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Updated: 56 min 11 sec ago

Military Attacks Against Al-Shabaab In Somalia Intensifies

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 02:36

First contingent of Djibouti troops enter Somalia in a US-backed effort to liquidate the al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement in the Horn of Africa state. The Pentagon and France have a military base in Djibouti at Camp Lemonier., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Garowe Online (Garowe)

Somalia: Military Offensive Against Al Shabaab Intensifies

13 MARCH 2014

Beledweyne — Fears of imminent battle between Somali government forces alongside African Union peacekeepers and Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab fighters gripped the residents of Hiraan regional district of Bulo Barde, Garowe Online reports.

According to independent sources in Bulo Barde, the ordinary residents began to flee with their essential elements overnight on Wednesday after heavily armed soldiers in fighting vehicles and battle tanks departed the western part of Beledweyne for the Hiraan region town in central Somalia.

Senior Al Shabaab officials were secretly evacuated as clashes loom over the control of beleagured Bulo Barde where the extremists have been remaining active , witnesses reported.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops aided by Somali government soldiers intensified assaults on Al Shabaab bases in Gedo and Bakool regions of southwestern Somalia, dislodging the militants from 5 towns and vast vicinities along the path to the targets.

Bulo Barde, Al Shabaab's biggest stronghold lies about 250km north of Mogadishu.

Federal Government of Somalia dispatched a ministerial delegation to the liberated areas in an effort to survey the situation and discuss the humanitarian and security situation with the traditional and community leaders.

Detroit City Council Votes 6-3 to Approve Barclays, BOfA, UBS $120 Million Giveaway to Banks That Destroyed City

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 18:29

Detroiters marching against emergency management and forced bankruptcy outside federal court on October 23, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Detroit council approves $120M bankruptcy loan; deal still needs judge's OK

6:01 PM, March 14, 2014
By Joe Guillen
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

The Detroit City Council today approved in a split vote a $120-million loan from Barclays to start funding improvements to services while the city is still in bankruptcy court.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy case, has ultimate approval of the $120-million deal, which is expected to pay for blight removal, hiring in public safety and other restructuring programs emergency manager Kevyn Orr has proposed.

The council approved of the loan by a 6-3 vote. Council President Brenda Jones and members Scott Benson and Mary Sheffield voted against the loan.

Jones and Sheffield questioned whether the money could be spent on high-priced lawyers, accountants and other consultants who have been hired to aid in the city’s restructuring. Benson also questioned exactly how the money would be spent, asking the city’s chief operating officer, Gary Brown, how individual residents’ quality of life would be improved this year with the loan.

The city is pledging its income tax revenue and the proceeds from the future sales of assets, except for Detroit Institute of Arts property. The city is likely to pay an adjustable interest rate as low as 3.5% on the loan.

The council unanimously rejected in October an earlier version of the loan. But that deal with Barclays, which Rhodes also shot down, included $230 million to pay off a controversial pension debt interest-rate transaction — known as swaps — brokered in 2005 by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration.

The city doesn’t need the $230 million anymore because it reached a new deal with UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to pay off the swaps for $85 million, after the city exits bankruptcy, without using any newly borrowed cash.

Thought Rhodes has rejected previously proposed swaps settlements, the judge signed off in January on a plan similar to the deal before the council. Although he approved an earlier version of the $120-million loan with conditions, Rhodes must still approve the renegotiated deal.

Contact Joe Guillen: 313-222-6678 or jguillen@freepress.com.

FDIC Sues 16 Banks for Rigging Libor Rate

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 18:24

Moratorium NOW! Coalition demonstration outside the Bank of America in downtown Detroit in defense of Michelle Hart who is facing eviction by the financial institution. The protest was held on September 1, 2010. (Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

U.S. regulator sues 16 banks for rigging Libor rate

5:11pm EDT
By Nate Raymond and Aruna Viswanatha

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp sued 16 of the world's largest banks on Friday, accusing them of cheating dozens of other now defunct banks by manipulating the Libor interest rate.

The global financial institutions broke certain swaps contracts they had entered into with the now-closed banks, by separately colluding to rig the Libor rate to which the
contracts were tied, the FDIC said.

Some of the banks accused in the lawsuit, including Barclays Plc and UBS, have already paid some $6 billion to resolve charges from U.S. and European authorities that they worked to manipulate benchmark interest rates.

They have also been sued by investors and others who claim they lost money due to the manipulation. A federal judge last March dismissed many of those claims that were based on antitrust law, but has yet to rule on cases that rely on the "breach of contract" theory used by the FDIC.

"These look very much like claims that I think are going to have a much better chance with the court," said Daniel Brockett, a lawyer with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan who had brought other cases against banks over Libor manipulation.

A representative of the FDIC declined comment. Representatives of the banks declined comment or did not respond to a request for comment.

Libor, which is the average rate that a panel of banks say they can borrow unsecured funds, has become a key rate globally, underpinning more than $550 trillion in financial products, from home loans to derivatives.

"SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES"

The financial institutions' conduct caused "substantial losses" to 38 banks that the U.S. regulator had taken into receivership since 2008, including Washington Mutual Bank and IndyMac Bank, the FDIC said.

The regulator did not quantify the losses at issue. The lawsuit also did not specify what damages the FDIC is seeking.

The lawsuit also accused the British Bankers' Association, the U.K. trade organization that during the period at issue administered Libor, of participating in the scheme.

The BBA had said it independently monitored the banks' Libor submissions, and represented that Libor was a "transparent" benchmark, even though it knew those statements were false, the FDIC said. A representative of the BBA declined comment.

The banks named as defendants include Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC.

Other defendants in the lawsuit are Rabobank, Lloyds Banking Group plc, Societe Generale, Norinchukin Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and WestLB AG.

The case is Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, et al, v. Bank of America Corp, et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-1757.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York and Aruna Viswanatha in Washington; Editing by Karey Van Hall, Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)

'Stokely: A Life' Starts Strong, Crashes Hard

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:10

African Liberation Day 1980 in Washington, D.C. The photograph features Kwame Ture(Stokely Carmichael) standing next to Nina Simone and Chico Neblitt. That year guests included ZANU, ZAPU, AIM, PDG, Polasario Front, SWAPO among others., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr."Stokely - A Life" Starts Strong, Crashes Hard

03/11/20140
By Ahjamu Umi

I admit fully that as soon as I heard about Peniel Joseph’s biography on the late Kwame Ture entitled “Stokely – A Life” I was skeptical. I felt that way for a few reasons, none of them new, as it relates to scholarship on the life of Kwame Ture, formally Stokely Carmichael. I think it’s fair to say the bibliography of Kwame’s life repeatedly plays up the approximately seven years he spent within the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (pronounced SNICK), and the one year he spent within the Black Panther Party (BPP), while down playing, or even ignoring, his last 30 years living in Africa as an organizer for the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).

The focus on the 60s is somewhat understandable due to the relative lack of attention paid to the bold work carried out by Kwame and other SNCC, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organizers in the south. Kwame, when he was known as Stokely Carmichael, played a major role throughout the civil rights and Black Power movements, something even Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr did not do.

So it is indeed logical that Joseph, and other scholars, would spend time wanting to retell the story of Kwame’s contributions to SNCC and the BPP. In fact, Joseph does better than most at relaying a narrative of how Kwame’s organizing skills developed, expanded, and intensified.

“Stokely – A Life” does a great job of demonstrating the intellect, selflessness, commitment, and absolute courage that characterized Kwame’s work in the south during those years.

For this contribution, we thank Joseph, especially for the vivid way in which he conveys the extent to which Kwame was demonized by the U.S. power structure during the latter 1960s. Joseph’s argues that impactful racist politicians like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Spiro Agnew, owed their political advancement in large part to Kwame’s existence and articulation of the Black Power concept – a phenomenon that frightened white America more than 9/11 could ever imagine.

This realization is a moving testimony to the incredible burden carried by a mere twenty four year old Stokely at that time. Joseph also skillfully exposes how the first African (Black) Senator since reconstruction – Edward Brooke – won his election in 1966 by specifically using the slogan “a vote against me is a vote for Stokely Carmichael.” The reader is magically transported into a time when Kwame literally commanded such a level of national focus that legislative ideas focused around repressive measures were being named after him.

This is a magnitude of attention that escaped even Malcolm X, the man considered the true spokesperson for Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. during the 60s. Plus, the fact that Joseph produces a clear visual that Kwame never wavered in his militancy and commitment to an independent African agenda does more to honor Kwame’s 60s legacy than pretty much anything else written about his life during that period.

Still, the unique and powerful narrative Joseph carefully crafts up to 1968 diminishes quickly when he is faced with having to address Kwame’s move to Guinea-Conakry, West Africa in 1969. In fact, “Stokely – A Life” is so lean after 1968 that the book would have served a better purpose by stopping there to become a tribute to Kwame’s U.S. work alone.

This is true because faster than the average African will switch off a country western song, Joseph’s book evaporates when confronted with dealing with Kwame’s Africa work.

Actually, Joseph never actually addresses any of the work Kwame does in Africa. It’s almost as if Kwame did all this courageous work in the U.S. during the 60s before grinding down to a serious halt when he moves to Africa.

