Sunday, May 31, 2015

HMS Bulwark Helps to Save 4,000 Migrants Fleeing Libya by Sea
Saturday 30 May 2015 17.23 EDT

Hundreds of migrants, many of them children, have been rescued from the Mediterranean by a British naval ship in an operation that has seen more than 4,000 people brought safely to shore in the past two days.

HMS Bulwark has been operating in waters just north of Libya, intercepting the dangerously overcrowded boats in which thousands are risking their lives to flee war and poverty in Africa. The Italian coastguard said the 19,000-tonne assault ship has taken part in some of the 22 operations carried out over 48 hours on Friday and Saturday.

Not all were successful in saving lives, however. A spokesman said 17 bodies had been found on three boats during one rescue attempt.

Bulwark operates five landing craft which intercept the unstable open wooden boats attempting the treacherous journey to Italy before bringing passengers on board or transferring them to Italian craft to be taken to safety on land. The ship has joined vessels from Italy, Germany and Ireland in the international mission codenamed Operation Weald.

Prime minister David Cameron sent the ship to join search and rescue efforts after 800 people died in a boat that sailed from Libya, crammed with people fleeing Islamic State fighters who are terrorising the population and fuelling instability, earlier this month. It is estimated that 1,600 people have drowned so far this year trying to make the crossing – including children travelling without their parents.

The Ministry of Defence said the rescued migrants were clearly exhausted from their perilous journeys, which had taken many months for some, but all clearly relieved to reach safety.

Naval leaders warned that fine weather means they expect many more migrants to try to make the crossing in the coming weeks.

Commander Gavin Edward, coordinating the ship’s arrival on the jetty at Taranto, southern Italy, said: “The speed with which the Italian Red Cross, police and government officials have received these survivors has been really impressive and as a result we should be able to set sail later this afternoon.”

Inside the towering grey sides of the amphibious warship, the 450 members of the ship’s company were preparing to return to its search and rescue mission.

Bulwark’s commanding officer, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest, said the work necessary for a quick turnaround – “restocking water, medicines, humanitarian supplies and food, as well as clearing the mountain of rubbish” – required all hands on deck.

He added: “This week has already been the busiest of the year for migrant traffic, with fine weather forecast over the coming days, the surge of overcrowded boats leaving the north African coast is likely to continue. Yesterday, tragically, lives were lost, so the sooner we can re-set Bulwark and get back to sea to continue our mission, the better our chances of saving life.”

He described some of those his crew had rescued over the two days as “horrifyingly young”.

“My sailors and marines have demonstrated great skill, sense and adaptability,” he added.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon welcomed news of the operation, but called for a better solution from UK and overseas governments.

He said: “HMS Bulwark and her crew have once again saved hundreds of lives in the Mediterranean migrant crisis, offering medical assistance, food, water and dry clothes to those in need. A wider political solution is required to this crisis, but that does not detract from today’s rescue at sea.”
China Says South Sea Air Defense Zone Depends on Security

China will base its decision on establishing an air defense identification zone around disputed waters in the South China Sea on its assessment of the security situation, a senior Chinese military official said on Sunday.

Land reclamation work by China around disputed islands has led to speculation it will declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which will require overflying aircraft to identify themselves to Chinese authorities. The United States has expressed concern that Chinese actions threaten freedom of navigation and security in the Asia-Pacific.

Admiral Jianguo, a deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, told a regional security forum that China's actions are peaceful and legitimate, calling on other countries to stop trying to "sow discord" over the matter.

"There is no reason for people to play up this issue in the South China Sea," Sun said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, adding that an ADIZ depends on any threats to air or maritime security.

Sun's comments came as proceedings at the Shangri-La Dialogue were overshadowed by news that police had shot dead one man and detained two others in a car that tried to crash through barricades around the venue before dawn. Police said it was unrelated to the conference.

The shooting happened yards from the hotel where dozens of defense leaders and military heads, including U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, were staying although none were in any danger.

All three were Singaporean and they weren't carrying any weapons, although the men arrested were carrying substances believed to be drugs, Singapore Police Force said.

On Saturday, Carter told the forum that China's reclamation activities boosted the risk of "miscalculation or conflict", drawing a scathing response from China's foreign ministry.

However, Sun maintained a measured tone in his address, refraining from singling out the United States for criticism and emphasizing China's commitment to peaceful relations.

"China has always kept in mind the larger interests of maritime security," Sun said, reiterating that his country's "indisputable" claims over the waters were based on legal and historical evidence.

"We hope relevant countries will work together in the same direction to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and co-operation," he said.

(Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar and David Alexander; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
B.B. King Funeral Held in Indianola, Mississippi
B.B. King's early life personified the blues: He was born to dirt-poor sharecroppers in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta and left alone by the deaths of his mother and grandmother when he was a child. But he never let those circumstances hold him back or define him, a minister said Saturday at the funeral of the blues legend.

"Hands that once picked cotton would someday pick guitar strings on a national and international stage. Amazing," the Rev. Herron Wilson said in a standing-room-only sanctuary at Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church in King's hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.

King, whose distinctive guitar style influenced generations of entertainers, was 89 when he died May 14 in Las Vegas. At his request, his body was returned to his native Mississippi for a final homecoming.

"He will forever be the king of the blues," Stevie Wonder said in a spoken tribute that was played at the funeral, although he did not attend.

About 500 people filled the sanctuary of the church, a red brick structure that sits in a field off of B.B. King Road in Indianola. More than 200 people who couldn't get into the sanctuary watched a live broadcast of the funeral in the church's fellowship hall, many waving hand-held fans with a black-and-white photo of a smiling King hugging his black electric guitar, Lucille.

At the beginning of the service, family members filed past King's open casket, which had an image of Lucille embroidered on the padded white cloth inside the lid. Later, the casket was closed and covered with a large arrangement of red roses.

Christopher Clouser, a businessman and longtime friend of King, said King instructed him to deliver several messages during the funeral. He sent love to family and friends and thanked his bandmates and other entertainers.

Clouser said King also wanted people to know how uncomfortable he was "riding in the back of the car that Eric was driving" — a reference to "Riding With the King," an album that King and Eric Clapton released in 2000 with a cover photo of the two guitarists on a road trip.

Country singer Marty Stuart said King created a musical legacy for the home state they share.

"As a fellow Mississippian, I'm so proud to stand in his shadow as I walk across the world," Stuart said.

On the way into the church, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recalled spending time with King in the bluesman's tour bus before a concert last year in Indianola. Bryant said King was proud of being from Mississippi.

Noting the thousands of people who came to Indianola for the public viewing Friday and funeral Saturday, Bryant said: "He would have loved to know that one more time he's helping the Mississippi Delta."

"To be here today ... with his all family and his friends — it means everything to me," Zingg said.

Tony Coleman, King's drummer for 37 years, said King never referred to himself as King of the Blues, an honorary title others used.

"He felt like the blues was the king, and it was his responsibility to keep it king," Coleman said as he entered the church.

A children's choir based at the B.B. King Museum clapped as they sang gospel songs, including one with the chorus: "Let's all get together, bring peace to the world."

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton each sent a letter, and those were read aloud by Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, a friend of King.

"The blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend," Obama said. "No one worked harder than B.B. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues."

Clinton recalled playing two gigs with King: "I was his backup sax man."

As rain fell after the funeral Saturday, King was buried at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, which opened in 2008 to tell his life's story. The museum will develop a memorial garden, with benches and a water wall, around the gravesite.

Associated Press

Thursday, May 28, 2015

At Least 20 Killed in Fighting Near Somalia-Ethiopia Border
May 28, 2015

At least 20 people have been killed and more than 40 injured in small villages close to the Somalia and Ethiopian border, where forces from the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia and pastoralists have been fighting, an official has said.

The governor of Galgadud region of Somalia, Hussein Ali Wehelie, has told local media outlets that the fighting has been going on since Tuesday in an area near to the border that separates both countries.

