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Zimbabwe:Sustainable Development Goals 1,3 and 5 Faces Tight Battle Versus Covid-19
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]
A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]

Three [3] Sustainable Development Goals , SDGs Goal 1 on No Poverty , 3 on Zero Hunger and 5 on Gender Equality face a tight rope pass through to succession by the year 2030 . The three[3] are hanging in doubt to bring sustainability due to several factors related to lock-down , covid-19 restrictios and other factors to note .

Taking a snap-shot on the effects to the Informal Traders , Women Bureau Programmes Manager  Memory Muchenga said the up-surge of corona-virus known as covid-19 is a threat to the In-Formal Traders Sector  of which its people , families and the business on the ground has gone down in terms of in-come generation , productivity and total output from families .

” Sustainable Development Goals on No poverty , goal 1 , Zero Hunger Goal 3 and Gender Equality Goal 5 are  difficult to win a country reduce extreme poverty , hunger and bring gender equality in a World of equal society at par-level in terms of gender-balance .

”The target is under the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations of which these are far away from winning because of several issues at hand .

”There are a number of challenges faced already of which we have no control over. These have reduced the effort on the ground of Informal traders who make the country generate income for its economic growth . Therefore at the same time the economic and social welbeing of women is affected ”.

”The up-surge of covid-19 has come with a threat to the liveli-hoods of many people in the country who many of them are  in the In-Formal Sector . Most of these are cross-boarder traders who fend for their families through  several means of tactical survival .

Zimbabwe Women Bureau notes with concern that  many families have been thrown into poverty . This it notes further makes it difficult to win on Goal number 1 one on No Poverty . Secondly , the fact that restrictions were put in place after 21 days of lock-down makes it as well difficult to eradicate hunger . This is Zero Hunger . The last one is Goal 5 on Gender Equality which is still not to be won after many families , marriages split because of conflicts .

Prisca Mudondo Zimbabwe Women Bureau Board Memmber pointed out that several forms of poverty have come to surface since the start of covid-19 . She adds that because of  restrictions that were put in place after 21 days lock-down , many families were exposed to extreme poverty , absolute and in-come poverty .

”Families were exposed to all forms of poverty , worse still to in-come poverty . This was due to restrictions put in place after 21 days of lock-down . This extended to hunger in families as income depreciated . Due to confinement at home  ,many divorces took place .Divorces occured and familuies split .”

It is now a doubt to see Zimbabwe winning on Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations after the effects of the corona-virus . Besides , survey on ground puts it straight that drought has contributed more , perhaps more than the virus itself . This has as well forced women to force crossing boardesrs at their expense .  Overall from country , Regional to Global level , it is a disturbing force to Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and Agenda 2063  of the African Union.

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Burundi’s President rejects international disrespect over his country
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye, Tchandrou Nitanga AFP via Getty Images

President of Burundi, General Ndayishimiye Evariste has expressed anger over the disrespect his country is subjected to on international scene, for ‘political reasons and  selfish interests of certain powers’.

Ndayishimiye testified this during ongoing UN Generally assembly which is happening virtually due to coronavirus pandemic.

In June this year, Ndayishimye swore in as new president of Burundi, replacing Nkurunziza Pierre who died mysteriously in the beginning of that month.

Burundi has been on spotlight internationally since 2015, during presidential elections that was marred by violence, and a failed coup which triggered thousands to flee their country over security of their lives.

Ndayishimiye told UN General assembly that some refugees have been repatriated, which shows that Burundi is now more  peaceful than before.

He however expressed segregation and disrespect his country is still facing on international scene.

“Burundi is arbitrarily on the agenda of the Security Council for political reasons and selfish interests of certain powers, which disregard the well-being of the Burundian people, which in no way constitutes a threat to international peace and security”, he said

President Ndayishimiye said that some countries especially from the ‘South’ are being used to destabilize his country, after having implicated themselves into a failed coup in 205.

“we firmly reject the unjustified politico-diplomatic aggression against Burundi and its people by foreign governments, some of which were illustrated in the attempt to change the regime in 2015 through unconstitutional means.”

