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Zimbabwe: Hit and Hide, Mouse and Cat Relationship, ED Mnangagwa versus Tim Olkonnen
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen

Harare—Stealth tempers are flaring in Zimbabwean Politics between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen . The EU Ambassador has over the past days encouraged President Mnangagwa to exercise Human Rights.

The Head of Delegation in Zimbabwe last week challenged the new Regime to prove it had moved away from the Robert Mugabe old days.

‘’We are witnessing these days several developments that put constitutionalism and the rule of Law in question. A number of abductions have been witnessed in the country. The new regime must move away from the past act of doing. Zimbabwe should show it genuinely it has made a break from the past.’’ Olkkonen was quoted by Journalists in Harare.

In evidence to show the flare of vented anger in a cat and mouse relationship, President Mnangagwa responded;

‘’The rule of Law Observance is not needed for the purpose of pleasing other countries. We need it because it is proper for ourselves’’.

Another wave of political acrimony has burst with the avail of the information from a source who spoke to Pan-African –Visions Journalist early this week. The gathered information is that the police is training soldiers in a bid to thwart any opposition head-way towards initiation of political violence.

Several Army personnel confirmed the clandestine trainings in the country. The only grip of fear is that they are not feeling comfortable if caught suspected to have divulged the information.

‘’The Army will work with the police in a new strategy that is harmless to the public. This is not for the first time. In January this year, Army helped police. Now its vice-verse.

‘’A number of Army officers have been trained. Actually, this is the Third Batch. The training is that they are trained to play the game smart and smooth. They are trained to manage large crowds without using guns or any military weapon. Thus why it is police training the military’’, he took a strong breath.

Asked to comment, an MDC official who gave a short comment said they are a number of demonstrations in planning with opposition. He pointed out that the opposition party is moving into ZANU PF strongholds.

‘’ Nevson , Just tell them and know we have a spate of planned demonstrations in our mind . We do it , we win it because people are suffering. We have plans as well to move around the country in towns and cities. I think these people are in panicky mode ‘’ he concludes.

The source from MDC denied any knowledge about military trainings by the police .

Known sources to the Pan-African Visions took it a hide and locked their phones after realisation that there were calls in question. A source from the Civil Society Elston Chitombo said that is the reason why military is being trained because the past aborted demonstrations left scars of anger in MDC. He also commented that the Government wanted to follow International standards of human rights observation.

‘’They are afraid of MDC. A number of demonstrations were expected but Central Intelligence and police kept awoke. The Government fears Western powers over abuse of human rights. They now want to act well.

‘’It seems and looks like there is nasty secret hit and hide between Mnangagwa and the EU and America. This is so because EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe called for Zimbabwe’s observation of Human Rights in the country. Lastly USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols visited some victims of abduction and torture. One victim’s legs were broken by eight men who abducted him. This is a hit and hide relationship   , Mnangagwa versa EU and USA’’, He concludes.

 

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Cameroon: Ghost towns, Locked gates, Few Students characterised back to school in SW
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Governor of the SWR together with adminstrators inspecting schools in Buea

Governor of the SWR together with adminstrators inspecting schools in Buea

The 2019/2020 school year across the South West region of Cameroon has witnessed a low turnout by students on Monday September 2, 2019. The situation across the Anglophone regions which has been witnessing upheavals for the past 2 years was characterised by lockdown, closed gates and few students present in classrooms across both private and government establishments.

At 7:30 A.M, Monday September 2, most of the gates of the establishments were still closed. The situation was even worse for most of the private institutions with no student present for lectures. Some of the school administrators were however present.

The low turnout across the South West Region can be linked to the imposed lockdown by separatist fighters across the North West and South west Regions. Before school resumption, separatist fighters had imposed two sets of lockdown beginning September 2 to 6 and from September 9 to 13. These lockdown are aimed at frustrating efforts to get school resume in the Anglophone regions.

The situation were however encouraging in confessional schools who had many students in attendance for the first day of school. In PCSS Buea Town, a few hundred students were present, though not in their classrooms for lectures. Baptist High School, still in Buea equally had a good number of students who answered present.

