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Nigeria:Insight Into The Edewor Foundation
September 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

It is all about giving back and making a difference says Prof Edewor

It is all about giving back and making a difference says Prof Edewor

Rollison Edewor has embarked on a lofty mission to transform lives in his local community in Nigeria. The Founder of the Edewor Foundation shares insight his work ,projects, and way forward in an interview with PAV.

Prof Rollison Edewor is Founder of the Edewor Foundation, can you introduce the Foundation and its mission?

The essence of life and true self is to help and love one another. And to better achieve this, one must go where it is most needed and appreciated. Together with my family, we set up this foundation to give back to the society where poverty and lack of funds to further education are at its peak. In general, we want to help reduce hunger, poverty and illiteracy among fellow Africans or those that relatively falls into this category.

The Foundation has been engaged in a number of Peace, Security & Investment initiatives, can you shed some light on this?

Delta state (Nigeria) is plagued with ethnic and violent unrest, as well as insecurity. Resulting to underdevelopment which is one reason why investors and citizens in diaspora refused to relocate or invest. But reality is now setting in as the world begins to advance towards technology, the aging of violence begins to give way to peace. Which is where we had to come in to unite them. For ethnic communities to come together to promote growth is something unheard of in decades. My goal was to bring all the ethnic groups together but my connection to all is limited. So, I started with where I grew up, SAPELE kingdom. The unity will warrant them to sign a peace and security agreement. This agreement is tendered to prospective investors for assurance.

At one of its recent meetings, representatives of over 30 communities of Okpe Kingdom indicated their willingness to give peace a chance by working out modalities of ensuring peace and security reign in their communities , where is the Okpe Kingdom , what has been going on there and why the need for peace?

The area is underdeveloped. Educational awareness is very low, and the youths are restless resulting to crime and unruly conducts. Thus, we created a literacy center in one of the villages. Where we currently have 5 standing and qualified teachers. We plan to open more. The purpose is to train their mind and prepare them for this peaceful atmosphere. They loved it and thus, the many villages coming out.

The meeting saw the presentation of the Edewor Peace, Security & Investment Agreement papers to all the communities, what is the content of these papers?

The content of the document is nothing but a promise and obligation to protect and maintain peaceful atmosphere with Investors, Investments and other citizens in diaspora. NOTE: Many Nigerians in diaspora are afraid to go back home for fear of harassment and insecurity.

The people of the Kingdom are enthused with prospects of investment, what are some of the opportunities that could be of interest to investors in that part of Nigeria?

The investment comes from fellow Nigerian citizens and any foreigner who wants to invest. Since most of us are afraid of investing at home due to embezzlement and scam. Seeing the action of the youth and community towards advocating for peace will motivate and compel others to relate about investing at home.

Looking broadly at Nigeria, we see to see either conflicts or potential for conflict everywhere, between different ethnic communities, between political parties, between Christians and Muslims, Fulani etc, what is your take on the situation in the country ?

To be honest, I do believe if jobs are created, these problems will either seize or decrease. All play without work makes Jack a dull boy. They must have something doing. Just take for example the literacy school we opened, hundreds of youths now attending. Imagine when you create jobs.

With the experience you have garnered, how recommendations do you have in mind for a more harmonious country, and does the Edewor Foundation plan to tackle state and nationwide issues or remain limited to your local community of Okpe?

This experience shows that people actually want peace and development. The quest to learn is proof to that. The Edewor Foundation is still in its infancy stage. Thus, our presence or activities are still limited. Sapele is my hometown, easier for us to relate, so I started with them first. If this is successful, we will extend to others.

On politics, President Buhari is into his second and last term, what are some of the priority areas that you think he must tackle?

Am not a politician and don’t do politics. So this question is not for me.

Your reaction  to the recent arrest of Nigerians in the USA for diverse cybercrimes, how does Nigeria handle the stigma that comes with crimes of a few been labeled on the entire polity?

