MonitorsPublished on Aug 23, 2016
Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue XVII

< style="color: #0069a6;">THE CONTINENT

< style="color: #163449;">India to build multi-purpose auditorium in Liberia school

Indian Consul General to Liberia Upjit Singh Sachdeva, has promised to construct a multi-purpose auditorium that will help enhance extracurricular activities in the country. The construction of the auditorium will cost at least L$1.5 million, and will be situated at the Aware International School in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. Mr. Sachdeva made the disclosure on August 15, during a ceremony held in commemoration of India's 70th year of independence. The program was organized by the school as part its closing ceremony. He said he was impressed by the level of cultural performances displayed by Liberian and foreign students, including Indian nationals. The students performed a combination of Western ballet, classical and traditional Indian and Liberian dances. "You have performed beyond expectation and to encourage you to do more, I am making an initial contribution of L$500,000 for the construction of the multi-purpose auditorium," Mr. Sachdeva announced to enthusiastic applause from the students. "This is not just for school activities, but for you to use the facility to produce movies and other extra-academic activities," he said. In his remarks, Patrick Honnah, Deputy Director of the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation, commended Mr. Sachdeva and the Indian community for their contribution to Liberia's education sector. Mr. Honnah said it was now time for every Liberian and foreign national to come together to help rebuild the education system. "This is a challenge that we just can't sit there and criticize. We need to make our individual contribution to improve the system for the future generation,' he added. Aware is an Indian run school that is providing education to children of multi-ethnic including Liberian backgrounds in the country. Source: Daily Observer

< style="color: #163449;">Mali seeks Namibian President’s support in conflict

Namibian President Hage Geingob has been asked to canvass support within the international community for Mali's security efforts in a bid to bring an end to terrorism, which is tearing the West African country to shreds, including deaths of civilians. The message came from the Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and was delivered to Geingob by visiting Malian Prime Minister Modibo Keita. Geingob has a wealth of experience in international diplomacy and it is the argument that Mali is looking for an experienced statesman to present its case to the international community. Earlier this week, the country's leadership had praised the Namibian president for his efforts in promoting peace in Africa and consolidating the continent. Keita was in the country for a four-day working visit and attended the inauguration of a joint permanent cooperation commission between the two countries. "He (President Keïta) recalls your international support to Mali and particularly to the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations (UN) mission in Mali," Keita informed Geingob on August 16 at State House. "He also said that he is counting on your support to be able to provide peace and stability in Mali. The situation remains challenging, mainly because of terrorism." "This is also because we are in the Sahara desert and because of the situation created in neighbouring countries such as Libya and Iraq — all these have repercussions on the security situation in Mali," he added. According to the visiting PM, President Keïta will continue to bank on Geingob's support and voice in bringing peace to his country. He also stressed that in addition to the UN peacekeeping mission, the Mali police and security forces also need support. "He is convinced that you will be a strong voice and an advocate for Mali in the international arena to continue — and plead for the necessity to provide support to Mali. able to ensure its own security," he stressed. Keita described Namibia as a country that has been tested in fighting, is known to count on its own support, as well as a country that is sensitive to the suffering of others. "We Malians remember with a lot of emotions the times when Namibia played an important role within the . Her voice was listened to and respected. Having the voice of Mali taken at such a level and carried by Namibia is important to us." In his response Geingob emphasised the UN's role in maintaining international peace. "So we shouldn't just leave Africa's problems to Africans when the UN is there to maintain international peace and security. We are members of the UN too and have been paying our dues. Since we have voices there, they asked whether we could help there." Geingob added: "The other level is that our struggle was not just fought with guns but also by word of mouth. To go and tell people what is wrong and what is right and therefore go get solidarity. We should do everything we can to support, whether it is within SADC, the African Union or the UN." He continued: "We speak the same language that Mali needs peace. Forces that are coming from outside must be stopped so that Malian people can enjoy peace and develop the country. It is now time and Africa is on the march. We want to have our narrative that we can use to develop and build our countries." According to international media, since 2012 rebels have taken up arms against the central government in Mali and declared an independent northern state. The government has struggled with terrorist attacks, while skirmishes in the north have occurred between rebel factions and pro-government militias. The Washington Post reported that rebuilding the population's confidence in the government has been a challenge and that after the rebellion a military coup deposed Mali's democratically elected president, Amadou Toumani Touré. It is said that this created a security vacuum, and Islamist groups took advantage of the chaos to sideline the rebel separatists in the north and establish their own form of theocratic governance, a form of rule that was very unpopular with most Malians. Source: New Era

