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It is important that the universities collaborate with us in Sierra Leone -Foday Melvin Kamara
October 19, 2020 | 1 Comments

  By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Foday Melvin Kamara is the Chief Executive Officer of Fomel Industries and National Industrialization Centre (FINIC) , a leading and only enterprise that in Sierra Leone and Ghana specializing in the manufacturing  and designing of Agricultural machines.

In this interview , he takes us through how he  started the only locally manufacturing and designing enterprise of agricultural machines in the country and first asked him to tell me how it all started.

 Ishmael : First of , please tell me about FINIC and what it does ?

Foday Melvin Kamara : The FINIC industry  founded in 1997 , came about from the awareness that us in Sierra Leone , and Africa generally , we are just too import dependent . we just wanted everything to be brought in and then that thinking made me to remember that if we are bringing in everything, we will lose a lot , not only money , but many are seeing the capital flight . Monies are coming from outside. We are the seeing the brains we are losing in the process because a brain that does not exercise, it’s a brain that will grow just like the muscles .The muscles needed exercise for it to grow bigger . If we do not manufacture and all the time its import, import , our brains will become smaller and we will lose and so that give us the kind of impetus for us to venture into machine systems design .we are over two decades now on the ground quietly.

Ishmael : How is it like working and operating in an environment where people mostly believe in overseas goods than locally made  products ? How have you been able to go through this and take a foot hole in the Sierra Leonean market ?

Foday Melvin Kamara : It’s actually a very , very difficult thing to do. Without the passion in you , its almost impossible . Our people’s mentality and mind set everything that is a machine , it is white made. Anything working in the form of machine , they say it white made. So, that mindset is there , for you to break that cocoon , and comes out and starts doing it your self , that trust level is very , very low . They won’t believe you , they don’t trust that the machines you manufacture are of standard and can stand the test of time , be able to perform its purpose. It is a big, big task. It is a hurdle.   But what keeps us going , its our passion , the love for mechanical things  that flows in my blood . How did it happened , only God knows , I don’t know? I just like machines . I can talk about them the whole of the day and don’t feel bored. So that passion is what carries me forward and of course the love for country as well because what we are doing in this country , we see it benefitting Sierra Leone more than it benefits me . Simple reason, we are like laying a foundation , we are like waking up sleeping giants . we are like telling people that yes, we can . we can do it . Any time we do something, that people feel its white made , and we did it and succeeded and bring in something new that even the white man hasn’t created or invented, that gives confidence to others particularly the youngsters that are growing up that they could best that our country have brains and let us not limit our brains , to singing, to football and  but let’s take it to other areas of science that will bring development for the country. And the workers that are working with me here, we don’t see them as employees , we see them as people with us for the common good of mama Salone.

 Ishmael :  what is your background ?

Foday : It’s a great one , my background actually I am an automobile engineer trained in Germany . That was long time ago . I did automobile engineering and you see mechanical engineering they are so related with automobile engineering . You know, automobile engineers can employ , mechanical engineers , and also Mechanical engineers can also employ automobile engineers. And then  One perfect good thing, that is clearly tells about this love affair is that things we are doing so much related to motor vehicles .some parts of machines that we are doing for threshing of palm bunches  to remove the bunches to extract palm oil is from motor engine . That’s a perfect relationship.  You know , this is one of the reasons why our machines can stand the test of time and why we are succeeding as a company.

Ishmael : As a company how have you been able to collaborate with government as some of your product has to do agriculture and other manufactures?

Foday : Yes!  One absolutely will expect that we should collaborate with government , meaning government to patronize us , government has anything to think about mechanization can come to people that is always  do this kind of work. That is our expectation and that what we are doing is bigger for the nation and us that are doing the job .we are expect that on that account , the government or governments go patronize us but that is not happening . I mean with that who should be blamed , me or the government? What I’m doing to me , it is more beneficial to country than to me as a personal person and then the government that our work will benefit for create employment for youths, they don’t patronize me . They don’t place me up there for the youths to see me as a role model , how can we industrialize . if we don’t industrialize , how would  that benefit the government . How unemployment benefits the government, badly because it  will create unrest , it will create chaos. People wants to work , there are no places to work , they will put their talents into a negative form . so, I expect that the governments , both present  and past t to patronize me . That’s how I see it . The time actually that I should spend to go to the corridors of power to lobby,  and buy from me , is difficult to do as long as I am not able to sing the political songs . It is something that I am not able to do , therefore , I prefer the government gives me task once in a while, developing machines systems that will be according to our circumstances to enhance productivity in the agricultural sector and also enhance value -chain  addition. This is one way we can push the country forward.

Ishmael : Has there been any collaboration with your company and technical institutions, colleges and universities to help students get practical skills in mechanical and automobile engineering .

