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Will any outcome in the upcoming Zimbabwe Election change the status quo?
July 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

It is a two man race race between President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa

It is a two man race race between President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa

Zimbabwe is a country which has stagnated in the past two decades. The early promise showed by the country in the first decade or so after independence led many to believe that Zimbabwe would be among the top-ranked nations in Africa in terms of development in the near future and beyond. As fate would have it, that was not to be the case.

Zimbabwe’s decline is not exclusive to one area, politically, economically, socially, and technologically, the country finds itself lagging far behind other African states.

Often times, when things go horribly wrong in a country, all eyes stare to one front i.e. the political front. That is the case in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans both living in the country and abroad attribute the country’s misfortunes to poor governance mostly as orchestrated by the former president, Robert Mugabe’s administration.

Attributing poor governance as the chief factor behind Zimbabwe’s collapse, Zimbabweans at the same time view politics (good governance) as the only solution to the country’s woes. To many people, the harmonised elections set to be conducted in a week’s time on July 30, 2018, marks the watershed of Zimbabwean politics; the elections are to determine if the country is to move from its past or if the status quo is to remain.

Against this background, let’s assess if the upcoming elections will have any bearing on real change or if it’s just a race for maintaining/changing faces of the people running the government.

Political Changes

As many people view politics as the architect of Zimbabwe’s destruction and stagnation, there is a general belief that politics is also the sole reason that can change the country’s fortunes. The two leading frontrunners (according to several media reports and polls) in the build-up to the election i.e. the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa and the main opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa have agreed on most political aspects though there are some slight differences.

The two agree that democracy should be the foundation of the country’s success. For the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, the most important element of democracy is guaranteeing the freedoms of expression and association. Since he took office, Mnangagwa has made some sharp overtures from his predecessor Robert Mugabe in terms of guaranteeing freedoms of expression and association with the public now much freer to discuss politics in open without fear. Activists and opposition groups, on the other hand, are also now operating in a much freer environment as most political gatherings are being recognised and authorised by the police.

When it comes to national/state institutions, Mnangagwa, however, has not taken effect any major changes from the Mugabe era. Government institutions which are supposed to be apolitical are still being viewed as extensions of the ruling party. In the build-up to the harmonised elections, the chief election body i.e. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is embroiled in nasty disputes with the main opposition for orchestrating changes that seem to favour the incumbent. There are also reports that the army which is not supposed to involve itself in political activities will be handling the transportation of ballots. The national television broadcaster and other state radio stations are also accused of being partisan and giving more coverage to the incumbent while on the few occasions that opposition parties (especially the main opposition) are covered, the coverage will largely be negative.

Nelson Chamisa the main opposition leader on the other hand also respects democracy including guaranteeing freedoms of expression and association but he is more concerned with the devolution aspect. At most of his rallies across the country, Chamisa has lamented the ever-increasing gap between the poor and the rich and also the marginalisation of most remote areas. To address this challenge, Chamisa says his government will focus more on decentralising the government (which also includes making Gweru the legislative capital city).

Overall, for a Mnangagwa presidency, Zimbabweans can expect more of the same on the political front i.e. more freedoms of expression and association plus partisan state institutions (leaning towards the ruling government). For a Chamisa presidency, on the other hand, Zimbabweans on the political front can also expect freedoms of expression and association coupled with localised governments that have more power as compared to the current.

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Defections Hit Nigeria Ruling Party in Blow to Buhari Ahead of Election
July 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY PAUL CARSTEN AND Camillus Eboh*

Nigeria's Senate President Bukola Saraki speaks in his office in Abuja, Nigeria, after senators defected from President Buhari's ruling All Progressives Congress, July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Paul CarstenREUTERS

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki speaks in his office in Abuja, Nigeria, after senators defected from President Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress, July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Paul CarstenREUTERS

ABUJA (Reuters) – Sixteen senators quit Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling party on Tuesday and the country’s third most senior politician said he might follow suit, in a blow to the leader who seeks re-election next year.

Fourteen of the 16 lawmakers left the All Progressives Congress (APC) to join the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a letter read on the Senate floor stated. Another two senators later left the ruling party while parliament was in session.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, the number three political leader in Africa’s biggest economy, told Reuters in an interview a few hours later that the chances of him also leaving the APC were “very, very high”.

In a statement, a Buhari spokesman said no harm would be done to the party by the departures and the APC had “done its utmost to stop the defections”, without providing details.

Buhari expressed “total willingness to work with all members of the National Assembly, irrespective of their political party, for the benefit of the nation,” the statement said.

The fissures threaten to split support for Buhari within powerful patronage networks and among voters ahead of the presidential poll scheduled for February 2019 that will decide who runs Africa’s top oil producer.

