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April 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

   By Chief Charles A. Taku

Erudite Lawyer Charles Taku is a leading crusader for justice across Africa today

On April 14, day, 40 years ago, the chain of systemic prejudice and cultural genocide broke loose and I was authorized to do pupillage to practice law in the Chambers of  the legendary lawyer and politician Hon B.T.B Foretia in Victoria. I was the first in several regards.  The most important  was being  a chain breaker, a role I have played with determination, faith, humility and fortitude. I am grateful to God for the journey I have travelled so far.  Today, in this occasion, I faithfully recommit my determination to serve God, the Merciful, the Liberator, the Truth, the Life, the Light  and  the Saviour with all the strength in me.

This event in my life came with a mission and a commission to  defend, protect, free  and give  strength to the weak, the poor and the oppressed. I have been faithful to the mission and the commission. This  is a mission and a commission of honour.  These are the very essence of life which is  humanity at its best and closer to God.  God, we know, breathed the spirit of life so that we may live and serve him in humility and in faith. Yes, in humility and faith; for these are the true attributes of greatness.

 Each time, that  I reflect on these attributes, I remember the emphatic gestures with which my secondary teacher explained to us, the parable of the rich fool.   Despite the reality of this parable,  the butchery of the innocent lives of the weak, the poor and the oppressed; the thievery by the rich from the poor, primitive accumulation of wealth and the genocide of innocent people to satisfy the power ambition of a few, continue unabated.  I dedicated these 40 years leading the fight to protect the majority poor, the weak and oppressed victims from these  criminal kingpins; leaving the ultimate victory to God.

I have dedicated more than two decades of this eventful career in  international practice in many  international courts and tribunals  which were established by the international community to fight impunity. During this time, I visited battlefields in different countries and witnessed unimaginable human suffering.  I went in  as a lawyer but was blessed with the human value of sharing the pain and suffering of persons at risk and in dire need. This provided me an opportunity to share the values of love and sharing which were implanted in me by my  mother by contributing to give back to the suffering people,  the  true essence of humanity which they  deserve. I have found the joy in recognizing in these children, women and men, dead or alive  through my humanitarian engagements and the several trials in which I have participated, the face of humanity to which we are all connected.

This occasion falls in the month of April, which is the mythical month of the Saints in my family, from Fontem Asonganyi and his first son Asabanchi Fontem, Fontem Defang, Mama Helen Atabong Asaba Fontem, Fontem Njifua and several others too many to name. This  occasion 40 years ago, was not an innocent co-incidence. It occurred because it is the month when these Saints pay greater attention and are united in prayers and supplication to the living God for me, the family they left behind and all persons world-wide who are engaged in the worthy mission and commission in which I am engaged.  I am grateful to  them and their fighting spirits which live on through their blood which is flowing in my living veins. The history books and the museums in imperial Germany kept  records of the bravery of Fontem Asonganyi which have prolonged the battle for freedom and justice long enough for me to come on board to lead a world-wide crusade for the restitution of all the works of art which were looted during the German incursion more than a century ago.  These arts are  today in museums in Germany, USA, France and the Netherlands.  The blessing of these 40 years, helped me to focus my attention on the search for these arts and their lost cultural significance in our lives and in our time.

The 40 years provided me an opportunity to train and mentor young colleagues from all legal cultures, races from all the continents who are today, leading lawyers in their respective countries and in international practice. We remain professional connected. This closeness is what the beauty of this profession is about.  I am fascinated by the sense of enquiry, curiosity and mental alertness of my interns. I call them the offspring of modern technology because of the remarkable contributions they have brought to workplace during these changing times.  Many of them  are today, successful academics and lawyers in many parts of the world. 

During this period, my peers, elected me as member of the Cameroon Bar Council for many years; President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association and a member for life of  the governing council of the African Bar Association.  I am grateful to my colleagues in different courts and tribunals for giving me an opportunity to serve and to contribute to the enthronement of the culture and the cause of the rule of law.  I am particularly grateful to the distinguished lawyers of Taku Chambers for their professionalism and the outstanding successes they continue to record in courtrooms  and professional environments around the world.  The most distinguished Hon B.T.B Foretia was an astounding lawyer and a fearless crusader for justice. He put me on my feet during my first appearance with him in Court. From thence, I have not relented these forty years.

Two decades of Chief Taku’s eventful career have been in international practice in many international courts and tribunals

I am grateful to the women and men  with whom I have been engaged in all the aspects of the administration of justice and the struggle for a just, free and peaceful  world. Although we play different roles we are united in a common objective, in which  justice is the sole winner.I am grateful to my family and the entire Taku and Fontem families.  Mbe Taku was a hero and a warrior while his wife Mama Helen Atabong Asaba Fontem was a distinguished community leader, education advocate, politician, development agent, philanthropist and an extraordinary crusader for justice.  My wife Antonia, my children Kelvin, Barbara, Ngwing and Atabong are my best friends of all times.  Above all, there is a time in one’s life when a sister is everything in one’s life. My sister Bibiana Taku was a class and bench mate, a friend and a manifestation of the endless love of God to me and humanity. Miss Anne Bustarret 

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Mozambique: 200,000 jobs lost due to terrorists attacks in Cabo Delgado
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Mozambique has lost a total of $209m and 198,000 jobs since the beginning of the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado province over three years ago, according to the head of business association CTA.

Agostinho Vuma said that $100m was lost in agrarian production, $95m in capital goods and $14m in cash flow of various supply chains.

The losses do not include the impact of the recent attack on the town of Palma and the suspension of work on the nearby gas project, which has already led South African construction firm Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon to dismiss workers building a work camp at the project site.

Vuma also estimated that 1,110 companies had been forced to close due to terrorism, partly due to being located in places attacked by terrorists but mostly due to disruption of supply chains.

According to Gulamo Aboobakar, the head of the Cabo Delgado business council, about $300m of investments in the province have been written off.

Many companies have dismissed thousands of staff in Cabo Delgado after French multinational Total announced it was suspending activities on its natural gas project. President Filipe Nyusi has said that the attacks are a threat to the development of the country.

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Cameroon:Iya Foundation- Kidney Resource Centre Donates Food Items to Kidney Patients
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Iya Bekondo, CEO-Founder of the Iya Foundation

In continuation of its quarterly program, the Kidney Resource Centre of the Iya Foundation has provided some food items on Wednesday, April 14 to close to seventy-eight (78) kidney patients.

The donation exercise is part of the Iya Foundation- Kidney Resource Centre’s Food Security Program and four times every year after every three months. The next distribution exercise has been programmed for July.

The kidney patients were urged to do their dialysis as it is very important and also to practice good dieting. This involves the eating of vegetables and fruits with emphasis also placed on the quality of food. That is why the Iya Foundation provided the patients with some food items that are necessary for them.  

Items provided to the patients includes: 5kg rice/person; 6cups beans/person; 4cubes savon/person; 4packs spaghetti/person; 1tray egg/person; 2kg garri/person and 5litres red oil/person.

“We are making sure that dialysis patients have access to food and good food. We know that for one to be wholesome with their health and wellness nutrition is important and this is part of our Food Security Program,” the Founder and CEO of the Iya Foundation, Iya Bekondo-Granatella told journalists.

“For dialysis patients, they are advised to take low salt and low potassium diet and also fluid restriction. You can only drink four eight-ounce cups of water a day if you are on dialysis. You cannot drink like the average person,” She added.

Kidney patients received food items as part of the Food security Program of the Iya Foundation-Kidney resource Centre

Iya Bekondo who is also a kidney patient has words of encouragement to the patients knowing the problems and difficulties some of them have to go to even to get dialysed.  “We are talking with the government to make dialysis free and for it to be consistent as there are always shortages in it,” Iya Bekondo said.

“We can do that by opening more dialysis clinics and others centres across the country. All these have to be taken into consideration by the government. The patients suffer a lot travelling from afar just to get dialysis, which is another big problem for them. Some do not even have houses where they can stay and do their dialysis.”

Iya Bekondo has begun facing some difficulties with her kidney which she has been living with for the past fifteen (15) years. But despite the issues that are coming up she says she has no sign of stopping as she continues in her effort to make it better for Kidney patients.

The Foundation has called on these patients to continue supporting the Foundation in their activities and to carry out consultation at their Centre with well-qualified staff and machines to do their various tests required.

Some of the beneficiaries applauded the efforts of the Foundation even though persons try to give them a bad name. “I want to say thank you and we are happy that Iya is still putting some force in helping patients of the Dialysis patients in Buea. All I can say is for her not to relent her effort taking into consideration the fact that she too is a patient,” George Tambe, President of the Dialysis Patients in Buea said.

“I am grateful for the efforts that the Foundation has been putting in assisting the patients. I, as a caregiver, will only promise to intensify my efforts in assisting my husband,” Ada Nayongo said.

Iya Bekondo, Founder of Iya Foundation hands a certificate to one Kidney patient

Genesis Fund

The fund was initiated by a guy called Genesis who died because he could not afford his treatment.  The Genesis fund is a patient-assistance fund, financial assistance fund that the Foundation gives to desperate patients in their time of need. It is ongoing and it is activated upon need.

