Kenyan Missionary Killed in Mamfe: Eye Witness accounts say he was killed by Government soldiers-Bishop Nkea
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)
The Bishop of the Mamfe diocese Bishop Andrew Nkea says the killing of Rev. Fr. Cosmas Oboto Ondari was done by government soldiers (Gendarmerie Nationale) according to eye witness accounts. This was one of the messages enclosed in a letter by the Bishop shortly after the murder.
Rev. Fr. Ondari was killed on the 21st of November 2018 in Kembong, Manyu Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. The Father was reportedly shot in front of the parish after it was reported that fierce clashes had taken place between separatist and security forces.
According to Bishop Nkea “A certain Mr. Johnson Ndip Nchot was also shot in front of his house, a few meters from the Church building. I visited Kembong Parish on Thursday the 22nd of November and I personally counted 21 bullet holes made on the Church building of Kembong where at the time, the priest, the catechist and many Christians were carrying out various activities in the mission compound”.
He added that: “in December 2017, when the situation in Kembong was very tense, Fr. Ondari and his parish priest Fr. Tiberius Vouni, MHM, along with some of their parishioners moved out from Kembong to Mamfe. The village of more than 5,000 people was almost completely and many houses were burnt down”.
“In April, 2018, in a bid to give hope to the desperate population, many of whom were courageously opted to go back to Kembong so as to encourage the people to return…. It was in this context that Fr. Ondari was brutally and recklessly murdered on the 21st of November, 2018”.
The Bishop has called on the powers that be to carry out a thorough investigation into this heinous crime committed against an innocent peace loving missionary and bring the culprits to face justice as he says “it is the only way those who have been hurt can truly be comforted, and peace can return to our land”.
“It is our fervent hope that those killings should stop in our diocese and in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon. The value of human life is diminishing and the human person is wasted away for any flimsy reason or even for sport. This has to stop and we call on all those involved in killing innocent civilians to refrain from these inhumane and monstrous acts”.
Bishop Nkea has called on Christians to intensify prayers and not to relent while also calling on all Christians of the Diocese of Mamfe especially those of Kembong Parish to stay calm and unite in prayers. “The forces of evil are rampage against the church of God but as Christians, we believe in the promise of Christ that the gates of the underworld will never prevail over the Church”
Born in Gucha, in Kenya on the 19th of September 1985, Fr. Ondari joined the missionary society of St. Joseph, otherwise known as the Mill Hill Missionaries and was sent to do his philosophy studies in the Queen of Apostles Seminary in Jinja in Uganda. After his studies of Philosophy, the young Ondari was sent to Cameroon for pastoral experience and he spend two years in Fundong Parish, in the Archdiocese of Bamenda, under the supervision of Fr. Christopher Hannock, MHM…. He was ordained on the 26th of March 2017 in his home Diocese of Kisi by Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa.
In April 2017, the Superiors of the Mill Hill Society appointed Fr. Ondari to Mamfe Diocese where he was then posted to the St. Martin of Tours Parish, Kembong as his first appointment and which turned out to be his last appointment as a priest.
Akinwumi Adesina, Spearheading Good Governance by Leading Agricultural Innovation and Economic Growth of Africa
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
Akinwumi A. Adesina: President of the African Development Bank, committed to the eradication of poverty through agricultural innovation, and promoting Good Governance through the works of developing Africa’s economy
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2018/ — As an agricultural economist, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation for over 30 years. He has contributed greatly to food security in Africa, aimed at improving the lives of millions currently living in poverty, throughout the African continent. The Sunhak Committee acknowledges Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s achievements in promoting Good Governance of Africa, which boosts Africa’s capacity to feed itself and transform its total economies for generating wealth for millions of rural and poor African farmers.
At the Cape Town International Convention Center, the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee announced that the 2019 Laureates for the Sunhak Peace Prize would be Waris Dirie, 53 year-old world-class supermodel and anti-FGM activist, and Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, 58 year-old president of the African Development Bank Group.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation in Africa for over 30 years, bringing great improvement to Africa’s food security. contributing to Africa’s dynamic growth. His leadership is building stepping-stones for Africa’s dynamic growth.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina pioneered major transformations in the agricultural field, including expanding rice production by introducing high yielding technologies, designing and implementing policies to support farmers’ access to technologies at scale, increasing the availability of credit for millions of smallholder farmers, attracting private investments for the agricultural sector, rooting out the corrupt elements in the fertilizer industry, and assisting in establishment of major agricultural policies for Africa’s green revolution.
The “Africa Fertilizer Summit,” which he organized in 2006, was one of the largest high-level meetings in Africa’s history that had a focus on solving Africa’s food issues. During this Summit, Dr. Adesina was instrumental in developing the “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution,” whereby the participants stated their commitment to the “eradication of hunger in Africa, by 2030.”
