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Nigeria: Osinbajo tells soldiers to put loyalty to defending Nigeria
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday told new officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) that the job they have chosen requires them to defend the territorial integrity of the country and to put their lives on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of the citizens.

He made the call while commissioning 187 new officers into the Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday, at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna.

He said, “As you already know, this profession you have chosen requires absolute discipline, loyalty, and hard work. It is much more than just securing a job, or earning a salary; and more than just getting the chance to wear a coveted uniform or wield coveted weapons. This is the ultimate form of civic service to defend the territorial integrity of your country and to put your life on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of your countrymen and women. There is no nobler occupation than this one you have chosen.

“You are passing out at a time when our nation is grappling with an insurgency in the Northeast, and the challenges of kidnapping and armed banditry in other parts of the country. You will, therefore, have come to terms with the fact that the days and weeks and months ahead of you will be extremely busy, as you fulfil your responsibilities to the military and the nation.

“While the armed forces have effectively contained the territorial ambitions of the Boko Haram terrorists by substantially degrading their capacity to attack and wreak havoc – they remain intent on shedding blood and sowing fear. There is also the threat of the Islamic State of West Africa Province ISWAP in the Lake Chad Islands and part of Southern Borno.

“Also, more often these days these insurgents are focusing on soft targets, opportunistic attacks on isolated military units, as well as on increasingly sophisticated propaganda aimed at making them out to be more organized and lethal than they really are.

“This ever-increasing reliance on propaganda is a reminder that this is not only a ‘battleground’ war; it is just as much an information-and-narrative war. Winning hearts and minds has always been important in military warfare; it is even more so in a century defined by information and communication technologies.

“As 21st-century military officers, how you project your strength and confidence to your enemies and the world, especially using social and digital media tools, is as important as the sophistication of the conventional arms and ammunition that you wield.

“But to do so effectively also means that you must take the time and trouble to fully understand the nature of the threats that confront us, the narratives and philosophies that underlie those threats.

“This initiative involves the recruitment and training of policemen in each local government and ensuring that such new policemen remain in their local governments working with local and traditional authorities to maintain peace and security.

“As the President has said, Security is a 24-hour occupation involving continuous investments in strategy and innovation. We will continue to take all necessary measures to tackle all forms of criminality across the country and to safeguard lives and property of all Nigerians.

“The Nigerian Air Force will, as part of the Armed Forces, continued to be at the forefront of our national security interventions. I note in particular the extremely successful digitally accurate bombings of terrorist hideouts In April the destruction of Boko Haram mechanic workshop in Borno

“In May, the airstrikes on Tumbun Hamma on the fringes of Lake Chad, inflicting heavy casualties on ISWAP forces under Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE In June airstrikes on Sambisa Forest further eliminating insurgents

“It is particularly commendable that you are adopting measures to ensure that the resources available to you are used judiciously; in a manner that delivers optimal results and maximum value for money.

“This nation is great and can only become greater. We are Africa’s largest economy by GDP – states of Nigeria have larger economies than many African states. We have become the last frontier for major economic growth.

“We are the world’s largest growers of Cassava and yams, we are top 5 in the world in sorghum, millet,we are approaching self-sufficiency in paddy rice production. Our potential in Technology and entertainment has been attracting huge attention.

“First is the market, at 174 million GSM phones we are top ten telephone users in the world, and we have the highest percentage of people who use the internet on their phones in the world, we are also number 2 in mobile internet banking in the world, 17 million Nigerians are on Facebook.

“Microsoft has announced that it will establish a 100 million dollar African Develop Centre in Nigeria. We are already building our own drones. But not only are we building drones, but we are also making spare parts for our aircraft. We are also manufacturing armoured personnel carriers and all sorts of different military platforms.

“All of these are things that Nigerians are doing in this country. Just last week, we saw, at the Army Day, sophisticated minesweepers that are manufactured in this country. In a few short years, this country will be, by far, the greatest military force in Africa and certainly the most developed economy in Africa.

“All of these have been built on the sacrifices of many in blood and sweat, especially men and women of the armed forces. What will undermine our efforts now and in the future is disunity? All of those who are preaching narratives of divisions along ethnic and religious lines. We must resist all who try to destroy our present gains and in particular our future.

“The future of our country is bright, all we need to do is to keep the focus not to allow any to preach any division amongst us. If we remain stable and united, everything that we desire for our great country will be ours.” He said.

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Zimbabwe Invests in Young People through UNFPA..
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson  Mpofu

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Harare-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to support the International Conference on Population and Development goals through the support of UNFPA to young people in the country. He said initiatives that improve life like what UNFPA does can -not be ignored or looked down upon.

On Thursday 11 July on World Population Day, the President officially opened a clinic in Harare South at a severely poverty stricken community called Hopley , 10 kilometres outside the city  centre of Harare .

‘’My Government renews its commitments to the International Conference on Population and Development Agenda. We support initiatives that improve the quality of life of our young people.

‘’The quality of life of any individual is undoubtedly important. There-fore the work of the UNFPA is important as we address concerns of young people World-Wide today.

‘’At ICPD in Cairo , 179 countries adopted a forward looking 20 year programme of action that continues to serve as a comprehensive guide to people centred development program .

The Clinic comes to official launch together with the youth centre in the community. The area has a total of 200,000 people of which 65,000 of them are young people. The clinic and youth centre was built by the City of Harare with much support from UNFPA. A local company Lafarge provided cement at the site.

The centre provides Industry skills to young people. Among them at most is cobble stone technology, brick laying, electrical work and plumbing. Out of the total number of those empowered 56% of them are young women. Young women train on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights.

‘’We have like always given full financial support. The core main reason is that we are into these issues. We need to see to it and get assured that young people explore for better opportunities especially young girls in terms of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. They later in life explore better Health Life-Lines for better communities.’’

‘’Youth Friendly Health Services will serve many young people in the area in line with Health issues related to HIV and AIDS , STIs and elimination of Reproductive Tract Infections like those related to cervical cancers . It meant a lot about eliminating HIV and AIDS.’’ says Esther Muia , UNFPA Zimbabwe Country Representative .

Sweden is a strong advocate to the above mentioned issues.  Martin Johnrud  Charge d Affairs at  Swedish  Embassy in Harare said services at the centre will reduce unwanted pregnancies , sexual transmitted diseases , HIV and some communicable illnesses .

‘’This clinic goes a long way in achieving development goals of the United Nations. It is interesting that we address thorny Health problems at a time we move to eliminate HIV and AIDS,.

‘’I am impressed as this comes at a time the World is looking at Sustainable Development Goals. Today as we also commemorate World Population Day, the message is sent everywhere’’, he said

 

 

 

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Gambia: Nigerian Lawyer Urges TRRC Investigate 2005 West African ‘Killed’ in Gambia
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Falana

Falana

Femi Falana, Nigerian human rights lawyer, has petitioned the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) to investigate and unearth the truth about the alleged killing of 50 West African migrants in Gambia in 2005.

The veteran lawyer and advocate has also petitioned the Truth Commission to unearth the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh. Manneh was working for the Daily Observer newspaper who disappeared in the country in July 2006 following his arrest by “state operatives”.

Femi is one of the leading human rights lawyers in the region. He has represented Gambia Press Union in the cases of disappeared journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh and Musa Saidykhan, a victim of torture, at the regional ECOWAS Court of Justice.

Both cases were a success and Gambia Government was ordered to pay a fine of US$100, 000 to the family of Chief Manneh and US$200, 000 dollars to Saidykhan.

The administration of President Adama Barrow has paid the court fines in Manneh’s case and are currently negotiating with Saidykhan.

