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Communique Of The 23rd Extra-Ordinary Session Of The IGAD On The Situation In South Sudan
December 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

27th of December 2013

The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held its 23rd Extraordinary Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on 27th of December 2013, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of the IGAD Summit to discuss the situation in the Republic of South Sudan.
The Assembly was attended by H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H. E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh, First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan; and H.E Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan.
The Assembly was also attended by Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of IGAD and Ambassador Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The Summit received a briefing from the President of the Republic of Uganda on his country’s efforts in securing critical infrastructure and installations in the Republic of South Sudan as well as in evacuating its citizens.
The Summit further received a briefing from the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Tedros Adhanom on the emergency three-day visit to Juba, Republic of South Sudan by the IGAD Council of Ministers on 19th December 2013.
After consideration of the reports and its deliberations on the overall political and security situation in South Sudan,
The summit:
On South Sudan
1. Recalling the hope for freedom, justice and prosperity that the people of the Republic of South Sudan expressed with joy on 9th July 2011 on occasion of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan
2. Cognizant of the peace, security and development that has been achieved in the Republic of South Sudan since independence in the midst of various challenges
3. Noting with satisfaction the positive development between the brotherly countries of the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan and in that regard, commend H.E. President Omar Al-Bashir and H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit for their tireless efforts in bringing peace, security and prosperity to their two peoples.
4. Concerned by the unfortunate events that took place on the 15th of December 2013 and the subsequent escalation of the conflict and deterioration of the humanitarian situation;
5. Further Concerned about the reported widespread atrocities, deaths and displacement of civilian population;
6. Expressing their solidarity with the people of South Sudan at this hour of distress and tribulation;
7. Condemns all unconstitutional actions to challenge the constitutional order, democracy and the rule of law and in particularly condemns changing the democratic government of the Republic of South Sudan through use of force
8. Further Condemns the violent escalation of conflict in South Sudan and calls on all parties to refrain from steps that will inflame the conflict further particularly along ethnic and sectarian lines and particularly strongly condemns the bankrupt and opportunistic ideology of ethnic and religious sectarianism
9. Calls on all humanitarian actors to act quickly and provide all necessary assistance to all civilians and specifically calls on the government of South Sudan and all armed groups to open humanitarian corridors and ensure protection of civilian population;
10. Notes with satisfaction the IGAD Council of Ministers emergency visit of 19 December 2013 and the discussions with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other stakeholders;
11. Commends the expressed commitment of both sides to engage in dialogue and reiterates the imperative of an immediate pursuit of a political solution including an all inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders concerned;
12. Commends the UN Security Council Resolution 2132 of 2013 which it notes as a prudent and timely move to complement ongoing political efforts in alleviating the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the country.
13. Commends the effort of the Republic of Uganda in securing critical infrastructure and installations in South Sudan and pledges its support to these effort;
14. Reaffirms the strong commitment of IGAD countries to assist in the pursuit of a speedy political solution to the crisis;
15. Made the following decisions: Stakeholders in the Republic of South Sudan:

  • • Welcomed the commitment by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan on immediately beginning unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders;
  • • Welcomed the commitment by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to an immediate cessation of hostilities and called upon Dr. Riek Machar and other parties to make similar commitments;
  • • Determined that if hostilities do not cease within 4 days of this communiqué, the Summit will consider taking further measures;
  • • Requested all parties to accept a monitoring, verification and stabilisation mechanism;
  • • Undertake urgent measures in pursuit of an all inclusive dialogue including reviewing the status of the detainees in recognition of their role in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Sudan, and in creating a conducive environment for all stakeholders to participate and determines that face-to-face talks by all stakeholders in the conflict should occur by the 31st of December 2013;
  • • Ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers including those from neighbouring countries;
  • • Strongly Condemns criminal acts of murder, sexual violence, looting and other criminal acts against civilians and unarmed combatants by any actor and demand that all involved by be held responsible by their de-facto and or de jure leaders
  • • Liaise with IGAD envoys and the Council of Ministers to support the process of dialogue and related political and technical reforms;

16. The United Nations, the African Union and the International Community to:

  • • Support the IGAD process;
  • • Ensure that humanitarian assistance is immediately delivered to all affected;
  • • Support constitutional and other political reforms in South Sudan;

17. IGAD Member States:

  • • Direct the Council of Ministers to continue working with the Government of South Sudan and make contact with Dr. Riek Machar and other leaders

critical to bringing about peace; and keep the Summit appraised;
18. Directs the IGAD Secretariat to transmit these decisions to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Security Council;
19. Decides to remain seized of these matters.
Issued this 27th of December 2013 at State House, Nairobi, Kenya

 

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President Jonathan replies Obasanjo; says ex-President’s letter threat to national security
December 23, 2013 | 1 Comments

December 20, 2013

His Excellency,

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR

Agbe L’Oba House, Quarry Road,

Ibara, Abeokuta.

RE: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

I wish to formally acknowledge your letter dated December 2, 2013 and other previous correspondence similar to it.

You will recall that all the letters were brought to me by hand. Although both of us discussed some of the issues in those letters, I had not, before now, seen the need for any formal reply since, to me, they contained advice from a former President to a serving President. Obviously, you felt differently because in your last letter, you complained about my not acknowledging or replying your previous letters.

It is with the greatest possible reluctance that I now write this reply. I am most uneasy about embarking on this unprecedented and unconventional form of open communication between me and a former leader of our country because I know that there are more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.

But I feel obliged to reply your letter for a number of reasons: one, you formally requested for a reply and not sending you one will be interpreted as ignoring a former President.

Secondly, Nigerians know the role you have played in my political life and given the unfortunate tone of your letter, clearly, the grapes have gone sour.  Therefore, my side of the story also needs to be told.

The third reason why I must reply you in writing is that your letter is clearly a threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.

The fourth reason for this reply is that you raised very weighty issues, and since the letter has been made public, Nigerians are expressing legitimate concerns. A response from me therefore, becomes very necessary.

The fifth reason is that this letter may appear in biographies and other books which political commentators on Nigeria’s contemporary politics may write. It is only proper for such publications to include my comments on the issues raised in your letter.

Sixthly, you are very unique in terms of the governance of this country. You were a military Head of State for three years and eight months, and an elected President for eight years. That means you have been the Head of Government of Nigeria for about twelve years. This must have, presumably, exposed you to a lot of information. Thus when you make a statement, there is the tendency for people to take it seriously.

The seventh reason is that the timing of your letter coincided with other vicious releases. The Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke of my “body language” encouraging corruption. A letter written to me by the CBN Governor alleging that NNPC, within a period of 19 months did not remit the sum of USD49.8 billion to the federation account, was also deliberately leaked to the public.

The eighth reason is that it appears that your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony. Worse still, your letter was designed to instigate members of our Party, the PDP, against me.

The ninth reason is that your letter conveys to me the feeling that landmines have been laid for me. Therefore, Nigerians need to have my response to the issues raised before the mines explode.

The tenth and final reason why my reply is inevitable is that you have written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all former Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji Shehu Shagari and these have instigated different actions and reactions. The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be placed on record.

Let me now comment on the issues you raised. In commenting I wish to crave your indulgence to compare what is happening now to what took place before.  This, I believe, will enable Nigerians see things in better perspective because we must know where we are coming from so as to appreciate where we now are, and to allow us clearly map out where we are going.

You raised concerns about the security situation in the country. I assure you that I am fully aware of the responsibility of government for ensuring the security of the lives and property of citizens. My Administration is working assiduously to overcome current national security challenges, the seeds of which were sown under previous administrations.  There have been some setbacks; but certainly there have also been great successes in our efforts to overcome terrorism and insurgency.

Those who continue to down-play our successes in this regard, amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before now.

