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Kenya:War of words escalate in the crumbling NASA
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

NASA Principals Moses Wetangula, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi at a rally in Kakamega on Saturday, June 3, 2017.Pic credit Star Kenya

NASA Principals Moses Wetangula, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi at a rally in Kakamega on Saturday, June 3, 2017.Pic credit Star Kenya

Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party (ODM) has rebuffed the claims by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula that National Super Alliance coalition (NASA) is a moribund organization.

Wetangula, one of the co-principals,who is also the Ford Kenya Party leader on Monday said the coalition is dead accusing Odinga for betrayal that has led to collapse of the outfit. He announced the plans to revive his party and look for new partners for realignment ahead of 2022 polls.

“NASA is a moribund organization that cannot be salvaged. It is history. I have suffered the pain of betrayal by NASA presidential candidate,” he said.

ODM has dared the Ford Kenya party leader to leave NASA and his members to relinquish the seats they hold in the National Assembly and Senate House courtesy of the coalition’s strength in the two houses. ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna asked Wetangula to write to Registrar of Political parties to withdraw Ford Kenya from NASA.

He termed Wetangula as a coward who cannot survive on his own. He said “He has time and again said NASA is dead but why doesn’t he send his official communication to the Registrar of Political parties? What we know is that NASA died after the January 30 when the cowards could not turn up for the occasion, so seeing him bringing the issue each time he speaks is a clear indication that he cannot survive on his own”.

Odinga’s effort to revamp the crumbling outfit was rejected by the two other principals; Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka who have shifted their focus on strengthening their individual vehicles. Mudavadi allies have urged the former Sabatia Member of Parliament to quit NASA in order to realize his presidential ambition.

The ANC leader in July 14, 2018 declared his presidential interest saying he has what it takes to lead Kenyans. Addressing media during his Kwale County tour, he rubbished the information circulating on media that he will partner with the Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr. Musyoka advisors have also told him off to desist the coalition to rebrand himself for the State House race. Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana urged the former deputy president to move on from Odinga’s dominating moribund outfit and forget about the agreement he entered into with him prior to 2013 General elections.

The alleged famous outfit plunged into disagreement when Wetangula, Mudavadi and Musyoka skipped the January 30 swearing-in of Odinga as the people’s president following the bungled presidential elections. Division widened further when Odinga signed a pact deal with President Kenyatta without consulting them.

Mr. Wetangula has engaged in verbal exchange with the ODM since the senators stripped him off the minority leader position and replaced him with Raila’s ally, James Orengo.

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UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP TO LAUNCH STRATEGIC DIVISION IN NIGERIA
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

FIRST MARQUEE LABEL SIGNINGS INCLUDE ACCLAIMED ARTISTS TEKNO, STONEBWOY, VANESSA MDEE & MR EAZI

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

L-R_Korede Ogunyomade_ Ezegozie Eze_ Bayo Fatoba_ Efosa Aiyevbomwan.

SANTA MONICA/LAGOS, July 17, 2018 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a significant expansion of operations within Western Africa, with the launch of Universal Music Nigeria. This new strategic division, will operate from a new office in Lagos, under the leadership of seasoned music executive Ezegozie Eze Jr., who has been named General Manager of Universal Music Nigeria.

Eze and his team will support artists from Nigeria, Ghana, and Gambia throughout the continent and beyond, utilizing Universal Music Group’s global networks for wider discovery, marketing, promotion and distribution. Eze, has previously held roles at Channel O Television, Empire Mates Entertainment (Banky W & WizKid) and was a founder of Pan-African creative companies, Republic 54, Alore Group, and Duma Collective, brings vital experience in the Nigerian music market. He will report to Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The label has signed a host of Nigerian-born artists including WurlD, Odunsi (the Engine), Tay Iwar, and Ghanaian-born artists Cina Soul and Stonebwoy. In addition, the label has recently signed marquee deals with acclaimed Banku singer and songwriter Mr Eazi for pan-African releases, co-signed Nigerian artist Tekno in conjunction with Island Records UK and Tanzanian singer and songwriter Vanessa Mdee in conjunction with AfroForce1 Records/Universal Music Central Europe/Universal Music South Africa. These two signings mark the first time UMG labels from the two continents have combined to sign and release African artists globally, with other artist partnerships in the pipeline with UMG labels from around the world.

In making the announcement, Dlamini said, “In recent years there has been an increase in visibility of Nigerian and Ghanaian music and its influence on contemporary music around the world. Eze and his team are perfectly placed to support, nurture and help develop artists and musicians from the region, whilst creating opportunities for new talent from the region to reach the widest possible audience.”

Eze commented, “I am delighted to be officially launching Universal Music’s Nigerian division at such an exciting time for African music around the world. The world’s largest music company opening an office within the region is a huge statement of belief in our local music talent. The signings we have already made show our ambition to help our artists reach the widest global audience and we are looking forward to working closely with our UMG label partners around the world to make that happen.”

This new division will work in partnership with existing UMG operations throughout the continent including Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco and alongside key markets across English-speaking Africa in order to offer artists comprehensive opportunities throughout the region and provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.

