Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Article Written Before the Brexit Election on Why African-Caribbeans Should Vote for a Left Exit From the EU
June 15, 2016
Written by Kwesi Adabunu
Published in Counterfire

Note: This article was published eight days prior to the Leave vote setting the stage for the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.

The effect of EU policy on ethnic minority groups living in the UK should be considered

As well as the EU's role in economic and social devastation in Africa, minority ethnic groups in Europe bear the brunt of EU austerity argues Kwesi Adabunu

I wish to argue in this article that, it is in the long term interests of African-Caribbeans living in the UK to vote for Britain to leave the European Union (EU). The main thrust of my argument is that the EU is an imperialist project which is actively and unashamedly extracting the resources and exploiting the labour of the people of Africa and the Caribbean through trade and other means.

The article also argues that far from ensuring the rights of freedom of movement into and around Europe, EU immigration policy is racist and in particular aimed at excluding African people from the European continent, despite the EU’s role in the economic and social devastation on the African continent.

This article focuses on one particular issue to demonstrate this point. This issue is the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) - a free trade agreement - that the EU has pressurised some African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states to sign. This agreement has profound and long term implications for the welfare of Africans and Caribbean people living not only in Africa and the Caribbean but also in Britain.

What are Economic Partnership Agreements?

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade agreements ostensibly meant to safeguard the “preferential access” to EU markets that the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) were granted under the Lome Convention of 1975 (a Trade Agreement). The Lome Convention was based on the principle of “non-reciprocity”. This principle meant that, for example, Africa was not obliged to grant Europe “reciprocal access” to African markets in return for Africa’s “preferential access” to Europe’s market.

Another important aspect of the principle of non-reciprocity is that of “competitive advantage”. What this means is that, for example, cocoa beans from Ghana entering the European market, were subject to lower tariffs than say cocoa beans from Brazil. Hence, cocoa farmers from Ghana had a “competitive advantage” over cocoa farmers from Brazil.

Like most things in life we have to go behind the surface in order to understand the meaning of this “preferential access” for Europe. This is because the EU presents “preferential access” as if it is doing a favour to its former colonies. In reality, Europe was in need of secure sources of raw materials to consolidate its industrialisation and to perpetuate the international division of labour whereby its former colonies remained producers of raw materials (with no value added) for the European market.

This meant that the former colonies of Europe were locked into a trade relationship with Europe which undermined any prospects for developing manufacturing industries which were the basis for Europe’s own development.

Now, let us fast forward from the Lome Convention of 1975 to the era of globalisation. The Lome Convention was replaced by the Cotonou Agreement of 2000. Why?  The answer in one word is “Globalisation” or to be precise imperialism. With the advent of globalisation and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), non-reciprocal trade agreements became open to challenge in the WTO because they were seen as discriminating against other developing countries. The Cotonou Agreement of 2000, sought to solve this problem. How? By stipulating that by 2008, all ACP countries should have in place WTO-compatible trade agreements to be known as Economic Partnership Agreements. WTO compatibility basically means ACP countries should open their markets to competition.

The EPA negotiations have been protracted because the ACP countries have been resisting the diktat of the EU which is seeking to impose its trade agenda on the ACP countries without regard for the developmental challenges facing the ACP countries such as high unemployment and poverty. To date, only 36 of the original 76 ACP countries have initialised or signed an EPA. Hence, the EU is threatening to deny access to the EU market for ACP countries that do not accept an EPA.

What are the key features of EPAs?

These are:

Liberalisation of markets, meaning the opening up of the markets of ACP countries for the dumping of subsidised goods and services from Europe.
Elimination of tariffs on goods. About 90% of tariffs on all trade will be eliminated over a ten year period meaning ACP countries will lose tariffs on EU imports into their countries.
Liberalisation of investments, government procurement, intellectual property and capital accounts of ACP countries. This means the deregulation of these strategic economic sectors leaving the   governments of the ACP countries unable to regulate them.
“Aid For Trade” meaning the EU will provide money to the ACP to compensate them for the “adjustment costs” of liberalisation.
Asymmetrical “Negotiations” - The EU has been negotiating the EPAs as one powerful trading bloc for the benefit of their large corporations whilst the ACP countries are fragmented and small and hence the negotiations if one should call them that are asymmetrical. In fact what is actually taking place is a diktat by EU and not any meaningful negotiations.
Consequences of the EPAs for ACP countries
What are the consequences of the EPAs for ACP countries? Let us take them in turn in the order outlined above:

Liberalisation of markets

The EU presents the liberalisation of markets as something mutually beneficial to the EU and ACP countries. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking Ghana as an example, even if the EU opens up 100% of its market, this is worth less than 1% of the value of Ghana’s exports to the EU. The reality is that African firms for example, do not have the capacity to export more goods to the European market to derive any benefits. Some of the negative consequences of market liberalisation for ACP countries include:

a) The already weak domestic manufacturing and other productive sectors of the ACP countries will collapse because of the opening of their markets to subsidised goods from the EU. Millions of people will be out of work.

b) Localagricultural production and local agricultural enterprises in the ACP countries will be wiped out due to the dumping of subsidised EU food on their markets. With the enlargement of the EU to 28 member states, the volume of this dumping will increase. Already the importation of subsidised frozen chicken is having a devastating effect on local poultry production in Ghana and Uganda. Women are the worst affected when agriculture production collapses.

The former President of Tanzania commented that: “We cannot continue to export a narrow range of (largely primary) products and import a broad range of finished goods on our way to development. The hard work of industrialization and food production must be done”. TheEU is however, busy undermining the meagre efforts at industrialisation and food production of the ACP countries.

Liberalisation of investments, government procurement, intellectual property and capital accounts
The liberalisation of these key sectors of the economies of the ACP countries, means that European investors and corporations could enter and operate in the economies of the ACP countries with their governments unable to regulate their activities. Even WTO rules do not permit this level of deregulation of a country’s economy. Developing countries fought hard to exclude the deregulation of these issues from the WTO rules and yet the EU, through the EPAs is introducing them through the back door. Why? Because growth has stagnated in Europe and EU is desperately looking further afield for new areas of investment and profits for its corporations.

The liberalisation of investments, government procurement, intellectual property and capital accounts of the ACP countries, means that EU investors and businesses, would cherry pick the most lucrative aspects of these sectors, privatise them and extract rent without giving a damn about the negative effective on vital local services such as health, education, communications and transport. In addition, the ACP countries would lose control over the flow of capital out of their countries due to the deregulation of capital accounts.

Loss of revenue from trade taxes

ACP countries depend heavily on the revenues they get from tariffs on imported goods. With the EPAs, the ACP countries would lose this important source of revenue because of the elimination of tariffs on imports from the EU. This loss of revenue would be far greater than the revenue the ACP countries will lose if their exports were excluded from the EU market. This is because currently, the volume of exports from the EU to ACP countries is far more than that of the volume of exports of ACP countries into Europe. With the expansion of the EU to 28 member states, the volume of tariff-free exports from the EU to the ACP countries is going to increase further. In other words, the ACP countries with their weak production base are not competitive enough to derive benefits from the opening up of the European market whilst simultaneously opening up their markets.

Aid For Trade

The EU has proposed to provide Aid to the ACP countries to compensate them for the “adjustment costs” of liberalisation. What are these “adjustment costs” and what is being adjusted to? In ordinary language it means the EU is aware of the profound and long term economic and social devastation (read more unemployment and poverty),  that the EPAs are going to wreck on the people of the ACP countries. But the EU is “kind enough” to compensate them with Aid so they can adjust to chronic unemployment and poverty. It needs to be borne in mind that when the manufacturing base of an under-developed country is devastated, it is extremely difficult to rebuild it and this change may well be irreversible.

The promised EU Aid is in the form of financial and technical assistance. With regards to financial assistance the EU has promised to provide 2 billion Euros from the European Development Fund (EDF) to help ACP countries with the costs of adjusting to the EPAs. Some estimates put the actual figures at 700 million Euros to be distributed among 71 ACP countries and some Latin American countries.

Putting aside for a moment this paltry sum of money, what is significant is that, the EU is using Aid as a lever to compel ACP to accept EPAs. Most of these countries are dependent of EU Aid, and are therefore vulnerable to the machinations of the EU. “Aid for Trade” should indeed read, Aid for long term economic and social devastation for ACP countries and a smile all the way to the bank for the EU.

EU technical assistance does not fare any better because it is European consultancy and research firms who would be contracted to provide this assistance. In other words, the so called Aid will go back to the EU in the form of fees to European consultancy and research firms. It is hard to find words to describe this relationship but cynicism comes very close. The EU is in effect, bribing the political elite of ACP countries to sell their countries down the drain for a pittance.