At a stage, almost the entire North-East of Nigeria was under siege by insurgents. Bombings of churches and public buildings in the North and the federal capital became an almost weekly occurrence. Our entire national security apparatus seemed nonplussed and unable to come to grips with the new threat posed by the berthing of terrorism on our shores.

But my administration has since brought that very unacceptable situation under significant control. We have overhauled our entire national security architecture, improved intelligence gathering, training, funding, logistical support to our armed forces and security agencies, and security collaboration with friendly countries with very visible and positive results.

The scope and impact of terrorist operations have been significantly reduced and efforts are underway to restore full normalcy to the most affected North Eastern region and initiate a post-crisis development agenda, including a special intervention programme to boost the region’s socio-economic progress.

In doing all this, we have kept our doors open for dialogue with the insurgents and their supporters through efforts such as the work of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and the Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North-East. You also know that the Governor of Borno State provided the items you mentioned to me as carrots. Having done all this and more, it is interesting that you still accuse me of not acting on your hardly original recommendation that the carrot and stick option be deployed to solve the Boko Haram problem.

Your suggestion that we are pursuing a “war against violence without understanding the root causes of the violence and applying solutions to deal with all the underlying factors” is definitely misplaced because from the onset of this administration, we have been implementing a multifaceted strategy against militancy, insurgency and terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic development, education and social reforms.

Even though basic education is the constitutional responsibility of States, my administration has, as part of its efforts to address ignorance and poor education which have been identified as two of the factors responsible for making some of our youth easily available for use as cannon fodder by insurgents and terrorists, committed huge funds to the provision of modern basic education schools for the Almajiri in several Northern States. The Federal Government under my leadership has also set up nine additional universities in the Northern States and three in the Southern States in keeping with my belief that proper education is the surest way of emancipating and empowering our people.

More uncharitable persons may even see a touch of sanctimoniousness in your new belief in the carrot and stick approach to overcoming militancy and insurgency. You have always referred to how you hit Odi in Bayelsa State to curb militancy in the Niger Delta.  If the invasion of Odi by the Army was the stick, I did not see the corresponding carrot.  I was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State then, and as I have always told you, the invasion of Odi did not solve any militancy problem but, to some extent, escalated it. If it had solved it, late President Yar’Adua would not have had to come up with the amnesty program. And while some elements of the problem may still be there, in general, the situation is reasonably better.

In terms of general insecurity in the country and particularly the crisis in the Niger Delta, 2007 was one of the worst periods in our history. You will recall three incidents that happened in 2007 which seemed to have been orchestrated to achieve sinister objectives.  Here in Abuja, a petrol tanker loaded with explosives was to be rammed into the INEC building. But luckily for the country, an electric pole stopped the tanker from hitting the INEC building.  It is clear that this incident was meant to exploit the general sense of insecurity in the nation at the time to achieve the aim of stopping the 2007 elections.  It is instructive that you, on a number of occasions, alluded to this fact.

When that incident failed, an armed group invaded Yenagoa one evening with the intent to assassinate me.  Luckily for me, they could not.  They again attacked and bombed my country home on a night when I was expected in the village. Fortunately, as God would have it, I did not make the trip.

I recall that immediately after both incidents, I got calls expressing the concern of Abuja.  But Baba, you know that despite the apparent concern of Abuja, no single arrest was ever made. I was then the Governor of Bayelsa State and the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate. The security people ordinarily should have unraveled the assassination attempt on me.

You also raised the issues of kidnapping, piracy and armed robbery. These are issues all Nigerians, including me are very concerned about. While we will continue to do our utmost best to reduce all forms of criminality to the barest minimum in our country, it is just as well to remind you that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President of the country then. Also, armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been a problem to all succeeding governments.  For a former Head of Government, who should know better, to present these problems as if they were creations of the Jonathan Administration is most uncharitable.

Having said that, let me remind you of some of the things we have done to curb violent crime in the country. We have reorganized the Nigerian Police Force and appointed a more dynamic leadership to oversee its affairs. We have also improved its manpower levels as well as funding, training and logistical support.

We have also increased the surveillance capabilities of the Police and provided its air-wing with thrice the number of helicopters it had before the inception of the present administration. The National Civil Defence and Security Corps has been armed to make it a much more effective ally of the police and other security agencies in the war against violent crime. At both domestic and international levels, we are doing everything possible to curb the proliferation of the small arms and light weapons with which armed robberies, kidnappings and piracy are perpetrated. We have also enhanced security at our borders to curb cross-border crimes.

We are aggressively addressing the challenge of crude oil theft in collaboration with the state Governors. In addition, the Federal Government has engaged the British and US governments for their support in the tracking of the proceeds from the purchase of stolen crude. Similarly, a regional Gulf of Guinea security strategy has been initiated to curb crude oil theft and piracy.

Perhaps the most invidious accusation in your letter is the allegation that I have placed over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list, and that I am training snipers and other militia to assassinate people. Baba, I don’t know where you got that from but you do me grave injustice in not only lending credence to such baseless rumours, but also publicizing it. You mentioned God seventeen times in your letter. Can you as a Christian hold the Bible and say that you truly believe this allegation?

Goodluck-Jonathan-and-Obasanjo-360x225The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence. I have been a President for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty. There have certainly been cases of political assassination since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of them occurred under my leadership.

Regarding the over one thousand people you say are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are “watching” them. Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.

I also find it difficult to believe that you will accuse me of assisting murderers, or assigning a presidential delegation to welcome a murderer. This is a most unconscionable and untrue allegation. It is incumbent on me to remind you that I am fully conscious of the dictates of my responsibilities to God and our dear nation. It is my hope that devious elements will not take advantage of your baseless allegation to engage in brazen and wanton assassination of high profile politicians as before, hiding under the alibi your “open letter” has provided for them.

Nevertheless, I have directed the security agencies and requested the National Human Rights Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of these criminal allegations and make their findings public.

That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable.  It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup.  Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated.  Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known.

The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress. I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption. I will not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption, but I must follow due process in all that I do. And whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping with the dictates of extant laws and procedures. You cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that several highly placed persons in our country, including sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country, but we are doing our best to support and encourage the judiciary to quicken the pace of adjudication in cases of corruption.

Baba, I am amazed that with all the knowledge garnered from your many years at the highest level of governance in our country, you could still believe the spurious allegation contained in a letter written to me by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and surreptitiously obtained by you, alleging that USD49.8 billion, a sum equal to our entire national budget for two years, is “unaccounted for” by the NNPC. Since, as President, you also served for many years as Minister of Petroleum Resources, you very well know the workings of the corporation. It is therefore intriguing that you have made such an assertion. You made a lot of insinuations about oil theft, shady dealings at the NNPC and the NNPC not remitting the full proceeds of oil sales to the of CBN. Now that the main source of the allegations which you rehashed has publicly stated that he was “misconstrued”, perhaps you will find it in your heart to apologize for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score.

Your claim of “Atlantic Oil loading about 130, 000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into the NPDC account” is also disjointed and baseless because no such arrangement as you described exists between Atlantic Oil and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company. NPDC currently produces about 138, 000 barrels of oil per day from over 7 producing assets. The Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the NNPC markets all of this production on behalf of NPDC with proceeds paid into NPDC account.

I am really shocked that with all avenues open to you as a former Head of State for the verification of any information you have received about state affairs, you chose to go public with allegations of “high corruption” without offering a shred of supporting evidence. One of your political “sons” similarly alleged recently that he told me of a minister who received a bribe of $250 Million from an oil company and I did nothing about it. He may have been playing from a shared script, but we have not heard from him again since he was challenged to name the minister involved and provide the evidence   to back his claim.  I urge you, in the same vein, to furnish me with the names, facts and figures of a single verifiable case of the “high corruption” which you say stinks all around my administration and see whether the corrective action you advocate does not follow promptly. And while you are at it, you may also wish to tell Nigerians the true story of questionable waivers of signature bonuses between 2000 and 2007.