< style="color: #163449;">Tanzania to host Africa women forum

The Graça Machel Trust has announced plans to launch a pan-African initiative that would increase the power of women to transform the continent economically and socially. The Trust will convene the first-ever Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum in 2017 to highlight the critical role that women play in shaping Africa's development. The WAA Forum will take place next year in Dar es Salaam, and will be attended by at least 250 of Africa's most influential women leaders, the continent's rising stars and committed global champions. Last week, the Trust held a roundtable meeting of African women leaders from various sectors in South Africa, to try to identify priorities and help shape the agenda for the 2017 forum. Mrs. Machel hosted the meeting and shared her vision for Women Advancing Africa and invited participants to share their stories and develop targeted goals for the initiative moving forward. "Africa's continued journey towards full economic and social prosperity will only be achieved when women take the lead in setting the continent's development agenda and have equal opportunities to participate at all levels in society," said Mrs Machel. "Now is the time to shape a collective agenda for the economic advancement of African women," she added. At the last week's meeting, more than 40 African women leaders worked together to identify priorities and outline key focus areas for the 2017 Forum. Under the overarching theme of driving social and economic transformation, WAA will focus on three core pillars in 2017: promoting financial inclusion, increasing market access and driving social change. The Trust has selected APCO Worldwide, the largest women-owned communications firm in the world, to be the convening partner for the Women Advancing Africa initiative. Working closely with the Graça Machel Trust, APCO will leverage its global network and communications expertise to bring the initiative to life at the inaugural meeting. Initial support for the WAA initiative has also been provided by founding sponsor, The Intel Foundation. Through the "She Will Connect Program," Intel will also establish a dedicated online platform to connect a pan-African community of women leaders. Additional support has been provided by UPS Foundation and the UN Foundation. Source: The Citizen

< style="color: #163449;">COP22 to meet civil society in African nations

The Conference of Parties (COP22) Civil Society Pole is expected to visit Rwanda and other 11 African countries with the goal of strengthening the mobilisation of non-state actors on the continent and encouraging their participation in the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, ahead of the meeting to be held in Marrakech, Morocco from November 7 to 18. The focus of this year's conference is implementation of the Paris Agreement by strengthening mobilisation of all actors. The mission will include a series of meetings in each country with NGOs, coalitions and networks active in the climate change and sustainable development space. The first phase of this mission, prepared in collaboration with and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, will also include South Africa, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Swaziland and Tanzania. "The participation of African civil society at COP22 is essential for several reasons: Firstly, because international civil society played a key role among researchers and experts in the process that ultimately led to the Paris Agreement," a statement quotes Driss El Yazami, the COP22 Head of Civil Society Activities as saying. "Also, COP22 in Marrakech seeks to address the issues of the "South", notably the African continent and Small Island Developing States. Finally, the resistance to climate change requires that we act on the international, regional and local levels." One of the main focuses of the COP22 Civil Society Pole is to increase awareness and action among non-state actors in Morocco on environmental issues and also to establish strong partnerships with international civil society. Their work is built on a long-term plan to structurally support the development of an engaged and committed civil society sector to address environmental issues and in particular the fight against climate change well beyond COP22. Meanwhile, COP22 steering committee for African media will also hold a press trip September 2-11 to raise awareness among the African media community about COP22 issues through their participation in a session of COP Academy: a series of meetings with select members of the COP22 steering committee, the inter-ministerial commission and climate change experts. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">Dispute over Miss Africa contest

A dispute has erupted about the rights of who should host the Miss Africa Beauty Pageant, between Johannesburg based businessman, Neo Mashishi, and Botswana and Egyptian business people, with the former claiming that he is the one who initially came up with the idea. "They are trying to discredit and destroy my four years of hard work, they are propagating and fabricating lies, to the extent that they are spreading unfounded lies about me on social media he spread on social media about me and my pageant," says Mashishi. The Miss Africa Pageant is meant to pit women from the African continent who would have won their countries' national titles, against each other on the catwalk. Mashishi says he has about 10 Miss Africa Continent Trademark certificates, which show that not only is the concept his brainchild but that he is licensed to hold the annual event. Mashishi says he has launched the event in countries like Swaziland, Tanzania, and attended by ministries for their Arts and Culture Ministries. "Last year with the support of the Gaborone mayor, we went to Lesotho to launch this project in Maseru where we were received by the Lesotho Royal House. We did the same in with Zimbabwe where the deputy minister of Arts in Zimbabwe graced the Miss Africa Zimbabwe launch in Bulawayo," explains Mashishi. Gauteng Guardian has copies of the trademark certificates, in Mashish's name from countries like Cameroon, Zambia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Zambia and other African countries, in its possession. In addition to this, Mashishi hosted the Miss Africa Continent in April 2016 in Johannesburg, which was won by Ghana's Rebecca Asamoah. "It is clear that the two copied Miss Africa Continent, it should be revealed that they are fakes or copy cats. They just want to cause confusion," adds Mashishi, who says Pageant organisers from several African countries are asking him what is going on and thus discrediting the Pageant and the concept of promoting women from the African continent. Also purporting to be hosting the same pageant is one Mostafa Yehia from Egypt. Botswana based businessperson, Bruce Nkgakile, who is also claiming to have rights to host the pageant were unsuccessful, says in a Facebook message that it is in fact Mashishi who is trying to steal his concept. "We wish to state that Miss Africa is duly registered with and a product of Botswana and has a footprint in 44 African countries as licensed by us with recognised and registered organisations that host national pageants in those respective countries," he claims. However, Mashishi scoffs at these allegations saying that he has sought legal advice over the issue and when Nkgakile was asked to present his credentials he has failed. "I am challenging him to make those documents public, than just writing on Facebook," says Mashishi. "We want to unite Africa but with people like these guys, who are confusing people and creating division, the continent will never be one," says Mashishi. "I also sent my lawyers letters, sent to Bruce Nkgakile in 2015 requesting his credentials which he failed to produce to date. Media publications in Botswana and Swaziland also asked for the documents, but he failed to produce them. I sent Miss Africa confidential documents in Egypt. He pretended to work with me, then turned around and organized Miss Africa Egypt. He literally stole my intellectual property under false pretence.” Source: cajnews Africa

