Africa – 27 February 2015

Explosions in Nigerian Towns in North Kill at Least 34

Explosions in Nigeria’s north central city of Jos and the northeastern town of Biu over the past two days have killed at least 34 people, witnesses said Thursday.

NY Times


African Union’s ICC push back likely to continue under Mugabe
AMNESTY International says increasing power of radical groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram in Africa is one of the main concerns in its 2014 annual report launched at the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on Thursday, 25th February.

Business Day


 

Southern Africa: SADC Completes Industrial Strategy Interim Report

THE SADC member states have completed an interim report outlining the regional industrialisation strategy expected to prioritise value addition and beneficiation.The interim report, prepared by experts, was presented to the SADC Ministerial Taskforce on Regional Economic Integration which is holding a series of meetings in Harare to reflect on progress and give guidance to expedite the development of regional industrial strategy.

All Africa


 

Southern Africa: SADC Troika Meeting On Lesotho Underway

The SADC Troika of Heads of State and Government are currently meeting in Pretoria to discuss the political and security situation as well as preparations for the upcoming election in Lesotho.

All Africa


 

Swaziland – 27 February 2015

Swaziland: Jailed Journalists Case Goes to UN

Leading international lawyers are asking a United Nations working group to rule whether the jailing of a Swaziland magazine editor and human rights lawyer for publishing articles critical of the kingdom’s judiciary are lawful.

All Africa


 

Swaziland: Swazi Human Rights Worsen – Amnesty

The rule of law, access to effective remedies and protection of human rights in Swaziland continued to deteriorate in the past year as a consequence of the further undermining of judicial independence, Amnesty International said in its annual report.

All Africa


 

Swaziland: ‘King At Centre of Iron Mine Failure’

King Mswati III is at the centre of a US$141 million arbitration dispute after it was claimed his appointees deliberately worked to make a multi-million dollar iron ore mining business in Swaziland fail so the King would not have to repay US$10 million he had been paid by the company.

All Africa


 

 

Zimbabwe – 27 February 2015

Robert Mugabe assumes African Union helm with familiar rallying cry
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 90-year-old president, has assumed the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) with a call for members to improve infrastructure and tackle climate change, conflict and Ebola, and with a familiar rallying cry that Africa’s wealth belongs to Africa and not “imperialists and colonialists”.

The Guardian


Zimbabwe: EU Taxpayers Funding Mugabe Bender

MEMBERS of the European Parliament (MEP) have demanded that the European Union reverse its decision to give Zimbabwe US$270 million saying the money would likely be used to fund Grace Mugabe’s famed shopping sprees.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife is disparagingly known as the First Shopper for her alleged profligate spending in luxury boutiques during foreign trips with her husband.
Mugabe turned 91 last Saturday and a US$1 million celebration party is scheduled for this weekend.

All Africa


Zimbabwe: Coerced Into Precarious Resettlement – 20,000 Displaced Flood Victims Lack Adequate Food, Shelter

The Zimbabwe government has used violence, harassment, and the deliberate restriction of humanitarian aid to coerce an estimated 20,000 flood victims to resettle on tiny land plots where the government plans to establish a sugar cane plantation, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

All Africa

Dialogue Online – No. 1/2015: “Climate Change Exposes the Limitations of the State-Centred Approach to Peace Building in Somalia” By Tamara Naidoo

Somalia, due to perennial instability, has had a long history of international peacebuilding experiments that in turn, almost set the tone for global peace-building discourse and practise. Despite the successive and concentrated interventions, sustainable peace remains elusive in Somalia. This paper identifies state-centrism and the failure to translate the growing understanding of the link between climate change and conflict into peace-building practice as one of the challenges to establishing sustainable peace in Somalia.

Download PDF here: DO1of2015

For more info about SALO’s Dialogue Online click here.

Swaziland – 20 February 2015

Swaziland: Jailed Journalists Case Goes to UN
By Swazi Media Commentary
Leading international lawyers are asking a United Nations working group to rule whether the jailing of a Swaziland magazine editor and human rights lawyer for publishing articles critical of the kingdom’s judiciary are lawful.
They have filed a petition with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) in Geneva regarding the cases of Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine and Thulani Maseko, a lawyer and writer.
Swazi Media Commentary


Swazi king: Protect country against democracy
By AFP
Mbabane – Swaziland’s King Mswati III on Thursday urged his subjects to “protect the country” from pro-democracy groups which portrayed a negative image of the nation abroad
Africa’s last absolute monarch told the opening of parliament that such activities had robbed Swaziland of good opportunities.
AFP


