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Kenya:Jubilee in Crisis Meeting Amid Party Fallout
July 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto

President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto held a five hour crisis meeting in a move seems to avoid fallout which looms in the ruling party.

Jubilee Party has gone through rough moments since March 9, 2018 when President Kenyatta signed peace deal with the opposition leader Raila Odinga known as “Handshake” following 2017 Elections melee.

Rifts have emerged between leaders from Kenyatta’s backyard and those from Ruto’s over issues of corruption, contraband sugar and the 2022 presidential elections.

Ruto allies are alleged to have sensed a scheme between Kenyatta and Odinga to scuttle his presidential bid. They have appealed to President Kenyatta to revoke the deal he signed with the opposition leader saying it diminishes Ruto’s chances of succeeding him .

“As Jubilee Party from Rift Valley, we are demanding that the handshake thing should come to an end as it is an impediment to bar Ruto from becoming president,” reiterated Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei (Ruto’s staunch supporter).

Two weeks ago Kenyatta called for a lifestyle audit as part of investigations into misuse of public resources, an activity set to begin this month. President said the audit will begin with him, his deputy, Cabinet Secretaries and other Government officials and their family members.

In rejoinder, Ruto’s bigwigs rejected the move saying their leader is being target. They now demand the audit to start from the time Kenya got independent in 1963.

Despite Kenyatta’s brother being linked to the contraband sugar scandal, the president cautioned leaders against politicizing fight against graft. He promised not to protect anybody involved in corruption.

In an attempt to foster unity in his government, Kenyatta and his deputy agreed to have Jubilee Parliamentary Meeting on Tuesday to iron out the differences and development a priority.

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Kenya Opposition ODM Party Regrouping Ahead Of 2022 Elections
July 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

ODM party leader Raila Odinga

ODM party leader Raila Odinga

Kenya’s opposition party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), has laid down strategies to regroup itself ahead of 2022 polls after the bruising 2017 General Elections.

The party led by the opposition leader Raila Odinga last week launched a regrouping initiative called ‘roll call’ through the party Executive Director and Secretary General Oduor Ong’wen and Agnes Zani respectively.

“ODM is the largest party in Africa with over 1.9 million officials from polling stations level to national. The 2017 elections came with waves, storms, and as a responsible party we deemed it right to regroup” reiterated Mr. Ong’wen.

The two party officials have refuted reports saying that their main motive is to counter Deputy President William Ruto heated political tour in the country. They said they aim at unifying the county coordinators with the party officials. They boasted of the massive unity the party enjoys unlike others.

“Some political parties masquerade as political parties only when elections are near but as ODM we have ideologies and manifestoes that even if we did not clinch the presidency, we have our county governments which we want them to implement,” Ong’wen stated.

While addressing Journalists in the Northern part of the country during the meet-officials tour, Party’s Secretary General Agnes Zani said they have met officials from some of their strongholds and looking forward to reach others. Zani maintained that ODM’s fight against injustice is unbeatable.

“ As ODM we have not lost hope even after losing the presidency in the last election and even after the “handshake” between our party leader and President Uhuru Kenyatta. We are still a popular party but our focus is now building bridges and strengthening our party,” said Ms Zani.

The regrouping agenda comes barely a month after Odinga castigated Deputy President Ruto’s cross-country tours in the name of development and instead drumming support for his 2022 presidential bid.

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MAN in Ivory Coast: Official Launch of Vehicle and After-sales Service Distribution by BIA
June 30, 2018 | 0 Comments
  • Friday 29 June 2018: Inauguration in attendance of the  technical adviser from the Minister of Transport of Ivory Coast and the Diplomatic Representatives of the German and Belgian embassies
  • Exclusive MAN import company & distributor in Ivory Coast, BIA represent several premium equipment brands in the following sectors: transport, mining and quarrying, construction and energy production
  • A modern structure, with around 85 employees including over 20 technicians with training and qualifications in respect of the requirements of the mining and construction sectors
  • A dynamic market which requires high-end lorries and reactive after-sales services  
  • Upcoming openings envisaged over 2018: Cameroon and DRC
  • Symbolic delivery of over a hundred MAN trucks to Mota Engil for waste management in the city of Abidjan
  • Scaling: studies, advice, project management
  • On 29 June 2018, MAN and BIA, their exclusive import company in Ivory Coast, officially launched their partnership in this country, under the distinguished patronage of the technical adviser of the Minister of Transports, Mr Amadou Koné and the Ambassadors of Germany and Belgium in Abidjan. For this occasion, over a hundred clients of the mining, transport and logistics domains were invited, including Mota-Engil, who received the first MAN trucks for the city of Abidjan.
    MAN Launch in Ivory Coast: Opening speech from Romain BIA, Managing Director BIA Ivory Coast (PRNewsfoto/BIA Group and MAN Truck & Bus AG)

    MAN Launch in Ivory Coast: Opening speech from Romain BIA, Managing Director BIA Ivory Coast (PRNewsfoto/BIA Group and MAN Truck & Bus AG)

    MAN vehicles are now distributed in Ivory Coast exclusively by BIA Côte d’Ivoire. BIA, with several years of experience in Ivory Coast, are enlarging their portfolio of tropicalised trucks by offering robust TGS-WW-type vehicles and trucks which can carry loads of up to 50 tonnes.

    BIA Côte d’Ivoire are particularly focussed on the provision of an after-sale service for their clients.

    Established in Abidjan since 2012, BIA have premises covering 7000 m2, including a workshop with 8 benches, a spare parts warehouse (manufacturer original parts), a showroom and administrative offices. They also have mobile teams, who travel around the country in their 4×4 and with adapted tooling, can intervene rapidly.

