More troubles for Namibia’s flag carrier
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The Windhoek High Court on Wednesday overturned a decision by the Transportation Commission of Namibia to suspend Air Namibia’s air license over cash crisis and safety concerns.
The national flag carrier turned to the court after the Commission resolved to temporarily suspend its Air Service License as the company struggles to remain solvent.
Judge Marlene Tommasi has since interdicted the transportation commission from going ahead with the suspension until August 3, 2020.
“The suspension of Air Namibia’s service license has been suspended by the High Court,” the airline spokesperson Paul Nakawa told media after the court decision.
“Air Namibia shall continue to fly all domestic flights as per published schedule. Safety remains at the heart of Air Namibia’s operations and we call on our esteemed passengers and stakeholders to continue supporting Air Namibia.”
The temporary suspension was to take effect on Wednesday at midnight until 22 July 2020 to afford Air Namibia time to sort out its finances. The suspension could have prohibited the airline from operating commercial flights.
The airline operates a fleet of 10 leased aircraft for its domestic and continental routes as well as the Windhoek to Frankfurt route.
The transport commission in the ministry of works and transport said it moved to ground the airline’s operations out of concern about its ongoing financial challenges.
“Taking all the factors into consideration and the requirements of the Air Services Act, namely that the operator must be financially able to provide a safe satisfactory and reliable air service,” the commission’s head Eldoretter Harmse said in a statement.
Nonetheless, Air Namibia troubles are far from over as the state-owned airline struggle to keep afloat.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has refuted recent media reports that the government has given up on Air Namibia and decided to have it liquidated.
Shiimi who chairs the Cabinet Committee on treasury has said no decision has been taken to liquidate the company.
But different options are on the table to restructure the company that employs about 800 people. The airline has a significant debt which if leaseholds are factored in will amount to mover than N$5 billion ($335 million).
“This means for the new business plan to be implemented, taking the outstanding debt into account, an amount of over N$7 billion ($470 million)will have to be spent in the current financial year which makes it unaffordable,” he said.
The government has already turned down Air Namibia’s request for N$2 billion ($134 million) bailout in October 2019. Instead, the government agreed to provide a N$578 million ($39 million) loan guarantee for the national airline.
Air Namibia has been allocated N$984.6 ($66 million) for the 2010/21 financial year. The loss-making parastatal has been the cause of headache for the State that has spent over N$8 billion ($537 million) to bail it out for the past two decades.
And President Hage Geingob believes the airline does not worth the headache, after his recent public call to liquidate the airline.
“Air Namibia must be liquidated. We have a very serious problem with air Namibia,” Geingob stressed while answering questions regarding the unprofitability of the national airline in parliament on June 5. “It must be restructured and if liquidation is the thing, we must do that.”
CFI Faults Draft Law on Cultural and Artistic Association in Cameroon
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Cameroon Film Industry (CFI), a platform of film stakeholders in Cameroon with representatives from the producers, directors, actors, technicians, and writers’ guilds have called for a revision of the draft law on cultural and artistic associations tabled before parliament on June 29, 2020.
The members amongst other things made it categorically clear that the draft law greatly ignores the bicultural nature of Cameroon enshrined in the preamble of our constitution. To them it is reflected in the fact that the law does not take into consideration the organizational differences that exists in the two cultural systems of Cameroon.
“The law is unconstitutional because it raises a lot of conflict with other laws, Takum Fred Che, Financial Secretary of CFI said. “You cannot take a situation where the 1990 Laws that have guaranteed that Associations can be created at the grassroot level bringing it to the people. But this draft is centralizing the whole thing back to the Minister of culture.”
He added: “You have to procedurally suffer and even have to do a lot of documentation to make sure your application move from the sub divisional level to divisional, regional, and national level. It makes the Minister the only person to accredit and authorize the existence of federation. This totally goes against the 1990 liberal laws.”
The members further indicated that the law makes room for just a single federation totally taking away the freedom to form one which makes the draft unconstitutional. “The law is also practically difficult to apply because finally it is unclear if associations shall be under the management and control of MINAC or MINAT, thus creating a fertile ground for conflict of functions, responsibilities, and powers,” a concept note from CFI noted.
CFI which is a major stakeholder in the film sector of the country according to officials were and are being ignored and sidelined in the drafting of the law. The law to the officials does not have what it takes to harness, nurture and maximize their potentials.
CFI added: “The September 22, 1979, law which is used as base is misrepresented in the present law because whereas the 1979 law was intelligent enough to know that cultural groups and artistic groups cannot be governed under the same law, this one erroneously thinks they are the same. While the 1979 law uses the terms, “company,” “union,” and “guilds” to distinguish the appellations used depending on the area of competence, this drafts attempts to use them as hierarchical structures that are directly related and dependent.”
Proposing solution to the draft law on cultural and artistic Associations in Cameroon, the members of CFI said a clear distinction between cultural groups and artistic groups had to be made, with specific laws elaborated for each to ensure their smooth functioning.