Foday :  We would be really happy to get this kind of synergy as you put it. And we were one of those people that was with the Bio- led  administration started, they established the Science ,Technology and Innovation Directorate and then they appointed a leader to steer that office . we were very , very happy . we thought that we are  coming  to be recognised because really what we are doing is agricultural related , and we promote  production and processing but as time went by we realised, there is still more time actually. We realised that the focus for this  directorate is more of information technology , more on electronics . I mean , that there is nothing in my own ears , about mechanization. We have a lot of ideas , we tried , for bring ourselves close to the Chief Innovation Officer in the Science and Technology Directorate by writing him an email stating that , we have got a concept of making a garrie making machine with a potential to do thirty bags of gari in an hour. Yes , absolutely I mean it, but I didn’t have response from him and I wouldn’t say that he didn’t receive the mail from us , probably he may have wanted a different approach , maybe he had wanted me to go there , and put forward my case. Probably he didn’t like approach but where we are so serious about mechanization, not only electronics is a matter of just calling the person, and then we sit and then chat the way forward , positive things will come out. One collaborative area he did with me , though it was brief was the hands-Free  washing stations ,he sent one video of one working which we didn’t manufactured  and asked me if we can do it and then I said, of which we can do our own design without copying . Four , five days later we came out with our own design and it  is creating a big impact in the country and also in Ghana  for schools ,churches in both Sierra Leone and in Ghana. That kind of collaboration I expect to be continued according him , he has told the president about it and forward him the video . probably my approach , they don’t want. The collaboration with the universities is ongoing though not how I expect it to be . They sometimes have their students on internship here at FINIC , they will be us with us for one month, two months , and sometimes they used the factory as an incubator centre  to hatch their ideas when they are doing their projects. That was going on with Njala , Fourah Bay College , and the for the past four years , that collaborative venture , I am seeing it as much stronger as it used to be unless the last time we had a student who built a stove. It is important that the universities collaborate with us  because what they trained is more of  theoretical than practice but when the students leave the class room , then the theory just becomes something in the head , and something in the head, without been put into use , is as a good as a dead one. The world pays for  what one does , with that which one knows. If you know something in your head, and you do not put it into application who cares.  I expect that for them to give confidence to their graduates to send them to go through trainings . Thank God the Ministry of Education I think is coming out with some kind of innovative ways for train such people in collaboration with GIZ and also the World Bank they will be coming within the agricultural , technical and vocational institutions package to help people get practical trainings.

Ishmael : What about the Ministry of Agriculture ,part of their plans is venturing in mechanized farming . Has there any collaboration  with them?

Foday Melvin Kamara: Not yet , when we talk about production in  agriculture, almost all cases , people think about tractors, almost always when we think enhance rice production tractors come to their  minds. That has been the mindset . And these tractors, one we do not have culture to maintain them , we do not have the skills well enough to operate them . And so, if people like us are given the chance to come out with technology that his home grown , that is done considered the circumstances of this country will be very helpful. I have always said, we can use Okada to do lots of operations within the agricultural sector particularly production like in ploughing , processing and rice milling an okada can do that . so, if we have a sponsorship by way of patronage, a lot of things will come out that will enable to enhance in the boosting of agricultural productivity in the country both in terms of growing of the plants as well as adding value to them.

Ishmael :  As I see look around your office , there is poster reading FINIC can turn grass into an electricity tell me more about this ?

Foday Melvin Kamara : You know, it’s really , very , very sad , the scientist in this country are not known . They just don’t care about them . They care about musicians  , they care about the politicians . But let me say that any biomass , by biomass , I mean anything that is plant based you can turn it into gas . That gas in turn , run an engine and that engine runs a generator.  Yes we are able to build a biomass gasifier which you put palm kernel shells inside it , get turned into a gas , and then  you get a bye -product which is charcoal , which is the bio charm materials , like you see the one I have here,  you can process it into brisket used for cooking . If we can follow such a technology , we do not need to cut down trees in the name of charcoal making for the energy in the kitchen. When I was in a location seeing the number of vehicles coming in to Freetown from up country bringing down firewood . Just wood , not charcoal , it’s terrible ,  you will know that this country, deforestation is happening very , very strongly and in the next fifteen years is going to be sorrowful . that wood people are bringing is a waste of energy,  we are wasting one,  the gas there , they just used the wood for cooking , the gases that escape in the form of smoke but if we have  a technology that can transform into gasification process. 

Ishmael : How Covid-19 affected your business ?

Foday : Yes, I will say it  affected our business because the volume of our work we are doing would have been greater  . we are struggling but for every adversity ,there is equal opportunity . Covid -19 brought difficulty in the world but as same time , along with it some opportunities . One opportunity, the pandemic gave us , is the manufacturing of the hands free washing stations which FINIC manufactured and because of its demand we were able to open another branch of the company in Ghana.

Ishmael : How do you envisioned FINIC in the next ten years ?

Foday : It is a very good question , maybe I will be retired by that time, but I wanted to see FINIC is five West African countries . Presently we are in Ghana , and we are about sending our team there to go and trained our team members there in order to manufacture dryers for mango chips among other products. We are also in contact with some people in Guinea to as well trained them in manufacturing and designs, but we wanted to do it in a way we would be recognised through their government . we dint care how much they will pay we for it.

Ishmael: Great talking to you

Foday : Thank you , it’s a pleasure talking to you !

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies celebrate the winners of “Stay at Home” Media Awards to raise Awareness about coronavirus.
October 16, 2020 | 2 Comments
Dr. Rasha Kelej
Dr. Rasha Kelej

15th October 2020: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announced the winners of “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards for African Countries. The theme of the awards was ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and Keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’ with the aim to separate facts from myths and misconceptions.The “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards were introduced in partnership with African First Ladies of Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Guinea Conakry, Burundi, Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Chad, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, Angola and Mozambique.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasizes, “I am very proud of our winners. We received a tremendous response from African journalists in form of their entries. I truly believe that Media plays a crucial role in educating and sensitizing our communities about health and sensitive issues such as COVID-19, therefore, through the awards, we are recognizing the distinguished reportage and the exceptional work of journalists who frequently covered this topic in their countries”.

