MonitorsPublished on Nov 08, 2016
Vision of a peaceful, united and prosperous Africa set out in Agenda 2063 could be achieved through sound planning and other roundups
Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue XXII | AU sets agenda for 'prosperous' Africa

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

< style="color: #163449;">AU sets agenda for 'prosperous' Africa

The vision of a peaceful, united and prosperous Africa set out in Agenda 2063 could be achieved through sound planning and result-oriented policies and actions. "Agenda 2063 has been adopted by our Heads of State and Governments as the continent's new long-term vision for the next 50 years," said Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Dr Dlamini Zuma's statement was read on her behalf by Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs at the African Union, at the International Human Rights Conference held in Banjul in the ongoing 59th ordinary session of the African Commission. The International Human Rights Conference was attended by justice and foreign ministers from across the African continent and international human rights institutions. "The realisation of our common vision of a united and prosperous Africa anchored on a culture of human rights as envisaged by Agenda 2063 requires our common resolve," she said. The gathering was evidence of their collective dedication and commitment to this goal," Dr Dlamini Zuma added. The 59th ordinary session is a joint-session as the African Year of Human Rights, with particular focus on the Rights of Women, on the theme: "Women Rights Our Collective Responsibility." The AU Chairperson added that the African Human Rights system is structured in such a way that it protects human and the collective rights of people. Whereas civil and political rights remain a challenge in Africa, by far the biggest challenge relates to the promotion and protection of the second generational rights (socio-economic and cultural rights). "This requires us to focus our eyes on how best to advance rights that address underdevelopment, poverty, inequality, marginalisation and exclusion on our continent as we make concerted efforts towards effective implementation of Agenda 2063," she noted. She maintained that they have to redouble their efforts to ensure African people enjoy the right to food, the right to safe water and sanitation, the right to housing, the right to education, the right to health, the right to decent clothing, the right to clean environment, among others. "These are the basic requirements for a decent standard of living, even before they could think of the right to vote, she continued. She asked how on earth could an elderly woman, who is impoverished and living in a remote rural area, feel when compelled to take a long journey to a polling station on an empty stomach and cast her ballot in an election. Socio-economic rights are as important as the political rights, she declared. "In order to promote gender equality as we advance these socio-economic rights, we need to make deliberate efforts to empower African women socio-culturally, politically and economically."  Ms Zuma said the African continent has witnessed decades of numerous human rights challenges resulting from a diverse range of factors, which include, among other things, war, poverty, corruption, autocratic governance and exclusion of women. It was against this background, she noted, that the AU member states of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) solemnly resolved to promote and safeguard freedom, justice, equality and human dignity in Africa by putting in place instruments and mechanisms to enforce these values. Source: The Point (Banjul)

< style="color: #163449;">Liberian President leaves for South Africa

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has left for Durban, South Africa, to attend the 10th General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The IAPB is a global alliance of civil society groups, corporate and professional bodies promoting eye health through advocacy, knowledge and partnerships. The theme of the 10th General Assembly (10-GA) is "Stronger Together." During her absence, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Frederick Cherue will serve as Coordinator of the Cabinet in consultation with the Vice President. Source: LINA

< style="color: #163449;">Tanzania shines in 2017 'Doing Business' report

Tanzania has performed impressively in doing business report, scoring 54.48 points in distance to frontier (DTF) and rising seven places in the global ranking. According to the World Bank's 2017 Ease of Doing Business report, Tanzania, which has moved from the 139th position in 2016 to 132nd in 2017, is among the countries that have performed well in the Sub- Saharan Africa. Reacting to the report, Private Sector Development Programme Coordinator in the Prime Minister's Office Barney Laseko, said the government is keen to reform the business environment in the country, with the views of registering better performance in future. He said the government is determined to make changes on four critical areas - business licensing, land reforms, easy registration of businesses and people's registration -noting that the four areas have been identified as key factors to improve business environment in the country. He said the government has been working closely with the private sector towards improving business environment and speeding up economic development. According to Mr Laseko, the government is more concerned with business environment reforms in support of the ambitious industrial driven economy. Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF)'s Executive Director Godfrey Simbeye, commenting on the report, commended Tanzania as a country, for the impressive performance compared to the previous years. "We can see light in the future, the government is doing everything in its powers to get things moving forward ... it's our hope that Tanzania will record better performance in the 2018 business environment reforms report," he said, asking the government to quickly execute the reforms to appease investors and improve the country's economy. "Commitment is all that is needed in implementing the reforms, some countries register the best performance because their governments are serious in implementing these reforms ... we remain confident that the fifth government will implement these reforms at the required speed," he noted. The report shows that Tanzania is doing well on trading across borders. Assistant Director in the Prime Minister's Office, responsible for improving business environment, Christopher Mramba, said despite the great improvements recorded, the government will sustain improvements in various areas. "We will continue improving all areas that affect investments, the aim is to create good environment for doing business and attract both, domestic and international investors," he said. Dar es Salaam-based World Bank economist Yutaka Yoshino, praised Tanzania for the reforms it has been doing to improve the environment of doing business. He said the government has improved infrastructure, citing reforms on the ports operations. Although Tanzania has shown great commitment towards improving the environment of doing business, Mr Yoshino said the journey is still long and the World Bank appreciates the government efforts and will continue supporting the efforts. According to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa economies, Tanzania's inclusive, have implemented a record number of reforms in the past year to improve the business climate for local entrepreneurs. Ms Rita Ramalho, the Manager of Doing Business Project, said although the region still has work to do to make itself more business friendly, there are steady improvements in many African economies. She said: "Seeing a record number of reforms taking place in Africa is very encouraging for local entrepreneurs and the global business community. " The report says at least 37 countries out of 48 in the region adopted 80 reforms in the past year, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year. The report shows that Mauritius has retained its top position in the region, with an overall doing business global ranking of 49. It performed best in areas of protecting minority investors and dealing with construction permits, with the rank of 32 and 33, respectively. The ranks of some economies in the region are Rwanda (56), Botswana (71) and South Africa (74). This year's report has also covered Somalia for the first time, with 190 the total number of global economies covered. Neighbouring Kenya has been placed among the top 10 improvers, ranked 92. It implemented reforms in five areas of doing business. Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