“Artistic groups should be governed by internationally established rules that respect and know guilds as agglomerations of common interest,” CFI said. “A confederation of federations representing our bicultural nature should be established in the artistic groups with equal representation.”
The draft bill has however been adopted leading CFI, and other stakeholders involve grappling with the fallout of the “bad” bill as stated by some officials.
The bill according to the Minster of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji is one that is going to make the industry more profit and make it closer to their minister than how it was before.
DECLARATION OF NON INTERNATIONAL ARMED CONFLICT IN AMBAZONIA (SOUTHERN CAMEROONS)
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
On July 4, 2020 at Accra, Ghana, the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS), an international organization serving the emerging states of Africa seeking self-determination declared the conditions for a Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC) under Article 3 of Geneva Convention (1949) are met.
The NIAC request was made to the OEAS after consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC )by the Ambazonian armed forces who have been battling the armed forces of Cameroun since October 2017.
The purpose of the NIAC is to provide relief to the Ambazonian civilians who are the true victims of the conflict as well as participants to the conflict who have laid down their weapons due to sickness or wounds and to extend the protection of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to them.
Ambazonian forces have pledged to cooperate with the ICRC and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). Camerounian government forces stand accused of targeting civilians, burning villages, and mass murder. Some of the less disciplined Ambazonian forces stand accused of hostage taking, theft, and assassinations.
Since October 2017 casualties have exceeded 25,000 and up to a million people have been displaced by fighting in one of Africa’s most contentious conflicts. Ambazonians are seeking the independence of the former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons from French speaking Republique du Cameroun.
Cameroon:“Reconstruction is a pathway to peace” — Minister Paul Tasong
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Head of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions (NOSO), Paul Tasong has noted that the ongoing reconstruction efforts for the two English-speaking regions are a pathway to bringing peace to the badly affected North West and South West regions.
Minister Paul Tasong and his assistant Donatus Njong were on a five-day consultation and awareness campaign in Buea, South West Region which seeks to bring together development stakeholders of the region to chart a way forward.
“This plan is insensitive to political lining. Its benefits are not restricted to those of a political party. The current insecurity has had and continues to have disastrous consequences on the living conditions of the population. Majority of social, basic infrastructure are in an advanced stage of decay. Schools, health centers have been burnt, destroyed…,” Paul Tasong said.
“Reconstruction is a step towards reconstructing human dignity as a step towards peace. Suffering is not an ingredient of peace. Reconstruction is a pathway to peace. It will be done gradually from the secured areas to the most volatile,” Minister Paul Tasong said. “People cannot live on assistance forever… The same story has been told us for four years, and the only thing we see is misery. We have to reconsider”, Paul Tasong highlighted.
“Tell the people you are here to represent that they cannot be told the same story for four years, and the only thing that happens is that their story gets worse. Tell them that suffering is not and cannot be a way of life,” the National Coordinator of the PPRD told those in attendance.
“Tell them that even monks feel pain. Tell them that an internally displaced persons or a refugee is not a permanent status. Tell them that these are conditions that have turned the hardworking people in the regions into beggars. Tell them that it is unacceptable that people in the NW and SWRs to become beggars and squatters in other regions,” He added.
The reconstruction and development process of the two English-speaking regions is set to run for a period of 10 years (2020 to 2030). Phase one of the reconstruction efforts is to the tune of FCFA 89 billion.
The funding for the reconstruction and development of the two English-speaking Regions amounts to three thousand five hundred billion FCFA. The presidential plan does not only encompass the North West and South West but moves equally to encompass the Far North Region which are facing the Boko Haram insurgencies.
The second phase is ongoing will focus on the structural transformation of the economy. It will target CDC, Pamol. The organizations which employ a huge number of persons have been greatly affected by the crisis as most of their activities have been put on hold. Persons working in those companies have been kidnapped for ransom, beaten, maimed, and even killed.
“The first phase should be called the recovery phase because the objective is to bring back the regions which have been devastated to the same situations as the other regions. The populations of the NW/SWRs have gone through a lot of security challenges,” Minister Paul Tasong said.
The National Coordinator went on to add that about 119 schools will be reconstructed in the South West Region, 44 health units, about 315 km of road, 36 bridges, water points and private property. About 11,000 houses have been destroyed in the South West Region.
Speaking to reporters Barrister David Mafani Namange told reporters that they cannot wait until peace totally returns for them to start because it pains him when he sees people living in inhumane circumstances. “We have roads, water points, schools, and health centers need to be reconstructed. We want a situation that start ups will be favoured to create youth employment. We are also going to see how we can come with a cooperative of farmers, so that, we work together. There is a lot that can be done,” He said.
The Anglophone crisis that started in November 2016 has led to human, financial, and material damage. Homes, bridges, hospitals, markets, schools have been burnt and several lives have been lost in a crisis that is in its fourth year.