The defections, and the suggestion that there may be more to come, have taken place just weeks after a faction within the party said it no longer backed Buhari.

Fighting within the APC coalition, which united to unseat Buhari’s predecessor rather than because of ideological unity, has mounted for years in a struggle for power and influence between those loyal to the head of state and others who say they have been targeted in a witch-hunt by the presidency.

Divisions emerged publicly in the weeks following the APC’s conference in June where new party leaders were elected. Others saw their hopes of greater powers within the party dashed just months before the presidential and legislative elections.

AGENDA

The PDP, which was in power from the start of civilian rule in 1999 until Buhari took office in 2015, said in a tweet that 32 lawmakers in the lower House of Representatives had also joined from the APC.

The defections may also make it harder for Buhari to enact his legislative agenda for the remainder of his first term.

Saraki, speaking to Reuters, said he was considering his next move. “I will spend the next few days consulting with my colleagues who have defected and also my other colleagues from my state and make my announcement very soon,” he said.

He ran unopposed for the post of Senate president, mainly with the support of the opposition even though he is an APC member. He was not his party’s preferred candidate and the manner of his elevation to the office in 2015 led to strains in his relationship with Buhari.

Since then he has been dogged by accusations of misconduct and investigations since becoming Senate president, though none has led to convictions.

Asked about the raft of defections, Saraki said: “I must commend them for their courage because it took a lot for them to be able to do that in the face of this level of intimidation and harassment.”

The Senate president and his supporters say he has been targeted by political opponents, most recently on Tuesday morning when he said his movements, and those of his deputy, were halted by police. Images of the alleged incident were circulated on social media.

Police denied taking that action.

“The force wishes to categorically state that there was no authorized deployment of police personnel to besiege the residence of the Senate president or his deputy as reported in the media,” a police spokesman said.

He said the allegations would be investigated.

HARASSMENT ACCUSATIONS

Amid an increasingly febrile political backdrop, lawmakers in June issued a series of demands to Buhari including a call for an end to the “systematic harassment and humiliation by the executive of perceived political opponents”.

The president’s supporters have previously rejected the accusations leveled against the former military ruler.

“I am committed to listening to very legitimate grievances and engaging all those who are aggrieved that we can see through their grievances,” Adams Oshiomhole, the APC’s national chairman, told reporters in Abuja after Tuesday’s defections.

However, he said it was best for those motivated solely by personal interest to “return to where they belong”.

Buhari said in April that he would seek another term. His candidacy depends on party approval, though that is usually considered to be a formality for the incumbent.

Nigeria’s main opposition parties earlier this month agreed to form an alliance to field a joint candidate to contest the election.

 *Reuters
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Namibia and Jamaica deepen cooperation
July 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

President Dr. Hage Geingob is hosting the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honorable Andrew Holness, who is in Namibia for an official visit. The two leaders discussed cooperation in the areas of sports, logistics, tourism, culture and international affairs.

President Dr. Hage Geingob is hosting the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honorable Andrew Holness, who is in Namibia for an official visit. The two leaders discussed cooperation in the areas of sports, logistics, tourism, culture and international affairs.

Windhoek – Namibia and Jamaica have taken big steps toward solidifying bilateral cooperation.

The two countries on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish political discussions following high level talks between the two governments at State House in Windhoek.

President Hage Geingob hosted Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness at State House. The latter who arrived in Namibia on Sunday for a three-day official visit is the first leader of the Caribbean island nation to visit Namibia.

President Geingob said the MoU will allow Namibia to strengthen partnership with Jamaica and “to expand partnership and open new areas of cooperation to fully optimise the immense untapped potential with Jamaica”.

He said the two countries can cooperate in areas of energy, agriculture, infrastructure development, tourism and mining.

President Geingob said the two nations needed to forge a strong partnership that will help them develop industries including value addition to resources, market access and infrastructure development.

Prime Minister Holness on his part noted that the agreement with the southern African country ‘will enable an exchange of ideas and commitment of cooperation’.

He said smaller countries like Jamaica and Namibia need to work together to promote and defend their own interests.

Namibia and Jamaica established diplomatic relations in August 1990, which was followed by with the signing of the Cooperation Framework Agreement in 1995.

But Holness said the agreements were not exploited not fully exploited, but hope that the new Memorandum of Understanding provides an opportunity for the two countries to work together.

Holness and his delegation of 11 senior officials that include that includes minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport and officials from bilateral relations and trade also held talks with various government ministries.

They attended business luncheons with local business community organized in their honour by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. They also attended the renaming of Babs Street in the Klien Windhoek suburb to Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican national hero and the revered father of Black Nationalism.