King To Lead Fight For An Aids-Free SD By 2022
BY MUSA SIMELANE
LOBAMBA – His Majesty King Mswati III yesterday made a bold declaration that he will personally make sure that Swaziland is HIV/AIDS free when it reaches the First World status.
This means that the country will be free of the epidemic in seven years time if Vision 2022 is to be referred to here. The King made this bold statement at the official opening of the second session of the 10th Parliament yesterday.
He also categorically denounced all HIV stigma and discrimination saying that it must completely come to an end in Swaziland. These assertions were met with deafening cheers by Members of Parliament (MPs) as they were pleasantly surprised.
Times of Swaziland


New Motivation For Aids Money Donors
By James Hall
The data showing that Swaziland’s HIV infection rate has stabalised will encourage more donor funding to invest in our country.
This comes at a time when getting funding for public health emergencies is growing more difficult. Even initial efforts to combat Ebola when the outbreak emerged mid-2014 failed to stir international donors into action.
Swazi Observer


Times newspaper loses defamation case
By Nkululeko Gama
HIGH Court Judge Nkululeko Hlophe delivered another heartbreaking judgment to the country’s media fraternity, ordering the Times of Swaziland to pay E85 000 to former tennis star Boycey Magongo a for defamation. This is in respect of articles the newspaper wrote in January 1999, which allegedly labelled Magongo as a fraudster and conman. Magongo was alleged to have benefitted falsely from monies intended for the Tennis Association.
Swazi Obesever


Swaziland: Jailed Journalist Remains Defiant
By Swazi Media Commentary
The Swaziland human rights lawyer and journalist Thulani Maseko has vowed that he will not seek bail pending an appeal of his jail sentence for contempt of court because he has been imprisoned unjustly.
Maseko and Bheki Makhubu were arrested in March 2014 and subsequently jailed for two years after they wrote and published articles critical of the Swazi judiciary in the Nation magazine.
Swazi media commentary

The SALO team meet with the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha

On Friday the 13th of February 2015, the SALO team met with the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha at the Parliament Building in Cape Town to discuss rural development and post-2015 development agenda, land and conflict and other issues of common interest.

salo 13 feb
From left, Dr Showers Mawowa, Ms Marissa Van Resburg, Hon Mcebisi Skwatsha, Dr Clever Chikwanda and Ms Molly Dhlamini.

DRC – 13 February 2015

DRC presidential vote set for November 2016

The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold a presidential poll in November next year, the election commission announced Thursday, after deadly protests erupted over opposition fears that the incumbent Joseph Kabila was trying to extend his stay in power.
The vote will take place on 27 November 2016, at the same time as legislative elections, Independent National Electoral Commission official Jean-Pierra Kalamba said.

News 24


 

UN pulls support to DRC operation

The United Nations is temporarily pulling support to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s planned military operation to drive out rebels after Kinshasa refused to sack two tainted generals leading the offensive, a UN official said on Tuesday.

News 24


 

In the DRC, maternity too often means mortality

Mariam Rizik crossed a grassy clearing, walking toward the clinic for her five-month prenatal appointment. Once there, her best green wax print outfit blended into the rainbow of dresses worn by the women who gathered, bellies bulging, for their checkups.

Al Jazeera


DRC rejects UN ultimatum
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday rejected a United Nations ultimatum for two tainted generals leading an offensive against Rwandan rebels in the country’s east to be replaced.
“For us, we would only replace someone in the [army high] command if that person had been convicted by our military courts. Yet, no such thing has happened,” government spokesperson Lambert Mende told a press conference in Kinshasa.

News 24

Madagascar – 13 February 2015

Bubonic plague strikes Madagascar, 119 cases reported
It might seem ridiculous to worry about the bubonic plague in 2015, but that’s just what the World Health Organization is doing after 119 cases of the disease that ravaged Medieval Europe were identified in Madagascar last year.
“The outbreak that started last November has some disturbing dimensions,” the WHO said in a statement this week. “The fleas that transmit this ancient disease from rats to humans have developed resistance to the first-line insecticide.”
Black Death, or simply the plague, is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is spread by rodent-loving fleas. When a human is bitten by an infected flea, they can develop bubonic plague. Symptoms of the plague include swollen, painful lymph nodes, fever and skin color change in extreme cases.
If the infection progresses to the point where bacteria invade the lungs, the disease then becomes known as the pneumonic plague and can be spread by coughing and inhalation.
“If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics,” the WHO statement said. “Pneumonic plague, on the other hand, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases; patients can die 24 hours after infection.”
Raw Story