“I have two petitions before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission in respect to the disappearance or unlawful execution of Mr Ebrima Manneh and the massacre of 50 migrants including 9 Nigerians… These were young men who were going to Europe,” he told journalists on 10 July, 2019 during a two days training organized for lawyers and judges on campaign for freedom of expression, where he served as a facilitator.

The Union has started a coalition of Gambian professionals including lawyers and judges to back the campaign geared towards strengthening freedom of expression in the country. however Femi is also an honored guest of the Gambia Press Union annual national journalism awards which is slated for Friday, July 12.

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South Sudan President Kiir pardons 15 prisoners without Biar & Kerbino
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit

Juba – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has pardoned and ordered the release of 15 prisoners on the occasion of the 8th independence anniversary of the restive country in the Horn of Africa.

President Kiir announced the release of the detainees during his address to the nation at the Presidential Palace J1 on Tuesday.

The inmates to be released were detained in Juba, Wau, and Yambio among other towns.

“Because of this occasion of celebrating 8th independence anniversary, I have pardoned and released 15 inmates and their name will be read out by comrade Makuei,” said President Kiir.

But an entrepreneur Kerubino Wol Agok and a political activist, London based economist Peter Biar Ajak are not part of those pardoned by the president.

However, the country’s Information Minister Michael Makuei, who is also the government spokesperson, read out the names of those pardoned by the president, saying the prisoners would be released from various prisons in the country.

“In Juba central prison, you have Delta Justine Kenyi, Jackson Anip David, John Bosco Losimi, and Silah James Kumunan,” said the minister of information.

“In Wau Central Prison, you have Santino Chol Yai, Ayian Deng Athem, Marko Dut David, Yel Yel Mawein, Daniel Yol and David Dut Pualino.”

In Yambio Central Prison, there is only one person and that is James Anyiri John. In Twic State, you have Ayian Abiel, Ring Magok, Ayian Agok Magieth Deng and Ring Mabior Yom,” said Makuei.

Minister Makuei further asked the prison authorities to act on the presidential order.

“We say congratulation to them. Prison authorities should take necessary action for the release of these people,” said Makuei.

Perhaps, president Kiir’s moved was welcomed by South Sudanese, civil society organizations, observers and analysts, including the defense lawyers of Dr. Biar and Wol, but they are calling on president Kiir to extends further.

Philip Anyang Ngong, Defense lawyer for Dr. Peter Biar, said he welcomed the president Kiir’s decision to freed 15 prisoners across the country as a purely within his discretion but that should not be limited to only 15 prisoners.

“I want to appeal to the president to also activate his powers and release Peter Biar Ajak as a South Sudanese and an instrument of free press,” Anyang told Pan African Visions.

Month ago, the Juba high court finally sentenced to jail political activist Dr. Biar and entrepreneur Kerbino Wol to 2 and 15 years in prison respectively, following accusation that they threatened the security of the country.

The London based economist Dr. Biar was detained in July 2018, while businessman Kerbino was detained in April the same year. The Juba high court “did not charge Biar and Wol for the reasons they were first arrested but over an incident at the national security prison” last year when detainees allegedly took weapons and demobilized prison guards.

The Juba high court earlier dropped the treason, terrorism, undermining the government activities charges first against Biar and Wol, but convicted Dr. Biar for “breach of the peace” and of campaigning for the exit of president Kiir on foreign media over the peace agreement, whereas Mr. Wol convicted of masterminding subversive activities against president Kiir.

Last month, the defense lawyers of businessman, Kerbino Wol and political activist Peter Biar have made an appealed against the decision of the high court that sentenced their clients to prison.

 

 

 

 

 

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In BBC interview, Tanzanian foreign minister says journalist Azory Gwanda is dead
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
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SABABU SAFARIS OFFERS YOGA & HEALING RETREAT IN TANZANIA
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Guests to Engage in Yoga Renewal and Cultural Exchange

Highlights:
  • Sababu Safaris Yoga & Healing Retreat to be held November 9-16, 2019
  • Guests contribute to social projects while on retreat
  • Professional yoga instruction

New York, NY – July 9, 2019 — Today, Sababu Safaris, a boutique safari company that customizes the African experience for travelers to Tanzania, is pleased to announce that it is offering a Yoga & Safari Healing Retreat in Tanzania, November 9-16, 2019. In addition, it has just added private yoga safari retreats upon request. The retreats include daily yoga sessions and meditation.
At the same time, guests will explore the country’s breathtaking lands and wildlife, and immerse themselves in all manner of local culture in a purposeful way, which ranges from time at a school to giving the gift of light to remote villages. This special combination of personal yoga and social giving is an expression of the fundamental philosophy of Sababu Safaris—traveling in an intentional and meaningful way can transform lives and create lasting change in the world.
“In a world seeking connections but pressured for time, finding the space to connect with oneself at a yoga and safari healing retreat can create lasting bonds across continents,” said Denise Brown, co-founder of Sababu Safaris. “Tanzania is a truly special refuge for mindfulness and deep reflection.”
Both group and individual retreats will be led by Tanzanian resident and professional yoga teacher Marissa Lipovsky. The practice of yoga in Tanzania’s Great Plains is an immersive experience. Daily practices are aimed at expanding awareness, awakening one’s true nature, and thus healing wounds. Meals are cultivated from the fertile land of the Kilimanjaro region. Time is also taken away from yoga to mindfully engage with the community—not consuming their culture—but learning deeply what it means to live there.
“We will experience travel in a completely different way,” said Lipovsky. “We will do so from a fully embodied perspective as our reflective practices will clear the lens through which we see the world and ourselves. It will bring visitors to a place of true understanding, a deep peace with which they can return to their home countries.”
Sababu Safaris’ wellness adventures embed the wisdom of the Maasai elders whose lineage includes some of the region’s most important healing traditions. The Maasai have a deep and cultural knowledge of natural medicines and remedies and will show participants how herbs are prepared and administered.
For media interviews and additional information, contact:
  • Denise Brown, Co-Founder, denise@sababu-safaris.com, (914) 207-4426
  • Linda Purpura, Publicist, linda@lp-communications.com, (646) 470-1690
  • About Us
    Sababu Safaris is an owner-run boutique safari operator committed to creating unique journeys to Tanzania that change hearts and minds, and leave a long-lasting impact on both guests and local communities alike. The company even gives guests the opportunity to make a difference themselves. All safari itineraries are crafted and tailored to the guests’ individual travel style, preferences and interests. Their all-inclusive, private, transformational luxury safaris take guests deep into the isolated wilderness and connect them with the people that call Tanzania home.
    For more information about Sababu Safaris’ group and individual Yoga & Safari retreats, visit www.sababu-safaris.com.
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​​​Malawi: Civil society leaders targeted in post-election clampdown
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Opposition protesters in Malawi

Opposition protesters in Malawi

In response to the arbitrary arrest on allegations of fraud of two of the key figures involved in organizing post-election demonstrations in Malawi, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa said:

“These charges are a ploy to harass and intimidate the two activists and force them to end the ongoing post-election demonstrations.

“Malawian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release them and stop clamping down on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“Organizing and participating in peaceful protests is not a crime. Authorities must stop targeting dissenting voices and using politically motivated charges to suppress differing views. The rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association must be fully respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled in Malawi.”

Background

Police arrested Gift Trapence – Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition – and McDonald Sembereka – a coalition member – on 9 July following days of demonstrations after the disputed election which were held on 21 May.

The demonstrators are calling for the resignation of the Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Jane Ansah, accusing her of mishandling the election.

