Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue X

    Source: World Economic Forum

    The Continent

    Africa's top women innovators take the stage in Rwanda

    Five women hailing from Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda have been announced as Africa Top Women Innovators under the Africa Top Women Innovators Challenge 2016, by the World Economic Forum. The challenge seeks to especially help women entrepreneurs whose potential is far from being optimised scale up through growing their innovations and helping this innovations achieve recognition beyond the region's borders, through creation of an enabling environment that allows entrepreneurs to flourish.

    The five Natalie Bitature, Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda, Audrey Cheng, Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya, Lilian Makoi Rabi, bimaAFYA, Tanzania,Nneile Nkholise, iMED Tech Group, Bloemfontein, South Africa and Larissa Uwase, CARL GROUP, Kigali, Rwanda have been invited to the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, where they will meet other social entrepreneurs and impact investors, and take part in conversations relevant to their expertise and interests. "I strongly believe that the 21st century will be Africa's century, that its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution. This is why we are showcasing Africa's best female entrepreneurs in Kigali this week," said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum.

    For Natalie Bitature, Kampala, Uganda, whose innovation was called Musana Carts has used frugal innovation to develop environmentally friendly, solar-powered vending carts. With a price point of $400, each Musana Cart saves 3,000 tons of carbon emissions and improves the health of cities by eliminating pollution from charcoal and kerosene stoves. Audrey Cheng of Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya, on the other hand established Moringa School to enable a whole generation to gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy. Two years on, 100% of students have been placed in work, earning on average 350% more than before they completed the coursework.

    Lilian Makoi Rabi, bimaAFYA, Tanzania developed bimaAFYA, which offers mobile micro-health insurance for the low income and informal sector, enabling healthcare services by drastically reducing costs with its completely mobile, paperless solution. bimaAFYA plans to expand to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana in 2017, while Nneile Nkholise of iMED Tech Group, Bloemfontein, South Africa uses additive manufacturing to design breast and facial prostheses for cancer and burn victims. The company only employs African women under the age of 30 with research backgrounds in mechanical engineering.

    Larissa Uwase, CARL GROUP, Kigali, Rwanda is improving the health of the nation by innovating new food products from a staple crop, the sweet potato. An agronomist by training, Larissa Uwase's latest innovation, in partnership with the University of Rwanda, is to make spaghetti from the vegetable. The criteria for the challenge required entrants' companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year and have proven innovation and positive social impact. A shortlist of winners was selected from a panel comprising experts from across Forum stakeholder groups. More than 1,200 participants from over 70 countries are taking part in the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 11 to 13, 2016. The theme of the meeting is "Connecting Africa's Resources through Digital Transformation".

    Source: CIO East Africa, May 11, 2016

    Religious leaders discuss action plan to prevent incitement to violence

    Over 40 religious and community leaders and actors, who came from across the African continent have been participating in a dialogue forum to discuss practical actions they can take to help their communities become more resistant to "hate speech" that constitutes incitement to violence and targets people because of their religious, ethnic and other forms of identity.

    In a press conference held during the dialogue forum here yesterday, United Nations Secretary General Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide Adam Dieng said that religious leaders and actors had an important role to play in preventing incitement to violence, given the influence they have over the communities they lead. In many parts of Africa, he said: "Religion has been used to justify targeting of communities. Religious leaders have spread messages of hatred, or stayed silent in the face of brutal violence. We also know, however, that religion is part of the solution. Religious leaders and actors have in many instances been instrumental in preventing violence."

    The International Dialogue Center's Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alvaro Albacete added: "The role of religion and religious leaders, both in aiding and mitigating incitement to violence, needs to be more closely instigated. Religious institutions could exert as much, in not more, influence and authority than their secular counterparts." "It is imperative that we work together to prevent the manipulation and abuse of religion to promote discrimination, stereotyping and hatred of 'the other'," he added.

    The World Council of Churches Director of international Affairs, Peter Prove also stressed that the message of religious leaders and actors must be one of hope; hope for peace and justice. The participants have outlined a number of concrete steps that religious leaders and actors can take to counteract incitement including provision of training, development of early warning mechanisms to identify and respond quickly to incitement when it occurs and creation of of inter-faith and inter-ethnic cooperation platforms and networks. The three-day forum which is concluded on May 11 was organised by the UN Special Adviser to the Secretory General on Genocide Prevention together with the KAICIID Dialogue Center and the World Council of Churches. The forum is a global continuation of a global initiative in Africa.

    Source: The Ethiopian Herald, May 11, 2016

    Watch foreign companies on tax evasion, says Oxfam UK chief

    The executive director of Oxfam International, United Kingdom, Ms Winnie Byanyima, has emphasised the need to link economic growth to poverty reduction.  She pointed out that, between 2003 and 2009, strong oil-driven growth in Nigeria only benefitted 10 per cent of the population, the number of poor people in the country actually increased during that period. She said this on the opening day of the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place for the first time in Kigali, Rwanda. Ms Byanyima called for governments to better police multinational companies to curb tax dodging and "tax competition", where potential investing companies bid down rival governments in terms of tax incentives - thus depriving the country of billions in potential revenue.

    During the same session, president Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said falls in economic growth rates do not spell the end of the "Africa rising" story, but rather provide an opportunity for countries on the continent to regroup, refocus and make themselves more resilient to external shocks. "It is a wake-up call, not a point of gloom," Kenyatta said. One lesson to be learned from recent growth declines in many sub-Saharan African countries is that they need to diversify their economies to avoid global commodity price falls having such a devastating effect.

