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Mixed Reactions over a Rwandan appointed in a Belgian commission on Brussels’ colonial past
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By our correspondent

Advocate Laure Uwase who was recently appointed in a group of experts to probe Belgium's colonial past.Credit: Laure Uwase/ Facebook page
Advocate Laure Uwase who was recently appointed in a group of experts to probe Belgium’s colonial past.Credit: Laure Uwase/ Facebook page

The mixed reactions engendered by the appointment of a Belgian lawyer of Rwandan origin on a special commission established to examine Belgium’s colonial past in the Great Lakes of Africa signals deep divisions in the Rwandan community over their country’s History, 26 years after the Genocide against the Tutsis and 58 years of independence from Belgium.

The recent appointment of Laure Uwase, 28, a Belgian Lawyer of Rwandan origin in a group of experts to probe Belgian’s colonial legacy has sparked a heated debate mainly on social media- some congratulating her, while others denouncing the appointment.

A pro-government news website in Rwanda quoted several twitter users who accused Ms. Uwase of being a “genocide denier” without citing any specific conviction, saying she is a member of an organization accused of negating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.

The news website reported in an article titled “Anger as Genocide Denier is included in Belgian Commission to Examine Colonial Past” that Ms. Uwase is a member of on organization whose members are described as “children of genocidaires [ those who committed the genocide]” in what appears to be a character assassination campaign on the young lawyer. In the news report, several social media users and organizations were quoted expressing disappointment in the decision by the Belgian government.

The committee of the chamber that focuses on Belgium colonial past was installed in mid-July but the announcement of its members was made last week. The Commission is expected to examine the independent State of Congo (1885-1908) and the colonial past of Belgium in the Congo (1908-1960), Rwanda and Burundi (1919-1962), and draw lessons for the future.

Tom Ndahiro, a controversial Rwandan blogger who describes himself as a genocide scholar was quoted as saying that: “Her appointment goes against the purpose and spirit for which the commission was established. Unless they brought her on board to hear her expertise as one of the by-products of Belgian colonial rule, since the genocide is a product of Belgian colonialism, one cannot understand which other expertise she will bring to the commission,”.

Belgium has reportedly apologized in the past on its role in Rwanda’s troubled History but some say it was diplomatic gesture.

However, other members of the Rwandan community mainly living in the diaspora expressed their support towards the inclusion of advocate Uwase in a commission that seeks to find the truth about the dark and troubled past of the Great Lakes of Africa.

 Jean Claude Nkubito, a veteran journalist and media trainer based in Belgium said in a long Facebook post titled: ‘Why one would not be happy when a Rwandan has been recognized as expert?’ that the appointment was good news for Rwandan youth.

Mr. Nkubito wrote: “my simple position is that I would wish to see many young Rwandans as competent as Laure being in this group of experts.” Mr. Nkubito added: “I would like to see other intellectual perfectionists like Laure to highlight the competence of our youth”.

Mr. Nkubito further noted that the appointment of the young lady who left Rwanda aged two years and can now speak fluent Kinyarwanda inspires him.

Meanwhile, Rwandan Parliament has released a statement on Monday this week welcoming the Belgian Kingdom commission on its colonial past and its consequences, however the parliament expressed concerns of inclusion in the group of experts of   a “known genocide denier” without naming anyone, it said they belong to an organization that has a mission to deny and revise the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

In the past Advocate Uwase with her Rwandan colleagues’ were reportedly denied entry to Paris, France at an event graced by the president Paul Kagame of Rwanda. She was then 17.

Claude Gatebuke, a Rwanda activist based in USA congratulated the young lady on her new appointment. “I hope you and the other Africans on the panel will make Africa proud”.

The Group of experts include members from Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda among others.

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Kenya:Coach worried as players dump broke Gor
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Gor Mahia head coach Steve Pollack
Gor Mahia head coach Steve Pollack

Gor Mahia head coach Steve Pollack has expressed his frustrations following the departure of a number of his experienced players due to financial constraints.

In the last few weeks the Kenyan Premier League champions has witnessed the exit of players such as Joash Onyango, Boniface Omondi and Charles Momanyi.

Others are Peter Odhiambo, David Mapigano and Dickson Ambundo.

