MonitorsPublished on Jul 13, 2016
Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue XIV


EU pledges €100 million to stem Ethiopian migrant flow

Ethiopia, which hosts 750,000 refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia, contributes significant share of migrants to Europe. The European Union (EU), through its EU Trust Fund, has made a commitment of 100 million Euros to curb the flow of migrants fleeing Ethiopia by mitigating pushing factors through the creation of jobs for would-be migrants. In view of the massive inflow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East due to poor economic realities and volatile political situations, the EU is implementing measures to dry out pushing factors. Member countries of the Union are stepping up efforts to bolster border checkpoints to minimise the influx of migrants crossing deep into European territories.

The European Parliament, its Council and Commission agreed on June 22, 2016, to the Commission's proposal for a European Border & Coast Guard to reinforce cooperation in border control. "The agreement on the creation of a coast guard shows that Europe is able to act swiftly and resolutely to deal with common challenges," a Commission press release quoted its President, Jean-Claude Juncker as saying. "As of now, Europe treats the protection of its borders as a common mission of solidarity," Juncker added.

Migration remains a hot topic of debate and discussion and some EU Member States have sealed off their borders by reinforcing their coast guards, while others including Germany opened their doors wide. However, the common stance they have agreed on is the need to nip out-migration at the source, be it from Africa or the Middle East. The EU has channeled funds for source countries, with the belief that more jobs should be created to absorb those who might be tempted to migrate and encourage them to remain at home.

Ethiopia, one of the beneficiaries of the fund, currently hosts some 750,000 refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. The country has also contributed significant numbers of migrants from East Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea — a treacherous journey which has tragically claimed the lives of thousands drowned when substandard boats have capsised. The intended outcome of this use of the Trust Fund to address a complex issue and the need for cooperation has been clearly expressed. "Improving the livelihood of farmers in drought-affected areas, including central and northern Ethiopia, and create more jobs," said Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht, head of EU to Ethiopia.

Individual European countries have also pledged aid to Ethiopia. The European agreement was signed just a month after Italy endorsed $2.3 million to Ethiopia for a similar programme. Italy is one of Europe's top receivers of asylum applications by Ethiopians with 95pc of the 6350 that irregularly migrated to Europe in 2015. Official reports of Italian authorities also indicated that of the 3500 immigrants registered last year up to 60pc were found to be Ethiopians while trying to enter the country claiming they are Eritreans or Somalis.

The initiative funded by the Italian Development Cooperation came about after a collaborative screening to identify beneficiary weredas by UN agencies and the Government of Ethiopia. As such, the initiative targets around 80,000 direct and over half a million indirect beneficiaries across selected were das in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray states. A recent study focusing on the status of returnees of irregular migration to Ethiopia showed that 22pc of the total 160,000 people are from Tigray State.

On June 14, President Juncker and Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, signed a strategic engagement agreement on a range of issues, including regional peace and security, counter-terrorism, social and economic development, climate change and migration. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU under the National Indicative Programme (NIP), plans to provide an initial 745 million Euros to support government-led projects. EU funding makes up around 34pc of the total aid assistance Ethiopia received in the past two years.

In 2015, with nearly 300 companies from EU operating in Ethiopia, the trade volume stood at three billion Euros. The EU market absorbed approximately 33.6pc of the Ethiopian total exports, whereas 19.5pc of imports to Ethiopia came from Europe. The EU-Ethiopian relationship dates back to 1975 at which time an EU Delegation office in Addis during the Dergue's regime.

Source: Addis Fortune

Kagame and Netanyahu unite in call for firm stand against genocide denial

Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the lessons learned from the countries' common tragic history of the Genocide against the Tutsi and Holocaust denial. The two made the remarks on July 6 at a joint news conference at Village Urugwiro in Kigali during the state visit of the Israeli prime minister. "Given our tragic histories, we have been shaped to see and do things in a way that gives priority to our people," Kagame said.

Netanyahu added that one of the main lessons is the importance of nations defending themselves and not counting on external intervention. "No one will defend you if you do not defend yourselves. They may not even defend you if you can defend yourself. In the end, what the two countries have learnt is that during the failure of the international community and the UN to intervene we have to have the capacity to defend ourselves. This is the most important lesson we take from the Genocide and the Holocaust," he said.

Emphasising the importance of fighting denial, both Kagame and Netanyahu observed that trends of Genocide and Holocaust denial continue to exist despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. President Kagame said that countries have put in place measures to confront genocide denial such as educating deniers about the past. "Genocide and Holocaust deniers continue to be there, we cannot wish them away. You have to put in place ways and means to make sure that you do not let it pass, you deal with it upfront," he said.

President Kagame said that among the reasons for denial is not lack of facts about the past but rather intent to be on the wrong side or the deniers involvement in perpetrating the Genocide or Holocaust. "They don't deny because they don't know the facts and history. Some of the deniers are actually perpetrators in the first place," he said. Genocide and Holocaust denial continue to be a major issue with numerous attempts to distort history through written and audio-visual form even by internationally acclaimed media houses.