Asymmetrical “Negotiations” and the Global Europe Strategy:
One has to understand the context in which the EPAs has been crafted and foisted on the ACP countries in order to appreciate the objectives of the EU and the implications of the EPAs for the people of the ACP countries. Though the EU is powerful, it is vulnerable to the loss of its markets to emerging countries like Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa – the BRICS.  To meet this challenge, the EU, led by the then Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, developed its “Global Europe Strategy”. This strategy is driven by a little known secretariat in Brussels called the “Business Europe”. The objectives of the Global Europe Strategy include: a)“Adopt an open and offensive policy on international investment” and b) “Open new markets through bilateral trade and economic agreements”.

Adopting “…an open and offensive policy on international investments”, should be translated as the export of capital to seek ever greater returns for European corporations and banks. The export of capital is one of the key characteristics of imperialism. What is often lost sight of, is that there is also the export of capital from the ACP countries to the Europe in the form of the returns  on the investments made by European corporations and banks in the ACP countries. Hence the EU’s export of capital and the opening up of new markets through trade (EPAs) makes its project, an imperialist project.

There is no moment or sustained period during which the 500 years relationship between Europe and the ACP countries has been beneficial to the working people of the ACP countries. Had that been the case, in the case, poverty will be not be rampant in the ACP countries, and a contributing factor to the so-called migrant crises that Europe is facing now. “So-called” because what we are witnessing is really a crisis of world-wide capitalism which manifests as a migrant crisis.

The Migrant Crisis

The EU has made it abundantly clear that its raison d'etre is the promotion and implementation of austerity in Europe. The brutal manner in which the EU dealt with Greece, against the wishes of the Greek people expressed in a referendum, attests to the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU.

For Europe to benefit from the EPAs the ACP countries will have to implement austerity policies to ensure the transfer of resources from the ACP countries to Europe. Millions of people will be thrown out of jobs which will exacerbate poverty in the ACP countries. It should not be hard to imagine why people in this dire situation will want to seek a better life in Europe.

Viewed from this perspective the distinction between refugees and economic migrants becomes bogus. Austerity abroad pushes people to seek better lives. Having created economic, political and social mayhem on the African continent, the EU is disgracefully turning Europe into a fortress to keep black people out.  The EU is pursuing a military campaign in the Mediterranean, with the full backing of NATO, to intercept desperate migrants from Libya, send them back and destroy their boats.

The EU’s attempt to police the flow of migrants is simply futile if the push factors are not dealt with. In any case, the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees was enacted when most of the countries of the ACP countries were under colonial rule and had no say in it. The Convention was enacted to deal with the refugee crises in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. The world of 2016 is significantly different from that of 1951, and yet the European Establishment dogmatically clings to the 1951 definition of refugees.

The failure of the EU to deal with the migrant crises and it depiction of migrants as the problem, will increase racism and xenophobia in Europe. The rise of the far right political parties across Europe is partly a manifestation of this failure. Black and minority ethnic people across in Britain and across Europe will bear the brunt of this increased racism and xenophobia.

Remittances

It is estimated that migrant workers worldwide remit about $500 billion annually to their countries of origin. This amount it twice the total  “Development Aid” provided by developed countries to under-developed countries. The unemployment and poverty that would be unleashed by the EPAs in the ACP countries, could pressurise African-Caribbeans in the UK to remit more money at a time when they themselves are bearing the brunt of the austerity policies that the EU has unleased throughout Europe.

The austerity policies that the EU is implementing in Europe and seeking to implement in the ACP countries through EPAs,  is a manifestation of the crisis of capitalism. African-Caribbeans and other minority ethnic people in Europe are bearing the brunt of this austerity. They need to join hands with the working people of the ACP countries in resisting austerity. But resistance is not enough. What is required is a dismantling of the collective imperialist EU project. Britain leaving the EU has the potential to throw the whole EU project into an existential crisis because other European countries are likely to follow suit. The working people of Europe would then be in a position to struggle against capitalism within their various states instead of struggling against the powerful collective capitalism of 28 states which is a much more daunting task. As Dennis Skinner succinctly put it : “My opposition from the very beginning has been on the lines that fighting capitalism state by state is hard enough. It’s even harder when you’re fighting it on the basis of eight states, 10 states and now 28.”

For the above reasons I urge African-Carribeans in the UK to join progressive forces in voting for Britain to leave the EU. 
Black Lives Matter Withdraws From S.F.'s Pride Parade Due to Increased Police Presence
Ileana Najarro

Black Lives Matter Bay Area and other organizations said Friday that they will not participate in this weekend’s San Francisco Pride Parade due to increased policing in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Black Lives Matter, which was to be an organizational grand marshal for the parade themed “For Racial and Economic Justice,” cited concerns over the San Francisco Police Department’s “recent track record of racist scandal and killings of people of color” and how first responders can be a source of harm to “queer communities of color.”

“The Black Lives Matter network is grateful to the people of San Francisco for choosing us, we choose you too,” said Malkia Cyril, a member of Black Lives Matter, in a press release. “As queer people of color, we are disproportionately targeted by both vigilante and police violence.

See the most-read stories this hour >>
“We know firsthand that increasing the police presence at Pride does not increase safety for all people,” Cyril added. “Militarizing these events increases the potential for harm to our communities and we hope in the future SF Pride will consider community-centered approaches to security at pride events.”

Those joining with Black Lives Matter in withdrawing from the parade due to the increased police presence include Janetta Johnson, executive director of the TGI Justice Project that serves imprisoned trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people, and the St. James Infirmary, a clinic for current and former sex workers.

Other Pride events happening this weekend have also announced beefed up security following the Orlando massacre, including Orange County and New York City’s gay pride parades.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Grenade Blast Kills Two, Injures 70 in Madagascar Stadium
TVC NEWS

At least two people have been killed and 70 injured in a grenade blast at a stadium in Madagascar’s capital on Sunday during celebrations marking the country’s independence day.

The blast struck the Mahamasina municipal stadium in Antananarivo, just as a free concert was taking place to celebrate the island nation’s 56th anniversary of independence from France.

Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly, who rushed to hospital to visit the injured, strongly condemned the “disgusting and shameful” attack.

The last attack to hit Madagascar was in January 2014 when a grenade blast killed a toddler and injured several other people outside the same stadium targeted on Sunday.


Three killed, 91 injured in Madagascar 'terror blast'

By AFP
15:23 EST, 27 June 2016

A toddler died in hospital Monday following a grenade attack in Madagascar's capital, bringing the death toll to three in what the president called "an act of terrorism".

The blast struck the Mahamasina municipal stadium in Antananarivo at around 1600 GMT Sunday, just as a free concert was taking place to mark the nation's 56th anniversary of independence from France.

According to the gendarmerie, the attack immediately killed two teenagers aged 16 and 18.

"There are now three dead," including the 14-month-old girl who died of her wounds, Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana said Monday, adding that 91 people were injured in the attack and an enquiry was under way.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who visited the wounded in hospital, blamed the attack on tensions with political opponents in the Indian Ocean island nation.

"There may be differences of opinion between us, but these acts of destabilisation are unacceptable," he said in a statement broadcast on national television, describing the attack as "not just a destabilising act but an act of terrorism".

Pleading for calm, he added: "We will not respond to violence with violence."

"I do not believe that a divergence of views pushes people to commit such an atrocity " said former prime minister Omer Beriziky, one of the voices critical of the current regime.

- 'Terrorist act' -

"The explosion was caused by a grenade," general Anthony Rakotoarison, head of security and intelligence with the national gendarmerie, told AFP by phone.

"We consider this a terrorist act," he added.

A military parade had been held at the stadium earlier Sunday.

One of those injured, 15-year-old John Joelison, said there were three security checks at the stadium.

"So I can't understand how the attacker managed to get the bomb in," he said.

However a medical source said that the security forces had rapidly been overwhelmed, letting people come and go without being searched.

The last attack to hit Madagascar was in January 2014 when a grenade blast killed a toddler and injured several other people outside the same stadium targeted on Sunday.

No arrests were ever made in connection with that attack and there was no claim of responsibility.

Madagascar, one of the world's poorest countries, is slowly getting back on its feet after a lengthy period of political instability triggered by the 2009 ouster of president Marc Ravalomanana by Antananarivo's then-mayor Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina led a transitional government until late 2013, when a new election that was designed to resolve complex struggles brought Rajaonarimampianina to power.

