News Briefs 27 October 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo

UNHCR warns of worsening displacement in Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is increasingly concerned by escalating displacement we are seeing in several key regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 2015 the number of people displaced internally has more than doubled and now stands at 3.9 million people – some 428,000 of these having been displaced in the past three months alone. Over the past year, some 100,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. With widespread militia activities, and unrest and violence fueled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas, the risk of further displacement is high. The challenges of getting aid to people in need are growing fast.

UNHCR

Widespread militia activity, political unrest drive millions from their homes in DR Congo, UN warns

Some 3.9 million people across several regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been displaced from their homes, and amid growing violence and unrest, the United Nations refugee agency warned on Tuesday that the number could rise even further.

According to a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over the last three months alone, more than 428,000 people have been displaced.

“With widespread militia activities, and unrest and violence fuelled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas, the risk of further displacement is high,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told journalists at a regular briefing in Geneva today.

“The challenges of getting aid to people in need are growing fast,” he added.

UN News

Somalia

Somalia Preparing for Large-scale Offensive Against Al-Shabab

Somali government troops and their African Union allies are preparing a large-scale offensive against al-Shabab militants, according to multiple witnesses and government officials.

Somali leaders including the president have threatened to retaliate for the truck bombing of a busy Mogadishu intersection on Oct. 14 that killed more than 300 people. Al-Shabab did not claim responsibility for the blast, but officials blamed the group and few Somalis doubt the accusation.

A resident of Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region told VOA on Thursday that thousands of troops are massing in the area.

VOA

 

Somalia truck bombings: Death toll climbs to 358

The death toll in a double bombing in Somalia has climbed to 358 people, Security Minister Mohamed Abukar and Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said Friday.

The truck bombings occurred October 14, in Mogadishu, the capital city. The initial vehicle bomb destroyed dozens of stalls and the popular Safari Hotel in the heart of the city. Minutes later, a second vehicle bomb went off nearby.

Abukar and Osman said 56 people are still missing and 228 are injured, with 122 of the most seriously injured flown to Turkey, Sudan and Kenya for treatment.

News Day

Central African Republic

UN chief praises peacekeepers in Central African Republic

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres paid tribute on Wednesday to the thousands of the UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic, the site of one of the UN’s most dangerous missions and the most sexual misconduct allegations against peacekeepers and UN personnel last year.

The UN chief attended a wreath-laying ceremony in the capital of Bangui. A dozen peacekeepers have lost their lives so far this year amid escalating violence in the long-volatile country.

“We need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic,” Guterres said.

News24

Central African Republic: Civilians Targeted as Violence Surges

Violence threatening civilians has surged in recent months in the Central African Republic’s south-central and southeastern regions. To protect people at risk, the United Nations Security Council should renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission before it ends on November 15, 2017, and approve an October 18 request by Secretary-General António Guterres for 900 more troops.

United Nations peacekeepers have been instrumental in protecting civilians in many instances; the 15-member Council should give the peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, the additional resources the UN says it needs to protect civilians from attacks, including sexual abuse.

Human Rights Watch

Sudan

Sudan opens up as US lifts sanctions

Sudan’s government and its businesses have begun introducing financial reforms and lobbying for new investment to revive the economy after Washington lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions earlier in October.

Sudan has suffered from the sanctions and the south’s secession in 2011, when it lost three-quarters of its oil output, its main foreign currency source.

Now, Khartoum businessmen say they are closing deals with US companies, and President Omar al-Bashir began a trip to Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia this week, seeking new markets for Sudanese exports and Arab investment in Sudan.

Business Day

EU announces $124 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

The European Union has announced a $124 million humanitarian and development aid package for Sudan.

The donation, the EU Commission said Monday, would go towards urgent food, water, sanitation, health and education needs, as well as supporting people who have been forced from their homes and the communities that host them.

EU’s commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, Christos Stylianides, said the aid was necessary to meet the needs of displaced Sudanese as well as refugees who came from neighboring South Sudan.

“The humanitarian aid I am announcing today will help bring life-saving relief to the most vulnerable populations,” said Stylianides during a visit to South Darfur in Sudan.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley evacuated from South Sudan camp after protest violence breaks out

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was suddenly evacuated Wednesday from a U.N. camp in South Sudan after violence and looting broke out during a political demonstration.

Haley, who’s in the middle of a three-country visit in Africa, left the camp as several hundred protesters opposing President Salva Kiir approached, a spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told Fox News. The protesters “became upset that [Haley] was not able to meet with them, due to time constraint,” the U.N. told The Associated Press.

Shortly after Haley left the camp, which is meant for homeless and displaced residents, U.N. security guards fired tear gas into the crowd of more than 100 people who looted and destroyed a charity office operating there, an aid worker at the camp said.

Fox News

US Mulls South Sudan Pressure, Cutting Aid May Not Work – UN Envoy

The United States is considering how to pressure South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir into peace, but withdrawing aid may not work, US envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said ahead of a visit to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia on Tuesday.

Haley plans to visit Gambella in western Ethiopia, where nearly 350,000 refugees have flooded across the border from South Sudan since the country spiraled into civil war in 2013, just two years after it gained independence from Sudan.

“You have to really think hard before you pull US aid because President Kiir doesn’t care,” Haley said. “He doesn’t care if his people suffer and that’s the concern we have as we don’t know that will make a difference.”