Here are the winners from Southern African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA; The First Lady of Namibia, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS; The First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU and The First Lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA:

SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • -The Herald, ZIMBABWE (500 USD)

 And

  • -Botswana Guardian & The Midweek Sun, BOTSWANA (500 USD)

And

  • -Unwrap.online, NAMIBIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Daily News, ESWATINI (300 USD)

And

  •  The African Argument, ZIMBABWE (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • MW Nation, MALAWI (200 USD)

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Namibia Media Holdings, NAMIBIA (500 USD)

And

  • Zambia Daily Mail, ZAMBIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Zambia Daily Mail, ZAMBIA (300 USD)

      And

  • – Independent Senior Reporter, ZIMBABWE (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • News Day, ZAMBIA (200 USD)

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  •   –  LENZ TV, SOUTH AFRICA (500 USD)

And

  • Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, NAMIBIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • – Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, NAMIBIA (300 USD)

And

  • – Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, MALAWI (300 USD)

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Namibian Broadcasting Cooperation, NAMIBIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • – The Children’s Radio, SOUTH AFRICA (300 USD)

And

  • – Zodiak Broadcasting Station, MALAWI (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • Radio Phoenix, ZAMBIA (200 USD)

Here are the winners from West African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia, H. E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW and The First Lady of Liberia, H.E. CLAR MARIE WEAH:

WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Q TV, GAMBIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Liberia News Agency, LIBERIA (300 USD)

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Concord Times, SIERRA LEONE (500 USD)

Here are the winnersfrom East African Countries:

EAST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Standard Media Group, KENYA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • CNBC Africa, RWANDA (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • Scientific African, KENYA (200 USD)

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Daily Monitor, UGANDA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Jamvi La Habari, TANZANIA (300 USD)
  • The New Times, RWANDA (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • People Daily, KENYA (200 USD)

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Citizen TV, KENYA (500 USD)
  • Citizen TV, KENYA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • NBS TV, UGANDA (300 USD)

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Highlands FM Radio, TANZANIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Radio Bilal, UGANDA (300 USD)

Here are the winners from French-speaking African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Central African Republic (CAR), H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA; The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE; The First Lady of Niger, H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU:

FRENCH SPEAKING AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Blog Lanoca, C.A.R., (500 USD)
  • – La Presse de, TUNISIA (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • – Global News, BENIN (300 USD)
  • Pan African Vision, CAMEROON (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • – L’Express de Madagascar, MADAGASCAR (200 USD)
  • – Le Journal.Africa, BURUNDI (200 USD)

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Niger Times, NIGER (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Niger Le Républicain, NIGER (300 USD)

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Saraounia FM, NIGER (500 USD)
  • – Radio Voix Du Paysan, BURKINA FASO (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • – Cameroon Radio Television, CAMEROON (300 USD)

Here are the winners from Portuguese-speaking African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Angola, H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO and The First Lady of Mozambique, H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI:

PORTUGUESE SPEAKING AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Televisão de Moçambique, MOZAMBIQUE (500 USD)

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Valor Econômico, ANGOLA (500 USD)
  • – Sociedade do Notícias, MOZAMBIQUE (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • – Jornal Dossiers & Factos, MOZAMBIQUE (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • Jornal domingo-Sociedade do Notícias, MOZAMBIQUE (200 USD)

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – TV Surdo, MOZAMBIQUE (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Televisão de Moçambique, MOZAMBIQUE (300 USD)

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • – Radio Mozambique, MOZAMBIQUE (500 USD)

SECOND Position:

  • Picaires – Radio Mozambique, MOZAMBIQUE (300 USD)

THIRD Position:

  • Radio Mozambique, MOZAMBIQUE (200 USD)

The quality of work was impressive; therefore, the Merck Foundation Media Awards Committee reviewed the entries from four categories; Online, Print, Radio and Multimedia; under the following groups: 1) East African Countries, 2) West African Countries, 3) Southern African Countries, 4) French Speaking African Countries and 5) Portuguese speaking African countries.

The Merck Foundation Media Awards Committee has further introduced a second and a third position and selected more than one winner, on some occasions, for each of the Four Categories from all the regions.

“The valuable contribution from the winners in sensitizing their respective communities about COVID 19 has encouraged us to additionally reward them all to become Merck Foundation Alumni and provide them with one-year access to online educational training program called “MasterClass”. The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet. This is to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic and health issues across their countries”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

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Zimbabwe:Growing Concern over looming patriot bill
October 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President Mnangagwa

Concerned stakeholders are raising concern over Zimbabwe’s proposed patriot bill.

According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe chapter, legislation is one old age tool that governments continue to rely on to influence civic space both negatively and positively. 

 The organization says that in Zimbabwe, this space, which is the bedrock of an open and democratic society, and the enjoyment and exercise of constitutional rights such as media freedom and freedom of expression, has been shrinking due to a plethora of factors. 

They add that for instance, the repealed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), was one notorious piece of legislation, together with the Public Order and Security Act, which was repealed and replaced by the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, used to stifle media freedom and freedom of expression.  

Despite the repeal of the above, MISA says that there still exists pieces of legislation with provisions that continue to inhibit the exercise of rights.  These include the Interception of Communications Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. 

