Mnangagwa answers burning questions on Mugabe, spy allegations and elections
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Shortly after results of the presidential poll, Peta Thornycroft interviewed winning candidate, Zimbabwean President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House in Harare. The constitutional court will next week hear argument challenging the result by the opposition candidate, Nelson Chamisa.
PT: Who gave the army the order to go into the city on August 1?
EM: I consulted the commissioner-general of police and he indicated to me that in terms of the law, the commissioner of police can contact his counterpart who commands the local unit to give him immediate support while the process is ongoing.
The entire country was in a jovial mood. No-one expected the violence that happened so suddenly. The police were taken by surprise. They were deployed country-wide, covering the election process, so suddenly the small unit (left in Harare) could not control what was happening: In terms of the law, police are allowed to summon assistance to bring order.
I have one name from SA, one from the UK to consider with three names to join us to look at the matter. The inquiry will begin immediately after the inauguration.
PT: You have made such an effort to rebuild the party and now this tragedy after peaceful elections.
EM: Fortunately I am not doing it alone, I am doing it with my team, we all agree that Zimbabwe must change. We must have a different image from the isolationist posture of the past. Zimbabwe must embrace the international community totally and we are doing everything possible for political reform. For us again to relate and to cooperate with the international community and international business.
PT: There is one photograph shown in the media of a soldier shooting and another soldier stepping forward and stopping him on August 1. What are your views on that?
EM: I have not seen that picture.
PT: It’s a shocking picture. Why hasn’t he been arrested?
EM: Orders have been given about all those people who took the law into their own hands, whether it was police or others who take the law into their own hands. I also don’t want to pre-empt the outcomes of the commission I am instituting.
PT: Human rights groups say there are 150 cases of unconstitutional violence since August 1. Do you agree?
EM: Let me assure you, the best thing to do is get the list of 150 cases and pass it onto us. This is fake news and it’s flying left right and centre.
We were told (of these cases) by Philippe van Damme, the EU ambassador here, and we took him to task and said let’s go around all the hospitals in Harare and see if there is any record of people in hospitals. He had to later apologise as this was not true.
PT: Human rights groups have details of those cases.
EM: Be wary of Zimbabwe human rights groups. They have an agenda. They have always been against the government. They have not changed their minds, they have not shifted their mindset to become democratic but that will take time.
We must deal with facts and not any speculation. Whatever you hear try to check and I think the police will be able to assist you in checking.
PT: Human rights people are desperately looking for the Commissioner of Police.
EM: So why would they come to you – the journalists? Let them go to the commissioner, he is in the country, he is in town…before they make such statements, let them verify these issues with the right authorities. That’s what should be done.
PT: MDC Alliance MP Tendai Biti fled the country and went to Zambia. There was a warrant for his arrest.
EM: What I saw on TV, was that statement issued by the police, that they wanted him to come to Harare Central Police station to clarify certain issues. This has been on the radio. If he was really innocent and had not done anything, he should have quickly gone to Harare police station and stated the issues he wanted to clear. Why did he skip the country?
We’ve also had some discussion with some of the observers. We had set up a call centre where they allegedly received calls from people saying they were threatened here and there. We asked for the addresses of those people threatened in order to investigate.
PT: But many people are fearful nowadays… especially when they see people in uniform.
EM: I have not received information from my party or from the general public or from any citizen saying I am fearful. Never, never.
You will see the police walking in uniform. It is legitimate, it’s allowed by the law. You will see soldiers in their trucks. They are not on a mission to intimidate.
Our police and our army they are very friendly, we have defence forces week, where they go around building clinics. building schools to show the army and the public are in good relations.
So this fake news about our people..that they are afraid of the army.
PT: How will Zimbabwe now move along after these terrible turn of events?
EM: We will continue preaching peace, peace, unity, unity, love, love to our people, it is a culture and we want its roots to go deeper and deeper.
The good will always prevail over evil. Yes, we have people who peddle evil, but what is correct will prevail.
PT: Were you surprised at the election results only .8 percent above 50 percent. (To avoid a run off the winner must have 50% +1.)
EM: We have 133 political parties. Of the 133, 54 political parties were participating in the elections and 22 were bidding for the office of president…all 22 were fighting me, and I am so proud that I beat not only the 22 but the entire 54.
And I got 2.4 million votes against 2,1 million….. 22 political parties and I beat them all.
PT: The MDC Alliance has gone to court to challenge your victory. What are your views?