Some four patients are presently benefiting from the fund and it could be added if there are available funds and also when patients approach the Foundation. “It goes both ways; when we have funds we can source patients that need it and also when a patient reaches out to us with their story we can help look for sponsors to help support their care,” Iya Bekondo said about the Genesis Fund.

Iya Bekondo’s story

Iya Bekondo-Granatella was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of seven and subsequently lost her kidneys ten years later. Through the support and charitable effort of her family, friends, and her community, Iya was able to get a lifesaving renal transplant donated by her mother. Upon receipt of her transplant, Iya has made a commitment to helping low-income uninsured patients who suffer from end-stage renal disease, as well as educate, inform, and create awareness about chronic kidney disease.

About the Iya Foundation

The Iya Foundation, Inc. a New Jersey Non-Profit Organization; aims to save lives by educating and raising awareness on chronic kidney disease as well as raise funds that benefit low-income uninsured End-Stage Renal Disease Patients.

The Iya Foundation, Inc. believes every individual deserves a second lease on life. Through their programs, and with the help of Public and Private Funds, they intend to fight kidney disease through education and awareness; that will encourage early detection; hence subsequently delay or prevent complete renal failure.

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World’s Longest Crude oil pipeline: A Significant Investment for Uganda, Tanzania and Neighbours – AEC’s NJ Ayuk
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber speaks to South African Broadcaster, SABC.

The planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), with a length of 1,440 kilometres (898 miles), will run from Western Uganda to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga. The oil pipeline worth $3.5 billion is expected to be completed within three years.

The two countries signed the deal following the first foreign trip for Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan. In March, Uganda suspended the signing of the deal following the death of then Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.

The agreement between Tanzania and Uganda is expected to unlock billions of dollars into the economies of both countries. Uganda discovered crude reserves in the Albertine rift basin in the west of the country near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.

“It is an investment not just for Tanzania or Uganda but for the Region. There have been discussions happening about this for a decade and this is a decade of negotiation finally closing,” NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber told South African Broadcaster SABC.

“It is beyond us just having a deal but looking at what this will mean for jobs, local opportunities that will build growth from bottom up. We just have to manage it well and ensure that the hopes and aspirations of Tanzanians, Ugandans and the whole of the East African community should not be held back by a fail promise of oil and this is critical for this.”

Looking at the benefits that will be brought about by this deal the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber says local businesses and people have to start now. “If you do not have an opportunity you have to start looking for it now. Do not wait till the pipelines kick in; start looking at the possibilities of getting engaged (in terms of jobs). We should not sit at home and wait for that.”

“We need policies that back it. At the Camber we have engaged with both Presidents and the companies as well and got guarantees that say they are going to ensure that policies does back local content empowerment and also back inter-Africa trade so that Africans can inspire other Africans while working on this,” NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African legal and advisory conglomerate with its headquarters in South Africa and offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius added.

Often with oil companies who have been engaged on the continent, the tendencies are for them to export raw materials while the continent has to import the finished products. The Chairman of the African Energy Chamber says this deal is going to be different as part of the component is building a refinery in the country and it will create a space to serve entire East Africa. Parts of the petroleum resources will be refined and distributed to Uganda, Tanzania and the entire East Africa region as most of them at the moment are importing refined products out of UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“No longer should we be thinking about sending everything to Europe, America and Asia but we should be looking at domestication because our markets that are growing and growing vastly need these resources for us to be able to industrialize and manufacture and create jobs at home,” NJ Ayuk said.

The pipeline has met resistance from environmentalists who argue it will threaten ecologically sensitive areas along its route, including wildlife reserves and water catchment areas for Lake Victoria. To some NGOs, the project is a threat to local communities, water supplies, and biodiversity in Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

And to NJ Ayuk we have to pay so much to the environment and be good stewards so we leave it much better than it was met. “Various measures have been put in place to cater for the environment by both countries. The communities need to be involved because if you do not you will face problems like in Nigeria (the Niger Delta region with vandalism, the pipeline explosion and others).”

NJ Ayuk, is the CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African legal and advisory conglomerate with its headquarters in South Africa and offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius

He added: “The environment is a sensitive thing; the environment Commissions of both countries have set up monitoring and evaluations that will go throughout the process. We must encourage them to keep those checks and balances but also invite CSOs as part of the process. You cannot ignore them because they might have ideas that could be helpful and ensure we are not building something that ends up destroying the environment. After all, at the end, it becomes a loss to everyone.”

Extraction will begin this 2021 and will take place at two oil fields: the Kingfisher field, which is operated by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC), and the Tilenga field, operated by Total S.A.

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Cameroon: U.S. President Joe Biden Nominates Christopher Lamora as Ambassador
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Christopher John Lamora, Joe Biden’s pick as Ambassador to Cameroon

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that Christopher John Lamora will be the new Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon. The information follows a release from the White House on the President’s decision to fill some vacant positions since he took over office.

“Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate nine career members of the Senior Foreign Service as ambassadors to represent the United States on the world stage,” the release said on Thursday.

Biden nominated Larry Edward Andre to be US ambassador to Somalia, Elizabeth Moore Aubin as ambassador to Algeria, Steven Bondy as Ambassador to Bahrain, Maria Brewer as Ambassador to Lesotho, Marc Evans Knapper as Ambassador to Vietnam and Christopher John Lamora as Ambassador to Cameroon, the White House said.

Christopher Lamora should he be confirmed by the US Senate will take over from Henry Peter Barlerin who was Ambassador to Cameroon from 2017 to 2020. The latter had his final meeting with Cameroon’s President and both personalities took time to review the excellent ties that exist between Cameroon and the USA.

Christopher Lamora is not a new face in the Cameroonian milieu having been part of the Diplomatic mission to the country. Lamora worked at the U.S. Consulate General in Douala, Cameroon and that knowledge acquired will be vital if he is to continue where his predecessor left off and create new partnerships and relationships between the two countries.   

The former Ambassador Peter Barlerin before leaving the country expressed his satisfaction with the current level of cooperation between Yaounde and Washington D.C. – especially in the health sector.

“I am proud of what we have achieved together particularly in the area of health: the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria,” Henry Peter Barlerin said in the meeting with President Biya.

Cameroon and the U.S. have equally cooperated in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The Ambassador advised that the impact of COVID-19 should in no way hamper efforts made against other diseases like HIV/AIDS.

“I was concerned although we are helping a lot with the fight against COVID-19, we cannot take away attention from the need to continue to fight against HIV/AIDS,” he cautioned.

President Biya and former US Ambassador to Cameroon Henry Peter Barlerin

Who is the nominated Ambassador to Cameroon, Christopher Lamora?

Christopher Lamora, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana. He was previously the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Africa and African Security Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department and he also served as Director of the Office of Central African Affairs, Deputy Director of the Bureau’s Office of Economic and Regional Affairs, and desk officer for the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

He served overseas at the U.S. embassies in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Greece and the Central African Republic, and the U.S. Consulate General in Douala, Cameroon.

Lamora earned a B.S. at Georgetown University and speaks French, Spanish, and Modern Greek.

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Cameroon to receive 400,000 Doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine April 17
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Vaccination against COVID-19 at the moment is for healthcare practitioners and vulnerable groups

After reviewing the efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Cameroon is set to receive some 400,000 doses of the said vaccine for the fight against the coronavirus.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the National Vaccination Program, Joshua Ndoula Shalom, the vaccines are expected in Cameroon on Saturday, April 17.

The arrival of this vaccine presents a boost to the country’s efforts in vaccinating its population against the virus. It will also come a week after the country received its first doses of China’s Sinopham vaccine. 200,000 doses of that vaccine were received by Cameroon’s Prime Minister Dr Dion Ngute and the vaccination exercise has already begun in the country.

Cameroon had earlier suspended the administration of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine it was scheduled to receive on March 20 as part of the global vaccines sharing scheme COVAX due to report from countries about blood clot and the suspension by some countries.

The review was submitted by Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie after a flurry of suspensions of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

In a tweet on March 12, Dr Manaouda Malachie stated: “As the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to be debated, I would like to make it clear that I have submitted the matter to the Scientific Council and NITAG for advice. The expectation is that we will not use this vaccine while there are still doubts about its effects.”

Dr Shalom Ndoula, Permanent Secretary of Expanded Program on Immunization in the Ministry of Public Health had attested to the effectiveness of the vaccine. “The effectiveness of AstraZeneca has been shown by many studies. From clinical trials, AstraZeneca has shown the effectiveness of about 70%, and more than 89% in preventing severe forms of the virus and death.

At the moment, health personnel are the priority target for the start of the vaccination exercise with negotiations underway to obtain additional doses of the vaccine to achieve substantial vaccination coverage, Joshua Ndoula Shalom added.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Officials across the country have multiplied their efforts in carrying out sensitization about the need for people to be vaccinated when the time comes. This comes at a time when many in the country have been raising doubts about the motive behind the said vaccination campaign.