“The tendency of certain states, which use subtle and illegal means to regulate geopolitics in the countries of the South and to take the place of the international community to oppress other countries by imposing unilateral coercive measures on them, must stop”, he adds

Though he did not name the country, Burundi has been accusing Rwanda in the south of housing opposition elements that want to overthrow Bujumbura regime since 2015. Rwanda denies wrongdoing.

However, international organizations still show that nothing changed in Burundi since Ndayishimiye is elected, especially in matters regarding human rights.

Early this month , UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi issued fresh warnings about ongoing rights violations and impunity in the country since the death of former President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Commission highlighted serious human rights violations during this year’s elections, including summary executions, torture and sexual violence.

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Kenya:Relief for MPs as High Court suspends Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of parliament
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Chief Justice Maraga
Chief Justice Maraga

The High Court has temporarily halted Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta on the dissolution of parliament.

Two petitioners, Leina Konchella and Abdul Munasar went to court on Wednesday seeking an order to stop the implementation of the advisory to dissolve the parliament for failing to pass the two-third gender rule.

“In the circumstances of this case, I, therefore, find the petitioners’ notice of motion dated September 23 merited. I allow it in terms of prayer so that a conservatory order issued for the preservation of the status quo of the Advice of the Chief Justice dated September 21 to the president pending inters parties hearing and determination of the petition,” ruled Justice Weldon Korir on Thursday.

The petitioners argued that written advice was not judicial and there were no proceedings followed before the decision was made.

“The Chief Justice has mischievously attempted to shield his act by fashioning the advisory as a judicial decision while no such proceedings can competently exist in the Kenyan court system,” noted the petitioners.

They called Maraga’s action irrational and unreasonable saying he acted beyond his authority.

The two described the two-thirds gender rule as discriminatory noting it will create more seats for women adding that it can only be implemented through extensive amendments to the Constitution.

On Monday, September 21, Maraga wrote to the Head of State advising his to dissolve the parliament over its failure to implement the said gender rule.

“It is incontestable that Parliament has not complied with the High Court order, As such, for over 9 years now, Parliament has not enacted the legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule which, as the court of Appeal observed in its said judgment, it is a clear testimony of Parliament’s lackadaisical attitude and conduct in this matter. Consequently, it is my constitutional duty to advise Your Excellency to dissolve Parliament under Article 261 (7) of the Constitution,” noted Maraga.

According to the President of the Supreme Court, several petitions had been raised challenging Parliament to enact the law.

The move came three years after Maraga led the Supreme Court in annulling the 2017 presidential election.

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Thousands across Africa take to the streets calling for urgent solutions to the multiple crises of climate change and COVID-19
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa-wide — Thousands took part in multiple actions across the continent calling on its leaders to urgently address the multiple crises of climate change, COVID-19, recession, unemployment, inequality and poverty plaguing the continent.

This was in response to the call from youth climate strikers for a Global Day of Climate Action on September 25th. Extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts driven by the climate crises are still common across the continent and the strikes are a reminder to those in power that the climate crisis has not gone away even as we fight COVID-19.

Last year, thousands of people took to the streets across the country to demand climate action. Politicians and the media congratulated the youth and portrayed them as beacons of hope. However, with those same leaders’ inaction, there has been little to celebrate. 

Climate science is clear that we are on the brink of climate breakdown, and urgent action is required such as turning away from polluting and harmful fossil fuels. Unfortunately, it is not a reality that is being taken seriously by African leaders who continue pushing for large investments in oil, coal and gas; putting profit for the few over the well-being of the many as they have many times before.

Quotes from key spokespeople

“Just this year, millions of people across the continent have had to abandon their homes due to floods and it is also anticipated that 2020 will be one of the hottest years on record. COVID-19 is still here with us but so is the climate crisis, leaders across Africa need to take this opportunity to build back better. Today, Africa’s youths are once again calling for climate justice consisting of transitioning away from fossil fuels and building climate resilient economies powered by renewables before it’s too late.They are demanding a new normal that puts the wellbeing of people and climate action first, building a socially and environmentally just, zero carbon future.” – Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader, 350.org

“Young people and school children around the world have been striking from school demanding climate justice. Demanding that their future not be condemned to the ravages of climate chaos. We shall not relent, we call on our African leaders to accelerate plans for making Africa free of oil coal and gas. Taking advantage of technological advancements that now make wind and solar far cheaper alternatives with the ability to create even more jobs for the youth.” – Andre Moliro, Climate Justice Activist from Kinshasa, DRC

