Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Friends of Sudan Pledge Support to Its Economy as U.S. Discusses Removal from Terror List
Friends of Sudan meet in Washington to discuss ways to support Sudanese economic reforms on 21 October 2019 (Photo Fabrizio Lobasso)

October 22, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - The Friends of Sudan agreed Monday to establish a multi-donor trust fund to support Sudanese government economic reforms while Washington announced engaging discussions with Khartoum to remove it from the terror list.

The U.S. led international group discussed on Monday how the international community can support Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government’s economic reform efforts.

The meeting which was held on the sidelines of the World Bank annual meetings in Washington was attended by Egypt, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Qatar, the UAE, Britain, the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Also, Finland, Italy, and Sweden participated as observers for the first time.

US State Department Spokesperson issued a statement on Tuesday saying the Friends of Sudan expressed "strong support for Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government" and welcomed Sudanese government plan to reform Sudan’ s economy and address the aspiration of the Sudanese people.

During the meeting, Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi made a presentation of his government plan to fight poverty and stabilizing the economy and commodity prices, besides addressing youth unemployment.

The government projects to implement this emergency plan during the first six months before to focus during the second and third year on preparing the structural economic transformation to develop local industry and moving towards the value-added activities.

The participants pledged to support the quick impact projects proposed by the Sudanese government but also they begin a review of potential mid to longer-term reforms that the Friends of Sudan could support, in a coordinated manner.

"They agreed a multi-donor trust fund may be an appropriate mechanism to support Sudan’s economic reform program, particularly the need for a more robust social safety net program to cushion the impact of macro-economic reforms on Sudanese in dire poverty," said the statement

The Friends of Sudan reiterated the "importance of securing unfettered humanitarian access.

Further, they agreed that "Arrears clearance in international financial institutions, debt relief, and access to concessionary funding will be key to Sudan’s sustained economic growth," emphasized the statement

"Partners also discussed holding a donor conference in early 2020".

Sudan removal from U.S. blacklist

During the meeting, several participants underlined that the debt relief and the rehabilitation of the Sudanese economy require the cancellation of Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST)

The State Department in its statement admitted that the impact of the SST designation was raised in the meeting as it hinders "arrears clearance at international financial institutions, access to concessional funding, and international investment".

"The United States noted that it has begun engagement with the Government of Sudan on the requirements for (a) potential recession of Sudan’s SST designation," said the statement without more information.

This indication opens the door for Sudanese to hope in the removal of their country from shortly.

U.S. officials say they are considering new bases for the talks on bilateral relations with the Sudanese transitional government as they cancelled the previous framework agreement with the former regime.

However, it was reported that Washington, in fact, was reluctant to remove Sudan from the terror list due to the participation of the Sudanese army in the transitional government particularly the leader of the Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Daglo who is accused of atrocities and war crimes.

Holdout rebels

The Friends of Sudan welcomed the progress in the peace talks achieved by the Sudanese parties in Juba and called for the participation of all the armed groups in the process.

"The Friends of Sudan agreed further peace talks would be best in a Sudanese-to-Sudanese format, possibly hosted in Khartoum, and warned against spoilers who refuse to participate in this unique opportunity to address the root causes of Sudan’s internal conflicts," said the statement.

Sudan’s partners clearly were referring to the Sudan Liberation Movement of the exiled rebel leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur.

The meeting also supported the issuance of a new African Union mandate for the peace negotiations.

(ST)
Sudanese Pound Hits New Low Against U.S. Dollar
October 20, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. dollar reached a new peak on Sunday against the Sudanese pound, hitting a record of 75 pounds.

The historic fall of the Sudanese pound against the dollar comes as the new transitional government failed to draw international financial and economic support to the country’s ailing economy.

Dealers in the parallel market who spoke to "Sudan Tribune said that the market closed on Sunday evening at the selling rate? of the US dollar was at 75 pounds while the buying rate at 74 pounds.

Traders attributed the rise to the increasing demand against the tight supply in hard currency.

One of the traders told Sudan Tribune under the cover of anonymity that traders’ fear of a decline in dollar prices pushed them to increase prices in the presence of large demand.

He pointed out that the increasing demand is mainly from importers and form people seeking to travel abroad for treatment.

For his part, banking analyst Mohamed Abdel Rahman said that the rise in foreign exchange rates is due to lack of improvement in the economic indicators in addition to the decline in exports.

"Even most of the export revenues are earned from good smuggling," he said before to add that "There may be an impact on the hard currency market of a reversal of the lamb’s export to Saudi Arabia" as Sudan recently declared the Rift Valley Fever outbreak in the country.

He pointed out that the high rate of inflation in Sudan is one of the factors that have a major impact on the value of the pound.

Last week’s dollar trading ended at 73 pounds for sale against 72.5 pounds for purchase.

(ST)
Sudanese Party Welcomes Qatar’s Readiness to Support Peace in Sudan
October 21, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The National Umma Party (NUP) led by Sadiq al-Mahdi, on Monday welcomed Qatar’s readiness to support the Sudanese government’s efforts to achieve peace during the transitional period.

In a recent visit to Khartoum earlier this month, Mutlaq al-Qahtani Qatar’s Special Envoy for Conflict Resolutions announced his country readiness to support Sudan and to use its regional and international relations to achieve peace, stability and development.

Further, in a meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister on Sunday, Qatari Ambassador to Khartoum Abdul Rahman Al-Kubaisi reaffirmed his country’s desire to enhance cooperation with Sudan in all fields, especially investment.

"The National Umma Party welcomes this expected position from the brothers in Qatar," said a statement released on Monday evening.

"The party renews its call and appeal to brothers and friends to support the transitional period and provide assistance to peace processes and democratic transition," further said the statement.

The NUP is one of the major groups of the Forces for Freedom and Change that back Hamdok’s government. Also, it is part of the Sudan Call alliance which gathers the NUP, the armed groups under the banner of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and the Sudanese Congress Party.

In line with the Juba Declaration between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, the South Sudanese mediation was requested to invite Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia and the UAE to sponsor the peace process.

The statement comes as the Friend of Sudan Group, including Qatar, met Monday in Washington to discuss ways to support the Sudanese transitional government which faces tough economic challenges.

Previously Qatar had a mandate from the African Union and the United Nations with the UNAMID head to broker the Darfur peace process.

The gas-rich country allocated 177 million for rehabilitation and development projects in the war-affected region besides the building of 15 model villages in Darfur.

(ST)
Sudanese Demonstrate Calling to Swiftly Dismantle the Former Regime
Demonstrators mach in Khartoum streets to commemorate the 55 anniversary of October revolution and call for reforms on 21 Oct 2019 (KAPO Photo)

October 21, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese took to the streets in the capital Khartoum and several Sudanese cities to express their impatience and called to expedite reforms and dismantle the former regime.

The rallies were organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association, the spearhead of the protests that overthrown al-Bashir regime last April, to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the first popular uprising against a military regime in 1964.

The demonstrators showed their support for the transitional government and urged to implement the demands of the revolution, including the dissolution of the former ruling National Congress Party, the removal of its partisans from public institutions, and to bring those involved in the bloody attack on the pro-democracy sit-in to fair trials.

Demonstrations took place in different areas of Khartoum state, and the cities of El Obeid and Attbara and other areas where the demonstrators carried banners, and chanted slogans demanding justice.

They shouted slogans such as "blood for blood, we do not accept blood money", and "the people want to take revenge for the martyrs".

