Africa Monitor | Vol VI Issue XLIII

     Africa Monitor,August

    Some children goofing around in Tanzania

    The Continent

    Tanzanian VP calls for economic ties among women

    WOMEN in the country and Africa in general have been called on to advance women economic empowerment in unity. The call was made on August 10 by Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan when inaugurating the Women Advancing Africa Forum (WAA) in Dar es Salaam, stressing that for decades women and girls had been 'visibly invisible' in the society.

    "Today I want to tell you my fellow colleagues, sisters, daughters, nieces and granddaughters that we women should stand as one and decide that advancing women economic empowerment should not only be our moral imperative, but justice to humanity," VicePresident Samia stressed. The VP expressed her disappointment that 20 years after the Beijing Platform of Action and conclusion of implementation of MDGs with stand alone goals on women empowerment, there are still women entrenched in abject poverty.

    "These women have poor access to land, credit, health and education, experience discrimination and exploitation and who do not have a voice and political decision on their life," she noted. She added: "The above grim picture I have painted is a clear manifestation of the deeply entrenched societal norms and beliefs which have continued to hold ransom the lives of a number of women, while the socio-economic imbalances tend to aggravate the situation further."

    The VP commended the wise selection of sectors including energy, extractive and infrastructure services, trade, media and creative industries, for discussions saying they are important for empowering women and reducing poverty and to bring about social transformation. "This platform provides us with yet another opportunity to renew our collective efforts and commitment in identifying solutions and pitching new ideas that will ensure every woman lives a life of dignity and is not left behind in the development bandwagon," she explained.

    The VP said as much as there is dynamic and profound change of the role of women in the sectors, much still needs to be done to close the economic gender gap and achieve gender parity. "It's my sincere hope that the three-day deliberations will be hinged on identifying practical, relevant and timely oppor tunities that will expand the inclusion of women as workforce, business persons, leaders and entrepreneurs," she added.

    Among the forums as gender is addressing policy bottlenecks, scaling up interventions and creating a database of technical experts, professionals and social pioneers who will take action on the agreed innovations and policy. Pan African Parlia ment's first President Dr Getrude Mongella underscored the importance of the forum in advancing women in Africa.

    "This meeting is very important because we are putting our brains together to see how we can move Africa forward from where we stand. We cannot just wait for political leaders, we women of Africa are determined to change Africa," Dr Mongella explained.

    Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

    Central Africa

    One killed and 29 others injured in grenade attack in Bujumbura

    A grenade attack in Bujumbura killed one person and injured 29 others on the eveningof August 17 in Buyenzi, central Bujumbura. The police arrested three suspects for investigation. On 17 August at around 8 pm, unknown assailants threw one grenade at each of two traditional bars selling banana wine on the same street in Buyenzi, Bujumbura. One customer died on the spot and 29 others were injured by shrapnel.

    Staff at a Bujumbura hospital said that three out of 29 wounded may not survive. "We were drinking banana wine in this bar at number 21. We heard a grenade explosion there at number 29. At the same time, another grenade exploded among us. As it was completely dark, the criminals were not identified A. H a victim of the attack, told Iwacu this morning at the scene of the attack. He called on the police to strengthen security. N.J, a Buyenzi resident, described the attackers as "terrorists". "They have no other intention than to create insecurity among the population," he said. Buyenzi inhabitants are gripped with fear. "At every moment we expect another attack. A similar attack was carried out on 7th Avenue in the same neighborhood. The attack caused two deaths, «a young woman said.

    Pierre Nkurikiye, the spokesman for the police, said they had seized two grenade spoons at the scene of the crime. "This shows us that criminals live in the same neighborhood," Nkurikiye said. He also said the police apprehended three suspects for investigation. Nkurikiye also accused members of the joint security committee in Buyenzi of not collaborating with the security forces. "The attack was conducted just after the police officers made their night patrol of the same avenue. If the members of the joint safety committee were active, that crime would not have been committed," Nkurikiye said.

    The police, in cooperation with the administration and security committee members, will double their efforts to eradicate crime in Buyenzi, according to Nkurikiye. Nkurikiye also said that criminals take advantage of darkness to commit these crimes. He said that authorities in charge of distributing electricity have promised that, in the near future, all Bujumbura neighborhoods will be illuminated. The police spokesman asked all bars' owners to employ private security agents to ensure the safety of their customers.

    Source: Iwacu

    In Rwanda, Kagame sworn in

    At around 11:50 AM on the morning of August 18, President Paul Kagame took oath of office as President of Rwanda. Kagame was sworn in by the Chief Justice Prof. Sam Rugege with the First Lady Mrs Jeanette Kagame by his side and applause from the crowd. The swearing in was witnessed by about 20 heads of state from all across Africa, representatives of countries and international organisations as well as over 25,000 Rwandans at the Amahoro National Stadium.

