Sunday, September 30, 2018

Nigeria Labor Unions Call off Nationwide Strike
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Africa News

Nigeria’s main labour unions on Sunday called off a nationwide strike that started last Thursday crippling public, civil service across Africa’s most populous nation.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), declared the strike following months of failed discussions with the government on working conditions and minimum wage.

Trade unionists are demanding a minimum wage of between 45,000 and 65,000 naira (107-154 euros) against the current wage of 18,000 naira (42.6 euros).

The latest move comes hours to the celebration of Nigeria’s 58th independence day (October 1) and four days to the next date scheduled for talks between the unions and government.

“The minimum wage is based on a law, there would be enactment and we want all those to happen quickly so that a new minimum wage can actually come on board, and that’s where we are,” NLC’s Secretary General, Peter Ozo-Eson said last week.

The strike adversely affected the administrative and commercial capital of Abuja and Lagos respectively as government complexes, and federal departments and government agencies were deserted.

In response to the strike, government said it was engaging the unions as at Friday to get them to call off the strike. The president’s spokesperson explained the negotiations via social media.

Garba Shehu wrote: “The Presidency today, Friday stepped up efforts to convince labor unions in the country to call off their strike following the earlier meeting at which the government accepted their demand to reconvene the tripartite meeting on the proposed new national minimum wage.

“The meeting between the labor leadership and the representatives of the employers of labor is now scheduled to reconvene on Thursday 4th October.

“By its tripartite nature, the committee is made up of persons from the public sector, (Federal and State Governments) and the private sector made up of the largest private employer group and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).

“Other members include the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES).

“At the moment, the Presidency understands that the combined leadership of the unions, having met and deliberated on the position of the government have now set in motion a process of consultations with their constituent members to determine their next line of action.”
Horn of Africa Unites on Eritrea Sanctions Lifting at UNGA
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Africa News

Except Djibouti that did not make an explicit appeal to the United Nations General Assembly with respect to Eritrean sanctions, Ethiopia and Somalia reiterated calls for the lifting of sanctions.

On their part, Eritrea dedicated its entire address to the sanctions with categorical demands that they have from the word go been unjustified and thus be lifted by the Security Council without delay.

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh did not mince words about the unjust nature of the sanctions and the adverse effects that it had on Eritrea’s progress and development.

In light of these important and positive developments, it is only appropriate and timely that the Security Council now seriously considers lifting the sanctions imposed on Eritrea.

Incidentally, all four nations in the Horn of Africa region sent their respective foreign ministers to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly which ends today in New York. Below are relevant portions of their respective addresses.

Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh

After announcing the July 2018 peace deal, he continued: Let me now revert to a perplexing injustice that has afflicted my country for almost a decade. I am referring to the unwarranted sanctions that were imposed on Eritrea in December 2009 and 2011 respectively.

With positive winds of peace flowing in our region, several UNSC member States are these days calling for the immediate lifting of the deplorable sanctions. The diplomatic discourse is not however fully coherent.

As it happens, some countries are looking for procedural and other pretexts and preconditions. The apparent aim is to move the goalpost and maintain the illegal sanctions on Eritrea.

He traced the genesis of the sanctions principally accusing the United States governments of being behind it and its maintenance over the years.

As I stressed earlier, the people of Eritrea have not committed a crime or transgression that impels them to seek clemency. As such, they are not only calling for the immediate rescinding of the sanctions but they are also asking, and deserve, amends for the damages incurred and opportunities forfeited, he concluded.

Ahmed Isse Awad, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia

A new dawn of leadership is at hand in the horn of Africa, and a stronger desire to bolster historical ties for common interests provides the means for effective cooperation among the countries of the Horn.

To achieve our common goal of economic progress and prosperity for the Horn of Africa, I humbly call on the UNITED NATIONS to lift all economic sanctions on our neighbor, ERITREA.

This move would ease flow of imports and exports, movement of people and businesses, and it would fulfill our vision for the successful economic integration of the region.

Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Workneh Gebeyehu

Ethiopia and Eritrea have opened a new chapter in their relationship, ending two decades of conflict. We are normalizing relations and charting a future in which our relationship will truly
reflect the longstanding ties between our two peoples.

Somalia and Eritrea have reconciled their differences and re-established diplomatic relations. It marks a new relationship between the two countries. Early this month, we held a Trilateral Summit of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia in Asmara.

We Foreign Ministers then visited Djibouti, opening a new phase in relations between Djibouti and
Eritrea. The AU Commission Chairperson has rightly called this a clear demonstration of the value and effectiveness of the search of African solutions to African problems.

Recently, my Prime Minister and the President of Eritrea signed a further compressive cooperation Agreement in Jeddah; and Presidents of Eritrea and Djibouti shook hands in Jeddah, ending a decade of dispute. In light of these important and positive developments, it is only appropriate and timely that the Security Council now seriously considers lifting the sanctions imposed on Eritrea.

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Contrasting with this dark picture, the Horn of Africa has experienced a succession of historical positive developments which are of nature to generate dividends for peace, reconciliation and economic development.

We welcomed the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea which ended two decades of situation of “neither war nor peace” and inaugurates a new era peace, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The positive repercussions for other inter-state conflicts in the countries of the region have been fast.

In this respect, I would like to inform this august assembly that Presidents of Djibouti and Eritrea met on 17 September in Jeddah under the auspices of His Majesty the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and agreed to open a new chapter in relations between the two brotherly countries.

At the end of this meeting and thanks to the tireless efforts of the King of Saudi Arabia and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, they agreed to continue the dialogue initiated with a view to finding a peaceful outcome to outstanding issues including frontier litigation and prisoners of war.
Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia Spikes After Border Reopening
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban 
Africa News
28/09 - 04:00

Eritreans are taking advantage of reopening of border crossing to enter neighbouring Ethiopia. Some to visit relatives, others for trade but also others are there to stay.

This is according to ReliefWeb, a leading humanitarian information source on global crises and disasters. It is a specialized digital service for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

ReliefWeb cited the Shire District administration in the northern Ethiopian Tigray regional state as stating that up to 15,000 Eritreans have arrived in the Ethiopia since borders reopened.

The combination of unchanged conditions inside Eritrea and open borders has led to a stark increase in refugee numbers. According to UNHCR, the average daily arrival rate has increased more than fourfold.

The respective governments reopened border crossings on September 11 – the Ethiopian New Year – it follows days of closure following a deadly border war between the two.

Leaders of the two countries signed a July 2018 peace agreement to officially end the standoff. ReliefWeb’s statement explained the possible cause of the phenomenon.

“The combination of unchanged conditions inside Eritrea and open borders has led to a stark increase in refugee numbers. According to UNHCR, the average daily arrival rate has increased more than fourfold.

“Other partners refer to 500 in the last few days. This brings the total number of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia to 175 000, a large proportion of whom are unaccompanied minors.

“The existing refugee population in the Shire zone fear losing their refugee status and of reprisals by Eritrean authorities following the influx, despite reassurances from UNHCR and ARRA.

“The situation remains fluid but the influx into Ethiopia is likely to continue and even increase. Humanitarian assistance and resources will need to be scaled up to respond to the growing needs across all sectors and to reduce the inherent risks of onward migration,” their statement read.
Ethiopia Accord Tops Agenda as Eritrea Cabinet Meets
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban 
29/09 - 05:00

President Isaias Afwerki presided over a cabinet meeting on Friday with Eritrea’s recent peace accord with Ethiopia topping the agenda.

The extensive discussions of the cabinet of ministers focused on two main areas. “One, scope and ramifications of the new reality in the region spurred and epitomized by the historic Eritrea- Ethiopia Peace Agreement.

“Two, the broad contours of comprehensive / regional strategic partnership in the offing,” Information Minister Yemane Meskel wrote on Twitter.

The minister stressed five key planks on which Eritrea entered or agreed regional partnerships, amongst others: respect for each other’s sovereignty, working to achieve common interests and rejection of harmful agendas.

“In this context, the cabinet discussed programmes / projects of port-rehabilitation / expansion, road infrastructure, energy, industrial set-ups & associated matters.