On Tuesday, the Jamaican delegation travelled to the coastal area for a 30km scenic drive from the harbour town of Walvis Bay to the popular resort of town Swakopmund.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Holness travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to join other leaders for the 10th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit.

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Zimbabwe elections Blog will monitor Human rights environment
July 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Human Rights Watch researchers will be in Zimbabwe from July 23 to August 7, 2018, to monitor the human rights environment around upcoming national elections on July 30, and any runoff election on September 8. Live updates from the team on the ground with be posted on a new dedicated blog.

According to HRW, as Zimbabweans vote in national elections that for the first time in 38 years will not have Robert Mugabe on the ballot, there are serious concerns that a lack of concrete electoral reforms risks compromising the elections’ credibility.   The organisation says that despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s repeated promises that elections will be free and fair, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders without a repetition of historical infringements on their basic rights requires close monitoring and reporting.

The Zimbabwe Election and Human Rights blog, which goes live on July 23, will analyze events and developments from a human rights lens, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Human Rights Watch researchers will monitor the military and other state security forces that have for many years interfered in the nation’s political and electoral affairs, adversely affecting the right of Zimbabweans to vote for the candidates of their choice.

The blog will spotlight security forces’ involvement in the electoral process, application of the laws, incidents of intimidation and violence, and the overall impact of security forces’ actions on the elections.

Human Rights Watch will also focus on the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which is charged with overseeing the 2018 election process. Thus far the commission has not demonstrated independence or impartiality.

In May, Human Rights Watch interviewed victims of abuses and other community members across the country. Human Rights Watch found that security forces’ continued involvement in the electoral process, abusive laws that remain in effect – such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act – and violence and intimidation by political party members and supporters contribute to an environment that is not conducive to free and fair elections.

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Ethiopian ‘prophet’ arrested after trying to resurrect corpse
July 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
The family gave their permission after hearing the man tell the story of Lazarus

The family gave their permission after hearing the man tell the story of Lazarus

An aspiring prophet has been arrested in Ethiopia after he failed to bring a dead man back to life

Getayawkal Ayele had tried to revive the corpse of Belay Biftu by lying on top of him and repeatedly yelling “Belay, wake up”.

It was not successful, and his failure enraged family members who began attacking Mr Getayawkal.

He was saved when police arrived shortly afterwards – although it did not mean he was out of trouble.

Abusing dead bodies is a crime under Ethiopian law and a local police commander has told the BBC that the man, whose real job is as a health worker, is now in custody.

The incident was filmed and has since gone viral on social media.

Residents in the small western town of Galilee, in the Oromia region, said Mr Getayawkal first went to the bereaved family and told them the story of Lazarus – who according to the New Testament was brought back to life by Jesus.

They then appear to have agreed to dig up Mr Belay.

After the failed resurrection, several members of the family fainted on the spot while others became angry and started beating Mr Getayawkal – at which point police arrived and arrested him.

*Source BBC

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China President Xi welcomed in Senegal at start of Africa trip
July 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Tim Cocks*
Chinese President Xi Jinping walks with Senegal's President Macky Sall after arriving at the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, at the start of his visit to Dakar, Senegal July 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mikal McAllister

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks with Senegal’s President Macky Sall after arriving at the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, at the start of his visit to Dakar, Senegal July 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mikal McAllister

DAKAR (Reuters) – China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Senegal on Saturday for a two-day visit to sign bilateral deals, the first leg of an Africa tour at time when the continent is awash with cheap Chinese loans in exchange for minerals and construction contracts.

China now does more trade with Africa than any other nation and Xi’s trip – his second abroad since starting a second term under new rules that abolished term limits – will also take him to Rwanda and South Africa, for a summit of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

China’s consistent overtures to Africa contrast sharply with the United States, whose President Donald Trump has shown little interest in the continent.

He will meet Senegalese President Macky Sall for the third time and sign several deals. China’s ambassador to Senegal Zhang Xun was quoted in the local press in March as saying China had invested $100 million in Senegal in 2017.

Xi was greeted by a brass band and hundreds of people waving Chinese and Senegalese flags and wearing T-shirts with the two leaders’ faces on.

Africa is in the midst of a boom in infrastructure projects, managed and cheaply financed by China and part of Xi’s “Belt and Road” initiative to build a transport network connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

China has pledged $126 billion for the plan, which has been praised by its supporters as a source of vital financing for the developing world. In Senegal, Chinese loans have financed a highway linking the capital Dakar to Touba, its second main city, and part of an industrial park on the Dakar peninsula.

POLITICAL SUPPORT

Critics say Africa is loading itself up on Chinese debt that it may struggle to repay, with estimates ranging in the tens of billions of dollars. That could leave African nations with no choice but to hand over controlling stakes in strategic assets to the Chinese state.