Also, they condemned the government’s decision to not ban the activities of al-Bashir’s party and called to disband it and to confiscate its premises and assets.

Since the early hours of Monday morning, the army blocked the main roads in central Khartoum leading to the army headquarters before the beginning of the rallies.

The preventive measure was taken following calls by Islamist groups to organize a procession on the same day, to the army headquarters to protest the recent appointments and decisions aiming to dismantle the former regime.

As a result, the government deployed troops outside the army headquarters and at the four bridges in the capital triggering traffic jams in the centre of Khartoum.

The Sudanese Islamists who called to protest Monday failed to mobilize protesters.

Amar Alsajad a prominent member of the Popular Congress Party who called for 21 October protest issued a new call for a protest on 19 December saying the security forces prevented their protest.

In a televised speech on Monday evening on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the October Revolution, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok sought to respond to the demonstrators saying that the goals of December Revolution need greater efforts to be achieved and recalled that his government is formed only since one month and a half.

He stressed that his government was aware of the difficulties Sudanese are facing on daily basis pointing to the increasing inflation, lack of mode of transport stressing the development of practical proposals to solve the problem of transportation people will see in the coming days.

"The process of change is an ongoing process, and the revolution needs a growing effort to fully achieve its goals. The government and the people must protect it," he further said.

(ST)
Sudanese Army Calls to Stay Away from Its Sites Ahead of Protests by Pro and Anti-revolution Forces
A Sudanese army colonel talks to protesters outside the army headquarters on 9 April 2019 (ST Photo)

October 20, 2019 (KHARTOUM ) - The Sudanese army called on political forces planning to demonstrate on Monday to stay away from the headquarters of the armed forces in Khartoum and the various positions of its forces in the country.

The warning comes after calls by Islamist groups to demonstrate on the 55th anniversary of the 21 October Revolution to demand the army seize power and remove Forces for Freedom and Change from power.

The anti-revolutionary calls triggered other calls by the Sudanese Professionals Association, the spearhead of protests that brought down the al-Bashir regime to demonstrate and hold public rallies on Monday to defend the revolution and demanding the dissolution of the National Congress Party.

On the same vein, the Sudanese Communist Party called for a protest to demand the transitional authority to realize the goals of the revolution.

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, Sudanese army spokesman Brigadier General Amer Mohamed al-Hassan renewed the support of the Sudan Armed Forces for the December Revolution and recalled that peace will not be achieved without political stability in the country.

Al-Hassan also stressed that the armed forces will remain a "faithful guardian of the country", but will not interfere in political practices.

Accordingly, he stressed that the demonstrators "must stay away from military sites, headquarters in Khartoum state and other states in order to preserve the neutrality the armed forces and its national character," he added.

He also announced the closure of several roads leading to the army headquarters in Khartoum.

Sudanese Islamists groups sought recently to reorganize themselves and launched calls on social media for a national protest to overthrow the FFC-led cabinet and to form a new government.

The anti-FFC’s campaigners led by a prominent member of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Ammar Alsjad, called for a protest to the army headquarters on 21 to request the army to remove Hamdok’s government.

However, the PCP dissociated themselves from this initiative saying the party is not involved in these calls.

In another sign of rising tensions between the FFC supporters and the Islamists, student groups clashed at the University of Al-Azhari in Khartoum North.

For its part, the National Umma Party of Sadiq al-Mahdi voiced its opposition of the protests organized by its FFC political allies to "avoid chaos".

Instead, the NUP urged the replacement of the protest by organizing festivities commemorating the anniversary of the October Revolution, saying the antirevolutionary groups "seeks to use this occasion to create confusion and chaos" and undermining the transitional government.

(ST)
Sudan Releases New Batch of POWs from Armed Groups
Government POWs ride a Red Cross plane after their release by the SPLM-N in South Kordofan on 4 March 2017 (ST Photo)

October 18, 2019 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) - Sudanese government has released 26 prisoners of war in line with the confidence-building agreement signed with the armed groups in Juba on 11 September, said the armed groups on Saturday.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front and two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement, the Transitional Council (SLM-TC) and that led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) issued statements about the release of the PoWs.

Three of the released prisoners are members of the SPLM-N led by Malik Agar.

In statements to Sudan Tribune SRF Chairman Hadi Idris who is also the SLM-TC leader welcomed the release of the Pows and thanked the Sudanese transitional government for the move stressing that it comes in line with the Juba Declaration.

"This is an encouraging step forward in negotiating and underscores the seriousness of the Government in reaching peace," he said. and called to release the remaining SRF prisoners.

He further disclosed the formation of a joint committee with the government to implement the humanitarian access and distribute the aid relief to the conflict-affected civilians.

Further, Osama Said, SRF Spokesman in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, welcomed the release of prisoners from the SLM-TC and the SPLM-N, saying their release is "a step in the right direction and gives a powerful impetus to the peace process".

The SRF and the transitional government have resumed meeting on Friday on a draft roadmap for peace in Sudan and were briefed on the ongoing contacts with the African Union to issue a new mandate for Sudan peace negotiations as the current mandates do not fit with the current situation after the collapse of the former regime.

For its part, the SLM-AW which refuses to join the peace process in Juba issued a separate statement welcoming the released prisoners.

"We highly value this initiative, even if it comes late, because these prisoners resisted the former regime with great courage, and were a direct reason to weaken it (before its collapse)," said Mohamed al-Nayer in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

He further called to release the jailed militants and displaced civilians.

The SLM-AW refuses to take part in the Juba peace process and called to hold a referendum on the legitimacy of the transitional authority before to join the peace process.

(ST)
Sudan, SPLM-N al-Hilu Sign Peace Roadmap, as Talks with SRF Approaching Separate Deal
October 18, 2019 (JUBA) - The Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North ((SPLM-N) led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu on Friday signed a roadmap for negotiations and officially began direct talks in Juba.

While the transitional government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front held a separate meeting to discuss a plan for the peace process which will include several tracks.

According to the deal struck between the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu delegations will include three issues, political file, humanitarian assistance, and security arrangements.

The deal was signed by Shams al-Din Kabbashi who heads the government negotiating team and Amar Amum, SPLM-N al-Hilu chief negotiator and the group secretary-general. The South Sudanese presidential adviser Tut Kew Gatluak co-signed the deal as granter.

"The sincere will with which the government dialogues and the deep awareness of the nature of Sudan’s problems contributed to this "breakthrough," said the member of the Sovereignty Council Mohamed Hassan Eltaishi who is also the spokesman for the government negotiating delegation.

The discussion between the two delegations will be limited to the conflict in Sudan’s Two Areas, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

On the other side, the other process with the SRF will include Darfur, the Two Areas, and the situation in eastern Sudan and the dam-affected area of Kajabar in northern Sudan.

The Revolutionary Front, for its part, held a technical meeting with the Sudanese government and the South Sudanese mediator to discuss a peace plan after announcing their agreement on Juba as the venue for the peace talks.

Al-Hadi Idris SRF leader told Sudan Tribune that during the lengthy held on Friday they were briefed by the South Sudanese mediation on the existing contact with the African Union on the issuance of a mandate to cancel the previous mandate for Qatar and UNAMID on the conflict in Darfur.

Also, they were informed about the ongoing contacts with the countries they agreed to involve in the peace process along with Sudan’s neighbours, IGAD, EU, Troika and the United Nations.

"The technical committee agreed to sign a political agreement that includes the issues that have been agreed upon, the agenda of the talks, the different tracks, the methodology of the negotiation and the renewal of the cease-fire, after what the sessions will be adjourned but not postponed," he said.

