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
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.
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.
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.
Burundi :Gen Ndayishimiye is new President
May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
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.
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
Liberia:Pres. Weah Extends Restrictions By Two Weeks …Moves “Stay Home” to 6PM
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
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
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
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 .
US donates $10 billion to lead global Covid-19 response. Here’s how much each African country will benefit from Donald Trump’s administration
May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
The United States has once more proven its position in the world by demonstrating global leadership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic which started in Wuhan, China and continues to travel the world ravaging economies and leaving counts of dead bodies.
To mitigate the effects by reinforcing medical capabilities, improving public health education; protecting healthcare facilities; and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity the US government is donating billions to Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin Africa.
In a press release sent to our newsroom, the US Department of State announced that the first shipment of ventilators donated by the United States, through USAID, arrived in South Africa on May 11, 2020 as the first step towards its efforts to support its partners and allies.
The COVID-19 assistance since the outbreak in the form of humanitarian assistance, migration and refugee assistance and economic support among others from the US State Department and USAID to Africa includes the following, for better understanding it has been categorized per country;
Angola: $570,000 for health assistance is helping provide risk-communications and water and sanitation, and prevent and control infections in key health facilities in Angola. This assistance comes on top of long-term U.S. investments in Angola, which total $1.48 billion over the past 20 years, including over $613 million for health assistance.
Bénin: $1.5 million in health assistance will help Béninois respond to the outbreak by funding the coordination and planning of outbreak-response activities, strengthening surveillance and rapid-response capabilities, and risk-communications and engagement with communities. This assistance joins $1.72 billion in total assistance for Benin over the past 20 years, over $364 million of which was for health.
Botswana: $1.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak. Funding will support risk-communications and community engagement, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations, the procurement of essential health commodities and logistic support, and strengthening case-management and the prevention and control of infections in key health facilities. This assistance builds on nearly $1.2 billion in total assistance in Botswana over the last 20 years, over $1.1 billion of which has been for health.
Burkina Faso: Nearly $7 million in health and humanitarian funding will go toward risk-communications, water and sanitation, preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, public-health messaging, and more. This includes $2.5 million in health assistance, $1.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance, and nearly $2.8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance, which will help protect the health of vulnerable people in Burkina Faso during the pandemic. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $2.4 billion total in Burkina Faso, including over $222 million for health alone.
Burundi: More than $3 million in total funding for the response to COVID-19 includes $2 million in health assistance and more than $1 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help protect the health of vulnerable people. The health assistance will improve the planning and coordination of response activities, the strengthening of surveillance and rapid-response capabilities, strengthening capacities for case-management and the prevention and control of infections, and the training of health workers. The United States has invested more than $997 million in total assistance for Burundi, including more than $254 million for health, over the past 20 years.
Cameroon: Nearly $8 million for health and humanitarian assistance will help provide infection-control in key health facilities, strengthen laboratories and surveillance, prepare communities, and bolster local messaging. This includes $6.1 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance from USAID, in addition to nearly $1.9 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support refugees, IDPs, and host communities. This assistance builds upon more than $960 million in total U.S. investment in the country over the past 20 years, over $390 million of which has been for health.
Central African Republic: More than $10 million in humanitarian assistance, including $6.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance that will go toward risk-communications, preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, and safe water supplies, and more than $3.5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance that will help protect the health of vulnerable people in the Central African Republic during the pandemic. The U.S. Government has provided $822.6 million in total in the Central African Republic over the last 20 years, including $4.5 million in emergency health assistance in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.
Republic of Congo (ROC): $250,000 in health assistance will address the outbreak, by supporting the coordination and planning of response activities, risk- communications and community-outreach activities and the training of health workers in protocols for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities. The United States has invested in the Republic of Congo for decades, including more than $171.2 million in total U.S. assistance over the last 20 years, over $36.9 million of which has been for health.
Chad: More than $3.5 million in humanitarian assistance, including $1 million from the IDA account for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, raising community awareness of COVID-19, and improving hygiene, and nearly $2.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help protect the health of vulnerable people in Chad during the pandemic. This new assistance builds upon the foundation of nearly $2 billion in total U.S. assistance over the last 20 years, including more than $30 million for health.
