Gambia: In Christmas Message President Barrow Warns Against Religious Extremism
December 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow, has warned Gambians to desist from religious extremism.
He expressed concerns about “grave distortions” of religious teachings. Such distortions can be used as excuses for extremism, leading to evil, social disorder, instability and loss of lives.
He was addressing the nation in his annual Christmas message to the Christian community on the occasion marking celebrations of Christmas holiday.
“We must not allow this to take root here,” he warned.
President Barrow describes Christmas as one of the occasions that truly demonstrate the religious harmony that Gambians are renowned for. The President noted that religion is a part of The Gambia’s diverse cultural heritage.
Religion adds meaning to life through the values it teaches and the manner it shapes and modifies behaviour. This makes the role of religious leaders critical, he added.
“We encourage all venerable leaders to remain steadfast, with the reassurance that my Government acknowledges their contribution to our development, progress and overall wellbeing,” he maintained.
Gambian leader pointed out that the dignity of the people has to be maintained through reason, dialogue and strengthening interfaith collaboration. Hence Christmas should be seen as a reminder for all to continue to propagate the true teachings of Jesus Christ.
President Barrow assured that his Government maintains a focused-attention on creating, sustaining and expanding the public space for responsible participation in national development.
He urged all to exploit the moment to re-energise themselves in readiness for the coming year so that the country can maximize national output and achievements.
DRC politician wants his country to wage a war on Rwanda
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
An opposition politician and a leader of a coalition Lamuka in Democratic Republic of Congo, Adolphe Muzito wants his country to invade Rwanda as well as annexing it to its territory in order to end 20 years of insecurity in eastern Congo.
Adolphe who became Joseph Kabila’s prime Minister between 2008 and 2012, announced this on Monday in a press conference, the first of its kind as coordinator of Lamuka platform.
Muzito told journalists that there is no peace in Eastern Congo without annexing Rwanda.
“To resolve the situation, we must wage war in Rwanda. If we want to control the east of the Republic, we must wage war in Rwanda. To make war, you need an army, you need a strong power, with good finances and occupy Rwanda. Ultimately, annex Rwanda to the Congo ”.
For Muzito, Rwanda has been at the helm of destabilizing Congo, invading that country in the name of hunting down rebels while pillaging its natural resources.
The words of Muzito didn’t resonate well in ears of other Lamuka big leaders like Moise Katumba and Jean Pierre Bemba who immediately ‘disassociate energetically’ from such speech.
In announcement they said “While being energetically dissociated from these words, we can no longer be very serious, we would like to recall that under international law and bilateral agreements with this neighboring country, such an approach can in no case receive the approval of the living forces local and the international community “.
They rather advised Muzito to reconsider his words and withdraw them.
Muzito’s speech angered some Rwandans, calling Lamuka to take measures against him.
“The day when Adolphe Muzito will restore peace with an entity named “REASON” and the day it occupies a territory named “BRAIN”, it would already be a great feat”, commented Olivier Nduhungirehe on Twitter, who is state Minister in the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Lamuka is made of political parties that came together in 2017 to end Joseph Kabila’s rule after the end of his two mandates that was granted to him by constitution.
Among members of Lamuka is Martin Fayulu who run for presidency in 2018, Jean Pierre Bemba’s MLC, Moise Katumbi and others.
Mozambique: Filipe Nyusi officially proclaimed winner of presidential elections
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Arnaldo Cuamba
Mozambique’s Constitutional Council validated the results of the presidential, legislative and provincial elections held on 15 October, which gave a significant victory to the Frelimo party and its presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi.
The decision was announced on Tuesday in Maputo city by the President of the body, Lucia Ribeiro.
“The Constitutional Council validates the results of the presidential elections of October 15, 2019 and proclaims the citizen Filipe Jacinto Nyusi elected President of the Republic of Mozambique,” she announced.
Nyusi has won Mozambique’s Presidential election with 73 percent of the vote. On a turnout of 50.74%, Renamo’s Ossufo Momade came second with 21.88%, MDM’s Daviz Simango third with 4.38%, and Mario Albino of AMUSI got 0.73%.
The results for the Assembly of the Republic give Frelimo 184 of the 250 seats, with Renamo getting 60 and the MDM 6. Frelimo therefore has a 73.6% majority in parliament. Frelimo also won the provincial elections and is expected to govern in ten provinces of the country.
The Renamo Party did not participate in the results announcement ceremony claiming that the elections were fraudulent, however, Ribeiro said on the occasion that “the Constitutional Council considers that the irregularities verified during the electoral process did not substantially influence the results of the elections”.
In his first speech after the results were validated, Nyusi, speaking before members and sympathisers, promised a hard-working governance, based mainly on inclusion, “because we believe that together we can develop this country”. He also said that peace will receive particular attention during his second term, emphasizing that Mozambique “cannot be a country of wars and discontent”.
Meanwhile, in a press conference held in Maputo, Renamo announced that it will call nationwide demonstrations in protest of the results. MDM also does not recognize the results and states that “what happened in Mozambique was a major erasure in the process of developing democracy in the country”.
In any case, President Nyusi’s inauguration for the second term of office is scheduled for 15 January, while two days earlier, on the 13th, it will be the turn of the 250 Members of Parliament.
Gambia:Truth Commission set to hear Ghanaians’ case in 2020
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, Executive Secretary of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has told journalists that his institution will next year hear the case of the 44 Ghanaians and other West African migrants who were killed in The Gambia in July 2005.