U.S. officials have warned that a port in the tiny Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, a host to major U.S. and French military bases, could suffer this fate, although Djibouti rejects the fear.

In Guinea, meanwhile, one of the world’s poorest nations, China is lending $20 billion to the government in exchange for aluminum ore concessions.

As well as trade and minerals, China has also seen Africa as a source of political support. Chinese diplomacy has, as of May this year, succeeded in isolating every African country except the monarchy of Swaziland from Taiwan, which China sees as a renegade province.

*Reuters

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African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc., President and CEO, Dr. Djibril Diallo Receives Rainbow PUSH Coalition 2018 International Humanitarian Award
July 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc., President and CEO, Dr. Djibril Diallo received the Rainbow PUSH Coalition 2018 International Humanitarian Award.

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., Dr. Djibril Diallo, President and Chief Executive Officer of African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc. (ARDN) was named the recipient of Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 2018 International Humanitarian Award. Dr. Diallo received the award on Friday, June 15 from Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr., the founder of Rainbow PUSH, during the 47th Annual Rainbow PUSH International Convention in Chicago, Illinois, in recognition of his steadfast and outstanding global leadership in making humanity’s common home a better place, through his over three decades of service in the United Nations, and his leadership of ARDN’s “Pathway to Solutions” international initiative.

“It is an honor and privilege to have received the 2018 International Humanitarian Award for my service at the United Nations,” said Dr. Diallo. “This is especially significant as ARDN is now spearheading the ‘Pathway to Solutions,’ which is a special project for the United Nations to popularize the Sustainable Development Goals, and ensure that the vulnerable are uplifted and no one is left behind.”

“Djibril’s tireless and outstanding global leadership continues to make our global village a better place for all,” said Reverend Jackson. “We appreciate his commitment to serve and thus save humanity.”

“Djibril’s receipt of this prestigious award is well deserved,” said Ms. Constance B. Newman, the Chair of ARDN’s Board of Directors. “It is a testament to the vision and force for good that the United Nations has been for the world.”

 About the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN)

The African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc. (ARDN), is an internationally operating NGO headquartered in New York, with the status of a United States 501(c)(3) public charity. ARDN’s mission is to accelerate the attainment of the African renaissance by advocating for and supporting United Nations programs, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, ARDN mobilizes the passion of government, educators, artists, intellectuals, the private sector, civil society and youth, using the power of art, sport and culture as vectors for creating a better world. ARDN serves as the Secretariat or the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent. ARDN is chaired by Constance B. Newman, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, who has formerly served as Assistant Administrator to the United States Agency for International Development and as United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

About Rainbow PUSH

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change, with headquarters in Chicago. RPC was formed in December 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through the merging of two organizations he founded earlier, People United to Serve Humanity (PUSH, 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (1984). RPC works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens and to advocate for peace and justice around the world.

RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless.

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7 Facts You Didn’t know about Mandela that Will Inspire You to Visit South Africa
July 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By 

There are some people that come into this world and inspire us all. From Mother Teresa to Ghandi, Anne Frank and DR Martin Luther King, these are just some of the men and women who have completely changed the course of history and made a positive contribution to the world and everybody in it.

Nelson Mandela was one of these key figures in history, he saw himself as a servant of South Africa’s people and helped change the face of the country and the future of its citizens. He was a leader in the fight for racial equality, and the first black president of South Africa after serving 27 years in prison.

But, these aren’t the only reasons why, in 2009, the United Nations declared that Nelson Mandela International Day will be celebrated every year on July 18. So, in honour of his birthday, we’ve rounded up 7 things you probably didn’t know about Nelson Mandela that will inspire you to go on a safari in the country that he helped shape!

1. He was born to a royal family of Thembu tribe

It is really inspiring to think that the man who helped change the world grew up in a tiny village in the Eastern Cape. On the 18th July, 1918, Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo. His birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela, which in Xhosa language means “to pull the branch off a tree” and it also means “troublemaker” (which is kind of ironic since he did cause a lot of trouble for the apartheid government).

In the old South Africa, it was common practice to give kids an English name so that it would be easy for the Englishmen to pronounce. The name “Nelson” was given to him by one of his teachers and is believed to have been inspired by a British admiral, Horatio Nelson, who is also considered to be a national hero. Coincidence? I think not!

2. He was the first person in his family to receive formal education

Not only was Mandela from a really small village, but he was also the first person in his family to receive “proper education” and went on to earning a degree in law. Together with Oliver Tambo, he opened the first black-run law firm in 1952 which provided affordable legal counsel to African people who had broken Apartheid-era laws.

