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Adopt Swahili as official language, says Mwinyi
September 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

Former Tanzania president Ali Hassan Mwinyi (grey-haired) and other participants finish their race during the Cancer Run at Kololo Ceremonial grounds yesterday. More than Shs300 million was collected from the run to help complete the cancer ward at Nsambya hospital. Photo by Ismail Kezaala. Former Tanzania president Ali Hassan Mwinyi (grey-haired) and other participants finish their race during the Cancer Run at Kololo Ceremonial grounds yesterday. More than Shs300 million was collected from the run to help complete the cancer ward at Nsambya hospital. Photo by Ismail Kezaala.[/caption] Kampala- East African countries should revive the use of Kiswahili to ease communication and promote unity, former Tanzania president Ali Hassan Mwinyi has said.

Mr Mwinyi was speaking yesterday after taking part in the Rotary Cancer Run at Kololo Airstrip, where he was the chief runner.
“There was an East African language committee but unfortunately, this committee was born in Tanzania, fell sick in Kenya and was buried in Uganda,” he said.
The former Tanzania president said he was in Uganda to witness the re-birth of the language.
“I’m pleased to tell you that I’m in Uganda to witness the re-birth of Swahili and so the next time you invite me, I will address you in that language.”
Swahili is already an official language in Tanzania and Kenya where it is spoken by the majority of the population. In Rwanda and Burundi, it is widely spoken but some Ugandans claim Swahili was used by harsh colonial officials and government law enforcement agencies and criminals, hence their dislike of the language.
President Mwinyi, who arrived in Uganda last Friday, was in the company of his wife Siti Mwinyi who also took part in the run.
East African Legislative Assembly legislator Mike Sebalu, the chairperson of the run, said it had created awareness about cancer among the masses and expects the cancer ward at Nsambya hospital to be opened to the public in January.
A team from Monitor Publications Ltd led by the Executive Editor, Prof Malcolm Gibson, took part in the event, which attracted more than 20,000 runners, with the organisers announcing more than Shs300 million in collections. *Source monitor
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100th Day Anniversary Of Abductions: Jonathan Tells Chibok Parents Government Doing ‘Everything’ To #BringBackOurGirls
July 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan meeting with some of the Chiboks girls who escaped from Boko haram in Abuja today State House Photo President Goodluck Jonathan meeting with some of the Chiboks girls who escaped from Boko haram in Abuja today
State House Photo[/caption] President Goodluck Jonathan today in Abuja told members of the Chibok community, hundreds of whose daughters were abducted by Boko Haram militants exactly 100 days ago, that his administration is doing “everything humanly possible” to rescue them. Mr. Jonathan spoke during a belated meeting in the presidential villa with parents of the abducted girls, some of the girls who escaped from their abductors, and leaders of the community. It was his first meeting with the parents, and he appealed for their patience, understanding and cooperation, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement. Mr. Jonathan has never been to Chibok, and his government responded to the abductions by spending weeks questioning that they ever happened in the first place.  Critics say that mistake gave Boko Haram the space and time to split up the girls and make them hard to find. “Anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out is not being truthful,” he said, trying to parry widespread criticism of his government. Mr. Jonathan further told his visitors: “Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria. But we are very, very mindful of the safety of the girls. We want to return them all alive to their parents. If they are killed in any rescue effort, then we have achieved nothing.” He noted that that although he was yet to visit Chibok since the abductions, his heart was constantly with its traumatized parents and people, and his desire was to visit them when their daughters have been freed and they can receive him with smiling faces of joy, rather than with tears of anguish. Apparently sensing the weight of heavy expectations, Mr. Jonathan told the parents that the occasion was not the time for “talking much,” but for action. “We will get to the time that we will tell stories. We will get to the time that we will celebrate and I assure you that, by God’s grace, that time will come soon.” According to Mr. Abati, the event, which was held behind closed doors, was also attended by Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State and the Senate President, Senator David Mark. National Security Chiefs, Ministers and other senior government officials were also present at the meeting. “Other speakers at the meeting included a district head, Mr. Zannamadu Usman, a member of the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. Aminu Foni Chibok, parents of the abducted girls and three of the girls who escaped from their captors, Godia Simon, Dorcas Musa and Joy Bishara,” and that the community’s address to the President was presented by Dr. Pogu Bitrus. Strangely, the State House statement presented a heavily one-sided report of the occasion.  It appeared that a clear decision was made to scrupulously suppress the statements delivered on the occasion by the visitors, but the parents appeared to have begged Mr. Jonathan to do more to protect them. [caption id="attachment_10488" align="alignright" width="300"]President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for not meeting parents earlier President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for not meeting parents earlier[/caption] “Responding to appeals from the community leaders for more help in overcoming some of the challenges imposed on Chibok and neighbouring communities by the Boko Haram insurgency, the President said that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Medical Agencies will intensify their efforts to provide them with additional relief aid and assistance,” Abati wrote. He said Mr. Jonathan also assured them that Chibok and other communities in the three North-Eastern States most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency will be the first beneficiaries of the Victims’ Support Fund, the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, the Safe Schools Initiative and other developmental programmes which the Federal Government is evolving to address the damage, losses, setbacks, economic and social dislocations occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.” According to the spokesman, Governor Shettima called for “more sobriety, reflection and unity of purpose” in the fight against terrorism in the country, but it was not clear to whom those words were specifically addressed, as it could not have been the victims. The governor was said to have pledged that Borno State will give President Jonathan the fullest possible support for his efforts to address the problems caused by terrorism and the Boko Haram insurgency. *Source Sahara Reporters ]]>