“COVID-19 is linked to the ecological crisis, as ecological degradation and climate change make pandemics more likely. It is therefore vital for decision-makers across the continent to ensure that the response to the pandemic also addresses the climate crisis and the existing inequalities that many Africans face especially women in rural areas. It is imperative that we leverage this moment to ensure a just recovery that builds resilience to crises and equality across the continent.” – Irene Asuwa, Woman Climate Champion with deCOALonize campaign in Lamu, Kenya

The climate youth movement was sparked by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s solo protest in August 2018. Now is a year on from the biggest climate mobilisation ever last September. The 25th will be the movement’s first major street protest of 2020 in many countries, and Fridays For Future have announced protests in over 3000 locations around the world.

*350Africa.org

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Egypt joins global climate strikes with calls for Environmental Education to fight climate change
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Asmaa Hanafi

Back At the beginning of 2020 just before Covid-19 the world went highly polluted after stormy weather and heavy rain in Alexandria, Egypt. The bad weather has caused flooding in a number of streets in the Mediterranean city, especially in eastern districts. Alexandria governorate issued warnings to residents,
including asking people to avoid leaving their homes except in case of emergency, and to avoid standing under balconies or beside lampposts. I feel like it’s time to speak out climate Justices, climate change is a real and so close to everyone.

Thunderstorms packing heavy rains and lightning caused widespread flooding across Egypt at March 2020, killing at least fifteen people. Authorities shut down Luxor International Airport, a key hub for tourists, and three seaports — the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and the Red Sea ports of Sharm el-Sheikh and
Hurghada. Nile River cruises between the southern cities of Luxor and Aswan, which harbor most of ancient Egypt’s monuments, were suspended and several key highways were closed.

In Egypt, schools, nurseries and other recreational venues are closed since the middle of March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Children are often kept away from friends and loved ones. Families faced unprecedented economic, social and
psychological challenges. To address this anxiety, the stress and the boredom, Green society team shared dozens of advice, tips and resources for parents and children to be able to face these difficult times.

Through campaigns on social media and videos on YouTube celebrating Earth day 2020, the 50th anniversary, Africa day, World Environmental day and finally global climate strikes day.

When the lockdown started, we aimed at keeping all engaged in climate change crisis, feel the difference between polluted Air, hunting animals, cutting trees, movements of cars, burning fossil fuels and improves air quality and encourages wild animals to come out and explore the cities.

It’s time for igniting climate literacy and inspire all our family members to be involved in climate change movements that’s make us create such amazing stop motion video art taking a story line and illustrate impacts of climate change the problem of fossil fuels from industrial revolution era ending by the solution of plant trees, recycling, upcycling and move to renewable energy. It was a challengeable time to demonstrate every single second of doing this project

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Centurion Law Group’s Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo receives African Legal Awards’ Private Practice Rising Star award
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo
Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo
Presented by Legal Week, the annual ceremony aims to celebrate Africa’s legal talent and recognize the legal community’s achievements each year.

South Africa, September 24, 2020/ — Centurion Law Group (Centurion) was also nominated in the categories International Law Firm of the Year and In-House Rising Star; Centurion attorneys have previously received awards and been nominated by the African Legal Awards.

Last week Centurion Law Groups (Centurion) Senior Attorney and Business Lead, Oneyka Ojogbo was named the Private Practice Rising Star by the African Legal Awards (ALA) 2020.

Presented by Legal Week, the annual ceremony aims to celebrate Africa’s legal talent and recognize the legal community’s achievements each year through presenting categories such as International Law Firm of the Year, African Law Firm of the Year, General Counsel of the Year and Legal Department of the Year.

“I am honored to be recognized in this category with the other nominees who are by all account heavy hitters. I am grateful for a firm that really allows one discover themselves and grow and for the most supportive team ever; they make all things possible. I can only hope to continue the good work that has brought us this far,” said Ojogbo.

“We are delighted once again to have one of our attorneys be recognized by the ALA, with a prestigious recognition” said NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group. “ While I am not surprised, this is yet another testament to the work Oneyka and her team does on a daily basis, we are extremely proud of Oneyka and I can’t wait to see where she will be in five years,” he added.