Then, his contribution is portrayed as consisting simply of giving academic speeches on U.S. college campuses and other symbolic actions until his death. This is an old and tired replay of the same history being written about Kwame’s legacy once he leaves the U.S. for Africa. It’s an easier route for Joseph because it feeds into the same backward and corrupt school of thought that the U.S. is the center of the world struggle for human rights and dignity.

This approach also permits the author to avoid having to research, analyze, and critically assess the value of Stokely Carmichael after he moves to Africa and becomes Kwame Ture. This analysis wouldn’t have been easy, but had Joseph attempted to go there, his work would have deepened to a level nothing previously written about Kwame has ever come close to achieving.

Since Joseph ends up taking the same common route most historians have taken on Kwame’s life and contributions (after moving to Africa) this biography turns out to be nothing more than a brush fire – the analogy anyone familiar with Kwame knew he was fond of using to define the type of organizer who is active for a moment, but then burns out.

Consequently, Joseph misses several key points in understanding Kwame’s thinking and action after moving to Africa. For instance, Joseph makes the point of questioning why Kwame would decide to stay in Conakry and take up the battle as defined by Kwame Nkrumah, but without analyzing Nkrumah’s ideas, Joseph lacks an understanding of the young Stokely Carmichael’s thinking and the older, wiser, Kwame Ture’s resolve.

Unfortunately, Joseph has a lot of company in misunderstanding this important link between Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, and Kwame Ture. Instead of seriously investigating that link, he casually dismisses it as a case of cult of personality.

Then, Joseph continues down this path by presenting the tired and sadly misinformed assessment and analysis of Sekou Toure’s administration in Guinea. In doing so, Joseph simply repeats the same tired rhetoric that Sekou Toure was a dictator and Kwame Ture was a quiet co-conspirator to the senior Ture’s corruption.

It’s difficult to understand why there is such a consistent lack of intellectual integrity in assessing Kwame’s 30 years in Africa. It’s almost as if there is a conspiracy to actively avoid engaging in the proper research required to dissect Kwame’s legacy in Africa.

It would be simple to illustrate for readers why Kwame chose to study under Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. It is equally plausible to present an analysis that explains why Kwame decided to dedicate his life to their vision.

Joseph could have accomplished this had he taken the time to study Nkrumah’s “Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare” with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately, Joseph apparently didn’t judge Nkrumah’s landmark “Handbook” worthy of time and mention beyond just stating that Kwame Ture read it in one night.

Maybe if Joseph had taken the time to seriously study the “Handbook” he would have learned that this book contained a detailed analysis and strategy for achieving revolutionary Pan-Africanism – or one unified socialist Africa as defined by Nkrumah.

He would have realized that this strategy came about as a result of Nkrumah’s experience founding the Organization of African Unity (the OAU which today is the African Union), having the practical applications of building Ghana, supporting the radical “Casablanca” Union with Guinea and Mali, experiencing the CIA inspired disaster in the Congo, and being victimized by the CIA-inspired coup that overthrew his government in Ghana.

This groundswell of experience gave Nkrumah the qualifications to speak out against the evils of neo-colonialism and imperialism. He was also primed to learn from the mistakes of the OAU and devise a strategy that would build a grassroots revolutionary Pan-African movement.

Its common knowledge now that imperialism exploited many of the class and cultural issues that Joseph defines as “shortcomings” to sabotage Nkrumah’s revolutionary actions. What’s not as widely known is the “Handbook” was Nkrumah’s answer to those experiences.

Since Joseph makes it clear that the young Stokely Carmichael was searching for direction in 1968, it’s astounding that he and other scholars wouldn’t show more interest in exploring what young Stokely found in that handbook that shaped and characterized his work for the next 30 years.

Did Joseph take this route to purposely sabotage Kwame Ture’s legacy in Africa or was this lack of focus simply intellectual laziness? We don’t know, but based on the detail Joseph places on Kwame’s work in the U.S., it just seemed logical that he would extend the same focus to finding out what Kwame established in Conakry once moving there.

What we know is there was no A-APRP anywhere when Stokely Carmichael arrived in Conakry in 1969. Joseph neglects mentioning it, but the very first A-APRP work study circle consisted of Nkrumah, Kwame Ture, Amilcar Cabral, and Lamin Jangha (a student from Gambia). This group started meeting in 1969 once Kwame Ture moved to Conakry.

The purpose of the work study process is to serve as an organizing unit that spreads the revolutionary political message of one unified socialist Africa throughout the African world.

So, in fast forwarding through the 30 year span of Kwame’s work in Guinea, the A-APRP evolved from one work study circle in Conakry in 1969, to 2014, where A-APRP cadre have touched the ground in Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Azania-South Africa, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Brazil, and the U.S.

These organizers are working tirelessly to create a revolutionary Pan-African consciousness among the masses that anyone who pays attention can see is starting to take hold. The groundwork is being laid for the type of worldwide revolutionary African consciousness that will one day bring Pan-Africanism much closer to our grasp than it appears to Joseph right now.

The work to create this reality is exactly the type of daily organizer work that Joseph praises Kwame so handsomely for engaging in during the 60s. This is the same work that elevated Kwame from a U.S. activist into a central committee member for the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), along with becoming responsible for organizing hundreds of thousands of youth throughout the country.

It was from this capacity that Kwame developed and guided A-APRP cadre into similar positions for Pan-African parties in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ghana, etc. Kwame Ture continued with this work, not just in Guinea, not just in Africa, but in dozens of countries inside and outside of the African continent.

Nkrumah’s primary message in the “Handbook’s” is the need to unite all independent revolutionary Pan-African political parties into one continental political party named the A-APRP. Kwame’s effort to coordinate and unite the work going on in all the countries mentioned above was the key to understanding what he was doing in Africa from 1969 to 1998.

To not even give cursory mention to all of this monumental work is a sincere shame. And to dismiss Kwame’s commitment to organizing in Africa as simply paranoia at being persecuted by U.S. imperialism is tragically juvenile and reeks of dishonesty. A proper assessment of Kwame’s impact in Africa is to assess that his physical body hasn’t walked the Earth in 15 years, yet the A-APRP still continues to build a Pan-African reality.

In 2014, any African movement or leader who wishes to be taken seriously by his people must pay lip service not just to some abstract version of Pan-Africanism, but to the precise vision articulated by Kwame Nkrumah.

Robert Mugabe, who was recently elected to an executive position within the African Union, talks all the time about “Nkrumah’s vision for Africa.” Muammar Qaddafi’s push to create one Pan-African currency called the dinar – that would be backed by Libyan gold – was advanced with constant references to Nkrumah’s vision.

It would be virtually impossible to find any sensible African, on the continent or not, who would not agree that a Pan-African currency is something Africa desperately needs. And, it isn’t an uncommon belief that it was Qaddafi’s push for this currency that led to the NATO bombings that caused his overthrow and death.

A beginning student in economics would understand that a strong, united, African currency would change the game in the international arena. All revolutionary Pan-Africanists know that one African currency was not Qaddafi’s idea, but his attempt to fulfill the vision of Kwame Nkrumah.

These same Pan-Africanists also know that Qaddafi’s unity with Nkrumah’s vision was influenced at least in part by the A-APRP’s work with Libya, most significantly through the contributions of Kwame Ture.

There’s no question that Kwame Ture understood he would not live to see one unified socialist Africa. He knew that his job was to create revolutionary cadre who would continue to carry out that objective once his life was over. The fact that SNCC and the Black Panthers no longer exist while the A-APRP is operational on three continents and the Caribbean is testament to Kwame’s wisdom and hard work.

The reality that A-APRP cadre continues to do the work from Nkrumah’s “Handbook” and that their creation was the direct result of Kwame’s careful guidance cannot be ignored. Actually, it must be stated that Kwame’s work to create strong Pan-African cadre and the A-APRP’s work to push Pan-African consciousness, along with the examples of Mugabe, Qaddafi, and many others, speaks volumes about the increasing degree of sophistication reflected in Kwame’s vision.

This is a truth that provides great perspective for evaluating Kwame’s emergence from a young civil rights worker in Mississippi into a world renowned organizer in Africa with strong international contacts and trained revolutionary Pan-Africanist cadre. Could this be the actual reason for the “confidence” Joseph indicates exists within Kwame Ture that was absent from Stokely Carmichael?

Today, the A-APRP is responsible for creating this Pan-African cadre in dozens of countries. They speak with one message, using English, French, Swahili, Fante, Susu, Creole, Spanish, Patwa, etc., to call for revolutionary Pan-Africanism with a socialist path.

With this type of perspective regarding Kwame Ture’s work it becomes unnecessary to make the point that he “never mastered French.” Whatever languages he spoke, the cadre he helped create spawned a multitude of projects such as schools in Sierra Leone, socialist food programs in Ghana, and other political institutions throughout Africa, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere.

Today there are countless books, articles, and educational materials read by thousands supporting Nkrumah and (Sekou) Toure’s vision for revolutionary Pan-Africanism. This is not to mention the work to strengthen the ideological and practical commitment to Pan-Africanism that has been waged by cadre within the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC), Pan-African Union for Sierra Leone (PANAFU), Convention People’s Party of Ghana (CPP), Pan-African Congress of Azania, South Africa (PAC), etc.

