Africa Monitor | Vol VI Issue XLX

     Africa Monitor, Zimbabwe, Mugabe, East Africa, South Africa, Congo

    Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe

    The Continent

    Africa Yoga Project celebrates 10 years with open invitation

    Known for teaching powerful free yoga classes to over 6,000 people in marginalised communities each week, Africa Yoga Project (AYP) Teachers' talents extend far beyond yoga. In celebration of their 10 year celebration on November 25 at the popular Alchemist Bar in Westlands, organisers are extending an open invitation to be part of the #AYPDAY.

    Africa Yoga Project operates under the principle that "Yoga is for everyone." The AYP community center and yoga studio, the Shine Center, provides a space for everyone to come together and enjoy the benefits of yoga and community. At the Saturday community class, some 300 people from all walks of life and from all over the globe gather weekly for a free 2-hour community yoga class. While many participants and AYP teachers come from impoverished backgrounds, the Shine Center provides connections and a community that show each person the possibilities in their own lives and teach them to not let poverty define them. To be eligible for the AYP Academy, youth must come from marginalized communities, and to receive the training, they must return to these communities as role models providing free well-being support and an example of what is possible for others.

    To mark the upcoming celebration, organisers will be putting on a Africa Yoga Project Talent Show, which will be part of a wider AYP DAY that will also feature some of the types of classes and services offered by the program. Rufus Ngugi, who is one of the project's silent yoga instructors, will showcase a "silent yoga" class as part of the AYP DAY program. Certified as a Level II Baptiste Yoga and an Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Ngugi, who is deaf, leads classes using movement and eye contact to energize and inspire his students, batting the floor when it is time to move to a new pose. His dance performance for the Talent Show relies on the audience to clap out rhythms that he senses through the vibrations.

    Partner yoga, acro-yoga, arm balances, and yoga stretches that can be done during conferences or work meetings in normal street clothes round out the AYP DAY program, which will feature both afternoon and evening performances of the Talent Show, followed by a dance party. This event is suitable for all ages and participation in workshops is included in the entrance fee! Ksh 500 Adults, Ksh 250 for Children. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Africa Yoga Project Shine Center or at the door.

    Source: Capital FM

    Interpol arrests 40 in human trafficking raids in Africa

    Authorities in west and central Africa have rescued 500 victims of human trafficking in a series of raids. The operation was part of a German-funded initiative targeting organized crime.

    Of the 500 people rescued in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, 236 were children, Interpol reported in an email statement on November 23. Operation Sparrowhawk or "Epervier" was carried out over five days earlier in November, Interpol police inspector Yoro Traore, said from Mali. "This operation has opened a number of ongoing investigations to further disrupt the crime networks involved in trafficking human beings," Traore said. The suspected traffickers are to face prosecution for offenses including human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation.

    Operation Sparrowhawk, the name given to the ongoing French military presence in Chad, was also used for this operation which was carried out as part of a project targeting human trafficking gangs across Africa's Sahel region. The initiative is funded by Germany's Foreign Office. The International Office for Migration (IOM) and a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also involved in the operation and provided counselling to people who had been rescued.

    Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the Security Council meeting on people trafficking. He said the international community had a collective responsibility to stop criminals and terrorists from preying on vulnerable populations and migrants. "Their brutality knows no bounds: sexual exploitation, forced labour, the removal of bodily organs and slavery are the tools of their trade," Guterres told the Council on November 21. "We must act urgently to protect the human rights and dignity of migrant populations, [bring] the perpetrators to justice, [and] increase humanitarian aid," he added. The 15-member Council adopted a resolution in which it called on all Member States "to reinforce their political commitment to and improve their implementation of applicable legal obligations to criminalize, prevent, and otherwise combat trafficking in persons."

    Source: Deutsche Welle

    Central Africa

    UN human rights chief urges DRC authorities to allow peaceful expression of dissent at protests

    The United Nations human rights chief on November 15 called on the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to lawfully handle demonstrations organized by those protesting the updated electoral calendar for general elections. "The inflammatory comments by police authorities ahead of protests on November 15 are deeply alarming," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a news release. "I call on the Government and security forces to work to defuse tensions instead of creating the conditions for suppression, confrontation and violence," he added.

    Upon publication of the electoral calendar on 5 November, which states that general elections will take place in December 2018 - two years later than originally scheduled - civil society organisations called for nationwide protests to be held on November 15. In response, a number of alarming comments were reportedly made by provincial police inspectors in Goma and Kinshasa. On November 14, the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) provincial inspector in Kinshasa warned that any gathering of more than five people would be dispersed "mercilessly," upon the Governor's orders.