Oneyka Ojogbo is a Senior Associate Attorney at Centurion’s Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa offices with significant experience in banking, energy, infrastructure and projects financing. She holds an LL.M. from the Columbia Law School and an LL.B. From the University of Ibadan.

View the full list of awards at The African Legal Award here 
About Centurion:
Headquartered in Johannesburg with offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius, Centurion is an all-African law firm transforming the way law is done on the continent.

Our internationally trained lawyers (the UK and the US) are renowned for advising governments, foreign investors, local companies, other law firms and the private sector, and are able to draft and negotiate deals in English, Spanish, French and German.

Our team has unrivaled oil and gas expertise across Africa – advising on a number of first-of-a-kind deals in our core jurisdictions and with our affiliate firms in South Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola, Nigeria, Zambia, Gabon and Senegal.

Ask us about services: info@centurionlg.com
*SOURCE Centurion
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Gambian Rapper’s Album Motivates Youths to Move Higher
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Sadiq, a rising Gambia’s rap artiste has strongly advised the young folks that in life giving up shouldn’t be an option use the negatives as a motivation to keep pushing into waking up the people and reshaping the norms for the future generations.

‘Stages’ is Sadiq debut album  available in all digital platforms worldwide. It  consist of nine tracks recorded at ‘The Playroom’ in Gambia, all beats produced by “The Misfit” all tracks mixed and mastered by Sidy Talla (2Be Musik) Senegal Dakar, Executive producer Retsam.

The album depcit friendship, Money, Girls, Sex & Drugs; a few of the stages people go through growing up.

Sadiq explained that: “Most of the time we drown in our sorrows due to the way society is wired and that leaves us not knowing how to express emotions”

He added that: “As tough as it is growing up in a society where your every move is questioned and support is limited, giving up shouldn’t be an option use the negatives as a motivation to keep pushing into waking up the people and reshaping the norms for the future generations”

“Although I haven’t experienced as much as I’ve put in the project, I try to use the “what if” narrative in the most positive way to make it more relatable and captivating to the ears of the listener” the rising sensational artiste said.

‘STAGES’- available now in all digital platforms:stream/Download here https://sadiqstages.fanlink.to/dKrs

About Sadiq

Habib commonly known as Momo by his peers and Sadiq on stage, is a Gambian Hip Hop recording artist. He has been working under Chambaii Music (www.chambaiigroup.com).
Sadiq, the younger brother of the Rapper, Entrepreneur and Activist Retsam of Grandiz Kroo/Chambaii Music .

The brother to Producer MAB-The Last One (HeartCold Records). He was born in September 1999 in The Gambia.

The name was given to him at his tender age by Retsam who thought that his brother was a both a friend (in Arabic “Sadiq”) and jokingly a sadist (in French “sadique”).

At the age of 11, Sadiq recorded his first song which was a remix of “Coming Home” by Puff Daddy. In the same vein, he had his first amateur video clip uploaded on Youtube (search Sadiq-Mo “Coming Home” remix or follow this link:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHgm8qNy1lM).

Sadiq grew up in different neighbourhoods, from Kotu, Pipeline, Kanifing and Bakau and later relocated to Madrid, Spain before returning to The Gambia in 2013.

In 2016, Sadiq recorded various songs such as “Respect”, “We On It” and “Payback” with schoolmates. Since his graduation from High School, he began to build more interest in making music and released a remix of “Panda” by Desiigner which attracted a lot of attention.

He was advised to take his time and work on himself and his craft. During that period, Sadiq was unheard, as he was recording tracks and planning to release an EP as his first studio project. But still, he has been interacting and acquainting himself with the people and his environment.

Sadiq has performed in few events such as the Brotherhood, Killa Ace, Abaking of Grandiz Kroo and The Cypher concerts.
Sadiq has chosen to put his worries, anger, thoughts and dreams into music. He takes his time to dig deep into his soul for lyrics that characterize his generation.

Sadiq is a brilliant artist that has passion for success. He has worked on a piece of art that makes him the next big thing. His tracks are soulful and relatable.