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

< style="color: #163449;">Rwanda mourns former King Kigeli V

The Government has extended support to the family of Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the last King of Rwanda, with regard to funeral arrangements for the former monarch who passed away in the United States on October 16. "It is with sadness that the Government of Rwanda has learned of the passing of Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the former King of Rwanda," the Government said in a statement released late on October 17. But the Government noted that it had "not yet been informed by the family regarding the final resting place and funeral arrangements". "When they make their preferences known, the Government stands ready to provide any necessary support," the statement added. King Kigeli V was 80. Kigali recalled that the former King was deported to Tanganyika by the Belgian colonial government on October 2, 1961. "He later lived in Uganda, then Kenya, before settling in 1992 in the United States," it said. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">In Rwanda, Govt, UNHCR officials discuss relocation of Burundian refugees

Relocation of Burundian refugees in Rwanda featured among refugees-welfare issues discussed on October 26 at a high level meeting between government officials and prominent envoys from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The meeting in Kigali was attended by among others, Volker Tür, the UNHCR's assistant high commissioner in charge of refugee protection. The Government of Rwanda announced in February that it would begin relocating Burundian refugees to third countries, citing challenges resulting from their proximity to Burundi. "We want to talk with UNHCR officials about how to implement this decision," Rwanda's minister for disaster management and refugee affairs, Seraphine Mukantabana told journalists. Other than the opening session, the discussions were held in a closed-door meeting. "It's something that can be done gradually. It's not about closing camps for Burundian refugees who genuinely need protection," Minister Mukantabana said. Rwanda has been widely lauded for her hospitality accorded to Burundian refugees since they flooded the country's borders last year when political conflicts erupted in Burundi. Tür expressed gratitude for the Rwandan people and government who are taking care of refugees and promised that any crucial issues in that area, including national security, would be discussed at the high level meeting. "We are very grateful for the hosting of Burundian refugees in Rwanda and I think it's important to emphasise that the granting of asylum is a humanitarian and non-political act," Tür said. "We are looking at whatever we can do in order to find solutions for refugees. We still have Congolese refugees in the country, we have Burundian refugees in the country, and we hope very much that we can work with all of you to find a solution. We know that keeping people in exile is not going to be the solution," he said. While Rwanda's decision to relocate Burundian refugees to other countries was announced after a leaked UN report alleged that Rwanda was recruiting Burundian rebels from the refugees, Tür was unequivocal in dismissing the baseless allegations. "It is clear that asylum is a non-political act; it's a humanitarian act. The generosity and hospitality of the people and government of Rwanda is commendable. We have no indications about what you have just mentioned," he said of the allegations. Minister Mukantabana pointed that the meeting in Kigali was an opportunity to once again clear the air. "This meeting is a good opportunity to clear rumours about Burundian refugees joining the army or attacking their country. Those who make these allegations want to suggest that Burundian refugees don't deserve protection and we are against it. People need to know that refugees are refugees and they can't be something else," she said. Of more than 163,000 refugees in Rwanda, about 85,000 are from Burundi, officials at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs said. Among other issues that were discussed at the high level meeting include how to improve the provision of essential services to refugees such as health, education, security, as well as their documentation and registration. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">Tripartite meeting joins Angola, the DRC and Congo

Issues related to defence, peace and security in the DRC topped the Tripartite Meeting that joined on October 26 in Luanda the Presidents of Angola, DRC and Congo. José Eduardo dos Santos, Joseph Kabila and Denis Sassou Nguesso spoke at the Talatona Convention Hotel, after the three statesmen have participated in the 7th high-level meeting of regional supervision mechanism for the framework agreement for peace, security and cooperation in DRC and region. It was not disclosed further information to the press regarding the meeting. José Eduardo dos Santos also met with the Burundian Vice-president, Gaston Sindimwo, who spoke of the political situation prevailing in the Republic of Burundi. Source: Angola Press

< style="color: #163449;">The DRC conflict is a threat to regional security, Ruto tells summit