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The chairperson of the AU Commission looks forward to working closely with the new AU Panel of the Wise
July 10, 2014 | 1 Comments

images (6)The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, looks forward to working closely with the new members of the AU Panel of the Wise. At their 23rd Ordinary Summit, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 26 and 27 June 2014, the Heads of State and Government endorsed the proposals she made for the appointment of the five new members of the Panel, who are: – Dr Lakhdar Brahimi, from Algeria, for North Africa; – Mr Edem Kodjo, from Togo, for West Africa; – Dr Albina Faria de Assis Pereira Africano, from Angola, for Central Africa; – Dr Luisa Diogo, from Mozambique, for Southern Africa; and – Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda, for East Africa. The new members of the Panel are due to assume office in September 2014, at a ceremony to be held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. They will seize that opportunity to review and adopt their programme of work. The Chairperson of the Commission is confident that the new members of the Panel will give additional momentum to the AU’s efforts in conflict prevention, building on the work carried out so far. In line with relevant provisions of the Protocol that established the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the AU policy making organs have, over the past few years, repeatedly emphasized the need for renewed efforts towards conflict prevention in Africa. The Chairperson of the Commission seizes this opportunity to pay tribute to the outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise, which was chaired by late President Ahmed Ben Bella. Former President Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Madame Marie Madeleine Kalala-Ngoy, and Dr Mary Chinery Hesse will now become Friends of the Panel. The AU Panel of the Wise is one of the components of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as provided for in the 2002 Peace and Security Council (PSC) Protocol. The Panel, which was launched in Addis Ababa, in December 2007, is composed of five highly respected African personalities who have made outstanding contribution to the cause of peace, security and development on the continent. They are selected by the Chairperson of the Commission after consultation with the Member States concerned, and appointed by the Assembly of the Union to serve for a period of three years. The Panel is mandated to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the Chairperson of the Commission, particularly in the area of conflict prevention. The Panel may advise the PSC and the Chairperson of the Commission on all matters within their respective competences; carry out fact-finding missions as an instrument of conflict prevention; encourage parties, where appropriate, to engage in political dialogue; and promote confidence-building measures. The Panel may also pronounce itself on any issue relating to the promotion and maintenance of peace, security and stability in Africa. Since its inception, the Panel of the Wise has undertaken a number of thematic reflections on issues relevant to conflict prevention and peace-building, namely: election-related disputes and conflicts; impunity, justice and national reconciliation; women and children in armed conflicts; and democratization and governance. The thematic reflection on election-related conflicts and violence was initiated following the post-election crisis in Kenya in December 2007. The report of the Panel on this issue and its recommendations were adopted in July 2009 by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The decision of the Panel to reflect on fighting impunity, along with its relationship to truth, justice and reconciliation in Africa, was taken in November 2008, following renewed debate on this topic. The choice of the topic of women and children in armed conflicts was informed by the empirical evidence, accumulated over decades, confirming that women and children suffer most wherever and whenever there is a breakdown of social order, rule of law and ascendance of violence. The report of the Panel will be submitted in due course to the relevant AU organs. imagesThe decision to devote a thematic reflection to the implications of the popular uprisings in North Africa for the democratization processes in Africa is in response to the request made by the 275th meeting of the PSC, held in Addis Ababa, on 26 April 2011, for the Panel to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing mechanisms relating to democratization and governance in Africa, and make recommendations to it. In addition to its thematic reflections, the Panel of the Wise has undertaken a number of field missions in support of democratization and transition processes on the continent. The Panel of the Wise works closely with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). It has undertaken joint activities with the Committee of Elders of COMESA, the Council of the Wise of ECOWAS, as well as the Secretariats of IGAD, SADC and the ICGLR. In May 2013, the AU Assembly decided to establish an umbrella mechanism called the Pan African Network of the Wise (PANWISE). PANWISE brings together mediation institutions and actors across the continent, with a view to building synergies among all concerned.   About the new members of the Panel of the Wise: The new members of the Panel of the Wise were elected by the AU Summit held in Malabo, on 26 and 27 June 2014. These are: a) for North Africa, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi from Algeria – Mr. Brahimi held senior positions in his country, notably as Ambassador to several countries, from 1963 to 1979, and Foreign Minister, from 1991 to 1993. He also held senior positions in the League of Arab States and the United Nations, including as Special Envoy; b) for West Africa, Mr. Edem Kodjo from Togo. Mr. Kodjo has been Finance and Foreign Minister from 1976 to 1978, as well as Prime Minister, from 1994 to 1996. He also served as Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, from 1978 to 1983; c) for Central Africa, Dr. Albina Faria Assis Pereira Africano from Angola. Dr. Africano has been Minister of Petroleum from 1992 to 1999 and Minister of Industry from 1999 to 2000. She also held the position of Special Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs; d) for East Africa, Dr. Spesiosa Wandira from Uganda. Dr. Wandira has been Minister of Gender and Community Development from 1991 to 1994, Member of Parliament and, from 1994 to 2003, Vice-President of Uganda. She also chaired the African Women Committee on Peace and Development; and e) for Southern Africa, Dr. Luisa Diogo from Mozambique. Dr. Diogo held several ministerial portfolios. She was Deputy Minister of Finance, then Planning and Finance Minister. From 2004 to 2010, she was Prime Minister.  ]]>

