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Gambia: Citizens Alliance Party Faults Barrow for Undermining Transitional Justice Process
September 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Dr Ismaila Ceesay

The Citizens’ Alliance Party has accused President Adama Barrow for undermining the passing of the draft Constitutional Promulgation Bill, the Government has now derailed the entire Transitional Justice process, thus jeopardizing the future prospects of this country.

We believes that: “The Government of President Adama Barrow has failed to deliver its promise and mandate to The Gambian people”. 

In a  press release issued for the party by Dominic Mendy and Dr Ismaila Ceesay, President Barrow is taken to task for not living up to its promises.

When Gambia decided to change its trajectory on December 1st 2016, we sought to build a vibrant and new democracy, which was to be inclusive and equitable, knowing that all Gambians had to be equally served under the rule of law. In order to transition from autocracy to democracy, a series of Transitional Justice processes were initiated to ensure the needed reforms that would put The Gambia on the path of democracy and development.

These include the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), The Security Sector Reform (SSR), The Janneh Commission of Inquiry and a Constitutional Reform (CRC). This was to help us break with our dark past and lay the foundations for a new legal, political, social and economic architecture that will ensure the consolidation of democracy, the entrenchment of transparency and accountability, the assurance of minority rights, the elimination of corruption and impunity and guaranteeing civil, political and economic rights.

The Constitutional reform was the lynchpin of this entire process and it was a national priority for both Gambians and the coalition government as it was supposed to smoothly free us from the much tailored 1997 Constitution. A series of consultations with Gambians at home and abroad, and a bill in excess of D116 Million culminated into a consensual new Draft Constitution.

However, the aims and aspirations of birthing a new constitution came to a painful halt at the National Assembly when the Constitution Promulgation Bill 2020 was rejected by 23 National Assemble Members (NAMs). Clearly, these NAMs did not seem to value the voice of The Gambian people and the urgency for change leaving us disappointed and vulnerable as a budding democracy on the world stage. In addition, our current situation is also partly due to wrong choices made from the onset of the transition when, some key partners of the coalition entrusted with midwifing the process put partisan interest before national interest, abandoned the transition MoU, opted for Tactical Alliance, endorsed the gifting of vehicles to legislators, engaged in piecemeal legislation to suit their interests and encouraged President Barrow to renege on his campaign promise of serving for just three years as a transitional leader.

The Government of President Adama Barrow has also failed to deliver its promise and mandate to The Gambian people. By undermining the passing of the Constitutional Promulgation Bill, the Government has now derailed the entire Transitional Justice process, thus jeopardizing the future prospects of this country. Citizens’ Alliance is disappointed that the Government failed to do enough to ensure the passing of a bill it took to parliament after investing so much of our resources. By all indications, the Citizens’ Alliance see no reason why President Barrow should not resign after failing to deliver every promise he made to The Gambian people, thus undermining his own legitimacy.

The defeat of the Constitution Promulgation Bill is an unfortunate situation that has the potential to derail the hopes and aspirations of The Gambian people. The Citizens’ Alliance remains with the zeal and conviction that all is not lost. These events should rekindle our resolve to work harder to build a Gambia for all, taking into account the welfare of future generations, through sacrifice and unity. Our progress depends on our decision as a nation to ensure that our future generations do not inherit the mistakes of the past. We therefore urge our elected representatives to do away with their differences and work together for the interest of the country.

Citizens’ Alliance continues to propagate for needed reforms and calls on the government to immediately unveil a clear strategy and a way forward towards a new constitutional order. Failure to pursue a meaningful constitutional change to provide a new legal framework for the 2021 elections should not be an option.

Citizens’ Alliance reminds Gambians that the ‘New Gambia’ project is not supposed to be based on religion, ethnicity or unbridled partisanship. The purpose is to build a robust constitutional democracy and a just, inclusive and developed society anchored on solidarity and the rule of law. Now, more than ever, is the time to put country first and unite under a common banner of inclusivity, equity and prosperity.

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Sierra Leone Sports : Ban on sporting activities partially lifted.
September 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Sierra Leone National Side players signing their national anthem before the 2019 Afcon qualifier between Ethiopia and Sierra Leone at the International Stadium in Hawassa, Ethiopia on 9 September 2018 © OmnaTaddele/BackpagePix

Sierra Leone has  partially lifted ban on all sporting activities in the country in order to allow athletes to train and represent the country in international competitions, a press release from the National Sports Authority (NSA) on Friday said.

