MonitorsPublished on Oct 05, 2017
Africa Monitor | Vol VI Issue XLVI

The Continent

Africa must be allowed to play rightful role in global affairs, Morocco tells UN

With the world at a crossroads -- battered by climate change, threatened by terrorism and extremism, and struggling with deepening inequality -- it is not only time to bolster multilateral cooperation, but to make use of the vital capacities that can be provided by the dynamism of the African continent, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Morocco told the United Nations General Assembly on September 20.

Addressing the Assembly's annual general debate, Nasser Bourita cited a raft of global ills, and noted that while globalisation has driven the international economy it has also increased employment instability and widened the economic gaps between and within nations. Similarly, the Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for growth and development but it has also provided a space for extremists and terrorist groups to promote their nefarious aims.

"All this means our collective working mechanisms need to be reformed," said Mr. Bourita, stressing that Morocco is convinced that a global organization that is effective and truly multilateral can help solve the problems the world is facing. Morocco is equally convinced that Africa can no longer be seen as a burden on the global community - the continent must play its role in tackling global challenges, including broader development.

"Africa has not held its rightful place in the . It should not be dealt with based only on how much assistance it receives, or how "many agenda items it takes up" at UN meetings. Indeed, Africa is imbued with immense human and natural resources. In that regard, Morocco viewed South-South cooperation as a major opportunity for forming development partnerships that could assist African countries, bolster foreign direct investment and increase African participation, with increased equal footing, in global mechanisms.

Source: UN News Service

African ecosystem report highlights progress across continent's knowledge economies

The report provides a continental, regional, and industry specific look at the evolution of technology ecosystems on the African continent. Beginning with an overview of the general growth trends within the continent, the report highlights the youthful population and the bias towards innovation and entrepreneurship, and sets the stage for a deep-dive into the key technology and innovation activities that are driving the continent forward. Several perspectives are presented within the report to identify key catalysts for growth, and explore industry specific opportunities for development across the continent’s main geographic regions. The publication also utilizes first experience testimonials and op-ed pieces from key stakeholders along the technology and innovation value chain to highlight a number of relevant opportunities.

The regional summaries in the report allow for the diversities of Africa’s major regions to come to the fore. Overview summaries and country specific analyses are presented to offer specific insights to the major opportunities across the continent. At the national level, the report also presents the policies and environments that foster or hinder the growth of technology and innovation. Finally, the report presents the Silicon Valley ecosystem through the lens of direct African engagements, and examines the critical success factors of the Silicon Valley ecosystem as compared to innovation ecosystems in Africa. The report celebrates the incremental success of African startups in Silicon Valley, and highlights a variety of stakeholders that have successfully engaged the investor networks in Silicon Valley.

“This publication represents an aggregation of data and research from a variety of sources. It provides a regional and sectorial assessment of the leading entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent, as well as industry perspectives offered through a selected network of specialists that have authored sector specific essays as contributors,” said Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO, ATF. “We are grateful to all our staff, researchers, sector specialists and partners that have contributed to this report. We also thank our wonderful group of sector specialists, who authored the opinion pieces within the report, and joined the movement to highlight the immense opportunities on the continent.”

Harry Hare, Executive Director of DEMO Africa commented -“It has been said in some quarters that Africa cannot innovate itself out of its own problems. A statement that attracted both praise and criticism in equal measure.It is a known fact that Africa faces many challenges, but my view is that all these challenges provide entrepreneurial greenfield opportunities that the continent’s technologists and innovators are now exploring more than ever before, and investors are taking note. This report highlights some of these opportunities and celebrates a number of uniquely African innovations.”

The report is free to download and will be presented to global audiences across a variety of events and summits over the next few months. Under ATF’s leadership, LIONS@FRICA will also be convening a number of technology salons in Silicon Valley to discuss the key outcomes of the report and support the implementation of key recommendations.

Source: African Technology Foundation (San Fransisco)

Africa reacts to German election results

 "There's a lot that we in Nigeria can learn from the process that took place in Germany," said Lawal Shuaibu, deputy national chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress in Nigeria's capital Abuja, after the recent German elections.

