Peter Biar Erred-Salva Kiir’s Office
August 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – On Friday, South Sudan’s Office of the President Salva Kiir has described the recent allegations by political activist Peter Biar that the President wanted him dead as made up stories to facilitate his asylum to the United States.
Peter Biar and philanthropist late Kerbino Wol were arrested in 2018. However, the court in Juba had charged Biar with incitement and disturbing the peace. He was then sentenced to 2 years for violating section 48/80, 2, b of the panel code of 2008.
Biar was pardoned by President Salva Kiir in January after spending several months in jail, followed Kiir ordered for their release in a New Year goodwill gesture. They were among 30 inmates released from prisons across the country.
Peter Biar left Juba for Nairobi, Kenya where he lived with his family until his departure to the US late last month.
In a tweeter post on 23rd of July, Biar who is now in the United States alleges that a “death squad” was sent either to abduct him from Kenya or murder him.
Biar also thanked US President Donald Trump for what he described as “providing refuge to me, my wife, and our three young children.”
While in the US, Biar called for the removal of President Salva Kiir through general elections and targeted sanctions.
In an opinion piece titled; “My Escape to America Shows the Price of Dissent in South Sudan” -published on 23 July 2020 by the Wall Street Journal, Biar described President Kiir as a dictator “working instead to build a powerful and repressive security apparatus with one mission—to keep him in power.”
In response to Peter Biar’s allegations, Ateny Wek Ateny, Press Secretary in the Office of the President accused Biar of being paranoid following the death of Kerbino Wol, who was also an inmate with him.
“A careful scrutiny of the above allegations leads to the conclusion that Peter made up this story, said Ateny. “His only problem is fear itself and such paranoia is the genesis of his return to the US, the current media blitz, and a call for sanctions and an increase in internationally sponsored protection forces in South Sudan.”
Ateny further said that the Juba government does not pursue those pardoned by the president.
“Prisoners of war, political detainees and those with other forgivable offences including Peter were released pardoned and thus the State has no interest in pursuing, monitoring or harming him,” Ateny retained.
According to Ateny, Biar was only seeking reentry into the US after allegedly losing his residency and Green card to the US Department of Homeland Security for having overstayed outside the US.
Nevertheless Peter Biar had stated that while in Nairobi, he “was forced into hiding after allegedly being told by senior government officials in South Sudan that assassins were actively looking for him, alleged that a hit squad in a tinted vehicle with a South Sudanese number visited his Nairobi apartment before he went into hiding.
In a flippant tone, Ateny said, “This allegation does not stand intelligence tradition. No government with this kind of intention would be this bold and daring to pursue a dissident in a foreign country using means that best implicates it.”
Ateny also said that Peter Biar was a foreign agent who has been spying senior government officials and the military establishment and was arrested because of collusion with foreign agencies and that the government became suspicious of him after discovering that he was working for a Germany firm.
“Peter has not often engaged in peaceful activities allowed under the constitution of South Sudan. His subversive activities, which are injurious to the peace process and the leaders of the country, are notable,” Ateny said.
In his letter, Biar further insisted that he couldn’t take the threat on his light lightly considering, “I had been a political prisoner in South Sudan, convicted a show trial…and sentenced to two years in prison.”
Former political detainee believes South Sudanese are now “desperate to hold Mr. Kiir accountable for his failed leadership” through voting in leaders will “secure a just and lasting peace.”
In his letter, Biar demanded the amendment of the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate to ensure voters’ safety during elections and a road map to presidential elections -that entails a new constitution, electoral laws and a new independent National Elections Commission.
But the Office of the President Kiir affirmed that the peace government plans to hold national elections in 2023.
President Kiir’s office, the government will work with stakeholders to implement the fragile revitalized peace agreement towards a promising transition and path to democracy.
Ateny reiterated its government commitment to peace, good governance, the rule of law and democracy in the world youngest nation, which just emerging from the country’s five year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before devastated the country’s economy.
Mali: Oumou Sangaré tops World Music Charts Europe
August 9, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Malian Oumou Sangaré has claimed the No 1 spot on the World Music Charts Europe(link is external) (WMCE) with her album titled Acoustic.