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto has waded into the continual conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo by calling for the international community to "deal with negative forces" behind the war. At the start of a UN-led conference on peace efforts in the region held in Luanda, Angola, Mr Ruto warned that there is a possibility these groups could grow links with terror networks and become a bigger security problem to the region. "There is therefore an urgent need to decisively deal with such units to achieve and protect peace and stability in the region," he told the summit in Luanda. Mr Ruto, who is representing President Uhuru Kenyatta, is among leaders attending the United Nations Great Lakes Peace Security and Cooperation Summit, the 7th in a series of such conferences but the first ever to take place away from the African Union head quatres in Addis Ababa or the UN General Assembly. The conference is meant to discuss ways of bringing lasting peace to the Great Lakes region, an area in sub-Saharan Africa that mainly cover about 12 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa, most affected by conflict. This meeting, officially known as High-Level Regional Oversight Mechanism for Peace, Security and Cooperation, targets the perennial conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Central Africa Republic and South Sudan.In the DRC, some of the groups fighting include the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), remnants of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The UN had called for this meeting to review progress made after previous commitments to support peace programmes in the DRC, Burundi, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic.President Joseph Kabila of DRC, Idriss Déby of Chad, Edgar Lungu of Zambia and host leader Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola were some of the heads of State present. Other leaders included Chair of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, executive secretary of the southern African development community (SADC) Stergomena Lawrence Tax and the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Zachary Muburi-Muita. But as leaders pored over the challenge, Mr Ruto related the violence merchants to terrorists currently rocking the region and beyond, and called for similar cooperation in dealing with them. "In the age of ever-rising terrorism, the region should guard against such groups by global terror networks to perpetuate their hate agenda," he said."There is need to deal with negative forces in the DRC if sustainable peace in the Great Lakes is to be achieved. We can draw lessons and best practices from each other as we strive to strengthen our democratic institutions and governance systems," he argued.In Luanda, the focus though, was on the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the international community has been trying to stop civil war in the eastern part of the country. The country recently postponed its General Election initially scheduled for November, creating controversy as some argued President Kabila's term would have expired.The UN took the mantle in early 2013 in Addis Ababa, when it brokered an accord meant to bring peace to the DRC. Known as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, the deal was signed by Burundi, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, South Africa, Rwanda, South Sudan Uganda and Tanzania. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon argued at the time that the deal signaled a comprehensive approach to civil wars that have persisted for more than five decades. He appointed a special envoy for the region in 2014.Initially excluded from such meetings, Kenya formally requested to play a role in 2013 when Nairobi hosted an extra-ordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). At the time, President Kenyatta argued stable countries in the region must be involved in peace efforts because they bear the brunt of conflicts by harbouring refugees and losing out on trade links. For example, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 27, 485 refugees from DRC living in Kenya. Most of them (17, 651)) live in Nairobi, 9549 are hosted in Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County and another 150 are in Dadaab. The ICGLR meeting then agreed to formally ask the UN to grant Kenya and Sudan a seat. The UN process is meant to bring 12 countries which form part of the Great Lakes region to a discussion on how instability, armed conflict, humanitarian crisis, natural resources and other related issued can be handled.Some of the issues the meeting is supposed to address include the continual internal mistrusts between countries who form the ICGLR. For example, DRC has previously accused Rwanda and Uganda of fueling the conflict in eastern Congo. But Kampala and Kigali deny this charge. Instead, they have called for a stronger DRC army and the revamping of the UN mission in DRC (Monusco) which they argue has allowed rebels to thrive.Both Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda did not attend the meeting, instead sending representatives. Source: Daily Nation

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

< style="color: #163449;">U.S. delegation arrives in Cairo to promote economic ties with Egypt

A business delegation from the US headed by Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador David Thorne arrived to Cairo on October 23 to promote US-Egypt economic ties, said the US embassy. The delegation, which will stay in Egypt for three days, includes representatives from more than 50 US companies who will be meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ministers and other government officials, a statement by the US embassy in Cairo said. The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in June that U.S. investments in Egypt have retreated during the past year by 85.9 per cent compared to investments made in 2014. Even imports from the US fell by 11.3 per cent in 2015, to reach EGP 33.5 billion compared to EGP 37.8 billion in 2014, according to CAPMAS. Several delegations from the U.S. House and Senate have visited Egypt in the past months to discuss the security conditions and economic development in Egypt. Egypt-US relations were strained when the U.S. temporarily suspended its military aid to the Middle Eastern country following the army's ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, after protests against his rule. The U.S. resumed the aid in March 2015. Source: Aswat Masriya

< style="color: #163449;">In Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Rabat ink 21 mega deals