    Kenyatta added that his own country shows the value of diversity. Kenya is not heavily reliant on mineral resource extraction, with agriculture, tourism and financial services making significant contributions to growth. Kenya's growth rate has remained relatively steady at around 6 per cent, whereas the figure for the subcontinent as a whole has dropped a couple of percentage points to 3 per cent.

    David A Lipton, First deputy managing director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, agreed that growth rates in Africa are likely to recover as the right economic fundamentals are still in place. He likened this recovery to running in a marathon. "In the Boston Marathon, at the 18-mile marker, there is Heartbreak Hill. This is where the good runner adjusts stride and then powers on," said Lipton.

    Source: The Monitor, May 13, 2016

    Central Africa

    Rwanda: World Economic Forum on Africa kicks off in Kigali

    On May 11, over 1,500 global leaders convened in Kigali, Rwanda to take part in discussions on how to harness the power of digital transformation in connecting Africa's resources as the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa gets underway. Themed "Connecting Africa's resources through digital transformation", the meeting builds on the discussions held at Davos-Klosters in January this year, on how to master the fourth industrial revolution.

    In Kigali, the forum seeks to identify priorities and actions for African leaders as they target to build economies resilient to today's challenges and able to flourish in the increasingly digital, converged marketplaces of tomorrow. Speaking alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Philanthropist Howard Buffett, President Paul Kagame reiterated, in 'A Conversation on Partnerships', that although partnerships are vital to achieving sustainable development, how they are managed vis-à-vis ownership is key. "We want to have ownership of the very things we should be doing for ourselves. How we manage partnership and ownership so that resources do not become a substitute for the choices of the people is important," said President Kagame.

    President Kagame narrated Rwanda's journey of rebuilding where he talked about the fight against corruption, accountability and the recently held referendum to change the Constitution. "We had to create value out of nothing and had to involve everyone, leaders and citizens. It was about saying we need to create something for ourselves; we need to have a future. We lost the past but we need to regain the future," said the President. Talking about the fight against corruption, the Head of State pointed out that people need to understand the consequences; and what diverting funds meant for citizens' wellbeing in terms of health, education, etc. He further stressed that the cost of corruption is huge - which is why people need to hold themselves and each other accountable. "Most investors want stability, and Rwanda is exactly that," said US philanthropist Howard Buffett who has invested US$ 500 Million to support agricultural transformation in Rwanda.

    Commenting on last year's referendum to review the Constitution, Howard Buffett said that every democracy goes through changes - he referred to the United States' Constitution which has been amended 27 times to date. "This is not my or your future, this is Rwandans' future. It is imperative that they drive what will achieve success. Let's not think we know better than Rwandans [about] what they want for the future," remarked Howard Buffett.

    The first day of the forum addressed a number of the continent's concerns such as scaling up youth entrepreneurial capabilities, as well as expanding trade and cooperation to increase opportunities for the young generation. Panellists in various sessions deliberated on how digital transformation can be leveraged to address challenges facing Africa's development and devise sustainable strategies to increase and add value to the continent's products, and boost their competitiveness on the global scene.

    Notable panellists in sessions on May 11 included Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Hailemariam Dessalegn, African Development Bank President Adesina Akinwumi, Graca Machel of Graca Machel Trust Foundation, former African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam International, Tony O. Elumelu of Tony Elumelu Foundation, and Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete.

    Source: Government of Rwanda, May 11, 2016

    Congo-Kinshasa: US, France and Belgium ponder DRC sanctions

    The United States, France and Belgium are warning Democratic Republic of Congo leader President Joseph Kabila of serious sanctions if he continues to suppress democratic process in the vast mineral rich African nation. Kabila is scheming to unconstitutionally continue in office after his mandate expires in December, but a growing opposition movement led by former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi is mounting pressure on him to respect the rules of governance. The DRC head of State has since resorted to arbitrary arrests and is slapping opposition leaders including Katumbi with trumped up charges.

    Reports in France indicate that officials in President Kabila's government are already lined up for sanctions. The reports identify National Intelligence Agency Kalev Mutond, the governor of Kinshasa André Kimbuta and the minister of Justice Alexis Thambwé among those targetted. Others include Jaynette Kabila - the President's sister - named in the Panama Papers. The international community is not impressed with President Kabila's human rights record which is further sliding on the world rating. President Kabila has slapped opposition leader Katumbi with trumped up charges of trying to organise a mercenary organisation.

    Katumbi was questioned for about 8 hours on May 9. The questioning was hostile and the room was quite hot. However, Katumbi was forthright with his answers as he has done nothing wrong. It's alleged that President Kabila is trying to find a reason to prosecute Katumbi and his entourage so that they are barred from contesting any election. So far an American Darryl Lewis is held in custody on alleged charges of espionage for providing private security to Katumbi.

    Source: Zambia Reports, May 12, 2016

    Angola: President sacks BNA deputy governors

    Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, fired out on May 11, by Decrees the vice governors of the National Reserve Bank of Angola, Manuel Amaro Gualberto Lima Campos and Cristina Florêncio Dias Van-Dúnem. According to a note from the president's Civil Office, it was also dismissed from the post of executive directors of the Board of Directors of BNA, António Manuel Ramos da Cruz, Victor Manuel da Costa and Manuel António.