“Blueprints of these programmes, including funding aspects, are being worked out and slated for finalization in 3 months,” the minister added.

Eritrea has taken on a new business atmosphere after the July 2018 peace deal with its port cities of Assab and Massawa brimming with promise as government readies to give it a new lease of life.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has visited the ports as a historic Ethiopian vessel docked in Assab. It is expected to transport Eritrean minerals to China. The Red Sea state is located along a busy shipping route making it a key trading hub but one that had been dormant for some years now.
Who is Behind the Violence and Attacks in Ethiopia?
By Guest Writer

September 29, 2018 – Over the last few years, ethnic based violence and attacks have hit different parts of Ethiopia one after another. The latest occurred this month in Burayu town of Oromia regional state and its environs, as well as on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital.

Ethnic and religion-motivated deadly bloodsheds have claimed the lives of hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands of others in many parts of the country, including in Somali state, Mizan Tepi of Oromia State, Hawassa city of Southern Ethiopia state, the capital of Benishangul Gumuz state, and very recently in Burayu town and its environs.

Ethiopia is now home to the largest number of internally displaced people in the world.

The violence has eroded Ethiopian public trust and confidence in its current government and its ability and willingness to control the bloodshed.

From the beginning, there has been speculations, mainly by supporters of the current government in Ethiopia, that members and supporters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who lost grip on power, were sponsoring the violence.

The TPLF and its supporters have been accused of using ethnic and ideology differences as tools to instigate the violence and attacks.

According to this line of thought, members of the TPLF and its supporters are believed to have collaborated with thousands of sacked members from other organizations such as the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO, now ODP) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) to prevent change.

Supporters of Abiy Ahmed’s government claim that by perpetrating the violence and ethnic conflict among different groups, the TPLF and its supporters are trying to gain public support by showing that Abiy Ahmed’s government is unable to maintain law and order in the country, unlike previous leadership whose security institutions were controlled largely by the TPLF.

According to this theory, the political maneuver is expected to continue until these groups regain power within the transitional government through perhaps military takeover of power or coup against the Abiy Ahmed’s government under fabricated rationale that the latter is weak and unable to safeguard peace and security in the country.

According to Abiy's government supporters, the other reason that the TPLF and its supporters are engaged in promoting conflict is that they want to avoid accountability for wrong deeds, corruption and embezzlement they might have committed while in position of power.

Many believe that members of TPLF and their supporters see the recent political marriage between Oromo and Amhara political parties as threat to their economic and political power.

Accordingly, the TPLF is believed to be seeking support from the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), which is one of the four component parties forming the ruling party, EPRDF, as well as the Somali Democratic Party and others, to counter the pressure coming from the ODP and ANDM.

As claimed by supporters of Abiy’s government, the series of violence that occurred in Southern Nations and Nationalities and People State (SNNPR) were instigated by TPLF and their supporters in a bid to create hatred by people in SNNPR towards the Abiy Ahmed government.

They also cite recent attacks against the Gamos in Burayu town and its environs as a case in point which, according to them, was orchestrated to create mistrust and hostility between the new government of Abiy Ahmed and the SNNPR which lost over 50 of its people and had hundreds wounded.

However, so far, neither the new government nor its supporters, or any other party for that matter, has provided any evidence to support these claims.

A lot of the evidence gathered so far actually shows the contrary. In the few investigations conducted by government security so far, and public perceptions by those directly affected by the violence, there has not been any evidence showing the involvement of the TPLF or its supporters in these conflicts, just other parties and groups, that are more local.

The TPLF has been accused of perpetrating attempted assassination of Prime Minister of Abiy Ahmed at a rally at Meskel Square organized in support of his achievement since he came to power in April this year.

However, the outcome of police investigation that was released on Friday shows that members and/or supporters of the OLF - not the TPLF - had carried out the attack, one that claimed the lives of two people and wounding 160 others. According to the police report, supporters of the OLF believed that Abiy Ahmed does not stand for Oromo cause enough and they wanted him killed.

In this case, supporters of the government, including the Prime Minister himself, were proved wrong for implicitly or explicitly assuming that the assassination attempt was sponsored by members and/or supporters of the TPLF.

Following attacks committed against innocent civilians in Burayu and the surrounding areas, where many were brutally killed using knives and hatchets and many got wounded, thousands of angry protesters from SNNPR, the Southern Ethiopia regional state, blamed the Oromo youth otherwise known as Qeerroo for committing the attack against their people. They also condemned the government for turning blind eye to perpetrators while lives perished in broad daylight.

Residents of Burayu town themselves took to the streets to denounce the attacks and blamed the attacks on Qeerroo, although the town's police commissioner denied that the attacks were committed by the Qeerroo. In a statement, the federal police said, without evidence, they have reached the conclusion that there are people who were financed to deliberately disrupt the peace of the society and trying to give it the semblance of inter-ethnic clashes.

However, those arrested in connection with these Burayu attacks are Oromos and other locals, and nothing has been shown of their links with the TPLF or any other group.

Supporters of Abiy’s government also claimed that the TPLF and their supporters were behind the recent clashes between dwellers of Addis Ababa city and supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) which resulted in the deaths of 28 people.

Ginbot 7 for Unity and Democracy is assumed to have greater public support in Addis Ababa based on its higher profile in the 2005 elections and based on the reception it was accorded in Addis Ababa earlier this month. Tens of thousands of residents of Addis Ababa and people from towns surrounding the capital rallied in support of the previously outlawed Ginbot 7, raising the now common Green, Yellow and Red flag along the streets of Addis Ababa.

As members and supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front were preparing to welcome their leaders a few days after the reception of Ginbot 7, the TPLF and its supporters were supposed to have financed thugs to create conflict between the two groups based on whose flag should be raised on the streets of Addis Ababa.

The government supporters believed that the conflict between supporters of OLF and Ginbot 7 had the purpose of cultivating conflict between the two major ethnic groups. However, so far, no credible link has been established between the clashing groups and the TPLF. Rather, what we have seen is the clash between supporters of the OLF and Ginbot 7 over flag, turf and territory issues, which will likely recur if politicians continue to exploit differences rather than our unity.

What is disturbing is that the federal police in their report also disclosed that it has seized thousands of forged Ethiopian Birr notes held by a significant number of suspects who were arrested after the attacks and the series of violence. Beyond the safety and security of Ethiopian citizens, this is an indication that the economic well-being of the country is also coming under attack by what appears to be increasingly more organized groups.

Supporters of the new Prime Minister also implicitly claimed that, Simegnew Bekele, the late project manager of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was gunned down by TPLF members. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself alluded to potential murder scenario in his speeches at home and abroad. However, the police investigation released recently revealed that Simegnew Bekele committed suicide, once again proving that Abiy Ahmed’s supporters were wrong. It is true that Simegnew Bekele could have been under a lot of stress due to, in part, to his links and dealings with various groups and delayed projects. But, according to government report, he killed himself, not murdered.

At this moment, Ethiopia needs a strong and decisive government, one that is capable of tracking down and bringing to justice those who are trying to operate outside the law and terrorize our people. Intended or not, scapgoating one group or another without any evidence will not take us anywhere, and it will not solve the problem. The primary responsibility of any government is to maintain law and order and guarantee the safety of its citizens. All Ethiopians should be able to live and conduct business anywhere and everywhere inside Ethiopia in full freedom and with the protection they deserve. The vast majority of Ethiopians are peace loving and considerate, including Oromo youth which is being tarnished by some outlaws. It is time that the government take a decisive action against tugs and criminals roaming many areas, who represent no one but themselves, and maintain law and order in the country immediately.

Preaching love, respect and "medemer" is great, but we got to be serious at some point. Higher ideals not backed by respect for rule of law and the government mean nothing. They will neither bring people from the dead, nor undo the damages done to victims of rape and torture.
DRC Resumes Battle Against Ebola After Militia Attack
Vaccinations in North Kivu and Ituri set to continue as fears grow over impact of armed groups on disease spread

Jason Burke and Ignatius Ssuuna in Kigali
Wed 26 Sep 2018 14.35 EDT

A health worker feeds a boy at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, in the DRC, this September. Photograph: Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/AP

Efforts to fight the continuing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo were set to resume on Wednesday after a 48-hour suspension following a attack by militia in which 21 people were killed.