Over the last few years, perpetrators of the Genocide and their sympathisers have actively campaigned to deny the crimes they committed or the magnitude of the atrocities. This has been through publications, books, movies, documentaries and social media platforms aimed at trivialising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. On his part, Netanyahu said that in the face of Genocide and Holocaust denial, truth has to be told to avoid distortion of history. "Against Holocaust and Genocide denial, we have to tell the truth, it is an ongoing battle. This is not a theoretical exercise; it is an attempt to distort history saying that it did not exist," Netanyahu said. From a personal perspective, the Israeli premier said he had dedicated his life to seeing to it that such tragedies do not have a chance for re-occurrence.

Source: The New Times

PM Modi visits Africa


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home on July 12 after his four-nation Africa tour aimed at enhancing ties with the continent. Modi came back from Kenya, which was the last leg of his visit that also covered Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. “After a vital Africa tour which witnessed key talks, interactions & agreements, PM @narendramodi reaches Delhi,” the PMO tweeted.

On July 11, Modi held talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during which the two sides decided to deepen and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas as they signed seven pacts, including in the field of defence and security and avoidance of double taxation. Earlier the prime minister visited Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique as part of the five-day tour. India has offered USD 92 million Line of Credit to Tanzania for a key water supply project and signed five agreements with it.

In South Africa, Modi held talks with South African President Jacob Zuma on a wide range of issues, particularly in the economic sphere. Showcasing India as an attractive destination for defence production, the Prime Minister also sought deeper collaboration in the sector with South Africa, a major arms exporter, even as he thanked it for supporting India’s bid for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group. In Mozambique, Modi held wide-ranging talks with President Filipe Nyusi. The two countries signed three pacts, including a significant “long-term agreement” under which India will buy pulses from this African nation to meet its recurring shortfall and contain prices of this commodity.

Source: The Indian Express


Katumbi says people power will oust reluctant Kabila

Moise Katumbi, one of the leading opposition figures in the Democratic Republic of Congo has broken his silence and told RFI that he is firmly determined to return to his home country to ensure President Joseph Kabila does not cling on to power. The pledge comes despite his sentencing by a Congolese court to a three year jail sentence for alleged property fraud on June 22, while he was abroad for medical treatment.

This after two police officers reportedly beat him during an opposition demonstration on May 20. The former Katanga Province governor — he lost his post after the redrawing of the provinces' boundaries implemented by Kabila — said he had been authorised to leave the country by the prosecutor general to be treated in another country. Katumbi denied he had gone into exile or that the prison term handed down by a judge will stop him from campaigning to pressure Kabila to step down at the end of his mandate on December 19. Katumbi added that he was hoping to be in Kinshasa by July 31, the day scheduled for a get-together of the opposition, who recently agreed a unity accord, headed by UDPS veteran leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

But more importantly, Katumbi explained that he was convinced that if the national electoral commission does not set a date for the presidential polls by September or Kabila attempts to stay on after December, it would be the peaceful protests of Congolese citizens that would force him out: So tensions are likely to rise in the DRC throughout the rest of the year. Critics of Kabila fear that he is aiming to play for time, so as to have the constitution changed to allow him to run for a third term. Though he declared a few days ago that there would be elections, he did not give any dates.

Source: Radio France Internationale

Venezuelan Ambassador hails strengthening of relations with Angola

The ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Angola, Lourdes Elena Pérez Martinez, highlighted on July 5 in Luanda the relations between the two countries, stating that these ties continue to be strengthened in various domains. According to Lourdes Pérez Martinez, who was addressing the commemoration ceremony of the 205 years of Venezuelan independence, the relations between both countries were spurred with the visit paid by the then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to Angola, in August in 2006.

The diplomat stated that under its foreign policy, Venezuela has since 2005 full diplomatic relations with Africa, where Angola is considered one of the most important partners of this region. "Both countries are working together, through south-south cooperation, reinforce the solidarity and fraternity to achieve the common objectives, such as food security and poverty eradication", she stressed.

Besides the existing cooperation in the oil field, in which both are OPEC country members, the ambassador highlighted the various agreements signed in the economic, agricultural, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural, health, education domains, among others. The ceremony, which counted on the performance of the Obra Bela Symphonic Orchestra, was attended by the Angolan cabinet officials, MPs, diplomats and other invited guests.

Source: Angola Press

Rwanda opposition leader dealt blow as court rejects plea

Rwanda's imprisoned opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was dealt a blow after the court rejected her plea for video conferencing to help her follow court proceedings in a case involving the government of Rwanda. The Arusha based African Court of Human and Peoples Rights' President Augustino Ramadhani Sunday said the court did not have the capacity to facilitate the use of video conferencing, adding that her presence at the court was not necessary.

Lawyers of the embattled Rwandan politician had argued that since she cannot be allowed to travel and attend the hearings in Arusha, the court should avail her with video conferencing facilities. Her lead counsel, Gatera Gashabana told the court that preventing her from participating "would undermine her right to effective remedy." "In the absence of rules guiding the taking of evidence from video conferencing, the court cannot compel the government of Rwanda to provide video conferencing for her to follow proceedings," Mr. Ramadhani said.