Dr. Adesina worked with various banks and international NGOs in order to create an innovative financing system, providing loans to small farmers, providing a way for them to rise out of poverty. This move leveraged $100 million in loans and provided opportunities for small farmers to increase their agricultural productivity, and their income.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina currently serves as the president of the African Development Bank Group which plays a central role in Africa’s development. As an “economic commander” of Africa, he promotes the “High 5 Strategy” that include: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. As a result of his work, the lives of millions of people throughout Africa have been improved.
Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, Dr. Il Sik Hong, stated that “the Sunhak Peace Prize was established based upon the vision of “One Family Under God.” The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize gives special attention to peace and human development in Africa.”
Dr. Hong added “in order for us to build an era of peace and coexistence in the 21st century, we want to encourage continuous development in Africa. Africa is a rising star and its growth will contribute global progress and development throughout the 21st century.”
The Sunhak Peace Prize honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and the welfare of the future generations. The Sunhak Peace Prize includes a cash prize totaling one million dollars. The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony will take place in February, 2019 in Seoul, Korea.
My Transition Hours: Presidency Calls Jonathan a Liar
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
According to a press statement released and signed by the president’s media aide, Garba Shehu on ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan’s book, “My Transition Hours”
Shehu said president Muhammadu Buhari, in pursuit of the war against corruption, has set a number of local and international records, one of which is to call judicial officers in Nigeria to account. He is the first to set such a record. Not only that, this is the first time that top military commanders and Service Chiefs are brought to trial and convictions were achieved on account of corruption.
He also said that this is the first time a ruling party is convicting high profile citizens including former governors, who are members of same party. This is the first time the international community is acknowledging the efforts of a government of Nigeria in this regard as manifested by the selection of President Buhari by the African Union as the Anti-Corruption Champion of the continent. For the records, this is the first time a ruling party is investigating ranking officers of the administration, including some at the very top.
He insisted the Buhari administration has introduced a lot of changes, considering that the laws relating to the fight against corruption cannot reasonably be static. In line with its aspiration to be ahead of the growing sophistication of corruption and financial crimes, the administration has initiated new legislations and proposed amendments to different sections of laws, among which are:
The Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017; • Anti-Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2017; • Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill 2017 (NFIU); • Proceeds of Crime Bill 2017; • Public Interest Disclosure and Witness Protection Bill, 2017 and • The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2017. Owing to these efforts and support all of relevant stakeholders, NFIU Act has been passed and President Buhari gave his assent on July 18, 2018.
He said there was no investment in infrastructure during Jonathan’s tenure as President Buhari is now doing in seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing.
Shehu concluded the press release saying “the former President and his party have nothing to say about achievements. They ruled the country for 16 years and what is their record on jobs, power, rail, seaports, airports and internal security, including the crippling disaster of terrorism?”.
South Sudan woos investors as peace deal revives oil production
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan government on Tuesday launched the nation’s second international oil and power conference, a gathering aims at attracting prospective investors from global oil and energy firms.
The first oil conference was held in October 2017. South Sudan has the third largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, but most of its oil facilities have been destroyed in the civil war that started in 2013 – two years after it seceded from Sudan.
More than 400 international and local companies are attending this week’s Africa Oil & Power Conference in the capital, Juba, up from the 300 that attended the initial conference last year.
Some of its oilfields have recently restarted oil production, but returning to full production capacity will take time. In August, South Sudan resumed pumping of crude oil from Toma South oilfied, where production had been stopped since the civil war erupted five years ago.
South Sudan depends on 98% oil revenues for its services, but a country still lag behind in term of physical infrastructure development. South Sudan oil is transported through Sudan due to lack of pipeline and refinery facilities in the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai expressed his government’s interest and commitment to develop the country’s oil industry.
Deng further told the oil companies and investors to be mindful of the environmental pollution while investing in the oil sector in the country.
“The government will continue to work tirelessly to create an enabling environment for business to thrive in the republic of South Sudan including a fair and balance local content regulation. the development of oil and gas sector will encourage economic diversification. let us be reminded of our responsibilities in the areas of social contract. the majority of South Sudan oil is based in the wetlands where we have faced alot of issue of pollution. I hope, in such kinds of forums when we discuss how to enhance productivity, issues of environment should not be left behind,” Deng said on Tuesday in Juba.
However, South Sudan is making its first big foreign investment pitch since asserting an end to civil war, but the oil-rich nation faces disinclination from some companies that want to make sure the brittle new revitalized peace deal holds.
The East Africa youngest nation is eager to make up for $4 billion in lost revenue caused by the five-year conflict after the government and armed opposition signed a power-sharing agreement two months ago.
Tapping 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, the third largest in Africa, is the fastest route for South Sudan, whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil exports.
Meanwhile, South Sudan Oil minister Ezekiel Lul said the mobilized the oil investors to come and operating in the country in order to lifted up oil production in the country.
