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The United States is punishing Rwanda for rejecting our old jeans and T-shirts. It’s a shortsighted move
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

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File picture from a meeting between Rwanda's Paul Kagame and President Tump.It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying says Grant Harris

File picture from a meeting between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and President Tump.It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying says Grant Harris

Rwandans would like to wean themselves from American hand-me-downs, and the United States wants to punish them for it. Last week, the Trump administration suspended duty-free access to U.S. markets for Rwandan clothing. This may sound like inconsequential news, compared with the prospect of a trade war with China, the European Union or our Canadian neighbors, but the move follows a dangerous trend of disregard for Africa. And it’s not just Africans who will suffer: Neglecting the continent will foreclose trade opportunities, harm U.S. companies and, ultimately, cost U.S. jobs.

Rwanda and several of its neighbors recently introduced tariffs on used clothing in an attempt to bolster the local apparel industry. In response, a U.S. trade group filed a complaint, claiming that the new tariffs violate the terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which requires participating countries to reduce trade barriers for U.S. goods. Unlike its neighbors, Rwanda stayed the course. The administration has every right to retaliate under the terms of the act — but the move is inconsistent and shortsighted.

For a start, the administration can hardly claim to be acting on principle. More than 100 countries benefit from U.S. trade preference programs without returning the favor. Florie Liser, former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, notes that countries like India and Brazil, which are major exporters to the United States under the program known as the Generalized System of Preferences, “ship a lot more to us than Rwanda, yet have significant barriers to U.S. trade.” The selective decision to retaliate against Rwanda not only adds to the general trade turmoil damaging U.S. standing overseas but also is seen as a particular snub of Africa, where President Trump’s derogatory comments about its countries have not been forgotten.

The administration can’t claim to be protecting a vital American industry, either. The complaints of the used-clothing association — that Rwandan tariffs would have a negative impact on up to 40,000 U.S. jobs — are unsubstantiated. Rwanda, a country of approximately 12.5 million people, imported $17 million in used clothing in 2016, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The clothes are primarily donations to organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, bought by members of the trade group that lodged the complaint, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, and resold in Africa. Rwandan vendors sell them in market stalls.

Rwanda’s motivations are as much about dignity as they are about economics. Just as China recently banned imports of “foreign garbage” that it used to buy and recycle, Rwanda is taking a stand against the perceived indignity of buying clothes that others have worn and discarded. It would be a different story if Rwandans were rejecting icons of American ingenuity and enterprise, like cutting-edge medical devices or mobile technologies. But they’re not; they’re rejecting our hand-me-downs. The White House fails to grasp that, as well as the bigger picture for the United States. It’s not just Rwanda — the president is picking fights with trading partners old and new over relatively small amounts of U.S. imports and exports and with little regard for the long-term consequences. As relationships fray — even longtime allies feel under duress — the price to the United States rises; the country will pay not just in self-inflicted economic harm but also in diminished global leadership and reduced support for its national security priorities.

Banning used clothes is not enough to build Rwanda’s domestic textile and apparel industry, especially given competition from cheap Chinese imports of ready-made clothing. But there is a certain irony in Trump punishing Rwanda for protecting domestic manufacturing in what really is a Rwandan version of “America First.” More to the point, the United States ought to be supporting countries that pursue economic growth and development plans — not just because it is the right thing to do but also because the vitality of the U.S. economy depends on whether we have markets for our goods and services.

Until recently, supporting African economic growth was a key piece of U.S.-Africa policy. For instance, building on the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s strong legacy of bipartisan support, President Barack Obama launched the Trade Africa initiative to support regional economic integration and work toward a more reciprocal trade relationship. But the suspension of access for Rwandan apparel reinforces the sad truth that the Trump administration has no vision for trade with Africa. And there is no question that U.S. businesses will suffer as a result. Africa represents the last frontier for America’s export-driven economy, with consumer and business spending predicted to reach $6.7 trillion by 2030. A U.S. government report released last week cited motor vehicles, poultry and refined petroleum products among various sectors, as well as a range of services, with the potential for greater American exports to sub-Saharan Africa.

The United States misses a larger opportunity by engaging in petty trade squabbles and generally neglecting the continent. While it is true that the Trump administration maintains that it supports more reciprocal trade relationships with African states and has been studying trade and investment potential in certain African markets, advancing a strategic economic partnership with Africa requires more than talk. Actions — like threatening the funding of government agencies that support U.S. companies investing in Africa, leaving key ambassadorships vacant and deprioritizing trade programs — speak louder than words.

Meanwhile, other economies are making aggressive commercial plays in Africa. China has been Africa’s leading trade partner for the last nine years; trade scuffles like this one with Rwanda can only further drive African states into China’s open arms. Nor is it just China — the European Union has been actively traveling the region, signing two-way trade agreements that will disadvantage American companies far more than any tariffs on secondhand clothing.

It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying.

 *Washington Post/APO.Grant T. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners. He was senior director for Africa at the White House from 2011 to 2015.

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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (3)
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

After Fleeing from the Marauders – Refugee Stories

By Solomon Ngu*

The Humanitarian crisis has attained alarming proportions tens of thousands displaced from their homes

The Humanitarian crisis has attained alarming proportions tens of thousands displaced from their homes

Why the Biya government decided to launch war in the countryside, I suspect, was because he feared a Maoist-style revolution whereby villages mobilize enough fighters who eventually move en masse to capture the cities. Whether the government is succeeding in this or not is questionable. What we know is that some of the villages in the countryside have, through guerrilla tactics, put up strong and unbelievable resistance to the government forces. The Fighters are currently talking of cruising into Buea irrespective of whether they control the countryside or not. I must stress that the government forces barely occupy deserted portions of the villages; they haven’t captured any territory through combat. Those in the occupied parts of the countryside are living in the forests, have fled to unaffected villages or the city.

Photos and videos depicting the living conditions of Anglophone refugees in Nigeria and those living in the forests in Cameroon circulate daily on social media. Despite their condition, they – especially those living in the forests in Cameroon – go an extra length to take videos and photos within a setting where they do not have access to electricity to charge their phones. I recently got a call from one of my childhood friends, a farmer living in the burnt farming village of Munyenge and he said they have found a way to charge their phones by sneaking into those houses that have not been burnt down.

Villagers in the war zone, especially those in the thick forests region, do monitor the moves and location of the soldiers. They know which paths and routes to take if they want to leave the countryside. This task is further made easier by the Amba Fighters located in the villages. I met several people whose escape to Anglophone cities and to the Francophone side of the country was facilitated by these Fighters. These escapes are sudden and those fleeing have just a small window of opportunity to pick up a handful of their belongings.

To get a deeper understanding of the experiences of those who fled the countryside, I decided in mid April to visit some of the families hosting refugees. I talked with the refugees and must say their ordeal, courage and resolve to run for their lives in the face of advancing soldiers are worth commending. Take for example, the horrifying experience of Agnes (a pseudonym) who escaped into the forest for two days, leaving behind her very sick mother. She was too old to run with the others into the forest. Luckily, the grandma was still alive when Agnes returned from the forest. In less than an hour, she picked up her few belongings and was already on the run again to a neighboring village. The compound they fled into hosted more than 25 people. They all slept on the floor. She eventually reached Buea thanks to transportation money sent to her by her sister. In her words:

“We were told that there had been confrontations between the Fighters and the La Repubique [government] soldiers in a neighboring village which is about one day trekking from our village. We didn’t know the fight would reach us so soon. But events unfolded so quickly. I was on my way from the farm when I heard the sound of the guns. It sounded like the end of the world.  Bullets rained on our roof. One of the falling bullets pierced through my new jacket.”

Agnes showed me scars of the wounds she sustained on her legs and arms as she ran through the forests with her children and mother. Amidst the commotion, she had forgotten to take money. She took another risk of returning to her house alone. She came face to face with the Fighters who were all dressed in Cameroon military uniform. The uniforms and weapons had been taken from killed and capitulated government soldiers. To her surprise, one of the Fighters called her by her name and instructed her to leave the village as soon as possible. This, she did.

Another story is that of a woman who is in her early 60s. Transport services into and out of her village were completely cut off after the government forces attacked. She took into the forest, trekking for more than 50km. It took her two days before she finally got to the Francophone town of Dschang from where she took a bus to Buea.

But here comes another problem, the challenge of living in the city. With tears in her eyes, Agnes described how life in Buea is strange and unfriendly. She had thought her refugee status would last only a few days but two weeks after getting to Buea, her village, including a semi-urban settlement around it, was completely deserted by mid April 2018. Agnes had lost her freedom and privacy and needed money to survive in the new place. She was a farmer, a money-lender and a trader in the countryside. She left the village at the beginning of the planting season meaning that there is a possibility she may starve next year if she returned to the village. In my recent communication with her, she wasn’t sure if she would ever return to her house.

During my stay in Cameroon, I traveled to a few border towns hosting refugees. I spent two days in Dschang where the car parks serving Anglophone passengers were scanty. Listening to the hardship of those hosting the refugees was heartbreaking. Nearly everyone I met in Dschang was hosting refugees from Lebialem. There is this friend of mine whose five relatives fled the village to live with her in late March. As of the time of writing this article, the number has increased to six. She has a two-bedroom apartment. She avoids loss of privacy and stress at home by spending most of her free time in the church and farm.

The government has refused to recognize the Anglophone refugee disaster. Talk less of any conversation about the Anglophone Crisis at the national parliament. Responding to my first post on this series, someone insinuated that ‘this mad war [has been] initiated by desperately power hungry Cameroon diaspora’. What he failed to mention was that the war was declared on Anglophones, the ‘terrorists’, by the president in November 2017. The Anglophone diaspora started supporting the Fighters after they realized that the soldiers were killing Anglophones indiscriminately. The minister of defense actually praised the soldiers for massacres in villages in Manyu Division where people resorted to fleeing to Nigeria. It is estimated that between 40.000 and 50.000 Anglophones have sought refuge in Nigeria.