At least 10 people have died so far from the recent outbreak of the disease, and 150 people are known to have been infected. The decision to resume the effort to vaccinate thousands of people in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri will go some way to reassure worried health officials.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that the outbreak could worsen rapidly because of the attacks by armed groups, as well as because of community resistance and the broad geographic spread of the disease.

The outbreak has occurred in one of the most violent parts of DRC, a base for dozens of armed groups that contest government authority and exploit mineral resources in the region.

The militia attack on Saturday took pace on the outskirts of the city of Beni. In a second incident, in the town of Oïcha, about 12 miles north of Beni, armed men burned houses, killed one man and kidnapped 14 children and one woman on Monday night, according to two local officials.

Both attacks have been blamed on a group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which has a history of targeting civilians and is considered one of the most active and violent of the armed groups operating in the region.

The insecurity in the region and a mobile population has made vaccination campaigns – like the one that helped overcome an Ebola outbreak that killed 33 people in the DRC’s north-west this year – less effective. Insecurity is likely to intensify as tensions rise with the approach of elections later this year, observers said.

“We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks and months to create a potential perfect storm,” Peter Salama, the World Health Organisation’s emergencies chief, told a news conference in Geneva.

Although the weekly number of new cases has fallen from about 40 to about 10 in the past few weeks, and more than 11,700 people have been vaccinated, significant obstacles remained, Salama said.

Nyonyi Masumbuko Bwanakawa, the mayor of Beni, said vaccination of people had resumed. “All stakeholders including civil society leaders have agreed to resume the work on Wednesday because suspending it can be dangerous to those infected ... everybody understands the severity of the epidemic.”

The Congolese army has launched new operations against the ADF to try to ensure the campaign against Ebola can continue safely. A military spokesman said the militia attacked on Saturday at about 6:30pm and clashed with the army for nearly six hours. The militia’s long-term aim appeared to be to establish a base close to Beni. After the attack Beni declared a “ville morte”, a period of mourning, until at least Friday.

On Monday 80% of Ebola contacts (people at risk of developing the disease and so requiring monitoring) and three suspected cases in and around Beni, could not be reached for disease monitoring, officials said.

The town of Oïcha, which is almost entirely surrounded by territory held by the ADF, has two confirmed cases of the virus and one probable case.

Pockets of “reluctance, refusal and resistance” to accept vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said. Some people were fleeing into the forest to escape Ebola follow-up treatment and checks, sometimes moving hundreds of miles.

Uganda, to the east, is now facing an imminent threat, and social media posts were conflating Ebola with criticism of the DRC government and the UN and a range of conspiracy theories, a development that could put health workers at risk.

The DRC, whose heavily forested interior makes it a natural home for Ebola, is at the forefront of a global campaign to combat the disease. The biggest recorded outbreak of Ebola killed an estimated 11,300 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, from 2014 to 2016. The disease was first seen near the northern Ebola river in DRC in the 1970s. It has twice reached Kinshasa but, on both occasions, was contained.
Angola Ruling MPLA Party Elects Woman as Deputy President
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with REUTERS 

The big news in Angolan politics this weekend was the final retirement of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the country’s long-serving president and also the assumption of full control of government and party by incumbent Joao Lourenco.

There was, however, another key development that saw a woman take the position of deputy president of the ruling party – the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, MPLA.

“Luisa Damiao is the new Deputy President of Angola’s ruling party MPLA, following election on Saturday night. She is an MP and former journalist,” a journalist and researcher with Human Rights Watch, Zenaida Machado, posted on Twitter.

In this crusade (against corruption), the MPLA should take the lead, occupy the first trench, and be at the vanguard, even if the first to fall are party members or other leaders of the party.

She becomes topmost female official of the party. The top echelons had previously being largely dominated by men. “I was told that she is also a strong supporter of women’s rights. We will judge her by her actions,” Machado added.

Lourenco, who received 98.59 percent of the vote, vowed in his closing speech that members of the party would not be immune in his drive to stamp out graft.

“In this crusade (against corruption), the MPLA should take the lead, occupy the first trench, and be at the vanguard, even if the first to fall are party members or other leaders of the party,” he said to loud applause.

Lourenco faces numerous challenges. Angola’s economy has still not recovered from the oil price slump in 2014, with falling production eroding the benefit of higher prices.

The currency has fallen over 40 percent against the dollar since a dollar peg was abandoned in January, and attempts to diversify the economy away from oil are yet to show success.

Luanda has requested IMF help, totaling an expected $4.5 billion over three years.
Locals to Lend More of Sh2trn Loans Ahead of Uhuru Exit
Kenya Daily Nation

In Summary
Nearly Sh1.27 trillion will be tapped from domestic investors with foreign markets funding the remainder Sh863 billion of the debt portion.
The funds will go into implementing Mr Kenyatta’s Big Four plans, the Treasury projections show.
Increased domestic borrowing, analysts say, may hurt flow of loans to the private sector with September 2016 legal ceilings on loan charges still in place.


Domestic investors will fund a larger share of the additional Sh2.13 trillion that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration targets in the next four years.

This will give banks more room to deepen lending to the government at the expense of companies and households.

Nearly Sh1.27 trillion will be tapped from domestic investors with foreign markets funding the remainder Sh863 billion of the debt portion. The funds will go into implementing Mr Kenyatta’s Big Four plans, the Treasury projections show.

Increased domestic borrowing, analysts say, may hurt flow of loans to the private sector with September 2016 legal ceilings on loan charges still in place.

Banks controlled 55.5 per cent of the nearly Sh2.50 trillion domestic debt as at September 14, Central Bank of Kenya statistics show.

“Increased borrowing in the domestic market squeezes out the private sector and, more so, with rate caps, it is likely to exacerbate the subdued the private sector credit growth you are already seeing,” said Churchill Ogutu, a senior research analyst at Genghis Capital, on phone. “But borrowing from external market also has some risks because of foreign exchange fluctuations.”

Domestic borrowing through weekly sale of Treasury bills and bonds is projected at Sh299.9 billion in the year ending June 2019 from Sh366.5 billion in the year ended last June.

This will, however, rise to Sh309.6 billion in the year to June 2020, Sh310.90 billion in June 2021 and Sh345.7 billion in June 2022, projections in the draft 2018 Budget Review and Outlook Paper indicate.

The reliance on domestic markets to bridge the gap in budget bucks a trend where the Jubilee administration has since 2014 been contracting more of foreign debt to build much-needed roads, standard gauge railway, electricity plants and bridges.

External debt is forecast to fall to Sh272 billion this financial year ending June 2019 from Sh265.5 billion in the one ended June and Sh498.5 billion the year before. New borrowing from foreign investors is set to further drop to Sh217 billion in the year to June 2020 and Sh147.2 billion the following year, according to the Treasury.

“Fiscal policy over the medium-term aims at supporting rapid and inclusive economic growth, ensuring a sustainable debt position by narrowing the budget deficit and at the same time supporting the devolved system of Government for effective delivery of services,” Treasury PS Kamau Thugge.
Raila Exploiting Handshake, Plotting Against Me: Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents of Majaoni in Kisauni, Mombasa County, during a tour of the Coast region on September 30, 2018. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Mr Ruto claimed on Sunday that Mr Odinga is using his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta to bring "conmanship, confusion and hypocrisy".
Mr Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has been termed a traitor by his supporters and some members of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) but he has asked them to trust him.
The DP went guns blazing on Mr Odinga, further accusing him of lying throughout the alliances he gets into in his political strategy.
The DP said he was fully aware of what the handshake was meant for as he was among those in the forefront of championing for unity.

Kenya Daily Nation

Deputy President (DP) William Ruto has accused opposition leader Raila Odinga of plotting to divide Jubilee Party through the handshake.

Mr Ruto claimed on Sunday that Mr Odinga is using his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta to bring "conmanship, confusion and hypocrisy".