EWN

Western Sahara

The Battleground for the Morocco-Algeria Rivalry

In an interview last month with Jeune Afrique, Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita argued that Morocco-Algeria relations “are at a dead end at every level.” To add insult to injury, in a meeting with business leaders in Algiers last week, Algeria’s foreign minister Abdelkader Messahel accused Morocco of “laundering cannabis money via its banks in the continent (Africa).” Rabat reacted to the comments by recalling its ambassador to Algeria on 21 October. Morocco’s foreign ministry also issued a statement, saying that the comments demonstrate, “an unprecedented level of irresponsibility in the history of bilateral relations.”

This state of affairs is not particularly new. The two countries maintain a regional rivalry that goes beyond the conflict over the Western Sahara territory. Currently, the competition is rising over regional influence across the African continent in the wake of Morocco’s foreign policy shift toward this region.

Jadaliyya

New UN envoy pays first visit to disputed Western Sahara

The United Nations’ new special envoy for the disputed Western Sahara has met with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and government ministers as part of his first tour of the region.

Horst Kohler, A former president of Germany, is also expected to visit refugee camps in Algeria for Saharawi refugees who fled the territory.

Moroccan state news agency MAP reports that the king received Kohler on Tuesday at the royal palace in Rabat. Kohler also met with Prime Minister Sa?deddine El Othmani and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Some hope Kohler brings new impetus for a long-delayed referendum on Western Sahara’s future.

ABC News

Swaziland

Ex-MP Sues for ‘Jail Assault’

A former member of the Swaziland parliament is suing the kingdom’s jail services, alleging he was assaulted while an inmate at a correctional facility.

Charles Myeza says officers at the Bhalekane Correctional Centre squeezed his private parts and smacked his buttocks.

He is not the first former inmate at Bhalekane to allege to have been assaulted in this way.

Myeza has filed a claim at the Swazi High Court and with another former inmate is seeking E600,000 (US$44,000) damages.

AllAfrica

‘Secretive’ Gold Mine Closes

A gold mine in Swaziland opened by King Mswati III promising more than 400 jobs has been closed after allegations of poor management.

The Lufafa Gold Mine (now known as Lomati) at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region was in February 2016 reported to have more than two million tonnes of ore which could contain about 15,000 kilograms of gold. It had an estimated value of more than E4 billion (US$263 million). Twenty-five percent of this would be held by King Mswati ‘in trust’ for the Swazi nation. Lufafa Managing Director Mihla Dlamini said at the time there was enough gold to be dug for a period of 35 years.

Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Jabulile Mashwama said on Monday (9 October 2017) the mine had been shut down after concerns were raised by different stakeholders about the running and administration of the company.

AllAfrica

Zimbabwe

‘You were right about Grace Mugabe bedroom coup remarks,’ war vets say as they apologise to former boss

A faction of Zimbabwe’s war veterans led by Christopher Mutsvangwa has reportedly apologised to its former boss, Jabulani Sibanda, after it vilified him for claiming that First Lady Grace Mugabe had staged a “bedroom coup”.

According to NewsDay, the Mutsvangwa-led executive of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) said that they apologised to the ex-freedom fighters’ chairperson after realising that his remarks were “spot-on”.

“We want to say we are very sorry about our reactions to his statement. We have realised that when he talked of ‘bedroom coup’ he was spot-on because Grace and the so-called G40 have already usurped power from Zanu-PF. Grace is just a secretary for women affairs. Where does she have the powers to insult her boss, who is the vice secretary for the party?” Nhando reportedly quizzed.

News24

Zimbabwe’s grim hospital wards fuel outrage toward WHO

An emergency tray at a public hospital in Zimbabwe stands empty, for medical supplies have run out – one example why President Robert Mugabe’s brief appointment as WHO “goodwill ambassador” provoked such outrage.

Under Mugabe’s rule, life expectancy in Zimbabwe dived from 61 in 1985 to just 44 in 2002, before recovering to 60 today, due largely to international aid.

The major causes of the country’s health crisis have been the collapse of healthcare, falling standards of living as the economy has crumbled, and the struggle to tackle HIV-Aids, experts say.

News24

 

Africa in General

Low turnout as violence tarnishes Kenya’s repeat election

As polling officials tallied votes, Kenyans counted the cost Friday of a deeply divisive election marred by low voter turnout and violence that left at least four dead and scores wounded.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is headed for a landslide win in the absence of his main rival Raila Odinga who boycotted the vote, however his legitimacy will be sorely questioned with initial figures showing only about a third of registered voters turned up.

The country’s second presidential election in three months has sharply divided east Africa’s flagship democracy, and could yet face further legal battles.

In its post-election editorial the Daily Nation warned Kenya is now “more fractured and unstable than ever before” but added, “ours is a political problem that requires a political solution.”

“There is a need to forge inclusivity.”

The Citizen

Burundi becomes 1st to leave ICC

Burundi is becoming the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

An ICC spokesperson confirmed that the pullout takes effect on Friday, a year after the East African nation notified the United Nations secretary-general of its intention to leave the court that prosecutes the world’s worst atrocities.

Burundi is the only one of three African nations to go ahead with its withdrawal after making moves last year to leave amid accusations that the court focuses too much on the continent.

News24

Burundi government backs disputed constitution change

The government of crisis-torn Burundi has approved changes to the constitution that could pave the way to a potential 14-year extension in President Pierre Nkurunziza’s stay in office, senior officials said Thursday.

Ministers, meeting on Tuesday in an extraordinary session, gave their agreement in principle to the proposed reforms, they said.

The head of Burundi’s opposition forum reacted with fury, declaring Nukurunziza had crossed a “red line” and should be chased from office.

The present constitution derives from the country’s 2000 peace agreement, which was signed in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha to end a 13-year civil war that claimed more than 300,000 lives.