As an example, the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill if enacted into law, also criminalises the transmission of false data messages intending to cause harm.  

 “This is despite the existence of a constitutional court order declaring that false news offences promote self-censorship as well as concerns that such a provision will smuggle back criminal defamation which was outlawed by the Constitutional Court,” according to MISA-Zimbabwe. 

 They add that what stands out, therefore, from the existing legislative frameworks,  is the over-criminalisation and over-regularisation of the exercise of fundamental rights particularly free speech.

It is within this stringent approach that sometime in August 2020 Zimbabwe cabinet discussed the possibility of adopting a aw that crminalises campaigning against one’s own country.

 MISA-Zimbabwe says that It is an open secret that such discussion was influenced by the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter campaign, which was centred on demanding respect for human rights in Zimbabwe.  

The campaign is reported to have received overwhelming support from the region and beyond, and subsequently, resulted in an ANC delegation from South Africa, visiting Zimbabwe and meeting with their Zanu PF counterparts.  

 MISA-Zimbabwe also adds that more recently, in October 2020, further discussions were held by the Cabinet. Subsequently,  it was highlighted that the Principles for the Patriot Bill  had already been drafted and that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,  is expected to table them in Parliament. 

The proposed law will criminalise and impose stiff penalties for private correspondence by what was termed as ‘self-serving citizens’, with foreign governments or any officer or agent. 

 MISA Zimbabwe says that it  is greatly concerned by this proposed law which has the potential of curtailing the exercise of rights such as media freedom and freedom of expression, right to privacy,  access to information, freedom of conscience, political rights, freedom to demonstrate and petition,  and freedom of assembly and association. 

 Of equal concern is that this law will potentially cripple the work and mandate of Non-Governmental Organisations that also work with foreign governments, embassies or similar organisations in foreign countries, among others.

  According to MISA-Zimbabwe, it should be noted that in exercising freedom of expression, it is lawful for citizens to demand the prosecution of perpetrators of gross human rights violations,request information with regards to the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in media violations,demand accountability with regards to abductions purported to have been state sponsored,demand prosecution of high ranking officials alleged to have engaged in corrupt activities and demand equal application of the law in Zimbabwe.

  MISA adds that the above requirements are  centered on the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights for the betterment of Zimbabwe, which any patriotic citizen would be keen to support. 

 They add that when citizens exercise their constitutional rights for purposes of transparency and accountability, such conduct should not be perceived as attacks on the government, the ruling party or any specific individuals.  

  It is added that in that regard, Zimbabwe should embrace the exercise of freedom of expression in its diverse forms.

 MISA says that putting in place such a law will severely infringe the right to privacy as it creates further avenues for surveillance, tracking of internet usage and accessing of private communication records. Any mass and indiscriminate surveillance of citizens is unconstitutional and should not be sanitised through any piece of legislation. 

 They add that even in the United States  where a similar law was enacted, several concerns were raised on its provisions and enforcement. 

In defence of the US Bill of Rights in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette, Justice Jackson highlighted that “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act or faith therein”.

 According to MISA, in other words, the love, devotion and strong support for one’s country should not be forced on citizens through legislation.  Neither should honesty about one’s country’s shortcomings be considered to be unpatriotic or campaigning against one’s own country. 

This frowns upon the basic tenets of democracy and respect for fundamental rights,MISA-Zimbabwe said. 

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Why Kenyans want Joe Biden to be the US President
October 16, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Africa is not a shithole. It is the most beautiful continent in the world, says Boniface Mwangi, a Nairobi-based rights campaigner

A whopping percentage of Kenyans want US President Donald Trump to experience shameful defeat in the upcoming US Presidential elections.

The Americans will go to the ballot on November 3, 2020, to elect their next president as the race gets tighter between the incumbent Donald Trump and his arch-rival Joe Biden.

The US elections poll tracker, according to the Telegraph shows that Biden, the former Vice-President, is leading. The poll tracker averred that over half of Americans intend to throw their weight behind Biden.

The Democrat’s candidate win will be received joyfully by the majority of Kenyans who have ganged up against Trump labelling him racist, toxic and careless when making statements.

Trump’s incessant attacks on his predecessor Barrack Obama have never pleased Kenyans.  A section of Kenyans who spoke to Pan African Visions described Trump’s negative attitude towards the former President as uncouth and uncalled for saying it needs to be condemned by all means.

“Can we call it obsession or hatred? When Trump fails to sleep well, it is Obama, when his meal is not cooked properly it is about Obama. Soon you will hear him, claiming that it is Obama who infected him with Covid-19,” said a Nairobi based businessman who sought anonymity.

Job Reuben added, “He will peg his failures on Barrack Obama.”

Moreover, Kenyans are yet to forget Trump’s racist and demeaning remarks on Africa two years ago.

During a meeting on immigration at the White House in January 2018, American media reported that Trump called the Caribbean nation of Haiti and unspecified African countries “shitholes” and called for the establishment of tough measures to bar their natives from migrating to the United States.

Trump’s derogatory statement triggered fierce condemnation from Kenyans and other African countries, including the African Union.

“He is a very controversial man and his careless statements regarding other people and their countries only risk driving a wedge between America and its foreign partners,” said Martin Nguru, a Nairobi-based diplomacy scholar.