    To mark the occasion, Mr Romain Bia, Chief Executive of BIA Cote d’Ivoire, announced: “We are very pleased and eager to begin this partnership with MAN. This premium German brand offers extremely robust products which respond to the needs of users with heavy applications or who are covering a significant number of kilometres per year. MAN’s industrial trucks series is ideal for BIA’s current offering. The first MAN truck sales in Ivory Coast confirmed for us that these trucks are perfectly suitable for the Ivorian market. Today, the multitude of clients, both current and prospective, confirms the interest in these vehicles.”.

    Mr Adel Lünz, Head of the MAN Importer Center North, West, East and Central Africa, added: “We’re really pleased to welcome BIA as our exclusive import company in Ivory Coast and we know we can count on their teams’ professionalism to rapidly develop sales. This launch is the result of the collaboration between the MAN Center Importer of North, West, East and Central Africa and BIA. Of course, we’re also keen to promote the openings in the six other countries in which BIA is our exclusive partner: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic.”

    During this launch night, Mota-Engil received a symbolic key to celebrate the first MAN garbage collection trucks for the city of Abidjan. The order of 109 TGS-WW-type lorries, 6*4 in 33 tonnes and TGM 4*2 in 18 tonnes, coordinated by MAN’s Big International Accounts department, marks the beginning of a dynamic collaboration in Ivory Coast.

    Following this successful launch, BIA Group are actively envisaging other openings in their MAN vehicle distribution network in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of 2018.

    About BIA Group

    More than 150 customers from the transport and mining sectors attend the event to discover the MAN Trucks designed for Africa (PRNewsfoto/BIA Group and MAN Truck & Bus AG)

    More than 150 customers from the transport and mining sectors attend the event to discover the MAN Trucks designed for Africa (PRNewsfoto/BIA Group and MAN Truck & Bus AG)

    Having been active in the public works and mining sector in Europe and Africa for over 116 years, BIA Group have set up business in over 20 African countries. BIA Group have therefore become an obvious and unavoidable partner in the mining and quarrying, construction, industry and energy sectors.

    To assist their clients in getting the most out of their investments, BIA rely on several axes:

  • Optimisation: financing, new purchases, rental, second-hand purchases
  • Protection: service contracts, technical services and spare parts
  • Performance: training, telematic, fleet management
  • The BIA Group employs over 1300 people around the world, with more than 1000 of these in Africa.
  • About MAN Truck & Bus
  • MAN Truck & Bus are European leaders in the commercial vehicle and transport solutions sector. The group offer their clients a large range of products:
  • Commercial vehicles supporting 3 to 44 tonnes
  • Exceptional transport of payloads up to 250 tonnes.
  • Urban, inter-urban and long-haul buses, manufacture of bus chassis. MAN passenger transport breaks down into two brands: MAN and NEOPLAN (high-end).
  • Vans (TGE)
  • Engines for industrial and marine applications
  • MAN Truck & Bus is a subsidiary of TRATON Group (new name of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, since 20 June 2018) and have over 36,000 employees around the world.
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South Sudan’s President Kiir Declares Permanent Ceasefire
June 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Khartoum

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Khartoum

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has declared a permanent ceasefire across the country in what believed to silent a gun fires, end to the ongoing fighting.

This comes a day after President Kiir and arch-foe rebel leader Machar signed a permanent ceasefire deal on Wednesday in Khartoum, Sudan to take effect within 72 hours, raising hopes of a peace deal between the warring parties.

In a presidential order read out on state-run radio and television on Thursday evening, president Kiir declared a permanent ceasefire throughout the Republic of South Sudan with effect from June 30.

“I do hereby issue this republican order for the declaration of permanent ceasefire with effect from 30th June, 2018 and to continue in full operation permanently until otherwise,”  the order read in party.

However, president Kiir advised the SPLA army to remain vigilant in their defensive positions and to fight only in self-defense in case of an attacks from rebels side.

The South Sudanese leader also ordered his forces to allow unhindered access of humanitarian relief convoys to their targeted destination.

The latest push for peace in South Sudan comes as part of a fresh bid launched by East African leaders with the two fighting factions facing a looming deadline to avert UN sanctions.

Several previous ceasefire agreements since 2014 have been violated.

South Sudan returned to civil war after just two years of her independence from Khartoum regime, over power struggle in ruling party between president Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Machar, a conflict that in its four and half years has killed ten thousands of people and has displaced four million people from their homes.

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Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) announces Mozambique as host of 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit
June 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
CCA President and CEO, Florizelle Liser at a meeting with H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique.

CCA President and CEO, Florizelle Liser at a meeting with H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique.

Washington, DC – June 28, 2018: Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) will hold the 2019 U.S -Africa Business Summit in Maputo, Mozambique. The CCA Summit has been considered the essential conference on U.S.-Africa business and investment since its inception in 1997 and will be in its 12th iteration next year.

After a round of bidding from several African countries, the CCA Board of Directors selected Mozambique to host the 2019 Summit. CCA and Mozambique have a long-standing relationship, working together to grow and enhance the U.S.-Africa economic partnership. Most recently, CCA hosted H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, at the 2017 U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Washington, DC, as well as the Africa Business and Investment Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2018 on the sidelines of the African Union Summit.

During her trip to Mozambique, CCA President and CEO, Florizelle Liser, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, Dean Pittman, met with H.E. President Nyusi. Ms. Liser said, “CCA believes Mozambique is a destination of choice and welcomes Mozambique as host of the 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit.” President Nyusi noted that Mozambique was ready to work with CCA to host a successful Summit.

