SDG Goal 5 – Achieving gender equality and empower women and girls – 14 September 2016

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Francisca Mdleleni, SALO’s Operations Manager and Mr Themba Kalua, UN Women Multi-Country Office Deputy Representative

On 14th September 2016, SALO attended the National Consultative Roundtable on Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG Goal 5)  that was organised by Ilitha Labantu organisation in Cape Town.

The roundtable was addressed by the Ilitha Labantu founder, Ms Mandisa Monakali and Mr Themba Kalua, UN Women Multi-Country Office Deputy Representative among other speakers.

Some of the issues raised as far as SDG Goal 5 is concerned:-

–          Women still face a lot of discrimination due to many societal factors.  There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to achieve SDG goal 5.

–          Some of the problems/challenges cited as facing women and girls were:-

  • Many women and girl children are still abused in their own homes, at school and it is even more precarious for women/girls with disability.
  • Lack of proper facilities to cater for women/girls at many institutions eg at the police stations, where police are not adequately trained to deal with women matters.
  • Girls in rural areas still have to walk long distances and on unsafe roads/paths to schools
  • Many girls still miss school every month due to lack of sanitary towels.
  • lack of support from other women

Some of the things that need to be done in order to achieve gender equality and empower women

–          Encourage women to support each other and also try to get rid of the Pull Down Syndrome (Phd syndrome)

–          Create regular space for families to come together and learn things as a family eg encourage women to bring along their daughters to workshops dealing with women issues.

–          Involve women in peace processes/matters.

–          Need to develop our own framework using the UN language of Women, Peace, Security and Access to justice.  The UN language was designed for women in the countries in conflict but we also have local conflicts which can lead to injustices in the society eg lack of a street light can lead to a woman being attacked in the street. If women are involved in the local committee structures, they would be able to tackle these kind of issues which lead to injustices to their own.

–          Create user friendly environment for those institutions that deal with women/girl issues for example:-

  • Provide proper training to Police staff dealing with women issues.
  • Make the school a positive learning environment for girls (the issue of girls from poor homesteads skipping schools every month has been a real concern).  The government and institutions have to look for ways to ensure that all girls attend school without missing any day.
  • Make tough laws for those who are found to molest girls and women.
  • Capacitate women care givers/midwives in rural areas to ensure that women in rural areas get adequate health care.
  • Women in leadership positions should try to link up with those in grassroots levels so as to impart their knowledge and skills to their counterparts in the grassroots levels thus afford continuity of skills.

Way forward:

–          More of these roundtable discussions need to take place and if possible bring our girls along

–          It is important for everyone attending these discussions  go out and make small changes in society as far as Goal 5 is concerned rather than wait until there are big workshops and come and discuss issues.

SALO NEWS BRIEFS – 30 SEPTEMBER 2016

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

US imposes sanctions on top DRC officials after election delay

The United States has imposed sanctions on two senior officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo in an apparent warning to President Joseph Kabila to respect the constitution of the vast, unstable African country and call elections later this year.

The DRC has suffered repeated bouts of unrest since Kabila, 45, announced that the polls would be delayed.

Last week about 50 people died in clashes between security forces and protesters angered by what opposition groups charge is Kabila’s plan to retain power unlawfully through the indefinite postponement of a vote.

The Guardian

U.N., AU, EU press Congolese leaders to stop political violence

The United Nations, the African Union and the European Union pressed Democratic Republic of Congo leaders on Saturday to urge their supporters to refrain from violence as the International Criminal Court prosecutor warned she was watching the situation.

Dozens of people died in clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital Kinshasa on Monday. Anger has simmered in Congo for months over what opponents of President Joseph Kabila believe are his efforts to hold on to power beyond his constitutional two-term limit. [nL8N1BX3UT]

Kabila denies opponents’ charges. Congolese authorities have said elections due in November cannot be held until at least next year due to logistical problems in the vast central African country, a producer of gold, diamonds and copper.

In a joint statement on Saturday, the AU, the U.N., the EU and the International Organization of La Francophonie said “only an inclusive dialogue resulting in an agreement involving the widest range of political actors will pave the way towards peaceful and credible elections.”

Swiss Info

 

Somalia

Security Council calls on Somali parties to address political challenges amid latest election delay

Regretting an extension to the 2016 electoral process in Somalia announced by the country’s electoral body, the United Nations Security Council has called on all parties in the country to upload their commitments on the elections and to come to an agreement on the remaining political challenges without further delay.