    Even before the announcement of the electoral calendar, between 22 and 23 October, at least 65 opposition political activists were arrested in Lubumbashi, in the country's southeast. All those arrested were later released, some on bail, but these arrests were part of a worrying pattern of actions to prevent political opponents from gathering. Mr. Zeid called for top political leaders to ensure respect for the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the freedom of expression. He also urged all sides to exercise restraint and to renounce the use of violence.

    The UN's Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials contains very strict guidelines on the use of force, including that "intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life." In September last year, 54 people died after defence and security forces used excessive force against demonstrators who were calling for constitutional deadlines to be respected and for President Joseph Kabila to step down at the end of his second mandate.

    Source: UN News Service

    Kagame critic Diane Rwigara denied bail again

    The High Court in Kigali has dismissed an appeal against denial of bail by Rwandan government critic and former presidential aspirant Diane Rwigara. The judge on November 21 said that the prosecution had provided a compelling argument as to why Diane and her mother Adeline should remain on remand until their trial begins. In the ruling, the judge, whose name was not provided, said that the crimes the two are accused of are sensitive. Diane, 35, a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame, is charged with inciting public insurrection and forging documents, which she has consistently denied and labelled "politically motivated." Her mother is similarly charged with inciting public insurrection and separately with promoting sectarian practices.

    Last week, Diane accused the court of lacking independence to try her case fairly, arguing that the decisions made at her trial will come directly from the President's office. "I know that you are powerless to deliver a fair verdict and to give me bail. You are trying my case but the real power and decisions will come from the President's Office, not from you," Ms Rwigara told the three-judge panel. During the ruling on November 21, only Diane was in court as her mother was said to have been ill. Forgery charges attract five to seven years in jail, while inciting insurrection attracts 10 to 15 years in jail. Promoting sectarian practices attracts five to seven years in prison.

    Source: The East African

    Angola, South Africa sign cooperation

    Angolan head of State João Lourenço will sign this week bilateral cooperation agreements with his host South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, in Pretoria. Investments in various sectors and visa suppression in ordinary passports of both countries' citizens, high on agenda of the visiting president on November 23 and November 24. Should everything runs as planned, the visa waiver may come into force on December 1 this year.

    João Lourenço during his November 23 trip, his first State visit to South Africa, will also focus on strengthening of diplomatic relations between the two countries in the region. They will also discuss the need to do away with migratory barriers, focus on free flow of peoples, without needing visas on their borders. João Lourenço had visited South Africa to attend some relevant event, including the opening of IX Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament in 2011, where he participated as deputy Speaker of National Assembly. This time, he will be received with honors of Head of State by the South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma.

    Source: Angola Press

    North Africa

    In Morocco, 15 killed in stampede for food handouts

    Fifteen people were killed and five others were injured in a stampede which happened on November 19 during the distribution of food by a local association in the commune of Sidi Boulalam in the province of Essaouira, the interior ministry said. Following the incident, HM King Mohammed VI gave his high instructions to the competent authorities to take all measures to provide the necessary support and assistance to the families of the victims and the injured, the source added in a statement.

    The Sovereign also decided to personally pay for the expenses of the burial and funeral of the victims, as well as for the costs of the wounded's hospitalization, it said. According to the same source, competent authorities intervened following the incident and ambulances rushed to the scene to evacuate the wounded into Essaouira's regional hospital to receive the necessary health care. An investigation was opened to determine the causes of the incident, the source said, adding that the interior ministry has opened an administrative enquiry.

    Source: Maghreb Arabe Presse (Rabat)

    UN chief 'horrified' at buying and selling of African migrants in Libya

    Expressing horror at news reports and videos showing African migrants in Libya allegedly being sold as slaves, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on November 20 called on the authorities to urgently investigate the situation and bring the perpetrators to justice. “Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity,” Mr. Guterres told reporters at a press stakeout at the UN Headquarters, in New York on November 20. He added that he has asked the relevant UN actors to actively pursue the matter.

    Mr. Guterres also called on all countries to adopt and apply the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons and I urge the international community to unite in fighting this scourge. The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the Convention, was adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2000. It entered into force in January 2004. It is an important legal instrument that seeks to prevent and combat the smuggling of migrants, as well as to promote cooperation among States Parties, while protecting the rights of smuggled migrants.

    Further in his remarks, the UN chief urge the international community to unite in fighting the scourge. He also called for addressing migration flows in a comprehensive and humane manner, including through the development cooperation among States to address its root causes, meaningful increase of all the opportunities for legal migration, and enhanced international cooperation in cracking down on smugglers and traffickers and protecting the rights of their victims.

