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Police woman blames the death of her stillbirth baby on 2000 demonstration
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Awa Sanneh- Bittaye police officer has laid her blame the death of her stillbirth baby on the April 10/11 student’s demonstration saying she was hit on her right ribs with a stone when she was pregnant of her stillbirth baby during the protest.

Mrs Sanneh-Bittaye was testifying before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Monday 23t September saying “I was there until October when I gave birth and I lost my baby on the same day, because the doctor told me that we will endeavor to make sure that the baby will be alive. I went to the hospital every two days. A stone hit me on my right side of the ribs. Doctor said is because of the stone that led to the death of baby that’s what the doctor said because I am not a doctor.”

She said it was painful to her that the baby was her first born, adding that when she was informed of the death of her baby that she only cry.

She said she was admitted at the hospital for about two weeks, adding she said advice by an Egyptian doctor not do any heavy work and that she had to go on leave for three months.

Meanwhile, she told the commission that she and other two police officers were promised compensation by the regime of Jammeh but that she didn’t receive the compensation, adding that she received a call from Kairaba Police station and that she was asked to report to the police station.

However, she said that they haven’t received the compensation promised from the former regime of Jammeh, adding that “When I came to the Kairaba police station, I met Sankung Badji (deputy inspector of police) Ousman Badjie and the Interior minister and other senior officers. I also met Menga Ceesay (police officer) and other officer …. Tamba I met all of those seated in the SOS office. I got inside and they asked me that, are you Awa Sanneh-Bittaye, I replied yes, and they asked me what happened to you on April 10\11 I explained, Tamba also explained and Menga also explained.”

She said 11 of April met her posted at Kotu Police station, adding on the morning of 11 April 2000 while having their breakfast they immediately heard stoning on their corrugated roof.

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Cameroon:Noela Lyonga Foundation closes YouthswhoRuntheWorld campaign with 2km Run
September 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Noela Lyonga Foundation engages youths on proper lifestyle

More than 237 youths have participated in a 2km run and learning on how to avoid the consumption of harmful drugs, excess alcohol. The event organized by the Noela Lyonga Foundation titled “Youths who run the World” took place recently in Yaounde. So far over 587 plus youths have been trained in five towns, Buea, Limbe, Douala, Kribi and now Yaounde. In an exclusive interview in Buea with the Founder/CEO of the said foundation, Noela Lyonga she outlined the reasons behind the campaign.

Reporter: What motivated you to come up with the campaign?

Noela Lyonga: Sometime a ago I met with Dan Thompsom who has cancer and presently running all over the world. His target is to run in 206 countries all over the world and if he can meet up with his target in 2020, he will be awarded a medal in each country. I ran with him when he came to Cameroon in Douala and we did a 10km run and it was very significant to them because I lost a friend due to cancer. We will not say she was not very careful about her health as she was very careful by the time she realize she was sick. If she had a better lifestyle while she was younger, I so do believe she would have grown old without falling into such.

When He when back to London, he asked me what we can do to educate people on cancer and that is why I came up with the suggestion youths who run the world. I did not want to focus on the elderly because it would be very difficult for them to change their lifestyle. 

Reporter: Why the campaign #YouthswhoRuntheWorld?

Noela Lyonga: The campaign for us to train them on how to live a healthy lifestyle focusing on teaching them how to sleep better, eat better, how to avoid the consumption of harmful drugs, excess alcohol which will prevent them from getting diseases like cancer, depression, cardiovascular disease and in turn become more productive humans in the long run.

Noela Lyonga Foundation engages youths in a 2km run in Yaounde, Cameroon

 Reporter: How important is this to the youths?

Noela Lyonga: A lot of young people grow old and fall into sicknesses like depression, heart diseases because they don’t manage themselves well. So teaching them how to manage their health will help them to grow older, to be to be young people who have a different impression about health when they get to a certain age. Teaching them equally can prevent them from getting Cancer as it affects people who smoke, and do not exercise.

Reporter: Any follow up of the youths?

Noela Lyonga: It is not just a one day thing; it is a lifetime journey and a lifetime contract we have with the young people. After three months, we have to meet the young people again to be sure that they are living healthy and active lifestyle. After three, six years or maybe ten years, we will be watching on their health, keeping in touch to make sure they are youths running the world. 

Reporter: How important is the follow up?

Noela Lyonga: It is very important because trainings are normally done and sometimes when you do not follow up the youths think you are just coming to give another talk. But the follow up will help us track those that are really interested and who have kept all what we said during the trainings. We are doing the three months because we want to see if they have changed what they are eating, and to make sure that our trainings did not just go in the air. 

Reporter: Any last words?

Noela Lyonga: Sometimes it is very challenging for you to watch out on your health and habit in terms of what you eat, exercise and lots more because of our environment. I will plead with anybody to give a chance to manage at least a 21 days lifestyle. And if you can do that you are going to see that you are setting more targets for yourself. If you are a below 18, you have to make sure you sleep at least 11 hours a day. If you are above, you have to make sure you sleep at least 8 hours a day. If you have a chance to pick one thing for a healthy lifestyle whether it is what you eat or exercise habit, avoiding alcohol, it can help you to have a 50 per cent chance to be different. Please make sure you stick one thing that will make your life different.

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Kenya:Estranged wife of Cohen to stay in remand
September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho Cohen

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho Cohen

 

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, the wife of tycoon Tob Cohen is set to remain in custody until September 26 when she will be arraigned and take plea on Cohen murder. She is the prime suspect in the case.

Tob Cohen’s body was discovered by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) last week Friday in Septic tank at his Nairobi home 40 days after he went missing. He was found blindfolded and wrapped in a blanket with both hands tied. The former Chief Executive of Dutch conglomerate Philips East Africa was reported missing on July 19 after the sister raised an alarm.

A Nairobi’s High court judge directed mental assessment to be done on the suspect within the next seven days and postmortem on the body to be carried out on Tuesday, September 17. Pathologists both from the suspect and victims family will avail themselves. The suspect’s lawyer attempt to appeal for her release on bail was thwarted by the judge saying that will be determined when the case will be mentioned. The lawyer argued that the suspect has been in police custody for 20 days claiming her right is being violated.

The court also prohibited the detectives and the victim’s defense against addressing the media regarding the case instead asking the media houses to report only what happens in court.

Ms. Wairimu was arrested on August 28 by the detectives who have since maintained that they have enough evidence to prove she murdered the husband alongside other unnamed people. The second suspect in the murder is also in the police custody aiding with investigations. Peter Karanja was nabbed last week Tuesday after the Criminal Intelligence Unit detectives traced his phone signals at the crime scene. It is alleged Karanja, Wairimu and three other people were in constant communication with Wairimu the night the celebrated golfer was massacred.

Mr. Cohen and Ms. Wairimu had endured chaotic relationship. The duo were involved in row over multi-million shilling property and a divorce case was pending in court. Wairimu was first incriminated by her controversial statements concerning the whereabouts of Cohen. She had told his friends that he had jet off to Thailand for treatment; however, information at immigration department revealed that the Dutch man did not leave the country. It was also alleged that she informed other friends that the businessman had gone to Australia for a trip.

She further wrote a letter to Dutch Embassy in Nairobi claiming her husband was paranoid and was suffering from depression saying he is beyond their control. Nonetheless, the Embassy did not reply her letter.

“He has becoming impossible to live with, even though we try. The family has stepped aside due to the abusive and vindictive nature of his condition,” read the part of the letter.

