Happy Freedom Day South Africa!

As we mark this important day, may the words of our icon and founding father echo throughout our land, “Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”, Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994. Happy Freedom Day South Africa!

But what does freedom mean for the young people of this nation? Here are some views from the young people at SALO.

 

For me, freedom means having the ability and the right to express myself. The ability to live in a society where everyone is equal and to take into account the immense responsibility of having that freedom, given the sacrifice that many gave for me and everyone to attain that freedom”, Athenkosi Thoba.


 

 

Freedom to me is Choice! Which school I want to attend, what profession I’d like to go into and who I want to marry, where I’d like to live, travel at will. These were not just restricted by race but by gender” Jessey Matlou.


 

Freedom to me means living in a society that values the importance and contribution of women in leadership roles, and where the choices I make for myself are not determined by surviving structural patriarchy” Daisy Mbutho.


 

 

 

To me, freedom is living in a world with people who have boundless love for each other and a world absent of greed and arrogance. If we eliminate the thought “I deserve better, and I am better than you” we can achieve freedom. You simply cannot hurt or oppress another person if you regard them as highly as yourself, so to me it starts with a change in mindset towards one another.”

Kgamanyane Precious Malete

“Freedom to me is being able to take it for granted in my day-to-day life that my husband and I are complete equals before the law.  It pains me to think that this wasn’t the case for my grandmother, and still isn’t the reality for so many women in 2018.” – Marissa van Rensburg

 

We have come far, but the long walk to freedom is not yet over.

SALO April 2018

Can Southern Africa save the DRC?

Can Southern Africa save the DRC?

Eternal war: Congolese, fleeing a flare-up in violence between the pastoralist Hema and agriculturalist Lendu in the Ituri region of the DRC in March this year. (Johan Wessels/AFP)
Eternal war: Congolese, fleeing a flare-up in violence between the pastoralist Hema and agriculturalist Lendu in the Ituri region of the DRC in March this year. (Johan Wessels/AFP)

As President Joseph Kabila continues to hang on to power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), two years and counting beyond the expiry of his constitutional term limit, the activists and politicians who want him to step down are beginning to wonder: Is there anyone who can persuade Kabila to put the country ahead of himself?

The list of those who have tried and failed is long and illustrious. Opposition parties are sidelined. Civil society and independent journalists have been largely ignored, or intimidated into silence. The Catholic Church, usually considered a major power broker in Congolese politics, has been unable to enforce the 2016 New Year’s Eve political agreement, which it mediated to much fanfare at the time. Popular protests have been brutally suppressed — nearly 200 people have died since 2015, and thousands more have been arrested.

On the international front, the European Union and the United States have imposed targeted sanctions on top Congolese officials, but these have not persuaded Kabila to change course.

His government has professed indifference as Belgium, the former coloniser, suspended all direct humanitarian bilateral aid.

Most of the levers of power have been pulled, and still Kabila sits pretty in Kinshasa, even as the country burns around him.

‘Young man, retire’

There is one lever left, however; one last power broker yet to come out against Kabila. This is the Southern African region, which has been characteristically silent as the political crisis in the DRC has worsened, and especially the region’s dominant power, South Africa, which maintains a large peacekeeping contingent there.

“There is a dynamic in international relations where we see the West coming up with pressure and imposing conditions, but then the Southern African Development Community [SADC] will be a little shy, out of some kind of solidarity that we fail to understand,” said Denis Kadima, executive director of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.

This was especially true under former president Jacob Zuma, who enjoyed a close personal relationship with Kabila.

“We have also heard about president Zuma having interests through his relatives in the DRC,” said Kadima.

Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma owns valuable DRC mining concessions.

“We are hoping that a new initiative will not be motivated by personal gain but by what is best for Congo’s stability,” Kadima added.

With Zuma gone, Congolese opposition leaders and civil society activists are now hoping that his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, will be a little less shy; that he might emulate the energetic involvement of former president Thabo Mbeki, who helped to broker the 2002 Sun City agreement, where a deal was signed between some of the warring factions as part of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue after four years of the Second Congolese War.

“South Africa can play a big role … Right now with the new dawn [being] pushed by President Ramaphosa, we feel that it’s a new opportunity,” said Sylvain Saluseke of Lutte pour le Changement, a Congolese youth movement. “Not only do we know that South Africa can do something [for us], but South Africa itself knows that it could depend on the DRC for economic expansion.”

Saluseke wants Ramaphosa, who is also the SADC chairperson, to encourage Kabila to organise credible elections, and then step aside. “Ramaphosa must just tell him, young man, go well in your retirement.”

Ida Sawyer, Human Rights Watch’s DRC researcher, said SADC support has been crucial in keeping Kabila in power. “Until now Kabila has appeared to rely on support from the region, including other leaders who have appeared to use violence and corruption to entrench their hold on power while attempting to maintain a facade of democracy.”

Ramaphosa represents change, said Sawyer — or at least the hope of change. “There are many concrete measures that Ramaphosa could take. One could be cutting bilateral support to the Congolese government if certain benchmarks aren’t met. South Africa could consider imposing targeted sanctions against top Congolese officials responsible for human rights abuses and corruption and election delays. Another possible threat would be to signal clearly that Kabila would not be recognised forever as the legitimate leader, showing that South Africa would support this proposal for a transition without Kabila.”