EM: I am not privy to their thinking.
As a government we have not interfered with the process of the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission), we are staying aloof, we allow the law to take its course. This is my attitude.
And we are already moving the trajectory of growth, so what will happen will be the continuation of the trajectory of growth, we are going to be out there with more focus, more energy, to make sure that in the course of business, Zimbabwe needs to become more competitive, so that we can again catch up with the rest of the developing countries ahead of us.
PT: Will the Mugabe family have some of their many farms taken away?
EM: It’s not a question of voluntary giving up, but about complying with the policy.
I am still receiving evidence of what the (former) first family had. When that process is complete they will select one farm and the rest will be given elsewhere.
We have the land commission, and this is one of the matters they are seized with attending to.
It’s not on the basis of the family, (one family, one farm). It is on the basis of government policy. There are so many others families who have more than one farm. It must all be governed by the size of the farm.
PT: Is there anything you regret in your life?
EM: I don’t think I regret anything. I have no other life I know except politics from when I was 17. I never worked for anyone but the people and the party. I don’t regret I chose that life. At the end of the day, I did what I did for my country.
PT: Will the new truth commission you signed into law, to deal with thousands of murders of opposition supporters from the 80s, get enough money to operate properly?
EM: When they (commission officials) want money, they don’t go to journalists… let them come to me. You must first ask them, did you go to the president?
PT: What do you say about those massacres, known as Gukuruhundi, following independence?
EM: Well, our former President (Mugabe) described it and said it was a ‘moment of madness’.
That’s how he described that event. I have said we can’t live in the past, and that should never again happen in our country. Let us be a family and forge ahead, whatever wrongs we regret and they should never again visit our country. I second the position taken by our former president – a moment of madness.
PT: In Mugabe’s statements to the press before the elections, he said he never trusted you.
EM: I trusted him to the end and it’s only now that I’ve learnt he doesn’t trust me. We shared the deepest issues together.
PT: Mugabe has talked about you and Dan Stannard, the former Rhodesian head of security who later became head of Zimbabwe’s security about some of the activities you got up to. What is your thought on this?
EM: During the era of independence some South Africans and Selous Scouts (Rhodesian soldiers) were going to blow up heads of state and Prince Charles, Indira Gandhi, at Rufaro Stadium.
They brought in some Sam 7 missiles, and the person who alerted us was Dan Stannard. We removed them. Even Claymore Mines were put in Rufaro grounds and this is why Stannard got an award. I think it is his (Mugabe’s) old age, that he has forgotten.
He said I was a Rhodesian spy? Old age is bad if his mind twists that way.
Why would he work with me for 54 years if I was a Rhodesian spy? Rubbish and nonsense this is.
PT: What about the immediate post-independence period of instability in the country.
EM: I should give credit for how we handled matters post-independence. The president, prime minister (Mugabe) back then espoused national reconciliation.
We had some whites who went out to reverse our gains but we were able to outmanoeuvre them and establish peace.
At the time there were a lot of bandits and dissidents killing people in Matabeleland North, the Midlands. I am happy that at the end of the day reconciliation won because it was not an easy task to marry three armies which had different orientations.
PT: What about violence against the MDC post-2000? Many were killed and jailed and none have been prosecuted for those crimes.
EM: You can go back to the police and find out who was not charged. Go to the police and ask what happened to those cases.
Anyone who committed a crime the police would have had a duty to arrest, them.
PT: What about the G40 faction within Zanu PF that has been loyal to Mugabe… what happened to them?
EM: I have never been a member of G40. I don’t know what they are planning or not planning. I hear from security that they continuously tweet. They continuously make statements.
To me. I am looking forward to the future. There is no reason for living in the past. We must all preach peace and unite our people even those who were antagonistic. We are Zimbabweans and come together.
PT: Returning to the shooting in Harare on August 1. Who gave the order to the army because General Valerio Sibanda says he did not give the order?
EM: I have replied to this. You are so repetitive…
This is typical like Mugabe.
We walked together for 54 years and he didn’t trust me.
No one gave orders …there is this perception and it is disjointed. I explained, the army has a strict command structure, I am the commander-in-chief and matters are handled according to the process.
*Courtesy of IOL
African Development Bank Mourns Passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi A. Annan
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
|He was a staunch advocate of the Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 18, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AFDB.org) has learned with deep sadness the news of the death of Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, at the age of 80 in Bern, Switzerland.