 

 

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

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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Kenyan family refuses to bury kin’s headless body
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma_27 |@journalist_27

PIC Credit NTV

PIC Credit NTV

A family of a 42-year-old man whose body was ferried from Malawi last week with the head missing is appealing to the government to help them retrieve their kin’s head from the south east country.

The deceased who worked as a long-distance truck driver with Exotank, a Mombasa-based plastic tank manufacturing company was reported to have involved in grisly road accident and died on the spot on August 21. One week later the deceased’s company ferried the body back to the country via road and it was received by the family in the capital Nairobi.

The family attempt to view the body upon the arrival was thwarted by the company on the ground that it was thoroughly sealed. They transfer the body to the village in Western Kenya and to their utter shock the body had no head. The company’s driver was interrogated but it was of no help. He informed them he had no idea of what the cargo contained when he received it at the border of Kenya and Uganda.

“We were not allowed to view it with reasons that it was thoroughly sealed, we headed that night to a morgue in Western. To our surprise when we unsealed the cargo the body was lying in a casket with a missing head,” reiterated the widow.

They reached out to the company to demand the whereabouts of their kin’s head; however, no proper explanation was given and since then the firm has gone silent on the matter. The deceased father stated that in line with traditions the body cannot be interred without the head appealing to well-wishers to finance his journey to Malawi to search for his only son’s head.

 

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Gambia:European Tour Wrap-Up, T. Smallz Tells Fans Thank You, Expect more Projects in 2020
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

T.Smalls

T.Smalls

One of Gambia’s finest singers and songwriter T. Smallz, has commended his fans across Europe for supporting him during his recent European tour in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Belgium was a huge success.

He also commended promoters, Djs, in Europe for having the trust and confidence in him in hiring his service in concerts across Europe, hoping that next year tour will be on fire again.

“You are the best keeping the fire blazing till me meet again let keep the vibes going,”

Katato, as widely called assured his fans across the globe to expect more projects in 2019 and the upcoming album ‘Level Low’

The tour started on 20th July- 30th August, 2019, was organised by Warriors in a Dance and Katato Entertainment, paving the way for many. He is one of Gambian artistes who always tour Europe annually and returns home.

T Smallz performed at revered clubs and entertainment venues such as Pays Club, Club Casablanca, Karlsruhe, Club Calwer Stuttgart, Diamond Dance Café and Halle Saale all in Germany.

He performed at Austria, Vienna; in August entertain the Na Nang Club.

In Italy, he performed at the Playa Catania Lido Jolly Club and the Replay Club in Bologna, after moving to Sweden where he performed at the Styrso festival and then wrapping things up in Belgium.

He was speaking to journalists shortly before leaving the shores of The Gambia, telling them the objective of the tour is to reach out to fan-bases across the globe.

An international star singer, Smallz said the tour is necessary because not only Gambians listen to his golden voice over radio and podcasts. “It is prudent to do more shows in Europe to build a wider audience of followers and contacts, has a studio session with artistes, video shooting, sessions with deejays, producers and promoters across Europe.”

According was huge people are loving the vibes in Europe, as his new ‘Problem’ featuring Lil Omz  was big in Europe and disclosed he shot a video for the song ‘Elafta Elafta’, the first single from his album in-making ‘Level Low’.

“This is a big uplift for my music representing Gambia across the globe and at the same time educating and entertaining my global fans.  I commended all Gambian and non who come to attended the shows in their various cities,” Smallz, also widely referred to as Katato -troublemaker for English, said.

“We commend them, however, we urge them to do more, and to do better for Gambia music to cross borders,” the 2013 Nominated Male artiste of the year said.

He urged Gambian DJs to keep supporting and embracing Gambian music by playing it in their various concerts because a lot of good music is coming outta Gambia.

 

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Gambia to Host Drama Fest-Gambia 2019
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Drama Fest 2019

Drama Fest 2019

Gambia is expected to host maiden edition of Drama Fest-Gambia 2019 on 25-26 October, 2019 at Ebunjan Theatre in Kanifing.

Organised by Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa is a premium Entertainment Art network that seeks to nurture, promote, develop and engage the vision of creative and performing art in Africa.

This was revealed during a press conference which attracts writers, playwrights, directors, actors at West Africa Insurance Institute on 7th September, 2019.

Milton Kamanda, coordinator of Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa The Gambia explained that the event will showcase an array of cultural diversity through drama, music, dance poetry and arts exhibition which will feature creative and literary work done by renowned playwrights and directors from the Gambia.

According to him, this year the festival will show case home grown talents from the different facets of art.

He added that: “Our goal is to use Art Edutainment as a means of sustainable livelihood for upcoming and established artist, artiste thereby showcasing the work of creativity, craft and art to the world”

Miss Monica Davies, Chairperson Drama Fest-Gambia said they want to empower the next generation of art through leadership training.

She pointed out that Drama Fest want to promote arts entrepreneurship in Africa, through training, mentorship and networking platforms, to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of African arts.

“Recognizing distinguished accomplished personalities in the arts fraternity in the Gambia and Africa at large. Promote arts as a positive tool for social and economic transformation in Africa. To use creative and performing arts to address the ills in our communities. Giving preferences to promote and support local talents. Engage relevant stakeholders in the arts industry within the region with the implementation of policies that benefits its people,” Davies a prominent actress in Gambia said.

She noted that the event will be in a form of trade fares, concerts and art exhibition as one of the medium to showcase African arts to the world, by encouraging government to create state funds to support arts in school and tertiary levels.

 

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

By Nevson Mpofu

Taurai Nyandoro

Taurai Nyandoro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Adama Makasuba

Killa Ace

Killa Ace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cameroon: Ghost towns, Locked gates, Few Students characterised back to school in SW
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Governor of the SWR together with adminstrators inspecting schools in Buea

Governor of the SWR together with adminstrators inspecting schools in Buea

The 2019/2020 school year across the South West region of Cameroon has witnessed a low turnout by students on Monday September 2, 2019. The situation across the Anglophone regions which has been witnessing upheavals for the past 2 years was characterised by lockdown, closed gates and few students present in classrooms across both private and government establishments.

At 7:30 A.M, Monday September 2, most of the gates of the establishments were still closed. The situation was even worse for most of the private institutions with no student present for lectures. Some of the school administrators were however present.

The low turnout across the South West Region can be linked to the imposed lockdown by separatist fighters across the North West and South west Regions. Before school resumption, separatist fighters had imposed two sets of lockdown beginning September 2 to 6 and from September 9 to 13. These lockdown are aimed at frustrating efforts to get school resume in the Anglophone regions.

The situation were however encouraging in confessional schools who had many students in attendance for the first day of school. In PCSS Buea Town, a few hundred students were present, though not in their classrooms for lectures. Baptist High School, still in Buea equally had a good number of students who answered present.

Bilingual Grammar School Molyko Buea, Government Technical School Molyko, known for having thousands of students had virtually no student present. BGS Molyko was full with administrators though the students stayed away while that of GTTC had about two students present.

The low turnout of students in Buea was the same scenario witnessed in educational establishments across Limbe. Many of the schools remained shut while the few who braved the odds to open their doors witnessed just a handful of students present.

Low turnout characterized back to school in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon

Low turnout characterized back to school in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon

The Governor of the South West Region Bernard Okalia Bilai while touring the various educational establishments to ascertain the level of back to school across Fako Division encouraged those who braved the odds in attending school. According to him, they are building a future for their families, the society and the country as a whole.