Major cities such as Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Rumphi have been the scenes of post-election protests since the disputed election results in May. President Peter Mutharika has dismissed the protesters as nothing but people hellbent on making Malawi a “lawless state”.

*Amnesty

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Southern Rwanda farmers decry seeds price hike
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

Farmers harvest potatoes in Nyanza District of Southern Rwanda in July 2019

Farmers harvest potatoes in Nyanza District of Southern Rwanda in July 2019

Farmers in Nyanza District of Southern Rwanda have pleaded with the government to slash down prices on hybrid seeds of maize and potatoes.

Speaking to journalists last week, the farmers said some seeds prices doubled in the last season which started in March compared to the last September’s season.

However, government disagrees on such prices’ hike, explaining that prices usually increase with time but they do not abruptly double as farmers reported. According to Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), seeds are in different types and, therefore, have different prices depending on their quality and cost of production, among other factors such as importation costs and local currency depreciation.

Veneranda Kanjara, a farmer in Gatagara Cell of Mukingo Sector in Nyanza District, said seeds’ prices have hiked at the time the land lease has increased by almost seven times, pushing farmers into terrific losses upon the harvest.

“We bought maize seeds at Rwf295 per a kilogram last year but it doubled to Rwf590 this year. This challenged farmers and some of them opted out of improved seeds to grow traditional seeds which yield poor produces,” she said.

Ms. Kanjara said that she harvested Rwf54,780 worth maize but took home Rwf7,500 only after paying for inputs and land lease.

Sylvestre Munyampara, a leader of Nganzo farmers’ cooperative in Busasamana Sector, appealed for government’s subsidy on potato hybrids in Nyanza District for lowering the price which is currently at Rwf450 per a kilogram.

“Our cooperative of 70 members operates 12 hectares of land. We buy maize seed at Rwf540 subsidized price per a kilogram but we register low interest as we harvest below five tonnes of maize per hectare,” he said, adding that the potato crop is more beneficial as they harvest at least 15 tonnes of potatoes on a hectare of land and in a much shorter period of time which is almost half of the period that the maize crop takes.

Government usually subsidizes selected crops for a particular district depending on the soil and climate of the area as indicated in Rwanda’s Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA4). In this regard, selected crops for Nyanza District are cassava, maize, soya and rice but others such as beans and potatoes can still be grown without relying on government’s subsidy.

Gustave Nzungize, Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Nyanza District, said the district follows seeds’ prices which are set by the Ministry of Agriculture and pledged to advocate for lower land lease in order to ensure that farmers benefit from their business.

The government’s land lease increased from Rwf15,000 per hectare per year in 2018 to Rwf100,000 in 2019 but the 2012 Presidential Order states that land lease fees shall not exceed Rwf4,000/ha per year.

“We are advocating for reducing the land lease at the district’s advisory council which decides the lease. We are sure of lower lease fees in this 2019/2020 fiscal year,” said Nzungize.

Seed subsidy fading away

When the government of Rwanda introduced hybrid seeds over the last 20 years, farmers were reluctantly growing the costly imported seeds which were given to them for free, according to government officials.

Farmers progressively embraced the improved seeds over time as they realised their better yields compared to those yielded by traditional seeds.

This love of hybrid seeds was the initial reason behind the government’s subsidy and now, since the love is there, government is slowly pulling out the seed subsidy in order to support other areas such as agriculture mechanisation, according to RAB’s Seed Division Manager Daniel Rwebigo.

Mr. Rwebigo told Pan African Visions on Monday that, though maize seeds’ prices keep increasing with time, they have not doubled as farmers said but farmers might choose more expensive seeds over others.

“Hybrid seeds’ prices increase due the increase in their production and importation costs in addition to the local currency depreciation which is the main factor. These seeds are mainly imported from Kenya and Zambia,” he said.

“Government subsidy on seeds is also reducing as we invest more in producing hybrid seeds locally. There is a maize hybrid seed we import at Rwf2,490/kg but a farmer pays Rwf1,000 while the government’s subsidy covers Rwf1,490, but there are also cheaper maize seeds at even Rwf450/kg. We encourage famers to embrace cheaper locally multiplied seeds because they also generate good yields.”

Rwebigo said that over 50% of the seeds grown in Rwanda are locally multiplied with some crop seeds such as wheat and soya being locally produced at 100%.

“Maize hybrids are not yet ready in our research but we are also working on them with a target to have at least 45% multiplied locally by next year,” he added.

Rwanda has been importing around 3,000 metric tonnes of seeds at the tune of Rwf2 billion annually but targets to reduce seed imports to 1,000 tonnes next year as more improved seeds get produced locally, according to Mr. Rwebigo.

Currently, at least 1,200 tonnes of hybrid seeds are locally produced annually.

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Saudi Ambassador Presents Credential to President Barrow
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 President Adama Barrow on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 received the Letter of Credence of the new Saudi Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to The Gambia, H.E Aldosary Fahad at the State House.

President Barrow said: “The relationship between The Gambia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is stronger than it could ever be throughout the history of the two countries. I am optimistic that Saudi Arabia will continue to stand with The Gambia, especially in hosting the 2022 Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Banjul.”

Saudi Arabia already provided $92.5Million financing to supporting the efforts of The Gambia towards the successful hosting of this summit. The President explained the seriousness his government attaches to the projects, which will provide roads, improve water and electricity supplies, building of a new VVIP complex and support the building of hotel in preparations for the Summit in Banjul.

Ambassador Fahad as the representative of the King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Holy Mosque to The Gambia, also pledged to work towards strengthening the cooperation and relations between Riyadh and Banjul to the anticipated vision of the two leaders.

The Ambassador said Saudi Arabia is committed to continue standing with The Gambia in supporting its development aspirations. The two countries share long history of fraternal relations.

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Amidst Criticism: Gambia’s TRRC Assures all Victims of Justice
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Dr. Lamin J. Sise, chairperson of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission

Dr. Lamin J. Sise, chairperson of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission

Dr. Lamin J. Sise, chairperson of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) has reassured all victims and their families that the TRRC values their contribution to their work and that they will do everything in their power to ensure that they all get the justice, healing and the reparations they deserve.

Recently opposition Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) heavily critize the TRRC citing lots of irregularities. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Interim leader told journalists that looking at the questioning style of TRRC, lots of contradictions, and the presence of Alagie Barrow, who was found guilty of treason so on the ground as a party they don’t have any confidence in the TRRC.

However, during the sixth session of hearings on 8 July, 2019, Sise has stressed that the TRRC remains committed to fulfilling its mandate to assist The Gambia on this difficult path to justice, healing, and reconciliation.

 “The TRRC cannot do this without the support and encouragement of the general public, and so as always, we continue to crave the public’s continued support, understanding and prayers,” he said.

He explained that as they embark upon this sixth session, they expect to hear testimonies on the suppression of the freedom of the press and the related human rights violations involving the media and individual journalists.

He added that: “We will also hear testimonies from persons adversely mentioned in previous hearings. We remain grateful to all witnesses who have so far testified before the Commission. We are especially grateful to those courageous and dignified women who, despite the odds, were able to share their painful experiences with the Commission and the general public”

 Sise, veteran UN official pointed out that: “In testifying before the Commission, these brave women not only educated us on their own personal plights, but also on the plights of their innocent families devastated by acts of lawlessness, wrongful detention, and state bullying of citizens which should never happen in any civilized society,”

 “We hope that many more witnesses will come forward and assist the Commission in carrying out its mandate to create an impartial record of human rights violations and abuses during the period July 1994 – January 2017,”

 Sise noted that: “We are pleased to note that Gambians and friends of The Gambia across the board have taken ownership of the TRRC process, and that many are stepping forward to offer much-needed support and solace to the victims of human rights violations and their families”

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Namibia: Andjamba is the new minister education minister
July 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Newly appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs, Martin Andjamba

Newly appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs, Martin Andjamba

Windhoek – Namibia President Hage Geingob has on Wednesday appointed Martin Andjamba, the minister of presidential affairs as an acting minister in the portfolio of education, arts and culture.