Acoustic rose 13 places after making its entry on the chart at No 14 in July. The offering is essentially an unplugged version of her 2017 release Mogoya. The album was released digitally on 19 June through record label No Format.
“I suggested to Oumou that she record this album after a show in London to celebrate 15 years of No Format,” No Format founder Laurent Bizot said. “At that concert, for the first time, she had agreed to try out this acoustic approach, which is all about letting go. The space it created for her voice was wonderful.”
The Pace Setters, a reissue of Ghanaian band Edikanfo’s 1981 LP, ranks second after its debut on the chart at No 7 in July.
Making its entry at No 4 is The King of Sudanese Jazz by musician Sharhabil Ahmed via the Habibi Funk label. The seven tracks were recorded in the 1960s and feature a mix of rock and roll, funk, surf rock, traditional Sudanese music and Congolese rumba.
Maghreb K7 Club: Synth Raï, Chaoui & Staiif (1985-1997) is another newcomer on the chart ranking at No 7. The album features an impressive compilation of music recorded and produced between 1985 and 1997 by musicians from the Maghreb region in Algeria.
Further down, Santrofi’s Alewa – the No 1 album in July – drops to No 9, while Tamotait by Tuareg band Tamikrest from Mali fell eight positions to No 13. The album was at the top of the chart in June.
At No 17 is Afropentatonism by Nigerien desert blues musician Alhousseini Anivolla and Ethiopian jazz guitarist Girum Mezmur. The pan-African project dropped six places after debuting at No 11 last month.
Nayda! by Bab L’Bluz from Morocco completes the list of African albums on the chart with a debut at No 18. Real World Records says the album features “a new wave of Moroccan artists and musicians taking their cues from local heritage, singing words of freedom in the Moroccan-Arabic dialect of darija (‘nayda’ means both ‘to rise up’ and ‘to party’) and mixing influences as and when.”
The WMCE features albums selected by radio producers and presenters across Europe. The albums are then played for a month on various radio stations, and an official poster is displayed in multiple music stores.
Paradigm Initiative concludes a 2-day coalition workshop on a draft Tanzania Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill, 2020
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
Paradigm Initiative has concluded a two-day coalition workshop that brought together civil society groups, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, members of the academia in the United Republic of Tanzania.
The two-day event took place at Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam with the Tanzania participants coming together to discuss the state of digital rights in Tanzania with support from Paradigm Initiative that joined the meeting virtually. The workshop culminated in the drafting of a Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2020 for Tanzania. It is hoped that this Bill, inspired by Nigeria’s Digital Rights and Freedoms Bill, will be embraced by the Tanzanian parliament and regulatory authorities after the elections in 2020 and subsequently enacted into law.
It is noteworthy that the Bill presents liberal and progressive proposals which, if enacted into law, will definitely safeguard the digital rights and freedoms of all Tanzanians. The Bill seeks to fill the lacuna that exists in the current legal and institutional framework for digital rights protection in Tanzania and to offer more robust protection. Undoubtedly, it will not only be an auxiliary legislation to the Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) and the Cyber-Crimes Act but also reinforce the existing internet-use regulations.
Paradigm Initiative Senior Program Manager, Adeboye Adegoke says the organisation hopes to keep the discussion going especially with other relevant stakeholders from Tanzania and with the Tanzanian government agencies such as the TCRA. “ The next step in the process is the sustained engagement of all relevant stakeholders in Tanzania, including the government to ensure that the bill that will be presented to the parliament represents the views of the people of Tanzanians”, Adeboye concluded.
Germany to Ramp Up Investment in African Energy
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
|An exclusive webinar explored the market dynamics set to shape post-COVID-19 German-African business relations.|
“Germany-Africa Economic Relations: Making Deals Post COVID-19” highlighted opportunities for German businesses in Africa’s power production, clean energy, and digitalization and technology sectors; An opening keynote was given by H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea; Panelists included Ibrahima Mané, Director General for Cooperation & Financing for the Republic of Senegal; Onyeche Tifase, Head of Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Oil and Gas Divison for Siemens Energy; Tim Gengnagel, Deal Accelerator for the Rwanda Development Board; and Kenneth Reed, Managing Director for GEA Group, Southern & Eastern Africa; The webinar was hosted by the African Energy Chamber and Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF), in collaboration with Africa Oil & Power (AOP), and featured moderators Sebastian Wagner, Co-Founder of the GABF, and Anine Kilian, News Editor at AOP.