“The members of the Security Council underlined that holding a peaceful, transparent and inclusive electoral process in 2016 will mark a historic step forward for all Somalis, and will be fundamental for the country’s continued progress towards democracy and stability,” said a press statement issued by the Council late yesterday.

“[They also] called for all parties to adhere to the implementation plan put in place by the FIEIT [Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team, the body responsible for the oversight and overall planning of the electoral process and for ensuring its uniformity], and to demonstrate the political will to ensure the revised timetable will be met,” the statement added.

UN News

Somali Officials Claim U.S. Airstrike Killed Civilians, Not al-Shabab Militants

Somali officials said that a recent U.S. airstrike killed civilians and Somali soldiers, not al-Shabab militants as the U.S. has claimed.

According to the BBC, the regional government in the autonomous central region of Galmudug has demanded an explanation from the U.S., claiming that 22 civilians and Somali soldiers were killed in the attack late Tuesday.

Galmudug officials reportedly suggested that the U.S. military had been tricked into believing it was targeting extremists by the neighboring state of Puntland.

The BBC reports that the Somali military has confirmed that its soldiers were killed, but the report did not specify the number of casualties.

TIME

 

Central African Republic

Central African Republic militiamen ordered to vacate schools

Armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been told to leave the schools they are occupying or face forceful eviction by UN troops.

The UN says 10,000 children have been unable to resume their education this year because militiamen have set up base in their schools.

A third of all schools have either been struck by bullets, set on fire, looted or occupied by armed groups, it says.

The CAR is trying to recover from a brutal civil war that erupted in 2013.

BBC

Central African Republic has ‘turned its back on past dark days,’ President tells UN

Taking the podium today at the General Assembly, Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic (CAR), paid tribute to the entire United Nations system and all those in the wider international community that helped his country return to stability and constitutional legality, as he set out his four-pronged framework to continue the momentum towards lasting peace.

“The Central African Republic has turned its back on past dark days,” he told Assembly’s annual general debate, emphasizing the country’s efforts to end the cycles of violence and instability sparked by a 2013 coup, and to attain security, justice and sustainable development.

 

“There are vast challenges to address and much remains to be done to address the yearnings of our citizens,” Mr. Touadera said, explain that when he assumed the presidency, he took special measures to ensure that all Government institutions are well placed to undertake much-needed reforms. He also assured the Assembly that his administration was determined to tackle corruption and address impunity.

UN News

Sudan

Sudan Accused of Using Chemical Weapons in Darfur

Sudan’s justice minister has refuted claims by displaced persons in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur that they suffered chemical exposure at the hands of the government of Sudan.

Amnesty International reported earlier Thursday that since January, people in Jebel Marra have reported blisters and rashes, peeling skin, eye problems including total vision loss, bloody vomit, diarrhea and severe respiratory problems.

Amnesty said the symptoms are due to chemical weapons used by Sudanese authorities. As many as 250 people, including children, may have died as a result of chemical attacks, and hundreds more have been injured, according to the rights group.

Voice of Africa

Sudan reiterates support for regional forces in South Sudan

Sudan on Tuesday has pledged to support the efforts of East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to achieve peace in South Sudan and backed the deployment of regional forces in the conflict hit country.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Under- Secretary, Abd al-Gani al-Naeim has participated in a ministerial meeting on the situation in South Sudan that convened in New York and chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, and attended by senior officials and organizations concerned by the conflict in South Sudan.

In a press release in Khartoum on Tuesday, the official who is part of Sudan delegation to UN General Assembly meeting, Also reiterated Sudan’s commitment to support the IGAD decision to send regional forces to South Sudan to protect civilians,

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

South Sudan Presidency slams Machar over violent approach

South Sudanese government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir has slammed the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, for declaring resumption of armed struggle against the “regime” as an alternative action to bring true peace to the country.

President Kiir speaking through his spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, in a response statement on Thursday rejected the new position of the leader of the armed opposition faction of the SPLM-IO, saying there is no place in South Sudanese politics for those who wish to take part through the barrel of the gun.

