Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed by Press TV News Review on the French Intervention in Mali

Watch this Press TV News Review segment featuring Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, discussing the French and United States interventions in Mali and other West African states.

To view the news item which aired live on Tuesday March 30, 2021, just click on the following website: UN: At least 19 civilians killed in French airstrike in Mali on Jan. 3 | Urmedium

A United Nations (UN) probe has found France guilty of killing a large number of civilians in central Mali, where a persisting French military intervention has already sparked controversy.

On January 3, French fighter jets struck a site near the remote village of Bounti. Local residents and villagers said at the time that the strike targeted a wedding event and killed civilians.

Thousands Still Being Held in Detention on the Southern Border

Mounting political problems of migration for the Biden administration threaten to consume his presidency

By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Wednesday March 31, 2021 Commentary

Media accounts in the United States have shown that thousands of migrant workers and their families are being held in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities in the state of Texas.

Since the advent of the new administration which took office on January 20, the numbers of people seeking admission to the U.S. has continued to increase exponentially.

Although President Joe Biden has appointed his Vice President Kamala Harris to address and contain the burgeoning crisis, it is quite obvious that the federal government does not have the organizational capacity or the political will to effectively resolve the issue. The question of immigration into the U.S. is closely linked to the imperialist foreign policy of Washington and Wall Street which has systematically exploited and oppressed the masses of people within the Central America region and Mexico. 

For several weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its affiliates within the immigration and border services concealed the actual conditions prevailing inside the detention facilities. However, Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (Democrat) traveled to one of the CBP centers and released photographs and videos of the overcrowded and unsanitary situation facing children and adults.

On March 30, several members of the corporate press were allowed to enter the CBP detention facility in Donna, Texas where the images were taken and published during the previous week. The release of the initial photographs earlier in March, sparked sharp criticisms of the Biden administration from Democrats, Republicans and independent political forces. Immediately, Biden deployed a delegation to Texas while announcing that two military bases would be opened to house unaccompanied children seeking to enter the U.S. Nonetheless, the president has refused to declare the situation on the southern border and within the migrant detention facilities as a national crisis requiring immediate executive and legislative measures.

Many thousands are continuing to move throughout the Central America and Mexico region with the aim of entering the U.S. often in efforts to reconnect with family members. A recent British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report filmed in Mexico, illustrates the human trafficking operations taking place from Central America. Couriers are paid large sums of money to smuggle people across dangerous waterways and rural areas until they reach the border between Mexico and Guatemala. People are fleeing from poverty, the tyranny of drug lords and the impact of drought largely stemming from climate change. (

An article published by the Associated Press on the media delegation which visited the Texas facility says that: “The Biden administration for the first time Tuesday (March 30) allowed journalists inside its main border detention facility for migrant children, revealing a severely overcrowded tent structure where more than 4,000 people, including children and families, were crammed into a space intended for 250 and the youngest were kept in a large play pen with mats on the floor for sleeping. With thousands of children and families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks and packing facilities, President Joe Biden has been under pressure to bring more transparency to the process. U.S. Customs and Border Protection allowed two journalists from The Associated Press and a crew from CBS to tour the facility in Donna, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, the nation’s busiest corridor for illegal crossings.” (

Concurrently, the Biden administration is continuing the same immigration policy of expelling entire families with children along with adults traveling on their own under the Trump-era public health regulations enacted during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrastingly, the Biden White House says that it will not expel unaccompanied minors and children while seeking to house these juveniles in better facilities. (

Criminalization of the Plight of Migrant Workers and Their Families

When the migrants are detained and moved into the CBP detention facilities they are given medical examinations and psychological evaluations, according to the officials. The children are checked for lice and if they show symptoms of coronavirus they are supposed to be placed in some form of isolation.

Nevertheless, in viewing the photographs released by both Congressman Cuellar and the media delegation from March 30, it becomes quite obvious that these facilities where migrant workers and children are being detained are incubators for infectious diseases. After the detainees are processed through examinations, photographs and psychological evaluations, they are given notices of when to appear before an immigration court. 

U.S. immigration officials claim that if the children have contact information for relatives living in the country, they are allowed to inform them of their status. However, many of these relatives themselves maybe living as undocumented persons and are reluctant to come forward. The detainees are fingerprinted as well placing them within the federal law-enforcement system for future monitoring.

In the same report quoted earlier in this article, it says of the flow of migrants into the U.S.: “The Border Patrol is apprehending far more children daily than Health and Human Services is placing with U.S. sponsors, leading to a severe backlog in the system. The Border Patrol generally is not supposed to detain children for more than three days, but Health and Human Services lacks space. More than 2,000 kids have been at the Donna facility for more than 72 hours, including 39 for more than 15 days. HHS is housing children at convention centers in Dallas and San Diego and is opening large-scale sites in San Antonio, El Paso and elsewhere.” 

Consequently, these families will remain separated for the unforeseeable future. The living circumstances in the CBP and HHS facilities will make the migrant workers and children susceptible to contracting coronavirus and other illnesses at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are surging in more than half of the states threatening the advent of a fourth wave in the U.S., the country with the most infections internationally. The trauma of residing in these detention centers could scar the psychological make-up of both the adults and children held in custody along with their families living both outside and inside the U.S.

Federal Government Must Take Immediate Action on Immigration Reform

The Biden administration can no longer ignore the escalating numbers of migrants attempting to enter the U.S. Policy initiatives to provide vaccinations and economic relief to millions of people, cannot be utilized as an excuse for inaction on the border crisis. 

New legislation and executive orders are required to address the needs of the migrants seeking asylum. The aggressive military and economic policies of the government and corporations should be curtailed in order to provide relief to people living in Mexico and Central America.

This crisis has its origins within domestic and foreign policy imperatives of the U.S. which are designed to maintain white supremacy, enhance capitalist exploitation and the imperialist plunder of Latin America and the Caribbean. The influx of migrants into the U.S. is a manifestation of the more than three decades of wars waged against the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. 

Tens of millions of people living in these geo-political regions targeted by Washington, the European Union, NATO and their allies are being forced from their homes. The economies under which they live have been destroyed through wars of occupation and the enactment of globalization which stifles the capacity of people to build an independent existence. 

Imperialist war and the unquenchable demand by the capitalist states for the land, resources, waterways and labor of the majority of the world’s population has prompted the large-scale displacement of an estimated 75 million people worldwide. The problems of migration from the oppressed nations can only be resolved by a radical transformation of the industrialized countries of Western Europe and North America.

Failed Foreign and Immigration Policies Underline Crisis on the Southern Border

By Abayomi Azikiwe 

Mar 25, 2021

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar on Monday released photos from inside a facility where the Biden administration is housing migrants, offering the public's first glimpse inside overflow facilities as the administration has restricted press access amid a surge of border crossings.

More than two centuries of war and economic exploitation has characterized the United States’ role in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since coming to office on January 20, the administration of President Joe Biden has faced a mounting problem of managing the influx of migrant workers and their families on the southern border with Mexico.

Although these issues have been largely ignored by the president and his spokespersons, daily reports of thousands of people, including unaccompanied children, crossing the border in Texas has created a political problem for the new president and the Democratic-dominated House of Representatives and Senate.

Biden has so far refused to characterize the situation as a crisis. Nonetheless, photographs and videos posted by a Congressional representative on March 22, has alarmed advocates for immigration rights along with broad segments of the population in the United States.

Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas, visited a recently opened detention facility for migrants located in Donna, Texas. Cuellar’s images show people sleeping on floor mattresses in crowded conditions which are not conducive to preventing the transmission of COVID-19 infections.

In an article published by The Hill on March 22 which discussed the visit by Cuellar to the detention center, it says: “A spokesperson for Cuellar declined to say who provided the photos to the border-district lawmaker. Cuellar told Axios, which first obtained the photos, that the facility amounted to ‘terrible conditions for the children’ and that they should be moved into care from the Department of Health and Human Services instead of Customs and Border Protection.” (

Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, has spoken to television news programs in an effort to contain the political fallout from the crisis. Mayorkas says that the Biden administration is working to transfer migrant children from the CBP detention camps to the custody of HHS. Nonetheless, a clear administration policy remains illusive while Biden has said to the media that migrants from Central America and Mexico should not come into the U.S.

Katharina Buchholz wrote in a report for the statista online website that: “According to figures released by Customs and Border Protection, more than 9,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the border in February, compared to just over 5,600 in January. For family units, numbers skyrocketed, with almost 19,000 individuals in family units (adults and children) detained, compared to just approximately 7,000 in January. A surge facility for unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border had reopened as of late February, the AP reports.” (

On March 24, the administration announced that it would allow some members of the corporate media to enter the migrant detention camps to observe the conditions. Prior to this time, White House officials have said that due to the pandemic access to the facilities housing migrants would not be open for viewing.

Another statement from the Biden team on March 24 said that two military facilities in Texas would be opened for the temporary housing of migrants. However, many people including children, are being returned to Mexico on a daily basis by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The Biden administration deployed a delegation to the southern border on March 24 in order to create an appearance of concern and effective response.

U.S. Has Maintained Imperialist Foreign Policy Throughout the Region

Many of the people crossing the border into the U.S. are from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. All of these states have been subjected to the unwarranted interference into their internal affairs by successive U.S. administrations dating back to the early 19th century.

The destabilization and overthrowing of the governments of Guatemala (1954), El Salvador (1980s) and Honduras (2009) has created monumental social problems inside their countries. These historical realities are compounded by the economic policies of U.S.-based multi-national corporations which have ruthlessly exploited the land, resources and labor of the peoples of Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

The plight of the people suffering from the social impact of imperialist foreign policy initiatives by the U.S. government and corporations, has provided a mechanism for enhancing institutional racism on a domestic level. This was evident under the Trump administration when migrants from Mexico and other Latin American states were scapegoated as being violent criminals belonging to gangs.

However, the problems of immigration did not begin under the Trump administration. The problem is deeply connected with the overhaul racist and imperialist domestic and foreign policy imperatives of Washington and Wall Street.

Predatory loans and the super-exploitation of agricultural and industrial labor within the region has done more to breakdown societies worsening impoverishment and geographical dislocation. These are the factors that must be taken into consideration when analyzing the rapidly increasing numbers of those attempting to enter the U.S.

Even under the administration of former President Barack Obama, more people were deported from the U.S. than in any other time in history. Biden was questioned on several occasions in 2019-2020 in his campaign appearances about the legacy of the Obama-era immigration policy and the damage it inflicted on families and communities. His responses always sought to avoid the actual situation which prevailed during those years when he served as Vice President.

It was the administration of President George W. Bush, Jr. which established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. The DHS sought to bring all of the intelligence and enforcement agencies within the U.S. government under one umbrella. This process of the further centralization and militarization of intelligence and federal law-enforcement has never been opposed by the two Democratic administrations of Obama and subsequently, the Biden program has remained silent on these important questions as well.

Those countries within the Caribbean, Central America and South America which have sought to break the chains of imperialist hegemony are under constant threat by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the State Department and the Pentagon. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador among others, are being undermined through the foreign policy directives of Washington and the psychological warfare propaganda of the corporate and government-controlled media outlets in the U.S.

Immigrant Rights and Anti-Imperialism Are One Struggle

Any movement to end U.S. militarism in Latin America is inextricably linked to the struggle against national oppression and institutional racism. In fact, the social dynamics of the current situation is connected to the interventionist policies of the Pentagon and State Department in other geo-political regions.

African migrant workers from the continent have travelled to South American states such as Brazil. These workers may later leave Brazil or other states in the region in an effort to cross the border with the U.S. from Mexico.

Tens of millions of people have been displaced throughout large swaths of Asia and Africa directly stemming from the wars of imperialist aggression launched by the Pentagon, NATO and its allies. The influx of African and Asian migrants into Europe has provided a milieu for the growth of neo-fascist political parties and groupings which oppose immigration from oppressed nations along with the denial of fundamental human rights to these impacted nationalities.

The hostility embedded in the domestic and foreign policy of Washington towards the peoples of Africa, Asia-Pacific Islands and Latin America along with other Indigenous and oppressed peoples is designed to foster racial segregation and economic exploitation. People inside the imperialist states can make an enormous contribution to humanity by engaging with social forces committed to ending all forms of discrimination, national oppression and imperialism.

By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Wednesday March 24, 2021 Political Analysis

Despite Official Denials Racist Violence Against Asians Continue in the United States

By Abayomi Azikiwe 

Mar 24, 2021

Six Asians and two other gunned down in Georgia amid right-wing resurgence

March is International Women’s History Month and the threats towards oppressed and racially marginalized people in the United States are intensifying.

An attack by a 21-year-old white male against three Asian-owned spas in Atlanta and Cherokee County in Georgia resulted in the shooting deaths of eight people including six women of Asian descent.

Corporate and government-controlled media outlets in the U.S. have been either hesitant or resistant to labelling these incidents as hate crimes which were racially motivated. Nonetheless, a number of Asian American leaders which have been interviewed on these same television channels and websites are clearly saying that the mass killings in Georgia cannot be viewed in isolation from the escalation of hostilities since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 as well as a centuries-long history of discrimination directed towards Asian people.

The Georgia shootings occurred while there are daily reports of Asians and Asian Americans being routinely insulted and physically assaulted on the streets of numerous municipalities from New York City to the Bay Area of California. Former U.S. President Donald Trump utilized the coronavirus pandemic as a weaponized foreign policy tool to justify his tariffs imposed during the early phase of his administration.

Often referring to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan and China Virus”, the former president known for his bigoted attitudes deliberately sought to promote hatred towards Asian people in the U.S. and internationally. These statements compounded the false notions of Asian people not being a part of U.S. society whether they were born inside the country or not.

For several decades since the advent of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in the U.S., the ruling class has attempted to craft an image of Asians as a “model minority” which is not concerned with demonstrations and other political actions related to ending racism and national oppression. Even with these false narratives aimed at dividing the non-European sectors of the population, the discriminatory practices and stereotypes which characterize Asians as a “permanent other”, the contradictions between the a-political characterizations of the community and the actual impact of racial violence are being illustrated.

Consequently, the failure of leading corporate news agencies and government outlets to describe the attacks in Georgia as racist hate crimes, speaks to the ongoing efforts by the state and ruling class to deny the basis for unity among people of color communities. For example, when vigilantes and police killed Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Hakim Littleton, among others during 2020, the question of racial motivation was immediately raised from the masses of African Americans and their allies around the U.S. This could not be ignored by the mainstream media as millions poured into the streets across the country and the world in response to racist violence.