According to Boniface Mwangi, a Nairobi-based rights campaigner, “”Africa is not a shithole. It is the most beautiful continent in the world. Beautiful, hardworking people. We have diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, cocoa, coffee etc.”

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ONE AND BLACK GIRLS ROCK! PARTNER FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD TO RAISE GLOBAL AWARENESS ABOUT ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR GIRLS IN AFRICA
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

(11 October 2020) In honor of International Day of the Girl Child, ONE and Black Girls Rock! have announced a partnership to help raise awareness about access to education for girls in Africa. Poverty is already a key factor in girls’ access to education, and now COVID-19 related school closings are exposing girls to heightened risks and increasing their vulnerability to other social issues.

With statistics such as, “More than 130 million girls between ages 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age, half of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa will never enter a classroom.” – (UNESCO), the two organizations are collaborating to use their platforms to bring global attention to how access to education impacts girls’ overall well-being and opportunities to lead healthy lives.

“ONE is excited to partner with Black Girls Rock! this year for International Day of the Girl Child. Poverty is both a huge barrier to accessing education as well as a major consequence of not getting an education. It impacts every area of girls’ well being. When girls do not get education, they are more likely to be married as children, easily contract and transmit HIV, and at higher risk of maternal death. We look forward to working together to bring global awareness to the challenges and inequities of education for girls in Africa.”- Edwin Ihuoria (ONE, Africa Executive Director)

Internationally known for their annual awards show and Black Girls Lead summer intensive for teen girls, Black Girls Rock! is an organization committed to the empowerment of women and girls of color. 

“Black Girls Rock! is happy to announce our partnership with ONE for International Day of the Girl Child. Education for all girls everywhere is essential. Not having access to education is not just inequitable and limiting for girls. It impacts every aspect of girls’ lives and we all need to be concerned. We need people everywhere to amplify the issues of access to education for girls in Africa.”- Beverly Bond (Black Girls Rock!, Founder & Executive Director)

The two organizations will share facts across their social media channels throughout the week and are asking people to take action and help amplify the issue by retweeting and reposting. The campaign will culminate with an Instagram Live conversation between ONE and Black Girls Rock! founder and executive director Beverly Bond on Friday 16th October at 12pm noon EST/16:00 GMT.

About ONE

ONE is a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity. We are non-partisan and pressure governments to do more to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, and empower citizens to hold their governments to account.

ABOUT BLACK GIRLS ROCK!®:

Founded by celebrity DJ, model and executive producer Beverly Bond, the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ® Awards show was created to celebrate the nexus of achievements of exemplary women of color who break boundaries, blaze trails, and set trends across sectors. Since 2006, the annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK!® Awards have honored an outstanding range of accomplished and inspiring women across generations and genres. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is a multifaceted media, entertainment, philanthropic, and lifestyle brand that focuses on the empowerment of women and girls of color. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! platform encompasses numerous experiential live events, media content, merchandise, and programs including the internationally acclaimed televised BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards, The BLACK GIRLMAGIC™ Hour podcast, and BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, and the BLACK GIRLSLEAD summer leadership intensive for teen girls.  The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! movement continues to be a leading force in highlighting the spectrum of brilliance that Black women possess and remain at the vanguard of a cultural  paradigm shift where Black women’s narratives, overall presence in society, and prominence in mainstream media are being elevated and recognized like never before. For additional information on BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™, visit http://www.blackgirlsrock.com.

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Kenya extends a helping hand to Mozambique
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ababu Namwamba

Kenya has delivered food and medical air to the Mozambican government.

The aid is meant to help hundred thousands of people displaced following attacks carried out by Islamist insurgents in the restive province of Cabo Delgado in the northern part of the country.

Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ababu Namwamba delivered the donations on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration.

“I’m happy to be in this great land of Samora Machel, a truly fine son of Africa, to deliver a special message of goodwill and solidarity from my President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta,” Ababu said.

Namwamba said Kenya will stand in solidarity with the South African country in combating terrorism in line with bilateral ties that have bound the two nations for some years.

At the same time, the CAS expressed his gratitude to the Mozambique government for supporting Kenya’s successful UN Security Council bid, noting that long-standing relationship between Kenya and Mozambique is not ending any soon.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta and the people of Kenya extend our sincere sympathies and humble assistance to the people of Mozambique. This is the spirit of global solidarity against terror. This is the spirit of African solutions to African problems.”

“This is the spirit of silencing all guns across the length and breadth of Africa by this year 2020 as desired by the African Union,” added Namwamba.

While receiving the donations, Mozambique’s Minister of State for Administration and Public Management Ana Comoane appreciated Kenyan government saying it is always in the forefront to respond to their plea for help.

   “It is an honour for me to accept this generous donation of food and medical supplies sent by the government of Kenya. We thank the government of Kenya, especially President Uhuru Kenyatta,” reiterated Comoane.

Cabo Delgado province has been facing such attacks since 2017 and UNHCR has been working with partner agencies to provide basic assistance to the displaced.

Reports had indicated UNHCR and the agencies are giving much attention to the vulnerable, critical needs and basic rights.

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Cameroon: Coalition For Dialogue Announces Advisory Board Formation
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

Board of distinguished leaders to support the Steering Committee and provide guidance towards ending the escalating armed conflict in the Southern Cameroons

14th October 2020 – (London | Berlin | Washington D.C) – The Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations today announced the launch of its newly formed strategic committee of trusted advisors. This Advisory Board includes well renowned leaders whose focus will be to shape and guide the strategy of the Coalition, working closely with the Steering Committee. 