International donors, on which the country relies heavily, only recently returned to Madagascar after withdrawing over the 2009 turmoil, and the economy is starting to show the first signs of recovery.
Kenya Plans to Repatriate 150,000 Somalian Refugees by End of 2016
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government plans to repatriate about 150,000 Somali refugees from the Dadaab refugee camp by the end of 2016.

The plan was revealed in a statement issued after the Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees living in Kenya held a meeting over the weekend. The commission consists of officials from Kenya, Somalia and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

The statement said the voluntary repatriation has seen the return of more than 16,000 Somali refugees to date, and will be implemented with continued support from Kenya, Somalia and partners.

“The parties noted the prospect of the reduction of the population in the Dadaab camps by 150,000 individuals by the end of 2016 as a result of voluntary returns to Somalia, relocation of non-Somali refugees, the de-registration of Kenyan citizens who registered as refugees, and a population verification exercise,” reads the statement.

The meeting was attended by Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdusalam Hadliye Omer, and UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi.

“The commission directed the tripartite technical committee to conclude concrete operational modalities and support measures which will be provided in Kenya and Somalia,” the statement said.

Kenya in May announced it will close Dadaab and repatriate the more than 300,000 Somalis living in it, citing environmental and security concerns. Somalia has said it is ready to receive the Somalis back home.

Located in northeastern Kenya, Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, was set up more than 20 years ago to house people fleeing conflict in Somalia.

The Dadaab closure process will also involve the identification of non-Somali refugees who will be taken to Kenya’s Kakuma camp and local citizens who live in the camp will obtain humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.

As of the end of May, the number of Somali refugees registered in Dadaab had decreased to 326,000, a reduction of over 100,000 people in the past five years—many of whom are believed to have spontaneously returned to Somalia, the statement said.

Grandi called for more financial support as they plan to increase the repatriation package given to refugees, saying funds will be a significant determinant of how fast the process goes.

“We are planning to increase the package or double as this is what most of the refugees have requested because they actually want to go home. The package is in need of cash for food and also other non-food items. But all in all, the most important part of repatriation process will be cash,” Grandi said.

Omer said Somalia and Kenya had agreed to conduct the repatriation in a humane and dignified way.

“Their (the refugee’s) safety is assured and land (in Somalia) has been set aside for refugees. All the work is in progress and 20,000 Somalis have expressed their willingness to go back home,” said Omer.

The tripartite commission committed to engaging bilateral and multilateral development partners in raising necessary funds to facilitate the repatriation.

Kenya estimates that at least 200 million U.S. dollars were needed for the repatriation to be completed in a humane manner.

The tripartite commission agreed to meet in October to review progress made in the voluntary repatriation.

Kenya believes Somalia’s Islamist group Al-Shabaab has hideouts in Dadaab. Al-Shabaab militants have carried out several deadly attacks in Kenya in recent years.
African Union Troops in Somalia Not Paid for Six Months
By Catherine Byaruhanga
BBC Africa, Somalia
27 June 2016

The allowances for African troops fighting al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia have not been paid for at least six months, the BBC has learned.

The 22,000-strong African Union force (Amisom) fighting the Islamist militant group al-Shabab is funded by the EU.

An European Union source told the BBC that last six-month payment was being withheld over "accounting issues".

The head of Amisom told the BBC the correct papers to account for the last tranche had now been submitted.

The EU provides $1,028 (£700) for each Amisom soldier each month; their respective governments then deduct around $200 for administrative costs meaning the soldiers are supposed to take home about $800.

This deployment allowance is much more than the meagre salaries the soldiers receive from their governments.

The funds are only released to Amisom by the EU once the accounts from the previous payment are signed off.

The BBC understands there have been delays over the last two tranches - and last year's June-November payment has only just arrived.

So soldiers are now receiving money owed to them last year but have not received any of it owed to them this year.

Ugandan military chief General Katumba Wamala said he unable to describe the extent of his frustration over the late payments.

Gen Wamala also said that Uganda would pull its soldiers out of Somalia by December 2017, because of frustrations with the Somali army and military advisers from the US, UK and Turkey.

Uganda joined Amisom in 2007 and is the force's biggest contributor, with more than 6,000 troops.

Burundian military officials also said their troops had not been paid.

Amisom officials fear that the late payments are having a negative impact have on troop morale.

EU ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d'Urso said he was "concerned about the delay" in the stipend which he said was "essential for the motivation of soldiers".

In the past 12 months four Amisom bases manned by Burundian, Ugandan, Kenyan and Ethiopian troops have been attacked by the militants.

According to the Somali president, 180 Kenyan troops being killed in a single incident in January.
Kenya has never confirmed how many soldiers it lost in the attack and African Union does not release full casualty figures.

Attacks on Amisom troops

African Union troops in Somalia in April 2015Image copyrightAFP
2016
9 June: Al-Shabab said they killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in Halgan - Ethiopia denied any soldiers were killed
21 April: Six Ethiopian troops killed in blast in Bay Region
22 February: 15 Ethiopian troops dead in clashes in Lower Shabeelle
15 January: Scores of Kenyan troops killed in an attack on base in El Adde
2015
1 September: More than 20 killed in suicide attack on base in Janale, including at least 12 Ugandan troops
26 June: At least 50 Burundian troops killed in attack on base near Mogadishu
2011
20 October: 70 Amisom and Somali troops killed in clashes in Mogadishu.
Somalia: Al Shabaab Retakes Town After SNA, AU Troops Exit
Hundreds of gun-toting Al Shabaab fighters in pick-ups have entered peacefully in Goof-Gadud area, located some 30Km north of Baidoa on Sunday after SNA and AMISOM troops withdrew the town.

Unclear why the allied forces moved out of the area, but reports we are getting from Baidoa indicate that the retreat came after the the federal government of Somalia failed to pay salaries of soldiers for months.

Upon their arrival, Al Shabaab fighters raised their flag on the rooftop of the administrative building, police station, and lectured residents to announce their surprise comeback.

Goof-Gaduud falls under Baidoa city and it has changed hands several times since the Somali troops backed by AU forces (AMISOM) pushed militants out of Mogadishu in 2011.
Implementing Africa's Largest Free Trade Agreement
Sherif Fahmy
Monday 27 Jun 2016

Despite the signing of a free trade agreement between the three main economic blocs in Africa, issues remain to be ironed out on the path to the agreement's implementation

A year has passed since the heads of states and government of Africa's three economic blocs — COMESA, SADC and the East African Community (EAC) — met in Sharm El-Sheikh on 10June 2015 to sign and launch the largest continental alliance through a free trade agreement (FTA) between the three blocs.

The journey to this glory started in the First Tripartite Summit on 22October 2008 and a Memorandum of Understanding on Inter-regional Cooperation and Integration amongst COMESA, EAC and SADC that was signed between the CEOs of the three blocs.

Further to that, the Second Tripartite Summit on 12June 2011 launched negotiations for the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).

After four years of tough negotiations the agreement was finally signed by 16 member states in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The signing of the agreement in Egypt emphasised the pivotal role that Egypt plays in the African continent and proved the keenness of Egypt to have an important say on the regional integration agenda.

The tripartite initiative by COMESA-SADC-EAC emerged to contribute to the accomplishment of a larger vision of establishing an African Economic Community as outlined in the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty of 1991. The idea was to resolve the issue of overlapping memberships of countries in more than one economic bloc.

Accordingly, the heads of states and governments held two tripartite summits in Kampala in 2008 and in Johannesburg in 2011. The first tripartite summit held in Kampala approved the expeditious establishment of an FTA encompassing the member/partner states of the three regional economic communities (RECs) and accentuated the fact that the tripartite arrangement is a crucial building bloc towards achieving the African Economic Community.

The second tripartite summit held in Johannesburg witnessed the signing of the declaration to launch negotiations for the establishment of the tripartite free trade area, the adoption of the roadmap for establishing the FTA, and the negotiating principles, processes and institutional framework.

The heads of states and government endorsed three pillars of integration: 1) market integration; 2) industrial development; and 3) infrastructure development.

The first phase of the tripartite negotiations covered the market integration pillar while the movement of business persons was considered a parallel and separate track.

The second phase will cover trade in services, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and trade development and competitiveness.

The tripartite member/partner states are comprised of 26 countries; Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Despite the signature of the main text by 16 member states (no ratifications yet), there are many important annexes that are still outstanding, which are considered key instruments to the full effective implementation of the agreement.

A post-negotiations key factor of the tripartite FTA is the timely implementation of the agreement. The effective implementation of tripartite FTA commitments by member/partner states is therefore a priority that calls for an objective assessment with a view to identifying and defining the scope and range of issues that deserve member/partner states attention and consequent action.