Universal Music Group operates two successful live music companies within Africa, both of which will also have divisions within Universal Music Nigeria. Launched in 2017 in Johannesburg, UMG Live Africa has quickly become one of the leading talent booking agencies within the continent. It has succesfully helped redefine the role of a booking agency within Africa, with a broad roster of artists made up of both UMG talent and non-UMG signed artists making more than 600 performances throughout 2017. ULive Africa was founded in 2016 and is engaged in staging, producing, programming and hosting large-scale live concerts and events throughout Africa including Runway Jazz, the innaugral African Comedy Awards, Lekki Sunsplash (30th Anniversary Edition), The Music Industry Awards in Nigeria, Afrochella and Baskets & Wine in Ghana, and Cocktails in the Wild in Uganda and Nigeria, with several other exciting projects in the pipeline.

Universal Music Group is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of its divisions including CanalOlympia, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout the continent.

Universal Music Nigeria is currently developing plans to open a recording studio in Lagos in order to further advance the recording facilities available to local African talent. It will become UMG’s second fully purposed studio within Africa, alongside the existing facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Through these strategic investments, initiatives and executive appointments, UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire African music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.

Stoneboy

Stoneboy

Universal Music Nigeria (UMGNG) is a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, with strategic divisions in more than 60 countries worldwide. UMGNG covers neighbouring English speaking-markets within Western Africa including Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. UMGNG is committed to A&R, artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship in broadening opportunities for African artists both domestically and internationally, creating new and innovative experiences for fans whilst supporting the local music ecosystem in Nigeria and throughout the continent. UMGNG includes several key business units that operate alongside its recorded music, music publishing and audiovisual content divisions including UMGB (creative and brand partnerships division), ULive Africa (live events & production company), UMG Live Africa (talent booking and management), and Bravado (360 full-service merchandise company). These business divisions are structured to work with both UMG signed and independent talent within Nigeria and other African markets. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.ng.

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com

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Namibia continues to benefit from global climate finance
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Minister Pohamba  Shifeta

Minister Pohamba Shifeta

Windhoek – Namibia continues to benefit from global climate financing by rich nations, in its ongoing effort to tackle wide variety of environmental challenges such as climate change as well as biodiversity, forests, land degradation and oceans.

Multilateral financing mechanisms including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) continue to play a major role in the southern African country’s effort to mitigate environmental damage.

Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta has announced on Tuesday that Namibia has been allocated US$13.88 million in grants for the 7th GEF funding circle covering the period 2018-2022.

While updating the media on the outcome of the 6th Assembly of the GEF held last month in Vietnam, Shifeta emphasized that the money provide Namibia with opportunity to undertake “interventions to strengthen resilience to climate change, conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity, prevent land degradation and restore degraded land”.

The allocation per focal point for Namibia includes US$1 million for climate change mitigation, US$6.25 million for biodiversity management, and US$6.62 million has been reserved for combating of land degradation.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is the focal point to the GEF, and Shifeta said the onus is now on his ministry to design bankable programmes and projects to capitalize on the funding.

“Given the current challenges we are facing and the potential of the tourism sector, the development of wildlife-based tourism is likely to be the primary focus area during the GEF 7 period.

“This will include interventions to mitigate the costs of living alongside wildlife by communities as well as the intervention to enhance the beneficiation to communities from tourism sector. Efforts to combat land degradation and to restore degraded land is another focus areas,” he said.

Under the GEF 6, Namibia is currently busy with the finalization of the proposal a project targeted to support poverty eradication efforts in rural areas based on sustainable nature-based livelihood. The project is funded with US$10.3 million, with full implementation expected to begin in 2019.

The Global Environment Facility was established in 1992 to finance measures that tackle a wide variety of environmental challenges, including climate change as well as biodiversity, forests, land degradation and oceans – covering a total of five international conventions.

The funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.

The facility support is provided to government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies, research institutions, among the broad diversity of potential partners, to implement projects and programs in recipient countries.

Since it is establishment, GEF has provided over US$17.9 billion in grants for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries in the main focal areas – biodiversity management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, combating land degradation, management of international waters as well as chemicals and waste management.

Since, 1992, Namibia has been able to implement over 30 national projects worth about US$71 million.

“These projects have covered a wide range of areas such as the management of our protected areas, support to communal conservancies and community forests, promotion of climate smart agriculture, sustainable management and integrated coastal zone governance,” Minister Shifeta said.

During the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Fund held from 27-28 June, developed nations that are bankrolling the GEF pledged US$4.1 billion to replenish the 2018-2022 funding circle.  This is less than US$4.4 billion that was pledged for the 2014-2018 funding circle.

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Mixed reactions as Obama visits his ancestral land
July 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Photo: Daily Nation.President Uhuru Kenyatta with the 44th US President Barack Obama when he paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on July 15, 2018. On the left is Mr Obama’s half sister Dr Auma Obama.

Photo: Daily Nation
President Uhuru Kenyatta with the 44th US President Barack Obama when he paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on July 15, 2018. On the left is Mr Obama’s half sister Dr Auma Obama.

