Saturday, July 21, 2018

No to Unreasonable Demands Says Annan
 21 JUL, 2018 - 11:07
Lincoln Towindo

Political parties should not make unreasonable demands and should instead seek legal recourse if they feel the electoral process is being violated, chairperson of The Elders, Kofi Annan, said today.

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders that work together for peace and human rights.

Speaking at a press conference held in the capital, Mr Annan – who is also former United Nations secretary-general and a Nobel Peace Laureate – said making unreasonable demands, including inciting the population, had the potential to complicate the electoral process and yielding unforeseen outcomes.

“Politics is a tricky business, there are demands and there are demands. What is important is that we all play by the rules and we make reasonable demands; if we make demands which are unreasonable and which cannot be fulfilled, we are complicating the process,” said Mr Annan.

“But we should be careful of what we say and what we demand because the main thing is not to incite. If you incite the population you never know what happens and this is the last thing that the nation and the people of Zimbabwe need. No incitement and I think they should stay within the code of conduct but reasonable demands they should be able to make,” he said.
Zimbabwe Safer Under Zanu-PF — ED
 20 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

Part of the bumper crowd that attended President Mnangagwa’s campaign rally at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma yesterday. — (Picture by Innocent Makawa)

Sydney Kawadza in Kadoma

Zanu-PF is the only party able to take Zimbabwe into the future, and is confident of victory in the forthcoming harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has said.

Addressing a huge crowd at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was safe in the hands of the ruling party and that this would be proved at the polls on July 30.

He reiterated that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was an independent body formed through an Act of Parliament with no input from the Executive.

President Mnangagwa was in Kadoma to commission the refurbished Kadoma General Hospital, before addressing a bumper rally in the town.

The Kadoma administrative district, according to the Zanu-PF leadership, produced the highest votes for the ruling party in Mashonaland West during the 2013 harmonised elections and the trend is expected to be repeated this year.

“Zanu-PF is the party with a history and it knows the origins of the country,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Ndiyo inoziva matambudziko atakapinda maari kubva kumasure kusvika nhasi uno. Ndiyozve yatinovimba nayo kuti icharamba ichiinda nesu mberi. Kubva patakasununguka tichiwana kuzvitonga kuzere zvakabva mumusangano wedu weZanu-PF.”

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was on the brink of a new dawn.

“We have a new Zimbabwe, a new dispensation, a new future, a progressive Zimbabwe, a prosperous Zimbabwe,” he said.

“That Zimbabwe comes from Zanu-PF. That Zanu-PF is the people and their leaders. We are determined. We want, everyone in Zanu-PF, that there should not be any hatred and trading of insults in Zimbabwe.

“That should be a thing of the past. Ikozvino toda kuparidza kubatana, toda kuparidza kuwirirana. Toda kuparidza kusimudzira nyika yedu.”

President Mnangagwa said what happened in Zanu-PF where some party members sow divisions, leading to Operation Restore Legacy, would not be allowed to happen in the party again.

“Bad spirits manifested among our colleagues, but these misfortunes bore a new life in Zimbabwe,” he said. “Right now, our Zanu-PF is united from Mutare to Plumtree, from Beitbridge to Chirundu.

“Zanu-PF is united, it is solid. There are those who thought Zanu-PF could fit into their pockets, but there is no pocket which can carry Zanu-PF.”

President Mnangagwa said members of the G40 cabal were dismissed and those who were still harbouring that mentality should reform.

He said the new dispensation had brought democracy in Zimbabwe and in the ruling party.

President Mnangagwa said ZEC was independent and Government did not interfere in its operations.

“ZEC is an independent commission,” he said. “It’s not controlled by Government. It’s an independent commission created through the Constitution and its composition is made through Parliament, not the Executive.”

The President’s sentiments came as MDC Alliance threatens to disrupt ZEC operations if the electoral body refuses to take orders from the opposition party.

He said because of the new dispensation, there were 133 political parties as the country was now a democracy.

“Out of the 133 political parties, 55 are participating in the elections and out of these, 23 are participating in the presidential elections,” said President Mnangagwa. “That is democracy.”

He said despite all the political parties, the July 30 elections would determine “the true owners of the country”.

“We do not want violence,” said President Mnangagwa. “We are a mass party and we should not worry about these small parties which get formed at night. We should not worry about them.”

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans had their destiny in their hands and knew where their future lay.

“Our destiny, as long as we march together and remain united we will march together and make Zimbabwe a better place,” he said. “Zimbabwe a proud place.

“A new dawn, a new Zimbabwe for all our people, so we say victory is certain, victory is certain. Zimbabwe ndeyedu. Zimbabwe icharamba irimumaoko eZanu-PF. Zimbabwe is in good hands. And the good hands are Zanu-PF.”

President Mnangagwa castigated political parties that denigrated Government for taking care of traditional leaders.

“My Government will continue to support our traditional leaders,” he said. “We will buy them cars, we will also install electricity at their homesteads and drill boreholes for them so that they remain respectable.”

President Mnangagwa urged people to welcome election observers from other countries, and treat them with respect when they visit their communities.

Government has invited election observers from all over the world and some of them, notably the European Union and African Union, deployed more than a month ago.
ZEC Chair Speaks on Voters’ Roll
20 JUL, 2018
Herald Reporter

The 2018 voters’ roll has been printed and does not have double registrations, nor dead or ghost voters, as it was specifically compiled to address the flaws of the 2013 voters’ roll, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chair Justice Priscilla Chigumba has said.

In a statement released yesterday, Justice Chigumba said: “The Commission would be pleased to receive a list of these dead voters for further investigation”, while failure to prove such claims would mean the allegations are false.

Justice Chigumba said the Commission would not deny voters with similar names and dates of birth their right to vote simply because of allegations that they were “ghosts”. She said the Commission was willing to provide evidence proving that these were “unique individuals with unique photographs and fingerprints.”

The final voters’ roll has demographic details of the voter such as the first name, surname, date of birth, ID number and a photograph of the voter appear on the roll.

The MDC-Alliance led by presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa has been at the forefront of spreading claims that the voters roll is flawed because it does not contain pictures of voters and that it has numerous dead and ghost voters.

This is despite the fact that the alliance has failed to provide evidence of all its claims, whose main aim is to discredit the July 30 elections.

“In 2017, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission made a bold decision to compile a new voters’ roll for the 2018 Harmonised Elections because of the shortcomings of the 2013 voters’ roll which stakeholders had brought to the attention of the Commission,” said Justice Chigumba.

“The Commission and stakeholders were in agreement that the 2013 voters’ roll had become defunct because it was not constantly updated to cater for changes in the demography of voters. The Commission, therefore, finds it very strange for anyone to compare the 2013 and the 2018 voters’ rolls when it is well documented that stakeholders had unanimously agreed that the 2013 roll had become difficult to use for any credible election.

“What is even more shocking is the allegation that the Commission copied dead voters from the 2013 voters’ roll. It is difficult to imagine how a dead person from the 2013 roll could have resurrected and showed up at a registration centre between September 2017 and June 2018 to have their photo and fingerprints recorded for the new voters’ roll.

“The Commission would be pleased to receive a list of these dead voters for further investigation. In the absence of receiving such a list, we can only conclude that this is a false allegation.”

In a bid to produce a water tight voters’ roll, the commission set up inspection centres throughout the country to allow physical inspection of the voters’ roll between May 19 and 29.

Following the inspection period, Justice Chigumba said, additional work was done on the voters’ roll to effect data corrections.

“During the inspection period, 114 691 requests for voter registration data corrections were received and effected,” she said. “Section 32 of the Electoral Act 2:13 mandates the Commission to ensure that no one person appears more than once in the voters’ roll.

“The same law allows the Commission to remove any duplicates that are found in the roll. In compiling the 2018 voters’ roll, 31 248 duplicates were identified and removed while 39 892 transfers were effected.”

Justice Chigumba revealed that 8 146 registered voters had died before printing of the voters’ roll and had since been removed.

“In order to identify dead voters on the 2018 voters’ roll, the Commission engaged the office of the Registrar General who is responsible for the registration of births and deaths,” she said.