The second meeting of the Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee on Trade, Finance, Customs, Economic Matters and Home Internal Affairs directed the TTF to prepare a draft post-Signature implementation roadmap, which will be adopted at the signing of the TFTA agreement.

The tripartite TFTA post-signature implementation roadmap is a framework that identifies priority areas, the necessary actions, including sequencing, and the responsible actors. It complements the TFTA roadmap adopted by the second summit of the tripartite heads of states and government in June, 2011.

Elements of the post-signature implementation roadmap

The key focal areas of the TFTA post-signature implementation roadmap consist of the following:

— Notification of the World Trade Organisation

— Finalisation of negotiations on outstanding areas of the TFTA agreement (market access, rules of origin, etc)

— Designation and notification of TFTA focal points

— Ratification of the TFTA agreement

— Creating a depository for the instruments of ratification

— Commencement of implementation of the TFTA agreement

— Public awareness

— Capacity building

— Preparation of a TFTA Resource Mobilisation Strategy

Significance of the Agreement

A single FTA covering a large market of 26 countries, which constitutes half of the member states of the African Union.

Exemption from customs duties

- Creation of a more conducive environment for foreign direct investment(FDI attraction)

- Elimination of non-tariff barriers

Socioeconomic indicators of the tripartite agreement

- Tripartite contribution in Africa GDP: 58 percent

- Tripartite GDP: $624 billion

- GDP per capita: $1,184 per annum

- Tripartite population: 625 million people

- Tripartite population to African Union population: 57 percent

The agreement was signed but it will take more negotiation rounds to finalise the outstanding issues, in order for it to enter into force. No tangible progress has been achieved since the signing, as technical level negotiations are still ongoing. The market access and tariff liberalisation offer has only been exchanged bilaterally between Egypt and EAC while SACU member states have made no key progress worthy of mention yet. This means that the timeframe will be extended for at least two more years.

The risk is that the African Union launched negotiations on a continental FTA (CFTA) and according to the AU roadmap the CFTA should be launched in 2017. Consequently, the tripartite FTA has to be finalised before that date.

Egyptian negotiators should push aggressively to finalise negotiations on rules of origin and market access. This will give Egyptian products the privilege of penetrating the tripartite non-COMESA member states' markets with a competitive advantage.

The writer is senior director of N Gage Consulting and former chief of the Tripartite Agreement Negotiating Team.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/223208.aspx
TV host Liliane Daoud Arrested at Cairo House, Set to Be Deported: Lawyer
Ahram Online
Monday 27 Jun 2016

TV host Liliane Daoud arrested at Cairo house, set to be deported: Lawyer

Lebanese TV host Liliane Daoud was arrested at her Cairo house late on Monday and transported to an airport for deportation, her Lawyer Zyad El-Elaimy said on his Facebook account.

Her expected deportation comes hours after she announced on Twitter that she had ended her contract with privately-owned Egyptian channel ONTV, which she joined in June 2011.

Media reports stated that Daoud would be deported to Beirut immediately.

El-Elaimy said he is still trying to verify this information, adding that she entered Egypt using her British passport and hasn't renewed her Lebanese passport for a while.

The interior ministry is yet to comment on Daoud's arrest and reported deportation.

Daoud's show was among very few TV programmes that used to give a platform to political opposition figures to speak freely on air.

Her Egyptian ex-husband, Khaled Alberry, was coincidentally present during the arrest while picking up their ten-year-old daughter for dinner.

"They gave [Daoud] exactly five minutes. They refused to allow her to take anything with her except her wallet. They also refused to let her call a lawyer or the [Lebanese] embassy," Alberry wrote on his Facebook account.

Alberry stressed that Daoud has Egyptian residency because she was married to him for six years.

Daoud's decision to leave ONTV came one day after Mohamed El-Garhy -- the producer of the famous Gaber Al-Armouty's TV show "Headlines", on the same TV channel -- said that he and Al-Armouty would leave after seven years of working there.

These new changes are one month after ONTV, known for its political coverage in the past five years since the ouster of president Mubarak in 2011, was fully acquired by tycoon steel Ahmed Abu-Hashima.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/231985.aspx
Egypt MPs Call for Resignation of Education Minister
Gamal Essam El-Din
Monday 27 Jun 2016

Egypt MPs said Education Minister Al-Hilali Al-‎Sherbini's failure to contain the Thanawiyya Amma
‎exam leaks should force him to resign

Egypt parliament's education committee said in an ‎urgent meeting on Monday that Education Minister ‎Al-Hilali Al-Sherbini should resign from office after he ‎failed to contain the Thanawiyya Amma exam leaks.

‎MPs described Al-Sherbini as a "failed minister" and as a ‎result he should resign from office or parliament move to ‎withdraw confidence from him.‎

The committee's meeting came after MPs blasted Al-‎Sheribni in parliament's plenary session on Monday. ‎

Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said Al-Sherbini should attend ‎the committee's meeting to defend himself.

"I know that ‎the exam leaks have left hundreds of families in Egypt ‎suffering from psychological pain and it is the ‎minister's duty to come to parliament to respond to ‎the questions," Abdel-Aal said.‎

Abdel-Aal said the education committee should ‎thoroughly study the exam leaks scandal, prepare a ‎report on it and decide whether it is constitutional to ‎withdraw confidence from the Minister of Education. ‎

MP Zeinab Salem began the attacks against Al-‎Sherbini by describing him as a failed minister.

"I think ‎parliament should have a role in this crisis which has ‎caused a lot of pain for hundreds of families in Egypt," ‎said Salem.‎

Joining forces, Salah Hassaballah, chairman of the ‎Freedom Party, said that not only has Minister El-Sheribini ‎failed to address the leaks crisis, but also has made the ‎wrong decision of postponing some of the final ‎Thanawiyya Amma exams.

"This flawed policy led ‎hundreds of students to protest on the street and left ‎many others in agony and distress," said Hassaballah.‎

Khaled Helal, an independent MP, said "the leaks of ‎different Thanawayya Amma exams were made in an ‎orderly way and on a wide scale this year."

"As a result, ‎the education ministry officials, including the minister ‎himself, were left helpless and unable to contain this ‎crisis," said Helal, adding that "the problem is not with ‎the minister himself, but with the ministry as a whole as ‎this scandal has exposed a lot of corruption among its ‎senior officials."

"I think there is a mafia of corruption ‎inside the education ministry and that this mafia should ‎be put on trial," said Helal.‎

Helal also criticised El-Sherbini's decision that the ‎Thanawiyya Amma students face the physics exam ‎again after it was leaked.

"This decision does a lot of ‎injustice to excellent students who were able to answer ‎the questions of this exam," said Helal.‎

Female MP Ghada Sakr said parliament should ask the ‎armed forces or the intelligence apparatus to take charge ‎of printing and organising Egypt's Thanawiyya Amma's ‎exams in the coming years. ‎

Hani Abaza, deputy chairman of parliament's education ‎committee, told reporters that Prime Minister Sherif ‎Ismail and Education Minister Al-Hilali Al-Sherbini ‎should come to the committee to respond to MPs' ‎questions and attacks.

"We have invited them and it is ‎their duty to come to explain themselves," said Abaza.‎

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/231972.aspx
Egypt Police Fire Tear Gas at High School Students Protesting Against Education Ministry
Ahram Online
Monday 27 Jun 2016

High school students protested against education ministry's decision to postpone the final Thanaweya Amma exams, demanding the minister's dismissal

Egypt’s police used teargas on Monday to disperse hundreds of high school students who protested in downtown Cairo against the education ministry’s decision to cancel and postpone the end-of-year standardised Thanaweya Amma exams after earlier versions were leaked.

Online videos showed students being chased away by the police.

The angry students demanded the dismissal of education minister El-Hilali El-Sherbini as well holding ministry officials responsible for the current spate of online exam leaks, chanting chanting "You leak the exams, see how many students' dreams are destroyed".

Students also demanded the cancellation of the current grading system used by high school students in Egypt to apply for university and rejected the ministry's Thursday decision to postpone the remaining Thanaweya Amma exams to July to avoid further leaks.

Meanwhile, families of high school students organized a rally to the House of the Representatives in Downtown Cairo.

A parallel protest was organized at the same time in Alexandria by high school students against the education ministry at the Alexandria Bibliotheca. Students also protested in Mansoura, Tanta, Ismailia and Sharqia.

Monday's protests marked the second day in a row that high school students gathered to protest against the ministry of education and its current minister.