Former US President Barrack Obama’s visit to Kogelo, Siaya County, his father’s homeland, was graced with both joy and anger as locals barred from having a glimpse of him.

The irate residents, majority being youths, took it to the street on Monday morning ahead of his arrival demanding to be allowed to attend his event. However, their complaints were not addressed since the event was private and only invited guests were allowed in.

The security agents deployed were able to contain the enraged locals who were authorized to stand meters away from the venue. Obama’s motorcade was forced to divert to another way to gain access to the meeting place, after it was purported that there were youths who were planning to block it so as to have a glance at him.

“I am very sad with the issue of police chasing us from here, at least he could have waved to us,” Julius Owino, one of the resident.

A group of youth which had prepared a bull to hand over to the former president as a gift got disenchanted after they were lock-out of the venue. Their pleas fell on deaf ears despite employing all means to persuade security agents to allow them in.

“Why are they stopping even those who have brought a bull to Obama? We want him to go with it to the United States,” reiterated an agitated youth.

Some expressed their gratitude for their son of the village for setting his feet on his ancestral home again as some boast of a boom in their businesses as a result of the event. Most of the hotels in the region were fully booked ahead of his arrival.

Obama landed in Kenya on Sunday to inaugurate Sauti Kuu vocation centre founded by his step sister Dr. Auma Obama. The core missions of the programme are to promote financial situations of farming families and stimulate sustainable economic development in rural areas. The foundation also aims at tackling financial management skills and imparting knowledge about cultivation techniques, livestock breeding and water management.

In his speech the retired president said he has confidence in young people in offering solutions to problems faced by the current society. He added that when given chance they can eradicate societal vices like negative ethnicity and corruption.

He also lauded the progress Kenya has achieved in last two decades terming it extraordinary and remarkable. He promised Kenyans of tremendous economic growth if only inequality and corruption can be done away with.

“Kenya has made extraordinary strides in recent decades. The barriers of progress that young Kenyans face today are not as rigid as the ones that might have faced previous generations. There has been real progress in this amazing country and it should inspire today’s young people to demand even more progress,” said Obama.

He continued, “But we know real progress lies in addressing the challenges that remain. It means rooting out the corruption to make a civic life. It means not seeing different ethnicities as enemies but rather as allies and seeing the diversity of tribes not as a weakness, but as strength”.

He further extoled President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga for ironing out their political differences by agreeing to work together for the good of all Kenyans.

“Despite some of tumultuous times seen after elections, we now have president and opposition leader who have pledged to build the bridges and have made specific commitments to work together,” he reiterated.

He departed to South Africa where was expected to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual lecture.

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Namibia’s first and Africa’s finest diplomat passes on
July 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Theo Ben Gurirab

Theo Ben Gurirab

Windhoek – One of Africa’s finest diplomats and Namibia’s second Prime Minister, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab died at a Windhoek hospital on Saturday after an illness, the presidency has announced.

He was 83.

Gurirab was one of Namibia’s first generation of leaders who has served the Southern Africa country in various capacities as former Foreign Affairs Minister, Prime Minister and Speaker of National Assembly.

“Without the country’s first foreign minister, and one of the leading architects of Namibia’s diplomacy, a rich chapter is closing,” President Geingob said. Moreover, the President said that the exceptional work of Comrade Gurirab in service of the liberation movement, SWAPO and the Namibian people shall be cherished forever.

At independence, Gurirab served as the country’s first foreign affairs minister from March 1990 to August 2002 under founding President Sam Nujoma.

From August 2002 to March 2005, Gurirab became the second prime minister, replacing the founding premier Hage Geingob.

The latter resigned from Cabinet, after he refused the lesser portfolio of Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing.

During President Hifikepunye Pohamba administration, Gurirab was the Speaker of National Assembly from March 2005 to March 2015.

Gurirab was regarded as the best diplomat that Namibia has ever produced and one of Africa’s finest diplomats.

In 1999, he was elected president of the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations during the tenure of Secretary General Kofi Annan.

He was instrumental in driving the UN reform process and presided over the drafting of the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000.

On 15 October 2008, he was elected president of Inter-Parliamentary Union for a three-year mandate. It was during his tenure as President of the UN General Assembly that the global body took a decision to accord the observer status to the IPU.

After his term at IPU ended in October 2011, its Governing Council conferred on him the title of the Honorary President for the international body of parliaments.

His diplomatic acumen started when he went into exile in 1962, and join the struggle for Namibia’s independence waged by the former liberation movement SWAPO against South Africa’s apartheid regime.

He was charged with the international relations and diplomacy of SWAPO from 1972 to 1986.

During that period, he was the Chief Representative of the movement to the United Nations.

And it during this time that SWAPO was granted permanent observer status at the UN. From 1986 to 1990, he served as SWAPO’s secretary for foreign affairs. He was also part

Prior to independence, Gurirab was part of SWAPO team that negotiated a ceasefire agreement with South Africa’s colonial regime, which was signed in March 1989.