Even in his university days, he was an activist. Not long after his first year at University of Fort Hare, which was the only Western-style university in South Africa that allowed Africans to study, he was kicked out for participating in a boycott against policies of university. He later joined the University of Witwatersrand and was an active member in movements were against racial discrimination. While he was in prison, he graduated in law from University of London.

  1. He had a chance to get out of prison and declined it 

    You’d think that, given the opportunity, every prisoner would take a deal to get out of prison. But not Nelson Mandela. After 23 years in prison, he was offered a deal by president Botha to be released if he dropped the armed struggle against apartheid.On principle alone, Mandela declined stating “What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”

    4. Being prepared to die for the cause saved him from execution

    https://youtu.be/gQvlxnWELHM

    Mandela believed in the fight against apartheid so much that he was willing to die for it. And, ironically, that is what saved him from being executed. On the 20th of April 1964, the South African icon took to the stand during the infamous Ravonia Trials and gave a three hour speech in his defense.
    The speech was given the name “I Am Prepared to Die”. It is considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and a key moment in the history of South African democracy. In this speech, he says “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

    5. He made an appearance in Malcom X

    Malcom X is perhaps one of the most famous American films about the legendary human rights activist that the film was named after. Not only was Malcom a key spokesman for the Nation of Islam, but he was a prominent spokesman for the civil rights movement.

    Knowing how closely the two are related by circumstance, it is no real surprise that Nelson Mandela had a brief appearance as a civil rights activist in Spike Lee’s award-winning film.

    6. He was a “terrorist” who won a Nobel Peace Prize

    In December, 1993, Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, but he was not removed from the U.S. terror watch list until 2008! Take a moment to consider this astonishing fact.

    7. There is a psychological phenomenon named after him

    Have you ever been convinced that something happened in a certain way, only to discover you’ve always had it all wrong? Well, this is what the Mandela Effect is. This strange phenomenon is defined as “an observed phenomenon in which a large segment of the population misremembers a significant event or shares a memory of an event that did not actually occur.”

    What does Nelson Mandela have to do with it? Well, do you remember when he died on December 5th, 2013? If your answer to this was “No, he died in prison in the 1980s”, then you have fallen prey to the Mandela effect. It is argued that this is the first global instance of the Mandela effect and so, the phenomenon was named after him.

    There are hundreds of interesting facts about this revolutionary man and each one of them gives you a glimpse into the person who helped make South Africa such an amazing place to travel to. Mandela Day is about more than just remembering this legendary man, it is about aspiring to be the very best person that you can be because, the greatest changes come from humble beginnings.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————

    Don’t just admire this historic man from afar. Get out there and see the beauty that he helped create while on an epic cultural safari in South Africa!

    *Published with permission from bookallasafaris.com

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U.S. Intelligence Documents on Nelson Mandela Made Public
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY ED STODDARD

FILE PHOTO: A boy looks on in front of balloons bearing a picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, South Africa, December 7, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File FotoREUTERS

FILE PHOTO: A boy looks on in front of balloons bearing a picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, South Africa, December 7, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File FotoREUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Thousands of pages of U.S. intelligence documents on Nelson Mandela were made public on Wednesday, revealing that Washington continued to monitor the South African anti-apartheid hero as a potential Communist menace even after he was released from prison, a group that sued to obtain the papers said.

The Washington-based group Property of the People released the papers to mark the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth. It said it obtained them after years of litigation.

“The documents reveal that, just as it did in the 1950s and 60s with Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement, the FBI aggressively investigated the U.S. and South African anti-apartheid movements as Communist plots imperiling American security,” the group’s president Ryan Shapiro said in a statement.

“Worse still, the documents demonstrate the FBI continued its wrong-headed Communist menace investigations of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement even after U.S. imposition of trade sanctions against apartheid South Africa, after Mandela’s globally-celebrated release from prison, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

South Africa’s first black president, who died in 2013 and remains a global icon for his struggle against apartheid and message of reconciliation after 27 years in prison, was regarded with suspicion by Washington during the Cold War and remained on the U.S. terrorism watchlist until 2008.

Property of the People said its trove included documents from the major U.S. intelligence agencies, the FBI, CIA, DIA and NSA, most of which have never been seen by the public.

“The Mandela Files” can be found on its website https://propertyofthepeople.org.

Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994 and remains in a governing coalition with the South African Communist Party, which also resisted the white-minority government.

Southern Africa was a key Cold War battleground, as newly independent states in the region such as Angola and Mozambique aligned with Moscow.

Celebrations have been held across South Africa this week to mark Mandela’s 100th birthday, including a rousing speech on Tuesday by former U.S. president Barack Obama, who said the world should resist cynicism over the rise of strongmen.