The narrative put forth by the government surrogate such as the one who commented on my first post specifically aims at excusing the government of war against people it sees as despicable. How do I know this? How the Cameroon government choose to treat – or choose not to treat – its citizens who happen to be refugees tells a lot about who is considered a true Cameroonian. We have all seen how the government provides humanitarian relief to Francophone refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks. They have been treated as unfortunate people whose humanity is being destroyed by terrorists. The Anglophone refugees, to quote Franz Fanon, live in a zone of non-being; a zone where people are not recognized as full humans and their lives are less valued.

In my next post I will focus on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived in Anglophone Cameroon. Part of my argument will be that they do no longer want to condone the dehumanization they experience daily in their country.

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

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Ethiopia’s PM says ending war, expanding economic links with Eritrea key for regional stability
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Aaron Maasho
Ethiopia's newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the members of parliament inside the House of Peoples' Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the members of parliament inside the House of Peoples’ Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Wednesday that ending war and expanding economic ties with neighboring Eritrea is critical for stability and development in the impoverished Horn of Africa region.

Abiy Ahmed’s remarks followed the announcement on Tuesday by his ruling coalition that Ethiopia would fully implement a peace deal signed in 2000 and meant to end a two-year war that devolved into a stalemate resulting in huge military build up by both countries.

The pledge would entail ceding a disputed town to Eritrea. There was no sign on Wednesday that Ethiopia had begun withdrawing its troops from the town of Badme.

It is one of many policy shifts announced since the 41-year-old took office in early April, moves that could reshape Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors and have equally dramatic impacts inside the country of 100 million people.

Whether the new measures, including liberalization of the state-controlled economy, end up addressing critical challenges from high youth unemployment to rising government debt remain to be seen. But they are shaking the country up.

“All that we have achieved from the situation of the last 20 years is tension,” Abiy said.

“Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea benefit from a stalemate. We need to expend all our efforts toward peace and reconciliation and extricate ourselves from petty conflicts and divisions and focus on eliminating poverty.”

Ethiopia’s move is a “drastic departure” from its longstanding – and failed – policy, said Ahmed Soliman, Ethiopia analyst at Chatham House, a London-based thinktank.

“To see some movement is extremely positive. This is the most important latent conflict within the Horn and its resolution is important for peace and security in the region.”

NO COMMENT FROM ERITREA

Eritrea used to be a part of Ethiopia and waged a 30-year struggle for independence. The war on their shared border between 1998 and 2000 killed tens of thousands of people, caused significant displacement and the splintering of families.

Eritrea’s government has not responded publicly to Addis Ababa’s offer of an olive branch late on Tuesday. The two nations cut ties during the war.

Asmara’s Information Minister told Reuters on Tuesday evening he had not seen the Ethiopian government’s statement so could not immediately comment. He did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday.

Eritrea has long said it wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out from the disputed territory before normalizing ties, citing a decision by a boundary commission at The Hague which awarded the village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002.

Asmara has long felt betrayed by world powers, who they say failed to force Ethiopia to abide by the commission ruling.

Ethiopia says the row over border demarcation can only be resolved through a negotiated settlement.

On Tuesday, an Ethiopian foreign ministry official told Reuters that there were “at least 61 attempts” to mediate between the two nations, but that Asmara had rejected all requests.

Russia, the European Union, and Qatar were among those that proposed to mediate in the last two decades, he said.

Abiy said Ethiopia needed to resolve what he seemed to view as a costly and pointless dispute.

“Putting an end to this situation and finding peace is necessary beyond anything else not just for Ethiopia but for the wider Horn of Africa,” he said in a speech in Addis Ababa.

“Every Ethiopian should realize that it is expected of us to be a responsible government that ensures stability in our region, one that takes the initiative to connect the brotherly peoples of both countries and expands trains, buses and economic ties between Asmara and Addis Ababa.”

Diplomats say punitive measures taken against Eritrea may prevent an immediate conclusion to the dispute.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea in 2009 on charges that Asmara provided political, financial and logistical support to militant groups in Somalia. Eritrea has long dismissed the claims, saying they are concocted by Addis Ababa in a bid to isolate the country and divert attention from Ethiopia’s reluctance to hand over the disputed areas.

“The Eritrean government has always proclaimed its innocence and will demand that the sanctions are promptly lifted. This could be a sticking point for now,” said a Western diplomat in Ethiopia.

*Culled from Reuters

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Insurgency: U.S. reveals $102m assistance for Nigeria
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi with Agency Reports
President Donald Trump of United States (l) pose while President Muhammadu Buhari signs visitors book at the White House in Washington DC during a recent visit

President Donald Trump of United States (l) pose while President Muhammadu Buhari signs visitors book at the White House in Washington DC during a recent visit

The United States Government has announced 102 million dollars (about 3.7 billion naira) in additional humanitarian assistance for Nigeria to address the sufferings of people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The U.S. Department of State said the fund would be used to address the shelter, health and food security needs of populations in the northeast still struggling with the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency.

These fund for Nigeria represents the vast majority of the U.S. government’s new 112 million dollars infusion for the Lake Chad region.

The assistance would be administered primarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s offices of Food for Peace, and Foreign Disaster Assistance, as well as the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. “Nearly a decade of conflict perpetuated by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the region. “More than two million people remain uprooted by the violence, and nearly 11 million people need lassistance to survive. “The funding in today’s announcement will provide life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people, including emergency food, nutrition treatment, shelter, health care, safe drinking water, services for survivors of sexual violence, and support to children separated from their families.

“The United States is the largest donor for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad region, having provided nearly 761 million dollars since Fiscal Year 2017.

“While the United States remains committed to helping the people affected by this conflict, a comprehensive political and security solution is ultimately the only way to end their suffering and bring peace to the region.

“The United States calls on other donors to step up to address the basic life-saving needs of those displaced and the communities that host them,” the Department said. As of May 2018, an estimated 2.3 million people in the northeast experienced extreme food insecurity, largely due to widespread insecurity, protracted displacement, depleted assets, and the interruption of agricultural production throughout the region.

Overall, an estimated 7.7 million people in the northeast require urgent humanitarian assistance. “Even as the Nigerian security personnel make progress, access to those most in need remains tenuous in many areas and the operating environment is highly volatile,” the U.S. said. (NAN) Related Boko Haram victims get $500m U.S support.

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Lawyers demand dismissal of CID boss over leaked statement
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

TIWAA ADOO DANQUAH

A group of lawyers is calling on president Akufo-Addo to sack the head of Ghana’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) following the leakage of a caution statement written by the GFA boss.

Kwasi Nyantakyi’s statement to the police flooded social media in a case reported by President Akufo-Addo over allegation of false pretense.

The group known as Lawyers in Search of Democracy (LINDOD) described the situation as “disgraceful” which should warrant a resignation by the CID head Tiwaah Addo Danquah or outright dismissal.

“The blame for this disgraceful leakage must be squarely placed at the doorstep of the Director General of CID Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah. We hasten to say that unless Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah comes clear on this embarrassing situation or show that the document leaked is fake, and does not ernanate from her outfit, she has no moral right to remain in office, even for one more day and must honourably resign in order to restore the sinking image of that office.

“We are calling on the President without hesitation to sack Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah immediately and cause the IGP to purge that office of all disgraceful characters who are gradually dragging his office into an irredeemable abyss,” spokesperson for the group George Loh said in a statement.

They have given the presidency a 72-hour ultimatum to act else they will pursue the matter in court.

“If we do not see any action taken on this matter within 72 hours of this release, we shall have no option than to take other lawful measures to enforce our legitimate demand as citizens of Ghana,” the statement added.

Below is the full statement:

Lawyers In Search OF Democracy (LINSOD) have read with shock and trepidation the leakage of the document purporting to be the investigative caution statement written by Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi on demand and handed over to the Police CID on 23rd May 2018.

As practicing lawyers, we wonder how come a piece of evidence which the police gathers in the course of investigation, which even criminal defence lawyers are unable to obtain before trial in order to prepare adequately for their cases, has become part of media publication and commentary.

This to us is mind boggling indeed.

With the awareness that there are currently pending constitutional cases before the Supreme Court by citizens seeking to get clarity on their constitutional right to access such evidence made to the Police by clients facing criminal prosecution yet to be adjudicated upon, it shows the extent to which the police hold tenaciously to these caution statements.

The blame for this disgraceful leakage must be squarely placed at the doorstep of the Director General of CID Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah.

We hasten to say that unless Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah comes clear on this embarrassing situation or show that the document leaked is fake, and does not emanate from her outfit, she has no moral right to remain in office, even for one more day and must honourably resign in order to restore the sinking image of that office.

We are calling on the President without hesitation to sack Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah immediately and cause the IGP to purge that office of all disgraceful characters who are gradually dragging his office into an irredeemable abyss.

If we do not see any action taken on this matter within 72 hours of this release, we shall have no option than to take other lawful measures to enforce our legitimate demand as citizens of Ghana.

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Anas Video: Akufo-Addo dissolves GFA
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

will the fear of Anas be the the beginning of wisdom for corrupt public officials in Ghana?

will the fear of Anas be the the beginning of wisdom for corrupt public officials in Ghana?

The Government of Ghana has dissolved the Ghana Football Association(GFA) following corrupt activities exposed in a video by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

A statement by Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid on Thursday stated that government is “shocked and outraged at the contents” in the investigative piece.

The statement added that “having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, Government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved.”

The secret filming that saw the President of Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi and many other crucial football officials taking bribes has angered many Ghanaians, with football lovers asking for the resignation of the GFA boss.

Mr. Nyantakyi is currently on a police enquiry bail after he used the name of President Akufo-Addo fraudulently in the Anas video.

