urgent needs to the end of this year, complements the government’s own response plan, the UN said. Since its declaration of drought in February, the government has allocated $124 million in aid to afflicted areas.

“The government of Kenya is doing its part, with its resources stretched to breaking point. So should we,” said Nairobi-based UN country coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee. However, a government pledge of an additional $132 million for the final four months of this year is unlikely to be fulfilled in the coming weeks due to what the UN describes as “political developments.” That assessment is based on the view that Kenyan elected officials will be preoccupied with the repeat presidential election scheduled for October 17.

The UN suggested that poor rainfall in recent years are not the only cause of the food crisis gripping northern counties in Kenya. “The areas of Kenya that are experiencing the worst effects of drought also face entrenched poverty, limited investment and intermittent conflict which have further compounded food insecurity and malnutrition,” the UN observed in a background document issued along with the new appeal.

Source: Daily Nation

In Tanzania, Lissu shot in assassination bid

Opposition lawmaker Tundu Lissu was shot on September 7 and seriously wounded by unknown assailants as he arrived at his Dodoma home after attending Parliament’s morning session. The Singida East MP was shot as he was about to disembark from his car in the municipality’s leafy Area D suburb. His attackers sprayed the front passenger door of his black Toyota Land Cruiser with bullets after Mr Lissu apparently hesitated to alight from the vehicle. This reporter counted at least 18 bullet holes on the door and its closed window. There were also bullet holes on the rear door and one of the tyres was shot out. Thinking that they had killed the lawmakers, the gunmen, who were in a car with heavily tinted windows, sped away from the scene.

The MP was rushed to Dodoma Regional Hospital, where he was immediately wheeled into the theatre for surgery to remove bullets lodged in his body. News of the attempt on Mr Lissu’s life broke at around 2pm and sent the sleepy capital into a frenzy, with hundreds of people thronging the regional hospital. Health minister Ummy Mwalimu told reporters Mr Lissu was by 5pm still being operated on by a team of surgeons, who included the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya. Ms Mwalimu said that Mr Lissu would be transferred to Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam for specialised treatmen.

The Dodoma Regional Medical Officer, Dr James Charles, said Mr Lissu, who is also president of the Tanganyika Law Society, was shot several times in the abdomen and leg. Briefing reporters in a joint press conference with the police and Dodoma regional authorities, Dr Charles said a team of medical experts had been assembled to operate on Mr Lissu. “He is in a stable condition. We will issue further updates in due course,” he said.

Dodoma Regional Commissioner Jordan Rugimbana banned unathorised gatherings in the municipality. “We also don’t want crowds to assemble at or near the hospital because the area is too small to accommodate many people,” he said. “People should stay calm and go about their normal activities. We will inform them if there are any new developments.” Dodoma Regional Police Commander Gilles Muroto said preliminary investigations had established that the gunmen who shot Mr Lissu were in a white Nissan car and appealed to the public to volunteer information. “We welcome people to volunteer information that will help us track down the attackers,” he said.

Mr Lissu left parliament grounds at around 1pm with his driver, according to Rombo MP Joseph Selasini. Shortly after entering the main road, the driver noticed a white Nissan minivan trailing them. He alerted his boss, but continued driving until they arrived at the lawmaker’s residence. “The assailants followed Lissu to his home. They stopped a few metres from Lissu’s car after it had stopped. They waited for Lissu to come out. When he didn’t, they opened one of the windows of their car and shot one of the front tyres of Lissu’s car. They then sprayed the front passenger door with bullets because they knew that was where Lissu was seated. They then sped away,” said Mr Selasini, quoting the MP’s driver.

Meanwhile, Chadema issued a statement on September 7 condemning the attack. “Chadema has received reports of the shooting of the party’s chief legal adviser with shock and dismay. We are closely monitoring his condition,” the party said. The ruling CCM also condemned the shooting and called for speedy investigations into the matter. President John Magufuli also said in a 6pm tweet that he wished Mr Lissu quick recovery and directed security agencies to stop at nothing to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice.

Source: The Citizen

US warns citizens to avoid travel to Somali-Kenyan border

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the border area between Somalia and Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. U.S. citizens should also be aware of potential terrorist threats and the high risk of crime throughout the country. Avoid travel in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa, the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu in their entirety, all areas north of Malindi in Kilifi County, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.

