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‘From Ramaphoria to Ramaphobia’?- Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in Office
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

South Africans have high expectations, but will Cyril Ramaphosa deliver?

South Africans have high expectations, but will Cyril Ramaphosa deliver?

 

When Cyril Ramaphosa ascended to power a day after Valentine’s this year, a huge wave of euphoria engulfed the entire country of South Africa. However, only a 100 days down the lane, the huge wave of euphoria is slowly waning and the once touted ‘Ramaphoria’ seems to be turning into ‘Ramaphobia’.

Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power was greeted with massive joy by almost all South Africans especially the ordinary South African. However, though still popular, signs of discontent are starting to show among the various groups that once held him as the ‘saviour’. Ordinary South Africans who viewed Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power as a relief following years of economic stagnation and unemployment are fast losing hope as the status quo is showing no signs of changing anytime soon.

While Ramaphosa may no longer be as popular as he was 100 Days ago, his presidency thus can best be described as a mixed bag – there are a lot of positives suggesting the future is bright while at the same time there are worrying signs suggesting the change many people have been waiting for, for so long may take a little longer than anticipated. In not so long a piece, the following showcases Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in office.

Injected confidence in an economy that was desperate for confidence

In any economic setup, confidence is such a crucial factor for success. While confidence had totally deserted South Africa owing to the many allegations and accusations of corruption levelled upon South Africa’s the then president, Jacob Zuma, many actors in the economic sphere in the country were devoid of confidence in the government administration. This lack of confidence transcended beyond borders to outside investors who were afraid of putting their capital in an economy that could ‘crumble’ at any time. However, the mere change of face of the president was enough to convince economic actors and investors that the country was now on the right path. The fact the Rand rallied over 4 percent in the aftermath of Ramaphosa’s inauguration underlies this.

State enterprises’ reforms

One of the main focus areas for Ramaphosa, as he took power, was reforming state enterprises. Most of South Africa’s state enterprises’ boards during Jacob Zuma’s last days in office were labelled as cronies of Jacob Zuma. These boards were said to have been ‘captured’. As such, there was a need to sanitise the state enterprises’ boards. Ramaphosa took swift action in sanitising the boards of most state enterprises by removing and replacing the boards. Boards of state enterprises such as Eskom (power generation), South African Express (national airline), the South Africa Revenue Service and Denel (aerospace and defence) were replaced.

Putting the right people in the right places

One of the key responsibilities of a president is to identify the right people for the right positions. Ramaphosa thus far has shown that he is competent in this regard as his appointments have got things moving. Pravin Gordhan who was appointed as the public enterprise’s minister spearheaded the state enterprises’ reforms, Nhlanhla Nene has overseen the rise of the Rand and injected a new lease of life at South Africa’s treasury while Lindiwe Sisulu has already started coordinating for important world summits to be held in South Africa.

Focusing on youth empowerment

When he ascended to power, Ramaphosa quickly identified the youth as a group that needed immediate help. This rightly so considering the growing youth unemployment rate in the country. In efforts to empower the youth, Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service in order to create more employment for South Africa’s youth; unemployed youths will be placed in paid internships in state enterprises and also the private sector. In his own capacity, Ramaphosa also pledged to donate half of his salary to the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund which helps empower youth from impoverished backgrounds.

Making himself approachable

In as much as Zuma’s actions were vilified towards his last days in power, he was still approachable and adored even by the fiercest of critics. Zuma’s down to earth and open personality aptly made him a people’s president, something that prompted then opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille to state that Zuma is “affable, humble and approachable” and that the “personal tone of the presidency is open and friendly”. Cyril Ramaphosa, a rather laid back and reserve guy had to fill Zuma’s boots in all its facets thus had to find a way to make himself approachable too; so far he has succeeded largely due to his #Tummymustfall walks. Ramaphosa’ ‘send me’ rhetoric has also made him a people’s favourite. Ramaphosa also showed that he is a people’s president when he cut short his trip to the United Kingdom to come and manage the rising tensions surrounding the removal of Supra Mahumapelo.

Pushed through a new minimum wage

Ramaphosa moved swiftly to address one of the key areas that the country was found wanting in recent times. According to a report from CNBC, “South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. According to the World Bank, the poorest 20 percent of South Africans consume less than 3 percent of the country’s total expenditure. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20 percent account for 65 percent.” In order to address this challenge, Ramaphosa approved Parliament’s decision to set the new minimum wage at 3,500 Rand (around $277).