In an exclusive webinar held on Thursday, “Germany-Africa Economic Relations: Making Deals Post COVID-19,” panelists sought to mobilize German investment into the African energy sector, establishing clean energy and digitalization as two major pillars of economic and investment cooperation.
In recent years, the African continent has shifted to the forefront of Germany’s foreign policy and development agenda, with programs rolled out under the country’s $1.1 billion Development Investment Fund for Africa, which is primarily dedicated to easing the entrance of German businesses into African markets.
Co-hosting the webinar, the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) is a private think tank whose goal is to strengthen investment ties between Germany and Africa, co-founded by moderator Sebastian Wagner. In July 2019, the organization announced a multi-million dollar funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa.
A prime example of German-African cooperation lies in Equatorial Guinea, which employed two German contractors in the construction of West Africa’s first LNG storage and regasification plant located on the country’s mainland.
“Equatorial Guinea initiated the Gas Mega Hub, in which we are capturing gas from Noble Energy’s Alba and Alen fields, building a pipeline and bringing it to onshore Punta Europa gas processing facilities,” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea in his keynote address. “The resources are here. We just need to make sure that we have the technology to transfer the goods. In Equatorial Guinea, there is substantial opportunity for synergy between Equatoguinean and German companies. This is not a country that is uncharted territory, or in which the resources are not there. We already produce oil, gas, condensate, methanol and CNG, and are going to start mining. As a result, to enter the market requires technology of transformations.”
The G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa through improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks. The efficacy of the initiative has been demonstrated in countries such as Senegal, which enjoys a long-standing partnership with Germany that has mobilized over €1 billion in funding. “Germany-Senegal cooperation is rich in lessons, in terms of a project approach that is focused on the mode of intervention and implementation through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and KfW Development Bank, which are focused on technical operation and financial cooperation, respectively,” said Ibrahima Mané, Director General for Cooperation & Financing for the Republic of Senegal. “GIZ intervenes upstream to create pre-conditions for financial intervention, leading to better project preparation. KfW carries out studies before the agreement is signed, and recruits an international consultant to support the implementation. In addition to receiving a grant last year to create a more attractive investment climate for FDI, Senegal is working on a new law for Public-Private-Partnerships. The second phase of the Plan for an Emerging Senegal is focused on private sector development and bringing more clarity and transparency to help investors feel comfortable.”
In Senegal, Germany plays a significant role in power projects through investment in small-scale plants and renewables energy, facilitated by its agreement with the CwA that has supported almost 800 SMEs in the country. “We currently have more than €200 million in undergoing projects, primarily focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to electricity throughout the whole country,” said Ibrahima Mané. “No exclusivity and no exclusion – the energy sector is not dominated by one partner. It is a dynamic sector with many bilateral and multilateral partners. Germany is making a major contribution in the field of renewable energy, principally through power plants of 25 MW implemented in areas outside of Dakar.”
With a recently approved investment law and a top regional ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Rwanda maintains an attractive investment climate for FDI, in part due to strong collaboration between public and private sectors. “The [Rwanda Development Board] has a responsibility both on the policy side to keep the country reforming and improving, and on the project development side, in the promotion of projects and implementation,” said Tim Gengnagel, Deal Accelerator for the Rwanda Development Board. “Having a trusted government partner in that implementation journey is key to not only attracting investment, but also creating the jobs and exports that we are craving for.” The Rwanda Development Board echoed the need for German entrants to the market to be familiar with market size. “One point of concern that we hear from German companies is the small market size,” said Tim Gengnagel. “With many German companies, they try to sell products, which is a good first step into a market. However, if you are investing on the continent and in Rwanda, you are not only investing in a consumer market, but also making a regional investment and an export investment.”
In addition to boosting electricity access and fuelling a clean energy transition, key opportunities for German companies in Africa remain in digitalization, as German businesses possess the technical expertise and know-how to enable knowledge and technology transfer. “Opportunities are immediately available, in terms of smart-grids, automation of metering systems, automation of production lines and adoption of FinTech. On top of that, we are seeing companies invest in training youth and the utilization of digital technologies,” said Onyeche Tifase, Head of Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Oil and Gas Divison for Siemens Energy. “For German companies that are in the high-tech space and have found ways to create a success story in advanced countries, now is the time to transition to Africa. Furthermore, with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we are seeing an even greater push toward industrialization. We are hoping for Nigeria to become a net exporter, and this cannot be done without digitalization.”