The public hearings, he said, will resume on 20 January 2020 and other topics to be covered will include the April 2016 incidents involving the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) resulting in the death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng, a propaganda Secretary of United Democratic Party.
Dr. Jallow said the Commission will also hold hearings on the former president’s fake alternative treatment programme, enforced disappearances, the Judiciary, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and the prisons.
He explained that 188 witnesses have appeared before the Commission so far, including 51 women, 35 perpetrators, alleged perpetrators and adversely mentioned persons, and 23 Gambian diaspora witnesses who testified via a video link.
Nigeria Profits from Public-Private Investments: Waltersmith Modular Refinery Set to Meet the Scheduled Deadline
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
The project falls in line with H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva’s objectives to foster private sector participation in increasing domestic refinery capacity
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 23, 2019/ — Phase one of the modular refinery and the ground breaking ceremony of the phase two is expected to hold in May 2020; The Waltersmith project has already reached 90 percent completion; The project falls in line with H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva’s objectives to foster private sector participation in increasing domestic refinery capacity.
Last week, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva paid an inspection visit to the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State.
Accompanied by Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Simbi K. Wabote, Minister Sylva said the Federal Government would continue on its efforts to ensure that the project meets the set deadline where phase one (5,000 bpd) of the modular refinery and the groundbreaking ceremony of phase two, which is targeted at delivering 25,000 bpd crude and condensate refinery; designed to produce gasoline, diesel, LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel, is expected in May 2020.
The minister said that the overall expectation of the site visit where the project that has already reached 90 percent completion, “was to see indigenous Nigerian Companies do well and the Waltersmith Modular Refinery is a major bright spot which has recently been incorporated into the Nation’s projection for petroleum product sufficiency and availability.” Further, the minister directed that the NCMB and Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited (Waltersmith) should centre their attention to corporate social responsibility which will ensure a “sustained and successful relationship with the host community.”
To this, AbdulRazaq Isa, Chairman of Waltersmith said the project’s first phase would create several direct and indirect jobs for the host community.
“This project is crucial for the development of the refining sector on the continent. Alongside the Dangote refinery which is slated for completion in early 2021, Nigeria is quickly setting an example for the role private investment stands to play in the development of the industry’s capabilities,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude producer, yet it lacks the refining capacity to meet its own fuel needs and through projects like these, the country is effectively making the move towards addressing this issue,” he added.
The public-partnership sees Waltersmith holding a 70 percent interest while NCDMB holds the remaining 30 percent.
One of the main drives for the development of this project include the crude loss which comes as a result of crude handling and the cost of crude transportation from the marginal fields owned by Waltersmith, said AbdulRazaq Isa who also explained that the first phase of the project is expected to contribute an estimated 271 million litres of refined products including Diesel, Naphtha, HFO and Kerosene annually to the domestic market.
The project reached FID in September 2018 with an 18-month Delivery time from November 2018 to May 2020, for phase one.
Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited is a wholly owned Nigerian integrated energy company. It is operator of the 7000 bpd Ibigwe field located on the OML 16 in the eastern Niger Delta and is also active in the OML 34 in Niger Delta Western Ltd where it holds a 8.33 percent stake.
Following a competitive bidding process in EGRonda 2019, the company was awarded a 40 percent stake in Block EG-23 earlier this month, allowing it to take operatorship of the asset.
The Block is located in Equatorial Guinea’s Niger Delta basin. This acquisition forms part of the company’s expansion plan which will see it venture further into Africa as it works to participate in accelerated production and extended value creation.
‘Let West Africa’s success echo throughout the world.’ ECOWAS hails the success of African Development Bank investments in the region
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
The African Development Bank’s investments in West Africa are yielding remarkable results, the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said in Abuja on Saturday.
He was speaking at the bloc’s fifty-sixth ordinary session, attended by regional heads of state and government.
Brou said the Bank had provided “invaluable technical and financial interventions…in the implementation of numerous projects and programmes”.
The region’s economy is showing positive achievements, reaching 3.3 percent growth in 2019, he said, “despite facing significant challenges, particularly with regards to security. ECOWAS member states have demonstrated remarkable resilience.”
In a speech, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari assured ECOWAS that his country was committed to regional integration, requesting members to channel collective energies towards accelerating sustainable peace, security, stability and inclusive economic growth.
“It is always gratifying when our regional bloc comes together to advance our agenda for regional integration and promote the socioeconomic development of our subregion,” he told the high-level meeting.
For his part, the President of the African Development Bank Akinwunmi Adesina put the Bank’s current portfolio of investments in West Africa at $20 billion, with a strong focus on critical sectors.
“The African Development Bank has always been there at the right time, with the right product, for the right needs of countries,” Adesina told delegates.
“Such was the case in Nigeria, where the Bank helped to provide $600 million of budget support that helped it get out of recession, a tough time for Nigeria. The Bank also provided $500 million to establish the Development Bank of Nigeria. Last week, we provided $280 million to support social investments in Côte d’Ivoire,” he added.
“You can always count on the African Development Bank – your Bank,” Adesina assured delegates.
The Bank’s support in the region includes € 525 million for the construction of the Blaise Diagne international airport in Senegal and $120 million for the new Terminal 3 for Kotoka international airport in Ghana
The African Development Bank also provided $30 million for the construction of the Mandela Praia airport in Cabo Verde, and $130 million for Air Côte d’Ivoire to acquire a new aircraft fleet.
