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Cameroon: Case against Kamto Postponed to October 8
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

The case against Maurice Kamto, leader of the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party and his political allies, and supporters have been postponed to the 8 of October 2019. Kamto, who was runner-up to the last presidential election, is accused of insurrection, rebellion and could face the death penalty.

On the 28 of January 2019, authorities in Cameroon arrested Maurice kamto and his supporters who had staged a peaceful protest march against the decision from the constitutional council, declaring President Biya as winner of the 2018 Presidential election.

The MRC Party alleges that the presidential election was rigged to favour the incumbent President Paul Biya who have been in power for 36 years. The MRC Leader says he is the winner of the election according to statistics obtained by him.

“While the charges against them were being read, one of them- counselor Christian Penda Ekoka- felt dizzy and I have to tell you what led to this discomfort. This audience was held in a sort of matchbox; forgive my use of the term. The room is very small and poorly ventilated. We were suffocating, and I think this is what led to the discomfort that caused suspension of the hearing,” Kamto’s lawyer, Ntchale Michel said.

Per multiple reports, the court case resumed after the collapsed member was taking to the hospital. The defense lawyers pleaded for the case to be adjourned, which the court did.

Speaking to the Secretary General of the MRC Party Barrister Ndong Christopher said, “We are now waiting for the case in October. His state of mind is clean, he is healthy. There is nothing to fear.”

Antoine Vey, French lawyer for Kamto speaking to AFP said, “There is no justification for Mr Kamto and his supporters to have been incarcerated for eight months in these conditions”, while indicating that “None of them took part in acts of violence, none called for acts of violence or rebellion, there is no reason for their arrest other than a political move.”

Many have reiterated the need for the Anglophone crisis to be resolved while political prisoners, and those arrested in connection to the crisis are freed. “I traveled more than 600 kilometers to attend this trial. For me, it’s a historical trial. We are asking the Biya’s government to do two things, solve the Anglophone crisis and release the political prisoners. This will calm tensions”, psychologist and president of an association for the protection of human rights, Germain Ekwala said.

Human rights groups have denounced the jurisdiction of the military court to try the case. Meantime, Cameroon’s former colonial master France, U.S.A, and the European Union has repeatedly called for the release of the MRC politician.

In March, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy told RFI that Cameroon would be “very wise” to release Kamto because his detention is widely perceived as politically motivated.

 

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Withdrawal of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame from the World Economic Forum in South Africa Last Week was an Honorable Act for Africa
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By James N. Kariuki

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

On Friday last week in one of South Africa’s national newspapers, The Citizen, Ralph Mathekga, usually insightful political analyst, was reported to have rebuked Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame for declining an invitation to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town.

The issue at hand related to African reaction to the on-going xenophobic attacks on non-South African nationals in SA. In Mathekga’s view, Kagame’s response to the attacks reflected ‘weak leadership’ and lack of ‘political maturity’ in Africa. In assessing the facts realistically, such a conclusion was not only unduly harsh; it was misleading, unjustified and disingenuous.

To begin with, besides Rwanda other African states had voiced grave reservations about attending the WEF under the prevailing circumstances in SA. These included Nigeria, Malawi, the DRC, Zambia and Tanzania.  Kagame was hardly alone. More to the point, he had nothing to do with the causes, spread and execution of the xenophobic carnage and had virtually no influence over its perpetrators.  After all, South Africa is a sovereign nation.  The only avenue available to Kagame was indirect influence via the local South African authorities.

Yet, no utterances were forthcoming from the SA Government officialdom or the organizers of WEF that a plan was underway to stem or alleviate the impact of the savage and senseless attacks on innocent and defenseless fellow Africans. Obviously Kagame felt helpless and frustrated that the WEF seemed to be bent on proceeding as if nothing alarmingly critical was happening in its host country.

Mathekga’s reasoning would have been sound had it proposed that an urgent consultative meeting of African leaders be called by the SA government just before, or along the WEF, to discuss on emergency basis the crisis of the on-going Afrophobia-driven brutality. In the absence of the African Union in the WEF, the obligation to solicit such give-and-take views from other African leaders rested squarely on the shoulders of the host, President Cyril Ramaphosa.  President Kagame was certainly not in a position to summon such a sub-meeting; he was a guest, not the man-in-charge. To repeat ourselves, South Africa is a young sovereign nation and is understandably ultra-sensitive to matters touching its jurisdiction.