Gor Mahia vice-captain would join Tanzania champions Simba according to the club whereas speedy winger Dickson Ambundo is heading to his home country Tanzania after his loan stint at Gor expired.

Goalkeeper David Mapigano had joined Azam of Tanzania and the duo, Fredrick Peter Odhiambo alongside lethal striker Boniface Omondo sealed their move to Wazito FC.

Pollack noted that he has no option but to start rebuilding process after the mass exodus.

“I think you know why the players are leaving and why I am mad, all the players that are leaving they are quality players and I will be a selfish coach to say now I want to keep them because you know the financial situation at the club, “ he noted.

“First of all, they have made their decisions to leave because of the circumstances the club finds itself in , it is the big reason why they have left, I would have loved them to stay, but players come and go but the club will still be there,” he added.

The Briton averred that he has a list of players he wants to sign but it will depend on the availability of finances saying he is waiting for direction from the club’s management.  

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Kenya:Government extends worship services by 30 minutes
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Worship sessions will now go on for 1 hour and 30 minutes effective from Tuesday, August 18, 2020.

During press conference on Tuesday, the interfaith council on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic said they are convinced that places of worship can adhere to Covid-19 requirements after reviewing the level of compliance in all 47 Counties.

The council’s chair archbishop Anthony Muheria said that every worship service can now last for 90 minutes as opposed to the earlier announced timings which was 60 minutes.

Moreover, congregants aged between 6 and 65 have also been allowed to attend a church service.

In announcements issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta in early July, congregants below age 13 and above 58 were banned from attending worship centres as part of strict measures in containing the spread of the respiratory disease.

Elderly and the sick have been urged to stay at home.

Still a 100 people are permitted to stand a service and centres of worship must keep social distancing, install hand washing equipment, take temperatures of worshippers before allowing them in, fumigate the places of worship after every session and own alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Physical worship meetings were suspended in March, a move that saw a number of churches resorting to online services.

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Namibia reverts to Stage 3 of COVID-19 restrictions
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula

Windhoek – To arrest the spread of Covid-19 being observed in recent weeks, the Namibian government has decided to adjust national interventions by reverting the whole country to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 State of Emergency for 16 days.

President Hage Geingob announced on Tuesday that the new measures under Stage 3 come into force on Wednesday until 28 August 2020.

President Geingob explained that the decision is consistent with the national response strategy to migrate between stages of restriction, depending on the changing situation in the country.

He noted that the number of confirmed cases for coronavirus have increased exponentially in recent weeks, with cases reported in 14 regions of the country.

The country has now recorded a total number of 3,406 confirmed cases with 22 COVID-19 related deaths.

On 29 June, 13 regions migrated to Stage 4 level of restriction, except the Erongo Region that remained under Stage 3, with special restrictions put in place for the towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.

These restrictions have now been extended to the capital Windhoek, which has recorded more cases of coronavirus in the past few days. The special dispensations are also applicable to the towns of Okahandja, 70km north of Windhoek and Rehoboth, which is 90km south of the capital.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said travel into and out of the restricted local authority areas to the rest of the country will be restricted to emergencies only.

Unhindered travel will be permitted within the country, except for the restricted local authority areas including Windhoek. People leaving the restricted areas, apart from critical and essential service providers will be quarantined at their own cost upon arrival at their destinations.

Movement in Windhoek and other restricted areas will not be permitted between 8:00 p.m. to 05:00 a.m. daily, except for permitted essential service providers.

To enforce the regulations, Shangula said checkpoints will be introduced at specified locations within the City of Windhoek and on the parameters of the restricted areas to control movements.

Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners will continue. While tertiary institutions are to revert to online teaching and learning. The pre-primary and to Grade 9 will remain closed.

Across the country, public gatherings will be limited to 10 persons, including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. Restaurants in the restricted areas shall operate under on a takeaway basis only. Nightclubs, gambling houses and casinos will remain closed.

“These have not been easy decisions to take, but they are necessary,” says President Geingob. He said the new measures are aimed to suppress the spread of Covid-19, to protect the lives of Namibians.

“The confirmation of clustered community transmissions is of great concern. If left unchecked, this pandemic will be catastrophic for our country in terms of lives lost, the economy and increased physical suffering due to illness,” said the head of state,” he said.