Other investments include € 60 million for the Lomé Container Terminal port and another $96 million for the new landmark Senegambia Bridge that now links the Gambia and Senegal. A € 183 million facility was critical for Senegal’s Regional Express Train.
During the Bank’s second Africa Investment Forum held in November 2019, the institution and its partners mobilized investments of $2.6 billion for the development of the Accra Sky Train and $251 million towards the Lagos Cable Car Transit System projects.
Adesina also highlighted the Bank’s $1.5 billion financing for the development of major transport corridors to improve connectivity in the ECOWAS region. This includes the construction and rehabilitation of 4,000 kilometers of main corridor roads.
The Lagos-Abidjan Highway will become a reality., the Bank’s President told the regional leaders.
The African Development Bank is providing $11.1 million to the ECOWAS Commission to develop the Master Plan for the Lagos-Abidjan highway corridor and will be providing an additional $13.5 million for feasibility studies to be completed next year. It expects construction to start in 2022.
Current initiatives include a $25 billion investment to turn Africa into a global powerhouse in food and agriculture. This includes financing special agro-industrial processing zones in northern Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
During the one-day meeting, ECOWAS leaders deliberated on critical issues affecting the region, including the proposed ECO single currency regime for the sub-region and the Action Plan for Regional Security.
Adesina summed up the Bank’s vision for ECOWAS: “An integrated monetary zone and financial markets; a free zone for trade, with free movement of people, capital, goods and services; an ECOWAS region whose new currency would be ECO; and the echoes of that will reverberate across the world.”
ECOWAS endorses Adesina for second term as President of the African Development Bank
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed the candidacy of African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina for a second term at the helm of the institution.
The decision was announced at the end of the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, held on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria.
“In recognition of the sterling performance of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina during his first term of office as President of the African Development Bank, the Authority endorses his candidacy for a second term as the President of the bank,” ECOWAS said in a communique issued after the meeting.
Adesina is the eighth elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected to the five-year term on 28 May 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where the same electoral process will play out next year.
Adesina is a renowned development economist and the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group. He has served in a number of high-profile positions internationally, including with the Rockefeller Foundation, and was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, a career stint that was widely praised for his reforms in the agricultural sector. The former minister brought the same drive to the Bank, making agriculture one of the organization’s priority areas.
Speaking earlier at the opening ceremony, Adesina reminded the group of the African Development Bank’s investments in the region.
“You can always count on the African Development Bank – your Bank,” Adesina told delegates.
ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou commended the Bank’s involvement in West Africa and said it had provided “invaluable technical and financial interventions…in the implementation of numerous projects and programmes”.
The ECOWAS summit included a progress report on the region’s economic performance. It noted the role of the African Development Bank in the continent’s transformation and called for greater cooperation in order to fund projects in West Africa.
“The Authority takes note of the region’s improved economic performance, with ECOWAS real GDP growing by 3.3% in 2019 against 3.0% in 2018, in a context characterised by a decline in inflationary pressures and sound public finances,” the statement said.
“It urges the Member States to continue economic reforms and ensure a sound macroeconomic environment in Member States, with a view to accelerating the structural transformation of ECOWAS economies and facilitating the achievement of the monetary union by 2020.”
The Authority commended efforts made on currency and monetary policy convergence in ECOWAS and laid out plans to advance the movement. These efforts are a key part of the regional integration agenda championed by the African Development Bank, as exemplified by the African Continental Free Trade Area, which aims to become the world’s largest free trade zone.
Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) supports development of Algeria’s energy sector through two loan facilities to Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation worth USD 250 million
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint
DAMMAM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2019/ — Loans to be used to carry out maintenance works on Sonatrach’s refinery in Italy, its first overseas investment in Europe, and purchase of Aramco crude; Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint.
The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/), a multilateral development financial institution, agreed to two loan facilities worth a combined USD 250 million with Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation (SPIC), a subsidiary of Sonatrach International Holding Corporation owned by Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned national oil company.
The first loan, a USD 100 million bilateral pre-financing facility, will be used to fund the maintenance of the Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana complex in Sicily, Italy, which Sonatrach acquired from ExxonMobil in December 2018. The second loan, a USD 150 million unfunded and syndicated letter of credit, is for the purchase Saudi Aramco crude oil by Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana.
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO of APICORP, said: “APICORP is committed to supporting and financing Sonatrach in its first overseas acquisition. This is part of our mission to continue playing an active role in the development of our member countries’ broader energy sector and contribute to diversification and geographic expansion. As a trusted financial partner to the region’s energy sector, we remain steadfast in our mission to continue exploring opportunities in Algeria and other member states and provide solutions that drive innovation and bolster the sustainability of this vital industry.”
Nordine Bouteldja, Managing Director of SPIC commented, “Our strategic investment in international refining through Sonatrach Raffinera Italiana will contribute to meeting local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies. This is of key importance to our efforts to diversify our energy assets and secure reliable supplies of crude oil, as part of our drive to meet local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies to the domestic market.”
Located in Augusta, Sicily, Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana is Sonatrach’s first overseas acquisition. The integrated refinery complex, which has access to the major global shipping routes through the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a conversion rate of 200,000 bpd and can produce a wide range of downstream products, including gasoline, distillates, fuel oils, lubricants, asphalts and chemicals.
Earlier this year, Sonatrach designated APICORP as one of a select group of financial institutions to provide advisory on project management and financing-related matters.
International legal firm Allen & Ovary’s Paris office was the legal advisor to APICORP on the transactions.