According to an article published by The Conversation online news magazine, Prof. Pawan Dhingra, a sociologist and expert in American Studies at Amherst College, wrote on the present situation saying: “I have researched and taught on Asian America for 20 years, including on the pernicious effects of stereotypes and attacks on individuals. Race can play a role in violence and prejudice, even if the offender does not clearly express a racist intent. Much remains unknown about the attacks in Atlanta, but the man charged with the murders has said he did not have a racial prejudice against people of Asian descent. Rather, he has claimed he has a sexual addiction. But that statement indicates that he assumed these women were prostitutes, whether that is true or not. This assumption, and the resulting violence, is just one of many that Asian Americans have suffered through the years.” (

History of Racism Against Asians in the U.S.

There has also been the tendency within the corporate media to frame the attacks and discriminatory behavior towards Asian people within the context of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Yet this notion obscures and distorts the actual social status of Asian people in the U.S.

Since at least the 19th century, Congress and successive administrations have enacted laws designed to restrict the number of Asians allowed into the country. There are numerous incidents of massacres and lynching directed against the Asian communities. In 1942, after a declaration of war against Imperial Japan, 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly detained and relocated to internment camps until 1945 when the administration of President Harry Truman utilized two atomic weapons in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The same article mentioned above by Prof. Dhingra notes that the racial and gender characteristics of discrimination and violence date back long before the recent rash of attacks: “The presupposed connection between Asian women and sex dates back almost 150 years. In 1875, the U.S. Congress passed the Page Act, which effectively barred Chinese women from immigrating, because it was impossible to tell if they were travelling ‘for lewd and immoral purposes,’ including ‘for purposes of prostitution’. The assumption that all Chinese women were of questionable moral character placed the burden on the women themselves to somehow prove they were not prostitutes before being allowed to immigrate.”

Later in 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act to deny citizenship to immigrant workers many of whom built large sections of the U.S. railway systems. One source on the rationale behind the legislation emphasizes that: “The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. Many Americans on the West Coast attributed declining wages and economic ills to Chinese workers. Although the Chinese composed only .002 percent of the nation’s population, Congress passed the exclusion act to placate worker demands and assuage prevalent concerns about maintaining white ‘racial purity.’” (

The degree to which workers in the U.S., presumably white workers, were opposed to Chinese immigration, represented the impact of bourgeois ideology on the European American population groups which are often convinced that any social gains made by oppressed peoples of color calculates as a net loss for their elevated class status. Even today in the 21st century, the hostilities expressed towards the peoples of Asia within various U.S. political circles and the capitalist-oriented media, further reinforce the violence and repression against Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples.

The Foreign Policy Dimension and Specter of Socialism

Underlying a considerable portion of the antagonistic posture towards Asians is the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) related to its development over the last 72 years. China is led by the Communist Party which directs large sections of the economy and state structures.

The first diplomatic engagement between the administration of President Joe Biden and the PRC was disastrous, leading to no substantial agreements among the two leading economies in the world. Washington represented by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken took on the historic Cold War posture accusing China of attempting to spread its influence within the Asia-Pacific region. Nonetheless, the U.S. has failed in all of its military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Palestine, creating the large-scale deaths, injuries and displacements of millions throughout the globe.

Although the State Department accused China of human rights violations against Muslims, the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan, Beijing responded by pointing to the racial oppression which remains pervasive in the U.S. Ironically, these remarks by the Biden administration came during the same week as the mass shooting of eight people in Georgia, six of which were of Asian descent.

U.S. imperialist ambitions inherently clash with the aspirations of socialist countries and the national liberation movements. Consequently, people in the U.S. must turn away from national chauvinism and racism which guides the domestic and foreign policies of the capitalist state and the ruling class.

By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Tuesday March 23, 2021 Commentary

The Ides of March 2011: NATO’s ‘Humanitarian’ War on Libya, Abayomi Azikiwe Interview on GRNH

With guests Abayomi Azikiwe and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

By Michael Welch, Abayomi Azikiwe, and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, March 20, 2021

To listen to this program just click on this link: The Ides of March 2011: NATO’s ‘Humanitarian’ War on Libya - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

“This is injustice, it is clear aggression, and it is uncalculated risk for its consequences on the Mediterranean and Europe…We are confronting Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, nothing more. What would you do if you found them controlling American cities with the power of weapons? Tell me how would you behave, so that I could follow your example?”

– Col Muammar Gaddafi, speaking to President Obama by letter in March 2011 [1]

A French plane, one of twenty in the Libyan region, attacked and destroyed its first target at 1645 GMT on March 19, 2011. [2]

These were soon joined by British fighter jets and US cruise missiles.[3]

Framed as enforcing a No-Fly zone authorized by the UN Security Council, the targets of these attacks were predominantly tanks and armoured vehicles, at least according to a spokesperson for the French Defense Ministry. Within days, these fighting forces merged under the command of  NATO Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, along with the arms embargo against Libya under the name Operation Unified Protector.[4][5]

The coalition soon expanded to encompass nineteen other partners including Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. For seven months, according to Global Security, this crusade by these “Guardians of Humanitarianism” punched Libya with 26,500 sorties, including over 9,700 strike sorties. [6] 

According to Julien Teil, film-maker of the documentary film “The Humanitarian War,” the military action on the part of NATO was launched in response to an initiative of the Benghazi based Libyan League for Human Rights and their head  Soliman Bouchuiguir, accusing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of human rights violations. 

This initiative led to a petition signed by 70 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) demanding the U.S., EU, and the UN to: “mobilize the United Nations and the international community and take immediate action to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people.”

This is what set in motion a process of military intervention under the pretext of the “Responsibility to Protect.”[7]

Justifying War: From Yugoslavia to Syria

At the time Gadaffi was killed gruesomely by counter-revolutionaries, Libya had the highest GDP per capita on the continent, with fewer people below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

Today, according to a study from the United Nations Office for Community Health Affairs, Libya is suffering a major humanitarian crisis. In a population with 7.4 million people, 1.3 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 700,000 of them needing food assistance.[8][9]

On the 10th anniversary of the launching of this war, the Global Research News Hour will attempt to decipher the REAL reasons for the invasion of Libya, taking a more detailed look at what has happened to it since, and what this could mean for the future of the country, and the African continent.

In our first half hour, we hear back from a long-time correspondent, Abayomi Azikiwe. He breaks down the true motives of the assault, the historical legacy of Muammar Gaddafi, and how the shattering of Libya will impact the broader African community.

In our second half, we have another long-timer joining us…Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya! The man was in Libya during the height of the war almost ten years ago. Following a replay of a former interview conducted by CKUW colleague Scott Price, we hear a more recent conversation in which he reflects on the humanitarian forces driving the war, the treatment of the Black African migrant situation, and of his cherished memories of the people he met there, and his positive outlook for the future.

Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire, and has appeared as a commentator on several media outlets. He is also a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an interdisciplinary sociologist and an award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, and author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor to the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy.

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, on Sat. March 27, 2021

Listen to the Sat. March 27, 2021 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast for this episode can be found at this website: Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 03/27 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics ( 

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the announcement by Republic of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa that there are explorations taking place related to the search for oil and natural gas resources inside the country; Somalia has warned the international community about any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Horn of Africa state; women in Ghana are participating in projects aimed at enhancing economic development; and the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea held bilateral talks on the relations between the two countries. 

In the second hour we listen to a briefing from the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts internationally. 