*Reuters

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African Child Marriages Hinder Sustainable Social , Health , Education And Economic Development Towards Achievement Of The Sustainable Development Goals .
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Lois Chigandu

Lois Chigandu

Child marriage and children engaging in sex, is the current burning issue of moral concern for UNWOMEN, UNICEF and UNFPA. UN Family partners are working together with Women Coalition of Zimbabwe and Child Coalition which is supported by UNICEF .Moved by strong effects to this subject in confirmation to this writing, the Child Marriage Bill is worked out to sail into an act of Parliament .

It is great and ecstatic, these Women organizations have taken heed to India’s Founding Father, Mahatma Gandhi’s words when he said:

‘’Women, be the change you want to see in the World’ ’.For sure, women have become the change through the hard work done by UN AGENCIES like the ones mentioned above, but however much has been done by UNDP, World Bank, World Health Organization and others as well.

Given support by UNWOMEN, Women Coalition is bringing that change .The girls and women rights organization whole- heartedly worked out to propel a way forward on the enactment of Law on Child marriage and policies on children among themselves indulging in sex.

Traditional and cultural practices have over the past decade undermined women’s rights which also are human rights according to Articles under the UNITED NATIONS Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.

In 1980, the new Zimbabwean Government which came to power passed laws and policies like The Legal Age of Majority Act, Equal Salaries Act, Matrimonial Causes Act, Maintenance Act, Development policies and Gender Policy up to 2009 .The Domestic Violence Act among others came to the rescue of women .

Those antique immoral practices exposed women to sexual abuse, economic and social exploitation resulting in child marriage.  Guided by the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, these organizations have pushed the Gender Based Violence Act of 2009.

Adding more assuage to pain exposed to acidic salt, in 1966 the UN passed two conventions which work in cahoots with other International Instruments. The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights opened way for countries to move towards total women emancipation and liberalism. The only blockage in line with total liberty of women and children is Child Marriage.

Child marriage has been practiced at the expense of the girl child who could be betrothed to an older man through the path of Apostolic Religion African traditional and cultural values. Though concert may be there sometimes, it’s completely wrong because most young women who bear children at early age suffer Vector- Vaginal and Obstrectic –Fistula which is a tear between the vagina and the anus resulting sometimes in feces passing through the vagina. The mentioned above VVF is similar to obstrectic fistula which adds more to complications which occur in pregnancy. This occurs when a pregnant woman suffer from HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE [BP] .She then is followed by coma and posing threat to a baby  .Secondly, cephalo-pelvic disproportion occurs when a baby’s head is too large to fit through mother’s pelvis . Another complication is failure to labor which later leads to diagnosis.

The other challenge though the Child Marriage Act can be vocal and sensitive since it talks of 18 as the ripe age for marriage under the law Age of Majority ACT, the Age of Consent lingers in to claim bitter space in what has been spruced .Age of consent is 16 but a girl can be in sex of which in the event of pregnancy , the girl child is at heat at the receiving end .

Commenting on this, Lois Chingandu SAFAIDS DIRECTOR said they are working with UN AGENCIES to come out with strategies meant to work towards the issue.

‘’Great, yes it is true. We are in the processing of balancing this, which may end up a resonating  challenge as we move towards total emancipation of women .As we move along the new path of total freedom of all women , we reflect in retrospect where we went wrong , take a snap of correction to that which deter us move ahead .’’ she said .

Child marriages expose girls to Reproductive Tract Infections which affects them in terms of Maternal Health. Secondly, they get exposed to sexual transmitted infections exposing them to HIV and AIDS which is treatable but not curable and when treating, World Health Organization Guide-Lines, Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support must be adhered to.

The most macro undisputable fact is that, those marriages expose young girls to poverty. When they get into early forced marriage, they do not get chance to proceed with their education , hence undermined in their rights .This is in violation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Articles which states that children must not be exposed to what is against International Conventions .

UNITED NATIONS and WOMEN COALITION of Zimbabwe spearhead a forum where women meet to engage in collective activism on issues affecting them. The women organization network has structures at national level to champion the rights and welfare of all women.

At a recent Ending child marriage symposium, the National Coordinator of Women Coalition Sally Dura said apart from the thorny issue of child marriage, the issue of children among themselves engaging in sexual intercourse need to be legally looked at seriously .

”Our worry lies on child marriage and children who are engaging in sex. These are school children mind you. Most of them are starting this at tender age of 14 years, just imagine such weird actions by an adolescent’’.

”Our problem is we do not have the law on this particular issue I am talking about .We need to craft legislation. It is a disturbing issue to hear about this at a time we are looking at child marriage , young girls getting married at early age’’.