While, by the Grace of God Almighty, I am the first President from a minority group, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria and I have always acted in the best interest of all Nigerians. You referred to the divisive actions and inflammatory utterances of some individuals from the South-South and asserted that I have done nothing to call them to order or distance myself from their ethnic chauvinism. Again that is very untrue. I am as committed to the unity of this country as any patriot can be and I have publicly declared on many occasions that no person who threatens other Nigerians or parts of the country is acting on my behalf.

It is very regrettable that in your letter, you seem to place sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP at my doorstep, and going on from that position, you direct all your appeals for a resolution at me. Baba, let us all be truthful to ourselves, God and posterity. At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or group advantage ahead of the 2015 general elections. The “bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion” you wrote about all flow from this singular factor.

It is indeed very unfortunate that the seeming crisis in the party was instigated by a few senior members of the party, including you. But, as leader of the party, I will continue to do my best to unite it so that we can move forward with strength and unity of purpose. The PDP has always recovered from previous crises with renewed vigour and vitality. I am very optimistic that that will be the case again this time. The PDP will overcome any temporary setback, remain a strong party and even grow stronger.

Instigating people to cause problems and disaffection within the party is something that you are certainly familiar with. You will recall that founding fathers of the Party were frustrated out of the Party at a time.  Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi was pushed out, Late Chief Solomon Lar left and later came back, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi also left. Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo left and later came back. In 2005/2006, link-men were sent to take over party structures from PDP Governors in an unveiled attempt to undermine the state governors. In spite of that, the Governors did not leave the Party because nobody instigated and encouraged them to do so.

The charge that I was involved in anti-party activities in governorship elections in Edo, Ondo, Lagos, and Anambra States is also very unfortunate. I relate with all Governors irrespective of political party affiliation but I have not worked against the interest of the PDP.  What I have not done is to influence the electoral process to favour our Party. You were definitely never so inclined, since you openly boasted in your letter of how you supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and others in the 1979 presidential elections while serving as a military Head of State. You and I clearly differ in this regard, because as the President of Nigeria, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to create a level playing field for all parties and all candidates.

Recalling how the PDP lost in states where we were very strong in 2003 and 2007 such as Edo, Ondo, Imo, Bauchi, Anambra, and Borno, longstanding members of our great party with good memory will also consider the charge of anti-party activities you made against me as misdirected and hugely hypocritical. It certainly was not Goodluck Jonathan’s “personal ambition or selfish interest” that caused the PDP to lose the governorship of Ogun State and all its senatorial seats in the last general elections.

You quoted me as saying that I have not told anybody that I will seek another term in office in 2015. You and your ambitious acolytes within the party have clearly decided to act on your conclusion that “only a fool will believe that statement” and embark on a virulent campaign to harass me out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential elections so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by you.

You will recall that you serially advised me that we should refrain from discussing the 2015 general elections for now so as not to distract elected public officials from urgent task of governance. While you have apparently moved away from that position, I am still of the considered opinion that it would have been best for us to do all that is necessary to refrain from heating up the polity at this time. Accordingly, I have already informed Nigerians that I will only speak on whether or not I will seek a second term when it is time for such declarations. Your claims about discussions I had with you, Governor Gabriel Suswam and others are wrong, but in keeping with my declared stance, I will reserve further comments until the appropriate time.

Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African Presidents to speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015, is also untrue.  I have never requested any African President to discuss with you on my behalf.  In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four Presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it.  So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny it?

The issue of Buruji Kashamu is one of those lies that should not be associated with a former President.  The allegation that I am imposing Kashamu on the South-West is most unfortunate and regrettable.  I do not even impose Party officials in my home state of Bayelsa and there is no zone in this country where I have imposed officials.  So why would I do so in the South West?  Baba, in the light of Buruji’s detailed public response to your “open letter”, it will be charitable for you to render an apology to Nigerians and I.

On the issue of investors being scared to come to Nigeria, economic dormancy, and stagnation, I will just refer you to FDI statistics from 2000 to 2013. Within the last three years, Nigeria has emerged as the preferred destination for investments in Africa, driven by successful government policies to attract foreign investors. For the second year running, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments (UNCTAD) has ranked Nigeria as the number one destination for investments in Africa, and as having the fourth highest returns in the world.

Today, Nigeria is holding 18 percent of all foreign investments in Africa and 60 percent of all foreign investments in the ECOWAS Sub-Region. Kindly note also that in the seven years between 2000 and 2007 when you were President, Nigeria attracted a total of $24.9 Billion in FDI.  As a result of our efforts which you disparage, the country has seen an FDI inflow of $25.7 Billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination. We have also maintained an annual national economic growth rate of close to seven per cent since the inception of this administration. What then, is the justification for your allegation of scared investors and economic dormancy?

Although it was not emphasized in your letter of December 2, 2013, you also conveyed, in previous correspondence, the impression that you were ignorant of the very notable achievements of my administration in the area of foreign relations. It is on record that under my leadership, Nigeria has played a key role in resolving the conflicts in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Bissau and others.

The unproductive rivalry that existed between Nigeria and some ECOWAS countries has also been ended under my watch and Nigeria now has better relations with all the ECOWAS countries.  At the African Union, we now have a Commissioner at the AU Commission after being without one for so long. We were in the United Nations Security Council for the 2010/2011 Session and we have been voted in again for the 2014/2015 Session. From independence to 2010, we were in the U.N. Security Council only three times but from 2010 to 2015, we will be there two times.

download (5)This did not happen by chance.  My Administration worked hard for it and we continue to maintain the best possible relations with all centres of global political and economic power. I find it hard therefore, to believe your assertions of untoward concern in the international community over the state of governance in Nigeria

With respect to the Brass and Olokola LNG projects, you may have forgotten that though you started these projects, Final Investment Decisions were never reached.  For your information, NNPC has not withdrawn from either the Olokola or the Brass LNG projects.

On the Rivers State Water Project, you were misled by your informant. The Federal Government under my watch has never directed or instructed the Africa Development Bank to put on hold any project to be executed in Rivers state or any other State within the Federation. The Rivers Water Project was not originally in the borrowing plan but it was included in April 2013 and appraised in May. Negotiations are ongoing with the AfDB.  I have no doubt that you are familiar with the entire process that prefaces the signing of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement as in this instance.

Let me assure you and all Nigerians that I do not engage in negative political actions and will never, as President, oppress the people of a State or deprive them of much needed public services as a result of political disagreement

I have noted your comments on the proposed National Conference. Contrary to the insinuation in your letter, the proposed conference is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to resolve contentious national issues in a formal setting. This is a sure way of promoting greater national consensus and unity, and not a recipe for “disunity, confusion and chaos” as you alleged in your letter.

Having twice held the high office of President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I trust that you will understand that I cannot possibly find the time to offer a line-by-line response to all the accusations and allegations made in your letter while dealing with other pressing demands of office and more urgent affairs of state.

I have tried, however, to respond to only the most serious of the charges which question my sincerity, personal honour, and commitment to the oath which I have sworn, to always uphold and protect the interests of all Nigerians, and promote their well-being.

In closing, let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills.

I have not, myself, ever claimed to be all-knowing or infallible, but I have never taken Nigeria or Nigerians for granted as you implied, and I will continue to do my utmost to steer our ship of state towards the brighter future to which we all aspire.

Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and warm regards.

GOODLUCK  EBELE JONATHAN

*Obtained from Premium Times Nigeria

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Kagame Tells Critics Rwanda Not Exporting DR Congo Minerals
December 18, 2013 | 0 Comments
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http://www.newsofrwanda.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Kagame-tells-critics-Rwanda-not-exporting-DR-Congo-minerals.jpg

President Paul Kagame on Monday told the nation that rising revenue from minerals exports was a result of minerals mined inside Rwanda – as he moved to dismiss long standing accusations that the country was benefiting from the mineral wealth of its neighbor DR Congo.

