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Tanzania Intensifies Fight against Homosexuality as an Anti-Gay and Nudity Squad Is Formed
November 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Tanzania, one of Africa’s most conservative countries is showing no signs of liberalizing anytime soon as evidenced by the recent formation of an Anti-Gay and Nudity Squad.

Speaking at a news conference, police regional commissioner for the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam Paul Makonda said that with effect from Monday 29 October, the Anti-Gat and Nudity Squad would start executing its responsibilities. According to Makonda, the squad will act as a surveillance squad whose job is to identify gays on social media and arrest them. “These homosexuals boast on social networks. Give me their names… My ad-hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday,” said Makonda.

Makonda said the 17-member team would comprise of state officials from the Tanzania Communications Authority, the police and media practitioners.

Tanzania does not have any codified laws that criminalize homosexuality. Sodomy however is illegal and all convicted gay people are considered to be practicing sodomy hence they face the same sentence as those who practice sodomy. Anyone convicted of sodomy (and inversely homosexuality) may face at least 30 years in prison.

Speaking at the same news conference, Makonda said that the government is now taking strict measures against pornography. He urged members of the public to delete any pornographic images or videos from their devices as anyone whose device is found carrying such kind of graphics will face stiff penalties from the government.

Makonda also informed human rights groups that homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania hence the government will not entertain any moves to change this stance.

Mr Makonda, a close ally of Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, said that a list of 200 suspects had already been drawn up thanks to public tip-offs and a trawl through Tanzanians’ social media accounts.

The announcement by Governor Paul Makonda comes after several medical clinics accused of promoting homosexuality were shut down.

Makonda said he expected criticism from outsiders for his hardline stance but added: “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”

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South Sudan celebrates peace, declaring conflict over, a new page for peace
November 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

A man waves flags during peace celebrations in Juba, the South Sudanese capital. Photograph: Bullen Chol/AP

A man waves flags during peace celebrations in Juba, the South Sudanese capital. Photograph: Bullen Chol/AP

Juba – South Sudanese celebrated a new revitalized peace deal on Wednesday as zealous hopes of an end to a five years old conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced million people from their homes were toughened by all-embracing skepticism that the flimsy deal will hold.

The deal, which is meant to end a civil war that began in mid – December 2013, commits forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, and the rebel groups fighting them, overpower wrangling in the ruling party, SPLM.

Speaking at the peace celebration on Wednesday at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said the celebration marks the end of civil war in South Sudan.

“Today marks the end of the war in the Republic of South Sudan,” President Kiir told hundreds of the attended crowds. This war has been subjected to many analyses and it has been given many names. For those of us caught in the middle of it, we know it was neither an ethnic nor an economic war but rather a naked struggle for power with a complete disregard for constitutional order. ‘It was a complete betrayal of our people and their liberation struggle and this is what has warranted my apology to people of South Sudan.’ The time for blame, as to who started it, is over, and those of us who consider ourselves leaders must accept the blame collectively and solemnly promise our people never to return them to war again.”

Back from Exile

Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the country’s biggest coalition of rebel fighters, SPLM-IO returned to Juba for the first time since 2016 to take part in a peace ceremony involving singers, flags and drums staged before regional dignitaries.

The former Vice President had fled to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 under a hail of gunfire when an earlier peace deal collapsed.

Machar and President Salva Kiir signed a new peace agreement last month in the latest attempt to end the five-year war which has claimed thousands of lives.

The new deal reinstates him as the first vice president and he will return to Juba in May next year to assume the position. A similar attempt at forming a transitional government failed in mid-2016 and prompted some of the war’s worst violence. Machar was eventually forced into exile in South Africa.

Machar said his historic return to Juba showed his rebel movement is “for peace.”

“We came … for peace and … to end the suffering of people,” Machar said. He was accompanied by his wife and at least 50 delegations from the SPLM – IO, but none of his troops.

“It is important to note that the signed revitalized peace agreement is to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan so that they can live in peace and harmony, reconcile and heals the wounds inflicted upon them during this traumatic war. We call on our people to support this peace agreement as it will reform the state and its institutions,” Machar said.

According to Dr. Machar, all the soldiers will be brought to work together, adding that all the rebels holding guns should put down the guns and come out for peace.

 Riek Machar, former vice-president of South Sudan, arrives at Juba international airport with his wife, ending two years in exile. Photograph: Akuot Chol/AFP/Getty Images

Riek Machar, former vice-president of South Sudan, arrives at Juba international airport with his wife, ending two years in exile. Photograph: Akuot Chol/AFP/Getty Images

 ‘Friends and Foes’

President Kiir further reiterated that the war in South Sudan has come to an end, and we have forgiven each other and we have consciously decided to move this country through a healing process.