He further encouraged the students to call on their fellow colleagues who are still in the quarters and villages to join them in school while assuring them that their security is guaranteed with the security forces present to protect them. “You cannot fully participate in the building of your country if you cannot read or write” Governor Okalia Bilai told the students.

The hope for the administrators in the Region is that the coming days will be much better-that still may however be farfetched.

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RedOne pays tribute to Africa with the new hit “WE LOVE AFRICA”
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative statement on operations
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

As unfortunate actions continue to escalate the ongoing crisis in Southern Cameroons, CHRI counts on your support in order to continue to take actions to alleviate the suffering. On the 31st of July 2019, the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, successfully carried out its latest outreach to the refugees at Ikom settlement camp, Cross River, Nigeria. We distributed 20 bags of clothing donated by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Benin, Nigeria (see photos). The church also raised 1 million naira to support refugee relief. CHRI extends appreciation to Our Lady of Fatima church and the Nigerian community at large for supporting those affected by the crisis.

Starting on August 3, CHRI is hosting a series of webinars with other NGOs engaged directly with internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria to discuss ways to collaborate/coordinate to optimize our collective response to the crisis. Action plans arising from these positive discussions will be provided in future updates.

On July 11, 2019, CHRI carried out its 22nd monthly donation of food items to SC detainees at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde, Cameroon. Due to protests at the prison and related challenges, we have suspended this important outreach initiative until the appropriate conditions are in place to continue.

On behalf of CHRI, I would like to appreciate and encourage your continued support to the victims of this unfortunate crisis. Since our inception last year, we have raised $77,796.68 and spent $66,197.2 supporting these victims. We are planning our next outreach to the many refugees in Nigeria who are not currently covered by UNHCR. To channel your support through CHRI, I kindly request you to visit our website at chrelief.org/donate to make a donation or mail a check to: CHRI at 4413 Nuttall Road, Fairfax, VA 22032

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Five African countries bid to host 2021 ICASA conference
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Dr. Ihab Ahmed, SAA President

Dr. Ihab Ahmed, SAA President

Five African countries have submitted bids to the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) to host the  International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) 2021 conference.

The society has revealed that the countries which have submitted their bid for pre-selection to be the host of ICASA 2021  are Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda and Tunisia.

The pre-selection started from 14 August 2019 ending on 29 August 2019, according to the society.

ICASA is a major bilingual international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa.

This year the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa will take place in Kigali, Rwanda.

It is reported that the conference represents a tremendous opportunity to highlight the diverse nature of the African region’s HIV epidemic and the unique response to it.

It is also added that the conference theme this year  “AIDS Free Africa – Innovation, Community, and Political Leadership” engages the whole continent and all stakeholders in the Post-SDG Framework, where sustainability of the response in reaching 90, 90, 90 UNAIDS will not be possible if human rights are not a key priority for a new of leadership in the context of strengthening the application of science-based evidence.

ICASA is a major international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa. Its current biennial hosting alternates between Anglophone and Francophone African countries.

The society says that the convening of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa  represents a tremendous opportunity to highlight the diverse nature of the African region’s HIV epidemic and the unique response to it.

The biennial International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for professionals   working in the field of HIV, as well as leaders, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic. It is reported to   be a tremendous opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets of  collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

The Society for AIDS in Africa was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 5th International Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS
and STIs in Africa (ICASA).

It is reported that the formation of the Society for AIDS in Africa, was facilitated by the (W.H.O) to encourage the African continent to host international conferences on HIV/AIDS, a disease whose scourge has hardest hit the continent.It is reported that the move encourages and empowers Africans to directly address and respond to the challenges posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the continent.

The Society envisions an HIV free Africa with capacity to confront all related consequences and diseases. The Society enables a positive environment for research on HIV and related diseases. The Society for AIDS in AFRICA (SAA) is governed by an Executive Council drawn from South, North, East, West and Central Africa. SAA collaborates with
AFRICASO, SAFAIDS, SWAA, NAP+, and Network of Youth in Africa and enjoy the support of the UN- System, as well as various International organizations, including the International AIDS Society (IAS).

Since its inception, SAA has successfully organized 19 International Conferences on HIV /AIDS and STIs in 14 Africa countries. On 6th December, 2017, in Abidjan, during ICASA 2017 the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire, the Minister of Health of Rwanda in the presence of ICASA 2017 President and the ICASA Director and other Executive Board Members, won the bid to host the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs which was conferred to Rwanda. Rwanda’s selection was a result of a rigorous evaluation of 3 countries to host ICASA 2019.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Minister of Health and SAA with the strong support of the Rwandan Government, Dr. Ihab Ahmed, SAA President, officially declared Rwanda as the next host
country of the 20th edition of ICASA, ICASA 2019.

 

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Rwandan community head in Mozambique shot dead
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

 

Rwandan community head in Mozambique Louis Baziga was shot dead on Monday morning in Matola City, Maputo province, by unknown gunmen.

According to witnesses, Baziga, 47, was intercepted with 3 individuals armed with two pistols and one AKM and fired several shots at the victim, who was in a Toyota Prado-branded vehicle on an AIH 330 MC registration plate. The miscreants were transported by a cream-colored Toyota branded car.

The victim was rescued alive to the Maputo Provincial Hospital, but could not resist and died, a police officer told Pan African Visions adding that the measures taken by the authorities included the on-site examination, external examination of the corpse, vehicle examination. Six projectiles and cartridges were collected on site, he said.

Baziga was a pastor of Igreja Pentecostal de Reavivamento em Moçambique and businessman with commercial establishments and pharmacies.

In 2017 three Rwandan nationals, refugees in Mozambique, unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Baziga, for political reasons and with the aim of subsequently assuming church leadership.

The accused alleged that Louis Baziga is in the country at the service of the Rwandan Government with a view to monitoring and harassing refugees in Mozambique, especially those supporting the former regime against Paul Kagame.

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Tensions high in Kenya hours to census
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

The Government of Kenya is wary of threats from its citizens and a section of political leaders which it thinks might interfere with this year’s census with just few hours remaining to the kickoff of the exercise.

Kenya Population and Housing Census 2019 is set to start tomorrow, August 24 and to continue up to August 31 with primary results expected after three months, preliminary report six months and a final report after one year. The event is carried out in the East African country after ten years. This year’s Census will see Kenya becoming the first African country to acknowledge its intersex population and data will also be captured electronically for the first time.

Even though preparations are already in place ahead of tomorrow there is fear that the process might not run smoothly as expected compared to the previous ones. A section of Kenyans had put the government on notice that they will disrupt the process as a protest against unfair hiring of enumerators. They had expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the census officers were hired claiming it was skewed. They called on the Kenya Bureau of Statistics to conduct the process afresh but their pleas fell into deaf ears.

The authority dismissed the allegations noting the recruitment was conducted in a fair way while the residents have insisted it was marred with bribery, impunity and nepotism. Since 129, 000 were hired to undertake the process youths across the country have protested threatening to boycott the exercise.

A number of Kenyans who spoke to Pan African Visions expressed their disappointment noting that unemployed youths were neglected and a number of state officials, teachers among others employed instead. They asserted the locals from some areas were ignored and the opportunities given to outsiders.

“The first question I will pose to them (the officers) is what are their names and when I realize that they do not hail from this area I will shut them out of my house. Our sons and daughters are languishing in unemployment, they should have been given the first priority instead of the outsiders,” stated one of the residents.