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What I don't accept is interference – President Paul Kagame, Rwanda
July 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Paul Kagame President, Rwanda. Photo©Vincent Fournier for TAR Paul Kagame President, Rwanda. Photo©Vincent Fournier for TAR[/caption] In a frank interview on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the genocide, President Kagame talked about its repercussions, regional politics and the end of his last term as leader in 2017. The Africa Report : Twenty years after the genocide, do you think the world outside Rwanda has finally come to terms with what happened? President Paul Kagame: Unfortunately, no. The image portrayed on the outside is that of a genocide that fell from the sky without any causes or consequences, where responsibilities are multiple, muddled and diluted. It’s a kind of epiphenomenon.

Could this lack of understanding be due to the fact that this carnage was carried out by people living together in the same community – a situation unique in modern history? Without a doubt. Our experience was different to that of other people. This led to specific responses, which are often complicated to explain.Even though today it remains a taboo subject, we must not forget the key role some Western powers played, not only in the historical roots but also in the unfolding of the genocide. Today, it is these same Western powers alone who lay down the rules of good governance and set the standards for democracy. They would like Rwanda to be a normal country as though nothing happened, which would have the advantage for them of making people forget their own role in the massacre, but that’s impossible. Take the French: twenty years later, the only reproach admissable in their eyes is that they didn’t do enough to save lives during the genocide. That’s a fact, but it hides the main point: the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide and the participation of the latter in its very execution. Complicity or participation? Both! Ask the survivors of the Bisesero massacre in June 1994 and they will tell you what the French military in Opération Turquoise did there. In Bisesero and in the whole area designated a ‘humanitarian safe zone’ they were not only accomplices but perpetrators as well. Another reason why it’s difficult to understand what happened is that you stand out as a very different head of state. Are you aware of this? I have no idea. If there is a difference, it would be due to my experience and my country’s unique history, but in terms of development and governance we’re facing the same challenges as all Africans. Though your social and economic achievements have been unanimously applauded, the same cannot be said for democracy in Rwanda. What democracy are you referring to? If I were to believe what the West feeds us, democracy is for and by the people: its expressions, its sentiments, its choices. However in Rwanda, when the population freely ex- press its choices, the same people hit back saying: ‘No, you’re mistaken, your decisions are not good for you.’
As long as we don’t adopt the model of democracy they have defined for us, we are doing the wrong thing. This attitude has a name, it’s called intolerance or refusal to accept differences. When I see that elsewhere in Africa their conception of democracy is compatible with corruption, tribalism, nepotism and in some cases chaos as long as they manage to keep up appearances, I tell myself that we definitely don’t share the same view. Do you believe for a second that the social and economic achievements you mentioned could have been accomplished without the participation of Rwandans and against their will? Dignity, unity, the right to start a business, the right to education and to health and integrity are among our key democratic values. No one is in a better position than we are to know our needs and the ways to achieve them. The outside world had better get used to that because we are not going to change. Your term of office ends in 2017, and the constitution prevents you from running again. Where do you stand on that? I’ve always said I will respect the constitution. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that a constitution is nothing other than an expression of the will of the people at one moment and in a given context. All over the world, in the oldest democracies as in newer ones, fundamental laws are subject to constant changes, revisions and amendments in the interests of the citizens concerned. Concerning presidential term limits, for example? On this point, as in others, I don’t know. It’s not up to me, and I am not the writer of the constitution. Why this obsession with me? The only thing you should keep in mind is that I respect the constitution and I will continue to do so. Anything else is not my concern. How do you explain that not a single Rwandan believes you will step down in 2017? Is it because they’re assuming I want to stay in power or they are expressing a wish on their part? You should put the question to them. One thing is sure: ultimately, if this type of proposal were to be submitted to me by the people, I would have to decide. It’s difficult to picture you as a 60-year-old retiree, sitting in your Muhazi lake ranch watching over your cows… Why not? I can easily see myself in that picture. Since oppositionist Patrick Karegeya’s assassination and the attack on Kayumba Nyamwasa’s villa in South Africa, your relationship with Pretoria has been stormy. You met President Jacob Zuma in Luanda on 25 March. What did you say to each other? Our discussions were not focused on this issue, but we obviously touched on the subject. My opinion is clear: obtaining asylum in a country implies a duty of discretion and a ban on carrying out subversive activities against your country of origin. So it’s not the right to asylum I’m questioning as such, but the freedom and even high-level complicity that some of these self-exiles in South Africa enjoy in their efforts to destabilise Rwanda and promote terrorism. Did you ask the South African authorities to extradite Karegeya and Nyamwasa? Obviously we did, and I have the records to prove it. These people were prosecuted and convicted in Rwanda. But Pretoria doesn’t think your justice system can offer all the guarantees of impartiality… Wrongly so. The South Africans should be careful not to give the unfortunate impression that they themselves are biased. I’m hopeful that with time South Africa’s government will realise that there’s far more to be gained from listening to us than covering up for a bunch of offenders. Diplomats were expelled on both sides. Will they be reinstated in their jobs? We are in the process of replacing them. Since Zuma arrived in power, your relationship with South Africa has deteriorated. Is it because he chose to form a strategic alliance with the Democratic Republic of Congo? I can’t answer for him. But one thing is sure: I wouldn’t advise anyone to meddle in our domestic affairs. What I’m saying applies not only to South Africa but also to Tanzania, France, Belgium, the media and the non-governmental organisations that take malevolent delight in fanning the flames of resentment. What role did you play in the assassination of Karegeya and the attack against Kayumba? None. There’s nothing, no evidence that links the state of Rwanda to these crimes. The South African authorities say they have evidence, but where is it? The only thing they really criticise us for are my own statements on the matter. It’s true that you pulled no punches… Are you surprised? I always speak my mind. Why should we cry over the fate of a man who ordered deadly grenade attacks? Regardless of whether this excites journalists. Karegeya, Nyamwasa but also former prosecutor general Gerald Gahima and former cabinet director Théogène Rudasingwa were very close allies until they became your sworn enemies. Does this worry you, these people who leave with secrets? What secrets? Compromising secrets for them, perhaps? These people held military, security, judicial