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Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s Anti-graft agency indicts former Road Safety boss and two others
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Dr. Sarah FINDA Bendu, former Executive Director, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority

Dr. Sarah FINDA Bendu, former Executive Director, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority

Sierra Leone’s Anti-graft Agency has indicted the former Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu and two other government officials according to a press statement from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 12th September.

‘’The Anti-Corruption Commission, on 12th September 2019, filed an indictment against Dr. Sarah FINDA Bendu, former Executive Director, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA); Mr. Victor Labor, Procurement Manager, SLRSA; and Ms. Kepiatu Alghali, former National Revenue Authority (NRA) Officer,’’the release states.

According to the release they were indicted  on various counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, contrary to Section 36(1); Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1); Failure to Comply with Applicable Procedures and Guidelines Relating to the Tendering of Contracts, contrary to Section 48(2)(b); and Failure to Comply with the Applicable Procedures and Guidelines Relating to the Management of Public Funds, contrary to Section 48(2)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.

‘’Acting on the Auditor General’s Report that public funds had been misappropriated by Dr. Bendu, Mr. Labor at the SLRSA, and Ms. Alghali of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) , between January 2016 and December 2017, the ACC accordingly instituted an investigation, the release further stated, adding that the investigations revealed that Dr. Bendu, Mr. Labor , and Ms. Alghali  conspired to defraud the State of a total sum of Two Billion and Ninety One Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty-six Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Leones ,Eight Eight Cents (Le2, 091,736,520.88).

The ACC release noted that  the accused persons, with intent to defraud the State, inflated customs duties, and payments for related services, and used the bank accounts of Centrum and KABS Clearing and Forwarding Agencies, and funnelled monies in the guise of clearing tow trucks and holographic windshield labels, adding that upon the transfer and receipt of each payment, the management of Centrum and KABS, on some occasions, directly transferred the funds to Ms. Alghali’s account.

 

It also said on other occasions, they withdrew these monies and handed over same to her in person and the investigations further revealed that Ms. ALGHALI shared these monies with various employees of the SLRSA, including Mr. Labor and Dr. Bendu; who got the Lion Share.

‘’Meanwhile, the three indicted persons are expected to appear in the High Court Holden at Freetown on the 2nd Day of October 2019.  In this light, the Commission wishes to reassure the general public of its unshaken resolve to fight acts of corruption at all levels in Sierra Leone,’’the release ended.

 

 

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Innovative thinking marks African Development Bank’s Africa jobs manifesto
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Juba, Khartoum agree to stop wars in two nations
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met South Sudan's President Salva Kiir in Juba [Jok Solomun/Reuters]

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Juba [Jok Solomun/Reuters]

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok have agreed to work together to bring peace and stability in the two neighboring– countries after post – President Bashir’s Sudan.

In the aftermath of the deposed of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April, this year and subsequent establishment of the new government, Juba and Khartoum relations has changed, and are now engaging in building new relations.

Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who flew to South Sudan on Thursday September 12, 2019 on a two-day in his first foreign visit, met president Kiir at State House to cement a new plan for peace talks with many of the rebel groups fighting against the government, brokered the Juba government, and discussed bilateral relations between South Sudan and Sudan, including economic integration, border issue and settlement of outstanding issues in both countries.

Hamdok, a former U.N. diplomat, took office three weeks ago under an agreement between the military and civilian parties in Sudan after months of demonstrations against generals who seized power after toppling long-serving autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The ruling Sovereign Council has set an aim to bring a swift end to insurgent conflicts that have plagued Sudan for years and made it a pariah under Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the Darfur region. It has installed a government of technocrats led by Hamdok.

On that, Juba is currently mediating peace talks between Sudanese armed groups and that government in an attempts to return peace and stability in country.

As the result, Sudan’s newly appointed government and rebel leaders agreed Wednesday, September 11, 2019 in Juba on a roadmap aimed at ending war in the country by year end, following the military’s deposed of despotic President Bashir.

The two sides signed an initial deal, known as Juba Declaration Pre – Negotiation Principles, and Trust Building Measures after three days of negotiations in Juba, capital of neighboring South Sudan.

Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, a member of the joint military-civilian sovereign council, signed the initial agreement on behalf of the government. He is the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which grew out of the notorious Janjaweed.