When the Mail & Guardian tried to get comment, the department of international relations and co-operation passed the query on to the president’s office, which failed to respond. This suggests that, although Ramaphosa may be taking the lead on the DRC portfolio, it is not especially high on his agenda.

“Ramaphosa isn’t shackled to personal economic interests in the DRC like Zuma, but the big question is how much political and economic capital he is willing to spend on reining in Kabila,” said Alex Fielding, a risk consultant with 4C Strategies, a company that specialises in risk and crisis management solutions.

“I fear that Ramaphosa will focus on domestic political goals and uniting the ANC before expending that capital in the DRC at the expense of Khulubuse Zuma and the pro-Zuma ANC faction.”

Strategy of chaos

Kabila took office in 2001 after his father Laurent-Désiré was assassinated. Kabila’s term in office officially expired in December 2016. But he did not organise the presidential elections necessary to replace him, arguing that the country did not have the technical ability or the financial resources to pull off a credible vote — even though it is his responsibility, as the head of government, to make the necessary arrangements.

Since then, Kabila has continued to delay. Elections are now scheduled for December 2018 but few observers believe that they will take place, given the lack of preparation and worsening insecurity. Fighting in the Kasais, the Kivus and Ituri provinces has displaced millions. The United Nations estimates that 13-million Congolese — more than 10% of the 78-million population — require humanitarian aid.

The government maintains that there is an electoral funding shortfall of $900-million.

“Elections in Congo are an illusion,” said Gérard Bisambu, head of elections watchdog Agir pour des élections Transparentes et Apaisées. “There’s no reality to the organisation of elections, looking at what’s happening now. All the talk we hear about the voters’ roll and the electoral calendar and the voting machines: this is nothing but marketing and publicity.”

Bisambu rattles off a litany of irregularities that mean the election cannot possibly go ahead on time. A key concern is the introduction of electronic voting machines, which may increase the potential for electoral fraud. Another is that the chronic insecurity will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters.

“When we have insecurity, especially in north Kivu and the Kasais and Ituri, it’s very difficult to have elections. In Djugu, for example, where the violence in Ituri has been happening, 300?000 people have registered to vote, but how will they be able to vote on election day?” he asked.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the violence is politically motivated, said Bisambu — and designed to cause enough chaos to prevent elections from going ahead, thereby keeping the president in power.

Sawyer agrees: “Well-placed security and intelligence sources have described to Human Rights Watch official efforts to sow violence across the country in an apparent strategy of chaos to justify further delays.”

For now, that strategy of chaos appears to be working as the DRC becomes ever more unstable. And even assuming they do have the influence to make a difference, there is no sign yet that Ramaphosa, the South African government or SADC are planning to ride to the country’s rescue.

MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS TO THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND

To:       Mswati III Kingdom of Swaziland

CC:      The High Commissioner, Pretoria

From:  People’s United Democratic Movement – PUDEMO

MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS TO THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND

It is 45 years since Sobhuza II, the father to the current absolute monarch Mswati III, passed the 1973 tinkhundla royal decree and bestowed all legislative, executive and judicial powers upon the monarch. The decree outlawed political parties, dissolved parliament and placed legislative, executive and judicial powers in the hands of the king.

After close to five decades of heinous attacks on the living conditions of the Swazi people, your rabidly intolerant regime is a dismal failure. It has sustained all its regressive policies that impoverish the people at the barrel of a gun.

Close to 70% of the people of Swaziland live below the poverty line – survive on less than US2 dollars a day. Many children are orphaned due to neglect by your tinkhundla regime! The rural masses face malnutrition and hundreds of thousands require drought relief. In 2017, by the Swaziland’s government’s public admission, over 350 000 Swazis were in urgent need of food aid, but your regime pleaded poverty. Meanwhile, a second private jet for you had already been ordered for purchase.

In complete disregard of the people’s will, the establishment of a democratic system of political rule remains forbidden.

Many political activists and unionists are not allowed free activity and countless have been criminalised with fake charges including sedition and terrorism. The most recent example is the Friday 13 April 2018 protest action led by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) where peaceful protesters were attacked by your police, with some workers and leaders harassed after the action!

Away with the lavish birthday party

PUDEMO condemns the insulting ways in which hundreds of millions in monies will be wasted to celebrate absolute monarch Mswati’s birthday party. Whilst hundreds of thousands of the people of Swaziland remain in abject poverty, your regime has seen it fit that over E300 million be spent on one day for an extravagant birthday party for a hated dictator!

This birthday is an insult to the impoverished people of Swaziland. Anyone with half a brain would have cancelled this wasteful party and instead used the money to improve the lives of the people of Swaziland. The people do not have medication in clinics and hospitals, they do not have access to clean running water and they do not have access to education due to extreme poverty. These are the facts of Swaziland! Meanwhile, you have ordered community members to donate cattle for your birthday extravaganza and have deducted salaries of police, soldiers and members of the Correctional Services in that regard.

2018 Elections

The 2018 elections are nothing but another ploy to continue the enslavement of the people of Swaziland. The parliament which will be a product of these useless elections will have no power to call upon your executive to account to the people. Swaziland’s parliament is nothing but a rubberstamp for you as an absolute monarch to implement your commands.