Andjamba was appointed to the Cabinet portfolio after follow the resignation of the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on Tuesday, after she was convicted of corruption this week.

Andjamba’s appointment is in terms of section 4 of the Assignment of Powers Act, 1990, says Presidential press secretary Dr Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari.

“With seven months left before the end of the term of the current Government, coupled with the rights of Hon. Hanse-Himarwa under Article 47(2)(a) of the Namibian Constitution, President Geingob has decided not to appoint a new Minister in the education, arts and culture portfolio,” said Hengari.

Hengari emphasized that Andjaba will assume all statutory functions of the minister of education, arts and culture in terms of Article 37 of the Namibian Constitution and will be deputized by Anna Nghipondoka.

The former Namibian Ambassador to the United States was served as presidential affairs since April 2018.

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Gambia:India’s President to visit Banjul
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Indian delegation with President Barrow

Indian delegation with President Barrow

The President of India, His Excellency, Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to visit Banjul end of July 2019. This was revealed by the Indian Ambassador to The Gambia, Mr. Rajeev Kumar after an audience with President Barrow on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 at State House.

This is the single most high profile visit by Indian Head of State to The Gambia and other West African countries. The visit is motivated by what the Ambassador described as “excellent commercial and bilateral relations between the two countries. India and The Gambia, as members of The Commonwealth share a long history of bilateral relations dating back to the colonial days.

“The visit shows the importance attached to his country’s relations with The Gambia. India is the largest democracy in the world and The Gambia is the youngest democracy. This relation could not have been any better,” the diplomat explained.

Trade between the two countries is close to $190million annually. The Gambia enjoys strong presence of Indian companies. A major infrastructural contribution of India to The Gambia is the construction of the National Assembly building in Banjul by an Indian company that was financed through a line of credit from an Indian bank.

The capacity building programme also constitutes an important element of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Kumar told press corps that many Gambians go for higher education in India, including government officials.

“Recently, 25 permanent secretaries went for studies at India’s Good Governance Centre in Mussoorie.  Last year, 20 diplomats from the Foreign Ministry also went for one month training program,” he added, noting that the visit will avail an opportunity for both governments to further solidify cooperation for their mutual benefits.

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Mozambique: 5000 job opportunities for nationals in LNG projects
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

The mozambican Oil & Gas regulator, Instituto Nacional de Petroleo (INP), plans to hire 5 000 national professionals and 12 000 foreigners, in a universe of 45 000 vacancies to be filled during the next 30 years for Anadarko’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , in the Rovuma Basin, Cabo Delgado province.

According to Natalia CambaI, National Director of Local Content at INP, contracting for LNG projects, due to its specificity, requires skilled labor, with 5,000 jobs expected for Mozambicans in the construction and operation of the platform. This offer could be reduced up to 1,200 during the sustainable phase.

With regard to foreign labor, at the construction stage, there will be 10,000 jobs available for factory components and infrastructures. From the fifth year, at the stage of delivery of the platform, the project will undergo a change in contracting.

These data were revealed in Maputo after the launch of the Employment Portal during the 2nd Consultative Council of the National Employment Institute. The deputy minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security, Oswaldo Petersburg, said there was a need to register young people on the platform to keep aware of the vacancies.

“We have the challenge of massing, together with the companies, the service of labor intermediation between the demand and the digital offer. We want young people with professional profiles to be registered on the portal, ” Oswaldo Petersburg said.

The portal is launched almost a month after the US giant Anadarko and its partners formally took the Final Investment Decision on their 13 million tonnes per annum LNG project.

The $25 billion project is not only the largest direct foreign investment in Mozambique, but in “in the history of this continent,” Anadarko chief executive Al Walker told attendees of the cerimony. He said the project should ultimately double Mozambique’s GDP.

French oil major, Total, is expected to lead the Area 4 development from 2020 onward, after Anadarko accepted a takeover offer by fellow US independent Occidental Petroleum. Occidental plans to sell Anadarko’s sub-Saharan Africa upstream assets – including the Mozambique LNG project – to Total in an $8.8 billion deal.

 

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Kenya:Safaricom reduces internet charges by 42 per cent
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Kenya’s leading telecommunication provider Safaricom has made some significant changes in its internet prices.

The South Africa-based shareholder Vodacom has announced it has cut its data prices by 42 per cent due to stiff competition and regulatory pressures.

The new changes aim at countering affordable offers from Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya. It is alleged a number of data users had ditched the leading telco to either Airtel or Telkom because of their cheap offers.

The firm’s subscribers are set to spend lesser amounts in buying more megabytes as daily, weekly and monthly packages witness more cuts.

“In the context of our commitment to drive digital inclusion and given the tough consumer environment, we recognize the imperative to further lower data prices in some of our markets, while ensuring that this does not compromise our ability to make the investments in network and IT infrastructure needed to broaden service delivery and maintain high-quality offerings,” read Vodacom report.

The changes also applied to other Vodacom associates but at different rates. In the review, data charges in Democratic Republic of Congo were lowered by 29.2 per cent, Lesotho 28.9 per cent, South Africa 23.3 per cent and Tanzania 13.8 per cent.

These changes come few months after the former Kenyan Governor William Kabogo threatened to sue the company over expiry of internet bundles.

He said he had contacted lawyers to draft a plan with an aim of delivering consumers from economic slavery saying data bundles should not expire and if they must have, then they must be renewed.

Currently, subscribers are allowed to renew their unused data upon top up.

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Kenya’s ambiguous trade laws scare Japanese investors
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Japan Premier Shinzo Abe after the closing ceremony of TICAD 6 in Nairobi on August 28.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Japan Premier Shinzo Abe after the closing ceremony of TICAD 6 in Nairobi on August 28.

Japanese investors in Nairobi have raised complaints about unclear trade laws which they christened as a risk to their businesses.

They named lack of proper communication on policy and continuous changes in legislation as the main stumbling blocks. Japan External Trade Organisation also decried of political instability.

Elections in the East African country are a nightmare to the investors. In the last three general polls chaos was witnessed due to disputed elections results. Property worth millions of shillings was devastated and a number of foreign investors closed down their business to avoid loss making.

Japan External Trade Organisation deputy director of Middle East and Africa division Sawaka Takazaki said that Japan’s trade policy is affected by poor communication and poor implementation of new changes.

Poor infrastructure, hiring and human resource, social instability, trade regulation and foreign exchange have been stated as common problems in African countries.

Kenichi Ono, a professor in Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies singled out power outage as common problem in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa which has pushed a number of companies to other countries such as Morocco.

“This is a risk companies do not want to take, especially in production and manufacturing,” said Prof. Ono.

 

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As Ghana bids to host AfCFTA secretariat, President Nana Addo pledges $10 million for its functionality
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Ghana's President Akufo-Addo

Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo

Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo has pledged to donate some $10 million for the operationalization of the secretariat of the newly launched African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.

This comes as Ghana gain the bid to host the secretariat of the Pan African trade deal.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, AU selected Ghana as the host country for the Secretariat of the African Continental (AfCFTA) Free Trade Area on Sunday July 7 2019, at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, e capital of Niger.

Aside Ghana, other countries including; Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal were all vying to host the secretariat.