He said the personalities who signed the agreement have in the past been former friends and foes, therefore, the big challenge ahead is to build trust and confidence between the parties — and between the parties and the people.

Both government and rebel forces have been accused of atrocities during the conflict that’s driven parts of the nation to the brink of famine. Amnesty International has alleged that pro-government forces rampaged through opposition-controlled areas for more than a month this year, even as peace talks were underway.

President said the time for blame as to who started it is over.

“I urge you to forgive one another, embrace one another and bury all feeling of hatred once and for all,” Kiir told South Sudanese. Adding that ‘all political struggles are temporary, just as leaders are temporary. But a nation endures. Unite and build your country as equal stakeholders and do not allow destructive elements to destroy your social fabric, which has endured since time immemorial.’

Kiir apologizes

President Kiir offered an unprecedented apology for a conflict that “was a complete betrayal to our people and the liberation struggle”.

The president said as a leader, he takes the responsibility, adding that ‘fellow citizens, allow me to personally thank you on behalf of the government and all of the party to the agreement for your patience, perseverance, and resilience.’

“You have endured immense suffering and the weight of responsibility heavily falls on my shoulders as your president and I deeply regret the physical, psychological, and emotional wounds you have undeservedly endured. “As your president, I want to apologize on behalf of all the parties for what we have caused you, our people … I deeply regret the physical and psychological wounds you have had … Today marks the end of the war in the Republic of South Sudan,” he said. President Salva Kiir has apologized to the people of South Sudan on behalf of all warring parties for their suffering.

According to a report conducted the by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the 5-year conflict has reportedly cost nearly 400,000 lives and displaced millions. It has also caused the economic crisis, with the ordinary citizens suffering the most.

Ceasefire

President Kiir calls on the opposition and government-controlled – areas to respect ceasefire agreement to pave way for implementing this peace.

He added that they have a responsibility to tells soldiers to cease fighting and to go back to their barracks or camps.

“We have done so and we will continue to do so. There may still be rogue elements somewhere in the bush that will continue to cause harm and it will be our responsibility to look for them with a view of bringing them on board to support the implementation of this agreement.” Kiir said. Adding that ‘the ceasefire among Gelweng, White Army and other community-based militias rests with the communities and the government will work collaboratively with them.’ We will pursue nationwide disarmament because guns are very dangerous and pose a direct threat to peace and tranquility.’

President Kiir freed Gatdet, Endley

In his keynotes speech, President Kiir has unexpectedly announced the release James Gatdet and the South African’s national, William Endley as a gesture for a new draw of peace in the country.

James Gatdet Dak was the former spokesman of Dr. Riek Machar. He was sentenced to death in February on charges of treason and incitement against the government.

William Endley, the South African retired army colonel – whom a court sentenced to death by hanging for his alleged role in supporting Opposition, during the civil war.

President Kiir ordered comes after the opposition leader Dr.  Machar called on President Kiir to release all political detainees and prisoners of War as the sign of peace.

“We appeal to the president that our prison should be empty so that people start the new life in peace,” Machar said, he further asked Kiir to lift the state of emergency to allow free movement in the country.

“During the war, there is a law called emergency, and in this law of emergency, the army and the security forces dose anything but when there is peace!  People go back to the law, police will be responsible and he arrest you when you committed a crime, we need this emergency to be lifted.”

Kiir to the international community

Kiir said the difficult work has begun in earnest and that is for you the people of South Sudan to also make bitter concessions and return to her neighbors and friends and ask to be forgiven for any wrongs you might have committed.

“I am aware of the mood among our friends, particularly the Americans and the Europeans, who feel betrayed and let down by our actions. They have lost trust in us and for that reason, they refused to be witnesses or guarantors to the agreement. They feel that we are genuine or that the agreement we have signed is impractical,” Kiir said. ‘As people who offered us immeasurable assistance and moral support during the struggle for our freedom, they are justified to be angry with us because of our failure to maintain in our country.’ [In spite that Kiir said] ‘But we have also been disappointed with the way individual leaders of those countries have insultingly treated us. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us on both sides of the agreement to prove their fears and doubts unfounded by implementing it sincerely, fully and in letter and spirit.’

Kiir further calls on the international community to put aside their disappointment and pick up to support the signed revitalized peace.