Land expropriation without compensation proving to be a difficult issue to manage

The land expropriation without compensation was always going to be difficult for any president to handle let alone Ramaphosa. As the issue was raised by his own party, it was a given that Ramaphosa would agree with the view. In his own words, Ramaphosa said: “We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.” While his position is clear with regards to the issue, Ramaphosa has not backed it with any action thus far. However, at one stage or another, actions not just words will be expected from the president. How he deals with it will prove whether he is a success or not. At this stage, no conclusion can be reached.

Rising taxes and food prices making Ramaphosa unpopular

For the first time in 25 years, South Africa’s VAT increased. According to the Huffington Post SA, “There’s a big gap between the revenue that was budgeted to be collected by government and what was actually collected,” this is in relation to the 2017 fiscal year; however, the same has been happening in recent years too. The gap had been rising gradually year by year and the decision was taken to manage and curtail the rising gap by increasing VAT. While helping the government to balance its books, the decision has had a terrible effect on South Africans especially the poor.  Poor South Africans are having to pay more for clothing, medical and even some foodstuffs that are not zero-rated.

In all, Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have been alright if popular citizen surveys are anything to go by but he has faced some tough issues especially the land expropriation without compensation issue; however, much is expected in future rather than now, therefore, he has ample time of solidifying his position in the party in preparation for the 2019 presidential elections.

 

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Pep Guardiola: Yaya Toure says Man City boss ‘often has problems with Africans’
June 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Yaya Toure (left) started one league game during the 2017-2018 season

Yaya Toure (left) started one league game during the 2017-2018 season

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “often has problems with Africans”, says ex-Blues midfielder Yaya Toure.

The Ivorian, who left City in May after eight years at the club, says he wants to “break the myth” about Guardiola, whom he describes as “jealous”.

“Maybe we Africans are not always treated by some in the same way as others,” said Toure in an interview with France Football.

Premier League champions City have declined to comment on Toure’s views.

Before his departure, the club named one of their training pitches after him and unveiled a mosaic of him at their training complex.

This summer they are set to sign France-born Algeria international Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

Toure, an Ivory Coast international, played for Guardiola at Barcelona for two seasons until he was sold to City in 2010 for £24m.

He won six major trophies in England but started just one Premier League game in City’s latest title-winning campaign – their final home fixture of the season against Brighton.

Prior to that game, Guardiola said: “Yaya came here at the start of the journey. Where we are now is because of what he has done.

“The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves, one of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.”

Toure completed 86 minutes against Brighton, having featured for 142 minutes in the league prior to that this season.

He believes that was “not down to physics”, saying he sought data from the club’s trainers to compare himself to younger players.

Guardiola won six league titles as a player at Barcelona and has added a further seven as a manager during spells with the Catalan club, Bayern Munich and City.

Toure said: “I do not know why but I have the impression that he was jealous, he took me for a rival. As if I made him a little shade.

“He was cruel to me. I came to wonder if it was not because of my colour.

“I am not the first to talk about these differences in treatment. In Barca, some have also asked the question.

“When we realise he often has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions.

“I want to be the one who breaks the myth of Guardiola.”

Toure started 22 league games under Guardiola in the 2016-17 season, and says he was asked to stay for another year, but then used sparingly.

 *BBC
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Uganda bans import of old cars
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Catherine Byaruhanga*

Critics say the move will be hurt poorer Ugandans

Critics say the move will be hurt poorer Ugandans

Uganda’s parliament has passed legislation banning the import of vehicles older than 15 years.

The policy is meant to fight environmental pollution and help reduce road accidents, which have been blamed on older cars.

Curbing pollution and improving road safety have become major points of debate in Uganda.

Uganda observed three days of national mourning this week following a bus accident over the weekend, which killed more than 20 people.

Recent surveys have named the capital, Kampala, as one of the most-polluted cities in Africa.

But car importers warn banning old vehicles will lead to job losses and make it harder for poorer Ugandans to afford a car.

A new car, which is often expensive, incurs taxes of more than 50%.

To encourage Ugandans to buy newer cars, lawmakers removed an environmental levy on cars below eight years of age.