The deal was signed by the SRF, an umbrella group that includes three of the main rebel factions, among them rebels in Darfur, as well as by Abdelaziz Al-Hilu, leader of a wing of the SPLM-N, the main group fighting against the government in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Sudan has been shaken by rebellions in its wide-ranging provinces for decades, resulting in tens of thousands of people being killed.

Fighting in the western Darfur province has largely died down in recent years, but rebels and militias are still active there as well as in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The power-sharing deal between the military and the pro-democracy movement calls for the new government to make peace with rebel groups within six months. Talks are supposed to begin Oct. 14, with the goal of reaching a final peace deal within two months, according to the initial agreement.

The rebels include the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which is an alliance of Darfur rebel groups. It is part of the pro-democracy movement, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which is active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Juba, Khartoum relations

However, the political relationship between the two countries went sour immediately after South Sudan split out from Sudan in 2011 during the outer president Omar al Bashir’s regime. Both leaders have been accusing each other of hosting and supporting rebel groups.

In the meeting, president Kiir assured his Sudanese counterpart of strong bilateral relations, saying cooperation between the two countries did not go well because former president Bashir’s regime had intention to destroy South Sudan.

“The policy in Khartoum by then was that they must disturbed South Sudan so that we die naturally; to collapse but we survived,” said president Kiir.

“The Sudanese people whether in Sudan or in South Sudan are one people in two [different] countries and that is what binds us together although we have not been staying good,” he added.

President further assured his government support to Sudan to end its all forms of violence, promised his regime will reverse to the kind of relations both countries had during the president Bashir’s regime.

“I must assure you that our relationship will change from where we ended with the former regime. [And] we hope, you will cooperate with us,” said Kiir.

For his part, Sudanese prime minister, Hamdok promised that his government would work with Juba government to end all the grievances and mistrusts.

“I am looking for a very strategic, very distinguished relationship between our two nations and the sky is the limit,” Hamdok said upon arrival in Juba. “I believe, there will be peace, stability, prosperity and development in our countries.”

 

“He (Hamdok) is coming to cement the agreement as far as ending the war in Sudan,” said James Wani Igga, South Sudan’s vice president.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ms. Awut Deng Acuil, said the two leaders deliberated more on bilateral relations as well as outstanding issues concerning peace and stability in the two countries, including the issues of borders, economic and trade, cooperation and political matters.

“Time has come for us to stop the war in two Sudans,” said Awut, while addressing the media at the state house with her Sudanese counterpart.

“We hope to have a very prosperous relationship that will address issues of trade, border, oil, free movement of our people between the two countries,” Ms. Awut said.

She added that time is ripe for the two countries to silence a guns across the borders. “It is a high time for us to silent the guns in order to have sustainable peace in two countries – we should all agree to come out with a roadmap to work things together.”

Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Asma Mohamed Abdallah said all the pending or unresolved issues between the two sisterly countries had been touched so that the relationship would resume.

“The new government in Sudan will make sure that all the issues would be resolved, to move to the wider areas of [political] cooperation,” said Asma.

The virtuous relations between the two sisterly countries are vital for trade and economic as well as the flow of oil from fields in South Sudan, which depend on pipelines that go through Sudan.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of scorched – earth war, but descended into another war in 2013. The two sisterly countries have been since often accused each other of harbouring and assisting rebels fighting against their governments during the ousted president Bashir era.

South Sudan, which is also in conflict, is trying hard to bring a swift end to the five-year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted 4 million people from their homes, through latest Khartoum – backing peace deal signed in 2018 by the government and key opposition groups.

The new transitional government is set to be formed on November 12, returned opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar as the president Kiir’s first vice president.

 

 

 

 

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GAMBIA, QATAR SIGN FOUR NEW BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow and the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani presided over the signing of four new Memoranda of Understanding and bilateral agreements between the governments of The Gambia and Qatar. The agreements entail mutual cooperation in the sectors of communications, judiciary, customs, and youth and sports. On behalf of The Gambia, the various ministers of information and communication, justice, and foreign affairs signed the agreements with their respective Qatari counterparts in the following areas:

Communication: the two governments agree to operate in each other’s territories in the service areas of satellite communication. Honourable Ebrima Sillah signed the agreement with the Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications, Jasim Saif Al-Sulaiti.