“With Mr. Kofi Annan’s passing, Africa and the entire world has lost its finest diplomat, champion of world peace and development advocate, leaving a void which will be hard to fill,” President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina said. “Today, the international community is mourning a man of great humility and righteousness; a formidable architect behind critical peace brokering agreements around the world. His leadership on spearheading the Millennium Development Goals, made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative. He touched the lives of everyone he met with his dignity and quiet resolve. We stand with his dear wife, Nane, family and friends at this time and express our heartfelt condolences”, Adesina added.
For the African Development Bank, Mr. Kofi Annan held a special place on several of the Bank’s initiatives. He was a staunch advocate of the Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025. He was appointed as the “Champion” of the New Deal on Energy for Africa. In 2016, Mr Annan co-chaired the Special Panel on Accelerating the Implementation of the African Development Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, launched by President Adesina.
He spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In April 2001, in Abuja, Nigeria, at a summit of African leaders, Mr. Kofi Annan made the first explicit public call for a new funding mechanism, proposing the creation of The Global Fund, to be dedicated to the battle against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. He made the first contribution to the Global Fund in 2001.
Kofi Annan was Africa’s global icon. He will be greatly missed.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AFDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). With country offices in 44 African countries and an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and social progress of all its 54 regional member states in Africa.
Koffi Annan’s death epitomises Africa’s end of Golden Era in global politics, Saraki mentain
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has described the demise of a former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Koffi Annan, as the end of a golden era in global politics and international relations.
Saraki in a statement, described Annan as a quintessential African diplomat on the global plane and a citizen of the world, who deployed his vast capacities to tackle intractable global challenges ranging from hunger, conflict, epidemic and restoration of peace in war-torn countries.
He noted that many developing nations benefitted immensely from the humanitarian efforts of the late Annan during lifetime as he was able to raise the concerns and challenges confronting hitherto forgotten peoples and nations in the Assembly of world powers.
According to Saraki: “Annan was a quintessential African Diplomat who bestrode the world stage with dignity, finesse, admirable restraint and wisdom. He was a diplomat’s diplomat. He dedicated his immense expertise, experience and energies to resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems and conflicts, including most recently, the Rohingya refugee crisis. He was a citizen of the world.
“Annan was an African avatar and God’s messenger of peace to the world. His demise is a huge loss to the international community and to humanity. Africa has indeed lost one of her best. He shall be sorely missed,” Saraki stated.
He commiserated with the wife and children of the deceased, the Government and people of Ghana, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the United Nations, international humanitarian organizations and the diplomatic community over the sad and irreparable loss. He prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased mercies and to count him among the righteous ones in His abode.
‘Guiding force for good’: World mourns loss of Kofi Annan
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Geneva (AFP) – There was an outpouring of condolences from leaders around the world on Saturday after the death of former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan.
Here are some of the tributes:
– United Nations –
Current UN chief Antonio Guterres voiced deep sadness at the news, describing his predecessor as “a guiding force for good”.
“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations.
“He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.
“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor.”
The UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was grief-stricken.
“Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace. In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful,” he said.
“He was a friend to thousands and a leader of millions.”
“There are some human beings who will seem irreplaceable to us, rare human beings. Kofi Annan is high among them. Goodbye my dear friend… goodbye Kofi.”
– Ghana –
President Nana Akufo-Addo declared a week of mourning, saying the national flag will fly at half-mast at home and in the country’s diplomatic missions around the world in honour of “one of our greatest compatriots”.
“He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena.
“He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity.”
– EU –
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the “greatest recognition we can give Kofi Annan is to keep his legacy and his spirit alive”.
“He devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful and united place. He fought to end suffering and injustices across the world and helped to rebuild bridges where they had been destroyed.”
– Russia –
President Vladimir Putin said he was “fortunate” to have been in personal contact with Annan while he lead the UN.
“I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage, his ability to make informed decisions even in the most complex, critical situations. His memory will live forever in the hearts of Russians.”
– NATO –
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said “the UN and the world have lost one of their giants”.
“His warmth should never be mistaken for weakness. Annan showed that one can be a great humanitarian and a strong leader at the same time,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
– Britain –
“A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter
Former prime minister Tony Blair described him as “good friend”.
“Kofi Annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed,” Blair said via his institute’s Twitter page.
– Kenya –
Both key figures in the deadly turmoil that followed Kenya’s 2008 election paid tribute to Annan, who helped mediate an end to the violence.