According to credible source, the fighting erupted when the Somali region state of Ethiopia invaded two villages close to the border. It is not clear why they invaded and also hard to find independent sources in the area due to poor communication system.

Mr Wehelie has urged both sides to stop the conflict.

‘’We are doing our best to find solution to this conflict which is unnecessary,’’ he said in an interview.

In recent years, several conflicts have occurred in the Somalia-Ethiopia border mostly related to tribal and pasture disputes.

More than 4000 Ethiopian troops are currently in Southern part of Somalia which are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission.
Security Council Extends UN Mission in Somalia Until August
26 May 2015 – The Security Council today adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) as the Horn of Africa country continues down its road towards political recovery and increased security.

The resolution – adopted unanimously by the 15-member Council – reaffirms the UN body’s “respect” for Somalia’s “sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity” while allowing the Organization and African Union (AU) to review the dynamics of a temporary surge of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops.

Moreover, the Council recalled its request for both the UN and AU to set out a series of recommendations for the next steps in the military campaign against Al-Shabaab - the Islamist extremist group that has waged a long-standing terrorist campaign against Somalia's Government.

In a recent briefing of the Security Council, Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM, told Council members that momentum had been regained on efforts to achieve political progress in the country, pointing to work by federal, regional and local leaders, and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and top-level commitment to deliver Somalia's Vision 2016 plan.

At the same time, however, he conceded that there was “still a long way to go,” adding that with so much at stake between now and 2016, “we can expect Al-Shabaab to do everything it can to derail the political process.”

Just over the weekend, in fact, Yusuf Muhammad Dirir, a Member of the Federal Parliament, was shot and killed along with his driver while another MP, Abdullahi Boss Ahmed, was wounded in the same attack.

Today’s Security Council extension will now see UNSOM’s mandate expire on 7 August 2015.
Uganda Parliament Urges to Withdraw Troops From South Sudan
May 27, 2015 (KAMPALA) – Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday called on the government of president Yoweri Museveni to withdraw the country’s troops from the neighbouring South Sudan, saying the cost for their operations was very high and a burden to taxpayers.

Thousands of troops of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) backed with helicopter gunships, tanks and other armoured vehicles, have been deployed in South Sudan since December 2013 to rescue president Salva Kiir from rebel fighters led by former vice president, Riek Machar.

President Museveni on many occasions said the intervention was necessary to maintain the government of president Salva Kiir and stability in the new nation. He also said the forces will not withdraw until he was rest assured that Juba was “secure.”

But Uganda parliament on Tuesday said the cost for keeping UPDF in South Sudan had been a huge burden shouldered by the taxpayers in the country.

In a report presented to the parliament by its specialized committee on defence and internal affairs, the document called on the government to pull out the forces and instead to ask the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to provide alternative forces to protect Juba and other vital areas.

“The committee urges government to continue engaging IGAD to ensure a neutral force is deployed,” the report said as reported by Ugandan Daily Monitor.

“This is because the continued presence of the UPDF in South Sudan is proving to be a very high cost to the Ugandan taxpayer,” the lawmakers further said.

Uganda defence ministry also revealed that the country has so far spent over 119 billion Shillings to finance its intervention in South Sudan, saying this was costlier than the country army’s operations in Somalia.


However, defence minister, Crispus Kiyonga, told the parliament, Tuesday, that Ugandan troops will not withdraw from South Sudan despite the cost, adding that Juba government continues to pay UPDF for its other expenses including fuel for the operations against the rebels.

He said the previously talked about alternative force from IGAD had not materialized and therefore UPDF will continue to help defend president Kiir’s government.

“The IGAD force that was supposed to take the place of the UPDF has not yet become a reality. To that extent, therefore, we will remain put in South Sudan,” he declared.

However observers doubt that the parliament, which is controlled by the ruling party, will come out with a resolution directing the government to effect withdrawal of the forces.

A cessation of hostilities agreement (CoHA) signed by the two warring parties on 23 January, 2014, under the mediation of IGAD, and which called for withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Sudan, has not been implemented.

IGAD is yet to announce a date on which the peace negotiations will resume in Addis Ababa under a new expanded mechanism that will include countries and international bodies outside the African continent.

South Sudan’s Warring Parties to Resume Talks Next Month
May 28, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s warring parties in the ongoing conflict will resume negotiations early next month, the spokesperson for the presidency said Thursday.

President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny said, directed chief negotiator, Nhial Deng Nhial and two members of his delegation to travel to Ethiopia on 8 June for resumption of peace talks with representatives of the armed opposition faction.

“The decision was reached during a consultation visit by the Ethiopian and Kenyan foreign ministers who visited South Sudan on Wednesday during which two foreign top diplomats met and held a meeting with President Salva Kiir and some of the senior members of his administration,” he told reporters in the country’s capital, Juba.

The meeting, the presidential spokesperson said, discussed whether the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) could use the Arusha model during the upcoming negotiations to see if it’s the best approach to resolve the conflict since signatories to the Arusha agreement were also involved in the regional-led talks.

The president, Ateny said, expressed his government’s earlier push to have members of the Troika nations participate as observers in the peace talks, instead of playing active roles in the IGAD-led initiative.

“The president welcomes participation of the five African members in the mediation and appreciates the support of the Troika countries in the peace process, but expressed government’s desire for them to continue playing positives role as observers,” he added.

Observers, however, say South Sudan’s latest position on Troika nations may have been reinforced by resolutions made during the just concluded Great Lakes conference.

In March, the East African regional bloc proposed an IGAD-Plus structure that will bring in other African regions, including South Sudan development partners such as the African Union, the United Nations, China and the Troika, the key funders of the peace talks, which comprises of the United Kingdom, United States of America and Norway.

Rebel Commander Rejects Separate Dialogue With South Sudan’s Gov’t
May 28, 2015 (JUBA) - A leading South Sudanese armed opposition commander allied to the former vice president, Riek Machar, has confirmed receiving messages and contacts from people in president Salva Kiir’s government proposing to him and his group to accept going into a parallel dialogue with the government.

Major General Dau Aturjong who commands rebel forces in Northern Bahr el Ghazla said he had been approached many times by government officials and agents to initiate a separate negotiation with him away from the Addis Ababa peace process.

“They have been trying to talk to us with the view that we get into separate negotiation from Addis [Ababa] with them. They want to localize our grievances but we have told them clearly that we are part of the national matters, which are being discussed in Addis by our team,”, General Aturjong told Sudan Tribune in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

The government, according to him, had been contacting him and his group through different categories of people and organizations to persuade them to make a separate arrangement with Juba.

“They have never stopped contacting us through different category of people. They are using relatives, religious leaders, my comrades in the army, police and security as well as business people,” he explained.

He also said his troops, which size is not known, have taken complete control of areas near the Sudanese border, but denied that he and his forces were getting support from the government of neighbouring Sudan.

His own headquarters, he said, has been 250 kilometers away from the common border with neighbouring Sudan in an area deeply inside South Sudanese territory since he moved to the region in 2014.

He dismissed allegations that his forces were stationed at disputed territories with Sudan and not inside South Sudan.

“Our forces are outside the disputed areas. We are not in Mile 14 area. We are inside South Sudan, far away from the disputed areas. If there is anybody who is looking for us, he will get us here,” he said.

General Aturjong was reacting to a question asking him to comment on reports that his forces had only taken advantage of the withdrawal of the government forces from the disputed territories and that he had been receiving military supplies, weapons and training from the Sudanese army in Abu Matareq in East Darfur state.

He appealed to the humanitarian organisations to go to the area, saying a lot of people had moved to areas under his control and were helping them to settle so that they could cultivate during this planting season.

People, he said, were running away from the government controlled areas to the opposition held territories, adding this was where they could find a way to cope with the situation.

“They say life in Aweil town and other areas is not easy. They are finding it extremely difficult. They cannot cultivate. But here, they can find a place to cultivate. There is a vast area for cultivation,” he claimed.