The court also rejected Ingabire's request to disregard the amicus curiae (impartial adviser to a court) role by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG). The lawyers had contested the body's neutrality on the basis that it had "no independent status from the government." However, the court ruled that it has discretion to receive evidence from any person, which in its view would assist it in the determination of a case.

The court however called on the government to cease the alleged illegal searching of documents belonging to Ingabire's lawyers when they are visiting her in prison. To this, the court ruled that it recognizes Ingabire's right to legal counsel and asked government to assist Ingabire in accessing counsel.  This was in response to complaints raised by her lawyers, who said that they face intimidation and mandatory searching of their documents whenever they visit her in prison.

"Searching documents of her lawyers while they visit her in prison is in contravention of international human rights and Rwandan laws, which recognize and guarantee the right of lawyers to communicate with detained clients, professional secrecy, and provide for procedures of search of an advocate's office," the court said.

The government did not respond to this claim in court, but the Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye told The East African on July 5, that the claim of searching through her lawyers' document was baseless. "I do not believe that there was evidence to that claim. The rule about access between lawyer and client is a rule in our law, and to the best of my knowledge it has not been broken," he said.

Ms. Ingabire, 47, who heads the unregistered political party FDU-Inkingi, dragged the Rwanda government to the Arusha-based court, accusing it of violating her rights and freedoms under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She is serving 15 years in prison after Rwanda's Supreme Court in 2013 found her guilty of inciting revolt, forming armed groups to destabilise the country.

Rwanda will be expected to appear at future hearings of this particular trial, despite requesting to withdraw from the court's special declaration that allows individuals and NGOs to sue governments. The Arusha court approved the government's request, but maintained that it can only withdraw from the special declaration one year after submission of the request. In the Sunday hearing, Rwanda was represented by senior state attorney Epimaque Rubango Kayihura.

Source: The East African


UN Mission in Libya documents 49 civilian casualties in June

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reported on July 1 that for the month of June, it documented 49 civilian casualties, including 18 deaths and 31 injuries, as a result of hostilities across the country. Victims included four children killed and eight injured, 12 men killed and 20 injured, and two women killed and three injured from 1 June to 30 June 2016.

In its monthly report, UNSMIL noted that the majority of civilian deaths were caused by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (seven deaths and 19 injured), while the next leading cause of death was air strikes (six deaths and seven injured), followed by shelling (three deaths, two injured), gun shots (two deaths) and explosive remnants of war (three injured). UNSMIL documented 10 deaths and 24 injured in Benghazi, six deaths and seven injured in Derna, and two deaths in Tripoli. The Libyan National Army/Libyan Air Force confirmed that they had carried out the airstrikes in Derna and said that they will conduct an investigation. UNSMIL was unable to determine with certainty which other parties caused civilian casualties in June, according to the report.

During the course of the month, medical facilities in Benghazi were targeted four times, on 1, 21, 22 and 24 June. Only the car bomb explosion on 24 June, at the entrance of the Al-Jalla hospital in Benghazi, led to casualties, killing five people and injuring 13, including two children. UNSMIL also received information on the deaths of two men following their abductions. Their bodies showed signs of torture as well as gunshot wounds to the head and other parts of the body. In another case, a man died in custody, several days after detention. His body showed signs of torture and gunshot wounds.

The mission also documented the killing of 12 prisoners on 9 June in Tripoli, after a court ordered their release. The circumstances of the killings are unclear. It was also reported that two men, who had been detained by the Central Security Force and accused of criminality, were publicly executed in Gaser Bengashire, on the outskirts of Tripoli. Reports indicated that there was no legal process prior to the killings, according to UNSMIL. In addition, following clashes in Qarabuli, reportedly between Misratan forces and locals, a storage site exploded, reportedly killing dozens of people, UNSMIL said.

The monthly figures are based on information UNSMIL gathered and cross-checked from a broad range of sources in Libya, including human rights defenders, civil society, current and former officials, employees of local governments, community leaders and members, witnesses, others directly affected and media reports. Earlier this month, Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL, reported to the Security Council about the "tragic" humanitarian situation in the country, underlining that "personal tragedies and collective suffering" are the consequence of the continued lack of State authority in most parts of the North African country. On 13 June, the Security Council decided to extend UNSMIL's mandate in Libya until December 15.

Source: UN News Service

Historians call for stepping up pressure on France to recognise colonial crimes in Algeria

The history researchers Hassan Remaoun and Mohamed Lahcen Zeghidi called "to step up pressure" on France to recognize its "crimes against humanity" committed during its presence in Algeria and to make progress regarding the pending issues files between the two parties. In a statement to APS on the occasion of the celebration of Independence Day, Remaoun and Zeghidi also stressed the importance of the return of Algeria's archives needed for writing the history and the preservation of the collective memory of the Algerian people.