Former president Mwai Kibaki said Annan “will be remembered for mediating for the return of peace in Kenya”.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga hailed “what became known as ‘the Annan Doctrine’ in which he made it clear that the need to respect sovereignty cannot be used as a shield by governments to brutalise their own citizens and that the international community has a right to intervene”.
– South Africa –
President Cyril Ramaphosa praised Annan as a “great leader and diplomat extraordinaire” who had advanced the African agenda within the UN and had “flown the flag for peace” around the world.
– Zimbabwe –
“A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakeably firm,” tweeted Nelson Chamisa, the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe — where Annan visited days before the July election.
“He had great love for world peace & democracy. A believer in Zimbabwe & its people. Go well son of Africa, Champion of the world!”
– France –
“We will never forget his calm and resolute approach, nor the strength of his fighting spirit,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
– The Elders –
The Elders organisation — a group of statesmen co-founded by Annan which speaks out on global issues — hailed him as “a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private”.
“The world has lost an inspiring figure –- but one whose achievements will never be forgotten, and whose commitment to peace and justice will endure to inspire future generations,” deputy chair Gro Harlem Brundtland said in a statement.
African Development Bank and Canada share commitment to women’s empowerment on the continent
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Canada is the fourth largest contributor to the Bank among non-regional members, and the sixth largest donor to the African Development Fund (ADF)|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 17, 2018/ — On her first visit to the West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau and the President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina (www.AfDB.org), shared a common vision and commitment to the advancement of women and girls on the continent.
Both officials met at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, following the Minister’s visit to a Bank-financed rural agriculture project in Abengourou, Côte d’Ivoire earlier in the day. Bibeau, Adesina and other senior management members exchanged views on wide ranging issues including gender empowerment issues, renewable energy, agriculture, and innovative financing mechanisms.
Canada is the fourth largest contributor to the Bank among non-regional members, and the sixth largest donor to the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group.
The advancement of women and girls is a priority area for the Canadian government in keeping with its Feminist International Assistance Policy .
The Minister emphasized the need to involve African women in decision-making processes.
According to Bibeau “If we want to end poverty, women in Africa must be able to develop their full potential,” she said. She also expressed the hope that women would no longer be perceived as “mere beneficiaries” but as “agents of change.”
“This is the approach we are taking in Canada. We are working to ensure that 15% of our department’s budget is allocated to transformative projects for women,” Bibeau said.
The Gender Strategy is a central part of the Bank’s ambitious vision for Africa, based on the reality that gender equality is integral to Africa’s economic and social development. The vision includes creating opportunities for women, disadvantaged and marginalised people and communities so they can fully participate in and benefit from the development of their communities and nations.
Commending Adesina for exemplary leadership, Bibeau acknowledged that “change will not come overnight, but our collective actions will make a significant difference.” The Bank recorded exceptional results for 2017 with approvals of US $8.7 billion and over $7 billion of disbursements, the highest performance since its creation in 1964.
From 2010 to 2017, the Bank’s operations have positively impacted the lives of millions of Africans. 83 million Africans have benefited from improved access to transport, and 49 million have gained access to clean water and sanitation. Nine million African women have been connected to electricity and the living conditions of 29 million more women have been significantly enhanced as a result of improvements in agriculture.
Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina called for greater mobilization of resources in favor of women.
“We need to change the current system, and introduce a mechanism for rating and classifying financial institutions. Those who put the issue of gender at the center of their concerns should be at the forefront of this ranking,” he said.
According to Adesina, “the Bank plans to raise a US$ 300-million guarantee fund for the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.” AFAWA is expected to leverage close to USD$ 3 billion over 10 years to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity building development, access to funding, and policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.
The initiative provides significant support for the advancement of Africa’s Gender agenda. The Bank is helping build women’s market programs in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through four commercial banks, at least 200,000 women owned businesses are expected to be impacted through financing, growth in revenues and through coaching and mentoring programs.
Adesina said he hoped Canada would champion the initiative, launched during the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings.
The Canadian Minister and the African Development Bank President also discussed closer cooperation between Canada and Africa, and Canada’s participation in the first Africa Investment Forum scheduled for November 2018 in South Africa.
Canada joined the African Development Bank in 1982. The country has supported all the general capital increases of the Bank and all the replenishments of the African Development Fund (ADF). Canada also participates in a number of multi-donor trust funds and other initiatives managed by the Bank.
