Pan Africa Newswire
Republic of Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti addressing the United Nations General Assembly. He criticized the United States for refusing a visa to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2013
Lawmakers question effectiveness of Sudan’s foreign policy
November 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti was grilled on Wednesday by members of the national assembly over the country’s policy on dealing with Arab, regional and international communities.
MP Mohamed Sideeg directed explicit criticism at Karti, accusing him of failing to normalise relations with the United States. He also questioned how Karti, with his background as ex-head of the paramilitary Popular Defence Forces (PDF), could end up becoming a top-level diplomat.
Sideeg described Karti as someone who moved from a blue collar role to wearing fine suits and ties.
While the lawmaker stressed he has nothing personal against Karti, he noted the US does not have “political amnesia” over Karti’s role as PDF chief during the civil war with the South.
A visibly angry Karti responded by advising Sideeg to submit a memo with his grievances to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, saying that he had been selected for his post and had not sought it.
He also accused certain circles within the government of undermining the work of his ministry, alluding to Sudan’s 2009 decision to expel more than a dozen aid agencies in response to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) for Bashir.
Karti said it was his view that humanitarian groups should have been contained and put to optimal use rather than being ejected from the country, thus harming Sudan’s relations with the international community.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has divided the parliament, with some saying Khartoum’s passionate pro-Palestinian stance would not come without a price.
However, the majority of parliamentarians have called on Sudan to maintain its stance, despite the issue causing tensions with Washington.
Karti said while the government must stick to its principles, including those with regards to the Palestinian issue, they must also reach out to the US and Europe.
“If the role of the foreign ministry is to scream and weep over adhering to principles and sticking to them any party can do that”, he said.
The minister disclosed that about 20 US companies had expressed interest in investing in Sudan during a meeting which took place in Washington that was arranged by the Sudanese embassy there and approved by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) which enforces sanctions.
According to Karti, the main obstacle facing companies was how to wire money to Sudan given the sanctions, but they agreed to carry it through a third party.
Sudan has been on the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 over allegations it harbours Islamist militants, despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the so-called ‘war on terror’.
Sudan has also been subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges, as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since violence broke out in the western Darfur region in 2003.
Despite relentless efforts by Khartoum to normalise ties, Washington has continued to renew the sanctions, although conditions have been eased in recent years in certain sectors, including agriculture.
Karti also acknowledged the existence of border violations, particularly Ethiopia and Chad, but noted that they are individual incidents and not condoned by the states in question.
He revealed that work is underway to demarcate the borders with Ethiopia that will include all but three areas.
When asked about the country’s tense relations with Arab Gulf states, Karti asked for a classified session, saying any discussions would contain “sensitive” information that cannot be shared with the media.
MP Abdullah Masar blasted Sudan’s ongoing ties with Iran, saying that the latter is “ungenerous” and calling for relations between the countries to be limited.
Shiite power Iran sees the pre-dominantly Sunni Gulf as its own backyard and believes it has a legitimate interest in expanding its influence in the region. Arab Gulf states, however, say that Iran is stoking tensions by inciting Shiite populations in Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have privately expressed their unhappiness about Khartoum’s growing relations with Tehran.
Iranian warships, which regularly patrol the Red Sea, have docked three times in Port Sudan since last year.
This may explain why the Saudi government, for instance, has been reluctant to assist Khartoum financially following the secession of the oil-rich South despite pleas by Sudanese officials, including president Bashir.
The Sudanese president has also been unable to hold bilateral talks with any senior Saudi official since March 2012, despite repeated non-official visits to Riyadh.
Gulf states are among the biggest investors in the country and have funded a large sugar plant and Sudan’s only shopping mall. Diplomats told Reuters last year that Sudan’s central bank has toured the Gulf several times, trying to drum up support for more funding.
Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta won the elections with just over 50 percent of the national vote. With over 50 percent there will not be a run-off., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Kenyan launches mega $13.8bn railway project linking Uganda, S/Sudan, Rwanda
Written by Friday, 29 November 2013 00:00
Kenya has launched a $13.8bn flagship railway project linking the port city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi and is eventually hoped to extend onwards to neighbouring Uganda.
The project, called a “historic milestone” by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who presided over a ground-breaking in Mombasa on Thursday, will also connect with proposed lines to Rwanda and South Sudan, according to the AFP news agency.
Built by a Chinese state-owned firm and with funds from the Chinese government, the railway line is expected to dramatically increase trade and boost Kenya’s position as a regional economic powerhouse.
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi form the the East African Community, a regional bloc that the five nations have used to boost economic integration.
“What we are doing here today will most definitely transform... not only Kenya but the whole eastern African region,” Kenyatta told crowds at the ceremony, which was attended by Chinese officials.
“As a result east Africa will become a competitive investment destination. A busy growing east Africa is good for us a country.”
The new railway line will replace the dilapidated British colonial-era railway, and has been hailed by the Kenyan media as the region’s largest infrastructure project for a century.
“Kenya is stepping forward...it will be a landmark project both for Kenya and east Africa,” said Liu Guangyuan, China’s ambassador to Kenya.
Financing, currently only from China, has so far been made for only the first 450km section from Mombasa to Nairobi, replacing the current single trainline with a high-speed standard gauge track, as well as building an additional line alongside.
Work on that section, by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is expected to be completed by 2017.
CRBC completed in August the first-stage of an expansion to Mombasa’s port, including a berth able to handle 50,000 tonne container ships.
According to plans, the new lines would see passenger journey times cut from the current 12 hours to around four, which is around half the current driving time on crowded and pot-holed roads.
Freight trains are planned to be able to cut the current 36-hour trip by rail to just eight, a major boost for regional landlocked nations, with planners claiming it will slash cargo transport costs by 60 per cent.
An explosion at the rebel defense ministry in Benghazi, Libya. The incident coincided with the first anniversary of the attacks on the US Consulate., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
A year after Benghazi attack, killings continue
Published: November 27
BENGHAZI, Libya — It is exceedingly easy to get away with murder here.
Just ask any Libyan: Who killed more than 50 police officers, soldiers and judges here and in the eastern city of Darna this year?
Who lit the fire that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and another American at the U.S. diplomatic mission here just over a year ago? Who launched the mortar rounds that killed two CIA contractors that same night?