Reconstruction and development should begin with reconstruction of the mind — Sen. Mbella Moki Charles
“… The Population of the North West and South West Region has lost four valuable years where human capital has been retarded. So reconstruction and development should begin with reconstruction of the mind and that developed and reconstructed mind can absorb to carry along the infrastructural development. That is what I had to enrich the debate today, and I hope that we can find common ground and forge a way forward.
The Muyuka people met and came out with a well detailed and documented plan of which we handed to the PPRD. As you know, Muyuka subdivision is the subdivision greatly hit by the crises. Several houses in Muyuka have been burnt down, hospitals, private houses and others have been torched.
We need to Disenclave Muyuka Subdivision — Hon. Findi Stanley
The stretch of road from Muyuka to Muyenge needs to be tarred. We have agricultural produce in those areas that cannot be brought out because of the inaccessibility of the area. The construction of a modern road that leads Muyuka to Muyenge will go a long way to facilitate the transportation of the produce from the farms to the markets.
We also need the construction of a cassava plant transformation. If we talk about cassava production Muyuka should be one of those subdivisions that produce large quantities of cassava. The way this cassava was being transformed forty years ago is the same way it is being transformed now. It is necessary for a modern transformations plant to be put in place which equally leads to the construction of modern markets with storage facilities.
The creation of a community ICT centre in Muyuka is imperative, where the youths can have a hub where they will sit and showcase their talents and sell products.
Coronavirus – Africa: WHO calls for equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines in Africa
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
WHO and partners launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to speed up the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of the), July 9, 2020/ — The World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa (www.Afro.WHO.int) joined immunization experts in urging the international community and countries in Africa to take concrete actions to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as researchers around the world race to find effective protection against the virus.
“It is clear that as the international community comes together to develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, equity must be a central focus of these efforts,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Too often, African countries end up at the back of the queue for new technologies, including vaccines. These life-saving products must be available to everyone, not only those who can afford to pay.”
WHO and partners launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to speed up the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. It brings together leaders of government, global health organizations civil society groups, businesses and philanthropies to form a plan for an equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO is collaborating with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to ensure a fair allocation of vaccines to all countries, aiming to deliver 2 billion doses globally for high-risk populations, including 1 billion for low and middle-income countries.
The African Union has endorsed the need for Africa to develop a framework to actively engage in the development and access to COVID-19 vaccines. Countries can take steps now that will strengthen health systems, improve immunization delivery, and pave the way for the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine. These include: mobilizing financial resources; strengthening local vaccine manufacturing, and regulatory, supply and distribution systems; building workforce skills and knowledge; enhancing outreach services; and listening to community concerns to counter misinformation.
Globally, there are nearly 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates and currently 19 are in clinical trials. South Africa is the first country on the continent to start a clinical trial with the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg testing a vaccine developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute in the United Kingdom. The South African Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial is expected to involve 2000 volunteers aged 18–65 years and include some people living with HIV. The vaccine is already undergoing trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil with thousands of participants.
According to the African Academy of Sciences only 2% of clinical trials conducted worldwide occur in Africa. It is important to test the COVID-19 vaccine in countries where it is needed to ensure that it will be effective. With more than 215 000 cases, South Africa accounts for 43% of the continent’s total cases. Clinical trials must be performed according to international and national scientific and ethical standards, which include informed consent for any participant.
“I encourage more countries in the region to join these trials so that the contexts and immune response of populations in Africa are factored in to studies,” said Dr Moeti. “Africa has the scientific expertise to contribute widely to the search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Indeed, our researchers have helped develop vaccines which provide protection against communicable diseases such as meningitis, Ebola, yellow fever and a number of other common health threats in the region.”
Earlier, this month WHO Africa’s principle advisory group on immunization policies and programmes – the African Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) – also noted the need to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 and other vaccines in the region.
“As the world focuses on finding a vaccine for COVID-19, we must ensure people do not forget that dozens of lifesaving vaccines already exist. These vaccines should reach children everywhere in Africa – no one can be left behind,” said Professor Helen Rees, Chair of the RITAG.
Initial analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immunization in the African Region suggests that millions of African children are likely to be negatively impacted, as routine immunization services and vaccination campaigns for polio, cholera, measles, yellow fever, meningitis and human papilloma virus have been disrupted.
Despite these challenges, RITAG members also noted significant milestones and markers of progress. For example, there have been tremendous gains in the fight against wild poliovirus, and the African Region is expected to be officially certified free of wild poliovirus in August 2020. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also announced the end of its 10th Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC, which was the worst in its history. An effective vaccine was a key tool in the response.