He stressed the need for the various committees to follow up on the different tasks related to the peace process and that the SRF negotiating delegations should remain in Juba.

(ST)
UN Calls to Press Darfur Holdout Group to Join Peace Talks
Jean Pierre Lacroix speaks at the UN Security Council (UN file photo)

October 19, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The head of UN peacekeeping department Jean Pierre Lacroix called on the UN Security Council to exert the needed efforts to bring the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) to the negotiating table with the Sudanese government.

Lacroix made his call in a briefing to the 15-member council about his recent visit to Sudan where he discussed the UNAMID withdrawal and ongoing efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the country.

In his briefing, he pointed to the launch of the peace process in Juba where all the armed groups are gathered to discuss a negotiated solution for the armed conflicts in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The international official said that Sudanese officials in Khartoum regretted the rejection of Abdel Wahid al-Nur to join the peace process despite the efforts exerted by Sudanese Prime Minister who met him last September during a visit to Paris.

"Our interlocutors deplored the fact that, despite Prime Minister Hamdok’s initiative to meet with Abdel Wahid al-Nur of the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid in Paris on 30 September, the latter has continued to reject the transition process and the new Government, and is yet to join the peace talks process".

"In our view, every effort should be made to impress upon all concerned groups the imperative of seizing the momentum for peace," he further said.

Al-Nur who rejects to recognize the civilian-led government formed after the ouster of the former regime says a referendum must be held on the legitimacy of the new regime before to engage in peace talks.

Lacrix also told the Council that the holdout group continue to attack the Sudanese army positions around Golo and abducted local staff of "international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for ransom, robbed commercial trucks and looted property of local medical and humanitarian organizations," as provided in the Secretary General report dated on 15 October.

The report, seen by Sudan Tribune, further speaks about in fighting between two SLA-Aw factions in the Daya area, east of Golo.

"The infighting between the two SLA-AW factions of commanders Salih Borsa and Mubarak Aldouk continued as a result of the latter’s attempt to negotiate a surrender with the authorities," reads the report.

(ST)
Government, SRF to Sign Political Agreement on Peace in Sudan
Gov't and SPLM-N al-Hilu delegations meet in Juba on 19 Oct 2019 (Sovereign Council photo)

October 20, 2019 (JUBA) - Transitional government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front have reached a political agreement paving the way for the launch of talks for peace in Darfur region and the Two Areas.

According to the draft political agreement seen by Sudan Tribune, the parties will sign also an agreement renewing the cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes.

Also, "the government will deliver humanitarian assistance from inside and outside Sudan to conflict-affected areas".

The former regime had failed to sign such agreement in the past as the government wanted to control the humanitarian aid and demanded that all the assistance be delivered through the government-controlled areas.

The signing ceremony is expected to be attended by President Salva Kiir.

Under the would-be signed agreement, the parties also agree to negotiate all issues related to the Sudanese crisis, including areas of armed conflict, national issues and specific issues.

The deal provides to review previous decisions on dams and the territory of the northern state, referring to the dispute on Kajabar dam.

The SRF, which include a group defending the rights of civilians affected by the construction of this dam, demanded talks on their issue but it was finally agreed to take the needed administrative decisions to settle the issue.

The Sudanese negotiating teams from the transitional government and the SRF say they discuss as partners in the revolution that toppled al-Bashir’s regime and it was important to consolidate confidence between them.

The African Union Peace and Security Council in a meeting held on 10 October said taking note of the request by the parties to issue a new mandate on Sudan peace negotiations.

The Council "requests the Chairperson of the AU Commission to present a proposal in this regard as soon as possible;" further said the regional body.

The government is holding a separate process with the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu.

The rebel group which is not part of the SRF umbrella demands the right of self-determination if the government fail to repeal Islamic legislations and ensure fair representation to the Sudanese minorities in the state institutions.

(ST)
SACP Western Cape Provincial Working Committee Statement Following its Meeting on 12 October 2019
14 October 2019

The main political organ of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Western Cape, the Provincial Working Committee (PWC), held its regular meeting on 12 October 2019 in Bellville to consider pertinent political developments which shape the changing character of our political terrain inside and outside the movement. The PWC reflected on the state of the SACP and our principal ally, Cosatu, noting that we have entered the period of congresses, a period which demands strengthening and renewal of the entire left axis.

As the PWC sits, we have witnessed reports of the closure of Green Tissue factory, which was allegedly sold to the Lion Match Company, in Bellville, resulting in job losses for over 150 workers. These workers were rendered unemployed with nothing despite working for over 20 years for the company. The Party pledges its solidarity with the retrenched workers.

Prioritise improved access to quality services

Organisationally, the PWC lauded the Brian Bunting (Cape Metro) District for heeding the call to prioritise agitating the masses to demand better quality service delivery from the City of Cape Town as constitutionally enshrined. In this respect, the PWC applauded the Philippi and Gugulethu sub-districts for embarking on an aggressive service delivery march, despite attempts at demobilisation by reactionary forces. The sub-districts also galvanised the respective communities to demand better sustainable and improved services.

The PWC reaffirmed its instruction to all structures to embark on sustained service delivery campaigns. Our people deserve better services to lead a dignified life. The message must be clear that all those who stand in the way of improvement of conditions of existence of the working class will meet communities, along with communists, on the streets!

Further, there are major problems concerning access to government services across our rural districts. For instance, in the Overberg District people cannot access services of the Department of Labour in their jurisdiction; instead, they access such services in Somerset West which is in the Cape Metro jurisdiction. Similarly, there is no regular access to SASSA services. These are issues that require a shift in focus from our government to prioritise access to services for the rural poor.

Gender-Based Violence and the crisis of social reproduction

The scourge of patriarchy leading to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a cause and the manifestation of the crisis of social reproduction which has its roots in the inherent crisis of the capitalist mode of production. It is on this basis that we reassert that the struggle against the pervasive violence against women and children is part and parcel of the struggle against capitalist exploitation.

Within the context of mass mobilisation, the PWC also noted mass action in the struggle to defeat GBV conducted by our Overberg District leadership in collaboration with organs of civil society. These actions constitute an important part of the seeds for building the Broad Patriotic Front as directed by the SACP 14th  Congress.

Renewal of the left axis towards forging class struggle

During this period, the majority of our District structures are due for their congresses to renew their mandate and deepen the mobilisation of the masses on the platform of socialist struggle. Also important to note is that most Cosatu affiliates in the province are also convening their respective congresses.

Recently, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) held its congress whilst the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) is embarking on regional congresses across the province. Collectively, these processes require the entire left axis to renew themselves in order to emerge united in pursuit of the interests of the working class against the capitalist offensive. This process of renewal ought to reverberate across all levels of the organisations including the vanguard party of the working class.

In the wider political terrain, the PWC noted the impending implosion in the higher echelons of the [un]Democratic Alliance. The PWC noted the two issues that confront the DA; firstly, deeper irreconcilable ideological fault lines between the entrenched liberal tradition and conservative posture of the remnants of the old Nationalist Party; secondly, the DA suffers a challenge of appealing to the majority whilst protecting its historical white constituency. Thus, in essence, the fundamental problem relates to the DA’s loyalty to classes that harbour irreconcilable class antagonisms. On the one hand, the DA seeks to appease the affluent white minority constituency and, on the other, they seek to appeal to the black working class majority. Both traditions have inherent racist attitudes which thus far the DA has attempted to conceal through pretentious and hypocritical appeal to the black majority through their marketing gimmicks and divide-and-rule tactics.