“This year is better than last year. we have mobilized a lot of companies in investing in the Republic of South Sudan, not only in the oil industry but in different areas,” Lul said.
On the same event, Sudan Petroleum Minister Azhari Abdallah said the two countries plan to sign a cooperation deal that would allow experts in the oil sectors to exchange visits.
He said the resumption of oil production will strength the economics of the two countries, including the foreign relations of the two sisterly countries.
“I am pleased to announce that South Sudan’s first crude oil is now ready for shipment in the port Sudan,” Abdallah said.
Also, APPO SG Mahaman Gaya, said they are working to stabilize and strength the oil and energy in the Africa continent.
AOP CEO Gullaune Doane urged South Sudan government to put much focus on the trade, which he says it is easy to improve a country’s socio – economic development.
The government is offering prospective investors incentives such as a tax-free grace period of up to 10 years. It hopes to build on the momentum created in August when drilling resumed in key oil fields for the first time since 2013. The aim is to return to the pre-conflict production of 350,000 barrels per day. But some at the investment conference expressed vigilant buoyancy after preliminary signs of growth.
The companies, already licensed to operate in the newly reopened oil fields in Unity State are China National Petroleum Corporation, India-based Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Malaysia-based Petronas.
On the hand, early next year local oil marketing company Trinity Energy will begin building East Africa’s only oil refinery, a $350 million project that will take about 18 months to complete. It will be able to produce 25,000 barrels per day. But at now, South Sudan exports its crude oil, only to buy it back.
More so, South Sudan is currently produces about 150,000 barrels per day, 40 percent of which goes to cover operating costs. The government is left with 90,000 barrels, but partners such as China’s CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas take 20 percent of it.
While, the remaining profit has to be shared with Sudan’s government in Khartoum as South Sudan has to use its infrastructure to process and transport its oil. Every barrel produced is vital to Africa’s youngest nation, as oil provides nearly all of its gross domestic product.
With the revitalized peace deal at the hand, South Sudan hopes to return to full oil production capacity in an attempt to strengthen and recover its fraught economy.
Open Letter To AU On The Way Forward For Monetary Policies in Africa
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
To: African Union and African Leaders.
We have launched an important, but crucial call to African Union and African Leaders for the creation of African currency base vis-à-vis the Central Bank of Africa as a gigantic transformation of our global economy that guarantees elevated level of competitive free market enterprising economy.
An African currency base, well mapped out, will compete with British pounds, US dollars, French francs, Chinese yen, all of which are top rated the most powerful international currencies of today. Any realization of the Central bank of Africa could mean the highest and intensely valuable financial institution to oversee all existing monetary institutions in Africa, and will be charged with responsibilities ranging from currency design, and currency mint for all nations within the continent of Africa, intra-continental (country to country)financial activities, inter-continental International financial transactions, as well as, function as a network hub for monitor, regulations and foreign exchange and policy recommendations.
More importantly, the central bank of Africa is envisaged to function from generation to generations, and oversee data and assets planning management and infrastructural support recommendations to African Union. When, and if debated and approved, will be created to remain passive in functional operational responsibilities discovery phase period of 2-4 years, after which, it moves into active implementation status.
We call on an open dialogue, consultation with more developed nations for proper Institutional structural design, especially, friendly nations in the West, Europe, far East, as well as Asia for broad base contributory ideas. A critical step in rendering African economy stronger, more manageable and competitive in emerging global economic transformational order.
Washington DC 20013
*Martin Atayo is an Executive in Chief of Multipurpose Global Application Technologies Corporation with headquarters based in Washington DC. He is a research scholar of Leadership, and inventor of applied science new study field, consciousness universality, or universities consciousness. He is the first to have advised African nations to adopt, encourage, support and promote private sector small business enterprising through government guaranteed low interest loans to small business enterprises. He is an adviser to governments.He can be reached via email MartinAtayo@mpgatechnology.com.
Ghana on the rise again ,VP Bawumia tells Ghanaians in Lebanon
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has told his nationals living in Lebanon that Ghana is on the rise again under president Akufo-Addo with prospects for growth and development bright.
According him, ongoing structural and policy initiatives, including a commitment to transforming the Ghanaian economy through the use of technology while paying greater attention to human resource development, will set the stage for a brighter future for Ghana.
“By any stretch of the argument, if one looks at the progress made in the last 22 months there is no doubt that Ghana is on the rise again. The Nana Akufo-Addo government has implemented policies and programmes that have had a direct benefit on the life of the ordinary Ghanaian, while dealing with the challenges that we inherited as a Government,” he told the Ghanaian community.
Dr Bawumia added: “For instance, through the implementation of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme, thousands of Ghanaian teenagers who otherwise would have stayed home had access to secondary education. In 2017, FSHS provided over 90,000 additional teenagers an opportunity to get senior high school education and improve their opportunities for work in the future. In 2018, we have been able to accommodate 181,000 more students who otherwise could not have access to secondary education.