The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/) is a multilateral development financial institution established in 1974 by an international treaty between the ten Arab oil exporting countries. It aims to support and foster the development of the Arab world’s energy sector and petroleum industries. APICORP makes equity investments and provides project finance, trade finance, advisory and research. APICORP is rated ‘Aa2 with a stable outlook’ by Moody’s, and is headquartered in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Q & A with Twiga Foods Co-founder & CEO, Peter Njonjo
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
AsTwiga Foods Takes Lead in Setting Standards for production and distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa, PAV caught with its Co-Founder and CEO Peter Njonjo for a Q&A on important developments, and way forward for the Kenyan company.
Could we start by getting an introduction of Twiga Foods, and how its creation came about?
Peter Njonjo: Twiga Foods was created to address issues around food production and distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa. When you consider that a disproportionately high percentage of disposable income is spent on food – 55 percent in Kenya and 60 percent in Nigeria. Compared to 8 percent in the UK – it made sense to explore ways to bring costs down.
Since we started Twiga in 2014, we have also come to realise that Africa’s food production challenges actually begin with fragmented consumer retail. The Continent is dependent on small farmers because the Continent’s retail is dependent on small informal vendors.
With current fragmentation, it makes no sense for a farmer to plant 50 acres of potatoes, or 30 acres of bananas, because they’d have no route to sell those volumes into a fragmented marketplace. However, staying small is extremely inefficient: a farmer with less than 3 acres achieves only 14 percent of the yield/acre of a farmer with more than 20 acres, ensuring the cost of food remains far too high.
Our approach is to “re-engineer” the agricultural value chain as an end to end tech-enabled market, rather than seeking to optimise existing fragmentation. By aggregating a fragmented retail space, we aim to enable the creation of an efficient domestic agricultural production industry, when before there was none, while generating incremental value for all market participants.
How are your services provided and how much of Kenya does it cover?
Peter Njonjo: Twiga’s m-commerce platform enables vendors to order fresh produce, as and when needed, from farmers across Kenya. As a result, farmers have guaranteed access to a fairly priced, transparent, mobile marketplace and vendors can consistently source high-quality produce, which is conveniently delivered for free to their doorstep within 18 hours of ordering.
At the moment, we are mainly working with vendors in Nairobi and farmers on the outskirts, but we are hoping to expand into Mombasa and Nakuru in the coming months
Twiga Foods was recently in the news for Securing $30M to digitize food distribution, can you shed some light on this?
Peter Njonjo : Our latest funding round was led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from existing investors including the International Finance Corporation, TLcom Capital and Creadev. An additional $6 million in debt was raised from OPIC and Alpha Mundi.
This new investment will fund the continued development of our proprietary technology and logistics assets to support the roll-out of its distribution system and lay the foundations for expansion into other cities on the continent.
Our aim is to bridge gaps in food and market security, and this funding will also help us to do that. Since launching in 2014, Twiga Foods has transformed the lives and businesses of more than 17,000 farmers and more than 8,000 vendors but there is still a long way to go.
With the financing, where does this lead Twiga Foods, any projections for the next five years for instance?
Peter Njonjo: We plan to expand into Mombasa, and possibly Nakuru, within the next year. After that, the next step would be to expand across the continent, starting with French-speaking West African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Senegal etc) and then Nigeria.
We are also building a new distribution centre that will have state-of-the-art cold rooms, conveyors and sorting equipment, which will enable Twiga to offer supply chain services for both agricultural and FMCG products. The distribution centre should be ready by February 2020.
To other young aspiring entrepreneurs who will want to emulate the success of Peter Njonjo, what words of wisdom can you share with them based on your experiences?
Peter Njonjo: The first piece of advice I would offer aspiring entrepreneurs is that they should always seek to be part of the solution. In the early days of my career, I was so keen to identify problematic situations and things that didn’t work but didn’t always prioritise finding a solution to these problems I’d identified. On one occasion, my boss actually told me he would fire me if I brought him one more problem. Thankfully, that did not kill my curiosity. It was the trigger I needed to think differently which has been a great asset for me in my career.
The second thing would be to always stay curious. Curiosity is a state of mind that allows you to discover so many things. It will also lead you to ideas that will differentiate you from everyone else. As an entrepreneur, this differentiation is an invaluable asset to have. One that will be very useful for helping your consumers and customers see value in the product or service you have to offer
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is expected to go into effect next year, any strategy in the works for Twiga foods to benefit from the changes it will bring?
Peter Njonjo: One of our main objectives is to solve the problem of reliable access to food across Sub-Saharan Africa and the AfCFTA provides an effective framework for achieving that. At the moment, we are focusing on Kenya because it is the market we know. However, when the time is right for us to expand outside Kenya, we will be doing so with a nuanced approach that factors in all the peculiarities of each market. The AfCFTA makes it easier for African countries to trade goods and we are looking forward to exploring the opportunities that come with it.
Africa Needs Servant -Leaders- Ugandan Opposition figure Bobi Wine
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Boston, Washington,DC, New York, Canada and others, it was a super hectic schedule for Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu better known as Bobi Wine on his recent North American Tour.
Town Hall Forums with his Ugandan compatriots were full to capacity, prestigious institutions and prestigious Institutions and media organs are increasingly opening their doors to the 37 old musician turned politician.