By all indications, a give-and-take meeting of African leaders at, or parallel to the WEF, was not forthcoming. Conceivably, President Kagame felt that it would be a betrayal to his personal conscience and the people of Rwanda for him to sit among global leaders to discuss economic issues while innocent fellow Africans around them were being decimated with impunity. Meanwhile, the global leaders would be sitting at the majestic International Convention Center in Cape Town, securely protected by state security forces, possibly oblivious to the woes of the violence outside.

Viewed from this angle, President Kagame’s conscious and deliberate choice to formally exclude himself from Cape Town’s WEF was a carefully considered act of ultimate decency, political maturity, and diplomatic savvy. It was his way of protesting how victimized ‘foreigners’ in SA were being handled virtually indifferently by the country’s officialdom and to inform the victims of Afro-phobia that, “yes, we hear you and we do care. Indeed, you matter to us.”

Such a reaction is truly understandable coming from a leader who, in all likelihood, still encounters occasional sleepless nights, haunted by memories of man’s savagery to fellow man from the ghastly Rwanda Genocide which took place twenty five years ago and senselessly wiped out ten percent of his nation’s population.

It was indeed a misplaced judgment for Mathekga, otherwise a seasoned and compelling political  analyst, to condemn President Kagame for finding it unacceptable to visualize himself sitting in an economic meeting while innocent people outside faced war conditions of life and death.

Seen in this context, President Kagame’s self-imposed ‘exclusion’ from WEF was indeed a dignified and decent diplomatic act to show that he, as a mature and committed African leader, drew the line in the sand to assert  that what was happening in SA at that juncture was far from acceptable. To see this gesture any other way than honorable, verges on blaming the victim.

*James N. Kariuki is a Kenyan Professor of International Relations (Emeritus).  He comments on public issues in various international publications.He runs the blog Global Africa

 

 

 

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President Mnangagwa Faces Embarrassment Over Disputed Burial Decision of Robert Mugabe
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

President Mnangagwa consoles mourners at a funeral wake for the former President and National Hero Robert Mugabe, in Borrowdale, Harare, (Picture by Justin Mutenda,Chronice)

Harare-There are strong signs of fears come Sunday end of this week if it is finally decided that the late nonagenarian Robert Mugabe will be finally buried in Zvimba Rural his home area, 60 kilometres west out of Harare. An atmosphere of nasty animosity grips the Mugabe family versus the Government of Zimbabwe over the burial place of the purported founding Father of Zimbabwe.

This, the Pan-African-Visions Journalist confirms with whole-hearted truth that the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa may face remorseful embarrassment if the former President gets buried in Zvimba  his home of vestige. There has been growing nasty symptoms of misanthropy between President Mnangagwa and Mugabe family since the former President was ousted of power in 2017 on 21 November.

A close top source in Government contacted for comment took it up that there has been mistrust between the Mugabe family and the current Government leaders who removed Mugabe out of power. The source was caught hold of for comment late yesterday sun-set time after Robert Mugabe’s body had arrived.

‘’There are fears that President Mnangagwa may be embarrassed. There is a vibrant wave of mistrust, hatred and lack of faith in each other between the family and the Government led by Mnangagwa .

‘’Leading to the death of the former Leader last week on Friday in Singapore at Glen-Eagles Hospital , there have been spate of meetings about the burial of the former Leader who had announced a month before that he does not want to be buried at the Heroes Acre .

‘’The  Government obviously says the former President must be buried at the National shrine but this is against family members and relatives .There has been bad blood between two fighting groups ever since .

‘’There have not agreed yet. You will receive communication about the final decision in terms of burial. There is likelihood that there could be more nasty fears concerning burial place of the former Leader’’.

Mugabe’s Body Arrives..

His body arrived yesterday around 3pm in a Chartered plane. Grace Mugabe former First Lady was accompanied by Sydney Sekeramayi Former Minister of State Security, Ednah Madzongwe the former Senate President and Vice President Kembo Mohadi .

There was tense atmosphere of mistrust between two factions created by the nature of ZANU PF politics. There were groups of supporters on the side of Mugabe family and the other on President Mnangagwa’s side.

Grace Mugabe who kept on weeping bitterly according to sources who were at the airport was in black clothes, sad funeral regalia colours, with a face covered. President Mnangagwa later addressed people before the body was taken to his home at the blue roof in Borrowdale.