The core mandate of the Secretariat will be to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has since been ratified by 27 member states.

In his acceptance speech, at the Summit, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, thanked the Assembly for the decision, stating that it is a privilege that, for the “first time in our nation’s history, we have the responsibility of hosting an important pan-African institution”.

“We have, taken very important steps towards working with a common voice and a common purpose to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our peoples.

“Ghana is ready to donate US $10 million to the African Union to support the operationalization of the Secretariat. I have set up an inter-Ministerial Committee of my government to work with the AU Commission towards this end,” he indicated.

President Akufo-Addo assured his colleague Heads of State that Ghana will put all the requisite facilities at the disposal of the Secretariat, so that it can run as a world-class organisation.

In addition, and pursuant to the Statutes of the AU Commission, he indicated that the Secretariat shall enjoy the privileges and immunities stipulated in the OAU General Convention on Privileges and Immunities, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and the Vienna Convention between States and International Organisations or between International Organisations.

“I am determined to do whatever I can to guarantee the smooth take-off of the Secretariat, and help make sure that it turns out to be a world-class institution, which will become the pride and joy of all Africans.”

“We owe it to generations unborn to ensure that the biggest trading bloc on the globe, whose outcomes will be rewarding to all, and which will assist in attaining the “Africa We Want”, does not falter.”

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Mauritius remains leader of the African telecoms but Algeria & South Africa take over Ghana and Tunisia for 2nd and 3rd place.
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
Sydney, Australia, 25 June 2019 – BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index revealed last year that Mauritius lead the telecoms market in Africa followed by Ghana and Tunisia. This year’s new ranking shows Algeria and South Africa are now in the top three.
BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index analyses the broadband, mobile & fixed line markets of a country on top of a range of economic parameters to rank it on a scale of 1 to 100 and compare it to its region.
The 2019 market leaders: Mauritius remains the top-ranking country in Africa with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 49, followed by Algeria (43) and South Africa (34). 
  • In Mauritius, the thriving tourism market has stimulated the broadband sector. There is an extensive DSL infrastructure and operators have deployed fibre-based services in a number of localities. Mauritius Telecom invested Rs5.1 billion to roll out fibre across the island. Fibre is available to about 85% of the company’s fixed broadband customer base.
  • In Algeria, Mobilis, one of the 3 major mobile operators, has contracted Huawei as a partner for its network migration to 5G. Mobile penetration approaches 116% and mobile internet accounts for about 92% of all internet connections in the country.
  • In South Africa, mobile penetration by early 2019 approached 169%, driven partly by the popularity of multiple card use as also by the take-up of mobile broadband services. Mobile internet accounts for about 95% of all internet connections
Market challengers: The top 3 market challengers are Libya with a score of 23, Lesotho (20.5) and Zimbabwe (20.2). Last year, the top challengers were Mauritania (13), Uganda (13) and Kenya (12).
Developing nations: Among the developing markets, the top three  countries are Burundi (9.4) Uganda (9.3) and Nigeria (9.1). Last year, the developing markets were Angola (7) Chad (7) and Cameroon (6).
2019 Africa Telecom Maturity Index.png
Mobile telephony remains by far the dominant telecom service across Africa, accounting for more than 90% of all telephone lines on the continent. Given the very poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure in most markets, mobile internet access as a consequence also accounts for between 95% and 99% of all internet connections.
The size and range of the diverse markets within Africa have contributed to varied market penetration rates between countries. By early 2018 the highest mobile penetration was found in countries including South Africa (169%), Botswana (160%) and Mauritius (147%). To some degree high penetration reflects the popularity of consumers having multiple SIM cards despite efforts among most regulators to enforce measures by which operators must register SIM card users
The African Market report showcases the TMI for all African countries providing a unique perspective on the region. For more information on each country please get in touch.  
BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index is also available in all Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asian reports. It will be available in European reports soon.
*Budde Comm
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President Barrow attends AfCFTA Summit in Niamey
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

AU Chair Faki with Adama Barrow

AU Chair Faki with Adama Barrow

During the closed door session at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Head of States held in Niamey, Niger, on the 7th July 2019, President Adama Barrow focused his deliberation on the commitment of AU leaders in the implementation of the AfCFTA to transform their economies.

He expressed the urgency to work collectively to overcome the challenges and barriers that confront them. Crucial in this regard is the task of setting up all the right mechanisms and modalities. President Barrow said his government was considerate of the need to protect the domestic economy, stressing his government’s support the decision to have a regulation on goods coming from the Special Economic Zones.

The Gambia also supports the decision to modify the existing framework in order to achieve a harmonised Customs Union tariff schedule. This is based, however, on the condition that the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) would be compensated for having the same implementation transition period as non-LDCs.

During the Niamey 2019 AU Summit, Chaired by the Union’s Chairperson, H.E Adel Fatah El-Sisi, five instruments were launched. These were Rules of Origin, Operational Instrument, AfCFTA – online, reporting, monitoring mechanism platform, Pan African payment and settling services and the African Trade Observatory Dashboard.

The Gambia is amongst the countries that have signed and ratified the AfCFTA.

It signed the AfCFTA in 2018 in Kigali and was the 22nd member of the AU to ratify it this year, thus bringing it into force for implementation.

AU Chairman, Abdel Fatah El-Sisi called for a speedy implementation of their agreements guided by the AU roadmap, while urging member states to continue dialogue and consultations with the stakeholders, reaffirming that the Common market is an achievable dream. The Common African market has a potential of 1.3 billion people with combined GDP of nearly $3 trillion to boost its economic and social growth. It is expected to boost intra-regional trade, while also helping countries move away from mainly exporting raw materials and build manufacturing capacity to attract foreign investment.

The Niger Summit meeting is considered to have shown strong political will by African leaders to implementing the agreement that will remove tariffs between member countries. The President Niger, H.E. Muhamadou Issoufou is the Champion of the AfCFTA and host of the AU 12th Extra Ordinary Session. Ghana was selected to host the AfCFTA Secretariat.

On the Sidelines of the AU Summit in Niamey, President Barrow met several high level officials and discussed issues of mutual interest for the socio-economic development of the country. He held separate meetings with the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Ayodeji Adeseni, the Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr Mansur Muhtar, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kasse Brou, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina J. Mahammed and the UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in Addis Ababa, Hanna Tetteh.

The AU Summit was also momentous for The Gambia, with the Group of ECOWAS Ambassadors in Addis Ababa nominating Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow to represent the ECOWAS region in the Panel Of Eminent Persons that the African Union is setting up to screen and vet candidates for the senior leadership positions of the AU.

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Gambia Press Union Condemns Attack on two Journalists by APRC
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Sheriff Junior

Sheriff Junior

 The Gambia Press Union (GPU) condemned the attack on the cameraman of Fatu Network and reporter for Radio France International (RFI) at the High Court in Banjul Monday afternoon by supporters of the former ruling party.

The two journalists were allegedly attacked by the sympathisers of the Alliance for Patriotic, Reorientation and Construction (APRC) who were at the court complex to show solidarity with Yankuba Touray, one of the founders of the party who is being tried for murder.

Touray has been accused of killing Ousman Koro Ceesay, a former finance minister, in June 1995 during the formative years of the government of Yahya Jammeh.  He was then minister of Local Government and Lands.

Journalists Modou Saidy of Fatu Network, and Romain Chanson of RFI were outside the High Court complex to take footage of the APRC supporters when the militants advanced towards them.

Their cameras were almost seized and destroyed by an APRC mob and Chanson was almost pelted with a heavy stone by one of the supporters had he not take to his heels.