“We are more than convinced that the future can only be bright and we keep higher hopes. We can only thank God Almighty for how far he has brought us as a nation.”
He said the administration would continue to think outside the box to make Ghana an example to the rest of the continent.
The Vice President travelled to Lebanon to witness the award of United Nations Medals to Ghana’s contingent attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the first time the President or Vice President of Ghana has visited Ghanaian troops in Lebanon, although Ghana has supported UNIFIL with troops since the inception of the mission 40 years ago.
Dr Bawumia cited the gains made in the macro economy, including an increase in the size of the Ghanaian economy from 3.7% in 2016 to 8.5% in 2017; a decline in inflation from 15.4% in 2016 to 11.8% in 2017 and now standing in single digits at 9.5%; as well as a decline in the debt to GDP ratio from 73.1% in 2016 to about 55% following the rebasing of the economy, as evidence of government’s firm grip on the economic management wheel.
He stated, among others, that such macroeconomic improvements led to the upgrading of Ghana’s credit rating for the first time in ten years from B minus to B with positive outlook by Standard and Poors, a global ratings agency.
“My assurances to you all and all Ghanaians are that your economy is in competent hands and there is more to come under the visionary leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.”
He continued, “today, Dumsor(power outages) is not killing people’s businesses. Unemployed graduates are being employed under a special vehicle called NABCO. Nursing and Teacher trainee allowances have been restored. Government is paying the registration fees for BECE candidates. Parents are not paying for senior high school fees. Electricity tariffs have been reduced for both business and individual use.
“These are things that did not exist before we came into Government and, if we had not addressed them they were going to compound the hardships on Ghanaians.”
Ghana, Vice President Bawumia indicated, is on the rise again, and urged Ghanaians domiciled abroad to contribute their quota to the success story.
CAF approved MRI test – Chris Kamara
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Bodies supervising the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) were okay with what the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) termed misappropriation of public funds, Chris Kamara has said.
Chris, the SLFA Secretary General is on trial with the SLFA President, Isha Johansson for allegedly squandering $50,000 subvention and Le24.7m sponsorship they received from CAF (Confederation of African Football) and LEOCEM.
ACC alleged the money from CAF was meant for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test, but SLFA never conducted the test and could not account for the money.
Chris, on the third day of his defence to the ACC claims, said the MRI test results for 32 Under-17 players were sent to CAF and they never raised any objections.
He said at the time, President Isha was not around and if it were not for his timely intervention – on the plea of other SLFA members including John Keista – the SLFA then had no funds to carry out the test in due time.
He added that the other SLFA members asked him to intervene after failed attempts to acquire loan from Ecobank.
Chris stated that Ecomed and Choitrams Hospital had asked for 12.8 million Leone and 44.2 million Leones respectively to carry out the test, but he could only loan the SLFA 19.7 million Leones from his terminal benefits and per diem from gold tree Sierra Leone limited.
“At the time, the was ninety two dollar three cent ($92.3) United States Dollars in the foreign account and there was seventy one thousand Leones six hundred and ninety four cents (Le71, 000) in the local account,” he said
Also, he said there were no cars to transport the 32 players to and from the hospitals and he had to use his car, that of Mohamed Kallon and a rented vehicle for that purpose.
Questioned whether he could authenticate the test, Chris said he does not have knowledge about the tests – save for the explanation the doctors had given him.
He said he only followed through on arrangements the President Isha had made, and delegated the responsibility to other members including the then Under-17 Coach Mohamed Kallon.
Meanwhile, Chris had wanted to tender the CAF 2012 and FIFA 2018 Constitutions, but the prosecutor, Calvin Mantsebo, objected stating that the FIFA document is not relevant to the case.
Defence lawyer Africanus Sesay withdrew the document and applied for an adjournment to tender the appropriate document, adding the document is relevant to the defence case.
The matter continues on the 23rd November 2018.
What does it take to be a great entrepreneur? Here’s how to get there!
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Anthea Taylor*
Africa needs entrepreneurs and people who are going to be innovators and job creators!
In Africa’s economic environment there are risks and uncertainties, but quick decisions and gut feelings are what get entrepreneurs to turn those risks into rewards and the uncertainties into opportunities.
So, what does it take to be an entrepreneur? We will never be able to know exactly what the secret to success is, however, here are a few things that any potential business owner should have or work towards having.
Focus on more than an idea
Although a business has to be based on an innovative idea, the execution is what counts for a successful entrepreneur.
Having a great idea that solves a problem and has a market is an ideal position to be in. You will be poised for success. In order to actually become successful, however, you will need to be able to execute the idea and stick with it for the long term.
Entrepreneurs are not only thinkers, they are doers. And getting things done is more difficult than people think. How an idea looks in practice is usually a lot different to how it looks in your head.
Businesses are marathons not sprints. You will need to be able to fulfil your ideas as well as you come up with them. And, if anything goes wrong, you need to be able to get past your failures and carry on.