“I am calling for a new spirit within the international community to support us in implementing this agreement. I know for a fact that this requires mutual trust but you must be willing to work with us toward building that trust. We need this peace for our people and ourselves more than you. The burden presiding over a country in war weighs heavily on us, the leaders of this country and it is totally untrue and frankly unfair to believe that we don’t care. With your partnership, these issues are history and the future that awaits us together through peace and development is one that will make us all proud as friends and partners,” Kiir said on Wednesday in Juba.

Regional leaders’ remarks call for a total peace

Leaders from around the East Africa sub-region ‘descended’ on the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on Wednesday to join the peace day celebrations.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Somalia’s Mohammed Abdallah, Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir and Ethiopia’s president Sahle-Work Zewede, were among the dignitaries who joined the event.

Each of the leaders presented a message to the government and people of South Sudan, stressing the need to maintain and work to protect the September 12 peace deal signed in Addis Ababa and further called on South Sudan leaders to commit themselves to implement the agreement for a complete peace in the country

Speaking during the celebration ceremony, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni said he hopes the celebration will mark the end of the conflict in South Sudan.

President Museveni said the leaders and people should be committed to implementing the agreement.

He said a ‘war is wasteful,’ adding that South Sudan has lost a lot of development time.

“I am sure this will be the end we hear of conflict in South Sudan. I am sure the parties and all the South Sudanese should make a covenant, make an agreement like the one Israel made with God, the covenant, one of the covenant should be…no war to solve the political argument between brothers and sisters, the argument can be solved by discussions political argument, or elections if you don’t agree, it’s wrong to use war to solve political argument among brothers and sisters,” Museveni said. It is ideologically incorrect to use war for an argument and also make sure state institutions are national to build people’s confidence.

Ugandan president further said his country will continue to support South Sudan as they look forward to the concretization of the truly powerful ceremony they have witnessed in Juba.

Museveni warned South Sudan to shunned foreigners who want to establish hegemony over Africa by using weak enemies to divide us. ‘Foreigners wanted South Sudan to become a vacuum like Libya and Somalia,” Museveni said, [but] Somalia is coming up.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir told the peace signatories to make sure that guns should not be any more in civilian hands.

“We will not rest until guns fall silent in South Sudan until we ensure that guns are only in the hands of the organized force, such as the police and the security personnel.”

President Bashir also calls the parties for the conducive environment to allow Refugees and the IDPs returned to their home.

“We thank the leaders of South Sudan for restoring their trust upon us to allow us to be the guarantors of this agreement.  We will not rest until the displaced persons return to their homes.”

He said his government will still continue to maintain its position in implementing peace in South Sudan.

“I assure you that we will stand with you for the implementation of the peace agreement, and we will monitor its implementation,” Bashir, broker this peace deal.

For her part, the Ethiopian first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde has called for an end to the conflict to allow people who fled the country to return home.

“Allow the refugees and IDPs to come back home, disband the protection of civilian sites, release all political and security detainees,” Zewde said.

She urges all parties to cease hostility and to fully implement the recently signed peace deal in Addis Ababa.

 Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir walks alongside South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir at Juba international airport. Photograph: Akuot Chol/AFP/Getty Images

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir walks alongside South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir at Juba international airport. Photograph: Akuot Chol/AFP/Getty Images

“I want to appeal to all the parties particularly the armed groups of all sides to completely silence the guns, no matter how long the intensity of fighting is,” she said, adding that the Transitional Government of National Unity and the opposition parties need to show stronger commitment and build trust during the pre-transitional period to achieve a lasting peace.

Furthermore, the President of Somalia said the real test for South Sudanese leaders is making concessions to put the country and its people first.

“Even as we celebrate this remarkable agreement of peace, let’s all remember that no deal is always perfect, no arrangement is without flaws, no negotiation is perfectly balanced. The real test of a leader is to have the ability to make concessions and put this country and its people first.”

Abdallah explained that after his country witnessed nearly two decades of civil war, he knows firsthand that the conflict in South Sudan was the worst thing to happen to the young nation.

“In Somalia, it took us nearly two generations to put our house in order. In our period of chaos, the world did not wait for us, countries prospered, multi-literalism expanded and neighbors developed,” Abdallah said. He further told the gathering that up to date, Somalia is still dealing with the costs and consequences of prolonged conflict – something he doesn’t wish for any country.

“Now we have realized that we need to double efforts and speed up development efforts to make up for all the years that we lost during the civil war. I will not wish the same for our brothers and sisters in South Sudan,” President Abdallah said, further encouraged the parties to come together and thrill the world youngest country towards the path of peace and development.

“You have shown a great statesmanship in coming together to end the protracted conflict. I urge you to join hands to stir your country into the right path towards peace and development,” the president said.