The agreement set pace for deployment of the international peace keeping force – the United Nations Transition Assistance Group that oversaw the peace process including the country’s first democratic elections in 1989 and subsequent declaration of independence on 21 March 1990.

Prior to independence, he was elected to the 72 member Constituent Assembly that drafted the Namibian Constitution from November 1989 to March 1990, which was later transformed into the country’s first National Assembly.

Born on 23 January 1938 in Usakos, Erongo region – Gurirab obtained a teaching diploma at Augustine Training College at Okahandja in 1960. Between 1969 and 1971, Gurirab studied political science and international relations at Temple University.

He was accorded an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Namibia, for his outstanding leadership in foreign policy and diplomacy.

He is survived by his wife Joan Guriras, two daughters and two sons.

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Saudi Arabia to power up South Africa’s energy sector with multi-billion dollar investment
July 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
  • Saudi Arabia is to invest $10 billion in South Africa.
  • The funds will be concentrated on reviving South Africa’s ailing energy sector.
    • South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa is on a mission to raise $100 billion in foreign direct investment as he attempts to revive the national economy after years of corruption and ahead of an election next year.
    King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (second right) with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 12, 2018.Bandar Algaloud | Saudi Kingdom Council | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

    King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (second right) with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 12, 2018.Bandar Algaloud | Saudi Kingdom Council | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

    Saudi Arabia is to pump $10 billion-worth of investment into South Africa, to be focused on its troubled energy sector, according to a South African government spokesperson.

    The pledge was made during South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to Saudi Arabia this week, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    The majority of the cash will be siphoned into South Africa’s energy sector, “including building refineries, petrochemicals and renewable energy,” said government spokesperson Khusela Diko on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.

     

    Saudi Arabia’s pledge forms a sizeable chunk of Ramaphosa’s mission to generate $100 billion of foreign direct investment. While South Africa is the African continent’s most industrialized country, its once-promising economy has suffered years of sluggish growth thanks to a fall in the price of commodities and endemic governmental corruption.

    Ramaphosa needs to stay popular with the South African electorate and continue to buoy “Ramaphoria,” the positive momentum that sent the Johannesburg stock market soaring after he took power following the departure of scandal-ridden former President Jacob Zuma in February of this year.

    South Africa’s economic fundamentals have not looked so promising in recent months. The country’s gross domestic product shrunk by 2.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, according to Statistics South Africa.

    Power cuts are rife in the country thanks to its ailing state-owned utility Eksom, which is hungry for investment. According to Ben Payton, head of Africa research at consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, 12 of the country’s 15 coal plants are due to decommissioned in the next 20 years. Eskom “is in no position to finance new facilities,” he told CNBC via e-mail.

    But, investment and reform could be a long way off. “Projects in the energy sector are almost invariably delayed due to opposition from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) or trade unions,” said Payton. “South African government agencies are often unreliable partners,” he added, citing the regular failure of municipal governments, who purchase from Eskom, to meet their payments.

    Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, who has made diversifying the kingdom’s economic reliance on oil a cornerstone of his leadership, could view the South Africa pledge strategically.

    Crown Prince Mohammed’s vision for Saudi Arabia “relies on a much more assertive foreign policy and more active presence on the world stage” than previously, Torbjorn Soltvedt, principal Middle East and North Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC via e-mail.

    “Riyadh will welcome the opportunity to increase its share in Africa’s most sophisticated economy,” said Soltvedt.

    *Culled from CNBC

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Cameroon’s Biya: 85 and ready to retain rule of the roost
July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
'The Sphinx': Biya, 85, has been president since 1982 (AFP Photo/Lintao Zhang)

‘The Sphinx’: Biya, 85, has been president since 1982 (AFP Photo/Lintao Zhang)

YAOUNDE (AFP) – Cameroonian President Paul Biya became Africa’s second longest-serving leader because, say his critics, dead people voted for him.

Allegations of rights abuses have swirled for decades around the 85-year-old ruler, but his nickname — “The Sphinx” — is well-deserved for a smooth, discreet profile that contrasts sharply with that of many of his flamboyant peers in Africa.

Biya, in power since 1982, told his “dear compatriots” on Twitter on Friday that he had decided to “respond positively to your overwhelming calls” to stand in the October 7 elections, bidding for a seventh consecutive term.

“I will be your candidate,” he said, adding that he was “aware of the challenges that we must face together for a Cameroon that is even more united, stable and prosperous”.

Those words appeared to be a veiled acknowledgement of the troubles besetting Cameroon.

The oil-rich state is facing an armed insurgency in two English-speaking regions in the west and cross-border incursions by Boko Haram jihadists in the far north.

Cameroon has faced divisions since independence in 1960, and Biya’s party, the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC), sees itself as a unifying force.

With a powerful executive branch and amid widespread poverty, the regime fends off charges of crooked elections and endemic corruption from Transparency International and human rights bodies.

“For 30 years, we have been hoping for a better Biya and a better Cameroon, but for 30 years now, the country has been sinking,” according to the Joshua Osih, the presidential candidate of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF).

“He has put in place a strange operation where his position at the heart of the system is enough to sustain the system itself,” researcher Stephane Akoa once remarked.