Last year, Ugandans imported an average of 2,500 used cars per month.

Neighbouring Kenya stopped the importation of vehicles older than eight years old earlier this year.

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World Cup 2018: Nigeria kit sells out after three million pre-orders
June 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
Alex Iwobi and Wilfried Ndidi were among the Premier League players to model Nigeria's new kit

Alex Iwobi and Wilfried Ndidi were among the Premier League players to model Nigeria’s new kit

Nigeria may not be favourites for the World Cup, but they seem to have won fans over with their new kit for Russia.

Three million people pre-ordered replica shirts, according to the Nigeria Football Federation, and shoppers queued outside Nike’s flagship store in London on Friday to try to get their hands on the clothing.

The home and away shirts, priced at £64.95, were sold out on the sportswear giant’s website soon after they were released.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is among the players who modelled the kit, which was first revealed back in February, along with Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi, who wore a branded bucket hat and jacket for the promotional photos.

The makers describe the home kit as a “subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso”.

The away kit, meanwhile, is a “cool, refined vision” of a classic full-green strip.

Nigeria are set to wear their new shirt when they face England in their World Cup warm-up game at Wembley on Saturday (17:15 BST).

*BBC

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‘A new Zimbabwe on the horizon’: Analysing what a ZANU (PF) Victory in the upcoming 2018 Harmonised Elections could mean to an ordinary Zimbabwean
May 31, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has a clear edge in the elections

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has a clear edge in the elections

Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the Electoral Amendment Act yesterday (29 May 2018). Among other things, the Electoral Amendment Act sets out the roadmap for the 2018 Harmonised elections i.e. how political parties are to conduct themselves in their campaigns, establishes a code of conduct for all political actors not necessarily political parties, spells out the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and it establishes an Electoral Court.

With the Electoral Amendment Act signed and gazetted under the General Notice 307A/2018 of the Extraordinary Government Gazette, it now means that the President can proceed to proclaim the election date widely believed by many legal experts to be either the 28th or 30th day of July this year.

The fact that the Electoral Amendment Act has been signed means that it’s nigh before the 108 political parties in Zimbabwe ‘fight’ each other to win the local councils, House of Parliament, House of Senate and the Presidency elections.

Of all the 108 registered political parties, it seems at this stage (and going forward) that the Presidency race will largely be between two candidates i.e. the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU (PF) and Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition political party MDC-T who is running under the MDC Alliance ticket, an alliance of seven political parties.

Emmerson Mnangagwa has managed to win the hearts of many international actors due to his offensive charm in the international arena. However, back home, he hasn’t gained much ground to warrant a landslide victory against other opposition candidates though he remains the favourite to win.

With the odds slightly in favour of Mnangagwa, this piece is going to project the post-2018 election Zimbabwe under Emmerson Mnangagwa. The projections of this piece have been drawn from the ZANU (PF) manifesto, the party’s primary elections and Mnangagwa’s performance in his first 6 months as the president.

There are different classes of people in Zimbabwe (as one would expect in a country of 16+ million people) but this piece targets (and resonates with) the ordinary Zimbabwean.

Who is the ordinary Zimbabwean?

A loose classification will give us three types of Zimbabweans.

The first is the first class citizen. The first class citizen lives in a bubble totally oblivious to the hardships being felt by other people living in the same country sometimes even a few metres or kilometres from him/her. Privileged children of the well-known and wealthy politicians and business people fall into this category.

The second is the second class citizen. This refers to the privileged who also do not feel the hardships of the day to day life but who are aware that the country is not on a right path and that there are many people who are suffering and failing to provide themselves. Some of these from time to time like to associate with the ‘ordinary’ Zimbabweans so as to identify as one i.e. identify as an ordinary Zimbabwean.

The third refers to ordinary Zimbabweans. Ordinary Zimbabweans are the people who have to bear the brunt of all the country’s hardships. These are the people who toil day and night to put food on the table, people who cross borders to make a living, people who have resigned and now live in abject poverty, the youths who have lost hope and turned to alcohol and substance abuse. It is this group of people that constitute the bulk of Zimbabwe’s population (maybe accounting to as high as 90 percent of the population).

The Good

If Mnangagwa’s international offensive charm is anything to go by, then the future looks bright for the majority of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe’s president since his inauguration has attended many international forums including the World Economic Forum and he has paid courtesy calls to most African countries including neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.