While in Maputo, Ms. Liser met with Mozambique’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. José Condugua António Pacheco, and Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E. Ragendra de Sousa as well as the Interministerial Commission, which is working to ensure a successful Summit.  Ms. Liser also met with key private sector stakeholders in a meeting with Confederação das Associações Económicas de Moçambique (CTA) – Mozambique’s umbrella business association.

Over the last 20 years, CCA has hosted more than 40 U.S and African Heads of State and over 13,300 participants at its Summits. Starting with the 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit, CCA will begin to hold its biennial Summits annually. As the U.S.-Africa business and investment landscape is rapidly evolving, CCA is making this strategic move with the aim of providing CCA members, investors, and key U.S.-Africa business stakeholders with the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest developments in business and investment across the continent.

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit serves as a platform for African and U.S. private sector and government representatives to engage on key sectors including agribusiness, energy, health, infrastructure, trade facilitation, ICT and finance; network with key private sector and government officials; explore new business opportunities, meet potential business partners; and forge new business deals.

The Corporate Council on Africa’s 12th U.S.-Africa Business Summit will be hosted in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2019.

About Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)

Corporate Council on Africa is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa. CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S. and African firms. Learn more at www.corporatecouncilonafrica.com

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ICC picks Ghana’s Marietta Brew
June 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Marietta -Brew

Marietta -Brew

Ghana’s former Attorney General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong has been appointed as a member of the International Court of Arbitration.

Her appointment takes effect from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021, the appointment letter signed by Alexis Mourre, President
 of ICC International Court of Arbitration said.

“I am delighted that you have agreed to serve as part of the 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2021 term of office; the inauguration of this revitalized and fully gender-balanced Court opens a promising new chapter in the Court’s history with its largest, most regionally and generationally diverse network of members to date,” the letter read in part.

Below is the appointment letter:

Dear colleague,

Paris, 27 June 2018

I am writing to congratulate you upon your appointment as a member of the International Court of Arbitration following the ICC World Council meeting which took place in Paris on 21 June 2018.

I am delighted that you have agreed to serve as part of the 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2021 term of office; the inauguration of this revitalized and fully gender-balanced Court opens a promising new chapter in the Court’s history with its largest, most regionally and generationally diverse network of members to date.

In line with the Court’s decision not to permit members to serve for more than two consecutive full terms, close to half of the Court members are new entrants. The new Court is a unique group of outstanding professionals, and it will be a privilege and an honour for me to work with all of you over the next three years. We look to our renewed members to carry forward the Court’s unparalleled institutional knowledge and experience from the current term of office, as well as counting on incoming members to bring fresh enthusiasm and a broad range of new perspectives to the essential work of the Court.

The Court must continue on the path set by its outgoing members, to whom the Court is indebted for their invaluable expertise and input throughout the years, and continue striving to offer global excellence to users worldwide, in particular with respect to the Court’s signature service of award scrutiny. You will have ample opportunity throughout this term of office to contribute first-hand to this unique service by participating in the sessions of the Court and I look forward to counting on your active engagement in this regard. The Court’s success rests on the immense dedication of its members and I am confident that the Court will continue to provide users with a service of the highest quality, helping to secure ICC’s position as the parties’ preferred institution in every continent.

The ICC International Court of Arbitration is a unique organization. It is in fact the only truly global arbitral institution, administering arbitrations from its offices located in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Sao Paolo and Singapore, with a Secretariat able to work in more than 20 different languages and Court members from over 110 different countries.

Before the next term begins, I would like to draw your attention to a change in ICC’s practice with regard to reimbursements for Court members. Up to and including the current term, reimbursements were made biannually to Court members. Please note that as of 1 July 2018 reimbursements will be discontinued due to internal operational reasons.

Court members remain responsible for making their own travel arrangements and any related expenses are not defrayed by ICC. A list of hotels with which ICC has negotiated rates for its members is attached for your reference. We do not offer video link participation for plenary sessions, however remote participation can be arranged for the weekly and special committee meetings of the Court, meaning that members need not systematically travel to Paris in order to be active in the role. Similarly, you are welcome to participate from the Hong Kong, New York, Sao Paolo and Singapore offices whenever convenient.

I attach the 2018 and 2019 Court schedules for your perusal and encourage you to attend regularly. In particular, I draw your attention to the importance of the Working Session which sees the full Court united in Paris once annually. Please mark your diaries as the Working Session provides a unique opportunity for the Court as a whole to discuss matters of ICC Court practice and policy.

In order to schedule your participation in any sessions of the Court, you are invited to contact Francesca Hill Caucat who will be delighted to provide you with all necessary information in relation to the organizational side of your new role and answer any questions you may have in this regard.

If you have not already done so, please verify that you have completed the administrative formalities requested at the stage of your nomination, in particular ensuring that your curriculum vitae and a signed copy of the non-disclosure agreement have been returned to the Secretariat before 1 July 2018.

I look forward to a fruitful collaboration in the coming three-year term and trust that you will make the most of this opportunity both to represent your region at ICC and also to promote ICC in your region.

Yours sincerely,

Alexis Mourre
, President, 
ICC International Court of Arbitration.

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Without Inclusive Dialogue, Cameroon is on the Highway to Civil War- Elie Smith
June 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Inclusive dialogue is part of any feasible solution says Elie Smith

Inclusive dialogue is part of any feasible solution says Elie Smith

The crisis in Cameroon are growing from bad to worse with ordinary masses bearing the brunt, says Journalist Elie Smith. Echoing what others like Justice Ayah Paul have said, Elie Smith says without inclusive dialogue, Cameroon is on the highway to civil war. Known for his unbiased perspectives to national issues, Elie Smith says the government must come to terms with the fact that it is dealing with a new generation of Anglophones resolute in righting historic wrongs and injustices suffered for decades. The solution lies in a sincere dialogue with Anglophones of all sheds and stripes with no taboo subjects, says Smith.