“I will not support impunity. No to corruption! No to nepotism! I repeat again it is No to impunity. We cannot move on like that as if nothing happened,” added another one.

Addressing the press yesterday on the State’s preparedness for the exercise, the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i disclosed there is a group of politicians with an intention of inciting their supporters to boycott the long awaited census which its preparations began in 2016.  He cautioned them saying their night meetings are being monitored.

“We are monitoring those activities. We are aware of the meetings that you had last night. At the end of the day you will meet with the law. Let’s desist from these activities. I urge our leaders especially politicians to support census. This is a straightforward exercise and let’s leaves it at that. Let us do it with decency,” said the minister.

 

 

 

 

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Ghana’s Affirmative Action a reality or a mere rhetoric
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi

Co- Convener, for the CSO Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens’ Participation, Efua Edith Chidi

 

The CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation, a body of 62 active CSOs in Ghana and other interest groups, has officially out doored a campaign aimed at calling on the Ghanaian government to fast-track the laying of the Affirmative Action bill towards its passage by its current Parliament. Affirmative Action is a set of temporary measures targeted at protected groups in order to enable or encourage members of those groups to overcome or minimize disadvantage to meet the different needs of the protected group.

In Ghana, Affirmative Action was needed to fill the gaps created by gender imbalances in the country’s political, economic and social spaces. Many stakeholders were engaged with public resources to map out the gaps and put together a draft for consideration and passage. 13 years down the line, this bill is yet to be a reality.

Ghana has committed to Affirmative Action by signing and endorsing the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, the SDGs and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender Equality which set a minimum target of 30% of women in decision making position by 2015, the African Union (AU) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality which targets 50% representation of men and women in public and political offices in Member States. Unfortunately, in the Ghanaian parliament, female representation is just 13.8%; only 23 women out of 124 ministers are representing just 18.55%; less than 10% women representation in all District Assemblies, this clearly demonstrated that despite the provisions under the constitution and the ratification of various international human rights laws, these laws can only be useful if an Affirmative Action Law is not passed and implemented to create an environment which is gender inclusive and gender responsive.

This, the co-convener of CSOs Cluster on Decentralization and Citizens Participation  Efua Edith Chidi argued that, since the Country’s independence, most plans for Women empowerment has become a mere rhetoric because the recognition of the role played by women activists during the struggle for independence, where 10 women were nominated and appointed to the legislature as part of the introduction of Representation of the People (Women Members) Bill in 1960 to establish consciousness for gender equality and women’s empowerment has been avoided by successive governments.

She cited countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi and Guinea Bissau who started the Affirmative Action journey later than Ghana, but had passed their bills and are implementing with impressive progress while Ghana marks time with even the laying of the bill in parliament.

In responding to this actions by the CSOs, the Department of Gender under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection has acknowledged the receipt of the written petition sent to the department seeking the update on the bill. The Director of the Department Rev, Dr Comfort Asare in a two page document wrote back to the group stating chronologically efforts made by government from 2011 to 2018 stating that bill is currently with the Ministry for some comments, after it went through series of scrutiny at the Attorney General’s department.

Rev. Dr Asare says the next steps to be taken before the bill is passed includes the Resubmission of the bill to cabinet, Gazetting the bill, Tabling the bill before parliament and advocacy and sensitization on the bill. She however did not give any time frame of which the bill will be resubmitted for further actions talk less of when her Department will be done commenting on the bill.

Background

It will be recalled that, at the first United Nations Conference on Women in 1975,Ghana set up the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) now known as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as the national machinery, to support government-wide efforts in empowering women through income generation, social mobilization and social development.

After the Beijing Conference in 1995, NCWD submitted a proposal for Affirmative Action and Gender mainstreaming to the Office of the President, to formulate guidelines for the promotion of Gender equality, rights and opportunities for women in Ghana. Eventually, the NCWD was placed within the Office of the President; with linkages to relevant MMDAs to enable it play an active role in facilitating cooperation between all agencies of government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). It set the pace for the establishment of an improved administrative framework for addressing women’s affairs by creating Gender Desk Officers (GDOs) in most MDAs. Their role was to ensure that gender concerns are incorporated into sector policies, plans and programmes of MDAs. Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment into Ghana’s Development Efforts, in May, 2015.

But successive governments have paid lip services to the passage of the bill after numerous call from all fronts.

 

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“I encourage you to go HOME”, American Comedian Steve Harvey says while commemorating Year of Return in Ghana
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

In commemoration of 400 years since the first black slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia, American comedian and actor, Steve Harvey, is in Ghana for the ‘Year of Return”, an initiative by the government of Ghana.

The famous comedian and host of The Steve Harvey Show, alongside his family, have visited some selected tourist sites including castles where slaves were kept as he embarked on the tour to expose himself and learn more about Ghanaian history and culture.

“It’s so wonderful to see our brothers and sisters from the African diaspora making the journey to the continent. He is in town with his family and taking in the sights and sounds of Ghana. He even got a brand-new outfit made by a local designer,” organizers of the “year of return” said on a social media post.

Launched last year in Washington, D.C., by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, for Africans in the diaspora to visit the West African country as part of the commemoration 400th year since the first African slaves landed in Virginia, the initiative has gain commendation with several celebrities and Africans in across the globe make their way into Ghana to learn more about their root.

Steve Harvey and his family were welcomed to Ghana by the Minister of Tourism, Babara Oteng Gyasi and the Year of Return committee who met them at the W.E.B DuBois Center in Accra.

Steve’s family had an emotional day after visiting the Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle in Ghana.

“This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do,” Steve wrote after visiting the Slave Castles.

Note that Steve Harvey is not the only American celebrity to visit Ghana in recent months. In December last year, actor Boris Kodjoe and some of his Hollywood friends and family including; Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons, Micheal Jai White, Anthony Anderson (of Blackish), Rosario Dawson, Jidenna, Cynthia Bailey, Bozoma Saint John spent a significant part of their month in Ghana.

Another Hollywood actor who came to Ghana was Samuel L. Jackson who had earlier traced his roots to Gabon. His adventures in the country included a documentary shoot and visits to local markets in Accra and fish markets in Cape Coast.

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Kenya:Billionaire appears to court, charged with tax evasions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Humphrey Kariuki

Humphrey Kariuki

A Nairobi court on Monday charged a businessman with US$410 million tax evasion. Tycoon Humphrey Kariuki appeared to court two weeks after the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji ordered him to be arrested and persecuted for failing to pay taxes.

The investigations revealed Africa Spirits and Wines of the World Beverages, companies in which he holds major shares have dodged paying taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority between 2014 and 2019. The arrest warrant was also issued against three co-directors at WoW Beverages and four from Africa Spirits Ltd.

Other than tax evasion, they are also accused of fraud and being in possession of fake revenue stamps. The investigative officials early this year invaded the premises and confiscated over a million alcohol bottles and 24,000 counterfeit excise stamps.

“Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) audit has revealed that Africa Spirits/WoW Beverage had evaded payment of tax in the amount of over US$410 million between the period of 2014 and 2019. In addition, the audit revealed that there was evidence of tampering with the production system at the Africa Spirits factory that led to the submission of false declaring to KRA,” Haji said.

Haji was forced to take action after the period he gave the companies and KRA to settle out the issue out of court elapsed and the two parties did not come to an agreement. Appearing before the court’s Judge, Kariuki denied the charges and was freed on US$11,000 cash bail. He also refuted claims that he is a director at Africa Spirits noting that he is an investor through a corporate body.