Questioned about the work of the joint committee set up between the two countries on the archive files, the missing and the compensation for nuclear testing victims, the academic and history researcher at the National Centre of Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology (CRASC) of Oran Remaoun said that the committee will "prepare the ground." "For us Algerians, we address the question of how continue to put pressure," he said, citing the "demands" in terms of recognition and compensation for nuclear testing victims carried out by colonial France in southern Algeria.

Describing this episode as "serious prejudice" and "crime against humanity", the expert emphasizes the obligation of "recognition" by the former colonial empire of the atrocities committed in its former colonies, including Algeria. The issue of the nuclear testing "must be addressed" to meet the expectations of the testing victims, he said, while noting the particular "horrors" suffered by the population due to these devastating tests, which the consequences are always felt.

 "Algeria must also do everything possible to recover the skulls on display in a French museum to offer them burial and honor they deserve," he insists, moreover, encouraging measures by civil society, both in Algeria and France. Regarding the archives issues dubbed "of paramount importance," Remaoun said that "we need to know whether Algeria will recover them one day." This is indeed a "battle of sovereignty" that the country must engage, he added, noting that the issue should be viewed as a whole, since all documents relating to the colonial period are important.

Source: Algerie Press Service

Egypt threatens retaliation over Italy's decision to halt aviation supplies

Egypt said on July 6 it was considering taking similar measures against Italy, which halted aviation supplies to Egypt in protest over the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year. The Italian Senate voted on June 29 to halt supplies of spare part for F16 warplanes to Egypt over Egypt's handling of Regeni's case investigation. The 28-year-old Italian researcher, Regeni, went missing in Cairo on January 25, 2016, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Ten days later, his body was found, bearing signs of torture, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo.

The reasons behind Regeni's death are still unknown, and Italy has complained on several occasions about the pace of the investigation into the case, before deciding to halt warplane supplies to Egypt, which marked the first commercial measure taken by the European country against Cairo. Egypt expressed its "unease" at the decision in a statement that was issued last week, before releasing another detailed statement on July 6.

The second statement described the Italian move as "inconsistent with the level of cooperation that has existed between investigative authorities in both countries since the beginning of the incident, and that it contradicts their common goal to combat terrorism for its negative effect on Egypt's capabilities in the field." "We regret the decision and are considering taking similar measures that affect areas of cooperation with Italy," Egypt's foreign ministry statement read. The statement said Egypt would take measures that would "affect bilateral, regional and international cooperation between Italy and Egypt."

No specific measures were mentioned in the statement but Egypt referred to the possibility of "reviewing of ongoing cooperation in combatting illegal immigration in the Mediterranean and dealing with the situation in Libya." Egypt said it provided Italy with results of investigation and cooperated with "full transparency" on Regeni's case, at a time when Italy failed to provide explanation on the reasons behind the death of an Egyptian national and the disappearance of another in Italy.

The body of Mohamed Baher Sobhy was found on April 30 dumped on a railway track in Napoli with bruises on his head and jaw, while Adel Moawad went missing in Italy last year. The reasons behind their fates remain to be unknown. Egypt expressed its "keenness" to maintain its special relation with Italy and hoped that the Italian position would reflect "equal consideration and concern."

Source: Aswat Masriya


No need for state of emergency — President Lungu

Zambia President Edgar Lungu says he will not enforce a state of emergency despite the political violence that is being experienced in the campaigns. The Head of State who is currently in Uganda has reaffirmed his call to the political players to stop violence. Violence has been a major sticky point in the ongoing campaigns with the church having twice sat political parties to urge them to renounce violence but political related deaths have so far been recorded.

President Lungu said he will not yield to the temptation as he believed the problem could be solved without resorting to the drastic step of imposing a state of emergency. The country is gearing up for elections that a little over a month with the competitive spirit of the election pushing political players to some unorthodox methods.

Source: Zambia Reports

Return to work, Zimbabwe government appeals to health workers

Government is appealing to all health workers to go back to work with immediate effect following a shift in their pay dates from July 14 to July 8, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare acting Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.  In an interview with The Herald on July 6, Minister Mandiwanzira applauded all civil servants for holding forte during the difficult times saying they have been true to the national cause. "The payment of salaries for the health sector personnel will now be done this Friday, July 8. We are very grateful to the Ministry of Finance especially acting Finance Minister Walter Chidhakwa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr. John Mangudya for this deliverable," said Minister Mandiwanzira.

He said the shift in payment of the June salaries was as a result of a directive by President Robert Mugabe in Cabinet on July 5 to prioritise payment of salaries for the health sector because they were part of essential services. "I am happy to announce that following a directive by His Excellence the President in Cabinet on July 5 that no stone should be left unturned in the efforts to find money to pay the medical personnel. We have been able to achieve this directive," he said. He said Minister of Health and Child Care Dr. David Parirenyatwa has been the most vocal in pushing for the urgent attention to the plight of the health sector personnel as an essential service.

Minister Mandiwanzira also said payment of salaries for teachers remain as of July 7. "As far as teachers are concerned, we are overwhelmed by their dedication and would like to express our gratitude to all the teachers who have been carrying out their duties in both the rural and urban schools. “I am happy to confirm that they will be receiving their salaries on July 7 as per promise," said Minister Mandiwanzira.