    Thousands others followed proceedings from giant screens mounted outside the stadiums with millions following from television sets across the country. Following the administration of oath, president Kagame received symbolic instruments of power which include a copy of the constitution, national flag and the coat of arms from the Chief Justice.

    Rwanda Defence Forces chief of Defence Staff General Patrick Nyamvumba handed the President a shield and sword symbolic of national defence. Kagame inspected a guard of honour which was preceded by the national anthem. Kagame takes oath of office two weeks after he was re-elected into office by an overwhelming 98.7 per cent beating Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate.

    Source: The New Times

    Congo's civil society look to force Kabila out

    Representatives of Congo's civil society launched a manifesto on August 18 calling for a democratic transition and for President Joseph Kabila to step down. Kabila has repeatedly refused to commit to a timeline for stepping down. Members from Congo's grassroots organizations and religious institutions chose the International Federation of Human Rights headquarters in Paris to launch their manifesto on August 18.

    The notes of the national anthem 'Congo rise up' were belted out by the crowd waving the national flag's blue, yellow and red. "Whether it's the government or the opposition, everyone has now realized that the country is in a bad shape," André Mbata Mangu, Director for the Institute of Democracy and Governance, told RFI. "Just like it says in our national anthem, we must rise up, hold our heads up high and build a country that's even more beautiful than before. A country of peace." That peace, civil society groups maintain, is being threatened by President Joseph Kabila.

    "Despite Kabila's second term being extended, in virtue of last year's agreement, he's done nothing but trample all over the terms of that Accord," activist Léonie Kandolo read out in the ten-point manifesto. "He's defied the Congolese people and refused to respect the Constitution." Under an accord struck on December 31 between Kabila's representatives and opposition leaders, Kabila, in power since 2001, agreed to hold elections by the end of this year.

    Election U-turn

    But in July, the National Electoral Commission made a U-turn and said the vote won't take place this year after all, because of delays in registering millions of voters. Militia violence has also intensified across Congo notably in Kasai province complicating the organization of the presidential elections. More than 3,000 have reportedly died since last October, including two UN experts. "This is a chaos strategy being used by the Kabila regime to stay in power," Floribert Anzuluni, coordinator of the citizen movement Filimbi told RFI. "You know this situation started in Beni in the eastern part of Congo, then we saw Kananga in the Kasai provinces, now in Kinshasa. It's actually Mr Kabila who is organizing this instability."

    Economic woes

    Political instability is also fueling Congo's economic pain. Inflation now stands at 50 percent and the Congolese franc has lost 30 percent of tis value, forcing the government to seek the help of Western donors and the IMF to keep its copper reliant economy afloat. "Even if the Electoral Commission decides not to hold elections this year in the DRC, there will still be a door for a new round of negotiations, but this time around among Congolese citizens only," says André Mbata Mangu. Activist Herve Diakiese for his part insists that "Joseph Kabila can't be part of the solution, because he's the problem." Civil society groups want article 64 of the constitution to be activated. It stipulates that Congolese citizens can depose leaders who violate the constitution.

    More protests planned

    "This article is clearly saying that all citizens must block any person who wants to stay in power against the constitution," says Floribert Anzuluni. "As of today, Joseph Kabila is staying in power against the constitution and the citizens of DRC must act now to push Mr Kabila to step down by the end of this year." Whether or not ordinary citizens will listen to this call for resistance remains to be seen. The manifesto was launched on August 18 in the comfort of Paris; things might be very different when these civil society groups return home. On August 20, they're likely to face their first litmus test when Congolese people return to the streets of Kinshasa for more anti-government protests.

    Source: Radio France Internationale

    Healing programme deepens unity, reconciliation in Gisagara District, Rwanda

    Several Genocide survivors in Gisagara District accepted on August 20 to live peacefully with perpetrators who had asked for forgiveness for their role in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. Genocide convicts who served their sentences knelt down in church with survivors holding on their shoulders as clerics prayed for healing. The event took place at Kibirizi Parish. It followed a healing process, which involves former convicts apologising to survivors to be granted forgiveness. The programme is an initiative of Fr Ubald Rugirangoga and seeks to foster healing of wounds of Genocide survivors and guilt of perpetrators as part of efforts to promote unity and reconciliation.

    One of the perpetrators, Celestin Habinshuti, apologised to Anne Marie Uwimana for killing her entire family during the Genocide. Uwimana had four children killed in the Genocide. Habinshuti killed two of them before her eyes, she said. He is also said to have aided the killing of Uwimana's husband and other family members. Both the survivor and the perpetrator are residents of Kibirizi Sector and belong to the Catholic Church.