    Source: UN News Service

    Putin phones Sisi on Syria's developments

    President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on November 21 received a phone call from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the latest developments in Syria, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said. The talks dealt with the latest developments regarding the Syrian crisis and efforts to achieve a political settlement, he added. The two leaders agreed to continue consultations and coordination on the overall developments of the situation in the Middle East and stressed the importance of working to restore stability in the region and provide security for their peoples, the spokesman said. They also discussed ways to boost bilateral relations and activate cooperation frameworks in various fields, as well as efforts to combat terrorism, and a number of regional and international issues of common concern, he added.

    Source: Egypt State Information Service (Cairo)

    Southern Africa

    Zanu-PF calls for President Mugabe's resignation

    Zanu-PF provincial structures in all the country's 10 provinces met on November 17 and called for the resignation of their First Secretary, President Robert Mugabe. They also called for the resignation of women's league Secretary and First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe from the party. The structures also said the party should convene a special Central Committee meeting in two days to realign the revolutionary party with current political developments. The provinces also demanded the reinstatement of former Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa whom they said was dismissed without endorsement of the central committee.

    Source: The Herald

    Botswana first country outside US to expand spectrum

    Botswana set to receive expanded spectrum after authorities granted authority to a local subsidiary of America's Globalstar for terrestrial mobile broadband services. The Botswana Communications Regulator Authority (BOCRA) has granted the company authority for services over 16.5 MHz of S-band spectrum at 2483.5 to 2500 MHz. Globalstar, the provider of mobile satellite voice and data services, filed its application for terrestrial authority in Botswana in early 2017. With BOCRA's approval, Botswana becomes the first country outside of the United States to approve Globalstar's terrestrial S-band authority and the first country to approve the authority over 16.5 MHz across Globalstar's licensed 2.4 GHz holdings. "We would like to thank the team at BOCRA for their prompt review and approval of our application. BOCRA is a leader in spectrum policy for the continent of Africa and this approval provides Botswana with significant expanded spectrum for terrestrial mobile broadband," said Jay Monroe, Globalstar Chief Executive Officer. "We believe other regulators across Africa and the world will agree that BOCRA's approval represents sound spectrum policy for consumers and we look forward to additional approvals." In 2014, in partnership with Broadband Botswana Internet (BBi), Globalstar announced the commencement of construction of its commercial gateway located in Gaborone, Botswana. Globalstar provides coverage to Angola Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Source: cajnews

    Mugabe Quits

    President Robert Mugabe has finally heeded calls to resign, AllAfrica's news partners in Zimbabwe report. News of the resignation broke as Parliament was debating a ruling party proposal to impeach him. "Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe's resignation," The Source reported. Within minutes, thousands of Zimbabweans were flooding onto the streets to celebrate, Traffic came to a standstill and the defeaning sounds of car hooters filled Harare.

    Source: all Africa

    8 Provinces want President Mugabe to quit

    Eight out of 10 Zanu-PF provinces on November 17 held Provincial Coordination Committee meetings that resolved to call for the resignation of First Secretary and President Cde Robert Mugabe failing which he should recalled from Government for reasons of incapacitation and losing control of the party to his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe.

    The provinces also called for the reinstatement of expelled former Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa saying his expulsion was illegal as it circumvented the Central Committee, the party's highest decision-making organ outside Congress. A special Central Committee meeting, the provinces said, should be convened within 48 hours to re-align the revolutionary party with current political developments.

    The structures also called for the resignation of Women's League Secretary and First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, failing which the party should remove her from the post. Eight of the party's 10 provinces, with the exception of Matabeleland North and South that were to meet later, held highly subscribed Provincial Coordination Committee (PCC) meetings that were attended by war veterans, legislators, Politburo and Central Committee members.

    Women and Youth League members also participated. The structures applauded the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) for its intervention and called for the prosecution of members of the G40 cabal. They said the cabal, which was misleading President Mugabe and fomenting chaos in the party and country, should be expelled from the party and prosecuted. The structures also want members who were unfairly expelled from the party reinstated, including Cde Mnangagwa.

    In Harare, Politburo members Cdes Cleveria Chizema and Omega Hungwe led party cadres at the provincial headquarters and called for the expulsion of Politburo members Cdes Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Ignatius Chombo. Cde Goodwills Masimirembwa read the resolutions. He said since the December 2014 Congress, the G40 cabal, using their association with the First Family, undertook a project to expel and suspend party members without following the party constitution.

    Freedom of expression, Cde Masimirembwa said, had been curtailed, with members being subjected to intimidation in the name of the First Lady. "Having taken note of these issues, the provincial coordinating committee meeting has resolved that the actions taken by the Defence Forces be supported in full and that all evil cabal members be dealt with accordingly," he said.