< style="color: #0069a6;">CENTRAL AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">Burundian traders decry ban on food export to Rwanda

Traders and growers of fruit and vegetable crops in Cibitoke province, 70 km northwest of the Burundian capital Bujumbura, are complaining about the ban on export of food items to Rwanda. In Cibitoke, the measure taken by the Burundian government last week, affects sellers and growers of several fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, onions and eggplants. "I grow and sell tomatoes, onions and other vegetables in Rwanda. My tomatoes are getting rotten in fields because we are not allowed to sell any food items in Rwanda," said Generose Nisabwe. "The government (of Burundi) should suspend this measure because most of people living near the border with Rwanda sell their food products in Rwanda," added Nisabwe. A grower of eggplants indicated that prices have fallen badly. "A bag of eggplants that was purchased at 12,000 Burundi francs (USD 7.13) is now purchased only at 2000. As the new school year is starting next month, we will not be able to send our children to school because we will not be able to buy school uniforms, school materials and school fees," said Raphael Berahino. They indicated that they had sought loans to grow fruits and vegetables, and complained that they will not be able to reimburse loans. On August 4, the Burundian government decided to restrict traffic on the border between Burundi and Rwanda. Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said the ban on exporting food items was "just an implementation" of a measure taken by the Burundian government to protect the national food production." The measure also restricts the traffic of travellers between the two countries. Witnesses told Xinhua that passenger buses are not allowed to cross the common border between Burundi and Rwanda. Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have deteriorated after Burundi accused Rwanda of hosting and supporting perpetrators of the May 13, 2015 coup plot against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Rwanda denies the allegations. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">Opposition chooses Ping as candidate for August election in Gabon

Gabon's main opposition parties chose former foreign minister Jean Ping as their candidate in an August 27 election against President Ali Bongo, who is standing for a second term. Ping, aged 74, is considered one of Africa's foremost diplomats. He has served as chairman of the African Union commission and as president of the UN General Assembly. "I understand the gravity of the task I have been given," Ping told thousands of cheering supporters in Libreville. "I won't disappoint you." Ping has an unusual history for an African politician. His father was a Chinese businessman who came to Gabon in the 1930s, married the daughter of a traditional chief and grew rich trading goods including timber and seafood. Ping came to wealth and prominence as an ally and protégé of Omar Bongo, the father of Ali Bongo. But he fell out with the son and resigned from the ruling party in 2014 to become a vehement government critic. He faces an uphill task in a contest with Bongo, who came to power and won an election in 2009 when his father died in office after 42 years in power. Bongo retains institutional advantages accrued over the decades his family has held power as well as a close connection to France, the country's former colonial power, which plays a significant role in the country's economic life. The opposition says the one-round electoral system also favours the president, who is known locally as "Bongo fils," or Bongo junior. The government denies this. With the state machinery and entrenched patronage networks behind him, Bongo and his Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) are likely to win the election, even though a slump in global oil prices has hurt the economy and slashed revenue in Gabon, one of Africa's leading oil-producing nations. With a GDP per capita around $10,000 a year, Gabon is substantially richer than most sub-Saharan African countries, but frustration over wealth inequality and political rivalries could spill over into unrest in this election. Opponents have sought to discredit Bongo, in some quarters by casting doubt on whether he is really Gabonese or an adopted child from eastern Nigeria, a charge he has vehemently denied. Addressing a rally on August 13 for the opening of Gabon's electoral campaign, Bongo responded to the allegation, saying: "the burden of proof rests on the one who makes the accusation." "The truth of the matter is they are afraid ... because they don't have a good program," he said. Source: Voice of America