or political offices in the Rwandan Patriotic Front under my command. So referring to them in terms of how close they were to me means nothing. As for their secrets, you’ve heard them. These people said all they had to say a long time ago, and it’s nothing but nonsense. I’ve noticed that while we were working together, they never once disagreed with me on anything. They only expressed disapproval the day they were relieved of their duties for reasons not related to politics. President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania incurred your wrath when he recommended opening negotiations with your opponents, including the FDLR Hutu militia. You don’t accept this view? What I don’t accept is interference. It’s inadmissible that Jakaya Kikwete and members of his government should associate themselves in any way with genocide perpetrators, and I see no reason why they should. Six months ago you launched a campaign named Ndi Umunyarwanda (I am Rwandan), which your opponents have interpreted as a way of culpabilising and humiliating the Hutu community. What is it all about? It’s very simple. The aim of this campaign is to emphasise what unites us – our Rwandanness – and eliminate what divided us, and which caused the genocide: communitarianism. Of course, this should be done with respect for our diversity. In this framework and with this aim, those who, by commission or omission, have reason to reproach themselves about the genocide will have the opportunity to express their regrets and commitment to the new Rwanda. Taking this step is purely on an individual and voluntary basis, and no one is being forced. What is your state of relations with the US? Since Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice moved on it seems you have lost your two main supporters in Washington and the State Department is now quick to criticise you. To my knowledge, there isn’t any real problem between us. It was American aircraft that brought our troops to Central Africa and our cooperation on several issues remains good. The few statements you’re referring to are answers given during interviews, they are not official statements. *Source theafricareport
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Past wrongs no excuse for failure, says Kagame
July 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Eugene Kwibuka* [caption id="attachment_10303" align="alignleft" width="300"]President Kagame inspects a Guard of Honour mounted by the Rwanda Defence Forces at Amahoro Stadium yesterday. Village Urugwiro. President Kagame inspects a Guard of Honour mounted by the Rwanda Defence Forces at Amahoro Stadium yesterday. Village Urugwiro.[/caption] President Paul Kagame has paid tribute to Rwandans who dedicated themselves to the struggle to liberate their country, whether on the battlefield or through grassroots education or those who gave their resources. “Today we remember all of them in a spirit of gratitude,” he said in his 20th Liberation Anniversary speech to the nation at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali yesterday. “Rwandans stand together today as a people united, liberated and focused, as never before – on attaining the future we want,” he said. Kagame said: “The losses endured by every Rwandan family strengthen our resolve to safeguard the gains we have made. But we did not work to spare Rwanda’s children from war so that they take peace for granted”. Kagame reserved a special praise for the country’s armed forces, saying they give “their all to protect our constitutional order, in close partnership with the people”. As our struggle taught us, the people’s trust is the true foundation of nation-building, he said. “I thank them for their patriotic service…” The Head of State said that Rwanda is a more unified, peaceful and focused country 20 years after Rwandans paid great sacrifices to stop the Genocide against the Tutsi. But he warned that liberation is not an end in itself but rather “an attitude that inspires everything that we do and without which we can’t succeed”. Kagame warned against the pitfall of blaming the legacy of European colonisation and past wrongs for today’s failures. “Nothing about the past is an excuse for failure, even where real wrongs were done. The countless young Rwandans and Africans I have met lack nothing. They can deliver the future we want, if we hold each other accountable for it.” In attendance were Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Salva Kirr Mayardit of South Sudan, Burundian First Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza, Mama Maria Nyerere, the widow of the late Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, among other guests from around the continent. He said Africans “tolerate mediocre implementation, even though we are very capable people, and avoid taking responsibility, even though it is we who pay the price for failure.” Kagame, who led the Rwanda Patriotic Army to the historic July 4, 1994 triumph, effectively bringing to an end the Genocide against the Tutsi, said even as the liberators embarked on an armed struggle to liberate the country they were cognizant of the need for Africa to reclaim its dignity. He challenged Rwandan and African youth in general to rise to the occasion and carry on with the liberation struggles. “Soon enough, they will have to step up and take responsibility. We must ensure that they are ready.”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SLli-eh_Dw Liberation events were held across the country and in Rwandan communities across the world. In Kigali, the day began with the unveiling of the Campaign Against Genocide Monument at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura, where the 3 battalion of the Rwanda Patriotic Army stayed for months just as the Juvenal Habyarimana regime prepared the Genocide. These 600 soldiers would later play a key role in rescuing people around Kigali when the killings were set in motion on the night of April 6, 1994, moments after Habyarimana was assassinated by extremists within his ruling MRND party to create the excuse for genocide. This RPA battalion went on to secure the Amahoro stadium – the venue for yesterday’s national Liberation event – which hosted refugees from around Kigali as then government soldiers and Interahamwe militia continued to comb the capital, killing their targets. Thousands of people who attended the ceremonies at the Amahoro stadium yesterday were wowed by the Armed Forces parade and performances, which attracted able-bodied servicemen and women as well as war casualties in wheelchairs. Young Rwandans also recited a poem that expressed gratitude and admiration for the country’s liberation heroes. Rwandan artistes also performed songs celebrating the country’s rebirth, with pledges such as “you won’t miss anything Rwanda.” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also current chairperson of the East African Community, the five-nation region group which Rwanda subscribes to, pledged his country and EAC’s continued support to the people of Rwanda. “Our delay and inaction in your hour of need are a standing reproach. We could have done more, sooner,” he said in reference to the failure by the region and the international community to stop the Genocide, which would claim the lives of more than a million people in 100 days. He added: “We work together to strengthen regional security in the knowledge that peace is the fundamental demand of our citizens, in whose absence all our works turn to ash,” Kenyatta said. As part of a raft of integration deals, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and Kenya this year signed two key pacts to strengthen mutual cooperation in the areas of defence and security as a way of protecting socio-economic gains made. In a message of solidarity read out by Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit extended well wishes from the people of the world’s newest nation, where Rwanda maintains more than 1,600 peacekeepers. See also, Kagame and Kenyatta’s speeches during Rwanda’s Liberation day *newtimes]]>