Shangula on his part cautioned the public that “we are now at a critical stage. The public must strictly adhere to the regulations and health and hygiene protocols which are our first-line defence. The law enforcement agencies must enforce these measures.”

He said the ministries of health and education will intensify the dissemination of public service messages to educate the public about the dangers of Covid-19 and how our people can prevent its further spread.

“We are standing at a critical point. What we do now will determine the trajectory of this pandemic in our country. To prevent further spread of the virus demands utmost discipline in all our actions, whether at home, at work or in public spaces,” said the Health Minister.

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Rene Awambeng Joins the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Rene Awambeng
Rene will be advising and supporting the work of the Chamber within its Investment Committee

Renowned African banker Rene Awambeng has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board for 2020 and 2021. Rene will be advising and supporting the work of the Chamber within its Investment Committee.

His impressive and successful track record in all aspects of structured trade, commercial and investment banking make him one of the most prominent figure of African banking. Rene has been Director and Global Head of Client Relations at Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) since 2016.

He brings considerable expertise in structured trade and commodity finance, cross border trade flows, risk management, sales, marketing, customer relationship, project finance, as well as general banking management in both Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone Africa.

“Rene is a dealmaker, and one who understands modern day Africa and the opportunities and challenges of doing business within the continent’s booming energy industry,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

Prior to joining Afreximbank, Mr. Awambeng worked for 4 years as the Group Head of Global Corporates, Regional Corporates, and Commodity Finance, Corporate & Investment Bank, Ecobank Transnational Inc. based in Paris, France and Lagos, Nigeria and London. Prior to this, he was Executive Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Rwanda for 2 years and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Democratic Republic of Congo for 2 years.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Yaoundé, Cameroon and an MBA from University of Nottingham Business School, Nottingham, UK. He is a member of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), London, UK.

*African Energy Chamber
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Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo Joins the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board
August 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo
Nosizwe will be advising and supporting the work of the Chamber within its Natural Gas and Local Content committees

South African businesswoman, engineer and natural gas expert Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board for 2020 and 2021. Nosizwe will be advising and supporting the work of the Chamber within its Natural Gas and Local Content committees.

Nosizwe was one of South Africa’s first woman petrochemical engineers, and has built over two decades of experience working in the continent’s hydrocarbons industry. That experience and expertise in the petroleum and energy industry spans across several countries on the African continent during which she has been in the leadership of numerous key portfolios, projects and operations across the petroleum value chain: upstream, midstream and downstream in major oil and gas companies.

Her demonstrated leadership and industry knowledge has seen her serving within the boards of several oil & gas companies and development finance institutions where she brought an in-depth understanding of the sector and its dynamics. Nosizwe is currently the Executive Chairman & Founder of Raise Africa Investments, which focuses on investing in niche African manufacturing businesses with high-growth potential across the value-chain.

“Nosizwe is an accomplished and result-driven businesswoman who understands the most pressing issues our industry is facing today, from local content development and economic empowerment to capital raising and financing. Her passion for African entrepreneurship is remarkable and her expertise in growing businesses across the value-chain, especially in gas, will be critical to supporting the Chamber’s work,” stated Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

Nosizwe is an Alumni of Moscow State University of Oil and Gas Russia (MSc Petrochemical Engineering 1990), Baku Oil and Gas Academy Azerbaijan (Diploma Oil and Gas Refining 1984), INSEAD (International Management Certificate – 2003), GIBS (Global Executive Development Programme – 2004) and WITS (Certificate in Finance and Accounting-2004).

*African Energy Chamber
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Namibian leader Upbeat on Genocide negotiations with Germany
August 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

President Geingob exchange elbows with Ambassador Ngavirue during their meeting at State House

Windhoek – President Hage Geingob on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with progress on genocide, apology and reparations with former colonizer Germany, despite remaining stumbling blocks.

The Namibian leader expressed his satisfaction after Germany has agreed to tender an unconditional apology to the Namibian Government, her people and in particular the affected communities.

This came to light when Namibia’s chief negotiator Dr Zed Ngavirue met President Geingob at State House to brief him on the status of ongoing negotiations with Germany.

The two countries have also agreed to a final round of negotiations on a date that is yet to be announced. President Geingob chose Ngavirue, a veteran diplomat, to lead Namibia negation team with Germany.