Somalia is a signatory to the recently signed revitalized peace agreement, said a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan means progress for the entire region, adding that Somalia is committed to South Sudan’s peace process and promoting a complete economic integration in the region to end poverty and conflict in Africa.

President Abdalla urged all regional leaders present at the occasion, to consolidate their efforts towards broadening economic cooperation, peace, and security in the region.

However, the war in the oil-producing country has prompted a regional refugee crisis and brought near-economic collapse since it began in December 2013. Under deals signed with Kiir this year, Machar — a former vice president — will return in that new role, while other rebel groups will be included in an expanded cabinet and parliament, due to take shape in about May 2019.

More so, president Kiir concluded by reiterated the fact that ‘rebuilding our country from the ashes of this five-years-old bitter conflict is our collective responsibility, my fellow compatriots,  moving forward requires us all to forgive each other for wrongs done as well as embracing ourselves in order to chart a dignified course towards full recovery.’

The peace agreement was signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in September. However, though it has regional support, there has been little backing from major international powers. The new deal has only got the backing of Uganda and Sudan, who have long been the puppet-string pullers, and that is some reason for optimism

The deal to be workable will require significant external funding for monitoring and investment, and so that powerbrokers can be given incentives to lay down arms.

South Sudan gained its independence with significant support from the United States and other Troika countries, but the US president Trump administration has shown little interest in the country’s worsening plight.

The fighting and atrocities have exacerbated ethnic divisions and caused one of the world’s deepest humanitarian crises. So far the conflict has now relapsed into chaos, with different factions, militia and self-defense groups battling for a share of what is left of South Sudan’s resources.

According to the UN, a third of the country’s population has been displaced and two-and-a-half million people forced into exile as refugees. While those remaining have endured repeated sessions of lethal famine.

 

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Steady Kangata , Environmental Management Services Director Mantains Zimbabwe’s Ratification To The Unccd
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Steady Kangata

Steady Kangata

Zimbabwe through Environmental Management Agency and its stakeholders is currently running a spate of workshops to implement United Nations Convention to combat Desertification. The Convention seeks to reduce desertification, Land degradation and drought.  This is done through adoption of sound and suitable Land and Water Management Technologies.

Addressing delegates at a workshop in the city of Harare Environmental Management Authority Director of Environmental Management Services Steady Kangata said Land and Water Management issue is of national importance. The two link each other to harness Agriculture which results in job creation , Agricultural output making up the outcome and coming with the impact , that is food security and Nutrition ,

‘’Zimbabwe is signatory to the convention. There-fore Land is the basis of our Agricultural, Industrial and social-economic development .As a country we need to implement the United Nations Convention to combat Desertification. The implementation makes us remain sustainable in terms of Land and Water development so that we can be sustained by Agricultural production.’’

The World today at 7 and half billion relies on land for economic growth. Growth comes with development. Development sustains human development. The result of food security results in good well-nourished nation which grows with nutrition security. The process of land utilisation creates challenges if not sustainably managed both at country and local level.

Land degradation is characterised by reduction and loss of biological and economic productivity of the land. Causes of land degradation are continuing to increase at the expense of farmers and the general population. The human induced factors are a result of poorly managed Agricultural practices, over extraction of land resources, deforestation, veld fires and unsustainable mining activities.

‘’Environmental Management Agency is working out hard to reduce Anthropogenic factors , that is human activities which cause land degradation , results in water , air and land pollution . This in the long run results in poor utilisation of the Land. The results affects communities which face hunger and poverty.

‘’There is no doubt that Malnutrition because of lack of Nutrition security and food security, poverty increases and families get impoverished. The ultimate result of this leads to low productivity, therefore production decreases.

‘’In a move to move towards sustainable development, we have to look at the three, that is to combat desertification, degradation and drought. The three affect the people, the land and water management systems. These become very difficult to manage.

‘’There-fore Sustainable Water and Land Management Systems are crucial in every day management of natural resources. As a country ratified to the Convention, we need to work towards eradication of activities which results in poor land and water management.

One of the problems Kangata talked of is the Invasive Alien Species brought by cultural baggage.

‘’I am talking about those goods, luggage brought from outside. Some of them carry from their respective countries what we do not have here.

‘’There is a link between us and what I call aliens who bring the baggage from their countries. They carry with them species which later harm our crops. Good example is lantana camara which causes land degradation.

‘’So what we need to do is to maintain Land. The cost of maintaining Land is US3, 93 million dollars which is 60% of Gross Domestic Product. Then it means countries have to work on policies to do with the Environment, Economic Growth and Development and to reduce poverty through implementation of programs, interventions and applying holistic strategies’’. Kangata concluded assurin Journalists that all programs of the nature to do with sustainable water and land management will succeed .