    Clerics sprinkled spiritual water on the former convicts and hugged them before asking them to hug people whose relatives they killed as hymns were sung. "When the killings started, they started calling us names and told us that our end had come. They later started hunting us down," recalled Uwimana. Her husband had fled the attackers. "As we slept with kids one night, this man (Habinshuti) came and demanded for my identity card. My kids were leaning against the wall and immediately he butchered two of them with a machete," she narrated. Uwimana said she escaped by sheer luck,fleeing with a baby nursing injuries.

    Habinshuti killed many other people for which he was handed a 10-year jail term by Gacaca courts. He confessed to the crimes before the congregation on August 20. However, when he was released, relations were not good between him and Uwimana. "We could not meet in public and whenever I saw her I would change direction. I was always in shame," he said. Like Habinshuti, Uwimana was not willing to meet Habinshuti for long as it drew bitter memories of the loss of her children and husband. "As you see me here, I am lonely with no relatives," she said. "However I have forgiven Habinshuti for the sake of healing."

    Fr Rugirangoga's programme is a healing channel where both parties talk and discuss social issues and get reconciled. "Now we live in harmony, share drinks and he supports me in various activities. Although he can do nothing to bring back my beloved family members he and other Interahamwe militia members killed, I am grateful he looks remorseful and kind now," Uwimana said. Habinshuti, his 60s, said: "We have even agreed to share a meal at my home on this special day. This is a golden chance to be forgiven not only in front of survivors but also society and before God," he said.

    Officials speak out

    According to Fr Rugirangoga, the programme changes the mind of people where hundreds have been healed. He prayed to God to forgive those who apologised and strengthen both parties to move towards unity and reconciliation. "Let them change for good so that they detest all the wrong," the charismatic priest added. At least 13 former Genocide convicts apologised and were forgiven both by their victims and the Church.

    Fidele Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), hailed the programme and both former convicts and survivors for understanding it. He said the apology brings peace and hope not only to the two concerned people directly but their entire families as well as society as a whole. The programme started in 2005 in Mushaka Parish in Cyangugu Diocese and now operates in several other parishes such as Nyamata in Bugesera District, and Kibirizi in Gisagara District. To prepare them, former convicts study for six months and at the end the programme also brings in survivors.

    Source: The New Times

    North Africa

    Libyans protest at severe water crisis

    Residents of the Libyan city of Tobruk raised empty bottles in anger at the lack of water in a demonstration late last month, shouting the slogan "water for oil" and threatening to shut Marsa Hariga port - one of the country's largest oil export ports - if the crisis was not solved. With a population of more than 150,000 people, Tobruk gets its supply of water from a desalination plant that became operational just after the year 2000. The plant, which has three units with a combined daily production capacity of 36,000 cubic meters, was forced to reduce production by a third in early July. It then ran out of chemicals before shutting down completely by the end of the month.

    According to Saleh Al-Kilani, a resident of the coastal city in eastern Libya, people now resort to traders who sell water at high prices as a result of repeated disruptions in supply since 2012. "The plant's supply gets disrupted from time to time, and may take up to several days to resume," al-Kilani told SciDev.Net. "The stated reason is that the equipment has exceeded its life expectancy and there are no financial resources to buy operating materials, nor a budget to pay workers."

    A worker at the station, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the plant's need for comprehensive maintenance, adding that financial support is needed urgently to repair the boilers. However, he doubted that any response would be offered due to "the existence of two governments, one in the east and another in the capital". A water crisis has also hit the southeastern city of Sabha, whose public supply network pumps water from 80 underground wells.

    "This requires a regular supply of electricity, which unfortunately is not available," according to Khalid al-Juhaimi, a journalist residing in the city. The immediate solution offered by officials in Sabha is to install new pumps that can work despite fluctuations in the electrical current. But the proposal comes amidst financial difficulties and administrative obstacles also seen in Tobruk.

    Sabha is an example of how Libya's crisis has created a thriving water trade, with dealers bringing water from wells about 20 kilometers away from the city and selling it at high prices. Mohammed Abdul Aziz, a resident, says this puts a high financial burden on people in the city: "I buy a thousand liters of water a week at 20 dinars (US$15), which I put in the house's ground reservoir".

    The crisis is less acute in the capital city of Tripoli, which depends on water supplied from the Great Man-Made River (GMR) established by the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The GMR is the world's largest pipeline network. With more than 1,300 wells, most exceeding a depth of 500 metres, it supplies fresh water daily to Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte and other cities.

    Mutasim al-Hawzi, also a journalist residing in Tripoli, reports that "as a result of the low voltage of the public electricity grid, the water pumps are switched off, and this affects the flow of water in the river".

    Although the problem is usually solved quickly, the GMR authority has warned more than once on its Facebook page that repeated disruptions could damage pump engines, according to Al-Hawzi. And it has recently asked the state electricity company to better manage the network, preserve equipment and maintain the required production levels.