 

Spread of plague slows in Madagascar, death toll at 71: WHO

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has slowed but 71 people among the 263 known to have caught the disease since last September have died, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
Madagascar has suffered an outbreak of plague nearly every year since 1980 and case numbers have increased in the past three years, making it the most severely affected country worldwide.
The latest outbreak peaked in November and December but the plague season continues until April. The spread of the disease could have been hastened by heavy rains and flooding in January, the WHO said.
The bacterial disease is mainly spread by flea-carrying rats. Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague, which swells the lymph node and can be treated with antibiotics, the WHO says.
“However, control of plague outbreaks in Madagascar has been complicated by development of resistance to deltamethrin — the first-line insecticide –- in the fleas that transmit the disease from rats to humans,” it said.
The most heavily affected area, the district of Amparafavarola in the central highlands, had cases of pneumonic plague — the least common but most virulent form of the disease — up to the first week of January, WHO said.
Pneumonic plague can kill within 24 hours and is invariably fatal if not treated.
Thirteen cases of plague were detected in the slum areas of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo by the end of December, WHO said.
Reuters

Swaziland – 13 February 2015

Swaziland economy to grow by 2.1 percent in 2015-Official
By APA
Swaziland’s economy is expected to grow by 2.1 percent in 2015, up from 0.3 percent in 2014, the Central Bank of Swaziland (CBS) Governor Majozi Sithole said on Wednesday.Sithole said he was not at all excited that Swaziland’s growth rate was at such a level, adding that so far it was the lowest in the Common Monetary Area (CMA).
He said he hoped government’s plan for Vision 2022 would make a difference in all this.
Star Africa


Swaziland unrest looms after US rescinds trade deal
By Sam Cowie
Mbabane, Swaziland – Until last November, Rosemary Hadebe made some extra cash each month by selling clothes to her work colleagues at Tex Ray – one of several Taiwanese-owned textile factories in Manzini, Swaziland’s industrial hub.
For the past 12 years at the factory, Rosemary worked to strict quotas, sewing cheap clothing to be exported to the United States.
Her salary every two weeks of 575 Swazi emalangeni ($57), plus the extra money she made from selling clothes, which she bought from nearby Johannesburg, was just enough to keep her four young sons fed, clothed and in school.
al-Jazeera


 

The contentious E73m tender: who will win review?
By Welcome Dlamini

Three judges have heard the matter, three orders have been issued, and it is now time for the matter to go for a review.
There was even contention on the wording of one of the orders but a consensus seems to have been reached.
This is the matter where Roots Construction is challenging the awarding of a tender to Heptagon Civils for construction of Phase II of the Matsapha Industrial Estate.

Swazi Observer


 
NO MORE HAND-PICKED JUDGES!
By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE

BABANE – The current system of appointing judges will be phased out, according to the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Judges will soon be selected and promoted on the basis of a 10-point system.
For instance, the judge shall be examined on the basis of a point system that takes into account his or her qualification, efficiency, quality of judgments, ability and integrity.
Constitutionally, the Chief Justice and the other Justices of the superior courts (High Court and Supreme Court) are appointed by the King on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.
Currently, a person is not to be appointed as a justice of a superior court unless he or she is of high moral character and integrity. In the case of an appointment to the Supreme Court, this person must have been a legal practitioner, barrister or advocate of not less than 15 years practice.


 
Swaziland: How Swazi King Destroyed Iron Mine
By Swazi Media Commentary

Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III and his personal representative Sihle Dlamini were at the very heart of events that led to the collapse of the mining company SG Iron at the Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine. It had debts of US$4 million when it closed and more than 700 jobs were lost. King Mswati took a US$10 million loan from the company less than six months after it started trading which he refused to pay back when it hit difficulties.

All Africa


 
Swaziland 2014 and beyond: An Analysis
By Afrika Kontakt
2014 was an interesting year in Swaziland. It drew the fault lines between international engagements and demonstrated the futility of participating in parliament- once again.
The mass demonstrations of April 2011 were regarded as the beginning of the end. Years of political momentum accumulated as the general population expressed their discontent by flooding the streets of Manzini and Mbabane in the thousands. In early 2015, the actual results of the 2011 uprising seem to be minimal. Swaziland is still an absolute monarchy where democratic and human rights violations continue to be a daily occurrence and the economy is spiraling down into the abyss. As with the South African struggle against apartheid, internal pressure is essential but the international community, especially the regional community, is a key factor in achieving democratic change.
Afrika Kontakt