“During the compilation of the 2018 voters’ roll, the Commission noticed that several people shared identical ID numbers. Such cases were referred to the office of the Registrar General for verification. Some cases were resolved while a number are still under investigation.

“In order for the Commission to finalise the voters’ roll in time for the elections, 1 667 cases of duplicate ID numbers that are still under investigation were excluded from the voters’ roll and compiled in the Exclusion List. 510 of these shared the same ID numbers but with different details while 1 157 shared the same ID numbers and details, but are different individuals based on the biometric data.”

Justice Chigumba emphasized that she welcomed factual information proving discrepancies in the voters’ roll.
Zimbabwe Enters New Era for Investors
19 JUL, 2018

President Mnangagwa flanked by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima and the ministry’s Secretary Dr Sylvia Utete–Masango meets investors at the Presidential Education Indaba at Celebration Centre in Harare yesterday. The theme of the Indaba was “Promoting access to education through infrastructure investment in schools”. —(Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe has entered a new era in which all investment is welcome and its safety guaranteed, and where education should be used as a conduit for employment creation and revival of the economy, President Mnangagwa has said.

He said his Government was supportive of investment models that facilitated increased private sector participation in the education sector through Public Private Partnerships.

President Mnangagwa made the remarks while officiating at an infrastructure investment indaba organised by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Harare yesterday.

The indaba sought to harness investment in the education sector, especially in infrastructure development in line with the President’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business and his vision of creating a middle-income economy by 2030.

“As a nation, we are now in a new era where education has ceased to be a cost and must now be understood as an opportunity for investment and consequently a conduit for employment generation and economic revival,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The transformation of the education sector brings with it a change of mind-sets and fosters human capital development. To that end, this indaba is a very important engagement, given the demands upon every sector to positively contribute to the building, development and modernisation of our country in line with vision 2030.

“Education investment must, therefore, be less fragmented or piecemeal and more coordinated, strategic and holistic.

“Infrastructure development within our education institutions at every level is not an end in itself, but must facilitate the development of relevant skills and competencies for the economic needs of today and the future.

President Mnangagwa said the country welcomed partnerships and investments in the provision of primary and secondary education in line with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

“In this regard, I exhort investors, business communities, development partners, parents, community leaders and teachers, among others, to identify space within the context of evolving economic possibilities within the education

“Let us be innovative and creative, and make the teaching and learning process an exciting inclusive and comfortable experience for learners and the educators alike.”

President Mnangagwa urged the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development to forge synergies that appropriately nurture learners responsive to the present economic challenges.

“Last week, I launched the Zimbabwe National Audit Skills Report which revealed glaring skills gaps in engineering and technology, natural and applied sciences, agriculture, medical and health sciences,” he said.

“I, therefore, challenge stakeholders to invest in infrastructure, conscious of our need to increase our skills and competencies in these areas of specialisation.

“In the same vein, I equally exhort schools to equally prioritise and promote investments in construction and the equipping of science related infrastructure, ICT infrastructure, sporting facilities, water and sanitation, as well as renewable energy infrastructure within our primary and secondary schools.

“Meanwhile, educators should stop the practice of dissuading learners from undertaking science, technical and related subjects. At family level, parents and guardians must make concerted efforts to identify, inculcate and nurture scientific mind-sets amongst children from a very young age.”

President Mnangagwa said it was his fervent hope that the competency based curriculum introduced in schools would result in a robust education system that churned out graduates that meet the country’s socio-economic needs of today and the future.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the private sector was welcome to access land and build schools countrywide on the condition that they gave a certain portion of bursaries to intelligent, but yet less privileged learners.

During the event, President Mnangagwa proved to be an accessible leader as he allowed Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe to present him with a letter of concerns by teachers on that platform.

Mr Majongwe acknowledged that it was not the right platform to do that, but he was happy that President Mnangagwa accepted the letter.

The gesture by President Mnangagwa attested to his word during his inauguration on November 24 last year that he would be a listening President.
Abuse of Female ZEC Commissioners Rapped
21 JUL, 2018 - 00:07   22
Herald Reporter

First female President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs Mary Robinson, who is in the council of The Elders who are in the country ahead of the July 30 harmonised elections, has expressed concern at the abuse of female commissioners in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) by the MDC-Alliance.

The commissioners, including ZEC chairwoman Justice Priscilla Chigumba, have been victims of consistent abuse by the MDC-Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa.

The abuse has gone more vicious as the clock ticks towards the plebiscite, with Mr Chamisa and senior members of the alliance calling Justice Chigumba names for allegedly refusing to accede to their unlawful demands.

The Elders met ZEC commissioners yesterday.

They also held separate meetings with President Mnangagwa, and the MDC-Alliance, among other opposition political parties.

ZEC commissioner Mrs Natsai Mushonga confirmed the concerns raised by Mrs Robinson on her tweeter account posting: “Her excellency Mary Robinson expresses concern at the abuse of female commissioners.

“It’s sexism where when you don’t agree with a woman you throw unomutukirira with the h . . . word. Why can’t we talk and argue and agree to disagree,” added Commissioner Mushonga.

British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing reacted to the tweet saying the abuse (against ZEC female commissioners) must stop.

“Good to see this abuse being called out. It needs to stop,” posted Ambassador Laing on her tweeter handle.

Mrs Robinson is a forceful advocate for gender equality who was been President of Ireland from 1990-1997.

She was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa in 2013-2014.

The MDC-T led by Mr Chamisa has shown over time that it has no respect for women.

It abused then MDC-T deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe at the burial of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in Buhera in February this year by calling her names and almost assaulted her before she hid in a hut.

The party’s youths threatened to burn down the hut where Dr Khupe had taken refuge. She had to be escorted away by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Mr Chamisa’s party also called Dr Khupe a prostitute at the Supreme Court during a bitter dispute over use of the MDC-T name and party symbols and logos.

Another MDC-T female politician, Ms Jessie Majome recently raised similar concerns after she was abused by youths in the MDC-T led by Mr Chamisa, who called her names.

This was after she was elbowed out of her constituency and she decided to stand as an independent in Harare West against Mr Chamisa’s wishes.

Last week ZEC reported the MDC-Alliance to the police following persistent threats and abuse of its commissioners.

ZEC deputy chair Commissioner Emmanuel Magade told journalists in Harare: “Some unkind and uncharitable things have been said about us. We find it totally, totally dispecable and unconscionable and deplorable. What we have done as law-abiding citizens is to refer those threats to the police and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.

While all this has been going on, local women’s groups have been conspicuous by their silence.
ANC Leading Ahead of Next Year’s Elections
 17 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

JOHANNESBURG. – The African National Congress (ANC) remains the top choice for South African voters ahead of next year’s general election.

That’s according to market research firm Ipsos’ latest “Pulse of the People” study.

The study shows that the ruling party is holding close to a 60 percent majority among a randomly selected sample of over 3 000 South Africans.

Speaking to Clement Manyathela on The Midday Report, IPSOS research manager Antonia Squara also revealed how opposition parties are fairing.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is sitting on 13 percent and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is on 7 percent.

She adds that the DA’s support has dropped slightly, and puts it down to the party’s ongoing internal issues and the spike in the popularity of the ANC since the so-called ‘Ramaphoria’. – Radio702
Mozambican MPs Approve Law Reforms for October Elections 
MAPUTO. — Mozambican parliamentarians approved on Wednesday two proposals to revise the law on municipal elections, which create conditions for them to take place in October.

The National Elections Commission was recently forced to interrupt the submission of candidates as the law was not approved.

It was an instrument placed at the negotiating table by the main opposition Renamo party and the Mozambican government to end the political and military crisis that began in 2013.

The tool was submitted to the Assembly of the Republic for revision and approval by the president of Mozambique.

The Wednesday extraordinary session of the assembly follows the consensus reached recently between President Filipe Nyusi and the new leader of Renamo party, Issufo Momade.

The revised law brings innovations as the city mayor will be elected from the list presented by the political party that obtains the majority of votes in the elections.