The two parties have been engaged in protracted talks since 2015 during which Namibia presses for Germany to acknowledge atrocities it committed against local communities at the beginning of the 20th century.

Namibia also wants Berlin to pay for damages, which the latter has been resisting. Eight rounds of negotiations have since taken place, alternating between Windhoek and Berlin.

The last meeting was held in Namibia, at Swakopmund from 12-13 February 2020.

Ambassador Ngavirue told President Geingob that at the last round of negotiations, the parties agreed on a draft declaration, stressing a narrative of genocidal events committed by German Imperial Troops in Namibia.

The first genocide in modern history was committed by the German colonial forces against the Herero and Nama people between 1904-1908.  Windhoek has been adamant that the indiscriminate has left a deep scar on the Namibian people.

The vile act has also destroyed the way of living of those that survived the genocide and their descendants, hence the demand for Germany to pay for damages, which Germany has resisted.

Despite positive progress, negotiations have been deadlocked on the matter of reparations, which Germany has persistently refused to accept. Instead, Berlin preferred to use the terminology “healing the wounds” during the negotiations.

Ambassador Ngavirue highlighted that Namibia found the “healing the wounds” inadequate and that reparations demand is currently discussed under the heading of Reconciliation and Reconstruction Programme.

He said the Reconciliation and Reconstruction Programme will be submitted for debate and approval by the special cabinet committee on genocide, apology and reparations, chaired by the Vice President Nangolo Mbumba.

Namibia has earlier rejected 10 million Euro by Germany as reparation for the genocide. Following its meeting on March 5, 2020, the special cabinet committee directed Ambassador Ngavirue to continue with negotiations for a revised offer.

With the completion of the first round of negotiations nearing completion, President Geingob has promised to inform all concerned groups and affected communities about the final outcome.

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WPEC Launches ‘Titans Tank’ to reward best African and African American female entrepreneurs
August 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Women’s Program Engagement Council (WPEC) aka “Africa’s Titans®”, is a Global Sustainable Partnerships (GSP) Global Initiative designed to help African and African American women entrepreneurs and business owners expand into new markets, today launches a new initiative christened ‘Titans Tank.’

Titans Tank will entail a virtual business competition to allow women entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and existing business to the public and the WPEC community. The top five businesses will be selected to participate in the final. These women will get the rare opportunity to showcase their ideas, products, or services to judges and potential investors. To apply, please click on  LINK
According to Kimberly L. Fogg the Founder and Chair of (WPEC), the goal of WPEC is to work with investors to help them look at women entrepreneurs through a “new lens” as it relates to the value of investing in women and to ensure their voices are represented, recognized and championed for their role as innovators, job creators, entrepreneurs, mentors, while helping raise awareness that these women have longevity in the local, national and global markets.

Kimberly noted that the campaign will invite African and African American women entrepreneurs and business owners globally to send in a short video of their idea or existing business. “We will showcase this on all our social media platforms including @TWPEC Facebook page and LinkedIn in the week of August 17th. The judges will select the top five “Titans” and the winner will be announced on Sept 26th 2020.”

In keeping with the theme of Africa’s Titans® the competition will focus on two categories.

  • Titans in Innovation, Technology, and Communication Connectivity
  • Titans in Banking, Business, Investments, and Marketing

WPEC is looking to partner with key female representatives of major Fortune 500 companies, African leaders, company founders, philanthropists, key policymakers and business leaders to serve as mentors to share their journeys through the private and public sector spaces describing not only their successes, but also identifying policy gaps, challenges, obstacles and suggested solutions for future best practices.

WPEC is an innovative social entrepreneurship organization comprised of a global network of women leaders who play a pivotal role in the global support of getting more women in managerial/executive positions and on corporate boards, with a mission of developing, growing, and sustaining women leadership in their own businesses globally. WPEC operates globally through building a committed global black woman led Africa’s Titans® network of entrepreneurs and business owners who are utilizing innovation to drive global sustainable development, addressing existing socio-economic gaps, and integrating social impact in the continent of Africa and the Diaspora through allocating a percentage of their funding to GSP as their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partner. WPEC works with investors to help them understand the shift in paradigm of development and facilitate local/foreign direct investments through a “new lens” as it relates to the value of investing in women/women-owned businesses who have longevity in the local, national and global markets.