“Riek Machar will never be a peacemaker. Indeed, he has a long history of turning to war to force his demands on the peoples of South Sudan,” said the presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny,

Meanwhile Machar’s replacement, Taban Deng Gai, described the decision of his predecessor and the man on whose behalf he negotiated the August 2015 peace agreement to end the two years of violent conflict with the government as unacceptable. He asked the Sudanese government to “shut him up” and stop him from inciting violence.

Sudan Tribune

  1. Sudan denies abrogating Pibor peace accord

Government of South Sudan has said launching a rebellion to destroy the country and attain political promotion are factors driving the recent defection of senior South Sudan Democratic Movement/Cobra (SSDM/Cobra) of Pibor-based ethnic Murle force early this week.

Akol Paul Kordit, the Deputy Minister of Information, said the May 2014 Peace Agreement signed between the government and SSDM/Cobra has been fully respected.

“The President […] created Pibor as an administrative area as proposed by the Cobra faction, created seven counties and all the Cobra forces were integrated into the SPLA with [military ranks] promotion and inclusion in the rank and files of the SPLA,” said Khordit, speaking to reporters in Juba on Thursday.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

Absence of clear, firm position of Security Council, bodes ill

The Sahrawi President and Secretary General of Polisario Front, Brahim Gali said that the “absence of a clear and firm position” of the United Nations Security Council in the face of Morocco’s violation of its decisions, would result in “dangerous developments” that would threaten peace, security and stability in the whole region.

“The Moroccan occupying forces have launched, on Friday 23 September 2016, works for the extension of a section of the road in the buffer strip,” said Sunday President Gali in a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Sahara Press Service

Morocco deals don’t cover Western Sahara, EU lawyer says

EU-Morocco relations risk hitting another rough patch after a senior lawyer said that their trade treaties do not apply to Western Sahara, a disputed territory.

Advocate-general Melchior Wathelet set out his opinion to EU judges in Luxembourg on Tuesday (13 September). He said that “neither the EU-Morocco association agreement nor the EU-Morocco agreement on the liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products apply to Western Sahara” because “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory”.

His opinion is not binding, but judges follow advocates general in most cases.nIf their verdict, expected in November, echoes Wathelet then the EU could see a repeat of last year’s fiasco, when Morocco severed diplomatic ties with EU institutions after an unfavourable ruling.

Western Sahara is a territory in north-west Africa, known as its last colony.

EU Observer

Madagascar

Madagascar leader spotlights universality of 2030 Agenda in UN Assembly speech

Addressing the leader’s debate at the United Nations General Assembly, the President of Madagascar today underlined the need to take the commitments made in 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development and the Paris Agreement on climate change into practice.

Highlighting that these global development agreements apply to all countries, President Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana said, “[These] goals are universal, they target all countries.”

“A sustainable world only can be achieved with ecological transitions in the North and responsible development in the South,” he added referring to the developed and the developing countries.

Reporting that his country is integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its national development plan, he noted the national agenda accords particular importance to social justice, education and health.

UN News

Swaziland

Swaziland and South Africa have good relations: King Mswati III

The newly-appointed Chairperson of Southern African Development Community (SADC), King Mswati III of Swaziland, says his country has good relations with South Africa, despite some disputing this.

He has also called for more dialogue when resolving political issues on the continent.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with SABC News, the King has responded to accusations that his government doesn’t allow for democratic reforms in the Kingdom.

Critics have also accused the Kingdom of stifling dissent and refusing democratic reforms. He has urged leaders to respect people’s views and the constitutions of their countries to prevent unnecessary instability.

SABC News

Court – Terror Act Unconstitutional

Swaziland’s High Court has ruled that sections of the Suppression of Terrorism Act and the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act are unconstitutional.

Judges ruled that the Acts contravened provisions in the Constitution on freedom of expression and freedom of association.

The ruling was delivered on Friday (16 September 2016) ending years of campaigning to have the Acts overthrown.

Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer; Maxwell Dlamini, Swaziland Youth Congress secretary-general; Mario Masuku, president of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and Mlungisi Makhanya, PUDEMO secretary-general, brought four actions against the Swazi state.

AllAfrica.com

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe police, street sellers battle in capital Harare

Some shops in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, closed down as running battles between police and street vendors turned violent.

Police on Monday fired teargas to disperse vendors resisting eviction from the central business district, where they clog street pavements and sidewalks.

The vendors fought back, resulting in some shops being stoned in the melee.