Despite these doubts which are “unfounded” according to health officials, the positive cases in the country have continued to rise. The country as of April 16 has a total of 61, 731 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. This is 21, 109 additional cases taking from March 16 to April 16.

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Cameroon: Minister of Public Health Launches Vaccination Exercise in South West
April 16, 2021 | 1 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie supervises vaccination campaign in South West Region of Cameroon

The Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie has launched the vaccination exercise in the South West Region as officials grapple to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Prof Ndip, Deputy Vice-chancellor of the University of Buea is amongst the first persons to receive the Chinese Sinopham COVID-19 vaccine at the Buea Regional Hospital as the Minister of Health alongside other officials also went down to Limbe for the same exercise.

Minister Manaouda Malachie’s visit to the South West Region follows a similar exercise undertaken in the nation’s political capital Yaounde. Some 200,000 doses of the Sinopham vaccine were donated by the Chinese government to the country in their effort to help Cameroon. It is expected that more is to follow from the Chinese government.

The priority targets according to government officials are healthcare personnel, vulnerable groups or those with pre-existing health conditions, taxi drivers, and the general public.

This visit by the health boss is also coming at a time when the country is making strides in acquiring vaccines for its populace. Some 400,000 doses of the British Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected in the country.

Prof Ndi, Deputy Vice Chancellor in the University of Buea takes a jab of the Chinese Sinopham Vaccine

According to the Permanent Secretary of the National Vaccination Program, Joshua Ndoula Shalom, the vaccines are expected in Cameroon on Saturday, April 17.

“At the moment, health personnel are the priority target for the start of the vaccination exercise with negotiations underway to obtain additional doses of the vaccine to achieve substantial vaccination coverage, Joshua Ndoula Shalom added.

It should be recalled that Cameroon had earlier suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after countries had earlier stopped using it due to fears of a blood clot. Both countries have begun using the vaccine officials in Cameroon too have done a U-turn and indicated that they will use the vaccine.

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Rwanda: There was no double genocide but war crimes could have been carried out and can be acknowledged as it happens in many war zones.
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

-No one can succeed in denying a factual thing like Genocide Against Tutsis

By Mohammed M. Mupenda 

African Union chief Moussa Faki, left, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and his wife Jeannette, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker light a remembrance flame for the 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda. AFP

As the country marks 27 commemoration day for genocide against Tutsis, those who deny it, they have taken advantage of digital era to express on how they think it should be named, this has not only caused trauma to survivors but would lead to distortion of country’s history.

I never stop pondering on when we will accept to tell our own true story in the interest of future generations. Politicians, educated people failed to control and stop genocide simply because they believed it was the best way to use and stay in power that was eventually fallen in the hands of RPF. 

These people and some oppositions living out of Rwanda can say whatever like Kagame played a role in the massacre or any other person they blame it on but denying genocide against Tutsis is a total shame, hilarious, disturbing and would lead to disaster for future generations.

This implies that RPF has responsibility to hunt down whoever denies Genocide against Tutsis, thus nothing would irritate and bother you like seeing people twisting their history simply because of their own interest driven by political ambitions.

Disturbing but not surprising, most genocide denials who take it to social media networks, some calling it double genocide others saying that it was politically named, they are elite, informed, educated,  some were even old enough to have witnessed it and could have played any role on saving humanity by that time.

I think this would be the time to reconcile, acknowledge their irreversible mistake and move forward on healing those who were affected negatively rather than hurting, touching the wounds, causing many survivors to remember those worst memories  and distorting history that may lead to the same tragedy in the future.

Note that the world watched genocide against Tutsis happening and it never acted while it had all it could take to save humanity. France was in a country supporting the former regime, USA was also backing RPA by then simply because of their political, geographical and economic interest, saving humanity was none of their business.

The fact is that we all watched Interahamwe looting everything belonging to Tutsis including cows, hunting down the people who speak the same language, praying together, eating, sharing the same food, culture and even those who were married never minded giving away their own children to be killed (calling them snakes) .

Young as seven (7) i was, i did notice that something was scary, inhuman mistreatment was going on, it was terrifying, i feared Interahamwe simply because i saw that they can take people’s lives without thinking that they could die or be held accountable. In fact, I still have those memories of interahamwe taking on streets in different cities with machetes calling on others to kill whoever was considered as Tutsi or suspected and pointed at to back current RPF that was fighting the other side to take on power.

By the time, Tutsi were targeted, there were possibilities to those politicians including officials, prominent people, educated who were on power  to give directive to interahamwe to stop killing, this never happened, they instead went on radios, newspapers to call on people to kill Tutsis without leaving one behind.

When you see people who were mature and able to stop genocide by then taking it to any social media pointing at Current President Paul Kagame to be one of those who planned and perpetrated genocide, it makes you wonder on when we will recognise our mistakes, where  are we taking future generations?

How could have planned it and he orders Interahamwe to kill his own tribes? 

On which ground could interahamwe listen to Kagame’s instructions while they were hunting down those who  are reported to be by his side.

“I think that it is high time everyone stood up against increasing cases of genocide denial that has found space in the digital pace. And best way would be Educating young people to fight genocide ideology”.

Some would even say that RPF never stopped genocide. That is oK but it does not give you the right to deny, and cause heartbreak to those who were to die in case RPF was not present. 

I am sure that RPF soldiers saved those who were listed to be killed in their absence. It is also believed beyond doubt that religious leaders and other people including roman catholic church christians killed their fellow in the same church when they sought refuge.

“Let us use the media to disseminate information that heals, reconciles so that our generation would never fall in the same tragedy as we repeat Never Again,”.

Rwanda marked the 27th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on April 7. Many survivors go ahead on giving their testimonies as it is widely known and was witnessed when humanity lost value and no one could help.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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South Sudan’s Kiir In South Africa For Revitalized Peace Talks, Bilateral Ties
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

It is the first foreign trip for President Kiir in over a year

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir arrived in South Africa for bilateral relations amid a stagnant of peace process in the restive country.

President left the Juba for Pretoria on Thursday’s afternoon. 

This is his first (president) foreign trip in over 12 months.

Kiir was seen off at Juba International Airport by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and other senior government officials.

Kiir’s state – visit comes a day he received his first dose of Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine as a protection against Covid 19 virus.

President Kiir’s office said the President is on a working state visit for 3 days to discuss about the revitalized peace agreement. 

Kiir is expected to meet South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa to hold bilateral meetings on issues that will strengthen and deepen the bilateral relations between the two Countries and to discuss issues of mutual interest that includes the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

South Sudan has just emerge from a six year conflict that killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes.

However, the 2018 peace process remains fragile, despite the parties having registered some positive progress since the formation of the peace government of in earlier last year. 

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Nigeria: I’m Alive, says former Army PR Chief Sani Usman.
April 16, 2021 | 0 Comments
Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd) has clarified the confusing story of his rumoured death

Former Director General, Department of Public Relations of the Nigerian Army and CEO Mahangi  Communications Services, Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd) has clarified the confusing story of his rumoured death.

Usman who made the clarification in a press statement said his photograph was used on a blog site which published the news of the demise of former Military Administrator of Ondo and old Oyo States, Late Colonel Ahmed Usman (rtd).
According to the statement titled “I’m Alive” Usman said he had reached out to the blog site for correction.

“My attention has been drawn by friends and some well-meaning Nigerians about my rumoured death. The confusion arose from precious EZE’S BLOG’s use of my photograph in uniform with the rank of a Colonel, instead of that of late Colonel Ahmed Usman (rtd), the former Military Administrator of old Oyo State, who died earlier today at the age of 70, in an obituary announcement by Kogi State Governor.  

“Although I have reached out to the medium to correct the mistake, I wish to inform my friends and well-wishers that I am alive. I also want to thank them most profoundly for the kind love and concern. Thank you so much and God bless” said Usman

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Mnangagwa promises “regional response” to Cabo Delgado
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, says President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has promised a “robust regional response” to the insurgency in northern Mozambique.

“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. United we stand. Hence, we cannot sit back and allow acts of insurgency to continue without a robust regional response,” Mnangagwa told a meeting of ruling party Zanu-PF’s Politburo.

He attended last week’s meeting of the Southern African Development Community which resolved to send a technical team to Mozambique to assess the situation. A Zimbabwean, Nyasha Mugwagwa, was among the 12 people killed by terrorists after they attacked the town of Palma last month.

Mnangagwa said that his government was working with Mozambique to establish how many Zimbabweans had been trapped by the attack on Palma. Meanwhile, the current president of the United Nations (UN)’s Security Council has described the situation in Mozambique as “very alarming”.

Dang Dinh Quy, Vietnam’s representative to the UN, said there was a risk of terrorism rapidly expanding to other parts of Africa, and that the UN was closely monitoring the situation.

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Malawi: Legal tensions reign as electoral commission is stopped from operations
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala

Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe has Informed MEC that the firing of Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga means there is no Electoral Commission.

Legal tensions have surfaced following the decision by government to fire two Commissioners for the Malawi Electoral Commission, Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.

The decision to fire the two stems from the recommendation by the court having heard the presidential elections case while led to the landmark order for a fresh election.