The planned changes do not touch ethnic and gender quotas required for the government, parliament or police, “but they no longer make a reference to the Arusha peace agreement”, said one of the officials, who like the other sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Citizen

Nikki Haley abruptly evacuated from South Sudan camp, now visits Congo

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was in Congo on Thursday to press for free elections, one day after she was abruptly evacuated from a U.N. camp in South Sudan amid a turbulent demonstration against that country’s leadership.

Haley is wrapping up a three-nation African tour that began in Ethiopia. In South Sudan, Haley was visiting a camp for more than 30,000  people displaced by the country’s relentless civil war that has killed thousands and driven more than 2 million from their homes.

Hundreds of people lined the roads of the camp near the South Sudan capital of Juba, many gathering outside her meeting with reunited families to chant and call for peace, the U.N. said in a statement.

A smaller demonstration against President Salva Kiir grew violent, and an aide worker at the camp told the Associated Press that U.N. security guards fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The United Nations said camp residents “became upset that (Haley) was not able to meet with them, due to time constraint.

USA Today

 

KENYAN WOMEN MARCH FOR PEACE

Kenyan women march for peace – http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-41513711

Wearing white scarves, women have marched through Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to call for peace as fear grows that tomorrow’s presidential election run-off will trigger violence.

News Briefs 20 October 2017

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe To Slash Budget Deficit Despite Looming Elections

Zimbabwe plans to cut its budget deficit by half next year to 4% of GDP, the national Treasury said, an ambitious goal at a time when the country is expected to hold a presidential vote that veteran President Robert Mugabe is set to contest.

The southern African country has over the last four years failed to cut its deficit despite promises to do so, mainly due to high government spending on public sector salaries, which accounted for more than 90% of the 2016 budget.

In an election year Mugabe’s government is unlikely to reduce spending, economic analysts said, making it difficult to cut the deficit to 4% of the gross domestic product. This year the government targets a deficit of 8.4% for GDP.

EWN

Democratic Republic of Congo

Neutralise Threats by Negative Forces in DRC – UN

THE United Nations has called for vigorous action to neutralise the continued threats posed by negative forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also encouraged armed forces in the DRC to step up their operations in collaboration with other stakeholders against armed groups still active in the country.

“I see four priority areas for our collective efforts. First vigorous action is needed to neutralise the continued threats posed by negative forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region as a whole,” Mr Guterres said.

Addressing the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Brazaville, Republic of Congo yesterday, Mr Guterres in a speech read for him by Special UN Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Said Djiniti said the UN continued offering support to protect civilians in the Congo from all armed groups still active in the DRC.

Time of Zambia

DR Congo controversially elected to UN Human Rights Council

Congo’s election to the UN’s Human Rights Council has been criticized because of the country’s human rights record. “This is like making a pyromaniac the town fire chief,” head of the NGO UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was one of 15 states chosen on Monday after a vote by the 193-member General Assembly as rights representatives for three-year terms starting in January 2018.

Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were also elected.

The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 UN member states elected through direct and secret ballots.

DW

Somalia

Death Toll in Somalia Attack Rises To 263

At least 263 people were killed by twin bomb explosions in the heart of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, doctors said on Monday, confirming the deadliest attack since an Islamist insurgency began in 2007.

Aden Nur, a doctor at the city’s Madina hospital, said it had recorded 258 deaths while Ahmed Ali, a nurse at the nearby Osman Fiqi hospital, told Reuters five bodies had been sent there.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo declared three days of national mourning and called for donations of blood and funds to victims of Saturday’s attack.

EWN

EU Releases Emergency Aid Following Somalia Attack

The funding will help to provide critical medical and surgical interventions and supplies, human resources, and psycho-social support in the aftermath of the bombing in the Somali capital.

“The world has been watching in dismay, shock and sadness as the magnitude of last Saturday’s terror attack in Mogadishu has been unfolding.

The loss of innocent human life is appalling. This initial EU aid will help our partner IMC scale up the medical response and urgently treat the hundreds of wounded that need immediate life-saving assistance,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

AllAfrica

Central African Republic

UN chief heading to conflict-torn Central African Republic

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he is going to conflict-torn Central African Republic next week to spotlight growing communal tensions, spreading violence and deteriorating humanitarian situation as well as highlight the work of UN peacekeepers.

He said at a news conference that since Jan. 1 the number of internally displaced people has almost doubled to 600 000 and the number of refugees who have fled the country has surpassed 500 000. So far this year, 12 peacekeepers have been killed by hostile acts and 12 humanitarian workers have also been killed, “making it one of the world’s most dangerous places for aid workers to serve,” he said.

News24

UN forced to halve rations in Central African Republic

A UN humanitarian official warns that aid workers have had to cut rations in half across Central African Republic because of underfunding.

Najat Rochdi, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Central African Republic, said on Tuesday that operations have been suspended entirely in some remote areas of the southeast because aid could only be delivered there by air and had become too expensive.

Central African Republic has suffered waves of communal violence since late 2013 and officials have said the violence now approaches the bloodshed seen during the peak of the earlier crisis.

News24

 

Sudan

Injured Victims of Somalia Blast Arrive in Sudan

Dozens of people injured by Saturday’s terrorist bombing in Mogadishu – which left at least 267 people dead – have arrived in Khartoum for medical treatment, Sudan’s local health minister told reporters today.

According to Mamoun Humaida, 82 people seriously injured by Saturday’s truck-bombing are now set to receive treatment at different hospitals in Khartoum.

“Two separate batches of injured Somalis have been evacuated [from Mogadishu] to receive urgent medical treatment here,” Humaida said.

News24

Sudan, Central African Republic discuss economic relations

Sudan and the Central African Republic discussed Thursday the development of economic relations within the framework of regional efforts to bring stability in the troubled central African country.