‘’We are here gathered to give homage to the Founding Father of our country. He is the man who led Zimbabwe to Independence. He has been our Leader since time memorial when we were fighting for black rule. He is a Pan-Africanist , said Mnangagwa at the Airport .

‘’We shall announce to you about burial arrangements but for now the body will proceed to his home in Borrowdale. I kindly urge you to attend in big number to pay your last respect to the icon of Zimbabwe’s Independence’’, he said .

 

 

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Zimbabwe Grapples with Big Shortage of ARVs.
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Taurai Nyandoro

Taurai Nyandoro

The Government of Zimbabwe has been urged to un-lock the US$400 Million Global Fund HIV and AIDS Finance. This will make it work way-forward solutions to prevent the further spread of HIV and AIDS. The call has come at a time the country is running serious shortage of ARVs.

Secondly, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe AIDS Net-Work [ZAN] Taurai Nyandoro advised the Government to pay US $6, 9 Million owed to suppliers of ARVs between 2017 and 2018. This, he said is the other reason why suppliers of ARVs are not supplying the country with drugs.

According to ZAN Director, to un-lock the Global Fund US $4 million, the Government must increase support to programs that focus on HIV and AIDS.

‘’ Zimbabwe must un-lock US$ 400 million Global Fund HIV  finance which can help in alleviating poverty related to the spread of the deadly HIV which progresses to AIDS if not well managed .

‘’How-ever, to un-lock the finance, the Government must support programs in line with HIV and AIDS in the country.’’

‘’We want the number of those clients under the Global Fund to increase from 710,000 clients to a much bigger figure. The Government working with NAC has 113, 000 [Anti-Retroviral Therapy] ART Clients while PEPFAR has 193 clients .This will help eradicate HIV. Even by 2030 it’s possible to eliminate HIV if as well 90%, 90 %, 90% targets of the UNITED NATIONS are put in place.

Nyandoro further highlighted that the Ministry of Health and Child-Care has 100,000 people on ARV TEST and TREATMENT. This brings to 8000 new clients a month accessing services. He further advised the Government to give 15% support to the Health sector in its budget. This 15% increase which is Z$502 million makes it easy to get Global Fund support.

‘’The need to unlock the Global Fund finance facility is a big way-forward in making an end to the spread of HIV. There is shortage of ARVs of which the problem must be solved as fast as possible in the country’’, concludes Nyandoro .

A National AIDS Council official who declined to be named out said NAC in 2019 availed Z $23 million for HIV and AIDS in the country. He pointed out that besides this big money availed, the shortage of ARVs and STI Anti-Biotics is there because the Government owes suppliers much money.

‘’Yes. The shortage of ARVs must be addressed now. Anti-Biotics on Sexual Transmitted Diseases Treatment are on the short supply list as well. The challenge is now with those who use ARVs, the HIV positive people’’, he said.

 

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Gambia to apply law against public smoking before end of 2019
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh

Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh

The Gambia’s health sector has announced to enforcing a law that bans smoking in public dubbed Comprehensive Tobacco Act before end of 2019.

The move according to the officials is aim at curtailing tobacco mayhem. The press conference was organized by RAID-The Gambia.

The Act was implemented in 2013 after Gambia’s ratifying the World Health Organization’s FCTC on June 5 2005 and enforced the tobacco control law in 2016.

Speaking at the press conference, Modou Nja health director said: “we have a lot of work to do, we need to fight and enemy and the enemy is tobacco and we need to ensure that we try to educate on the danger of use of tobacco.”

He warned parents who send their children’s to buying cigarette that “is illegal” and that anyone who smokes needs to smoke a distance of 100 meter (size of a football field).

“People have to understand that both pregnant and lactating women wherever they are seated they are not supposed to smoke tobacco around them,” he warned.

Momodou Gassama, an  official at World Health Organization said: “people who were dying because  of second hand smoke was somehow years ago was about 600, 000 people but current estimate as far as WHO ‘s recent estimate is concerned nearly one million people die now are due to people smoking second-hand or inhaling or expose to second-hand smoking.”

“We’ve been quoting 6 years back that nearly 6 million people were dying now it is far more than that. The conservative estimate is that almost 8 million or more people die every year of tobacco instead of that 6 million people,” he added.

He said among the measures that could help fight against the use of tobacco that it is by enforcing drastic measures on the use of tobacco, adding that WHO report indicates that tobacco use has decline drastically across the world.