Among other things, the courts admonished the commission that oversaw the polls only for former leader Peter Mutharika to maintain the two in the new commission.

However, over a year down the line, the decision to maintain the two has been rescinded with the Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe ordering the remaining commissioners not to make any electoral decisions until they form the required quorum of six people.

Silungwe has since written MEC informing them that the firing of Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga means that there is no Electoral Commission.

Silungwe has further advised the remaining commissioners not to discharge any duties until section 75(1) of the constitution has been compiled with.

Patrick Mpaka president for Malawi Law Society has backed the Attorney General saying if the two fired MEC commissioners will not challenge the matter in courts, there is need to appoint two others to have complete electoral commission.

However, as being quoted by a local station MIJ FM, law expert Professor Garton Kamchedzela has advised the offices of President and the Attorney General to stop using the law as a tool to bully each other rather than a source of solutions.

Kamchedzela said the office of the President and Office of AG are using the law as a source of problems and as a tool to bully each when the law is supposed to be a source a solution.

He said there is clearly lack of corrective objectivity between the two offices on what should happen on the two commissioners as no party is backing down on its position.

The law scholar added that the AG advice that there is no commission following the firing of the two commissioners is entirely wrong saying the commission is like a company even if people are removed it does not mean the commission seizes to exist.

He added that the AG has not told the public that the law states that if there is a vacancy in an organization the activities of the organization are not affected.

He has also faulted the office of the President for failing to come out on how it has arrived at the decision to fire the two.

So far, the electoral body has described the situation as detrimental to its operations as there seats no commission to make decisions.

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Malawi: Businessman Thom Mpinganjira has case to answer for attempted judge bribery
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Malawian business heavyweight Thom Mpinganjira has been found with a case to answer for allegedly attempting to bribe five judges

Malawian business heavyweight Thom Mpinganjira has been found with a case to answer for allegedly attempting to bribe five judges that heard the presidential election case.

Mpinganjira who owns one of the Southern African nation’s elite bank, FDH and other top businesses was arrested last year.

His arrest followed complaints by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda that some unknown people had been attempting to bribe the judges.

The judges heard the elections case in which the UTM, headed by former Malawi vice President Saulos Chilima and the country’s oldest political party, the Malawi Congress Party led by Lazarus Chakwera petitioned the court for the nullification of the results citing the irregularities that marred the poll in which Peter Mutharika was declared winner.

This was after the Constitutional Court had nullified the elections but waited for the Supreme Court to review the ruling.

Today, Judge Dorothy Degabrielle disclosed that Mpinganjira is answering six charges under the Corrupt Practices Act.
The charges are as follows:
1. Offering an advantage to a public Officer.
2. Attempting to induce a public officer to perform his or her functions corruptly in order for the five judges to rule in favour of Former President Peter Mutharika.
3. Attempting to induce a public Officer to abuse his office.
4. Offering an advantage to a public officer.
5. Attempting to induce a Public Officer to perform his duties corruptly.
6. Attempting to induce a public officer to abuse his office.

During the previous hearings, the accused pleaded not guilty and the state paraded six witnesses.

Meanwhile, the court has settled for 11 May, 2021 as in between the defense will be seeking direction on whether or not he will give evidence or exercise his right to remain silent.

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South Sudan Gov’t Lifts Partial Lockdown
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Kiir was vaccinated at his official residence

Juba – South Sudan’s National Taskforce on Covid 19 has lifted the partial lockdown after the vaccine roll out a weeks ago.

The country’s health ministry said it has vaccinated 947 health workers with the AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19.

Of recent, some health experts advised the body to cautiously lift the partial lockdown amidst a decline in cases in recent weeks.

The strict measures to contain the spread of the virus were issued in early February and extended last month.

In February, The taskforce chairman Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi had ordered for a shutdown of all businesses except for those dealing in essential services like food, medicines, and fuel.

The public was required to adhere to the mandatory wearing of facemasks, social distancing, and hand washing.

The Taskforce Abdelbagi also directed law enforcement agencies to enforce the order.

The lockdown measures that were imposed earlier were poorly followed as public transport vehicles maintained their full capacity and other businesses, including night clubs, continued to operate.

 The partial lockdown measures elapsed on April 4, but there had been no official communication on whether to extend or remove the ban until Wednesday.

In a statement, Vice president for services, Abdelbagi, also the chairperson of the taskforce, says the move was reached following a decrease in Covid-19 infection rates, while lifted the national partial lockdown with immediate effect saying there was a significant reduction in infections.

“After a thorough consultation with stakeholders, it gives me a great pleasure to announce lifting of the COVID-19 partial lockdown that its effectiveness expired on 4th April 2021, following a decrease in Covid-19 infection rate as the National Laboratory announced,” said Abdelbagi.

“Meanwhile, the public is hereby cautioned to continue to observe the instructions of the health authorities particularly washing hands, the mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, avoiding crowded places, and reporting all suspected cases by calling the free toll number 666,” he added. 

President, however, urges the public to strictly follow the Country’s Covid-19 guidelines to prevent further spreading of the virus.

On Wednesday, the country’s health ministry confirmed 11 new cases with 10,416 accumulative figures and 114 death.

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AWF and Nature’s Best Photography Announce the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards Call for Entries
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Mkapa Photography Awards Entrants have the opportunity to win cash, prizes, and awards totaling $30,000 USD
AWF CEO, Kaddu Sebunya, during his address at the launch of the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) ( and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) have announced the official “Call for Entries” for the the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards. Competition participants will have through June 18, 2021 to submit photos for consideration by a panel of judges. Professional, Amateur, and Youth (18 and younger) photographers from Africa and across the globe are invited to enter the competition. The results are scheduled to be revealed at an awards ceremony in November 2021.

Named to honor the late, iconic African leader and former Tanzanian President, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, this new competition recognizes his leadership in conservation, education, and his passionate support for AWF programs. To help celebrate World Wildlife Day, AWF and Nature’s Best launched the awards as a pre-cursor to the 60th Anniversary of AWF later this year.

Speaking from the launch event last month from AWF HQ in Nairobi, Kenya, AWF CEO, Kaddu Sebunya said, “We value innovation and technological mechanisms. Mechanisms that can scale up AWF’s work and impact, like digital technologies that can create new experiences by more directly connecting people to wild lands and wildlife. Breaking degrees of separation between people and nature and creating ownership, transparency, demonstrated impact, and personalization. This is what the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards is all about.”

Bringing Africa to the World and the World to Africa” defines the global competition geared towards creating a platform for Africans to embrace conservation through photography and to value the beauty of its nature.

In line with AWF’s mission to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa and Nature’s Best’s to celebrate the natural world through the art of photography and visual storytelling, the competition’s goal is to engage, involve, and attract photographers at all levels of expertise, while encouraging young talent to become advocates for generational behavioral change towards wildlife conservation. 

Mrs Anna Mkapa, wife to the late Benjamin Mkapa, during her address at the launch of the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards

The Grand Prize Winner will be awarded $5,000 USD, an interview and portfolio in Nature’s Best Photography magazine; and publication in a special edition of Nature’s Best devoted to the Mkapa Photography Awards. The category Winners will each be awarded $1,000 USD and will be featured in Nature’s Best special edition. Plus, there will be two overall Youth Winners: one African-based and one Global Winner.

The competition will enhance the visibility of African wildlife through the following categories: African Wildlife Behavior, African Wildlife Portraits, Wildlife at Risk, Fragile Wilderness, African Conservation Heroes, Wildlife in Modern Africa: Coexistence And Conflict, Art in Nature, African Wildlife Backyards, Mobile, and through the Africa in Motion/Video category, participants will be able to submit footage of natural wildlife behavior and outdoor experiences in wild lands. 

In further elaboration of the new awards, Nature’s Best Photography President, Stephen Freligh, says, “Through my 40 years as a publisher of photographic works, I have personally witnessed the positive impact of combining the creative and documentary talents of professional, amateur, and youth photographers alike. Their memories are our new discoveries, and their stories are the window to the wild.”

Learn more at

About Nature’s Best Photography:
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) was founded to inspire, educate, and motivate a better understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the art of photography, storytelling, and personal wellness initiatives. This dynamic public engagement platform has produced award-winning publications, large-format print exhibitions, multimedia televised presentations, and prestigious museum events hosted around the globe.

About African Wildlife Foundation:
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

*SOURCE The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF

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Environmentalists Take On Museveni and Suluhu Hassan over East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

building the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline in the midst of a climate emergency is a terrible development that must be stopped , activists charge in open letter.

Dear Presidents Museveni and Suluhu Hassan

By Vanessa Nakate & Landry Ninteretse*

Landry Ninteretse, Regional Director

As you were signing the long-awaited contract that will finally allow the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline – African longest crude oil pipeline – hundreds of young people, activists, environmentalists and ordinary citizens from all over the world, including representatives from East Africa, were gathered online for workshops, panels and discussions focused on a just and sustainable recovery not only from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also from the climate crisis and other multiple socio-economic injustices facing our communities, particularly in southern countries.