Mutual Administrative Assistance: Both parties have agreed to exchange information between the customs authorities of the two countries. The Qatari Minister of Finance, Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, signed with Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Gambia, Dr. Mamadou Tangara.

Legal Affairs: It involves capacity enhancement of the judicial systems of both countries, through experience sharing. The two countries also agree to cooperate and assist each other in the area of customs law enforcement focusing on two specific areas: “Administrative Assistance for Optional Application of Customs Law” and “the Repression, Investigation and Combating of Customs Violations”. The Minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou signed for the Gambia while Hon. Essa Saad Jaffal Al- Naimi signed for Qatar.

Youth and Sports: The Gambia and Qatar agree to promote friendly exchange of youth camps and football tournaments between the two countries. Minister Tangara and the Sport and Culture Minster of Qatar, Mr. Salah Ghanim Al-Ali signed on behalf of their respective governments.

Other engagements

Amongst the president’s other engagements on day two of the State visit in Qatar include a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Charity, where they discussed possible a partnership to have the organization begin operations in The Gambia. The non-governmental organization cover areas of health, water supply, and education.

President Barrow also visited the Qatar National Museum. He was encouraged by the display of the rich history and visionary leadership that laid the foundation for a modern Qatari state in the 21st Century.

Later in the evening, the president wrapped up the day with separate meetings with the Chairman of the Arabiya Trading, Abdulrahman Al Mahmoud, and Muhamad Sultan Al Jabeer of Jabeer Construction.

 

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Oprah Winfrey Is Looking for African Women Who Are Passionate About Public Service
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Lerato Mogoatlhe*

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. 2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey is once again lending her name and influence to help educate and empower more African women.

The mogul — who is fondly known as Mama Oprah in South Africa — announced that the Oprah Winfrey Foundation has launched a fully-funded fellowship aimed at empowering African women who are in public service.

It offers women from African countries the chance to study for free at New York University’s (NYU’s) Wagner graduate school of public service — in the hope of supporting Africa-led solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The African Women’s Public Service Fellowship — a partnership between Winfrey and NYU — will provide full tuition, fees, housing, travel to and from the United States, and a stipend to cover books and other expenses.

The aim of the fellowship is to “expand the opportunity for African women” who want to change public service in their countries,according to the New York University (NYU).

The opportunity isn’t open, however, to applicants who are looking to fund advanced professional certificates and non-degree programmes, NYU highlights.

To qualify, applicants must also be a citizen and resident in an African country; have a strong academic record; and a proven commitment to public service in their country or around the continent.

The fellowship is applicable to study on these programmes at Wagner: Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy; MPS in Health Policy & Management; Master of Urban Planning, and Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) for Public Service Leaders.

Recipients of the fellowship also must commit to returning to their home countries when the programme ends, with the goal of taking on a leadership position in Africa — where they can “meaningfully contribute to the challenges currently confronting Africa,” the university says.

To apply for the opportunity, applicants must send an essay, a one-minute submission video, and fill out this online application form by Dec. 2.

Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited to Skype interviews with the selection committee by mid-February 2020.

The fellowship joins many other education initiatives supported by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation.

Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event that was held in Johannesburg in Dec. 2018, Winfrey said society can change if we all play our part, no matter how small, in helping others.

“I always thought it was because Madiba was a citizen of the world that he really got to see how the power of one leads to the empowering of many,” she said. “He knew when a society is wounded, we all bleed.”

She added: “As Maya Angelou taught me: Your legacy isn’t some big grand gesture that’s waiting to happen, your legacy is every life you touch… I built a school right here in South Africa to help girls become leaders of a new South Africa. Every time one of them succeeds, it is my greatest reward.”

*Source Global Citizen

 

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Cameroon: Citizens urged to be involved in peace building process
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Citizens in Cameroon has been urged to be involved in the peace building exercise and should also learn to be proactive as a means to bringing peace in the country. According to participants, the government cannot do everything on its own. These amongst others were some solutions proposed by participants during a public dialogue which took place September 12, 2019, at Mbouoh Star Palace Hotel in Dschang under the theme “The quest for citizen participation in promoting peace in Cameroon.”

The event was in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, whose mission is to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations that advance the Cameroonian economy, and the economies of other sub-Saharan African countries, in partnership with NEDemocracy

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

During the discussions, three prominent issues were x-rayed by participants such as: the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East Regions.