This understanding effectively negates Joseph’s continued attempts to judge the A-APRP based on “the limited number of college students that join in the U.S.” It also nullifies the suggestion that Kwame’s work in SNCC somehow outdistances the significance of his Pan-African work. It’s no stretch to say that Joseph creates a grave disservice by denying his readers a scientific understanding of Kwame’s work in Africa.

In fact, this literary work is ironic in its conclusion. The reader is left with the impression that Joseph is suggesting that Kwame’s work in the U.S. was tangible whereas his work in Africa was not. The truth is its Kwame’s mass work in Africa, which is only briefly described here, that continues to have life and potential to become a true manifestation of Black Power.

Pan-Africanism is Black Power expressed in its highest form. So, Kwame didn’t go astray by moving to Africa and becoming a Pan-Africanist. He in fact completed his life mission.

That is the reason why it’s so disappointing that a book that started with so much promise loses credibility so rapidly and completely by presenting Kwame’s work in Africa in the same racist and uninformed fashion that we have come to expect from white leftists and bourgeois scholars.

Then, to add insult to injury, Joseph presents us with the same tired smear job against the PDG and Sekou Toure. Let us first admit freely that African revolutionaries, like everyone else, have a long way to go in learning how to effectively deal with political opposition without it becoming antagonistic.

Guinea under the PDG, was certainly guilty of this shortcoming as was the Libyan Jamahiriya under Qaddafi. Still, it’s not a coincidence that both those governments suffered under intense repression.

It’s also no coincidence that both countries existed, under the PDG and the Jamahiriya, for decades. Guinea was politically and economically isolated because of it’s bold stance in rejecting French neo-colonialism, it’s uncompromising support for African independence and liberation through its embrace of Kwame Nkrumah (when he was overthrown by a CIA inspired coup), and its supplying a base for the guerilla movement of the PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau (and Amilcar Cabral), and it’s extension of support to guerilla movements in Angola, Mozambique, and others.

A major tactic used by imperialism to isolate and punish revolutionary societies like Guinea is to deny them access to the scientific technology needed to develop resources to serve its people. Lack of technology equals poverty. The pressure this situation creates causes a great deal of stress and tension within a society.

Nkrumah speaks about this in his “Letters from Conakry” book, a collection of his letters during his exile years in Guinea. He speaks to the tension within Guinea as the country was strangled out of having even the basic necessities like toilet paper. History is full of examples of how the tactic of starving people against the revolution was successful in places like Nicaragua, Angola, etc.

In this environment the possibility of what Sekou Toure labeled “the 5th Column” or forces whose intention is to foment disruption in the country, is an everyday reality. These are the conditions in which Sekou Toure and the PDG attempted to build socialism.

Of course, explaining this reality is not an attempt to excuse mistakes in Guinea, but it’s important that context is given for the conditions in the country. This way, readers can hopefully understand that the situation is much more complex than Joseph’s attempt to simply explain it away as Guinea “being less open” than the rich and imperialist U.S.

Within this tense environment of siege, there is no question that the Toure regime was impacted to over react, and much of what happened at Camp Boiro during this time is probably the result of that phenomenon. But, to present this interpretation of Guinea’s years after independence without placing it within the proper context is ill responsible at best and criminal at worst.

In fact, a balanced assessment of the PDG and Toure would have to conclude that considering the pressure the young country was constantly under, their accomplishments were noteworthy. If you look at Guinea today, it consistently ranks as one of the most impoverished countries in the world. They annually produce one of the highest percentages of rain fall of any country, yet electricity is a commodity in Guinea so much so that college students must go to the airport parking lot in order to study at night.

It is with this understanding and context that despite the shortcomings of the PDG and Sekou Toure, what they accomplished in Guinea is nothing short of miraculous. Unlike most of the world, Sekou Toure understood that Guinea is a country rich in mineral resources.

Today, Guinea boasts at least 60% of the world’s bauxite reserves (the mineral used to make aluminum products) along with significant reserves of diamonds and uranium. Toure refused to buckle to imperialism’s desire to exploit those resources and he educated the people there around the necessity to use Africa’s resources to advance Africa – not the wealth of European and U.S. corporations.

So, even after Toure’s death, the people of Guinea understood enough of his message to resist Lasana Conte’s efforts to sell off the country’s riches. So, those resources remain today, waiting for Pan-Africanism – to develop them for future generations.

It’s important to say this because imperialism is always labeling the leaders it disagrees with as dictators, but in the case of Nkrumah, Toure, or Qaddafi for that matter, they never explain why the person they are calling a dictator never attempts to exploit his country’s resources for his/her own benefit? Since that never happened with the Toure regime, the question becomes if he was such a dictator, what and how did he benefit? It’s not like the U.S. supported dictators like Pinochet, Marcos, Mobotu, Bautista, Somoza, apartheid South Africa, Israel, etc., who’s bidding for imperialism rewards and rewarded them with massive riches thus giving them clear motivation to repress the masses.

Instead of exploiting his country’s resources, Toure insured that Guinea made major inroads in using whatever was available to them to make literacy a priority along with health care. Doctors from revolutionary Cuba were welcomed into the country during the Toure years to attempt to confront health epidemics and some progress was being made in these areas until the Conte regime, a classic neo-colonial government, took over in 1984.

It’s a shame that Joseph never bothers to mention that repression against opposition under the Conte regime makes what happened during the Toure years look almost non-existent. It’s also interesting that during his critique against Toure, Joseph never makes an effort to explain how it is that the “corrupt, violent, and paranoid” Toure was able to stay in power for 26 years, withstanding the animosity and sabotage of every imperialist country in the world for that entire period.

This is clearly a feat that would have been impossible unless Toure enjoyed massive popular support. How else does one explain the several failed imperialist backed efforts to topple the Toure government.

By the same token, Conte’s regime ruled for approximately the same period with massive strikes, demonstrations, violence, and upheaval unseen during Toure’s years, in spite of the fact Conte enjoyed the full support of imperialism. This is a clear indication of the lack of popular support for his regime compared to Toure and the PDG.

Could it be possible that some of this context explains why Joseph incorrectly assumes Kwame Ture was so quiet in criticizing the Ture regime? Especially since anyone who has participated in an A-APRP circle process for any reasonable period of time knows that critical analysis of the PDG, and all African revolutionary formations, is a regular aspect of political struggle within the A-APRP.

In fact, a leading A-APRP cadre living and organizing with the PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau, brother Imani Na Umoja, just published a very well balanced assessment of the success of the PAIGC in maintaining its power in Guinea-Bissau in comparison to the failure of the PDG to do the same upon the death of Seku Toure.

Umoja points to the lack of political education – Kwame Ture’s primary legacy - as the difference between the PDG and PAIGC. Could this be the reason for Kwame’s work with the PDG, specifically his role with the youth? Maybe if Joseph had taken the time to talk to some of the A-APRP cadre on the ground in Guinea he would have been able to understand and include this critical discussion in his biography.

In fact, maybe if Joseph had taken a different approach to trying to analytically interpret Kwame Ture’s work in Africa, or more importantly the work of the A-APRP, he could have given much more insight into the true legacy of Kwame Ture. Instead, what we are left with from Joseph’s work is the very thing any of us who worked with Kwame know he absolutely abhorred. We are left with a focus on the glamour of work in the U.S. with a secondary and underdeveloped dismissal of the hard and necessary work to rebuild Africa.

This is especially ironic since Kwame Ture was nothing except clear that anyone serious about Black Power would have to one day come around to Nkrumah’s analysis that “the core of the Black revolution is in Africa and until Africa is free, no African anywhere will be free.”

Joseph’s biography disregards the selfless and sincere focus of Kwame’s decision to work for Africa. His book also dismisses Kwame’s concrete contribution to advancing revolutionary Pan-Africanism, an advancement that proceeds far beyond Kwame’s work in SNCC and the Black Panthers combined. To live in the true spirit of Kwame Ture, the African intellectual, academic class one day must grasp what that legacy truly means.

African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan Sworn In

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 12:08

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 Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan sworn in

March 13, 2014

ADDIS ABABA. – Members of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan appointed on March 7 by chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have been sworn in. In the first such swearing-in ceremony in the history of the AU Commission, the members of the Commission of Inquiry each took an oath administered by the AU Commission’s legal counsel, Professor Vincent Nmehielle yesterday, at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.

Overseeing the swearing-in ceremony, the AUC chairperson expressed delight in seeing the Commission of Inquiry setting off to do its work barely a week after its establishment and the appointment of its members.

In her remarks, Dr Dlamini-Zuma expressed the AUC’s satisfaction in assembling a team of women and men with rich diversity of expertise, and who are “equal to the task”.

Members of the commission are former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo (chairperson); Professor Mahmood Mamdani; Ms. Bineta Diop; Professor Pacifique Manirakiza and Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo.

They have combined expertise in areas such as human rights, international law, justice, gender, research, academia and politics.

While the Commission begins work immediately, the Commission of Inquiry Obasanjo, in his preliminary address after being sworn-in, pledged the commitment of the team to deliver.

“Africans and non-Africans all over the world will be watching to see not only the outcome of our work, but how we approach our work. We must take it seriously to prove to the world that Africa has come of age to able to manage African issues by ourselves,” he said.