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President Obiang Asks for Greater Investment in Agricultural Sector
June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon[/caption] President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (http://equatorialguineainfo.blogspot.com), asked African countries to invest heavily in their agricultural sector to decrease their dependence on the developed world, ensure food security, and significantly reduce hunger in their countries. He made his remarks at the closing session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union (AU). President Obiang said that Africa should reorient itself to ensure its independence and security of African states through the safe production of its own consumer goods. “Africa cannot be content to continue with the current dependence on the economies of the developed world. Africa is sailing upstream against a dependency that prevents them from moving toward sustainable development. Africa should rethink its relationship with the developed world to reduce as far as possible the gap that prevents access to development,” said Obiang. “The development of agriculture can greatly reduce this dependence,” he said. “Africa can ensure food security and significantly reduce hunger in our countries. Africa should heavily invest in agricultural development to transform itself in order to accelerate growth to increase production and productivity,” said Obiang. President Obiang proposed to the African Union the establishment of a program that focuses on the organization and exploitation of markets to promote trade and food security and to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty. This will also reinforce the fight against climate change and agriculture. He said that Equatorial Guinea is already investing in its agricultural sector. “As part of our diversification plan, Equatorial Guinea currently focuses on [agricultural] production to achieve these goals. It is imperative to ensure the security and stability of our states, since agriculture is the most vulnerable sector in times of instability, war and terrorism.” said Obiang “It’s no coincidence that this session focuses on the issue of agriculture and food security in Africa. We cannot talk about the development of Africa if there is no agricultural development to ensure food security and avoid lifelong dependence on imports of consumer products.” He noted that Africa counts on the support of organizations focused on agriculture and ways to improve the sector, and urged continued support for those organizations. “The African Union must recognize and financially support the structures of non-governmental organizations, businesses and institutions created in Africa to support agriculture, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).” Obiang linked democratic and economic development. “Africa must contribute to a democratic development aimed at achieving economic development of society and the welfare of its citizens. It must be a democracy that seeks conflict reduction, he said.” Obiang also urged his fellow Africans to prioritize South-South cooperation, a cooperation that respects the principles of equality. “The last decade has marked considerable advancements of the African states. Many of them aspire to economic emergence in the near future. Nonetheless, the continent continues to be a victim of endemic diseases and insecurity that require a unified solution of the states.” Obiang said it was a great honor for Equatorial Guinea to host the 23rd African Union Summit at “a moment that is crucial for the world nations as they struggle to find solutions to economic crises, security, hunger and poverty, and climate change that affect the world.” He said,  “The participation of the heads of state and numerous guests in this summit shows the interest and commitment that Africa and its partners have to find solutions to current issues.” A session on agriculture and food security under the slogan “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture, for Shared Prosperity and Improved livelihoods, through Harnessing Opportunities” was held in the afternoon.  ]]>

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E.Guinea president urges African leaders to shake up ties with West
June 30, 2014 | 1 Comments