< style="color: #163449;">New WASAC project seeks to reduce water revenue losses in Rwanda

Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has launched a project to reduce 'non-revenue water' losses in Kigali's supply. Non-revenue water is the difference between water supplied and water billed. WASAC currently loses 35 per cent of revenues. The three-year project is expected to significantly contribute to the utility's target of reducing revenue loss to 25 per cent in the next five years, WASAC chief executive James Sano said. The 25 percent target is considered Africa's non-revenue water benchmark. Most developed countries incur between 15 percent and 20 percent of non-revenue water loses. Japan has one of the lowest rates of between 5 percent and 10 percent. Kigali constitutes 60 percent of the water supply and revenues collected. However, it also registers the highest rate of non-revenue water in the country mainly due to worn-out network. "The water network we have in Kigali, for instance, was built to serve 350 people many years ago. But we now have more than 1.2 million. This means that although we supply water to all these people, we don't bill all of it due to old network," Sano said. "Non-revenue water can only decrease but we can't stop it completely." He said the new strategy will improve the utility's capacity to identify the best way to collect water revenues and reduce revenue losses. Rwanda has come a long way regarding containing non-revenue water losses, from 42 percent to the current 35 percent. However, Sano said WASAC, together with Ministry of Infrastructure, had come up with several initiatives to strengthen non-revenue water control strategies, in Kigali and upcountry water networks. One of the initiatives includes the recently adopted Performance Improvement Programme. "No country in Africa has achieved the 25 percent target of non-revenue water but we want to push ourselves toward that," said an optimistic Sano, adding that the new project is timely and will improve the entire country's water supply efficiency in the long run. "Water supply management is a big challenge not only for Rwanda but throughout the world. We are happy that we are partnering with experienced water experts from Yokohama Water Utility and the Japanese government, through JICA, to reduce losses and improve the efficiency of water management," he said. Although both parties have not disclosed the amount of money invested in the project, it is understood that JICA will finance all the logistics in addition to hiring Japanese water engineers to work with local counterparts in implementing water control strategy for three years. Aya Kagota, JICA programme manager, said the project serves as an "additional layer" for JICA to continue its development partnership with the country, specifically contributing toward improving water and sanitation. "JICA has been an active development partner, especially in water projects in rural water supply, particularly in Eastern Province. We hope to see very strong results with support from a very experienced team from Yokohama Water Utility," said Kagota. Shigeo Otani, the project director, said as much as the time-frame might be "too ambitious" to yield results, they are "committed to do all they can to achieve the targets." Japan is the second country to partner with WASAC in strengthening non-revenue water control following the Netherlands. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #0069a6;">NORTH AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">Domestic workers finally have rights in Morocco

"L'kheddama" ("The maid"). That is how many Moroccan families refer to the domestic worker in their employ, whom they call by her first name. As for her last name, maybe the housewife remembers it, from the day she hired her and made a photocopy of her ID (you never know, in case she steals something ...) Or maybe she doesn't. Why would she remember the maid's surname, after all? Nobody ever uses it. The abuse against domestic workers in Morocco starts with profound discrimination: almost invisible to society. Until recently, they also didn't exist in the eyes of the law. Excluded from the Moroccan Labour Code, these women, who are most often from the countryside and have little or no education, had no legal rights in terms of minimum wages, working hours, or even days off. Their employers could overwork or underpay them, and suffer no legal consequences. But things will change now. On July 26, the Moroccan parliament passed a law that regulates domestic work in Morocco. The new law, which will enter into force one year after its publication, requires proper labour contracts for domestic workers, limits their daily working hours, guarantees days off and paid vacations, and sets a minimum wage. The law also provides financial penalties for employers who violate these provisions, and even prison sentences for repeat offenders. As part of its research on child domestic workers — under age 18 — in Morocco in 2005 and 2012, Human Rights Watch gathered damning evidence. Some "petites bonnes" ("little maids"), as they are called in Morocco, stated that their employers frequently beat and insulted them, prevented them from going to school, and sometimes refused them adequate food. Some worked for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for no more than $11 per month. The new law sets 18 as the minimum age for domestic workers, with a phase-in period of five years during which 16 and 17-year old girls will be allowed to work. This last provision was strongly criticised by Insaf, a collective of Moroccan nongovernmental organizations that opposes child labour. That is not the only debatable provision of the new law. Adult domestic workers must work 48 hours per week, while the Moroccan labour code provides for a maximum of 44 hours for other sectors. Another source of inequality is the minimum wage. The wage guaranteed for domestic workers is only 60 percent of the minimum guaranteed by the labour code. Some say that since many domestic workers live with their employers, the food and shelter they get is for a partial in-kind payment. But that is not enough to justify a 40 percent difference. The International Labour Organization (ILO) allows for in-kind payments, but specifies that such payments should be limited, to allow for a salary that guarantees a decent standard of living for the workers and their families. It is also worth noting that living at their workplace is rarely a choice for domestic workers, as such an arrangement mainly serves the employers' interests. Despite the limitations of the new law, however, it will provide legal protection for the first time to some of the country's most vulnerable workers. This is a real success, for which we should congratulate the government and also — perhaps especially — Moroccan nongovernmental organisations that campaigned for this ground-breaking reform for many years. Now that the law exists, the next challenge will be making sure it is carried out. For that purpose, the next government (elections are scheduled this fall) will have to establish enforcement mechanisms, in particular labour inspectors who will visit homes where domestic workers are employed. The government will also have to open a broad public awareness campaign, preferably on national television and in Moroccan Arabic — the language most likely to be understood by everyone concerned — so that employees will know their rights and employers they duties. Enforcing this law will create a social shock wave in Morocco. After decades of quasi-forced servitude, hundreds of thousands of "kheddamat" will finally raise their heads and be recognized for what they are: citizens with rights. Source: Human Rights Watch