PAV: Elie thanks again for accepting to shed light on the ongoing crisis, where do things stand at the moment with the crisis?

Elie Smith:  The crisis is getting from bad to worst. But those who are the victims are first and foremost the ordinary masses in the two Anglophone regions otherwise known as Southern Cameroon’s.  You have thousands internally displaced people, most of them are now living in the bushes and others have relocated to neighbouring Nigeria in camps run by the UNHCR and Nigerian states, while others are in towns and cities in Anglophone Cameroon and beyond that seems to have a semblance of peace and safety from the Cameroonian security forces, hitherto, the main causes of human rights abuses and lately from the jumble of armed Anglophone nationalist movements.  In this crisis, very little is said about the fate of the elderly, women and children. Most girls are now out of schools and have become vulnerable to all kinds of abuses amongst which, rape is a major issue, sadly under reported.

PAV:There was a statement from one of the SDO from the North West and the fall of a locality under his command, though the statement was disputed, are there areas that the government has completely lost control of and if so which ones do you know from your findings?

Elie Smith:  No territory is the under control of the various armed Anglophone nationalist movements. It is not that, they can’t capture and control large chunk of territory, is just that, they are multiple, disorganized and divided. In short, they are still a bunch of amateurs who are quickly honing their trade as we have noticed recently in direct warfare with regular forces.  But what I have noticed is that, the morale of regular or government forces are down and secondly, in spite the divisions within the armed movements,  they still command and lot of support because government forces are still committing  human right abuses. The reality is that, any part of Anglophone Cameroon can be captured.

PAV: The bilingualism commission tabled a number of proposals to President Biya, what do you make of the discussions that took place during their meetings with people in the North West and South West, and how have people reacted to their recommendations in Cameroon?

Elie Smith:  First there is nothing new. The creation of that commission is an admission of failure and given the fact that, it has only a consultative position, her recommendations however brilliant it might have been is a late recommendation to solve an old problem. They should stop wasting tax-payers monies. The government should have the courage to call a Foumban 2 conference to correct the historic wrongs of the first unification constitution and secure the future.  Justice Ayah Paul has been advocating the need for a second Foumban conference as a panacea to solving the current crisis. If there is no “all inclusive dialogue”, we are on the highway to civil war. Even though I said before that the various armed groups are amateurs and under armed and disorganized, it is just a matter of time before they beef up their weaponry and start confronting the national army eyeball to eyeball. And when that, happens, they will control territory and I began to wonder how reconciliation will be possible at that stage. However, there is still time for things to be corrected.

PAV: We now see a growing number of kidnapped Police and military officials calling on the Biya government to rethink its strategy; do you see this having any impact?

Elie Smith:  Of course the recent spats of kidnapping of Police and military men and women are having an impact on the government and also on the majority Francophones.  For they had long been nourished about the invincibility of the Cameroonians army in general and its US trained elite unit, the BIRs or Rapid Intervention Brigade , in particular. They now have to rethink their strategy in Anglophone Cameroon because the current one of scorched earth policy has failed woefully.

PAV: Why was the government so rattled with statements from the American Ambassador Peter Balerin, what was the drama all about?

Elie Smith: I think the government never expected their friend, the United States to speak the way its ambassador spoke. Remember, the United States has always looked the other way while the government commits human rights abuses not only in Anglophone Cameroon, but first, its operations in the Far North. They have been embolden because, while the United States , especially under the  Obama administration refused to cooperate with the Nigerian government by refusing to sell them weapons because of suspicions that, the Nigerian Army was committing human rights abuses, the same US government was training and arming Cameroon’s elite military force, known as the Rapid Intervention Brigades or the BIR. So, Yaoundé was like the spoiled child of Washington DC under Obama. Its security forces could kill and maim under the guise of fighting against terrorism and they received no rebukes.  And since Frances Cook, all or most US ambassadors after her were kind of speaking from both sides of their mouths. Now, Yaoundé is shocked to find an outspoken ambassador and it is coming at a time when the regime is most vulnerable.  Fanatics of the regime want Biya, who is 86, to run again in the upcoming presidential election, that is why, they were not happy with the declarations of Peter Bellerin. Remember, Washington DC was their moral support when the same US ambassador declared that, those fanning the crisis were the Anglophone Diaspora, they was ululation in Yaoundé, but now that, the same ambassador talks only about legacy, there is wailing  in Yaoundé.

Smith shares the believe that Ayuk Tabe and other arrested leaders are alive .

Smith shares the believe that Ayuk Tabe and other arrested leaders are alive .

PAV: If the government could express such outrage on the Ambassador’s statements, why is it so hard for them to invest the same energy in trying to find solutions for the crisis or at least engaged in broad-based dialogue that many have called for?

Elie Smith: It is beyond comprehension why they will release such energy to denounce their erstwhile friend and not put such in seeking lasting solution to the current. But my humble opinion is that, they are not only overwhelmed but they have exhausted all the options that, they had. The only option that, they have now is to use violence and which is only going to fuel more discontent and also drive a wedge between Cameroonians along colonially inherited  cultures.

PAV: The UK government has been conspicuously silent on the crisis, but a company from there recently signed a lucrative contract to process gas, your take on this.