The electoral decline of the DA, along with the dismal performance in recent by-elections across the province exacerbated Helen Zille’s desperation to claw her way back from the grave. The irony, however, is that it is arguably Zille’s racist attitude that continues to alienate voters from the DA possibly more than Maimane’s ineptitude and alleged corruption.

The DA’s cosmetic strategy of renting black leaders has become untenable hence the desire for its chief apologist of colonialism, Zille, to return primarily because of the failure to rule from the grave – and thus make a return to safeguard interests of the old liberal guard for advancement of the neo-liberal orthodoxy.

Forward to the Special National Congress

As we prepare for the SACP’s 4th Special National Congress, the PWC endorsed a programme for the roll-out of the Party’s discussion documents which were officially released through the Party’s publication, Bua Komanisi online, in September 2019. These documents make thorough analyses on the socio-economic, political and technological arenas. They provide an important lens to analyse the prevailing multiple socio-economic crises which in essence is a crisis of social reproduction as well as the impact of the notion of Digital or 4th Industrial Revolution. 

The PWC also deliberated on proposed constitutional amendments which, in the main, seek to give effect to the necessity of renewal of the SACP in terms of the capacity of political leadership of the Party. This would serve to heighten the mobilisation and agitational capacity of the SACP in the face of the fight-back strategy of the parasitic networks as well as the neo-liberal onslaught from within and without the movement. All these efforts of bolstering the capacity of the Party are directed at placing the struggle for socialism on a higher platform.

Issued by SACP Western Cape Province

Contact:

Benson Ngqentsu- Provincial Secretary

Mobile: +2782 796 6400

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

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RAMAPHOSA: ‘AFRICAN COMMUNIST JOURNAL’ SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE CRITICAL OF ANC
The political magazine was first published in 1959 by the South African Communist Party.

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 60th anniversary of the SACP’s ‘African Communist Journal’ on 21 October 2019 at Liliesleaf in Sandton. Picture: @SACP1921/Twitter

Thando Kubheka
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday called on the African Communist Journal to continue being critical of the African National Congress (ANC).

Ramaphosa was speaking at the 60th anniversary of the publication which was held at Liliesleaf in Sandton.

The political magazine was first published in 1959 by the South African Communist Party.

Ramaphosa said the journal should continue calling on the governing party to take accountability.

“It propagated ideas that compelled us to achieve our liberation, it now needs to continue calling us into action to address all these challenges that our revolution faces,” Ramaphosa said.

The president lauded the journal and described it as a critical platform for healthy and necessary debates in society.

He said the journal played a critical part in South Africa’s liberation.

“It exposed what you’d call narrow African chauvinism as opposed to progressive nationalism. The journal also played a very important role in sharpening our understanding of non-racialism.”
BALEKA MBETE: THE WORLD BANK IS NOT GOD
Baleka Mbete was part of a panel being interviewed by international news network Al Jazeera on whether the African National Congress had betrayed the late Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

A YoutTube screengrab shows former National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete during an interview with Al Jazeera. Picture: Al Jazeera English/youtube.com

Babalo Ndenze
Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete dismissed economic studies which suggested that South Africa was the most unequal society on earth.

Mbete was part of a panel being interviewed by international news network Al Jazeera on whether the African National Congress (ANC) had betrayed the late Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

The panel also included former ANC Members of Parliament Makhosi Khoza and Andrew Feinstein.

Mbete left many stunned after she told Al Jazeera inequality in South Africa was greatly exaggerated.

The former deputy president and ANC chairperson was responding to a question about a World Bank study that gives South Africa the unfortunate title of being the most unequal country in the world.

“But I wonder whether it’s not an exaggeration. I really think we need to see both good and bad. The World Bank is not God.”

Mbete has also dismissed remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa among others, who's admitted on a number of occasions that much of the past 10 years under former President Jacob Zuma’s watch had been a lost decade.
ANC ALREADY IN COALITION TALKS HOURS AFTER MASHABA QUITS AS JOBURG MAYOR
While the DA’s top leaders prepared to meet this week to chart the way forward, the ANC indicated they would be courting other parties to form coalitions in the city.

Theto Mahlakoana

JOHANNESBURG - The horse-trading about the next Joburg mayor was already afoot barely hours after Herman Mashaba’s resignation from the Democratic Alliance (DA).

While the party’s top leaders prepared to meet this week to chart the way forward, the African National Congress (ANC) indicated they would be courting other parties to form coalitions in the city.

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it would hold internal consultations over the matter.

Reactions to Mashaba’s resignation from the various political parties in the country were different as night and day. While the EFF glowingly described Mashaba’s decision to exit the DA and the city’s top post as a sad development, the ANC couldn’t be happier about the move.

“We are having discussions with the partners that we have been working with currently,” said ANC regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo.

The EFF said Mashaba was a humble, consultative leader who turned his back on white supremacy, and anti-poor policies of the DA.

Mashaba said he chose to resign following years of frustration with DA leaders over his pro-poor governance choices. But, DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said these concerns would be ventilated when the party’s leaders meet.

“I’m reluctant to get into a tit for tat with what the mayor said in his press statement and reasons for resigning,” he said.

The City of Joburg was run by a coalition council following the ANC’s electoral defeat in the country’s economic hub, where there was no outright winner during the 2016 local government elections.
ANC JHB CALLS MASHABA A SORE LOSER FOR RESIGNING AS MAYOR
In a statement released on Monday, the ANC Greater Johannesburg Region said it wasn’t shocked by this resignation and believed that it had nothing to do with the election of Helen Zille back to the party.

Mihlali Ntsabo

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) Greater Johannesburg Region on Monday said outgoing Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba resigned because he was running away from the city’s dire financial crisis.

Mashaba announced his resignation from the Democratic Alliance (DA) a day after the party announced Helen Zille as its Federal Council chairperson. Zille takes over from James Selfe, who held the position for close to two decades.

Mashaba's resignation comes into effect on 27 November 2019.

In a statement released on Monday, the ANC Greater Johannesburg Region said it wasn’t shocked by this resignation and believed that it had nothing to do with the election of Zille back to the party.

“His resignation is informed by the dire financial crisis that he has plunged the City of Johannesburg into. He has, over time, been able to get away with lies about the financial affairs of the city.

“Mashaba is running away from the soon to be exposed truth that the City of Johannesburg is broke and may not be able to finance the day-to-day basic costs of providing water and electricity to Johannesburg residents including paying salaries to staff.”

Last week, Mashaba said he would leave the DA if the party was taken over by what he called right-wing elements and expressed concerns over the direction his party was taking.

The party went on to call Mashaba a “sore loser” and not a democrat as he claimed to be.

“Mashaba is an attention seeker who was going down anyway. He needed an “honourable” exit and Zille’s election is a perfect excuse.”

Monday, October 21, 2019

I'M TOLD MASHABA THOUGHT I'D END HIS MAYORALTY - ZILLE
Herman Mashaba said the DA he signed up for was not the one that came out of the weekend Federal Council meeting where former leader Zille was elected.

Democratic Alliance Federal Council chair Helen Zille. Picture: 702

Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) newly appointed federal chair Helen Zille said Herman Mashaba’s resignation was regrettable.

The Johannesburg mayor will leave office on 27 November.

Mashaba said the DA he signed up for was not the one that came out of the weekend Federal Council meeting where former leader Zille was elected. Zille was elected after James Selfe stepped down. He held the position for 19 years.