The Health Services Board executive director Ms. Ruth Kaseke also weighed in urging all health personnel to return to work immediately. "We appeal to our workers to be patient and go back to work with immediate effect," said Ms. Kaseke. In separate interviews, the nurses and doctors said normal services were expected to resume over the weekend.

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary general Mr. Enock Dongo said while the latest development was welcome, the fact that their members did not have money to go to work remained. He said only after health workers have accessed their salaries would they be able to return to work. "We were not on strike. "In fact, we did not have money to go to work but the latest development is welcome and we hope that as soon as our members access their salaries, they will be able to resume normal services," said Mr. Dondo.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Dr. Fortune Nyamande echoed Mr. Dongo's sentiments adding that health workers need a schedule of their pay dates. "It is now difficult to plan without a schedule on which dates you get your salaries. We are therefore appealing to Government to furnish us with our pay date schedule up to December," he said. Dr. Nyamande also welcomed the latest development in the shift of pay dates saying since health workers were categorised as essential services, the same classification should also apply with regards to their salaries and benefits.

Some doctors downed tools last week citing bus fare challenges to get them to work while nurses and other professionals in the health sector joined in on July 5. A snap survey by The Herald on July 6 revealed that while critical cases were being attended to at all central hospitals, majority of patients were referred back to council clinics.

Source: The Herald

Net closes in on illegal initiation schools in South Africa

Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela has slammed illegal initiation schools that coerce and kidnap young children. The Deputy Minister visited the Eastern Cape on July 5 and 6 to get a first-hand account of the situation on the ground. Winter and summer are the prime initiation seasons in South Africa. While the age-old tradition is honoured among the cultural groups who practise it, unscrupulous individuals have taken the gap by setting up illegal schools where many young men have been maimed with life-long effects. Each year, scores of boys hoping to transition into manhood lose their lives at these suspect schools, where the owners, who are often unregistered, are looking to make a quick buck.

"These syndicates have no respect for our culture and the life of black South Africans. We are saddened by the senseless increase of young men who lose their precious lives while undergoing this important cultural practice. "We have currently lost 22 precious young lives since the beginning of the winter initiation season and the Eastern Cape remains our main concern," said Deputy Minister Bapela.

The Deputy Minister's visit is part of the winter initiation season monitoring outreach programme. He visited St Barnabas Hospital in Libode and Canzibe Hospital in Engqeleni, where some rescued initiates are being treated. The rescued initiates the Deputy Minister met sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of botched circumcision. Some of them had also been assaulted and dehydrated, while others were not screened before going to initiation school. There was generally a lack of proper aftercare for the initiates.

The Deputy Minister was also informed by the traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape that a syndicate leader, popularly known as Mchayina, was arrested by the police but released due to lack of evidence. The families of initiates refuse to come forward or even work with the police to bring him to book. "We are saddened that young men still continue to die, even with increased efforts by government to sensitise communities about the need to ensure that before they release their children to attend initiation schools, all key processes are followed as outlined by the department," said the Department of Traditional Affairs.

According to the department, about 16 initiates died in the Eastern Cape. Two died in Limpopo, one in the North West, two in Mpumalanga, and one in Gauteng. "The Deputy Minister indicted that Parliament will before the end of the year pass the law to criminalise operations of illegal schools and this will carry a minimum sentence of not more than five years. "This law will send a strong message and ensure that these cruel heartless criminals and syndicates to go to jail for a long time," said the department.

The Deputy Minister also visited a family whose son died because of severe dehydration. "Once again, the Deputy Minister lamented this myth and urged parents to ensure that their children drink lots of water ahead of and during initiation. "The Deputy Minister continues to urge communities to report illegal initiation schools through this hotline number — 0800 111 166 or #InitiationDTA," said the department.



South Sudan government cautions crisis group over reports

South Sudan has cautioned the International Crisis Group (ICG) for what it termed as biased documentation and reporting on the country's implementation of the peace agreement that ended the civil war in August last year. The lobby group released a report recently claiming that the agreement by the warring factions could collapse over disagreements on the contentious issues.

The report says the implementation had already stalled and military confrontation was spreading across the country, citing the recent fighting in Wau town. It further adds that conflicts were on the rise in some parts such Upper Nile and Central Equatoria, and were likely to spread further. The ICG report warned that the collapse of the peace agreement could seriously impact on the stability of East African Community (EAC) and Igad blocs. It called on the main partners to the peace deal to renew their push for its full implementation.

But South Sudan Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth described the report as "bad wish and biased". "Those who write such reports wished South Sudan every failure," Mr. Makuei was quoted by the media in Juba. "They are the warlords who would all the time like to see the whole country in a crisis so that they benefit out of all that," he said.

The main opposition armed group under, Dr. Riek Machar, also issued a statement dismissing the ICG report, saying it was too early to judge the progress of the implementation of the peace agreement. "The process is a bit slow, but it needs time. I don't think that the research that has come out that the peace agreement is going to collapse is true," the deputy spokesman in the office of the First Vice President, Mr. Nyarji Germelili, said.