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NBA names Victor Williams CEO of NBA Africa
August 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams (Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)
NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams (Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)
New Role Will Oversee League’s Business and Basketball Development Initiatives Across the Continent.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today named Victor Williams CEO of NBA Africa, effective Aug. 17, 2020, it was announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Williams, an accomplished investment banking executive with extensive experience growing businesses across the U.S. and Africa, will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

In this newly-created role, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball and the NBA across the continent through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and more.

For the last five years, Williams served as the Executive Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group, where he oversaw the strategy, execution and financial performance for Standard Bank’s business with corporate, sovereign and institutional investor clients in 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. In this pan-continental role, Williams was responsible for growing a wide range of business lines across Africa, including global markets, investment banking and transactional products and services, and helped lead Standard Bank’s expansion into Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

“Adding an executive of Victor’s caliber and experience is an important step in our continued efforts to grow basketball across the continent,” said Silver. “We look forward to Victor leading NBA Africa’s operations and helping to accelerate the use of sports as an economic engine across Africa.”

“Becoming CEO of NBA Africa is a compelling opportunity to join the NBA – a widely-respected and admired, globally-oriented sports enterprise,” said Williams. “It allows me to blend my professional experience building businesses in Africa with my passion for the sport of basketball. I look forward to working with our colleagues in Johannesburg and Dakar to help grow basketball’s commercial and social impact in Africa and on the world stage.”

Williams joined Standard Bank in 2011 as Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for East Africa and subsequently led Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment banking business in Nigeria.

Previously, he worked at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a Managing Director focused on mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he executed more than $5 billion in merger and acquisition transactions and advised senior executives and boards of directors of corporate and private equity firms on mergers, divestitures, acquisitions, joint ventures, recapitalizations and corporate defense.

Prior to Wells Fargo Securities, Williams was Vice President of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he provided strategic guidance to Fortune 500 companies in all aspects of merger and financing analysis and execution.

Williams, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and the U.S., holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degrees in applied math and economics from Brown University. He is a member of Harvard Business School’s Africa Advisory Board and has also served on the boards of publicly-listed companies and non-profit organizations in the U.S., Nigeria and Kenya.

*National Basketball Association (NBA)
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Mozambique confirms that it was supposed to be final destination of cargo that exploded in Beirut
August 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The private explosives company Fabrica de Explosivos de Mocambique (FEM) has confirmed that it was supposed to be the final destination for the shipment of ammonium nitrate that exploded with devastating effect in Beirut last Tuesday.

Interviewed by the United States television network CNN, a spokesperson for FEM said the company was the original buyer for the ammonium nitrate, which was to have been used to make explosives for the Mozambican mining industry.

‘We can confirm that yes, we did order it,’ a spokesperson for FEM told CNN. But it never turned up at its supposed destination, the central Mozambican port of Beira.

FEM imports ammonium nitrate regularly, and this shipment, which was supposed to arrive in Beira in 2013, was the only one which never showed up.

‘This is not common. It’s absolutely not common,’ the FEM spokesperson said. ‘Usually, when you place an order for whatever it is that you’re buying, it’s not common that you don’t get the goods. This is a vessel, it’s not like one thing that was lost in the mail, it’s a big quantity.’

FEM said it never paid for the ammonium nitrate. However, the Lebanese law firm Baroudi and Partners told the “New York Times” that Mozambique’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM (International Bank of Mozambique) paid for the chemical on behalf of FEM.

But the FEM spokesperson told CNN it had worked with an outside trading company to facilitate the transfer of the chemical from Georgia to Mozambique. But several months after the ammonium nitrate left Georgia, the spokesperson said the trading company told FEM it would not be arriving: ‘We were just informed by that trading company: there’s a problem with the vessel, your order is not going to be delivered,’ the spokesperson said. ‘So, we never paid for it, we never received it.’

FEM then purchased another shipment of ammonium nitrate to make up for the one that never arrived. The spokesperson did not say how much FEM would have paid for the ammonium nitrate from Georgia, other than that it would have been “a significant amount”.

According to AIM, FEM appears to have been caught unwittingly in an international swindle. The ammonium nitrate was on board the Moldovan registered ship, the “Rhosus”, which was leased by a Russian businessman, Igor Grechushkin.