 This will pave the way for the Leone Stars to start preparation ahead of their international friendly against Mauritania in Nouakchott on October 9, and their back to back 2022 African qualifiers with Nigeria in November.

“On the advice of the National Covid Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) , the Ministry of Sports and the National Sport Authority (NSA) announce the ban on the preparations and training for all pending international competitions lifted,’ ’the release said.

Sporting activities across the country was ban in March due to corona virus pandemic which caused the country’s apex league  to be banned until further notice.

According to the release,  Sporting associations , coaches , athletes, referees, umpires , judges , sports administrators among others are strongly advised to follow all health directives and precautionary measures prescribed by NaCOVERC adding that based on expert advice and specific to any sporting discipline, the NSA and the Ministry of Sports Ministry may prescribe additional measures to mitigate the risk of transmission of covid-19.

“The NSA and the Ministry will conduct national monitoring of all sports and training venues across the country to ensure full compliance with all existing cobid-19 regulations. Further information on the status of the ban on other levels of competitive and recreational sports may be communicated as and when the Ministry of Sports and the NSA are so advised,’’ the release noted.

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Rwanda:– AKADEMIYA2063 Officially Launched
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, 25 September 2020 – AKADEMIYA2063 has officially been launched by Hon. Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture of The Republic of Rwanda, on behalf of The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

The launch was conducted during a virtual seminar on « Policies for Rapidly Transforming Agriculture and Food Systems » with additional participation from Ambassador Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mr. Jim Barnhart, Assistant to the Administrator of USAID, and Dr. Jo Swinnen, Director-General at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

As an international non-profit organization, AKADEMIYA2063 seeks to build a bridge between the science community and peer organizations around the world to harness the best available knowledge and evidence to advance the African agenda.

With a rich experience of long-standing support to the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), AKADEMIYA2063 positions itself as a major science contributor to the Agenda 2063, through research implementation, capacity building, and outreach programs to successfully drive Data Analysis and Knowledge Platform, Expertise for Advanced Economic Modeling, as well as Evidence and Dialogue for Policy Innovation.

Many of the AKADEMIYA2063’s core programs have been on the ground over the last 10 to 15 years, but only now have they been brought together into a single African entity. These programs are the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), the African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP) Modeling Consortium, and the Malabo Montpellier (MaMo) Panel  and Forum.

AKADEMIYA2063’s interest in supporting policies was highlighted by its Executive Chairperson, Dr. Ousmane Badiane, who insisted that: « if the trajectory toward better policies is not sustained, the African continent may experience a return to the era of economic stagnation. Better data and analytics to support evidence based planning and implementation will help raise policy effectiveness for improved development outcomes.»

As soon as it launched its operations, the organization moved to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, through a multi-workstream agenda  on the impacts of and responses to the pandemic among African countries.

This includes research work around:

– Vulnerability Hot Spots

– Staple Food Price Tracking

– Production Systems Disruption

– Macro Effects of Trade Disruption

During the  launch seminar, AKADEMIYA2063 and its partners examined various themes including the opportunities of the UN Food Systems Summit from Africa’s perspective, the needs for infrastructure and services for fast transforming food systems and policies to sustain and deepen the current recovery process.

AKADEMIYA2063 is headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal.

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Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalised in hotel Rwanda Movie admits launching armed groups behind deadly attacks
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By MOHAMMED M. MUPENDA*

A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, right, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda”, before leading him out of the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.Photo credit loopcayman

Rwandan opponent, has admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rwandan Businessman, whose role during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis was fictionalized in the well-known movie Hotel Rwanda, has been the subject of controversy ever since.

While in exile, from humanitarian to a government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being tricked by Rwanda Spy network and boarded  into a private jet knowing that he is heading to neighbouring country,  Burundi.

In recent years Mr Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.

While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he told the prosecutor.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.”

Rusesabagina has been an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame for several years and is a member of the opposition Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change, which has an armed wing that engaged in a gunfight with government troops in 2018.