    "President Mugabe must be recalled as the party President and be allowed to retire and be given his status as an elder statesman. The province urges the Central Committee as the supreme organ of the party to urgently meet and give effect to these resolutions. The party should convene a special Central Committee meeting within 48 hours to realign the party in line with current political developments."

    Cdes Chizema and Hungwe said while it was sad that President Mugabe had been misled by counter-revolutionaries, Zanu-PF would continue respecting and seeking guidance from him. In Mashonaland Central, the PCC called for the expulsion of provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios and secretary for administration Cde Wonder Mashange. Muzarabani South National Assembly member Cde Christopher Chitindi read the resolutions.

    The meeting was also attended by Cdes Chen Chimutengwende, Nicholas Goche, Kazembe Kazembe, Kenneth Musanhi, Remigio Matangira, Martin Dinha together with war veterans and Women and Youth League members. Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Cde Ephraim Chengeta chaired the provincial meeting which adopted seven resolutions, chief among them the resignation of President Mugabe and Dr Grace Mugabe.

    The province said Cde Mnangagwa should be reinstated since his dismissal was not endorsed by the Central Committee. Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Webster Shamu said: "Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party. Since our days in the liberation struggle we went through the Nhari and Badza rebellions among others, but what kept us going as a party was unity of purpose and ideological clarity. Let us follow party ideology."

    Mashonaland West provincial war veterans chairperson Cde Cornelias Muoni weighed in: "The party is supreme, not individuals. Slogans must change to confirm that the party is supreme, not individuals." Similarly, Zanu-PF Masvingo province, on November 17 unanimously called for President Mugabe to step down, accusing him of having lost control of the party to his wife. Provincial vice chairperson Cde Ailess Baloyi read the resolutions at a meeting held at Masvingo Showgrounds. The province described the dismissal of Cde Mnangagwa as "unjustified and illegal".

    The province said the G40 cabal was abusing its proximity to the President to loot national resources. Politburo member Cde Lovemore Matuke said the ZDF had given Zimbabweans their "second liberation". Those who attended the PCC meeting included Central Committee members Cdes Maina Mandava, Ottilia Maluleke, Clemence Makwarimba and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira.

    Midlands province said President Mugabe had failed to end factional fights as he openly sided with the G40 cabal fronted by his wife. "The reasons for realigning the party constitution stems from the realisation that the President is now incapacitated," said party provincial spokesperson Cde Cornelius Mpereri. He said the province wanted Cdes Victor Matemadanda, Edmore Samambwa and Lewis Mathuthu readmitted in the party.

    They said the late Cde Espina Nhari (Women's League secretary for administration), who died in a car crash in May 2016, should be reinstated posthumously. She had been dismissed from Zanu-PF for chanting the slogan "Pasi neG40" at a rally. Mashonaland East called for the prosecution of the G40 cabal in resolutions read out by provincial chairperson Cde Bernard Makokove. During the meeting, some of the party members waved placards denouncing the G40 faction and hailing ZDF Commander General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga.

    In Manicaland, the meeting consistently denounced Dr Mugabe, Prof Moyo, Cdes Chombo and Kasukuwere. More than 100 members attended the PCC meeting held at Mutare Polytechnic. It was all praises for Gen Chiwenga and the ZDF whom they described as a "liberators par excellence". Acting provincial chairperson Dr Samuel Undenge and his loquacious wife, Cde Letina Undenge, however did not attend the event. Provincial secretary for administration Cde Kenneth Saruchera read the resolutions, saying: "We want a Central Committee meeting to re-align the party so as to make it functional."

    Central Committee member Cde Moses Gutu moved the motion to adopt the resolutions and was seconded by Buhera West National Assembly member and provincial spokesperson Cde Oliver Mandipaka.

    Source: The Herald

    Mnangagwa says investors already flocking into Zimbabwe

    Incoming President Emerson Mnangagwa says many investors are already showing interests in the country following the resignation of Robert Mugabe on November 21. He was addressing supporters at the Zanu PF party's headquarters November 22 night after his return from exile. Mnangagwa said Mugabe was the impediment to economic progress.

    Mugabe resigned on the evening of November 20 after the ruling Zanu PF's Central Committee voted him out and as parliament was in the process of impeaching him. "The G40 cabal had captured the executive in the name of the president. Orders were now coming from outside for implementation but now we are witnessing a new beginning in our country," he said. "What we need is the cooperation of SADC, African and also partners outside Africa. We shall achieve a fruitful economy. "I'm already receiving endless messages from parties who want to grow our economy and we will be meeting soon," said Mnangagwa.