“I am gravely concerned that the DA I signed up to is no longer the DA that has emerged out of this weekend’s federal council,” said Mashaba.

Zille said she was not sure why Mashaba decided to resign.

“I don’t know why he’s resigned. My understanding from some people was that he thought that I would bring to an end his mayoralty in Johannesburg. So, I am told. I am not sure if this is true that he wanted to resign before his government was taken out.”

Last week, in an interview on 702 with Aubrey Masango, ahead of the FedCo meeting, Mashaba said he would resign if the party was to be taken over by what he called right-wing elements.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he wanted Mashaba to stay on.

Mashaba said it was a tough decision.

"I’ve given this decision considerable thought. I’ve been tortured by the circumstances that led me to this moment. It’s not in my nature to quit anything in life."
ZILLE: ‘MASHABA HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO THE RIGHT OF ME’

Helen Zille was speaking on 702 on Monday while Herman Mashaba was announcing his departure from the party, citing that the DA was no longer the same party he joined in 2014.

Helen Zille was announced as the DA's new Federal Council chairperson on 20 October 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

Mihlali Ntsabo
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Newly appointed Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille said outgoing Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba was free to do whatever he liked.

Zille was speaking on 702 on Monday while Mashaba was announcing his resignation from the party, saying the DA was no longer the same party he joined in 2014.

Mashaba’s resignation came after the DA announced on Sunday that Zille would now take over from James Selfe as the party’s Federal Council chair; Selfe held the position for 19 years.

Last week, in an interview on 702 with Aubrey Masango, ahead of the Fedex meeting, Mashaba said he would resign if the party was to be taken over by what he called right-wing elements.

Asked on Monday what she made of Mashaba’s comment, Zille said while he was “making many billions out of hair straighteners and things”, he knew very well that she was hiding uMkhonto We Sizwe operatives in her house.

She said: “Herman was the chairman of the Free Market Foundation and they once held a congress in Orania [in the Northern Cape]. So, that would be very weird to me because I would never want to go to Orania and hold a congress in Orania.”

Zille further said Mashaba was “to the right” of her.

“…Very significantly to the right of me. When I was one of the people who helped recruit Herman to the DA… I said to my colleagues, he’s far to the right of us,” Zille said, again citing that Mashaba was the chairman of the Free Market Foundation.

She said she didn’t know how Mashaba came up with his right-wing element claims about her.
DA TO HOLD URGENT FEDERAL EXECUTIVE MEETING AFTER MASHABA’S RESIGNATION
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced his resignation this morning and is set to vacate the office on 27 November 2019.

Heman Mashaba announces his resignation as Johannesburg Mayor on 21 October 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

Theto Mahlakoana

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said it would hold an urgent federal executive meeting to discuss operations in the City of Johannesburg following the resignation of Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Mashaba said one of the reasons he resigned from the party was because he could not reconcile with a group of people who believed race was irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa.

He is expected to vacate the office on 27 November 2019. Mashaba wanted to leave immediately but the party asked him to stay until a suitable candidate was found to replace him.

He resigned less than 24 hours after former DA and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was appointed party Federal Council chair on Sunday – a move that has divided the official opposition. The mayor had threatened to resign last week if the party was taken over by what he called “right-wing elements”.

Following this year’s general elections, Zille joined the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) as a senior policy fellow, a position she stepped down from after a nomination for the Federal Council chair. Some members of the DA have disagreed sharply with the role of the IRR in the DA.

‘ATTEMPTS TO UNDERMINE MY PRO-POOR AGENDA’

Mashaba had quite a lot to say about his relationship with the DA, but at the core of his myriad of issues was the question of the contestations in the party over its race-related policies.

He described the election of Zille as a victory for leaders in the party who were opposed to his beliefs.

Mashaba said there were members of the DA caucus in the City who even suggested he should prioritise the needs of suburban residents above providing dignity to disenfranchised citizens who didn’t have basic services.

“The events of this weekend have left me at a crossroads where I can no longer ignore the internal dynamics of the DA and the continued attempts to undermine my pro-poor agenda in the City of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said. “I am now in a position where I am forced to choose between my party and my country. As a patriot, I will always choose my country first.”

He said this faction didn’t want to acknowledge that South Africa was more unequal today than it was at the inception of democratic governance.
MASHABA RESIGNATION PUTS FOCUS ON DA COALITION STANCE
Herman Mashaba described the DA’s decision over the weekend to review its coalition agreements as tantamount to the party declaring itself to be unsuitable for the future.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane (left) attends a briefing where Herman Mashaba (right) announces his resignation as Johannesburg mayor on 21 October. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

Theto Mahlakoana & Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – With just over a year to go before South Africans head to the polls in the 2021 local government elections, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) position on coalitions appeared to be in tatters.

Political experts and former President Kgalema Motlanthe have in the past emphasised the likelihood of a rise in coalition governments as an outcome of the polls.

However, with Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba having resigned on Monday over the DA’s position on the issue and party leader Mmusi Maimane stating that they would maintain such agreements, it was clear the DA was still struggling to come to terms with coalition governments.

Mashaba described the DA’s decision over the weekend to review its coalition agreements as tantamount to the party declaring itself to be unsuitable for the future.

He cited varying views on race-related policies and the decision to revisit partnerships with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) among his reasons for his resignation.

“With this grouping of people succeeding in their effort to take over the DA, I have no doubt whatsoever that they will move to collapse these governance arrangements. At the heart of the matter will be the pro-poor agenda that this multiparty government has executed,” Mashaba said.

But, Maimane said the DA would maintain the agreements.

“Even as tough as it is, we never got an outright majority and it became important that we work with parties so that we can advance that dream,” he said.

However, this was contrary to a decision made by the party to delay discussions on coalitions until its policy congress next year. The panel review report on the DA’s dismal performance in this year’s elections recommended that the party reassess its partnerships.

The EFF held the keys to the DA’s control of Joburg and Tshwane, including other smaller municipalities.

Meanwhile, Mashaba’s resignation as Joburg mayor as well as from the DA had put a spanner in the works to the apparent divisions in the party. He said the DA that emerged out of this past weekend’s Federal Council - where Helen Zille was elected Federal Council chair (FedCo) - was not the party he signed up for.

“I have spent the past three years in government working tirelessly to rise above party politics in an attempt to unite a broad coalition. The events of this weekend have left me at a crossroads where I can no longer ignore the internal dynamics of the DA and the continued attempts to undermine my pro-poor agenda in the City of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said.

“I am now in a position where I am forced to choose between my party and my country. As a patriot, I will always choose my country first,” he added.

The outgoing mayor’s assessment of the DA was frank for those who supported Maimane and harsh for those who identify as allies of Zille.

Mashaba’s resignation apparently heightened divisions in the party with leaders divided on whether he should be allowed to serve out his notice period given his lack of confidence in the organisation.

Zille’s supporters were expected to charge against Maimane for “celebrating the man who was trashing the DA”.

The DA’s federal executive was expected to sit on Wednesday to decide on the way forward for the City of Johannesburg, and party leaders on opposing sides told Eyewitness News they were readying for a fight.

Unfortunately, this fight may cost the DA dearly with local government elections around the corner.
Johannesburg Mayor Quits Over DA's Stance on Racial Inequality
Herman Mashaba also resigns from the historically white opposition DA party over its approach to racial inequality.

Mashaba was elected into office in 2016 becoming the city's first mayor not from the ruling ANC since apartheid ended in 1994 [Luke Walker/Getty]

The mayor of South Africa's biggest city Johannesburg belonging to the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has resigned over the historically white party's approach to racial inequality.