Source: Daily Nation

JPM reads from Nyerere script to tax his pension

It is now official. President John Magufuli, the Vice President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other top government officials' retirement packages will be taxed. President Magufuli took the decision to tax his send-off package and that of his assistants after legislators bade for blood in the tax row during debates on the budget speech. As they protested the decision to tax their send-off packages, MPs said if the issue was equality then everybody, including the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers should be subjected to the same taxes. It seems they hoped that their insistence would scare the government from going on with its plan to tax the retirement packages. And so the decision by President Magufuli to grant their wishes might have come as a surprise, if not a shock, to many of them.

In deciding to chop his own retirement package, however, President Magufuli has borrowed heavily from President Julius Nyerere's script in 1966 when he reduced his salary by 20 per cent in a bitter confrontation with students from the University of Dar es Salaam. The students, who had marched to the State House to present their complaints to the "highest authorities in the land", were protesting against compulsory National Service that had just been introduced. They objected to the government's decision to pay them 40 per cent of what they would earn in civilian life. They told President Nyerere to, either pay them in full if they accepted national service, or reduce the salaries of senior civil servants to bring equality in treatment. They told President Nyerere that if their demands are not met they " shall not accept National Service in spirit... and the battle between the political elite and the educated elite will perpetually continue," according to a book entitled Nyerere of Tanzania: The first decade 1961-1971 by William Edgett Smith.

President Nyerere, incensed by the students' attitude and their failure to understand the direction he was taking the country -towards socialism and self-reliance — announced that he was slashing his salary and that of senior government officials immediately. "You are right when you talk about salaries. Our salaries are too high. You want me to cut them? I'm willing to slash salaries. Do you want me to start with my salary? Yes, I'll slash mine," President Nyerere told the students.

 It is fair to say the students had expected some form of compromise from President Nyerere but they were shocked by his decision to cut his own salary. Cries of "No, No" could be heard from the students as the President announced he was cutting his own salary first. But President Nyerere continued: "I'll slash the damned salaries in this country. Mine, I slash by 20 percent, as from this hour... this damned country! The salaries are too high! Too high for Tanzania... These are the salaries which build this kind of attitude in the educated people... " Edgett Smith says in his book. He also dismissed the students from the University with immediate effect.

The students' mistake was the failure to understand and, even, appreciate the introduction of the National Service. And this disturbed President Nyerere. It may be the same thing troubling President Magu. As the government seeks strategies to address the shortage of desks in public schools, a factory here is suggests the use of recycled solid waste to fill the gap.

Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told journalists on July 4 that as the region struggles to acquire 58,387 desks, Falcon Packaging Limited is collecting solid waste, including polythene bags to make desks. The factory's project manager Mr. Prakash Rajaram said through the 'Green Wood' project, the company joins the government's effort at combating environmental degradation by recycling polythene papers and plastics to replace timber. He said the technology can applied to end the critical shortage of desks in public schools without destroying the environment through the cutting down of trees. Defending the technology, Mr. Rajaram said products made from recycled solid waste are more durable than those made from timber and are resistant to water and direct sunshine.

The area officer for the National Environmental Management Council, Mr. Boniface Paul said the factory's initiative is commendable and urged leaders in the region to support and join the factory's vital initifuli. He has repeatedly wondered why some government officials fail to understand the need for spending cuts. The other day he said he had heard that a cabinet minister was complaining about the reduction of the OC budget (other charges) which is usually allocated for entertainment, travel etc. He called the minister, President Magufuli narrated, and asked him to tender his resignation if he felt he could not live without the OC budget. The minister did not tender the resignation.

The lesson that President Nyerere learnt, and President Magufuli seems to have also learnt, however, is that if you want to chart a new course of direction you have to show an example. Tax your income first, if you want others to follow suit. Slash your salary first, if you want others to slash theirs.

Source: The Citizen

Uganda General Sejusa aides convicted of treason

Six aides to Gen David Sejusa, the former coordinator of intelligence services, were on July 5 afternoon found guilty of offenses related to plotting to overthrow President Museveni's government. The six who were found guilty by the General Court Martial sitting in Makindye include Corporal Grace Nasasira, Corporal Geoffrey Karuhanga, Private Frank Ninsiima, James Karuhanga Nayebare, Moses Kakarugahi Nuwagaba and Abel Twinamtsiko.

Treason, a charge which they have been found guilty of attracts a maximum penalty of death. The seven-member panel led by chairman of the General Court Martial Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti deferred the sentencing of the convicts until July 18. The court in its verdict relied on evidence showing that the convicts conducted meetings at Sekanyonyi trading centre in Mityana district and asked several soldiers to join their team on the instructions of Gen Sejusa and former presidential candidate General Benon Biraaro.

The evidence showed that the recruited forces were to contrive a plot to overthrow the government on grounds that they had gathered intelligence information that President Yoweri Museveni had intentions of making his son Maj. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba the next president of Uganda. Prosecution further alleged that the convicts, in or around the months of March to May 2014 and while in the areas of Mityana and Kampala, consciously failed to disclose to proper authorities vital information about the recruitment of people to engage into activities intended to overthrow the legitimate government of Uganda.