Daniel Flynn* images (4)The president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea lambasted foreign interference in Africa on Thursday, calling on the continent’s leaders to shake up their relationship with the West. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, hosting a two-day summit of the 54-nation African Union, urged leaders to put an end to economic dependence on Western nations since independence, saying this was holding back the continent from sustainable development. The 72-year-old president, who is Africa’s longest serving head of state after overthrowing his uncle in a 1979 coup, has overseen an economic boom in the tiny Central African nation since offshore oil was discovered in the mid-1990s. The former Spanish colony, with a population of less than 800,000 people, is Africa’s No. 3 energy producer behind Nigeria and Angola, hosting a slew of oil companies including Marathon Oil and ExxonMobil. Thanks to the oil boom, Equatorial Guinea boasts the highest GDP per capita in Africa but international aid agencies and rights groups say this masks a high wealth gap between the ruling elite and the country’s poor majority. “Times have changed. Africa has more than 50 years of independence submitted to a neo-colonial system which perpetuates the old colonial one,” Obiang told the continent’s leaders at the summit’s opening ceremony. “Africa should renegotiate relations with developed world.” Speaking in front of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Obiang cited the pricing of natural resources and the “barriers to international trade” as examples of Western domination of Africa. He also criticised the exchange rate of the CFA franc used by 14 countries in West and Central Africa, including Equatorial Guinea, as being fixed too low against the euro. Equatorial Guinea ranked 136 out of 187 states on the U.N.’s 2013 Human Development Index. Obiang’s eldest son Teodorin, a vice-president and potential successor, has faced corruption and money-laundering investigations in the United States and France. This year, Obiang has declared his country open for more business outside of oil and gas, widened its alliances by joining a global community of Portuguese-speaking states, and offered a political dialogue to domestic and exiled opponents. Towering new offices and residential blocks – often built by Chinese or Arab construction firms – are springing up around the verdant island capital Malabo, though many citizens still live in tin-roofed homes. “Africa is engaged in a process of democratic progress which is irreversible and adjusted to African realities, and it should not allow foreign meddling,” he said. Obiang has pointed in the past to a botched 2004 coup attempt by former British Special Forces officer Simon Mann – with financial backing from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark – as evidence that foreign powers want to control his oil-rich nation. To applause from fellow heads of state, including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Obiang called for an overhaul of the United Nations system “so that it no longer serves as a support for some countries to legalise their agenda of meddling”. He also criticised the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for facilitating “the monopolies of the world economy”. Speaking before Obiang, Rajoy said that Spain’s trade with Africa had more than doubled over the past 10 years. “Every year we buy African products totalling over 28 billion euros, almost twice as much as we export to the continent,” the Spanish prime minister said. “The more prosperous Africa, is the more prosperous Spain will be.” *Source Reuters]]>

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Rwanda: African Leaders Back Creation of Eastern African Standby Force
June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

East-Africa-LeadersAfrican Heads of State and government have supported the creation of a well-equipped standby force to help in tackling security challenges in the region. The leaders meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, said Africa required a deployable standby force to combat new security challenges. President Paul Kagame chaired the 3rd extraordinary meeting of the Eastern African Standby Force Assembly. Meant to enhance security in the Eastern Africa region, the East African Standby Force will be composed of military, police and civilians serving as regional mechanism to ensure rapid preventive and intervention deployment for peace and stability in the region. Opening the session, President Kagame reiterated the need for the region to work together to solve common security challenges on the continent. The meeting was attended by Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Ikililou Dhoinine of Comoros and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. Others were Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia, First Vice-President Bakry Hassan Salih of Sudan, Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti and Minister Jean Paul Adam of Seychelles. President Museveni stressed the importance of investing in peace, adding that the high financial cost of ensuring peace remains far less than the price people continue to pay for insecurity. All member states of the Eastern African Standby Force committed to deploying all means to ensure the full operational capacity of the force by December 2015. Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda pledged one battalion each with Rwanda pledging to provide medical personnel. Conceptualisation: Mooted in 2005, the East African Standby Force will be composed of 10 member states, including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda with South Sudan scheduled to join the force. The East African Standby Force will work to contribute to regional and continental peace through a regional conflict prevention, management and resolution capability able to respond effectively to crisis within Eastern Africa and across the African continent. As one of the five regional multidimensional Forces of the African Standby Force, the Eastern African Standby Force will form an integral part of the Peace and Security Council and as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture. Meanwhile, during his second day in Malabo, President Kagame also attended the opening ceremony of the African Union Summit where members discussed the summit’s theme of transforming Africa’s agriculture for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods through harnessing opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development. *allafrica]]>

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Goodluck Jonathan: Nothing is more important than bringing home Nigeria’s missing girls
June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

BY GOODLUCK JONATHAN*

president_goodluck_jonathan_1__283791306I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria’s military, police and investigators to find the girls kidnapped in April from the town of Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram. I am deeply concerned, however, that my silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness.

My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation. But let me state this unequivocally: My government and our security and intelligence services have spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice. On my orders, our forces have aggressively sought these killers in the forests of northern Borno state, where they are based. They are fully committed to defending the integrity of their country.

My heart aches for the missing children and their families. I am a parent myself, and I know how awfully this must hurt. Nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls.

Since 2010, thousands of people have been killed, injured, abducted or forced by Boko Haram, which seeks to overwhelm the country and impose its ideology on all Nigerians. My government is determined to make that impossible. We will not succumb to the will of terrorists.

The abduction of our children cannot be seen as an isolated event. Terrorism knows no borders. This month, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Britain and the United States established an External Intelligence Response Unit to share security information on such threats in West Africa. I propose that we build on this step to establish an enduring, worldwide commitment to destroying terrorism and those who finance or give safe haven to the terrorists.

In September, I will urge the U.N. General Assembly to establish a U.N.-coordinated system for sharing intelligence and, if necessary, special forces and law enforcement to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.