< style="color: #163449;">Russian delegation inspect airports in Egypt

A security delegation is due to arrive in Egypt on August 29 to begin evaluating security levels in the Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh airports, Ismail Aboul Ghar, the head of the Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation said on August 17. The step is to be the first towards reviving Russian tourism back into Egypt since flights from Moscow were suspended last October after a Russian plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. The plane was heading from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia. Aboul Ghar stated that Egypt's airports are now ready for the security inspections and that all the Russian airport security demands have been implemented. Last June, Egyptian officials stated they were waiting for the arrival of a Russian delegation to inspect the security measures adopted in Egypt's airports. Meanwhile, Moscow said it had not received any response from Cairo on its recommendations. Russia believes that a "terrorist act" was behind the plane crash, while Egypt denies the claim, maintaining that there is no evidence yet. Egypt's tourism industry, a vital source of foreign currency, has been hit hard since the crash. According to a report by the state's official statistics agency CAPMAS released earlier this month, Egypt lost over half of its tourists last May. Source: Aswat Masriya

< style="color: #163449;">Algeria, Tunisia discuss conditions of travel and residence of their citizens

Conditions of travel and residence of Algerian and Tunisian citizens, and means to improve them have been discussed on August 16 between the Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Hassan Rabhi and Chargé d'affaires at Tunisia's embassy in Algeria Chokri Latif. Both parties "examined conditions of travel and residence of both countries' nationals and means to further improve them to reach the level of privileged relations binding the two countries and the two peoples," the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced in a communiqué. They also broached "reception conditions of Algerian citizens travelling to Tunisia during the summer season, and stressed the need to pursue efforts and lift barriers hindering travel of individuals between Algerian and Tunisia, which remains a privileged destination for Algerians." Source: Algerie Presse Service

< style="color: #0069a6;">SOUTHERN AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">No bailout for Zimbabwe until Mugabe disappears, says British MP

The British government must reaffirm that there will be "no money, no bailout" for Harare until President Robert Mugabe "disappears from power and influence forever", the chairperson of the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, has said. Kate Hoey, who is also MP for Vauxhall, said Mugabe should not be helped to further entrench his 36-year reign which has "set new standards in vanity, mismanagement, corruption, outright theft, oppression, and organised violence against opponents". "Over three million Zimbabweans have fled," the MP wrote in an article this week (read the full article in our opinion section here). "The rich country's economic ruin was symbolised by the issue of banknotes with a paper value of 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars (14 zeroes). They are worthless but make entertaining birthday presents for children." Mugabe, now 92, blames the UK for corralling western countries into imposing sanctions against Harare which he says have devastated Zimbabwe's economy over the past decade. The veteran leader has struggled to right the tanking economy since his re-election in 2013 and now faces increasing pressure as fed-up Zimbabweans stage protests while sections of his own Zanu PF party also appear to be pressing for his ouster. Ignoring the brutality the Harare government has used to crush citizen protests, British authorities are thought to be helping Mugabe secure a much-needed $1.8 billion rescue package. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently travelled to London for meetings with UK officials as well as a bank said to be arranging the facility. A British newspaper has also revealed that, before Chinamasa's visit, former UK business minister Peter Mendelson travelled to Harare for meetings with Mugabe's treasury chief. Lord Mandelson chairs a UK bank helping arrange the rescue package. However, Hoey said the British foreign secretary, who is famous for his elaborate and colourful manner of expression, must deploy his best aphorisms against the meddlesome Mandelson. "This episode calls for an urgent response from our new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson," said Hoey. "On Zimbabwe he must reaffirm Britain's position in the most robust and colourful language he can command: no money, no bailout until Mugabe disappears from power and influence forever." Hoey also condemned the UK's Harare embassy for helping arrange Mandelson's meetings with government officials and demanded to know who paid for the trip. "I wonder also why the FCO thought there was any value to Britain in Peter Mandelson's mission," she wrote. "He has no previous relationship with Zimbabwe that I can discover. Certainly he has never attended one meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe which I chair and which has many members from the House of Lords. "Representatives of (Zimbabwe's) surviving business community and civic leaders do not need to be persuaded of the case for reform — they are desperate for it. There is no point in preaching to Chinamasa, who is a creature of Mugabe and has no future in a post-Mugabe settlement. "Why does the FCO see Peter Mandelson as a persuasive advocate in any country? He has not won an election for himself since 2001 nor taken part in a winning political campaign for any party or cause since 1997." Hoey has since demanded that Lord Mandelson appear before the UK parliament to explain his dealings with the Harare regime. Source:

< style="color: #163449;">UPND takes election petition to constitutional court in Zambia

The opposition United Party for National Development will this morning take their challenge of the August 11 elections to the Constitutional Court. On August 15, after Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Esau Chulu declared Edgar Lungu as the winner of the elections, UPND legal affairs chairperson Jack Mwiimbu said the party will petition the results in the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court will have 14 days within which to dispose of the matter according to the amended constitution. President Lungu scooped the elections with a 50.3% margin while his closest rival Hakainde Hichilema had 47% of the vote. During the release of results the UPND had raised some issues with the ECZ and demanded a recount but the commission went ahead with announcing results. The petition will be building on another matter that the UPND had taken to court. There could be a delay in the inauguration ceremony that has been set for August 23 given the court action. Inauguration cannot take place until the court action has been exhausted. Source: Zambia Reports

< style="color: #163449;">Japan donates $5 million to Mozambique for drought relief

The Japanese government has donated five million US dollars to help the World Food Programme (WFP) provide food assistance between September and November 2016 to over 300,000 drought-affected people in the four worst affected countries in southern Africa. Mozambique will receive the largest portion of this donation, with WFP using 2.7 million dollars for drought relief. In addition, WFP will spend 1.85 million dollars in Malawi, 250,000 dollars in Lesotho and 200,000 in Swaziland. According to WFP regional director Chris Nikoi, “we deeply appreciate this generous contribution by the Japanese government at a moment when we urgently need to move huge amounts of relief assistance into drought hit areas — especially those which will be cut off when the rainy season starts”. However, Nikoi lamented that the drought emergency operation has only received 20 per cent of the funding required to assist almost 12 million people across the region until next April. According to a statement from WFP, Japan's donation will allow WFP in Mozambique “to address persisting needs and significant funding gaps while supporting community efforts towards recovery, greater resilience and ultimately progress towards Zero Hunger.” It added, “the drought response in Mozambique includes emergency school feeding to 100,000 children and treatment of moderate acute malnutrition to 51,000 children and pregnant and nursing women.” The drought is mainly due to the strongest El Nino weather event to hit southern Africa in 35 years. El Nino is characterised by an abnormal warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean and has a significant effect on weather around the world. The term was first used at the end of the 19th Century to describe a warm current off the coast of Peru at Christmas. In Mozambique, El Nino is linked to the failure of rains during what is usually the wettest period — January to March. It has been blamed for the drastic food shortages in much of southern and central Mozambique in 2002 and for the severe drought which devastated the country in 1992. According to the relief agency CARE, nearly two million people in Mozambique are currently in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. At the end of July, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared a regional disaster and launched an appeal for 2.4 billion dollars to assist the millions of people hit by drought. The appeal was launched in Gaborone by SADC chairperson Ian Khama (who is also President of Botswana), in the presence of representatives of SADC member states, the United Nations, humanitarian organisations, and international aid partners. Khama detailed the size of the problem: “the 2016 regional food security and vulnerability assessments indicate that the number of food insecure people in the region is about 40 million, which is about 14 percent of SADC's total population”. Of this number, an estimated 23 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 2016 was the second year in a row that the region has suffered from drought, and Khama noted that the region was “largely able to cope with the drought in 2014/15 through its own means”. However, he stated that the severity of the drought of 2015/16 had overwhelmed the disaster preparedness capacity in most of the affected countries. The SADC appeal aims to address immediate humanitarian needs as well as long-term developmental and resilience-building requirements. In response to the appeal, the United States pledged 300 million dollars, whilst the United Kingdom and the European Union pledged 72 million pounds and 60 million euros respectively. Six SADC states have declared national drought emergencies — Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In addition, South Africa has declared an emergency in eight of its nine provinces. In April, Mozambique declared a 90-day institutional red alert, the highest state of disaster alert, in the southern and central provinces. Data for the 2015-16 agricultural campaign show a harvest of 2.39 million tonnes of grain — a decline of 4.8 percent on the 2015 harvest of 2.51 million tonnes. The poor harvest was mainly due to the drought, although storms and flooding in the north of the country also contributed to crop losses. Source: AIM