Kagame has often warned his critics that those who “betray” the country will be dealt with, and the country’s intelligence network has been accused by international human-rights groups of abducting and killing former allies in Rwanda and abroad. The Rwandan government has rejected the allegations.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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UNGA: Gambia Needs Bailout from International Community
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow
President Adama Barrow

The Gambian President Adama Barrow has appealed for support package from the United Nations and the International community for the least developed countries amid the disruption of weak economies by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critics say Gambia transition government lost track with recent rejection of the draft constitution by the National Assembly and slow pace of institutional reform due political interest by the President.

He was addressing the 75th annual United Nations General (UNGA) virtual meeting on Thursday from State House in Banjul.

Barrow told UN General Assembly that: “Small and developing nations have been struggling to manage their debt burdens, while trying to develop their economies. The outbreak of the pandemic has reversed our gains, with low revenue earnings and high public expenditure becoming the norm,”.

He claims that The Gambia’s economy has shrunk to 2% of GDP, and it continues to contract as tourism sector, which is a major employer and foreign exchange earner, is devastated, and unemployment is increasing rapidly.

“Developing countries, such as The Gambia, will continue to require support packages or bailouts from the United Nations and the international community in order to survive the ongoing economic decline. In this light, The Gambia reiterates the strong call by the African Union for debt relief or debt cancellation, enhanced access to global finance, reduction of transaction costs on remittances and increased global solidarity and partnership.”

Barrow said the implementation of our National Development Plan, 2018-2021 has been hampered by the pandemic. “We hope that the unique circumstances and challenges of the Least Developed Countries, especially countries in transition like The Gambia, will be accorded special and speedy consideration.”

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We must imagine and create the Africa we want- Transformunity CEO Arrey Obenson
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Besong

Africa’s greatest problem lies in the mindset of its people, says Arrey Obenson

Faced with a myriad of challenges, Africans must imagine and create the continent they want as a way forward, says Arrey Obenson. In an interview with PAV, Obenson, Co-Founder and CEO of Transformunity, a consulting firm that harnesses opportunities of corporations and organizations to transform the world, says the re-imagination is not feasible only within government and corporate board rooms , but also in the streets and market squares of Africa.

“We have cultured a master-servant mentality in our society that has become so pervasive in the African society. We need a massive mindset shift to accept that every child that is born in Africa deserves the same opportunities as a child that is born in the most advanced economies in the world,” Obenson says.

Founder of I Am Cameroon with a mission to inspire, educate and engage Cameroonians to accept and assume responsibility for the development of Cameroon, Obenson in this interview dwells on efforts he is leading to supplement Africa’s response to COVID-19 , and his stewardship with Junior Chambers International, JCI, where he served in diverse capacities for close to two decades.

PAV: Mr. Obenson, thank you for accepting to grant us an audience for an interview could we start with an introduction of Arrey Obenson in his own words?

Arrey Obenson: I am a global citizen, who is committed to being an actor in the common destiny of humanity as opposed to being a spectator. Born in Cameroon, educated as a lawyer, I am a husband to an incredibly beautiful wife – Queen and father to two awesome boys. I am a Strategic Consultant and CEO of a Consulting Firm called Transformunity with mission to help organization harness their opportunities. I am also Founder of I Am Cameroon with a mission to inspire, educate and engage Cameroonians to accept and assume responsibility for the development of Cameroon. 

I am passionate about finding solutions to complex challenges. I am invested in empowering young people and lately in helping small organization and businesses identify opportunities and develop strategies that will help them achieved their greatest potential.

PAV: Can you shed light on your engagement with the civil society, governments, and   leadership roles?

Arrey Obenson: At the age of 23, I joined an organization called Junior Chamber International (JCI) as founder member of my Local Organization in Limbe Cameroon. This organization gave me the opportunity to get involved in the development of my community. In 1997 serving as its Local President, we were able to raise funds and completely renovate 9 wash houses at the Limbe Regional Hospital, saving lives of thousands of patients who used that hospital.  This experience led me to understand how much power lies in the hands of citizens to will change in their communities. I thereafter resolved to be an actor rather than a spectator in my community. I then took to building the organization, creating more opportunities for other young people to get involved and benefit from the same experience that I had had. In under two years, I traveled thousands of kilometers across Cameroon starting up Local Organizations and growing the membership of JCI Cameroon by over 500%. I was then tapped by the World Headquarters to work as its Director for Growth in Africa. In that capacity we grew Africa’s membership by over 100% in 5 years and expanded the organization to the Middle East. I was the given the opportunity to serve as Executive Director, Deputy Secretary General and eventually Secretary General. 