Biya is “master in the art of maintaining the status quo”, French journalist Fanny Pigeaud said in her book “The Cameroon of Paul Biya”. “He never seems to have had any intention of giving up.”

Born on February 13, 1933 in a village 220 kilometres (140 miles) south of the capital Yaounde, Biya studied law in France before landing a government job on his return home in 1962.

He was named prime minister in 1975, and took over from Cameroon’s founding president Amadou Ahidjo, who was ailing, in November 1982. The details surrounding this episode remain murky.

Biya was first elected in 1984. He allowed a multi-party system in the early 1990s, accepting political opposition from the west.

The national assembly in 2008 sparked riots that claimed at least 139 people lives when deputies scrapped the limit on presidential terms.

Joshua Osih is the flagbearer of the opposition Social Democratic Front

Joshua Osih is the flagbearer of the opposition Social Democratic Front

The late protest singer Lapiro de Mbanga earned three years in jail for a song “Constipated Constitution”, which became an anthem for demonstrators.

In the last election in 2011, Biya took about 78 percent of votes according to Cameroon’s Supreme Court.

It rejected opposition charges that “dead people” like late deputy prime minister Andze Tsoungui Gilbert had voted.

Film director Richard Fouofie Djimili told AFP in April 2013 that he was kidnapped, interrogated for 11 days and tortured for a political fiction seen as lampooning Biya’s longevity.

Asked in January 2013 about alleged abuses, Biya told Paris media: “We don’t have a human rights problem … Cameroonians are among the freest Africans.”

*AFP

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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (6)
July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ghost Towns, Elites and Passive Resistance in a Militarized Ambazonia

By Solomon Ngu*

In my last article I focused on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived as freedom fighters ready to take bullets for their people  (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-5/). We must understand their activities as part of the Anglophone project to deFrancophonize Ambazonia. They are of a generation that is hostile to all forms of tyranny. And anyone who stands on their way, be s/he armed or not, is treated as an obstacle to freedom. We are now caught in a scenario where the government no longer has monopoly to discipline bodies or openly inflict pain on people through the gun. This dramatic change within the past nine months has seen disenchanted youths fighting what they see as occupational forces  (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-4/).  Their resistance is part of the greater project of making Ambazonia ungovernable. In this post I take a look at Ghost Town, a passive resistance method that was unthinkable just two years ago. This is framed within a context where the government and its gluttonous Anglophone elite have lost legitimacy at the grassroots in the Southern Cameroons.

After the police brutalized protesting lawyers and teachers in late 2016, there were calls, primarily on social media, for Anglophones to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters. Anti-Francophonization demonstrations on the streets had become dangerous – people were dragged in mud, others were shot, university girls were raped, some youths were arrested, etc. I can remember a Facebook group calling for people to stand with Anglophone teachers. It was within this context that Ghost Town emerged as a more practical and collective offline protest at the ways in which the Anglophones leaders were manhandled. By this passive resistance, it was meant no economic activity took place on a day that was designated for the Ghost Town. All businesses remained closed. By 2017, Monday had become the official Ghost Town day. It is now called contri Sunday (native Sunday). In addition to this, all official or national days are assigned Ghost Town status, meaning people in the Anglophone zone are not expected to participate in celebrating whatever is celebrated in Cameroun such as the Youth and National Days. Some of the Ghost Towns – particularly those referred to as mami wata Ghost Town – have been so tense that state employees simply do not turn up for work.

At the early stages of the resistance, the government and local councils responded to these developments by intimidating citizens, informing them that whoever observed the Ghost Towns would be punished. Patrick Ekema, the Mayor of Buea, threatened to shut down or fine shops that observed Ghost Town, that is, shops rented out to shopkeepers by his Council. Frustrated that the citizens were exercising this passive resistance, the government threatened to punish parents who didn’t send their children to school. Parents ridiculed the government, saying they stood to lose if their children were harmed; the people knew the government would not protect them, their children or property if they were to resist the call for Ghost Town. They had lost trust in the government, so to speak.

 

It was time for the government to gamble on another strategy that had hitherto worked in most instances. It sent Anglophone elite to act as mediators and quite a lot of them spoke of the need for the people to stop the passive resistance. But the government failed to know that these French Cameroun-based individuals have lost legitimacy among their people. Anglophones have been questioning the dishonest elite for a long time; they are perceived as thieves, as swindlers who do not account to the villagers what they do with investment money handed over to them by the government. This question is asked within a wider concern as to why the elite collaborate in the Francophonization of Ambazonia.

In any case, those who have failed to observe Ghost Towns have been treated unkindly; the shops, cars, motorbikes and schools (just to name a few) of defaulters have been torched by the population. And the government has not been able to do nothing about it. This aside, those elite that have sided with the government and those who have urged the villagers to denounce the passive resistance now find themselves in uncomfortable situation. Some of them have been told they are not welcome in their villages. And the youths delivering these bans have not spared those elite who ignore the injunctions. A few collaborators of the regime in power have been caught, stripped naked and humiliated. Unfortunately, some have been tortured. These are all recorded and shared on social media. Basically, these elites have been told that they can no longer speak for the people of Ambazonia. And it doesn’t bother the Francophone government that these tokenistic elites aren’t representing the people.