It has been researched qualitatively that poor management of water and land resulting in land degradation reduces the Growth Domestic Product of any country. It then leads to low Growth/per capita, low productivity, human capital and low growth and unsustainable human development.

If the cost of maintaining Land costs US3, 93 million dollars it means the increase in degradation automatically leads to increase in extreme poverty and hunger.

According to the Expert, Steady Kangata , an Investment in  US 1 towards sustainable water and land comes with a profit of US3 . In simple mathematics, as a country we can reduce, eradicate or even totally eliminate hunger, poverty related to loss of bio-diversity, loss of water and land resources. Zimbabwe with a total of 15 million people, if each invests a US1 dollar, by the end of the day we get US 45 million in excess to SUSTAINABLE WATER AND LAND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS..

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WFP provides food assistance to over 430,000 Zimbabweans with support from USAID
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

WFP Zimbabwe Representative Eddie Rowe.

WFP Zimbabwe Representative Eddie Rowe.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe has begun the implementation of its Lean Season Assistance programme for the 2018/19 season in October with a contribution (US$22 million) from the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which will support more than 430,000 food insecure people.

“This contribution is supporting the most vulnerable people in food insecure areas in Zimbabwe over 6 months to get through what is for many the most difficult time of the year,” said WFP Zimbabwe Representative Eddie Rowe.

In Zimbabwe, more than 2.4 million people residing in the rural areas will face acute food insecurity at the peak of the lean season (January – March 2019) according to the findings of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). The number is likely to increase if there is recurrence of the El Niño climatic phenomenon and late start or poor showing of the rainy season.

USAID’s Office of Food for Peace has provided support to the LSA program with a contribution towards food assistance for cash based transfers and purchase of local and regional commodities such as sorghum, as well as an additional contribution of in-kind commodities sourced from the U.S.

 

WFP’s ability to respond to escalating needs in the country hinges on timely and sustained financial contributions from donor nations. The U.S. Government has provided more than US$77 million in 2017 alone to emergency food support, nutritional assistance, and other programmes.

WFP is currently scaling up to provide life-saving food assistance to more than 1.1 million people per month in Zimbabwe—an effort that will require at least US$73.5 million in additional funding through April 2019.

The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

 

 

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Zimbabwe to host regional training workshop strengthening animal disease surveillance capacity in Southern Africa
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe will on 5 November, 2018 host a regional training workshop on strengthening animal disease surveillance capacity in Southern Africa, according to Leonard Makombe, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) National Communications Officer.

It is reported that the workshop will be hosted through the collaboration of the  ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), USAID and Mercy Corps Mongolia.

It is reported that early warning of potential disease outbreaks and the ability to forecast the spread of pathogens to new areas is a pre-requisite for effective containment of epidemic diseases, including zoonoses, such as Anthrax, Rabies, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Rift Valley Fever (RVF), and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) threats such as, Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), African Swine fever (ASF), Newcastle disease, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) and, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP).

It is also added that Participatory epidemiology (PE)/ Participatory Disease Surveillance (PDS) is a complementary approach to the other conventional components of active surveillance. It employs Participatory Epidemiological (PE) tools that enhance active involvement of livestock keepers and the community in the analysis of animal disease constraints, in the design, implementation and evaluation of disease control programmes and policies. The method is quick, cost effective and sensitive for detection of potential disease outbreaks and useful in early warning of animal disease occurrence and spread to new areas.

It is against this background that the FAO Sub regional Office for Southern Africa is carrying out a ten-day PDS training for front line staff in the veterinary services. Participants will comprise 35 veterinarians and animal health technicians selected from SADC Member States, to equip them with appropriate animal disease surveillance skills.

 

 

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Africans Rising to launch national engagement platform Launch in Maputo, Mozambique
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President Nyusi of Mozambique

President Nyusi of Mozambique

The Africans Rising’s Mozambique National Engagement Platform (NEP) will be launched on November 7th, 2018. The platform will be instituted to help fulfil multiple pledges of the Kilimanjaro Declaration, namely promoting democracy, social and gender equality, transparency and environmental justice.

This National Engagement Platform is expected to bring together, at the country level, different national social groups whose actions are a living testament to the bottom-up change-making.

“As we come together, we are hopeful that the participants will be equipped with the necessary tools to devise and implement a shared progressive action agenda to be referred to as the National Platform for Change,” a spokesperson said.