Côte d’Ivoire: $3.2 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community engagement; the training of health care providers in protocols for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities and the appropriate management of cases of COVID-19 and influenza-like illnesses; and ensuring these facilities are appropriately supplied with essential health commodities. Funding will also finance the training of health workers in critical community-level surveillance techniques, such as case-finding and contact-tracing. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $2.1 billion in long-term development and other assistance in Côte d’Ivoire.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): More than $26 million in total including $16 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance that will improve the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, and support improved awareness of COVID-19, including by working with religious leaders and journalists on risk-communication messaging. More than $5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will help protect vulnerable people in the DRC during the pandemic.
The $6 million of health assistance funding will support supply-chain management and logistics, as well as the procurement of essential health commodities; strengthening critical disease-surveillance activities, including community-based surveillance, contact-tracing, and case-finding; strengthening practices to prevent and control infections at health facilities and train health workers, as well as community-based efforts to improve access to water and basic hygiene materials, with the direct distribution of kits to households to prevent infections.
Health assistance also will support mobilizing thousands of volunteers in targeted, high-risk Provinces to conduct risk-communications and community-engagement activities. Finally, approximately $5 million in ESF will go toward distance and alternative education for Congolese children and youth so they can continue to learn and maintain protective routines and social connections while schools remain closed across the country. This builds upon more than $6.3 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1.5 billion for health.
Djibouti: $750,000 in total, including $500,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak and $250,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to assist vulnerable migrants and host communities as they deal with the pandemic. Health assistance will support strengthening the capacity for testing, supply-planning, supply-chain management and the distribution of urgent health commodities needed for COVID-19. The health assistance also will fund risk-communications and community-outreach activities, the training of health workers to implement protocols to prevent and control infections in health facilities and manage cases of COVID-19; and disease-surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality. The United States has already invested more than $338 million in Djibouti over the last 20 years.
Eswatini: $1.1 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by bolstering Eswatini’s emergency health response, which could include the procurement of supplies, contact-tracing, laboratory diagnostics, and raising public awareness. This assistance builds upon the foundation of U.S. Government investments in the Kingdom, which total more than $529 million assistance over the last 20 years, including more than $490 million for health.
Ethiopia: More than $23.4 million in assistance to counter COVID-19, including $3.4 million for health and $7.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, disease-surveillance, contact-tracing, and coordination; $7 million in ESF that will support continuing operation at a major industrial park in Hawassa to preserve critical jobs,; and more than $5.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people, including refugees, migrants, and host communities.
The health assistance will support strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact-tracing; strengthening laboratory diagnostic capacity; and optimizing case-management and practices to prevent and control infections in health facilities. Health assistance will also fund risk-communications and community-engagement activities. This assistance is in addition to the United States’ long-term investments in Ethiopia over the past 20 years of more than $13 billion in total assistance, over $4 billion has been for health alone.
Ghana: $1.6 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact-tracing; improve laboratory diagnostic capacity; optimize the management of COVID-19 cases and the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; and promote risk-communications and community-engagement activities. This new assistance builds upon $3.8 billion in total U.S. Government investments in Ghana over the last 20 years, including over $914 million for health.
Guinea: $1.3 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community-outreach activities, the training of health workers to implement protocols to prevent and control infections in health facilities; and disease-surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality. The United States has invested nearly $1 billion in total assistance in Guinea over the last 20 years, including over $365.5 million for health.
Kenya: Nearly $4.4 million for health and humanitarian assistance, including $3.5 million in health and IDA humanitarian assistance to bolster risk-communications; prepare health-communication networks and media for possible cases; and help provide public-health messaging for media, health workers, and communities; and $947,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance for refugees and host communities. This assistance specific to COVID-19 comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Kenya, which total $11.7 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $6.7 billion for health alone.
Lesotho: $750,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact tracing, strengthening laboratory diagnostic capacity, and optimizing case-management and the prevention and control of infections in health facilities.
The health assistance also will finance risk-communications and community-engagement activities. This new assistance builds upon decades of U.S. investments in Lesotho, which total more than $1 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $834 million for health.
