Gambia: Lamin VDC removes garbage around Lamin health centre
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Adama Makasuba
The Lamin Village Development Committee on Thursday removed garbage dumped around Lamin health centre to outskirt of the community.
The initiative came from the support project of Dutch Foundation dubbed ‘Children of Lamin’ that aims at empowering the community of Lamin.
At least four trucks and a truck lifter were hired by the Committee through a funding support from the Dutch Foundation.
The reserve site for molding mud blocks turned to a dumped site as a result no dumping site for the natives of Lamin village.
And the Committee now announced to fence the site and reserve it for gardening purpose.
Meanwhile, the Committee said it had engaged Brikama Area Council about clearing site but believed that the Committee lacks the capacity of clearing the site.
Speaking to journalists at the site, Allahgie Babou Sarr, adviser to the Lamin village Development committee, said the committee took it to itself to remove the garbage as a detrimental effect of the site is causing.
“It has been a problem for the whole Lamin village and this is why we took it, when the garbage are burn all the smoke come back to the hospital,” he said.
Mr. Sarr assured the commitment of the committee to ensuring a caretaker of the community of Lamin from any bad effect.
However, he blamed Brikama Area Council as a “total failure and I want to tell the government that Brikama is a failure” saying “I pay 600 dalasi per month on garbage.”
For her part, Annemieke de Koning, described the removal of the garbage as great, adding hygienic is paramount not only for the hospital but for the whole of Lamin community.
According to her, “it is really affecting that rubbish is next to the hospital. You can imagine when you are sick and admitted it affect you in the hospital.”
She hopes for the continuation of such project between her Foundation and the community of Lamin.
Ambassador Imran promises his government support to Gambia
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Adama Makasuba
The Pakistani Ambassador to Dakar overseeing Gambia and other countries in West Africa has promised his government support to the Gambia in trade, agriculture, health and others.
Ambassador Imran was speaking to journalists on Friday at Sand Beach Hotel in Kotu, after meeting the Pakistani community in the Gambia.
“My purpose here is to explore the expansion of trade because the amount of trade is around 12 million a year which is nothing there is so much potential here,” he said.
Prior to his meeting with Pakistani community in the Gambia on Friday, he met with Gambia’s youth and trade ministers and unveiled the discussion transpired between him and the trade minister to have centered on Pakistan’s support to export rice, textile and agricultural equipments like tractors in the country.
Meanwhile, he assured his government support on the request made by the trade minister and helping the Gambian industry to renovating some of the dilapidating hotels.
Ambassador M Imran Mirza, who based in Dakar, is task to oversee the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali and other countries within the West Africa.
He said he had met the administration and told them to continue the cordial relationship between Pakistan and Gambia
On the relationship of the two countries, he said “we have a very cordial friendly relation ever since Gambia’s independence we share common religion and Gambia has always supported Pakistan in the all United Nations and OIC resolution and candidature and Pakistan has always reciprocate Gambian brothers wherever needed in diplomatic process, military process.”
Pakistan is a country in the Asian continent bordered with India. It has been supportive to the Gambia in the areas like health, education, military training and rice exportation to the Gambia.
France Football names Top 10 African footballers of all time
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Reputable French sports magazine, France Football has listed what they name African Top ten footballers of all time.
While they agree to the fact that there are so many successful African football players who are adored in their home countries and foreign clubs for the immense contribution to football, the magazine noted that the listed ten footballers did not only made history but lifted the continents football to enviable heights, thus opening doors for fresh talents to be easily spotted.
The Magazine’s top 10 African footballers of all time are; George Weah (🇱iberia), Samuel Eto’o (🇨ameroon), Roger Milla (🇨ameroon), Didier Drogba (🇮vory Coast), Abedi Pélé (🇬hana), Rabah Madjer (Algeria), Jay-Jay Okocha (🇳igeria), Moustapha Dahleb (Algeria), Seydou Keïta (🇲ali), and Laurent Pokou (🇮vory Coast).