He was required to surrender his two passports as evidence that he will not leave the country until the case is heard and verdict issued. He was told to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for formal processing.

His lawyer denied allegations that his client has been hiding since the arrest warrant was issued instead he disclosed that he was away and jetted back into the country on Sunday night.

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Universal Music Nigeria releases Jizzle’s Debut Album, ‘Finally’
August 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jizzle

By: Bakary Ceesay
Jizzle

 Finally, Universal Music Nigeria releases Gambia’s afro pop artiste  Jizzle’s 1st album, Finally.  There have been many months of anticipation for the album, from the Biggest In The Game artist. 

 The album is made up of twelve tracks representing the sounds of Afro pop, Afrobeat, and Afrofuzion with elements of Hip Hop.

The lyrics are very catchy with a sing along type of vibrations with topics that all elements of his fans can identify with.  As a multi-talented artist, Jizzle has produced five songs on the album with the production from top Gambian producers Shyboy, Endy Official, and J Live Music. Machine Man Tim from the UK and J Masta from Sweden also make hot beats on the album.

Jizzle is dubbed as the artist in the Gambia that can take Gambian music to an international market and make it successfully on the mainstream platform.  “My main goal with my music is to take Gambian music to the next level.  Finally means the world to me and I put a lot of myself in it for the world to love and enjoy,” expresses Jizzle.

He features a number of West African Artists, Dip Doundou Guiss, Samba, Peuzzi, Bm Jaay, and Hakill from Senegal.  Shaydee represents Nigeria and Gee from The Gambia.  Jizzle is a very unique type of artist and his style is very different compared to a lot of artists. He is able to capture his audience through a variation of different languages from English to Mandinka, Fula, and Wolof.

 “I am very happy with the response that I have been getting from my first album, Finally.  I feel like the whole world loves this project. The outpour of love and support for my first album has been breathtaking. I am humbled by my fans and ask that continue to buy my music,” explains Jizzle in jubilation.

 Jizzle does not take for granted his natural musical ability and quality. He employs both exuberance and brainpower to pull off conscious, sweet songs viable in today’s pop-culture. Finally, is a testament to Jizzle’s love for music and natural star quality.

 He  is currently embarking on a three-week European Tour in Sweden, Italy, and Germany to promote Finally.  All of his shows will display his dynamic stage presence and performance. ALBUM DOWNLOAD LINK: https://umgafrica.lnk.to/finally

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SADC leaders urged to ramp up efforts to protect the security of persons with albinism
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been urged to ramp up efforts to protect the security of persons with albinism, including by tackling widespread impunity, Amnesty International has said today ahead of the 39th SADC Heads of State Summit in Tanzania.

It is reported that approximately 150 persons with albinism have been killed in countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2014 for their body parts. Tanzania has reported the highest number of killings, 76, for the same period.

“Across the SADC region, persons with albinism continue to live in fear of being killed or abducted for their body parts. These waves of violent attacks are fueled by the false and dangerous myth that body parts of persons with albinism can make someone rich,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“SADC leaders must tackle the root causes of these targeted attacks to end the plight of persons with albinism who continue to be terrorized by criminal gangs across the region. As they meet in Tanzania this week, they must turn the tide against these horrendous crimes.”

Hundreds of persons with albinism have experienced attacks, including mutilations, kidnappings and attempted kidnappings in recent years.

The crimes against persons with albinism have taken a transnational form across the SADC region in recent years, with victims lured from countries like Malawi having been found in countries like Mozambique.

Criminal justice failures, such as poor handling of cases and evidence, to resolve cases of crimes against persons with albinism have driven the impunity and persistent crimes against this vulnerable group.

While there have been legal reforms, including changes to the Penal Code and the Anatomy Act to tackle attacks, in countries like Malawi and Tanzania, they are yet to yield positive results as persons with albinism continue to be targeted by criminal gangs.

“It is intolerable that persons with albinism continue to live at the mercy of these criminal gangs. SADC leaders must use this summit to send a clear message that those who perpetrate these attacks will be brought to justice,” said Deprose Muchena.

Amnesty International is calling on SADC leaders to adopt a Regional Action Plan, to ensure a coordinated security response for persons with albinism across southern Africa.

 

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Malawi: Court makes second death sentence ruling on albino killers
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi - one of the world's poorest countries - because they have white skin due to a hereditary lack of pigmentation (AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi – one of the world’s poorest countries – because they have white skin due to a hereditary lack of pigmentation (AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

A high court in the Central region district of Mchinji in Malawi has sentenced three people that killed a person with albinism four years ago to death.

The ruling comes as a similar one was laid out in the southern region district of Thyolo in May this year.

The rulings come when the legal fraternity has been making miscellaneous arguments on whether having a stern death sentence would deter would be offenders of such attrocities.

Others feel there is need to reinforce legal structures and security for albinos with some however of the view that death sentences have all it takes to stop the acts.

On Tuesday, the High Court sitting in Mchinji has gave death penalties to three convicts who were found guilty for murdering a person with albinism and apparently chopping off both his hands and legs in August 2015.

The three are Douglas Mwale, Sophie Jere, and Fontino Folosani.

Court heard that they murdered Priscott Pepuzani in a bush using a metal bar and a hoe handle and buried his body in the garden. They were all found guilty.

And in making her ruling, Judge Esmey Chombo stated that the death sentences were laid out in a bid to serve as a stern caution to other would-be offenders but also to put to stop such malpractices.

In May this year, the High Court sitting in Thyolo was first to make a death sentence on cases involving killing of albinos.

It sentenced to death  28-year-old, Willard Mikaele, for murdering Mphatso Pensulo, a 19-year-old boy with albinism in January 2017.

Since 2014, there have been cases of attacks, abduction and killings of albinos in Malawi in the wake of rise of superstitions that albino body parts are used to make people successful and rich as assisted by witch doctors.

The belief has stated that most doctors demanding this come from Mozambique although the government there has declined of that connection.

Earlier this year, there were protests meant to force President Peter Mutharika to do what the Association of People with Albinism (Apam) described as ‘more soul searching’ to tame down attacks on people with albinism.

Media reports suggest that there are over twenty cases in courts involving people with albinism as victims of assault, verbal attack, abduction and killings.

Although most of them stall for reasons like lacking enough evidence and counsels, death sentences are now being made to those found guilty of killing albinos.

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Burkina Faso: Christians issue SOS over attacks from foreign backed Islamist Groups
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

The World was concerned during the month of May 2019 when it seemed that a Church was attacked on a weekly basis in the West African Nation of Burkina Faso. Since January of this year 20 people have been killed and several  Churches have been  destroyed by Islamist Forces that are operating in the region.

Events in the region remain fluid at best. It does appear that some of these attacks were inspired by a video recording made by the head of IS Al-Baghdadi urging attacks against French interests in the Sahel region of Africa. The incidents in Burkina Faso can be acknowledged as part of an effort to locate a new base of operations for the group.

After a month of relative quiet in Burkina Faso the alarm bells for the country have started ringing yet again. On the first of August 2019 Bishop Laurent Dabire who currently is the President of the Bishops Conference for Niger and Burkina Faso issued a call for the World to step in and stop what he called the massacres against Christians in Burkina Faso by Foreign Backed Islamist Groups. These attacks have been gradually increasing in scope since the ouster of former President Blaise Comparie in 2014. It should be noted that in his remarks that the Bishop claimed that the Islamist Militants are better armed than the Security Forces are.