Giving his assurances that the Commission will leave no stone unturned, and in accordance with the mandate and terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry, Obasanjo highlighted that those responsible must not get away with impunity.

“I want to assure everyone that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that, as much as possible, we are able to ascertain who is responsible,” he stressed.

Obasanjo also highlighted the issue of reconciliation, saying that at the end of the day, the Commission wishes to bring about genuine reconciliation, “particularly in the African way”.

Pointing to the issue of healing, he observed that there are wounds and bruises in South Sudan that need healing and that the work of the Commission should lead to a united, progressive and developed country.

The Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan is expected to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict that broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013. It is expected to submit its report to the AU Peace and Security Council in three months.

- African Union Commission.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Marks International Women's Day

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 12:05

Dr. Tax L. Stergomina, executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The regional organization issued a statement on International Women's Day, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Sadc marks International Women’s Day

March 13, 2014

GABORONE. — The following is a statement by SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tax L. Stergomina on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014.

“The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day 2014 under the “Equality for Women is Progress for all.’’

This is indeed an opportune moment for Sadc to reflect on progress made towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The Sadc region has recorded commendable milestones in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment over the years.

“Our region has realised an increase of women representation and participation in the public and private spheres. Improvements in women’s health, especially the reduction of maternal mortality rates, have been recorded. In education, most member states are on course to achieve the gender parity in enrolment rates of boys and girls at both primary and secondary school levels.

“Member states have incorporated gender perspectives in their education policies, programmes and curriculum among other successes. Gender mainstreaming of sectors such as agriculture, trade, energy, water, peace building and security among others have been progressing very well at both regional and national levels.

“However, a lot still needs to be done for women and girls to enjoy the full fundamental rights, freedom and dignity.

“Many of our communities, especially women and girls in rural areas continue to face challenges that include harmful traditional /religious practices, and violence against women and children among other concerns. Lack of access to and ownership of resources such as land continues to be a challenge for basic livelihood necessary for poverty eradication, food security and sustainable development among others.

“In view of this, it is important for Sadc member states to develop and strengthen efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development opens a unique possibility for our member states to intensify measures for strategic implementation of the Sadc gender commitments in collaboration with all stakeholders from civil society, private sector, our communities and other development partners . . .”

— sadc.int.

South Africa Expels Rwandan Envoys After Attacks on Dissident

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:58

Jeff Radebe, Minister of Justice in the Republic of South Africa, said that the country will not be used to settle political scores in other states. Three Rwandan diplomats were expelled., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

SA kicks out Rwandan envoys after attacks

March 13, 2014

PRETORIA. – South Africa yesterday warned it would not be used as a battleground to settle political scores by foreign nations after it expelled Rwandan diplomats suspected of masterminding attacks on dissidents. “As the South African government, we want to send a very stern warning to anybody anywhere in the world that our country will not be used as a springboard to do illegal activities,” Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told reporters.

Last week, Pretoria expelled three Rwandan diplomats and one from Burundi after the botched assassination of an exiled opponent of Rwanda’s strongman Paul Kagame.

Radebe said the government had declared the envoys “persona non grata”, adding they had “violated their diplomatic privileges”.
In retaliation, Rwanda expelled six South African diplomats.

A group of armed men raided the Johannesburg house of ex-army general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa last week “looking for him”, according to the opposition Rwanda National Congress.

Nyamwasa has already survived two assassination attempts.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Rwanda have been strained since Kigali’s former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, who was also exiled in South Africa, was found strangled to death in a Johannesburg luxury hotel on New Year’s Day.

Rwanda’s ambassador to South Africa, Vincent Karega, refused to comment on the allegations raised by Pretoria “until I see the contents of the accusations”.

But he admitted there “are very big problems” that need to be ironed out between the two countries.

He accepted South Africa’s warning as “legitimate”.

“No country wants to see other countries or bodies from outside acting on their behalf, in their country without agreeing on it,” he told AFP by phone from Kigali where he is taking his annual leave.

After Nyamwasa was shot and wounded in 2010, Pretoria described the attack as an assassination attempt by foreign “security operatives” and then recalled its ambassador to Rwanda.

Nyamwasa, who was a member of Kagame’s inner circle, fled to South Africa in 2010 after falling out with the Kigali administration and was granted refugee status.

South Africa is home to numerous Rwandan dissidents, a point of bitter dispute between the two countries.

- AFP.

South Sudan Government Asks For Maximum Sentences Against Alleged Coup Plotters

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:44

South Sudanese defendants Ezekiel Gatkuoth, Majak d'Agoot, Pagan Amum and Oyai Deng Ajak on March 11, 2014. They face harsh charges in alleged coup attempt., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014

Juba asks for maximum sentences against “coup” plot accused, trial adjourned

March 12, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s government has asked a special court in Juba to impose maximum penalties against four political detainees who are accused of treason for allegedly attempting to depose president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his leadership from power.

The alleged coup plot of on 15 December has triggered a conflict that has killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands plunging South Sudan into a political, security and humanitarian crisis.

On the second day of the trial, Judge James Alala Deng, the president of the court, agreed to the prosecutions request to adjourn the trial for one week until 19 March so that key witnesses could return to Juba to testify.

Seven other senior officials accused of involvement were released on bail to Kenya but then travelled to Addis Ababa to take part in the stalled peace process.

"The trial of these officials tests the ability of our judiciary. It is actually the first case of its kind in this country", lead prosecutor James Mayen Oka said at the opening of hearing on Tuesday.

In a presentation before the court, the prosecutor stated that the criminal case against the four accused was initiated on December 16, 2013, at the Northern Division Police Station in Juba, under criminal case number 4701.

He read out that former army chief of staff, Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum Okiech former SPLM secretary-general, Majak D’Agoot ex-deputy defense minister and diplomat Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth were arrested on remand.

The charges against the four officials include treason, incitement of the masses, causing disaffection among police forces or defense forces, defaming the government of South Sudan and undermining authority of or insulting the president.

Participation in the press conference on December 6 where the four, along with many other senior members of the SPLM strongly criticised President Kiir’s leadership of the ruling party and the country, along with a recorded audio of a phone call between two of the accused, were cited as evidences.

The press release, which was issued by the group during the December 6 press conference will also be used as evidence, as will the fact that Pagan Amum, chaired the meeting.

Other evidence that will be brought by the prosecution includes the clash within the Presidential Guards on the night of 15 December, when shooting broke out in Juba.

The prosecution claim to have a recorded audio in which Taban Deng Gai, the former Unity state governor who is now leading the rebel’s delegation to stalled peace talk in Addis Ababa, claimed reportedly told one of the suspects, Oyai Deng Ajak, they were under pressure at the time from their forces to take action to remove president Kiir from power.

The telephone correspondences allegedly took place in the night of December 15 on the directive former Vice President Riek Machar, who allegedly ordered forces loyal to him to take guns from the armory.

The defense have questioned this evidence and appear likely to challenge whether it is admissible.

Machar, Deng and the other rebels as well as the defendants and seven detainees who have been freed all deny plotting a coup attempt and claim Kiir used the split in the military to try silence his opponents.

"This audio will be produced in court and all of you will hear it, and other things, other transcripts that were recorded that night", the prosecutor said.

Machar and Deng, as well as South Sudan’s former environment minister, Alfred Lado Gore will face the same charges in absentia.

The prosecutor also stated that former cabinet affairs Minister, Deng Alor Kuol, former transport and bridges minister, Gier Chuang Aluong, former finance minister Kosti Manibe Ngai, former justice minister John Luk Jok, former youth minister Cirino Hiteng, former telecommunication and postal services minister, Madut Biar Yel and former Lakes state governor, Chol Tong faces the same charges though they were released on bail.

At the second day of the treason trial today at the judiciary premises near Juba Teaching Hospital, the prosecution requested that the seven other political detainees who were released to Kenya ‘on bail’ return to give testimony.

Judge James Alala Deng, the president of the court, agreed to adjourn the trial for one week until 19 March in order to allow the seven time to return to Juba.

PUBLIC REACTION

Independent analysts and observers have expressed doubt on the independence of the judiciary, citing previous decision by the supreme when it rejected a court case filed by former Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech, saying personal rights were violated.

"This case will provide another opportunity for our judiciary to show independence. We have seen people coming out before to complain that their cases judged fairly", Alfred Deng, a native of the oil-contested border region Abyei said outside the court.

But Garang Deng, a native of Warrap State, commended decision of the government for allowing the court to hear the case before the public.

"The impression I had before has now been changed. I though this case would be confined but I see public members have been allowed to attend the hearing. The courtroom has since yesterday been full beyond it capacity that some people do not find seats or even a space to stand. Outside as you can see is also occupied. This is a step forward", Deng told Sudan Tribune.

Another citizen from Lakes State who did not want to be identified said: "There is no strong evidence being presented before the court by the prosecutor. He is presenting [a] press release and illegal tracking of telephone conversations between individuals as evidence before the court. Telephone tracking and recording is illegal practices. It is not constitutional. There is provision in the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan which allows tracking and telephone recording to be used in the court as evidence."