The President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera and the Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Abdel Rahman discussed bilateral relationship on the sidelines of the meetings of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) held in Brazzaville the capital of the Republic of Congo.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the state minister for foreign affairs Atta Almannan Bakheit said President Touadera showed their interest to develop the old economic relations with its northeastern neighbour the Sudan and to use the Port Sudan as a seaport for his country.

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan

South Sudan forces ‘assaulted’ UN commander

South Sudanese forces stopped a UN peacekeeping convoy at gunpoint and beat the unit’s commander in the latest clash with peacekeepers in the war-wracked African country, a report obtained by AFP on Thursday said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that South Sudan’s defence minister had apologised for the September 21 incident in Juba, the capital.

About 100 officers from South Sudan’s national security service “surrounded the convoy and pointed weapons at the vehicles,” said the confidential report sent to the council on Monday.

News24

 

 

U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Issues Warning on South Sudan

The leader of United Nations’ peacekeeping operations offered a dire appraisal of South Sudan on Tuesday, saying the world’s youngest nation is sliding further into mayhem with no sign that its antagonists want peace.

In a report to the United Nations Security Council, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the under secretary general of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, called upon the leaders of South Sudan’s warring factions to “bring the country back from the impending abyss.”

Mr. Lacroix said that a diplomatic effort by eight African nations to revitalize a 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan had received only a “lukewarm response” from the government of President Salva Kiir, and that Mr. Kiir’s political adversaries also remained cautious about it.

New York Times

Western Sahara

UN envoy meets W Sahara independence leaders in bid to restart talks

The new UN envoy for disputed Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, met leaders of an Algerian-backed independence movement on Wednesday after visiting Morocco in a bid to get stalled peace talks back on track.

Koehler, a former German president tasked by the United Nations in August with mediating the decades-old dispute, sat down with leaders from the pro-independence Polisario Front as he made his first trip to the refugee camps in Algeria where they are based.

The meeting is part of a fresh push by the United Nations to try to resolve one of Africa’s longest-running territorial disputes, which saw the Polisario Front wage a bitter 16-year insurgency against Moroccan control.

News24

Senate challenges House on Western Sahara dispute

A handful of senators are standing up to their House colleagues who want the United States to side with Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara.

The Senate spending panel that oversees US foreign aid has included language in its annual appropriations bill that would require the Donald Trump administration to consult with the United Nations before providing aid to Western Sahara, a contested region administered by Morocco. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, the Algerian-backed government in exile that is pushing for a long-delayed independence referendum, welcomed the Senate’s move.

“Since Morocco does not have any legitimacy in the territory, it makes sense that Congress should consult with the United Nations,” Mouloud Said, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’s envoy to the United States, told Al-Monitor. “We are very happy for the language that was adopted by the Senate. This is the logical approach while the country still is not recognized.”

Al-Monitor

Swaziland

Local Election Corruption Claim

A veteran journalist in Swaziland has slammed the organisation of the upcoming municipal elections in the kingdom, suggesting voting will be rigged.

Ackel Zwane, writing his weekly column for the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III the absolute monarch in Swaziland, pointed to ‘rampant corruption’.

Zwane wrote on Friday (13 October 2017), the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) which runs the election had disregarded the Swazi Constitution that requires it to set up appropriate rules and monitor elections in Swaziland.

‘Since their commissioning the EBC has done nothing but recite certain clauses about the voting process instead of creating institutions that will protect citizens from all forms of rigging and make elections truly meaningful and not just a scramble for unearned positions of power.’

AllAfrica

New SA-Swaziland railway line on its way

Plans are well underway for the multimillion-rand Swaziland Railway project, which will link Lothair in Mpumalanga to Sidvokodvo in Swaziland, Transnet says.

The feasibility study report had received a green light from both countries companies and they could now proceed to the next phase of the project.

The search for suitable partners had already begun.

Transnet said the project’s primary objective was to reduce rail- and road-traffic congestion based on a realistic and achievable system capacity, but it would serve also as a back-up to the coal line.

eNCA

 

 

Africa in General

DRC, CAR crises under debate at ‘Great Lakes’ summit

The crises in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan are expected to come under the microscope at a 12-nation summit in Brazzaville on on Thursday, officials say.

The summit will gather heads of state or government from Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Security officials, military chiefs and foreign ministers held ground-clearing meetings on Sunday and Monday in the Republic of Congo’s capital.

News24

Agreement reached on DRC roadmap – Zuma

SADC chair and South African President Jacob Zuma says an agreement has been reached regarding the roadmap that will lead to the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, no details were made available including a date the elections will be held. President Zuma met the DRC’s President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa who updated him about the electoral process.

The 37th SADC summit called on the DRC to come up with a clear programme regarding the country’s elections.

This, following accusations that it had not gone far enough to ensure that elections were held speedily.

The Southern Times

Somali president vows war on Shabaab after devastating bomb

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed vowed on Wednesday to step up the war against al-Shabaab, as he addressed thousands at a rally in Mogadishu for the victims of the city’s worst-ever bombing.

Protesters wearing red bands around their heads marched through the scene of the truck bombing, a once bustling district, before gathering at a stadium where they chanted: “We are ready to fight”.

Residents of the Somali capital, while wearily accustomed to regular bombs and attacks by the Islamist militants, have been outraged by the strike on Saturday which left at least 276 dead and 300 wounded.

News24

25th Anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – 17 Oct 2017

On the 17 of October 2017, the Southern Africa Trust convened an event to mark the 25th Anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
In the picture, SALO’s Deputy Director Dr Showers Mawowa (standing) hands over SALO’s publication,  Towards Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: Perspectives on Goal 16 of the UN 2030 Agenda to Mr. McBride Nkhalamba, Head of Division of Thematic Research and Coordination at the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The event was convened by SAT to reflect on the progress and challenges in the fight against poverty in Southern Africa and globally. 