Speaking at Parliament in the 2013 State of the Nation address, Kagame said in the first six months of this year Rwf 30billion has been obtained from minerals. This amount, the President said, is way above compared to Rwf 39billion ($136.6m) earned for the whole of 2012.

“And mind you all these minerals being exported are from within Rwanda, not from anywhere else as has been suggested,” said Kagame, amid laughter from the packed joint session of parliament.  He did not name any country, but said “our neighbours”.

“You can imagine what the figure would be if the minerals perceived to be from our neighbours would be included,” said Kagame.

“Rwanda is making good use of its mineral wealth, and we would actually like to see even our neighbours benefiting more from theirs,” added the President.

In the 40-min address, Kagame spoke about all the sectors of the country – telling lawmakers that the country was on the right track.

He said more than 86% women are giving birth in hospital, while child mortality of under-fives dropped tremendously. To date, 95% of children have been immunized against the 12 major diseases. “We want to decrease malaria deaths from 5.5% to zero within five years,” said Kagame.

On education, the President said the number of students going to school increased by 7% in primary school, and 6% for secondary school. As for university – the figure expanded by 10 percent, from 76,629 students last year to 84,448 this year.

As for vocational training, which is being emphasized by to deal with unemployment, the President said the government has put more resources in TVET – with budget allocation increasing from Rwf 10.5 billion to Rwf 30.5 billion this year.

On security, President Kagame informed the nation that the entire territory of Rwanda was extremely secure – a situation that had been highlighted by even international bodies. The President was referring to a Gallup research which said Rwanda was one of the safest places and much more when it came to security for women.

“All Rwandans and foreigners can conduct their businesses day and night without any incidence,” said the Head of State.

On social protection programs, the President said more programs are in the works to support the poorest. For the One Cow per Family (Gina Inka), the President said it continues to lift Rwandans out of poverty with 184,000 cows given this year. This is compared to the total of 300,000 cattle which were distributed the all the previous years combined.

Despite expressing satisfaction with the state of affairs in other sectors, the President openly told energy sector technocrats of his unhappiness with the current situation. The country is producing about 110MW of power – which has seen daily power cuts in the past weeks.

“I believe those responsible are listening,” said Kagame. “We want electricity quickly, quickly – there is no way we can meet all our ambitious development targets without electricity.”

The Head of State directed all government departments to ensure that the 20th genocide commemoration due in April and the 20th Liberation anniversary for July, be give the importance they deserve. All necessary efforts must be put in place to make sure Rwandans from all walks of life feel involved because these two events mark significant steps in the country’s development, said Kagame.

The President ended his annual address with the “Ndi Umunyarwanda” national program under which individual Rwandans are being encouraged to open up to others. The concept has seen people from the “Hutu” and “Tutsi” communities asking for forgiveness for what befell the country in 1994.

*Source News of Rwanda

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From The Archives: Kwame Nkrumah’s Message To African Journalists
November 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Patrick Delices*

Kwame Nkrumah on the role of African journalists

[From The Archives: Nkrumah And African Journalism]

Dr  NkrumahOne day after Malcolm X’s revolutionary “Message to the Grassroots” speech, Pan-African leader and the first President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah delivered a thoughtful and analytical speech to commence the “Second Conference of Africa Journalists.”

November 11, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of President Nkrumah’s “Message to African Journalists.”

This particular speech is worthy of our attention and commemoration because according to President Nkrumah, “the special significance of this gathering is that, it is the first conference of African Journalists since the Organization of African Unity was established at Addis Ababa in May this year. As such, it can do nothing less than fulfill the purpose of a continental press conference on the Unity of Africa.”

In his inauguration of the “Second Conference of Africa Journalists,” President Nkrumah, affectionately known as Osagyefo (Twi word for Redeemer), showed his love and reverence for the field of journalism by stating “it is not simply out of courtesy that I am here to open this Conference of African Journalists. Most of you will know that I come to speak to you with a particular sense of pleasure as an old journalist who can still be excited by the smell of the printer’s ink and the clatter of the printing machine.”

In regards to the African role in journalism, Osagyefo, informed the audience -

 “If we interpret journalism as the dissemination of news and the clarion to action, then journalism is certainly not new to Africa. From time immemorial, we have developed our own special system of transmitting news and messages across the country, from village to village, from community to community; we have devised our peculiar means of gathering our people together and putting problems before them for decision.”

Additionally, Osagyefo stated that “the talking drums and the courier have been the harbingers of news. From the days of the drum, we have accepted as an inexorable canon that the news which was transmitted should be true and the information conveyed accurate and reliable. For, the safety and the lives of many people might depend upon it.”

Then Osagyefo in his au fait regarding the history and contributions of African journalism enlightened the eager crowd by indicating the following point:

“Indigenous newspapers in West Africa have at least a hundred years of history behind them. In 1858, only fourteen years after the Bond of 1844 and before the Gold Coast had been annexed as a definitive colony of Great Britain, the West African Herald was edited by Charles Bannerman, a son of the soil. About the same time, John Tengo Jabavu was editing the IMVO in South Africa. In Nigeria, the basic ideas of modern nationalism were developed by John Payne Jackson from 1891, in his journal, The Lagos Weekly Record. James Brew in the Gold Coast of the 1870’s and 80’s, and J. E. Casely Hayford, a generation after, edited local nationalist papers; but they were restricted in their circulation to the few literate readers along the coast.”In North Africa, in 1930, L’Action Tunisienne was launched by Habib Bourgiba, now President of Tunisia, and a group of his Neo Destour party members. In the Ivory Coast in 1935, the journal L’Eclaireur had an immense success in African circles. It led a campaign against reactionary chiefs and colonialist oppression.

It demanded measures of social reconstruction and urged the cause of the unemployed and of the African farmers, who had been hit by the colonialist — made economic crisis. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s West African Pilot and the organ of the Convention People’s Party — the Accra Evening News in more recent years, led in the field of nationalist journalism. Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone, with his West African Standard, did some ground work in trade union journalism.

The Africanist emerged as the custodian of South African nationalism in 1953 and remained a revolutionary mouthpiece of the Africans of South Africa. Its founder and first editor was Managaliso Sobukwe, President of the Pan-Africanist Congress of South Africa, who is now detained indefinitely on Robben Island after serving three years’ imprisonment for his part in the cause of freedom.

George Padmore, working outside Africa, but identifying himself completely with its struggles, carried on almost all of his adult life a tenacious fight for African nationalism and independence. His contributions to the press of Africa and to that of peoples of African descent in the West Indies and the United States; his widespread journalistic writings throughout the world, served as rallying point and inspiration to the leaders of African independence and the masses.”

For Osagyefo, the aim of this assembly is to simply empower African journalists with a Pan-African outlook and political consciousness.  Moreover, for President Nkrumah it is the responsibility of African journalists worldwide to serve as the fourth estate by maintaining active surveillance on government, corporations, and political and academic prostitutes.

Nkrumah with Dr KingAccording to President Nkrumah, as African journalists, it is our responsibility to use the highest standards, integrity, precision, and other ethical codes of journalistic conduct such as being factual without yielding to neo-colonialism, idealism, sensationalism, and plagiarism. Hence, for Osagyefo, plagiarism or not identifying your source is the greatest disrespect and crime in journalism which ultimately hurts the journalist’s credibility not only as a reporter or writer, but as a person not true to the global African cause of sovereignty and liberation.

Thus, one who plagiarizes or does not identify his or her source is not only unprofessional and repugnant, but is a criminal and traitor to his or her own people.  For Osagyefo, that person who engages in such an illicit enterprise cannot be trusted under any circumstance due to his or her treacherous disposition.