    Source: SciDev.Net

    'War crimes' - ICC issues arrest warrant for Libyan commander

    From ordering executions to shooting vulnerable prisoners, a Libyan commander has been accused of committing war crimes. The ICC has urged authorities to detain to determine his culpability in several summary executions. The International Criminal Court (ICC) on August 15 issued a war crimes arrest warrant against a senior Libyan military commander after multiple video appeared to show him participating and ordering summary executions.

    The ICC "issued a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, allegedly responsible for murder as a war crime in the context of the non-international armed conflict in Libya," the Hague-based court said in a statement. Al-Werfalli serves as a senior commander in the al-Saiqa brigade, an elite unit of soldiers that defected from the Libyan National Army during the 2011 uprising against the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The war crimes suspect is suspected of involvement in at least seven incidents dating back to 2016 in which he shot or ordered the execution of more than 30 people, many of whom appeared to be prisoners.

    Video evidence

    In one video, al-Werfalli is reportedly seen shooting an unarmed person, after which he tells the dead body: "You have been misled by he who did you harm. You have been misled by Satan." In another incident, the Libyan commander is reportedly seen reading a document after which he apparently orders a firing squad to execute 15 people dressed in orange jumpsuits. The men were reportedly members of the "Islamic State" militant group in Libya.

    "There is no information in the evidence to show that they have been afforded a trial by a legitimate court, whether military or otherwise, that would comport to any recognized standard of due process," said the ICC. Several of the videos used as evidence in the ICC's case were circulated social media networks and forums. Al-Werfalli's al-Saiqa brigade has remained loyal to the forces of the notorious Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar.

    'Determine his guilt or innocence'

    The prosecutor's office of the ICC urged Libyan and international authorities to assist them in detaining al-Wefalli, saying he will enjoy a fair trial to determine his involvement in such war crimes. "Libyan authorities have the primary responsibility to arrest and surrender Mr. al-Werfalli to the ICC, and I call upon them to do so immediately so that the judges of the court can independent and impartially assess the evidence to determine his guilt or innocence," said the prosecutor's office.

    In 2011, the UN Security Council referred the situation in Libyan to the court, giving it jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. That year, the North African country was splunged into chaos when anti-government protesters demanded Gadhafi step down, prompting a brutal government crackdown. NATO forces responded by leading an operation against the government.

    Source: Deutsche Welle

    Egypt, UN sign cooperation protocol on social care institutions

    The Egyptian ministry of Social Solidarity on August 15 signed a cooperation protocol with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to develop social care institutions, official news agency MENA reported. The three-year protocol targets improving re-qualification programs to reach to all the children in social care institutions, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali said.

    The protocol seeks to focus on psychosocial-social, economic-legal aspects as well as improving the capabilities of the employees in those institutions, Wali added. The ministry, in coordination with the concerned bodies, will work on enabling children to get accredited vocational certificates to qualify for the labor market. The UN office will shoulder the responsibility of developing the current workshops in the institution and connect it with the markets.

    Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing)

    Southern Africa

    Grace Mugabe escapes court appearance

    Grace Mugabe returned home to Zimbabwe with her husband, President Robert Mugabe, on August 20 without having to appear in court on charges of assaulting a woman in a Johannesburg hotel room. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported on August 20 that the First Lady was part of an official delegation to a Southern African Development Community leaders' summit which landed at Harare International Airport in the early hours of August 20.

    At the time she left, she was facing charges of whipping across the face a young South African model she found in a South African hotel frequented by her sons. The incident took place a week ago.

    Controversy swirled around Mugabe all last week as:

    An announcement that immunity would be recognised could have given rise to a court challenge to prevent Mrs Mugabe from leaving the country pending an application to have the immunity revoked. There was an outcry two years ago when the government facilitated Sudanese President Omar al Bashir's escape from South Africa while a court was hearing an application to have him arrested on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.

    The model's lawyer has vowed to "fight this matter to the highest court", suggesting that if South Africa recognises immunity, he will seek to overturn it - raising the prospect of Mrs Mugabe being unable to return to South Africa, at least until the issue is resolved through the courts. The lawyer is Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor who had athlete Oscar Pistorius jailed on charges of killing his girlfriend. Nel works for a newly-established private prosecution agency set up in the wake of accusations that government prosecutors allow influential political leaders and businessmen - including President Jacob Zuma and his friends - to escape justice.

    Source: allafrica.com   

    Chaos as Zimbabwe bans SA, British flights

    Hundreds of people were stranded on August 19 after South Africa's decision to ban Air Zimbabwe flights due to non-payment of permit fees invited a retaliation by Harare, which ground planes operated by the neighbouring country's national carrier. Passengers that were booked on South African Airways (SAA) flights out of Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls Airports failed to travel as scheduled. Zimbabwe also grounded British Airways flights over the same issue.