Zimbabwe police have stepped up efforts to clear the capital’s downtown of street sellers, but the efforts have often been resisted.

News24

Zimbabwe’s Debt to Eskom Threatens to Plunge Citizens into Darkness

Zimbabwe has run up a debt with Eskom, and now a state newspaper in Bulawayo says South Africa’s power utility wants a guarantee of R500 million rand to continue supplying its northern neighbour.

Power cuts haven’t been as frequent in Zimbabwe in recent months but there are now fears that cuts will resurface just as the controversial new banknotes kick in.

The state-run Chronicle is reporting that Zimbabwe could owe as much as $12 million to Eskom.

A source in the finance ministry told the paper that Eskom now wants a guarantee of R500 million to secure future imports.

EWN

 

 

Africa in General

World Bank ditches Zim

Despite recent indications that the World Bank was considering giving Zimbabwe US$300 million to settle part of its arrears to the multilateral lender, latest information shows that the plan has been thwarted due to mounting local and international pressure against the country’s ambitious arrears clearance strategy.

An International Development Association (IDA) Turnaround Eligibility Note for the Republic of Zimbabwe dated July 27 revealed that the World Bank was considering providing assistance to the debt ridden country to settle its arrears.

The report showed that Zimbabwe was on the cusp of accessing exceptional support under the IDA 17 Turnaround Regime (Tar). IDA is a unit of the World Bank Group which fights poverty by giving interest-free loans to poor countries.

The Independent

 

African economic growth dips to two-decade low: World Bank

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6 percent this year, its lowest level in two decades, due to continuing woes in the continent’s largest economies South Africa and Nigeria, a World Bank report said on Thursday.

Africa has been one of the world’s fastest growing region’s over the past decade, but a commodities slump has hit its oil and mineral exporters hard, bringing growth down to 3 percent in 2015.

However, other countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania, have continued to record GDP growth above 6 percent, according to “Africa’s Pulse”, the Bank’s twice-yearly analysis of economic trends.

The report, which was unveiled in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, also singled out Ivory Coast and Senegal as top performers.

“Our analysis shows that the more resilient growth performers tend to have stronger macroeconomic policy frameworks, better business regulatory environment, more diverse structure of exports, and more effective institutions,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank chief economist for Africa.

CNBC Africa

U.S. Military Is Building A $100 Million Drone Base in Africa

FROM HIGH ABOVE, Agadez almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert. Once a nexus for camel caravans hauling tea and salt across the Sahara, Agadez is now a West African paradise for people smugglers and a way station for refugees and migrants intent on reaching Europe’s shores by any means necessary.

agadez-doc_edit-tint Document: U.S. Africa CommandAfricans fleeing unrest and poverty are not, however, the only foreigners making their way to this town in the center of Niger. U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the outskirts of the city. The long-planned project — considered the most important U.S. military construction effort in Africa, according to formerly secret files obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act — is slated to cost $100 million, and is just one of a number of recent American military initiatives in the impoverished nation.

The Intercept

Female farmers suffer most in Southern Africa drought

Uneven access to water makes household farming questionable for delivering food security in the African context.

Southern Africa has suffered through one of the worst droughts in decades and now small farmers face a long hungry season with growing food aid needs until the next harvest.

Given the growing uncertainty of rainfall in this region, many are turning to irrigation as a key strategy for securing future harvests. The problem, however, is that male and female farmers have deeply unequal rights to critical resources, including water.

Uneven access to water also complicates assumptions about the ability of commercial farming to deliver household food security in the African context.

The 2015-16 drought was the worst to hit Southern Africa in 35 years, leaving an estimated 32 million people in the region food insecure. This hunger will only deepen until March, 2017 when new harvests normally arrive.

Aljazeera

 

News Briefs 02 September 2016

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo opposition supporters clash before election talks

Violence broke out on Thursday between supporters of rival Congolese opposition parties, exposing deep divisions among President Joseph Kabila’s adversaries over whether to engage in talks about a delayed presidential election.

The talks between the government, opposition and civic leaders opened later on Thursday. Authorities said last month that the poll, set for November, could not be held before next July as they enroll millions of new voters.

Kabila’s opponents accuse him of stalling the vote to hang onto power, a charge he denies. Most of the main opposition parties are boycotting the talks but some prominent figures have agreed to participate, saying they will use the forum to insist on his departure this year.