Kid you not. This issue affected my moral. Just imagine after building trust and support, such thing happened. Your spirit is dampened. Mind you, not just Nigerians only, but those who for years had trust in us. But am glad to hear that the Nigerian government partook in the operation to crack them down.

What else will the Edewor Foundation be working on for the rest of the year and beyond?

For now, we are working on opening more literacy and skill acquisition stations in interior villages.

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Protesting Climate Change, Young People call at World Leaders to take action
September 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M.Mupenda

Worried about their future on a hotter planet, calling the world leaders for taking action to arrest the crisis, hundreds of thousands of young and adults people marched into the streets on Friday for a day of global climate protest.

About three hundreds youths including sierrans club in St.Louis gathered friday to demand action on climate change, as part of global movement of youngsters demanding politicians and government act toa halt environment catastrophe.

They all gathered at St.Louis City hall, coming from different areas of Missouri State, some had to bike, walk, ride and park their cars 200 miles away and foot to begin their strike with placards citing the climate change effects and the call to the government to tackle the issues.

“Floods are getting worse” 16 -year-old activist Olivia Thomson Wrote on her poster “ the concerned bodies should take action.”

Strikes were planned in each of the 50 United States. By late morning, protesters across the Eastern, Western, Southern and northern of St.Louis were moving out of schools and office buildings, pooling around steps of local city halls.

Another placard by a 80 year-old walking on a stick read “Climate change is the issue if we don’t do something nothing else will matter, “

In the neighbouring States including Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio,  around 400 protesters such as youth and adults with signs gathered outside the State Capitol  under a cloudless sky, sweat rolling down their faces as temperatures hovered around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 28 Celsius to take part in what are set to be the largest global climate protests in history .

In Kampala, Uganda early morning the protest was also attended by most high -profile young activist leah Namugerwa,15, who created waves when she began  her own solitary school in february before others joined her. Adult climate activities and environmental groups also took part.

As morning arrived farther west, banners in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ranged from serious to humorous. One read, “Climate Emergency Now.” Another said, “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.”

An early test of the student protests will come on Monday when world leaders assemble at United Nations headquarters to demonstrate what they are willing to do to avert a crisis. Their speeches are unlikely to assuage the youth strikers, but whether the youth protests will peter out or become more confrontational in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen. More protests are planned for Monday in several cities.

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Gambia Gov’t , UNDP sign $2Million Environmental Project
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 The Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Mr. Muhammed Jallow Wednesday afternoon presided over the signing ceremony of a $2million project between the government of The Gambia and the United Nations Development (UNDP) Programme Country Office in Banjul.

The UN Environmental Facility funded project intends to support The Gambia with the necessary technical and financial assistance to reduce the risks posed by a group of oily liquids and solid man-made chemicals called PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) and unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (U-POPS) to the human health and the environment.

Secretary General Jallow said no one can underestimate the importance of the environment to the development of The Gambia. A great majority of the country relies on the river and marine resources for their livelihoods. Hence contamination of the waters will have serious impact on the population from both the cities to the rural areas.

Secretary General Jallow noted that the African Union has identified The Gambia’s First Lady, Mrs. Fatou Bah-Barrow as a Champion of environment conservation and protection. Hence the government’s dedication will be greatly enhanced by this laudable collaboration with the UNDP.

The Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mr. Dodou Trawally explained that the project will include the identification and disposal of 75 tons of PCB-contaminated equipment and waste and the reduction of U-POPS through the improved waste management practices and reduction of open burning of waste.

These materials and substances stay very long in the environment before they biodegrade, especially the mercury, which is contaminative to fish. Fish is one of the heavy dependents of The Gambia for food consumption.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Dr Aissata De said environment is one of the key priorities and areas of intervention in terms of closeness to the population for the UNDP. She said they are committed to supporting government efforts and all stakeholders on the path for the achievement of the goals of the NDP, the SDGs, the Agenda 2020 and Agenda 2063.

