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Cameroon:Women Groups Call for six month ceasefire in conflict-ridden Anglophone Regions
September 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

In honour of the International Day of Peace, September 21, five women’s organizations in Cameroon have joined their voices to call for a ceasefire in the conflict-ridden Anglophone regions. Below is the statement.

A CEASEFIRE CALL FROM WOMEN

In early 2020, the United Nations characterized the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon as a complex humanitarian emergency with 2.3 million people in need. This is a dramatic increase from 2019’s 160,000 persons in need of humanitarian assistance. Although estimates of persons killed as of 2019 by the UN stood at 3000 people, this number has since risen, and could today even be doubled or tripled. UNHCR estimates over 600,000 people have been internally displaced, and a further 60-70,000 refugees are seeking asylum in neighboring Nigeria. UNICEF estimates that more than 855,000 children are out of school due to the conflict. The situation since has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic; an escalation of violent clashes; and continued human rights violations as well as the perpetration of many dehumanizing acts on the civilian population. As such:

-Alarmed by significant human rights abuses committed by both security forces and separatist armed groups in Cameroon—including summary or arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention, repression of fundamental rights, and violence against women and children, as cited in the Department of State 2019 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Cameroon;

-Recognising the loss of thousands of human lives, massive destruction of properties, and displacement of persons occasioned by the conflict;

-Considering the damage to livelihoods, disruption of peace and security to the entire Cameroonian nation and most especially within the North West and South West Regions (former British Southern Cameroons), the loss of human dignity, and:

• Four years of no schooling,

• Increased child and maternal mortality,

 • Absence of primary health care,

 • Increased food shortages and other basic necessities;

-Determined to encourage and engage parties to the conflict to arrive at a peaceful and lasting settlement through negotiations;

-Convinced that as women, we bear the brunt of this violent conflict irrespective of our historical background, cultural, linguistic and political affiliation;

-Focusing on the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and basing our call on the AU’s decade of ceasefire in Africa: Silencing the Guns in Africa 2020 as well as the UN Secretary General’s global call for a ceasefire and United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 2532 on cessation of hostilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;

We provide a thoughtful suggestion for stakeholders to engage in a ceasefire and eventual peace negotiations.

We, the women, urge parties to the conflict to:

Ø Respect human life and dignity and protect the population to stop the alarming death toll.

-Cease all hostilities by all armed actors immediately. We expect all parties to announce a cessation of hostilities within the next 30 days.

Ø Sign a written ceasefire agreement by November 2020, with each party clearly stating its commitment to making the process a success.

Ø Agree to a pilot ceasefire for six months, during which the parties improve their technical and security policies, with the contribution of civil society representatives. This agreement whose terms are borne out of a mutual respect for each faction must be binding on all parties with a local/international monitoring committee, composed of at least 50% women peacebuilders and religious women groups, put in place for follow up.

Ø Work toward a peace agreement and negotiation that is inclusive and sincere where all stakeholders, and not only those with political interest, are involved. A gender-balanced, inclusive commission should be set up to make the peace negotiation gender-responsive. Each faction should make provision for female participation of at least 50%, while civil society and other interest groups should also ensure gender balance for effective representation.

Ø Cooperate with all the humanitarian agencies in their efforts to provide relief and assistance to the ailing population.

Ø Form a think tank with members of the government of Cameroon and separatists armed factions as well as civil society to serve as a monitoring taskforce, aligned with other local/international bodies, to ensure all parties respect the ceasefire. Local women peacebuilders and women leaders should be prioritized.

We call on the Government of Cameroon to:

• Contribute to confidence-building among the parties to the conflict by releasing all arrested in relation to the armed conflict;

• Agree to a 6-month ceasefire to allow for political space to discuss these points with separatist groups and representatives of Anglophone civil society;

• Speed up an inclusive and sincere peace negotiation to address the root causes of the conflict with all factions for the sake of the ailing population within the conflict-affected areas.

We call on separatists armed groups to:

§ Agree to a 6-month ceasefire to allow for political space to discuss these points with the Government of Cameroon and representatives of Anglophone civil society;

§ Engage in sincere talks to identify measures that will return peace to our land.

This call is put out by women in the affected regions and beyond who—as mothers, aunties, sisters, and daughters—ache for a peaceful resolution to this deadly, violent, and traumatic conflict. It is piloted by the following organizations:

  1. South West North West Women Taskforce SNWOT
  2. Southern Cameroons European Women SCEW

3. Christian Women Fellowship CWF (PCC)

 4. Cameroon Baptist Convention Women’s Department CBCWD

5. United Methodist Women Association in Cameroon UMWAC

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African Energy Chamber to Outline Post-COVID-19 African Energy Roadmap in New Book
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments
The book will contain data, insight, analysis and interviews, and will assess risks, opportunities and what is ahead for the African energy sector.