The new Board includes Former Liberian President H.E Amos Sawyer, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Herman J. Cohen; Former Resident Representative for Sierra Leone & Liberia of the African Development Bank Dr. Margaret Kilo; Former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia and Uganda Ambassador Deborah Malac; Senior Associate and Regional Director National Democratic Institute Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh; and Founders of Pave The Way Foundation Gary and Meredith Krupp.

“We are very honored to have such a distinguished team join us in actively seeking an end to the escalating armed conflict in the Southern Cameroons that addresses the root causes of the conflict” said Dr. Denis Foretia, Co-Chair of the Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations. “We will continue to do all we can to stop the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the country.”

Brief biographies can be found below:

Professor Amos C. Sawyer

His Excellency Amos Sawyer
Former President of Liberia
 
Professor Amos C. Sawyer has worked tirelessly for peace and the establishment of democratic governance and development in his home country, Liberia, as well in several other African countries. He was Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission in Liberia bringing Liberia back to constitutional rule after the 1980 military coup and was Interim President of Liberia from 1990 to 1994 during Liberia’s civil war. He has served as Chairman, Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of The African Union and has led several elections observation and peacebuilding missions on behalf of ECOWAS and the African Union. He is a distinguished scholar with an impressive record of publications and other academic achievements. 

Ambassador Cohen
Ambassador Herman J. Cohen 
Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
 
Ambassador Cohen is a retired career diplomat and specialist in African and European affairs. Cohen retired from the U.S. Department of State in 1993. His last position was assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993). During his 38-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, he served in five African countries and twice in France. He was the ambassador to Senegal, with dual accreditation to the Gambia, from 1977 to 1980. During assignments in Washington, he also served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan (1987-1989), principal deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and research, and principal deputy assistant secretary for personnel. 
Yaah Maggie Kilo 
Yaah Maggie Kilo (PhD) 
Former Resident Representative Sierra Leone & Liberia – African Development Bank
 
Yaah Maggie Kilo holds an MA in Sociology of Education from the London University Institute of Education, and a PhD in International Development Education from Stanford University School of Education. She served her country as an educator and a researcher for many years prior to joining the international development community. In 1998, she joined the services of the African Development Bank, where she has held several positions in both Country Operations and Policy Review. Between 2006 and 2008 she served as the Bank’s Resident Representative in Sierra Leone and was later appointed to head the newly established Fragile States Unit. In August 2011, she was transferred from Tunis, Tunisia to Monrovia, Liberia as Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Liberia, a position which she held until her retirement in 2017. H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awarded her Liberia’s highest non-national civilian medal: Dame Commander in the Most Venerable Order of Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia 

Ambassador Deborah Malac 

Ambassador Deborah Malac 
Former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Uganda
Former Director of the Office of East African Affairs at the U.S. State Department 

 
Ambassador Deborah Malac spent over 38 years as a Career Member of the U.S. Foreign Service, representing the U.S. and advancing U.S. interests abroad. Most recently, Ambassador Malac served as Ambassador to Uganda (2016-2020). Prior to that posting, she was Ambassador to Liberia (2012-2015). Ambassador Malac began her career in Yaounde, Cameroon, and subsequently served overseas in South Africa, Thailand, Senegal and Ethiopia, as well as multiple assignments in the Department of State in Washington, DC, most focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Ambassador Malac retired from the Department of State in January 2020.

Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh

 Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh 
Senior Associate and Regional Director National Democratic Institute (NDI) Washington, DC 
 
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh is the Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He has organized and advised international election observation missions in various African countries. He has also designed and supervised country specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties and legislative bodies across Africa. He designed and helped launch the African Statesmen Initiative (ASI), a program aimed at facilitating political transitions in Africa by encouraging former democratic heads of state to engage in humanitarian, mediation, election monitoring and other democratic consolidation activities. Dr. Fomunyoh makes frequent guest appearances on major radio and television networks. He has published several articles in academic journals on African politics and democratization. He holds a Licence en Droit from Yaoundé University in Cameroon, a master’s degree (LL.M.) in international law from Harvard Law School; and a Ph.D. in political science from Boston University. He is a former adjunct faculty of African politics and government, at Georgetown University, and at the African Center for Strategic Studies. He is also the founder of a nonprofit organization that supports democracy and humanitarian causes in Cameroon

Gary and Meredith Krupp

Gary and Meredith Krupp 
Founders of Pave The Way Foundation 
 
Gary and Meredith Krupp are the Founders of Pave The Way Foundation (PTWF) – a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to initiate cultural, educational and technological exchanges between religions, facilitating gestures of goodwill. PTWF identifies non-theological obstacles in the diplomatic and political arena, unraveling and eliminating the barriers of disinformation that serve to stoke distrust between religions. Working quietly behind the scenes, PTWF talks to people who will not talk to each other, consequently, PTWF is the most effective organization in the world “that no one has ever heard of”. Mr. Krupp is the highest- ranking Jewish person in the Catholic Church. Gary Krupp was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II, only the seventh Jew to be so honored. 