He further explained that the opposition appointed governor, Akol Madhan Akol, and his officials were working with the opposition leadership in Pagak to find ways in which humanitarian organisations could extend relief assistance to Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

He said many vulnerable people were coming to the rebel controlled areas in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, adding they needed shelters, food and items like blankets, saucepans, mosquito net, hoes, axes and farming implements.

The rebel commander also commended Sudanese authorities for opening their gate to South Sudanese fleeing the conflict and other associated difficulties to states in Sudan in search of safety and security.

Mbalula Denies Payments for World Cup
Former South African President Nelson Mandela at the World 
Cup in 2010.
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula categorically denied that government had paid individuals to influence the voting on the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

28 May 2015 13:23
Sipho Kings, Thulani Gqirana, Stefaans Brümmer, Craig McKune
South African Mail & Guardian

Speaking at the conclusion of a transformation in sport event in Johannesburg, sports minister Fikile Mbalula said the government was not involved in alleged bribes to sway votes in the hosting of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“No such amount [$10-million] was paid by the department or government to any individual,” he said on Thursday.

The allegations surfaced on Wednesday when seven Fifa officials were arrested in Switzerland in connection with bribes. The officials were gathered for the world football governing body’s elective conference.

The indictments were on behalf of US authorities, who said the same day that they were conducting a probe into corruption in Fifa worth $100-million.

In the indictment, a section titled “The Criminal Schemes” set out how South Africa bought three crucial votes with a $10-million bribe. The country was up against Morocco for the right to host the 2010 World Cup. The end vote was 14 to 10 in favour of South Africa.

The indictment deals with two separate instances of alleged corruption involving South Africa. In the first one, Jack Warner (then Fifa vice-president from Trinidad and Tobago) is alleged to have sent a relative to Paris to “accept a briefcase containing bundles of US currency in $10 000 stacks in a hotel room from co-conspirator #15”. This is an unnamed South African bid official.

The second instance alleges that in the months before the May 2004 vote, Warner and “co-conspirator #1” flew to Morocco, where Warner allegedly accepted a $1-million offer to vote for that country.

The indictment alleges that after the Moroccan bribe offer, Blazer learnt of a change of plan. “High-ranking officials of Fifa, the South African government, and the South African bid committee, including co-conspirator #16, were prepared to arrange for the government of South Africa to pay $10-million to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to ‘support the African diaspora’.”

The CFU is where Warner held sway. Blazer “understood the offer to be in exchange for the agreement” that he, Warner and an unnamed senior South American football official on the Fifa executive would vote for South Africa. Although the payment was to be to the CFU in name, Warner and his associates were the intended recipients. According to the indictment, “Warner indicated that he had accepted the offer and told [Blazer] that he would give a $1-million portion of the $10-million payment to [Blazer].”

All three allegedly voted for South Africa. Afterwards, Blazer “periodically asked Warner” about the payment. Blazer then learnt that “the South Africans were unable to arrange for the payment to be made directly from government funds”.

‘Transparent nation’

Mbalula said that nobody had contacted the South African government prior to the arrests. “It does constitute an element of total disregard of you to speak about a country without relating with it with regards to the information you may have.”

He was, however, certain that there would be “nothing that can implicate our nation”. Following the World Cup, the financial records and books of the local organising committee had been audited by outside auditors, and the auditor-general, he said. These found no transfer of funds and the information was subsequently released to the public.

“We run a transparent nation.”

But he would not comment on the details contained in the indictments until the government had received a copy, he said. The international relations department had been asked to approach the US government to get a copy of the indictments. “Everything else is speculation,” he said.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe said the local organising committee was not too worried about the bribery allegations. A member of the committee, he said, “As far as we are concerned, there has never been any suggestion that anything untoward happened in South Africa.”

The country had received a clean audit from accounting firm Ernst & Young. Any profit had been handed over to the South African Football Association, he said.

Read more from Sipho Kings
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Thulani Gqirana is the Mail & Guardian's parliamentary correspondent.
ANC Welcomes Court Dismissal of Media’s Case Against Mbete
28 MAY 2015 13:23
South African Mail & Guardian

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed the case from a media group against Speaker Baleka Mbete regarding Parliament’s broadcasting policy.

The Western Cape High Court’s decision to dismiss a case against Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete regarding interruption of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) broadcast earlier this year was welcomed by the ANC on Thursday.

“The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the judgment of the Western Cape High Court this morning dismissing Primedia’s case against the Speaker of the National Assembly regarding Parliament’s broadcasting policy,” said Chief Whip Phumelele Stone Sizani.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), Primedia Broadcasting, Media 24, and others filed a court application in March 2015 relating to cellphone jamming and the interruption of broadcast during the start of Sona.

According to Sizani’s office, Primedia had argued Parliament’s policy had been “unconstitutional” as parliamentary cameras had not shown “certain happenings”. This included the removal of Economic Freedom Fighters members of Parliament (MPs) from the house.

“We agree with Parliament’s contention that not only is the broadcasting policy firmly in line with the constitution, but it is also totally reasonable and in place to protect the dignity of the legislature,” said Sizani.

Sizani said Parliament respected the rights of the media as enshrined in the Constitution’s bill of rights and it would “never unduly hinder media’s operations within its precincts”. He added that it was Parliament’s duty to never condone the “chaotic and unruly conduct of a few MPs”.

“As the ANC we regret that this matter had to go court as we believe it could have been resolved amicably between the two parties,” he said.

Zuma's Rights 'Violated' Over Nkandla Scrutiny
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has absolved President Jacob Zuma for the misuse of state funds to upgrade his home in Nkandla.

28 May 2015 15:14 M&G Reporter

South Africa’s police ministry said President Jacob Zuma is not liable for the misuse of state funds to upgrade his private home, contradicting the graft ombudsman’s recommendation that he should repay some of the money.

A police ministry report submitted to lawmakers on Thursday absolved Zuma of responsibility and blamed inflated contracts and government officials for the high costs of renovations. All upgrades to Zuma’s home were security upgrades, including a swimming pool, cattle enclosure and chicken run, it said.

“Never in South Africa’s history or anywhere else in the world has a president’s private residence been subjected to such intense public scrutiny,” according to the report. “Therefore, the president and his family’s rights have been violated. The state president is not liable to pay anything.”

Zuma (72) has faced a public backlash since public protector Thuli Madonsela said in a report in March last year that he unfairly benefited from the use of state funds to renovate his home in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma appointed Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to probe whether he should repay any of the R215-million that was spent.

Zuma has repeatedly denied ordering the security makeover. A panel of ANC lawmakers cleared him of wrongdoing.

‘No case’

“There is no case against me on Nkandla, no pending arrest,” Zuma told lawmakers on March 11. “I don’t know why the issue of ‘pay back the money’” is being raised, he said.

The Democratic Alliance estimates Zuma owes taxpayers at least R52.9-million, while the EFF, the second-largest opposition group, says he should repay R206-million.

A former intelligence operative, Zuma has also been alleged to have taken bribes from arms dealers. He denied any wrongdoing, and prosecutors dropped charges against him a few weeks before he became president in 2009. He secured a second five-year term in May last year after the ANC won its fifth straight election.

Pool is critical

The swimming pool at Nkandla was needed to ensure the security of the president as it served a critical fire-fighting purpose, Nhleko said on Thursday.

Reading from the report, Nhleko said an exercise conducted by the Nkandla fire and rescue service in February this year showed they were not equipped properly to fight fires at the homestead which consists of various thatch roof buildings.

The exercise showed using water from the swimming pool instead of fire hydrants was more effective to fighting fires.

“During the demonstration, the chief fire officer for Umhlathuze established that the suction pump could draw sufficient water from the pool at the required speed, whereas the fire hydrant’s lack of necessary water pressure was evident.”

Nhleko showed journalists a video of the exercise – complete with dramatic music playing in the background, and a firefighter standing next to Nkandla pool – explaining why the pool was a better source of water than fire hydrants.