Dr Moeti spoke about COVID-19 vaccine development in Africa during a virtual press conference today organized by APO Group. She was joined by Professor Shabir Madhi, University of Witwatersrand, Principal Investigator of Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Trial in South Africa; and Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of the MCR/UVRI and LSHTM Ugandan Research Unit. The briefing was streamed on more than 300 African news sites as well as the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
*SOURCE WHO Regional Office for Africa
New report on the status of renewable energy in Africa shows that more ambition can help towards a just recovery from COVID-19
July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
Johannesburg, South Africa – A new report released today shows that Africa is slowly planning a renewable energy powered future. Climate justice activist organisations 350Africa.org and WoMin African Alliance commissioned the research for Renewable Energy in Africa: An opportunity in a time of crisis before the COVID-19 health pandemic swept across the globe, to map out Africa’s ambition towards dealing with the continent’s other crisis – its energy crisis. COVID-19 is exacerbating existing developmental issues like access to energy, bringing to attention the need to develop renewable energy as part of a just recovery from the pandemic.
With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 impacting lives and livelihoods, governments are searching for solutions. While some countries have made commitments to increasing their energy coming from renewable sources, there is abundant potential for more to be done. This will not only support decentralised, homegrown development, but will also assist communities across the continent to counter the impacts of the virus and future shocks. Importantly, for renewable energy to be a success in Africa, the rights and collective decisions of local communities have to be taken into consideration.
The report shows that by 2030 renewable energy installations are projected to go up to over 77GW. This is a massive increase from the less than 15GW currently operating. However, by 2030 coal will still have a 43% share of installed energy capacity in Africa. The uptake of renewable energy technologies in the form of geothermal, solar, ocean wave, wind and small hydro, thus falls far short of that of fossil fuels, including diesel and fossil gas installations. In the context of the global climate, ecological and health crises, more ambitious plans are needed from African governments to leapfrog dirty energy and secure people’s access to clean energy.
The report, which maps renewable energy projects across ten African countries (Botswana, DRC, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda), shows that where issues have been encountered with renewable energy, they are largely due to the implementation of the projects. The hugely detrimental impacts of the operation of fossil fuel plants to people and the environment are absent. However, the problems in implementation of large renewable energy projects can mirror those of fossil fuel projects. The report therefore highlights the importance of community participation and consent in the planning of the project, agreement on community benefits including having access and right to the energy produced and the opportunity and ability of the community to own all or part of the project.
On the sidelines of the launch, Landry Ninteretse, the Regional Team Lead for 350Africa.org said:
“Renewable energy is already well suited to Africa. Many people live out of reach of centralised grids, however in a continent rich in wind, hydro and solar resources, they should be easily deployed to meet the needs of these unserved and underserved populations.”
Trusha Reddy, Head of WoMin’s Energy and Climate Justice Programme added:
“Where renewable energy projects are sited and constructed, it should be done in a way that reduces negative impacts. In constructing renewable energy, we need to be sensitive to the ecological and community impacts – particularly those of women, and to ensure the benefits are shared equitably. We also need to be wary of blindly following an industrial model of renewable energy development which involves massive destructive mining of minerals for components. Different models should be explored.”
Globally, there has been a significant push to move to renewable energy, as it has the potential of not only transforming the lives of millions but is kinder to the planet. However, in order for renewable energy to be truly transformative it needs to reach the energy and economically poor; the move to 100% clean energy should avoid the old models of energy generation that have denied people access to energy and have resulted in land grabs, environmental destruction, pollution and above all the fueling of climate change.
As South Sudan Turns Nine, Bloodshed Persist
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – On Thursday, South Sudan celebrated its ninth year of independence. The promise from that historic moment when the country became the world’s youngest nation has since fizzled leaving behind a painful trail of anguish from a bloody civil war that has dogged the country since 2013.
Many inhabitants of its southern region and other peripheral areas were frustrated with what they described as lack of autonomy, marginalization, oppression and neglect from the central government, while Khartoum regime was either unable or unwilling to resolve these long-standing issues peacefully.
This resulted to Southerners’ rebellion in a 1983, lasted for two decades, following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005 in Naivasha – Kenya.
However, the people of Southern voted overwhelmingly for secession in a 2011 referendum.
On the 9th of July 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after the decades of earth – scorched civil war as the outcome of a 2005 agreement to end Africa’s longest civil war, during which 2.5 million people were killed and 4 million displaced.
At the time, the US –backed secession was hailed as a way forward to peace and stability but it did not end the plight of the South Sudanese.
Nine years on, conflict is still a fact of life in many parts of the country, as the previous fighting between Khartoum and Juba gave way to infighting among the South Sudanese.
Civil war broke out in 2013, when President Salva Kiir fell out with his vice president Dr. Riek Machar, who accused of staging a coup.
The two leaders represent South Sudan’s two largest ethnic groups. Their [Kiir and Machar] provoked a largely ethnic conflict that killed up to 380,000 people and uprooted 4 million people from their homes over five years.
Although a peace deal was signed in August 2018 between president Kiir and ex – rebel leader, SPLM-IO Dr. Machar, ceasefire was partial held but bloodshed and instability persist plus stalling of the peace process.
The UN Mission in South Sudan allegedly recorded 415 violent incidents in the first five months of 2020 alone.
Armed conflict continues between the government and non-signatories to the peace agreement in some areas, while in others, inter-communal violence fueled by competition over resources, easy access to arms and weak rule of law is on the rise.
