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Cameroon: Gov’t Confirms Death of Journalist Samuel Wazizi
June 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Journalist Wazizi confirmed death by the Cameroon government after being missing for more than 300 days
Journalist Wazizi confirmed death by the Cameroon government after being missing for more than 300 days


Samuel Ebuwe Ajiekia, alias Samuel Wazizi died of SEVERE SEPSIS, and not from any act of torture or physical abuse.  That is the official pronouncement from the government of Cameroon of the death of the renowned Pidgin-English broadcaster.

The Pidgin-English broadcaster who worked for CMTV was known for hosting the programme, “Hala ya Mata”. He was arrested on Friday, August 2, 2019, and had been held incommunicado ever since until the pronouncement of his death.  

In a communiqué dated June 5, 2020, and released by Commander Cyrille Serge Atonfack Guemo, the Head of Communication Division at the Ministry of Defence said upon arriving in Yaounde Samuel Wazizi was feeling sick and was then send to the Military Hospital — Military Region No. 1 in Yaounde for consultation and appropriate care.

Sadly, Wazizi’s health deteriorated as days go by and in the early hours of August 17, 2019, doctors certified him dead at 2:13am. The government’s account went on to indicate that the journalist was seen as a logistician or various terrorist groups operating on the heights of Mountain Lions (Buea).

“The death certificate issued by this hospital clearly stated that Samuel Ebuwe Ajiekia, born on June 6, 1984, in Molyko, died on August 17, 2019, as a result of SEVERE SEPSIS,” Commander Cyrille Serge Atonfack Guemo said.

Sepsis also called septicemia is a medical diagnosis that involves symptoms like fever, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, fatigue, shivering, and mental confusion. 

“It is worth mentioning that the latter (Wazizi) had remained in close contact with his family from Buea to Yaounde, and that even from his sick bed at the Yaounde Military Hospital — Military Region No. 1, he exchanged regularly with several of his relatives.”

News of the alleged death of a popular Buea based journalist “Wazizi” has been received with great consternation from the media family in Cameroon and politicians. Many have been calling for justice to prevail in this death while equally detailing the trying moments journalists are facing and some still being bars without any charge.

His elder brother Henry Abuwe told reporters that the army have never contacted them and that they lastly saw Wazizi on August 7, 2019. “Since they arrested him and took him to the Muea Police station they have never called us or even to get in touch we haven’t had that. If when they took him to the 21st Motorized Infantry Battalion, I went there, and they chased me away saying they do not lock people there,” the elder brother noted.

He went on to recount that: “I was called that Wazizi is in Yaounde, and the place they had put him was not in good condition that I should send 30 thousand FCFA for them to change him from the place. I told them that it is not a problem, but I told them to give Wazizi the phone, so I can talk with him, and even it is 50 thousand FCFA I will send. We have not seen him until now that we know he is dead. They haven’t told us he is dead and to come and take then we refused. Nobody told us where our brother is, even to go and see with our eyes.”

According to media report, the Head of State is to order an investigation into the death of Jounalist Wazizi. This information was made known by the French Ambassador to Cameroon Chris Guilhou after having an audience with Cameroon’s President this June 5, 2020.

“We have been law-abiding taking into consideration that our nation is a state of law, and trusting our judicial system but if people start disappearing then I think we need to take another approach,” Derick Chatou, President of the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (SNJC) told PAV. 

“I have told them that the difference between us and uniform men is that we do not carry guns, but we must work as Cameroonians. Journalists should not be treated as though they have no place to go to,” Chef Paul Kemayang, VP Commonwealth Journalists Association, Africa, and Cameroon chapter President said during a meeting with SW Gov. to demand whereabouts of the journalist. 

“Nobody should bully a journalist because you carry a gun or something otherwise if Cameroon was one country we would have called for a nationwide lockdown of the press. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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Mozambique responds “firmly and courageously” to terrorists, says Nyusi
June 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

The Mozambican armed forces are responding firmly and courageously to the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado and Mozambique will never be divided to satisfy interests alien to the country, said Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.

Speaking in Maputo, at the launch of the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of Mozambican independence, that will be marked on 25 June, Nyusi stressed that “Mozambicans will never allow Mozambique to be divided to satisfy the interests of invaders of any origin and nature”.

He was clearly referring to the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, carried out by a jihadist group that is openly aligned with the international terrorist organisation calling itself “Islamic State”. The last attack was on Thursday.

“From the destructive attacks seen on the ground in Mocimboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe, and now in Macomia it is clear who is destroying and what they have destroyed”, said Nyusi. “But the latest battles waged by the defence and security forces were enormous, and they were very productive”.

However, the terrorists caused serious damage in Macomia. An electricity sub-station was destroyed, cutting off power to all the northern districts of Cabo Delgado. Also reduced to ashes were the district police command, the local health centre, the main market in the town, and the residence of the district administrator.

Defence Minister Jaime Neto said that two top leaders of the islamists were killed. They were both Tanzanians, and one of them had led the first attack against Mocimboa da Praia in October 2017. He put the total number of islamists killed in the Macomia fighting at 78. “Probably they were not expecting this better organisation of our forces”, said Neto.