    On the other hand, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos appointed to the posts of vice-governor of the National Reserve Bank of Angola, António Manuel Tiago Dias and Suzana Maria de Fátima Monteiro Camacho. The Head of State also appointed to the posts of executive directors of BNA, António Manuel Ramos da Cruz, Gilberto Moisés Moma Capeça, Soma Machel Januário Silva and Ana Paula Patrocínio Rodrigues.

    However, the President sacked the vice governors of Cuanza Norte province, Erlindo Ernesto Lidador and Manuel de Abreu Pereira da Silva, having appointed Henrique Jorge Sacramento e Sousa for the position of Deputy Governor of Cuanza Norte for Economic Affair and Pedro Samuel John Júnior, to the post of Deputy Governor of Cuanza Norte province for Technical and Infrastructural Affairs.

    Source: Angola Press, May 12, 2016

    North Africa

    Tunisia unrest - Deaths in Tatouine and near Tunis

    Four security officers and two suspected fighters have been killed in Tunisia during security operations near the capital Tunis and in the south of the country, according to the government. A fighter detonated his explosives belt after a firefight erupted in the Tatouine governorate on May 11, killing the officers. "One terrorist element was shot dead while the other detonated his explosives belt, killing two officers and two agents of the national guard," said the interior ministry.

    Earlier on May 11, two suspected fighters were killed during a raid near Tunis against a cell planning "simultaneous" attacks, according to AFP news agency. A national guard unit had carried out the raid acting on information from an "anti-terrorist" operation. Sixteen others were arrested during the operation in Ariana province, just outside Tunis, and AK-47 rifles, pistols and ammunition were seized. The interior ministry said the suspects had gathered in the area from different parts of the country.

    According to a resident of the Sanhaji district, a two-hour gun battle erupted with the suspects after the National Guard launched the raid at around 8am local time (07:00 GMT). "They were not from the neighbourhood. We didn't know them. They rented the house recently," AFP quoted her as saying. Tunisia, the birthplace of the 2011 Arab uprisings, has suffered from a wave of violence since its revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the longtime president.

    Source: Al Jazeera, May 11, 2016

    Morocco, China establish strategic partnership

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and King Mohammed VI of Morocco signed a joint statement on establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries. They signed the statement after talks at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. The strategic partnership will be a milestone for the development of the bilateral ties and bring new opportunities for bilateral cooperation in all areas, Xi said.

    He added that China always attaches high importance to relations with Morocco, and will steadily support its efforts to maintain national stability and promote social and economic development. China also appreciates Morocco's adherence to the one-China policy and its support on major issues concerning China's core interests.

    According to the joint statement, the two sides will increase exchanges between heads of state, government leaders and officials, strengthen communication and coordination on strategic issues, enhance cooperation and exchanges between legislative bodies and political parties. The two sides reaffirmed the principle of respecting all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and vowed to support all sides' efforts to maintain peace and stability of the regions they belong to.

    The two sides called for peaceful solutions to international and regional crises and disputes; opposed interference in other's internal affairs, use of force or threat by force; and condemned terrorism in all forms. The two sides will implement the cooperation consensus reached under the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Xi said China welcomed Morocco's continued participation in China-Arab states cooperation and China-Africa cooperation, which will bring broad prospect for the development of the China-Morocco relations.

    With regard to bilateral cooperation, the joint statement said the two countries will deepen cooperation in areas including petroleum, mining industry, agriculture, environmental protection, ocean fisheries, infrastructure construction and digital communication, expand cooperation in renewable energy, and develop partnership in industry, metallurgy and electronics. Xi said China is willing to participate in Morocco's industrial revitalisation and encourage companies to join in local infrastructure projects.

    China is willing to strengthen military exchanges, tourism and educational cooperation with Morocco, and hopes a Chinese cultural center could be built up there as early as possible, Xi said. The president said China is ready to strengthen bilateral coordination and cooperation on international affairs such as climate change, to maintain the common interests of the two countries and other developing countries.

    King Mohammed VI spoke positively of the traditional friendship between the two countries and thanked China for long-term assistance. He echoed Xi saying the strategic partnership will inject new vitality into the two countries' relations. Morocco is willing to join with China to expand trade and infrastructure cooperation, and strengthen coordination on development issues and climate change. Morocco is willing to be an important cooperative partner of China in Africa and among the Arab states, the king said. After the hour-long talks, the two sides signed several cooperation agreements in areas including judiciary, trade, energy, mining, finance, culture and food security.

    Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, May 12, 2016

    Egypt: Sisi opens armed forces engineering authority's projects in Badr city

    President Abdel Fattah El Sisi attended on May 12 the inauguration of new projects carried out by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in Badr city in north eastern Cairo. The event began with the recitation of verses of the Holy Quran. The opening ceremony is attended by Defense and Military Production Minister Sedqi Sobhi, Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, in addition to a number of ministers, senior officials and top military brass.

    Delivering a speech during the inauguration of development projects carried out by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in Badr city, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said realising sustainable development is the state's main target. He said realising partnership among various state sectors would form the basis for a strong and flourishing nation. This new development era started in Egypt with the New Suez Canal project that was funded by the Egyptians, he added.