The bill was approved by the three political parties that were also encouraged by the cost reduction to elections that the new bill will bring.

The new bill eliminates by-elections. Moreover the municipal elections will only have one ballot paper and one ballot box, meaning the electorate will not be using two ballot papers, one for the mayor and the other for the party but only one ballot paper, which is expected to bring down cost as well.

– Xinhua
Mandela’s 100th Birthday: People Speak About Land
 19 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

JOHANNESBURG. – Liberation is incomplete without the return of the land, Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee heard in Vryheid – the KwaZulu-Natal town with the name that means “freedom” or “liberty”.

A delegation of the committee held its first public hearing on the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution in the province on Wednesday.

The first round of 20 speakers followed the pattern established at the committee’s earlier hearings in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, the Free State and Mpumalanga, where most black speakers supported an amendment, and white speakers, often representing organised farmers’ organisations, opposed it.

The first speaker, a man who wore ANC colours, said an amendment must be implemented post-haste. He said people in the rural areas did not need smallholdings. Instead, they needed large tracts of land to sustain themselves.

A representative of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa said the association supported an amendment.

“The land, we must bring it back,” he said.

He added that the land should be restricted to people who have the capacity to work it.

He also said that land in possession of the Ingonyama Trust should not be disturbed.

Meanwhile, a representative of a construction firm in the area said they had lost three projects since a motion to investigate an amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution had been adopted by Parliament in February.

One of these projects was from a German company which indicated that it would not invest in South Africa for two years to see how the process unfolds.

“As a result of that (the three lost projects), we had to retrench 120 people, with another 40 on the cards,” he said.

A representative of the KwaZulu-Natal Red Meat Producers Organisation said most livestock in the province were owned by emerging farmers and the sector had shown strong growth provincially. He said expropriation would disrupt this trend.

An Eshowe Farmers’ Association representative also did not support expropriation without compensation, but added that the association supported a well-thought-out, practical solution to the unequal distribution of land. He said the argument in favour of expropriation was driven by emotion and “perceptions of historical dispossession”.

“Emotion and historical arguments [do] not feed people,” he added.

Immediately after him, a man spoke about returning the land to black people, eliciting enthusiastic cheers from the large audience in the Cecil Emmett Hall.

“Our roots as blacks are land,” he said via a translator. “Our land was stolen from us. We were not compensated when it was stolen from us.”

However, a Khoi-San leader did not support an amendment to the Constitution.

“We as Khoi-San, [are] the first people of the land. We need to be part of any decision,” he said.

A representative of a law firm specialising in land reform said it was not necessary to amend the Constitution for land reform, and it would not solve the problem. She said there was a large amount of privately-owned land available for redistribution, but that the State had not acquired it.

A woman who had ornately-arranged dreadlocks said she supported an amendment because a return of the land would give dignity to black people.

A representative of Azapo pointed out that the transition to democracy was not liberation if the land issue was not dealt with.

However, a farmer said he was against the amendment.

“Every effort we as white farmers made [to institute land reform] was doomed and thrown aside by government,” he said.

Continuing with the trend set at previous hearing, Wednesday’s hearing was well attended.

At around 11:00, when the hearing started, a long line of people curved over the Cecil Emmett Hall’s grounds to the entrance, and many people milled around on the nearby sports field.

– News24
FBI ‘Spied on Mandela After His Release from Jail’
 20 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

Pix source:

WASHINGTON, DC. – Newly released US intelligence documents showed that the FBI continued to investigate South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela as a potential “communist menace” even after his release from prison in 1990, a Washington-based group which sued to obtain the papers said.

Property of the People, which released the papers to mark 100 years since Mandela’s birth, said:

“The documents reveal that, just as it did in the 1950s and 60s with Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement, the FBI aggressively investigated the US and South African anti-apartheid movements as communist plots imperilling American security.

“Worse still, the documents demonstrate the FBI continued its wrong-headed communist menace investigations of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement even after US imposition of trade sanctions against apartheid South Africa, after Mandela’s globally celebrated release from prison, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, and advocated reconciliation with white people who had for decades enforced the racist system of apartheid in the country.

Property of the People said on their Twitter handle @PropOTP: “We just published thousands of pages #FOIA lawsuit-obtained FBI, CIA, DIA, & NSA documents re #NelsonMandela, including many docs on US agency efforts to surveil & subvert Mandela and his anti-apartheid struggle.”

They also said on their website <>: “Today (July 18), on the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, Property of the People is making all documents about Mandela obtained through it’s FOIA litigation from the FBI, CIA, DIA, and NSA available to the public.  Spanning thousands of pages, the vast majority of these documents have never before been seen by the public.”

When is a Nation Not a Nation? Somaliland’s Dream of Independence
Though unrecognised by the international community, this self-declared state in the Horn of Africa has its own flag, parliament, currency and national identity. What has to happen before its status changes?

By Joshua Keating
The Guardaian
Fri 20 Jul 2018 07.42 EDT

When you are in Somaliland, there is never any question that you are in a real country. After all, the place has all the trappings of countryhood. When I arrived at the airport, a customs officer in a Somaliland uniform checked my Somaliland visa, issued by the Somaliland consulate in Washington DC. At the airport, there was a Somaliland flag. During my visit, I paid Somaliland shillings to drivers of cabs with Somaliland plates who took me to the offices of ministers of the Somaliland government.

But, according to the US Department of State, the United Nations, the African Union and every other government on Earth, I was not in Somaliland, a poor but stable and mostly functional country on the Horn of Africa. I was in Somalia.

Even among unrecognised states, Somaliland is a special case – it is both completely independent and politically entirely isolated. Unlike South Sudan before its independence, Somaliland’s claim for statehood is based not on a redrawing of colonial borders, but an attempt to re-establish them. Unlike Taiwan, it is shackled not to a richer, more powerful country, but a poorer, weaker one. Unlike Palestine, its quest for independence is not a popular cause for activists around the world.

The journalist Graeme Wood has described places such as Somaliland as the “limbo world”: entities that “start by acting like real countries, and then hope to become them”. What separates “real” from “self-proclaimed” countries is simply the recognition of other countries. There’s no ultimate legal authority in international relations that decides what is or isn’t a real country, and differences of opinion on that question are common. What separates the Somalilands of the world from, say, Sweden is that Sweden is recognised by its peers.

Statehood may be a legal concept, but achieving it is an entirely political process. To the degree that foreign officials acknowledge Somaliland at all, they are generally sympathetic to its history and admiring of its recent accomplishments. Somaliland’s main obstacle is not the world’s animosity, but its indifference. Its current predicament answers the question: what would happen if you created a new country and no one noticed?

Somaliland is pretty easy to get to. There are regular flights to the capital, Hargeisa, from Dubai and Addis Ababa. The city – a scruffy, sprawling town of cinderblock houses and potholed roads – feels coated in a fine film of desert dust. It’s usually extraordinarily dry, although periodic violent downpours in the rainy season leave the mostly unpaved streets damp and soggy. Camels are the traditional livelihood, food source and currency of Somali herders, and even in the big city, it’s not unusual to see them loping through busy downtown traffic. Food stalls crank out steaming, heaping plates of chewy camel meat (not bad) and thick, frothy camel milk (nauseating – to me, anyway).

From other stalls, money-changers dispense grimy, faded bricks of shilling banknotes held together by rubber bands. When I was visiting, the shilling was trading at about 7,000 to the US dollar – although given that you can’t exchange Somaliland shillings anywhere outside Somaliland, I don’t exactly understand how this exchange rate is set. When paying for anything in a store with shillings, unless you know what you’re doing, it’s generally best to just hand over one of these bricks to the clerk and let him take out what he needs. Nowadays, most people are more likely to pay for basic goods and services by transferring cellphone credit.