Here’s why Cameroonian-born Monique Ntumngia won WWF International Youth Award
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Cameroonian-born Monique Ntumngia founder of ‘Green Girls’ in Cameroon, a social business which educates young women from rural communities in the use of renewable energy, is the recipient of this year’s World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF International President’s Youth award.
The award recognizes young people under the age of 30 helping promote the cause and impact of nature conservation.
As well as her outstanding contribution to promoting sustainable development in the country, the award is recognition of Monique’s efforts to champion the inclusion of women and girls in the renewable energy sector in Cameroon and Africa.
Since its founding in 2015, Green Girls has empowered and trained almost 800 women from 23 communities across Cameroon to generate solar energy and biogas from human waste.
On receiving the award, Monique Said; “It’s been my good fortune that Green Girls has allowed me to combine two of my great passions: sustainable development and female empowerment. Renewable energy is an essential part of any solution if we are to meet both Africa’s future energy needs and the environmental challenges that lie ahead. Today’s youth will be at the forefront of meeting these challenges and women will have a central role to play. Thanks to the tireless work of my team and the boundless enthusiasm of countless young women, we’ve managed to make some significant progress and it’s truly humbling to be recognized for our work”.
Through Green Girls’ work, more than 3,000 households have been provided with biogas, while more than 100 households have had solar installations fitted.
In addition to being trained on how to produce biogas, young women are taught how to promote sustainable development and become financially independent.
In 2017, Monique was also crowned the winner of the inaugural WWF Africa Youth Award.
Monique and these amazing women give us hope and show what is possible.
“Not only is Monique promoting renewable energy that benefits the environment, she is also empowering hundreds of young women across Cameroon…She is a shining light, setting an example and showing us all that development and protecting the environment can go hand in hand,” said Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International.
Cameroon Afropop singer Charlotte Dipanda named UNICEF goodwill ambassador
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Charlotte Dipanda, Cameroon’s Afropop singer, reputed for her mostly acoustic music spiced with her lyrics in her native language Bakaka has been named by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF as one of its goodwill ambassadors.
As a goodwill ambassador, she will assist UNICEF in implementing its mission in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.
Charlotte Dipanda joins Samuel Eto’o and Fabrice Ondoa, as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador to Cameroon.
She is the first Cameroonian artiste to become UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador in Cameroon.
Announcing her appointment to the Cameroonian public via her social media account, the highly acclaimed vocal singer promised to join UNICEF in its relentlessly fight for children in Cameroon.
“I will work hard to see that UNICEF’s goal to build a world where the rights of every child will be respected is achieved,” she said.
Members Of African Criminal Enterprise Charged With Large-Scale Trafficking Of Rhinoceros Horns And Elephant Ivory And Heroin Distribution
June 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
Indictment Alleges Conspiracy to Smuggle at Least 190 Kilograms of Rhinoceros Horns and at Least 10 Tons of Elephant Ivory Valued at More Than $7 Million
WASHINGTON – Today, Moazu Kromah (aka “Ayoub,” “Ayuba,” and “Kampala Man”), Amara Cherif (aka “Bamba Issiaka”), Mansur Mohamed Surur (aka “Mansour”), and Abdi Hussein Ahmed (aka “Abu Khadi”) were charged in an indictment for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both protected wildlife species, valued at more than $7 million that involved the illegal poaching of approximately 35 rhinoceros and approximately 100 elephants.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Special Operations Division, made the announcement.
In addition, Kromah, Cherif, and Surur were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Surur and Ahmed were charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of heroin. Kromah, a citizen of Liberia, was arrested in Uganda on June 12, 2019, and expelled to the United States. He was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker earlier today and detained. Cherif, a citizen of Guinea, was arrested in Senegal on June 7, 2019, and remains in custody in Senegal pending a process through which his extradition, deportation or other lawful removal to the United States is being considered by Senegalese authorities. Surur and Ahmed, both citizens of Kenya, remain fugitives. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, these defendants are members of an international conspiracy to traffic in not only heroin but also rhino horns and elephant ivory. The alleged enterprise, responsible for the illegal slaughter of dozens of rhinos and more than 100 elephants, was as destructive to protected species as it was lucrative. The excellent work of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the DEA has put the brakes on an operation that allegedly peddled dead protected species and potentially deadly narcotics.”