Or, for that matter, who bears responsibility for the 2011 torture and killing of Abdul Fattah Younis, the Gaddafi-era military commander who defected to lead the rebels?
“Do you live on Mars?” asked Hashem Bishr, the hard-line Salafist leader of a powerful Tripoli militia.
To understand Libya’s unsolved murder mysteries, understand this, Bishr said: “It’s just not a good time.”
What he meant is that there are people who know the answers — they’re just not willing to share.
Nor is the fragile, Washington-backed counter-revolutionary government prepared to mete out justice, many Libyans and rights groups say.
Tripoli’s weak authorities have promised to investigate the killings. “But until now, there is nobody in detention. Nobody has been charged. And according to our knowledge, no one is being investigated,” said Hanan Salah, a Libya researcher for Human Rights Watch. The government, she said, lacks the technical capacity to do so.
But there is also a powerful element of fear.
More than a year after the deadly attack on the U.S. mission here, the dilapidated port city that was the birthplace of Libya’s 2011 CIA-Pentagon-NATO engineered counter-revolution has become the epicenter of a shadowy campaign of assassinations and bombings. Most of the killings have targeted police and army personnel, along with a handful of judges and a political activist.
“The pale truth is that this is a bleeding city — a city that has a lot of losses every day,” said Fathallah Bin Ali, a Benghazi businessman who allies himself with the federalists, a faction in eastern Libya that is holding the region’s oil infrastructure hostage to extract more control from the government.
In recent months, mysterious early morning bombings have targeted two courts, a wedding hall and a popular cafe. No one was killed. But the intent, residents say, was intimidation.
Mohamed al-Bargathi said he has no desire to mend the facade of his once-bustling cafe, the Rotana, which was shattered last month by a homemade bomb in a bag left on the front steps.
“I’m afraid they’ll just bomb it again,” he said, smoking a cigarette outside the shuttered business. “If we knew who did it, we would kill him and reopen. But we don’t know who did it.”
Many here say that Benghazi is a microcosm of Libya’s larger struggles.
On a normal afternoon, political opponents and rival militia leaders can be seen warily eyeing one another over espressos from across hotel lobbies. The Libyan rebel special forces, resurrected from a force that existed before the counter-revolution, man camouflaged gun-trucks at intersections in the center of town and participate in a “joint-security operations room” to manage the city’s security. But their Islamist militia rivals have their own security operations room — their own bases and, sometimes, their own checkpoints.
This week, the special forces clashed with Ansar al-Sharia, the hard-line militia that remains the prime but unprosecuted suspect in the U.S. mission attack. Ansar was operating a roadside checkpoint at the city’s western edge.
Two weeks earlier, someone had fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the car of the Libyan operations room chief, killing his driver.
Depending on whom you ask, just about every armed group around here is guilty of killings, theft and human rights abuses.
Since Stevens’s death, U.S. officials, along with many other Western diplomats and civil society groups, no longer venture to Benghazi because the risks are simply too high. Even the FBI officials charged with investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack have conducted the bulk of their research from the safer confines of Tripoli, 400 miles away.
But Benghazi is wasting away, abandoned by its friends and investors at a time when it is most desperately in need of help — with justice, policing, reconstruction and employment opportunities — said Amina Megheirbi, a member of Libya’s elected congress who represents the city.
“It’s suffering from the evacuation — of our own government and all international missions,” Megheirbi said. “It left Benghazi open to extremists, criminals and Gaddafi supporters.”
The result, she said, is even more unemployed youths, more fuel for the fire. “One thing leads to another,” she said. “It worsens the situation.”
And so there are some Benghazi residents who take a different approach, looking a visitor in the eye and pleading: It’s not so bad. Tell the foreigners to come back.
“Benghazi is safe,” said Abdel Hafidh Sallak, a longtime political activist, sitting in his living room.
Sallak and others point to Venezia Street — a crowded boulevard just a few blocks from the charred wreckage of the U.S. mission where locals browse an array of gleaming, new clothes and furniture shops late into the night.
The U.S. ambassador’s death was an accident, Sallak insisted, adding that ordinary people haven’t been affected by the killings. In Libya, he said, “they never put the bombs in places where there are people.’’
African migrant carries his belongings at a makeshift camp in Libya. Three Africans were murdered by counter-revolutionary rebels on August 24, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
28 November 2013
Last updated at 17:43 ET
Libya: Blast at Brak al-Shati arms depot kills 30
At least 30 people have been killed in an explosion at a weapons depot in southern Libya, officials say.
The blast is believed to have occurred after a group of people, reportedly including African immigrants, were trying to steal copper.
A hospital near the depot in Brak al-Shati, near the city of Sabha, says it is treating the injured.
Meanwhile, four soldiers have been killed in another day of violence in the restive eastern city of Benghazi.
In one incident, three naval officers were killed, and six others were injured, in clashes with members of the Salafist militia group Ansar al-Sharia.
Fighting broke out after naval officers arrested four people at their checkpoint when "a vehicle search found weapons and money", the army's special forces commander in Benghazi, Wanis Abu-Khamada, said.
Earlier on in the day, a soldier was reportedly shot in the head in a drive-by shooting in another part of Benghazi.
The government has struggled to contain militias in control of parts of Libya, and Benghazi has seen an increasing number of clashes between the army and militias.
Fighting continues between various rebel factions in eastern Libya. Dozens of people have so far been reported killed., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Soldiers killed in clashes in Libya's east
Fighting between the army and an armed group in Benghazi leaves three soldiers killed and several others wounded.
Last updated: 28 Nov 2013 20:49
Fresh clashes between the Libyan army and an armed group in the country's east have killed four soldiers and wounded several others, a medic said.
A security source told the AFP News Agency that Thursday's fighting erupted when members of an armed group tried to enter the restive city of Benghazi from the east, adding that the allegiances of the group were not known.
"Three soldiers were killed and three wounded soldiers were admitted to the hospital," Al-Jala hospital spokeswoman, Fadia al-Barghathi, said.
Earlier on Thursday, witnesses said gunmen sprayed a volley of bullets at two soldiers as they got into a car after leaving a cafe, killing one of the soldiers. Witnesses said the second soldier escaped unharmed.