President Salva Kiir, in his keynote speech for ninth anniversary, said this year, public’s celebration has been affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic outbreaks in the worldwide.
President said the permanent ceasefire is largely holding while interrupted by coronavirus and inter – communal violence across the country.
“Unfortunately, our success in ending political violence is now threatened by a different sort of violence; inter – communal conflict that is ragging in different parts of our country,” said president Kiir. “As the government, we will not allow this new threat to reverse our gains. We shall pursue a multi-layered approach to resolve this problem once and for all.”
Kiir said his government in due days will initiate inter and intra – communal dialogue so that they can address the root causes of this fighting both between and within the communities.
“Alongside this process, we shall launch a full – scale disarmament of the civil population, an exercise which is already underway in some parts of the country,” said Kiir.
Despite what have achieved in terms of implementing the revitalized peace deal, Kiir admitted that he is acutely aware that the peace implementation remains painfully slow and far below people’s expectations.
“We must therefore collectively act in a decisive fashion to pick up the pace in resolving sticky issues in the implementation of the agreement,” said Kiir.
President Kiir further calls upon the parties to the peace deal to sort out impasses matters through amicable political understanding.
“It is also critical that we, the parties to the agreement desist from adopting uncompromising positions in the hope that the mediation will eventually back them. We must move away from such attitudes because the peace we seek to consolidate is our own peace as South Sudanese – it is only us who stand to benefit or lose in its success or failure,” Kiir said. Our regional partners and the international community are only there to lend support, but they will never prescribe solutions to our problems. Therefore we must find ourselves through meaningful and genuine dialogue geared towards finding practical solutions rather than scoring political points or maneuvering for future political advantage,” he added.
Hopes of a peaceful
Despite fears of an uncertain future, citizens of South Sudan, who spokes to this media, cling to the hopes of a peaceful South Sudan.
David Wol, Juba resident, is maintaining up hopes along his country’s road to lasting peace through small step.
Violence come and go, so we still hope for peaceful country, said Martha John, Juba resident.
I believe that this country will soon get back to its feet despite these uncertain matters,” Wol said.
The observers need the peace government or parties to come together in unity and peace to respond to this new threat to the country, especially inter – communal violence.
The UN mission in South Sudan said the South Sudanese leaders should reflects the reasons they waged longest wars to be free and then collaborate to settle unresolved matters to achieve vibrant nation.
“It was a proud moment for the people who fought so hard for the right to determine their own future,” said UNMISS in the press statement, today. However, there is still much work that needs to be done to end the outbreaks of violence and to ensure that we have a truly unified government that makes collaborative decisions in the best interests of its citizens,” added in its part.
President concluded by saying “let us all work tirelessly irrespectively of our political leanings to restore trust among ourselves and to amend the social fabric that was torn apart by war we are now putting behind us. Let us all desist from unnecessary propaganda and instead work together as South Sudanese to put our country permanently on the path of peace.”
South Sudan’s rival leaders officially started the process of forming a transitional coalition government in late February after it was postponed twice, but the security arrangements remained so challenges, which remains trigger violence.
Secession was hailed as the path to peace, freedom but it has been blighted by violence and corruption in the landlocked country.
Moreover, the citizens and analysts believe the current leaders have betrayed the ideals that they fought for, including the vision of the late Dr. John Garang. South Sudanese leaders are yet to move the country towards sustained peace and development.
Nigerians in Indonesia appeal for Chidoka’s intervention, accuse Embassy of abandonment
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Emma Okafor
Following alleged extortion and discrimination targeted at citizens, Nigerians in Indonesia have appealed to the former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka to intervene in issues affecting them in the country.
The immigrants had accused the country’s immigration and police officers of targeted raids and harassment, which they said led to the deaths of some of their compatriots, the last being the case of a 41-year-old Nigerian man who fell from a nine-storey building while attempting to escape from immigration officers.
The development led to a violent protest and destruction of properties at the Nigerian Consulate in Jakarta by angry Nigerians who equally accused the Embassy of doing nothing while its citizens were being targeted, harassed and sometimes killed.
In an online television programme, Citizens Forum hosted by Joi John, on Tuesday, Chidoka interacted with the immigrants who called to pour out their hearts during the phone-in programme.
The former minister who frowned at the development after listening to them, however pledged to assist those who wish to return to the country, but said it is of utmost importance to rebuild trust between the Nigerian Embassy and Nigerians in the country.
Chidoka said: “We will see how we can rebuild trust between the Nigerian Embassy and Nigerians living in Indonesia, because we need to get the Embassy on the same page, going forward.
“Do not lose hope, I am a supporter of immigration, we must find legal methods of immigration, we must promote actively our 200 million populations. We must promote actively for the world to lower the bars, allowing freedom of movement, so long as there is freedom of movement of goods. Otherwise, if you can’t move freely, then goods should not be moving freely too. There should be freedom of immigration, so that each country can be a good production area,” he said.