The EP “Say This” which is a collection of 11 tracks that reflect the subconscious anxiety of growing up in a chaotic environment and living life to the fullest, is scheduled to be released for free on the 25th April 2018 at www.chambaiigroup.com and CDs will be distributed to local radios and other media platform.

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Actions across Africa calling for urgent solutions to the dual crises of climate change and COVID-19
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa-wide — Youth climate strikers under the banner of Fridays for Future have called for a Global Day of Climate Action on September 25th.

In response to this call youth leaders, civil society groups and grassroots movements are organizing actions across the continent to send a powerful message to the leaders that there is need for a just recovery

Key Activities by Country:

KENYA

  • On September 25th and 26th, there will be graffiti installation in Mathare, Nairobi, followed by a community dialogue on climate impacts and its mitigation. Press contact: Ndereva Mutua Mwendenderevamutua884@gmail.com, +254 790 657087
  • On September 25th, there will be a live virtual concert to launch the Afrika Vuka song by local artists aimed at mobilizing young climate activists to join the climate movement. Press contact: Steeve Kezamutima kezamutimas@gmail.com  +254 700 576154
  • On September 25th, there will be a march and virtual strike targeted towards the Ministry of Trade and US Embassy in light of the recent US – Kenya trade deals posing to rekindle the once banned plastic use in Kenya to ensure that the plastic ban stays in place. Press contact: Eric Damien ericdnjuguna@gmail.com +254 719 555133

UGANDA

  • On September 25th, there will be a film screening in Kasese highlighting oil exploration and its impacts. Press contact: Edwin Mumbere  edwinfantam@gmail.com  +256 773 558257
  • On September 27th, the Uganda Little Hands Go Green will be hosting a virtual Green Kids Festival to bring together all the young green ambassadors to speak about the conservation of Bugoma forest and the environment as a whole. Press contact: Joseph Masembe masembe@littlegreenhands.org +256 756 249000

BURUNDI

  • On September 25th, a march followed by a music concert will take place in Gitega by Espoir Scout Burundi. Press contact: Jean Claude scoutespoirmagarama@gmail.com +257 79 91 47 19
  • On September 25th, over 900 students will come together in Kinindo, Bujumbura to raise awareness on climate change impacts and renewable energy. Press contact: Audrey Habonimana audrey.habonimana@rutareinitiative.org +257 69 86 88 00 

EGYPT

  • On September 25th, the Green Society Alexandria will unveil an animated video to create awareness of the climate crisis in Egypt as well as push the message for a need to build back better after the crisis. Press contact: Asmaa Hanafi asmaahanafi22@gmail.com +20 102 230 1723

DRC

  • On September 25th, in Kinshasa, painters will join youth activists to draw and design posters with Just Recovery messages while calling for a stop to oil exploration in Virunga. The artwork will then be shared on social media during a twitter storm and delivered to the President of the Republic and Minister of Energy. Press contact: Andre Moliro andremoliro2@gmail.com, +243 811 607 726
  • On September 26th, an open day for climate action will take place in Goma, bringing together youth, civil society will be held to call for a stop to oil exploration in Virunga. Press contact: Ephrem Bwishe ephrb@yahoo.fr, +250 786 772 165

CAMEROON

  • On September 25th, a film screening will take place at the University of Yaounde to raise awareness on climate change impacts focusing on the  vulnerability of women and renewable energy as an alternative. Press contact: Félicité Djoukouofelicite.djoukouo@gmail.com +237 75787046

GHANA

  • On September 25th, the group 350 GROC will be organizing a virtual debate on renewable energy in Ghana and a just recovery post COVID. Press contact: Portia Adu Mensah 350groc@gmail.com +233 26 268 5618

TOGO

  • On September 25th, there will be a movie screening in Lome to showcase the effects of coal and renewable energy opportunities in Togo. Press contact: Esso Pedessi essoklnam@gmail.com  +228 90 96 32 91

BENIN

  • On September 25th, a Women’s March for Climate will take place in Lalo to raise awareness on climate justice and the potential of renewable energy. Press contact: Maimouna Adamouongjupd@gmail.com +229 99992562

The climate youth movement was sparked by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s solo protest in August 2018. Now is a year on from the biggest climate mobilisation ever last September. The 25th will be the movement’s first major street protest of 2020 in many countries, and Fridays For Future have announced protests in over 3000 locations around the world.