Some 80 participants from the public, private and civil society organizations, and others were present to propose solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolutions of the current conflicts it is presently facing.

On the Anglophone crisis, participants indicated that a national inclusive dialogue will go a long way in resolving the present upheavals in the Regions. This call comes at a time when the Head of State has equally acknowledged the Anglophone crisis. In his unprecedented State of the Nation address, the President said there will be a national dialogue at the end of this month which will involve all stakeholders. “The dialogue to be presided over by the prime minister will bring together all Cameroonians, especially traditional rulers, lawmakers, the clergy and all elected officials,” Biya said.

To one participant, “We have to solve the problem by tackling it from the root. There has to be the respect for the fundamental rights of individuals especially those of the Anglophones. They are not respected at all.” “This issue also boils down to the respect of cultural differences-Cameroon being French and English. These two languages and cultures are very different from one another and no one should be seen as superior and forced down on people.”

Another major solution proposed to solve the Anglophone crisis is for the release of political prisoners, and the release of all those arrested in connection to the crisis. This has been one of the calls from the opposition parties and human rights organizations both internally and externally. Many had equally hoped that prior to the head of State’s address all those in prison would be released-something which was not done by the Head of State.

Participants say the elimination of bad governance and corruption will contribute in solving the numerous problems in Cameroon. It is not new in Cameroon that corruption has become pervasive and has affected all sectors of the government, and even the private sector.

Corruption in Cameroon is caused by various issues such as personal interest, favoritism, ineffective system of accountability and others. According to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International, Cameroon is the 152 least corrupt nation out of the 175 countries.

With respect to the Boko Haram crisis in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East of Cameroon, participants suggest that before the intervention of the government, citizens should regroup themselves to protect their territories. For years now, the Cameroon military has been battling embers of the Boko Haram sect in the North with casualties in the numbers.

In May 2014, Cameroon declared war on Boko Haram at the Paris Summit. Since then, Boko Haram has intensified its activities in the Far North Region of the country, making Cameroon the second most targeted country, regarding attacks by the sect. From July 2015 to March 2016, Boko Haram carried out more than 50 suicide attacks in Cameroon, killing more than 230 people while wounding 500 others.

 

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Reaching global financial inclusion by 2020 is almost impossible
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ferdinand Maniraguha

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

International organizations  have that admitted reaching hundred percent financial inclusion by 2020 is not possible though much has been done since that vision has been set.

At the 2015 World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings, they adopted measurable commitments to achieve Universal Financial Access by 2020 and help promote financial inclusion.

In 2011, 2.5 billion people were unbanked according to World Bank. That number reduced to 1.7 billion by 2017.

Dr Alfred Hannig, executive director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) says that such objective is unlikely to be achieved  on time.

He was speaking Tuesday at a press conference in Kigali, before a two day AFI Global policy forum 2019 program which kicked off this Thursday.

“I believe that this objectives have been quite optimistic , the timeline was very short and from our own experience, we can say that if you talk  about hundred percent inclusion, we need to recognize that this take time”, he said

However, Hannig praised the decision of having set such vision, because it helped to put much efforts into bridging the gap between banked people and unbanked.

“From our point of view, the time that has been given it’s a little bit too short  to achieve. On the other hand, the 2020 objective was also important looking to access to finance. The question is how can we achieve it in a very short time.”

He stressed that global financial inclusion may take up to 2030 to be achieved.

During the opening of  2019 AFI Global policy forum, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

He said that  in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 60% of the population fall below age of 25, most of them are less likely to have a bank account compared to adults.

Bringing youth on board, Dr Ngirente said that financial institutions have to use technology which attract them.

“In this regard, financial literacy could be the starting point in this process since many of the youth have a keen interest in digital channel,  digital financial services accessed  and delivered through their mobile phones, could be the solution to banking them” said Ngirente.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

One of the  problems that still hinders financial inclusion,  is a big number of women who are unbanked, because 56% of the unbanked population are women.

Rwanda Central Bank Governor, John Rwangombwa warned that the  SDG 5 will not be achieved if women are excluded financially.

SDG5 on Gender and Equality, aims at bringing to an end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

“These numbers imply that strong measures must be taken to create a conducive environment, for women to participate and benefit from all development opportunities” he said before adding that “Having access to quality and affordable financial products and services is a foundation to the efforts to promote gender equality.”