    The South African Civil Aviation Authority on the night of August 18 grounded the Air Zimbabwe flights after the airlines failed to renew its foreign operators' permit, together with other documents, which must be on board an aircraft at all times. On the morning of August 19, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) took similar action against SAA, catching travellers by surprise.

    Transport minister Jorum Gumbo admitted Air Zimbabwe bosses had slept on duty and failed to renew the permit, but denied charges that Zimbabwe had retaliated. "There is what is called operator's licence, which is renewed periodically," he said. "So Air Zimbabwe had not renewed its licence and South Africa Airways had also not renewed its own licence."

    SAA said they could not operate Flight SA025 from Harare to Johannesburg at 7am and Flight SA022 , which was scheduled to depart at 10:45am from Johannesburg to Harare, had also been cancelled. "Every effort will be made to assist all affected passengers and our recovery plans have been activated," SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said. "SAA is monitoring the situation and will provide updates on a regular basis and when there are developments."

    In Victoria Falls, passengers had to be shuttled to Zambia's Livingston Airport where SAA planes were now landing and taking off following the standoff. Meanwhile, South Africa's Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi will be meeting all aviation entities from the department to discuss the grounding of the Air Zimbabwe aircraft. "As a result, the South African Civil Aviation Authority has instructed the operator not to take off until such time that there is full compliance with the applicable South African civil aviation regulations and the requisite international aviation standards as set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation."

    Maswanganyi apologised for inconveniences that might have been caused to passengers, the department said. "In the same vein, the minister emphasised that civil aviation safety and security is critical, and all licence and permit holders operating into and within the South African airspace need to comply with the applicable international standards, and the South African civil aviation regulations." The August 20 flight was set to take off for Harare shortly after 6pm, but was cancelled before then.

    President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are in South Africa for a Sadc summit. Mugabe's personal airplane, operated by Air Zimbabwe, is not believed to be affected by the cancellation. DA shadow deputy minister of Finance, Alf Lees however, disagreed saying the grounding flights, between SAA and Air Zimbabwe, seemed to be due to the diplomatic impasse over the assault charges against Grace. "Now, it seems that tensions between Zimbabwe and South Africa are mounting, leading to airlines being grounded."

    Alf Lees called on Finance minister Malusi Gigaba to urgently address "these concerning incidents". "The silence from our government on the Grace Mugabe matter has been deafening," he said. "The reality is that the South African government has completely mishandled this situation, which is now affecting the operations of the national airline." A "red-alert" was issued by police in the event that Grace attempted to cross the SA border after she allegedly assaulted a 20-year-old model in a Sandton Hotel on August 20. Air Zimbabwe is operated by Mugabe's son-in-law, Simba Chikore. --

    Source: The Standard

    East Africa

    Major expansion planned for Tanga airport in Tanzania

    The authorities are planning to expand Tanga Airport runway and other facilities to handle traffic in 24 hours. The airport operates only during the daylight since there were no lights and its runaway has a length of 1.6 kilometres. Tanga Region Assistant Administrative Secretary (Planning), Ms Anne Lyimo, said on August 17 that to begin with, the airport will be installed with lights to enable 24 hours operations.

    "Currently, Tanga airport is going to be installed with traffic lights to enable airplanes to land and take off all the time," Ms Anne said during 'Daily News Business Forum' held in the city. According to Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA), the airport has been earmarked with 107bn/- fund for the extension of existing runway and other facilities. TAA report showed that the airport runway will be expanded from the current 1.6km to 2.5km to enable huge aircraft - the like of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus 350 - to land. At the moment, due to shorter runway, bigger airplanes landing at the port are those with less than 50 passengers - the like of ATR 42 and Bombardier Dash 8.

    Data from regional office showed that the airport, currently handles 11,000 passengers and some 6,000 kilogrommes of cargo per year. The airport has scheduled flights to Arusha, Dar es Salaam and the Zanzibar Archipelago islands of Unguja and Pemba. The three airlines are main frequenters of the airport like As Salaam Air, Auric Air and Coastal Aviation. The As Salaam is a Zanzibar based airline that operates with a fleet of two aircraft, while Auric Air is Mwanza based airline with 14 equipment and Coastal Aviation flies a fleet of 30 aircraft and flights to 42 destinations spanning across Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.

    Meanwhile, Ms Anne said the region authorities assure investors of stable power to enable them invest in Tanga. She said they have worked out power supply stability ahead of Hoima-Tanga oil pipeline project in a bid to satisfy the entire investment. The region has welcomed investors to invest in agriculture, livestock, fishing, industries and infrastructure development - namely airport, harbour, railway, tourism and hospitality industry.

    Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

    HIV prevalence higher in women than men in Uganda

    According to the 2016 Uganda population HIV/Aids Impact Assessment (UPHIA) survey, the adult HIV prevalence is higher among women at 7.5 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent among men. The survey, which was conducted from August 2016 to March 2017 from 12,483 households states that it achieved very high participation rates of over 95 per cent for both interviews and blood draws.