In the southern town of Barek al-Shati, security officials said a storeroom housing tank ammunition at an airbase exploded, killing 10 and wounding 20. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.
Thursday's violence comes on the final day of a three-day Benghazi strike in protest over militias after a shoot-out on Monday between an armed group and the army left seven people dead and 50 wounded.
Benghazi city council declared the three-day strike after an army patrol came under attack near the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadist group blamed for the 2012 attack on a US mission in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
On Wednesday, three soldiers were shot dead in the city and the bodies of two more were found in the nearby town of Derna, officials said.
Libya has seen mounting unrest since the toppling of long-time ruler Mouammar Gaddafi in 2011 by rebel groups backed by NATO forces.
Many of these rebel brigade have since been transformed into militias that defy the weak central government.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking on African Agenda on Press TV. He addressed the ICC and the African Union., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.‘Egypt slipping out of US hands’
Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:41AM GMT
To watch this Press TV 'The Debate' segment with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Press TV has interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, to discuss the state of affairs in Egypt following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Well, Abayomi Azikiwe, does our guest Moustafa Reda have a point that this should have been enacted after Mubarak was ousted, in terms of this new law that has been passed, banning protests without permission?
Azikiwe: I believe that the new laws are in response to the political instability that continues in Egypt.
We have to understand that since the July 3 military seizure of power there have been numerous demonstrations throughout the country. The government has banned the Freedom and Justice Party which was allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. They have also cracked down on other groups that are in opposition to the military coup.
So this represents the continuation of this same process. At the same time the degree of repression is escalating in regard to the women who have just been sentenced to some 11 years for merely opposing the military regime in Egypt. Then people such as Ahmed Maher, who is the head of the April 6th Movement, who had been heavily involved in the initial rebellion during January 2011, and also in fact supported the military seizure of power on July 3, they too are now coming under scrutiny and indictment by the military-backed regime.
So this is a further legal rationale for the outright suppression of all dissent and all protests and in a sense the political process in Egypt has come full circle.
Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe, our guest there, Moustafa Reda talked about how the Muslim Brotherhood is part of Egyptian society and it has been just that; but that is not how this army-appointed government looking at it, is it?
I mean they have pretty much looked at anybody who is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, let alone the supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood itself, that they are terrorist. They have labeled them terrorist, even on their TV screens and that is used to label actions by, you know, supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi, as I mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood group.
The army just wants to clean up anything that has to do with the Muslim Brotherhood in terms of support. It does not sound like there is a happy medium being established there by this army-appointed government, is there?
Azikiwe: They have made it very clear through a series of decrees that have of course impacted anyone, not only those who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party, but other individuals within civil society in Egypt, who have opposed the military coup d'état, which took place back in July, who have opposed the arbitrary actions on the part of the military appointed government and the operatives of that regime, they have, in fact, been prosecuted. The examples are numerous. Morsi himself has only made one public appearance in a courtroom since July 3, and that hearing was adjourned.
So it is clearly a situation where there is no democratic practice or due process that is being enacted right now in Egypt and what is interesting is that some of the same people who had supported the military coup d’état back in July, are now themselves coming under fire and under scrutiny and being prosecuted by the same military regime which took power by force as a result of the demonstrations that had developed in June.
I agree that the Freedom and Justice Party did not do a good job in regard to administrating the situation inside of Egypt. They should have been more open in regard to opening up dialogue with opposition groups; they should not have forced the draft constitution which was voted on by a small minority of the Egyptian people last year. But even with all of that, if the political dynamics inside the country had been maintained, they could very well have reached some type of accommodation where both major political camps could have formed some type of government of national unity.
The chances of that happening in the near future, now becomes more and more remote.
Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe, the 16 or 17 billion dollars that our guest there said, contributed by the Persian Gulf countries, which I thought it was 12 billion dollars, the main financier has been Saudi Arabia.
How do you look at the Saudi role in this case bankrolling this army-appointed government? Some reach the conclusion that there is a possibility that Saudi Arabia is dictating the army-appointed government on how to run its domestic affairs in Egypt.
Azikiwe: Well, they (Saudi government) were opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood government and there was also a difference with the government of Qatar which is also closely allied with the West.
I believe that they are attempting to win influence inside of Egypt and also it is bad for the United States to continue its support for the Egyptian military. They had announced earlier, during the period in which John Kerry visited Cairo, that the US would not necessarily suspend aid or only certain aspects of the aid was suspended but they were going to maintain relations even under a military government that has been under scrutiny by not only people inside Egypt but also people throughout the region.
So I think that Saudi Arabia’s role is also closely allied with the United States’ ongoing support of the military government which in fact is losing a tremendous amount of credibility and legitimacy among many sections of the Egyptian society.
And I think that it is only a matter of time before broader segments of the population do come out and protest against this government that is headed by the generals.
Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe what do you think Russia wants in return? Quickly if you can.
Azikiwe: Well the Egyptian government is probably attempting to balance the dominance of the United States with other external powers, and Russia of course is trying to increase its influence, which had waned back during the 1970’s under Anwar Sadat. So I think that both governments perceive themselves as developing alternative relationships that are outside of the influence of the United States and other Western European states.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking at the Dr. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on April 5, 2008. The event commemorated the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.United Nations Climate Conference Again Fails to Agree on Reducing Pollution
Warsaw meeting characterized by acrimony and compromise
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
In the former socialist state of Poland yet another gathering to discuss the impact of climate change ended without firm commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. Over 190 countries attended the event which is ostensibly designed to address the ongoing threat to the world's environment.
Under the banner of the 19th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) environmentalists condemned theevent claiming that no real agreement could be reached due to the intransigence of the western industrialized states.
These meetings have been held since 1992 but are routinely marred by fierce debates over who should be responsible for reforming the character of production policies aimed at addressing the degradation of the planet as exemplified by global warming which is said to have a profound impact on disastrous storms and flooding.
Not even a weak agreement would have occurred if China and India had not backed away from demanding that specific goals related to the 1992 meeting calling for specific actions by the imperialist states be adhered to. On November 21, environmental activists had walked out of the gathering frustrated that no real progress was being made.
According to an article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "The Warsaw conference called on parties to announce their offers to rein in or cut emissions by the first quarter of 2015 if they are 'in a position to do so.' But it gave little detail on what kind of information should go into those offers."
Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists was quoted as saying that "Unfortunately, they failed to agree on what process and criteria they would use to evaluate the adequacy and fairness of each other's proposed actions." (cbc.ca, November 23)
Moving Further Away From the Kyoto Protocol
The United States has been the most obstinate government in rejecting concrete guidelines and objectives aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.
Even under the current Obama administration the notion that there should be standards established that hold the capitalist countries accountable for their industrial crimes against the planet has been firmly rejected.
Todd Stern, the U.S. envoy for climate change, reiterated that there should be no categories of countries as it relates to emission standards. In Washington's policy submissions to the UN it opposes formulas which would provide guidelines based upon the economic capacity and character of various states.
The U.S. documents frames the discussion on climate change as a "race to the top" in which "parties are both comfortable with putting their best commitment forward, and uncomfortable about not putting their best effort forward, because they want others to see they are contributing the most they can do to solve the climate problem."
India has maintained that formulas should exist based upon the degree of industrialization and a state's carbon emissions that would be strictly measured. China also wants the pollution history of various countries taken into consideration as a precursor for any binding agreement that may develop by 2015.
At present the existing categories consist of Annex 1, the capitalist industrialized states largely in the West and non-Annex 1, the former colonial, semi-colonial and so-called developing or emerging economies. Both China and India wants the developed states to provide assistance to the developing countries in order to improve technological systems that limit greenhouse gases.
With specific reference to Indian governmental policy documents submitted to the UN there should not be any "dilution" of the annex framework. Developing states over the last two decades have continued to demand that wealthy countries adopt legally binding quantified emission reductions programs while the oppressed and emerging economies will make changes "enabled by finance and technology transfer," based upon how much various states have contributed to climate change. (E&E Climate Wire, November 18)
Western industrial state funding must be enhanced, India argues, and it is also stressing the need to loosen intellectual property rights on environmental technology, an objective that Washington is adamant should not be realized.
South Africa has also been involved in the debate around climate change. The country is considered one of the emerging economies and has recently joined the Brazil, Russia, China, India (BRICS) Summit which held its last gathering in Durban.
Lisa Friedman wrote in E&E Publishing that "South Africa has one of the most comprehensively laid-out submissions for the 2015 deal. While it shares the language of its fellow emerging powers about the need for equity, South Africa breaks with others on some key issues. For one thing, it wants to see a single legally binding protocol for all parties, with a common global commitment to stay below the 2-degree threshold, saying that approach 'has the most potential to mobilize ambition.'"(November 18)
Although South Africa maintains that there should be different approaches to emission standards for developing and developed states.
Nonetheless, between 2020-2030 there should be a transition for lesser developed countries which will strictly limit CO2 emissions.
Brazil over the last two years served as a mediator between the sharp differences between developed and developing states. However now, they appear to have shifted to a different view that is quite similar to that of India and China basing guidelines upon the history of carbon emissions.
The aim of the U.S. and Canada is to prevent the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol treaty that was adopted by the UNFCCC in 1997. The document set the stage for the current positions adopted by developing states and environmentalists that places responsibility for climate change on the industrialized capitalist states.
Kyoto was slated to go into effect in 2005 but the U.S., which signed the agreement and is the world's major polluter, has failed to ratify the treaty. Canada, which also signed the treaty, withdrew from it in 2011.
Ottawa under its present Conservative Party leadership has moved closer to the U.S. on many international issues involving environmental as well as military affairs. Although the European Union adopted the Kyoto Protocol, its alliance with the U.S. has prevented it from adopting similar views as the developing states.
Environmental Debate Must Be Given a Class Character
It is in the interests of the majority of nations and peoples of the world for measures aimed at preserving the planet to be put in place with firm regulations and guidelines. The major impediment to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol is the quest for profit maximization that has characterized the world capitalist system for well over a century.
The increase in so-called natural disasters including massive heatwaves, storms and floods have been attributed to climate change.
Inside the U.S. the issue is highly politicized with the barons of Wall Street influencing government and academia to deny even the existence of a crisis in climate change.
Environmentalists must view the ideological and political struggles surrounding climate change as a manifestation of the modern-day global class struggle. Progressives, trade unionists, national liberation movements, socialist states and international solidarity activists must enter the debate in order to provide it with the necessary organizational direction to push back the U.S. and its allies in their continuing exploitation of peoples around the world.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on RT Satellite World News: 'No Unifying Political Ideology to Guide Post-Gaddafi Libya'
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on Russia Today satellite television news. Azikiwe is a frequent commentator and analyst on various media outlets internationally., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Persistent violence: No unifying political ideology to guide post-Gaddafi Libya
November 26, 2013 04:40
To watch this RT interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, on the security situation in the North African state of Libya, just click on the website below:
Violence in Libya stems from the lack of unifying ideology bringing the country together, especially after NATO, CIA and Pentagon destroyed most of the national institutions within the country, editor at the Pan-African News Wire Abayomi Azikiwe told RT.
RT: Why has the Libyan government failed to establish a reasonable level of stability and control over the country thus far?
Abayomi Azikiwe: There has been a problem associated with bringing together the various militia groups and many of them claim that they fought during the war for regime change in 2011.
But many of them are motivated by sectional interests, by criminal activity and we have seen the fruits of this over the last weeks both in the capital of Tripoli as well as in Benghazi.
In Benghazi the latest fighting indicates that there is strong resistance on the part of many of these militia groups into consolidating their forces inside what they claim to be the national army that the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is working trying to construct during this time period.
RT: Many of these armed groups that are fighting now fought in 2011 as well, why didn't they put down their weapons after Gaddafi’s fall.
AA: During the war for regime change in 2011 there was no uniform or consistent political ideology or philosophy that could have guided the country during the post-Gaddafi era.
Also, the role of NATO, the Pentagon, and the CIA through their massive bombings, through their destabilization programs destroyed most of the national institutions inside the country. So in order to try to put the country back together again without a prevailing ideology or a political vision is almost impossible.
And then of course we still have the ongoing role of the US and other Western states who are continually interfering in the internal affairs of Libya. Now the US is talking about training some 5,000-7,000 Libyans to be a part of this national army.
This could cause even more consternation inside the country because many of the militia groups even though against Gaddafi, they do not support the US or NATO interfering in Libyan affairs at this stage.