While convicting the six, Lt. General Gutti faulted them for having withheld such critical information from relevant government authorities. During mitigation sessions, Lt. Ambrose Baguma, on behalf of prosecution; asked court to hand the convicts a maximum penalty of death by hanging given the grave charges that they are facing. On the contrary, the convict's lawyer David Mushabe asked court to hand his clients a lenient sentence on grounds that they have since their arrest three years ago been remorseful.

Source: The Observer

Uhuru Kenyatta's popularity rises to 68 percent in Kenya

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta's popularity has risen to 68 percent, up from 47 percent in November last year, says a new opinion poll conducted by Ipsos. According to the poll, both Jubilee and Cord supporters gave him positive performance rating over the last three months. "The fact that a full one-third of opposition loyalists are prepared to give him such approval suggests a significant weakening of opposition's base," Ipsos says in its analysis.

The President's popularity in Western Kenya is at 52 per cent and 30 per cent in Nyanza. His approval ratings are highest in Central Kenya at 88 per cent followed by Rift Valley at 71 per cent, Eastern 68 per cent and Coast 66 per cent. President Kenyatta's rating is lowest in Nyanza with 62 per cent. Likewise, 46 per cent of the respondents support the Jubilee coalition, as opposed to 32 per cent who support the rival Cord. The poll was conducted between June 4 and June 18 this year with 2,076 respondents participating.

Source: Daily Nation


America threatens Ghana,  vows to cut military aid, MCA and $140 million annual assistance

The Government of United State of America (USA) has charged Ghana to end modern day slavery immediately or face the consequences of her lackadaisical attitude towards the fight against the crime. This may include cutting off military assistance to Ghana and also reduce aid support amounting over $140 million per year. Per its ratings, Ghana is classified as a Tier 2 Watch List country, meaning that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and also failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat forced labour, child labour and sex trafficking of children and adults in the past year.

The White House, mincing no words warned President Mahama that: "Without significant progress in combating trafficking in persons, Ghana risks losing US support for programs in agriculture, education, security, governance, health and economic growth". The US government is funding several programs in Ghana to address trafficking and child labor. In June 2015, President Mahama and then-Ambassador Gene Cretz signed the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership.

The CPC Partnership is a jointly developed, multi-year plan aimed at bolstering current efforts of the government of Ghana and Ghanaian civil society to address child sex trafficking and forced child labour within Ghana. The Partnership awarded $5 million in U.S. foreign assistance to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Free the Slaves, NGO to combat forced child labour and child sex trafficking in the Volta, Central, and Greater Accra regions over the next four years.

In a statement released from the office of US Secretary of State John Kerry amidst the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report by the US government, which was published at the Embassy of United State in Accra, it said: "The 2016 TIP Report includes narratives for 188 countries and territories, including the United States. The goal of the report is to stimulate action and create partnerships around the world in the fight against modern slavery". According to the American government: " for the second year in a row, Ghana is classified as a Tier 2 Watch List country, meaning that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in the past year".

The statement was emphatic that any country ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years must be downgraded to Tier 3 in the third year unless it shows sufficient progress to warrant a Tier 2 or Tier 1 ranking. A Tier 3 ranking indicates a government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and is not making significant efforts to do so. It said: "Ghana could be subject to an automatic downgrade to Tier 3 in the 2017 TIP Report. If Ghana is downgraded to Tier 3 in 2017, it will become subject to restrictions on US assistance, including development aid and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.

The United States currently provides more than $140 million per year in development aid to Ghana ". Commenting on the report, US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson said: "The Trafficking in Persons report recognizes the trafficking problems we all know exist in Ghana — forced labour, child labour and sex trafficking of children and adults. It is important to note, however, that it is not the quantity of trafficking in any given country that is being evaluated. Trafficking exists everywhere, including in the United States. Rather, the ranking assesses the efforts made by government to prevent trafficking, prosecute criminals and protect victims" the statement lamented.

"No one wants Ghana to slip to Tier 3 next year," said Ambassador Jackson. "Not only is such a move catastrophic for the victims of trafficking, but it would also be disastrous to our development efforts in all areas: agriculture, education, security, governance, health and economic growth. He said the government of Ghana must increase its anti-trafficking efforts, for the immediate benefit of Ghanaian trafficking victims and the long-term benefit of all Ghanaians. He continued: "Unfortunately, despite some investigations and awareness campaigns, the government of Ghana did not demonstrably commit to anti-trafficking efforts in 2015. As such, Ghana is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year. Ghana must increase the resources it invests in anti-trafficking enforcement and protection activities and track and report the results of its efforts.

This includes investigating trafficking cases; prosecuting and convicting traffickers; and providing assistance, protection and care for adult and child victims of trafficking. "The TIP Report recognises that the Ghanaian government investigated and prosecuted some trafficking and trafficking-related crimes, including allegedly fraudulent labour recruiters and suspected child traffickers; conducted public awareness activities aimed at informing the public about the risks of human trafficking; and provided funding to support two meetings of the Human Trafficking Management Board.