Below is the full statement

GOVERNMENT TO TAKE STEPS TO DISSOLVE THE GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Government is shocked and outraged at the contents of the recently-aired video documentary, which captures the investigation conducted into football administration by the journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, titled “Number 12, When Misconduct and Greed become the Norm.” The documentary exposes the gross mal-functioning of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), characterized by widespread fraud, corruption, and bribery. As a result of the pervasive nature of the rot within GFA, Government has decided as follows:

1. the conduct of all officials of the GFA, together with that of the suspended Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robed Sarfo Mensah, shown in the documentary to be involved in questionable, potentially criminal acts, is, forthwith, referred to the Police for further investigation and appropriate action. The Police are to take all such relevant measures as are necessary to ensure that the contents of the documentary are rapidly and thoroughly investigated;

2. having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, Government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved. Government will shortly, thereafter, announce provisional measures to govern football activity in the country, until a new body is duly formed; and

3. Government will communicate these decisions to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), and engage with been on these developments to chart a way forward for Ghana football.

Government will see to it that the necessary reforms are urgently undertaken to sanitize football administration in the country.

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Ghana’s parliament to probe Anas Video
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

SPEAKER-MIKE-OCQUAYE

SPEAKER-MIKE-OCQUAYE

The Parliament of Ghana has waded into the explosive revelations on the country’s Football Association by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in his latest work.

The secret filming that saw the President of Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwesi Nyantakyi and many other crucial football officials taking bribes has angered many Ghanaians, with football lovers asking for the resignation of the GFA boss.

Mr. Nyantakyi is currently on a police enquiry bail after he is alleged to have used the name of President Akufo-Addo fraudulently in the Anas video.

Reacting to a call by members of the House for their intervention in the matter, the Speaker Professor Mike Ocquaye said Ghana’s constitution grants the legislature the power to investigate any person or institutions in the country and therefore deems it appropriate to initiate a probe into the content of the video.

“Parliament has the power to make laws to regulate professional, trade and business organisations. That is a very strong authority. If we have the power to regulate you, one of the criteria we are being told to look is whether you are acting democratically, and if fraud or corruption is alleged, that cannot be democratic, for that matter we are entitled to look into that matter. And that is what our special committee does.

“Everyone knows we are in an era where we all agree that we are fighting corruption and parliament must be the authority that is most interested in view of its being representative body of the entire of Ghana. Since no person, body or institution can assume an immunity from parliamentary investigation, I ask that we form a special committee right now, we will quickly look at the matter and then we will show what recommendations we should make,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Football Association has given the assurance that there will be no cover-ups at the football organization following the revelations of ill-conduct by some officials in the investigative piece put together by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

The FA however says it was not given the opportunity to view the video ahead of the Wednesday premiering even though they are a major part of its content.

“The GFA wishes to place on record that, there will be no attempt of a cover-up or shield any of our members caught in alleged acts of corruption. The GFA wishes to assure all that as an institution it does not condone any manner of corrupt practices,” the FA said in a statement.

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African Women in the Media 2018 Conference Promises Visibility on Women
June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

-Women, delegates have chance to win $1,000

By Wallace Mawire

The African Women in the Media 2018 Conference, an event organised  by award-winning journalist, Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, has Visibility as  its theme and promises to empower delegates through panels, workshops and networking.

It is reported that attendees will experience keynote presentations, industry panels with leading names like Eugenia Abu, Lola Shoneyin,  Stephanie Busari, Kunle Afoayan and much more, as well as academic panels and numerous training workshops.

“There are three tracks running simultaneously at any one time during  the conference”, said Dr Akinbobola. “We don’t want to just talk about  the issues, but through the workshops, pitch zone and networking  opportunities, we are putting actions into place to empower attendees”.

The African Women in the Media group aims to impact positively the way  media functions in relation to women, both in the industry and media’s  representation of gender issues.

“Action is key here and we are so grateful to all our sponsors for  their support”, adds Dr Akinbobola. “We are particularly excited to  launch the AWIM/NRGI Award which comes with a $1,000 cash prize.”

AWIM18 Conference Highlights include CNN’s Nima Elbagir as Keynote  Speaker,Prof Abigail Ogwezzy as academic Keynote Speaker.Three industry panels: Gender, Security and Election Coverage; Women in Media Leadership; Role of Fictional Content on Society’s Perspective of Women in Leadership.

Three academic panels: Break the Silence: Health, Violence and  Media; Women Behind and In-Front of Camera; Women in Media: Participation, Advocacy and Youth

10 Training workshops: Data Journalism, Digital Marketing, Reporting in Conflict Zones, Newsroom Leadership, Vlogging for Change, to listen, engage and tell stories on social media to grow female audiences

Pitch Zone: Hosted by BBC and the Natural Resource Governance  Institute who is funding the AWIM/NRGI Award where delegates can win  £1,000 to produce their gender focused natural resources story Dinner parties and networking on both nights  Roundtable discussions with speakers

African Women in the Media (AWiM) is a Facebook group that convenes  annually. The first convening event took place in Birmingham, UK with  panels from both academia and industry. The AWiM17 keynote speaker was  Minna Salami. The group wants to challenge the way media functions in  relation to African women, and seeks to inspire, support and empower  its members.

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, and  media entrepreneur. A Nigerian living in UK, her work is Africa focused, covering stories from rape culture in Nigeria, to an  investigative and data story on the trafficking of young West African  football hopefuls by fake agents. The latter won the CNN African  Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting). Yemisi holds a PhD in Media  and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University where she is the  Course Director for MA Global Media Management, and her research interest is in digital journalism and African feminism.

She is the founder of Stringers Africa, which connects freelance journalists in African countries with newsrooms worldwide, and she  runs the African Women in the Media group. Founder also of IQ4News, a  multimedia production company, she has freelanced for publications including the UN Africa Renewal magazine. Yemisi she has several  years’ experience in communication management for charities.

 

 

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Nigeria’s Assembly draws battle line with President Buhari
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

*issues 12-point resolution on state of the nation

By Olayinka Ajayi
President Buhari delivering his budget speech before the joint session of the National Assembly.

President Buhari delivering his budget speech before the joint session of the National Assembly.

The joint Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has drawn the battle line with President Muhammadu Buhari as it, yesterday, charged him to address threats to the lives of the citizenry and the country’s democracy, failing which it would initiate constitutional actions against him.

The impeachment of the president was, implicit in the latest face-off between the two arms of government.

The National Assembly vowed to press the international community to help secure the country’s democracy which the legislature said is now at risk. The legislators summarised the risks to the lives of Nigerians and the country’s democracy in what they alleged as the incompetence of the Police and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. In its resolution, the National Assembly reiterated its vote of no confidence in Idris as earlier passed by the Senate. The Assembly at the same time passed a unanimous vote of confidence in its leadership. Senior officers of the administration and Buhari’s top 2019 presidential campaign officials drew back from joining the fray when contacted yesterday.

There were, however, mixed reactions from the civil society community, with President Buhari’s former lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, calling on the President to urgently deal with the issues addressed to him. Unusual joint session of NASS The resolution of the National Assembly came at the end of an unprecedented joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the chamber of the House of Representatives. It was the first time the National Assembly would sit in a joint session on matters besides receiving the budget or a foreign dignitary since the return to democratic rule in 1999. Yesterday’s three-hour closed session commenced at 12.35 p.m. and ended at 3.35 p.m, following which Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided at the session read out the resolution which was agreed. With Speaker Dogara seated beside him, Senator Saraki said: “The National Assembly held a joint Executive Session today, Tuesday, June 5, 2018 (yesterday), where lawmakers agreed on 12 resolutions as follows: lThe Security Agencies must be given marching orders to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect lives and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible government. lThe systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including Legislators and Judiciary by the police and other security agencies must stop. lThere must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees. lThe President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy. lThe government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them. lThe sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the Federal Government of Nigeria by not interfering in its business and prosecuting those who invaded the Senate to seize the Mace.

National Assembly should liaise with International Communities through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US Congress and UK Parliament to secure our democracy. lDemocratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.

The National Assembly will work closely with Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect our democracy. The President must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel. lBoth chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly. lWe reaffirm our earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector- General of Police who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative. Finally, the National Assembly will not hesitate to invoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today (yesterday).’’

Address the issues — Ahamba Responding to the National Assembly resolution,

Ahamba urged the President to look at the issues raised by the legislators, even if they were not innocent in the handling of the problems of the country. He said: “They (lawmakers) have power under the constitution to pass resolutions, but those resolutions are not binding on the president. “Everybody in Nigeria knows that democracy is in danger. Strictly speaking, they cannot run away from the fact that they are part of endangering democracy by their conduct, but if they have passed a resolution touching on the presidency, I expect the President to look at it and decide to implement or not. “I haven’t seen their resolutions and the reasons for them, but they have endangered democracy because of some of the legislation they have passed like the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA. “There are some sections in that Act that are incongruent with the rule of law and which the security agencies are using to humiliate Nigerians.”

It’s nPDP resolution — Jibrin

The resolution at the joint session was, however, last night debunked by a member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin who recently returned to the House after suspension. Jibrin, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Support Group for Buhari, alleged that the resolution was conceived by legislators of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP extraction. He said: “Almost all the senators that spoke at the Executive Session are of the PDP, while members of the APC declined joining the discussion to avoid a rowdy confrontation as the entire session could easily pass for a PDP Executive Session. “It is commendable that the Speaker tactically refused to make any comment at the session even after the Senate President took time to explain the issues which are mostly personal. “It is disturbing and raised many questions of pre-determined intentions that a known ally of the Senate President from Kwara State, Hon Rasak Atunwa drafted what was adopted as the resolution and without voting, against standard parliamentary practice. “Most of the issues raised concerning the fight against corruption, insecurity and the rule of law have been severally discussed in the Senate and the House and various resolutions passed. “We commend the efforts of Mr President in the fight against corruption, tackling of the insecurity challenges and respect for rule of law and democratic institutions. Mr President is known for his non-interference policy.