Elie Smith:  The United Kingdom has always stayed quiet. Remember, in 1992 when the US and Germany were banners upper for the stolen victory of John Fru Ndi to be upheld, the UK simply sent their spies here to find out whether the majority Francophones will accept Anglophone as their President. What I have just said is mentioned clearly in the book: “Dossier Noire sur le Cameroun”, written by Pierre Ella.  The UK is still angry that, Southern Cameroon’s opted to join La Republique instead of doing what part of German Togoland did by joining Ghana. Well as for New Age, I don’t think Her Majesty’s government had anything thing to do with the company coming to Cameroon, especially in west Cameroon.

PAV: In the last couple of weeks, we have seen the major international media outlets like the Guardian and Economist in the UK, and the Washington Post in the USA reporting on the crisis, any comments?

Elie Smith: Well, it is normal. When it bleeds, it leads. The killings in Anglophone Cameroon have reached a point that can’t be hidden from the international community in spite all the gymnastics in denial put in place by the government.

PAV: Any word about Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others arrested in Nigeria are there alive and if so why has the government continued to keep them incommunicado?

Elie Smith:  They are alive. I have heard strange claims recently. It is left to the government to decide when to make them available. But your question is coming at a time when the government has decided that interrogations of 10 of the 47 arrested in Nigeria should start. It began on Monday June 25th. And I hear they all have the right to give the name of a person of their choice to visit them for a period of one month renewable. Now, it is left for the people of the Interim government to decide whether they want to have a formidable legal team that is free from their internal shenanigans, which will lead to the mitigation of their sentences or use them as a bargaining chip for their own political ambitions.

PAV: Taking the killings that took place in Menka as an example , one sees a wide gulf in the way the English media covered it, as opposed to the French media which largely relayed the government side of the story, as a media professional  what do you make of this?

Elie Smith:  Cameroon is officially a bilingual country with English and French, being its official languages, but in reality it is a French-speaking country and there are no other places to prove that, English is not an official language in this country than the judiciary and the Press. The judiciary is pure French-speaking and it will be demonstrated once again as the trial of the 47 starts. The other area is how this crisis is covered by the French language media. They are most supportive of the government partly because most French-speaking journalists and owners of French-language papers are sponsored by the government. And this is where the theory of ownership and control is put into practice. But, it is not a reflection of what most Francophones are thinking.

PAV: As the crisis rage on, so too are the elections approaching, if things continue this way, how will the situation in the North West and South West Regions impact on the elections? Will elections without these two regions be legitimate or will this just cement the broken bonds we see now?

Elie Smith: In my humble opinion elections, can’t take in both North West and south west regions anytime soon. Simply because, the government is not controlling those regions as they would want the world to think. Perhaps they are having control to a certain level of the following areas: Bamenda, Kumba, Buea and Victoria-Limbe. I say perhaps, because, when I am in the latter mentioned localities, you noticed that, there is a kind simmering tension and kind or unofficial cease fear. But if the government goes ahead and oragnises elections, then they will not only disenfranchising the people of both regions, they will be giving a legitimate  arguments to secessionists or restorationists, that, both region variously known as former west Cameroon or former British Southern Cameroon’s is not an integral part of Cameroon. Remember, the argument that the most hardcore Anglophone nationalists have been floating is that, there is no treaty officialising the current Union, which has been trampled upon and strangely the government has never shown any official document that shows that, there was any official union between both Cameroons. Ideally, it would be best for negotiations to start first and concluded before any elections are organized in Cameroon. What I don’t seem understand is why are some candidates eager to run, when they know they won’t be able to campaign in some parts of the country and  will be playing into the hands or to the advantage of the incumbent.

PAV: You have been on TV panels with Messanga  Nyamding , what was he talking when he said Anglophones have a lower intelligence coefficient compared to Francophones, with friends like him and others, many are wondering if President Biya actually needs enemies Elie….

Elie Smith: Sincerely speaking, I don’t know what to say. I think Mr Nyamding can best answer this question. However, my interpretation is this and I have already told him in one of our debates. I think, it is his excessive love or desire to please the President of the Republic and the ruling CPDM that has made him and many other ordinarily brilliant people to ridicule themselves. I once told him in one of our debates on Balafon FM here in Douala, that his behavior was like that of a boy who loves a girl who doesn’t love him. He loves the CPDM, but the CPDM doesn’t love him. Beyond that, Mr Nyamding is a very good man.

U.S Ambassador Peter Balerin in visit to President Biya at the Unity Palace. The ruling seems to be rattled with everything Balerin says

U.S Ambassador Peter Balerin in visit to President Biya at the Unity Palace. The ruling seems to be rattled with everything Balerin says

PAV: Based on the situation on the ground as you see, how does this end, where do the solutions come from and who will the actors be?

Elie Smith:  It will only get worse if the government refuses to see the reality and stop being arrogant and stupid.  The government must understand that, they have for too wrong the Anglophones and now, the new generations who have nothing to lose won’t take what their parents took or accepted from the central government in Yaoundé. The solution lies in a sincere dialogue with Anglophones of all sheds and stripes and all subjects must be put on the table.

PAV:Thanks so much for granting this interview

Elie Smith: It is a pleasure to give me an opportunity to give my humble views on the current political situation prevailing in Cameroon.

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Snapping on safari: 5 tips to get the perfect shot
June 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

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African safaris are the absolute pinnacle of what the natural world has to offer, and it is important to experience every facet of them. You need to make sure you are heading into your safari fully prepared to have the time of your life, and this means knowing what to expect. Yes, almost all safaris you go on are going to be different, but an adventure is half of the fun! What you need to know is what you should be bringing to enhance your safari experience.