President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga shook hands on May 9 and announced that they will work together for the sake of national unity and development.

Mr Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has been termed a traitor by his supporters and some members of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) but he has asked them to trust him.

The DP alleged that the plot is to see him leave the party “the way they did way back when I was in ODM”.

“I was in ODM ...that is where they started summoning me like what they are doing to [Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha] Jumwa and [Msambweni MP Suleiman] Dori. They ensured that I left the party and even took me to court. That is what they want to bring in Jubilee but I want to tell them that will not happen,” he said.

Mr Ruto and President Kenyatta faced crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court following the 2007/8 post-election violence. The cases were dropped for reasons including lack of evidence and political interference.


The DP went guns blazing on Mr Odinga, further accusing him of lying throughout the alliances he gets into in his political strategy.

Speaking in Kisauni where he issued 3,000 tittle deeds to residents of Majaoni Settlement Scheme, Mr Ruto said the ODM leader is also out to bring confusion and divide Jubilee and the government through “gossip and propaganda”.

The DP said he was fully aware of what the handshake was meant for as he was among those in the forefront of championing for unity.

He said President Kenyatta extended his hand after they brought the people together.

“The handshake is not a licence for you to bring confusion, propaganda and conmnaship into our party. If they have come to divide Jubilee and the government, we are telling them that we are alert and we know (what you are up to),” he said.

He added: “You lied during Kanu, Cord and Nasa days but we are telling you that there is no space for your lies in Jubilee. There is a big reduction of stupid people now as we know. We are very clear about where we are going.

"We are committed to the unity of Kenya and its leaders but what we will not entertain and what we do not want, and what is not going to happen, is for you to export confusion, propaganda and conmanship into our party. We will not allow it."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Namibian President Hage Geingob addressing the United Nations General Assembly


United Nations — On July 21, 2018, the people of Namibia and our friends around the world, laid to rest our first Foreign Minister, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab. He represented our liberation movement, SWAPO, here at the United Nations for over 15 years. Under his Presidency at the 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly we adopted the Millennium Development Goals, the precursor to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The family of Dr. Gurirab, the Government and people of the Republic of Namibia, have been deeply touched by the outpouring of condolences and sympathies following his death. We are deeply appreciative of the memorial service held in his honour here at the UN Headquarters.

Two months ago, I travelled to Nigeria, to bury the former UN Undersecretary and Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Africa, who worked with us during our liberation struggle, Professor Adebayo Adedeji.

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Accra for the burial of Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of this venerable Organization - - an African son whose flame has been extinguished, but whose light will shine on through the ages. A few days ago, in this very hall, we gathered to pay tribute to this revered personality and architect of peace. He was a man of great stature, who dedicated his entire adult life towards the pursuit of global peace and security.

May the souls of these distinguished Sons of Africa and the UN, rest in eternal peace.

Madame President,
Following the end of the Cold War and the old bi-polar dispensation, the world has slowly drifted ever more worryingly towards unilateral action. This development goes against one of fundamental tenets of democracy upon which our organization is built. It is for this reason that we must embrace multilateralism with greater urgency, to counter unilateral action. It is also for this reason that we fully concur with the Secretary General’s sentiments as contained in his Statement to this Assembly that, and I quote, “As today’s problems grow ever more global, multilateralism is more important than ever”.

The Republic of Namibia is founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice. The fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution include virtually all the rights and freedoms recognized in international human rights instruments. However, these instruments in themselves are not sufficient to bring about sustainable development.

Namibia recognizes that there are existing and emerging threats, and challenges that continue to frustrate individual and collective efforts to achieve greater socio-economic progress. To this end, Namibia has embraced sustainable development and is fully committed to Agenda 2030 Agenda, its principles, goals, targets and indicators. As a matter of fact, Namibia has integrated all 17 Goals and their targets in its National Development Plans.

As a dry and arid country, often affected by seasonal droughts and floods, we have stepped up our efforts to implement the SDGs in critical areas, such as energy, water and terrestrial ecosystems. In this respect, Namibia wishes to benefit from the assistance rendered through the “Technology Bank established on 4 June 2018, in Istanbul, to enable the timeous identification of spatial locations of drought and flood areas.

While Namibia has witnessed sustained economic growth over much of the last ten years, unemployment remains persistently high. Nevertheless, Namibia has observed one of the fastest reductions of poverty levels in our region over the last 10 years – from 28.8% to 17.4%. I am also happy to inform that life expectancy in Namibia has risen from 58 to 65 years. However, inequality in Namibia remains a challenge, as reflected in the skewed ownership of land, where white Namibians owns 70 percent of all agricultural land.

In our pursuit of creating favourable conditions to fight poverty and maintain peace and stability, Namibia will hold its 2nd National Land Conference during the first week of October 2018. In preparation for the Conference, the Government conducted consultations in all our 14 Regions, to ensure an inclusive process. We believe in consultation. If diplomacy fails, people go to war. That is why we are pursuing an inclusive consultative process, with the full knowledge that “inclusivity spells harmony and exclusivity spells conflict.” We have made a concerted effort to include as many stakeholders as possible and to ensure that everything will be done within the ambit of our laws. As a result, we call on our development partners to support the outcome of this Conference, so as to continue assisting us in the process of socio-economic transformation.

Madame President,
I have stated before that Namibia’s classification, as an Upper-Middle Income nation does not take into account the skewed distribution of income. It prevents us from accessing Official Development Assistance and affordable, concessional finance. The situation has the potential to jeopardize efforts in Namibia and other developing countries to fully achieve Agenda 2030. Communicable diseases threaten to jeopardize the attainment of Agenda 2030.

For that reason, Namibia endorses the call to end tuberculosis endemic and reaffirms her commitment to unite with the world in achieving this goal. With a population of approximately 2.5 million people, Namibia ranks the 9th highest affected by TB, which is one of the top three causes of hospitalization. The Government of Namibia has demonstrated its commitment to address TB by including related targets into the 5th National Development Plan and also by ensuring that 70% of available funding for TB comes from domestic resources. I should caution that inadequate human and financial resources, high levels of poverty, and lack of public health services in rural areas remain a concern. As the chairman of Southern African Development Community (SADC), our region reaffirms its commitment to the Declaration, through the “Harmonized Surveillance Framework for HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” and resolves to join the international community in the fight against Tuberculosis.

Madame President,
I congratulate the Secretary General for the launch of the United Nation’s Global Youth Strategy. Africa has the fastest growing youth population. In my capacity as Chairperson of SADC, I wish to inform you thatthe region has adopted a Strategy to achieve industrialization by 2063. In this regard, the 38th SADC Summit, which took place in August 2018, in Windhoek, Namibia, adopted the theme, “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.

We are convinced that the youth of the SADC and indeed of the world, are the future custodians of our social, political, economic and governance infrastructure. As such, the youth needs to be capacitated with requisite skills and training, and economically empowered through entrepreneurship to drive development towards inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

The youth of the SADC region, like their counterparts in the world, yearn for better prospects. They yearn for a future of opportunity and job certainty, where the Fourth Industrial Revolution will present opportunity and not threat. A future characterized by rapid advancement of technologies, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and mechanization should present more opportunities and not problems for our youth and humanity at large. The onus is on us to mitigate the potential problems these technologies can bring and understand how they can be used to enable our youth to become drivers of economic growth and industrial development.

Madame President,
Let me emphasize that excluding women from certain spheres of life is to put to waste skills and expertise that can contribute to sustainable development. In this context, we applaud the Secretary General for exercising leadership and thus reaching gender parity amongst senior management and Resident Coordinators. Namibia is fully committed to implementing Gender Equality, which is evident in the important role women play in politics. The late Secretary General Kofi Annan was right when he said, “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance”. The world should do more to make gender equality a reality.

While we commend the Secretary General for his successful reform initiatives, may I remind this August Assembly of the historic pledge we all made during the World Summit held in 2005; a pledge “to strengthen the United Nations with a view to enhancing its authority and efficiency” and, to “address effectively ... the full range of challenges of our time.” It is time to ensure we live up to that pledge.