SABC

SADC summit an opportunity to set DRC on path to a peaceful transition of power

A decade ago, in July 2006, the Democratic Republic of the Congo went to the polls for the first time in 45 years. The ballot was seen as a litmus test for a dream of democratising and stabilising the whole of Central Africa.

Perceiving it as a compromised process, the main opposition party boycotted the ballot for the DRC’s historic 2006 election. But the election passed off mostly peacefully and Joseph Kabila became the country’s first democratically elected leader since Patrice Lumumba’s assassination in 1961.

Five years later, Kabila won re-election, but only after he had abolished the election’s second round and endured eruptions of violence; that process was generally seen as lacking in transparency, fairness and legitimacy. Yet the SADC and the international community were silent in the presence of such serious irregularities.

Today the DRC is organising its third successive democratic election. On the surface, this is a positive, but history is repeating itself and Kabila is placing the very democratic process that put him in power under threat.

Daily Mavericks

Somalia

Repatriation threatened after Dadaab returnees are blocked in Somalia

An ambitious plan to repatriate some 150,000 Somali refugees from the Dadaab camp headed into turbulence after officials in Somalia prevented returnees from moving beyond a post on the country’s border with Kenya.

As many as 1200 Somalis who recently left Dadaab are being held at the Dhobley transition centre, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency said on Thursday.

“This situation is quite unfortunate,” commented spokesman Julien Navarre.

The impasse threatens a tri-partite agreement involving Kenya, Somalia and the UN refugee agency whereby large numbers of Somali refugees are to be resettled in their homeland this year as part of Kenya’s push to close Dadaab entirely.

Daily Nation

Deaths as car bomb explodes in Mogadishu

The death toll from a car bomb blast in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has risen to at least 15, police said.

Tuesday’s suicide bombing near the Somali president’s palace in Mogadishu caused a huge blast and destroyed two hotels nearby.

“The number of the people who died in the blast reached 15 and 45 others were wounded, most of them lightly,” said Mogadishu police chief Bishar Abshir Gedi.

Medical officers, however, are quoting a higher casualty figure, with head of Mogadishu Ambulances Abdirahman saying 22 bodies were recovered from the site of the blast.

Reuters news agency said al-Shabab fighters claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses and social media users reported hearing a loud explosion in Mogadishu, followed by gunfire.

Aljazeera

Central African Republic

UN Decorates 448 Rwandan Police Peacekeepers in Central African Republic

The United Nations has decorated 448 Rwandan police peacekeepers serving under the Multidimensional Integrated United Nation Mission for Stabilization in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), with service medal in recognition of their outstanding contribution to ensure safety, security and peace in CAR.

The decorated officers include two Rwanda Formed Police Units (FPUs) and a Protection and Support Unit (PSU) contingents, and Individual Police Officers (IPOs) who act as Police advisors.

The medal award ceremony was held on August 26 in the capital Bangui, and presided over by the Special Representative of United Nations Secretary General in CAR and head of Mission, Parfait Onanga Anyanga.

AllAfrica.com

U.S. Imposes Sanctions Against Kony’s Sons

The U.S. Treasury has imposed financial sanctions against two sons of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group fighting a bloody war in Central Africa.

The Treasury on Tuesday froze all assets in the United States belonging to Salim and Ali Kony, and prohibited Americans from doing business with them. Similar sanctions were imposed on Joseph Kony in March.

“Our initiatives that target the finances of the LRA and its leaders, while combating their involvement in illicit ivory trade, are part of the concerted international effort to fight against violence in the Central African Republic,” said John Smith, acting director of the branch of the Treasury in charge of financial sanctions.

AllAfrica.com

Sudan

Sudan agrees to give refugee status to South Sudanese

Sudan on Thursday decided to treat South Sudanese that fled the conflict in their country as refugees, enabling United Nations to provide assistance and raise funds for aid operations.

In December 2013, Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir decided to treat South Sudanese refugees as citizens and refused establishing refugee camps for them, saying they can live and work all over Sudan.

On Thursday, United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR) and Sudan’ Refugees Commission signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide needed services to South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur, South and West Kordofan, White Nile and Khartoum states.

Sudan Tribune

China Calls On Stake Holders to Join the National Dialogue Soon

China has urged Sudanese stakeholders to show seriousness and join the national dialogue process soon, with the view to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in the Sudan as soon as possible.