Bilingual Grammar School Molyko Buea, Government Technical School Molyko, known for having thousands of students had virtually no student present. BGS Molyko was full with administrators though the students stayed away while that of GTTC had about two students present.

The low turnout of students in Buea was the same scenario witnessed in educational establishments across Limbe. Many of the schools remained shut while the few who braved the odds to open their doors witnessed just a handful of students present.

Low turnout characterized back to school in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon

Low turnout characterized back to school in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon

The Governor of the South West Region Bernard Okalia Bilai while touring the various educational establishments to ascertain the level of back to school across Fako Division encouraged those who braved the odds in attending school. According to him, they are building a future for their families, the society and the country as a whole.

He further encouraged the students to call on their fellow colleagues who are still in the quarters and villages to join them in school while assuring them that their security is guaranteed with the security forces present to protect them. “You cannot fully participate in the building of your country if you cannot read or write” Governor Okalia Bilai told the students.

The hope for the administrators in the Region is that the coming days will be much better-that still may however be farfetched.

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Cameroon: Shops sealed, business premises vandalized for respecting “Ghost” Towns
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Shop sealed in Buea for respecting ghost town

Shop sealed in Buea for respecting ghost town

Inhabitants of Buea, chief town of the South West Region have continued to cry foul at the constant sealing of their business premise by the Mayor of the Buea council. Monday September 2, 2019 saw over 20 business premises sealed while others had their businesses destroyed.

The sealing of the shops by the Mayor Patrick Ekema Esunge is in a bid to frustrate the “ghost” town phenomenon and to get people back to work. The efforts equally coincided with the back to school across the South West Region.

Many of the inhabitants this reporter talked to were very disgusted with the mayor’s attitude in sealing and even destroying people’s businesses. “Let the Mayor look for other means in getting shops to open and not destroy people’s sweat when they do not open” one Buea inhabitant narrated       while adding that “very soon the Mayor will start to seal but people’s houses”.

According to another inhabitant who preferred anonymity, this effort only makes people to stay at home. He said, “We are tired in two corner-if you close your shops then the council may close or vandalize it but if you open it then you risked being beaten or seen as a black leg by the separatist fighters. Who knows what may happen to you”. “Our security is not even guaranteed but yet the administrators want us to open our shops. If we are kidnapped, will they pay for any of our release” he questioned.

Businesses vandalized by the Buea council for respecting ghost towns

Businesses vandalized by the Buea council for respecting ghost towns

The sealing of shops has been a constant weapon used by the Buea council to get people not to respect the set “ghost” towns called by separatist fighters. January 4, 2019, saw more than 20 shops and other businesses around Bongo Square sealed. In August of 2018 close to 700 shops in the Buea municipality were sealed. The shops were only reopened after an agreement was reached between business persons and the council.

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UN conference on land management opens on a positive tone for change
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

New Delhi, 2 September 2019 – “If human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, it is the strong intent, technology and intellect that will make difference. It is human efforts that will undo the damage and improve the habitats. We meet here now to ensure that this happens,” said Prakash Javadekar, India’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Pointing to an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, Javadekar said 122 countries, among them Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa, which are among the largest and most populous nations on Earth, “have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target.”

Land degradation neutrality is an innovative land-use and management approach that prioritizes the optimal use of land to ensure the balance of productive land remains stable long-term. It is one of 169 targets set for 2030 for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Javadekar made the remarks during the opening the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, taking place from 2 to 13 September 2019, in New Delhi, India.

Echoing these sentiments, Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the Convention, drew attention to the warnings sounded by recent scientific assessments and the growing public alarm at the frequency of weather-related disasters such as drought, forest fires, flash floods and soil loss, but urged delegates to be mindful of the opportunities for change that are opening up, and take action.

“While the science and events around us must get our full attention, we should never, ever, lose sight of the inspiring moments or opportunities opening up or are happening around us that we can build on to break vicious cycles, trends or behavior. This is what will move us forward,” he said.

Over 70% of the world/s land area has been transformed from its natural state to produce food, fibre and energy. Some of this conversion is essential, but what is alarming is the pace of land transformation that is putting 1 million species at risk of extinction.