The Coordinator also came to the point of talking about children who can also be rapists like the issue of a 13 year old boy in Zvimba who sexually abused six young girls aged 4, 5 and 6 when they were coming from school in 2016. This stands as evidence on ground.

”We still have no law looking at such issues. It’s quite shocking to hear of a child perpetrator, Lets think of introspective policies and move towards what we call Total Emancipation of women and Girls for Economic Development. ”

Zimbabwe is one of the countries with high figures of child marriages which arise from appeasing of avenging spirits, [ kuripisa vanasikana ngozi], betrothal,[ kuzvarira] among them .Although these are weakening, gender stereotypes still are a problem in the African community . This is manifested in a set up where traditional and cultural norms are still practiced .Gender stereotypes define a person and wrongly determine success and progress according to sex.

The African Union is mandated to end child marriages by 2014, however traditional and cultural practices hamper on the progress .It is therefore important to support legal and policy actions in the    protection of women’s rights.

”Let’s give ourselves the role to advocate continental awareness in order for us to fight and win on the negative impacts of early child marriage which is a problem to be looked critically at as we find new way forward to further address such issues to win on Sustainable Development Goals, ’she said.

The coordinator who clearly pointed out that this was a forum to amplify voices of girls and women in the community said building social movements and social advocacy at grassroots and national levels remain key in solving these gender issues.

UNWOMEN is one of the UN AGENCY which has a program of reaching into the communities directly to address at the issue of child marriage. Mitchell Guido a Gender Expert commented that it is important to build on social movements and educate people from grassroots level to stand against child marriage which is a drawback idea which does not build on young people but rather destroys the social fabric of our country.

”Let’s build on structures meant to bring a stronghold which protects young people from factors affecting child marriage which reduces on the chance of the girl child to advance with her education’’.

”This is caused by traditional and cultural practices which over the past years have had effects on the whole life fabric of the girl child who get exposed to consequences which do pull her down in life. ‘She said .

The AU Report also reveal that 31% of young women between 20 and 24 who are mothers were married before their 18th birthday .

According to AFRICAN Union Report, Zimbabwe ranks on position 21 on child marriage this year from position 27 in 2012 .UNICEF, AFRICAN UNION and African countries are making strides to end child marriage in the continent as a whole .In 2013 Dr Dhlamini Zuma , Former Chairperson of African Union at the International Conference on Family Planning supported by UNFPA was quoted ,

‘’We must do away with child marriage. Girls who end up as brides at tender age are coerced into having children while they are children themselves’’.

Zimbabwe which is signatory to the United Nations confirmed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children according to a Zimbabwean Expert . The Convention holds three protocols of which Zimbabwe accepted for the sake of children’s rights. Optional protocol 1 is on the ban of children in armed conflicts and protocol 2 on sale of children, prostitution and pornography and the third one is on Communication Procedure which allows children to submit complaints regarding violations.

A Child Rights Expert , Maxim Murungweni of the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children said the council is working as well on policies , strategies and at Law giving input best on how the problem can be solved .

 

 

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Book Review: The Mysterious Ways of God.
July 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Lambert Mbom*

Father Wilfred Emeh with Catholic Women Association members after a recent event to launch the book in the USA

Father Wilfred Emeh with Catholic Women Association members after a recent event to launch the book in the USA

After ten years as a priest of the diocese of Buea, Cameroon, part of which he served as Editor-in-chief of Cameroon Panorama, (a monthly publication of the National Episcopal  Conference of Cameroon) Fr Wilfred Emeh explored missionary endeavors in the United States landing first in Maryland, the indisputable Cameroonian hub in the US. The rude awakening that the universality of the Catholic Church had some geographical colorings stunned him as he found it near impossible to find room and board in local presbyteries. With this hurdle, came the detour that brought this young priest to Birmingham, Alabama of all places. Buoyed by the urgency of the mission and burdened with the prejudice of the dark history of Alabama and race relations, this African with a heavy accent took the risk. He “put out into the deep” and after four years he was bursting at the seams with gratitude. After a four years’ stint at Our lady of Sorrows parish, Alabama where Fr Wilfred Emeh had spent time joggling academic chores and pastoral responsibilities, he imagined what gift he could offer this unsuspectingly gregarious community. His answer is in a book, “The Mysterious Ways of God: A Memoir of Love, Trials and Friendships.”

There is a certain myth that African priests who travel to the United States of America do not face the same challenges of immigration that many of their lay confreres go through. It is that gilded notion of the priesthood that many especially in Africa hail. But nego! While the legal Rubicon of getting asylum is hardly their problem, they are not vaccinated against the numerous cultural shocks. In eight short chapters, the author recounts the story of how a Cameroonian priest navigated the complex vicissitudes wont of emigrating to the United States and settling in the deep South of all places and against all odds and becoming the enfant Cherie of his home away from home. It is a book for priests and religious seeking an understanding of the complexities that undergird ministry in the United States of America and how to navigate these.