“We all know the impact and the importance of the environment on our daily lives and on development in general. This project is one more action because we have longstanding partnership between the National Environment Agency, the Ministry of Environment and the government,” she said, thanking all other collaborators that UNDP has been working with for the environment and the people for the ownership of those projects.

The NEA is the implementing partner for the government, while the UNDP country office is the Global Environment Fund (GEF) implementing agency for this project. Other stakeholders include the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Gambia Ports Authority, the KMC NAWEC, among others. It is geared towards supporting the implementation of the National Development Plan 2018-22021 in The Gambia.

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16 coaches from Africa shortlisted as “Future Stars” by Arsenal and WorldRemit
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Mo Ibrahim Foundation to launch first ‘African Governance Report’ in 2019
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

The report uses data from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) to further governance analysis in Africa

Mo Ibrahim

Mo Ibrahim

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the first comprehensive African Governance Report. The report will be published online at mo.ibrahim.foundation on 15 October 2019.

Based on IIAG data, the report will focus on: Governance and Africa’s implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will highlight the importance of using data to analyse the growing governance challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to drive sustainable development in Africa.

In this report, the Foundation will highlight gaps in the availability of sound data to track and measure progress. It will issue a call for national and international players to work together to urgently address these gaps, which will be critical to encouraging and directing development progress across the continent.

The African Governance Report will:

1)  Examine the governance environments needed to achieve progress towards Agenda 2063 and the SDGs and the links between these, highlighting common areas and major challenges

2)  Identify progress in these areas and data gaps, both in terms of national statistical offices but also vital statistics and civil registration

A new report in response to new challenges

Africa is at a critical turning point. While governance across the continent has continued to improve, new challenges and needs from stakeholders and citizens have changed this landscape.

The scope of public governance has expanded to include new challenges for existing topics, and new needs, such as access to quality healthcare and environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, transformative frameworks, such as the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), now pave the way for Africa’s development agenda, and contribute to defining policy priorities towards political, social, environmental and economic progress.

In response to these developments, the Foundation will publish the African Governance Report with unique insights around these frameworks, challenges and opportunities.

Strengthening the use of our data

As the largest source of data on African governance, the IIAG is a key tool for African countries to measure the environment around achieving transformative frameworks, such as the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Good governance remains at the core of Africa’s development and the report. The Foundation holds the most comprehensive assessment and collection of data on African governance ever undertaken using 90 indicators and 150,000 data points across 54 countries to assess performance.

With a view of continually improving the IIAG, expanding its scope to include new challenges and data, and making use of its wealth of information and growing dataset, the Foundation will release new data with updated scores, ranks and trends every two years, with the next iteration in 2020.

Between the biennial updates of the IIAG dataset, the Foundation will publish additional data-driven research publications and tools to support Africa’s stakeholders with resources for evidence-based decision making and policy debates, alongside the comprehensive African Governance Report, based on the IIAG.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa, by providing tools to assess and support progress in leadership and governance.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries and is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

With over ten years of data to draw from, the IIAG is uniquely positioned to measure trends in governance, providing in-depth analysis on how the quality of governance has changed, and what has or could be key to Africa’s transformation.

In every iteration, MIF – assisted by the IIAG’s Advisory Council – looks at improving the structure, components and methodology of the IIAG. Due to this revision, MIF recalculates all scores in the Index for each iteration.

Previous iterations of the IIAG covered data from 2000 onwards. The 2018 IIAG, for the first time, provided comparable governance data for the last decade only, to strengthen the robustness of the findings.

In 2018, an assessment of youth inclusion was also made part of the IIAG. Through the indicator Promotion of Socio-economic Integration of Youth (provided by Global Integrity), the Index assessed whether there is a government policy/strategy to increase the socioeconomic integration if youth.