Despite a wide range of investment opportunities in the African energy sector, limiting factors still constrain the advancement of industrial and manufacturing abilities on the continent, which include local content and skills development. “Why would people consider entering the African market? The better question is, ‘Can you afford to ignore Africa?’ The return on foreign investment is the highest in the world, and the continent also carries a significant availability of land for agricultural production,” said Kenneth Reed, Managing Director for GEA Group, Southern & Eastern Africa. “That said, the advice is to be aware of the differences between African and other cultural norms, as well as the actual market size and how much money you are going to invest. In addition, the shortage of skills, the need to create jobs and the need to enhance skills is critical to the collaboration between German companies and Africa.”
The GABF will, in cooperation with AOP Webinars, host future webinars that address the political, social and economic interdependence between Germany and Africa.
*Africa Energy Chamber
Zimbabwe doctors human rights organization to launch health workers safety tracker
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) is to launch a Health workers safety tracker which will act as an advocacy tool will also be utilised in enhancing access to information to the public and to healthcare workers and in engaging with responsible authorities in working towards improved working conditions for health workers, it has been reported.
ZADHR said that it is deeply concerned with the on-going industrial strike by nurses and other healthcare workers in the public health delivery sector.
“The state of affairs compounds the already dire situation within the public health sector and more importantly in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” ZADHR said.
They also added that they were also worried about the lack of urgency and the lethargy by the government in addressing the health workers’ genuine concerns.
ZADHR urged the government to prioritise the welfare of the health workforce in order to boost their moral and improve the health outcomes as a matter of urgency.
It added that the strikes come at a time health workers have been complaining about shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in their respective workspace, a situation which is said to expose them to contracting Covid-19. According to ZADHR, Currently, Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare has skeletal staff that can only look after 60 to 70 patients out of a possible 425 at any given time.
ZADHR says that this is testament to the fact that government has paid lip service to the concerns of health workers despite court orders imploring the government to prioritise the welfare and health of the health workers. ZADHR says it stands with the affected and striking health care workers and urges the government to exhibit urgency when confronted with issues that affect the well being of its workers and by extension the citizens.
They also said that they continue to note the difficulties being faced by citizens in accessing health services including access to emergency maternal services. ZADHR says it has has verified reports of citizens who are being turned away from hospitals because they do not have Covid-19 test results.
‘This is a clear violation of section 76(3) of the Zimbabwean constitution which states that “no person may be refused emergency medical treatment in any health institution.” “Whilst ZADHR notes that the requirement is in place to protect fellow health workers, we advise that public health institutions should have the testing facilities readily available for emergency cases such that patients are not turned away and told to get tested in private institutions,’ they said.
They added that public health institutions should make sure that health workers attending to emergency cases have proper PPE to protect themselves and that adequate infection control guidelines are strictly adhered to.
Can Akere Muna ride DR Congo off rampant corruption, sex for aid, and humanitarian fraud?
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
To lead the fight against widespread corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, President Félix Tshisekedi some four months ago solicited the services of Cameroon lawyer Akere Muna after facing national and international backlash amidst fears that the country could lose humanitarian support due to rampant corruption and mismanagement of donations.
Four months in, the task accorded Akere Muna, former presidential hopeful in Cameroon, and a fine technocrat with decades of legal experience across the horizon seems forever overwhelming with daily increases in corrupt practices, and more damming the recent allegation that women and girls are subjected to sexual exploitation in exchange for aid, the legal colossus has got his hands full.
Though many agree Barrister Akere Muna is the right man for the job considering his expertise after serving as President of the Cameroon Bar Association, President of the Pan-African Lawyers Union, and Vice-President of Transparency International, sources in Kinshasa point that the Congolese are gradually losing hope in the process.
Credited to have founded Transparency International Cameroon in 2000,
and serving as its President before becoming Global Vice President of the international anti-corruption organization in 2005, Akere Muna has been very tactful and not made any public remarks about the mission.