The African Energy Chamber will launch the book “African Energy Road to Recovery: How the African energy industry can reshape itself for a post-COVID comeback” in December; The book will contain data, insight, analysis and interviews, and will assess risks, opportunities and what is ahead for the African energy sector; Leading voices in African energy and global oil markets will create a valuable resource for the continent’s post-COVID-19 rebound.

The African Energy Chamber  is pleased to announce the launch of a pivotal publication – “African Energy Road to Recovery: How the African energy industry can reshape itself for a post-COVID comeback”’ – in December 2020. This important work will unpack how Africa’s energy industry can overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the entire energy value chain.

Produced by Africa Oil & Power  – the African continent’s leading investment platform for the energy sector – the book will highlight crucial aspects of Africa’s post COVID-19 energy industry recovery by harnessing the knowledge and expertise of the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board.

Made up of 35 seasoned energy professionals, the Advisory Board will be central to the Chamber’s policy advocacy and advisory efforts across the continent to provide an enabling business environment for investors and entrepreneurs.

The inaugural Advisory Board book will include interviews, moderated discussions, articles, resources, opinion pieces, round table discussions and vital data for moving beyond the pandemic. It will also provide a clear picture of how the African energy industry can not only recover, but make a strong comeback, offering a roadmap to create a strong and sustainable context within which energy companies can thrive.

“The onslaught of COVID-19 has impacted every country and every sector around the globe – the energy sector has not been spared. Moving forward, it is critical that the African Energy sector unites around a shared strategy and on a unified path toward recovery post-COVID-19,” says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

The publication will further emphasise how to create a competitive environment that will attract investment, pinpoint how African countries can tackle the energy transition while also addressing issues of energy poverty across the continent. Through its incisive content, readers will better understand the range of recovery strategies which can be applied to Africa’s energy sector value chain, from upstream oil and gas to the renewable energy transition, while key insights from industry leaders will provide a framework for moving forward.

“At the African Energy Chamber, we know the African energy sector can make an incredible rebound and that the opportunities for investment and growth will be exponential, but the energy industry must first be reshaped for a post-COVID-19 comeback — to be ready to spring into action once a recovery is possible,” Ayuk adds. 

Be Part of Africa’s Energy Revolution:
To advertise or be featured in the African Energy Chamber’s “African Energy Road to Recovery,” out in December 2020, contact sales@africaoilandpower.com.

About the African Energy Chamber:
The African Energy Chamber is the voice of the African energy industry, representing all facets of the African oil and gas sector. The Chamber was created out of a need to ensure a strong, united voice advocating for the African continent on the global energy stage. It is now the leading chamber of successful networks, transactions and partnerships at the helm of Africa’s growing energy industries. The Chamber’s work funnels into four key pillars: advocacy and campaigning; community building and networking; capacity building; and investment outreach. The African Energy Chamber’s passion and core tenets are that of creating jobs, free market policies and limited government, because we know that is the recipe for prosperity.
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Illicit Gold Trade Thrives with Impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

New report exposes how known traders and exporters are circumventing legal channels and pocketing massive profits from smuggled artisanal DRC gold.

 IMPACT’s newest report reveals how the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) illicit gold trade continues to thrive despite efforts to clean up the sector.

Traders and exporters who are legally registered in the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda are operating without apparent fear of sanction, even after being publicly named by the United Nations and international organizations year after year as contributing to the illicit trade of artisanal DRC gold.

In its latest report, “The Intermediaries: Traders Who Threaten the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Efforts for Conflict-Free Gold ,” IMPACT documents how registered traders and exporters provide a sheen of legality by declaring a small percentage of their gold exports while pocketing massive profits from the illicit trade. They thwart attempts to disrupt their scheme by reconfiguring their operations across the region when necessary or by creating phantom entities.

This means that gold smuggled out of DRC and flowing onto the legal international gold market –into consumer products—is potentially tied to criminality, money laundering, armed groups, and human rights abuses.

“Much effort has been made to strengthen responsible artisanal gold trade in DRC, but as long as these shady intermediaries between the miners and the market operate with impunity, all such efforts are futile,” said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.

IMPACT found that despite efforts by the DRC government and international actors to introduce traceability and due diligence for artisanal gold supply chains in DRC, the illicit trade appears to be booming: only a fraction of gold production is exported legally, meaning, declared to authorities with all duties and taxes paid.

The report uses several case studies to illustrate the extent of the problem, including that of Bukavu-based Cavichi SARL, a licensed exporter from 2013-2016:
Between 2015-2016, Cavichi SARL exported 25.7 kg as declared to DRC authorities, but 5,290 kg as declared to Rwandan authorities in transit documents.
Cavichi SARL significantly undervalued its exports, with the 5,290 kg having a declared value of $17.3 million USD whereas international market value at the time would place it closer to $191.5 million USD.
Though the company closed down, its founder Caetano Victor Chibalonza continues to operate as a gold trader.
IMPACT’s investigation also takes a closer look at Rwanda as a transit point for DRC gold and the recent growth in Rwandan gold exports. Research suggests Rwandan authorities are failing in their due diligence on gold entering from DRC into Rwanda.