< style="color: #0069a6;">EAST AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">TSC announces recruitment of 7000 teachers in Kenya

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has on August 16 announced the recruitment of more than 7000 teachers as it moves to address an 85,000 tutor shortage in the country. TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia said 1225 teachers will be employed to teach in secondary schools while another 3775 tutors will be recruited to work in primary schools. Further, Ms. Macharia said 2157 teachers will be recruited to replace those who have left TSC through natural attrition with 1618 posts for primary and 539 for secondary and tertiary institutions. "Eligible candidates should meet be Kenyan citizens, aged 45 and below, and must have original professional and academic certificates and be registered with the TSC," said TSC boss in a statement to newsrooms. Ms. Macharia added that tutors who had been engaged on contract as relief teachers should attach a copy of the contract letter. Those applying to teach in primary schools must be holders of P1 Certificate and should apply to the TSC county director where a vacancy has been advertised and submit all relevant academic and professional documents. "Those who had applied earlier and were unsuccessful must apply afresh since a new merit list for 2016/2017 financial year will be generated," said Mrs Macharia. Source: Daily Nation

< style="color: #163449;">Activists condemn minister Lokodo over gay party raid

Activists have condemned junior ethics minister Simon Lokodo for his crusade against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) relationships, in Uganda. Recently, the police, led by Isaac Mugerwa, DPC Kabalagala police station stormed a private party organised by the LGBTI community at club Venom in Kabalagala, Kampala, arresting 16 people. In a subsequent statement, minister Lokodo said the gathering was illegal as police was not aware of the party, which he alleged was aimed at promoting homosexuality. However, Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said police was aware of their "pride week" festivities, which broke no law. "There is no law that forbids us from holding parties," said Mugisha, one of the people arrested. "The law only condemns the sexual act and there was nothing of that sort at any of our parties." According to Asia Russell, the executive director of Health GAP, an HIV advocacy organization, Minister Lokodo's response was shocking. "A cabinet minister who publicly pledges to incite criminal acts, in this case, mob violence, has no place in government," Russell said of Lokodo's threat to incite a mob to attack the LGBTIs if they insisted on having the gay parade. "He is lying about the raid itself. His claim that no one was hurt and that the celebration was illegal are completely false." Narrating his ordeal, Mugisha, who spent about 90 minutes in police custody, said: "I was dragged and shoved under the seats of the patrol car. The policeman who sat right above me kicked me hard on my head and kept his foot on my head until we reached the police station." Mugisha said that one man had leapt out of the window of the fourth-floor and broken two spinal bones. The man, who did not want his identity disclosed, reportedly needs at least Shs 17m for surgery. He promised to continue dialogue with the government on issues concerning LGBTIs. Source: The Observer

< style="color: #163449;">Riek Machar leaves South Sudan for Kinshasa

South Sudan's former vice president and opposition leader Riek Machar has left country after a nearly month-long stay in the bushes in Western Equatoria where he had fled following fierce fighting with government troops. Water and Irrigation Minister, Mabior Garang de Mabior told The EastAfrican that Dr Machar arrived in Kinshasa on August 15 on transit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he will be waiting for countries in the region to intervene in the Juba crisis. The whereabouts of Dr. Machar had been a matter of speculation since he left Juba on July 11 when fighting broke out. All along, close aides of Dr. Machar said that he had been in the bushes around Juba after media reports early last week indicated that he was in Tanzania, while others speculated that he is in Chad. Following his departure from Juba, President Salva Kiir replaced him with Taban Deng Gai as the vice president, a move the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), which has been mediating the crisis, said was "null and void." A peace agreement signed in August 2015 to end the civil war, which broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused Dr. Machar of plotting a coup, has so far been broken severally. On August 16, President Kiir inaugurated parliament with new SPLM-IO members that have been nominated afresh by Mr Gai, leaving out the ones that had earlier been nominated by Dr Machar. President Kiir has also called for early elections before the end of the life of the transitional government contrary to the agreement. According to South Sudan Deputy Ambassador to Kenya, Jimmy Deng, and President Kiir is willing to be challenged and he is giving a chance to those who have been angling for the seat to come forward and contest. Mr. Deng, however, said that President Kiir has invited political parties to further discuss the prospects of early elections and reach a consensus. The elections were supposed to be held in 2015 but aborted because of the civil war. However, Mr. Mabior, a spokesman of Dr. Machar's party, said that holding elections in the current situation is out of question and accused President Kiir of trying to legitimise his position after consistently working to dismantle the peace agreement by sacking his main partner. "We in SPLM-IO still believe that the peace agreement can be salvaged because it talks about how to tackle political, economic and security reforms. However, should Igad fail to get the implementation back on track, we will have no option but to continue fighting," Mr. Mabior said. As security situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate, Igad heads of state are scheduled to meet in Nairobi on August 22 to finalise the deployment of the 4000-strong regional force with the first batch expected to be in Juba by September 19. The UN Security Council on August 12 resolved to send the regional force to Juba and enhanced its mandate to include full combat with the purpose of protecting the civilians and acting as a buffer between the warring forces. Meanwhile, Juba has launched diplomatic campaign to convince the eastern African region to accept the recent changes in the transitional government despite the regional body Igad having declared them null and void. Mr. Gai was in Kenya on August 16 to meet government officials in what Mr. Deng said was part of shuttle diplomacy to convince the region to accept the recent changes in leadership. "Mr. Gai is working well with President Kiir to implement the agreement because the agreement provides for a replacement. Dr. Machar can now come back as an ordinary citizen but only after he denounces violence," Mr. Deng said. However, the new first vice president told a summit of the heads of state in Addis Ababa last week that he would step down once Dr. Machar returns to Juba, otherwise he would continue with the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement. Source: The East African