CHARGES

Prosecutor Oka said the judge should impose the maximum penalties provided for under sections 66, 67, 72, 47, 75, 76, 206, 48, 52, 62 of the Penal Code Act 2008, stating that the four officials are charged under chapter five of the 2008 South Sudan penal code act.

Article 66 under South Sudan’s penal code deals with issues relating subverting constitutional government while 67 handles issues relating to insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism. Article 72 deals with possession of dangerous weapons.

Other articles cited as basis of constitutional charges include article 47 handles issues relating to right of private defense against deadly assault when there is risk of harm of innocent person.

Article 75 handles penalties relating to publishing or communicating false statement prejudicial to South Sudan.

Article 76 handles undermining authority of or insulting the president, while article 206 handles murder and article 48 addresses acts committed by several persons in furtherance of common intention. Article 52 is dedicated to abetment, while 62 handles penalties related to conspiracy.

(ST)


TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014

Political detainees linked to S. Sudan coup plot face court in Juba

March 11, 2014 (JUBA) - A court hearing for four political detainees accused of treason by the South Sudan government in connection to an alleged coup plot to depose president Salva Kiir got under way in the capital, Juba, on Tuesday.

The hearing started at 10:00am (local time) following repeated adjournments and delays, allegedly to allow investigators assemble more evidence.

Pagan Amum, former secretary-general of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Majak D’ Agoot, former deputy defence minister, Oyai Deng Ajak, former national security minister in the office of the president and Ambassador Ezekiel Gatkuoth Lol, appeared before a panel of judges.

Charges read out related to evidence of their role in the alleged failed coup attempt in mid-December, which sparked violence across the country, and their participation in a 6 December press conference, in which they criticised Kiir’s leadership as being marked by corruption and tribal divisions.

Telephone records were also presented allegedly showing individual discussions on strategies to depose president Kiir from power.

Other evidence tendered to the court includes documents seized after the arrest of some of the officials.

Government witnesses brought to testify include interior minister Aleu Ayieny Aleu, as well as the director generals for internal and external security, Akol Koor Kuc and Thomas Duoth respectively. Major General Mac Paul from military intelligence was one of the witnesses testifying on behalf of the government.

Seven other political detainees were released in January and immediately left South Sudan for Kenya. The remaining four detainees have since remained in custody despite mounting international pressure for their release.

An estimated 10,000 people have been killed and almost one million displaced since violence erupted between forces loyal to the Kiir-led government and rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.

(ST)

Eritreans in Bor, Jonglei State in South Sudan, Are Threatened During Civil Conflict

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:33

A row of shops looted in Bor County of Jonglei state in the Republic of South Sudan. Merchants from Eritrea are reportedly being targeted by supporters of the government., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH 2014

Eritreans in Bor threatened, shops looted as Jonglei locals accuse Asmara of backing rebels

March 9, 14 (BOR/LONDON) - As the dust settles on the tumultuous three months for residents of Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, which has been at the heart of rebellion against the government, people are beginning to count the economic as well as the personal cost of the conflict.

On Monday an Ethiopian trader, who has been operating in Jonglei state since 2011, told Sudan Tribune said that 300,000 South Sudanese pounds (around $103,000) was stolen from his shop on 30 December 2013, just two weeks after fighting begin in the capital Juba.

Daniel Merhawi Debesay, who is Eritrean by birth but holds an Ethiopian passport, says he also lost produce, including beer and soft drinks worth, around 668,000 SSP ($229,370)

The drinks seller said that he had felt at home in South Sudan but now fears that his shop may have been targeted because of his nationality. Many South Sudanese in Bor believe rumours that Eritrea may be backing the rebel movement led by South Sudan’s former Vice President Riek Machar.

When fighting began between members of the South Sudanese armed forced on 15 December last year, the government accused Machar and many others who had become increasingly opposed to President Salva Kiir of attempting to stage a coup.

Machar denies this but has assumed control of a loose coalition of defected soldiers and armed civilians who have control of much of Jonglei and Upper Nile as well as parts of Unity state.

Debesay ran to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor with his wife and brother when the war reached its peak in Bor, leaving behind everything in his shop.

The state capital has changed hands four times since the conflict, which has killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands, began.

"They came running, shooting people. I saw a lot of people killed here, I ran to UNMISS. It was on that day that they looted my shop, took all the crates I had in stock. They took the money also, 300,000 [South Sudanese] pounds", Debesay told Sudan Tribune.

It was the saddest moment in his life, he said, and had a serious psychological affect on his brother, who sheltered in the UN compound with him until the town was retaken by the South Sudanese army (SPLA).

"He became sick, complaining of headache and after few days, he became like a mad man. He is now under treatment in Uganda, Kampala", he said.

Friends had helped him by paying for his medication in Uganda.

Debesay has now received a loan of 15,000 pounds from the Ethiopian and Eritrean business community in South Sudan’s capital Juba to restart his drinks business.

The trader, who spent two months in the UN compound said he saw many of the items looted from Bor market being exchanged between displaced people in the camp, including mattresses, phones, soft drinks and water.

THREATENED IN BOR

Debesay, who is an Eritrean by origin says that he and his wife have been threatened over the last week by local people in Bor who claim Eritrea is aiding Machar’s rebels by providing them with arms and ammunition.

Claudio Gramizzi, an independent researcher with extensive knowledge of arms trafficking in the region said he was not aware of any evidence that Eritrea was providing weapons to the SPLM/A in Opposition, despite the rumours that have circulated over the past two weeks.

The lack of evidence has not stopped people taking their anger out on expatriates like Debesay.

"I came to Bor again because other places are not good for business because of congestion and the distance factors. But now the people who knew me as an Eritrean threatened me. I will inform the police about so that I can get help immediately", Debesay said.

Throughout much the civil war against Khartoum that lasted for over two decades the SPLA - then a rebel group rather than a national army for independent South Sudan - had quite good connections with Asmara.

Gramizzi, told Sudan Tribune in an email: "This goes back into history, but some networks survive in time even when the major political frameworks evolve. Eritreans are in Juba (they own a couple of hotels and some businessmen operating in South Sudan are quite well connected with the regime in their home country), but I never heard about them being involved in supporting armed actors."

Over the last five years Khartoum and Asmara have improved their relationship and stopped backing rebels in the others territory.

This is a marked changed since before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, when the Eritrean capital was home to several armed groups operating in Sudan, including Darfuri rebels.

From a geopolitical perspective Eritrea arming the South Sudanese rebels would not make much sense, Gramizzi said, but added that it was not impossible.

"If there is some support – it is small volume and channelled through personal connections and they don’t really reflect a governmental position."

The Eritrean government do not have many reasons to put the Sudanese government in Khartoum in a difficult position by supporting Machar, according to Gramizzi, adding they also have no real reasons to oppose Salva Kiir’s government.

"Sometimes, however, [the Eritrean government’s] geopolitical stand simply emerge[s] from their willingness to annoy Ethiopia" Gramizzi notes.

So far the conflict has, publicly at least, brought Khartoum and Juba closer together as they both need to keep South Sudan’s oil exports flowing through the north to fuel their ailing economies.

However, the presence of Ugandan troops, deployed by Kampala initially to help secure Juba and the evacuation of their nationals but now openly fighting the rebels alongside the SPLA, has angered Sudan and their continued presence could raise tensions especially considering their proximity to the oil fields in Unity and Upper Nile.

(ST)

Sudan Says Ship Seized by Israel Will Not Be Permitted to Enter

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:23

Sudanese waving at Iranian warship as it leaves the country. The two nations are under attack by US imperialism and Israel., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014

Sudan says ship seized by Israel will not be permitted to enter

March 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced Wednesday that strict guidelines were issued not to receive a ship which was seized last week by Israeli navy commandos in the Red Sea off the Sudanese coast.

A statement released by an unidentified NISS media director underscored the commitment of Sudan to peace and stability of the Red Sea region and its acclaimed role in combating all forms of transnational organized crimes, human trafficking and weapons smuggling.

The official said that the investigation conducted by NISS concluded that the vessel was unrelated to any Sudanese party.

Israel, which hauled the Panamanian-flagged ship to Eilat port, said Syrian-made M-302 surface-to-surface missiles supplied by Iran were hidden in the cargo that were intended for Hamas Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Iran and Hamas have denied the accusations.

Along with the missiles, some 180 mortar shells and 400,000 rifle rounds were laid out in neat piles on a pier in the port of Eilat. A navy missile boat that took part in the raid was docked behind the display.

The United States also announced that the interception of this ship was a product of joint cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv.

The NISS pointed out that the arrival of any vessel to Port Sudan is normal considering it is open to all ships except Israel noting that the port is an important station for maintenance and refueling.

It also emphasized the efficiency of Sudan security services that are known for their excellence and professionalism.

The security apparatus further said it is mindful of its role in the achievement of international peace and security in the context of its commitment to a world of harmony and peace.

The statement did not explain why the ship is now banned entry even though a senior Sudanese foreign ministry official who spoke to Sudan Tribune last week accused Israel of spreading “lies” in order to pre-empt action it secretly plans to carry out.

It is widely believed that Israel carried out at least two airstrikes in eastern Sudan in 2009 and 2011 against targets involved in arms smuggling to Gaza militants.