The education ministry spokesperson Bahsir Hassan told the media that the ministry had to cancel the applied math exam to achieve justice among students.

"We are facing a [group] that defies all state institutions, not only one or two people," Hassan said, expressing his sympathy with the high school students and their families.

Refusing to hold the ministry of education responsible for the exams leaks, Hassan said that state institutions vowed to defeat the group responsible for leaking the exams.

On Sunday, Egypt's Prosecutor general referred the case of the high school exams leaks to High state security prosecution for further investigations.

Earlier this month, security forces arrested a number of Facebook pages administrators for allegedly leaking the exams.

An investigation by the general prosecution also revealed that one of the officials at the ministry's printing house was allegedly responsible for the leak and is currently detained pending investigation.

Despite the recent arrests in the controversial case, several Facebook pages are still leaking the exams. This year marks the fourth year in a row exams and answers have been leaked online.

While the applied mathematics exam was the last to be leaked this year, the Arabic, French, Spanish, English, economics and religion exams and model answers were also leaked on Facebook.

Grades from the Thanaweya Amma exams determine students' university prospects and thus are often a source of stress and pressure for students and families alike.

Around 600,000 students are sitting for the exams this year.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/231945.aspx
EgyptAir MS804 Black Boxes Arrive in France for Repair
Ahram Online
Monday 27 Jun 2016

The plane’s wreckage, which was extracted from the Mediterranean, has been transported to a secure location within Cairo International Airport, awaiting a technical team’s examination

An Egyptian investigation committee arrived on Monday in France to repair the two black boxes of the EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in May, killing all 66 people on board, the committee said in a statement.

Upon their arrival in Paris, the team held meetings with French officials to discuss a plan of action and the procedures that would be taken to start the repair of the black boxes’ electronic circuit board.

Meanwhile, the plane’s wreckage, extracted from the Mediterranean, has been transported to a secure location within Cairo’s International Airport, awaiting a technical team’s examination, the statement read.

The statement also added that efforts to extract bodies of the victims are still ongoing, using the help of Egyptian and French medical examiners on board Lethbridge John ship, which was recently hired by Egypt.

The committee said in a previous statement that once the black boxes have been repaired, they would be returned to Cairo for analysis in Egypt's aviation ministry laboratories.

Investigators have said it is too early to determine what caused the plane to crash, although a terror attack has not been ruled out.

France's aviation safety agency has said the aircraft transmitted automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit minutes before it disappeared.

Egyptian investigators have confirmed the aircraft had made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before hitting the sea.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/231975.aspx
EgyptAir Flight 804 Black Boxes Arrived in France
By ROBERT WALL
Wall Street Journal
June 27, 2016 12:36 p.m. ET

LONDON—Egyptian officials Monday said the “black boxes” from EgyptAir Flight 804 have arrived in France to undergo repairs as investigators struggle to figure out why the plane crashed more than a month ago.

Egyptian officials also met with their counterparts from the French air accident office, the BEA, and other outside experts, including black box maker Honeywell International Inc. to discuss how to go about the repairs, they said. Once the devices are fixed, they would be returned to Egypt to extract and analyze the stored data, Egyptian officials have said.

The cockpit voice and flight data recorders may offer clues to determine why Flight 804 crashed May 19, killing all 66 people on board. The plane was headed to Cairo from Paris when it deviated from its course while cruising at 37,000 feet, first turning left before rolling to the right and completing a full circle, investigators have said. The plane broadcast a series of error messages before all contact was lost, though they haven’t proved sufficient to determine what happened.

Egyptian officials also said they had taken wreckage recovered from the Airbus Group SE A320 to a secure facility at Cairo International Airport. Forensic experts from the country’s prosecutor will examine the items before they are handed over to the crash investigators, they said.

Egyptian officials haven't ruled out any cause for the crash. The forensic analysis could yield clues about why the plane went down, particularly if it involved an onboard explosive.

The Paris prosecutor opened a formal investigation on the downing for “involuntary manslaughter” absent evidence the accident was related to terrorism, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor said.

The BEA has extensive experience working on black boxes, including making repairs to salvage the information stored on the recording devices. A flight-data recorder will store technical parameters from the previous 25 hours of a plane’s operations. It monitors basic information such as aircraft speed and altitude, and retains information about smoke alarms, autopilot mode and control inputs made by the crew. The cockpit voice recorder retains the last two hours of crew conversation.

Egyptian officials have said analysis of the data could take weeks, though safety experts said that once the information from the black boxes is retrieved investigators could draw initial conclusions in a matter of days, if not hours.

—Inti Landauro contributed to this article.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com
Morning Star Reports on Brexit: EU President Says Get Out Fast To British Leavers
Morning Star

European Parliament president tells Cameron to get on with it

European Parliament president Martin Schulz said Britain should formally apply for Brexit immediately, newspaper Bild reported yesterday.

Mr Schulz said: “We now expect the British government to deliver now. The summit on Tuesday is the appropriate moment to do so.”

His comments echoed a statement by the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg on Saturday that “we now expect the UK government to provide clarity and give effect to this decision as soon as possible.”

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Peter Altmaier appeared to back voices in Britain calling for a reversal of the Brexit vote. He told the RND newspaper: “Politicians in London should have the possibility to reconsider the consequences of an exit.”

German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said British Prime Minister David Cameron had committed a “grand and historic blunder” in calling the referendum and “Britons will one day curse” Boris Johnson.

“The British have now decided to go. We will not hold talks about what the EU can still offer the Britons to keep them in,” he said.

“It is clear: You can’t be a bit pregnant. Nor have half a partnership.”

Ms Merkel struck a more harmonious chord on Saturday following a meeting of her Christian Democrat Union party.

“The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate,” she said. “It should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time-frame.”

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said that while the Brexit vote had “cast a shadow over the global economy,” markets had overreacted to the news. He said: “The knee-jerk reaction from the market is probably a bit excessive and needs to calm down and take an objective view.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a change in style from the EU yesterday.

“We must put an end to this sad and finicky Europe. Too often it is intrusive on details and desperately absent on what’s essential,” he said.

“We must break away from the dogma of ‘ever more Europe.’ Europe must act not by principle but when it is useful and pertinent.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, on a tour of EU states, said: “The most important thing is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible.”


Putschist MPs ‘Let The Tories Off The Hook’

by Conrad Landin in Britain

Unions rally round under-fire Labour leader

LABOUR MPs calling for the head of Jeremy Corbyn are “letting the Tories off the hook,” trade unions said yesterday as they rallied round the leader.

Union reps on Labour’s ruling executive signed a defiant statement to show that Mr Corbyn still had institutional support after seven members of the shadow cabinet resigned in protest at his continued leadership.

The leader of Labour’s most recent affiliate said party members would be “baffled and angry” at the shadow cabinet resignations. Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack pointed his hoses at the quitters, suggesting their actions had been “co-ordinated to cause maximum damage” to Mr Corbyn.

“It is bizarre that some of the MPs making the loudest criticism of Jeremy Corbyn over the referendum completely failed to convince the electorate in their own constituencies,” he said.

“Following the referendum, Labour should be setting out policies to defend jobs, public services and wages as an exit from the EU is negotiated.

“Instead, some Labour MPs are playing irresponsible and silly games from their Westminster bubble.”

Unite south-east secretary Jenny Formby, one of the executive members behind the statement in support of Mr Corbyn, said it was “nonsense” to blame him for the result. “Now more than ever is a time for loyalty and unity,” she stormed. “The timing of this is appalling.”

Communication Workers’ Union leader Dave Ward fired off a missive saying Mr Corbyn “has our full support” as leader.

“Jeremy Corbyn is, and remains, the catalyst for change in the Labour Party and the country,” he said.
“Those who seek to oust him represent the politics that forgot ordinary people.”

And food union BFAWU turned up the heat. “At a time when we should be exploiting the division within the Tory Party, calls for internal votes of no confidence within our party are an indulgent distraction,” the union said in a statement.

They said plotters would “only serve to let the Conservative government off the hook for the damage they have heaped upon our communities and the crisis they have caused in pursuit of power.”


‘We Need Leaders Like Jeremy Now’

by Will Stone in Britain

Festival’s Left Field panel debates referendum outcome

A BRITAIN outside the EU needs leaders like Jeremy Corbyn, festival activists heard in a heated post-referendum debate.

Political panellists waded in to defend the Labour leader in the timely discussion on Glastonbury’s Left Field stage on Saturday.

In reference to moves to topple Mr Corbyn by the Labour right, Compass chairman Neal Lawson said: “The answer is not to give the keys back to the New Labour lot who crashed the car.”