 

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Buhari Authenticates June 12 As Nigeria’s Democracy Day
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
…Immotalises MKO Abiola, Gani‎ Fawehinmi, and Kingibe
By Olayinka Ajayi
The belated but signification recognition of Abiola's 1993 victory by Buhari is a boon to Nigeria's democracy

The belated but signification recognition of Abiola’s 1993 victory by Buhari is a boon to Nigeria’s democracy

In a statement signed by President Buhari, winner of the presumed freeest election in Nigeria Late MKO Abiola is honoured with  a post-humously honoured with the nation’s highest award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR conferred on all Presidents/Heads of State.

President Buhari further added that late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will also be awarded the country’s second highest award of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON in honour of his role towards actualising the June 12 presidential election. Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe will also get a GCON award.

According to the President: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979.”

“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi,SAN”

“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then Military Government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.”

“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award post-humously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12th election and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded a GCON posthumously.”

“The commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29th as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.” Buhari stated.

The announcement was received with much excitement across the country yesterday from friends and family of the late Abiola.

This has brought the significance of June 12 — Hafsat His daughter,

Hafsat Abiola-Costello, said: ‘’This has just validated the victory of my father. He didn’t just fight for democracy alone; he fought for Nigeria. May 29 was never the Democracy Day; it’s June 12. And President Buhari has just shown that he is an honourable man. This development has brought to life the significance of June 12.”

Buhari has proved himself to be inclined of the desires of Nigerians –, Abike Dabiri-

Erewa said that President Buhari has shown himself to be inclined to the desires of Nigerians and has done the right thing.

We’ve waited for this—Mohammed Fawehinmi

It is a welcome development. This is what we have been waiting for over the years. Good Nigerians have made several calls for Chief M K O Abiola to be recognised as a Nigerian President. For this government to have done this, it is a welcome gesture. It is a good news that M K O Abiola is going to be awarded GCFR  honour and Babagana Kingibe to be awarded  GCON, It is clear that Abiola was elected the president of this country, the mere fact that he was not sworn in does not mean he was not elected. This has vindicated Abiola.

A welcome development, but… — Adebanjo Reacting, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo

Adebanjo said: “It is a welcome development. We have always told them that, (and) he now realises this. We have told them that without June 12 there is no Democracy Day. June 12 is Democracy Day, but May 29 is Civilian Day. I want to urge him to restructure Nigeria because all he is doing are palliatives.

Belated, but welcome—Falae

Also reacting, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae described the decision as “belated but welcome.

Right thinking Democrat should support it—Babatope A former Minister of Transport,

Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said: ‘’That is very good. It is a positive development, and every right-thinking democrat should support that. The timing may be wrong, but it is a good development that should be hailed.

Though it came a bit late — Senator Jonathan Zwingina,

Director-General of Abiola’s Hope 93 Campaign Organisation, said: I commend the declaration even though it came a bit late, but better late than never.

It’s commendable—Balarabe Musa

A former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa commended the President’s action said recognising June 12 as a Democracy Day, is proper. In the context of Nigeria, June 12 signifies Democracy Day in the first place because it was a day that Nigerians set aside their differences and united the country for progress.

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Nana Akufo Addo dismiss Korle Bu CEO, five others
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Akufo Addo

President Akufo Addo

President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Danqua Akufo Addo has dismissed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Dr. Felix Anyaa and five others.

Dr. Anyaa was supposedly not approved by the Public Services Commission after he interviewed for the job.

The dismissal comes in the wake of the seeming wave of dismissals of Chief Executives of state agencies by President Akufo-Addo.

Already, the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil and Storage Transport (BOST) Alfred Obeng Boateng, CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Gifty Klenam, her two deputies and the MD of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority Paul Ansah have all been sacked in a action by the President on the same day.

The move is seen as part of efforts by President Akufo Addo to rid government agencies of what seems to be a cycle of boardroom wrangling between chief executives of state agencies and their boards.

 

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Ghana Card finally takes off
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Prof.Ken Attafuah

Prof.Ken Attafuah

After several postponements and missed deadlines, Ghana’s National Identity card exercise has finally taken off with over 500 Ghanaians obtaining their Ghana Card from the countries National Identification Authority, (NIA).

The Executive Director of the NIA, Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah said the pilot phase of the issuance of the new national ID card is going on smoothly since it started at the seat of the Presidency, Jubilee House.

Over 100 Ghanaians working at the Jubilee House have secured their cards after they were taken through the process by officials of the NIA.

Addressing the media after taking the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through the process, Prof. Attafuah said over 500 new digital Ghana cards have been issued while several others are still going through the procedure to have their cards.

In a conversation with Prof. Attafuah, President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians are relieved to know that the process has finally started.

The exercise which was scheduled to take off last week Monday failed to commence for the third time after officials of NIA failed to show up.

The NIA later blamed a “technical hitch” for their failure to get people registered for the new Ghana card.

The Ghana Card will replace the sectoral identity cards in circulation and become the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law.

Among other things, it will enable other stakeholders to run their applications on the national identity card.

The roll-out strategy, according to the NIA would be published in detail for everyone to have the opportunity to see where he or she would have to register.

But in the meantime, the NIA has explained that it was undertaking the exercise on regional basis and that after the registration of staff at the Presidency, Parliament, Judicial Service and the security agencies, it would move into the community starting with Greater Accra where it will use three months for the exercise.

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Sell cocaine if there is hardship in Ghana – Minister tells traders
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah

Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah

A minister in the President Akufo Addo led government has asked petty traders in his region complaining about the hardship in the country to start selling cocaine if they can’t withstand it. The President’s representative in the Ashanti of Ghana, Simon Osei Mensah says, traders in the Kumasi metropolis are using the hardship in the country as an excuse to break the laws and trade at unauthorized places.

He added that traders refusing to move from unauthorized places in the metropolis will be forcefully ejected. Mr. Osei Mensah said he won’t allow the indiscipline of traders to hamper the development of Ashanti region.

Speaking at an event to re-launch the Keep Kumasi Clean and Green project, the Minister said “the indiscipline is too much. I want to use this opportunity to caution traders who are defying orders to vacate from the pavements around the Suame Roundabout. We have previously told them to relocate in a peaceful manner, but if they refuse to relocate, we will eject them forcefully.

“Those traders who are also selling on the footbridge at the CBD must also vacate because the footbridge is not a place for trading activities. We are not interested in collapsing anybody’s business. When we eject them, they will start saying they voted for us to come into power. We have been voted to bring development and not to encourage lawlessness and indiscipline.”

The unhappy minister added “When we start enforcing the laws, people will be complaining of hardship. If there is hardship, then I will ask that you stop the business and go and sell cocaine for a living.”

The Minister’s comments come after Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) recently asked all traders selling on pavements and unauthorized places to relocate to designated markets.

But some of the traders have defied the orders and are back on the pavements to trade.

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Ghanaians demand Nyantakyi’s resignation
June 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana Football Association President

Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana Football Association President

Majority of Ghanaians who thronged the Accra International Conference Centre to view the investigative piece on Ghana Football are calling for the immediate resignation of the President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantakyi.

The Investigative piece, titled Number 12 was put together by controversial journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye PI team.

The video captures several Ghanaian FA officials including the FA President and referees engaging in corrupt activities.

Some Ghanaians who spoke to panafricanvisions.com said the FA president must step aside to allow a new person takeover the affairs of the FA.

“He must go, he cannot still be the FA president from what we have seen…he must resign,” one of the viewer’s said.

Another one said “Nyantakyi must be sacked by FIFA or resign to save himself from disgrace.”

In the video, Mr. Nyantakyi had a grand plan of ruling Ghana with money. Mr Nyantakyi in a meeting with undercover agents who posed as investors, disclosed how from small beginnings, he and his investor friends could ‘take over’ Ghana with their money

“You can start with something small in your own discretion, then when you get the contract; the big big contract, we can go back and give them more money, then we will take over the whole country,” Mr. Nyantakyi told the ‘investors’ in the video released by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Prior to today’s upcoming screening, a four-minute clip from the one-hour, thirty minutes documentary was shown to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo by Anas.

Subsequently, the Presidency revealed at a press conference that the clip shows GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, using the offices of the President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Mahamudu Bawumia, to extort money from people.

The President urged the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to invite Mr Nyantakyi for questioning.

Mr Nyantakyi subsequently handed himself to police to assist with investigations after a charge of defrauding by false pretense was leveled against him.

There has been a longstanding perception that Mr Nyantakyi’s stay in office, which has spanned at least 13 years, is the cause of setbacks with Ghana’s football.

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‘From Ramaphoria to Ramaphobia’?- Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in Office
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

South Africans have high expectations, but will Cyril Ramaphosa deliver?

South Africans have high expectations, but will Cyril Ramaphosa deliver?

 

When Cyril Ramaphosa ascended to power a day after Valentine’s this year, a huge wave of euphoria engulfed the entire country of South Africa. However, only a 100 days down the lane, the huge wave of euphoria is slowly waning and the once touted ‘Ramaphoria’ seems to be turning into ‘Ramaphobia’.

Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power was greeted with massive joy by almost all South Africans especially the ordinary South African. However, though still popular, signs of discontent are starting to show among the various groups that once held him as the ‘saviour’. Ordinary South Africans who viewed Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power as a relief following years of economic stagnation and unemployment are fast losing hope as the status quo is showing no signs of changing anytime soon.

While Ramaphosa may no longer be as popular as he was 100 Days ago, his presidency thus can best be described as a mixed bag – there are a lot of positives suggesting the future is bright while at the same time there are worrying signs suggesting the change many people have been waiting for, for so long may take a little longer than anticipated. In not so long a piece, the following showcases Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in office.