RT: The government also lost control of some major oil-fields to separatist militia, do you think this can lead to civil war funded by black market oil sales?
AA: There is a lot of criminal activity going on, there have been complaints by contiguous states - in Tunisia, Egypt as well as other countries throughout North Africa, as well as West Africa, saying that instability in Libya is spreading to their nation states as well.
This is getting extremely difficult for the Libyan government to maintain stability. And there is factionalism among the militia.
For example, Misrata militia just a week and a half ago attempted to move into Tripoli and seize power, they of course were beaten back.
But, this of course is just representative of what the problems are inside the country and it remains to be seen whether the current government will be able to stabilize the situation in Libya.
But, it seems highly unlikely and it is going to be a serious problem not only for Libya itself, but for other countries through North as well as West Africa.
RT: How big a toll for Al-Qaeda affiliates have in Libya?
AA: It depends on who you describe as being al-Qaeda. There are various Islamist guerrilla organizations that are operating in Libya.
They are also operating in Algeria and the north of Mali. It’s very convenient to put a label of al-Qaeda on them, but they have their own sectional, even ethnic interests.
Therefore, they are trying to pursue those interests. But to just label them as being al-Qaeda takes away from the subtlety and complexity of the ongoing crisis inside that region of Africa.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking on Press TV World News on the July 7, 2012 elections in the North African state of Libya. Azikiwe said that the vote had reinforced existing regional differences., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Thursday November 28, 2013
Pan-African Journal: New York City Version Broadcast Over CPRMetro.org on Tuesday November 26, 2013
To listen to this broadcast of the Pan-African Journal over Community Progressive Radio just click on the website below:
In this New York City version of the Pan-African Journal Abayomi Azikiwe discusses the situation in the Southern African state of Zimbabwe. He talks about the ongoing campaign against gender-based violence and the growing investments in the country from the People's Republic of China.
Libya remains in a state of chaos since the CIA-NATO-Pentagon war of regime-change beginning in 2011. Shootouts have occurred in the capital of Tripoli and in Benghazi in the east of the country.
The National Security Agency has infected 50,000 computer networks with malware. This is according to revelations by Edward Snowden the former contract employee for the NSA through Booz Allen Hamilton.
Other reports in this broadcast deal with the signing of an agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and western imperialist states over the Middle Eastern nation's civilian nuclear program. The agreement is being hailed as a victory for diplomacy involving Tehran.
Abayomi Azikiwe has been hosting this version of the Pan-African Journal since January 2013. His reports from CPRMetro.org as well as other media outlets including Press TV and RT satellite television news outlets are often used by Community Public Radio news hosted by Don DeBar, a producer at CPRMetro.org.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Emanations Over CPRMetro.org: 'The Struggle Continues In Detroit'
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, broadcasting from a truck riding through the west side of Detroit. The broadcast highlighted the economic crisis facing the city. (Photo: Alan Pollock), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Thursday November 28, 2013
Abayomi Azikiwe Featured on Emanations Hosted by Bernard White on CPRMetro.org
To listen to this Emanations broadcast featuring Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, was a featured guest on Emanations, a program hosted daily by Bernard White over Community Progressive Radio (CPRMetro.org). Azikiwe gave a comprehensive update on the struggle in Detroit against emergency management, austerity and the forced bankruptcy.
The Pan-African News Wire editor noted that the campaign against emergency management has grown significantly over the last several months. He recounted demonstrations on October 23, November 12 and current plans for December 3 and December 10.
Azikiwe holds that the banks and corporations are at the root of the Detroit economic crisis. The only way to defeat the austerity imposed on Detroit and other cities is to organize workers and community residents to expose the source of the crisis and the need to cancel the debt.
Detroit was targeted by the banks for predatory lending in both housing and municipal finance. The figure of $18-22 billion in debt is fraudulent and most be rejected by the masses.
Azikiwe is interviewed for 45 minutes during the first and second hours of Emanations.
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Thursday November 21, 2013--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking in East English Village in Detroit on December 6, 2008. (Photo: Alan Pollock)., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Thursday November 28, 2013
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Thursday November 21, 2013
To listen to this broadcast of the Pan-African Journal, an audio news magazine, hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, just click on the website below:
The British government has suspended aid to the Malawian state in Southern Africa. President Joyce Banda has terminated several ministers in connection with allegations of embezzlement and a case of attempted murder.
The government of Mozambique has held local elections despite a recent series of attacks by the RENAMO rebel organization. RENAMO has its origins in the former colonial police during Portuguese imperialist rule.
The Zimbabwe government under ZANU-PF is working to restructure information and media services. Minister of Information Prof. Jonathan Moyo has recently met with Reuters press agency and other media houses in the Southern African nation.
Finally, South African miners are continuous strike action at the Northam and Glencore facilities. The National Uniob of Mineworkers (NUM) negotiators say that the workers are demanding better pay and conditions of employment.
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Wednesday November 20, 2013--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, at Central United Methodist Church chairing MLK Day on Jan. 21, 2013. The annual event attracts activists from throughout the region. (Photo: Sharon Black), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Thursday November 28, 2013
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Wednesday November 20, 2013
To listen to this special broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
For over three years the Pan-African Journal, an audio news magazine, has been broadcasting over Blog Talk Radio. The program features Pan-African News Wire reports, special segments on African and world affairs and cultural music.
This broadcast medium covers events throughout the Pan-African world and the international community in general. Occasionally there are remote broadcasts which feature rallies, conferences, public meetings and workshops.
These broadcasts are podcasts and are available on demand at http://blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal .
This website is linked to the Pan-African News Wire at http://panafricannews.blogspot.com .
The host Abayomi Azikiwe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook by name. The Pan-African Journal is brought to you by the Pan-African Radio Network.
Oppah Muchingura is the Republic of Zimbabwe Minister for Women's Affairs. She is involved in a national campaign against gender-based violence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Govt moots shelter homes for gender based violence victims
November 28, 2013
Ruth Butaumocho Gender Editor
The Government will soon build shelter homes for victims of sexual and gender based violence to cater for the increasing number of victims who are mainly women and children, a Cabinet Minister has said. Speaking at the sidelines of a workshop on rape and sexual violence for female parliamentarians recently, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Oppah Muchinguri said provision of shelter homes was a long standing programme that was being hampered by lack of funds.