The GPU is concerned about the frequency at which attacks of this nature are happening.

This is the second attack on journalists, allegedly, by supporters of APRC in twelve months.  In August 2018, the GRTS news crew was verbally and physically assaulted, allegedly, by the supporters during funeral proceedings of late Asombi Bojang, the mother of former president, Yahya Jammeh.

The police on their part have failed to provide protection to journalists in hostile situations, nor have they investigated any of the seven previous attacks on journalists even though official complaint has been lodged in all the cases.

Mustapha K. Darboe, vice president of the GPU, said: “The Union is troubled that attacks on journalists in the execution of their professional duties by party supporters is becoming frequent.”

He said the GPU is not taking the attack on journalists by any political party lightly.

“If this is not stopped, it could warrant a media blackout for all the activities of parties guilty of such misconducts,” he affirmed.

The GPU is calling on political parties to take proactive measures to educate and sensitise their supporters to understand that journalists are not enemies.

Meanwhile, the Union’s leadership has engaged the deputy public relations officer of the APRC, Dodou Jah, and he expressed regret over the conduct of their party supporters towards Saidy and Chanson.

However, Jah said that the APRC as a party has been known to be peaceable and would continue to conduct its activities in such manners.

He promised to talk with the party leadership to reiterate their call for the party militants to continue to conduct and comport themselves in peaceful manner.

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Gambia: GFF to Honour More Legends-VP
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Bakary K. Jammeh

Bakary K. Jammeh

The First Vice President of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Mr. Bakary K. Jammeh has hailed the work and contributions of the late Alhaji Omar Sey and other legends that have contributed positively in shaping the development of the country, football in particular.

Speaking to  reporters  on the sidelines of the finals of a football competition organised by the Federation in honour of the late baron, Mr. Jammeh said the GFF has conceived the idea of organising the tournament to pay tribute to Gambian legends which will be contested by top teams on an annual basis.

“Legends never die. This is the beginning of the recognition of many legends and we have taken the decision to recognise everybody within our knowledge and power who has contributed to football in The Gambia,” Mr. Jammeh affirmed.

Born in Basse in the Upper River Region, of The Gambia  the late Sey grew up to become an iconic and a symbolic visionary leader the fruits of whose hard work The Gambia, Africa and the world continues to reap. He died in March 2018.  He has done it all, from the educational institutions as a lecturer at the then Teacher Training College in Yundum, the inaugural Director of the Department of Youth, Sports and Culture, The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC), to becoming a football idol in CAF and FIFA and also an External Affairs Minister in the First Republic.

 Mr. Jammeh, whom the late Sey acted as his godfather, recollected the numerous contributions that the late Omar Sey did, noting that he was the architect of the current GFF. “He wrote the GFF Constitution with FIFA, thus helping in the achievement of the decentralisation of football in the country amongst others.”

 He further stated that the maiden edition of the late Alhaji Omar Sey tournament couldn’t have come at a better time. “I think it’s better late than never. This tournament is one of many that we look forward to do better and bigger.

  It was well organised and everyone showed solidarity,” Jammeh said, while thanking the organising committee through the Third Vice President Rtd. General Langtombong Tamba, the Sey family, fans and the media. He also ceased the opportunity to congratulate Real de Banjul for winning the trophy while commensurating with the beaten finalists Marimoo.

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Gambia: Gov’t Denies Allegations of Negotiations for Ex-President Jammeh’s Return
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Former President Jammeh is today a farmer in Equatorial Guinea. Photo

 

Gambia government has denied allegations that the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) exiled former President Yaya Jammeh was in serious negotiations with the President Adama Barrow Government for the former President’s return home, describing the claims as totally baseless.

Yesterday in a press release signed by Ebrima G. Sankareh, The Gambia Government Spokesperson said: “To be abundantly sure, there are no on-going negotiations between The Gambia government and any party or parties for the return of the exiled leader, Yaya Jammeh, and Gambians are urged not to pay heed to such rumour or bogus claims”

Claims of Yaya Jammeh’s ‘negotiated return’ with The Gambia Government were first made by the APRC’s interim leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, during a press conference on Friday, and since his utterances, citizens have reacted critically mostly with apprehension.

Therefore, the government of The Gambia reiterates its commitment to the overall safety and security of its citizens and strongly denies any purported negotiations, deals or discussions with any party for the return of the exiled former Gambian leader, Yaya A.J.J Jammeh.

In a related development, it has come to the attention of The Gambia Government that during Monday’s trial of former APRC junta minister, Yankuba Touray, elements expressing solidarity with the accused Touray, had allegedly assaulted a French journalist, Mr. Romain Chanson duly accredited to report for Radio France International (RFI) in The Gambia. The Barrow Government condemns the reported assault as a blatant act of cowardice and a flagrant violation of press freedom. Those who assaulted the journalist are urged to desist from such reprehensible acts and The Gambia government will not hesitate to initiate criminal prosecution against such elements. Citizens are reminded that under current dispensation, the assault, torture, harassment and or intimidation of journalists is utterly criminal and severely punishable by law.

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Namibia: President Geingob concludes successful visits to Rwanda and Niger
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

President Hage Geingob and First Lady Kalondo Monica were guests of President Paul Kagame and Madame Jeannette Kagame on the occasion of Rwanda’s 25 liberation anniversary

President Hage Geingob and First Lady Kalondo Monica were guests of President Paul Kagame and Madame Jeannette Kagame
on the occasion of Rwanda’s 25 liberation anniversary

Windhoek – The Namibian President Hage Geingob has successfully concluded a working visit to Rwanda and Niger, where he attended the 12thExtraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly in Niamey. The session coincided with the inaugural Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) held from 7-8 July 2019 in Niger’s capital.

President Geingob delivered a statement at the meeting in his capacity as Chairperson of SADC. In his address, the Namibian leader highlighted the achievements made by member states towards regional integration, which include the establishment in 2008 of the SADC Free-Trade Area (FTA), increasing trade in the region from 16% to 22%.

He informed the gathering that SADC had made significant strides in the development of roads and ports that further facilitates trade and promotes economic growth in the region. Applauding the inaugural meeting.

“This AU-REC coordination meeting, therefore, allows us to take a critical look at the progress made in implementing and meeting the objectives of our integration agenda, and provides us with a unique opportunity to take stock of our synergies with the AU Agenda and programmes. I am confident that we will learn from each other, and be able to chart our way forward in positioning ourselves to meet the Continental Agenda,” said the Namibian leader.

The 12th Extraordinary Session served as the formal launch of the entry into force of the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 30 May 2019.

So far, 27 countries have ratified the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, and 54 have signed the agreement.

Trading between African countries under the AfCFTA will commence on 1 July 2020, while Phase Two of the AfCFTA Negotiations on Investment Policy, Competition Policy, and Intellectual Property Rights are set to be concluded in December 2020.

Namibia ratified the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA in February 2019, which paved the way for the Namibian private sector and SMEs to fully participate in intra-Africa trade by taking advantage of the AfCFTA.

The First Mid-Year Coordination meeting discussed the the status of integration in Africa and started preliminary discussions on the division of labour between the AU and RECs with a view to avoiding duplication and overlapping mandates.

Before travelling to Niger Geingob participated at the invitation of President Paul Kagame in the Celebrations of Liberation Day of Rwanda on 4 July. During the visit, the two leaders held several discussions, focusing on bilateral ties, regional integration and international affairs.

In a solemn ceremony on 5 July, President Geingob laid a wreath at the Kigali Memorial Centre.

He stressed unity as a precondition for socio-economic progress in Africa cautioned strongly against tribalism and racism as ills that had no place in society.