Moreover, 1 in 4 hectares of this converted land is no longer usable due to unsustainable land management practices. These trends have put the well-being of 3.2 billion people around the world at risk. In tandem with climate change, may force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050. Moreover, and unless significant changes are made to turn this around, all of humanity will eventually be impacted as we lose more and more of the services ecosystems provide.”

Thiaw drew attention to the actions taken by governments in recent years, which signal a sea-change in how environmental issues, particularly in land use and management, are viewed.

“More than 70 countries have robust national drought plans, compared to just three countries only 4 years ago. The agenda shows that governments have come to COP14 ready to find solutions to many difficult, knotty and emerging policy issues,” he added.

Land tenure, drought management, the consumption and production flows influencing agriculture, urbanization that could consume up 80 percent of the most productive agricultural land in Asia and Africa, ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions to fight climate change are all on the agenda of the Conference, Thiaw stated.

An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected. They will take around 30 decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts.

Conferences of the Parties help governments, worldwide, to plan their land use sustainably and to pursue their sustainable land management goals practically. COP14 is expected to ramp up efforts by countries to achieve land degradation neutrality with tools and resources that are fit for purpose.

The Conference of the Parties meets once every two years. The last Conference of Parties, hosted by the Government of China, was held in October 2017 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Notes to Editors:

India is a Party to the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD). The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal Ministry of Government of India (GoI) that oversees implementation of the Convention in the country.

India’s population is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2050. About 2 billion hectares of land – an area over three times the size of India – are degraded, but can be restored back to health. India was one of the first countries to commit to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN).

India Government takes over the residency of the COP from China, and will serve for 2 years. Similar to previous COP sessions, a high-level segment will take place to raise political momentum for the negotiations and boost the engagement of stakeholders in the Convention’s implementation.  Ministers from over 70 countries participating in the high-level segment of the Conference will address new and emerging issues.

About UNCCD

The UNCCD is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries to create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food and water and energy, by ensuring land users have an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss.

Background Information and Resources

For background materials, including photos for use, and other resources are available here: https://www.unccd.int/conventionconference-parties-copcop14-new-delhi-india/cop14-media-resources

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Wagaki Wischnewski, wwischnewski@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94332

Mr. Abhishek Srivatsava, asrivatsava@unccd.int, Cell: +91 99991 80790

Ms. Yukie Hori, yhori@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94331

 

 

 

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Scientists: ‘Partnering with farmers crucial for saving degraded lands’
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Highlighting successful farmer-led initiatives scientists demonstrate the importance of the ‘Research in Development’ approach for the global land restoration effort

 New Delhi, 2 September: If degraded lands have to be saved embedding research within farmer-focused development initiatives is essential, echoed scientists on the sidelines of the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification here on Monday. They cited successful land restoration initiatives in Africa and India to make the point.

“To stop land degradation and reverse it to be able to achieve the SDGs, especially combatting desertification and restoring degraded lands (SDG 15.3), a synergy is required between scientists, farming communities and their institutions that are the land users and managers. Research can help restoration initiatives to scale-up globally but only if farmers, their livelihoods and communities are at the heart of such initiatives,” said Prof Anthony Whitbread, Director for the Innovation Systems for the Drylands research program at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), during the session ‘Applying the Research in Development Approach to Scale Land Restoration and Achieve the LDN targets’. The event was organized by ICRISAT and World Agroforestry (ICRAF).

The SDG 15.3, as envisioned by the UN, reads – By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

 This target, which drives land restoration initiatives that were presented at the session, bridges with the UNCCD through the scientific conceptual framework of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).

“Restoring degraded lands for food security is critically important in sub-Saharan Africa given the extent of degradation and socio-economic conditions in the region. With climate change only exacerbating degradation, collaboration between institutions of science, development actors, governments and farmers is a pressing need,” said

Dr Tilahun Amede details the successes from embedding research in land development efforts in Ethiopia.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki, a Soil Systems Scientist at the World Agroforestry (ICRAF). Dr Winoweicki’s work that was presented at the session had resulted in creation of ‘Communities of Practice’ in Africa. These communities are platforms for stakeholders with common goals to share lessons learnt and create knowledge for an enabling environment to accelerate impact on the ground.