It is reported that after the National Engagement Platform launches in multiple African Countries, Africans Rising is expected to establish the top priorities of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), movements, artists and young people in each individual country.

“Therefore, in collaboration with the various entities, the movement will create a roadmap to achieve the different objectives after a number of gatherings and initiatives. The goal is to have a fully structured National Engagement Platform and a clear timetable of follow-up activities.

The Kilimanjaro declaration notes:

We, the citizens and descendants of Africa, as part of the Africans Rising Movement, are outraged by the centuries of oppression; we condemn the plunder of our natural and mineral resources and the suppression of our fundamental human rights.

We are determined to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the Peoples of Africa to build the Future we want – a right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity.

On the 23 and 24 August 2016, two hundred and seventy two representatives from civil society, trade unions, women, young people, men, people living with disabilities, parliamentarians, media organisations and faith-based groups, from across Africa and the African diaspora gathered in Arusha, Tanzania and committed to build a pan-African movement that recognises these rights and freedoms of our People.

The conference declared that:

  1. Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our People, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised.
  2. Africans have a diverse, rich and powerful heritage that is important to heal ourselves and repair the damage done by neoliberalism to our humanity and environment.  Being African, embracing the philosophy of Ubuntu should be a source of our pride.
  3. African Youth are a critical foundation of building the success in our continent and must play a central role in building Africans Rising.
  4. Africa’s Diaspora whether displaced through slavery and colonialism or part of modern day migration are part of Africa’s history and future. They are a reservoir of skills, resources and passion that must be harnessed and integrated into our movement.
  5. We are committed to a decentralised, citizen-owned future that will build support and solidarity for local struggles, empower local leadership and immerse our activists in grassroots work of building social movements from below and beyond borders.
  6. We are committed to building a citizens movement that is accountable to the constituencies we represent and enforcing the highest standards of ethical behaviour.

Therefore, we resolve that our work should build a local, national, continental and global campaign that is:

 

  1. Expanding space for civic and political action
  2. Fighting for women’s rights and freedoms across society
  3. Focussing our struggles on the right to Equity and Dignity
  4. Demanding good governance as we fight corruption and impunity
  5. Demanding climate and environmental justice

Call on our people and activists to:

Join this Africans Rising Movement and mobilise our people around this shared vision; organise and connect local struggles under this umbrella; galvanise solidarity with all African struggles. This movement is committed to peace and non-violent action. We assert our inherent rights as Africans and invite our governments, leaders, other stakeholders and institutions to join us in pursuing the Future We Want to leave our future generations.

We commit to mobilising our people in Africa to launch this Movement on the 25th May, 2017, when we deepen the meaning of African Liberation Day and call on all sectors of our society to mobilise and organise events in every African country that will build the momentum towards the genuine liberation of our beautiful continent.

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President Kiir’s administration frees Rebel Machar’s spokesperson, adviser to reinforce peace deal
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

 

“We need peace,” said Riek Machar, center, after arriving in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday.CreditCreditAkuot Chol/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images By Reuters

“We need peace,” said Riek Machar, center, after arriving in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday.CreditCreditAkuot Chol/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
By Reuters

Juba – South Sudan on Friday freed rebel leader Riek Machar’s former spokesperson and adviser, aiming to strength the revitalized peace deal to end almost five years of civil war.

On peace celebration day, President Salva Kiir on Wednesday ordered the release of retired South African colonel William Endley, an adviser to Machar, and James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesman, in an attempt to reinforce the deal signed on September 12 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two men were recently sentenced to death by hanging as a gesture for goodwill and readiness to implement the new peace accord, they were freed.

Endley was sentenced to death in February for trying to bring down the government, while Gatdet was sentenced to death in the same month on charges of treason and incitement against the government. Gatdet was summarily extradited from Kenya and handed over to Juba, exactly two years ago, on 2nd November 2016.

At the prison where Endley and Gatdet were held for a year, seeing the two guys being asked to go and put on their civilian clothes after being brought out of their cell.

“We are here to implement the orders of the president. Their release comes as part of the peace process. They are now free,” Interior Minister Michael Chiangjiek said after signing paperwork confirming their release. “Gatdet will be going to Khartoum and William John will be going to South Africa.”

East Africa’s youngest nation returned into conflict in 2013, just two years of her independence from Sudan after Kiir sacked his longest –served Dr. Machar as vice president.

The power struggling war, saw a troops loyal to both leaders clashed for all past five years, which eventually shutting down oil fields and forcing millions of people to fled their homes, while hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in fighting or died as a result of war, damage to health facilities or lack of food.