Chibok-girls-500x255In Nigeria, there are political, religious and ethnic cleavages to overcome if we are to defeat Boko Haram. We need greater understanding and outreach between Muslims and Christians. We also know that, as it seeks to recruit the gullible, Boko Haram exploits the economic disparities that remain a problem in our country. We are addressing these challenges through such steps as bringing stakeholders together and creating a safe schools initiative, a victims’ support fund and a presidential economic recovery program for northeastern Nigeria. We are also committed to ridding our country of corruption and safeguarding human and civil rights and the rule of law.

Something positive can come out of the situation in Nigeria: most important, the return of the Chibok girls, but also new international cooperation to deny havens to terrorists and destroy their organizations wherever they are — whether in the forests of Nigeria, on the streets of New York or sanctuaries in Iraq or Pakistan. Those who value humanity , civilization and the innocence of children can do no less.

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Africa Rising'? Not really, unless we invest more in girls
June 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf* [caption id="attachment_9978" align="alignleft" width="640"]Children pose in a classroom at the Friendship Primary school in Zinder, Niger, on June 1, 2012 Children pose in a classroom at the Friendship Primary school in Zinder, Niger, on June 1, 2012[/caption] What factor has the power to transform individual lives, communities, nations and the world? The answer to this complex question is a simple one: education. While it is widely accepted that there is no one solution to lift the millions across our globe out of poverty, it is also equally accepted that a key cornerstone of addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges is through providing a quality education to all children, especially girls. Despite increasing numbers attending school in recent years, 126 million children remain out of primary school and lower secondary school around the world. Some 65 million of these children are girls. The highest rate of girls not in school is across the African continent, where in sub-Saharan Africa nearly four out of five poor rural girls are not completing primary school. There are an estimated 250 million children worldwide of primary school age who can’t read, write or do basic math — more than half of whom have completed four years of schooling. It is unacceptable that in 2014 — less than a year away from the deadline the international community agreed to get all children into school — that 30 million girls in Africa are denied their basic human right to a quality education. Ensuring that every child goes to school, stays in school and learns something of value while there will require firm commitments and action by governments to invest in education and prioritize the education of its girls. Africa’s economy has grown at more than 5% annually over the past decade — some of the highest economic growth in the world — leading many to use the phrase of “Africa Rising” when describing its countries. However, a country’s economic growth does not always lead to development or improvement for its poorest citizens. To truly rise as a nation by building an equitable, sustainable and peaceful society, governments must ensure that spending on education is prioritized and used well. According to recent research, the estimated economic gain from achieving universal primary education exceeds the estimated increase in public spending required to achieve it. One extra year of schooling can increase an individual’s earnings by 10%. Girls who complete a primary education are likely to increase their earnings by 5 to 15% over their lifetimes. Each additional year of schooling could raise average annual gross domestic product growth by 0.37%. If all women had a primary education, child marriages and child mortality could fall by a sixth, and maternal deaths by two-thirds. Investing in girls’ education could boost sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural output by up to 25%. Some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys. Without education, how can a country’s future citizens take part in growing their economy and reap benefits? Without education how can a country grow? It is however, not good enough to only increase the number of children receiving education. Children and young people must learn basic knowledge, skills and competencies, such as reading, writing, critical thinking, problem solving and math, that are needed to live healthy, safe and productive lives. In Liberia, across the African continent and, indeed, around the world, it is becoming increasingly apparent that going to school is not the same as learning. This is of grave concern given that many of the social and economic returns from an education are found to come from learning outcomes rather than number of years in school. To accomplish this, more financial resources that are better spent are needed to build a strong education system capable of improving both access and learning for all. But making informed decisions about those resources requires good data. Information on teachers, how to best support them to do their jobs, and information on how students are learning are crucial for knowing what policies and programs will be effective. By using our resources more effectively and focusing them on those children that are currently left behind, we can have some of the best educated citizens in the world — citizens who will be responsible for building a peaceful and prosperous future. At current rates, the poorest girls in sub-Saharan Africa will only achieve universal primary completion in 2086. To not invest in and prioritize girls’ education, we as African leaders are telling our women that we do not care about you and your child’s future. As one of those women, I will not accept this and I urge all our leaders to invest in our children’s future. Investing in girls’ education is not only a moral imperative, it is a smart investment. [caption id="attachment_9986" align="alignright" width="277"]President Ellen Johnson President Ellen Johnson[/caption] On the 16th of June, the Day of the African Child, young people from across Africa will stand at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, and across Africa, to call on their governments to dedicate more resources — the recommended 20% of national budgets — to education and develop strong and transparent monitoring systems to track effectiveness and impact. Better information on learning outcomes and public spending is key to achieving our goals. These young people want a brighter reality and they demand that their governments stand up to meet their responsibilities and commitments, in order to build a future for their children, a future for their country. When nearly 60 developing countries come together in Brussels at the end of June, as part of the Global Partnership for Education, they will be asked to commit to increase education spending. If they do, we will know if they have listened to these young people, and then the phrase, “Africa Rising,” can be used in all truthfulness. *Source CNN]]>

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Africa has always had the attributes to rise, so why has it fallen short?
June 6, 2014 | 1 Comments

By Paul Kagame*

kagame+pixWithout a doubt, Africa has made progress over the past half century.