Chidoka however called for calm, advising the visibly angry immigrants to calm down and shun violence, while promising to engage the Nigerian and Indonesian government with a view to finding a lasting solution.
“Stay away from violence, and calm down from attacking the embassy and its officials, I believe that at the end of the day, we are going to find a way to give succor to Nigerians in Indonesia. I can see that the preponderance of the people here are Igbo young men. Just be ready, and I will make sure that I speak out strongly to ensure that the government does something to let those who want to go home go, and also engage the Indonesian government to respect Nigerians there, otherwise we request the Nigerian Government to retaliate against Indonesians who are working in Nigeria, if Indonesians do not follow basic human rights.
“Extorting Nigerians at the entry to Indonesia is wrong, entering people’s houses without warrants is wrong, not respecting human rights is against everything that is noble in human beings. Also the world has come to a point where migrants and itinerant workers have rights, and you must respect those rights.
The former Corps Marshal of the FRSC said he looks forward to getting back to them soon with some specific news on how to move forward.
The CEO of Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema made a surprise appearance in the programme, when he obliged to an invitation by Chidoka to appear in the programme and make contributions towards evacuation of citizens.
Onyema who praised and thanked Chidoka for his intervention in the matter, equally condemned the violent nature of the protest by the angry Nigerians. He said “The images we saw are not something to be proud of. That particular act is wrong, and those who did it should apologize to the government of Nigeria.”
He however added: “When we receive information from the government to evacuate citizens, we will surely send our planes down.”
Earlier in the programme, contributors who mainly called in from Indonesia cried out over what they described as serious maltreatment of citizens by Immigration and Police authorities in the country.
Over 20 callers, out of the numerous who made attempts to speak were able to air their views about how much maltreatment they receive from the authorities in Indonesia on a daily basis. They also narrated tales of woe, where the Indonesian authorities who they accused of being heavily corrupt, took away their hard-earned money and beat them like animals. Some equally gave testimonies of how these authorities would raid their homes, tie them up like animals and steal their valuables, on a regular basis.
Some of them also blamed the Nigerian Embassy in the country for not standing up to assist them in times of challenges, and even called for the sack of the Nigerian ambassador to Indonesia, whom they said is useless since he and the entire consulate have not lived up to expectations.
They complained of rising lack of employment opportunities, and appealed to Chidoka to use his connections to help them leave the country back to Nigeria.
One of the contributors who identified himself as Emeka said: “They arrested me and took N780,000 (30 million rupia) from me. They took my wallet and all the money inside, took my watch, rings, best shoes, national ID card, they will come to raid our apartment, and tie us like goats. Then put us in their vehicle.
“Then they will come back and search our rooms and ransack our belongings, take them and never return them. I came to Indonesia with a business visa. They will take that money and never issue you a receipt. They will also steal your belongings, and ask you to move to another apartment. They don’t treat other African nationals like this, only Nigerians.
Another caller said “So many Nigerians are trapped here. Their passports are expired, and when they catch you, they will not allow you to return to Nigeria. If they arrest you and you tell them, there is no money, they will tell you to tell, your people in Nigeria to sell land and send money so they can bail you. It’s that bad. They use electric shock on us too.
“When our passports expire, and due to be renewed at the Nigerian Embassy, the Embassy denies knowing us, that we are criminals. They will tell you to go back to Nigeria to renew your passport. The Nigerian embassy will also demand for bribe from us.
“So many Nigerians have died in detention camps here because they keep getting beaten until they die. The others are also jumping down from skyscrapers, jumping to their death.”
Another, who identified himself as Kamara expressed himself in anger. He said: “I had my valid papers, and even a return ticket to Nigeria and they caught me last year. They beat the hell out of me, and I paid money to be bailed that night. The problem is that even with your paper, they don’t care. You must pay. Your paper expires every two months,
“They have also banned us from going to Malaysia to renew our papers.
Our embassy knows what is going on, and with your papers you are not free. Once they invade your house, they make away with anything that belongs to you.”
A caller, Davidson, disclosed that the man who jumped down from a nine storey building and died never intended to jump down, but that when the immigration came, they banged on the door with excessive force and they were all afraid. So he wanted to jump into his neighbor’s balcony but didn’t make it.
“When he fell, the police cordoned off the area, and he was not dead then. He was alive for three hours, but there was no assistance. They didn’t want us to help. They claimed to have called an ambulance but no ambulance was coming. I brought my own car for emergency, but they blocked us. The Asian women began to shout. They said they have oxygen but no one to operate it.
Adding “Can you imagine that someone at the Nigerian Embassy said that the man who died didn’t have a valid visa, and that the immigration didn’t tell him to jump. That’s what our Embassy said to us, and said that there was nothing they can do. That was the day I lost all confidence in our Embassy. They even said that if we want to pursue the case, that it’s not the business of the Embassy, that it is a personal issue of Nigerians living in the country.”