In appraising this piece of literary gem, I could not help but borrow from St Paul’s admonition to the Philippians 4:8: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…then the God of peace will be with you.” These qualities are reflected in the 104 pages, Fr Emeh pens adding to an already rich pedigree. In four years, Fr Wilfred Emeh had successfully bagged a master’s degree in Communications and has written two books. Paul lays out eight qualities namely true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellence, praiseworthy which could be applicable to this new publication. Of the foregoing qualities, four are worth considering namely true, gracious, just and excellence.

Some of us had the privilege of consuming an overdose of literature as we grew up. I remember the fictional acuity of Hadley Chase and the romantic escapades momentarily albeit of the celebrated Mills and Boons. With the “Mysterious Ways of God,” Fr Emeh lays bare the truth of his experience. There is a certain vulnerability that comes with writing a memoir yet the priest challenges himself to unravel the mysteries of the divine in his daily encounters in Alabama. One thing that shines through this work is how Fr Wilfred wraps in the best of the three Popes he has been privileged to live through their papacy. In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI invites us to the abiding truth that: Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with a person which gives life a new horizon.” Pope Francis develops this further and invites us to a “culture of encounter.” He reminds us that “Faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.” And like Pope St John Paul II, Fr Emeh draws from the inspiring “Memory and Identity” to share his experiences. It is Jesus Christ who brings Fr Epie to Our Lady of Sorrows where he encounters the same Christ making him present to the people. One way of reading this text is invariably then that of the encounter of two cultures made possible by the person of Jesus Christ through the priest (an African black man) and a predominantly white community (Our Lady of Sorrows) with a sordid history of racial tensions (Birmingham, Alabama).

The unmistakable point one comes away with is the fact that this priest listened attentively to the following words Bishop Pius Awa of Blessed memory addressed to him on the day of his ordination fourteen years ago: When you baptize you will bring men and women into the people of God. In the sacrament of penance, you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church. With Holy oils, you will relive and console the sick. You will celebrate the liturgy, offer thanks and praise to God throughout the day, praying not only for the people of God but for the whole world.” This book reads like an account of Fr Emeh’s stewardship over the last four years while in the United States of America. It is a memoir, a memory of the first African priest to serve in Alabama. It is neither a work of fiction nor is it draped in the dreary theological platitudes.

The gracious seems to be the single leitmotif underpinning this work. It is a story of the inscrutable work of grace. There is no doubt that becoming a priest is the work of grace. It was breathtaking reading how the author almost called off his ordination during a retreat until the reassuring words of Our Lady to him: “I will help you, do not be afraid.” Thirteen years later Fr chose Fatima, a famous Marian apparition site, to do a pilgrimage in honor of the Blessed Mother, Mary. The mystery of being a priest, of being alive and ministering in Alabama, could only be the mysterious intervention of grace.

It would have been an epic failure of sorts if the author failed to address the current malaise affecting his country of origin, Cameroon. Since 2016, Cameroon has been mired in a crisis that has spiraled out of control and trudging to the precipice. As a priest, he answered the call of his prophetic ministry and used the barrel of the pen to communicate his thoughts on the struggle. Even in the midst of the crisis, Fr Emeh displayed his ecclesiological magistracy at the demise of Bishop Balla of the diocese of Bafia, Cameroon who had been brutally assassinated and dumped in a river with a fake suicide note left in his car. Without the ethnicity bias, this priest wrote: “Additionally, the current crisis plaguing our homeland is a wakeup call to the clergy and God’s people in Cameroon, and to the church as a whole, because an attack on one of us is an attack on the entire Body of Christ.” (p.71). In a series of social media postings, Fr Epie addressed the inherent question of justice underlying the current political quagmire that has gripped Cameroon. He extends to the assassinated Bishop a courtesy that Francophone Bishops have not been able to extend to Ambazonian Bishops. Beyond his prophetic voice, Fr Emeh has now dedicated his work to humanitarian and relief services for the aggrieved people of Ambazonia. He has accepted and become a board member of the Cameroon Humanitarian and relief Initiative, an apolitical organization. They have been actively engaged with the refugees in Nigeria and feeding political prisoners in Cameroon. There is no peace without justice!

Fr Emeh’s piece is an excellent piece of literary wizardry. It makes for easy reading and quite entertaining. One of the best stories Fr tells is of his classmate, an African American girl who is 23 and tries to woo him and when this fails she tries to hook him up with her sister. To find out how that story ends and many more get a copy from EWTN’s Religious catalogue.

*Courtesy of LAMBOMSVUVUZELA

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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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