 

News Briefs 13 October 2017

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo Elections Won’t Be Held Before April 2019

Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo that were due last year won’t be held before April 2019, the electoral commission said, a delay that undermines a pact President Joseph Kabila’s supporter made with his political opponents for him to step down this year.

The commission said in a statement that it will need 504 days to organize the polls once it completes the enrollment of voters. The body says it has finished the registrations in all of Congo except the conflict-ravaged Kasai region, where it began in early September and said it will take three months.

The commission also said it will need almost 17 months to allow for the passing of a new law drawing elected representatives’ constituencies, obtaining voting materials and recruiting personnel.

Bloomberg

President Zuma to undertake working visit to The Democratic Republic of Congo

President Jacob Zuma will visit Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 15 October 2017, in his capacity as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The President will hold discussions with President Joseph Kabila Kabange on the issues of peace and security in the Great Lakes region, particularly the situation in the DRC.

SADC is committed to assist the Government and the people of the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability.

CNBC Africa

Somalia

Somalia’s Top Military Chiefs Resign, No Reason Given

Two of Somalia’s highest-ranking military officials have resigned, state outlets said on Thursday, in moves that could deal a blow to the war-torn Horn of Africa country’s efforts to fight Islamist militants.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

For a decade, the weak UN-backed government has also been fighting alongside African Union troops against Al Shabaab, which aims to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

EWN

How the Gulf crisis is destabilising Somalia

The Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates (UAE) decision to break relations with Qatar, and more importantly their insistence for others to follow their lead, has pitted the Federal Government of Somalia (‘Somali government’) against many of its federal member states. This has created a serious challenge for the country’s nascent state-building process. 1

When Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar in June this year, it was the third time in three years that the nation (with the UAE close behind) had called on the Horn of Africa to remake its foreign policy in line with Riyadh. In 2015, Saudi Arabia convinced the entire Horn – except Ethiopia – to sign up to its coalition against the Houthi movement in Yemen; a key priority given Iran’s support for the Houthis, who are also Shia Muslims. Then in early 2016 when Saudi Arabia broke relations with Iran, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia did so as well.

Daily Maverick

Central African Republic

New allegation of sexual abuse surfaces at UN mission in Central African Republic

United Nations Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said Wednesday that the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported it had received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that took place in Bambari by UN peacekeepers.

“The alleged victim was immediately referred to our humanitarian partners on the ground for appropriate medical and psychological assistance,” said the Spokesman, adding that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services has carried out a verification of information inquiry and preserved evidence, which will lead to the matter being referred to the Member State for further investigation and action.

Last month, during a high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate, Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Jane Connors as the first-ever UN Victims’ Right Advocate, who, he said would develop system-wide mechanisms and policies to promote reliable gender- and child-sensitive processes for victims and witnesses to file complaints.

UN News

Home is close, but so far away for Central African Republic refugees

More than 60,000 refugees have crossed the Ubangi and Mboumou rivers in the past five months, fleeing the war-torn Central African Republic.

Sporadic gunfire interrupts their conversations. Further downstream, a dozen canoes with women, men and children cross the river to safety.

Rose Yasambia, 30, stands in the crowd and weeps. “They are setting all the houses on fire,” she says. “Soon they will be at our house.”

Rose and her family crossed from Mobaye, a town just across the river in the Central African Republic (CAR), four months earlier. Armed groups and the fires have destroyed any hope they had of returning home soon.

UNHCR

Sudan

U.S. lifts sanctions on Sudan banks, ports, railways

The U.S. has lifted sanctions on dozens of Sudanese entities, including banks, ports, oil and industrial corporations, the Treasury Department said on Thursday.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published a list of entities that are now formally removed from the U.S. sanctions list, including African Drilling Company, Bank of Sudan, Sudan Air, Sudan Railways, Petroleum General Administration and African Oil Corporation, among dozens of others.

Thursday’s Treasury Department Action formally marks the end of decades of US-imposed sanctions on the country, though some measures related to the conflict in Darfur will remain in place.

The News Nigeria

First foreign currency comes into Sudan as sanctions end

For the first time in 20 years Sudan started receiving foreign currency inflows, the central bank said on Wednesday, days after the US government lifted decades-old trade sanctions on the northern African country.

A statement by the bank confirmed the receipt of international transfers in US dollars to two Sudanese banks, the first signal of recovery for Sudan’s battered economy.

The decision to suspend sanctions and lift a trade embargo, unfreeze assets and remove financial restrictions came after a US assessment that Sudan had made progress on counter terrorism co-operation and resolving its long internal conflicts such as in Darfur.

Defence Web

South Sudan

South Sudan peace talk process now includes more groups

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will hold talks to find a solution to the South Sudan crisis.

The talks titled “Revitalisation Forum” are a product of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State summit of June 12, 2017, when the regional body agreed to revitalise the South Sudan peace process. Brazille Musumba, IGAD’s communications advisor said the talks come after the IGAD Council of Ministers held its 58th extra-ordinary session under the chairmanship of Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the IGAD Council.

The session held in Juba, South Sudan, was also attended by Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and others from the eight-member bloc.

Standard Media

Ex-S. Sudan rebel commander says optimistic on IGAD forum

A former South Sudan rebel commander says he is optimistic that the peace revitalization forum, spearheaded by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will help end the country’s conflict and bring about peace.