Labour MP Clive Lewis, who stood in for shadow chancellor John McDonnell, attributed the EU vote outcome to decades of neoliberal policies that have isolated whole communities.“

Labour has a lot of soul-searching to do, but I will defend Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” he said.

“I will not stand back to let the neoliberal wing of the party that got us into this mess in the first place take back control.

“This is not about Corbyn’s EU campaign. These people have tried to victimise him for the last year.”

However, the debate wasn’t simply a love-in for post-rationalising Remainers.

Several hecklers yelled “rubbish” over an address by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato after she criticised Leave voters.

“You can’t write off people who voted Out,” one said. “I voted Out.”

Mr Lewis accepted that voters weren’t all Little Englanders.

“Many voted out as a kick back against austerity, neoliberalism and the treatment of Greece and the refugees in the Calais camp,” he said. “We need a massive reinvestment in our economy,” he added.

Both Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell pulled out of their scheduled Glastonbury visits in the wake of the surprise referendum result.

But Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, a Glastonbury regular, did make the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm and posted photos from the Left Field tent. He was enjoying a silent disco as the party leadership came under attack overnight.

Dozens of journalists rushed to Reading train station in an attempt to intercept him as he headed back to London to deal with the crisis but were disappointed to find he was not on the train.
The Star asks: Why is it important to have a left-wing voice at Glasto?

Dave Smith
Blacklist Support Group chairman

Glastonbury has always been about counterculture. It’s not all about the Pyramid stage. Radical politics has always been a big part of Glastonbury and long may it continue.

Matthew Smitheman
CND volunteer

I think it’s important for raising awareness of issues that aren’t covered in the mainstream media and finding people with similar views. I always come back from Glastonbury more encouraged to make the world a better place.

Faiza Shaheen
Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) director

It’s really important to mix politics and issues with the music at the festival. Doing so in an accessible way is a great tool in the fight against political apathy.

April Windle
Left Field stage regular

I think it’s essential in promoting open-mindedness at the festival. It’s at the heart of the festival’s ethos. Politics in music is equally important too.


Party Faithful Rally Behind Their Leader

by Luke James in Britain

Momentum back Corbyn with protest outside Parliament

LABOUR activists will stage a show of support for Jeremy Corbyn outside Parliament this evening as he confronts coup leaders at a make-or-break meeting of party MPs.

The Momentum campaign group has called an emergency protest in Westminster to coincide with the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the scene of regular attempts to destabilise the leadership.

A rump of MPs on Labour’s right is to push for a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn less than a year after he was democratically elected by party members with a landslide majority.

Momentum organiser James Schneider said: “The membership is still entirely behind him. He won this enormous mandate nine months ago. But also I think, more importantly, the country can’t afford for us to be having this kind of divisive civil war right now.”

The meeting comes after resignations from the shadow cabinet, a bid to force Mr Corbyn’s resignation, which reports claimed was co-ordinated via a Snapchat group.

Hilary Benn initiated the plot when he called Mr Corbyn early on Sunday to say he had no confidence in his leadership, forcing Mr Corbyn to sack him as shadow foreign secretary.

The party’s crisis deepened when MPs on the centre-left of the party such as Heidi Alexander, Lilian Greenwood and Kerry McCarthy voluntarily followed Mr Benn off the front bench.

Nine shadow cabinet members had resigned when the Star went to press.

Ms Greenwood, who was shadow transport secretary, wrote: “You are a kind, decent and principled colleague, but in my view a new leadership is required to bridge the widening divides in our party.”

Mr Corbyn remained in defiant mood last night, with a spokesman saying: “There will be no resignation of a democratically elected leader with a strong mandate.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell took to the airwaves to stress that his closest political ally would not resign and was prepared to fight another leadership election if necessary.

He told Sky: “Jeremy is not going anywhere. He’ll be a candidate if there is an election.

“I’ll chair his campaign like I did last year and I think the rank and file of the Labour Party will re-elect him.

“If there’s going to be a leadership election, let’s go for it. Jeremy will stand and I think he will be re-elected.”

Mr McDonnell described the resignations as “disappointing” but said there were willing and able candidates ready to fill the posts.

And veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn joked: “If all the Blairites resign from the shadow cabinet, who will be left to leak the confidential business to the press?”

Last night Mr Corbyn was looking to move on from the resignations by holding a reshuffle that will see more left-wing MPs take top positions.

No Time For Civil War

by Ben Chacko in Editorial

- RALLY FOR CORBYN OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT TOMORROW AT SIX PM - 200,000 sign petition - Labour tied with Tories in latest opinion poll

by the Editor

LABOUR MPs meeting tomorrow should stop and listen before following a few colleagues who seem determined to drag the party off a cliff.

They should listen to the party’s members, who overwhelmingly elected Jeremy Corbyn leader just 10 months ago and will, all polls suggest, re-elect him just as overwhelmingly if there is another contest.

They should listen to the nearly 200,000 people who have signed a petition declaring their confidence in Mr Corbyn’s leadership since the prospect of a coup was raised.

They should listen to the 12 affiliated trade unions which made it absolutely clear on Friday that now is no time to start a civil war in the party.

And they should listen to the mood of the country.

A majority have just voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The Prime Minister has resigned.

Even as he squats in No 10, he is a lame duck, with would-be successors sharpening their knives.
The Tories must be jubilant that at this moment of crisis for the government Labour appears ready to tear itself apart.

Those plotting to overthrow Mr Corbyn are using the EU referendum result as an excuse.

He is accused of having failed to throw his all into the campaign to keep Britain in, of being unable to mobilise the Labour vote, of being a liability if an election comes soon.

This is absurd. According to polling data from Lord Ashcroft, Labour voters split 63 per cent for Remain, 37 per cent for Leave on Thursday.

The equivalent figures for Scottish National Party supporters were 64 per cent and 36 per cent — practically identical. Yet no-one says Nicola Sturgeon is incapable of mobilising supporters to vote SNP based on their answers to a completely different question.

The result reflects huge anger at the political elite and at the unaccountable and pro-corporate nature of the EU.

As Unite leader Len McCluskey has pointed out, it beggars belief to claim that the totally uncritical stance of New Labour towards the EU would have been more convincing for angry voters than Mr Corbyn’s more realistic attitude.

It would also do Labour untold damage across Britain if it tells the voters it doesn’t care what they think — they were wrong, and now Labour’s leader must be punished because he couldn’t stop them making the choice they did.

It would be utterly reckless and self-indulgent at a time the country is crying out for leadership — leadership the spiteful, dishonest and deeply divided Conservative Party clearly cannot provide — for the Opposition to spark a leadership contest which will achieve nothing except to paralyse the party for months before reaffirming Mr Corbyn’s mandate.

A Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday released yesterday showed that Labour and the Conservatives are now polling equally at 32 per cent. The idea that Labour is incapable of taking on the Tories at an early general election is nonsense — there is everything to play for.

Most MPs are angry and disappointed at the referendum result. So are millions of people.

But even greater numbers did vote Leave, and Labour must respect that if it is to help chart a new course for Britain.

This means dropping all talk of delaying, ignoring or reversing the verdict of the referendum, and instead setting out policies that address the concerns of working-class communities.

It means rallying behind a leader who has demonstrated an understanding of those concerns throughout his career, campaigning for more investment in public services, more council housing and redistribution of wealth.

It means forcing and fighting an early general election to ensure workers’ rights, public ownership and an industrial strategy for the future are at the heart of our vision for a negotiated exit, while bigotry and racism are shown the door.

As war veteran, health campaigner and Labour stalwart Harry Leslie Smith said yesterday, those calling for Mr Corbyn’s head are putting their personal interests above those of party and country.

They risk crippling Labour for years and giving the Tories a blank cheque to do what they will to the communities who have cried out so loudly for change.

They must be stopped.
Ignoring Its Members Could Condemn Labor to Irrelevancy For a Generation
Dawn Foster

A leadership election would be the final straw for many disillusioned young members. It’s time for Corbyn’s detractors to put up or split

 Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn is mobbed by supporters as he arrives to attend the ballot result for the new Labour leader

Monday 27 June 2016 06.21 EDT
Guardian

On Friday morning, friends from around the world flooded my email inbox, asking what on earth Britain had done. The decision was inconceivable, and few people, including seemingly the leave campaign, had considered what might happen if the Brexiters won. So with a shock vote unmooring Britain from the European Union, a Tory party bitterly split and facing a leadership battle, it seems sensible to assume the Labour party would focus on attacking the Conservatives when they are at their weakest, and in complete disarray. Instead, in a coup reportedly organised via a WhatsApp group, members of the shadow cabinet have opted to take the heat off the Tories by attempting to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, drip-feeding resignations in a clearly confected plan to increase the drama and pressure after Hilary Benn’s sacking.