The IIAG contains analysis across 102 indicators from 35 independent African and global data institutions to cover all 54 African counties in the areas of Safety & Rule of LawParticipation & Human RightsSustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

The IIAG Data Portal is a user-friendly interface that offers a bespoke analysis of governance ranks, scores and trends for each country. Users can create printable charts and graphics from the data.

Access the IIAG Data Portal directly: http://iiag.online/

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Russia Spreading Its Tentacles Across Africa
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan*

Russian President Putin with President of Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera.

Russian President Putin with President of Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera.

When it comes to special operations in Central Africa initiated by the Russians most thoughts and conversations focus on the operations conducted within the Central African Republic over the last two years as either a point of contention or outright fear in some Capitals. But once again history is again repeating itself in Africa.

There have been allegations that after the 2016 Presidential Elections in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) that the incumbent President Soussou-Nguesso reportedly hired a Russian Private Military Company to put down the unrest in the vital town of Pointe Noir that occurred after the controversial polls. There was virtually no coverage of the influence in this election. It should be noted that when President Soussou-Nguesso was President for the first time Brazzaville was considered to be an ally of what was then the Soviet Union.

Also when it comes to Russian Operations in Central Africa even though it is not considered being part of Central Africa, the role of Sudan cannot be ignored. Khartoum has been used as a transit and logistics hub for its Operations in CAR. The Change of leadership that recently took place within Sudan will have an impact on Russian Operations in Central Africa. Russia was one of the countries that was coaching the Military in how to react during the final days of the Bashir regime. It would be wonderful if this dynamic was looked into. For the near future it should be taken as a fait accompli that whatever projects are launched in the region by the Kremlin it will have some form of presence in Sudan.

Another aspect that has been proving to be interesting regarding Russian Activities in the region is the media coverage regarding them or the efforts by the Putin Government and their allies to manipulate their coverage of the activities. One needs to recall the incident where four journalists for a Russian Opposition news site were ambushed and killed in the Central African Republic. That only occurs when a party wants an activity to be shielded from public view and scrutiny.

Another action taken by the Russians to spin events into their worldview has to be the deals to provide content to some African Media Outlets by either Sputnik or RT (Russia Today). A perfect example happens to be the deals reached with RTNC (National Radio and Television Corporation) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. RT was the first entity to reach a deal with the Congolese in November 2018, Sputnik has reached a similar deal in May of 2019. This effort in the DRC has been a success for Moscow. When Russia celebrated the fifth anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea , one of the largest events was actually held in Kinshasa.

Another tactic that Russia is using ties between the Duma and local legislatures on the ground. Once again the topic focuses on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is already a Russia-DRC Friendship Group already in the Parliament of the DRC. This is a simple and easy way for Russia to not only to promote its agenda in Africa it can be done in such a way that most other powers that have interests in the region such as the former colonial powers of France and Belgium and even the United States could find themselves be left on the outside without realizing what they allowed to Happen has indeed taken place without their ability to properly address the situation.

*The author is President of Red Eagle Enterprises and the views expressed are his.

 

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Cameroon: Foretia Foundation trains Business operators on Basic entrepreneur skills
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Director of Programs Agathe Djomeghu- The SBEC training is the first of a series of six training to be held in Yaounde and Douala

Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC), which focuses on equipping entrepreneurs and small business owners with organizational and business management skills that promote a free enterprise society, has trained participants on “Small Business Management and  Entrepreneurial skills”.

During the event organized by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with the Canada International Development – Global Affairs Canada at the Mansel Hotel in Yaounde September 19, 2019, more than 100 small business owners in the formal and informal sectors, businesswomen association, Agribusiness persons and prospective business owners were trained on Business management, Tax requirement, registration, declaration procedures and access to finance.

SMEs in Cameroon face serious challenges (inadequate capital, lack of managerial skills, lack of knowledge on the tax system)-which affects their growth and sustainability. Thus, this training falls within the framework of the prime purpose of the Small Business and Entrepreneur Centre (SBEC) – to spur economic growth in Cameroon through the provision of tools to establish, expand and sustain private sector business.