“It has also been Government’s wish to build shelter homes for the up-keep of sexual and gender based violence victims, so that we can lessen the burden on civil society.
“However, we have not been able to achieve the goal because the money was not enough to cut across all our needs.
“Early next year we are going to ensure that my ministry will seriously look into the issue so that we can assist in the provision of the homes. We should not leave the mandate to civil society, but we also have got a responsibility to assist and ease the burden,” she said.
A shelter house is temporary accommodation that is provided by organisations like the Msasa Project to house victims of sexual and gender based violence while they are waiting for their cases to be dealt with either with the police or other institutions.
Minister Muchinguri added that the need to set up more shelter homes had been further exacerbated by the increasing cases of gender based violence that were being reported across Zimbabwe.
“It is saddening that despite existing interventions the levels of violence against women and girls has reached astronomical levels – levels that call for action can no longer be ignored,” she said.
The safe house concept is based on the premise that effective work against sexual and gender-based violence cannot be achieved without providing support and protection for survivors or victims of violence, who may experience all forms of abuse from their perpetrators before they have had time to heal.
Shelter homes that are spouted in non descript but different neighbourhoods across Zimbabwe have proved to be welcoming places for women and their children, who often arrive battered and with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
While the services offered at each shelter home may vary depending on the available resources, several of them offer a holistic approach that includes shelter, health care, food, group counselling, clothes for survivors of violence and their children.
They also offer self-defence and life skills and sometimes professional training in different fields.
However, save for a few supporting homes that are linked to government hospitals, Government does not have shelter homes of its own.
Most shelter homes that are in Zimbabwe are run by non-governmental organisations involved in curbing sexual and gender-based violence among women and children.
African Union delegates to a workshop on security sector reform. The meeting was held at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Consultative Workshop to review AU SSR Operational Guidance Notes underway in Addis Ababa
November 27, 2013 International
AU USSRADIS ABABA – A four-day consultative workshop to review the African Union (AU) Security Sector Reform (SSR) Operational Guidance Notes (OGNs) is being held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The workshop which started on November 25 will run until November 28. Co-organised by the AU and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN), the meeting brings together SSR experts from representatives of the Liaison Offices of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU Member States, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and researchers.
The workshop is part of collaborative efforts to strengthen the partnership between the African Union, United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) in the area of promoting Security Sector Reform in Africa.
This partnership is crucial for the effective implementation of the AU Policy Framework on SSR, adopted by African Leaders at 20th AU Summit in January 2013.
As part of the AU Security Sector Policy Framework, ASSN was commissioned by the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the AU Commission to develop Operational Guidance Notes on:
1. Gender and Security Sector Reform;
2. Conducting a Security Sector Reform Needs Assessment; and,
3. the Development of Codes of Conduct for African Security Institutions.
The objective of the workshop is to have thorough consultations on these Guidance Notes and comment on them prior to a validation process that will render the documents suitable for field use. When validated, the Guidance Notes will be used by the SSR project team in the AU Peace and Security Department, as well as RECs and Member States, to operationalize the AU Policy Framework on SSR.
Opening remarks at the workshop were delivered by Dr Tarek Sharif, Head of the Defense and Security Division (DSD) in the AU Peace and Security Department; Professor Boubacar N’Diaye, Chair of the ASSN; Mr. Francesco Carboni, representing the European Union; and Ms Snezana Vuska-Coffman, representing the UN DPKO.
Dr. Tarek noted with appreciation that since 2009 the AU has received assistance for the promotion of SSR in Africa, from the UNDP, ASSN, Norway, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, adding that the current three-year project will improve the AU’s capacity to engage in SSR activities in support to its Member States.
The workshop is an important contribution towards facilitating AU SSR processes, which are central to the realization of the Common African Defense and Security Policy (CADSP) and are part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).
– African Union Commission.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the African Union Commission Chair. She attended a two-day conference on African agriculture in Addis Ababa., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
AU holds high level meeting on agriculture
November 27, 2013
ADDIS ABABA – A two day high level meeting on Harnessing Innovation for African Agriculture and Food Systems is being held at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme “Meeting the challenges and designing for the 21st century”. The main objective of the meeting is to discuss recent models of success in African agricultural development and chart opportunities and challenges on the path ahead.
Involving more than 40 senior officials including Ministers of Agriculture from the African Union member states, business people, farmers and academics, the meeting is being co- hosted by AU Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and former UN Secretary General and Head of the Kofi Anan Foundation, Mr Kofi Anan.
Dr Dlamini Zuma emphasised the need to pay attention to whole production and supply chain in order to have a food secure Africa.
She also stressed the need for Africa to mainstream women and youth in all agricultural and agro business activities, ensuring they have access to skills development programmes, funding and inputs.
Mr Anan expounded on his vision for the continent saying it goes beyond having enough food to eat, but that Africa should become a major exporter of food.
Among others, the meeting aims to identify opportunities and build upon the strengths of African institutions including the AUC and NEPAD agency, as leaders of change and in the implementation of CAADP framework and other actions to strengthen national and regional food systems; Engage African agricultural leaders and experts in a focused discussion about their expectations for the Year of Agriculture and into the 21st century; elevate the voices of Africans, from the small holder farmer to Heads of State, to advocate for an improved framework for country level agricultural development, planning and implementation; further equip these voices to better articulate their priorities to promote alignment among donors, the private sector, G8/G20, millennium development goals and other global mechanisms and discuss ways to catalyse action by governments to implement agricultural development commitments, develop and scale up innovative mechanisms for progress as well as explore emerging challenges including demographic shifts, population growth, climate change and evolving dietary preferences.
The meeting’s outcomes will be useful to the January 2014 summit of the African Union whose theme will be “2014- Year of Agriculture and Food Security”.
– African Union Commission.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe greeting former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The two leaders are working on a unity government plan for Zimbabwe., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Thabo Mbeki deserves honour
November 28, 2013
Opinion & Analysis
Yesterday we carried a story which quoted former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki revealing that his government had been under pressure from the Labour regime of British premier Tony Blair to co-operate in a planned military invasion of Zimbabwe to abet Blair’s illegal regime change bid.