Finally, we continue our focus on International Women's History Month by looking back on research involving African American women and the workforce.

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, on Sun. March 21, 2021

Listen to the Sun. March 21, 2021 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. 

To hear this podcast click on the following website: Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast 03/21 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (

The program features a PANW report with dispatches on the continental mourning of former Tanzanian President John Magufuli who passed away several days ago; hundreds of young people are joining the ruling party in the Southern African state of Zimbabwe; sectional conflict is continuing in the southern regions of Ethiopia amid growing interference from the United States; and African migrants are still losing their lives in the Mediterranean in attempts to relocate in Europe. 

In the second hour we review news reports from Africa and the international community. 

Finally, we continue our focus on International Women's History Month through an audio documentary on the life and times of Ruby Elzy.  

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sat. March 20, 2021

Listen to the Sat. March 20, 2021 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. 

To hear this program just click on this website: Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 03/20 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (

The program features a PANW report with dispatches on the swearing in of the first woman president of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who took office in the aftermath of the death of former President John Magufuli; the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe has taken a COVID-19 vaccination to encourage others to follow inside the country; Ethiopia has encouraged the opposition TPLF party to surrender peacefully in order to avoid further instability in the Horn of Africa state; and the Sudanese foreign minister has travelled to the Union of Comoros for diplomatic discussions. 

In the second hour we hear a briefing from the Director General of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the international vaccination programs aimed at ending the pandemic. Finally, we continue our monthlong focus on Women's History with further discussions on the life, times and contributions of African American organizer Ella Baker.

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by PANW Editor Abayomi Azikiwe on March 14, 2021

Listen to the Sun. March 14, 2021 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the program just click on this website: Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 03/14 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics ( 

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the efforts of the Zimbabwe government to prevent a third wave of COVID-19 infections; the Ethiopian government has vehemently denied that it is carrying out "ethnic cleansing" in the northern Tigray region of the Horn of Africa state; Somalia has been urged by the United Nations Security Council to work out difficulties associated with the stalled national elections; Tunisia has begun the innoculation of people with the Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19; and the United Nations is deploying an additional 3,700 peacekeeping troops to the Central African Republic (CAR). 

In the second hour we listen to a briefing from the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the status of vaccination projects internationally. 

Finally, we continue our focus on Women's History Month with a rare archival interview with Civil Rights and Human Rights organizer Ella Baker.

The U.S. System Could Very Well Collapse if Reforms Are Not Instituted Immediately

March 14, 2021 - 16:22

Tehran Times Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor

The U.S. has been experiencing various social developments in recent years. There were several factors which have led to the existing social crisis in the U.S. The failure of the capitalist system to provide adequate jobs, incomes and amenities to tens of millions of people while the ruling class is becoming wealthier, inherently weakened national institutions. When the pandemic hit during 2020, the economic impact was catastrophic. Then rather than adequately addressing the problems, the Trump administration sought to ignore the increasing impoverishment and uncertainty, which fueled anger and righteous discontent. 

The mass demonstrations and rebellions across the country beginning in May 2020, further exposed the contradictions between the foreign policy rhetoric of the U.S. as being a leader in international human rights, where in reality the police and vigilante killings of African American and Latin American peoples suggest just the opposite. It was amazing to witness the United Nations Human Rights Council holding hearings on racist violence in the U.S. This event was held at the aegis of the African Union (AU) utilizing a resolution submitted by Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and adopted during his intervention at the July 1964 second summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. It will be important for progressive elements within the international community to continue their condemnation of U.S. foreign policy related to race relations and Washington's dealing with developing countries, particularly those holding anti-imperialist sentiments.

I think the established political structure in the U.S. is not able to cope up with these challenges and solve the social problems. The system needs a complete overhaul. The profit motive in economics cannot be maintained if the aim of the government is to seek stability. The longer the capitalist and imperialist system is in operation the world will know no peace.

The U.S. system could very well collapse if reforms are not instituted immediately. Even with substantial reforms, there are structural weaknesses and contradictions which will not go away if a new system is not brought into existence. However, even if the American system is in decline, it could continue to function for many years to come causing havoc domestically and internationally. For example, ancient Rome took several centuries to be completely stripped of its power. Even with the collapse becoming inevitable, it did not prevent the invasion of the Horn of Africa during the late 19th century and North Africa in the early 20th century. Fascism arose out of the desire of Mussolini to rebuild Rome as an imperialist state. It would take the defeat of Fascism in the 1940s to eliminate its strength as an imperialist power. A similar historical trajectory could occur in relationship to the U.S. if the people domestically and internationally are capable of eliminating imperialism as a continuing threat to humanity.

 *Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire. Azikiwe is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit. He has worked for several decades in solidarity with various liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa, the Caribbean and other geo-political regions. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Egypt, Sudan Need Binding Agreement Before Ethiopia Uses Rainwater to Fill GERD

March 29, 2021

Ethiopia determined to undertake the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam during the rainy months of July and August  

79 percent of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam is completed ( Photo : Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy)


Ethiopia is making preparations to undertake the second phase of filling Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with the aim to commence generating hydroelectric power using two turbines. 

A report by State media, Fana Broadcasting Corporate on Monday, said that Benishangul Gumuz regional state job creation agency  announced that clearing the forest will start. Over five thousand youth are said to have temporary employment opportunities. 

The land to be cleared will be used as reservoir for the water retained from the second phase of the filling which is set to happen in the Ethiopian rainy season, July and August. A total of 4,854 hectares of land will be cleared which will retain an additional  13.5 billion cubic meters of water. 

The stalled negotiation and the demand for “binding agreement”  

The negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the filling and operation of GERD has been stalled for several months now. 

The two countries (Egypt and Sudan) expressed their stance this month that they need to have a binding agreement before Ethiopia could undertake the second filling of the Dam. 

Sudan proposed this month to take the negotiation outside the African Union led one. It wanted the involvement of The United States of America, the United Nations and the European Union. Ethiopia declined saying adhering to the principle of African solution to African problems is desirable for the negotiation. 

Sudan went further to claim that the second phase of the dam will constitute a national security concern if undertaken without agreement.  In a move that seems to be military preparation, Sudan signed a military agreement with Egypt. It was signed with a view that “both countries face common challenges and threats to their national security,” as Mohamed Farid, Chief-of-Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, said. 

Apart from the military moves, Egypt continues to reach out to other African countries. This week, Abdel  Fetah Al-Sisi, hosted Burundian President Évariste Ndayishimiye, to  whom he told “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) represents an “existential” issue that affects the lives of millions of Egyptian people,” as reported by Ahram online. 

He is also cited as saying “I affirmed the necessity of seeking to reach a legally binding agreement that organises the process of filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam as soon as possible”.

Ethiopia rejects that it needs a binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan to use rain water to undertake the second filling of the dam. The understanding about the kind of agreement that the two lower riparian countries are demanding, as far as Ethiopia is concerned, is that they want to negotiate how the Nile water is going to be used in the future. 

For Ethiopia, the issue at hand is the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the agreement should focus on that, not on the use of Nile water.  

Earlier this month, the Ethiopian government disclosed that the entire project is 79 percent completed as of this month. Heavy rain in July and August is expected to significantly increase the volume of the river. 

More than 80 percent of the Nile river originates from Ethiopia – a country that never used its share of the water for millennia.  