Serving as Member of Parliament for the Kyaddondo East constituency in the Wakiso District, of Uganda’s Central Region, the political stock of Bobi Wine has sowed to the point where his eyes are firmly set on unseating and replacing President Yoweri Museveni. In power since 1986, Museveni, aged in 75, has dominated Ugandan politics and literally controls everything, but it is time for him to go, says Bobi Wine.
Interviewed in a car in between his hectic schedule on the Washington, DC, lap of his recent North American Tour, Bobi says he considers himself more of a revolutionary than a politician.
“I am representing an idea, a revolutionary movement called People Power which believes in returning power back to the people,” he says.
On what makes him think he is the one to unseat President Museveni, when so many others have tried and failed, Bobi says it is not about him as an individual but rather the movement he leads. Museveni has never faced the kind of threat he sees
“Bobi Wine is leading a mass of Ugandans, and we as Ugandans are going to get Museveni out of power, and not me,” he says.
Charting a new path forward for the continent requires servant-leaders Bobi said as he fielded questions on some key developments that defined the year in Africa from Ethiopia to Cameroon, Guinea, South Africa, and more.
You just spoke to a group of Ugandan compatriots and reiterated that you will be running for the 2021 elections. Under what platform will you be running, and what political program will you be presenting to your compatriots?
Bobi Wine: I am running on behalf of the people of Uganda, all the marginalized people of Uganda. I am not representing any political party, but I am representing an idea, a revolutionary movement called People Power which believes in returning power back to the people. Our program is a huge one but I could only name about five programs we are focusing on amongst them is the return of the rule of law and respect for human rights, changing our educational system, revamping our healthcare system which is sick, revisiting our land policies, and making sure our people are re-empowered to re-embark on agriculture — it is the backbone of the country, and Uganda is the food basket of the region. Finally, we want to have our nation living together as we are in a country deeply divided along ethnicity, along class, and all the vices. We hope to heal our nation, and that is what we are focusing on doing, at least as soon as we get into power.
What pushed you into politics, considering that you were a household name in music and doing relatively well?
Bobi Wine: I am not in politics. Whereas it is reality, because when I was not in what you want to call politics, I was paying taxes, and I was oppressed. The local businesses are oppressed, the local woman who sells charcoal is oppressed and for her to stand, and defend her rights and stand, and represent her people, I do not call that politics. The level that it is, is responsibility, activism, it is everybody’s social responsibility. So, I look at myself as a revolutionary and not as a politician.
Barring last minute changes, you will be running against President Museveni. Others have tried to get him out of power without success, so what makes Bobby Wine think that he is that person who can get him out of power?
Bobi Wine: First of all, I am not him, I am Bobi Wine. Secondly it is not Bobi Wine that is going to get Museveni out of power. Bobi Wine is leading a mass of Ugandans, and we as Ugandans are going to get Museveni out of power, and not me. Of course many have tried unsuccessfully and it offers very valuable lessons. It is a person that has failed that knows how to fail. And if you know how to fail you can avoid it. Museveni has never faced a threat like when he faces us — we are young people and constitute more than 85% of the population.
You have been a member of parliament since 2017, what has the experience been like, and what are some of the changes you have brought to your constituency, and the country?
Bobi Wine: It has been a horrible experience in parliament. It has been brutalization, there has been violence. As we speak now, I am a member of parliament who cannot have a gathering in my constituency. As we speak now I am a musician who cannot perform in my country, so that is what it has been. One thing we can say is that we have succeeded in exposing the regime for what it is. We have left it naked for everybody to see and now our next step is an attack on the regime — to crush it once and for all.
In Africa, age is supposed to go with wisdom. You are in your late 30s, and President Museveni is officially in his late 70s is age a liability or an asset when it comes to getting power?
Bobi Wine: Looking at things, our history, age is proving to be a liability. Age will be a resource if it is dignified. Museveni’s age is a sign of indignity because he was once a revolutionary in his younger ages, but the older he gets the worse he becomes. So in the case of Museveni, age has been disgraced. If I were his age mate, I would be really mad at him for disrespecting our age.
On this current tour you were in Massachusetts, Maryland, you have met people in DC, you were in Canada, what is it that your compatriots in the Diaspora are telling you?
Bobi Wine: All Ugandans from different locations have different roles, and I have had different contributions. For example, the Ugandans here in DC have done a great job pushing back against the regime, pushing back against sanctions. Ugandans in Canada and others are pushing their leaders to speak out, and hold the regime accountable. They have been able to do fundraising, support events and activities back home. So, the Diaspora has different roles, and they are playing it very well.
What do you think of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement?
Bobi Wine: I think it is a good thing and Africans should be united by their values, sports, and most importantly by trade.
In Ethiopia there is a Prime Minister almost the same age as you –PM Abby, and he recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, what is your take on his leadership?
Bobi Wine: That is more evidence that young people can be great leaders, especially young people by the verge of their age and are reminded that they are going to still be there either to benefit from the good works that they have done, or to pay for the evil deeds that they do. Prime Minister Abiy is an inspiration, and every African leader will want to achieve what he has achieved. He inspires me personally.
In West Africa there is a talk of a common currency — the Echo, what do you think about it and should Africa be doing more to move towards a common currency or a unified monetary policy of its own?
Bobi Wine: Africa should have united one hundred years ago. Seeing that some countries are moving towards a common currency is very motivating. For nations to reach a level of sharing currencies means they share values such as democracy, respect for human rights. So, it is very encouraging, and I wish the East African community had gotten to that level, but I know by the grace of God we will get there.