One of the remarkable achievements which we made at JCI was strategically positioning the organization and its members as solution providers to the complex challenges of our society. The organization became therefore an active player in development by being at the intersection of government, corporations and the civil society. I led the organization through 3 strategic plans, developing a new mission, vision and long-term strategic positioning.  We took on bold initiatives like mobilizing young people around the world to come peace actors with a global peace campaign. We were one of the first global NGOs to embrace and adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and made this the core of projects young people did in over 100 countries. We also developed and copyrighted a framework for the development of communities that eventually has been adopted by several other organizations around the world.

In accomplishing the foregoing, we had to collaborate with all sectors society. I worked closely with the United Nations, engaged with regional organizations, business leaders, countries leaders, community leaders and celebrities to achieve our common goals. I also spent a lot of time traveling, and inspiring young people in over 100 countries.

I am a student of leadership, learning at every opportunity. My style of leadership is essentially giving people the opportunity to share leadership. The best leaders to me are this who can rely on the people around them. You can only do that by building trust, having a clear vision and being a motivator. 

PAV: The COVID-19   pandemic hasn’t spared Africa. What role have you played in helping the continent cope with the pandemic?

Arrey Obenson: I hesitate to say that the pandemic has spared Africa. We have had over 30,000 confirmed deaths which is largely under reported due to the poor state of healthcare in most African countries. That said, based on what was projected Africa has seen less deaths and it is a blessing. We are still to assess though the impact on its economy, and the mental wellbeing of its people. Time will tell. 

I have been playing a role in slowing down the spread of the virus through a project we launched last April called the I Am Cameroon COVID-19 Diaspora Response. As earlier mentioned, I am the Founder of I Am Cameroon and when we saw the devastating impact of the pandemic in Europe, we knew then that we had to do something for Cameroon. We then launched a campaign in amongst the Cameroonian Diaspora to raise money to procure and distribute PPE to healthcare workers in Cameroon, who are in the frontline of fights against COVID-19.  Thanks to sup[port and  efforts of these several associations and contributions of over 150 individuals particularly in the Diaspora succeed in raising of nearly $30,000 (US Dollars) and the distributions of 10,000 surgical masks, 2500 face shields, 10,000 surgical gloves and 100 coveralls. Theses PPE have been distributed in 5 regions of Cameroon reaching at least 15 hospitals. 

We signed a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS), Cameroon’s second largest healthcare provider, with 80 hospitals and clinics in all 10 regions of Cameroon. The coalition relies on the CBCHS to facilitate the identification of the areas of need and distribution of PPEs as and when needed. The coalition continues to work with the National Association of Cameroonian Private Doctors in Cameroon and the National Association of Cameroonian Pharmacist for guidance in its action.

Going forward, the I Am Cameroon Diaspora COVID-19 Response has secured two 40 feet containers of sanitary gel (hand sanitizers) from a sponsor company called Saraya Co Ltd form Japan. These donations include 24,000 1L bottles and 220,000 100 ML bottles respectively worth nearly $500,000. Working with local partners, these sanitary gels will be distributed on arrival in Cameroon with 60% going to the CBC network of hospitals and the rest distributed to other healthcare institutions. The task ahead remains colossal, and while the coalition has saved lives, the need largely outweighs the means. As the I Am Cameroon Diaspora COVID-19 Reponse plans its phase two distribution, there continues to be a need for more resources, as well as the need to build resilience in the Cameroonian society. An impact survey conducted shows that healthcare workers are stressed, frightened about the lack of protection as well the lack of awareness in the population. The outcome of the survey tells us we must provide more PPEs, but also support the mental health of healthcare workers as well provide more education or awareness about COVID-19 in Cameroon. 

We are also launching fitness challenge campaign that will mobilize Cameroonians to keep healthy while fundraising to support healthcare workers in Cameroon. (See attached project write up). We have a goal of raising another $50,000 to support healthcare workers in Cameroon.

Obenson has been leading a big effort to support the COVID-19 response in his native Cameroon

PAV: Your success story speaks volume. What are your secrets?