*Source 350.Org

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South Sudan government officials embezzled $36m in last four year: UN panel says
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Salva Kiir recently fired his Finance Minister

Juba – The United Nations Human Rights Commission has said South Sudan’s high – ranking politicians and bureaucrats siphoned off at least $36 million in public funds since 2016.

Wednesday’s report by the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan came six days after President Salva Kiir fired the country’s finance minister, the acting head of the National Revenue Authority, as well as the director of the state-owned oil company.

The September 17 reshuffle at the financial institutions came after South Sudan’s reserves of foreign currency crashed, prompting a 37 percent slump in the value of the South Sudanese pound against the US dollar.

Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson for UN Human Rights Commission explained that their findings revealed illicit financial flow from two key institutions in the world youngest nation.

“Our Commission has uncovered brazen embezzlement by senior politicians and government officials, together with a number of entities linked to the government,” Yasmin Sooka told the UN panels during the teleconference on Wednesday. “We can reveal the misappropriation of a staggering $36m since 2016. It is worth noting this is just what we were able to trace and may not reflect the whole picture.”

The amount is what the institution was able to trace for the last 4 years, according to the commission’s chairperson, adding that much more remains unaccounted for.

Sooka added that the figure relates to illegal financial movements from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and from the National Revenue Authority.

“Shockingly, these South Sudanese bodies have been aided and abetted in these crimes by a number of international corporations and multinational banks. Some of this money has been laundered through the purchase of properties abroad. Indeed, those properties may well be in your countries.”

The Juba government is yet to respond this UN report.

But earlier this month, the national revenue authority had informed a South Sudan parliamentary committee that the country lost -to tax exemptions – almost 40 billion South Sudanese Pounds in just three months alone.

Similarly, the Economic Crises Management Committee set up by president Salva Kiir discovered that $3.1 million had disappeared at the Directorate of Nationalities, Passport and Immigration.

The traffic police headquarters has also been accused of not accounting for funds collected through the issuance of number plates, licenses, and the logbooks.

However, the UN Human Rights commission, set up in 2016, has previously accused South Sudan politicians of pocketing state funds and – believes that some of these revenues have been stashed abroad.

“South Sudan is a country where lives are being destroyed by financial corruption on an epic scale,” Sooka said. “Looting and pillage aren’t just offshoots of war, they are arguably the main drivers of the conflict.

South Sudan, turned ninth year old in July 9, is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a six-year civil war that killed nearly 380,000 people and uprooted four million people both internally and externally, before it crippled the output of crude oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the state revenue.

Sooka further said “at one end of the spectrum, South Sudan’s political elites are fighting for control of the country’s oil and mineral resources, in the process stealing their people’s future. At the other, the soldiers in this conflict over resources are offered the chance to abduct and rape women in lieu of salaries. The eight-year-old girl gang-raped in front of her parents is the collateral damage.”

Several reports carried out by campaign groups such as The Sentry, Global Witness and Transparency International showed that the leaders have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars with the help of foreign businesspeople – all attributed on lack of financial accountability and transparency coupled with impunity.

On corruption also, of recently, the United States department of the treasury’s office of foreign assets control (OFAC) imposed more economic sanctions on Nabah Ltd, a company owned by Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal for reportedly depositing and holding funds for South Sudanese officials outside of the world’s youngest nation in an attempt to avoid sanctions.

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New Report on COVID-19 In Africa Highlights Need for Increased Access to Health Care Services and Protections for Health Care Workers
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

More than 24,000 adults in 18 AU Member States provide insight into indirect impacts of virus.

People living in Lagos State in Nigeria, simulate sneezing into their elbows during a coronavirus prevention campaign. Photo UNICEF/Ojo

Most African Union (AU) Member States swiftly implemented public health and social measures (PHSMs) to contain COVID-19; these measures likely slowed the spread of the virus, and caseloads in Africa have remained lower than projected. Though many governments have since loosened restrictions, allowing some economic activity to resume, new research from the Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response (PERC) highlights substantial indirect burdens of the virus across Africa and offers recommendations to governments as countries scale up or scale down PHSMs to control the pandemic.