The SBECtraining was the first of a series of six training to be held in Yaounde and Douala which is aimed at equipping Small and Medium Size Enterprises with basic managerial and entrepreneurship skills – with another scheduled for September 26 in Douala. The various modules taught include Business management, Tax requirement, registration, declaration procedures and access to finance.

Javnyuy Joybert, a Social Entrepreneur, Enterprise Development and Corporate trainer/consultant, Founder/CEO COSDEF group, speaking on Business Management educated the participants on how to manage teams, develop their business models and how to look in order to sell out their products or services. During the exchanges he advised that as a Startup, it is always important to first go to the field before and learn basic things before proceeding with the development of a business plan.

On his part, Ngeh Edison Tamfu, Founder of REO Cameroon, and a Small Business Consultant speaking on tax requirements, registration and declaration procedures edified the various participants on the various facilities that have been put in place to encourage those operating in the informal to move to the formal sector.

Participants were enlightened on the different mechanisms put in place by banks to assist small business owners. They were advised to try out other sources of funds like family, friends, groups before trying out the banks. The participants were cautioned that before the go to the banks, they should have collateral, be credible and trustworthy.

Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) contribute around 36% of Cameroon’s GDP, make up over 90% of businesses in Cameroon, and employ above 60% of the population. Yet, glaring realities indicate that enormous potentials inherent in this sector are unfortunately not fully harnessed — especially given that above 70% of SMEs still operate informally.

Javnyuy Joybert drills participants on Business Management at the SBECtraning organized by D&L Foretai Foundation in Yaounde

Looking at Fraser Institute’s 2017 Economic Freedom Report, for example, Cameroon is amongst the least business-free environs. Thus, for the creativity, innovation, growth, and sustainable development of SMEs in Cameroon, promoting economic freedoms and training in the right business/entrepreneurial skills are imperative.

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My vision for education investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amini Kajunju*

Early in 2019 during a maiden visit to neighboring countries, a newly-elected President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi announced in Brazzaville that his government will provide free primary education to all Congolese children starting the beginning of the next school. This is great news—in a country with so much untapped wealth, parents should not have to pay for public primary education fees.

The budget allocation would be $2.6B about 40% of the country’s budget of about $7B with 50,000 state primary schools possibly receiving $52,000 per capita. Many schools are in total physical decay and academically inadequate. For President Tshisekedi’s offer to have any real value, his government must further commit to fundamental reforms and pledge a significant financial investment.

The DRC is famous for its vast wealth of natural resources including minerals, timber, and rivers. But the new government has a responsibility to turn its focus to another untapped resource: its human capital.

From the age of three to 30 years of age, young citizens are a captive audience, eager to learn and to innovate. We need to give them a good start for their future so that the country can experience high productivity and wealth creation through massive investment.

If one is looking for an excellent example of how investments in education transformed a poor country into a wealthy one, we need only look to South Korea. In the 50s, South Korea was a poor country. Through visionary leaders and actions, it made education, industrialization, manufacturing, and trade the pillars of their economy. At the height of this investment, the country spent 22% of its budget on education. These investments paid off. Today, South Korea has one of the most educated populaces and the 11th largest economy in the world and currently spends about $20.9B on education about 5% of the country’s budget. DRC’s economy is ranked number 99 today.