These failings are demonstrated by the case of two phantom entities, Congo Golden Mining Ltd and Omega Gold Mining Ltd:
Responsible for 18 gold shipments totalling 627 kg from 2015-2016, Congo Golden Mining Ltd and Omega Gold Mining Ltd are phantom entities that only appear in Rwandan transit documents.
Rwandan authorities failed to pick up on fake or suspect documentation such as the vague address, “Building Dubai, UAE”, listed for the phantom entity Al Haitham DMCC, the supposed buyer for Congo Golden Mining Ltd’s gold shipments.
Artisanal mining is often poverty-driven and economic incentives to operate through illicit channels remain great. While some traders and exporters see the benefit of working with traceability and due diligence schemes, those described in this IMPACT report have no incentive to do so.

In light of its conclusion that traceability and due diligence systems for DRC gold cannot make a dent in the scale of illicit trade until the intermediaries’ systems are dismantled, IMPACT is calling on the Government of the DRC to:
Investigate, bring to account, and expose well-known intermediaries, including by revoking or denying any trading, exporting, or refining licenses of individuals and companies tied to the illicit trade
Streamline the steps for legal gold exports, ensuring they are clear and not arduous, and that related costs do not discourage legal trade
“This is the moment to bring the intermediaries out of the shadows. For too long, they have been allowed to get away with gaming the system. Never has it been clearer than now, with COVID-19, how these traders profit off of miners’ vulnerability. Authorities must act to halt their operations,” said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.

IMPACT also calls on the Governments of Rwanda and Uganda to foster cooperation between law enforcement agencies to identify trade discrepancies and enhance regulatory controls on any gold that is declared as DRC gold.

Download the full report here: https://bit.ly/DRCIntermediaries
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South Sudan’s Court Martial Sentences Two to Death for Killing Lecturer
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan’s General Court Martial has sentenced to death a police and a soldier by firing squad after finding them guilty of murdering a university lecturer early this year.

In January, Bol Chol, a law lecturer at the University of Juba was shot dead on his way home near a police post at Kubri Haboba in Juba.

Later, police reportedly arrested the two prime suspects in February — Sergeant John Makur Mabior and private Mathiang Ater Makuei.

However, the first accused, Sergeant Makur reportedly escaped from prison.

Police later said it held seven officers for enabling Makur to escape from prison, while the security forces are on the search to find a killer who is currently at large.

In Friday’s verdict after nine months of several court sessions, the military court found Sergeant Makur guilty of killing Bol Chol. The fugitive was sentenced to death by firing squad once he is apprehended.

Lieutenant General Stephen Babanen, the presiding judge at the General Court Martial reads out the verdict this afternoon in Juba.

“The first accused person, Sergeant John Makur Mabior Dhelbeny (at large), stripped from the rank of Sergeant to private, dismissed from the South Sudan National Police Service active list, he is deprived from being paid post retirement pension or after service gratuity if any, and sentence to death in his absentia and be executed with firing squad when apprehended”, Babanen reads.

The military court also ruled the same punishment to the second accused Private Mathiang Ater Makuei who is said to have contributed to the killing of Bol Chol by providing a transport to John Makur to and from the crime scene, dismissed from the SSPDF, deprived of any benefit from the army, and sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, the third accused, Arop Ater Mawut the wife to the first accused was sentenced to three years in prison in civil prison with effect from the date of her arrest on 28 January 2020

Army spokesperson, Major Gen Lul Ruai Koang says, the ruling shows government commitment to punish men in uniform who choose to take law into their own hands.

“A death sentence is not a simple thing. It will act as a deterrent. We have laws. It doesn’t matter how aggrieved you are, the laws of South Sudan are very crystal clear. Whenever you are wronged, let the legal process take its course”, said Koang.   

Both men are to be executed by firing squad.

According to the 2009 SPLA Act, the convicts have the right to appeal the verdict.

The killings has become the order of the day in the world’s youngest nation since the country split from Sudan in July 2011 but its fragile justice system can’t hold water to punish a culprits.

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Gambia’s Stylish Female Singer Releases Lovers Music Video
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Stylish golden Sarah Joy, Gambian female singer has slammed music fans with amazing love music video called ‘Du Teey’ featuring the rap star of Bakoteh (BK) Tam-50.

‘Du teey’ harmonics translate from wollof language meaning ‘the love is not today’, capturing the overall sense of footage gave prolong novel story of relationship between two lovers that shared strong love for each other but could not settle together as couple.

It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know.