"However, key factors in Ghana's Tier 2 Watch List ranking include no demonstrable increase in prosecution efforts or assistance to victims; zero trafficking convictions in 2015; a decrease in the number of victims identified in the past year; inadequate funding and training for law enforcement and prosecutors; inadequate funding for victim protection and support services; insufficiently stringent penalties for trafficking; and reports of increased of corruption and bribery in the judicial system, which hindered anti-trafficking measures" the American Ambassador to Ghana told the Flagstaff House.

On the way forward the report provided specific recommendations to further the government of Ghana's anti-trafficking efforts over the next year. These recommendations include: Increase funding, support for police and immigration service efforts to investigate, and police and attorney general prosecutors to prosecute trafficking offenses — especially internal labour and sex trafficking of children and convict and punish trafficking offenders.

It called on the Mahama-led administration to develop and implement systematic methods of collecting and reporting data on investigations, prosecutions, victims identified, and assistance provided. "Develop and implement systematic procedures for law enforcement, social welfare personnel, and labour inspectors to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations — such as women in prostitution, migrant workers, and children working in agriculture, mining, fishing, and pottering and refer them to protective services. "Provide training to prosecutors and judges on the appropriate implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Act" he noted.

The American government told Ghanaian authorities to provide support for government-operated shelters for children and adults and training of staff in victim care and Increase efforts to regulate the activity of licensed and unlicensed recruitment agencies and investigate and prosecute agencies suspected of participating in human trafficking of Ghanaian migrant workers. It stressed: "Amend the anti-trafficking act legislative instrument so that it provides sufficiently stringent penalties for all trafficking offenders". The USA government highlighted that her Department of Labour's Mobilizing Community Action and Promoting Opportunities for Youth in Ghana's Cocoa-Growing Communities (MOCA) project is providing $4.5 million to empower 40 cocoa-growing communities in the Ashanti and Western Regions to design and implement Community Action Plans (CAPs) to address child labour at the community level.

Also USDOL projects include $1.5 million to assess the prevalence of child labour in the cocoa sectors of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana; $3 million to assess the effectiveness of interventions in these sectors; and $5 million to develop and implement strategies to reduce child labour and improve working conditions in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. USAID Ghana's Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, a $24 million project aimed at rebuilding marine fisheries stocks and catches through adoption of responsible fishing practices, also includes deliberate steps towards reducing child labour and trafficking in the Central Region of Ghana.

Source: The Ghanian Chronicle

Kidnappers set free Sierra Leonean diplomat

A Sierra Leonean diplomat kidnapped in Nigeria has been freed, the government announced on July 6 "We are pleased, as a government, to announce to you that our Deputy High Commissioner in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been released," Information Minister Mohamed Bangura broke at an emergency press conference at State House. He said the official was at the Sierra Leonean High Commission in Abuja at the time of the press conference, undergoing debriefing.

Major General (Rtd) Alfred Claude Nelson-Williams was seized by unknown people while on an official visit to the northern state of Kaduna. His kidnappers were reported to have demanded ransom but the government has refused to encourage any discussion on the demands. News of the release comes just hours after the Freetown government announced President Ernest Bai Koroma had dispatched a high profile delegation to Abuja.

The delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Samura Kamara, also included the heads of the Police and the Office of National Security, as well as the Justice Minister. Reports earlier on July 5 had revealed that the Sierra Leonean High Commissioner to Nigeria and members of her staff were questioned by Nigerian police over the kidnapping.

It also followed speculations on the alleged bad blood between the High Commissioner, Ms. Haja Hafsatu Kaba, and her deputy. There have been questions about why the diplomat would travel by land, rather than by air, while on a visit to a restive area like Kaduna. Officials declined to comment beyond the facts that the diplomat had been released. "Until the delegation returns from Nigeria, we are not going to discuss how he was kidnapped" Mr. Bangura said.

Source: Daily Nation

No Nigerian bank in distress — CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured that no bank is in distress in the country. The apex bank in a statement signed by the Acting. Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor on July 6 dismissed rumours that some banks were distressed. ‎"For the avoidance of doubt, the infusion of a new board and management for Skye Bank Plc is a proactive regulatory action meant to ensure that the bank does not continue to fail in its relevant prudential ratios. Neither Skye Bank nor any other bank in the industry is in distress," the statement said.

"The CBN would like to request the general public to ignore speculations or rumours to the contrary as they could only be the handiwork of mischief makers who do not mean well for the Nigerian banking system and its economy. As the regulator of the industry, the CBN hereby reassures the banking and general public that their deposits remain safe in any Nigerian bank. There is, therefore, no need for panic withdrawals from any bank," the statement said.

According to the statement, ‎going by both the CBN's examination reports and analysis from market watchers, international credit rating agencies and development finance institutions, the Nigerian banking industry remains strong in spite of the global economic challenges emanating from the collapse of global commodity prices. It urged members of the banking public to remain calm and go about their normal businesses without panic, adding: "It is important that we do not create problems when none exists."

Source: Daily Trust

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

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