Tanzania and Morocco on October 24 signed 21 mega deals involving about 4 trillion, thanks to the historic visit by Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The inked deals cover the natural gas, energy, minerals, science and technology, agriculture, tourism, banking, insurance, export processing zones, transport and health sectors, involving the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Bank of Africa, Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Morocco's Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), Moroccan Insurer (MAMDA), Attijariwafa Bank and the government. King Mohamed, whose trip to East Africa included a stopover in Rwanda last week, had talks with President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam on October 24, focusing on broadening the cordial relations between the two friendly countries. The Moroccan Monarch promised to support Tanzania's renewable energy sector, promote private partnerships, south-south relations, support the tourism industry and improve trade relations between the two countries. President John Magufuli, flanked by his deputy, MsSamia Suluhu Hassan, and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the visit by the Moroccan King signifies the long-term friendship between the two nations. Dr Magufuli, speaking at his Magogoni office, consented to his guest's plea to extend his stay in the city for a night. While Morocco has named one of the golf playgrounds after Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has one of her streets in the city named after Morocco. "Our aim is to build the middle income nation powered by industries...the agreements we have signed here today mark greater mileage towards attaining this goal," President Magufuli said, assuring that the Tanzanian economic growth was on track, having recorded an impressive 7.9 per cent growth in the second quarter as well as dwindling inflation at four percent. "We want our economy to grow at an average of 7.2 percent come next year," he added. Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Minister Dr Augustine Mahiga said the relationship between Tanzania and Morocco dates back to 1631. Describing it as a special visit, Dr Mahiga said Tanzania has for the first time in history witnessed over 20 agreements and convections signed at once. Impressed Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Charles Mwijage said the arrival of the Moroccan King will indeed help to improve trade and investments in the country. He described the royal tour of the country, preceded by a three-day Tanzania-Morocco Business Forum, as highly successful, with fruitful deliberations through which Moroccan investors promised to support various sectors in the country. Morocco's Minister for Foreign Affairs Salahddine Mezouar and CGEM Chairperson Amine Bouarti expressed commitment to cooperate with Tanzania's Private Sector in exchanging and sharing technical expertise. Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

< style="color: #163449;">Network behind Niger Nationals' illegal immigration to Algeria dismantled

The network which is responsible for the Niger nationals' illegal immigration inflow to Algeria, "centered" in Tamanrasset has been dismantled, declared Niger Minister of the Interior on October 20, Public Security, Decentralization and Customs and Religious Affairs Mohamed Bazoum. The Niger minister made this statement following his meeting with Minister of the Interior and Local Assemblies Noureddine Bedoui. They evaluated the implementation of the measures agreed by both countries, notably the fight against illegal immigration of Niger nationals towards Algeria to "practice a number of unacceptable activities." The Nigerien minister recalled that his country and Algeria "work together" to combat this phenomenon, underlining that thanks to this cooperation, "good results" have been obtained. Besides, Bazoum said he and Bedoui discussed security questions, praising the "commitments" by both countries. Source: Algerie Presse Service (Algiers)

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

< style="color: #163449;">AfDB delegation talks to Zambia, DR Congo official to address cross-border trade challenges

The African Development Bank's Zambia Field Office in conjunction with the Regional Integration and Trade Department concluded a working visit, on September 22, to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to establish current trade patterns with Zambia. The delegation, led by Country Economist Peter Rasmussen, drove from Lusaka, Zambia, to Lubumbashi, DRC, through Kasumbalesa border crossing and crossed back through Kipushi border in the North Western Province of Zambia. The mission was part of a study on trade facilitation at Kasumbalesa border and surrounding areas that the Bank is conducting on behalf of the Zambian Government. While in DRC, the delegation held consultative meetings with Trade, Industry and Transport Provincial Minister Celestine Pande; Acting Provincial Infrastructure Minister Momat Kakudji; the Directors of Customs and Excise, Immigration, the Police Commissioner and other senior government officials. The Ministers called for more dialogue and continued exchange of ideas to promote trade between the two countries. Railway transport being the preferred means to transport goods by mining firms in the country, the Ministers expressed concern about the condition of the line between Lubumbashi and Sakanya in DRC. The DRC Government is appealing to the Zambian Government to consider linking Kasumbalesa to Chililabombwe in Zambia through a 17-kilometre railway spur. This new link will facilitate the diversion of railway traffic from the dilapidated segment in Congo that leads to Sakanya. The Congolese officials also noted the damaging effects heavy-loaded cargo were causing to the roads linking the two countries.  At Kasumbalesa border crossing, the delegation met with Government border agencies and private sector operators of both countries. The consultations revealed that informal trade was of great concern to both Governments. The level of informal trade at Kasumbalesa is significantly high. The need to build a passenger clearance facility and pedestrian walkway on the Zambia side were also highlighted. Currently, the number of pedestrians that formally cross the border at Kasumbalesa is estimated at around 330-350 per day. The meeting also identified a number of other soft infrastructure issues that need to be corrected to improve the management of trade between the two countries. Smuggling and border jumping, the management of transhipments and security issues at the border and surrounding areas were among the issues raised. The study on trade facilitation at Kasumbalesa border will be presented and validated at a stakeholder meeting in late November. Reducing trade barriers on major transport corridors and at border crossings to facilitate the movement of goods, services and people is in line with one of the Bank's High 5 priority pillars; "Integrate Africa". Source: African Development Bank Group