Many members of the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) have been openly miserable since Corbyn’s election, decrying members who voted for the former backbencher and making no secret of their wish to unseat him at the earliest opportunity. To many members who backed Corbyn, this weekend’s events look to be nothing more than a protracted strop from people who would rather see Labour fail completely if it meant seeing the back of Corbyn.

Back in 1981, in Hard Road to Renewal, Stuart Hall remarked: “The right of the labour movement, to be honest, has no ideas of any compelling quality, except the instinct for short-term political survival. It would not know an ideological struggle if it stumbled across one in the dark. The only ‘struggle’ it engages in with any trace of conviction is the one against the left.” Thirty-five years on, this quote rings desperately true and shows how little the right of the party care about elections, for all the bluster.

The fear for the resignees is that even if they do manage to force a leadership election, Corbyn will win again: his mandate was staggering, and from members who were in the party for years as well as new members. After his election, many people, myself included, flocked back to a party they’d completely written off. Speaking to friends who joined after the general election, mostly members of no party, but occasional Green and SNP defectors, they said if a leadership election was forced, with no left candidate, they’d leave the party again. For many people, this would be the final straw in their relationship with a party who have destroyed their trust over the Iraq war, tuition fees, identity cards, and opposition to austerity. Revealing their open contempt for party members will have a long-lasting effect that could condemn the Labour party to complete irrelevancy for a generation.

According to YouGov, 31% of Labour and 57% of Tories voted leave: so two-thirds of Labour voters backed the remain campaign. No Corbyn detractor has been able to give me a figure at which the PLP would have been satisfied that Corbyn had succeeded: the knives were out before a single vote was cast. To the media and politicians, being swept up in the drama and scalpings might seem fun: but this power play looks less Shakespearean and more farcical to those outside the Westminster bubble. After the vote, remain voters want to see the Conservatives attacked, and the widespread racist backlash across the country condemned.

The Labour MPs trying to force a leadership election have no plan, no candidate immediately ready to back, and no policy programme in place. They remain stung by the fact they are out of step with the membership, and have sought to overturn the democratic election of Corbyn from day one. In all likelihood, if they manage, Corbyn will stand again, and win again.

Perhaps they’ll succeed, and take us back to the glory days of political leadership that brought us the pink bus, the controls on immigration mug, and the Edstone: but if they do so, they will alienate themselves even further. It’s time for Corbyn’s detractors to make peace with the decision of party members, and put up or split, making their own party and proving they have the electoral pull factor they claim Corbyn lacks.
British Pound Is Pounded Again, Hits New 31-Year Low vs. Dollar
by REUTERS

U.K. Treasury Chief Breaks Silence, Tries to Calm Markets

LONDON — Britain's sterling currency tumbled to a fresh 31-year low against the dollar Monday as investors bet Britain's vote to leave the EU will trigger a Bank of England rate cut.

Billions of pounds were wiped off the value of British financial stocks, and analysts at several banks slashed their forecasts for the pound in the wake of Britain's vote on Thursday to leave the European Union.

Britain's 10-year government borrowing costs also sank below 1 percent for the first time ever.

Finance minister George Osborne said on Monday the economy would have to face up to "an adjustment" as it dealt with the fallout of "Brexit." Against a backdrop of sliding share prices and an uncertain economic outlook, investors sold sterling and sought the safety of government bonds.

Sterling shed more than 3 percent against the dollar to a fresh 31-year low of $1.3221, and the euro rose more than 2 percent to 83.25 pence, its highest in more than two years.

The pound's fall on Friday was the largest in modern history, reaching more than 10 percent against the dollar at one stage, and was also the largest decline since at least the 1970s on a trade-weighted basis.

Some, like Unicredit, reckon the pound will fall even further, perhaps as low as $1.20.

"The clear risk must be for further downside," said Neil Mellor, a currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London. "Uncertainty equals currency weakness, we know this, and there is no sense that this (sterling) is a value trade right now and that you have to get back in. It is too early for anyone to start calling a bottom."

Analysts at RBC Capital Markets pointed to the history of past sell-offs as pointing the way towards $1.20-1.25 for the pound by the end of the third quarter of this year.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit: Implications for Africa and Zimbabwe
 SUNDAY MAIL
Ronald Chipaike

Last week, international news headlines focused on the British referendum to decide on whether or not to stay in the European Union. The June 23, 2016 referendum was decided by a very close margin, with those voting to remain polling 48,1 percent and those voting to leave the EU polling 51,9 percent. This prompted prime minister David Cameron to announce his resignation, paving way for election of a new leader at the Conservative party conference in October.

Cameron had campaigned to remain in the EU, hoping Britain would be “better, safer and stronger” in the bloc.

The decision to leave, vociferously campaigned for by Cameron’s colleague in the Conservative party and former mayor of London Mr Boris Johnson, ensured Britain’s 43-year EU membership came to an end.

Because of legal requirements it will take a bit of time for the British to completely leave the EU.

However, for those who have been following British politics and Britain’s relationship with the EU, this should not have come as a surprise.

In 1975, two years after Britain was allowed into the European Economic Community, Britain’s Euro-skepticism was already apparent.

A referendum over EEC membership split Harold Wilson’s Labour government, but the public endorsed the UK’s continued membership with 67 percent voting to stay.

In 1993, John Major faced a major back-bench rebellion over the Maastricht Treaty he signed in 1992 which introduced co-operation of foreign policy and security.

In 1997, following Tony Blair’s election as PM, the Labour leader tried to rebuild the troubled ties between Britain and the EU, but in 1999 tensions grew over France’s ban on British beef at the height of the “mad cow” disease outbreak in Britain.

The Franco-British tiff was amplified by the fact that Britain’s initial attempt to join the European common market in the 1960s was vetoed by Charles de Gaulle of France, who was worried that English would take over as Europe’s main language.

Britain’s problematic relationship with the EU is also manifested in the fact that, after 27 years of “diplomatic” haggling over ingredients, British chocolate was only allowed to be sold in Europe in 2000.

Additionally, in 2011 David Cameron clashed with Europe over plans to introduce a levy on banks and restrict London’s financial sector.

In 2015, the migrant crisis facing Europe and a troubled eurozone (although Britain is not part of the single currency since 1992) have seen increasing Euro-skepticism, and the successes of Nigel Farage’s UK Independence party in the 2015 election bears testimony to British people’s uneasiness in their relationship with EU.

Those who campaigned to leave, led by Boris Johnson, had strong arguments and opinions.

These arguments, among others, include the following:

That the EU threatens British sovereignty since it has assumed a significant amount of power from individual member states. In short, the central EU bureaucracy in Brussels has become too powerful;
EU rules on competition policy, agriculture, copyright and patents override national laws;
The EU is not directly accountable to British voters;
The EU is strangling the UK with burdensome regulations;
The EU allows too many immigrants, negatively impacting on British jobs (a very sensitive issue);
The Euro is a disaster, especially as shown by the 2008 global recession and its aftermath; and
The UK could keep the money it currently sends to the EU.

Implications for Africa

It is difficult to give a correct and confident prognosis regarding the implications of this event on Africa and Zimbabwe’s relationships with the EU and Britain.

However, a few issues can be highlighted.

EU-Africa relations have been defined by the historical colonial ties that bind them and attempts to undo some of the present effects of colonialism on especially Sub-Saharan African states.

The Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) bloc has had a special relationship with the EU since 1963.

Presently, the EU and some ACP countries and regional economic communities are negotiating or implementing economic partnership agreements under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.

However, with the British exit from the EU, a number of implications can be expected.

Firstly, according to an article by Amadou Sy of the Brookings Institution, the UK is one of the biggest contributors to the European Development Fund — the EU’s development assistance arm — which provides funds to developing countries.

The UK contributes between 400 and 585 million pounds, about 14,8 percent of contributions.

This gap may not be easy to fill, and this can have negative implications for Europe’s development assistance efforts, especially in Africa’s least developed countries.

Secondly, the British have been the most vocal critics of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which continues to give European farmers with significant subsidies.

This has negatively affected African farmers’ competitiveness.

Their market share in Europe is reduced since the trading field is not level and such subsidies are actually a trade distorting measure, or simply a non-tariff barrier to trade.

This defeats the spirit of free trade championed by the EPAs and by the World Trade Organisation.

Thus, without a party to effectively voice their concerns in the EU, African states cannot expect significant reforms there.