The African Development Bank Group is one of Canada’s leading partners in supporting sustainable economic growth in Africa. Other Bank Group priority areas of focus include environment and renewable energy, inclusive governance, peace and security.
Namibia takes over leadership of SADC
August 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – Namibian President Hage Geingob said he is ready to assume the responsibilities that come with being the chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Namibian leader is expected to assume the role of regional chair at the 38th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for 17-18 August in Windhoek.
Geingob will take over the rotational role from his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa until the next summit in August 2019. Though it is challenging to be the chair of SADC, he described the role as a noble responsibility and that his success will be dependent on cooperation and support from his peers in the region.
“We have a lot of responsibilities, including the outstanding elections in the Democratic Republic Congo which were initially scheduled for 2016 to determine a successor to incumbent President Joseph Kabila, but were postponed to December 2018,” Geingob told media in the capital.
The resignation of Kabila is a welcoming relief for the 77-year-old Namibian leader. The Congolese leader has been reluctant to step down, that resulted in dozens of people dying since protests erupted in 2016 over delays of the elections.
However, as the chairman of SADC, President Geingob will be challenged to ensure that the electoral process is conducted in a peaceful manner in the vast central African country.
Dozens of people have been killed in the DRC since protests broke out in 2016 amid election delays now two years behind schedule. The on-going conflicts in the Kasai region in Eastern DRC another worrying area matter for SADC.
Namibia is assuming the role of SADC at the time the region is pushing for the acceleration of regional integration and industrialisation.“We have a problem of moving freely but we have now realised that goods and people must have free movement in the region, they must also follow their money, so for this, we have to provide a conducive environment first for investors and also free movement of people,” he said.
He added that regional integration will be meaningless without industrialisation, which is essential to inter-African trade.
Namibia’s deputy prime minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is also the new chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers.
Nandi-Ndaitwah took over from her South African counterpart Lindilwe Sisulu on Monday.
This year’s regional summit is being held under the theme “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the theme is focussed to the SADC’s industrialisation effort as articulated in the SADC Regional Integrated Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
She emphasised that: “It is a hard reality that we cannot industrialise the region or Africa unless we invest on infrastructure development. In order to ensure sustainable Industrialisation and development, we need our own knowledge. To that end, we must invest on our youth through education, skill training and motivate them to be innovative and entrepreneurs. In creating our own pool of knowledge, we will also ensure our region‘s effective participation in the global industrial value chain”.
“It is a hard reality that we cannot industrialize the region or Africa unless we invest on infrastructure development. In order to ensure sustainable industrialization and development, we need our own knowledge. To that end, we must invest on our youth through education, skill training and motivate them to be innovative and entrepreneurs. In creating our own pool of knowledge, we will also ensure our region ‘s effective participation in the global industrial value chain”.
Namibia has also assumed the SADC leadership role after Selma Ashipala-Musavyi the Permanent Secretary of International Relations and Cooperation took over the chairship of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials from Kgabo Mahoai, the Director General for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for South Africa.
Madagascar: President Hery Rajaonarimampianina Announces his Candidacy for a New Term
August 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
|The Party proclaimed its full confidence in Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA as its candidate for the 2018 presidential campaign|
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, August 17, 2018/ — At the end of a five-year term of remarkable economic performance, recognized by the largest international organizations, among them the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Hery Vaovao ho an’i Madagasikara – “Vital Force for Madagascar” – Party proclaimed its full confidence in Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA as its candidate for the 2018 presidential campaign. On Friday, August 17, 2018, in Antananarivo, the present Head of State revealed his intention to seek a second term before a crowd of his party’s supporters.
On that occasion, he recalled the entire range of projects launched within the framework of the Fisandratana 2030 Plan, the vision of which serves as a platform for his presidential program for the fight against the high cost of living, for the modernization of agriculture, for the safety of transportation, for the fight against corruption, for the improvement of public services, for industrialization and the creation of jobs at every level. (www.fisandratana2030.com)
Between now and 2023, there will be more than 2 million new jobs that the development of seven priority sectors will have created, and 5 million before 2030. Agriculture, the maritime economy, natural products, mining, precious stones, industry and tourism will be the keys to accelerated growth. With the creation of four growth areas designed to connect infrastructure projects with industrial sectors, Madagascar will benefit from all the necessary assets to become a regional economic power in the South African Development Community and the Indian Ocean region.