 

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Gambian Rapper Killer Ace, 6 youth receive 700,000 bail bonds
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Killa Ace

Killa Ace

A High court has  granted bail to remanded Gambian rapper Killer Ace whose real name is Ali Cham and six youth asking each of the accused to pay a sum 100, 000 dalasi with two Gambian surety and their travelling documents.

Presiding over the case, vocation judge Basiru Mahoney said: “I am here by granting the seven accused persons a bail in the sum of 100,000 dalasi each. They should tender their travelling documents to the registrar of the high court and sureties of two Gambians each.”

He said despite the case is transferred to the high court; he added that the charges are not yet read in court.

Meanwhile, the accused persons were represented lawyer Antuman Gaye, Lamin S Camara, Saliu Taal, Kombeh Gaye and Patrick Gomez while the state was represented by A. Yusuf and Muhammed Sowe.

After applying for bail for the accused, Lawyer Antuman Gaye, also applied that one Muhammed Fadia’s name was not in the new list and applied that his name to be captured in the new list.

The  youth have been in remand at mile two prison for weeks after they were arrested for allegedly taking part in July 24 protest. Their case was last week transferred to the high court by Kanifing Magistrate court after it said it cannot hear the case of the youth. Thirty youth have been released.

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We got approval to complete the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano rail project – Amaechi
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Olumide Ajayi

Amaechi

Amaechi

Nigeria’s minister of transportation,Rotimi Amaechi, has confirmed the federal government approval of $5.3 billion for the construction of Ibadan-Kano standard gauge rail line.

Speaking at the third maritime stakeholders interactive forum in Lagos on Thursday.

The Minister said: “We got approval to complete the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano rail project. We have also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port Harcourt to Warri segment,” he said.

Amaechi further added that the minister of state in the ministry, Gbemisola Saraki, will supervise the maritime sector, while he takes charge of the railway sector.

Saying “In my first term as minister, I completely abandoned the maritime sector to the heads of agencies. This time, that won’t be happening again,” he said.

I have instructed that the Minister of State for Transportation should personally supervise the maritime agencies, while I just oversee what is happening.”

He also said he discussed issues affecting the maritime sector with President Muhammadu Buhari, and that by next year, ”the country will have a single window in the maritime sector”.

There are two things I discussed with Mr. President that I will be focusing on in this second term as minister, and they are maritime security and the single window project,” Amaechi said.

I have assured the government that by the end of 2020, we should have the single window at our maritime sector.

On maritime security, I have told the Israeli firm HSLI that they are too slow. By now, they should have launched. I want to know the situation of things with the aspect of security on our maritime space.”

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China donates rice to South Sudan to accelerate unification of army
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – China has handed over 1,500 tonnes of rice to the South Sudan government to assist the peace process and formation of unified army in the youngest world country.

In order to support South Sudan in implementing the revitalized peace agreement (RARCSS), the Chinese government decided to provide a batch of material assistance to South Sudan.

The National Period Transitional Committee (NPTC), body tasked with peace implementation received a first batch of 1,500 tons of rice aided by China, that will help the construction of cantonments and accelerate the formation of a unified army as the country’s 5-year civil war comes to an end.

On September 2, the handover ceremony of the first batch of food was held at the warehouse of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) in Juba.

The 30,000 sacks of rice will be transported to the army forces in the cantonment sites across the country. There are about 25 cantonment sites in the country, created by the 2018 peace deal.

The China’s assistance is in line with an effort to faster the implementation of security arrangement to pave way to have one unified army in the country.

The latest peace deal signed between South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition groups last year is now in its implementation stage.

The Chinese government hope that South Sudan will restore peace and stability at an early date. The China to take the lead in providing material assistance for the construction of cantonments together with AU and some African countries.

It is only two months left for the formation of unity government that return Dr. Riek Machar, as the president Kiir’s deputy, the same position he held before the conflict broke in late 2013.

At present, China is speeding up the preparation of other material assistance, including tents, blankets and medicine, and they will be delivered to South Sudan respectively.

The handover ceremony was attended by Chinese Ambassador Hua Ning, Hon. Cabinet Minister and Secretary of NPTC Martin Elia Lomuro, and representatives from JDB, JMCC, and JTSC representatives.

Speaking to the press, Chinese Ambassador, Hua Ning said that the peace process has entered into a critical moment, and the formation of a unified army is one of the most pressing issues at present.