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said: “Wildlife trafficking will not be tolerated. It is often intertwined with other major types of criminal activity including conspiracy, smuggling, money laundering and narcotics – all of which are included in the defendant’s indictment today. The U.S. Department of the Interior remains committed to combating the illegal wildlife trade through the END Wildlife Trafficking Act and the President’s Executive Order on Transnational Organized Crime. I would like to thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice, and others who help bring wildlife traffickers, and other criminals, to justice. Together, we can protect some of the world’s most iconic species while ensuring the safety and livelihood of the American people.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni said: “DEA’s global investigations with our foreign counterparts often involve transnational criminal networks involved in a wide array of unlawful acts – from drug trafficking to conspiring to commit acts of terror to international money laundering to human trafficking – that undermine the rule of law everywhere. These suspected criminal masterminds not only conspired to traffic huge amounts of heroin to New York, but also directed a multimillion-dollar poaching scheme to traffic in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory – both endangered wildlife species. DEA investigations throughout the world consistently illustrate the lengths and heinous acts these global criminal individuals and networks will commit to further their illicit enterprises.”
According to allegations in the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Kromah, Cherif, Surur, and Ahmed were members of a transnational criminal enterprise (the “Enterprise”) based in Uganda and surrounding countries that was engaged in the large-scale trafficking and smuggling of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both protected wildlife species. Trade involving endangered or threatened species violates several U.S. laws, as well as international treaties implemented by certain U.S. laws.
From at least in or about December 2012 through at least in or about May 2019, Kromah, Cherif, Surur, and Ahmed conspired to transport, distribute, sell, and smuggle at least approximately 190 kilograms of rhinoceros horns and at least approximately 10 tons of elephant ivory from or involving various countries in East Africa, including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania, to buyers located in the United States and countries in Southeast Asia. Such weights of rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory are estimated to have involved the illegal poaching of more than approximately 35 rhinoceros and more than approximately 100 elephants. In total, the estimated average retail value of the rhinoceros horn involved in the conspiracy was at least approximately $3.4 million, and the estimated average retail value of the elephant ivory involved in the conspiracy was at least approximately $4 million.
Typically, the defendants exported and agreed to export the rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory for delivery to foreign buyers, including those represented to be in Manhattan, in packaging that concealed the rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory in, among other things, pieces of art such as African masks and statues. The defendants received and deposited payments from foreign customers that were sent in the form of international wire transfers, some which were sent through U.S. financial institutions, and paid in cash.
On a number of occasions, Kromah, Surur, and Ahmed met with a confidential source (CS-1), both together and separately, concerning potential purchases of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. During these meetings and at other times via phone calls and an electronic messaging application, CS-1 discussed with Kromah, Surur, and Ahmed, in substance and in part, the terms of the sale, including the price, weight, or size of the rhinoceros horns, payment, destination, and delivery options. CS-1 also discussed with Cherif via phone calls and electronic messages, in substance and in part, the terms of the sales, as well as how to send payment for the rhinoceros horns from a U.S. bank account located in Manhattan. On or about March 16, 2018, law enforcement agents intercepted a package containing a black rhinoceros horn sold by the defendants to CS-1 that was intended for a buyer represented to be in Manhattan. From in or about March 2018 through in or about May 2018, the defendants offered to sell CS-1 additional rhinoceros horns of varying weights, including horns weighing up to seven kilograms. On or about July 17, 2018, law enforcement agents intercepted a package containing two white rhinoceros horns sold by the defendants to CS-1 that was intended for a buyer represented to be in Manhattan.
Separately, from at least in or about August 2018 through at least in or about May 2019, Surur and Ahmed conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than approximately 10 kilograms of heroin to a buyer represented to be located in New York.