< style="color: #163449;">Zuma continues to block release of corruption report

South African President Jacob Zuma continues to fight against the release of a graft report by a government watchdog. Anger is at an all-time high in South Africa and some say the report could end his career. South African President Jacob Zuma is not giving up without a fight. On October 25, he told South Africa's Upper House of Parliament that he would continue his bid to block the release of the graft report by Thuli Madonsela, South Africa's former public protector. "As a citizen of this country, I have a legal right to exercise my rights. I interdicted it. There is nothing wrong," Zuma told a stormy session of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The report by the former public protector - an official watching over the conduct of government - investigates the links between the Gupta family of Indian-born businessmen to the South African government. The Guptas oversee a sprawling business empire in South Africa that includes interests in mining and technology firms and own The New Age, a pro-government newspaper. But they have come under fire for allegedly offering key government jobs to politicians willing to support the family's business interests. In March, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas claimed that the Guptas offered him the post of finance minister. President Zuma's close ties to the family have raised eyebrows among South Africa's public, but both the president and the Gupta family have denied any wrongdoing. President Zuma did admit in an affidavit on October 25 that he was an "implicated person" in the report. "It's hard to see his efforts as anything but an infantile attempt to delay what we expect to be quite a damaging report on him," Phillip de Wet, associate editor with South Africa's Mail & Guardian weekly, told DW. The President has been fighting a growing chorus of voices calling for his resignation, both from the opposition and his own African National Congress (ANC) party. "Jacob Zuma is not competent enough to be president of this country," said opposition lawmaker Younus Vawda during the October 25 debate. He was among members of Parliament from the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party who were ejected during the debate on October 25 for disrupting the president's speech. Anger over Zuma is also growing within his party and civil society over the number of corruption allegations against him. Frustrations are also rising after the judiciary brought in fraud charges against popular Finance Minister Pravin Godhan, viewed by many as a bedrock of stability in the face of economic decline. They are seen as an attempt to settle political scores, even by some camps within the ruling party. "President Zuma is the president of the ANC. When I say the entire ANC leadership that has already taken collective responsibility must take the fall, I meant everybody, including myself, including President Zuma," ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu said last week. During the October 25 debate, President Zuma assured the finance minister of his support, but told Parliament that he had no right to intervene in the legal case against him. "Only a court can look and judge on that matter," Zuma said. Fighting the release of the report could give Zuma time to try to quell growing dissent within his party, experts say. "Given a couple of months, Zuma might be able to reaffirm his position in the African National Congress. If he can see the report released under those kinds of conditions, he has a much greater chance of surviving that fact," the Mail and Guardian's de Wet told DW. But despite the struggle for power getting worse within the ANC, nobody can predict the president's fate at the moment. "President Jacob Zuma seems to be in a weaker position than he has ever been in his time in office," said de Wet. "We have written his epitaph many times before and there is a reason we started calling him the 'Teflon president' after surviving all of these assaults." Source: Deutsche Walle

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

< style="color: #163449;">Rebel Leader in Sudan slams South Africa's withdrawal from war crimes court

The South African government's decision to leave the International Criminal Court is "shameful" and effectively supports the genocide against people in Sudan, according to Abdul Wahid al-Nur of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). In a wide-ranging interview in Paris, Abdul Wahid told RFI about his recent meeting with Chadian President Idriss Deby, the importance of Libya's General Khalifa Haftar and the use of chemical weapons in Darfur. "South Africa of Nelson Mandela, of discrimination, of a long history of apartheid, supporting al-Bashir, who's committing genocide against African people in Sudan, in Darfur, in Nuba Mountains, in Blue Nile - it's as if they're compensating Bashir to kill us and disregard the struggle of our people," says the SLA founder and chairman. Abdul Wahid was recently in Berlin to discuss the situation in Darfur with President Deby. The Chadian leader had previously been at odds with Sudan's Bashir over the conflict in Darfur, however ties have normalised in recent years. Additionally Chad hosts some 300,000 Sudanese refugees, according to the UN. "Deby proposed to us, very clearly, to join Khartoum's dialogue," says Abdul Wahid, "he insists that we have to join". But the SLA leader rejected Deby's proposal, reiterating that Bashir needs "stop the ongoing genocide". Abdul Wahid had previously shunned dialogue with Khartoum when other prominent Sudanese rebel groups signed a roadmap earlier this year aiming to establish a permanent ceasefire and pave the way for the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Chadian president has proposed further talks with the SLA in N'Djamena without pre-conditions, according to Abdul Wahid, who describes Deby as playing an important role in "fighting terrorists in the region". Furthermore, "Deby has a good relationship with General Haftar", he says. Abdul Wahid sees Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar as a bulwark against Islamist extremists and says he's ready to commit SLA fighters to Haftar's cause, although they have yet to establish a relationship. "We will open our hands to him, to coordinate with him, with others, in order to fight this terrorist organisation ISIS ," says Abdul Wahid. "As a movement we have enough military personnel, whatever he agrees, we will coordinate with him, and we will fight these Islamic fundamentalists wherever they are," he adds. The SLA leader is urging further action following a report from Amnesty International on the use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra, Darfur. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said it will "examine the reports", but Abdul Wahid says "the evidence is there". He calls on the UN Security Council to establish a commission of enquiry as well as take steps to remove chemical weapon stockpiles. Syria and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gave chemical weapons to the Sudanese government, according to Abdul Wahid. The Sudanese government has rejected Amnesty's report with President Bashir accusing the rights group of spreading "empty lies". When asked about the government's announcement of a ceasefire in Darfur, Abdul Wahid says there is none, adding that the Janjaweed militia, who he considers part of the government's forces, are "systematically targeting civilians because they're indigenous and they're black". The European Union is also misguided in its engagement and support to Khartoum on people-smuggling, according to Abdul Wahid. The EU established the Khartoum Process to "improve migration management" and "curb the trafficking of human beings and smuggling of migrants" partnering with five African countries including Sudan. Abdul Wahid says "Bashir is part of the problem" and the Sudanese government is not actually using the financial support as intended, "the money is not going to stop human trafficking," he adds. Source: Radio France Internationale