- Bloomberg News and African News Agency
SACP Tribute to Comrade Ruth Mompati Delivered by Second Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila
21 May 2015, Johannesburg

The SACP sends its heartfelt condolences to the entire family and all the relatives of Comrade Ruth Mompati. We also extend our condolences to our long standing historical ally, the ANC, the MK Veterans` Association, our liberation Alliance and the democratic movement of our country as a whole, for the mountainous loss we have suffered.

The SACP was greatly saddened by the news of the passing on of the ANC stalwart and Umkhonto weSizwe veteran, Isithwalandwe-Seaparankwe Comrade Ruth Mompati. Comrade Ruth Mompati passed on at 89 in the early hours of the morning on 12 May 2015 after fighting a long illness. While death is inevitable at the end of life, especially more expected as old age takes precedence, it is nevertheless not an easy thing to handle.

This difficulty becomes formidable on those deaths which weigh like a mountain, such as the deaths of the heroes who fought selflessly in our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Comrade Ruth Mompati was one of those finest revolutionaries. She was prepared to pay the highest price, to lay down her own life for liberation of our people. When such a calibre falls, the loss reverberates in all trenches of the continuing struggle. This has been the case from the death of Comrade Ruth Mompati.

The SACP says:

"In memory of Comrade Ruth Mompati, let us build and strengthen the Progressive Women`s movement. Let us deepen our struggle against patriarchal domination, and intensify, on all fronts, the struggle for a completely non-sexist society".

Let us recall the outstanding role played by women in our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Let us pay tribute to them.

Women were the first to radicalise the struggle after the establishment, in 1910, of the Union of South Africa. While men were still involved in diplomatic petitioning of the British monarchy to grant our people equal rights in their own country, in the year 1913 women began to fight back through passive resistance and defiance campaigns against carrying passes. Women co-ordinated further resistance culminating, in early 1919, in a massive march confronting the oppressive regime. By 1922, the white minority state, in a country that was a British dominion of a colonial type, was forced to agree not to extend pass laws to women.

Throughout the 1950s women waged gallant struggles against the apartheid regime`s return to pass laws for women and other increasingly repressive laws that restricted freedom of movement and political rights. The SACP dips its red flag in recognition of the heroic women who participated in and led these struggles: Charlotte Maxeke, Dora Tamana, Bertha Mashaba, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Albertina Sisulu, Sophie De Bruyn, and trade unionist Frances Baard who was also involved in the drafting of the Freedom Charter.

Throughout our struggle, women played a major role, Josie Mpama, Cissie Gool, Bettie Du Toit, Ray Alexander, Ruth First, Fatima Meer, Dorothy Nyembe and countless more, sung and unsung heroes.

Women also swelled the ranks of our joint ANC-SACP armed wing - the people`s liberation army - the MK!

Comrade Ruth Mompati became deeply active in these struggles. She was actively involved in the historic defiance campaign of 1952. She became a founding member of the Federation of South African Women, and one of the leaders of the historic 9 August 1956 women`s march. In 1992 August, she addressed the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid on the important Question of Women. Following her address, an International Day of Solidarity with the Women of South Africa was declared.

Comrade Ruth Mompati served our liberation Alliance with outstanding dedication. A teacher by profession, she served as a long standing ANC National Executive Committee member. Among others, Dr Mompati worked with ANC Presidents Comrades Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

After the MK was established she joined its ranks and received military training.

She served our liberation struggle in exile. She was entrusted with the responsibility of secretary and head of women`s section in the ANC NEC while in exile in Tanzania.

Comrade Ruth Mompati never deserted the cause of our struggle for freedom and our liberation movement.

She stayed true to the values of our movement to the end!

Upon her return from exile, after our 1994 democratic breakthrough, she recognised that the struggle was not over. She recognised that this milestone, that is the 1994 democratic breakthrough, laid the basis for a new phase to continue the struggle after dislodging the apartheid regime. She thus continued serving our people in new, and different capacities as defined by the new context and as deployed by our movement. She kept pace with the time and could not afford to fire misguided missiles at the democratically government of the people mistaking it for an enemy government.

Comrade Ruth Mompati was elected and served as a member of our Parliament following our electoral victory in the first democratic general election in 1994. She later was redeployed to serve as our country`s Ambassador to Switzerland, from 1996 to 2000.

Comrade Ruth Mompati respected our revolutionary culture of discipline, especially the principle of democratic centralism. She never defined herself outside of, or projected herself above the organisational leadership and membership collectives of our movement. She never narrowed national service to national positions of responsibility either.

Upon her return from Switzerland, Comrade Ruth Mompati was elected and served as the mayor of Naledi in North Wet Province, the Province of Moses Kotane - the chief architect of our liberation Alliance. She further made herself available and served as an executive member of the MK Veterans` Association.

The highest honour we can bestow on Comrade Ruth Mompati is to advance the second, more radical phase of our democratic transformation!

We must uproot the systemic causes and dismantle the structural forces of the problems of social inequality, unemployment and poverty. For this to happen, we must distinguish between the enemy and the damage it causes but confront both. It will not be possible or sustainable to repair, for instance, the damage caused by the enemy, while leaving that enemy and its system that reproduces the problems untouched. We must avoid to run on a treadmill in the name of radical transformation or a revolution.

The triple challenges of social inequality, unemployment and poverty are not an enemy - they are the effects of the enemy system of economic exploitation in its historical context of national and gender oppression, colonial and imperialist domination in our country. The second, more radical phase of our transition therefore requires that, and will only succeed if, we go deeper and adopt systemic measures to uproot the causes and dislodge the underlying forces behind all the problems we face.

That will be radical, in memory of Comrade Ruth Mompati!

For general enquiries about SACP statements

Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo - National Spokesperson, Head of Communications
Mobile: 082 9200 308
Office: 011 339 3621/2
Twitter: @2SACP
COSATU Calls for African Industrialization on Africa Day
24 May 2015

The Congress of South African Trade Unions joins all billion of African citizenry to celebrate Africa Day on the 25th May 2015.

African working class has played a major struggles freedom and liberation from the colonial and imperialist rulers since 1963 to date.

COSATU appreciates all the forefathers of liberty of all African States such as Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Samora Machel and countless others.

Today, African states are politically free, however that has not translated into economic freedom.

Majority of African states still suffers from diseases such as Ebola, malaria, cholera, HIV/AIDS and other communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Africa nations still suffer from internal conflicts, civil wars, political protests against some of the rulers, repression from some states, un-ending terms of office by some leaders and lack of due respect for the rule of law.

Many workers in Africa are still suffering from exploitation by multi-national companies who extract minerals and other commodities out of Africa for their own benefit.

Many migrant workers are under-employed in many countries despite the International Labour Organization’s labour standards ratified by many countries.

Many workers are forced out of their countries by various issues such as poverty, unemployment and hunger to seek for opportunities across Africa and in Europe through nerve-wrecking means such as crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Many migrant workers have died in pursuit for ‘greener pastures, with many eaten by lions in forests, many drowning in seas, many killed by rebels and many taken for human trafficking business.

On Africa Day, COSATU urges all African states to commit to peace in the continent and respect all the African Union statues on democratic principles, sound governance principles and respect for the rule of law.

COSATU calls for commitment to eradicate all the social ills and diseases by having sound health systems to enhance the life expectancy of the African citizenry.

COSATU urges all migrant workers across countries to be organized under the Trade Unions in all countries they are located, to curb the super-exploitative acts by bosses across the continent in pursuit for super-profits.

COSATU urges all African states to re-prioritize development in Africa in the interest of the masses and not only a chosen ‘few’. Beneficiation in all the wealth of all countries must be centred to enhance the lives of all citizenry out of poverty, under-development, mal-nutrition, exploitation, famine and lack of skills.

COSATU calls for protection of migrant workers under attack from xenophobic, afrophobic and other hate related attacks in the African continent.

COSATU calls for formalization of the informal economy as many African are pushed on the periphery of the economic activities by retrenchments, outsourcing, right-sizing, down-sizing and privatization with all companies doing business in Africa.