< style="color: #163449;">Youth in Tanzania told to shun calls asking to rally behind Defiance Day

Regional Commissioner Steven Kebwe has told youth in the region not to participate in Chadema's 'defiance rallies' to be held throughout the country from September 1, this year. Dr. Kebwe exhorted youth to instead, fully devote their time engaging in productive activities, saying the planned demonstrations are intended to instigate civil disorder. The RC said this on August 17 at the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro where religious leaders led the faithful in prayers for peace. He warned that any breach of the peace would be strongly condemned. Dr. Kebwe asked the religious leaders to keep praying for Tanzania, saying, as the fifth phase government strives to turn around the country's economic fortunes, it needs a lot of prayers. He noted that even good development plans announced by political parties can't be realised if there is no peace. Acting Morogoro Regional Police Commander Leonce Rwegasira warned Morogoro residents against taking part in the demonstrations. "The time for campaigns are over, people are supposed to concentrate on development activities; so anyone who participates in such rallies or demonstrations will be dealt with accordingly," he warned. Source: The Citizen

< style="color: #0069a6;">WEST AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">Goodluck Jonathan denies links to N'Delta avengers

Goodluck Jonatha, Nigeria Courtesy: The Commonwealth/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Former President Goodluck Jonathan on August 18 denied reports that linked him to the renewed militancy and bombings of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta. Two national dailies had on August 18 reported that the former president was allegedly involved in the formation and activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). But in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, Jonathan denied the report, saying there were similarities in the two stories published by the national dailies. The statement said: "We are convinced that such clear coincidences are only permissible in situations where general statements are issued, but not on matters of intelligence/security reports which do not fly into newsrooms as press releases. "We are also concerned that the stories did not differ in content and substance from the trite allegations earlier made by the so-called Reformed Niger Delta Avengers over the same lies of linking Jonathan to the militants," the statement said. It expressed shock that a newspaper would publish such a report, which was said to be "a confirmation of a similar claim by the Movement for the Emancipation of NigerDelta (MEND)" even without subjecting such frivolity to any ethical interrogation. It pointed out that no responsible government agency would rush, as claimed in the reports, to adopt the accusations of a questionable rebellious organisation as its own findings without applying the professional processes of rigour and due diligence. Source: This Day

< style="color: #163449;">African Union to launch anti-child marriage campaign in Sierra Leone

The African Union would launch on August 17 the AU Campaign to end child marriage in Sierra Leone at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex in Freetown. The national launch would be organized by the Office of the First Lady, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, UNICEF and other Development Partners with the theme: 'End Child Marriage for Sustainable Development in Sierra Leone.' The campaign would be geared towards accelerating an end to child marriage in Africa by enhancing continental awareness of the negative effects of the practice. The overall objective of the campaign was to fast-track the end of child marriage in Africa. The AU Campaign has been launched in 14 African countries on the continent and Sierra Leone would be the 15th country where the campaign would be launched. It could be recalled that the AU Commission launched the Campaign to end Child Marriage in Ethiopia on May 29, 2014 during the Conference of African Ministers of Social Development. At the 25th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in June, 2015 African leaders endorsed the African Common Position on Ending Child Marriage in Africa. The Republics of Malawi and Zimbabwe and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia have gone a step further in criminalising child marriage. Meanwhile, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Kaloko, has arrived in Freetown on August 16 ahead of the historic launch. Source: Concord Times This Monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.
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