Have the courage to leap
While a love of learning and the desire to work will be an important part of propelling you to success, having the courage to leave what you know and leap into the unknown is vital if you are going to be a successful entrepreneur.
You need to be able to leave the security of your current job or the prospect of a stable income. This is something that you can only do if you are passionate about what it is that you’re doing and that you are confident in your abilities.
Hand in hand with this is having boundless energy because starting and running a business is going to take long hours and a lot of effort.
Look for meaning and purpose in what you do
For entrepreneurs this meaning is found in being your own boss, running a business and driving it forward. You will need to have a strong inner drive to get out and make things happen. Be persistent and make your own luck.
While you will need to be prepared to work hard, you will also need to find a way of striking a work/life balance. Running your own business can become all-consuming. You will need to keep a check on yourself and the amount of time you are putting into your business.
Having good daily processes and focusing on your time management will be the way that you learn to keep a healthy work / life balance.
Find good employees
Starting or running a business is about more than just you. If you are passionate about creating jobs or helping people grow in your business, you will have a greater drive to succeed.
Being a boss is not an easy role. You’ll need to be able to deal with people as well as being able to drive a business. Finding the right team will make both of these tasks easier.
Creating the best environment for your employees will also be the most efficient way to build a stable business. A low employee turnover keeps the skills and experience within your business and only adding to your success.
Staff that want to stay and develop as your company grows is an invaluable asset.
Choose the best route to business ownership
Africa can be a risky place to start a business because of the lack of infrastructure and the fact that a lot of these markets are very new.
There is a different path for an entrepreneur to take though, and that is to buy a business that already has a proven track record.
Although this will take the same kind of focus, effort and energy as starting a business, it does allow you to invest this energy into a tried and tested idea.
You will still need to be passionate about what you do and have the courage to make the leap and head out on your own. What you will also have, though, is the chance to learn the lessons from someone else rather than making the mistakes yourself.
*By Anthea Taylor, Assistant Editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.
Minister orders termination of all contracts with US based Oil Service Company Subsea 7 for refusal to comply with Local Content laws and regulations
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Encourage by proactive steps taken by Schlumbeger and Technip FMC to comply with local content regulations|
JUBA, South Sudan, November 21, 2018/ — At the South Sudan Oil and Power Conference in Juba, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons announced the decision to mandate all petroleum operators including but not limited to Noble Energy, Exxon Mobil, Kosmos Energy, Trident, Marathon Oil Corporation and other operators to cancel all contracts with US based oil service company Subsea 7, due to noncompliance of Equatorial Guinea’s local content regulations.
“As Minister, I have an obligation to ensure the laws of the country governing the hydrocarbon sector are complied with.” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “Companies operating in the oil sector have an obligation to work within the confines of our very flexible and pragmatic local content regulations that are market driven and ensure that both investors and our citizen benefit. I commend the leadership of Schlumberger and Technip FMC in taking proactive steps to engage with the oil companies and government to ensure local content concerns are resolved.”
The Ministry will continue to work with Oil companies operating in Equatorial Guinea to unwind contracts and find new suppliers for companies that have refused to comply with local content regulations.
A compliance review of the entire sector is ongoing led by the Director of National Content and outside legal advisors of the Ministry. The notice will be expanded to all service companies who are non-compliant as the review continues. Similar measures will be taken.
Under the National Content Regulation of 2014, all agreements must have local content clauses and provisions for capacity building, with preference given to local or regional companies in the award of service contracts. Local shareholders must be part of every contract as prescribed by law. The operators have an obligation to ensure compliance of their subcontractors.
Upsurge in attacks on journalists in Africa: A call for concerted action
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The African Media Initiative (AMI) says that the media fraternity across the continent has learned with great concern the growing curtailment of media freedom in many African countries, including Cameroon, Sudan, Egypt and Tanzania.
In the last four weeks, eight journalists – Joseph Olinga, Michel BiemTong, Gustave Flaubert Kengne, Michel Kalabassou, Mimi Mefo, Josiane Kouagheu, Akumbom McCarthy, and Mathias Mouende have been intimidated, arrested, or tried before military courts across the country over allegations of ‘propagating false information’ or ‘undermining the safety of the State’ under the antiterror law.
Cameroon has seen, over the years, an accelerated shrinking of the democratic space where both journalists and citizens are having to compose with a difficult environment.
In Egypt, a law enacted last month has been widely criticised as tantamount to extortion of media houses as it requires hefty registration amounts for licenses with websites being forced to pay more than $30,000 to register and up to five times that amount for non-compliance. The law is viewed as an attempt by the government to silence the remaining independent media.
On 29 October, the Press Court in Khartoum sentenced Zine El Abeen Al-A’jab, a former editor of Al Mustagila newspaper to one and a half months in prison, or a fine of 5,000 pounds ($104) over “dissemination of false information” among other charges.