AFI says that since 2011 there is a 9 % gender gap in  financial inclusion globally that needs to be bridged.

 

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Zimbabwe Grapples with Big Shortage of ARVs.
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Taurai Nyandoro

Taurai Nyandoro

The Government of Zimbabwe has been urged to un-lock the US$400 Million Global Fund HIV and AIDS Finance. This will make it work way-forward solutions to prevent the further spread of HIV and AIDS. The call has come at a time the country is running serious shortage of ARVs.

Secondly, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe AIDS Net-Work [ZAN] Taurai Nyandoro advised the Government to pay US $6, 9 Million owed to suppliers of ARVs between 2017 and 2018. This, he said is the other reason why suppliers of ARVs are not supplying the country with drugs.

According to ZAN Director, to un-lock the Global Fund US $4 million, the Government must increase support to programs that focus on HIV and AIDS.

‘’ Zimbabwe must un-lock US$ 400 million Global Fund HIV  finance which can help in alleviating poverty related to the spread of the deadly HIV which progresses to AIDS if not well managed .

‘’How-ever, to un-lock the finance, the Government must support programs in line with HIV and AIDS in the country.’’

‘’We want the number of those clients under the Global Fund to increase from 710,000 clients to a much bigger figure. The Government working with NAC has 113, 000 [Anti-Retroviral Therapy] ART Clients while PEPFAR has 193 clients .This will help eradicate HIV. Even by 2030 it’s possible to eliminate HIV if as well 90%, 90 %, 90% targets of the UNITED NATIONS are put in place.

Nyandoro further highlighted that the Ministry of Health and Child-Care has 100,000 people on ARV TEST and TREATMENT. This brings to 8000 new clients a month accessing services. He further advised the Government to give 15% support to the Health sector in its budget. This 15% increase which is Z$502 million makes it easy to get Global Fund support.

‘’The need to unlock the Global Fund finance facility is a big way-forward in making an end to the spread of HIV. There is shortage of ARVs of which the problem must be solved as fast as possible in the country’’, concludes Nyandoro .

A National AIDS Council official who declined to be named out said NAC in 2019 availed Z $23 million for HIV and AIDS in the country. He pointed out that besides this big money availed, the shortage of ARVs and STI Anti-Biotics is there because the Government owes suppliers much money.

‘’Yes. The shortage of ARVs must be addressed now. Anti-Biotics on Sexual Transmitted Diseases Treatment are on the short supply list as well. The challenge is now with those who use ARVs, the HIV positive people’’, he said.

 

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Gambian Rapper Killer Ace, 6 youth receive 700,000 bail bonds
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Killa Ace

Killa Ace

A High court has  granted bail to remanded Gambian rapper Killer Ace whose real name is Ali Cham and six youth asking each of the accused to pay a sum 100, 000 dalasi with two Gambian surety and their travelling documents.

Presiding over the case, vocation judge Basiru Mahoney said: “I am here by granting the seven accused persons a bail in the sum of 100,000 dalasi each. They should tender their travelling documents to the registrar of the high court and sureties of two Gambians each.”

He said despite the case is transferred to the high court; he added that the charges are not yet read in court.

Meanwhile, the accused persons were represented lawyer Antuman Gaye, Lamin S Camara, Saliu Taal, Kombeh Gaye and Patrick Gomez while the state was represented by A. Yusuf and Muhammed Sowe.

After applying for bail for the accused, Lawyer Antuman Gaye, also applied that one Muhammed Fadia’s name was not in the new list and applied that his name to be captured in the new list.

The  youth have been in remand at mile two prison for weeks after they were arrested for allegedly taking part in July 24 protest. Their case was last week transferred to the high court by Kanifing Magistrate court after it said it cannot hear the case of the youth. Thirty youth have been released.

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MenEngage Africa denounces recurring attacks of non-nationals of African descent in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
 

MenEngage Africa has said that it is of major concern that South Africa continues to be the site of persecution of fellow Africans from other parts of the continent. Cross-border long distance truck drivers transporting goods to, and through, South Africa have been under attack from locals in recent weeks. The economic capital, Johannesburg, came to a stand-still when businesses identified as belonging to non-national Africans were attacked and destroyed, resulting in damage to property, disruption of people’s lives and loss of income. The lives and livelihoods of men, women, children and entire communities who have migrated to South Africa from other African countries for various reasons continue to be in danger on a daily basis – and this needs to end now.