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Cameroon: #JusticeForWazizi as Journalist Reportedly Killed by Security Forces
June 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

WAZIZI, journalist reportedly killed in the hands of security officers in Cameroon
WAZIZI, journalist reportedly killed in the hands of security officers in Cameroon

The hashtag JusticeForWazizi is the number one trending topic in Cameroon at the moment after confirmed reports from Journalist Associations say Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe, popularly known as “Wazizi” has been allegedly killed in the hands of Cameroon’s security forces.

The Pidgin-English broadcaster who worked for CMTV was known for hosting the programme “Hala ya Mata”. He was arrested on Friday, August 2, 2019, and has been held incommunicado ever since.  

News of the alleged death of a popular Buea based journalist “Wazizi” has been received with great consternation from the media family in Cameroon and politicians. It is still uncertain whether or not the journalist who was arrested last August 2019 is alive or dead, as he has not been seen in public ever since he was arrested.

At the late hours of Tuesday, June 2, 2020, reports were circulating on various social media sites in the country reporting that the journalist had been tortured and ad leading to his death. This information at the time could not be corroborated by the defence counsel handling the case. He like the rest of the Cameroonian journalists has not seen WAZIZI ever since his arrest.

In a tweet from the National Bureau of CAMASEJ, they have confirmed that Wazizi is dead. “He died at the Military Hospital in Yaounde after succumbing to torture. CAMASEJ and SNJC will issue a plan of action later today. Journalists on your marks,” the tweet read. 

To demand action from the authorities in the country, Journalists under the banner of the Cameroon Association of English Journalists (CAMASEJ) Buea Chapter is planning a protest match tomorrow June 4, 2020, from the Buea Independence Square to the Governor’s office to demand answers.

“It is time we all stand together as a people to demand justice for WAZIZI. And all other journalists unjustly incarcerated today and languishing in the dungeons just for doing their job. This is unacceptable! This is intolerable! This jungle justice system of the out-dated regime must be redressed by the people and thus only through civil disobedience, internal and external pressure for a political transition to a new government and a new REPUBLIC,” a statement from Popular Action Party and signed by its national President Njang Denis Tabe read in part.

“We call on all lawyers, civil society organizations, and most especially the community of English speaking journalists to stand to their feet and fight for their rights and the rights of the oppressed people of Cameroon and journalists in particular. Because today it is WAZIZI, tomorrow, YOU may be next.”

Barrister Michelle Ndoki, leader of the Women’s wing of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) wrote: “This is how you know you live under a dictatorship: a journalist is arrested, dies while under custody, and lawyers and family knows almost one year after. This is unbearable and we can’t be asked to continue to bear with.”

“The day will come soon we will all rise as a people against this small tiny group of oppressors. I can see that day coming,” She added

Renowned Human Rights lawyer Barrister Felix Agbor Balla, who himself was arrested by Cameroon’s security forces wrote on Twitter: “What really happened to Samuel Wazizi? We need answers from the government. We say no to impunity and yes to accountability.”

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Guinea:Conde Accused of Falsifying Final Version of New Constitution
June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Alseny Ben Bangoura*

Once a leading political figure in Africa, the ambitions of President Conde to hang onto power have turned him to a pariah
Once a leading political figure in Africa, the ambitions of President Conde to hang onto power have turned him to a pariah

The new Guinean Constitution adopted by a disputed referendum on March 22, 2020 was falsified in its final version published in the Official Journal of the Republic on April 14, according to local experts who recently examined the two versions of the constitution.

In a TV interview last Thursday, May 28, Pepe Koulémou, a Guinean constitutional lawyer, sounded the alarm by revealing that a significant number of articles have been substantially modified in the interest of leader Alpha Condé, who wants to stay in power for life.

“The Draft Constitution made public on December 19, 2019 by the President of the Republic had 18 titles and 161 articles. However, the text of the Constitution published by the Official Journal of the Republic on April 14, 2020 contains 19 titles and 156 articles”, wrote GuiLaw, an online publication dedicated to the rule of law in Guinea, consulted by AlloAfricaNews.

Changes include articles 4, 30, 42, 43, 47, 59, 76, 77, 83, 84, 91, et 92. Experts pointed the finger in particular to article 42 which allows independent candidate to contest a presidential election, without belonging to any political party. This provision was suppressed in the original document, experts said.

While expressing its deep concern, a group of experts is currently seeking explanations on why this constitutional fraud. So far, authorities in Conakry have been silent.

If these accusations of fraud are verified, the 84-year-old Conde has just given a new weapon to his critics. This is the opinion of a retired former Guinean diplomat, who noted, “Since becoming president in 2010, Alpha Condé has consistently violated the constitution. But what he has just done is unprecedented. Neither Bokassa, nor Mobutu nor any other dictator of his rank has ever committed this kind of constitutional crime in my view.”