Thirdly, EPAs with African countries and regional economic communities would have to be renegotiated since within the EU, the UK is one of Africa’s largest trading partners.

This obviously will be a painstaking process since other regions and countries have already signed interim EPAs with the EU. Fourthly, there fear is that British assistance to Africa may be limited in quantity and geographical spread.

Those African countries which appear to serve British interests better could be the main recipients of such aid.

Relatedly, a major concern is that Cameron’s departure may usher in a leadership that relegates African issues to the periphery, leading to reduced development and security assistance to the continent.

Fifthly, as a result of this decision, we may soon see movements towards the establishment of British-Africa strategic co-operation framework modelled along the lines of China’s Focac or Japan’s Ticad.

This may have the advantage of better co-ordination and engagement between the two parties, different from the ceremonial Commonwealth.

Implications for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s relations with both the EU and Britain have been strained since the turn of the century. The centre of this troubled relationship is the Land Reform Programme implemented with the goal of correcting a colonial injustice evident in skewed land ownership patterns favouring whites before 2000.

Zimbabwe further accuses Britain of internationalising a bilateral dispute between the two parties, leading to the imposition of sanctions and/restrictive measures. Britain’s and the EU’ s view is that the Zanu-PF Government has used State-backed political violence against opposition political parties and civil society, in addition to rigging elections and failure to respect basic human rights and the rule of law.

Against the background of Britain’s exit from the EU, no policy change should be expected from either Britain or the EU on Zimbabwe. The same issues remain on the table in the view of both sides.

Thus, the EU’s position of gradually softening stance and removing entities and individuals from the sanctions list since 2014 will continue to guide British policy towards Zimbabwe going into the future.

On the economic side, if the pulling out of Britain from the EU is going to force a renegotiation of EPAs, then Zimbabwe will not be spared. Zimbabwe is negotiating EPAs in the Eastern and Southern Africa grouping.

Having already initialled the interim-EPA in 2009, Zimbabwe is in the process of opening its market to the EU, although excluding certain sensitive products like cereals, textiles and clothing, ceramics, plastics and vehicles.

The implication is that Zimbabwe stands to lose duty-free and quota-free access to the British market for products covered by EPAs.

This means if Zimbabwe is to have preferential treatment maintained, a bilateral trade arrangement, which is compliant with World Trade Organisation principles would have to be hammered out.

This could be a cumbersome process that may also be “negatively” affected by the sticky political issues referred to above, notwithstanding the gradual softening of positions by both parties.

Lastly, in the foreseeable future, Zimbabwe’s economic relations with the EU will not change as a result of British exit from the Union.

The union “may” have a slightly reduced EDF as intimated above and that EPAs will no longer include Britain, but Zimbabwe and the EU will continue their normal and existing engagements.

The reciprocal access to each other’s markets by both parties will continue during the tenure of EPAs; in other words until 2022.

Mr Ronald Chipaike lectures International Relations at Bindura University of Science Education. His main research interest is Africa’s engagement with emerging powers. He wrote this article for The Sunday Mail.
Labor Rebels to Test Jeremy Corbyn's Resolve With 'Stalking Horse' Candidate
26 JUN 2016
Mirror Online
BY JACK BLANCHARD

John Spellar could be used to test Jeremy Corbyn to see if he will quit - and then a real challenge can step up

Former minister John Spellar is being touted as a stalking horse* candidate as plotters prepare to formally trigger a Labour leadership contest on Wednesday.

His anticipated role would be to pave the way for more high-profile challengers to Jeremy Corbyn if he refuses to quit in the next 48 hours.

In the early hours today, Mr Corbyn sacked Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn for
“disloyalty” after it was revealed he rang Shadow Cabinet colleagues in the aftermath of Thursday’s Brexit vote to gauge support for a coup attempt.

Eleven members of the Shadow Cabinet then resigned in protest at Mr Corbyn’s failure to inspire enough Labour voters to back Remain.

The astonishing mass walkout, just the latest rumble of Britain’s post- Brexit earthquake, was organised via a secret group on the WhatsApp messaging service and played out at staged intervals throughout the day.

It is understood a second wave of up to 20 junior Shadow ministers will resign on Monday unless Mr Corbyn steps down.

Mr Spellar, a minister in Tony Blair ’s government, denied he would stand for leader, but said: “It’s very clear there will be a vote of no confidence in Jeremy, and there will then be a leadership contest.”

Rebel MPs have gathered the 50 names required to spark a coup attempt, meaning the party faces its second leadership contest within 12 months.

One of the favourites to succeed Mr Corbyn, Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle, said she is “desperately worried” Labour is “failing to connect with communities across the country”.

She is expected to quit tomorrow unless Mr Corbyn resigns.

A post-referendum move against the Labour leader had been long planned but the trigger for the walkout was Mr Benn being axed.

Deputy Leader Tom Watson, seen as crucial in any effort to oust Mr Corbyn, pointedly failed to back the leader today.

Mr Watson, at the Glastonbury Festival over the weekend as Labour’s turmoil worsened, said in a statement he was “deeply disappointed” Mr Benn had been sacked and “equally saddened” by so many “talented” members of the Shadow Cabinet feeling “they had to leave”.

Mr Watson added: “The nation needs an effective Opposition, particularly as the current leadership of the country is so lamentable.

“It’s very clear to me that we are heading for an early general election, and the Labour Party must be ready to form a government.

"There’s much work to do. I will be meeting Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow morning to discuss the way forward.”

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham refused to join the coup – a move seen by some as part of his ongoing bid to become Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Mr Burnham said: “At an uncertain time like this for our country, I cannot see how it makes sense for the Opposition to plunge itself into a civil war.

"I’ve never taken part in a coup against a leader of the Labour Party and I am not going to start now.”

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Benn said: “There is no confidence to win the next election if Jeremy continues.

“In a phone call to Jeremy I told him I had lost confidence in his ability to lead the party and he dismissed me. He is a good and decent man. But he is not a leader.”

Within hours Mr Benn was followed out of the door by Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander.

She told ITV’s Robert Peston: “Now more than ever our country needs a strong and effective Opposition to hold this government to account.

“If I’m going to be stood on the doorstep over the next couple of months, if I’m going to be sat in TV studios, could I hand on heart say that I felt that Jeremy was the best person to be leading the Labour Party?

“I didn’t feel I could do that. I felt the only decent and honourable thing to do was to resign.”

She was followed by a stream of colleagues including Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell, Shadow Young People’s Minister Gloria De Piero, and Shadow Justice Secretary Lord Falconer.

Each of the departing Shadow Cabinet ministers sent a brutal letter to Mr Corbyn saying he was not the man to unite the party in the chaos of the EU referendum defeat.

Ms Powell said she had no confidence in Mr Corbyn’s ability to lead them to victory in a snap general election.

She told Mr Corbyn: “The task in front of us is immense. We have, over many years, lost the support of our traditional communities.

“While I don’t blame you personally for that, I do not believe you understand their concerns sufficiently to re-engage with these communities.”

But Mr Corbyn’s dwindling number of allies in the Commons rallied round him and insisted he would not stand down.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ruled out a leadership bid of his own, adding: “If Jeremy has to stand for another leadership election, I will chair his campaign and I think the Labour Party members will elect him again.”

Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry said: “People are saying ‘you lost the referendum’ and that somehow is Jeremy Corbyn ’s fault. That is nonsense.”

Trade unions weighed in behind the Labour leader, with Unite chief Len McCluskey hinting rebel MPs could face de-selection if they do not fall into line.

Mr McCluskey said: “Unite has hitherto opposed any plans to change the party rules governing mandatory re-selection of Labour MPs.

“But those MPs who have missed no opportunity to tweet and brief against the party’s elected leader over the last 10 months will find that their disloyalty finds no favour with party members – and will make this an increasingly difficult line to hold.”

Rebel Labour MP Jamie Reed accused Mr McCluskey of being “absurdly out of touch”.

The first moves against Mr Corbyn came on Friday when MPs Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey called for a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Labour MPs will meet to discuss the motion tonight and a vote is expected tomorrow afternoon.

The Mirror understands that if Mr Corbyn stands firm, a leadership contest will be triggered on Wednesday morning with a letter from 50 rebel Labour MPs backing an alternative candidate.

That could lead to a legal battle over whether Mr Corbyn would also need the backing of 50 Labour MPs and MEPs to ensure his name is on the ballot paper in any future vote of party members.

Labour sources accuse eurosceptic Mr Corbyn of “sabotaging” the Remain campaign, and released an extraordinary dossier of evidence against him and his officials.

It included accusations they watered down pro-EU speeches.