Injected confidence in an economy that was desperate for confidence

In any economic setup, confidence is such a crucial factor for success. While confidence had totally deserted South Africa owing to the many allegations and accusations of corruption levelled upon South Africa’s the then president, Jacob Zuma, many actors in the economic sphere in the country were devoid of confidence in the government administration. This lack of confidence transcended beyond borders to outside investors who were afraid of putting their capital in an economy that could ‘crumble’ at any time. However, the mere change of face of the president was enough to convince economic actors and investors that the country was now on the right path. The fact the Rand rallied over 4 percent in the aftermath of Ramaphosa’s inauguration underlies this.

State enterprises’ reforms

One of the main focus areas for Ramaphosa, as he took power, was reforming state enterprises. Most of South Africa’s state enterprises’ boards during Jacob Zuma’s last days in office were labelled as cronies of Jacob Zuma. These boards were said to have been ‘captured’. As such, there was a need to sanitise the state enterprises’ boards. Ramaphosa took swift action in sanitising the boards of most state enterprises by removing and replacing the boards. Boards of state enterprises such as Eskom (power generation), South African Express (national airline), the South Africa Revenue Service and Denel (aerospace and defence) were replaced.

Putting the right people in the right places

One of the key responsibilities of a president is to identify the right people for the right positions. Ramaphosa thus far has shown that he is competent in this regard as his appointments have got things moving. Pravin Gordhan who was appointed as the public enterprise’s minister spearheaded the state enterprises’ reforms, Nhlanhla Nene has overseen the rise of the Rand and injected a new lease of life at South Africa’s treasury while Lindiwe Sisulu has already started coordinating for important world summits to be held in South Africa.

Focusing on youth empowerment

When he ascended to power, Ramaphosa quickly identified the youth as a group that needed immediate help. This rightly so considering the growing youth unemployment rate in the country. In efforts to empower the youth, Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service in order to create more employment for South Africa’s youth; unemployed youths will be placed in paid internships in state enterprises and also the private sector. In his own capacity, Ramaphosa also pledged to donate half of his salary to the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund which helps empower youth from impoverished backgrounds.

Making himself approachable

In as much as Zuma’s actions were vilified towards his last days in power, he was still approachable and adored even by the fiercest of critics. Zuma’s down to earth and open personality aptly made him a people’s president, something that prompted then opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille to state that Zuma is “affable, humble and approachable” and that the “personal tone of the presidency is open and friendly”. Cyril Ramaphosa, a rather laid back and reserve guy had to fill Zuma’s boots in all its facets thus had to find a way to make himself approachable too; so far he has succeeded largely due to his #Tummymustfall walks. Ramaphosa’ ‘send me’ rhetoric has also made him a people’s favourite. Ramaphosa also showed that he is a people’s president when he cut short his trip to the United Kingdom to come and manage the rising tensions surrounding the removal of Supra Mahumapelo.

Pushed through a new minimum wage

Ramaphosa moved swiftly to address one of the key areas that the country was found wanting in recent times. According to a report from CNBC, “South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. According to the World Bank, the poorest 20 percent of South Africans consume less than 3 percent of the country’s total expenditure. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20 percent account for 65 percent.” In order to address this challenge, Ramaphosa approved Parliament’s decision to set the new minimum wage at 3,500 Rand (around $277).

Land expropriation without compensation proving to be a difficult issue to manage

The land expropriation without compensation was always going to be difficult for any president to handle let alone Ramaphosa. As the issue was raised by his own party, it was a given that Ramaphosa would agree with the view. In his own words, Ramaphosa said: “We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.” While his position is clear with regards to the issue, Ramaphosa has not backed it with any action thus far. However, at one stage or another, actions not just words will be expected from the president. How he deals with it will prove whether he is a success or not. At this stage, no conclusion can be reached.

Rising taxes and food prices making Ramaphosa unpopular

For the first time in 25 years, South Africa’s VAT increased. According to the Huffington Post SA, “There’s a big gap between the revenue that was budgeted to be collected by government and what was actually collected,” this is in relation to the 2017 fiscal year; however, the same has been happening in recent years too. The gap had been rising gradually year by year and the decision was taken to manage and curtail the rising gap by increasing VAT. While helping the government to balance its books, the decision has had a terrible effect on South Africans especially the poor.  Poor South Africans are having to pay more for clothing, medical and even some foodstuffs that are not zero-rated.

In all, Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have been alright if popular citizen surveys are anything to go by but he has faced some tough issues especially the land expropriation without compensation issue; however, much is expected in future rather than now, therefore, he has ample time of solidifying his position in the party in preparation for the 2019 presidential elections.

 

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Ghana:Mining giants fined $2.7m over Ahafo mine disaster
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has imposed a $2.7 million fine on DRA limited, Consar and Newmont Ghana Gold limited over the recent Ahafo Mines disaster that claimed six lives.

DRA limited, the company under whose supervision Consar Limited was working is to bare $2 million of the fine in addition to a series of recommendations by the committee tasked to look into the Newmont Ahafo Mines disaster in April this year.

Newmont Ghana is expected to pay $500, 000 while Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$200,000.

The fatal accident that occurred at the Newmont Ahafo Mine at Kenyasi No 2 in the Brong Ahafo region on Saturday, April 7, 2018 claimed the lives of six workers.

The deceased were identified as Kwadwo Asare, Gideon Amankwaa, Kojo Bismarch, Ben Brako, Agyei Wale and Ebenezer Sarfo.

They were workers of Consar Company Limited, a sub-contracting firm which had been contracted to construct a reclaim tunnel roof at the Ahafo Mill Expansion Project.

They were on the site when the structure collapsed and trapped them.

Four others, Musa Sulemana, Seth Kwame, Daniel Dzitor and one other person who got injured during the accident were treated and discharged at the SOS Clinic of the mine.

Below is the full statement

PRESS STATEMENT BY HON. MINISTER FOR LANDS & NATURAL RESOURCES ON ENQUIRY REPORT ON MULTIPLE FATALITY ACCIDENT AT NEWMONT AHAFO MILL EXPANSION (A.M.E.) PROJECT ON 7TH APRIL 2018

On 7th April 2018, in compliance with Regulation 26 of Minerals and Mining (Health Safety and Technical Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182), Management of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Newmont or NGGL) Ahafo Mine, reported an accident which resulted in multiple fatalities (six dead) and various degrees of injuries to four other workers of Consar Limited.

Consar is a contractor working under the supervision of DRA Ghana Limited, an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management (EPCM) agent of NGGL, constructing a Reclaim Tunnel as part of the Ahafo Mill Expansion (AME) Project. The employees were reportedly involved in pouring a mixture of concrete at the Reclaim Tunnel when the two-level formwork structure at the west end of the Reclaim Tunnel failed, fatally injuring six men and injuring four others.

On the Sunday 8th April, 2018 the Hon. Minister led a team of Ministry and Mineral Commission officials to visit the accident site at the Ahafo mine in order to ascertain on firsthand the cause and the circumstances leading to the accident. The Hon. Minister and the team also visited the deceased families to commiserate with them as well as the injured.

INVESTIGATIONS
Pursuant to Regulation 16(1)(c) of L.I. 2182, the Hon. Minister constituted an investigation team under the auspices of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to conduct an enquiry into the causes and circumstances leading to the accident.

FINDINGS
On 18th May 2018, a copy of the Report of the investigation Team was presented/submitted to the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources. The investigations which took almost five weeks came up with several findings which bordered on design, operational and managerial failures leading to the fatalities and casualties. The Ministry has been reliably informed that NGGL has already deployed resources to support the injured and the families of the deceased victims.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The investigations team has come out with the following recommendations:

-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited Ahafo Mine shall suspend DRA Ghana Limited from all their activities at NGGL Ahafo Mine for failure to ensure the absolute health, safety and security of their contractor employees and therefore in branch of Regulation 553, LI 2182 of 2012.

-DRA Ghana Limited shall be dismissed from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana for their blunt disregard for safety.

III. DRA Ghana Limited shall be fined US$10,000 for operating at the Ahafo site without Mining Services Operation Permit (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mining Services Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.

-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shall also be fined US$10,000 for failure to ensure that DRA Ghana Limited obtains a Mining Services Operating Permit prior to commencing operations at the Ahafo Site (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mine Support Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.

-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine Site shall pay the fatally wounded and the injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation. In addition, the fatally wounded employees should be compensated for their traumatic death, loss of their life and jettisoning of their livelihood.

-NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for breach of Regulation 23(1), L.I. 2182 of 2012).

VII. Mr. Osei Owusu Adansi (Supervisor of Consar Ltd.) shall be dismissed from working as a supervisor at the A.M.E. Project site, for not ensuring the safety of his workmen (breaches of Regulations 550 and 553, L.I. 2182 of 2012).

VIII. In the event of a major spill of concrete mixture during pouring, Consar Limited shall ensure that pouring of concrete mixture into formworks shall be halted, and a report should be made to the Project Managers for assessment and decision making.

-There shall be no work underneath any erected formworks during the pouring of concrete mixtures. Work can only take place after the concrete mixture had been certified to be cured by a competent person.

-Consar Limited in continuing their work shall develop and implement controls to prevent workers from working beneath suspended load across the entire site with immediate effect.

The designs and construction of all formworks at the A.M.E. Project shall be reviewed immediately to take into consideration the horizontal forces on the haunch/chamfer at the edges of slabs.

XII. Provisions shall be made in all designs and construction of formworks for diagonal or cross and horizontal bracings for all Projects on the Mine.

XIII. Newmont shall immediately review all organograms to ensure that The General Manager has oversight responsibilities over all projects pursuant to Regulation 40 and 55, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.

XIV. Further, NGGL shall ensure that Functional Managers have control and oversight responsibilities over the operational activities of all Projects on the Mine.

-NGGL shall immediately review its organizational structure to be consistent with operational responsibilities of the statutorily appointed managers to remedy the breach of the requirements under Regulation 35, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.