Sources close to the ruling party are indicating that the Guinean leader is ready to announce his candidacy for a third term this summer. The constitution he has just replaced actually prohibits him from doing so, as the presidential election is supposed to be held in October. The ballot may be postponed, according to several analysts considering possible scenarios.
*The writer is the Editor of AlloAfricaNews

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The “High 5s”: A strategic vision and results that are transforming Africa
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the past ten years, Africa has recorded some of the world’s strongest rates of economic growth. At the same time, many African economies continue to function at well below their full potential. Structural transformation is needed to create more jobs, reduce poverty and accomplish sustainable development objectives.

The African Development Bank’s High 5 priority areas are intended to support African countries’ achievement of the SDGS. They are: Feed Africa; Light up Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the  people of Africa. 

Atta Abdul, Fatima-Zahra, Shuaibu, and Daniel are the faces of a continent that is being transformed. By betting on Africa’s youth, the Bank is banking on the future to make the continent a land of progress, prosperity and hope.

Feed Africa

Since 2015, 74 million Africans have benefited from improved agricultural technologies through the Bank’s efforts to support increased food security on the continent.

In western Mauritania, for example, the Brakna-Ouest irrigation infrastructure improvement project, supported by the Bank in the amount of $12 million, enabled 1 500 farming and livestock-producing families to return to cultivating their fields. 

“We come from a farming and livestock-producing family and we grew up in that environment. Our harvest was very poor. We wanted to move somewhere else,” explains Atta Abdul Seck, a project beneficiary in Louboudou in western Mauritania. “As a farmer’s son,  what I liked most when I returned was being able to continue farming. Farming is in my blood,” he says proudly. 

Light up Africa

Without electricity, agriculture cannot effectively meet the growing challenge of food security in Africa. The Bank has made investment in energy a priority. Since 2016, it has mobilised $12 billion for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority. Through this investment, 13.4 million people have gained access to electricity.

Morocco has made significant progress in widening access to electricity. In just the past twenty years, the electricity system has expanded to cover almost the entire country. The national rural electrification program, supported by the Bank with 155 million euros, has connected nearly 12.8 million Moroccans to the national power grid.

In Dar El Aïn, a village twenty kilometres from Marrakesh, the arrival of electricity has opened new doors for the women of the “Al Amal” cooperative. They use electricity to process their wheat into couscous or create other barley or wheat-based products. “The cooperative processes local crops into added-value products. Now, with electricity, the women are much more efficient, and their products are of better quality. It creates hope,” says Fatima-Zahra, a thirty-year-old member. 

Industrialise Africa

As part of the Bank’s “Industrialise Africa” priority, 9 million people have gained access to private financing. In Nigeria, for instance, where more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture, fluctuating harvests have significant repercussions on yields, income and food security. 

One solution is fertilizer, particularly if locally produced. The Bank provided $100 million to support construction of a modern fertilizer plant in Port Harcourt.

Shuaibu Yusuf, a farmer in his thirties who live near Port Harcourt, has experienced the impact of this project in his daily life. “When I used this fertilizer, I saw the difference. My harvest increased by more than 40 percent. I can feed myself, pay for my children’s education, and even their medical expenses,” he says. “I’m going to encourage my children, my neighbours and members of my community to increase their farming activities so we can all progress together,” Shuaibu continues.

Integrate Africa

To derive more benefit from industrialisation, Africa must become better integrated in terms of trade and markets. Through integration, African countries can gain access to larger markets and thereby increase incomes for millions of residents through new opportunities.

Since 2015, 69 million people have benefited from the Bank’s support for new transport infrastructure that has advanced integration. Gaps in the primary transport corridors have been filled, links between countries have been strengthened, and intra-African trade has been revitalised.

A good example of this is The Nairobi-Addis-Ababa corridor, which received$670 million in Bank financing and which has enhanced the potential for trade and job growth in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Daniel Yatta, a forty-year-old Kenyan lorry driver, has been transporting goods between Nairobi and Addis-Ababa for 15 years, and has seen the new road’s impact on his business. “ Back in the day, it would take more than two weeks to drive between Addis and Nairobi,” he says. The new road has made his life much easier. “With the new road, the trip takes only a few days. With 30 tonnes of freight, it only takes about 24 hours to drive to Addis!” he continues.

Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

An important part of improving living conditions is providing better access to essential services such as health, water and sanitation. Since 2015, Bank-supported projects  have given 43 million people access to water and sanitation

The High 5s’ impact in numbers


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No Governance or Constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group-Board Chair Nialé Kaba
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
There is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group, says Nialé Kaba

Chair of the Bureau of the Board of the African Development Bank Nialé Kaba has thrown cold water on insinuations and media reports of a tense atmosphere at the Bank.

“There is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position,” Kaba says in a statement shared with Pan African Visions.

Seeking  to clear the air with some media reports on the recusal of AFDB Chairman Akinwumi Adesina, Board Chair Kaba says no decision has been taken.

“Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign and all the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue,” Nialé Kaba concludes .