    "A total of 16,670 women and 12,354 men aged 15-64 years were interviewed and tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B," the report reads in part. HIV prevalence is also highest among women in the age groups of 35 to 39 years and 45 to 49 years, at 12.9 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively. The report also states that among women and men, HIV prevalence declined from 8.3 per cent and 6.1 per cent in 2011 to 7.5 per cent and 4.3 per cent in 2016 respectively.

    Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the Aids Control Programme manager at the Ministry of Health said HIV/Aids prevalence is higher among women than men because they are higher chances of the former engaging in sexual intercourse they have not consented to, due to lack of bargaining power and hence the exposure to unprotected sex. "Also, the fact that in most cases a man can have more sexual partners unlike women. This means that if the man is HIV positive they would spread to more women," Dr Musinguzi explained.

    The prevalence rate declined in urban areas from 8. 7 per cent to 7.1 per cent, while in rural areas it fell from 7.0 per cent to 5.5 per cent. These declines in HIV prevalence, the health minister Jane Ruth Aceng, said may be due to a decreasing number of new infections in recent years resulting from the impact of the intensified HIV prevention and treatment services in the country. The 2011 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey estimated national HIV prevalence among adults at 7.3 per cent compared to 6 per cent in 2016 UPHIA.

    Source: The Monitor

    Kenyatta's team gets down to work on election court battle

    Lawyers for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were on August 19 holed up in Nairobi as they pored over the petition filed at the Supreme Court by Nasa leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. Sources indicated that top Jubilee Party officials had also joined the lawyers as they worked round the clock to prepare a comprehensive defence. The petition, which was filed on the night of August 18, comprises 24 pages with annexures and affidavits totalling 25,000.

    PREPARATION

    The Sunday Nation learned that Jubilee has deployed all its resources to ensure that they have a water-tight reply to the petition. The party's Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said its team of lawyers was studying the petition but added that they will only reply to what affects them. "We're looking at the petition. But you realise it is IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) that declared the results and, therefore, our response will only be in relevant areas," he said. He declined to say how many lawyers the party had at its disposal. "We have a controlled system and we only release information on need be basis," he said.

    VERDICT

    Mr Tuju said Jubilee will accept whatever outcome the Supreme Court will render in less than a fortnight. "They tell us they won the presidency but circumstantial evidence shows us otherwise. We have the majority in Parliament and also majority governors," he said. Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, in his Twitter account, appeared to dismiss the petition predicting a win for Jubilee. "I have read Nasa's petition and their prayers. There is nothing to worry about. The truth will set us free. "Once again the win of President Uhuru and DP Ruto will be confirmed by the Supreme Court," he said.

    VOTES INFLATION

    Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, one of the lawyers who represented the electoral commission during the 2013 presidential election petition, wrote on Twitter that there was nothing worrying about the petition. Some of the issues Jubilee lawyers will be seeking to reply to from the petition include allegations of numerous instances in which votes were deducted from Mr Odinga and added to President Kenyatta.

    ERRORS

    The chairman of the electoral commission, Mr Wafula Chebukati, said President Kenyatta had garnered 8,203,290 votes (54.2 per cent) against Mr Odinga's 6,762,224 votes. An affidavit by Dr Nyangasi Onduwo, who works as an economic adviser for Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, says he examined over 25,000 vote declaration forms and detected errors in 14,000 of them. Other documents state that the votes cast in the presidential election (15,588,038) exceeded those for governors (15,098,646) and members of the National Assembly (15,008,818) by 482,202 and 567,517 ballots respectively. Nasa also says the commission flouted the rules of managing the election.

    Source: Daily Nation

    In Kenya, the army to start bombing of Boni Forest

    The Kenya Defence Forces will soon commence the bombing of Boni Forest in Lamu County to flush out Al-Shabaab militants with residents being asked to relocate to safer areas. Speaking to journalists on August 20, Operation Linda Boni Director Joseph Kanyiri called on all residents, especially the herders, to vacate the surrounding areas to avoid being killed during the operation.

    ULTIMATUM

    Mr Kanyiri issued a 48-hour ultimatum to residents, making it clear that that those who don't heed will be treated as terrorists. "I call on locals who are still living inside or near the Boni Forest to vacate. "The bombing of Al-Shabaab hideouts in the forest will begin anytime soon or I can say it's almost now," he said.

    HERDERS

    Mr Kanyiri said the terrorist group is a serious security challenge that requires a strict solution. "The kind of bombing that will happen will be too hot for anyone to stay inside. "I am aware that some herders have for several times been spotted grazing their animals inside Boni Forest and its surrounding areas. "They should vacate with their animals within the next 48 hours."