NEBE Says Oromo Liberation Front Congress Contravene Party Regulation, Not Allowed in Election

March 29, 2021

Oromo Liberation Front will not be allowed to take part in the election as the congress it claimed to have conducted is rejected by National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, NEBE. 


The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Party resorted to calling general party congress as a way to resolve the difference within the party which led to a faction. Former party spokesperson, Kejela Merdassa, does not even recognize the Dawud Ibsa led group as a faction. It is a clique, he said in an interview with Ahadu TV last week. 

The group under the leadership of Ararso Bikila has been vying for recognition from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) after concluding a party congress with the hope of getting recognition from the Board. It also appealed to the Board to be allowed to take part in the next election saying that it failed to meet candidate registration deadline due to the party congress work.

As it turns out, NEBE rejected the congress that  Ararso Bikila’s group conducted.  In a statement released on Sunday, NEBE said that it  had been receiving  appeal letters and suspension from both sides of the faction within OLF following the split.

NEBE said party congress was called by the executive committee meeting while two-third of the executive committee was attending the meeting. The circumstances under which the congress was called violated section 23/4 of the party regulation. The body formed to carry out the party congress violated the regulation and could not execute the party congress.  It was indicated that the NEBE decision was made based  on documents submitted to the Board . 

Only three executive committee members established the organizing committee of General party congress, it was said. 

Furthermore, NEBE cited section 16.2 of the OLF party regulation to make a point that attendance to the party congress was in violation of the party law.  

A member who is to be elected as a representative to the General Assembly needs to serve at least for two years, but no evidence is given to verify that those who attended meet the criteria which is stated in section 17.1 of the party regulation, Election Board said further. 

NEBE decided that the party congress is not acceptable for the above-mentioned reasons.  

OLF’s request to take part in the election is unacceptable not on grounds that the deadline is passed but that the leadership elected following the party Congress is not accepted.  The party has not yet reacted to the decision from NEBE. 

It is to be recalled that the Oromo Liberation Front has been undergoing internal turmoil over what one faction of it ( under Ararso Bikila) said is a difference over strategy to attain party objectives. 

On the other hand, the faction under the former chairman of the party, Dawud Ibsa, is believed to have links to the militant wing of Oromo Liberation Front although Mr. Dawud declared that his party no longer has links, whatsoever, with it. 

Ethiopian government has been linking Oromo Liberation Front to massacres, killings and assassination in the country including the assassination of Hachalu Hudnessa. 

The militant wing  leaks on social media  ISIS style execution pictures and pictures of people, including elder, to be executed.

The Perilous Race Between Rescuing and Crashing a “Son of a Bitch”

March 27, 2021 

“The perilous race between rescuing and crashing a “son of a bitch” has entered its last and final decisive phase. ” TQS 

General Mulualem Admasu and his forces. They were among members of the Northern Command of Ethiopian Defense Force attacked on the night of November 4, 2020 in Humera. (Photo : screenshot from ENA video)

The Queen of Sheba

On that infamous night of November 3, 2020, the treasonous TPLF cabal forces heinously and cowardly attacked the Ethiopian Federal Army base of the Northern Command—while in their sleep. As they attacked 200 sites and bases—in a very coordinated manner at once—they massacred thousands in a barbaric way—slitting throats, slashing guts, and cutting off breasts of women soldiers. In an attempt to decimate the surrendered soldiers en masse, they chased them with heavy trucks, mowing them with well-placed machine guns as they run for their lives.

When the fortunes of treason catastrophically collapsed over their criminal gaze, the retreating and marauding cabal forces turned on civilians mounting a killing spree in My-Kadra, systematically hunting and killing Amharas, roaming house to house. In that tragic day of infamy, over 1,000 civilians—mostly young Amhara men—were slaughtered by crazed Tigrayan militia and special forces.

The Shifting Fortunes: Glossed Story

The humiliated and brutalized, but highly spirited, National Defence forces, many who retreated into an ‘enemy’ territory into Eritrea—barefooted and half-naked—swiftly reorganized to crash the mutinous cabal—which claimed some 200,000 militia and special forces and boasted to have commandeered a massive cache of arms from the National Defence. It only took the National Defence forces and the allied regional militias just two weeks to obliterate them into oblivion that surprised the whole world—but deeply and painfully shocked the cabal’s supporters, friends, allies and beneficiaries. 

The speed, valor, tenacity and resolve of the Ethiopian Defence forces and the regional militias in repulsing—and later annihilating—the insurrectionist cabal may need to be well recorded in the annals of history for posterity.

This is a short—and painful—history of the heinous acts perpetrated by the cowardly—and treasonous—TPLF cabal whose victory would have ensued utter humiliation, unprecedented chaos and disastrous dismemberment of the nation as well as colossal human tragedy in the region and beyond.

And yet, the major news media, think tanks, international organizations, human rights organizations, and partisan politicians have completely glossed over this glaring fact on the genesis of the conflict and its aftermath in their avid desire to resurrect the terrorist force. It is truly disturbing how these forces contrived to shamefully shift blames from the perpetrators to the victims. It is simply a grotesque mockery of justice. 

“He’s Our Son of a Bitch.”

In the early 1930s the politics of Nicaragua were in turmoil and the country was occupied by the United States Marines. The man who would grasp the opportunity to take control, impose order and enrich himself on the spoils was a 40-year-old army general, Anastasio ‘Tacho’ Somoza. He had strong support from the United States and in 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt is alleged to have said: ‘Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.’ 

In a hearing before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee of the International Relations House of Representatives, 115 Congress, First Session on May 22, 1997, Mr Donald M. Payne of New Jersey noted “If we look at some of our foreign policy we have supported the wrong people a long time. We had the Shah of Iran who did a terrible job in Iran, who was our guy. We took him out when he needed to be taken out. We supported Marcos and even before that with Samosa, I guess.” 

He continued: “We even support an apartheid government in South Africa because they did not like communism or a brutal dictator like Mobutu with $4,000,000,000 or $5,000,000,000 in the bank because he did not like the communists either. Of course, he did not like his own people, and he was a thief and a criminal and a murderer, but he did not like the Communists so that meant he was all right…. If you look at Nigeria and their brutal dictator [General Sani Abacha], they have oil, so we have to perhaps not have sanctions because bilateral sanctions will hurt the United States. It is good grade of oil, so we do not want to hurt Shell and all other oil companies.”

To be absolutely sure, it is not lost to neither the US nor the EU nor others as regards the nature of the TPLF beast which had been widely known for terrorizing, massacring, robbing and dehumanizing the Ethiopian people and its neighbors—for nearly three decades. It is not lost to them who ignited the conflict and perpetrated the horrendous and barbaric act on the Federal forces and civilians. It is not lost to them who fired the rockets which hit major areas of civilian population in Gondar and Bahir Dar and also Asmara to regionalize the conflict. They have the state-of-the art intelligence to corroborate all these, some of which already bombastically admitted by the cabal forces themselves.

It is now evident that they are blatantly and criminally maneuvering to resuscitate their dead “son of a bitch” from the treacherous caves and ravines of the Ethiopian highlands.

The Dizzying Smoke Screen: The Need to Shred It

The international community demanded Eritrea to withdraw its forces; media and humanitarian agencies to get unfettered access to the conflict zone; investigate the alleged atrocities; and terminate hostilities. 