Osagyefo also informed the audience about the rigor, professionalism, and seriousness of journalism by stating the following:

“As a professional man, the African journalist shares with other journalists throughout the world, the duty of gathering information carefully and of disseminating it honestly. To tamper with the truth is treason to the human mind. By poisoning the well-springs of public opinion with falsehood, you defeat, in the long run, your own ends. Once a journal gains a reputation for even occasional unreliability or distortion, its value is destroyed.

It is no wonder, then, that for every decent or well-informed journal in a capitalist country, you have many more of the kind that concentrates on sensationalism and scandal; that cover up facts or, deny them; that manufacture news in order to mislead and corrupt. There are journals that employ special techniques of presentation in order to ensnare the minds not just of thousands, but of the millions that read them. Every mean, both subtle and raw, are used to maintain sway over the minds of men, and thus secure and hold their support in the continued exploitation and suppression of the oppressed. Often they are led to concur in their own exploitation. They are enjoined against peace, they are maneuvered against freedom and right.

Unfortunately, some of these journals have made their way into our continent and are employing their influence to wean our people to ideas and ways of life that run counter to our image and our hopes. We must be vigilant against their penetration and their incitement. We must be careful not to take their falsities as models, either for our public or our journalists. For our African journalists have; different task, a higher responsibility, a greater objective, which demand a mould of quite another order.

Whether they are aware of it or not, they are misusing their talents and their opportunity in the interest of Africa’s enemies and against those of our people, our continent and our cause.

We who are fighting against colonialism and imperialism, we who are lighting against the blandishment of client states and settler governments in Africa, and are seeking to create a just society in which the welfare of each shall be the welfare of all, must stand against the methods of those whose journalism has precisely the opposite ends. We have nothing to gain by suppressing or distorting facts. Circulation of itself is not our first consideration; though obviously, we are anxious to reach and inform the widest possible audience.

But we have no wish to play upon the gullibility of that audience, for it is precisely to the interests of that audience that we are dedicated. And we can only promote those interests by self criticism and the faithful presentation of truth and fact.

The journalist who works faithfully for our African Revolution refuses to sell his soul to imperialism and to Moloch, and thus starts with an advantage over his colleagues of the imperialist and neo-colonialist press. His integrity, as long as he persists in this decision, is assured.

To the true African journalists, his newspaper is a collective organizer, a collective instrument of mobilization and a collective educator — a weapon, first and foremost, to over-throw colonialism and imperialism, and to assist total African independence and unity. 

The true African journalist, abjuring imperialist blandishments and bribes, can certainly call his soul his own.

His work may be more difficult because of deficiencies in the technical means of gathering information and the daily harassments that confront him; his remuneration may not be great and expense accounts non-existent. But he has other more satisfying rewards. He draws contentment from an honest job honestly done. His satisfaction is in his integrity, in work performed for the betterment of his fellows and the society of which he is a worthy member.

He does not need to peep through keyholes for scandals, or bribe underlings to divulge what should remain private and personal; he does not need to concoct for manufacture exciting revelations. He is not forced to doctor news and debase public standards to fit the purpose of the rich and the public would — be richer. I am reminded here that a British journalist friend of mine once told me that sometimes, the news items he sent to his paper in London were so doctored that he had difficulty in recognizing what he himself had written. The true African journalist very often works for the organ of the political party to which he himself belongs and in whose purpose he believes.

He works to serve a society moving in the direction of his own aspirations.


These are high rewards for an honest man in the course of his professional career. But they are not earned without corresponding responsibilities. Every African is responsible to the African Revolution by the heritage of his birth and by his experience of colonialism and imperialism.

The responsibilities of the journalist come particularly high in the hierarchy of our revolution; none higher, none more onerous, none more satisfying than those of an African journalist using his talents and his integrity in adverse and sacrificing conditions, not only in the cause of the freedom and independence of his country, but in the wider cause of the political unity and cultural and material development of the African continent, of which his country is a part.

Truth, we say, must be the watchword of our African journalists and facts must be his guide.

kwame-nkrumah-mausoleumThese tenets, however, must not excuse dullness in our newspapers and our journals. They must not be used as a cover for shoddy writing and ambiguous intentions. The African journalist is not only expected to communicate the facts and aims of our African Revolution, but to do so compellingly and without fear. He must continually and fearlessly expose neo-colonialist subterfuge. He must attain a proper understanding of the African Revolution, its purpose and its travails.”

Like Malcolm X in his “Message to the Grassroots,” President Nkrumah clearly identified a common enemy and echoed the high volume call for unity, revolution, sovereignty, and power within the global African community by using journalism and “any means necessary” to expose and vanquish global white supremacy and its neo-colonialist prostitutes.

*Source BSN Professor Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy,” Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Prof. Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College. He also served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University.

 

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After win in DRC, a confident new Tanzania emerges on the East African stage
November 11, 2013 | 0 Comments
Basking in the glow of one of his country’s best diplomatic weeks in recent times Kikwete takes on Museveni, Kagame and Uhuru over Coalition of the Willing. TEA Graphic

Basking in the glow of one of his country’s best diplomatic weeks in recent times Kikwete takes on Museveni, Kagame and Uhuru over Coalition of the Willing. TEA Graphic

Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete is basking in the glow of one of his country’s best diplomatic weeks in recent times.

When Tanzania offered to send its military as the lead contingent of the new, aggressive UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there were fears it would join the long list of external forces and adventurers who have ended up in eastern DRC’s bottomless political graveyard.

However, just over a week ago, the UN forces and the Congolese army (FARDC) seemed to have handed the M23 rebels a comprehensive defeat.

That not only bolstered Tanzania internationally, but could only have improved its standing in the South African Development Community (SADC). The two other key troop contributing countries to FIB are both SADC members — South Africa and Malawi.

It is no coincidence that after the M23 scattered, South African President Jacob Zuma held a summit to discuss, among other things, DRC peace.

A controversial UN Panel of Experts and groups like Human Rights Watch have accused Rwanda and Uganda of backing M23 rebels, a charge both countries have denied.

By last week, however, analysts were acknowledging that M23 would not have been so quickly beaten if indeed Rwanda were still supporting it.

Some feared that events in DRC would increase tensions between the East African Community countries.

In the past four months, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda have had a hectic schedule of meetings at which they announced ambitious regional projects, and even moved quickly on establishing a common tourist visa, and a Single Customs Territory among other initiatives.

Tanzania and Burundi have not been invited, and there were fears the divide between the Coalition of the Willing (as the Kenyatta, Museveni, and Kagame trio has now become known) and Tanzania and Burundi threatened the Community.

At best, that the EAC would become a dysfunctional two-track affair, and at worst that it would collapse as the first one did in 1977. It was also expected that when President Kikwete addressed parliament last Thursday, he would lash out at the Coalition of the Willing, or announce that the loose rival alliance with Burundi and DRC that he has been trying to forge would set out on a separation path.

In the end, none of the above happened. President Kikwete, as a leading East African economist put it on social media, “not only took the high ground but took the posture of the adult in the room.”

He declared that Tanzania was in the EAC to stay, wondered why the Coalition of the Willing was trying to sideline it, and called for the bloc’s business to be concluded by the letter and spirit of its treaties and protocols. It was a new tone of self-confidence from a Tanzania that feels it now holds some key political aces in the region.

“What is costing us in the EAC is Tanzania’s stand on political federation, issues of land, issues of thee labour market and immigration. We have no problem with fast tracking the political federation but only if all steps are followed in accordance to the EAC Protocol. Customs Union, Common Market, subsequently the monetary union and ultimately the political federation. Our stand comes from principle. That is, we must establish first the economic and financial mechanisms and let them take root,” he said.

He added: “When EAC is fully integrated economically and the benefits start to trickle in, then we can start talking about the EAC political federation. It is only when countries start benefiting economically that starting a political federation will make sense. Without a sound economic footing a political federation is a waste of time.”

According to President Kikwete, this stance has cost Tanzania everything else, including the country’s interest in participating in infrastructure projects such as the standard gauge railway line and the oil pipeline and refinery.