The President’s foreign visits have managed to make him a popular man among international actors and investors. This has, in turn, led to the signing of many mega deals and memorandum of agreements (MoU), all of which are set to improve the country’s economic prospects.

Apart from the mega-deals, Mnangagwa has also managed to get over $11 billion in investment commitments.  In his own words, President Mnangagwa said investors promised him they will come once the country holds its harmonised elections scheduled later this year. The prerequisite for the flow of the foreign capital is a free, fair and credible election.

Ordinary Zimbabweans at large have a reason to smile at this because the flow of foreign capital means there will be more employment opportunities for the 90+ percent unemployed. With more employment opportunities for the unemployed, ordinary Zimbabweans can expect a better standard of living and a better life for themselves and their children.

Mnangagwa in this short space of time has also shown that he is a better proposition than his predecessor Robert Mugabe when it comes to dealing with rogue elements both in the party and in the government. the dismissal of Webster Shamu recently who had been accused of engaging in vote rigging through ballot stuffing in the party’s primary elections shows Mnangagwa’s tough stance on rogue elements. In a country that has had to grapple with corrupt and arrogant high ranking officials and politicians, this is a step in the right direction.

In addition, Mnangagwa has made considerable strides in uniting the nation and if he is to carry forward this positive message, then the country is likely to heal from injustices of the past such as Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina. While leading on the front in terms of letting bygones be bygones, Mnangagwa also established a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that aims at healing the wounds of the past. If the Zimbabwean nation can heal, there is no telling what a unified Zimbabwe can achieve both at home.

Additionally, one cannot forget the work that Mnangagwa has done thus far and will do in the future pertaining to luring back Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have acquired the skills and knowledge to put Zimbabwe back on the world map.

The Bad

 Another bumpy and gruelling 5 years await

Ordinary Zimbabweans have suffered for quite some time now. In fact, most millennials in Zimbabwe have never experienced how it feels to live in an economically and politically stable country except for those who have crossed the country’s borders.

If anything is to go by, the future remains bleak if Emmerson Mnangagwa wins the upcoming elections because of the following:

Uninspiring manifesto

State media describes the ZANU (PF) manifesto as “modest, realistic and pragmatic,” this is a fair reflection in comparison to past manifestos though the claim that ZANU (PF) is going to build 1.5 million houses (i.e. 822 houses built per day!) in the next 5 years does no favours to the description that the manifesto is modest and realistic.

The biggest shortcoming of ZANU (PF)’s manifesto is that it fails to articulate ‘how’ it is going to fulfil its promises and claims (such as the absurd one above) when it is the main if not sole purpose of a manifesto to explain in detail the ‘how’ part. In its manifesto, ZANU (PF) lists all the promises it intends to fulfil including but not limited to uplifting the country’s education, providing quality healthcare for all, housing for all, supporting indigenisation and economic empowerment, creating jobs and eradicating poverty.

However, it’s just a mere listing without the important ‘how’ part therefore there is a huge probability that the country will witness a repeat of the past where the ruling party would give reasons for poor implementation of government policies and justifications for the non-fulfilment of election promises as was the case with ZIMASSET which the government blamed climate change for its poor implementation.

Chaotic primary elections

The ZANU (PF) primary elections left a lot to be desired if anything they left the electorate with more questions than answers. The first port of call was the poor if not disastrous project planning on show. Voting in most constituencies started late due to the late arrival of ballot papers. In some constituencies, it was a stop-start process as there were allegations of vote rigging and errors of omission of some of the candidates’ names on the ballot papers. Al this showed how poorly planned the primaries were and considering that it is this same administration which will be tasked with implementing government’s policies and projects, it’s certainly not inspiring.

The primary elections also showed another dark side of ZANU (PF) as the party once again proved that it sees no difference between itself and the government. The police were deployed across the whole country as polling agents this in spite of the fact that it was a party business and not a government business. Seeing such things during the campaigns, one cannot envisage a different outcome if ZANU (PF) wins as the government officials will be used as party people and vice versa.