In this regard, it is pertinent to demonstrate the political will of the UN Membership with regards to redressing Africa’s exclusion from the Security Council. The world has moved on, the old and unjust order cannot persist. Africa and its 1.2 billion inhabitants can no longer be excluded from assuming its place on this primary decision-making body.
Madame President,

For Africa and, the rest of the developing world, peace is the main foundation and guarantor for sustainable economic growth and development. As leaders, together with the citizenry of the great African continent, we need to understand that it is our collective responsibility to maintain peace in order to enable Africa to unlock its full potential.

Every step that advances a peaceful Africa should be welcomed. In that vein, we commend His Excellency Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and his Eritrean counterpart, His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki for signing an agreement to end the war between their two countries and the subsequent resumption of diplomatic and trade ties. I am confident that this spirit of unity, peace and security, as embodied in the AU Agenda 2063, would be transplanted throughout the Horn of Africa and all parts afflicted by conflict in Africa.

Namibia is a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the UN. We relied on the solidarity of the nations of the world to support us in our quest to achieve our self- determination. Therefore, we call on the implementation of the UN resolutions and decisions, which will lead to a positive, peaceful and permanent solution that meets the aspirations and will of the people of Western Sahara. In the same vein, we reaffirm our support for the people of the Occupied Territory of Palestine, in their pursuit of self-determination, justice, freedom and independence.

During the darkest days of our fight for independence, the government and people of Cuba joined Angola to come to our aid, shedding their blood for our liberation, resulting in the consequential Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to negotiations, elections and eventually, freedom. It is in this spirit of profound kinship we share with the Cuban people that we renew our call for the lifting of the decades old, outdated, ineffective and counterproductive economic and financial embargo of Cuba.

The time is now, for all of us, to demonstrate the leadership required to bring prosperity and peace to all the world’s people. It is time to lead in the spirit of peace, in the spirit of equality and in the spirit of sustainability. It is time to make the United Nations relevant to all the world’s people. Let us seize this unique moment in history.

I thank you.
Land Expropriation Talk Spreads to Namibia
EDINBURGH — Namibia will need a radical solution like land expropriation to address the wide gap between the very rich elite and the rest of the population. That’s the message between the lines of an opinion piece by African Studies and sociology experts in response to the revelation that Namibia has one of the most unequal societies on earth. As in Zimbabwe and South Africa, attempts to shift property assets into previously disadvantaged hands through willing seller-willing buyer methods have not succeeded. Government land earmarked for redistribution has ended up in the hands of a politically connected coterie. Meanwhile, the majority of people continue to struggle against poverty. – Jackie Cameron

By Luregn Lenggenhager and Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa*

Twenty-eight years after independence, wealth in Namibia is still skewed along racial lines laid down in the colonial period. The level of inequality is one of the highest in the world, according to the World Bank.

Land distribution plays a big part in keeping this pattern of inequality in place, and the country is holding its Second National Land Conference in October to discuss reform. But many Namibians are unhappy with this approach – and new forms of inequality are emerging too. This calls for a more radical approach to distribute not only land, but wealth more evenly.

The October conference will focus on the fact that 48% of the land is privately owned (freehold), 35% is communal land vested in the state and administered by customary authorities, and the rest (17%) is state land link to (Namibia Statistical Agency, 2018), including national parks and restricted areas.

Over 70% of the Namibian population make their living from communal land, but fewer than 5000 individuals – out of a population of just over 2.5 million– own freehold farmland. The pattern of land distribution and ownership reflects class inequality and perpetuates racial inequalities.

This inequality is a direct consequence of land dispossession during the colonial and later apartheid eras and its division into the three categories.

Since independence in 1990, the land reform programme has focused on two ways of correcting historical wrongs. The National Resettlement Programme allows the government to buy freehold land to resettle landless Namibians. It has followed the “willing seller, willing buyer” principle. The Affirmative Action Loan Scheme allows formerly disadvantaged people to get subsidised loans from the Agricultural Bank of Namibia to buy land.

There is general discontent with the success of the programme and calls are growing for the land reform programme to be reviewed and for a new direction.

Policy failure

Since 1990, only 3 million hectares of land have been acquired through the National Resettlement Programme and 6.4 million hectares through the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme and private commercial banks. About 70% of the freehold agricultural land is still owned by white people. The previously disadvantaged (black and coloured people) own only 16%.

There’s a scramble among the previously disadvantaged for what little freehold land has been acquired by the government for resettlement. A new elite, often with close ties to government and international investors – rather than the most disadvantaged – tend to benefit.

As for communal lands, increasing demand and a variety of new uses of the land are posing a challenge to customary rights and systems. Emerging informal land markets in populated areas threaten people’s security of tenure and their user rights. What Namibia needs in these areas is a plan for thorough agrarian reform.

The land reform discussions don’t address the way land is being turned into capital, or who profits from it. Very few of the commercial farms are profitable agriculturally, and the most lucrative farm lands are now the ones with mining, tourism, trophy hunting, conservation or real estate potential. Many landowners have long since withdrawn the capital from their land and put it into these more profitable business.

Redistributive justice

To bring about redistributive justice, Namibia needs to analyse where the profits go that are gained through the capitalisation of land that was stolen in colonial times.

Urban land, much of it still owned by the old elite, is where real profits are made today. As in many other African countries, the profits made in Namibia by international conglomerates or the small Namibian elite no longer come directly from land ownership. They come from owning the capital to invest, from having the know-how and networks to link up with global markets, or from owning urban land paid for by selling private farm land illegally acquired during colonial and apartheid times. A national and international elite has withdrawn its capital from the land, while the majority of the people never had a chance to accumulate land or capital.

The shortcomings of the current land reforms suggest that voluntary, market-based transactions of land might not be a suitable measure to redistribute land, not to speak of wealth and power. The “policy” of national reconciliation has delivered one-sided benefits. The politics of national reconciliation are used to justify the status quo – an avoidance strategy to address the structural problems in Namibia. A more radical approach must be considered to redistribute land and capital. Only then will formerly disadvantaged people become equal co-owners of Namibia’s land and wealth.

The Conversation
Luregn Lenggenhager, Researcher at the Centre for African Studies, University of Basel and Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa, Sociology Lecturer, University of Namibia. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Traditional Authorities, Civil Society Withdraw From Land Conference
by Sakeus Iikela

Traditional authorities, civil society withdraw from land conference

THE land conference was hit by significant withdrawals Thursday morning when various traditional authorities and civil society groups announced that they would not be attending the land summit starting next Monday in Windhoek.

At a media briefing in Katutura this morning, the Ovaherero, Nama and Damara traditional authorities announced that they would not be going to the land conference, which Ovaherero Traditional Authority paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro labeled “a sham not worth attending”.

At the same event, the Namibian NGO Forum Trust (Nangof) also announced that it would not be attending the land conference.

Shortly afterwards the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, in an announcement by its leader, Job Amupanda, said that it would also be snubbing the week-long land summit.

Thursday's withdrawals follow Wednesday's announcement by Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader, Bernadus Swartbooi, that his organisation would not be attending the land conference.

The withdrawals come in the wake of President Hage Geingob stating at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that land conference preparations had been an “inclusive consultative process” and that government had made a “concerted effort to include as many stakeholders as possible”.

Reports overnight had it that vice president Nangolo Mbumba had tried to stave off the withdrawals. 
‘It’s Time That We Shape the Africa That We Want’: Yvonne Chaka Chaka
28 SEP, 2018 - 23:09 

CAPE TOWN. – Channel24 spoke to South African music veteran Yvonne Chaka Chaka about her humanitarian work, and how the causes close to her heart have influenced her music. 

Known as the “Princess of Africa,” Chaka Chaka has not only been at the forefront of African music for close to three decades, she has always demonstrated compassion for others through her humanitarian work.

Working with the United Nations as Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Goodwill Ambassador and as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for East and Southern Africa for close to 15 years, Chaka Chaka says that promoting women and children’s rights have always been important to her.

“My dad died when I was 11 and my mother was a domestic worker. But as a domestic worker she was really ahead of time. She was not an angry woman in the way that she wanted us to prosper,” she says. 