Liberia: $1.3 million for health assistance will provide critical aid for all 15 Liberian Counties (emergency operation centers, training, contact-tracing, hospitals, and community health care), support quarantine efforts, and provide village-level support. The United States has helped lay a strong foundation for Liberia’s response to COVID-19 through more than $4 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $675 million for health.
Madagascar: $2.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening laboratory capacity for diagnostics; deploying mobile laboratories for decentralized diagnosis; improving regional and District surveillance, including data systems and the training of community health volunteers in contact-tracing; promoting risk-communications and community-engagement activities, including a staffed hotline, mass-media campaigns and prevention messages; the training of health professionals infection and prevention control training, procurement of essential health commodities, and improvements in waste management. The United States has invested more than $1.5 billion in total assistance for Madagascar over the last 20 years, including over $722 million for health alone.
Malawi: $4.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak. Funding will support the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities at the district level, including surveillance activities, strengthening infection and prevention control practices, screening at points of entry, and case management. Funding will also support risk communication and community engagement, including radio and social media campaigns; and technical assistance to optimize supply chain logistics and management. The United States has provided more than $3.6 billion in total assistance for Malawi over the past 20 years, including more than $1.7 billion for health.
Mali: More than $8.4 million in assistance for the response to COVID-19, which includes $2.4 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, and coordination; and more than $4 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable in Mali during the pandemic. Health assistance will support risk-communications and community engagement, including by establishing community communication networks with modern and traditional and to call on citizens to counter misinformation and rumors, as well as support to the Ministry of Health’s National Hotline; strengthening diagnostic networks and disease-surveillance systems, optimizing real-time surveillance to accelerate the detection and investigation of cases and contact-tracing and train and mobilize existing community-surveillance, early-warning and emergency rapid-response teams to report infections and assist ill persons in getting prompt and appropriate care.
The health funding also will finance activities to prevent and control infections at priority case-detection points (including points of entry to Mali along high-traffic cargo routes) and public and community health facilities, including through the procurement of equipment and supplies to prevent infections and manage medical waste. This new assistance builds upon decades of U.S. investments in Mali, which total more than $3.2 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $807 million for health.
Mauritania: $250,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community-engagement activities, strengthening supply-chain management and logistics, and improving the prevention and control of infections in health facilities. The United States has provided more than $424 million in total assistance over the last 20 years for Mauritania, including more than $27 million for health, which builds a strong foundation for their pandemic response.
Mauritius: $500,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak under the national response strategy for COVID-19, including by strengthening coordination and logistics; developing and disseminating risk-communications and prevention materials at the community level; strengthening protocols for the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; disseminating case-management guidelines and training health workers in their use; improving surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality; and expanding laboratory capacity. This new assistance builds upon the foundation of more than $13 million in total U.S. Government investments over the past 20 years, including more than $838,000 for health.
Mozambique: $6.8 million, including $4.8 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian funding will finance risk-communications and community engagement, including mass-media prevention messages; water and sanitation; and the prevention and control of infections in key health facilities in Mozambique. The health assistance also will fund the training of health workers in case-management and ensuring health facilities are prepared to respond to the outbreak. The United States has invested nearly $6 billion in Mozambique over the past 20 years, including more than $3.8 billion for health.
Namibia: $750,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by improving laboratory capacity for diagnostics and technical assistance in supply-chain management and logistics. This new assistance comes in addition to nearly $1.5 billion in total U.S. Government investments to Namibia over the past 20 years, including more than $970.5 million in long-term health assistance.
Niger: Nearly $5.4 million in assistance includes nearly $800,000 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, and coordination; and more than $2.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support vulnerable people in Niger during the pandemic, including refugees, and vulnerable migrants, and host communities. This assistance comes on top of more than $2 billion in total U.S. Government investments for Niger in the past 20 years, nearly $233 million for health alone.
Nigeria: More than $30.3 million in assistance, which includes more than $3.3 million for health assistance and $23 million in IDA humanitarian funding for risk-communications, water and sanitation, infection-prevention, and coordination; and nearly $4.1 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people. This assistance joins more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than $5.2 billion in U.S. health assistance.
Rwanda: $2.2 million in assistance for Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 includes $1.7 million for health assistance that will help with disease-surveillance and case-management, and $474,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support refugees and host communities in Rwanda. This comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Rwanda that total more than $2.6 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1.5 billion for health.