If he wins, the president is going to pick his team, i.e. ministers and other key people of his administration from the winning candidates. It’s not really inspiring when the bulk of the people who won the primaries are known as corrupt in their society and vultures who have been waiting for their turn to eat. While the few stalwarts who returned their places will likely continue on the same path of self-enrichment at the expense of others, the new faces are also likely to join the self-enriching bandwagon to the detriment of the ordinary Zimbabwean.

An indifferent six months in the hot seat

Much can be taken from Mnangagwa’s first six months as the president and not much of it is positive to the ordinary Zimbabwean. The black-market which showed its ugly face during the hyperinflationary period of 2008 is once again starting to show its ugly face as fuel is now becoming scarce at service stations but abundant with the backdoor dealers. Not only that but in his first six months Mnangagwa has done nothing to ease the unemployment challenge but rather making the already overtaxed ordinary Zimbabwean pay more tax as he signed the ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill and gave in to the demands of most civil servants to increase their salaries when most of the government revenue is already going towards servicing the government payroll rather than capital projects.

All this will ultimately lead to the worsening of ordinary Zimbabweans’ daily life as these moves will raise the cost of living.

If Mnangagwa is to win and if he carries on the same path as he is with his domestic policies, then ordinary Zimbabweans will have to brace for the worst as a tough road awaits.

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Kenya closer to building an oil export pipeline
May 30, 2018 | 0 Comments
A partnership between Total, Tullow Oil and Wood is steering early-phase engineering work on a pipeline from the Lokichar basin in Kenya.
By Daniel J. GraeberFollow @dan_graeber*

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta closer to getting oil out of his country with early-phase engineering work on pipeline development. File Photo by Dai Kurokawa/EPA-EFE

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta closer to getting oil out of his country with early-phase engineering work on pipeline development. File Photo by Dai Kurokawa/EPA-EFE

May 30 (UPI) — Kenya took a step toward building an export pipeline from its oil fields to the port city of Lamu with the award of an early-phase design contract, Wood said.

Oil and gas engineering services company Wood said it was awarded the initial phase of a front-end engineering design contract to help build momentum behind a proposed pipeline.

“The proposed pipeline will be used to export waxy crude oil from oil field developments in the South Lokichar basin to Lamu port on Kenya’s coast,” the company’s statement read.

A third-party review found reserves in the South Lokichar basin of an estimated gross of 766 million barrels of oil, a 24 percent increase from earlier estimates.

The contract was awarded by the Kenyan subsidiary of Tullow Oil.

Tullow said earlier this year it was busy reviewing all of the data from the South Lokichar basin and planned to outline a development plan as early as this year.

In January, Manoah Esipisu, a spokesman for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, said French supermajor Total, a partner in the Lokichar fields, committed to a single pipeline to the port city of Lamu as the only option for exports.

A March survey from the Central Bank of Kenya found inflation was on pace to decline and growth trajectories were tracking upward for the year. The bank’s survey revealed “almost unanimous optimism” in the private sector.

Tullow in late 2014 came up empty-handed while drilling into frontier basins similar to Lokichar in northern Kenya, despite early optimism.

 *Source UPI
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Ethiopia on the verge of scraping Visas for all African Nationals
May 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

News reports coming out of Ethiopia suggest that the country may soon be issuing visa on arrival for all African nationals who wish to travel to this east African country replacing the conventional visas i.e. visas issued before one lands in a foreign country.

According to several news outlets including Inside Travel, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed while speaking to the media after his meeting with the Rwandan leader in Addis Ababa said that Ethiopia is planning on following in Rwanda’s footsteps by scrapping conventional visas and replacing them with visa on arrival.

The fact that Prime Minister Ahmed said this development will be implemented “very soon” suggests that it’s imminent before Africans can travel to Ethiopia without going through the hassles of applying for a visa before their travels.

Prime Minister Ahmed said these remarks soon after his first meeting with the visiting Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame. Paul Kagame is on a 3-day official visit in Ethiopia.

While announcing Ethiopia’s plans to scrap visas for all African nationals, Prime Minister Ahmed refused to go into detail on how his government is going to implement this proposal but made it clear that all the citizens of all the 54 African countries will be eligible to visit Ethiopia using the visa on arrival system.

Other areas that the two leaders discussed and made a commitment to strengthen on include air services and defence.

The move if finalised will help push forward the Ethiopian brand and will make it much easier for other African companies and business people to connect with businesses in Ethiopia while at the same time it will help in promoting intra-African tourism.