Full Letter below

Communication Regarding the Whistleblowers’ Complaint Against the President of the Bank

The Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank met on Tuesday, 26 May to consider the matter arising from a whistleblowers’ complaint against the President of the Bank, which was dealt with by the Ethics Committee of Board of Directors of the Bank and for which I received letters from some shareholders expressing various views.

Following the meeting, my attention has been drawn to several publications in the national and international press regarding the content of the deliberations of the said meeting, and I am compelled to make clarifications in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

The Bureau, which I chair, wishes to reassure the public that it is seized with the matter and that it is treating it with the utmost seriousness that it deserves. Further, the Bureau informs the public that it has not taken any decision as falsely conveyed in some publications.

I must emphasise that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position.Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign.

All the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue.Chair of the Bureau of the Board

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I maintain my innocence with regards to trumped up allegations-AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina
May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution, says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina
I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution, says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina

Embattled African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina says he is innocent with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn his honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

In press statement shared with Pan African Visions, Dr Adesina a former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria says he has been overwhelmed with support from all over the world and has absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that he leads and its governance systems, rules and procedures .

” I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution,” Adesina says in the statement.

Adesina pledged to keep working with all shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and to ensure that its credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced .

Below is the full statement

Press Statement On Recent News Reports And The African Development Bank

In recent weeks and over the last few days especially, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support received from around the world. I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that I lead and its governance systems, rules and procedures.

In spite of unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation and prejudice the Bank’s governance procedures, I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

I sincerely appreciate the support of the Bank’s shareholders.

At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the Bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive. I draw great inspiration from my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow. As Martin Luther King Jnr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. “

I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.

I will therefore continue to work with each and everyone of our shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfill the mission of our founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.

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Uhuru -Raila Handshake May Have Changed Kenyan Politics For Generations To Come-Political Commentator Samuel Omwenga
May 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Former Lawyer, seasoned Political Commentator, and Digital TV Host says the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga has changed dynamics in Kenyan politics

The impact of the memorable 9 March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta, and his opposition challenger Raila Odinga may changed Kenyan politics for generations to come, says Samuel Omwenga. In an interview to discuss recent developments in Kenya, the former Lawyer, seasoned Political Commentator, and Digital TV Host says something definitely changed and things have been turned upside down in the country for the better.

“More than 2 years later, the handshake is holding and this has not only stabilized the political situation in Kenya, it has the potential of reaching the handshake’s ultimate goal, and that is, removing catalysts for electoral misconduct and disputes, destruction of property, violence and deaths that follow each general circle,” says Mr Omwenga.

Talking about Deputy President Ruto, Mr Omwenga says corruption charges against him are real though the extent may not be fully known yet. Mr Omwenga dissects the complex political equations, and opines that with the impending implementation of BBI, Kenya may  be on the way to finally enjoying the fruits of independence that have eluded the country for decades..

We hear accusations of corruption labelled against Ruto and his associates, are the corruption charges real or just giving a dog a bad name to hang it?

The corruption charges are real, though the extent of the corruption is hard to tell simply because those accused of corruption often find ways to camouflage the corruption or altogether make evidence disappear. For example, the government has reopened a corruption case against the DP going back to 2001 where all these charges started. In that case, Ruto and two co-defendants were charged with fraudulently obtaining Sh272 million from a state corporation by selling it public land.

The case dragged on in the court system for years and was ultimately dismissed for “lack of evidence” The government has now reopened this case as it is believed the dismissal of the case itself was the product of corrupt influence. Ruto’s name has also been linked or mentioned in connection with a number of mega corruption cases and his efforts to downplay those cases has led to conclusions there must be a reason and that can only be it is true he is involved or at least the beneficiary of the proceeds.  

If the corruption charges against Ruto and associates are real, what does it say about the judgement of President Kenyatta, I mean, he picked Ruto as running mate twice , is he not at fault for making a choice of Deputy that he now regrets?

I think the best way to answer this is to say everyone in government has been involved in corruption of one kind or another. There are no saints in government or in politics, except rare unknown players. If they are household name politicians or people in government, you can rest assured they have been involved in some corruption either directly or the indirect beneficiaries of corruption.

So, starting from that perspective, one cannot say this says anything about the judgment of President Uhuru Kenyatta in having Ruto as his running mate in 2013 and 2017. However, it should be noted that what makes Ruto the exception, is because he has amassed so much wealth in the years since becoming DP that can only be possible if one was engaged in the mega corruption he is accused of being engaged in. There is just no other way to explain the wealth.

What options are there for President Kenyatta, does the Law permit him to fire his Deputy in case the relations continue to get frail and Mr Ruto refuses to resign or step down?

Unlike under the old constitution where the president picked his deputy and had the power to fire him at will, the new constitution promulgated in 2010 makes removal of deputy president extremely difficult. For one, the president cannot just fire the DP. The only way a deputy president can be removed from office besides resignation or death, is either by establishing mental incapacity or by impeachment, both of which require legislative action. More significantly, a motion to impeach must be supported by two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and the impeachment charges must be upheld by two-thirds majority in the Senate upon hearings or trial.