The Ethiopian government accepted all the terms except the last one. Eritrea has now swiftly withdrawn its forces from the borders and the Ethiopian forces have taken over. Media and humanitarian agencies have been given unfettered access and have started reporting. The process of the investigation on the alleged atrocities is now jointly underway between the UN and the Ethiopian human right commission. The humanitarian support is also underway with the government contributing the lion share, as those who have been squawking on opening the conflict zone are yet to step up to the plate. 

Ethiopia has, rightly, rejected the contemptible proposal of cessation of hostilities with the defunct insurrectionists. This is nothing but an appalling maneuver to breathe life to the dead “son of a bitch” in the tortuous caves—to humiliate, dehumanize and rape us all over again. To be very sure, Ethiopia and virtually all Ethiopians in the country and the diaspora condemn such a maneuver in the strongest terms imaginable. And we’ve already witnessed the position of the great majority of the diaspora around the world as exhibited in the unprecedented public demonstrations.  Oh, yes, would the National defence forces, regional militias and special forces—who paid the ultimate price in life and blood—tolerate the re-emergence of the cabal forces—which horrendously brutalized, massacred and dehumanized them—through the machination of external pressure and conspiracy? The response is pretty evident.

All the talk about humanitarian crisis, unfettered access, alleged atrocities, and rape in Tigray is nothing but a smoke screen. If not, similar clashes, ethnic killings, massive internal displacements, and deprivations in other regions would have been reported or even mentioned with comparable intensity. Alas, those poor souls in the other regions cannot afford the expensive lobbyists in the US and EU capitals that the plundering cabals are furiously bankrolling. 

The hypocrisy and duplicity of the so called “international” community is simply beyond bound. 

In Conclusion

Ethiopia faces an unprecedented pressure from multiple corners—and the so called “international” community is failing her—again. 

The perilous race between rescuing and crashing a “son of a bitch” has entered its last and final decisive phase. 

The crashing of the “son of a bitch” is not simply inevitable and mandatory—but swiftly imminent. 

And soon, the tomb of their “son of a bitch” will gather weeds and dead leaves and the so-called “international” community will once again stand behind its trustworthy strategic partner in the region—as it should.

The Queen of Sheba may be reached at | Twitter: @TheQueenofSheb5

Rebel Attacks Deepen Humanitarian Crisis in North Mozambique


Map locates Palma, Mozambique. Fighting raged for the fifth day Sunday in northern Mozambique as rebels fought the army for control of the strategic town of Palma.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — After nearly a week of vicious fighting, Mozambique’s rebels controlled about half of the strategic town of Palma on Tuesday, deepening the humanitarian crisis in the country’s north and jeopardizing the multi-billion-dollar investment in offshore gas fields.

About 200 rebels armed with automatic rifles, machine guns, and mortars now control the part of Palma where government offices and banks are located, according to local media reports.

Thousands of residents already have fled to nearby Tanzania and south to the provincial capital of Pemba, according to international aid agencies.

More than 900,000 people in Mozambique now require food aid because of the crisis in the northern part of the country, according to the U.N. World Food Program.

“It is a fast-evolving conflict situation and large numbers of people are fleeing through the bush, with nothing, nothing by the clothes on their backs,” Lola Castro, the regional director for WFP told The Associated Press. “This humanitarian crisis is not going away, it’s increasing.”

Palma’s streets are deserted except for sporadic gunfire from the rebels, said Lionel Dyck, director of the Dyck Advisory Group, whose helicopter gunships are helping the Mozambican police battle the insurgents.

“It’s actually quite dire on the ground. It’s chaos because there’s still no real control and there won’t be control for some time,” Dyck, a retired colonel in the Zimbabwean army, told the AP on Tuesday.

“We are fighting the people on the ground and we are at the same time looking for stragglers,” he said. “As we are flying over areas, we look for people that are hiding in the bush ... We can use our squirrel helicopters and go out and pick up the civilians and move them to a friendly base.”

The insurgents, who are allied to the Islamic State group, also attacked a site on the Indian Ocean coast near Macomia last week, showing their reach across Cabo Delgado province, according to local media reports.

The three-year insurgency of the rebels, who are primarily disaffected young Muslim men, has taken more than 2,600 lives and displaced an estimated 670,000 people, according to the U.N.

A video posted by the Islamic State group purports to show fighters in or near Palma, but cannot be independently verified by The Associated Press.

About 50 armed fighters in a mix of camouflage uniforms, black shirts, and red headscarves are gathered for what appears to be a roll call.

“Permission to kill where we are going,” and “Permission to cut and kill where we are going,” is shouted by some men, speaking a local dialect of Swahili and Arabic.

The rebels are known locally as al-Shabab (the youth in Arabic) but have no known affiliation with the jihadist rebels of the same name in Somalia. The United States last week declared Mozambique’s rebels to be a terrorist organization and announced that 12 military trainers had been deployed to help the southern African country’s marines.

Portugal, Mozambique’s former colonial power, announced Tuesday that is stepping up its military cooperation by sending 60 soldiers to help train Mozambican special forces.

The European Union is also preparing “to increase security cooperation (with Mozambique), possibly via support with equipment or training,” Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said in a statement.

The France-based oil and gas company has pulled out of its operations on the outskirts of Palma, a multi-billion-dollar investment to pump liquified natural gas from offshore oilfields in the Indian Ocean. Earlier this year the company had said it requires an area covering a 25-kilometer (15-mile) radius to be secure from rebel violence. Palma is within that area, making it uncertain when the oil giant will resume its investment.

South Africa Bans Liquor Sales Over Easter to Prevent Surge


FILE — In this Friday, March 26, 2021 file photo, healthcare workers queue to receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a television address to the nation Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Presidential Cyril Ramaphosa outlined the progress and the future of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and put in place some minor restrictions for the Easter weekend. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, file)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa will restrict the sale of alcohol and limit the size of religious and social gatherings over Easter to prevent the holiday from contributing to a new surge of COVID-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Tuesday.

“Given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behavior, we will put in place some restrictions over the Easter weekend,” Ramaphosa said in an address broadcast nationwide.

He said retail sales of alcohol will be banned Friday through Monday. Bars and restaurants will be able to sell alcoholic beverages but will be required to close at 11 p.m.

A maximum of 250 people will be allowed at indoor religious gatherings while 500 people are allowed for outdoor events.

Ramaphosa’s announcement came after he consulted health experts and religious leaders on Tuesday to discuss ways to curb the spread of new infections.

South Africa now has a cumulative number of more than 1.5 million infections since the outbreak of the virus last year, the highest in Africa. A total of 52,788 people have died from COVID-19 in the country.

Ramaphosa said his government is doing everything possible to expand the country’s vaccine campaign.

So far South Africa has vaccinated just over 251, 000 health care workers as part of a Johnson & Johnson study, far short of 1.25 million health workers to be vaccinated as part of the first phase of the country’s vaccination program.

The second phase will see vaccinations of the elderly and those with co-morbidities, which Ramaphosa said would begin in mid-May.

“Although there have been delays in securing vaccine supplies, we are still confident in achieving our vaccination targets,” he said.

“We have secured 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which we know to be effective against the dominant variants in our country,” said Ramaphosa. He said South Africa is finalizing a further order of 20 million doses of the J&J vaccine.

South Africa is also about to sign a contract to purchase 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine but they are only expected to arrive in the second half of the year, he said. Together, the J&J and Pfizer vaccines will provide South Africa with enough doses to vaccinate 41 million of the country’s population of 60 million, he said.