The move is in line with the African Union’s Vision 2063 which stipulates that African countries need to “implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay.” Rwanda is already issuing visas on arrival to all African nationals while Namibia has also taken the same path.

Currently, anyone planning on travelling to Ethiopia will have to obtain a visa before travelling at any of Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions with the exception of those who live in visa exempt countries.

As of now, only the citizens of Djibouti and Kenya do not require visas when travelling to Ethiopia. Citizens of Djibouti can spend a maximum of 3 months in Ethiopia without a visa while citizens of Kenya can spend a maximum of one year in Kenya without a visa. If the stipulated (3 months or one year period) elapses, the citizens do have the opportunity to approach the Ethiopian authorities if they want to extend their stay or they can return to their mother countries.

There is a visa waiver for anyone who holds a diplomatic or service passport with the exception of citizens from Pakistan, Somalia and Eritrea. This waiver lasts for three months.

Travellers in transit regardless of nationality can pass through Ethiopia without a visa by air if they depart within 12 hours or remain within the permitted transit area.

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Priscilla Mutembwa joins USAFCG as Vice President, Cybersecurity Policy and Development
May 30, 2018 | 0 Comments
Priscilla Mutembwa

Priscilla Mutembwa

Ambassador Omar Arouna, Managing Partner of US-Africa Cybersecurity Group, has appointed Priscilla Mutembwa as Vice President,   Cybersecurity Policy and Development.

Further to the appointment, Ambassador Arouna commented: “I’m delighted that Priscilla Mutembwa is joining the Group. Over the past years she has done an outstanding job in various capacity on the African continent. Her work as a member of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion and her keen interest in the security issues surrounding mobile money in Africa will be essential to our growth.”

Priscilla Mutembwa holds a Master of Business Administration from University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg. She is currently enrolled in a Master in Cybersecurity, Management and Policy from University of Maryland University College. Before joining US-Africa Cybersecurity Group, she has held various management and financial roles at Unicef, British American Tobacco, Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group and Cargill. In 2006 she was appointed CEO at Cargill in Zimbabwe for seven years. Priscilla Mutembwa was named the 2011 CIMA Businesswoman of the Year.

In 2015 she joined the Corporate Council on Africa as Director ICT. She was responsible for the development and implementation of the ICT program of the association and was a member of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion and developed interest in the security issues surrounding mobile money in Africa. She currently is a Commissioner on the Judicial Services Commission of Zimbabwe.

Her career has spanned 33 years, across 3 continents and now seeking to develop and implement cybersecurity policies and procedures in Africa.

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South Sudanese Defense Minister, Cabinet Affairs Minister blacklist for sanctions
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Defence Minister Gen Kuol Manyang Juuk

Defence Minister Gen Kuol Manyang Juuk

Juba – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is likely to impose sanctions on South Sudanese Defense Minister and Cabinet Affairs Minister for fueling the country’s war and blocking aid activities this week.

This comes after the United States issued a draft proposal and has asked the UN Security Council to add six South Sudanese officials including the defense and cabinet affairs ministers respectively to a sanctions blacklist for obstructing peace efforts and blocking humanitarian assistance to civilians, according to a draft resolution seen by Pan African Visions on Sunday.

The six would face a global travel ban and assets freeze if the draft resolution is adopted at a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The council will meet today (Tuesday) to discuss the US sanctions proposal that comes as Washington has grown increasingly frustrated with President Salva Kiir’s government.

The proposed sanctions blacklist would target Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juk for violating the latest ceasefire signed by the government last year and for allegedly provisions of arms external forces to attacks on the northeastern town of Pagak that was captured from rebel forces in 2017.

“Under Juk’s command, SPLA forces violated the agreement on cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians and humanitarian access signed between government and rebels in 2017,” the draft read.

Also listed is cabinet minister Martin Elia Lomuro for threatening the press, obstructing humanitarian aid and impeding the work of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

“Minister Lomoro threatened the press, obstructs humanitarian missions, and threatened to eliminate CTSAMM and….obstructs the activities of UNMISS.”

The proposed sanctions list also includes Koang Rambang Chol for leading attacks in northern Bieh state and ordering his forces to impede the work of aid workers, according to the draft.