Speaking to Sarah Joy in an exclusive the singer said she was inspired by people who complained and regret spending lot of time that will later be term as a waste. She said some relationships, some people spend decades together only to realised that they are not meant for each other. At some point they felt is a waste of time, energy and investment. Many instances you see your younger ones settling down which make the whole issue dramatic.

She said that kind of long waiting relationships frustrate both parties involved because is hard to continue life without the person you pictured yourself with, but however sometimes all they need is little motivation and incentives which will either make them stay or leave yet there is a point when you have to give ultimatum to act on.

“Basically the song is to encouraging them to give alternative to the person either to leave or get it official (marriage).”

The song is recorded, mixed and mastered by leading production house in the Gambia, Stylzz Records.  Produced by KAINAWA Beats and shapely video shoot by Ultimate Media.

Already the video geared 4, 081 views on YouTube and still counting the streams. 
Sarah Joy is not only known for her beautiful melody singing but also a TV and radio mogulist who has won the hearts of many follower. She often used her platforms to champion Joy house entertainment/promotion, identified as music advocacy group established with the primary objective of empowering female musicians in the music business.

In same exclusive she added that very soon her team (Joy House Entertainment/ promotion) will embark on the famous Girl Power project which entail a bundle of things but the basic idea aimed at creating opportunity and using music to empower the women.

Below is the link of the music video Du Teey

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Environmental Management Agency most open institution in Zimbabwe,survey reveals
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A recent survey has revealed that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA)   is the most open institution in Zimbabwe according to MISA Zimbabwe’s 2020 Transparency Assessment findings while Chitungwiza Municipality is the most secretive.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Regional), has been conducting research and studies since 2009 to establish the difficulty with which citizens in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) can access public information.

The study is also part of commemorations for the International Day for Universal Access to Information which is marked every year on 28 September. It also based on the findings of assessments on whether public institutions proactively make relevant information available online in the form of websites or social media accounts.

It further evaluates to what degree information is made available to citizens upon request.

EMA was assessed as the most open institution after being assessed as being active on social media and maintaining a “partially” up to date website. Although the institution was unable to provide information that had been requested, they explained their reasons.

Chitungwiza Municipality did not respond to the requests for information. A senior official stated that they did not receive the request and recommended that the requests be resubmitted through email.

Other organisations that were surveyed are; Chipinge Rural District Council, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Mutare City Council and Zimbabwe School Examinations Council.

Regionally, similar studies were conducted in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.

Given the limited timeframe for the survey and the COVID-19 restrictions, it was not feasible to effectively test the new Freedom of Information Act and survey all organisations as originally planned.

However, it is trite to note that the culture and practice of acknowledging receipt of information requests, as opposed to providing the information sought, is still a challenge in some organisations. Targeted institutions do not always notify the requester when they receive the information request letter, but only acknowledge receipt upon physical follow-up visits to their offices.

Meanwhile, of the 10 organisations surveyed, the following had no functional websites (at the time the study was conducted), Chipinge Rural District Council, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises and Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Although six organisations acknowledged receipt of the information requests, only two responded well to the requests.

MISA Zimbabwe encourages organisations to effectively use online platforms to disseminate information to the public while the new law on access to information, the Freedom of Information Act, should be continuously evaluated to ensure it gives effect to Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution that provide for freedom of expression, media freedom and citizens’ right to access to information.

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Zimbabwe:Finalists for the 2020 ZICTA ICT innovation programme announced
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Stanbic calls for improved collaboration between ICT players to support local ICT innovators and turn Zambia into regional tech hub.


LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) in collaboration with Stanbic Bank Zambia and Airtel Networks Zambia have launched the 2020 cohort of the ICT Innovation Programme.

The initiative was started in 2016 by ZICTA as a way of equipping local tech innovators and start-ups with tools to bring their ideas to life and contribute to the country’s digital agenda.
This year’s event attracted about 242 applications from which 60 were selected by an independent panel of experts to progress to the next round. Entries were assessed based on their business potential, technical feasibility, and scalability of the idea.

The programme is open to Zambian ICT innovators and/or entrepreneurs aged between 18–35 years old with inventive, viable and scalable business ideas that attempt to solve current challenges relating to various sectors of the economy including finance, education, agriculture, energy, climate, and health among others.

So far, four cohorts have been initiated with more than 100 emerging innovators benefiting.
Speaking during the virtual launch which attracted over 200 attendees recently, Stanbic Bank Zambia Head Public Relations and Communications Chanda Chime-Katongo said that a flourishing digital industry would bring Zambia a step closer to achieving its economic diversification dream through the creation of export worthy ICT products and services thereby accelerating GDP growth.

She said: “Zambia has considerable potential of becoming one of the region’s main players in technology development. Digital platforms are increasingly becoming more accessible to more people each day thus creating a ready market for cutting edge innovations.