What is your opinion about the situation in Guinea where there is a protest, and counter protest with the President trying to change the constitution to get a third term?
Bobi Wine: President Museveni of Uganda said four years ago, and I agree with him that the problem of Africa and its leaders is that they want to overstay in power. It is shameful that a leader that has led for two terms will want to change the constitution so, he can stay forever. That is dictatorship that must be resisted and shame on those people that are being paid, or manipulated to support a dictatorship, or a life Presidency as if Guinea does not have other leaders or it is a barren state. It is wrong, I disagree with it and I condemn it in the strongest terms possible because that is how it begins.
On the political crisis in Cameroon, what does Bobby Wine think of the silence of African leaders and the African Union in the face of what many considers being one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in the continent today?
Bobi Wine: Shame on the African leaders for keeping quiet about the crisis in Cameroon. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Cameroonians are our brothers and sisters, and we need to stand behind them.
Last question on South Africa, in the course of the year we notice a resurgence of xenophobia. What came to your mind when you saw all these images and do you think leaders in that country are doing enough to address it?
Bobi Wine: It is ignorance by the people, and the leaders. I must remind those brothers and sisters in South Africa that the whole of Africa stood with them when they were being oppressed and during the unfortunate period of apartheid. It is very ignorant of them to mistreat fellow Africans. No African is a foreigner on the African continent and in the same spirit, I want to condemn the dissatisfying effort of their leaders because people are a reflection of their leadership. If the leaders wanted to protect Africans that are living in South Africa, they would have done it. They still can do it, and they should do it because Africa is our home.
On your projections and wishes for 2020, what will Bobi Wine want to see in Uganda and Africa?
Bobi Wine: I want to see in Uganda a leadership that is accountable to the people and you can be sure that we will achieve it. What I want to see in Africa is servant- leadership , – leaders that are serving in the interest of the people. I must remind all African leaders that the Americans, Europeans and all those who came to their continent, they were not planning Africa for their individual gains, but for their people. All the Gold that was stolen in Africa developed countries and not individual wealth. That should be the communication to our fellow Africans. Our continent is rich but poor because we have greedy leaders that do not think beyond their stomach.
Sierra Leone : Wilberforce Lodge organises Christmas treat for over 200 kids
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Wilberforce Lodge 6432 has organised a Christmas treat for over two hundred (200) school kids at the lodge’s headquarters on Tower Hill in Freetown.
The annual treat which took place on 21st December attracted lots of school kids from the circular road community and its environs was geared towards making the kids happy and to celebrate with them during the Christmas festive season.
Speaking during the treat , Joseph Abayomi Elliot , Right worshipful Master , Wilberforce lodge number 6432 on the roll of the United Grand Lodge of England said , the lodge is one of the unique lodge within the English District which was a family lodge originally stating that they were opening up because their membership is dwindling but was quick to say they take cognizance that they do not just accept members in their fraternity.
“ we are looking for integrity , commitment and several halls that will uplift the image of the lodge as was provided for by our forefathers ,’’he said.
He added that the purpose of them organizing the children’s treat is to get community participation as their tenets is brotherly love, relief and truth stating that in keeping with that tenets , they want to stretch their hands to charity particularly when they are celebrating Christmas.
“ It has been ongoing for several years now, and we would continue to have it every year-round about this same time. We target schools within this community and we inter face with teachers, and pupils and they have expressed their appreciation over the years and they have been having fun and they do enjoy the outcome of the children’s treat,’’ Elliot said.
He went on to say , they have been making donations at the Children’s ward at the Connaught Hospital over the past years adding that for this year , they intend doing another donation to Connaught Hospital on Monday at ward one.
‘’As a fraternity, at any one time , when we do have emergencies, we do come together as a lodge, not Wilberforce lodge specifically to bring in the entire lodge under the English or Scottish District and we do make donations nationally,’’ The Right worshipful Master lamented.
The Right worshipful master revealed that many a time people feel that freemasonry is a secret society stating that it is a society with secrets alluding that it is like belonging to various clubs or organizations that do have their tenets thus saying the perception of the public wasn’t correct.
On his part , Emile Moses Charles Carr , district grandmaster of the district grand lodge of Sierra Leone and the Gambia under the United Grand lodge of England, said, their fraternity’s ideal is lots of charitableness and to do things for humanity adding that his father was a lodge man and grew up seeing his dad doing lots of things for people which is what the lodge is doing to the society.
“ Basically, we are not a religious organisation but a humanitarian organization. We have pillars on which we stand which is brotherly love, relief and truth. We talk about a lot of morality. We preach a lot about morality. As you can see today we are doing a lot of charitable gifts for the children and that is what the freemasonry is about,’’ he said.
He added, the treat was part of their yearly activity of extending kindness to the society and by extension to the children , adding that it is geared towards making the kids happy during the festive season.
On Southern Cameroons The United Nations Continues to Get It Wrong-Barrister Ajong Stanislaus
December 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L and Amos Fofung
In a new book titled Southern Cameroons and the United Nations Organization from Trusteeship to Independence. A Success Story?, Barrister Ajong Stanislaus makes a scathing indictment of the world body for its role in the ongoing crisis in Cameroon.
“It is our considered opinion from the conclusion of the work that the United Nations Organization through its organ, The Trusteeship Council, failed to lead the people of Southern Cameroons to self-government or independence as ordained by the Charter,” the erudite Lawyer says in the book.