"All other parties are acknowledging the results without any opposition I think is worth learning from," he said, adding that it was due to Germany being an advanced democracy. "We just started. I can tell you in Nigeria we are on the right track," he added. "The overall result represents a minor setback for the Christian Democratic Party and its former alliance, because they recorded a drop in the overall representation in the Bundestag, the German parliament," said Abubakar Umar Kari, a lecturer at the University of Abuja. "It also signals the resurgence of the ultra-nationalist party, the AfD, whose position on immigration and Muslims should send very disturbing signals not only to Germany or to Europe, but the rest of the world."

In Kenya, Adrian Otieno said: "We have been watching this news on TV, did you see any protests? Did you see any people being killed? Have you seen any police injustice? This is what Kenyans should learn from the Germans. We should have free, fair and credible elections, I want to praise the Germans, for having free, fair and credible elections, that's what we want, we need a change!" "My opinion is that if the German people can hold elections while at the same time hosting the Berlin Marathon without any troubles, yet we in Kenya are searching for an election date with every side saying they want a certain date," said Beatrice a resident of Nairobi. "I am really urging Kenyans to emulate the Germans," she added.

In Uganda, the German elections were followed by a few elite voters. Some of them said they admire the maturity of the whole electoral process. Angela Merkel losing seats, but pledging to win back lost voters is just rare in Uganda. "Merkel's party lost a number of seats and while she was speaking on September 24, she said her party would look into reasons as to why they lost," said Janet Kobusinguzi, a law student at Makerere University. "I think we need such a thing in Uganda. In Uganda, a loser would be running to court."

In Accra, many said they were surprised by the weakening of her coalition party and the gains made by her political opponents. Ghana also witnessed its own electoral surprises when current president, Akufo Addo, defeated former president John Dramani Mahama. Ghana and Germany have enjoyed strong relations for 60 years and hence many watched the elections keenly.

In Monrovia, some Liberians congratulated Merkel upon her victory. "I personally as a Liberian think what men can do, women can do better. This is why Angela was elected for the fourth term in Germany. I think it is unprecedented in politics," said John Prosper Narmayan, a former government official under Johnson Sirleaf's predecessor and warlord Charles Taylor.

"Our constitution in Liberia forbids anyone going more than two terms and that is the reason President Sirleaf may not have the opportunity to contest again, and she doesn't want to be like most of those East African countries that are now changing their constitutions to allow their president to run perpetually." "The winning of Madam Angela for the fourth term is a fine thing," said youth activist Emmanuel Gibson. "Comparing women coming to power in Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson is like the gateway for women coming to power and since then, there have been lots of women participating and some winning key positions. But the question is whether we can have another women coming to power in Liberia?"

Source: Deutsche Welle

Central Africa

Activists demand freedom for jailed Kabila critics

Rights groups are demanding the release of human rights and pro-democracy activists arrested for opposing President Joseph Kabila's continued stay in power in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nine activists were arrested in Mbuji-Mayi in the troubled Kasai region and the second capital Lubumbashi in July. The nine activists are among hundreds arrested since 2015 as part of the government's widespread crackdown on people who have opposed Kabila's effort to remain in power beyond his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ended in December 2016. Government has also targeted political opposition leaders and supporters,journalists, and people suspected of having links to the political opposition. Many have been held for weeks or months in secret detention, without charge and without access to families or lawyers. Some allege that they were mistreated or tortured and some are suffering serious health complications. Many were put on trial on trumped-up charges. This has coincided with clashes between the army and rebel groups demanding Kabila's resignation. Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said government should release the activists immediately. "The government must ensure that all Congolese have the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their political views." Former army general Kabila assumed office after the assassination of his father, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, in 2001. He was elected as President in 2006 and re-elected in 2011. He is barred from contesting in the next poll likely to be held in 2018.

Source: cajnews

Angola’s peaceful transition elates President Edgar

President Edgar Lungu is happy that Angola has gone through a peaceful transition because the country is a critical partner to Zambia's development. The President also said the smooth transition of power in Angola is important because Zambia and Angola share the same vision of Africa's economic emancipation of its people.

According ZNBC news monitored last evening, Mr Lungu was hopeful that newly elected Angolan leader, President Joao Lorenco would carry on from where his predecessor Edwardo Do Santos left and build on the successes. Mr Lungu was speaking after witnessing the inauguration of the newly elected Angolan President.

President Edgar Lungu was among more than 50 Heads of State and Government that attended the inauguration ceremony of President Lorenco and Vice-President Benito Soussa. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Augustinho Neto Memorial in Luanda.