Mozambique:Nyusi Calls For Exemplary Punishment For Cabo Delgado Terrorists
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge dos Santos
Insurgents who are put on trial should receive “swift and exemplary punishment,” President Filipe Nyusi said during the inauguration of Henriques Carlos Xavier Cossa as a supreme court judge on Wednesday.
“We have to continue to fight violence together, enforcing criminal responsibility for terrorists who are neutralised and sent to court. Our expectation is that in holding responsible those who carry out such acts, the judiciary must be swift and exemplary in their actions, so that a feeling of impunity does not prevail”, the president said, with criminals receiving “exemplary punishment”. Cossa has been a judge since 1992, and until his appointment was president of the Judicial Court of the City of Maputo.
Noting that Mozambique is looking for foreign military support, Islamic State’s al-Naba’ newsletter warned South Africa that if it intervened, this “may result in pushing the soldiers of the Islamic State to open a fighting front inside its borders.” And it adds “If the Crusaders reckon that their support for the disbelieving government in Mozambique will protect their investments and guarantee the continuation of their plunder of the resources of the region, they are deluded,” and the “soldiers of the Caliphate” will push them out of the gas fields.
Whatever, an MP for South African opposition party the DA said in parliament yesterday that soldiers from SA’s Maritime Reaction Squadron and Special Forces are deployed in Mozambique. DA MP Kobus Marais told the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans: “As we stand, we know we have soldiers in Mozambique,” and asked about the budget for the Maritime Reaction Squadron and Special Forces. The question went unanswered.
“Technically speaking, any deployment of SANDF troops must be made public via a letter to Parliament that details size, deployment time, and estimated cost. But that is incompatible with clandestine Special Forces operations,” Darren Olivier, editor of South African publication African Defence Review, said on Twitter. The maritime reaction squadron deployment could have taken place under Operation Copper, an existing joint operation involving South Africa in defending Mozambique’s coastline; but the special forces deployment “may be technically illegal if it is taking place.” On the other hand, “revealing a clandestine SF reconnaissance or advise & assist mission isn’t ideal either,” Olivier said.
As Covid-19 Overstays, Fao And Partners Donate Ppe To The Government Of Sierra Leone
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Uzman Bah
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has donated an assortment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the governments of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. The FAO Country Rep, together with the US ambassador to Sierra Leone made this donation at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Freetown.
The FAO with support from the government of the United States of America has refurbished a central veterinary lab in Teko, Makeni; supported the ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in creating an epi-unit in the livestock division, and sustained a unit of field personnel that monitor livestock diseases.
“FAO representation in Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is implementing programmes aimed at strengthening government capacity to address priority zoonotic diseases using the one health approach,” Tipo said.
The ambassador of the United States of America, Maria Brewer said, the US government has established partnerships with global organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations to reinforce animal health capacity to detect and respond to livestock and zoonotic diseases with precision.
“As part of our assistance to Sierra Leone, the U.S Government and FAO are please to shift an in-country stock of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, face shields, and coveralls, to assist the ministry of health and sanitation with these much-needed supplies.” Ambassador Brewer said.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Sierra Leone has stretched the country’s health system and the safety of the health care workers is fundamental to helping curb the COVID-19 pandemic; unquestionable these donations will go a long way in supporting the fight against COVID-19.
Sierra Leone : Rainbow Initiative Calls On Government To Invest In Forensic Lab To Increase Convictions On Sexual Assault Cases
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Deputy Executive Director of Rainbow Initiative in Sierra Leone , Gibril Kargbo has called on the government and its development partners to invest in forensic lab in order to increase conviction on sexual assault cases in the country.
Gibril Kargbo made the statement today during the People’s Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA) Press briefing on the need towards law reform for the protection and promotion of sexual Reproductive Health and Rights in Sierra Leone at the Civil Service Training College , on Tower Hill in Freetown.
“However, we want to encourage government to increase its support to the institutions that are in the middle of the fight against SGBV’s in Sierra Leone , specifically we want to encourage government and its development partners to invest in the forensic lab that can provide stronger evidence to support conviction,’’ he said.
He added that there has been an increasing effort of both past and present government in the empowerment women and girls in the country stating that this is evident in the enactment of couple of laws like the child Rights Act 2007, the sexual Offences Act 2012 among others.
“Today we stand with our friends and colleagues to explore and fight a common enemy that is slowly destroying our country. Rape is not only a health problem for women and girls , it has psychological effect on them. In 2019, we recorded 3,701 sexual assault cases with 598 pregnancies, 4 HIV positives , and 255 successful prosecution. Between January and May 2020, Rainbow Initiatives have recorded a total of 1,272 sexual assault cases in just five districts with a total of 217 pregnancies and 932 STI that can be directly related ,’’Kargbo lamented.
Kargbo revealed that in May this year , they treated a three-month old baby stating that as he is speaking they are also treating , a 9-year-old baby in their clinic after a brutal rape.