In October 2012, Sudan accused Israel of being behind air strikes that targeted the Al-Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum.

The Jewish state never confirmed or denied its role in these attacks.

(ST)

Sudanese Police Disperse Crowds at Funeral of Slain Student

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:17

Sudan students demonstrating in the capital of Khartoum during September 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014

Sudanese police uses tear gas to disperse crowds at funeral of slain student

March 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds at the funeral of a student who was shot in a demonstration in Khartoum on Tuesday.

Ali Abakr Moussa Idris, a third-year economics student at the University of Khartoum (U of K), died in hospital of gunshot wounds sustained during the demonstration.

The protest was organised by students from Darfur following a public rally denouncing the deteriorating security situation in the region.

Amnesty International condemned the “use of excessive and unlawful force” against protesters.

“Credible accounts by eyewitnesses at the University of Khartoum protest point to police and Sudanese intelligence (NISS) officers using tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. The authorities must rein in the security forces and prevent them from using such excessive force,” said Netsanet Belay, AI’s Africa director of research and advocacy.

But the Sudanese police denied using live ammunition to disperse the students and have instead held the armed rebel groups responsible for the incident.

More than 3,000 people took part in the funeral at Sahafa cemetery in Khartoum south. They held banners calling for retribution and overthrowing the regime besides demanding political forces not to respond to the government’s call for national dialogue.

They shouted “killing of a student is killing of a nation”, “million martyr for a new regime”, “no dialogue with bloodshed”.

The riot police cordoned the cemetery and used tear gas to disperse the crowd immediately after the burial.

Several political leaders addressed the crowed pointing the death of the student represents a clear message that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is not serious about holding a genuine national dialogue.

The secretary general of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Ibrahim Al-Amin, said the death of the student has defeated the call for dialogue, stressing that it sends a strong message to opposition parties who are rushing for dialogue with the NCP.

The U of K administration said on Wednesday it formed a fact finding commission to investigate the killing of the student besides filing two charges under articles 130 premeditated murder and 139 wounding with intent.

The university’s council of deans condemned the use of violence and introduction of arms inside the campus and issued a decision following the incident suspending classes until further notice.

U of K spokesperson Abdel-Malik al-Nai’em said the decision to suspend classes was taken after profound study of the situation and to avoid recurrence of violence among students, saying the dead student was a victim of clashes among students inside the campus.

He stressed the commission would investigate how arms were brought inside campus and affirmed weakness of the university guards due to lack of personnel and powers, calling for assigning regular force to protect security and safety of the students.

Al-Nai’em attributed growing violence among students to weakness of political arguments as well as using student organizations to serve agendas of political parties.

In a statement issued on Monday, the police said it would undertake all efforts to uncover the circumstances of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice, affirming it wouldn’t allow attempts to undermine the security and stability of citizens.

(ST)

Sudanese Troops Deployed to Troubled Darfur State

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:58

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir during his visit to the North Darfur state capital of El-Fasher on March 8, 2009. The President addressed a crowd of thousands in El Fashir., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Heavy troops deployed to troubled Darfur state

TVC NEWS [ KHARTOUM]- The Sudanese government has increased the military reinforcements to the north Darfur state following reports that militias allied to the feared Janjaweed militia are preparing an attack.

The governor of North Darfur state, Mohamed Yousif Kibir, had last Saturday called on the central government to urgently intervene following clashes in the area, a source disclosed.

Our source further hinted that Sudanese minister of Defence Abdul Rahim Mohamed Hussien arrived in Elfashir, the capital of the state, on Monday to chair urgent top level security meetings.

Hussein, however, confirmed that the government has sent heavy military reinforcements to support the local government in North Darfur, in addition to aid.

Hussien told reporters after the meeting that they had discussed how to prevent any extension of the current conflict.

Suspected Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal has declared war on President Omar Al-Bashir's government. (Read: Janjaweed 'leader' declares war on Khartoum)

Hilal is said by the US State Department to be the leader of the famous pro-government Janjaweed that fights in Darfur.

Heavy fighting has been reported in Saraf Omra area in the state considered as a Hilal stronghold.

Meanwhile the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has said that thousands of people fleeing the widespread fighting were seeking refuge at the UN compound in north Darfur.

UNAMID said in a press release Monday that thousands of displaced from the town of Saraf Omra, are currently seeking refuge in the vicinity of UNAMID’s base.

- See more at: http://www.tvcnews.tv/?q=article/heavy-troops-deployed-troubled-darfur-state#sthash.gsxqhUs9.dpuf

Khartoum Berates Washington for Aiding Rebels in Darfur

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:41

Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in south Darfur on March 18, 2009. The president called for the Darfur rebels to lay down their arms and talk peace with the government., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Khartoum berates Washington for aiding rebels to sabotage Darfur

TVC NEWS, SUDAN - Council members have been called to find an alternative forum to resolve the Darfur crisis, saying the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD),has become outdated and cannot be relied on.

The Sudanese government’s Darfur peace implementation follow-up office underscored in a statement on Wednesday that Khartoum is absolutely committed to the DDPD as a sole platform for any efforts extended to completion of peace in Darfur, asserting its rejection of any attempt to establish platform parallel or alternative to the Doha forum.

The statement warned that the US actions encourage the non-signatory groups to impose their own agendas on Darfur people and Sudanese people in general, saying Washington recent stance is not new.

It stressed that Washington announced its support for the DDPD only after it became isolated following the large support which was offered by African nations, Arab world, Islamic world, and the United Nations, saying that support yielded approval of the DDPD by the UNSC and a call for non-signatories to immediately and unconditionally join it.

The statement further said the call for new forum would neither be accepted by Darfur people who represent the real stakeholders nor the Sudanese government, emphasizing rgar it only intends to weaken confidence on the DDPD and obstruct peace efforts besides paving the road for those who seek regime change.

- See more at: http://www.tvcnews.tv/?q=article/khartoum-berates-washington-aiding-rebels-sabotage-darfur#sthash.lsoiUTX1.dpuf

African Union Asks Mbeki to Finalize Peace Deal in Sudan

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:16

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki with Ibrahim Gandour, head of negotiationing team for the Republic of Sudan on South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Mbeki wants a comprehensive agreement., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

African Union asks Mbeki to finalise peace deal

TVC NEWS, SUDAN - Last month the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) suspended the stalled talks on the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and referred the matter to its mandating authority, the AUPSC, asking for further guidance.

In a statement issued on 2 March, the mediation said that the SPLM-N presented "a fundamentally different proposal" in response to a draft framework agreement it proposed to the two sides on 18 February.

The peace and security body discussed the matter on Monday 10 March and released its decision two days after on Wednesday urging the rebel group to respond to the proposal of the panel, and underlined that Khartoum responded to the draft agreement.

The AUPSC "encourages the SPLM-N to respond in accordance with the request made by the AUHIP" said the decision.

"Council further encourages the two Parties to continue the bilateral consultations they have initiated to reach a better understanding and solution. In this regard, Council requests the AUHIP to continue to assist the Parties to reach an agreement by 30 April 2014," it added.

The SPLM-N proposed a draft framework providing to negotiate a new humanitarian deal and to extend it to the rebel held areas in Darfur.

The rebel group also renewed its demand for an inclusive and comprehensive based on the 18 June framework agreement and demanded that Khartoum immediately lift the ban on its activities and associate it in the preparation of a national conference to discuss the different conflicts in Sudan and constitutional reforms.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti welcomed the decision of the peace and security body, saying the AUPSC "listened to a clear position from the Sudanese government".

He further said many members of the Council approved the position of the government and accused the other party of hampering the negotiations.

The head of the government negotiating team, Ibrahim Ghandour also reacted positively to the decision and called for the immediate implementation of the tripartite humanitarian agreement after the signing of a ceasefire agreement.

Rebel groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) refuse to hold separate peace talks with the Sudanese government and demand to establish one forum to negotiate the armed conflict in Darfur and the Two Areas.

- See more at: http://www.tvcnews.tv/?q=article/african-unions-asks-mbeki-finalise-peace-deal#sthash.KZttLYha.dpuf

CAR Farmers Struggle to Recover From Devastation

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 04:34

Central African Republic crowd protesting French intervention. Paris has occupied the country with 1,600 troops backed by the United States., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Central African Republic: CAR Farmers Struggle to Recover From Devastation

12 MARCH 2014
IRIN

Bessan — With the year's main planting season just weeks away, many in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been left desperately ill-equipped by months of conflict. In the charred village of Bessan, to the west of the country, the concerns are typical: a dire lack of seeds, tools and manpower.

Here many houses are roofless with fire-blackened walls; even intact homes lack furniture, food or tools.

"The Seleka stole our machetes, hoes, rakes and watering cans and even our beds and other belongings," one of the villagers, Veronique Nabata, told IRIN, referring to the alliance of mainly Muslim rebel groups that swept to power in a coup in March 2013 and for the next few months committed atrocities in many parts of the country.

"They also took our stocks of groundnuts, maize, beans and pistachio, and the Peuls [a semi-nomadic people] grazed their herds on our fields of manioc."

Males aged 15-45 are scarce in the village; there were hardly any among the 20 or so people who listened as Nabata and other community leaders explained the difficulties they are facing.