    HIDEOUT

    Mr Kanyiri continued: "We will bomb the forest in a very short while and that's why we are asking those around to move out. "We are coming for the Al-Shabaab with a more serious force than never before. If you don't move out, we will bomb you alongside the hideouts and you won't blame anyone." Boni Forest, which borders Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties, has been an Al-Shabaab hideout for long time, through which they carry out attacks. The Operation was launched by the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on September 15, 2015.

    SYMPATHISERS

    More importantly, he warned that those feeding Shabaab with information, enabling them avoid capture, will be prosecuted. "Let me make it clear to you that if you in any way give an Al-Shabaab food and information we will treat you as one of them and we will trail you. "These people kill innocent people and you go ahead to assist them? "We will hunt for you just like we do to the Al-Shabaab and we will deal with you in the same manner we deal with them," he said.

    DISPLACED

    Mr Kanyiri also asked those who fled to camps due to the insecurity to remain at the centres, assuring them of safety. Thousands of residents of Jima, Poromoko, Pandanguo, Kakathe, Maleli and Nyonmgoro in Witu division have been leaving at the camps for internally displaced people at Katsaka Kairu and AIC Church in Witu since July this year.

    Source: Daily Nation

    West Africa

    In Gambia, 136 migrants from Griyana prisons return

    136 migrants from Griyana prisons in Libya, have been returned to the Gambia through the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These migrants 90% of who are between the ages of 18-35, were received in the early hours of 16th August 2017, at the Banjul International Airport. Almost all the migrant returnees spoken to, said they were subjected to torture and harassment and that they received poor food. Most of the returnees have scars and scratches on their bodies and almost all of them said they have been imprisoned for more than one year. Griyana is said to be accommodating hundreds of Gambians who are yet to return.

    The officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Organisation for Migration, the Gambia Immigration Department, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Red Cross volunteers, National Youth Council team of psychological first aiders, were all present to receive the returnees upon arrival. Ebrima Jobe, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained that the returnees decided to come home at their own will and none has been deported or forced to return.

    Mr. Jobe said about 815 Gambian migrants previously returned and that, a good number of the returnees are traumatized as a result of the difficult moments they have experienced on their way to Libya and while in Libya; that this is why they will be given phonological help. Mr Jobe said, an EU funded project in the Gambia, in consultation with government, has catered for young people and returnees and some of the returnees will be trained with skills and given money to help them get back on their feet. He said the two Libyan warring factions are trying to negotiate a solution to put an end to the 'back-way'.

    He advised young people that they cannot forsake their country because of poverty and underdevelopment. He said EU countries spend lots of monies on migrants and that as at now, there are about 26, 000 undocumented Gambian migrants in Italy. He advised young people to contribute in their own way, towards the development of the country to make it look like any other developed European country. "People need to face the reality and sacrifice in order to become productive. Irregular migration is a concern and every family member or parent is affected as young people are no longer focused on their education," he said. "Some Gambians want to get money without earning it, but most well-off Gambians made it in the country, and did not travel outside," he said. "You hardly see a homeless Gambian compared to other countries in the sub-region."

    Amadou Jawo, Liaison Officer in charge of Libyan Affairs, commended the Gambian Association in Libya for the great job they are doing for Gambian migrants in the North African country. Hon. Henry Gomez, Minister of Youth and Sports said it was with mix feelings that they were receiving their fellow countrymen. "As the Minister for youth, I have to be with youth during your hard and good times and this is the reason why I am here," he added. Mr. Gomez said the Barrow government will do all it can to support them and to settle down as well. He appealed to all and sundry to join hands and work together because Gambia has change and "we all fought for the change". He appealed to all to give a helping hand to the returnees so that they can get back on their feet.

    According to Minister Gomez, some of the returnees will be given opportunities of entrepreneurship, apprenticeship training among others so that they can learn a profession and move on with their lives. "The way I saw them they are all friendly and healthy with no bad intention in them," he said of the returnees. Kawsu Jaiteh, a 47 year old native of Kuloro village in West Coast Region said he worked as a security guard and a farmer before venturing into the 'back way' journey. "Libyans are now bankrupt and are surviving on migrants," he said adding that he has seen people killed for not being able to pay monies demanded from them; that he was detained for 6 months because he was sold and couldn't pay the money that his new agent demanded but which was eventually paid by his family back home.

    He advised young people to desist from the journey and find a way out to make it in the country, saying, all of them regretted venturing into the journey and thank God to be fortunate to return with skills. He called on government to support them, saying, he intends to venture into business now that he has returned and will continue to work hard to earn a living like he always did, before leaving. He admitted that it was difficult for him to communicate with his family back in the Gambia. Jaiteh also blamed our Gambian brothers working as agents in Libya and in the Gambia, as the biggest obstacles because they deal with Libyan agents. According to him, Gambians detained in Libya are more than those that have returned and this is as a result of our Gambian brothers (agents) who are making it difficult because of money.