The Government of Burkina Faso is doing what they can to protect Christians. On July 12th the Vatican signed an accord with the Burkinbe Government which guarantees the legal status of the Church in the country  and to collaborate on the moral, spiritual and material well being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. Currently it is estimated that one out of every five persons of the population of 16.5 million describe themselves as being a member of the Catholic Church.

Also during a Press Conference that was held on July 31st remarks were made by the President of Burkina Faso Marc Christian Kabore that  praised the actions of his immediate neighbors in assisting in the efforts to combat terrorism that appears to be running rampant in the region. . However in a more somber statement he did say that Burkina Faso was “paying a heavy tribute” for the attacks which he stated were impeding “efforts at National Construction.” Just like in several other nations in the area Burkina Faso does suffer from High Youth Unemployment lack of Opportunity and other factors that lead to radicalization.

The situation in Burkina Faso has not been ignored by Washington either. Earlier this year the African Country was linked to the National Guard of the District of Columbia under the State Partnership Program to assist in fighting terrorism. The Country already receives assistance from the United States under the auspices of the TSCTI (Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) program.This move is just another  of several steps that are currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration to address the acute security crisis in the region.

During the week of August 6th the White House issued a Press Release stating that the President sent the name of Sandra E Clark to the United States Senate to be nominated for the position of Ambassador to Burkina Faso. Filling this position is a positive signal from the White House showing that it is aware of the situation in the Sahel and will take the necessary steps to show those on the ground that they are not ignoring the situation in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sierra Leone:Legal Link Calls on IPCB to investigate allege Police brutality on Njala Students
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Njala University

Njala University

Christian Lawyers Centre, popularly known as Legal Link, a non -profit legal advocacy group has in a letter to the Chairman, Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) has on Wednesday 7th August ,  called on the board to mount up an independent, robust, credible and speedy investigations into allegations of Police brutality and to determine the veracity or the lack thereof of the incident which happened at the Njala University.

According to Legal Link, as an organization that defends the rights of vulnerable groups in society including students, they take the greatest exception to the unprofessional conduct of the Sierra Leone Police with respect to their handling of the entire incident at the Njala University in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.

‘’Surprisingly also, despite the increased condemnation and outcry from the public over the video clips showcasing brutal and excessive force by the SLP, LEGAL LINK notes with utter dismay, the apparent reticence or the lack thereof by the top Management of the SLP to officially condemn this barbaric and unprofessional behaviour of subordinates over their execution of brutal and excessive force to harmless students that were merely trying to pursue a career path for a better life and future,’’ Legal Link said, adding that this outright complicity at the top is not only worrying but reveals without doubt, the degree of impunity and non-accountability that prevails within the law enforcement architecture in Sierra Leone.

Legal Link further said that Such complicity they further maintain, invites a possibility for the applicability of the principle of Command Responsibility on the leadership of the SLP to be held vicariously liable for the atrocious acts of subordinate officers against vulnerable students on that fateful day citing that various specialized trainings on the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials have been organized in time pasts by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the Independent Police Complaints Board to help the SLP understand how to manage such riotous situations including their application of the use of force to restore law and order.

‘’As had always been emphasized, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials dictates that, even when provoked, the ‘repelling force to be used must be equal, reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the given circumstances. Against this backdrop, while we condemn the acts of the few disgruntled university students who reacted in uncivilized ways during the protests, we vehemently and unequivocally condemn the over-reaction of the Sierra Leone Police in unleashing brutal and excessive force over unarmed protesting students,’’ the right group noted.

The Right Group further noted that, even when the tensions had de-escalated, the callousness and unprofessionalism of the SLP became much more apparent stating that Video clips recorded by on lookers at the scene of crime show complicity and a conspicuous pattern of torture and brutal display of force even on female students.

‘’LEGAL LINK therefore wants it to be known by the government and leadership of the SLP that the right to freedom of torture as provided under the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Sierra Leone is a signatory is a non-derogable right (Edgaromnes) and a per-emptory norm of Customary International Law. This means that under no circumstances can it be justified to torture any human being in a democratic society needless to talk about women’’

The Right Group believed that all the police were mandated and required to do by law on that fateful day at Njala University was to effect arrest on all alleged rioters, investigate and charge perpetrators to court for public order offences as enshrined under the Public Order Act of 1965 for which the police decided to engage on a frolic of their own and acted outside the remits of the law by overtly torturing and executing brutal and excessive force on harmless university students, in such scale and magnitude, amounts to a violation of not only the UN Convention Against Torture, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, among other human rights instruments

‘’Even though Chapter 2 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone does not recognize education as a legal and justiciable right, all the above international, regional and domestic instruments nonetheless puts obligation on Sierra Leone in ensuring that the right to education is fully guaranteed within her jurisdiction. Any infraction or limitation towards the access of; and the enjoyment of this right will therefore amount to a violation of both international and domestic law’’

The group however urged  the leadership of the SLP and the government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) to take full responsibility for the excesses that have occurred, and to ensure the unconditional release of all student detainees and hold constructive dialogue with the student leadership and administration of Njala University so as to determine how victims can be medically treated and or compensated for violations of their fundamental human rights.

The Lobbying group lamented that going forward, LEGAL LINK commits itself to be publishing a quarterly Newsletter titled: ‘POLICE WATCH’ to help showcase not only the excesses within the SLP but also the good developments and success stories within the security architecture of Sierra Leone.

‘’In sum, whilst we heartily welcome the efforts of the BIO led government in prioritizing education under the New Direction agenda, we equally call on the government to show leadership by ensuring that the rights of the beneficiaries of its education agenda are protected and guaranteed within the state. This is the case because, education is an empowerment right; and no society can develop or progress beyond the level of the educational investment it accords to its citizens,’’

 

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Amos Fofung: Freedom of press starts with the government
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Amos Fofung

Amos Fofung

Cameroonian journalist Amos Fofung was nominated for our Newcomer of the Year award during Free Press Live 2018. News which only reached him months after because he was in the midst of fleeing Cameroon for his own safety. Now, almost a year later he lives in the United States and shares with us his story and ideas on press freedom in Cameroon and the rest of the world.

Passion for journalism

Amos started his career as a journalist during his second year University in 2014. “I have always been fascinated with journalism because journalists don’t just tell stories, they actually make a difference and have a positive impact by telling these stories.” However practicing a passion for journalism and investigative reporting is far from easy in a country like Cameroon where there are many restrictions and threats to journalists. Amos confirms: “In my country it is common for journalists to deal with threats, intimidation and aggression on a daily basis, I actually consider that as normal here. So I definitely knew what I was getting myself in to but it didn’t scare me away at the time. If you know that what you are fighting for, it is worth it.”

Detained without charges

On February 9, 2017 the situation took a more serious turn when Amos was called down by the police to make a statement together with two other journalists. They were told they could go home after the statements but once they arrived to the station the story changed, “the police just arrested us without any official complaint or explanation” Amos explains. The next day he and the other two journalists were moved to the political capital of Cameroon Yaoundé where they would stay in a high security prison for 6 months. Amos is convinced that his extensive reporting on the Anglophone crisis, which has seen an escalation of violence in the past year, was the reason behind his arrest. “I was kept in prison for 6 months and one day they just let me go like that. No charges, nothing, only a warning to stop my reporting on the Anglophone crisis.”