    Mugabe had been in power since 1980. During his rule local industries collapsed and closed while graduates were reduced to touts and vendors. Mnangagwa said the will of Zimbabweans will take priority before he thanked the nation and speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda for sticking to and for exercising his constitutional rights. "He (Mudenda) was under pressure from the then powers, the intention to derail the process was intense but he overcame it and I would like to thank him and all of you for speaking with one voice," he said. Mnangagwa was elected as Zanu PF's new leader after Mugabe was sacked on November 19. He will be sworn in as the new president on November 24.

    Source: NewZimbabwe.com

    East Africa

    Protests in Somaliland as opposition claim election fraud

    Waddani Party supporters on November 16 took to the streets of various opposition strongholds to protest what they claim to be election irregularities. In Burco police had to use live bullets to disperse protestors who had lit bonfires and closed main roads. Earlier a spokesman for Somaliland's Waddani opposition party claimed "fake" ballot papers were used in the November 13 voting. The Electoral Commission has yet to respond to the allegations. International observers have noted allegations of underage voting and alleged interference of security personnel in some stations. Wadani says it has cut off cooperation with the breakaway regions National Elections Board.

    Source: Dalsan Radio (Mogadishu)

    Chaos rocks Kenyan capital as opposition leader Raila Odinga returns

    Chaos, teargas, running battles and suspected live bullets marred opposition leader Raila Odinga's entry into the capital Nairobi's city centre upon his arrival from the United States on November 17. Mr Odinga and his daughter Winnie landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi at 11.13am (+3 GMT), after a 10-day trip in the US. From morning, traffic on Mombasa Road and other key city roads was on a gridlock as hundreds of his supporters, the majority on foot, attempted to force their way into the airport to welcome him. The traffic mess continued for the better part of the day forcing Mr Odinga's convoy to leave JKIA driving on the wrong side of Mombasa Road. He was accompanied by a host of Nasa leaders and supporters on foot.

    Kenya Airways noted that although its flight operations were running as scheduled, the traffic disruption resulted in some of its passengers missing their flights. The airline offered to rebook the affected passengers without charging extra fees. "Our operations are running as scheduled. Any guest who will miss their flight will be rebooked on the next one, at no fee. This applies to all guests travelling before 1800h, from JKIA, for tickets purchased on or prior to Friday, November 17, 2017," said Kenya Airways on its Twitter page. Dozens of international flights depart and arrive daily at Nairobi's main airport. The national airport authority said on Twitter just before midday that operations were running normally.

    Mr Odinga's convoy later diverted from Mombasa Road, a key highway that links the port of Mombasa to landlocked countries in East and Central Africa, to Jogoo Road in the eastern side of Nairobi heading for Haile Selassie Avenue. The opposition planned to hold a rally at the city centre's Uhuru Park at the junction of Haile Selassie Avenue and Uhuru Highway. But a heavy police deployment blocked roads leading into the main business district and broke up crowds surrounding the convoy, unleashing teargas and water cannon and firing shots in the air.

    Clashes between the police and the Nasa supporters brought business to a standstill on the city roads that serve the eastern part of the capital. For the better part of the afternoon, Jogoo Road was clear of traffic only littered with rocks that the Nasa supporters were throwing at the police. Traders had closed shops and fled for safety. A minibus, a police lorry and two pull-carts, popularly known as mkokoteni, were torched outside a market along the road. Smoke from burning tyres billowed and seemed to compete with the teargas the police were firing.

    The chaos took a different turn when a rival group believed to be ruling Jubilee supporters engaged with the Nasa group. They said they were opposed to Nasa protests which they argue disrupt businesses and lead to destruction of property and loss of lives. Police used verbal orders, teargas, water canons and live bullets to restore calm and order on the road without much success. A man was seen in pain on live TV after he was allegedly shot in the foot.

    Mr Odinga won an unprecedented court victory overturning the result of the August 8 presidential poll, leading to a rerun last month that he then boycotted claiming it would not be free and fair. Kenya's Supreme Court is due to rule on November 20 about whether President Uhuru Kenyatta can be sworn in for a second term or if there must be another rerun.

    The dispute over this year's presidential vote has left the country deeply divided and protests between stone-throwing opposition supporters and riot police armed with tear gas, sticks and guns have become commonplace. Following the rerun vote Nasa launched a "National Resistance Movement" aiming to use civil disobedience and boycotts to challenge what it considers to be Mr Kenyatta's illegal government. The gathering on November 17 of thousands of opposition supporters in Nairobi was the movement's first show of strength since then, but fell short of the "million man march" promised by party leaders.

    Source: The East African

    US must take sides in the South Sudan conflict, says Nikki Haley

    The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations says the South Sudanese government is engaged in a brutal, protracted military campaign against a fragmented opposition and says, while both sides are responsible for atrocities against civilians, the government is primarily responsible for ethnically based killings. Nikki Haley, who made those remarks on November 15 at Washington's Holocaust Museum, says nothing prepared her for the level of suffering she saw when she recently visited South Sudanese refugee camps.