Overall, according to Amnesty International, at least 15 journalists have been arrested and detained between January and October 2018 by the government’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISS). In addition, the entire print run of 10 newspapers was confiscated on at least 27 occasions. Al Jareeda, one of the last independent newspapers, has been confiscated at least 13 times this year.
On 7 November, South African journalist Angela Quintal, Africa programme coordinator for press freedom group the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo were arrested from their hotel in Dar-es-Salaam and detained by authorities for 24 hours.
Rights groups and media advocates have recently expressed concerns about the freedom of expression in the country since election three years ago of Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, whose regime has cracked down on independent media and close down critical newspapers.
Earlier in 2018, the government approved a new law regulating online content that gives them the right to revoke the permit if a website publishes content “that leads to public disorder” and “threatens national security”, according to media report.
It should be recalled that freedom of the press and right of people to information are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
Governments in Africa have a duty to refrain from undue interference with the right to media freedom and must promote and protect citizens’ rights of access to information.
In view of the above, African Media Initiative (AMI)
- Reiterates that intimidation of journalists, harassment, arbitrary detentions, closures, internet cuts, media closure, censorship, and trials of journalists before military courts over crimes allegedly committed while discharging their duties contravene international treaties and covenants protecting the freedom of the press and the public’s right of access to information
● Calls on African governments to create a conducive environment for a free exercise of the media profession
● Demands the immediate release of journalists arrested
The African Media Initiative (AMI) is a pan-African organization that seeks to strengthen the continent’s private and independent media sector from an owner and operator perspective to promote democratic governance, social development and economic growth. It does so through a set of strategic activities aimed at transforming the media and communications landscape on the continent. AMI’s overall goal is to promote the development of pluralistic media as a necessary and critical ingredient of democratic governance, as well as economic and human development in Africa.
Nigeria:Former Malawi President Endorses Ezekwesili For 2019
November 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
Former Malawi President, Joyce Banda, has endorsed the presidential ambition of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Banda testified that Ezekwesili possesses the ability to fight corruption in Nigeria.
Banda, who ruled Malawi from April 2012 to May 2014, said Ezekwesili’s advice saved her from corruption allegations during her tenure. She said Ezekwesili’s international exposure, transparent and accountable skills would help the growth of the country.
Endorsing the ACPN candidate on Wednesday, Banda said: “While fighting corruption during my presidency in 2013, Oby Ezekwesili advised me to protect myself with a forensic audit, which United Kingdom government supported. I am forever grateful for this transparent, accountable daughter of Africa.”
On her part, Ezekwesili gave her words to Nigerians that she would put effective structures in place to fight corruption.
She said that defeating corruption in Nigeria would ease job creation and boost the country’s economy.
The presidential candidate also assured the citizens that her tenure as President would end the attitude of using political positions for personal gains. She said: “Needless to say, every other area in our comprehensive manifesto, including our anti-corruption, sports, foreign policy, security agenda, and every other programme of our platform, will be evaluated on three questions: How much wealth is it going to generate? How many jobs is it going to create? And how many people it will get out of poverty?
“We will measure our economic success as a government, not by the number of private jets parked at our airports, but by the number of Nigerians we lift out of poverty who go on to live richer lives. We mean business.
“We will put in place a massive programme of deregulation of the Nigerian economy to unleash the depth of competition and efficiencies necessary for higher and deeper economic growth and expansion of the economy. The division and rebalancing of roles between business and government will reduce opportunities of corruption and bottlenecks that limit the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy.”
While accusing previous governments of paying lip service to the fight against corruption and accountability, she stated that her promises would be fulfilled.
“When I make these promises, I do them with the realisation that you are tired of broken promises. The broken promises of previous administrations are still fresh in your memories and it has tainted the way you look at politics. That is why as a principle, our campaign will only promise what we can deliver, and will deliver what we promise,” she said.
“Our politics is the promise of a new, honest start to rebuild and renew our country. Our direction is clear; and our destination is also clear. When we deliver, we would rebuild the crucial bonds of trust between the people and their government without which a democracy cannot flourish.
“This election is the most important of our lifetime. I believe that the next four years could determine the next 40. If we fail to get it right, what would we tell our children? What manner of consequences would befall us? What would another four years of wrong leadership mean for you and I? More poverty. More divisions. More corruption. More debt. More insecurity. More disregard for human rights. More and more of the same.”
“Transition Hours”: President Jonathan writes back
November 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Reuben Abati*
“There was no bitterness in him after he left power. He did not look back. He did not look down. Instead he looked up and after looking up, he looked forward and went on pressing ahead. That forward movement has resulted in this work of statecraft and statesmanship of which I am privileged to write the foreword. Though there are many themes in this book, My Transition Hours, the theme that most excites me is the one on youth and the next generation” – John Dramani Mahama, President, Republic of Ghana, 2012 -2017.