“To top it off, we have the advantage of political stability and innumerable talented youths that are eager to get a slice of the proverbial economic pie.
“All that is remaining is a deliberate support system from stakeholders that could serve as a launch pad for homegrown tech entrepreneurs.”

Mrs Katongo noted that for the local ICT sector to truly take off and reach its full potential, key industry players had to create strategic partnerships that supported innovation.
“There is need for increased collaboration between stakeholders to unlock Zambia’s potential and turn the country into a regional tech hub.”

“At Stanbic, we are convinced that nurturing strategic partnerships between corporate entities, Government agencies and other sector players including tech start-ups can hasten Zambia’s journey towards a digital economy.
Our sponsorship of this initiative is a clear demonstration of our intention to not only provide practical support to local entrepreneurs but also grow the tech industry.”

The 60 innovators will receive access to potential business linkages for their ideas as well as technical and business development support from sector experts over the next six months – after which the best three will receive financial support of up to ZMW50,000 towards the implementation of their innovation.

And speaking during the same launch, ZICTA Director General, Engineer Patrick Mutimushi said the innovation programme was in line with the authority’s mandate as prescribed under Section 6 of the ICT Act of 2009 – to promote research, development and the use of new and appropriate technologies in the sector.
He noted that the initiative was a clear illustration of how ZICTA was actualising Government through the Ministry of Transport and Communication’s efforts to create an enabling environment for transitioning ideas into viable business ventures. 

“As the world continues to make strides aimed at addressing a serious global pandemic (COVID 19) that has led to extensive disruptions in our societies, I am delighted that we are able to continue identifying promising innovations that can be nurtured into commercially viable solutions and respond to some of our socio- economic needs as a country,” Eng Mutimushi said.

He added that: “The focus areas for this year’s programme were identified through our engagements with various stakeholders on the areas that required ICT related innovations. We are hopeful that this approach will enhance the prospects for potential off-takers and financing as well as provide responsive innovations to the needs of our country.”
Eng Mutimushi urged the final 60 innovators to make the most of the opportunity and perfect their ideas and innovations to make a difference in the country.

“I encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity and perfect your ideas and innovations so that they make a difference in our country. You are called to use your intellect, creativity, passion, and determination to drive this country forward.”
The 2020 Innovation Programme shall run for a maximum duration of six months from August 2020 to February 2021.

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Zimbabwe:Fresh Trouble Brewing For Mnangagwa
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

President Mnangagwa is going through uncertain times in Zimbabwe
President Mnangagwa is going through uncertain times in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s political animosity intensifies amid protests plans and demonstrations to un-seat a constitutionally Elected President Mnangagwa comes with hatred on him and unnecessary political avarice for leadership.

Pan-African-Visions notes this through investigations done early this week. This comes after President Mnangagwa addressed a Provincial Co-ordinating Committee Meeting in Gweru, Zimbabwe’s third capital city.

 He asked Party Commissar Victor Matemadanda to tell the people that he was still the leader of the country and no-one would or has the power to oust him.

”Party Commissar, chastise party members hungry for power. Tell the people of Zimbabwe that if you dream of being leader of the country, you have had a nightmare.”

”The next morning you wake up and brew traditional beer. Ask your ancestors why they give you such bad dreams.

”It is the people, the mass that constitutionally put me in power and office. I am still the leader of the country. No-One can dethrone me, except the voice of the people” .

President Mnangagwa continues to be exerted un-necessary leadership and political power pressure by his own people surrounding him. Most of these are ZANU-PF members. Some of them are Robert Mugabe’s followers under G40.

Currently there are fresh allegations and fears that Mnangagwa is in bad books with Vice President Constantine Chiwenga whom some party people and opposition claim is hungry for power.

A secret member of the Opposition party confirms President Mnangagwa is under pressure for the power he is holding currently. He adds that most of these are ZANU-PF party members.

” What is causing problems and challenges facing the country is the fact that there is un-necessary power avarice, greedy and hatred on Mnangagwa. We have to wait until 2023 according to our constitution. Remember, He was elected by the people. It’s now the surrounding people causing problems not opposition alone, no ” , he disagrees with many voices against Mnangagwa .

Several political party members are still disgruntled by the removal of President Robert Mugabe who was ousted through a coup in 2017. A number of them like Jonathan Moyo are still twitting in bad and nasty words against President Mnangagwa.

To bring evidence to this President Mnangagwa has survived a Bulawayo assassination where a bomb was thrown at Barbourfields stadium where he was to address a gathering. This was on weeks after Robert Mugabe was out of power.

The other evidence is of tweets and what’s-up messages from Jonathan Moyo formerly of Robert Mugabe side. President Mnangagwa has fired as well two Cabinet members Energy Mutodi who was Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Fortune Chasi who was Minister of Energy and Power Development.