PUDEMO calls for the immediate resignation of your government and to allow democratic elections to take place, based on a new democratic constitution. All political parties must be unbanned and your regime should furthermore end all forms of repression against political opposition. Your regime should stop its corruption and blatant misuse of state resources which induces heavy burdens on the people and fuels their suffering and misery.

We call for the immediate removal of the draconian 12 April 1973 decree which bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of legitimate political activity.

We demand a democratically elected constituent assembly to develop a new constitution for a new constitutional multi-party democracy, and for the people of Swaziland to elect their own government.

We demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners

We demand the unconditional return of all political exiles.

We make these demands with the full knowledge that there is very little chance of a change of heart from your dictatorial ways. We therefore commit to fight for these demands by all means necessary! All our energies will be employed to ensure that your regime is swept away from the face of the earth and that you and all who have been leaders of such brutality are punished severely for such crimes against the people.

Indeed, one day the people of Swaziland shall prevail. And they shall impose justice on all who have transgressed their interests!

GBV community screening – 17th April 2018, Sizimisele Technical school, Khayelitsha

 

On the 17th April 2018 SALO facilitated a community screening and dialogue with high school learners in Khayelitsha, talking about on gender based-violence.

The session started with a screening of a clip of South African teenagers speaking candidly about gender-based violence, linking these behaviours to prevailing societal norms of what it means to be a “man”.  This included a discussion amongst a group of friends on the topic of violence towards their partners.  Some of the youths admitted to having hit their girlfriends out of anger, while others indicated that they did not condone gender-based violence and would never hit a woman.

Siphelo Mzondo, former National leader of COSAS active in the province, chaired the post-screening discussion.  Participants were all grade 10 learners from Sizimisele Technical High School in Khayelitsha. The participants were evenly split in terms of gender, which added a stimulating dynamic to the discussion.  All participants condemned gender-based violence, and with most female participants expressing how this issue affected their lives personally.  One male participant shared that he was abused as a child by a relative, and that people don’t know this about him. He raised this as an example to highlight that abuse is so rife in our country that most South Africans walk with unseen scars of sexual and gender based abuse.  He also touched on gender-discrimination in terms of society’s treatment of victims of abuse who speak out, saying that he used to be embarrassed as a young man to disclose that he was a victim of abuse, as it is still perceived as an issue only affecting women by many in SA society.

This screening, and other community screenings in this project aim to facilitate  school  environment  change, and  to change  social  norms  related  to  violence  at  community  level, by focusing  on  ideas  of  masculinity  and  violent  practices  of  men  and  boys,  and  building  relationship  and communication skills amongst youth.

News Briefs 13 April 2018

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

UN Calls on DRC to Not Shun Pledging Conference

The United Nations says it hopes the Democratic Republic of Congo will attend a donors’ conference in Geneva later this week aimed at raising $1.7 billion for life-saving aid. DRC authorities say they will boycott the conference because the UN’s description of Congo’s humanitarian crisis as “catastrophic” is false and gives the country “a bad image.”

The United Nations reports more than 13 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are in need of humanitarian assistance. Seven-point-seven million are going hungry, more than two million acutely malnourished children are at risk of dying, and four-point-five million people are displaced by conflict.

Because of worsening conditions in DRC, the United Nations declared three regions in the country — the Kasai, Tanganyika and South Kivu–as a Level 3 emergency late last year. This is the world body’s highest-level emergency.

A spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, tells VOA the DRC government’s displeasure with this designation is based on a misunderstanding.

Relief Web

DR Congo opposition takes swing at election organizers

Congolese opposition groups rounded Wednesday on the country’s electoral commission and its insistence that a long-awaited presidential vote in the vast African nation must be conducted using electronic voting machines.

“Democratic Republic of Congo’s political opposition expresses its profound concern over the casual attitude of the national electoral commission (CENI) in managing the election process,” representatives of five parties said in a rare joint statement from Kinshasa.

DR Congo’s long-delayed elections are slated for December 23 but there are fears of mounting unrest and organisers have already encountered a slew of logistical problems — including “millions” of duplicate names on voting registers — organising the vote in the vast, mineral-rich nation.

Daily Monitor

Somalia

Somalia disbands UAE programme to pay and train soldiers

Somalia has disbanded a United Arab Emirates programme to train some of its troops in a new sign of rising tensions in bilateral relations.

 

The Somali government announced on Wednesday that it will take over paying and training the soldiers in the programme, Defence Minister Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman told Somalia’s state news agency Sonna.

“Somalia will fully take over [its troops] trained by the UAE… Those forces will be added to the various battalions of the Somalia National Army,” Abdirahman said, adding the soldiers would be integrated into other units on Thursday.

The UAE has trained hundreds of troops since 2014 as part of an effort boosted by an African Union military mission to defeat an al-Shabab uprising and secure the country for the government, which is backed by Western nations, Turkey and the United Nations.

Aljazeera

Somalia parliament speaker quits as Gulf rivalries boil

The speaker of Somalia’s parliament resigned on Monday after a dispute with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed that analysts said was fuelled in part by a crisis in the Gulf spilling into the politics of the volatile Horn of Africa nation.

The resignation of Mohamed Osman Jawari came the day after the seizure of $9.6 million in cash at Mogadishu airport from a plane that had landed from the United Arab Emirates, according to police and government sources.

The Mogadishu government confirmed the seizure but did not say what the money was for.

The mystery cash has fuelled a widespread view among Somalis that the political problems in their country are the work of foreign powers, said Rashid Abdi of the think-tank International Crisis Group.