For most of our countries, the road has been uneven so that we have sometimes stumbled or stalled. But we have forged ahead.

Across the continent, there is a renewed sense of optimism that gives meaning to the now familiar Africa Rising phrase.

Evidence points to sustained economic growth for the coming decades. This upward curve is the result of deliberate action by African countries.

Throughout the continent, we are starting to see the positive effects of improved governance and better integration into the global economy thanks to different technologies, among them ICT. We also have opportunities in a growing middle class and a youth bulge.

Africa is one of the few places in the world that has a lot of room to grow — more businesses are taking notice globally.

But Africa has always had the attributes necessary to rise. So why have we fallen short?

Long spells of instability in parts of Africa, high energy and transport costs, fragmented and non-integrated economies, and a high dependency on primary commodities are just some of the well-known obstacles.

Over the past two decades, many African countries have worked to resolve major problems and begun to lay the foundations for future prosperity.

Take the example of instability. A number of difficult situations around the continent today remind us that progress can always be reversed. We also have to be reminded that together we rise and together we may fall.

We are responsible for ourselves. But we are also, to some extent, responsible for each other.

Instability in any part of Africa affects us all. That is why we have seen increased engagement by African leaders, the African Union, and regional organisations in peace and security matters on the continent.

Further progress depends on Africa’s ability to work together and with other partners on meaningful mechanisms to resolve conflicts.

It also calls for continued strengthening of our respective internal systems to prevent conflicts in the first place.

We cannot afford to sit back and take the future of our continent for granted. Yes, Africa is rising. But it is not enough to exceed the low expectations that others have of us, and which we, at times, even came to have about ourselves.

To give citizens, especially young Africans, the lives they dream of, we have a lot farther to climb.

We know what needs to be done.

Our countries have smart policies that we have seen work elsewhere in the world. But the kind of rapid progress we all want will only be achieved by sound implementation.

In particular, taking Africa’s development to the next level will require a much bigger role for the private sector, which generates jobs and wealth.

As governments, it is crucial to consistently invest in and strengthen our efforts to create environments that nurture and promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

The first to take advantage of an improved business environment should be African companies. Since 2007, intra-African investment has grown at a rate of 32 per cent, more than double that of non-African emerging markets, and almost four times faster than FDI from developed markets.

There is still a lot of potential to be realised, meaning we can do more to encourage this trend.

Today’s most important challenges cannot be tackled by any country on its own. This is true of infrastructure, trade facilitation, policy harmonisation, and even marketing.

For the East African region, the Northern Corridor Projects Integration initiative between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda for rail and energy infrastructure development, streamlined Customs procedures, as well as easing free movement of our citizens and tourists to our countries is a recent example.

Deeper regional and continental integration is not only good for Africa, it is good for investors and trading partners. It makes it easier and cheaper and less risky to do business in Africa.

For the first time, the world seems to be going our way. But Africa’s demographics are favourable.

Standards of governance are improving. We have opportunities for large-scale infrastructure investment found nowhere else in the world.

By deepening regional and continental integration, the bright future reflected in the “Africa Rising” narrative has a better chance of becoming a reality within our lifetimes.

Focusing on implementing our respective transformational national agendas, based on the aspirations of our citizens, will ensure that we have healthy partners working together for more productive partnerships in Africa.

* Source The East African .Paul Kagame is the President of Rwanda.

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Joyce Banda Releases Statement On Malawi General Elections Outcome
June 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

Joyce-Banda-4Fellow Malawians,I would like to first of all, thank all Malawians that took part in the just ended, first ever tripartite elections. Despite isolated incidences of disturbances, Malawians generally embraced peace throughout the election period and exercised impeccable patience as we awaited the conclusion of the elections. I commend all Malawians for the patience exercised during this delicate time of transition.Last evening, on 30th May 2014, the Malawi Electoral Commission announced the Presidential results of the Tripartite Elections that were held from Tuesday, 20th May to Thursday, 22nd May 2014. I take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate the President Elect Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and the Vice President Elect Mr. Saulos Klaus Chilima on their victory in an election that was closely contested. I wish the President Elect and the Vice President Elect every success as they take up the mantle of leadership for the nation of Malawi. It is my prayer that the new President and his Government will successfully guide our nation to greater heights of prosperity I would like to thank all Malawians for the support rendered to me and my government during my term in office as President of this great Republic.It has been an honor and privilege to serve my country, Malawi, and more so as the country’s first female president. During my term, significant reforms that aimed at taking the nation to the right development trajectory were implemented, and I appreciate the support and encouragement that Malawians and all other well wishers gave me during these reforms As I leave office today, I am happy that there are visible positive outcomes of these reforms in the macro economy, in governance and observance of human rights, in food security, in women’s empowerment, in rural development and international relations to mention but a few. I am happy that the country is at a better place than was the case when I assumed office in 2012. I therefore wish to take this opportunity, to urge all Malawians to support the newly elected President Professor Mutharika and his Government as they take on this foundation of progress and endeavour to develop Malawi even further. In conclusion, while these elections have been tense, I would like to urge all Malawians to move forward as one nation, to remain united, to uphold the rule of law, and continue being peaceful and calm as we head into the next fifty years of Malawi’s future. May God continue to protect and bless our Nation, Mother Malawi. I thank you for your attention President Dr Joyce Banda Republic of Malawi *Courtesy of News of the South]]>

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