    Abdoulie Bojang, a resident of Bundung and another returnee, said he left the Gambia at the end of 2015 but described Libya as very hard, saying their prisons are filled with Gambians. Bojang indicated that people die in Libyan prisons on a daily basis and that this include Gambians. He further explained that his friend he used to share the same bed with, was dropped at the last minute before they departed for the Gambia and appealed to government to help facilitate the return of the rest of the Gambians in Libya, in the earliest possible time. He advised young people to find other options and never think of venturing into this type of journey.

    The returnees were later taken to a lodge at Tranquil Brusubi, where they received bath and were given food. In the afternoon they were given €65 each by the IOM as transportation to their various homes. Mr. Famara Njie, IOM Reintegration Officer told the returnees that his Organisation will provide them with an opportunity in cash, amounting to €1000 Euro. This he said will not be given to them directly but rather as an investment for them to invest in their various skills of interest.

    Source: Foroyaa Newspaper (Serrekunda)

    Buhari back in Nigeria after more than 100 days in London

    Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari has returned to the country after more than 100 days in the United Kingdom, where he received treatment for an undisclosed ailment. The presidential jet that brought him touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, where he was received by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, some state governors, police boss Ibrahim Idris and his chief of staff Abba Kyari. The governors at the airport included Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Neysom Wike of Rivers, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.

    The president is expected to speak to "Nigerians in a broadcast by 7 am on Monday, August 21, 2017," his media adviser Femi Adesina said in a statement on August 19. The president left Nigeria on May 7 for London for a second of treatment for an undisclosed ailment, transferring power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the most populous African country. He had earlier left Nigeria on January 19 for London to "undergo routine medical check-ups" during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.

    He tacitly acknowledged that he was very ill, telling his cabinet members that "I couldn't recall being so sick since I was a young man." He also said he had "blood transfusions, going to the laboratories and so on and so forth". His absence in Nigeria since May 7 has birthed rounds of protests and calls for him to resign. But much like his aides, Buhari has consistently said he would only return to Nigeria on the instruction of his doctors.

    Source: The Guardian

    Over 50 die of unidentified disease in Kogi, Nigeria

    No fewer than 50 people have been confirmed dead in Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa communities all in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State following an outbreak of an unidentified disease. Owing to the development, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent a medical team to the community to assess the situation.

    The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu, disclosed this after he visited the affected villages on August 16. According to him, the state government was assessing the situation that had claimed the lives of so many people in the villages to determine the cause of deaths and then quickly address it. "As part of the policies of this government, irrespective of the remote location of the communities, we must make sure that we take health care to the door steps of the rural dwellers.

    "We want to reassure them that the government is with them, and whatever happens, we will take full responsibility of those who are already healed and to make sure that we arrest the spread of this unknown disease. "For now, it is clear and has been confirmed that it is not Lassa fever, but whatever it is, we will carry out further investigation with the information we have and come up with a definitive diagnosis," he said.

    The commissioner stressed that the information on the outbreak of the strange disease got to his ministry last week and they immediately sent a technical team to take the samples which were sent to the General Hospital in Irua, Edo State, for lab tests. "We are going further to find out what the real cause may be; we don't know what it is currently, but all hands are on deck to make sure that we find out the definitive cause of the mysterious deaths among these children," he added.

    Also speaking, a Consultant at Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) Hospital in Egbe, Dr. Jannette Hathorn, said a child of two and half years was brought to the hospital but later died after 12 hours. "We had definitely had misleading news about patients bleeding, so we tried to diagnose for viral hemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever), but the lab results came out negative.

    "We are sure it is not Lassa fever, but on the other hand, our concern is that we do not know exactly the cause of what was happening. We had differences but we never came to a definitive diagnosis. Two other adult patients were also brought in; one presented with ulcer-viral illness but there was no bleeding component of any hemorrhagic symptom.

    "We isolated them and both were treated for malaria. So, when they started improving, we let them go. But our concern was a couple who brought their child to the hospital and pleaded with us for help that about 40 to 50 people had died in their villages with similar symptoms as their child in the last three weeks. "So, we called the World Health Organisation and our local state officials, who came after the child had died yesterday to take the samples. We must know exactly what we are dealing with," she said.

    The traditional ruler of the community, Oba Joshua Ogunyanda, in the company of the commissioner, expressed his appreciation for coming to see them in spite of the difficulty in getting to their communities and the neighbouring Fulani settlements. According to him, the settlements were the worst hit, including some of his people in the host community

    Mr Ogunyanda said the outbreak started over three weeks ago and they immediately alerted the local government administrator to come to their aid. Also reacting, the leader of the Fulani settlement, Damina Ibrahim, told journalists that the outbreak started about three weeks ago and mostly children and adults were affected.

    Source: This Day

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

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