The Star

Central African Republic

Protesters deliver the dead to UN mission in Central African Republic

Hundreds of angry demonstrators laid the bodies of at least 16 people killed in clashes in the Central African Republic capital in front of the UN mission headquarters on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Since Sunday, UN peacekeepers and local security forces have battled armed groups in Bangui’s PK5 area, a Muslim enclave of the majority Christian city, in a bid to dismantle their bases there.

One peacekeeper was killed and eight others were wounded in fighting on Tuesday.

The surge in violence coincides with a visit to the country by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations.

The demonstrators, who blame UN soldiers for firing on residents protesting against the operation in PK5, carried the bodies wrapped in cloth to the gates of the mission.

Business Day

Exchanges of gunfire near president’s residence in Central African Republic

UN troops and an armed group exchanged gunfire during the night near the president’s residence in the Central African Republic, a security source said on Monday.

The incident in the capital Bangui came hours after United Nations and Central African forces launched an operation targeting armed groups in a mainly Muslim district of the city. At least two people were killed and dozens wounded during the joint operation, according to UN and medical sources.

The security source said the exchanges late on Sunday took place after an armed group arrived “by the Ndeke Luka radio station by the road that leads to the residence” of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

“The group was repulsed by UN peacekeepers from Egypt,” the source said.

Times Live

Sudan

Sudan’s president Bashir issues decision to release all political prisoners

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the release of all political prisoners held in the country, state news agency SUNA said on Tuesday.

The decision came in response to calls from political parties and groups that have participated in the country’s ongoing national dialogue to grant detainees the opportunity to engage in the political process, SUNA reported.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989 when he came to power in an Islamist and military-backed coup, has said he will not stand in elections expected in 2020 and appointed a vice president last year for the first time.

“The release of political prisoners comes to strengthen the spirit of reconciliation, national harmony and peace created by the national dialogue” and as part of “steps to prepare a permanent constitution for the country,” SUNA said.

Africa News

Sudan to continue mission within Saudi coalition in Yemen

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said his country’s forces will continue their role within the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen to support efforts to restore stability to the country.

The Sudanese minister made the remarks during a meeting with the ambassadors of Egypt, Osama Shaltout, Saudi Arabia, Ali Bin Hassan Jafar, and the UAE, Hamad Bin Hussein Al-Junaibi, in Khartoum.

 

“The meeting dealt with bilateral relations between Sudan and the three countries and the fraternal and historical ties that bind the peoples of these countries,” a statement from the Sudanese foreign ministry said.

“The meeting also dealt with Sudan’s participation in the Arab summit, on April 15 in Saudi Arabia.”

Middle East Monitor

South Sudan

South Sudan Wants IGAD To Deny Malong Role In Peace Talks

South Sudan has said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and international community should deny former army chief, General Paul Malong Awan a role in the opposition following his declaration of a rebellion movement.

There are currently nine opposition groups which in February this year formed the Opposition Alliance alongside the main opposition group the SPLM IO to negotiate with the government in the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum in Addis Ababa.

Malong has expressed his intention to join the Opposition Alliance participating in the peace talks.

“We wish to further state our intention to participate in the Revitalization Forum scheduled to commence on 26th April 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We will equally be appending our signature to the addendum to the Cessation of Hostilities already signed by the other parties,” Malong said in the statement.

Gurtong

Western Sahara

Settlement of conflict in Western Sahara: There is no alternative to negotiations

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel underlined Tuesday, in an interview with France 24, that there is no alternative to negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front for the settlement of the conflict of Western Sahara.

“There was first the report of the United Nations Secretary General on Western Sahara. We are on the verge of examining by the Security Council of this report. Recommendations were made by the Secretary General on the basis of the report of the mission that he entrusted to former German President Horst Kohler. On this basis, everyone agrees on the fact that there is no alternative to the negotiations between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco. These are the recommendations and everyone agrees that these negotiations restart,” underlined Messahel.

Now when you say that Algeria supports the Sahrawi people, we answered to say: We recognize that Algeria supports the principle of self-determination, it supports the Sahrawi people’s legitimate rights. This is not a secret, it is a principle,” added the head of the Algerian diplomacy.

Sahara Press Service

 

Morocco Could Improve Human Rights in Western Sahara

Morocco’s minister for human rights admitted his country could do better in the way it deals with civil rights in the disputed Western Sahara, as the North African kingdom warned it could act against the Polisario Front independence movement in the region.

Mustapha Ramid told The Associated Press on Monday that Morocco is “working to enhance the institutional framing of human rights. Morocco is not hell for human rights, but it is not a heaven.”

Ramid spoke days after Morocco’s foreign minister warned that all options, including military action, are on the table if the United Nations doesn’t act against alleged plans by the Polisario Front to build military posts in U.N.-monitored buffer zones in Western Sahara.

Voice of America

Swaziland

Swaziland denies purchasing luxury cars for King’s birthday

Swaziland’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport Principal Secretary Makhosini Mndawe has denied that the government bought a fleet of cars worth $7.5-million (R90.6-million) ahead of King Mswati III’s 50th birthday, Swazimedia.blogspot reported.

However, Mndawe’s denial contradicts a report from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Swaziland marks the King’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain on April 19, 2018, in the so-called 50/50 Celebration.