Recollecting the words her mother shared with her and her siblings as a young girl, she says: “She [my mother] always said: ‘I don’t want you to turn out like me. I want you to have education. You need to be assertive as women. You need to be very independent as women, and be able to do things that you want, and you feel like doing. Without having anyone deter you from doing any of those things’.”

“As a girl from Soweto you think: ‘How am I going do that?’ You think: ‘My mother is a domestic worker, I don’t have a father. Maybe the best person to take me out of my misery would be a rich guy,'” she adds.

But as she grew older, Chaka Chaka understood what her mother was saying, and started to practice the values her mother instilled in her.

“We see so many things. We have child soldiers, children who sleep in the streets, child prostitution and those things really don’t sit very well with me as a mother. I wish I had lots of money so I could spread my wings and cushion all these children. Love, guide, guard and protect them,” she explains.

Chaka Chaka, who was recently appointed as NEPAD Health and Nutrition Ambassador, says it was when she started travelling to other countries that she started to realise the importance for people to be “educated, empowered and healthy.”

“How do we make sure that people are fully functional?” she asks, saying: “They need to have good nutrition. If they are sick, they need to have good medication.”

“It is so sad for instance for women in Namibia or Sierra Leone to walk for three hours to a health care centre and they can’t find medication,” she says.

“Our mothers and grandmothers plowed in the yard, and ate good food. Organic and good food. But now it’s only good if you go to Food Lovers or to Woolworths. Why can’t we do it for ourselves? It’s easier, it’s cheaper. I believe in not giving people a hand out, but a hand up,” she adds.

“Giving people a hand out, but a hand up” is a phrase she repeats several times throughout the interview.

Chaka Chaka recently attended the United Nations General Assembly alongside world leaders, to talk about TB and nutrition.

About the prestigious opportunity, the 53-year-old says: “We know that TB is the highest killer in South Africa. We wanted to know what has been done, what has not been done and what we are doing to combat the disease.”

When asked how the public could get involved and aid in the plight she says: “Whether it’s your neighbour, your family or your community, It’s a matter of conscientising the people around you.”

But she knows that this is not an easy task, saying: “It’s very sad that bad habits spread so quickly, but with good things people are resistant. We should not despair. Those are the unsung heroes, the gogos in the township and rural areas who plow. There is so much good in us.

“I am an African, but Africa is for all of us and it’s time that we shape the Africa that we want.”

Through her music, Chaka Chaka has influenced people’s attitudes, and through the years it has been her humanitarian work that has influenced her music.

“I started singing in 1935. During that time music and art was a way to disseminate information, whether it was by drawing, singing, writing a poem or a story.”

And once again it was through travelling the world that she felt inspired: “I experienced different things and I put it in a song. My music is inspired by everything that I see around me.”

– Channel24
Kagame Tells UN Delegates Africa’s Global Position Must Change
27 SEP, 2018 - 00:09

NEW YORK. – Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame told delegates at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that Africa’s global position must change in response to recent positive developments on the continent.

President Kagame, who is also the African Union chairperson, was the first African head of state to address the UNGA General Debate on Tuesday.

He cited key milestones across the continent over the past 12 months including signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, cessation of hostilities among countries in the Horn of Africa and the progress made by Zimbabwe to deal with political and economic challenges.

The current two-track system of governance where some players are more important than others is not sustainable.

‘‘The trend on our continent is toward closer and more productive cooperation both through the African Union and our Regional Economic Communities,’‘ President Kagame said.

‘‘The United Nations Security Council must work with the African Union to monitor progress made by countries in the Horn of Africa.’‘

President Kagame pointed out that while progress has been made to mitigate conflict on the continent, work still needs to be done to ‘harmonise overlapping initiatives’ and ensure that ‘signed agreements are respected’.

He asked the United Nations to continue working with the continent to resolve crises in Central Africa Republic, Libya and South Sudan among others.

President Kagame, who said the three representatives of Africa at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) would be presenting a resolution shortly, asked delegates to work towards reducing the imbalance of power at the United Nations.

With only five permanent members at the powerful UNSC including United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, the rest of the members of the UN have always called for more equal representation.

‘‘The current two-track system of governance where some players are more important than others is not sustainable,’‘ Kagame warned.

Similar sentiments had been earlier shared by the Turkish president who told delegates at UNGA that the system of giving more power to countries that contribute more financially cannot achieve true justice.

The UNSC which has 15 members, including 10 non-permanent members who are elected to serve two-year terms by the General Assembly, is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions and has the power to impose sanctions and authorise the use of force.

– Reuters
Zimbabwe Cholera Death Toll Hits 49
27 SEP, 2018 - 00:09

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo chats with residents at Tichagarika Shopping Centre during his recent visit to the cholera-stricken Glen View suburb in Harare. — (file picture)

Farirai Machivenyika
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The death toll from the cholera outbreak has risen to 49, with over 10 000 people being screened for the disease at various treatment centres.

This was said by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo when he presented a ministerial statement on the outbreak to the National Assembly yesterday.

The outbreak was declared a national disaster.

“As of the 26th of September 2018, more than 10 000 persons have presented to the screening and treatment centres and 6 645 suspected cases reported of which 96 of them tested positive for Vibrio cholerae and 49 have died to date,” said Dr Moyo.

“I must also make mention that 21 percent of the cases and a similar proportion of the deaths recorded to date are children below the age of five, the youngest patient being eight months old. We realise that this is a unique outbreak from those experienced earlier in that there have been high levels of resistance to antibiotics commonly available, high fatalities despite the outbreak being predominantly urban and in that it is happening in the same areas that are heavily affected by

typhoid and that raises the possibility of dual infections.”

Dr Moyo said Government had already initiated plans for dual vaccination of cholera and typhoid.

“Plans for vaccination for both cholera and typhoid are at an advanced stage with the cholera vaccine expected today (yesterday),” he added.

He said various initiatives had been put in place to deal with the disease including setting of treatment centres in Glen View, Budiriro and Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital while a screening unit had been established at Harare Central Hospital.

“Surveillance has been intensified in Harare and nationwide to pick cases early for effective treatment at the static clinics,” he said.

Dr Moyo said all provinces and city health departments were on high alert and had activated their rapid response teams to deal with the outbreak.

He said the outbreak required constant supply of clean water and Government had installed mobile toilets in the epicentres of the disease in Glen View and Budiriro while safe water was also being provided to schools.

Other initiatives that had been adopted by Government and supported by well-wishers and other donors include provision of aqua tablets and detergents to promote hygiene.

Government has already provided over $6 million for emergency rehabilitation of water and sewer pipes as part of measures to deal with the outbreak.

Other long term solutions to deal with the issue of water and sewer reticulation in Harare are being sought.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Finding the Right Formula on Sanctions
25 SEP, 2018 - 00:09
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe has been under US and EU sanctions for close to two decades. A lot has been written regarding this contentious issue which, in essence, is a story about the West bullying a small African nation that decided to reverse a colonial legacy in land ownership.

Zimbabwe was until 1980 under British colonialism, which system violently robbed blacks of their land and dehumanised them.

It took another 20 years for Zimbabwe to embark on a radical land reform to reverse the baneful situation where a handful of whites of settler stock occupied a huge swathe of agricultural land.

Commonly cited statistics say 6 000 whites controlled 80 percent of arable land in a population of about 12 million in 2000.

That was clearly untenable.

The hunger for land was assuming a life of its own, forcing villagers to take up their rudimentary arms — axes, spears and hoes — to wage another war. It was a tide no one wanted to stop and the Government and the courts lent support to the cause.

However, Zimbabwe would soon be punished for it — heavily.

Sanctions were a coercive response to Zimbabwe’s land reform, which would conceivably have a domino effect on the continent, starting with neighbours who have unreformed land tenure systems. Accusations of human rights abuses, democracy and freedoms were just a cover, to allow the coercive measures smooth passage in Western sensibilities.

But the sanctions were real.

The story of their impact is yet to be told.

However, what is of concern to us is that Zimbabwe’s reaction to the sanctions has been far from convincing and as a result, the country has not been able to deal decisively with the situation.