“Tribalism and racism are the same things because both involve hatred towards other people”, President Geingob warned, while commendingRwanda for the remarkable progress the country had made since the Genocide 25 years ago.

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Namibia: Education minister resigns after convicted of corruption
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

APA-Windhoek (Namibia) – Namibia’s education, arts and culture minister Katrina Hanse Himarwa has tendered her resignation from Cabinet after she was convicted of corruption in Windhoek High Court on Monday.

She was charged under the Anti-Corruption Act for corruptly using her office, as the then governor of Hardap region in 2014.

The 52-year old politician has been Hanse-Himarwa has been on trial since October 2018.

She was charged for ordering the removal of two people from the list of beneficiaries for government low-cost housing programme at Mariental and replace them with her relatives.

Judge Christie Liebenberg in her judgement stressed that there was overwhelming evidence from witnesses presented before the court during the trial that proved Hanse-Himarwa used her position to manipulate the original list of the mass housing project to favour her relatives.

After the hearing, Hanse-Himarwa told the media that she is not going to resign despite the guilty verdict. But on Tuesday, she announced her resignation from the ministerial post she held from March 2015.

President Hage Geingob on Tuesday accepted the resignation of the Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, minister of education, arts and culture, following the guilty verdict on Monday on charges of corruptly using her office to obtain gratification, State House announced.

In her media statement, the former minister confirmed her resignation and apologized to President Hage Geingob and the public for her transgression.

 “I apologise to both him (Geingob) and the Namibian people, as I know this Conviction has been a source of disappointment and distress for many who know me. When I was appointed as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture on 20 March 2015, I took a constitutional oath to, inter alia, uphold, defend and protect the constitution and serve the Namibian people to the best of my ability. I have upheld this constitutional oath with the conscientiousness that was required of me. This resignation is within the context of this obligation,” Hanse-Himarwa said.

However, Hanse-Himarwa who is also a member of the central committee and politburo of the ruling SWAPO Party vowed to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court.

“I strongly believe that all Namibians, including public office bearers, have the right to a fair trial and are innocent until proven guilty. In light of the High Court of Namibia’s verdict yesterday, 08 July 2019, I intend to exercise my full legal rights, through the appropriate legal channels.

“I understand the seriousness of the conviction and I am also mindful of the President’s strong views on transparency and accountability. In this light, I herewith confirm that I have requested to be relieved of my duties as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, with immediate effect,” Hanse-Himarwa said.

She was released on warning and will return to court for sentencing on July 24, 2019.

She was among presidential nominees to the National Assembly by President Geingob, who appointed her to Cabinet.

Meanwhile, State House announced on Tuesday that President Geingob has accepted the resignation of one of her strong allies in the ruling party.

Presidential spokesman Dr. Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari told media in Windhoek that  Geingob commends Hanse-Himarwa for the decision she has taken, accepting to live up to her responsibility by respecting the rule of law and the institutions of the Republic of Namibia.

“With the guilty verdict by the High Court of the Republic of Namibia, and in line with the expressed commitment by President Geingob to transparency and the fight against corruption, the Head of State would have been left with no option but to relieve honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa of her ministerial responsibilities. It is in this light that President Geingob accepts the resignation of Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture,” Hengari said.

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Namibia:Africa can benefit from its diamonds if exploited responsibly – Minister Alweendo
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

From left Minister Tom Alweendo, Edgar Diogo De Carvalho – ADPA’s Executive Secretary and Saadou Nimaga, Deputy Minister of Mines and Geology of Guinea during the official handover of the ADPA Chairmanship by Guinea to Namibia.

From left Minister Tom Alweendo, Edgar Diogo De Carvalho – ADPA’s Executive Secretary and Saadou Nimaga, Deputy Minister of Mines and Geology of Guinea during the official handover of the ADPA Chairmanship by Guinea to Namibia.

Windhoek – The fact that Africa dominate diamond production is an indication that the continent has the potential to capitalise on these natural resources, says Namibian mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo on Tuesday.

Information by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme indicates that African countries such as Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Sierra Leone is in the top ten of diamond producing countries in volume and value globally.

In addition, the most expensive diamonds are produced by Cameroon, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Lesotho, with a value ranging from US$300 to more than US$500 per carat, in comparison to the global average value of US$315 per carat.

This Minister Alweendo said it “indicates that Africa has the opportunity and potential to capitalise on its diamond resources if exploited in a responsible and sustainable manner.

That way, we will ensure that diamond generated income is channelled towards the building of educational and health institutions, improving road and network infrastructure and meeting other pressing social-economic needs”.

Alweendo was speaking during the 6th Ordinary Meeting of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association Council of Ministers in Windhoek. The annual session started on Monday with the meeting of senior officials for countries.

The two-day meeting hosted by the Namibian mines and energy ministry deliberated and formulated policies for the functioning of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association (ADPA), approve its organic structures and internal regulations as well as approve and direct the work of the executive secretariat.

 Namibia also took over the rotational chair of the association from Guinea. ADPA comprised of 18 members countries of which 12 are the effective members, while six are observers. The effective members are the diamond producing nations, while the observer countries are those that have the geological potential of diamonds

The Association of the Diamond Producing Countries was then established in accordance with the Luanda Declaration of 2006 and the ADPA Statute

Since its establishment, Angola, South Africa, and Guinea have chaired the ADPA’s Council of Ministers meeting, with Namibia taking over the Chairmanship for the year 2019.

“ADPA has played a significant role particularly in consolidating views of African producing countries. For example, ADPA has been instrumental in the restoration of the Republic of Zimbabwe back into the Kimberly Process after economic sanctions were imposed against their exportation of rough diamonds. The same support has been extended to the Central African Republic and is ongoing,” Minister Alweendo said.

In June 2018, ADPA concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Antwerp World Diamond Center, which Alweendo said will benefit ADPA member states throughout the entire diamond value chain, by the provision of necessary support towards ADPA’s implementation of its strategies and work plan just to mention a few.

This MoU is due for adoption and implementation.

He said ADPA has also formulated the concept document on the ‘Establishment of the Diamond Bourse’ to serve as a centre of rough diamond trading and to assist Alluvial Artisanal and Small-Scale miners in getting fair value for their produce, which is currently undervalued.

The Namibian stressed that most of the minerals in Africa is exported in raw form as concentrated ore without significant value-addition.

“It is therefore important for ADPA member states to explore ways to add value to minerals that are economically viable including diamonds, in order to industrialise their economies,” he said.

The minister also commended the African Union for formulating the Africa Mining Vision, a policy framework calling for the promotion of downstream value addition, with a view to establishing beneficiation industries that could provide stock for local manufacturing and industrialisation.

“This is to promote more fiscal space and responsive taxation to allow countries to better capture revenue gains and encourage the use of revenues for value addition and linkages,” he said.

Therefore, he challenged ADPA to drive the beneficiation “agenda by developing the diamond downstream industry through the exchange of relevant information and expertise in the area of beneficiation and mainstreaming of alluvial artisanal and small-scale miners into the formal economies to mention a few”.

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Chinese, Qataris set to invest in Kenya’s affordable housing scheme
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia

Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia

Kenya’s Affordable Housing Scheme has received a boost follow a commitment from Chinese and Qataris multinationals to construct 300, 000 houses.

Chines Companies have pledged to build 100, 000 houses whereas Qatari multinationals will construct 200, 000 houses.

Affordable Housing is part of Big Four Agenda spearheaded by the government. Others are manufacturing, food security and universal health.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia made this revelation after attending the coordinators meeting of the Beijing Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing

He also held talks with Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and Qatari’s Transport Minister Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti. They focused on how to strengthen cooperation between countries.