*Source Coalition For Dialogue and Negotiations

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Zimbabwe Makes Energy Policy Achievements Towards Goals To Achieve Upper-Middle Income Country Status by 2030 ..
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development Magna Mudyiwa Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has launched another policy on top of other two policies launched in 2012 and 2020 March this year. The Energy Efficiency Policy hangs around to address efficiency in energy management. Together with the National Energy Policy of 2012 and the National Renewable Energy Policy and Bio-Fuels Policy launched this year in March energy and power challenges must be solved.

 Addressing captains of the Energy and Power Industry, Government officials from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and a handful from related stakeholders, the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development Magna Mudyiwa Zimbabwe is now towards Universal Energy Access. This, he waylays a straight point in air is the strategy to attract investors and creating an enabling safe environment which does not compromise the eruption in air of green -house gases like carbon-dioxide.

” These days, you, see, we have no power cuts like we used to have in the past. This is because we are towards universal access to power. The improvement comes with what we are here for. This is what makes us be energy sustainable and efficient. We have strategized higher than before to make energy and power get addressed amicably, with accountability ”

Power demand is 1470 mega-watts. The country has total of 2300 megawatts installed generation. The achievable capacity is 1100 megawatts on a good day. This is complimented by imports ranging from 150 megawatts to 400 megawatts ..

”Load-shedding is now a thing of the past. We have solutions, measures and strategies accompanied by robust policies like the one we are launching. We now have a stable fuel, power and energy supply.

”Yes, we have old, dilapidating power plants, but we have answers for this challenge. There are issues of carbon-emissions in the atmosphere which disturbs power and energy issues. The problem is solved by the energy efficiency policy we launch today’’.

Zimbabwe has managed to reduce green- house gas emissions by almost 33% . This is done to meet the goals like the one on Energy that is goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. More to it , the Minister sails towards conclusion ,

”We have energy efficiency strategies to meet demand as a nation. We remain sustainable as we move towards good planning, leading, organizing and controlling. There-fore we have come out with proper energy management and auditing. We introduced the direct fuel imports which allow suppliers to bring fuel in Zimbabwe.

”This addresses power, energy and fuel shortages ” This is why we are looking at a new policy of energy efficiency. Zimbabwe is a step -ahead. As a nation we have no load shedding like the past.”

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DFC Backs $1.55 Million for Tulu Moye Power Project in Ethiopia
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

First use of agency’s technical development program speeds critical project

Adam Boehler, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Chief Executive Officer, with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.Photo credit AllAfrica/Twitter

WASHINGTON – U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has committed $1.55 million in technical development for the Tulu Moye Geothermal Power Plant Project in Ethiopia. DFC’s grant will enable project development and accelerate the schedule to design the 50-megawatt geothermal power plant. When completed, the project will be the country’s first Independent Power Project and one of the largest geothermal power plants in Ethiopia, a country with substantial untapped geothermal resources that can provide significant baseload power.

“DFC will help to shape the design of the project by utilizing one of our new development tools: technical assistance,” said DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler. “This project will help Ethiopia to tap a critical resource for its economic growth.”

Ethiopian company TM Geothermal Operations PLC (TMGO) is developing the Tulu Moye project, which is approximately 100 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa. DFC’s technical development would provide funding for up to $1.55 million for project development. After development is completed, DFC would evaluate additional financing for implementation. If TMGO receives implementation financing from DFC or any other financier, TMGO will pay back the full amount of the technical development funding.

DFC’s technical development builds upon long-term U.S. Government support for the Ethiopian power sector, including by Power Africa, the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The Tulu Moye project is one of the first instances of DFC using its new technical development tool provided in the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018. DFC grants for technical development, including feasibility studies and technical assistance, are designed to support potential and existing DFC financing and insurance investments and increase the impact of those investments.

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

*DFC

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South Sudan peace talks in Rome end in stalemate
October 15, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Deng Machol

Pope Francis kissed the feet of Salva Kiir during a prior retreat for South Sudanese leaders.Photo credit   (ANSA)

Juba – The peace mediated in Rome between holdout groups and Revitalized Unity government resumed on Friday last week ended in stalemate.

The peace talks have been pushed to 30 November 2020 after both sides failed to reach a compromise in Rome to create a conducive ground for the parties. 

In a four day discussion, the parties agree to stop the fighting.  The next round of talks will discuss the root cause of the conflict.

The Sant’Egidio-led mediation is aimed at supporting an inclusive peace agreement in South Sudan by persuading the hold-out group to join the fragile revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018.

It was between the government and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, SSOMA, who are non-signatories to the revitalized peace agreement resumed talks under the mediation of Sant’Egidio.

SSOMA is a coalition of opposition groups led by  Gen. Thomas Cirillo, former ex – army chief Paul Malong, and the former SPLM – Secretary General Pagan Amum, among others.

The political dialogue seeks to address what the opposition groups called “the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan” and facilitate further reconciliation and stability.

However, both opposition and government are optimistic to reach a deal in the next round of talk. 

The spokesperson of government delegation Dr Barnaba Marial said the parties have recommitted to secession of hostilities agreement. 

According to the statement opposition released, they described the talk as “productive discussion”.

Dr. Marial stated that they could not reach consensus on some contentious issues -especially on the type of federalism and the internal boundaries in South Sudan.

A statement by South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance – seen by this media agency– notes that the latest round of talks was just catch-up sessions to show commitment and good intentions for further dialogue.

“This round of peace talks focused on recommitment of SSOMA and R-TGoNU to Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA), participation in the CTSAMVM, and negotiation on Declaration of Principles to guide upcoming talks to address the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan,” said SSOMA, in the part of the statement.