There are some indications that he never intended to send the ship on to Beira. First, the crew had not been paid, and secondly Grechushkin claimed he did not have the money to pay the fees for using the Suez Canal – even though, according to the ship’s captain, Boris Prokoshev, he had received a million dollars to take the ship to Beira.

Allegeldy, Grechushkin sent the “Rhosus” to Beira, to take on more cargo. The idea was that an additional cargo of heavy machinery would earn more money for the ship. But, as Grechushkin should have known, there was no room in the holds of the “Rhosus” for the machinery as well as the ammonium nitrate.

Furthermore, the “Rhosus” was not seaworthy. It was leaking when it arrived in the port of Beirut. Lebanese inspectors found the ship was in no condition to put out to sea again. Furthermore, the “Rhosus” had failed to pay port docking fees. So the Lebanese impounded it.

Attempts to contact Grechuskin were unsuccessful. He simply abandoned the “Rhosus”, with its bills unpaid, included the wages of the crew. Prokoshev and other ship officers found themselves virtual prisoners in Beirut, since the Lebanese would not allow them to leave until the port fees were paid.

Prokoshev recalled that the Russian embassy was unsympathetic and told him “Do you expect President Putin to send special forces to get you out?”

The crew depended on the good will of port officials for food, and eventually, in August 2014, a Lebanese judge ordered the release of the crew on compassionate grounds.

The unseaworthy “Rhosus” eventually sank, but by then the ammonium nitrate had been transferred to a warehouse, where it stayed for six years. Lebanese customs repeatedly urged the judiciary to order the removal of the chemical since it presented a serious threat to human life and to property. Their worst fears were realized on Tuesday, in the enormous explosion which destroyed the port, killed at least 137 people, and injured thousands.

The FEM spokesperson told CNN he was surprised to learn how long the chemical had been stored at the port as ‘that’s not a material that you want to have stored without having any use for it”, adding, ‘this is a very serious material and you need to transport it with very strict standards of transportation.’

‘It’s absolutely massive and devastating to see all of that (the events in Beirut). And it’s with great sorrow that we see that,’ he added. ‘And unfortunately, we see our name attached, even though we have absolutely no part in it.’

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Peter Biar Erred-Salva Kiir’s Office
August 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Peter Biar says the government of President Salva Kiir wanted him dead.Photo courtesy

Juba – On Friday, South Sudan’s Office of the President Salva Kiir has described the recent allegations by political activist Peter Biar that the President wanted him dead as made up stories to facilitate his asylum to the United States.

Peter Biar and philanthropist late Kerbino Wol were arrested in 2018. However, the court in Juba had charged Biar with incitement and disturbing the peace. He was then sentenced to 2 years for violating section 48/80, 2, b of the panel code of 2008.

Biar was pardoned by President Salva Kiir in January after spending several months in jail, followed Kiir ordered for their release in a New Year goodwill gesture. They were among 30 inmates released from prisons across the country.

Peter Biar left Juba for Nairobi, Kenya where he lived with his family until his departure to the US late last month.

In a tweeter post on 23rd of July, Biar who is now in the United States alleges that a “death squad” was sent either to abduct him from Kenya or murder him.

Biar also thanked US President Donald Trump for what he described as “providing refuge to me, my wife, and our three young children.”

While in the US, Biar called for the removal of President Salva Kiir through general elections and targeted sanctions.

In an opinion piece titled; “My Escape to America Shows the Price of Dissent in South Sudan” -published on 23 July 2020 by the Wall Street Journal, Biar described President Kiir as a dictator “working instead to build a powerful and repressive security apparatus with one mission—to keep him in power.”

In response to Peter Biar’s allegations, Ateny Wek Ateny, Press Secretary in the Office of the President accused Biar of being paranoid following the death of Kerbino Wol, who was also an inmate with him.

“A careful scrutiny of the above allegations leads to the conclusion that Peter made up this story, said Ateny. “His only problem is fear itself and such paranoia is the genesis of his return to the US, the current media blitz, and a call for sanctions and an increase in internationally sponsored protection forces in South Sudan.”

Ateny further said that the Juba government does not pursue those pardoned by the president.