Ambassador added that the assistance is an effort to move the peace process forward so that the transitional government is formed on time. This is a first shipment of the food, but Amb. Ning lamented that there will be more [foods] coming to South Sudan.

“The signatories have to choose the suffering of the people, at meanwhile we also hope that most of the countries could provide direct support to the cantonments, to unification of the army. This is a key to the future peace – without the unified army, there will be no true peace so that why we put cantonments as our priority – that why a China promised to provide support for cantonments,” said Amb. Ning.

He further called on all parties to peace deal to listen to the voice of the people and unite to implement the peace deal, giving peace a chance and giving people a hope.

“Now, we have only two months before the formation of new transitional government and all the members and the parties to the peace deal need to work together and double our efforts to put forward the peace process. I believe that the feel of the people, just the feel of the country and we believe that with joint efforts, South Sudan will enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future,” said Amb. Ning.

Amb. Ning appreciated the recent support from the African Union and relevant African countries to provide support to South Sudan and called on the international community to increase efforts in supporting peace in South Sudan in all aspects to see that the country is returning to a stability path.

“I believe that the international community are still committed to the peace process, [but] at this critical moment, the international community also need to double its efforts to support the parties to the peace agreement in South Sudan. We work together to give a peace a chance,” said Ning.

On behalf of the South Sudanese Government and NPTC, Cabinet Minister Elia thanked the Chinese government and people for their valuable support and stressed that China’s assistance will greatly promote the South Sudan peace process.

Minister Elia said that the trucks and planes from South Sudan People’s Defence Force are ready to go, and the first batch of rice aided by China will be transported to the cantonments as quickly as possible, and that each cantonment will receive over 700 bags of rice to maintain the forces in the country.

He further unveiled that the NPTC gave a necessary money to transport the food to the army across country so that next two months, there must be unified forces.

“The South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) has contributed their vehicles and planes and the NPTC gave a necessary money to transport the food all over the country so that in next two months, we have unified forces,” said Minister Elia. “We have committed ourselves that any country helps us, we will work to the higher standard for accountability and transparency,” he added.

Minister Elia also advised all the parties to the peace deal to resolves local problems in the areas, something he says they would not tolerate anything going wrong to deter the peace process in the areas, there are cantonments.

The NPTC is working closely with Joint Defense Board (JDB), JMCC, JTSC and other mechanisms to develop a detailed distribution plan to ensure the proper and effective use of materials.

One of South Sudan’s other challenges is its poor road network. Getting the donated rice to the cantonment areas remains a challenge.

But Lt Gen. Charles Dut Akol, Chairperson of the JMCC explained that the rice that is going to Greater Equatoria will be transported by roads, while for Greater Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazel regions respectively will be delivered by air.

Gen. Dut assured that there would no malpractice on this donation, saying the food must reach the forces in the cantonment sites.

However, South Sudan hopes rice aid can make an impact on the maintaining of the forces at the cantonment sites across the country.

At present, China is speeding up the preparation of other material assistance, including tents, blankets and medicine, and they will be delivered to South Sudan respectively.

The formation of unity government was then extended in May to November this year, following the unfinished issues, including the security arrangement which is a backbone for the lasting peace in the country.

 

 

 

 

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South Sudan; President Kiir, Machar agree on deployment of Forces before D-Day
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Salva and Machar.Photo/MFA

Salva and Machar.Photo/MFA

Juba – South Sudan president Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar have agreed on the deployment of all forces before the formation of the power-sharing government in November 12, this year to end the five-year conflict.

Dr. Machar arrived earlier on Monday in the company of the deputy head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and other senior council members.

Three-hours face to face talks between President Kiir and ex-rebel leader Dr. Machar focused on the discussion outstanding issues including security arrangements, number of states and their boundaries in line with the revitalized peace agreement.

This was a third time face to face meeting since they inked the revitalized peace deal with president Kiir in 2018. Machar was in Juba in October last year for celebrations to mark the signing of the deal.

The two rivals last met at the Vatican, Italy on the invitation of Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, in April this year.

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013, when Kiir accused his former deputy-turned rebel leader for plotting a coup.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.

With latest deal, returned Machar as the president Kiir’s first vice president, a position he held before the conflict broke in late 2013.

The two principals have broken-down the immense deadlock in the peace implementation process leading towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

Kiir, Machar talks end the need to timely establish the security arrangements, especially on ensuring that the necessary Eighty-Three Thousand forces for the Protection of the Presidency are mobilized, trained, and ready for the task.