“(President) Museveni invited us to participate in its construction, now I don’t know whether he has changed his mind and considers Tanzania not important to the project anymore,” he said.

Tanzania’s place in the regional economic bloc has been in the news in the past few months, following the emergence of the Coalition of the Willing. The coalition members were said to have decided to forge ahead with key infrastructure projects because Tanzania was reportedly dragging its feet on key issues.

“The EAC integration is not just about the political aspect but trade and, therefore, the presidents have to be mindful about business in the region, which is a core thing to the integration,” said Andrew Lumathe, chief executive of the East African Business Council.

“Tanzania has always been cautious on the issue of land, owing to its socialist past. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere advocated the communal ownership of this critical means of production. But in Kenya, for example, land has always been seen under a capitalist model of ‘willing buyer, willing seller.’ As such, Tanzania has steadfastly opposed to the issue of land harmonisation as pursued under the EAC Treaty, saying that land laws differ in all the partner states,” he added.

The EAC wants to harmonise laws on ownership land and all the properties on it like houses, rivers etc, which Tanzania is against.

Land ownership

Unlike in the other partner states, where an individual can own land permanently, in Tanzania the president is the sole custodian of land in the country.

Analysts say it is understandable why Tanzania is jittery about land: The country holds the greatest fraction of arable but unused land in the EAC — an estimated 380,000 square kilometres.

By comparison, Kenya accounts for 32 per cent of the total land area in the EAC but 45 per cent of its land is under agriculture. The UN Population Division projects that as the EAC’s population burgeons from 150 million today to 270 million by 2030, the region is likely turn to Tanzania as it looks to feed its growing numbers.

With Tanzania’s apparent isolation by the Coalition of the Willing, the $4.7 billion railway line project linking Dar, Kigali and Burundi, whose construction is scheduled for 2014, hangs in the balance, should relations worsen.

Rwanda and Uganda seem to be ready to embrace Kenya’s railway corridor linking both countries, including South Sudan to the Kenyan Coast. Diplomatic relations between Dar and Kigali have been frosty following the recent expulsion of Rwandan immigrants from western Tanzania, and President Kikwete’s remarks that Rwanda should negotiate with the Hutu rebel group FDLR it is fighting in eastern DRC.

“The DRC politics is the crust of the matter for now. Tanzania contributed troops to DRC creating varying interests and those issues should be resolved. The five countries have different approaches to the DRC issue,” said Mukasa Mbidde, chairperson of the Legal, Rule and Privileges Committee of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

In September, Tanzania expelled thousands of foreigners working in the country because they did not have work permits, a move that was seen as being against the EAC integration agenda. President Kikwete cited the issue of employment and immigration as one of the reasons why Tanzania was being isolated by its neighbours.

Tanzania said the September exercise was intended to ensure that all foreigners working in the country do so following the right channels. But again, getting the official papers is often a nightmare. It costs a handsome $2,000 to get a work permit in Tanzania, and applicants must wait up to five months to obtain the documents.

Uganda charges $1,500 for work permits, and Kenya, which initially waived fees for East Africans, has since reintroduced a $1,976 charge on job seekers aged under 35. Rwanda continues to keep its borders open to East Africans by waiving work permit fees for EAC citizens.

Burundi charges 3 per cent of the annual gross salary of its foreign workers (including EAC partner states) for a work permit.

On the use of national IDs as travel documents in the region, President Kikwete said Tanzania was not ready to adopt the IDs because it did not yet have national IDs, and has maintained that it cannot take a decision until they are ready to issue to its citizens. Uganda, on the other hand, which did not have national IDs, adopted the decision and is in the process of issuing IDs as a requirement of the EAC.

Tanzanian government officials have long insisted that issues of immigration, land, labour should remain domestic issues and decisions should be made by each partner state and not by the community.

EALA had in April this year passed a motion for a resolution advocating the elimination of work permit fees for citizens of the region in the spirit of enhancing free movement of workers. The move was opposed by Tanzania, which said it would not waive work permit fees for EAC citizens seeking to enter the country.

Last week, Tanzania’s EAC Deputy Minister Abdullah Saadalla said: “Tanzania has its own regulations and procedures and the issue of waiving the fees calls for internal agreements.”

In addition to the accusations of dragging its feet on the integration process, Tanzania’s role in DRC is also said to have contributed to the current isolation by its neighbours.

“The DRC politics is the crux of the matter for now. Tanzania contributed troops to the UN force in DRC creating differing interests. The five countries have different approaches to the DRC issue,” said Mukasa Mbidde, chairperson of the Legal, Rules and Privileges Committee at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Diplomatic relations between Dar and Kigali have also been frosty following the recent expulsion of Rwandan immigrants from western Tanzania, and President Kikwete’s remarks that Rwanda should negotiate with the Hutu rebel group FDLR in eastern DRC.

Responding to President Kikwete’s speech, the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Co-operation and Security Zeno Mutimura said he does not think there is a plot to isolate Tanzania but instead Dar has only itself to blame.

Mr Mutimura, who served as Rwanda’s ambassador to Tanzania until 2009, said that a 2009 East African Court of Justice ruling allows partner states to carry on with programmes if one or two members are not ready.

During the infrastructure summit in Kigali, President Museveni, who has been singled out by Tanzanian officials for being behind the plan to isolate Dar es Salaam, said that what is happening should be seen as Northern Corridor countries stepping up the implementation of projects along the corridor. On the issue of the single tourist visa which Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are fast tracking, Tanzania has indicated that it is not for the idea of having the visa until the relevant fee collection infrastructure that links member states is in place.

“In order to have a single tourist visa, there must be a legal framework and infrastructure workable for all the partner states first,” said Dr Abdulla.

Mark Priestly, the country director at TradeMark East Africa in Rwanda, said President Kikwete’s speech was “double-edged.”

“On the one hand, Kikwete is saying Tanzania is committed to the EAC and regional integration and on the other hand there is obvious tension with the trilateral initiative. On the whole, I think that this is a healthy tension and so the EAC is unlikely to split up,” he said.

Uganda government spokesman Ofwono Opondo termed the complaints by Tanzania “a failure to appreciate the progress of international issues and geopolitical interests.”
He added: “There is no integration in the world that happened at once.

In the current EU, Turkey has been on the sidelines for very many years.”

According to Mr Opondo, Uganda had the strongest bilateral relations with Tanzania politically and there should be no reason for leaders in Tanzania to think Uganda would connive behind its back to undermine it.

Kenyan EALA MP Peter Mathuki said that the fact that the Tanzanian president himself confirmed that the country is not moving out of the EAC means that he needs to be embraced and taken seriously as a member of the Community.

“Tanzania cannot be left out of EAC because it’s one of the original EAC countries and therefore cannot be taken for granted,” said Mr Mathuki.

However on the concern that the country is slowing down the integration process, he said that it is a wakeup call to it that the other partners are not happy with the way it is implementing the EAC protocols.

“There is a need to fast track the EAC integration and thus Tanzania should also move with speed just like the other partner states,” he said, adding that Tanzania’s leadership need to consider where their strategic interests are and take Community issues seriously.

Two weeks ago, Tanzania’s East African Co-operation Minister Samuel Sitta told parliament that Tanzania was looking for closer economic ties with Burundi and DR Congo to counter grand infrastructure plans by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, causing anxiety over the future of the East African Community.

However, President Kikwete seems to have thrown the ball in the court of the Coalition of the Willing.

*Source The East African.Reported by Ray Naluyaga, Christabel Ligami, Christine Mungai, Berna Namata, Halimma Abdalla and Edmund Kagire

 

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President Jakaya Kikwete says Tanzania is concerned about land, immigration, employment and acceleration of political federation
November 8, 2013 | 1 Comments

By BERNARD OGINGA*

President Kikwete

President Kikwete

DODOMA, TANZANIA: Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has spoken about the fate of his country’s future in the East African Community ( EAC) saying Tanzania will not leave the regional bloc.