Press freedom in Cameroon

Unfortunately, Amos’ story is one of many that reflect the decrease of press freedom in Cameroon. According to a report released by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the Cameroonian government uses an ‘anti-terror’ law installed in 2014 to constantly harass, intimidate and silence the media. If as a journalist you are charged under the 2014 ‘anti-terror’ law you can face up to 10 years or more in prison. “A colleague journalist Thomas Awah was sentenced to 11 years in prison under this law. And unfortunately there are many more who have been arrested, released, threatened and intimidated since” Amos confirms.

Government leads the way

In Cameroon threats to journalists often come but are not limited to the government. Amos believes the problem is that journalists are viewed as anti-government and spreader of fake news instead of a source of unbiased information. But an overall change in attitude towards journalists will only happen if the government leads the way. “In order for journalism to thrive the government needs to openly protect and respect it’s independent media.” Amos explains. “A good example of this we can even see in a developed country like the United States of America, where an executive openly attacked the media creating an environment where people will go as far as creating a bomb scare to media offices.” Journalists are not enemies of the government they are agents of development and “my hope is that one day journalists everywhere will be given the respect and place they deserve in society” Amos concludes.

*Source Free Press Unlimited

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Kenya:Where are abducted Cuban doctors?
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Doctors Assel Herera Corea, a general practitioner, and Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon, on April 12 2019 were kidnapped at Northern Kenya by suspected Alshabaab militia and were driven to neighboring Somalia. They were abducted in a daring road ambush on their way to work in which the attackers shot and killed one of the two police officers who were providing security to them.

Immediately after the incident a multi-agency team was formed to hunt down the attackers in a bid to free the medics. The team consisted of the best-trained commandos from the Long Range Surveillance unit, the police and other Kenya Defence Forces soldiers. Police also inspected vehicles suspected to be fitted with fake registration numbers and military helicopter surveyed the area to search for the whereabouts of the duo.

Kenyan Somali elders also joined the rescue team. At least 10 of them crossed the border to negotiate the release of the two with their counterparts in Somalia. After days of negotiations in remote areas in Buale and El-Aide Somalia, the elders revealed that the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of USD$1.5 million confirming that the Dr. Corea and Dr. Rodriguez are alive and healthy.

“They seem to be under care and offering Medicare services to the locals,” said a source from the elders’ team.

However, the government ruled out the possibility of paying the ransom saying the operations to free the embattled doctors will be successful. Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said, “We believe that we will secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of policy, the government does not negotiate a ransom. We are hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home.”

Since then a little is known about the well-being of the two Cubans despite reports from the intelligence in July that disclosed that they were converted to Islam and were relocated to another area. Kenya’s Inspector of General Police Hillary Mutyambai’s confession is not far from the truth. Mr. Mutyambai said police are not involved in the search and rescue mission noting that they have no power to carry out operations beyond the border.

“Our work as police ends at the border…I am not in a good position to account for the fate of Cuban doctors but we have a team working on it,” said the Inspector General.

Nevertheless, he hinted at the government’s undying effort to rescue and bring back the doctors home. He said police had made a number of arrests and suspects arraigned in court concerning the matter.

 

Dr. Corea and Dr. Rodriguez are among 100 Cuban doctors who came to the country last year in a deal that saw 50 Kenyan doctors switched to Cuban for further training. They were deployed to 47 counties to boost health services mainly in the rural area and ease congestion on the few referral hospitals.

 

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ADM REMIX OF IDYL’S, ‘SATISFY ME’ OUT NOW
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Off the success of the studio single, ‘Satisfy Me’ released March of this year, Nigerian RnB sensation, Idyl is back with a new project, ‘Satisfy Me the (A.D.M. Remix)’ Pack.

 A Collaboration between the ‘Better Lover’ crooner and music collective, Africa Dance Music (A.D.M), the three-track project is an energetic take on the already upbeat single. A.D.M. is Nigeria’s first dance music collective, focused on introducing the world to Africa’s many variants of dance music. The label was launched and founded by seasoned music producer and DJ, Timi “TMXO” Aladeloba in 2017.

 ‘Satisfy Me (A.D.M. remix pack)’ includes three remixes of the original track, featuring DJ’s Jamie Black, D3an, and Calix. This unusual genre is an African take on electronic dance music, and is quickly carving out a space for itself within the continent.

 The ‘Satisfy Me A.D.M. Remixes’ build on the existing feel-good sound and dancehall vibes heard on the original. This remix pack is bound to be the soundtrack to your summer and is sure to be on every DJ’s playlist.

 You can listen, stream and download Idyl’s ‘Satisfy Me ADM Remix’ Here https://umgafrica.lnk.to/SatisfyMeRemixes

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Gambia, Senegal& Guinea Bissau Sign Agreement to Curb Drug Trafficking
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Law enforcement officials from The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau have signed an agreement aimed at combating drug trafficking and other organised crimes along their borders.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Friday by officers from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia (DLEAG), The Office Central de Re’pression du Trafic Illicite de Stepfiants (OCRITS) of Senegal and The Judiciary Police of Guinea Bissau.

The Agreement, according to the officials, will enable the three countries to exchange information and intelligence, joint training and border patrols in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crimes.

Bakary Gassama, the DLEAG executive director, said the multilateral agreement will be a model international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and solving the worldwide illegal drug trafficking problem.

“We are once again reaffirming our collective resolve for greater international cooperation supported by competent and capable law enforcement community better organised to face the daily fight against drug trafficking in the sub-region and beyond,” Gassama said.

“For many years now, our main challenges undermine the investigation and interdiction of transnational organised crimes particularly drug trafficking.”

Filomena Maria Vaz Lopes Mendes, the director general of The Judiciary Police, Guinea Bissau, pointed out that the fight against organised crimes, especially drug trafficking is imperative for the affirmation and consolidation of the democratic rule of law in the sub-region.

“This is because of the growing dynamics of this criminal phenomenon as the geographical space shared by our countries has been a serious threat to peace, political and social stability of our nations.

“The latest seizures of large quantities of cocaine that have occurred simultaneously in our countries, particularly in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, prove that the illicit activities of the South American cartels in West Africa have been established within our countries,” she said.

Idrissa Cisse, director of OCRITS, Senegal expressed hope that the objectives set up by the three governments will be largely achieved in the implementation of the MOU.

“In this way, our units at the border posts will be able to act jointly and exchange information on a regular basis,” he said.

Cisse said that there is indeed an illicit drug trade in these three countries united by history and geography.

“The specialised law enforcement agencies have decided to embrace a coordinated and comprehensive response in partnership with specialised structures to combat illicit trafficking.”

Valentina Pancieri, UNODC Law Enforcement Expert said: “As you know, West Africa remains a vulnerable region affected by the threats of transitional organised crime. The increase in drug trafficking has particular negative consequences on population and states.”

The signing ceremony held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel was attended by director generals of the respective agencies, permanent secretary of the ministry of Interior and chairman of National Assembly Select Committee on Defence among other senior government officials.

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Kenya:LREB summit postponed following the demise of its vice-chair
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Dr Joyce Laboso.

Dr Joyce Laboso.

Kenya’s Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) has called off its conference due to death of its vice-chairperson Joyce Laboso. She passed on Monday, July 29 at the Nairobi hospital after battling cancer for some years. The summit had been scheduled to kick off between 1st and 2nd August.