Try to book a hotel in Somaliland online from the US and you are likely to be referred to a travel advisory stating: “The US Department of State warns US citizens to avoid travel to Somalia because of continuous threats by the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab.” But once you’re there, you quickly realise that such warnings are unnecessary. Hargeisa is one of the safest large cities in Africa, and, aside from the pollution and the traffic, there’s not too much to be concerned about when you’re walking around, although foreigners travelling outside the capital have been required to hire an armed guard since the killing of four foreign aid workers by bandits in 2004. There’s been almost no terrorist activity in Somaliland since 2008, when suicide bombers attacked the presidential palace and Ethiopian consulate. In contrast to the south, there is no pirate activity along Somaliland’s shores.

Hargeisa’s main work of public art is a war memorial consisting of a stubby Mig fighter plane – a real one – shot down in 1988 and now mounted on a pedestal along the city’s main thoroughfare. Hargeisans will tell you, with some ironic pride, that their city is one of the few places in the world that was bombed by planes that took off from that same city. The event is part of a long chain of events, most of them tragic, leading up to the country’s strange current predicament.

As the names of their countries suggest, there’s little ethnic or linguistic difference between the people of Somalia and Somaliland. The entity that today calls itself the Republic of Somaliland owes its existence to two main factors: its proximity to Yemen and its abundance of sheep. In the late 19th century, Britain (with the support of Italy) and France (with the support of Russia) were locked in a struggle for control of the Nile. As a means of both countering French influence and ensuring a regular supply of mutton for its garrison at the Yemeni port city of Aden, Britain signed a series of agreements with tribes in northern Somalia.

In the words of the historian Ioan Lewis, “in relation to its size and significance” Somaliland was “one of Britain’s least rewarding possessions”. Yet there’s a good case to be made that its marginal status as a colony benefited the country in the long run. Whereas Somaliland had been considered a backwater by the British, and therefore left mostly to govern itself through the existing clan structure, Italy considered Somalia an integral part of its short-lived ambitions to build a north African empire that also included modern-day Libya and parts of Egypt.

It shouldn’t be surprising that today the territory where the colonising power had more ambitious state-building goals is the more unstable. There is evidence from studies of regions of India and other parts of Africa to support the notion that postcolonial countries where colonisers had a lighter touch turned out better in the long term.

As Somalilanders will often remind you, it was, in the past, an independent country, fully recognised by the international community, including the UN. But this halcyon period lasted less than a week. On 26 June 1960, the former Protectorate of Somaliland became fully independent from British rule, its independence recognised by 35 countries around the world, including the US. The next day, its new legislature passed a law approving a union with the south. On 1 July, Somalia became independent from Italy, and the two were joined together. It is a decision Somaliland has regretted almost ever since.

Difficulties emerged almost immediately, and just a year after independence, voters in the north rejected a new constitution. The marriage was off to a rocky start. Things would go from bad to worse in 1969 when an officers’ coup brought a general named Siad Barre to power.

The tensions within Somaliland society escalated as Barre’s long reign continued. Since independence, Somalia and Somaliland’s leaders have tended to favour members of their own clans and subclans with patronage. There are six main Somali clans, with dozens of subclans. The vast majority of those living in what is now Somaliland come from various branches of the Isaaq clan. The south is more heterogeneous. Barre may have espoused a doctrine of “scientific socialism”, a fusion of terrible governance ideas imported from China, North Korea and Nasserite Egypt, but he was not above ethnic nationalism, privileging his own Darod clan, which added to the resentment of the northern Isaaqs.

During the 1980s, with support for Barre and his harsh military regime eroding, a primarily Isaaq northern rebel group known (somewhat misleadingly), as the Somali National Movement (SNM) emerged to challenge rule from Mogadishu. The crackdowns that followed simply added to the perception that the north was a region under occupation. This culminated in an all-out civil war between the SNM and the central government in the late 80s, during which thousands were killed and millions fled.

On 18 May 1991, the SNM proclaimed that the region was re-establishing its independence, severing its ties to the south, and would now be known as the Republic of Somaliland. The world, for the most part, shrugged. The slow and steady process of state formation in the north would be almost entirely overshadowed in the international media by the chaos engulfing the south, particularly after an international intervention two years later led to the infamous “Black Hawk down” incident and the killing of 19 American troops during the battle of Mogadishu.

So why has Somaliland been more successful and stable than its southern neighbour, even with virtually no assistance from the international community? The fact that is is largely populated by only one clan has helped it avoid tribal conflicts, unlike some other countries in the region. Most Somalilanders also point to the role of clan elders. In addition to a president and a traditional elected parliament, Somaliland has an unelected upper house of elders, somewhat similar to Britain’s House of Lords, which has a consultative role on certain legislation and is entrusted with settling disputes between the country’s subclans. “It’s the elders who really made this peace,” Mohamed Omar Hagi, a UK-based Somali activist, told me.

Somaliland has also been lucky to benefit from the leadership of a few individuals, most notably the country’s most prominent global advocate, Edna Adan. The most famous person in the country, she is generally just referred to in Somaliland as Edna. “We don’t have a George Clooney,” one local journalist told me, referring to the Hollywood star’s advocacy on behalf of South Sudan’s independence. “All we’ve got is Edna.”

When I met Adan at the maternity hospital and midwifery school she runs in Hargeisa, which everyone just calls “Edna hospital”, she handed me her business card, which on the back features the caption “Where is Somaliland?” with an arrow pointing to the country’s location on a map of the Horn of Africa. Job one for Adan, who has travelled throughout the world, is simply telling people what and where her country is. “I can’t get anyone to come here,” she sighs. “The teachers and doctors cannot come to us because their governments tell them not to. I don’t know how you slipped through the net.”

Adan’s office was decorated with photos of dignitaries she has met, from Hillary Clinton to Kofi Annan. The centrepiece was a striking photo of a very young Edna with her late husband, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, at the White House with Lyndon B Johnson in 1968, when Egal was prime minister of Somalia.

Adan was Somalia’s first qualified nurse-midwife, and the first Somali woman to drive. She spent years as a UN and WHO official before returning to Somaliland to build the hospital with her own savings; for all its limitations on personnel and equipment, it is one of the premier facilities in the Horn of Africa. She’s been called the Muslim Mother Teresa for her work in promoting women’s health and campaigning against female genital mutilation. She also served for several years as Somaliland’s foreign minister, continuing to deliver babies while on the job.

Although her political activities receive less attention than her public health work, Adan is also a tireless advocate for Somaliland’s independence. “For 25 years I’ve been waiting for the world to see how stable, peaceful and governable we are,” she told me, decrying what she called the “world conspiracy against Somaliland’s recognition”. Adan sees Somaliland’s unrecognised status as the main reason for its lack of economic progress over the past quarter-century.

Non-recognition by western powers is having an impact on the status of women as well, Adan argued, saying that western countries’ lack of engagement was opening the door to the influence of fundamentalists from the Gulf. She pointed to an old photo of herself as first lady in a chic cocktail dress: “You see my pictures! We never used to cover ourselves from head to toe,” she said. “We had necks, we had hair, we were people. Others are getting into Somaliland faster than the west. And if that keeps on like this, heaven help us.”

She echoed a theme I heard a lot in Somaliland, that the country is a rare beacon of stability in a very dangerous region. Somaliland is indeed stable by local standards, but it’s not exactly prospering. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but, in 2012, the World Bank estimated its GDP per capita at just $348 (£267), which would make it the fourth-poorest country in the world. Its main industry is livestock export, which accounts for about 70% of jobs. Its main customers are in the Middle East, and business picks up during the annual hajj in Mecca. With few opportunities at home, it’s not surprising that an estimated 44% of unemployed youth have stated their intention to migrate.

A large number of people are also dependent on $500m per year in remittances from the roughly million-strong Somaliland diaspora living for the most part in Britain, the US, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Africa. This isn’t unusual for developing countries, but officials are understandably worried that this flow of cash from abroad is a finite resource. Most members of the diaspora are refugees who left the country during the violence of the 1980s. Their children are less likely to feel the need to support aunts and uncles they barely know. “These offspring are now basically Americans or British or French or whatever,” energy minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh told me. “They don’t have the same attachment to the country.”