 < style="color: #163449;">People in Ethiopia who fled over land rights now face eviction from Calais 'Jungle'

Deep in the Calais "Jungle" migrant camp in northern France, hundreds of Oromo Ethiopians set up their own school. An Irish volunteer came to teach classes during the day, but at other times groups of Oromo men, and a few women, gathered to discuss the news from Ethiopia: this month's announcement of a state of emergency, or the rising death toll in protests. On the sides of makeshift wooden shelters they painted the crossed arms protest symbol of the Oromo struggle, publicised by Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa at the summer Olympics. "Feyisa never give up," was written on one wall, and "Stop killing Oromo students" was scrawled on another. People from Oromiya, a region at the heart of Ethiopia's industrialisation efforts, accuse the state of seizing their land and offering tiny compensation, before selling it on to companies, often foreign investors, at inflated prices. "When we went to demonstrations they killed many people, they arrested many people, they put in jail many people. So we had to escape from the country," said Solan, a 26-year-old from Addis Ababa. The former science student left Ethiopia in 2014 after his family was forcibly evicted from the land they had lived on for generations, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Now Solan and hundreds of his fellow Oromo in the Jungle face eviction once again. On October 23, French authorities began clearing the sprawling, ramshackle camp outside the port town of Calais, in preparation for the demolition of the shanty-town that has become a symbol of Europe's struggle to respond to an influx of migrants fleeing war and poverty. Hundreds of migrants carrying suitcases lined up outside a hangar to be resettled in reception centres across France. But most migrants in the camp have made their way to Calais because they want to reach Britain, and make regular attempts to sneak aboard trucks or trains bound for the UK. Groups like the Oromo say they have a particular reason for doing so. They are worried France won't grant them asylum because it doesn't recognise them as persecuted, based on the experience of others who have been rejected. The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said everyone in the Calais camp would be offered the chance to be transferred to a reception centre where they could apply for asylum. "There will be no blanket decisions for certain nationalities," spokeswoman Laura Padoan said. French asylum chief Pascal Brice recently visited the Jungle and offered reassurances to the migrants and refugees, including the Oromo group, said Solan. Brice was not available for comment when the Thomson Reuters Foundation contacted his office on October 23. "If they accept us we want to stay here (in France)," said Solan, who did not want to give his full name. "We are not searching for a better country, we are here (in Calais) because England accepts Oromo people." The latest unrest broke out last year in Oromiya, as people took to the streets accusing the state of seizing their land and handing it over to investors with minimal compensation. Unrest spread to other areas, including parts of Amhara region north of the capital, over land rights and wider complaints over political freedoms. Ethiopian authorities said on October 20 they had detained 1,645 people since declaring the state of emergency in a bid to quell mass protests and violence. Rights groups report more than 500 have been killed in protests in Oromiya since last year, but the government denies using excessive force and says the death toll is exaggerated. Solan has been moving back and forth between Calais and a makeshift migrant camp in Paris for the past year, he said. In that time many other Oromo have come and gone from Calais - some as young as 12 or as old as 65. Many lose hope of reaching Britain and instead go to the Netherlands or Germany, he said. "I am asking for everybody to stay with us, to support us, to save our children, to save our home, to save our story, to save our land," he said. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

< style="color: #163449;">ODM wins three out of four county Assembly seats in Kenya

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party has won three out of four County Assembly seats in by-elections held on October 26. The party won in Nyacheki in Bobasi constituency Kisii county, Kalokol in Turkana Central constituency in Turkana County and Mosiro in Kajiado West constituency while Jubilee Party won in Sala Ward in Bura constituency Tana River County. In Kalokol Ward Josephat Emuria of ODM garnered 1,715 votes against Nangiro Ekai of Jubilee Party who managed 1,336 votes, Peter Loteng'an, who was an independent candidate got 101 votes while Michael Ebenyo of Ford-Kenya got 74. The elections were held in 21 polling stations with a 67 per cent turn out. In Mosiro Ward, Peter Kuseyo of ODM got 1,079 while Koilen Jonathan of Jubilee got 1,046 votes in a by election that was held in seven stations with a turnout of 91 per cent. In Nyacheki Ward, ODM comfortably retained the seat after Naftali Onkoba garnered 2,216 votes to beat other 14 aspirants. Jubilee Party's Maxwell Magoma came second after garnering 1,173. Caleb Onguti of Kenya National Congress was ranked third with 979 votes. Valid votes were 6,738, while rejected votes were 112. The turnout in 23 stations was 62 per cent. The seat fell vacant following ther death of ODM's Peter Ongeri four months ago. In Sala ward, Fauzia Sadik of Jubilee emerged the winner with 1,184 votes against 210 votes that were garnered by Ibrahim Ware of Safina. ODM's Mohamed Dabaso got 96 votes as Kiranso Mchiru of Wiper garnered 200 votes. Source: Daily Nation