It’s fair to say that capturing your adventure through pictures and video is a priceless way to document this amazing journey. There are many reasons why safari photography is so important, and you want to try to see as many amazing creatures as you can, while you still can! As many as 35,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year, and this is the tip of the iceberg! Taking snaps on safari gives you a chance to preserve the majestic beauty of these creatures, so here are 5 tips to get the best shot!

  1. Choose the Right Gear

Forget the term ‘All gear, no idea,’ when it comes to safari photography it is vitally important that you have the right gear. Interchangeable lenses are your friend here because you don’t want to have to be carrying too much stuff around with you. In fact, if you get the chance, you could set up 2 cameras, one with a long lens, and one with a wide lens. This is going to help you capture really crucial moments as soon as they happen, and you don’t have to miss things by switching over lenses. There are plenty of lenses you can choose from, but the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens is considered one of the best choices on the market for capturing safari wildlife.

 

  1. Make Sure You Get the Right Location

It’s all well and good having the best gear money can buy, but if there is nothing to photograph it will all have been in vain. So, you have to think about the best possible location for your safari snaps. Taking a safari in Uganda is a great choice because you have 10 national parks to choose from. But, you might also like to consider South Africa, and, in particular, Madikwe game reserve, where you will have the opportunity to snap the Big 5, over 60 species of mammal, and more than 350 species of stunning bird as well. Getting the right location to allow for excellent safari snaps is so important.

 

  1. Travel Professionally

By this we mean don’t try to organize a budget safari experience yourself. This is something that might save you money, but your experience will certainly suffer as a result. Quality travel advisors arrange private safari tours in exotic places like Tanzania, and these are vital for your photography opportunities. Furthermore, professional guides have a great understanding of the area, and the wildlife, and can ensure you’re in the right place at the right time for the snaps you want.

  1. Light is King

As you will no doubt be aware if you are a hobby photographer, light is crucial for taking the perfect picture. In fact, the perfect time to shoot is considered to be around 2 hours prior to sunset, so you’re going to need to plan your photography session accordingly. Similarly, if you are keen to get some shots of the safe surroundings of the safari camp, it is important to wake as early as you can. Basically, you want to avoid the influence of the Sun too much when you are trying to get the right photos, especially when it comes to the animals.

  1. Patience is Key

Safari photography is a lot like fishing in the sense that you could be out there for hours waiting for just the right shot. It might take a long while to get just a few snaps, but if they are the best possible quality, it will have been worth it. If you’re going to be more patient, you have to make sure you are as comfortable as you can be. This means ensuring you have plenty of fluids and sunblock, and that you’ve brought a hat. You need to be attentive and alert as you wait for the ideal moment, and being more comfortable can help you with that.

These are five of the essentials you need to keep in mind when you want to capture the perfect safari snaps. You have to document your experiences in style, and this is the best way of achieving that. It is so important that you come up with techniques that are going to help you capture the ultimate pictures, and these are 5 things to consider that are going to help you with that.

 

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Djibouti: The inevitable process of upcoming change!
June 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Kadar Abdi Ibrahim*
 DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, June 26, 2018/ — Setting aside all geopolitical and geostrategic considerations, forgetting about the internal struggles at the heart of political power, let us ground ourselves on socio-anthropological realities, much deeper factors, and the significant sources of a change that is rearing its head.

1. From nomadism to modernism: the principle of mental uprooting

Whether having arrived in town recently or a long time ago, save for some very rare exceptions, Djiboutian people are, to some degree or other, the fruit of migratory flows. Historically, the local culture, a river whose path is never calm, is nomadism. Our grandparents and our great grandparents before them were for the most part the nomads who came from the deserted regions of the Horn of Africa. Afterwards, we became city dwellers, closely influenced by this cultural identity and the nomad spirit remains nonetheless highly ingrained in our daily lives and we have become partially adapted to the city codes and ways of life. We are therefore now at a time of transition, half-way between nomads and city dwellers: we’re not exactly nomadic anymore, but we’re not totally modern yet either.

Yet, every changeover in society, particularly the move from nomadism to modernism, brings what we refer to in anthropologic sociology the principle of mental uprooting, which brings, in reaction, a violent transition due to the abrupt change in which this move or transfer takes place. There are ample examples of this and they are needed by those who wish to support this hypothesis by a history that is rich in teachings. The Arab Spring, the textbook example of the bolts and springs of the social dynamic, clearly illustrates the transfer of a peasant society to a modern society.

Whether we desire it or not, for the Djiboutian society this is a preliminary and mandatory process, before the spirit of true statism can run through the people’s veins.

2. A literate society: mass politicization

The Djiboutian society is increasingly literate. This acceleration of the society’s literacy levels and the dynamic this ensues cannot be understood irrespective of the soaring demography the country is experiencing. From this mass literacy, a society is born that is culturally homogenous and with it, the emergence of a new considerable phenomenon: mass politicization, which is one of the most negative reactions any dictatorship can feel.

This mass politicization leads society to want to engage more actively in a country’s political life, and not doubt it, heading towards a demand and thrust for more justice and equality and, accordingly, more democracy.

That would in great part explain the more than 3,000 cases filed with the state party, the RPP, during the last general election in 2018, and the stampede against the opposition for show, which had 7 seats reserved in parliament. This would also explain why the discussions and debates the Djiboutian have on Facebook or Mabraz focus only on the current political context.

3. The demise of the middle class: apparatchik against the people

A close look at the social class structures in Djibouti shows the increasing demise of the middle class, defrauded by the system itself. This missing layer in society, which essentially plays the role of central regulator, makes the balance between the blocks more fragile, as it is altered and considerably threatens the Djiboutian people’s social cohesion by dividing society in two: the apparatchiks and the people. In a country such as ours, where the political leaders are busily building villas for their children, it is commonplace to find young graduates in precarious situations, struggling to make ends meet, and they cannot escape situations of chronic poverty, that come alongside a strong feeling of economic exclusion.