Nelson Chamisa of MDC Opposition Party continues to push for President Mnangagwa’s ouster of which he knows that he lost elections in 2018. Secondly, growing opposition continues to grow and picking fights are still on although Mnangagwa is quiet. There have been mass protest plans. These were thrashed by Mnangagwa on 31 August in Harare and Bulawayo.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and Indigenous Manufacturers, retailers and the business community has done economic and business sabotage plans. These strategies have made rise inflation a move that has cause the Economy to bleed. These have been planned secretly except the ZCTU demonstration which is up to now a talk. Its successful demonstration was that of 2019 when President Mnangagwa announced fuel rise on Television .

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Rwanda: Will UN,Other International Bodies rescue Paul Rusesabagina from terrorism charges?
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda *

Terrorism charges have been slammed against Paul Rusesabagina .Photo credit AFP

The Rwandan critic, 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.

Mr. Rusesabagina appeared last month under arrest in Kigali in murky circumstances, with his family alleging he was kidnapped abroad.

According to Rwanda Authorities, he was arrested because he is believed to be the leader, founder and sponsor of a violent extremist group operating in Rwanda and more widely, known as MRCD/FLN. The international arrest warrant under which he has been detained included accusations that in June and July 2018 in Nyungwe, and in December 2018 in Nyamagabe, attacks by the MRCD/FLN were carried out against innocent Rwandan civilians which left nine people dead and several seriously injured.

Prior to his arrest there were videos featuring him and he was heard on BBC radio talk calling all political and civil society organizations to support FLN soldiers to oust the Kigali government through waging war as political means had failed.

However, some human rights and legal groups have expressed concern that his arrest is the latest example of Rwanda targeting critics.

Calls demanding fair justice have been made by U.S Senator, Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda Foundation, oppositions and on 8 September UN urged to intervene in case of detained Hotel Rwanda dissident.

Through the Clooney Foundation for Justice and the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, George and Amal Clooney have made a pledge to closely monitor the upcoming trial of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda, as part of CFJ’s Trial Watch initiative.

“Mr. Rusesabagina is currently detained provisionally for at least 30 days after he was denied bail, pending his trial,”.

Well, UN call, human right monitoring and other super power countries intervention could still give hope to his family, dissidents and others who wish to see Rusesabagina free but still not sure of how it will be done while terrorism charges are not welcome in any country.

For various newspapers both Rwandan and foreign, people’s talk, comments believe that Rusesabagina’s case would be serious, and some of the reasons being that Mr. Rusesabagina has Belgian citizenship, U.S resident and has been awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. However,  many observers say that these can’t save him out, due to Rusesabagina’s rebel attacks killed Rwandans, burned their property, looted their crops and took some hostages, Nsabimana Callixte and Rusesabagina admitted in various media outlets that the attacks killed civilians.

When Nsabimana was arrested and brought to justice, he pleaded guilty for all charges saying that even the birds could testify.

Mr. Rusesabagina’s acknowledgment that his rebellions killed people and apologized.

“I apologise, we never assigned FLN to kill people and that was not the mission noting that their actions should be blamed on them alone.”.

He admitted to sending some 20,000 euros ($23,000) to FLN commander Callixte Nsabimana – who is on trial on similar charges – but said this was personal assistance to a friend and not for rebel activities

Mr. Herman Hirwa Nsengimana, the successor to Nsabimana Callixte A.k.a Sankara was seen in the video conference included Rusesabagina, who was in the lead, also co-chaired the FLN, becoming the Supreme Leader.

Other reasons could be summarised as follows,  Rusesabagina has Rwandan citizenship by birth, the crimes is accused of committing are on Rwandan soil, the prosecutor also pointed out that before Rusesabagina was arrested there was a collaboration between  Belgian police and the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), Rusesabagina’s home in Belgium was searched and some of the evidence against him came from there, and FBI had also conducted a thorough investigation into all the information from his indictment. 

Note that when the FLN attacks reached Rwandan territory, the US Embassy in the United States issued a statement saying that some parts of Rwanda were unsafe and that their residents were on high alert, and that they were aware of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks.  Which are FLN soldiers, whose commander was based in the USA.

The case of Nsabimana Callixte who pleaded guilty to all the charges against him and even wished that his case would be reconciled with those of Rusesabagina and Herman because all the charges against FLN are fully involved.

In multiple speeches, Rusesabagina expressed support for the FLN – which has carried out armed attacks and is described as a terrorist organisation by Rwanda – but the extent of his involvement in its actions is unclear.

*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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Cameroon: Effective Decentralisation can lead to Good Governance – Experts Say at Nkafu Policy Web Seminar
September 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Decentralisation can be seen as a tool for conflict resolution, to foster stability, and managing diversity
Decentralisation can be seen as a tool for conflict resolution, to foster stability, and managing diversity

Experts say if Cameroon applies the decentralisation process effectively it can lead to good governance. Others hold the opinion that in the present context Cameroon finds itself, the idea of decentralisation can never be a solution.