Howeverahead of the release, the opposition leader Machar’s associates had expressed excitement at their looming freedom.

Gatdet described the day as looks promising since he is releasing today after two years in the detention, adding that he hopes to see peace in South Sudan.

“I want to express my happiness that I am free again after 2 years in detention and in prison. Accidentally, I think this the same day I was arrested in Nairobi on 2 November 2016 and today is 2 of November 2018,” Gatdet said.

Gatdet, further thanked President Kiir for ordering his release said he is happy now he will see his family. “I want to thank his Excellency the president for ordering my release; I am very happy that this will enable to reunite with family members and my friends after a long period.”

For his part, the South African retired army colonel, William Endley, was also sentenced to death by hanging for his alleged role in supporting Opposition during the civil war, thanked the president and the entire Prison Service staffs including prisoners for the time spent in Juba Central Prison.

“I would like to firstly also thank President Salva Kiir, I also like to thank the minister for his time to be here today. And for everybody inside the Juba Central prison, the prison services and the approaches towards myself and to James Gadet,” Endley said.

The men were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“The pardoning of Gatdet and Endley comes as a relief to all who cherish human rights and abhor the death penalty, but more needs to be done,” Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki, said in a statement. “The South Sudanese authorities must commute all death sentences and get on the right side of history by abolishing this ultimate cruel form of punishment,” it added.

Dr. Machar, the leader of the country’s biggest coalition of rebel fighters, SPLM-IO returned to Juba for the first time since 2016 to take part in a peace ceremony. He fled to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 under a hail of gunfire when an earlier peace deal collapsed. He later traveled to South Africa, where he was held under house arrest until mid this year, where his house arrest was exclusion.

President Kiir, Machar signed the revitalized peace deal a months ago under a stick and carrot pressure from the IGAD, and from United Nations and Western donors, which designate Machar as a first vice president.

Machar returned to Khartoum after peace celebration, is due to return in about May 2019 to assume his role as a first vice president, according to the accord.

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Expulsion of Congolese from Angola aggravates dire crisis in Kasai
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Zimbabwe ‘excited to drill for oil’ after new survey
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it was an exciting development for Zimbabwe

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it was an exciting development for Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced the discovery of potential oil and gas deposits in the north of the country.

Australian mining firm Invictus Energy, in partnership with the government, is to determine whether commercial drilling is feasible.

An exploration well would be sunk by Invictus in Muzarabani district within two years, the president said.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade.

Fuel shortages are a frequent problem and there are many power cuts.

“We have since been advised by Invictus that the findings are positive and point to oil and gas deposits in the area,” Mr Mnangagwa said.

“The result as communicated by Invictus is an exciting development for our country.”

Mines Minister Winston Chitando said the well, situated about 240km (150 miles) north of the capital, Harare, would be sunk at a cost of $20m (£15m), the Reuters news agency reports.

The mineral-rich country currently has no oil or gas production.

Presentational grey line

Will Zimbabwe strike it rich?

By Shingai Nyoka, BBC Africa, Harare

Twenty-five years after oil giant Mobil carried out tests and left disappointed, advanced technology appears to show that there are oil deposits in northern Zimbabwe, near the border with Mozambique.

The exploration is still in its early stages, but the cash-strapped government is anxious to raise the hopes of the nation enduring a serious economic crisis. Discontent is rising amidst widespread corruption and poverty.

Invictus is expected to carry out exploration drilling over the next few years to confirm its initial findings. It will enter into a production-sharing agreement with the government.

Even if commercial drilling goes ahead, it cannot be assumed that the riches will reach everyone. Zimbabwe is rich in platinum and diamonds but little of that wealth has trickled down to ordinary Zimbabweans.

This comes down to a combination of corruption and poor policies, which saw minerals leave the country in a raw form. Under Robert Mugabe, who was forced to resign as president last year after 37 years in power, a policy to introduce processing plants to increase local jobs failed to take off.

*BBC

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South Africa corruption: Ramaphosa says ‘dark period’ ending
November 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the corruption that has engulfed the country in recent years as “an amoeba” with “tentacles all over”.

But he insisted South Africa’s “very dark period” under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was coming to an end.

Mr Ramaphosa confirmed he would give evidence in a judge-led inquiry into allegations that top officials looted from the state on a grand scale.

Mr Ramaphosa served as then-President Zuma’s deputy.

Mr Zuma was charged last April with fraud and racketeering linked to a 1999 arms deal. Much of his nine-year tenure as president was dogged by corruption allegations, while the country struggled with ballooning national debt and high levels of unemployment.