 

This screenshot photo is from a video in which the Amba Fighters in one of the villages in Ambazonia accuse the elite of ‘stealing’ their future; they are ready to punish any of these elite if and when they visit the village. Essentially, Elung Paul and Elvis Ngole Ngole are banned from coming back to the village.

This screenshot photo is from a video in which the Amba Fighters in one of the villages in Ambazonia accuse the elite of ‘stealing’ their future; they are ready to punish any of these elite if and when they visit the village. Essentially, Elung Paul and Elvis Ngole Ngole are banned from coming back to the village.

By and large, the militarization of Anglophone Cameroon has had as specific aim of protecting French and Francophone investments and system of oppression. This means the military is there to provide a secure environment for the French and Francophones to exploit resources in Southern Cameroons. The oppressed are by the military intimidation told their attempts to oppose oppression is futile in the face of heavily armed government troops. Now, come to think of Ghost Town operating in a militarized zone. La Republique du Cameroun conceives power mainly in terms of brute force and this would require that the police/military is physically present to enforce discipline. In this sense, citizens respond to authority only out of fear of physical or psychological injury that could be brought to bear on those who resist the Francophonization of Ambazonia. This is unlike in Ghost Towns where citizens respond to calls from physically-absent leaders, some of whom are only imaginary.

 

While in Bamenda in mid-April 2018, I realized that people observed Ghost Town more rigorously as compared to Buea. All businesses were closed, the streets were scanty and only a few transport services were operational within the city. I could not leave the city before evening because of the Ghost Town. On our way back to Buea that evening we passed through high security military control on the Anglophone site of the country.  The darkness was terrifying. We stopped, descended from the bus, showed our identity cards and then trekked for about 150 meters before getting back into the bus. The frightened military police had their guns pointed and were perhaps ready to shoot.

 

One would expect the government to be in total control in parts of the country that are militarized. And being in control here would entail among other things, guaranteeing the running of daily activities in a direction the government wishes. This could be either out of fear or respect. It could even be both. But the passive resistance in Ambazonia has proven that brute force does not necessarily make people to conform, fix or adjust themselves to an oppressive condition. The oppressor can use the gun to control people if s/he can find them, if the people are within spaces where the oppressor can control. But if the oppressor can’t access people within controllable spaces, the gun and its frightful sight, (powerful as it is), is just what it is: a potential object of repression.  

 

When you are on the ground in Cameroon, you quickly realize that threats from the government, elite and local authorities are taken less seriously nowadays in the Anglophone region. Even after the government disconnected the internet and threatened to send to jail anyone posting information/images related to the war, Ambazonians still update the world about the ongoing war. Anglophones are by this passive resistance signaling that they are ready to use any means to fight oppression. To engage in Ghost Town would mean people are ready to sacrifice – willingly or by force – their present economic benefits in view of a better life in the future.

 

Lest anyone interpret this article as glorifying the suffering of the oppressed in a war zone; it is more about their resilience and courage in the face of a calamity!

*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by  Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues

 

Life in a War Zone: 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon

Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (2)

Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (3)

Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (4)

Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (5)

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Zimbabwe’s opposition political parties and pro-democracy campaigners team up to challenge bid to stop ZEC from realeasing voters’ roll with photographs
July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwean opposition political parties and some pro-democracy campaigners have teamed up to challenge a petition filed by a registered voter who is seeking to bar the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) from releasing a voters’ roll bearing prospective voters’ photographs as stipulated by the law, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

In an urgent chamber application for joinder to an urgent chamber application filed by Ethel Mpezeni, a registered voter, the opposition political parties and the pro-democracy campaigners protested that they will be seriously prejudiced by the order sought by Mpezeni, who wants to bar ZEC from releasing a voters’ roll bearing voters’ photographs.

The opposition political parties and the pro-democracy campaigners, who include MDC Alliance, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, People’s Democratic Party, Coalition for Democrats, National Constitutional Assembly, Theresa Manase, Evan Mawarire, Harrison Nkomo, Jeremiah Bamu, Douglas Coltart and Warship Dumba, argued that the order sought by Mpezeni will have a negative implication on the credibility of the 30 July 2018 general elections, which in turn will adversely jeopardise  the prospects of economic recovery in Zimbabwe, which is dependent on the outcome of the polls

Mpezeni recently filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking to stop ZEC from acceding to demands by various political parties for the electoral management body to provide them with a voters’ roll including her photograph or anyone else’s.

In her application, Mpezeni argued that the demands by the opposition political parties violated her constitutional right to privacy.

Several political parties have asked ZEC to furnish them with a voters’ roll with photographs in line with the provision of section 9(c) of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations of 2017. The political parties argue that provision of the voters’ roll in this format would enhance the transparency of the voters’ roll, which has been a hotly contested issue in previous elections thereby undermining the credibility of the outcome of past elections.