XVI. General Manager of NGGL, Ahafo Mine shall ensure absolute responsibility of all the activities of Contractors over the life of the A.M.E. Project.

XVII. There shall be a civil supervisor and Safety Officer always present at the site during all operations by all contractors.

XVIII. All props shall be aligned vertically and braced appropriately during all such installations of formwork and supports.

XIX. All formworks designed by a Certified Engineer shall be inspected ad proved by same after installation.

-All Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) of all activities at the A.M.E. Project shall specify responsible and accountable persons for each task.

XXI. Consar Limited shall provide logbooks on site to record instructions, activities etc.

XXII. Consar Limited shall provide details of their Emergency Response Plans to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission by May 30, 2018. Consar Limited shall be fined US$10,000 each for failure to have site specific emergency response plan.

XXIII. NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for not ensuring that DRA Ghana Limited and Consar Limited had emergency response plan.

XXIV. Newmont shall review its emergency Reponses Plan to include construction related scenarios by May 30, 2018.

XXV. Consar Limited shall immediately ensure that risk assessment completed for the tasks have adequate controls.

XXVI. All concrete mixing trucks for Consar Limited shall have waybills in them.

XXVII. Consar Limited shall ensure careful supervision and continuous inspection of formwork during erection, concrete placement, and removal of formwork.

XXVIII. Consar Limited shall remove the deformed formwork and iron rods and fix new ones before the concrete slab is recast.

XXIX. All the conveyor support structure, equipment and chutes which had been installed prior to pouring the concrete mixture, shall be removed to enable the appropriate supports to be erected prior to recasting the slab.

XXX. NGGL shall ensure that all agents and contractors working at the Ahafo Mine site identify, label and communicate exclusive zones to workers each day prior to commencement of task.

XXXI. NGGL shall ensure that all contractors on the Mine have Mine Support Services Operating Permits.

XXXII. Henceforth there shall be counterpart Ghanaian Consulting Engineers and Architects for all Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management activities at all mine sites in fulfillment of Local Content requirements.

DIRECTIVES FROM THE HON. MINISTER ON THE OUTCOME OF THE INVESTIGATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS MADE

Upon receipt of the report, DRA submitted a petition in response in a bid to absolve itself. However, following a review of the said petition, the Hon. Minister has subsequently directed the Minerals Commission to implement to the letter all the recommendations made by the investigation team. Indeed, above recommendations notwithstanding, and without any prejudice to any further action required by law and/or as recommended by the Investigation Report, The Hon. Minister as per the Minerals and Mining Act 2006, Act 703 Section 5(1) hereby directs as follows:

  1. For their contribution to the accident and save the implementation of item (i) and (ii) of the recommendations above by the Government of Ghana i.e. suspension and /or revocation of operating licence:
    a. DRA Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$2 million;
    b. NGGL is to pay an additional fine of US$500,000; and
    c. Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$200,000.
  1. DRA should open a fully functioning local office in Ghana which is manned by a resident Managing Director within two weeks upon receipt of this report.In general, safety of workers at all mine sites in Ghana is of paramount interest to government. To this end, all operators on all mines sites in Ghana are also reminded that they are to comply with all laws, regulations and terms of their licences without fail. Failure to do so would come with sanctions which could include withdrawal of their licences as well as other punitive penalties.All operators at all mine sites in Ghana are therefore to take note of these directives and strictly comply with them forthwith.Signed
    Hon. Minister
    For Lands & Natural Resources
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I don’t criticise Akufo-Addo because of NDC lies- Rawlings
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ghana’s Former President John Jerry Rawlings says the constant lies being peddled by some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) about his family makes it difficult for him to criticize President Akufo Addo led administration.

Delivering a durbar to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the June 4 revolution in Accra, Mr. Rawlings said he finds it difficult to believe some of the scandals that are being reported about the Akufo-Addo led government because of the lies that are regularly peddled about him and his wife.

“Some of the little ones are so vicious with their mouths…the kind of sins and nasty evil things that they do but turn around and insult people like Martin Amidu, like my wife, like myself and I wonder if that is my wife they are talking about, I wonder if that is me.

“When you say I don’t criticise Nana Addo or the things he does, to be quite honest I don’t know what to believe or to disbelieve because I know some of the things our people say about Martin Amidu, my wife and myself are false,” the military dictator said.

The former president has been a harsh critic of the party he founded under the late President John Evans Atta Mills and later President John Mahama.

But majority of his party members have accused him for treating the current government with kid gloves despite the many scandals that have rocked the NPP administration in less than 2 years in power.

Background of the June 4 revolution

The revolution sparked when the then military government of the  Supreme military Council (SMC II) of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow the government on May 15th 1979. This happened because Rawlings was a junior soldier in the Ghanaian Army who with other soldiers were refused to be given their salaries.

Rawlings turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption and requesting that his fellow accused be set free as he was solely responsible for the mutiny. He was incarcerated. His diatribe resonated with the entire nation as there was massive suffering.

In the night of June 3rd 1979, junior military officers including Major Boakye Djan broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held and freed him, and ostensibly marched him to the national radio station to make an announcement. The first time the public heard from Rawlings was a now legendary statement that he Rawlings had been released by the junior officers and that he was under their command. He requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra.

The entire nation went up in uproar. The soldiers rounded up senior military officers including three former heads of states, General F. K Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong and Afrifa for trial. They were subsequently executed by firing squad.

 

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Ghana’s Psychiatric hospitals face imminent closure as DFID withdraws funding.
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Mental Health Authority (GHA), Dr Akwasi Osei is warning of great calamity in the country’s mental health system in the event the Department for International Development (DFID) withdraws its support of the Authority.

The DFID’s support for the GHA and by extension the country ’s three psychiatric hospitals comes to an end June this year—a situation Dr Osei warned will cripple entire mental health delivery system.

“So, if this support comes to an end then we will really not have any money to fall on.  Indeed what DFID is saying is that if we have any monies left unspent we need to return it and again the programme that we have is such that we are not likely to have any monies left.

“So, if the month comes to an end and we do not have any monies to let us continue to survive…to exist we will be forced to shut down and that’s the stark reality,” he lamented.

As a result, he added the hospitals in the next few days will “be forced to decide that either they shut down, in other words, they will not be admitting anybody, or they go back fully into cash and carry”offloading the cost of care to the patients.

 

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Kelni GVG will spy on Ghanaians – Telecoms Chamber
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ken Ashigbey

Ken Ashigbey

Telecommunications companies in the Ghana are rejecting the moves by Kelni GVG monitor them stating that it would spy on Ghanaians. According to the Telcos, the point where the National Communications Authority (NCA) wants Kelni GVG to connect for real time monitoring will breach the data of customers. Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful last week warned that the Telcos will be severely dealt with if they refuse to cooperate with Kelni GVG.

The minister in a statement to Parliament indicated that two telcos are in the process of being connected. “I am happy to announce that Vodafone and Glo are in the process of being connected as we speak. The others are expected to be connected by the 11th of June. Any operator who fails to comply will be sanctioned.”

But CEO for the Telecoms Chamber Ken Ashigbey claims the ministry wants to perpetuate an illegality. “The current architecture that the NCA and their service providers are proposing do not comply with the laws. “The law also says that we must be sure that when we do that we don’t have access to the content so that there is no privacy breach…but unfortunately the architecture has the capability [to spy]. So what the telcos are saying is that, as we speak our data stands to be breached if we go with the current architecture.”

Policy think-tank IMANI Africa first sounded an alarm over the details of the deal and called for its immediate termination. Its president, Franklin Cudjoe, argued that the agreement mirrored the controversial agreements the state entered into with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively. He also raised the privacy concerns while questioning the credibility of Kelni GVG.

“Ghanaians will have their data threatened if they allow this GVG company to play with their phone calls, chats, everything…with very strange characters behind it since all it has, for a security company of its pedigree, are stock photos,” he bemoaned.

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APC’s creation of toxic atmosphere and threat to life of the nPDP‎
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, CON,
President Muhammadu Buhari (Middle) with Senate President, Bukola Saraki (left) and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara (right)

President Muhammadu Buhari (Middle) with Senate President, Bukola Saraki (left) and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara (right)

Following the ongoing talks between members of the former NPDP, the APC and the Presidency in recent days,a team from the former nPDP led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and four others, were to meet with the Vice President, His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

 Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, CON,‎ in a statement said: ” we are truly and earnestly committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC as we approach the 2019 general elections, it is appears that the Presidency is not interested in the talks and that they may have been negotiating in bad faith.”

“We were alarmed that immediately after our meeting with the Vice President last week, the presidency misrepresented  what transpired at the meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors involved in the discussions in a national daily.”

“Similarly, the leadership of the party (APC) went ahead to ratify  all the Congresses from ward, local governments, states and zonal  where many of our members have complaints, effectively presenting us with a fait accompli.

The persecution of our members using state security apparatus have continued unabated.

We recognize the powers of the Police to conduct criminal investigations but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggests an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.‎”

“It appears that there is a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life in which we now find ourselves which may no longer be conducive for members of the former nPDP to continue with the talks. Given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours,where the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Executive Governor of Kwara State , both of whom attended the meeting with the Vice President on Monday 28 May, 2018 ,have suddenly been accused of sponsoring armed robbery by the Police under the directives of the Presidency.”

“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018,  the Department of State of Services (DSS) also suddenly withdrew more than half of all the security details attached to the  presiding officers of the National Assembly under questionable circumstances.”

“The nPDP leadership has decided to  brief our members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions.”

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Pep Guardiola: Yaya Toure says Man City boss ‘often has problems with Africans’
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Yaya Toure (left) started one league game during the 2017-2018 season

Yaya Toure (left) started one league game during the 2017-2018 season

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “often has problems with Africans”, says ex-Blues midfielder Yaya Toure.