It was previously believed these votes were just not there, given inroads Ruto had made in Central Kenya with many MPs there supporting him, but this is now in doubt as Uhuru has been able to easily purge Ruto’s loyalists from their Jubilee party, leading many to believe this belief Ruto had the numbers was a farce propagated by Ruto and his supporters.

Besides accusations and going after what some see as associates of Deputy President Ruto, what palpable results has Kenya seen in the fight against corruption?

The fight against corruption in Kenya has become a cliché. To be sure, there has always been corruption in Kenya since independence, with each successive government announcing various efforts to “fight corruption” only for the corruption to get even worse with each successive government. Kenya, like many other countries in Africa and elsewhere, is breeding ground for “state capture,” which is defined by Catrina Godinho and Lauren Hermanus as “. . . a political-economic project whereby public and private actors collude in establishing clandestine networks that cluster around state institutions in order to accumulate unchecked power, subverting the constitutional state and social contract by operating outside of the realm of public accountability.”

In other words, private individuals and their cohorts in high places in government collude to form a cartel that controls mostly procurement in a manner such that they line their pockets with large sums of money in ways no one outside that cartel would know or even do anything about even if they know. This is the system President Uhuru has been trying to dismantle to no success thus far, and many believe Ruto has been the beneficiary at least until he fell out of Uhuru’s favor.

There have been echoes that opposition leader Raila Odinga is open to joining the government, if this were to happen, what impact will it have on the political dynamics in Kenya?

Raila is effectively in government since his famous handshake with Uhuru back in 2018. Although his primary focus has been spearheading efforts to turn Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) into law, he has no doubt been one of the key advisers of the president at least in as far as handling Ruto and those opposed to BBI goes.

More recently, there has been talk of formalizing his role in government in forming a government of national unity (GNU) but this is now less likely because it would require Raila and ODM being fused into Jubilee, which is an undesirable prospect for many political and practical reasons. As a result, what is likely to happen, is Raila continuing to act as co-president without the title but helping Uhuru accomplish his legacy objectives, some of which overlap with Raila’s own political and party interests. Presently, one of these is making sure Ruto’s power is sufficiently clipped as to not to be an obstacle to BBI implementation or having Uhuru succeeded by someone other than Ruto.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have been moving in sync since the famous handshake. The playbook could help leaders in other African countries to diffuse political tensions, says Samuel Omwenga. Photo credit REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/
President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have been moving in sync since the famous handshake. The playbook could help leaders in other African countries to diffuse political tensions, says Samuel Omwenga. Photo credit REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/

Do you share the view from many other observers that something definitely changed in Kenyan politics following that memorable handshake 9 March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. Raila Odinga, and in follow up to that what lessons do you think African leaders both in power and in the opposition can learn from the détente between these two fierce rivals?

Yes, something certainly changed in Kenyan politics following the memorable handshake of 9 March 2018 between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. Nobody saw that coming even among the closest advisers and insiders of these two men. That is how secretive and monumental the pact was because the men knew the handshake will turn things in the country upside down though for the better as it has.

More than 2 years later, the handshake is holding and this has not only stabilized the political situation in Kenya, it has the potential of reaching the handshake’s ultimate goal, and that is, removing catalysts for electoral misconduct and disputes, destruction of property, violence and deaths that follow each general circle. As things stand now looking ahead, implementation of BBI, which is the byproduct of the handshake is well under way and poised to happen and, when it does, Kenyans can go into the next election circle more confident the elections will be credible and without the disputes, destruction of property, violence and death that would otherwise be lurking to yet again rear their ugly heads.

For this reason, I would say, yes, African leaders both in power and in the opposition should borrow the playbook and apply the same in their respective countries. A key element to note here is, even as this handshake remains intact and BBI is likely to be implemented, what is happening is those in the system are not simply giving up control; rather, they are allowing more inclusivity in the government and that is key because one of the reasons those in power never want to give it up is because they do not wish to give up control. In this setting, they retain control, but power is shared more widely than before. That may be hard to understand but the short of it is, it is better to have that than nothing or status quo.

Mr Kenyatta is approaching the sunset of his second and last term of office as President, how has he fared so far, where has Kenya seen progress and failure under his leadership?

If you ask most Kenyans the question how has Uhuru fared thus far, you will find a surprising answer as those who supported and voted for him twice, will tell you Uhuru has been a total failure and they will throw in a few epithets and insults to make the point while those who did not vote for him and even hated him, now find him acceptable and say he is doing a good job.

The explanation is simple: the handshake and the reason being Raila. It is not possible to go into details here but the short of it is when Uhuru and Ruto joined forces to face Raila in the 2013 elections, they took advantage of dislike and even hatred of Raila in Mt. Kenya region, which is Uhuru’s backyard and demonized him there and a good part of Rift Valley, which is Ruto’s backyard with the promise they elect the duo, power will remain in the two communities for at least another 20 years, with mutual benefit.