* * *
Kromah, 49; Cherif, 54; Surur, 59; and Ahmed, 56; are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and two counts of wildlife trafficking, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Kromah, Cherif, and Surur are also each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Finally, Surur and Ahmed are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DEA, and he thanked law enforcement authorities and conservation partners in Uganda for their assistance in the investigation. Mr. Berman also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance and noted that the investigation is continuing.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sagar K. Ravi and Jarrod L. Schaeffer are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
11 African leaders attends Nigeria’s maiden celebration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria on
June 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Olumide Ajayi
No fewer than 11 African leaders attended the ceremonies for the maiden celebration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria on Wednesday.
Among them were President Idris Deby of Republic of Chad; President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President George Weah of Liberia; President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
Others were President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Adama Barrow of The Gambia and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic as well as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda,
On arrival at Eagle Square, Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari went round to have a handshake with each of the leaders and representatives of other world leaders represented at the ceremony.
Mr Buhari arrived at the venue at 10.05 a.m., watched the parade mounted by members of the Nigeria Armed Forces and Nigeria Police Force before being driven round the arena in an open vehicle.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and wife, Dolapo, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The federal government marked Democracy Day on June 12 for the first time after the president signed the law to commemorate the 1993 Presidential Election considered to be the freest and most credible poll in Nigeria.
The election which the late MKO Abiola won as the candidate of the Social Democratic Party against Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention, was cancelled by the military government led by Ibrahim Babangida.
As a mark of honour for Mr Abiola, the president re-named Abuja National Stadium MKO Abiola National Stadium in addition to having posthumously honoured him in 2018 with the highest national award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.
In the past 19 years, the country had marked May 29, which was the date the military handed over power to civilians, had been marked as Democracy Day. (NAN)
African Sexual Enhancers Trending Among Zambian Men ,”Are They Necessary?
May 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Kelvin Mbewe,Lusaka,
Eyebrows where raised when the state owned Zambia Daily mail led with a human interest story headlined “Sex booster victims treated for cholera.”
This is a story where three men were mistakenly admitted to a cholera center in Katete (eastern Zambia) when they started vomiting after consuming sex enhancers commonly known as mvumbwe.
This happened when the country was hit by a cholera outbreak.
Apparently, sex boosters have become the order for the day for many men in Zambia.
Names such as Mvumbwe, Mutototo, mutoba pompwe and others are not alien to most men.
A few men that were interviewed on the matter agree to having used the boosters and have no shame about it.
“Yes I know about sex boasters and I can confirm that they really work. I have used them before that’s how I know that they work. The one I used requires you to apply on the manhood three hours before the act,” said Moses Lwipa.
Mr Lwipa says he opted for the boosters because he wanted to prove his girlfriend wrong.
“There is a notion that us who drink beer are weak in bed, so I had to prove my girlfriend wrong. The one I used is powerful, it makes you last for more than three hours. My woman got tired but I was not,” he said.
According to Mr Lwipa the boosters did not have any side effects on him.
Another user of sex boasters is Aaron Chiti 45.
He claims that the boasters are the reason for him having two sets of twins.
“I prefer the African sex boasters. Am a father of two sets of twins, can you imagine that. I used to use my own concoction. I used raw groundnuts, cassava and what is known in bemba as mutobaponpwe,” he said.
Another fanatic for sex boasters is William Chozela, a family man.
Mr Chozela says he chooses to use the boasters so that he can perform both at home and with his girlfriends.
“It’s very shameful to go home and fail to perform, its means my wife will be suspicious that am misbehaving, that is why I use them,” he said.
The biggest question is, can men do without these sex boasters and what are their implications?
Friday Mulenga runs a herbal clinic which supplies most of these boasters and he claims that men cannot do without them.
Mr Mulenga said in an interview that men are strong in their early twenties and later in their lives they become weak hence the need to use boosters to enhance their performance.
He said 45 percent of men suffer from premature ejaculation.
“As you age you become what is known as diminishing returns in economics, your heart will not pump blood effectively because it weakens because it has been pumping blood for a long time,” he said.
“Scientifically proven a normal encounter is supposed to last about between 8 to 11 minutes. That is good enough. Three to four times in a week is acceptable in a marriage arrangement, “he said.
He said the weakening of the heart leads to erectile dysfunction which affects sexual performance.