General Peter Gatdet made these remarks on Monday after meeting the revitalization forum team in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

Gatdet, who broke away from the armed opposition faction led by former First Vice President Riek Machar, urged IGAD to consider all options required to restore peace and stability in the war-torn nation.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

Sahrawi leaders willing to cooperate with UN for Western Sahara’s decolonization

Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Salem Ould Salek reaffirmed Wednesday, in Algiers, the “sincere” willingness of the Sahrawi leaders to cooperate with the United Nations (UN) and its mission in Western Sahara for the decolonization of the occupied Sahrawi territories, on the basis of the agreement of 1991, welcoming the expected visit to Western Sahara of the personal envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Western Sahara Horst Kohler.

The Sahrawi government and its leaders of the Polisario Front reaffirmed “their sincere willingness” to cooperate with the United Nations and its mission to Western Sahara for the decolonization of the occupied Sahrawi territories, on the basis of the agreement concluded in 1991 between Morocco and Western Sahara, under the aegis of the United Nations and the African Union (AU), which stipulates that the Sahrawi people are able to decide about their future through a democratic, free and regular referendum in accordance with the charters and resolutions of the two organizations, he said in a press conference.

Sahara Press Service

US Congress demands implementation of UN Security Council resolution on Western Sahara

The US Congress, through the Committee on Appropriations, has called on the United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations to work hard to accelerate the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2351 of 28 April 2017 on the issue of Western Sahara, according the Polisario Front representation in the US.

The source added that the US Congress, during its discussion of the Sahrawi issue, stressed that the support allocated under article 3 of this law, would be available to assist the people of Western Sahara after consultation and coordination among the Committees of Appropriations and representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Sahara Press Service

 

Swaziland

HIV prevention efforts must reach vulnerable girls and young women

More than one in five adults in Swaziland are HIV-positive, according to the most recent data, and the rates are highest among women. Despite these dangers, young people – and young women in particular – often lack the information and services they need to keep themselves safe.

Takhona, 17, says that, until recently, she did not know anything about HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“I believed, before, that having sex, you just enjoy. Nothing can happen. I didn’t know about pregnancy and HIV and STIs,” she said.

Takhona is from Shiselweni, one of the poorest regions in Swaziland. “Sometimes I had no uniform or other school supplies,” she said.

Relief Web

UPDATE: Locals charged with terrorism in Swaziland

Three Lowvelders who were charged with poaching and terrorism in Swaziland last month will apply for bail in the country’s High Court tomorrow.

In Swaziland, the Suppression of Terrorism Act acknowledges poaching as an act of terrorism.

Sources confirmed that the accused are two Swaziland citizens, Muzi Dlamini and Sipho Mhlanga, Lowvelders, Isaac Mkhabela and Stanley Khlakalufu (a police reservist) and a third man whose identity remains unknown because his only form of identification was fake.

A Mozambican accomplice was killed during their arrest on August 11 near the Hlane Royal National Park.

Lowvelder

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Ruling Party Plans Vote to Strengthen Mugabe’s Hand

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF is planning a special vote to give veteran President Robert Mugabe a fresh five-year mandate as party leader, three sources said, strengthening his hand as rivals plot to succeed him.

One member of the party’s politburo told Reuters the 93-year-old president could also use the party election in December to end divisions in its top ranks, raising the prospect of the removal of some of his challengers.

“Comrade Mugabe is the only one centre of power in Zanu-PF and that will be re-affirmed in December,” another politburo member told Reuters.

EWN

Zimbabwe War Veterans Say Grace Mugabe Is Behind New Cabinet

Zimbabwe war veterans say the powerful first lady Grace Mugabe is behind the latest cabinet reshuffle by president Robert Mugabe.

The controversy started when Mugabe fired three ministers this week accusing them of being loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and appointed new ones.

The veterans reassured Grace will be prevented from succeeding the 93-year-old president. They insisted that they wanted one of theirs to take over from Mugabe.

“We want them in the card that’s what I will canvass for. And also if we don’t have good leaders from the war veterans, we are for the people, we will chose from the people”, said Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe War Veterans Association Chairman.

African News

 

 

Africa in General

Results of Liberia’s election delayed

Liberia’s election results were delayed on Wednesday by hitches at a number of polling stations, with Vice President Joseph Boakai and footballer George Weah seen as the front runners to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to announce the first official results from the presidential and legislative elections on Thursday.

If no candidate wins 50% of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7, an outcome analysts say is a near certainty.

News24

Kenya bans opposition protests prior to election re-run

Kenya’s government on Thursday banned opposition protests in their strongholds in the country’s three biggest cities because of “imminent danger of breach of peace” as the fresh presidential election approaches.

Interior Minister Fred Matiangi said demonstrations are banned in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The right to protest is enshrined in Kenya’s constitution, “but we shall not allow a few people while purportedly exercising their freedoms to infringe on the rights of others,” Matiangi said.

IOL

 

Former Lesotho Defence Force chief Kamoli faces police interrogation

Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, former commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), accused of overseeing atrocities, including an August 2014 coup, is in police custody.

Spokesperson Inspector Mpiti Mopeli said Kamoli had handed himself in on Wednesday and remains in custody pending the outcome of an interrogation.

Under Kamoli’s leadership, Lesotho lurched from one crisis to another. Assassination of government opponents became routine and at one stage all opposition leaders fled into exile until the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, Kamoli’s main benefactor, earlier this year.

IOL

UN rights chief decries ‘endemic’ abuses after vist to Libya

The UN human rights chief warned on Thursday that serious violations were “endemic” in many detention centres in Libya, but said he was “optimistic” that authorities were intent on improving the situation.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who this week became the first UN rights chief to make an official visit to Libya, welcomed commitments he received from authorities, including Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the ministers of Justice and Interior, to address a wide range of abuses.