Lake Region Economic Bloc is a joint economic growth and development strategy that brings together 14 counties from western Kenya. The block was founded in 2015 by the governors of the respective counties in a bid to empower the region economically. It is driven by a number of pillars which include agriculture, tourism, education, health, financial services, environment, climate change, infrastructure and technology.

The members had agreed to come up with a regional bank to unlock its potential through project funding and financial inclusion of communities in the region. The counties agreed to contribute USD$2 million towards the establishment of the commercial bank. Some of the agricultural sub-sectors set to be revived by the bloc are sugar, cotton, coffee, dairy and fish.

“Our region is strategically placed to serve as a gateway to East and Central Africa and we also share a large water body in Lake Victoria which serves around 44.9 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. The implementation of these projects will include jointly setting aside land for development of industrial cities, modernized workforce and landing bays, development of inter-county road circuits, refurbishing of ports, water hyacinth clearing and dredging Lake Victoria,” said the Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.

In a statement delivered to media on Tuesday, the organizers of the event led by the bloc’s chairperson said that the summit will take place in future after the burial of the late governor.  The chair lauded the deceased’s exemplary leadership skills, commitment and compassion.

“Through this conference, she managed to help the bloc set its agenda and our national political leaders to focus on national development and cohesion. We regret any inconvenience caused to our various stakeholders by these untimely changes,” he said.

Governor Laboso had gone to United Kingdom and India for treatment for almost two months and jetted back to the country two weeks ago after which he was admitted to Nairobi Hospital for further treatment where she died. She has joined the list of prominent leaders who succumbed to cancer in the country for the last two years and is the third person to die of the deadly disease in July. Others are Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and lawmaker Ken Okoth.

 

 

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Cancer at it again in Kenya
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27

Hon. Ken Okoth

Hon. Ken Okoth

The World deadly disease cancer has hit Kenya hard after it consumed the life a young legislator on Friday, July 26. Hon. Ken Okoth Breathed his last breath in Nairobi Hospital after battling colorectal cancer for quite number of months. Mr. Okoth was rushed to the hospital on Thursday after his condition worsened. In a span of four hours while in the facility his condition further deteriorated and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Following the failure of his organs the doctors were forced to put him on the life support machine against his wish. The lawmaker had put it clear to his family not to put him on the machine. On Friday he died few hours after the machine had been put off. His death was made public by his brother.

“We want to inform the nation, that people of Kibera (the constituency he served for seven years), that the leader they trust, a servant leader, Hon. Ken Okoth is no more. He passed on while ago,” announced his brother.  The news about his death was shocked the whole country. A number of people including the President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed their sadness for the loss of the leader whom they described as vibrant, committed, selfless, eloquent and dedicated.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and the opposition leader Raila Odinga lead the whole country in mourning the fallen hero. Social media pages were flooded with condolence messages from grieving Kenyans. His personality and leadership skills were the most celebrated aspects of his life. Some Kenyans went to an extent of urging other leaders to acquire his style of leadership which they described as inspiring and positive.

President Kenyatta described the deceased as an intelligent who inspired lives of many Kenyans especially the needy in the society. He said, “It is with a heavy heart that I have this afternoon received the sad news of the death of Hon. Ken Okoth. Death has robbed us of an astute legislator. May God comfort his family, friends and indeed all Kenyans during this difficult period of mourning.”

Ruto said, “Okoth had a dogged personality, tenacity that elevated him among his pears and gave him an invincible aura. His battle with cancer exemplified his brevity, endurance and strength in Adversity.” And the African Union envoy for infrastructure Raila Odinga hailed the legislator for his bravery in battling the disease and his selfless leadership.

The National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi reiterated that Okoth has left a huge gap in the parliament saying he was a great leader. “It is unfortunate that his demise comes at a time when we all looked forward to his recovery and comeback to the National Assembly after his return to the country recently. The Parliament has lost a valuable comrade, Kenya and indeed his constituents,” said the speaker.

The 41-year-old lawmaker had been in Paris, France for seven months for treatment and he returned to the country in July. Early this year, he revealed to a local newspaper how he discovered he was suffering from cancer. He said that for a year he was on treatment for ulcers and bacterial infections noting the doctor prescribed for him pills to manage stress and anxiety. When the situation persisted he went for cancer screen and he was diagnosed by stage 4 colorectal cancer.

His death came at a time when government his being urged to declare cancer a national disaster. The disease has been killing thousands annually and various leaders call for government to take action before it gets out of hand. Research says that cancer is the third leading cause of deaths and second among non-communicable diseases in the country.

Okoth’s death comes barely one month after another prominent person in the country died of cancer. The dominant mobile service provider Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia on July 1. Collymore was diagnosed with the disease in October 2017 and he was forced to take a nine month leave to seek medication in the United Kingdom. The two joined the list of nine people who have lost their lives due to cancer in the past two years.

 

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Cameroon: Internally Displaced Persons receive Humanitarian aids
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

IDPs receive fourth consignment of relief materials

Some 200 internally displaced persons residing in Buea, Fako Division have been handed humanitarian relief materials. The materials are part of the Head of State’s Humanitarian assistance plan for victims of the on-going crisis in the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon. The materials which consisted of toiletries, groundnut oil, bags of rice, washing soap, blankets, mattresses and others were handed to the IDPs, July 23, at the Buea council chamber.

Speaking to the press, Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge said he is more concerned with the community he has put in place to distribute the items. Discipline beings from within. We have cautioned that no council staff should be part of this distribution because their salaries are already ready.

The fourth consignment sent by the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji was destined to 100 displaced persons but according to Mayor Ekema Patrick, they decided to raise the number to 200. “We have a sharing culture and we think it is important to share and that’s why the number has been increased with the little input put in place by the council, Mayor Ekema indicated”

To the recipients, Mayor Ekema Patrick said “the main advice is that these materials should serve the purpose for which they have been intended. Nobody should exchange the items for money or any form of exchange. We appeal to the population to remain calm, vigilant and be very corporative with the council and the state as a whole.”

To 37 years-old Simon Otta, for the past three years, things have not been easy. “I had to leave Bamuka, Ndop, North West Region, to Buea and with the academic level I had, no job. I have been working in the construction site to keep myself engaged.

“I have a family under me and the situation we are in is not easy. I had to be sleeping on the floor, while my wife, kids and sister sleep on the bed. It has really not been easy. With these materials, it will go a long way in alleviating our situation but more needs to be done, while not the additional part of finance”.

On going back to school, he pleaded with the government to provide not only money but mattresses which will help some of them who have kids to go back to school. There is hope while we live so I can’t say there is no hope”.

33 year-old Njembe Theresia Limunga, mother of 3 children said she has been surviving through other people or the church. “I had to leave my area, Muyuka as where I was leaving had continuous gunshots. I could not stay there with my kids as when the shooting starts, everyone will be on the floor which was disturbing the children. There were numerous houses burnt around my area and when you see such things you become scared”.

“Presently life is not easy here in Buea couple with the cold. In my area in Muyuka is not that cold as Buea which makes my children to get sick. The means is not there to survive but when we were in Muyuka, it was better. “These materials will be helpful as before they were sleeping on the floor but now they can sleep on the mattress.”

My situation has been very dire since I left my parents in Tombel to come to Buea in 2016, said Esange Donald. “There is basically no hope for me to go back to my village at the moment as no one is safe. If I go back to the village I would be force to join the fight. We were presented with bag of rice, sardines and mattresses and I had to chose the mattress since I have a room and my younger one, it will be very good than the rice and other materials.”

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