A village elder, Isidore Ngaldi, said the young men were needed to help prepare the fields, but added that they had all fled to the bush.

The last two seasons in Bessan and in many other CAR villages were severely disrupted by marauding Seleka gangs and their local allies. A third unsuccessful season will result in "a full scale food and nutrition crisis", the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned, "requiring a long and costly food assistance operation".

Threatened on all sides

Until recently, villagers said, they had all been living in the bush. A villager offered to show IRIN one of the places where they had been sheltering. This was a clearing, about 5km from the village, where a few women and children and one man were sitting outside half a dozen circular mud brick huts.

The huts were close to several families' fields and were built to provide shelter during busy periods of the farming year.

The man, Eric Zouta, said 12 people were living there, including his wife and children, and the other villagers had similar huts scattered around the village.

"The moment the Seleka came they started killing people," he said. "I brought my children to sleep here. There are no beds or mosquito nets, but it's for their protection."

"I don't sleep here myself," he added. "I go further into the bush and sleep on some straw."

He said if he had slept with his children they would likely have been in greater danger.

"They don't show any mercy," he said, "and I know they want to kill me."

Inter-communal violence

The violence in his area seems to have started with raids by the Seleka but developed into violence between the Peuls and the Gbaya, the majority ethnic group in the area.

"The Peuls love their relatives the Seleka too much," Zouta said, meaning there was an alliance between them because of their ethnic affinity; (many of the Seleka are Peuls or from related communities).

"When the Seleka came here the Peuls bought weapons from them and took their revenge on Gbaya who had taken them to court over land and grazing disputes."

Many sources told IRIN that hostility had been growing for years between the semi-nomadic Peuls and other communities in CAR who accused them of allowing their cattle to graze farmers' crops, while the Peuls accused the others of stealing their cattle .

A Human Rights Watch report last September documented attacks on civilians by Seleka allied with Mbarara (Peuls from Chad) in several prefectures. The report said it documented just a small number of the human rights abuses that had taken place and focused on Seleka violence rather than "common crimes".

Zouta said it was "thanks to the anti-balaka that most of the Seleka and the Peuls have now been chased out of the area" and he might now be able to go back to his village. But he was not sure all the Seleka and Peuls had left and he feared that any still in the area might still seek their revenge.

To judge by the countryside around Bouar, a town in western CAR, Peul villages have been systematically destroyed and many of their cattle reportedly stolen or killed.

"Once the Seleka arrived it was impossible to work in the fields," Zouta said.

"The Seleka can also go long distances in the bush. Once they came here on foot from 50km away."

While some fields near Bessan had been recently harvested, the insecurity since early 2013 when the Seleka swept through western CAR, looting and killing, would have severely disrupted agricultural activity.

Villagers will have had a meagre yield from the last two seasons when they were unable to plant or weed their land properly. Zouta said he and his family had eaten all their seeds for lack of other food.

An inter-agency rapid assessment in January found that 94 percent of CAR farmers said they needed seeds and 78 percent intended to plant land this season.

No man's land

The area around Bessan, in Nana Mambere Prefecture, has probably not suffered as much inter-communal violence as areas further north, near the border with Chad.

One head of mission of an international NGO in CAR, who preferred anonymity, told IRIN that cattle herders from Chad have been taking advantage of the security void to bring large herds over the border.

"They have been able to do whatever they want and for the past year they have been grazing farmers' fields," he said.

"West of Batangafo and north of Bossangoa many of the villagers are still in the bush and in the current security situation it will be very difficult for them to plant."

Many villagers have permanently decamped to sites near their fields

The head of mission of the Danish Refugee Council in CAR, Olivier David, said Mbarara are returning to this border area.

"Normally we can buy seeds in Kaga-Bandoro, but not this year," said the NGO head of mission who preferred his identity withheld, "which shows how farming has been affected, as it's a quality seed market for the rest of the country."

Quality seeds are also not available in Nana Mambere, said Nicholas Kumaluta, head of the Mercy Corps office there. "It's worrying given that the planting should be starting this month," he commented.

Emergency response

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has an emergency programme to help CAR villagers plant enough crops this season.

The agency is appealing for US$45 million in 2014, of which about $16 million has already been mobilized for emergency and resilience programmes, FAO reporting officer Justine Texier told IRIN.

It is planned to distribute 1,800 ton of rice, maize and groundnut seeds, plus hoes, shovels and watering cans to 76,000 households, she said.

"Part of the seeds are at the border in Cameroon and we are working on purchase orders for the rest. The longer we wait, the more the seeds will cost, as it will be enormously expensive to transport them by air."

Insecurity has hiked costs and forced several changes of plan. The government was due to hold a round table discussion on agriculture with donors on 5 December, the day the anti-balaka launched their first offensive in Bangui.

"The initial plan was for NGOs to buy the seeds locally," FAO emergency response officer Pierre Vauthier said, "but now they are all asking FAO to buy seeds for them.

"We have decided that most of the seeds will have to come from outside the country because quality seeds are lacking throughout CAR and we don't want to drain certain areas.

"We will help the NGOs with seeds, logistics and evaluation."

While a few NGOs have secured seeds from their own resources - (DRC for example has 13 tons stocked in Nana Mambere) - the bulk of what is needed has yet to be bought.

The relatively small number of NGOs in the targeted areas, and lack of donor funding for them, are constraints, Vauthier said.

Security concerns

Security is a critical issue. In December an FAO vehicle was hijacked by the Seleka on the main road from Bangui to Cameroon - staff were liberated after several hours.

At least seven staff with international aid organizations have been killed in CAR in the past year, including a Red Cross worker at Ndele last week. Médecins sans Frontières recently suspended its mobile clinics in rural areas of northern CAR.

"On 10 March we sent a truck from Bangui to Bossangoa [350km] with an escort provided by Sangaris [the French peacekeeping mission]," Vauthier said. "We were very glad of their support as this made the journey feasible."

In the past month African Union troops have been providing escorts each week to a convoy of commercial vehicles from Cameroon.

A UN security adviser, Alexis Kamanzi, commented that aid agencies should only be using military escorts "as a last resort".

World Food Programme trucks have been getting through to Bossangoa from Bangui in recent months, without military escorts, but security on many routes is unpredictable.

"It is absolutely vital to provide security in rural areas," Vauthier said.

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the Pan-African News Wire.

Occupied Libya Prime Minister Flees to Europe

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 04:28

Zawiya Oil refinery in occupied Libya. Since the counter-revolution against Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya the country's oil production has declined by two-thirds., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Ousted PM left Libya on way to 'another European country'

By Jomana Karadsheh and Steve Almasy, CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
NEW: State media in North Korea says temporary registry for tanker has been canceled
Acting PM says predecessor free to leave, return for legal proceedings
Abdullah al-Thinni says Libyan navy tracked oil tanker after it got through blockade
Cairo says it will board the tanker if it enters Egyptian waters

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- The whereabouts of ousted Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan were a mystery Wednesday after he flew out of the country the night before, despite a prosecutor's order he not leave after his removal from office.

Zeidan was in Malta late Tuesday on a refueling stop for about two hours while en route to "another European country," Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in televised remarks.

As of Wednesday, it was unclear which country that was or if he had arrived there.

Libya's acting Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Abdullah al-Thinni told reporters Wednesday that -- despite the prosecutor's order -- there was no ban and Zeidan was free to leave.

"If there is a warrant ... if he is wanted by the judiciary, he can return and be held accountable according to the law and international norms. And this is not considered fleeing," al-Thinni said, contradicting an earlier statement from the Ministry of Justice.

Hours earlier, the North African country's parliament dismissed the prime minister after rebels in eastern Libya said a tanker loaded with oil from a port under their control escaped a naval blockade and moved into international waters.

Libya's prosecutor general said in Tripoli he had banned Zeidan from traveling abroad because of an investigation relating to a payment the government allegedly made last year to an armed group blocking oil ports in the east.

A copy of the travel ban, dated March 11, was posted on his press office's Facebook page marked "urgent and important."

"We order placing the aforementioned in the monitoring database and banning him from travel until he appears for the investigation," said the order, addressed to the head of Libya's immigration department.

Oil chaos

The vote of no-confidence came after Zeidan's failure to stop rebels from exporting oil independently, the latest challenge in the vast desert nation's bumpy transition.

The Libyan government said late Monday it had taken control of the North Korean-flagged tanker, Morning Glory, as it tried to leave the Al-Sidra port in eastern Libya, and after having briefly exchanged fire with rebels. However, in a sign of the chaos and conflicting information typical for Libya, the rebels rejected the assertion.

On Wednesday, al-Thinni said the tanker was at sea where Libyan military forces fired on it until they were called off by the U.S. Navy for fear of an environmental disaster.

The oil tanker managed to sail away despite a fire on board, he said.

A spokesman for Egypt's military, Col. Ahmed Ali, said on Wednesday that its navy will monitor Egyptian waters for the oil tanker.

If the Egyptian navy finds the Morning Glory in Egyptian waters, authorities will demand to board and inspect the vessel to verify that the ship's cargo is legal and properly authorized, Ali said.

Egyptian authorities will detain the ship if they find it to be violating of any laws or regulations.