On Monday Ramaphosa announced that a vaccine manufacturing facility in South Africa would provide 30 million doses for the country and 220 million for the rest of the continent.

The Aspen Pharmacare sterile manufacturing facility, which is based in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape province, is to begin producing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and is expected to start delivering these batches next month, he said. The facility will receive large batches of the components of the J&J vaccine, blend them and then put them in vials and package them, a process called fill and finish.

Aspen will produce 30 million J&J doses for South Africa and more than 220 million doses that will be sold to other African countries, Ramaphosa said.

The $200 million Aspen facility has the capacity to produce 300 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine annually, he said.

The government has faced criticism over the slow rollout of its vaccination program, which is lagging in its efforts to vaccinate 67% of its population this year. With the slow delivery of vaccines, mass vaccinations have not yet started, making unlikely the target can be reached this year.

The country’s rollout program was affected when it had to sell its batch of 1 million AstraZeneca vaccines which were shown to be less effective against the variant of the virus that is now dominant in the country.

Embattled Central African Republic President Begins 2nd Term


Central Africa Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadéra sits during his inaugural ceremony in Bangui Tuesday March 30, 2021. Touadera is being sworn in for a second term amid mounting threats to his presidency. (AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant)

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — President Faustin Archange Touadera was sworn in for a second term Tuesday in Central African Republic as he faces a growing threat from an armed rebellion linked to the country’s former strongman Francois Bozize.

Touadera, who won the December election with about 53% of the vote, vowed “zero impunity for the perpetrators of crimes” during his second term.

“We risk falling into the traps of the past — and the peace, dignity and prosperity we seek will not be found,” he said at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Critics, though, questioned whether Touadera would be able to accomplish that given his failure to do so over the last five years in power.

“We believe that this is a declaration of intent and wishful thinking that will not be followed up,” said Justin Plisson, an activist with the MLPC opposition party.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this year that Central African Republic is now at “a critical juncture.”

The mineral-rich country has faced deadly intercommunal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power and forced Bozize from office.

Mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias later fought back, also targeting civilians in the streets. Untold thousands were killed, and most of the capital’s Muslims fled the capital in fear of their lives.

The country saw a period of relative peace in late 2015 and 2016, but violence then intensified once again. A peace deal between the government and 14 rebel groups aimed at ending years of fighting was signed in February 2019.

But violence blamed on CAR’s former president, Bozize, and his allies has thrown the agreement into doubt. The latest clashes erupted after the constitutional court rejected Bozize’s candidacy to run for president in December.

In January, rebels tried to seize the capital but were repelled by security forces after intense fighting on the city’s outskirts.

In Stark Warning, Egypt Leader Says Nile Water ‘Untouchable’


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi holds a news conference with the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, March. 6, 2021. Egypt's presidency says President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi trip was to address an array of issues, including economic and military ties and the two nations’ dispute with Ethiopia over a massive dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile. The visit comes amid a rapprochement between the two governments. (Presidency of Sudan via AP)

ISMAILIA, Egypt (AP) — Egypt’s president said Tuesday his country’s share of the Nile River’s waters are “untouchable” in a stark warning apparently to Ethiopia, which is building a giant dam on the Nile’s main tributary.

The comment from President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi comes amid a deadlock in the yearslong talks over the dam between the Nile Basin countries, which also includes Sudan.

In a news conference, el-Sissi warned of “instability that no one can imagine” in the region if the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is filled and operated without a legally binding agreement.

“No one can take a single drop of water from Egypt, and whoever wants to try it, let him try,” he said. “No one imagines that it will be far from our capabilities.”

El-Sissi did not name Ethiopia in his remarks, the strongest on the dam’s dispute by an Egyptian official in years.

A media officer at the the Ethiopian Embassy in Cairo declined to comment on el-Sissi’s remarks.

The Egyptian leader was firm while discussing the dam dispute at a news conference in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. He visited the crucial, east-west waterway following its reopening Monday. It had been closed for six days after a hulking container ship became stuck in the waterway.

“I repeat that the waters of Egypt are untouchable, and touching them is a red line,” he said.

However, el-Sissi said his country prioritizes negotiations to resolve the lingering dispute before Ethiopia continues filling the dam’s giant reservoir during this year’s rainy season. Addis Ababa began filling the reservoir last July, a move that was strongly criticized by Egypt and Sudan.

“Our battle is a battle of negotiations,” the Egyptian leader said, adding that Cairo seeks a legally binding agreement based on international laws and norms that govern cross-border rivers.

“We are serious about achieving a win-win (deal) for everyone, no one is going to get everything alone,” he said.

El-Sissi said a new round of negotiations is expected in the coming weeks. He did not elaborate further on whether international players would join the talks as mediators as Khartoum and Cairo have demanded.

Ethiopia has rejected an Egyptian-backed Sudanese proposal to internationalize the dispute by including the U.S., U.N. and European Union as mediators in talks that have been mediated by the African Union.

The dispute centers on the speed at which a planned reservoir is filled behind the dam, the method of its annual replenishment, and how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs. Another point of difference is how the three countries would settle any future disputes.

Egypt and Sudan call for a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation, while Ethiopia insists on guidelines.

Egypt is a mostly desert country that depends on the Nile for almost all of its water needs. It fears that a quick fill would drastically reduce the Nile’s flow, with potentially severe effects on its agriculture and other sectors.

Ethiopia says the $5 billion dam is essential, arguing the vast majority of its population lacks electricity. The dam will generate over 6,400 megawatts of electricity, a massive boost to the country’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

Sudan wants Ethiopia to coordinate and share data on the dam’s operation to avoid flooding and protect its own power-generating dams on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River. The Blue Nile meets with the White Nile in central Sudan. From there the Nile winds northward through Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

ICC Holds Reparations Ceremony for Timbuktu Mausoleums


BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The International Criminal Court made a symbolic reparations payment of 1 euro to Malian officials on Tuesday, after paying for the restoration of historic mausoleums in Timbuktu that had been destroyed by Islamic extremists.

The ceremony in Bamako coincides with a new three-year project to further secure the mausoleums, drawing from about 2.7 million euros ($3.14 million) in reparations from an ICC victims’ fund.

“These mausoleums are not only religious, but they also symbolize the social cohesion of the city of Timbuktu,” said Harber Kounta, speaking on behalf of the community in northern Mali at Tuesday’s event.

Authorities say the destruction of the World Heritage-listed sites also was a financial blow to Timbuktu residents, crippling tourism in the fabled desert city.

Islamic extremists seized control of Timbuktu and other towns across northern Mali in 2012. Later that year the jihadists used pickaxes to destroy the mud-brick mausoleums that covered the saints’ tombs, condemning the buildings as totems of idolatry.

A French-led military operation forced them from power in Timbuktu the following year though the extremists later regrouped and continue to carry out attacks on Mali and international forces to this day.

One of the extremists, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, was convicted in 2016 at the International Criminal Court and sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for attacking nine mausoleums and a mosque door in the city in 2012.

Al Mahdi had been ordered to pay the 2.7 million euros but that money ultimately is coming from an ICC trust fund as Al Mahdi was found to be indigent by the court.

His trial marked the International Criminal Court’s first conviction for destruction of religious buildings or historic monuments, and also the first guilty verdict delivered against a Muslim extremist.