The three agreements you signed with the French oil companies Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation pave the way for the construction of the pipeline that will run through a number of sensitive biodiversity areas and wetlands of designated international importance in your countries. You were delighted with this progress described as “the core of bigger developments ” and even invited neighboring countries to use the pipeline.

As East African citizens and climate activists, it is our duty to share with you and with the public our regrets and deepest concerns that these oil projects and the linked pipeline are going to have on our communities, our ecosystems, our climate as well as our future as a regional block with a common and shared destiny. You may have heard these concerns before but we thought they are worth raising again at this particular moment when the launching seems imminent.

A project with multiple dire social, economic and environmental impacts

Firstly, the construction of a 1,443 km long heated pipeline that crosses several villages and towns in both Uganda and Tanzania will have – and is already having – enormous consequences on local populations. Most of the communities affected by Total’s projects have clearly indicated that they are not actually free to use the land as they wish. Such restrictions on rural and farmers communities have dire effects on their livelihoods, and consequently, on their right to food, education and health. Put simply, this project is undermining the well-being of over 80,000 people in both countries.

Secondly, the pipeline poses significant risks to critical water sources, wetlands and several rivers in both countries.  Approximately 460 km of the pipeline will be within the freshwater basin of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, which directly supports the livelihoods of more than 40 million people in the region. What would happen to such people in a likely scenario of oil spills? Are both countries well equipped to handle such disasters and to prevent pollution and ensure clean water access to such a large population?

Thirdly, the pipeline clearly threatens one of the most ecologically diverse and wildlife-rich regions of the world. This is a region home to a number of unique, iconic and endangered animals which have been attracting thousands of tourists. What would happen to the local tourism industry, a source of livelihood to thousands in both countries? Will all of them be employed by the oil projects? What are the mitigation measures in place to address the strong potential loss of jobs in the tourism sector and the related local socio-economic sectors?

Fourthly, allow us the opportunity to remind you that the project is estimated to generate over 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year. This is an unimaginable prospect as the scientific community, as well as world leaders have agreed that all new fossil fuels must be kept in  the ground if we are to reach the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement you have adhered to in order to avoid further catastrophic climate change.

Though the East African region, and Africa at large bear the least responsibility for rising emissions, this shouldn’t serve as an excuse to add tons of extra millions tons of carbon emissions yearly. As the wiseman said, every adversity contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. Today’s climate challenge and associated crisis should be seen as a golden opportunity for Africa to develop in a way that is truly fair and sustainable and that prioritises the interests and well-being and future of its youthful population. Uganda, Tanzania and many other African nations are blessed with abundant sources of energy that are clean and green that can satisfy its current and future energy needs while creating thousands of jobs.

Do you know who you are dealing with?

As we conclude this letter, allow us to highlight a few facts about Total, the largest shareholder of the deals recently concluded. This is a multinational which has been behind some of gravest environmental degradation and several human rights violations in Africa and beyond. From Algeria to Cameroon, from Libya, Angola to Nigeria. Total is gradually withdrawing from Central and West Africa over the depletion of resources and now extending its operations in Eastern and Southern Africa. We don’t want to see our dear region transformed into another Niger Delta in the name of oil business.

In the specific case of EACOP, Total has failed to respond to the urgent needs of affected communities and repeated alerts from civil society and claimed to have plans to ‘avoid, minimise, mitigate or compensate potential risks or threats to the environment and people’ as part of its greenwashing communication that you should be aware of. The oil giant is facing a legal action in France based on the law on the duty of vigilance of multinationals, in order to force it to develop and effectively implement adequate measures capable of putting an end to the violations of human rights and prevent future violations as well as irreversible damage to the environment and climate.

Your Excellencies, building the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline in the midst of a climate emergency is a terrible development that must be stopped. No responsible government or ethical financial institution or operator should venture into such deadly business at this stage. We sincerely hope you will reconsider this ill advised project which is likely to benefit only Total and CNOOCat the expense of local communities hardly hit by the effects of climate crisis and pandemic.

Yours sincerely.
Vanessa Nakate, Climate Activist, Founder of RiseUp Movement
Landry Ninteretse, Regional Director


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The Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) Launches Inaugural Awards for Disease Elimination
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

New Abu Dhabi-based global health Institute launches its first disease elimination awards; 5 awards of up to USD200,000 each

The Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) , a new Abu Dhabi-based global health Institute focused on eliminating infectious diseases of poverty, has launched The Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination, in a drive to discover and implement innovative approaches to disease elimination.

Founded in 2019 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GLIDE identifies the latest scientific, cultural, and global health knowledge and puts it into action with partners through programmes to advance disease elimination.

The Falcon Awards, which open for submissions online on 4th May 2021, invites Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), philanthropic foundations, coalitions or networks of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academic or research institutions, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and public or private sector institutions in endemic countries to submit proposals that aim to accelerate the elimination of one or more of GLIDE’s four focus diseases: malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis.

GLIDE is particularly seeking proposals which address cross-border, cross-disease, cross-programme, or cross-sector approaches to disease elimination. Submissions should focus on the implementation of innovative ideas and established research which has a high potential to be catalytic, transformational, or genuinely novel in approach, or on operational research with prospects to provide solutions to existing disease elimination challenges.

Simon Bland, Chief Executive Officer of GLIDE, commented: “At GLIDE, we firmly believe in an integrated and collaborative approach to tackling infectious diseases of poverty. The Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination will help advance and amplify these efforts.”

Five winners will be announced later this year following a thorough evaluation by a jury panel comprised of esteemed global health experts. Each winner will receive a sum of up to USD200,000 to fund and implement their unique solutions to disease elimination.

For more information on The Falcon Awards and how to enter, please visit:

The Falcon Awards – key dates

  • 4th May 2021: Applications open
  • 13th June 2021: Deadline for submissions
  • November – December 2021: Winners announced

About GLIDE:
GLIDE is a new global health Institute, rooted in Abu Dhabi, focused on accelerating the elimination of four preventable diseases of poverty: currently malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and river blindness, by 2030 and beyond. Founded in 2019 as the result of a collaboration between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GLIDE identifies the latest scientific, cultural, and global health knowledge and puts it into action with its partners through programmes, funding, and skills development to support local health care systems and advance global thinking.

For more information, please visit:

*SOURCE The Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE)

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies plan to launch media recognition of “Mask Up With Care” to mark “World Health Day“ 2021 for enhancing COVID 19 awareness
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Merck Foundation, year to date, in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministers of Health, have provided for more than 1100 doctors from 42 Countries with 1 & 2 year speciality scholarship to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship Alumni

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, mark ‘World Health Day’ 2021 together with 19 African First Ladies by starting the “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards for African Media Representatives for advancing Community awareness about coronavirus.

The awards are also announced for Media Representatives from Latin American and Asian Countries. The theme of the awards is to raise awareness on how to adapt best protection measures such as wearing your masks to show you care and love your family & community; to encourage your community to choose to vaccinate when it is available and to sensitize them to support healthcare workers who are at the forefront of COVID 19 pandemic.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “After the huge success of our ‘Stay at hone Awards’ Media Recognition Awards 2020 and receiving more than 1000 applications and announcing more than 90 winners across Africa, Asia and Latin America. I’d like to encourage media to apply for “Mask Up with Care” Media Recognition Awards These Media Recognition Awards will encourage media to sensitize our communities. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will also contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high-quality, respectful treatment and care. Also, it will enhance their great efforts in leading community dialogue to address fears and questions. Looking forward to valuable inputs from all media representatives”.

Merck Foundation has been actively raising awareness on sensitive health issues like infertility and eliminating its stigma. Merck Foundation has also raced to respond to coronavirus pandemic, in partnership with 18 African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information and Education through various programs and activities.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej further elaborated, “As the world marks World Health Day, our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event COVID 19, which has highlighted that access to healthcare is unequal. In accordance with this year’s theme ‘Building a Fairer, Healthier World for Everyone’, we at Merck Foundation are committed towards providing access to quality and equitable healthcare solution by providing for more than 1100 Doctors from 42 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with one & two-year speciality training in multiple fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology & Fertility speciality, to be the first in their countries”.

“Furthermore, Merck Foundation together with African First Ladies started the process of providing scholarships for local doctors, of new medical underserved specialities such as; Urology, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, Pain Management, Dermatology, Neonatal, Paediatric Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Surgery Trauma and Orthopedic, Mental Health and Psychiatry and more. We are looking forward to receiving applications from doctors in underserved communities on our email:” Dr. Kelej added.

“At Merck Foundation, we appreciate all the healthcare workers around the world who are on the frontline working towards containing this pandemic. Let us all work together towards a healthier and fairer world” said Dr. Kelej.

About Merck Foundation community support during coronavirus pandemic;
Merck Foundation made Community donations to support the livelihood of thousands of women, casual workers and persons living with disabilities, affected by Coronavirus lockdown in the following countries in partnership with their First Ladies; Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Niger, Malawi, Liberia, Ghana, The Gambia, DR Congo, Burkina Faso and Burundi. Merck Foundation also undertook a similar relief activity in Egypt.