But he warned that “the human rights situation in Libya continues to be marked by widespread abuses and violations perpetrated by all sides to the conflict with complete impunity”.

News24

 

The African Policy Circle Meeting 5-6 Oct 2017

AU Agenda 2063 and Africa Peace and Security

SALO is part of the Africa Policy Circle (APC), a network of African Civil Society and Policy Think tanks to contribute collaboratively to Africa’s development, Gender equality and the strengthening of the Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The APC occasionally produces policy briefs and meets with relevant organs of the AU to contribute towards the evolving APSA. The APC also supports network members in addressing development challenges at national level. The APC meets twice a year.

On the 5th and 6th October 2017, SALO attended the 7th Workshop of the African Policy Circle. The meeting held in Mombasa, Kenya focused on their continuing theme of “inequalities”.  The topic discussed was “Structural Inequalities as a driver for Violent Extremism.”

Francisca Mdleleni, Salo Operations Manager can be seen in the second row from the back in the image above.

News Briefs 06 October 2017

Swaziland

Swaziland seeks new markets as EU sugar quota ends

Swaziland is searching for new regional markets for its sugar following the end of a quota system that limited production by European Union countries for the past 50 years, an official said on Wednesday.The EU last month formally scrapped quotas on the production and sale of the commodity by its member states after nearly 50 years.

The quota system meant that total EU production was set at 13.5 million tonnes of sugar, which was divided between 20 member states. Production in excess of the quota is known as “out-of-quota” sugar and strict rules governed its use.

The end of the quotas means that there are no further limits to production or exports, allowing production to adjust to market demand both within and outside the EU.

Journal du Cameroun

Police Block Democracy Meeting

Police stopped a pro-democracy meeting taking place in Swaziland. They said they had not given organisers permission to meet.

It happened on Friday (8 September 2017) during a Global Week of Action for democracy in the kingdom ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III.

About 100 people reportedly intended to meet at the Mater Dolorosa School (MDS) in the kingdom’s capital, Mbabane. The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported that ‘proscribed pro-democracy groups’ led by the Swaziland United Democratic Front tried to meet.

In Swaziland groups advocating for multi-party democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

AllAfrica

Democratic Republic of Congo

Thousands flee to Zambia to escape violence in Democratic Republic of Congo

Several thousand people have fled to Zambia in the past month to escape violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN said on Tuesday.

The UN refugee agency said 3,360 people from Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-wracked southeast had entered Zambia since August 30, the largest influx of its kind in the past five years.

People “are escaping inter-ethnic clashes, as well as fighting between Congolese security forces and militia groups,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.

Business Day

Ten dead in attack on militia in east DRC

Ten fighters were killed on Thursday when the army launched a pre-dawn attack on a militia in the restive eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo, a military spokesperson said.

The assault targeted a group called the Mai-Mai Mazembe, which had taken up position in Kapanga, a locality in the Lubero district on the border with Uganda, the official said.

“They have been dislodged. We found 10 corpses,” Lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, a spokesperson for the army in North Kivu province, told AFP.

News24

Somalia

Turkey inaugurates military academy in Somalia

Turkey inaugurated on Saturday the largest foreign-run military training centre in Somalia, where local troops are due to take over the protection of a nation threatened by Shabaab Islamist attacks.

Somalia’s fragile government and institutions, including its national army, are backed by the African Union’s 22 000-strong Amisom force and powers like the United States.

But the gradual withdrawal of the Amisom troops is due to start in October 2018 and doubts persist over the readiness of Somali forces to confront the Qaeda-aligned Shabaab.

News24

Somalia police say car bomb blast kills 5

Somalia’s police say a car bomb explosion in the capital has killed at least five people.

Capt Mohamed Hussein said the blast late on Thursday was at a car parked outside a restaurant in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district and killed mostly civilians.

The explosion shattered a period of calm in this seaside city which has a large security presence following a series of attacks by the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab, who are linked to al-Qaeda and fighting the Somali government and African Union forces in the country.

News24

Central African Republic

Central African Republic militants are using rape as a weapon of war, rights group says

Armed groups in Central African Republic (CAR) are using rape and sexual slavery as weapons of war, in abuse that may amount to crimes against humanity, a rights group said on Thursday.

Thousands have died and a fifth of Central Africans have been uprooted in a conflict that broke out after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in early 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka militias.

Both the Seleka and the anti-balaka have sexually assaulted, raped and enslaved civilians as revenge against those believed to be supporting the other side, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Business Day

64,000 flee new fighting in Central African Republic

A flare-up of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) caused 64,000 more people to flee to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo between May and August, the UN Refugee Agency said on Tuesday.

The violence left many Congolese villages overwhelmed.

Thousands more are also believed to have crossed the border but are in areas that are hard for aid agencies to reach because of difficult terrain or militia groups, Andreas Kirchhof, Spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says.

The UNHCR recently tried to deliver aid to refugees near the border village of Bangassou but the trucks got stuck in mud so staff had to take the supplies through on motorcycles, he said.

Daily Trust

Sudan

Official: US Poised to Lift Sanctions on Sudan

The United States is preparing to lift decades-long economic sanctions against Sudan, citing improvement on human rights and progress on counter-terrorism, a US official said on Thursday.

President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to announce its decision as early as Friday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Shortly before leaving office, former US President Barack Obama temporarily eased penalties that had been in place for two decades against the African nation. In July, the Trump administration postponed for three months a decision on whether to remove the sanctions completely, setting up a 12 October deadline.

EWN

President Meets With His Sudanese Counterpart in Khartoum

The official talks between the Sudanese and Somali sides started here on Wednesday at the Republican Palace, with President Omar Bashir heading the Sudan side and the Somali President Mohamed Abdallah heading his country’s delegation.