COSATU calls for unionization of all workers in Africa to strengthen the hegemony of workers’ formation in the continent.
Solidarity actions must be extended on worker to workers basis, and with learning of each other’s languages, to enhance working together.

COSATU on Africa Day urges all workers and their families to wear their African attire, to recite African poetry, to sing African music and appreciate the heritage of being African in Africa.

Issued by COSATU
Ntai Norman Mampane (Acting National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
P.O.Box 1019
South Africa
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct: +27 10 219-1348
Mobile: +27 72 416 3790
Twitter: @_cosatu / @COSATU2015_

‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’-The Communist Manifesto

NUM Statement on Africa Day

25 May 2015

The Africa Day gives Africans the time to celebrate Africa`s successes and to reflect on its problems and challenges. One of the most dominant stories of 2015 is the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

During this year xenophobic attacks, the United Nations (UN) expressed its concern at the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, saying the violence had displaced 5,000 people.

At least six people were killed during the unrest spreading from the eastern port city of Durban to the country`s financial hub Johannesburg.

The NUM fully supports the implementation of ‘Operation Fiela’ which is a government initiative designed to deal with xenophobia. The NUM say NO to Xenophobia.

Some of our members came from various African countries and contributed to the South African mining economy. They contributed immensely to the industrialisation of South Africa. The NUM will participate in all programmes designed to educate communities about diversity and the importance of unity of the working class beyond the colonial borders.

"It is still totally unacceptable and inexcusable that immigrants can be attacked for being immigrants in a country which purports to support human rights," said Frans Baleni, the NUM General Secretary.

“The working class and the poor should be united against the common enemy, i.e. oppressive regimes and capitalist exploitation. We cannot wage war against each other. Workers of the world should unite, and therefore we must discourage this malady,” Baleni.

Since independence, Africans have been terribly betrayed. They have been betrayed by the superpowers, who used Africa as a battlefield in the fight for global domination, and sanctioned corruption and tyranny as long as their interests are served. Most of all, they have been betrayed by their own leaders, who have done little but bask in personality cults and fill foreign bank accounts.

"Africa needs a new generation of leaders to turn the tide. A new generation of leaders who will focus on rebuilding Africa post colonization. A new generation of leaders who will invest and build effective and efficient resources exploitation to benefit the African economy and eliminate poverty, unemployment and severe inequalities that are affecting the continent," Baleni said.

But pinning the blame on superpowers and colonialists is no longer the trump card it once was. Africans are now willing to say publicly that Africa has failed and that Africans themselves have to take a share of the blame. Africa continues to make steady economic, social and political progress.

It is time for Africa to invest in education, health and infrastructure to improve its economy.

The challenge is to educate and empower women and children who represent Africa’s future. If we empower women and children, we help build better, more equal and more prosperous societies.

African governments must break down the social, economic, environmental and cultural obstacles that women and girls face.

They must intensify efforts to provide Africa’s women with better access to education, work, and health care.

As the NUM, we believe that African governments must do more to end violence against women and children.

Despite an overall decline in the number of conflicts, too many Africans still experience violent conflict.

Women and girls bear the brunt and are frequent targets of sexual violence and abuse.

For further information contact:
Frans Baleni: NUM General Secretary: 082 375 6443
Livhuwani Mammburu: Acting NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
7 Rissik Street.
Cnr Frederick,
Johannesburg 2001
ANCWL Saddened by Loss of Mama Ruth Mompati
12 May 2015

The African National Congress Women`s League feels a deep sense of loss at the passing on of Comrade Mama Ruth Mompati earlier this morning at the age of 89 years. Mama Ruth Mompati was a distinguished member of a generation of women in South Africa and the ANC who gave selflessly, without expectation of praise or reward, of their lives to the struggle for the liberation of South Africa and her people. She made an invaluable contribution to the moulding and guiding of successive generations of women in the movement; she nurtured and mothered activists serving as a bedrock of our organisation during the dark and turbulent years of exile and banishment.

As a founder member of Umkhonto weSizwe and Secretary General of the ANC Women`s League, Mama Ruth Mompati and her comrades led from the front to emancipate the South African people from the bondages of apartheid colonialism.

Regardless of the role she was playing or the area in which she was deployed, Comrade Ruth served the organisation with unwavering commitment and absolute dedication. Her own family lent Mama Ruth to the people of South Africa so she could wage our common war often at great distress and sacrifice to their own comfort. It is these values of putting the course of the people first, fearlessness, courage and determination that the ANC Women`s League implores young women and South Africans in general would emulate as we continue with the work of building a free and united South Africa. We lower our revolutionary banners in honour of this incomparable stalwart of our movement and commit ourselves to pick up the baton that is being passed to us by the generations of Mama Ruth Mompati and her compatriots. Tirelessly, we will work to ensure that the struggle they had devoted their lives to continues and that we can never justly claim to have realised their vision until the dream of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society is realised.

The ANC Women`s League sends its deepest condolences to the Mompati family and the countless comrades who considered Comrade Ruth Mompati a mother, a community builder and a liberator. May she rest in peace comforted by the knowledge that she played her invaluable role, driven by the love for her people, in building this South Africa which is intent on realising the ideals of our people concretised in the Freedom Charter she was, in whatever small way, part of crafting.

Issued by
Angie Motshekga
African National Congress Women`s League

Edna Molewa
Head of Communications
076 462 5529
ANC Statement on Africa Day
25 May 2015

The African National Congress joins millions of Africans in celebrating the Africa Day today, 25 May 2015. We celebrate this year's Africa Day under theme "Building a better Africa and a better World". It was on this day in 1963, when leaders of 32 African nations came together in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, and formed the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The year 2015, also marks 14 years since the formation of the African Union (AU).

The OAU was formed to confront as a collective, the challenges facing the African continent then. The Organisation's main objectives include; the promotion of unity and solidarity of the African states, co-ordinate and intensify the co-operation of African states, and to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states in order to achieve a better life for all Africans. After the attainment of our liberation and the first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa joined the OAU on the 23rd of May the same year.

The ANC remains committed to working together with the people of Africa in order to achieve the AU fifty-year vision called Agenda 2063. This is the African vision of building effective institutions, enhancing accountability, strengthening solidarity and integration, promoting gender equality, and promoting peace and security. In addition, Agenda 2063 talks about the reform of institutions of global governance, which includes among others the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As we celebrate this historic day, we reiterate the call made by President Jacob Zuma at yesterday's Africa Day celebrations in Mamelodi that "every school, church or community choir and individuals, must practice the African Union anthem so that we can sing it at all our important gatherings and celebrations".

We are Africa! We are One!

Issued by
Zizi Kodwa
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza 082 823 9672
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
Xenophobia Must Be Condemned in the Strongest Terms, Says African Union Commission Chair
May 26, 2015

Message of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana C. Dlamini-Zuma, on the occasion of the 52nd Africa Day Addis Ababa, 25 May, 2015

Fellow Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora

Our friends and partners across the world

On this, the fifty-second occasion of us marking the birth of our beloved continental body, I have the singular honour to wish all of you a happy and fulfilling Africa Day.

This year’s celebration comes at the time when the African Union is celebrating 13 years since its transformation from the Organisation of African Unity. We have indeed transformed the organisation from one pursuing the struggle to liberate the continent and safeguard the independence of African States to one that facilitates work for a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

This year’s theme, which is, “Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, is a recognition of centuries of African women and women from the Diaspora to the struggles against slavery, racial and gender discrimination, and for the emancipation of our continent and African men and women everywhere.

Women and girls continue to play critical roles – paid and unpaid – in their families, communities, countries and regions, that directly impact on economies and societies.

Despite the constraints that they continue to face, we have made strides, as a result of different waves of struggles by the women’s movements. Since the historic Beijing conference 20 years ago, and the recognition of women’s rights as human rights, we have seen progress on women’s representation, in the advancement of reproductive rights, on equal pay for equal work, on access to education and basic services.