In India, development and management of watersheds have helped reclaim degraded lands. The Parasai-Sindh watershed in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, developed by ICRISAT and partners from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has been held up as a model for increasing land productivity by the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).

“Integrated watershed development involving agroforestry helps to control erosion and enable farmers to achieve food and economic security. It is important in the context of increasing dependence of Indian agriculture on groundwater,” said Dr Kaushal Garg, a Natural Resources Management Scientist at ICRISAT. Dr Garg presented the Parasai-Sindh watershed which helped increase area under cultivation, crop and milk yields and triple farm household incomes in Jhansi. The government of Uttar Pradesh is attempting to double farmers’ income in seven districts of the state’s Bundelkhand region with ICAR and ICRISAT’s assistance.

In Ethiopia’s Amhara region, ICRISAT’s work in managing landscapes illustrates the benefits of integrated watershed management in restoring degraded lands. Innovations, mainly in the development of physical and biological barriers, have helped control extreme events upstream and runoffs downstream, thereby creating opportunities for farming. Dr Tilahun Amede, ICRISAT’s Country Representative for Ethiopia, demonstrated the benefits of research contributing to adoptable innovations.

“Following construction of structures to control runoff and creation of areas where sediment can be deposited, new avenues for farming and unique farming systems came into being. These systems were trialed at scale with local and normally nomadic communities. For the first time, these communities were producing food crops and fodder. A long-standing problem was not only managed but taken advantage of,” Dr Amede said.

The session also saw Bora Masumbuko, Senior Program Officer, Drylands, IUCN; Ms Aureile Lhumeau, Professional Officer of the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism Team; Ms Marie-Aude Even, Senior Regional Technical Specialist, IFAD, and Dr Susan Chomba, an ICRAF scientist managing the Regreening Africa initiative, a megaproject that aims to restore 1 million ha, discuss approaches to scale land restoration in a panel discussion. The panel deliberated donor priority for land restoration, land management strategies in the backdrop of the LDN framework, the role of policy and governance in land regeneration and role of nations in a region’s land restoration agenda.

About ICRISAT

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) is a not-for-profit international agriculture research organization. ICRISAT works across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with a wide array of partners. The semi-arid tropics or drylands cover 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, home to over 2 billion people of which 644 million are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT innovations help the dryland poor move from poverty to prosperity by harnessing markets while managing risks – a strategy called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (lMOD). ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. www.icrisat.org.

 

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

About World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

World Agroforestry (ICRAF) is a center of science and development excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, from farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability. ICRAF is the only institution that does globally significant agroforestry research in and for all of the developing tropics. Knowledge produced by ICRAF enables governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at scales. www.worldagroforestry.org

About CGIAR

ICRISAT and ICRAF are members of the CGIAR Consortium. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org

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Time to Make Energy Work for Africa
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

It is past time that Africa’s natural resources benefited Africans

By Prince Arthur Eze*

It is long past time that we made energy work for Africa. It is past time that Africa’s natural resources benefited Africans; that every African had access to electricity; and that the wealth created by oil and gas would lead to the sustainable development of African economies.

Certainly, much needs to be done to make these dreams a reality, and the continent’s top leaders in the energy industry will gather in Cape Town on October 9-11 in Africa Oil & Power 2019 (http://www.AOP2019.com) to drive the conversation forward and #MakeEnergyWork.

Thankfully, success stories and opportunities abound.

The incredible story of Senegal, for example, stands as a roadmap on creating a transparent government; building the needed infrastructure to support future development; creating an attractive regulatory framework to bring in much-needed FID and new investment; and for using the oil and gas sector to spur new growth. The country, led by H.E. Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal, has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, consistently ranking in the top ten fastest-growing economies in the world. Government reforms, led by Sall, have improved Senegal’s image both domestically and abroad, encouraging a string of new investment in oil and gas, electricity, roads, fisheries and tourism.

The outlook for the country’s oil and gas sector, led by Sall, is bullish, with two of the world’s most-watched projects — SNE oilfield and the Great Tortue/Ahmeyim gas project — moving forward. Both are expected to start producing export revenues in the early 2020s.