At the same time, Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA mentioned the progress realized since the beginning of his first term, in particular the exiting of more than 2 million Malagasy citizens from poverty. Thanks to the effects of training on consumption, the same result will be able to be attained or even surpassed during the next five years.
This objective is at the heart of his commitment to the Malagasy people, which he described as a non-negotiable requirement for the improvement of living conditions. In his own words: “Leaders must learn to feel the same impatience for change as the people who brought them to power! But as I already said, I know your impatience and I feel it myself. I may well accelerate reforms, accelerate achievements, multiply future plans, but I always want to do more. Like you, I am impatient to be able to move to the next chapter of the construction of the Madagascar of tomorrow.”
Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA then touched on his plans for the construction of a modern economy in Madagascar, but he also took care to speak about the values of the Malagasy people. Alluding to the always present necessity of having “strong reference points”, he called for a “spiritual rebuilding” of the Malagasy nation, supported by family values, by the vital forces of young people and women, by the respect for the wisdom of the elders, all of which are values that strengthen the individual and allow for individual fulfillment.
As a conclusion of his speech, he mentioned the convictions that motivate him and his belief in a collective purpose to which he has dedicated his action: “I know that I can count on you, on your pride, on your determination, in order to build together the Madagascar of your dreams! I know that, for you, the vision of this future of prosperity and of development will be all that matters to you the most in the decades to come,” he declared, before announcing his candidacy for president, in order to continue the recovery of the country undertaken since 2014.
The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for November 7, 2018.
President of Ghana and Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs launches Africa-wide award promoting innovation for the Sustainable Development Goal
August 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Next-Generation African Leaders Announced as Winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge
August 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Mastercard Foundation Scholars to receive seed funding and mentorship to lead impactful projects in their communities
KIGALI, Rwanda, 15 August 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Fifteen teams of a total of 32 emerging African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the 2018 Resolution Social Venture Challenge. A total of thirty teams of Mastercard Foundation Scholars gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to compete in the Resolution Social Venture Challenge, for a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities. A collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and The Resolution Project, the Resolution Social Venture Challenge provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters.
“Africa’s young leaders are brimming with talent, ideas, energy, and a deep desire to have a positive impact on their communities. Yet few young people receive the support and tools they need to ensure a project or social venture they want to undertake is successful,” explains Ashley Collier, Manager of Youth Engagement and Networks at the Mastercard Foundation. “By winning the Social Venture Challenge, these young leaders have earned the resources, network, mentorship, and capital they need to implement their venture and to maximize their impact.”
Zimbabwe amalgamated council of churches to facilitate gathering to pray for peace and development following 2018 elections outcome
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Zimbabwe Amalgamated Council of Churches (ZACC) under the patronage of Jimayi Muduvuri says that it is deeply concerned with the recent violent skirmishes which erupted in the city of Harare following the peaceful 2018 harmonised elections and plans to hold a gathering to bring all Zimbabweans together to pray for peace and development in the country, according to Bishop Obert Matsveru.
ZACC is a council of different Christian denominations in Zimbabwe who are headed by bishops in the country’s 10 provinces. The Bishops recently gathered in Harare to present their views following the outcome of the 2018 harmonised elections which they said were free, fair and credible.
The Bishops also highlighted that they participated in observing the elections under the banner of the ZACC coalition. They however, indicated their concern over the violence which left at least six people dead following demonstrations on the streets of Harare blamed on the opposition MDC-Alliance supporters.
The Bishops’ coalition also told PAV that they sent a delegation to mourn with the families of the affected victims. They also said that they consoled and offered kind support to the families of the affected.
Bishop Matsveru said that ZACC was now on a mission to pray for peace and call for God’s intervention in Zimbabwe for the country to chart a new way forward and to create a peaceful and conducive new political environment for all citizens to progress with their lives.
He said that the church members under the ZACC coalition have been praying for peace before, during and after the 2018 elections.
The church also indicated that it was concerned when some political players who participated in the 2018 harmonised elections proclaimed that they had won the elections before the Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC), the body with the constitutional mandate to do so had not finished their work. The church also indicated that this resulted in the deaths of civilians on the streets of Harare.
Reverend Barnabas Munongwa of the ZACC coalition said that after the elections, the church was praying for peace and strongly condemned any forms of violence and bloodshed in the country.
“As Christians, we are strongly advocating for dialogue and respect of the law and adherence to the constitution and all parties in the country,” he said.