    The state has to develop its administrative body and the government has a strategy for reforming and developing its administrative body, he said. The government also works on developing decision-making mechanisms and improving state resources management, he said. The premier added that the 32 projects opened on May 12 are the first step for launching several projects soon. He went on to say that these projects implemented by the Armed Forces in tandem with the ministries, public and private sector companies reflect the Egyptians' resolve to overcome challenges and build their future. He noted that housing, service and infrastructure projects were established in 19 governorates.

    Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Moustafa Madboly said the ministry works on establishing 656,000 social housing units at 97 billion EGP. The first stage of the project is meant to set up 256,000 housing units at a total cost of 37 billion EGP, he said, noting that the first stage will be finalised by the end of 2016. In the second stage, the ministry will establish 400,000 housing units at a total cost of 60 billion EGP.

    Commenting on statements by Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Moustafa Madboly, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said there are nearly 850,000 people living in slum areas and about 14 billion EGP is needed for developing them. He said it would take two years to develop these shanty areas, but people living there should be evacuated to nearby housing units. He added that the state will not leave poor people to live in such dangerous areas. He said the state will bear a large bulk of the funds and the rest would be secured through other resources.

    Source: Egypt State Information Service, May 12, 2016.

    Southern Africa

    Zambia: Soldiers linked to ritual killings appear in court

    Two Zambia Army soldiers, a traditional healer and a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) civilian employee yesterday appeared in the Lusaka magistrate's court for allegedly being involved in the spate of suspected ritual killings recently. The four appeared in court for the explanation of charges linking them to the killing of seven people in suspected ritual acts. The quartet that arrived at the Lusaka magistrate complex around 14:00 hours was facing seven counts of murder, which happened between March 16 and April 17, this year.

    According to the Police, the ritual acts were committed in a similar manner by crushing the left side of the head, removing body parts and later dumping the deceased near their homes or a nearby drinking place and in all the incidents, a stone was found near the dead bodies. The suspects from Lusaka were Lucky Siame, 47, a soldier, Lewis Chishimba Bwalya, 41, a witch doctor, and Christopher Kasapo, 44, an office assistant. The fourth one was Elvis Nyanga, 42, a solider from Solwezi in North-Western Province. They had at least a black outfit on them as they appeared in court.

    Siame, Bwalya, Kasapo and Nyanga are in the first count alleged to have, between March 5 and March 6, this year, in Lusaka jointly and while acting together murdered Clever Changwe Mwape. The four in count two, between March 16 and March 17, this year, in Lusaka allegedly murdered William Chela, while in the third count, they are alleged to have murdered Elias Phiri. Siame, Bwalya, Kasapo and Nyanga are in the fourth count alleged to have, between March 16 and March 17, 2016, murdered Alex Zulu and further allegedly murdered Boris Muzumara on the same dates.

    The four are in count six alleged to have, on April 7, 2016, murdered Amon Sichamba and between April 15 and April 16, this year, allegedly murdered Anthony Mwaba. They appeared for the explanation of the charges as they await a certificate for summary of trial from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)'s office since murder is tried by the High Court. As resident magistrate Greenwell Malumani attempted to explain the charges to the accused persons, the first suspect Siame put up his hand informing the court that his lawyer was out of town in Chipata. "Your worship sir, my lawyer is not around, I was not aware that I would appear in court today, I was caught unaware. Even my family is not aware that I am appearing in court" the composed Siame said.

    However, Mr. Malumani told him that he was alive to the fact that he and his colleagues were entitled to legal representation as well as fair trial, but that a mere explanation of the charges had no effect even in the absence of his lawyers. Mr. Malumani adjourned the case to May 20, 2016 for another mention as the court waits for instructions from the DPP to have them committed to the High Court. Anxious Lusaka residents attended the court sessions to ensure they had a glimpse of the suspected ritual killers. Outside the courtroom, some women were heard shouting at the suspects demanding to know why they were removing 'sets' ( male private parts) from men, whom they claimed would have been their potential husbands.

    Source: Times of Zambia, May 10, 2016

    Zimbabwe: Panama - 280 Zim tycoons exposed

    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has named over 280 Zimbabweans, including prominent businesspeople, who reportedly syphoned billions of dollars out of the country. The businesspeople, mostly of Caucasian extraction, have links to offshore investment vehicles. The list is contained in data from over 200 countries that was leaked to the Panama Papers and contains information about offshore companies and the people behind them.

    The Panama Papers are 11,5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 214 488 offshore entities. The leaked documents were created by Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, some dated back to the 1970s. The latest release with information on Zimbabwe includes the names of over 200 prominent local businessmen and company executives who have been making use of the Panama law firm.

    Prominent names featuring on the list include Innscor Africa directors Zinona (Zed) Koudounaris and Michael Fowler, John Legat, Kingstone Munyawarara and former Cottco chief executive Happymore Mapara. Investigation data alleges that the two Innscor directors, like others on the list, engaged the services of lawyers and accountants to open four companies in the British Virgin Islands. However, a representative of Messrs Koudounaris and Fowler said the offshore investments were legal and the two had done nothing criminal as they run businesses outside Zimbabwe. "With respect to Mr. Fowler, he inherited an offshore structure from his father which has continued to exist lawfully. The two have not been involved in any externalisation."

    Business tycoon and prominent property mogul Ken Sharpe is also listed in the Panama Papers' leaked data files, while Zimplats chief executive Alex Mhembere is also part of the list. But Mr. Sharpe said he had been approached by a United Kingdom investment consultant to make a $25 000 property investment offshore. The list also features sports personality, rally driver Conrad Rautenbach. According to legal experts, it is not necessarily an offence or illegal to have an offshore company or bank account, but some of them have in the past been used for tax evasion and externalisation. According to the RBZ, $1,8 billion was spirited out of Zimbabwe in 2015 alone through illicit transactions, inflated management and technical consultancy fees to foreign entities.