"I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa," Herman Mashaba told a news conference in Johannesburg on Monday.

Mashaba also quit DA, long considered a party for middle-class white people.

Mashaba was elected into office in 2016 becoming the city's first mayor not from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) since apartheid ended in 1994.

The 60-year-old millionaire, who made his fortune in black hair products, was one of the most senior politicians in the pro-business DA, long considered a party for middle-class white people.

But on Monday he quit the DA, which means he can no longer serve as mayor.

Mashaba said his decision was sparked by the election of former DA leader Helen Zille as the party's federal council chairperson at the weekend.

The DA has been engulfed by a power struggle between its first black leader Mmusi Maimane - a close Mashaba ally - and the old guard, represented by Zille, who has stoked controversy by arguing there were some positive aspects to colonialism.

"The election of Zille as the chairperson of the federal council represents a victory for people in the DA who stand diametrically opposed to my beliefs and value system," Mashaba said.

The DA has struggled to shed its image as a historically white party. Its share of the vote shrunk in elections earlier this year despite numerous scandals plaguing the ANC.

Mashaba said his city government's "pro-poor agenda" was at the heart of the dispute.

"Some members of the DA caucus in Johannesburg have suggested that we prioritise the needs of suburban residents above providing dignity to those forgotten people who remain without basic services 25 years after the end of apartheid," he said.

In a statement, the DA said Mashaba's resignation "does not signal an end to our commitment to the people of Johannesburg and South Africa".

"We will build a capable state, fight for non-racialism, and push for economic redress and inclusion and respect for the rule of law," the statement added.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Sunday, October 20, 2019

AU Under Fire Over Envoy to United States
21 OCT, 2019 - 00:10
Herald Reporter

Pressure is continuing to mount on the African Union for terminating the appointment of Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao as its ambassador to the United States on October 17.

Several organisations want Dr Chihombori-Quao — who has Zimbabwean roots — to be reinstated, as they believed she had been sacked because of her pan-African views and her “outspokenness and strong views against France’s occupation and hold over its former African colonies”.

The AU Commission has, on the other hand, maintained that the diplomat was relieved of her position in line with the commission’s rules where her political appointment had “come to an end”.

Organisations sympathetic to the US-trained doctor have since launched petitions and calls for her to be reinstated.

African Diaspora Congress, one of the organisations that have petitioned the AU demanding her reinstatement, said the diplomat was fired because of “influence and pressure exerted on African leaders and people by the former colonial powers of Europe”.

The group’s secretary, Mr Apollos Nwauwa, said some leaders were not happy with Dr Chihombori-Quao’s “bold but honest” stance on pan-African issues.

The petition that has trended on online has since garnered more than 37 000 signatures.

“Why was she dismissed, or better, who benefits from her removal? Were African heads of state and government consulted? Who called the shots? Or is Africa, and peoples of African descent, still facing the debilitating effects of modern colonialism or neocolonialism?” the petition reads.

In a recent tweet, AU chair President Moussa Faki Mahamat indicated that he has received the new AU Ambassador to the US.

Dr Chihombori-Quao will be replaced by Jessica Lapenn

In a letter addressed to Dr Chihombori-Quao on October 7, President Mahamat said the diplomat was relieved of her position in line with the commission’s rules.

The spokeswoman for the AU chairman’s office, Mr Ebba Kalondo, told the media that Dr Chihombori-Quao has come to the end of her political appointment after spending three years in the position, and to imply she was being punished for her views is not true.

“This is normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere,” said Mr Kalondo in a statement.

In Zimbabwe, Dr Chihombori-Quao came into the limelight after she was linked to former Prime Minister in the inclusive Government Mr Morgan Tsvangirai after the two were spotted at former South African president Jacob Zuma’s inauguration in 2009.

However, those close to Mr Tsvangirai, who was the MDC-T founding leader, said Dr Chihombori-Quao was a niece to the late opposition leader.
Russia Pledges More Aid, Cooperation
21 OCT, 2019 - 00:10
Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

The President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, has said his country will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to African countries affected by Cyclone Idai, which devastated Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.

President Putin said this in an interview with Russian News Agency (TASS), ahead of the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit this week.

He also spoke on a range of cooperation issues, which puts Russia firmly in the geopolitical matrix of forging strong relations with the continent.

President Mnangagwa is today expected to lead a Zimbabwean delegation to the summit, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Sochi and the forum will focus on key areas of cooperation between Russia and African countries.

The discussions are framed by three thematic pillars — “Forging Economic Ties”, “Creating Joint Projects”, and “Collaborating in the Humanitarian and Social Sector”.

President Putin said his country, which helped Cyclone Idai victims this year, would continue to give humanitarian support to Zimbabwe and other affected countries.

And he paid attention to the humanitarian dimension.

“Humanitarian assistance is being provided to Africa by many world countries, yet none of them — be it the US, France, China or any other country — has fully resolved all of its social problems, including in healthcare, education and culture.

“Russia too provides humanitarian assistance to African states, but not by reducing the amount of funding for its own programmes. After all, good traditions of charity and support in times of need are a hallmark of our people,” President Putin said.

“Russia, as many other states, provided aid to the African countries affected by tropical Cyclone Idai in April 2019. Russia sent humanitarian supplies to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, that is large tents, blankets and food products weighing about 30 tonnes for each country.

“We continue to take an active part in efforts to provide comprehensive assistance to Africa. Russia is involved in the UN World Food Programme’s school meals project valued at US$40 million, which has been implemented in Mozambique since October 2017, and in the project to introduce modern technology and equipment for disinfection worth up to US$15 million in Madagascar.”

President Putin said Russia was among the first countries to react to the Ebola outbreak as well as other pandemics.

“We also provide assistance to our African friends in healthcare development, as dangerous communicable diseases respect no borders. Russia was among the first to react to Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreak, having allocated US$60 million to combat it. There is now a microbiology and epidemiology research centre in Guinea. Russia contributed US$20 million to the World Bank programme to implement the global malaria control initiative.’’ President Putin said.

“And such examples are plenty. I would like to emphasise that Russia’s participation in fighting poverty, dangerous illnesses and other global threats, as well as reduction of potential risks ‘at distant approaches’ are fully in line with our national interests.”

This week’s summit is expected to deepen friendly relations between the Russian Federation and the African continent on both bilateral and multilateral levels, forge closer collaboration on regional and international issues of common interest, raise strategic dialogue between Russia and African countries to a qualitatively higher level, and contribute to peace, security and sustainable development on the African continent.

The Russia-Africa Summit will also contribute towards the overall objective of addressing the aspirations of African countries as encapsulated in Agenda 2063.

Agenda 2063 calls for a people-centered developmental process that ensures, inter alia, economic diversification and growth in order to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The participation of Zimbabwe at this inaugural summit is in line with the country’s re-engagement policy pillar of cooperation in various technical fields, as well as promoting economic development.

Bilateral relations between the Zimbabwe and the Russian Federation are at optimal level and continue to grow from strength to strength.
ED to Meet Investors in Russia
20 OCT, 2019 - 00:10
Kuda Bwititi
Chief Reporter

President Mnangagwa will this week attend the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, where he is expected to meet Russian investors from Alrosa and Great Dyke Investments (GDI).

The engagements are expected to give fillip to the two projects that are key to economic revival. Several African Heads of States and Government will attend the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit, which is earmarked to enhance co-operation between Africa and Moscow.