First of all, there has not been a clear policy derived from a comprehensive study regarding how Zimbabwe ought to fight the sanctions.

In the absence of such a study and policy, the country’s response has been disorganised and weak. The actions taken so far can be categorised into three areas.

One, there has been lots of rhetoric against the imposers of the sanctions and it was the administration of former president Mugabe’s favourite hobby. He took to many a platform — including the United Nations — to complain about the sanctions. Zimbabwe won a lot of sympathy, but the approach does not appear to have yielded much.

Second, Zimbabwe made efforts to bust the sanctions by way of bypassing certain processes in international trade. Connected to this would be the Look East “policy” which sought to reconfigure relations and wean the country from Western dependency.

Third, Zimbabwe pursued re-engagement involving diplomatic manoeuvres through visits to Western capitals to seek breakthroughs on ending the sanctions regime. These efforts appear to have failed for the past two decades. It is in this connection that we find remarks by Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya regarding sanctions commendable.

Yesterday we reported that Government was engaging the United States over sanctions and the RBZ chief, who is in New York as part of President Mnangagwa’s delegation to the United Nations, made a couple of remarks that are noteworthy.

He acknowledged that sanctions were real and could not be wished away.

He suggested a different approach to dealing with the sanctions, in particular the US’ law called the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which was signed by the then president George W. Bush on December 21, 2001.

We quote him as saying in tackling Zdera, Zimbabwe needs to look at areas that are in Zdera and deal with them head-on “because we cannot wish it away”. He said some of the areas in the Act had been dealt with.

Mangudya also says Zimbabwe needs to be more clinical in negotiating, talking and executing its strategy.

The new administration’s approach is clear and practical. Even though it will have its discomforts — like tolerating rather unhealthy foreign attention on our internal affairs — the approach will yield positive results.

After all, international relations is a game that involves a lot of give and take. They call it quid pro quo. Yet it has to be done. We challenge Government to be comprehensive and systematic in its engagement over sanctions. A lasting solution is long overdue.
ED Explains to the World He is His Own Man
25 SEP, 2018 - 00:09 

President Mnangagwa holds an interview with CNN journalist and television host Christiane Amanpour in New York last Friday

Nobleman Runyanga Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

Since arriving in New York for this year’s United Nations General Assembly summit last Thursday, President Mnangagwa and his delegation have been busy with meetings and interviews.

Various media houses, countries and companies are dying to hear from them on how the country intends to move forward since the founding leader of the nation, Robert Mugabe, resigned in November last year and President Mnangagwa took over.

The President and his team have so far not wasted time in ensuring that their audiences, some of whom are potential investors and development partners, are fully briefed on the country’s new economic trajectory and how it intends to achieve this.

The world was looking forward to President Mnangagwa’s interviews with global media leaders such as the CNN and he did not disappoint.

In an interview with CNN journalist and television host, Christiane Amanpour on Friday last week, he seized the opportunity to clarify some of the West’s misconception about him, for instance the fact that having worked under Mugabe for almost four decades he was likely to perpetuate the former’s leadership style and that nothing much would change under his administration.

The events of August 1, which saw some six people dying as a result of skirmishes between the police and violent opposition members protesting against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) even when the electoral body was not yet done with announcing the results, is one issue which has been used by most people to liken President Mnangagwa to his predecessor.

President Mnangagwa rebutted the “Mnangagwa is Mugabe” insinuation by pointing out that he had put in place a commission of enquiry into the matter which is being led by former South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe.

He demonstrated his administration’s commitment to transparency by indicating that, “we could not investigate ourselves.”

The President gave a clear indication of the country’s future by emphasising peace going forward.

Seemingly unsatisfied by this explanation, Amanpour insisted that President Mnangagwa was part of the previous administration and described the new Government as “old wine in new bottles” but the President demonstrated his commitment to championing change for Zimbabweans to enjoy better life than that experienced during the Mugabe era.

“If you look at me then you would say I belong to the old guard. That’s a fact, but look at the Cabinet, how many people are new in that Cabinet you can see the direction that we are taking,” said President Mnangagwa in reference to his gender-balanced and technocratic 21-member Cabinet.

This is a departure from the over 35-member Cabinet ninisters which used to characterise Mugabe’s administration.

One matter which is the favourite of many global journalists is the Gukurahundi disturbances of the 1980s in the Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces.

Amanpour sought to pin him and press for an apology but the President pointed out to her that he had tasked the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to look into the matter and pledged to make public its findings and carry out its recommendations to bring closure to the decades-long matter.

His pledge comes against a background of another inquiry into the matter, the Chihambakwe Commission, whose findings were not made public by the Mugabe administration.

Another area which has been subject of speculation is whether or not President Mnangagwa would not, like his predecessor, stay in power for decades.

The President used the opportunity to allay such fears to show that although he worked with Mugabe for a long time and shared the same political party with him, he was his own man who is different from him and had a different vision for the country.

He indicated that he would abide by the two-term stipulation as provided for by the constitution, adding that 10 years was a long time and that he needed to give other Zimbabweans a chance.

Anyone could easily dismiss President Mnangagwa’s responses as cheap talk, but those who have been in Zimbabwe since December last year will testify that they have begun to see change on the ground.

They have begun to see roads which have been patched over being resurfaced.

They have seen the President departing from the previous administration’s prioritisation of senior party members for Cabinet posts in favour of young and technocratic people in line with the wishes of the people.

If anyone still nurses doubts about President Mnangagwa’s commitment to improving the people’s lives, abiding by the constitution and ensuring that Zimbabwe rejoins the international community of nations, they should visit the country and witness the progress made on the ground so far.
Editorial Comment: Time the World Recognizes Africa’s Worth
28 SEP, 2018 - 00:09
Zimbabwe Herald

First impressions matter and they can sway opinions positively and/or negatively. When President Mnangagwa made his maiden address at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, impressions were made and opinions formulated.

The Zimbabwean leader proved that he is his own man, who has a deep-seated passion about his vision of transforming the Zimbabwean landscape: economically, technologically, socially, culturally and politically.

Being the workaholic he is, the many engagements that President Mnangagwa has been involved in, most of them on the sidelines of UNGA73 showed that he went to New York with his hands already on the deck.

Using the law of repetition, he spread the word through the media and among his peers attending the UN General Assembly that “Zimbabwe is open for business,” and they are welcome to travel this exciting journey with Zimbabwe.

The interviews he had with giant media houses such as CNN and Bloomberg cannot be detached from his tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Peace Summit and his address at the UN General Assembly.

Putting the pieces together, you can only come up with one conclusion: Zimbabwe is out of the woods and ready to be an active member of the community of nations, which needs to be given time to prove itself.

Even Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the rotating chairperson of the African Union acknowledged to the General Assembly the progress made by Zimbabwe, saying that it needs the support of the UN family to deal with economic challenges.

From another perspective, UNGA73 can be described as the General Assembly that also honoured Africa’s sons.

Apart from the larger than life Mandela Peace Summit, leaders also paid tribute to the late seventh Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari telling the General Assembly, “Kofi’s significant contributions to the work of our Organisation have been acknowledged in the well-deserved tributes that poured in from around the world following his death.

“We in Africa, while mourning the loss of this great son of ours and citizen of the world, take pride in the way he served humanity in a truly exemplary manner. He demonstrated, in his calm, but determined manner, the virtues of compassion, dedication to the cause of justice, fairness and human rights.

“He was a visionary leader who inspired hope even in the face of the most daunting challenges. He devoted his entire life’s career to the UN and the pursuit of its ideals and goals. The world is indeed a better place thanks to his exemplary service.”

Notwithstanding, Africa still has some unanswered questions regarding the governance of the world body, especially the highest decision-making body — the United Nations Security Council.

For how long will it remain an exclusive club of 15 nations and, for the five permanent members with veto power, was this cast in stone?

The African Union spelt out its position on reforms they want to see in the global body, especially in the UNSC through the Ezulwini Consensus, but very little has been done?

Presidents Mnangagwa, Peter Mutharika of Malawi, Kagame, Buhari and others, voiced their concerns at the slow pace of the democratisation of the global body.