In the urgent chamber application filed by Denford Halimani of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who cited Mpezeni, ZEC and Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi as respondents, the opposition political parties and some pro-democracy  campaigners argued that it is in the public interest for ZEC to issue a voters’ roll with photographs to minimise areas of contestation after elections.

The applicants reasoned that the relief sought by Mpezeni is not in the public interest as it has the effect of undermining widespread calls for transparency and integrity of the electoral process.

The pro-democracy campaigners and the opposition political parties argued that every election process must be structured to ensure that only legitimately registered individuals who appear at the polls to vote are in fact who they claim to be.

This process, the applicants argued, helps to prevent electoral fraud because a photograph is a very useful tool to verify the accuracy of the voters list, to check impersonation and to detect and prevent multiple registration and curb presence of ghost voters.

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Zimbabwe’s civil society to host national citizens’ conventions on elections and people’s demands
July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Briggs Bomba

Briggs Bomba

The Citizens Manifesto in Zimbabwe will on 20 July, 2018 host a national citizens convention which will bring together a multi-sectoral cross-section of civil society organisations, activists and social movements from across the country to discuss a shared vision of a better Zimbabwe.

  According to Briggs Bomba, Convener of the Citizens Manifesto, the convention is also anticipated to articulate citizens’ demands in relation to the elections and the post elections period.

  It is reported that the convention will create space for sectoral clusters to discuss key issues affecting their respective sectors and develop corresponding citizen priorities and demands.

  Bomba said that the position statements from the different sectors will be collated into a communiqué articulating key cardinal pillars of a citizens’ manifesto for a better Zimbabwe.

  It is reported that the manifesto is envisaged as a framework for a collective citizen voice to hold political actors accountable before and after the elections.

  It is also added that the citizens’ manifesto is a principled call by ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe to define the Zimbabwe they want and guide policy and action towards the dream of a better life and future for citizens of the country.

  According to Bomba, the #OurZimbabweDream national citizens’ convention calls for a Zimbabwe underpinned by the cardinal pillars of servant leadership, citizen participation, public services that uphold human dignity, no corruption, gender justice, investment in youth, labour justice, natural resources justice, inclusive and diverse society, devolution of power, democratic rights and freedoms, disabled persons rights including peace, justice and reconciliation.

  “The political developments in our nation since November 2017 and the impending elections of 30 July 2018 make it ever more critical for citizens to come together in crafting a collective vision for their beloved country as well as agreeing on a roadmap towards fulfilling that vision,” Briggs Bomba, Convener of the Citizens’ Manifesto process said.

 He added that the convention is open to all progressive citizens, civil society and activists.

  He also said that the convention will be an opportunity for international advocacy and solidarity. He said that it will be graced by key actors from the regional and international solidarity community who will attend to listen to voices of civil society and help amplify the message at the international level.

  Other organisations who will participate in the convention include the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) ,the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET).The organisations will participate under the social, youths and informal sector clusters respectively.

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The Initiative for Global Development’s Board of Directors Names Leila Ndiaye As President & CEO
July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ndiaye, an African affairs expert and accomplished senior policy and business strategist, will assume President & CEO position on August 1

Leila Ndiaye

Leila Ndiaye

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development’s Board of Directors announced today that Leila Ndiaye will be promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IGD. She succeeds Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, who will remain close to the organization in his new role of President Emeritus and Senior Advisor.

Ndiaye, who joined IGD as Executive Vice-President in March, will assume her new role on August 1, 2018. The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.

A native of Côte d’Ivoire and a US resident, Ndiaye brings more than 20 years of experience as an accomplished senior policy and business strategist with a proven track record in policy design and implementation at the highest level of African governments and the private sector.

As President and CEO, Ndiaye will be the driving force in transforming the organization into an engaging and influential platform that fosters greater investment of U.S. and African small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Africa. Through her strategic vision and leadership, IGD will be positioned to be the leading voice and advocate for SMEs investing in Africa to fuel the continent’s economic progress.

She will be responsible for leading the strategic direction for IGD’s exceptional programming and policy engagements to advance a business-driven development agenda, overseeing the growth of the Frontier Leader Network, and building strategic alliances with key stakeholders to advance organizational priorities.

“The IGD Board of Directors is delighted to appoint Leila Ndiaye to the position of CEO and President of IGD. Leila is clearly a proven leader who can take IGD into the future,” said Rob Mosbacher, IGD Board Chair and Chairman of Mosbacher Energy Company.

“I’m deeply passionate about addressing key development issues in Africa by harnessing the power of the private sector to create jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic,” Ndiaye said. “I look forward to this opportunity to continue the momentum and build on IGD’s current progress to take the organization to the next level.”

Board Chair Mosbacher expressed a deep appreciation for the leadership of outgoing president Mima S. Nedelcovych. Nedelcovych spearheaded the rapid expansion of African companies into IGD’s Frontier Leader Network for the last four years.

“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Mima for his dedication and leadership at IGD,” said Mosbacher. “Given his new role as President Emeritus and Senior Advisor, the board is confident IGD is on the right path to drive forward its continued success.”