Merck Foundation launched Stay at Home Media Recognition Awards to help raise awareness about COVID 19, and also released a storybook “Make the Right Choice” to sensitize children and youth on how to keep healthy and safe during COVID 19 pandemic across Africa.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation also created an inspiring pan African song called ‘My White Army’ which aimed to thank the doctors and nurses fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus battle, who are risking exposure to the virus so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy. “This song is my personal contribution to COVID-19 response, I appreciate and salute all front line workers- doctors, nurses and health workers, for their selfless act during the COVID 19 pandemic” concluded Dr. Kelej.

Listen to the song by clicking here

Details of the Merck Foundation “MASK UP WITH CARE” Media Recognition Awards 2021:

Who can apply:
Journalists from Print, Radio, Online, and Multimedia platforms from the following groups:

  1. Southern African Countries
  2. West African Countries
  3. East African Countries
  4. African French Speaking Countries
  5. African Portuguese Speaking Countries
  6. Latin American Countries
  7. Asian Countries

How to Apply:

Entries can be submitted via email to:

The Subject line of the mail should mention: Merck Foundation “MASK UP WITH CARE” Media Recognition Awards 2021

Please specify your name, country, category of application, and contact details in the mail.

Categories and Prize Money for each group:

CategoriesPrint MediaOnline MediaRadioMultimedia
Prize MoneyUSD 500USD 500USD 500USD 500

About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website

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New leadership and energy sector restructuring is expected to boost energy investments into Niger
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Newly elected President, H. E Mohamed Bazoum who took office on 02 April, has wasted no time in naming a new cabinet which is already at work

By Verner Ayukegba*

Niger has once again demarcated itself in the region by overseeing yet another peaceful and democratic transition of power. This transition, which was unanimously acclaimed globally and largely accepted by all political forces in the country, sets a strong foundation for the long-awaited inflow of investments into Niger’s promising energy sector and overall economic revival.

Newly elected President, H. E Mohamed Bazoum who took office on 02 April, has wasted no time in naming a new cabinet which is already at work. The petroleum portfolio, which is expected to become the driving force for growth in the coming decades, has been merged with the energy portfolio and entrusted to Harvard trained Sani Issoufou Mahamadou. A strong proponent of growing Niger through the development of its huge energy resources, H.E Sani Issoufou Mahamadou is expected to immediately focus on the realisation of a 2,000-km, USD 4.5 billion crude oil pipeline linking Niger’s prolific Agadem Rift Basin to the Beninese coast. The pipeline is expected to have a capacity of 90,000 barrels per day when it is completed by 2023 (est.). It will enable Niger’s daily crude production to rise from currently 20,000 barrels to 110,000 barrels per day, making Niger a key gateway to the much-touted resource rich but largely unexplored Sahel region. International Major, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is currently the main operator and sole producer in the Agadem region. It is also the lead developer of the Niger-Benin pipeline which is expected to boost jobs and revenues throughout its construction and the operation of the pipeline.

The pipeline is also likely to trigger additional investment into exploration and drilling in Niger, which now represents a proven petroleum system. Additional recent discoveries from British independent Savannah Energy estimated to hold hundreds of millions of barrels of oil to only increase interest in Niger as one of Africa’s next oil frontiers. Savannah Energy holds several permits in the prolific Agadem Rift Basim. “We are very excited about our assets in Niger and are currently exploring a number of development options” said Yacine Wafy, Vice President for West Africa at Savannah Energy PLC. “We are also extremely encouraged by initial discussions we have had with the new administration, and look forward to a fruitful collaboration”, Mr. Wafy added.

Niger’s government is eager to attract more explorers with proven track records to take advantage of its well understood and technically low risk petroleum basins. Exploration in Niger, also comes at a significantly lower cost when compared to other frontiers globally. Minister Mahamadou has already hinted, at a review of the existing operating environment, with the promise to make improvements where needed.

Niger is also appealing to proven service companies, that will bring expertise, skills, training, technology and finance solutions to the many opportunities that the energy sector in general offers. This will lead to the development of skills amongst Niger’s youth, good paying jobs and quality employment in the sector. The people of Niger and their development must remain at the centre of the energy industry’s development. The industry must accept this and seek to build partnerships with Nigerien entrepreneurs that are mutually beneficial and ensure that a substantial amount of industry profits remain in Niger.

Another key focus of the minister is expected to be a push to increase access to power for Niger’s predominantly youthful population from currently over 16% to 80% by 2035. Of particular focus, are Niger’s rural areas which have power access levels of less than 5%. Many of the power projects envisaged, are expected to be solar mini-grids, taking advantage of Niger’s abundance of sunlight throughout the year.

Independent power projects targeted at developing Niger’s equally promising but largely underexplored mining potential also present an interesting opportunity for investors. “We have been following the developments in Niger and are extremely excited about the possibilities that the power sector offers, especially where there is a commercially viable off-taker for that power”, said Mr. Karl Rheinberger, Senior Managing Director at Frankfurt based Emerging Energy Corporation AG which specialises in investing in energy sector deals in Africa.

Affordable and reliable energy are at the core of development. Niger’s government’s ability to provide these, both to industry and to its population will determine its ability to lift vast sections of its populations out of poverty. Expected revenue from the production of hydrocarbons is also going to be key in providing much needed revenue for development.

* Senior Vice President of the African Energy Chamber. Source African Energy Chamber

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The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business announce major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The MoU will seek to accelerate Canada-Kenya trade and investment, following initial discussion last year in Nairobi
Caroline Kariuki Source USIU Africa

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance and The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business ( are proud to announce collaboration to promote, support and facilitate bilateral trade and investment opportunities from Canada into Kenya.

The first engagement will be a virtual trade mission to Kenya from Canada in May.

The 3-year agreement MoU was signed today during the Second Session of the Binational Commission meeting between the Governments of Kenya and Canada – and is subject to ongoing renewal.

“This MoU will solidify the existing trade relations between Kenya and Canada and establish strong bonds between the two countries that will go a long way to boost private sector trade and investment. The MOU will also enable us to exchange business information with CACB which is critical especially to our members who wish to expand their coverage to international market,” explained Ms. Carole Kariuki Karuga, KEPSA CEO.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance is the apex body of private sector in Kenya.

The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business is a 27-years old organization committed to accelerating trade, business and investment between Canada and Africa.

‘Nairobi is a vital gateway not just to Kenya and the region, but the continent’s economies of the future in Africa,’ noted Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

‘KEPSA is world leader in the private sector, showcasing excellence on the global stage. This MoU is a great honour for The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business, our leadership, and all our members across Canada,’ says Deepak Dave, the organization’s long-standing representative in Nairobi and Chief Risk Officer at the African Trade Insurance Agency.

‘The joint intended results of the co-operation agreement between CACB and KEPSA seeks to increase two-way trade and investment between Canada and Kenya in all sectors – while laying the foundations to explore trade missions to Kenya by The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and to Canada by KEPSA,’ said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Chair of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

Guided by this MOU, CACB and KEPSA will work together towards on a case-by-case basis exploring events together, exchange of business information and reciprocity members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance to enjoy the privileges of membership afforded to CACB members, and to ensure KEPSA members are well-positioned in the Canadian market for investment and trade in all sectors and that CACB members are well-positioned in the Kenyan market for investment and trade in all sectors.

“As KEPSA, we remain committed to establishing progressive business and trade partnerships with Canada and other similar minded parties for a mutual benefit of our members as well as those of our CACB counterparts,” said Ms. Carole Kariuki Karuga, KEPSA CEO.

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Circular economy, a pathway to sustainable economic growth in Africa
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Circular practices and policies have been identified as some of the potentials for African economic growth, said Jocelyne Landry Tsonang, a team member of the Africa Circular Economy Network (ACEN).

Speaking during a virtual conference organized by Revolve Circular, Jocelyne said if embraced, a circular economy will ensure more sustainable exploitations of resources by preserving their potential for future generations. It also can improve people, the planet, and profit in industries like agribusiness, construction, textile, energy, transportation, manufacturing, and packaging.

The conference also highlighted challenges hindering the implementation of circular practices in Africa, including the lack of institutional capacity and proper understanding of the concept. Many policy-makers have not yet grasped the various benefits and the scope of Circularity for the continent. There is also the misconception that a circular economy is the same as waste management and recycling, only the last resort.

Another problem is regulatory frameworks that do not exist or are counterproductive and a need to embed circular economy education in curricula and practice it in schools & campuses, which would enable the younger generation to work towards a circular Africa.

At the same time, Revolve Circular, through its President Sören Bauer, revealed that on April 19, 2021, in partnership with Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the Utrecht University, it will be launching Imagine Circularity, the first-ever global survey Initiative engaging citizens and other stakeholders around the world to provide the views, perceptions, and ideas on what the circular economy is.

“The necessary transformation from a linear economy obsessed with an economic growth paradigm to a circular and inclusive society will not happen in well-written reports, press releases or in Zoom meetings,” said Sören.