Arrey Obenson: I do not see myself as a success. I strive to be successful at every endeavor. Sometimes I fail woefully, and I learn the most from those failures. My secret is asking the right questions. I like to challenge the status quo and not accept things to be the way they are but the way the can or ought to be. It is a mindset – one that focuses on what is possible rather that what is not. 

PAV: As someone who is in consultation with governments and organizations in Africa, what is Africa’s greatest problem? 

Arrey Obenson: We, the people of Africa are in the way of Africa’s development. It is hard for Africans to imagine an alternative Africa other than what they currently see. Yet we must imagine and create the Africa we want. This re-imagination of Africa cannot happen only in the corridors of government or board rooms of corporations but in the streets and market squares of Africa. We have suffered the hangover of our colonial past for too long that we do not see ourselves as equals.  We have cultured a master-servant mentality in our society that has become so pervasive in the African society. We need a massive mindset shift to accept that every child that is born in Africa deserves the same opportunities as a child that is born in the most advanced economies in the world. That will mean accepting that every human being, every Africa deserves the human dignity that every human being deserves. 

I believe that when we Africans begin to accept ourselves as equals and can accord to each other the dignity that every human being deserves then we will not accept that 400 million people live in extreme poverty, or that children still die of preventable disease or that only person can be leader for 40 years in country full of talented people. 

Africa’s greatest problem lies in the mindset of its people. Ironically that mindset is the greatest opportunity. I am working on the secret to unlock that greatest opportunity – one person, one project at a time. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I am certain that when we can change that mindset, Africa will transform.

PAV: Thanks for granting this interview

Arrey Obenson: Thank you.

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S. Sudan Urges International Community to Convince Sudan’s Holdout Groups As D – Day looms
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, the SPLM-North | Credit | Eric Reeves

Juba – South Sudan has urged the international community to convince Sudan’s holdout groups to join the peace process as the final signing ceremony of Juba peace agreement scheduled on the 3rd of October in Juba draws near.

Sudan peace deal was initiated by President Salva Kiir and has been negotiated and mediated by South Sudan to help his foe country to ending the country’s 17 conflict, following the ousted of former autocracy president Omar al – Bashir, who took power in a coup in 1989, was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 for crimes against humanity. Bashir is in jail in Khartoum convicted of corruption, is also now on trial for the 1989 coup in which he grabbed power, and in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

Last month, transitional government of Sudan and Sudanese revolutionary movements signed the Juba peace agreement, but groups including SPLM-N led by Abdelaziz al – Hilu and Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al – Nur opted out.

Deputy Defense Minister, Malek Rueben said the final peace agreement will be finalized in Juba early next month and further invited the international and regional bodies to come and witness, what both Sudanese and mediators described it as a comprehensive and historic deal in Sudan era.

“This agreement is going to be finalized on the 3rd of October here in Juba, the invitation has already been sent by his Excellency the president and many invitation cards have been dispatched to the regional heads of states to come and witness the signing ceremony,” said Ruben, a member of Sudan peace talk’s mediation while addressing the international agencies in Juba on Wednesday.

 Ruben said the groups which remained out of the peace deal that Sudan reached with opposition groups must be convinced to embrace the initiative to ensure holistic peace in the neighbouring country.

He urged support from the international community to fact track the peace process in Sudan, noting that the people of Sudan have witnessed the bitterness of war and therefore, their current peace initiative needs both material and moral support.

“The agreement is owned by the Sudanese people and it will be successfully – we just need your [international community] support/back up in many ways in this peace – you need to give resource, political and moral supports which are very important,” said Ruben. “There is need for them to be brought on board so that the problems are solved once and for all,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deng Dau Deng, deputy minister for foreign affairs said peace and stability in Sudan is also a peace in South Sudan.

“Peace in Sudan will clement the peace in our border towns and this will open up movement of the people and goods between Sudan and South Sudan, hence benefiting the states that are bordering Sudan,” said Deng.

Deng said South Sudan have a huge populations that require support from its foe Sudan.

Ruben, however said it were Sudanese resolved their problems by themselves but their [mediators] roles were just to advice and gave experience.

“This agreement wasn’t enforced to them – they all come to consensus and agreed to have a peaceful Sudan with the new dynamic because they have already felt out the bitterness of the war,” said Ruben.