According to Swaziland’s Sunday Observer, a newspaper owned by the king, Mndawe said dignitaries at the party would be chauffeured in top-of-the-range BMW 740i sedans that were purchased for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit held in 2016.

eNCA

Housing demolitions leave dozens homeless

Dozens of people, including more than 30 children, were left homeless after their homes were demolished by 20 armed police and bulldozers in the farming area of Embetseni in Malkerns town, Amnesty International said today.

The demolition, which saw 61 people forcibly evicted from their homes, took place on 9 April. Some of those rendered homeless were forced to spend the night in a chicken shed.

“This latest demolition of homes exposes the grim reality facing many people in Swaziland today. Hundreds have been forced from their homes in recent years to make way for development,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

“Despite supposed protection by the country’s laws, ordinary Swazis appear to be helpless in the face of forced evictions for development purposes.”

Relief Web

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe to allow Western poll observers for first time since 2002

Zimbabwe will invite Western powers to monitor its national elections for the first time in more than 15 years, official papers showed on Tuesday, ending a ban imposed by veteran former leader Robert Mugabe.

The vote, scheduled for July, is seen is a major test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials since he came to power in November after a de facto army coup ousted 94-year-old Mugabe.

Zimbabwe will invite the United States, the European Union’s Commission and parliament, Australia and the Commonwealth among 46 countries and 15 organisations, a list released by the foreign affairs ministry showed.

The countries and groups on the list were all previously banned from watching elections in 2002 after Mugabe accused them of favouring his opponents.

Africa News

Zimbabwe Parliament to Summon Mugabe Over Diamond Mining

A committee of lawmakers in Zimbabwe is to summon former president Robert Mugabe to testify at a probe into lost revenue from diamond mining, a legislator said Tuesday.

The lawmakers plan to question Mugabe over his 2016 claim that the country had lost $15 billion (12.13 billion euros) in income from diamonds due to corruption and foreign exploitation.

Mugabe – whose own regime was accused of siphoning off diamond profits – was ousted last November after a military takeover that ushered his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to power.

“The committee resolved to call the former president to testify,” Temba Mliswa, an independent lawmaker who chairs parliament’s committee on mines and energy, told AFP.

Voice of America

 

 

 

African in General

Zambian opposition accuses UN of helping to rig 2016 elections

Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development’s (UPND) deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka, has accused United Nations resident coordinator Janet Rogan of working with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (EZC) and the ruling party Patriotic Front leaders to rig the 2016 elections.

The Zambian Observer reported that while appearing on a Diamond Television show on Sunday night, Mucheleka not only accused Rogan of having participated in the rigging of elections in 2016 but also of avoiding interaction with opposition political parties in the country.

Muchuleka said that Rogan and the UN’s support for the printing of 2016’s ballot papers in Dubai, against the wishes and advice of the UPND, had caused all sorts of problems because of disputes arising from disputed ballot papers.

He further questioned why a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the issue had not been released

IOL

AU chairman sends condolences to Algeria following military plane crash

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has sent the condolences of the AU to the Algerian government and families of the victims of Wednesday’s military plane crash in Algeria which killed at least 257 people, stating that the tragedy affected not only Algeria but the whole continent.

At least 26 members of the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria and seeking independence from Morocco for Western Sahara, are said to be among the dead.

Mohammed Achour, the chief spokesman for the civil protection agency, said the Russian-designed Il-76 military transport plane had been carrying soldiers.

The flight had just taken off from Boufarik, about 30km south-west of Algiers, when it crashed. It was bound for a military base in Béchar in the south-west of the country, Achour said.

IOL

Joseph Kabila opponents meet in SA to build coalition ahead of polls

Democratic Republic of Congo’s top opposition leader and other figures opposed to longtime President Joseph Kabila are meeting in South Africa to build a coalition ahead of long-delayed elections in the turbulent, resource-rich country.

Delegates gathering at a resort hotel near Johannesburg said on Monday that they would work together to elect Moise Katumbi, who fled DRC in 2016 amid legal troubles that he said were fabricated to stop him from challenging Kabila.

Opposition activist Germain Kabemba said the aim of the meeting is to “fight against those who want to maintain power” and to “accelerate the process of democracy” in DRC.

News24

 

SALO COMMUNITY DIALOGUE – 9 April 2018


A discussion on the state of Human Rights in general, and gender-based violence in particular, on the occasion of the visit of Kees van Baar, Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands, Rochus Pronk, Head of the Human Rights Team, Geneva, and Matthijs van Eeuwen, sr. Policy officer South Africa desk, The Hague

Date: Monday 9 April 2018

Venue: 929 Diokane street, Jabavu, corner Leoatleng street, Soweto

Time:  14h30 – 16h30

SPEAKERS

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery

Deputy President, Congress of South African Students (COSAS), Oluthando Sonjalo

SALO Senior Associate and Human Rights Activist, Rebone Tau

Chair: SALO Deputy Director, Showers Mawowa

SALO would like to thank the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for their direct support for this event

Tomorrow’s World of Migration and Mobility

Published by:
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung – FES, Global Future and IOM

(with contributions from Showers Mawowa of SALO)