    "Entire families are living with nothing but a tarp over their heads. Women are giving birth on dirt floors, floors that have now turned to mud by the fact that it is the rainy season," Haley said. "There is nothing that prepares you for the sobs of the South Sudanese women, nearly all of whom have been raped, sometimes repeatedly." She spoke of one story in particular: "One woman told me about being gang raped. She told me about how soldiers ripped the baby out of her arms and threw him in the fire."

    Haley traveled to South Sudan last month, becoming the first senior member of the Trump administration to do so. She said the United States at one point had high hopes for the country's leader, Salva Kiir, but there is now revulsion with what he has allowed to happen the past few years. She said there are limits to U.S. patience and generosity regarding the conflict. "His government and his soldiers have caused the suffering of millions of South Sudanese people," Haley said. "To his credit, he did not try to deny it, but acknowledgment of evil is not enough. We have to take a side." She welcomed Kiir's order this week requiring free and unhindered access for humanitarian groups in South Sudan. Haley's remarks were followed by a panel discussion with journalists and activists, some who have recently visited the country.

    "We are now blaming most of the atrocities on the government, which is what is happening in the latter part of this conflict," said Simona Foltyn, a South Sudan-focused journalist and videographer. "The rebels also committed real bad atrocities in the beginning, and just because these are the dynamics right now that does not mean the rebels are really better." Foltyn added, "If they were put in a different environment where the civilians are Dinka, I would suspect there would be a lot of atrocities being committed by the rebels as well."

    Nyagoah Tut Pur, a lawyer, human rights activist and member of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, argued in favor of establishing an evidence collection mechanism. "Memories fade, and in such a topography like South Sudan, evidence gets lost. It can be destroyed when people realize that one day they'll be held into account," Pur said. "So it's very critical that today we collect that evidence. Because, at the end of the day, it is not how the war was fought, but it is the narrative that is told after the war is over." For South Sudan freelance journalist Jason Patinkin, who has also worked for VOA, the question that needs to be asked of Ambassador Haley and others should be: "OK, you have talked tough. What would you do? What would you do to actually end this war and bring accountability?"

    As part of a focus on the conflict, and in collaboration with FotoWeekDC, a citywide festival focused on photography, the journalists' work — large-sized stills photos and videos — are being projected on the exterior walls of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Joshua Bolten, vice chairman emeritus and a member of the Holocaust Memorial Council, told the audience the threat of genocide is very much alive today, in places such as Myanmar, the plains of Iraq, and perhaps nowhere as acute as in South Sudan. "At this moment, we know it's not enough for people to learn about the history and ask what would I have done? We all have the responsibility to ask what will we do now," Bolten said.

    Source: Voice of America

    President reconciles with former army chief in South Sudan

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former army chief of staff apparently have reconciled, a week after a tense standoff in Juba threatened to escalate into violence. The reconciliation happened on November 16 at a prayer service at the president's residence in Juba. Pictures surfaced on the internet showing Paul Malong hugging Kiir. The coziness seems a world away from events last week in Juba, when tanks and dozens of government troops surrounded Malong's house after he refused to release a platoon of soldiers guarding him. Malong had been under house arrest at his residence since May, after a string of resignations by military officials who alleged there was ethnic bias in the army, and that soldiers were committing war crimes in the context of South Sudan's civil war.

    Earlier on November 16, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative in South Sudan, David Shearer, praised the Kiir administration for peacefully resolving the weeklong standoff with Malong. The tanks and troops were withdrawn on November 11 after Malong agreed to release 26 of his 30 bodyguards. Shearer said the move calmed tensions. Shearer told reporters at a U.N. base in Juba that it's important for South Sudanese to resolve their conflicts internally. "This conclusion came down simply to the choice of putting South Sudan and stability in Juba before all other concerns. We are grateful for the statesmanlike way in which the situation was resolved," said Shearer.

    Shearer said he hoped the U.N. Security Council would renew the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping in mission in South Sudan, which is due to expire a month from now. A review team is scheduled to arrive in Juba from U.N. headquarters in New York within two weeks. Shearer said the team would assess the security situation and consult with officials from the government and aid agencies operating in South Sudan. "This team will also spend two days in Addis Ababa, where it will meet with other South Sudanese groups, including the opposition," said Shearer.

    The review team will provide a report to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who will report the team's findings to the Security Council. Shearer said the report would influence the Security Council's decision on whether to renew the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) mandate. If the team determines that security conditions have improved in South Sudan, Shearer said the U.N. would help coordinate the "voluntary safe return" of more than 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering in six U.N. camps across the country. That number has fluctuated depending on the security situation, but "the trend is now showing a slow decline," said Shearer. The U.N. special representative cautioned, however, that the U.N. was still far from announcing that conditions are safe for IDPs to return.