A spokesperson for the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Kang, who issued a statement about peace process in the country said china support Sudan to maintain its sovereignty, independence and the unity of its lands.

The statement which was distributed by the Chinese embassy in Khartoum reaffirmed Chinese support for the National dialogue in the Sudan and called on concerned movements to join the process of the Sudanese national dialogue.

AllAfrica.com

South Sudan

UN Security Council Diplomats to Visit Troubled South Sudan

The U.N. Security Council is expected to arrive in South Sudan on Friday for a rare visit to the troubled nation on the edge of renewed civil war.

The trip comes amid tensions between South Sudan and the United States, its former champion who now threatens to cut off aid.

At the center of the visit is a council resolution approved last month to send 4,000 additional peacekeepers to secure the capital, Juba, a foreign ministry spokesman, Mawien Arik, told The Associated Press. Hundreds were killed in Juba when government and rebel forces clashed in July, and rebel leader Riek Machar fled the country and is now in Sudan.

The diplomats must balance two main goals: avoiding further bloodshed in the country, a priority of the United States; and respecting South Sudan’s sovereignty, a priority of Russia, China, and Egypt.

ABC News

South Sudan army deploys force after security officers killed along Juba-Nimule road

South Sudanese government has deployed a huge force along Juba-Nimule road after security officers were killed on the road by unknown gunmen believed to be allied to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the official army of South Sudan, has been ordered to deploy troops in response to the new situation on the road connecting to Uganda that serves as the lifeline for the government.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier General Daniel Justin Boulo said at least two officers have been confirmed dead with other sustaining injuries when they were attacked on the road by the gunmen.

“The army will help track down the bandits so that law and order is restored immediately,” said Boulo.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

UN document says Morocco violated Western Sahara cease-fire

A confidential UN document says Morocco violated a 1991 cease-fire agreement with the Polisario Front independence movement by sending armed security personnel and equipment into the contested Western Sahara region without prior notice to U.N. peacekeepers.

The note to the UN Security Council from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, said the Polisario Front deployed 32 armed military personnel in response, also in violation of the cease-fire.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern Sunday at “the tense situation that has developed in the narrow buffer strip in southwestern Western Sahara between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border,” his spokesperson said.

News24

Morocco says to keep clearing road at Western Sahara border, despite tensions

Moroccan government said on Thursday it will maintain its “clearing operations” against smuggling and crime at a Western Sahara border area despite warnings from the Polisario Front that it was a violation of their 1991 ceasefire deal.

Polisario, which declared an independent republic in the disputed desert land in the 1970s and fought a guerrilla war with Morocco, accuses Rabat of breaking the terms of the ceasefire by building a road in the U.N. buffer zone. Morocco claims sovereignty of the region.

U.N. peace-keeping observers (Minurso) deployed this week to monitor a standoff between Moroccan forces and Western Sahara Polisario troops in the buffer zone in the Guerguerat region, near the Mauritanian border.

The buffer zone is in an area between the Moroccan-built berm – a mostly sand wall that stretches through Western Sahara, separating government-controlled areas from Polisario territory – and the Mauritanian and Algerian borders.

Reuters

Swaziland

Zuma concludes visit to Swaziland for SADC summit

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday night concluded a visit to Swaziland for the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.

He said there were positive discussions and decisions coming out of the summit.

“The summit was a success as we dealt with a number of important issues that affect the region most, in particular issues around industrialisation, energy and infrastructure development,” said Zuma.

“As leaders we have further reiterated that the time to implement Harare decisions on industrialisation and creating a vibrant economy has come to ensure that we develop our economy, create jobs and fight poverty in our region.”

News24

Swaziland – SADC Supports Angolan Candidacy for UN Human Rights Council

SADC will support the candidacy of Angola as member country for the Council of the United Nations Human Rights, whose election will take place in September next year in Geneva, Switzerland.

The decision was taken at the 36th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the regional organization, closed on Wednesday in Mbabane, capital of the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Speaking to the press at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georges Chikoti said that SADC has committed itself to supporting the Angolan candidacy for the referred council as it was requested by Angola.

Angola has already been part of the Council of the United Nations Human Rights from 2007 to 2010.

AllAfrica.com

Zimbabwe

More Zimbabwe protests amid speculation over Mugabe

The Zimbabwean government is remaining tight-lipped about the whereabouts of President Robert Mugabe as opposition political parties gather for another demonstration in the capital today.