It was not the winning formula as neither Uhuru nor Raila had the requisite 50%1 majority vote in the 2013 elections, but putting together the two strange bedfellows and their respective communities gave the system enough votes and cover to rig in Uhuru in the first round of the elections—though I should hasten to add I and others long ago conceded Raila would have likely lost in the second round, had there been a run-off between him and Uhuru as should have been had the constitution been followed, but the system chose to rig Uhuru in therefore doing away with the required runoff.

This, then, became the basis for the two men (Uhuru and Ruto) to have the pact they had to keep the presidency in their respective communities for at least 20 years or “kumi kumi” as they baptized the illegal power grab, meaning 10 years for Uhuru, followed by 10 years by Ruto.

The handshake tossed that agreement out of the window, or shred it to pieces and thus the flip in Uhuru support from those diehards who bought into the kumi kumi nonsense now hating him and calling him names, while those in the opposition and, specifically, supporters of Raila see the handshake as paving the way for Raila to be finally sworn as president.

Objectively, I would say the country’s economy under Uhuru has been nothing but mediocre at best if the comparison is to previous years when the economy was worse but on the political front, the handshake is making it possible for Uhuru to reshape his legacy such that by the time he is done with his two terms, things would have picked up enough to lift his performance to acceptable levels on both fronts, namely, economically and politically.

The wild card here is COVID-19 and the aftermath but, with the handshake in place and Raila being positioned to be a key player in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, things will be far much better than they would be were the handshake not in place.

Mr Raila Odinga has been unsuccessful in previous attempts to seek the top job in Kenya, how are things shaping out for him, could 2022 finally be his year?

Just so it is clear, it is not true that Raila has been “unsuccessful” in his previous attempts to seek the top job in the country; rather, on at least 2 tries, he was successful except the system (those in power) denied him the opportunity to be sworn in after flooring his opponents at the ballot. Given that, the right question to ask is, will he (a) be as successful as in the past come 2022 and (b) will the system allow him to be sworn as president if he is. The answer to the first question is even though Raila remains to be a popular opposition figure, now quasi-in government, his level of support is not at the same level as it was back in 2007 when he clearly won the election, and each election circle since where support is strong but less so than all these other years.

For Raila to win at the ballot as he did previously, he has to be the flagbearer for the grand coalition being formed to take care of and ensure Uhuru’s successor. If he is the flagbearer for that coalition, then it’s hard to imagine how he is not successful and, if he is successful, the system will not prevent him from being sworn because the grand coalition being formed has its blessings, which answers the second part of the question.  

Elections in Kenya are often fraught with tensions, what lessons have been learned over the years and what reforms have been put in place to minimize tensions, and prospects of fraud and violence?

As noted above, the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga was specifically to make sure we no longer have circular disputes, destruction of property, violence, and deaths each election circle. The BBI team was tasked with canvassing the country and gathering views to formulate proposals to make this a reality and what they have proposed is what was in the process of being brought up as a referendum to make it law but the process is halted owing to COVID-19.

The key proposal in BBI that will make a big difference in making elections disputes and violence a thing of the past, is restructuring the Executive branch to allow for sharing of power between the president and a prime minister, rather than having all executive power resting in the president’s office. Kenya has had this power structure before; at independence for a brief period and in 2008 as means of avoiding a civil war following the post-election violence that rocked the nation. However, in both cases, the prime minister was not what is envisioned in BBI. The details of what the new structure would be are yet to be hammered out but, it is expected the PM position will be very powerful position with a weaker presidency and this may end this winner take all associated with the current US-style presidential system.   

President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre), Deputy President William Ruto (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga . Deputy President Ruto may be the big loser in the high stakes political games with corruption charges against him and his associates gaining steam
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre), Deputy President William Ruto (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga . Deputy President Ruto may be the big loser in the high stakes political games with corruption charges against him and his associates gaining steam

What is your take on the way the government of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta has handled the coronavirus pandemic?

Uhuru is certainly doing a far much better job in handling the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya than President Donald Trump is doing for America.

More specifically, actions taken by the Kenya government to strengthen the health system and caring for the infected as well as health policy measures such as promotion and encouragement of social distancing, working from home, travel restrictions, the closure of schools, the suspension of public gatherings, and a nightly curfew have all thus far been effective in keeping the spread of the virus at relatively low rates ditto deaths from the pandemic. However, the poor and most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of these policies as the government is not proving enough assistance to enable them to feed themselves and have access to essentials for their daily living. To compound the problem, it is feared money provided by the World Bank and other sources to combat the pandemic has either been stolen or misused, which is a shame but, nothing surprising at all. The CS for Health has been doing a good job and he promises to make sure all the funds are accounted for, which means if there is any monkey business with it, those culpable will be held responsible.  

We end with a last word from you on the future of Kenya, what makes you hopeful, and what are your fears?

Kenya is a beautiful country with an abundance of natural resources, human capital, and great potential to become an emerging economy. Bad governance, disputed elections and tribalism have all combined to become a roadblock to reaching this utopia. However, I am hopeful with the impending implementation of BBI, we can go over this roadblock and finally get to enjoy the fruits of independence that have eluded us all these decades.