The Juba peace agreement addresses all the key issues in the resolution of Sudanese conflict, including but not limited to, offers rebels political representation, power sharing, wealth sharing, transitional justice, land ownership, security arrangements or the dismantling of armed forces and the integration of former combatants or forces and the chance of return for internally displaced persons and refugees among others.

The deal covered five negotiation tracks of Darfur, eastern Sudan, northern Sudan, central Sudan and South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The armed groups that has signed the initial deal with Khartoum regime are the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), both of the western region of Darfur, and a wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar, present in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from non-Arab minority groups that long railed against Arab’s domination of the government in Khartoum under ousted Bashir.

Of recently, Ambassador of Democratic Republic of Congo to South Sudan, described it as “peace in Sudan, mean a peace in South Sudan and a peace in South Sudan, mean a peace in the region. “We all in Africa, we need only a peace – we don’t need more war and conflict so that we give our people’s hope for bright future.”

Mannase Lomule, Chairperson of Relief Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) said “this agreement is a landmark for transformation of the region – it is also consistent with the commitment of the African Union (AU) that the problem of African should be resolved by African themselves – African must find solution to their own problems and to make sure that silence of guns is observed in this continent.”

The deal would grant self-rule for the southern states of Kordofan and Blue Nile. The deal also includes a six-month deadline for achieving peace in Sudan, which ran out in February.

The agreement stipulated extension of the transitional period in Sudan for extra 39 months, to begin starting September 1, 2020.

Omer Asalm, Sudanese Musician told the Pan African Visions that “We have opened a new page in our life and then we will go together to build a future for development in Sudan.”

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Zimbabwe:Sustainable Development Goals 1,3 and 5 Faces Tight Battle Versus Covid-19
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]
A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]

Three [3] Sustainable Development Goals , SDGs Goal 1 on No Poverty , 3 on Zero Hunger and 5 on Gender Equality face a tight rope pass through to succession by the year 2030 . The three[3] are hanging in doubt to bring sustainability due to several factors related to lock-down , covid-19 restrictios and other factors to note .

Taking a snap-shot on the effects to the Informal Traders , Women Bureau Programmes Manager  Memory Muchenga said the up-surge of corona-virus known as covid-19 is a threat to the In-Formal Traders Sector  of which its people , families and the business on the ground has gone down in terms of in-come generation , productivity and total output from families .

” Sustainable Development Goals on No poverty , goal 1 , Zero Hunger Goal 3 and Gender Equality Goal 5 are  difficult to win a country reduce extreme poverty , hunger and bring gender equality in a World of equal society at par-level in terms of gender-balance .

”The target is under the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations of which these are far away from winning because of several issues at hand .

”There are a number of challenges faced already of which we have no control over. These have reduced the effort on the ground of Informal traders who make the country generate income for its economic growth . Therefore at the same time the economic and social welbeing of women is affected ”.

”The up-surge of covid-19 has come with a threat to the liveli-hoods of many people in the country who many of them are  in the In-Formal Sector . Most of these are cross-boarder traders who fend for their families through  several means of tactical survival .

Zimbabwe Women Bureau notes with concern that  many families have been thrown into poverty . This it notes further makes it difficult to win on Goal number 1 one on No Poverty . Secondly , the fact that restrictions were put in place after 21 days of lock-down makes it as well difficult to eradicate hunger . This is Zero Hunger . The last one is Goal 5 on Gender Equality which is still not to be won after many families , marriages split because of conflicts .

Prisca Mudondo Zimbabwe Women Bureau Board Memmber pointed out that several forms of poverty have come to surface since the start of covid-19 . She adds that because of  restrictions that were put in place after 21 days lock-down , many families were exposed to extreme poverty , absolute and in-come poverty .

”Families were exposed to all forms of poverty , worse still to in-come poverty . This was due to restrictions put in place after 21 days of lock-down . This extended to hunger in families as income depreciated . Due to confinement at home  ,many divorces took place .Divorces occured and familuies split .”

It is now a doubt to see Zimbabwe winning on Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations after the effects of the corona-virus . Besides , survey on ground puts it straight that drought has contributed more , perhaps more than the virus itself . This has as well forced women to force crossing boardesrs at their expense .  Overall from country , Regional to Global level , it is a disturbing force to Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and Agenda 2063  of the African Union.