Sénégal: $3.9 million in health assistance to support risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, public health messaging, and more. In Sénégal, the U.S. has invested nearly $2.8 billion in total over the past 20 years, nearly $880 million for health.
Sierra Leone: $1.7 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening surveillance activities, case-finding, contact-tracing, risk-communications, community engagement, and the management of cases of COVID-19 at health facilities. This assistance joins decades of U.S. investments in Sierra Leone, totaling more than $5.2 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including nearly $260 million for health.
Somalia: More than $17.1 million, including $12.6 million in IDA and $4.5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for the response to COVID-19 will fund risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, case-management, and more, including for refugee returnees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities. This assistance comes in addition to $5.3 billion in total assistance for Somalia over the last 20 years, including nearly $30 million for health.
South Africa: Approximately $8.4 million in health assistance to counter COVID-19 will fund risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, public health messaging, and more. The United States has also pledged to send up to 1,000 ventilators to South Africa, the first 50 of which arrived on May 11, 2020. This assistance joins more than $7 billion in total assistance by the United States for South Africa in the past 20 years, nearly $6 billion invested for health.
South Sudan: Nearly $21.8 million in assistance for South Sudan’s response to COVID-19 includes $13.4 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for case-management, the prevention and control of infections, logistics, coordination efforts, risk-communications, water, sanitation and hygiene; $2.75 million in health programming; and more than $5.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance that will support refugees, IDPs, and host communities in South Sudan during the pandemic.
The health assistance will fund expanding the training of health workers and peer educators on proper practices to prevent and control infections in health facilities to protect communities and patients, particularly those at high risk or who are immunocompromised; strengthening capabilities in health facilities and in the community to manage and refer cases of COVID-19.
The health assistance also will fund expanding efforts to address community concerns, including by tracking and combating rumors, misconceptions, and grievances. This funding builds upon past U.S. investments in South Sudan totaling $6.4 billion over the past 20 years, including more than $405 million for health.
Sudan: More than $24.1 million in assistance includes $16.8 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for strengthening laboratory capacity, disease-surveillance and contact-tracing, case-management, risk-communications, case-management, disease-surveillance, the prevention and control of infections, and water, sanitation and hygiene; $5 million in ESF for cash assistance to vulnerable families adversely affected by COVID-19; and more than $1.3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable people. The United States has invested more than $1.6 billion in total assistance for Sudan over the last 20 years, of which more than $3 million was for health.
Tanzania: $3.4 million for health assistance funds the strengthening of laboratory capacity for optimal diagnostics, risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections, public health messaging, and more. The United States has invested more than $7.5 billion total in Tanzania over the past 20 years, nearly $4.9 billion for health.
Uganda: $3.6 million in assistance includes $2.3 million in health assistance to address the outbreak and nearly $1.3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support refugees and host communities in Uganda during the pandemic. The health assistance will strengthen the prevention and control of infections and case-management practices in health facilities, including by training health workers in new protocols; promote risk-communications and community engagement, including materials and messages to address most vulnerable groups; and improve management systems to ensure the accountability and availability of, and access to, health commodities, essential medicines, and health supplies in health facilities to maintain the continuity of services. This assistance is provided in addition to the nearly $8 billion in total U.S. Government investments for Uganda over the last 20 years and nearly $4.8 billion for health.
Zambia: $3.4 million for health assistance will fund risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections, public health messaging, and more. This new assistance joins $4.9 billion total U.S. Government investments for Zambia over the past 20 years, nearly $3.9 billion in U.S. health assistance.
Zimbabwe: Nearly $5 million, including nearly $3 million for health assistance and $2 million for IDA humanitarian assistance will help to prepare laboratories for large-scale testing, support case-finding activities for influenza-like illnesses, implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, and more.
The health assistance will fund the strengthening of laboratory capacity, the prevention and control and management of cases of COVID-19 in health facilities, including hand-washing stations, screening centers, preparing hospitals to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients, training health workers, and setting up alternative care-delivery points. Funding also will also support the training rapid-response teams, community health workers and volunteers; and risk communication and community engagement. This new assistance builds on a history of U.S. investments in Zimbabwe – nearly $3 billion total over the past 20 years, nearly $1.2 billion of which was for health.