“We have started reporting cases of boys that are been rape. Ladies and gentlemen its high time we set up a forensic lab so as to increase conviction and expose perpetrators . Let us all step up our efforts to support the survivors and re- integrate them into our communities,’’ the Rainbow deputy boss said.
The Rainbow deputy Director called on everyone to break the silence an speak out and report cases thus called on religious leaders to join them in the fight by including prevention and awareness raising messages in their sermons in churches and mosques.
“Please let me say that women and girls are at the centre to the country’s development and they deserved to be protected from all forms of violence . Rainbow Initiatives therefore remains committed to this fight,’’ the Rainbow deputy director emphasized.
Speaking on the Legal challenges of Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights , including justice for survivor of sexual assault in Sierra Leone, President of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and social justice (LAWYERS ), Lawyer Fatmata Sorie said Sierra Leone is a signatory to many international treaties and conventions notably the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) including the Maputo protocols thus the need for the country to uphold its obligation in making sexual and Reproductive Health a rights in Sierra Leone.
“Despite its obligations under international law, as a country , we have failed to put the structures in place to domesticate the Maputo Protocol and other treaties. Regardless of our signing of these treaties , we currently maintained very , very , restrictive and I will also add punitive measures as well as laws that is limiting every women’s right to choose on sexual and Reproductive Health ,’’she revealed.
She added that, over the years efforts have been made to change the status quo thus referencing in 2015 , that there was a mere miss of achieving law reform of sexual reproductive rights in the country with the safe Abortion Bill.
“Why did we miss this opportunity ? this was a result of the massive opposition which appeared from all sects predominantly the religious sector. There was insufficient engagement of the relevance of the bill . The name of the bill itself was a problem . I will not want to proffer those things today but that I will tell you there is obligation on the state to pass that bill,’’ Lawyer Sorie said , adding that with the alarming rate of SGBV’s and sexual Assault cases in the country there is need for a safe motherhood bill.
Executive Director CARL, Ibrahim Tommy , speaking on the PARHA /CARL -SL Amplify Change grant said the one of key things as part of the project is make sure that they advocate for the backward and outdated laws like the 1861 Offences Against the Persons’ Act that criminalises abortion and sexual reproductive rights for women and girls in the country.
“We believe that in this day and age ,that it shouldn’t be the case , so , this grant will make sure that, it will create a safe and secure space for women and girls in the country to have rights on their sexual reproductive health as there are many players in the coalition including Marie Stopes Sierra Leone,’’ he said
He said the coalition has a nation- wide membership of over 50 CSO’s inclusive of grassroots advocacy groups , professional bodies, Faith based Organisation , Trade unions , and Individuals in the country.
South Sudan Central Bank To Buy Crude Gold From Miners In Bid To Raise Revenue
July 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – The Bank of South Sudan has announced plans to buy crude gold from local miners in a bid to boost the country’s economy after six years of conflict.
Central Bank Governor Jamal Abdalla Wani told reporters in Juba on Tuesday that the government has approved $4 million, to build its mineral stockpile.
“The president never disappointed us, he requested the money to be released from the ministry of finance,” Juma Abdallah Wani told SSBC on Tuesday.
Wani also revealed that the board of the bank also approved an additional $1.5 million to acquire crude gold.
The gold, according to the bank’s boss, will be acquired from local miners in the country. It shall then be refined and stored within the bank.
“With that crude gold, if we have enough of it, then we can go to the next step of refining it. That means we have to get pure gold with us in the bank,” said Wani.
Eastern Equatoria is one of the regions in the country that contains some of the most important and best-known sites for artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
However, the 2012 Mining Act criminalizes black market gold sales but despite this legal framework, South Sudan’s gold remains ungoverned and poorly regulated.
Wani says the gold will be bought from local miners. “We need to attract them so that we can buy more gold,” he said.
The central bank governor further said the institution’s plan came after prices of crude oil in the international market dropped, besides the negative impact of the novel coronavirus.
South Sudan is currently produces about 175,000 barrels per day, 40 percent of which goes to cover operating costs, and partners such as China’s CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas take 20 percent of it.
Income from crude oil accounts for 98 percent of South Sudan’s budget.
Wani however said they also have a plan to support agricultural projects, especially the production of Gum Arabic in the country.
“This will strengthen the local currency against the US dollar and also enable us to obtain loans,” he said.
South Sudan government have been relying heavily on the oil sector to fund its budget, including other projects while discarding other vibrant sectors such as agriculture, mining and tourism to boost the country’s economy.
Report by the US-based Sentry group in March said the country’s gold mining sector is riddled with corruption that involving President Salva Kiir’s relatives, military leaders, and other senior officials in South Sudan.
South Sudan, marks ninth anniversary of her independence on Thursday, July 9, 2020, just emerged from the six year of conflict, which killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before ruined the country’s economy.
South Sudan’s rival leaders officially started the process of forming a transitional coalition government in late February after it was postponed twice, but the security arrangements or unification of forces remained so challenges, which remains thought-provoking.