The boasters cost K30 to K40 per packet and can last about a month depending on the usage.
“It is a normal phenomenon for a man to go down like that. This is when sex boasters come in. They bring about blood pressure to enhance the pumping of blood,” he said.
Mr Mulenga says most of his clients are both young and old men in formal and informal sector.
According to Mr Mulenga the response from the public is overwhelming because sex is a problem in most homes.
“If there is no sex in a home, marriage is at stake. You can have all the money, a good house, cars, expensive cellphone and clothes on but if you can’t perform then you marriage is at stake,” he said.
He said there are plenty of sex boasters with names like mulya mfumu, Kasupa, Katonge, namaikumbathe.
Men that use these boasters consume them in their tea, munkoyo or any other liquid.
There is however a lot of misuse of these sex boasters, according to mr Mulenga.
“For example you give someone to take two t spoons but they take three sometimes even four. Obviously that will have an impact on the user.
He said the herbal medicines are not good for people with blood pressure problems.
“IF you have bp, don’t buy such things from the street, unless after seeking medical advice. If you have bp and are taking sex boasters then you need medicine for bp aswell to counter reacts of the sex boasters,” he said.
But a qualified medical doctor from the University teaching hospital (UTH) Victor Mapulanga said he could not confirm or deny the capacity of the sex boasters.
“As a medical doctor I’m trained to deal with conversional medicine and not herbal, that is why I think it would be unfair to talk about herbal medicine because am not sure of what they can or cannot do,” he said.
Billions at Play: Centurion CEO Agrees Deal to Write New Book about Africa’s Oil and Gas
May 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Billions at Play: Centurion CEO Agrees Deal to Write New Book about Africa’s Oil and Gas|
The book, “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy”, will be packed with captivating, useful ideas, stories, examples and information that Africans can use to take command of their future
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 29, 2019/ — Centurion Law Group Founder and CEO NJ Ayuk has been saying for years that Africa’s oil and gas resources can fuel socioeconomic revitalization throughout the continent. Now he’s writing a book that explains how it can be done.
The book, “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy”, which is slated for release in October 2019, will be packed with captivating, useful ideas, stories, examples and information that Africans can use to take command of their future, from new oil revenue management models, gas to power, to the deal-making techniques and behind the scene strategies that Ayuk has successfully employed with multinationals and African governments.
Additional topics covered in the book include the importance of including women in oil and gas leadership, monetizing petroleum resources, American investment in Africa oil and gas in the era of President Trump, local content, addressing energy security concerns, new African gamechangers, and the value African countries achieve by participating in The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), among others.
“We’ve heard more than enough about the challenges facing Africa,” said Ayuk, who also is the co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity and Executive Chairman of the Africa Energy Chamber. “Instead of dwelling on our problems, we should be working together to reverse Africa’s Resource Curse. Don’t get me wrong, this book will not be an idealistic treatise for a better world. It will have more of a ‘stop complaining, get up and get to work’ kind of message—backed up with practical ideas for strategically harnessing Africa’s petroleum resources.”
Ayuk says that one of his main goals for writing the book is to inspire a healthy dialogue about the future of the African energy industry that is seeing new changes in Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, South Sudan, Algeria, Uganda, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, South Africa, Angola, Libya, Niger, Congo, Chad, Mauritania, Tanzania and many other new players. “I know there will be readers who disagree with my points, and I welcome that,” he said. “We can’t make meaningful, positive changes for everyday Africans until we start discussing a way forward. The more we advocate personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and an enabling environment for investment, Africa’s oil industry and African stand to benefit than relying on foreign aid and assistance.”
Third Term Bid will be suicidal for President Alpha Conde and Guinea-Ben Bangoura
May 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
While he may not have officially made a statement on the third term project, that President Conde or anyone in his entourage should entertain such thoughts does profound damage to iconic portrait of a change agent that brought the current President of Guinea to power, says, Washington DC based journalist and Editor of AlloAfricaNews, Ben Bangoura .