At the same time, it is estimated that if real change happens at the same, it will take us 80 years before reaching full gender parity. This is simply not good enough. It will mean that our efforts to reverse the curse of underdevelopment and conflicts must wait another 80 years to come to fruition. It also means that Africa will also continue to use less than half of its talents, skills and potentials.

To address these constraints, we criss-crossed the continent and solicited the inputs of all sectors, spheres and levels of society. Our only question was … What Africa do YOU want to see by 2063. Agenda 2063 is the resulting mandate from the people of Africa here and in the Diaspora. Agenda 2063 is an intergenerational mission, an inclusive African strategy to use Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.

Our Africa Day celebration is therefore facilitating and celebrating African narratives of the past, present and future that will enthuse and energise the African population and use their constructive energy to accelerate a forward looking agenda of pan-Africanism and African Renaissance in the 21st century.

We mark this Africa Day with much optimism. Africa has answered the clarion call to shape its own agenda… for the people by the people.

Fellow Africans,

We also mark this Africa Day with several blemishes.

These have included the conflicts that continue to bedevil our beloved continent as is the case, at the moment, in Burundi, Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as other member sates.

The recent xenophobic attacks in the coastal city of Durban and in the economic hub of Johannesburg, is also one such blemish. We take this opportunity to reiterate our condemnation of the unacceptable acts of violence that affected our brothers and sisters.

No matter what the circumstances, such actions cannot be justified.

No matter the frustrations, the loss of even a single life cannot be condoned. We also wish to applaud the swift action taken by the South African government and its citizenry in response to these acts of violence, which also resulted in the loss of life and livelihood.

It has been said that one of the major causes for such incidents as witnessed in South Africa and elsewhere are the challenges presented by poverty and inequality. These are often characterised by the poor fighting the poor over limited and sometimes scarce resources.

These incidents also underscore the urgent need for all of us to give urgent attention to issues related to migration and human trafficking. We must address the very circumstances that lead our nationals to leave our shores for better opportunities in other parts of the continent and the world.

To this effect, I take this opportunity to also extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 800 African brothers and sisters who recently lost their lives on the North Coast of our continent. That incident is also a painful reminder that we must urgently deal with the growth and integration of our continent.

Never and never again must such acts and incidents be witnessed on our continent.

In realising Africa’s development, human development is also not negotiable. The pockets of instability and conflict, which have sometimes resulted in loss of life and livelihood, bear testament to that fact. We cannot afford to continue on a trajectory that excludes and is inequitable.

In order to facilitate for inclusive and sustainable growth we must translate Agenda 2063 into our national plans so that we can facilitate for priority areas such as integration, youth and women’s empowerment, job creation, energy, and infrastructure development.

In translating Agenda 2063 we will need accelerated action towards an equitable growth path, which prioritises the people and connectivity. We must realise key urgent projects that connect us including road, rail, aviation, marine transport, telecommunications, as well as industrialisation and manufacturing.

Our pursuit for accelerating our equitable economic growth path will also place greater pressure on our traditional and mainstream energy sectors, consequently we will begin to seriously implement key projects in the renewable energy sector, which include hydro and wind energy. In accelerating connectivity we will pay greater attention to the promotion of the Continental Free Trade Area.

It is in seeking to accelerate implementation of these (and other) priorities and programmes that we will convene the Africa Economic Platform, in the latter part of this year.

The platform will pursue continental synergy and will bring together Africa’s captains of industry, academics, governments and activists. Only through working together can we facilitate for Africa’s unity, shared prosperity and lasting peace.

Africa . . . One people. One Destiny

Long live Africa and her Diaspora!

Long live African solidarity and unity!

I thank you and happy Africa Day!!
ZANU-PF Internal Power Struggles Continue: Information Minister Points Finger at Nguni
May 28, 2015
Herald Reporter

No amount of dust-kicking will cover up Federation for Non-Governmental Organisations (FONGO) president Cde Goodson Nguni’s tracks linking him as the second source of a false NewsDay story that claimed President Mugabe owed sacked Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Mr Ray Kaukonde $30 million, it has been learnt.

Instead of explaining to Zimbabweans yearning to know his side of the story on his alleged involvement in the scandalous story, Cde Nguni chose to divert attention by casting aspersions on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and Zimpapers editors.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Cde Nguni said he was loyal to Zanu-PF and had never leaked information to the writer of the story, one Richard Chidza.

“I am a loyal member of the Zanu-PF party headed by Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I have never leaked a story to the NewsDay or to Mr Chidza. I have never had meetings with or had a teleconference with Mr Chidza over the last Politburo meeting,” Mr Nguni told journalists.

He accused Prof Moyo of pushing a Herald story yesterday linking him to the NewsDay story.

“I never had access or been advised of Politburo deliberations except what the party’s information department churns out to the public. Mr Chidza is a personal friend, but I never had discussions with him regarding some dirt involving anyone let alone the Head of State. The story that was published in The Herald was written by and on the instruction of Jonathan Moyo (Prof) who was hoping to smear another Politburo member with the story,” he said.

Cde Nguni claimed Prof Moyo was the source of the story and questioned if the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust (read Commission)gave the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services the mandate to run Zimpapers and also questioned the legality of Zimpapers appointments.

However, Prof Moyo yesterday said there was no way Cde Nguni would get away with such mischief.

“There’s absolutely no need for Cde Nguni to kick up some dust in a vain effort to cover up very serious allegations published by The Herald that he’s the second-hand source to the criminal falsehood carried by NewsDay that President Mugabe allegedly told last Thursday’s Politburo meeting that he owes (Mr) Kaukonde $30m.

“I did not attend that meeting as I was busy with the by-election campaign in Tsholotsho. If Cde Nguni thinks he can get away with his mischief by doing and saying anything, then he’s like a child playing with fire.

“His response betrays someone who’s very afraid. The time has come for those who leak falsehoods and nonsense about Cabinet and Politburo proceedings to be held accountable in terms of the law,” Prof Moyo said.

Cde Nguni claimed the story was written because Prof Moyo was informed he wanted to launch a petition in the courts to enjoin and oppose the application by The Herald editor Caesar Zvayi challenging criminal defamation.

He said Zvayi also told him that Prof Moyo was the author of all anti-Zanu-PF ministers and Vice President stories which were being carried in newspapers under the Zimpapers stable.

However, Zvayi said: “It is instructive to note here that rather than respond to the issue at hand, Mr Goodson Nguni chose diversion. He needs to collect his faculties and respond to the real issue at hand, his alleged role in the NewsDay story.’’
ZANU-PF Being Destroyed From Within: ‘Moyo Plotting Against Mugabe’
May 28, 2015
Zimbabwe NewsDay

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo was again yesterday thrust into the centre of worsening Zanu PF fights after a ruling party apologist accused him of using the media to destroy the party from within.

Goodson Nguni, the leader of the Zanu PF-aligned Federation of Non-governmental Organisations, made a string of allegations against Moyo including that the former Zanu PF critic had an elaborate plan to tarnish the image of President Robert Mugabe and his deputies.

Nguni was reacting to a story in The Herald yesterday claiming that he leaked issues discussed at last week’s meeting of the Zanu PF politburo to NewsDay.

This was after the paper published a story on Monday where Zanu PF insiders alleged Mugabe had disclosed that he owed fired Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde $30 million.

Nguni told journalists in Harare yesterday that he had since established that Moyo authored the Herald story as part of the alleged ploy to destroy the party from within.

He alleged Moyo was co-ordinating the onslaught against Zanu PF by both the State and private media, an accusation the political scientist vehemently denied last night.

“Zimbabweans must just do a research and see the multitudes (sic) of anti-Zanu PF attitude by Moyo,” Nguni said.

“I hope Zanu PF will understand that Moyo has previously stated that he wants to destroy Zanu PF from within and he is co-ordinating the public and private media to write negative stories about Zanu PF, the President, Vice-Presidents and all progressive Zanu PF members.”