Having worked with the Resident Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo on a mission on the project to fight corruption and establish good governance, the field though not new to Akere Muna presents new challenges.
In June, a leaked internal document exposed scores of aid corruption and abuse in Congo delivering a blistering assessment that could spark major changes to aid operations in a country where hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid are spent annually.
The 70-page draft review – circulated last month to aid officials working in Congo and obtained by The New Humanitarian – looks at everything from corruption within the Ebola response to how women and girls are subjected to sexual exploitation. It also details how donor funds are siphoned off and how aid recipients ultimately lose out.
An anti-fraud unit is said to have been put in place by United Nations agencies and aid groups after Mercy Corps, a nongovernmental organization in 2018 uncovered a fraud scheme. In its review, the anti-fraud unit of the UN discovered widespread corruption that sinks deep into Congo.
A problem which if not well tackled could see DR Congo losing millions of dollars in aid and humanitarian support, funding which is critical to helping the agile country struck with one of the world’s longest humanitarian crises.
This is where Akere Muna comes in. Faced with what many have termed a ‘mission impossible’, the Cameroonian lawyer who is currently Chairman of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council. He is also the Sanctions Commissioner of the African Development Bank Group and a Member of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa – is charged with identifying those loopholes and reporting to the presidency on how to best solve the country’s chronic corrupt practices.
Mozambique announces new state of emergency
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced the introduction of another state of emergency cycle starting on August 8, nationwide, for 30 days, saying that data from the health authorities indicate that the covid-19 epidemic is rapidly worsening, with an increase in the number of deaths and hospitalized patients.
Nyusi also outlined plans for a phased easing of restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. The three-phase plan will begin on August 18, when activities deemed low risk can resume. These include the resumption of face-to-face classes in universities, higher education institutions, military academies, teacher training, and at technical, professional, and health institutes. Religious services may also resume, with congregations of no more than 50 people. Up to 50 people will be able to attend funerals, up from the current limit of 20, with exceptions for the funeral of those who have died of covid-19, where the maximum attendance will remain at ten.
The second phase is scheduled to begin on September 1, and will allow for the resumption of activities deemed medium risk. This includes the reopening of cinemas, casinos, and gyms.
The third phase covers activities deemed high risk and is set to begin on October 30. Measures included in this phase include the resumption of face-to-face classes for final year secondary school pupils.
All other current measures remain in place until further notice, including social distancing and the use of face masks in public. Bars remain closed indefinitely.
All other activities that have not been announced will be subject to regulation by a decree to be issued by the Council of Ministers, Nyusi said.
Cameroon: Outrage as Anglophone detainee dies while chained to hospital bed
August 7, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Uneasy calm has returned to the Kondengui Central Prison in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde after Anglophone inmates protested the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas Nganyu Tangem, detained in relation to the simmering crisis in the North West and South West regions. Before his demise, a photo of him shackled to his sickbed had gone viral on social media.
The angry detainees demanded explanations from prison authorities concerning the disturbing circumstances under which Tangem died in the nation’s political capital. The angry inmates said the deceased was subjected to inhumane and barbaric treatment before his death on August 5, 2020.
Sources in Yaounde told Pan Africa Visions that Tangem had been sick for over five months, but was allegedly neglected and abandoned in jail. He is said to have been rushed to hospital on July 25, 2020, only when his situation deteriorated.
Images of him chained to a hospital bed despite his critical health situation flooded social media platforms with outright condemnation from members of the public and the Cameroonian diaspora.
Lead Counsel for the defense team of Anglophone crisis detainees, Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicomdemus issued a statement concerning the death of Tangem. Amungwa detailing that, he died in chains “to the satisfaction of the prison and justice administrators”.
“The chairman of communication and media for the defense team of Ayuk Tabe and other Southern Cameroonian detainees announce with deep regret the death of Tangem Thomas at 10 minutes to six in the morning this August 5th, 2020 at the Yaounde Central Hospital. Pa Tom died in chains to the satisfaction of the prison and justice administrators. The corpse is about now being kept in the mortuary of the Central Hospital Yaounde,” the lawyer said in a statement. Local news report that Tangem, a metal sheet engineer from the North West region was reportedly arrested in Mile 16, Buea South west region in 2018. He is said to have been ferried to the Secretariat of State Defense, SED before later transferred to the Kondengui Maximum security prison.