Despite DRC’s struggling economy, there is hope. Citizens are ready for a government that is committed to undoing a history of economic disinvestment and mismanagement, to restoring democracy, and to the provision of public goods. To assist with these aspirations, I propose seven fundamental reforms that will create thousands of jobs, accelerate economic development, and meaningfully reduce poverty. It is important to note that these actions will be doubly successful if coupled with substantial investments in energy, water, healthcare, transportation, and agriculture. The following seven reforms are the building blocks of a successful educational system:

DRC’s one number asset is its people and the strong and productive institutions that it creates and sustains

a.   Every government has three key jobs: collect enough taxes and fees to fund public goods, protect the citizens from internal and external threats and create an enabling environment for prosperity.

b.   Currently, the DRC government collects about $5.6B to $7B per year to fund its operations for a country with a population of 85M people.

c.   No real impact can be made from this low tax base to educate millions of youth

d.   The individual and collective efforts of Congolese nationals working in the education is important and valuable and must be celebrated.

e.   And, we will not be able to educate the masses without government investment and vision.

f.   Bring in the private sector as partners and investors in the training and the preparation of the world of work.

g.   No country has ever made it into the G20 or the G7 without a productive government and an educated populace.

Train teachers for the 21st-century classroom to increase the quality of learning in elementary and secondary schools.

a.   Teachers are the backbone of any educational system. Without adequate training , professional development and pay, teachers will not have the motivation or skills to teach.

b.   Build and maintain at least two teacher training colleges in every province of DRC

c.   Disseminate these newly trained teachers in all elementary and secondary schools

Implement a 21st-century curriculum from primary to university.

a.   A 21st-century curriculum is rooted in the following principles: technology, upgraded learning tools and concepts, a culture of inquiry and research, and the development of problem-solvers and leaders among all participants within the system

b.   Set the standards and focus on achieving the required competencies and learning at every grade level

c.   Upgrade and increase STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education

d.   At the university level, fund R&D and entrepreneurial investments with the aim of eradicating tropical diseases such as malaria

e.   Increase learning and action around climate change and environmental studies as Congo is known as the 2nd lung of the world

f.   Upgrade and increase access to learning materials by securing the latest books, online resources, and other educational tools

g.   Increase history, civic education, and social responsibility courses

h.   Replace rote learning with dialogue, inquiry, and critical thinking at every grade

i.   Introduce key soft skills like teamwork, initiative, and ethical leadership

Infuse technology into every aspect of the education system.

a.   Every public school from primary to university should have the most updated computer labs for experimentation and learning

b.   Provide free 24-hour internet service to all public schools from primary to university

Require age-appropriate entrepreneurial education for every student.

a.   Small businesses are the backbone of a thriving economy and the creators of jobs

b.   Providing entrepreneurial education will motivate those who are inclined to use this education to found companies and create jobs

Renovate and expand the physical facilities of all existing public education institutions from primary to university.

a.   It is very difficult to learn in classrooms and buildings that are collapsing or destroyed

b.   Public educational facilities and buildings must represent the goals and dreams of a nation

c.   A 21st-century curriculum requires upgraded and functioning physical facilities

Build 26 technical institutions—one in each province.

a.   Manufacturing and industrialization are requirements of a modern economy

b.   Technical colleges teach the competencies and skills required for industrialization and manufacturing

c.   A modern economy needs electricians, plumbers, and health technicians as well as experts in HVAC, aviation, construction, automation, technology, tourism and much more

For a country to advance and reach its full potential, the education system must aspire to improve and join the 21st century. Congo should use its resource-rich environment to propel its economy forward. However, the most valuable of all of Congo’s resources is its people. Therefore, the single most important area for the country to invest in is education. Free primary education is a great place to start, but now is the time to commit to more.

*Ms. Kajunju, a Congolese national, is the executive director of the IUGB Foundation and formerly the President and CEO of Africa-America Institute.Culled from LinkedIn 

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Gambia:Anti corruption bill to be tabled in December
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Barrow

Barrow

By Adama Makasuba

Gambian government has announced that it will table the anti corruption bill before the National Assembly in December 2019, which seeks to fight against corruption and penalizes corrupt doers in the country.

President Adama Barrow made the announcement while delivering his State of the Nation’s address at the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday.

“National Assembly members, I promised that government will table an anti-corruption bill. We expect to table the bill here in December 2019,” he said.