Executive summary:
What future for international migration and mobility?
The future is not predetermined. A number of variables are at play in how it shapes out. So, what is the future for international migration and human mobility? Four scenarios, developed by a team of more than 50 individuals, reveal very distinct outlooks. From a general perspective, the scenarios can be summarised as follows:
• Extensive borders, reduced mobility: My Country First!
• Collapse of nations, migration for sheer survival: World on Fire
• Inclusive and sustainable development, recognition of the benefits of migration: Opening Roads
• IT-planned and -controlled world, reduced need for migrant workers: Technopoly Migration is today a contentious issue and, notwithstanding efforts towards a common approach through the global compacts on refugees (GCR) and for safe, orderly
and regular migration (GCM), there is no unified vision of the future. Migration and mobility are strongly influenced, “shaped” by context, and only to a lesser degree are they “shapers” of context.
The scenarios illustrate how antithetic (opposing) factors can yield different outcomes: those setting national migration policies and the value attributed to migrants determine the nature of the scenarios.
The analysis of the scenarios as a set also illustrates how even the pursuing preferred outlooks may yield less desirable futures.
The multiple futures expressed in these scenarios do not represent a “palette” of future worlds from which to pick and choose the preferred ones while discarding the information contained in the less desirable worlds. A set of scenarios offers multiple views of possible futures, and it is relevant in its entirety given the recognised limitations of linear trends to map out future perspectives. Since the future is uncertain, multiple futures are empowering – they open minds to the varied possibilities ahead and require
critical reflection of the tools to address these possibilities.
The scenarios presented here are deemed to be plausible by the scenario building team. Their stories provide an opportunity to assess policies, plans and strategies under any scenario: each scenario could materialise, whether we like it or not. Indeed, the future could reflect a combination of all four scenarios, illustrating therefore the importance of using the scenarios as a set, in order to appreciate the possible
diversity ahead. Exploring a range of possible options enables forward thinking that can facilitate advance preparation to anticipate any combination of futures.

Links to SALO in the Media

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-03-04-op-ed-leaders-need-to-study-what-has-worked-in-africa/


https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-02-28-op-ed-metoo-hertoo-disparity-in-africa/#.WrN_y-hubIU


24 Jan:    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2018-01-24-zimbabwe-beyond-the-rhetoric-of-free-and-fair-elections/


https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2017-12-20-zimbabwes-quest-for-legitimacy/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Afternoon%20Thing%2021%20December%202017&utm_content=Afternoon%20Thing%2021%20December%202017+CID_dad3154f83b5ab131f3c5bc2bd3f588e&utm_source=TouchBasePro&utm_term=Zimbabwes%20Quest%20for%20Legitimacy#.WrOBmehubIU

News Briefs 06 April 2018

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

UN deactivates maximum emergency level for Congo crisis

The United Nations is downgrading Congo from its highest level of humanitarian emergency after the arrival of aid – and an outcry from government officials who say the focus on such woes is deterring investment.

It activated a so-called Level 3 emergency for Democratic Republic of Congo in October, putting on the country on the same footing as Syria and Yemen.

But that is due to be deactivated this month, a senior UN official said in a statement on Thursday.

Over 13 million Congolese need humanitarian aid, twice as many as last year, and 7.7 million face severe food insecurity, according to a UN report last month, as militia violence spikes across much of the country’s eastern borderlands.

eNCA

DRC opposition leader may be barred from elections over Italian citizenship

Moïse Katumbi, the most popular opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, may not be eligible to stand in presidential elections scheduled later this year after it was revealed that he had held Italian citizenship from October 2000 until January 2017.

The DRC’s attorney general said last week he had opened an investigation into allegations about Katumbi’s Italian nationality, first reported by Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique.

Under Congo’s constitution, its nationals cannot hold dual citizenship and have to petition the government to regain their citizenship if they take up a foreign nationality.

The provision, however, is laxly enforced and many prominent politicians are believed to have second citizenships.

The Guardian

Somalia

UN security council condemns attack on AU mission in Somalia

The UN Security Council has condemned the attack perpetrated by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group against the Ugandan contingent of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on April 1.

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” a statement said on Thursday.

The Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice.

The attack reportedly killed and injured a number of soldiers belonging to the AMISOM.

Today NG

Crisis Averted in Somalia’s Parliament, but Tensions Simmer

A dispute between the speaker of the Somali Parliament and the country’s president briefly threatened on Wednesday to turn violent, the latest development in a complex controversy over the proposed leasing of a major port to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates.

Conflict was avoided, partly because of the efforts of an African Union soldier, but the dispute also highlighted the fragility of the federal government under the leadership of its new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known by the nickname Farmajo, who was elected last year in a process marred by corruption.

Mr. Mohamed leads a weak federal government that is trying to wield power and influence over six states, while the Shabab, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, regularly challenges its rule with acts of terrorism.

New York Times

Central African Republic

Central African Republic

Militias Kill Un Peacekeeper in Central African Republic; 21 Others Dead

Christian militias stormed a UN base in southern Central African Republic early on Monday, killing one peacekeeper and wounding 11, the United Nations said.

At around 5am, armed anti-balaka militants attacked the base in Tagbara, about 300km northeast of the capital Bangui, a UN statement said.

The ensuing gunfight lasted hours, and 22 anti-balaka were also killed, the statement said.

Later in the morning, peacekeepers discovered 21 dead civilians, including four children, near a church in Tagbara. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for those deaths.

EWN

Five Years On, Central African Republic Crisis Deepens

A UN official has called for a new approach to end the still-deepening crisis in the Central African Republic.