Spending over three years in detention without trial, Wife, and close family members of Thomas Nganyu Tangem recount the inhumane and ferocious living conditions he was faced with before succumbing to death. “My husband excreted, and urinated in his pants for four days and was left unattended”, the wife said in an interview with The Voice newspaper before adding that he was blindfolded, forced to sleep on wet floors and chained for weeks.
Reacting to the death of the detainee, retired Supreme Court Advocate General, Ayah Paul Abine wrote that, “died in chains as a Southern Cameroonian. This man died in chains, died this day August 5, 2020, not as a prisoner of war he was, prisoner for being who he was” adding that “a rare gentleman that I knew, he was in quiet disposition or just cracking jokes, working round the clock was his noble task only to depart in this manner most degrading for being born where it pleased the Lord to choose”.
Tsi Conrad, one of the Anglophone crisis detainees currently serving a 15-year jailed term penned an emotional tribute to late Tangem shortly after he died.
“At the foot of the hill he died, from pain and misery, chained to his bed by evil, never did he want to escape, the oppressor killed him slowly,” Tsi wrote, further adding that “without judgment, he prayed to go home, 3 years behind bars in dungeon of pain, hope made way for delusion today August 25. For nothing, Pa Tangem Thomas died in body, but his soul bow looks from above at his foe”.
Agbor Felix Nkongho, human rights advocate and founder of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa condemned in strongest terms the treatment matted on a sick detainee describing it as nothing short of “cruelty, inhuman and degrading.”
The disturbing and inhumane treatment in Cameroon’s prisons especially the dreaded Kondengui Central prison has come under review several times. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and even UN agencies have criticized the government of Cameroon for its poor treatment of detainees who are often subjected to torture, limited or no medical attention, sleeping in over-crowded cells leading to the fast spread of illnesses among others. By the time of this report, the government of President Paul Biya or Prison authorities at Kondengui were yet to make any public statement about the death of Thomas Nganyu Tangem and why he had not got medical attention earlier.
Ugandans should stop going to Rwanda: Another Cold war between sister countries
August 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has ordered Ugandans not to cross to Rwanda or do so at their own risk, a move that signals a deepening of the prolonged feud between these once sister countries.
The directives were given by President Museveni through a letter addressed to Resident District Commissioners especially those in Districts on the border with Rwanda.
“The President has sent a directive to you all the RDC’s (resident district commissioners) especially those in Districts bordering with Rwanda, to inform Ugandans of the criminal Rwanda government policy of shooting smugglers that are not armed, although what they are doing is illegal” Esther M Mbayo, Minister in Charge of Presidency wrote in the letter that got leaked to the media,
Mbayo went on to warn Ugandans who had in their schedule to go to Rwanda. “Ugandans should stop going to Rwanda or those who go should do so at their own risk”.
Since March 2020, Rwanda has also advised its nationals to avoid crossing to Uganda, over ill treatment they get in the hands of Uganda’s security agencies.
Through the letter, Uganda claimed that they are Rwandan soldiers who cross to Uganda to kidnap people, and “the concerned agencies are already briefed on how to deal with that provocation”.
Things could be worse between Rwanda and Uganda and hinder efforts that are being made to mediate in the feud between both countries by Presidents João Lourenço of Angola, and Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda has not commented on the letter.
The virtual meeting of the ad hoc commission for the normalisation of relations between Uganda and Rwanda which ended in June 2020 took no promising decision on issues between two countries.
Rwanda has accused Uganda of harboring its enemies, illegally arresting and torturing its citizens as well as economic sabotage. Uganda accuses Rwanda of sending spies to its territory and closing the common border of Gatuna among others.
In August 2019, Rwanda and Uganda agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that were aimed at ending years of hostilities between the two countries.
Lethal Cargo In Beirut Was Once Headed For Mozambique
August 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Preliminary investigations into the gigantic explosion that ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 50 people, and injuring thousands more, was caused by an abandoned cargo of ammonium nitrate that had once been headed for Mozambique, according to CNN.
Reports emerging from Beirut suggest that the tragedy began in 2013 when technical problems forced a cargo ship, the MV Rhosus, flying the flag of the former Soviet republic of Moldova, to put into the port of Beirut.