Tanzania: 45 People Died in Stampede to See Ex-president’s Body


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Tanzanian police have said 45 people died in a stampede last week during a public viewing of the body of the country’s late President John Magufuli before he was buried.

Magufuli was revered by many in Tanzania for his pugnacious style of leadership and his campaign against corruption, although opposition leaders criticized him for his skepticism of the COVID-19 pandemic and repressive policies. Magufuli was also criticized by some African and international health experts for discouraging the use of face masks, vaccinations, and other measures to combat the spread of the disease.

In efforts to view Magufuli’s body at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam, some people climbed a wall which collapsed, causing a stampede in which people were killed, the city’s police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said Monday night.

Magufuli was given a hero’s burial in which his coffin was lowered into the ground Friday by military generals followed by a 21-gun salute in Chato, his hometown in the country’s northwest.

Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 skeptics. Even though his government announced on March 17 that he had died of heart failure, opposition leaders charge that he died of complications from COVID-19.

Magufuli claimed last year that three days of national prayer had eradicated COVID-19 from Tanzania and discouraged residents from wearing face masks and getting vaccines.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the former vice president who succeeded Magufuli to become Tanzania’s first woman president, on Tuesday, nominated Finance Minister Philip Mpango to be her vice president. Her nomination was unanimously endorsed by parliament.

International Court Upholds Congolese Warlord’s Conviction


Rwandan-born warlord Bosco Ntaganda is seen during his first appearance before judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday March 26, 2013. International Criminal Court appeals judges upheld Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the convictions and 30-year prison sentence of a Congolese warlord known as "The Terminator" who was found guilty of crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — International Criminal Court appeals judges on Tuesday upheld the convictions and 30-year prison sentence of a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” who was found guilty of crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was convicted in July 2019 for his role as a commander of rebels responsible for atrocities committed during a brutal ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.

The global court found him guilty of a total of 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

On Tuesday, a five-judge appeals panel rejected all 15 of Ntaganda’s challenges to the convictions and also upheld his sentence.

The judges also rejected an appeal by prosecutors challenging a legal point in the original trial decision.

“The appeals chamber confirms by a majority the conviction decision and rejects the appeal lodged by Mr Ntaganda and the prosecutor,” Presiding Judge Howard Morrison said.

Ntaganda, wearing a face mask for the hearing, sat impassively as Morrison read out a lengthy summary of the appeals chamber’s findings.

Ntaganda became a symbol for impunity in Africa in the years between his indictment and his surrender to the court in 2013. He has always insisted he was innocent.

Judges at his trial disagreed, saying he was guilty as a direct perpetrator of a murder and as an indirect co-perpetrator of crimes committed by his rebel militia forces including murders, rapes of men and women, a massacre in a banana field and of enlisting and using child soldiers.

The group Physicians for Human Rights welcomed the confirmation of Ntaganda’s convictions for crimes committed in the Ituri region of the African nation formally known as Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Today’s decision is a milestone for international justice and a long-sought victory for survivors in Ituri, DRC, who have waited nearly two decades for Ntaganda to be held to account for terrorizing the country,” said Karen Naimer, the group’s director of programs.

“The conviction is also an important step for the prosecution of rape and systematic sexual violence as a crime against humanity, which for far too long has been overlooked by courts around the world,” Naimer added.

Ntaganda himself used child soldiers as bodyguards in his position as deputy chief of staff and commander of operations for the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo rebel group. The force’s leader, Thomas Lubanga, was convicted by the ICC in 2012 of using child soldiers. He is serving a 14-year prison sentence.

Earlier this month, ICC judges awarded victims of Ntaganda’s crimes $30 million in reparations.

Stephen J. Rapp, a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, used the case to call for an end to sanctions on International Criminal Court staff, including its chief prosecutor, that were imposed by the Trump administration. Rapp coordinated U.S. efforts — including offering a reward for Ntaganda’s capture — that ultimately led to the warlord’s surrender and transfer to the court.

“Today’s historic victory for survivors of sexual violence is an example of what can be achieved when the United States works cooperatively with the ICC, and should cause the Biden administration to act now to withdraw the Trump administration’s anti-ICC sanctions that obstruct the pathway to justice for survivors of mass atrocities,” Rapp said in a statement released by Physicians for Human Rights.

Ethiopia, Eritrea Relations Stronger Despite Mounting Pressure Over Alleged Rights Abuse

March 26, 2021

Eritrean troops presence in Ethiopia, and their involvement in alleged human rights violation clarified, Eritrea to hold those responsible accountable 

Abiy Ahmed, Isaias Afeworki along with delegates of the two countries (Photo : Ministry of Information of Eritrea)


Friendly relation with Eritrea is a flagship achievement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration for which he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. 

And he seems to be diligently maintaining the peace with Eritrea despite reports  of alleged human rights violations , mainly in the city of Axum, by Eritrean troops. 

Existing signs seem to suggest that the relation between the two countries is getting even stronger. A statement released by Eritrea’s Ministry of Information following the conclusion of Abiy’s working visit called the meeting with Isaisas Afeworki “regular, consultative meetings.” 

The two countries are now planning joint-development projects and restoring what the government calls “people to people” relation to normalize social relation on both sides of the border, although Ethiopia is still hunting key TPLF leaders that are said to have caused the war which cost Ethiopia over one billion dollars. Timeline and how it is going to be implemented is yet to be revealed. 

On Thursday, Abiy Ahmed led a delegation for an official visit to Eritrea to meet with Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki to discuss what government media said about bilateral ties and regional development. 

The outcome was positive.  “We will continue building on the spirit of trust and good neighborliness between our two countries,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed in a social media message he released on Friday. 

Another key point he talked about is that the Eritrean Government agreed to withdraw troops from the Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

The Ethiopian government had been under mounting pressure from the International community in connection with Eritrea and its role in the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

There had been a call for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region but the Ethiopian government had been denying their presence in the region. It was only on Tuesday this week that Prime Minister Abiy admitted about it when he appeared at the Ethiopian Parliament. 

Eritrea justified the action on grounds of national security due to national security threat.  But it was PM Abiy Ahmed who explained it to parliamentarians. The Ethiopian Defense Force that was deployed along the border was withdrawn following the unexpected attack on the Northern Command on the night of November 4,2020. That is when Eritrea needed  to enter Northern Tigray to secure the border, he said.  

Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) mobilized about 250,000 forces in the course of three years preparation for the war after Abiy Ahmed came to power. It also hoped for getting additional forces from the Ethiopian Defense Force after a planned blitzkrieg attack on the army and the biggest national arsenal in Tigray. 

Although much of the plan failed, TPLF managed to seize some heavy weaponry including rockets.  The rockets attacked Eritrean capital, Asmara, and two Ethiopian cities Bahir Dar and Gondar. 

Allegations of Human Rights Violations in Tigary by Eritrean troops 

The Ethiopian government was also criticized for alleged human rights violations, including massacre, in Axum – Ethiopia’s historic city. Eritrean troops were implicated in it. 

The only massacre that the Ethiopian government confirmed was one that happened in Maikadra which claimed more than 600 lives.  

This week the Ethiopian government confirmed that there was a massacre in Axum too. 

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission have announced on Thursday to jointly investigate the massacre in Axum. 

The Eritrean government, based on the updates from Ethiopian Prime Minister after his latest trip to Asmara, has agreed to hold those who were involved in what was said to be egregious human rights violations accountable.