“In our partnership with REVOLVE Circular we provide expertise from many years of sustainability and circular economy research to ensure the global survey is methodologically strong and captures Circularity in a holistic manner. In addition to a global report, we hope to be able to produce a range of country, city, and industry reports, as many various partners from different countries are already planning to join us in this global effort. We will also use the survey’s findings for producing scientific evidence on how different stakeholders in various world regions and industries understand and perceive the circular economy globally,” said Professor Walter Vermeulen from the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The survey outcome will provide insights on the different understandings and perceptions on the topic among stakeholders and nations.

The initiative will be launched in the English language only, and partners can join it by translating it into their respective languages until November 30, 2021.

However, they can extend the generic survey and adapt it into a culturally customized version for their respective country after November.

Partners worldwide are invited to join Revolve Circular and the Copernicus Institute to bring the global opinion poll to their university, city, country, or industry.

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The family of the ex-US President is mourning again
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

US President Barack Obama speaks with his stepmother Kezia Obama at his swearing in ceremony as the 44th US President at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2009. AFP PHOTO/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

The retired US President Barrack Obama has lost his stepmother Kezia Obama.

The deceased breathed her last on Tuesday night while receiving treatment at a UK hospital, said the family.

Kezia Obama was the first wife to Barack Hussein Obama Senior and the mother to Auma Obama and Malik Obama.

She has been residing in Berkshire, England, since 2011, when she was granted British citizenship.

Kezia’s demise comes barely a month since the former President lost his grandmother, Sarah Obama, who died aged 99 at a Kenyan hospital after a prolonged illness.

Obama eulogized his grandmother as a strong and hard-working person who defied all odds to contribute Obama family’s success.

“My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny. Born in the first quarter of the last century, in Nyanza Province, on the shores of Lake Victoria, she had no formal schooling, and in the ways of her tribe, she was married off to a much older man while only a teen. She would spend the rest of her life in the tiny village of Alego, in a small home built of mud-and thatch brick and without electricity or indoor plumbing. There she raised eight children, tended to her goats and chickens, grew an assortment of crops, and took what the family didn’t use to sell at the local open-air market,” he said in his condolence message.

He continued, “We will miss her dearly, but celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life.”

Kezia died aged 81.

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South Sudan:Central Bank Injects 5M USD Into Market To Stabilize Local Currency, Economy
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Dier Tong Ngor, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan

Juba – South Sudan’s central bank has injected 5 million U.S. dollars into the local market in attempt to stabilize the local pound (SSP) and the country’s economy.

The money will be released every week to normalize the foreign exchange rate in the East Africa’s youngest nation.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Dier Tong Ngor, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS), said they have allocated 3 million dollars to commercial banks and 2 million dollars to forex bureaus in order to stabilize the foreign exchange rate.

“This is the new way we will start to supply the market. We will be supplying an amount of $5 million every week – $ 2 million to forex bureau and $3 million to commercial banks,” Tong told journalists in Juba.
The money were auctioned to 22 commercial banks.

According to the bank’s governor, the move will prevent further depreciation of the South Sudanese pound against the US dollar. It would also have a positive effect on the prices of food and other basic commodities.

“So all in all, we will be supplying an amount of 5 million dollars every week,” said Tong. The allocations are aimed at cushioning the weak pound against the dollar,” said Tong.

“We want to control the excess liquidity in the hands of the public because that is the main thing that affects us and it affects inflation. We feel that the pressure on the pounds is because of excess liquidity in pounds and therefore when we are doing auctions, we are trying to mop up that excess liquidity,” said Tong.

The Governor further said that they will continue with the auctioning of hard currency until the foreign exchange market is developed.

“We will be in this for a long haul, we will do this auction until we develop the foreign exchange market so that the Bank of South Sudan can withdraw from the market-making role and we leave it to banks,” said Tong.
Since December 2020, the Bank of South Sudan says it has auctioned over $30 million to the market.

The bank’s governor insists this move has resulted in the stability of the pounds against the dollar.
1 U.S dollar sells at 195 South Sudanese Pounds as indicated on the Central Bank’s website but in the parallel market, 1 dollar sells at 620 pounds.

Governor Tong believes auctioning of hard currency will counter the black market by strengthening the pound.

“I think it has made an impact because it has at least stabilized the parallel market rated for a number of months now,” said governor.

However, an economist and observers advised the government to stop floating the rate of the currency arguing that it gives room for more speculations in the country. South Sudan’s economy is struggling amid hyperinflation caused by the more than six years of the county’s conflict since December 2013. 

The conflict-affected oil production in the northern oil fields causing a reduction in oil revenue earnings. In addition, COVID-19 and the floods has also impacted the economy affecting both oil and non-oil revenue.

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Former Brazilian bishop says he had death threats from Mozambican government
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Luiz Lisboa, the former bishop of Pemba, has accused the government of Mozambique of making death threats against him.

Lisboa said he was certain it was the government, because the church was the only source of information on the war in Cabo Delgado province, and the government forbade any discussion of the issue, as “they don’t want the country to be talked about badly”.

Lisboa cited the disappearance of a community radio journalist in Cabo Delgado as evidence. Following a meeting with the Pope, he was offered a transfer to Brazil as his life was at risk.

According to Lisboa, the conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado is due to “resources, multinationals and wars”, adding that it was not a religious war but an economic one to control the natural resources in the region, such as gas, gold and rubies.

Lisboa said that the government had neglected the local population and was slow to react to calls for action when warned about groups disrespecting local religious leaders.

The relationship between the multinationals and the region was not good, he added, as they did not follow the law, for example on consulting with the local population, and they caused discontent by expelling people from their land.

In February, the Pope transferred Lisboa from Pemba to a new role as bishop of a diocese in Brazil, and granted him the title of Archbishop. Dom Lisboa has been a prominent voice highlighting the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Cabo Delgado.


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S. Sudan President Kiir Tasks New Army Chief To Reorganize Soldiers, Halt Desertions
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has directed the newly appointed army chief to reorganize the soldiers in order to halt desertions in the military training camps in the East Africa’s youngest nation.

President Kiir appointed Gen. Santino Deng Wol on Saturday to replaced Johnson Juma Okot as the new chief of defense forces.

Gen. Okot was replaced within a year after taking over from former Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak.

Gen. Deng, who was the former South Sudan People Defense Force (SSPDF) deputy chief of defense forces for administration and finance took oath of office on Monday in Juba.

In his remarks, the President and the commander in chief, Kiir instructed General Deng to reorganize the deserted forces.

“You have been brought into this position, and this is a big position among all your peers, because if there are no security forces, there is no security, no army, then there is no nation. You Santino you need to find out what is scattering the soldiers,” President Kiir told the new army chief. “Find it out. You people bring me a big parade and demand money, this is greed for money.”

According to the 2018 peace deal, the peace parties are supposed to unify their forces under one command and transform it into a national army.

There have been several reports  that soldiers are leaving the cantonment sites due to a lack of food, medication and shelter.

The report also said that soldiers are surviving on mangoes after Juba failed to give them food supplies.

In most of the cantonments, there are no vehicles to transport sick soldiers to nearby health facilities.

It’s been two years since the soldiers were assembled at training camps across the country.

Their graduation has been postponed severally due to what the government described as a lack of funds.

Several soldiers had reportedly died while in the training and cantonment camps in Rajaf, Mundri, and other places.

Observers believe the delay to unify and graduate the forces has forced some SSPDF, and ex – rebel soldiers to desert the cantonment sites across the country..

However, the UN have raised concerns that these soldiers could cause insecurity in villages and along the major highways.

Of recently, more than 10 people including foreigners were ambushed, killed and three trucks were set ablaze along major highways in South Sudan.

According to UN, the country’s 2018 peace process remains fragile, despite the parties having registered some positive progress since the formation of the revitalized transitional government of national unity in February 2020.

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Junior Doctors in Sierra Leone go on strike
April 14, 2021 | 1 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Dr. Catherine Jackson- Cole

Junior Doctors Association  in Sierra Leone ( JUDASIL) have started a nation-wide strike action following an assault on one of its members, a female medical doctor, Dr. Catherine Jackson- Cole working at the country’s main referral hospital –Connaught Hospital adding that they demand an immediate resignation of the Chief Medical Officer , the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health including the deputy of Minister of  Health and Sanitation 1 as their members don’t feel safe and confident working with authorities who violate the fundamental human rights of  its people.

According to the release, the junior doctors will be laying down their tools with immediate effect, until appropriate action is taken about the assault and the working environment; the cleaning at Connaught Hospital, the issue of water supply at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital is improved.

“In the early hours of today, 13th April 2021, the executive of Junior doctors’ associations of Sierra Leone was informed about an unfortunate situation at Connaught Hospital where one of its female members was physically assaulted by the permanent Secretary (PS) the chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the deputy Minister of 1 (DM1) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS),’’ the release reads.

According to the junior doctors they saw the assault on one of its member as frustrating and show the continuous disrespect by the officials at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation towards them as medical practitioners across the nation.

Dr. Jackson Cole has been recently vocal highlighting some of the challenges at the country biggest and largest referral hospital including the state owned children’s hospital, the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital through her twitter account which has been trending on different social media platforms including whatsApp drawing the attention of the Bio-led government to take action over the poor system delivery, the lack of infrastructure in the health sector.