The organisations says that these events have sent shock waves throughout all of Africa, with the global family watching in horror as looting went on with little intervention from the security services. This recurring violence has resulted in mounting anger – and justifiably so. In a number of African countries including Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique, nationals took to the streets to attack South African-owned businesses and trucks in retaliation to the attacks on their countrymen and women in South Africa. But this eye for an eye approach is not helpful. It should not be that violence begets violence. It is dangerous for diplomatic relations across Africa, as it could have untold implications, including for our economic development, peace and security.

“Thus, we are heartened that the African Union Commission and foreign governments have issued strong formal protests to the government of South Africa in response to these continued attacks. It is also good that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that he was sending a special envoy to express his concerns directly to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. It is also encouraging that Mr Ramaphosa himself has come out to condemn this spate of violence.

The events taking place in South Africa require a co-ordinated and sustained approach by all countries and regional bodies in the region, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (ECA),” says Hassan Sekajoolo,” chairperson of the Steering Committee of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

“This approach must consider that the attacks in South Africa have been labeled ‘xenophobia’, although they only affect people of African origin. The violence against non-nationals of African descent in South Africa gives rise to a new meaning of the word ‘xenophobia’. The word means ‘a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries’. The South African situation, however, demonstrates a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries based on what they look like – being African,” adds Mpiwa Mangwiro, Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for MenEngage Africa Alliance.

Locals in South Africa blame migrants from other African countries for their social and economic woes, including lack of employment, substance abuse, human trafficking, crime levels, lack of housing, and pressures on the health system. As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we realise that the concerns of locals cannot be downplayed.

If claims that non-national Africans are responsible for the proliferation of drugs and various crime syndicates and illegalities are true, the law must be brought to bear upon the perpetrators. At community level, migrants have a responsibility to adhere to the laws of their host country and law enforcers have a duty to uphold and protect the laws and regulations of their country. At national level, there are formal mechanisms between the host country and countries of origin of migrants to deal with offences committed. The truth is that crime is carried out by criminals, irrespective of country of origin. Drugs and other crimes are committed by nationals all the time. Police are enjoined to carry out their mandate in terms of applicable laws.

Furthermore, the Constitution of South Africa sets out that everyone who resides in the country has the right to access health services, irrespective of their nationality or legal status. Thus, non-nationals must be allowed to access health care, especially women and children who often rely on state resources for their health needs because of a lack of crucial economic means.

The organisation  calls  on the South African government and all African states, the African Union Commission, and all regional bodies to play their individual and collective roles to ensure that this state of affairs does not continue. Africans cannot be attacking one another when there are peaceful mechanisms to find solutions to our problems.

“As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we remain committed to support all efforts that seek to ensure unity of the continent and ensure that the ideals of the founding principles of the African Union Commission are achieved”.

 

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Civil Society Organisations call for a #SandtonShutdown on 13 September 2019 in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire

 

The Call-to-Action, a consortium representing over 70 civil society organisations and individual activists working on gender-based violence says that it  condemns the continuous onslaught on womxn’s bodies, migrants and refugees.

Its says that In the recent spate of violence erupting across South Africa such as looting, arson and vandalism plaguing much of Johannesburg; in areas such as Jeppestown, Malvern, Tembisa and surrounding areas, migrants and refugees have been the main target in the unrest, with dozens of shops affected.

“Sadly, these incidences are not sporadic. Nor are they random “acts of criminality”. This is violence perpetrated on persons based on their gender, nationality and sexuality. Government continues to tolerate these attacks by taking a denialist approach to the underlying causes, in doing so, human life is trivialised. Government’s continued tolerance of these behaviours supports and justifies the actions of perpetrators”.

They say that as civil society, they question Government’s commitment to the National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination; perhaps it was just mere lip service?

“As womxn and gender non-conforming people of this country we have come to a point of no return”.

The country continues to function, with business districts and operations going on uninterrupted while womxn are killed in the very communities they operate in; we pledge our support to the womxn and gender non-conforming people protesting at the World Economic Forum for Africa, who call for a disruption of ‘business as usual’ to the economic machinery in the country.

We know that womxn are not a priority in South Africa; we also know that asylum seekers, migrants and refugees are not a priority in South Africa. We know that the South African government only responds when money is on the line.