Those are some of the words with which former Ghanaian President John Mahama introduces the long-awaited and much-anticipated book by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. President Mahama is President Jonathan’s close friend. In a way they both share a similar destiny. Their bosses died and they both went on to become President. They also both won election as President and later lost their re-election bids. But they are perhaps more united by the shared affinities between Nigeria and Ghana. President Mahama is eminently well-qualified to write the even-handed, thoughtful foreword to President Jonathan’s first book, out of office.
Jonathan is Nigeria’s first President from the South South, first Ph.D holder in Nigeria to become President, first Nigerian President to rise through the ranks from the position of Deputy Governor to Acting Governor, Governor, first Gubernatorial candidate nominee to become Vice President, Acting President and eventually President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No other Nigerian, dead or alive, has gone through such trajectory, or rite of passage. President Jonathan was Acting President 2010-2011, following the death of his principal, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in circumstances that threw the country into a quandary and raised issues about Nigeria’s geo-politics and the matters of ethnicity and geography, indeed more importantly the right of minorities to also “rule” Nigeria, and if and when they are allowed to do so, whether or not they will be treated fairly.
I have enjoyed the privilege of reading President Jonathan’s first memoir out of office, which will be publicly presented today in the nation’s capital, Abuja, and I can report that it is a book about how Nigeria and vested interests treated him badly. He is the villain in the book: badly treated by entrenched interest groups, treacherous party members, a propaganda and hate-driven opposition and a badly constructed political ecosystem. The book is titled “My Transition Hours.”
In 2011, after much ethnic uproar and conscientious objection by progressive forces, Jonathan won Nigeria’s Presidential elections and remained Nigeria’s President till 2015. He lost the 2015 Presidential election, according to the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but despite his prompt concession to General Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, Jonathan has suffered badly under his successor’s watch. He has been maligned, persecuted, harassed, intimidated, humiliated and insulted. His wife has been abused, maligned, criminally tagged and many of his associates have been labelled crooks and thieves. In 2015, in the lead up to the general elections. Jonathan announced that his “ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.” He signed a document to respect the outcome of the process. He kept his word. His successors have rewarded him with odium and abuse. They have done their best to discredit and destroy him.
In this book, “My Transition Hours”, President Jonathan fights back. His public persona is that he is a meek, gentle personality who lacks the guts to fight. Indeed, after the 2015 elections, everyone deserted him. The Aso Rock Villa became ghost town. Nobody picked our calls again. Giants in the corporate sector who used to beg for access to President Jonathan were reportedly now on the Buhari side. Only the Attorney General of the Federation, the security chiefs and a few others came around. The President was left with just his main body, that is – his innermost circle of aides.
We felt hurt by the fact that many of the persons who benefitted from President Jonathan had jumped ship and were now sucking up to the other side. We saw some of the people who called President Jonathan their brother and friend, on the Buhari side less than 24 hours after the election was decided. They were laughing and grinning! It was a painful moment for us. That was the real “Transition Hours” and that was when President Jonathan started threatening that he will write a book on his “Transition Hours”. He chose the title of the book at that very point. He wanted to tell his own story. I am intrigued that he has refused to change the title, but I recall how tough those transition moments were for us. On our return trip to Otuoke, we were treated shabbily by the newcomers. We had to struggle to be recognized. We were treated like regular passengers! The people who took over from President Jonathan were determined to humiliate him. It got much worse later.
In this book, President Jonathan tries to fight back and set the records straight. I am glad he is doing this. I once went to him and asked that we should put a team together to protect his legacy. His response was that “God will fight for us, after God it is government, these people will crush us because they don’t know God, but let us rely on God.” Some people, who thought we should help our boss, ignored this advice tried to put a team together. They ended up in underground cells, and got labelled as thieves! Others fled into exile. It is good to see President Jonathan himself, more than three years later, speaking up. The man that comes through in these pages is the real Jonathan. and that is perhaps the big point: a Jonathan that is confident, strong, clear-headed and assertive, who does not take nonsense and who is very clear in his mind about leadership options. If he had won a second term, Nigerians would have seen a different Jonathan. He worked hard to hold the country together and to prevent mischief from over-running the country. He makes his case in this book as he addresses some of the strong issues that came up during his tenure.
It is not standard practice for a President to justify himself and his tenure. It is also not standard practice for a President to be discredited by his successor. President Jonathan has every reason to write this book. He has chosen the right moment to go public: his successor’s most vulnerable moment. What he does majorly is to tell Nigerians that most of the things said about him were fake news. He insists that he did not abuse power as Nigeria’s President. He argues that every negative thing that has been said about him is an attempt to give him a bad name in order to hang him. He argues that “real strength is power under control”. He adds: “This book is not my biography, as that will come later. This book reveals how I used power as shield in the service to our nation and God.” Jonathan’s argument is that power should never be abused.