Source: Times of Zambia     

US ally Chad baffled by travel ban inclusion

Chad’s appearance on a new US government list of countries subject to travel restrictions has the central African country bewildered. “The Government of Chad expresses lack of understanding of the official reasons for it,” Chad's communications minister and government spokesperson, Madeleine Alingue, said in a statement in French.

The administration of President Donald Trump issued new travel rules on September 24, building on and adding to a March executive order that banned travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. The new rules added three countries: Venezuela, North Korea – and Chad. “The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended,” reads the presidential proclamation announcing the new rules.

Ngartebaye Eugene Le Yotha, a political analyst in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, says the new designation will have political consequences. “The tension is noticeable. What do our representatives do in the U.S. if they can no longer welcome their fellow countrymen there? I think the coming days will reveal, through the position of the Chadian government, how the relations with the U.S. authorities will evolve.”

Chad’s inclusion on the list of restricted countries has been met surprise because it has been for years a key counterterrorism ally of the U.S. The mainly Muslim country is a partner in the Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. U.S.-led counterterrorism exercises have been conducted in Chad, and the U.S. has trained Chadian troops, considered among toughest militaries in central Africa.

Source: Voice of America

North Africa

Violent clashes rage on in Libya's Sabratha

The western Libyan city of Sabratha has witnessed violent clashes for a week between rival armed groups, which have caused dozens of casualties and forced residents to flee their homes. Officials fear the violence might spread to nearby cities and towns, thus further complicating the worsening situation in the country. Mohamed Abdullah, a parliament member, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the clashes erupted because of conflict between the army and militias as increasing domination of militias is making the army felt threatened. The army started attacking strongholds of smugglers, with militias controlling the smuggling of people and fuel.

Anas al-Dabbashi's battalion of the city's military council, an outlawed militia that carries out smuggling activities, controls the entire western coast. They have contacts with militias in neighboring cities, and possibly contact and finance terrorist groups. "The battalion has conducted intensive contacts with the government of national accord to obtain legitimacy to control the coast, in order to continue the smuggling activities." Abdullah added. A month ago, the government of national accord held extensive meetings with the battalion to discuss granting it the command of the coast guards of Sabratha in return for the control rights of the coast to prevent the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean toward Europe, local media reported.

Meanwhile, Taher al-Gharabli, head of Sabratha's military council, said the two sides' refusal to reach a cease-fire has further complicated the situation in the city. "We regard ourselves as a neutral party that wants to reconcile the two sides," al-Gharabli told Xinhua. "We are not willing to bring the war back. We believe that the differences between the people of Sabratha must be resolved through dialogue," he added.

Abu-Elkasem Krer, a member of the dialogue and reconciliation committee of Sabratha, told Xinhua that reconciliation delegations from all cities of western Libya have come and gathered in Sabratha to urge the parties to cease fire. Krer revealed an initiative for all parties of the conflict for a three-day cease-fire starting on September 22, which posed an opportunity to discuss all ideas for resolving the conflict "in a calm atmosphere for each party to hear the other's demands." Krer noted that the anti-IS operation chamber had not opposed the three-day cease-fire proposal.

UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on September 21 called for an immediate cease-fire in Sabratha. "UNSMIL are deeply concerned about clashes in Sabratha and civilian casualties, and calls on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and ensure the protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law," the mission said in a statement.

A military source of the operation chamber told Xinhua that "military reinforcements are coming from the neighboring city of Zawiya, trying to enter Sabratha to join the militias, and stop our progress to expel the militias." The source revealed that clashes are expected to break out in the coming hours between forces of the towns of West Zawiya and Surman, which have declared opposing any forces' entry into Sabratha.

"The forces from Zawiya are trying to assist the besieged armed militias, as they are partners with human and fuel smugglers and are trying to protect the interests of smugglers. They are trying to stop the regular forces (anti-IS operation chamber) from expelling the militias that control Sabratha," the source said.

Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing)

Ecowas Heads of State determine Morocco's fate in December: Onyeama

The fate of Morocco's application to formally join the ECOWAS sub-regional group as a full member would be determined in December by the ECOWAS Heads of State. Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said in an interview that there were currently arguments against and for the admission of the North African country into the West African sub-regional bloc.