H.E. Sall, winner of the prestigious “Africa Oil Man of the Year” award during the 2019 Africa Oil & Power conference, has certainly provided Africans with a strong example of leadership and cooperation. We are honored to recognize and support H.E. Sall’s achievements and continued efforts at Africa Oil & Power (https://AfricaOilandPower.com/).

At Atlas-Oranto, we are proud to be leading pioneers in the sustainable development of Africa’s energy sector, ensuring growth in countries like South Sudan, where we are honored to operate Block B3; in Equatorial Guinea where we operate Block I and in Nigeria, where we operate OML109. In total, Atlas-Oranto is active in 11 countries in Africa and we are committed to working with the governments and communities of these countries to ensure our operations meet the highest standards of energy development. In Equatorial Guinea, for example, we are currently investing $350 million into the country’s gas monetization and backfill project.

At Atlas-Oranto — Africa’s largest privately-held, Africa-focused exploration and production group — we have faith in Africans, and we invest heavily in frontier markets so that the continent as a whole can continue to grow. We know first-hand what it takes to get new investments off the ground and how to grow small-to-medium enterprises. It takes boots on the ground, as well as understanding and coordination with our brothers and sisters around the world.

Indeed, with new investment opportunities on the horizon and a new drive to cooperate across borders, now is the time to spur this sustainable growth in Africa with energy as the catalyst.

At Africa Oil & Power 2019, many of these opportunities will be featured, including the ongoing licensing rounds in Equatorial Guinea and Angola; the launch of the South Sudan licensing round; and more.

For three days, over 1,200 of Africa’s foremost thought leaders, industry experts, private sector executives and government officials will gather together to discuss the incredible role of technology in Africa’s energy sector; the rise of renewables; the incredible upstream opportunities from South Africa to Senegal and the need for cooperation.

Let’s get busy and #MakeEnergyWork.

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Former CEO of Efora Energy Limited (formerly SacOil), Dr Thabo Kgogo Agrees with Author: Africa Must Unbundle its Utilities
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
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RedOne pays tribute to Africa with the new hit “WE LOVE AFRICA”
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Chinese companies commit $1.4 Billion USD investment into Bankable Energy projects in Africa during African Energy Chamber’s Visit
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Malawi: Vocal Human Rights activists Living in fear after grenade attack
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

HRDC leader Timothy Mtambo

HRDC leader Timothy Mtambo

Leaders of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have admitted being targeted by unkown people over their recent activities in pushing for the stepping down of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah. They maintain their accusations against Ansah that she let go a fraudulent election in May this year but went ahead to christen the election as free and fair.

The HRDC has been holding a series of protests accross all major cities and had recently announced they would hold next vigils in all borders and airports of Malawi. However the Supreme Court of Appeal had granted the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale a 14 days Moratorium on the HRDC-led demonstrations implying the two sides engage each other on how to stop the impase.

However, there was a bomb scare at the meeting in Lilongwe as HRDC leader Timothy Mtambo said he was targeted by a grenade. Reports say the HRDC security personnel went ahead to chase the suspect. The HRDC went ahead to ask the Malawi Police Service to guarantee them of security during and after the meeting. This followed reports that Mtambo was attacked by irate vendors in Lilongwe accusing him of disturbing their business through the vigils he has championed.

Previously, Mtambo had his house petrol bombed and a house in his home village also torched. Meanwhile, the Malawi Police Service says it will be investigating the matter although media reports say the government has dismissed the claims. The HRDC has kept asking Ansah to quit on her position since the May elections. She has however in the rare media interviews said her conscious is clear that the elections were free and fair.

At the moment, the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe will resume this Tuesday hearing an application by the Malawi Congress Party and UTM to have the presidential Elections nullified. The two believe that MEC and eventual winner Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party spearheaded anomalies such as use of erasing fluid Tippex to rig the poll.