    Shearer welcomed Kiir's recent decree ordering security forces and local leaders to allow aid workers unfettered access to 6.2 million people in need of assistance across the country. "We will continue to monitor the process of that access. The fact that it comes from the top means we anticipate and we expect others right down the chain of the security forces to follow that order," said Shearer.

    Source: Voice of America

    US conducts airstrike, kills more than 100 Al-Shabaab militants

    The United States has continued to intensify the war on Al-Shabaab, with the latest attack conducted on November 21 killing more than 100 militants. The operation, according to a statement by the US Africa Command, occurred some 125 miles northwest of the capital, Mogadishu. The U.S. forces have vowed to continue using all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats, by among others partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces.

    "The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt, and destroy terrorist organizations and bring stability to the region. Our political and security goals are the same: a reconstituted Somalia state at peace internally and able to address all threats within its territory," reads the statement. Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing a safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. Latest attacks by the US forces have killed tens of the terrorists, further weakening them, though the threat remains real.

    In Somalia, the militia continues to cause pain to the citizens, despite AMISOM's campaign coupled with that of the US forces. Mid October, a truck bomb that exploded near to a hotel and market in Mogadishu killed more than 300 hundred people. In January, the group killed at least 28 by ramming a car bomb into a hotel near parliament and then detonating a second device when ambulances arrived on the scene. In June it murdered 31 in an attack on a pizza restaurant.

    Source: Capital FM     

    Sudan's Al-Bashir asks Russia for protection from the US

    During a visit to Russia, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said that his country needed protection from the US. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes.

    During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on November 23, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused the US of fomenting the conflict in Sudan and asked Russia for help. "We are thankful to Russia for its position on the international arena, including Russia's position in the protection of Sudan. We are in need of protection from the aggressive acts of the United States," al-Bashir said.

    Sudan's president also praised Moscow's military campaign in Syria and highlighted his intentions to ramp up military ties with Russia. "We are currently launching a program to modernize our armed forces and we agreed with the defense minister that Russia will contribute to this." Putin meanwhile said that Russia wanted to intensify economic ties with Sudan, including in agriculture and energy. "There are prospects not only in the hydrocarbon sphere but also in energy," Putin said. "There are many prospects of cooperation."

    ICC warrant for Bashir

    Al-Bashir's visit came a month after the United States lifted a trade embargo it had imposed on Sudan in 1997 over Khartoum's alleged backing of Islamist militant groups. US President Donald Trump also removed Sudan from the list of countries facing the current US travel ban. Al-Bashir, however, who rose to power in 1989, is on the International Criminal Court's wanted list for committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. ICC prosecutors issued warrants for his arrest in 2009 and 2010, and has called for his resignation, but Bashir continues to deny the charges against him.

    Sudan's deadly conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect. The UN says that the ensuing counterinsurgency left at least 300,000 people in Sudan dead and more than 2.5 million displaced in the impoverished African state as a result of the conflict. Top Sudanese officials claim that the conflict has ended, but the region continues to see regular fighting between numerous ethnic and tribal groups.

    Source: Deutsche Welle

    West Africa

    UP disagrees with US position on run-off election in Liberia

    The lawyer representing the ruling Unity Party (UP) has openly expressed concern over a statement the United States Government issued through its Embassy in Monrovia, urging authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to proceed with the run-off elections, despite unresolved allegations of irregularities and fraud. Arguing for a request demanding that the NEC makes available to the UP all records of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, which is now at the center of the controversy, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, accused the US Government of losing sight of the fact and nature of the party's complaint.

    UP is seeking for a copy of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) for the October 10 elections, and copies of the addenda to the voter roll made at the polling centers nationwide. It also asked for copies of the worksheet of the NEC's Presiding Officer, who was arrested in Electoral District #3 in Nimba County with pre-marked ballots. UP is also asking for records of the investigation conducted by the NEC on a staff at the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The staff in question was arrested with a machine for allegedly printing Voter Registration Cards and other election materials at his New Georgia home.

    In a release on November 15, the US Embassy accredited near Monrovia said it has confidence in the integrity of the hotly contested October 10 presidential and representative elections now embroiled in controversy and a legal tangle. The Embassy indicated that no accredited Liberian, regional, or international observation group suggested that the cumulative anomalies observed reflect systemic issues sufficient to undermine the fundamental integrity of the electoral process.