He also added that aggrieved parties were called upon to follow proper appeal procedures than taking to the streets to demonstrate.
Jimayi Muduvuri, Patron of the ZACC said that the violence which erupted in Harare which saw the military being deployed was very worrisome. Muduvuri called on parties to accept defeat when they have lost and not to incite violence.
“We are now praying for the economy , government and the nation to move forward. The past violence was an embarrassment to the whole nation after the peaceful election we had seen this year,’ Muduvuri said.
Bishop Albert Chikuni said that there was need for more focus on peace and development. He said that the church was now praying for progress rather than division in the country.
African migrants reel as Israeli law cuts their salaries
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — African migrants in Israel have been detained, threatened with deportation and faced hostility from lawmakers and residents. Since last year, they face another burden: a de facto 20 percent salary cut that has driven them further into poverty.
Israel’s roughly 35,000 African migrants and the groups that support them say the recent law — in which Israel withholds the money from their paychecks every month and returns it only if they leave the country — is yet another attempt by an anti-migrant government to force them out.
“I feel that they started the ‘deposit law’ to make our life miserable,” said Salamwit Willedo, a migrant from Eritrea who came to Israel in 2010. “We suffer for eight years here. If I had a country, why am I living here?”
The Africans, mainly from war-torn Sudan and dictatorial Eritrea, began arriving in Israel in 2005 through its porous border with Egypt after Egyptian forces violently quashed a refugee demonstration and word spread of safety and job opportunities in Israel. Tens of thousands crossed the desert border, often after enduring dangerous journeys, before Israel completed a barrier in 2012 that stopped the influx.
Since then, Israel has wrestled with how to cope with those already in the country. Many took up menial jobs in hotels and restaurants, and thousands settled in southern Tel Aviv, where Israeli residents began complaining of rising crime.
While the migrants say they are refugees fleeing conflict or persecution, Israel views them as job-seekers who threaten the Jewish character of the state.
Israel has gone from detaining them in remote desert prisons to purportedly reaching a deal with a third country, believed to be Rwanda, to have them deported there.
In April, Israel reached an agreement with the United Nations to have many, but not all, of the migrants resettled in Western countries, with others allowed to stay in Israel. But the government quickly scrapped the deal after an outcry by hard-line politicians and residents of the hardscrabble areas where many of the migrants live.
The measures have kept the migrants living in limbo. The overwhelming majority have not been granted asylum and they lead a tenuous existence, often at the whims of the government. Some say they are victims of racism.
Israel rejects such accusations but doesn’t hide its intentions behind the “deposit law,” which according to the Interior Ministry, is meant to make Israel a less attractive option for migrants.
The law requires migrants’ employers to hand over 20 percent of their salaries to the state, which says it keeps the money until the migrants leave, at which point they can reclaim the cash.
Unlike a tax, the withholding doesn’t grant the migrants any additional social services, to which their access is already limited. Employers are also tasked with storing an additional 16 percent of migrant’s salaries toward a pension fund, making this social benefit inaccessible until asylum seekers choose to leave Israel.
Employers who hire migrants must also pay an additional tax, implemented to encourage employment of Israeli citizens over foreigners, which makes finding work an even greater challenge for the migrants.
While Israel doesn’t shy away from the law’s goals, a spokeswoman suggested the money serves as a savings account for migrants choosing to leave Israel.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said the savings provide “a proper starting point for the beginning of the migrants’ new lives outside of Israel.”
She said the state is currently holding nearly $40 million in the “deposit accounts” of more than 13,000 migrants. Of the thousands who have left Israel voluntarily, 400 have withdrawn their money, she said.
However, the law is being challenged in the country’s Supreme Court, and many migrants view it as another attempt by the Israeli government to compel them to leave the country voluntarily. Under international law, Israel cannot legally deport asylum seekers.
“Always we are living under threat and uncertainty,” said Ghebrehiwot Tekle, an Eritrean who has lived in Israel since 2006 and works as a translator for an aid group. “Every year there will be a new law that can make our life hard.”
A year after the law’s implementation, the 20 percent salary reduction has been deeply felt by Tel Aviv’s community of asylum seekers.
According to accounts from various advocacy groups and asylum seekers, the impact ranges from people switching to black market jobs that pay them in cash to more women entering prostitution.
Families are also being forced to move into smaller apartments, choosing to place their children with uncertified, often unsafe baby-sitters, and giving up on paying for their children’s health insurance.