“We therefore call on all WOMXN in SOUTH AFRICA to join in the disruption of the South African business day by taking a stand to shut down a central economic point, Sandton. We ask all Sandton businesses to close their doors and join womxn on Friday 13 September 2019, as we mourn being the living dead”.

To Government and business:

  • We call on Government to denounce Xenophobia and call it by its name and follow its own recommendations as laid out by its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination
  • We call on government to support an end to systemic and structural violence against womxn and gender non-conforming people by finalising the National Strategic Plan on GBV and allocating it adequate funding
  • We call for the opening of shelters to include ALL womxn and children
  • We call on the South African private sector to take responsibility for being a driver of the deep inequalities.
  • We call on business to realise their moral, ethical responsibility to the communities where they operate and to take specific steps to help build social cohesion

To the men in our country:

  • We call on all men to examine their own behaviour and change.
  • We call on abusers to stop abusing and killing womxn.

To comrades at this time:

  • We pledge our support to the womxn in institutions of higher learning who are calling for an academic shutdown.
  • We pledge our action and support to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in South Africa
  • We call for the opening of all places of safety, and for building owners to make spaces available.

Organisations and individuals signing on:

  • ActionAid South Africa
  • African Diaspora Forum Women’s League
  • Advocates for Prevention of HIV in Africa (APHA)
  • Black Womxn Caucus
  • Centre for Human Rights University of Pretoria
  • Hospersa
  • Institute for Economic Justice
  • LifeLine SA
  • Rise up against GBV
  • SACCAWU
  • Scalabrini Centre
  • SECTION27
  • Sisonke Sex Workers Movement
  • Sonke Gender Justice
  • SWEAT
  • The Teddy Bear Clinic
  • The Archive: Amabali Wethu
  • The One in Nine Campaign
  • The Social Justice Foundation
  • The Stop GBV Campaign
  • Women and Girls Leadership Foundation
  • Women Leadership Social Empowerment
  • ZAZI

 

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Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria offers South Africa xenophobia returnees glimmer of hope
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN

Anticipating the need to quickly integrate the disenchanted Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks from South Africa into the fabric of society and give them hope for a better future; the Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria [CREN] offers free training to returnee Nigerians to learn all about renewable energy technologies and begin entry-level careers in the solar PV industry at the Asteven Renewable Energy Academy, a subsidiary of Asteven Energy Group..

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN, revealing this, said “Nigeria is richly endowed and we shall not allow our people to be cast adrift after losing all they have worked hard for over the years. In support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s next level vision to change the Nigerian story, a part of which is ensuring that all Nigerians have marketable skills, we are offering this opportunity to all interested returnees to come learn technical skills and participate in a business that is commercially viable, environmentally sound and has social importance. We at CREN guarantee that they shall be trained totally free of charge and also fully equipped to be active participants in this sector”.

Speaking further, Dr Akpoyibo has made a call for all likeminded advocates to support this programme; to ensure that the providing returnees are given the opportunity to immediately get back on their feet as fully trained technicians in the fast growing global renewable energy industry. Their training will be contributory to Nigeria’s green growth agenda and the country’s climate mitigation efforts.

The Council shall liaise with the House Committee on Diaspora and the Nigerian Diaspora Commission to ensure that the returnee Nigerians are contacted and provided this opportunity. It doesn’t just stop there. They will also be trained on setting up renewable energy businesses, provided with product loans, mentorship and partner support to enable them become fully proficient in the industry; expand their skills sets and business portfolios. This will enable them contribute to Nigeria’s Green Growth Agenda,

The Nigerian Government has stated that from Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the first batch of 600 returnees will be airlifted back to Nigeria. This is an opportunity for those returnees to quickly get back on their feet.

The CREN/ASTEVEN Group Photovoltaic Installer Level 1 (PVI1) certification course from Asteven Renewable Energy Academy is designed for beginners, so previous experience with electronics/electricity is not necessary but is helpful. The trainees will benefit from real world, hands-on experience.

 Since 2007, CREN established under the purview of state and civil society institutions, is a private member based association that consistently and actively advocates for the promotion and deployment of renewable energy technologies in Nigeria; not just as a vehicle for power and energy security but a vehicle for social entrepreneurship and empowerment of the Nigerian people.

 

 

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