SADC Troika meets to review terrorist attacks in Mozambique
May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge dos Santos*
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika on Politics, Defence and Security meets today, Tuesday, in Harare, to review the ongoing terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique.
The one-day meeting was requested by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, and attended by Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa, SADC President; Botswana’s Masisi, the next to chair the organization and Zambia’s Lungu, the SADC former president. Mozambique, the applicant, is currently Vice President of the organization.
At the meeting, the heads of state and government members of the SADC body troika will also review the current state of the political and security situation in the southern African region.
The attacks in Cabo Delgado have been ongoing since October 2017 and have already caused the death of over a thousand people. The Islamic state has been claiming the attacks, which has led the Mozambican authorities to declare that the country is in the presence of an external aggression perpetrated by terrorists.
The extremist group is intensifying the attacks and even controlling some areas located in Cabo Delgado, and in their demands they say they want to destroy the current local state and government to install another state with Islamic aspirations in the province.
The Mozambican army has faced serious difficulties in fighting the armed group and is counting on the help of mercenaries, especially the South African mercenaries Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), in the service of Zimbabwean Max Dyck, son of former Rhodesian colonel Lionel Dyck.
The armed men are today attacking northern Mozambique threatening national sovereignty, but observers warn that all of southern Africa is under threat because if they settle in Mozambique, the trend will be to spread their territory. Observers draw attention to the collaboration of SADC, the African Union even the United Nations before it is too late.
Gambia’s Health Minister Exposes Corrupt Practices in Covid-19 Funds
May 19, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Dr. Lamin Amadou Samateh, Gambia minister of Health has revealed that health officials are putting more focus false allowances than focusing on curbing the spread of covid-19 in the country.
Despite the millions of dalasi allocated by the government, Samateh lamented on his ministry’s lacked the basic materials to do their job while other government officials are busy with allowances and wasting money.
In a damning revelations, He told the National Assembly in Banjul
accused some top government officials of providing up to 300 fake names who should be receiving allowances.
He explained that he rejected those names as they are not from the health ministry of health and they’re not working in the Gambia government.
According to him, some of the names the government brought to receive allowances were family members and friends of those who prepared the list.
Looking emotionally and mentally fatigued, Dr Samateh said he’s currently the most vulnerable minister as the government is not doing what they should be doing to end Coronavirus in the country, despite the allocation of millions of dalasi.
He strongly suggested The Gambia Police Force to conduct an investigation on corruption practices in the government.
Dr Samateh claimed that many civil servants in the Gambia government have so far built mansions in the Gambia, due to corruption and bribries they’re receiving.
Dr. Samateh says he feels sorry for his motherland, The Gambia if actions are not taken to stop the chronic corruption within the government.
Zimbabwe Set to Release New, Higher Denomination Notes into Circulation
May 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe released a statement on Friday 15 May informing the Zimbabwean population that it’s going to introduce new higher denomination notes starting May 19. The Central Bank said the introduction of the new higher denomination notes is part of measures being implemented to increase physical money supply and curb cash shortages.
On May 19, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said that it will release the $10 Zimbabwean note and in the first week of June, it will release the $20 Zimbabwean note. The two new notes will join the $2 and $5 banknotes which are already in circulation.
The Zimbabwean government re-introduced the Zimbabwean dollar last year which had been discarded in 2009 owing to hyperinflation.
Before introducing the new notes, the central bank said that the features of the new notes will “be publicized prior to the circulation of the banknotes.” The Bank released a link that citizens can use if they want to check the security features of the new notes.
Starting from 19 May, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the withdrawal limit will be raised from 300 Zimbabwean dollars to 1.000 Zimbabwean dollars per week.
Zimbabwe has been facing serious liquidity challenges both physical foreign currencies and the local currency. Bank queues have become the norm for those looking to get their money in hard cash. the liquidity challenges are attributed by some to be the major enabler of the forex black market as the few individuals who have access to physical banknotes sell them at a premium to those in need in exchange for electronic/mobile money.
The news of the introduction of the new higher denominations was first spilled out a week earlier by a member of the RBZ Monetary Policy Committee Eddie Cross who said that the authorities had approved the introduction of the new banknotes and printing was already underway.