“Walking through Connaught corridors and through ward 1 and 3 was I have patients I am shocked that the problem with the mounting filth has been resolved. I am ashamed to work here. No cleaners around because they haven’t been paid,’’ she wrote on her twitter feeds on 12th April 2021.

“The JUDASIL executive and its membership are following the matter keenly. It is worth noting that the said assaulted member has been very dedicated and proactive in discussing matters concerning health care in Sierra Leone. It is important for the public to that despite the deplorable condition and filth at Connaught Hospital and other facilities around the country, doctors have continued to work and serve the public with commitment. It is unfortunate that authorities that should mitigate the filth at the facility are adding salt to the injury,’’ the junior doctors added.

Meanwhile a release on Tuesday signed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby said that the leadership of the Ministry is fully committed to resolving a labour dispute and another incident involving staff of the country’s healthy Ministry.

“The general public and staff of the Ministry are encouraged to remained calm and continue their normal business as these matters are fully investigated to a peaceful and amicable conclusion,’’ the release reads.

“The public will be informed as investigations into all incidents unfold’’

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Kenya impound 39 vehicles ferrying unsafe maize from Uganda
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya is holding 39 lorries arrested while sneaking unsafe maize in the country from Uganda, announced the Ministry of Agriculture.

The said lorries were seized at Busia border point, western Kenya.

The Ministry revealed that unscrupulous traders import the maize through the non-gazetted border points despite the government’s directive that banned maize from Tanzania and Uganda.

While issuing the ban on March 5, 2021, Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) claims the maize from her neighbors is unfit for consumption due to high levels of mycotoxins beyond the maximum required levels of 10 parts per billion.

Police have been deployed at all border points to stop the maize from entering the country.

A stern warning has been issued against the businessmen contravening the government directive, with those caught will be nabbed and charged in the court of law.

“The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) and DCI are on high alert to deal with any corrupt officers and/or traders at border points who shall engage in corrupt practices in exchange for maize entry approval stamps without inspection and verification,” said the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Cereal Millers Association (CMA), on Monday, April 12, said the rise in maize flour is offing due to a shortage of maize occasioned by the ban.

The CMA vehemently opposed the ban, saying there is a lack of coordination and communication between government and regulatory agencies.

“The CMA welcomes the ban on maize that contains aflatoxin levels above the 10 parts per billion (ppb) thresholds but is requesting the government to allow maize that does not breach this level be allowed to avoid a grain shortage,” noted the association.

However, through the Ministry on Tuesday, the government dismiss CMA’s claims saying there is a surplus of 11,807,681 90kg bags expected to last to the end of May 2021, with the price of maize expected to remain stable.

“Currently, the wholesale maize price is averaging Ksh. 2,600 per 90 kg bag, with the highest prices of up to Ksh. 4,392 reported in Garissa county and the lowest prices of Ksh. 1,980 in Laikipia county,” the Ministry reiterated.

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Terrorists in Mozambique are recruiting child soldiers and trafficking women, says OMR
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Insurgents are kidnapping children, turning them into child soldiers and trafficking women abroad, according to Mozambican NGO Observatory of the Rural World (OMR), based on testimonies from 23 women who escaped their kidnappers.

 It says that hundreds of women have been kidnapped and brainwashed, and that the most attractive girls then announce that they have been selected to go and study in Tanzania. In fact, they are moved through trafficking networks that extend into Europe and the Persian Gulf.

The women report seeing children doing military training, some of which have been training for two to three years. One 14-year-old boy is reported as saying that he was happy with his first murder and decapitation.

The insurgents are far more organised than what the media reports, says the study, adding that there are communications specialists, nurses and mechanics, as well as dedicated soldiers.

The insurgency is recruiting people opposed to the state, the report says, arguing that the misbehaviour of government forces and poor treatment of refugees is creating a cycle of violence.

It calls for greater international cooperation to control the border, share information and investigate the insurgents, as well as economic support for the refugees.

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Zimbabwe’s revenue authority to procure US$2m drones to monitor smuggling at ports of entry
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Minister of Finance, Prof. Mthuli Ncube

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) reports that it  will move with speed to procure drones worth an estimated US$2 million that will be used at all ports of entry to reduce smuggling and underhand deals.

 It is reported that plans are also at an advanced stage to place a CCTV camera system at border posts and strategic areas.

 “The CCTV system will be linked to a loss control command centre at ZIMRA head office that will have sight of the footage live feed from the border post. The system is expected to be procured and installed from funding in the 2021 budget,” a spokesperson said.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority says that it continues to enforce controls to avoid importation of restricted or prohibited goods through the Electronic Cargo Tracking system (ECTS).

In 2020, ZIMRA reported that they sealed 35,076 trucks which gave the authority USD$1,083,302.88 in sealing fees while the total revenue from fines stood at USD$216,900.00.

The system uses GPS/GPRS technology for tracking. Electronic seals are affixed to cargo containers, box trucks, soft sided trucks (flat decks with side curtains), tankers, and break bulk (goods under tarpaulin) the electronic seals send regular signals to the control room to show the location of the cargo. The electronic seal connects to the internet and the control room is manned 24 hours a day and relays information of violations to the reaction teams.

On sealing of a truck the driver is required to select a dedicated geo-fenced route to the exit port which is captured in the system. Any diversion from these routes or entry into a restricted zone constitutes a geo fence violation which attracts a US$2000.00 fine. Other violations include unauthorized opening of the seal, tampering with the SIM cards, losing and/or damaging the seal. Reaction Teams may immediately be dispatched or action taken at exit point, depending on nature of violation.

In the future, ZIMRA will submit position papers to ensure the system which was imported will be produced locally in partnership with other domestic players who will be required to benchmark against international best practice and to get international accreditation. Currently the ECTS that ZIMRA uses is from Malaysia and there is a keen interest from the Minister of Finance, Prof. Mthuli Ncube, to have ZIMRA investigate the possibility of a locally produced system.

The aim is to expand the transit economy with Zimbabwe acting as a transit hub in the region together with ensuring Zimbabwe adopts and implements the concept of dry ports in areas such as Makuti and Forbes.

The Ministry of Finance said that it will continue to support and equip ZIMRA to remain vigilant in its mandate of mobilizing financial resources for the nation. ZIMRA has been capacitated and has been supported through the provision of new vehicles for its operations. ZIMRA has recently taken delivery of 20 Landcruisers, 5 Hiace Minibuses and 5 NP300 single curb trucks the total is 30 vehicles.

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New report highlights drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa
April 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

African Climate Reality Project has produced a research report under our their Sink Our CO2 campaign titled :A people-centred approach to managing Africa’s forests as a carbon sink  which reviews the state of Africa’s forests and their carbon stocks, highlighting the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa, and recommends practices and policies to manage forest ecosystems to maximise their capacity as carbon sinks.

 It is reported that the  report can be used  to sensitize communities, host workshops,engaging  elected representatives on how they can best manage their forest ecosystems, and more.

It is reported that climate change is a fundamental threat to global prosperity. Since the Industrial Revolution, human-induced carbon emissions, such as the burning of fossil fuels, have increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by nearly a third, contributing significantly towards the global climate crisis. As atmospheric concentrations of CO2 continue to rise, policy makers have had to explore means not only to reduce emissions, but also to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. One of the ways to achieve this is through the improved management of
ecosystems that behave as carbon sinks.

Between 1960 and 2015, only 44% of anthropogenic (human-induced) carbon emissions were stored in the atmosphere. The remainder was absorbed by the earth’s carbon sinks. Carbon sinks capture atmospheric CO2 and store it in reservoirs such as the ocean, forests, grasslands and soil. Intact forests and tropical forests in particular, play a vital role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis and are considered one of the few natural solutions to curbing climate change. Beyond their role in enhancing resilience to climate change, tropical forests are a source of goods and services that support rural livelihoods, health and safety, and food and energy security.

Until recently, tropical forests were considered robust and stable carbon sinks. However, higher temperatures and increased drought in response to climate change have stunted tree growth, increased tree mortality, and enhanced the risk of wildfires and pest outbreaks in tropical forests. In addition, deforestation and forest degradation around the globe releases more carbon into the atmosphere than the European Union. As such, there is concern that these factors may cumulatively reduce the overall strength of the tropical forest carbon sink and that, if left unaddressed, it may reverse into a source of CO2 in coming years.

Africa is home to around 18% of the world’s tropical forests, which cover approximately 23% of the continent in a band stretching from Senegal on the west coast to Jebel Hantara near Somalia. While 20% of the world’s photosynthesis occurs in African ecosystems, the continent is also responsible for 20% of global land use CO2 emissions from forest degradation and deforestation, with Africa exhibiting the highest loss of forest area in the world.

The report provides an in-depth review of the state and distribution of Africa’s tropical forests and their associated carbon stocks. It highlights the current drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Africa and recommends practices and policies to best manage forest ecosystems in a way that maximises their capacity as a carbon sink.
African governments are urged to adopt and implement these recommendations in their respective countries and to ensure that their sustainable forest management approach has people at its core.

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