“Prisoners of war, political detainees and those with other forgivable offences including Peter were released pardoned and thus the State has no interest in pursuing, monitoring or harming him,” Ateny retained.

According to Ateny, Biar was only seeking reentry into the US after allegedly losing his residency and Green card to the US Department of Homeland Security for having overstayed outside the US.

Nevertheless Peter Biar had stated that while in Nairobi, he “was forced into hiding after allegedly being told by senior government officials in South Sudan that assassins were actively looking for him, alleged that a hit squad in a tinted vehicle with a South Sudanese number visited his Nairobi apartment before he went into hiding.

In a flippant tone, Ateny said, “This allegation does not stand intelligence tradition. No government with this kind of intention would be this bold and daring to pursue a dissident in a foreign country using means that best implicates it.”

Foreign Spy

Ateny also said that Peter Biar was a foreign agent who has been spying senior government officials and the military establishment and was arrested because of collusion with foreign agencies and that the government became suspicious of him after discovering that he was working for a Germany firm.

 “Peter has not often engaged in peaceful activities allowed under the constitution of South Sudan. His subversive activities, which are injurious to the peace process and the leaders of the country, are notable,” Ateny said.

In his letter, Biar further insisted that he couldn’t take the threat on his light lightly considering, “I had been a political prisoner in South Sudan, convicted a show trial…and sentenced to two years in prison.”

Former political detainee believes South Sudanese are now “desperate to hold Mr. Kiir accountable for his failed leadership” through voting in leaders will “secure a just and lasting peace.”

In his letter, Biar demanded the amendment of the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate to ensure voters’ safety during elections and a road map to presidential elections -that entails a new constitution, electoral laws and a new independent National Elections Commission.

But the Office of the President Kiir affirmed that the peace government plans to hold national elections in 2023.

President Kiir’s office, the government will work with stakeholders to implement the fragile revitalized peace agreement towards a promising transition and path to democracy.

Ateny reiterated its government commitment to peace, good governance, the rule of law and democracy in the world youngest nation, which just emerging from the country’s five year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before devastated the country’s economy.

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Mali: Oumou Sangaré tops World Music Charts Europe
August 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Oumou Sangaré

Malian Oumou Sangaré has claimed the No 1 spot on the World Music Charts Europe(link is external) (WMCE) with her album titled Acoustic.

Acoustic rose 13 places after making its entry on the chart at No 14 in July. The offering is essentially an unplugged version of her 2017 release Mogoya. The album was released digitally on 19 June through record label No Format.

“I suggested to Oumou that she record this album after a show in London to celebrate 15 years of No Format,” No Format founder Laurent Bizot said. “At that concert, for the first time, she had agreed to try out this acoustic approach, which is all about letting go. The space it created for her voice was wonderful.”

The Pace Setters, a reissue of Ghanaian band Edikanfo’s 1981 LP, ranks second after its debut on the chart at No 7 in July.

Making its entry at No 4 is The King of Sudanese Jazz by musician Sharhabil Ahmed via the Habibi Funk label. The seven tracks were recorded in the 1960s and feature a mix of rock and roll, funk, surf rock, traditional Sudanese music and Congolese rumba.

Maghreb K7 Club: Synth Raï, Chaoui & Staiif (1985-1997) is another newcomer on the chart ranking at No 7. The album features an impressive compilation of music recorded and produced between 1985 and 1997 by musicians from the Maghreb region in Algeria.

Further down, Santrofi’s Alewa – the No 1 album in July – drops to No 9, while Tamotait by Tuareg band Tamikrest from Mali fell eight positions to No 13. The album was at the top of the chart in June.

At No 17 is Afropentatonism by Nigerien desert blues musician Alhousseini Anivolla and Ethiopian jazz guitarist Girum Mezmur. The pan-African project dropped six places after debuting at No 11 last month.

Nayda! by Bab L’Bluz from Morocco completes the list of African albums on the chart with a debut at No 18. Real World Records says the album features “a new wave of Moroccan artists and musicians taking their cues from local heritage, singing words of freedom in the Moroccan-Arabic dialect of darija (‘nayda’ means both ‘to rise up’ and ‘to party’) and mixing influences as and when.”

The WMCE features albums selected by radio producers and presenters across Europe. The albums are then played for a month on various radio stations, and an official poster is displayed in multiple music stores.

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