Almost half of people surveyed reported to have skipped routine care during the pandemic, according to PERC’s latest report —the second in its “Using Data to Find a Balance” series—which draws from a survey of more than 24,000 adults in 18 AU Member States, as well as social, economic and epidemiological data from a range of sources. Up to 70% respondents reported problems accessing food in the past week, and just as many survey respondents reported earning less money compared to the same time last year. Still, support for PHSMs remained strong, and 85% of respondents reported wearing a face mask in the previous seven days. 

“African Union Member States have responded decisively to COVID-19,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “The data presented in PERC’s new report will allow decision makers to go beyond COVID-19 caseloads alone and instead consider a fuller picture of health and wellbeing,  and tailor response measures accordingly.”

Governments and international aid organizations need to act quickly to restore access to health services for care unrelated to COVID-19 and to build back public demand for services. 

Of survey participants who have needed health care during the pandemic, almost half reported skipping or delaying care; among those who needed medications, almost half reported increased difficulty in obtaining them. The most commonly delayed or skipped health care services were routine checkups, followed by care for malaria, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, antenatal care, and care for children under 5 years old.

“As in past outbreaks, we are seeing a high cost from missed and delayed health care,” said Dr Zabulon Yoti, Acting Regional Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response Cluster, World Health Organization.  “Even routine check-ups are critical for screening and treating people for both communicable and noncommunicable diseases. We must protect access to health care by making sure that facilities are equipped to handle COVID-19 infections, and that health workers are protected.”

Most respondents supported reopening their national economies, but reported anxiety about resuming normal activities was also high. The data suggest that COVID-19 is seen as a serious threat, but for many, economic needs outweigh concern about catching the virus. 

Still, adherence to the “3 W’s”—wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching distance from others—remained high, pointing to a way forward for policymakers. Effective government support for these behavioral measures could mitigate the need for more restrictive measures in the future.

“COVID-19 has threatened progress toward all Sustainable Development Goals, and PERC’s data clearly show the importance of targeted relief measures,” said Dr. Elsie S. Kanza, Head of the Regional Agenda, Africa; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum, “These are needed to help our economic recovery, to protect health and to prevent inequality from widening.”

The report also highlights gaps in reporting key data, including data on community transmission and adherence to preventive measures, which limits the speed and impact of efforts made to manage local outbreaks, and makes it difficult to calibrate PHSMs.

“Data is essential to our defense against COVID-19, and the more governments in AU Member States can rely on it to support their decisions, the more effective their response will be,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies.           

Key findings in the report include:

  • 44% respondents in need of health care said they or someone in their household had skipped or delayed needed services, and 45% respondents in need of medicine reported the same for accessing medication.
  • 70% of people reported problems accessing food, mainly due to lost income or higher food prices
  • 70% of survey respondents reported earning less money compared to the same time last year
  • Lower income families were more likely to experience a decline in income. About 80% of households with less than US$100 in monthly income saw their income fall, compared to 60% of households with at least US$500 in monthly income
  • Six in 10 respondents agreed that the economy needs to be reopened, and that the health risks of COVID-19 are minimal if social distancing rules are followed
  • 85% of respondents reported wearing a face mask in public in the previous seven days, but as expected given recent relaxing of some PHSMs, a lower share (60%) said they avoided religious gatherings and only half reported staying home instead of going to work, school or other regular activities
  • While more than two-thirds of respondents agreed that many people in their country would be affected by COVID-19, less than one-third (29%) believed their own personal risk of infection was high
  • While most respondents indicated basic knowledge of COVID-19, misinformation about the virus is common, particularly those positing foreign interference in treatments and vaccines. About one in three survey respondents agreed with the assertion that foreigners were discrediting African medicines and testing vaccines on Africans

Recommendations include that governments:

  • Prioritize “boxing in” the virus, by ensuring an adequate supply of testing kits and reagents to identify positive cases, tracing their close contacts, and isolating cases, rather than relying on wide-scale lockdowns
  • Make it as easy as possible for communities to adhere to low-cost personal protective measures, “the 3 W’s”—wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching distance.
  • Protect health care workers by establishing COVID-19 protocols, increasing availability of personal protective equipment and training on infection prevention and control; then encourage people to seek care for health services unrelated to COVID-19 by engaging community leaders
  • Prioritize evidence-based measures to increase food security and economic recovery, including cash transfers and direct food support, with a focus on the lowest income households and vulnerable populations
  • Address misinformation by sharing consistent, evidence-based messages with trusted community members as messages messengers
  • Invest in data collection, analysis and reporting, including core indicators about cases and the public health response, rapid mortality surveillance, data about COVID-19 infections among health workers, and data on utilization of health services.