Eddie Cross said that the central bank had taken caution with regards to creating new money. “We are moving cautiously because we don’t want to disturb the monetary balance and we are insisting that banks pay for the currency when they draw it so that there is no money creation…We are now taking steps to start implementing that. We started in September last year when we had about $500 million worth of notes in circulation and now we have between #1.3 billion and $1.4 billion notes. This will take it up to $2 billion. Our target is $3 billion, which amounts to about 10 per cent of our money supply.”
Mr. Kingston Kanyile an economist said the “higher denomination notes were long overdue if you just look at the inflationary trends and projections…Depending on how much they are going to put in the market it has to be within the requirement of making sure that there isn’t excessive money going around. This is so because if there is too much printed money we will have a problem.”
African Union, Africa CDC ready to test Madagascar’s coronavirus remedy
May 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
After weeks of rebuttal and warning on the “effects” of using untested drugs, the African Union, AU, and the continent’s Center for Disease Control, CDC has made know it readiness to carryout scientific testing on the effectiveness of Madagascar’s herbal tonic, Covid-Organics, which the Island nation has been using to treat coronavirus patients.
Madagascar had long snubbed the World Health Organization and foreign nations who warned against administering Covid-Organics stating that its efficacy is unproven. The AU and other regional organisations had also distant itself from Madagascar’s usage of the tonic made from Artemisia annua, (Sweet wormwood) a plant often used to treat malaria.
On Wednesday, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kwesi Quartey tweeted Madagascar’s health ministry “has agreed to collaborate with the African Union and Africa Centre for Disease Control to explore further, the remedy they have discovered for the treatment of COVID-19 to benefit the continent at large”.
The AU said on Monday that it was trying to get Madagascar’s technical data on the remedy, and would pass that to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for evaluation.
Last month, President Andry Rajoelina made public the remedy at a news conference. Over the past weeks, the remedy continues to gain momentum across the continent and has already been ordered by Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Congo-Brazzaville.
Reports indicate that it will soon be distributed to 14 other countries in Africa.
Developed by the state-run Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, a legal adviser in the president’s office told Reuters on Wednesday that Madagascar would now begin selling the remedy, which domestically can be bought for around 40 U.S. cents per bottle.
“This remedy can be put on the market,” Marie Michelle Sahondrarimalala, director of Legal Studies at the Presidency, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. “Madagascar has already received orders from state authorities in other countries, but also from private individuals.”
WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti said she was concerned people who drank the product might feel they were immune to COVID-19 and engage in risky behaviour.
“We are concerned that touting this product as a preventive measure might then make people feel safe,” she said.
In a televised interview this week on France 24, Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina defended his decision to use the herbal drink insisting that the world was particularly campaigning against it because its developed by an African country.
Brandishing figures of coronavirus infection in his country, President Andry reiterating that his country was a sovereign nation and no organization nor government will stop them from developing the effective Covid-Organics.
At the time this report was published, Madagascar had a total of 225 confirmed coronavirus cases, 98 recoveries, and no deaths – figures which Malagasy state officials say is thanks to the curing capabilities of Covid-Organics.
Burundi to hold elections in self isolation
May 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
On 20th May, millions of Burundians will get up early to choose a new president who will replace Pierre Nkurunziza, a controversial man who has been at the helm of the country for fifteen years.
It will be a relief to more than 400 000 refugees scattered all over east Africa, who have been fearing to return home since 2015.
In 2015 Nkurunziza won a controversial third term that followed by a failed military coup that created instability in the tiny east African nation, and forced thousands to flee their country.
Major Generanl Evariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling party, CNDD FDD is the favored candidate to win 2020 elections, a gesture many see as an attempt to bring back Burundi to the international scene.
During Nkurunziza last tenure, Burundi’relations with many international organisations worsened and European union took sanctions to some Burundians politicians that are alleged to be at the core of 2015 chaos.
Though Ndayishimiye has been loyal to Nkurunziza, some Burundians believe that he can change things, due to his role in trying to unite his government with dissidents abroad, his charismatic character and the way he masters matters relating to security.
Burundi is going to hold elections during the time when the world is fighting covid-19 pandemic. As of 13th day of May, Burundi has recorded 15 Covid-19 cases.