Cde Mbeki made the revelations in an interview with Aljazeera on Saturday, saying the British wanted to replace President Mugabe with their cat’s paw, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is on record pledging to violently unseat President Mugabe.
Cde Mbeki rebuffed the British overtures.
Unlike Tsvangirai who willingly sold out his own country, Cde Mbeki refused to be used against Zimbabwe.
We are sure many remember the clip that captured Blair telling the House of Commons that he worked closely with the MDC on destabilising Zimbabwe, and was trying to bring South Africa on board.
‘‘We work closely with the MDC on the measures we should take in respect of Zimbabwe although, I am afraid, these measures and sanctions, although we have them in place, are of limited effect on the Mugabe regime.
“We must be realistic about that. It is still important that we give every chance to, and make every effort to, try and help those in South Africa, the southern part of Africa to put pressure for change on the Mugabe regime . . . ” Blair told the House of Commons in June 2004, but found no joy from a resilient Thabo Mbeki who insisted the problems in Zimbabwe could only be resolved by Zimbabweans.
We have flown this kite before and we fly it again. History will record that after a decade of sustained assault on the foundation Zimbabwe laid since April 18, 1980, on September 12, 2008, the Westerners came unstuck as Zimbabwe remained not only standing but united for nation building, with the regime change project in tatters.
And of course having pride of place in that historic story of Africa’s maiden victory over neo-colonial regime change projects will be Cde Mbeki, a man who personified the Biblical neighbour by refusing to be used against his brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.
Others dubbed him their ‘‘point man on Zimbabwe’’, yet others implored him ‘‘to work closely with them over Zimbabwe’’ but his resolute refrain: ‘‘Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa and Zimbabweans have the capacity to resolve their problems”, always rang out.
Cde Mbeki today stands vindicated and all those who opposed and badmouthed him over Zimbabwe have been proved wrong.
Zimbabwe is not only off the Sadc agenda but will be at the core of Sadc leadership for the next three years. First as deputy chair, the chair, and member of Summit Troika.
The power-sharing deal, Cde Mbeki brokered between Zanu-PF, the MDC-T and MDC was a celebration of African solutions to African problems as espoused in the MoU that preceded the deal, and served as a wake-up call to all Africans to believe in themselves and not always look outside for solutions.
We are aware of the enormous personal and national sacrifices this great son of Africa made to defend our right to self-determination and the flak he received from the reactionary media in Zimbabwe and abroad that would rather have seen us at each others throats for ‘‘good’’ copy.
It is important to note that apart from President Mugabe, no other man was subjected to as much pressure over Zimbabwe as Cde Mbeki was made to bear.
The fact that he refused to give in when it would have been easier to do so testifies to his leadership credentials.
To this end we once again call on Government to honour this great man in his lifetime.
We have traditionally honoured our heroes both domestic and foreign by naming roads after them. There are still many roads in and around Harare as well as in many other cities and towns that can proudly carry the name of this great son of Africa let alone the road by the Zanu-PF national headquarters itself, that is still named after Lieutenant Colonel Edward Pennefather, who led the mercenaries euphemistically called the Pioneer Column to colonise our country on behalf of the British crown.
Poster supporting President Mugabe of Zimbabwe outside the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon on December 9, 2007. Mugabe blasted the "gang of four" European leaders for being agents of British imperialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
If the world had more Mugabes
November 28, 2013
Opinion & Analysis
I AM an African American who admires President Mugabe hook, sinker and line. The world we live in has been made bad by people who do not take their time to understand, equality and fairness. Those who understand the principles of fairness, equality and justice, the world over, will stand by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and try to promote his vision of a world where countries are not trampled on by others simply because they are small financially and militarily.
When President Mugabe speaks and I listen, I feel he is speaking from his heart and with his soul intact. When President Mugabe speaks, I feel he is speaking on behalf of all the downtrodden people of the world.
Zimbabwe is a tiny country in Southern Africa but God, through his unchallenged wisdom gave that country a President with big brains, which is directly the opposite of other countries where big economies are given to a president with a full stop of a brain.
Zimbabwe is blessed and at times, I talk to my fellow black Americans of African Americans that God sent President Mugabe on a mission to liberate the world from the evil.
President Mugabe’s desire to have the United Nations reformed, will no doubt, change the world political matrix and bring peace, equality and stability to all nations.
The problem in the world at the moment is that rich and powerful countries abuse small and poor ones, even using the UN Security Council as smokescreen behind with they hide their regime change agendas.
The UN Security Council has by and large been manipulated by the United States of America, Britain, France and their allies to punish countries that are deemed untoward and even to murder political opponents like Muammar Gaddafi.
Syria’s case is yet another point of contention in world politics. America and countries aligned to it have taken upon themselves to dictate what should happen in that country by sponsoring financially and militarily, the opposition to topple President Assad. President Mugabe warned at the last UN summit that America should not be allowed to be the self-appointed world policeman. “Shame, shame, shame on you (American),” he said.
At the moment the hottest spot of the world is Syria and the situation there helps illustrate why President Mugabe is calling for a free, fair and just UN, where countries are treated equally.
America and its allies, including oil rich Saudi Arabia, have taken it upon themselves to get rid of President Bashar al Assad. Saudi Arabia is very powerful and oil rich and also geographically adjacent to Syria hence strategically good for America.
The provoking decision of Saudi Arabia to disallow non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council demonstrates that the Kingdom has its own version of how to settle international problems and the Syrian crisis, in particular.
Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia does not openly contest the priority of a peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis, it still favours the annihilation of Assad’s regime and franticly works to prevent “Geneva-2” or at least to delay the start of this conference.
The military overthrow of Assad is considered by Saudi Arabia as the most favourable scenario. Therefore, it broadly supports the armed Syrian opposition and rebel groups – “Jabhat al Nusra,” “Islamic state of Iraq and Levant” – that were created by Saudi Arabia’s special service and today act under their supervision. The above mentioned groups are also considered to be the most successful battle-wing of the Syrian opposition. They are sponsored by America and its allies.
Saudi Arabia’s rejection of non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council is also a clear message to the US that Riyadh is dissatisfied with changes in US foreign policy towards Damascus.
It is also a sign that the white House cannot control its former ally, Saudi Arabia, any longer from taking unilateral actions against Syria.