Addressing the Tanzanian Parliament in Dodoma,Kikwete said accusations that his country is an unwilling partner are unfounded adding that Tanzaniahas never been invited to any meeting attended by leaders from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, nations that have come to call themselves willing partners.

“If they invited us but we refused, then they can claim so, but I have not received even a sing le invite.”Kikwete said.

Kikwete also refuted claims that Tanzania is delaying quick intergradient of the region, insisting that such claim are not even close to the reality urging thatTanzania has practically shown that it is not opposed to integration as evident by it the coming together Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form Tanzania.

“The Tanganyika Zanzibar union is the only one in Africa that has lasted longest, many countries have tried but failed, next year we will be celebrating 50 years” Kikwete told parliament in his speech delivered in Kiswahili.

Kikwete said Tanzania remains a faithful member of EAC because it has implemented the treaty that revived the community and obeys its various protocols and lawful agreements arrived at by the community’s organs.

“If there is something we have not done well, it is because of its foundation and not because we have ignored decisions. If the commission wants to decide how we will relate to Mozambique, have we reached that level yet?” Kiwete wondered.

The president also told parliament that Tanzania has spent a lot of time and resources in making EACreach where it is and it would be very expensive for them to quit or act in a manner that would weaken its growth.

“We contribute Usd12 million to the community’s budget every year, nobody in their right mind would throw away such investment.”

Kiwetete however, listed to the applause of the full house why Tanzania is seen to be dragging its feet in the integration process.

“We are concerned about the fast tracking of the integration, land, employment and immigration these are the only aspects we do not agree on.”

Kikwete questioned why such issues would make other leaders isolate Tanzania even on matters that it agrees with, insisting that Tanzania wants a gradual implementation of the EAC treaty.

“The treaty outlines that the entry point is a customs union, a common market, subsequently the monetary union and ultimately a political federation.”

Kikwete said no nation joins or continues to be a member of a regional bloc for purely political reasons without economic benefit to its citizens.

In recent weeks other EAC members namely Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have held talks and initiated infrastructural projects without the participation ofTanzania and Burudi fuelling talks that Tanzania was considering pulling out of the community and instead concentrate on its membership in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

*Source Standard Media

 

 

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Rawlings: Support Mahama To Stem Corruption
November 3, 2013 | 0 Comments
President John Mahama and former President Rawlings in glasses

President John Mahama and former President Rawlings in glasses

Former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has in a keynote address at this year’s Hogbetsotso festival of the people of Anlo called for support for President Mahama in his quest to efficiently manage the country and rid it of corrupt practices and elements.

President Rawlings said while President Mahama is a fine leader who perhaps is too gentle for the current political dispensation, some personalities around him have attributes, that cannot auger well for the smooth management of the state.

The former President called on opinion leaders such as chieftaincy institutions and the Council of State not to hesitate to point out the truth to the President because he has the country’s interest at heart and can only succeed if his advisors do not hide facts from him.

President Rawlings who was the special guest of honour at the annual Hogbetsotso festival held at Anloga on Saturday said people have a responsibility to endorse leadership that protects the people and supports socio-economic development that benefits not only a select few.

The former President who spoke from a prepared speech and extempore said: “Fighting injustice requires us to be resolute and be above reproach. Our society cannot progress if at community level we do not embrace qualities of truth, equity, accountability and integrity.

“While leadership at traditional and political level have to uphold these noble principles you the ordinary people have to embrace noble lifestyles that will benefit our young ones who have become victims of westernization and crass pursuit of materialism.

“Crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery and corruption have become the order of the day not only at national and urban level but also at the most grassroots of places. We need to wake up and confront these negative incursions into our society because they pose serious danger to the very survival of our communities. That sense of purpose and unity that binds us together is almost lost on us,” the former President said.

Find the full text of President Rawlings address below:

Address By H.E. Jerry John Rawlings, Former President Of Ghana At The Anlo Hogbetsotso Festival

Anloga – Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mr. Chairman, Awoamefia of Anlo State Togbi Sri III, Chiefs, Mamawo, invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me home to share the joys of the Hogbetsotso with you.

Hogbetsotso was borne out of injustice and inequality. Our forefathers rose above oppression and fought against the injustice of King Agorkorli, leading to their eventual migration.

Our ancestors had the opportunity to migrate then, but you and I have no where to migrate to if we have to endure injustice and inequality so we have a huge responsibility to ensure that we endorse leadership that protects the people and supports socio-economic development that benefits not only a select few.

jjr-mahamaFighting injustice requires us to be resolute and be above reproach. Our society cannot progress if at community level we do not embrace qualities of truth, equity, accountability and integrity.

While leadership at traditional and political level have to uphold these noble principles you the ordinary people have to embrace noble lifestyles that will benefit our young ones who have become victims of westernization and crass pursuit of materialism.

Crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery and corruption have become the order of the day not only at national and urban level but also at the most grassroots of places. We need to wake up and confront these negative incursions into our society because they pose serious danger to the very survival of our communities. That sense of purpose and unity that binds us together is almost lost on us.

I am reliably informed your major source of livelihood, fishing and vegetable farming is not bringing you much economic sustenance as it used to. You have problems with fishing because as stated before some of us in our selfish desire to make quick money have been applying illegal forms of fishing which have the tendency to affect the appropriate breeding of fish as fingerlings are also trapped in the process.

We have also embraced a very poor habit of keeping our water resources polluted in such a manner that we cannot expect fishes and other living organisms to reproduce and help the chain of survival in the oceans and rivers. We cannot continue to pollute our rivers with chemicals, wash directly in them with soap and expect the same water resource to provide potable water and protein on our table. No!

Let us use prescribed nets for fishing so we do not deplete our fishing resource. We should practice good farming methods so as to sustain the fertility of the soil.

It is however a pity that most of your farm produce get rotten while for those who manage to sell your produce the real beneficiaries are the middle men who buy the produce cheaply and sell them at very competitive rates in the urban areas.

I call on the traditional and municipal authorities to confront these issues head on by encouraging cooperatives and partnerships amongst the people so farm produce is marketed through a combined effort with the obvious benefits.

With a well laid out road network, it behoves of leadership at various levels here in Anlo to pursue large-scale investment in canning our vegetable produce, not only for the international market but for the local market as well. Elsewhere tomato juice is a delicacy. We should explore all these investment options and not only think we should can the tomatoes just for cooking purposes. We have to be proactive and ambitious. That is what our local communities need in pushing the quest for national development.

Togbuiwo, Mamawo, we cannot develop our communities if our educational standards are abysmal. If it is true that the current educational results within the Anlo community are poor then we have a lot of work on our hands. Development at all levels of society is now based on very advanced technology which can only be available if our children are tutored appropriately and our schools are properly equipped to pass on appropriate education to pupils and students.

The Anlo state needs to look thoroughly inward and ask itself if it has done enough to maintain the status quo as one of the most progressive communities in our country.

A filthy culture of self-centred arrogance, petty squabbling, destruction of reputations and abuse of our deep-seated traditions by those who benefited from the toil of our ancestors is destroying our sense of unity and brotherliness.

Many of our so-called distinguished elders and personalities who stood on your shoulders to achieve their current fame and fortune are now sponsoring divisive tendencies that will no doubt lead to unfortunate divisions which were supposed to be matters of the past.

I do not intend to poke my nose into these unfortunate but serious issues, but I call on the Awoamefia, togbuio and mamawo to take a serious look at the issues confronting the state of Anlo and not allow politics to override the religious sanctity of what this state stands for.

Thank you.

*Read original article here 

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HEADS OF STATE PUSH FOR STRONG ICT GROWTH
November 1, 2013 | 1 Comments

By Frank Kanyesigye*

transform-africa-summit Presidents Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, were speaking during a panel discussion at a major ICT conference underway in Kigali.