The Morocco's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation had in February announced the plan by the country to join the 15-member sub-regional bloc. "The kingdom of Morocco has informed President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current chair of ECOWAS of "its interest to join the regional group as a full member" a statement from the ministry said.

However, Onyeama told NAN in New York that "A definitive decision would be taken at the end of the year. "Clearly, there are some countries that feel that Morocco shouldn't join and one or two others that feel that Morocco may join and different arguments are advanced. "So ultimately the ECOWAS Head of States will take a decision on that. "I think in principle, there's nothing against Morocco joining ECOWAS but it's just whether it would add, whether it would be a win for the ECOWAS region or not. "So the Heads of State will take a final decision later in the year at the next summit meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State in December," Onyeama said.

The country had said its plan to join ECOWAS as a full member was in line with provisions of ECOWAS founding treaty and in full satisfaction of its membership criteria. According to Morocco, the decision was informed by the need "to crown the strong political, human, historical, religious and economic ties at all levels with ECOWAS member countries".

Morocco maintains institutional relations with ECOWAS through an observer status, which has been in place for several years. However, there have been pressures by various groups, particularly, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria, asking Nigeria and ECOWAS to resist any attempt by Morocco to join the sub-regional body. They argued that Morocco is coming to whittle down the power of Nigeria, not only at ECOWAS and African Union but also at the United Nations. (NAN)


Southern Africa

MDC slams 'painstakingly slow, inefficient' voter registration exercise in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's main opposition the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has slammed the "painstakingly slow and thoroughly inefficient" voter registration exercise undertaken by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The biometric voter registration (BVR) system was rolled out throughout Zimbabwe's 63 district centres on September 18 and was set to continue until January 15, 2018 for the polls in which President Robert Mugabe would seek to extend his 37-year-long stranglehold on power.

In a statement, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu called upon the electoral body to "urgently and immediately up its game" in ensuring that the biometric voter registration system was a success.

Gutu said that only one BVR machine was being used in each of the registration centres and as a result, this caused "unnecessary delays in the voter registration exercise". "ZEC has got a constitutional obligation to undertake a credible, efficient and transparent voter registration exercise but so far, the situation on the ground leaves a lot to be desired. We demand more seriousness and focus on the part of ZEC," said Gutu.

This came a week after the opposition party filed court papers alleging that the registration authorities were not ready for the process. The MDC argued at the High Court in Harare that the electoral commission had not procured enough equipment to register voters and that the registration process itself lacked transparency.

Source: news24WIRE

Zimbabwe President hits out at Trump

President Mugabe has said the world is "embarrassed, if not frightened" by what appears to be a return of the biblical Goliath in reference to US President Donald Trump, whose speech at the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly seemed to threaten other nations. In his speech, Mr Trump threatened to obliterate North Korea and attacked Iran in a manner condemned by many delegates.

President Mugabe urged Mr Trump to blow his trumpet in a way that brings unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness and dialogue to the world. He said all countries should respect the provisions of the UN Charter to bring peace and development to the world. He said Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular had defeated imperialism and so "bring us whatever monster by whatever name and it will suffer the same defeat". "Are we having the return of Goliath?" asked the President in reference to Mr Trump.

President Mugabe said each nation should build on its strength and that there should be respect for each nation's independence and sovereignty. He also called on the US government to tackle serious issues to do with climate change saying "let's work together, climate change is real". President Mugabe then expressed his condolences to the people of Puerto Rico and other nations devastated by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. While urging nations that can assist to chip in with a helping hand to those affected, the President said the world at the moment "demands more, not less, solidarity".

The President said Zimbabwe supported Africa's position regarding reforms of the UN Security Council saying the process was moving too slowly. He said this raised suspicion that those benefiting from the current set up could be derailing the discussions. He said the current set up of the UN perpetuates a historical injustice, adding the gap between poor and rich nations continued to widen. He said the world should not expect to reap peace when it is investing in war, which led to greater human misery and the mass movement of people fleeing war and conflict.

"A different, better world is possible," said the President. He said each country should have a right to its resources and to decide its destiny, citing Western Sahara and Palestine as countries that were being denied the right to self determination. He called on the UN Security Council to demonstrate its authority in Western Sahara and Palestine by working with the African Union to solve the problems in the two countries.