Nguni said Moyo’s recent interview with BBC where he stated that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was not guaranteed to succeed Mugabe backed his claims.

“It is for [Presidential spokesperson] George Charamba and how is it that he can tell us that the President can do this or not do that? Moyo is a very dangerous mafikizolo [upstart],” he said.

“The recent BBC interview was held in Zimbabwe at Moyo’s request where he wanted to denigrate senior members of the party and talk about Zanu PF issues when he is not the party’s secretary for information.”

Mnangagwa’s allies reacted angrily to the interview claiming Moyo’s body language showed “disdain and contempt” for the VP.

Nguni urged Zanu PF to investigate Moyo’s appointment of State media editors, saying they were part of the strategy to destroy the party.

“I hope Zanu PF will look very closely at all his editorial appointments at Zimpapers,” he said.

Nguni denied being the source of NewsDay’s story about Kaukonde. He said Moyo was trying to use the story to further his own agenda against party officials.

“Moyo wanted The Herald to snare me into mentioning particular names within the politburo,” he charged.

“He was hoping that the people who I talk to in the politburo would be linked to the story, but unfortunately for him all the people in the politburo are friendly to me.

“Moyo is targeting me because I am the face of Zanu PF attack against the MDC and I regularly pop up to defend Zanu PF when he is busy conniving against the party. He was hoping to silence me.”

He said he had not spoken to Richard Chidza, the journalist The Herald alleged authored the story.

The story had no by-line to identify the writer.

“I never had a teleconference or meeting with Chidza after the last politburo meeting,” Nguni said.

“ I have never had access to politburo meetings or been advised of deliberations except what the party’s information department churns out in public.

“The story was written because Jonathan Moyo was informed that I was going to launch a petition in the Constitutional Court to enjoin and oppose the application by Herald editor Caesar Zvayi to purge our Constitution of criminal defamation.”

Moyo has spoken against efforts to retain criminal defamation in the statute books while Mnangagwa wants the law to stand.

“I had occasion to challenge Zvayi on why The Herald is taking Mnangagwa to court over criminal defamation,” Nguni said.

“Zvayi told me to my face that Moyo ordered him to sue Mnangagwa in order to remove criminal defamation.

“Zvayi also told me that Moyo was the author of all anti-Zanu PF stories carried in the Zimpapers stable.

“Zvayi also told me that Moyo wants criminal defamation removed so that journalists can write false stories and not get arrested.”

However, Zvayi said it was not true that Moyo wrote stories for The Herald, insisting that he was in charge of the paper.

“Only a fool would believe Prof Moyo is a journalist at The Herald. I am the editor of the paper, I preside over the diary. Herald reporters write all stories in The Herald,” he said.

“I don’t know what an anti-Zanu-PF story is because we write issue-based or event-based stories. If anything we are accused of being a Zanu-PF mouthpiece.”

He also denied charges that The Herald’s defamation challenge was part of the anti-Mnangagwa campaign.

“As for the claim Prof Moyo is party to our lawsuit, a simple check of the court papers or call to the lawyer can clarify that. It’s Zimpapers suing and I am representing Zimpapers as editor of the flagship title.”

Moyo poured scorn on Nguni’s claims and defended The Herald.

He said the paper had an “unparallelled and proud record in support of the party, government and country in the national interest”.

“Second, it’s quite clear that Cde Nguni has a very strange defence against very serious allegations that he is the second-hand source to the criminal falsehood that President Mugabe owes Kaukonde $30m,” Moyo said.

“I did not attend the politburo meeting last Thursday, but what has been reported in your newspaper about what allegedly took place in the meeting is totally unacceptable and those behind the misleading leaks must be held accountable without fear or favour.

“The matter is as simple as that.”

Moyo has repeatedly faced accusations that he is on a mission to destroy Zanu PF from within with critics pointing to his previous life as an acerbic critic of Mugabe.
Chicago Cop Fights Dismissal Over Photo of Him Pretending to Hunt Black Man
A former Chicago police detective is suing to overturn his firing for posing in a photograph showing him and another officer in a mock hunting scene with a black man wearing antlers.

Timothy McDermott in the lawsuit seeks to rejoin the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The snapshot, showing the officers with rifles standing over the unidentified black man, was reportedly taken sometime between 1999 and 2003 at a Chicago police station.

The Chicago Police Board fired McDermott in October after the photo surfaced during an FBI probe into the second officer, Jerome Finnigan, now serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. Both McDermott and Finnigan are white.

The majority of the board wrote that "appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience."

The police board found McDermott guilty of bringing discredit on the department, disrespecting or maltreating a person on- or off-duty, and unlawful or unnecessary use or display of a weapon, the Sun-Times said.

A Cook County judge unsealed the photo in March after it was filed as part of the lawsuit, the New York Daily News reported.

McDermott's lawyer, Dan Herbert, said Wednesday there's no evidence the photo was taken against the black man's will, WLS-TV reported. Police officials said they believe the man in antlers was a drug suspect.

Finnigan was convicted in 2011 of leading a group of officers who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug dealers, even ordering another officer killed to keep him quiet about the scheme.
Although McDermott was not found to be involved in that, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he doesn't deserve to get his job back.

"As far as I'm concerned, to that officer: Good riddance. You don't belong in the Police Department," Emanuel told reporters Wednesday. "Our whole idea of the Police Department (is that it) is there to serve and protect, and the values expressed in that photo are not the values of the people of the city of Chicago."

McDermott acknowledged to police officials two years ago that the photo was a mistake, the Sun-Times reported.

"I was asked to join the photo and I did so without exercising proper judgment," according to a transcript of his remarks. "I made a mistake as a young impressionable police officer who was trying to fit in."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Evidence of 430,000-year-old Human Violence Found
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
From the section Science & Environment

Frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the two traumatic events

Human remains from a cave in northern Spain show evidence of a lethal attack 430,000 years ago, a study has shown.

Researchers examined one skull from a site called the Pit of Bones, which contains the remains of at least 28 people.

They concluded that two fractures on that skull were likely to have been caused by "multiple blows" and imply "an intention to kill".

The findings are published in the journal PLOS One.

As well as providing a clue as to why the bodies were in the cave, scientists say the study provides grisly evidence that violence is an intrinsic part of the earliest human culture.

A detailed CT scan of the skull showed that the two fractures were almost indistinguishable
The international research team studied the skull - cranium 17 - using modern medical imaging techniques.

Their virtual reconstruction showed that two clearly visible fractures on its front were almost identical, strongly suggesting, "that both were caused by the same object".

This forensic investigation provides a piece in the puzzle of how these people came to be in the cave, which is known in Spanish as Sima de los Huesos.

The site has been studied by scientists for more than three decades. In 2013, researchers were able to extract ancient DNA from one of its preserved bones, leading some experts to suggest that the bodies inside were early representatives of the Neanderthal lineage.

The site continues to be a hot topic for researchers trying to unravel the increasingly complicated story of human origins.

And while this study does not tackle that scientific debate, it suggests that the long vertical shaft of this cave was a place where these ancient people deliberately "deposited deceased members of their social groups".

The researchers conclude in their paper that this may have been "a social practice among this group", and may even be "the earliest funerary behaviour in the human fossil record".

Professor Debra Martin is an anthropologist from the University of Nevada, who studies ancient human cultures, including evidence of violence.

She told BBC News that she found the researchers' conclusions "completely compelling".

Prof Martin added: "I suspect the farther we push back and find straight up forensic evidence such as these authors have, we will find that violence is culturally mediated and has been with us as long as culture itself has been with us."
'New Species' of Ancient Human Found In Ethiopia
By Rebecca Morelle
Science Correspondent, BBC News
From the section Science & Environment

Researchers say the jaw bones and teeth are unlike any they have seen before

A new species of ancient human has been unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia, scientists report.

Researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth, which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old.

It means this new hominin was alive at the same time as several other early human species, suggesting our family tree is more complicated than was thought.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

The new species has been called Australopithecus deyiremeda, which means "close relative" in the language spoken by the Afar people.