In this way, the times put face to face two social groups: those who wish to “break away”, and those who wish to “remain close”. In other words, the people, in their vast majority poor, against the apparatchiks, who are grossly wealthy. For the former, the operative word is “change” because this group plays naturally the role of vicariant in order to attain new rights or take back what they’ve lost. For the second group, in its role of prevaricator, the operative word is “status quo”, in an instinct to survive and maintain all its privileges, which it deems cannot be sacrificed, those privileges obtained through predatory prevarication.

Henceforth, a conflict is bred between these two groups that refuse any sort of conciliation and above all, no mediation because the state bodies do not seek to reestablish justice of any sort, rather are regulated by the plebeians who live beyond the law and boasting full impunity. Lastly, the disrespect of the plebeians is the extent of the repression of the breeding anger among the destitute. This is the reason why any real conciliation is not possible, due to the single condition that it would represent a change. The arrival of Abiy Ahmed at the helm of Ethiopia illustrates this to perfection.

4. General institutional breakdown: the tribalization of society

A general examination of the administration as well as the whole public institution shows that the Republic is in a position of “Failed State”, an indicator that contains of 12 variables and was developed by the US think tank FUND FOR PEACE. This metastasized breakdown is accelerating at breakneck speed and is particularly driven by the proliferation of corruption and clientelism rooted at the very heart of political power.

Moreover, what can the Court of Auditors do against the atmosphere of opacity at the highest levels of the state? How can they fight the anti-corruption commission when the arrangement of interests is intertwined and interlocked with the highest levels of the state? What independence can a judge have when justice is becoming derelict at the highest levels of the state? What credibility can the government authority enjoy when it sells off passports and documents for thousands of dollars? What journalist in the nation can easily draft an article, not matter how critical it may be, coming from his own research?

This is why the Djiboutian people, who no longer see the reflection of the mysteries of the state or, in sociological terms, the representational conception of the state (a theory that is dear to Mr Foucault), grant public institutions few considerations, at a first stage, and then the notion of state gradually becomes destructured in their consciousness, and is finally callously erased from their minds. Regrettably, this is the complete opposite to the infra-ideology of mentalities with regard to the state developed by the philosopher Pierre Marcherey. Thus, the citizen, who does not find protection from the state, dips his bread inside his tribe. This tribalization in turn develops the division of society into classes with their multiple perverse effects.

In conclusion, the people are not certain they’ll come out of this change as winners, a change that is now inevitable, but the plebeians are almost assured of losing out, as they represent the past and not the future. Edgar Morin wrote “survival is henceforth linked to rebirth, progress to surmounting and development to metamorphosis”. From now on, it’s necessary for the Djiboutian people to manage to reconcile in one single unidirectional movement these three perceptions of change.

*Kadar Abdi Ibrahim is the Communication Manager of the Djiboutian opposition coalition USN (Union for National Salvation) and member of the Executive Committee of MOuvement for Development and Liberty (MoDeL).

 

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UN peacekeeper killed in S. Sudan
June 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – United United peacekeeper has reportedly killed in South Sudan by unknown armed groups.

The UNMISS said its convoy was attacked by armed groups in the Central Equatorian region of South Sudan today while supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid to vulnerable civilians in the areas.

A killed peacekeeper was identified as Bangladeshi peacekeeper, Military Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ashraf Siddiqui, who was part of a convoy led by Nepalese peacekeepers providing protection to humanitarian workers travelling from Yei to Lasu areas.

According to the statement, Lieutenant Commander  Siddiqui was hit by bullet from unknown gunmen and died shortly afterwards from his injuries.  

However, the Nepalese peacekeepers immediately returned fire and the assailants retreated into the forest.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, expressed his deep regret at the tragic loss of life and condemned the actions of the armed group.

“I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of our fellow peacekeeper, Lieutenant Commander Ashraf Siddiqui, who was killed today,” said David Shearer.

“It is a tragedy that he lost his life in such an appalling act of violence while working to help those in need and to protect the lives of others.”

“Peacekeepers and aid workers should be able to carry out their work freely and safely and not be subjected to the kind of senseless attack we have witnessed today.”

Many peacekeepers has been reportedly killed in South Sudan.

This attacks comes as South Sudan President Kiir and his former vice president Dr. Machar, turned rebel in 2013 are in face – face meeting in Khartoum, Sudan in any efforts to ending the four and half conflict, that has killed ten thousands people and displaced 2.5 million people from their homes.

UN mission in South Sudan is hosting thousands of vulnerable civilians’ seeking protection in its base across the country.

President Kiir and rebel leaderMachar signed IGAd broker deal in August 2015 but fragile peace deal collapsed in July 2016, followed renewed deadly fighting between forces loyal to president Kiir and rebel leader Machar at presidential palace in Juba, forced Machar fled a country second time.

This has resulted to formation of rebel factions across the country. Several ceasefire has been signed by the warring parties but break within a day.

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Uganda:Refugees:Mosquito nets distribution timeframe raise concerns among stakeholders in Moyo
June 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY PAUL NIGHT

Officials of Medical Team International demonstrates on how to use the nets during World Refugee Day 2018 at Belameling Primary School.PHOTO BY PAUL NIGHT

Officials of Medical Team International demonstrates on how to use the nets during World Refugee Day 2018 at Belameling Primary School.PHOTO BY PAUL NIGHT

On World Malaria Day, which falls on April 25 every year, Uganda joined other nations across the globe to shine a spotlight on its efforts to combat malaria.