The public dialogue (web seminar) that took place September 17 was on the theme “Effective decentralisation: A sustainable solution to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon?” It was organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation and moderated by Mkong Immaculate, Programs Assistant UPEACE-Africa.

One of the key resolutions from the Major National Dialogue that took place from September 30 to October 4, 2019, to look for a peaceful and sustainable solution to the ongoing Anglophone crisis in Cameroon was the proposal for a “special status” for the two conflict-affected regions due to their cultural and linguistic specificities. This subsequently led to the adoption by parliament of the Decentralization Code of Regional and Local Authorities (Law No. 2019/024 of 24 December 2019). Nevertheless, debates have continued till date over the role of decentralization in restoring peace and security especially in the restive Anglophone regions of the country. 

Dr Emmanuel Sundjo, Senior Lecturer at the University of Buea, Governance and Regional integration Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute said the idea of decentralization involves the transfer of power from the central government to local authorities in terms of resources and others. If done right “Effective Decentralisation can lead to good governance.” In Cameroon, what is seen is administrative decentralisation. 

The regional elections in the country have been programmed for December 6. Observers say there is a need to ensure that the process of choosing representatives is very transparent. For effective decentralisation to be effective, there are some fundamental issues regarding elections need to be handled. “The issue of Cameroon is identity. The government needs to take into consideration minority groups with Anglophones part of that group. The decentralisation process should be looked at from an individual region’s perspective, looking at peculiarities in each Region,” Dr Emmanuel Sundjo said.

What has been noticed in Cameroon in the various legislative, senatorial and municipal elections is that those elected always pay allegiance to the central government and not to the local population that voted them. “There cannot be effective decentralisation when we have election malpractices. It is important that we employ effective decentralisation as the electoral code has major cracks and we should go back to mend these cracks,” one participant said.

On the issue of the electoral process seen as one with irregularities, Ambe Kingsley, a participant noted that there are legal channels to challenge undemocratic elections in Cameroon. “Anyone contesting any undemocratic election should use the legal action. The courts are always there to resolve the electoral issues.” “What measurable achievement has decentralisation brought on the table,” He questioned.

Participants on Effective decentralisation - A sustainable solution to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon
Participants on Effective decentralisation – A sustainable solution to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon

Speaking, Duchel Zapfack, Co-founder of a Youth-led Association Promise Africa said decentralisation can be seen as a tool for conflict resolution, to foster stability, and managing diversity. To her, with the present decentralisation process, there has been an increase in funds from less than one per cent to more than fifteen per cent to local authorities which according to her is quite laudable.

She added that the effectiveness of the decentralisation process in Cameroon is questionable. “There is no de facto devolution of power. There is no decentralisation when the councils lack the competence to decide on issues,” She said.

In a Question and Answers session, participants noted that youths should be an integral part of the decentralisation process. To them, youths are not involved in the process in their local communities. 

“Let’s stop complaining and accusing. Let us read the code on decentralisation. It is important to arm ourselves with knowledge, so as not to be excluded from ignorance and underdevelopment,” Sebeyiam Georges, a participant said.

Herve Wouapi, a participant said “… Our government is reluctant to decentralize because they view decentralisation as a zero-sum game. They see it as a platform that opposition political parties would use to challenge them or take a visible role in the governance process…” “Successful development can be achieved if Cameroon puts in place functioning governance systems that ensure transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability of decision-making process.”

There is no decentralisation when the councils lack the competence to decide on issues
There is no decentralisation when the councils lack the competence to decide on issues

This webinar is in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a Think Tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, which pivots around carrying out independent research to provide in-depth and insightful evidence-based policy recommendations that advance the development of Cameroon and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

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DFC and Akola Support Ugandan Women Through COVID-19 Pandemic
September 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler

$5 million DFC loan will help Akola continue empowering low-income women, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

WASHINGTON – U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Akola PBC today announced that DFC has provided a $5 million loan to Dallas, Texas-based Akola. DFC’s financing will help the impact-driven jewelry brand and manufacturing business—particularly the women that it employs in rural Uganda—weather the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Women reinvest most of their earnings in their families and communities and are a powerful driver of prosperity and stability in Uganda and beyond. With just a little bit of support, they can deliver outsized impact in their communities,” said DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler. “DFC’s financing will help Akola continue its work to provide economic opportunities and uplift Ugandan women. Our collaboration comes at a critical time as COVID-19 continues to leave underserved individuals—disproportionately women—even more vulnerable around the world.”