My biggest fear is fear of uncertainty from the pandemic for we truly don’t know how this ends, but  we hope and pray for the best.

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Burundi :Gen Ndayishimiye is new President
May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
General Evariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling CNN-FDD party won presidential elections that were held last week (AP Photo/Berthier Mugiraneza)
General Evariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling CNN-FDD party won presidential elections that were held last week (AP Photo/Berthier Mugiraneza)

The Electoral commission in Burundi has ,  announced that General Evariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling CNN-FDD party won presidential elections that were held last week.

Provisional results show that the 52 old Ndayishimiye, will replace Pierre Nkurunziza who has been in power since 2005.

Ndayishimiye emerged first among seven candidates with 68.72% of the votes, followed by a long time opposition figure, Agathon Rwasa of CNL who got 24.19 %.

Results of parliamentary elections, the ruling party CNDD-FDD scooped 72 seats with 68 % of the votes, CNL got 22.43 % while UPRONA came at third place .

Some observers witnessed violence towards opposition members during recent Burundian elections, where hundreds of CNL supporters were jailed and abused.

Born in Gitega province, the same region as President Nkurunziza, Ndayishimiye has been serving as Secretary General of CNDD-FDD since 2016.

Ndayishimiye is an early recruit of CNDD FDD army wing, a party that was founded in 1994, a year after the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye, the first president of Burundi democratically elected.

He served in various positions in Burundian army , like being appointed as Chief of Military Logistics, Military Assistant to Nkurunziza , Minister of interior among others.

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ON AFRICA DAY, PAN-AFRICANISM AT ALL-TIME HIGH FOR CONTINENT’S YOUTH, NEW SURVEY FINDS
May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

While Africa Day (May 25th), the official day of the African Union (AU) marking intercontinental unity, takes place solemnly in 2020 on the backdrop of the continued outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), a recent study of Africa’s youth has showcased continent-wide resiliency, institutional trust, cohesion and collective ‘Afro-Optimism’ in facing the challenges ahead.

The results of the inaugural ‘African Youth Survey’ , offer hope that through a growing shared identity found within Africa’s young people and their united, unwavering commitment to overcoming the myriad of obstacles confronting the continent, both new and longstanding, the 21st century will assuredly be the African century.

This Pan-African research project was commissioned by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation (IFF) and conducted by PSB Research, in an effort to help develop foundations for a better global understanding of a demographic that is all too often misunderstood. The 2020 African Youth Survey is a comprehensive study of 4,200 men and women aged 18-24 across 14 sub-Saharan nations; Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its findings suggest the continent’s next generation, collectively forming the world’s largest marketplace, bear striking similarities in their pan-African outlook and the willpower to independently determine their own futures.

Nearly eight in ten (76%) polled agreed that young people in Africa share a common identity, brought forth by common culture, shared history and the values epitomized by Nelson Mandela. This speaks to a palpable sense of a pan-African identity amongst this emerging generation, with highest support in West Africa (78%), Southern Africa (77%) and East Africa (69%). Ghana and Kenya are the strongest supporters of the notion (92%). On average, African youth feel more optimistic about the future of the continent than their own country’s future, with Rwanda, Ghana and South Africa being the most optimistic about Africa’s future.

Looking at the factors that will shape Africa’s identity in the future, 21% of African youth predict that war and conflict will have the biggest impact, but two thirds list positive developments as having the biggest impact. These include the digital revolution (16%), increased freedoms (15%), rise in prosperity (15%) and increased equality (13%).

Pan-Africanism is tempered when respondents were asked about their own identity, with around half identifying by their own country first, 17% by Africa, 17% by their tribe, 13% by race and only 2% by political party. In addition, 60% of all respondents agreed that their local language is central to their identity.

The Survey also finds great trust in the continent’s supranational organizations such as the African Union (AU). Seven out of ten (72%) surveyed are confident that the African Union “…in its current form will be able to facilitate unity across the African continent”. Of these respondents, confidence in the AU was found to be highest amongst Rwandans (93%) and Ghanaians (90%).

Although each nation upon nation across the continent has imposed individual social distancing and travel restrictions in efforts to curtail the further spread of the coronavirus disease, six out of ten (63%) polled believe that in future, African countries are best suited to find common solutions to pressing socioeconomic challenges.

Such Pan-Africanism can also be found at the community level, where young people in Africa are deeply embedded in their local communities, which many nonetheless describe as ethnically, religiously and economically diverse, according to the Survey’s findings. Three-quarters polled (75%) believed that their country belongs to all who reside in it, including refugees, eschewing tribal and other forms of xenophobia and discrimination. Young Africans are committed to their local communities and see a future for themselves on the continent as 69% prefer to stay in their communities instead of moving elsewhere.

This cohesion and commitment to societal growth correlates to a rising sense of ‘Afro-Optimism’ that was found to be a recurring theme throughout the results of the Study, with six in ten (65%) polled believing the 21st century will be the “African Century”.