The seven African leaders sat down with delegates from around the world on the second day of the four-day Transform Africa Summit 2013, which is also attended by executives from Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and IBM, to devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.

President Kagame said Africa needed to embrace a digital revolution which has the power to transform communities with greater access to information.

“We must understand how technology is opening up new opportunities and what we can do to prepare for it. During the technological change success belongs to those who can innovate and those who see the available opportunities,” he added.

Kagame observed that, since the 2007 Connect Africa Summit, also held in Kigali, many changes had taken place both globally and on the African continent, adding that the Transform Africa Summit presented enormous opportunities to create strategic partnerships and maximise the benefits that come with them.

Leveraging ICTs

“We want to equip the African youth with these technologies so that we can leapfrog and reach at a level where the developed world is. In Rwanda, we believe that ICTs have the potential to boost our economy and improve the living standards of our people considerably,” stated the President.

He underlined the critical importance of Private Public Partnerships in the ICT industry, calling for technology-driven innovation that can transform the continent.

“Transformation is all about our people and how we can bring our citizens on board to participate and benefit.”

He challenged suggestion that for African countries to invest in broadband and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution LTE) is a luxury, saying that ICTs support the growth of other sectors.

In Rwanda, Kagame noted, we consider ICT as a utility like electricity, water and other necessities. “So far I haven’t seen anything to discourage me from investing in ICTs”.

Kenyan President Kenyatta also observed that there are immense opportunities presented by ICTs, which he said provides a great opportunity for innovation, job creation and efficiency governance systems.

“If we look back and assess what drove the growth of developed economies it was railway line, sea transport and air transport; we in Africa are still struggling to connect our people and have free flow of goods on the continent,” he said.

He added, “The true and single driver that will propel us from a developing to a developed world in a shortest possible time is for us to recognise that railway lines, sea and air transport of yesterday is broadband today.”

On his part, Ugandan President Museveni warned that ICTs alone will not drive the continent forward unless other sectors get as much attention.

While ICT should be developed, he said, focusing on it exclusively without using it to promote other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services, is like someone ‘eating dry food without sauce’.

“Electronics and ICTs help us to solve a number of issues such as automation of machines, retrieving and storing information, identifying persons (offenders) quickly, defence and waging purposes, among others, there is no doubt about the importance of electronics and ICT.

Presidents Kirr, Ondimba, Compaoré and Keïta all said that, if harnessed, ICT can serve as a vehicle that drives Africa to a desired level.

Without setting specific targets, the Heads of State pledged that their governments will continue to invest in ICTs for the benefit of their people and the continent as a whole.

The summit, co-hosted by President Kagame and the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Dr Hamadoun Toure, is running under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today.”

On his part, Dr Toure talked of the pillars of Smart Africa Manifesto that seeks to transform Africa through the power of ICT.

The manifesto puts ICT at the centre of socio-economic development, developing capacity of all people to develop ICTs, improving accountability and transparency, putting private sector at the engine of economic transformation as well as promoting cost effective technology.

Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, demonstrated how 4G broadband is faster than 3G in terms of internet speed.

In June, the South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom, entered into an agreement with the Government of Rwanda to deploy 4G LTE broadband network across the country, to help ensure faster, more reliable and cheaper internet services.

*Source The New Times

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Mali’s Security Top Concern as West African Leaders Meet Friday in Dakar
October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

By James Butty*

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama (L) speaks with Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh (R) after a West African regional bloc ECOWAS summit on the crisis in Mali and Guinea Bissau, in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, Feb. 27, 2013.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama (L) speaks with Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh (R) after a West African regional bloc ECOWAS summit on the crisis in Mali and Guinea Bissau, in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, Feb. 27, 2013.

A senior official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said, while Friday’s heads of state summit in Dakar will focus on the region’s economy, it will also take up political and security crises.

This comes as ECOWAS President, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, Wednesday called on the international community to send more troops to Mali in the wake of a recent upsurge of attacks by Islamist insurgents.

Abdel Fatau Musah, ECOWAS director for external relations, said the security situation remains a top concern to the regional body, especially as the country prepares for next month’s legislative elections.

“As you might have gleaned from developments in Mali, the terrorists and extremist groups are regrouping and carrying out sporadic attacks here and there.  Meanwhile, MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) because of the lack of numbers, lack of sufficient equipment, has not been able to fan out into the north.  So, the president was calling on member states of the international community to contribute troops because the bulk of the troops in Mali are all from West Africa,” he said.

Fatau Musah said, by the end of July, MINUSMA had a little over 6,000 troops, but that was reduced after Nigerian and some Chadian troops withdrew.

He said ECOWAS President Ouedraogo’s appeal Wednesday was for West African countries to boost their contingents already in Mali in terms of equipment.

Fatau Musah said ECOWAS leaders are very conscious of Mali being the epicenter of global terrorist activities, especially when the country still has what he called “unfinished business”.

“As far as ECOWAS is concerned, there [is] still unfinished business.  Mali is facing legislative election in November and that cannot take place if the north slides back into outright violence,” Musah said.

He said the Dakar meeting will focus mainly on economic issues, including the finalization of the Common External Tariff, the Community Integration Levy and the Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union.

But, Fatau Musah said the regional bloc cannot close its eyes to security and political issues that have emerged since the decision was made to hold the summit.

“It will definitely touch on the worsening situation in the north of Mali; it will talk about the post-electoral dispute in Guinea, and we are also going to talk about the disturbing developments in Guinea-Bissau on the approach of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for later in November,” he said.

*Source VOA 

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African Union Rejects Moves that Could Destabilize Mozambique
October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Peter Clottey*

Rebel-leader-of-former-Mozambican-rebel-movement-Renamo-turned-opposition-party-chief-Afonso-Dhlakama-gives-a-press-conference-April-10-2013-in-Gorongosas-mountains-Mozambique

Rebel-leader-of-former-Mozambican-rebel-movement-Renamo-turned-opposition-party-chief-Afonso-Dhlakama-gives-a-press-conference-April-10-2013-in-Gorongosas-mountains-Mozambique

A spokesman says the African Union (AU) sharply condemns any attempt by individuals or groups to undermine peace, stability and development in Mozambique.

El-Ghassim Wane says the continental body is closely monitoring security in the southern African country.

“Mozambique has made tremendous progress both politically and economically over the past decade, and we believe it is important that progress … is preserved, and that we ensure that no attempt to destabilize the country succeeds,” said Wane.

His comments came after the opposition Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) group announced its decision to withdraw from a 21-year-old peace accorded with the ruling FRELIMO party that effectively ended the country’s civil war.

In a communique, the AU called for dialogue between President Armando Guebuza’s government and the opposition RENAMO to resolve differences that could lead to renewed conflict.

“The African Union is calling for restraint and dialogue and also clearly stating the rejection of any attempt to destabilize Mozambique,” said Wane.

Some analysts have expressed concern that an end to the agreement could signal a resumption of violence between the opposition and the government.

“The only way to resolve the issue at hand is through dialogue. The government has expressed its commitment to dialogue and RENAMO should accept that offer,” said Wane. “Mozambique has come a long way, and no efforts should be spared to ensure that the gains made in the past decade are preserved and consolidated.”
Mozambique government officials told VOA that on Tuesday supporters of RENAMO attacked a police station in Maringue. There were no reports of casualties in the town, which is located in the central part of the country near a RENAMO military base.

Wane said the AU supports negotiations between the two groups.

“We strongly believe that Mozambique and Mozambicans have the means and have the capacity to resolve this issue and to overcome the challenges facing them,” said Wane. “What we felt was necessary was of course to call for dialogue and in this we welcome the commitment of the government of Mozambique to dialogue, and we are calling on the RENAMO leadership to accept that offer unconditionally.”

*Source VOA 

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