The Rhosus set off from the Black Sea port of Batumi in Georgia, on 23 September 2013, and its destination was listed as the central Mozambican port of Beira.
But it never got further than Beirut. When Lebanese inspectors boarded the ship it found that it was in no fit state to continue its journey. Furthermore, in its hold was a cargo of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, commonly used as fertiliser.
It is also a component of explosives used in the mining and construction industries. In the wrong hands, ammonium nitrate is highly dangerous. It has been used by terrorists, notably in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in the United States, carried out by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, which killed 168 people, and the Oslo bombing of 2011, carried out by Norwegian fascist Anders Breivik. There have also been many accidental ammonium nitrate explosions this century, with a death toll running into hundreds.
The owner of the Rhosus was a Russian businessman, Igor Grechushkin, whose last known address was in Cyprus. Grechushkin made no attempt to make the Rhosus seaworthy, and in early 2014, he simply abandoned it. The ship’s captain, Ukrainian citizen Boris Prokoshev told a Ukrainian legal aid organisation in June 2014 that Grechushkin claimed bankruptcy. “I don’t believe him, but that doesn’t matter”, he said. “The fact is that he abandoned the ship and the crew, just like he abandoned his cargo, ammonium nitrate.”
Eventually a Lebanese judge allowed Prokoshev and other Ukrakinan crew members to go home. The Lebanese law firm representing the seamen said “Emphasis was placed on the imminent danger the crew was facing given the ‘dangerous’ nature of the cargo still stored in ship’s holds”.
A shipping industry journal, “The Arrest News”, which tracks ships that have been impounded, said, in 2015, “Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses”.
For the next six years, the ammonium nitrate was effectively abandoned in the warehouse, despite repeated efforts by Lebanese customs to persuade the country’s judiciary to order its removal. As Tuesday’s events showed, it was a bomb waiting to go off.
It is not yet clear who the southern African customer for the ammonium nitrate was. The final destination may not have been Mozambique at all. Given its use in mining explosives, it might well have been intended for mining operations in Zimbabwe or Zambia. Currently the answer to this is unknown.
Mozambique with no notification on Rhosus
However, Cornelder, the managing company of the port of Beira, told Lusa on Wednesday that it had never been notified of the operation of a ship containing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate destined for Mozambique.
“Normally, before receiving a ship, we are notified. In this case, we never received any notification from a ship coming to the port of Beira with these characteristics and cargo,” said António Libombo, deputy executive director of Cornelder, concessionaire of the Port of Beira since 1998.
Lusa contacted the Mozambican Ministry of Transport and Communications, which also said it had not been informed about a vessel with these characteristics that year.
Gambia Imposes Curfew as Covid-19 Surge the Nation
August 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow has invoked executive power to impose a 21-day curfew on the country, effect from Thursday amidst wide spread of the coronavirus in The Gambia.
The president on Wednesday unleashed his powers under Section 34 of the constitution by declaring a new state of public emergency as coronavirus continues its scary spread. The new State of Public Emergency, SoPE which comes with a night curfew, will take effect on Thursday.
Under the new SoPE, all houses of worship such as mosques and churches ‘shall remain’ closed, according to a statement by the government.
Ebrima G. Sankareh, government spokesperson told Gambia Radio and Television Services that the decision is necessary to prevent the national health crisis ahead in the country.
Gambia has confirmed 779 coronavirus and 16 deaths. the vice president and four ministers and one mayor testing positive for the disease. However citizens recently slammed government for failing to enforcement covid-19 lock down regulations.
Experts predict that the country is risk of national health crisis because of the fragile health system.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew will start on Thursday from 10pm to 5am daily. Anyone found outside who’s not an essential worker during this time will liable to a fine of D5000.
“Mosques or churches shall be used solely for calls to prayers or religious announcements. All forms of gatherings at mosques and churches are prohibited,” the statement signed by government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh on Wednesday said.
Mohannad Ali, Fatima Akif Emerge as the African Freestyle Football Champions of 2020
August 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
|Ali, 20, is the 2019 Egyptian Freestyle Football Champion, while Akif, 19, is the reigning Women’s Arabian Freestyle Football Champion.|
The month-long virtual freestyle football championship tagged Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020 came to a power-packed finish on Sunday, August 2, 2020 with the finals of the 3rd African Freestyle Football Championship.