< style="color: #163449;">Questions raised as Sh5 billion missing at health ministry in Kenya

Senior Ministry of Health officials have refused to co-operate in shedding light on an internal audit prepared for the Auditor-General and which has unearthed a possible loss of Sh5 billion at the ministry. The money -- enough to buy 16 state-of-the-art cobalt cancer fighting equipment to add to the only one available at the Kenyatta National Hospital -- is suspected to have been stolen in the last financial year or paid to phoney companies, according to a leaked report addressed to the Cabinet secretary, Dr Cleopa Mailu. First reported by the Business Daily on October 26, the scandal mimics and overshadows that of the National Youth Service (NYS) where Sh791 million was paid via the manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis). Ironically, the financial system was put in place to rid the government payments of inefficiency but has instead turned into a conduit for siphoning taxpayers' money. One of the companies which received the money is owned by the family of Mr Philip Kinisu, the former chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, who resigned in August to avoid scrutiny over its business dealings with NYS. Mr Kinisu had failed to disclose to the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that he had an interest in a company that did business with the NYS. The other single largest receiver of the payments is Estama Investments Ltd, which got Sh200 million supposed to have been for free maternity meant for county hospitals. A search at the Registrar of Companies shows that Estama had not paid taxes in the past two years and, therefore, its details were not available on digital records. Companies that have not paid tax since 2014 do not have digital records and their details must be sought manually. The suspicious payments will put on the spot former Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Principal secretaries Khadijah Kassachoon and Nicholas Muraguri who were in office when the suspicious payments were made. Also on the spotlight will be the current CS, Dr Mailu, who was moved to the ministry 10 months ago. In one of the internal memos, the head of the internal audit unit, Mr Bernard Muchere, complains that the head of the Accounting Unit had instructed his officers "not to allow auditors access to documents" without permission. "Despite discussing the matter with you and agreeing that the situation will change, access to documents is still lukewarm," says Mr Muchere in a letter dated September 20, 2016. The scandal also involves the diversion of Sh889 million meant for free maternity in hospitals that are run by the counties and the referral hospitals. This money was diverted to other purposes rather than pay the counties. In the recent past, governors have protested at delays in releasing the money to county hospitals, with some threatening that they will start charging mothers for the service that the Jubilee administration said should be offered free of charge in all public hospitals. "These funds were allocated to be transferred as GOK grants to various institutions and counties for free maternity ... This amounts to misapplication of funds which is a violation (of the law)," says the audit report. Estama Investments, which was one of the beneficiaries, was also awarded another Sh800 million tender to supply portable medical clinics in June 2015. Dr Kassachoon was the principal secretary in the ministry at the time. While three payments were made between January and June 2016, the invoices attached to the payments do not meet the Kenya Revenue Authority requirements of ETR receipts, tax compliance and PIN number. "This raises a red flag on whether the firm had met the legal requirements to be considered for a government contract," says the audit report. In some cases, the Ifmis platform was manipulated and double payment of goods made. Some money was also diverted from their original vote without the right approvals. For instance, the audit describes two supplementary votes of Sh900 million -- one under the National Aids Control Programme and another under the Curative and Rehabilitative Health Services as "possible fraud schemes". The auditors could not understand why, for instance, Sh265.7 million was paid to Co-operative Bank of Kenya for the supply of "food and rations" from the National Aids Control Programme's Food and Rations recurrent vote. "The Co-operative Bank of Kenya cannot be a supplier of food and rations and hence the real payees were not disclosed," says the report dated August 29, 2016. "The payment vouchers were not availed for audit in order to establish who the bank was instructed to pay." More money under this vote -- Sh249.9 million -- was paid on April 4 to four firms: Dentmed Kenya Ltd (Sh2.9 million), Life Care Medics Ltd (Sh201 million), Ryovac Industries Ltd (Sh4.9 million) and Sundales International (Sh41 million). The audit found that similar food and rations had been procured through the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) using the Global Fund's money and that the National Aids Control Programme was coordinating the distribution. Although the above payments were made by the Ministry headquarters, the report says the foods were received and stored in Kemsa warehouses. "This posed a challenge in accountability of the two procurements and raises a red flag on possible double payments of the same supply." While the CS says that the audit is an ongoing process, the report says that this is an indicator "there could be a wider scheme" to siphon money. Source: Daily Nation

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

< style="color: #163449;">At least 53 killed in Cameroon train derailment

At least 53 people were killed and nearly 300 injured when an overloaded passenger train travelling between Cameroon's two largest cities derailed and overturned. Transport Minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngoo said the accident on October 21 took place near the central town of Eseka - 120km west of the capital Yaounde - as the train travelled to the economic hub of Douala. Rail officials said the train had been carrying 1,300 passengers, instead of the usual 600. Passenger Joel Bineli told Reuters news agency he saw three dismembered bodies on the tracks at the accident site. Photos posted on social media purporting to have been taken at the scene showed several wagons overturned on a slope beside the tracks. "There was a loud noise. I looked back and the wagons behind us left the rails and started rolling over and over. There was a lot of smoke," said a Reuters journalist travelling on the train. He added prior to the train's departure from Yaounde, a railway employee said eight additional wagons had been added to the normally nine-wagon train in order to accommodate extra passengers. It remains unclear whether that played a role in the accident. "Intervention and security teams have been mobilised," the rail company Camrail said. The collapse of a bridge along the main highway between the capital and Douala had prompted more people to undertake the journey by rail. The route is one of the busiest in the country with trains to Chad and the Central African Republic also using the axis, which has a poor safety record. In 2014, Cameroon began building its first highway between the two towns, but the work is not due to be completed until 2018. Source: Al Jazeera (Doha)