    Before his argument, Sannoh told the gathering, many of whom were staff of the embassy, that for elections to be free, fair and transparent, "it must first be legal and meet the approval of all parties." "For the embassy and other international bodies to say we should proceed with the run-off, because it was free, fair and transparent, is not the matter, but its outcomes must reflect the will of the Liberian people," Sannoh said. He added, "The Americans are losing sight of the fact of the reality of our complaints."

    The US Embassy's statement also noted that Liberia's political leaders should take their cue from citizens who waited patiently to vote, and did so with respect for their fellow citizens, regardless of their political views. It added that efforts by any actor to impede the expressed will of Liberians for personal ambition could risk goodwill and future investments in the country by international partners. "The Liberian people and the international community have worked too hard and invested too much to watch the country's progress stall," the statement said.

    The United States said it remains committed to Liberia's future and encourage the citizens to conclude the presidential electoral process as soon as possible to allow the democratic and economic progress to continue. Where issues were identified in the first round of voting, the statement advised, "we urge the National Elections Commission (NEC) to undertake corrective actions before, during, and after the runoff election."

    It then urged the top two finishers, the ruling Unity Party Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Weah, who collectively received the support of two-thirds of the voters, to focus on constructively engaging each other and voters as they prepare to compete in the runoff. Meanwhile Supreme Court's ruling into the UP request is scheduled for November 17.

    Source: Daily Observer

    Liberians participate in first African students job fair in China

    Three Liberian graduate students studying in Beijing were party of over 500 African students who participating in the first job fair for African students. The event, held at the University of International Business and Economics on Wednesday, November 15, brought African students face-to-face with executives of over 60 Chinese firms looking to potentially hire Africans who are prospective graduates of Chinese universities. It was organized by the China People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC)), an organization engage in people-to-people diplomacy of the people's Republic of China to further international cooperation and promote common development.

    The Liberian students - Filmore Wiagbe, Sekou Soko Kamara and Aaron G. Weaye - hailed the organizers and said the event signifies China-Africa economic cooperation for development and opens employment opportunities for African students. "Youth unemployment is a very serious problem in Africa, so coming up with this idea is going to help the agenda of every government in Africa," said Wiagbe, also vice President of the Liberian Students Union in China. He is a graduate student of telecommunication information system at the University of Science and Technology of Beijing. He said the job fair would help mitigate some of the challenges Chinese companies face in Africa.

    "The essence of hiring Africans that understand China and Africa relations will help these companies explain their plans and opportunities of these companies to local community where they want to invest, as compare to a Chinese trying to communicate with the community (in Africa) where they want to invest," he said. "They might not be able to connect with the population, so if you have people from home, they will be able to explain the ideas of the company and it's going to bring development for both sides of the investment."

    During the fair, students directly interacted with executives of participating firms and shared their personal information or resume while some firms gave power point presentations to broaden students understanding about their operations in Africa and the potential employment vacancies. Aaron G. Weaye, a final year Liberian graduate student of Economics at the Renmin University of China who shared his resume with five firms, expressed optimism about landing a job with Chinese firm back on the continent. "Back home, we have strong economic cooperation with China in terms of development which is being welcome by us." "So, for me I am exploring opportunities so that I can be able to work in my country with Chinese companies in order to buttress the government effort," he said.

    CPAFFC is optimistic the fair will gradually help eased the youth unemployment situation in Africa and at the same time provide Chinese investors on the continent skilled manpower who are knowledgeable about both Chinese and African culture. "Our mission is to help African students make use of their learning here in China," said Madam Lin Yi, vice President of CPAFFC. "We will be your strong supporter and in the future you will be the backbone of China-Africa relationship."

    There are plans underway to set up a career information center for African students at a university in Beijing to provide "enormous new opportunities" for the African students. "We want to see the results (from this job fair), if it is successful we want to do more for our African students by holding more job fairs in the future," added Xu Yan, director of Asian and African affairs of CPAFFC. Xu said the organization wants African students to build Africa better with what they have learned in China. "We want them to be able to use the China wisdom they have learned and help build their countries."

    The prospect of the first job fair for African students is looking positive and Wiagbe says, as a Liberian student union official, he will continue to engage the CPAFFC. "I am going to be speaking with the vice President of this organization and I think we can begin to coordinate where they can help us (Liberian students) get in contact with Chinese companies that want to employ Liberians either here in China or in Liberia on a part-time or full time employment basis," he said.

    Source: Front Page Africa

    In Nigeria, army orders all personnel to learn Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba before 2019

    The Nigerian Army has directed all its officers and men to immediately commence the learning of the three major Nigerian languages. A statement by army spokesperson, Sani Usman, said all personnel are expected to be proficient in Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba by December 2018. Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the directive is part of the new language policy by the army.

    Source: Premium Times

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

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