“Akola was founded on the belief that job creation is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty,” explains Akola’s CEO, Sheeba Philip. “This is why it was crucial that we did everything possible to ensure the women we employ as part of our operations in Uganda kept their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We quickly shifted our focus to product experiences that meet consumer needs and reflect the changing retail environment, such as our DIY Bracelet Kits. We are grateful for the partnership with DFC, which helps ensure we can continue to offer Akola women living wage employment so they can provide for their families.”

As a result of COVID-19, many major retailers have backed out of orders and brands have trimmed production, putting global artisans and factory workers already living in extreme poverty out of work. Yet in the wake of the pandemic, Akola has continued its mission and commitment to the women it serves, working creatively to ensure that the hundreds of Ugandan women who work for the company have all remained employed.

DFC’s financing is structured to support these efforts, funding critical working capital needs that help Akola continue to provide stable wages and benefits through the pandemic to its all-female Ugandan workforce. Eventually, the loan will also support a new production facility and additional employees, enabling Akola to continue focusing on growing demand through its e-commerce platform, which in turn will help the company become more resilient to future market shocks.

Akola, which means “she works” in the local dialect, was founded by Brittany Underwood after spending a summer teaching English in Jinja, Uganda during college. Once a small operation of 15 women making jewelry under a tree in 2007, Akola today employs nearly 200 women in rural Uganda. All Akola jewelry is handcrafted in Uganda using locally-sourced, sustainable materials and is sold worldwide.

The women employed by Akola in Uganda usually serve as the primary providers for their families, and the vast majority lived in extreme poverty before working for the company. In addition to a stable income, Akola also provides ongoing training and mentorship to its Ugandan employees through nonprofit partner Akola Academy. Akola Academy provides leadership and financial literacy training to foster long-term economic independence. Sixty-six percent of Akola women in Uganda own a home and 79 percent of Akola children are enrolled in school.

DFC’s investment advances its 2X Women’s Initiative, which has catalyzed more than $3 billion of private sector investment in projects that empower women in developing countries. Through 2X, DFC plays a key role in the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which marks the first whole-of-U.S. Government approach to empowering women globally and is spearheaded by Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. DFC’s investment also advances the Administration’s Prosper Africa initiative, which aims to channel the tools and resources of the U.S. Government to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

*DFC

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Cape Town To Host Conference on Trade Governance Matters in Africa
September 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
AU Trade Commissioner Muchanga will present the keynote address
AU Trade Commissioner Muchanga will present the keynote address

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

TRALAC, Trade Law Centre based in South Africa, Cape Town is hosting a 2-day virtual conference in its home town. It runs from 21 to 22 September. The conference braves the chill of covid-19 to address Trade Governance matters in Africa.

TRALAC Administrative Assistant Madeline Herterotz who invited and posted the program to the Pan-African-Visions points out that the conference is a design meant to look at the future of World Trade Organization. It looks as well on taking lessons learnt from the devastating effects and consequences of covid-19 in the Region.

Multi-Lateral trading systems require reforms in the era of covid-19. There are plurilateral and multilateral agreements made under the [World Trade Organization], WTO and AFCFTA, [African Continental Free Trade Area.] A World Bank Study has come out with a document on the benefits to come from reducing red tape and improving customs of boarder management.

The second issue looks at the overview of key features of AFCFTA up-date on negotiations and preparations post covid-19. Extended information looks at the adoption of Digital Trade Solutions in an era of covid-19 and global challenges currently faced.

The conference dubbed Trade Governance In Africa Midst a Pandemic of Global Challenges attracts a panel of presenters and moderators to cheer and spear-head the program with key-note opening from H.E Wamkele Mune  ,African Continental Free Trade Area’  Secretary General .

Among the Plenipotentiary delegates are Mr Allan Wolf, Deputy Director World Trade Organization. Panel discussion follows on the same day with a focus on What is expected from AFCFTA to deliver. What is necessary to achieve outcomes. Also present is Ms Valentinah Minta – Board Member International Chamber of Commerce. Mr Victor Liman, Chief Trade Negotiator, Director General for the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Ms Monica Musonda Java Foods CEO, Mr Ahmed Bennis, Secretary General of African Economic Zones Organization. Ms Treasure Maphanga stands in as Moderator. She is TRALAC Board Member.

The second panel discussion is on what is to be done to facilitate Trade in Africa. Present are Ms Lily Sommer , African Trade Policy Center Department of United Nations Economic Commission [UNECA] .Mr Jason Blackman is DHL Express Director for Sub-Saharan Africa . Mr Etiyel Chibira is from the Cross Boarders Trans-Agency of South Africa. Ms Muna Hassan is from WTO. The Moderator is Trudi Hartzenburg of TRALAC. The presentation to be read looks at Overviews, Negotiations, Up-Date and Africa’s Global Trade Relations.

The Key-Note Address will be presented by Albert Muchanga , Commissioner for Trade and Industry , AUC [ African Union Commission] . The closing will be done by TRALAC Board Chairman, George Lipimile .

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