According to him, the bill was ready for submission but that it was subjected to further review and fresh recommendations were raised for considerations.

However, he said “judiciary is now working to ensure a speedy trials and disposal of cases and to decongest the overcrowded remand prisons. Infrastructural works are in progress to facilitate and expand the court sittings at all levels –the Cardi, magistrate and high court and in various areas of the country.”

He said his government recognizes “in maintaining an independent and efficiency judiciary that delivers ruling justice without undue delay on rule of law and justice” adding “the judiciary enjoys all rights and independence it is provided for in the country’s status book.”

He said the judiciary can now recruit all categories of staff without recourse to the public service commission and the personal management office which he said was practiced in the past,

“There annual estimates of expenditure are presented to the National Assembly without any amendment and all their 2019 budget proposal for personnel were approved by the National Assembly,” he said.

He said the membership of the high court judges has been increased by bringing on board three Gambian judges including the chief justice, adding that “as opposed to holding a regular sitting before, the supreme court now holds regular session in every quota of the year.”

He said all the seven judges including the president of the Supreme Court are Gambians, adding that the high court has recruited four additional Gambian judges which brought the total to five Gambians.

He said plans are at an advanced stage to construct a court complex at mile 7 Bakau to accommodate a commercial and land disputes court.

 

 

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Gambia:TRRC says over 140 statements on the witch hunts case are in waiting for public hearings
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr Lamin J Sise

Dr Lamin J Sise

The Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission has said more than one hundred and forty (140) statements on the witch hunts and other violations are in waiting for the Commission’s public hearings

Speaking during the opening of eight session on Monday, Dr Lamin J Sise, chair  of the Commission said: “Between July 6 and 14, 2019 teams from the Research and Investigations Unit visited Brikama, Sintet, Gunjur, Jambur and Busumbala in the West Coast Region to engage communities and obtain statements from victims of the 2009 witch hunts and other violations. They collected over 140 statements that are being processed in readiness for the Commission’s hearings on the witch hunts and other violations in the near future.”

Dr Sise said four hundred and four witnesses appeared during its seventh session and that Twenty-one of these 104 witnesses were perpetrators and alleged perpetrators, adding that the rest were mostly victims, including 16 women.

“The seventh session started off with the completion of testimony by the first batch of Junglers to appear before the Commission, and continued with a focus on the April 10 and 11, 2000 student demonstrations in which at least 14 students and one Red Cross volunteer were killed by security forces,” he said.

He added: “The atrocities the Junglers testified to shock the conscience of the nation and indeed the world. While these atrocities were painful to hear, the truth of the brutalities under the twenty-two years of dictatorship needs to be told and recorded with a view to avoiding their recurrence.”

He said that the eighth session would be dominated by hearing testimony on events surrounding the April 2000 student demonstrations, adding “these witnesses include both direct and indirect victims, security officers, civil servants, and politicians who were in one way or the other involved in the tragic events. It is anticipated that testimonies on April 10 and 11, 2000 will dominate the public hearings of the Commission during this eighth session. Advance work in preparation for hearings on other themes is also ongoing. “

He said the two teams of TRRC Commissioners and Secretariat staff went on Diaspora engagement tours in the United States and Europe. These engagements are in line with the Commission’s mandate as stipulated in Sections 14 and 15 of the TRRC Act, which was funded by the UNDP.

“We are happy to say that both legs of the Diaspora engagements in the U.S. and Europe proved very successful. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to our Victim Support Fund during the engagements,” he told the gathering.

He continued: “The TRRC has submitted the names of the first nine victims to have been seen by the Medical Board for consideration for possible treatment in Turkey. The board has also submitted reports on more than a dozen other victims and the TRRC will do what it can to facilitate their access to the care they need. Meanwhile, the TRRC is facilitating funding and scholarships for young victims to continue their formal education.”

Dr Sise reassured the commitment of the Commission to its mandate without fear or favor, affection or ill will.