After several dramatic freestyle football battles, Mohannad Hosam Ali from Egypt and Fatimaezzahra ‘Fatima’ Akif from Morocco emerged as the Men and Women Champions of Africa for 2020. Ali, 20, is the 2019 Egyptian Freestyle Football Champion, while Akif, 19, is the reigning Women’s Arabian Freestyle Football Champion.
Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, the largest promoter of freestyle football in Africa, hosted the games, which began on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 and received 152 entries from 21 countries participating in the first-of-its-kind online games.
Valentine Ozigbo, the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, while speaking at the finals of the championship expressed his pride at the rapid growth of freestyle football on the continent since the inception of the tournament in 2017.
“When we started this project a few years ago, it was all about passion for an art-form that deserved to be given a front seat in the world of sports,” the respected business leader said.
“Today, we have just held the third successful continental championships, that is in addition to four Nigerian tournaments.”
“This year’s statistics – 152 contestants, 21 countries, and increase in women participation – is a testament to the fact that freestyle football is not just the fastest-growing type of football, but it has taken firm roots in Africa.”
MTN, the headline sponsor of the championship, celebrated the winners and promised to keep supporting initiatives geared towards youth development across Africa.
“The quality of participation we have seen in this year’s edition of the African Freestyle Football Championship is another testament to the quality of talent that abounds in Africa, and it is truly inspiring,” said Rahul De, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria.
“We are glad to be part of this initiative and will not relent in our support for developmental programmes for the youth in Africa. Congratulations to all the participants and especially Mohannad and Fatima for emerging champions in the male and female categories,” Mr De added.
Eight professional freestylers from 6 countries – Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, and Nigeria – competed at the keenly contested men and women’s finals of the virtual games which were aired live on HipTV and streamed live on PlusTV’s Youtube and Instagram channels as well as Feet ‘N’ Tricks’ YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram channels.
While speaking to freestyle football fans after the event, Mr Ozigbo expressed his satisfaction with the quality of play at the finals and reiterated his desire to ensure that the World Freestyle Football Championship is hosted in Nigeria or any other country in Africa in the near future.
“Thanks to all our sponsors. MTN, who is our headline sponsor this year, my foundation, Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, and Eko Disco. Also thanks to our broadcast partners, PlusTV Africa and HipTV. Thanks to all our other media partners who supported this competition” Mr Ozigbo said.
The African Freestyle Football Championships, Mohannad Hosam Ali (Egypt) and Fatima Akif (Morocco) take home the grand prize of $1,000 each.
Second-placed winners, Yousef Ayman Riesco (Egypt) and Lubna Omar (Sudan) each go home with $750, while Ayoub Haouas (Tunisia) and Evelyn Okafor (Nigeria) who both placed 3rd win $500 each. The 4th placed winners, Samir Saidi (Algeria) and Yasmine Rais (Morocco), take home $250 each.
Riesco, 30, is a former Super Ball World Champion and 6-time Egyptian National Champion. Ayoub, 30, is the reigning champion of the Online Arabs Freestyle Championship. Okafor, 21, is the 2019 Women’s African Freestyle Football Champion.
A panel of international judges – Lukasz Chwieduk from Poland, U.S.A’s Caitlyn Schrepfer, Yo Katsuyama of Japan and South African duo Kamal ‘Kamilio’ Ranchod and Chris Njokwana – determined the winner through the process of elimination in live battles.
The final was hosted by Nigerian street dance king, Poco Lee. A variety of musical, dance, and entertainers also featured on the show.
Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020 was held in partnership with the World Freestyle Football Association, WFFA with telecommunication giant, MTN is the headline sponsor.
About Feet ‘n’ Tricks International:
Feet ‘n’ Tricks International Limited (www.FeetAndTricks.com) is the official host for freestyle football competitions in Africa. The company is strongly committed to growing awareness and participation in the art form that is freestyle football. The company has hosted successful annual championships since 2017. Freestyle Unlocked Africa 2020 is the 4th edition of the championships. The events are held in partnership with the World Freestyle Football Association, the world body governing the sport.
*SOURCE Feet ‘N’ Tricks International