In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and carefully consider whether to use the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns. Over the past year, terrorist attacks involving improvised explosive devices and shootings occurred in Kenya’s border areas with Somalia and along northern portions of the Kenyan coast. Though the threat from terrorism continues to be most pronounced in these areas, a broader terrorism risk throughout the rest of Kenya remains, including within the Nairobi area.

Terrorist targets have included Kenyan and foreign government sites, police stations, police and military vehicles, hotels, public transportation and other infrastructure targets, nightclubs and bars, religious and academic institutions, and shopping areas. Violent and sometimes fatal crimes, including armed carjackings, muggings, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time. U.S. citizens and U.S. Embassy employees have been victims of such crimes. There has been an increase in armed incursions by herders on private farms and wildlife conservancies in Laikipia, Baringo, and Samburu counties in central Kenya. If you intend to visit the area, monitor local media and request the latest information and the level of security provided at your specific destination.

On February 26, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extended its Notice to Airmen for Kenyan Airspace for one year. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices. To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.

Source: Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

A suicide bomber kills at least six in Beledweyne, Central Somalia

At least six people died on September 10 after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant just outside a senior official’s office in the central Somali city of Beledweyne, police and residents said. The al Qaida-linked al Shabaab group said it was behind the attack. “At least six people died and several others were wounded. A suicide bomber blew up himself in a restaurant,” major Hussein Osman, a police officer told Reuters from Beledweyne.

The September 10 afternoon blast took place outside the office of the governor of the Hiran region, where he was holding a meeting, police and residents said. “We are behind the attack at the Hiran governor’s headquarters. There are casualties. We targeted the workers of the Hiran administration,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman. Beledweyne is about 340 km north of Mogadishu.

Source: Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

In Uganda, Govt sued over eviction of Mubende gold miners

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces and police are on the spot for allegedly invading and disrupting a mining business in breach of a licence in Kitumbi Sub-county, Mubende District. In a case filed before the Commercial Court in Kampala last month, a group of miners have accused the government of interfering with their business operations. Under their association, M/s Kitumbi-Kayonza Miners’ Association Limited, the miners are seeking court orders stopping government and its agents from interfering with their operations and withdrawal of armed forces from the area.

Documents indicate that in September 2014, Kitumbi-Kayonza Miners’ Association Limited, acquired three licences to carry out small scale mining. The licences were renewed for two years in September 2016. Through their lawyers of Tugume-Byensi and Company Advocates, the miners allege that their operations were ceased basing on a presidential directive which stopped all illegal gold mining activities in Bukuya leaving no clear position on the fate of those who held valid location licences.

The miners alleged that efforts to seek audience from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and presenting licences to the commanders of the armed forces deployed in the mining areas have been ignored. “… all the machinery and mining business equipment to date remain under seizure of the armed forces of government and the plaintiffs’ mining business has been put to halt illegally since August 4 and its workers are being intimidated, denied access to the said business premises and there is an imminent threat to destroy the mining equipment worth Shs2 billion,” reads in part the court documents. They also want a court to declare government’s actions as illegal and amounting to breach of contract. The miners argue that government should fully compensate them for their business.

Source: The Monitor

West Africa

Simeon Freeman sued for U.S.$850 in Liberia

With just 32 days to the elections, the Monrovia City Court has cited Simeon Freeman, the standard bearer of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), to answer to the allegation that he has refused to pay a balance of US$850 for the printing of 40,000 flyers for his party’s campaign activities. The flyers were allegedly printed by the J. Max Printing Press in Monrovia based on an agreement with Mr. Freeman, of which he had paid US$750, leaving a balance of US$850. The court’s decision to cite Mr. Freeman came immediately after the chief executive officer (CEO) of the printing press, Eddie H. Vinton, filed a complaint against Freeman before Magistrate Kennedy Peabody.

The court’s letter to Mr. Freeman, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, cited him to a conference with Peabody in his chambers on September 8, at 1 p.m. The letter continued: “Your appearance is based on a complaint brought before the court by Mr. Vinton, CEO of the J. Max Printing Press, relative to the amount of US$850 representing balance amount of US$1,600 you allegedly owed him for printing your flyers. As this conference is geared towards amicably resolving this issue, we anticipate your presence and fullest cooperation in this regard.”