Instead of the Mr. Conde changing the system, it is the system that has changed him, and if the President gets his way with the third term bid, the consequences could be tragic for Guinea, Ben Bangoura says. The expectations of Guinean people under his current tenure have not been met as the country remains amongst the poorest in the world, Bangoura continues.
The International community can be helpful by persuading Mr. Alpha Condé to avoid the third term agenda as this is neither in his personal interest nor in that of people of Guinea, Bangoura says.
President Alpha Condé is in his second and last term, according to Guinea’s constitution. How has he fared as President?
A pertinent question from a genuine journalist you have always been. Thanks again for reaching out. In a previous interview, I remember, we talked about a landmark election that culminated in Prof Alpha Condé, a self-declared reformer, clinching the presidency after a tumultuous transition. It was a moment of hope considered by many as the light at the end of the tunnel for Guinea, after decades of military rule which left the country in shambles.
He fought so much for democratic reforms, human rights and good governance in the country, has he lived up to the promises he made while in the opposition?
I doubt whether he succeeded or not. Key indicators are that he has not lived up to the promises he made while in the opposition. The expectations of Guinean people under his current tenure have not been met. Guinea is still one of the poorest countries in the world. The general population lacks clean water and has a little access to electricity, while the average citizen still lives below $1 a day. That is at odds with the country’s enormous resources. Guinea has the third largest bauxite reserves in the world among its natural wealth. The question is, who or how the local content fits into this?
On political front, things are not going well either. Alpha Condé has tightened his control over all branches of the government. Meanwhile, the country has not conducted any successful elections in recent years. For instance, the term of the current National Assembly expired six months ago. Alpha Condé had to issue a presidential decree to keep it going. At the same time, local elections held in February 2018 were marred by violence and have yet to be settled across the country. The Guinean Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but it is currently restricted. The system of governance is highly corrupt, and the rule of law is not respected. And in an apparent attempt to divide and conquer, Alpha Condé, an ethnic malinké, initiated a dangerous policy. Under his regime, one must be an ethnic Soussou to be eligible for the post of Prime minister in Guinea. While the chairmanship of the National Assembly is exclusively reserved for a native of the Forest region, as peulh you belong to the opposition. What kind of policy is this in a country where people, regardless of their background, have generally been living in peace and harmony for centuries like a family? I prefer to see someone holding a high position in the government because of his competence and not because of his ethnic identity.
There are talks of the constitution being changed so that he can have another mandate, where is this coming from? is it feasible and is President Conde in support of this?
Well, Alpha Condé has not made any official declaration in that regard. However, it looks though he is heading in that direction. A source knowledgeable on the matter stated that a new constitution has been drafted with help of experts from foreign countries, including France. This source added that the bill effectively guarantees a third term bid for Alpha Condé and that it has a good chance to pass if introduced this year in the National Assembly controlled by the RPG-Arc-en ciel, a coalition of political parties that back President Condé. But this source conceded that its fate maybe uncertain if submitted to a national referendum.
Where is this idea coming from? Of course, the idea is coming from Alpha Condé himself because of his increasing desire to remain in power until his death. He has a clan around him – arguing that he deserves an extended stay to finish his work as a “Dieu le Père”-. He currently has surrogates deployed in every region of the country, bribing local officials and community leaders to drum up support behind the idea.
To boost his shaky international standing, President Condé has reportedly recruited some prominent French politicians and journalists to shepherd the campaign for a third term. Countries including China and Russia, which have substantial interests in mining sectors in Guinea, have signaled their willingness to back such a move. Alpha Condé has also assigned his Ambassador in Washington, Kerfalla Yansané, to negotiate for him an official visit in the United States that would include a White House photo op with president Trump to be used as a tool for propaganda. Well connected sources indicate that the Embassy of Guinea is currently seeking assistance from a Lobbying Firm in the nation’s capital to assist in the process. But the outcome is far from certain.
Is third term doable? Maybe! Is it feasible? No! The current constitution of Guinea has two important provisions: Article 27 states that the president can only be elected to be president for a total of ten years. No more than that. The other one is article 154 which stipulates that if amendment were to occur, this should not undermine the standing of the latter. Knowing that they lack the constitutional avenue to proceed, President Condé and his cronies have apparently settled on a brand new constitution.