Admittedly, there is still a lot to be done if the disease is to be eradicated in the country, especially in areas where the disease is still endemic, such as the Acholi sub-region, the north eastern region, eastern region and some parts of the central region.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that malaria is still the leading cause of death in Uganda, accounting for over 27% of deaths.

The statistics also show that Uganda has the world’s highest malaria incidence, with a rate of 478 cases per 1,000 populations per year.
Uganda ranks as 6th among African countries with high malaria-related mortality rates.

 

A study published last year by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene showed that malaria is still the major cause of death in Uganda with approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Ugandans dying each year from the disease.

A 2013/2014 report by the parliamentary committee of health showed that 50% of deaths caused by malaria in Uganda are among children below five years.
The Acholi sub-region still bears the harshest brunt of the disease, with the prevalence rates soaring every year.

“Despite being preventable, malaria is one of the primary causes of death in Uganda. The 2014 Malaria Indicator Survey may have shown a reduction in the prevalence rate (42%-19%), but the outlook based on reports from hospitals countrywide remains grim.

There are still many women and young children dying at a high rate due to the disease. That in many ways qualifies the assertion that the disease is still a pandemic in the country,” Dr Steven Luboyera of Hospice Africa asserts.

Medical Team International (MTI), non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian assistants to Refugees at Palorinya Refugee Settlement in Moyo district has expressed fears that one week given by Moyo district Health department to distribute out Mosquitoes nets will be inadequate.

Moyo district health department has directed Medical Team international to implement the distribution activities since last Saturday.

Mr Bernard Amaga, the Public Health officer-MTI told Journalists that the organization urging the district authority to increase more days for the activities to run smooth. “The time line for this activity is short and to me practical it is going to be impossible for us to do accurate work. We are doing everything within a week and this is very hard much as we are confident of achieving the result”, Mr Amaga said

He noted that if the district health department and MTI as implementing partner wanted to do something good there is need to go ahead to increase the number of days. ”We have already wasted one week behind since we should have started with the activities of training of the Task force and other stakeholders”, he noted

Mr Stephen Amoko, the district malaria focal person told daily monitor that there is no more days to be added as requested because all the funds are sealed and Human resource plans are within the settlement. “We are not going to increase any days for this activities and it is a national program which is to be carried within the scheduled timeframe. There is no way of saying this moneys are too much to be handled within one week scope”, Mr Amoko said.

Breakdown of the Fund

The Ministry of health has allocated 127 million shillings for distributing Mosquito nets for refugees at Palorinya refugee settlement and out of that fund 24 million shillings allocated for conducting training for the respective stakeholders and 23 million shillings allocated for registration of households and many others.

By Monday over 100 million shillings meant for conducting the mosquito nets distribution has not been released by the ministry of health to Moyo district health department bank account.

According to Ministry of health Palorinya settlement in Moyo district will receive a total of 102,326 mosquito nets.

 

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Congo Becomes The Newest Member Of OPEC
June 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

On 22 June 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo became the 15th member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC is a grouping of oil-producing countries and it has major influences on the pricing of oil and its related products world over.

The Democratic Republic of Congo had for a long time been considering joining OPEC. Earlier on this year when Equatorial Guinea joined OPEC, the country’s energy minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima said that his country and three others (Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Malaysia) had decided to join OPEC after assessing the power of the organisation not only in influencing global oil prices but also in helping member states to maximise their profits from exporting oil.

The news about Congo joining OPEC came out soon after the end of the 174th Ordinary Meeting of OPEC.

The Minister of Hydrocarbons H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the news in Congo stating that “The Republic of the Congo is thrilled and honoured to be joining OPEC and to do our part to preserve an equilibrium in global oil markets and ensuring a sufficient flow of investments into hydrocarbons.” He went on to state that  “Severe oil market downturns like the one the world experienced recently remind us of the essential role that institutions like OPEC in ensuring stability. We are proud to cooperate with the world’s oil leaders.”

Industry analysts said that the news on Congo joining OPEC does not come as a surprise if one considers the recent developments. Late last year, OPEC called on all member states and also other non-member states but oil producing countries to limit production so as to stabilise prices by preserving an equilibrium in global oil markets in the so-called Declaration of Cooperation. Congo and 10 other non-member states took heed of OPEC’s call and cut their production by as much as 1.8 million barrels of oil per day till the end of the year.

Taking a cue from this, industry analysts say it was just a matter of time before the Congo and the other 10 states joined OPEC as they were facing the same threats from ever rising volatility in oil prices.

The Declaration of Cooperation was a huge success in restoring the vitality of global oil markets and Brent oil prices reaching their highest level this year since 2014.

H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya said that Congo wants to increase its oil production starting this month by 25%. This means that Congo will now start producing 350,000 barrels a day. If Congo manages to produce 350,000 barrels a day as it promises, it will rise to become the third largest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before Congo’s membership was confirmed by the 174th Ordinary Meeting of OPEC, Equatorial Guinea had been the latest African addition to OPEC having joined in May 2017 following in the footsteps of Gabon which had joined OPEC in 2016. As it stands, Chad is the only African country that supported the Declaration of Cooperation that is yet to join OPEC. Of the current 15 member states of OPEC, Africa is represented by seven countries.

Despite Africa now dominating in terms of member states, industry analysts believe that Saudi Arabia and Russia are still the ‘big boys’ in the organisation and it is these two countries that will propose any major decisions to be taken by all other member states. Be that as it may, Congo will still benefit immensely from OPEC.

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