President Ramaphosa is not prone to dramatic outbursts, but at a news conference he launched an extraordinary attack on the corruption that has engulfed the country, reports the BBC’s Andrew Harding who was there.

He acknowledged that South Africans were angry and needed to see senior government officials tried and sent to prison. He even compared the current situation to a rape victim forced to watch her attacker go unpunished, our correspondent notes.

An official inquiry is being held to investigate the claims of what is known in South Africa as “state capture”, and Mr Ramaphosa confirmed he would appear before it.

“I will give an account to the commission about what I knew and what I didn’t know,” he said.

He spoke of his hope that South Africans would regain trust in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) – the party that has governed South Africa since Nelson Mandela led it to power after apartheid ended in 1994.

“The shine that had been tarnished is coming back and people are realising this. We are in a new period now – we are no longer in a period where we were just sliding downwards,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

“Many people are looking anew at the ANC. They have a sense that we are now beginning to deal with corruption.”

*BBC

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Zwrcn, Women Economic And Social Rights Non-Governmental Organisation Comes To The Rescue Of In-Formal Traders..
November 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Director of ZWRCN Dorothy Hove

Director of ZWRCN Dorothy Hove

Harare-In fulfillment of the desire to make a difference for women in terms of economic and social justice, Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network [ZWRCN] has taken the full responsibility to stand by the rights of vendors. Recently the Government of Zimbabwe evicted thousands of vendors from the streets throughout the country. The move has received hot-chilling emotions from a bevy of women and the general public in the Informal sector.

Although the acrimony between vendors and Government is in crescendo, the Women organization has arbitrarily mediated with supremacy and diplomacy. This , it has been noted by many civil societies is a move by ZWRCN to maintain tranquility .The organization dashes a silent stance to thwart the shadows of poverty likely to descend on women who are fully fledged to support their immediate families with basic needs .

Speaking with a voice shared vision of families survival in hard times hitting the country currently, the Director of ZWRCN Dorothy Hove urged women to strike a peaceful motion in addressing their concerns at heart. She reiterated that women need to rise and shine with the mind of building up on the gaps of the problems. This she pointed out clearly, is not a battle meant to destroy, but a talk to mend on thorny issues at heart.

‘’I simply urge women to make a peaceful campaign in their endeavor to solve problems but not to destroy our nation. We know it is painful, but it must not result in destroying our image as women. Let us come together and talk like we do always to stand for rights of the people, especially women who need empowerment in the community.’’

‘’We are of the objective to present women with a safe environment to freely express their views not emotions. Let us share ideas as we discuss relevant matters of concern at heart together as a nation. There-fore our talk is to focus on positive discussions looking at the implications of the recent evictions .These evictions have affected Informal Traders. Among them are women who take care of families in need of daily basic needs’’.

Taking the topic to a further high pitch, Charity Mandishona , ZCIEA ,Zimbabwe Chamber of In-Formal Economic Associations  Chairperson said the Small to Medium Enterprise Act  is not protecting  Informal Traders . She pointed out that the Law is only protecting those who are registered in the country.

‘’The SMEs Law is only protecting those who are registered. What about those not registered? It is really a challenge for them to support their families. They also find it hard to stand up and voice for themselves because they are not protected at all .

Secondly, Charity spoke vividly about the City of Harare’s SI.159 By-Laws which are out-dated. The By-Laws were reviewed in 2014. Experts in the In-formal Traders business want these to be reviewed now so as to catch up with moving times.

‘’The fact is that By-Laws SI.159 of the City of HARARE are out-dated. We need them to be reviewed. If that is not done then we as a country, we lag behind at the expense of In-Formal Traders more hard hit and affected at most women.

‘’Women are the custodians of the family, children who need to survive according to their rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The survival of children hinges on the roles and responsibilities of women who over the years have been the one to take care, support and protect.’’

Giving solutions, way-forward and explaining what they are doing as organizations for In-Formal Traders, Charity pointed out that they are working with the International Labor -Organization Recommendation 204.

‘’What we are saying is , let us not collect tax , but let us grow first , then we collect tax from the In-Formal traders . If they have not yet grown in business and tax is collected from them, how then do they grow? Secondly, Then how do they contribute to Economic Growth and foster development?’’

One of the ideas which evaded the atmosphere of the discussion was of a coalition of these In-Formal Traders. Discussants concluded that Politics was derailing efforts for sundry In-Formal groupings to step ahead and develop themselves. This they view arises from protection of their rights. These at last contribute to Growth resulting in Economic development.

 

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President of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL presides Merck Foundation conference “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” to build Healthcare capacity in Africa and Asia
November 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
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