< style="color: #163449;">Weah frowns on demolition of Defence Ministry in Liberia

The Political Leader of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Senator George M. Weah says it is a waste of resources the demolition of the new Defense Ministry in Congo Town, near Monrovia. The building was constructed in the 1980s during the administration of President Samuel K. Doe. Senator Weah said the practice of breaking down, instead of restoring and building existing structures is a waste of resources, which he said is one of the causes for under-development and abject poverty in the country. Reacting to government's allegation that the building is structurally unsound, Weah asked "where are the engineers and contractors, who built it? Can they not return and correct their errors if it is true the building was structurally unsound?" The CDC political leader made the statement recently during the dedication of the newly renovated Du-Port Road Market. The defense ministry structure has already been demolished by the Liberia government paving the way for the construction of a ministerial complex by the Chinese government. Source: The News

< style="color: #163449;">Ijaw women besiege court, want EFCC to unfreeze Mrs Jonathan's account in Nigeria

Over 100 Ijaw women on October 26 besieged the Federal High Court in Lagos to show solidarity with the former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, whose suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came up before Justice Babs Kuewumi. In the suit, Mrs. Jonathan is seeking to unfreeze her accounts. The women stormed the court premises, chanting songs of protest, calling for the former first lady's accounts to be unfrozen.  The respondents in the suit are the EFCC, Skye Bank Plc, and a former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripama-Owei Dudafa. Also joined in the suit are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Transocean Property and Investment Company Limited, and Globus Integrated Service Limited. The former first lady is demanding the sum of $200 million from the commission as damages for infringing on her rights. She is also urging the court to issue an order discharging the freezing order, and to restrain the EFCC and its agents from further placing a freezing order on the said accounts. When the case was called on October 26, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo announced his appearance for the EFCC, while Mr. Granville Abibo (SAN) announced his appearance for Mrs. Jonathan. Addressing the court, Oyedepo informed the judge that the matter was coming up for the first time, adding that some of the respondents were yet to be served with the court's processes. He submitted that the matter was not yet "ripe for hearing", having been served with the processes on October 19 and was yet to file a response. The submission was not contested by counsel to the plaintiff. Consequently, Justice Kuewumi fixed December 7 for hearing of the case. In an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by one Sammie Somiari, a legal practitioner, he averred that on March 22, 2010, she (Mrs. Jonathan) had opened five different accounts with Skye Bank, with the aid of one Damola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi. He also averred that the account mandate forms were duly completed and signed by her. According to him, Mrs. Jonathan subsequently discovered that apart from one of the accounts that bore her name, the other four accounts were opened in the name of four companies which were companies belonging to Dudafa. He averred that she also observed that the ATM cards of the said accounts were issued in the names of the companies, adding that she complained to Dudafa who promised to effect the necessary changes. He said Dipo Oshodi also promised to effect the necessary changes. Somiari averred further that Mrs. Jonathan is not a director, shareholder or participant in these companies and the funds in the said accounts were solely owned and operated by her. He averred: "Dudafa does not own any part of the funds in the said accounts." According to the deponent, the Skye Bank official (Oshodi) did not effect the instructions of the plaintiff to change the names of the said accounts to her name, in spite of repeated requests. He averred that notwithstanding the refusal of the bank to effect the necessary changes, she had been using the said ATM cards without any interference. The deponent averred that sometime in July, Mrs. Jonathan discovered that the ATM cards were not functioning, and immediately contacted the bank, which informed her that a "no debit/freezing order" had been placed on the accounts. He averred that on further enquiry, the bank informed her that the accounts were frozen on the directive of EFCC as a result of ongoing investigations in relation to Dudafa. Mrs. Jonathan therefore contended that she was never arrested or invited by EFCC prior to the freezing order placed on the accounts. She further contended that the freezing order on her funds based on the directive of EFCC without an order of the court was unlawful and illegal. Consequently, Mrs. Jonathan sought an order of the court directing the unfreezing of her account forthwith. She is also demanding an order restraining the EFCC from taking further steps in relation to the said account, pending the determination of the suit. The Ijaw women, who were dressed in traditional attires, stormed the court chanting songs in Ijaw and English languages with several placards with numerous inscriptions. Some of the inscriptions read: "Ijaw people are in solidarity with Jonathan", "Unfreeze ex-president Jonathan's wife's account", "We urge EFCC to abide by the rule of law", and "Women must be heard." Some of the women expressed loudly their concern over the enforcement of women's rights as well as those of the ex-first lady. Immediately after the court rose, they trooped to a vehicle provided by Mrs. Jonathan's team, chanting songs of solidarity and boldly displaying their placards. Source: This Day This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi
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