In his complaint, Vinton alleged that Mr. Freeman and his company entered into an agreement for him to print 40,000 flyers for the MPC’s campaign activities, which the entity completed, at the cost of US$1,600. Vinton alleged that after printing the 40,000 flyers, Freeman paid his company US$750, but has since refused to pay the balance of US$850. “On several occasions, we went to Mr. Freeman’s office to collect our balance money, but we have not been able to meet him because each time we went there, we are told that Freeman is out of the office,” Mr. Vinton claimed. “This is why we have come to the court for redress.”

It may be recalled that during the 2011 general and presidential elections, which Mr. Freeman contested, a lady identified as Cynthia Wah accused him of asking her to offer him sex in exchange for US$250, which she claimed he defaulted on. Then, Mr. Freeman denied the allegation, terming it as ridiculous and a political ploy concocted by the ruling Unity Party (UP) to derail his bid for the presidency. He said he did not know Ms. Wah. “This stuff is politically motivated,” he said at the time. Mr. Freeman subsequently filed a “terrorist threat” complaint against Ms. Wah to the Liberia National Police (LNP). He also filed a US$5 million dollar lawsuit against her for defamation of his character. The matter is still pending, but the ruling Unity Party has so far denied any knowledge of his allegation.

Meanwhile, Freeman is not the only presidential candidate in the 2017 Liberian elections who has been dragged to court for debt. The Daily Observer reported in mid-August that Dr. Jeremiah Whapoe, standard bearer for the Vision for Liberia’s Transformation (VOLT) Party, was ordered arrested by the judge of the Monrovia City Court for failure to pay back a debt in the amount of US$1,800, which he reportedly borrowed to purchase campaign materials. Dr. Whapoe reportedly fled to the United States recently to avoid being arrested by officials from the City Court.

Source: Daily Observer

Buhari to lead Nigerian delegation to UN General Assembly

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will lead the Nigerian delegation to the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Mr. Onyeama made this known in Abuja on September 12 when he briefed the newsmen on the conference scheduled to hold from September 12 to 25. He said Nigeria would renew its call for international support for the release of remaining Chibok girls.

Mr Onyeama said that Nigeria would also call for comprehensive reform of the UN, particularly the Security Council to reflect effective, equitable and fair representation.  “We are absolutely delighted that, as he did last year, Mr. President will be leading the Nigerian delegation to the UNGA in New York,” Mr. Onyeama said. “That should be an excellent message to the world that Nigeria is engaged at the very highest level with the international community and it is present in the big and global issues of the day. “Of course, when we attend UNGA we always have clear objectives of what we want to get out of it for the country. “We are always keen that Nigeria’s priorities and interests are really pushed and our objectives are achieved.”

According to him, under the leadership of President Buhari the 2017 UNGA will be no exception as the delegation will engage robustly with the international community. He said that the 2017 UNGA provided a high level window of opportunity to advance Nigeria’s actions toward the promotion of peace and fervent implementation of SDGs. He said Nigeria would pursue its agenda in line with the theme for the session “Focusing on people: Striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet” Mr. Onyeama said that Nigeria would seek the support of the international community in eradicating the residual traces of terrorism from the northeast of the country.

“Government’s efforts have resulted in the release of over 80 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok in 2014,” the minister said. “We will call for continued international support to ensure the safe release and return of the remaining Chibok girls.” He said that Nigeria would also reiterate call for the repatriation of the proceeds of illicit financial assets to countries of origin. He said that Nigeria at the 2016 UNGA co-sponsored the resolution on repatriation of illicit financial assets to countries of origin.

“At the 72nd Session, the country will follow-up on this resolution and call for international cooperation to combat illicit flows and enhance asset recovery to foster sustainable development. “Nigeria will also advocate for the eradication of poverty through partnerships which focus attention on people and planet in line with SDG Goal 1.  “In this connection Nigeria will call for the continued support and cooperation of the international community to achieve this goal,” the minister said.

According to Mr Onyeama, Nigeria will seize the opportunity to take stock of the progress and achievement it has made since the adoption of the global agenda. He said that Nigeria was keen on the reformation of the UN, particularly the Security Council, to reflect an even-handed and fair representation. “The UN must scale up its process of change and reform to strengthen its delivery capacity to meet new demands and deliver its vital services in most effective and efficient manner.

“The contemporary call for the reform of the UN Security Council is for a transparent, accountable Council. To this effect, Nigeria will call for the comprehensive reform of the UN. “Africa must be adequately represented on the Security Council in the Permanent membership category. In this regard, Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa and the world in advancing international peace and security,” he said.

Source: Premium Times

This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi

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