It is the responsibility of the World body to foresee, preempt, and prevent situations that will potentially lead to the disruption of global peace, but Barrister Ajong, who heads the Tiko based Security Law Firm, says the Organization has woefully failed to do so with regards to the situation in the present day Southern Cameroons. The signs and red flag for this impulsion have been there since 1961 when the Southern Cameroons are said to have joined the Cameroon Republic, says Barrister Ajong as he calls for reforms and restructuring that will make UN policy making more proactive than reactionary.
“There is an absolute need for the UN to stamp its feet and play the role for which it was created before the situation gets worse. They need to send an independent team to inquire about the allegations of genocide and war crimes being committed in the territory, and as an interim measure send a reduced peacekeeping force to protect the armless civilians,” Barrister Ajong says.
“The world body should know that it is people who make the State. Once the people feel abandoned and unprotected, they take to self-defence which is what is happening in the territory at this material time,” says the legal luminary who has held brief for the Southern Cameroons case on the international scene and defended the leaders and activists in cases across the Southern Cameroons.
What the Lawyers succeeded in doing is making the problem known to all and sundry and That is an immeasurable achievement on their part says Barrister Ajong .
Opining on other controversial developments like the bilingualism bill and the special status for English speaking regions of Cameroon, Barrister Ajong says there are largely inadequate measures to address the current Southern Cameroons problem.
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: As the title depicts, the book, which is a research work of 2015, seeks to find an answer to the question – whether the UN managed decolonization process of the Southern Cameroons was a success. The research which was sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the British Government Chevening Scholarship, gave me the opportunity to have unbridled access to world-class libraries. These included records from the colonial office in London, UN achieves on the decolonization process, and an enlarged pool of electronic sites provided by my University- The University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The in-depth research came out with the findings that the decolonization of the Former Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons was highly flawed. This finding is based on the tenure of Article 76 b of the United Nations Charter which states
“to promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories, and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement”
It should be noted that the British held the territory in trust for the United Nations Organization. It was, therefore, incumbent on the world body to oversee a smooth transition from the British trust to independence for the people of the territory.
Rhona K. M. Smith – a renowned international human rights author – summarizes the situation of the transition of the Southern Cameroons to self-government or independence under the auspices of the United Nations in these words;
“It has been argued that the United Nations has compromised the doctrine of self-determination…the former Trust Territories of the North and South Cameroons were given only two choices: independence as part of Nigeria; or independence as part of the former French Cameroons. Becoming an independent State was not one of the proffered options. Consequently, the people of the North and South Cameroons once again found themselves under “foreign” rule. Recolonization rather than Decolonisation was the result”. International Human Rights, 6th Edition, p 295.
It is our considered opinion from the conclusion of the work that the United Nations Organization through its organ, The Trusteeship Council, failed to lead the people of Southern Cameroons to self-government or independence as ordained by the Charter.
If you get a copy of the book, you will find the reasons advanced for these findings.
The book comes at a time of great chaos in what used to be the Southern Cameroons, what responsibility does the UN bear on the current conflict?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: In order to give an appropriate and comprehensive answer to this question, it will be incumbent on us to know the purpose and or principle for which the United Nations Organization was created.
For this objective, Article 1 of the Charter will be quite instructive. It states;
“To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace…”
What this implies is that, where there is a breach of international peace, the UN a priori and automatically bears responsibility! It is the responsibility of the World body to foresee, preempt and prevent situations that will potentially lead to the disruption of global peace.
This Organization failed to do as far as the situation in present-day Southern Cameroons is concerned. The UN must restructure and reformat its organigram and policymaking to be more proactive than reactionary. The signs and red flag for this impulsion have been there since 1961 when the Southern Cameroons are said to have joined the Cameroon Republic.
When one of the affiliate organs of the world body – The African Commission ruled in 2009 in Communication 266/2003 in Dr. Kevin Gumne & Others V La Republique du Cameroon it authoritatively made some salient points. The Commission ruled that the people of Southern Cameroons were a people under international law and ordered the Cameroon Republic to go into negotiations with them. The UN ought to have seized the opportunity to push for a negotiated settlement of the problem from that moment. By staying quiet, the weaker party in the litigation rightly or wrongly feels abandoned by the UN. Also, by not taking any initiative at that time, the UN was in dereliction of its duties imposed by Article 1 of the Charter.
What is your take on the way the United Nations has so far responded to the current crisis in Cameroon, any recommendations for them?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: The UN has been slow in reacting to the situation that is ongoing in the Southern Cameroons. When they have reacted, it has been lukewarm without steel. So far, the body has acted like sacrificing the lives of the people of Southern Cameroons and by extension international peace on the principle of sovereignty of State Party to the Charter.
My recommendations; that the world body should know that it is people who make the State. Once the people feel abandoned and unprotected, they take to self-defence which is what is happening in the territory at this material time.
There is an absolute need for the UN to stamp its feet and play the role for which it was created before the situation gets worse. They need to send an independent team to inquire about the allegations of genocide and war crimes being committed in the territory and as an interim measure send a reduced peacekeeping force to protect the armless civilians. After the fact-finding mission, a decision could then be taken either to withdraw the force or strengthen it with the possibility of creating a buffer zone.
At the same time, the body should go to the field and create a corridor for the supply of humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons (IDP) found in the bushes as well as in the cities.