With remittances likely to dry up in the coming years, and livestock an unreliable resource, the government is looking for other sources of investment, but Somaliland is a place with an image problem. “The name always scares people,” said Dualeh. “Anything that starts with ‘Somali’, no matter how it ends, is a red flag for a lot of people. But companies who are here realise it’s a very benign, very safe environment.”

The twin hopes for the Somali economy are oil exploration – currently being carried out by a handful of hardier energy firms off the coast – and a plan by Dubai Ports World to develop the Red Sea port of Berbera, which could conceivably be an alternative means of bringing goods by sea into landlocked Ethiopia. But it’s hard to imagine that plan taking off without a serious improvement in roads and infrastructure, and that probably requires international investment.

And for that in turn, once again, it would be helpful for other countries to know that Somaliland exists, and isn’t the same country as Somalia.

One highly unusual feature of Somaliland’s situation is that it’s not actually looking to challenge the much-maligned borders drawn by Europeans across the African continent – it’s looking to restore them. “The international community said we seceded from Somalia. We did not. We already had our own nation,” said Mohammed Ahmed Mohamoud, AKA Barwani, a civil society activist and director of the Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum. “Our borders were established through an agreement between the Italian government and the British,” said foreign minister Saad Ali Shire. “It’s an internationally determined boundary.”

Although it’s true that Somaliland voluntarily erased the border with Somalia in 1960, Somalilanders don’t consider that decision irreversible. As Somalilanders often point out, theirs wouldn’t be the first country to back out of a postcolonial merger. Senegal and the Gambia, a narrow strip of a country located completely within Senegal’s territory, were joined together as the confederation of Senegambia from 1982 to 1989. Egypt and Syria were briefly joined together as the United Arab Republic from 1958 until 1961, when Syria seceded. If these countries couldn’t make their marriages work, why, Somalilanders ask, should Somaliland be stuck in a loveless alliance?

These arguments were hard to argue with in Hargeisa. But in the outside world, they’re unlikely to prove persuasive. For Somaliland, the frustrating reality is that the world map is preserved in place less by international law or even custom than by what’s sometimes called “path dependence” – the thousands of small decisions that, over time, lead to the creation of institutions, and that are very hard to unmake without massive disruption. Countries tend to stay the way they are, and people, with some justification, believe it would be awfully difficult and dangerous to change them.

The last major wave of country creation took place in the early 1990sm as the end of the cold war hastened the breakup of the Soviet Union and the explosion of Yugoslavia. Since then, only a handful of new countries have joined the club – and many of them have struggled.

But, as Shire, the foreign minister, points out, Somaliland does exist already, and it is long past time for the international community to recognise that. “Somaliland fulfills all the conditions for an independent state,” he said. “I think everyone sympathises with the Somaliland case. Even when we are not recognised de jure, we are recognised de facto. When I travel, I am treated like a foreign minister. We deal with the UN and the international community as an independent country. We are treated as de facto independent – it is only the de jure recognition of sovereignty [we lack].”

The argument against Somaliland’s independence rests largely on factors beyond the country’s control. Somaliland officials are used to hearing that if their independence were recognised, it would set off a domino effect for nationalist movements, destabilising the continent. If Somaliland were independent, what would stop other regions from trying the same thing?

International organisations such as the African Union and the Arab League are hostile to the idea of recognising further territorial divisions. Countries wary of their own separatist movements don’t want to establish any sort of precedent. The UN, which has invested enormous resources in promoting stability and unity in Somalia as a whole, views Somaliland as a hindrance to those goals rather than any sort of beacon of stability. Somaliland’s neighbour Ethiopia mostly supports it, but given Addis Ababa’s wariness about its own Somali separatists, it likely prefers the status quo – a weak and divided Somalia – rather than a strong independent Somali state on its borders. The two most recent instances of country creation in Africa – autocratic, impoverished  and anarchic, violent  – have not bolstered Somaliland’s argument that its recognition would be a boon to regional and global stability.

Western observers, both governmental and non-governmental, have generally been more positive. Noting that Somaliland, unlike most of its neighbours, has had several contested elections and peaceful transfers of power since independence, the US NGO Freedom House classified it as an “emerging democracy”, and it is the only country in its region considered at least “partly free” or higher on the group’s annual rankings.

As far back as 2003, the International Crisis Group argued that the choice facing the international community was to “develop pragmatic responses to Somaliland’s demand for self-determination or continue to insist upon the increasingly abstract notion of the unity and territorial integrity of the Somali Republic”. In 2007, a US defence official  as “an entity that works”, and said that in the Pentagon’s view “Somaliland should be independent”.

But even if non-African governments are, on the whole, generally sympathetic to Somaliland, it’s not enough of a priority to upset the status quo. Somalilanders like to joke mischievously that they have been too well behaved. After all, the other countries that have gained recognition in recent years have done so after wars and genocides.

“Being a peaceful, democratic and developing state isn’t helping Somaliland gain international recognition,” said Hagi. “Somaliland is very quiet. It’s a peaceful place. The international community doesn’t really care about a peaceful place. When there is a problem in a country, the international community is always there – Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya. When there’s no problem there, there’s no point in coming to build a state.”

Or, as Adan puts it: “At 78, I don’t want to face the possibility that everything I’ve been taught about democracy and human rights is wrong. Maybe I should just go join the Taliban.”

They are joking, of course, but without some major turning point or dramatic shift in global priorities, it’s hard to see Somaliland winning recognition. The world will continue to defend an abstract principle of territorial integrity in the face of the clear will of the people of Somaliland.

Recently, there have also been some troubling indications that Somaliland’s much-vaunted peace and stability might be more fragile than it seems. Dozens have been killed in fighting between Somaliland and Puntland – a neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Somalia – as part of a long-running clash over a disputed border region. Monitors have warned that the conflict risks breaking out into open war. The Somaliland government has also been condemned for detaining and harrassing journalists covering the conflict.

For all its serious problems, though, it is hard to argue with Somaliland’s relative success. Perhaps this is the bigotry of low expectations, but whatever negatives you can say about the place, it’s not Somalia. With little help from the outside, Somaliland has had to do an awful lot on its own, and arguably done it better than many of its recognised counterparts.

“In many African countries that have been recognised, they are still struggling,” said Barwani. “So, sometimes we say that maybe being a de facto state is better. Because many recognised states in Africa failed, and they became a one-party system of a dictatorship with no free media and no space for citizen participation. For us, we have so many things. No limitations, no restrictions.”

The demise of the nation state

Looking at the decades of support given by the US to dictators such as Mobutu Sese Seko, or considering the destabilising role of western oil companies in countries such as Nigeria, there’s a case to be made that if that’s what engagement with the outside world means for fragile African states, maybe Somaliland has been better off without it. If, at some point in the future, the world does decide to recognise its independence, bringing with it the attendant investment and diplomatic engagement, Somaliland will be in a stronger and more stable position to handle it. Shire remains optimistic that this day will come. “We’ve waited 25 years already. We don’t mind waiting another 25.”

Adapted from Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood by Joshua Keating ispublished by Yale University Press, and available at

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SACP Gauteng Province Wishes ANC a United Provincial Conference to Consolidate the Post-Nasrec New Dawn
19 July 2018

The South African Communist Party (SACP) Gauteng Province calls for maximum unity at the ANC Provincial Conference, to consolidate the new dawn and renewed hope ushered in by the post-Nasrec period following the outcomes of its 54th National Conference held in December 2017.

We believe that the ANC Provincial Conference provides the rare opportunity for maximum unity of the motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), at the core of which is the working class to push back the frontiers of counter-revolution on our doorstep.

We believe that the distinct, unique and defining feature of the balance of forces inaugurate a tendency towards a duality of power in our province, thus placing the NDR on the crossroads.

We seem to have on the one hand an aggressive and confident counter-revolutionary coalition presiding over two big metros and a local municipality, and seeking to exploit this local presence to mount a take-over of the province. On the other hand, we have a new dawn and renewed hope post Nasrec that present both the possibility, but not yet the probability, for a combative electoral victory against counter-revolution.