The Ivorian, who left City in May after eight years at the club, says he wants to “break the myth” about Guardiola, whom he describes as “jealous”.

“Maybe we Africans are not always treated by some in the same way as others,” said Toure in an interview with France Football.

Premier League champions City have declined to comment on Toure’s views.

Before his departure, the club named one of their training pitches after him and unveiled a mosaic of him at their training complex.

This summer they are set to sign France-born Algeria international Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

Toure, an Ivory Coast international, played for Guardiola at Barcelona for two seasons until he was sold to City in 2010 for £24m.

He won six major trophies in England but started just one Premier League game in City’s latest title-winning campaign – their final home fixture of the season against Brighton.

Prior to that game, Guardiola said: “Yaya came here at the start of the journey. Where we are now is because of what he has done.

“The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves, one of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.”

Toure completed 86 minutes against Brighton, having featured for 142 minutes in the league prior to that this season.

He believes that was “not down to physics”, saying he sought data from the club’s trainers to compare himself to younger players.

Guardiola won six league titles as a player at Barcelona and has added a further seven as a manager during spells with the Catalan club, Bayern Munich and City.

Toure said: “I do not know why but I have the impression that he was jealous, he took me for a rival. As if I made him a little shade.

“He was cruel to me. I came to wonder if it was not because of my colour.

“I am not the first to talk about these differences in treatment. In Barca, some have also asked the question.

“When we realise he often has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions.

“I want to be the one who breaks the myth of Guardiola.”

Toure started 22 league games under Guardiola in the 2016-17 season, and says he was asked to stay for another year, but then used sparingly.

 *BBC
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Nigeria:President Buhari Charges Tourists, Investors As He Opens Tourism Meet
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
From left, Chairman Commission for Africa of the UNWTO, Mr. Najib Balala; Representative of Mr. President and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, at the Opening Ceremony of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Monday

From left, Chairman Commission for Africa of the UNWTO, Mr. Najib Balala; Representative of Mr. President and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, at the Opening Ceremony of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Monday

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared open the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Commission for Africa (UNWTO-CAF) in Abuja by inviting tourists and investors to consider Nigeria as their second home.

The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,Mr. Boss Mustapha, said his Administration has attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism sector, including minimum tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park equipment and materials for hotel construction and furnishing, dedicated transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not manufactured in Nigeria, work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry and land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors.

He said the Administration, having identified the tourism sector as one of the pillars of its diversification policy, is also investing heavily in infrastructure and human resource development in order to make Nigeria a choice destination for tourists.

”In our efforts at diversifying the economy through agriculture, solid minerals development and tourism, we are investing heavily in infrastructure. This administration has injected US$9 billion to strengthen its investment in power, roads, railway in the past two years alone.

”Also, this government is investing in human resource development through the introduction of the Social Investment Programme that has benefitted 9 million people. These programmes include our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme that is providing one meal a day to 7.4 million pupils in 22 states; N-Power programme that has employed 200,000 university graduates and is about to employ 300,000 more; the Conditional Cash Transfer under which some 297,973 poor homes are receiving 5,000 Naira monthly, and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme that has provided loans to hundreds of thousands of small business owners,” President Buhari said.

The President hailed the ”creative young talents” that have made Nigerian music and films the toast of the world, saying for the Nigerian youths, the best is yet to come.

He commended the leadership of the UNWTO, the Commission for Africa (CAF) and, most importantly, the Tourism Ministers from all over Africa, for considering Nigeria worthy of hosting this event.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the host Minister, said hosting the event in Nigeria is a testimony to the achievements of the Buhari Administration, especially in the area of security

”As a matter of fact, four years ago, this meeting could not have been held here. Recall that Boko Haram carried out many attacks in this capital city. The UN Complex, the Police Headquarters, a newspaper house, bus station were all attacked.

”Residents of Abuja could not sleep with their two eyes closed. Today, that is history. There is no clearer evidence than the fact that this event is being held here in the city,” he said.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (fourth from right); Representative of Mr. President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha (third on the right); Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism  (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili (second right), Chairman Commission for Africa of the UNWTO, Mr. Najib Balala (fifth left) and other delegates at the Opening Ceremony of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, on Monday

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (fourth from right); Representative of Mr. President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha (third on the right); Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili (second right), Chairman Commission for Africa of the UNWTO, Mr. Najib Balala (fifth left) and other delegates at the Opening Ceremony of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, on Monday

Alhaji Mohammed said the Administration is working hard to boost tourism in the country, citing the Visa On Arrival policy, massive investment in upgrading infrastructure and enhancing security, as well as the provision of enabling environment and incentives, including strong public and private sector collaboration and enabling laws for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, as some of the measures being taken by the government.

He thanked President Buhari for his unalloyed support without which, he said, the hosting of the conference would not have been possible.  The Minister said the meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism, leveraging on the continent’s vast and unique resources and our number, for mutual benefit to all member states.

The three-day meeting is being attended by over 500 delegates, including 26 African Ministers of Tourism, the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, who is leading the top executives of the global tourism body, as well as tourism experts and stakeholders.

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Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Says He’s Free to Run Again in 2020: Jeune Afrique
June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
FILE PHOTO - Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, speaks during the opening ceremony of the Senate in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

FILE PHOTO – Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, speaks during the opening ceremony of the Senate in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

ABIDJAN (REUTERS) – Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said he is free to stand for a third term in the 2020 presidential election under the country’s new constitution, according to an interview in this week’s edition of French magazine Jeune Afrique.

 This is the first time Ouattara, who was first elected in a 2010 election that sparked a brief civil war, has made the claim, which will anger his political foes.

“The new constitution authorizes me to serve two terms starting in 2020,” Ouattara, 76, told Jeune Afrique, implying that his two election wins under the old constitution would not count against the new constitution’s two-term limit.

“I will only make a definitive decision then, based on the situation in Ivory Coast. Stability and peace come before all else, including my principles,” he said.

A government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ivorian voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution in a November 2016 vote that was boycotted by Ouattara’s main opposition.

It scrapped a provision in the previous constitution requiring both of a presidential candidates’ parents be natural-born Ivorian citizens, which had been used to disqualify Ouattara from a 2000 election and helped fuel regional tensions that saw the country split into two from 2002-11.

Ouattara has family ties that straddle the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali.

Prospective successors have been jockeying for political position ahead of the 2020 election, threatening to break apart Ouattara’s governing coalition and raising fears the country could experience renewed civil conflict.

The presidents of other African countries, including Rwanda and Congo Republic, have altered their constitutions in recent years to get around term limits, but Ouattara had previously promised to step down in 2020.

Under Ouattara, Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, has routinely recorded some of the highest economic growth rates in Africa on the back of record cocoa production and investments in infrastructure and services.

But historical divisions based on ethnicity, land and religion have not healed and a string of army mutinies and public sector strikes have taken some of the shine off the country’s economic successes.

(This version of the story has been refiled to remove extraneous word in paragraph two and to fix typo in paragraph eight)

*Source Reuters
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Nigerian Police Invite Senate President for Questioning Over Armed Robberies
June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY CAMILLUS EBOH AND Alexis Akwagyiram*

Nigerian Police Invite Senate President for Questioning Over Armed Robberies

Nigerian Police Invite Senate President for Questioning Over Armed Robberies

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian police said on Sunday the president of the upper house of parliament had been invited for questioning over allegations that he financed a criminal gang that carried out a spate of armed robberies and killed 33 people including pregnant women.

Bukola Saraki’s spokesman said in a statement the allegations were untrue, describing them as “ridiculous, unbelievable and a mere fabrication”. Saraki’s three-year tenure as Senate president has been marred by numerous accusations of misconduct and investigations, though none have led to convictions.

 The Nigeria Police Force issued an emailed statement in which it gave details of an investigation into six armed robberies at banks in Offa, a city in the central state of Kwara, in April 2018. An attack on the city’s police headquarters during the wave of attacks was part of the probe.
 It said 22 suspects were in police custody and confessions had been secured by some in which they claimed to have been “sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate president”.
 “Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki is being invited to report to the police to answer allegations indicting him from confessions of five gang leaders arrested for active participation in Offa bank robbery and killings of thirty three innocent persons,” the Nigeria Police Force statement said.

It said Saraki – Nigeria’s third most senior politician – had been invited to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office in the capital, Abuja, to answer to the allegations.

 Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in his statement said the Senate president had not received a formal invitation from the police. “His plan is that when he does receive it, he will honor it,” said Olaniyonu.
 Saraki ran unopposed for the post of Senate president in 2015, mainly with the backing of the opposition. He was not the ruling party’s preferred candidate, which led to strains in his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari.

A faction of the president’s All Progressives Congress party with close ties to Saraki last month issued a public letter stating that many of its members felt ostracized just months before a presidential election in February 2019 which Buhari says he plans to contest.

 The allegations are the latest to be leveled against Saraki since he took office.
 Nigeria’s court of appeal, in December 2017, dismissed 15 charges against him relating to allegations that he falsely declared his assets when he was Kwara state governor from 2003 to 2011, to which he pleaded not guilty.
*Reuters
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Ahead of 2019:Bishop Oyedepo blows hot over ‎Arabic studies in NPF recruitment test
June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
‎*Says:…It’s too late to Islamize Nigeria
By Olayinka Ajayi
it's too late to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State Oyedepo tells Buhari

it’s too late to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State Oyedepo tells Buhari

Following the recent recruitment Test Organised by the Nigerian Police Force for intending Police Officers in Nigeria, the Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners Chapel, Dr. David Olaniyi Oyedepo  has admonished President Muhamadu Buhari led administration to be conscious of every move and ‎policies that would spore religious war in Nigeria.

Speaking during his prophetic ministration at the largest gathering of Christian worshipers worldwide in Canaan land Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria ,‎ Oyedepo said: ” The inclusion of Arabic studies in the recent Nigeria Police Force NPF recruitment Test is highly unacceptable.”