In Beijing meeting, the main focus was on trade, infrastructure, industrial promotion, training, security and peace.

Mr. Macharia said Kenya and China agreed to bolster their partnership through the private sector as the Asian country’s government ready to allow African investors invest in the country.

“Chinese are ready to increase technology transfer and training encourage innovation cooperation, regional value chains development, support Africa cultivate technical, industrial and management professionals and promote people centred partnerships, “ said Mr. Macharia.

He invited Chinese investors to bring more resources to Africa and also urging them to impart their skills into African people by awarding African students scholarships to study in China and giving them chances to train in their firms as interns.

The China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo provides a platform for cooperation and mutual exchange, showcasing tens of millions of commodities to make bilateral trade easier.

More than 50 African countries attended the summit during its inauguration last month. Kenya had the opportunity to showcase the Big Four Agenda, investment opportunities agriculture and tourism.

 

 

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Nigeria: Constitutional amendment alone cannot solve electoral issues – INEC
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says constitutional and legal alterations and amendments alone cannot solve the challenges facing the voting system in the country.

Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said this on Monday, at the Post 2019 General Elections Review Meeting with the Media in Lagos State.

Okoye said, “While it is right and rational to alter the constitution and amend the laws to take care of new, emerging and novel issues that may arise or have arisen and not contemplated or anticipated by the lawmakers, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that every electoral challenge must be solved through constitutional or Electoral Act amendment.

“We must acknowledge that constitutional and legal alterations and amendments alone cannot solve the challenges of the electoral process.

“Reforms in the electoral process must include improvements in the administration and management of elections.

“It must include a change in attitude by the major stakeholders in the electoral process and a commitment to play by the rules.”

According to him, as the country looks forward to off-season elections, the media, civil society organisations, political parties, the executive and the legislature must tease out areas of the Constitution that are problematic, ambiguous or where we have lacuna.

He said that such areas should be harvested, turned into bills and presented to the National Assembly for legislative action.

Okoye said that the commission had carried out and was still carrying out in-house review of the 2019 elections, urging all stakeholders to do the same.

He said that the commission had flagged a few problematic constitutional and electoral issues that the Nigerians should pay attention to in shaping and reshaping the electoral process.

The INEC commissioner advised the stakeholders to lead the debate on the desirability, workability, viability and utilitarian value of some of the suggestions for legislative and constitutional intervention.

Okoye said that the commission was interested in participants’ views on the adequacy or otherwise of the constitutional and legal framework for registration and regulation of political parties.

He said that the commission would no doubt harvest issues and implement, and the commission would remain open to ideas and new challenges, urging the media to assist it in reshaping the electoral landscape to make for the conduct of free and transparent elections.

“The Commission needs the support of the media in reshaping the perception of the Nigerian people relating to its intentions and its ability, courage and willingness to conduct good elections.

“The ability of the media to play this role also depends on its understanding of the intricate issues in the electoral process.

“We urge the media to see the commission as a worthy ally in the patriotic duty of giving the Nigerian people a good election,” Okoye said.

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Gambia’s Intelligence Chief Calls for Calm
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By  Bakary Ceesay

DG Sowe

DG Sowe

Ousman Sowe, the director general of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) has said that The Gambia is still going through the healing process, has urged all restraint in the country.

 He told journalists at his office in Banjul on Monday that:  “Therefore, we should restrain from doing anything that may likely jeopardise the peace and stability that the country is known for,”

 He said that: “Gambia is still on transition, we should collectively work together in the interest of national harmony, peace and continuity”

 According to him, it’s the first time they’re having a government that’s formed in a coalition.

 “We have also seen the country go through an impasse in an unprecedented manner up to the extent that a violent conflict was averted. This is a miracle and thanks to The Gambian people who are known to be law abiding. Therefore, that spirit should continue.”

 “We have successfully managed our impasse and political crisis in the interest of national harmony, peace and continuity. Therefore, the spirit that shows Gambia through the political crisis should also prevail in order to allow the ongoing process like the TRRC, CRC, and Electoral Reforms among other government initiatives to take their course so that Gambia can reform their institutions for national development.”

 “We should restrain in both our speeches and deeds because we are going through a healing process which is not yet completed. What we need at the moment is to focus on our national development priorities that will rapidly transform the country to meet other developed countries with tangible infrastructural development.”

 “For the past 26 months, we have witnessed landmark changes in services marked by refocusing, recasting and re-positioning of the agency to deliver in its role as a state intelligence services. There has been no single detention. We came with the harsh tag ‘No More Excessive.”

Sowe explained that their operatives are focused on intelligence analysis in either report or assessments.

 “We recast the services, gave it a new image and re-positioned it because the service is taking its co-mandate. We want to re-engine the service so that it can carry its national mandate.”

 “Our deployment across the country is ongoing which has never happened before. In fact, as a result of this deployment, some communities benefited from water project, road network and transportation among others. We are collaborating with other security services in making the country safe and to improve our responses.”

 “We want to assure Gambians that our country’s security situation remains calm and that the security services are working 24 hours in ensuring that we maintain that momentum. Our prayers and pledge is always to deliver effectively in order to make the country safe and secure in an environment devoid of excessive and arbitrary action.”

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Gambia: Opposition Condemns Freezing of Ex- President Jammeh’s Assets
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh

 Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party (APRC) has condemned the decision of the Justice Minister for freezing former President Yahya Jammeh assets.

After the completion of Independent Inquiry to look into financial dealings of former president Yahya Jammeh and his close associates, Justice Minister Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou seized all the assets of Yahya Jammeh.

During, a press conference on Friday Fabakary Tombong Jatta, interim leader of APRC said the decision of the Justice Minister against Jammeh was “selective, hasty, ill-advised and illegal”

“This is a deliberate campaigns to damage our party, the forfeiture of the assets of the former President Yahya Jammeh is selective, hasty, ill-advised and illegal,” he said.

Jatta, a former majority of the National Assembly lamented that Attorney General continues to ill-advice the President against the APRC and Babili Mansa.

Jatta stressed that the Janneh Commission is not a court and cannot authorize forfeiture of assets belonging to the former President.

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Gambia: Opposition APRC says They Lost Confidence in TRRC
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Fabakary Tombong Jatta

Fabakary Tombong Jatta

Gambian opposition Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party (APRC) has stated that as a party they have no trust in the ongoing Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).

Fabakary Tombong Jatta, alias FJT interim leader of APRC told journalists on Friday that: “The TRRC, led counsel Essa Faal, says the APRC junta committed crimes against humanity, I wander whether is him or Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court says from 2014 to 2017 there was no crime that can be equate with genocides”.

“The led counsel went further to says the amnesty clause only protect the five man junta does not protect soldiers like Musa Jammeh and others, we all know that clause protect all who are working under the junta even if you are a messenger, he may know but this comments show his true color because if you are to be a led prosecutor in a TRRC you should be impeachable informed by truth”

Jatta,  a former Majority leader of the National Assembly added that: “We know even if you look at the questioning style of TRRC, lots of contradictions, and sad thing is the presence of Alagie Barrow, Director of Research and Investigation who is a coupist was welcome here under red carpet by senior government  officials  at the airport,”.

The former ruling party said: “These are things that we are not alleging, but facts that is the reasons we says we have no trust in TRRC for the fact that they are looking at an area where the 1997 Constitution prevents them to so, as government could have amended the immunity clause since but ignored that went ahead of Constitutional Review Commission and amended the clauses in Constitution they want to do so”

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South Sudan: Gunshot injuries remain high despite peace deal
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
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