“We wish to reassure the general public that the TRRC remains totally committed to the pursuit of its mandate without fear or favor, affection or ill will. This Commission is an embodiment of both state and society in this country and exists for the service of all Gambians regardless of political, ethnic, gender, regional or religious affiliation. As we seek to create a true historical record of what happened in this country during twenty-two years of dictatorship, we also seek to help create a society reconciled and at peace with itself, a tolerant society, and a society of empowered citizens who will refuse to allow political impunity and gross human rights violations to happen in this country again. In this daunting but fulfilling task, and as we start this new session of public hearings, allow me to say that we need and we crave the understanding, support and prayers of the Gambian public and the international community,” he said.

 

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Gambia:President Barrow says 2019 is a turning year for success, says economic grows
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow has described 2019 as a turning year of success for his government saying that the economy of the country has registered a significance improvement.

President Barrow was speaking during his third time of addressing the state of nation at the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday where he spoke about quiet verities of issues regarding the development of the country.

“I am proud to report that the country economic growth has general strengthened while inflation has now moderated. For the past two years the economy grows by 4.8 per cent and improved to 6.5 per cent in 2018,” he said.

According to him, estimates indicates that the current account deficit narrowed to 1.5 per cent of GDP in the first half of 2019 compare to a deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP of the correspondent quota of 2018 in the balance of payments.

He added: “the improvement in the current account balance is attributed to the increase of foreign inflows related to the support of diaspora remittances and tourism.”

He said the exchange rate of the country’s dalasi (money) remains broadly stable which he said is supported by “market confidence in an increase

He said the total expenditure and net lending has declined from 11.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product last year to 10 per cent of the GDP in early part of 2019, adding “government physical operation for the first six months of 2019 indicated that total revenue and grants stood at 9.8 percent of GDP compare 8.6.of GDP in the same period last year.”

Despite the government announcement of economic growth, many Gambians complaint that they are not feeling the growth of the economic and that living is increasingly getting harder and unbearable in the country.

 

 

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Rwanda’s main rebel leader killed in DRC
September 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ferdinand Maniraguha

Mudacumura (in a circle) was deputy commander of presidential guard in Juvenal Habyarimana regime

Mudacumura (in a circle) was deputy commander of presidential guard in Juvenal Habyarimana regime

Democratic Republic of Congo’s army, FARDC,  has  killed Sylvestre Mudacumura, a military wing commander of Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) who was on the  list of those who are  hunted by International Criminal Court.

FARDC said Mudacumura, 65 and some of his close lieutenants were killed in an offensive led by national army operating in Northern Kivu.

“The 34th military region of North Kivu confirms the death of Sylvestre Mudacumura, commander of FDLR who was killed with his close lieutenants by FARDC during the night of Tuesday to Wednesday in Rutshuru territory”, said FARDC tweet

FDLR has been in Eastern Congo for about two decades. It is made up of mainly ex Rwanda’s army who are accused of committing Genocide against the tutsi.

This rebel group had coordinated many attacks on Rwanda from Congo. The recent one was launched in October last year in Rubavu district of western Rwanda, and claimed the lives of some rebels and about three Rwandan soldiers.

FARDC said that Mudacumura’s death is good news to the whole Congolese army as he was spearheading radical group which destabilize the Eastern Congo.

“This neutralization is a big signal to other rebels”, FARDC added.

Originally from Gisenyi of Western Rwanda, Mudacumura was  deputy commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces during the 1994 genocide.

He fled to former Zaire (now DRC) after the victory of Rwanda Patriotic Army in July 1994.

In 2012 hhe prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought an arrest warrant against him, alleging responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 2009-10 in the Kivus.

In May this year in Kinshasa, DRC a summit was held that brought together President of DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and João Lourenço of Angola to discuss security issues in the region.

The tripartite meeting agreed to join hands in eradicating negative forces that spoil peace and security in the region.

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