    The hidden wealth of some of the world's most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities leaked through Panama Papers has between 2009 and 2015 showed an unprecedented release of millions of documents that show the many ways in which the rich have been exploiting secretive offshore tax regimes. Although it is said that there is nothing unlawful about one being linked to offshore companies or bank accounts, the files leaked raise fundamental questions about ethical conduct in tax havens.

    The data released by ICIJ through Panama Papers includes postal addresses; displays links to more than 200 countries and users can filter the information by country and by offshore jurisdiction. The extensive data also explores the role of banks, law firms and other gatekeepers of the financial system in facilitating the creation of offshore companies for high net worth individuals.

    Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya, said that the issue around the operation of offshore accounts and companies depended on a particular situation at hand. However, he said whenever money from Zimbabwe was taken outside of the country's borders, this would be externalisation. "It's all about externalisation or capital flight," he said. "The second question is it legal or illegal and if it is legal, even if one has exchange control approval, is it morally right or wrong to take money from an economy that is not doing well and to an economy that is doing well?" the RBZ governor said.

    Dr Mangudya said some individuals and companies have externalised proceeds generated from Zimbabwe under the guise of free funds. That is the reason why he said the RBZ had taken the position that there should be no more free funds except for Diaspora remittances and funds belonging to NGOs and embassies. For instance, Dr Mangudya said, there was no justification for taking money from Zimbabwe to a foreign jurisdiction under the banner of free funds if it was generated from domestic economic activity such as artisanal gold mining or tobacco sales. The governor said there was need to critically look at the situations where money had been spirited out of the country, which has been facing a debilitating cash crisis over the last few weeks, to determine whether this was done legally or illegally. The ICIJ, however, said having one's name on the list did not necessarily mean one had an offshore account.

    Source: The Herald, May 11, 2016

    South Africa: Special leave proposed for Judge Jansen

    The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recommended to Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masuthu, that Judge Mabel Jansen be placed on special leave. This follows a complaint against the Judge of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, in Pretoria, over the alleged racial utterances she made during a private conversation on Facebook.

    Judge Jansen reportedly said rape is part of the black culture. Since then she has defended her comments and said they were taken out of context and that she referred to specific incidents of rape cases she presided over. The JSC, which deals with complaints against judges, on May 10, said it received a complaint against Judge Jansen, which was logged by Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Advocates for Transformation in Johannesburg and in his personal capacity.

    "The JSC urges the public to allow that process to run its course and remain confident that the JSC shall deal with the matter in a just and proper manner," the JSC said. "After consultation with Judge Jansen, a proposal for her to go on special leave has been forwarded to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services for consideration," the Commission said. JSC said complaints of alleged misconduct against any judge can be lodged by way of an affidavit or an affirmed statement specifying the nature of the complaint and the facts on which the complaint is based. Such a complaint will then be dealt with by the JSC in terms of the JSC Act.

    Source: SAnews.gov.za, May 11, 2016

    East Africa

    Kenya: IMF urges Kenya to bring down budget deficit

    International Monitory Fund (IMF) has urged Kenya to bring down the budget deficit in order for debt to remain in manageable levels. IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton says although Kenya's public debt is at a moderate level and remains in safe zone, the country needs to undertake a growth-friendly reduction in fiscal deficits over the medium term to maintain debt sustainability. "The Kenyan government has an objective of lowering the budget deficit by three percentage points during the two years of IMF supporting program. We think that's a wise course of action," he said.

    Kenya secured a new loan from the IMF totalling Sh153 billion ($1.5 billion) earlier this year to be utilised in the next 24 months in case of external shocks. However, the country does not have to draw the precautionary forex cash unless a real shock translates into a balance of payments problem. Only a major turbulence of the shilling would prompt Kenya to draw.

    Lipton was however impressed by the country's achievements in recent years despite strong global headwinds. "Real GDP growth averaged 5.5 percent per year and inflation broadly remained within target during 2013-15," Lipton stated. At the same time he said there was a need for Kenya to continue in priority spending of the government including infrastructure, health and education as they will sustain the rapid growth in Kenya. "Compromises will have to be made; in order to bring the deficit down that include prioritising spending, balance can be done successfully. We support the government's effort to strengthen revenue mobilisation, review its expenditure priorities, and increase the quality of expenditures," he cautioned. He was particularly impressed by the significant improvements in public infrastructure, in particular in electricity generation and the road network.

    Kenya he said has also made remarkable progress in improving access of the population to financial services, including through mobile banking. "Kenya has become an important destination of capital inflows from advanced and emerging markets. Many structural reforms have advanced, including in the areas of devolution, public financial management, and business regulations," he stated. He also commented on the recent challenges in the financial sector that saw about three banks go into receivership and urged for an urgent strengthening of supervision and regulation of the banking system, as well as to bolster the financial system's safety nets.

    "My visit confirmed my view that Kenya has set the basis to make steadfast progress in advancing national development. The IMF will support Kenya in this journey through policy advice and capacity building. Should adverse external developments jeopardise the country's development path, Kenya can rely on IMF financial support in the context of insurance-like precautionary facilities available for the country over the next two years," he added.