The book is defensive and reactive on the vexed issues of fuel subsidy, Boko Haram, “stealing is not corruption,” governance and so on. President Jonathan takes on the major criticisms of his administration. He doesn’t quite provide hard facts but he talks back. The key issues that the book addresses are noteworthy. This is a book that every Nigerian should pay attention to. In this book, a former President of Nigeria is saying that he was badly treated and he became a villain, because he came from a minority part of the country. He states that “people (are) working against our interest”. In this book, a former President of the country tells us that the idea of “one Nigeria” does not exist because we are a divided country. My boss insists: that “there is no patriotism in Nigerian politics”.
He refuses to pull punches. Nobody is spared. In Chapter 3 titled “Politics and Patriotism: The Fuel Subsidy Dilemma”, he argues that “politics in Nigeria and some other African nations is conducted like primitive war”. His major reference is the battle over fuel subsidy in 2012. He argues that the protests over the fuel subsidy proposals were “politically motivated.” Donald Duke should read this chapter. There are some references to him here. Chapter Four is titled “The Chibok School Girls Affair.” The Governor of Borno state needs to read this chapter. He is accused of seizing an “opportunity to politicize an unfortunate incident”. The APC also allegedly indulged in “psychological programming”, making President Jonathan look like a “villain”. President Jonathan rejects the labels. He pointedly accuses the Barack Obama administration in the United States of working against his administration and he provides evidence to back his claims. He accuses President Obama thus: “For some strange reason, the Obama administration had tactically penciled Nigeria and my administration down for failure”.
Hadiza Bala Usman, now in charge of Nigerian Ports Authority, should also read Chapter Four of this book. President Jonathan is convinced that the Chibok girls matter is an act of grand conspiracy, because whereas he took every necessary step, the Governor of Borno State had a different agenda. In Chapter Five, he deals with the question of stealing and corruption. He provides an explanation on that particular matter. The irony is that many of the initiatives now being adopted by the Buhari administration– Treasury Single Account, IPPIS and the BVN were all Jonathan’s initiatives. Jonathan discloses that his government did better on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. Chapter Six is focused on “Power Struggle in Nigeria”. Here, President Jonathan talks about he “strayed into power” and the attack of he majorities on the minorities. In Chapter 7, he offers an account of his “Presidential election campaign”.
He goes further to describe what happened during the 2015 presidential election and how he personally took the decision to save Nigeria from a descent into imminent chaos. Too many persons have tried to write the story of that significant moment in Nigerian history. I am glad that President Jonathan has now given his own account to correct the many lies that may have been told. He records the responses from the international community. It is a rich and detailed account. In this book, ,President Jonathan puts on the table his credentials as an internationals statesman and the goodwill he enjoyed among his peers before and after the election of 2015.
To be fair to him, making Nigeria look good in the international community was one of his major achievements. But President Barack Obama of the United States did not help him, and he refers to this more than once in this book. In Chapter Ten, President Jonathan talks about what he and his team did with the 2014 National Political Conference and his personal commitment to the peace and stability of Nigeria. Needless to remind us that the Buhari administration upon assuming office threw away the report of that conference. In Chapters 11 to 13, President Jonathan takes on other interesting subjects including the youth bulge, private sector reform and the African Renaissance.
This must be a book close to his heart. He uses it to settle scores and to explain the main issues of his era as President. I consider this a must read for all Nigerians and students of the Nigerian process. President Jonathan offers a personal portrait of his own politics, career and achievements. I may have read the book through the prism of a man who was his staff and who was involved, but I can tell that this is a honest and forthright reportage of what transpired. President Jonathan gave to Nigeria his very best. He was conscious of his humble beginnings and he wanted to make a statement. He was a poor man’s son who made it to the highest level in Nigeria. He was an embodiment of the Nigerian dream.
But Nigerian politics is vicious and dirty. You will find a sense of that in this book. He projects himself as a “victim”, but he probably does not tell the full story, which is okay. It means he can tell more stories. There are persons who will read this book and throw tantrums, but may such persons, like Nasir el-Rufai and the Governor of Borno state and all the deceitful associates who fooled the President during the 2015 elections, for reasons of religion and ethnicity, be reminded that this is all told a very kind book. President Jonathan playing the statesman has refused to tell it all. He has held back much more than he has given away. Some of us who were part of his “Main Body” may have now been unwittingly empowered to tell more stories.
I know that my boss is excited by this book. He wants to be remembered for the right reasons and not for the fake news that his opponents reported about his Presidency. President Goodluck Jonathan was President at a unique moment in Nigerian history. His emergence and experience both mark a special moment in Nigerian history. I urge you to read this book, his first one, on what he encountered as Nigeria’s President, before, during and after. Despite the travails of his post-office experience, Goodluck Jonathan, his legacy and value, will survive beyond his “transition hours”. He will, beyond everything else, find a good place in Nigerian history.
*Culled from reubenabati.com