Speaking to journalists, the Chair of National Pre-Transitional Committee, Hon.Tut Gatluak reiterated the commitment of the two leaders to ensure that the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity is formed by November.

On the other hand, Henry Odwar – the deputy chairperson of SPLM/A-IO, reiterated that the two principals are agreed and ready to the formation of the transitional government of national unity in November.

He further described the meeting as a great sign of commitment to realization of the revitalized peace accord.

Odwar also said it focused much on deployment of the 83,000-strong force before the formation of the government of national unity.

“This evening our meeting concentrated on security arrangements, because it’s one of the fundamental provisions of this agreement and we deliberated on how we can Fast Track so that the necessary forces of 83,000 will be realized before 11th of November,” Odwar told the reporters.

However, the political expert said this will produce a meaningful outcome and put an end to the political mistrust and humanitarian crisis in the country, and that will be a great achievement.

The power-sharing arrangements under the peace deal were supposed to take effect in May, but the process was delayed by six months until November as both sides disagreed over the terms and security agreement.

 

 

 

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Kenya:Huawei’s new approach in involving more women in Technology
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Huawei Kenya has committed to support women in the IT via charitable aid through an initiative called Women In Technology Huawei (WITH) aimed at doing away with a notion hold by majority that only men can do well in technology sector. The program targets 4,000 girls and women within one year.

Through WITH women in technical careers will be empowered, connected and supported to develop their careers, interest and leadership skills especially in Science, Technology and Mathematics. They will also be provided with role models and opportunities.

The initiative will see doubling of the number of young girls mentored and trained through Cooperative Research Centres  (CRC)program, promotion of one third of Huawei employees and training of one half of employees in 2019, increasing trained females students by 10 per cent and female lecturers by 5 per cent from 10 per cent. Other targets are partners with their women, at least 7 customers and women-owned suppliers.

“I am personally driving this Women In Technology Huawei initiative as a boost for the women in Technology. The data for Huawei is about average for the ICT industry in Kenya which is too low, thus the need to improve into a more strategic and ambitious strategy. Huawei has in the best done quite a lot to its staff and interns as well as to its charity and University partner, but still finds more things. We have set some plans and targets and we will do our best and try to improve,” said CEO of Huwai Kenya Stone He.

 

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South Africa’s Eastern Cape water crisis in urgent need of government response
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) in South Africa says that it is deeply concerned by the ongoing water crisis in the Eastern Cape, which directly affects communities which Sonke works with in the Amathole District Municipality.

The organisations says that the crisis infringes the fundamental rights of the community members, including the right of access to sufficient water; the right to clean and decent sanitation; the right to dignity; and the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. Additionally, this crisis has devastating consequences for the economy of the affected areas, which is largely agricultural.

“A lack of access to water is invariably a gendered issue because it renders poor women and children of all identities (including women with disabilities) more vulnerable to gender-based violence and other human rights violations. There is a disproportionate burden on women and girls to collect water. These journeys are long and onerous, and sometimes take place at night, without well-lit infrastructure for protection and peace of mind, as some of these women and girls have to be at work and in school during the day. Without water, women and girls are unable to practice safe sanitation for menstruation, inhibiting their participation in meaningful economic and/or social activities,”they said .

They add that access to water is a fundamental, basic right. When it is violated, this has a devastating domino effect which impacts the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. For example, last month’s temporary closure of two (2) Eastern Cape universities, the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus and Walter Sisulu University’s Butterworth Campus, denied students their right to an education.

“Despite persistent calls to action via correspondence and community protests, local government bodies have been unresponsive and inefficient in answering these urgent calls for improved water and sanitation access in the areas of Mnquma and Mbashe (Wards 17 and 3 respectively).”

It is reported that since April 2017, Mnquma Ward Councillor, Xolisa Pupuma, has urged the Amathole District Municipality to increase access to water in the affected areas by installing water systems and drilling boreholes. Pupuma was later informed by the municipality that it was unable to increase the number of water taps in the district. Pupuma’s most recent letter, drafted in March 2019, addressed the Mnquma Municipal mayor and requested the municipal government to supply water tanks to these areas to assist in alleviating the crisis. Local government and the mayor have failed to answer Pupuma’s most recent letter and all other demands have fallen on deaf ears. This is a travesty which undermines the state’s constitutional obligation to ensure the rights of all people “to have their dignity respected and protected”.