ASSAF, an Israeli aid group for migrants, has tracked the law’s effects since it was enacted. It said that requests to the group for food assistance by migrants have increased by a third over the past year. Inquiries regarding job loss increased by more than half and there was a more than 80 percent increase in migrants registering concern over homelessness.
“They used to be poor before as well. Now they are more poor,” said Sigal Rozen, public policy director of the Israeli aid organization Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.
Willedo, the Eritrean migrant in Israel since 2010, said her family has tried to reduce their cost of living because of the deposit law, but it’s difficult given that most of their income is dedicated to paying rent. Instead, Willedo said they try to make up the difference by skimping on many of her children’s expenses, such as health insurance, diapers and formula.
For some migrants, even the inhospitable measures are not enough to convince them to leave Israel. Tekle, the translator, believes his fate could be much worse if he were to leave and pursue the same perilous journey other migrants have taken to Europe.
“There is no better situation,” he said.
*Source AP.The Associated Press reported this story with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Nigerian Senate Head Says He’s Mulling Running for President
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
Saraki recently defected from ruling party to join opposition
President Buhari will seek second term in February elections
Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari when Africa’s top oil producer holds elections in February.
“I am consulting and actively considering it,” Saraki, 56, said Tuesday in an interview at his residence in the capital, Abuja. “I believe I can make the change.”
After recently defecting from the ruling All Progressives Congress, Saraki said that if he decided to run, it would be under the banner of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party. He would need to win the party’s ticket during primary elections in October.
“If a government can go and lock up an arm of government — and it’s never happened in our history — we should all be very concerned,” Saraki said. “We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections.”
“So one is concerned for his security, but I think what we are doing right now is fighting for the soul of this country,” he said.
PDP senators are rotating shifts to “keep vigil” at the National Assembly to ensure that those from the ruling party don’t clandestinely get into the chambers in attempt to change the senate’s leadership, The Nation newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Senate, on recess until Sept. 25, hasn’t yielded to pressure from Buhari to reconvene to consider an elections budget he sent to lawmakers just before they broke off. Saraki accused the executive of sending the budget late, and instead invited the electoral body to meet relevant committees without setting a date for a plenary session.
“It could have been avoided. The 2019 election is not an emergency thing, from 2015 we all knew there would be elections in four years’ time,” Saraki said. “If we have to say it as it is, it’s inefficiency bordering on poor planning that brought us to this point. But we have agreed in principle that our committees should meet with the electoral commission. The appropriation committee will look at it to see how do we fund it.”
Investors and citizens have lost confidence in the president, according to Saraki, the nation’s third-highest ranking official after Buhari and his deputy. Buhari’s victory in 2015, which marked the first time an opposition party won power at the ballot box and put an end to 16 years of PDP rule, came after he pledged to fix the economy, improve security and fight corruption in Africa’s most populous nation of almost 200 million inhabitants.
While Buhari’s administration has raised record amounts of money in oversubscribed Eurobond sales and increased revenue to boost investments in roads, rail, ports and power, poverty remains widespread in Nigeria and the nation is still dealing with deadly violence in several regions.
To win the PDP ticket at the party’s primaries on Oct. 5 and 6, Saraki would need to beat another presidential aspirant, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who also defected from the APC last year.
Saraki said Nigeria needs to be governed by a genuinely pro-business administration that will be able to tackle recurrent security issues. Below are some excerpts from the interview:
- “Most of the inflows that have come in are merely hot money, and that is because the oil price has gone up. Investment in the real sector is not seen. The private sector, in my view, has probably taken a position that the confidence is not there in the government. The country requires a government that is truly pro-business, and a president that sees himself as a chief marketing officer.”
- “The fundamentals of whatever we are going to develop is going to be based on sound democracy, credible elections, freedom of choice of Nigerians. If we don’t have that as a foundation, then everything else cannot happen.”
- On gasoline subsidies:
- “If we are going to have a subsidy, we should have a budget for it. Because once we have a budget for it, the private sector can also play a role in the importation of petroleum products. And if the private sector plays a role, definitely the cost of the subsidy will go down and there will be more efficiency in the delivery of products. But in the environment we are in today, where it’s only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that’s doing that, it’s going to be inefficient, it’s not going to be transparent.”
On the PDP:
- “The PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think unfortunately the APC did not learn from their victory.”
- While negotiating with the PDP “we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.”
- “We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.”
* Source Bloomberg