    The National Treasury last month submitted Sh2.3 trillion national budget estimates for the financial year 2016/2017. The Treasury is targeting a revenue collection of Sh1.49 billion up from Sh1.29 billion in the last financial year. Overall expenditure and net lending is projected at Sh2.26 billion up from the estimated Sh1.84 billion in the current financial year. Domestic financing of development plans is estimated at Sh398.4 billion up from Sh305 billion while the country has received commitments worth Sh410.6 billion in external financing.

    In the executive summary, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said external borrowing will largely be biased towards concessional loans. The budget which has been prepared during a slow global recovery will focus on economic growth and sustainable development. Earlier, IMF lowered Kenya's Gross Domestic Product growth projections to 6 percent in 2016 from 6.8 percent. This was the second revision having lowered projections from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent in November 2015.

    The downwards revision of medium term potential was as a result of tighter external and domestic financing conditions that will reduce private and public investments relative to earlier forecasts. Growth is expected to pick up further after 2016, supported by continued improvements in the business environment, modernised and expanded transport and energy infrastructure, and regional integration. The IMF concurred that risks to the growth outlook were on the downside for Kenya, but noted a potential increase in volatility of capital flows as representing the strongest downside risk.

    Source: Capital FM, May 10, 2016

    Somalia: Commandos kill 15 in raid on Al-Shabaab base

    A Somali commando unit killed at least 15 suspected Islamist fighters on May 11 in a raid on an al-Shabab base in Galgudud region, central Somalia, the second such raid in two days. Local government official Qadar Mohamed Ali told VOA's Somali service that the aim of the raid was to destroy the base and neutralise the militants' capacity to organise and carry out regional attacks.

    Ali said Somali troops seized rocket-propelled  grenades and mortars in the raid. He said no Somali troops were killed or injured.

    The raid came a day after an attack on an al-Shabab base in the village of Toratorow, about 100 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, in which an unknown number of militants were captured or killed. There have been conflicting reports on how much involvement US forces had in the Toratorow raid. Somali security official Mohamed Nur Gabow told VOA Somali that US forces played a "lead role" in the operation targeting al-Shabab officials. He said US personnel flew helicopters in the raid. Residents of Toratorow said the helicopters dropped Somali fighters on the outskirts of Toratorow to hunt for the militants on foot. But AFRICOM, the US military command center in Africa, said US fighters were not involved in any "kinetic operations" in the raid — meaning nothing that involved the use of lethal force. In a statement, AFRICOM said, "This was not a US-led, nor was it a US-unilateral operation."

    The United States has trained a Somali government commando unit known as “Danab” or “Lightning” of about 500 soldiers who conduct special operations. A similar joint US-Somali operation took place in the nearby town of Awdhegle in March. The Pentagon said the US played only a support role in that operation. The Somali government has battled al-Shabab since the al-Qaida-linked militant group formed in 2006. The US designated al-Shabab as a terrorist group in 2008 and has given the Somali government financial and military support to combat the group.

    Source: Voice of America, May 12, 2016

    Uganda: Government shuts down social media again

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    The nearly 24-hour shutdown of social media as Mr. Museveni was sworn in for a fifth elective term was nothing out of the ordinary. It happened before, the day he was reelected two months ago. From about 5pm on May 11 internet service providers, MTN, Airtel and others, blocked access to Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter via handled devices which the industry regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), said was ordered by "security organs." The blackout went on throughout the day on May 12.

    UCC's executive director Godfrey Mutabazi was non-committal on stating which security organ particularly ordered for the shutdown but said "they cited security reasons" as the country hosted dozens of dignitaries who attended the swearing in ceremony at Kololo in Kampala. The temporary shutdown of Facebook and other sites was reminiscent of the February 18 blockade which lasted about 48 hours. Mr. Mutabazi, in an affidavit on March 17 during the Supreme Court deliberations in which President Museveni's victory was challenged, said he received instructions from the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura to shut down social media and mobile money facilities owing to security concerns.

    Telecom companies, MTN, with the largest subscriber base in a statement said: "In line with the requirement of its license specifically Article 7.4 that requires [MTN] to provide assistance to government in the event of an emergency or crisis related to national Security, UCC has issued a directive to shut down all social media platforms immediately until otherwise advised by government." Airtel, in messages sent out to its customers said, "as per UCC directive social media has been temporarily blocked."

    The US Embassy in Kampala condemned the act saying: "As we said before, such acts send a wrong message to Ugandans and are violations of their rights, as guaranteed in the country's laws & Constitution." "A society that is free, vibrant & successful depends on free flow of info & ideas, including access to info online & through free, independent press." The shutdown of social media came on the heels of another government directive warning against and banning media houses from covering live proceedings of the opposition party, FDC.

    Source: The Monitor, May 13, 2016

    West Africa

    Nigeria: President Buhari says Cameron right in saying Nigeria Is 'fantastically corrupt'

    British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was "being honest" when he told Queen Elizabeth II and other British leaders that Nigeria is a "fantastically corrupt" country, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. In an interview he granted CNN in London, Mr. Buhari said Mr. Cameron was "talking about what he knows" adding that no one should "fault" the British leader. The interview was aired on May 12 at 7 pm Nigerian time.