The two-day summit ends on Thursday, with the first day exclusively dedicated to business.

Zimbabwe’s chief envoy to Russia Ambassador Mike Sango confirmed the President’s itinerary to The Sunday Mail.

“During the summit, His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa will meet with investors of Great Dyke Investments and Alrosa with a view to give impetus to the implementation of the two mega projects. Other meetings with the President in energy, mining and manufacturing sectors have been organised,” he said.

“The success of the two mega projects are critical in attracting other Russian investors. Where big business succeeds, smaller players follow. But, if they fail, no other business will enter that market.

“It is, therefore, important that these two investors succeed, otherwise other businesses will shy away from the Zimbabwe market.”

Ambassador Sango said the mining projects by the Russian investors naturally have a long gestation period.

“The two projects, by virtue of their qualitative financial magnitude or complexity, take time to consummate.

“It is, therefore, critical that all due processes are meticulously done to avoid future conflict or misunderstandings.”

President Mnangagwa is also expected to address a business forum, where he will pitch the country’s business case to potential investors.

The President would also give a keynote address to the business round-table organised in conjunction with Business Russia, an all-Russia public organisation.

According to Ambassador Sango, Zimbabwean companies will also take part at the summit.

“Russia has moved forward in terms of manufacturing and mining technologies. (They) are among global leaders of energy technologies. These are the areas that the embassy (of Zimbabwe in Russia) has encouraged our sectors to look at more seriously,” he said.

The recent establishment of the Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council, he added, has created a platform for continuous interaction between businesses from both countries.

Russia has a strong bond with African countries that can be traced to the time the continent was fighting for independence from colonisation.
SADC Keen on Sanctions Removal
20 OCT, 2019 - 00:10
Lincoln Towindo and Kuda Bwititi
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Sadc is prepared to constantly and systematically engage countries and multilateral institutions over sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, and is hopeful the embargo will eventually be scrapped, executive secretary of the 16-member regional body Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has said.

Regional leaders declared October 25 as a day of solidarity with Harare during the 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Tanzania in August.

Countries are expected to hold a series of events to mark the day in their respective countries.

Dr Tax said the secretariat has been constantly liaising with member states to update them on the impact of sanctions, which have had a contagion effect on the region.

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade estimates that the country could have lost over US$42 billion in revenue over the past 18 years.

“We do expect that our appeal will be heard by the countries and (multilateral) organisations which have imposed sanctions with a view to completely remove them,” said Dr Tax in e-mailed responses to The Sunday Mail.

“This requires a constant and systematic engagement over time and at various levels.

“Through relevant structures, Sadc has engaged countries at bilateral and multilateral level, providing information on the impact of sanctions and advocating for their complete removal.

“Sadc secretariat supports member states in articulating a common position while coordinating and facilitating its dissemination using all available platforms and fora.”

Resolutions from a high-level AU meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last year calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions, she said, will be followed through.

“In this regard, the 797th Ministerial meeting of Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 called upon all members of the international community that have imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe to remove them, without any further delay, in order to facilitate early socio-economic recovery in the country.”

Local preps

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will preside over the main event at the National Sports Stadium on Friday, which will be preceded by a march from Robert Mugabe Square.

A representative of Sadc chairperson and Tanzania’s President Dr John Magufuli will attend.

All provinces will also host various activities.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana said the event will build the national and international critical mass needed to turn the tide.

“We are building national and international critical mass against sanctions, which, in our case, are a crime against humanity as they are causing so much untold suffering and deaths . . . and negatively affecting the prospects of future generations,” he said.

“We have 15 other states speaking on our behalf and many organisations saying enough is enough.”

The regional push, Mr Mangwana said, was reminiscent of the effort that felled apartheid in South Africa.

Harare hopes that the advocacy by regional and international allies will gradually snowball into the much-needed diplomatic leverage to remove the embargo.

“What this exercise does is to mount diplomatic pressure on those who have imposed sanctions on our country,” he said.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Mr Elasto Mugwadi said the commission is ratcheting up its international lobby at regional, continental and global fora for the punitive measures to be lifted.

ZHRC has since taken the anti-sanctions push to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a UN-affiliated organisation.

“At the continental level, we have the Network of National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), which is a continental body, and we are affiliated to the African Union Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and we have a seat in Gambia.

“Next (this) week, NANHRI is convening a meeting and we are going to deliver a statement at that platform to lobby for the removal of the sanctions and also give a position on how these measures have affected millions of Zimbabweans.”

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu said the ruling party is mobilising its supporters for the event, with preparatory meetings already underway.

“This event will be held throughout the country and we have directed all our provinces to host Provincial Coordinating Committee meetings this weekend to finalise preparations. We expect our supporters to fully support this programme,” said Dr Mpofu.

“This day is very important to us a party because Sadc has fully supported us in making a bold statement against those power countries that they should lift these illegal sanctions which are punishing innocent people.”
World Famous Cuban Ballerina Alicia Alonso Dies
Cuba's most internationally acclaimed ballerina, Alicia Alonso, passed away today at the age of 98, the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC) announced

Prensa Latina (PL) | informacion@granma.cu
October 17, 2019 17:10:54

The legendary dancer, founder and director of the BNC, also participated in the founding of the American Ballet Theatre, in the early 20th century.

Alonso's talent was legendary, offering technical and interpretative virtuosity in classical works, while her resolve to continue dancing despite her progressive loss of vision and will to remain active on the stage until a very advanced age was widely admired.

Alicia nació para que Giselle nunca muera.

The prima ballerina assoluta directed the BNC and staged shows until her death, as well as the International Ballet Festival of Havana.

“Art can contribute to understanding and dialogue between peoples as it shows some of the highest and purest coincidences among all human beings,” she once told Prensa Latina.

The Cuban ballet school founded by Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso is unique in the Americas and one of the six recognized in the world.

The BNC created by the three of them in 1948, was distinguished by the Cuban government last year as Cultural Patrimony of the Nation

Alicia served as a model for maestro Fernando when he wrote the methodological bases of the Cuban school and starred in many of Alberto's choreographies, the first great defender of national identity in the choreographic field.

Con profundo dolor los escritores y artistas cubanos despedimos a la gran Alicia Alonso. Miembro de Honor de la UNEAC, a Alicia la recordaremos siempre muy cercana a nuestra organización.

Alonso was awarded Cuba's National Dance Prize, Spain's Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, and the ALBA Prize for the Arts, awarded to recognized personalities of the continent.

In 2000, the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba granted Alonso the highest decoration of the island, the Jose Marti Order and, in 2015, the same body decided to add her name to Havana's Grand Theater.

Precisely in the foyer of the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana stands a bronze statue of the artist dancing her favorite classic, Giselle.

In 2003, the then president of France, Jacques Chirac, presented Alicia with the National Order of the Legion of Honour, and in 2017, she was invested as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

In addition, UNESCO officially created the Alicia Alonso Ibero-American Dance Institute in 2018, attached to the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain.

Since January 2019, she has shared the artistic direction of the BNC with one of her disciples, first dancer Viengsay Valdes. As such, the very school that Alonso founded has contributed to guaranteeing her continuity.

The legendary artist received many more awards throughout her lifetime, including the Star of the Century award from the Latin Institute of Music for having been a true promoter of Latin cadence in classical dance.