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Burundi’s President rejects international disrespect on his country
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye, Tchandrou Nitanga AFP via Getty Images

President of Burundi, General Ndayishimiye Evariste has expressed anger over the disrespect his country is subjected to on international scene, for ‘political reasons and  selfish interests of certain powers’.

Ndayishimiye testified this during ongoing UN Generally assembly which is happening virtually due to coronavirus pandemic.

In June this year, Ndayishimye swore in as new president of Burundi, replacing Nkurunziza Pierre who died mysteriously in the beginning of that month.

Burundi has been on spotlight internationally since 2015, during presidential elections that was marred by violence, and a failed coup which triggered thousands to flee their country over security of their lives.

Ndayishimiye told UN General assembly that some refugees have been repatriated, which shows that Burundi is now more  peaceful than before.

He however expressed segregation and disrespect his country is still facing on international scene.

“Burundi is arbitrarily on the agenda of the Security Council for political reasons and selfish interests of certain powers, which disregard the well-being of the Burundian people, which in no way constitutes a threat to international peace and security”, he said

President Ndayishimiye said that some countries especially from the ‘South’ are being used to destabilize his country, after having implicated themselves into a failed coup in 205.

“we firmly reject the unjustified politico-diplomatic aggression against Burundi and its people by foreign governments, some of which were illustrated in the attempt to change the regime in 2015 through unconstitutional means.”

“The tendency of certain states, which use subtle and illegal means to regulate geopolitics in the countries of the South and to take the place of the international community to oppress other countries by imposing unilateral coercive measures on them, must stop”, he adds

Though he did not name the country, Burundi has been accusing Rwanda in the south of housing opposition elements that want to overthrow Bujumbura regime since 2015. Rwanda denies wrongdoing.

However, international organizations still show that nothing changed in Burundi since Ndayishimiye is elected, especially in matters regarding human rights.

Early this month , UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi issued fresh warnings about ongoing rights violations and impunity in the country since the death of former President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Commission highlighted serious human rights violations during this year’s elections, including summary executions, torture and sexual violence.

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Kenya:Relief for MPs as High Court suspends Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of parliament
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Chief Justice Maraga
Chief Justice Maraga

The High Court has temporarily halted Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta on the dissolution of parliament.

Two petitioners, Leina Konchella and Abdul Munasar went to court on Wednesday seeking an order to stop the implementation of the advisory to dissolve the parliament for failing to pass the two-third gender rule.

“In the circumstances of this case, I, therefore, find the petitioners’ notice of motion dated September 23 merited. I allow it in terms of prayer so that a conservatory order issued for the preservation of the status quo of the Advice of the Chief Justice dated September 21 to the president pending inters parties hearing and determination of the petition,” ruled Justice Weldon Korir on Thursday.

The petitioners argued that written advice was not judicial and there were no proceedings followed before the decision was made.

“The Chief Justice has mischievously attempted to shield his act by fashioning the advisory as a judicial decision while no such proceedings can competently exist in the Kenyan court system,” noted the petitioners.

They called Maraga’s action irrational and unreasonable saying he acted beyond his authority.

The two described the two-thirds gender rule as discriminatory noting it will create more seats for women adding that it can only be implemented through extensive amendments to the Constitution.

On Monday, September 21, Maraga wrote to the Head of State advising his to dissolve the parliament over its failure to implement the said gender rule.

“It is incontestable that Parliament has not complied with the High Court order, As such, for over 9 years now, Parliament has not enacted the legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule which, as the court of Appeal observed in its said judgment, it is a clear testimony of Parliament’s lackadaisical attitude and conduct in this matter. Consequently, it is my constitutional duty to advise Your Excellency to dissolve Parliament under Article 261 (7) of the Constitution,” noted Maraga.

According to the President of the Supreme Court, several petitions had been raised challenging Parliament to enact the law.

The move came three years after Maraga led the Supreme Court in annulling the 2017 presidential election.

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Thousands across Africa take to the streets calling for urgent solutions to the multiple crises of climate change and COVID-19
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa-wide — Thousands took part in multiple actions across the continent calling on its leaders to urgently address the multiple crises of climate change, COVID-19, recession, unemployment, inequality and poverty plaguing the continent.

This was in response to the call from youth climate strikers for a Global Day of Climate Action on September 25th. Extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts driven by the climate crises are still common across the continent and the strikes are a reminder to those in power that the climate crisis has not gone away even as we fight COVID-19.