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Cameroon Anglophone Crisis: Bar Council Declares Nationwide Protest
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Lawyers will organize protest come September 16

Lawyers will organize protest come September 16

A five-day nationwide strike action to protest the poor treatment of lawyers by Cameroonian state authorities has been called by the Cameroon Bar Council. The call for a general sit-in was made August 31, 2019, following a meeting to evaluate the difficulties faced by lawyers in the practice of their profession.

In a resolution signed by the 13 members of the Cameroon Bar Council, the body frowned at the fact that some of their colleagues were brutally beaten recently by forces of law and order. “In spite of previous complaints made, lawyers are continuously being threatened, arrested and detained in the course of exercising their functions,” the council noted with dismay.

“The Bar Council in protest calls on all lawyers to observe a five-day sit-in strike beginning as from the 16th to the 20th day of September 2019,” the legal body resolved.

The council was also chagrined by the fact that lawyers are constantly being denied access to their clients in detention centres like the dreaded Secretariat of State for Defence (SED), gendarmerie brigades, police stations and prisons. “The rights of accused persons protected by national and international instruments ratified by Cameroon are constantly and consistently being violated by judicial authorities.”

Barrister Eric Mbah, representative of the Cameroon Bar president in the North West Region, speaking to the BBC said, “The judicial system in Cameroon is very sick-from the trial of accused persons in a language they do not understand, the extraction of confessional statements from the accused persons by torture, threats and others. There is a lot o extortion and it is no news that lawyers are rejected in court, threatened and when they go to police stations to check on their clients, they are brutalized, extorted and detained.”

Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemous has tasted the bad side of the security officers in Cameroon as he was beaten into a coma. He detailed his experience for the BBC stating, “I was returning to my office and I was attacked by two gendarmes. When I started speaking English, the two of them fall on me and they strangled me to a deadly point and I only discovered myself in the hospital, several hours after. When I worked, I was told the population who watched the dirty scene had to call the police to come and disarm one of the gendarmes who had a pistol on him.”

Lawyers protesting in 2016

Lawyers protesting in 2016

He added, “This is not the first time I am suffering some torture from uniform officers in Cameroon. Sometime I went to judicial police in Yaoundé to access one of my clients and behold a battery of police officers bundle me into the office of the judicial police who joined the others in quarrels and said I will be sent to prison before midday and I challenged them.”

Barrister Joseph Fru and his colleagues survived a military shooting with some 6 bullets lodged in their car in Bamenda, North West region. “…Because of the corruption, impunity, they are afraid of us, they do not like us and are afraid of us. We are being treated this way simply because we confront them, we tell the truth and interpret the law the way it is” he said.

The Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso is yet to react to the latest move from the legal counsel. In the previous protest by English speaking lawyers, the Minister of Justice stated that hunger will beat them back to the court.

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Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative statement on operations
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

As unfortunate actions continue to escalate the ongoing crisis in Southern Cameroons, CHRI counts on your support in order to continue to take actions to alleviate the suffering. On the 31st of July 2019, the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, successfully carried out its latest outreach to the refugees at Ikom settlement camp, Cross River, Nigeria. We distributed 20 bags of clothing donated by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Benin, Nigeria (see photos). The church also raised 1 million naira to support refugee relief. CHRI extends appreciation to Our Lady of Fatima church and the Nigerian community at large for supporting those affected by the crisis.

Starting on August 3, CHRI is hosting a series of webinars with other NGOs engaged directly with internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria to discuss ways to collaborate/coordinate to optimize our collective response to the crisis. Action plans arising from these positive discussions will be provided in future updates.

On July 11, 2019, CHRI carried out its 22nd monthly donation of food items to SC detainees at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde, Cameroon. Due to protests at the prison and related challenges, we have suspended this important outreach initiative until the appropriate conditions are in place to continue.

On behalf of CHRI, I would like to appreciate and encourage your continued support to the victims of this unfortunate crisis. Since our inception last year, we have raised $77,796.68 and spent $66,197.2 supporting these victims. We are planning our next outreach to the many refugees in Nigeria who are not currently covered by UNHCR. To channel your support through CHRI, I kindly request you to visit our website at chrelief.org/donate to make a donation or mail a check to: CHRI at 4413 Nuttall Road, Fairfax, VA 22032

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