The President said Zimbabwe remained committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He said Zimbabwe respects the sovereignty of other nations. Throughout his speech, President Mugabe received wild applause from several delegates who seemed relieved that at last someone was bold enough to take on the bullish Mr Trump. The afternoon session when President Mugabe delivered his address was chaired by Zimbabwe's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Fredrick Shava.

Source: The Herald

Thousands flee Congo warfare to Zambia

Kinshasa — SEVERE fighting between rival ethnic groups and the Democratic Republic of Congo Army (FARDC) has displaced thousands of civilians southeast of the country. More than 5 000 of these have fled the border to Zambia. The inter-communal skirmishes feature the Luba villagers and Twa hunter-gatherers who have a decades-long history of tensions. The latest violence in the city of Pweto, aggravated by the intervention of the army, has left a policeman killed and two others wounded. Government offices at this borer town in the Haut-Katanga Province have been ransacked and looted. An unspecified number of civilians, including two nurses, have been kidnapped. Pweto is home to 28 000 people including civilians displaced by the militancy elsewhere in the Central African country. United Nations agencies said given the scale of the conflict in the Pweto territory, humanitarian workers did not expect some improvement in the situation in the coming days. All three chiefdoms of Pweto are currently flamed by this conflict. "The consequences are likely to be uncontrollable as protection issues have become quite worrying in this area," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated. The organisation lamented the health situation of these Congolese refugees in Zambia. The biggest risk remains the outbreak of a cholera epidemic.

Source: cajnews

East Africa

Kenyatta hints at changes in law to tame judges

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 21 hinted at major constitutional changes targeting the Judiciary, deepening his attack on the courts in wake of a Supreme Court decision that nullified his August 8 victory. The President made the remarks in a late afternoon live TV address - his second in a day - even as the electoral body Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced it had moved the date of the repeat presidential poll from October 17 to 26.

Mr Kenyatta instructed Parliament to make necessary legal changes, signalling the Executive's efforts to trim powers of the Judiciary just one day after the Supreme Court made public the grounds for its September 1 decision to annul the August 8 presidential poll. "The judgment has a potential to throw us into judicial chaos," Mr Kenyatta said. "I urge Parliament to act with speed to protect our country from ambiguities that may arise from that judgment."

The country's Constitution, however, demands that any changes that touch on the independence of the Judiciary must be taken through a referendum besides gaining a two-thirds majority support in Parliament. On September 1, the court annulled by a majority of four judges against two Mr Kenyatta's 1.4 million-vote win over his rival Raila Odinga.

Chief Justice David Maraga, his deputy Philomena Mwilu, Justice Isaac Lenaola and Justice Smokin Wanjala upheld Mr Odinga's petition against Mr Kenyatta's victory with Justices Jacton Ojwang' and Njoki Ndung'u dissenting. The court cited failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to, among other things, adhere to the law and regulation governing the recording and transmission of results.

The decision has opened both the Supreme Court and IEBC - the two crucial institutions in presidential polls - to attacks by government and opposition while casting a dark shadow over the repeat poll. Mr Kenyatta's lawyer, Ahmednasir Abdullahi, criticised the four judges "for lowering the standard of proof required in a presidential petition", insisting they relied on clerical errors as opposed to fundamental mistakes or grave violation of electoral regulations to arrive at the decision.

The planned trimming of the Judiciary's powers comes after a series of attacks on the Supreme Court by the President and his supporters. Shortly before he addressed the nation, Mr Kenyatta renewed his attacks on Supreme Court judges, accusing them of violating the Constitution.

"This (judgment) is nothing short of a coup," he told delegates from northern Kenya. "Kenya managed to escape military coups that has afflicted many African states in the last 50 years, but now we hold a record because ours has been executed by just four people sitting in the Supreme Court," he said, insisting that the judgment had usurped the will of 45 million Kenyans because the petitioner neither disputed the number of votes cast nor contested his vote count.

"We have reversed everything in this country by the decision of a few people. I don't know how history will judge these gentlemen. The citizen has been told he does not have a voice ... If that is not dictatorship, then I don't know what to say," said Mr Kenyatta.