With regards to the opposition parties and civil society groups that could fight such a move, how organized and how serious are they?
The opposition has responded with an outright rejection of any move to change or pass a new constitution. A significant number of civil society organizations are emerging under the umbrella of the FNDC (National Front for the Defense of the Constitution). In recent weeks, high profile community leaders, including the so called Kountigui of Basse Côte Elhadj Sèkhouna Soumah, a key ally of President Condé, have distanced themselves from it. The question now is whether the opposition has a clear strategy and a “war chest” to take on President Condé who is now very rich by all accounts. But I believe that the majority of Guinean people are opposed as well. They have witnessed democratic changes taking place in neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Gambia etc.., changes that resulted in a peaceful transfer of power from one government to another. They want to see such a positive change in Guinea in 2020 by electing a new head of state, no matter who that is, to ensure the continuation. They do not want to see another autocratic leader dying in power by not respecting the constitution, something that may yet trigger another painful period of transition.
What is the position of the Army in this unfolding drama?
It is hard to say right now. But in a dramatic move earlier this year, Alpha Conde issued a decree on January 8, 2019, appointing 4 high-ranking officers in the Army as Ambassadors to Angola, Cuba, Guinea Bissau and Mali. In recent weeks, the president also appointed several other army officers to civilian positions within the administration. They were mainly assigned in the remote areas of the country.
Analysts believe that this was done on purpose to weaken the army because these officers are known to be “very experienced” and may also “harbor interest” in staging a coup if the opportunity should arise. In my view, his actions in that regard amount to a preemptive strike.
Prior to this bizarre decision late last year, President Conde removed Mr. Kelefa Sall, the presiding officer of the constitutional court, from his post. He was openly opposed to any modification of the constitution. Indeed in 2015, during the swearing in ceremony for his second and last term, which was attended by a dozen heads of state, including longtime dictators from Chad, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea, Sall suggested that Condé should avoid any attempt to change the constitution in order to remain in power. He was very upset about that.
You are versed with developments in Africa. In Benin, it was chaotic and sham general elections. In Guinea, should President Conde succeed to change the constitution, what will this mean for democracy in west Africa and the rest of Africa broadly speaking?
It would be a devastating blow to Democracy for the region, particularly for Guinea. It would bring chaos in a country that is already on a political and an economic downward spiral. A third term would be a lack of vision, a leadership failure of historical proportions on the part of the 84-year-old Alpha Condé whom many had once referred to as “opposant historique.”
Remember, this is a guy who once billed himself as a ”reformer” and “unifier”. At one point, he said he was going to be the “Mandela of Guinea”. One who would deliver that change Guineans have been dreaming about for decades. We all know that Mandela was a one term president in post-apartheid South Africa who rejected the call for him to stay in power permanently. We also knew Mandela as a unifier who fought for justice and equal rights for all. Alpha Condé on the other hand seems to want to cling on to power at any cost like Mugabe. In addition, the fact of matter is that Guinea under his leadership, is an autocratic state, a country divided along ethnic and class lines, between those who have and have not. He came in promising to change the system. Instead, it is the system that has now changed him for the worse.
If he succeeds in imposing a new constitution in Guinea, he may not be around for that long. He could be toppled by a popular uprising similar to one we have then seen in Burkina Faso, and most recently in Zimbabwe, Algeria and Sudan. Mr. Condé must understand that there is a life after the presidency, that he is going to die one day -one way or the other-. Therefore, he should focus his efforts crafting a lasting legacy for himself as a leader that has a sense of history and who was able to rebuild his country, leaving it in peace and in economic prosperity.
History tells us that no mankind has ever achieved everything he wanted to do in life. In democratic society such as the United States, each time there is alternance, the outgoing president always says to his successor: “Here is what I have accomplished, here are the works to be done”. The idea that Mr. Alpha Condé started something in Guinea he needs to carry through is foolish.
How can the international community be of help in supporting Africans fighting for democratic reforms?