The situation in CAR has been deteriorating for five years now, and in the next six months may grow even worse, according to the head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in CAR, Joseph Inganji.

Speaking to World Watch Monitor last week, Mr Inganji called on “all actors to sit around the table to have a shared analysis and joint planning, in order to cut the vicious cycle of violence, and respond according to each other and everyone’s mandate”.

Sight Magazine

Sudan

Sudan prosecutor charges ex-PM of plotting ‘regime overthrow’: media

Sudan’s state security prosecutor has charged the country’s main opposition leader, Sadiq al-Mahdi, with collaborating with rebel groups to overthrow the regime of President Omar al-Bashir, a media network reported on Tuesday.

Bashir, backed by Islamists, toppled Mahdi’s civilian government in a 1989 coup after which the former prime minister’s Umma Party, Sudan’s main opposition group, has regularly campaigned against the policies of Bashir’s government.

“Sudan state security prosecutor has filed a criminal case against Sadiq al-Mahdi for collaborating with rebel groups for overthrowing the regime” of Bashir, said a report published by Sudan Media Centre, a network close to Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

News24

Bashir vows ‘war on corruption’ to revive Sudan economy

President Omar al-Bashir vowed on Monday to launch a “war on corruption” in a bid to revive Sudan’s ailing economy and curb food price rises.

In a strongly worded address to parliament, Bashir said a nexus between foreign currency traders, bankers and smugglers had damaged the economy, already weakened by US sanctions, conflicts and loss of oil revenues since a north-south split in 2011.

“It is clear to us that there is no shortage of foreign currency, but it is the illegal activities of currency dealers and gold and food smugglers that have impacted the economy,” Bashir told lawmakers.

News24

South Sudan

Continuing hostilities greatest challenge for South Sudan, says UN relief official

Speaking to UN News, Alain Noudehou, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, underscored that continuing hostilities remain the greatest challenge.

“People don’t feel secure […] they are not able to go back to their lands and they are not able to produce. They need to feel secure, not only in sense of physical protection but actually in the sense that they can go back to their lives,” he explained.

The world’s youngest country, South Sudan, gained independence in 2011.

 

However, it spent much of its short life mired in conflict, as what began as a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full-blown war late in 2013.

In December last year, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa, facilitated an agreement between the Government and opposing groups. The first phase of talks, formally called the High-Level Revitalisation Forum, was held in February this year.

UN News

‘Clear discrimination’: South Sudanese react to exclusion from migration program

South Sudanese-Australians say they are being discriminated against after being told they will no longer be able to privately sponsor refugees to come to Australia.

The Guardian revealed on Thursday morning that the Community Support Program (CSP), a minor element of Australia’s humanitarian migration program, was being essentially restricted to eight “priority resettlement” countries. Nationals of several other specific countries that were previously considered for supported resettlement, such as South Sudan, Somalia and Iran, are now excluded and will not be able to access the program.

The Guardian understands the priority countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Syria and Iraq.

The Guardian

Western Sahara

Morocco mulls ‘all options’ over its Western Sahara truce threat claim: minister

Morocco was considering “all options” if the United Nations does not address its accusations that the Polisario independence movement is threatening a 1991 ceasefire in the Western Sahara conflict, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Morocco claimed Western Sahara after colonial Spain left, but Polisario fought a guerrilla war for independence for the Sahrawi people until a U.N.-backed ceasefire, monitored by U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. Security Council is due to renew the annual mandate for the peacekeeping mission later this month.

The region has effectively been split by an earthen wall separating an area controlled by Morocco that it claims as its southern provinces, and territory controlled by the Polisario with a U.N.-mandated buffer zone between them.

Reuters

UN chief urges restraint in dispute over Western Sahara

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement to refrain from actions that could affect the cease-fire in their 42-year conflict over the Western Sahara, pointing to an escalating dispute over a buffer zone.

 

In a report to the Security Council obtained on Monday by The Associated Press, Guterres calls on the Polisario Front to withdraw from Guerguerat in the buffer zone on the Morocco-Mauritanian border. He urges Morocco to reconsider its refusal to send an expert mission as part of the UN effort to address questions raised by the Guerguerat situation.

News24

Swaziland

The LGBT Heroes Fighting to Hold the First Ever Pride in Swaziland

In the last week of June, LGBT activists in Swaziland hope to make history by holding the African country’s first ever Pride march and festival.

Advocacy group The Rock of Hope told The Daily Beast it is in the process of submitting an application to march and then hold a picnic or gathering in a park in the city of Mbabne.

If it goes ahead, the history-making event will take place around the same time as many other Prides around the world, marking the anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots of 1969.

Male homosexuality is outlawed in the southern African country. An anti-sodomy law is still on the statute books, a British-rule hangover. LGBT couples cannot marry or adopt children.

The Daily Beast

King Wants Land Back from S. Africa

One of the newspapers of autocratic Swaziland King Mswati III is pressing for action for the kingdom to claim large parts of South Africa, including the capital Pretoria, for the Swazi people.

The Sunday Observer said (4 March 2018) ‘some Swazis’ believed now was the right time to reclaim land ‘lost’ to South Africa during the Colonial era.

The newspaper reported the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa, ‘successfully moved a motion of land expropriation without compensation, which has since sparked wide spread debate over Swaziland’s pursuit of reclaiming its lost land from South Africa.