The Supreme Court on September 1 ordered the IEBC to conduct fresh elections in 60 days. On September 21, IEBC dropped its earlier October 17 date and settled for October 26 for the poll re-run. Opposition leader Mr Odinga and his supporters maintain that they will not participate in polls organised by the IEBC as presently constituted. Mr Kenyatta however says the repeat polls must be conducted as planned as cabinet has approved the supplementary budget for the purpose.

Source: The East African

In Kenya, dogs that mauled Gachagua's grandson poisoned

Veterinary officers have killed seven dogs that mauled two year old grandson of late Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua to death. Wilson Ngatia killed earlier this month in Ring Road Estate, Nyeri town. He was playing outside the Gachagua house when the dogs from another homestead gained entry into the compound and attacked him.

Ngatia was the son Mr Jeff Nderitu, the former governor's son. He was living with his grandmother Margaret Karungaru Gachagua. Mrs Gachagua was watching the boy play at around 10am when the exotic breed of dogs gained access into the compound through a hole in the fence.

"It happened very fast. They just pounced on him and started dragging him all over the place," Ms Gachagua told police officers who arrived at the scene minutes after the violent attack. She said she used sticks and stones in an attempt to fight off the beasts to no avail. "The animals occasionally turned on me," she said.

Source: Daily Nation

Museveni in Brussels for key EU-EPA discussions

President Yoweri Museveni is in Belgium on a three-day working visit that will include talks with European Union (EU) about the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Museveni took over chairmanship of the East African Community (EAC) from Tanzania's John Pole Magufuli in May with a promise to harmonize the region's vision on the EU-EAC Economic Partnership. "I failed to find a solution for EAC EU trade deal but I am optimistic President Museveni will do," Magufuli admitted at the 18th Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit in Dar es Salaam in May.

Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi have raised concerns about the possible negative impact of the trade deal between the European Union and East African nations, stalling its implementation. (see proposed agreement and EAC Communique bottom) At the meeting in May, Museveni was asked to travel to Brussels to meet the EU and explain EAC's stand on the partnership.

Museveni said then that any agreement will only be reached with all members of the EAC on board, and not a few countries. He explained there is no way the EAC can move forward until the issue of sanctions on Burundi, among others, is resolved. "Burundi is member of the EAC. How can they sign EPA with EU when they are still under sanctions?" he asked as he emphasized the European Union should negotiate the trade deal with EAC and not a single member state.

In their communique, the leaders said that "Heads of State noted that the remaining members that have not signed the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) are not in a position to do so pending clarification of issues they have identified in the agreement."

Source: The Independent (Kampala)

Over 7 killed in Mogadishu car bombing

Somali security officials say a car bomb blast in the capital has killed at least seven people. A spokesman for the Mogadishu administration, Abdifatah Omar Halane, told VOA that a car exploded on September 28 near a busy bus stop in Hamarweyne District. “What happened was a car bomb hit a mini-bus. At least seven people were killed and six others injured,” Halane told VOA Somali. Multiple witnesses told VOA that the victims were civilians at the bus stop and nearby.

The exact target of the blast remains unclear but witnesses say a government security forces vehicle was passing by when the blast occurred. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab often carries out deadly bombings in Mogadishu, but security officials say recent operations have reduced the number of militant-orchestrated explosions in the city. In a possible change of tactics, the militants have increased their use of targeted assassinations. This month alone, at least five civilians and two government security officials were gunned down in the city.

On September 27, gunmen killed Anab Abdullahi, the secretary general of Somalia’s national women’s organization, and Ahmed Jama, the son of the organization’s chairwoman, in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu. Other victims have included a senior military officer, General Abdullahi Mohamed Sheikh Qururuh, and a senior intelligence officer, Mohamud Moallim Hassan Qoley.

Source: Voice of America

West Africa

UK indicts Nigeria over Radio Biafra

The United Kingdom has blamed Nigeria for the continued operation of pirate Radio Biafra which the Indigenous People of Biafra (POB)uses to preach hate against the country. The radio station domiciled in the UK was established by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Mr. Nnamdi Kanu as Director. Kanu, also a British citizen, operated the radio on behalf of MASSOB and later took over the radio as a megaphone of IPOB. The British government seems not happy with reports credited to Nigerian information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, who insinuated that the UK had not shut the radio station.

A terse statement released on September 21 by Mr. Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission in Nigeria, said the "The UK is not aware of any representation from Nigerian government about Radio Biafra." "Were we to receive any such request, we would, of course, consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities." The minister recently accused some people in France and United Kingdom of having links with the proscribed IPOB.