    Asked by the interviewer, Christian Amanpour, to react to what Mr. Cameron said, Mr. Buhari said:  Well, I think he's being honest about it". "He's talking about what he knows, about the two of us, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and by what we're doing in Nigeria by the day, I don't think you can fault him. I hope he did not address the press. He said it privately and somehow you got to know it." In a similar interview with the BBC in London on the same day, Mr. Buhari repeated that Mr. Cameron was "talking about what he knew". "If you look at what this government-I mean the government I am heading-we campaigned on citizen security, economy, unemployment and then fight against corruption and what I have uncovered since he came in has proved he was right," Mr. Buhari told BBC's Clive Myrie. Before the two interviews, Mr. Buhari had responded "Yes" to journalists when asked if Nigeria is a "fantastically corrupt" country as he made his way to the venue of the anti-corruption summit that is currently underway in England.

    Mr. Buhari's comment has continued to generate reactions from Nigerians. Foreign policy experts who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the president had committed a "huge foreign policy blunder". Sat Obiyan, a foreign policy expert at Obafemi Awolowo University, said Mr. Buhari's comment "reflects his extent of his exposure." "This president is creating more damage for the country every time he travels abroad, he goes out of his way to paint his country black," Mr. Obiyan said. "I think it is impolitic for this president to go abroad and continue to lambaste his country as terrible."

    Mr. Obiyan, Head of Political Science Department at the Obafemi Awolowo University, further stated that, "nobody says the president should go abroad and be telling lies, when he's in Nigeria, he could make a point about corruption in Abuja or Lagos, but when he goes abroad he should make the point less. He could have made his point diplomatically to avoid this foreign policy blunder, which is huge." Chris Ngwodo, a foreign policy analyst, admitted that the president's statement was bad but said it was "unlikely to carry much impact because Nigeria is already stereotyped internationally as a corrupt country".

    "The president cannot be properly outraged about what David Cameron said because he'd said something similar two months ago in an interview with the UK Telegraph. You'll remember the president saying Nigerians are criminals in that interview. So the president has been painting Nigeria black at the international stage for a while," Mr. Ngwodo said. Mr. Ngwodo, however, argued that "the fact that Mr. Buhari is perceived as an honest man could make it easier for the international community to engage Nigeria". "I also think his comment was a very apt response, because it exposed the hypocrisy of Mr. Cameron and the British people. The president made it clear that they are also corrupt because they're hiding our loot."

    Mr. Cameron was caught on camera ridiculing Nigeria as a "fantastically corrupt" country on 10 May afternoon. In the short footage, published by British broadcaster, ITV News, Mr. Cameron told the British monarch that Nigeria and Afghanistan are "two of the most corrupt countries in the world". Mr. Cameron's comment was published just as President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria 10 May to attend an anti-corruption summit organised by the UK government to be held in London on May 12. Mr. Cameron was briefing the Queen on the notoriety of countries expected to attend the summit during an event at the Buckingham Palace to celebrate the monarch's 90th birthday, ITV News reported.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, however, said Mr. Buhari is not a corrupt person. "But this particular president is actually not corrupt," the religious leader said. "Oh yes, he's trying very hard this one." In an earlier statement, the Nigerian presidency said it was "embarrassed" by Mr. Cameron's comment.

    The Afghan government rejected Mr. Cameron's label, describing it as "unfair". A statement released by that country's government on May 10 said: "We have made important progress in fighting systematic capture in major national procurement contracts and are making progress on addressing institutional issues as well as issues related to impunity. "Therefore calling Afghanistan in that way and taking bold decisions by NUG is unfair."

    Source: Premium Times, May 12, 2016

    Guinea Bissau: President dissolves government, fires Prime Minister

    President Jose Mario Vaz has sacked his entire cabinet and has placed ministries under the control of security forces. The move threatens to worsen an ongoing political crisis in the West African nation. After dismissing his government on May 12, Guinea-Bissau's president, Jose Mario Vaz (pictured above), called on the ruling party to select a new cabinet that will pull the country out of its current political crisis.

    "I have taken a decision which makes the political parties aware of their responsibilities in giving them the chance to prove that they place greater importance on the nation and the people over their personal interests or their group or party," Vaz said during a national address on radio and television.

    The country's ministries have been placed under the control of security forces, according to local sources, while the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) met to decide how to respond.

    Guinea-Bissau's Prime Minister, Carlos Correia, was also dismissed by the president on May 12 only a few months after his appointment to the position in October. Vaz already sacked his predecessor, PAIGC leader Domingos Simoes Pereira last year, sparking the current political crisis. "Carlos Correia's government is incapable of managing the crisis and creating better political and institutional conditions for (the government's) full function," Vaz said.

    Parties on both sides say that Pereira and Vaz greatly disagreed on how to run the country and especially on the topic of tackling corruption. Correia's appointment temporarily appeared to resolve the dispute, but several lawmakers refused to back Correia's policies and deprived him of a parliamentary majority last December. Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony with some 1.6 million residents, is one of the region's most unstable nations - suffering multiple military coups since its independence in 1974. A democratically elected leader has yet to serve a full term in the tiny West African nation.