The parties also signed a Declaration of Principle to guide the talks on the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.

South Sudan is now struggling to implement a fragile revitalized peace deal after emerging from the country’s five year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million from their homes, before it has devastated the country’s economy.

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US-based Cameroonian journalist donates to orphanages, sets aside Millions for humanitarian projects in crisis-stricken Anglophone regions
October 15, 2020 | 2 Comments

By Amos Fofung 

Foundation President, Merryline Ngwa, symbolically hands over donated items to orphanage director
Foundation President, Merryline Ngwa, symbolically hands over donated items to orphanage director

A US-based Cameroonian journalist, Ivo Elias Ndong popularly known as Daddy Ndong has via his non-governmental foundation, the Daddy Ndong international Humanitarian Foundation, DANiHF, embarked on a series of humanitarian projects geared at uplifting the plight of less privileged Cameroonians especially those affected by the on-going armed conflict in its English-speaking regions.

The media consultant who has over three decades of experience in broadcast media told Pan African Visions that after witnessing first-hand the dire situation of his countrymen during his last visit to Cameroon, he decided to launch a charitable organization to better channel his support to those in dire.

 “True as a journalist I was aware of the situation in Cameroon with regards to ongoing Anglophone crisis and its effects…Reports from back home chronicled the situation of refugees and Internally Displaced person but when I visited Cameroon to better analyst the situation and carry out some little donations especially to orphanages, I was taken aback by how much suffering my people now endure,” he said before adding that 

“Immediately, I knew my modest donations here and there would not do much, I needed a grand plan, more holistic and centralized, a project that will not only see that my donations and those of my close friends and partners are handed down to those in absolute need but also a platform to galvanize resources to support my community in its recovery post-Anglophone crisis.”

Thus, he created DANiHF which carried out its first major donation estimated at a little over 2,000,000 FCFA to the children of Mountain Kids Orphanage in Buea, South West region. The donations including a consignment of food items, kitchen, and household detergents among others were handed out by members of the organization represented by its president to Merryline Ngwa.

According to her, DANIHF, whose motto is “We are a Family” is aimed at participating in humanitarian activities geared towards helping the underprivileged, displaced, orphans, and those in great need. She said they are out to assist in whatever little way they can in touching the lives of those in need.

“The southwest region is faced with a lot of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anglophone crisis, and the cholera outbreak so, it is of utmost importance that we stretch out a helping hand to those in need’ She said.

“I have been in this orphanage before and have seen the situation and condition of its children. I saw that their needs were unable to be met. So we are here to assist them and especially the 3 children who have been added early this year” she added stating that the organization’s Chief Executive Officer/Founder had many more in store for the region in the coming weeks. 

The organization is also set to carry out large donation of food items and everyday necessities to IDPs across the country and refugees especially those settled in neighboring Nigeria before the year runs out. 

DANIHF is also organizing a workshop and an online forum where discussions about rape will be held and lasting solutions be brought out and how it is going to be implemented in various communities.

The organization also supported some internally displaced children from the crisis-hit North West region living in Yaounde with didactic materials to assists them in resuming classes for the 2020/2021 school year. The items comprising school bags, books, pens pencils, rulers, facemasks, and others were handed to the IDPs at Oyom Abang in the Yaounde VII municipality on Saturday 3, October 2020. 

The Centre Regional Coordinator of DANIHF, Ngwang Yuh Diana Joyce, who handed over the didactic materials said the not-for-profit organization is out to provide support to the needy and put a smile on the faces of persons in distress.

“Daddy Ndong as we fondly call him charged me to tell you all that we are a family and that he will do all it takes to put a smile on your faces, especially in the domain of education,” Ngwang said, disclosing that DANIHF founder has promised to pay the fee and GCE registration of one of the kids in an examination class. DANIHF members used the occasion to sensitize the IDPs on basic hygiene and sanitation measures that they will have to observe while on school campuses in a bid to avoid being contaminated by the Coronavirus.

Aside from that, the foundation has also announced that for this academic year, a scholarship will be awarded to ten university students across Cameroon. According to a press release, a copy of which was sent to our newsroom states that 3 students will be selected from the University of Buea, 3 from the University of Bamenda, 2 from the University of Yaounde 1, and 2 from the University of Douala.

Students can apply for the scholarship via the foundation’s website here https://daddyndongfoundation.com/

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Rwanda: Overcrowding in prisons worries senators
October 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Some prisons are overpopulated which may put at risks lives of inmates
Some prisons are overpopulated which may put at risks lives of inmates

Rwandan Senate has expressed worries over a high number of inmates that are overcrowding prisons, and tasks government to do something to solve that problems.

More than 71000 inmates are incarcerated in 13 prisons facilities around the country, which have initial capacity of housing 57000 inmates.

Senate made a thorough survey into overpopulation in Rwanda’s prisons and found that overcrowd stands at 125% by 2019 from 99.6 % in 2014.

During a session that was held on Tuesday, 13th October 2020, senators warned  that if that problem is not resolved in first place, it may have  many negative impacts both on government and inmates.

They recommended government to consider decongesting prisons’ facilities by applying amnesty to those who are eligible, expanding prisons facilities, introducing electronic ankle monitors for those who are accused of committing crimes, among others.

Government also was urged to adopt use of community work as another model of punishment.

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