According to reports, Mohammed was quoted that that "the financial headquarters" of the separatist group "is in France". He said this is a "fact", while faulting the UK for not doing something to stop Biafra radio from airing over there. As the Minister pointed out, the Biafra Radio was probably not taken down by the UK authorities being that the radio is a free channel of communication available to any law-abiding person. Very much like the internet and social media, anyone who has the license to operate a radio can always air whatever they want to.

Source: Vanguard

Liberian woman President looks to make history again

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who made history by becoming the first elected female head of state in Africa, now is intent on making history again: by ensuring that Liberia's election next month succeeds and, for the first time in 73 years, one elected leader hands off power to another.

Johnson Sirleaf spoke to VOA's Peter Clottey on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week. She said she is confident the election will be free and credible. "Our elections commission have already established their credibility in three by-elections that have taken place, which the citizens accepted," she said. "There were no major complaints. International community, including all the observers to those elections, accepted that and said it was credible." She noted that democracy has begun to solidify in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

"If you look … overall, that path toward democracy is strong. There are many that have already had their political maturity tested over two or three periods, like Ghana. So, there's no turning back on democracy in West Africa," the president said. Having stronger democratic foundations makes it easier for the ECOWAS states to cooperate on crucial regional issues, including terrorism, the president said. The region's leaders are moving forward to boost their intelligence-gathering to spot terrorism groups infiltrating the region, she added. In addition, the region needs more training for their military and border forces to better protect porous borders.

Johnson Sirleaf took office at the end of a transitional government in 2006, following decades of civil war and political fighting in the country. She said that she is proud of having helped her country maintain peace since then. "And in the process, on the basis of that peace, restored basic services to the Liberian people" that have been missing for many years, she said, as well as rebuilding institutions that have been largely dysfunctional. The reputation and creditworthiness of the country also has been re-established, she added. "I like to say it's a great legacy," Johnson Sirleaf said. As part of her country's progress, Liberia has rebuilt its relationships with other countries, including the United States. Liberia's long relationship with the U.S. has persisted despite its years of war, she said.

"I have been able to strengthen that relationship," Johnson Sirleaf said. "And it's a relationship that crosses party lines, so we have bipartisan support, bipartisan in Congress and in the administration. I've been very pleased with how we have strengthened, built that, broadened that relationship to go beyond the traditional and the historical, to make it something in current realities."

She said her government has shown U.S. leaders how far the country has come, and has received U.S. support for development areas. Now, Johnson Sirleaf said, American leaders see a country making progress and "it is a return on their investment." That's a source of pride both for Liberians and Americans, she said. With national elections in three weeks, the president said she is confident there will be a peaceful vote. "My message to all Liberian people is to please maintain the peace, this peace that we have all made such great sacrifice for," she said.

Source: Voice of America

Dues force Nigeria out of 90 international organisations

Nigeria is pulling out of 90 international organisations due to inability to pay up mounting membership dues. The decision was approved on September 27 at the weekly cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria is currently a member of 310 international organisations to which it owes over $120 million in unpaid dues. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, announced the decision to cut down on membership by nearly a third to State House reporters after the cabinet meeting. She said Nigeria's inability to fulfil its obligations to such organisations has become a source of embarrassment. She revealed that international organisations had begun to chase Nigeria for the money owed them.

The minister put the nation's annual subscriptions to international organisations at $70 million in addition to a lot of arrears. Adeosun, who did not name the organisations the nation was withdrawing from, emphasised that former Nigerian presidents made commitments that were not cash-backed. She said the nation currently owed far more than the $120 million presented by the inter-ministerial committee on the status of Nigeria's membership of international organisations and associated financial obligations. She said the Federal Executive Council directed that the figures be reconciled and a payment plan be made in order to avoid international embarrassment.

Adeosun said the FEC also ordered that circulars be issued about who is authorised to commit Nigeria "because it was discovered it could be a director or an ambassador who attended the meeting who committed subscription on behalf of Nigeria. Of course, the international organisations then begin to chase us for its money." Adeosun maintained that the country needed to tighten up the procedures of committing it to any form of subscriptions or donations to international organisations.

Source: Daily Trust

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

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