    Source: Deutsche Walle, May 12, 2016

    Liberia: 'Boko Haram' ghost ship strike fears in Liberia

    When news surfaced that an abandoned ship had been discovered in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County last week, the mystery surrounding the abandonment immediately sent shockwaves in and out of Liberia. "I am afraid now because this Boko Haram now that is circulating in the African countries; it can strike fear because for one fact just about a month ago, they went and killed so many people in Ivory Coast - and for now the ship that we are seeing here, it is on it Tamaya 1 and the Nigerian flag and since the ship landed we have not seen anybody from that ship. So that's the fear in us in Grand Cape Mount County." Thomas Slight, a Robertsport resident

    It took the government nearly a week to finally come up with some explanation but by then, residents in a nation now accustomed to looking at the back of their heads, after going through a lengthy period of war, had already developed a sense that something sinister was amiss. "During the search on board the vessel, it was discovered that the abandoned vessel is an oil tanker and but so far no information was established regarding the number of crew members as no crew members were found on board. It was further gathered by the LCG that the vessel was gutted by fire, leaving the bridge (Upper and Control Center) burned along with all documents".

    The ship, the Tamaya 1 has been identified as a Panamanian registered Nigerian flagged vessel which drifted on the shores of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County on May 3, 2016. The team boarded the vessel by way of land on the coast of Liberia through Grand Cape Mount County. The ship's abandonment prompted speculations as many began asking questions. When reporters arrived on the scene early this week to tour the abandoned ship, they were greeted with ants' residents still trying to figure out why?

    Why would a ship from out of nowhere decide to dock on Liberia's shores? Where are the crewmembers, the captain? But the search for answers was greeted with new discovery. Residents in the area have already begun taking the ship to pieces, looting the inside and taking anything of value they could find. FrontPageAfrica was later informed that at least four persons have been arrested in connection to a looting spread on board the mysterious Tamaya Ship. The ship which mysteriously surfaced on the coast of Robertsport Grand Cape Mount County was later rushed on by some residents of the City who were in desperate need of finding ants meat for their families. This is evident due to the distance covered by them as they climbed over gigantic roads and walking along the sea shores just to reach to the ship.The Tamaya Ship is currently docked behind Mt. Cape Mount about one-hour walking distance from the central City of Robertsport, an isolated area.

    Col. Jabah Jabateh, Senior Inspector, Bureau of Immigration says the vessel landed in the area about four or five days ago and authorities were immediately informed. "Our Commander with the other joint security, they moved here and they sent us some information but because we wanted to find out more that is why we came to make sure that our people are informed properly." Col. Jabateh agrees that the discovery is causing some fear amongst residents in the area. Of course because they are not used to this kind of thing and the way the vessel is looking and the way it has been ransacked, maybe it came like that and when you see those kinds of things, no crews, you will panic and because of that we are here to make sure and alleviate that panic from the citizens." The BIN official however says logistics remain a big concern. "We have the manpower but we are awaiting logistics. We have checked all the four corners of that ship. We are doing our jobs but we want logistics."

    Thomas Slight, a Robertsports resident says the fears are valid. "It was week after May 8 we saw that ship on top of the ocean. Unexcitingly, the ship landed on May 10 at the back of the rocks. I am afraid now because this Boko Haram now that is circulating in the African countries it can strike fear because for one fact just about a month ago, they went and kill so many people and for now the ship that we are seeing here, it is on it Tamaya 1 and the Nigerian flag and since the ship landed we have not seen anybody from that ship. So that's the fear in us in Grand Cape Mount County."

    The 64-meter (210ft) tanker's last known position was on 21 April near Gambia and Senegal, according to shipping site marine traffic - well north of Liberia along the West African coast. The ship was en route to the Senegalese port of Dakar, according to the site. But local security officials in the county say, several of the looters made away with items such as: Safety Jackets, four gallons of fuel oil, Mattresses and many others while the four arrested were also caught in possession with similar items. The Ship is now sinking below sea level due to the heavy sea wave and appears to be ransacked.

    Since the arrival of what is termed as a Ghost Ship in the county, there have been mixed views among the people of Liberia mainly regarding their security protection. A reporter who entered the ship says it appears like some departments of the ship got burned as there were mattresses and clothes seen inside one of the rooms. It still not clear whether crew members were on board but there are speculations that foot prints were seen leading to the bush side of the area minutes after the ship first arrive something that is yet to be confirmed nor denied by Authority. During a Journalist tour of the ship there were also Immigration officers seen on the ship to gather first-hand information as far as their border patrol work is concern.

    Lawrence Karnley, Director of Security at the Bureau of Immigration(BIN), a first assessment report showed that a Nigerian flag was seen handing on the top of the ship but later disappear few days after their second return to the scene. Some residents of the County and many Liberians say, they are now living in fear due the presence of the ship especially when there was no crew member seen on board. But Col. Jabah, Jabateh, a Senior Inspector at the "BIN' assures that authorities are working on security related strategies to ensure that they do not panic, noting that with more logistical support to them including the joint security team, they can easily provide maximum security protection for the people

    The Ministry of National Defense is also assuring the public that the Liberian coast guard in concert with other security agencies are further investigating to unravel circumstances surrounding the abandoned oil tanker and its subsequent drifting on the Liberian shores. As investigation into the abandoned oil tanker lingers, speculations will no doubt continue as many ponder answers to unanswered questions as to what forced the ship to wash ashore and what has become of the ship's crew.

    Residents in Robertsport however, are turning to the government for answers and security. "The only thing the government can do right now is put up security all around the seacoast and do background investigation and conduct searches from the various bushes around the area and see how best to handle this case." "We should not take it to be small thing because it is a problem. You can't see ship land here without any crew on board, nobody inside? It's a problem," Slight lamented.

    Source: Front Page Africa, May 12, 2016

    This Monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Intern, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

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