It is reported that the situation in the Amathole District is dire: villages with anywhere from 300 to 600 households have on average two (2) communal taps from which all their water and sanitation needs have to be met. It is not enough to argue that ‘93% of the South African population has access to water supply services and 76%…have access to basic sanitation services’ . Our conversations should go further. They must be concerned with the quality of that access: is it reliable and what are the means in which that water can be accessed?

It is added that the  problems are neither unique nor isolated to the Eastern Cape. All over the country, be it in urban, semi-urban or rural areas, access to basic provisions such as water, electricity and sanitation is dismal and consistently denied to poor, black South Africans. Advocacy and activism has been carried out by several civil society organisations. It is time, however, for the government to respond earnestly and substantively; a responsibility all too often falling solely on the tired shoulders of NGOs. If government fails again in this mandate, litigation must be resorted to to bring government to account.

 

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MenEngage Africa denounces recurring attacks of non-nationals of African descent in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
 

MenEngage Africa has said that it is of major concern that South Africa continues to be the site of persecution of fellow Africans from other parts of the continent. Cross-border long distance truck drivers transporting goods to, and through, South Africa have been under attack from locals in recent weeks. The economic capital, Johannesburg, came to a stand-still when businesses identified as belonging to non-national Africans were attacked and destroyed, resulting in damage to property, disruption of people’s lives and loss of income. The lives and livelihoods of men, women, children and entire communities who have migrated to South Africa from other African countries for various reasons continue to be in danger on a daily basis – and this needs to end now.

The organisations says that these events have sent shock waves throughout all of Africa, with the global family watching in horror as looting went on with little intervention from the security services. This recurring violence has resulted in mounting anger – and justifiably so. In a number of African countries including Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique, nationals took to the streets to attack South African-owned businesses and trucks in retaliation to the attacks on their countrymen and women in South Africa. But this eye for an eye approach is not helpful. It should not be that violence begets violence. It is dangerous for diplomatic relations across Africa, as it could have untold implications, including for our economic development, peace and security.

“Thus, we are heartened that the African Union Commission and foreign governments have issued strong formal protests to the government of South Africa in response to these continued attacks. It is also good that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that he was sending a special envoy to express his concerns directly to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. It is also encouraging that Mr Ramaphosa himself has come out to condemn this spate of violence.

The events taking place in South Africa require a co-ordinated and sustained approach by all countries and regional bodies in the region, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (ECA),” says Hassan Sekajoolo,” chairperson of the Steering Committee of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

“This approach must consider that the attacks in South Africa have been labeled ‘xenophobia’, although they only affect people of African origin. The violence against non-nationals of African descent in South Africa gives rise to a new meaning of the word ‘xenophobia’. The word means ‘a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries’. The South African situation, however, demonstrates a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries based on what they look like – being African,” adds Mpiwa Mangwiro, Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for MenEngage Africa Alliance.

Locals in South Africa blame migrants from other African countries for their social and economic woes, including lack of employment, substance abuse, human trafficking, crime levels, lack of housing, and pressures on the health system. As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we realise that the concerns of locals cannot be downplayed.

If claims that non-national Africans are responsible for the proliferation of drugs and various crime syndicates and illegalities are true, the law must be brought to bear upon the perpetrators. At community level, migrants have a responsibility to adhere to the laws of their host country and law enforcers have a duty to uphold and protect the laws and regulations of their country. At national level, there are formal mechanisms between the host country and countries of origin of migrants to deal with offences committed. The truth is that crime is carried out by criminals, irrespective of country of origin. Drugs and other crimes are committed by nationals all the time. Police are enjoined to carry out their mandate in terms of applicable laws.

Furthermore, the Constitution of South Africa sets out that everyone who resides in the country has the right to access health services, irrespective of their nationality or legal status. Thus, non-nationals must be allowed to access health care, especially women and children who often rely on state resources for their health needs because of a lack of crucial economic means.

The organisation  calls  on the South African government and all African states, the African Union Commission, and all regional bodies to play their individual and collective roles to ensure that this state of affairs does not continue. Africans cannot be attacking one another when there are peaceful mechanisms to find solutions to our problems.

“As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we remain committed to support all efforts that seek to ensure unity of the continent and ensure that the ideals of the founding principles of the African Union Commission are achieved”.

 

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