The International community can be helpful by persuading Mr. Alpha Condé to stay away from such move. This is neither in his personal interest nor in that of people of Guinea. The International community can also support the grass roots organizations in the country to reinforce the institutions that are already there. As former US president Obama rightly said: “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions”. We also know that the United States under President Trump is not supportive of those autocratic leaders in Africa who have failed their peoples so miserably. Alpha Condé is certainly one of those leaders today. So, such message is rather encouraging.
How has the media fared under President Conde and how much of a force is it in the political dispensation in Guinea?
Under President Condé, I must say that the media has fared very poorly because of lack of resources. Like any country under dictatorship, the state media, including the National Broadcasting System (RTG), is the mouthpiece of the government. The independent media, specially the media online, tends to do better job though limited in scope. In Guinea, Independent media is under constant attack. In recent years, several journalists were killed in the line of duty while others are arrested, harassed, beaten or jailed.
FG can seize unexplainable assets from citizens — Osinbajo, Nigeria’s VP
May 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Olumide Ajayi
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government can seize assets from citizens who cannot explain the source of their wealth.
The vice president made this known on Tuesday while declaring the anti-corruption conference organised by the office of the vice president and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja on Tuesday.
“The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC, recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil process which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence,” he said.
“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”
According to him, corruption has made Nigeria’s debt and poverty figures double in spite of the highest oil revenues in Nigeria’s history
He said the Buhari-administration is not deceived into thinking that it has won the battle against corruption as it was tackling grand corruption first.
“By that, we mean the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury; usually at the highest levels of executive authority; and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes,” he explained.
“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption; especially where the average person interacts with government.
“Corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals; there is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give bribe to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports or to clear goods at our ports.
“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption; our next level is to create the environment for collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.”
He said the enforcement of treasury single account(TSA), the presidential initiative on continuous audit, and transferring civil servants on the IPPIS electronic platform has helped to control official theft of public funds.
New Oil Players Embrace President João Lourenço’s Investment Drive with Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Forum in June
May 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The Africa Energy Chamber proudly endorses the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, organized by Africa Oil & Power in Luanda on June 4th to 6th 2019|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 13, 2019/ — Under President João Lourenço, the Angolan oil and gas sector has grown from strength to strength and opportunities await for businesses in all sectors who are keen to increase their exports into new markets.
The reforms by the government so far will benefit all Angolans and increase the ability of employers to generate more opportunities for Angolan citizens, investors and the region. The Africa Energy Chamber proudly endorses the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, organized by Africa Oil & Power in Luanda on June 4th to 6th 2019.
“Under the leadership of President João Lourenço’s, Angola is undergoing structural reforms politically, economically and socially, which if successful, will transform Angola away from its reliance from oil. Therefore, our support for the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference and the people of Angola is very important,” explained Centurion Law Group CEO and Executive Chairman of the Chamber NJ Ayuk. “Angola is a prime investment destination due to its oil reserves. With about 9.9 billion barrels of proven reserves, it holds some of the world’s most promising oil deposits and estimates of Angola’s probable commercially recoverable reserves are at least 10.7 billion barrels. This is a great opportunity for new explorers and service companies as well.”
“This will be Angola’s largest and most important industry platform,” declared recently-appointed AEC President for Angola, Sergio Pugliese. “Since 2017, we have seen the passing of landmark regulations for the sector, including gas regulations, marginal fields regulations, and a complete new oil licensing strategy up until 2025. The conference will also see the launching of Angola’s first Marginal Fields Bidding Round, which is ideal for all African E&P companies and international independents seeking to expand beyond their home country.”
Pragmatism on Local Content legislation and relaxing visa rules has been aimed at keeping Angola competitive globally and we welcome these changes. During the Angola Oil and Gas conference, the Chamber will organize a trade mission to Angola offering an opportunity for upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas players to explore and consider the Angolan market.
With its upcoming Marginal Field Bidding Round, ongoing licensing of several blocks from this year onward, and numerous opportunities across the gas value-chain, Angola has become one of the most attractive and lucrative markets for oil investors.