Saudi Arabia also plans to actively discredit the Syrian management within the UN.
In particular it works on a draft that calls to beef up sanctions against Damascus in connection with allegations of joint operations being carried out by combatants from governmental forces, groups of Lebanese “Hisbala”, Iraq Shiite formations and Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards.”
Saudi Arabia’s determination to overthrow Assad by any means possible (including the use of extremists) may lead to further strengthening and radicalisation of the Syrian armed opposition.
And it might as well lead to a long and devastating civil war in Syria. Washington’s inability to influence the opposition camp and Riyadh’s aspiration to remain the domination force supervising insurgency already caused a split in the Syrian opposition rooted conflicts between rival groups.
The remaining uncertainty about the National Coalitions (NC) participation in the Geneva-2” will force the NC to increase its military potential – a step that regardless of any outcome of the conference is capable to jeopardise peace in Syria.
So under those circumstances you get to admire and understand men like President Mugabe, who have a vision for a better world, a world were matters are dealt with based on facts and not allegiance to super powers.
The Syrian conflict would not be there if the UN had dealt with it fairly, in the mould of President Mugabe’s vision.
There are many African Presidents who share Mugabe’s vision but are afraid of articulating their vision for fear of retribution.
President Mugabe has been hated and persecuted for his unwavering stance and articulation of issues around world justice, equally and fairness If the world had only five leaders like President Robert Mugabe, it would have been a different place altogether where equality of nations was guaranteed and promoted regardless of geographical size, financial muscle or military mighty.
President Mugabe’s vision, frankness and political artistry, remains unmatched.
Vincent Octoyi is an African American based in Oregon, USA and writes for DayAfrica.com
Norah Kapisa of Zimbabwe is an emerging Jazz artist in the Southern African state. An article on her was recently published in the Herald., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
A new jazz diva is born
November 28, 2013
Norah “Thelma” Kapisa is a jazz musician who has literally been through the whole grind to get to her destination. The 22-year-old began her career as a reggae singer only to find her feet in the relatively mature genre of jazz and soul.With several reggae-themed songs under her belt the dreadlocked songstress cut her teeth in the industry under the tutelage of renowned dancehall producer Shelthang of the Sunshine Studios fame.
“I was inspired by the likes of Chiwoniso “Sista Chi” Maraire and Rita Marley, who gave me the energy to pursue a musical direction in my life.
“I have always loved singing even as a child all the way through my years at university where I recorded my first song called ‘Rasman’ which is a dedication to my love for reggae music,” said Kapisa.
Other singles produced under Shelthang’s wing include “Party all Day Long” as well as “Rasta Swagga”, both of which she sang whilst at the University of Zimbabwe.
She has also delved into hip-hop where she joined X-lay, Trick J and Crack Dollar on a collaboration called “Nhodo”, which is a fast-paced party jam with an international flavour.
When she recorded the mellow song “Nokutenda”, dedicated to her late sister and her baby, Thelma realised that she had found her musical niche.
The production was heard by top producer Willard “Slimaz” Magombedze of Slimaz Productions, who introduced her to the world of afro-jazz and she has not looked back ever since.
Slimaz has worked with artistes such as Jah Prayzah and Mathias Mhere and is a very versatile and talented music producer in his own right.
Currently, the duo are in the studio working on Thelma’s debut album which is set to feature BaShupi and Seh Calaz and is set for release early next year.
Kapisa works with guitarist Keen Marshall Nhemachena and is managed by Cynthia “DJ Spin” Duringo.
Thelma has a Diploma in Public Relations as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (Honours) from the University of Zimbabwe.
Frans Baleni, secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa. He believes independent worker actions cannot win in the longterm., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nov 20 2013 1:13PM
Strike cost Northam R200m
NUM members went on strike at the company's Zondereinde mine, near Amandelbult, on November 3
Northam Platinum has so far lost about R200 million because of the strike at its Zondereinde mine in Limpopo, the company said on Wednesday.
"The revenue losses result from a strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which has declined the company's offer for wage increases of up to 9 percent," the company said in a statement.
"Employees have lost R30 million in wages to date."
NUM members went on strike at the company's Zondereinde mine, near Amandelbult, on November 3.
They were demanding an increase of R2100 for core workers, such as rock drill operators, and R2000 for non-core workers.
The union rejected the company's revised wage offer of a 7.5 percent increase for non-core category two to eight employees, and 8.5 percent for core employees in the same categories.
In categories nine and 10, the company revised its offer to seven percent for non-core workers and 7.5 percent for core workers, and the living-out allowance to seven percent. The company was proposing a two-year wage.
"On average, Zondereinde produces 1000 ounces on a daily basis. The company cannot accede to the NUM's demands, which would significantly raise the cost base of the business and jeopardise the sustainability of the company and jobs, in the longer term."
NUM said the strike would continue until an agreement was reached.
"[We] have resolved to continue with the strike at Northam Platinum after a mass meeting with the members today," chief negotiator Ecliff Tantsi said on Tuesday.
He briefed members about the outcome of a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration-facilitated process held on Friday to try to resolve the wage dispute.
"Workers further resolved that we must march to the Northam Platinum head office in Johannesburg on Tuesday next week," Tantsi said.
COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini has delivered a major address to the leadership body of South Africa's largest trade union federation. A rift has developed over the status of the suspended general secretary Vavi., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nov 27 2013 4:13PM
Cosatu under attack: Dlamini
The Congress of SA Trade Unions is under attack from people seeking to split the union federation, president Sidumo Dlamini said on Wednesday.
"Cosatu is under attack. We are under attack as an organisation by forces from outside and forces from within whose aims are to liquidate Cosatu," Dlamini told the executive committee of the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
"There is no amount of intimidation, blackmail, lies which will make us waive and move away from our objective... People want to split Cosatu. If you want to split us remember you will be divided."
He said those seeking to do so should know there were workers who were loyal to Cosatu who would want to stay with it.
Dlamini said he would fight for unity within the union federation, even if it cost him his life.
"People have written us off and said we would collapse. We are survivors, we are winning," Dlamini said.
He urged Satawu members to defend Cosatu and to reach out to other unions within Cosatu who were under attack.
Dlamini advised those who wanted to leave the union federation to do so without delay.