However, no award is comparable to the mark she has left as the leading paradigm of dance in Cuba, a legacy that lies with all Cuban ballet dancers today. (PL)
Six Decades of Aggression Toward Cuba
New Treasury Department regulations to tighten the blockade are intended to disrupt the daily lives of Cubans, including essential health care

Ronald Suárez Rivas | internet@granma.cu
October 7, 2019 15:10:59

Life goes on in Cuba, with the conviction that there are peoples who do not surrender, and sacred principles, like human dignity and love for the homeland, that will always be worth fighting for. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia
On his bed in the intensive care unit of Pepe Portilla Pediatric Hospital, where he has lived the last two years and seven months, King Dennys Santiesteban shows me his collection of toy dinosaurs.

He assures me that the fiercest is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that there are really big ones that they only eat grass.

At six, he tells me that he already knows how to read and write, thanks to the dedication of his grandmother and the doctors who care for him day and night, but admits that his greatest wish is to return home.

The disease he suffers requires him to remain attached to a mechanical ventilator, so without one at home, he stays here.

Dr. Liliana María Cueto explains that these are very expensive devices, only manufactured by capitalist corporations.

"If the equipment has any component from the United States, it isn’t sold to our country," she says.

Liliana points out that, if there is one area which the U.S. blockade impacts every day, it is public health.

"We feel the lack of medications, such as first-generation antibiotics and equipment with some component of U.S. origin. The firms that produce them are afraid to sell to us, or if they do, they don’t supply us with spare parts."

Nonetheless, Cuban doctors are committed to defending life and fighting disease. After more than half a century of resistance, it has almost become normal for a country in which most of its inhabitants were born under the effects of the blockade.

But nothing more cruel and anachronistic than this genocidal policy, supported by more than a dozen administrations in the White House.

Beyond the enormous figures describing the damage done to our economy and the negative impact on development, each and every Cuban has had a personal experience with the blockade - be it an unavailable medicine, a closed plant, equipment that could no longer be repaired because a U.S. firm bought the factory where it was produced...

The examples have multiplied recently, with the obsessive aggressiveness of the Trump administration.

The drastic reduction of services offered at the U.S. embassy in Havana, ​​greatly complicating procedures Cubans must follow to travel to the United States; the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act; further restrictions on travel to the island by U.S. citizens; limits on remittances; fines on companies that allegedly violate the blockade; increased subversive projects; sanctions to prevent the arrival of fuel to the country, meant to generate chaos and discontent, are just some of the measures adopted by the President and his minions.

With incredible cynicism, they have said that these actions are intended to "free the Cuban people from suffering," as if each and every measure is meant to cause exactly the opposite.

A statement released by the U.S. embassy in Havana, this past September 6, shamelessly states that the escalation in Treasury Department regulations to tighten the blockade will deny Cuba access to foreign currency “as part of our support for the Cuban people."

But life goes on in Cuba, with the conviction that there are peoples who do not surrender, and sacred principles, like human dignity and love for the homeland, that will always be worth fighting for.

HOSTILE U.S. MEASURES IMPOSED ON CUBA SINCE JUNE OF 2017

June 16, 2017

Principal changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba made by Donald Trump:

÷÷ Increased restrictions on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens, by reducing the number of categories of travel permitted with a general license, as opposed to a specific permit from the Treasury Department.

÷÷ Reinforcement of the blockade via the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.

÷÷ Repeal of Presidential Policy Directive issued by President Barack Obama in 2016, which stated that the blockade was an obsolete burden for the Cuban people and an impediment to U.S. interests.3 de e 2018

September 29, 2017

Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a significant reduction of diplomatic staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana and withdrew all family members, on the grounds that there had been "attacks" on U.S. officials in Cuba, which had impacted their health.

October 3, 2017

The U.S. government, in an unjustified move, ordered 15 officials at the Cuban embassy in Washington to leave the country, allegedly since U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana had been reduced and the Cuban government had not taken the necessary steps to prevent further "attacks."

November 9, 2017

The State Department published a list of 179 Cuban entities with which U.S. citizens were not allowed to conduct direct financial transactions. The list includes the ministries of Armed Forces and the Interior; the National Revolutionary Police; state enterprises; the Mariel Special Development Zone and Havana container terminals; dozens of hotels throughout Cuba; travel agencies; and stores.

December 22, 2017

Washington moves its immigration office in Cuba to Mexico.

January 10, 2018

The United States issues travel advisory instructing its citizens to reconsider trips to Cuba.

January 23, 2018

The United States creates a Cuba Internet Task Force, announced on January 23 by the State Department, opening the doors to a return to failed Cold War policy.

March 2018

Washington releases funds for subversion in Cuba and the border wall with Mexico. The budget approved by the United States Congress includes 20 million dollars for subversion in Cuba.

March 29, 2018

The United States announces that, beginning April 1, the immigrant visa process for Cubans will once again change, to be conducted now at the U.S. embassy in Georgetown, Guyana. Due to these unilateral measures, since September of 2017, the U.S. consul in Havana is virtually paralyzed and only offers emergency services.

September 10, 2018

President Donald Trump extends the Trading with the Enemy Act’s application against Cuba for another year.

May 2, 2019

The Trump administration activates Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

June 5, 2019

The Treasury Department will no longer permit group educational and cultural trips known as “people to people.”

September 2019

The United States Department of the Treasury modified the Asset Control Regulations for Cuba to impose new sanctions on our country, basically, adding further restrictions on remittances and bank transactions. U.S. President Donald Trump again renews the application of the Trading with the Enemy Law to Cuba, for another year.
Being Like Che, Today and Tomorrow
On the 52nd anniversary of Ernesto Guevara’s death, we recall the question posed by Fidel: “What do we want our children to be?” And the answer: “…Like Che”

Dilbert Reyes Rodríguez | informacion@granma.cu
October 8, 2019 10:10:56

“I am” or “I will be” is perhaps the most recurrent personal dilemma, in terms of revolutionary ethics, that Che’s memory provokes.

This challenging question weighs heavy in the hearts of conscious individuals, well aware of the living force of Ernesto Guevara’s impeccable example.

It is clear, first of all, that this is not a question for everyone, since he does not mean the same thing for everyone. A man becomes a symbol only for those who share his dreams, while for others he is simply an historical figure, albeit a renowned one.

Che speaks to us in many ways, as a legend, a leader, soldier, companion, father, a natural man.

Nothing in his life or work needs an explication to defend its value. He did not need it when he was alive, when his posture and acts spoke for themselves, even as a developing young man. Much less later, after his ascension from the world of the living, to that of those who live forever.

From Rosario's boy to Bolivia's guerrilla leader, he constantly took on colossal challenges. He responded to his asthma by climbing mountains. To heal the sick? He swam across a jungle river. To understand the pain of his people? He rode a motorcycle across the feverish continent. To help remedy this pain? He gave himself in battle, embarked on an overloaded yacht, fought, and succeeded, making the Revolution that would begin the continental rebellion, in which he already knew he would die.

His unreachable, impossible goals were as legendary as the man, but nonetheless, for mortal revolutionaries who understand him, he left an ample legacy of challenges for daily practice, a framework for the human and the virtuous.

Fidel posed the question: “What do we want our children to be?” - those who we are now, and our own. “We want them to be like Che.”

This is the issue today: Asking ourselves if we are or will be like him, is to understand that the question is not to choose today or tomorrow, but to always be frank, bold, industrious, supportive, critical, decisive, and of course, sensitive dreamers committed to the common good, because seeking individual happiness in itself is not genuine. It is only true when, like the world’s eternal guerrilla, it has a collective soul and a vocation for humanity.