Industrialist, philanthropist and Ichikowitz Foundation Chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz, stated that, “On this particular Africa Day, it is extremely important to celebrate our continent’s historic, groundbreaking achievements, our respective struggles for independence and those that fought for them, the work of our institutions such as the African Union in their continued drive for greater societal cohesion and socioeconomic development. Working together, we are capable of conquering monumental challenges, including the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, we must also consider the needs of our fellow Africans, our neighbors; the many who may feel helpless and isolated, providing any support we can to those on the frontlines of this global pandemic.

“United, we will continue to build a stronger, more prominent Africa on the world stage and I have no doubt, our next generation will be leading that charge. The results of the Survey confirm it.”  

About the Ichikowitz Family Foundation

The Ichikowitz Family Foundation is founded upon the belief that Africa’s potential can be unlocked through education, the respect for human rights, a better understanding of Africa’s dynamic history and the conservation of its rich biodiversity. In terms of environmental programmes, the Ichikowitz Family Foundation works to promote personal, communal, and corporate best practice in matters affecting the environment, including the sustainable utilisation of natural resources, conservation of Africa’s unique biodiversity, especially building capacity and support for anti-poaching operations. Ichikowitz Family Foundation initiates, funds and runs its own projects.

*Source Ichikowitz Family Foundation

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Liberia:Pres. Weah Extends Restrictions By Two Weeks …Moves “Stay Home” to 6PM
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
President Weah
President Weah

The Government of Liberia has announced an additional two-week extension of restrictions intended to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

During the ensuing period, the public is now required to be indoors at 6pm, instead of the previous 3pm.

President George M. Weah has said the easing of measures became necessary in light of the new global reality and the advice of local health authorities.

Under the updated guidelines, restaurants, stores selling food commodities, dry goods, building materials and electronic appliances, will be allowed to open provided they take in 25% of their full occupancy at a time while observing social distancing.

The President has also instructed the joint security to enforce the mandatory wearing of masks in all public spaces and ensure full compliance. The government will take the appropriate legal action in cases of violation of any these measures.

President Weah has revealed that the new measures will be assessed again in the near future in order to determine their effectiveness and the need for further easing – given the urgency of opening up the economy so that possible shocks from the global pandemic can be mitigated.

Nonetheless, the President also said that the preservation of lives remains the foremost priority of his administration, so any future decisions will be made with that in full consideration.

All other measures and protocols previously announced remain in place.

The government calls for cooperation of the general public as the country grapples with the enormous threat that Coronavirus poses.

Meanwhile, President Weah has named the Ministry of Labour as exempt and instructed the Minister to designate essential staff to report to work immediately.

*Executive Mansion Liberia

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Outspoken Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Information Fired over Comparison of covid-19 measures taken by Presidents of Zimbabwe and Tanzania
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr Energy Mutodi

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Considered by the government as totally outspoken ,  rude and un-respectful  Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Information , Publicity and Broadcasting Services Energy Mutodi  was fired immediately after he made swiping remarks regarding measures  taken by Tanzanian President  John Mugufuli as compared to President Mnangagwa’s measures to contain covid-19 virus .

Regis Chikowore  of the  President’s Office who is the Communications  Officer  announced this in Harare two days ago .  He however refereed Journalists to Dr Sibusiso Moyo the  Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade .

In a statement to Pan-African-Visions contacted a day ago in Harare , the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr Sibusiso Moyo pointed out that the remarks made by the outspoken Deputy Minister were a swipe to separate and disturb good relations between the two countries already in good , well respected relations .

‘’ I make reference to a message posted on twitter by Energy Mutodi the Deputy Minister of Information , Publicity and Broadcasting Services  on May 4 this year regarding the measures taken by Tanzanian President John Mugufuli as compared to Mnangagwa’s measures meant to contain, covid 19 ‘’. The two countries just like all other countries took their measures to contain covid-19 . This is not subject to comparison at all .’’

‘’I wish to make it clear that the statement does not reflect the Government’s position or policy . Zimbabwe respects John Mugufuli as President of Tanzania. The two countries are part and parcel of Africa . They are all in AU and after all Tanzania is in the SADC region . This is just to create confusion , cause misunderstandings , drawing back good relations , progress and developments achieved so far . Africa  is united . It must not be divided by  its leaders or influence of anyone one .’’

Energy Mutodi  had a deft move meant to  show  differences  in terms of measurements meant to contain covid -19 between the two countries , thereby causing  misunderstanding between the two countries .Among other disturbing issues created by Mutodi , he is accused of making the Ministry  of Foreign Affairs get into other deeper contrite issues meant to bring confusion , perplexity and confound circumstances  misleading the whole picture of good relations with  a fellow African State , Tanzania .

Dr Sibusiso Moyo  did not however make it clear on the  measures and how they were meant to destroy relations of the two countries . While there is no clear  on  extension of the case , critics point out that Mutodi was even a nuisance at the  Ministry of Information where Monica Mutsvangwa is the Minister .Interviewied  officials in the government say the ouster   of Mutodi was good riddance to bad rubbish as   his  record  was spreading out to all Ministries .

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