A North Korean state news agency said that while the ship had been temporarily flagged in North Korea, it is operated by the Golden East Logistics Company in Alexandria, Egypt.

KCNA also wrote that North Korea notified the International Maritime Organization that the ship owners had violated North Korean law. It said Pyongyang had canceled and deleted the ship's registry.

Oil slump

Oil production, Libya's economic lifeline, has slowed to a trickle since the summer as armed protesters have seized oil ports and oil fields to press political and financial demands. Oil revenue in the first two months of the year was only 16% of what was expected in the budget, Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shukmak said.

They are seeking a greater share of the country's oil revenue, as well as autonomy for eastern Libya.

Al-Thinni said the military would not fight the protesters in the ports.

"There will be no use of force against Libyan citizens," he said.

The conflict over oil wealth is stoking fears Libya may slide deeper into chaos as the fragile government fails to rein in the armed brigades that helped oust Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 but now do as they please.

The removal of Zeidan, a liberal weakened for months by infighting with Islamists, deepens the turmoil in the country of 6 million people.

CNN's Sarah Sirgany, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Saad Abedine contributed to this report

Somalia to Host African Parliament Conference in Near Future

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 22:58

Somalia Federal Government president with African Union delegation on October 25, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Somalia to host African Parliament conference in the near future

Posted on March 13, 2014
RBC Johannerburg]

Members of Somali parliament have attended African Parliament conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abdisamad Maolim mohamud, among the participating Somali parliament officials said among the main points of focus in this conference is uniting Africa and getting one United Africa.

He stated that also Somalia to host conference of this kind in the near future is being discussed in this meeting.

These officials also emphasized their need to convey their opinions to other counterparts attended this conference on matters regarding the development of the continent.

African parliament will celebrate their 10th year anniversary since their birth on the coming Saturday.

Within this conference, many African parliamentarian are expected to deliver their views on getting one united Africa and will run until 19 this month.

RBC Radio.

SADC Elections 2014: The Case For Gender Parity

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 02:47

Filomena Delgado, Angolan Minister of Family and Gender Affairs. She attended a regional summit in Mozambique in February 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Sadc elections 2014: Case for gender parity

March 12, 2014 Opinion & Analysis
Kizito Sikuka
Zimbabwe Herald

The regional elections are being held one year before the 2015 deadline for Sadc to attain the target of 50:50 representation of men and women in key decision-making positions.

The holding of elections in Southern Africa and the rest of the African continent has always created some interesting reading.

Not short of eye-catching headlines and commentaries, focus is usually on the ruling party’s election campaign to deal with service delivery and unemployment, as well as what the opposition say are the shortcomings of that government.

Little is reserved on other pressing issues such as the need to facilitate gender parity in political decision-making positions.

For example, the Sadc Gender Monitor 2013 notes that participation of women in decision-making structures across the region is low, despite the fact that women make up the majority of voters.

All Sadc member states are signatories to various regional, continental and international instruments that promote gender equality and empowerment, yet most of them continue to have fewer women in political decision-making positions.

Therefore, as the region anticipates at least five national elections this year, there is need for stakeholders to focus more on how Southern Africa could address some of the challenges affecting gender equality and parity.

The five elections in South Africa on May 7, Malawi on May 20, Botswana in October, Mozambique on October 15, and Namibia in November are very strategic as these are being held one year before the 2015 deadline for Sadc to attain the target of 50:50 representation of men and women in key decision-making positions.

According to the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development signed in 2008 and entered into force in early 2013 after ratification by two-thirds of the signatories, Southern Africa should achieve 50:50 representation of men and women in key decision-making positions by 2015.

Only five Sadc countries are significantly close to the target of parity in parliament, having gone above the 30 percent threshold set previously by regional leaders for representation of women.

These are Seychelles (43,8 percent), South Africa (42,3 percent), Mozambique (39,2 percent), the United Republic of Tanzania (36 percent) and Angola (34,1 percent).

Zimbabwe, which introduced a quota system under the new Constitution, now has 31,5 percent representation in the National Assembly.

The average representation of women in parliament is well short of the 50 percent target agreed under the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development, even though it is on the increase from 20,6 percent and 23 percent in 2005 and 2011 respectively to 25,8 percent as of mid-2013.

In terms of representation of women in cabinet, only South Africa has surpassed the previous 30 percent target, but more women in the region now hold a wider range of ministerial portfolios such as foreign affairs, home affairs, defence, finance, education, health, and trade and industry.

The forthcoming elections in the five Sadc countries should thus aim at consolidating the gains and improving the achievements.
Increasing women representation in political decision-making positions is necessary as it also advances the rights of children.

However, participation of Southern African women in key decision-making positions may only remain at the parliament, cabinet or judiciary levels as a few women are expected to contest in the presidential elections to be held in 2014.

These are Malawian President Joyce Banda, who became the first woman president in Sadc after succeeding Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in 2012.

She will be contesting against Peter Mutharika, brother to the late Bingu. In Malawi, the president is elected directly by the voters.

Helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, is another woman who is expected to contest against incumbent Jacob Zuma of the ANC.

Gender equality is firmly rooted in Sadc’s regional integration agenda and member states support the fundamental principle that both women and men must be equally engaged in decision-making at all levels and in all positions of leadership.

Zimbabwe Fidelity Owes Gold Producers US$50 Million

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 01:43

Dr. Charity Dhliwayo is the Acting Governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Fidelity owes gold producers US$50m

March 12, 2014
Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary Fidelity Refineries and Printers owes local gold producers about US$50 million dating back to the hyperinflation era when the company stopped operating.RBZ Acting Governor Dr Charity Dhliwayo said the debt has since been assumed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which will settle all payments “soon.”

“Fidelity owes local gold producers US$50 million accrued mostly during the hyperinflation era and efforts are being made to repay the money.

“The debt has been assumed by the Government and evidence is being presented to Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” Dr Dhliwayo said.

She said payments are going to be made soon in order to restore confidence among the gold producers.

Most big gold producers were reluctant to sell their gold despite a Government directive that Fidelity is now the sole buyer of the yellow metal.

However, companies like Caledonia Mining Corporation have already sold gold worth over US$3,8 million to Fidelity Printers although it is still owed about US$4 million dating back to 2008.

Dr Dhliwayo said Fidelity Printers has secured enough funds to purchase all the gold produced in the country.

Fidelity Printers and Refiners purchased 969kg of gold in January this year alone after the unit resumed its role as the sole buyer of gold in the country and the gold has been bought mainly from primary miners.

“Fidelity has the capacity to refine gold and offer competitive prices. They can buy all gold from primary and artisanal miners.

“At present Fidelity is buying 100 percent of gold from primary mines and we wish to extend our buying to small scale miners,” Mrs Dhliwayo said.

All gold purchases at Fidelity are funded from retained funds and bank borrowings.

The resumption of gold refining at Fidelity is expected to pave way for Zimbabwe’s re-admission to the London Bullion Marketing Association.

Early this year Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said plans were in place to make sure gold production is improved in the country through repayment of money owed to producers by Fidelity Printers.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to Hold Post-Election Conference

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 00:48

Joyce Kazembe head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with ZEC chief inspector Mrs. Jane Pamhidzirai at a press conference in Harare on March 11, 2014. They will hold a post-election conference., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

ZEC to hold post-election conference

March 12, 2014
Nyemudzai Kakore
Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will next week hold a three-day post-election review conference to deliberate on key issues relating to the conduct of the 2013 harmonised elections, Chief Elections Officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said yesterday.

He told journalists in Harare that the conference would discuss lessons learnt from the elections and what needed to be done to improve the conduct and management of the country’s elections.

“The objective of the conference is to focus on the role of ZEC as the main institution responsible for the management of elections in the country, the focus will also be devoted to the role it played during last year’s referendum and harmonised elections,” Mr Sekeramayi said.

“As we may all be aware that the 2013 referendum and harmonised elections were the culmination of the political process under the auspices of the GNU and we are also aware that the 2013 elections were held under the new Constitution of Zimbabwe and adopted following the referendum which was held in March 2013.

“What the commission intends to do is to sit down with all the stakeholders in the electoral process and review the conduct of the ZEC referendum and the harmonised elections.”

The conference, which will run from March 19–21, will bring together key national, regional and international stakeholders such as constitutional bodies, civil society organisations, media, political parties, development partners and representatives from the Sadc Electoral Commission Forum, African Union and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Issues to be discussed include preparations and conduct of the 2013 elections, Zimbabwe’s electoral legal framework and the environment and its capability to support the running of harmonised elections.

Citizens’ participation and conduct of election monitors and observers will also be discussed.

“We are holding this for the first time as we try to build our nation and strengthen the Commission’s role in managing the country’s electoral process. The conference will assess how the elections were managed by ZEC and would be looking at the full electoral cycle, the pre-election period, the election period and the post-election period,” Mr Sekeramayi said.

The AU, Sadc, Comesa, the African Caribbean and Pacific countries and the rest of the progressive world endorsed the elections as free, fair, peaceful and credible while the Anglo-Saxon alliance that conceived and sponsored the MDC-T refused to give a thumbs-up in the wake of MDC-T’s crushing defeat.

In the final reports, the AU, Sadc, Comesa and ACP countries made a number of recommendations to help improve the conduct of elections in the country.



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