The ancient remains are thought to belong to four individuals, who would have had both ape and human-like features..

Living with Lucy

Lead researcher Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the US, told BBC News: "We had to look at the detailed anatomy and morphology of the teeth and the upper and lower jaws, and we found major differences.

"This new species has very robust jaws. In addition, we see this new species had smaller teeth. The canine is really small - smaller than all known hominins we have documented in the past."

The age of the remains means that this was potentially one of four different species of early humans that were all alive at the same time.

The most famous of these is Australopithecus afarensis - known as Lucy - who lived between 2.9-3.8m years ago, and was initially thought to be our direct ancestor.

However the discovery of another species called Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya in 2001, and of Australopithecus bahrelghazali in Chad, and now Australopithecus deyiremedaI, suggests that there were several species co-existing.

Some researchers dispute whether the various partial remains really constitute different species, particularly for A. bahrelghazali. But Dr Haile-Selassie said the early stage of human evolution was probably surprisingly complex.

"Historically, because we didn't have the fossil evidence to show there was hominin diversity during the middle Pliocene, we thought there was only one lineage, one primitive ancestor - in this case Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy - giving rise to the next.

"That hypothesis of linear evolution has to be revisited. And now with the discovery of more species, like this new one... you have another species roaming around.

"What this means is we have many species that could give rise to later hominins, including our own genus Homo."

Dr Haile-Selassie said that even more fossils need to be unearthed, to better understand the path that human evolution took.

He added that finding additional ancient remains could also help researchers examine how the different species lived side-by-side - whether they mixed or avoided each other, and how they shared food and other resources in their landscape.
Nebraska Bans Death Penalty, Defying a Veto
New York Times
MAY 27, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska on Wednesday became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, with lawmakers defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it.

After more than two hours of emotional speeches at the Capitol here, the Legislature, by a 30-to-19 vote that cut across party lines, overrode the governor’s veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law. After the repeal measure passed, by just enough votes to overcome the veto, dozens of spectators in the balcony burst into celebration.

The vote capped a monthslong battle that pitted most lawmakers in the unicameral Legislature against the governor, many law enforcement officials and some family members of murder victims whose killers are on death row. The Legislature approved the repeal bill three times this year, each time by a veto-proof majority, before sending it to Mr. Ricketts’s desk. Adding to the drama, two senators who had previously voted for repeal switched to support the governor at the last minute.

Opponents of the death penalty here were able to build a coalition that spanned the ideological spectrum by winning the support of Republican legislators who said they believed capital punishment was inefficient, expensive and out of place with their party’s values, as well as that of lawmakers who cited religious or moral reasons for supporting the repeal. Nebraska joins 18 other states and Washington, D.C., in banning the death penalty.

Though it is not clear that other Republican-dominated states will follow Nebraska’s example, Wednesday’s vote came at a time when liberals and conservatives have been finding common ground on a range of criminal justice issues in Washington and around the country.

In other states, Democrats and Republicans driven by different motivations have formed alliances to limit the revenue that towns can collect from traffic fines; to crack down on civil asset forfeiture, a practice that disproportionately affects the poor; and to ease mandatory prison sentences.

On the presidential trail, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have all called for easing mandatory minimum sentences, while other Republican candidates have embraced proposals to revamp bail and expand drug treatment that have also been championed by Democrats. Though it formally considers itself nonpartisan, the Nebraska Legislature is dominated by Republicans.

Mr. Ricketts, who fought against the repeal bill by appearing repeatedly in television interviews and urging Nebraskans to pressure their senators to oppose it, immediately denounced the vote.

“My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families,” he said in a statement. “While the Legislature has lost touch with the citizens of Nebraska, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans and law enforcement on this important issue.”

In a debate that was by turns somber, fiery and soul-searching, with sprinklings of quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and the Book of Genesis, senators stood to make last-minute pitches to try to persuade the undecided. Some said that capital punishment should be retained as a tool to punish the most heinous crimes. Others said that the death penalty, which has not been used in Nebraska since 1997, was irretrievably broken.

“Today we are doing something that transcends me, that transcends this Legislature, that transcends this state,” said Senator Ernie Chambers, an independent from Omaha who sponsored the bill and has fought against the death penalty for decades. “We are talking about human dignity.”

A few senators argued that Nebraskans were still broadly in favor of capital punishment, even if many Republicans in the Legislature had turned away from it. Others said that they were deeply conflicted about their vote to retain the death penalty. “Today I will sustain the governor’s veto because I campaigned on it,” said Senator Tyson Larson, two hours into the debate. “This might be the last time I give the state the right to take a life, because I don’t think that they necessarily should.”

The bill replaces capital punishment with life imprisonment.

The vote on Wednesday came just a day after Mr. Ricketts signed a veto of the death penalty repeal bill in front of reporters assembled at the Capitol and talked about a gruesome bank robbery in the city of Norfolk in 2002 in which five people were shot to death as a compelling reason that Nebraska should hold on to capital punishment. Two family members of a woman who was shot during the robbery stood at the governor’s side.

Some Nebraskans said in interviews this week that they agreed with the governor.

“I’m sure small-town, rural Nebraska communities are furious about the repeal,” said Chris Spargen, a project specialist in his mid-20s, as he rode his bike down a main thoroughfare in Ashland, 30 miles outside Omaha. “I guess I’m technically falling under that as well.”

In downtown Ceresco, Neb., about 18 miles north of Lincoln, Wayne Ambrosias, owner of the Sweet Pea Market, said he did not want his tax dollars used to pay for murderers to stay in prison for their entire lives. And he echoed the governor’s statement that the lawmakers who supported the death penalty repeal bill were out of touch with a widely conservative public.

“I don’t think the politicians are in line with the everyday people,” Mr. Ambrosias said on Wednesday, just before the vote. “I think it’s more of a political move. I don’t think the people are telling them that’s what they want.”

But others said they saw the issue differently, rejecting the argument that the death penalty was necessary to deter crime.

“A lot of times, murder is a crime of passion,” said Don Johnson, a retired commercial fisherman from Alaska now living in Ceresco. “I don’t think they think about the death penalty when they kill somebody or somebody gets killed. I don’t think it’s a preventative measure at all.”

Mr. Johnson, who considers himself an evangelical Protestant, said he saw the issue less as a religious belief than a strictly personal one. Other members of his church are in favor of the death penalty, he said, though he admitted he could not quite reconcile the punishment with Christianity.

“If you really follow Jesus’s teachings,” he said, “thou shall not kill, you know.”

Catholic bishops in Nebraska issued a statement on Tuesday criticizing Mr. Ricketts’s veto. “We remain convinced that the death penalty does not deter crime, nor does it make Nebraska safer or promote the common good in our state,” they said.

Since 2007, six states have abolished the death penalty: Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group opposed to the death penalty, no conservative state has banned capital punishment since North Dakota in 1973. The center defines a conservative state as having voted Republican in the two most recent presidential elections.

Across the country, efforts to execute criminals on death row have stalled in the face of growing backlash against the death penalty and logistical difficulties with lethal injections. Many states have had difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs, as European manufacturers, citing moral and ethical objections, have refused to sell them to prisons in the United States. Texas, which executes more inmates than any other state, has only enough drugs to carry out one more lethal injection.

Searching for alternatives in the face of drug shortages, some states have taken other measures. In March, the Utah governor signed a law allowing firing squads to be used for executions, and Arkansas, Wyoming and Idaho have considered replacing lethal injections with firing squads.

Mr. Ricketts tried to ward off concerns about the availability of drugs by announcing this month that he had made arrangements with a pharmaceutical company to obtain the necessary drugs for lethal injections. Some lawmakers said that the governor had not actually obtained the drugs, asserting that he was trying to sway legislators to uphold his veto. Those lawmakers have also raised questions about whether those drugs would be legal to use if the governor had obtained them.

Carson Vaughan contributed reporting from Omaha.