We are convinced that the decisive dialectic that may positively swing the pendulum in the duality of power remains the revolutionary consciousness and capacity of the Provincial Conference to raise the banner of the ANC&#039;s founding principle of unity of the revolutionary people.

We are convinced, that whether the duality of power implodes the NDR in our province and thus weakening it nationally or consolidates it, depends on whether our province acts as the revolutionary custodian of the post-Nasrec momentum and new wave of hope.

Whilst we will not be tempted to get involved in the leadership contest, we are deeply concerned that the high level of contestation possesses the real (and certainly not perceived) dangers of producing a layer of the &quot;permanently aggrieved cadres&quot; as we enter the period of provincial and national elections. This is also worsened by the lingering court cases, a phenomenon we thought our province was scientifically &quot;quarantined&quot; against.

As the SACP delegation to the Provincial Conference we seek to uphold our constitution as an independent Marxist-Leninist vanguard party of the working class, acting collectively as the standard bearers of the highest discipline. We also expect individual communists attending the Conference to follow the principles and values of the ANC as individual members.

We will engage delegates on the principle of a Reconfigured Alliance as the only scientific basis upon which to root-out the parasitic networks and remnants of corporate capture of the state to grow the economy, create jobs, eradicate poverty and inequalities.

We wish the ANC, our primary political Alliance partner and all the delegates a united successful Provincial Conference.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng province


Jacob Mamabolo - SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 884 1868
SACP Deeply Mourns the Loss of Six Mineworkers' Lives
17 July 2018

The South African Communist Party expresses its message of condolences to and solidarity with the families of the deceased mineworkers at Palaborwa Copper Mine in Limpopo. The workers perished on Sunday, 15 July 2018 while working underground. The SACP believes that the tragic causalities caused by lack of adequate safety standards on the part of mine bosses who are concerned only about making and maximising profit.

The SACP encourages mineworkers to refuse any work they reasonably believe can compromise their health and safety or place their lives in danger. The Party further calls on mineworkers unions to unite and fight on against the general cruelty of economic exploitation by mine bosses and compel them to implement high safety standards and decent work.

Today, Tuesday 17 July the SACP is sending a delegation to visit the scene of the accident and meet with the unions and management to share our perspectives on the safety of workers.


Gilbert Kganyago - SACP Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 0637661511

Further contact details:

Machike Thobejane - SACP Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: 092 307 0095

Dan Sematla - SACP Provincial Organiser
Mobile: 073 863 5024
Office: 015 297 8128



Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo:
Head of Communications &amp; National Spokesperson
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM


Hlengiwe Nkonyane:
Communications Officer - Media Liaison Services, Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator
Mobile: +27 79 384 6550


Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: SACP1921
Facebook Page: South African Communist Party
SACP Ustream TV Channel:
NUM Signed a 1 Year Wage Agreement With Petra Cullinan Diamond Mine
19 July 2018

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is pleased to announced it had yesterday, 18 July 2018, signed a substantive one year wage agreement with Petra Cullinan Diamond Mine.

The signed wage agreement is structured as follows:

1. Wage increases in the categories A & B is 8.5%
2. Wage increases in the category C is 7%
3. Living out allowance in categories A & B is R 1 400 per month
4. Housing allowance in category C increased to R2 825 per month
5. Medical Aid in categories A & B is R970 per month
6. Medical Aid in category C is R2 370 per month
7. Company pension fund contribution in the categories A & B is going to be 8.5%

The parties also agreed that there will be an additional salary adjustment for the periods July, August and September 2018. The NUM is pleased that this wage negotiations was amicably concluded without hiccups, it only took two hours to reach an agreement.

The NUM wishes to express its sincere gratitude to its members at Petra Cullinan Diamond Mine for the manner in which they behaved during the negotiation period.

"Our members are excited and they gave us this mandate to sign the agreement," said William Mabapa, NUM Deputy General Secretary.

For more information, please contact

William Mabapa, NUM Deputy General Secretary, 082 880 4439

The National Union of Mineworkers

7 Rissik Street
Cnr Frederick
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num_Media
SADTU Statement on Mandela Day
18 July 2018

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) joins millions in South Africa and the rest of the world in celebrating 18 July: Nelson Mandela International Day. This year the day also marks the centenary of the birth of this world icon.

As we celebrate the day, we reflect on Mandela's selfless dedication to the struggle for a free and non-racial and the values he espoused like fairness, equality, reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and being of service to others. As a union in the education sector, we honour Madiba for his total belief in the power of education. He once said, "Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that a daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine that a child of a farm worker can become the president of a great nation."

In honour of Mandela' memory SADTU members will, during the month of July hold activities across provinces aimed at promoting his values and beliefs. Promoting what Mandela stood for would be tantamount to heeding the "Thuma Mina" call made by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

SADTU and its investment company SIHOLD shall hold a national event to commemorate Mandela Day on Friday, 20 July at Taudiarora Primary School in Jan Kempdorp, Northern Cape.

SADTU in KwaZulu-Natal have identified a child-headed family at Ntolwane in Inkandla and mobilised resources to build a house for them. The family has nine children who are still at school. Five of them are attending school at Mnyakanya High School while four are at Ntolwane Primary School. The house will be handed over before the end of July and details will be communicated in due course.

SADTU further calls on politicians, public servants and citizens to follow in Mandela's footsteps and be of service to others not only on Madiba's birthday but on a daily basis. Mandela abhorred corruption, arrogant and complacent

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157
The Best Way to Honor Madiba's and Preserve His Legacy is to Fight Against the Domination of the Economy by a Tiny White Elite
The Congress of South African Trade Unions joins millions of South Africans and global citizens to celebrate the International Nelson Mandela Day. The 18th of July was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2009 as International Nelson Mandela Day.

This commmemoration comes at a time when globally the world is in dire need of inspiring and visionary political leaders. The leadeship of President Mandela's stature is needed now more than ever.

President Nelson Mandela will be remembered for his words of wisdom and amongst the most profound quotes is the following; "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

COSATU is therefore deeply dissapointed that in South Africa, there is still very little that has been done to fight the economic domination by a white minority. Apartheid which was a systemized the racial oppression of black and other people of colour has not been totally dismantled because the aparthed's so called separate development is still being perpetuated by the government's neolioberal policies.

Twenty four years after the democratic breakthrough the majority of black workers are still only usefull for only generating wealth that keeps the small white population in comfort and secure. The majority of black workers are still treated as inferior and the manority of black students to still get only rudimentary education, health and nutrition.

It is therefore galling to see many in the corporate sector in South Africa are using the commemoration of Madiba as a Public Relations stunt while they continue to exploit workers and perpetuate everything Madiba stood for.

Keeping the legacy of Madiba alive is about supporting policies that tackle poverty, disease, lack of education and general underdevelopment that apartheid bequeathed to the black majority of South Africans.

The fight against corruption and wasteful expenditutre will go a long way honouring Madiba and keeping his legacy alive. We are fully behind the efforts by Cyril Ramaphosa to breathe life into our economy and kickstarting the moral regeneration or the RDP of the Soul that was close to Madiba's heart.

President Ramaphosa has done a commendable work to revive the dream of people Madiba , who gave so much for the people of this country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has our suport as he works to clean up government and reposition the ANC and government to provide political and moral leadership to society. We call on him to honour Madiba by prioritising job creation and transformation. He needs to do this by accelerating the implementation of the ANC resolution, shift the macroeconomic policy framework and also firmly dealing with indiscipline in the ANC and corruption in government.

COSATU will continue to honour Madiba by fighting what has now become a crisis of sustainability that is posing a threat to our environment and climate. We shall also continue to relentlessly deal with a systemic crisis that sees the rich forcing the poor to keep their wage levels low, combined with worsening levels of unemployment. Currently we have an economy that produces a lot of products and services that are not finding markets since people earn less and unemployment.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
COSATU is Calling on Unions in the Mining Sector to Put Aside Their Differences and Focus on Dealing with the Plight of the Workers
COSATU led by its Deputy General Secretary Cde Solly Phetoe and Deputy President of NUM visited the Phalaborwa Copper Mine in Limpopo yesterday following the death of six mine workers. The federation is deeply perturbed by what it regards as a cavalier approach of the mine management in dealing with the safety of the workers. Their unsatisfactory answers prove that this accident was caused by recklessness and nothing else.