About the Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response (PERC)

The Partnership for Evidence-based Response to COVID-19, a consortium of global public health organizations and private sector firms. PERC member organizations are Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team and the World Economic ForumIpsos andNovetta Mission Analytics bring market research expertise and years of data analytic support to the partnership PERC was created in March 2020 with the objective of providing AU Member States with real-time information and guidance to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the continent. PERC’s first regional report, Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find the Balance, was published in May of 2020. 

About Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.

About the World Health Organization 

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and by preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

About the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

The UK-PHRST is funded by UK aid from the Department of Health and Social Care and is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Public Health England (PHE). University of Oxford and King’s College London (KCL) are academic partners. Through the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the UK has the capacity to respond rapidly to disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries around the world and conduct operational research into epidemic preparedness, playing an important role in global health security. The team also works to help countries to build their own capacity for an improved and rapid national response to outbreaks.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 business solutions are based on primary data coming from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. “Game Changers”—our tagline—summarises our ambition to help our 5,000 clients navigate with confidence our world of rapid change. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since 1 July 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service

About Novetta

Novetta delivers scalable advanced analytic and technical solutions to address challenges of national and global significance. Focused on mission success, Novetta pioneers disruptive technologies in machine learning, data analytics, full-spectrum cyber, open source analytics, cloud engineering, DevSecOps, and multi-INT analytics for Defense, Intelligence Community, and Federal Law Enforcement customers. Novetta is headquartered in McLean, VA with over 1,300 employees across the U.S.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible.

*Courtesy of Vital Strategies

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Malawi: Two national football team, officials test positive for Covid19
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala

Just a day into camp, two Malawi national football team players and two officials have tested positive for Covid19.

The tests were conducted as the Flames prepare for a skeptical participation in Cosafa Cup tournament in South Africa next month, and a head of an Afcon qualifier against Burkina Faso this November.

According to the Football Association of Malawi, the tests were conducted as part of the requirement for the resumption of camp for the national team.

It also follows a waiver that government has solely given to the national football team to prepare for the tournaments and qualifiers as other sporting activities are yet to resume.

The four whose identities have been concealed are currently in self isolation.

‘’We wish to report that all the four were asymptomatic. They are currently in isolation being monitored by our medical team and it is expected that they will be able to report for national duty once they test negative ten days from the day they were tested’’ reads part of the statement from the FA.

Currently, Malawi has 1,501 active cases and recoveries stand at 4,053 with 179 deaths. In total, there have been 5,733 cases and 50,620 tests.

Sporting activities were halted in March as first cases were reported and with schools now open, sporting activist are also resuming.

This week, government is slated to make a stance on the resumption of the top tier football league and other activities.

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Kenyan fullback Abud Omar joins Ionikos FC
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenyan defender Abud Omar

Greek second-tier side Ionikos FC has confirmed the signing of Kenyan defender Abud Omar on a nine-month deal.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the start of our cooperation with Abud Omar. This is a very important transfer move for our team especially after promotion to the second-tier.”

The family of Ionic welcomes Abud Omar and wishes him health, strength, and every success at the club,” read a statement on the club’s official portal.

The former Tusker FC player could not hide joy about the move.

“I am very happy to wear the Ionian jersey. From the first moment the interest arose, I searched the internet and saw how important a team Ionic is with a long history. I know the club has a top organisation and an administration that is working hard to bring success,” he told the club website.

“I’m happy to come here. I am hoping the coronavirus pandemic will end and I will be back in the pitch doing what I love most. On my part, I am ready to work hard and help my team achieve its goals,” Omar continued.

Before the move, the left-footed player was unattached after parting ways with the Romanian side Sepsi SG in 2019.

Apart from Sepsi SG, Omar also turned out for Slavia Sofia from Bulgaria, Panegialios FC (Greece), Bandari FC, and Tusker FC both from Kenya Premier League.

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