The talks centered on issues of mutual concern and the areas of cooperation between the two countries.

President Bashir stressed in his statement at the opening of the official talks that Sudanese Somali people relations are eternal and expressed his keenness to see a secure and stable Somali state and that the Sudan would continue its support for Somalia in all areas and help it rebuild its institutions, in particular, the Somali army, police, security, and intelligence services and contribute to the capacity building particularly in the education fields.

AllAfrica

South Sudan

Ethiopia, Sudan top diplomats and Riek Machar discuss peace in South Sudan

Ethiopian and Sudanese foreign ministers, Workneh Gebeyehu and Ibrahim Ghandour met with the leader of SPLM-IO in South Africa and discussed ways to achieve peace in South Sudan, said a statement released in Khartoum on Thursday.

The meeting with Riek Machar comes within the framework t preparation of the High- Level Revitalization Forum of all parties to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

“The meeting (..) was fruitful and positive, as It was agreed on the importance and urgency of achieving peace in South Sudan,” said a statement released by the Sudanese foreign ministry on Thursday evening.

Sudan Tribune

Sudan to open humanitarian corridor for aid to South Sudan

The Sudanese government has agreed to open humanitarian corridors to deliver food aid to South Sudan, the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation deputy commissioner said.

“I have received a notification from the Humanitarian Affairs Commission in Sudan stating that it has agreed to open a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of food assistance through the World Food Programme to the affected citizens in the country through the port of Aweil city,” the official told Anadolu Agency.

Khartoum’s approval, the official further stated, would facilitate the transfer of about 1,000 tonnes of food aid to areas affected by lack of food, especially those adjacent to the Sudan border, stressing that opening the humanitarian corridor will reduce transport costs, and will contribute to the rapid delivery of this emergency aid.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

Security Council to receive briefing on Western Sahara in October

The United Nations Security Council will receive a briefing on Western Sahara in October to discuss the situation in this non-self-governing territory, while the UN intends to relaunch mediation efforts from next month with a view to resuming talks between Polisario Front and Morocco.

The semi-annual briefing is expected to be conducted by the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler.

The new UN envoy held discussions with the parties to the conflict, Polisario Front and Morocco and met with representatives of neighbouring countries, top officials of the UN as well as with African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security.

Sahara Press Service

British NGO Calls for Minurso Mandate to Include Human Rights Monitoring

British non-governmental organization for solidarity with Western Sahara, “Western Sahara Campaign,” reiterated its call for the mandate of the United Nation Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to be extended to include human rights monitoring in the occupied territories.

The NGO, in a statement, condemned “the brutality of Moroccan occupation authorities against Saharawi citizen because of their participation in peaceful protests, expressing solidarity with the Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik and calling for their immediate and unconditional release.”

It also urged the UN Security Council to assume its duties, making it possible for Western Sahara people to exert their right to self-determination.

AllAfrica

 

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe VP fights back over poisoning ‘lies’

Zimbabwe’s vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday fought back against allegations by his co-deputy that he lied about being poisoned, in a row that displays the growing political in-fighting ahead of next year’s election.

Mnangagwa has been accused by fellow vice president Phelekezela Mphoko of undermining President Robert Mugabe by claiming to have been poisoned during a ruling Zanu-PF rally in August.

“I never said I was poisoned in Gwanda, but that I fell ill,” he said accusing Mphoko of “subjective falsehoods and mischievous perceptions”.

“My commitment to national unity, peace and stability is undoubted and unquestionable,” he added, dismissing Mphoko’s claim that he was attempting to undermine Mugabe’s authority.

News24

Mugabe lost chance to fix Zim financial crisis – Communist Party

The Communist Party of Zimbabwe believes President Robert Mugabe missed an opportunity to solve the cash crunch crippling his country when he met President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria this week for the second session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC).

On Thursday, the party’s secretary general Nqabutho Mabhena said it was disappointing to note that Mugabe did not push to become a member of the Rand Union, a move which analysts believe can heal Harare’s massive cash shortages causing suffering to millions of Zimbabweans, some spending nights at banks just to withdraw money.

“We are disappointed that there was no agreement on Zimbabwe becoming a member of the Rand Union. This in our view, will address the cash crisis in the immediate term, but in the long term, we need to rebuild our industries,” Mabhena told African News Agency (ANA).

IOL

 

 

Africa in General

South Africa, Zimbabwe push for one-stop Beitbridge border post

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said South Africa and Zimbabwe must implement their 2009 agreement aimed at cutting the massive delays characteristic with the Beitbridge border post by having a one-stop border post at the busy international gateway.

“I wish to underscore the strategic significance of a one-stop border post at the Beitbridge border. This border post is the busiest border post on the continent. Much of our goods and services go through it. We cannot afford to continue to have unnecessary delays at that border,” Zuma said while addressing the second session of the neighbouring countries’ Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria.

“It is therefore important and urgent that we start in earnest the process of establishing a one-stop border post. Our two countries took a decision to do so as far back as 2009. In this regard, we direct the relevant ministers and officials to move with speed and report progress at the next BNC [to be hosted in Harare next year].”

eNCA

Police teargas Kenyan vote protesters, crowds gather in cities

Police fired teargas at opposition activists in Kenya’s capital as protests mounted in cities on Friday calling for the sacking of election board officials involved in August’s cancelled presidential vote.

Crowds gathered in Nairobi, the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu and the port of Mombasa for the second time this week.

Kenya’s Supreme Court voided the August election citing irregularities without finding any individual at the election board responsible.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won the vote only to have his victory annulled, has accused the Supreme Court of bringing the country close to “judicial chaos”.

eNCA