We look forward to the finalisation of the investigations process that will reveal the source of this tragic incident. COSATU commends the Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe for his hands-on approach in attending to the mine accidents and we now want him to act decisively against the guilty culprits after the finalisation of the investigation. We also support his decision to move the Health and Safety Summit from November to the month of September after the escalation in mine fatalities. We shall be preparing our own inputs jointly with NUM that we will be submitting in that summit as COSATU.

The process of amending the Mine Health and Safety Act so as to ensure that responsible for these fatalities are held accountable and prosecuted should be expedited.

COSATU is calling on unions in the mining sector to put aside their differences and focus on dealing with the plight of workers. The number of fatalities in the mining sector has reached crisis levels and something needs to be done to intervene. This calls for the unity of workers and they should all unite as they pay their respects to their deceased colleagues.

We also call our own government to treat this crisis as matter of urgency by making sure that employers take full responsibility for all the fatalities in the mining sector and that they be prosecuted for their recklessness.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
Post-NUM National Women Structure Committee Meeting
18 July 2018

The NUM National Women Structure (NUM-NWS) held its national committee meeting from the 12th - 13th July 2018 at the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre in Midrand. The women representatives from the NUM 11 regions gathered and reflected on the following key matters:

On the current mining charter debates:

The NUM-NWS is disappointed with the approach taken in amending the charter. The women structure feels that the decrease in % (percentages) allocated to women was totally unacceptable and should be improved. The structure also feels that ownership and representation opportunities to be expanded to women. There also should be clear allocation and representation on women, youth & people living with disabilities. The three (3) categories should benefit or allocated accordingly, youth & PLD's allocation should not be registered under women.

Employment Equity has proven without reasonable doubt that, white women were never classified as the previously disadvantaged and they have therefore benefitted. The mining charter should be clear and specific on reference to black women as African, Coloured and Indian women. Representation and allocation on housing should not compromise women & people living with disabilities, and housing opportunities not to use the "one size fits all approach". The charter must give housing options and be flexible.

On mining fatalities:

The NUM-NWS is worried about the increasing number of fatalities continuing in the mining industry. This was putting more pressure on women both politically and economically not only because women become immediate widows but they indirectly become victims due to the fact that financially and socially, the burden increases as they are to look after their families.

As women, we also want to align ourselves with the statement that says our member's goal is to work in these mines for their families not to go and die underground as it is currently happening.

These mining houses are to be held accountable and where there is evidence of none-compliance, Section 54 should apply with immediate effect and those found responsible should be held accountable and face the law. We have noted with dismay the failure on the part of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) that we hoped will assist.

On the upcoming COSATU national congress:

The NUM-NWS would like to wish COSATU a successful congress that is scheduled to take place in September 2018. We believe that all COSATU affiliates will do what is politically correct to keep COSATU relevant and noting with no shame that COSATU is NUM and NUM is COSATU. Women in the NUM would like to see and appreciate proper emerging of both genders. Our political preference as women is to see COSATU President or General Secretary positions being given to women. It should not be about balancing numbers but women with capacity must be given a chance. We want to see women leaders who will not be leaders of other leaders but leaders of constituencies.

For more information, please contact:

Mathapelo Khanye: NUM Women Structure National Secretary: 082 561 2010 / 064 051 3904

The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Cnr Frederick
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num_Media
COSATU Welcomes the Competition Amendment Bill of 2018
17 July 2018

COSATU welcomes the Competition Amendment Bill as presented to parliament today. The federation appreciates the process of engagement at Nedlac that led to many substantial areas of agreement.

The following areas are particularly supported by Cosatu:

This Bill will undo the concentration in the economy by the old white boys club, who are keeping black players out.
We believe that this bill will promote investment and lead to a reduction in prices in the SA economy.
We support the public interest section of the bill that will lead to a greater focus on jobs and the promotion of worker ownership.
COSATU believes that the instances of collusion by mainly white owned apartheid style companies had flourished due to the previous economic practices. This bill seeks to end the ram [pant corruption by the old boys club, and bring the competition rules in line with many other developed countries.

COSATU is not surprised that the business constituency was not very forthcoming in the negotiations, as they would like to see the old regime continuing. The Government must act more decisively to end the collusive and concentration practices in the SA economy as many foreign investors are complaining about these practices. We look forward to the urgent processing of the bill so that transformation of the economy can be fast-tracked.

For more information please call Cde Tony Ehrenreich at 082 7733194 or Cde Etienne Vlok at 0826567918 or Sizwe Pamla @ 060 9756794
COSATU Mourns the Death of Six Mine Workers at Palabora Copper Mine in Limpopo
The Congress of South African Trade Unions mourns the death of six mineworkers at Palabora Copper Mine in Limpopo. We send our condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.

The number of fatalities in the mining sector has reached crisis levels and something needs to be done to intervene. The federation is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to personally intervene and take tangible steps to stop the mining fatalities.

COSATU is also reiterating its position that the Mine Health and Safety Act needs to be amended so that all those responsible for mine fatalities are held accountable and possibly prosecuted.

It is clear that the Minerals Council is not willing to improve the safety of the mining sector. The mining sector cannot be allowed to maim and kill workers with impunity.

The rapacious mining companies have failed to demonstrate any responsibility. The selfishness, greed and exploitative attitudes of the mining firms can only be stopped by a strong and decisive government. They have made it very clear that they do not value the lives of black workers and black people in general.

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794

Friday, July 20, 2018

Black Radicalism’s Complex Relationship with Japanese Empire
By Mohammed Elnaiem

Black intellectuals in the U.S.—from W. E. B. Du Bois to Marcus Garvey—had strong and divergent opinions on Japanese Empire.

September 1905. Japan had just become the first Asian power to defeat a European Empire with the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War. For more than a year, the Japanese Empire and Tsarist Russia had been vying for control over Korea and Manchuria. On September 5th, Japan forced a Russian retreat, sending shockwaves across the intellectual sphere of black America and the colonial world. As Bill V. Mullen of Purdue University eloquently notes in his 2016 book, W.E.B. Du Bois: Revolutionary Across the Color Line, Du Bois was so moved that he declared: “The magic of the word ‘white’ is already broken.” Du Bois was convinced that “the awakening of the yellow races is certain… the awakening of the brown and black races will follow in time.”

For anti-colonial intellectuals and black activists in the U.S., the Japanese victory presented a moment of realization: If, with the right strategy, European colonialists could be forced to retreat from far east Asia, why couldn’t they be forced to leave the Caribbean and Africa?

By the time World War I began, Du Bois would write a seminal essay, “The African Roots of War,” wherein he would ask why African workers and laborers would participate in a war they couldn’t understand. Why, he wondered, would “Africans, Indians and other colonial subjects” fight for the sole aim of “the exploitation of the wealth of the world mainly outside the European circle of nations?” He demanded that they take inspiration from “the awakened Japanese.”

By the end of World War I, African American and Japanese intellectuals would develop a transpacific camaraderie.

For Du Bois and his contemporaries, the Japanese victory proved that the empire could be a fulcrum for the colored peoples of the world, a means by which European expansion could be dislodged. But what a paradox this was: The Japanese empire, which sought nothing but the occupation of Korea, Manchuria, and if possible, the whole Far East, was being cheered on by self-identified anti-colonial intellectuals.

Regardless, Japan cast its spell on black consciousness, and by the end of World War I, African American and Japanese intellectuals would develop a transpacific camaraderie. African Americans would praise Japanese diplomacy, and Japanese intellectuals—left-wing or right-wing—would condemn Jim Crow. To understand this relationship, one must look to Paris.

The Paris Peace Conference & the End of WWI

To conclude the first World War, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson laid out a structure that would inspire the UN decades later. In Paris, he announced his fourteen points for a new world order built on peace and self-determination of oppressed peoples. He called it the League of Nations.