The Security Council members also renewed and extended to May 31, 2019 sanctions imposed on several other key South Sudan leaders, namely: Information minister Michael Makuei, former army deputy chief of staff Malek Rueben and opposition leader Paul Malong.

However. Information Minister Michael Makuei is cited for his role in planning an attack in 2014 on a United Nations compound in Bor and overseeing a campaign to suppress the media.

Then, Former military chief Paul Malong, turned rebel in April, 2018 faces possible sanctions for ordering government forces to attack civilians, schools and hospitals and deputy army chief of staff Malek Reuben for overseeing an offensive in 2015.

There are currently six names of senior generals and rebel commanders on the UN sanctions list.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011, with critical backing from the United States, which remains Juba’s biggest aid donor.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 when Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Countless efforts have failed to bring peace to a country now in its fifth year of a war where targeted ethnic killings, gang rapes and other atrocities have occurred.

Since conflict erupted, millions have been uprooted, triggering a regional refugee crisis, and millions more have been pushed to the brink of starvation, while tens of thousands have been killed.

The United States has repeatedly threatened to impose an arms embargo and sanctions against those blocking efforts to end the war.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass.

In 2016, the US imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on six officials from both the government and the opposition, but the Washington failed to win enough votes at the Security Council for the arms embargo and targeted sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Juba government said they are not in position now to comment on the US move.

Ethiopia, member of intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is being leading a regional peace effort, hosting talks between the government and rebel groups but there has been no breakthrough.

This month, the revitalization peace talks collapse without deal signed after the warring parties has rejected the IGAD’s power sharing proposal, called as “bridging the gap.”

But IGAD is yet to set a date for the revitalization talks to resume.

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Rwanda defends $39 million sponsorship deal with Arsenal
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Kagame receiving an Arsenal jersey from Tony Adams (L) once Arsenal captain as Airtel MD, Teddy Bhullar, looks on

Kagame receiving an Arsenal jersey from Tony Adams (L) once Arsenal captain as Airtel MD, Teddy Bhullar, looks on

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwanda’s government on Tuesday defended its $39 million sponsorship deal with the Arsenal football club as some aid donors and rights activists raised an outcry.

“Visit Rwanda” will be emblazoned on the left sleeve of players in Arsenal’s first, under-23 and women’s teams.

President Paul Kagame is an Arsenal supporter. The deal was not approved by Rwandan lawmakers.

Deputy Foreign Minister Olivier Nduhungirehe told The Associated Press that the money for the sponsorship deal came from tourism, which is the small East African country’s top foreign exchange earner.

“Donors’ aid is specific and well accounted for in Rwanda,” Nduhungirehe said in response to criticism from British lawmakers in UK media.

 

Rwanda remains one of the poorest countries in the world and continues to recover from the 1994 genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. Over a third of its population lives in poverty.

Local political analyst Robert Mugabe called the Arsenal deal elitist, saying many Rwandans did not know how it will benefit them. “Many people in Rwanda are kept in the dark and don’t know the actual money invested. Rwandans are learning this through foreign media,” Mugabe said.

The country’s goal is to double tourism receipts from $404 million by 2024, the Rwanda Development Board said in a statement.

The board’s CEO said anyone who criticizes the Arsenal deal because Rwanda is an aid recipient either wishes the country to remain poor or doesn’t understand the key role marketing plays.

“The more Rwanda earns from tourism, the more we can invest in our people. That’s the connection,” the CEO, Claire Akamanzi, said on Twitter.

One Rwandan Arsenal fan, Olivier Muhizi, said people who criticize the deal don’t understand.

 

“Many Asian and Western countries do this routinely, marketing their brands to develop. Rwanda does not deserve criticism; it has done nothing wrong,” Muhizi said.

*AP

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Burundi ‘insulted’ by French gift of donkeys to village
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Bujumbura officials quarantined the animals suspecting a subliminal message behind the gift.

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, tweeted that the French were 'taking us for donkeys' [Getty]

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, tweeted that the French were ‘taking us for donkeys’ [Getty]

Burundi has ordered the quarantine of 10 donkeys donated to a village in the East African country by France, sparking a debate if there was a subliminal message behind the gift.

The donkeys, bought in neighbouring Tanzania, were given to residents of a village in Gitega province as part of a project by a local NGO to help women and children transport agricultural products, water or wood.