AllAfrica

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s leader thanks China’s Xi, pledges to boost ties

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday for Beijing’s political support and pledged to strengthen ties with the Asian giant on his first visit since his dramatic rise to power last year.

Xi welcomed Mnangagwa to Beijing when they met following a formal welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People.

“You are an old friend of China and I appreciate your efforts to develop relations in all areas,” Xi said in opening remarks. Xi praised Mnangagwa’s efforts to “improve people’s lives” in Zimbabwe, though he did not go into specifics.

“As Zimbabwe’s good friend and partner, we are very happy about this,” Xi said.

Arab News

Zimbabwe to compel mining firms to list on local exchange

Zimbabwe wants mining companies operating in the country to list the majority of their shares on the local exchange, stirring uncertainty among investors as the nation with the world’s biggest platinum reserves after South Africa tries to bring in money to fix the economy.

“No mining right or title shall be granted or issued to a public company unless the majority of its shares are listed on a securities exchange in Zimbabwe,” the government said in the Mines and Minerals Bill before parliament, received by email on Thursday.

Companies that are seeking mining rights and already listed on a foreign bourse must notify the mines minister, and 85% of the funds from the local listing must be used exclusively to develop the local right, according to the bill.

News24

 

 

Africa in General

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia FMs meet over Nile dam impasse

Egyptian Foreign Minister has arrived in Sudan for a two-day visit to discuss a massive dam that Egypt fears will cut into its share of the Nile.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said Sameh Shoukry arrived on Wednesday at the meeting being attended by chiefs of intelligence and ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Zeid says the meeting will attempt to settle contentious issues over the so-called Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile River.

The meeting was scheduled in February but delayed amid anti-government protests in Ethiopia.

News24

Zambian ruling party members to vote against their president

Members of Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) have resolved to vote against President Edgar Lungu in the forthcoming impeachment motion in an effort to “teach” him a “life lesson”, the Zambian Observer reported on Monday.

Sixteen parliamentary members mostly from Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Copperbelt complained of Lungu’s unreasonable behaviour and how they were being sidelined, during a meeting Sunday night.

However, the PF members also asserted that some members of the opposition were working in cahoots with State House to prevent the impeachment motion proceeding and that Haikende Haichilema, the leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), needed to know that not all of his parliamentary members could be trusted.

IOL

China’s Xi tells Zim’s Mnangagwa they should write ‘new chapter’ in ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday told President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe that they should work towards a new chapter in ties, during the African leader’s first state visit to China since he seized power last year.

Mnangagwa, who was sworn in as president in November after a de facto military coup ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, has vowed to rebuild his country’s ravaged economy and re-engage with the international community.

China had considered Mugabe a “good friend” in a relationship dating back to its support for Zimbabwe’s independence war, but pointedly failed to support him when he was ousted.

“I’m willing to work with Mr President to jointly map out our future cooperation and write a new chapter in China-Zimbabwe relations for the benefit of our two peoples,” Xi said, during a meeting in Beijing.

IOL

Ghana will not offer military base to US: president

Ghana will not sign an agreement with Washington to set up a military base, President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Thursday.

The president confirmed in a television address that the two countries would ink a defence cooperation agreement but was emphatic that “Ghana has not offered a military base and will not offer a military base to the United States of America”.

His comments come after hundreds of people took to the streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital, last Wednesday to protest against a controversial military deal with Washington which was passed by parliament last week.

News24

 

 

SALO mourns the loss of Ambassador George Nene – 7 April 2018

SALO mourns the loss of Ambassador George Nene who was a Senior Associate of SALO. Our heart goes out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.


DIRCO Media statement:

07 April 2018

Minister Sisulu extends condolences to the family and friends of the late Ambassador George Nene

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Lindiwe Sisulu, has extended her condolences and those of the DIRCO family to the family and friends of former Ambassador to Nigeria and Switzerland, Ambassador George Nene, who passed away on Friday, 06 April 2018.

Minister Sisulu said Ambassador Nene ranks among the top diplomats the ANC and the Government of South Africa ever deployed across the world. “South Africans must celebrate the contribution Ambassador Nene made to the fight against apartheid and his role in the development of our relations with various countries across the world. We have lost one of our best diplomats at a time when we still need their experience and wisdom,” said Minister Sisulu.

Ambassador George Nene was the chairperson of the South African Association of Former Ambassadors, South Africa’s first High Commissioner to Nigeria; former Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva; former Deputy Director- General Multilateral (DIRCO).

Details of the memorial service and funeral will be communicated during the week.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084

ANC STATEMENT:

07 April 2018


ANC SADDENED BY THE PASSING OF AMBASSADOR NENE

The African National Congress has learned with sadness the passing of a seasoned diplomat and life long revolutionary Ambassador Nene who lived his life serving the people of South Africa.

To us this is a double blow as we are still mourning the death of our revolutionary icon and stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The role that Ambassador Nene played in the liberation of our country cannot be measured.

Ambassador Nene did not only occupy death defying trenches of the liberation struggle, he was counted amongst those who held the flag of country flying high in the process of carving the role of South Africa on the international platforms.

His role and contribution is the legacy that we will always treasure as we continue to work towards the transformation of the world governance. To his family we extend condolences and may his soul rest in peace.

Issued by the African National Congress

Enquiries

Pule Mabe 071 6234 975

National Spokesperson