Meanwhile, in the States, the lynching of blacks went unanswered and segregation continued unabated. A liberal abroad, and a so-called pragmatist at home, Wilson was seen as hypocritical by many of the black-left intelligentsia. In fact, William Monroe Trotter—an eminent voice against segregation in the early twentieth century, and a man who once campaigned for Wilson’s presidency—became one of his greatest foes.

Trotter gained nationwide infamy after being kicked out of the White House for challenging Wilson. He had been invited to speak on civil rights issues, but challenged the president on racial segregation among federal employees. Trotter called this segregation humiliating. Wilson responded firmly, exclaiming, “Your tone, sir, offends me.” Trotter was subsequently expelled from the premises.

From then on, Trotter made it his mission to embarrass Wilson on the global stage. When Wilson declared his plan to espouse his “fourteen points” for a global, post-war order at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Trotter not only proposed a fifteenth point for racial equality, but travelled to Paris to protest and ensure its inclusion in the negotiations.

A. Phillip Randolph, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, sought to highlight the symbolism of Trotter’s actions. As Yuichiro Onishi, an African Americanist at the University of Minnesota notes, in a March 1919 issue of The Messenger, Randolph remarked that:

William Monroe Trotter has caught the point and gone to Europe to embarrass the President of the United States, who has been making hypocritical professions about democracy in the United States which has not existed and does not exist.

Trotter wanted to use his presence as a weapon to demonstrate Washington’s failure to reconcile Jim Crow laws with the liberal principles that Wilson espoused abroad. It was an ingenious, albeit unprepared, plan: Trotter arrived too late.

At the time, Japanese politicians seemed to be watching U.S. race relations closely. It could have been coincidental or it could it have been intentional, but Baron Nobuaki Makino, a senior diplomat in the Japanese government and the principal delegate for the Empire, proposed Japan’s “racial equality bill” at the meeting to found the League of Nations. Japan only said that all nations were equal, but this seemingly offended Wilson (and the leaders of Australia and the UK). The proposal was immediately struck down.

Was it love? Solidarity? Or a pragmatic way to highlight the hypocrisy of the United States?
The symbolic value of these actions nonetheless reignited African American intellectual admiration for Japan. Fumiko Sakashita, a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, shows how Japanese intellectuals were humbled by this. One Pan-Asian, and self-described “right-wing literary,” Kametaro Mitsukawa, hyperbolically asked why “black people exhibit the portrait of our baron Nobuaki Makino alongside that of the liberator Abraham Lincoln on the walls of their houses?” A correspondent in Chicago, Sei Kawashima, told his readers that “Japan’s proposal of abolishing racial discrimination at the peace conference… gave black people a great psychological impact at that time.”

That it did. Marcus Garvey, a leading nationalist and Pan-Africanist who advocated for African Americans to return to Africa, was so impassioned that he believed that after the Great War, “the next war will be between the Negroes and the whites unless our demands for justice are recognized… With Japan to fight with us, we can win such a war.”

Japan’s newfound interest in African American affairs only blossomed. As Sakashita notes, Fumimaro Konoe, a delegate at the Paris Peace Conference and future prime minister of Japan, wrote in his book that “black rage against white persecutions and insults” were at an all-time high. Fusae Ichikawa, a Japanese woman suffragist, wrote an article about the struggle of black women, which she saw first hand after touring the country with the NAACP. She called it a “disgrace to civilization.” It’s not entirely clear why Japanese thinkers glanced across the Pacific with such concern for the U.S.’s blacks. Was it love? Solidarity? Or a pragmatic way to highlight the hypocrisy of the United States?

Even in Paris, Onishi argues, Japan won German concessions in Shantung China, and demanded control in the Marshalls, the Marianas, and the Carolines. “Reference to lynching,” Onishi writes “served as one of the best rhetorical defences of Japan’s imperialist policy.” Whatever the intentions of Japanese intellectuals may have been, in other words, the Japanese government found this preoccupation useful and even promoted it.

Some black intellectuals caught on to this, and suspicion arose. “A word of warning, however, to the unsuspecting,” wrote A. Phillip Randolph and Chandler Owen in 1919. “The smug and oily Japanese diplomats are no different from Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George or Orlando. They care nothing for even the Japanese people and at this very same moment are suppressing and oppressing mercilessly the people of Korea and forcing hard bargains upon unfortunate China.”

Garvey’s followers disagreed, seeing Japan as a source of messianic salvation.

Decades later, during World War II, when Japan began to steer towards the direction of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, an African American ambivalence would develop towards Tokyo. As described by Kenneth C. Barnes, a professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, there were on the one hand the Neo-Garveyites, those who infused his belief of an apocalyptic race war with religious, redemptive overtones. You could find them in the unlikeliest of places; as black sharecroppers in rural Mississippi County, Arkansas, for instance. On the other hand, there were the liberals, socialists, and mainstream black intellectuals who compared Jim Crow at home to Japanese repression abroad, reminding Washington that, at least in their view, the U.S. was the very monster it was fighting.

Japan in the Axis & a Divided Black Diaspora
In 1921, in the small community of Nodena in Misissippi County, Arkansas, a man was lynched. Henry Lowry was a forty-year-old black sharecropper. A mob of six hundred people poured gasoline over his body and set it ablaze atop a bonfire. Perhaps it was the only way to die with dignity, or maybe he wanted to end the misery, but Lowry grabbed the first pieces of hot coal he could find and swallowed them.

The event was traumatic for the blacks of Mississippi County. One in five residents of the county was black. Many of them were enraged, and many became susceptible to the oratory of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant who called for black self-reliance, economic independence, and a military alliance among blacks and Japanese against white power. Not long after Lowry was lynched, eight chapters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Garvey’s organization, were formed in Mississippi County.

By 1934, the influence of the UNIA had already made its mark on the sharecroppers, and many were devout followers. In that year, a Filipino man who was honourably discharged from the Navy showed up in Mississippi County, Arkansas, one day. He was a former member of the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World, an organisation linked to the UNIA that tried to organize blacks to commit treason and support Japan in the war effort.

His real name was Policarpio Manansala, but he went by the name Ashima Takis. He was Filipino but faked a Japanese accent. Manansala had thousands of followers in the rural south. In his study on Mississipi county, Barnes recounts the story of how Takis attracted a Filipino-Mexican couple and a black man. They were arrested after giving a speech contending that “this country could be taken over entirely by the colored races” if they united with Japan. They did their time, but managed to evade the prosecutor’s recommendation that they be arrested for anarchy and an alleged plot to overthrow the government. They got off easier than most.

In fact, during the second world war, hundreds of African Americans were arrested on charges of sedition, including Elijah Muhammed, the mentor of Malcolm X and the spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam. One article in the Times Daily, dated August 19, 1942, talked about Robert Jordan, a “West Indian negro,” and four others who were arrested on a sedition conspiracy indictment due to their role in an Ethiopian Pacific movement which envisioned “a coalition of Africa and Japan in an Axis-dominated world.” The four leaders in charge were arrested amid a lecture they gave to hundreds of African Americans in a Harlem hall.

But this approach was not the only one. Others sought to resist black oppression through another discourse. Particularly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan became a rhetorical target for the African American elite, Sakashita notes. Insofar as Japan was an ally of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, it needed to be critiqued in the “war against Hitlerism at home, and Hitlerism abroad.” Just as liberals and socialists criticized the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps set up by the United States government—asking, as one George Schuyler did, if “this may be a prelude to our own fate”—they took the opportunity to remind the U.S. that its condemnations of Japan were warranted, although hypocritical.

One cartoon featured in the Baltimore Afro-American put this prevailing sentiment the best. As Sakashita reconstructs it, it shows “a grinning Hitler and smiling slant-eyes Japanese soldiers witness hanging and burning… [a] lynching.” The cartoon didn’t stop short of marshalling the very American patriotism that the U.S. used in its war effort to say that the U.S. was complicit in fascism at home. For some blacks, even in the latter half of the twentieth century, Japan remained as “leader of the darker races.” For others, it was a wartime enemy. What is for certain is that Imperial Japan was a preoccupation of the black radical imagination.