However, a presidential adviser described the project as “an insult to the nation”.

Gabby Bugaga, spokesman for the Senate president, also wrote on Twitter the French were “taking us for donkeys”.

“Be honest, is the donkey a symbol of a quality or a flaw,” he wrote.

Donkeys are not indigenous to Burundi.

On Sunday, Agriculture Minister Deo Guide Rurema asked a local administrator to “facilitate the immediate withdrawal of all donkeys that have been distributed … without respecting the technical procedure of the distribution of exotic animals”.

Last Thursday, the day the project was inaugurated, French Ambassador Laurent Delahousse praised “the introduction of the Land Cruiser of the animal kingdom to Burundi”.

After the controversy, Delahousse said to his knowledge “all procedures were respected”.

A European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency Burundi was hitting back at France over a statement it made criticising a referendumearlier this month. The vote reformed the constitution allowing President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek another two terms in office so he can potentially remain in power until 2034.

The diplomat said a similar project involving donkeys in Ruyigi province, financed by Belgium, had not been met with any problems.

Burundi was plunged into crisis in 2015 when Nkurunziza sought a third term in office, sparking protests and violence that killed at least 1,200 people and displaced 400,000 others.

The International Criminal Court has said it is investigating alleged state-sponsored crimes against humanity in the country.

In 2017, Burundi became the first nation to leave The Hague-based court.

 *Al Jazeera
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‘Spiderman’ of Paris: folk hero fresh off migrant trail
May 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Myriam LEMETAYER & Laurence BENHAMOU*
22-year old Mamoudou Gassama won global acclaim for rescuing a boy dangling from a balcony in France

22-year old Mamoudou Gassama won global acclaim for rescuing a boy dangling from a balcony in France

Paris (AFP) – Mamoudou Gassama, the young Malian hailed as a hero in France for scaling a multi-storey building to rescue a child hanging from a balcony, is no stranger to danger.

The 22-year-old “Spiderman”, who was honoured by President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace and offered French citizenship, braved the Sahara desert, Libyan gangs and the Mediterranean Sea during his long odyssey to Europe.

In 2013, the shy youth from the southwestern Malian town of Yaguine hit the migrant trail which claims thousands of lives each year.

“I had no means to live and no-one to help me”, Gassama, who followed an older brother to France, explained to Macron.

He travelled through Burkina Faso and Niger north to Libya, the main launching pad for clandestine crossings to Europe.

He spent a year working in Libya, where armed gangs prey on migrants, routinely kidnapping them for ransom and even sometimes enslaving them.

“I suffered a lot,” he said. “We were caught and beaten but I did not lose hope.”

A year later, he sailed to Italy in one of the packed migrant boats that regularly sink. “It was terrible. There were a lot of people,” he told France’s BFM news channel.

From there he continued on last year to France, where he joined relatives in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil, nicknamed “Little Bamako” after its large Malian population.

His home, which he shares with relatives, is a cramped 15-square-metre room in a migrant workers’ hostel, with a mattress on the floor for a bed.

Gassama, who did not seek asylum in France, making him an economic migrant at risk of deportation, has been doing odd jobs in construction.

But his life changed dramatically Saturday, when he came to the rescue of a four-year-old boy who was spotted dangling from a balcony on the fourth-floor of a building in northern Paris.

“I did not think twice,” Gassama, who happened to be walking by, told Macron, adding “I went straight up.”

– An example for millions –

The video of him pulling himself up from balcony to balcony with supreme ease has been viewed millions of times on social media, propelling him to stardom.

On Monday morning he was ferried to the Elysee Palace for an audience with the president, who listened smiling to his account of the rescue and presented him with a medal for his bravery.

“I’m pleased because it’s the first time I’ve received a trophy like that,” Gassama said afterwards.

“We proud of him,” his older brother Birama, 54, told AFP, describing his sibling, a keen footballer, as someone who “likes to help others”.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, the real life Spiderman.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, the real life Spiderman.

Not only will Gassama receive a French passport, Macron offered the plucky youth with preternatural agility a job with the fire service.

“You have become an example because millions of people have seen you. It is only right that the nation be grateful,” Macron told him.

In a statement the fire department said Gassama embodied the values of the service, adding: “We are ready to welcome him on board!”

*AFP

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