Nedelcovych said as IGD continues to grow into a thriving organization, Ndiaye’s leadership qualities, skills and professional relations were a perfect fit for the organization.

“Leila Ndiaye recently joined IGD and has already demonstrated strategic and decisive thinking and a strong ability to lead,” said Nedelcovych. “I have known Leila a long time and can assure you that her deep experience and broad connections will ensure IGD’s continued success into the future.”

Prior to joining IGD, she served as the Senior Director of Policy for African Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that position, she developed, promoted and executed the US-Africa Business Center’s program of work relating to trade policy and investment between the United States and African countries. She initiated and managed the US-ECOWAS Business Initiative and spearheaded the Chamber’s program in Western and Central Sub-Saharan Africa, from Angola to Mauritania.

Previously, she worked with the government of Côte d’Ivoire as special adviser to the former Head of State, where she advised the Head of State on a range of policy, national security and economic issues to ensure that all duties were carried out in the best interest of the country as a whole.

Ndiaye is an Advisor to McLarty Associates, where she advises clients on trade and investment in West Africa. McLarty Associates is an international strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC, that delivers diplomatic solutions and advises many emerging companies venturing abroad.

Earlier in her career, Ndiaye held positions in the lobbying arena with Bayh, Connaughton, Fernsteinhem and Malone, law firm of former Senator Birch Bayh, in Washington, D.C. where she developed and managed the Africa portfolio, and at the World Bank as a consultant.

Ndiaye was decorated by the Republic of Burkina Faso in June 2018 as Knight of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Burkina Faso.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented Ms. Ndiaye with the “US-Africa Business Center Outstanding Leaders’ Award 2018” in recognition of her exemplary leadership in US-Africa relations.

She is a recipient of the 2016 Excellence Award by the Women Ambassadors Foundation in Washington DC and was nominated in 2008 as one of the 50 most influential people of Côte d’Ivoire by the magazine l’Intelligent d’Abidjan and received the same year the Women’s Private Sector Initiative Award in Côte d’Ivoire.

In 1990, she was the first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Côte d’Ivoire to South Africa during apartheid.  Leila Ndiaye is a member of the African Leadership Network, a membership community of the most dynamic and influential new-generation leaders in Africa.

She received a certificate from the Thayer Leaders Development Group (TLDG) at West Point for the “Women Leading from the Front Lines” Leadership Academy in August 2017.

Leila Ndiaye holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS), at The American University in Washington DC, earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy with merit from the Diplomatic Academy of London at the University of Westminster, and a PhD degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS), Paris.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan * sbryant@igdleaders.org * (202) 412-4603

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Kenya:Opposition Chief Discloses What Led To Famous “Handshake”
July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The Kenyatta-Odinga embrace  jolted  Kenyan politics

The Kenyatta-Odinga embrace jolted Kenyan politics

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has divulged what transpired between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta before March 9 peace deal.

Speaking at Kitui County, Eastern part of the country, the ODM party leader said high political tension made them to beat off their hard stands so as to save the country from plunging into chaos. They swallowed their pride and came on a negotiation table without involving other politicians.

“We first had preliminary talks on how to conduct the final talks. I gave my demands and he accepted that I will meet him alone. He also insisted that the National Super Alliance co-principals are excluded,” said Mr. Odinga.

President Kenyatta left his deputy William Ruto out of the talks while Odinga kept Kalonzo Musyoka, his running mate during August 8 polls in the dark and other two co-principals; Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.

“President Kenyatta asked me to leave out my brother Mr.Musyoka from the talks, after I also demanded that his deputy William Ruto be excluded as well, which he agreed. I insisted that I don’t want to talk to those people who wanted to discuss 2022,” Mr. Odinga reiterated.

According to Odinga, his supporters had reached an agreement to boycott paying taxes to central government and remove the president’s portraits from offices and business premises in his strongholds to protest electoral injustices. He explained how he risked high treason and death by strangulation when he agreed to be sworn in as the people’s president.

The opposition chief who enjoys support from his home turf, Nyanza, Coastal region, Western, lower Eastern, and some parts of Rift Valley got sworn as the people’s president in January 30, 2018 as demanded by his diehards, an event that was boycotted by his co-principals.

“Our people had already agreed to gather all presidential portraits and burn them. We were also going to start collecting taxes from people in our strongholds. I thought about it keenly and figured that we could easily head the Syria or Yemen way,” explained Odinga.

He further revealed that Mr. Kenyatta was under intense pressure from Jubilee loyalists who wanted him arrested and charged with treason after being sworn in saying that the president declined because it could have plunged the whole nation into anarchy.

Mr. Odinga who was accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and her Makueni counterpart Kivutha Kibwana said his and Mr. Kenyatta’s decision saved the country from following the paths that led to 2007 post-election violence.

“After my swearing in, I learnt that Uhuru was under pressure from his core Jubilee supporters to arrest and drag me to court on treason charges but he declined because that could have plunged the country into endless protests and chaos.” He added.

The exclusion of the three National Super Alliance (NASA) three principals almost led to the collapse of the coalition. The trio accused him of betrayal.

 

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