While some countries around the world has taken strict measures to curb the virus including banning events that attract many people, electoral rallies have been held in Burundi since 27 April and have drawn thousands from across the country.
Observers fear that those gathering could stir the number of cases to be infected with the virus, though local leaders assure that nothing bad will happen.
Burundi’s electoral commission in mid –April announced that no elections will be held by Burundian diaspora due to Covid-19. Electoral body said that bringing electoral materials to foreign sites would be impossible as many international flights have been cancelled.
Recently, Belgians lawmakers have criticized the Burundi’s decision to stop elections in diaspora, saying that such move deprived many citizens their rights to vote.
Séverine de Laveleye and Els Van Hoof, both Belgian MPs wrote to Burundian ambassador in Brussels requesting him to reconsider the decision and allow Burundians living in Belgium to attend general elections. It is likely that their request will be futile as few days are left to hold elections.
On 8th May 2020, Burundian Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified East African Community that its observers will have to be quarantined 14 days before they proceed to observe elections.
This means the election observers will not be able to follow up the electoral process because the quarantine period will end two days after the elections are held.
This move also was criticized by many as it aims at excluding any external observer from following up Burundi’s general elections.
Campaigns period in Burundi was marred by intimidation experienced mainly by opposition. On 8th May, the main opposition party CNL has reported that 200 of its supporters were imprisoned in two weeks after campaigns were launched.
Agathon Rwasa, CNL flag bearer and Vice President of house of representative is seen as main rival to CNDD-FDD’s Ndayishimiye.
CNL speaker Térence Manirambona said that two CNL supporters were killed while two others disappeared recently, and accused government security agencies to do nothing about those cases.
Commemoration Of The Eradication Of Smallpox – A Legacy Of Hope For Covid-19
May 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Uzman Unis Bah
On 8 May 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared the world and all its peoples free from smallpox. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The declaration marked the end of a disease that had plagued humanity for at least 3 000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th century alone.”
According to the WHO, this was achieved through a 10-year global effort, organized by the World Health Organization, with the effort of thousands of health workers around the world that administered half a billion immunizations to eradicate the disease.
Speaking at a virtual event hosted in Geneva, the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus straighten out the need for solidarity, “As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity’s victory over smallpox is a reminder of what is possible when nations come together to fight a common health threat.”
“The world got rid of smallpox thanks to an incredible demonstration of global solidarity, and because it had a safe and effective vaccine. Solidarity plus science equalled solution!” Tedros States.
Dr Tedros emphasized, smallpox eradication offers confidence for the drive of eliminating other communicable ailments, including polio, which is currently prevalent in just two countries. “To date, 187 countries, territories and areas have been certified free of Guinea worm disease, with seven more to go.” He states.
According to the director, 38 countries and territories have achieved the fight to eliminate malaria; and for Tuberculosis (TB), Tedros states, 57 countries, and territories with low-slungTB prevalence are on the trajectory to reach the complete elimination of the disease.
At the event in Switzerland, Dr Tedros unveiled a memorial mail stamp to recognize the global unity that drove the initiative and highly praised the efforts of health workers who ensured its success.
The stamp is developed by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA), in collaboration with WHO, in a bid to highlight the achievement of global solidary, which could be purchase at unstamps.org . “Numerous countries, such as Guinea, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Togo and others issued smallpox stamps to show support for, and raise awareness about WHO’s Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme launched in 1967.” A news release by WHO states.
David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Distinguished Fellow, Global Health Security at Chatham House, London, explicates the lessons gained from smallpox has been used today in tackling the world’s disease outbreaks.
According to David “… house-to-house active case-finding underpins the polio eradication programme, and ring vaccination of contacts is helping to combat the spread of the Ebola virus disease. Similarly, surveillance, case-finding, testing, contact-tracing, quarantine, and communication campaigns to dispel misinformation are central to controlling COVID-19.”
“Following smallpox eradication, WHO and UNICEF launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization, under which 85% of the world’s children are vaccinated and protected from debilitating diseases.” The release states.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has landed a blow in the world’s development, with the potential of a COVID-19 vaccine ahead, returning to normalcy might take a long time. WHO strives for the development of a safe vaccine, which could be accessed by all, and providing public health information and education to ensure that the world remains a safe place.