“Some forces just want to score political marks by trying to divide us just to impress the president. This administration and all agents that want to divide Nigeria should be seriously warned as it’s too late to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State.”

The Bishop further call for the NPF recruitment Test to be re-written and the Arabic studies in the test be scraped.

According to the Bishop: ” We therefore reject the NPF recruitment Test and ask for it to be re-written without the inclusion of the Arabic Studies in it.”

 

 

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Kenyan officials to take polygraph tests to tackle corruption
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
Uhuru Kenyatta promised to deal with corruption when he was first elected in 2013

Uhuru Kenyatta promised to deal with corruption when he was first elected in 2013

Top officials working for Kenya’s government must undergo a lie detector test as part of a corruption crackdown, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Mr Kenyatta said the test, which would determine employee “integrity”, was just one part of a raft of planned measures to deal with the problem.

He was speaking after it was revealed 8bn Kenyan shillings (£59m; $78m) had gone missing from a government agency.

Some 40 civil servants are facing charges over the alleged theft.

The corruption scandal, which was brought to light by suppliers who had not been paid, saw funds allegedly stolen via the National Youth Service (NYS) through fake invoices and multiple payments.

The investigation into the NYS – a key part of Mr Kenyatta’s plan to address youth unemployment – is seen as a blow to the president’s pledge to stamp out corruption, made when first elected in 2013.

The multi-million dollar scandal was brought to light by suppliers who had not been paid

The multi-million dollar scandal was brought to light by suppliers who had not been paid

Mr Kenyatta’s speech appears to be an attempt to get ahead of the problem.

Speaking to crowds gathered to celebrate 55 years since Kenya attained internal self-rule, he said Kenya had to eliminate “corruption in our country before it fully destroys us and the future of our children”.

“Let me now mention just one part of a raft of measures that we intend to implement to tackle corruption,” he said.

“As an initial step, all heads of procurement and accounts in government ministries, departments [and] agencies… will undergo fresh vetting, including polygraph testing to determine their integrity and suitability.

“Those who fail the vetting will stand suspended.”

 *BBC
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Uganda bans import of old cars
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Catherine Byaruhanga*

Critics say the move will be hurt poorer Ugandans

Critics say the move will be hurt poorer Ugandans

Uganda’s parliament has passed legislation banning the import of vehicles older than 15 years.

The policy is meant to fight environmental pollution and help reduce road accidents, which have been blamed on older cars.

Curbing pollution and improving road safety have become major points of debate in Uganda.

Uganda observed three days of national mourning this week following a bus accident over the weekend, which killed more than 20 people.

Recent surveys have named the capital, Kampala, as one of the most-polluted cities in Africa.

But car importers warn banning old vehicles will lead to job losses and make it harder for poorer Ugandans to afford a car.

A new car, which is often expensive, incurs taxes of more than 50%.

To encourage Ugandans to buy newer cars, lawmakers removed an environmental levy on cars below eight years of age.

Last year, Ugandans imported an average of 2,500 used cars per month.

Neighbouring Kenya stopped the importation of vehicles older than eight years old earlier this year.

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World Cup 2018: Nigeria kit sells out after three million pre-orders
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
Alex Iwobi and Wilfried Ndidi were among the Premier League players to model Nigeria's new kit

Alex Iwobi and Wilfried Ndidi were among the Premier League players to model Nigeria’s new kit

Nigeria may not be favourites for the World Cup, but they seem to have won fans over with their new kit for Russia.

Three million people pre-ordered replica shirts, according to the Nigeria Football Federation, and shoppers queued outside Nike’s flagship store in London on Friday to try to get their hands on the clothing.

The home and away shirts, priced at £64.95, were sold out on the sportswear giant’s website soon after they were released.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is among the players who modelled the kit, which was first revealed back in February, along with Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi, who wore a branded bucket hat and jacket for the promotional photos.

The makers describe the home kit as a “subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso”.

The away kit, meanwhile, is a “cool, refined vision” of a classic full-green strip.

Nigeria are set to wear their new shirt when they face England in their World Cup warm-up game at Wembley on Saturday (17:15 BST).

*BBC

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Guinea Bissau PM lobbies Akufo-Addo for ECOWAS cash
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Consensus Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Aristide Gomes, has appealed to Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Danqua Akufo Addo, to persuade his colleague Heads of State within the ECOWAS sub-region to assist Guinea Bissau out of its political crisis and also to hold national elections come November.

The Guinea Bissau leader made the request when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo- Addo, at the Jubilee House as part of his West African sub-regional tour to seek help for his country. In his address, Prime Minister Gomes said his country needs a total of nine million Euros (€9m) in order to conduct it’s elections in November this year.

So far, the country has been able to raise 2 million Euros of the needed amount for the elections. He therefore requested of President Akufo Addo to compel ECOWAS to contribute 2.5 million Euros towards the elections. Additionally, the Consensus Prime Minister asked West African leaders to maintain peacekeeping troops currently serving in his country. He observed that their continued presence in Guinea Bissau is critical for the peace of the state.

The Ghanaian President in his response said he and his colleagues consider Guinea Bissau as a very important state within West Africa and therefore supporting her out of its current political challenges is a very important duty. The President to this end, indicated that he will champion efforts to get all the help Guinea Bissau needs beginning this Saturday when the President of ECOWAS visits him. He also assured that at the next ECOWAS Heads of State meeting and African Union Summit coming off in a few weeks, matters concerning Guinea Bissau will be thoroughly dealt with.

Aristide Gomes became Guinea-Bissau’s Prime Minister on Monday, 16th of April, 2018, in what President Jose Mario Vaz said would put a definitive end to years of political crisis in the small West African nation. Prime Minister Gomes who served as Prime Minister of the former Portuguese colony from 2005 to 2007, is thus Consensus Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau.

Gomes is tasked with leading Guinea-Bissau to fresh presidential and parliamentary elections set for November, 2018. Guinea-Bissau has been in the grip of a power struggle since August 2015, when President Vaz sacked his then Prime Minister, Domingos Simoes Pereira. Gomes, 63, succeeded Augusto Antonio Artur Da Silva, who was named in late January. Prime Minister Gomes was accompanied by Guinea Bissau’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Yoad Botiam Co.

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FG SHOWCASES ADMINISTRATION’S ACHIEVEMENTS, SLAMS OPPOSITION
June 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
 Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right) and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mallam Mukhtar Surajo (left), when the Minister inaugurated the Council in Abuja on Thursday.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right) and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mallam Mukhtar Surajo (left), when the Minister inaugurated the Council in Abuja on Thursday.

The Federal Government has slammed the country’s political opposition for downplaying the unprecedented achievements of President Buhari’s Administration, saying they are being deliberately and perpetually blind to the achievements.

Speaking during the inauguration of the 22-member newly-elected Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), under the chairmanship of Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, in Abuja on Thursday.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed  described the opposition as unserious, very disdainful of the truth, lacks ideas and believes that being in opposition means crying wolf where there is none and spewing out fake information at the speed of light!

”Where is the seriousness in an opposition party throwing out a spurious figure of N10 trillion as the amount of money that has been looted under the present administration? What is Nigeria’s annual national budget? How do you react to an opposition that is deliberately and perpetually blind to the monumental achievements of this Administration?” Alhaji Mohammed queried.

He said while naysayers might pretend not to have seen all these achievements, ”Nigerians who are benefitting directly from them have testified to the reality of the successes.”

Listing some of the achievements of the Administration, the Minister said it had taken power generation from 2,690MW to 7,000MW, moved Nigeria closer to self-sufficiency in rice than any Administration before it, increased the number of rice farmers from 5 million to an all-time high over 11 million and cut Nigeria’s rice import bill of $1.65 billion annually by 90%.

”We are feeding 8.2 million pupils in 45,394 schools in 24 states, employing 87,261 cooks in the process; we are paying conditional cash transfer of N5,000 monthly to 297,973 poorest and most vulnerable households, never before done in Nigeria; we are building roads, rail and power, spending an unprecedented 2.7 trillion Naira on infrastructure alone in just two years; we have raised capital expenditure in the yearly national budget to an unprecedented 30% on the average, our Social Investment Programmes have benefitted 9 million people.

”The school children who are being fed, the unemployed graduate who has now been employed under N-Power; the small business owner who has benefitted from the GEEP loans and the thousands of people who have been rescued from the clutches of Boko Haram know that these achievements are real,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the economy is also back on the path of growth, after the recession of 2016-17, ”and we have the figures to support this assertion”.

PIC 2: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) and members of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), when the Minister inaugurated the Council in Abuja on Thursday.

PIC 2: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) and members of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), when the Minister inaugurated the Council in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the economy grew 1.95 percent in Q1 2018; Inflation has fallen for 15 consecutive months, from 18.7 percent to12.5 percent as of April 2018; External Reserves of $48 billion are the highest in 5 years; Total exports in 2017 were 59.47% higher than for 2016; Agriculture exports grew 180.7% above the value in 2016; Raw material exports grew 154.2% above the value in 2016; Solid minerals exports grew 154.2% above the value in 2016; Exports of manufactured goods grew 26.8% above the value in 2016, And the first quarter of 2018 saw the fourth consecutive quarterly increase in capital importation since Q2 2017.

The Minister said Nigeria moved up 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2017, and was listed among the 10 Most Improved Economies.

He said the Administration is fighting corruption like never before, ”with our Whistleblowing Policy yielding N13.8bn from tax evaders, as well as N7.8bn, $378million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials”, adding: ”Naysayers say they have not seen all these achievements, Nigerians who are benefitting directly from them have testified to the reality of the successes.”

Alhaji Mohammed advised Public Relations practitioners never to be tired or discouraged from projecting the image of their establishments, even when some people decide to play the blind or the spoiler.

 

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