Looking at the situation in Southern Cameroons today and the clamor for independence, how strong is this case from a legal standpoint, what are some of the pros and cons of the case from a legal perspective?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: I have had the privilege of working in the legal team for the cause in the international arena since 2005 when my services were retained by the Southern Cameroons Peoples’ Organization (SCAPO). Dr. Kevin Gumne (RIP) then based in London sent Mr. Ndangam Augustin a veteran of the struggle to meet me in my Tiko office and I readily accepted to place my expertise to the cause. I have handled a number of Communications before the African Commission and also defended the leaders and activists in cases across the Southern Cameroons.
Part of my brief includes confidentiality. It will not be fair for me to seek to do the case on the media. Any attempt by me to state the legal pros and cons of the case will not only be doing a disservice to the case, but also to my clients who have not instructed me to disclose parts of the case in my outings.
One of the problems holding back this struggle to me, seems to be over communication.
However, as a fact, I know that the Southern Cameroons has a watertight legal case.
The current phase of the struggle was engineered in part by Lawyers fighting for the respect of Common Law values, but we do not hear so much about Lawyers again, have their own grievances been addressed?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: What Lawyers presented were grievances of the people. Lawyers do not have any grievances to themselves as Lawyers. Lawyers are saying that Litigants will be better served in their own legal system and not by an imported notion.
Lawyers are still at the forefront of what they started. The difference is that you might not be seeing them on the streets. They are constantly holding meetings and sending out memoranda to the appropriate quarters. Some are reported by some papers, others go unnoticed.
If the legal system in operation in the territory is not purely common law and the educational system is adulterated, the grievances cannot be said to been addressed.
What the Lawyers succeeded in doing is making the problem known to all and sundry. That is an immeasurable achievement on their part.
At one point, you were part of a group of Lawyers in Fako working with Agbor Balla and others to secure the release of people detained as a result of the crisis, may we know how this initiative worked out and what was achieved?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: At the time, Agbor Balla was the President of the Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA). His executive created the Taskforce and he appointed me to head it. The team was made up of young enthusiastic human rights lawyers ready to give their all to make sure that state power is not used to crush the people.
There were incongruous violations during that period; pregnant women, children and vulnerable persons were arrested in thousands around the South West and transferred to Buea.
These young lawyers crisscrossed the courts of Fako; in Buea, Tiko, Limbe and Muyuka and the Taskforce had more than 800 persons released during the mandate.
I seize the moment to thank the former President and his executive for haven given us the opportunity to serve. For my colleagues of the team who did the real work on the field, I pray the Good God to continue to guide and protect them.
A controversial bilingualism bill recently sailed through parliament without any votes from MPs from the English speaking regions, and some of your colleagues in the Law profession have vowed to fight against it, what is the issue with the bill and do you support the stance of your colleagues in fighting against it?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: What we have in Cameroon is a strange version of what is known as Parliament the world over. It is the antithesis of a conventional Parliament. This one is by miles an anti-people institution.
It is an extension of the executive. They do not have any time to reflect and deliberate on the wishes of the people. Anything brought by the executive is passed into law!
The timing of the Bill clearly demonstrates the mindset of the people running the country. They are preparing the grounds for some chaos so that they can disappear in the confusion trading blames as to who was wrong.
Lawyers have promised to fight to the last blood. I hope the United Nations is reading.
The common law lawyers can always count on my support.
At the time we are doing this interview, you are in Canada and there has been talk about Cameroon learning from the Canadian example, what have you observed or seen in the Canadian example that Cameroon could use as a means to help in solving its own crisis?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: I doubt if Cameroon has the will to learn from Canada. The former Prime Minister was Ambassador to Canada for more than 2 decades. If there was any desire to learn and implement what obtains in Canada, it would have been executed then.
Canada is truly a bilingual country where the French Language is highly protected in the Province of Quebec and the English Language in the other Provinces.
In the case of Cameroon, the English language ought to be protected in the Former UN Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons aka South West and North West Regions.
Being served in your first language and or the language of understanding does not mean that you enter form 1 in Sasse and ask the teacher to teach you geography in French!
The same goes for the Courts. You will not expect a litigant to appear in a Court in Buea and request that the civil law be applied to his matter!
As we do this interview as well, there is an ongoing debate on Special status for the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon, what is your take on the bill and how do you think this could help in resolving the Southern Cameroons problem?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: Let me straight on say that I do not think the Bill will resolve the problem of the Southern Cameroons now plaguing the Cameroon Republic.
To solve the problem of the application of Bilingualism in Cameroon, we not only need legislative inputs but also of utmost importance a broad-based institutional overhaul. There will be no change with the same people who have never accepted that there is a problem. Remember this issue of special status is contained in the 1996 Constitution and its application is sought to come into play in 2019 as it was voted in the National Assembly yesterday.
To give you an idea of how long this law could take to be implemented, I will refer you to Section 498;
“Section 498: Before the effective transfer of services and the establishment of the local civil service, the conditions for the use of each State service by local authorities and the procedures for managing staff shall be governed by the regulations currently in force”.
Do you read me? It is not for immediate application! No definite timetable for implementation.That is law-making à là Camerounaise!
We end with your book, for those interested in getting copies, where can they get it?
Barrister Ajong Stanislaus: Presently, the book can be obtained online directly from the Publishers who are in Germany.In the meantime, some interested persons contacted me and we are in negotiation to do a launch in major cities in Canada and the USA
Thanks for granting this interview
Honestly, I am the one to thank you for thinking me worthy of the readership of your highly appraised News organ and magazine. I am at your disposal any time.
*Copies of Barrister Ajong’s books can be obtained here