Last year, thousands of people took to the streets across the country to demand climate action. Politicians and the media congratulated the youth and portrayed them as beacons of hope. However, with those same leaders’ inaction, there has been little to celebrate. 

Climate science is clear that we are on the brink of climate breakdown, and urgent action is required such as turning away from polluting and harmful fossil fuels. Unfortunately, it is not a reality that is being taken seriously by African leaders who continue pushing for large investments in oil, coal and gas; putting profit for the few over the well-being of the many as they have many times before.

Quotes from key spokespeople

“Just this year, millions of people across the continent have had to abandon their homes due to floods and it is also anticipated that 2020 will be one of the hottest years on record. COVID-19 is still here with us but so is the climate crisis, leaders across Africa need to take this opportunity to build back better. Today, Africa’s youths are once again calling for climate justice consisting of transitioning away from fossil fuels and building climate resilient economies powered by renewables before it’s too late.They are demanding a new normal that puts the wellbeing of people and climate action first, building a socially and environmentally just, zero carbon future.” – Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader, 350.org

“Young people and school children around the world have been striking from school demanding climate justice. Demanding that their future not be condemned to the ravages of climate chaos. We shall not relent, we call on our African leaders to accelerate plans for making Africa free of oil coal and gas. Taking advantage of technological advancements that now make wind and solar far cheaper alternatives with the ability to create even more jobs for the youth.” – Andre Moliro, Climate Justice Activist from Kinshasa, DRC

“COVID-19 is linked to the ecological crisis, as ecological degradation and climate change make pandemics more likely. It is therefore vital for decision-makers across the continent to ensure that the response to the pandemic also addresses the climate crisis and the existing inequalities that many Africans face especially women in rural areas. It is imperative that we leverage this moment to ensure a just recovery that builds resilience to crises and equality across the continent.” – Irene Asuwa, Woman Climate Champion with deCOALonize campaign in Lamu, Kenya

The climate youth movement was sparked by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s solo protest in August 2018. Now is a year on from the biggest climate mobilisation ever last September. The 25th will be the movement’s first major street protest of 2020 in many countries, and Fridays For Future have announced protests in over 3000 locations around the world.

*350Africa.org

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Egypt joins global climate strikes with calls for Environmental Education to fight climate change
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Asmaa Hanafi

Back At the beginning of 2020 just before Covid-19 the world went highly polluted after stormy weather and heavy rain in Alexandria, Egypt. The bad weather has caused flooding in a number of streets in the Mediterranean city, especially in eastern districts. Alexandria governorate issued warnings to residents,
including asking people to avoid leaving their homes except in case of emergency, and to avoid standing under balconies or beside lampposts. I feel like it’s time to speak out climate Justices, climate change is a real and so close to everyone.

Thunderstorms packing heavy rains and lightning caused widespread flooding across Egypt at March 2020, killing at least fifteen people. Authorities shut down Luxor International Airport, a key hub for tourists, and three seaports — the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and the Red Sea ports of Sharm el-Sheikh and
Hurghada. Nile River cruises between the southern cities of Luxor and Aswan, which harbor most of ancient Egypt’s monuments, were suspended and several key highways were closed.

In Egypt, schools, nurseries and other recreational venues are closed since the middle of March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Children are often kept away from friends and loved ones. Families faced unprecedented economic, social and
psychological challenges. To address this anxiety, the stress and the boredom, Green society team shared dozens of advice, tips and resources for parents and children to be able to face these difficult times.

Through campaigns on social media and videos on YouTube celebrating Earth day 2020, the 50th anniversary, Africa day, World Environmental day and finally global climate strikes day.

When the lockdown started, we aimed at keeping all engaged in climate change crisis, feel the difference between polluted Air, hunting animals, cutting trees, movements of cars, burning fossil fuels and improves air quality and encourages wild animals to come out and explore the cities.

It’s time for igniting climate literacy and inspire all our family members to be involved in climate change movements that’s make us create such amazing stop motion video art taking a story line and illustrate impacts of climate change the problem of fossil fuels from industrial revolution era ending by the solution of plant trees, recycling, upcycling and move to renewable energy. It was a challengeable time to demonstrate every single second of doing this project

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