Reports yesterday speculated that Mugabe, 92, fell ill at the 36th Southern African Development Community summit in Mbabane, Swaziland, and was flown to Dubai for treatment. However, these claims could not be confirmed.

In the past week Mugabe was in Kenya for the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development before making a brief stop in Swaziland for the SADC summit.

TimesLive

Ailing Mugabe dumps Sadc, heads for Dubai

President Robert Mugabe last night dumped the ongoing 36th Sadc Heads of States and Government Summit which ends today in Swaziland and headed back home, amid speculative reports of ill health, NewsDay has learnt.

The 92-year-old Zanu PF leader landed at Harare International Airport at 1944hrs and was reportedly scheduled to leave for Dubai around 0100hrs this morning.

Mugabe left for Swaziland on Monday and was scheduled to stay until the summit closure today.

An impeccable government source said: “The President will be leaving Harare tomorrow (today) early morning around 1am to Dubai for medical attention.”

News Day

Zanu PF Dismisses as ‘Nonsensical’ Calls for SADC Intervention in Zimbabwe

Zanu PF activists have dismissed as nonsensical calls for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene in Zimbabwe to end crippling social and economic problems bedeviling the nation

The party’s Youth League political commissar in London, Farai Muvuti, and veteran Zanu PF activist, Effort Nkomo, told VOA Studio 7 that Zimbabweans should be in a position to resolve their problems without involving organization like SADC.

Muvuti said, “I think we have to deal with this ‘mis-notion’ that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. When you talk about Zimbabweans as people are portraying that Zimbabweans are protesting that notion does not exist. Zimbabweans are not protesting. There are pockets in Zimbabwe that are protesting …”.

Voice of America

 

 

Africa in General

EU calls for more transparency in Gabon elections

The European Union said on Thursday that the official announcement of election results in Gabon had plunged the African country into a “deep crisis” and said that verification of each polling station result was required.

“It is important that all actors reject violence and call for calm. Any protest must be peaceful means to prevent the burning of the country, the police must react responsibly,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

“Confidence in the election results can only be restored by a transparent verification polling station by polling station, “she continued.

Demonstrators have clashed with police and set part of the parliament building on fire as anger boiled over among opposition supporters at President Ali Bongo’s re-election in polls that his main rival, Jean Ping, claimed to have won.

SABC

 

 

 

Industrialisation Action Plan to top next SADC summit

The 36th Ordinary summit of Southern African Development Community (SADC) concluded its business on Wednesday with calls on member states to finalise consultations and facilitate the approval of the Industrialisation Action Plan (IAP).

The two-day summit was attended by fifteen heads of state and elected South Africa as the next host.

The summit approved the agreement on the setting up of the SADC Regional Development Fund and urged member states to urgently ratify the agreement.

The agreement will help facilitate the mobilisation of resources to finance key regional projects and programmes, with the aim to fast-track giving infrastructure development and industrialisation projects.

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Nigeria approves plan to borrow more from abroad as recession hits

Nigeria’s government has approved a three-year plan to borrow more from abroad, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said on Wednesday after the economy slipped into recession for the first time in more than 20 years.

The government has so far disbursed more than 400 billion naira in capital expenditure this year, part of a record 6.06 trillion naira ($30 billion) budget for 2016, Adeosun said last week

But with lower oil prices and attacks on oil facilities, it has struggled to fund its budget, aimed at averting the recession.

Data on Wednesday showed Nigeria had slipped into recession and the naira was quoted at a new record low of 420 per dollar on the black market as chronic hard currency shortages continued to hurt businesses. The news sent its dollar bonds down to more than two-week lows.

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SA to push for reduction of illicit financial flows at G20 Summit

South Africa will push for sustainable and inclusive growth, the creation of decent jobs and the reduction of illicit financial flows at the G20 Summit which begins in Hangzhou, China this weekend

President Jacob Zuma is leading the country’s high level delegation of ministers and business people to the two-day meeting.

As the only permanent African member of the G20, South Africa has over the years used its participation to raise issues of concern to Africa with other G20 members.

And this year, it will focus on among others things the illicit financial flows from the continent, estimated at almost 90 billion US dollars per annum.

Pretoria believes development in Africa could hit a brick-wall if this loss of capital is not halted.

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