Said the Zimbabwean leader, “The United Nations and its organs require to be democratised. We join the call for Africa to be represented in the permanent category and to have increased representation in the non-permanent category.

“This position is indeed justified, in view of the need to correct the historical injustice which has left the African continent on the periphery of all major global decision-making processes.”

President Kagame also said, “The current two-track system of governance where some players are more important than others is not sustainable.”

And, President Mutharika called on the UN “to expedite the debate on the Security Council reforms. We call upon the UN to accommodate African representation through two permanent seats in the UN Security Council.”

The Nigerian leader called for the “reconstitution of the (UN Security) Council to make it more equitable and more representative of our global community is both a political and moral imperative”.

Africa’s population is more than a billion now, while its natural resources make the world rich.

How many of its leaders should depart the world stage, before its calls for reform of the UN are taken seriously and implemented? If we are embracing multilateralism, why should unilateralism be accommodated in the UN governance system?
Zimbabwe and the Family of Nations, Finally
28 SEP, 2018 - 00:09 

Tichaona Zindoga and Richard Runyararo Mahomva
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa made his maiden address to the United Nations on Wednesday, marking his entry onto the global stage on the plinth of Zimbabwe’s Second Republic.

There is the easy temptation to compare his performance with that of his predecessor, Mr Robert Mugabe, a man who enchanted the world with addresses fraught with stinging anti-imperialist rhetoric.

It is at this stage that Mr Mugabe got his fame, not undeservingly, across the world as a champion of the poor and oppressed peoples of the South.

But President Mnangagwa was bound to be different. Already, his philosophy, temperament, style and approach to a myriad issues have thrown him far off the old block. He is his own man, and he has shown no real appetite to ape his predecessor, though a long time lieutenant he was to the elderly statesman and founding father.

And on the world stage, Emmerson Mnangagwa stood out.

In typical fashion, he stood out without being obtrusive or protuberant on a global arena where it was easy to play to the gallery and announce his presence.

An attempt at dissecting President Mnangagwa’s UN performance – for the purposes of this discourse – can be bifurcated into two. First, what was the key message or messages that the Zimbabwean President articulated and in what tone?

Second, how is President Mnangagwa shaping Zimbabwe after his own image?

A remarkable streak in President Mnangagwa has come out since he assumed office last November.

He is a man who carries the weight of changing Zimbabwe from the old to the new and his tack and task is to project a Zimbabwe that is in reform.

He is a reformist.

Domestically, he has carried out a number of changes that mark his Zimbabwe from the Zimbabwe of old.

The key issues relate to the opening of the democratic space, allowing the enjoying of freedoms and entrenching constitutionality.

The election of July 2018 was the biggest marker of political reform.

He said: “Following my deliberate and conscious decision to open up the democratic space and emphatic call for peace, unity and tolerance of divergent views amongst our people; political contestations, election campaigning, voting and counting processes were conducted freely, peacefully and transparently.

“In the spirit of transparency and openness, a broader spectrum of international observers and global media houses were accredited to observe our elections.

“The exceptionally peaceful pre-and post-electoral environment represented the maturing and entrenchment of democracy in Zimbabwe.”

Emphasising thus: “We shall continue to entrench constitutionalism, democratic traditions and norms, peace, unity and harmony; for it is indeed under such conditions that sustainable development, inclusive economic growth and prosperity can occur.”

This is his biggest seller in terms of domestic policies. The second rung of importance in that relates to how he will take care of the social and economic needs of the people by fighting hunger and want as well as protecting the historical legacy of the land issue.

Land reform is irreversible.

His other key message is anchored on projecting Zimbabwe as a willing member of the family of nations, ready to carry out its duties and obligations.

The Zimbabwe that President Mnangagwa wants is involved in productive and economic benefit, hence the mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

He sold that out on Wednesday night.

He said strategies were in place in various sectors to enable Zimbabwe to enter global value chains with the development and modernisation of roads, railways, airports, energy and ICT infrastructure is being accelerated in line with our regional and continental quest for enhanced connectivity and integrated infrastructure.

“Zimbabwe looks forward to playing a positive and constructive role as a free, democratic, transparent, prosperous and responsible member of the family of nations. We are committed to strengthening dialogue, cooperation and partnerships, underpinned by mutual respect, common values and shared principles,” he said.

Structural realism

At the United Nations, President Mnangagwa displayed mature appreciation of the structural realism which defines international relations. His submission made it clear that a confrontational approach to global dialogue – that characterised his predecessor – only breeds animosity and isolation.

Over the years, history has taught us that antagonistic postures in international fora only attract hostility to a nation.

In the same manner, aggressive postures of a nation or its head of state attract reciprocal arrogance of other like sovereigns. As such, President Mnangagwa has meticulously beamed the Second Republic’s warming up to pure diplomacy in the interest of international security and exchange of sustainable political buy-ins for Zimbabwe.

The humility of his declaration for our unequivocal upholding of sovereign values has ushered a renewed and acceptable turning point to realigning Zimbabwe’s respective interests into the broader agenda of global development.

Of note was President Mnangagwa’s prefacing statement on the need for global peace, security and stability as key ingredients for diplomatic engagement. This valorises his role as a globally foresighted statesman, who understands that the structure of international relations has a natural asymmetrical enabling influence for conflict and thus his emphatic call for cordial multilateralism as key in satisfying the interests of humanity. His address was a solicitation for a departure from the defined tensions that have characterised the divide of the first world and the third world.

President Mnangagwa’s understanding of the structural dynamic nature of the United Nations as an apex of nations’ interaction captures the wisdom of the need for Africa to be a strategic competitive actor in the global political-economy.

This comes against a background of the polemic constructs of Global-South attitudes towards the Global-North.

Therefore, President Mnangagwa’s speech offers a refreshing narrative about Africa’s role to modernise her trade acumen so that her contribution to the global value chain may be accounted for.

Indeed, the presentation captured the realism that has been long overshadowed by a normative proposition of Africa’s centuries of subjection to Western capitalism and political domination.

Clearly, President Mnangagwa’s tone and posture was that of re-engagement and the posterity of global peace which resides in finding points of common interest.

In his presentation, citing Zimbabwe as a point of departure, President Mnangagwa has made it clear that Africa must open for investment and in the process navigate policy innovations that eradicate poverty, enhance the gross domestic incomes and eliminate the potential of growing class struggles as a result of uneven distribution of the “wealth of nations”.

President Mnangagwa’s bold emphatic position on the irreversible position of the land reform demystified the generously misconstrued view that Zimbabwe’s openness for business will lead the country to a neo-liberal capture.

President Mnangagwa has made it clear that we are the captains of our ship and that our diversion in the course of our freedom can only be on the merits of satisfying principles of mutual beneficiation.

This position clearly indicates the direction that Zimbabwe is taking in promoting re-engagement; at the same time firmly upholding permanent national interests.

President Mnangagwa’s understanding of structural realism has just assured that Zimbabwe got into the family of nations, noiselessly. Finally.

We are no longer pariah from here.

His use of language and diction of a globalised world and speaking to its values underpin his commitment to the reform agenda.

Interestingly, it is also an approach that is likely to disarm his rivals in the opposition at home – literally taking words out of their pretentious mouths that have been accustomed to the same.

In all of this, President Mnangagwa is lacking in hubris.

The reform agenda that he is pushing both domestically and internationally will likely yield a Zimbabwe that has strong institutions, a strong economy – and he is thinking of making Zimbabwe a middle-income country by 2030 – and an outstanding global player.

Much like a reformed China emerging from the 1970s, to use that much abused analogy.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is not an ideologue; he is almost self-effacing.

This implies that much of his work will be credited to a bigger story of a beautiful country that transitioned history.

It is scant doubt that, given the new era, there will be no songs sung for his heroism, just as at this United Nations General Assembly, he was no candidate for the most outstanding, revolutionary or iconoclastic speeches.

His is just on a simple mission of birthing a new and different Zimbabwe.

Tichaona Zindoga is the political editor of The Herald. Richard Runyararo Mahomva is a political scientist, critic and writer with interest in classic and modern theory.